Tunes of the Week Edition No. 6

Published 6/7/15 by:

This is always the time of year where I feel like throwing on some Elton John style shades, rolling the windows down, and embracing my inner Penny Lane. And one simply cannot act or pretend to be as boss as Penny Lane* without a soundtrack. Whether you’re dragging yourself to work during this warm weather, heading to the beach with friends, or celebrating something really fantastic like graduating from high school, you should always have something rolling in the background to bring you back to this moment in time. So here are some ideas of what to listen to while the wind of the road takes care of the rest.

*Please view Almost Famous immediately if you’re unaware of this reference.

 

Babyshambles’ Nothing Comes to Nothing – Have you ever had a place to go, and you’ve tried on essentially everything you own? Put this song on, and you will be satisfied with the first outfit you throw on. I’m not kidding. This song makes everything feel good.

 

The Howls’ All – For those of you not in the know: I may be the biggest Friday Night Lights fan on the planet. I had a podcast where I interviewed the majority of the cast members, and I just want to hug Jason Katims with everything I have. If the show were still on, this haunting, yet triumphant song would absolutely make the soundtrack. Can’t you just see the Panther’s field lights in the distance as you listen? PS Watch this show if you haven’t. It’s on Netflix. PPS This song was featured on another great show: Kingdom. It stars one of my FNL favorites Mr. Matt Lauria.

 

Adam Ezra Group’s Takin Off – Do you like Pearl Jam? Probably listen to this immediately.

 

The Helio Sequence’s Can’t Say No – For those of us looking for more tunes to add to our Flaming Lips-esque playlists. This is the type of melody I like to listen to while cooking, doing laundry, or other mundane activities. Something about it just makes me want to sway my hips, and eases me out of the fact that I’m doing things that have to be done, rather than things I want to be doing.

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Tunes of the Week Edition No. 5

Published 6/20/14 by:

Well folks, school is out for the summer! I now have free time to peruse music at my leisure, and bestow upon you the tunes that are piquing my interest! During the hot weather I definitely find myself gravitating towards country music; I can’t help it, there’s just something about a chorus that includes margaritas, jean shorts and goodnight kisses. However, since I’m exactly one day into my student/camper-free summer, the tunes this week aren’t deep fried yet. Watch out for that next week. For now, please enjoy my eclectic choices, which demonstrate how chaotic life has been the past two weeks as I entered grades, data and a sauna of a classroom.

 

 

Deptford Goth‘s Feel Real – If you’re into Bloc Party or The Postal Service, I think you’ll dig this song. It’s catchy, and reminds me of night time car rides, and goosebumps. Especially goosebumps inspired by night time car rides with crushes. What? TMI? Deal.

 

 

Sugar and the Hi-Lows‘ Two Day High – This is a super duper duo comprised of Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs, both of whom you may know from the multitude of television shows that their songs have graced while they were solo artists. They recently opened up for Ingrid Michaelson, which is where I encountered them, and now I’m obsessed. Their whole album is like one long jazzy dinner party that you never want to end. So, yeah, buy it already.

 

 

 

 

Tom Odell‘s Long Way Down – Tom Odell is like the long lost friend you never knew you were missing. This song is stark, beautiful, and builds to one hell of a crescendo. The song is featured on the soundtrack for The Fault In Our Stars, and I’m never turning back.

 

 

 

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About the Author – The Proust Questionnaire

Published 6/18/14 by:

Picture of Kaitlin

 

Vanity Fair runs a monthly post in which they ask celebrities the Proust Questionnaire. I doubt I’m ever going to be a celebrity, so in order to better inform you about me as a blogger and human, I thought I’d fill it out. I want you to know that I took twenty minutes to respond to this, so these are my gut reactions. Tread lightly…

 

What is your idea of happiness? Good company, and no alarm clock set for the next day.

What is your greatest fear? Being alone in a body of water and drowning.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? I’m not much of a historian, but I’d like to think that I would’ve been an abolitionist, so Sojourner Truth.

Which living person do you most admire? It’s a tie: Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell. They both can write and sing, and neither of them do anything they don’t want to do.

What trait do you have that you dislike the most? I am an inherently judgmental person. I judge people, homes, conversations, intellect etc. without even thinking about it.

What trait do you most dislike in others? Carelessness. How hard is it to care, just a little bit?

What is your greatest extravagance? I very rarely paint my own toenails.

What is your favorite journey? When I graduated from high school I went on a twelve day trip down the coast of California with my family. I fell in love with it.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Preparedness. There are rare occasions where authenticity lies within winging it.

What do you dislike most about your appearance? My fair skin. I blush easily (when drinking or embarrassed), and get sunburns driving in the car.

When do you lie? When I’ve half-assed something…I just pretend I didn’t know any better.

What word or phrase do you overuse? It is what it is.

What is your biggest regret? Not pursuing writing, publishing or editing.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? So far? Teaching and my family.

When and where were you happiest? This will sound odd, but middle school. I had a really good grasp on academics, and I was a fairly good athlete. I think it may have been the time that I was the most well-rounded. I also love a good school dance.

Which talent would you most like to have? I often dream about being a singer and having a tour bus filled with all my favorite people. To be able to sing, and make people happy by doing it, would be quite the talent.

What is your current state of mind? Exhausted and frazzled. My grades were due this week, and my sixth graders are being wily.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Teaching adolescents how to write with conviction.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? A piano that gets passed down through many generations of the same family.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A sea turtle.

What is your most treasured possession? I’m a big fan of things…I can’t choose just one.

What do you regard as the deepest pit of misery? The time in-between college and your first job, where you have no experience, so no one will hire you, but you need experience to be hired. It’s literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me. You feel helpless, idiotic and poor.

