Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Forgetter Strikes Again

Two weeks ago, Jules came home from school with something he had made for me.

It was a bracelet, crafted from colorful fuzzy pipe cleaners and one metal-like leaf. The leaf gave the whole thing an elvish air. I loved it. I promised to wear it. I promised to wear it to work.

Well, as Jules as begun calling me, I am The Forgetter, a moniker I have earned, because dude. I forgot.

This morning I was getting dressed at around 6 a.m. for work. Jules woke up - he usually gets up at 6:30, so each morning, I miss saying goodbye to him when he's actually awake, because I have to leave by 6:15 at the very latest.. But this morning, he got up and started getting out of bed. I asked him, "Hey, why are you up so early?" He mumbled (eyes half closed still!), "I don't want you to forget..." and stumbled off into the living room. I didn't follow him right away because I was still putting on my bra, but Patrick went in there and turned the TV on for him. After I had a shirt on, I went to him and he got up from the couch and walked over to the little green side table we have, where the bracelet (actually, I think it looks like a wrist corsage) has been sitting.

He picked it up and walked back over to me. "You have to wear it to work today. You keep forgetting." And then he helped me put it on.

I wore it in the car for a while, but it was making driving difficult, so I took it off. Then, when I got to work, I had many things to carry: an apple, my coffee, a magazine: I didn't have a free hand, and I left it in the car. However, I went down to get it, and am now wearing it proudly. And when I told my coworkers the whole story, they all died.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The past and future (caught up in July)

So here we are in another July. It seems like this one came around much faster than it should have. I'm trying not to look at it negatively but there is only one day this month that really matters.

July 20.

Yesterday I put in a request to have that day off. The last place I want to be is at work on that day. Not here. Not with these people. On that day? The day she died.

Today my request was approved, and when the request popped up on my Outlook calendar, even though I typed up the request yesterday without feeling anything, I teared up a little at my desk before I clicked "accept."

Last night on my way bome, stuck in terrible traffic, I listened to "Once in a Lifetime" by the Talking Heads. I wondered if my mother had ever heard that song. Probably - my older brother was a fan of theirs and I think still living at home when that album came out. I wondered if she liked it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do that day. I was thinking of spa day, or at least a massage. Or maybe a movie. Patrick isn't taking the day off, but doesn't think I should be alone. Maybe I'll visit a friend. Maybe I'll see if Patty is available, and ask if she wants to play duets all day. I mean, literally ALL DAY. She used to love marathon duet dates - she has way more stamina for it than I do. But what else helps me more than making music?

(Well. Shopping is up there, but I don't think Patrick would like that.)

It's in less than two weeks. I feel it coming, like a truck.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday morning edition box office rant

I admit it: I'm a pretty hardcore newshead. I start everyday with @nprnews and the @kevinandbean show. Reliable sources, both. And yet both of these venerable news agencies insist, every Monday morning, on telling me what the weekend box office totals (generally for movies I didn't, and won't ever, see) was. How many millions did "Spy" make? I really don't care. Does anyone? And isn't that information readily available, elsewhere, for those who do?

On the other hand, if NPR stops talking about this, that probably means they'll increase the time for Sandra Tsing Loh, the one time during my morning ablutions when I actually consider homicide. Never mind. Keep talking about the movies.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oh yeah, that happened: The Voice Finale

This week I "finally" watched the Voice finale show (last week I watched the finale of "Dancing with the Stars. I was happy for Rumer Willis and her win, and was strangely delighted to hear Erin Andrews pronounce the word "finale" as "fin-all.").

My number one comment is that the finale is so long! Some of the performances - with Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty, Ed Sheeran, and others) felt like indulgent filler. I thought some of the song choices were wrong (Fogerty and Sawyer should have sung "Fortunate Son," not that limp medley). I honestly thought Sheryl Crow had retired (Ah. That's why she was there!). I've only heard of Ed Sheeran because I've seen him a few times on this show - I don't know who he is or why he's apparently popular.

One of the performances, though, blew me away: all four judges doing a tribute to B.B. King. Christina sang so perfectly and beautifully, and even Adam surprised me. They all did a really good job.

