musings, psychology, videos, YouTube

“You really don’t have to do me any favors…”

Today’s featured photo comes from a photo that was in my Facebook memories today. Maybe my life would be better if I didn’t dance, or swear… or sing.

I had kind of an interesting day yesterday, even though it didn’t involve any outings. I spent a good portion of the day watching The Muppet Show on DVDs that I’ve had forever, but have never got around to viewing. I’m old enough to remember when that show originally aired. Now that I’m seeing it again as a 50 year old woman, I’m realizing that it really wasn’t a show for kids. Case in point, below are two clips from the first season…

Sandy Duncan was a guest, and her number involved boozing it up…
And a hilarious number written by Shel Silverstein, and performed by Candice Bergen…

Watching The Muppets put me in a good mood. Bill joined me for awhile, then told me that his daughter sent a couple of Marco Polo videos. We went down to the dining room to watch the videos and I was inspired to send her a video I took of Bill the other night, when he first got home from his latest business trip. I wanted to just attach the video to the email, but it was too large. Since I had my iPad handy, and that was the device I had used to make the video, I decided the simplest thing to do would be to just throw the video up on YouTube.

Because I wasn’t using my computer, and because my (soon to be retired) computer is being a big pain in the ass lately, I just uploaded the video straight from the iPad, with no title or anything. I don’t usually put videos on YouTube in that fashion, so it was actually a learning curve just to figure out how to title the video something other than February 4, 2023 and put in a brief description. However, I did manage to accomplish that task.

A little while later, I got a comment from a guy I “met” on SingSnap.com maybe ten years ago. He’s a bit of a lounge singer who is nice, but seems to troll for hits on his videos. He’s also on YouTube. This fellow often comments on my YouTube videos, but not so much on SingSnap anymore. On the other hand, I don’t go on SingSnap very often myself these days. Maybe once a month, I’ll do a recording to make my subscription worth the money and try out new stuff.

Lately, this fellow, name of Brad, has been leaving me comments on my YouTube music recordings. Last night, I discovered that Brad has a habit of commenting on things he doesn’t listen to… That’s not such an uncommon phenomenon. There are some SingSnap users who are notorious about rubber stamping recordings of which they haven’t actually so much as listened to the first second. They mainly do it because they hope people will comment on their recordings. Naturally, I assume they also hope people will listen to them, too, and not just leave a comment on something they’ve never even heard. People have their egos… and some folks think they deserve more of an audience, but they don’t want to reciprocate.

I’ll be honest. I don’t listen to a whole lot of SingSnap recordings. I mainly go there to try new songs, not necessarily make friends or build a fan base. When people leave nice comments on my recordings, I do appreciate it very much. But I don’t expect them to do that. Likewise, I am happy when people comment on my YouTube videos, as long as their comments are polite. But I don’t necessarily wait for that with bated breath. I understand that when it comes to amateur recordings, people aren’t always curious.

So anyway, last night, I put up a non-musical video. It stars Bill, Noyzi, and Arran. I put the raw version of this same video in yesterday’s travel blog post. I ONLY put it on YouTube so I could share it with younger daughter. Behold…

There is no music on this video.

Below is a screen shot of the comments on this video.

To be sure, this situation is mildly embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for me, because I now know that Brad just comments on shit without listening to it. It’s probably embarrassing for Brad, because he got busted. I notice this morning, I have one less YouTube subscriber. So now, I’ve been “punished”, most likely for Brad’s fuckup.

Actually, I don’t necessarily think of this as a “punishment”, per se. If you don’t actually want to watch my videos, by all means, don’t torture yourself. You don’t have to do me any favors. I put stuff up for those who like what I do. There are still a few people who enjoy my efforts. If you’re not one of them, that’s okay. And it’s okay if you don’t want to spend the time to check out my latest videos or blog posts or anything else. Just please don’t waste my time being fake.

I totally get that people often feel the need to be “nice”. I also know that there’s a big difference between being “nice” and being “kind”. People are often “nice” for their own purposes. Let’s face it. A lot of times, we put on a pleasant facade to get through things that might be unpleasant or uncomfortable. God knows, I have grinned and born it when dealing with dictatorial bosses, high conflict oriented relatives, and malevolent landladies. But there’s no need to do that on things like social media. Simply keep scrolling if something doesn’t interest you. Otherwise, you might trip up and show your ass.

