Sunday, August 31, 2008

 

Death by Kokomo

It would happen that I managed to marry a man who has more musical talent in his little finger than most of us have crammed into our iPods (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Bestie. I know what's on your iPod.). I knew this, though. We first met in 1998 singing our little freshman/sophomore hearts out at an a cappella concert with our respective groups. We shared a first-ish kiss over a grand piano in the music building at William and Mary (that I believe we entered by means somewhat suspiciously similar to breaking and entering. I don't know. It was a long time ago, he knew the way in and I was a few jello shots past sober.) while he serenaded me in the middle of night. Years later when we decided to make a go of "us" long distance, he used to set the phone on the piano during our long, late night phone conversations and play me love songs, namely Simon and Garfunkel's "Kathy" just to let me know he was thinking of me. He plays a hell of a piano, sings in just about any range comfortably, has perfect pitch, an unmatched ear for hearing-it-then-sitting-down-and-playing-it, owns a great air guitar and set of air drums and plays them proficiently. In short, I marvel at the man's talent. He continues to awe me with what comes out of his mouth when he sings and what his fingers can do to ivory keys.

And so it really came as no surprise when his CEO tapped him to arrange and record a promotional song for the company's 10th anniversary trip next year to Grand Cayman where every company member and guest (read: me) will be charter flown to Grand Cayman for a 4 day weekend at an all expenses paid resort. No wonder they were named as one of the Washingtonian's Great Places to Work.

The plan was for the Mister to record lyrics about the company's trip to the tune of the Beach Boy's "Kokomo". Then, I believe, a music video is going to be made of different employees lip synching to the Mister's vocal track. The whole piece will be shown at the company Christmas party this year to get people amped for the trip -- and where each employee will be gifted with a CD copy of the Mister's vocal stylings.

At first I wanted to stab my eyes out. "Kokomo" is on a short list of songs that could really make your skin crawl (a few of the other offenders on that list, and I'm sure you'll agree, were: The Pina Colada Song, Don't Worry, Be Happy..). Did you know, incidentally, there is so such place as Kokomo? Totally made up. There's a Kokomo, Indiana, but is that really where you want to get there fast and then take it slow? While it is the quintessential beach song, hearing the Mister arrange it on his computer note-by-freaking-note had me on the brink of insanity, man. My Bestie and I sat on the downstairs couch listening to the first few notes play out on the keyboard, "dah duh-duh" (sing: Aruba..)... A pause.. some scribbling... "dah duh-duh"... Another pause.. All night. We lovingly dubbed the experience, "Death by Kokomo".

Yesterday the Mister headed to a professional recording studio to "lay it down" as they say in the biz. And sitting on the couch with the studio guy at the sound board, me waiting for my Death by Kokomo, my Mister recorded an amazing tribute to his talent. Let me brag here: the man didn't start this process with sheet music. He totally rearranged it for himself. Not only did he rearrange the song for him to sing, but he arranged a four part voice harmony that he sang as well, and was recorded on top of each other so that it sounds like 4 different people -- namely, the Beach Boys -- when played back.

The song is cheesy. The lyrics were penned by the higher ups to be corporately appropriate. But I believe the Mister turned the whole project into something of such quality that even the CEO wasn't expecting in the end.

On the way home from the studio I had the Mister play the original "Kokomo". I mean, it's okay. Then I asked him to play me his version. Which I much prefer:


video

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

 

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord-orgasbord-orgasbord

Our foray into Real Estate has truly been the bread and butter of our summer. It's been all: Who wants this house and do we want that house. Big creepy words like: appraisal, equity -- and scariest of all: packing & moving.

Well, the latest happs is thusly: We sold this shiz. We bought new shiz. Report to follow.

So on a recent Sunday when we were unceremoniously booted from our old shiz so that the soon-to-be owners could poke around all our nooks and crannies for the afternoon with a home inspector, the Mister and I put on some sunblock and headed to the county fair.

Just so I can sound as snotty as possible, it wasn't my county's fair. A county I'm not entirely sure even has a fair. I mean, what would they have there? Vendors selling tapas and starbucks and tents with software engineers and traffic cameras? No, no, we went one county over, which apparently was enough distance to make it all rural and backwoodsy.

Please to enjoy my photodocudrama: The Prince William County Fair.


