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a reflection on the most unfortunate of days….

15 Dec

I’ve been typing first sentence of my entry tonight for the past 2 hours, but the fact is, there aren’t any words. I hate cliches, but honestly, where do you start?

There’s just no way to summarize this horrible day that we all experienced, each in our own way.

Tonight, in the same party room where I celebrated my daughter’s baby naming, my father’s 60th birthday and my own personal milestone of growing the business on my terms, I had to sit down with my sweet 9-year-old stepson and explain to him that a man shot and killed children in an elementary school. And I had to watch his eyes fill with tears when he asked me how many kids died. And I had to hold his hands with the dirtiest fingernails I’ve ever seen, and I had to convince him that we will keep him safe and sound in this world drenched in horror and tears.

I think there’s enough commentary on what occurred all over the place. It’s unthinkable, and it makes you question the existence of monsters and God and destiny and hope in a way that nobody should ever have to. I don’t want to write about it because I can’t write about it, I’m just really really sad. But I do have one strong opinion:

Don’t ignore warning signs. Don’t make excuses for disturbing behavior. Seek help if your child is depressed or unsettled or displaying unusual social behaviors.

We (almost) all try to be good parents to our children. We try to create improved versions of ourselves, and as a result, we often turn on blinders. We overlook realities because we’ll have failed ourselves and our children. Maybe we’re ashamed or overwhelmed or lazy or angry but for whatever reason, a lot of children are slipping away.

There is nothing wrong with mental illness. There is EVERYTHING wrong with not dealing with it properly. 

And one more thing. Teach your children the value of a life. Make sure they understand COMPLETELY that lives are treasures. Don’t take it for granted they can figure this out on their own. SAY IT OUT LOUD. 

Anyway I made a mix. I just feel like what else can I do? It helped me to put it together, and it will help me to play it tomorrow in the car with the kids. Here you go. I don’t know, maybe a little peace for your brain.

Go hug someone. I guess you can come hug me, especially if you’re adorable. But don’t get all pissy if Harry yells at you, I really don’t know what you expect….

naughty (and nice, i guess) holiday party roundup.

12 Dec

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is Christmas Parties. (Oh, hey guys, remember Hanukkah? The holiday that it ACTUALLY IS right now? Can SOMEBODY bring a fuckin’ Secret Santa gift that’s wrapped in blue and silver paper for once??? Whatever, maybe next year. Anyway…)

drunk christmas

Right now we’re deep in the heart of party season. What this means for you is that you get to drink with your colleagues and eat a free meal. What it means for me and my staff is that if we could all crawl in some sort of hole and hide from all of you freaks, we definitely would.

No offense, but the holidays bring out the worst in you. Like, we get it. You’re stressed because your kid hates you but you still need to buy him a skateboard (Yo, did I mention I got a skateboard for Hanukkah? A pink one with green wheels? Because I’m a woman-child? And I’m going to break my face open and post gruesome photos of it? And it’s going to be so awesome?) But that’s no reason to be scroogey/too happy/wear terrible festive clothing/berate me because you drank 13 double Jack Honeys on the rocks and we ran out.

What you may not realize is that you don’t all suck in the same way. There are many, many different types of Holiday Parties! And with each party, a different Spotify list is necessary. Spotify lists are essential to the success of a holiday party, because at my particular establishment, we have carpet and so bosses have the perfect excuse to not pay a DJ, disappointing millions of horny secretaries who are sincerely looking forward to grinding on a doctor or partner or other secretary or whomever. Because the best part about the office holiday party is most definitely the one-night-only lift on the company sexual harassment policy. Gotta take advantage of that shit.

Merry Christmas Party Season to the following partiers:

1. Christmas Over-Enthusiasts. These bitches show up an hour and a half before the party starts to “accent” our holiday decorations with their own. Poinsettia leaves strewn across the tablecloths, cinnamon sticks in the water glasses, reindeer antlers hanging on the wall and a personalized rudolph nose for each guest. They play every classic holiday game there is, including an ugly sweater contest, “pack santa’s toybag” and other shit that nobody wants to participate in. PLAYLIST: 100% Classic Christmas, highlighted by the Mariah version of “All I Want For Christmas is You” and “The Hanukkah Song” and the ever horrible “Dominic the Donkey.” They sing along to nearly everything, except when they’re laughing-til-they-cry during the “Naughty or Nice gift exchange.”

