i have a question...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Having already partied the night away for Halloween on the Saturday before (I was an 80s party girl; S was a stewardess), I sort of opted out of any mid-week reveling, anticipating a trip to Boston and not really looking forward to, as I told one friend, "walking around in mobs of people wearing makeup and angel wings poking me in the eye, looking for something to do."

So, the only true taste of Halloween I got happened just now, on my walk home from the 7th Avenue subway station. Park Slope has a pretty large Halloween parade every year, and 7th Avenue is full of shops that dole out candy, so the kids were in full effect as the sun was setting this evening.

I saw several Spidermen, a couple Ninja Turtles, a lovely mermaid and her pirate lady (her dad in drag, no less), a family all decked out in white and neon, including a pregnant mom. I fell in step with a group of girls in football jerseys. Robin Hood sat outside a bar and a little lamb was afraid of him. (I would have been too; he gleefully explained that he was wearing a codpiece that said "Mr. Happy" on it, which was why he was sitting down.) Mind you, none of the kids were quite as cute as these.

And then as I turned down my street, I walked behind the Fantastic Four: Mom was the Invisible Woman, Dad was Thing, and the boys were Mr. Fantastic and Human Torch. Another family walked near them and one of the kids asked who each of them was. His dad explained and then asserted, they weren't all from the same movie; they were all from the same comic book.

Friday, October 26, 2007

particularly for Chuckee D

I think he will find these especially funny.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Music Explorers, vol. IX, the Halloween Edition

Today, I was a stresscase. A combination of feeling unprepared for volunteering (sometimes emails aren't that effective, and that's the only way my co-leader and I plan), having 3 hours of meetings at the end of the day, needing to run errands for the evening beforehand, and anticipating seeing both parents tomorrow, left me anxious for the evening's lesson.

Then, we ended up with 19 kids for 5 volunteers, and those kids love to yammer. Boy, do they ever.

The biggest thing I've learned working on this project is how to stay flexible. My co-leader and I have to always be ready to change our plans because we see different kids every week and also work with different volunteers. We had an initial plan to dress up, make masks, sing and dance this week. We ended up scrapping the arts and crafts part and focused instead on learning the lyrics of and a dance to Michaels Jackson's "Thriller."

But first, we played a rousing game of musical chairs, where the person who misses a chair has to go around and name everyone. If he/she gets them all right, he/she can pick someone else to leave the circle. If he/she gets them wrong, he/she is out. (How PC of me.)

Then, I went over the first 2 verses and chorus of Thriller. We listened first, then read along to a beat, then sang it through a couple times. It was hilarious.

My co-leader masterminded a dance for the chorus, and we threw it all together, complete with an introduction of spooky sounds: witches cackling, doors creaking, zombies groaning, cats meowing, and ghosts booing. They creeped in, making their sounds, then danced the chorus.

It was a spectacle.

Next time, I think we're going to focus on singing--probably Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Is that how that's spelled?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

thought of the day, 18: damn

Deleting someone's phone number from your phone does not mean you stop thinking about the possibility that he'll call you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

thought of the day, 17: ugh

Raise your hand if you hate phone tag!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

busted tees

First laugh, then buy me some.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

thought of the moment, 14: moving on

I realized today that I will be visiting Emerson College for an open house on the 2-year anniversary of my first day at my job.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Music Explorers, vol. VIII

So my co-leader and I entered today's session with a strategy: occupy the adults, make sure they're all really prepared, play a game with the kids as they filter in so we're not all affected by them as they sweep in, then start the lesson when everyone has arrived. We've been competing with a performance group that gathers in the park, and kids haven't been rounded up until after 7 some weeks, which just doesn't allow much work between 630 and when everyone has finally arrived.

It was a strategy we were really confident in, but I showed up at 6 to 12 kids, which of course meant we had to shift our plans. Everything worked out well, nonetheless, but it was interesting that we had planned for things to be much more difficult than they ended up being.

We started with a name game, something we'll probably stick to every week so we can all learn everyone's name. We all stood in a circle and threw a ball of yarn around, saying the name of the person who threw the ball and the name of the person then being throwing to. It was a hit, not to mention helpful.

Then, I asked how many of them knew the ABCs, Twinkle, Twinkle, and Baa, Baa Black Sheep. (Of course, the point is they're all the same song.) I was able to prove that by having half the kids sing one song while the other half sang the other. One of the kids, who hadn't quite understood the concept, was SO excited as he discovered the point. My co-leader introduced them to On Top of Ol'Smokey/Spaghetti as another example of two songs with the same melody.

