Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday morning (851-860)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here

851. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - 'That's What's Up'
852. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - 'Mayla'
853. Alexander - 'A Million Years' - Nice.
854. Alexander - 'Truth'.
855. The Polyphonic Spree - 'You Don't Know Me'.
856. The Polyphonic Spree - 'We Crawl'
857. The Polyphonic Spree - 'Running Away' - These are no 'Hold Me Now' or 'Reach for the Sun'.
858. The Holloways - 'Generator'
859. Missy Higgins & Dan & Paul Kelly - 'Droving Woman' - 21 verses of Banjo Patterson-esque ballad, starting with a woman talking with a friend at her husband's funeral. Goosebumps around the 7 minute mark.
860. Missy Higgins - 'If I Could Start Today Again'. A Paul Kelly cover.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Temporary tattoo removal (New tricks 19/26)

I did the Swisse Color Run last weekend and slapped on the temporary tattoos provided in my registration pack. The small one I put on my cheek came off in the first shower, but I've been living with a 'happy' leg for the last week. Soap and water haven't done the trick and neither, curiously, has shaving.

With warmer weather coming up this weekend, I'm ready to have my skin back. So I've turned to the internets for some answers. Below are some of the most common suggestions for removing a 'temporary' tattoo that's outstayed its welcome.

1. Lotion or moisturiser. I have plenty of tubs and bottles of these things around the house but the suggestion to leave it for an hour or so made me shelve that idea.

2. Sticky tape. Essentially slap a piece of sticky tape over the top of the tattoo, rub it a little (like putting the tattoo on) and then peel off, bringing the tattoo with it. Apparently, you're meant to repeat as many times as necessary and then use ice after to reduce redness. Um... no.

3. Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. I don't have nail polish in the house, let alone nail polish remover, so that one kinda excluded itself.

4. Windex. A la My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Ha ha. I think the closest we have in the house is an ancient bottle of glasses cleaner.

5. Baby oil or petroleum jelly. The plus with both of these is that they only require a minute or two of "soaking" and then wipe off. No baby oil in the house, so I substituted olive oil and even just rubbing a little on, the tattoo started to come off onto the cotton ball. A few swipes later and it's gone. Okay, I smell like a salad, but the tattoo is gone (and there's no need for ice or a decontamination unit).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

(Pre) School

Dear Boy turns two in January and when he returns to child care later that month, he'll be moved up into the pre-kinder room. My heart skips a beat every time I think about it because pre-kinder is the step before kinder. And kinder, in my NSW-born-and-educated mind, is the first year of school.

When we moved south of the border to Victoria, we had to learn the ropes all over again. That stuff you just know because that's how it always was... was suddenly different. There was a whole new bunch of politicians to learn and not really care about; the RTA became VICRoads and you don't need to get yearly pinkslips before you do your rego each year; and you don't have to buy your own greenslip cause that's already incorporated into the rego price; middys became pots and there was a notable obsession with parmas. Lots of big things and little things changed.

And suddenly, all the public high schools have disappeared. There are colleges and a million independent schools. I'm sure there are regular old public high schools out there but I can't find them on a map. Where's This Suburb Name High School? Or That Suburb Name High School? At face-value, I can't tell the difference between public and private anymore.

A brochure for independent high schools laded in my letter box earlier this year. Some of my mothers' group friends have already put their sons on waitlists for these places. With the yearly tuition costs being mind-poppingly astronomical and most founded on particular religious denominations, it is highly unlikely Dear Boy will be attending those. That many of them are also single-sex schools gives me even greater pause. That's more of a metro thing rather than a state thing as it's common in Sydney as well, but it still feels like a foreign concept. Do boys do better in single-sex schools? How's he going to learn to interact with girls and women? How much more of a burden would it put on me in terms of his relationships with and ideas about women to educate him with only boys?

But that's all so far away. Much more front and centre is what I once knew as Kindy and now know as Prep. Pre-school has become... I don't know what.

