Saturday 9: Listen to the Music

Saturday 9: Listen to the Music (1972)
Because Zippi requested it.

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) The lyrics say, “What the people need is a way to make them smile.” What song lifts your spirits and makes you smile every time you hear it? There are a ton, honestly.

2) Lead vocalist/composer Tom Johnston reports that he’s made a lot in royalties because so many radio stations use this as a jingle. Tell us a jingle that sticks in your head. O’Reilly Auto Parts. I hear it on the radio a lot. That and local car dealership Budd Baer.

3) The Doobie Brothers got their start in San Jose, California. San Jose is the largest city in Northern California, thanks to all the tech companies that have headquarters there. Let’s talk about the device you’re on right now: are all your applications up to date? Nope.

4) When they were still a local band, the Doobie Brothers had a strong following among bikers. Are you attracted to biker culture? No.

5) This week’s song is from Toulouse Street, which is considered their “breakthrough” album. Tell us about a moment in your own life that you consider a “breakthrough.” Realizing I deserved better and wasn’t gonna get it unless I did something about it.

6) In 1987, the Doobie Brothers did a benefit performance for Vietnam Veterans at the Hollywood Bowl. Next to the Beatles, it was the fastest-selling ticket in Hollywood Bowl history. Which group do you listen to more often — the Doobies or the Beatles? The Beatles, by far.

7) In 1972, when this song was popular, Wranglers were America’s best-selling jeans. Are you brand-loyal to one jeans manufacturer? Not necessarily, but I do have my favorite stores and generally get them there. But I don’t really feel one company’s jeans are any better or worse than another.
8) Grocery stores saw seafood prices fluctuate wildly in 1972 because of a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland regarding fishing rights in the North Atlantic. (Iceland won.) What was the most recent seafood dish that you enjoyed? I’m a vegetarian, so I almost never eat it–I give in to shrimp every so often, typically a salad at a restaurant nearby.

9) Random question: Which of these “top ten” lists would you prefer to be on — the sexiest, the smartest or the richest? They all have their benefits, but I think smartest would be most useful.

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Friday 5: Don’t Go There

  1. Where were you forbidden (or too frightened) to go when you were growing up, and why? I don’t remember many forbidden places, other than the usual not crossing the street alone, not going with strangers, etc. But I used to be terrified of the third floor of our old house, I think just because it had been my great-grandma’s apartment but she died when I was still pretty young, so the floor was empty then, but it made it kind of creepy. On top of that, she had these old, creepy-looking antique porcelain dolls sitting in the bedroom that would easily still scare me now as an adult. Plus it was a big, old house and I watched lots of ghost TV shows, so I kind of creeped myself out waiting for something to be lurking. That said, people do have ghost stories about the house.
  2. What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done in the past couple of years? I don’t know, sex and drugs? I’m a pretty boring person, at least in that sense. I download music illegally sometimes, but that’s almost just so I have it before I buy it–and I almost always buy everything I want at some point. Although I do listen to a lot of Spotify.
  3. Under what circumstances have you gone into a place you knew you weren’t supposed to enter? I can’t really think of any, although I’m sure there’s something. I know we’ve been out and about in Gettysburg on the battlefield after dark, which they don’t like. I know, such a rule-breaker. Although I have hidden in the back of a car to get in the drive-in for free, because paying per person is dumb.
  4. Which aisle in your supermarket do you just about never go down? Meat and seafood. I’m a vegetarian.
  5. Not counting traffic situations, when did you last willfully disobey something you read on a sign? That Gettysburg thing comes to mind again, but same thing otherwise–I can’t really think of much. I tend to obey signs. They’re there for a reason. Usually.

As always, from here.

At some point while dating Paul, I became aware of two things: one, I knew we’d get married some day. Two, we’d be taking dance lessons when the time came. Paul’s 6’5″, thin, and kind of awkward–he compares his dancing to a marionette, and I can’t disagree. I don’t know that anyone who’s seen him dance would, either.

Quick digression: love is knowing your significant other is a godawful dancer and wanting to take dance lessons but never actually discouraging them from their awkward dancing in the meantime.

The lessons aren’t just for him–I hate not knowing what to do during slow dances other than that kind of silly sway, and I always like watching people who actually seem to know what they’re doing. And knowing we’ll have 200 people watching us dance together in two months makes me feel even weirder about it, so dance lessons it is.

