The Woman Scorned Playlist

I’ll let these ladies sing it for me.

A while back, I got into a conversation on Twitter with @flymaine about the pop artist, Adele. I’d heard the name but didn’t really know much about her. @flymaine provided a link to her music video, Rolling in the Deep, on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch:

I watched the video and listened to the lyrics. Could she possibly be singing about an unfaithful partner? I tracked down the lyrics and read them. And when I got to this, I cried:

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all

This is what has been going on in my head since the reality of my situation hit me: While he’d been bouncing from one dead-end job to the next, with periods of unemployment in between, I’d been working my ass off to achieve a goal for both of us — a goal he helped me set for our future. While he was dealing with (and complaining about) the nine-to-five grind, I was doing my best to make us financially independent and get us a great place to go and work and play together every summer. But when it came time to join me as he’d promised he’d do, he made excuses to stay behind. And then, while I was gone this year — my best year ever — he dumped me for a woman he’d known less than a month.

We could have had it all — we almost had it all — but now it’s all gone. It’s still hard to believe.

The rest of the song pretty much covers what comes after the pain: the anger. I have that, too. Hell, it was almost as if she wrote this song with my situation in mind.

Or are there that many women out there who have been burned by men they loved?

And that got me thinking about the Scorned Woman Playlist. A list of songs that express what I’m thinking and feeling about my situation. I bought Adele’s song from iTunes and added it to a new playlist.

I already had another song for the playlist: The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Hit ‘Em Up Style. I bought it about two years ago, back before I ever thought something like this could happen to me. The only video I could find was this live performance. It rocks:

This one is a lot more fun — and definitely more upbeat — but these lyrics still make me cry every time I hear them:

There goes the dreams we used to say
There goes the time we went away
There goes the love I had but you cheated on me
And that’s worth that now

There goes the house we made a home
There goes you’ll never leave me alone
There goes the lies you told
This is what you owe

“There goes the house we made a home” — that line hits hardest right now. As I pack and store and discard the things I added to our house to help make it a home, the place we made together is disappearing before my eyes. Every day it’s less like the place I spent the past 15 years of my life. Less like the place I worked so hard to get paid off by the time I was 50 and he was 55 — so we wouldn’t have to be slaves to nine-to-five jobs to pay a mortgage. So we could go into a sort of semi-retirement while we were still young and have some fun. Together.

In this song, the woman scorned gets revenge with a credit card. I wish it was that easy.

@flymaine also suggested Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats, but I’m not a big fan of country music. And her other suggestion, KT Tunstall’s Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, doesn’t quite say it like the two I’ve got.

Any other suggestions? Remember the theme: a woman scorned. Use the comment link to share your suggestions; I’ll add the ones that I think fit to this blog post.

Dancing in the Moonlight

Triggering memories with just a song title.

This morning, at 3 AM, a mouse walked into the humane mousetrap I’d set at the bottom of Alex the Bird’s cage. As it struggled to get out, the rattling of the little plastic trap woke me up. At 3 AM.

I’m not sleeping well these days and once I was up and had silenced the trap I couldn’t get back to sleep. I reached for my iPad and checked out Twitter and Facebook. My U.K. friends are always up in the middle of my night and I thought they might have something interesting to say or some interesting link to follow. Something to keep my mind off the personal problems that are making sleep so tough these days.

I found a Facebook update from a pilot friend who’d just returned from an overseas contract. I’m assuming he won’t mind if I reproduce it here:

I have not used Pandora on my phone for about a month.This morning before I select Pandora to plug into the jeep I am singing “Dancin’ in the Moonlight”! It was the last song I had on A month ago! I did not remember that, but my subconscious did!

Ball and Chain Ad
Image from killingtime2 on Flickr.

And that triggered a memory from forty years ago…sitting on my bed in the attic bedroom I shared with my sister, listening to “Dancing in the Moonlight” by King Harvest on a Panasonic “Ball and Chain” AM radio. My radio was dark blue, my bedspread and the wallpaper were pink. It was 1972, the year the song came out, and I was about 11 years old. I was just beginning my “music enlightenment” — discovering that there was more music than the Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole my parents listened to on their console stereo downstairs. I tuned into WWDJ in those days, a Hackensack, NJ-based pop radio station.

I remember fiddling with the tuning dial on that radio, picking up weak signals from faraway places like Chicago and Philadelphia and Boston.

