Top 5 on Friday: Live

Top 5 bands you wish you could see in concert but never have

 1. Muse I hear their live show is insane. Allegedly one of the best live acts out there right now. Fortunately, I actually will be seeing them in September, but it’s been a long time coming–I’ve been listening to them since Absolution when I was something like 14 or so, and the one show of theirs I did get tickets to around then got canceled after everyone got food poisoning. My Chemical Romance was set to open, and fangirls sent the catering company death threats. Stay classy, MCRmy.
2. Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra I’ve been having a whole love affair with her this past year and I’ve never seen her live. This show would be the perfect combination of dancing and tears. I’m perfect in those situations.
3. Mumford & Sons This would also be equal parts tears and dancing and might look a lot like that scene in Titanic where they have the party in steerage. I just want to see them in someplace crowded, tiny, and full of beer and smoke.
4. David Bowie I know he said he’s not touring, but I’m hoping that he’s gonna either surprise us or use some sort of semantic trickery and like say he’s not touring for this album but will put out another one soon and tour for that one.
5. Erasure Look, I don’t know how good live they actually are, but I do know I go fucking nuts over some of those songs, so it wouldn’t even matter.

As always, from The Friday 5.

  1. The motto of the Brownies is “Lend a hand.” If this were the personal motto of someone you know, who would it be? Maybe Paul. He tend to be pretty quick to offer to help. He once cleaned my entire kitchen. I think it was partly to suck up after fucking up royal, but it still happened. He also keeps saying that as soon as he gets a car, he’s coming over to help me clean my apartment, which means he must think this place is a hot mess (it is).
  2. The motto of the Olympic Games is “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Higher, Faster, Stronger”). If this were the personal motto of someone you know, who would it be? Maybe my mom, simply because she doesn’t know how to stop working (neither do I).
  3. I don’t think it’s a motto, but Apple, Inc.’s tagline for some time has been “Think different.” Grammatical iffiness aside, if this were the personal motto of someone you know, who would it be? Me, because I don’t think my brain operates quite the same as everyone else’s. I’ve complained plenty about feeling misunderstood. Or Paul for similar reasons but also because I know what’s in his brain and it’s some crazy shit sometimes.
  4. Here are some food-related marketing slogans: “The incredible, edible egg.” “Beef: It’s what’s for dinner.” “Got milk?” What would be a cool marketing slogan for something you’ve eaten in the past twenty-four hours that doesn’t already have one? I can’t think of a good slogan, but that amazing milkshake I had last night deserves one.
  5. Here is a very long list of cool Latin phrases. Which will you adopt as your personal motto for the upcoming week? “Acta non verba,” meaning “deeds, not words.” I’m a firm believer in the “actions speak louder than words” cliche, so I aim to actually do and not be all talk.

Oh, Yeah, I Almost Moved to Erie

So, somewhere in the midst of my sparse blogging, I may or may not have mentioned that Paul finally found a job a few months ago, where he used to intern when we first met and the following summer. He thinks he hates his job and that’s probably true, but it’s a start, and one day we’ll both be rich writers anyway, so it won’t matter.

But before he landed that gig, he started applying all over the place. The plan was if he got a job far away, I’d move out there with him as soon as my lease was up. His dad once told him never to believe a woman who said she’d follow him, but I’m not just any woman, and we both know that and we both know I would’ve gone, both to be with him but also for myself. Why say no to a new opportunity? Some may see it as blindly following a man–hell, that’s exactly what it sounds like–but I would’ve gone for more reasons than just to be with him. Besides, he’s worth following and I’m worth decisions that will make me happy.

He had an interview in Erie, which seemed pretty promising, but his current employer happened to offer him a job before he heard back, but he didn’t get the Erie job anyway. I’m not sure–still, nearly three months later–if I’m happy or disappointed, and I don’t think he is, either, even though he said he probably would’ve hated that job, too.

The only thing I am definitely happy about is the fact that I don’t actually have to go through the process of moving. I already packed up all my shit and moved twice last year. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to move fewer times this year, so I would’ve still be in the clear for that, but still. Brandon would’ve strangled me if he had to haul boxes of my stuff back and forth again, and my parents would’ve held me down for him.

Oh, and I’m definitely happy about still being close to Pittsburgh because I really do love Pittsburgh. Plus Pittsburgh has arts and culture and music and really, what are the chances I would’ve been able to see Fleetwood Mac in Erie or go to a ballet or the symphony on a weekend because I feel like it?

