Thursday, May 31, 2007

Romance Novels

I was reading in the Post-Gazette yesterday about a new website that caters to women readers. The site has downloadable books, which is great if your that on the go type of person that reads on a mobile device. (And people wonder why their eyesight deteriorates!)

What annoyed me about the article was that the woman who, if I remember correctly, runs the business, said that they sell romance novels on it as well. She said she likes to read them but doesn't like to have to rip the covers off so that the world wouldn't know what she was reading.

For fuck's sake lady, get over yourself.

Reading doesn't always have to be about deep meaningful literature. In fact, I find when things get too deep, they don't become enjoyable and they start feeling like school. I put my time in. I'm done with that.

There is no shame in reading a romance novel. It's escapism at its best. No one has the luck these fictional women have. And don't most women (I know I do) dream of being swept off their feet by their dream man?

So what's so shameful about reading these books, that isn't shameful in watching one of those nauseating chick flicks? Or even a cute romantic comedy. There's really no difference, except the movie costs more than the book, and I don't see women sneaking out of the theaters so that people won't see that they were watching Music and Lyrics or Love Actually.

Pretentious readers annoy me. I have a friend that struggles through "book club" reading. She passes the books on to me when she's done and I have to say, I'd take a cheesy smutty ridiculous romance novel to these books.

So if you don't mind, I'll read my Harlequins and I won't rip the covers off. There's no shame in reading these books.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Do You See

When you look in the mirror?

Some days I feel better about myself then others. Lately I haven't felt good about myself at all, and yet I know I'm doing things a bit more healthfully. I exercise regularly.

Still what I see in the mirror isn't what I want to see.

Something isn't right.

Maybe it's my discontent with my life personally and professionally. Maybe it's just that I'm a perfectionist. Or maybe it's just that I spend too much time looking at the magazines filled with 100 lbs wenches, of which I'll never be.

I see myself as pudgy...not to pretty...awkward.

This is not how I want to feel when I look at my reflection.

I know things have happened in recent months that have been a kick to my self-esteem, but I've usually pulled through them much more quickly than this. I guess I should learn not to have too high expectations.


I really need that spa day at the Mountaineer that I promised myself this year. If only I had the money for it. Maybe the people there could make me feel pretty. Of course, miracles seldom happen.

~bigger sigh~

That would be like expecting the object of my desire to stop being such a tard.

The chance of that happening my friends, is as likely as a snowstorm in hell.

I Am Such A Tard..and other musings

~ And why am I a tard? I just discovered the radio and how to use my playlist function on the Pink Zen Of Doom. I've only had the damn thing for a year and a half! Sometimes I'm so technologically impaired.

~ I think my antibiotics are giving me bizarre dreams. In this dream some mafia type was out to kill me. The reason for this is unknown to me. I was in some casino city. (Maybe I hit big on the slots....after all, I did say this was a dream) I can't be sure if it was Atlantic City or Vegas. I did however have someone guarding me that looked a bit like Gym Hottie. That was nice, except I didn't get nekkid with my body guard. (See I told you this was a weird dream) There was also a driver that looked suspiciously like Danny Elfman. Of course his appearance makes good sense, yesterday was Danny's b-day.

I think I prefer my Nyquil induced dreams thank you very much.

~ I haven't been dragging my butt to bed at a normal hour either. Must start heading for the bed by 10 and not 11. I feel so darn sluggish when I stay up that extra hour during the work week, especially when it's for no good reason.

~ Discovered a few things about Gym Hottie without saying a word to him.

1. He wears boxer briefs. (sometimes exercise gives this stuff away)
2. He can show me his pelvic bone anytime he wants to. (Another thing exercise helps me to determine)

~ The PA Turnpike is special. Why? Because as a child the only time we used that road was when we went on vacation to Erie/Ohio or to Lancaster. Every time I drive past the interchange in New Stanton, I long to get on the road and drive to one of my favorite places. (Hey, you take the turnpike to get to Atlantic City too!)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Take Me Back Tuesday - Week 125

From the ladies @ Music Memoirs

1. What music do you associate with vacations?
The Moody Blues are definitely one band that I associate with vacations as they were the reason I went on a few of them. If not for a few concerts I never would have gone to Atlantic City. For that I thank them. However I will never go to Atlantic City to see them again, because I want to enjoy my stay there without having to worry about a concert.

