My favorite music of 2014 was weird and contained multitudes. Just like me.

I thought I bought a lot more music than I actually did this year! Turns out I just downloaded a lot of free singles off iTunes and ripped a lot of Mozart, Bach and Ricky Skaggs from the library. But since those were two of my money-saving tips, you’re welcome!

Here’s what I downloaded, bought in CD form (if I could have found albums, you know I would have gone there, but the last album on vinyl I bought new was Scarlett Johannson’s Tom Waits’ cover album from a few years back. No, I’m not in love with her, but I do like her singing ventures).

Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar – Robert Plant

I love Handsome Bob but hate Led Zep. I know, right? I was very saddened to hear his marriage to Patti Griffith dissolved. When we saw them both in concert a few years back, the chemistry on stage was electric. Oh well. I love this album, I love Bob’s appreciation for music from all over the world and across all centuries, and his desire to not relive his past. I think being curious is one of the greatest things a person can be. Jimmy Page, who looks like a too-well preserved Robert Evans crossed with a smoked ham, needs to take notes. As for John Paul Jones, holy shit I met him in a Fort Lauderdale parking lot more than ten years ago. I wish the gent nothing but the best!  Also, Glastonbury is on my bucket list. Before 50. I swear.

Aquarius – Tinnashe

One of the best songs and lyrics of the year…”Pretend.”

Let’s pretend we never met.

A good excuse to play forget.

Damn girl. That’s poetry. For all your west coast dreams….

Stay Gold – First Aid Kit

Omygawd they are so adorable. If Ann And Nancy Wilson grew up in Scandinavia and only listened to Emmylou Harris and wore clothes from Free People, they would be these two sisters. Precious. This is one of my favorite album cuts. In all seriousness, I am sad that they only played Orlando in FL. I so wanted to see them.

This is All Yours – Alt J

There is a song on this album called “The Gospel of John Hurt.” We’re done here, right? Okay, it has the weirdest cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day” tacked on the end. So there. Although I have nothing against “Left Hand Free,” I give you “Every Other Freckle” instead. Because kittens.

Hypnotic Eye – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

How could I leave TP off the list? I couldn’t. Especially when he’s THIS ornery. My friend was at the show this one is taken from. Even though I’ve seen TP dozens of time, I kind of hate her. Being poor is a hoot.

Jungle

If The Brothers Johnson and The Stereo MCs had a baby, it would sound like this. Look it up. “Busy Earnin'” got a little more play, but this is one of my favorite videos of the year. This child is FIERCE.

Kylie Minoque – Kiss Me Once

I like sex when it has a sense of humor. And thus, I give you….”Sexcercize.” A worthy successor to fellow Aussie Olivia Newton John’s “Physical,” wouldn’t you agree? Also, this woman is my age and has survived breast cancer. I love Kylie, and don’t care who knows it. Best elliptical music ever!

2ne1 – Crush

The album I listened most to this year. Why? I don’t know. Because they are like the Korean Spice Girls? Lord Jesus, I don’t know. When I sat in my THIRD job of the year, working with people I’d worked with eight years ago and no one would talk to me, I listened to this on repeat. I kind of wish no one would talk to me where I sit now. FACT: I’ve looked up all the lyrics in Korean and learned to sing them phonetically. I even know what some of the Korean words mean.

Ah hell. One just isn’t enough!

And for my fever dreams of 1979, I present my favorite video of the year, and a few words on it,

here

and here.

Xanadu crossed with Lost Highway. Indeed.

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My favorite movies of 2014 were all metaphors for the modern workplace.

Honey and I don’t go to as many movies as we used to. It makes me a little sad. I think it is hard for us to agree on what to see, even though I try very hard not to take him to every depressing Scandinavian film out there. In fact, I never even attempted to take him to Force Majeure, so there!

As for watching them at home, he will invariably fall asleep, so it’s not even worth it. I have my knitting to keep me awake, not that I expect him to take up knitting. Maybe stamp collecting? I don’t know what the answer is. Again, it makes me sad, since movies are very important to me, to who I am and what I am about.

And so it is with very little fanfare (because who really gives a shit but me?) that I present my favorite movies of 2014. Please understand, there are a lot of things I didn’t see and really wanted to, such as Inherent Vice, The Babadook and Whiplash. I think I will still have a chance anon.

