JenFul Playlist – October and November 2013

Fisher Price record player

I’m a bit behind on my playlists because I ran out of levels on Candy Crush Saga. Let me explain. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of my new music recommendations from “Epic.Awesome.Videos” on the Palladia TV Channel. To my utmost shock they play three hours of music videos every weekday morning. Crazy, right? I had no idea TV stations still played music videos. So, I set a season pass for the show and in the evenings I would watch it while playing Candy Crush Saga on my phone. Honestly, I spent most of my time fast-forwarding because they’d play several of the same videos every day, but there was enough new material sprinkled in to keep me interested. Or at least, interested enough to listen as I played Candy Crush Saga on my phone.

Then I beat Level 455 of Candy Crush and ran out of levels. Yes, they have up to 515 levels if you play on Facebook, but it’s really hard to play Candy Crush Saga with both a cat and a computer on your lap. It’s not a cat-top computer after all, though they both keep you rather warm. (Dibs on the patent for a cat-top computer!) As it turns out, it’s kind of boring to sit around fast-forwarding through three hours of music videos and ads for Proactiv and the TreadClimber when you’re not distracted by candies that demand to be crushed. So I haven’t been watching it as much and thus haven’t had as much new music to recommend.

Much to my relief King Games released not one but two new episodes of Candy Crush for smartphones on the day before Thanksgiving. I was truly thankful, indeed. So I have been watching videos again more regularly and expanding my music horizons while also fantasizing about switching candies whenever I close my eyes. Level 472, baby!

I’ve included playlists for both October and November this time. You can listen to the playlists in the Spotify players below if you have Spotify installed. If not, the playlists are listed in text below that, and I had to type all that by hand this time because the copy and paste function isn’t working in the latest version of the Spotify software. (Jerks!) You can follow me on Spotify here and view my other playlists here. I’ve also commented on a few highlights below.

Highlights

Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You, Twenty One Pilots – Car Radio
Ok, why didn’t anyone tell me about Twenty One Pilots? This is my favorite new band of the moment. There are some thoughtful lyrics, catchy music with unique structures, and at times a ukulele. For instance, the song “Car Radio” is about someone who has to drive around in silence because his car radio was stolen. This is of course horrifying because you have to actually spend time with yourself instead of being distracted by music, or, um, Candy Crush Saga. Yes, their music contains more rapping and shouting than my typical music, but it works. It’s like when you eat an apple slice with goat cheese and you don’t think it’s going to work but it totally does. I also watched a recording of a live show they did (on Palladia of course) and they brought a lot of energy and fun to their performance. Hope these guys go on to even more success!

Pearl Jam – Sirens
Pearl Jam is still around! I find this reassuring, even if I’ve never been a big enough fan to buy an album. I’ve always enjoyed their singles. And I adore the Charlotte Martin cover of their song Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.

The Goo Goo Dolls – Come to Me
The Goo Goo Dolls are still around too! Unfortunately, Johnny Rzeznik’s face is not. He got plastic surgery that makes him look like a creepy mannequin. He was such a cutie too. If you watch the video for this song it’s funny how he’s continually backlit by the sun, obscuring his facial features. Good call, director. I listened to their latest album “Magnetic” on Spotify and I was surprised to find I really enjoyed it. I would have thought they’d be way past relevant at this point in their careers, but it’s a good little alt-pop album. Nothing groundbreaking, but something I don’t mind playing in the car as I run errands. I know, my praise is overwhelming at times, isn’t it?

Lily Allen – It’s Hard Out Here
Lily Allen’s back, yay! I have been fond of her music for years, especially her ability to tell people to fuck off in such an upbeat way. Did you know her brother Alfie Allen plays Theon Greyjoy on Game of Thrones? He’s the Alfie from the song Alfie!

New Found Glory – Crazy for You
I know this band mostly for its punk rock covers which I’ve always felt ambivalent about, but I really, really love this cover of a Madonna song. I enjoy the album it’s on quite a bit too, From the Screen to Your Stereo, Part II which includes a lot of 80’s and 90’s movie hits (and even a Goo Goo Dolls song).

Hugo – 99 Problems
This is an alt rock cover of the Jay-Z song and quite frankly it rocks. The verses are different, so I guess it’s not exactly a cover. I don’t know if they have a word for what it is.