I clearly remember listening to other Top 40 pop songs on that silly little radio: Precious and Few (Climax), Also Sprach Zarathustra (theme from 2001; Deodado), Crocodile Rock and Bennie and the Jets (Elton John), Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins and Messina), My Maria (B.W. Stevenson), Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean on Me (Bill Withers), American Pie (Don McLean), An Old Fashioned Love Song and Shambala (Three Dog Night), Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is? (Chicago), Oye Como Va (Santana), Angie (Rolling Stones), Pick Up the Pieces (Average White Band), I Shot the Sheriff (Eric Clapton), Killing Me Softly with His Song (Roberta Flack), My Love (Paul McCartney and Wings), Alone Again (Naturally) (Gilbert O’Sulllivan), Brandy (Looking Glass), A Horse with No Name (America), Without You (Nilsson), I can See Clearly Now (Johnny Nash), The Candy Man (Sammy Davis, Jr.), I Am Woman (Helen Reddy), Nights in White Satin (The Moody Blues), Song Sung Blue (Neil Diamond), Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree (Tony Orlando & Dawn), You’re So Vain (Carly Simon), Superstition (Stevie Wonder), Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye), Photograph (Ringo Starr), Half-Breed (Cher), Brother Louie (Stories), Love Train (The O’Jays), Will It Go Round in Circles (Billy Preston), Kodachrome (Paul Simon), Give Me Love (George Harrison), and Time in a Bottle (Jim Croce). With a little help from Top 40 songs lists, I can go on and on. What kids today call “oldies” is what I listened to on that silly little radio in the early 1970s.

I was listening to that radio in my bedroom when Jim Croce‘s death in a plane crash was announced in 1973.

In 1973, I began buying record albums and playing them on a portable turntable set up in a corner of our room. I still have those albums, many of which have the year of purchase written in the upper corner of the album jacket.

In 1974, WWDJ suddenly switched to an all-religion broadcast. By then, I’d begun exploring FM radio with WNEW-FM, a real rock station, on the same console that played Sinatra for my parents downstairs.

All those memories, triggered by a Facebook update.

This morning, when I sat down at my computer, I decided to play Dancing In the Moonlight. I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t on my Mac in iTunes. Easily remedied: I went to Amazon.com, did a search, and had the MP3 playing within minutes. 99¢ wasn’t much of a financial burden for a music-based flashback.

For a moment, in my mind, I was back in that old attic bedroom with that silly little radio on my bedside table, listening to its tinny sound. Back then, could I ever imagine that I’d be listening to the song from my computer, plugged into a surround-sound system in an RV in the middle of Washington State? I don’t think so.

And to my Facebook friend: thanks for triggering the memory.

About My New Fifth Generation iPod Nano

Holy cow!

Yesterday, my Fifth Generation iPod — approximately equal to what they’re now calling an iPod Classic — the first version to support video — died again. I have a tendency to let the battery drain completely and sit in my purse like that. Then, when I attempt to sync, my Mac doesn’t know what the heck it’s connected to and wants to restore it.

This is the fifth time this has happened and the third time it has happened in the past two months. When I left for an appointment yesterday, it was still connected to my Mac, trying to import about 25GB of podcasts and music and videos. It was taking a long time, so I left it.

Coincidentally, that appointment was at the Biltmore Apple Store, which is walking distance from our “Rear Window” apartment in Phoenix. I was bringing in my 12″ PowerBook, which had a dead hard disk. I wanted to know what it would cost to replace the disk. I learned a few things:

  • The 12″ PowerBook computer was first manufactured in early 2003.
  • I bought mine in July 2003.
  • On a 12″ PowerBook, you must remove 23 screws to get at and remove the hard disk. You then have to screw them all back in. In the right places.
  • Apple has absolutely no interest in repairing 6-year-old laptops.

I’ll blog more about my solution to this another time. Let me get back to my new Nano.

Of course, I hadn’t bought it yet. But I figured that since I was there, I may as well take a look.

iPod Nano

This isn’t my Nano, my thumb, or a video of anyone I know. But mine looks a lot like this one.

And I liked what I saw. So I bought a 16 GB red one. Yes, it’s (product)red, so a portion of the purchase price goes to fight AIDS in Africa. But that’s not why I picked red. I just like red. I’d like to help fight AIDS in Africa, but they’d get a lot less money from me if it was (product)turquoise.

Understand this: I bought a new iPod to replace one that simply wasn’t functioning reliably. The idea was to buy an iPod that would work with the iPod setup in my car and elsewhere. (The Shuffle won’t.)

I liked the idea of video, but since the video feature sucked battery power in my old iPod, I didn’t use it often. I didn’t expect to use it much on this iPod either.

All I wanted was something I could use to listen to podcasts and music while I drove or flew.

I got so much more.

This little sucker is absolutely packed with features.

  • It plays MP3s and other audio format files.
  • It plays movies.
  • It has an FM radio tuner built in. The FM tuner can identify songs so you can tag them and later sync them with your computer for easy shopping on the iTunes Store.
  • It has a video camera.
  • It has a pedometer. It can sync up with Nike’s Web site for some reason I’m not clear about and probably wouldn’t care about if I did.
  • It has games.
  • It can tell when you tilt it so it orients the screen properly. This tilt thing can also be used by games.
  • It can record voice memos.
  • It can store and display photos.
  • It can sync with Address Book and iCal on my Mac.
  • It can store notes.

It does a huge amount of stuff I didn’t expect. And every time I find something new, I get all giddy, like a kid.