The critters: Cute, but smelly.
Honestly, what on earth could be cuter than a pile of sleepy bunny babies?

A rooster who uses too much gel, clearly.

Baby goats. Super cute.

It wasn't so much the cute baby chicks I was aiming to capture here, but the jaded sarcasm of some 4-H youth who evil-ed out the egg. A bad egg, indeed.

A goat barber. No more of Billy Goat's gruff, I'd say.

A cow's butt. But I didn't have to tell you that.

The look the cow gave me when she saw I was taking a picture of her butt.

My best attempt at looking farm-ish.

The bad farm jokes: And there were many.
Ain't nothing nearly as funny as a picture of someone looking like they're milking an unsuspecting cow. Oh how my Mister argued about posing for this, but it would appear by his smug expression that the gent did protest too much.

Uh, hi. I didn't write it. I just read it, giggled a lot and spent a lot of time trying to get the best picture of it.

*Insert obligatory black and white cock joke here*

The educational aspects:I mean, really, Who knew?
State laws about baby chick minimums? Is that the legislation my tax dollars support?

The viddles: or rather, the artery busters.
I appreciate the honesty of this sign. No fancy names, no pretense. Because in the end, fried dough doesn't need to be called a doughnut or a funnel cake or a twinkie to be tasty. At its most basic level, it's just fried dough. And we love it.

What else would you get at Fry City?

Is it wrong that they chose to use a chicken figurine to hock their chicken dinners? I dunno, it seemed wrong.

And in case we forgot where we were for a second, thank God for the 12 year old who submitted the confederate confection. While I'm sure s/he was silently applauded for their loyalty to the stars and bars, it would have been uncouth to give them a ribbon. Holy crap I love cake, though, regardless of its political messages. I'd really be happy to debate state's rights while eating that cake.

The carnies: who could not have appeared any more uninvolved from their task of ensuring the paying public's safety on their rinky-stinky, death trap rides.

 

Heaving Bosoms and Throbbing Manhood: Part II

Indeed I believe I can make this heading into a two parter. While the first was primarily literary in nature, the following tends more towards the patients under my constant and ever excellent care in the horsepital. Here goes:

Heaving Bosoms:
Throbbing Manhoods:
With blogs like these, no wonder there is a nursing shortage.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

 

Heaving bosoms and throbbing manhood.

I recently read a piece discussing the thing(s) in your possession that you fear might be uncovered and exposed in the event of your sudden and unexpected passing/abduction or unanticipated abscond-ment from general life. In any case, I didn't have to search my mental inventory for all that long to identify the item(s) that make me red in the face when the thought of their discovery crossed my mind.

Years ago a good friend of mine told me of "the box" in her.. well, hidden at her place.. it would be wrong of me to divulge its location.. that needed to be disposed of in case she made a hasty departure from her mortal coil. Specifically -- disposed of in a timely manner between the moment of her death and the arrival of her mellow dramatically grieving mother. Her best friend had been tapped as the primary remover in that case. In the event, however, that the primary were to be extinguished in the same proverbial POOF! or maybe was, I don't know, unavailable, I was to be the runner-up disposer. Maybe that meant I would be crossing crime tape or rummaging through the smoldering ashes, but I accepted the assignment and swore to hold off on my tears of grief until I had properly protected her mother from the secret contents of that shoebox.

I trust all of you dear readers not only imagine the contents of that box but likely have a similar. Don't we all. Mine, hers and yours all duly concealed at your individual locales and revealed to special someones and disposers. I'm all set, really. I sleep well at night knowing my secrets are safely out of sight and in the fact that my mother's prospective grief stricken state will significantly impair her ability to puzzle out the best spots for all that secret stuff.

No, no, what reddens my face is what I keep out in plain sight hoping that passers-by fail to notice it/them in the humdrum that are other home furnishings. So far, so good.

You see, back in the college days I had a girlfriend who I discovered on more than one occasion in the sultry company of a romance novel. Smut. Trash. I made the requisite remarks, asked if she was at that part of the book yet and generally made my best attempts to shame her for being on the cusp on adulthood with her head embedded in something either too young for her not yet a lonely housewife or too old for someone who had likely been past the teen aged mystery of 3rd base. And then she challenged me. She challenged me knowing that I can rarely resist a dare or a challenge (which has gotten me into more trouble than I can detail here.). She offered me the book and advised that rather than knock it, I ought to read one and then make all the jokes I wanted.

