Saturday, January 31, 2015

Having listened to (and immediately downloaded) Shakira's "Can't Remember to Forget You," I'm totally replacing Sam Hunt with it in my list of songs I liked. While I do think "Leave the Night On" is a good song for what it is, Sam Hunt trying to pass himself off as country makes me want to punch him in the face too much.

So not looking forward to the deflated mess of a Super Bowl tomorrow. I'm instead going to watch the alternate version in my head, where the Packers win 57-2 and Aaron Rodgers takes me to Disneyland.
Headline of the Day:

"Tiger Woods, Robert Allenby stick to disputed stories"

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/01/28/notebook-tiger-woods-robert-allenby-stick-disputed-stories/eaXsq4LNzpWT5KeccIx1tI/story.html

Clearly, Robert Allenby flew to wherever-they-have-ski-races-land and punched Tiger Woods in the face. Duh.

Golf is a dangerous world, man.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thing #1 I love about Pretty Little Liars: Spencer keeps bolt cutters in her car.

Thing #2: Creepy abandoned ice cream factory!

Thing #3: Aria being Very Serious while her Giant Feather Earrings threaten to consume her face.

Thing #4: Ashley saying "I make bad choices" while I try to not make "DURRRRRRRR" noises at my computer screen.

Thing #5: Emily beating the shit out of said ice cream factory with a wrench.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Oh! Harvard sort of rhymes with "swiss chard."

I wasn't up all night trying to think of that at all.

I think my favorite one I came up with, while I was totally being productive doing other things and not just thinking about vegetables, is "cuke" for "Duke." Cause I love me some cucumber salad, especially during march madness, amirite? I'll bust your brackets, like a dark horse! Oh dear god, I'm on the nonsensical metaphor merry-go-round, and we've just come full circle!

CUKE.

Also, it seems I can't escape kale today. "Winter is coming, so Northeasteners are frantically hoarding kale" was the tagline for this article: http://www.vox.com/2015/1/25/7898327/east-coast-blizzard Apparently New Englanders are all about organic crunchiness, which is hilarious because when I lived in Mass it was all about pizza and Dunkin Donuts. Maybe DD makes a kale coolatta (kalelotta?) these days. Who knows.

I actually like kale. The word is starting to lose all meaning, though. I'm going to go outside.

So it's like Yale, except kale. Gotcha. Possibly the most random thing I've ever heard. Can we turn other Ivy league schools into fruits and vegetables? Let's see!

Harvard - nope
Dartmouth - nope
Brown - um... hmm, nope
Princeton - fuck nope
Cornell - corn! ...ell :(
Columbia - rutabaga...? nope
Penn - oh come on, something must rhyme with Penn... ken... men... zen... well, damn

Kale it is then! Wait, what was the question?

Oh it's a vegan thing, I guess. Well, fuck that shit. *EATS CHEESEBURGER IN CAPSLOCK*
Why is everyone wearing shirts that say "kale?" Should I be sporting a lettuce hat, or possibly a beet belt? Think of it, a giant belt buckle saying "BEETS." This could be huge. Makes as much goddamn sense as anything else these days. :P

I think I'll stick with my cheesehead.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oh my sweet lord...

the cat photo Debbie Downer comments strike again! Seriously, internet. Just fucking seriously. This is at the top of my FB feed this very minute.

Here's the photo:


Yeah, I lol'd. Then I saw this, very first comment: "Why not use some common sense and buy multiple kitty litter boxes?" WAH WAH :(. At least one guy had the perfect response: "cause its a joke........" I can see him rolling his eyes with each extra ellipsis. Well done, sir. But the original commenter?

WAH WAH

Thanks for trying to ruin my day, or at least the part of my day spent viewing amusing cat photos which is yeah, pretty much my day. I think I'm learning to laugh at these people rather than be annoyed by them. Success!

(click on the tag if you have no idea what I'm talking about ;p)
#ExplainThe90sIn4Words

Word to your mother.

(I don't have twitter.)

Actually, "I don't have twitter" is my #explainthe2010sin4words.

Well I once signed up for twitter, never logged in again, forgot all my information, and am too lazy to try to remember it. But that's too many words.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Correction

I misquoted Jason Derulo's masterpiece "Trumpets" in one of my previous entries by using the word "boobs." The actual line is,

"Is it weird that your bra
Remind me of a Katy Perry song?"

WHY YES THAT IS WEIRD, YOU FUCKING WEIRDO.

You know what it is? You know what just hit me, right now, as I typed out the name Jason Derulo? What really sucks so bad about popular music right now is how much better it could be. Maybe that sounds obvious, but it's like, all these "artists" are coasting through on straight Ds. Why doesn't anyone try to get A material out of them, or at least Bs? I refuse to believe this is the best professional musicians can offer us. Maybe it's the best Jason Derulo can offer, but he's symptomatic of a larger problem. When we don't require actual talent out of our celebrities, some talentless ones get in because the bar's set so low.