Moon Taxi – The New Black
I am beyond sick of the expression “the new black,” but this song rocks, so I will hand out a temporary pass for it and the Netflix series Orange is the New Black which also rocks.

October 2013

Jack White – Freedom at 21
The Avett Brothers – Another One is Waiting
The Chain Gang of 1974 – Sleepwalking
Pearl Jam – Sirens
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Stars
Sia feat. The Weeknd and Diplo – Elastic Heart
The Royal Concept – On Our Way
Alpha Rev – Sing Loud
St. Lucia – Elevate
Emeli Sande – My Kind of Love
Junip – Line of Fire
John Newman – Love Me Again
Cassadee Pope – Wasting All These Tears

November 2013

Twenty One Pilots – Holding On To You
Lily Allen – Hard Out Here
New Found Glory – Crazy For You
Hugo – 99 Problems
The Goo Goo Dolls – Come to Me
Twenty One Pilots – Car Radio
Moon Taxi – The New Black
American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Fall Out Boy – Alone Together
Tom Odell – Hold Me
Sky Ferreira – 24 Hours
Terra Naomi – You For Me
Sarah Simmons – Fall
Keane – Higher Than the Sun
All Time Low feat. Vic Fuentes – A Love Like War
Rudimental feat. Emeli Sande – Free
Zee Avi – The Book of Morris Johnson
Jane Jensen – Love Song
Zedd feat. Hayley Williams – Stay the Night
S. Carey – In The Dirt
Best Coast – I Don’t Know How
John Grant – Marz
The Script feat. will.i.am – Hall of Fame
Travy McCoy feat. Jason Mraz – Rough Water

A ballsy move for someone who doesn’t have balls

Java Bean plots his next crime

I’d just turned the lights off to go to bed last night when I heard some undistinguishable noises in the kitchen which were then punctuated by a very distinguishable CRASH!!! That’s right. I regret to inform you I’ve had to reset the counter in my sidebar widget to reflect the fact that it’s been 0 days since Java Bean broke a glass. The little bugger had made it to 292 days, which isn’t even half his record of 614 days that ended in February of this year.

It’s rather ballsy to be this naughty so close to Christmas, especially considering that he doesn’t have balls anymore. If we had an elf on the shelf he’d probably knock that over too. I lay 100% of the blame for this incident on Java Bean. In the past I had been known to leave a glass on the coffee table at night which the Bean found so tempting to knock over that I figured it was akin to entrapment. I’ve been very diligent not to leave any glasses or mugs on the coffee table overnight, instead putting them in the dishwasher, or on the kitchen counter if I feel lazy. Last night Java Bean knocked off a glass on the kitchen counter, now nixing that as a safe place in the dishware protection program.

I think he did it to get my attention in a ploy to get me to feed him. At his annual vet checkup this year we noted that he’d gained a pound, so I’ve been much stricter about only feeding him at specific times of day. Java Bean doesn’t seem too happy about that. Which is why I was picking up broken shards of glass at 1:30 in the morning. Someone will not be receiving any Christmas catnip this year!

I’ll end this entry with the video for The Crystal Method song “Glass Breaker,” which always reminds me of a certain naughty black kitty.

Google Instant is a bit of a gossip

Are you guys familiar with Google Instant Search? Of course you are. This is like asking if you use the Internet, which you do, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. When you do a Google search you’ll see Google Instant Search in action when it displays a list of suggested searches that change as you type. Like so many things, I doubt the creators of Google Instant Search anticipated all the ways it would be used. Instant searches can be funny and disturbing, mostly because they’re so unpredictable. It’s like you’re playing a round of Family Feud with the rest of the internet, and the Internet is WEIRD. The results have also been used to write surprisingly good found poetry or reveal a disturbing amount of sexism in popular searches. The alogrithm behind the results uses a combination of popularity, relevance and freshness to generate results.

So, what happens when you Google my name? Um, this happens:

Google Instant Search for 'Jennette Fulda'

That’s right, the second suggested search is “jennette fulda boyfriend.” Say, whaaaa? Be honest now, have any of you been asking Google about my love life? And why? I’m not sure what to think of this. Are you trying to score a date? Did you read my books and want to know if I found the man of my dreams afterwards? It’s all slightly disturbing. I’m also surprised it ranked higher than “jennette fulda twitter” or “jennette fulda half-assed” which seem like reasonable searches. I even understand why people would be interested in “jennette fulda weight gain” though I obviously wish that weren’t the top search. Why isn’t “jennette fulda is a delightful person” in there? Can this system be gamed like it is with Google bombing?

