Sunday, July 30, 2006

Greatest Hits
In my adventures of ripping my CDs, downloading a few songs here and there as I go, and making one mix CD after another, I've discovered one very important thing that makes this whole process extremely easy, and ridiculous.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has a Greatest Hits CD.

Just now, I've put together a little mix CD I like to call "Cheese". In the making of this fabulous mix, I discovered that even Nelson (yes, that awesome hair duo from the 90s) has a Greatest Hits CD.

Um, I think they had one hit. The had only two CDs. Yet like, 10 years later in 2004, for whatever reason they decided that the public was yearning for all of their "greatest" hits on one CD.

Had anyone even thought of these guys since 1990's Can't Live Without Your Love? Much less, when 2004 hit, did anyone think, "Hey, I wish Nelson would put out a compilation CD. I miss those guys."

Um, no.

Tomorrow's mix CD will be The Tyrant's Greatest Hits. I haven't written any songs, yet. But by tomorrow my public will want to hear whatever my greatest hits might be.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today's Musical Geniusery
Um, so yeah. I've spent most of the day with my iTunes, creating new music playlists and ripping my CDs onto the Macbook. It's about the most fun I've had this week.

Seriously. It. Has. Been. AWESOME.

And yes, I've been air-drumming all the while.

Here are today's mixes.

Girl Bluegrass Chill Rock (This is a working title...)

You Got It - Bonnie Raitt
Come to My Window - Melissa Etheridge
Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
Carnival - Natalie Merchant
Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
Power of Two - Indigo Girls
Shame on You - Indigo Girls
I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - O' Brother Where Art Thou
Keep on Growing - Sheryl Crow
I Want to Come Over - Melissa Etheridge
Strong Enough - Sheryl Crow & Dixie Chicks
Get out the Map - Indigo Girls
I'm the Only One - Melissa Etheridge
Least Complicated - Indigo Girls
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
Easy Silence - Dixie Chicks
Big Yellow Taxi - Sarah MacLachlan & Friends
Down to the River - Allison Krauss

80s-90s Skate Party (this one isn't quite final, yet)

Heaven is a Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle
One Way or Another - Blondie
Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Motown Philly - Boyz II Men
We Can Last Forever - Chicago
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Da' Butt - E.U.
Get on Your Feet - Gloria Estefan
Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Material Girl - Madonna
U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer
Beat It - Michael Jackson
Baby Got Back - Sir Mixalot
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany
Ice, Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
Vogue - Madonna

And the last one is simply titled:
I Just Like These Songs

Don't Cha - Pussycat Dolls
Long Way to Happy - Pink
It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones
Music - Madonna
Epic - Faith No More
Wishin' And Hopin' - Ani DeFranco
Until it Sleeps - Metallica
Dude (Looks Like a Lady) - Aerosmith
She's a Lady - Tom Jones
What You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani
Would You Die for Me - Bride
Frozen - Madonna
Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
Mama Told Me (Not to Come) - Tom Jones
Stay With You - Goo Goo Dolls
Human Nature - Madonna
My Immortal - Evanescence
A Little Less Conversation - Elvis


More of a Tribute to my Dog
Because after nearly 19 years of being a dog, she deserves it.

Duchess came to us one year when my Dad went to visit my Grandma for his birthday. She was his surprise birthday present. I was in jr. high at the time. We picked him up from the airport, but as he walked off the plane he seemed more concerned with a bit of "cargo" that he had to go get from the cargo area.

The "cargo" was a small dog carrier with a very small, three-week-old puppy inside. She was in a shoebox inside the carrier since the carrier was much too big for her. Because my dad is probably the most honest person on the planet, he had told the airline that he had a pet when he boarded the plane. So they made him buy a ticket and equipment for her to ride underneath the plane with the luggage. But later the flight attentdant told him if he had been quiet about it, he could have brought the puppy on board and held her the entire way.

But this was our first sign that Duchess was a survivor. She was too young to be away from her mother, but she made the flight home riding with the luggage, and she joined our family. We named her Duchess because every Boston Terrier that my dad's family has ever owned goes by the name of Duchess. It's tradition. Her mom was Duchess, and her sister is Duchess. That's just how it is.