I finally got around to it within the last couple weeks and after having to reschedule due to a conflict, we’re now two lessons in. We get eight private lessons, and then we can go to as many of the group lessons throughout the week as we want, plus the Friday night dance parties. We’re aiming for at least Tuesdays and Thursdays, Friday parties if we have the chance. So far, we’re two lessons in, and I already feel like we could hit a dance floor tomorrow and know what we’re doing. Sure, we’d probably stumble and mess up, but other than that…

As for the other days of the week, we did Father’s Day early with my family with dinner and a casino trip Friday night. We tried Angelo’s, an Italian place I’ve been wanting to go to but haven’t because Paul went there with co-workers for lunch and was unimpressed, and thus I’d be going alone. Having tried it, I see his point–I liked it. I’d go there again. But there are better places to eat here, and one of them just might be another Italian place that we’re trying for my birthday. Stay tuned.

The casino trip was okay. We had fun, but they took out a ton of our favorite slots, presumably to make room for more slots. I only lost about 15 bucks over the course of the night, which I’m pretty happy about, and of course my damn brother and Kelly won a couple hundred bucks.

Saturday we had a graduation party on Paul’s side of the family, and Sunday, we headed back to his parents’ place for Father’s Day, which was a pretty chill endeavor. His mom’s doing well–she’s on a new medication and was much more alert and lively than I’ve seen her in months, maybe in the past year or so.

This week brings more dance lessons, another attempt at Terra’s driver’s license, and hopefully mailing wedding invitations. Just waiting for them to ship from where I ordered them…

Saturday 9: As Long as We Got Each Other

Saturday 9: As Long as We Got Each Other (Theme from Growing Pains)

… because it’s Father’s Day weekend

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This is the theme from the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains. Alan Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver, one of TVs popular dads. Who is your favorite TV dad? Charles Ingalls. My mom and I have this long-running joke that he’s actually the perfect man.

2) Joanna Kearns, who played Jason’s wife, reports that she teased her costar by calling him, “Al,” a nickname he hated. Is there someone in your life that you enjoy needling? My fiancé–but only a little–and my brother.

3) For most of the series, the Seaver children each represented a “type.” The oldest, Mike, was the trouble maker. The daughter, Carol, was the brainiac.Young Ben could be very high maintenance. Which of the Seaver kids were you most like when you were growing up? Eh, I don’t know. None? A little of each?

4) In the song, BJ Thomas sings about being “the luckiest dreamer who never quit dreaming.” If you could have any dream come true this Saturday, what would you wish for? A book deal.

5) When he mans the grill, Sam’s father proudly wears the “Kiss the Chef” she gave him for Father’s Day years ago. Tell us about a gift you gave someone that was a hit. I actually pride myself on giving good, personal, creative gifts. Most recently, I got one of my soon-to-be sisters-in-law a bunch of stuff from Lush because I know she loves it but isn’t close to one like we are, so I bought some things and wrapped it in a little Santa scarf thingy. She loved it.

6) Sam’s dad takes his grilling very seriously and jealously guards his special marinade recipe. Do you have a secret you haven’t even shared with family members? Not really.

7) He recommends using a grill basket when barbecuing vegetables so you don’t have to worry about them falling through the grill. Share one of your culinary tips with us. I don’t really have any! I don’t do enough actual cooking.

8) Sam’s father hates it when she swears. What’s the last curse word you used? I think I just said shit a second ago. We have this mini washing machine we use for small loads so we don’t have to pay every single time, but it needs emptied manually in the bathtub. I usually have my fiancé do it because it’s easier for him to pick it up and maneuver it, but we both forgot it had shut off and needed emptied. So I said, “Shit, the washer needs emptied.”

9) Sam’s father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. When you crave a snack, do you usually want something sweet or salty? Almost always sweet, and actually, I often crave fruit like strawberries or raspberries.

Friday 5: Questions Created Very Late Friday Morning

  1. What are you reading? The third book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Amber Spyglass; The Devil in the White City; Jane Austen’s collected works, currently on Pride & Prejudice; and Jurassic Park sequel The Lost World.
  2. What are you listening to? Coldplay’s new song, “All I Can Think About Is You.”
  3. Anything amusing or strange happen to you recently? Most recent strange think I can think of is getting that gross message from a former coworker.
  4. What’s cookin’? Nothing, at the moment. I just woke up from a very long morning nap.
  5. What was your contribution to your most recent potluck? I haven’t gone to a proper potluck in a while, but when my fiancé and I went to visit his sisters over Memorial Day, he took over some banana muffins he’d made.

As always, from Friday 5.

