27 Jan

The last random ten of January

Here we go… another Random Ten, courtesy of iTunes’ Party Shuffle:

  1. “Tracks of My Tears” — Mary Beth Maziarz. I don’t know anything about this artist, but I was looking for covers of this song and found this nice piano version.
  2. “Burning Down the House” — Talking Heads.
  3. “Teacher Teacher” — Rockpile. It wasn’t until recently that I knew that this too is a cover song. I can’t resist singing along with the harmony part during the chorus.
  4. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” — Speaking of Nick Lowe (in Rockpile)… he wrote this one.
  5. “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat” — Partridge Family. Um, yes. I ‘fess up to owning this. I had 3 or 4 Partridge albums as a kid, and two David Cassidy solo albums, for that matter.
  6. “Burn and Shine” — the Posies.
  7. “You Drew” — Ken Stringfellow.
  8. “Into the Sunset” — Neil Finn.
  9. “Valotte” — Julian Lennon.
  10. “p.s. you rock my world” — eels. Yes, this also ended the mix tape I posted a couple of weeks ago. Coincidence.
24 Jan

What newcomers need to know about Seattle

The other day, I was asked “I’m new to Seattle. What do I need to know?”

It’s a tough question to answer. There are a lot of things that are worth knowing. But as a Seattle native, it’s hard for me to figure out what to recommend. I asked some folks on my BBS to suggest a few things, and I’m come up with a few more on my own.

So, here (in no particular order) are some things newcomers need to know about Seattle.
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20 Jan

Random Ten Time

OK, here’s another Random Ten:

  1. “Beyond Belief” — Jon Auer, covering one of my favorite Elvis Costello songs.
  2. “Casimir Pulaski Day” — Sufjan Stevens
  3. “The Ghost that Feeds” — Ray Parker, Jr./nine inch nails — mashup by nathanchase.com. This is a mashup of “Ghostbusters” with “The Hand that Feeds”, and it’s hilarious. The two songs do fit perfectly together. Genius.
  4. “Something About You” — Level 42. I don’t know why I love this song in all it’s 80s glory, but I do.
  5. “So Sad About Us” — Steve Brown. This is from the Who’s Not Forgotten tribute album. A fairly straightforward cover, until the middle, when with a resounding “cello cello cello”, it suddenly kicks into an excerpt from the Who’s mini-opera, “A Quick One,” then back to “So Sad…”, ending with the bass riff from “Happy Jack.”
  6. “All of My Heart” — ABC. This is actually a perfect segue from the previous song. We still hear “Look of Love” all the time, and sometimes “Poison Arrow”, but this song never gets played on 80s radio stations. But it’s great, if you like that lush, dramatic ABC thing.
  7. “Coming Right Along” — the Posies.
  8. “Walk — Don’t Run” — the Ventures. Well, now, that is an odd juxtaposition. The previous song: dark and slow. This one: not so much.
  9. “If It’s Love” — Squeeze. Getting even more cheerful! This song is one of the greatest power-pop songs Squeeze ever recorded. The record company let it rot, as record companies do. It’s great anyway. You can’t help but bounce your head side to side like Ringo when you hear it. (If this wasn’t Random Ten, though, I would have put Glenn Tilbrook’s solo track “One For the Road” before this song, as the perfect follow-up to “Walk — Don’t Run”.)
  10. “Look Sharp!” — Joe Jackson.
13 Jan

Rainy Day not-random mix

We’ve had 26 consecutive days of rain in Seattle. No, this is not normal, despite our reputation. It’s awful.

Last year I made a Rainy Day mix cd, and I don’t think I ever posted it here. So in lieu of the Random Ten this week, here it is. For this mix I was thinking of music that is sort of melancholy. Notice that a bunch of the songs are in waltz time? Notice that the R.E.M. song is sort of a Beach Boys homage? (I should have placed it right after “God Only Knows” in the song order.)

  • “Sherman” — Paul Melançon (find a copy to download here)
  • “Union Station” — Gavin Guss (I’d point you to his site, but it appears to be down).
  • “Nothing Is Good Enough” — Aimee Mann
  • “Miss Misery” — Elliott Smith
  • “The Ballad of El Goodo” — Big Star
  • “Narcolepsy” — Ben Folds Five
  • “God Only Knows” — Beach Boys
  • “Boy With a Problem” — Elvis Costello (piano version from the extended CD)
  • “Hide and Seek” — Howard Jones
  • “At My Most Beautiful” — R.E.M.
  • “A New England” — Billy Bragg
  • “See How We Are” — X
  • “Nothing Wrong With You” — The Finn Brothers
  • “Ordinary World” — Duran Duran
  • “The Man I Used to Be” — Jellyfish
  • “Look What You’ve Done” — Jet
  • “Battered Old Bird” — Elvis Costello
  • “Steppin’ Out” — Joe Jackson Band (the version from Afterlife)
  • “p.s. you rock my world” — eels: the song in which the sun comes out again.
06 Jan

