Saturday, May 31, 2014

Song of the Day - Everything - Katy B

I first introduced British dance artist Katy B a few weeks back with her awesome track Aaliyah, which I'd first discovered via Shazam.  Since then I've downloaded her recently released sophomore, Little Red, and it is full of the same type of smooth, head thumping, toe-tapping stuff, including this one.  Everything has easily become my favorite track on the album, and I love, love, love the chorus.  Check it out...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Flashback Friday Song of the Day - Holiday - Madonna...Because It's the Cup!

Because it's the Cup!

Today is a wonderful day for many people here in the New York metropolitan area, and for me, as last night the New York Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years by shutting out, and completely shutting down, the much-maligned Montreal Canadiens, 1-0.

Whereas in 1994, the team was a powerhouse throughout the entire season and went into the playoffs as a favorite, this year's team seemingly came out of nowhere, playing the first couple of the months of the season at below 500 and slowly gaining strength as they went along. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was even ready to cancel my subscription to NBC Sports because I thought they'd been finished, down to the hated Pittsburgh Penguins 3 games to 1, but they remarkably went on to win five straight games, eliminating the Pens and winning the first 2 games in this series against the Habs.
So now, New York celebrates, but just for a few days.  Their opponent in the Finals has not been determined yet.  The Western Conference has yet to be decided, with the LA Kings leading the Chicago Blackhawks 3 games to 2, with their game 6 to be played this evening.  People in the hockey world have been saying that the two teams out west are the two best teams out there, and that either Eastern Conference team would have a mountain to climb to beat them.  (Both LA and Chicago are the two most recent Stanley Cup winners.)  Well, in 94 the Rangers beat a 500 team for the championship in a very tough -game series, so we all know that in the playoffs, anything can happen.

This Rangers team is not a team full of marquee names like the one in 94, but they are a very good team. Behind their stellar netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who so deserves to win the Cup, bigger name players like Marty St. Louis, Brad Richards and Steve Nash are surrounded by a very focused, speedy and talented bunch of hockey players.  This group embodies the word "team," and players like Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Marc Staal, Ryan McDonough, Carl Hagelin, Dominic Moore (who scored the game's only goal last night) and others all do their part to make this team as good as it is.

So, here's to four more wins to an even bigger celebration for my favorite of all teams, the NY Rangers.  It's definitely a time to celebrate!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Song of the Day - Chandelier - Sia

Just about two weeks ago I posted a Sia song after I'd heard it at a restaurant.  It was the first time in awhile I'd posted this gifted Australian singer, songwriter and producer, and little did I know that she was about to release a brand new tune.  Check out Chandelier, not really a song I loved at first listen, but this gal is gifted enough for me to let it sink in a few times and then I'm sure I'm going to love it.  Great lyrics, great vocals!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Song of the Day - Uptight Downtown - La Roux

Who remembers La Roux?  Well, yeah, they had an awesome song a couple of years ago with the 80's throwback, Bulletproof.  Well, the former duo, current one person band (?) is back with a 70's sounding throwback that's pretty darned good. Check it out...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Song of the Day - Addicted to You - Avicii

I don't know just how it happened
I let down my guard
Swore I'd never fall in love again
But I fell hard


Here's a great, great song from Avicii's True set.  American folk-rock singer Audra Mae provides the vocals for the song, and her voice reminds me of an American Dusty Springfield, if that makes any sense.  Anyway, check out this country western flavored dance tune and start your Tuesday off right...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Sunday at Fire Island: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Yesterday was Memorial Day Sunday, and the weather for the unofficial beginning of summer was perfect. Though our pal Rich wasn't coming with us, Blanche and I went through with our annual tradition and hit Cherry Grove just the two of us.  Of course, there'd be people there that we'd...I'd know....the guys from bowling, Manny and Oz, my miss-the-ferry-twice pals Michael and Christian, and many more.  It was just the remedy I needed for the crappy weekend I'd been having.

As usual, I saw a lot of old friends and bonded with my regular buds.  Blanche and I really enjoyed each other's company for the first time in a long time, just the two of us.  I got to dance, and just spend time with friends.  It was nice!

Today was just as beautiful as yesterday, and I was holed up at home for most of it, because of school work I had to catch up on.  That was okay, though, because yesterday I was reminded that I have a pretty good life, and I've got plenty of friends who when they see me they smile.  Who could want more from life that?

So I go into a new week happy...hopefully work won't stress me out and bring me down again.  At least there's only a few weeks left!  Oh, and the Rangers won against Montreal last night in OT to go up 3-1 in the series.  Just one win away from the Cup Finals.....



