Friday, December 31, 2010

And a new year begins... (Glen Phillips, Band of Horses, & Heather Nova)

I have been on vacation and a little lax with the writing. I had every intention of posting on Christmas, but I was sick and completely unmotivated. To save you the anticipation of having to wait an entire year to finally hear what my favorite holiday song is, I'll just tell you because it's always the same: Wham! - Last Christmas.

Well, it has been one hell of a year for me and I'm both surprised and proud of myself for actually keeping up with this blog. I have no idea if or who actually reads it, but it is cathartic. Anyway, to make up for not writing enough, I've picked three pretty spectacular songs.
Glen Phillips - Blindsight

I can't remember the last time that a song hit me as hard as this one. It both unsettles and calms me. In the soundtrack of my life, it perfectly feels like the last month I've had. Granted, it is a little sad, but it is still so beautiful and aware.


Band of Horses - Part One

This song has a perfect mood. It is difficult to explain, but it is almost like that feeling of absolute vulnerability and intimacy. I find it both sexy and emotional, which is pretty awesome.

You really caught me, dear, at the bottom when I'd fallen...


Heather Nova - Like Lovers Do

Ok, I admit it. The beginning of my Christmas vacation was spent in a Felicity marathon. I love Ben Covington with those sexy, sexy eyes and that soft whispery voice. Plus, it takes me back to my college days. I've always loved listening to Heather Nova, but back in those days, I was a religious listener. Her voice is beyond amazing and it has a quality that completely ups the ante of my sexual divaness. And you are welcome for all the words I just had to make up to explain it.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Songs that make me happy...

I took a trip back home to Ohio last weekend. It was the first time that I had been back and seen snow in about 14 years, and it ended up being a pretty awesome experience. It was coupled with my yearly reading of The Tao of Pooh, which was perfect for the plane ride. I feel good and I'm enjoying my moments. Maybe that is my Christmas miracle.

Violent Femmes - Prove My Love

Went to Vinyl Fever with my friend the other day, and he showed me a new(ish) deluxe edition of the Violent Femmes self-titled. It is most definitely on my top ten list of albums I would need to have on the island while hanging out with Desmond.

Special favors come in 31 flavors. We're out of mints, so pass the Lifesavers. I'm dropping hints, candy for candy coated tongues.


Foo Fighters - Miracle

This shuffled in on my iPod and all I could think was Dammmmmmn Dave Grohl, how many awesome songs do you have in there? This song makes me feel good.


G Love and Jack Johnson - Give It To You

This is a puppy song. I love puppy songs... especially ones that make me want to dance.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Songs that make me feel...

I love when a song perfectly captures the way that you are feeling at a specific moment. These are a few of my moments from the week.

John Lennon - Jealous Guy

Music is my religion. John Lennon is the one that I go to when I want to understand life and my emotions. There is an honesty to his songs that is almost painful, but they are so beautiful and real that you want to listen. It's was 30 years ago yesterday that he died. II am amazed at the impact that he still has on the world and on me.


Dave Matthews Band - Crush

This song is so crazy, sexy and personal that sometimes I feel embarrassed hearing and knowing all the personal details. Whatta puppy.


Violent Femmes - Good Feeling

I have listened to the Violent Femmes for pretty much all of my life, so pretty much anytime something really fantastic happens, this song is playing on the soundtrack in my mind.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner...

Ugh. It has been such a shit week. I'm ok with those occasionally because they serve to remind me just how good good really is. They give me an excuse to indulge in all of the dorky things that make me feel good again: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Xander Harris, I heart you since I was 16), Gilmore Girls (I can watch the Luke Can See Her Face episode over and over and over again and still swoon every time), and Dirty Dancing. Dirty Dancing has been my bad week killer since I was 8. I can recite it line-by-line and still dance along to all of the awesome dance montages. However, what I love most about that movie is the music.
Solomon Burke - Cry To Me

This has got to be the sexiest song that I have ever heard, and I absolutely love this whole sequence in the movie. After hearing Burke on this soundtrack, I started listening to a lot of his other stuff. He has such an amazing voice, it surprises me that he didn't have more commercial success. Oh well, maybe all that commercial success is overrated.
Come on take my hand, and baby won't you walk with me...


The Blow Monkeys - You Don't Own Me

This is such a great cover and just so unexpected on the soundtrack. It combines three of my favorite things in the music world: an interesting cover, Brit Pop New Wave 80's synth, and 1960's mellow dramatic ballads.


As a side note, my barometer for the perfect man is the guy who will reenact the Mickey and Sylvia scene with me. Thanks for setting the standard so high Mr. Swayze!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bucket List #22: Sing with Diana Ross... Check.

Growing up, I loved The Supremes. I would stand in the doorway between our living room and dining room, pretending it was a stage, and sing along to all the songs. My first dream job was joining The Supremes and singing back up for Diana Ross. I never did have a very good concept of the date, which lead to other delusions that involved The Monkees, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Pete Townshend. Anyway, Saturday night I had the privilege of seeing Diana Ross live. I've had a lot of years to grow my expectations and she still blew them all away. Her voice was beautiful, her costumes to die for, and in perfect diva style, she was utterly fabulous.

