Archive for March, 2009

Moral Concessions (get comfortable and hold on tight)

Posted in Madam Musica! (or other Entertainment), Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2009 by gypsygies

Fair recently, I have been forced to sort of…eat my own words. Rather, append an argument. Fine, say “I was wrong.” Maybe. 8)

The issue at hand is the television show “American Idol”. In my attempt to be an honest person, and a “good little fan”, I have decided that it’s only right that I should go back and force myself to actually watch the first season of American Idol. You have no idea how huge of a concession this is, on my part. Kelly Clarkson owes me a good drink for this. LOL

You see, I railed and railed endlessly against the show when it came out. Not based on the talent of the show, based on the ideology and my disagreement with the major label record companies. I consider the show “cheating”. And that argument does stand. I think it’s ridiculously disgusting that they’re basically saying to people `you may have talent, but we’re going to make you get millions of fans first, before we even agree to give you a contract’. That’s bullshit. It’s unfair. It’s completely cheating to say you’ll only give someone a recording contract if they bring you a huge national already-built fan base.

Then, there is the second part being that I was more of a music snob. Early in my life I was a big pop fan (early 80’s). Then in the late 80’s/early 90’s I suffered the attack of the Taylor Dayne’s and Mariah Carey’s (oh don’t EVEN get me started…) and became just as angsty, perhaps even more so because of my great love of music, as the rest of my Gen-X generation. I had completely given up hope on Pop music. Tuned out. Considered myself to have ‘grown past’ it. uh-huh.

That is why it took me some 6 years (ish) into her career before Kelly Clarkson finally managed to catch my attention, and slowly return my gaze to the genre. And even the way that happened is sortof funny. Inadvertant. But in the meantime I of course could not avoid catching tidbits of (esp the first season) American Idol and it’s songs (like on commercial breaks – commercials for it) and was unimpressed. To this day I can’t stand the “A Moment Like This” song. It’s theme-appropriete but otherwise just cheesy bad, I’m sorry. LOL. Ugh. I wince and hit “mute” quickly if I’m watching something and she breaks into one of those-type early songs and just try to wait it out. Even as a later fan, I did not buy her first album (though I did amazon.com “Miss Independant” and I LOVE that song, “Low” is pretty good, and I’ve slowly warmed a bit to “Thankful”). However, I understand they are greatly popular. Da Populace Luvs Da Cheeze. I myself prefer deeper, more soul-grabbing content (which Kelly, once unleashed,  shows a strong proclivity toward).

Back to issue: I had tuned out and turned my nose down, disappointed, toward Pop Music. At the time, there was probably no way in hell you could have *paid* me to watch the show. I was just dead-set against it. I kept saying if the producers thought the people had enough talent to pay for a moment of television time for them, then dammit they should just give them a record contract and set them loose on the population, like traditionally is supposed to happen. `But no, I’m not going to listen to it because I’m sure it’s all just typical-pop-crap and I’m not interested’. Hurumph. (much chuckling at myself now….ahem) (damn you, Kelly ;’P  ).

Now, having taken strong note of Kelly Clarkson, and watched quite a bit of her career (yay youtube) progression and interviews, her growth as a person and artist… I feel a compulsion to go back and watch the beginning. And also, a hint of “justice” in it because I’ve been forced, through Kelly, to openly admit that the world did gain something quite positive out of the “American Idol” show [I partially wonder if I didn’t subconsciously block hearing her sing earlier out of sheer stubborness LOL].

What I’ve learned about myself from watching the first season, and I’m only up to the 7th episode so far (Group 3 performing) – is that I am an incredibly particular music critic. I would be somewhere between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul – my instinct is to be nice, to be positive…but my incredible passion for music also forces outright honesty. So while I would want to try to be nice, be encouraging and thankful to the participants, all in all I would eliminate most of them. Fair quickly. Faster than Simon on a lot of them, honestly. If I see a trait worth waiting for another shot at, sure, I’m a ‘go’. But often I find myself viewing the contestants and saying “average” “average”…”good, but not great“..good but not great is probably my most common reaction. Twice I’ve had quite harsh things to say: one contestant (a female) performed as though she were in a High School competition…at the level of being alright for a High School competition, but not for this competition and I felt very strongly about that. Another, a male, would make a great Las Vegas lounge lizard. Seriously – he would do well. I honestly hope that’s what he’s doing now so he’s at least still getting to sing and perform, and make some money while at it. But not good enough to go professional pop star on his own, no.

I am most critical of actual singing ability…I think it’s great when someone attractive steps up, has a good sellable ‘look’ to them, but not being attractive is not something I hold against them as that can be manufactered (and that’s something I think Simon doesn’t understand, flat-out). Yes, in the pop world – manufactered beauty is The Way. They pomp, buff, fluff, manicure, touch up the shit out of everybody – and all it takes to be considered “attractive” to the masses is a buffed, manufactured image. I firmly believe absolutely anybody can be assisted-to-death into acceptable pop-culture attractive packaging (ugh). But that’s the way of things.

I am highly critical of singing – note for note, even. I’m little-ms ‘cut that note, lengthen that one, you shouldn’t trill on that word it doesn’t work, but pull your range on this one…” etc etc. LOL! Constructive critisism..but my, my I am quite particular. I would probably be fair grueling in a studio…though I do have complete confidence that you would come out of the room with something Great…but only after I’d beaten my head against the equipment a few times trying to find the `missing link’ between good and great in any particular piece. *chuckle*.

With all that in mind, there is quite a lot of good talent in the first season. At least a handful of them, I feel, deserved more work from a label. As second runner up I probably would have chosen Christina Christian. I can’t get enough of her singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” – she’s got a very classy touch and she brings it to her music, as well as a good soulful performance. Perhaps not *pop* star, per se, but with some label effort the woman definetely could have gone farther in the more r&b side of pop (think Rihanna, Leona Lewis). Christina’s a million times more talented than Fantasia (from some later Idol season). At least. She’s simply a much more solid bet than Fantasia – much more to work with. But, offhand, the judges do not seem to have gotten as “lucky” on the other seasons as they did on the first one, where quite a lot of good talent walked in the door.  Justin Guarini is another, of course, person who should have gone farther. He’s not of a genre split that I would actually listen to, but I recognize the talent – he has at least as much malleable talent as the other Justin does – Timberlake. His lack of super stardom I feel is more a failure of the label and management, then of talent. He does have it. There is quite a lot of malleable talent on the show.