Of course it's all becoming even more confusing with the introduction of three-year-old and four-year-old kindy, with government funding for this one but not that one. And that one's compulsory but not that one. I don't really want to think about it. I mean, Dear Boy won't be starting "school" until 2017.

But there are wait lists for kindy and tight zoning for the really great public schools and none for the completely average ones. So the thinking is starting now. Are the kindy programs at his current childcare any good? How long are the waitlists for four-year-old kinder when we're only just now getting phone calls for childcare places we were wait listed for months before Dear Boy was even born? How soon before 2017 do we need to shift into a zone to be eligible for prep enrolment at the local primary school?

Deep down I have the feeling that Dear Boy will thrive academically wherever we put him - city, country, suburban, small, large, private or public. More of a concern for me are the social aspects of a good school. I want him to have a peer group that lets him thrive, that accepts his nature to be bookish or sporty or funny or quiet or some combination of these or none of these, and that challenges him to be better without crushing his spirit or requiring him to crush someone else's.

But I don't think they have selective schools or zones for that.

This post has been simmering away on a back burner in my drafts folder for a few months now. It was scooped a few days ago by Dad Down Under, but I figure I'll release it into the world anyway because I'd love to hear about everyone's experiences with public versus private education, NSW v VIC or single-sex v co-education.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two years in crossword puzzles

I bought this crossword puzzle book two years ago. It's yellowed with age and curled at the edges but it's almost finished. Two years of fleeting, quiet moments later and everything bar the cryptics are complete.

Two years ago, Lovely Husband was in hospital. And I was seven months pregnant, sitting on uncomfortable chairs at his bedside while he was waiting, hungry, for surgery that never seemed to come. Before that there were late night dashes to hospitals, always late at night and always with him writhing in pain in the front seat. Always with the same uncomfortable chairs. 

There was morphine. A lot of it. So much that a nurse baulked and refused to administer it and the registrar had to come back and give it himself. His name was Titus and, after the relief he gave my husband, we joked that we'd name our firstborn child after him. 

There was misdiagnosis, or at least, a poor scan that didn't show what was obviously there. And so there were scratched heads and no answers and release from the hospital with a letter for the GP to follow up.

There was a trip to a tiny country hospital with a one room emergency department, where I lay on a gurney next to Lovely Husband and tried to sleep as we waited for the on-call doctor who never arrived, and instead chose to give instructions over the phone.

There was a trip to the regional hospital in our old home town, where we tried to convince them that Lovely Husband wasn't drug-seeking.

There was my ever-growing belly and a collection of wierd phone photos. And still no answers.

And finally, finally, there was the last trip to the emergency room and a scan that found what had been there all along. There was official hospital admission and a bed in a room with three old men. There were promises of surgery and daily fasting and then late night plates of leftover sandwiches when other emergency surgeries came piling in.

And while we waited, I filled in words across and down and ate noodles in cups filled with hot water from an urn in a tiny kitchenette. I bought a weekly car parking ticket and waddled through the corridors and left after visiting hours.

And finally he came home. With holes and gauze and painkillers.

A few weeks later, there was a Christmas Eve trip back to the emergency department, this time with quarantine signs and full body paper gowns and face masks. And I sat through that long day on another hard hospital chair, nine months pregnant and filling in crosswords, as they rehydrated Lovely Husband.

Days later, the crossword puzzle was packed into my bag. And it sat untouched in my own hospital room, in the birth centre and later on the ward.

Months later, the book was rescued from under a pile of papers and slowly filled. A word here and a word there as I shook off my baby brain and Lovely Husband or I stole quiets moments to ourselves in bed, in the bathroom, in the sunshine next to a baby on a blanket.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Taking stock

I always feel more reflective towards the end of the year: the end of semester in October; finishing work and preparations in November; more preparations and family holidays in December; and then new plans in January. So I'm hitching up to the lovely Pip's Taking Stock posts - and getting down on paper in a blog post all the stuff and things and ideas that are weaving in and out of our lives at the moment. 

