Monday, March 30, 2009

My Small Contribution

My tissue-typing kit arrived today. I rubbed four swabs on four sections of my inner cheeks (swallow first!) and stuck them in a foam holder. One bio hazard label later and my results are ready for the post office.

In about six weeks, my marrow particulars will be added to the National Marrow Donor Program® Registry.

Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to save somebody as special as Amanda.

Tell all your single friends, find out more at

XO, JamieSmitten

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Requiescat In Pace

My friend Amanda left this realm last night. She battled AML like the true zombie fighter she was and I am completely at a loss.

What I do know is that Amanda was a very special person to many, many people and that she will be laughing with me whenever I read a scathingly witty blog or hear somebody using nail clippers at work.

This life is a short ride. Find the sweetness and surround yourself with the people who matter.

Amanda mattered.

There is a wonderful tribute at Pajiba to Amanda.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Boy, Are YOU Behind!

Despite my lack of posting which might have made you think nothing was going on, something has been going on. Something has definitely been going on.

Here are some things you have missed in no particular order which may or may not get more detail in future posts:

  • New couch is in the living room! Long live the 35 year old predecessor -- which has already been cannibalized in the alley.
  • I wii-ed for the first time! I'm aces at trivia and fairly sucky at obstacle courses while riding a yak.
  • I SAW MORRISSEY. You'll hear more about that. And the fact that he -- JUST LIKE ME -- has to keep pulling up his jeans because he's a no ass having hottie.
  • Boom's knee is a little better. Trying to hop on the new couch isn't helping.
  • I've been sucked back into several reality shows and yes, I hate myself.
  • I learned that KYA Boot Camp wall squats are the BEST preparation a girl can have for balancing in nasty portajohns.
  • I learned the previous lesson because I never learn that Church Hill Irish Festival Guinness and Harp drinking requires pacing and a large bladder.
  • I've had sex 3 days in a row. You'll definitely hear more about that.

On that note, I'm going upstairs to extend this unprecedented string of damn fine cardio.

Tell all your single friends, Sex is just as fabulous as Smitten remembered!

XO, JamieSmitten

Monday, March 02, 2009

From Britain With Love

[Shuffleathon is a delightful cd exchange administered handily by SwissToni. You send a cd, you get a cd -- all very random and sometimes anonymous. Kind of like music safe sex. These people know music, so it is a darn shame that they might end up with a cd from me.]

I received my Shuffleathon 2008 cd in the mail at least well over a month ago. I swore I wouldn't spoil the surprise by reading the track listing, but I did. First glance was a big hooray -- some familiar, some that probably should be familiar, and some totally new (to me) songs.

The only thing I didn't know was who made it -- as the post-it only stated it was from the "Shuffleathon Pixie." I pictured tights and was a little bit scared. There was a lovely polaroid picture in the case and I'm properly set for my British musical extravaganza to begin.

Since I have a 25 minute drive to work, I do most of my uninterrupted cd listening in the car. I've been listening to this cd for several weeks now and I really enjoy it. Even the songs that didn't initially interest me have become familiar and listenable. Details? Read on.

1. Intro - a few audio snippets to set the mood. She adored London...Yes, London...Mary Fucking Poppins, London! The male voice sounds a bit like Denis Leary?

2. My Year in Lists by Los Campesinos I cherish with fondness the day before I met you. It seemed like the name of a band I read about in Entertainment Weekly and thought, "that might be worth checking out," and then never did. It is a chipper and cheeky song and I quite enjoy singing along. Lots of high hat and tinkly instruments -- but don't let that scare you off. Good start.

3. Nightlife by Kenickie No I don't want to see you, friend, but thanks for asking. Another upbeat tune, happily for me. Grrl power, in a dance-ish sort of way. It was quite surprised when I looked them up and found out this song is from 1997. Sounds current to me. Thumbs up.

4. A British Bank by David Tomlinson and Julie Andrews Children should be molded, shaped and taught, that life's a looming battle to be faced and fought. Yes -- THAT Julie Andrews. An interlude from Mary Poppins. In keeping with the London theme and fine by me as it reminds me of seeing the movie with my goddaughter. O.K., I do sometimes fast forward past this track, but I leave it on just as often. Points for wit.

5. For Tomorrow by Blur She's a twentieth century girl, hanging on for dear life. The only Blur album I have ever owned was Parklife and listening to this track, I can't for the life of me justify not having bought another. Excellent song. Going directly to record store two blocks away to rummage through used cds and fill this now glaring gap in my collection. Ta!

6. School Song by Black Box Recorder Destroy your record collection, it's for your own protection. This is why Shuffleathon is so great -- I would probably have never stumbled across Black Box Recorder if left to my own devices. I didn't expect to like it, but I really do. And I definitely heard a variation on, "and what on earth is that you're wearing? this is an educational establishment, not a nightclub," when I was in high school. Definite singalong song.

7. Come Home Billy Bird by The Divine Comedy A bunch of Belgian businessmen and a strange drinking game, oh god why? I enjoyed the story of a trip from hell (given my recent Utah experience), but even after repeated play, I can't get past the annoying chorus of female whispersinging. I don't hate it, I just don't need it.

