30-day song challenge (21-30)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

And here’s a YouTube Playlist, since I started to encounter things that weren’t on Spotify.

Here’s my post of days 1-10

And here’s 11-20

Day 21: Jolene (Miley Cyrus)

For this one, I decided to go with one of my runners-up for a cover.

I considered “Where is Claire,” a song by Buffalo Celtic Rock band Jackdaw (no longer together), but it doesn’t seem to exist online and I didn’t want to go through the effort of making it exist online.

So, today’s selection is “Jolene,” as covered by Miley Cyrus.

(I couldn’t find this one on Spotify, so here’s a link.)

Day 22: Break My Stride (Matthew Wilder)

Runners up: I’m On My Way, by the Proclaimers
Up! by Shania Twain
Send Me On My Way, by Rusted Root
Day 23: Dirty and True (Hawksley Workman)

So. The more vague these things are, the more I struggle with my choice. What song do I think everybody should listen to? ALL THE SONGS I LIKE. 

I’ve tried to narrow this one by setting myself some arbitrary rules. For example, I’ve decided not to repeat an artist (which eliminated “Boat on a River” by Styx).

I’m going to go with this odd little song by Canadian artist Hawksley Workman. I love it. I hope you enjoy it!

Day 24: My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors (Moxy Fruvous)

By the time I moved to Western New York, Moxy Fruvous had long stopped performing. I used to hold out a tiny shred of hope that maybe, one day, they would reunite for some performances. Alas, that is never to be.

I was going to go with “King of Spain,” which is a song that never fails to make me feel a little bit happy. (And never fails to make me furious when I see it show up on “Worst Canadian Songs Ever” lists), but I went with this one instead…it’s one of the covers Rand and I performed in our first concert together. (I think I have video of that, but we did not upload it to YouTube.)

Day 25: Starman (David Bowie)

Gotta admit, I thought about using a Prince song, but there’s no way to post/share a Prince song, so…

Today’s choice is “Starman.”

He’d like to come and meet us
but he thinks he’d blow our minds…

(oh, and please enjoy this ridiculous cover from “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”)

Day 26: Safe in the Arms of Love (Martina McBride)

Martina McBride has the voice of an angel.

This version of the song came out in 1995. (It was recorded and released earlier by other artists, but didn’t become a hit.) I had the album and liked the song, but I really latched onto it a couple of years later, after my first “real” relationship fell apart and I was hitting that mid-20s stage where you’re sure you’re going to be alone forever.

This song picked me up and let me hope.

“My heart’s not ready for the rocking chair
I need somebody who really cares
So tired of livin’ solitaire
Someday I’m gonna be
Safe in the arms of love…”

Day 27: I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miserables, performed by Anne Hathaway)

After thinking way too long about this one, I’m going with “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Mis, which is just one song of many I could have chosen from this musical in particular, never mind all the other musicals I could have chosen songs from.

Day 28: O Holy Night (performed by Collin Raye)

Because it’s Christmas Eve, I’ve chosen my favorite version of my favorite Christmas hymn. In addition to Collin Raye’s lovely tenor, I like this version because it includes what Rand and I call the “social justice” verse:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease

There were several runners-up for “artist whose voice I love.” Some of them (like Michelle Dockrey, Murray Head, and Martina McBride) have already appeared on this list. Others, like Jodi Krangle, I’ve mentioned in other comments (Check out Starsoul, or The Lady.)  And of course, how could I not mention my own darling husband, Rand Bellavia. (Here’s a link to Hollywood’s Ending, from Oh Okay LA)

Day 29: Total Eclipse of the Heart

I remember listening to this in the car with my mom. I’m pretty sure she had a cassette with Bonnie Tyler on one side and Air Supply on the other, which gave us two Jim Steinman tracks on the same tape!

Day 30: Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

Okay, so it ended up taking me longer than 30 days to finish this, but I finished it. Nothing terribly profound to share here, but Belle has always been the Disney princess I most identified with. Books! Brown hair and eyes!

30 Day Song Challenge (11-20)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

Here is my post of days 1-10

Day 11: Single Ladies (Beyonce)

So, I did actually start doing this yesterday, but I got distracted. I had an unusually hard time making up my mind. I decided it should be a song that, by all reasonable standards, I *should* have gotten tired of at some point. So here’s my selection.
 
Also considered: Bad Romance.

Day 12: Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)

I was in 6th-7th grade in 1986. I loved Bon Jovi. I never really got over it. Deal with it. 😉

Day 13: (Jesus Christ) Superstar (Murray Head)

I really struggled with this one. It turns out I like a lot of songs from the 70s. 🙂 I decided to go with this song, from one of my favorite musicals. Here’s “Superstar,” as performed by Murray Head (and the Trinidad Singers, apparently).