Playing with one of these silly things for the first time — as an owner — is better than opening presents at Christmas.

Now I know what you’re saying. “Maria, you work with Apple products all the time. Didn’t you know that the Nano had all these features?”

No, I didn’t. I mean I knew about the movies and heard about the built-in video camera. But the tilt thing and games and pedometer and radio were all quite a shock.

Maybe you’re saying, “Maria, how could you spend nearly $200 and not know what you’re getting?”

Well, I thought that what I thought I was getting was worth $200. The Nano comes in a really sleek little package. Weighs next to nothing. Incredible quality video for such a tiny screen. I was satisfied.

Now I’m beyond that.

Do all MP3 players have this many bells and whistles? What have I been missing?

As you might imagine, I’m very happy with my new purchase. The only adjustment I’ll need is limiting the data I put on it to less than 16 GB. My old iPod has a 30 GB hard disk in it; this is quite a step down.

But I’ll deal with it.

Feels So Good

Chuck Mangione comes to Wickenburg.

Last night, I had the privilege and pleasure to sit second row center at a Chuck Mangione concert. In Wickenburg.

Say what you will about Wickenburg’s lack of nearly everything — as I [too] often do — but it has two extraordinary things that make life here a bit more interesting. One of them is the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts. And each year, the folks who manage the Webb Center do a damn good job at lining up entertainers to inject a little culture into this otherwise cultural black hole.

The annual lineup is always a mix of entertainers. There’s country music, jazz, dance, spoken word, and more. While most acts will appeal to adults — after all, more than half of Wickenburg’s winter population is over 55 — there are usually a handful appropriate for families. That’s great (if local families take the kids out) because it exposes them to quality entertainment with a higher cultural value than what they’re probably watching on television. What’s great about the Webb Center is that while adult ticket prices are in the $30 to $45 range, kids tickets are usually just $5.

Product ImageMike and I normally attend one or two performances at the Webb Center each season. In November, we saw “A Charlie Brown Christmas with the David Benoit Quartet.” Mr. Benoit and his companions played a combination of their own music, as well as classic Peanuts music by Vince Guaraldi. It was a great show and perfect for the upcoming Christmas season.

Last night’s performance by Chuck Mangione and his five-piece band was, by far, the most enjoyable performance I’ve attended at the Webb Center. The music was full of energy — my foot was tapping from the very first note to the last. Each member of the ensemble took turns entertaining us with solos while they played Mangione favorites like Bellavia, Main Squeeze, and Chase the Clouds Away, Children of Sanchez. They played for 90 minutes without interruption, left the stage, and returned to a standing ovation to play the classic jazz hit, Feels So Good. Mr. Mangione quipped that the song had put both his daughters through college.

Chuck Mangione Autographed CDAfter the show, most people left quickly, as they usually do at the Webb Center. But those of us who remained behind got the opportunity to meet Mr. Mangione in person. There was quite a crowd for him, which was great to see. I was one of the last to step up. I’d bought a CD at the end of the show (as I usually do) and Mr. Mangione autographed it for me while I thanked him for coming to Wickenburg.

Last night’s concert was sold out, which is always great to see. There were people in the audience who had come from as far away as Connecticut and Tennessee just to see the show. It’s somewhat embarrassing when “big name” musicians like David Benoit or R. Carlos Nakai and William Eaton (who came last year) come to Wickenburg and play to a half- or three-quarters-full house. After all, the Webb Center only has 600 seats — you’d think we’d be able to get 600 people to come to a live performance that didn’t require a lengthy drive down to Phoenix or Scottsdale. Unfortunately, not everyone in Wickenburg understands or appreciates the value of this great cultural facility. For those of us who do, it’s a special treat.

And in case you’re wondering what the extraordinary thing in Wickenburg is, it’s the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Don’t let its appearance from the street fool you — it’s bigger and better than it looks. Next time you’re in Wickenburg, see for yourself.

Top Names in Wickenburg

At the Dell Webb Center for the Performing Arts.

I bitch a lot about Wickenburg, and that’s normally all my critics see on this site. So this will be a secret from them, one I’m happy to share with local readers.

ImageThe Del Webb Center for the Performing Arts, located at Wickenburg High School on South Vulture Mine Road, has yet another season full of top-name artists. This relatively small venue is a great place to see a concert or dance performance or comedy. Best of all, it’s right here in Wickenburg.

I just bought tickets for two performances: David Benoit: A Charlie Brown Christmas and Chuck Mangione. We’re sitting fourth row center for one show and second row center for the other. I bought four tickets to each show, so my husband and I can take another couple as our guests. Since the shows are on Friday nights, I’m hoping to have a pre-show dinner at the March Hare both nights.

While it’s always wonderful to treat yourself to a show, it’s even better when the venue is less than a mile from your house. The Webb Center is one of the best things we have in Wickenburg. And it’s a pleasure to support it.