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January 30, 2006

You're a Living Doll

Some of the girls over on Looking Good were whipping up dolls of themselves, so I did one of meeeeeee:


Yes, I look exactly like that.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 10:51 PM | Comments (2)

My Stubborn Will Is Learning to Bend

Kendall Payne
Listen | Buy

NOTES: This song was featured at the end of last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. I need to write a fan letter to the music supervisor for that show, because they consistently pick really wonderful songs by artists I've never heard of (as well as cribbing a Psychedelic Furs lyrice - Into you like a train - for an episode title). I'm not sure who Kendall Payne is, exactly, but she reminds me quite a bit of Heather Nova. ETA: Now that I've listened to this a few times, she reminds me so, SO much of Shawn Colvin. She even looks a little bit like Shawn.

It's a big girl world now
Full of big girl things
And everyday I wish I was small
I've been counting on nothing
But he keeps giving me his word
And I am tired of hearing myself speak
Do you get weary?
Do you ever get weak?
How do you dream
When you can't fall asleep?

I've been wondering what you're thinking
And if you like my dress tonight
Would you still say you love me
Under this ordinary moonlight
I'm so afraid of what you'll say

I'd like to know if you'd be open
To starting over from scratch
I'd like to know if you'd be open
To giving me a second chance

I used to think I was special
And only I have proved me wrong
I thought I could change
The world with a song
But I have ended up in India
With no lamp to guide me home
The strangest place I think
I have ever been
And all this time
I thought that we were friends
My stubborn will is learning to bend

I'd like to know if you'd be open
To starting over from scratch
I'd like to know if you'd be open
To giving me a second chance

It's a big girl world now
Full of big girl things

Posted by Highwaygirl on 10:07 PM | Comments (5)

January 29, 2006

It's Curtains for Me

Currently I am: Sneezing my face off. So I will not be cleaning/packing any more stuff until I get my hands on a dust mask tomorrow. Because my entire body aches from all the sneezing.

I got out of the house today to go buy a floor lamp from Target, and to browse the offerings at Pier 1. I had seen a few things on the store's website that I wanted to take a look at in person. I'm glad I did, because I found the perfect curtains for my new bedroom:

The photo makes the color look flatter than it is in person. It's got a little bit of shine to it, so the fabric looks nice and rich. They're fully lined, too, so they should cut out sunlight fairly well.

I plan on hanging the curtains on a piece of brushed aluminum pipe (cut to fit) from Home Depot and then attaching some big-ass finials on the end. If that's not possible, I'll just buy a silver/nickel rod and finial set from Target.

I'm considering whether or not I need holdbacks.

I've been surfing the 'Net looking for things, and I stumbled upon a site called CB2, which is apparently some sort of offshoot of Crate & Barrel. So I'm looking through the site's products and found this shower curtain:

Sense a theme? I'd already decided to decorate the master suite (bedroom, bathroom, closet) in a dark brown and blue color scheme, so this shower curtain is not only the proper color, but the fact that it also has grommet accents ties the two rooms together, stylistically.

Could I sound more pretentious?

Of course, I have to use the metal shower curtain roller rings, because I love them so.

Now I'm gearing up to place a substantial order from The Container Store.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:38 PM | Comments (1)

January 26, 2006

Hang Wire

Continuing on with Things I Really Want, there is this Inhabit Wall Slat hanging thing:

It's made of fabric and it looks really slick in my opinion. I don't have the time or inclination to paint the walls at my new place, so I need removable/temporary solutions to my decorating issue.

Here's a photo of how you can use it in a bedroom:

I'm also thinking about using magnet paint to create an interactive piece of hanging art, using my magnet collection.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 11:48 AM | Comments (4)

January 23, 2006

I'mway Eelingfay Uckylay

Google in Pig Latin
Google in Swedish Chef
Google in Elmer Fudd
Google in Hacker

All from the Google Language Tools page.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

The Best and Worst of Everything

So there I was, hunting around on Forbes magazine's website, looking for the list of Best Companies To Work For (since I'm writing an article on employee retention strategies). I stumbled upon the main page for lists - as it turns out, it is a treasure trove of time-wasting information.

There's the Coolest Workout Equipment (featuring my beloved Cybex Total Body Arc Trainer). The Best Places To Die (congratulations, Utah! But BOOOO, Washington D.C. Florida is ranked 21st, but we get an A+ in "Legal Protection," the ability to write a living will).

There's the Worst Cars of 2005 (Dodge Neon = worthless POS) and the Least Safe Cars of 2006 (Hyundai Elantra = deathtrap). The Top Topless Beaches of 2005 only lists two beaches in the U.S. (South Beach in Miami and Black's Beach in San Diego - although I seriously doubt South Beach qualifies as a full-on topless beach, because people still get arrested there for doffing their tops). My guess for the Top Earning Dead Celebrity (John Lennon) actually comes in at No. 3. I'm not really sure why Andy Warhol is even on that list.

