Saturday 9: Unbreak My Heart

Saturday 9: Unbreak My Heart (1996)

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

1) Songs like this are enduringly popular in part because each of us has had our heart broken. Give us the name of a heartbreaker from your own life. I think I gave a similar answer last week, but I’ve been put through worse, more difficult things emotionally than romantic heartbreak.

2) Toni Braxton sings that “nights are so unkind.” What did you do last night? Went to the gym after I wrote an article and hung out a bit, got stuck in construction traffic for a half-hour on my way back, showered, went to bed after watching some John Oliver segments.

3) While this song has Toni singing the blues, in real life her love life is happier. Now aged 50, she’s engaged and has been sporting a diamond on her left hand. Do you believe that a bride is ever too old to have a big wedding? No! A wedding is a celebration, and that shouldn’t have an age limit. I understand why some people who are remarrying decide not to do a big wedding, but I still think if they want to do it up big, go for it.

4) Growing up, Toni Braxton’s parents severely restricted how much TV their children could watch each day. Ironically, today Toni and her sisters participate in a reality TV show on the WE-TV network, so TV cameras are a big part of their daily adult lives. What TV show do you try not to miss? I don’t watch anything regularly because I don’t have cable. We stick to one or two shows we stream, then move on to the next.

5) She is prone to dry skin and applies Kiehl’s Hand Salve to her hands and arms throughout the day. Tell us about a product you’re brand loyal to. Man, I’m the queen of brand loyalty. If I find something that I like and that works, I stick to it. We’ll stick with the skincare theme–I, too, have dry skin, and I use Simple Sugars scrubs. Plus they’re local!

6) Toni admits to being “a bit of a germaphobe,” and always maintains a supply of hand sanitizer and wipes. What is always on your shopping list? Food staples and things we eat a lot–milk and yogurt I’d say are the two biggest ones.

7) While she is not shy about her body and has worn revealing outfits on the red carpet, Toni Braxton refused a 2011 offer from Hugh Hefner and Playboy to pose nude. What’s the last thing you said “no” to? A small task at work. I was right up against a deadline and couldn’t spare the time.

8) In 1996, the year this song was popular, Mattel introduced a Star Trek Barbie and Ken set. Have you ever fantasized about space travel? For a brief period, I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid. I wanted to be just about everything at one point or another, really.

9) Random question — Would you (or did you) invite an ex to your wedding? I didn’t because neither of us had seriously dated anyone else. I would depending on how things ended and what the current relationship was. It’s one of those things I see both sides of, though–I think it’s kind of weird to invite exes at all unless you’re good friends with them, to be honest, but I also think people can be a little too jealous and that sometimes, too much is made of an ex at a wedding.


Friday 5: Again or Not Again

  1. What is the story behind one of your scars? I don’t really have any. I was more of an indoor kid who never did anything that could cause an injury, and I’ve been fortunate as an adult to not get seriously hurt, either. I do currently have small scratches from the cat everywhere, though.
  2. What’s an example of your being pretty much like everyone else? My husband jokes that at heart, I’m pretty basic. I’m pretty easygoing and predictable.
  3. What’s an example of your being pretty much unlike everyone else? I have purple hair, and although that’s a growing trend, it’s still pretty rare. I think my attitudes about things are different from a lot of people, too. Money isn’t a priority. I followed my dreams, so to speak, instead of a high-paying career. I do my own thing.
  4. Of websites you look at daily (or almost daily), which have you been paying attention to longest? Ooh, I don’t know. But I think most of them have pretty much stayed the same for a long time. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, some news sites.
  5. What’s something you wish a smartphone was capable of? I don’t know, but I do have a great idea for an app for fellow frequent concertgoers.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Treat You Better

Saturday 9: Treat You Better (2016)

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

This song was chosen because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share this information about The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Let’s spread the word that there’s help out there.

1) In this song, a young man advises his neighbor to stop wasting her time with a guy who makes her cry. What is something you regret wasting time on? (It doesn’t have to be a romance.) Not advocating for myself. I wasted a lot of time letting a lot of people get away with a lot of shit because I was too scared to speak up, and I suffered for it.

