Friday, February 27, 2015

I'd be remiss if I didn't write this here.

Today is a sad day to be a geek (even a semi-geek like me), but it's a happier time to be a geek, and that owes a great deal to Star Trek and Leonard Nimoy. RIP

Awesome Yahoo headline of the Day:

"Missing Log Cabin Found 3,750 Feet Away From Original Location"

Fabulous. I love that someone took the time to measure it.

I should really do a feel good Friday. Well, it's been a rough week. I'm gonna fill something very large with wine and drink it. We'll see what I come up with after that!

Friday, February 13, 2015

50 shades of puke is upon us, so I might just hide in my pop culture fallout shelter til it goes away.

I actually thought Twilight would be our literary limbo stick for how low it can go. Oh self of five years ago, how blissfully innocent you were. I envy you, I do.

I'm going to go watch a Friday the 13th movie.

Feel Good Friday

Like girly empowerment songs? Think "Shake it Off" sounds like a diss written by a homeschooled 11-year old? I present, One Girl Revolution.



"I christen you Titanic, underestimate and swim." Now THAT'S some good writin'.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I mean, here are the two top rap songs on Billboard right now.

Nicki Minaj, "Only"

Yo, I never fucked Wayne, I never fucked Drake
On my life, man, fuck's sake
If I did I menage with 'em and let 'em eat my ass like a cupcake
My man full, he just ate, I don't duck nobody but tape
Yeah, that was a set up for a punchline on duct tape
Worried 'bout if my butt's fake
Worry 'bout yall niggas, us straight
These girls are my sons, John and Kate plus eight
When I walk in, sit up straight, I don't give a fuck if I was late
Dinner with my man on a G5 is my idea of an update
Hut one, hut two, big bitties, big butt too
Fuck with them real niggas who don't tell niggas what they up to

I think my computer just got an STD from copy/pasting that. THANKS.

Big Sean, "I Don't Fuck With You"

I don't fuck with you
You little stupid ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you
You little, you little dumb ass bitch, I ain't fuckin' with you
I got a million trillion things I'd rather fuckin' do
Than to be fuckin' with you
Little stupid ass, I don't give a fuck, I don't give a fuck
I don't I don't I don't give a fuck
Bitch I don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do
Don't give a fuck about you or anything that you do

JESUS SPELUNKING CHRIST. What planet am I on??

I think the problem is self-evident. I know not all rap is like this, but this is what gets popular for whatever reason. Kids like to cruise around the 'burbs pumping this shit to annoy their neighbors and feel cool? I guess.


We have more swagga than you, old man raking your leaves!

I'm not familiar with Kendrick Lamar, who actually won the rap Grammy. I don't follow hip-hop. I'm not seeing him anywhere in the top 100 though, and holy shit, Shake it Off and All About that Bass are still in the top 15. SOMEBODY REBOOT THE CHARTS! I'm guessing since he has a normal name and not something like Big Floopy or Thug the Dragon, he's a Serious Rapper. Maybe the fact that he didn't perform at the Grammys is the sign of a real problem. Or maybe his favorite show was on that night and his DVR was broken so he was like, "Nah." Or he had a hot date. Both of those things are probably more important than the Grammys, in the long run.

A few positives on the charts:

Nice to see Ashley Monroe's name, even if it's with Blake Shelton. I'm more pissed at Blake Shelton for not being part of the solution than for being part of the problem, honestly. At least he's a good singer.

Randy Houser's Like a Cowboy is in the hot 100! I love that song! That means country radio is playing an actual country song!! Dare I say, YEEHAW?

Zac Brown Band is there too!

#67, however, is something called "Throw Sum Mo" by *ahem* Rae Sremmurd Featuring Nicki Minaj & Young Thug. Oh who cares, it's being beaten out by Randy "voice that proves there's a God" Houser! So neener neener, Rae Sremmurd!

Monday, February 09, 2015

New first world problem: Can't go on twitter til I've watched last night's Walking Dead.