Tampa's Busch Gardens comes in at No. 2 - providing a needed bitchslap to Disney - on the list of the World's Most Fun Amusement Parks. The Most Dangerous Destinations just seems like a lesson in obviousness (Afghanistan is dangerous? Who knew?).

I've never been to any of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants, or the Most Expensive U.S. Restaurants, but I have eaten most of the Best (Worst) Foods (except for foie gras, which is WRONG and AMORAL).

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2006

Two of the Things I Want from IKEA

... but probably cannot have.

The walk-in closet at my new place is barely walk-in-able, so I am now on the lookout for a wardrobe/armoire. I don't want to spend a mint - and I doubt my stepdad can whip up something custom made within two weeks - so I checked the IKEA website for selection.


It's the Meldal wardrobe, and it's just $100. But it's not available online, the bastards. My second favorite is the inexpensive ($80) Aneboda wardrobe:

Nice, eh? But what will likely happen is that I jam the closet space I have so full of stuff that my clothes are perpetually wrinkled.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:09 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2006

It's Only Once We Pass This Way

"Spread a Little Happiness"
Listen | Buy

NOTES: It's a great day, people!

Even when the darkest clouds are in the sky
You mustn't sigh and you mustn't cry
Spread a little happiness as you go by
Please try

What's the use of worrying and feeling blue?
When days are long keep on smiling through
Spread a little happiness 'til dreams come true

Surely you'll be wise to make the best of every blues day
Don't you realize you'll find next Monday or next Tuesday
Your golden shoes day

Even when the darkest clouds are in the sky
You mustn't sigh and you mustn't cry
Spread a little happiness as you go by

I've got a creed for every need
So easy that it must succeed
I'll set it down for you to read
So please, take heed

Keep out the gloom
Let in the sun
That's my advice for everyone
It's only once we pass this way
So day by day

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:31 AM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2006

Movin' On Up

To a deeeeeeeeluxe apartment (well condo), but not in the sky (it's on the first floor).

(If you want, you can skip the back story and go right to the part about my fancy new home.)

SO, did I ever talk about my housing woes? In August my apartment complex was bought by a developer who is turning it into condos - gutting all of the units and fully remodeling them with swanky new stuff like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

By law, current residents have to be given the first chance of buying their own units. So two weeks after we got the notice about the condo conversion, we tenants received packages that detailed what the "as-is" price for our apartments would be.

I have the "deluxe" one bedroom/one bath (800 square feet) with a water view, on the first floor. It's a nice place, don't get me wrong. The only thing I don't like about it is that the screened patio constantly floods when there is heavy rainfall (i.e. every day during the summer) and I end up with mud and dirt left behind, which is a pain to clean up.

Other than that, I love where I live. So I opened the package fully intending on buying my unit.

Until I saw the price - they wanted $130,000 for it. It in no way, shape or form is worth that much to me. It might be to someone else, but not to me. And that was the as-is price; to get the upgrades (the aforementioned swanky stuff, plus a new a/c, water heater and carpeting), you had to add another $20,000.

Uh, no.

So I knew I'd have to move eventually. A few weeks ago I started informally looking at condos for rent in the area, just to see what was out there. I looked at one over near the East Lake YMCA (very convenient), and it was OK, but not exactly what I wanted (it was older and looked out over a parking lot).

Well on Friday I came home to a notice on my door from the apartment management company saying that they could not find my written request for a lease extention in my file, which I know I handed to them at that tenants' meeting back in August. But they could no longer find it, and my "unit has already been sold and we have a renovation of it scheduled for this month."

So why did you idiots cash my January rent check, HMM???

Anyway, the letter said that since I paid for January, I could stay until January 31, and then my ass had to be out. OK, it was a little more eloquent than that, but not by much. So I decided that I should probably call my realtor the next morning to see if that condo I had looked at was still available. It wasn't perfect, but it would do in a pinch (and I was being pinched).

I get the realtor on the phone at 10 the next morning and ask about the condo, which is when she tells me that five minutes before I called she rented it to someone else. JUST GREAT. But she had another condo I might be interested in that she wanted me to consider. It was $850/month, 2BR/2BA, 1000 square feet, first floor courtyard view unit in a gated community. Sounds good. I was familiar with the community - Fountains at Countryside - because it is the first condo conversion done by the developer who bought my current apartment. We were given the link to the Fountains' website so we could see what the upgrades would look like.

