Archive for November, 2006

Brass Tacks

Let’s get down to “brass tacks”

Strangely, this has become a popular phrase in my vernacular, but I’ve consistently felt the need to put “brass tacks” in quotes. Because, frankly, what? brass tacks? (My inner dialogue would go something like “What if it’s really ‘bass tax’?? I better put that puppy in quotes just to be safe – then people can’t ridicule me.”)

Yesterday, I used the phrase in a focused e-conversation to imply there was no time for “monkeying” or “horsing*” around.

I was feeling rather audacious, so taking the risk of him thinking me a fool, I asked this e-pal what he thought the phrase meant. He gave me just one word in reply: Wikipedia.

Sure enough, Wikipedia came through:

Brass tacks is an object used in the popular expression “get down to the brass tacks”. The expression usually means clearing out confusing details and finding out the real facts about something. The etymology of the expression likely has roots in the way fabric manufacturers used to mark out a yard in tacks on the counter so customers could buy their fabric accordingly.

In the 1860’s the US government issued boots for soldiers that were constructed using brass tacks to hold the leather soles on to the bottoms of their boots. As the boots wore down, the tacks would protrude through the sole and in to the bottom of the soldier’s feet. ‘Brass tacks’ could mean to get to the absolute bottom of things in reference to shoes.

I love you Wikipedia. You’re the best friend a twitchy** girl like me could ever ask for.

*”horsing” around?! I love and also hate you, English.

**Ask Ann about yesterday’s lunch to hear about more “grotesque awkwardness”


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Do you ever twitch?

This morning while enjoying Beth’s company (and coffee), some morning shivers and shoulder spasms led me to keep my coat on despite not being all that cold.

Just now, while walking into my office, my hand was shaking to the point that my coffee was sloshing all around town. 

How absurd. 

Now that I’m staring at my hands lying on the keyboard, I’m finding that it’s really more of a twitch than anything else.  I guess it’s time I faced it:  I’m a twitcher.

Dictionary.com defines a twitch as “a sudden involuntary or spasmodic muscular movement.”

I agree. 

But why?  Why do we twitch? 

And why do I have an inverted knuckle? 

I guess there are some things in this world we have to be okay with never understanding…after all, as Damien Rice says, “it’s not hard to grow when you know that you just don’t know.” 

That is one of my favorite quotes, but he didn’t mean “grow” like “grow a normal knuckle,” you know? 

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In the last 48 hours I’ve rediscovered my love for three things:

  1. Flannel sheets – because waking up is hard to do.
  2. My retainer – technically I don’t have to wear it anymore, but I like how it keeps my teeth in line
  3. The Get Up Kids’ album On A Wire. 

Yesterday I had a craving for the Get Up Kids, and after listening to them all day I quickly remembered how much I love this album. 

Now, I admit that I jumped on the GUK bandwagon pretty late.  Honestly, I thought the name sounded too teen-emo-rock, so I never gave them much respect.  That label wouldn’t have been altogether wrong, but I still probably shouldn’t have been so dismissive.  I tagged along with friends to one of their shows three or four years ago because The Anniversary was opening for them.  At that point, On A Wire was GUK’s latest album so they played quite a bit of it and, well, I really enjoyed the show.

I remember my friend Chad (loyal fan) hating On A Wire, and I guess I can’t blame him – if you’re expecting the normal GUK sound, you will be dissapointed.  For me, however, it was this album that made a fan of me in the first place. The lead singer had been involved in a side project, The New Amsterdams (now one of my faves), for a few years at that point and the mellowness had carried itself over to On A Wire.

It wasn’t until I travelled abroad though that I really became a fan.  I was feeling terribly homesick during my first month in Australia, and I remember walking into a cd store and dropping an obscene amount of money (you’re lucky if you can get a CD in Australia for less than 30 dollars) on CDs that reminded me of home – Ash’s Intergalactic Sonic 7’s, TMBG’s Dial-a-song, and Get Up Kids’ On A Wire.

Ahh, how many hours of my life were spent walking (there was a lot of walking) here and there with this album blaring from my discman?  I distinctly remember walking to Kmart, reminiscing about my dorm friends while listening to Wish You Were Here, and walking home from Uni listening to Campfire Kansas (Now I’m either easily moved by music/memories or I’m overwhelmingly emo, but at the lyric “we’d stay afloat and make the most of everything,” I recalled a particularly touching moment with one of my MN friends and noticed a dramatic and solitary tear stream down my face – not unlike Jim’s in last year’s season finale of The Office, you can’t make this stuff up).

So, okay, this album brings back good memories of reflection and musical comfort.  Fair enough.  But let’s get down to “brass tacks,” it’s also just a great disc!

This is the kind of album that works perfectly for a rainy day carride (like today) or for a long walk (to me, walks have always done wonders for seeking clarity).  It’s the kind of album that you’re so convinced is putting to voice your inner dialogue that you go out of your way to read the lyrics  – only to find you can’t actually relate so well to the feeling of a father returning after 24 years of abandonment (but the music makes you really feel like you can, doesn’t it?).