Being kind isn’t always “nice”. A person can be kind by saying or doing something that will ultimately spare someone pain or inconvenience in the future. It would have been kind, for instance, if some of the narcissists I’ve known had shown me who they really were before I got too involved with them and invested a lot of time and energy in the relationship. But that wouldn’t have been “nice”, because it’s usually not nice to deal with a narcissist who is being themselves.

There’s no harm nor foul if Brad doesn’t want to subscribe to my channel anymore. It’s not a very active channel, anyway. He won’t have to rubber stamp videos he’s never listened to, and I won’t have to read his comments on my content, which he hasn’t bothered to view long enough to know what it is.

Later last night, via Statcounter, I noticed that I got a hit on blog posts I had tagged with Camerata Singers. I was a member of that choir when I was a student at Longwood University (then called Longwood College). I clicked on the link, and the first post with the Camerata Singers tag took me to an article I wrote in April 2020.

That post was about how, back in 2020, I got a request from a university official for an interview. This guy had found a blog post I wrote about my college years and was impressed. He wanted to talk to me about my experiences at Longwood. Ordinarily, I might have been flattered by his request, but as I explained in that post, this same fellow had spoken to me in 2014. Obviously, he forgot.

We had a lengthy conversation about my Longwood years and some of my experiences. He led me to believe he was going to write an article about me, but he never did. And that was okay with me, because as I also explained in my post, I realize that I might not seem like a shining representative of where a Longwood education might lead a person. It’s his job to “sell” the university, attract new students, and maybe influence alums to donate money. A person who calls themselves an “overeducated housewife” isn’t exactly the stuff of college recruitment brochures.

Still, that second request for an interview amused me, because obviously I was interesting to him, on some level. But he forgot that we’ve already spoken, which is understandable, since he probably talks to a whole lot of people. Ah well. Aside from a slight ego bruise, no harm, no foul.

I’ve come to realize that there’s more than one way to get through life. Our culture focuses a lot on people being “someone” in life. We’re expected to be someone’s spouse or partner, someone’s parent, someone’s employee, or maybe someone’s boss. If you aren’t one of those things, what good are you? I’ve run into this phenomenon a lot, especially in military communities, where family members and spouses of servicemembers are officially called “dependents” and unofficially called derogatory names like “dependas” (or worse).

I remember a few years ago, in the wine group I run on Facebook, I shared a link to a post I’d written on my travel blog. A member of the group, someone who obviously didn’t know that I was the admin, thoughtlessly posted a comment along the lines of, “Traveling Overeducated Housewife? Eww. I hope she at least has children.” I think I actually screenshot the comment at the time, but I can’t find it and it’s not important enough to go looking for it.

Naturally, I had a good time stating that no, in fact I don’t have children. And if he wanted to know WHY I don’t have them, I’d be happy to share the very personal details. I think he probably slunk out of the group after that interaction.

In the military community, especially, family members and spouses get judged. Some people get judged for being “fat slobs who abuse Tricare”. Others get judged for being “uppity bitches who don’t know their place.” Still others get judged for daring to write blogs instead of waiting tables. I don’t know where this attitude comes from… if I had to guess, I’d say it comes from insecurity and sexism. Someone like me doesn’t seem to have much value in the military community, or apparently, anywhere else. But at least my husband loves me, right? And so do my dogs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lots of people in the military community automatically dislike me because of the name of my blog. Most of them have never met me in person or even so much as had a conversation with me on social media. And they judge me for being “formally educated”, but not formally employed, forgetting that it’s hard to have a great career when you have to move all the time. Some people can do it, but not everyone can. I don’t want to have a job just to have a job, especially when I know there are people who need to work for the money.

Or they judge me because I don’t have children. Or because I am my husband’s second wife… and that must mean I was “the other woman”.

Like my friend Thomas commented yesterday, “People jump to conclusions all the time, they think they know more than they do, they think theyโ€™ve got something to say when they donโ€™t, and it causes a whole range of conflict coming from different angles.”