Kelly still has the outright raw undeniable talent that stands out – I have only seen her first performance so far, in the second group, she sang a tidbit of “Respect”. Whoever controlled the camera time really did not like her – LOL! She quite literally got *none* for the first few episodes…then comes out of nowhere and hits you with her final-10 picking performance. She comes in front of the stage quite nervous seeming and a bit timid – but the moment the woman opens her mouth to sing she just takes command & control. Kelly has the unique ability to sideswipe you completely, and knock you 10 feet back (in a pleasant way LOL).  Short little 5’3″ woman that walks onto stage then stuns, paralyzes and jaw-drops you as she starts to sing. You just don’t see it coming. Pure, raw, talent. But there was definitely at least good competition.

I’m sure I’ll comment more as I watch more of the first season but I have at least been struck by 1) the fact that good talent worth watching is present and 2) wow I’m a strict music critic.  There was one guy so incredibly good looking in the 3rd group that I found myself wishing they’d keep the camera off him ’cause I couldn’t concentrate LOL. They pan to him a lot and every time I’m like ‘damn..he’s cute!’. Sadly, I’m probably related to him because his last name is Scott (mother’s maiden). Double-damn. [as far as performance, he has a good voice but had a bad song pick, not a good over-all performance…sigh].

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I Love You, Man and other issues

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2009 by gypsygies

Just got back from a matinee of “I Love You, Man” and it was very funny. But even more than that, I have to say I love the way it handled a very raw, very real issue without at all being condescending or bad about it. Displayed in the film are 1) a guy who just doesn’t make friends easily and 2) a guy who is used to having a lot of friends but now has absolutely no one to hang around with because his friends have all disappeared to calmer lives. Neither of them are bad guys…k the main lead is pretty much a big dork but a great likeable dork who’s earnesty in *trying* just makes you want to give him a break (or root for someone else to). They’re good, likable, cool people. But life is tricky.

And I completely relate to both sides. I most harshly face #2 – everyone I used to go do stuff with, hang with…has gotten married, popped out kids, moved away for their career…never to be heard from again. I’ve tried, we’ve tried, to keep it together but honestly all their conversations now completely revolve around a) if they have a baby – the baby, the diapers, the baby toys…and I understand, I really do. I am a compassionate and mature woman – I understand their lives are now forfeit, essentially, to their children. But the thing is, I have nothing to contribute to that conversation. All I can say is “Oh…huh” and “cool”. I do not relate. I don’t even want kids. I’m awe struck by them, I’m happy for them – but we do not -connect- on any point, anymore, because my life is actually still about me, and theirs is now about another, budding, life. b) if they don’t have kids, but also this thing happens when people get into a serious relationship where all they see are each other…or all they talk about is said relationship, and relationship topics. I have nothing to say. I think it’s great for them, and I’m very happy for their happiness – but I quickly get left out of the conversation. I cannot contribute. Even if I were dating someone, I’m just not that kind of person. I’ve never been.

And here is another point I found myself thinking about coming out of the film: most of society has this “agenda” and the agenda is their entire focus. I don’t. I just want to be me. I remember first coming up against this hardcore in junior high, actually, when I first moved to a school and my mother was friends with a woman who had a girl my age & grade in that school. I was still very shy at the time, and they totally did that thing where they told her she had to befriend me and toe me around. I had nothing in common with her. I most acutely remember sitting at the lunch table with her and a few of her foofy girly friends and the entire discussion was make up, hair and boys. They were completely engrossed. I pushed so hard to focus and listen but I had less than zero interest the conversation. And you just can’t fake it. Thankfully, not long after that I hit it off with some other less foofy (and thus, slightly lower on the over-all “popular” list) girls and we had a great time (playing practical jokes like nobody’s business :’)  ).

But that agenda rules most everybody, it seems: must find `the one’, must have babies, must focus on money. It’s not that I don’t have an interest in finding `the one’ of course I do – I’m a romantic sap completely, but for most people the agenda is their TOP FOCUS. Everybody they look at, they instantly try to imagine it all laid out…expectations, expectations. Me? I just want to be me. I just want to have fun – and I’m not talking about hooking up. That’s the other agenda – hook up, hook up, hook up! I don’t want casual sex (Gasp! I know I know… very shocking). If I’m not into you I’m sorry but I’m just not into it…it’s no good. Trust me, it’d bad sex anyway! At least for me (and then what’s the point? LOL). If I’m not turned on by you, I’m just not. And I’m so not turned on by the thought of casual sex with a hottie like most people (men And women), are. The thought of sex itself turns on most men and women and they just hunt the room for who could fit their preset idea. S’just not my thing. I’m more of a -connections- woman. My top agenda is a blank slate. When I talk to you, I’m focused on the conversation, on you, and what I’m saying – not the agenda and how you’re matching up to it. Which is to say, I’m actually focused on how we connect, whether in a friendship or a date, how comfortably we sync, rather than anything past that moment. I’m in the moment. I can’t live a life of conversations about hair, makeup, the cute guy over there (or hot slut), or money/work.

That’s the other thing: the people in society who do not only talk about hair, makeup and hooking up… are the “geeks”, whom I do tend to know, but I also don’t share much in common with. Conversations tend to be about some technical computer programmer thing, some scifi or comic book thing, or varied other technical conversations that I also can contribute absolutely nothing to. I’ve almost nothing in common.  I love to dance, I love to drink, I love to go to movies, I love board games, I love road trips, I love nature (but am not really “outdoorsy”)… nothing in common with most people. Sure those are popular things – but only for the people who do them with The Agenda as their main topic and focus and I’m just not…flakey…enough LOL (!). I can’t fake the flake. It just doesn’t work.