Back when we met with the music directors at church about choosing music for the wedding, we were pleasantly surprised to find that having the choir sing is an option, and we decided to spend the money and spring for it. So Saturday, we snuck in the back of church–at the invitation of the choir director–to sit in on the ceremony of one of the choir members herself so we could hear what it sounded like.

I knew if we didn’t do it, we’d regret it as soon as we heard the choir the first time after the wedding, so I don’t really think it was a matter of deciding whether we really wanted them so much as it was what song choices might work best. But sitting in on the wedding reaffirmed our decision–that choir’s gonna sound damn good.

Also, attending the wedding ceremony of someone you don’t know feels so weird. I mean, the choir director asked us to and it’s pretty unobtrusive–we just sat in the back–but it’s still so strange. I felt like I was breaking a major etiquette law.

As for today, we made it into Pittsburgh for the last weekend of the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival and enjoyed walking around checking out the vendors and eating. Normally, I find some kind of handmade jewelry or something, but lately, it seems like a lot of that kind of stuff is all looking the same and is a style I don’t really like, but that might be a good thing–keeps me from spending money on things I don’t need just over two months out from my wedding. But Paul found some art he really liked, so we did spring for that.

We did a little shopping on our way home, mostly just taking advantage of stores in South Hills Village so I don’t have to make a special trip out when I inevitably run out of shampoo and conditioner from Lush.

Saturday 9: C is for Cookie

Saturday 9: C Is for Cookie
Don’t blame Sam. Harriet requested Cookie Monster.

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This week’s featured artist, Cookie Monster says his favorite TV show is Monsterpiece Theater. What show do you try never to miss? I don’t have cable, so I don’t really have anything I watch regularly. I stick to a few shows at a time on Netflix. My fiancé and I have ones we watch on our own and ones we watch together.

2) Though he goes by Cookie Monster professionally, he is still called Sid by his family. When will you next get together with your relatives? Probably at my wedding!

3) Now for the cookie questions! Where do you weigh in on this age-old controversy: Is a brownie a cookie or a cake? Cake.

4) Fig Newtons contain no cholesterol. Do you read nutrition labels before eating snacks? Or does knowing the truth about your favorite sweets ruin your enjoyment? I do try to count calories and limit things like sugar intake, but I also don’t totally deprive myself of the things I like.

5) Biscotti are designed for dipping into drinks. Do you like to dunk your cookies? Absolutely not. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like their food mixing on the plate, and this applies. I don’t like a dunked cookie, and I don’t like crumbs in my milk.

6) Do you prefer cookies made with milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips? Or are you a rebel who prefers butterscotch chips? No real preference. A cookie is a cookie.

7) Bill Murray once said, “Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.” Do you like raisin cookies? I do, actually, and when I was still living with my parents, they were the one type I could get for myself that wouldn’t get eaten by the rest of the family–at least until they ate all the Oreos. Same thing with coconut candies. Got them all to myself.

8) Nabisco still sells animal-shaped cookies in a red box that looks like a train car labeled, “Barnum’s Animals.” However Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus gave their last-ever performance on May 21, 2017. Have you ever been to the circus? I think once as a kid, and I don’t remember liking it. In fact, I think it was one of those things that was someone else’s idea for us to do with our cousins on my dad’s side, and those things usually weren’t much fun.
9) Have you ever received a memorable fortune in a fortune cookie? Nope.

Friday 5: Tiny Gestures

  1. What might you put in a small, pretty glass bottle as a romantic gift to someone? I’d be giving it to my fiancé, but I can’t think of what I’d put in it. Maybe a tiny terrarium. I think he’d like that.
  2. Someone you care very much for is leaving for a long time but will be back. What small object (not a photo) might you give him or her to remember you by? Maybe find something little I know they’d like or something that refers to an inside joke.
  3. If you were to leave a small mark in your current residence, as lasting evidence that you lived there, what would you leave, and where would you leave it? I mean, realistically, living in an apartment, I probably couldn’t leave anything because the bastards would probably charge me for it. I’m not sure what I would leave, though, but I will say I’ve always enjoyed stories of the Pittsburgh Steelers leaving porn in the St. Vincent dorm rooms they stayed in during training camp.
  4. What would you like to toss into the fires of Mount Doom? Probably our two broken mini washers, because I don’t know what else to do with them.
  5. Those adopt-a-star things are gimmicky rip-offs, but if they weren’t, and someone gave you one as a gift, what would you name it? It might depend on the person, actually, because like question 2, I think I’d want it to be something related to who gifted it. Or I’d ask my fiancé to come up with some really stupid star pun. Or maybe choose one of David Bowie’s space-related songs, except “Starman,” because that’s too easy, yet it is stupid enough to be funny…or maybe I’d just name it David Bowie, even though I’m sure someone else has already had that idea.

