Monday, December 16, 2013

Megmas Xmas : The 10th Annual Mix

Ten Years, you guys. I've been making Megmas albums for ten years years now! Wow, things have changed a lot in that time. The first Megmas album, Merry Megmas, was a last min gift for some college friends. Over the years more and more of my friends, coworkers, and friends of friends have gotten copies, and some of you crazy kids even look forward to the mix each year!

I just want to thank anyone who has listened to one of Megmas mixes. It's because of you guys that this is part of my Christmas tradition. I had no idea I'd be making a 10th annual mix when I started this, but I have a blast each year and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon.

Happy Holidays, friends. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed making it! 

Download here: Megmas Xmas – Megmas 2013
    1. Christmas Wrapping – Slow Gherkin
    2. It’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Squarehead
    3. All I Want For Christmas is You – Heike Has The Giggles
    4. Christmas is the Time to Say I Love You – The Hold Steady
    5. It’s Christmas – The Polyphonic Spree
    6. Make it Ring (Like a Christmas Bell) – I ♥ The Monster Hero
    7. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Badly Drawn Boy
    8. It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop – Frightened Rabbit
    9. Christmas Madness – The Rocket Summer
    10. X-Mas Eve (She Got up and Left Me) – Rancid
    11. R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas – Star Wars Christmas
    12. Christmas is All Around – Billy Mack
    13. Last Christmas – The Hairy Bottlers
    14. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – The Mountain Goats
    15. Auld Lang Synge – Andrew Bird

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Let's do the Time Warp again!

Fiancé has never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 

A few months ago, he agreed to come with me to a 40th anniversary tribute concert of The Rocky Horror Show in SF with a special appearance by Patricia Quinn (better known as Magenta, or as the person behind the most famous lips of all time).  The tribute had a narrator (Peaches Christ) that more or less connected each of the songs together with the general plot.  It was pretty amazing to see Patricia Quinn sing "Science Fiction/Double Feature" live, and damn Jason Brock's version of "I"m Going Home" was to die for.  That being said, it wasn't The Rocky Horror Show. Fiancé is still a "virgin." 

In the car, on the way home after the show, I mentioned that some of my friends who I've brought to shows thought it was very much an "inside joke that they didn't get."  Fiancé admitted that he had no idea what was going on, so I attempted to explain the plot.  The look he gave me when I said "and then after they kill them, the house blasts off back to the planet of Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania  Oh, and then they sing one of my favourite songs "Superheros," if it's a good theater and cast, that is," was priceless.  He told me to stop adding in audience participations bits while explaining, and I had to tell him that I wasn't, and that the film is just like that

At the tribute concert Peaches Christ explained that Rocky Horror was her own personal "It Get's Better" video.  So later, I explained the show and the rituals to Fiancé, I started to think about why Rocky Horror means so much to me. Why I spent every other Saturday night for years of my life in a theater, in various stages of undresses, "watching" the same movie over and over.  And why eventually that wasn't enough, and I had to participate in a bigger way.

One of the biggest draws of Rocky Horror was the sense of community in the theater.  Most Saturdays I went to the show with friends, but every now and then I was on my own.  Usually just the act of waiting in line was enough to make new friends, to find a group to sit with, and to not feel like an outsider.  I remember one night where I ended up singing a number of songs from RENT while waiting in line, with a group of people who had been complete strangers 20 mins before. Coming from an all-girls Catholic school, I felt like there weren't a lot of people there like me.  Sure, I had friends, but late at night, in the theater? These were my people. 

Speaking of school, I had never been one for audience participation and group events. I didn't have "school spirit" aside from once a year when we had this crazy old tradition called Aquacades, which pitted each class against each other, and I wore the obligatory class colour of purple (which as my favourite colour wasn't too much of a hardship). And now I work at a place that has a big work-spirit, Kumbaya, let's all hold hands feel.  Anyone who knows me from work or school might be shocked to know how much I love the audience participation aspect of Rocky Horror.  But I do. I love that no one is going to laugh at me for doing the "Time Warp," or tell me to shut up when I yell "the home of happiness is in Janet's hat?!" at the screen. I'm not sure that anyone can explain this better except the emcee of The Bawdy Caste, who announces at the beginning, "the Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest running audience participate movie in the world. Which means, it's a lot like sex: if you don't participate, you can't come!"

