Sunday Song: Out of the Dark

Now that I’ve gone and gotten treatment, I’ll tell you the story of the Dark.

I’ve always been subject to black moods. Getting raped at 18 didn’t help, I’m sure. But those moods were always transient, usually correlated to known issues like severe stress, and predictable. They didn’t affect my day-to-day functioning all that much, and I could always find my way out. I just joined up with the part of my brain that was laughing into the darkness and walked out on it. I’d change up my routine, do whatever altered my mood toward happy, and the Dark would go.

So I wasn’t overly concerned when I began to slide in January. Vaguely and pervasively sad in Seattle in the middle of winter, during a time of high stress at work and home? Whee, SAD! Yay, environmental triggers! Time to take a break, then, watch some Agatha Christie, do busy work, wait for the Dark to go away.

But it started getting darker. [Read more…]

That Feeling of Tension Released in Victory

So you know those times when you’re sitting there restless for no damn reason, and you’re messing about trying to find something that will hold your attention, and suddenly you remember there was this one song you used to listen to years ago that you really liked, but you couldn’t remember the title? And so you go haring off after it, hoping you remembered the artist right but after the first three not-it songs you’re not sure. And then you remember the title, but it turns out that whoever did your mix album put the wrong title, so that song that you thought is it ain’t it. And you’d give up, except by now hearing that song again is the most important thing ever, so you slog on, becoming tense and despairing and desperate. And then, victory!

Yes? No? Well, even if you’ve never experienced that particular sequence of events, you may enjoy this song anyway. It’s Octavia Sperati, and the song turns out to be called “Guilty Am I.”

At least now I’ll remember it always. Also, the cover art for the album is awesome.

Grace Submerged album cover.

Grace Submerged album cover.

And then – and then, as a special bonus, linked from another Octavia Sperati video, what do I find but a video I’ve been trying to find for at least a year now, ever since it vanished from my playlist. Huzzah!

Well played, YouTube. Well played indeed.

Saturday Song: Butterfly Lovers

Okay, so this is the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen human beings do. Well, do while dancing, anyway. I mean, she’s standing en pointe on this dude’s head, and – just watch.

Words. I haven’t any. I just. That’s simply. Mwah.

You know what, that’s art. That’s pure bloody art right there, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t give up on humanity in despair (you, my darlings, and my fellow Freethought Bloggers, plus the other folks out there doing magnificent work making this world better and more beautiful every day, are the other reasons). All right? It’s moments like these that just make me sit back with my jaw flapping gently in the fully unhinged position and my eyes popping out and my poor little tempted-to-be-misanthropic heart welling, and I burst out with a robust, “I bloody love people!” when I’m capable of drawing breath again.

I rather imagine this is what it’s like running about the universe with the Doctor, actually. [Read more…]

Sunday Song: Feeling Emu

You lot take me to some weird places.

So I post a picture of a green beach rock, and next thing I know, Heliconia’s comparing it to an emu egg and RQ’s asking if emu eggs are green. So I got curious. And I looked. And day-yamn. They surely are.

Emu egg purchased at the farmers' market in Mountain View, California. Image and caption courtesy Shuhari via Wikimedia Commons.

Emu egg purchased at the farmers’ market in Mountain View, California. Image and caption courtesy Shuhari via Wikimedia Commons.

Remarkable. The resemblance, as Heliconia said, is striking. Now I want an emu egg. Lots of emu ranches in Washington state, so perhaps, one day…

Of course, I resolved to post a picture of an emu egg for you, and then I couldn’t think of what I wanted for the Sunday Song, until I remembered emu eggs and wondered, are there emu songs? Lo and behold. [Read more…]

Tuesday Tunes: New Year’s Day

Oh, hai, 2013! Glad u maed it!

Gotz party favorz

Ai tink we shuld taek this srsly. We shuld haev srs tradishunal song. Culdn’t find wun in lolcat, soree. But it’s pritee.

We culd drink to dat! Who haz teh bubblee?

invisible champagne

Furst rool grate drinkin': start wid champagne an build.

tequila catDunno. Don’t tink moderashun iz here. We’ll have anodder drink while we wait. U culd haev wiskee, if u no like teekeela. Wiskee an a tradishunul sawng. Wi’ bagpipes!

