Summer Playlist!

bondi_beach_swimwear_1950sSummer is here! Actually, here in Texas summer never left. But I’m not gonna let that get me down. No sir. So what if it is 85 degrees at 10pm with 75% humidity? (barf) I’m going to enjoy my summer anyway. So ladies, get out those sundresses, and get a cute haircut because this summer is going to sizzle!

I have put together a playlist of songs that are perfect for long summer days. There is a little something for everyone – some soul, some funk, some pop and some punk. I hope you like it. And if you don’t, at least you get to watch Beyoncé dance around in tiny shorts and stilettos. Enjoy! And remember: Stay cool, stay cool, stay hydrated and above all, stay HAPPY!

  1. Summer in the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful 
  2. The Doors – Love Street 
  3. That Summer Feeling – Jonathan Richman 
  4. Neil Young – Unknown Legend 
  5. Small Faces – The Universal 
  6. Ho Hey – Lennon and Maisy Stella 
  7. Crazy in Love – Beyoncé 
  8. Not Just Knee Deep – Parliment Funkadelic 
  9. Surrender – Cheap Trick 
  10. Beautiful & Dangerous – Desmond Dekker and the Aces 
  11. X – Motel Room in My Bed 
  12. Ramones – Rockaway Beach 
  13. Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds 
  14. Next to Me – Emeli Sandé 
  15. There’s a Break in the Road – Betty Harris 

The 5 Best Shows You Aren’t Watching

I don’t own a television. I haven’t owned one since 2005. It’s not that I don’t like T.V shows, it’s that I don’t like having to pay cable companies in order to watch them. So I don’t. I watch the shows I like on-line. That way I can keep up with American Idol, Downton Abbey and The Biggest Loser commercial free, cable free, and hell, just free! It also makes me very mindful of what I watch. I can’t just turn it on and see “what’s on”. I have to make a conscious decision to watch television. After I decide what I want to watch (if anything) I have to find it online, and then stream it. It’s still super fast and easy, but I don’t end up wasting time on crap TV like The Real Housewives of Who the Fuck Cares, or Zooey Deschanel in “The Zaney Adventures of a 33-year-old Woman Desperately Trying to Convince the World and Herself that she is 25… Which is also a rip off of Three’s Company”… or whatever it’s called.

You can stream all of these shows on-line. Or on TV or whatever you do to watch shows.

  1. Anthony Bourdain: The Layover (The Travel channel) – url-2Take Anthony Bourdain, give him a film crew and a 24 hour layover in a cool city and see what happens. It’s awesome. It not only inspires you to check out new places in a city you might already know (or live in!), but you get to feel super cool if he talks about one of your favorite places. He spends time talking to locals about their favorite spots to take visitors. He asks cab drivers where to get the best street food. He gets wasted at a tiki lounge with another chef. It’s all very good fun. Check it out.
  2. Shameless (Showtime)????????????????????You think you have a fucked up family? This show (starring William H. Macy as “Frank Gallagher”. The world’s worst, and I mean WORST, alcoholic/drug abusing father. Ever.) gives dysfunction a whole new name. And that name is Gallager. But this show isn’t for the faint of heart, or folks who can’t stand to hear toddlers drop the F-bomb. And that’s saying nothing about the nudity, violence, barf inducing filth or, graphic sex scenes between any number of people of any varied race, gender, age or sexual orientations. I’ll just say there is an awesome lack of dignity in this show, and I love it. It’s funny, over the top, and even sweet at times.
  3. Louie (FX) – This show is like walking inside Louie CK’s mind. It’s funny, sweet, sad and often times uncomfortable. Louie tackles every subject you can think of: kids, single fathers, drinking, working, sloth, dating, assholes, pizza, crazy people, New York City, religion… You get the picture. If you are not a fan of Louis CK yet, then you haven’t watched this show.  Here’s a little bit. 
  4. King of the Nerds (TBS)22588_001_0358_R (1)That’s right, NERDS! It’s a reality based game show that pits nerd against nerd in wacky nerd based challenges like life-size chess, and live gaming. They all live together in “Nerdvana” and compete to see who will sit atop the Throne of Games! I know! Of course there are some totally hate-able and obnoxious freaks who you hope get voted away quickly, but the show also has contestants who work for NASA and are brain surgeons and shit like that. It’s a show that let’s the “nerds” show off their unique talents and show us that they are more than just characters in a silly movie. Speaking of which, the show is hosted by Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine. If you don’t know who they are, then you don’t deserve to be called a nerd.
  5. The Taste (ABC)la-dd-the-taste-recap-20130129-001Yes, another cooking game show. I know. But this is my first! I never got into Top Chef, and I occasionally check out Iron Chef, but nothing solid. This show has a twist. Four “Mentors” blind taste each contestants food and judge it purely on taste. With ONE BITE. Only. They don’t know if it is a man or woman, pro chef or home chef – they just get one bite, and that’s it. Only after they vote do they see who cooked it. It’s pretty good fun. It made me both hungry and want to cook, so that’s good. And the “mentors” are Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, Anthony Bourdain and Brian Malarkey. The banter is good, the food looks good and the competition is fierce.