I am now curious what Google Instant Search conjures up for other people’s names. Does anyone have any funny or horrifying stories to share? If you’re really into self punishment you can prompt more specific searches by adding a single letter after your name and running through the entire alphabet. For example, “jennette fulda h” prompts “jennette fulda half-assed,” “jennette fulda headaches,” and “jennette fulda half of me.”

So lay it on me. What is the Google Gossip saying about you or someone you know?

JenFul Playlist – September 2013

Puppet with headphones

Another month, another playlist. Here’s a list of the songs I was listening to in September 2013. You can listen to the playlist in the Spotify player below if you have Spotify installed. If not, the playlist is listed in text below that. You can follow me on Spotify here and view my other playlists here.

Highlights

Rachel Platten – Nothing Ever Happens
This song sums up the story of half my life which is as the lyrics say, “Nothing ever happens if you stay in your room.” Well, reading and TV watching and the occasional blog entry happen, but I know that’s not what she’s talking about. “Make a little space and get out of your own way.” Very true, Rachel.

MIKA – Popular Song
I saw the video for this song on TV. (Yes, the Palladia channel airs three hours of music videos every weekday morning. I was shocked too.) Anyway, when it got to the chorus I realized it sounded almost exactly like the song “Popular” from the musical Wicked by Stephen Schwartz. I was afraid MIKA had turned into an outright plagiarist, but I was relieved to find a Wikipedia article that says the music was used with Schwartz’s permission. To make things even more complicated, there is an album version of the song featuring Priscilla Renea and then a much pop-ier version with Ariana Grande (who co-stars on a Disney show with Jennette McCurdy who I am sometimes confused with on Twitter). I prefer the album version, but I included both so you can compare.

The Killers – Shot at the Night
Back in high school I bought the “City of Angels” soundtrack solely so I could have a copy of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Fortunately nowadays you don’t have to pay $12 to listen to one song. So I don’t have to buy the upcoming greatest hits album by The Killers just to listen to the two new songs it will include. This is one of them.

Avicii – Lay Me Down
I was listening to the new Avicii album and when I got to this song I noticed that the vocalist sounded a lot like Adam Lambert, an American Idol runner up I like. As the song continued I was like, “I think that actually is Adam Lambert.” And again, a quick Google confirmed the fact. Good to know he’s still performing.

Playlist

Rachel Platten – Nothing Ever Happens
Rachel Platten – Overwhelmed
Walk the Moon – Tightrope
Passenger – Let Her Go
Serena Ryder – Mary Go Round
The Killers – Shot At The Night
MIKA – Popular Song
MIKA – Popular Song
RAC – Let Go
Betty Who – Somebody Loves You
The White Buffalo – Don’t You Want It
Foals – My Number
Tom Odell – Grow Old With Me
Save The Clocktower – Like That
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – If You Didn’t See Me [Then You Weren’t On The Dancefloor]
James Blunt – Bonfire Heart
White Lies – There Goes Our Love Again
Marié Digby – Umbrella
The National – Graceless
The Naked And Famous – The Mess
M83 – Claudia Lewis
Kodaline – Love Like This
Avicii – Lay Me Down
Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Climb every mountain. Slowly. And with lots of rest breaks.

Mountains

You can’t visit the national parks right now because the federal (non-)government is shutdown, but you can read this blog entry about my recent visit to the Smoky Mountains National Park. There is no “e” in “Smoky,” by the way. I checked. If you really want to use an “e” you can call the mountains “The Smokies.”

I ended up in the Smokies because my mom and I wanted to get together but didn’t want to fly anywhere. So we looked at the map and it turns out that halfway between Indianapolis and Chapel Hill sits…Dollywood! But there also appeared to be some mountains in the area, so we thought we’d check those out after we’d spent the previous day running around Dolly Parton’s theme park. (I’ll post about that eventually, I promise.)

We started out by stopping at the Sugarlands visitor’s center where we picked up some helpful brochures and watched a 20-minute movie about the Smoky Mountains. Nowhere did it explain why the area was called the Sugarlands, which I was particularly curious about. I don’t think anyone is growing sugar in the area, or even sugar beets. Google was unhelpful, so the mystery remains.