A few songs in, it hit me that my dream was coming true. I sang along with Diana Ross. Granted there were a few thousand of us living that dream, but it made no less spectacular. My next to do list item is to get a trunk of sequined evening gowns for singing along to the stereo. A girl has got to do these sorts of things right.

The Supremes - I Hear a Symphony

I love to talk tough, but my undying love of this song proves just what a soft-hearted love optimist I really am.


The Supremes - Where Did Our Love Go

I can't think of any other song that leaves me so unable to let it go. I will randomly Baby Baby for hours after hearing it.


Michael Jackson & Diana Ross - Ease on Down the Road

I have seen The Wiz more times that I care to admit (I had the biggest thing for Michael Jackson as a kid). When she played this song in concert, I about exploded from excitement.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Songs that I like to pretend were written for me...

In the last seven days I've been through just about every emotion known to man. Most days I feel like I'm nothing more than what I feel. What is most comforting is that I can always find a song to fit my emotional state. These songs are all ones that I've wished at some point or another were written about me. Selfish, I know, but it's more that, as anyone would, I love when I'm in a situation where these kinds of feelings are involved.
Blind Pilot - Oviedo

I know that I've already written about this song, but this is my game and I reserve the right to break the rules that don't suit my current needs. Anyway, I think that this might be the most beautiful, poetic song. It always leaves me with this feeling in my stomach that borders between the excitement of falling in love and the sickening sadness of falling out. If my writing was ever judged, I would want it based on if I could create that kind of feeling in someone else.

I didn't know the weight of my tongue. I didn't know, I didn't know what I had done...


Michael Trent - Anybody's Boy

I'm a fan of both The Films and Michael Trent's solo work. The songs are always kind of gritty and defensive with a twist where emotions and vulnerability shine through. They feel real and I think that always makes it way more powerful. Anybody's Boy is just sweet and emotional. Everything about it just feels like that moment when you get so close to someone and you realize that your guard is down and you're waving the white flag of vulnerability. Beautiful.

I stare at your lips while we lie on the floor and I'd stay there all afternoon...

Sadly, I can't find a version anyway, but you can hear a snippet on Amazon. That whole album is great and worth the purchase.

Magnetic Fields - Asleep and Dreaming

There are so many amazing Magnetic Fields songs that I could post one every week for a year and still feel like I'm missing too many. There is an attention to detail and emotion that make these songs beyond amazing. Plus, he always adds some sort of snarky joke or pun that makes it even more fun.

I don't know if you're beautiful because I love you too much...


Friday, November 5, 2010

My Anthem and Something Fun to Sing

Ahhh, so Halloween is now past and we're only a few weeks away from the start of the holidays. Today even started a cold spell, which always does wonders for my mood. This is most definitely my time of the year, and I've been enjoying it.

The Killers - Sam's Town (Abbey Road Version)

Anyone who knows me (or has kept up with this blog) could probably tell you how much I love The Killers. This song specifically though is indescribable in how much it gets to me emotionally and makes me think about my life.  This version is so beautiful and the fact that it was recorded at Abbey Road studios just makes it that much cooler.

I've got this sentimental heart that beats and I don't really mind that it's starting to get to me now...


Blondie - Heart of Glass

First of all, I start out every Halloween convinced that this is the year that I'll finally dress up like Debbie Harry. She is so badass cool. Second, I like this song, but I never really loved it; I was more into Tide is High. Last week, I got the new Rock Band 3 game, and even though it has awesome tracks from The Cure and The Smiths, I have been completely obsessed with perfecting my singing on Heart of Glass. What can I say? It's fun to sing.

Lost inside adorable illusion...


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Because Music Makes Halloween...

This post basically mixes two of my favorite things: Halloween and any random reason to create a playlist. These are my top 10 Halloween songs for 2010.

10. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – A Nightmare on My Street
The only thing that freaks me out more than Freddy Kreuger is Michael Myers. I can guarantee that the Halloween theme song will never make one of my playlists because it takes me a month to sleep right again after hearing it. Oh yeah, I love this song too because it gives me an excuse to do the Fresh Prince jump.

9. Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Considering that Marilyn Manson is pretty much walking Halloween, this was an easy choice. Plus, I love a good cover.

8. Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
A classic pick for any playlist, this song is just great to jam out to while nice and toasty in your costume.

7. Talking Heads – Psycho Killer
I always think that this song is The Doors when it first plays, which in itself stands for it being awesome. What's Halloween without French-singing mass murdering art-school psychopaths?

6. Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
The 80's knew how to do everything to make me love it, and this song is no exception. This song will definitely start your ghoulies on some Molly Ringwald 1980's Breakfast Club style dancing.

5.  Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me
Wow, Berry Gordy's kid sure did know how to pick a backup singer (ahem, Michael Jackson). Dare you to try to get this song out of your head. I'm just an average man with an average life...

4. The Doors – People are Strange
This song is always awesome. It always reminds me of The Lost Boys and of simpler times when the Coreys were fighting vampires and Keifer was still cool.

3. Bobby “Boris” Pickett – Monster Mash
This is the most classic and essential Halloween Song and will always be on my playlist. Bet you can't listen without wanting to Mashed Potato. 

