Something There is New

Perhaps you have heard the new Paul McCartney song New, which was just released yesterday. (By the way Paul way to come up with a song title with some really lousy SEO). If you haven’t heard it yet, stop and have a listen.

I like it. It’s happy sounding. It’s Beatles-like. That however is not what I’m here to talk about. In the 24 hours since I first heard it I’ve been trying to figure out what song it reminds me of particularly in the chorus. It was driving me a little bit insane that I couldn’t figure it out. I was thinking kids song, maybe something from a musical, maybe a Disney movie? I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Then enlightenment! I figured it out. Hurrah! It’s totally the song Something There from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. It’s obviously not the same song at all, but there’s something in the beat and tonal changes in parts of those two songs that sound the same to me.

Take a listen. Go back to the Paul McCartney song and start at 0:14. Doesn’t that line or two remind you of this song (I tried to set it to start at the 1:21 mark but I’m not sure it’s working)? Do you hear it too or am I just a crackpot?

Darra’s Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Saturday I helped throw a surprise 40th birthday party for my good friend Darra along with our other friends Alison and Tracie and her fiance Henry. Darra was not shy about insisting Henry throw her a party. Little did she know that the four of us had started planning a surprise party for her months previously. Her actual birthday isn’t for a couple more weeks. We wanted to throw the party before her birthday so that she would be truly surprised. Her fake birthday party that Henry pretended was happening to throw her off the scent and get her off his case isn’t until September 21.

Lest you think the birthday girl wasn’t actually surprised think again.

Photo courtesy of Alison
Photo courtesy of Alison
Photo courtesy of Alison
Photo courtesy of Alison

We held the party at the Woman’s Industrial Exchange, specifically in the Woman’s Industrial Kitchen. The restaurant is only open for lunch on weekdays, so they rent it out for parties on evenings and weekends. The space was actually included with the catering. We found it to be very reasonably priced and the food was excellent. Irene who runs the restaurant was also great to work with. I only met her the day of the event as Henry did the leg work on getting everything booked, but she was very accommodating with our requests and everything turned out wonderfully.

The array of delicious food
The array of delicious food

And some close ups of a few of the dishes.

Gazpacho shot glasses
Gazpacho shot glasses
Deviled eggs
Deviled eggs
BLTs and pulled pork sandwiches
BLTs and pulled pork sandwiches

We provided the desserts.

I made some cookies that said 40 on them. Darra preferred to hold them upside and read them as saying Oh.

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Tracie made a delicious and beautifully made chocolate, red wine, blackberry cake.

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There is a craft shop in front of the restaurant. Henry lured Darra in by saying he wanted to look for something in the craft shop. One of the staff members was in on the plan and told him that what he was looking for was in the back and led them back into the restaurant where we all jumped out and yelled surprise!

I think the birthday girl was quite pleased with her surprise, and I think all the guests had an excellent time as well.

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Crazy Cat vs. Lazy Cat

As I have mentioned in this blog before I have two cats. They have entirely different personalities. Charlotte is an insanely crazy, bonkers kitty. I should have known when I picked her out at the SPCA because she was hanging off of her cage door. She treats all of our furniture like her personal jungle gym and likes to sleep balanced precariously on things so not much has changed from the time she was a wee little kitten only a few months old and now when she’s an 8 year old cat.

Scout on the other hand is the exact opposite and is extremely lazy. Consequently she’s a fatty. In her defense she has always been chunky even when she was a tiny little kitten. She looked like she swallowed a baseball. Now she just looks like a big blob. She’s definitely gotten lazier with age. She used to chase toy mice around like crazy, but now she kind of half-heartedly will bat a new one around for a few minutes.

You can totally tell their personalities when playing with the laser pointer. The laser pointer we have is attached to a keychain which makes it jingle when you pick it up. The cats have developed a Pavlovian response and come running when they hear that noise. I don’t know why Scout gets so excited because this is how she plays with the laser pointer now in her old age laziness. She runs and sits under the cat tree and does this. She wouldn’t cooperate for my video, but occasionally she’ll stick a paw out as if she’s trying to get the dot.

Charlotte on the other hand is insanely crazy and bouncing off the walls. She kind of acts like this even when she’s not chasing a laser pointer. She doesn’t really jump at the walls then, but the running thing she does all the time no matter what. Usually it ends with her hanging off the sofas, which I am not a fan of for obvious reasons.