When I decided to join a shadow cast and actually "preform" the show in front of the movie it was amazingly liberating. I had always wanted to do musical theater, but I don't really have the musical or acting chops to hold my own.  As a member of a Rocky "shadow cast" I could fulfill that dream of being on stage. And after years of body image issues, the show gave me the confidence to stand in front of a room full of people in fishnets, underwear, and a corset, and dance. I was nervous to have people see me in a swimsuit before this (and now I have a picture of me on the front page of my college news paper in full Floor Show regalia), but in this magical place, no one cared if you had a perfect body. Big, small, man, woman – wear what you want, whatever you want, and you will be welcomed with open arms, and even praised for your choice (especially if it's lingerie). 

I find it hard to explain, even now, if you've never seen the film, and especially if you've never been to a midnight showing, but this movie, this tradition, holds a special place in my heart.  

I expect him to come with me to the midnight Rocky Horror before we get married. He should know what he's getting into before the vows are complete. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Dress Shopping

Last night I went to my seecond Wedding Dress appointment.

I wasn't expecting to be trying on dresses this soon because, well, I'm  not getting married for over a year.  But a particular dress caught my eye, and it happens to be a Spring 2013 dress, and when I called a few salons and no one had it I started to panic.  Then I found a place in Burlingame (Paper & Petals) who said they could have it shipped to them, but I had no idea they meant they could get it so soon…  So I found out last Monday that this place is holding my dream dress, and last Wednesday I went to see if it's the dress.

Honestly, the dress has been something that I have been stressing about since the day I got engaged.  I figured finding a venue and setting a date would be fairly straight forward (and it was!), and then after that the rest would more or less fall into place.  But, as I was browsing online for dresses, all I could think about was that I hate all of them.  There are no real trends or styles out there right now that I like (well, that is to say, within a reasonable budget). I just fear that I will end up with something that looks dated and embarrassing, with puffy sleeves like Ginny Baker's dress in Sixteen Candles.

I don't want to say much about the appointment, except that I got to try on a few different dress shapes. Figuring out what shape I like and what looks best was the important part, I realize this, but some of the actual dresses were awful – one looked like Morticia Addams on the top and Moulin Rouge on the bottom; another looked like Cinderella's dress after her step-sisters have torn it to shreds.

The other problem is that I watch too many shows like Say Yes to the Dress.  I am a very emotional person, but at no point during the appointment did I feel like I was going to burst into tears.  Even in dresses I really liked, I felt no emotional attachment to them.  Maybe normal people don't cry in bridal salons?  Maybe it's just a TV thing?  While does feel a bit anticlimactic that there were no tears shed, I'm not sure what I would have done if my mom and the bestie started shedding tears in public.

So, anyway, because Bear was out of town, and it was really important to me that my sister be there for part of this, we went back last night.  I just want a few key people to love it and think it's perfect for me and then surprise everyone else with it on the big day!

Of course, I figure as long as I don't poop in a designer gown during the appointment, I've done something right…

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reflecting on Doctor Who Series 7…

So, I've posted this elsewhere, but I thought I would add it here after my review of The Hobbit.  It's mostly a collection of thoughts, and not so much a review, but I had a lot of feelings at the break in Series 7 and I needed to get those feeling out somehow... So here it is.  And feel free to ignore if you are not into Who...
As a whole, there is something very refreshing about Series 7, especially after series 5 & 6.  It reminds me more of RTD era Who, and I mean that in the best ways possible. 
I am a big fan of Series 1–4 of (new) Who, but I will be the first to admit that during the RTD reign, some of my favourite episodes were written by Moffat.  So, when he took over, I was excited to see what he would do, and where he would take the writing.  But that’s where things got complicated…  Series 5 & 6 are hard to watch because Moffat has these grandiose ideas that work amazingly well constrained to an episode (“Blink”) or a two-parter (“The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances”), but when given a whole series to flesh out an idea, I’m left with a severe case of what the fuck.

For most of Series 5 & 6, I feel like I was alternatively being bashed over the head with obvious hinting (the crack in the wall) or with bait & switch misdirection (River Song’s story).  This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy both of these series – I did! – it just was so full of story arcs and multi-part episodes it got exhausting.

As Series 7 started, I realized that there was a dramatic change happening, specifically with The Ponds. This was progression felt so naturally done, I didn’t feel like they were being written out, or cast aside.  It actually felt like character development…

Which brings me to “The Power of Three,” which I just adored.  This, to me, felt the most RTD-eqsue: the Doctor hangs around on earth, in present time, and using weird gadgets to investigate; UNIT is involved; there is an international crisis that The Doctor fixes at the last possible moment.  It felt like “Aliens of London” meets “Army of Ghosts,” with a hint of "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky" thrown in for good measure.  This honestly may be one of my favourite episodes ever, just based on the way that all the characters interact with each other (I love “Boom Town” for the same reasons).