8. Sheila by Jamie T She didn't like thugs, but at the same time understood, fellas will be fellas 'til the end of time. English men like to send me this song. SwissToni included it on his consolation Shuffleathon 2007 cd and I liked it immediately. Happy to have it again. You can rarely go wrong with a Jamie in the mix.

9. Long Hot Summer (Pts. 1 & 2) by Helen Love You know the long hot summer won't pass me by. There is no way I wouldn't love a song that name drops The Undertones, The Ramones, and The Buzzcocks in the first thirty seconds. I literally can't wait to drive around in the summer heat with this song cranked loudly. This summer is going to be FANTASTIC!

10. Modern Art by Art Brut Modern Art makes me want to rock out! Well I never thought to put it that way, but sure, o.k.! I had to grab the cd case when this came on because I thought, "How did I miss The Pursuit of Happiness when I scanned the list of songs?" While this song does remind me of "I'm An Adult Now," it stands up just fine on its own. Art Brut is one of those bands I keep meaning to get around to checking out, but now I'm afraid the rest of the songs won't be good and modern arty like this one.

11. Bluebells by Patrick Wolf I fell off the wagon, into your arms. I really like the urgency of this song, but those damn whistling bombs which keep dropping in the background make me wish I knew someone who could strip that track off. I just sing more loudly and try not to have the Gap Band "You Dropped the Bomb on Me" flashbacks. I have no idea who Patrick Wolf is, but his voice is lovely.

12. Tacky Love Song by Credit to the Nation This is the way that the story goes, when you find love, the harmony grows. Another song from 10 years ago -- starting to wonder if the cd author did some reading on my blog and decided I was old and I needed some old songs. Doesn't do much for me, but a month into rotation, I do sing along with bits of it. No harm there.

13. It's Getting Boring by the Sea by Blood Red Shoes Oh no, no no no no, can't escape anything in this town. Now this is more like it! Love the speed of this song -- sounds a bit like Shirley Manson singing -- and the blisters, blisters, blisters refrain makes me think of another song I like a lot--Bandages by Hot Hot Heat. I would definitely see this band in concert - and Myspace informs me that they are touring, but not here, damn it.

14. London by The Pet Shop Boys what do you expect from us, we come from abroad. Can't mistake Neil Tennant. I'm exceedingly grateful that sticking to the London/GB theme did not mean the inclusion of West End Girls. That's one Pet Shop Boys song that I need never hear again. Haven't listened to these guys since university, so nice to be reminded that there was more than the afore-mentioned crap song.

[Starting to feel guilty because my cd recipient only got 12 songs. And there wasn't much of a theme. And she was great about it anyway.]

15. Paris by Friendly Fires one day we're going to live in Paris, I promise, I'm on it. Bring it on! Love the sentiment and the earnestness of the chorus which gives way to the chilled out synth verses. This is as techno as I wish to get and it totally works for me.

16. I Can't Speak French by Girls Aloud I can't speak french, so I'll let the funky music do the talking. Oh dear. Is this the Pussycat Dolls? Nope, Girls Aloud -- a manufactured girl band from the UK. Yes, I now sing along with the chorus (even though I can speak french) because it contains that pop music anesthetic that after repeated listenings, makes you just obey and sing along. Argh. Let's move on.

17. American English by Idlewild then you contract the American dream, you never look up once. I'm a bit disappointed, honestly, as I thought Idlewild was one of those bands that I would like, having read the occasional review. It could be suffering from being stuck between the songs by the fake bands bands with singers instead of musicians. Not remotely memorable, but not painful either. I am probably too lazy to go find out if the rest of their work is more to my taste, but maybe I'm not.

18. Greatest Day by Take That Before we run out of time. Oh dear. The name sounded familiar and a quick Google reminded me why. This is from whence Robbie Williams came. Although this is apparently the post-Robbie brand new single. Not for me. I love boys in bands, just not boy bands. Next!

19. It's Grim Up North by The JAMs Sheffield, Manchester, Castleford...are all in the North. Back to some more acid house (?) type stuff. Not my genre, but quite a geography lesson with the recitation of towns that are, no coincidence, all in the North. Decent music for driving and usually makes me wonder how many of those towns I could visit on a trip. Although with the grimness and all, maybe this isn't supposed to be a travelogue?

20. Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy and everyone else came down to listen. Totally dating myself here, but this song was played by many of my univeristy friends in their dorm rooms. I never borrowed the cassette (ooh! Smitten IS old!), but I always liked the song. I had totally forgotten about the screaming after the Beatles reference. Nice memory and turns out to be a good segue into the final song.

21. One Day Like This by Elbow cause holy cow, I love your eyes, and only now I see the light. Now I was really hoping to like this song when I saw Elbow on the tracklist as SwissToni has sung their praises in numerous posts. It starts off with some pretty, swelling orchestration and I think it is going to be too somber. But it turns out to be an anthem of hope or at least that is my take. Good. I've enjoyed Elbow. I'll seek out more.

So there you go. I feel well done by and send my thanks (and apologies for slackness in reviewing) to ... Delrico Bandito! (When I imported the album into my laptop, the true identity of the Shuffleathon Pixie was revealed.) I've checked out his blog and he has loads of music stuff, so clearly, he is a bit of a professional when it comes to cd making. Hooray for me!

Tell all your single friends, try it -- you'll 95% like it!

XO, JamieSmitten