Sunday, April 29, 2007

What's on my MP3 player lately?

A few weeks back, I upgraded my music player from the Lyra to a newer MP3 player.... I couldn't resist the appeal of a 2GB player at roughly the same cost that I paid for the Lyra a year ago (with about 8 times the capacity too).

It came with 10 songs preloaded -- and I haven't learned yet how to remove them. They don't show up as files on my drive when I plug it in. They may be somehow ROM'med onto this thing. I'd give my eyeteeth to just move them off and listen to them later.

But here's my current group of songs. For those I've already listed in previous columns, I won't put in additional comments.
  • (Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again -- LTD with Jeffrey Osborne
  • (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine -- James Brown
  • A Man I'll Never Be -- Boston. I've had this one on there since Brad Delp's unfortunate passing, and the song has much more poignancy for me than it previously did. I guess we, the fans, all saw him as a man he felt he could never be ... so very sad. But I liked this song before then, and that's why it's on here.
  • Ah! Leah! -- Donnie Iris
  • Alive & Kicking -- Simple Minds
  • Are You Experienced? -- Jimi Hendrix. Because quite honestly, sometimes you just need a little surreal psychedelia to make your day complete. Getting it out of the way early on the treadmill helps!
  • Baker Street -- Gerry Rafferty. Have always liked this song. Odd choice to have, but it works for me.
  • Bitch -- Rolling Stones.
  • Boogie Wonderland -- Earth Wind and Fire.
  • Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train -- The Tractors.
  • Cool the Engines -- Boston.
  • Cradle of Love -- Billy Idol.
  • Dancing in the Moonlight -- King Harvest. A great song, full of wonder and magic and lightness of heart. Great for Mondays!
  • Dazz -- Brick.
  • Deeper and Deeper -- The Fixx.
  • Dixie Chicken -- Little Feat. Give me one reason NOT to have this on here. I'll politely listen to the suggestion, but I offer no guarantees.
  • Eruption/You Really Got Me -- Van Halen.
  • Every Little Thing -- Carlene Carter. During the early 90s when I listened primarily to country, I liked her music. Her family connections just added to it. This one was a favorite -- upbeat, playful, and fun. At the time, it had some personal significance (especially the line, "I love you so much I hate you"). Sometimes a song work for reasons only you yourself can understand; this is one of them.
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic -- The Police. 26 years since its release, and it's still one of the best pop songs ever. Ever. Ever. It never sounds dated or old to me. Brings a smile to my face, and that's reason enough for its inclusion here.
  • Far Cry -- Rush. Their new one. Two words: kicks ass.
  • Gemini Dream -- The Moody Blues.
  • Go Faster -- The Black Crowes.
  • Hair of the Dog -- Nazareth.
  • Hearts on Fire -- Randy Meisner. Another one that works for me. Don't know why, and I'm not going to analyze it.
  • Home and Dry -- Gerry Rafferty. I like Gerry Rafferty's music. This one might not have been quite as big or well-known as "Baker Street" (like who doesn't know that sax solo?), but I loved it back then. And now.
  • I Feel Free -- Cream.
  • Invisible -- Alison Moyet. Ah yes, one from my days when my world revolved around MTV. They were touting her as one of the biggest things coming out of the UK, and she was going to make a huge splash here in the States. Naturally, as was often the case with them, their prediction flopped. But this was a great song. A great vocal with raw power and emotion. There's a great internet station I listen to out of Canada, and they play it a good bit. So I found it online, bought it, and have enjoyed it ever since.
  • It's In The Way That You Use It -- Eric Clapton. Clapton is God. And in 1986, so was Tom Cruise as far as this teen girl was concerned. The Color of Money. Great song that has stood the test of time.
  • Jailbreak -- Thin Lizzy. I mentioned on another post somewhere that this one had been in my brain for a while and I've even skipped other songs just to get to this one in my workouts. A great song.
  • James Dean -- The Eagles.
  • Jealous Again -- The Black Crowes.
  • Leave It -- Yes. A fantastic song. It works for me.
  • Let Me Love You Tonight -- Pure Prairie League. A great shuffle beat, kind of reminiscent of beach music. And I love Vince Gill, who does lead on this, and then went on to a big career in country. Another one of those '70s Summer Songs that make me happy.
  • Lights Out -- Peter Wolf.
  • Love Will Find A Way -- Pablo Cruise. Pablo Cruise -- one of the great underrated bands of the 70s and early 80s. And I loved this song.
  • Midnight At The Oasis -- Maria Muldaur. Because everyone deserves at least one Guilty Pleasure Song.
  • New York Groove -- Ace Frehley.
  • Oh Yeah -- Yello. Every righteous dude and dudette needs this song for a workout.
  • On and On -- Stephen Bishop. Another GP song. And works well for a cooldown song.
  • O-o-h Child -- The Five Stairsteps. A completely beautiful song, and if I need a pick-me-up, there it is. And surprisingly it works well sometimes in the middle of a workout.
  • Peace Frog -- The Doors.
  • Radioactive -- The Firm.
  • Redneck Friend -- Jackson Browne. It's a great song. What can I say?
  • Remedy -- The Black Crowes.
  • Renegade -- Styx. Great beat, and I love it.
  • Rock the Casbah -- The Clash. It just flippin' rocks.
  • Rock You Like A Hurricane -- The Scorpions
  • Rocky Mountain Way -- Joe Walsh. You can't see me but my head is bobbing to this song and I'm doing the (supposed) devil sign (you know, pinky finger and index finger, with middle two against the palm. When I saw the Eagles in concert years ago, I went in an Eagles fan, and came out a Joe Walsh fan too. He just rocks.
  • Romeo's Tune -- Steve Forbert.
  • Running on Empty -- Jackson Browne.
  • Sexyback -- Justin Timberlake. I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault... but I love the beat. I shall pray 50 Hail Marys each day for 50 days for such a transgression.
  • Shining Star -- Earth Wind and Fire.
  • Sir Duke -- Stevie Wonder.
  • Smoking Gun -- Robert Cray. I have always loved this song. So I figured why not put it here?
  • Stone in Love -- Journey. Why this one wasn't on their Greatest Hits album, I will never understand. This song kicks!
  • Stuck In the Middle With You -- Stealers Wheel.
  • The Boys Are Back In Town -- Thin Lizzy.
  • The Other Side -- Aerosmith.
  • Tom Sawyer -- Rush. Because Rush flippin' rocks, and so does this song!
  • Vehicle -- The Ides of March. Because I felt like it. Because the song rocks, 37 years later. Because Stone Cold said so.
  • War -- Edwin Starr. Because sometimes you have to have a song to get your brain and emotions and heart fired up.
  • Well All Right -- Blind Faith.
  • Werewolves of London -- Warren Zevon. What can I say? I love this song, and I think I was on a Color of Money soundtrack kick.
  • Whatcha Gonna Do -- Pablo Cruise. See "Love Will Find A Way."
  • Whatever Gets You Through the Night -- John Lennon
  • Who Will You Run To? -- Heart. Another that makes perfect sense to me, even if it doesn't make any sense to anyone else.
  • Winning -- Santana.
So that's it. That's the list.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The sure signs of spring!