Cyndi Lauper's A Night To Remember is one particular album I remember from vacations past. I took the cassette with me as we drove across the state to Lancaster.

(click to buy at amazon)

This was always one of my favorite Cyndi Lauper albums too. I love the songs Insecurious and Like A Cat.

One year one of my favorite bands released a CD while I was on vacation. (Lancaster again) I bought the CD at a little shop in a mall along US RT 30 across from the HOJO's that we were staying at.

Who was the band? Cheap Trick!

What was the album? Busted

2. Are there any albums that you seem to listen to more in the summer than the other seasons? If so what are they?

There's no rhyme or reason for this, but somehow these seem to get played more during the warm months:

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles - Revolver

Roxette - Joyride

The Monkees - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones LTD.

(click on the album covers to buy at amazon)

3. What music do you like to listen to when your sitting out in the sun catching the rays (or just relaxing in the outdoors)

If I'm reading I like relaxing, chill out tunes, The Moodies, Annie Haslam, Enya, Grey Eye Glances, but if I'm out and about walking on a nice walking path, I'll want perkier music like Roxette, Erasure or Duran Duran.

Glad It's All Over

The weather was wonderful. For the most part, all three days were peaceful, so why am I glad that the weekend is over?

Allow me to count the reasons....

1. Being sick as a dog on Saturday was so not my idea of a good time. I was miserable and there was very little that made me feel better, so the whole flipping day was pretty much shot to hell in a hand basket wrapped in a butane blanket and someone tossed a match on it.

2. Was too scared to eat much on Sunday following Saturday's sickness. Plus the meds I have to take for the next few days say I have to watch my alcohol consumption and that I'll likely be more sensitive to sunlight. Way to ruin a holiday weekend.

3. I went to the mall yesterday and I spent NO money. It's quite possible that there's snow falling in hell right now. Let's just say, I find this summer's clothes to be really ugly and too expensive.

4. I wanted to buy a cheap Donnie Iris best of CD, but since Best Buy was so kind as to not have my Zen Vision, I wouldn't give them the satisfaction of a sale.

5. Went to Smokey Bones for dinner. Ate way too much and regretted it for the rest of the day. Blergh. (And the food was really good too.)

Now I think I'll be glad to get back to work. (Did I really type that) I hope I can get to the gym tonight too, because I missed going to the gym on Sunday too, because of my damn sickness.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Best Buy Can Suck My Butt

I left for Greensburg today armed with my Best Buy credit card and my rewards certificate and a coupon for triple bonus points on my rewards card. I was prepared to spend $249.99 + for my Zen Vision.

Guess what?

There was none to be had at the store, and there was none to be had anywhere in the Pittsburgh district of stores. The only store that had my 30 GB Zen Vision in stock was in Altoona, PA. (I'm pretty sure that the reason for that is that people in Altoona don't know what an mp3 is yet, let alone an mp3 player)

I realize the blasted thing was on sale last week, (And guess who didn't know until it was too late)which means they sold out mid-week and because of the holiday they never got a replenishment of stock.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I could order my Zen online, but I won't get my bonus points, which really sucks. (I'd get about $15 back in bonus certificates with that one purchase)

I think it was a higher powers way of saying, save your damn money. You don't need the new mp3 player just yet.


And the higher power would be right. I don't need the mp3 player right now. However, I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!!!

Unfortunately, I'm not going to get it. And because I'm not, this is what I have to say to Best Buy, Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Battle To Fill The Zen Micro

Every time I take it in my head to refill my mp3 player chaos ensues. At times I could fit at least 1000 tracks on this damn thing. Now every time I change the tracks I get fewer and fewer songs.


This time I was down to 963.