At the same time, I think Paul and I both have a desire to leave here. The Angel Ladies told me they don’t see me staying here–I’m here now because I’m just starting out, but they said they don’t see this as my home. I think we both have a bit of wanderlust, but I think we also both just want to escape. Maybe for different reasons, but I think we both envision life as being better elsewhere not because of location itself but because moving is an automatic fresh start.

The thought of moving was extremely liberating, and I realized that had I moved, I would’ve been running. I openly acknowledge and admit this, whether or not it was apparent from the start.

I had a shitty year last year, probably one of the shittiest I’ve had in a long while, and I don’t think anyone’s gonna really try to dispute that. It’s pretty clear. The evidence is everywhere. I left it in my wake, perhaps recklessly. Keeping in mind this was before some things out, what was the most attractive possibility to me? Leaving. Like I said, fresh start–leave everything behind, go to a new place, create a new life, meet new people, be who I want to be. The possibilities, as they say, are endless. It’s true, or at least seems true when you have an entire unexplored place in front of you.

We kept talking about it like it was definitely going to happen. You’d think we’d learned our lesson after the US Steel Illinois training-for-three-months-at-a-time-for-a-year fiasco, especially since that was the closest we’ve ever come to breaking up, but nope.

I still think we need to leave at some point–make some money, maybe get married, and just go. Do something on our own, for ourselves, say fuck it and create whatever life we want for ourselves without a place full of our pasts.

Maybe we’re trapped. Maybe that’s our problem.

Friday Five: A Bit of Knowledge

  1. What’s something you know about constellations? They have stars in them. Really, I only know a little common knowledge, like what they are. Like, the Big Dipper. Orion’s Belt.
  2. What’s something you know about bugs? That I don’t like them. Stink bugs are all over Pennsylvania but not South Carolina. If you kill them, they stink and attract more. Locusts are coming back soon, and I will be miserable and sad. Lady bugs probably are coming, too, but at least they’re pretty and good luck.
  3. What’s something you know about a car’s engine? For all the car shows I’ve seen at work, you’d think I’d be able to draw something out of my brain, but I can’t.
  4. What’s something you know about wine or beer? Pennsylvania is only one of two states that doesn’t have their alcohol privatized. We’re trying to make that happen, but some people do not want it. Those people are fools. Get with it.
  5. What’s something you know about the Pacific Ocean? I wish I could remember specifics, but basically, I watched a documentary at work on Africa and shit gets beautiful and amazing and real around South Africa with the oceans. And pretty much everything else, but you know. I believe there was talk of where two ocean currents meet, whales, penguins, and turtles. It made me really want to go see South Africa.

Top 5 on Friday: Better

Top 5 songs that make it all better

1. “Sigh No More” by Mumford and Sons Just because it’s so epic but beautiful at the same time, with some excellent lines to help it out. But we’ve discussed this before.
2. “Dreams” by The Cranberries Okay, this is a total cheesy ’90s answer, but really, it is a fun, pretty song. It’s so upbeat that it makes me happy, sometimes more than I was before I heard it. Bonus points for a sunny day, car ride, or both.
3. “Better” by Regina Spektor I thought of this song when I saw this week’s topic, and I thought, “Nah, that’s not really one of my pick-me-up songs.” And then it happened to come on shuffle as I was looking for songs to put on this list and I realized it actually is. It’s pretty, it’s upbeat, Regina’s voice is gorgeous, and there’s something about her singing, “If I kiss you where it’s sore/Will you feel better?” I will, Regina. I will. Did I just admit to mild sexual attraction to Regina Spektor? Basically.
4. “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis Anyone who knows me is probably confused as shit right now–unless they’ve been with me when this song has been played, which is almost never–because the list of country music I like is very short, but I adore this song. It’s just really pretty, and it has enough twang to draw me in yet not put me off. And it’s a legitimate sweet love song. In fact, most of these songs are, so if I ever go through a bitter breakup, I might have to completely redo this list. I say “might” because I don’t reach levels of bitter that ruin entire songs for me.
5. “Second Hand News” by Fleetwood Mac Honestly, we should probably do a whole post about what was essentially a Fleetwood Mac epiphany. The short version: I was raised on Fleetwood Mac (and Prince, for the record). I grew up knowing who Stevie Nicks is. My mom was always a fan of greatest-hits compilations–and maybe that’s why I don’t and have a compulsive need to collect entire discographies–so I know a lot of words to a lot of songs I don’t like all that much. And so because my mom have very different ideas of what Fleetwood Mac’s greatest songs are, she played a lot that I wasn’t crazy about, so I never had any interest to listen further. Then Spotify and my curiosity happened, and now here we are with a concert ticket stub and a three-disk Rumours rerelease. I love this song in particular for its pep and attitude, though the recorded version is tame and almost boring comparing to hear it live. Almost.

