Happy Festivus! (one day late)

I was planning to post this on actual Festivus, but I got distracted in the best way possible (getting together with old friends and playing Super Smash Bros.). In any case, it’s less of a holiday post and more of an end-of-the-year-lollapalooza sort of thing. I started out with just the odds & ends but somehow this turned into an actual project that involved me reviewing all my blog posts from this year, because it’s Christmas Festivus break and there is time for these things.

So without further ado, here’s my Favorites of 2014 post, i.e. a rambly recap of stuff I blogged about in 2014, with probably too many links.

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Nikki’s Favorites of 2014

Favorite Concert: It was an *excellent* year for shows. I got to see three of my very favorites: Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, and Tom Petty, plus was introduced to Deerhoof, Mac DeMarco, and awesome local band James Rabbit. I saw OK Go for a 7th and 8th time, the Mountain Goats for a second, and The Spencer Owen Timeshare for an umpteenth (I added some photos!). But I think my favorite show, even with the obnoxious drunk couple next to us, was Kishi Bashi. It was so much fun and I’m super stoked he’s coming back to play at the Palace of Fine Arts next month!

Favorite New Album: My favorite for purely personal reasons (plus the fact that “I Won’t Let You Down” is my jam) was Hungry Ghosts. OK Go foreverrrrrrrr.

Favorite Rockstar Tweet: Probably Ringo and his gratuitous use of emojis.

Favorite Book: So like everything on here, I’m subject to extreme bias, and also I didn’t read that many books that actually came out in 2014. I did really love I’ll Give You the Sun (YA), but Wolf In White Van was both my most anticipated and most enjoyed.

Favorite Movie: Boyhood. For a disgustingly sentimental person like me, there’s no other choice.

Favorite Obsession: Queeeeeeen! Music videos in drag, songs about space, Roger Taylor’s face, etc. It was bound to happen. (I wonder if I’ll ever stop being such a fangirl…I sure hope not.)

Oh yeah, and those resolutions? I like to think they were pretty successful. The big accomplishment was redoing this blog and moving it over to WordPress, which I’m still very happy about. And I definitely listened to more records, thanks to spurts of record-hunting with Alex and the addition of biweekly game nights at our apartment (listening to Vangelis while playing Wiz War is super legit). The last resolution was to read more, which I have been (I joined a book club at work!). But I have to admit, I’m only still halfway through that Beatles biography, hahah. For 2015: finish that Beatles biography!!

A few more odds & ends:

  • Joe Cocker: we lost a great voice in rock and blues the other day. :( If watching a waterfront performance with my dad from a kayak in the San Diego Bay counts, Joe Cocker was my first concert. I used to listen to his Beatles covers on record and imitate his spastic way of singing. Mandatory video link: “Con un poco de ayuda de mis amigos” :)
  • I get weirdly into watching chick flicks when I’m at home for the holidays (probably in the same way Alex always watches classic action movies while I’m away). This week I’ve already watched Love Actually and You’ve Got Mail, and next on the list is Hannah and her Sisters…although you probably wouldn’t classify that one as a chick flick.
  • I also tend to rekindle my silent movie love when I have lots of spare time alone. This year, it’s Buster all the way. I’ve been watching YouTube videos like a fiend. I don’t think I’ve ever fully expressed how much of a dreamboat I think Buster Keaton is, so I will leave you with this, a montage of The Great Stone Face set to “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer:

Catching up

It finally happened!:

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I made it through November alive! This was my third time attempting NaNoWriMo, and I finally succeeded in writing 50,000 words in 30 days. WOOO! Quite a lesson in commitment. I guess you could call the (un)finished product a “novel,” except I’d have months of re-writing and de-suckifying to do before I could ever consider it readable. So while there’s a good chance the story will never see the light of day, I must admit I had a lot of fun writing it. :)

That said, I’m happy to be back on the ol’ blog! Here are a couple of things that came up during November that I vowed to blog about once I hit my word count:

Nez on Portlandia
Alex and I have been catching up on Portlandia, and one night we were watching an episode in which the Mayor’s parents are introduced (turns out they’ve been paying for all of Portland’s major purchases, including a 3D printer). And I thought for a split second that my eyes were tricking me but BY GOLLY I was right: the Mayor’s dad was played by NONE OTHER THAN MIKE NESMITH OF THE MONKEES.

AHHHHHH. You have to remember that I have a hardcore crush on Monkee Mike Nesmith, but appearances like this don’t help my cause (I swear he didn’t always look like the dad of a mayor!). Luckily for you (me), I found a very relevant episode of the Monkees:

I may or may not have watched the entire episode after finding that clip. Silliest. Show. Ever. “It’s a watch fob for a giant!”

How the rest of my November was spent: fangirling HARD over Queen
I CANNOT stop loving this band, you guys. My only purchase on Black Friday was Queen Rock Montreal from Rasputin Music (at full price, haha). I have no regrets! It’s an amazing concert.