Why is this?

I blame it on bitrate (the size of the mp3 files)

I try to keep most of my files at 192 kpbs, because I like good sound quality, but I don't like huge files. Every so often I end up with space sucking 320 kpbs files. That shrinks down the available space on the Pink Zen Of Doom, especially when it's a great album like Erasure's Light At The End Of The Tunnel.

I'd like to get the damn player back up to about 1000 tracks again, without having to re-rip a few albums. It's damn time consuming and very annoying. I also don't want to get rid of bands that I really want to listen to over the summer, like Duran Duran and Cheap Trick and Roxette. I also hate that I hardly have any McCartney on the player and Gordon Lightfoot wouldn't fit either.

So now I'm trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, so to speak, to see what I can get to fit. Frankly it's giving me a migraine too. It's not easy to figure out your favorite 1000 tracks when your mp3 collection is somewhere around 7000.

If you don't see head exploded and the Zen is at fault, m'kay.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

In An 80's Kinda Mood

I feel the need to hear music from the 80's or music from my favorite bands that they made in the 80's. I think it's a summer thing. I was listening to Adam Ant all evening. Now I've got The Moody Blues on, but it's the album The Other Side Of Life.

I'm not sure where this strange desire came from. Yesterday I was listening to Roxette and I haven't listened to more than a song or two by them in yonks.

The other day I found some OMD (Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark) songs that I hadn't heard in ages too. If their name isn't familiar to you, they are the band that did the song If You Leave from Pretty In Pink. They actually had several wonderful albums and are still touring in the UK these days. I wish they were more well known in the US, I'd love to see them in concert.

This 80's mood puts me in quite a dilemma. Should I, or shouldn't I, change the songs on my Zen. I still haven't upgraded to the Zen Vision. I should have bought the damn thing this past week, but I didn't want to make the damn drive. (sigh) Of course now the Visions aren't on sale, so I'm stuck pondering if I should refill the Micro or not. And it was on sale for about $50 bucks less than it is now last week. Anyone care to cry with me?

Any ideas on how to get my 80's fix that doesn't involve me keeping my butt parked in front of this damnable computer?'s time to shake my boot-tay to some more dance-able music.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Another Great Album Coming Soon

I got to preview the new Crowded House CD. Seriously, with the state of my hard drive (it's rapidly filling) I wish I could say, this album sucked. Alas, it's pretty damn spectacular.

It's called Time On Earth. (Click on the photo to preorder)

It's due out on July 10th. It's got everything you expect from a Crowded House album. It's got wonderful lyrics, jangly guitars, and Neil Finn's fantastic vocals.

This will be another one for my "Must Have" CD list.

I've liked Crowded House from the very beginning, in the mid to late 80's. I've tried to keep with with Neil's solo career and his work with the brother as well. As I've said, these guys don't disappoint. If you buy one new album this summer, this one might as well be it. I think it's better than the new McCartney.

I Looked Death In The Face Last Night

And boy was he ugly. I really thought I was ready to depart the world in the middle of the night. At the risk of going all TMI on you, I have a stomach bug combined with a urinary tract infection.

All of this woke me up at about 3 in the morning. I was on the phone to a doctor around 10 o'clock this morning as I pondered getting someone to drive me to the emergency room. Thank god that wasn't necessary, because I have no health insurance and I don't know how I could have paid for an ER visit.

Long about 1 o'clock this afternoon I finally fell asleep, after having a horridly painful morning, combined with not being able to hold down any food. The sleep was bliss as I didn't get any last night.

I think the prescription I was given has finally started to work, because right now I don't feel like I'm going to die anymore.

Yay! I wasn't ready to die.

I can actually sit at the computer for a small amount of time. Double Yay!

I know I'm sick when I have the 'puter shut down completely. Hopefully after another dose of my meds tonight I'll be mostly recovered and will be able to do something with the rest of my weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I Miss Singles

When I say singles I mean 45's or CD Singles. In the UK (where apparently music is much better), they have multiple releases for singles and they even include the video on the disc. Wow! What a novel concept. The American market doesn't seem to think they are necessary, and thanks to mp3s and video downloads the market in this country is dwindling away faster each day.


