“We came from a mystery and it’s to a mystery we go Maybe there’s something there, but I’m betting it’s not God as any church understands Him. Look at the babble of conflicting beliefs and you’ll know that. They cancel each other out and leave nothing. If you want truth, a power greater than yourselves, look to the lightning – a billion volts in each strike, and a hundred thousand amperes of current, and temperatures of fifty thousand degrees Fahrenheit. There’s a higher power in that, I grant you. But here in this building? No. Believe what you want, but I tell you this: behind Saint Paul’s darkened glass, there is nothing but a lie.”
The above quote says a lot about this novel. As a Constant Reader of Mr. King, I went into this one blind (only because I put off reading it for years and forgot the plot by the time I finally started it). I thought the little boy, Jamie, would be one of King’s “gifted kids” and Jacobs, the minister Jamie befriends, would be some kind of monster. Well, I wasn’t 100% wrong.
We see Jamie grow up to be a drug addicted musician who reunites with Jacobs at a very vulnerable moment that cements a forever connection between them. And boy does it get creepy after that. No spoilers from me, but believe me, this book’s climax is DARK AND EXTRA EVIL. Totally worth the slow build up. Kudos to Uncle Steve for yet another story with emotion and heart that will also scare the hell out of you.
I wanted to do a quick post to plug this super fun episode of the podcast I used to be on regularly with some of the greatest and most badass ladies (and one dude) I know. It was great to get back together with the Broads, catch up on what we’ve been up to, wax nostalgic on the past episodes we recorded, and do some straight up laughing. Check it out, won’t you? It’s the 200th episode, so if you’re a new listener, you have 199 other eps to delve into as well! Warning: Not safe for work or easily offended brains. Filled with Hidden Valley Raunch.
A few weeks ago, my friend Jennie tagged me in a Facebook meme. It went like this:
“I was nominated by So & So: Day whatever of 10. In no particular order- your 10 all time favorite albums which really made an impact and are still in your rotation, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same. Today I nominate So & So.”
I did it enthusiastically, because come on, Facebook is a piece of shit nowadays. It’s good for nothing but sharing things like this with your like minded friends. Between the politics, the data stealing, and the pyramid schemes your friends try to rope you into (hey, I actually love my LulaRoe leggings. Whatever.), it’s a garbage fire. I’m only still there because part of me still cares about some of the people I don’t see in person anymore, and the Events thingie is helpful.
ANYWAY, I wanted to elaborate on the 10 albums I chose, so here we are. I’m gonna do that! Today’s pick is the last one I chose, Viva La Vida by Coldplay.
Coldplay always struck me as U2, Jr. And I mean that as a very high compliment. Four earnest boys who met in school, with an especially charismatic frontman bound for an evolution of even more great frontman-ness and songwriting prowess. Their live shows gave me the same vibe, and I was very interested to see/hear how their career would progress.
When Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends was released, I felt an electric charge. Listening to it gave me such happiness because it was taking their pretty Britpop brand and giving it a proper Pokemon evolution, thanks to their experience and Brian Eno’s production prowess. Brian Eno? The guy who worked on The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree? Hmmm. Is there a glitch in The Matrix or what? I felt this same feeling about an album in 1987, when U2 became my favorite band. Hearing this kind of stuff in 2008 was exhilarating. Remember 2008? The year of “Yes We Can?” The year we felt like everything was amazing and only bound to get better? Whew, this kind of music was a great accompaniment.
In May of 2009, I got to see the band perform in Virginia Beach. It was the second time I’d seen them (at the same venue), but this show was magical. I was with my dude, my mom, and some of my most precious friends. We all got cheap lawn seats, thinking we’d end up spending time with each other, and the music would be lovely background matter. How wrong we were, once we saw the lady in the Live Nation gear walking towards us. Upgrade to pretty close seats? OK THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Enjoy some before and after photos, won’t you?
Look how close we ended up!
Some days are pure mystical destiny, and that experience sure was. A perfect culmination in my head, of the beauty of Coldplay’s record, the nostalgia and happiness it brought me, the year of hope, and the sharing of it with the people I love. Thanks Coldplay.