Exactly… and sometimes, people say and do fake “nice” things, when they don’t really mean it and are just trying to be manipulative. Or… they judge you silently, when you do something other than what they think you should be doing with your own life. I’m mostly just trying to get through life without irritating people.

I put stuff out there. Some of it’s good or noteworthy. Some of it sucks. There’s no need to do me any favors by acting like you like something I’ve put out there when you haven’t bothered to read it or watch it. There’s no need to comment or react at all, unless you’re genuinely moved to do so. The world would be a much better place if people would be more authentic with kindness as their main motivation. There’s no need to try to fool me with fake shit. I can usually smell it a mile away, anyway.

Just be real. But I know that’s easier said than done. Our society doesn’t make it easy to be real, does it?

A little musical wisdom from Ron Block. This IS a musical video, but I’m not the one singing. ๐Ÿ˜‰
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videos, YouTube

Why I’ll never willingly be a YouTube personality…

I have a YouTube channel, but I don’t use it to make a name for myself. It started as a place for me to deposit raw videos from my travels. Now, I use it for travel or dog related videos I put in blog posts or when I feel like trying a song. Usually, when I record a song, I do it on SingSnap, since a lot of the ones I want to do are available there. It’s easy to record a song on SingSnap, but there are some drawbacks. The sound quality isn’t typically as good. I’m recording on the Internet, so that can affect syncing and background noise. SingSnap also got a new recorder, which I’m finding to be pretty wonky. However, in terms of ease and just trying stuff, SingSnap is good.

Sometimes, I make YouTube videos for music because I want to have something sharable. I’ve also found some interesting people on YouTube and, at least in the past, I could collaborate with some of them. I have no illusions of becoming a YouTube star, though. In fact, I don’t really promote my channel, nor do I post a lot of content. I have 79 subscribers at this writing. I’m not unhappy about that. I am primarily a writer, not a YouTube personality.

There was a time several years ago when I thought I’d like to expand my “audience”. I got a taste of what that can be like. I realized that when you put yourself out there, you can run into some real snakes. An encounter with a “real snake” is one reason why I moved my blog to WordPress. I don’t like drama. I just like to articulate my thoughts, and I tend to be very honest about how I feel. Some people like it. Others don’t.

Why is this subject coming up today? It’s because I’m sitting here listening to Jimmy Snow, a popular YouTube personality who has been going through some major YouTube drama right now. Some people know him as “Mr. Atheist”. I like his channel, although he has recently changed formats, which I don’t like as much. But still, I find him clever and interesting, and sometimes he’s pretty funny, too. Lately, Jimmy has gotten into some kind of disagreement with two women over someone’s book of poetry that was poorly reviewed. Somehow, Jimmy got into the middle of this and it’s turned into a huge drama. I’m not going to try to explain it, because I can’t. But I’ve seen sooo many videos about this drama, and it’s all culminated in the one I’m watching right now.

Jimmy Snow apologizes for the latest kerfuffle.

I don’t really know what this is all about. I’m not sure exactly why a negative book review has turned into such a huge deal. I’ve seen several videos by other YouTube personalities who have commented on this. Some have said some bad things about Jimmy Snow. Maybe, for some people, it’s personal. Maybe they’re involved in the drama themselves. I suspect, however, that some folks are making these videos for views and money. It strikes me as kind of tasteless and needlessly dramatic. I listen to Jimmy talk about this– he’s obviously upset and stressed out. It seems kind of pointless… and it reminds me that there’s a downside to being popular.

One of the many people who made a video commenting on Jimmy Snow’s drama.

For the record, I still like Jimmy. I even like his new format somewhat, although I preferred his Mr. Atheist stuff a bit more. When I listen to him speak in the above video, I hear someone who really is hurt and distressed by what’s happened. He sounds sincere to me, although again, I don’t know him personally. I just find his show entertaining and sometimes funny. I don’t like to see people in distress… but listening to him talk about this situation makes me realize that I’m happier as an obscure blogger. I remember how I felt when it seemed like people were stalking and spying on me, trying to stir up shit. I definitely don’t like it.