I still buy CD Singles (mostly imports because that's the only way I can get them half the time), because I love getting the tracks that aren't on the albums. Plus if I'm in love with the band, I have a tendency to want everything they put out.

Places like I-tunes have ruined this format in America. In all actuality the concept of buying individual songs should be a great thing, but it fails miserably in too many ways for me to want to throw my money to those bastards at Apple. Nope...I'll buy my little plastic discs thank you very much.

Why you ask? You have 7000 + mp3s on your computer, surely you appreciate digital media.

Yes, I do. I love it. I couldn't live without it, but, and this is a big but, I've never found the instance where I could purchase bonus tracks for a CD by themselves. To get the bonus tracks you have to purchase a full album download. If this changes I may feel more inclined to purchase downloads. Until then, I buy them only if it's something that's unique to the site. I've only spent about $5 at I-tunes in the last few years. And I have no intention of spending much more than that

Not being able to get the bonus tracks without buying the whole album is wrong. That's not right or fair. In fact it f-ing sucks, but the American public buys into it. The point of being able to buy single songs should include all songs, not just the standard album tracks.

Singles were such a wonderful thing. They had cool cover art. They had extra tracks. It makes me sad to see this fade away because of digital media. When I hear about people ripping their CDs for their flipping I-f-ing-Pods, so they can get rid of the discs, I want to weep.

Yes, CDs and CD Singles are expensive, but they are tangible and if my computer crashes I can rip the songs again and again. When a digital download is swallowed by my computer, it's gone forever, or until I shell out more money for another download.

CD Singles...and CDs...I love you, even if the rest of the world doesn't.

Top 5 On Friday - Week 125

From the ladies @ Music Memoirs

Top 5 bands or albums that "I" should really listen to more.

I gave away one answer, when I posted this meme.

1. Garbage

Anyone remember this album? It was great, one of my favorites of the 90's. I have this and all but one other album of theirs, but for some reason I don't listen to them as often as I should. Perhaps its because there sound is so different from what I'm listening to now.

Whatever, they have a best of album coming out in July, maybe that will give me a better chance to listen to them again.

2. Nick Lowe

Most of Nick's back catalog is out of print, but I have his box set and several of his albums from the 90's, yet I don't listen to him nearly as often as I like, and when I do, it's the obvious songs like Cruel To Be Kind and I Knew The Bride.

I'm going to pre-order his new album At My Age. That should give me something new to listen to in a month or two.

3. Dar Williams

I've only really listened to her album My Better Self and the song February from Mortal City. I need to start listening to her more. I've picked up a few of her discs from La La, so I can sample them, only I haven't. I should be ashamed of myself.

4. Wilco

I love the stuff these guys did on the Mermaid Avenue discs. They are another band that I've bought most of their stuff, but have I listened to them? Nope. I think it's my fear that because everyone else likes them, I won't. Why? Because I'm like that.

5. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap

If someone would buy me this album:

or this album

I would definitely listen to more Gary Puckett. Right now I only have one shoddy best of CD and it doesn't even have enough songs on it to play through more than one time at a sitting.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Must Have Macca

I got to thinking yesterday as a result of an email conversation I had with someone about which Paul McCartney CDs I consider his best. It's quite a long career and there is a lot of good material in those years, there's also, as he so eloquently put (cough cough) a lot of junk too.

I've come to the conclusion that the material that I enjoy the most seems to stem from the 80's and 90's. I don't know what it is about Wings, but I've found that I can only listen to the singles from that band and not the whole album. Maybe it's just Denny Laine, that irks me. I don't know. But in my personal arrogant opinion, these are the McCartney albums everyone should own.

1. Flaming Pie: easily one of his best since the 70's.

2. Flowers In The Dirt: This disc has several of the songs he co-wrote with Elvis Costello on it.

3. Press To Play: Macca would disagree with me on this one and so would the person I was corresponding with, but I think there are a lot of hidden gems in this record. I was always fond of this album's single and video, Press.

