Monday, March 27, 2006

Adventures in Karaoke

A few weeks ago, I went to a karaoke joint with a few of my friends, and actually attempted to sing. I wasn't a hit, but I wasn't a flop either. One of those in-between, okay to listen to but wondering how good the next person will be type of folks. For most people, that's fine.

Not me.

I think we've already established that I'm a perfectionist. However, what we didn't establish is the fact that I took voice lessons in high school and college. I know I can sing, and that I don't have the voice for most of the pop music offered in karaoke bars. I'm good with Broadway tunes, and with the classics, but getting a bar full of drunks to listen to "My Baby Just Cares for Me" or selections from Les Mis or Phantom without the room quickly turning into a bunch of empty chairs at empty tables is just not going to happen. So last night, I decided to take the challenge and find something within the options presented to me.

First, I went for Norah Jones...and the selections I wanted weren't there. Then I tried Sarah McLachlan....until I heard the vocal arrangement on Possession. Ugh! Not for me either. I thumbed through hundreds of pages, song after song, artist after artist, looking for Van Morrison in both the M's and the V's, just in case someone thought that was the name of a group (and yes, "Brown-Eyed Girl" was hidden in the V's)

I was about to give up when I found something that might I grabbed the little golf pencil and slowly wrote in "Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield" and carefully transcribed the song number on the tiny form. I turned it in and waited.

The people before me ran the gamut. Most were quite good. The kick-ass rendition of Black Velvet, the hilarious version of "Strokin'" one of my friends did from a female 80s song I hadn't heard in years (Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring). I had a shot, sang along with my friends and almost forgot I was in the mix. Until they called my name.

Deep breath. Here goes nothing, right? Nothing by my pride since the last time I sang, one of the best Karaoke singers I know had a hard time hiding his disappointment that I sucked, and there he was, front and center. Oh well - the CD started and there's nothing to do but dive in.
So I did. The song had people clapping and singing along, and the key was perfectly within my range. I didn't belt it out - I just don't have a belting kind of voice - but I nailed it! Even Mr. Karaoke himself had to admit it.

I'm already thinking about what to try next time. I have a few options already in mind, or perhaps I'll stick with what works. We'll see how courageous I feel like being, and what kind of crowd it is....

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Help me!

Here lately, I've had the song "You Can Leave Your Hat On" running through my head. Of course, when I tried to tell people at work where it came from, it appears I'm the only one who has seen9 1/2 Weeks.

That said, you now know why I had to post the results of this last online quiz:
Your Stripper Song Is
Closer by Nine Inch Nails
"You let me violate you, you let me desecrate youYou let me penetrate you, you let me complicate youHelp me I broke apart my insides, help me I?ve got no Soul to tell"
When you dance, it's a little scary - and a lot sexy.

Of course, I changed one answer on which I waffled, and I got "Master and Slave" by Depeche Mode. What about you?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

You can take a picture of something you see...

I've spent much of the evening playing around with blog quizzes. To me, those hold the same fascination as horoscopes - I don't put stock in them, or believe they'll be accurate, but I get a kick out of seeing whether they get anything right at all. Tonight I've learned, among other things:
  1. my aura is blue (I could see that...);
  2. of the Sex and the City ladies, I'm most like Carrie (which is what most people tell me anyway);
  3. were I a cup of coffee, I'd be a cappucino - outgoing with strong opinions and seemingly complex, but in reality, easy to please;
  4. my inner pop princess is Beyonce;
  5. and if my life were a John Cusack movie, it would be High Fidelity (which is actually the most likely...).
Most of them, rather accurate. Whether it's because the questions I answered were go generic that even a monkey could live a Cusack movie, or if there's something to it, who knows. After spending far too much time doing this, there's a bigger question here for me.

Why on earth does this fascinate my idle brain so.... What is it about these little pithy quizzes that makes me sit down, embrace my mouse, and click away a few precious minutes? Is it the idea that my answers to a handful of questions will result in an answer that sums up my essence better than I've been able to do in my years on the earth? Or is it the hope that I'll learn something about myself in these pithy little answers?