2. Cheap Boss. This guy calls in a lunch reservation for 8 people so that he doesn’t need a party package, and throughout the month he needs to “add a couple folks” until the number has topped 40. He fancies up the non-private room with one bouquet of Trader Joe’s seasonally appropriate flowers and gifts his staff with leftover giveaways from the pharmaceutical rep. Half of his staff “goes to the bathroom” together and hits up the bar to take a bunch of shots, because he has decided that booze is not appropriate to celebrate the holidays. After party is back to work.     PLAYLIST: Fuck that, we’re listening to country music. If this isn’t technically a holiday party, then I can technically listen to my regular playlist, and sing at the top of my lungs to every other song.

3. Funeral. Someone needs to tell these people that they’re at a party. They are so dull that if we talk about how boring they are in the server station too loud, they will all hear us and start crying. They all wear festive clothing, which is all ugly. They sit down the second they get to the party, which makes for an awkward cocktail hour with passed hors d’ouerves.  After party is the next morning on Facebook, with elegantly posed photos of each attendee.     PLAYLIST: The Michael Buble Christmas album, followed by the Charlie Brown Christmas album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, followed by a funeral death march performed by a local high school bagpipe band, with a finale of “River” by Joni Mitchell on repeat for the last hour.

4. Drunken Fools. The holidays are the ultimate time to attempt a sexual encounter with your boss and/or his wife, and there’s no better way to do this than to drink yourself silly. At some parties, this scenario is a sure thing. Except you can’t really fuck a boss who’s passed out in the corner, so there goes that theory. These party people decorate by coming early and taking shots at the bar. After party is at the strip club. After after party is at work the next day, where everyone is still drunk.     PLAYLIST: The Chris Brown Christmas Album, along with whatever else the DJ chooses. Your boss hired a DJ for this one, because he wants to show off his moves and he’s seriously hoping to get his wife laid tonight.

5. Teachers. Teacher parties fall into 2 categories, both of which involve karaoke. Both after parties are bed, there’s school to be taught tomorrow! Except for this one guy. It look’s like he’s gonna need a sub.

  • 5a. Drunk Teachers. Choose the cheapest food package possible. Complain about everything from the very first day of planning. Old teachers are the life of the party. Pay in singles.      PLAYLIST: Karaoke machine. Then the Chris Brown Christmas album.
  • 5b. Sober Teachers. Require more food than drunk teachers, but want to spend less money than them. Complain about nothing except how they don’t have enough food. Young teachers are the life of the party. Pay in singles.     PLAYLIST: Karaoke machine. Then the Michael Buble Christmas album.

6. Segregation City. This group is a mixed bag of blue collar and white collar workers. The sales department and the warehouse guys. The queen bees and the worker bees. People who hire cleaning ladies and people who are cleaning ladies as their second job. This is my preferential group, because it’s sort of like having two parties at one time and it makes me feel more accomplished. Like I brought together separate worlds with my pulled pork sliders. This party typically starts slow and ends with some crazy ass afterparty at the local Spanish bar.     PLAYLIST: Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano and Pitbull and Gloria Estefan and JLo.

7. Cool People. I’m not gonna lie and act like there’s more than one of these a year. It’s a needle in a christmas tree farm. These people drink enough to have a hefty liquor tab, but stay sober enough to not urinate on the party room floor. Everyone is dressed fantastically and many of the women wear amazing sparkly platforms that I try to steal. They smoke pot in the parking lot. We all get contact highs. They leave in a timely fashion and tip extra. The after party is a PJ party in someone’s basement apartment and everyone lays around watching Christmas Vacation until the sun comes up.     PLAYLIST: This.  Because I save cool playlists for cool people.

*Note: I am not exempt from this list, but I fall into sort of a hybrid category. My Christmas Party is a lovely combination of #6, #2, #4 and mostly #7 based specifically on my presence. Plus we obviously have a naughty or nice gift exchange.

ode to a one-hit wonder (a haiku).

31 Aug

Thanks, Semisonic.

The DJ played Closing Time

Now I can go home.

Except tonight, because the amateur DJ who I had spinning his iPad in the coat closet apparently didn’t get the memo that when a DJ plays “Closing Time” it means that it’s time to finish your whiskey and beer and get the hell out of the establishment. Because he followed it up with fucking “Tubthumping” by fucking Chumbawumba to an entirely empty bar save his three friends. So like how do I nicely tell this dude that when the bar is empty, you play “Closing Time” and when you play “Closing Time” you don’t put on any more songs. Especially ones about puking and then continuing to drink.

