Cease That Infernal Clanking!

Today in the very small hours of the morning, I found myself wide awake.

Wide. Awake.

I do not know why, exactly, my body said, “hey, you know, 3:12 am is an awesome time to be awake. Let’s do it!” I could only go along with the overbearing wishes of my body and try to get through.

So there I lay, staring at the ceiling and contemplating my life, and I noticed quite a racket going on outside. One mutha of a late winter storm came ripping through the Bay Area last night. Intense winds howled and pile drove raindrops into window panes.

But that wasn’t the noise that had my dander in a full upright and locked position. Nope, it was the gall dang wind chimes that the neighbors above us have hanging from their balcony.

I really deeply profoundly dislike metal tube clanky wind chimes. The high pitched sound actually assaults my ears.

“But what about those cool bamboo chimes” you might be asking.

And I would reply, “No. No no no no no nonononononononono.”

We have rules about not forcing neighbors to listen to your smooth Muzac jazz played loudly over a stereo. We regulate leaf blowers. We ask that noisy cars be muffled.

But clank makers are juuuust fine. Assault the ears of your neighbor all you want.

I DO NOT WANT TO SHARE YOUR CLANK NOISE!

I am a woman of New Mexico. Wind is not something we celebrate or entice to visit our balconies. Wind is something to be endured along with tumbleweeds, goat heads and rattlesnakes (see: safety training from yesterday).

With teeth gritting and bile rising, I tried to use my whirling mind for the greater good of all mankind and the 35 other units in the building. With my new harness training in mind (see: safety training from yesterday) I considered scaling the exterior of the building up just one floor and yanking those clank tubes clean off the deck.

But it was so cold and rainy outside I figured by the time that journey was done I’d really be wide awake. Plus the neighbors might be a tad cranky at my destruction of their property.

I considered using a high powered pellet gun to shoot them sumnabitches off the side of the building, but The Good Man had a long talk with me about the use of gun-like devices in an urban setting in a state that has no sense of humor about these things. So that was out.

So that just left me very awake, cranky and frustrated.

Rattin’ smattin’ windchimes.

Turns out my friends across the pond are with me on this:

Why wind chimes are the UK’s most hated garden accessory








Photo from Notes From A Burning House.




And Around. And Around. And Around.

While sitting on my tuchus being completely idle this weekend (yay!) I flicked through my Twitter stream to get caught up on what is happening out there in Interwebs land.

I came across a tweet from Penn Jillette (one half of the famous duo Penn and Teller) that said, and I quote:

“You might not want to watch this. You really might not. It’s kinda sorta dangerous funny. It hurts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpfQSqfpuac

(if you are feeling like a laugh, go on and do a click for yourself).

So because I love and trust Penn and I needed a laugh, I clicked the link. What I found was a Taylor Swift video for the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” and in some of the high wailing parts, someone had substituted a bleating goat for the vocals.

I watched it three times. It was indeed very funny.

Just for the sake of reference, I then watched the actual video from Taylor Swift for “I Knew You Were Trouble” (well most of it anyway) and as I watched her writhing around in the dirt, I wondered to myself who this song had been written about.

It’s fairly well known that Ms. Swift likes to write such songs about broken romances. A quick Google search led me to the answer. Mr. Trouble turns out to be Harry Styles from the Brit pop boy band One Direction.

Now, as an over forty year old woman, Mr. Styles doesn’t look like an ounce of trouble to me, but I suppose I understand where she’s coming from. Who among us ladies hasn’t written pages and pages of journal entries about a romance gone wrong and maybe even some bad poetry too? I certainly have, I just didn’t have the platform that Ms. Swift enjoys for such endeavors. But I totally support her right to say what’s on her mind and be super angsty about it too.

So now that I knew Harry Styles of One Direction (by the way, doesn’t Hairy Styles sound like an awesome name for a barber shop?) was the object of this sad song, I recalled that my kid sister-in-law (not so much a kid anymore, she’s 13, it’s a long story) absolutely looooves One Direction, though her affections tend to lean toward one Mr. Liam Payne.

Then I noticed that YouTube suggested that after watching the Taylor Swift video I should watch the super hot OMG hot hot brand new song from One Direction called “One Way”.

“Why not?” I thought and gave it a click.

What presented itself to me was a video of five boys who probably aren’t old enough to have pubes singing a bee-boppy rendition of the kick ass Debbie Harry song “One Way or Another” from 1979.

You know? “One way or another, I’m going to find ya’/I’m gonna get ya’, get ya’, get ya’, get ya’/One way or another, I’m gonna win ya”

(To all whom I’ve just earwormed, I do apologize. It couldn’t be helped.)

So as these boys wriggled and mugged their way across London, I felt a sadness in my heart. I emitted a sorrowful sigh.

The tough as brass song written by the beautiful and punk rock Debbie Harry is now being autotuned and smoothed up for a boy band. The catchy lyrics written in the wake of a stalking ex-boyfriend are now fodder for little girl swoons and cutesy thoughts of dating a One Direction lad.

Oh boy. Er. Boys? If the song had been redone and there was a new or original take, then by all means go for it. I am not against remakes, I am, however, against remakes that take the soul out of a great song.

Certainly Ms. Debbie Harry, as the co-writer of the song is enjoying much windfall from the pop redo of her music, but damn. It hurts just a little, in my soul.

Later over breakfast, The Good Man and I discussed this song and video since it was still very much on my mind.

“I suppose it shouldn’t bother me that teens are listening to this crap because I listened to some poppy boy bands in my era. Like, for instance, Duran Duran,” I said.

But then I realized something…yes, Duran Duran was a schlocky boy band and yes I swooned over the poster I had of the five of them on my bedroom wall (John was my favorite) but at least they 1) actually played their own instruments and 2) wrote many of their own songs.