Ugh I love this song so much. Freddie’s voice is perfect and Brian is the king of the power ballad. It’s also part of my NaNoWriMo14 soundtrack, which I have on 8tracks and might post later, if I can ever think of a good title for it.

Ok, turns out those were the only other things keeping me occupied over the past month. I’m also getting back into Tumblr, which is where obsessions are born. So I’ll probably be back soon. BRACE YOURSELVES.

Quiet in November

Hi,

This is just a little message to let you know that this blog (and any semblance of a social life) might go through a brief hiatus for the month of November while I try to devote every non-work, non-sleeping hour to my NaNoWriMo project. I’ve tried to do this every year since 2010, and never made it past 3 days because writing a novel is HARD. This time I’m 10 days in and just a tiiiiiny bit behind, but the fact that I haven’t stopped yet really makes me want to finish this thing.

So, sorry in advance for the lack of posts here. But I did want to take a moment to express my absolute delight in a couple of things:

1. Interstellar. Because it’s basically the Queen song “’39” in movie form (space explorers embark on a mission to find distant planets but risk never seeing their families again due to time dilation. Relativity, y’all). I saw it on Saturday and although it didn’t quite live up to my super-high expectations (maybe because we’d recently seen 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen and what could be more epic than that?), it was definitely a mind-bender. Would recommend! Here’s the trailer, and here’s the Queen song, written by band astrophysicist Brian May.

2. Also, I haven’t yet seen Big Hero 6 but am really looking forward to it for one reason: San Fransokyo!

3. And finally, while getting in the mood for NaNoWriMo, I read a devastatingly good YA book called I’ll Give You The Sun. You guys, this book has my heart. I loved the character Noah’s voice and if anything I ever write is half as good, I’d consider it a great accomplishment.

Ok, that’s it. Back to Google Docs now. See you on the flip side!

Rockstars and Cats, Vol. 1: Freddie Mercury

Ok you guys, this was going to be a more meaningful post (or at least more varied), but I rescinded all other ideas I had for Freddie Mercury’s birthday post once I found out how much of a crazy cat lady he was.

As a result, here is a tribute to Freddie and his cats. Sorrynotsorry!:

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“Mercury loved his cats, so much so that while on tour he would periodically call home to talk to them. His one-time girlfriend and long-time close friend Mary Austin would hold the cats up to the phone so they could listen to him speak. He also had portraits painted of them.” [Clash Music]

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Please also note these excellent facts:

His solo album Mr. Bad Guy was dedicated “To my cat Jerry – also Tom, Oscar and Tiffany, and all the cat lovers across the universe – screw everybody else.”

“Delilah” from the Queen album Innuendo is about his favorite cat, and these are actual lyrics from the song:

Delilah, Delilah, oh my, oh my, oh my – you’re unpredictable
You make me so very happy
When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me
And then you make me slightly mad
When you pee all over my Chippendale Suite

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And finally, I know this video is bittersweet because it’s Freddie’s last, but I want to share it because THAT VEST (side note: are John and Brian BOTH wearing bolo ties?). According to this lovely website, Freddie is wearing a vest—er, waistcoat, as they call it—that was made specifically for him, with all of his cats painted on it. The Freddie Mercury Cat Fact to end all Freddie Mercury Cat Facts.

Happy birthday, Freddie! My love for you can only grow from here.

Paul McCartney rocks (and might also be a robot)

Last week’s Farewell to Candlestick show was one I couldn’t pass up because: 1) whenever Paul McCartney is in town, I HAVE TO SEE HIM; 2) it was the last public event at the ‘Stick before the stadium gets demolished; and 3) the Beatles played the last show of their last tour ever there, so it’s got some pretty great Beatles history behind it.

photo (17)This marks the 3rd time I’ve seen Sir Paul, all of which have been San Francisco shows. And let me preface this by saying that he is SUPERHUMAN for being able to consistently put on a career-spanning, nearly-3-hour-long show at 72 years old. Like, I can’t even stay standing for that long, much less put on a show in front of 50,000 people. And as if I even have to make this disclaimer, but I am the biggest Beatles fan I know, so I love Paul, I really do.

But that said, it’s funny how every single Macca show I’ve seen (live or online) since 2010 is exactly the same. Some songs were added from New, but other than that, the set list and (sometimes questionable) stage visuals were identical. Also, it’s like Paul has some magic formula of pre-song banter and gestures that he has programmed into his brain, and he’s able to follow the formula word for word, which is actually pretty impressive. I wonder what would happen if something broke the routine, like a fan jumping on the stage or a monster thunderstorm. Would Paul just keep tousling his hair and telling his Jimi Hendrix/Eric Clapton story with a rabid fan around his neck in the soaking rain? Is Paul McCartney actually a robot?

And while he did add in a few nice lines about the venue, I’m not gonna lie: I was kind of hoping there would be some big gimmicks for the ‘Stick’s last show. Haha, I don’t know what that would entail….even more fireworks, perhaps? Ringo coming out and singing “With A Little Help From My Friends”? John and George holograms? I did appreciate Paul deviating from the standard set list to play “Long Tall Sally,” the last song the Beatles played at their Candlestick show. It’s also worth mentioning that I really like the newer songs, especially “New” and “Everybody Out There.” What can I say, despite maybe being an Android, the man can still rock.