Warmer weather -- ah, yes, at last!!! Three weeks ago at Easter, we were freezing. Waking up to 35 degrees on a beautiful Sunday morning when it should be around 55 degrees is just cruel! But at last, we are waking to temperatures in the high 50s/low 60s, and warming up to the high 70s and even low 80s. It's a little elevated for this time, but you won't hear me complain.

The NFL Draft -- and my butt will be parked in proximity to a TV at least for the first round or so. I do get pretty peeved on Day 2, because I hate hearing the announcers go on and on and on about who got picked on Day 1. Great, but talk about them ON Day 1 and let the Day 2 guys have their moment too!

Hives -- yep, the grass pollen count is going up, and so is the skin on this little area of my left hand (right on top, too!). I have a little outbreak of mini-hives or some sort of weird skin thing. So I sit here with Benadryl cream on my hand and close at hand for the next dose.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 20, 2007

I take offense....

Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
35% Dixie
10% Yankee
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern


I prefer to think of myself as at least 75% Dixie. Yeah, yeah -- enough years of working with people from all over have tempered my accent to a degree, but at heart I'm Dixie to the core.

Right, y'all?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Shining, Recut

This is 40 million levels of wrong. I love it anyway. See you on the bobsled!

Another golden oldie....

Note: I had some rambling thoughts earlier today about the whole Virginia Tech thing, but I'm still sorting through what I want to say. What I can say is that I am offering prayers for ALL those who have been hurt by this senseless tragedy. God bless you all.