Even though the rent was more than I had budgeted for (I was planning on a maximum of $800), it includes water and trash. Those two items run me $45/month now, so really, it was a wash. I could afford this place if I wanted it. I reminded the realtor that I have a cat, and she said that she'd call the owner of the condo (he lives in New York) to see if a cat was OK.

She called me back 10 minutes later to say that the owner was OK with the cat ... but now the rent was $875. FINE. I HATE when people try to take advantage of you just because you have a pet.

So I was kind of miffed about that, but really, $875 isn't a bad price for a condo that size, with those amenities, in that location.

It was even less of an issue once I saw it. I love the floorplan; the master bedroom and bath are ensuite, which is very nice. The second bedroom is small, but I'll probably just end up using it as an office. It's a very neutral color scheme, so nothing I currently own will clash. It's bigger than I really need, but I think I'm going to grow to really love the extra space.

But dudes - check out the kitchen:

Stainless freakin' steel appliances. All of them. And the stove is the kind with the burners under glass. The countertop? It is GRANITE. The patio is screened and looks out over a very nicely landscaped courtyard. It's five miles from work, but I'll be driving against the traffic flow, so I should be able to get here in less than 10 minutes. Which means going home at lunch is eminently do-able.

The only real negative is that the washer/dryer is a stackable unit (there's no room for a side-by-side) and it is TEENY. The capacity is so small that I don't think I'll be able to even get a queen-size blanket into it. So it will be like college all over again, with me showing up at my mom's house carrying a basket full of laundry (and a smile).

I am very, very happy to have this settled. And I am very much looking forward to the day (probably tomorrow) when I go to my apartment's management office and tell them that I'll be out on February 4, not February 1, and I DARE them to try and do something about it.

Oh, and I should be able to keep my current phone number. Woo hoo!

Posted by Highwaygirl on 03:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2006

Won't You Be My Solid Ground?

The Perishers
"Sway (live)"
Listen | Buy

NOTES: I'm still in love with this band. This is a live track from the band's live release on iTunes (the Buy link above goes to a player on the band's website that let's you listen to all of the tracks). This track was apparently featured on an episode of Veronica Mars. I love the chorus of this song, especially the sentiment of asking someone to be your "solid ground."

I talk to you as to a friend
I hope that's what you've come to be
It feels as though we've made amends
Like we found a way eventually

It was you who picked the pieces up
When I was a broken soul
And then glued me back together
Returned to me what others stole

I don't wanna hurt you
I don't wanna make you sway
Like I know I've done before
I will not do it anymore
I've always been a dreamer
I've had my head among the clouds
Now that I'm coming down
Won't you be my solid ground?

I look at you and see a friend
I hope that's what you wanna be
Are we back now where it all began?
Have you finally forgiven me?

You gathered my dreams in
When they all blew away
And then tricked them back into me
You saved me I was almost dead

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:17 AM | Comments (2)

January 12, 2006

My Heart, Part II

A few days ago I posted a song by the Perishers, "My Heart," I mentioned uploading two other versions of the song. So here you go:

The Perishers - My Heart (live) – I like this version the best. It's more uptempo than the studio version and highlights the singer's voice even better.

The Perishers - My Heart (Acoustic Version) – I love acoustic versions of songs anyway, but the vocal on this track makes me want to listen to it forever.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:45 AM | Comments (2)

January 11, 2006

If Thine Eye Offend Thee

Here we go again:

In Strong Words, Bush Tries to Redirect Debate on Iraq

Just ... just shut up already. Whatever type of debate people want to have about Iraq, why the U.S. invaded Iraq, why we're still there, whether or not we should draw down the troop levels - LET THEM HAVE IT.

People aren't debating whether or not to support the troops who are over there; I think most people realize that the soldiers/airmen don't have a choice in the matter. But one of the hallmarks of democracy is the freedom - really, the RIGHT and the OBLIGATION - to question the choices made by the government.

Isn't that one of the things we're over there trying to instill? How can we hold ourselves up as an example of the kind of society that Iraqis should aspire to when we're hypocritically not walking the walk?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 - President Bush issued a stark warning to Democrats on Tuesday about how to conduct the debate on Iraq as midterm elections approach, declaring that Americans know the difference between "honest critics" and those "who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people."

But we DID act in Iraq in part because of oil. The Bush administration believed that Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the United States and our way of life, and not just because there were Iraqi-funded terrorists (ostensibly) who were out to kill Americans. Oil fuels - literally - our way of life. When the price of oil goes up, it impacts the U.S. economy in ways that most Americans are not willing to accept long term. We're simply not willing to pay $5 for a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk for any length of time.

When the price of oil goes up, the prices of consumer goods follow because the trucking/distribution companies have to pass along their cost increases for fuel to the consumer.

