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What I Learned This Week – 7/26/15

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This week I learned that I could build a hillbilly sound system.

My hillbilly sound system.

My hillbilly sound system.

When my preschooler son moved into a bigger bedroom, my husband designated the former nursery as his “man room.”

Well, then I designated the remaining bedroom as my room. Mostly craft/photo/exercise/sporting goods/genealogy storage, but also a tiny office space. Which, I figured, needed a sound system. You will notice that it features the portable CD player from my post a week ago. I also used the speakers from our old Dell desktop computer, which my husband and I both have almost discarded so many times, but they actually have really great sound.

"Dude, you're getting a Dell!"

“Dude, you’re getting a Dell!”

I rounded it out with my Sears mini boombox that is probably 30 years old. It once went to the electronics repair store to have a cassette tape removed that it ate (Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinkin’ Rich – Warrant). I don’t even think their are repair stores for cassette players anymore. People now even view computers as disposable. Everyone except me–I have resurrected my laptop with a new hard drive and a new power cord (Friday) in the 4 years I have owned it.

I placed it all on an ancient TV cart that my great-grandpa used in his TV repair business. I used an old Pepsi wooden crate to hold my extra headphones and cables.

Yes, my dear friends. This is me putting my Communications degree to good use.

And no one should be offended by me referring to it as a “hillbilly” sound system because I am hillbilly. I can prove it. Come dig through my genealogy storage bins 😉

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug ON SALE for only $.99 for a limited time & GIVEAWAY going on over at Goodreads (ends August 15, 2015)
When You Least Expect It AVAILABLE NOW!

What I Learned This Week – 7/19/15

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This week I learned that the movie One Small Hitch, is a really, really good movie. I stumbled upon it in a romantic comedy search on Netflix. It is a 2013 movie starring Shane McRae and Aubrey Dollar as two childhood friends pretending to be engaged for the sake of Josh’s (McRae) dying father. Awkward situations ensue.

WEEK-One Small Hitch

I will admit that it did start a little slow, but the leads are both adorable and it only gets cuter when they move into an apartment together. One Small Hitch is like While You Were Sleeping, except no one has to be pushed onto the railroad tracks and end up in a coma. A few people get punched in the face though.

This week I also realized that I have the best CD player in the world.

Best CD player

Best CD player

Yes, some of us without an iPhone or mp3 player with a screen still rely on such devices to make collections (mix tapes), “playlists” if you will, of songs that suit our fancy on any particular day.

I have a big CD player in my kitchen, but I wanted to listen to a CD while laying in bed. So, I headed upstairs to the electronics graveyard to find a small CD player. I knew we had at least one. Actually, I found two. One was a jogproof one that I had purchased one year for my birthday. It wasn’t jogproof, and I am not a jogger. So, ya.

The other is the CD player I quickly recognized from my old job. For the 12 years I worked for Borders, I used this CD player nearly every day. You can see that I doodled on it, and marked it with stickers so that if someone stole it, I would know that it was mine.

I cannot believe that it still works! I do believe that it used to have an AC adapter, but I can’t presently find it. I used to put a CD on pause, then head off to a 3 hour meeting, leaving it spinning on my desk the whole time. Last night I popped in batteries of questionable age, and it still worked like a dream.

And so many functions! I can program what order I want to play the tracks from on a CD, which comes in handy for albums such as Pieces of You by Jewel, that contain some very good, and some not very good songs. It has repeat one or all. It has bass boost. It shows track number and time at the same time!

For being around 15 years old, it has held up remarkably well. The volume dial causes some interference in the headphones when adjusted. But I used to have headphones with a volume control in the cord, so that was never a problem.

I love that it is a little no-name brand. I love that at that time, they thought they still needed to spell out that it was “DIGITAL” technology.

Now, everything is.

Don’t get me started on my love of analog/cassette tapes.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug ON SALE for only $.99 for a limited time & GIVEAWAY going on over at Goodreads (ends August 15, 2015)
When You Least Expect It AVAILABLE NOW!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

Alt Country Mix Nov 14

Remember my post about the Luke Bryan song “Play It Again” a few weeks ago?

Well, here is the mix CD that song inspired, along with my commentary and select YouTube clips where appropriate.

