it's a start

i’m in LA.

well, i’m a little north of LA, but depending who you talk to, it’s all part of the same ‘city state.’

i’m here for a few days to empty my storage unit.

i flew in to the burbank/ bob hope airport. it was about 9:30, but to me it was a little after midnight. this airport dumps your luggage outside, right next to arrival and departure traffic. it sorta feels like a ‘hi, welcome. . . now get out.’ i passed melissa joan hart as i walked to get my rental car. (i never watched ‘sabrina- teenage witch’ but i heard that penn jillette played the devil in a couple of episodes. wouldn’t mind seeing that.) the music playing in the rental car terminal was drippingly 80’s. . . and the song as i signed my contract, ‘dancing in heaven’- one of the dancing montage songs from ‘girls just want to have fun.’ as if suddenly being on the other side of the country in with fifty degree and higher weather isn’t surreal enough.

i’m finding my way around better than i expected, but it feels like the speed limit is ten to twenty miles and hour faster than i remember. it didn’t seem fast to me when i lived here, but i guess my rhythm has changed, and as for circadian rhythm- forget it. it’s a little after 6 am. i should sleep more, but i can’t. might as well get up and be productive, it’s why i’m here anyway.


the big list

new project, semi long term. . . hopefully completed within a year.

this ‘big list’ relates to my itunes.

i have started a project. the project is to listen to every album in my itunes, completely. while listening i plan to denote the songs that i really like from each album and appoint them to one large playlist.

i have a lot of music i haven’t heard even once.

i have even more music that i haven’t really listened to.

according to my itunes, i have 942 albums currently. i’m sure that there are many that aren’t complete albums, just singles. i’m conservatively guessing that there are 600 to 700 complete albums. it’s still a lot to listen to, but i’m kinda looking forward to it.

it’s been a long time coming. i’m sort of ashamed that i don’t have a better grasp on my own music library. i am so thankful for all my friends who have gifted me music. i should honor that gift by listening to it, right?

i make lots of playlists. usually i start a playlist with a bunch of music already in mind- to fit a particular mood or event. i add more with time, and if i really want to flush out the playlist i will scroll through the entire library for more ideas. it’s a slow process. i might know of an artist or album that i want to incorporate, but i’m kinda bad at remembering actual song titles, so i need to touch through each song to find the one i meant to use.

there is a lot of music that is fine but i’m not going to listen to it over and over, so it’s not something that will go into a playlist. i can skip it. therefore, it doesn’t go into ‘the big list.’ eventually, if i start to run out of room on my ipod, i could strip out the songs that aren’t in ‘the big list’. . . but i hope that won’t happen too soon.

some people might find this form of organization a bit of overkill. i’m actually really excited about having a list of ALL the songs i like, that i can then pare down further. it will make my playlist process more efficient. ahhh, efficiency. . . my german side is so appeased.

i thought that i might try to review the albums on this blog as part of my process, but i don’t know if i want to commit myself to that. we’ll see. . . maybe i’ll do it when i’m moved to do so. . . eh. . . time will tell.

one of my friends probed me about this new project. (i was relieved to know that she actually thought it was a good idea.) she wanted to know how quickly i could tell if i wanted to keep or pitch a song, and if i had a set criteria.

interesting questions. . .

some songs i know within the first few bars, though it’s still a good idea to listen to the whole thing to make sure there isn’t some sort of annoyance later that would disqualify it.
there are some songs that i don’t love completely, but i really like the bass line. songs like that deserve to be in ‘the big list’ but probably won’t end up in a lot of the subsequent playlists.
i will initially pick and gravitate to music that i’ve heard before, but didn’t really pay attention to. stuff from commercials, from movie soundtracks. . . music that other people have played around me. (probably the only way i ended up with a phish album. an assistant technical director i worked for played it in the scene shop constantly. what can i say, it grew on me.)
so no real criteria. . . just what i like.

so, how well do you know your music library?

(i have another big list to talk about at some point, but it needs to percolate a little more.)


a man to savage

this is actually a really old post that i’ve been sitting on for a while. . .

i was walking through our illustrious mall recently. the place is a dead zone. it’s pretty normal for there to be more people working there than actual shoppers. it makes for a really uncomfortable shopping experience in my mind. the clerks have absolutely nothing else to pay attention to other than you. instead of casually browsing you feel like you are dodging merchandise-hocking stalkers.

seriously, the biggest crowd i saw there was outside the toddler tumbling place. see, the stores are doing so badly and closing so often that some of the store fronts are being used as college outreaches areas, and toddler gymnastic clubs. there were maybe fifteen parents outside the gymnastic ‘store’ windows watching kids somersault and cartwheel their way down a long trampoline. personally, i couldn’t help but think that setting up a trampoline in a place with a drop ceilings and a number of enthusiastic kids would later result in injury or property damage.

anyway, since everything was so quiet, i actually started to pay attention to the paging system, which i usually tune out as white noise. (really annoying white noise.) it was during a particular page that i had this spark, this connection to the poor soul stuck behind the information desk.

a woman’s voice, with no girlish giggle like you would hear or crack yourself while making a prank call. this person was a comic ‘straight man’ genius. complete, dull delivery. perfect.

“amanda savage. would amanda savage please come to the information desk. we are requesting amanda savage to report to the information desk.”

sadly, i was no where near the information desk, and i was on my way out. but i would’ve liked to walk by and share a knowing chuckle or a sly smirk. it seemed just a little sad for this joke to go without an audience.

is it like that riddle about the tree falling in the woods? is a joke funny if there’s no one there to laugh at it? or is it enough that the deliverer of the joke was spilling their sardonic wit into the void, and maybe getting their kicks from that alone?

it definitely left me feeling a little like i was walking through wes anderson’s mall. . . wondering to myself. . . is this funny? or is it pathetic?

i chuckled anyway.



ottawa.2009.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

ringing it in on the rideau.

so my friend sara invited me to hang out with her and a few of her friends in a hotel in ottawa for the new years. we had a really great time.

aren't these cookies super cute? i particularly like the snowflake ones. these were in a bread shop on the byward market.


ottawa.2009.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

an indoor picnic, sort of.
sara, kate, and i picked up a bunch of tidbits from the byward market and brought them back to the hotel for the whole group. bread, goat cheese, brie, pears, clementines, salsa, queso, chips, falafel, hummus, samosas, dips. . . mmmmm.
the night before we filled up on shwarma from around the corner for dinner. not to mention the 'medicinal' essentials;


ottawa.2009.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it was nearly 20 below new years eve. thankfully the russian bar we headed to was just across the street from the hotel.


ottawa.2009.13, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a pose at the dancing bear statue.
we've dubbed this 'snotcicle day.' it was very cold.
the byward market was mostly closed for the holiday but we walked around anyway.


ottawa.2009.12, originally uploaded by ekissam.

people skating on the rideau near the highway.


ottawa.2009.14, originally uploaded by ekissam.

kate, sara, and i stopped by a park with some falls on the way back home.


ottawa.2009.15, originally uploaded by ekissam.

worst stairs ever!

unless you carry a sled in your back pocket. and i don't. :(

by the tracks in the snow it kinda looks like someone, or several someones went down, either on a sled or on their ass.