In some of his most combative language yet directed at his critics, Mr. Bush said Americans should insist on a debate "that brings credit to our democracy, not comfort to our adversaries." That follows a theme that Vice President Dick Cheney set last week, when he said critics of the administration's conduct of the war risked undercutting the effort to defeat the insurgency.

Well first - Dick Cheney is in league with Satan. I used to think that Bill Frist was the worst of the lot, but I'm back to thinking that honor goes to Dick. I'll bet if you examine his scalp you'll find a "666" somewhere near the back of the head.

Second, I have no concept, really, of what's going through the minds of the insurgents over there. I can make guesses as to what motivates them - hatred of the American way of life, religious zealotry, etc. - but at the end of the day I don't really know.

However, I'm not seeing the correlation between debate over the war and inciting the insurgents to further violence. I'm not sure they're tracking the polls, you know? I don't see how it might comfort the insurgents if people debate the war, insofar as it changing their modus operandi. Sure, they're probably delighted to know that their acts are frustrating American citizens and, in part, causing us to reassess just what the hell we're doing over there.

But so what? We should periodically reassess the situation, if only because members of our military are still dying and being injured (physically and mentally) by our continued presence in Iraq. Isn't that something worth discussing? Are we really going to hold our tongues because, oooh, Mr. Insurgent might be happy about that and continue planting his IEDs and strapping bombs to himself and blowing up soldiers and civilians?

That sounds like fear to me. In that case, I guess the terrorists really have won.

"We have a responsibility to our men and women in uniform, who deserve to know that once our politicians vote to send them into harm's way, our support will be with them in good days and in bad days," Mr. Bush said.

Perhaps we could start by giving them the option of better body armor. A secret Department of Defense study has shown that a more extensive type of armor, available since 2003, could have saved the lives of around 80% of the Marines killed by upper body wounds in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. That's just Marine deaths; think of the number of Army deaths that 80% would represent.

The ceramic armor plates in question cost about $260 a set.

"I think that the new initiative of the president to reach out to Democrats and former officials is positive," Representative Adam Schiff said in an interview after the speech was over. "I agree that we need to conduct a debate on Iraq in constructive terms." But, he said, "some of the culprits in coarsening the dialogue on the war have been Republicans, including the vice president at times."

Any effort at finding what the White House calls a "common ground" on Iraq strategy, he said, "has to be coupled with a cessation of calling people who disagree with the strategy 'unpatriotic.' "

I'm a little distracted by the fact that the representative has the same name as the beloved (former) district attorney on Law & Order, but I agree with his last statement wholeheartedly.

We'll end with a crockpot full of irony:

In discussing Iraqi politics, Mr. Bush directly addressed Sunni Arabs, a minority in the new government, saying, "Compromise and consensus and power-sharing are the only path to national unity and lasting democracy."

He added, "A country that divides into factions and dwells on old grievances cannot move forward and risks sliding back into tyranny."


Sound like any country/government you're aware of? Maybe one a little closer to home than Iraq?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

Shake Your Groove Thang

My apologies for this video being so dark, but Huggy only does this particular thing at night.

(Yes, the bird's name is HUGGY. It's short for "Huggy Bear." He makes a siren noise - which he is currently making RIGHT NOW and it's driving me INSANE - so I wanted to name him something related to a cop show. Thus, HUGGY BEAR.)

Anyway, Huggy's been doing this weird movement/noise for months now and for a long time it kind of freaked me out. But I recently figured out what it's all about.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:45 PM | Comments (1)

It's My Heart You're Taking

The Perishers
"My Heart"
Listen | Buy

NOTES: You know how the other day I was talking about my Pandora station, and how I really liked a few of the songs and planned on seeking out more from the bands in question? Well I did. I checked out The Perishers and they are going to be my new obsession. They're from Sweden and I'm totally in love with the singer's voice. I downloaded a few tracks from their CD Let There Be Morning (sorry, band), and liked them so much that I bought six more songs from the band's live release on iTunes. "My Heart" is, so far, my favorite song. The track I'm putting up today is the studio version; I'll post the live version in the next few days. The live version is even better, which is one of the reasons I'm really liking this band - they've got amazing musicianship even without the benefits of all the bells and whistles of production.

It's my heart you're stealing
It's my heart you take
It's my heart you're dealing with
And it's my heart you'll break

It's my heart you're taking
It's breaking bit by bit
It's my heart you're dealing with
But you don't know about it

If you'd feel like I feel
And if you'd know what I know
I don't think you'd ever play me
I know you'd never play me

Posted by Highwaygirl on 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

Peace Through Superior Firepower


Click the thumbnail for a larger image



This is the front and back of a very cool coin that my very wonderful friend Eric sent me from the USS Ronald Reagan (an aircraft carrier, in case you didn't know). I cannot stop playing with it. It's kinda weighty, and about the diameter of the opening of a can of soda. The detail on it is really quite impressive.

