Sick Day

I hate being sick.  Feeling like death, drained of energy, unable to work up enough gumption to go to the bathroom let alone actually accomplish something.  It sucks.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do but stay horizontal and ride it out.  Put on that handful of movies you’ve seen so many times, you could practically recite them verbatim and wait for your immune system to kick whatever microbe it’s battling.  The list itself varies a bit but here’s a representative sample of what I like to watch when all I can do is open my eyes:

The Breakfast Club, There are so many quotable lines here but if I had to pick a favorite, I might go with: “Impossible sir.  It’s in Johnson’s underwear.” -John Bender in reference to his bag of pot.

Willow, When Val Kilmer was thin and brunette and way before Warwick Davis ever met Ricky Gervais, they had this awesome exchange:           Willow: “See this acorn? I’ll throw it at you and turn you to stone.”                                           Madmartigan: “Ooh, I’m really scared. No! Don’t! There’s a- a peck here with an acorn pointed at me!”

A Life Less Ordinary, Best line comes courtesy of Judith Ivey: “Remember my dear, they only want one thing.  Maybe they want it more than once, but it’s still only one thing.”

Moulin Rouge!, Though rife with quotable dialogue, the music here totally steals the show.  “El Tango De Roxeanne” is my favorite.

Drop Dead Fred, My sister and I might be the only 2 people ever to have seen this flick and liked it, but honestly, how can I not with lines like this: “Let’s play PIRATES!!  We’ll cut off our legs and glue on wooden ones!”

Fever Pitch, Best line?  Nearly every one that comes out of Jimmy Fallon’s mouth.

High Fidelity, There’s nothing more comforting than a wordy John Cusack rant.  Case in point: “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over.  Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss.  Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable?  Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

What do you watch when you’re too sick to get out of bed?

~Nikki

On the Surface I’m A Name On A List

Dave Matthews Band and the Allman Brothers in Atlanta, 2008

As I love lists and going to concerts, you know I’ve got a file saved with a list of every show I’ve ever seen. (#OCDnerdALERT) True story: About 10 years ago, the list was an awesomely detailed and hilarious Excel file with descriptions of everything you could imagine. Who I went with, where it was, the date, a rating system (!); even threw in if I got a freaking concert tee or not. Sheesh. Then, suddenly, X, in all of her infinite summa cum laude wisdom, decided to wipe my parents’ computer clean without telling anybody. So, I’ve had to pieces-parts put the thing back together again, and in recently updating it with the addition of the lovely Mumford & Sons show, I did a quick count and realized I have officially seen 90 live concerts!!! To commemorate this huge milestone in my life, I give you, a list of every show I’ve ever seen, divided by genre (sort of, as figuring out how to classify this stuff made my head spin).

~Annie

Oldies

  • James Taylor
  • Billy Joel & Elton John
  • Neil Diamond
  • Paul McCartney
  • Chicago with America
  • Chicago with Earth, Wind, & Fire
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Chad & Jeremy
  • Lesley Gore with Lou Christie
  • Herman’s Hermits
  • a local radio station concert featuring: The Grass Roots, The Animals, The Spinners, Young Rascals, and America
  • Eddie Money
  • Allman Brothers Band

Country

  • Keith Urban
  • Kenny Chesney with Rascal Flatts and Uncle Kracker
  • Reba McEntire with Brad Paisley

Festivals

  • Me, draped in a poncho, holding up the ACL ball

    The Rolling Rock Town Fair V (2004) featuring: Staind, Velvet Revolver, Disturbed, N*E*R*D, Hoobastank, The Crystal Method, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Finger Eleven,

  • Ozzfest 2003 featuring: Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Distrubed, Chevelle
  • Austin City Limits 2009 featuring: Kings of Leon, Phoenix, The Knux, The Walkmen, Dave Matthews Band, Flogging Molly, Bon Iver, Bell X1, Pearl Jam, The Dead Weather, Passion Pit, White Lies (and about 75 other acts that I couldn’t see due to logistics of dragging my ass through miles and miles of mud – too bad I didn’t have this blog then, THAT would have been a post)
  • a local radio station pop show featuring: Mandy Moore and for the life of me I cannot remember anyone else; they were all little pop one-hit wonders. :/


My brief Christian music phase

  • Michael W. Smith (first concert, EVER!)
  • Jars of Clay with Jennifer Knapp
  • Michael W. Smith with Point of Grace