2.   Matthew Sweet – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
I have always loved Halloween (costumes and free candy!). Every day after school, I rushed home to watch Scooby, which gave me my daily dose of Halloween. I guess that I was just born a dark, freaky child.

1.  Michael Jackson – Thriller
Even before Scooby, I loved Michael Jackson's Thriller. I would play this song over and over and over again even though the Vincent Price voice over at the end scared me. I loved being scared. I guess that some things really never change. 


Want to listen to this playlist and even more Halloween classics? Halloween Mix on

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Songs I Loved in the 90's

I still haven't been listening to anything new lately. Tumultuous times in my life mean that I need some old music with fantastic memories. These are songs from my early high school years when grunge was over and everyone was all about Clueless, baby doll tees, and emotional alternative rock.

Gin Blossoms - Till I Hear It From You

I've always loved listening to the Gin Blossoms, but this song has even more meaning to me because it was the main track from the Empire Records soundtrack. When the movie came out on video (yes, VHS and that's how I know that I'm getting old), I had a group of friends and we would watch it over and over again. Each one of us was like one of the characters in the movie. I was Corey. Apparently, I was destined to try to seduce aged rock stars. It's Rex Manning day!


The Wallflowers - One Headlight

Umm, Jakob Dylan, will you marry me? Yes, even at 30 the offer stands. I saw the Wallflowers in concert a few different times, and Jakob was most definitely my biggest adolescent crush on a rock star. I mean come on he's a Dylan (aka son of Bob Dylan) and that alone makes him super awesome in my book. He also wrote some pretty sweet tunes (and still is, his newest solo album is really good). Plus, nothing takes me back to being 17 more than this song.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Velvet Elvis

I seriously dig Elvis. If you read my post earlier this week, you'll know that Elvis movies were my secret joy as a child. While I was listening to Geto Boys with my friends, but at home I would escape into the world Elvis and spontaneous singing. While trying to download the ultimate Halloween playlist, I got stuck on the Elvis collections, and I was sucked right back in. Here are some Elvis goodies that always make me super daydreamy.

The Lady Loves Me

I've seen Viva Las Vegas more times than I would like to admit. I liked to pretend that I was Ann Margaret because she had an awesome wardrobe and got to make out with Lucky Jackson.


She's Not You

I always love a good love song, and this one just kills me.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dylan is Dylan

Around 11, I became completely fascinated with the 1960's. Bell bottoms, beatniks, the civil rights movement, Vietnam war protest, hippies, JFK, free love, Paul Newman, The Monkees, the march on Washington, Barefoot in the Park, Batman, peace signs, Woodstock, and the music... where do I even begin with the music?

Weekly, my mom would take me to the public library in Columbus. I would borrow books, music, and movies, which is how I found and fell in love with The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, and Bob Dylan. I'd pour over photography books of The Beatles, spend hours watching Viva Las Vegas and Help!, listen to album after album of any music that I could get my hands on, recreate art, and get completely lost in lyric books. The Dylan lyric book coupled with the Bootleg series became my bible of poetic aspiration. It was heaven for me, and it still is.

So a few weeks ago when I found out that Bob Dylan was coming to Tampa, I bought tickets and waited (very impatiently) for my first time seeing him live. Going in, my expectations were based on all of the reunion tours that I've seen where the artist performs a mixture of their hits with some not-so-great new songs, they throw out the name of their current city, and the crowd cheers and sings along at all the prescribed moments. The experience feels nostalgic, yet somehow over. I don't know why I would have ever expected something like that. What I love about Bob Dylan is that he never went along with what was conventional. He broke the rules and he pushed the limits. He still breaks the rules.

The setlist was enough to make any Dylan fan Ohh  and Ahh: Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Lay, Lady, Lay , Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Just Like A Woman, Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist Of Fate, Love Sick, Highway 61 Revisited, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, Like A Rolling Stone, and All Along The Watchtower, etc. It amazes me to think that the list barely even begins to crack the surface of all the amazing songs he's written. Apparently, he mixes up the set lists every night.

At first when Dylan was singing, it was a little jarring. He took each of the songs and mixed them up and made them something different. When I got past the fact that it wasn't going to be a sing-a-long, I really started listening and was floored at just how tight the band sounded. Thinking back over the experience, I realize that it was a unique, artistic experience and not some cookie cutter tour with everything carefully planned out and perfect.

Even more surprising, after years of playing into all of the myths of the different personas of Bob Dylan, I found him to be the antithesis of the common rock star that takes the stage, eats up the applause, and can't stop talking about what he ate for breakfast. When Dylan took the stage, he was part of his band, and he was just there to play some seriously badass music. No one messes with Dylan. It is not because he is a famous musician. It is because he is just cool with who he is... Bob Freakin' Dylan.

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash - One Too Many Mornings

You can thank me later for sharing this piece of awesomeness.


Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues

Awesome song. Very cool video with it used.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Something a little more beautiful...

Life has been crazy lately. It has been really important to me to just slow down and stop constantly racing. I have been listening to lots of different types of music and loving the beautiful songs.

Ryan Adams -  La Cienega Just Smiled

I love Ryan Adams, but there is something about this particular song that is so freakin' amazing. It makes your breath catch in your chest like you're falling in love and all you can do is mumble uhhh huh.


