Welcome to Friday, y’all. Ordinarily, I’d be delighted that it’s Friday, but this week it means that Bill will be gone in 48 hours. He has to go on another business trip to Bavaria. But the good news is, next week, we’re outta here for a little over a week. Granted, part of that trip will involve seeing our dentist, and that’s not always a good time. I suspect the dentist will give Bill a ration of shit because he’s got one less tooth than the last time they saw each other. Bill is going to have to explain to our regular dentist that a more local dentist will be installing an implant. But– hey– our dentist wasn’t available when the molar bit the dust. Something had to be done immediately.
I also got a message from the first hotel we’re going to. They said they don’t have enough staff to be open during the second and third nights of our three night stays. However, because I booked an apartment, it’s still possible to stay there. We’ll just be “self catering” guests. They said they’d be giving us a 20 percent discount for the inconvenience. That’s cool. We know the town pretty well, anyway, because when we lived near Stuttgart, we used to visit there all the time. Plus, during our first Germany stint, we lived very close.
I know I could be writing about the state of the world today. There’s actually a lot going on right now that is worthy of commentary… but I just don’t feel like going there right now. As much as I’d like to speculate about what’s going to happen to Donald Trump and his merry band of buffoons, I’m just not in the mood. Ditto to pontificating about Ex, complaining about people on the Internet with extreme cognitive dissonance, or upbraiding religious people. Today, I want to write about something I did on a whim yesterday.
As some of you know, I’ve been learning to play guitar. Because I’m using the Internet instead of a live teacher, it’s been kind of slow going. But I have gotten competent enough to play somewhat decent rhythm guitar on simple songs with open chords. I’m slowly getting the hang of barre chords, and I’ve been learning some less frequently used chords. My exploration has led to learning new songs and exploring different artists.
This week, I discovered Skeeter Davis. Actually, I didn’t really “discover” her per se. I had heard of her before. She had a hit song called “The End of the World”, which she didn’t write. However, she was also a good songwriter in her own right, and wrote a lot of hits in the 60s and 70s. That was a bit before my time.
I’ve been using Chordify to learn new songs, and one of the songs Chordify suggested was Skeeter Davis’s version of the old classic, “Smile”.
As I’ve been learning this song on guitar, I’ve also been watching a lot of YouTube videos. The other day, I was bored and found myself watching the 1989 made for TV movie, The Karen Carpenter Story, for the umpteenth time. It’s kind of a lame movie, but I actually watched it the day it premiered on television on January 1, 1989. I like The Carpenters’ music, sure– but I was also a fan of Cynthia Gibb’s. She played Karen, albeit while wearing really horrible and unconvincing wigs. But the wardrobe was legit. She actually wore Karen’s clothes and lost a lot of weight to be able to fit into them!
In that movie, Cynthia Gibb– who also played Holly Laird on the Fame TV show– sang “The End of the World”. It was one of the few songs she didn’t lip sync in that movie. Karen Carpenter was evidently a fan of Skeeter Davis’s version of that song, and her rendition of “The End of the World”, so Gibb was singing the song as teenaged Karen Carpenter.
I guess the combination of playing Skeeter Davis’s version of “Smile” on guitar, and watching The Karen Carpenter Story, complete with a rendition of a song Skeeter Davis made famous, made me feel like trying “The End of the World” myself. I did so yesterday, completely on a whim. I hadn’t expected to record anything yesterday and just tried the song to see what it would sound like. Before I knew it, I was committed to making a video… and below is the end result.
The interesting thing about this video is that originally, I was going to try to do The Carpenters’ version. But I decided I didn’t like their arrangement for myself. So I downloaded three other arrangements– Skeeter Davis’s, Vonda Shepard’s, and Susan Boyle’s! I didn’t like Skeeter’s version so much, because she talks in the song, which I don’t like doing. Vonda’s version is very lush and complex, and not really fitting in with the right mood for that song, in my opinion. “The End of the World” is a plaintive song, after all. I ended up doing Susan Boyle’s much simpler version, even though I have never heard her version with her singing it. I just have a recreated karaoke track. I thought of adding harmonies, but then pictured the singer alone and heartbroken. So I didn’t add anything other than my vocals.
I ended up changing the key, doing it in “A”, which is what Karen Carpenter did it in years ago. I was going to do it in a much higher key, but decided that it made me sound too girlish. Even though this is kind of a dramatic song that might echo the sentiments of a teenager, I’m a middle aged woman… and I think there’s something to be said for a middle aged woman singing the blues about no longer having the love she used to have. So that’s what I did… and it seems to be pretty well received.
I also did a version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. I am not a big Streisand fan, even though she has an incredible voice. I like her better as an actress than a singer. But her famous 1978 duet with Neil Diamond is heartbreaking… So I gave it a whirl, using the generic Ukrainian male staff singer at Karaoke Version to provide the male vocals. He did a good job, in spite of his heavy accent! I could have tried it as a solo song, too. Maybe I’ll do it that way at some point in time.
Anyway, below is my version of that song…
I picked up five new subscribers this week, too. One of them was my husband, Bill. I asked him to subscribe so I could have 150 subscribers– a nice round number, like my ass. But then I got two more when I posted yesterday’s song.
It’s recently dawned on me that I seem to be more popular as a YouTuber than as a blogger, although I can’t say I’m really that popular in either realm. But my videos seem to do significantly better– in terms of hits– than most of my blog posts. They are also less contentious. Maybe I should just stick to recording cover songs from the 70s and 80s and bag my “writing career”. Former tenant thought I was a hack, after all. 😉
I think “The End of the World” turned out pretty well. It’s probably one of my better performances. I don’t actually like listening to myself sing, most of the time. I like to perform– and don’t mind hearing myself as I sing, especially on a mic. But I don’t like listening to my own recordings. I guess it’s like hearing yourself speak on a recording. It sounds weird when it’s not in your head. However, the act of singing is relaxing and helps alleviate depression. I focus on the music instead of things that are downers in the world. Some people needlepoint, take dance classes, or create paintings. I sing… and I write. I used to cook, but Bill took over that chore.
Speaking of painting… Yesterday, I stumbled across a video made by a YouTuber named Sue Sloan. She has a channel dedicated to painting Dot Mandala, something I’d never heard of until yesterday, when I found her channel and Bill explained the concept to me. Sue Sloan recently changed the name of her channel to her husband’s name, because she’s dying of cancer. Her goodbye video is the first one I’d ever seen by her.
I was curious about her channel, so I checked it out… and I can see why she had a lot of subscribers. I watched her video on how to paint Dot Mandala and it made me want to go buy some art supplies. But I’m really NOT good at this kind of thing. I have trouble deciding on colors, and I’m not very neat or precise. I watch her using a compass and a ruler to make precise designs and it stresses me out. My parents were both very good at this kind of thing– Mom is a master at needle crafts, and my dad framed pictures for a living after he left the Air Force. I did NOT inherit that gene at all. I’m too much of a slob.
I do admire Sue Sloan’s artistic talents, though… Wow. I’d love to have one of these hanging in my office.
Here’s another one she did.
Well, I suppose that about does it for the Friday edition of my blog. It’s already 10:00 AM. I don’t have any big chores planned for today, but I have a habit of being too long-winded. So I’m going to bring today’s post to a close… maybe watch more YouTube videos and see what inspires me. Maybe I’ll do another song today… or watch another movie… or get outraged by news about Trump and the rest of the GOP idiots who don’t seem to think the rules apply to them (I’m looking at YOU, Lauren “Hoebert”, theater crotch groper…).
Perhaps I’ll be back tomorrow with something new.