Other highlights of my day:

  • My friend came in for lunch with his little kids and they asked me to take them to the bathroom so they could go poopy, so I sat in the bathroom washing the 3-year-old’s hands like 45 times in a row while the 7-year-old took his shoes off to sit on the potty.
  • I started working on a deal with the massage place across the street to give rubdowns away as prizes for Trivia Night. So we can officially be the only place in town offering the chance to win a happy ending or an order of nachos.
  • This crackhead bartender we had working for us like 5 years ago called to ask if she had a paycheck waiting for her. “Yeah, it’s just an envelope full of cash,” I told her. “I can either leave it for you or just trade it in for cocaine so you don’t have to do the extra work.”
  • I went to my shrink where we talked about good movies, Jimmy Buffet and why I’m weird for not enjoying gambling. Really feel like I made some progress.
  • My bartender TOLD ME THE ENDING TO THE “PRETTY LITTLE LIARS” SEASON FINALE BEFORE I GOT TO WATCH IT. I know we’ve discussed spoilers in the past, but that was about the Olympics, not ABC Family shows. That shit wasn’t right. I nearly poured a pitcher of margaritas on her head but I was running low on triple sec.

Tomorrow maybe I’ll write again, we can discuss how much Labor Day weekend sucks when you’re in the restaurant business because you have to work even though clearly nobody is going to eat anyplace where there isn’t a late summer breeze caressing their shoulders.

songs i could listen to everyday for the rest of my life.

17 Aug

So for the past 21-or-so years, I’ve been compiling a mix tape of songs that, if forced, I could tolerate hearing every single day until my end of days. I realize that this is somewhat unrealistic, but seeing as 2012 is supposedly the apocalypse and we’re sort of getting to the end of the year, I figure that I should be prepared just in case. Like, I’m not trying to be a downer, but I wouldn’t all of humanity to end without finishing this list, because like I said, I’ve been working on it for quite some time, and I don’t want to leave (m)any loose ends. Kindly keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a list of my favorite songs. Particularly #11. It’s just that every time I hear each of these, it puts a smile on my face. And during the zombie apocalypse, I reckon a smile is imperative.

I highly recommend that after reading this list (and most likely making fun of me and assuming that I have horrible taste in music once you hit #11 and proclaiming that your taste is significantly better which is WAY OFF but you can think what you want) you compile a list of your own. Take a gander, my friends. When it comes down to what makes you smile over and over, it’s probably a shitty song to a whole lot of people.