1. Play It Again – Luke Bryan

All the reasons for this song can be found right here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/11/11/oh-my-god-this-is-my-song/

2. Under The Light of The Texaco – Lisa Stewart

This is a country song from 1993. It is a song that I have tried hard over the years to remember the title and artist. According to Wikipedia, it never charted. Which is why it is hard to remember much about it. But that summer, I watched a lot of music videos on TNT and CMT. This video was in heavy rotation, and featured a very brief cameo by Davey Allison. I was impressed by this because I had just begun to watch NASCAR races (Shout out to Jeff Gordon!). Also, Davey Allison would die that same summer in a helicopter crash.

Under The Light of The Texaco on YouTube


3. Boom Clap – Charlie XCX

Love this song. Good beat, good lyrics, great to crank up to the max in the car and drive.

Boom Clap on YouTube

4. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

I am a little over this song now, but included it on this collection anyway. I was impressed with how original the sound was when I first heard it on the radio on our vacation to Gettysburg in August. I feel like it is the kind of song my best friend in high school and I would have run out and bought the cassette single of.

5. Don’t – Ed Sheeran

I got so excited when I heard this song on the radio. I was like, “Oh, one of my favorite American Idol alums Blake Lewis finally has a hit song that all the stations are playing.” Then I discovered it was actually Ed Sheeran who sings it. If some white boy was going to sing this song, it should have been Blake. He was robbed.

6. Cool Kids – Echosmith

I like this. Very me in 6th grade.

7. Habits – Tove Lo

This girl has a life I could never imagine living.

8. Yeah – Joe Nichols

I like Joe Nichols because I always think that he sounds like George Strait, although not so much in this song. This song is very similar to “Play It Again.” Hence, why I did not put them right next to each other.

9. God Made Girls – RaeLynn

This is a really sexist song, with lyrics such as:

Somebody’s gotta wear a pretty skirt,
Somebody’s gotta be the one to flirt,
Somebody’s gotta wanna hold his hand so God Made Girls

Somebody’s gotta make him get dressed up,
Give him a reason to wash that truck,
Somebody’s gotta teach him how to dance,
So God made girls.
(Written by RaeLynn, Nicolle Galyon, Lori McKenna, & Liz Rose)

And the girl’s voice annoys me because it reminds me of the girl who plays Scarlett on ABC’s Nashville. If these are truly the reasons why God made girls, then I am a complete failure as a girl.  But it has a good beat and sounds like classic country, so I included it.

10. Girl in a Country Song – Maddie & Tae

This would be the antithesis of the previous song. And the next song. Which is why I LOVE that these three songs appear together in this order on this CD.

I love these lyrics:

Well I wish I had some shoes on my two bare feet
And it’s gettin’ kinda cold in these painted on cut off jeans
I hate the way this bikini top chafes
Do I really have to wear it all day?

Aww no, Conway and George Strait
Never did it this way
Back in the old days
Aww y’all, we ain’t a cliché
That ain’t no way
To treat a lady
(Written by Taylor Dye, Maddie Marlow, & Aaron Scherz)

Any song that references classic hit-makers like Conway Twitty and George Strait is number one in my book. And they totally have a point about the bikini tops and Daisy Duke shorts. And they manage to spin it into a very catchy song.

Girl in a Country Song on YouTube

11. Cruise – Florida Georgia Line

Cruise was released to pop radio as a mix with rapper Nelly, and was a huge hit. A few years ago. Yes, I am behind.

This song is exactly the type of song that Maddie & Tae were just rallying against. The girl is in her bikini top, riding along silently in the man’s pickup truck, traveling down a dirt road she doesn’t even want to be on. I love these songs as much as the next person (I did include it on this CD, afterall), but does EVERY country song have to sound like this?

New Mix CD: What The Hell?!

Having a long commute to work again, it takes no time at all for me to compile a list of songs that I try to search the radio dial for, and them am disappointed when I can’t find them.

Then I give up and make a mix CD of them all. I don’t have a car radio with an mp3 input hole or iPod that has a screen/playlists. So, I must burn CDs, like some sort of primitive late 90’s animal.

I think I am going through a mid-life crisis. And Avril Lavigne has a new album coming out. This CD reflects all that.

Warning for sensitive eyes: I buy and quote the explicit versions of all the songs.  And all the best parts are the ones with the swear words.

