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Still super into Bebe Rexha's voice. Fuse's embed code did not play nicely with LJ, so you can watch the acoustic performance here.
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Today I'm thankful for YouTube. Amongst all the other great things about it, if there's a song I have in my head but not my iTunes, I can pretty much always listen to it on YouTube. (This afternoon's song I keep replaying is Fergie's Glamorous featuring Ludacris.)
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If Melissa Ferrick's "Drive" (listen/download at is the ultimate song about sex, then Melissa Etheridge's "Sleep" (listen/download at is the ultimate song about afterglow.

This post has been brought to you by lesbian singers named Melissa and that time a record label retweeted me.
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I correctly guessed that [ profile] mayqueen517 wrote "The Fastest Way Back Home" for [ profile] no_tags, and as a reward she offered to make a mix for any of my fic. I chose Changes His Coat, Not His Disposition, and she made me this mix. It has a lovely feel, and I love the somewhat spooky beginning. (And I may have then listened to Florence and the Machine's "Howl" on repeat for an afternoon.)
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I started this post early this morning, before I even went to work. Today was a busy - and constantly busy - day, and I loved having this post to come back to at lunch and this evening. So although this is a post of three things that are making me happy, the post itself is a bonus fourth.

Christian Kane's The House Rules
Okay, I know this came out in December, but I just bought it yesterday. I couldn't listen to it and write at the same time because I just wanted to grin and sing along, so I listened to it on my walk this morning. (Thing I don't think I've mentioned here yet: four of my amazing friends went in together and bought me a tiny, red iPod! So now I start my day thinking of them and listening to music on my morning walk.) I'm pretty delighted by it.

Chris's gender politics are interesting as always: he makes a distinction on "Callin' All Country Women" between "uptown girls" and "country women," which is perhaps not the best presentation of "uptown girls," but very interesting in that I read this post, in which the comments discuss the way women aren't referred to as "women" this week. (He himself is a "country boy" in the lyrics.) "American Made" refers to women as everything from "women" to "girls" to "beauties" to "ladies," depending on the fit with the lyric - although he does refer to "my girl."

He also does a pretty straight up cover of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" - the only lyric he changed was from "checkout girl" to "checkout boy," which was jarring the first time I heard it but not the second. (His tweet wondering what Tracy thinks of his cover is what prompted me to finally go buy the album.) It's an interesting choice, and I think it works well.

The most interesting thing about my emotional reaction is that I wish I'd bought the CD + digital download version. I didn't because I thought, "Of course I don't need a CD," but it turns out that when it comes to Chris, that does actually matter to me. Strange! I do have an unused Amazon gift card, so maybe I'll use part of it to get the actual CD.

Rosemary Clement-Moore's The Splendor Falls
The last book I read was bad. Really, really bad. (I'm writing an unrec post for [ profile] romoerotic. I require a lot of words to describe how bad it was and why.) Anything else would probably look good in comparison, but The Splendor Falls is genuinely excellent. It has a compelling first-person narrator, an interesting plot, and the word "collarbone." (Those of you who don't follow me on Twitter may not realize that the use of the word "clavicle" has reached epidemic proportions. There are, of course, appropriate situations for the word "clavicle," but next time you write it, think about your intent. Are you providing a clinical listing of body parts for an anatomy test or trying to give your reader a sense of the beauty and sensuality of the human body? If it's the first, by all means do use "clavicle." If it's the second, switch to "collarbone." We'll all be a lot happier. [If you really feel the need to use "clavicle," I would be totally down with a Brendon/Spencer college AU where Spencer's studying anatomy by using the technical terms for all of Brendon's body parts as he touches/kisses them.]) Every time I start reading, I don't want to stop.

