Category Archives: music

My Week on Bed Rest

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After spending a week on modified bed rest (read: lying down most of the time), I thought I would write a blog about what I have done to pass the time.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time meditating, doing homework, and napping.  Most of the time, I don’t nap on purpose; however, many people don’t understand that the longer you lie down, the more tired you get.  What does that mean?  I nap for eight to ten hours a day and am still exhausted at the end of that!  Additionally, I’ve been having fun feeling Spaceman move around, and I’m at the point where I can start to see my belly moving when he kicks.  That alone can entertain me for hours.  At some point though, I have to find something else to do…and that’s where the trashy television has come into play.  I will go out on a limb and say that more often than not, daytime television programming is all trashy reality shows.  Some of them are just painful to watch.  Others, though, are so painful that you can’t turn them off.  I will talk a little about those…

What Not to Wear

This show is not trashy in itself, but the people who are on the show are just painful to watch.  If you haven’t seen this show before, people nominate someone in their life who is an exceptionally bad dresser.  Most of the people who go on this show are constantly dressed in pajamas, scrubs, clothes that are 40 sizes to big, or clothes that are 40 sizes to small.  Occasionally they have people on the show who are 50 years old and share clothes with their nine year old children.  I’m currently watching an episode where a 46 year old woman dresses like her seven year old daughter because “dressing like a grown up means you’re old and going to die.”  Crazy.  Anyway, this is a show that is painful to watch the people who are on it; however, I like to watch it to see how they turn out at the end.  That being said, I fully realize that the majority of the time I dress in yoga pants and some sort of long sleeved shirt; however, the difference is that I understand that and don’t think that I look amazing.  Also, while pregnant, this is the easiest thing for me to wear without going out and spending $500 on new clothes.  (side note: more stores need to carry maternity clothes…not just online.  PREGNANT WOMEN NEED TO TRY ON CLOTHES IN THE STORE!!!)

Toddlers & Tiaras

This is TRULY a painful show to watch.  It’s like a train wreck.  The children are horrendous, the mothers are RIDICULOUS, and once it’s on, I can’t turn it off.  This show follows around toddler beauty pageant contestants and [generally] their mothers.  These are mothers that take their children (usually daughters) to do things like spray tan, get waxed, get fake teeth (flippers), and spend upwards of $1000 per outfit in order for them to compete in glitz pageants.  Apparently the most cut-throat divisions in these pageants are the 4-5 age group and the 6-8 age group (or something like that).  These little girls (and their mothers) are one short step away from pulling a Tonya Harding at every pageant.  Just in case you haven’t seen this show, here is a clip of one of the girls who is frequently followed.  And yes, she’s almost five years old and flipping out about her pacifier (Ni-Ni).

Police Women of Broward County

This is actually somewhat entertaining (at least to me).  It’s a show that follows around the female police officers of Broward County, a la COPS.  The train wreck part of the show deals with the people who are being arrested.  Many of these people are…well…not the brightest crayons in the box.  My favorite quote of last week occurred when a female drug dealer was being arrested.  The officer was patting her down, and out of her bra falls some weed.  The dealer said, “oh, that’s not mine.  It’s windy out here…it must have blown in there.”  Okay really?  How windy does it have to be for weed to blow into your bra?  Also, this statement wouldn’t have been *quite* as heinous, if the weed that fell out of her bra hadn’t been SEVENTEEN PREPACKAGED quarter-ounce bags.  I mean…really?  17 quarter bags blew into your bra?  WOW.  If you’re going to lie to the police, at least make up something that MIGHT be plausible (although in that situation, there really isn’t a good lie short of alien abduction, which is only believable if you live in New Mexico).

Okay, so that has basically been my week.  Fortunately, most of the programming has been so terrible that I have finished most of my homework for the next five weeks.  Yep, motivated to do homework when nothing is on television!