But I think most of these people have more in them than the lazy output we see. TRY HARDER.
I haven't been much of a "fan" of current music artists for a long time. By fan, I mean being REALLY REALLY INTO particular artists like I was back in the 80s and 90s. (Madonna and Garth Brooks come to mind.)

The one exception to that is Miranda Lambert. Except for "Somethin' Bad," which I feel is an overblown shouting mess, I've liked all her hit songs. She also has some wonderful album cuts, like "Mama I'm Alright" and "Same Ol' You," and some of her best work with the Pistol Annies. Her latest album, Platinum, isn't perfect, but I feel that's mostly due to having too many damn songs on it. I liked it much better when albums had 10-12 songs and less filler. But, whatever. It's still some of the best country I've heard in a while and there are a lot of strong songs.

I've written about "Automatic" several times here, as it's one of the most relatable songs I've ever heard. I love it. "Somethin' Bad" was a major disappointment, as I enjoy both Miranda and Carrie separately, but not together. It's not really a surprise that it comes off as two big voices trying to outsing each other, even if they weren't. And now there's a third single, "Little Red Wagon."

Okay. My second-favorite cut on Platinum is "Hard Staying Sober."

"Why you think the world drinks?
Why you think the world smokes?
Why you think we all sit around and tell a bunch of dirty jokes?

Somebody somewhere is out having a ball
And somebody’s laying around heartbroke
Why you think we all drink
Why you think we all smoke"

It's fantastic, seriously. It should be a country classic. So I was pretty disappointed it wasn't the third single and hope it will still be released, cause it deserves a mass audience.

That said, Little Red Wagon has grown on me. It's a very in-your-face kind of song, like Somethin' Bad, and I think something a bit lower-key between the two might have been a better choice. But it's pretty hard to fault the energy of this song. Miranda is obviously having a blast, and it's infectious.



Miranda is at Full Miranda in this song (Miranda Level 10?), and it comes across as refreshing because of the arrangement and instrumentation. I mean, "Miranda being sassy!" isn't exactly something new. But this is. It's also a song that requires multiple listens to get into I think, because when I first heard it I was like... "huh?" But I get it now. Its raw energy, and instrumentation that's kinda messy yet tight and restrained enough to not be too out of hand, reminds me of garage rock. So I'm calling it "garage country."

One thing that stood out to me on first listen: the riff reminds me of this.



And that's not a bad thing. In a time of a lot of barely-there music, "Little Red Wagon" has plenty of there-ness. Butplease, release "Hard Staying Sober" next. It's just the best.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Here's something else I just noticed (probably because this is the only time of the year I actually listen to current music, before scurrying back to a more pleasing decade. I'd rather listen to a medley of my old camp songs than most of this shit): anyway... do people, like, HATE their relationships now?

Seriously, what happened to love songs? "All of Me" is pretty much... all of it. NO I'M NOT COUNTING THE UNDERWEAR SONG, DAMMIT.

Scanning some lists, the songs seem to be primarily about the following:

1. Ending relationships, with the subgenre "escaping from your horrible ex." This is YOUR doing, isn't it, Taylor Swift?

I've got one less problem without you! These hoes ain't loyal! Let it go! Let her go! This is the part where I break free! (Damn, Ariana Grande really hates relationships) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! (Okay, that was like 3 years ago, but still) Hell, is "Happy" about getting out of a bad relationship too? "Because I'm happyyy yyyyy yyyy I never have to see you again, bitch!"

2. Boasting

I'm so fancy! I'm gonna shake off the haters with my mighty giggle! This is how we do! This is how we roll! I'm all about that bass! He love dis fat ass HAHAHAHAAHHQAAAAAa@%&snmAAAAH! Presumably anything by 2 Chainz since his name is a boast of how many chainz he possesses! Presumably about half the rap songs on the chart! Started from the bottom now I'm fucking here!

3. I'm a horrible person, let's hook up! (Or alternately, I'm an animal that will kill you!)

Animals! (that was literal) I'm a black widow baby! I'm coming at you like a dark horse! (which is apparently something that will eat you, and not an underdog ncaa team) Got a long list of ex-lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane! I came in like a wrecking ball! Don't get too close, it's where my demons hide! Because I'm happyyyy yyyyyy yyyy! (oh wait, wrong section)

4. Really unsexy sex

Talk dirty to me, differently-raced girl! Lying nekkid in my bed, burnin it down! Stick my pink umbrella in your vagina, I mean drink! Your boobs remind me of a katy perry song! (what???) You know what to do with that big fat butt! Bang bang all over you! (dear god, they're beating him with a hammer! maybe that one belongs in theme #3 instead)

5. Cheating

These hoes ain't loyal (again)! Don't tell em, don't tell em! You caught me cheating on my phone, oops oh shit!

