Thursday, December 31, 2009

29 Songs I Spent Good Times With in 2009

Yes, yes, it's New Year's Eve and you don't care what music I listened to this year, especially once it gets late and I mention my unyielding love for Lady GaGa, but I'm going to sit in the corner with a fever that makes me seem drunk and tell you anyway. You've sat through 52 songs that take me back to other years, you can sit through 29 more songs that will always take me back to the year that I took control of my brain and had a good time even while half dead.

From what I remember, my favorite albums from the time they were released until now include Ellipse by Imogen Heap, Middle Cyclone by Neko Case, U2's No Line On The Horizon, Time Flies When You're Having Fun by Smokey Robinson, The List by Rosanne Cash, Brendan Benson's solo album My Old, Familiar Friend, Between My Head And The Sky by Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, the Moby album Wait For Me, Up From Below by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and the new Nitzer Ebb album ICP.

But the albums will take too long to play for you tonight! Onto the songs! Clicking the titles will take you to the videos if you want to spend the rest of this year watching music videos...not that there's anything wrong with that. *ahem* Some of them are really worth a view or ten.

This, kids, was 2009 in my ears:

We Are Here To Tell You - Duncan Sheik

Fits and Dizzy Spells - Andrew Bird

People Got A Lot Of Nerve - Neko Case

Wrong - Depeche Mode

Magnificent - U2

Fuck You (Very, Very Much) - Lily Allen

Happy Up Here - Röyksopp

Furr - Blitzen Trapper

Daniel - Bat For Lashes

Strange Overtones - David Byrne and Brian Eno

Sounds Like The Devil - Shemekia Copeland

So Human - Lady Sovereign

Sober - P!nk

San Francisco - Jill Sobule

Funny The Way It Is - Dave Matthews Band

Summertime Clothes - Animal Collective

Pale Horses - Moby

Fire Burning - Sean Kingston

First Train Home - Imogen Heap

Animal - Miike Snow

Fireflies - Owl City

Never Forget You - Noisettes

Uprising - Muse

Sea Of Heartbreak - Rosanne Cash with Bruce Springsteen and Jeff Tweedy

God Help The Girl - God Help The Girl

Just Breathe - Pearl Jam

Foot Of The Mountain - a-ha

Whataya Want From Me - Adam Lambert

Garbage Day - Brendan Benson

Buster Voodoo - Rodrigo y Gabriela

There you go. Is that all? Hell no, I had to mercilessly prune this list to get to 29 and even then cheated with the tangent about the albums. Will I remember these songs in 25 years? I'll bet that I will. If I'm alive in 25 years. ...I'm not starting that again. I enjoyed listening to these this year, and when I hear them again, I'll enjoy them again. And again.

Happy future everyone, it'll be here in a few hours calling itself 2010. Don't waste it, and in the words of the great Guy David (who I also listened to a lot this year), may you never have to listen to music you don't like.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesdays With Mopey

You know...I don't think I'm going to post so much next year. Who knows, maybe my mind will change in a few days, but I'm guessing not. This is no sudden decision, in fact I decided a long time ago that maybe this wasn't where I wanted the majority of my words to go.

The blog's not going away, but to be very honest it's been a pain in the alt+shift to come up with posts every Tuesday. Perhaps you've seen some of them and wondered why I chose to share all I shared. Perhaps you haven't seen them at all. There are an awful lot of posts with no comments, I have to wonder if they've all been read, and even then, have they changed anyone's life for the better? No sense taking my time to write something and have it not read--or worse, half-read and misunderstood. That's so 1997.

So after my next post, the epic top 29 of 2009, which will run as usual on New Year's Eve...I may be a

I'll be happily frolicking in the snow, enjoying life with my loved ones while listening to music and checking out the sky, most likely.

Don't be sad, I'll bring lots of stories back with me.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Do They Know It's Christmas

Is music a gift?


Can music save a life?

Yes. It helped save mine.

