Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rend My Heart

Everyone has addictions. You might be addicted to sugar, chocolate, alcohol, a certain TV show, sex, or drugs. I’m addicted to intense emotional states, especially that feeling that wavers between intense joy and tears of angst.

This feeling may be what Tim Buckley had in mind when he named one of his albums "Happy Sad." The French have a word for it, too: chantepleure which is normally translated as “laughing and crying/singing at the same time” or “alternation of joy and sorrow

What better way to get into an intense emotional state than to listen to music? But everyone experiences music a bit differently and it is a very personal thing. What makes me pleasurably melancholy might put you to sleep, and what fills me with joyful anxiety might give you a headache.

Nevertheless, here are some songs that I think provide a good example of ecstatic angst:

Antony & the Johnsons: “Bird Gerhl” “Man is the Baby”

Bright Eyes: “The Difference in the Shades” “Kathy with a K’s Song.”

The Popular Front: “State to State”

Harold Budd with Liz Fraser, Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie: “Why Do You Love Me?”

Sugarcubes: the chorus of “Birthday”

Nick Drake: “Fly”

Jimmy Scott: “Day by Day”

Dead Can Dance: “Sanvaen” “Avatar” and the string outro in “Mesmerism”

Richard Strauss: “”Metamorphosen for 23 Strings.”

Sigur Rós: The majority of their catalogue, but “Gong” and the crescendo in “Viðrar vel til loftárása” stand out to me as good examples.

(Now if there was an easy way to share this playlist with you I would, but I’m not really into the idea of creating a MySpace page.)

Do you have an intensely emotional or "happy sad" song to share?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Bloody Valentine, Live at Wamu Theater in Seattle, April 27, 2009

Since my husband felt obliged to write about the My Bloody Valentine concert we saw last night, I thought I should chip in with my own observations.

I feel bad trying to review this concert since we didn’t get to stay until the end (we needed to be home by 11pm to relieve the babysitter. This the second time we’ve had to leave a concert before the end for this reason. I’m getting a little tired of this, but the only other option is to not go to concerts together anymore. Or try to convince bands to go on earlier (hopeless). I mean, when it says “doors at 6:30pm, show at 8pm” I still naively expect that the band I paid to see might actually start around 8pm. Not 9:45pm which was the case last night. Such is life.)

For the hour of the show I did manage to see, I would say it was great, because I love their songs. But for me, the show was not as great as the CDs. Primarily because MBV play so freakin’ loud that some the subtle nuances of the songs are lost in waves of distortion. You have to wear earplugs to protect your ears (earplugs are distributed at every MBV show) and so right there you are missing out on something: perhaps about 32db worth of sound that might contain subtle nuances.

It’s clear to me that you go to an MBV show for the experience, as much as anything else. By combining the wall of sound with repetitive visuals and flashing lights in your eyes, they seemed to determined to assist the audience in entering some kind of hypnotized state. That was nice, but part of me would have preferred to see close ups of the band so I could see their faces and how they played their instruments. I guess I’ve been spoiled by watching Sigur Rós live videos from Victory Rose on my computer.  (BTW I wrote the Mac portion of the Help & FAQ file on the Victory Rose sites). That way could have perhaps finally figured out how MBV are making some of those cool sounds. Oh well.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Finally Got Some Blood From the Starbucks "Pick of the Week" Stone

When I get the chance I stop into Starbucks and pick up one of their “Pick of the Week” cards. I love the thrill of free digital music, and have been faithfully downloading these songs for months in hopes of finding something I actually like.

Past Starbucks downloads have mostly either bored or offended me (like Diana Krall singing “the Boy from Ipanema”…give me a break…no need to change the word “lovely” to “handsome.” Boys can be “lovely,”  too.) But I kept coming back for more.

Finally my patience was rewarded by the Boxer Rebellion’s new song, “Flashing Red Light Means Go." I had not heard the Boxer Rebellion before, but they remind me a bit of Muse, Doves, and Radiohead. Good driving-too-fast-and-hydroplaning music.

Check out the Boxer Rebellion on or Myspace.