6. Partying

Meh nothing new there, though I think there's less of it than usual. Sadly, this is my favorite of the themes so far. I'm yelling Timber!

7. Whatever the hell "Hot Nigga" is

I'm gonna file it under "boasting," to save me the trouble of having to listen to it.

8. Whatever the hell "Rude" is

I guess this is a love song? One that focuses on the guy's relationship with the girl's... father and his purported rudeness, which isn't actually rude, thus negating the entire point of the song? Fuck, I have no idea why this song exists or why it was popular.

9. Whatever the hell "Show Me" is

This song seems to be about absolutely nothing, so I'm just gonna go with "rejected state song of Missouri."

10. Aaaaand whatever the hell "Turn Down for What" is

I don't know what this is to be able to talk about it. I don't even understand the title. Well done!

Not every song is "I hate love," but there is a staggeringly low number of actual love songs. So yeah, I think that explains the hugeness of John Legend this year. If you actually like your significant other, IT WAS THE ONLY SONG TO PLAY FOR THEM. Well played, John Legend. And I think Pharrell's the only one who's happy, cause everyone else seems really fucked up and miserable.
Okay, one more roundup of 2014 before we run headlong into this new year of crap, I mean hope. Hope. Yes.

I just listened to pieces of the top 100 songs of 2014. I had never heard about 60% of these songs before so it might be unfair to judge them based on a soundbite, but I'm not listening to a bunch of shitty songs all the way through. So instead, I'm gonna focus on the songs I liked.

There's about 5 of them.

Maybe 6 or 7.

Out of 100.

3 of them are country.

1 of them is country, but not really.

1 of them is not country, but kind of is.

Okay, maybe it's more like 10?

Oh, and I'm not counting stuff I already said I liked last year, like those Imagine Dragons songs. Seriously, haven't "Demons" and "Radioactive" been on the charts for like 3 years now?

Okay, let's roll! *cough* In order of their chart position, not mine:

1. Timber - I'm sorry, I just love how catchy and fun this is! I'm allowed to have fun! *cries*
2. Pompeii - Holy FUCK is this good. What's this doing on a list of hit songs of 2014? That's like putting caviar in a corn dog.
3. Habits - This has a kind of soaring melancholy, like "Video Games." I wouldn't listen to this often, but I do think it's a good song.
4. Boom Clap - This is a really nice straightforward pop song, and Charli XCX has a good voice. Not just good, but interesting. The song is nothing earth-shaking, but pop music doesn't have to be earth-shaking to be enjoyed.
5. Burn - Another song so good, it really sticks out like a sore thumb on this list. Or a... non-sore thumb. A perfectly healthy thumb. Yes, that's what this song is.
6. Hey Brother - Well, I guess this is the other thumb. Also, one of the most country-sounding songs on the list to me, despite being EDM. It has country soul. This is a pretty amazing song.
7. Dirt - the best designated "country" song on the list. What an odd little blip in FGL's career. I actually thought this signified a turning point for them. Ha! Ha! Oh well, I still enjoy it.
8. American Kids - I've liked Kenny Chesney from day one, and I always will. This is actually a pretty strong song for so late in his career. Good summer fun, cause yes, I do enjoy such things when they're done right.
9. Leave the Night On - Okay. Make no mistake, this is NOT a country song. It's a pop song. That doesn't mean I can't like it though, cause it's actually one of the better pop songs of the year. EDIT: NOPE. My favorite song of the year was actually "Come with Me Now."
10. I Don't Dance - Again, nothing earth-shaking, but a good solid country song.

That doesn't mean I hate the rest of the top 100. Some, like "All of Me," I respect for making the effort to be actual songs, they just leave me kinda "meh." I have no issue with "Happy," or "Counting Stars," or "Problem." A few on the list might warrant further listens (like, of the whole song), such as Shakira. Some I'm just gonna pass over, as I'm clearly not the target audience for "Hot Nigga." Um, you just go do that, sir. Godspeed.

If I had to pick an 11, it would be, of all things, Drunk on a Plane. My initial distaste for this song was based on two things. One, I really like Dierks Bentley and he's done much better. Two, that stupid "like a G6" line. Why would you pick such a nothing pop song to quote, and put it in your chorus no less?! But that's a dumb reason to hate a whole song.

The fact that "Dark Horse" is the number two song OF THE YEAR is just... well, fitting actually. Cause it's a piece of shit. At least I get the appeal of say, "Fancy" or "Shake it Off." They're catchy. Dark Horse is just nothing. In the year of barely-there, it was the most non-present of all. So goodbye, 2014. You will not be missed. At least until this time next year, when I talk about how much worse 2015 was.

