Monthly Archives: August 2010

Music and the Early Days of the Internet

Filed under i used to be so cool, music is my boyfriend
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This morning, my best friend, Tracey, sent me this:

click to enlarge

Can you imagine all the sob stories we’ll tell our children when it comes to music pre-Internet? Like how for years, I thought the lyrics to The Bellamy Brothers’ “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body” were “if I said you had a beautiful bonnet, would you hold it against me?”, and I wondered why anyone would be offended by a friendly hat-related compliment.

And what about music not pre-Internet but pre-AWESOME-Internet? I remember hearing The Connells’ “’74-’75” on the radio in high school and thinking it was mind-blowing, but of course Google didn’t exist then, so I couldn’t find the song using the three or four words I knew. I had to actually call the radio station to ask.

And even better, when Tracey and I were in high school, Bush’s album Razorblade Suitcase came out, and we were dying to know the lyrics to “Insect Kin“, so we taped their “Saturday Night Live” performance on her VCR and sat watching and pausing, watching and pausing, writing down the lyrics from the closed captioning. AMAZING.

It’s funny how looking back, that seems so romantic. It seems like music really mattered back then, because bands actually had to have a whole album’s worth of material before they were allowed to record one, and we actually had to buy that music–or record it with our VCRs–to hear the song we liked whenever we wanted to.

I’m not really complaining, because I love being able to call that Justin Bieber song up on MySpace whenever I want to and not feel bad about it because I’m not contributing any money to his freaky fame, but still.

The Only Reason to Ever Listen to Justin Bieber

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Most exciting things in my relationship with Kamran happen between 8:30 a.m., when we should be leaving the house for work, and 8:45 a.m., when we actually leave.

Yesterday morning at 8:30, he loaded a Justin Bieber song on his computer. I’ve accidentally caught live performances of this particular song on several occasions just because I watch so much crappy reality TV, but it turns out the album version is actually pretty incredible.

Kamran called it pure bubblegum pop bliss. It’s the song “U Smile”, and in a perfect world, it’ll load automatically when you click on that link.

Next, he showed me the 800%-slowed-down version, which New York magazine likened to Mogwai but I think is straight up Sigur Ros:

Isn’t it beautiful? Parts of it made us look up from our lipstick-applying and flexing-in-the-mirror-for-the-18th-time-that-hour at each other like, “Whaaaaaaaa?”

And then I had to tell Kamran this story, which I’m telling you now so I can remember it when I’m 80 and still be pissed off:

When I was a junior at THE Ohio State University, I took a poetry workshop that was supposed to lead to a career in song- and jinglewriting. I actually liked the professor’s poetry, which is kind of unheard of for me, and although it was clear she didn’t think any of my poems made any sense whatsoever, she always blamed it on herself and encouraged me to keep trying.

One of our assignments was to take a song, pretend like we didn’t know what the lyrics really were, and re-write them based on what we actually hear. So I used Sigur Ros’s “Vaka”, which was sung in Hopelandic, an entirely made-up language:

“How clever!”, I’m sure you’re thinking, and I was thinking it, too.

Only the professor said it didn’t count, because the lyrics not being in English meant I didn’t have to use any imagination to make up new ones. Well, you can guess how personally I took that, seeing as how I thought I’d used all of my imagination in coming up with such a unique song to explore. I never took another poetry class again, never started my indie rock band, and never wrote a single jingle.

What’s funny is that while writing this, I wanted to look at the Hopelandic lyrics for the song, but on almost every lyrics site, they’re in English, and they look veeeeeeeeeeeeeery similar to what I wrote for my poetry project. Which means that:

1) Lyrics sites are retarded.

2) I really must not be imaginative.

Who Would’ve Guessed that Laguna Beach is Better than Coney Island?

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The day before we left California, Kamran finally took me to The Beach. He’d been consulting his friends all week long about which of their favorite beaches he should take me to, and I was under the impression that these beaches were each something we’d need to drive to.

Like in Ohio, where you have one beach to choose from. Or NYC, where you have a handful of beaches but only one you’d actually touch with your bare skin.

But it turns out that when you talk about Laguna Beach, you’re talking about the Main Beach and these smaller beaches separated from it by cliffs. CLIFFS!! I thought the Hamptons and its beaches that stretch for miles were pretty, but cliffs are way more beautiful and make for way more interesting waves.

Of course I didn’t take that into account when choosing a bathing suit, which I haven’t owned for approximately 10 years now. I bought a tankini with a halter on top and these ridiculously tiny bottoms with strings on the sides so you can make them even shorter. Taking a note from my friend California-turned-Chicago friend Beth, I decided to wear opaque black underwear as bottoms to hide some of my trunk-junk, only I went ahead and put the regular swimsuit bottoms on over the underwear.

Don’t ask what made me think that had any chance of being successful.

