Saturday, May 31, 2008
This job I have...the day job that really only pays the bills, it's been sucking me dry lately. There once was a time when although I knew this wasn't what I wanted to do with my life, I enjoyed it. I worked with a group of amazing people and it was actually kinda fun to go there. Now, I work from home and though there are some benefits to that, it is starting to get more on the sucky side because I'm a person who craves social interaction. Anyways, I digress. Last week, there was an issue where someone at work called me out and questioned my quality of work. Yeah, so it rocked me cause although I hate this work, I know I do it damn well...like better than many of the people I deal with on a daily basis good. There's proof of it and the person calling me out has seen the proof of it. Then, last night I get called just as I was to go out for the night and it ended up being 10 hours straight of this very thing that has been draining me more and more as of late. And I'm just tired...physically, emotionally and what ever other -ly you can think of that fits.
I think a chunk of it has to do with the fact that I'm not feeling fulfilled in the thought that I'm pursuing my other goals the way I should be. Since the "break-up" with the band over a year ago, it's been a long road to trying to stay motivated. I know my motivation comes and goes sometimes but this is getting ridiculous. I need ideas...so, like Maggie, I too, am experiencing a bit of a block. (Yeah, complete with things to distract me horribly. There WILL be a blog about the latest StarKrush and the TV show he's on)
That said, Maggie, yes, we need to get at this. Even if it means we need to sit down...get on the phone and just hash shit out. Ideas for both of us cause we're better than this.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In other news...there is no other news. Things at work are okay and boring and frustrating and kind of awesome all at the same time. Relationships and friendships are teetering on the edge of failing, growing stronger, etc. I have an out of control crush on someone which is always a nice way to pass the time. At the same time, I recently came to terms with the fact that my one shimmering moment of maturity and selflessness late last year, when I hugged someone goodbye and wished him luck and told him I just wanted him to do whatever made him happy, even if it included moving states away - was a complete and utter lie. I dealt with the heartbreak of it all then, and I moved on fairly easily, but I think that I'm about to go through it all over again and I have no damn idea why.
On the creative front?
Nikki and I need to have a brainstorming fest and help get the creative juices flowing, because I've still got nothing! And nothing is more frustrating to me than that. Grrr.
Sometimes I get on such a frenzy (particularly on a certain message board) that it's just so hard to walk away.
But then I also thought of the cartoon that is SO Maggie and thought I'd share it for her cause it's too good not to:
And speaking of cartoons, if you've never watched Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, you should be ashamed. It's pretty much the most hilarious thing on TV. That is all.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
That said, she sent me something from the NY Times this week that kinda got me going on a bit of a rant. Basically, I'm sick of the music industry pointing fingers are the consumers like we're some sort of idiot because we don't do what THEY think we should do. The article, titled "Summer Sounds" and speaks about a paradox in music with regard to record sales even though the summer is a great time for music. They also speak about how daring the industry is going to be this year by releasing major artists this summer to see if they can get rid of the problem of low record sales in the summer. The part of the article that set me off most (aside from the fact that they listed Solange Knowles amongst the viable artists to possible sell well this summer, cause really?! REALLY?!) was probably this little nugget:
For the music industry, however, summer has always been something of a paradox. It’s a crucial time for singles — there’s no better exposure for a pop song than to have it pumping out of Jeeps and boomboxes — but when it comes to albums, summer tends to be Tumbleweed City. To maximize sales around the year-end holidays, record companies often withhold big releases until the fall, leaving few major titles for July and August.Let's face it, the entire music industry, as far as sales has been "Tumbleweed City" for a long while. It's no secret. Blame it on the Internet and file sharing or whatever. But it's high time that the industry take a mirror and point it back at itself rather than pointing the finger at us. It is my firm belief that if record major record labels started to shift from being so single driven, they might actually see a bit of a shift. It's true, the industry has been single driven for a long time. Remember the cassette single? 45s? BUT the difference is that even if you bought the single, a second one or third one or sometimes even a fourth would come from the same release and you'd be compelled to get the entire thing because there was so much good music from back to front on there that you wouldn't be disappointed. Nowadays, there's the song that's made it to radio or TV or a video game and you hear the entire CD and you're let down more often than not.
Now, I'm not gonna lie and say that if a CD was amazing from beginning to end there wouldn't still be an overwhelming amount of people who would still download it illegally cause times are hard, people don't have a lot of expendable income like they once did. BUT, everyone's a fan of someone...a big fan. And some people have a lot of fans and sure, even if you're a big fan of someone you might be apt to just illegally download and leave it at that but what if there's some sort of packaging or something that just cannot be ripped from the CD or something that is just intangible on the Internet? Wouldn't you find that $9.99 somewhere and head out to a Target the week of the release to have that in your hands? Or hey, maybe it doesn't even take that intangible for you to want to do that just because you enjoy someone's music so much, you're going to want the disc in your hands regardless.