  1. Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet – This song actually inspired my mix tape, and the scenario was of course that I’m trapped on a deserted island with only a tape player (fine, now it’s an iPhone with no reception but my Spotify set to offline and I have a charger so it’s ok)
  2. Hotel California, Eagles – I had to use the Gypsy Kings version on the playlist I made based on this blog post because the Eagles aren’t on it, but that is not the recording I’d choose. Obviously. Because I associate that with John Tuturro (in the Big Lebowski, loser) and I don’t need that odd negativity in my brain everyday for the rest of my life.
  3. Big Sur, The Thrills – Because I want to be taken to the coast of California every single day. So that I can regret never learning how to surf on a daily basis.
  4. Walking After You, Foo Fighters – This is the melodic equivalent of a dream. Blanket of clouds? I’ll take one of those everyday for sure.
  5. If I Could, Phish – I love Phish. This is by no means one of their great songs. But Allison Krauss on the studio cut is really beautiful and it’s just simple and whatever.
  6. Good Old Fashioned Loverboy, Queen – I don’t know, there’s this flamboyant flamer inside of me that’s just itching to get out! I love it! It’s a little bit sparkle, a little bit rock and roll. Clearly Charlie has had some sort of mystical effect on me and now I’m a gay boy. Instead of this song I really wanted to put Some Nights by fun. but I don’t think we’ve seen the best of them yet and just in case the world doesn’t end I don’t want to regret prematurely adding them.
  7. Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd – Good lord I am one angsty chick!
  8. Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band – I was a teenager in the 90s. I had a hemp necklace and a sterling silver mushroom ring. It’s obvious that Dave was gonna make the list.
  9. Against the Wing, Bob Seger – This song, for absolutely no reason, makes me think of John Candy. And I love him, especially in the movie “Who’s Harry Crumb.” Sometimes if I’m very sad/angry/wanting to run away from home and move to a farm/pensive I sit in my car and listen to this as loud as my speakers will allow it. It’s my own personal “Rocky” theme song.
  10. Call Me Maybe – Just kidding. Promise. No, I really promise. In fact, if that made your list, please stop reading my blog. Thanks.
  11. CU When U Get There, Coolio – First off, that’s some killer foresight with the shortened text language, Mr. Coolio. I mean, in 1996 how could anyone ever have imagined that we would replace actual human interaction with shortened spellings of “you” and “see” and “laughing my fucking ass off?” Only a homie with the word “cool” in his actual name, that’s who! Second, it has really hopeful meaning that you’ll accomplish what you want, for instance getting off of an island with your Gay Asian Former Waiter or surviving the zombie apocalypse.
  12. Take Me For A Ride, Neon Trees – I’m not 100% positive about this, but we’re down to the wire here! I’ve got to get some new music because I don’t believe all the haters who say that there is no good music being made these days. That doesn’t even make any sense. There is more inspiration than there ever was in history thanks to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube. So shut the hell up, there’s awesome music you just need to look for it.
  13. Wake Up Alone, Amy Winehouse – I cannot survive this earth without Amy Winehouse. I really can’t live without her. I chose this track solely for irony.
  14. Downtown Train, Rod Stewart – This reminds me of being on a subway. I can’t figure out why. There’s a chance that this song created the first hipster.
  15. Corcovado, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Mmmmmm. Too bad this Spotify list/mix tape isn’t a record. This song would be better with some scratchiness but what can you do?
  16. Smile, Version Revisited, Lily Allen – Happy song with cursing. Mark Ronson remix. Nice.
  17. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley – Happy song without cursing. Hopefully there will be some good weed on this desserted island.
  18. Name, Goo Goo Dolls – I mean who isn’t going to have this song on their list?
  19. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome, Miley CyrusI TOTALLY PUT HANNAH MONTANA ON THIS LIST. Maybe you should give it a listen, it doesn’t blow. I kept trying to leave it off but I really don’t think I can.
  20. Grandpa (Tell Me Bout The Good Old Days), The Judds – The very first country music that was introduced to me by my dad back when I was like 8 and we were driving to the Nevele. And now my dad is my babygirl’s grandpa, so you know. Extra sentiment. Stop crying, daddy.
  21. Mr. Brightside, The Killers – Every apocalyptic playlist needs one song that you can just scream along with. This is mine.
  22. Waterfalls, TLC – I’m assuming that it will rain on my island, and this is a good rainy day song. And if it never rains, then it will be a good song to remember what rainy days used to be like in the olden days.
  23. Jesus, Etc., Wilco – It’s like not a fast song, and not a slow song, and not a mellow song, and not an uptight song. I know I’m a Jew, but a good Jesus song never hurt anyone.
  24. These Days, Rascal Flatts – I tolerate country music in a different way than you do, so I don’t expect this to be on your list unless you’re one particular person I used to know and I’m like totally curious to see what’s on your list.
  25. Interstate Love Song, Stone Temple Pilots – Just in case the scenario in which I have to listen to this playlist everyday until I die is that I’m forced to be in a vehicle, I threw this in.
  26. Something, The Beatles – I’m not explaining this. Oh, and also it’s my wedding song. A better version than what I put on the playlist, although it was too long and we didn’t dance, we mostly just sang.

I don’t think I can do this. The list is going to change tomorrow. I’m not trying to say that I want the world to end or that I want to be stranded on an island with only Spotify and a volleyball, but in this particular instance, it would make my life easier because I wouldn’t have to stress about this fucking list anymore.

In other news, I wish I were a professional Spotify playlist maker. It’s now tied with weed dealer for career aspirations.

Just in case you didn’t see it before, here’s the link to the playlist. AS THOUGH YOU GOT TO THE END OF THIS POST!!!

wardrobe malfunctions for foodies. [epic poetry inside]

19 Jun

So as we’ve discussed in the past, I reserve the beginning of the week for some not-so-provocative outfits and today was no excepti0n. I showered, so my hair didn’t look like shit and my face wasn’t overly greasy or shiny (well it totally was by the end of the night but for the most part it looked pretty matte). But my outfit was a hot mess and I spent the majority of the day shifting my belt up and down over my medium sized flabby stomach and pulling my skirt down, trying to hide my bra straps and attempting to cover as much of my garb with my waves as I possibly could. I nearly went so far as to go buy a new outfit at the Emergency Macy’s down the road, but I’m saving my funds for tomorrow, just in case I need to take my babygirl on a shopping trip on our day off together. I think my lunch waitress best described my look today by telling me that I look “comfortable.” Not the description every aspiring sexpot business owner is going for, but at least it’s only Tuesday.

