Friday 5: Let’s Get Physical

  1. How confidently could you turn a cartwheel right now? I am very confident I can’t do one at all. I never did master it to begin with.
  2. How (physically) flexible are you? Not very. I used to be more flexible when I did ballet, but I’ve probably lost all of it.
  3. How are your Frisbee-throwing skills? I haven’t done it in years, but they were never good. I’d imagine they haven’t improved.
  4. Which carnival game do you have the best shot at winning? I’m not sure, because my parents never let us play them because they knew it was a waste of money. But because I am a child, I like the dumbest, simplest games that, of course, involve zero skill and animals–duck ponds, where you pick a duck, and fishing games with a little rod. Also note that you always win a prize in both.
  5. How good are you at toss-the-paper-in-the-wastebasket? I am probably less terrible at this than I am everything else in these questions. I typically don’t toss things in garbage cans because I know my skill set, but it does tend to go better than most other things.

As always, from Friday 5.

We made our annual trip to the zoo two weeks ago, which I enjoyed as much as I always do, and then we had lunch/dinner at Burgatory. It was a nice, fun day out with the family.

We didn’t do much for the 4th, at least not what one would expect. One day, we’ll host our own cookouts, but for now, with nothing else going on–and partly because I wanted to anyway–we went out to Row House for a screening of Pan’s Labyrinth. I watch it every couple years, it seems, which is about good. As good as it is, it can also be depressing and intense, so it’s not something you want to be watching frequently. But it’s one of the many movies I’ve been wanting to show Paul, so when it popped up in a fantasy theme at Row House, that was my opportunity. And that’s what I love about the fact that Row House shows older movies. You get the theater experience with movies that have long left them. I saw Pan’s Labyrinth when it first came out in theaters, so I’m glad Paul got that.

The movie was great, of course, and I cried at the end, which has happened every time I’ve seen it. I’m not sure about the first time, but the last time I watched it, it was late, I was up watching it alone, and I had a good sob session. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen it  enough times now, but I did a good job of not being a total mess leaving the theater.

We walked down the road a bit and found some dinner, spent the evening walking a trail near our apartment, and that was our 4th. It was kind of nice.

Saturday 9: I Will Never Let You Down

Saturday 9: I Will Never Let You Down (2017)
… because Smellyann recommended Fastball

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

1) Fastball is a trio from Austin, Texas. Austin is the capital of Texas. When you were in school, did you have to memorize the state capitals? Yep.

2) Have you ever visited your state’s capital? A couple times. My uncle lives in a suburb of Harrisburg, so whenever we’d visit, we’d spend some time in the area and went into the actual capitol building once or twice.

3) Fastball played dates throughout Canada this past spring. When did you last leave the US of A? When I went to Mexico a few years ago.

4) Tony Scalzo is a founding member of Fastball. He’s the singer in the video for this song, and that’s his wife, Jennifer, playing the organizer of the speed-dating event. Have you ever gotten a job because you knew somebody? Yes and no. My first writing job was for the local paper, and my dad had asked–against my wishes–a reporter he knew if they had any openings. They asked for a portfolio, so I submitted one, and I got a job as a stringer, which is sort of a freelance-type job where I wasn’t a full-time employee but was instead paid per article. So while he did know someone, I don’t think they gave it to me for that reason, and the reason I’m so confident in that is that they were pleased with my work, rarely edited it, and offered me a permanent position after I graduated. Unfortunately, they got to me after I’d already accept elsewhere.
5) In this pitch to a perspective lover, he admits he doesn’t have much money. Last time you went to the ATM, how much did you withdraw? I think $20, maybe $40 at most. It was to stop at the farmers market, and I don’t spend a whole lot there.

6) He sings that at times, his mind is hazy. Do you have a good memory for names? I think it’s slipped a little because I feel like I used to be better at that, but that said, I’m still better than a lot of people. Like, I forget the names of people I’ve only met once a long time ago, not someone I just met.

7) Fastball guitarist Miles Zuniga admits that he once had a crush on Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia). Tell us about one of your one-sided love affairs, either with a celebrity or someone you knew in real life. I think the best one-sided story I have is this guy I met doing stage crew for a local ballet. I had a pretty solid crush on him and worked up the nerve to ask him to our Christmas dance and he accepted, but he had to fill out a form to go and just kind of…didn’t. I saw him a while later at a free concert and sent him a message on MySpace, because it was that time, and he ignored it. I mean, I was already fairly certain he wasn’t interested as it was, but that really sealed it. And I’m not the type to keep pushing it. I’m marrying someone else next month and don’t have a MySpace anymore, so I feel like I came out on the good end of that.

8) Fastball’s drummer Joey Shuffield is partial to drums from Pork Pie Percussion. This company was started by Bill Detamore, who began making drums as a hobby. Do you have any hobbies that, under the right circumstances, could make you money? Oh, writing, for sure–and I do make money at it. In fact, when I finish this, I’m gonna do an article. And some others, too. I like crafty things, even though I haven’t done one in years, and stuff like that can always be sold. If I played guitar more and developed skill, that could be monetized.

9) The fast ball is the most common pitch in major league baseball. Now that the MLB season is past the halfway mark, how is your baseball team doing? I mean, I don’t pay too much attention to them–it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates, and anyone familiar with baseball knows how that tends to go. I know things were looking up for them the past couple seasons, but it sounds like that’s maybe not really happening this year.

