Friday, May 22, 2009

Pod Person

I do so love my iPod.

It is my friend. My companion. It is a conversational-engagement-deterrent to the people on subway who are crazier than me. It is my writing muse. My noise-dampener. It is purple and it is shiny.

It is chock-full o' aural goodness.

My pod was given to me by my boyfriend. Twice. He has given me two of the things, in fact, upgrading me when the shiny purple model came out. And on both occasions, he was the one who loaded it up.

See... way back in the day, John used to make me the most awesome mix-tapes. Now, he compiles playlists for my writing projects. I don't know how he does it - because, with one or two exceptions, he picks the songs and puts them together before I've written the books - but they are always so cool and perfect and inspiring! And frequently funny - for those of you who've read the book - is the Ben Folds song "Bitch Went Nuts" not completely appropriate for someone like Queen Mabh? (And I giggled like a maniac when I got to REM's "Me In Honey" - right, Bob?)

Anyway, here is a sampling of the list he compiled for the writing of Book the Third:

"Irish Boy" - Marc Knopfler (from the "Cal" soundtrack)
"I Saved The World Today" - Eurythmics
"Let it go" - Blue October
"Slave to Love" - Bryan Ferry
"It Can't Rain All The Time" - Jane Siberry
"Crush" - Dave Matthews
"My Mirror Speaks" - Death Cab for Cutie
"Big Romantic Stuff" - Bob Geldof
"Lawyers, Guns, and Money" - Warren Zevon (somehow feels appropriate in a bizarre, extremely abstract way!)
"Your The Only Love" - Payolas
"Rebellion (Lies)" - Arcade Fire
"Wake Up" - Arcade Fire & David Bowie
"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" - U2
"Pavement Cracks" - Annie Lennox
"Fallen Angel" - Robbie Robertson
"You Only Live Twice" - Nancy Sinatra
"Wrapped Around Your Finger" - The Police
"The Whole of the Moon" - The Waterboys
"The Soul Cages" - Sting
"Moonlight" - Beethoven
"Sick Muse" - Metric
"Manhattan" - Kings of Leon

And that's just a taste! There's a whole bunch of other stuff in there, too. All of it interesting, eclectic, and inspiring.

Oh - and there is one more piece of sheer inspiration that I listen to no matter which book I'm working on. A dear friend was actually inspired by WONDROUS STRANGE to write and record a piece of music for ME. It is cool and ethereal and urban and magical all at once - I don't know how he did it. You can listen to a version of it here and it is awesome.

Yup - I am a pod person, all right.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This Thing Plays Music?

I’m the kind of person who has to think about things for a while before buying them. It took me so long to buy an iPod that it kind of became like a running joke between me and my husband. It was something I always wanted to have, but wasn’t sure how much I’d use. I love listening to music, but I hardly ever have time to do it.

So awhile back, I announced that I was going to buy myself an iPod if I ever sold a book. Then I sold THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS and went as far as walking into the Apple store to check the iPods out, before deciding to think about it a little more. I read some reviews on Amazon, trying to decide which one I wanted, but I still wasn’t convinced I’d use it. I waivered for another year, thinking about it every so often when I’d walk by the Apple store in the mall, but never enough to dive in and make the commitment.

Then THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS came out, and my husband made fun of me for still being iPod-less. A few weeks later he told me he read an article about the second generation iPod Touch, which could be used to check e-mail and get on the internet wirelessly. Add the fact that we were about to go on a cross country trip, and I was feeling some anxiety pangs about being out of touch, and I was sold. I bought the iPod Touch that night.

Now that I’ve had it for about two months, I honestly am not sure how I lived without it before. For one, it was great for traveling. It was so easy to check e-mail/use the Internet at the airport, and so much smaller and lighter than a laptop! And with all the apps and games that I downloaded, it kept me (and my son) entertained for hours on our really long flight. At home, I can pick it up, check my e-mail, check out a website, etc. anywhere in the house, any time of the day. Maybe this just makes me lazy, that I like the fact that I don’t have to walk upstairs and sit down at my computer to be connected with the world. But those of you with small kids know how hard this is to do when the kids are awake.

And oh yeah, it does play music. But I, um, haven’t used it very much for that yet at this point. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have only a few songs on there, and the only one I’ve really listened to is "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson. See, as I was revising my adult book two months ago, I thought of this song as the theme song for my revision, and since I bought the iPod just as I was finishing up revisions I bought this song from iTunes to keep me motivated. Or actually, my husband bought it from iTunes for me with a giftcard he had.

Which brings up another thing, I still haven’t exactly figured out how to use iTunes yet. But it’s on my to-do list. Along with getting some more music on the iPod. And finding the time to actually listen to it. In the meantime, I’ll be very happily checking my e-mail.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

School's Out!

My baby is completely finished with high school as of 11:30 this morning.

And my heart feels like a sparkler's poking up out of a bleeding hole. On one hand I am totally elated and on fire for him. And on the other I'm broken-hearted. It means I'm an empty-nester. WOW. I used to hear that term and think that's only for old people. Well . . . I don't feel old. Especially since the first song on my IPOD today is the iconic rock and roll anthem, "School's Out" by Alice Cooper. Will doesn't know it yet, but when he slides into his car after his final, and turns the key, that song will be blaring in all it's sportive glory.