Something you may or may not know about me is that I am an insanely enthusiastic singer. Not in like a talented sort of way, more like in a loud and loserish fashion. For instance, right now I’m belting out “Young Hearts Run Free” by Candi Staton (You know it better as Mercutio the drag queen’s lip sync showstopper in the Leonardo DiCaprio version of Rome0 + Juliet). A slight dilemma I’ve run into during these warm months is that I really enjoy keeping the windows open, but I’m going through a pretty hardcore showtunes phase right now, and it is just not cool to pull up to a Jetta full of recent high school grads headed to the beach and have them look over at you and start laughing because you’re singing “Master of the House” in all the different characters’ voices at the top top top of your lungs. Since not singing isn’t an option, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the AC. No big deal. It’s not like burning extra fuel is expensive or anything.

In case you were wondering, that song just ended and now I’m groovin’ to “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Now that it’s SYTYCD season, I tend to incorporate some pretty intense choreography into my performances, and this Temptations song is definitely no exception. (“So You Think You Can Dance.” Do you know nothing??) If you’re ever in a pinch for some late night entertainment, head over to the back of my restaurant after the sun has gone down and you can check out my nightly performances while I blog and listen to music. Just do me a favor and don’t tell me that you’re watching because a) that creeps me out like totally and b) I don’t want to censor myself based on the fact that I’ve got an audience.

This evening for poetry Tuesday I’ve written fake lyrics to a familiar tune. Writing fake lyrics to a familiar tune is an old pastime of mine, as I was pretty famous in Honesdale, PA for my songwriting abilities. In fact, if your kid is headed to sleepaway camp in the next couple of weeks, you should totally hire me to write her Singdown song for her. I guarantee a win or your money back! Anyway, here’s tonight’s poem/epic song.

YOUR WAITER STAINED ME

(to the tune of “Call Me Maybe”)

I’ve got a coupon

My wife has Burberry on

I want that 10% gone

Because that’s how you save.

You dropped that fork off my dish

And now my lap smells like fish

I wasn’t asking for this

I’ve had a real bad day.

My black pants were cashmere

Brand new, got them this year

Now they’re ruined, I fear

Where you think you’re going, waiter?

Hey, I just ate here

And this is lazy

But he stained my pants

So pay me, lady.

I can’t believe that

Your waiter stained me

Please have him fired

He’s very shady!

Hey I just ate here

And this is lazy

But I don’t hand wash

So pay me, lady

And all the snobs

Want a freebie

But these got dry cleaned

So pay my receipt

You took your time with my steak

You said it was a mistake

I thought I’d give you a break

But now the check is here

I’m not trying to steal

This is just how I feel

If you don’t give me a deal

I’ll Yelp you to tears

I don’t care ’bout your kids

College is overrated

My wife needs some new tits

Where you think you’re going, Shelby

Hey I just ate here

And this is lazy

But you stained my pants

So pay me lady

It’s hard to feel bad

My steak was fatty

So take my drinks off

And comp me, baby!

And all the other guys

Reimburse me

So here’s my charge card

Don’t swipe it, maybe!

*SIDEBAR: Just as I finished my post tonight and Nicole and I rehearsed this song about 1000 times, the entire thing got deleted. So fuck this blog company for destroying my precious words and losing what quite possibly could have been the funniest passage ever written in the history of the world, and forcing it to replace it with subpar, poorly edited prose.

*SIDEBAR 2: Nicole and I are equally bad singers, but we seemed to pull it off great so if you’re looking for entertainment after I’ve left my office for the evening, just look for us at the nearest pub. Also, thank you, Nicole, for remembering the lyrics to this epic epic epic song.

it’s a facebook miracle!

1 Jun

So the other day I was perusing my Facebook feed and this thing popped up like “Do you use razors and like country music? If so enter our contest!” And since I do, in fact, use razors and like country music, I sent an email to the mysterious address and assumed that I’d win nothing except a couple coupons for shaving cream. Low and behold, on Tuesday night I received an email.

“This email confirms you and one guest for an exclusive concert with The Band Perry for Thursday night! (blah blah blah blah 21 and over blah blah blah) “

Was I skeptical that this was not actually a concert, and instead a way to lure innocent country fans to a room where they will be raped and murdered and that would be the way I would die? Yes, of course! I googled the shit out it and nothing was coming up, so I pretty much knew I’d be meeting my demise. Regardless, I wasn’t going alone so I took to Facebook to find a date. Naturally the most enthusiastic response came from my Jappy Lesbian Hipster Sister-Sister Missy, who apparently is a huge Band Perry fan and got ultra competitive, and even a little threatening, when it came to her shot at the ticket.

We met up outside the alleged venue and she had two things with her: Bethany her girlfriend, who was prepared to flash whatever (a smile mainly) to sneak in with us and a huge backpack filled with some sort of explosive device/a giant iPod dock. We charmed (snuck) Bethany in and a Purple Schick Wonderland exploded to life before us.