Thanksgiving Playlist

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I don’t like Thanksgiving. For me it is nothing but overeating and sloth sprinkled with a few family fights over silly things like politics or who has to wash the heaping pile of dishes. Ugh. No thanks. This will be my first Thanksgiving in America since 2005 so I am trying to be a little more positive. I am going to bake some soft, frosted Pumpkin Spice cookies and get a new fall outfit to sooth my dampening spirit.

I am thankful for so much. I am thankful for my boyfriend who makes me happy everyday. I am thankful for my job and the cute little brats I get to hang out with and teach. I am thankful for books, music, pizza, pancakes, boots, coffee, my penguin slippers and the new warm blanket my mommie sent. I am thankful for all that I have – everyday. Here is a playlist of gratitude. Play it while you bake some pies.

  1. Little Old Wine Drinker Me – Dean Martin 
  2. The Slackers – Thank You 
  3. Beans and Cornbread – Louis Jordan 
  4. Caveman – Thankful 
  5. Homeward Bound – Simon & Garfunkel 
  6. Making Pies – Patty Griffin 
  7. We All Want To – A La Mode 
  8. Nothing Short of Thankful – The Avett Brothers 
  9. Everybody Eats When They Come to My House – Cab Calloway 
  10. Talking Turkey – Electric Six 
  11. The Long Way Home – Tom Waits 
  12. Maximum Consumption – The Kinks 
  13. Charlie Parker – Carvin’ the Bird 
  14. Eat It – “Weird Al” Yankovic 
  15. Alcohol – Bare Naked Ladies 

Top Video Vixens of the 80’s

I came up in the 80’s. I saw The Goonies first run, I remember the crazy madness that was Cabbage Patch Dolls, and I was there for the birth of MTV. I remember when it actually played videos! MTV in the 1980s was uncharted territory. Here was a channel that was taking the late night video craze and doing it 24/7. They had new faces hosting new shows. These folks became household names over night (Downtown Julie Brown still gives me nightmares) and launched what is now a multi million dollar corporation. It was awesome. It was pure entertainment without pretension. The V-Jays didn’t know what they were doing and the artists making the videos didn’t either. It was a perfect storm of an adventurous spirit and just not giving a fuck. Before The Hipsters ruined music with their irony, we had videos that were just plain weird. Or funny. I miss that. But I digress.

The 80’s era MTV Video gave us the Video Vixen. This was what super models did before there were super models. We knew their names and which rocker they were rumored to have been seen with at The Viper Room. It was a simple equation: A hot girl + a fast car + awesome song = a totally awesome 80’s video. Their job was an easy one: Look Hot. Mission accomplished.Yes it is sexist, and no it didn’t ruin my life. Get over it.