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Live and Let Die, naturally

On an unrelated note, I have some blog news! I finally finished going through all my old posts, so the broken videos/links should all be fixed (that is, until those YouTube videos get taken down, which will surely happen someday). I also might have deleted a few posts that were just too embarrassing to revisit, like me attempting to talk about politics. Silly 2009 self, that’s not what this blog is about.

Here’s what this blog IS about:

A Random Roundup: Bowie, OK Go, Midcentury Mod, Queen

  • Speaking of stage banter, here’s some good stuff. Turns out I never realized how much I need to see David Bowie in concert, until I watched this video.
  • OK Go released some new behind the scenes footage and an intense floor map for the “Writing’s On the Wall” video. Always amazed at how much work goes into these videos, from the band and crew alike!
  • VERY RANDOM, but, I shamelessly follow Retronaut on Facebook, and there was a recent post that really rekindled my obsession with midcentury architecture and design: The Miller House. The round fireplace, sunken nook, and bright orange couches?! This is my warped idea of eye candy.
  • And finally, I’m not over my obsession with Queen by a long shot. Here are a couple more reasons to love these guys: a super adorable Making Of video for Radio Ga Ga, and Death Scrabble.

Top Fives: Queen Edition

I’ve been watching entirely too many Queen videos on YouTube this past week, and as a result I’ve had a pretty fun time putting this post together. It also means I’ve made no progress updating the rest of my old posts, but oh well.

Among my YouTube finds was an interview where Freddie was talking about Queen’s music videos, and how he didn’t want a video to alter the listener’s own impression of the song too much, so the band purposely made their videos kind of vague and bizarre—without any clear message—so as not to impose on anyone’s personal image of the song. Inspired by this, I put together a Top 5 Random Queen Music Videos that fit the bill pretty well:

1. It’s A Hard Life – just a really good excuse to dress up
2. We Will Rock You – snowy backyard music video…they look so cold!
3. I Want to Break Free – already mentioned this one in an earlier post but it’s just so perfect
4. I’m Going Slightly Mad – I guess this one actually fits the song, but I like the video regardless
5. The Miracle – kids as Queen = cute, but also weird

Top 5 Roger Taylor Falsettos
Because in addition to being super adorable, his upper vocal range is CRAZY!
1. In the Lap of the Gods
2. ’39 – I am in love with this song btw
3. Bohemian Rhapsody – a cappella version for maximum clarity
4. Somebody to Love – the whole song, sooo good
5. My Fairy King

Top 5 Queen + Sombreros Pictures

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Brian, BE HAPPIER ABOUT THAT SOMBRERO. IT LOOKS GREAT ON YOU.

Man, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to go through a Queen phase. They are such a great band. I’m sure I’ll be back with more soon.

July 26th

Oh, hello. Sorry for the hiatus. As you can see, I was busy moving this blog to WordPress!

(Ok that’s a lie…I did the blogger-to-wordpress thing all this morning; it took like an hour, tops. The rest of the time I was just being lazy.)

But I figure it’s time to finally break the dry spell, 1) because I have this sweet new blog and 2) because it’s a good day for rock & roll birthdays.

First, happy birthday to Sir Mick Jagger, the swaggest, most in-shape 71-year-old I’ve ever seen:

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Second, happy 65th to Roger Taylor of Queen. Amazingly, I’ve only just started getting obsessed with Queen. I’ve always loved their music (who doesn’t?) but have recently started to watch some interviews and read a bunch of wiki articles and as per usual, it’s gotten me hooked on these guys. With the exception of maybe mid-60s Keith Moon, Roger Taylor is the only rock drummer I’ve ever considered to be absolutely adorable. Look at his face!!

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Also, video proof. What a doll.

Speaking of which, I just saw the video for “I Want To Break Free” for the first time. Men in drag aside, can we talk about this a little bit? What’s up with all the spandex and grapes in the instrumental section? Is Freddie wearing Vulcan ears? And how is Roger just so PRETTY? I have a feeling that much of my weekend is going to be spent watching Queen videos, and I’m super cool with that.

And finally, it’s also Dan Konopka (my OK Go counterpart)’s birthday! More to come on this later, but while I was standing outside The Independent before OK Go’s SF show earlier this month, Dan walked right past me twice, but I was too awkward to say hi. I found it funny that a guy outside asked him if he was waiting for a ticket (for the sold out show that he was headlining? don’t think so…). In fact, all four members of the band were outside before the show, and no one (except Damian, a couple times) got recognized. What a perfect amount of fame. Can’t wait to see them again in SLC!

Oh, by the way, you may have noticed that along with the new blog came a new blog name. Electric Kool-Aid was sorely outdated, although I do still recommend the book if you ever want to experience a day in the life of a Merry Prankster. Flip the Record just fits better with the overall purpose of this blog, and after literally months of trying to think of a new name, I liked this name the most. Hope you do too!