Because I'm happyyyy... yyy... yyy... yyy.
Actually, one of my favorite songs is No Doubt's "Just a Girl." I'm complicated, I guess. Or I just like the sound of certain music. Whatever. Onward!



This is sheer brilliance from start to finish. I love when someone who actually has an audience says what I'm thinking. Tears of unbridled amusement rolled down my face when he got to the avocado sandwich. A WHOLE PAGE ON HOW TO PUT A GODDAMN AVOCADO IN A SANDWICH. OMG. Dying.

This controversy (?) really illustrates what I hate about the social media age: a celebrity puff piece in one of those supermarket checkout impulse-buy mags being treated as SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS. Seriously, NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE SOMETHING. Can't some things just... be? This goes for music, movies, whatever. Must everything be fraught with socio-political nuance, 24 hours a day? Does it really enrich your life to be offended by something so small? If you don't like it, make a joke about it. At least that contributes something to the world besides shampoo rhetoric (lather, rinse repeat). Doesn't it get tiring to have opinions about everything, all the time?

Okay, back to talking about pop music. Specifically... this. Brace yourself.



I have Todd in the Shadows' top 10 worst list to thank for this atrocity, as I'm old enough to be able to avoid such things otherwise. Look, I am NOT a boy band fan. I don't like One Direction, never got into BSB or NKotB. It all seems too mass-produced to me, like I can picture them rolling down the assembly line. But this is just a whole new level of ridiculous. Actually, no, no, it isn't. Remember this little late 90s gem?



Did the world really need an updated version of "I like girls who wear Abercrombie & Fitch?" I mean, leaving the word "underwear" hanging out there is creepy and awkward enough without the product placement. But that sends it to a level of stupid specificness that even Pat "my heart is bound to beat right out my untrimmed chest" Monahan would roll his eyes at. "TOO FAR, MAN!" Exclaims Mr. Two-Ply Hefty Bag of Love. "That's just embarrassing."

2014 was mostly the year of barely-there music. The kind you forget while you're still listening to it. Will pop and country music just keep getting more generic, or is there a breaking point coming? I mean, my favorite pop song of the year was "Timber." Really. At least it bothered to show up.

Monday, January 19, 2015

p.s.

Because I forgot this part of my original post.

So here's God Made Girls, in all its white, poofy, sugary glory:



Is there anything inherently harmful to women in there?

This song presents only one aspect of femininity: that in relation to men. It doesn't say that's the only aspect of it, it's just the one the song chooses to talk about. That right there is enough of a turn off for some people, and that's fine. But let's keep going.

Is there anything in there to make a woman feel stupid, or incapable, or even helpless? The tone of the song is assertive and confident. There's no reason the woman described in the song couldn't also be a doctor, or a business owner, or an artist. What I get here is, "women have some different strengths than men, especially in relationships. These differences can actually help make relationships stronger." Not "women are dumb and helpless", which I feel is the knee-jerk reaction some might have to this song. It's a pretty big difference in narrative. I for one like being the softer side of Sears my relationship. To deny that's a natural part of the male-female dynamic just cause it's 2015 and we're "enlightened" is silly.

I am now done talking about this song. I'm going to go listen to it and pick flowers and ride my pink unicorn into the sunset. BYE!

Remaking my case for God Made Girls

Hoo boy. Do I really wanna do this?

Okay. A while ago I wrote a post defending the much-maligned Raelynn song God Made Girls, and explained why I bought it and enjoy listening to it. I deleted it a week or so later, feeling embarrassed and not wanting to seem like I'm on the wrong side of "strong women." Because I completely support strong women!!!

But here's the thing. My shame-deletion of that post has caused me to have even more to say about this, in retrospect. Basically, if I feel shame over being a traditional woman and defending it, HOW DOES THAT MAKE ME A STRONG WOMAN? Isn't the whole point of feminism for women to just feel comfortable in their own skins and not be under anyone's thumb?

But that's not exactly what's happened, is it? While women may have somewhat gotten out from under the thumbs of men and the old-fashioned societal expectations of gender, now there's a whole NEW set of societal expectations to conform to. Oh, boy! True feminism, to me, says a strong women is one who knows herself, is herself, and doesn't let anyone try to change her or shame her. Standard feminism seems to say, that does not include those women who CHOOSE to be traditional. Wait, that's not even true. I didn't "choose" to be this way, any more than one "chooses" their sexuality. It just comes natural. And THIS is what "God Made Girls" represents to me.

Okay, back to the song. In my original post I compared it to another song that came out around the same time, Maggie Rose's "Girl in Your Truck Song." While that song seems to have gone nowhere fast (thank god), God Made Girls reached the top 10. Even with that disparity, I'm still going to make the comparison because the sensibilities are the same.

