More (Modern) Christmas Music

The other day I posted about some of the holiday music I love hearing on the radio in Edmonton during November and December. Today I’ll share a few tunes I love that I don’t get to hear on the radio (but would be THRILLED if I did).

First up is a Christmas tune by one of my favorite bands of all time. Fountains of Wayne have pretty much perfected the art of writing catchy pop songs, and this holiday effort, “I Want an Alien for Christmas”, is no exception.

If someone was designing a Christmas song for me, this would be damn close. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy, it’s got great, tight vocal harmonies, and it’s just barely over two minutes long. Spend the two minutes and give yourself a bit of silly Christmas cheer.

Weezer has a whole Christmas EP, but the next couple tunes are from their earlier EP, The Christmas CD. First is “The Christmas Song”. No, not the one by Mel Torme. This one is quite a downer in that particularly Rivers Cuomo-style. It’s still catchy with good harmonies, so I’m a fan.

I know the picture is the cover of The Green Album–they did write this while they were doing demos for that album, but it doesn’t appear on the album itself.

The next Weezer tune is back to the upbeat pop-punky less-than-three-minutes stuff I love. It’s still a pretty cynical song lyrics-wise, which I must admit makes me like it even more. Songs that sound happy but have angry lyrics is a thing I Quite Like.

So yeah. I’m a fan of this particular “Christmas Celebration”. Even the guitars do sweet sweet harmonies.

If you want some proper punk in your Christmas, this last one is for you. It’s one of my favorite Madison bands doing an original Christmas song they wrote for the Madison music scene compilation CD, MAXMAS volume II. Please enjoy “Drunk for Christmas”–because that’s how it (often) works in Wisconsin!

Full disclosure, Tim Budziszewski (the lead singer/songwriter for Government Zero) is a very good friend of mine. But I also think his ridiculous gift for crafting catchy, pop-punk tunes means he belongs here with Rivers and Adam and Chris.

If that’s not enough Xmas punk for you, here’s another. In classic punk tradition, this one comes with a healthy dose of social commentary. I leave you with “Christmas Made in China”. (I’m afraid you’ll have to click through to that one. It’s not on YouTube, and the embedding isn’t working.)

Happy December!

…Or at least that’s what I’m striving for. At the beginning of the month, I considered pledging to do an advent calendar-style thing–a post about something happy every day. I decided to unofficially/internally aim for that, but not promise anything formally. I am very glad I didn’t promise it because I’d’ve already failed–I didn’t post anything yesterday.

The reason I didn’t is because I know myself, and I know if I’d’ve put that much pressure on, I’d’ve spent the entire month stressing about it. So instead, I’m just gonna do my best to pop something nice in here as often as I have time and brain-health to do it.

Today’s bit of happy is something my mom sent me, which made her very grumpy. It snowed in Wisconsin! This is my parents’ backyard as of this morning:

I admit to being a little homesick now. It's so beautiful!

I admit to being a little homesick now. It’s so beautiful!

We also got some proper snow last night in Edmonton (finally!) so I got to trudge through it on my way to work this morning through the -16 (but feels like -27) degree (Celsius) weather. Many people would not enjoy this (my mom, for one!), but at this time of year, it just feels right to me. I don’t know exactly when I became a winter-lover, but I’m glad it hit before I moved here to the frozen north. I’m really enjoying the season so far. (Check back with me about that in April…)

If you do want something that’s fun and advent-calendarey, I highly recommend Radio Free Skaro‘s Advent Calendar of Fluid Links. They answer one listener-submitted Doctor Who question every day. There are sleigh bells and it is delightful.

You may have noticed I’m posting more short posts rather than fewer longer ones. Giving myself permission to keep things short and fun has made me feel freer and better about writing. I’m hoping the flavor of this blog will change over the next few months so I can make it more accurately reflect me as a person (and keep me writing more often). Not that anything I’ve posted so far is a misrepresentation of who I am, but I’m not a person who only thinks deeply and carefully about things. Sometimes I just like to have fun. I think my Twitter feed illustrates that nicely, but sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough.

I make no promises, but I’ll be doing my best to post about (mostly) happy things throughout December–little posts for the most part, working my way up to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when I’m going to try to pump out several of the patron-inspired posts people have been waiting (so patiently!) on for so long.

So happy December everyone! (Even you, Mom. Embrace the snow!)

