Saturday, August 25, 2007

Random Thoughts, Phones, Movies, Restaurants, Music

What a fun, although very busy week!

I got a new cell phone! Through a series of odd events, a new Samsung Sync has come to be in my possession. I got it for $49, plus a $50 rebate from If you're not a member of My Points, you should consider it. You get points for visiting certain websites, and if you do your shopping online via the My Points site, then you get more points. You can trade in your accumulated points for all kinds of cool things, gift cards mainly, but for all the good places. When we moved recently, I got a $50 gift card from Linens N Things to decorate my bathroom with.

But anyway, back to the phone. I LOVED my RAZR. Adored my RAZR, adorned my RAZR with cool accessories. Never in my life did I think I'd ever have any phone but the RAZR. I've been looking at the newer RAZRs with the MP3 players and upgraded cameras, etc. But they're pretty expensive. I checked into the Samung SYNC and I was pretty impressed with the features, including an MP3 player, 2 Megapixel camera, a slot for additional memory card, etc. Plus, it was essentially free with the rebate. So I bit the bullet and got it. And I love it! It's narrower than the RAZR, but slightly thicker. The screen is bigger than the RAZR, and the graphics are much nicer. There are more options for personalization and the controls to the MP3 player are available when the unit is open or closed. I haven't had a chance to really get into it yet (it just arrived yesterday) but I can't wait to use it!

Update on my quest to like Tom Petty: had a bit of a setback this week. It's probably not the music's fault, though. I totally blame the radio station. They play his stuff just WAY TOO MUCH! Like right now, for instance...*SIGH*

So, I am gearing up for the Def Leppard concert this coming weekend! I've got my Union Jack shirt all customized to my specifications now, and I'm just wishing I still had my razor-shredded jeans from 1989 still. Oh, well, it would probably be way too hot for those, anyway. So, I was going to make a Def Leppard mix for my iPod, but I found that I don't have all the songs from Pyromania or Hysteria loaded on it. I went to look for those 2 CD's in the entertainment center last night, and they're not there! I have one more place to look, but how do my 2 favorite DL CD's just disappear? Maybe a trip to CD Warehouse is in order...probably could use some new copies of those 2 anyway.

Last weekend we went to what they call Restaurant Week, where for a set price at many fine-dining establishments you can get a three-course meal and a portion of the price goes to local charities. So we went to Steve Field's Steak and Lobster Lounge. For an extra $15 we also got the wine pairings. They offered us the option of switching the wines around, but we decided to go with the suggested pairings. And that was a good thing - wow! It made me realize that even though I do like a lot of different wines, that I would like to learn more about the way wine and food interact. So now I'm looking for a local class or seminar on that.

We also went to see "No Reservations" with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. Yes, it was fluffy, not at all earth-shattering, and quite predictable, but it was sweet and entertaining nonetheless. I was glad we went to the matinee, though. I think I really liked it, too, because we also enjoy watching the shows on TV like "Top Chef" and "Hells Kitchen" and "Iron Chef America" so a movie about a fine dining restaurant was a natural choice.

Friday, August 17, 2007

No Body Snatchers

Today a series of comical errors led me to a seat in a theater to see Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in "The Invasion." Now, when I was a small child, there was a slumber party I went to this one time, where we watched scary movies all night, and the one that was the most memorable was the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." When I saw the previews for "The Invasion" a few weeks ago, I thought, how cool, an updated version. I was in the mood for a thriller, and so, popcorn in hand, I set about watching it.

At this point, I couldn't tell you whether I liked it or not, overall. I liked the creepy old-school sci-fi/thrillerness of it. But they mixed in this political commentary that I don't remember from the original. I guess you can't go to a movie these days without political commentary, which is distressing to me, because I just want to be entertained if I've paid good money for a movie. And the matinee shows aren't even cheap anymore, and don't get me started on the cost of the popcorn. But I digress...

Anyway, aside from the (IMHO) ridiculousness of the politicizing, as I said, there were some thrilling moments in it. Some interesting camera work, and the little kid that plays Nicole Kidman's son is just adorable. There were other ridiculous moments. Why throw away a perfectly good gun that you've just used to defend yourself and your son from aliens, when you know you're just going to face another hornets nest full of them? And why was it necessary to have 30 aliens clinging to the top of a speeding vehicle? Just weird. Oh, well. All things considered, it was better than being bored. music!

Last night I went with my sister The Wild Thing to see Ian Moore at the Granada Theater. She has been a fan of Ian Moore forever, and even though I was mostly familiar with his work from the late 80's/early 90's, I know he's got a huge following and I was very interested to check him out as well. It didn't hurt that DirecTV was showing an Ian Moore concert on their 101 channel, so I got to "pre-view" the coming attraction.