Josh Radin - What If You

What a voice. What a song. I'm already half in love. It also helps that it was featured in the movie Catch and Release and it always makes me day dream about going on a photography trek in the woods with Timothy Olyphant.


Monday, September 27, 2010

All of the rumors keeping me grounded...

I can almost remember loving this song before I loved music. As with any dark, brooding, vampire-loving, black-nail-polish-wearing teenager born in the 80's, I worship The Smiths. I would love to explain why, but it really is because they are The Smiths. To combat my friends that say that Morrissey's solo work sucks, I dare them to listen to this song and not love it. Watching this video makes me long to see the Mozzer live again for the mere insanity of it all.

"... I never said they were completely unfounded."

Friday, September 17, 2010

New iPod = Happy

I bought a bigger iPod Touch and was finally able to sync a ton of music, which included whole catalogs of my favorite artist (Beatles, Stones, The Cure, R.E.M., etc.). I am happy.

The Cure – The Lovecats

Sadly, I couldn’t find the official video for this one. The video is one of the funniest things I have ever seen and the song is amazing in that way that only The Cure and Robert Smith can produce.


R.E.M. – Driver 8

I started out to include Old 97’s cover of this song because it is seriously rocking, but I couldn’t find a good video of it. So, I thought that since I have yet to include R.E.M., it was about time. Michael Stipe is so cool and this song always sounds amazing.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shout and Rule This Mad World

Hearing Tears for Fears always makes me think of the 80’s, chimps in libraries (everything is better with a monkey), popcorn filled houses, and Val Kilmer at his absolute finest (Oh that genius Chris Knight!). The cover of Songs from the Big Chair is forever etched in my memory. It sat at the front of my record collection due to the number of times that I listened to Head Over Heels. All funny considering that after I bought the tickets to see them, I worried if I was even going to like them. 
From the moment Curt Smith came out on stage singing Mad World to rocking out with Roland Orzabal to Shout at the end of the show, it was an fun, electric show that never failed to please. They happily played a combination of their hits (even played Mad World twice – btw, thank you very much!) mixed in with new tunes, which completely sucked me in. Check out the setlist; awesome, no? Both Smith and Orzabal sounded amazing and they played off of each other well to entertain the audience. A happy nod to their reconciliation.

My favorite part: singing along to Head Over Heels with a massive audience. It’s fun to hear how everyone picks up on all the little quirks in the song. I was so full of nostalgia and good feelings, and it felt like everyone else there was in the exact same place. That was pretty amazing in itself. I am so there the next time they come around, and I’m already expanding my Tears for Fears collection.

  Mad World

This song is already amazing, but live it is unbelievably moving. My most listened to song since the concert.


Head Over Heels

Always one of my favorite songs and most definitely helped along by the video and the fact that there is a monkey. Sadly, I couldn’t find the video.


Head Over Heels – The Literal Video Version

I did however find this and cracked up while watching and rewatching it.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Listen and Repeat

I’ve been in one of those moods where I can put a song on repeat and listen to it for an hour. That happened with both of my picks this week; both songs are beautiful and honest and I love that.

Augustana – Either Way, I’ll Break Your Heart Someday

About a year ago, I heard Augustana for the first time when I saw them perform with Counting Crows and Michael Franti. It was one of those crazy, fun shows where so many good things were happening that you could barely process it all. I’ve listened to Augustana sporadically, but I’ve never got in to them the way that I thought I should. This song has been on repeat in my car for two days. With the windows down, I have been singing my heart out like it is my own personal anthem.


Brandi Carlile – Oh Dear

After a super stressful day at work and an especially painful workout (after just starting up my work outs again), I laid down on my living room floor with the sunlight beaming in on me, listened to my iPod, and played Bejeweled Blitz. When this song came on, I couldn’t turn it off for a good hour. Again, there was probably some bad singing involved.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Soothing a Savage Heart

Even though it is my most repeated comment, I will say it again - this has been one hell of a week, and I'm behind on making my weekly song pick. I've been super busy at work and haven't had a lot of time to listen to all of my new music and pick out favorite songs. However, I still have a couple that have been on my mind this week.
Brandi Carlile - Hiding My Heart

Whenever I'm having a day that I really don't want to face, I shuffle Brandi Carlile on my iPod. Her songs are always so beautiful and calming. It always seems like I can find some sort of answer or comfort in the lyrics and for that I am always grateful.

Grant Lee Phillips - Boys Don't Cry

I always loved Grant Lee Phillips on Gilmore Girls, but I didn't have any of his albums. While scanning through the $5 albums on Amazon, I came across Nineteeneighties and was completely hooked. I'm a big fan of both the 80's and super awesome covers, so it felt like this one was made for me. Even more, I rarely enjoy anyone covering a Cure song (because who could really top Robert Smith), but I love this cover. I'm definitely interested in listening to a lot more of Grant Lee Phillips.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