The Music of My Youth

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I think that everyone has an affinity to the music with which they grew up.  I was born in 1980, but in addition to whatever was on the radio, at my house we listened to a lot of classical, Motown, Elton John, and the girl groups of the 60s (Whoopi would be proud!).  My mom and I used to sing Stevie Wonder’s music along with Diana Ross…and of course Mom’s favorite Elton John song, “Benny and the Jets.”  My favorite of my parents’ records growing up was Thriller.  That being said, when I was in my twos and threes, apparently my favorite songs were Abracadabra and Elvira.  Anyway, today is a musically nostalgic day!  Here come a bunch of my favorites from when I was growing up.  Oh, and if any of you want to share your favorites with me, feel free to post them here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/249229558457541/#!/groups/249229558457541/249264608454036/?notif_t=group_activity

In no particular order…here we go!

Elton John–Benny and the Jets

Elton John–Crocodile Rock (the best performance is OBVIOUSLY from The Muppet Show!)

Stevie Wonder–I Just Called to Say I Love You

Otis Redding–I’ve Been Loving You Too Long

Jackson 5–I Wanna Be Where You Are (listen for Jamerson’s smooth bass line!)

Michael Jackson–Billie Jean (yes, the first time he revealed the moonwalk at 3:38)

Madonna–Vogue (I can’t NOT add this one!)

Gladys Knight and the Pips–Midnight Train to Georgia

The Supremes–You Can’t Hurry Love

The Temptations–Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell–Ain’s No Mountain High Enough

Bill Withers–Ain’t No Sunshine

There are many more than this, but at the risk of making this post thousands of pages long, I’ll save them for later.

Judging from this list, I think I should have been born about 15 years earlier…HA!

The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me

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Have you noticed that they just don’t make children’s programming like they used to?  I say that at the risk of someone leaving a comment of something like, “every generation complains that new shows aren’t like the shows with which they grew up!”  But really, it’s true.  Children’s programming after 2000 just went downhill.  The early Disney cartoons, even though I used to find them boring, introduced children to refined music.  I’m not talking about “Little Einsteins” we-play-the-first-eight-bars-over-and-over-for-30-minutes kind of introductions.  Disney, Warner Brothers…they introduced children to the real, non-bastardized, actual instrumentals, as-intended-by-the-composer recordings of this music.  I’m sure this isn’t a big deal to many of you; however, I would venture to say that for those of you don’t care about the real versions of refined music being in children’s programming, probably don’t like it anyway…and maybe it’s because you didn’t watch enough of (or any of) those cartoons as a child.

So, let’s discuss what I consider to be the best three children’s shows of all time: Sesame Street (original, not current), The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.  On the surface, none of these shows are (what I call) Pokemanimation.  What is that?  The insane form of animation found in Pokemon that is super bubbly with no details whatsoever.  You know, the same kind found on the avatars in World of Warcraft.  I’m convinced that this has become a popular style of animation because the artists got lazy, eventually making the eye-brain connection of young people lazy.  That is, if they see too many hard edges and details, their brains will explode.  All three of the shows that I previously mentioned utilize(d) puppets, costumes, and actual humans (and not humans in front of a green screen, a la Blue’s Clues).

Sesame Street, created in 1966, was the first show that had a researched, comprehensive curriculum for its age group.  The whole purpose of Sesame Street was to prepare two to four-year olds for school–especially those who came from low-income families.  The show had educational segments interspersed with short segments of entertainment.  Other than teaching numbers, letters, words, and small amounts of Spanish, the show had underlying themes of social competence, non-aggressive conflict resolution,  and tolerance of diversity.

Fraggle Rock had three main types of characters: Fraggles, Doozers, and Gorgs.  Fraggles are the funny looking things in the above picture.  They spent most of their days exploring, playing, and creating…though they also had responsibilities in their society.  Doozers, on the other hand, lived for work and work alone.  They spent all day building structures out of radish sugar that the Fraggles would then eat.  They relied on the Fraggles to eat these structures so they could continue building.  The Gorgs were a self-proclaimed royal family (though in actuality, they were a farming family).  They grew radishes in order to make anti-vanishing cream.  The show as a whole was fun, had lots of music, and was entertaining.  The underlying messages were that of race, social responsibility, and environmental care.