So there it is. Those I *had* something in common with, have now given way to the agenda and moved on…as lives do. I am happy for them. But that also means I’m left out…and left here wanting to go Out but with no one to go out with! The younger crowd all has their own clicks and you can’t break into them…and they’re all about sex, sex, sex. Or drugs. I’m not interested in being your drug buddy, either. No thanks, I like my brain cells. Most my age are either totally relationship focused, baby/marriage subdued, or career-only monotones.

I am a very odd sort in that I have no actual “great career goal” – my greatest over all wish, my only “future” goal desire is personal growth. That’s what my life is about. Personal evolution. I am very, very passionate about this. I don’t want your fucking business suit. Not even at the price of your paycheck. Fuck no. I may as well check into my grave now. Because that’s soul-sucking. Everything seems to lead to an office of some type, a fucking suit, and there is no way I will ever sacrifice myself…the *me* that I am…to become that cardboard cutout person that everybody else seems to become. Everyone “successful”, anyway. Fine. I’ll be a poor, empty-pocketed mailclerk who dies young because I couldn’t save. I’d rather accept that fate than ever, ever, become someone -Else- – someone other than me and my personality. I will not tame myself, conform myself, to your acceptable cardboard cutout people.

And the thing about that is – that’s all fine and great for people with talent, who work in the Entertainment Industry. Yes, I’ve the personality type of someone who’s supposed to work in the entertainment industry, I know… headstrong, individualistic, unyielding, etc etc but I’m not stunningly beautiful and I was not blessed by God with a great voice or anything. I’m just goofy me. I can’t afford the schooling for the technical sides of it and do not have the connections for those blessed enough to get to just tag along and intern with a tour manager or something. So I’m a perpetually poor, unemployed mail clerk. LOL But still somehow happier that way than trying to be the career-minded business track woman, or the marriage-minded strumpet. But it means I don’t get to go dancing. (dammit).

Everybody’s life moves on because they’ve got these greater agendas. I’ve got myself and my own inner development as my agenda. I want to be -me- and have that be O.K. Love would be great, would be awesome of course I want LOVE but I’m not about trying to superimpose that image onto everyone and serial date, or end up in a bad marriage just because I was more focused on the image than the connection.

Although, back to focus on the film I saw that got me thinking and past my confessional moment – the main chick in the film was absolutely hot, though. *big grin*. Mamma mia ! She’s beautiful. She has very beautiful eyes. Of course I can l o o k – but doesn’t mean I’d jump on anything that I don’t feel a *connection* with. 8)

Gypsy needs a new bikini….

Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized on March 19, 2009 by gypsygies

Ok so lately I’ve put learning to be a better, stronger swimmer (i.e. ‘learning to swim’) down under “basic survival skills 101” because I LOVE being in the water – you cannot keep me OUT of the water. It has always been that way, but yet I’ve never bothered to learn to swim. I just kindof stand around in the water, float a little bit, stroke once or twice and stay in the shallow. Lately, I’ve decided 1) I love being in the water so much and 2) I need to lose weight… actually go together! So I’ve been at the nearby Gold’s, swimming. So completely out of shape that, as I’ve previously pointed out, I could only swim 1/3rd the length of the lane before being completely out of breath. And the first day I started out really, really splashy. But I’ve only gone a few times, maybe a week’s worth, and I can already swim half the lane, with slightly less effort (less needless splash). I catch my breath faster. I usually do this only twice full…back and forth both ways…across the lane as the muscles aren’t there yet. And -wow- has my full body been muscles tired after two full rounds – so I know I must be burning at least some calories.

Today worked out very well (sortof). I could actually have stood it working out slightly *less* well, all in all, but we’ll get to that. The place was very busy! Turns out the guy in a lane 2 over from me, named Dave, was very outgoing and and…happens to be an ex-swim instructor and lifeguard! So he was smiling and saying ‘hi’ to everyone and no one would give him much back, but me being friendly me said hi back and he introduced himself and I told him my name. One lane later…I’m there laughing in my lane because I’m so out of shape and converstation opens…I got a free swim lesson! That’s when he told me he used to teach swimming, and be a lifeguard and then he taught me how to kick better (from the knee only), then how to do my arms better (thumbs out, better hand positioning) and attempted to teach me how to breath (yeah…good luck with that one). As an ex-singer, I do tend to breath from my diaphragm, but that still doesn’t mean I breath when I’m supposed to. That’s the touchiest point to me in any exercise program…I have almost no ability to breath through my nose anymore (see: surgury needed) and all in all my lungs themselves are just out of shape! I get frustrated if you try to bitch at me about I’m-not-breathing-right. I’ll keep it in mind (now leave me alone LOL).

So nice chancing there:  free (needed) swim lesson :’)! However, most the way through, he’s explained something and then went off to swim…I look down…my bikini has slipped. My right breast is exposed. completely. He got paid, I guess.

I can’t believe noone said anything, though – there was like 4 other people there with various others passing by… and I think it only shocks me a little because I’m *so* the kind of person who would tell you. I don’t care if I don’t know you. I don’t care if I don’t like you (ok, true enough, I’m not the kind of person who doesn’t like people, in general…you have to have some pretty strong character traits to force me to think in terms of “do not like”…generally liking or not liking somebody doesn’t occur to me, I just accept everyone). I don’t care if you’re famous and I’m not supposed to talk to you, or be candid. If you’re flashing me, I’m going to tell you. Hell, Kelly Clarkson or the Queen of England (ew) could be in the pool with a breast exposed and I’d be like “HEY! You’re flashing us!” – said quietly in their ear, of course. I consider it basic politeness. But other people just get too embarressed about such things and stay quiet. I’ll never get that.

random traffic jam thoughts

Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized on March 16, 2009 by gypsygies

So there I am, at 5:40pm, stuck on 1 (Mo-Pac) with all the other people in Rush Hour – laughing my butt off. I’m surrounded by people technically more `blessed’ than I am, as they all have J-O-B’s that they’re getting to come home from. There they are, all dressed up stuffy…looking exhausted, overwhelmed and just unhappy to be there, anywhere,  in general. I’ve spent my afternoon at Pedernales Falls, and here I am in the midst of them wearing shorts and a bikini top (I don’t even have a shirt on), slightly sunburnt, grooving my head to the Lucksmiths and laughing my butt off because I think it’s hilarious that I managed to time my return right up for Rush Hour (d’oh! LOL). They all look much less…amused…to be stuck there with me. I may be less blessed but at least I had a nice day.  =’)