Cheering Sounds of My Season

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled Chicago TARDIS reminiscence for a quick note about Christmas music. Steven and I always look forward to the holiday season because it’s the one time of year when Edmonton radio doesn’t play all the same old crap over and over. It plays entirely different crap over and over for a couple months. The important difference is, I quite like a lot of the Christmas crap.

If you want to hear a buncha people go in-depth about Christmas music (and nearly drive two people—myself included—completely mad), I can’t recommend this episode of The Incomparable enough. (Or if you like torturing yourself with unedited episodes, the full-length train-wreck that was that recording is also available in its full glory here.)

On the way home from dropping Steven off at a potential new part-time gig tonight (yay!), I heard one of the more annoying, but to me, beloved, tunes…

I know a lot of people who hate this, but it makes me happy every time. And hey, the chorus is easy to learn!

Our current favorite is this gem from Andy Williams. It’s the one song that for Steven and I really says “It’s Christmas!” They started playing Xmas music really early here, and with no snow on the ground and only-just-freezing temps, it didn’t feel like Christmas yet, so we hadn’t dipped into the holiday stations (yes, plural) yet. But when we arrived back up north after visiting Chicago, we got into the car in the parking lot of the airport and turned on the radio. There was frost on the car, and this was playing. We cranked it up, and the holiday season officially began!

The other song that we immediately crank up the volume for is this version of “Sleigh Ride”. We do chair dancing in the car and everything. Though we’re not allowed to play it around my brother-in-(everything-but-)law because he spent years working in a shopping mall, and this song makes his sanity leak out his ears within seconds. Not sure why this is the tune that puts him over the top but it really REALLY is.

The “Last Christmas” song I’ll share tonight is one that’s my personal fave. Steven likes it fine, but it doesn’t capture his heart the way it does mine.

I’m trying to focus on positivity this December, so I’ll probably share a few more of the songs we regularly hear that bring me great joy as December rolls along. Feel free to disagree with me (nicely!) in the comments. Or tell me what you’d put on your list!

Continuing Fun from Chicago TARDIS

I had a lovely time at this year’s Chicago TARDIS. This is the fourth in a series of posts detailing why!

Sunday was a jam-packed full day. After the Verity! live show, the next excitement was seeing Steven on stage yet again. He interviewed a panel of five companions: Lisa Greenwood (Flip from Big Finish), Louise Jameson (Leela), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Deborah Watling (Victoria), and Anneke Wills.

Steven and the ladies!

Steven and the ladies!

It was fun to see Steven juggle a large panel, as that take very different skills from simply interviewing one or two people. He did fabulously well as always! And afterwards, he mentioned to Louise Jameson that his sister-in-law (my sister Amber) is a huge Leela fan. Louise immediately asked to meet her! (She really is that nice a person!) So we scrambled via text message to track down Amber so Steven could take her to meet “Leela”.

Here's the proof!

Here’s the proof!

Amber was positively giddy after this happened. I only wish I could have seen it, but I had to dash off to my next panel, Clarity for Clara. I was pretty nervous about this one because I’ve done a couple of other Clara panels at Chicago TARDIS, and without fail, they’d been the worst of whichever year they happened in. In part, that was due to rampant mansplaining and poor panel etiquette, but also because the people on those panels generally didn’t like Clara much (or AT ALL), so I found myself the lone voice of dissenting Clara-love.

Thank heavens this year was different! The panel had no haters. Only one person was moderately lukewarm on a part of Clara’s history (and Quite Liked the rest), so it was a wide-ranging and interesting discussion with no man- or fansplaining to be seen.

Perhaps the lack of mansplaining was due to the lack of men?

Perhaps the lack of mansplaining was due to the lack of men?

Also, dig Nichole Corrigan’s sweet Polly cosplay. She does a Doctor Who podcast called Two girls, a guy, and a TARDIS!

A couple more events happened after this, and I will tell of them soon!

Even *More* Chicago TARDIS Fun!

Lookit me! Continuing to post content like a content-posting thing! Not sure whether I’m motivated by true improvement or just a desire to re-live a lovely weekend with friends. Either way, I’ll take it.