Friday, April 24, 2009

The Genotype Diet

Peter D’Adamo’s latest book The Genotype Diet expands his Blood Type Diet theories, parceling people into six different “types.” Part One of the book is titled “Genotype: The Key to Understanding Who You Are.” Indeed, if you enjoy such self-exploratory ventures as palm-reading, Facebook quizzes and personality tests, you will probably get a kick out of this book., though I cannot vouch for the diet advice deemed appropriate for your genotype.

Still I had a fun time looking at my fingerprints (according to Dr. D’s analysis, I am probably sensitive to wheat and/or grains and could have a tendency to cognitive disease later in life). My teeth apparently suggest I should be eating meat.

Key measurements include: ratio of torso to legs, and upper to lower leg; ring finger vs. index finger length. You measure these to narrow it down, and then look at things like blood type information to hone in on your actual genotype. I read the description for my type (“Hunter”) and was not too terribly surprised, having read similar things my blood type (O+ secretor) in Dr. D’s previous book.

During a walk around Green Lake last week, nearly everyone I saw looked like their torso was longer than (or equal in length) to their legs (especially if you count the head as part of the torso, as Dr. D’Adamo does). Who are these people who have super long legs?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

For your amusement: new songs

Let it be known that I have posted a new slate of songs for your amusement. These are silly songs I made up to entertain myself and my daughter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Month Till the Deadline

I have until May 17th to lose 7 lbs. And guess what…I did it already! Now I just have to keep the weight off. This weight loss project is turning out to be easier than I expected. Losing 3.5 lbs a month is a cinch, so far. Eating less, walking more. That’s it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eat Right 4 Your Type

A few weeks ago I was inspired by VegFest to try a mostly vegetarian diet (something I have never been successful at doing). When my husband got wind of my efforts (possibly due to recipes involving celery root and rutabagas), he was distressed.

He told me (I paraphrase), “I’m type O. I’m supposed to eat meat.”
I said, “You believe in that? I didn’t think you did!”

Well, I have Type O blood, too. If you know anything about Dr. Peter D’Adamo and his blood type diet, you know that Type O’s are the original Hunter types. We thrive on meat, and whither on wheat (see my earlier post, Bread is the Devil).

It had been a long time since I’d thought about the blood type diet, so I looked up Dr. D’Adamo’s website and learned he has a new twist on “Eat Right 4 Your Type.” It’s called the Genotype Diet, and further personalizes the generalizations made in his earlier books.

In 1995 I visited Dr. Jenefer Huntoon at the Naturopathic Clinic. She did a lot of things for me healthwise, but one of the things she did was to send my blood and saliva samples to Dr. D’Adamo’s lab for testing. The first “Eat Right 4 Your Type” book had not even been published yet. I submitted to a blood draw and spent several long minutes drooling into a test tube.

I got back a report informing me of various details about my ABO blood type (O positive, secretor, etc) including a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid.

After “Eat Right 4 Your Type” came out and Dr. D put up his website about it, I wrote to him and asked whether I should be following the food recommendations in my personalized report, or the ones in his book. He told me to always go with the most recent information, in this case, the book.

I must admit that when I have followed this list of blood type specific food recommendations to the best of my ability, I actually feel better. And after eating meat for the first time after a week of playing vegetarian, I felt a surge of vitality and wellness.

When Dr. D’s Genotype Diet book came out, I got it from the library. It’s the latest research, so should supersede the earlier books, for the most part. I will write more about the Genotype Diet in a future post.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cast iron pan seasoning: the secret

I have found the secret to keeping a good seasoning on a cast iron pan.

For years I struggled with this: I’d try to scrub the pan clean and couldn’t seem to do it with out soap and water, but this would take the seasoning right off. Then I’d have to go through this whole process of oiling the pan and putting it the oven for an hour, which would stink up the kitchen.

Here’s the secret: get the pan as clean as you can with hot water and scrubbing, but don’t worry too much about stuck-on food. Then dry the pan and pour a tablespoon or two of cooking oil in it (I use canola). Then add salt (I use cheap iodized salt), about the same quantity that you added of oil. Take a cloth and scrub the oil/salt mixture into the pan. The salt will scrub off the debris, while the oil will season the pan. When the stuck-on food is scrubbed off, wipe the pan clean. You’re done!