Making: Christmas presents now that the Softies for Mirabel are away
Cooking: from Save with Jamie because working my way through a cookbook is easier than writing a weekly meal plan from scratch.
Drinking: coffee-flavoured cold drinks
Reading: the last of the Jack Reacher novels
Wanting: more sleep (what mum doesn't?)
Looking: forward to our holiday up north
Playing: Lady Gaga for my boy ('Bad Romance' is our happy dancing song - ra-ma-ra-ma-ma-gaga-oh-la-la)
Deciding: whether to get Dear Boy a balance bke or a tricycle for his birthday in early January (he's a gangly little speed demon and has almost outgrow his current set of wheels)
Wishing: for a win in one of the car/house competitions I'm entered in
Enjoying: ABC iview and SBS On Demand
Waiting: to hear about work next year (oh, the waiting!)
Liking: having blocks of butter in my fridge to make Christmas biscuits for a little get-together next weekend (We don't keep butter in the house at  any other time of year)
Wondering: when Melbourne's going to get its act together and decide it's not still winter (I want to take all the doonas and blankets off my bed, so c'mon already!)
Loving: my sister-in-law's simultaneous sweetness and raucousness
Pondering: my future career options and potentially going back to university to retrain for a job with a little more security
Considering: making a felt Christmas tree with decorations to keep Dear Boy from pulling the actual tree apart.

Watching: my feverish boy watch Little Charlie Bear while he eats rice bubbles from a bowl with his fingers.
Hoping: his fever breaks soon
Marvelling: at how well he did last night, lying on a hospital gurney, while a student doctor pricked his fingers over and over, squeezing his blood into little vials
Needing: more sleep (because needing is different to wanting)
Smelling: whatever that ED nurse was wearing last night. So fruity.
Wearing: pajamas for as long as I can, every day.
Following: Inked in Colour and Life Love and Hiccups in every forum I can - cause I'm a gutz like that.
Noticing: just how many stories there are like this in the world, my own included.
Knowing: it's an uphill and ongoing struggle to change a culture where (some/a lot of) men think it's just not that big a deal.
Thinking: about happier things (or trying to).
Admiring: people who use their talents to try and make a difference.
Buying: nothing this week, but am going to have to restrain myself from picking up unnecessary craft supplies come pay day.
Getting: greyer by the day
Bookmarking: this because Pinterest was non-functional
Opening: my first copy of Cosmopolitan in over a decade and feeling and not feeling at all inspired, enlightened or empowered.
Giggling: every time Dear Boy asks "what's dat noise?"
Feeling: leg sore from The Color Run and a little worried for my boy.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (841-850)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here

This week's list comes from friends' discussion of some of their favourite songs, those they just love, those they chose to walk down the aisle and those from funny or significant times of their lives. So many of the songs sound like high school to me, like the songs my friends were listening to and the bands they were skipping school and training down to Sydney to see. 

841. Barenaked Ladies - 'If I Had a Million Dollars'
842. Jimmy Eat World -'Sweetness'
843. Ben Kweller - 'Sundress'
844. Magic Dirt - 'Dirty Jeans'
845. Frenzal Rhomb - 'Never Had So Much Fun'
846. Edwin McCain - 'I'll Be'
847. Unwritten Law - 'Cailin'
848. John Butler - 'Spring'
849. The Cat Empire - 'The Chariot'
850. The Cat Empire - 'Car Song'

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's talk nicknames

Dear Boy's name is technically a nickname. We gave him a formal and unusually classical name that is for documentation and passports and doctors' offices and perhaps business sometime in the distant future. His preferred shortened name is for friends and family and the labels on his clothes and the sign above his cubbyhole at childcare. It's the name he calls himself.

It's the name he calls himself when we practice shaking hands and say: "Hello, my name is Mummy, what's your name?". He's still figuring out what "how are you today?" means.