This is actually something that's been on my mind a lot this week - why certain things fascinate us so, while others could pass us by entirely and we'd never be the wiser. Last week, spring made an early appearance in my corner of the world. For two days, women donned tank tops and men sported shorts. Tops went down (on cars, sillies... get your minds out of the gutter!) and wind ruffled hairdos across the south.

One of those days, I had my windows rolled down and decided to pop in a mix CD I made a few months ago. It starts off with a good tempo - Lionel Hampton to Train "Get to Me" to Coldplay - but from there, it takes a turn I never really noticed before. Alicia Keys, Eva Cassidy, Sarah McLachlan, Bruce Springsteen, Jackopierce, Norah Jones, Van Morrisson...I was obviously in a piano and guitar mood when I made this mix.

Piano...acoustic guitar...violin. Three of the sexiest instruments out there. Not so much in their shapes (especially pianos) but in their sounds. I can't even describe it, but there's just something about the tone of a string, resonating in the wood that I find to be a plaintive call to my own heart and emotions. Whether it's a slow ballad on the piano or a lone note drawn out on a violin, or the not-so-polished sounds of a guitar, there's something in each of those sounds that resonates within me. Something that can draw me into music like nothing else.

But what is it? Why can small things like that, or a web quiz, or the flicker of a candle's flame draw me in so easily and send my mind pondering so many things, but the bigger picture - the day to day, the things that I need to think about, can not seem to elbow their way in when I need them to? Random questions.

Random questions are over for now...time to go to bed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Luck O' The Irish

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, I followed Yoda's link to get my Irish name..

Your Irish Name Is...
Ella Roche

Hmmm...Ella...I had a cat named Ella once, and she was rather hospitable. Really the only Ella I've known.

Ah well. Stay tuned for more after the hockey games tonight. Yeah - that's why I love March - Hockey, March Madness, and a day to drink green beer and celebrate all things Irish. Definitely my second-favorite month! :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

20 Minutes on a Soapbox

Here lately, I haven't wanted to blog quite as often. Quite honestly, my new project at work requires about 10 hours a day of computer time, and when I get home, I don't want to even SEE a keyboard! Or, on the occasions where I wouldn't mind, my creative side of my brain is completely drained, or I'm so tired I just don't want to short change my efforts, so I sit down and crochet instead. DC...DC....DC...ch3 and turn....very therapeutic until my gym finishes the racquetball courts they're putting in!

Anyway, this morning, I feel like writing, but have no substantive topic in mind, so this will be one of those occasions where I write merely to write and get words out and clear my head. Fluff blogging, if you will... In going back through some news articles I emailed myself earlier in the week, there's one that inspires a feeling of utter indignation at the appalling cluelessness of America these days.

Here's the issue. How many of the Simpsons can you name? No Googling, no cheating...just list 'em off.

Got that? Okay. Now how many provisions of the First Amendment can you name?

Didn't do as well on that one? Neither did the rest of America. A new study showed that 22% of Americans could name Madge, Homer, Bart, Lisa and little Maggie. Only one in 1,000 could name freedom or speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government to redress grievances (yeah, the last one's a doozie, but an important doozie!)

One in one thousand people. I'm at a loss to what to call that. Sad? Pathetic? Shameful? Those words don't even begin to describe it to me. Those are the freedoms on which our entire society is based. Without those freedoms, we wouldn't HAVE the Simpsons, and if we did, their humor would have absolutely no edge to it because everything they find funny would not be protected speech and therefore would likely not make it onto TV to start with.

Here's another one for you...more people could name the three American Idol judges than could name three First Amendment protections. I can understand not remembering freedom to petition the government in redress of your grievances...but press, religion and speech are the three biggies! I suppose Paula, Simon and Randy are even bigger.

Venting time is over. Now pardon me while I go join the rest of the lemmings out there and clear the American Idol results show off my DVR so I have room for tonight's Simpsons. I hear it's a new one ;)