I already knew who had won but I didn't know the order of the runner ups. I was surprised Koryn was 4th, not that it matters. When she sang with other, voted off contestants, she stood out as the most interesting voice on that stage. She earned a place in the top three.

Joshua bored me these last few weeks.

Megan is already a star and I hope to see and hear her again soon. I'm not 100% sure what she's going to do or what genre of music she wants to conquer, but she has a gorgeous, beautiful voice.

Sawyer - not the best singer of these four but the one most settled in his style. He always sounded sure of, and like himself. I loved his last song, with his mom and dad nearby on stage. I'm glad he won. I liked Taylor John Williams from last season more but I can see why Sawyer won.

See you next season…

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Coyote Wonder

Earlier this morning, it was reported that three coyotes were spotted in the area where many of my co-workers, myself included, walk on our breaks.

The email said that the coyotes were spotted "wondering" around in the area.

This of course opened a rabbit hole from which I have yet to climb.

The coyotes have been named, in my head, sight unseen: Sandy, Elmer, and Butch. If I should encounter one, my first question, of course, is going to be, "So. Coyote. Whatcha thinkin' about?"

You should take note that in my head, I have been pronouncing the word "coyote" as "ki-yot."

My friend Andrea and I have been discussing this at length, via email. I haven't done this in a while, but here is our complete email exchange thus far (oldest at the bottom), because obviously I think we are funny:

From: Irene
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
To: Andrea
Subject: RE: Coyotes on the walking routes

In the 3rd grade, at camp, I was a surprisingly accurate marksman with a bow and arrow. However, at that same camp, there was a solar eclipse in the middle of the day, and we were all stretched out on rocks like the kids on the cover to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. It’s possible there were other mysterious forces at work. Aliens, probably.

Thank you for the offer of weaponry. I will rely upon my wits and street smarts if I have a run-in with Sandy, Elmer, or Butch. “BACK OFF, KI-YOT!”

Does ACME have a 1-800 number?

From: Andrea
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
To: Irene
Subject: RE: Coyotes on the walking routes

I wouldn’t. They may not be the fun-loving, “Wile E.” type. Is a long range crossbow an option or is that too obvious?

How about a giant anvil with ACME embossed on the side?

From: Irene
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
To: Andrea
Subject: RE: Coyotes on the walking routes

 NO. Can’t I put a coyote in a sleeper hold?

 In my head, I keep pronouncing “COYOTE” as “KI-YOT.” I’m a hillbilly. Or something. Cracking myself up.

 Or I’ve lost it completely.

From: Andrea
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
To: Irene
Subject: RE: Coyotes on the walking routes

Did I ever buy you a taser?

From: Irene
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
To: Andrea
Subject: FW: Coyotes on the walking routes

 This is my favorite thing to happen today.

 Should I run into one of the three coyotes (whom I have named Sandy, Elmer, and Butch, without seeing them), I will be sure to ask, “Man! What kinds of things does a coyote about?” CUE “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes.” (The only RHCP song worth mentioning. And I think it might be a cover.)

How are you?

Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Subject: Coyotes on the walking routes

(Notification that coyotes were spotted. Actual text redacted.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On second thought...

Yesterday, I was out with my coworkers on our break. We were going up the hill, and passing the long line of cars that park along the street where we walk. This street is basically a private road, because the area it allows access to contains mostly county facilities: there's a fire station, and the Sheriff's Department training camp, for example. So for the most part, these cars belong to the trainees. We see the trainees themselves sometimes, either in black suits or workout gear, or full uniforms, running around carrying packs and gear. Once on a Friday I saw them all out en masse, running in formation out to the main boulevard. Whenever they're all on the sidewalk getting in or out of their cars, and they see us coming, one of them will shout, "Stand down!" and the rest will step aside so we can pass. It's very exciting, actually. They have a field there, and there's a helicopter pad too. They have a shooting range, and it can be disconcerting to hear the gunshots as I'm walking to HR or another of our buildings. It's a cool place to walk; there are a lot of things to look at. And, as we come down the hill, there's a good view of the 710 freeway and the smog over LA.

As I passed the line of cars yesterday, I noticed that one of them had a Morrissey sticker on the bumper. It was some kind of Toyota, pretty beat up. The first thought I had was, "Damn. Do we really want a Sheriff who's a Morrissey fan?"