I realized some might not know what song I'm talking about since it came out of the 70's but it's so worth spending .99 cents on an iTunes download. Especially if you have teenagers. It brings to mind my own senior prank. On our last day, part of the plan was to place speakers all over the school and crank them up to their highest volume. As soon as the last pen was laid down after the last exam, we turned on "School's Out", raced out into the halls and sang this song at the top of our lungs. Ahh, the youthful joy of not a care in the world!

Okay, I was the one who suggested this topic so I should be the one with the most to say about iPods, right? Uh, I don't think so. My iPod is one of those sixty-five dollar jobs called a shuffle. I only use it for exercise purposes, but I have to say, it's makes the Eliptical palatable.

Now just because I don't have a Touch or a Nano, doesn't mean I don't love my music. On the contrary, music keeps me sane. Music runs through my veins. I made my living in the music industry for over 20 years. Both of my sons, REAL iPod owners - purchased by moi - are eaten up with all things music. Guitar, piano, music festivals. Try living only 40 minutes from the granddaddy of them all. Bonnaroo. My boys started begging to attend that one at only 15 and 13.

So what's on my iPod? I'm embarrassed to admit this but I only knew two of Maureen's choices. No shocker it's Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Both bands are on mine but I'll list a sampling of what's also on my shuffle.

Stones - "Give Me shelter"
Beatles - "I've Just Seen A Face"

Van Morrison - "Into The Mystic" - This one's also featured in Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter. Leelee has a very romantic moment while dancing to this song.

Kim Carnes - "Gypsy Honeymoon"
Michael McDonald - "Hey Girl"
John Mayer - "Gravity"
Allman Brothers - "Blue Sky"
Carol King - "Natural Woman"
Crosby Stills Nash & Young - "Helplessly Hoping"
REM - "The One I Love"
Tom Petty - "Here Comes My Girl"
Willie Nelson - "Angel Flying Too Close"
Bonnie Raitt - "Anglel From Montgomery"
Indigo Girls - "Closer to Fine"
Soundtrack to Les Miserable - "On My Own"
Marvin Gaye - "Distant Lover"
Peter Gabriel - "In Your Eyes"
Police - "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
Ray LaMontagne - "You Are The Best Thing"
Christopher Cross - "Walking in Avalon"
Monkeys - "I'm A Believer"

What's on yours?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Eye Pod

Ahhh...this post will make my siblings laugh. See, I'm the oldest of four siblings, so generally I'm regarded as an"old woman." Nevermind that I have yet to hit 30, but whatever. I'm told that I act like a grandma because I don't use Skype (thought it was a type of vodka until recently), my cell phone is an ancient Razr that doesn't allow me to check email, I've never used ichat, I've never taken my iTouch I got for Christmas out of the box and last year, I threw my iPod across the room because I couldn't figure out how to program it.

The iPod thing really wasn't my fault though. My husband and I have had horrible luck with computers lately. We've gone through four laptops in two years--thankfully all under warranty. And apparently, when you switch computers, your iTunes gets all messed up and then you have to force the songs that are already on your iPod back onto the new computer via some strange contraband program and then shove them back into the iPod again.

Or something like that. I remember googling the instructions, being extremely confused and just tossing the thing across the room. So, consequently, I haven't updated my iPod in about two years. And my husband put a bunch of random songs on it, so I'll be happily working out, bopping along to Pink, when it'll switch to quoted lines from Napolean Dynamite or old SNL sketches.


But, have faith. My sister is home from college now, and she promised to program my iTouch for me. With lots of cool "apps." Groovy.

And even though none of these songs are actually on my iPod, I'll share my playlist for my YA book (that I'm revising today for the 1,345,678 time). The book has lots of fun Celtic mythology and folklore in it, so thus the heavy Irish music.

I'm Shipping Up to Boston--Dropkick Murphys
Green & Red of Mayo--Brendan Loughrey
Rush--Big Audio Dynamite
Paint it Black--Rolling Stones
Tuesday Morning--Pogues
Paralyzer--Finger Eleven
Danny Boy--Brendan Loughrey
Another Brick in the Wall--Pink Floyd
Fields of Athenry--Dubliners
How Soon is Now--Love Spit Love

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ipod? What Ipod?

Not only do I not own an Ipod, I have never used the MP3 player I do own. I know, sad, huh? My MP3 player is currently being used by my older son, as his was stolen from school many months ago. So, as of now, he has it loaded with all sorts of stuff I am very unlikely to want to listen to. :)

I do, however, have plenty of CDs and music downloaded on my PC. The thing is, I'm sort of a freak of nature...I don't listen to a lot of current stuff. I'm a fan of the past more than the present. Well, except for American Idol. Mostly, however, I listen to:
  1. Rick Springfield -- both his older stuff and his newer stuff.
  2. ABBA -- because listening to songs like Mama Mia and Take A Chance On Me just make me smile.

And yeah, that's really it on a consistent basis. Sad? Not so much when you consider I'm not in the car that often, and I can't write while music is playing (and I'm nearly always writing), so my music listening times are scattered in small doses here and there. Usually when I'm cleaning.

I hope everyone has a terrific Monday, and wow...I think I've just written the shortest post I ever have.