Day 14: Easy Silence (Dixie Chicks)

So, I posted about this one a while back, choosing “Follow You, Follow Me” by Genesis. but looking over my list, I see that it’s really male-dominated, so I decided to pick a different song from our actual wedding playlist (which was also rather male-dominated. Hm.)

So today’s choice is “Easy Silence” by the Dixie Chicks, from their fantastic album Taking the Long Way.

Day 15: Red Right Hand (Vixy & Tony)

So, there are a number of artists that I appreciate WAY more when they are covered by someone else. Tom Waits. Lou Reed. Even, to some extent, Bob Dylan.

I fell in love with this song when I first heard Vixy & Tony perform it…I was previously unfamiliar with it. And since I knew it was a cover, one day I thought I’d check out the original.

And oh. Oh yes. Go ahead and put Nick Cave in that category.

(This post was nearly a tie between Every Little Thing (He) Does is Magic by Shawn Colvin and Jolene by Miley Cyrus. Maybe someday I’ll make a whole list of cool covers I like.)

Day 16: Alone (Heart)

So, I pondered a bit about what “classic” means. Since it’s not really defined, I figured it could mean whatever I wanted it to. I also figured that 1987 is long enough ago to be “classic,” much as it pains me to admit it. 😉

Anyway, I’ve posted about this song before. I’ve joked before about Heart’s cheesy 80s power ballad material, but every time I hear this song, I’m struck by how good it is. It is so. good.

(we shall not speak of their 1990 #2 hit. *shudder*)

Day 17: Friends And Lovers (Carl Anderson & Gloria Loring)

Truth be told, I don’t have the pipes for this, but I can dream a little…so, as you may know, back in my preteen and teenage years, I was an avid viewer of Days of Our Lives. Gloria Loring played lounge singer Liz Chandler, and she performed this song with Carl Anderson in…1985, I think? The song charted in 1986.

You may also know Gloria Loring as the vocalist for the theme from “The Facts of Life.” (She was, at the time, married to Alan Thicke, who composed the theme.)

My runner-up response for this one was “Islands in the Stream.”

Day 18: Waterloo (ABBA)

I love ABBA. I love this song. I don’t know what else to say about this one. 🙂

Day 19: Under the Carlaw Bridge (Lowest of the Low)

The Canadian band Lowest of the Low–in particular, their album Shakespeare, My Butt–got me through my 20s.

Here’s the last section of the song:

Well, now my coffee’s gone cold
But my heart’s gone colder
I think I’m reading too much
It feels like twenty below
And it’s a kick in the nuts
When your vision clears up
And you realize you’ve only been playing with change
There’re people more together than you’ll ever be
And it makes you want to ask yourself, “What’s happenin’ to me?”
Because it ain’t clear
No it ain’t clear
What the hell am I doin’ here?
No it ain’t clear
But it rings in my ears
Somewhere under the Carlaw bridge
(My friend Jen and I once drove around Toronto looking for places mentioned in Lowest of the Low songs. We hit a bunch of them, but never did find the Carlaw bridge.)

Day 20: Nasty (Janet Jackson)

I was about to publish this post without an entry for day 20–I just couldn’t come up with anything. And then this came to mind at literally the last second.

30 Day Song Challenge (1-10)

Here are all my selections in a Spotify Playlist

Day 1: Mr. Blue Sky (ELO): Literally the first song that came to mind when I read the prompt.

Day 2: Bubblegum 45s (Jim Boggia/Jonathan Coulton): Jim Boggia is a singer-songwriter Rand introduced me to. This one’s interesting in that Jonathan Coulton has a songwriting credit. I think the story is that Coulton wrote a song that he ended up not using for anything, and Boggia took it and wrote new lyrics. (I don’t know if he rewrote the melody.) I’m going to share the album version, and then in the comments, I’ll post a live version of him performing it with Coulton and Paul & Storm.

Day 3: Fantastic Voyage (Coolio): There were a number of ways I could have gone with this…but I thought back to songs that remind me of a specific summer. (I dug up an old blog post about this.)

I spent a lot of time driving around in cars, forced to listen to the radio in the summer of 1994. Here’s one of the songs that reminds me of that summer:

(I also considered posting “Here Comes the Hotstepper”)

Day 4: More than Words (Extreme)

This song reminds me of my high school boyfriend, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Day 5: Renegade (Styx)

Despite having grown up in Steeler country, my selection of this song has nothing to do with football. I just like it.

Day 6: Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars)

I never, ever get tired of this song.

Day 7: Carry On Wayward Son (Kansas)

I knew day 7 had to be classic rock. I wavered on my specific choice, but settled on this.