  1. Tawny Kitaen – (Whitesnake “Here I Go Again” 1987) It’s hard to have sexier hair than David Coverdale, but Tawny Kitaen managed to do it. Maybe it was the rolling around, in and on top of cars that gave her hair that extra special 80’s bounce. Or maybe it was the fact that she was doing it in lingerie. 
  2. “The ZZ Top Girls” Jeana Tomasino, Kymberly Herrin & Danièle Arnaud – (ZZ Top “Legs” 1984) I think I can trace my love for shopping montages directly back to this video. I had more than a few fantasies of being picked up in the “Eliminator” and going on a grand shopping/make-over excursion with my three new best girl friends. Complete with Bobbie socks and stilettos. zz_top_legs_official_music_video
  3. Lillian Muller – (Van Halen “Hot For Teacher” 1984) – Not only was this lady unbelievably hot in a blue string bikini, she was in her thirties when she did it. That’s kick ass. And, this is one of the all time great videos of ever. David Lee Roth is sexy and fun and funny. And Eddie Van Halen shreds that guitar. I always looked forward to the new Van Halen videos. 
  4. Christie Brinkley – (Billy Joel “Uptown Girl” 1983) Hot and classy. That was Christie Brinkley. In a video that proves white people can’t dance, Christie shows up and makes you feel like anything is possible. A schlub like me can get a swimsuit model! All I have to do is write her a song. And they lived happily ever after. Until they didn’t. 
  5. Pat Benatar – (Pat Benatar “Love is a Battlefield 1984) Yup. I went a different route with this one. I could have gone with the chick on the boat in Rio, but I decided it would be more fun to go with a sexy video babe who also happens to be the singer of the song. Looking sexy with a gaggle of sexy dancers behind her proves Pat Benatar is more than just decoration. 
  6. BONUS! The Palmer Girls – (Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” & “Simply irresistable”) How could I forget these sexy, multi talented set of lady parts? I recently dressed as a “Palmer Girl” for an 80’s party in Prague. It’s a look that launched an era of severe make-up, tight dresses and high heels. 

Put On Your Hoodie – Autumn Playlist

I love Fall. Or if you’re bein’ fancy, I just adore Autumn. Fall in Prague was my favorite time of year there. The leaves all changed colors, the air became all crisp and cool, and ladies everywhere start showing off their favorite boots and scarves. Maybe growing up in Southern California left me feeling like I missed out on something essential to any good childhood – jumping into a big pile of bright colored leaves for instance? Fall doesn’t feel the same without a change in climate and clothing. I never got to do any of the cool stuff I saw on TV or in movies, that is until I moved to Prague. In Prague I had a snowball fight, I jumped in a pile of leaves, I saw a real Spring and experienced a REAL winter.

Austin? You got your work cut out for you. Here is my Autumn inspired playlist. Play it in order as you bake some cookies.

  1. Peanut’s Theme song – Nothing says Fall like Halloween, and nothing says Haloween like “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” This piece of music always makes me think of fall… 
  2. Neil Young, Harvest Moon – I’m taking the theme a little literal here, but I still like the song and it feels like fall, don’t it? 
  3. Small Faces, Autumn Stone 
  4. Chet Baker, Autumn Leaves – There were a lot of choices for this song. I liked this one best. Today. 
  5. The Manas and the Papas, California Dreaming – OK. It’s techincally a winter song, but it feels like a fall song. 
  6. French Kicks, So Far We Are – 
  7. American Football, Never Meant – 
  8. MGMT, Time to Pretend – If you can get past the pretension and hipsters, this song is pretty rad. And feels like fall. And the video has cats. 
  9. Mumford & Sons, To Darkness – 
  10. Shakespeare’s Sister, Stay – 
  11. Nancy Sinatra, As Tears Go By – 
  12. Ella & Louis, Autumn in New York – 
  13. Squeeze, Coffee in Bed – 
  14. ABBA, When All is Said and Done – Yeah, not the best ABBA song, but it is still ABBA so it is still awesome. 
  15. Tom Waits, Last Leaf – Duh. Of COURSE I put Tom Waits on the list. He should be included on lists of awesome stuff as much as possible. 