Jimmy Snow isn’t the only one who’s been getting dragged lately. Katie Joy Paulsen, of Without a Crystal Ball, also seems to have a lot of enemies. Katie Joy does a lot of videos about the Duggars, and she’s pretty popular. I do watch her videos sometimes, having gotten hooked on them when Bill was TDY for weeks. I’ve seen many people posting about her, making allegations that she lies and threatens people.

Katie Joy has made videos addressing the critics. She says she’s had CPS called on her, as well as multiple visits from the police over videos she makes. She’s even said she’s had dealings with the FBI due to death threats. Obviously, like Jimmy Snow, she makes money on these videos. But she’s also been sued over her commentary. Believe me… I am not interested in that kind of notoriety myself. I don’t know Katie Joy personally, so I’m not involved in her drama. But other people sure are.

No thanks… that kind of drama is more than I want to deal with.

This guy, Road Hog, has been posting all kinds of videos about Katie Joy. He calls her a liar and takes great pains to find falsehoods in what she says and does. It’s creepy and weird. I don’t know if what he says is true. He’s not the only one I’ve seen criticizing Katie Joy. I wonder if part of it is an attempt to score viewers and cash from monetization, or if he’s just on a quest to “uncover” a scandal. I just know that dealing with this kind of shit doesn’t appeal to me at all.

Hmm… what’s Road Hog’s real problem with Katie Joy?
He’s made a bunch of these videos. I’m beginning to think he’s got a problem.
Why is this guy so invested in Katie Joy’s channel? Has she accused HIM of something? Or is he just trying to cash in on drama and make money from views?

I notice that the more followers a person has, the more likely he or she is going to have to deal with strife. I write because it brings me pleasure. I find it liberating to put my thoughts down. I like sharing these thoughts with others, especially when they enjoy or even learn from my observations. But I am not interested in the kind of stress people like Jimmy Snow and Katie Joy are enduring, especially when it’s clear that making YouTube videos is their job. Jimmy has said that he has an actual “staff” who depend on him for their livelihoods. So when people start turning on him, it doesn’t just affect him.

My YouTube channel is pretty boring and non-controversial. In fact, last year I even stopped doing collaborations with a YouTuber because he reacted very negatively to a relatively innocuous comment I made on one of his videos. I decided I didn’t need that kind of drama in my life, so I unsubscribed. He didn’t seem to take that well, and he actually came to my channel and deleted every single comment he’d ever left on my videos within about eight years. That, to me, is pretty telling, and definitely weird. It’s a sign that I was right to back away from him.

The other main reason why I don’t try to make a name for myself on YouTube is that I don’t like being on camera. I don’t want to put on makeup, fix my hair, or wear a bra. I have an okay speaking voice, but I get very self-conscious on camera. The Zoom meeting I attended last week was enough video exposure for me. I don’t even use the camera when I make SingSnap videos.

So I am content to write this stuff on my personal space, on a fairly under the radar blog. I let the people who want to find me, find me… and enjoy relative privacy. I don’t know what I think about Jimmy or Katie Joy and whether or not these dramas are justified. I just watch their channels to kill time. There’s a downside to popularity, and I’m too old and cranky to deal with it.

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family, memories, musings

“Little lady”– my big fat ass…

Yesterday, I went on SingSnap.com because I felt like singing a few pop songs. SingSnap has gone through a major overhaul since December 2020. Adobe Flash was retired, so the owner of the site had to completely revamp the system. It’s still a bit wonky, so I don’t find myself wanting to participate there as much as I used to. Every day, they put up a list of “featured songs”. If you sing those songs, it’s more likely someone will watch or listen to your videos and leave comments. Of course, the whole song catalog is also open to those who pay for a membership. It’s just less likely that anyone will comment.

The new site has changed the way users can find the featured songs. It used to be that a person could just choose certain genres and see the lists of songs that way. Now, they’ve made it so you have to wade through many pages, and they don’t always put all of the available versions of a song up. So one of the featured songs may not be the best version available.