As for what I did see, it’s a mix of high and low. And EVERYTHING IS A METAPHOR FOR THE MODERN WORKPLACE. You have been warned! In no particular order:

Guardians of the Galaxy

If you had told me that the best-selling film soundtrack of the year would have a Rupert Holmes song on it, from AN ALBUM I BOUGHT AT AGE TWELVE BECAUSE I WAS THE WEIRDEST KID EVER! I would have said, please pass the crack pipe, I need another puff. Frankly, I don’t know what brought me more joy: Watching Chris Pratt dance to Redbone or Dancing Baby Groot. Ah hell, I know the answer.

The Lego Movie

Again with the Chris Pratt, right? Frankly, Anna Farris needs to keep her man on lockdown or the whole world will steal him. FACT: I got a Cloud Cuckoo Land Lego Set for Christmas. I don’t know why it came with two pairs of handcuffs, but I guess Emmet and Wyldestyle are into some pretty interesting shit. Save your fifty shades of whatever jokes for next year! Also: Honey and I have watched the video below about 100 times. He will watch a You Tube Clip for days, I can at least say that for him.

Under the Skin

Body horror by Jonathan Glazer for the win! This movie haunts my dreams. The diegetic soundtrack plays in my head. In a perfect world, this almost wordless performance by Scarlett Johannson would get an Oscar nod. What does it really mean to be human? Sometimes, I don’t know. For the boys: Yes she’s nekkid. For the ladies: It’s nice to see a woman with a natural rack and ass for a change, amirite?

Snowpiercer

I waited a long time to see this but it was so worth it. One of the most original, well-designed science fiction films since Blade Runner, and that’s like another ice age ago. I hope Chris Evans isn’t really done with acting, because this was the kind of action hero I could get behind.

Love is Strange

I have a deep twisted fantasy about Alfred Molina, and the less I say about that the better. But this movie was quiet, and simple and the end was devastating and beautiful and hopeful in a way I didn’t anticipate. A beautiful soundtrack of Chopin etudes. And really, two performances that earlier in the summer I thought might get remembered at awards time, but know now won’t with the exception of the Independent Spirit awards.

What really happens when a job with benefits is taken away from you.. .Really people, this movie is a metaphor for the modern workplace.

Only Lovers Left Alive

What’s that you say, the most romantic movie of the year will have Tom Hiddleston and SWINTON as sexy vampires and be languidly directed by Jim Jarmusch! Mais bien sur!

Nightcrawler

And the number one movie of the year for Tanya that was a metaphor for the modern workplace WAS A METAPHOR FOR THE MODERN WORKPLACE! Who am I? I’m a hard worker. I set goals. And I’ve been told I am persistent.

Some of the best nighttime cinematography of L.A. I’ve seen in a while.  Some of the best L.A. auto chases since To Live and Die in L.A. Also, Riz Ahmed’s performance as Rick was a textbook example of what it was like to look for a job in 2014. I speak truth.

 

Next time, Tanya’s mix of K-Pop, hood rat soul and rock from 2014!

Short People and My Friend Katie.

I heard “Short People” on the radio last week in my car on the way to work and started to bawl. I’m a Randy Newman fan, but what gives?

I clearly try to post once a month, and with four blissful days off, probably the last I’ll have until I get a full-time job that offers me vacation time, I may post more than once over the next week. Believe it!

Friends, I have had four jobs in the past year. If I was 21, I could understand, but we all know I’m 47. It’s been a year, which I say every year, but man, it really has.

It’s Christmas Eve, and I want to go off the deep end a little and tell you something personal that has made me pretty blue this holiday. Not that I need an excuse — as I told my therapist, I’m one of those Charlie Brown-types, writ large.

Christmas cards. We get them, still,  maybe a dribble or two. Not the way we used to. I get it. That’s not my issue.  I did buy cards this year, and I sent them out. They were darling Victorian cut-out cards with cats that looked like Ringo. How could I resist?

If I don’t get many back, it’s okay. I understand, and frankly, this is probably going to be the last year I do except for my mother and aunt and uncle. Immediate family.

Because we have the Internet. Because the Internet, right? But sometimes, old friends may still be in our address books but not on our Facebook friends list.

