Monday Earworm: Thomas Dolby

English musician Thomas Dolby is probably best known here for his hit “She Blinded Me With Science” — and, as a result, probably best known by people in my age demographic. However, as excellent as that song is, his work definitely deserves a closer look.

His album Retrospectacle, a greatest hits compilation, was one of my favorites during my college years, and even now, it holds up beautifully. His work afterward seemed to be largely in the sphere of soundtracks, particularly for video games.

Here’s just a taste of his brilliance. “Budapest By Blimp” is a mellow song and can be enjoyed even if you aren’t paying attention to its lyrics, but the story in the song really opens it up. If you read the first comment after the video, you’ll see the text of a blog post wherein a teacher wrote to Dolby requesting more information about the song’s genesis and Dolby’s incredibly thoughtful response. It’s well worth reading.

Monday Earworm: Babymetal (And Also An Event Tomorrow Night)

Hey there. I thought about giving you a true Monday earworm today, but I think I’m just going to share something completely weird with you instead. I don’t know that this will get stuck in your head, but I’m confident you won’t be able to turn away.

I present to you: Babymetal and their amazing hit “Gimme Chocolate!!” No lie.

If you want the English translation to the lyrics of this song, click here, but I think the video works well even without knowing it. Maybe better.

For something far less extreme, tomorrow evening I’ll be speaking on a panel about YA literature and writing at the Pearland Westside Public Library with fellow authors Adam Holt, Martine Lewis, and D. Marie Prokop. We’ll also be selling books. It would be lovely to see you there!

Monday Earworm: The Breeders

Veruca Salt keeps popping up in my iPod playlist. Usually “Forsythia” or “Seether,” both of which are great, but which didn’t really grab me for today’s blog post for some reason. So instead, please enjoy this fabulous little ditty from around the same era. Here are The Breeders with “Cannonball” from their very wonderful album Last Splash.

 

Electric Car Diaries: My Lease Is Up

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that three years ago I leased a Nissan Leaf, which is a fully electric vehicle. You probably also know from my six previous Electric Car Diary Episodes that I’ve really liked my little Red Ninja.

Well, my three-year lease ended this month, and it was time to turn it in and get a new vehicle, or purchase the thing. It didn’t take too long to decide to purchase it, and that is what I have done.

I’ve kept up regular maintenance on the car and have really enjoyed how very little it has cost me to do so. Yes, I still have to take it into the dealership now and then (once a year at most?) for routine scheduled maintenance. It’s still a very inexpensive car to operate, too, since there’s no gas tank to fill or oil to change or spark plugs to wear out or transmission to flush. This week I replaced all four tires, because the car has about 29,000 miles on it, and these original tires were only just barely able to pass inspection this month. I got the alignment done on them, too, because it was part of the package, although strictly speaking, I’m not sure that was necessary. (But I thought it couldn’t hurt.)

The most expensive regular maintenance on this car, honestly, is keeping it clean. Houston has pollen and dust, my upholstery is light gray (and velvety soft), and I have two wonderful kids in middle school who are like little entropy machines.

Initially, I’d gone for a three-year lease because I wasn’t sure how the battery technology would wear over that time, but I’m pleased to report that everything is still going strong. The car continues to perform at the same level as it did when I bought it, and as it did when I first moved back into town from the suburbs.

In fact, the only complaint I have about this car remains that I can’t take it on a road trip, because we just don’t have the electric charging infrastructure in this country to support that.

But that technology is progressing nicely, too, and I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time before more than just Tesla can make a road-trip-worthy EV. Not only that, but my understanding is that the new Leaf coming out in a year or two is going to have much fancier battery technology that will allow for those extra-long ranges.

If you want to hear something that makes me feel a little old, note that The Red Ninja is probably going to be my daughter’s first car. That’s a stunning thing to me. It’s likely to — I hope! — still be going strong in four years when she’s ready for her own car. (I know I’m likely to still be paying it off, since I purchased it on a five-year note — for a much lower payment than the lease was, too, I might gleefully add.)

So my endorsement of the Nissan Leaf continues heartily! I love mine. Let the electric car revolution take root!

***

To read the previous Electric Car Diaries, in which you can experience vicariously the sometimes astounding and sometimes entertaining story of how I ended up with this car in the first place, what its features are (from a practical standpoint), and what it’s like to drive it, please click on the links below.

Episode 1: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

Episode 2: It’s Been A Week

Episode 3: Fingernails That Shine Like Justice

Episode 4: My Other Car Is A Valkyrie

Episode 5: No News Is Good News

Episode 6: The Inspection

 

Monday Earworm: Ed Sheeran

No, no, hear me out.

I’m not a huge fan of Ed Sheeran’s work in general. I admit that I know only what gets played on the radio, and I admit also that I find some of his songs catchy and fun to sing along with in the car or exercise class.

However, I’m in no way a fan of hook-up culture, which I dislike with an intensity that one might fairly describe as rabid. This prevents me from enjoying his work too much.

This video of him singing “Wild Mountain Thyme,” though, kind of classes up his career more than a little.

(Even if one could argue that he’s still singing, at least a little, about the same old thing. But whatever.)

I was reminded of this Scottish folk song, which I rather like, yesterday during the closing conversations of the Moss Wood Retreat, an excellent writing retreat I attended last week and which I will give you more details about soon. (So stay tuned.)

In the meantime, do enjoy this.

 

Monday Earworm: Toto Meets Metal

When I was in college, my freshman year, I put the song “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel on repeat on my CD player for eighteen hours straight. It was a weekend night, and I loved that song, and I was probably thinking about my boyfriend being eighteen hundred miles away at a different school and just got sentimental. Something like that. I no longer remember what truly motivated me to listen to that song nonstop for so long, but I can tell you how much it annoyed everyone in my dorm who was around that weekend. By about hour fifteen, the walls of the building were vibrating with Billy Joel’s piano and vocals.

I didn’t get tired of the song that night, either, if you can believe it. But I didn’t pull that stunt again.

Last night my daughter did. She played “Africa” by Toto on repeat on her iPod all night long. So this morning, I went searching for that video to post here, but the video is such a prime specimen of everything that was clunky and goofy about ’80’s music videos, I’m going to post this one instead. Please enjoy.