And can we just stop for a moment and talk about how wonderful Brian Williams is?  He is like the best parts of Jackie Tyler and Wilfred Mott rolled into one.  His amazing acceptance of Amy and Rory’s life with The Doctor, is summed up perfectly in two scenes:
1) when he rattles off all the suggestions he can think of for what the Cube might be, and
2) when he watches the Cubes for nearly a year.
He isn’t envious of Amy and Rory’s adventures, he doesn’t hate The Doctor, he just wants to help in any way he, as a good person, can.

In “The Power of Three,” Brian asks The Doctor what happened to the people who traveled with him before.  When The Doctor mentions that a few of them had died, my heart nearly stopped.  NO.  I refused to accept that was going to be The Ponds fate.  But Brian insists that they travel on, and asks The Doctor to take care of them…

I have so much I to say about “The Angles Take Manhattan” but I’m having a hard time articulating anything.  Like the previous episode, this one, to me, was reminiscent of RTD’s series 2 finale, “Doomsday.”  Both Amy and Rory have to make impossible decisions, and both choose, in the end, to be with each other no matter what the cost.  Their decision to jump reminded me of Rose staying behind to help close the Void.  But much like Rose getting trapped in a parallel universe, when the paradox doesn’t work, Amy and Rory get stuck back in time.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful, and I’m still tearing up just thinking about it.

I will really miss The Ponds… or should I say The Williams’ as that’s how their names appear on their grave – and that just felt like Amy’s way of finally moving on from needing The Doctor to fully accepting her life with Rory.

To avoid crying again, here are my (hopefully) brief thoughts of the other episodes, in list form!

1. Asylum of the Daleks.
  • A huge opening, and I worried it was going to be like “The Impossible Astronaut”/”Day of the Moon” again.  It was a nice surprise that it wasn’t.
  • I am fascinated by the concept of the planet Asylum. I wanted more.
  • Due to Oswin’s work, does no one know who The Doctor is anymore? Is this the arc?
  • Speaking of Oswin – as soon as The Doctor knew there was something wrong, I thought she was going to be a highly evolved AI, like Jane from the Ender’s Game series.

2. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
  • I think they underused The Silver Fox Rupert Graves.
  • This episode was fun, if not all that dramatic, or plot heavy.
  • How many HP Actors can we fit in an episode is one of my favourite Whovian games.
  • The Doctor was a bit scary here, like how he gets when he doesn’t have a companion.
  • Oh, and I’ve already said it, but Brian Williams is amazing.

3. A Town Called Mercy
  • I loved the misdirect in this episode, thinking that the town was referring to The Doctor as their savior until the very end
  • I really wanted The Doctor to talk about The Time War, and I was really bothered by the fact that he didn’t.
  • Jex reminded me a lot of Professor Yana (“Utopia”), so automatically I didn’t trust him.
  • Interesting, but ultimately my least favourite of this series so far. 

4. The Power of Three
  • The Doctor can paint a fence in less than an hour, just FYI
  • Brian’s willingness to help is precious
  • The strain that Amy & Rory’s time with The Doctor puts on the rest of their lives and friends is really amazingly well shown
  • The Doctor says the Shakri are Gallifreyan legend, much like the Toclafane (“The Sound of Drums”).
  • I don’t care that the resolution was weak, the character development was amazing!

5. The Angels Take Manhattan
  • Film Noir episode, yes please
  • Holy Shit it’s the motherfucking Statute of Liberty
  • We don’t get much Father-Daughter alone time with Rory and River, so that was a silver lining during some dark moments
  • If River is already a professor in this, then we are near the end of her Timeline, and the Doctor will have lost all the Ponds (which is sad, even tho he’s already witnessed her death).
  • The leap of faith broke my heart

I am still not ready to accept the fact of the Pond/Williams family, so I haven't watched the Christmas special yet.  Also, because I haven't had a ton of time and I have been catching up on other things. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Soundtracking a Road Trip

When Vicious and I decided to go on our trip last summer, literally the first thing I did was open up iTunes and start making a Road Trip Mix. 

A Road Trip Mix is a wonderful and magical thing.  For me, there are a few criteria that need to be hit to have a successful Road Trip Mix:
  • You want music that makes you want to drive (and probably drive fast)
  • There need to be a few sing-a-long type songs
  • You need to mix in quieter songs so that you can actually talk over the mix
You also have to consider the person that will be your co-pilot.  Luckily, Vicious and I have very similar taste in music – even when I'm not familiar with a song or artists she's playing, the style is usually something I am already into.  So, instead of worrying about picking songs she won't like or will want to skip, I had to worry about things like "How many Iggy and The Stooges songs are too many?*" or "Do you think she's get that this is a reference to my favourite episode of LOST?"