Can it save lots and lots of lives?

Back when people still bought albums it did!

When I first heard Do They Know It's Christmas? by the collection of adorable British musicians (plus Kool & The Gang!) known as Band-Aid, all I knew was that it was awesome.

Being I didn't have access to the fascinating Wikipedia article about the recording of the song, I had watch the video over and over to note every singer involved. Some of them I wouldn't know for a while, being I was only at the beginning of my obsession with pop music, but by now I can pretty much run the song through my head frame by frame and point out even the non-Kemp members of Spandau Ballet. I wish Midge Ure's vocal was available to listen to. I....

This song was meant to draw attention to the famine in Ethiopia. Brilliant plan, using cute Brits to get the issue noticed. It was the first time I really heard Bono, I guess, and when he growled, "Tonight thank god it's them instead of you," I became very guilty about the ridiculous amounts of food we had for the holidays. Kids were starving in Africa, kids are still starving somewhere to this day, and that Bob Geldof and Midge Ure got all that talent together to do something about something they wanted to change impressed me so much I experienced feelings.

With that, we have reached the end of the soul-bearing. That's all there is, there is no more. I've written it all down and now it belongs to another time.

As for me, I'm off to save the future. The nights are getting shorter already.

Happy future, everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

When Ho-Ho-Ho Met Po-Po

An idea for a 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge story fell from the sky onto my head like a face-hugging alien that wanted to go do some good in the world but as all misunderstood things find out, sneaking around dressed funny is frowned upon in modern culture. I DON'T KNOW WHY.

The theme for the challenge was Hat, and this is what I pulled out:

One December, I forget how long ago, a hat fell from the sky, right in front of me. It was one of those freaky red and white ones the guys at the mall wear when they get sadistic and want to be peed on by hysterical kids.

At first I was worried a bunch of reindeer poop was going to follow, but it never did.

I didn't know what to do with the hat, so I took it home and now every year I wear it while sneaking into kid's rooms to give them books and coats. I get arrested.

The whole hat rack is here for your head-hugging entertainment.

Have a good one, kids. Never lose the wonder.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The first project for this blog in 2009 had me aiming a camera at myself and talking, like people on YouTube. Then, as with most things, I had the sense to realize a weekly vlog wasn't for me and took a break. I had a lot of fun with the vlogs, though, and don't even regret the box fight in the basement.

When spring rolled around, very bad things happened on the day I was meant to be all, "YAY, SPRING!" so instead of bringing everyone down I switched gears and made the vlog a seasonal review of what the cats and dog were up to, and what the backyard looked like along the way. Now it's winter. The tenth vlog rings in 2010, with footage from before the recent snowstorm, and then the traditional pan around the yard happens not once but more than once so everyone can see that yes, it snowed. A lot. There's more. You should watch it.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Ordinary World

Do I need to explain what drew me to Ordinary World by Duran Duran? Really? Have you heard this song?

I adopted my border collie on a rainy Thursday in 1995, two days after the death of my first dog, that's one thing.

I requested this song on the radio in 1994 before heading off on my first driving lesson, and it played just as I left the house.

I voted for it on Christmas Eve 1993, when it became a Shreeek of the Week on WDRE, two years after the Enya song Caribbean Blue.

Every time I hear it since then I don't feel like so much of a freak, and I know I'm not the only one with entire worlds in my head that exist only for me, and I remember not to fear today or forget tomorrow, and I wish I could get the message back to me in 1993. Then again, maybe I just did.

Should I bother giving a flashing warning to the video? I'm the only one that bothers, right? Maybe won't mind it at all right now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Why I Shouldn't Podcast

I'm editing my final 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge (of 2009), and this happened:

Listen to Lynda N. - Why I Can't Podcast

This is what it's like sometimes. The rest of the time it's like Nell, but played by Jack Klugman.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My New Calendar Can Be Your Calendar!