So in this traffic jam I oddly found myself thinking back… to Christopher Smith, when I was 15. I had the hugest crush on him. He was gorgeous! I wish I had a picture to share. Blonde and cute as can be. I was 15 going on 16 and he was almost 17 I think. My older sister introduced us, she worked with him. Chris & I became friends…he’d show up when I got out of school and hang out. He was a skater guy – this was in the mid-80’s when the arcade game “Skate or DIE!” got big (title still cracks me up – I was always teasing him about the over-dramatics of it, heh heh). Lincoln, where we were, is a very hilly place…those small annoying hills (when you’re driving) because you’re constantly using lots of gas to go UP hill but never quite get enough momentum coming back down. But Chris would actually take me places _on his skateboard_. I couldn’t skate…no no, not really my thing. But always thought it was cool that he was willing to not only haul his own mass but my added 104Ibs (at the time)  up those hills. And coming down them, two people on a skateboard – I’d swear we’d hit 50mph and I’d be scared but Chris somehow totally in control…me holding onto him tight, him holding onto me and completely in control. He was always coming over, hanging out. He at one point decided he wanted to learn to play electric guitar so he’d bring that over, too (and even taught me a few lines of a song on it). I remember he had a tat on his upper arm that said “FTW” and that’s the first time I heard the phrase “Fuck The World” – I used to give him a hard time about his angty…because really, he was sweet and kind and very giving and not at all `goth’. He was gorgeous and I had the biggest crush. But he was much, much too good looking to be interested in average-me. And I was so shy.

A couple years passed and we’re not really hanging around anymore, our lives have moved on, but the city is small and we still bump into each other, know of each other. I had become friends with a woman named Veronica and we hung out for awhile, but then kinda faded out and awhile later…I’m 17 now, I hear Chris is going out with Veroni and actually *got her pregnant*. I’m stunned. He’s just not *that* guy. But there’s a party and I decide to go to it and there’s Chris and there’s a moment when he & I are alone in her kitchen. We talk. Chris got her pregnant because it’s what she wanted (I knew her well enough to know that’s true) even though she wouldn’t marry him. He’s trying to be the “good boyfriend” he’s supposed to be but I can tell he’s miserable, doesn’t really love her, she definetely doesn’t really love him (as he & I are talking I can hear her in the other room flirting with some guy), and basically they’re headed for a break. Then he says it: “You know, I had the *biggest* crush on you when we first met…when you were 15. That’s why I was always coming over, but I guess you didn’t like me that way. That’s how it goes.”.

I am stunned speechless. My jaw actually drops. I felt so bad! I was like “CHRIS! I had the Biggest crush on you!!” We stare at each other, helpless and wondering. Then reality sets back in…about 2 years have passed and he’s a daddy now with a woman who talked him into it (she could be very manipulative, truth be told…which is one reason I had distanced myself from her – drama!), and he’s trying to make that work. And I’ve moved on. But…wow.

I’ve rarely been stunned (me? speechless? doesn’t happen much LOL) as I was that night in life. To think that we both had crushes on each other at the same time… and we were both too shy to do anything about it. Too insecure. He was so HOT! Yes, blonde hair, beautiful green eyes (which I’m a sucker for anyway) and just as sweet and easy going as could be. Great guy. Missed. whoops.  And here I am strangely thinking back to the shock of that moment…in rush hour….half a lifetime away.  LOL Life is odd.

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Jimmy’s Blind Faith

Posted in Commentary, Religion, Spirituality & Ethics, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 13, 2009 by gypsygies

I recall that while I was in Junior High (in Lincoln, NE)  I had a Mormon cousin who very firmly believed that when you weren’t looking at objects, they ceased to exist. Then when you looked back at them, they’d pop right into existence again.
I was simultainiously both grippingly fascinated and frustrated by my cousin’s belief.
I “explored” his belief with him in the only way natural to me: by use of Reason and Experimentation. Which is to say, I did everything I could think of to disprove and shake it. I was amazed by my cousin’s sheer unwillingness to accept Pure Reason as superior over his seemingly bizarre “blind” Belief.