I was going through my old pink address book (which I keep meaning to update, I mean, I got a new book and everything — and don’t even suggest I do it electronically because that just doesn’t work for me) and found a listing for my friend Kate.

I hadn’t heard from Kate in about eight years. I’d tried to find her on Facebook, but never could. Kate lived in California, the Valley to be exact.

How was she my friend? Well, it’s because the Internet. Many years ago, back in the dark ages of Bravenet forums, we met up with some other like-minded folks on a Tom Petty fan forum. A core group of us got close, broke off and formed our own private board, and stayed in touch. We did things like make mix tapes — where one person would put two songs on it and then mail it to the next person until we all filled the tape and then everyone got a copy. Many of us met up across the country at one time or another. I went to a concert in Reno with a fellow who I last saw on CBS’ 48 Hours. As a reporter, not a subject, thankfully!

When I managed to get on Jeopardy! in 2000, Kate offered me a place to stay and stuff to do. Although I ended up in a hotel with my family (oh laws, that’s a story for another day), we spent a Friday night at the Pickwick Pub and then crashed at the tackiest, most 1970s’ Holiday Inn. When even brought Valley of the Dolls-style nighties and cheap wine. The concierge, Skippy, brought the Pepto Bismol. Bless his heart, he really did.

She introduced me to her friend who worked in a famous recording studio, and I took a tour. I even snuck around the room where the British band Travis was recording their Invisible Band album. I have the photos to prove it, me looking guilty but giddy.

Scan 1

My legendary Supergrass shirt…..

 

And she took me to the Disney Studios for lunch, which was phenomenal. Yes, I saw a few famous folks out of the corner of my eye. Her husband, you see, was an animator there.

Scan 2

Me and my Ian Hunter hair. I had a black eye from an accident with the note’s soapdish, that was conveniently at EYE LEVEL. Thus, the shades.

Scan 3

My beautiful friend, Katie.

For years after my trip to Los Angeles, I got Christmas cards from her, all hand-drawn by her husband. And because her husband was a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, I got screeners of Oscar-worthy films, too! On VHS, but this was a while back.

We lost touch, as people do. No more Christmas cards exchanged. And then I saw it, her name in my pink book. I thought I’d give finding her one more try. After all the skills I learned researching people, and the fact that I can spy on my ex college-boyfriend and his wife at any time on Facebook (Shhh, don’t tell. I have a problem. I know. Oh, and my other college ex. He’s a holy roller bicyclist for Jesus. I can’t make this stuff up, folks).

Well, my skills are still sharp. I remembered her home, because I had been there, and it was still listed with her and her husband as owners. And then I did some more digging and found it.

The obituary notice.

She died in March of last year after a “short but difficult” bout with stomach cancer.

And I literally put my head in my hands in disbelief.

This happened over Thanksgiving weekend, my last four-day weekend before this one. It was not a good weekend.

The last time I saw my father alive and coherent was Thanksgiving 2012.

Last year I did not have Thanksgiving with my mother because of issues with my sister. This year, my husband had to work so I went up to mom’s alone. We roasted two chicken breasts and made some stuffing. But during dinner she brought up what to do when she died, and I just lost it. Because it wasn’t the time, you know? And we hashed it out and actually came to a good place in our relationship, but it was a tough, tough day and night.

And then I found out Kate had died. I won’t tell you about my fall in the tub and bruised tibia that closed out the weekend. Enough is enough isn’t just a decades old disco tune, amirite?

So anyway, I’ve been thinking about old friends lately, and thinking about a sweet girl who I met on the Internet and who I spent a fabulous, life-changing week with. I will always be thankful for her friendship, no matter how brief. I will always think of her fondly, and as much as I’m sure her family and close friends miss her, I hope she knows that someone else does, too.

And whenever I remember the night that Randy Newman finally won his Oscar, I’ll also recall that she was there, and cheering and hooting the loudest for him, since she was high school friends with his wife.

Music has always held an important place in my life, so that’s why when I heard a song that reminding me of an occasion it reminded me of a friend.

I’ll post more this weekend, on silly stuff like my favorite movies and music of 2014, and my goals — we’re calling them GOALS, for the new year.

Just remember, as I did, that every connection is meaningful. As we grow closer together through technology, we also grow farther and farther apart.