I've seen a lot of talk about hip-hop/rap not being represented by the Grammys, which is a legit complaint. But I don't think it takes a genius to figure out why mainstream rap such as Lil Wayne or 2 Chainz would be ignored. When every song is about guns, cars, money and strippers, it's less like music and more like an episode of the Sopranos without the good writing. So they nominate "safe" crap like Iggy Azalea, because they have to acknowledge rap at least exists. I blame the culture of rap for this more than the Grammys, or at least the perceived culture of rap. I'm sure there's some well-written hip hop out there, but who wants to dig through all the trash to find it? So we get boring, middle of the road dreck like Sam Smith every year. I don't even know who a Sam Smith fan would be; his CD is like the "safe" birthday gift you get for someone you don't know well, or your Aunt Louise in Tuscon. He's the basket of hand soaps of music.

There's a lot wrong with the music industry, is what I'm saying.

Weekend wrap up, and a newbie's thoughts on twitter

1. Winter is still cold. Weekend wrap up, achieved.

2. Twitter is not the devil, except when it is.

I remember dismissing twitter when I first heard of it, just because I'm not normally a 140-character kind of gal. I HAVE SHIT TO SAY, SON. Over the years I got the impression that its target demographic was, y'know, fetus, like most things these days. And people who care about shit like who got voted off Bachelor Island. (That exists, right? If there are Sandwich Islands, there can be Bachelor Islands.) And yeah, I dedicated like a year of this blog to Toddlers & Tiaras, but that was the funnest thing to riff on ever. I didn't actually care what happened to those people.

Then last month the big shake up at channel awesome happened, and I wanted to know what was going on besides the insultingly vague two sentences they put up on the site. (Basically, "These people are gone. We wish them well." Damn, that's a cold-ass honkey. And not in a good way.) Anyway, I started reading their tweets, and saw some of those fun hashtag games, but every time I was about to sign up I saw some stupid garbage crap and fled. I fled like the time I walked into an "Irish pub" and they were playing Britney Spears instead of fucking bagpipes.

But I bit the bullet and signed up, cause there was a blizzard so obviously. First day or so after, one of the trending topics is about 80s songs. COULD YOU LOB THE BALL ANY MORE DIRECTLY INTO MY WHEELHOUSE, TWITTER? And yeah, there's stupid shit I've gotta work to avoid, and 15-year olds who don't know who Beck is, but like everything in life, you've just gotta do your thing and ignore the crap. I give it 3 1/2 out of five stars, would tweet again.

3. I was gonna write something about Chipper Jones here, but it depresses me too much. I don't expect my favorite athletes to possess great intelligence - I saw Curt Schilling on Jeopardy, after all - but I do expect them to not be batshit stupid.

4. What else was I mulling over... oh, yeah. I don't wanna write nerdy blog post #2736475858575757 about Guardians of the Galaxy, so instead I'll write nerdy blog post #475767567 about the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. I don't know if it should, but its popularity gives me some hope about the future of pop music. I'm not saying artists need to make music that sounds like the 70s or 80s (unless they're Bruno Mars), just make music that sounds like music. Let's make an Awesome Mix of today that people will still want to listen to in 30 years. That should be the number one goal of every artist right now: "Is this Awesome Mix material?" Or is this about Nicki Minaj's butt? Sorry, try again!

I think butt songs are pop music's version of bro country. I like Baby Got Back, but that's it. We only needed one butt song. I guess by that standard, we need one bro-country song as well. Hmmm... I guess I'll let "Cruise" live, just because it's not so much harmful in itself as for what it has brought upon us.

Friday, February 06, 2015


It's winter in Canada - and boy is it ever - so I'm pretty damn happy to have social media right now. Otherwise I'd have to, idk, knit socks or gossip or play the harpsichord all day. Whatever people in Jane Austen novels did.
Because I have to come down from my high horse sometimes (I'm coming at you like a high horse! ... yup, still makes more sense than "Dark Horse"), here's where I share my own musical shame. This is not what I consider "good" music, but we all have our guilty pleasures. I've already admitted to "Timber," so what could possibly be worse than that?

Two of last year's hits that have grown on me feature Iggy Azalea.