Our little scene played out like this:
q: so you believe that this chair is here while I am looking at it, but dissappears from Real Existence the moment I look away from it and can no longer directly see it?
c: Yes.
q: but, I can turn my back to it, so I’m not seeing it, and then walk backwards to sit down in it. I can’t see it, but I can still sit down in it — therefore it _Must_ still exist.
c: No. You can sit down in it, because your mind is *convinced* that it’s still there, so it’s reacting to it — to what you really believe in.
q: So … if *you* walk backwards in line to where the chair is, then you won’t run into it because you can’t see it and therefore it won’t exist to you?
c: maybe. ..I believe so.
q: try it.
[my cousin turns around and walks backwards until he stumbles over the “invisible/non-existant” chair and falls down] [I don’t laugh, amazingly, but simply look at him quizzicly and wait for his reply to my demonstration]
c: the memory of the chair being in that place is still in my brain, so I’m not able to fully recognize it as not there — but it’s really not.
q: but *I* can see it …doesn’t that count? Is that enough to bring it into existance?
[I was not so much interested in disproving his belief and so changing his mind, as exploring his ability to believe this thing in the face of all contrary evidence. Yes, as an adolescent.]
c: I guess that brings it into existance for *you*, but I don’t think that necessarily means it has to exist for *me*.
q: so Reality is different for both of us?
c: sure.
q: OK. so what if you close your eyes, and then I *move* the chair, and you walk around … would you run into the chair then?
c: maybe, maybe not.
q: what do you mean? you wouldn’t know where it is, so it’s not in your memory, and you can’t see it, so it doesn’t exist … ?
[my cousin just looks at my non-commitaly]
q: let’s try it. close your eyes.
[my cousin closes his eyes and I move the chair as quietly as possible, then tell him to walk around with his eyes closed. He does, and quickly stumbles over the “invisible/non-existant” chair. This time I grin at him with some victory, he laughs and I laugh, I wait for his reply to this `win’]
q: so how come you ran into it, even when you didn’t know where it was, and couldn’t see it?
c: my brain’s memory knows it’s still somewhere in the room, so I was _expecting_ to run into it, and therefore did somewhere.
[I experience momentary frustration]
q: but you ran into it in just the same spot as I had actually *placed* it, and not some random place…?
c: *shrug* I guess I heard you put it somewhere there, even though I don’t remember hearing you do it. Some part of me must have heard it.
[long moment of thoughtful silence passes between us]
c: *shrugs again* it’s just what I believe. YOU don’t have to.
[yet undeterred…]
q: so …wait, let’s take this from a different perspective. If I close my eyes and firmly believe that there’s a chair where there *isn’t*, that I can see right now, and I walk forward with my eyes still closed… then I will run into it, even though it’s not there? I mean … as I can see it right now?
c: yes.
[This thought seemed altogether exciting to me. I really liked this idea. Essentially, believing things into existance so firmly that your reality actually interacts with them]
q: Ok, I’ll try it, I think there’s a chair in front of me  ..ok?
c: NO, you must _believe_ there’s a chair in front of you…
[I nod, then close my eyes and quite inspired by the possibilities of this philosophy, push every ounce of myself toward the belief that there really is a very cool looking chair right in front of me. I walk forward, but do not run into the “invisible/non-existent” chair. I open my eyes and look at my cousin with dissappointment. As much as I was having fun argueing his religion, I was hoping to crash into the chair because that would be *Really* cool.]
c: *shrugs* Your belief isn’t strong enough yet, sorry. I guess, because we’re talking about it, your mind is distracted by the doubt that the chair might not actually be there.
[another long thoughtful silence passes between us]
[not quite deterred, but shaken]
q: So let’s try something else. I’ll close my eyes and you move SOMETHING, _anything_ in the room into my path, and since I won’t know what it is, and can’t remember everything in this room, I won’t run into it because my mind won’t be able to imagine it there. Right?
c: but you’ll hear me place something in your path.
q: Ok, so take off your shirt and blindfold me with it, then I’ll plug my ears … ok?
[my cousin agrees, blindfolds me with his t-shirt, I plug my ears and he moves something in the room to a place I’ll step on it if I move around. He nudges me to walk around, I walk around blindfolded, and a few moments later fall on my ass tripping over an “invisible/non-existant” Tonka toy truck. I laugh, my cousin laughs, eventually I look at him quizzically again and he just shrugs]
c: you were expecting it.
q: but isn’t this the thing you moved? How would I know to trip over the same object you actually happened to move?
c: *shrug* I don’t know. I guess you’re psychic …are you?
q:  uh…NO. You still believe the wall behind me doesn’t exist?
c: Yes.
[I make one last effort and walk backward until I slam into the “invisible/non-existant” wall. I look at my cousin and smile. He just smiles back.}
q: what about blind people? There is no Reality for them? because there are no objects in it. . . ?
c: *shrugs yet again* I guess their mind has to create stuff in its path so they can function.
[I look at him baffled but still fascinated]
c: You don’t have to believe. I just do. I’m Mormon.


My Mormon cousins used their Mormon-ness as a device to believe in, as far as I could tell, just about anything. I never knew if this was something particular to Mormonism, or just my weird cousins. I guess I still don’t. The only other Mormons I ever knew of knowing, were in my childhood in Phoenix and they were always very Secretive about their beliefs. This, of course, made them instant sources of fascination to us neighborhood kids, and instant sources of disgust to the neighborhood adults. My parents didn’t seem to know what it was “the Mormons” [rarely called by their names at first] believed in, but were sure it was something very weird. The weirder seeming and the more secretive — the more interesting to us kids. The Mormons on our cul de sac were very popular. *grin*

Back then, I was thinking that my cousins were very interesting, but quite the weirdo’s. Middle 1980’s.
Now I’m thinking, I guess I have just as strong of a belief in things that I guess are not proven in other people’s minds. Namely, in experience, reason, and science. The experiences in my mind, and in my life, led me to belief in what I can find by reason or experience, and to some degree, in things I’m told by “subject authorities” (i.e., I don’t have to know exactly how the light switch works to believe that they know and are right about it). I guess my cousins’ experiences in mind and life led him to seek belief in things his direct experience could not prove. Two different developing minds, both responding to different, but dark, life experiences. . . in two “opposite” ways. Such strange creatures are we.

Full Review: All I Ever Wanted (Deluxe edition), Kelly Clarkson

Posted in Madam Musica! (or other Entertainment), Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 12, 2009 by gypsygies

First off,  I have to remark again that I love the woman, I highly respect the woman, I agree with many that Kelly Clarkson has the most raw flat-out talent than anyone else in the industry today. With that said, understand that because of this respect I will be raw honest in all my opinions and comments in respect to her. I have always felt the nicest, kindest thing you could ever do for anyone is to give them your full honesty.

Did that set this up negatively? LOL I hope not. Because let me say that over-all her 4th album is far better than it’s average-pop opener single. Yes, her first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, has done extremely well here and abroad and that is just as I expected from my previous review. I stated that the music for the single sounds like it was taken verbatim from a wal-mart keyboard demo. And I stand by that. I also stated that the song is catchy as all hell and you can dance to it – this will make it a fun concert song and also means we’ll be hearing it forever in the grocery store, mall, …everywhere. So, even though the song is “average-pop” – good job Kelly on hitting the marker on that. The most important thing to understand here is  that the Pop world isn’t looking for greatness – they’re waiting to be sold exactly what they’ve been sold before, what they’ve agreed to being sold, packaged differently. So, in this world, “average pop” is a highly marketable, popular thing. That’s “good”. Catchy and well-sung means insta-success.