The Muppet Show was Jim Henson’s attempt to break away from the “children’s programming” niche, and in doing so, he stumbled upon a format that was a hit with all age groups.  The puppets (Muppets) and basic storylines kept children entertained (along with the music), and the deeper jokes kept the adults entertained.  Musically speaking, everyone who was anyone was on The Muppet Show from Elton John to Ethel Merman, and everyone in between.  Though this isn’t considered strictly children’s programming, I lumped this in anyway as it had all of the stimulation involved in the other children’s programming.

So why all of this animosity toward current children’s programming?  Maybe it’s because the programming doesn’t have any deeper messages than “be nice” and “don’t hit people”…  Combine that with pokemanimation and you just might be able to raise a child who is extraordinarily good at drooling on themself.  In an age where parents use the television as a babysitter (and then put crap on like Dora the Explorer or Handy Manny), it’s no wonder that we are raising a group of children who can’t write their own names or read basic sentences by the time they are graduated from high school.  When we eventually have children, they will watch Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and The Muppet Show.  Hell, I’ll even throw in some School House Rock.  Why these shows?  Because there is just not a household cleaner strong enough to take melted brain out of the carpet.

Clown Cars and Music Theory

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After I wrote my first blog about our new church (“Amalgamate”) I received a few “concerned” emails.  These emails expressed what boils down to a fear for my eternal soul.  Apparently the church that we’re attending is “too accepting,” and according to these people, that is a problem.  How funny that a church where they actually act the way Jesus did is the “wrong type” of church.  Go figure.  That being said, I was reminded by a friend of a bumper sticker that says “God Loves Everyone–No Exceptions.”  I found that somewhat humorous in light of the current situation.  I was told that we shouldn’t pick a church because we agree with their “opinions” (I put that in quotes because that it what the email said).  Well…at least to me, agreeing with the message seems to be an important criterion.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I wouldn’t pick a church where I don’t agree with anything they say–that would just be stupid.

Fast forward to my most recent blog about the theory papers that I wrote.  A seemingly non-religious subject: music theory.  I have been informed that I am wrong…through more emails.  What I gathered from the majority of these emails is that college was a time for me to get all of that pesky independence out of my system and meet a husband.  Apparently I was supposed to be spending thousands of dollars on tuition in order to get an M.R.S. degree.  I thought these people had met me before, but I’m guessing they never paid any attention to my actual personality.  According to most of them, this music theory business is just the inevitable next step of Satan trying to get his hooks in me (their words, not mine).  The first step was us going to this church that is “so focused on accepting everyone and all that diversity nonsense.”  Still not grasping the connection between the two subjects at all, but whatever.  Many of them told me that now that I’m 30, it’s time for me to settle down with this “school nonsense,” be a “good housewife,” and focus on having lots of babies.  Wow.  Who knew that it was supposed to happen like that?  We won’t even go into the “focus on having babies” part, as I might have a little [precedented] explosion…you know, like the kind you have when inadvertently provoked in the middle of some random store amongst unknowing people…yeah, that kind.

Needless to say, I deleted quite a few people from my Facebook friends list in the past couple days.  I’m sorry if they think that the church we love is evil, just because they don’t preach all the fire and brimstone nonsense and they actually accept everyone.  I’m sorry if they think that I should become a “good housewife” and settle in to spend the rest of my child-bearing years cranking them out like a clown car.  But more than anything, I’m sorry that they don’t grasp the actual concept of the religion they claim to practice.  Social justice, environmentalism, equal rights, activism, helping those in need…I’m pretty sure these are foreign concepts to most of these people…and I’m willing to put money on the fact that they won’t ever want to learn about them.

Just a random observation from the world of feminist, educated, logical, socially conscious Lauren.