For instance:

1. There were purple pillows lining all the seating, acrylic clear lounge furniture and photographers all over the place.

2. Passed hors d’ouerves including flatbread with truffles kept flowing even AFTER the concert.

3. FREE BOOZE. They apologetically told us it was only wine or beer. Um. No apology needed, kind sirs.

4. A room that we could pretty much reach our hands out and touch one of the mullet brothers or the beautiful sister while they crooned “If I Die Young.”

5. Pretty flowers.

6. A goody bag with free razors, shaving cream, Band Perry CD and reusable shopping bag. Bethany scored like a dozen of them.

 

Have I ever been rewarded before so severely for shaving my legs and being addicted to social networking? Not so much.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that you should always trust your instinct, especially when that instinct has anything to do with bizarre Facebook ads and possible violent acts. I’d write more but I just fell asleep for an hour and frankly I’ve got to rest up for the next country concert tomorrow. Where I’ll be tailgating with a 9-year-old.

in memorium….

13 Feb

Last night when news broke about Whitney Houston’s death, the first thing I did was flash back to sitting (unbelted!!) in the trunk of my dad’s Blazer listening to my “Whitney” cassette, wondering what shocking things love could do, and whether I’d ever love this way again…. Then I snapped out of it and panicked, because I knew EXACTLY what was about to happen. Amy Winehouse was about to get the shaft. I’ve watched enough of these awards shows to know how it goes. The most recent “shocking” death is the last one that plays during the dead people montage (or as my mom and I like to call it, “the time of the night when we cry and reminisce like dorky dorks”) and then the musical tribute ensues. I knew it right away – Whit Whit was in. Winehouse was out. I imagined the quick conversation that took place with the producers…

“Well we’ve already got one Brit stealing the show… I’m sure nobody will notice.”

“That’s true, what’s the difference between the two of them anyway, they’re both shocking deaths that really aren’t shocking at all. Probably nobody will even miss the Amy Winehouse tribute, or notice when we move her photo and song snippet to first on the list, rather than the last, most important and special place.”

Not so, my producer friends. Here in shelbytown, we’re 1 Brit short of a complete Grammy production. So even though I totally love love love Whitney and I listened to her record all day today, (On a record player. Like with a needle.) I would have put Ms Winehouse last on the montage…..

I literally think about Amy Winehouse every day.

I miss her flaws and her anorexic sultriness. I obviously miss her music, that jazzy funky incomparable stuff. I try to imagine her evolution if she didn’t drink herself to death. Who would she have turned into? What songs would she cover? What other producers and artists would she infuse her style with? Who is going to adopt and adapt her style and build an entirely new genre off of it? This is literally what I do every single day. And I’ve got a sick obsession with Spotify, so that doesn’t really help things.

I don’t want to take anything away from Google and Shaazam, because without them my Spotifying would be void of any real depth. The first for use with random status updates lots of you put up where it looks like an original thought but really it’s just a Bieber/Jay Z/Beatles lyric that you think was written about you. The second for identifying catchy tunes in Abercrombie/the sushi place/every Volkswaagen commercial there is.

But Spotifying really makes every good new song or artist turn into a spiderweb. During my Amy Winehouse scavenging (It’s My Party cover, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Mark Ronson, Fitz & the Tantrums…) I cruised through the Tony Bennett duets album (not quite a fan of Tony Bennett, but whatever). And there’s Gaga (and Tony too, but not as memorably) crooning the hell out of “The Lady is a Tramp.” I mean, I always kind of liked Gaga (other than when she gets caught in a fishing line and shows up at the Grammys) Like I get it. I’m into her shtick. I support the methodical strangeness that she’s using to take over the world (along with Brad and Angie and Ryan Seacrest). But I don’t think I ever gave her enough credit as an actual musician. Showman, yes. Duh. But vocally educated jazz lady? Didn’t even cross my mind. So now I keep ” You and I” on my work playlist and I’m thanking heavens for Gaga, who is the new person who Somebody Wants to Dance With, and it’s all thanks to Amy Winehouse that I know this.

Back to the fishing net over Gaga’s face, do you think when she was singing along to “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” with the Beach Boys up on stage with their old man jeans and baseball hats and no meat attached to them and a career spanning decades (centuries, by the looks of them… just saying…) do you think she’s wishing that she could have relied on her talent a little more than her showmanship?

Anyway, all I wanted is for SOMEONE to say they miss Amy, and since they didn’t, I’m now going to have to devote every Sunday to my questionable yet highly evolved musical taste. So consider this the first of many Spotify Sundays. And no, I don’t get paid by Spotify. Yet.

