Monday Earworm: Michael Penn

Michael Penn is an extremely underrated artist, especially for being arguably the most talented of the three famous Penn brothers (including actors Sean and the late Chris). He’s definitely the only one who can write.

Enjoy this complex and darkly charming song. It’s hard to identify the mood it evokes in me, but I know I don’t mind sitting with the discomfort of it because the music is so good.

Monday Earworm: Barenaked Ladies (Again)

I love this song, and I love this version, which has Steven Page on it. I know he left the band some time ago and that there was probably some drama — I didn’t keep up with it — but Steven Page has one of the best male singing voices I’ve ever heard, and BNL won’t ever be the same without him, as far as I’m concerned. In the studio, he’s divine. And even live — I’ve seen BNL in concert at least twice, maybe three times? — he does a bang-up excellent job.

This cut comes from their first album, Gordon, and features some of the thoughtful details that put this band on the map: harmonizing vocals, instrumental flourishes in the background, clever and smart lyrics, an engaging storyline. At the height of their abilities, BNL was probably my favorite band, even for a while edging out the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Depeche Mode. (But they never could touch those queens Ani diFranco and Dar Williams. They definitely reached nostalgic The Bangles status, though, easily.)

Do enjoy this. And good luck not doing a little bit of a swaying dance while you’re at it. And then? Give the whole album a listen. Good, good stuff, even if their band name sounds like some frat boy nonsense gone wrong.

Monday (Tuesday) Earworm: Petrol Bomb Samosa

I was in physical therapy a lot of yesterday and didn’t have time to post an earworm. So you’re getting one today. Surprise!

This is a song that I’m actually using to help me with my injury, in fact: I feel better if I’m in motion, and this song is at just the right tempo and has just the right heaviness of percussion for hip drills, which helps stretch out the muscles that have clamped themselves so tightly — from too much sitting and from stress — that I cannot comfortably sit.

Also fortunate is that this weekend my husband and I rearranged the furniture in my office, so now I can access my standing desk. Yay! You may expect a different background for future livestreams, perhaps.

Anyway, enjoy. And get up and move. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Monday Earworm: (Deleted)

EDIT:  It has recently come to my attention that the song I included here today was by a band whose members included a known perpetrator of sexual assault. I had no idea. The song I played here is the only one by that band that I ever really knew, and I hadn’t paid attention to anything else they’d done. I regret that and hope that my post didn’t cause anyone distress. I will leave up the anecdote but not the reference to the song, which I’ve removed.

Instead, please feel free to post in the comments on whatever music or book you’re enjoying right now to make your own part of the world better and more enjoyable for you. 

 

I’m cleaning out my classroom at school this week. Plans for the fall semester are still in flux, of course, but I know that some stuff needs to come out of there, so. One thing I’m doing is bringing home my classroom library so I can make more room on my shelves. These are primarily books which have been withdrawn from our school library and given away free to a good home. These are books which belong to me personally that I keep around for my students when they are looking for something to read for fun and need some inspiration.

Those who know me well know that I might be slightly obsessed with books. They were my most enduring form of entertainment the whole time I was growing up, and that has never really changed for me. I’ve been reading stories on my own since I was four and writing them since I was eight. And I cannot seem to stop acquiring books.

One of the reasons I have a Little Free Library — aside from the desire to provide free books of quality to anyone walking past my house — is so that I don’t feel I need to hoard books. So I brought home a literal carload of novels and culled through them this afternoon to figure out which ones I wanted to keep and which were going to the Little Free Library, either because I already owned a copy or because the story blurb didn’t interest me overmuch. Four large bags of books are destined for the LFL, and one large bag went up to my bedroom….

…where I already have a TBR stack that is, I kid you not, an entire bookshelf plus three tall stacks on top of my dresser plus two stacks on top of my nightstand plus my Kindle.

I might have a problem.

And what have I chosen to read for fun this week? I’m rereading Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston because it is, hands-down, my favorite alternate timeline I wish to all the gods that have ever been that we were living in right now. It’s also hilarious and sexy and deeply smart and character-driven and just all-around well-written. It makes me genuinely happy to read it.

*le sigh*

In the comments, tell us your favorite book obsession — whether it’s your favorite storyline or your author obsession or your book boy-/girlfriend. Inquiring minds want to know!

 

Monday Earworm: REG Project

Somehow on Saturday I reactivated an old hip flexor injury. I don’t know how I did it, except by literally turning around while I was collecting laundry. I exacerbated it further when I later bent down to help my daughter apply sunscreen to her back. At my age, I guess this is just my life now? Whatever.

As I’ve been doing my physical therapy to soothe this old injury, I keep thinking of what my physical therapist told me back in September the first time I had to take care of this nonsense. “Quitting bellydancing was the stupidest thing you ever did for your body.”

And he was right grumble grumble grumble.

Please enjoy one of the songs I choreographed and taught to several dance troupes back in the day.

 

Monday Earworm: The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (Covers The Cure)

There’s a lot going on here in Authorland for the end of June. You’ll soon be able to order my books and poetry art cards from my brother’s shop, Ella’s Apothecary (based in Austin), so look for more on that very soon. One of those books, in fact, is the pre-order for Homecoming, Book 2 in my Animal Affinities Series (after Finis.). Yes, you read that right — it’s finally coming out! Look for it this August (assuming we don’t have further covid-related delays.) One might question the wisdom of launching a book during a global pandemic, and one might be correct to do so. But authors gotta work, too, so. Stay tuned for more info on that later.

In other Homecoming news, I turned everything in today so the book could go into production, and I’m expecting a galley proof next month, so yay! And while I was working all morning, my darling Salaadin jumped up onto my desk and stretched out behind my laptop and fell asleep so fast he forgot to fully close one of his eyes.

About fifteen minutes later he woke up from a nightmare or something, jumped violently with this terrified look in his big blue eyes, and then freaked himself out every time he bumped into something on my desk. Then he tried to eat the golden leaves on the evil eye hanging over him. I had to swaddle him in my arms and coo at him to calm him down. Then he was fine.

Now, time to work on the next book — as soon as I finish the critiques I’m working on for my writing group this week. I am neck-deep in them, but I wanted to take a break and give you an earworm.

I really don’t know what to say about this absolute gem of a video, but I hope you enjoy it.

Monday Earworm: Jonathan Coulton

Today’s my dear husband’s birthday, and in honor of such, I’m using his favorite Jonathan Coulton song for my earworm. And it really does have a catchy chorus. Aaron first introduced me to Coulton’s work with “Code Monkey” years ago, and now I’m a big fan as well. So much of his music is ridiculously funny (such as this earworm) as well as nerdy, so you know we’re going to be big fans in this house. You’ve heard Coulton’s work on this blog before, too, particularly in the form of his Christmas album, a collaboration with John Roderick; some of those songs often show up in 12 Days of Christmas Music That Doesn’t Suck.

I’m also a fan of Coulton’s because he wrote a new song every week for quite a long time and posted them online. “Skullcrusher Mountain” is one of those songs. If I’m not mistaken, this project (called “Thing A Week”) allowed him to transition from a job in IT to being a full-time musician, and let’s be frank, that kind of creativity, persistence, and dedication are just inspiring.

Have a great week, everyone!