The waves break unnaturally close to the shore at Crescent Beach, so I wasn’t even in up to my waist when a wave grabbed me, tossed me, and dragged me ten feet back. It was totally fun–if totally scary–and I was about to dive back in for more when I realized that both of my bottoms were around my knees, the bottom of my top was up to my neck, and what was supposed to be covering my boobies was not.

This happened over and over again for the next two hours as Kamran politely reminded me that small children in body-covering wetsuits were hovering around us on surfboards. I couldn’t help it, though, and I didn’t really want to. The water was way too cold for it being August, so the water was practically ours, and it was so much clearer than East coast water is. The waves were huger than any I’d ever seen, and Kamran taught me to dive underneath the crests to avoid, you know, dying. I found it much more fun to turn my back to them and flail my legs as they overtook me, which sometimes resulted in me riding them but more often resulted in me washing up on shore like some sort of unclothed whale.

Not that whales wear clothes. So some kind of regular whale, I guess.

And then we walked around for hours, buying one of everything at The Candy Barron, drinking horchata at the wonderful La Sirena Grill, and generally reliving all of Kamran’s high school and college memories.

I was so amazed at how Laguna Beach is really indie and artsy and exactly opposite of how all of those reality TV shows portray it. When we pulled up to the beach, parking was nonexistent, but we happened to come across a guy who was cleaning off his surfboard by his car. I called out, “You don’t happen to be on your way out, do you?”, and he said, “Yeah, but I’ll be about five minutes.” I said, “We’re happy to wait!” and we sat back patiently with some Beach Boys. But we looked up a second later, and he had pulled his car forward in front of someone’s driveway so we could have his spot right away. Swoon.

More to swoon over:

Laguna Beach
The day started off cloudy,

Laguna Beach
and I thought it was going to rain,

Laguna Beach
but apparently this happens every morning

Laguna Beach
and burns off by afternoon,

Laguna Beach
revealing the bluest sky

Laguna Beach
and the brightest-but-not-hottest sun.

Laguna Beach
And here’s Kamran in a phonebooth for no good reason.

NYC is Toooootally Just Like L.A.

Filed under living in new york sucks so hard, travels
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I remember visiting my then-boyfriend while he was in grad school at NYU in NYC before I actually moved here. We were on our way to Panna 2–which is easily the best Indian restaurant in the East Village, both for its suuuuuuper cheap food and its crazy photogenic ambiance–when I saw this dog on the sidewalk. Its owners were dining at another Curry Row establishment and had tied it to the leg of one of their chairs so he could stand and watch them eat.

Coming from Ohio, I thought this was the most incredible thing I’d ever seen next to the butter cow at the state fair.

Last week in Santa Monica, we saw this dog doing the same thing:

Only this dog was TEN TIMES BIGGER THAN ANY DOG THAT HAS EVER LIVED IN NYC. Because L.A. apartments are ten times bigger than NYC apartments. And that is the only difference between the two cities.

Haha, just kidding.

Kamran and I were hanging out with his friends Gary and Diana one night and were talking about where we’re going to live when we inevitably move to the Southland, because while I used to put up a fight when Kamran talked about reuniting with his parents someday, I now understand that IT IS HEAVEN OUT THERE and that having lived in the two best cities in the U.S. would make me the best person in the U.S. Right?

We checked Zillow just for an idea of how much a 2-bedroom in Irvine would cost and found that for what the two of us are paying now, we could easily get 3 bedrooms in new builds with gyms and pools and parking.

I asked Diana if apartments in L.A. include dishwashers or washers and dryers, and she said, “You can’t find an apartment here that doesn’t have appliances.”

I die.

Run and Tell THAT, Homeboy

Filed under music is my boyfriend, stuff i like
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The day before I left for vacation, my co-worker Steve came to my desk and said, “Type ghetto bed intruder into YouTube.” Obviously you can’t go wrong searching for videos with those keywords, so I wasn’t surprised to laugh out loud while watching this interview (which I’m sure you all saw weeks ago, because I’m 100 years behind everyone else when it comes to the Internet):

Then Steve showed me the Auto-Tuned remix of the footage, which was so ingenious I found myself basically putting it on repeat:

I made Kamran pause his 17th viewing of an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episode that night so he could watch the videos, and even though he was skeptical at first, because I never find the right things funny, he actually laughed out loud, too. And we sang bits of the song to each other over the next couple of hours as we did laundry and packed for California, but I kind of figured that was it.

It happened, though, that the song would become the focal point of our entire 10-day trip. We were whispering quotes from it on the plane. We were watching it on Kamran’s iPod under the table while out for lunch with his parents. We were pretending to show it to his friends just to have an excuse to watch it again ourselves. One night, I woke up to it and thought I was going crazy until I realized Kamran was listening to it in the bathroom while pooing. And last night, a full 11 days since I first saw the thing, I couldn’t sleep because “hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, ’cause they’re rapin’ everybody out here” kept running through my head.