In the meantime, I was sorting through some old "Top Ten Lists" (the precursor to this blog), and found this gem from August 1999. Hope you enjoy!

***

I found the Lost Notebook with my top ten list in it (on a bookshelf - who'd a-thunk it?). So at long last, here is Auntie Nettie's Top Ten List: Music as Pop Psychology! What I mean by that is a lyric or phrase that catches your attention because it's so true, or it's more like advice meant just for you. For once, this is actually numbered by order of importance!

"There are people in your life who've come and gone / They let you down, you know they hurt your pride. / You'd better put it all behind you, 'cause life goes on. / You keep carrying that anger, it'll eat you up inside." -- Don Henley, "Heart of the Matter"

'Nuff said. When I first heard these lyrics, I squalled. It was precisely what I needed to hear at that time in my life, and each day since. It's a lesson we continually learn, and it's one of the most important ones to know.

"There's no such things as 'no regrets' but baby it's all right." -- Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Almost Home"

This is a recent addition to the list, and another case of what I needed to hear at just the right time. I like to think that I won't have any regrets, but I know that just won't happen; but this let me know that it was okay about that too. And, as an added bonus, it's a pretty good song to boot....

"What the head makes cloudy, the heart makes very clear." -- Don Henley, "New York Minute"

Keep reading and you'll see the role that Don Henley's lyrics have played in my life. This is a great one, and one that I tend to follow quite a bit in murky situations. I've even passed it on to others when they've had difficult situations -- and it does work, even when we think it doesn't.

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need." -- Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
Truer words were never spoken................

"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints - the sinners are much more fun." -- Billy Joel, "Only the Good Die Young"

Okay, it bothered me a little as a kid, because we were definitely a religious family; I wasn't sure if it bordered on sacrilege or not. But religious thoughts aside, throughout my short lifetime, I have found this to be true about 80-85% of the time. I find it hard to tolerate people who take themselves too seriously or who have little or no sense of humor. "Lighten up, already!!" I just want to yell to quite a few folks I've encountered!

"Sometimes to keep it together, you've got to leave it alone." -- The Eagles, "Wasted Time"
Told ya it was the Don Henley anthology. For me, this is one of the best songs for picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and starting all over again. I've done that enough to know the drill, and it's advice I've taken more often than I care to admit. But it always turns out with the best eventual results.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." -- The Beatles, "The End"
Don Henley and John Lennon are practically the High Priests of Musical Advice. This is a fairly good example, though I don't always succeed at following this formula. When you give without thought of reward, you receive rewards far greater than imagined (okay, at least that's my perspective on the lyrics). Lennon knew it, and gave us this phrase to remind us; following this simple rule is a pretty good way to live.

"Gimme the beat boys, and free my soul / I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away." - Dobie Gray, "Drift Away"
Life getting you down, things piling up, along with more demands than you have resources for? I promise, follow that advice, and you'll thank yourself for it. No, your problems won't go away, but you'll be renewed to deal with them. Close your eyes, and sway a bit to this song, and it almost becomes a hymn. So thank you, Mentor Williams (songwriter) and Dobie Gray (singer) for "the joy that you've given me....."

"Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel / Things are gonna work out fine, if you only will." -- James Taylor, "Shower the People"
File this one under "Advice Not Always Followed." Make a copy for "Advice That Doesn't Always Work The Way You Would Like" and one for the "Nice Sentiment Department." Seriously, though, this is pretty good advice -- if more people loved unconditionally, then maybe our best dreams and ideals would begin to become reality.

"I will not lie down, I will not go quietly." -- Don Henley, "I Will Not Go Quietly"
This one falls under Newly Meaningful Advice. Yeah, this song's been out for a while, but it's only been recently that I've taken it to heart. I am usually Miss Sweetness and Light. It's commendable but (a) too much of these traits are damaging - or more so - than too little and (b) it gets REAL old to be sweet and nice all the time. Not that I'd ever be baaaaaaaaaaad, just tougher (does all this make sense?) As I age and hopefully grow wiser, it's my hope that I stop being so much of a doormat and start being the wonderful person I know I can be.

**Honorable mention goes to "I'm tired of baling hay for something that I can't see..." -- Hootie & the Blowfish, "Let It Breathe"
Okay, technically, I don't know if this is advice, but it's a lyric that's stuck in my mind for a number of years. These days, it keeps coming back, maybe as a signal not to settle for less than I deserve -- and as a reminder of what I've learned in these last few months. If you can get all that out of one sentence in a song, that ain't bad.....