80s Movie Marathon

80's movies remind me of my childhood and make me feel great, so when I wasn't feeling well, I filled the DVD player and went to town.  This was a difficult list to create, but the following are my 10 essential 80's movies:
  1. Pretty in Pink
  2. The Breakfast Club
  3. Sixteen Candles
  4. Some Kind of Wonderful
  5. Better off Dead
  6. Valley Girl
  7. Weird Science
  8. The Lost Boys
  9. Ferris Beuller's Day Off
  10. Say Anything
This list feels incomplete. I could come up with another 20 essential movies. Honorable mention to movies like Teen Witch, Adventures in Babysitting, Back to the Future, St. Elmo's Fire, Just One of the Guys, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, The Goonies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Heathers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Take Me Back to My Teen Angst

I’ve been listening to Pearl Jam all weekend, which immediately takes me back to 1994. It was my freshman year of high school. Reality Bites, Singles, and The Crow were my favorite movies. My bedroom walls were plastered with photos of Eddie Vedder and Ethan Hawke. I was devoted to The X-Files and My So-Called Life. I wore flannel and combat boots and thought that I was so freakin’ cool. Actually, come to think of it, I still love all of those things.Good times, good times.

Pearl Jam – Porch

Nirvana – In Bloom

Friday, August 13, 2010


I am all about the details this week. I’m off of my television habit for the week and suddenly everything seems exponentially more interesting. My picks this week are emotional and they both capture these absolutely beautiful moments with all the little details.

Peter Bjorn & John – Paris 2004

I saw Peter Bjorn & John open for Depeche Mode. Well, I sorta heard them, but I was way more excited that David Gahan would be walking out on that stage. Peter Bjorn & John, I am really sorry that I didn’t pay more attention.

Local Natives – Airplanes

This is a thoughtful song with some beautiful imagery. Writing is so much more amazing when the writer is being the most real. The images might not be identical to mine, but I can definitely understand a want to know my ancestors.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fools and Playground Brawls

I’m annoyed at just how slack I have been about writing about my music picks each week. I never have an issue picking out the songs but finding the time is sometimes near impossible – even to write a few, silly lines about my song picks. Ahhhh life.

Lawrence ArabiaLook Like a Fool

Two weeks later and I’m still enjoying Lawrence Arabia. The first few lines of this song crack me up and make me remember a few times when I wanted something so bad that I was more than willing to play the fool.

I’m going to try to see her tonight, even though I am going to look like a fool. Because I’m gonna drink until the reasons it seems like a bad idea all crawl off and they disappear into a cave.

The Black Keys – Tighten Up

All of the hype around Brothers made me want to steer clear of The Black Keys, but something made me really curious about them and I finally gave in and listened. I kind of love them, which is just the irony I need to bring me back to reality and out of my delusion of music snobbery. The Black Keys are pretty badass. I love that their sound is a bit of a kickback to the 60’s with a funkier twist. The video for this song alone was enough to sell me on the band. Nothing is better than a love affair with a playground brawl and donuts.

How I Took Myself on Vacation.

I was really nervous about taking myself on vacation alone, but it made me more confident and trust that I can take care of myself.
How I did it: There wasn't any one thing that I did to make this happen, but I'm always wishing that I could travel and visit different places. I've always been scared to travel alone and have never been very good at asking other people to go do things. When I visited New York a few months back, I fell in love with the city. I wanted to be able to hang out there for a weekend doing whatever I wanted.
To feel safer, I did a lot of research about all the places I wanted to visit. I tried to make smart choices when travelling around the city (no subway at night, I'm way too Midwestern and I'd never be able to hide it!).

Lessons & tips: Just go for it. My brain was filled with reasons why I shouldn’t go and insecurities, but when you really want to do something, you deal with all of that.

Also, New York was a great choice. It was a city where it wasn't so obvious that I was travelling alone. I felt less self-conscious. I'm sure that if I went to some touristy place where everyone was in big groups, I would have felt weird. However, there's nothing quite like being able to do your vacation your own way.
Resources: For this one, I have to say that I just had to be brave and jump in. My family and friends were incredibly supportive and were there for me. The whole situation helped me to build confidence in myself.

See more progress on: Take myself on a fun vacation.

How to Spend a Weekend in New York City

It was exciting, fun, and somewhat overwhelming to get lost in one of the most interesting cities in the world. Mostly, I want to know when can I go again.

How I did it: In April, I visited New York City with my sister and completely fell in love with the city. I was so bummed out when we had to leave, so I made plans to go back a few months later. I read articles on Wikipedia and also read a few travel books about the area, so I would know the different boroughs of the city and know how things functioned. I researched a lot of information on the internet (especially to find a hotel) and even created a Google Map Layer for my phone that had everything that I thought looked interesting. Other than lots of research, reading, and reservations, the trip was easy to plan and very, very exciting once I was there.

Most people probably wouldn’t think it, but it was a great city to travel to alone because it was so easy to blend in without drawing too much attention to myself. I also met a lot of really interesting people while I was there and was able to overcome some of my fears (like riding the subway alone).