Do you like flowers? Do you like knowing what day it is? I have just the thing!

12 of the most delectable bee-approved flowers in my world have decided they want to spend the new year with you!

Sound familiar? Good, you're not losing your mind! I created another calendar using Zazzle and am selling it here!

I highly recommend Zazzle for all calendar creation needs, really. Unless you've got your own fancy calendar factory.

And yes, the photos will be available as separate prints in Etsy soon, but think about it, you won't know what day it is looking at the prints, and they'll sell for more than $1.70. That's what it breaks down to, 12 of my flashy flowers photos--13 if you count the cover--at $1.70 each.

It's a steal!

(Is that better marketing than this? I think it is. Sure it is.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Needed: One 1980s 8-Bit RPG Magician

I read horoscopes. No, I don't base my entire day on anything someone else says is going to happen, but still, I read them. I am a girl.

Rob Brezny's Free Will Astrology is one of my favorites, and here, along with the whole point of this post, is why:

Cancer Horoscope for week of December 10, 2009

So how are you doing with your year-long resurrection project, Cancerian? Have you been taking care of the finishing touches these past few weeks? If not, do so soon. It's high time for you to officially and definitively rise from the dead. Your wandering in the underworld is at an end. Your mourning for broken dreams should be complete. In January, the age of exploration will begin; make sure your reborn spunk is ready for action by then.

Fascinating! This made sense about not only my real life, but my online life too. If you've been paying very close attention to this blog over the past year, you'll recall I've been laying bits of myself to rest here and there, with fine musical accompaniment. Yes, that's what all that was.

I'm not walking away from this blog like I have with every blog I had before, but I will be taking it in a different direction next year. Don't freak out if I don't post as much, I'm through with self-imposed schedules. I proved I can do it, now I'll write when something interests me, about things that interest me, like Rob Brezny's ass-kicking, life-affirming, hey-look-you-know-what-you're-doing horoscopes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Caribbean Blue

Wait, Enya? How could time listening to Enya be misspent? It's not, that's not the point of this series. It's all music that made this mortal existence bearable. Yes, that's what this has been every week.

There have been a lot of low points in my life, as you've been subjected to every week, but the one I don't mention much at all is the Thanksgiving weekend I wore my pajamas. They were nice pajamas, and maybe you see no problem in wearing pajamas for three days straight while in the company of other people who are not wearing pajamas but are in fact wearing proper clothing.

My skin hurt, you see. It was the '90s, and where the '80s were all unfortunate accidents and hormonal imbalances, the '90s were the resulting mutation. I'm not going to get into why my skin hurt, because at the time I didn't know why and I want to keep it real. All I knew was my skin hurt and everyone thought I was being ridiculous when I wouldn't give them hugs because my skin hurt. They were all fine with the the pajamas, though, because the pajamas were nice and soft and long-sleeved and this was before the pajamas developed great wear spots that made me resemble a zombie and it's not like I didn't put my bra on or anything, I just sort of turned into a crabby Hugh Hefner.

Around this time 92.7 WDRE was doing a retrospective of their Shreeeks of the Week. I was going out to the basement every 45 minutes to flip or put in a fresh cassette and yes I taped the whole thing, Caldor had a great deal on TDK D90s and 92.7 was sold to Univision for millions but I still have the Shreeek-end on tape for $10.

The second morning, before the Shreeek-end picked up again, the Enya song Caribbean Blue debuted. I loved it. I stood there in the basement with the nice painted floor in my pajamas with my cousin-dog Zorro listening to Enya, and it was the high point of an otherwise difficult time for me. Did I mention I also had some sort of runny nose?

The story picks up two years later, when WDRE was playing a former Shreeek called Caribbean Blue by Enya. I knew the song was good, obviously all the other listeners did too one Thursday in December, 1991, because here it was December of 1993, and the Shreeek from two years back was playing. I was outside, in the below-freezing backyard, getting snowed on, enjoying the hell out of the song. Didn't really think about my skin hurting anymore because I just got used to it. Mainly by standing outside in below-freezing temperatures until my nerve endings figured out what pain really was, but also by going up in my head and going "La la la, everything is lovely and I'm dancing a frikkin' waltz with myself which is good because no one else can touch me."