Song of the Day - I'm Gonna Get You - Bizarre, Inc., featuring Angie Brown

Yo deejay, pump this party!

Here's a feel-good throwback to 1992.  It's really too bad today's disc jockey seem to have forgotten this song.  It's simple in construct, with very few lyrics, but the vocals and the music are both oh so fun!  Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Song of the Day - Problem - Ariana Grande, feat. Iggy Azalea

I got one less problem without ya!

We are blazing right through Memorial Day Weekend and since today is the traditional Cherry Grove day, and the weather is gawgeous, I wanted to put up something fun.  This one's my pick for summer song of the year, and it's oh so good!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving on from a Momentary Lapse

Yesterday was a bad day....a really bad day.  It really wasn't especially terrible, just the same type of day I've been having every day this school year.  I found myself without a minute to spare from the time I arrived at work until the time I left, which was almost two hours later than I should have left. It was at that time when I had my mental breakdown, when I realized that I would be adding another couple of hours to my day while the rest of my coworkers went to enjoy a happy hour to start the holiday weekend.  Anger and frustration welled up inside of me and I became stressed, my stomach wound into tight knots.

When I finally got out of school at 4:30, my stress level was ebbing.  I immediately turned to Facebook at wrote a status that read, "I seriously just want to cry."  In the minutes that followed, I wanted to go back and delete it.  Putting those types of feelings out there does nothing for yourself, and it only works to make other people see and think that maybe I'm just looking for attention, and the wrong kind, no less.  But it was too late to remove the post...people had already seen it.

Now that I've had a good night's sleep and time to think on it, I realize that through all of this, the getting angry, the meltdown, the Facebook post, and my inner thoughts afterwards, that I was just doing what Frank, the tarot card reader, told me to stop doing, and that's being a victim.

I Am Not a Victim

It's been over a month now since I had my Tarot cards read and I still believe that the circumstances in my life beginning with that reading signify my greatest change in life to date.  I haven't spoken of this before, but my reading with Frank coincided with two other life learning experiences.  For one thing, my class had just finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom.  I had read much of that novel with my students before, for another class, but had never gotten through the whole thing until now.   I'd like to talk about it some more in the future, but for the moment all I'll say about the book is that it really is a great "how-to" book on how to live life.

Here are a couple of Morrie's quotes from the work that spark some thought:

"Accept who you are and revel in it."

"Don't cling to things because everything is impermanent."

"I give myself a good cry if I need it, but then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life."

And probably the best piece of advice for me right now:

"I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day."

Finishing up Tuesdays that same week as my reading helped further some clarity on what I've been doing wrong in my life.  A third incident that occurred just a couple of days later in my classroom took that lesson one step further.  One of my students had given me a lot of trouble.  He had lied to me about leaving the classroom and I caught him.  It wasn't the first incident with this particular student, but this was a final straw that got me all worked up.  I decided to write him up for the incident.

I brought the documentation to the necessary office, but the discipline officer was out.  Only his secretary, Madeline, was there.  Madeline is someone who I've known and loved for 11 years now, and she had gone through a very serious health issue just last year and is now heading towards retirement with a new outlook on life.  She caught my frustration and stress at first glance.

"John, if there is one thing I've learned it's that worry is a wasted emotion.  It does nothing for you and nothing for the ones you're worried about.  Just let it go.  Let it go"

Ha, I thought, easier said than done, but you know what?  She was absolutely right.  Morrie says that there are times we invariably feel emotions that do nothing for us, but we must recognize them for what they are, immerse ourselves fully in the emotion, and then let it go, detach.

I told Madeline about my Tarot reading and about some of the things I'd learned from Morrie, and we had a moment.  Like a good friend, she listened with an empathetic ear and a genuine interest in the revalations I was experiencing.  She told me that I was meant to come to her office at that point in time and I believe she was right.

I Am Not a Victim

So, there you go.  The momentary lapse of composure I felt yesterday was just that, momentary.  That experience was supposed to come out of me somehow, at one point or another. I'm not proud of my actions, but neither am I going to worry about it.  What's happened has happened and I need to detach myself from it.  I am not a victim, nor do I need such negative attention brought unto myself.  I am responsible for the place I am in in my life and if I don't like it, it is I who must change.

I'm going to put this under my belt and take this as another life lesson in this latest of thematic unit in my life. As always, this is a work in progress...

Indestructible - Robyn