I have included the iTunes genres so you can see how schizophrenic my musical tastes are. And so that you may laugh at Apple’s classifications.

And that is why they call it a MIX TAPE Photo: gokwala.com

And that is why they call it a MIX TAPE
Photo: gokwala.com

1. Counting Stars-One Republic POP
This is one of those songs that I never noticed until I found myself singing along to it on the radio one day. It rocks, but there is a sound effect in the background that sounds just like my Pointer whining. That bothers me a little.
“Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars”*

2. Over My Head (Cable Car)-The Fray ROCK
I have loved this song since it came out. My favorite part:
“Everyone knows I’m in
Over my head
Over my head
With eight seconds left in overtime
She’s on your mind
She’s on your mind”

3. Over My Head-Richard Marx POP
The local radio station that will play ANYTHING plays this all the time, even though it is from 2012. I bought it because I liked it, I thought it would be funny to put next to The Fray song of the same name, and I feel a little sorry for Richard Marx. Although he probably has more money than I ever will have, so he is probably doing just fine. My crazy friend and my green-haired friend and her brother all went to see Richard Marx once at an outdoor venue in the summer. On the big screen that was broadcasting his performance, I watched a bug fly in his mouth mid-song. He never missed a beat or hit a wrong note. He didn’t spit until the song was over. It really impressed me. He is a class act.


4. The a Team-Ed Sheeran SINGER/SONGWRITER

This is has terribly depressing subject matter, but it is catchy and gets stuck in my head.
“It’s too cold outside
For angels to fly”

5. Speak Life-tobyMac CHRISTIAN
I don’t know why I like tobyMac, I just do. This song is very upbeat and dancey, just like “Steal My Show”, the only other song by him that I know.
“So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why.”

6. We Can’t Stop-Miley Cyrus POP
I have liked Miley since her Hannah Montana days. I think her recent stunts that have attracted publicity are doing just what they were designed to do: ATTRACT PUBLICITY! I think she is a really good singer, although this song doesn’t fully showcase that. Who knew something so cool would come from the guy who cursed us with “Achy Breaky Heart”.
“It’s our party we can do what we want to
It’s our house we can love who we want to
It’s our song we can sing if we want to
It’s my mouth I can say what I want to”

7. Wrecking Ball-Eli Lieb POP
I like Miley’s version, but this guy really rocks it.
“Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you”

8. Girls Just Want to Have Fun-Cyndi Lauper POP
I heard this song on the way to work this week and it actually made me cry. I am going to blame it on the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. But some of the lyrics really are deep.
“Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun”

Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars

Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars

9. Up In The Air-30 Seconds to Mars ALTERNATIVE
I have liked 30 Seconds to Mars since they came out with their first song “Capricorn”. I love that Jared Leto is proving that former actors can have successful bands. I love it when he wears eyeliner. I can’t believe I missed going to see them in my concert-going 20’s.
“I’ll wrap my hands around your neck so tight with love, love.
A thousand times I tempted fate.
A thousand times I played this game.
A thousand times that I have said today, today, today.”

10. City of Angels-30 Seconds to Mars ALTERNATIVE
Every time this song comes on the radio, I change it, because the beginning is just so slow. But I love the emotion in the song. The lyrics say “strangers”, but Jared actually sings it like “strangels”. I want to be a strangel for Halloween. Sort of like a strange angel? I could just wear my normal clothes and mismatched socks, and slap on a pair of wings. I have black wings. That would make me more stranger.
“Lost in the city of angels
Down in the comfort of strangers
I found myself in the fire burnt hills
In the land of a billion lights”

11. What the Hell-Avril Lavigne POP
The namesake for this whole CD. I totally love Avril, and I have all her albums. Well, I did, except somehow I missed when “Goodbye Lullabye” came out. I am guessing that was because I was busy with my son’s doctor appointments and trying to find a job. I wasn’t listening to much radio. But my collection is now up-to-date. I would BE Avril if I could.
“All my life I’ve been good but now
I’m thinking ‘What the hell?'”

12. Smile-Avril Lavigne POP
It has a cute music video.

13. Rock N Roll-Avril Lavigne POP
It has a cute music video with Bear-Sharks. And the song rocks!
“I don’t care if I’m a misfit
I like it better than the hipster bullshit
I am the motherfucking princess
You still love me”

14. Undead-Hollywood Undead ROCK
I love Rap/Rock and I was very sad when it went out of style. Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park–I loved them all. I am happy that Hollywood Undead seems to be bringing it back.
“You better get up out the way,
Tomorrow we’ll rise so let’s fight today,
You know, I don’t give a fuck what you think or say,
‘Cause we’ll rock this whole place anyway.”