And the second thought was, "Hell yes, we want a Sheriff who's a Morrissey fan!"

Wouldn't it be nice if all the world's crime fighters were inspired by animal lovers and pacifists?

(I read on Wikipedia that Morrissey has a history of being accused of being a racist. I don't know if this is true. I also read that he was absolved of this accusation. Wikipedia was my source for quick research; I am aware that it's not necessarily accurate or truthful, however, I choose to believe that the guy who wrote most of the songs that helped me survive the funk I was in for all of high school is probably imperfect, but kind and intelligent. You can think what you will.)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Voice Top 10 Live Show

It's a rainy Saturday, and I'm finally catching up on the past week's episodes. Jules and Patrick are playing out in the garage, and Patrick's playing something scary-sounding on the record player. Oh, wait, I think it's just Black Sabbath. Here goes my recap:

Again, Carson is yelling at me. But the audience is very loud, so I won't take it personally. After introducing the judges, Carson reminds us that two people are going home tonight And there are new people helping out the coaches. They're all producers:

Mark Ronson (DJ, producer, etc.) is Christina's guest coach. He worked with Amy Winehouse and Bruno Mars. He's also pretty cute.

Blake's guest coach is Scott Hendrix. Carson tells us how influential he is, and his success rate. Impressed.

Adam is using Dave Stewart! Adam says, "It's okay, really, he's just written every song." Dave looks really good too but I'm curious about what's under that hat.

Pharrell is using the lead singer from "One Republic" who is also a producer. I think his name is Ryan. No idea who this dude is. But success is success and he seems to have attained it.

All 10 artists come out to perform a medley of Elton John songs. This could potentially be terrible. Fingers crossed.

Corey and Sawyer start out great on "Rocket Man" but Deanna. No, girl. Just: no. Josh sounds smooth. India is also out of her element. All these people are wearing white pants. They sound good as a group.

Now they're doing "Saturday's Alright for Fighting." Hannah sounds possessed. Meghan looks great but I'm not sure if they're getting this key. Kimberly Nicole looks so good, but sounds just okay. And Rob, too, is doing a good job. Koryn is taking this in a lower register than sounds good?

If they only do two songs is it still a "medley"?

Carson is explaining something... and now it's Kimberly Nicole, Christina and Mark Ronson. I can't figure out his accent. I love, love love his hair. Kimberly is doing an Etta James song that Christina has a connection with, "Something's Got a Hold on Me." Mark is advising her that this song is all about melody, and giving some tips to the band, none of whom respond.

Kimberly Nicole's staging is pretty dramatic. She's reclining sideways on a funky red bench that looks like it came from a Prince video. She's all glittery and sparkly. No tutu today. Her voice sounds great but this doesn't sound modern or rock-infused, which was what I thought they said is what they were going for? Perhaps I wasn't listening well. A friend has been texting me. Blame that for any loss of attention. This lady can sing and the end gets really exciting but stylewise, I wish they'd done something different.

She has tears in her eyes at the end, and I, of course, love her for that.

Just as a side note, Christina's hair seems to have been flatironed to DEATH. And those extensions are way too long. It looks funny.

Pharrell's comments are great. I can't write anymore about them. He seems to love what he heard.
Adam looks terrible and he's very serious.
Christina (her coach) says, "You always bring it." She does. That's true.
Irene: I was not disappointed. She delivered a great performance. I'm just not sure her voice is the winning voice.

Josh, Adam and Dave are working together. Adam gave him a love song but I don't know what it is because the sound cut out. Adam is telling him to have faith that he can hit the notes. Dave likes his sincerity. And then Adam calls Joshua "dude" and the realness of that whole conversation died.

Okay, the song is called "Hold Back the River." I am unfamiliar with it. Josh is wearing a t-shirt and a vest. He sounds pretty good. And man, those eyes are KILLER. He looks a little like Bruce Springsteen. Is this Bruce's song? The phrasing of this song is weird. I think we've heard him sound better. I'm hearing limitations to his range. Adam makes yet another bad song choice.

I love that they have the drummer out. I love when the band is onstage.