(My post that talks only about "Girl in Your Truck Song" http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2014_07_01_archive.html#3942179225703290194)

And, one more thing, I totally get why people don't like this song. I really, really do. This isn't to say "Hey guys, you're wrong, everyone should love this song!" It's to make the case for why I like it, and maybe some other women like it.

A few additional points:

1. God Made Girls is NOT bro-country.

While Girl in Your blah blah attempts to cash in on bro-country by specifically song-dropping other artists and saying she wants to be in their songs - bad country music fanfiction, as I called it - God Made Girls stands on its own. I don't know if the "give him a reason to wash that truck" line is supposed to be a wink to the bros, but I don't care because if you take it out of that context it works fine. Raelynn doesn't do any song-dropping, a trend which I hope to god is over, she's just doing her thing.

2. God Made Girls is wholesome.

A song that ISN'T SEXUAL, in 2014???



This is the other big difference between the two songs. Maggie Rose's song basically says she wants to be a hood ornament. Raelynn's song is about a committed relationship. She doesn't have to resort to in your face sexuality, because she's SECURE in her relationship and her role in it. She isn't pandering to anyone, she's asserting herself. Sounds an awful lot like a strong woman to me.

So I ask again - what, exactly, is wrong with having the "traditional" female role in a relationship if you want it that way? If it's who you are naturally? What's the difference between being told what you "should" be by a man, and being told what you "should" be by a "feminist?"

3. She's celebrating her idea of being a girl without putting down anyone else.

You could argue, but she's not just singing about herself! She's saying all girls are soft and pretty and make guys wash their trucks! That's why God made them! And I can't blame anyone for being bothered by that particular tone of the song. It's one of the things that made me delete my original post, like, do I really wanna support this? But I've chosen to look past that and just take the song for what it is, rather than be nitpicky. Because I genuinely feel this IS a female empowerment song at its core. Which brings me back to the point.

Female "empowerment" songs. Hoo boy. I'm going to rate some of the recent ones, in order of how on-point I feel they are.

Follow Your Arrow - 100% on-point. Probably the only empowerment song you really need. (And while it's geared towards women, the message works for everyone.)

Firework - yeah, I really do like this one. It's sappy, it's over the top, it breaks the golden rule of never write a pop song about something your grandmother would embroider on a pillow. But I don't care. This is the Greatest Love of All of the 2000s, and yeah, I really like that one too. Follow Your Arrow points out that you should just be yourself, cause it's a waste of time trying to please everyone else. Firework inspires you to celebrate who you are.

Girl in a Country Song - very nichey, but definitely on-point in its niche. I'm glad this was a hit. It needed to be. I didn't even mind the song-dropping in this one. Just don't ever do it again.

God Made Girls - gives voice to the kind of femininity that doesn't get much voice anymore, and does it gently and without bile. Maybe the tone is too broad for today's world, but at least she's not calling anyone a bitch, or putting down girls who don't agree with her. I find this song sweet and charming. It's okay if you don't. Just know there are some women who do. :)

All About that Bass - okay, this is the song that illustrates my #3 point. Man, this one comes so close for me. It has a nice sound, and I certainly like the message. I think it's ridiculous the message is coming from one of the most normal-sized women I've ever seen - umm, the issue is that most female celebrities are too skinny, not that Meghan Trainor is fat. SHE ISN'T. SHE'S NORMAL. But, here's my problem with the song. When I say "most female celebrities are too skinny," I'm indicting the CULTURE that insists they all be skinny. Not the women themselves. This otherwise good song has that one damn line I just can't tolerate - "Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that. No, I'm just playing." Oh, you were just PLAYING when you called a whole group of women "bitches" based solely on their appearance. That makes it okay then!!

No, it doesn't. If your "empowerment" is based in any way on putting someone else down, you might wanna rethink it. Cause that is not confidence, it's insecurity. And it's sad.

Shake it Off - Okay, I like the part about listening to the music in your head to drown out negativity. I relate to that. But Oh. My. God. this song is just so juvenile. "My ex-man brought his new girlfriend" what?? So your "ex-man" is either

A) currently a woman, or
B) wolverine.

And don't get me started on "hella good hair." Seriously, I have no idea what that means, though judging by her semi-recent dating history it's something like this:


Ah, the "I fell asleep curling my hair in a wind tunnel." Okay then. Back to the list.

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger - THIS is why you shouldn't write songs your grandmother would embroider on a pillow. This. So generic it's utterly meaningless.

Roar - this could be the most empowering song ever, but I wouldn't know because it put me to sleep. It's a very empowering anti-insomnia anthem, I guess.

Anaconda - is this a female empowerment song? An elaborate joke? An ad for power tools? I have no idea. As for empowerment songs, I'd actually put Baby Got Back pretty high. But this? I'm pretty sure Nicki's deranged ass cackle is not laughing with us.