I had some trouble finding songs to do yesterday, which is unusual for me. I have eclectic tastes. But I did finally find a few selections. I sang a few songs, briefly finding myself irked that one commenter kept calling me “little lady”. I’m sure he meant no harm, but I find it grating when someone who doesn’t know me calls me cutesy pet names. At the same time, I was genuinely thankful for the comments he left, which were definitely positive, even if I haven’t been a “little lady” in many years.

I mean, if the guy knew me personally, I don’t think he’d see me as a “little lady”. I’m definitely not “little” or “dainty” in any sense of the word, unless you’re talking about my height, hands, ears, or feet, which are kind of “little” (especially my ears). I’m also not that ladylike. I typically use language that would make a truck driver blush. I also fart, belch, and take massive beer dumps in the mornings. Sorry… it’s the truth. So if that guy actually knew me, he’d probably think I’m not much of a “little lady”. However, I was born with a singing voice that sounds kind of sweet and feminine. Maybe that’s why some people (mostly men) on SingSnap call me things like “kiddo” (cringe) or whatever.

I was about to click off the site yesterday when I noticed a Gershwin duet that was open. I don’t often complete duets because I can’t bear to listen to off key singing if I’m not in a bar or something. Finding a good partner on SingSnap often involves listening to some pretty bad singing that, for me, is not pleasant to listen to. I was cursed with “absolute pitch“, which makes me unusually sensitive when things are off key. Some people have a condition called “misophonia” and can’t stand to listen to people chewing loudly or smacking their gum. I don’t know that I have “misophonia”, but I do know that bad singing is like nails on a chalkboard for me, so I can’t stand to search for talent on SingSnap. Just writing “nails on a chalkboard” makes me cringe and grind my teeth as I think about how that sounds!

However, there are some legitimately good singers on SingSnap, and I happened to find one yesterday on the first try. When I find someone who can sing well, I like to pair up. So that’s what I did… and, in fact, this duet was rather unusual, since it featured me on camera. I HATE being on video. I don’t like the way I look on camera, and most days, I don’t have on any makeup or even wear a bra. That was the case yesterday. I decided to do a video, though, because the guy who presented the male half of the duet had done such a charming job, reacting to the lyrics. It seemed wrong to just do audio.

Maybe I could have put on a bra and fixed my face and hair… but I decided to just put myself out there, as/is… I really enjoyed singing with this guy, Eric, although I couldn’t bear to practice the song until it was just right. I’ve also never heard the recorded version that featured Frank Sinatra and Natalie Cole, so I was winging it. I played the duet for Bill, who got visibly moved… but even though I wasn’t watching the video and cringing at the way I look on camera, I was mentally critiquing myself. It strikes me this morning that maybe I shouldn’t be doing so much of that. Incidentally, I used a screen shot of our duet as today’s featured photo, but it makes me cringe to look at it. I’m all flushed because it was hot and I was a bit sweaty. I do have an air conditioner in my office, but I don’t like to run it when I record things. It’s pretty loud.

But hell, I’ll bet most of the people watching the video wouldn’t be offended by it. I was having fun. No, it’s not perfect or ready for a record company, but it was a few minutes of me doing something that is healing for me and brings me joy. I was letting it all hang out, not so focused on self-critique. I was able to share it with my friend, Andrew, who is also on SingSnap. A few others viewed it and if they had negative comments, they kindly kept them to themselves.

So why am I so hypercritical of myself? I think I was trained to be hypercritical by growing up in a family system that was focused a lot on image and what other people think. Many problems were “swept under the rug” in the name of avoiding conflict. Conflict would inevitably arise anyway, often after people had been drinking… and well, I remember a lot of fights, especially within my immediate family. I don’t like fights today, and go out of my way to avoid them, because it takes me a long time to recover from them. I was criticized a lot, though, and I think I internalized much of the criticism.

I am not a perfectionist about most things. I don’t keep an immaculate house, although contrary to what my ex landlady thinks, I’m not a filthy person, either. I don’t turn myself out dressed to the nines, nor do I put on a false persona of who I am. What you get is what you see, most of the time. But I can be a perfectionist about some things, like making music or writing blog posts. Even on a karaoke site, which is supposed to be fun, I can’t bear to put up recordings that aren’t close to being perfectly done. And I don’t do videos much, because I get too self-conscious about my looks and it throws me off. Putting up a duet video with me on camera was kind of a big deal. It was such a big deal that I shared the video on Facebook and tagged Andrew, who might be one of a few people I knew would appreciate it.