Welcome to 2017, folks. This year is going to be insane. Who knows what will happen. How many celebrities will die? Will our new asshat President start a thermonuclear war with a fucking Tweet? One can only wait and see. I’ll do my best to write more and keep this place free of cobwebs.
In the meantime, I’ll share what I did yesterday during the blizzard my area experienced. I got a T.Rex costume for my birthday last year (like most 42 year old ladies, right?) and have only used it twice. Once was for the sketch comedy writing class I took, and, well, here’s the second time, for your viewing pleasure.
I read a lot of books. Not as many as I would like, but sadly I am not wealthy enough to stay home and allocate the majority of my waking hours tearing through tons of them. The idea of listening to audio books is an appealing one. I enjoy many different podcasts on my work commute, so why not get some “reading” in too? It’s always been a fascinating tidbit for me to find out who reads these versions of books I’ve already devoured, so why not get into the spirit and actually listen? Well, I’ll do it eventually. Who wouldn’t want to hear the intelligent, gentle tones of Stephen Fry read the Harry Potter series? Or Johnny Depp narrarate Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Wait a minute! I’ve had a thought!
Don’t worry, Rust, I’m not going to get all “time is a flat circle” on you. That’s your job. Anyway, what if I wrote a book? Who would read the audio version? I wouldn’t read it myself, because I can’t stand my dorky sounding inflection. Ick. I would choose two narrators! A boy and a girl! How they’d tag team it, I don’t know. I’d let them decide. Or my publisher. Whoever is in charge of that sort of thing.
The male reader would be Ricky Gervais. I worship the English accent, and Ricky’s is adorable, earnest, and lovely all at once. He can express all of the feels. Like, crying;
But my favorite, is laughing. Ricky has the best laugh on EARTH.
That’s who I want telling my stories of getting my period for the first time, while wearing a white skirt. AMIRITE? Maybe the lady-woman should read that bit. Scratch that. So who is that lady-girl? Why, Amy Poehler, of course. Because she ALSO has the best laugh on EARTH.
Ms. Poehler also has that earnest quality about her voice, with a faint hint of New England thrown in. I come from Massachusets folk, so it’s comforting to me.
As I type this, the month of May is almost over. Summer is upon us. Sunshine, beaches, barbecues, shorts, tank tops, flip flops, all that stuff. Stuff I hate.
The heat, my god, the heat! Who wants to roast like a pig on a spit? How is heat and humidity a nice feeling? I do not enjoy sweating at all. It’s a shame, since in my older years I’ve become what some people call a “Sweaty Betty”. Any little rise in temperature starts the swirl of dampness around my pits and forehead. Then paranoia sets in. Do I have B.O.? Do I look like I just ran a marathon? And don’t get me started on what the hot air does to my hair. Curls turn into a frizzed out clown wig in seconds. Give me the cool, crisp, fall surroundings. I feel fresh and so clean, clean. Hair’s on point and my armpits are dry and smell like lavender (thanks, Secret!).
Beaches? I don’t need no stinking beaches! Sure, I live in a city that has the word Beach in it, but that doesn’t mean I’m at the oceanfront in a swimsuit (horrors). That sand gets everywhere, even if you take a barefoot stroll fully clothed. Somehow, it will end up in your butt crack, I’m telling you. I love the ocean and all the critters in it, but I’ll view it from the deck of my lovely Cape Cod mansion (imaginary, naturally). At dusk, in mid-October. No grains of sand in my butt in that scenario.
When you don’t eat meat, barbecues are a drag. Unless I’m hanging out with my tons of vegetarian/vegan friends and we’re grilling tofu burgers and veggie shish kebobs, but I don’t have tons of those friends. And I don’t have a grill. So I’ll enjoy some tater tots and a burrito in my heavily air conditioned (imaginary) Cape Cod mansion. Followed by some dairy free ice cream.