My Inspirational Desk
Between yoga and Sean Van Vleet's obsession with Steven Pressfield, which he has then passed on to several of my friends, I can't escape the concept of resistance. I finally bought white index cards so I could write "No resistance. Just let it be easy." on the back of one. It's more a paraphrase of something my yoga teacher said than it is a Pressfield reference (I've tried to read The War of Art twice, but haven't managed to finish it), but it's absolutely helpful writing advice. Monday's reading at yoga was the first four lines of this. I almost didn't catch anything else she said because I found "Empty yourself of everything" to be so powerful. I now have that on an index card on the other side of my monitor. (I didn't estimate well, so it's not centered and the letters squish together at the end. I'm trying to figure out if I can empty myself of the need for it to be right or if I just need to rewrite it.)

I was so pleased with my index cards last night (I'm thinking about doing a whole series of handwritten cards of things I find inspirational so I can shuffle them and let the hand of fate choose what I need in the moment when I need inspiration), and then I looked at the few other things on my desk, and realized that they are also keeping me in touch with good things. I have a heart-shaped petrified wood paperweight that I got from my belly dance class when I quit my last job to write, which reminds me both of my commitment to writing and the support of others. The cable for my iPod, which reminds me of the people who gave it to me, lies in a slight curve to my right. And then there's a small, wooden whale, which I bought at the woodworking place in Ghirardelli Square on a work trip. Something about its puppy dog expression called to me, even though I don't like puppies and have left my dolphin and whale obsession in my past. Part of one of its flippers has broken off, so it lists a bit, but the wood is as smooth as ever.
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If you're in bandom and you haven't already, go to Patrick's website and marvel at the terrible usability download both versions of "Spotlight."

I'll wait. You can come back to my opinion. )
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Today I'm thankful for [ profile] airgiodslv's Stripper Music playlist. I was not in the frame of mind to work on my novel, and then I switched to this and wrote three hundred words in no time. Most of the sex scenes in the first novel would not exist if it weren't for this playlist.
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Some amount of time ago, a friend (possibly [ profile] schuyler, but I could be wrong about that) linked to the Ukrainian polka band cover of "Hot 'N Cold" and said it was proof that Katy Perry is a better songwriter than singer. I couldn't quite agree with her because what I find offensive about "Hot 'N Cold" is the way it relies on stereotypes about women to make its point: "You change your mind / like a girl changes clothes / yeah, you PMS like a bitch / I would know." This is often what I dislike about Katy Perry's music; I actually like her sound - it's catchy! - but nearly every song of hers I've heard has at least one set of offensive lyrics. (This is why I adore "California Dorks.") But now there's a cover that makes me believe in Katy Perry's songwriting skills.

Last week, Mark Rose did a cover of "Teenage Dream" (link goes directly to the mp3). "Teenage Dream" is something of a love song even when Katy Perry sings it, but Mark truly turned it into a soft, lovely love song. It's also a fascinating look at the influence of gender roles on meaning/perception. When Katy Perry sings "I might get your heart racing / in my skin-tight jeans" and "let you put my hands on me / in my skin-tight jeans," it grates because it reinforces all the other bajillions of messages we get telling us that women - especially entertainers like her - are sex objects. Mark is a man, and in a society where men are sex subjects, not objects, that element of meaning disappears and the "skin-tight jeans" become just part of the song. I think this is a big part of why I love straight up covers by artists of a different gender than the original artist.
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There are no pictures in these answers. Whoops. I'm really more of a word person anyway.

[ profile] inlovewithnight asked for my top five Gabe pairings. )

[ profile] colouredmango asked for my top five songs. I did this in two parts.

List A )

List B )

[ profile] mayqueen517 asked for my top five fics ever. )

She also asked for the top five pairings that make no sense to me. )

[ profile] wordscomekinda asked for my top five Sisky pairings. )

She also asked for my top five TAI pairings in general )
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  • I can't tell you how much I want an AU (or a real future) where Alex Marshall does things like the music over the inspirational stories on the Olympics. Today's example.

  • Watching So You Think You Can Dance last season totally changed how I look at performance. I now watch for the people who stand out because of their stage presence. In this, it's neither of the soloists. It's the woman in the black and white stripes.

  • If you're not reading Sarahindie (LJ feed: [ profile] sarahindiedtcom), you're missing out. Today she takes on the newest Twilight saga soundtrack.
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    • Health insurance paid almost entirely by my employer.