I don't know what kind of fighter planes are pictured on it. Mayhap Eric will let me know.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:26 PM | Comments (4)

Pandora's Box

I can't remember who first mentioned Pandora (I think it was MsKick), but for the last few weeks I've been listening to it and building a really entertaining customized "radio station" of streaming music.

I started by using Toad the Wet Sprocket as my base musical recommendation. From there, the system recommends songs that are similar in style and lets me rate whether I like or dislike them. If I give the song a thumbs down, I skip to the next recommendation and the song in question is never played again.

Over time it builds a station of songs I like based upon my ratings and bands that I have specifically added to my station (like Jimmy Eat World, the Gin Blossoms, and the Dandy Warhols). You can also add specific tracks to a "Favorite Songs" list. This is helpful because it lets me go back and remember which new artists I'm interested in exploring further.

When you click on the display for a song - the display shows the CD cover, the band name and track name - you can also access links to buy the song off of iTunes or the full release from Amazon.

To give you an idea, I'll post what songs it serves up this morning, and what I did with them:

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket (it always starts the day with Toad), "Fly From Heaven" - Thumbs up!
  • Third Eye Blind, "Jumper" - No rating, but I listened to it because I haven't heard it in awhile.
  • Weather, "All This Time" - Thumbs down.
  • The Hold Steady, "Most People are DJs" - Thumbs down, with extreme prejudice.
  • Dandy Warhols, "We Used To Be Friends" - Thumbs way up.
  • Cracker, "Movie Star" - No rating, but sang along.
  • Urge Overkill, "The Candidate" - Dismissed.
  • Robert Pollard, "I Drove a Tank" - Kicked.
  • Paris, Texas, "Cemetary City" - Thumbs down, hoping for something better soon.
  • Pavement, "Rattled By the Rush" - No rating; I like Pavement, but this song is merely OK.
  • Cracker, "Sweet Thistle Pie" - Nooooooo.
  • Jimmy Eat World, "Pain" - Thumbs up.
  • The Countdown, "Say Something" - No rating, but it was decent.
  • The Bravery, "Fearless" - *yawn*
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket, "I Think About" - Ups.
  • Vic Chestnutt, "Panic Pure" - A little too alt-country for me.
  • Joe Jackson, "Get That Girl" - No rating.
  • Fire When Ready, "The Right Hook" - Downer.
  • Wolf Colonel, "The Almond Gorilla" - I am now ready to switch to Winamp.
  • Inspiral Carpets, "Please Be Cruel" - My faith in Pandora is restored.
  • Graham Parker, "Did Everybody Just Get Old?" - WTF?
  • Sinead O' Connor, "Jealousy" - No rating.
  • Kenny Loggins, "Just Breathe" - No really, WTF???
  • Dandy Warhols, "Godless" - Big ups; Mike, this could be your theme song!
  • The Lucksmiths, "Now I'm Even Further Away" - These people sound exactly like the real Smiths.
  • Pale Fountains, "Palm of My Hand" - And these guys sound a lot like Fun Boy Three.
  • Chuck Prophet, "No Other Love" - I like this song, but I'm not going to rate it.
  • The Decemberists, "Clementine" - I've been wanting to hear these people, and now I have. The lyrics to this just made me laugh out loud.
  • Owen, "In the Morning, Before Work" - All the wimpy-boy music/plaintive wailing is starting to run together. Ha! This song just name-checked Morrissey. That tells you everything you need to know. That said, I kinda like this song. He's using a dobro, and that makes me happy.
  • Everlast, "Lonely Road" - Hell the no.
  • Travis, "Side" - Mmm, Scottish boys (second only to Irish boys).
  • Escape Club, "Walking Through Walls" - If you're going to serve me this horrid 80s band, at least give me "Wild, Wild West."
  • Archers of Loaf, "Plumb Loaf" - No rating.
  • The Black Halos, "Darkest Corners" - Loud. Gone.
  • The Replacements, "Johnny's Gonna Die" - I love the 'Mats, but this isn't one of their best songs.
  • Comet Gain, "Saturday Night Facts of Life" - Music for whiners, which we skip.
  • Urge Overkill, "Vacation In Tokyo" - Dismissed again.
  • The Calling, "When It All Falls Down" - I didn't really like this, but I listened to it.
  • The Outfield, "Closer To Me" - How dare Pandora give me a song by the Outfield that isn't the JOSIE'S ON A VACATION FAR AWAY song???
  • Alex Lloyd, "All You Need" - I really liked this one and will definitely try to find more by this guy.
  • Simple Plan, "I'm Just a Kid" - PLEASE KILL ME NOW (and here's where Pandora stopped skipping through songs I don't like - you can only do that so many times in an hour).
  • Mike Johnson, "Come Back Again" - Listened to, but not rated.
  • Big Head Todd & The Monsters, "Tangerine" - No.
  • Dandy Warhols, "Mohammed" - Way Up.
  • The Perishers, "Trouble Sleeping" - This was really, really good. I've added the CD to my Amazon favorites and will probably consider buying it after I hear more tracks.
  • Chris DeBurgh, "A Night On the River" - Um ... no.
  • Sebadoh, "Soul and Fire" - Skipped.
  • Dada, "Where You're Going" - I was talking to Rappy and didn't notice this was on.
  • 8Stops7, "Good enough" - Boring, skipped.
  • The Jayhawks, "Better Days" - Not bad!
  • Moonbabies, "Stars of Warburton" - Who the what now? And do they mean PATRICK Warburton? But whatever, I kind of liked this one too.
  • Wide Mouth Mason, "Midnight Rain" - Too country, ditched.
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Way Away (live)" - *screams*
  • 16 Horsepower, "I Seen What I Saw" - I don't even know what to make of this, and I say that in a good way. Honestly, I've never heard anything like this before - it's gothic, but melodic and not really moody. I'm at a loss. Must hear more.
  • The Go-Betweens, "Here Comes a City" - Really, really good. INSANELY good, even.
  • Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, "Anna Lee" - That's it, I give up.
I was hoping to hear my first Pandora discovery, Fretblanket's "Into the Ocean" - which I've put on my Favorites list - because I LOVE this song but cannot find it online anywhere (illegally or legally).