Summer attire is the worst. The WORST! I’m 41 years old, not in the greatest shape, and am as pale as a White Walker in Game of Thrones. My legs are always dry. I could soak them in a giant vat of cocoa butter for three hours, and they’d still look like rhinoceros skin. Who wants to gaze at those things? Wearing shorts hurts my soul. And tank tops? I can deal with them slightly better, since it’s an excuse to show off my sweet tattoos, but the ink is attached to pasty, freckly arms. In constant fear of getting burned by the evil yellow orb in the sky. Give me sweaters! All of the hoodies! Jeans! Boots! Converse! Layers upon layers of clothing to keep my fragile white skin safe from society!
Remember that amazing photo that turned into a “hilarious” meme? The weasel riding the woodpecker? Here, look:
It came from amateur photographer, on a lovely walk with his wife, who wanted to show her a Green Woodpecker. He got his wish, he snapped this picture when he heard its distressed call, and that turned into stuff like this:
Comical, right? Well, not really. Sure, it’s an incredible wildlife shot, the kind of stuff you’d never normally see, unless Sir David Attenborough was narrating in the background on your television. I understand that something so magnificent does things to the Internet. It inspires creativity and whatnot. But it’s not cute or laughable to me. When I look at it, honestly, it reminds me of this:
I’m not comparing weasels and woodpeckers to a monk self-immolating in protest, I’m saying my emotions were jarred looking at both photos for the first time. I saw faith and sadness and selflessness looking at the above picture. When I looked at that woodpecker’s horrified eyes, I felt its terror. There was a predator on its back, trying to snap its neck and it was fleeing in a desperate attempt to save itself.
Animal photos and videos are a major staple of the internet. They can be adorable, funny, mean, goofy, and everything in between. However, things can be misinterpreted. I don’t think it’s funny or viral when there’s an animal in distress featured in a video or photograph. Here’s another example:
A Cute Cat With A Funny Meow? No, that cat is clearly upset about something and I don’t think it’s amusing.
Not everyone can realize when a critter is scared or reacting negatively to something. It’s not a perfect world, but I wish humans would educate themselves about our fellow citizens of Earth. They are going through some tough things too.
Before I get to what the title of this post indicates, I want to say I tried out the new live streaming app, Meerkat, yesterday, and it was pretty fun. I have no idea if I’ll use it on a regular basis, but I streamed a short bit, chatting about Madonna and the songs I’ve picked for this list. I had five people watching at one point; one from Mexico and another from The Netherlands. It seems like a pretty cool “on the go” way to stream something and interact with other folks. If you’re reading this because you watched my goofy stream, thanks and hello!
Well, let’s get to it. Madonna has a new album out, Rebel Heart. As you probably know, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone has been the queen of pop music, fashion, reinvention, and provocation since the early 80s. It’s hard to remain relevant for such a long period of time, but, despite a few bumps along the way, Madge has managed to do it. Rebel Heart is a pretty decent pop album, more so than the previous two (Hard Candy and MDNA). When a legend releases a new album, however, we like to think back to the beginning. Us music lovers want to compare and contrast the new stuff to the old stuff. Instead of doing that, I began to think about the songs that have meant the most to me over the years. Should I make a top 20 list? Top 10? Ugh, THIS IS HARD! There are so many songs! Seriously, so many. I have a Spotify playlist of 44 favorites, for Pete’s sake!
I grabbed a pen and my trusty notepad, and made a damn list. Because I am an adult and I can do this! *deep breaths* I’ll probably change my mind in the future, or wish the order was different, but who cares. For the most part, these Madonna tunes give me the feels and/or the urge to dance around the room.
10. Don’t Tell Me
The standout track from 2000’s Music. I love the guitar sample at the beginning. I love the strings and the emotional, sweeping ending. The lyrics are great, as well. And who doesn’t think Madonna looks fab in a cowgirl outfit?
9. Hung Up
Does this make you want to bust out a leotard and get to grooving? If not, you might be a weirdo. Between the sample of ABBA’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) and the actual pounding beat, Hung Up is one of the greatest dance tracks ever. I dig the breakdown towards the end; just that beat and the ticking clocks. A strange thing I love about this song is the way Madonna enunciates “hesitating”. Alrighty then! Fun fact I learned about the video – it was shot only a few weeks after our queen had a horse riding accident and broke some bones. The woman has some determination.
