It’s one more random than 10!
First, thanks for all the nice comments about the passing of our cat, Bubba. It was a rough early part of the week, having to prepare to put him down and then dealing with that. But it’s already getting easier, mostly because I know we did the right thing.
I thought of a funny thing related to him. At one point, Bubba weighed 22 pounds. He was huge. He also used to sleep on top of The Lovely Becky’s head every night. We’d get in bed, turn out the lights, and wait for the inevitable leap of Bubba on the bed (usually aimed toward my crotch). Bubba would climb up on TLB’s pillow and park himself above her head like a fat orange fur hat. However, if Becky had to get up, this would cause Bubba to roll down off the pillow and usually into my face. I dubbed this a “flabalanche.” Considering how large and in charge he was, it was amazing he made it to 17.
In fact, Fatty Fat Fat Cat appeared to be in better condition at the same point in his feline life than yours truly. While I have never really been fat in my life, I have had bouts of not being in great shape. The sedentary nature of my job plus the craziness of the last few months have led to one of those bouts again, and despite a few attempts to work out and even jog, I generally have gotten pretty out of shape.
I’ve attempted to rectify that by not only joining a gym, but actually going to it. As part of the membership, I get a free hour of personal training, which I took advantage of last night. Or, more accurately, which took advantage of me last night.
My trainer, an energetic young woman named E, had developed a routine that was pretty fast-paced and based on a lot of non-dude exercises—medicine ball twists, walking lunges, and things that generally involved no weights or moderate ones. Much different than the usual clean-and-circle-jerk exercises I did. As I saw the rather light amounts we were working with, I had a Brave Sir Robin “That’s easy!” moment.
Flash-forward to an hour later. I arrived back home, a liter of Fiji water in hand (nature’s IV as far as I’m concerned), and fell into—not sat down on—the living room chair. “How was it?” TLB asked. I tried to answer but TLB couldn’t hear me over the wailing and gnashing of tendons coming from my hamstrings. So I have adjusted my fitness goals from increasing cardio capacity, weight loss, and increasing strength to being able to walk again without groaning. Baby steps, as they say.
Onto the tunes...
1) “South Tacoma Way,” Neko Case. I grew up hating country music because I never knew country music could sound like this. Side note: Every night, The Lovely Becky, who possesses a lovely voice, sings Libby to sleep. There’s a little ritual where we both take Libby to bed, Libby gives me my hug goodnight, and then she turns off the light and climbs into Becky’s arms for her song. TLB often sings Neko Case to her. Nothing has ever made me wish I could sing more than that. Unfortunately, the point of that ritual is to get Libby to sleep, not run screaming.
2) “Jellybelly,” Smashing Pumpkins. Great, even the iPod is calling me fat. Underrated tune from the Infinite Album Title album. I like the mini-freakout in the middle and the Velveeta-level processing of the guitars. Sometimes you just want to gobble down a heaping bowl of cheese food.
3) “Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial),” Coheed & Cambria. The first time TLB ever heard these guys, she asked me if that was a girl singing. After about 30 more seconds, she used her iPod veto power to change the song. I wasn’t surprised, because they are shamelessly prog, but I like them because I also find them catchy and heavy (pubescent vocals notwithstanding). The video also has an awesome Drummer Face at the beginning and cosmically bad Singer Hair that must been seen to be believed. He looks like he was assaulted with highlights and a crimping iron by Terri Nunn.
4) “Outfit,” Drive-By Truckers. Sometimes when a really great song comes up, I get writer’s block. What do I say to convey how much I love this song? Inevitably, I end up starting a line and then deleting it over and over again. So this time I’ll just say that this is so great, I’ve got nothing other than to say you should listen to it.
5) “Communication Breakdown,” Led Zeppelin. The first album is the only one I can get all the way through without skipping any songs, which is funny because I think some of the other albums are overall better. But IV has “Four Sticks,” Houses of the Holy has their worst song ever, “The Crunge,” and I could definitely wouldn’t miss “Boogie With Stu” or “Sick Again” on Physical Graffiti. The first album, though, just rocks all the way through, and I think “Communication Breakdown” almost has a punk sensibility, with that sharp riff, rather no-nonsense drumming from Bonzo, and the quick burst of guitar solo at the end that sounds like Jimmy Page added some safety pins to his dragon-embroidered kimono.
6) “Songbird,” Fleetwood Mac. Light, airy, and pretty, but I could use a little more Hawkwind.
7) “You Make My Dreams,” Hall & Oates. I have a rule for the Random 11 where I skip songs that I’ve written about before, but I’m more than willing to break that for my favorite Hall & Oates song. In fact, I was really hoping this would come up today, because this song is instant good mood to me. Pet deaths, shredded muscles, living with my in-laws for the foreseeable future because no one wants to buy a house in the U.P. (shocking, I know)...all of that fades away as I tap my feet to this. Dare I say if said in-laws were not home, I might have paused to dance throughout the house. Also, the video is one of the most perfect uses of music in a movie ever.
8) “Say You Will,” Foreigner. This is the dark side of the greatest hits purchase. eMusic added their best of, and for a Jim Dandy price at that. While not a great band, I could use me some “Hot Blooded” and “Urgent” from time to time (Foreigner fall under what I call the “Loverboy Corallary” of music). However, the catch was I had to buy the whole album. That’s pretty common with some major-label releases on eMusic—they don’t always let you get just the songs you want. Still, it was a good deal. Well, then something like this comes up, which is so generic and bland that even Toto wouldn’t record it.
9) “Nails in My Feet,” Crowded House. I’m ringing in my 40th in a couple of weeks by seeing these guys with TLB. I remember hearing they were coming to UC San Diego for a show back in the late 80s. I wanted to go but couldn’t, and I figured I’d catch them later. Didn’t quite think it would be 20 years later, but better late than never.
10) “The Flame,” Cheap Trick. If I had a time machine and could do three things with it, I’d do the following: 1) Kill Hitler. 2) Tackle Steve Bartman before he could grab that foul ball. 3) Pick a different song for my wedding. TLB and I both would veto this now, but when you’re young and in love, well, sappy songs stick to you like Gorilla Glue. We both often talk about how we wish we could get married again, so that we could do our wedding differently (for instance, I’d recommend “Hot Girls in Love” as our wedding song). Sometimes we even discuss staging a divorce and then remarrying a year later to have that second wedding. The problem is no one would believe it if we actually said we were divorcing, and I’m also concerned what an unfettered TLB might do during that year off. It might wind up taking a lot more than holding a boom box over my head blaring “The Flame” to get her back.
11) “Ageless Beauty,” Stars. Another worth breaking the no-repeat rule for, and a damn fine way to rock into the weekend. It’s on my Cannot Be Overplayed list and triggers an instant volume-knob reflex. It’s also one of the rare songs where I like the verses a bit more than the chorus.
Have a great weekend, and don’t pull anything (unless the romantic mood strikes).