Where would you like to live? Some place where it’s in the 70s and breezy all the time. I think that’s maybe San Francisco?

What is your favorite occupation? Music supervisor – anyone who gets to compile soundtracks for television or film.

Who are your heroes in real life? Jim Henson, John Green, Ellen, and Malala.

What do you most dislike? Deadlines and grading.

How would you like to die? Uneventfully at a ripe old age.

What is your motto? You can’t win ’em all.

 

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Book Review: John Corey Whaley’s “Noggin”

Published 6/17/14 by:

Noggin Cover

 

 

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to come back to life? Have you ever considered what it would be like to have your fairly perfect life taken away from you at the peak of your teenage existence? Sarcastic, charming and earnest narrator Travis Coates is living an absurd and unbelievably lucky life. And it’s his second go at it.

 

When we meet Travis he’s 21-years-old chronologically speaking, but in reality, he died at the age of sixteen because of cancer, and five years later is back from the dead. No, this is not a supernatural thriller; It’s really the most unique coming of age story I’ve ever read. Travis was living a very ordinary teenage life. It got cut short, and now he gets to live an extraordinary teenage life, but with someone else’s body from the neck down.  Allow me to explain: Travis volunteered for a cutting edge (pun intended) medical trial in which his head (which was perfectly healthy and cancer-free) was extracted from his dying body, and frozen. Doctors made no promises to his family as to how soon science would catch up to Travis’ frosted skull, and so everyone was left in a hopeful limbo. Travis’ quirky, thoughtful girlfriend Cate, his (very in the closet) best friend Kyle, his mom, and his dad waited patiently for Travis to maybe return to the living, but five years is a long time, and people move on. Then, Travis woke up.

 

Imagine waking up and being an actual walking modern miracle. That’s Travis’ new existence. Now imagine what it’s like to see what your death did to the people you loved. Then try to wrap your head around (so punny) the fact that your death eventually was a catalyst for your favorite people to move on. Travis was not forgotten, but his remembering, and the way he wants things to be, are very much in the past for his friends and family. Meanwhile he feels like he’s only been asleep for about ten minutes.

“Up until that point, any time someone said my story ‘inspired’ them, I cringed and I wanted to tell them all the reasons why missing everyone’s lives and coming back and being the only one who was the same was the most terrifying thing I could ever imagine.” (Whaley, 293)

 

This is a novel that explores what second chances are, how difficult growing up can be once, and the struggles of it happening a second time without your friends. Travis’ relentlessness in refusing to let go of the past, which to him, unfortunately, still feels like the present, is both heartbreaking and frustrating. His love for Cate never wavers, but time is a beast even a modern miracle like Travis can’t tame:

“They say you can fall out of love with someone just as easily as you fall into it. But is that also the case when the person you love dies? Do you have to fall out of love with them so you can fall in love with someone else?” (Whaley, 247)

 

I was captivated by both the concept of this book, as well as the narrator. Travis has the ability to be reflective, and wise, but his teenage spirit is evoked when his opinions clash with Cate and Kyle. Herein lies the rub: being resurrected ain’t easy.

Book Grade: A-

 

 

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The Ultimate Role…If I Were An Actress

Published 5/28/14 by:

 

Dream Role Photos

 

I recently watched a YouTube video in which the absurdly beautiful cast of MTV’s Teen Wolf was asked what character past or present would be their dream role. The answers ranged from Rachel Green in “FRIENDS” to Neo in “The Matrix”. As someone who has been an avid film and television enthusiast since first falling for The Muppets at the ripe age of three, I’ve been thinking about my choices for days. Here’s the rub, though: I’m not an actress. I’m making my choices purely based on things like cast chemistry, the writing of the show, and how fun it would be to play that character. I did not approach the creation of this list with any type of thespian knowledge or prowess. That being said, I think I made some really educated decisions. I’d also love to hear what inspired choices all of you would make! Let me know in the comments!

 

1. Carla Tortelli from “Cheers” –  Carla is the perfect example of a Bostonian waitress; She’s quick-witted, snarky, and can talk sports with the best of ’em. She doesn’t put up with any bull, because if that’s what she wanted, she could just stay home with her thousand kids. I envy her one-liners, and the cast of characters that Cheers pulled together in that bar where everybody knows your name.

 

2. Penny Lane from “Almost Famous” – I don’t think a cooler girl has ever been written in a film or television show. Not only does she embody rock and roll, but she loves it in a charming and enveloping way. I don’t think I realized what a rock and roll lifestyle was, until I encountered Penny. Her credo “it’s all happening” makes every moment seem thrilling. I’d love to play someone so adored, complex, and free-spirited. In terms of cast: who wouldn’t want to hang out with Russell and William all day? And maybe squeeze in a moment or two with Lester Bangs? Sigh.

 

3. Kate Austen from “LOST” – This was a really hard decision because I only wanted one totally hardcore chick on the list, and my alternative choice was Sidney Bristow from “Alias”. Ultimately I went with Kate because she’s a rebel with a cause, and I dig that about her. Kate is the polar opposite of who I am, and I think it would be so incredible to play a girl who’s so adventurous, agile and intuitive. Additionally, I wouldn’t balk at the opportunity to kiss Jack and Sawyer. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

 

4. Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years” – There can only be one girl next door on this list, so Joey Potter didn’t make the cut. Winnie is smart, approachable and has great headbands. Her family suffers the loss of a brother to the Vietnam War, and she seamlessly transitions from awkward pre-teen to lanky, beautiful teenager throughout the show. She’s an every-girl, but with the benefit of an awesome era to grow up in. This might be my dream role. Also, it would be really fun to “TV date” the same boy from ages 11 to 18, because not many folks get that experience.

 

 

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