Monthly Archives: March 2012

Buddy Holly

Back in September of last year, I was sent a free copy of a new Buddy Holly tribute album that had just been released, to review on my other blog. This was awesome for multiple reasons. First of all, I love getting free stuff, and receiving review copies makes me feel like a proper writer :) Secondly, I have loved Buddy Holly’s music ever since I was a little kid, so it was a treat to revisit it and listen to other artists’ interpretations of his songs.

I was just thinking about Buddy’s music again yesterday. There’s a reason that his body of work has remained popular over the years since his death (which was over 50 years ago, after all!) His songs were often simple, but so good. Perfect pop songs, pure and joyful.

Here’s one of my all-time favourites, ‘Peggy Sue’. I am thoroughly enjoying this video footage of the Crickets performing the song on the Arthur Murray Dance Party in 1957. I’ve never really thought of his music in the context of formal ballroom-style dancing, but it just goes to show that it is pretty perfect in almost any context!

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The Magnetic Fields

Okay, I am pretty pysched right now, because tonight I am going to see a band that I love, The Magnetic Fields. My friend Adam and I went to see them the last time they came to town, and I seem to recall them having all these awesome stage props including a giant plywood cutout of a polar bear, like from a school play or whatever, but now I am wondering if I just hallucinated that as I can’t find any pictures from the show that would suggest the presence of such a prop. Perhaps Adam will remember it more clearly.

Anyway, in honor of tonight, here is one of my fave Magnetic Fields songs, from their excellent 2008 album Distortion.

And speaking of bears, here are a couple of pictures of the polar bear in Mr. Burns’ office, which is awesome, and should have it’s own spinoff show in my opinion.

bear

mr. burns office

Gucci, Prada, Chanel, MSkillz…

katy keene #33

You guys. I have something KIND OF AMAZING to share with you. I mean, I’m not sure whether this will qualify as earth-shattering news to anyone else, but I am pretty excited about it!!!

When I was a kid I loved Archie comics (who didn’t?) We always had a stack of them up at our cottage and we would spend our summers lounging around on the dock eating chocolate bars and reading about the gang from Riverdale. There was something comforting about the way that nothing ever really changed in that town – Archie was stuck in a perpetual love triangle with Betty and Veronica, Reggie was ever the villain, Mr. Lodge was constantly hating on Archie, and Jughead – well, he just wanted to consume as many burgers as possible down at the old Chok’lit Shoppe. Good times all around.

Anyway, I don’t know if you remember this, but there were other mini-comics, or featurettes, within the pages of Archie, separate from the Riverdale world. These included stories about characters such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats, and L’il Jinx. There was also Katy Keene, a glamorous teen model/actress with a high-profile career as a famous movie star and a string of boyfriends including boxer K.O. Kelly and airline pilot Ramon Ramirez. One of the great things about the Katy Keene comics was that readers could send in designs for her to wear within the stories, and if your design was featured they would print your name along with it.

Well…I think you can guess what I am about to tell you…! That’s right, yours truly sent in an outfit design, and it was printed! This would have been back in 1988 or so, when I was 12. I still remember getting the letter from Archie Comics, Inc. with a note from the publisher and a complimentary copy of the issue. As you can imagine, it was a pretty exciting moment.

A couple of years later, my family moved overseas, and somehow the comic book got lost in the shuffle. I had kind of forgotten about it until fairly recently, but when I was reminded of it I went online to see if I could track it down. To make a very long story short, just yesterday I managed to find a copy of the issue. Not only that, there’s an image of the page on which my design was printed!

katy keene

Here’s a closer look:

skillin' in print

I know, I know, the outfit is ridiculous! What can I say, it was the ’80s! ;) Somehow matching your shirt with your socks seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m not gonna lie to you, though – I would totally rock a pair of those lipstick printed leggings, present-day. Why not? After all, the ‘80s are back. I am quite certain that my 12-year-old self would approve!