But he also knows himself by other names. He knows when I call out Buster or Buster-man or Buddy or Buddy-boy that I am calling for him. He likes the sound of Buddy and swills it around his mouth and repeats it over and over.

He knows Darling as a term of endearment but not what that means. When we pay for groceries or sneak through the drive-thru, he calls out 'thanks, darling' from his pram or his carseat.

He knows Sweet Potato and Cuddlepie are his funny names. He laughs when we turn the Small Potatos themsong into his own tune and impersonate Billy Crystal's pecan pie schtick from When Harry Met Sally.

His baby nickname was Smoodger. There are official and 'urban' definitions of this word (yuk) but we used it in our own way - inventing new use adjectives and verbs: his cheeks were smoodgy and perfect for smoodging. It briefly morphed into the Smoodger-hideen. Which is a dumb nickname. For so many reasons.

As he grows his names grow and change too. Some will fade away and some will stick. Some will be acquired in wierd and wonderful ways. Some will amuse and some will mortify him. Some will be dumb and some will be said with love. And I wonder which ones he will hold on to.

Lilybett is one of my nicknames. One that my grandfather chose for me when I was small and he remains the only person to really ever call me that. And now I've chosen it for myself here because it was always my favourite.

Do you have a collection of names for yourself or your kids? Do they come with stories or are their origins lost with time?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bon voyage, little softies

Six little softies are making their way off to Melbourne, where they'll join in on a little softie soiree in the window of CAE's Info Shop in Degraves St, before being distributed to a few Mirabel Foundation kids.

These little guys started life as a pile of fabric and a few ideas, with a few flat-out unstuffed instagram pics along the way (#softiesformirabel). One of them even hit the big-time and got their own pattern and tutorial for download. And now they're all done. Stuffed, stitched up and crowded into a box. I'm going to try and make it into the city with Dear Boy and take in the CAE softie display when we do our Christmas window walk-about. If you're in town, go and check it out! Maybe you'll see one of these guys there. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (831-840)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here

831. Lily Allen - 'Hard Out Here'- Hilarious. And disturbing that she's singing all this with her high-pitched girly voice. I especially love the balloon parody of Robin Thike's 'Blurred Lines'.
832. Pentatonix - 'Daft Punk' - So... this is an a cappella group, who've done a medley of Daft Punk tunes. It's actually... really... kinda... great. But then I'm an a cappella fan.
833. Pentatonix - 'Royal' - They've also done this. It's pretty great too, although a little odd see a guy sing with a voice so similar to Lorde's.
834. The Preatures - 'Take a Card'.
835. The Preatures - 'Manic Baby' - I hear gentle Suzy Quatro and The Runaways but see Solid Gold dancers. That's a weird combination.
836. FKA Twigs - 'Water Me' - Yeah, not for me.

837. Gossling - 'Monday, Tuesday Wednesday' - Holy Moley. It's been bugging me since last week where I heard her voice before... and well looky here. Woolworths. Who knew.
838. Hilltop Hoods - 'Fifty in Five'.
839. Hilltop Hoods feat. Sia - 'I Love It'.
840. Hey Rosetta! - 'Young Glass' - Love.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mermaid softie with pattern (New tricks 17 & 18/26)

I've been crafting up a colourful little storm for Softies for Mirabel. I'll be doing a little reveal post when they're all finished and ready to be packed off to some awesome kids but, at the moment, there are six little laddies and lassies laying flat-out on the tackle box I'm currently calling a sewing kit. One them is a bit of a home concoction - a mermaid, based on Emma Martin's Black Apple Doll (which I downloaded from Martha Stewart) but with a little something extra and a little less sewing to do (huzzah!).

Because I'm starting to run behind on my New Tricks resolution to learn 26 new things this year, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and learn a few more photoshop skills making a digital pattern and then learn how to put here in .pdf format.