Instead of just putting together a good collection of "driving music," like I usually do for a Road Trip Mix, I constructed this one a little differently.  The fist half of side one is the opening songs to our favourite films ("Reservoir Dogs," "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," "Trainspotting," and "Layer Cake" – notice a theme here?) and the rest are songs from our past or new songs I wanted to share with her.

Anyway, if you are going on an aimless road trip adventure, you're welcome to use this mix.
Listen on Spotify

Side 1
  1. Little Green Bag .. George Baker Selection
  2. Hundred Mile High City .. Ocean Colour Scene
  3. Lust for Life .. Iggy Pop
  4. She Sells Sanctuary .. The Cult
  5. American Slang .. The Gaslight Anthem
  6. You Make My Dreams .. Hall and Oats
  7. Shambala .. Three Dog Night
  8. It's Thunder And It's Lightening .. We Were Promised Jetpacks
  9. Tell 'Em .. Sleigh Bells
  10. I Wanna Be Your Dog .. The Stooges
  11. Where Eagles Dare .. Misfits
  12. Personality Crisis .. New York Dolls
  13. Constructive Summer .. The Hold Steady
  14. This Year .. The Mountain Goats
  15. Point/Counterpoint .. Streetlight Manifesto
  16. Stop .. Jane's Addiction
Side 2
  1. Stuck In The Middle With You .. Stealers Wheel
  2. Intro/Sweet Jane .. Lou Reed
  3. Peek-A-Boo .. Siouxsie and The Banshees
  4. Bang A Gong (Get It On) .. T. Rex
  5. Man Machine .. Robbie Williams
  6. Tall Cans in The Air .. Transplants
  7. Holiday In The Sun .. Sex Pistols
  8. California Über Alles .. Dead Kennedys
  9. Gimme Danger .. Iggy & The Stooges
  10. Animal Nitrate .. The London Suede
  11. Yeah Sapphire .. The Hold Steady
  12. Oh My God .. Ida Maria
  13. Nice Day for a Resurrection .. Nekromantix
  14. A More Perfect Union .. Titus Andronicus
  15. English Civil War .. The Clash
  16. Keasby Nights .. Streetlight Manifesto
  17. Younger Us .. Japandroids
  18. Sons & Daughters .. The Decemberists 

*the answer to this question is that 3 is apparently an appropriate amount on a 24 song mix... go figure.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Vicious & Wreck: Road Trip (Part 2)

I can hear you all think to yourselves, finally!, and Dear Readers, I don't blame you.  Here is the long overdue conclusion of the recap of the road trip we took six months ago!

Day 2

Fort Bragg is adorable.  Did you know that?  My coworker K never seemed to mention that, but look at the evidence:
We bought socks at a place called Pippi Longstockings
We at breakfast at a Wizard of OZ (book) themed restaurant called Egghead's
We browsed around the Triangle Tattoo & Museum

Our experience at Egghead's rather epitomizes our eating adventures.  Both of us were ravenous by the time we got seated and then we both stared at the menu for ages – really, we only wanted basic things, but we kept getting sidetracked by the dishes with theme names like, Ruby Slipper Scramble, or Aunt Em's Potatoes, or whatever.  I think I finally ended up with a special which was nearly identical to a non-theme-named omelette I had my eye on, but had Flying Monkeys in the title.  The food was awesome.  And, at the end of the meal, I followed the Yellow Brick Road out of the back, and to a bathroom in a separate small building labeled "The Emerald City."  So rad.

After breakfast, we were on the road again.  Shortly after we left Fort Bragg, we discovered "Perfect Beach."  We have no idea what this beach was called, but weather was amazing and the coast line was nearly empty with mist rising off the waves.  We basked for a bit, Vicious recorded some wave sounds, and then we kept on heading north, winding our way back in-land.

This part of HWY-1 was beautiful in a totally different way than the first day.  It was just as empty, but now we were weaving in and out of trees rather than beach towns.  As we got further into the trees, little shacks started popping up here and there, complete with collections of rusty tools and old tractors.  We dubbed these buildings "Murder Shacks" and did not stop to investigate.