    • On my way home from yoga yesterday, I heard "Party In The USA" followed by "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)." If you've never listened carefully to "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," you should. It's hilarious, and only becomes more so when you remember that Brendon and Spencer sang a bit of it on their SayNow.

    • My yoga teacher's reading yesterday unintentionally (I think) echoed one of my favorite Passover teachings: "And you shall teach you child: It is because of what God did for me when I went out of Egypt."

    • Having an amazing group of women who will encourage and support my goals, even when they're as simple as going to bed at 9:30 every night this week.

    • The giant box of goodies from [ profile] lakeeffectgirl that was waiting on my porch when I came home for lunch.
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    I've stopped watching How I Met Your Mother. I started watching it this week, but it was offensive (I actually said, "Fat jokes are not funny," out loud), it wasn't funny, and I think they've lost their way in terms of storytelling, which is only going to get worse now that they've been renewed for yet another season.

    I'm now three episodes behind on SPN and two on Leverage. I'm just not willing to give up time I'm spending doing other things to watch them. (Also, I've been having trouble keeping up with my weights, which is what I was doing while watching TV. I'm changing to Sunday-Tuesday-Friday, and hoping that helps.) I'm caught up on Mercy and Castle (only because it apparently wasn't on this week), and I never get caught up on Friday Night Lights until Saturday or Sunday anyway.

    I'm a Nielsen family this week, and they're really not going to have a good picture of my viewing habits given that there's no place to write in stuff watched online. Their loss! I'd forgotten that they send you money when you agree to keep a TV diary, so at least there's that. (It's actually making me even less inclined to watch the Super Bowl than I already was, just so I don't add to the ratings.)

    Music - The Best Blog
    If you have any interest in either music or good writing, you should be reading Sarahindie (feed: [ profile] sarahindiedtcom). For the sake of full disclosure, I have to admit that I am slightly biased in this recommendation; Sarah is one of my favorite people in the whole world. But you don't just have to take my word for it! I told a friend he should read it because he would totally disagree with her but enjoy the writing. Last weekend, he said he's been reading some of it, and I was absolutely right: he disagrees with her but likes the writing.

    Bandom - Fall Out Boy
    I've taken to reading Alternative Press when I'm in Barnes & Noble. I read their 2009 wrap-up issue and was very confused that FOB wasn't on their list of bands on permanent hiatus. I'm actually also confused by people's annoyance at Pete. He said, "would you rather me lie to you through a publicist?" and my thought was that people would probably rather his band weren't over, but barring that, I'd rather he just straight up say whatever it is he has to say (which he eventually did). Vague blog entries are annoying. (My favorite thing to come out of all of this was this post from Pete which I scrolled past on my friends page and just assumed was a [ profile] daily_patrick post.) I will admit to being teary-eyed, but I was also excessively cranky and headachy, all of which I think has more to do with not getting enough sleep than anything going on with FOB.

    The discussion in the comments to [ profile] eleanor_lavish's post about this said that this is what Pete always does: draw fire to himself to protect his band. (Personally, I think this seems like a bad idea when you're already struggling with depression, but it's his life. Also, bunny: Pete the masochist. Eventually someone figures it out and takes him on so he has a safe, sane, consensual outlet for it, which makes him a little more stable in public.) At least a couple of people in the post said they were annoyed with Patrick. Me too! At least Andy and Joe both stepped up and took some of the heat/stood up for Pete. Interesting, though, that Patrick's now referring to his album as a "solo project," which he refused to do before. (My theory was that "solo project" makes it sound like there's a band to go back to and he knew there wasn't.)

    Aside: Weight Loss Culture, Spencer, and New!Patrick
    I have to admit that while Patrick's video is freakin' adorable, I'm not into new!Patrick. I've actually had a really hard time reading comments talking about how hot he is now. "Now," of course, meaning "now that he's lost weight." Then there's my own personal thoughts on his attractiveness: this guy could be any guy; that guy looked like he might be interesting. I have the same feeling about Spencer; I like hot baby dyke Spencer a lot better than I like lost some weight, wears boy clothes Spencer. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that I'm a lesbian; of course I'm not into the guys who just look like guys. The second is that I feel guilty for this because liking who they were doesn't acknowledge who they are now. (This second one is where I fail at objectification, which is, I suppose, a win for my critical feminist brain.)