New Tricks No. 17/26: Making a digital pattern

I found a slightly-difficult to read tutorial for this on pinterest (love you, Pinterest). I skipped quite a few of the early steps because none of the pattern pieces for the mermaid softie were bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. Essentially what I learned from this was how to use the pen tool and, more importantly, the add-an-anchor-point pen tool in Photoshop. Curves! Easy to select! Amazing!

All of this helped me turn a quick Sharpie sketch into a pretty grey solid (okay, some of the curves are a little... hmmm... straight... but people are better at cutting a curve with scissors than I am with the pen tool - and this is about learning, not perfection).

Photoshop also has an easy .pdf save. A quick jump over to Adobe Acrobat for a .pdf document merge and bam - my sweet three-page pattern and tutorial, all ready to print and cut. Now, how to share it with everyone?

New Tricks No. 18/26: Uploading a .pdf to Blogger

After a quick search through the nets, it seems Google Drive is the easiest way for doing this kind of thing via blogger. I used this step-by-step guide provided by My Blogger Lab, although  I ran into a bit of trouble trying to find not only the quick access tool bar and 'file' button but also the 'Embed this .pdf file' option. I suspect a few different reasons for this: my Google drive could be out of date or a newer version than in the guide or I'm incredibly blind and just couldn't find it (it's actually in the final version below rather than the place where you need it - helpful, no?). In any case, my options didn't look like the ones in the guide. I finally managed to find a unique URL link in the 'Share' area, and then manually added the guide's HTML code (for an 'iframe') around it in my Blogger HTML editor. You adjust the width (default 640 pixels) according to your own needs and voila! A downloadable .pdf with a preview right there at the bottom of the post. It is there, right? Please tell me you see it.

I've set it up so anyone can download the file, you don't even need to sign in to a Google account. There's a downward pointing arrow just under the 'file' toolbar (oh look, there it is!) - that's your download button. This pattern is only being made available for personal/non-commercial/not-for-profit purposes (as the original doll was). Copyright is a murky thing once money's involved - and I don't personally want to piss off friends of Martha Stewart - she did time, man.

So, there you have it. Two new lessons learned and I'm a little closer to keeping a New Year's resolution.

I'm not sure it's the prettiest option available and it's a bit irritating when I work on the post or view the page, skipping right down to the .pdf as it loads. So I am keen to search a bit further to see if there are any non-google options or even ways to upload a .pdf without all the hoopla.

Edit - I've taken the viewable .pdf out - it was driving me bonkers that it was jumping straight to the iframe as it was loading. Instead I've included a link below where you can download the pattern and tutorial.

for the Mermaid softie pattern and tutorial

Have you come across a good way to upload files to Blogger or other blog platforms? Have you made a Softie for Mirabel softie this year?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (811-830)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here

Thanks to Kylie for the recommendations this week. She pointed me in the direction of Hello Giggle's list of Aussie and international singers and groupsHello Giggles has numbers 811-822 already collected into a Spotify playlist, so I've cherry-picked those for my list after setting it to play and letting it run through my Friday afternoon.