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:55 PM | Comments (2)

You Are Everything I Wanted

Cary Brothers
Listen | Buy

NOTES: I first heard Cary Brothers on my Pandora station (more on that later), with the song "Wasted One." From the start I really liked his voice, and there's something about his style of guitar playing that reminds me of another musician, but I can't place who it is. So I bought this EP, Waiting for Your Letter, from iTunes and haven't stopped listening to it. "Ride" has become my favorite track (mostly on the strength of the guitar), although "Forget About You" is a close second. iTunes classifies Cary Brothers as folk, but I'd have to disagree. I think he's more of a combination of Pete Yorn (whom I also love) and Low Millions, with a little Nick Drake thrown in. His lyricism has been compared to Glen Phillips (ex-Toad frontman, whom I still love and adore) and I can get on board with that assessment. I also like this guy because he rocks the scruff while wearing a Wilco t-shirt. Yum.

You are everything I wanted
The scars of all I'll ever know

If I told you you were right
Would you take my hand tonight?
If I told you the reasons why
Would you leave your life and ride?
And ride…

You saw all my pieces broken
This darkness that I could never show

If I told you you were right
Would you take my hand tonight?
If I told you the reasons why
Would you leave your life and ride?
And ride…

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2006

Under Construction

Pinellas County has been tearing up the roads outside my office for about 18 months now and they're STILL not done. I took this so I can do a before-and-after thing once the project is finished - in 2012.

This video shows a gorgeous blue sky, and all three buildings owned by my company. And my car!

Posted by Highwaygirl on 12:43 PM | Comments (1)

Why Do You Sing With Me At All?

Damien Rice
Listen | Buy

NOTES: This song is just so beautiful.

We might kiss when we are alone
When nobody's watching
We might take it home
We might make out when nobody's there
It's not that we're scared
It's just that it's delicate

So why do you fill my sorrows
With the words you've borrowed
From the only place you've known
And why do you sing Hallelujah
If it means nothing to you
Why do you sing with me at all?

We might live like never before
When there's nothing to give
Well how can we ask for more?
We might make love in some sacred place
The look on your face is delicate

So why do you fill my sorrow
With the words you've borrowed
From the only place you've known
And why do you sing Hallelujah
If it means nothing to you
Why do you sing with me at all?

Posted by Highwaygirl on 07:14 AM | Comments (2)

January 04, 2006

Audioblog + Microphone = Hear Me!

Test of the Audioblog audio recording function, using my microphone.

I sound tired because I am tired.

EDIT: I also sound like I'm channeling William Shatner. Heh.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Caygeon Finds a Lens Cap

My cat Caygeon discovers that dangling lens caps are fun to play with.

This is a test of Audioblog's video capabilities.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

101 In 1001 - 2006 Revision

Things change, you know? People change ... our priorities change, our expectations change. So in the spirit of augmentation, I am revising my original 101 in 1001 list.

The main reason for this revision is that when I looked at the list objectively, I realized that I had WAY too much travel predicted. In the space of 1,001 days I would have had to travel to Ireland, New Zealand, Wales, New York, Iowa, North Carolina, the Everglades, the Southwest, someplace on the West Coast, and someplace on the East Coast. And that was just the places I was supposed to go; it doesn't even include random trips that I might want to make (to see friends and enemies, or whatnot).