 

RIP WH & AW (If this were an awards show I’d have Adele, Beyonce and Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland perform “You Know I’m No Good” right about now…)

The Jacket.

30 Jan

Last night Charlie and I went for a drink to another one of those beer bars. We ordered our usual “whatever’s on tap that tastes like water” and settled in next to the jukebox, which is totally stressful because you dictate the mood of the the ENTIRE BAR and pretty much can control whether someone gets dumped/wasted/laid/naked by the tap of a screen. The stools were occupied by scruffy 20s boys and their comrades, most of whom would have been thrilled with live Dave Matthews Band tracks or the Killers. We chose some top notch showtunes, “Don’t Stop Believin” fourteen times in a row, and Cindy Lauper’s greatest hits, but unfortunately we forgot to inform the barmaid that we put money in the machine, so the owner’s iPod prevailed and either saved or destroyed the evening for the handful of other patrons. We discussed Charlie’s future and how he’s a really really bad driver, and about my continued desires to be a weed dealer and have an Asian baby (catch 22 – I really want to wear maternity clothes one more time but the only way for me to get an Asian is to adopt…). We complained about the bar’s lack of snacks, and talked smack about the barmaid for not shutting off the iPod and for having the audacity to try to give us useful information about the beer we were drinking, like the name, which we obviously didn’t care about based on our criteria for drinking it.

And then we saw it.

Slung limply over a barstool a few feet away from us. A black jacket, which wouldn’t be alarming in any way, were it not for the Rastafarian stripes around the collar and sleeves.

“What the fuck is that?”

We didn’t know. I mean, yes, we knew it was a jacket. So maybe it was more of a question of “WHY?”

Charlie and I each developed theories of The Jacket’s owner. My theory was that he went to his first Phish show and it was in New Paltz and he went to a head shop and excitedly purchased the cheapest typical/wannabe/so-not-a stoner thing he could find. Charlie said that the owner proudly spent at least $70 on The Jacket, and purchased it in the same trendy place where he gets his jeans. We stared at the coat until the owner retrieved it and put it on. Scruffy 20s boy, decent haircut. I told Charlie I was altering my theory. “Guy sells weed! He’s a weed dealer! It’s like his calling card! Genius!!” And then…..

Charlie: Excuse me, are you a weed dealer? My friend thinks you might be.

Me: Because of your jacket.

Weed Dealer: I knew I shouldn’t have bought this jacket! It was such a good deal though!

M (obnoxiously to Charlie): Told you, bitch!

WD: It was only $140! Marked down from $280.

C (obnoxiously to me): Told you, bitch!

M: Well it’s really cool that you’re a weed dealer. I totally want to be a weed dealer too!

WD: I’m not a weed dealer.

C: Are you sure?

WD: I thought this jacket was so cool. Look! (closes jacket) It even says Oakley across the chest when you close it!

M: So you bought it for the mountain.

WD: Well yeah (obviously doesn’t snowboard, judging by hesitation in voice)

M: Well maybe you should only wear it on the mountain. I think you’d get better feedback there.

WD: Thank you, I will take that into consideration.

And that was that. The Jacket got ready to leave the building, presumably to smoke a cigarette or get a bagel at the 24 hour bagel place next door (we’re not the only ones who complain about the lack of bar snacks, it’s a serious problem). He started walking, but slowed and turned around.

WD: If you really wanna sell weed…

M: (wide-eyed, super excited for the secret to my future success)

WD: Don’t. You won’t make money. Sell coke. Don’t do it.

M: Ok, thank you, stranger. Wholeheartedly. I will not do coke. Because of you.

CD: No prob.

The moral of the story is that when you’re out with Charlie, don’t let him talk to strangers. But always let him pick the music!

 

This week I’ll be blogging about Grocery Shopping for Restaurant Owners, Avoiding People You Haven’t Seen in Awhile Unless You’re Having an Amazing Hair Day, and many more pressing issues.

Taylor Swift is cooler than you so stop lying to yourself.

9 Jan

One of my favorite hobbies is pushing my highly opinionated music theories on bar patrons. Most often it begins because an Amy Winehouse song starts to play and some FOOL says something like “I’m just not a fan” or “I have no respect for people who drink and do drugs like that.” Ok, first of all? YOU’RE SITTING AT A BAR. The only difference between you and her is how big your glass is. Oh, and that she’s like ridiculously talented. And I bet when Bruno Mars and Adele come on you’re gonna be like “Ooh this song is rockin!'” Well guess what, my friend, you can thank the late great Ms W for even being exposed to that shit, because they’re her contemporaries.