Friday Five: Nervous

As always, from

  1. What are you like when you are very nervous? Very jittery and fidgety. Shaky. Probably talkative. I get butterflies in my stomach and don’t like eating.
  2. How do you deal with nervousness, especially nervousness about something that’s going to happen several days later? Try to go about things as normal, and if it’s a situation where I can be prepared, get as prepared as possible. Going in, I keep calm, faking that and confidence as necessary.
  3. In what circumstance are most people nervous, but not you? I know people who get nervous in social situations, whereas I normally don’t.
  4. What conditions seem to be fine for most people but make you feel nervous? Things like roller coasters make me nervous. And babies! Paul’s whole family thinks I’m insane for being so nervous about holding babies, but I’m never near babies and they’re very fragile and I fear the worst possible scenarios when I hold babies, cute as they are.
  5. When did you last feel nervous about something that turned out completely fine? Probably holding a baby. I remember being nervous when I first opened Nolan’s apology message because I wasn’t expecting it and instead saw his name and lots of words and just immediately thought, “What the fuck did I do now!?” I also sometimes get nervous driving in the city, but that’s always fine, too.

Top 5 on Friday: Live

Top 5 “Live” CDs (Official or Bootlegs)

 Musical confession time: I actually notoriously dislike live albums because I generally think they’re pointless unless there’s something particular notable about them, like interesting/new arrangements of songs, cool guest appearances, or rare covers. So of all the live CDs I have, I only have one full, willingly purchased live album and a handful of other disks that came as bonus material with an album rerelease.
1. Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under by Amanda Palmer This is a huge exception to the above statement in that it was recorded live but is an atypical live album in that it features all original/previously unreleased songs, most of which were recorded live. And it works pretty well and sounds awesome. And it features songs that started to tip me beyond being just a casual Palmer/Dresden Dolls fan, like “Map of Tasmania” and personal anthem “In My Mind.”
2. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac Yeah, Rumours isn’t a live album, but the anniversary reissue contains a solid live disk. Basically, it’s a great excuse to listen to Rumours two consecutive times while trying to tell yourself you didn’t technically just listen to Rumours two consecutive times. Plus–and this where I cave a little on my anti-live-album stance–if you’ve seen the musician live, live recordings do have a way of bringing that joy back. Basically, short of YouTube clips, Rumours’ live second disk is the closest I will come to actually reliving Fleetwood Mac live last weekend.
3. Good Evening New York City by Paul McCartney Again, see “Fast, Easy Ways to Relive a Concert.” Sir Paul–much like Fleetwood Mac these days–plays very similar sets city to city, so this album sounds quite similar to his Pittsburgh show a few summers ago. The real clinchers that make this a must-own live album for McCartney fans is version of “Something” played on ukulele and the “A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance” medley that’s just brilliant and can still literally take my breath away. Seeing that live was just on a whole other level.
4. Ben Folds with any symphony ever I have only ever seen bootlegs of these shows, but holy shit. Ben Folds playing with the symphony was one of the most gorgeous musical experiences of my life. The arrangements are perfect.
5. Assorted David Bowie bootlegs Okay, I mostly just mean that version of “Janine” he played for the BBC that’s on the Space Oddities release, but whatever. I fucking love that song. Sorry I didn’t put Reality on this list, guys, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe I encountered it at too young an age, back when I appreciated live recordings even less. Baby steps.

Friday Five: Play

  1. What was the last play you saw? The last proper play I saw was last summer’s Shakespeare in the Park. Paul and I went to The Tempest. If musicals count, then the last one I saw was Book of Mormon.
  2. What kind of experience have you had as a performer in plays? I’ve only done high-school musicals, but I always had a ton of fun.
  3. In general, what kinds of plays most turn you on? I’m a fan of musicals and Shakespeare, but anything interesting will get me to go. I’ll be seeing Chelsea in The Crucible in a few weeks.
  4. There are many movies where the characters say, “Let’s put on a play,” often as a means for raising funds or bringing attention to some cause. If you and your friends decided to do that, what would be the play, who would be its star, and what role would you play in its production? It would probably be something weird we made up starring Tessa because she’s the obvious choice. I’d write or help write it, but the problem is I’d probably be a little over-ambitious and want to make it at least decent and no one else would really care.
  5. If I handed you a lump of Play-Doh right now and asked you to sculpt me something, what would it be? Probably just a little person or animal because I have no art skills. Maybe a nice flower. A penis. A bizarre blob I’d insist was just abstract and misunderstood.