8. Beautiful Stranger
Madonna. Austin Powers. Could that combo be wrong? Nope. This uptempo number has a great feel to it. It’s a total ear worm, too. The swingin’ 60s sound mixed with the late 90s production is a win. Let’s talk about the video for a second: How can Madonna make a pair of khakis sexy? I mean, they seriously look like something I sold when I worked at Lerner back in the day. But somehow she throws on a pair of heels and dances like she does, and those pants become HOT.
7. Causing A Commotion
This was one of my favorites as a kid in 1987, and has remained so. Back then, I don’t even think I knew exactly what a commotion was, other than it rhymed with motion and sounded fun. I recall memorizing the dance moves and wishing I had a conveyor belt in my living room. I recently learned this song was written about Madonna’s marriage to Sean Penn. Which makes sense.
6. The Power of Good-Bye
One of Madonna’s best ballads, for sure, from the Ray of Light record. Perhaps this is a companion to Causing A Commotion? I’ve read rumors that this one was about ol’ Spicoli as well. Regardless, it’s a lovely, sad, but hopeful tune about a breakup. The electronic bleeps and bloops blend well with the guitar. Since we also have to discuss the video as well as the song, how sexy is Goran Visnjic? Talk about hubba hubba. I adore the blue tint of everything, as well. Matthew Rolson always makes things and people look gorgeous in his videos.
Damn, this song is pretty, hiding among all the sexy songs on the Erotica album. That awesome crescendo, though! So good. I also love the homage to Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles. I could do without the spoken word part, however. As for the video, it’s beautiful. Madonna in short black hair and perfect eyebrows? Yes please.
4. Deeper And Deeper
Put this track on and you are guaranteed to see me start boogying. It’s super fun to sing, too. Deeper And Deeper also gets cool points for referencing Vogue. I have a soft spot for artists dropping their previous hit song lyrics into new songs. Why? Don’t ask me. I have to say that the video for this song is…. weird. I get the Andy Warhol references, but I thought he was weird too, so there you go. Udo Kier is a total creeper and watching Madonna fawn over him disturbs me. At least she looks badass in an afro wig.
3. Ray Of Light
Ray of Light is Madonna’s best album, in my humble opinion. The title track blew me away the first time I heard it. It was like she rose like a phoenix from the ashes of a naughty pop princess and became an electronic Mother Earth. The beat is so fast paced, I don’t know if I want to dance or start a mosh pit. The video has that same crazy frantic feel. Brilliant!
2. Oh Father
Madonna at her most vulnerable can be incredibly outstanding, and this song is an example. It tells a story about loss and coping with that loss, breaking free, and coming to terms. We all know this is autobiographical. Madonna lost her mom at a young age, and had difficulty with her father as well. The odd sounding violin arrangement complements the melody extremely well; it’s my favorite part of the song. As for the video, there really isn’t much to say, since it’s a perfect representation of the song.
1. Live To Tell
This will always be my favorite Madonna song. Period. It was the first song I heard of hers that hit me in the gut. I was 12 years old and had no idea why a man would tell a thousand lies, but I knew that holding a secret until the death was some powerful grownup stuff. I remember being impressed that Madonna could release a serious ballad – she wasn’t just a sexy minx for us girls to admire and the boys to drool over! Now that I’m an adult, the song still packs an emotional punch. I love her soft and simple look in the video, as well. I never did see At Close Range, so I’ve no idea what the hell is going on with the movie scenes. Christopher Walken’s mustache is scary to this day.
What did you think? Could you list your favorite Madonna songs? Feel free to leave your list in the comments. I’m curious! I’m glad Madonna has graced us with so many tunes, and I’m proud that she continues to do so.
This scene is guaranteed to give me goosie-bumps and/or tears every time I see it.
Why is this? I’m not a big horse lover. I mean, I love all animals but I’ve only ridden a horse twice in my life. The first time, the big black stallion had an itch in a sensitive place, and insisted on scratching it while my terrified 10 year old self sat on top of him, waiting to be thrown off and stomped on. The second time was only a few years ago. She was a lovely mare named Cinder, and I chatted her up the entire trail, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Anyway, that’s it. So what is it about Shadowfax, appearing out of nowhere, running in slow motion in response to his friend Gandalf’s special whistle?