That just isn't very realistic, so changes are needed. I'm only going to keep the travel items that have real personal significance to me. To that end, I'm dropping New Zealand (#8), North Carolina (#47), the Everglades (#76), and both coasts (#38 and #39). My mom and I are already talking about taking a long weekend and going to Iowa (#101), and I'll be visiting my relatives in New York this summer (#43). I've already crossed off the Southwest (#64), so now I just need to schedule a trip to Ireland and Wales. Hopefully I can get to both on the same trip.

I'm also dropping #12 (Smoke a clove cigarette to remind myself what a very nasty habit that was when I was 16) because it's just dumb, and #18 (Paint my bathroom), because I'll be moving soon.

I have crossed off task #82 (clean out my utility closet) and have scheduled to take care of numbers 3, 27, 36, and 52 in the next two weeks.

So here's the revised list, with new tasks substituted for the ones that I've dropped:

I've stolen this idea from Jessica, but I think that's okay because she stole it from someone else as well.

Here's the idea – make a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days. That's almost three years, so, hey - no pressure to get things done immediately.

As Jessica's friend put it:

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on my part).

I must say, it was much harder to come up with a list of 101 things I want to do than I expected it to be. Which really says something. I'm just not sure what.

But here goes!

(Once a task is accomplished, it will be made bold.)

1) Go to Ireland

2) Bake a two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting

3) Archive all of KR's papers/photos

4) Teach Nibbles to talk [On 1/10/05 I heard her say "Nee-Nee," which is my nickname for her.]

5) Track down R. and see what he's doing [He's still in Edmonton; found photos of him but can't find a phone number]

6) Dance with a cute boy who doesn't speak English

7) Run down a street barefoot, in the rain, with at least one witness

8) Finish a mini triathlon.

9) Burn something in effigy

10) Buy a Coach bag

11) Have Alex for a sleepover [May, 2005]

12) Run a 10-minute mile.

13) Go down two more sizes

14) Try cremé brulee (might not be compatible with #13)

15) Go snorkling

16) Send a letter to Dr. Drapkin about the Patient Navigator program, and to let him know how I'm doing

17) Visit with Trina [Trina came to town on 1/28/05 for a sleepover/Gin Blossoms concert]

18) Master the art of infrared photography

19) Create the website I've been thinking of creating but can't really talk about for fear that some lurker will abscond with my idea (which is really good)

20) Buy a new pair of eyeglasses

21) Visit my ancestral castle in Wales

22) Get a facial

23) Refrain from swearing under my breath at fellow motorists for one week [Accomplished from 2/1-2/8/05, on account of being too sick to get angry.]

24) Find a volunteer opportunity in the community [in the works]

25) Try guacamole [1/15/05 with Ian at Casa Tia and ... no.]

26) Get a job working with cancer patients in some way

27) Send a letter to Grandpa in January

28) Make pillows out of that suede skirt I have but don't like and refuse to wear

29) Finish writing my book

30) Climb a tree

31) Pedal for 60 continuous minutes at level 7 on the recumbent bicycle

32) Use my blender, which has been sitting in the box, unopened, for two years

33) Make salsa and/or gazpacho from scratch

34) Reorganize my filing system at home

35) Buy just feminine hygiene products (if I need them) without feeling compelled to also buy gum, magazines, or bottled water in an effort to distract the clerk from the fact that I'm really there to buy tampons [I'm not putting the date, because that would just be TMI]

36) Teach myself how to knit

37) Read through the entire Tivo owner's manual and perform all of the functions

38) Sit in on a Sunday service at some random church

39) Buy a piece of furniture from IKEA and assemble it myself

40) Go snowmobiling

41) Buy a piano and relearn everything I used to know

42) Mark my 10th year in remission from Hodgkin's disease

43) Visit relatives in New York

44) See the Kingston Trio in concert [March 31, 2005 at Ruth Eckerd Hall]

45) Go to a cat show

46) Try Yorkshire pudding

47) Go bowling

48) Stay awake for 48 consecutive hours

49) Start a savings account [March, 2006 to take advantage of Bank of America's Keep the Change promotion]

50) Watch the Colin Firth edition of Pride and Prejudice

51) Learn how to play pool. Really well. Well enough to brag about it.