I don't... I just... look, she's not even a bad rapper, technically. I mean staying on the beat-wise, she's pretty good. And I hate what I'm about to say because it sounds like I'm throwing on the "She's WHITE!" dogpile. I don't think I am, because I recognize there are white people who rap and sound natural doing so. Eminem, the Beastie Boys, Macklemore, even Gwen Stefani on Hollaback Girl (another guilty pleasure).

Iggy Azalea isn't terrible, really. She's just... the high school drama department of rapping. She's not bad at playing a rapper, much like the girl who played Eliza Doolittle in your school's production of My Fair Lady and did a pretty serviceable Cockney accent, considering she's from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But she still wasn't Julie Andrews, and you knew it. She clearly studied the part, but it never feels like anything other than a performance.

So my guilty enjoyment of "Fancy" and "Problem" is really more in spite of her. Fancy is all Charli XCX. Seriously, I think she's awesome and I hope she gets more good material like "Boom Clap" so she can come into her own. Problem... hmm. What is it about Problem? Ariana Grande is okay, decent voice, don't really get much personality from her. Seems like just another Disney Action Figure Pop Star™ (Action Microphone™ and Action Ponytail Scrunchie™ sold separately). So it's not Ariana. Oh wait, I know what it is. The chorus is a KILLER HORN RIFF! Oh my god, I love that thing. And yeah, there's a similar and also awesome riff on Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty To Me, Differently-Raced Girl," but that song and "artist" are reprehensible even by guilty pleasure standards.

At least I can safely say I didn't enjoy the 27th Iggy Azalea song this year, Black Widow. It's basically Dark Horse with a somewhat more coherent metaphor. It's still awful.

So in short:

GOOD


AWESOME


Got lead in all-white school's "A Tribute to Missy Elliott"; didn't completely embarrass herself


I expect both songs will have worn on me and be completely gone by Easter.

Also: seriously, Taylor Swift?? You do realize Lady Gaga, the one popstar I come dangerously close to enjoying, said "This beat is sick" about 50 times in Love Game, right? What will you try to trademark next, "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick?" The number "22?" The word "mine?" The word "the?" Tim McGraw (the actual human being, not the song)?
What happened to "timeless," anyway? So many of today's "artists" who have had multiple hits still feel like flash in the pans, because their music is so forgettable. Disposable. Who's the last really timeless pop artist? Mariah Carey, maybe? It's certainly not a word that comes to mind when I think of Flo Rida, or Kesha, or Maroon5, or the Black Eyed Peas. Is there anyone making hits in the last 5-10 years who qualifies? I can't think of any. That's kind of a big sign something's wrong, because most decades have had several.

It's no wonder things seem more disposable; culture keeps skewing younger and younger. This is what happens when 13-year olds run the world. It's like having a diet of mostly Skittles.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Remember the good old days of... last week?

Let's start with the song Automatic, by Miranda Lambert. I've probably pounded to death how much I like and relate to this song, so I'm not focusing on that. The question is, WHY do I miss making mixtapes off the radio? The sound quality was atrocious, the dj always cut into the song, and sometimes you had to wait up all night for them to play the song you wanted. Why the hell is iTunes NOT better than that??

The answer is, it is better. In every way except you can't draw little heart doodles on the label. Miranda's point is, things that take more effort give you a greater sense of accomplishment than things that come easy. They have more personal value. And I don't know anyone who would argue that. But why do I have such nostalgia for things that are less convenient? Isn't that sort of, I dunno, crazy?

Why do I wish I still had a VCR, and my little rows of alphabetized cassettes on a shelf and even a record player?* Is it because they're somehow more real, more present than digital things? Is it because life was simpler back then, if not more convenient, and I love me some simplicity? Well, I think it's all those things, but it's also just the giant Snuggie that is nostalgia. Because if I really wanted to, I could go out and buy a VCR and all my favorite 80s movies on tape, I could rebuy all my Madonna and Go-Go's cassettes, god knows they'd be cheap enough. I could certainly buy a record player, that's even a thing that people do. I think. But I don't, because I know it wouldn't be the same as when viewed through nostalgia goggles, and I don't want to ruin that. Everyone has "good old days," fuck, today will be someone's "good old days," and if that thought isn't enough to make you want to unplug everything and run screaming into the woods, I don't know what is.

