Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good genes

Today, The Boy was running along ahead of me and his calves reminded me of my husband's.

And this, my friends? This is a very nice discovery.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

what a weekend.

What do you do with a rainy three-day weekend when you're pinching pennies?

One day, we went to our local independent bookstore (I cannot tell you how much I LOVE that place) because Middle Girl got a gift card for her birthday. Is your family like mine? Do you all just love to spend time in a bookstore, looking at book after book after book? (Thinking about the people who come to this blog... yep, you are all like that!)

Books seem even more comforting when it's raining outside, don't they?

A few of us saw books we wanted to read, but since we were only there for Middle to use her gift card, we decided to head over to the library.

Some time later, we left the library, with books and a DVD off the "New Releases" shelf.

We all came in the door and fell upon the couches to spend the rest of the afternoon with the books!

Later that evening, we slipped in the DVD. It was the final live Broadway performance of "Rent." (Parents of the Year, that's us!)

When you're a theater geek, and you are my age (23 when "Rent" came out - just starting out on your own after college), "Rent" is not just another musical! Heck, even The Hubby loves it, and he's not a theater geek!

After 12 years on Broadway, "Rent" closed last fall. They assembled an amazing cast for the final few months, including two original cast members, and filmed it for posterity. Many, many actors who had been in it through the years were in the audience. They dedicated the performance to Jonathan Larsen, who wrote this musical about "liv[ing] each moment as [your] last," "no day but today," "measure your life in love," and who died of heart failure the night before its first performance.

Man, I cried watching this. I cried and cried. I cried for the triumph of the show itself and how seeing the show and falling in love with an HIV-positive drag queen (you can't help but) has changed people. I cried for all the Closing Nights I've been in. I cried for how much I miss the camaraderie of cast members. I miss it so much, and I don't have anything in my life right now that feels like that.

A day full of books followed by a good, long cry. What a weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Opinions, I Has Them

Last night, at band rehearsal, we were discussing doing Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." The guy who's sort of our de facto music director said Coldplay didn't write that song, Joe Satriani did. This was his snide way of getting us on the topic of the plagiarism lawsuit. Well, he sucked me into an argument, he sure did!

I argued that just because two songs sound alike doesn't mean they purposefully plagiarized. He argued that “George Harrison, Michael Bolton, and others have lost cases like this, and those songs don't have the exact same melody like the Coldplay one! It's not just the same chords, it's the same melody!" I said, "I guess it'll have to be settled in court, although I'm not sure I'm comfortable with lawyers and judges deciding about musical creativity..." Then he proceeded to argue that the Grammy awards shouldn't have rewarded the Coldplay song. I said the Grammys shouldn't take a position on it before it's been decided in court - "they can't take sides in this!" I said. Which made him snort. Snort. "Go listen to the Satriani song," he said, and we dropped it and moved on to other topics, like the drama between members of our band!

When I got home, I listened to the Satriani song ("If I Could Fly"). It's easy to find comparisons on YouTube (they keep getting yanked off, so no use embedding), and the sample of it on iTunes is the section of the song that's in question.

Basically, my feeling is that yes, both songs do use the same three notes in their melodies. They also both go "two measures to play the three notes (A, B, A flat), then two measures sort of riffing on those notes, repeat." The riffing is not the same, but it is a similar idea. I think it's absolutely credible that more than one songwriter could have thought up that structure independently! I also think that had Coldplay known how similar "If I Could Fly" was, they would have changed up "Viva la Vida" a bit during the writing period. It's a risk with no payoff to knowingly copy an existing song. My verdict? No plagiarism. A situation that sucks for both sides, probably more so for Satriani, but life sucks. No plagiarism.

However, it might be worth mentioning that when "Viva la Vida" came out and I fell in LOVE with it, and wanted to hear it over and over, I was surprised that it was a Coldplay song. In general, I think Coldplay's music is positively coma-inducing. (I do like "Yellow" and "Clocks.") They write a song that doesn't really sound like Coldplay, and it gets accused of plagiarism? That's kinda interesting.

I prefer not to get sucked into arguments like this, but it definitely happens from time to time! My husband is intimidated by my strong opinions. Of course, he never argues, never ever ever. Does he have opinions and he just prefers to keep them to himself, or does he not have opinions? I don't know. And we've been together for seventeen years!

So in light of this "reputation" I have, it's interesting that my reaction to some recent news events is "ho hum, who cares?"

I'm talking about Christian Bale and Michael Phelps.

Christian Bale cussed out a crew member on a movie set. So what? This is the guy who lost 60 pounds, weighing only 120 pounds, for The Machinist. This is the guy from American Psycho. Guess what? He's crazy intense. We knew that. Why does anyone care about this "news" story?

Many have said it: who cares that Michael Phelps was smoking pot? He publicly said he was taking a break after the Olympics; one might expect him to go a little wild with the partying after so many years of extreme discipline. I've never smoked pot, because I'm a goody-two-shoes, and even I am nonplussed about this. Anyone who made him a "role model" for anything other than training for swimming is an idiot and needs to kindly remove their head from their fanny.

Now, Joaquin Phoenix. I'm worried. This hip-hop thing may or may not be a hoax, and the fact that his brother-in-law Casey Affleck is following him around with a grin and a videocamera instead of getting him help indicates that it probably is a hoax, but nonetheless Joaquin is not okay. Did you watch the Letterman clip followed by the clip from his appearance promoting Walk the Line? Bearded Joaquin can't form words or thoughts. It's worrisome.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I guess change was in the air this month! I've been planning to paint the upstairs bathroom since we bought this house in Oct. 2006. I even bought the paint at that time!

I don't know what finally motivated me to get out the brushes and get it done, but...

Here is what it looked like on Jan. 19, 2009, when a guy named Dubya was President...

...and now? Aaahh. A breath of fresh air!

(See, Internets, how I am keepin' it real? That's right, I left the crap on the sink and the ugly kids' towels on the towel bar, what of it?)