Okay, so that's my case for God Made Girls, and a bit of a comment on the general state of women in music. Pop music is pretty dominated by women right now, some of it good, some of it Nicki Minaj. Country music currently has three songs by women in the top 25 - Carrie Underwood's well-deserved smash "Something in the Water," "God Made Girls," and "Girl in a Country Song." Pretty sad. If I have one wish for 2015, it's more female country voices being heard by a large audience. I'm glad Raelynn is one of those voices, but let's add Kacey Musgraves, Sunny Sweeney, and the countless other should-be stars who have lost airplay in favor of mediocre meatheads like Chase Rice and Cole Swindell. I bet even Maggie Rose has a good song in her somewhere.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yahoo Headline of the Day:

"Boy who claimed he had been to heaven retracts story, bestselling book is pulled"

"Spokesman Todd Starowitz of Tyndale House, a leading Christian publisher, confirmed Friday that Alex Malarkey's "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life Beyond This World" was being withdrawn. Earlier this week, Malarkey acknowledged in an open letter that he was lying, saying that he had been seeking attention. He also regretted that "people had profited from lies."

So... it was all a bunch of malarkey? *cough*

Yes I wrote this so I could make that stupid joke. SOMEBODY HAD TO OK.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

*serious alert*

I made a commitment to myself a couple years ago to purge unneeded negativity from my life. As in, if it doesn't affect me personally or I can't do anything to help, I don't want to hear about it. I avoid the news like the plague, aside from occasional silly things to make fun of and, rarely, things that actually enrich my life.

Does this mean I'm choosing to be ignorant of the world around me? No. Obviously I see the big headlines. I know what's going on. I think the reason that I, and so many others, choose not to focus on it is we don't know what the fuck to do about it. Stewing about things you can't change can lead dangerously close to insanity. Some people are callous and uncaring but most of us, I think, are just baffled and helpless. Is this our world? How did we get here? What can we do to change it?

Ordinary folks aren't in a position to do much, if anything, about the major ills of the world. The greed, the fear, the fanaticism, the power trips, the indifference of those who can affect change. I can't turn outward, so I turn inward. I ask what I can do to improve the world, or at least my part of it. So I make yummy food. I remember to say "thank you." I adopt shelter cats. I treat people equally, regardless of race, gender, orientation, religion, etc. Everyone should do what they can, and not stew over what they can't. If you let the world's problems get to you too much, it will overwhelm you to the point you no longer even practice simple kindnesses, because what does it matter right? There's "just too much injustice in the world."

But it does matter. What I mean is, the desire to be "informed" can have just the opposite effect. Great quantities of horrible don't make you a better, more informed person, they make you desensitized. The brain's "immune system" will shut down in an attempt to purge the toxins. Suddenly you're in a depressed stupor, or getting high every day, or dear God, listening to like, Jason Derulo or Iggy Azalea songs just to escape. It takes the try out of you, and that's the worst thing of all. YOU DO MATTER.

I'm not saying don't care. Do care, but in a way that doesn't make you go crazy. Even just not being a douchebag is a start. It certainly won't get you on 24 hr cable news, and that's a good thing. I mean jesus, we have a new tragedy pounded into our heads all day, every day. It's like world war or the plague breaks out every single day of our lives, the way they go on. Yeah, a lot of tragic shit is going on but GAWD, do we need to hear that much about it? No wonder so many people are on depression and anxiety meds. TURN THAT SHIT OFF. And do something positive, for great justice.

Much randomness!

1. My burrito story

I am, at my core, a girl who enjoys a giant fat burrito. I am not ashamed of this. I'd probably eat a huge burrito every day if I could, perhaps alternated with cheeseburgers, pizza, swiss chalet chicken, and tiramisu (cuz I'm classy like that). So I take my burritozilla and bags of dollar store goodies and head into the Safeway Starbucks for a salted caramel yummy thing. Realizing I can't really lug everything + the coffee cup home with me (just the burrito was weighing me down), I sat down to eat at Starbucks. This quickly became surreal, at least in my mind. As I consumed the doom burrito, it began to split apart at the seams. IT LITERALLY COULD NOT CONTAIN ITSELF. I was immediately reminded why I usually do these things in the privacy of my home. So there I am, burrito juice spilling down my hands in all its glory, and I have to think fast. Be ashamed of my public gluttony, or be proud? And by God I chose pride. I am a little, barely 5'2" woman and I consumed that entire thing. It took me about 20 minutes, but I did it!

THE END.

Also? That moment you realize you'll be taking your salted caramel beverage home, because you want to lick the remaining salt out of the cup. Like I said, #classy.