We culd have anodder tradishun, too. Dis iz mai tradishun. Alwayz play dis sawng at Noo Yeerz.

An den I gives u mai favurite Noo Yeerz wish:

“May the best you’ve ever been be the worst you’ll ever see.”

Wuv u, mai darlings! Happee Noo Yeer!

Lol love

An latur tooday, we kin say:

rum gone kitteh

Dat’s how we know it wuz gud partee.

Sunday Song: The Bagpipes o’ War

I’m sorry. Yes, I know, there’s a great and noble history, and art, and skill, and all that, but when I hear this line:

“Bagpipers play the tunes of war”

I still burst out laughing. Every time. Something in me can’t accept bagpipes as instruments you’d go to war with.

I suppose they do look martial, for a given value of martial.

A pipe major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (date unknown). Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

A pipe major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (date unknown). Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

Also, it’s not many strange-looking traditional instruments suitable for taking on the march that you can rip pipes out of with both hands and beat people with, so there’s that.

Anyway. Here’s the song that brings on the giggles. It’s not a video that takes itself over-seriously, which is one of many reasons I love it. [Read more…]

Christmas Eve Sarajevo, Two Versions

So this is a beautiful song, one of my favorite pieces. It’s up to you which version you choose. There’s the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version, which is a little more fantasy and wonder and has kittens and a very sweet little girl.

And then there’s the Savatage version, used on their Dead Winter Dead album, and it has war and a love story.

That’s the album that started me toward becoming a peacekeeper. I won’t say pacifist – I think there are times, unfortunately, when a species of war is necessary. But it’s very different from the kind of war we’ve been fighting. It’s the kind of war that helps stop ethnic cleansing and unthinkable violence and allows people to put shattered lives back together, as best as they can, and go on.

I think of this story every Christmas Eve: that there was a war, and a cellist, and a Christmas Eve when the cello stopped, and two people walked away from a war.

And there was a cellist of Sarajevo. He played in the ruins as the war raged round him. He inspired the story of Dead Winter Dead. But his was a happier ending, and hasn’t ended yet.

Vedran Smajlović, in Sarajevo, 1992. Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

Vedran Smajlović, in Sarajevo, 1992. Image and caption courtesy Wikipedia.

I think of those who try, in the midst of ruins, to make this world a little better, a little more beautiful, when to those in the midst of those ruins it must seem there’s nothing good or beautiful left in it, and I’m grateful for them, this Christmas Eve.

Little kids and kittens are nice, too. And fantasy, and wonder, and beauty in the dark night, as the music plays, and stories unfold.

Sunday Song: Autumn’s Last Gasp

Really. This is getting seriously ridiculous. Autumn refuses to leave. But I think it’s on its last legs now, so this may honestly and actually be the last of it.

These lovelies are from my breaking-in-shoes walk a couple of Saturdays ago. For the most part, we’re down to a few bedecked branches, and some solitary leaves that have fallen artistically into the evergreenery. [Read more…]

Maya Apocalypse Day Music Madness: Only The End of the World Again!

Welcome to the Umpteen Thousandth Annual Apolcalypse! Brought to you by the Maya Long Count Calendar – and we all know that things carved in stone must be true. Never mind that people have based their idea that the end times are upon us on a cultural misunderstanding. Somehow, the fact that the Maya expected the world to continue after today never crosses their minds. Never mind that their doom scenarios are completely without foundation.

The small detail of end-of-world disaster scenarios being completely corny will not stop us from throwing end-times parties (because it’s Friday and damn it, we’ll take any excuse handy. Woo!). End-times parties need a soundtrack. I am here to provide. I also stand to lose ~90% of my readership if you all watch some of these videos sober, but I’m willing to take the risk, because they made me laugh.

Also, don’t forget: we have a very special Geopocalypse edition of the Accretionary Wedge up courtesy of Lockwood, and it has awesome content and valid points, so you lot who are stuck at work should absolutely read it while the clock ticks toward party time.

Soundtrack below the fold. Party on, my apocalyptically outstanding readership, party on! [Read more…]