Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Silent In Error & Vocal In Spotlights

I've blogged a number of times about the many mixtapes my sister made for me when I was young. The ones that more or less shaped the musical  tastes in my young Shambled brain.

While it's been a long time since I've gotten one of those tapes (what the hell, Steph?!), my mixtapes of the 80s and 90s evolved into my own mix cds - which I can still remember the tracklists to - and those evolved into something that is now a daily fixture for me.

These days it's all about the playlist.

 

Listen, I get it. Most people don't do playlists. They throw on entire albums, or shuffle their whole music collection. Fair enough. I do that too. But more often than not I'm deep into a carefully curated, perfectly picked playlist that suits a specific need.  

I'll give you some examples, whether you want 'em or not (you likely don't).

Whenever songs are stuck in my head, new albums come out, or I have certain tunes/bands I'm obsessing about, those songs are all thrown into a "Right Now" playlist that I listen to pretty much every day. I add and delete as needed, but it's on rotation the most. A constant shuffle of the tracks I want to hear until I get completely sick of them.

My most-loved songs? There's a playlist for those. I'm forever adding my all time favourites, and it's a never-ending process. For anyone wondering, it's currently over 9 hours long. (And this is why I can never answer that "5 favourite albums" question. It ain't possible, folks.)

If I want sad songs, I've got the "Stab Me In The Heart With A Ballpoint Pen" playlist. If I want to dance in my chair while working, I've got the aptly-titled "Chair Dancin' " playlist. I have playlists specifically for singalongs, yoga, the nineties, the cottage, road trips, road rage, etc. I also have one called "Kris-Tested, Chino-Approved", in case you were wondering where Deftones-related things stood.

I have long believed that there is an art to the perfect playlist. For the ones with a specific mood or theme, I take slightly obsessive care to ensure that every song fits; they're all pieces of one big musical puzzle. Each song choice is calculated. Just like with a great mixtape back in the day, it's personal. And so a playlist, in itself, becomes a great album. A favourite album, in fact.

So yeah. I love a good playlist. I am a lifelong advocate of the playlist. We're in a relationship & it's gettin' pretty serious.


What's on your favourite playlists?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

As My World Comes Crashing Down I'll Be Dancing, Freaking Out.

Most days I take Daisy for a long walk by the lake. The other day I was doing just that, when I saw two women speed walking toward me. So I say hello as I usually do (we're typically a friendly bunch around here), and smile at them as they walk by.

But the closest woman shoots me a disgusted look as though I just screamed profanities and threatened to steal her firstborn child. As they passed, she loudly whispered bitchily to her friend, "She should really keep that covered in public."

Wait... what?


At first I thought she was referring to my tattoo, for some odd reason. Though it's on my shoulder/back, one of the roses peeks through the top of my shirt sometimes. But no. There's no way she could see that, plus they're flowers. Hardly offensive.

So what else could she be talking about?

I checked out my clothes. I wasn't wearing any of my band tshirts, so no zombies or questionable graphics and words to worry about. Jeans and a plain grey shirt were hardly offensive. All of my body parts were covered. Nothing on display.

I just couldn't figure out what had made her react that way; what offended her so badly that she would make her disgust public.

Then I realized... she was talking about my scar.

Yup. A freakin' thyroidectomy scar.

In December I had surgery to get my thyroid removed, so I now have a small red scar across my throat. Before and right after the surgery, I was already extremely self-conscious about it. So much so, I didn't even want the bandages to come off because I was scared of having to look at it in the mirror everyday. And also because of reactions like this lady's - I didn't want people to be disgusted when they saw me. I knew it would look like my throat had been slit open, because... well, it had been.

Be prepared, ok?

But in the end, the scar isn't nearly as bad as I anticipated. It's pretty small. Once it's actually healed, I doubt it will be all that noticeable.

A lot of the time I forget it's even there, aside from the residual pain as it heals. When I go out, I'll still often cover it up with a choker or scarf (even though that causes further soreness). But lately I've been covering it less, because I care less. Friends have told me to display the scar, like it's a point of pride. I've gotten a few weird looks here and there, but never this reaction. Never this open disgust.

You may be wondering why I bothered blogging about this. I suppose it's because I want to be reassured that this woman was the exception, and not the rule. That the average person wouldn't be so judgemental over something insignificant. This was her response to a small thyroid surgery scar - not a hugely visible blight, in the grand scheme of things. So would she be nastier to those who have been through really serious procedures? To those with scars that can't be easily hidden?

It bothered me most because it came from another female. It felt they way it does when women openly judge other women for their clothes, their bodies, and their personal choices. Hey chick, lighten up! I had surgery, I didn't do this to myself as a fashion statement. I fully support your bright speed walking outfit, can you not support my choice to surgically remove something related to my illness?

Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe she wasn't reacting to my scar at all.

It might've just been my face that upset her. Sorry 'bout that, Judgy Speedwalker Lady. We're cool.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

If You Sting Me, I Won't Mind

All over Facebook last week, everyone was posting their top ten albums from when they were a teenager. Not only has it been a bit of a nostalgia trip, but it's got me thinking - what did I listen to then, compared to what I listen to now? Have my tastes changed that much?

Nope. Not really.

I listened to a lot of Deftones. Alice in Chains. Tool. Rage Against the Machine. All the grunge. Plus classic rock. More Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer, and Sevendust than now, but the general idea is the same. I like what I like, and generally like it for a long time. We all know how much I dig my 90's music still.

All of my photos are in storage, so this is the only teen photo I could find - a grad pic after I darkened my hair. Ugh.

