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December 2010

Compilations That Should Not Be

IMG_0893Every year, I sit down and start updating my Amazon wish list before the holidays, with the same thought circling in my head: "I don't need anything, really. I don't want anything." And eventually, after an hour or so, I have a respectable list of things from Amazon plus items I've noticed in various other stores over the past few months, creating a respectable wish list.

It was due to creating my wish list that a couple of new compilations caught my eye.

I'd know the new Jesus and Mary Chain compilation was coming out, but I wasn't paying much attention. Yes, they are my favorite band in the whole world. However, the "what releases of theirs do I not have list" at this point is down to two very limited edition seven-inches with gatefold sleeves that had postcards tucked into them.

I am not impressed with phrases like "rare b-sides." I HAVE THEM ON 7" and 12" and CD! Ahem. But while perusing my decade-old JAMC google alert, I came across a review, that as it skipped through the inevitable paragraph about all the things to ooh and ahh over on the album, casually mentioned that this CD will include one of the new, unreleased songs they've been playing live in their reunion shows.

After adding that to my wish list, a new title popped onto my recommended for you selections: The Best of Depeche Mode Vol 1. I clicked through to view the play list, and cackled. That's right. Not only did I cackle, I had to read out loud the song progression and inclusions. Why? Because there wasn't any flow. Opening with Personal Jesus and closing with Never Let Me Down Again is totally fine, but the order of the songs seemed as well thought out as a toddler pushing a random button seven times and going with it.

Oh yes, it certainly shows the way the music evolved from the synth-pop days to the harder hitting Violator and beyond somewhat sleazy (in a good way) music I love from them. But it doesn't work. You can't segue from Personal Jesus to Just Can't Get Enough to Everything Counts to Enjoy the Silence. Why couldn't they have even followed a great set list? Oh wait that's because they already did that with 101, the live album from the famed Rose Bowl shows. But when you can already get the 1-CD singles collection, or the 3-box set singles collection, and the 3-CD re-mix album that has my favorite mix ever on it, who is the audience for this album exactly? And how do they justify including some truly meh songs and not including Policy of Truth and World in my Eyes? Oh right, they'll be on Vol 2, presumably. Blech.

A much better compilation bet? The Creation Records story CD that is coming out at the end of November as a partner to the documentary film about a truly amazing record label.

What're you wishing for this holiday season?

Kitty Climbing City

Marcello and Bolvar Lounging in Kitty TreeWhen we picked up the kitties from their vacation kitty spa, we learned that Bo had spent most of his time in the tip-top of their enclosure, in the bump-out perch that overlooked the hallway.

Marcello, being a shy guy, hid behind the kitty perch. But we did see him get in some super fast climbing action.

And it was at that point that I caved on one of my long-standing biases: we bought them a monster kitty tree.

I've always been against having a carpeted kitty tree taking over my living room. Much like how I didn't have a tv in there until a few years ago.

But I realized that I was being a bad kitty mom. They can't go outside, and without a kitty tree, I was having to chase the off my stereo and dresser and desk. This was my concession to their need to climb and scratch and tower over us.

 Of course, after we rented the City Carshare and drug it home, we realized that only with great effort and high potential for bodily harm (to them or to us) could they launch themselves into the highest perch on the tree. And thus: we bought the second shorter tree as a stairway to the big tree.

That's right -- I went from not wanting a kitty tree at all to having two of them taking up a prominent corner of my living room. But in the end, I know it was the right thing to do.

They spend a bnch of their time playing, climbing and scratching on the trees. And, as seen here, snoozing too of course.

My inner minimalist will cringe as she looks at this carpet-covered monstrosity, but as long as it makes the kitty babies happy, and isn't shredded into bits, it's staying. The things we do for love.

Back to the Routine

crosses against a cloudy sky

After five glorious weeks off, I went back into the office on Monday.

Overall, it didn't feel like I missed much. Many things I was working on seemed to have stood in place waiting for my return. And my tidy desk was the same. As was my spectacular view. The only thing that was different? Me.

Somehow, despite a very busy week, with a number of incredibly urgent projects, I've managed to maintain my chill and de-stressed demeanor.

I love my job. But it is, after all, just a job. Having this time off allowed me to put that back into perspective, and I am crossing my fingers that I can retain my inner calm through the holidays.

So although it was back to work, I am trying to not have it be entirely business as usual.


  1. I am trying to manage my time so that I am not back to the 50-60 hour work weeks. I almost caved and logged in to do some work today, but then I didn't. I need my weekend time to re harge my batteries. If I work through the weekend that doesn't happen.
  2. I'm making time for the things that are important to me. That means last week I made time to go to the Giants' World Series parade with my boss and colleagues. And I also made time to go to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.
  3. I am happiest when I make time to write. Although my NaNoWriMo novel has not taken off yet, due to heading back to work this week, I spent the bulk of this afternoon writing a meaty post for my gaming blog.
  4. I want to make a dent in the stack of books next to my bed. I just finished Foucault's Pendulum last night, and am working my way through A Handmade Life now. I am trying to make time each night to read. It's a good way to wind down in addition to getting the creative ideas flowing.
  5. I'm back to eating consciously healthy lunches. I'm trying to very my diet, and am makign sure I eat enough fruits and veggies. When I eat better, I feel better.
  6. Likewise, I am trying to not fall back into staying up until Midnight each night. I have to get up at 6:30, so that means 11 p.m. is my target bedtime. I have a tendency to not get enough sleep, which is a killer, especially if you are working under pressure (which I usually am) and intolerable if your workday stretches past 8 hours.

Wish me luck.