52) Go to the Museum of Science and Industry over in Tampa [April, 2006 with Alex to see the BODIES exhibit]

53) Take my mom and my grandmother to lunch for Mother's Day [Took both to The Cheesecake Factory in May, 2005, along with my Aunt Lisa, her daughter Meagan, and my sister-in-law, Terri]

54) Travel by train

55) Learn to drive stick

56) Take a digital photography class of some sort

57) Go wireless on my home computer system so I can hook it up to my Tivo

58) Make a headboard for my bed [Purchased a headboard in July, 2005]

59) Read magazines as I receive them, or within 3 days, for one month

60) Avoid buying makeup or anything makeup-related for a month (hahahahaha) [accomplished between February 8-March 8, 2005, due to broken left elbow]

61) Same with clothes

62) Convert my site over to MySQL [June, 2005]

63) Convert the pages over to PHP

64) Drive on Route 66, in a convertible, with at least one friend [Accomplished several times during my roadtrip through Arizona with Trina in October, 2005]

65) And then stop for dinner at a roadside diner [On October 6th we had dinner at the Route 66 diner in Albuquerque, just like I said I would]

66) Visit a desert [Visited several during my roadtrip, including the Painted Desert national park near Holbrook, AZ]

67) Buy something from Tiffany's

68) Go the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary [With Alex in May, 2005]

69) Drink espresso [With Marcel at Macaroni Grill on April 24, 2006]

70) Read Catch-22

71) Learn to drink Diet Coke without making the squinched-up face [first accomplished at 11:32 a.m. on 12/10/04 while at work]

72) Go roller skating

73) Meet three more people that I talk to online

74) Figure out what color wine goes with what foods [12/01/04, with assistance from mheh; the basic answer is "Red wine with red meats, white wine with white meats," but in the end, drink what you like. Can do.]

75) Go through my Photoshop CS2 book and learn cool tricks

76) Go to the movies once a month for six months.

77) Throw a penny into a wishing well or fountain

78) Write my congressperson

79) First, find out who my congressperson is ["You are in Florida's 9th district and are represented by The Honorable Michael Bilirakis." – courtesy of the Write Your Representatives page]

80) Make a loaf of whole wheat bread from scratch without using a bread machine

81) Drive a speedboat

82) Clean out the utility closet and throw out all of the stuff that's been sitting in there for almost three years, which I clearly don't need [Accomplished on January 1, 2006]

83) Pay off the First USA credit card

84) Replace the ugly buttons on my brown jacket with prettier ones

85) Purchase combat boots

86) Swim 250 laps in my mom's pool without stopping

87) Come up with a kick-ass idea for a home-based business that I can start with friends, so none of us have to work for other people ever again

88) Spend an entire day in bed, just because

89) Meet someone's parents

90) Pick wildflowers [In Sedona on 10/02/05]

91) Discard every piece of clothing in my closet that I haven't worn in the last 12 months

92) Go through a fast-food drive through and pay for the order of the person in the car behind me

93) View Jonathan Rhys Meyers' entire body of work [Seen so far – Bend It Like Beckham, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, The Governess, Ride With the Devil, Velvet Goldmine, Titus, Alexander, The Magnificent Ambersons, Pulse, The Tesseract, Gormenghast, Tangled, The Lion In Winter, B. Monkey, Vanity Fair, Alexander]

94) See U2 in concert

95) Try edamame

96) Do 50 situps every day for one week

97) Wear something pink [I wore a pink shirt under a denim jacket on 1/31/05]

98) Sleep outside

99) Cook every meal at home for one month (this might be impossible)

100) Go blonde (or very dark brown) [Chose dark brown - August 1, 2005]

101) Visit my grandfather's gravesite in Spencer, Iowa

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:25 AM | Comments (1)

January 03, 2006


I just wanted to post as a matter of public record that when I run at night (as I'm about to do now), I am NOT wearing my grandfather's Army Air Corps bracelet on my right wrist as I usually do. I've lost weight and now the clasp keeps randomly coming undone; if it fell off at night in unfamiliar territory I'm not sure I could find it again, and that would ruin my life.

I just post this in case I get hit by a car, or mugged, or abducted, and someone who knows me would try to identify what I was wearing by saying that I ALWAYS wore this bracelet. Which is normally true, just not when I'm running at night.

You can still identify me by my copious scars, or my kickass Asics. Unless I'm mugged for those, and ... nevermind.

Posted by Highwaygirl on 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006


Having the right kind of running shoes (which allow me to actually, you know, RUN without excruciatingly painful shin splints) shaved a cool 2:41 off my time for a mile. I'm still slower than slow, but it's progress.

Oh, and Happy New Year!

EDIT: My longterm goal (for now) is to get my time down to below 10:00. My reward for doing that is going to be to buy something from Tiffany's, which is also on my 101 List of things to do. I think I'm going to get the Elsa Peretti Open Heart pendant:

Or maybe the Elsa Peretti Sevillana pendant:

Or maybe the Elsa Peretti Quadrofiglio pendant:

Posted by Highwaygirl on 09:14 AM | Comments (12)