4. Tug Of War: The first McCartney album I bought, for the single Take It Away. It also has his lovely nod to Lennon, Here Today.

5. Band On The Run: This album is just full of great tracks. It's the best of all the Wings recordings in my opinion. Oh and get the version that includes Helen Wheels, if you don't have this album.

And because you need all the wonderful Wings singles without the filler that is in fact, crap at times...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Memory Almost Full

The new McCartney album fell into my hands this morning and it immediately got to take it's turn in my winamp player.

One listen isn't enough to truly "get" this CD, because it goes all over the place, from the typical bouncy, get up and move your butt, McCartney tunes, to a few R & B type tracks that remind me of the early 80's Macca, one or two remind me of the Wings disc "Back To The Egg" and there are even a few more modern sounding tracks that aren't really typical of Paulie.

The opening singles Dance Tonight, which features Paul on the Mandolin and Ever Present Past are the type of songs you expect from a McCartney tune. Both are ear worms of the finest pedigree.

One of the more eclectic songs one the disc is Mister Bellamy. The unique arrangement of this tune reminds me of one of Danny Elfman's Oompah Loompah songs, while making the listener think of other "people" McCartney tracks like Uncle Albert and Eleanor Rigby.

House of Wax, which is the longest track on the album clocking in at 5:01 can only be described as strange. It has a guitar solo that one wouldn't really expect from a McCartney album and an overall "Progressive Rock" sound. Perhaps that's why it's the only song on the album clocking in over 4 minutes. (How many progressive rock songs have you heard that are under 5 minutes?)

That Was Me and Nod Your Head are two tracks that are both funky and fun while proving that good songs can still be less than 3 minutes.

One of the stand out tracks for me is Feet In The Clouds for it's quirkiness and for it's very catchy refrain. End Of The End is a bit depressing, as the subject matter is death, and even the most lighthearted song about this subject leaves me feeling out of sorts.

This is not an album that you can listen to once and say "I love it!" It's an album that has to be played over and over again so you can appreciate some of the quirkiness as well as Paul's sense of humor that makes its way into several of the tracks on this disc.

It's not Macca at his very best, there are even times when listening that I thought his voice was going, but it's definitely a good offering. Coming off the praise that Chaos and Creation received, this may seem like a step back, but I disagree, it's just a step in a different direction. It's definitely a better album than Driving Rain, but it falls short of the brilliance he achieved with Flaming Pie. But you can compare all you want, one thing will be obvious, it's a good McCartney album, and it's one you won't mind playing over and over.

Flower Shopping

My nephew Michael and I went out last night to wrap up the shopping for our flower gardens. Plus he owed me a few plants for Mother's Day, because I'm his godmother.

So we went to a small eatery in Rostraver called The Roadside and had their $4.99 spaghetti dinner and then we went over to Martin's to look at plants.

Let's just say I went into a flower coma. Between the 2 of us, we spent $34 on flowers. Yikes!

Here's a sampling of what came home with us.

The rest of my photos can be found here

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Take Me Back Tuesday - Week 124

From the ladies @ Music Memoirs

Musical Recall 5, 10 & 15

What were your favorite songs albums or artists or all three....5 years ago....10 years ago.....15 years ago.....

(for those of you that don't like counting backwards the years in question are 2002, 1997 and 1992)

2002 saw me regain my love for Elvis Costello

It was the year that this album was released:

My favorite song from the album is My Little Blue Window Oh and in October of that year, I met the man for the first time. Bliss.

1997 saw Erasure releasing one of my favorite albums of all time:

One of my favorite songs on this gem is World's On Fire

1992 was the year I graduated high school. I don't know that there was any particular album from that year that was high on my playlist but these were two albums that I played continuously that year.

Music of the Night was always my favorite song from this musical

Oingo Boingo's 1990 album figured high on my playlist

My favorite song from this album is Try To Believe

(downloads are available for a limited time)