Perhaps one reason is his pedigree. Legolas seemed pretty damn impressed, didn’t he? Well, he’s right to feel that way. There aren’t many horses in Middle-earth who come from the most majestic and swift Mearas. They’re said to have been tamed by the first King of Rohan, and they can understand human speech. Shadowfax was the current Lord of the Mearas, and was “given” to Gandalf by King Theoden. Apparently Shadowfax wasn’t going to be tamed by any Rohan royalty. He was bigger than that.
Which brings me to the special bond shared by Shadowfax and Mithrandir. They trust each other. They’re both super brave and have the confidence of good over evil to spur them on their quest. It’s like Shadowfax knows how important it is to defeat Sauron and will do whatever it takes. He speeds Gandalf all over the place, gathering the Rohan army to help at Helm’s Deep. He takes Gandalf and Pippin to Gondor so Denethor will get his shit together and fight Mordor (so that doesn’t work well, but you can’t cure crazy). And look at this friendship!
He isn’t going to run away and leave his wizard and hobbit bros to suffer at the hands of pure evil. Oh no, he will STAND STRONG. That is one amazing horse.
How could such an amazing fictional horse be portrayed on the screen? It should be quite the talented actor, right? Also, he’d have to be ridiculously good looking. I don’t know much about horses, but what I do know, in relation to their participation in the LOTR trilogy, is from the most excellent DVD extra feature called Home of the Horse Lords. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you correct that. You’ll learn how the amazing equines were acclimated to movie sets, the friendships they made with their human costars, and the lasting effect their fellowship had on everyone involved. Shadowfax was played by two stallions: Domero, who was used in mostly stationary shots, and Blanco, who is the one you see galloping around Minas Tirith and Rohan with Ian McKellan or his stunt double. Both of those beautiful horses are no longer with us, sadly. They are immortalized in these films, however, and for that I’m grateful.
I suppose it’s a combo of my immense love of all creatures, my adoration of Tolkien’s stories, and Peter Jackson’s movies that give me the special feels for the 54 second sequence, in which The White Wizard calls for his friend. It sums up the sentiment of the LOTR trilogy, in a way. When your friends need you, they’ll be there to help fight for good. Thanks, Lord Of All Horses!
First of all, when I die, and there people around who feel I deserve some kind of send-off, I have one demand. If it’s not met, I’ll become a mean force ghost and haunt everyone. That demand is, THESE SONGS BETTER BE PLAYED:
1. Into The West by Annie Lennox
I may be crying right now, by the way. It is impossible for me to hear that song and not do a bit of ugly sobbing. Speaking of sobbing, back to the matter at hand. I’d like to get all the tears out of the way at my funeral, and this lovely piece will do it. Everyone will imagine me in my hobbit cloak, boarding a ship with Gandalf and the other ring-bearers, giving that final smile to everyone. But don’t be too sad, folks. Once I get to the Undying Lands, me and the Valar are going be FULL ON PARTYING.
2. White And Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic
It’s as good a theme song as any, amirite? I mean, it’s by Al, my comedy music hero. It defines me. I’ll ace any trivia quiz you bring on, I memorized Holy Grail really well, I can recite it right now and have you R-O-T-F-L-O-L, even made a homepage for my dog, yo. So at this point you all can talk about my nerdy accomplishments in life. I’m sure there will be many of them. Maybe do a slide show of all the photo ops I managed to get at comic conventions. There better be one of me and Tom Hiddleston, or I will have lived for nothing. Just kidding. Sort of.
3. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, by Eric Idle
This will be the grand finale, people. And everyone will have to sing along. My force ghost powers will increase and I will torture every attendee of my service if they aren’t belting this out at the top of their lungs. And after it’s finished, and everyone has wiped their tears of joy and laughter, go to a bar and get shit faced. Then move on with your life. Because remember that the last laugh is on you.