I grew up in a system where people were constantly telling me what was wrong about me and rarely offering positive feedback. My parents often disapproved of me for being loud, obnoxious, opinionated, and obstinate. My mom openly and very frankly told me that her friends didn’t want to hang out with her because I was such a terror. My dad would get angry with me for being outspoken about things. As I aged, we didn’t get along very well because he seemed to think I’m an asshole… and the feeling was mutual. At least I never slapped him or gave him enraged beatings when I got mad at him, though. I know he loved me, and I loved him, but he was very critical of me and didn’t seem to cherish me.

Other people would criticize me for all manner of reasons. I got bullied at school, and it wasn’t until we’d lived in Gloucester awhile before some of my peers started to accept me more. It was hurtful, and it made growing up difficult and painful, although I was fortunate enough to find some good people who were kind to me. Unfortunately, I also found “The Home of the Whopper“, a man who was kind and paid attention to me, but also showed me porn when I was about ten years old. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that a lot of people don’t like me. Even supposed loved ones don’t seem to like me that much. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me. There was a time when I would try to appease people who didn’t like me for who I am, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that those people would never understand or appreciate the effort. It’s not worth it in the long run to try to be someone I’m not, and frankly, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with who I authentically am.

The one person who cherishes me is my husband, Bill, which is a wonderful thing. But it would have been nice to have had that when I was growing up. Knowing how loving and kind Bill is makes me very protective of him and intolerant toward people who mistreat him. That’s why I was so angry at his daughters for so long. I understood on an intellectual level why they were so estranged. But the one contact he had from them, back in 2006, were awful letters that their mother forced them to write and practically dictated to them. In older daughter’s letter, she wrote that she wanted an “every day daddy”. She claimed that #3 was her “everyday daddy”, and he helped her when she was “stressed out”. We later discovered that her claim that #3 was a good dad to her was utterly false. It was just another one of Ex’s facades.

Really, what I wanted to tell older daughter was that I had an everyday daddy, and it was definitely not what it was cracked up to be. My father owned his own business and ran it out of our home. My mom also worked out of our house. Consequently, I had an unusual amount of time with both of my parents. They weren’t, and aren’t, bad people, but they always treated me like an imposition. My mom told me she hadn’t wanted me, and my dad was often disappointed in me. He didn’t protect me, either. My sisters treated me like I was incompetent or a brat, or they would chastise me for things like the way I laugh, my humor, or the way I looked. They didn’t appreciate me for who I am and told me so often. They made it clear that they wished I would change, even though I’m not a bad person. I’m just “different”, I guess… as we all are.

But what older daughter didn’t know is that she has a wonderful “everyday daddy”, and all she ever had to do was reach out to him, especially since she’s an adult now. Given a chance, Bill would have cherished his daughters and loved and protected them. He would have supported them in following their dreams and given them opportunities to grow. He is a wonderful dad and the best husband I could have ever asked for. He loves me for exactly who I am, and I’m pretty certain he loves his daughters in the same way. It’s too bad that only one of them recognizes that and is ready to accept what he can give them. But such is life.

Maybe I should just be grateful that my parents valued me enough to raise me to adulthood and support me enough that I was able to find the right partner in life. Because if they had just shitcanned me at 18, I’d probably be a completely different person. I probably never would have joined SingSnap, either, because I might not have ever learned to sing (I started in college) and I might not have had the time or the money to hang out online all the time. I might be waiting tables or struggling through community college… or maybe I would have had kids and be dealing with completely different problems.

I probably should just be happy to have Bill, instead of falling down this rabbit hole of self-absorption, ruminating about things I can’t change. I’m naturally kind of a free spirit, and people have told me that I shouldn’t be that way. But I can’t help it. So sometimes, I’ll record myself on camera with no bra or makeup and put it out to the masses. And people will think I’m loud, obnoxious, opinionated, or whatever else… Not everyone will like or appreciate what I do or who I am. But at least some people do… and I am fortunate enough to have one man who definitely does. I saw it in his eyes and heard it in his voice as he saw his “little lady” with a big fat ass singing braless and makeupless on SingSnap this morning. He definitely doesn’t expect me to be perfect… he loves me for being the mess I am and for sharing life with him.