2) Much of this video takes place in a very sparely decorated apartment. Because Shawn Mendes and the girl he’s singing to both appear young, it’s easy to assume they are both in their first apartments. Tell us about the first place you ever rented. Although I was in an apartment for a few years up until this summer, I was in a rented house in Pittsburgh up on Mt. Washington for six months before that with some friends. I really liked it up there–it was an old house with four bedrooms, so we had plenty of space. I really liked Mt. Washington, too. It wasn’t a super busy part of the city, but it was the kind of place that I loved as more of a city girl. Close enough to go do stuff, removed enough that it wasn’t noisy or packed with traffic. The house was older but kept up pretty well.

3) It’s clear he can hear his neighbors’ conversations and arguments through the walls. Are your neighbors quiet? Do you consider yourself a quiet neighbor? Our neighborhood now that we’re in a house is really, really quiet–that’s one of the things we commented on the most our first few weeks here. We’re the babies of the neighborhood, by far. Most of our neighbors are retired, and the ones who are too young for retirement are the same age as our parents. As for us, we’re pretty quiet–no loud noise from us. We’re gonna start entertaining soon, though.

4) This song received a lot of attention and airplay because it was used in a Southwest Airline commercial. When you last visited an airport, were you traveling yourself or meeting someone? I was probably meeting someone. I can’t remember when I was last in an airport, but I haven’t flown in a few years, so a pickup or drop-off is most likely.

5) This week’s artist, Shawn Mendes, was a serious skateboarder during his high school years. Sam has never even set foot on a skateboard. How about you? I tried it briefly. My brother had a short skateboarding phase and I hopped on it once and promptly fell right off.

6) Shawn is happy eating cold cereal with milk for every meal — breakfast, lunch and dinner. He prefers cereal with almonds in it. What about you? Do you have a favorite cereal? I don’t have one that I love about all the others. Most like a few I cycle through. When I run out of cereal and go to buy more, I usually pick something I haven’t had in a while.

7) He says he started eating cereal beyond breakfast because it’s convenient, and it helps him avoid “junk food” when he’s in a hurry. Do you often order your food “to go?” Not often. Usually only if we’re busy or just don’t feel like sitting down somewhere and eating.

8) In 2016, when this song was popular, a German shorthaired pointer named CJ won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. Is there a dog who holds a special place in your heart? All the dogs! But in particular, all the dogs I had as pets–Mandy as a kid, then Dandy and Duke in college until Dandy died a couple years after we adopted him and Duke died a little over a year ago. Now it’s my parents’ dog, Seger, my puppy brother.

9) And this week, we’re trying a random fill in the blank: I wish someone would create an app that _____________________________________. Okay, I have this great idea for an app that sounds like it’s kind of been done, just maybe not on the scale I have in mind. But it’s essentially a concert app with a calendar, ticket links, etc., designed for people like me who go to a lot and don’t want to miss anything and can keep track of everything.

Saturday 9: So Into You

Saturday 9: So Into You (1977)

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

1) The singer says that he noticed the lady in question as soon as she walked into the room. Tell us about someone who made a powerful first impression on you. I can’t think of anyone who was, like, super memorable, but I know a few people who I had a negative first impression of, ignored it and gave them the benefit of the doubt, and go burned in the end. So my takeaway here is my negative first impressions, at least, tend to be pretty spot-on and I should trust them.

2) He sings that he’s so into her, he can’t think about other, more mundane things. Do you find you get easily distracted from your daily tasks? Or do you enjoy seeing your everyday chores through completion? I’m pretty focused–if I’m getting distracted easily, it’s because I’m burning out and need a break. My husband’s amazed at my ability to focus intently on whatever I’m doing, to the point that I once was writing while he was watching Netflix in bed right next to me and I had no problem ignoring it.

3) The band took their name from Georgia’s biggest city. Have you ever been to Atlanta? Just on a layover. But I’d like to go back and enjoy the city.

4) The Atlanta Rhythm Section once played the White House. President Carter’s son, Chip, was a big fan and invited them to play at his 28th birthday party. How did you celebrate your last birthday? Just went to hibachi. My husband’s not a big hibachi fan, so I play the birthday card to go.