*having popular music on vinyl predates me, the only vinyl I owned was the Smurfs and songs about choo-choo trains. But vinyl is the one "outdated" medium I would consider owning now, because that earthy scratch of a record is just so inviting and intrinsic to music. Which is why the sound has been reproduced digitally many times.

But here's the other thing I've noticed, the thing that actually scares me and why I'm often so resistant to newness and change. Now there have been always been catalysts that have caused sudden, drastic shifts in popular culture. Movies. Television. Rock music, one of the single most sweeping and amazing changes to ever happen culturally. I mean, one day everyone was listening to Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney (yes, I totally googled that) and then Rock Around the Clock came out and it was like BLAM! Once rock hit, it just dominated. I wasn't around then obviously, but the billboard charts tell the story. Oh yeah, the billboard charts actually meant doodley-shit back then, too.

And rock, in varying incarnations, was pretty huge for the next 50 years. From Bill Haley and Elvis to the Beatles and Stones to Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple to Journey and Rush to Bon Jovi and Metallica to Nirvana and Soundgarden to the Killers and the White Stripes. Whew. AND SCREW YOU NICKLEBACK.

Did Nickleback kill rock? That's a discussion for another time. From what I can see, rock and roll has been replaced by computer music. Tom Petty said all this very eloquently in an article so I'm not going to dwell on it. What I'm talking about is the sudden, rapid change in culture that happened in the 2000s, and why I feel it's having a negative impact. (Unlike the positive impact I think rock music, tv, etc. had on culture for the most part.)

I grew up in the 80s. I love 80s music, especially the early and middle parts of the decade. The late 80s actually sucked for popular music, which is why I got into "college rock" and, eventually, country. I loved a lot of 90s music. Basically I was into any music that someone of my generation would be expected to be into, from Madonna to REM to Nirvana to Garth Brooks. I was into ALL of it, not just one genre. But, I was also really really into my PARENTS' generation's music. I LOVED 50s music, from the first note of Rock Around the Clock to the smoky romanticness of The Platters. I loved really popular stuff like Elvis and Buddy Holly and I found some kind of obscure stuff from back then I enjoyed too.



How the hell many people of my generation would know this? I freaking LOVE this, for the record. How about this early 60s gem?



There's a more famous version of that by the Dave Clark Five, which is also wonderful and a bit more rockin', but I slightly prefer this original version. Anyway, I'm a huge music dork. That's beside the point. The point is, the 50s and 60s are so far removed from me, that by modern standards it makes no sense for me to relate them musically. But I do, and I don't know anyone from my generation and even younger that doesn't like at least some music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. There was crap then like there's crap now, but holy crap there was less of it and the classics from back then were just that. TIMELESS. So this 80s/90s girl loves 50s/60s/70s music as though it were my own. You could just say, well that music was really GOOD. And it was. I mean, "The Beatles were GOOD" is not exactly stunning musical commentary. So what else?

Skip to today, or maybe like the mid-2000s. Whenever people stopped listening to the Killers and started listening to no-talent crap like Jason Derulo and the Pussycat Dolls. (Jesus Christ, if I had to pick one least favorite artist of all time, it would have to be the Pussycat Dolls. Even more so than Britney Spears. Both represent everything I hate, music that is both morally and musically bankrupt, but PCD was like having multiple Britney Spearses simpering at you. EURRRRRGGGHHH.) That horrible little time in music when rock let out a sad death rattle (that's the sound of Fall Out Boy, by the way), and country started veering dangerously into stupid (which has of course come to full fruition).

So we're talking about a 10-year window in music here, why is that such a big deal? Well, because I hardly like any popular music anymore, not pop, country, anything. I don't relate to it. 1955 I relate to, but 2015 not at all. You see the problem here? I refuse to believe it's because I've aged 10 years. I've always been very open to music, I LOVE music and I want it to be happy! I even liked mainstream rap at first, before it decided to get all stupid and misogynistic and violent and gross. No, the problem is, TIME SHOULDN'T MOVE THIS FAST. Soon we'll no longer be measuring things by decades but by years. Months. "Ah, November of 2018, what a great time that was!"