I have to admit, being the Rockin' Chick that I am, I didn't really know how I felt about the smoother, folkier, I-don't-know-how-to-describe-it that typifies Ian Moore these days, based on the concert I saw on TV. Vastly different from anything else that's happening in music today, you can't categorize it, so don't even try. Watching on TV, I was almost pre-disappointed, because I was hoping to hear some heavier, bluesier rockier stuff. But it's still fun to hang out with The Wild Thing, so, onward and upward.

Then I was sort of more disappointed to find out there was an opening act. A band called Sorta. Who calls their band Sorta? It seems like if you're confident enough to have a band, it might should be called Definitely. Or Absolutely. Sorta? Well, OK...stay open, Mind.

OMG. Strange name aside, I've never heard ANYTHING like Sorta. Not even sorta like Sorta. (OK, OK, bad joke.) I really wish I could tell you what they sounded like, and how they made me feel, but I'm sure the written word will be a feeble attempt at expressing that. I'll try anyway.

First, I was fascinated by the instrumentation of the band. It's a five-piece: keyboards, lead guitar, rhythm guitar/lead singer, bass guitar, and upright steel guitar. Yes, I was somewhat concerned that this would be a twangy country outfit when I saw that, but it was nothing of the kind. The band members themselves were unassuming and totally into what they were delivering. No chatter, no bravado, just "INTO" it!

Here's where descriptions get blurry. I may be out of touch - but I have never heard anything like this before. It's kind of like the "Texana" music they play on Texas Rebel Radio in Central Texas, but not quite. I guess you could call it "Austin Music" but this band is local to Dallas. What I am absolutely 100% sure of is that I loved it. LOVED it! There were a couple of times when I was literally taken away by the music. Almost other-worldly. I wish, wish, wish so bad that I could describe the way it sounded and the way it felt, but whatever I've written, I've had to wipe out because it just doesn't capture it.'s the deal, OK? Go see Sorta live! Go! Then come back here and describe it to me. Check their myspace site out at

So I've spent a heck of a lot of words and haven't gotten to the Ian Moore set yet. Well, evidently he has a new CD just released, and he played quite a bit from it. One charming commentary Ian made to the crowd was that he was trying to figure out how to press it onto vinyl. As in a real album. That lead up to a song he said was track one on side two. Nostalgia! Remember when albums were put together that way. Remember albums? I have a lot of appreciation for the song-by-song format of music that technology has led us to, but I remember when so much thought went into putting a two-sided album together. It seems like the most crucial song of all was the first song on the second side.

Anyway, Ian Moore was amazing. I had already chucked my pre-disappointment out the door when Sorta opened the show, but when Ian played electric guitars as well as acoustic, I was fully engaged. And engrossed. Like I often do at the Granada, I went down to the front of the stage to watch closer, and his band is amazing. Sad that I haven't gone to the trouble of looking up or learning names, but his lead guitar player clearly has some chops. I think I heard them say that he fronts his own band in Austin - I can see why. Ian said that the new CD was all about the bass player, and that was plain to see as well. There is a keyboard player named Tyler, or maybe Taylor. ONe of the two- and the only reason I remember that at all is because at one point during a silence in the crowd someone yelled, "we love you, Tyler (or Taylor...) But one of the way-wicked-cool things about him was that he also played trumpet. That's right, trumpet. The songs with the horn reminded me of the Beatles. Actually, most everything reminded me of sort of the trippy songs of that era.

One of the coolest things that happened is that we met a couple from Stillwater, Oklahoma who was seated at our table at The Granada (one of the best music venues ever, if you ask me.) At one point, Ian announced from the stage that the next song was for his new friends from Stillwater. How cool is that!

My favorite song of the evening was (I later found out after I downloaded the new album from iTunes) "To Be Loved." Ian dedicated it to his dad. It started out slow, then had this upbeat, dancy, trippy part. See - again I just can't describe it. So, please do check it out. is a great place to start. It's wonderful music, so different, so cool. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Speaking of Van Halen

It looks like the Van Halen tour may actually happen. There are actual tour dates listed on And I admit I don't exactly keep up with Van Halen news, but would someone please tell me why a 16-year-old kid would want to tour with his father, uncle, and egomaniacal David Lee Roth? Seriously, he's 16, and I don't care if his father is the legendary Eddie Van Halen, he should be doing 16-year-old stuff, right?

OK, so maybe I'm just bitter because I'm a huge Michael Anthony fan. Well, at least to the extent that I believe that his high-harmonies as a singer truly "made" the Van Halen sound. So who is singing these harmonies now? Wolfgang? Well, I suppose it is possible, given his youth... still...

I was able to catch a Van Halen show many years ago with Sammy Hagar at the mic. I would have loved to have seen them with David Lee Roth back in the day. Shoot, I'd probably go see them with DLR today, EXCEPT - there are no tour dates anywhere near me! What's the deal with that? Classic rock shows are HUGE in the south, particularly in Texas. Lots of bands even start or end their tours in Texas because the crowds are awesome. *SIGH* Well, it looks as though this one will leave me disappointed on many fronts.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bad to Good?