With eyes properly rolled, I accepted the book and later embedded myself in chapter 1. Then 2. Then 10. And then before I knew it, teary eyed, I turned the last page.

I read romance novels. And I like them. No, I love them.

In the few years after college, it was my prime reading material (which in hindsight is sad to say.. but yes). I found a small used book store in my old hometown that became my crack house of romance novels. I would slip into the parking lot praying to go unnoticed and with large sunglasses on, make my way into the store. There I could trade my castoffs for credits towards new, cheesy, completely unrealistic sex filled stories. The romance novel section was in a dark back room of the store and filled ceiling to romance-loving floor with the yellowed pages of used books. There I would spend hours nurturing my high by judging books by their Fabio-encrusted covers -- never, never making eye contact with anyone else there to slake their own romance novel thirsts. Then as quickly as I had skulked in, with my brown paper sack bulging appropriately with my newest fixes, I'd sneak back to my car and get home as quickly as I could to enjoy them in the privacy of my one bedroom apartment.

Now, before you go casting me into that stereotypical category of women who read romance novels, I need to tell you a few things. I was pretty selective, if that counts towards my now waning reputation in your eyes. Historical novels only, completely false or somewhat rooted in historical fact were my specialty. Anything with a pirate, clearly. Towards the end of my run I found the westerns intriguing. Modern romances did nothing for me -- while I could scoff at the lack of time it deftly, and it was always "deftly", took some roguish knight to locate a naked woman under her layers of period dresses, I found the jet setters and corporate millionaires far more unbelievable. Lets say I preferred my heroes to be aboard pirate ships or gallant steeds rather than convertibles.

And another thing. Though you may not believe me, I didn't ever read them as a typeset equivalent to the Playboy. Though the plot lines were skimpy, the settings were vivid, the characters defined and the story enveloping. And somehow, every time, I'd find myself having to put the book down so that I could heave a big girly sigh at that last paragraph. It is mindless reading and I could easily cover 100 pages in an hour. Beach reading, waiting at the dentist reading, cookies in the oven and waiting reading, something other than television reading.

In the last few years, I haven't touched a romance novel. Just before my big move to Northern Virginia, I visited my crack house one last time where I turned over close to 80% of my collection. I used the credits to buy real books. In the front of their store. Just before I left, I could hardly help myself -- and I threw a longing look and a whispered goodbye to that back room -- using all of my personal strength to not go in. Not at all unlike the strength of the heroines in the first few chapters of my books before they are breathless with need and cannot resist him, in like, chapter 5. I kept a few -- my most favorites. And they now sit, all together, by author, on my bookshelf.

No one noticed, and if they did, they said nothing. Said nothing like the characters of my books say nothing of their heart bending love for each other that causes all the ruckus of the plot line, until, like, the last chapter when they are both relieved that they've been hitting it but really, hitting it all along with love. *insert a big heaved girl sigh*

I've spent the last few years with my nose in books of every fashioning. After nursing school when my books didn't have to have bold face terms and glossaries anymore, I have covered a very wide variety of topics. Influenza epidemic of 1918, an array of Civil War topics, good solid well respected American literature, you know, the usual.

And then, one day last week as I perused my bookshelf for my newest read, I saw them staring at me. The back bindings of the books with the lusty covers. They looked sad and particularly dusty. I ran my finger along them amusingly trying to remember the general plot line for each.
Then I took one out. And I read the back. And before I knew it, I was sprawled on the couch flicking the lighter under the proverbial crack pipe of my romance novels.

It has been less than 7 days I am already through over 800 pages and countless intimacies. I'm on book #3, and I can't promise I'll be able to stop myself. I find myself planning a trip back to my old stomping grounds so that I could see, just see, if that old used bookstore is still open. You know, if they got anything new. I mean, I could just look, right?

So now you all know. I've cleared my heaving bosom of the shame. I feel better now that I've gotten it off my silky chest. This way, when I turn up missing or when the mourners stream through the house to pay their respects no one will be cattily whispering about my torrid romance novels and how they never knew.

And when you all are streaming through the house to pay your respects, don't even think about it. That box will already be gone.

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