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.

Well, it finally happened–after a few attempts, Terra is officially a licensed driver.

She took a break from trying for a little bit, worked on her anxiety some, and came back at it the weekend after my birthday. After getting stuck waiting in PennDOT because we missed her name being called due to being in the wrong place, she took it. I think I’ve said this before, but every time we’ve gone, I’ve felt what parents with teenagers must feel. I’m nervous for her.

Because she’s not a very expressive person, when she walked back in, I had no idea if she’d passed or not. It was only when I asked her how it went and she said she hit two kids that I knew she got it–she wouldn’t be making jokes otherwise.

And then we went to the mall so she could get herself some shirts celebrating the Pens’ second consecutive Stanley Cup win, and I bought a phone charger for my car because I’ve somehow lasted basically the last two years without ever getting one, and as I had plans for the evening, I really needed it.

Paul had gotten word Friday through a coworker that Bernie Sanders would be in Pittsburgh as part of a small series of appearances of the weekend speaking out against the Republican healthcare bill. Initially, I assumed it was a morning rally and we wouldn’t be able to make it, but instead, the evening timing worked about perfectly–I took a little longer with Terra than I expected, but Paul and I met at our usual South Hills T stop, took it downtown, and made the short walk from the station to the convention center and got in line. I used the same method I do for general-admission, standing-room-only concerts, which is to get there an hour before doors open. You almost always get a really great spot, and an hour to kill in line isn’t too bad, and neither is the hour-ish you kill inside waiting.

Of course, when we saw Bill Clinton in college, we got down there first thing in the morning, but you kind of have to when your cousins live a mile down the road and you can make a day of it.

We did end up with a pretty decent spot about three rows back, and it was a great event. Although Bernie was the focus, of course, they had six speakers before him, which seems like a lot but wasn’t considering most of them only spoke for a few minutes–and all of them gave great, memorable speeches about their personal stories of struggles with healthcare, why it’s important for that care to be affordable, and why the proposed legislation isn’t a viable solution. They were the kind of speeches that the opposition should hear, because even though they got a great response from a room full of people who shared their opinion, it’s crucial for people to understand what these people stand to lose if this passes.

Bernie was great, of course, with just the kind of demeanor I’d expect with a little bit of showmanship, repeating the sorts of lines he became known for when he was campaigning. But he was really cool to see, and even though a rally seems like a tiny, tiny thing to do when it comes to political involvement, I’m glad I went and I hope to be able to do more in the future. It’s just that less than two months before my wedding is not ideal.

We ate a late dinner in Washington at Primanti’s, then enjoyed the rest of our weekend.

I’ve fallen behind, but I am officially 28 now. I don’t care that I’m creeping closer to 30, seriously. Age is just a number, and 30 is still young anyway. I’ve got so much time ahead of me that placing some meaning on age 30 is silly.

My birthday fell right in the middle of the week, so Paul and I went to dinner, just the two of us. Back when we were planning where to go with my family for Father’s Day, we were between two restaurants we’d never been to, and we picked one with more variety on the menu. I wanted to try both and we’re still trying to figure out where to have rehearsal dinner for the wedding, so for my birthday, I went for the place we rejected.

Paul and I had the same verdict–the place we went to for Father’s Day, Angelo’s, has a better atmosphere, but the birthday dinner, Roland’s, had better food. Angelo’s wasn’t bad or anything, it just wasn’t much different than Olive Garden quality. Roland’s, though…I’m almost positive everything we had was homemade. The place looks like a total dive and it’s in the middle of nowhere so it’s probably out for rehearsal dinner–plus the fact that it has very little parking–but it’s certainly the best Italian food in Washington. I can’t believe we went this long without knowing it existed, given the quality and rave reviews most other locals give it, but then again, with where it is, there’s  no reason we’d ever be out there for anything. It’s technically the same street we live on, just heading outside of town and into the woods.

I’ve said this before, but living together and doing most of your shopping together makes it hard to buy gifts that are a true surprise, especially for Paul, who’s incredibly unlikely to shop at all unless I want to go somewhere. So most of my gifts were not-so-subtle hints, like books by Al Franken and David Sedaris and Pens tee shirts. He did find some neat things on his own, though, so at least there was some element of surprise.

We came home with a ton of leftovers–I had about half my dinner left, plus gelato we got to go and a piece of cheesecake she threw in because it was my birthday. It was all fucking delicious and a great end to the day.

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.

Friday 5: Shape of Things to Come

  1. What shape is your mood today? A star. We’ve been really busy the past couple weeks with something going on almost every day and no time at home to ourselves, but today, my fiancé’s hanging out with a friend and I had no other plans, so I have the day to myself at home. I’m using it to tackle things on my to-do list that got brushed aside the past few weeks, mainly some writing assignments that need done and some wedding planning. So the star is for feeling productive yet without that really hectic, busy feeling that comes with being out and about.
  2. What snack comes in a fun shape? Goldfish crackers are the most obvious ones, of course, and I can’t think of anything that would beat them.
  3. Someone’s building your dream house, but it has to be in the shape of a letter of the alphabet.  Which letter do you choose? Probably O, because a circle seems like it might work the best.
  4. What’s a great song with a shape in its title or lyrics? “Scratching Cirles” by JD McPherson. First of all, all of his music is great–he plays a sort early-rock style, and he doesn’t have a singe bad song. “Scratching Circles” is a particularly fun, catchy one. I’m also gonna throw in a song to go with my mood shape today, so “Star” by Erasure. I found Erasure by accident in the days when illegal downloads were a lot more common. I’d gone on a Depeche Mode spree, and someone had mislabeled “A Little Respect” as a Depeche Mode. I could tell by the sound–and vocals in particular–that it was not, in fact, Depeche Mode, so I Googled the lyrics and found that it was actually Erasure. It led to a long love affair with the duo, and “Star” was one of the earlier songs I discovered in the aftermath of “A Little Respect.” I could could going on and on because I love Erasure so fucking much.
  5. What’s something in your line of sight that can reasonably be called blob-shaped? The laundry bag full of towels we washed at my parents’ house last night. We obviously did not put the towels away when we came home.

As always, from Friday 5.

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.