Day 8: The Old Black Rum (Great Big Sea)

Day 9: Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
So, this is hard. I have an entire playlist on youtube that’s titled “BE IN A GOOD MOOD” that’s meant to be a pick-me-up when I’m feeling down. And this list is far from complete.

When I replied to Rob’s post on this day, I chose “Wandrin’ Around” by Carbon Leaf. And that’s a good choice. It always makes me happy. But today, I think I’m going to go off list and choose a song by a group people don’t usually think of when they think “happy.” 🙂

Day 10: Cranes Over Hiroshima (Fred Small)

Well. There were certainly a number of songs I could have chosen for this. I actually browsed a list of the 50 saddest songs of all time, and no arguments from me, for the most part. I considered choosing their #6 choice, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” by George Jones, which may just get my vote for saddest song ever.

But instead, I chose this one. The first time I heard it, I just cried and cried and cried.

Day 14-Friendship

Make new friends

But keep the old

One is silver

And the other’s gold

Kill the Beast

Back when I taught high school English, I did an introductory lesson for The Crucible that introduced students to the concept of a “witch hunt.” I used “The Mob Song” from Beauty and the Beast, in which the villain, Gaston, whips the townspeople into a frenzy so that they will help him kill the Beast.

The Beast will make off with your children! He’ll come after them in the night! We’re not safe until his head is mounted on my wall. I say we kill the Beast!

Gaston doesn’t really believe any of this. His reasons for wanting to be rid of the Beast are selfish ones, but he uses fear to manipulate the townspeople into doing what he wants.

And it works. Frightened people, it turns out, are easy to manipulate. Soon, they are marching–with literal pitchforks and torches–to help Gaston kill the Beast, who was never really a threat to anyone.

We don’t like what we don’t understand
In fact, it scares us…

The words are simple, but I think they get to something at the heart of human nature.

So, why am I talking about this? Well, I originally started writing this quite a while ago, because of something I saw posted to facebook last year…an article about an organized boycott of Target, because of Target’s announced policy in response to so-called “bathroom bills” like the one passed in North Carolina.

Since then, this issue has come to the forefront again, as the current administration has moved to roll back protections for transgender individuals put in place by President Obama.

As transgender people have become more and more visible in mainstream culture, I’ve been seeing increased fear and panic coming from ordinary people. That fear and panic is, I think, genuine…but I believe it’s being stoked by various Gastons at various levels of political and cultural leadership.

Gaston’s goal was to remove the things he saw as obstacles to Belle marrying him. I’m truthfully not sure what the goal is here. (I have some guesses, but I’ll keep them to myself for now….that’s not really my point.)

I am far from being an expert on trans issues, but I do have a number of transgender friends and acquaintances. I do feel entirely comfortable in saying that they want what everyone wants: to be allowed to live their lives peacefully and be treated with dignity and respect. That dignity and respect includes being allowed to use public restrooms without being harassed or arrested. (and trust me, they are far more likely to be harassed or assaulted in a public restroom than you are.)

Chances are good that you, and your children, have been sharing public restrooms with transgender people without incident for some time now. You haven’t noticed. I’m not sure why people think, now, that this will somehow open a door for perverted straight cisgender men to pretend to be trans women for nefarious purposes. (There is no evidence at all that this has happened/is happening. And I submit…if there are actually people doing or wanting to do this, do you somehow think the lack of a specific law preventing it has been stopping them?) Also, there are plenty of people whose appearances don’t conform to “accepted” gender standards, regardless of how they identify…I’ve already seen a number of news stories involving cisgender* women being thrown out of women’s restrooms for this very reason.

I feel like I’m wandering away from my point, so I’ll end with this: “the Beast” is not a danger. In fact, I submit to you that, in this case, the Beast does not even exist. Don’t listen to those who are telling you to be afraid.

If you want to read more about this, here are a handful of articles I’ve come across that I thought were informative and well-written.

Stop Using Your Children As An Excuse To Be A Hateful Human Being (Scary Mommy)

North Carolina transgender student asks to meet governor over ‘bathroom bill’  (Today)

Top 10 Myths About Transgender People (Everyday Feminism)

Transgender People: 10 Common Myths (Vox)

(Please share your suggestions for additional reading on the topic, if you’ve got them)

*cisgender just means identifying with the gender you were assigned at birth.

OVFF 2016 (with a brief history)

I’ve told the beginning of this story before, but I’ll tell it again, (briefly) for the sake of those who need catching up.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I met this nerdy guy named Rand, who was in a nerdy rock band. This nerdy rock band played at Comic and Science Fiction conventions, but they were also a part of this thing called filk. (Here’s a Wikipedia article about Filk; and Debbie Ohi’s Filk FAQ)

I’d been introduced to filk as a concept by my close personal friend Amanda before meeting Rand, but Rand brought me to my first filk convention in 2005. And (I know I’ve said this all before), while I was immediately taken with the community, I did not think I would ever sing in front of other people. Or write a song. Or sing a song I wrote in front of other people.