It starts fluidly with Overdue, a ballad with the aforementioned subject matter.  Then it moves to the catchier Stay Gone, and continues through leaving a few gems in its wake (High as the Moon and Wish You Were Here are a few notables).  Campfire Kansas comes in at track 9, it’s pretty and it feels like this should probably be the climax of the cd.  That is, until you hear Hannah Hold On where the album reaches its culmination.  Now I’m probably biased as this has become one of my two favorite songs ever, but I’ve gotta say it:  That Hannah Hold On, it’ll break your heart.  It’s one of those enchanting songs that seems to stir up lots of questions without really offering up a whole lot of answers (in a good, freeing, way).  It’s sincere and so beautiful that I’ve found myself wishing I felt heartbroken and hopeless/hope-seeking just so I could claim some of its beauty myself.

Between Campire Kansas and Hannah Hold On are two tracks that have always been a little dissapointing after CK.  Grunge Pig is my least favorite on the album (though it’s not really all that bad), and I do sort of like The Worst Idea, but it’s nothing to write home about.

There were two years between this album and the next, Guilt Show.  I listened to On A Wire consistently for a few months before Nada Surf’s Let Go took over my discman.  When GS came out, I thought it was pretty and since it was even mellower than On A Wire, I figured it was probably better.  In retrospect, Guilt Show, although there are some real gems, is much less satisfying to listen to – I think it lacks a cohesiveness.  I regret putting On A Wire on the shelf for as long as I did.

In a few days I’ll probably get tired of it and put it away for another few years, but for the moment I’m really glad it’s been on loop!

What did you think?  Hated it?  Loved it?  Think it sounds more like The New Amsterdams (fair criticism) than Get Up Kids?  Hate music?  Don’t care?  Just checking in to see if Maren or Lane has had their baby yet?

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Peter’s Birthday Weekend

Many of you celebrated Thanksgiving this weekend.  I know I did.  Three times.  Beat that.  Just kidding, just kidding, no competition here.  Merry Christmas.

But seriously, this was a weekend to beat all weekends.  Why?  Because it was Peter’s Birthday!!  Happy Birthday Peter!! 

Upon hugging Peter hello Saturday night I remembered that he has the stomach and ribs of an infant (if you know me well, you might know that this is my favorite part of a baby – so compressed, so firm).  I informed him of this repeatedly while poking his tiny stomach.

It was a good party – that guy sure can throw one of those.  I mostly just sat at the table with Jess’ and Desiree’s boyfriends being shy and eating the chips.  We burnt one.  Boys will be boys.

I talked with some people I hadn’t seen since high school, Jess and I had a few funny conversations, and I met Peter’s “replacement Christine” (a girl who acts exactly like me – thus rendering me useless to him).

Other things that made this weekend great: 

  1. 4 days long!
  2. Dinner with Anna Leisa
  3. Lunch/Dinner with Karl, Maren, Mindy, Tian, Yu Jian (my apologies for the probable misspell!), and Anthony
  4. Body Worlds with Rachel C
  5. Christmas decorating at the Stangeland household
  6. The Office, Season 2, Disc 4.  Special Features
  7. Talking on the phone with Jenna outside Sarah/Emily/Rachel’s house for an hour

Also, today it’s Jessie’s birthday!  Happy Birthday to Sica!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! 

This year I’m thankful for the three Thanksgiving dinners I get to look forward to and for the great people that I get to share them with.  I’m also thankful for the free round trip plane ticket I just stumbled across.  Say what??

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Demolition Day!


Yesterday was demolition day!  Ann and I were invited to the Metropoint lobby to watch some hardhatted gentleman demolish our dear old theatre.  They also offered us popcorn, marshmallows, hot cocoa, and cider.  I put the mallows in my popcorn, Ann put them in her cocoa.

We headed to the skyway to get a better view of the demolition, but unfortunately it was pretty anticlimatic.  There was a chunk missing from the building and a few people looking at it.  Bummer.

Unlike our theatre, however, many of Hollywood’s hopes and dreams have been demolished recently: 

  • All dreams of Britney Spears living a normal life have been demolished and remade into a made-for-tv movie.  Her soon-to-be ex-husband has threatened to sell a “personal” video tape of theirs to blackmail her into giving him custody of their children.  In response, Britney is giving “serious thought” to giving the video away for free so that he won’t receive any money or their children.  (Any bets on how long it takes the Lifetime network to pick this one up?  Those poor kids.)
  • Michael Richards (TV’s Cosmo Kramer) has demolished the hearts of his fans after he had a little bit of a meltdown during a comedy routine recently – I won’t say any more. 
  • O.J. Simpson (does this count as Hollywood?) is putting out probably the most innappropriate and insensitive book ever (if this is any indication, now may be the time of the Apocalypse).  I’m not sure what this demolishes – humanity?  Perfectly good book space at Barnes & Noble for authors who actually deserve to be there?

And now I feel a little bit like Kelly from The Office.  Which I’m still laughing about: 

Kelly: Oh my god, I have so much to tell you!
Jim: Really?
Kelly: Yes! Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes? — they had a baby and they named it Suri. And then Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, they had a baby, too, and they named it Shiloh. And both babies are a-mazing.
Jim: Great. What’s new with you?
Kelly: I just told you.
Jim: What’s new with you?
Kelly: I just told you.

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A Prompt Return

I feel like it’s been a year since I’ve posted.  There’s a picture I was hoping to scan and display here, but in all likelihood, I’ll never get around to it.

So, my weekend consisted of two things:

  1. Learning to despise the word “microperforation.”
  2. Celebrating the wedding of Tom and Katie Holmes

Also, a bunch of sincere stuff.

Have a great day!

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