Not in so many words, though.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's That Smell?

It's been a while since I took part in the 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge, right? Time flies when you're...throwing clocks out the window.

The theme Smoke came up, and like the early, good challenge entries, this one would not leave me until I wrote it down.

Don't smoke, she told me. She doused me in gasoline, told me the next cigarette would be my last.

I put arsenic in her donuts. She locked herself in the bathroom for three days.

I offered her a truce. I'd take her out to eat if she let me take a shower.

How could I know she'd been hooking up the bathroom plumbing to a tank of acid?

As I soaked in the cooking oil she was so fond of drinking, I told her she'd have to find another man.

"Did that five months ago," she said, lighting a match.

I wonder sometimes if these are the same characters from Hmmmmmmmmmmm and Over The Falls In A Barrel, or if they all live on the same block, and if they do, should a wall be built around their neighborhood so they can't get out and breed with anyone else. Not that many of them really need to worry about that, being all burnt and mangled in so many delightful ways.

The smoking section is hopping and can be heard, read AND smelled here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

My Calendar Can Be Your Calendar!

Do you like flowers? Do you like knowing what day it is? Behold! I have photographed 12 of the most delectable bee-approved flowers in my world and will share them with you all through the year!

I made a calendar at Lulu, kids. It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than buying the prints of the photos at Etsy, and I only get...a fraction of the cost....hmm.

Hey, if you want a pretty and expensive calendar, click the link below!

It's great, if you go there, to Lulu, and look at my calendar, which is still called My Calendar despite the ten times I changed it to What The Bee Sees..., there are links to hotter-looking calenders. Dammit.

So there you go. I took a course in marketing, you know. Unfortunately for me I just don't see the point in the part about making people emotionally attached to something so bad they'd pay lots of money for it. That doesn't mean I failed my marketing course, no. On the contrary, I did obscenely well...and people hated that.

But flowers, come on! Everybody loves flowers! They're pretty flowers!

There should be a preview there. If not, click here.

Capitalism at its most flowery.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Songs of My Misspent Youth: Tears of A Clown

What song do I pick to signify all the time I spent weeping in the basement? The totally awesome Smokey Robinson song Tears of A Clown!

You know why? Because it took me years but I eventually learned that the only way to get people to quit harassing me about being such a mope was to be happier than everyone else. All the time, like a total maniac! That, and it's a fabulous song and Smokey rules.

And for good measure here's The English Beat version I listened to a lot while I was painting the basement and being happy because I love painting over the evidence of misspent time and leaks.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A NaNoWriMo Winnar Is Me!

NaNoWriMo 2009 winner badge.Once again proving to myself that avoiding most of the Internet allows me to write entire books, I hit 50k words on my twelve-year-old tale of something nasty coming to the town with the busted up but otherwise lovely saloon around 5:12-ish (and 36 seconds) in the early evening of November 30, which is the last day to win the NaNoWriMo goodies.

Short version: I won NaNoWriMo!

Then I kept going. The story is nowhere near done, as usual, and there will need to be many revisions, but I've got enough love for the story and the people in it--who no longer exist solely in my head, OMG--to see this one through. Tomorrow I get a code for a free printing of the book, and I've never used the other two codes I was given, and where love for the story fails, being pissed off that I lost out on free stuff should also get the third act of this thing written.

While I'm off doing that, why not see some completed and awesome Old West horror goodness by a Tom Waits fan who is not me? Go read High Moon by David Gallaher & Steve Ellis. It's so good I put off writing the story I just won NaNoWriMo with for a year because why would anyone want to read my words when High Moon exists? WITH SUCH PRETTY PICTURES.