Lessons & tips:
  • Bring good walking shoes. Both times in the city I ended up with blisters and sore feet.
  • Bring an umbrella. When it rains in New York, it’s kind of crazy on the streets. My shoes got completely soaked, and walking 20 blocks in drenched shoes isn’t that fun. 
  • Bring a phone with a GPS map. I can’t tell you how many places that I went into and then ended up having to exit on different streets. It’s easier to get lost than you think. The buildings are so tall and non-descript from street level. 
  • Learn the layout of the city before you get there. it will save you a lot of time trying to figure out where everything is when you get there. 
  • Go with an open mind. New York is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the United States, so be prepared to try something new.
  • Google and Wikipedia 
  • The Library Hotel (a great place to stay, everyone was so helpful, and it was in a perfect location) 
  • Eyewitness Travel Guide's New York City (it was a fantastic, quick reference) 
  • My Droid (I was so thankful for the interactive maps and constant internet) 

See more progress on: Spend a weekend exploring New York City.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Zealand Unite!

It has been a whirlwind of a few days. Wednesday night I saw Crowded House and both of my picks are from that show. Something old. Something new. Both equally awesome. Enjoy.

Crowded HouseFall at Your Feet

I can vividly remember being about seven and waiting impatiently for MTV to play the Something So Strong video. I always had such a crush on Paul Hester. My tastes have evolved a bit, and Fall at Your Feet is definitely a song for my ultimate mix tape. Neil Finn has the most beautiful voice and fantastically moving lyrics. In the sing along part of this song in the show, one of the band members actually turned around and looked at me to figure out who was singing so loud. Give me a break; I love this song!

Lawrence ArabiaThe Beautiful Young Crew

Lawrence Arabia opened for Crowded House. My first though was ugh stupid hipsters with their funky beards. But then there was beautiful singing. The tunes were interesting. I even saw a trumpet and a lemon shaped maracas.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

With a Little Help from His Friends

Last week, I saw Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band at Ruth Eckerd Hall. This is his 11th tour and it was the third time that I’ve gotten to see him. This tour included Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Richard Page (Mr Mister), Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Rick Derringer, and Gregg Bissonette.

As always, it was a great show. I respect artists that don’t get upset when they’re asked to play the songs that have made them famous. I understand that the 4,000th time that you sing Yellow Submarine might not have the same impact, but for the people in the audience it is special. Ringo always leads a fun, funny, energetic show. This was my third time seeing Ringo live and every time I’ve spent the first 30 minutes in complete awe of the fact that Ringo Starr is really performing just a few feet in front of me. From back in my younger days of watch Help! and A Hard Day’s Night (both Ringo centered movies), I was always fascinated with the charisma and happiness of Ringo Starr and seeing him live is just the same kind of feeling. He watches the audience and interacts with a lot of snarky comments. He has a good time, which in turn makes the experience even more fun. I kept waiting for someone to shout “You’re all red again... Kaili!

The show is always an interesting round robin of all the featured artists and their most famous songs. It keeps the experience interesting. and you get to spend the majority of the night hearing the “special” songs. Watching the ensemble interact and perform each other’s songs is so much fun.

Edgar Winter is crazy talented and has a stage energy that is hard to surpass. Gary Wright talked about going to meditation camp with George Harrison, and then belted out an amazing version of Dreamweaver. Richard Page has a truly amazing voice. It was special to see him because Broken Wings was my first favorite song. Wally Palmar just rocks out on the Romantics tunes. Rick Derringer is one heck of a guitar player, and being from Ohio, it was awesome to hear the full version of Hang on Sloopy live. Gregg Bissonette is impressive and so happy and energetic on those drums that I just loved to watch him drum (even with Ringo drumming right next to him!).

The only bad part of the night was when it was over. Peace and love.

Monday, July 19, 2010

43 Things

A few months ago, I happened across a site called 43 Things, which allows you to list your goals, report if you’ve achieved them, and connect with other people who have similar goals. I had just gotten back from New York, so I was able to add and immediately say that I accomplished something that I always wanted to do. I forgot about the site and my account has been stuck at one completed goal since that time.

I am in this constant existential cycle where I miss school and learning and search out experiences that will help me grow and find more value in my life. I find that when I push out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to try new and different things, I am always the happiest. A few days ago, in the middle of my morning journaling (morning mind clearing complain fest is more like it), I started thinking about things that I would like to do. I thought about the site and wondered what would happen if I set 43 goals for myself for the next year and used the site and my blog to write about them.

I let the thought fester for a few days, and it just keeps sounding better. Right now, I only have 6 items on my list, but I’m going to work at filling them in. I feel like if I pick all 43 upfront,I might pick things that six months from now will end up being too easy. This weekend, I will be completing two of the items and I’m excited to see how it goes.

I like the idea of being responsible to myself. I’m interested in seeing what happens to me in the process of all of this. I plan on having some really silly goals, but I’m also going to mix in things that I have really been putting off and see what happens.

If you want to check out the list so far, it’s available here:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Burn Another Bridge, Break Another Heart

It has been a super crazy few weeks. Life these days is making me feel like I’m in a crazy sideshow acts. I spin a bunch of oblong, lumpy plates on stirrer straws while someone kicks me from under the table. Then, the audience hecks me. So super awesome that it’s not really awesome at all.

Maroon 5 – Infatuation

Say it together now… Oh NO! Not another Adam Levine kick. And yes, it’s true. I’ve been Maroon 5 crazy since the new single came out.

“Get so hot, I forget to breathe, yeah…”

Neon Trees – 1983

I hesitated with this choice because that Neon Trees guy has a really annoying haircut. Then again I was impressed that there’s a girl drummer and that’s always pretty badass.