Ok, yes, fine, I know that remaking songs is a common occurrence and in some cases, the remake is WAY better than the original (Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” for example). I also know that in the history of music there have been hundreds of over engineered boy (and girl) acts doing their soulless little dance with deadened eyes and walking down a life map that probably leads to either ultra-thumping-Christianity or deep and abiding drug use…or both. And I know I can’t stop it, nor should I try.

But I also can’t help seizing up a little whenever I hear great music so profoundly bastardized.

My thirteen year old sister-in-law is actually an excellent musician in her own right and I have to trust that over time she will learn to see that you can have both quality music written and played by the musican AND a hot guy to look at. Jim Morrison springs to mind, but let’s see if I can come up with someone more current….I know, how about Bruno Mars or even Jason Mraz?

Losing argument, I know. As long as there are dollars in auto tuning them thar children, the shlock pop is always going to keep coming around.




Shaddup Grandma! One Direction is the best band ever!




Image from the spydersden blog




Once Again, The Brits Are Kicking Our Lexiconic Butts

As a certified lover of words, I always patiently await the annual “word of the year” results.

The word of the year is often made up, a new entry to the lexicon, and relates to the popular culture of the previous year.

Previous winners have been things like hanging chad and nukular.

This year seemed ripe with contenders. Gangham style comes to mind. Fracking. 47 percent.

So today I was a little disappointed to learn the word of the year for the US, as determined by Oxford Dictionaries is: gif

Good lord. That’s not a new word. That’s been around forever and I am not sure it was used any more this year than in the past.

So then I checked with SFGate who do their own poll and selection. Their choice this year is fiscal cliff.

*sigh*

Lame.

Then I noticed that Oxford also lists a UK word of the year. That word for 2012 is: omnishambles

Coined by the writers of the satirical television programme The Thick Of It, an omnishambles is a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.


I like their word better. Much better.

I think I’m going to adopt it.







Image from IBN Live.com.




Met A Childhood Friend

Was sorting through all of the photos from my recent trip to New York when I found a set that I wanted to share. In fact I’d meant to share this a couple weeks back but I just got lost in the back-to-the-real-world on top of the hectic pace of the hellidays.

One of the days that The Good Man and I were in New York, I requested the chance to spend a few hours in the New York Public Library as I was still rap-tap-tapping away at my NaNoWriMo.

The Good Man indulged me and I had some time to sit in the Great Room and write, which was both fun and inspiring and is something I will never forget. The Good Man went exploring as I worked because there is much to see in that amazing library.

That was when The Good Man stumbled across something interesting. It turns out that in the basement of the NYPL, there is a children’s books section, and in that area there is a display case containing several stuffed animals, but not just any stuffed animals.

In the case are the original stuffed friends that were the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh. These toys belonged to Christopher Robin Milne, the author’s son.

The toys were brought to the United States in 1947 and remained with the publisher of A.A. Milne’s books, which then donated the stuffed animals to the New York Public Library in 1987.

In this photo, from left to right, is Lottie the Otter who shows up in a more modern Winnie the Pooh book sanctioned by the Milne estate. Then we have Tigger, Kanga in the back, the small Piglet, then Eeyore and finally on the far right, the man himself Winnie-the-Pooh.



This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


Turns out the stuffed bear was bought at Harrods in London as a present for Christopher Robin’s first birthday.

It also seems that this stuffed bear is named Edward. Who knew that ol’ Winnie-the-Pooh was really a very posh Brit bear? I did not.




This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


This Winnie-the-Pooh looks much different from the Disney-i-fied version that we all are used to. This Mr. Pooh has very kind eyes and a pettable nose.

But still no pants.



This photo is Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth


I was pretty excited after seeing the original Pooh gang. It was like meeting a group of celebrities.

As a writer it was pretty cool to see how inspiration can turn into a rich and beloved story.

Combined with a marathon writing session and then seeing Charles Dickens’ pen and inkwell, it was quite a happy literary day for this little ol’ writer.




All photos Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth and subject to the Creative Commons in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.




Well Knock Me Over

I’ve been a San Francisco Giants baseball fan for a long time.

And in my many years, I’ve learned this: Nothing is ever easy with this team.

Nothing.

My gut was in a clinch all day as my Giants faced a Game 5, do or die, win or go home game against the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Division Series.

When Buster Posey hit a grand slam in the 5th inning against the very tough Mat Latos I jumped up and down in my office and clapped and shouted and whooped and hollered.

Then I remembered that I sit next door to the Vice President and he was on a con call being all VP-ish and important at that same moment.

I later apologized to him and he grinned. “You must have been listening to the radio because I was watching online and I heard you celebrating about five seconds ahead of seeing it online. You only get away with that for the Giants!”

Rock on.

In the nail tearing bottom of the 9th my boss was in my office drawing something Very Important on my marker board and I was trying desperately to pay attention and answer his questions while checking my phone every two seconds and…good lord how long was that at bat with Romo pitching and Bruce at the plate…? And all the while The Good Man is sending me texts and my boss is blah blah blahing because he’s a damn European and what does he care?

I reminded The Boss that I had to endure the Euro 2012 football championships while I was in the UK in June and he could bloody well deal with this today. Seeing his boss (the VP next door) running into my office shouting “THEY WON THEY WON!” certainly helped pipe him down.

This was a tough day at work because of work stuff. This was a stressful day at work because of those damn Giants and their special brand of delicious torture.

And then I saw an image online from today’s game that just perfectly summed up how it all makes me feel.

A little blown back by it all, really.




Just a leeeeetle inside for Pablo Sandoval. Photo by Michael Macor for The Chronicle



Image by Michael Macor for The Chronicle and published in SFGate.