Random Ten: Covers edition

This week I decided to dig into the massive collection of cover songs I have (yeah, I’m slightly obsessed) for a Random Ten. Here goes:

  • “So You Are A Star” — Wondermints. The original was by the Hudson Brothers, in the mid-1970s. I remember watching them on their variety show when I was a kid. This version is pretty close to the original.
  • “Just When I Needed You Most” — Millie Jackson. But this is not much like the original at all. The song was a minor hit by Randy VanWarmer around 1978: a very mellow, quiet song. Millie brings more anger to it, less sadness, and a nice rant about how the guy waited to leave until after he got his hands on that month’s welfare check.
  • “King Midas in Reverse” — the Posies. This Hollies song is essentially the perfect showcase for the Posies.
  • “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” — Shawn Colvin. A lovely version of a Talking Heads song that captures the song’s essential sweetness.
  • “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” — Marti Jones. I like this one well enough. Original is by Nick Lowe.
  • “Sugar Sugar” — Wilson Pickett. I got this this week on Rod’s recommendation, and it’s great. I am ashamed of myself for never noticing it before, as I do love all the Pickett I’ve ever heard.
  • “Baba O’Reilly” — Guided by Voices. Live, messy, and very cool. And probably very loud, which is the only way to play the Who.
  • “How Much About Last Night Do You Remember?” — Eric Kassel and Friends, from a Young Fresh Fellows tribute album.
  • “Come Dancing” — The Briefs. And also from a tribute album, this fast punk version of a great Kinks song from 1983.
  • “This Will Be Our Year” — OK Go. This Zombies song has been covered a few times, including a version by the Posies. This one is great, but I think it’s hard to ruin this song.
04 Jan

LibraryThing is addictive

I’ve been meaning to post about LibraryThing since I joined back in September. You might have noticed the bit in the sidebar here that says “Potential Reading” and shows 5 random books from my library — that’s a LibraryThing feature.

LibraryThing is really oddly addictive. I mean, it’s just a database of one’s books, right? And I already owned Bookpedia — which is really a nice program — to catalog my books, though I never managed to get very far. What is it about LibraryThing that keeps me adding books? (Slowly, yes, but surely.)

Probably it is the social aspect, though it’s not social in the sense of live conversation or anything like that. (Which is fine with me, as an introvert.) I can see who has a library most like mine (I realized one of my friends was there because her library matched mine so well), and who owns the books that I own. I can read other people’s comments, and post messages on their profile pages. There are RSS feeds for each user’s catalog, their reviews, books with specific tags — just an amazing number of potential RSS feeds to follow. Additionally, there is the competitive aspect — I want to post more books in certain categories than others have. I don’t think I can ever catch up with the user called dean, who has 7,998 books online, but I’m hoping someday I can catch up with languagehat’s books tagged “language”, at least. (He has 643 and I have 119. I’m fourth among people using that tag.)

Every couple of days I bring a handful of books down from the bookshelves upstairs and enter them into LT. At this rate, it’s going to take a while to get all of them posted, but it’s fun.

The only feature missing that I cared about using in Bookpedia (as far as I know — the site’s creator adds new features so quickly it’s hard to keep up!) is that Bookpedia allowed me to scan books’ ISBN bar codes with a Cue Cat scanner (unmodded, even), making book entry really fast. On LibraryThing, I have to type each one in if I want to base a search on the ISBN. But so far that’s not bothering me.

02 Jan

Happy Birthday, Tiger!

In early Spring 1996, Jason and I adopted a tiny cat named Tiger whose owners could no longer care for her. They told us she was 10 years old. She was a “stumpy” Manx cat who would follow us around like a puppy dog, demanding attention and cuddles at all times.

Since we didn’t know her actual birthday, we’ve considered New Year’s Day her birthday. (Yes, I know, I’m posting this one day late. I’m sure she won’t mind.) So this year, Tiger has reached the advanced age of 20!

Manx cats supposedly stay kittenish for a long time, and live to a ripe old age, so it’s not unusual for a cat like Tiger to live to 20 and older. She’s an indoor-only cat, so she isn’t exposed to much danger (despite the best efforts of our other, younger, cat Maggie), and we spoil her like crazy. Now that she is older, she spends a lot more time sleeping, and she is having more trouble with her co-ordination (when she tries to jump from the coffee table to the couch… sometimes she misses). But she still likes to play sometimes and will run around the house when she’s in the mood for it.

In this picture Tiger has found one of her favorite sleeping spots: a basket of nice warm folded laundry.

We also don’t know Maggie’s birthday, since she was adopted from the animal shelter. She is 9 years old.

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