    Bandom - Empires
    If you haven't yet, I recommend spending the $2 to buy Empires' new single and its b-side. The single is "Damn Things Over," which I really like despite its punctuation issues. The b-side is "I Know You Know" (video of the live version), which is close to surpassing "Spit the Dark" as my favorite Empires song.

    A lot of people (read: four) I know have seen them on this tour. I feel totally left out, but [ profile] schuyler concert called me and [ profile] siryn99 uploaded video, which helps! Someday Empires will make it to my part of California.

    Bandom - Other
    Speaking of bands that make it to my part of California, are Never Shout Never, Hey Monday, The Cab, Every Avenue, and The Summer Set worth seeing? They're on the AP Tour, which means they're going to be in Chico, which means I could go for not very much money and a very short drive. It is a Thursday, which makes me less inclined, both because it would mean skipping dance and because it would mean being up late, but I could handle that if it were worth it.

    Bandom - Cobra Starship
    The fact that I really like Cobra Starship is an unpopular fannish opinion in my corner of fandom, so I don't talk about them as much as I otherwise might. I love their music, and I find Gabe totally fascinating. I'm also new to them so I'm not invested in a way that means the things that have made my friends be done with them don't bother me (much; Gabe being a jerk to one of my friends directly gets the angry face: >:( ).

    But let's talk about Gabe being fascinating. I know fandom has this whole image of him as being a wild, drunken party boy, which I suppose he's earned, but following him on Twitter has given me this whole other image of him. Where is the emo!Gabe fic? Because, seriously, he is not necessarily cheerful: "i feel like i'm losing my fucking mind. but for real. and i'm sure not sleeping is not helping. eventually the medicine stops workin." (source) "i went out tonight with all my best friends... .i dont even know how to have fun anymore... i'm just always looking to get into a fight. :/" (source) "not to get all emo, but what's worse: getting disappointed, or being a disappointment?" (source)

    And where's the discussion and/or fic about how he's actually really, really smart? "As Gabe Saporta awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect" (source) is possibly my most favorite status update ever. I'm sure he got interesting replies from people who didn't get it. (It's a riff on Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and Gabe was in Vienna at the time.)

    And then sometimes he's adorable. He and Bianca (his girlfriend) did a video for Elle that is the cutest thing ever. I kind of wish I had something more substantive to say about it, but that's pretty much exhausted my thoughts about it. I would be happy to flail with you in the comments if you have more to say.

    Bandom - A Brief Critical Look at Cobra Starship's Central Narrative
    I keep meaning to do the actual research to make sure my impression is right and then make a real post about this, but I've been meaning to do that for a month and haven't yet, so you get just the brief, unresearched version.

    I'm fascinated by the way the central narrative of Cobra Starship's promo materials seems to be increasingly heteronormative. By that I mean that I've seen a lot of older promo photos wherein Gabe is leaning on any or all members of his band; newer promo photos seem to put Gabe and Victoria front and center as a unit. Intentionally or not, Gabe and Victoria both play this up, him in interviews and her on Twitter. (My impression of them is that he's doing it intentionally as part of a marketing strategy and she's doing it either unintentionally or intentionally as a way to get people to talk about her.) The music press is also involved; the photo that accompanied AP's blurb naming Victoria keytarist of the year for 2009 is a picture of the two of them on stage. On the one hand, I like this; they're my OTP of the moment. On the other hand, I find this deeply problematic. I know that Cobra has been deliberately mainstreaming their image, and I'm sure this is part of it. The problem is that influence doesn't just go one way. Even as they fit themselves into a heterosexual norm, they reflect that norm back into the mainstream, and to a larger audience the bigger they get.