2. Channelawesome.com (formerly that guy with the glasses)

A couple years ago, I stumbled onto an internet music reviewer called Todd in the Shadows while doing research for one of my music posts (much the same way I found farcethemusic.com and other sites).* I immediately became a huge fan, and followed him to a site called thatguywiththeglasses.com. From there, I started getting into some of the movie reviewers/riffers. Basically, it felt like MST: The Next Generation. A bunch of fans carrying on the tradition while bringing in their own unique personalities. I watched Lupa, Nostalgia Chick, Phelous, Cinema Snob, and Nostalgia Critic. I WAS HAPPY.

I wrote a while ago about same lame drama I read regarding this site, pretty much immediately forgot about it and continued enjoying it. Well, now half of my favorite contributors have left due to it apparently being a spectacularly shitty site to be on. I'm pretty disappointed. As long as Todd's there I'll still visit, but probably not every day like I have for the past year or so. I don't want to support a site that treats people like crap. At the same time, I'm sad that I have to feel that way. It's one of those things that just makes you feel kinda generally shitty about life. Like, if this sucks, what is there? Who am I? Is there anything actually nice and decent out there? Well, I'll always be thankful for the entertainment the site has given me. It actually got me through some depression.

*I haven't visited any country websites in months. Between "Laying right here nekkid in my bed" and "Stick the pink umbrella in your drink," no longer know if I'm listening to country music or watching Skinemax. Nu-country: come for the shitty beer, stay for the soft core porn!

Monday, January 12, 2015

When sexy becomes annoying! part... oh, I've lost track at this point

Here are two songs from this past year that annoy me.



Okay, far from the worst song I've ever heard. But I feel like it's supposed to be kind of a female response to Blurred Lines, with all its "I know you want it" and "you need a good girl/bad girl" stuff. Blah blah. I want to see a response to Blurred Lines called "Excuse Me, I'm Trying to Read." I mean, why does it always have to be about sex? Sexitty sex sex sex sex. CAN'T ANYONE TALK ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE?

And... this.



"Yo, shout out to all you kids, buying bottle service, with your rent money
Respect"

You hear that, kids? If you become a homeless alcoholic who lives under a bridge, a popstar who will never have to worry about rent money in her life RESPECTS YOU! How I wish I'd had such an awesome role model. Oh, the dumpsters I could have puked in. *wistful sigh*

Edited to add: I just noticed the video shows a photo of ARETHA FRANKLIN when Katy says the word "respect."

*incoherent sputter*

fuck

fuckfu kfuck no

FUCK

FUCKYOUKATYPERRYOMGYOUIGNORANTLITTLESHIT

Aretha Franklin? SERIOUSLY??? Have you ever actually listened to that song, Katy Do Do? Because, spoiler alert, it ain't about respecting people who shirk responsibility to get wasted. FUCK.

Worst song of the year, no question about it. And yes, I'm basing that partly on one second of the video. Who cares. Fuck.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Sometimes the amount of negativity and judgmentalness on the internet leaves me slack-jawed. Not just the amount, but the tone. The pure, unnecessary, intrusively blasé, fart-in-your-face tone of it all. "I've just come here to ruin your day, because I can." It makes me wonder, what do these people do after leaving their comments that are more akin to a flaming bag of poo left on a doorstep than actual human discourse? Do they do something ordinary, like pour a cup of coffee or feed their dog or brush their teeth? I somehow imagine them doing all this, but wearing a Twisty the Clown mask. Do they feel the satisfaction of a job well done after posting, or is it immediately forgotten as they go about their (presumably normal) day? I'm almost fascinated by this.

When I say negative and judgmental, I'm not referring to sarcasm or criticism, as long as it's at least somewhat thought out. I'm talking about negativity for the sake of negativity, and not just in a way I would call "trolling." Trolling, to me, is leaving a comment like "u suk" or "ur gay I hope u die!1" These comments are a bit more thought out than that, which makes them just that much more maddening. "ur gay" can be ignored, but this is the kind of negativity that sticks in your craw just enough to sour your experience.

For instance, I just got off of Facebook, and two posts in my feed were subject to this brand of Debbie Downerism. One was a cute video of kittens playing, and there were SEVERAL comments criticizing THE WAY THE PERSON WAS PLAYING WITH THE KITTENS. Yes, there are multiple people following a facebook page who took time out of their day to complain that kittens weren't being played with properly. (The kittens were not being treated rough in any way, it was completely ordinary.) I'm just like, where do you go with your life after that? You turned a kitten video into something negative. Congratulations? Is that what you want? I AM MYSTIFIED.

I scroll down to a post from Joel Hodgson, one of my favorite people on the planet, where he shows his solidarity with the French magazine writers who were killed yesterday. A classy thing to do, case closed. BUT WAIT... classy, you say? I see your classiness and raise you my giant asshole! And I quote: "This is basically slacktivism. Just saying that means nothing, you actually have to be willing to act like that the writers and carttonists of of the magazine did."