“Would you trade me out for someone cool?”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Gracefully Disappear in a Room

It was a crazy week with a broken fridge and self-induced drama, but the good news is that I listened to a ton of tunes and really love my choices for this week. They are both a little dark and odd, and I think that’s what I love the most about them. I seriously wish that I had written the long tirade of lyrics in Michael Trent’s song.

The National – Secret Meeting

“And now I’m sorry that I missed you. I had a secret meeting in the basement of my brain.”

Michael Trent – Situations

“Sometimes I think that we were made to get frayed and worn out, rough around the edges with our hearts teetering on ledges, not too strong. Sometimes I think we were sent with intent to meet and break each other’s hearts, get pulled apart, and fill the world up with our songs. He said ‘Baby, you feel like home, and I’m so tired of being alone, and I hate that I have to go, but I’m going anyway. There are just some things you have to do, some situations to go through. I still love you, but I’m going anyway.’”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dingoes and Sunrises

Four Star Mary – Pain

I can never tell if I love Four Star Mary because they remind me of watching Buffy ( known to Buffy fans as the music for the fictional band Dingoes Ate My Baby) and it makes me feel like I’m hanging at the Bronze with the Scoobies or if they are just really good. Anyway, for whatever reason, I love singing along to this one in the car all angsty like I’m rocking out at CBGB.

“But you always run away when I come around…”

Howie Day – Collide

And then for a complete 360, I love this song because it is so sweet, sexy, and honest. There is something fantastic about those moments in life where things seem to just come together. There is also a side to it that makes you question and over think the whole thing. This song captures that feeling so well. Any time I start having those feelings, I leave this one in repeat in my car for a few days.

“Out of the doubt that fills my mind, I somehow find you and I collide…”

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Lost Boys

What I really loved about the early 90’s was that the coolest rock stars looked like a cross between Jim Morrison and Jason Patric’s character in The Lost Boys (oh oh and Solarbabies!). My picks this week are in homage to my favorite bad boy, long haired rock stars from the early 90’s: David Gahan and Michael Hutchence.
Depeche Mode - A Pain That I’m Used To

This weekend, I randomly popped in a CD (my car is old and I don’t have an iPod hookup!). It was this great Depeche Mode mix that I had created before the concert last year. While a lot of kids fondly look back to their days of Sesame Street, the soundtrack of my childhood was 80’s new wave bands (Depeche Mode, The Cure, U2, Violent Femmes, etc.) and all those sweet videos on MTV. This isn’t one of those old songs, but I love it just the same. I’ll be damned if David Gahan hasn’t just gotten sexier over the years.

“I'm not sure what I'm looking for anymore
I just know that I'm harder to console
I don't see who I'm trying to be instead of me
But the key is a question of control”

INXS – Mediate

Over Memorial Day weekend, I turned on Vh1 while they were running all of their 80’s videos. I saw about 3 INXS videos within an hour, which completely got me hooked. I’ve listened to Kick more times than I care to count, and I’ve always found the Mediate video interesting. I love the play on words, the broken down railroad yard, and Hutchence’s ripped up jeans. Just try not to sing along.

“Don't suffocate on your own hate…”

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Walking Antique

Sometime in the last few years, I joined a group where you are matched up with other users and you create mix tapes for each other based on a theme. It was really fun until you got matched up with someone who didn’t fulfill their end of the bargain.

Anyway, a few days ago I happened across a mix that I made that was supposed to represent my life. For each year of my life, I picked a song that I felt best represented that time in my memory. For my early years, I picked Bob Dylan’s She Belongs to Me.

I wish that the song had been written about it. It feels so na├»ve yet beautiful and simple. I think of my childhood as a simple time full of possibilities. I felt like I could do anything and owned my stage. At 30, I’m just now realizing that my four year old self had the world right. I wasn’t afraid to sing and dance like I meant it, and I was always painting and drawing without worrying if it was any good.

It’s apparently very difficult to find a copy of this song available for listening online, so this is the best that I can do:

"She's an artist, she don't look back
She can take the dark out of the nighttime and turn the daytime black..."

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Subtle Kiss That No One Sees

I recently purchased a new laptop, so it has been quite an undertaking to decide what music to move over now and what to put on the fresh install on my iPod. As always, I have some mainstays and my songs this week are taken from that collection. I feel like I’ve gotten a little boring and far too past heavy with the recent choices, but the other day I downloaded a bunch of free Indie samplers and I’m sure that I’ll find some interesting new songs in the upcoming weeks. If you want to check them out, see the list of samplers.

Depeche Mode – Somebody

I find this video a little creepy, but I love this song, so just close your eyes and listen. I love the honesty and vulnerability of the song and I really believe that’s what makes it amazing.

“I want somebody who cares
for me passionately
with every thought
with every breath
someone who’ll help me see things
in a different light
all the things I detest
I will almost like…”

The Killers – Read My Mind

In contrast, I absolutely love this video (most specifically the Elvis part). The song is just fantastic (I’m not sure that there are any Killers songs that I don’t like though). Their songs always read like a story to me and they are wonderful at spinning their tales.