As always, from here.

It should be weird that my youngest cousin is graduating from high school and is off to college, but it’s not. And that’s kind of weird in itself.

Her graduation party was Saturday, so we spent a sunny afternoon with the relatives and watching my family play cornhole. The real winner there was me, who acknowledges I’m terrible at cornhole, refuses to give in to the peer pressure, and has more fun socializing instead.

We were set to go watch the Pens game at my parents’ house in the evening, so since we were gonna be in the area, we decided to make a trip to visit Paul’s family, too–mostly the new cat, Link, who was a good time. Strangely, although I’ve often been critical of how they used to treat their dog before it died, I think a cat could be really good for them. They’re more independent and easier to take care of, which I think is what they need.

Unfortunately, back at my parents’ place later, the Pens lost. The series is now tied.

On Sunday, we finally saw Get Out–Row House was doing a Creepy Communities theme, so even though I thought we missed it in theaters, we got a second chance. I was kinda sorta but not really spoiled, unfortunately, thanks to a headline about similar themes, but at least it wasn’t a full spoiler. But while it didn’t spoil the plot itself, it did spoil the experience, which is almost as bad. Because I had an idea of what direction things were going, I kept thinking about that and trying to see how things fit in with it, rather than just enjoying it and watching things unfold, which was kind of frustrating. But we really liked it and thought it was really well-done.

Saturday 9: Lazy Bones

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a guy who’d rather nap than do his chores. Are there things you should be doing right now, instead of hanging around the blogosphere, answering these questions? I really need to get back to the company making my wedding invitations.

2) This song mentions a lazy afternoon of fishing. When did you last go fishing? It’s been years–I went vegetarian at about 14 and I’m 27 now, so I’ve obviously not fished in that time. And the few times I did go fishing were probably in my early teens, maybe even earlier and into the preteen years.

3) The lyrics catch our hero sleeping in both the sun and the shade. Do you have a nice, shady place to nap on your front lawn? Or would we catch you lying in the sun? I’ll burn in the sun. I have a little shaded patio at my apartment, but the cement is cracked an uneven, so it’s not the most usable surface.

4) This week’s featured artist, Leon Redbone, is a difficult man to nail down. Over the years he’s claimed to be born in Ontario, and Philadelphia, and even Cyprus. Tell us about a time you got caught in a fib. I honestly don’t know. I don’t really lie to people–it happens on occasion, but it’s really rare, and I don’t know that I’ve ever been caught in anything bigger than a white lie.

5) Mr. Redbone has said that taking himself too seriously would be “the gentle kiss of death.” What’s something that you always take seriously and just can’t joke about? Super serious, horrible things. That said, I think in the right hands, almost anything can be funny–the problem is a lot of people making terrible jokes think they’re more capable at tackling the subject matter than they really are.

6) He has retired from public life, and that includes his Facebook page, which is no longer available. What did you last post to your Facebook page? I believe it was Rolling Stone‘s profile of Al Franken.

7) Leon always wore dark glasses when he performed. Do your sunglasses have gray, green, brown or rose colored lenses? All of the above? Except brown. I don’t think I have brown lenses.

8) Recently Dick Van Dyke performed this song at a charity benefit, aided by his a capella quartet, The Vantastix. Last year, at age 90, he campaigned for Bernie Sanders. So Mr. Van Dyke is certainly not a “lazy bones.” Who’s the most active, energetic person in your life? It might be a tie between me and my fiancé but in two very different ways. He’s more active in the sense that he does a lot–he goes to a tai chi class three times a week and usually sees his friends more often than I do. But I’m more active at home in the sense that he kind of unwinds and lays around more and dicks around on the internet, while I’m constantly doing something. I mean, yeah, I dick around on the internet, but I’m also writing and reading and watching things and working and planning our wedding.

9) Random question: You’re at dinner with friends and someone begins a very long joke with, “Stop me if you’ve heard this before.” You have heard it, many times before. Do you stop him? Or do you just sit through it again? I probably mention I’ve heard it a few times but don’t necessarily stop it, especially if, say, we’re in a group with others who haven’t heard it. If I really, really don’t want to hear it again, though, I probably gently find a way to ask that it not be repeated.