Blake: He seems to like the performance but sees that the song pushed him vocally. Blake thinks it was okay but I don't know.
Pharrell: He thought it was good to show his range of songs he can sing, but I don't think it was complimentary to Josh's abilities.
Adam: Adam really looks bad. He says the risk didn't totally pay off. What a great coach. Hashtag sarcasm.
Irene: Josh is good. But I think this is it for him. His pitch was really loose.

Now some people from some shows are in the audience.

Now Blake, Scott, and Hannah are working together. Blake calls her "America's Favorite." Hannah chooses another song from the 80s: "Shout," by Tears for Fears. Scott just referred to Hannah as "possessed." DID I NOT SAY THAT EARLIER? Blake wants to take the song in a military vein. He also wants to strip the 80s-ness from it, which I think is an excellent idea.

Just to put my opinion out there, I wish she would choose songs that were not quite so well-known. "Pale Shelter" or "Woman in Chains," maybe? She clearly wants drama.... I'd even settle for "Head Over Heels." There would be opportunities there for her that would be more interesting to me.

Okay let's see this interpretation. Oh. Marching band drummers on stage? Yes, please. They're not doing much but they look good. Hannah is doing a good job - her range is wide and she sounds strong. But the same old 80s melody is 100% intact, and I wish they'd done something with it. You can tell she's having fun, which I appreciate.

Christina: She says Hannah is growing up right before her eyes and becoming a superstar. She likes how she sings from her "core" and likes her Janet Jackson-inspired outfit.
Pharrell: Pharrell says he thinks it's awesome that she makes every song her own. Well. Maybe not as much as he thinks. He thinks she's a great performer.
Blake: Blake calls her a freak of nature, which is an odd compliment. Pharrell thinks "Freak of Nature" should be Hannah's album title.

Okay, it's Megan's turn. She knows it's a big deal to meet Scott Hendrix. She chose "Home" by someone I don't know. I guess it's a Louisiana-themed song, which is where she's from. It sounds bluesy and deep, which I like. Scott thinks it's missing something and seems to hit it with some of his Scott Hendrix magic, or at least that's what I think I'm seeing.

Meghan's performance starts with her and a guitarist I don't recognize from the Voice band. She sounds really, really good. I love the break in her voice. Man I wish I could sing like that.

Carson says, at the end, "Meghan Linsey is not messing around!"

Christina: Christina loves that she laid it all out there.
Adam: Adam name drops the original singer and then says she blew him away. He says it was her best performance. I agree.
Blake says Meghan told him she thought it was going to be good, and he's talking about her newfound confidence. How someone that talented could suffer from a lack of confidence is always eye opening to me.

Next: Pharrell and Ryan Tedder (?), and Koryn are up. I may have misspelled this dude's name. Koryn is excited. She's going to do "Make it Rain." Ed Sheeran is someone I only know from this show. I don't hate him. Ryan says Koryn gave him goosebumps. She sounds good in rehearsal. Ryan wants some falsetto, which Koryn doesn't think she can do. There's some nice vocal coaching happening here: this guy is good.

Oh, Koryn sounds so good. I think she and Meghan are my favorites so far. And this performance just started. She really seems lost in this song. This girl is so good! She's doing two things they always talk about: her eyes are mostly closed, and she's "just standing there" but I always get so frustrated when the coaches discuss staging and that kind of thing in the coaching sessions.

Carson reminds us that she is 16 years old. This time her young age and talent is significant.

Blake: Blake recognizes that all the performances tonight are so good. And he called her "sis."
Christina: Christina says this was her best performance, a great song choice, and refers to her "old soul."
Pharrell: Pharrell seems very happy. He says she has earned the title "inspirational singer." Koryn looks truly affected. She's so cute.
Irene: Yeah. She's very, very good.

Carson is in the skybox now, and this part of the show always bores me. Also the twitter feed. Lame. Also when Adam comments on his "bromance" with Blake. Blake says "this is easily the dumbest conversation that has ever happened on national television." Agreed.

Now it's Deanna's turn with Adam and Dave. This should be interesting. Deanna is doing "Somebody to Love." Finally some Grace Slick. Didn't I ask for this with someone? Oh: Sarah, I think. Still. Adam wants to "Florence and the Machine/Eurythmics" it up. No idea what this mean. Dave says she's a rock singer. Again, that might be the way to sell this girl to me.