Over the next few weeks, my mom fed tiny Duchess by letting her lick formula from her fingers. That's the only way she would eat. She was so small she couldn't climb up on the patio from the yard, or climb up the stairs. She could fit in the palm of your hand.

But, soon she was bossing our other, larger dog around as if she owned the place. Typical, younger sister thinking she's in charge.

We have lots of happy memories with Duchess. She could jump really high. Like, ridiculously high. One year we had this ginormous mound of wrapping paper from Christmas, and Duchess had somehow gotten trapped on the other side of it. All of a sudden she came flying over the top of it, without even a running start. She may have been a superhero dog. We're not really sure.

She was smart, friendly, and she assumed that everyone who came to the house came to see her, instead of us. A bit of an ego, but then she was a very pretty, very outgoing dog. How are we really to know that people didn't come from miles around just to see our dog, merely using us as an excuse to get in the door?

Duchess and I used to nap together. And by "together" I mean I would lay down on the couch for a nap, and when I would wake up I would find that Duchess had climbed onto the couch and draped herself around the top of my head. Odd, yes. But it worked for us. It took me awhile to figure out why my head was always so hot after a nap.

She loved to play, but she was never mean. The general evening routine was for my dad to get down on the floor and harrass the dog, getting her to snap at him and chase a ball. They both loved it, even though my dad usually came out of that with his hands scratched and bleeding. It was their way of bonding.

During the last few years, Dad and Duch seem to prefer a more tame method of bonding. He sits in his chair and tucks the dog in his arm, and they stay that way for hours. Hard to tell who likes it more, him or the dog.

After my sister died, Duchess was a tremendous source of comfort for our family. She knew something was wrong, but she didn't know what it was. Yet she would snuggle in and stare at me as if she wanted to help. We spent lots of time together. I didn't have to talk or pretend to be okay, she didn't ask questions. We just sat together. Funny how we had my sister for only 21 years, and Duchess for almost as long, at 19 years. Significant family.

One day a few years ago, my dad called to tell me that Duchess was really sick and had been diagnosed with cancer. They lived in Colorado at the time. It was a pretty serious situation, and he told me if I wanted to see her again I should probably come out there right away. So, I took a couple of days off of work and immediately flew out to see my dog. That may sound extreme, but with all my family's been through, at that time losing the dog without another goodbye was pretty much unbearable. She was 12 or 13 years old at the time.

Of course, when I walked in the door of my parents' house, I found Duchess literally running around the house. Um, she seemed fine. And in fact, they had made some changes to her diet and that seemed to solve the problem at the moment. I flew all the way out there for an "emergency" and the dog seemed perfectly fine. She still had the tumor, but since this seemed not to be the day my dog would die, my mom and I went shopping. She gave us a major scare, but this was just another indication that our dog was a wonder dog. Cancer? Whatever. No problem.

Really, I think she just needed an excuse for more attention. Turns out she lasted another 6 years with this "cancer" and no real treatment for it except changes to her diet.

Duchess also had a broken vertebrae. We're not really sure when that happened, but her vet said that according to her xrays she shouldn't be able to walk. Broken vertebrae? Whatever. That dog never stopped running.

A couple of weeks ago she "helped" my dad and I install new counter tops in their kitchen. And by help, I mean she got in our way, got in our feet, stumbled all over the tools and the counter tops while they sat all over the floor. She was very involved. She always liked to help with things. But she could no longer see very well, she was unsteady on her feet, and we're not entirely sure she could hear us. But, she still liked to be in the big middle of everything.

I almost can't remember not having Duchess. She's just a staple of the family. She's moved with the family, and later with my parents. She's traveled with us to visit Grandmas. She follows my mom around the house and helps her with everything. They hang out together all day. She's adaptable and easy going. She's survived the extreme cold of living in Colorado, and she's survived ridiculously hot Texas summers. We've had lots of the dogs over the years, but Duchess is the only dog we've had from start to finish, 3 weeks old til death.

So to Duchess, I thank you for your many years of hardwork in keeping our family together. You are a constant that we will miss tremendously. Sure, you're just a dog. But you were an important part of our family through ups and downs and everything in between.

I realize you can't read. This is as much for me as it is for you...

Or maybe you can read. You are, after all, our Wonder Dog.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

We thought she might live forever

But today was her last day.

