Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can't get that song out of my head!

How does this happen? You’re exhausted, ready to fall into a deep, relaxing sleep and some song creeps into your brain and won’t go away. It just plays over and over again like the shuffle on your MP3 player is stuck. Right now, for me, that song is Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. This is actually a terrible song about a kid with a gun and lyrics that say “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.” What the heck are pumped up kicks and why does this kid want to shoot kids with them? I don’t want to like this song but I have to admit it’s a catchy tune.

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Yesterday I was driving home with the radio on singing along to Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville thinking you probably couldn’t find many people who didn’t know the lyrics to this song. Yes, I know the lyrics to hundreds of songs but I can’t tell you the names of all the Presidents of the United States. But, of course, if someone put all their names to a really catchy tune, say Pumped Up Kicks, I might know them all. Let’s see, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, uh Madison and um, I know Lincoln was pretty early on and there were two Roosevelts in there (Teddy and Franklin). How many have there been? Forty-three or forty-four? Wait, there was also Hoover, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, and of course Kennedy. I can name all the ones since I was born: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the First, Clinton, Bush the Second, and Obama. How did I end up on this topic?

Anyway, for the longest time I had P!nk’s Raise Your Glass (which I love) rolling around in my head. I heard it when I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, when I was in the shower, during a conference call that I wasn’t really paying attention to. And then I’d hear it on the radio, sometimes even twice a day for a while. Another recent one was Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons. They sound Irish but are really English. Good tune.

And it doesn’t ever seem to stop. The only thing that changes is the song. Sometimes it’s a good one and sometimes it’s ones that you really hate. And those are the worse.

"All the other kids with the pumped up kicks better run, better run, outrun my gun…"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Trying to) Keep It Green

Recycling has been around forever, really. But back in the 80s there was a renewal of aluminum recycling. Growing up in my teens we recycled newspapers and aluminium cans (and, just for the record, we had solar panels that heated our water as well). As one of our chores, my sister and I had to crush soda and beer cans in the garage (by crushing them we could fit more in that bag). And again, just for the record, we both hated this chore.

Over the years as I became an adult my recycling habits, I admit, have been sporadic. I will totally fess up and say that recycling totally depended on whether it was convenient for me (I know, bad excuse).

So just recently my apartment complex brought in dumpsters just for recycling. And this time around I am so much more aware of how much of my trash can actually be recycled. Pretty much almost any container, from the shampoo bottle to the cereal box. I'm recycling butter tubs, mayonnaise jars, soda bottles, anything that has the universal recycling symbol on it. Now for every bag of actually trash and I have two to three bags of recycled material. I am really amazed. And I think the fact that the recycle dumpster seem to almost aways be full my neighbors are recycling more as well.

So be aware and recycle.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Parking Lot Etiquette

It seems as if at least three times a week (sometimes more) I almost get hit in parking lot, whether I’m in my car or walking. And my car pretty much spends all it’s time in a parking lot, at home, at work, almost anywhere I go. And it also seems as if the parking spots are getting smaller and the number of people driving large vehicles is getting bigger.

So here are a few nuggets of wisdom regarding parking lot etiquette:

1. Look before you pull out of a parking spot. I mean REALLY look. Don’t just glance in your rear view mirror. Move your head both left and right to see if anyone is there (because that anyone could be me). This seems to be a big problem in grocery store parking lots. Many times it seems as people pull out of parking spot they just looking one way. I’ve been only inches away of being hit by someone’s bumper on numerous occasions so please, LOOK BOTH WAYS.
2. The lines painted on the pavement are there for a reason. You are supposed to park BETWEEN the lines. Not on the line, not over the line but between the lines (see #3 if your vehicle is too big to fit between the lines).

3. If you happened to drive a large mini-van or one of those huge extended cab pickup trucks and you can’t part between the lines, then find a spot far away from all the other cars and park way over there. It is annoying to those of us who don’t drive these gas-guzzling monsters to pull into a parking space only to find we can’t open the door far enough to get out because the vehicle you drive is larger than the parking space (or because you aren’t skilled enough to park between the lines – I know it takes a lot of skill).

4. Don’t stop in the middle of a parking lot and just… wait. If you are picking someone up, checking your cell phone, whatever, pull into an empty spot. This seems to happen at lot at my apartment complex and in front of grocery stores. I don’t care who you are waiting for, why do you think you are so special that you don’t have to park in a parking spot?

5. Slow down. If you are going more than 20 miles an hour in a parking lot you are going too fast. I don’t know why people do this. Are they really in that much of hurry? Do they want to show off their fast cars? Seriously, I almost got run down in my office parking lot the other day.

6. Pedestrians have the right of way in parking lots. This means you have to STOP for pedestrians who are walking in front of you. And they need to clear your path BEFORE you start to move forward. Stop being so impatient.

7. And the flip side of number six is don’t stand around in the middle of the parking lot to talk to someone or talk on your cell phone. Pay attention to your surroundings. Yes, you may have the right of way but if you are in the middle of the parking lot I will come as close as I can to running you down (seriously – get out of the way).

I beg of you, please follow these simple etiquette rules. There person you might avoid hitting is me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stop the Remakes!!!!

I can be rather possessive about things that aren’t really mine. Movies from my teenage years are an example of this. Eighties classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing and Footloose, just to name just a few, were great and in opinion should not be messed with.

But enough time has passed that some of these movies are being remade (last year it started with The Karate Kid – I wonder if people remember the remake as well as the original – wax on, wax off is still being quoted to this day). On October 14 a remake of Footloose will be released and I have a problem with that. The original movie was great the way it was, why remake it? And we all know the remake will never be better than the original.

It seems obvious that Hollywood can’t come up with new story ideas for movies so they have to remake an old movie, make it a little bit different, make changes that would “modernize” the story. It goes along with a recent trend of making movies based on television shows (usually not very good television shows). But what these producers don’t understand is that these movies don’t need modern makeovers, they were really good the first time around.

For this Footloose remake, Ren moves to a small town in Tennessee (not Utah) after his mother dies (she’s alive in the original) where rock ‘n’ roll is banned. Apparently they use some of the same dance sequences from the original (Ren still dances in the barn, teaches Williard how to dance, and, of course, the big school dance) and three songs from the original (Footloose, Holding Out for a Hero, Let’s Hear it for the Boys and Almost Paradise). A virtual unknown is playing Rena and a former ballroom dance with not a lot of acting experience is playing Ariel. But really, what kind of expectations can there be?

I heard that they were going to remake Dirty Dancing and I felt like a piece of my heart was breaking. All these movies from my teen years were part of my life. I saw the over and over again, heard their music was heard almost every day and they have been staples in pop culture. People from my generation can tell you exactly who Ferris, Baby, Maverick, Duckie and Mr. Miyagi are without skipping a beat. We know all the words to Simple Minds Don’t You Forget About Me and the late-great Patrick Swayze’s She’s Like the Wind.

Okay, so maybe these movies aren’t Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz or Casablanca but they were good enough the first time around that they don’t need to be remade.