Okay. Where do I even start with this? I'll let it slide that this is a complete nobody speaking to a famous humorist... um, who exactly has done more for free speech here? But that aside. This kind of literal translation completely misses the point of living in a society. Not everyone is going to be the leader of a movement, some people are supporters. That is not "slacktivism," and jesus how I hate expressions like that. Showing support through an internet post, especially if you're a famous person with lots of followers, is a perfectly valid way of communicating something. Because everyone who reads that will take a moment and think about what happened, and how they don't want to live in a world where things like that happen, and even if they can't personally do anything about it (is Joe Schmoe on facebook really supposed to go fight terrorists?), they care about it. Caring is important. Maybe someone who reads that will go out and do something nice for someone, or give to a charity, or... write a blog post condemning the kind of fuckwads who only accept caring on their own, unreasonable terms. (Hey, we all contribute somehow. :P)

In short: solidarity is a good thing. It's a seed from which bigger things grow. Or, it's just a feeling of goodwill. Whatever. It's not a bad thing. So take your negativity and cram it.

This isn't about disagreement. Disagreement is fine. This is about the kind of nitpicky ridiculousness that makes you want to tear your hair out. It's about people who turn your good intentions into dismissive internet slang. I also think there are times you should hold your tongue, even if you do disagree, in order to be respectful. This is one of those times. It doesn't matter if someone's famous with a public page, it's still a personal sentiment they've chosen to share. And YOU DON'T PISS ON HOSPITALITY. (Cause you know Joel would appreciate the Troll 2 reference. You know he would.) :)

And this tag gets used again. Hurray, how handy.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

So in order to have an effective snarking-on-things-that-suck blog, you have to be willing to do a little embarrassing self-confession. As in, here are the dumb, silly things I actually like. Otherwise, you're basically just a hipster.

One thing I love about this time of year is all the "top 10 best/worst songs of the previous year" lists. I'm an absolute junky for these things. Since I don't listen to the radio or go to da club, I'm actually hearing a lot of these songs for the first time. Crazy, I know.

Anyway, confession time. I LOVE this song. That's right, I love a song by KESHA and PITBULL.

I did say this blog was all about honesty, right? :P



So here's the deal with this song. It's genuinely FUN. I've found so much of the glut of party-party fun songs to be downright dreary, so hearing a song with this much life and a great hook is really refreshing to my ears. I used to be a big pop music fan, back in the Madonna days, and this song reminds me why. It's not the first Kesha song I've enjoyed, most of my rants about her have been about her drunk slut persona and stupid autotuned singsonging when I know she can actually sing, but it's by far her best song. I mean, I don't think it even annoyed me once! Go Kesha!!

I don't dance. I am the anti-dancer, and this song damn well makes me go timber. Whatever the fuck that means.

Also, on repeated listens, I don't hate "Fancy" as much as I did at first. I don't like the dumb spoiled girl lyrics, but the chorus is catchy and that singer can really SING. Damn. I like her, and I hope she gets some better material cause she will freaking shred it.

I'm glad that awful Katy Perry song "Dark Horse" I wrote about early in the year is on most of the worst lists. I'm not a Katy Perry fan, but she can and has done much better. Firework? Nope, this one's a dud. herp derp. (Also, like Kesha and Taylor Swift, she's a fellow cat lover so I feel bad hating on her personally. But their bad music is a whole other kettle of horses. or whatever muddled animal metaphor you wish to use.)

My dark horse post, possibly the last time I talked about a pop song at any length:
http://mrsrowsdower.blogspot.ca/2014_02_01_archive.html#6140720625996977541

So here I am at the start of a new year. I can't bring myself to listen to much new popular music. It's so boring, which is the worst. I'd rather it be terrible so I can have fun with it. Or it's that EDM crap, which I do find terrible but in a way I can't talk about because there's nothing to say about it. That's why it's terrible. Not a single laughably misunderstood metaphor to be found, just random noise. Is there any new good country? Idk. I stopped paying attention. I think that Jason Aldean song did me in for good.

Lately I've been listening to what I did in the mid-90s when I wasn't listening to good country music. There was this weird little post-Nirvana, pre-Nickleback time in rock that I thoroughly enjoyed. You had songs like "Santeria" and "Super Bon Bon" and "Possum Kingdom" and "Going the Distance" and "Beautiful Disaster" and whatever the hell that Primitive Radio Gods song is called and wow, do I love this music. I'm lucky that I lived in LA at the time and KROQ played these songs, or I might have never heard them. Also, because of that they all make me think of the beach. So yup, that's where I'm at. Around 1996. Sounds about right.

This current decade in pop culture (starting in the last one) is the first time I've looked at entertainment pages and not known who the hell most of the people are. And been happy about it. I used to be a pop culture junkie, believe it or not. I've been struck numb.

So hello 2015. Maybe I'll crawl out of my hole sometime around groundhog day. If I see my shadow, will music stop sucking?