Songs I Love: Things Will Change by Treetop Flyers

I’ve recently been taken by the song “Things Will Change” by English folk rock band the Treetop Flyers, which is off their debut album The Mountain Moves. The band is obviously heavily influenced by 70s folk rock artists like Crosby, Stills, and Nash and America. This song particularly evokes the latter band though not all of their songs do. I don’t think my father has purposefully listened to new music since roundabout 1985, but I feel like this is totally something he would enjoy. I’m waiting for them to be featured in the New York Times column Music Match in which Val Haller tells Baby Boomers about current bands they may like based on bands from their era. Though she has already used both Crosby, Stills, and Nash and America as comparison bands so maybe not.

Anyway, if you like 70s folk rock, I highly suggest you check out “Things Will Change” along with the rest of the Treetop Flyers album. Though maybe don’t actually do it by watching this video. I just watched the video for the first time when looking to embed it in this post and had to stop watching because it was making me dizzy.

Here listen to it via Soundcloud instead.


Tears for Fears cover Ready to Start

Speaking of bands I didn’t realize were back together (as I was yesterday), Tears for Fears just released a cover version of Arcade Fire’s Ready to Start. I guess they’ve officially been back together for quite awhile, but really haven’t been doing much in the way of touring or releasing new music so I don’t feel too bad about not realizing that they were around again. Anyway, this seems like the perfect song for them together. It lends itself nicely to the synth pop music of Tears for Fears. Now I’ll be interested to see what they do next.


The Return of Toad the Wet Sprocket

Way back in the 1990s (please no one remind how long ago that actually was) I was a big fan of the band Toad the Wet Sprocket. They last released an album back in 1997 after which they broke up. Wikipedia informs me that during the intervening years they have played some live gigs here and there together, but they weren’t officially back together during that time. I never bothered to try and keep track of them given that I didn’t think the band existed any longer, but had I been paying attention I apparently would have known via their Facebook page that they finished recording a new album back in March.

I first became aware of their reemergence from a tweet by Sara Watkins. The band has decided to release the new record, New Constellation,  on their own label and were seeking help via Kickstarter to do so. Sara tweeted about the Kickstarter campaign in it’s few remaining hours saying that the band had been hugely influential on her. I know people feel different ways about Kickstarter particularly in relation to established acts, but I choose to support the things I love. Having greatly loved this band during my high school years I decided I was willing to kick in $15 to get the album early along with 4 extra bonus tracks even though the project had been fully funded for almost 2 months at that point. They managed to fund their $50,000 goal in less than a day with a final tally of $264,762. I guess I wasn’t the only one who missed Toad the Wet Sprocket.

For everyone who is not a Kickstarter backer and is not receiving the album early it comes out on September 17. I received my download two weeks ago and have listened to the new album a couple of times since then. The first thing I will say about it is that it still sounds like Toad the Wet Sprocket, which means that it immediately took me back to the sounds of 90s popular music. I’m not in that musical head space any more, so it threw me a little bit when I first started listening to it.  I’m actually not a huge fan of the first single off the album, which is the title track “New Constellation”, so I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to like the album after hearing that. I still like that track the least, but it’s grown on me a little and there are some other songs I really love, particularly “Golden Age”.

If you liked Toad the Wet Sprocket back in the day you should like this album too and should check it out when it comes out in about a month. In the meantime you can actually download a couple of their older songs along with a couple of tracks off the new album for free on Noisetrade.

Of course as seems to be the case with every band I would be interested in seeing live this fall, they are not touring in Baltimore. They’ll be hitting both DC and Philly, but not here. Sigh.

Cards with Friends

My friend Katie decided to celebrate her birthday by having some friends over to play games for the afternoon. I wound up playing a game of Phase 10, which is a rummy type game but played with a special deck like Uno that includes Skips and Wild Cards. It reminds me a lot of a rummy game I have played with family since I was a little kid using just a regular deck of cards called Shanghai rummy.

My family is big into playing cards and it’s something I always do when I’m with them, but I don’t ever really get to play cards other than the few times per year that I see them. If they play anything usually my friends and my husband’s family play board games. I like board games too, but sometimes I miss just playing a game of cards. It would be fun to just sit around on a weekend night playing cards with my husband and a couple of friends or even just playing a game of cards with my husband, but that’s not something we ever do. My husband my doesn’t really like to play cards. He would rather sit around and play on his computer never mind that it’s not social at all.

Anyway, since I get to do it so rarely these days I appreciate whatever chance I get to play some cards. I need to make more friends that like to play cards.