Thanks for nearly 19 wonderful years. We'll miss you, Duch.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On Music
Since I've had the Macbook, I've been introduced to the world of music downloading and iTunes. With Windows 98 on the old PC, that did not allow for much music downloading. Now it's like a whole new world has opened up to me. I'm a kid with a new toy.

So, I've been downloading a lot of music lately. Most of it is stuff from my past that I once listened to, probably never owned, but it strikes a chord with me today. Some of it is new stuff. All of it makes me dance a little bit on the couch or in my chair, wherever I happen to be as I download and listen.

I've learned a few things about music, and about myself in this process.

1. I don't know the words to any songs. Don't get me wrong, I know songs. I recognize songs. I just can't sing along. I will try. And I know the basics, the words that stand out and that everyone knows. But I don't listen to music for the words. Some songs, yeah the words hit me upside the head. They are beautiful and meaningful. Or they are funny and ridiculous. Either way, genius. But mostly, I listen to music for mood. For ambience. For a soundtrack to whatever I'm doing at the moment. I hear the notes and the beats and the transitions before I ever hear any of the words of a song. And I love it that way. I feel it. I'm too busy listening to the drums to pay attention to the words, but I still get a lot out of it.

2. To amend #1, I know ALL of the words to SOME songs. These are the songs I belt out in the car, and it seems that most of these songs are Kelly Clarkson.

3. I have no taste in music, and my preferences run the spectrum of a variety of musical types, styles, genres, whatever. I kinda like a little bit of everything. Except country. I won't go there. But tonight's downloads included Metallica, Allison Krause, Belinda Carlisle, Melissa Etheridge, and Survivor. I love it all. It doesn't have to make any sense or fit together. One song reminds me of another song, and it's a new fun game for me.

4. My other new favorite thing to do is to plug the Macbook into the speakers in my office at home, set iTunes to random play, then walk away. I only have about 23 hours worth of music right now, but that's still a pretty wide selection that provides no repeats during one session, and enough variety to where I'm always entertained. Genius.

And that is the Tyrant on music for today.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Latest Mix CD
Can you tell that I like the iTunes brought to me by my dear Macbook???

I call this 80s-90s-00s Eclectic. It makes sense only to me. And that's what makes sense.

Bye Bye Bye - N*Sync
Motownphilly - Boyz II Men
Say You'll Be There - Spice Girls
Killing me Softly - Fugees
Scream (Duet with Janet Jackson) - Michael Jackson
Criminal - Fiona Apple
Iris - Goo Good Dolls
I'm Nuthin' - Ethan Hawke
Black Cat - Janet Jackson
Stronger - Britney Spears
Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega
Black or White - Michael Jackson
Stay - Lisa Loeb
Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Spice Up Your Life - Spice Girls
Live and let Die - Guns n' Roses
Crush - Jennifer Page
Big Machine - Goo Goo Dolls
Celebrity Skin - Hole


I think jobs are weird
That's just my take on it.

I've been thinking a lot about work lately. I'm not complaining. I'm happy enough at my job. I could make more money, but I'm okay with what I have. I did just get a bit of a raise, so that's nice. I have lots to do. They treat me okay. I like the people I work with. I don't dread going to work everyday. And I get to wear jeans on Fridays.

All in all, I've had much worse jobs. MUCH worse. I've got it pretty good right now.

But I just think jobs are weird. I think it's strange that our employers have the upper hand, yet they are completely dependent on us minions to do what we do, and do it well.

And in all honesty, I place more value on my time than what my employer places as value on it. I think I should get paid a lot more for the 40-plus hours a week I work. But the funny part of it is, our employers get our best hours of the day, almost everyday, and THEY get to tell US how much that is worth.

And the list goes on:

You get to tell me WHEN to show up, and WHEN I can go home.
You get to tell me what I can and can't wear.
You tell me when I can eat.
I have to ask permission to take days off, or to go to the doctor if I'm sick.
And the days off are by no means in proportion to the number of days worked.
I can't talk to my friends or family while am work for great lengths of time.
I see you more than I see my family or friends, yet they get my time for free and that is where I'd rather be.