5) Studio One, where the band made all their recordings, was torn down and replaced by a parking lot. Can you think of a structure that you missed, after it met with a wrecking ball? A big, old building in my hometown growing up was torn down and also replaced by a parking lot. It was a really cool building and I understand that it had sat vacant for a long, long time and repairing it probably would’ve been more difficult and expensive than demolishing, but still, it was a bummer. It still sucks to lose that kind of history and heritage, especially in that town.

6) This song hit #7 on the US pop charts. 7 is the number most often chosen as “a lucky number.” How about you? Do you have a lucky number? No.

7) Today the Atlanta Rhythm Section reunites with to play at classic rock concerts. What oldies band would you love to see again? I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of the classic acts a love, some of them more than once, but I’d love the chance to see the original Queen lineup and The Beatles. Prince and David Bowie, too, even though they’re not really bands.

8) In 1977, the star of NBC’s Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze, took his own life. Is there a celebrity death you found shocking? Most of the ones from a couple years ago, when it seemed like the entire year was just death after death. David Bowie and Prince were surprising to me, and going back farther, Robin Williams.

9) Random question: What word do you always misspell? For a good while, I kept messing up “amphitheater,” but I’ve had to use it so often in writing about music that I’ve got it down now. More often than not, I just have dumb typos that I repeat, most recently typing “quarter” instead of “quartet.” You know how the iPhone has text replacements so you can type something shorthand and it’ll put out a longer word or phrase? We can do that at work, and I’ve put in a ton of my common typos. Makes things so much faster and easier.

Friday 5: Over Under Sideways Down

  1. What are you so over? Rain! We haven’t cut the grass in a week or so easily because just when we think we have a break in the weather to do it, it rains again. The last 24-ish hours, we’ve finally gotten a long-term, sunny break, so as soon as I finish this, I’m heading out.
  2. What’s something you’ve got under wraps? Ooh. I can’t say! I can’t even hint at it because it’ll be too obvious. I don’t even want to drop a hint about when I can come out and say it. But you’ll know.
  3. What does it take to get you sideways, and what’s your preferred method? Either a lot of liquor or a little bit of wine.
  4. What’s coming down the pike? Some much-needed lawn care and a new front door. I’m putting off new landscaping until next spring or summer, but now that the weather’s cooler, we’re gonna rip all the shit out of the garden plot to get it ready to plant. We’re gonna weed-whack the shit out of the front of the house. We still can’t really afford to either redo the siding or paint the house, but we definitely need a new front door before winter–the current one’s too drafty and I wanted a new one anyway–so I’m hoping to tackle that in the next few weeks.
  5. What’s the last thing you read directions for? Instructions for a fireplace screen, mostly to get an idea of if it would work for what I need…which is to keep the cat out of the damn fireplace.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Listen, People

Saturday 9: Listen, People (1966)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Basically Herman is telling us that we each both break hearts and have our hearts broken during our lifetime. Do you agree? Yeah, I think it’s inevitable. I mean, my husband is the only guy I had a serious relationship with, but I’ve been heartbroken in other ways because of other people. And really, I think sometimes relationship struggles that you come out of doing okay can still be heartbreaking when you’re in them. A heartbreak doesn’t have to be a split.

2) He implores us to take his advice. Have you more recently given or received advice? Probably given. There’s not much going on that I need advice on, and I don’t know many of the unsolicited-advice type.

3) Herman’s real name is Peter Noone. He was popular with girls because of his bright, toothy smile. How’s your oral health? When are you due to go to the dentist? I am far overdue, but I hate dentists and I’m hoping to put it off until I die.

4) Peter/Herman got married on his 21st birthday. That’s one way to make sure you don’t forget your anniversary. Do you have a good memory for anniversaries and birthdays? Anniversaries outside of my immediate family I tend to forget, but I’m pretty good with birthdays. I still don’t have all my in-laws’ birthdays down, but in my defense, my husband has five siblings and he’s spent years remembering at the last minute.