811. Dan Croll - 'From Nowhere' - Cheery, but... not cheery.
812. Wardell - 'Call It What You Want' - These are two of Steven Spielberg's kids. Curious, aren't you?
813. The Preatures - 'Is This How You Feel?' - Triple J Unearthed alumni. I like them.
814. Betty Who - 'Somebody Loves You' - Oh my god. This is so fantastically 80s with a touch of Janet Jackson's 'Miss You Much', no? The Australian accent kills me. Took me a minute or two to realise it's the song used in the Home Depot flashmob proposal I linked to a few weeks ago.
815. NONONO - 'Pumpin Blood'.
816. Panama Wedding - 'All of the People'.
817. Gossling - 'Wild Love' - Weird. Nice. Lovely Husband's lovely lady sound with a complex instrumentation.
818. Highs - 'Summer Dress' - Amazeballs.
819. Swaai Boys - 'Camilla' - Hand me a fruity drink with an umbrella in it. This song makes me want to dig my toes into the sand.
820. Ball Park Music - 'All I Want Is You' - This reminds me of my brother's band. With a lady added.
821. Haerts - 'Wings' - Those guitar riffs. Man.Where have I heard them before?
822. Cardiknox - 'Technicolor Dreaming'.
823. The Griswolds - 'Heart of a Lion' - Bahaha awesome lyrics.
824. The Ceremonies - 'Land of Gathering'.
825. Bear Mountain - 'Faded'.
826. Sheppard - 'Let Me Down Easy' - I'm half sure I've already included this on the list. But only half.
827. Sheppard - 'Something is Missing' - Lovely accoustic session. Harmonies are incredible. And though their other song has more recognition value, this is near perfect execution. Oh lord, the harmonies.
828. Elle King - 'Good To Be A Man' - Holy banjo and a lady dressed up as a redneck! Double exclamation marks!!
829. Elle King - 'I Told You I Was Mean' - A voice full of razors and gin.
830. Elle King - 'Playing for Keeps' - Still good. The full backing on this takes it to a new level.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hi Friday. I'm so pleased you're here.

It's been a bit of a weird week for me.

On Monday, Dear Boy and I got lost...okay I got lost riding my bike to a new park. So I logged quite a few extra kilometres on these legs than I'd planned to. Physical exhaustion is not a great state for caring for a toddler.

On Tuesday, we headed to our old faithful park in the hopes we'd find it in a state of public holiday dessertion. Not quite. The glorious sunshine had brought our the hordes. And not just hordes, but noisy hordes conducting Melbourne Cup sweeps, teaching their children how to calculate oldds and what a trifecta is. Lovely.

On Wednesday, I was having a great day up until 10 o'clock when my boss called to inform me that the higher ups on some kind of committee had knocked back my full-time contract for next year. And not only that but they weren't able to guarantee I'd get a contract matching the part-time one I'd been on this year, or that there would even be any casual work for me to do. Once again, there's no financial security beyond November when this contract runs out. I hung up the phone, and for the first time, cried in front of a colleague.

I've never had ongoing employment. Not once in my whole working life has anyone ever wanted to take a chance of hiring me permanently and, up until Dear Boy came along, I figured this was the price I was paying for being in my line of work. But I was working my way there, moving forward and slowly, slowly, trying to build a "career". That one phone call fairly well stuck a massive stop sign in my career path. A Road Block, a Do Not Enter, a Trespassers will be Prosecuted type of notice. I felt worn down and demoralised in a way that seeped into my bones. I know that this time it wasn't a personal decision. It was a faceless committee who has never met me making a decision about things they really know nothing about. As committees often do. But it's made me feel insignificant in a way that's taking me a little while to shake off.

On Thursday, I powered through my exam marking, allthough I felt so helplessly angry at my institution that I wanted to throw them all from the highest building on campus. I chased down students who hadn't submitted their work and those who had submitted all their work but never turned up to class. I collated their marks and worked out if I fit the bell-curve or would have to justify the number of HDs or fails on the books. I looked at a semester's worth of work, mine and my students, broken down into a spreadsheet and a final list of numbers.

On Thursday afternoon, I arrived at childcare just as they were about to phone me to come and pick up my boy. Teething, they thought. Dear Boy walked into my arms told me "so happy to see you; cuddle, Mummy" and promptly burst into tears. Then, when we pulled into the driveway, he vomitted all over himself. And then spent the next two hours vomitting. On himself, on me, on towels. Never quite in the bowl.

And today? Well today they're announcing the government funded research grants for 2014. And even though I'm fairly sure I won't be on the list of recipients, I can't handle any more disappointment.

How has your week been? I hope it's been better than mine. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Very Knitted Catepillar

Dear Boy is an incredibly lucky boy with an abundance of Grandmas and Great Grandmas.