When we finally met back up with 101 we were in Leggett and so we headed for the Drive Thru Tree.  I let Vicious drive so I could take pictures; I'll never live down the fact that I trusted Vicious – Vicious – enough to drive my car – a car – through a tree – a tree.*

We got out to walk around a meadow and pond, and then wandered into the woods to record nature sounds.  The redwoods were immense, and the day was warm, and for a while we could hear the buzz of traffic.  Then suddenly everything went quiet, and just like Merry and Pippin in Fangorn: "A queer stifling feeling came over them, as if the air was too thin or too scanty for breathing."  We said goodbye to the trees and headed back to the car.

Did you know that this part of Northern California gets really weird.  Like freaky weird?  On the way to the Avenue of the Giants, we tried to stop and use the bathroom at a tourist trap (of which there is one ever few miles on 101 at this point).  This one had chainsaw art outside and a house built into a tree.  We entered the gift shop and there was a man talking to the woman behind the counter, and he said, "I had to shove it back inside my body, it was like water balloons of blood."  Vicious and I looked at each other and high-tailed it back to the car.  We used the bathroom at Confusion Hill (home of a Chickalope?!) instead.

After driving through the beautiful Avenue of the Giants, we realized we were starving and headed back toward "civilization."  We passed through Willits, where we could have stayed in a Teepee (the possibility was discussed), and ended up scarfing down Thai and finding a motel in Ukiah (where I may or may not have been super snarky to the hotel clerk, who I'm pretty sure thought Vicious and I were a really weird lesbian couple).

It was the night before Vicious' 30th.  We sat with our feet in the bathtub, and talked about Serial Killers, German Cannibals, and British men with black hair.

Day 3

We decided to spend Vicious' birthday in Wine Country, which is amusing because Vicious no longer drinks, but we had this idea that we needed to go to Yountville and check out all the fancy restaurants.  On the way, we stopped in Geyserville to grab some caffeine, and then we got dristracted for a very long time in this amazing Vintage shop.  While we were at the coffee shop, however, the best exchange happend:

Barista: Do you two know where Coppola Winery is?
Me: Um...
Barista: Oh, are you guys old enough to drink?
Vicious: It's my 30th birthday today! THANK YOU.

From there we wandered into St Helena, and decided that we required ice cream.  We found this place right off the main street called The Big Dipper, and it was run by two gay vampires (probably), who would not take off their sunglasses while they were behind the counter, and told Vicious that the sorbet was too cold.  She gave them a filthy and went, "yeah, it's supposed to be cold." And then we found some benches under an archway at a church to enjoy our treats (where Vicious inadvertently solidified by vision of her as Halleluiah from The Hold Steady album Separation Sunday).

After St Helena, we headed to Yountville and I nearly died of bliss eating a macaron from Bouchon Bakery, and we wandered over to an old grave yard where Vicious took a picture of my ass me looking at an old headstone.  Neither of us were drinking on this trip, but we decided to go look at Chandon, because Vicious has a celebrity crush on the head chef there? I think? I'm a little fuzzy on the details – I was still in a bliss coma from the macarons.

We rounded our final day in Sonoma, eating a stupid early dinner at a the Swiss Hotel Bar and Restaurant, since we are both bad at eating regular meals despite the fact that Vicious turns crazy without food, and I just sort of wither into a grumpy mess.  We also found a few super cute shops, where Vicious picked out an amazing star dress.

And as we headed back to the Peninsula, we played Yellow Car (you're always playing Yellow Car), and were tired, but still felt amazing.  Because how many friends do you have that you can spend 36 hours with continually – most of which are spent in a car or hotel?  If you do have friends like that, don't let them go.  They are amazing, and you should be leaving for adventures with them right now.

*Please forgive the indulgence, but I had to work in a Cabin Pressure reference here – it was just too good to pass up.  For the record, this is a reference to Ottery St. Mary (series 3, episode 4).

Thursday, January 3, 2013

This is my year for sure

 "100 Resolutions" by The Lawrence Arms

I won't say that 2012 was a bad year; a lot of really amazing things happened and it definitely ended on a high note.  That being said, I am totally pumped for 2013!

While I don't have a hundred resolutions – I wouldn't even call what I have resolutions – these are the things that am excited about and want to focus on this year.

This year I'll turn 30, which is something I'm oddly excited about.

This year I get to plan my dream wedding to my amazing fiancé.

This year I get to start looking for a house where Fiancé and I will start our lives together. 

This year I'll work on advancing my self both professionally and personally.

This year I'll try to be more creative: write more, take more pictures, have more adventures.

This year I'll cut out the things I don't need and add more things that make me happy.

This year I'll try to be better at staying in contact with the people who are important to me.

What are you doing this year?