Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Low Voice

A couple of years ago, during a socially turbulent time, I was extremely reluctant to go out alone. Really, I was pretty much reluctant to go out at all. One night in April of 2008, there was a Guns n Roses cover band playing at The Majestic and I'd won tickets. I was feeling really down and like I had no friends, and I really didn't want to go to the show. However, a call from my mother changed all that. "Reemie," she said, "Go to that show. Go see a band you love (never mind that it wasn't the real band - I loved them anyhow) and have fun. Put on some lipstick and comb your hair, and go have a good time." And I did. And this happened.

I often hear my mother's words of wisdom ringing faintly in my brain when I'm having that feeling of social anxiety or apathy. I am extremely thankful for those words because, although I usually substitute lip gloss for lipstick, the motivation that comes from those words usually ends up in me having a fantastic night, and often, seeing amazing bands. As was the case tonight...

About a year ago, a few friends and I were in a Record Club. It was just like a book club, only we listened to albums instead of reading boring books. Sorry, it's true. It really didn't last long, but the first album we had in our club was Boxer by The National. I thought it was a beautiful album and fell in love with the singer's voice and the drummer's skills. So when I found out The National was playing here in Madison, I bought a ticket right away. And thanks to me mudder's words (my Mom, guys, my Mom), I actually went to the show tonight! Lip gloss and uncombed hair and all.

The show was beautiful. It was at The Orpheum, an old theater on State St. in downtown Madison. I love seeing shows there because you can climb all the way to the top and literally sit in the back row and still see and hear the band really well. There's also something peaceful about being up there, maybe by yourself or with a couple of other people, watching not only the band, but the giant crowd dancing and yelling and listening right in front of you. It was really the perfect venue for this band who filled the space with their huge but gentle sound. Musically, this band is tight as hell, and they get extra points from me because there are two sets of brothers in the band. Family band!

The singer of The National, Matt Berninger (a non-brother) has one of the most distinct, memorable, smooth, lovely voices I've ever heard. There's just something about a low voice. Have you noticed? I was trying to put my finger on it during the show, attempting to recall other low-voiced vocalists that affected me as much as this singer but I struggled. All I came up with was the guy from Modern English and the guy from The Smoking Popes. Both bands are somewhat unremarkable to me. Fine. Inoffensive. So what is it, then, about that low voice? Want to have a listen and help me figure it out?

I guess it's just that you don't hear voices like that very often. Sure, there's the occasional Guy Who Can Sing "Old Man River" Very Well, but that guy doesn't really do to me what Berninger's voice does. He is romantic and passionate, and when he grasps the microphone with two hands, I take him more seriously than, say, one of his higher-voiced cohorts. Could it be that I see the baritone voice as that of a "Real Man?" Am I completely stuck in gender stereotypes despite my years of screaming about "breaking boundaries" and "defying dichotomies" and all that other college talk? I mean, maybe we should take a hint from this:

A man shouldn't sound like chimes when he walks! He should sound like bass drums and pelvises shaking back and forth, right? That's a man, man. Like Matt Berninger.

And so maybe this whole blog entry wore the mask of seriousness and sincerity, all just to reel you in and have you sit attentively just so I could once again force upon you the genius of "Petite Feet." Maybe I just can't stop talking about and singing "Petite Feet." So what? Or maybe I'm just tired. I don't know. I mean, I did just think that baby on the commercial was wearing a kimono when it was actually a regular boring t-shirt. Either way, it's my blog and I do what I want. But, to be sincere, The National was just lovely. I'm so glad I went and wore lip gloss.

My favorite song:

And a lovely review from The AV Club here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dadoo!

My father turns 65 today, September 17th, 2010. Just a few weeks ago, he told me about a conversation with a friend of his. His friend asked him if he felt like he was entering old age. My dad replied "this has been the year of old age, and I'm through with it. What begins next is my New Age."

I am constantly and consistently inspired by my father. He continues to teach and learn every day of his life. His positive attitude and outlook on life is remarkable. He acts out of love and compassion, always offering whatever he can to others. I know he was like a second father to many of my friends growing up, and I'm so grateful that I have gotten to, and still get to, have him as my father every day.

My father always taught me to face my fears with humor, to laugh when I'm frightened, and those times come when I am terrified and have no idea how I got to be this 31-year-old-supposed-adult and what I'm supposed to do ever in life. And I hear my father's laugh in my head, contagious and wonderful, and suddenly nothing seems all that scary at all.

