#154: Pretenders by The Pretenders


Pretenders by The Pretenders (1980)

Favorite Tracks: "Precious" and "Up the Neck" and "Tattooed Love Boys" and "Space Invader" and "The Wait" and "Stop Your Sobbing" and "Kid" and "Brass in Pocket" and "Mystery Achievement"

Thoughts: The Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde were always in the background of my musical upbringing, mostly with their hits "Don't Get Me Wrong," "Back on the Chain Gang," and "I'll Stand By You," "Angel of the Morning," and a song from this, their debut album: "Brass in Pocket." These songs showed up not only on my radio, but in movies and TV too (remember when Chrissie was on Friends?). But beyond their big hits and general pop culture presence, I've never gotten the chance to dig much deeper, but I'm excited to today!

Pretenders opens with "Precious": sassy and playful and sets a fun tone for the album. "The Phone Call" was a little too weird and sporadic for my taste, but the next track, "Up the Neck" had a fun, almost Bowie-ish quality to it. "Tattooed Love Boys" is a manic rock song, reminding me of glam rock. "Space Invader" (instrumental) had me rocking in my seat, and wishing it were longer than three and a half minutes. I couldn't really tell what Chrissie was singing in "The Wait" (were parts of it actual gibberish?) but I loved every second of it.

"Stop Your Sobbing" is a cover of the Kinks song from their debut album, and I loved it. It was one of the more sweet, romantic songs on the album. In contrast, "Private Life" is a dark, reggae-ish ode to not wanting to hear about other people's problems. Yes, your marriage is a tragedy but it's not concern. Of course "Brass in Pocket" is singularly perfect, though I still don't know (do I want to know?) what having 'brass in pocket' means.

Is This Better Than Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy?: I would say it's as good, easily!

#155: Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys


Paul's Boutique by Beastie Boys (1989)

Favorite Tracks: I liked the samples towards the end of "Hey Ladies" (when they'd stopped rapping) and the female vocal at the beginning of "Shadrach" (before they'd started rapping)

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) This is our second and final Beastie Boys album on the list, after License to Ill at #215. I don't recognize any of the song titles except for "Shake Your Rump" because the Goldberg kids performed it in an episode of The Goldbergs. You can tell how high my excitement level to listen to this album is considering I haven't done a review since....January.

(Post-Listening) *Shrug emoji* I mean, it was okay? I'm just not into this kind of music. There's no denying these guys are talented at what they do, but it leaves me bored.

Is This Better Than Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy?: Nope.

Currents, July 2016

Project: I'm trying to build up embroidery calluses, so I've been stitching up a storm

Movie: I watched Spotlight while tagging/editing my photos of the gorgeous cathedrals I saw last year in Italy. It was strange and disturbing (which is good, everyone should be very disturbed by that movie/story).

Food: Soft pretzels with honey-curry mustard. 

Podcast: I've been enjoying Doughboys with Nick Wiger and Mike Mitchell, which features in-depth reviews of chain restaurants. The craziest thing I've learned so far: Taco Bell was started by a guy named Glen Bell

Celebrity Crush: I've been re-watching Frasier and the David Hyde Pierce/Niles Crane feels are all too real.

Obsession: Downloading fun fonts from and using them for all my work-related documents, and my embroidery!

Book: I've been loving Ruth L. Schwartz's poetry lately.

Thankfulness: So far this July has been rainy, cloudy, and cool compared to most in this region. I'm in heaven. September will be here before I know it!

Fashion: I found a Free People dress (on super clearance) that is covered in lovely embroidery! Hoping to wear it to one of the weddings I'm attending later this summer.

TV show: Maria Bamford's excellent Lady Dynamite, the silly-fun Korean drama Noble, My Love, and I'm starting Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries!

Music: My favorite songs from Waitress: The Musical are still on repeat.

Wishlist: I'm a big fan of this bleeding heart mirror.

Reminder: "Each moment accommodates an eternity. See it as a small room with two doors. Someday we will enter to find the second door locked against us." - Stephen Dobyns

Embroidery: Seriously, I Have Too Many Issues


I don't like to reveal too much personal information about myself on this blog ("HA!" laughed every reader who read even one of my medical history posts), but I wanted to make an embroidery piece for my new cubicle, and suffice to say, I work in the magazines/journals industry. And I'm a mess of a human being, so the natural choice for my piece was the phrase:


I mean, it's perfect. But I didn't want just typography, so I googled vintage Vogue covers to provide a background for the phrase. When I came upon the following issue from Feb. 1, 1964, I knew I'd found the winner:


If my internet research is correct, the model is Wilhelmina Cooper and the photographer was Bert Stern. Unfortunately, the phrase I'd picked wasn't going to work with the Vogue title being at the top of the image. I needed it to be at the bottom, so I moved the lettering down and added the rest, with the photo 'behind' it:

I loved the blue of the model's coat, so I picked varying shades of blue for everything but the title itself:

Then I filled in the letters and got started on the face:

To use the full number of strands of black thread for the mascara, the lashes would have been too thick, so I removed 2 or 3 to allow more lashes to fill out the eyes. It's tough for me to figure out how to fill in faces this big, so I decided to leave her skin 'empty.' 

The flowers in her hat were done free-hand by me, which will come as no surprise once you see them. My flowers are sporadic, diverse, and not really in keeping with the laws of the physics you would expect of flowers in a hat shape. 

I decided to start from the bottom sides, and use black centers for the pistil/stamen, like a poppy, in keeping with the original image. 

I tried to keep like-colored flowers away from each other, but didn't always succeed. And I tried to keep to a pink-red-coral-purple-light blue-white motif, also to keep to the original. 

And then the last flowers were complete!

The only issue was that the first three words seemed kind of hard to read. You could make them out, but the colors are a little too close to the flowers. I really like it, but if people can't read it fairly easily, it defeats the purpose of the words altogether, and I could have just done with model and her hat. So I outlined everything but Vogue in black. It makes it much easier to read, even if the black is a little harsh next to all the colors. I also added the outline of the model's coat.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the result, and love seeing it now on my cubicle wall!