2) “I Do Not Hook Up”: This is a Katy Perry song, and it’s a good song. It is very similar in feel to the first song, on par with it in pop-i-ness, catchiness, likely to be a hit-ness among the very same crowd(ness). The message in the song is high above average, it’s an outstanding anthem. However, I am very very disappointed (can I put “very” in there a few more times?) that Kelly Clarkson changed _the best lyric in the song_!! I can’t believe that. I’m almost disgusted about it. The song was *great* before – as Katy wrote it, but sadly Kelly took it down a notch by changing the most raw, in-your-face flat-out awesome line into something quite bland. The KP line of greatness was “keep your thing in your pants and your heart on your sleave”. Greatness, right? That line is like a rabbit-punch to the gut. Makes every man say “Ooohhhh!” LOL. heh heh. Kelly nixed it and went for the bland “keep your hand in my hand and your heart on your sleave”. Much less powerful, right? That statement doesn’t hit you, stand out to you in any way. That’s normal – not the thing that makes you scream it from the window of your car to the guys in the next one over. I *totally* would have been screaming this song, that line, from my car (with a grin) to innocent passers-by. Alas, they are saved, as the greatness was removed from the song to make it a “good” song (not “great”). I’m sure it will still be a big hit, with the same number of people (in fact, the very same people) that “My Life…” is. Kelly has expressed that this song is likely to be her second single, and I do feel that would be a mistake. It definitely is a single, has single quality to it, but as the second single would not be the highest level of success she could do – a) it’s too similar in tone and level as the first single from the album and that will, sure, keep her big fans from that first song BUT b) it will cause a vast audience more that Kelly could reach to tune-out prematurely…because there’s another GREAT song on the album that would make a far *smarter* pick as a second single (more on that, later when we come to it).

3) “Cry”. The song has good lyrics – that’s the thing I’d say, over all, on this album: every song on it is at least good (if not great) in lyrical quality. She did a helluva job in that. Give the woman a fat paycheck! I would not say that about even “My December”, which had  great, deep content, even if some more work needed to be done here and there. There’s at least one song on that previous album I can’t say anything quite positive about (“Yeah” –  sorry). This album does not have that. Every song on this album has good lyrics. Moving beyond that, this song starts out with a sharp Country twang which made me instantly knee-jerk reaction hit “fast forward” on the first try. S’just not my thing. However, do listen to it past that initial twang, because it does tone-down the Country and gets better. It’s still not an outstanding song in sound, but it does at least stay on-par with Average Pop, which means if the AvPop masses can forgive the flexes of Country twang, it will be very popular and accepted indeed. It will make for a good, sappy video.

4) “Don’t Let Me Stop You”: I really like the chorus in this song. Very good. Catchy and pop. It’s a good song, and this is where to start to listen a little more carefully to the album. It’s still not great, but it’s definitely a sell and something I’ll listen to, feel no compulsion to fast forward through. I suspect the song will grow on me even more, and I love the lyrics. It’s not quite a single, it could be, it may be, but doesn’t quite have the same `single’ qualities that some of the other songs do. It’s a great support song on the album, because you’ll never fast forward and likely dig the lyric message in the song just as much as I do, it’s an easy to agree with message.

5) “All I Ever Wanted”: The opening of this song is where I stopped doing everything else in the background and put my full attention on the album. I closed out the game I was (attempting) to play while listening through the album the first time. Right here, I gave up on the game completely and just became absorbed in listening. Here is where I knew my (very poor and unemployed) money had been well-spent. Kelly has stated before that this was the first song she chose for the album, and liked it enough to name the album after it, and I can see why. That said, it’s not quite a “single” or at least it doesn’t have the typical `single’ qualities to it, but it is a great song, a jamming good listen and fills you with warmth and appreciation for the womans talent. It could pass as a single if she decided to do it, just on merit of it being a great song alone, though it’s not the best pick for a single. I can definetely see naming the album after it, hell it’s what makes you really start to listen to the album. Thank you, Kelly.

6) “Already Gone”. The previous song got you ready for it, and this is where the “Greatness” bell truely rings. This song nearly made me cry the very first time I listened to it. It’s because she puts so much emotion into her voice…she’s singing *her* words, and she obviously really means them. This woman is an emotional powerhouse, when she sits right down to it. This song instantly makes you wistful, thoughtful and has you meaning every word of it to someone even if you’ve never experienced the situation. That’s the mark of a truely great artists. The level of emotion Kelly gives us in her voice in this song  is addictive enough you have to hit “rewind” and go again. This is the first song I’ll learned the words to, just because it’s so beautiful, so powerful. Well done! Give that woman some fine whiskey, a warm smile and a big hug.

As for whether or not this song should be a single (funny how I instantly can think in `industry’ terms even though I’m not industry lol) – I remain slightly torn on that. My only concern is that the song might be *too* powerful, too emotional, too personal, for the masses to grab onto as a single. If it were followed by an absolutely great video – the song could be unstoppable. It could be the anthem for every dissipating relationship. Male and female alike can sing along to it, somber and wishful and taking in your breath for a goodbye you’re sad about, but know has to happen. It’s very relatable because Kelly brings into herself, fully, for the duration. Again, accompanied by a strong video, this could be a single. I wouldn’t say right off, if that’s the decision, it’s something you have to build to in releases. This will be the slow dance song at proms, and a mistake to play at a wedding (lol).

7) “If I Can’t Have You”: This song made me unplug my headphones…. and plug in my speakers! I instantly jumped up to dance (startling my cat). It made me want to run right down to all the local clubs and request it. Then I realized, of course, they probably don’t have it yet. This is a stand-out song. Kelly has stated before that this is one of her favorite songs on the album, and I really wish she would listen to herself sometimes (, dammit). This song should be Kelly Clarkson’s second album single. Why? Because it will successfully *keep* all her fans from the first single, but extend her reach substantially into a new group – the group that’s on the sidelines of pop (which I fit into), that doesn’t dig the “AvPop” thing but waits to hear something Great. The garbage-like core grabbing greatness that we insatiably seek. There is a very sexy quality to this song – it’s got a sensuality to it (without trying for it), a fiery passion in it that’s just sexy. It sounds like Kelly’s on the verge of just reaching out, straddling someone and singing it right to their face (please don’t, you straddling someone might give me a heart attack…I’m only human for godssakes ;’). Hell I even worked out to this song today, because it’s upbeat enough you can take it to the gym with you, too.