“I never really gave up on breaking out of this two star town…”

Thursday, May 27, 2010

From a Sad Cafe

I’m in the midst of planning another trip to New York City. On my first trip, my main goal was to visit the Dakota and Strawberry Fields (John Lennon places). This time, I want to visit some Simon and Garfunkel places. Did I ever mention how excited I was walking on Bleecker Street?
I love how in the middle of At The Zoo, you can actually hear Paul Simon smile. Monkeys do stand for honesty.

“It’s a light and tumble journey from the East side to the park, just a fine and fancy ramble to the zoo…”

Bleecker Street is one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve ever heard. I find it inspiring and if anyone ever thought that things I’ve written are half as poetic as Paul Simon’s song, I would feel like I did something right.

“I saw a shadow touch a shadow’s hand…”

Music Stories

While watching the first episode of The Beatles Anthology, I thought about the movie Backbeat. At 14, I loved that movie and was in love with the idea of becoming a photographer like Astrid Kirchherr. Even though I wasn’t able to experience Beatlemania and the 1960’s, I still felt connected to it because of all the beautiful black and white photography. I wanted to be able to do that for my own era.

It got me thinking about music biopics and how an amazing biopic (or good documentaries for that matter - a la Beatles Anthology, No Direction Home, and hopefully the new George Harrison one by Martin Scorsese) can allow you feel like you’ve been there.

These are my favorite music biopics.

The Doors (Special Edition)5. The Doors
I don’t care what anyone says, Val Kilmer played an amazingly hot Jim Morrison. Maybe the movie was way over the top, but then again, isn’t all of our visions of Jim Morrison?

I'm Not There (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
4. I’m Not There

This movie was so original. I love how they played with all of the tall tales of Bob Dylan. It was fun and quirky, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. If you are really into Bob Dylan, I suggest seeing No Direction Home; it is great for giving this movie some Dylan context as well.

Control (The Miriam Collection)

3. Control
When I watched this, I didn’t know a lot about Ian Curtis or Joy Division, but afterwards I was completely hooked. As depressing as this movie is, it is beautiful. Sam Riley was amazing. I worship the simple beauty of black and white

Backbeat (Collector's Edition)
2. Backbeat
I love the time period and the intimate portrait of the Beatles lives before they were so super famous. I loved being able to watch the love affair before Stuart and Astrid.

A Hard Day's Night
1. A Hard Day’s Night

This one feels like cheating because it’s The Beatles playing the Beatles in this farce, which after watching footage of their lives, actually seems to portray them really well. I love getting to see George and Pattie on screen together too. This is a must see for any Beatles fan. I would also suggest seeing Help! and Magical Mystery Tour, but they are really different types of movies.

I actually came up with a huge list of these types of movies, but I limited this list to the ones that had a strong impact on me. I also found a bunch that I haven’t seen that have been added to my Netflix queue.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I’ll Take My Twist with a Shout

I’ve been watching The Beatles Anthology, and I’ve gone olde timey this week. The male rock stars from the 1960’s are the epitome of sexy to me…The Beatles, The Stones.Don’t get me started on Pete Townshend. If I could time travel to 1969, I’d bring him home with me. I know that would somehow disrupt the whole space time continuum, but I’m good with that.

Twist and Shout is one of my favorite songs to go-to-town rock out on when playing Beatles Rock Band. Just generally because the song rocks, but part of it is because it’s just so fun getting even a small feeling of what it would have been like to see The Beatles perform at The Cavern Club. Whenever I sing this, I pretend that I’m right there on that float with Ferris in Chi-town.

The Rolling Stones are my favorite band to listen to when I’m painting. I always listened to Flowers on vinyl. By far, the version of Out of Time on that album is my favorite Rolling Stones song and again one of those songs that you just can’t help but to sing along to.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Because of This Guy…

I hate to state the title that way, but it is the truth. I get all goggley about some guy, my heart goes a flutter, and every song sounds amazing to me. Giving into feelings starts to make everything else seem a little better. So these were a few songs that struck me and made me smile in their truths.

I saw Ingrid Michaelson live a few months ago and was impressed with how talented she is and the poetry in her lyrics. Her stuff always strikes me with both a strong feminine independence and a vulnerability.

“I never thought that I could love anyone but myself
Now I know I can’t love anyone but you
But you make me think that maybe I won’t die alone
Maybe I won’t die alone”
Michael Trent is like the complete opposite. He’s jarringly honest, yet guarded. How does that even happen and why do his songs always remind me of the guys that I fall for? I had a hard time finding a version of this, but believe me the whole album is worth checking out.
Anybody's Boy (on
“If I could be anybody’s boy I think it would be you
I’ll stare at your lips while we lie on the floor
And I’d stay there all afternoon.”
I’m not even sure how to explain Ra Ra Riot, but I love them. This song is so perfect at capturing that restless feeling that overcomes you when you’re really digging on someone and just don’t know what to do about it. Love and attraction is complicated by all those crazy emotions and pride. At least we have great songs so we don’t feel alone in those feelings.

“Oh baby baby baby babe,
How long am I supposed to wait?
I think about you nightly
Oh, can you tell I'm losin' sleep?

Oh what am I supposed to do?
It's hard to stay cool.
Oh, when you smile at me
and I can notice every time you speak.

My bed's too big for just me
and when you turn your eyes,
I promise I won't care.”