5) Between 1965 and 1971, the Hermits worked very hard. They appeared on all the major TV shows of the day, recorded albums, made a movie and then criss-crossed the United States and the United Kingdom, performing live. After those six years, Peter decided he’d had enough and left the group. Have you ever felt burned out and ready for a change? I did a lot of unpaid work for a music website for a couple years, and I was burned out when I left. It was too much to do for zero money on top of a full-time job and I had some issues with the way things were being run, so I bailed.

6) In 1966, when this song was popular, the miniskirt took the fashion world by storm. What’s the most recent piece of clothing you added to your wardrobe? Leggings!

7) In 1966, TVs were expensive pieces of furniture. A set with a 16″ screen and a wood console sold for $250, which is $1,950 in today’s dollars. Tell us about your TV. How big is it? Where did you buy it? I don’t know the actual size, but it’s kind of medium-sized, typical TV. My parents grabbed it for me either on a Black Friday or Cyber Monday from Best Buy.

8) David Schwimmer, aka Ross on Friends, was born in 1966. Who was your favorite FriendI don’t know if I have one. I think Phoebe, if I have to pick.

9) Random question — Describe your dream car. I’m not a car person, especially now that I work from home–I’m only driving to the gym half the time anymore. And I’ve never really cared about nice, expensive cars, even though I know they tend to be very good quality and worth the price. I guess I think of cars as more of a functional thing than anything else, so luxury cars or muscle cars or anything beyond, “It gets me where I need to go and won’t break down,” just isn’t on my radar.

Saturday 9: Teenage Dream

Saturday 9: Teenage Dream (2010)

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

1) Much of the video for this week’s song takes place in a convertible and on the beach. How’s the weather where you are? Would you be comfortable riding around with the top down today? Overall, we’ve had a lot of rain and it was supposed to continue through the weekend, but by some miracle it’s been warm and sunny.

2) This video was filmed all around Katy Perry’s hometown of Santa Barbara. Amtrak runs through Santa Barbara via The Pacific Surfliner. Tell us about a memorable train trip. I took a train trip to Washington, D.C. with some friends several years ago. I read a lot of Bleak House.

3) Katy sings that her boyfriend thinks she’s funny, even when she gets the punchline wrong. Do you think you’re a better joke-teller or audience? I’m a better storyteller. I can never remember jokes, but I have funny stories to share.

4) Her “teenage dream” lover is shown working out with a heavy bag. When is the last time you visited a gym? Thursday, I think? The weekend ended up busier than we initially expected and we didn’t squeeze it in, but we’ll probably be back tomorrow. I’m just happy to be back in a routine after not consistently going.

5) Katy changes her hair a lot. She’s gone from long black hair to cropped blonde hair with stops at red, green and purple. Today, are you having a good hair day? Yes! I’m relying on colored conditioner to get me through until my next dye session next Saturday, but it came through for me and looks great, considering it’s been a good while sine my last appointment. And my curls are amped up and laying nice. Honestly, I felt really good today overall.

6) Katy thinks dimples are “irresistible” and can’t help poking a finger when a dimpled friend smiles. Do you have dimples? Sure do.

7) Two of Katy’s fragrances (Meow and Purr) are sold in cat-shaped bottles. Are you wearing a scent as you answer these questions? A sample I got from Sephora–Armani’s Because It’s You. I like it, but I’m not sure if I want to buy it.

8)  Katy’s favorite dessert is ice cream (specifically Cold Stone Creamery’s Birthday Cake Remix). What’s the last dessert you ate? Mini cheesecake and mini key-lime pie at brunch this morning.

9) Random question: How often do you change your bedsheets? Every weekend! Listen. It’s advised that sheets be changed once a week because dead skin and sweat are gross, but when we lived in an apartment, paying 4 bucks every week to do it just wasn’t gonna happen. They used to get washed when I could haul them to my parents’ house for free. But now that we’re in a house of our own, the bed gets stripped and the sheets get washed every weekend, as do towels. It doesn’t always happen–some weekends, we  just have too much going on to tackle it all. But I don’t think they’ve gone more than two weeks without being changed since we moved in.