She starts out great. She's beautiful of course. This is her song. I just wish every note didn't bleed into the next. She seems to have forgotten the words or where she's supposed to be going at one point? Not sure. The guitarist was nice and nodded at her. Whatever happened seems to have been fixed. Even when she hits us with some dynamics, I'm still a little underwhelmed.

Christina: She says "Wow!" and asks how she felt. Deanna says it was hard. Christina could tell that it was a different thing for her, and then comments on the outfit. What does that mean?
Adam: Adam has his patronizing voice on. He says it looks like she's having fun. And then talks about her confidence issues again. Stop it, dude.
Irene: OK. This is probably her last week but I've been wrong about her before.

Rob is up next with Mark and Christina. Christina brings up Rob's piano playing. Rob wants to do a song by Donnie Hathaway. I don't know this song. Mark seems impressed.

Rob starts out on the piano, and sounds so good. I love his voice. He's really dramatic. Not sure about the falsetto at the bottom.

Carson hugs him at the end. Cute.

Pharrell: Pharrell is happy for him (bro). He has things to say about Rob's technique. Good things. He says it was masterful.
Christina: She saw the emotion and vulnerability, and the connection with his estranged dad. She calls him "special and rare."
Irene: It was good.

I think Carson just called Corey "the King of Country." Really??

Corey is excited to meet Scott. He knows who he is. Corey picked "Unwound," which is a George Strait song. Blake things Corey needs to rock out and Scott is hearing it but not seeing it. Blake says the girls love him, and maybe he should put the guitar down so he can feel up some girls in the audience. That's maybe not what he said exactly.

Corey sounds great. It's a fun song, obviously. He shakes some hands and walks around, and he has a great big ol' smile on his face. He's adorable. And therefore, I think maybe too young or something to win - he's cute, he's skilled, but there's another door he has to open in his performances.

The audience is screaming its head off.

Adam: Adam calls him "man" and "captain consistent."
Blake: Blake calls him "dude" and I guess Corey made a mistake in the lyrics. He's glad Corey "kept on truckin'."
Irene: He needs something else. I dont know what yet.

Now we get Sawyer Fredericks. Sawyer, Ryan and Pharrell are excited about Sawyer's iTunes success. Sawyer has no complaints. He's doing a Goo Goo Dolls song, "Iris." This is a pretty song. Lame, but pretty. Sawyer has thoughts about the chorus. Pharrell just says the phrase "emotional rapport." Huh. Ryan likes Sawyer's voice a lot, and compares him to Ray Lamontagne.

They're rearranged the song but I don't hate it. He sounds good. The strings are wonderful. This is a love song, and he said right up front that he had never been in love, but the lyrics aren't necessarily directed at a woman, I don't think. He has a connection to the music without that being a problem. I think he missed an opportunity to walk around a bit but his big eyes pull me in.

Carson thanks the string section.

Blake: Blake mentions how strong Sawyer's voice is. He suggests that they haven't talked about this aspect of his voice before, but I beg to differ. I think you have, Blake.
Christina: Christina says she's a big fan. She says a couple of times that it was "nice," but then says it was "awesome."
Pharrell: Pharrell congratulates him, and says the whole room felt it "when you hit the thrust on that big note." I like that.
Irene: There were some parts that were a little too slow, a little too low. Man, I have sung this song in the car, in the shower: it gets boring. His voice is not boring. It was good, very good, and I love him, but I don't know. This wasn't my favorite performance.

India is next with a Whitney song. This does not surprise me. She walks in with Mark and Christina and I swear to god, Mark sounds drunk. So, Christina assigned "Run to You" and apparently India has some bad memories about this song. Mark wants some Whitney-esque falsetto. And they're telling her to throw away her training.

India has full-on Beyonce hair all of a sudden, and I fucking hate it. I think she has a really nice voice. I just don't think she's good enough yet for these songs. Maybe she needs to be quieter. She's good! She's just yelling at me now, slightly off key, and it's bugging me.

Pharrell: He was impressed with one of her runs.
Adam: Adam calls her "man." No, just kidding. Adam says "that was crazy."
Christina: Christina says her voice is beautiful, and that she conquered this song. I wouldn't go that far, Christina.
Irene: This is not my favorite performer. I think I've said all I should say.