They're assignment for the night was to write their own songs, to either melody. My brilliant example was (sung to the ABCs):
Hi, my name is Annie [not printing my last name here]
Last year, I was 23.
This June, I turned 24.
Next year, I'll be even more.
Hi, my name is Annie...
Last year, I was 23.

The kids were broken into groups to write their own and then performed them, like the stars they are.

A group of boys came up with this:
Old man, old man, look at you.
[Something, something, something] shoe. (Sorry, I forget)
He fell down, his teeth fell out,
Now he cannot eat his sprouts.
Old man, old man, look at you
[Something, something, something] shoe.

And one very prolific girl wrote:
On top of the TV
Is the remote.
Oh no, I can't reach it.
My back is broke...
and then 2 more verses.

Next week, we're doing a country-themed, Halloween project, where they'll have bandannas and paper hats, learn a song and line dance. Should be a hell of a time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

shifting priorities

Dear friends,

It struck me last night, while drunk on wine after a weekend full of too much smoking and some drinking and mostly playing, that I really needed to crack down on my grad school writing. I'm about 2/3 done with the Berkeley requirements but must just finish. Not to mention start/finish my UT Austin application, which is due mere weeks after the Berkeley one.

Considering that every other Wednesday is occupied with my volunteering, and Tuesdays I get home late from therapy as it is, I thought it best to try to use my time better when I'm home and get some good writing done. For as long as I can or need to.

In short, the review column is put on hold until further notice. Indefinitely, but not finally.

Thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


It is nearly impossible for me to separate the music on Jeff Buckley’s album Grace from the incredibly potent experiences I had getting high in college. In fact, since then, I actually haven’t been able to listen to the CD all the way through, but it was specifically requested that I review it this week; I figured I’d be able to finally listen to it critically. I think the conclusion is I failed miserably, considering I nearly burst into tears on the subway. So this might not be a review, so much as a trip down memory lane…or something.

The fact of the matter is that Buckley’s life was way too short—he drowned when he was 30—and I’m just not convinced his posthumous success has outshone the success he might have had if he had lived a longer life, even though that’s what everyone always says about posthumous success. His voice has been described as “ethereal,” and I couldn’t think of a better word. It’s ghostly at times, strong and striking when he wails, and his falsetto rules the CD. The way it soars from one part of his range to the other is part of his remarkable talent.

Like I mentioned, these songs are kind of engrained in me and they’re honestly hard to separate as distinct from each other. In “Mojo Pin,” Buckley starts with an echoing “ooh,” whispers about how he loves her so, and then screams about his “black beauty.” It’s a stirring song to listen to while sober, let alone…um…not. In “Grace,” he eerily sings about his mortality: “Drink a bit of wine, we both might go tomorrow.” In all the times I’ve heard the album, it wasn’t until this listen that I heard the clock ticking in the background. Creepy.

“Last Goodbye” was always a particularly sentimental track in our house, if for nothing but the lyrics “Kiss me, please kiss me. Kiss me out of desire, baby, not consolation.” I can’t quite recall why that hurt us all so much, but I remember a lot of swooning. The bridge of this song is Buckley basically screaming perpetually higher until he explodes into singing. It’s pretty powerful stuff.

The covers on this album, Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallejulah” and the hymn “Corpus Christi Carol” are, in my opinion, what make the album. (I guess it can be mentioned here that when I was introduced to this music, I had no idea what era Buckley had lived. I assumed he had been famous during the 60s.) Buckley’s version of “Lilac Wine” is sung in his ridiculous falsetto. His version of “Hallejulah,” probably his most famous track, is a revelation. It’s beautifully sung and played, so sad, and the crazy note he holds at the end never ceases to amaze me. And “Corpus Christi Carol” seriously stuns me every time because he sings so high through the whole song; he sounds like a woman, but I mean that in a good way.

On the track “So Real,” there’s a break in the song that always made us impressionable girls die a little, when Buckley growls, “I love you, but I’m afraid to love you.” That line always struck us as so a propos in those days. Ah, youth.

The track that always struck me as a buzzkill was “Eternal Life,” but listening to it now, I’m not sure why I didn’t like it then. Maybe because the hard-driving beat was a contrast to all the melancholia of the rest of the album and I was always forced out of my reverie. Or maybe it just sobered me up a little. I suppose both were equally boring to me then. I’d never even heard the strings in this song before today.

The thing is, this album is one of those that will just always vividly remind me of a certain time in my life. There’s no way around it. The other thing, though, is that this may be one of the best albums in my collection. Too bad I can’t listen to it anymore.

Monday, October 1, 2007

we all have our vices

I decided this weekend that The Dog Whisperer is to me what What Not to Wear is to my roommate.

We both want to purchase the subjects of the shows.