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mental health, music

In good voice today…

I don’t know why. Usually, in the morning, I have “morning voice”, and it takes awhile before it’s all clear and crisp. Today, I’m sounding unusually good.

Some guy on SingSnap, name of “SultanOfSwoon” (love that name), sang a duet with me. It was “Something Good”, from The Sound of Music. I liked his voice, so I went to see if he had any open duets I could join him on. Most of the stuff he had open weren’t really duet songs, but I did find a nice guitar version of “Never Fall in Love Again” that he did. So I joined him

And then I did a few other songs. I’m particularly happy with this version of “I’ll Build A Stairway to Paradise”, a song I only know because I own a tribute album to Larry Alder, the great harmonica player, that came out in 1994. Issy Van Randwyck, of Four Bitchin’ Babes, did a very pretty version of it. I always liked it, but could never find an instrumental of it that I could cover. Someone uploaded a karaoke version of Michael Feinstein’s rendition, so I altered the key and gave it a go. This was my second attempt. I could probably really do this justice if I practiced. I seem to have a knack for Gershwin.

This is a great album, if you can find it.

I love to do jazz songs, but jazz isn’t my favorite kind of music. It just seems to be a good genre for me. I also love to do bluegrass, and sometimes when I’m feeling particularly energetic, I like doing rock… but I’m getting too old for rock songs. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know a lot of people would, for whatever reason, rather read my rants than listen to my musical efforts. Personally, I think my music is more pleasant than my writing. At least it’s not as full of profanity, most of the time. But then, some people enjoy profanity. I do, as long as it’s done creatively. I don’t like reading things where every other word is “fuck” or “shit”, but if a person uses profanity intelligently and judiciously, I have no problem with occasional cursing.

Anyway… it’s Friday, and Bill is working from home again, although he did get a negative COVID-19 result. I shared the news with Facebook friends, and got well over 125 likes. That was probably the most popular post I’ve ever written. Unfortunately, even with a negative COVID-19 test today, that doesn’t mean he or I couldn’t get exposed tomorrow. It’s probably inevitable, despite all of the precautionary measures people are taking. Yesterday, I walked Arran and there was an elderly lady ahead of us, walking with poles. I could tell she was doing her best to “social distance”, so I gave her a wide berth. I heard her say “Danke.” as I passed. She may have a condition that puts her at a higher risk.

Bill says he’ll probably be working from home for at least 60 days. I don’t usually like to sing when he’s around, but he doesn’t mind… and singing helps stave off depression and anxiety. So I’ll sing, and hope things get better soon. It makes me sad to think about being confined like this as the weather gets better.

I don’t have much else to write about right now. I mean, I could write about a lot of things, but most of them would just make me feel shitty and depressed. So I think I’ll get back to making music– maybe do a couple more songs. And then I will go do some reading and maybe watch some more bad TV. It’s basically just my normal life in general, only Bill is here to witness it during the daytime.

Sorry for anyone coming here looking for deep commentary. I know I have a few people who read because they like my anti-Trump rants. I just don’t have it in me today. March has been a very strange month on many levels. On one level, it’s been great, because Bill finally reconnected with his daughter and was able to give her a long awaited (15 years!) hug. He got to meet his grandchildren and his son-in-law. That was amazing and wonderful. On another… well, if you’re a regular reader, you probably know. We’re luckier than a lot of people, though. I’m trying to look on the bright side as much as possible. Maybe this weekend, we’ll plant a garden.

I’ll probably be ready to bitch about Trump again by Monday.

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music

How I spent my morning…

A few years ago, I bought an album from Apple Music, then called iTunes. A friend of mine from college– big time Olivia Newton-John fan– had alerted me to a new album she had coming out with Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky. It was called Liv On, and it had beautiful renditions of songs about the human condition, particularly from a feminine perspective. There are songs about childbirth, grieving, and even what to say when someone has experienced loss. It’s a really beautiful album and a lot of the songs make me cry. The artists even made a karaoke version, which is super handy for me.