5 Freaks who Inspired Me

I had a truly inspired underwear dance party last night. My mood was great, partially due to the awesome mix I had made, and partially due to the.. uh… mood enhancement I was partaking of. As I sipped my IPA, and got down with my bad self I was forced to realize that the super cool chick I had become was the direct result of being exposed to the right Freaks in my formative years. Without the Freaks, I might have ended up a boring, normal woman who thinks that creativity begins and ends with scrapbooking.

I want to give props to the brave people who paved the way for me to be the me I am. Without their total lack of concern for what society thinks about them, I might be a sheep.

1. Edward GoreyWhen I think of my childhood, I see it in Gorey pictures. One of my favorite books as a kid was “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” – the alphabet book for the rest of us. Nothing against the good Dr. Seuss, but I was far more attracted to the macabre rhymes and drawings in Mr. Gorey’s world. In my world, A is for Amy Alicia who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears… Oh,and the man loved cats, which is awesome.

2. Klaus Nomi – Without Klaus Nomi there would be no Lady Gaga, no David Byrne, Katy Perry or maybe even Madonna. Klaus Nomi took being weird and made it into a career. I have always admired his courage and strength a little more than his music, if I am going to be perfectly honest. Yeah, the man had a (literally) amazing vocal range, but some of his stuff doesn’t do it for me. But that isn’t the point of his music. If you are just listening to Nomi, then you don’t get it. He was one of those rare creatures who knew he was born to stardom, which unfortunately means he was to lead a very sad, and isolated life. But he lived it. His alien persona, his baked goods, and his beautiful arias serve as a reminder to me not to be afraid of being different. Espically if being different is being myself. 

3. Truman CapoteCapote was both one of the most hated and celebrated men of his time – while he was alive. People desperately wanted to know him, and be part of his inner circle. But once they got there, they were shocked at the pure meanness they saw in him. And that’s the irony, I guess. People KNEW what type of man he was, but still wanted to be near him. I find that fascinating. Don’t be surprised when a shark bites. But he was a talented man, a genius writer, and a walking, talking scene. Being around Capote meant you had made it. Much like Nomi, Capote was a sad man who lived and died very much alone. Sometimes fame is a lonely place, but for some it is worth the price. Capote is directly responsible for me wanting to become a writer.

4. Oingo Boingo – With obvious influences from Mr. Nomi, Oingo Boingo took new wave music and added drama and edge. I love it. If you don’t know of Boingo, you know of its founder and front man Danny Elfman – who is awesome and weird in his own right. I heard of “The Mystical Knights of the Oingo Boingo” when I saw the film “The Forbidden Zone” the awesome cult movie starring the band, and Herve Villechaize. It is weird, uncomfortable, funny and so totally different that you can’t help but enjoy yourself. I still have a crush on Danny Elfman’s voice and they are often the soundtrack to my underwear dance parties. But, I like weird. 

5. Ann Magnuson You probably don’t know who she is, and that’s ok. You might recognize her face from TV shows like “Anything But Love” or maybe from “Desperately Seeking Susan”, or possibly as the front woman for the band “Vulcan Death Grip”. Or maybe not. I have had a crush on her since I can remember. I actually got to see her do a live performance back in LA oh so many years ago. She is a cool performance artist and actress who is so smart I am kind of afraid of her. But she isn’t afraid. And that is why I admire her so much. You can have your premeditated Lady Gaga with her stylists and team of experts. I’ll take Ann Magnuson.

* SUPER PROPS to David Byrne, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Warhol, and Gonzo the Great, as well. There just isn’t enough time in the day to honour you all. 