Here's to a beautiful, hilarious, joyful, and peaceful New Age full of even more love and happiness, Dad!

Since I am, apparently, obsessed with my father, here's a link to about ten other blog entries I've written about him.

I'm Sort of Feeling Like an Ass Tonight

Hey. Ever heard of photobombing? It's just a creative way of saying that you're either 1) ruining people's nice pictures, or 2) being a genius. Examples:

Look. There were like 28 of us at a White Sox game, and I didn't give an eff about the score of the stupid sports game, and I was trying to have some fun. Hence, this awesomeness. Sometimes photobombing also happens at family functions. Weddings, birthday parties, barbecues...you name it!

Sometimes one might even photobomb the first time they ever meet a person!
And sometimes, photobombs don't really happen on purpose. These are the photobombs that make me the most nervous, because what the hell happened here?!
Anyhow, photobombs are a beautiful thing. There's a whole website dedicated to photobombing. And you know what? I've submitted at least five of the above photos, and none of them have been posted by the website. None! Lame. I'm going to start my own website that's all about me and how awesome I am, and I'll photobomb the hell out of everything and post every single picture. Just wait until you see that website.

Maybe this is how I will get famous...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Of Each!

Have you ever been met with a difficult decision regarding food? Like, you're out to breakfast and you want those spinach crepes, but also some corned beef hash, and maybe some flapjacks, and possibly even some cheese-covered hash browns. What's a girl to do? If you're my sister and I, and you have nothing to do all day except go to Target and buy new headbands, then you take your damn time and get all of those items during your leisurely brunch. It's called...


It's also called Being Awesome, but that's another lecture for another time. One Of Each is a beautiful thing. Alls you need is a friend or partner, in addition to yourself, who is good at sharing, an open mind towards food, and a hearty appetite. On a good day, I have one of those three (the hearty appetite, duh). I'm a picky eater, I know. And honestly, I really hate sharing food. This one time, I even said no to my friend's five-year-old son who asked me for a bite of my sandwich. Well, to be fair, I gave him one bite, but when he asked for a second bite, I said no and that he had to go ask his dad for something to eat. While he went, I hurriedly polished off my sandwich. Sorry, kids. I don't share well. The one main exception is when I'm out to lunch with my mom or sister, and we happen to have the same taste for two (or more, apparently) different things, and we go splitsies. Which brings me back to my original point: One Of Each.

Tonight was one of those nights in which I was hungry but had no idea what I wanted. I started boiling eggs, but I didn't know what I was going to do with them. I ended up making egg salad with dill pickles cut up in it. Delicious, but I didn't really want much of it for dinner. So, I chose to make a One Of Each meal. English muffins or bagels are great for this type of meal since there are two sides to them, and each side can consist of totally different things. You could, hypothetically, use crackers and have One Of Each times a zillion, but you might want to tone it down a bit. Nobody likes a crazy. Unless you're a great kind of crazy. Then I like you.

Anyhow. Here were the ingredients involved in tonight's One Of Each dinner; creamed honey, Laughing Cow cheese (original swiss flavor), fig jam, and peanut butter. Concerned about combinations, eh? Don't worry - I had a vision.

First you have to get yourself a delicious english muffin. This is a honey-wheat kind. It smells so good coming out of the toaster.

This is the Laughing Cow cheese. It spreads easily. That's what she said. There's no time! But that is what she said.

Laughing Cow cheese gets topped with the fig jam, obviously. This was inspired by my mother making an appetizer one Christmas: brie with fig jam. Then, my sister tightened it up on a separate occasion by getting brie with mushrooms in it and topping that with fig jam. Holy delicious. I guess you could say, then, that this is the busted up version of both of those. Busted up, but delicious, mind you.

And for the second side of the english muffin, we start with the creamed honey. I'd never had this before, but picked it up from the farmer's market yesterday from the Marsden's Farm booth. It's lovely!

Actually, the peanut butter goes on first (chunky, in this case), and the honey is spread on top.

For an extra touch of class and flavor, chop up some banana slices. Chop them diagonally so they look beautiful, like this.

Look! One of each! Living in harmony on this simple plate. If only the world could take a hint from this delicious food and the concept of One Of Each...

That's a bite I took. Then I had to stop taking pictures because I was too hungry for awesomeness.

So there you have it! One Of Each! And here's a bonus picture from my beautiful drive back from Columbus, WI this afternoon. It has nothing to do with One Of Each, really, but it is mighty pretty.