Truthfully, I am very lucky and I have a lot of flexibility in my job. And sure, I get paid. In return for getting paid, I put numbers into spreadsheets, I read documents, I type emails, I make phone calls, I have meetings. This is the work I do. This is what is valuable to my employer.

I just with that I could wear jeans everyday and take a nap at 2:00 if I want to.

THAT is what is valuable to me.


Ok, enough with the potty humor
Although you have to admit, it's pretty funny that my toilet is now a wifi hotspot...


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Coming to you from the Blue Loo
The Tyrant's house went wireless today.

This means I can now multi-task while at home.

And yes, I totally just blogged from my bathroom.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Tribute to my PC
I write this from my new and beautiful Macbook...

Today marks the end of an era. I have laid to rest my faithful PC friend of many years. I spent the day clearing off my files, transferring everything to the Macbook, and making sure the PC was cleaned of all that it ever was. It's a pivotal day for me.

My dad gave me the PC several years ago when he upgraded to a newer PC. He had assembled the PC himself, and it was no mere IBM or Dell. It was custom. With nearly 8 gigs of hardrive space, it was a monster of it's time.

Over the years, the PC and I have had our ups and downs. During the time when I was unemployed, I was extremely grateful for the PC. I could do some freelance work from home, surf the internet for jobs, and keep my resume up to date. She was a lifesaver, running smoothly and without problems when I needed her most.

Every time my dad would visit, he would spend some time with the PC; defragging the hardrive, cleaning up files, running utilities, and generally being my own personal IT Dad, making sure my computer never let me down. One time I came home to find he had installed a brand new CD burner for me. I could now burn CDs with the PC. It was a good day.

Over the past couple of years, the PC has begun to show her age. No longer able to keep up with my highspeed internet. One of the two CD drives finaly gave out, no longer allowing me to play music. Freezing up if I ran more than two programs at a time. Giving me that scary bluescreen several times a week.

Eventually, she got to the point to where I couldn't even shut her down without the fear that she would never come back on. It was time to make a change.

I waited as long as I could, but I decided it was time to make a computer investment of my own. I did a lot of research to find the best thing to suit my needs and somewhat of a budget. Then, I broke the news to my Dad that I would officially be making the switch to Mac. I could feel his disappointment, and possibly some feelings of betrayal. But it was a decision I needed to make for me. It was time to let the PC go, whether the family disowned me or not.

Over the past month or so that I've had my new and beautiful Macbook, I've been using both the PC and the Macbook. I have a strong attachment to the PC. I've had a hard time making myself shut her down for good. She's been good to me. But today, I finally said goodbye. Forever. I cleaned her up and turned her off, staring at that scary blue screen for the very last time.

I have my new office set-up complete. The Macbook is in it's proper place on my desk. The PC is sadly unassembled in the corner, waiting to go somewhere where it will either be of some minimal use for parts, or to be recycled. My office has a much cleaner, sleeker, efficient look and feel. I'm quite happy.

So to you, Dad, I say thanks for the PC. She's been good to me for many years. And you have been the best IT Dad a daughter could ask for. Come on over sometime and I'll show you what the Macbook can do...

And to you, PC, I say thank you. Thanks for the years of hardwork and loyalty. You were a dependable machine when I needed you most. You will not be forgotten....

PC out-

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I may be a musical compilation genius
At least in my own mind I am.

So, last night I made another mix CD. This time I've stepped into a more recent era. Not all of them are brand new to the world. But these are songs that amuse me lately and/or I just like them to be loud in my car. I call it Newer and Other Random Stuff.

Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
Another Place to Fall - KT Tunstall
Trees - Marty Casey & Lovehammer
How We Operate - Gomez
Easy Silence - Dixie Chicks
Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall
Stupid Girls - Pink
Creep - Radiohead
Maneater - Nelly Furtado
Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
Give a Little Bit - Goo Goo Dolls
Mixed Bizness - Beck
Tribute - Tenacious D

I also have no idea what any of those songs mean, either. Much like my Grunge Mix. It doesn't really matter. I go for sound and songs I can air-drum to.

Now, again don't judge me for my music tastes if you feel that I am not, in fact, a music compilation genius. But it's such a fun mix that I can't wait to get to the next song when I'm listening, which means I actually miss most of the CD.