Of course, there was also the Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Slipknot phase since that was smack dab in the middle of the "Nu Metal" era. Anything remotely heavy was thrown into that category, it seems. It's pretty amusing to look back on as a 33 year old. But it wasn't all bad. Really, it wasn't.

I may be forgetting a lot of what I listened to then, as I've probably blocked out a lot of my teenage years. That was long before I owned my awkwardness and anxiety, and I truthfully don't look back fondly on a lot of that time. But I do remember the music that stuck.

What I'm noticing a lot when people are posting their teenage lists is some embarrassment over what they used to listen to. I think the main difference between my teenage list and my current list is that I had a major Backstreet Boys phase, and I loved the Spice Girls. I'm not embarrassed by this in the slightest. First of all, I will still sing and dance my ass off to those first two Spice Girls albums, and Scary Spice is still a cool chick. While I don't care about the Backstreet Boys anymore other than for sheer nostalgia, I stand by my former love for AJ McLean. Yes, I have a type.

One of the many posters that had been on my teenage walls. Met the Deftones at 16.

When I was a teenager (1996 - 2002), there was a lot of bad music. Not to say there isn't now, but as an adult I'm lucky enough to not have to be exposed to much of it. As a teenager, it was unavoidable. High school meant enduring the pop music I detested (save for Backstreet Boys when I was in Grade 9, and the Spice Girls). To give an example, "I'm Blue" by Eiffel 65 came out while I was in high school. Yikes. Still can't wrap my head around that particular gem.

So, what's my top ten? No idea. I don't think I could whittle it down to the ten I listened to most during those particular years. But there are many that came out while I was a teenager that hold up & are still in constant rotation today.

As for the ones that I previously loved and wouldn't listen to now if you paid me, I feel absolutely no shame about liking them when I was young. I may have never been a Britney fan in my life, but you can bet that if "Crazy" comes on I will gladly do a gawky dance to it. Hair flips and all. Because it reminds me of being young, even if that wasn't all sunshine and lollipops. (Or bleached teeth and back-up dancers, as it were.)

No one should ever make apologies for what they like. Especially what we liked as a teenager. Hormones are a bitch, and whatever we listened to helped us get over that awkward bridge from childhood to adulthood. So congratulations. We survived it, and lived to tell the tale.

We've got the soundtracks to prove it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I've Got A Knife To Cut Out The Memories

This post may seem all over the place or confusing to some, but bear with me. There is a point.

Well, sort of.

When I was little, I read a lot. Still do, obviously. But before all the novels I adored, there were the usual children's books. People my age should remember these: Robert Munsch. Clifford the Big Red Dog. Little Critters. And a series of children's books about a family of bears, one that I always knew as Berenstein Bears.
Looks right to me.
In recent years, it has come to light that anyone who clearly remembers The Berenstein Bears was incorrect - they did not exist. Instead, the books were actually about The BerenSTAIN Bears. For everyone who, like myself, remembers for a fact that they owned BerenSTEIN Bears books with that specific spelling, there is no proof of it. No books can be found with that spelling, the publishers swear they never happened... But isn't it strange that a huge number of people (and I do mean a lot) are so sure that they owned these books? In fact, I was so sure of it because I pronounced it Beren-steen. Still do. And as a bookworm spelling freak little girl/adult, I've never been one to mis-remember words.

This debate - believe it or not - has caused an uproar all over the ol' internet, being referred to as part of something called The Mandela Effect. It's when a large number of people have incredibly specific memories of something that never actually occurred, like how many all over the world are adamant that they remember Nelson Mandela dying while in prison in the 80's. But he didn't. He died in 2013, long after he was in prison.

Another more recently discovered example of this is about a 90's movie. Does anyone recall the film called Shazaam, where Sinbad played a genie? A lot of people remember it. But it didn't exist. There was a movie called Kazaam with Shaq as the genie, but people somehow clearly recall a different movie with Sinbad. They remember it so well that when Shaq's movie came out, they thought it was a rip-off of Sinbad's.

There are a few theories as to how The Mandela Effect happens. One is that everyone who clearly remembers these non-existent things were actually in a parallel universe or alternate reality (which would mean I'm a dork in all realities). Another theory is that it's all just the power of suggestion - someone says they remember it a specific way, so others start to believe they did too.

Since The Mandela Effect was coined by a paranormal expert (I guess that's a thing), it's probably worth mentioning that psychologists actually call this confabulation. In this case, that means mis-remembering and creating a false narrative without conscious effort.

Go crazy? Don't mind if I do.
Why am I writing about this? I mean, the Sinbad thing doesn't affect me, and I'm aware that Nelson Mandela did not die in prison. But for me, the Berenstein / Berenstain thing was a mind trip. I'm so sure that my books were Berenstein. And while I could likely shrug it off eventually and think maybe I'm just wrong, there's someone else who is rarely wrong. My mom.

While in a book store a couple of months ago, I asked if she remembered the Berenstein Bears. She did. So I told her that they never existed, and that it was actually Berenstain Bears. My mom, who remembers everything and can usually be relied upon to be correct (yes, I just admitted that) was almost as adamant as I am.

I owned Berenstein Bears books. Not Berenstain Bears books. Didn't I?

Researching all of this can lead you into a deep, dark rabbit hole until you're fairly certain you've gone nuts. So here's where you come in. What do you remember? Did you ever own a Berenstein Bears book? Do you recall Nelson Mandela dying in prison? And when you think of genie movies from the 90's, are you picturing Sinbad?

It amazes me that thousands upon thousands of strangers can incorrectly recall the exact same insignificant thing. So go ahead, amaze me more. I'll be over here, crying & rocking in a corner with my non-existent Berenstein Bears books, certain I've gone insane.
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