Regardless is the keyword...regardless of the time of year. I love the spin that was put into that NY Times article. It's as if even if the biggest star around in previous years had put out a CD, it would still be "Tumbleweed City". I just can't wrap my head around the thought that this is true. I remember a few years back Nsync released "Celebrity" in July. It sold around 1.8 million the first week it was released (Ok, I reference them a lot on this blog but forgive me, it was the first CD that came to mind that sold amazing during the summer). Now sure, the days of selling that much in a week are long gone but it's not unheard of for an artist to sell at least 500,000 first week nowadays. Again, regardless of the time of year.
So, record industry (and NY Times) please stop fronting. I don't care what time of year you put out a CD. If it's something people are really digging and have really been waiting for (yeah, put a lock on who you give your shit to and you'd kinda stop that whole "leaking" problem you have), they'll buy it....whenever. And please, record industry, don't pretend like you're not just gonna re-release something that you put out in the Spring with an extra song or a DVD bonus and call it a "Deluxe" edition and STILL have something to sell in the fourth quarter at the Christmas rush, cause for sure, you will. Or maybe, just maybe, if a CD is THAT good and has 3 or 4 solid singles or hits and the artist is nurtured with videos, promotions, song placement and touring, people are STILL going to be discovering it and interested in it and buying it over a period of time and not JUST the first week like so many artists do now. Novel idea, huh?
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
* Yeah, that was me fixing the e key and being too lazy to hit backspace.
Friday, May 9, 2008
I was gonna hold off on doing this blog cause I wanted to talk to Maggie about the trip first but we've totally been missing each other and I felt like if I don't get it out, it'll never happen, plus I'm way overdue on blogging, anyway.
So, that said...I went down to Memphis with 2 friends for the Beale Street Music Festival. I'd never gone to any sort of festival like that before so I didn't know what to expect, nor had I ever been to Memphis, so it was a weekend of new things all around.
We arrived in Memphis late Thursday night and it's a good thing we did cause all day Friday there were Tornado warnings in the area. We ended up spending the greater part of the day in the hotel room watching the weather news on several channels in anticipation of hearing that we'd have to try to find refuge in the bathtub or something. Luckily, the tornados didn't come to Memphis (the people in Earle, Arkansas weren't so lucky. I don't think I'll ever forget the name of that poor town) and we headed out for dinner before going to the Festival that night. We went to the famous Corky's for BBQ, which was phenomenal and cheap! The craziest thing there was that the place has a drive through. Think of going to like Applebees and it having a drive through, except it's for this great, amazing BBQ. The line for the drive through was around the corner and out of the parking lot into the street. Speaks volumes for how good the food is, though!
After dinner, we headed to the Festival. The rain was in and out all evening and we were hoping that it was going to stay away but we weren't so lucky. We'd ended up finding parking like 10 blocks from the Festival site and as we started to walk down there, the rain started to come down. We thought we'd stick it out and I swear, by the end of the night it was torrential downpours and I don't think I'd ever been that wet with my clothes on. We planned on seeing The Roots and Jonny Lang and what really ended up happening was that we hung out waiting and got to see like 3 songs from Jonny.
Saturday, after a great breakfast at a local dinner with an oh so friendly waitress named Debbie, we decided to go to the Nike Clearance Store, cause well, yes. That was a bust but I got to see Graceland cause it was on the way! We then went to Stax Soul Museum cause we'd heard it was totally worthwhile. And it really was...more on that later. I kinda want to run through what all we saw and then give my whole explanation of the impact of everything on me so here's about when the summary of the weekend starts to get shorter. Later that evening, we went back to the festival for Arrested Development (it sucks they were on at the same time as Buddy Guy), followed by the John Butler Trio (yeah, um, not really feeling them), and then the legendary Santana. The kicker with Santana...he didn't do "Smooth" but he did "Maria, Maria". Really? REALLY?! That night was a pretty muddy one but all in all good music.
Sunday, we opted for Memphis' oldest restaurant called The Arcade. On the way there, I asked if we could go past the Lorraine Motel (now the National Civil Rights Museum). All along, I had issue with the thought of going there just because I have some pretty irrational hang ups with Martin Luther King's death (maybe I'll talk about that some other time) and I think it would've emotionally crippled me for the day with the impact of what the museum brings to life, but I wanted to see the place, even if it might be hard. Turns out it was right around the corner from Arcade. We ate and then walked past the Lorraine. After that we headed to the festival for Gavin Degraw (new CD in stores NOW! Go get it!). It ended up finally being a gorgeous day...maybe TOO gorgeous cause we all walked away from there with some sunburn and I now have the wackiest tanline on my neckline that is probably going to take all summer to fix. We then left and headed over to the Rock & Soul Museum, which was pretty cool. And then later there was more music at the festival with Aretha Franklin (I heard her and didn't see her cause well, it felt like everyone at the festival was there in that spot to see her) and then Fergie rounded everything out.
So yeah, that summary ended up not being as short as I'd like for it to be but I definitely want to get into how seeing the stuff we did affected me. I pride myself on knowing a lot about music. I know Memphis has some deep roots in the beginnings of Rock & Roll and that there are some strong Soul music impressions that come from Memphis but I think I really didn't have a full grasp on just how important to the music world what happened there was. I knew about Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and of course, there's Elvis. But I guess I just didn't get the process in which it all came about.