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Boss had a point...

Twenty years ago or so, I was listening to the song "My Hometown" and thinking, "Oh how sad ... my town is a little like this, too." I was a teen, desperately wanting to get out of my hometown, and wondering what it would be like after I was gone. I never imagined moving back here permanently, but I did, 15 years ago. It's not a sad thing, necessarily. But the hometown where I live in 2007 is not the hometown I left in 1987 (and returned to in 1992).

There was one incident that shattered the idyllic nature of small-town life as most locals had known it: the Tammy Haynes murder. Tammy Haynes was a teenager who literally lived within shouting distance of our house (if I remember, it was the next street over, not too far from my church). In December 1973, she was kidnapped from a nearby laundromat, and later raped and murdered. I was 4 years old, and I remember the town being absolutely stunned; NOTHING like this had ever happened before! Not here! This is our town; we watch for our own. How could this have happened on our watch?

You can best believe that every girl of my generation heard this phrase a million times: "You be careful going out! You remember what happened to Tammy Haynes, don't you?" When I went away to college, my mother admonished me about my laundry: "You be careful -- Tammy Haynes was kidnapped at a laundromat, you know!" I shook my head and said, "Mother, poor Tammy Haynes will never rest in peace as long as the mothers of (hometown) keep reminding us of it! I will be fine. I promise." I used a laundromat for years and nothing remotely scary happened. The fact that it was fully staffed at all times helped a lot with that -- and that an officer stopped in regularly. But I digress.....

In spite of poor Tammy's sad tale, we still gallavanted all over town in broad daylight, with no fear of being kidnapped, picked up, or anything else. One of my best friends and I would walk to the Speedy Mart (about 2 blocks away and crossing a US Highway) to buy nickel candy. Or we'd walk about 4 blocks out to Mr. Owens' store for Astro-Pops (and if anyone remembers those concoctions, God love you!). I rode my bike around the neighborhood until it was dark. I walked home from high school, and occasionally accepted rides from neighbors or other students. Even with the whole Tammy Haynes thing looming in our town's collective past, we all felt safe with each other.

If I had a child growing up here now, there is no way in hell I'd let him or her walk home from school, be out past suppertime, or walk to the convenience store. My hometown has changed for both good and bad. Even my neighborhood is not what it used to be. When I was a kid, it was working/middle-class folks living here in some older homes. Half of them are rentals now and attract a slightly less affluent crowd. Not that there's anything wrong with that... please don't take it that way.

I know almost none of my neighbors -- as a kid, the entire neighborhood lived by "mi casa, su casa." To get to my mom's best friend's house, I'd cut through 2 backyards, and no one ever thought anything of it -- because we all knew each other, and they all knew I was on my way to L's house. No big deal. We played in each other's backyards, and one house in particular was the neighborhood gathering spot (my next-door neighbor's). She was another grandmother to us all. The last time I went to L's house (to offer my condolences to her family upon her death), I walked along the street. My initial impulse was to walk through those yards again, but the neighbors are all different now..... it was sad.

What keeps me here (besides purely economic reasons)? I don't truly know. I know that if given the opportunity, I would still live somewhere in this area ... this is home. My roots here run deep. My families (maternal and paternal) settled in various portions of the Upstate generations ago and did not leave. There's something about this place they loved enough to stay -- and I feel the same way.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Scary thought

One of the local news stations reported the story of a nail salon that has seen a 75% drop in business. DHEC (Dept. of Health & Environmental Control) has been trying to discover how someone came into contact with flesh-eating bacteria. Originally it was thought to be via work done at a nail salon.

I first heard the story last week through hearsay. The person didn't say which salon but that the person had died from a pedicure. This turned out to be wrong.

But it gave me great pause. I love getting mani's and pedi's, and the salon I've normally gone to has been terribly neat to a fault. And while I know they sanitize stuff, I'm also kind of wary now. I love the first pedi of spring, and it's time for one, and now I'm wondering what to do. I know there shouldn't be public panic, according to DHEC. I also don't want to be a guinea pig and be case #whatever. And the last time I tried to update my own pedi, I ended up with an ingrown toenail and a trip to the podiatrist. No thanks, not again.......

Gotta think this one through.