But, that's actually a good thing. My attention span with music is so short that I get bored easily and then I'm sick of whatever I'm listening to.

It's all part of being a genius.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Luke, this one is for you.

Let me amend yesterday's post with...

Dear En Vogue,

Please come back. Now.

Love your late-blooming fan,

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Guilty Pleasures and Late Blooming
Taking a break from the Creede photo stories for just a minute...

Today I made my first mix CD in a very long time. I realize the whole world has been on the iTunes and iPod bandwagon for like, 108 years already. But with the recent purchase of the Macbook and the discovery of Jen's Russian cheap mp3 site, I am now caught up with everyone else who has been downloading music and making CDs and playlists while I've been buying a rare CD or two only to be disappointed that I only like 2 songs on the whole CD.

People, iTunes is GENIUS. Where has this been all my life?

Anyway, my point is that today I made a mix CD. For whatever reason, I found myself in a 90s mood. So I began to download songs from my highschool and college years that I secretly liked but never owned because a) I was poor, and 2) we had a general "Christian music or Oldies music only" rule in the house. It was something more "understood" than "mandated". But I figured spending my money on any music other than Christian rock would not be a wise investment, since I probably wouldn't be allowed to listen to it anyway.

Somehow I forgot that in college, I don't have to go by the house rules anymore... I totally could have bought this stuff. But I didn't.

Consequently, I am a late music bloomer. Put in an 80s CD today, and I am in HEAVEN. It's the greatest thing ever.

So, really my point is that now, 10-ish years later, I am indulging in my 90s guilty music pleasure. It took awhile to compile. Not because I put any great amount of thought into it, or because my computer is slow (because it's not slow at all). But because it took me awhile to remember the songs, remember who made them, and collect them onto one fabulous mix.

Turns out I was kinda into grunge rock in highschool, but not entirely. I had no idea until just now.

Here are the titles on my latest mix that I call "Random 90s, Heavy on the Grunge, but Not Entirely, Also with a Side of Metal":

Free Your Mind - En Vogue
I Alone - Live
Zombie - The Cranberries
Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots
Machinehead - Bush
Wonderwall - Oasis
Lithium - Nirvana
Lightning Crashes - Live
Even Flow - Pearl Jam
Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) - En Vogue
Comedown - Bush
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Daughter - Pearl Jam
Kiss From a Rose - Seal
Champagne Supernova - Oasis

Now, in the making of this mix, several things came to mind:

1. Most important - Don't judge me for my taste in music. In fact, I wouldn't even consider it "taste". It's more that I'm just getting something out of my system. Maybe in a few weeks I will catch up to what's good these days.

2. I really never owned or listened regularly to any of these songs when they were on the radio. And when I hear them now, I usually change the station or put in a CD. I mean, I knew the songs because everyone knows them. But as for loving them enough to own them? Not so much. But for some reason today they are the best songs I have ever heard in my life.

3. I have no idea what any of these songs mean. At all.

4. Why was everyone so moody in the 90s? And kinda angry. Were the 90s that bad?

5. Where did all of these bands go? I mean, I know about Nirvana. And En Vogue lost one Vogue, and then went away completely. But where did everyone else go? I guess we got less moody in the year 2000 and had no need for the grunge. Anyone?

6. Seriously, I just realized today after I found the song that my latest tagline above "Never gonna get it, never gonna get it" is from the En Vogue song. I could not for the life of me figure out where I got that. It just got stuck in my head one day and it seemed appropriate to go on my blog.

So, there you have it. I may be 10 or 15 years too late. But today, I give tribute to the grunge rock (and En Vogue) of the 90s.


PS: After listening to my CD most of today, I may already be sick of it. And kinda angry. And I may have looked for a flannel shirt to wear just now.

It may be time to move on to boy bands and pop princesses of the 2000s.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Pictures are worth 108 thousand words
I've decided that instead of wordily (yeah it's a word) writing about the super awesome trip to Creede with the girls, as I normally would (being a world-famous writer and all) I will instead tell the story over a series of posts through the superfabulous media of random photos.

The stories will be told otherwise. But here, the pictures will speak for themselves.

We took lots of pictures, y'all.



Sunday, July 02, 2006

We're in Creede.