He has a traditional white-haired one who gives bosomy cuddles and sends birthday cards with five or ten dollars; he has one who skypes with us and who he 'talks' to whenever he picks up an object and pretends it's a telephone; he has one who will get down on the floor with him and play until he's through; and he has one who is crafty. Far more crafty than me.*

On her last visit she came bearing a set of knitted fruit and food and creatures from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is one of Dear Boy's favourite books.

Dear Boy is obsessed with the ice cream cone. He hasn't quite grasped the concept of "pretend" eating yet.

I am quite partial to the piece of cherry pie. Although I show my appreciation with fair less enthusiastic slobbering than Dear Boy does.

Do you or your kids enjoy the benefits of Grandmas (whether they are of the traditional or non-traditional variety, or not really technically Grandmas at all)?

* He has two more who are technically (great) Grandmothers but neither probably consider themselves that, so we generally don't consider them at all. He has a handful of (great) Great Aunts who more than make up for them, though.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I played him one ABBA song. One.

New Songs on a Saturday Morning (791-810)

As part of my ongoing effort to improve the range of my cultural consumption, I'm casting out for new things to listen to. Part one and an explanation of this musical escapade can be found here

It's been a little quiet around here because I've been marking. This felt a little easier pre-child because I could hunker down on the couch, stock up on drinks and treats, and churn through them day and night until they were done. These days there are snatched moments here and there, taking a sneaky fifteen minutes on my laptop (because, of course, assignments are now submitted digitally) while Dear Boy catches up on ABC4Kids and then an hour or two at night before I collapse in a heap. 

This week I got to spend my two peaceful day care/work days holed up in my office, just me and Moodle... and a Moodle outage (If you've never heard of Moodle, it's one of those annoying student/teacher systems for discussion boards that the students don't use, quizzes, files and assignment drop-off - it is almost always broken or buggy). To combat the marking crazies, I downloaded spotify to my computer, found myself a folky station and worked my way through the (digital) pile. 

So this list is heavy with beards and flannel. 

And more banjos than I'd normally have floating around on these lists. 

It's been hard to find links for some of these, so there are a few "fan" videos and live recordings. 

791. The Tallest Man on Earth - '1904' - Very Dylan-esque voice and style. Beautiful tune. 
792. Bob Dylan - 'Call Letter Blues' - Yeah, I prefer the other guy.
793. Of Monsters and Men - 'Dirty Paws' - Can't get enough of these folks.
794. Of Monsters and Men - 'Love Love Love' - I do. I love that they count themselves in in Icelandic but sing in English.
795. Mumford and Sons - 'Roll Away Your Stone' -So much banjo.
796. The Wooden Birds - 'Two Matchsticks' - I like being able to hear fingers slide across metal guitar strings.
797. Iron & Wine - 'Boy with a Coin'.
798. Secret Cities - 'The Park'.
799. Dylan LeBlanc - 'If Time Was For Wasting' - Sweet and gentle. Lovely little piano tinkling in the background. At some point, it morphs into a country song. See if you can pick when.
800. Bon Iver - 'Re: Stacks' - This one just became background sound.

801. Cheyenne Marie Mize - 'Wishing Well' - Beautiful percussion and voice track.
802. Beth Orton - 'Magpie' - Love, love.
803. Noah and the Whale - 'Waiting for my Chance to Come' - This brightened a yuck moment finding a patch of plagiarism in a student assignment.
804. The Lumineers - 'Dead Sea' - Wondering guitar man.
805. Beirut - 'East Harlem' - There's something about the dated quality of this guy's voice that makes me smile.
806. Bobby Long - 'Being a Mockingbird'.
807. The Oh Hello's - 'Lay Me Down' - Hi. I love you. See you again soon. My folky favourite sounds - rollicking guitar and male/female harmonies.
808. Willis Earl Band - 'Monotony' -Yes, there is.
809. Laura Marling - 'All My Rage' - Hilarious, weird delivery. Sorry, made me laugh out loud for all its over-the-top Joni-Mitchell-ness.
810. Laura Marling - 'When Brave Bird Saved' - Better.


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