I should start by declaring that the order I post these events in is not necessarily the order in which they happened. I realized my last post was totally out of order. The “Trial of a Time Lord” panel happened immediately before the Michelle Gomez interview. Not after it. Whatevs. This is a perfect example of what being at a convention does to your brain. Keeping on track and on schedule is tough when I’m out of my routine! Thank heavens for the Sched app, or I’d’ve been lost several times!

Anyway, I’m moderately sure that the next fun thing I did was watching Steven do another main-stage interview: The Warrior and the Tin Dog.

I adore this Lewis Achenbach drawing of Steven, Louise, and John!

I adore this Lewis Achenbach drawing of Steven, Louise, and John!

Louise Jameson and John Leeson were yet another highlight of the weekend. They were charming and enthusiastic and got along with each other (and Steven) beautifully. Again, Steven asked behind-the-scenes questions—some of them quite specific! How many other interviewers ask Doctor Who actors what they remember of director Pennant Roberts? Probably not a whole lot. But it led to some fascinating anecdotes. I suspect that interview will be on Radio Free Skaro sooner or later, so keep an eye out for that!

After that, I scampered over to my next panel, The Fighting Companions, where we had a wide-ranging chat about companions. We talked about those who were already soldiers/fighters when they entered the TARDIS and those who were tougher (or not) when they left. The central question was whether Davros was right when he said the Doctor turns his companions into weapons. Fascinating discussion!

I am clearly making a serious, cogent argument. That automatically happens when you gesticulate, right?

I am clearly making a serious, cogent argument. That automatically happens when you gesticulate, right? Whatever I’m saying, I don’t think Robert Smith? is buying it. Kathy Sullivan seems to be on board though.

I already mentioned the oodles of fun Lynne and I had anchoring our live Verity! In Defense Of panel on the main stage (which was my next fun panel-type-thing). Here’s another drawing from Lewis Achenbach, capturing Lynne and I on the main stage during the show. I love how he nails Lynne’s smile.

We are two sassy ladies, and Lewis captures that nicely!

We are two sassy ladies, and Lewis captures that nicely!

And here’s a pic of the visual maestro in action!

Here is Lewis getting started on a drawing of yours-truly!

Lewis is just getting started on a drawing of yours-truly!

And that about brings me to the end of today’s lunch break. Let’s see if I can keep up this streak and share more fun tomorrow!

Photo credits:
Drawings – Lewis Achenbach
My panel – Steven Schapansky
Lewis in action – Chicago TARDIS. You can find this and other great pics on their Facebook page.

More Chicago TARDIS Goodness!

I am trying to get better at writing about things and events in a more timely manner, so here’s another quick lunchtime post about my fab Chicago TARDIS weekend! This is clearly a place I could use improvement because I STILL haven’t finished writing about our trip to London, which has now been over a year ago!

The first excitement of the weekend was watching Steven interview Michelle Gomez (Missy) on the main stage. I love watching him do interviews because he makes the guests feel so at-ease. It’s more like watching two people have a conversation than a formal interview. And he asks a lot of questions about the technical side of things, like direction and production details. That’s the kind of thing I find most interesting.

They look so relaxed.

They look so relaxed.

If you want to hear the interview, you’re in luck! It’s on this week’s episode of Radio Free Skaro!

The next event I attended was another Steven-centric one. He did a panel about “Trial of a Time Lord”. Continue reading

3 New Favorite Things

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This past weekend I headed to the States for Chicago TARDIS, which was (as always) a lot of fun! Above, you see one of my new favorite things–a drawing of me on stage during the Verity! live show. The amazing Lewis Achenbach was stationed at the front of the main stage, and he drew lots of the goings-on. And yes! We were on the main stage for our live show!

Lynne and I are playing Game Show Hosts!

Lynne and I, playing Game Show Hosts!

While the recording didn’t turn out, we had a wonderful time making audience members defend some of the most-maligned aspects of Doctor Who. They stepped up in a fabulous way. Steve was the final winner, but I give very-honourable-mentions to Matt and Dora, who both had spectacular runs and made me laugh so hard I was literally crying.

And here is my other new favorite thing:

My Hugo Award!

Yes! That’s my name on a Hugo Award!

We played the throne room theme from Star Wars as Lynne presented Steven and I with our Hugos for Best Semiprozine for Uncanny Magazine! It was more intense than it looks.

I cried.

I cried.

I am still in shock about this. Winning was amazing, but it was a thing that didn’t feel real– Continue reading