A lot of people into music will list their favorite bands. I'm sure I'll get around to doing that (in my profile, you can probably see a good list of them under "favorite music") but for now, I want to go over something unusual that's happening with music I don't like.

Of my friends, there are two that I discuss music a lot with. There's Guitar-Guy (GG), who plays the guitar (imagine that...) and listens to music with that perspective. Then there's Crazy Cat Lady (CCL) who is actually an accomplished classical musician, but also appreciates rock and roll (and spent many hazy late nights in the clubs with me back in the day.)

So, in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where I live, radio is really pretty pathetic. Fortunately, there were two stations that were listen-able - KZPS and "The Bone" - KTBN. For a while, KZPS was the "classic rock" station, and The Bone was the "classic hard rock/heavy metal" station, so both had their appeal to me.

I have (had?) 3 criteria that would lead me to change the station, and fast: 1) anything by Creedence Clearwater Revival is played, 2) anything by Tom Petty was played, and 3) "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones was played.

Well, KZPS changed formats, and they're now "Lone Star." It's actually pretty interesting, because they play music with what I would say is "Texas-appeal," so in addition to southern rock, they mix in what they call "outlaw country" - not your glitzy Nashville-turned-Hollywood stuff, but really mostly quite interesting music. But, try as I might, I'm still not hugely into country, so flipping back to KZPS doesn't happen that much when The Bone breaks one of my 3 radio-changing rules.

And, actually I guess to fill the gap, The Bone changed their format slightly, too, going more for the classic rock crowd, so in general, it's about as close to the "perfect" radio station I can get in this area.

One HUGE problem - they play Tom Petty ALL THE TIME. I'm serious. I don't think an hour goes by that I don't hear a Tom Petty song. One time, I even stuck it out through a Tom Petty tune just to hear it followed up by "Paint it Black." ARGH!

I've taken to IM'ing Guitar-Guy and Crazy Cat Lady when it happens, just to share the misery. Problem is, they won't wallow in it with me. They actually seem to LIKE Tom Petty, which was driving me nutty (not a terribly long drive these days.) I finally started asking them, "why?" in my most pathetic of voices. GG goes on about how, even though I may think all the songs are funereal, that "American Girl" is actually quite upbeat and has very interesting guitar work. CCL says that while "Free Falling" is indeed painful, most of Tom Petty's work is quite well-written, and that she loved all the Alice-in-Wonderland-theme stuff he did.

I finally adopted a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude about the whole thing, and have recently decided to attempt to begin to like Tom Petty. The attitude shift is actually working. I see GG's point about "American Girl," and even find my toe tapping to that one. There's one called "Even the Losers" or something like that, that I enjoy the lyrics very much. "Running Down a Dream" is quite catchy as well. So I'm trying, I am. I don't think I'll ever be a card-carrying Tom Petty fan club member, and probably won't ever pay to see a concert of his, but I'm finding that I like his older stuff. Still don't care for the dirges, though... ;)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Yeah, I'm 40 - so what?

OK, so last December, amid much pomp and circumstance, I turned 40. Like most women, the months (and...years?) leading up to the grand event weren't necessarily, shall we say, pleasant. I guess there's something about a new numeral rolling up in front of your name that makes you...cringe? shudder? run screaming from the mirror?

Seriously, though, the closer the big day got, the more I embraced the change. I've heard it said that the older you get, the more "yourself" you become, and I was determined to live that. I've started doing things I always wanted to do when I was younger, but stopped somewhere between 27 & 37 because I figured I had outgrown those things, or had "aged out" somehow. I stopped wearing my rapidly approaching decade milestone like a millstone. I embraced my inner Rock Star.

I've always loved rock-n-roll music. When the rest of my running buddies in school were listening to Duran Duran and the plethora of trendy one-hit-wonder new-wave techno groups of the 80's, I was throwing back to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and of course, being the Good Texan that I am, keeping up with ZZ Top! My love affair with Def Leppard began in 1982, and I haven't looked back since.

I had an opportunity in college to audition to become a lead singer for a rock band, but I was way too shy. I had dreams of forming my own band, but never could quite get anyone else as excited about it as I was. Time passed, college ended, corporate job started, marriage took place, life happened, and suddenly I'm almost 40.

So now, I've taken up the guitar, and at karaoke, you can barely pry that microphone out of my hand. I love live music, and attend concerts and clubs whenever I can. This blog will be a lot about that.

My husband and I have also made the conscious decison not to have children. That has had negative as well as positive implications on our lives. This blog will be a lot about that.

This blog will also be a lot about places I like to go, and things I like to do, all with the spin of being in my 40's, and being a Rock Star at heart.