It’s important to grab that second, even wider audience quickly – the audience that already has an ear open for Kelly Clarkson because yes, she has impressed them before (even if they hadn’t bought anything yet) and they’ve agreed that she has undeniable talent, even if their sheepish in their admittance. This song will make them buy the album. However, if you don’t grab them quickly enough, if you put out another “average good” hit song instead, they’ll tune out and you’ll risk missing them completely. In short, I fucking love this song. It’s still got that uber-catchiness to it that makes a single, and I was singing along by the second chorus. Go with your instincts on this one Kelly and get it out there!

8 ) “Save You”: This song has a powerful chorus. It’s very pretty. I wouldn’t say it’s a `single’, necessarily, but it’s a good strong song. It’s something I’m singing along with (okay the bad grammer does catch me and make me wince LOL), and I’ll listen to in repeats in just the right mood or moment. It does have an odd piano break that doesn’t quite perfectly fit into the flow, but that’s okay it’s beautiful anyway. The beginning guitar chords are strangely reminiscient of the Sundays, somehow, and since that’s my longtime favorite over-all band Kelly caught my attention with the sweet sound of it right off. I could definetely see this song on a movie soundtrack, and I do hope they shop it around as such. It would take an emotional point in a movie and make it even more so. And, oddly enough, I could earnestly see Kelly singing this chorus to every one of her fans for whatever stuff in their life they may be going through – I’m sure she wishes she could save you somehow from it or at least that earnestness bleeds through in her voice. “It’s gonna be alright.”.

9) “WHYYAWANNABRINGMEDOWN”: This is the song I was most anxious to hear on the album, because I had heard Kelly mention it as having a sortof “British Punk” feel to it. She’s stated this will be the song on the album that many people don’t like. And I agree with her on that. Most of her younger audience won’t “get it”. Those of us who are older will be pushing past them to get down to the mosh pit. *wide grin*. This is the song that makes me beg the almighty above, who…aside from world poverty, global warming and various plagues, might possibly be interested in my own personal happiness… to please, please, do not let me miss Kelly in concert this time around (!). And put me down in front, dammit, where I can at least wish there was a mosh pit for the song. True, an actual mosh pit might not be the most practical thing at a Kelly Clarkson concert, as all the tweens trying to be cool would quickly suffer parent-worrying injuries. What brings the widest grin to my face in this song, is the sheer fact that Kelly sticks to a strong Brit-Punk style of singing that just proves she can do it. I just love that about her. I once saw that clip of her singing a scream metal song at some concert of hers, and even though that’s serious not my genre, I posted the clip everywhere and was super happy about it just because Kelly’s so in-your-face I-can-do-it. LOL She fucking pulls it off, even though if someone had told you she was going to do it, you would say “No way.”. Go go Kelly. This is a GREAT song that has me on my feet  jumping and shaking my head (but then again, I like Brit Punk just like she does so go figure). My gods this song will be _so_ _much_ _FUN_ at a concert!!! She may have to just do it twice, to fill us. I think the people who can’t stand this song going in, will come out with a heartfull of it, begging for more, when she does it in concert.

10) “Long Shot”: This song… this song…it’s a good song. However, it does sound like Kelly Clarkson doing a cover of a Katy Perry song, instead of making it feel like a song of her own. She’s hardcore channeling Katy Perry in the song, and I didn’t even have to look at the credits to realize who wrote this song. She sounds just like Katy Perry in it, which is strange, because Kelly has a far stronger, more beautiful voice than her. However, I do really like the song, it’s a very good song. It’s very catchy, it’s compelling to sing along to, it has emotion in it and I know at some point I’ll hit rewind to go again. All in all, though, I don’t know why they didn’t just put Katy Perry’s demo version of it on the album instead of making Kelly sing it. If that’s what they wanted. If she released this song as a single right now, she would honestly cause a lot of workplace arguments over the fact of `is it Katy Perry singing or could it be Kelly Clarkson’? with various parties swearing to the first (sorry, sweetie).  Hell if *I* hadn’t been listening to it in the progress of a KC album, I would have (at first, anyway, before the chorus) pegged it as Katy Perry singing.

11) “Impossible”: The music at the start of this song catches you, makes you listen. Very good song. I love the ending where she’s saying “Impossible for you, not impossible for me” – strong, powerful. Doesn’t quite have that “catchy” quality of a Single, but a good song none the less. Well done. Some will sing along to it, some won’t.

12) “Ready”: This is where Kelly introduces her “retro pop” feel, and it’s fun. Light, flowing, very much pop but with that slight retro feel to it. Bobbing my head along instantly. Would not make a good Single as it’s weird enough (*grin*) that most of the masses may not instantly get into it. Though it’s a good song, a fun feel to it, I didn’t automatically remember this song after the first listen through to the album. When I looked at the title, I couldn’t recall the song. That doesn’t make it a bad song, it’s still a good song, but does not have that catchy quality to it. But it’s a song I’ll like and listen to long after the album has come out, I’m sure. Great lines “too much of your mouth is like too much sun…how I burn, how I burn” and “I fly like stones…as I break every bone.”.

13) “I Want You”: In this song, Kelly takes her prepper-up retro pop feel and pushes it up a level – and it comes out very, very fun. Almost reminiscent of Madonna’s “True Blue”. Good retro fun feel to it, while being a stronger song altogether. I remembered the chorus when I looked at the title, and smiled to the fun of it. If she makes a video, I hope she’s wearing polka dots and has a lollipop. Just because. And there has to be a malt shop involved, dammit. :’)  I bet the word “you” starts sounding strange to her by the time she’s done singing the song, though, as that happens when you say one word a lot. LOL

14) “If No One Will Listen”: This song, in its words, is clearly a beautiful song to her friends. However, in melody and music it’s kindof typical. It will hit big with the same crowd who loved “A Moment Like This”. They’ll eat this song up.The same people who eat up every R&B ballad that’s put out. The words and her voice are undeniably beautiful, though. The sentiment and feel of it does make a great album end note. But it’s not something I would listen to a lot, it’s a little too “fluffy” in music type for that (for me). I can see why she would choose this song, though, why singing the words would appeal to her – to have it right out there for her friends, who’ve stuck by her.