I think this is why more and more people are putting on their nostalgia goggles these days, and they're doing it younger and younger. We need to slow down with all the electronic everything. It's desensitizing. It's disconcerting. It's dehumanizing. Some of it is fine, but please don't let it take over everything so fast, just because it's easier and today's kids don't know any better. That sells everyone out short. In this 10 year window, I feel like Chef Boyardee music and CGI and insane amounts of social media have become like kudzu. It completely took over the landscape.

Agh no, my HOUSE! I was using that!


Just remember, as I so eloquently wrote a few years ago, STUFF SHOULD SMELL LIKE SOMETHING. Is it any coincidence that smell is so intrinsically tied into memories and nostalgia? Stuff should also FEEL like something, like you can hold it in your actual hand. Senses are part of how infants learn to relate to the world, and if half of our senses fall into misuse, what does that make us?
On the subject of social media, I'm actually not allowed to have an Instagram because I don't have a phone, only a laptop. Apparently just having a laptop is not being fully plugged into the collective, nope, you have to have a damn phone even if you hate talking on the phone and never do so. Wait, do people use their phones to actually talk on anymore? Right, only while driving in rush hour traffic and during the most pivotal scene of a movie you're trying to watch. Ok.

Anyway, at least I can still be a technological curmudgeon on that point. Whew, I guess? Honestly, I have no idea why I'd boast about being any sort of curmudgeon. Do I think I'm "special?" Ugh. Am I a hipster? No, I don't know many hipsters who listen to Brooks and Dunn and Reba McEntire unironically. Or even ironically. That would be like me listening to Luke Bryan ironically. I think? I have no freaking idea. I think the source of my curmudgeonliness is those damn kids on my lawn with their phones best described by a Dierks Bentley song title. I'd settle for a slowdown. Because things are moving ENTIRELY TOO DAMN FAST. I remember old bumper stickers, probably from the 80s, that said "stop the world, I want to get off!" And never has that been more relevant.

So I think that explains my resistance to these things that I feel have taken over the lives of our current generation (I did not use a Borg reference earlier by accident). Someone has to lay on the brakes, however ineffectively. This brings me to a post I've been wanting to make for a while, so I'm going to do that separately. TO THE NOSTALGIAMOBILE!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

So yes, I have a twitter now. It will be random nonsense so basically, the same as anyone else's twitter. Why did I do this again?

https://twitter.com/emperorcupcake2

Monday, February 02, 2015

When I'm stuck inside for too many days, it sort of feels like I'm turning into a shadow. Like I could just fade into a corner somewhere and disappear.
I think my seasonal depression has officially entered the long dark teatime of the soul.

"In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness which starts to set in at about 2:55, when you know that you've had all the baths you can usefully have that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the papers you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.”

- Douglas Adams

That is EVERY DAY of winter here, not just Sunday.

Murr.



Sunday, February 01, 2015

OMG THEY PLAYED THE SUPER BOWL IN THE GRAND CANYON.

Or at least you'd think they did, judging by all the shots of it. We get it, Arizona is like, the Grand Canyon and nothing.

I love how Bill Belichick looks like grumpy Frankenstein, no matter what's going on in the game or, presumably, his life.

Touchdown?


Fumble?


Somebody breaks their leg, and it's a gusher?


Wife makes delicious pasta dinner?


Wife makes terrible pasta dinner?


Perhaps the man has a deep inner well of emotions. Perhaps he has indigestion. We may never know. But for what it's worth, congrats to the Pats, who were actually my first football team before I became a Green Bay fan.

Also, I must applaud Katy Perry for her theatricism (yes that's a word). I glanced up at the dancing sharks and palm trees and said, "what the fuck am I looking at?" which means she struck gold because most of these things just make me yawn. That said, I would have still rather watched Kitty Purry play with a piece of string for 20 minutes, because I'm me.
I've just signed up for twitter, this time with the purpose of actually using it to follow cool people. This will either enrich my life, or be my version of jumping the shark. In the wise words of Asia, only time will tell.

I mean feck, I'm still not completely sold on facebook and I've had one of those since 2008. Because part of me just wants to live in a tree.