Rock and Pop

  • Pearl Jam (6 times)
  • Dave Matthews Band (32 times – my earlier count was wrong!)
  • Creed with 3 Doors Down
  • Disturbed with Ten Years
  • Oasis with Jet
  • Lostprophets
  • Third Eye Blind
  • Matchbox 20 with Train
  • Third Eye Blind with Splendor and Vertical Horizon
  • Lifehouse
  • Goo Goo Dolls
  • Goo Goo Dolls with Fastball
  • Linkin Park
  • Luscious Jackson with Smashmouth
  • John Mayer
  • John Mayer with Guster
  • Celine Dion
  • Phoenix
  • Sarah McLachlan with Butterfly Boucher
  • Tori Amos with Ben Folds
  • Idina Menzel
  • Nelly Furtado
  • Matchbox 20
  • Goo Goo Dolls with Third Eye Blind and Vanessa Carlton
  • Lights (3 times, once with Owl City, once with Ambassadors, and once alone)
  • Band of Horses with Brad
  • The Swell Season with Mark Dignam
  • Passion Pit with Mayor Hawthorne
  • Florence + the Machine with The Walkmen
  • Mumford & Sons

Can I Wake You Up?

Awesome music-share alert!

I just discovered a band that is not even remotely new, but that I had never really heard of until my MOM and sister brought them to my attention. I’m talking about Bombay Bicycle Club, and oh shit, am I in love.

Their latest release, A Different Kind of Fix, came out this past January and it had me at first listen. It’s rock, indie (what even IS indie, I ask you?), alternative, moody, slightly electronic…. the closest thing I can come up with is the love child of Arcade Fire and Duran Duran, with a sprinkle of both Belle & Sebastian and The Fleet Foxes. If that doesn’t pique your interest, what kind of shitty music do you listen to?

Of course these guys are from London, because EVERYTHING GOOD COMES FROM ENGLAND. Apparently they formed around 2005ish, and then won some Virgin Mobile battle-of-the-bands contest. Lucky them, and us. Sidenote: They are also really freaking cute. *waves* I’m single, guys!! *bats lashes*

This album, so far, has made me want to, in no particular order: Sleep, cry, fall in love, get it on, run, drive really fast, chill, stare at the wall, contemplate deep shit. You know, all the good things about being alive.

‘How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep’ manages to be both soothing AND toe-tap-inducing. How is that possible?

My favorite track is ‘Bad Timing’, which just completely sounds like a lost Arcade Fire track. Haunting and lush. My favorite yummy ways to describe music.

The songs ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Lights Out, Words Gone,’ will make you instantly happy and feel like doing a little shuffle yourself. They are light and airy; happy and melancholy.

Oh my god, I forgot about ‘Leave It’ and ‘What You Want’ – which are both just achingly awesome. See?! This album is so good, as I go through each track I keep being reminded how great it is. I’m just putting the spotify box in here with the whole damn album so you can take a listen yourself. As long as you have a heart and soul and ears, ye shall not be disappointed.

~Annie

Awake My Soul

Mumford & Sons, Columbus OH, 8/14/12

Well, my friends, something amazing happened. Nikki and I got a huge wish granted last week, amidst a parking lot full of thousands of dirty, filthy assholes, farting with abandon, seizing, and fainting, all whilst getting inebriated. I’m talking about the Mumford & Sons concert in Columbus, Ohio. Another concert bucket list alert. :)

Aside from all the human bodily atrocities we were accosted with that steamy night, came the glorious, soul-stirring sounds of the band that consists of Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwayne. Having experienced this show with my own eyes and ears, I can tell you they are even more talented than I originally thought. Every song was played to perfection, with Mumford’s gravelly voice and the entire band’s tremendous skill on every instrument they touched. Really though, I don’t know how Mumford’s forearm doesn’t fly off at the elbow while he’s destroying the guitar or banjo.

Babel, their new album, arrives on September 25th, so I knew the show would be full of lots of new stuff. I was a little bummed about this, only because I love being familiar with all the material a band is putting out. Shame on me, because every. single. song. off the forthcoming album was stupendous. Phenomenal. First-listen good. After each one I leaned to my cohorts and exclaimed “That was AMAZING!” Here are a few videos my crew took of their new stuff….

This one REALLY blew me away…

And finally, this is the single, which I had heard a couple of times, and am in true, deep love with. :)

The foul crowd. Seriously, people, stop farting at concerts. You’re making me choke on my own puke.

Of course, they played most of their first album, Sigh No More, as well, although sadly, they did not play the title track, which is a song that never fails to soothe/depress/destroy/invigorate my life force. The other heavy hitters, “Roll Away Your Stone,” “Little Lion Man,” “The Cave” (an EXPLOSIVE final song. I might venture so far as to say I’ve never seen a group of people completely erupt as these ones certainly did. The look on the boys’ faces as they are playing this one, watching everyone go ballistic is priceless – they always seem overcome with joy. Try screaming this at the top of your lungs while jumping with around 4,500 people. Nature’s drugs, I tell ya), were all there, and NO SOUND that came off that stage disappointed.