[Deluxe Edition]

15) “Tip Of My Tongue”: This song has some Single qualities to it, so it’s really a bummer that it only made it onto the Deluxe Edition. The “Oooh” in it is way to Britney Spears, but hey, Britney sells. And Kelly pulls it off. I’d almost be willing to bet that this song was originally written for Spears. It seems like it. However, whereas I don’t like most Britney, I do dig this song and listen to it over again, get into it. It’s catchy, it’s sexy in its beat and it should have been on the main album. It’s perfect in it’s “popular genre” feel, but still a head above it – mostly because the texture of Kelly’s voice is so rich, so versatile, she brings out the catchy chorus very, very well.

16) “The Day We Fell Apart”: Again, I really like the beginning music to this song. It sets a serious emotional tone to it right off, almost nostalgic, then slides into Rock. Yes, rock. Go Kelly. The lyrics are solid, good lyrics…though sometimes a little disturbing (she likes meanness in men? Then again…she’s said she wants Edward from “Twilight” and he’s an overly controlling, not entirely honest, somewhat disrespectful love figure…”hmmm” Kelly LOL). It’s a serious catchy song, though, and again – has some Single qualities to it. Strange that it got passed up on the main album, but I’m guessing the stronger rock kindof quality to it offset it. It’s got a fun, sassy attitude to it though. Wistful, yet sassy.

And there you have my thoughts – which I’m sure are quite dear and precious to you LOL. Over all the album is great. It has a lot of good, viable Singles in it, which I’m sure makes the Label all very happy. At the same time, Kelly managed to keep some *content* in it, some *substance* to the Industry Fluff(tm), and I herald her for that. I totally feel like I owe her a drink just for that alone, though she’s much wealthier than me and can buy the damned drinks herself. ;’) I’ll toast with her, in any case. Kudos, Kelly.

I won’t review the other content in the Deluxe edition, the DVD stuff, as I haven’t watch it yet LOL. It looks (by title) just like a bunch of stuff that’s probably already been on youtube. But that’s fine, it’s nice to have something, anyway. I’m sure the photo gallery included will perk the lusts of all those who think her look for the album is hot (like my male roommate). Me myself – I prefer the woman in her ripped jeans and tank top. No shoes (k I prefer being barefoot too, so there’s that). She’s super sexy that way, when looking most comfortable. But I’m odd that way I know (and I’m o.k. with that :’).

The Watchmen

Posted in Madam Musica! (or other Entertainment), Uncategorized with tags on March 6, 2009 by gypsygies

I have just returned from an afternoon matinee of “The Watchmen”. From my own perspective, it was absolutely fantastic.

However, I feel a storm coming in the negative press – fueled by the soon to be many complaints of the conservatives + the pseudo-conservatives. And I can even guess what it will be about, even though it may take some of them a long while to actually say exactly what it is about. It will not be because it’s violent, because it’s graphic in its violence, because it’s “heroes” are flawed sociopaths, or even at using mass murder as an argument for world peace. It will sharply ignite the hatred of the unnatural minds because (take a deep breath, now) :  A penis was shown.

Not only once – many times. Not an excited one, even. But yes – they show Dr. Manhattan being himself. Why on earth would the godlike being wear clothes? So he doesn’t. The film is not skittish about it. None the less I heard the sharp intake of breath, the murmuring, the verbal shock and disgust, when he first appeared full on screen. I nearly burst out laughing…the rebellious child in me instantly wanted to chaff them by exclaiming “Oh My GAWD!! It’s a P-E-N-I-S!!! *GASP!*” LOL  People are such ridiculous goons, honestly.

As for the rest of the film, I can only state the warning that it is fully the product of my generation: “Generation X”.  Yes, our darkest, most jaded, most intellectual conversations late at night, selves.  Doesn’t matter how old the writer was or what generation they came from. I remember The Watchmen because just out of High School everyone I knew worshiped and idolized it – seriously. I still never read it, somehow. But I learned to respect it, by word. I am not in any way slamming it by saying it’s the product of Gen-X – hey…*I’m* Gen X! I really am, and I know that. I’m alright with that.”whateva”.

It’s brilliant. It’s raw…very very raw, and very philosophical (yet can be understood by the laymen, not like that godawful Matrix sequel where when he’s talking to “god” in the roomful of tv screen even I had to stop and say “what the Fuck are you on about, now?!?” lol).

These concepts are understandable to all. The film states that human nature is dark. It is brutal. And tries to find a way to accommodate peace, with that understanding.

And I think the timing of it is perfect. Somebody already softened up the world, got it ready for the Watchmen, by introducing the latest Batman as taking on the mantel of “bad guy” – the hero is it’s own anti-hero, because somebody needs to be. So this film being made is a perfect progression for society to choke down. Anybody who ever tries to make themselves a Hero, to rise above for the sake of a greater good – will always be hated and resented just as much as they could be loved. Human history has shown that. And in turn, that will affect said Hero.

Granted, these are all my own thoughts, my own takes, post-film. There will be plenty of others, all stating the opposite, and then the opposite of that…and of that…and yadda yadda chirp chirp bleep. Yep. That’s the world.

[All of human history, summed up in “yadda yadda chirp chirp bleep” LOL].

An undoubtedly there will be a million or so naysayers hating on the film just because it was made, and it can be understood, and here they were thinking of themselves all highly and pat-me-on-the-back because I’ve read this cultural Underground book. They’ll hate every single “average joe” who comes out of the theater having understood any single one line of the film, and insist that that wasn’t what the book was, that the book is much better (because, of course, they can claim to be in an Elite for having read and discussed it). And hey, maybe they are right. Cool. “whateva”. *chuckle*

My generation did, unfortunately, produce a lot of snobs, and snobbery and Intellectual Elitists claiming to hate Elitism while patting themselves on the back. heh heh. Throughout the years I’ve generally just taken to smiling at them, grinning and walking away chuckling. So cute.