The funny thing is, my old friend is not particularly musical. He just loves Olivia Newton-John. He can’t sing, although he does sometimes make up silly songs. He’s not particularly into moving lyrics. He just loves all things ONJ, which was one of our early bonds.

I have been an ONJ fan since I was a very young child, but I also love Beth Nielsen Chapman’s music. She’s a wonderful songwriter who has written so many songs that hit you right in the heart. I had not heard of Amy Sky, but today, I did decide to record a song she contributed to Liv On. It’s called “I Will Take Care of You”, and it’s a beautiful song especially for mothers and daughters. I never got to have a daughter, of course, but if I did have one, I would dedicate this song to her… even if the lyrics are a little treacly. I got teary the first time I heard it… and probably the second and third times, too. But then I got to work on making a version of it and that made me stop getting verklempt. Instead, I started cussing in frustration, due to messing up, having my Internet connection drop out, and/or the timing being wonky because of the Internet.

What I have done today isn’t perfect… the key is a tiny bit low for me and I had to learn the harmony parts, which I didn’t do completely or totally accurately. But I don’t think it’s bad for a couple of hours of work. Maybe I’ll redo it for YouTube, since those versions tend to have better results. When I record on SingSnap, I have to contend with Internet speeds, which can affect the timing and the way it sounds overall. Garage Band will give it a clearer sound. We’ll see how well it goes over…

I was probably moved to record that song today because of a comment I got yesterday on SingSnap. My mother-in-law left yesterday, so that was the first time in over two weeks that I’d had a chance to do any music. I don’t like to do music when other people are home because I feel self-conscious and distracted. I did several songs, including this new one, which I uploaded yesterday… I also did “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille, simply because it’s a fun song to sing. What can I say? I was born in 1972, and that song was a huge hit in my early childhood. Some guy left me this comment, which kind of pissed me off.

I read this a few times and went from being offended to kind of amused…

My first thought was to add this guy to my block list, mainly because it’s not the first time he’s left me an obnoxious comment. When I first ran into him, he was very complimentary and nice. Then, later, he got kind of critical and occasionally rude. He’d also send me unsolicited PMs, strike up a conversation, and dismiss me when he was finished. Makes me think he’s probably a very inconsiderate lover. When he has sex, it’s over when he’s done. Ha ha ha… ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad I didn’t marry a man like that.

I looked on his page yesterday, after he left this comment, and noticed he only has nine public recordings. I, on the other hand, have a couple thousand. And if he’d taken a look, he would have seen that I did several songs yesterday. Perhaps one of them would have met his expectations… Even if I didn’t do one challenging enough for him yesterday, I’m sure he could have found one if he’d searched through my recordings. Somehow, I doubt he cares, either way.

I initially left an offended comment, complete with the F word, but then deleted it and decided on this more measured response…

And I decided not to block him, because I figured maybe he didn’t mean it the way it came across…

I don’t interact much on SingSnap anyway, though, because I’m not really there to make friends, per se. It’s nice if I do make them, and I do have a few friends on that site, but I mainly use it as a tool for practicing music and maintaining my mental health. I have found that there are some lovely people there, but there are also a number of nuts on there and some who are just looking to hook up. I keep a pretty low profile and don’t join contests or challenges or anything. Consequently, I don’t tend to get a lot of comments either way. I did get a few comments on “Love Will Keep Us Together”– actually that was the most popular of the songs I did yesterday, though it certainly wasn’t the hardest to sing. It was, however, the most fun to do. I figure that’s the most important thing.

Anyway, when I listen to today’s effort, I cringe a little… but I wanted to record a version of my own because it’s not a particularly well-known song, but I think the lyrics will speak to a lot of people. I did find Amy Sky’s version on YouTube, but I didn’t find the version with Olivia, Beth, and Amy singing as a trio. So I decided to make one with the parts included. Now, if only I had a daughter to dedicate it to… I don’t think my very pragmatic mother would appreciate it. She’d probably think it was too corny.

This is Amy’s original solo version. Higher key, which would probably be better for me.

Here’s a link to the album, for those who are curious.

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