Since I can’t in good faith post my own video of “The Cave” (as I was leaping and screaming, and at one point just gave up filming), I have scoured all the vids on youtube to find one that best conveyed how it felt to be in the audience that night. I give you, the 1:15 mark:

Marcus Mumford, up on a big screen

They were gracious, funny, charming (they kept doing the typical Ohio State chants, “O – H!” – to which everyone replies back, “I – O!” I found this incredibly adorable as they are from the UK). They are obscenely talented musicians. Their catalog of music is literally some of the best that can be found today. This band is no joke, and live (where you always find out the truth about a band), they proved all of this, unequivocally. Mumford & Sons, I’ll love you til the day I die.

~Annie

Set List:
Lovers’ Eyes
Little Lion Man
I Will Wait
White Blank Page
I Gave You All
Timshel
Roll Away Your Stone
Lover of the Light
Thistle & Weeds
Ghosts That We Knew
Below My Feet
Awake My Soul
Whispers in the Dark
Dust Bowl Dance
Encore:
Where Are You Now?
Winter Winds
The Cave

If A Man Can’t Lie, How Can He Speak?

Let’s talk short stories.  I know some folks who think they’re a waste of time.  Give me a full-length novel or nothing! they say.  Others who may not have time in their busy lives to read books enjoy a good short story.  I’m somewhere in between.  I like them enough and have been known to buy collections of them from time to time but I do admit that the ones that blow me away are few and far between.  The ones that knock me on my ass, though, make it worth it.  Here are a few of my all-time favorites:

5. Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King – yes, it later became the basis for one of the top 5 movies of all time, “The Shawshank Redemption” and yes, technically, it’s a novella, which is slightly longer in length than a short story (but still too short to be a novel; I know, who makes these rules?) but the story is too good for it not to make this list.  And by good, I mean moving, haunting, rich in character development and a stunningly elegant plot.  For a master of horror, King sure does know his way around a drama.

4. The Invitation by Barb Johnson – I read this story in the collection entitled More Of This World And Maybe Another.  Every story in it is set in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) and all are worth reading.  What sets The Invitation apart is its impeccable timing.  Johnson balances heavy themes such as poverty, infidelity and redemption with its relatively light plot that revolves around a couple’s anniversary party seamlessly.

3. Jesus Christ’s Half-Brother Is Alive And Well On The Spokane Indian Reservation by Sherman Alexie – This oddly titled story is one of 22 exceptional stories in the published collection called The Lone Ranger And Tonto Fistfight In Heaven.  Its stream-of-consciousness style immerses you into the story completely, pulling you so far in, you feel like you’re living it.

2. Distances by Sherman Alexie – Another of Alexie’s outstanding stories, Distances is a beautifully mournful story about loss and remorse and the way they shape who we are.

1. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Probably my favorite short story ever, The Yellow Wallpaper tells the tale of a young woman spiraling downward in neurotic delusions.  Told in such an original and entirely consuming way, you’ll feel unhinged before it’s over.

~Nikki

Come Into Your Nightmares

Halloween is a mere ten weeks away and already the horror flick trailers have begun.  I may be jumping the gun here but it seems this scary movie season might actually have something to offer.  Check this out:

Okay, so they’re obviously using the word scientific very loosely and the tagline “Once you believe, you die” is ridiculous, but otherwise, this could be promising.  No, seriously… did you see the wall consume a person?  And the dead, grey hands engulfing the chick at the end?  That’s some creepy imagery, if nothing else.

Not sold, huh?  All right, look at this one:

It looks like a hybrid of The Amityville Horror, Fallen and Insidious.  Again with the imagery – those dead children sitting in a circle in the attic made my skin crawl.

I’m not quite ready for summer to end but fall is my absolute favorite and one of the reasons for that is the rush of scary movies that hits theaters.  You know ghost stories trump all and I’d say The Apparition counts as a ghost story.  Demons may be less cool but Sinister looks pretty damn, well… sinister.  Man, I love a good scary movie.

~Nikki

Every Game You Play, I’ll Be Watching You

Oh, holy mother of love, are you ready for a banner f*cking year on Showtime?

Only two seasons of Dexter left.  Will he go to prison?  Will Deb just kill him instead?  Will he kill her first?  Have they scrapped that awful incestuous storyline (please god)?  My head’s going to explode.

For those of you fools who thought Homeland couldn’t maintain its heart-pounding suspense, prepare to eat crow.

Six weeks exactly, you know where I’ll be.

~N.