Our next destination was Clingmans Dome (no apostrophe, I checked), which is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains and the third highest point east of the Mississippi River. The drive from the visitor’s center took about 20-30 minutes as we wound up the mountain on narrow paved roads past lots of trees and an occasional creek. There was one corkscrew turn that was rather thrilling but made me glad I wasn’t the one driving. Sometimes there would be a break in the forest and you could see a beautiful view of the mountains between the trees. I had my GPS with me, so I turned on the elevation setting and shouted out numbers as we drove. “Three thousand feet! Four thousand feet!” etc. etc. until we got to the parking lot which according to the GPS was about 6300 feet above sea level.

Clingmans Trail

The dome itself is at 6643 feet and it’s a half mile walk from the parking lot, up a trail the guidebook said was “steep.” Um, yeah. That’s one way to put it. Another way would be to urge people with heart problems, asthma or other medical conditions not to attempt it like they do for roller coaster rides because this motherbleeper was STEEEEEEEEEP.

Steep

The photo doesn’t do it justice. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to photograph steep things. Essentially this trail was like going up a half-mile long staircase. There were benches along the way, but when I sat on them I felt like I was going to slide off, particularly because I was wearing rayon-polyester blend pants that didn’t build up much friction between me and the bench. That’s how steep it was.

The trail bends in several places, so you can never tell how much farther you have to go. After we’d gone a ways we started asking people on the way down how much farther it was to the dome. “You’re halfway there,” they’d say. Then we’d struggle up to the next bench and ask some more people. “You’re halfway there,” they’d say. And it continued on like this, as if we were trapped in some nightmare version of Zeno’s paradox, in which we were always halfway to our destination, doomed to walk upwards forever. We finally figured out that the numbers on the sides of the benches indicated how many tenths of a mile you’d traveled, but we were only at number 3. Eventually we could see the parking lot from the trail and I couldn’t believe we weren’t already at the top.

View of the parking lot

If I’d known the trail would be that steep and that long, I’m not sure my sixty-something mother and I would have attempted it. I love my mom and want to keep her around as long as possible. If you were to have a medical emergency on this trail I think you’d be pretty bleeped. The ambulance response time can’t be that impressive. So I asked her if she wanted to stop and turn around, but she persevered! We probably spent 75% of our time resting from the 25% of the time we spent climbing. We saw people who’d passed us on the way up pass us again on their way down. But finally we made it! Go, Mom!

Clingmans Dome

So what did we see when we got to the top of the mountain? What gorgeous view were we rewarded with? Um, this:

What a view!

Yeah, that’s why they call them the Smoky Mountains. We’d asked a park ranger at the Sugarlands visitor center what the visibility was at the dome and he’d responded, “At this moment it’s clear.” He did not make us any guarantees about how it would be an hour or two later when we finally reached the top. That said, I’m incredibly proud we made it to the top, even if we were stuck inside a cloud when we got there. If anything, it made the place seem sort of spooky and surreal, particularly because the Smokies are littered with the skeletons of dead Fraser fir trees that have been killed by foreign insects.

Smoky indeed

We then made our way back down the trail, which was easier than going up it, but still an exercise that used different muscles and required more of an effort to maintain balance. By chance, the trail to Clingmans Dome overlaps with the Appalachian Trail for a very short spurt, making it the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. It also makes it possible for me to say I’ve walked the Appalachian Trail, though I can never say that without thinking that it is a euphemism for stealing away to Argentina to visit my mistress. Thanks, Mark Sanford!

Appalachian Trail

We got back to the parking lot and were grateful no bears had attacked our car like they did in this YouTube video which is the fourth Google result for a search of “Clingmans Dome.” Do you think that affects visitor turnout? Thanks to the video we’d watched at the visitor’s center I knew there were only two bears per square mile in the Smokies, so I wasn’t too worried about that.

On the drive back to the hotel I kept thinking about that song, “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music and wondering if that nun knew what she was talking about when she sung it. Because, DAMN, climbing a mountain is really effing difficult. That nun was hardcore.

And that was our Smoky Mountain adventure! I’m glad I went, but until they build Clingmans Escalator I’m not sure if I’ll be back again.

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Want second helpings? Devour more entries in the archives.

 
 
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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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  • Ew, just saw a TV ad for Ashley Madison that had guys singing about finding someone "other than my wife." No more Spike TV after midnight.
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