Shiny Happy Pop Songs

Sometimes the only remedy for extreme melancholy is pure, unadulterated pop:

Costa Rica

Some final impressions…

palm

beach

waves

surf

ocean

joy

Fun, Fun, Fun

When I was little and my parents used to put on their Beach Boys records, I totally wanted to grow up and be the girl in this song:

It wasn’t because I wanted to have guys chasing after me, or whatever. I just liked the idea of driving fast, and not having any rules. The freedom of the road. It sounded so awesome.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of circumstances, I never even ended up getting my driver’s license. I know. Super lame. Seriously. My little cousins can drive, and I can’t. I am shaking my head as I am writing this. It’s just so wrong.

Well, it’s time this situation was remedied. I’ve been driving boats for years, after all. I have successfully comandeered a golf cart or two, and yesterday I was cruising around on an ATV. Quite proficiently, if I do say so myself, considering that the roads in Costa Rica are all vaguely terrifying. And I love going fast. So it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and learn to drive already. By now it has become a moral imperative, and once something falls into that category then you pretty much have to do it, no excuses.

So, start watching the road! You might just see me cruising past someday.

skillin' behind the wheel

“Put Your Brain Empty”

skillin' in the surf

Well, I’ve been talking about it a lot this week, so yesterday I decided it was time that I put my money where my mouth is and take a surfing lesson.

I’d like to tell you it was a resounding success, and that I’m a natural surfer. But it wasn’t, and I’m not. I actually kind of sucked. But I loved it, and that’s the best thing that I took away from the experience.

To start off the lesson, our instructor Laurent — an awesome French dude (with dreadlocks, of course) — gave us a quick rundown of the four basic steps for getting up on your board. We practiced on land for a while, and then it was off to brave the waves. My first run was a good one, and I managed to stand up and balance myself — I was surfing! But it all went a bit downhill from there. My main problem was the movement between the second and third step, where you arch your back and then pop up into a “mountain” position (sort of like downward dog in yoga). I have a recurring back injury that makes me nervous about doing anything that will put strain on my lower back, so instead of going into mountain position my natural instinct was to protect my back by getting up onto my knees. Over and over again, I kept wanting to bend my knees instead of doing the proper move (which is ridiculous, of course, because oranges don’t even have knees, obviously ;) I found myself getting more and more frustrated, annoyed with my brain for getting in the way of my body. We are often held back by fear, from doing things that should be so simple and reflexive. I could sense the hesitation in my body, and felt powerless to overcome it. ‘Mind over matter’ is a great mantra — except when it’s your mind that is holding you in check. Sometimes you need to ignore your brain.

Like any good teacher, Laurent quickly picked up on what I was doing. When I explained to him that I was fearful of hurting my back, he taught me a modification to the steps that allowed me to get up on both knees, then quickly slide my right knee forward, swing my left leg around, and stand up on my board. Was it perfect form? No, far from it. But as Laurent explained, “the important thing is that you are having the fun”. And I was! I managed to ride a few more waves, and I also learned a good lesson about working around your limitations — they need not restrict you from moving forward and getting the most out of life (or a surf lesson).

Another thing that Laurent said, in the awesome way that people speak when English is not their primary language, was “just put your brain empty”. Don’t think about anything else. Only the board, only the waves. When you’re out there, nothing else matters. This has been a bit of a theme this week, from Riding Giants to today’s surf lesson. I’ve often heard people talk about surfing being therapeutic — how the rhythm of the waves and the energy of the ocean are bigger than you, but you become a part of them, and when you catch that wave it’s like you’re at one with it all, even if only for a brief moment. I’m so glad that I got to experience it firsthand. After all, isn’t this what we’re trying to do every day, as we go about our lives? Get closer to the feeling of being at one with ourselves, each other, the universe? If surfing can get you closer to that, then I for one am all for it.

skillin' with my board

Hang loose, bro