Friday 5: Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation

  1. Why are waffles better than pancakes? I don’t know that I’d say they’re better, but I love them both for different reasons. For example, for some reason, heaps of fruit and whipped cream seem more appropriate on a waffle than a pancake, so that’s a huge plus, especially given the texture of a waffle. And when they’re made perfectly and they’re really fluffy, it’s perfect.
  2. What’s something you remember about being 11? Not much! I would’ve turned 11 the summer of 2000, so by that point, we knew that Y2K wasn’t a thing. I probably spent that summer playing with our dog at the time, Mandy, a lab we’d gotten maybe the year before. That’s how I became a dog person–I’d been afraid of them, actually, up to that point.
  3. What experience do you have with role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons? Pretty much zero.
  4. How do you feel about carnival rides that make you go upside-down? I always used to be afraid of them, and then when I was 17 and on a school chamber ensemble trip to Disney in Orlando, I went on the Aerosmith roller coaster and loved it. I still enjoy them, but I get so nervous before I go on.
  5. You’ve seen Matthew Modine in more films than you realize (which he famously admitted during his opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1988) (filmography here). Which have you seen, and which was the best? Apparently, I’ve actually only seen him in Weeds.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: The Joker

Saturday 9: The Joker (1973)
because Stacy recommended it.
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Steve Miller claims he’s a picker, grinner, sinner, lover, smoker and joker. Do any of those six words describe you? Joker, mostly.

2) He maintains he’s still a midnight toker. When’s the last time you got high? It’s been a few years.

3) The lyrics include a reference to peaches. Name your favorite fruit. Raspberries, strawberries, and cherries.

4) This song had a big impact on the character of Joey on Friends, who had an imaginary friend named Maurice with the occupation of space cowboy. Did you ever have an imaginary friend? Kind of. I didn’t have imaginary friends that were totally made up, but I would imagine myself in scenarios with fictional characters from stories and movies I liked. No wonder I went into writing, even if my fiction anymore is rare.

5) Steve Miller is the pride of Milwaukee, WI. What else is Milwaukee famous for? I have no idea.

6) Steve Miller considers himself a serious blues guitarist. When did you last feel like singing the blues? I don’t know. It’s been a while.

7) In 1973, when this song was popular, you could buy a portable 8-track tape player for $44.50. On what device do you listen to music most often? Either in the car or on my computer. Computer probably wins, though, because I have musing playing on it almost constantly.

8) A Curious George book packaged with a Curious George plush toy was a big seller at Christmas 1973. Tell us about a toy — either given or received — that brightened a holiday or birthday for you. I can’t really think of a specific one, but I got a lot of Barbies in my time.
9) M*A*S*H was one of TV’s top-rated shows in 1973. Who is your favorite M*A*S*H character? I don’t have one. Haven’t really watched it.

Friday 5: Grabby

  1. There’s a convenience store nearby and you have a small case of the munchies. What do you grab? I probably think about finding something healthy-ish, but ultimately settle on some chocolate-chip cookies. Or! If it’s a Sheetz, which is likely where I’m from, I order something, probably a veggie sandwich.
  2. You’re about to get on a plane and someone just stole all your reading material, but there’s a newsstand nearby. What magazine (of likely available titles) do you grab? A couple music magazines, most likely Rolling Stone and Spin because those are readily available. Maybe keep an eye out for others that I know I’ll like, like something politics.
  3. On a regular work day, where do you grab lunch and what do you get if you don’t bring a lunch from home? So I’ve never gone out for lunch at work outside of my first day–except for maybe once or twice–mostly because we get a half-hour and even with a good number of food options just down the road, you kill that half-hour really fast before you even get to eat. I’d probably either get a baked potato from Wendy’s, a salad from McDonald’s, or see what local café Zoup has.
  4. Instead of a lunch, you decide you need a quick nap during your workday. Where can you grab 40 winks? My car’s probably my best option.
  5. How close to your head is your cell phone when you’re asleep in bed? Almost always right next to it on my nightstand. I keep it out of the bed itself.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: Yankee Doodle

Saturday 9: I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

From the archives

1) This week’s song was performed by James Cagney in the famous movie of the same name. Do you plan on going to the movies this holiday weekend? Initially, I wasn’t, but there’s this local movie theater that shows older movies–from vintage classics to releases that recently left theaters–and they’re having a creepy fantasy theme this week. One of the movies they’re showing is Pan’s Labyrinth, which I’ve seen and loved but my fiance has not, so I declared that’s how we’re spending the afternoon of our 4th.

2) Though known for his larger-than-life screen presence, Cagney was only 5’5″. How tall are you? Just a smidge shorter than Cagney at 5’4 1/2″. I include the half when I want to sound less short.

3) During the Revolutionary War, General Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his troops a double ration of rum. Will you imbibe any spirits this holiday weekend? I haven’t yet, but maybe in the evening. I have moonshine and peach liquor.

4) American history was one of Crazy Sam’s best subjects in school. Science was her worst. In which class did you earn your worst grades? Math, but only after a certain point. I’ve described this before–I can and have done really well in math, getting As, but there always comes a point in any math class I’ve taken where I’m doing great and then suddenly, I’m just…not. Things stop making sense and whatever should click just never does. I never failed a math class, fortunately, but in middle school, I had some grades plummet.

5) The Fourth of July means we’re in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen? If I know I’m gonna be outside for a good while, yes. My skin is pretty fair, and it’ll burn for sure.

6) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now? Just ones from my usual dry skin.

7) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you recently been to the ER or Urgent Care? I visited for New Year’s for a sore throat that turned into an ear infection, but that was it.
8) New York is home to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend? No. I’m a vegetarian, and my fiancé very rarely eats them.9) Atlanta hosts a 10K Peachtree Road Race every 4th of July. Are you a runner? Not at all! I hate it, and I’m convinced “runner’s high” is all lies.