    What's interesting about Cobra doing this is that they actually haven't done away with the homoerotic angle to the band; they've just pushed it into the background. The homoeroticism is being carried by Alex and Ryland (the band's official announcement of their "Hot Mess" remixes EP, which includes the Suave Suarez On Pleasure Ryland Remix said, "Alex and Ryland even give it their own spin and the title they chose outta give those fanfic writers some...inspiration!") or, more often, Nate and Alex. The sensible part of my brain thinks that they had to choose someone, and Alex and Ryland thought it would be weird for it to be the two of them. The fan fic is the center of the universe part of my brain thinks they chose that because Alex thinks he'll get to top more in fic if he's with Nate. (Considering the way the taller guy always tops thing has seeped into western fandom from anime fandom, that might actually be the way Nate/Alex fic goes.)

    JoBros Meet Nicole Kidman
    Probably any of you likely to care have already seen this picture, but even if you're not into the JoBros, you might find Nicole blatantly checking out Kevin amusing.
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    One of the delightful things about going to see TAI on the AP Fall Ball tour was that I also got to see The Secret Handshake, who I'd never heard of before the tour but ended up loving. Today's treat is "TGIF," which is on z4, which is my new playlist of the moment.

    Download/listen at
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    Today's treat is my song of the day: "Stateline" by Butch Walker. It's one of three songs that always make me say, "What is this?" and then find out, when I look, that they all came from Love is Never a Cliché or Every Romcom Soundtrack Ever, which then makes me laugh because of course I like things from something that bills itself as "Every Romcom Soundtrack Ever."

    Listen/download at
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    Merry Christmas! Today's treat is Dido's "Christmas Day," which I think I got from [ profile] schuyler offering it up as a Christmas treat a couple of years ago.

    Listen/download at
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    I'm starting to run out of ideas for these treats. If there's anything or any kind of thing you'd like to see, please leave a comment back on the announcement/request post. I did, however, note one thing that's been missing from these: belly dance.

    This is one of my favorite routines to dance (although I'm not in this video):

    I don't know the actual name of the song; we always call it the "Hayati Veil" because the song has the word "Hayati" in it and we do a veil dance to it. Listen/download at
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    Today's treat is my song of the day. There isn't any real reason it's my song of the day; it's just what was in my head when I woke up this morning.

    Soft Place to Fall - Chris Ledoux
    Listen/download at
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    According to LJ, this is my one thousandth entry. (This is only sort of true; I posted all my old fic to my LJ this summer, so not all of those 1000 entries are original to LJ.) This seems like a good reason to give you an extra-special treat. Accordingly, today you get a whole playlist. If you remember my blathering about giving my playlist of the moment titles that begin with z, the fact that this playlist is called z3 will make total sense to you. (I'm now up to z4. I don't know what else to name the ones I want to keep!)

    Unlike z2, z3 has a particular order. I'm giving you the zip and the track listing without commentary, but if you want to know why I put a specific song on here or why one follows from another, just ask! Since this is stuff I wanted to listen to recently, you will notice some duplicates from z3 and the soundtrack to "You Have My Heart (in your hands)," as well as an earlier treat.


    z3 Track List
    1. Love Lockdown - Patrick Stump

    2. Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show

    3. Some sweet mourning - Underground Lovers

    4. Ooh Child - Beth Orton

    5. Spit the Dark - Empires

    6. Too Good To Be - New Found Glory

    7. You're It - Halloween, Alaska

    8. Swing Life Away - Rise Against

    9. Another White Dash - Butterfly Boucher

    10. Hum Hallelujah - Fall Out Boy

    11. Gotta Have You - The Weepies
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    One of the songs I've been listening to a lot recently is "Gotta Have You" by The Weepies. Download/listen at
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    I'm sure I've mentioned before that I bought Sarah McLachlan's The Freedom Sessions without ever having heard it based solely on Perri's use of "Hold On" in the story of the same name. One of my favorite songs off of the album is "Ice Cream."

    Imeem has apparently been swallowed up by MySpace and if you can embed from there, it's in a non-obvious way. Download/listen at

    (If anyone knows of another good source for places I can upload and then embed audio clips, I'm all ears.)


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    Ruth Sadelle Alderson


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