15. Dead Bite-Hollywood Undead ROCK
Rap/Rock, and REALLY creepy.
“What would you do if I told you I hate you?
What would you do if your life’s on the line?
What would you say if I told you I hate you?
I’ve got something that’ll blow your mind, mind”

16. 4 Real-Avril Lavigne POP
I needed more songs on the CD.

17. Darlin-Avril Lavigne POP
Ditto

18. Goodbye-Avril Lavigne POP
A very powerful song, but kinda slow for my taste.

*All lyrics belong to their respective writers. I am sorry to say I am not that talented.

My Crazy Mix Tape That Should Make The CD Player Explode

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My heart will always belong to analog <3 Photo: gokwala.com

My heart will always belong to analog ❤
Photo: gokwala.com

I know. You are probably asking why I am still putting songs onto CDs. Because:

1. My car is from 2003 and doesn’t have a mp3 plug-in.  (And I like to listen to music in my car.)

2. There is a great station close by called 89X that plays great alternative music, but causes interference with wireless mp3 transmitters.

3. My iPod is one of the tiny ones with no screen, so I can’t really create “playlists” for it like you can on fancier models.

4. Sometimes I just want to listen to the same 17 songs over and over again.

And I would still be putting songs onto cassette tapes, if that was at all feasible anymore.

There are songs on here from 1994 to 2013. All freshly purchased from iTunes this year. (The ones from 1994 and 1998 I wanted to purchase back then on CD, but I was a poor college student. I figured I would wait until someday when I had more money. I still don’t have any more money, but I think I have waited long enough. I think 19 years is long enough for delayed gratification.)

There are songs from different genres. From Pop to Alternative to Dance to Rap to Christian. (If a Taylor Swift song had made it on this CD, I would have country as well.) I am sure Avril LaVigne wouldn’t want to be on a CD with Selena Gomez. I am sure Macklemore probably has no idea who Evan Taubenfeld is. I’m sure tobyMac never thought he would be on a CD with Courtney Love. Anna Kendrick never expected to hear herself on the radio, period. And I’m sure Courtney Love doesn’t want to be on a CD with ANY of these people.

Ain't they purdy? Photo: fuzzboxgirl.com

Ain’t they purdy?
Photo: fuzzboxgirl.com

Some of this potpourri can be blamed on the local radio station that I listen to for local news. They play music, but have no real format. (This coming from a girl who has a B.A. in Radio…and TV.) Also, I am exposed to some of the current pop songs while working at my job at the mall. Hear (or see) something enough times, you begin to like it.

With no further ado, here is what I a listening to now:

Divergent Summer 2013

1. Here’s to Never Growing Up – Avril Lavigne [Pop] 2013
2. Cups (Pitch Perfect’s “When I’m Gone”) – Anna Kendrick [Pop] 2013
3. Steal My Show – tobyMac [Christian] 2012
4. Come & Get It – Selena Gomez [Pop] 2013
5. Never Gonna Happen – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
6. Like I Got a Gun (feat. YG) – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
7. Best Years Of Our Lives (ft. Avril Lavigne) – Evan T [Pop] 2011
8. Pumpkin Pie – Evan Taubenfeld [Pop] 2009
9. Boy Meets Girl – Evan Taubenfeld [Pop] 2009
10. The Story of Me And You – Evan Taubenfeld [Pop] 2009
11. F16 – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
12. I Love Kev Nish – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
13. (We Do It) Primo – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
14. Can’t Touch This (feat. E-40) – Colette Carr [Pop] 2013
15. Jimmy Iovine (feat. Ab-Soul) – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis [Hip Hop/Rap] 2012
16. And We Danced (feat. Ziggy Stardust) – Macklemore [Hip Hop/Rap] 2009
17. Celebrity Skin – Hole [Rock] 1998
18. Awful – Hole [Rock] 1998
19. Boys on the Radio – Hole [Rock] 1998
20. Miss World – Hole [Alternative] 1994
21. Asking for It – Hole [Alternative] 1994

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