OK. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her music from the beginning of her career because I liked her backstory (and I secretly wondered if after the song “Tim McGraw” came out he slept with her…I think no, although if you saw Country Strong you may be a little skeptical). All these people dump on the chick, who is clearly just a Geek Girl Gone Right. I mean, ew. What a freak… She writes her own music, is a poised and eloquent role model, has great hair (it dries naturally like that, people) and adorable dresses, makes her personal experiences RHYME and is taller than most of my guy friends. Ok, the tall part is a little nuts, but other than that, what’s the big deal? Because she acts surprised when she wins every award she’s nominated for? See, Tom Hanks ruined it for people like Taylor Swift. Somewhere along the way, maybe the part where he talked to that volleyball for 3 hours, Tom Hanks just became the guy who was gonna win. And he was suave and witty and well prepared. What the fuck is wrong with being surprised that you’re better than Adele and Lady Gaga according to a group of educated people (or tweens)? I’m pretty sure that if someone told you that you were the greatest entertainer in the world, you’d be a little enthusiastic as well. And if you weren’t, then give me that Golden Surfboard because it’s really fucking cool, and you clearly don’t appreciate it enough.

I’ve got lots and lots of qualifications for these compelling arguments, so don’t think that I’m just arbitrarily coming to conclusions. For example, in third grade, the chorus teacher said I have really good pitch. Gavin Rossdale signed my t-shirt once, and I saw Dave Matthews in an airport in Italy. And I played the viola for like twelve years (Yes, I was in the orchestra in college, which I used to meet guys. Haha just kidding, that is obviously not a brilliant social plan. In fact, I invited my stand mate to a Halloween party the year I was a Slutty Angel and he vomited in my friend’s car) and I have a really expensive instrument sitting in my closet. I arrived at college during the dawn of Napster, so basically I’ve heard every song ever recorded (even if the every track on the Counting Crows Hard Candy album was on a loop of the first line, it still counts). I know more Bossa Nova than “The Girl From Ipanema” and one time I was at a Phish show in Vegas, and they covered a song and nobody knew what it was and I said “Hey, this sounds like Stevie Wonder!” and sure enough it was and everyone there (other than the people who were passed out or tripping) was very impressed with my mad skills. Last but certainly not least, I dreamt about Carol Channing the other night (Google her, young ones) where she forgot the words to “All That Jazz” and I sat next to the stage and reminded her. So see? I definitely know my shit about music. Sometimes I feel like if I dumped all the lyrics I know out of my brain, I’d have a real capacity for remembering other things, like the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, or how to subtract without using my fingers, or what I ate for breakfast.

I’ve decided to reveal my biggest secret last, because I didn’t want to destroy my credibility for 90% of you. I am hugely into country music. Not just like the ONE Lady Antebellum song and ONE Band Perry song that play on Top 40 radio. I mean, like I know every song on the Billboard Top 100 Country Singles. And I have dragged Harry to a multitude of country concerts (although he “had to go to the bathroom” for the entire first and second acts at the last concert, and missed the part where the singer guy said that he loves Jesus and I cheered in the spirit of the moment even though I’m a Jew and don’t really have any particular feelings either way for him/her/it). As a celebration of the start of my blog, I made a playlist on Spotify (by far the greatest creation of our time) for your listening pleasure. The Official Shelbytown Playlist

Awesome country songs as determined in about 7 minutes by the most well rounded music fan in the history of the world:

1. Beautiful Mess, Diamond Rio

2. Our Song, Taylor Swift

3. That’s the Way That the World Goes Round, Miranda Lambert (except the weird feedback during the first verse which I am not a fan of)

4. Stay, Sugarland

5. Don’t, Billy Currington

6. Summertime, Kenny Chesney (seasonally inappropriate but whatever)

7. These Days, Rascal Flatts

8. Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde, Travis Tritt

9. Devil Went Down to Georga, Charlie Daniels Band or even better, the cover by the Zac Brown Band (which I can NOT play on the viola)

10. You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn

11. Who’s Your Daddy, Toby Keith

Side note: I own Jackson’s in Commack (which is delicious and I highly recommend it for all your eating and drinking pleasures). That is NOT the restaurant I was referring to that is closing. The restaurant I was referring to (still no confirmation so I’m still not saying the name) is the one that I was raised in by my parents who are in Atlantic City right now if you’re looking for them, and they sold it from under me in 2001, leaving me floundering for a career path. Not that I’m bitter or anything.