Well, slowly but surely, I was proven wrong on all counts. This community can be, uh, very persuasive.

pegasus-concert
(photo courtesy of Sunnie Larsen)

And this year, you guys, I (along with that nerdy guy of mine) was nominated for an award. (we didn’t win the award, but that doesn’t matter so much, really…) I got to perform that song in a concert with all the other nominees. And if you’ll forgive me for going all Sally Field for a minute (even though it didn’t win), people liked it. They really liked it. The response from the audience during the performance was amazing. And then, all weekend, people I knew, people I didn’t know, and people I’d just met made it a point to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Here’s a link to Cliffs of Insanity as performed at FilKONtario in 2013. (I’d absolutely love it if someone shared video from the Pegasus concert…)

It was a tough ballot all the way around. I mean, it usually is, but it was a really tough ballot. In multiple categories, there were at least two nominees I’d have loved to see win.I think I congratulated most of the winners in person, but if I didn’t, congratulations!

I have a lot more to say about this convention in particular, and this community in general, but I don’t think I have the brain cells for it at the moment. I’ll leave it at this:

This community means the world to me. There are infinite reasons I’m glad I met Rand, but you–the people I’ve met through and because of him, this found family full of acceptance and support and guidance that has helped me to find the courage to do things I never thought I’d do–I wouldn’t be who I am right now without you. Thank you. I love you.

(I didn’t prepare an acceptance speech, but if I had, it would have been something like that. And who knows…I might still get to say it someday. ;))

 

 

And we have video!

So, last year I blogged about my and Rand’s concert at FilKONtario. Well, I recently got that DVD of the concert that Tom promised, and I managed to get some video posted on YouTube over the weekend.

Here’s a link to the playlist I made, which includes five of the songs we performed.

And directly embedded above is “Cliffs of Insanity,” our Princess-Bride themed parody of “Green Hills of Harmony.” (lyrics at the link)

Enjoy! 😀

On big numbers and “bucket lists”

Y’know, I’ve kind of resisted the term “bucket list” since the movie came out, and everyone started talking about having one. And not just in terms of “things to do before I die,” which is, pretty much, the definition of the term. Suddenly, everyone had a “summer bucket list” or whatever. But, I digress…

Anyway, this year, I turn a big number. A big, scary number. (I was born in 1974–you do the math.) And while I’ve had a couple of setbacks, career-wise, I can’t really complain too much. The past decade has been really good to me. Last year, in particular, I took on some things that were a pretty big deal to me personally. I performed in a concert! On a stage! In front of people! I started learning how to play the ukulele. (still a work-in-progress, but I’m continuing to plug away!) I decided I was tired of waiting for someone else to create a local alumnae organization of my sorority and took it upon myself (with the help of my awesome and dedicated friends) to get it going. I wrote two songs. (Okay, co-wrote, and they were parodies, but still!) I also celebrated 5 years of marriage to an amazing man.

Looking ahead to this year, I’m finally going to take that ASL class like I’ve been talking about for ages. I’ve got some other song ideas that I want to work on. I’d like to get myself writing regularly again. I want to get back to yoga, too. And then there are some other things, some big things, that don’t necessarily need to happen this year or before the BIG NUMBER, but they are things I would like to do/see/experience at some point. So, here they are:

  1. Go to a Disney park (never been…bonus, go to a Disney park WITH SEANAN!)
  2. See the Northern Lights
  3. (this one has a huge question mark after it…) Get a Ph.D. (???? I think about it, but I’m not sure if I really want to do it. I’m not sure if it would be worth it…)
  4. See a show on Broadway. (I’ve seen lots of Broadway shows, but none of them on Broadway.)

I thought I had more things for this list, but that’s all that’s coming to mind at the moment…I reserve the right to add items as necessary. 😉

At any rate, happy 2014 to you, and please share what big (or small) things are on YOUR lists!

 

Grandparents

FilKONtario report posting has been interrupted because earlier this week, my paternal grandmother passed away. The funeral was today.

me & grandma

(This picture is from my bridal shower in 2008)

KolbNappe  140

My paternal grandfather (pictured above, at Justin’s wedding), died in 2009, and my maternal grandmother died in 2001, not long after I moved to Buffalo. I wrote about losing her here.

gram0024.jpg

(One of my favorite photos of her. I don’t have any more recent photos scanned.)

I know I’m very lucky to have known all of my grandparents, and to have them in my life as long as I have…but it’s very heavy on my mind that I only have one grandparent left. I’m too exhausted to put any more thoughts together right now, so I’ll leave it with this.

me & grandpa again

 

(at grandpa’s 85th birthday party in 2007)