What I’m…Somehow Only Hearing Now: Garbage + Screaming Females

One night we had some friends over for food and drinks, and like many nights, we ended up on a circuitous musical journey through YouTube. While on a throwbacks kick of several “Now That’s What I Call Music” playlists, I went on a quick internet search to see what Garbage was up to, as I have always loved them both musically, and because I have a soft spot in my heart for front woman Shirley Manson, for the completely irrelevant reason of her resemblance to one of my closest friends.

A reading through Garbage’s Wikipedia page led me to the discovery that Garbage and Screaming Females recorded a cover of Patti Smith / Bruce Springstein’s “Because the Night” for Record Store Day 2013. As a fan of both bands, I am not sure how I missed this, but after my first listen, I was blown away. Just in case you missed this too, or because you can’t listen to this enough (plus great video by Sophie Mueller), or if you have never heard of both or one of these bands (please check them out):

Gotta say, this makes for a pretty good case for booze-fueled YouTube trips down musical memory lane and poking around Wikipedia. Happy Friday, and cheers to your own journeys this weekend.

In an effort to find a system that works for me, I am trying different strategies to be a more productive and creative human. Currently, I am trying to do certain post types on a regular basis, and this one is “What I’m…” which will detail my current music and entertainment preferences, activities I have been doing, products I am loving, and so on. These will be more brief snippets (essentially the tweets of the blog) and updates that may hopefully uncover some cool / interesting / inspiring things for you readers.


What I’m…Listening To: Courtney Barnett

I can’t pull a hipster card here and pretend like I was aware of Courtney Barnett way before everyone else was. I do recall becoming aware of her around the time she must have been gaining popularity in the US.

Philadelphia’s independent radio station WXPN played “Avant Gardener” and was promoting her local show I believe last year. Originally, it was scheduled for one of the smaller venues in South Philly, and then in that span, she gained a larger following, and the show was moved to the larger Union Transfer. The song stood out to me, as I had never heard any other song mention “pseudoephedrine,” enjoyed the lyrics across the board as well, and took a liking to her vocal style.

This summer, Barnett also played WXPN’s large yearly music showcase, XPoNential Music Festival. While I did not go (alas), I did hear the recap of the event on the radio, along with some live recordings of Barnett’s set. Take a look and a listen here. Live, she had more edge, grind, and energy while still maintaining that delivery of deadpan indifference and disinterest. I enjoyed her even more, and then promptly downloaded her discography. Not to sound like a jaded old person or anything, but it is always refreshing to hear musicians that can really bring it to a live performance, especially with the rampant tendencies in the music world to overproduce, automate, and sterilize all the fun and life out of everything.

Okay, I hear it. I do sound like that guy at the record store. Seriously, though, if you haven’t already, check out Courtney Barnett, especially the live recordings.

What are you listening to? Talk to me. And if you are looking for a pretty swell music podcast of the post-punk and pop-punk variety, check this out.

Six Photos, Six Things About Pepper

In case you have never met me or been on any of my social media sites, earlier this summer, we adopted a puppy, approximately 6 months old at the time (though I have some theories she may have been a bit older). Getting a dog was a long time coming, so I was pretty hooked right away, and between her adorableness, age, and initial illness (all better now!), she has taken over quite a lot of my life. As such, I could easily gush about her endlessly, but for now, I will keep it short, sweet, and of course, with photos.


1. Those ears. Pepper’s ears appear to be a separate, autonomous entity. She alternates between full sail (like above), half mast, and full flop. Sometimes righty and lefty coordinate, and sometimes, they do their own thing. Continue reading

A Story of Creative Jealousy

The scene: Our living room, one weekday after work. Jack [significant other] types away at a laptop with great focus. I, exhausted from an early start with the new puppy, long day of work, and then making dinner, attempt to relax on the couch. Every 5-10 minutes, Pepper [newly adopted, roughly 6 month old puppy] leaves her spot with me on the couch to wander to other parts of the house not visible from the living room. I get up and follow on every occasion to ensure she is not mistaking the dining room shag rug for a good place to take a wee, making friends with the cat [Rosalita, female gray tabby shorthair] who wants nothing to do with her, or encroaching on Rosalita’s lairs [basement, upstairs], where the dog is not permitted. Scenario repeats itself until bedtime. I have got up many times, and Jack has written a few scenes of a comic book script that he had envisioned earlier that day.

Coming soon...more interesting (hopefully!) posts and the unveiling of the Pepper puppy. Paw sneak peak!

Coming soon…more interesting posts (hopefully!) and the unveiling of the Pepper puppy. Paw sneak peak!

I need creativity back in my life. I want to make things. I want to do more than eat, sleep, and attempt to keep on top of household chores in the spare moments I’m not working. The retelling of this evening is not about laying on guilt. All I would have had to do was ask Jack for some help with the dog, confined her to the kitchen, or let go of keeping an eye on her every second of the evening. I could have also brought a project into the living room and both kept an eye on the dog and accomplished something aside from dog observation. However, I did not. Instead, I ended up tired and frustrated and though it is hard to admit it, jealous. Jealous that Jack had an idea and ran with it, promptly. Jealous that he prioritized this activity over other options. Jealous that he had energy and focus to follow through on an idea. Jealous that he stood up for his creative projects and made them happen.

I don’t know why this attempt will be any more successful than other forays into my creative endeavors later abandoned. I even have less time, now that we have a dog, but maybe I can use that to my advantage. Maybe it will not be as easy to push things off because “I have plenty of time. I can do that tomorrow.” Or maybe a little old-fashioned competition can set a fire under my ass. Jack has been doing some pretty cool things these days, and especially since I know I can (I think…some self-doubt must be tackled as well), I don’t want to be the only uncool person in the house. The dog is already giving me a run for my money, the cat has long been too cool for school, and Jack, well, maybe he can grace the presence of this blog and detail some of his latest creative forays.

I’m going to try some different things and see what sticks. I’m going to try to not get hung up on the details–blog design, marketing, etc. for now, and instead just try producing and experimenting. Give myself some creative options, some creative outlets. Shoot that green eyed jealousy monster in the butt with a creativity tranquilizer dart.

I’d love to see if any of you out there have any tips, resources, or other things that have helped you. Feel free to share! Creativity and the creative process has long been an interest of mine (I am fascinated by the sketches and drawings preceding a masterpiece as much as the finished product) and would love to have some future posts on this topic. Get in touch here.