10 Things I think are Cool – Right Now

A few of you have made comments, or sent emails to me accusing me of “hating” everything, and asking why I always seem to find the negative in everything. While I take offense at the mere idea of me actually hating everything (see the tab on this blog called “My Favorite Things“? Yeah, that’s a big list of shit I DON’T hate…) I will admit to being down on a lot of stuff I see lately. Maybe it’s the reverse culture shock. Maybe it’s the fact that a lot of stuff is stupid and deserving of harsh criticism. Or maybe it’s the fact that most of you seem to enjoy my critical posts… a lot. Whatever. To appease the masses, here is a list of 10 Things I think are Cool… RIGHT NOW.

1. This Guy

2. American Ninja Warrior: If you haven’t seen this, get ready to be wowed. These guys and gals are super badass, and compete in the world’s most difficult obstacle course. It’s so hard that no American has ever completed it. One Japanese dude did it last year. The Olympics have nothing on this. Check it out. 

3. Major corporations backing Gay Rights/Marriage Equality: This is a no brainer. I think more companies need to come out of the closet and start speaking out for civil rights. For those of you who think the whole “Chick-Fil-A” thing was a little much, think about it like this. What if the owner of said restaurant had made the same statement – except instead of gays he was talking about minorities. Would that be alright? No, it wouldn’t. It’s no different from the civil rights movement of the 60’s. We need to stand up for ALL people, not just the people who look like us, act like us, and go to the same church as us. Would you eat a restaurant that forced black people sit in a separate section, or claimed that it supported segregation? Of course you wouldn’t. So don’t support places that are anti-gay. It’s the same thing.

4. Breaking Bad:  If you are not watching this show you are missing out on some awesome television. Screw “Game of Thrones”. If I want to see battles and kings and small folk, I’ll just watch LOTR. Watching Walt (Bryan Cranston) feed his ego and his greed gets better and better with each episode.

5. MILKSHAKES:  I don’t know if it’s because the Czech Republic is severely lacking in milkshakes, but I can’t seem to get enough of them. Actually, the Czech’s don’t really know how to make them properly. Most places don’t even use ice cream – just milk. Nope! The better the ice cream, the better the milkshake. So far I have enjoyed a strawberry shake, a vanilla shake, and an extremely delicious espresso-chocolate-something shake. I don’t know what all was in there but it was divine. Do yourself a favor and have a milkshake today. You’ll be glad you did.

6. The Obamas:  Just so that there is absolutely NO confusion here, I am a Obama supporter. Has he been perfect? No. But I bet you aren’t perfect at work either. All in all I think he is a stand up guy who is trying his darndest to point America in the right direction. And I adore Michelle Obama. How can you not? She is smart, sassy, sexy, funny and totally down to earth. The best part about them is unlike other Presidential couples, these two people seem to actually like and LOVE each other! That’s the best example a President could possibly set.

7. Toddlers & Tiaras: As both my boyfriend and former flatmate can attest to, I love this show. I love everything about it. I love the crazy moms and dads. I love the crazy kids who may or may not enjoy getting dolled up for a beauty contest. I love the way the show edits Mommy telling the camera what an angel her little girl is while showing footage of that little angel screaming her lungs out. This show should be watched by all parents as a “What Not To Do” example. And I have to say, I feel really awesome about the way I live my life each time I watch this show. 

8. This Aphttp://www.unbaby.me/ It takes all those pesky baby pictures from FB and replaces them with pictures of cats – or whatever you want. YAY!

9. Hamburgers:  I have a theory. When you live in Prague for long enough you just convince yourself that the food you are eating actually tastes better than it does. Prague is a great city for a lot of things, but food just isn’t one of them. As much as the foodie culture is trying to catch on in the CZ, it never will. Why? Because Czech’s don’t really give a shit about good food. It wasn’t until I had a hamburger at Beaver’s in Houston that I realized I had been lying to myself for the last six years. I missed GOOD hamburgers.

10. Goats: Specifically goats screaming funny things. My friend rachel and I have spent several hours watching youtube videos of animals doing funny things, but none are ever as funny as the goats. Watch this video twice and listen for the second goat.