There's a great video here that explains the impact that Stax Recording Studio had on bring people together in the name of great music:
The story of Booker T and the MGs is an example of a level of integration that happened all because of music in a time when there wasn't much race mixing going on especially in the South. So the story goes that Stax really just cared about the music and didn't care who came through it's doors. It was all for the sake of getting nurturing the music. But even earlier than that, the same thing was going on back when the migrant workers both Black and White were working side by side and being influenced by each other's music. The whites learned about gospel church music and hymns while the blacks learned about country and listened to things like the Grand Ole Opry (shoot, I even remember watching it as a kid). Even the whole story of Elvis is rooted in the integration (and sure some people say the stealing of black music) of the two. His whole image was built on the fact that people were looking for a white guy who could make black music friendly for "the masses".
I've often heard Justin Timberlake in interviews talk about being from Memphis and how it impacted him as an artist and kinda shoo shooed it away like, "Whatever dude, so yeah you're from where Al Green is from" and now I actually get it. I was there for a weekend and can completely feel the impact the place had on music and in turn on me, so I can't even imagine what it must've been like being in the area as you cultivate your talent. A lot of people say Justin is the new embodiment of Elvis and I guess in some ways I see it but I also get how this kid is completely the real deal (and I'm not saying that I didn't get that he was that before then cause I totally did), especially in understanding the Memphis music world. It's something the city proudly wears on it's sleeve like New Orleans holds jazz. I'm totally going to build a collection of early Rock & Soul music like Booker T, The Mar-Keys, The Bar Kays, and more Otis Redding and all.
One other thing I wanted to mention. When we had breakfast at The Arcade, something in that moment totally swept me, probably from the moment we passed by The Lorraine, and really how could it not. How very fortunate are we to be living in the times we're living in and not the way it was only some 40 short years ago. If things were the way they were then, I likely wouldn't have even been on a trip such as this one. I was there with one white friend and one Puerto Rican friend. We were sitting at a table that probably wouldn't have allowed for me to even sit there only 8 years before I was even born. The Arcade is so in tact that it's still got the counters that once had "Whites Only" signs on it, that you can't help but be reminded of those times....especially when you're around the corner from the place that Martin Luther King lost his life. It was almost eerie.
I am a little black girl who is the daughter of a woman who grew up in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. I grew up in a completely mixed neighborhood where I barely even thought much about the color of people's skin. I've always been the girl who had friends of all different races. I've spent summers in Alabama and still didn't really feel the impact of how things used to be (my mom doesn't much talk about it) because things in my family's area is OURS. All black owned in the post-slavery days. I haven't been to places that would remind me of it cause either things are completely modern in town or it's ours, so seeing this stuff totally quieted me and makes me appreciate and understand how much our ancestors (if one generation ago can even be called that, really) gave so that we can have what we do. I don't know if I would've been strong enough and I am so grateful for what they gave.
And on a somber note, I am done, LOL.
Oh and I forgot to add...on a less somber note. There's something about the word "Memphis" that I like. Like, I had to have a Memphis Basketball t-shirt while I was there cause I just LOVE the word. Weirdo, I am.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
So, this is what the past four days of my life has looked like. Tissues, cold medicine, supplements, Tylenol, gallons of water, cough drops, my remote control and my Zune have been my life support since Sunday night.
I zipped through the weekend at work. I even had a freakishly high level of energy going despite working the 5 am shift of doom, which should have been my first clue that something was wrong. By Sunday night my throat was starting to tickle a bit. I downed an Airborne, went to bed, and woke up with a full on burn in my throat. I promptly canceled my dinner plans, and by Monday night was in full on fever, runny nose, sore throat, passed out on the couch, oh my God shoot me now I'm never going to recover from this sick.
By five am Tuesday morning I was on the phone with someone at work sniffling and coughing and saying that I would not be coming in. (His advice? Drink lots of beer and smoke lots of weed. Thanks, Brian!) I rarely call out of work. In fact, the last time I missed work was when they sent me home when I had strep and was running an insaneo fever that had me dangerously close to passing out. (When HR doesn't think you're okay to drive, it's really time to pack it in.)
So, since then I've been in my bed watching Buffy on dvd (I think I've logged something like 13 episodes in the past few days), listening to lots of music, took a lot of cold showers, and survived on nothing but drugs and popsicles. (Seriously, the number 1 sign that I'm really sick is my intense need for popsicles. I've been through a box and a half, and I will not under any circumstances eat them any other time.)
Today is the first day I've actually been up and mobile, although only for few hours at a time, then I'm back to bed. Despite all this, I'm taking my ass back to work tomorrow night. The fever is finally gone (I hope.), I can taste things again (sorta), my chest still feels heavy, I can't stop coughing and I still kind of feel like I got hit by a car, but its alright. The other sign that I know I'm starting to feel better is that I have this intense need to scrub my room from top to bottom. Wash the sheets, vacuum the floor, disinfect everything I've laid my hands on in the past few days.
All in all, I think I'm gonna live!