Monthly Archives: January 2014

Monday Morning Music – Royals

Are you sick of this song already? I hope not. I actually haven’t listened to it in a while, but gave it a whirl today in honor of Lorde’s Grammy win for Song of the Year. At least the Grammy voters got this right because, in my humble opinion, this was the sound of 2013: knowing, sly, different, with a cool club beat and hip hop sensibility. Yet it’s the high school choir harmonies that strike the strongest cord (chord?). Ringing out a hosanna of girl power. Congrats Queen Bee!

This is the original music video, directed by Joel Kefali. If you want to see more of Lorde singing on cam, you need to watch the US version.


Contains One Teenager – Xanax Not Included

Available for every room in the house!

Available for every room in the house!

One day last month, EO awoke with horns and fangs. She growled at her little sister, rolled over in bed and went back to sleep. Then, at about midday, she burrowed through her bedroom wall in to the bathroom and built a nest there out of cotton pads, PE kit, mild astringent, and OPI nail polish. She opens the door only to ask for mochaccinos, Kindle credit and some privacy please! She might reappear on Groundhog Day.

Yes, you are correct. We now have a teenager.

As I’m learning, having a teen in the family is exactly like that feeling you get after a Law & Order SVU marathon. Complete and utter paranoia coupled with bouts of groundless terror and a certain free-floating anxiety that takes the form of thoughts like: Holy crap, has she chosen the right GCSE electives?

And then, oh joy, you start hearing from friends about how kids in Hong Kong get fake IDs. Fake IDs are still a thing, people! And you picture the unsettling scenario of 14-year-old boys (5’10” and shaving) buying beer from the sweet, local 7-11 clerks, who are too shy to even ask for ID, let alone a fake one. Another friend – a well meaning empty-nester who survived three teens – suggested we establish the nightlife no-go areas now, because “it’s never too early to have that conversation”. In Hong Kong, that would be Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai, Stanley waterfront, Lamma house parties, the DB plaza and pretty much anywhere near boys, a 7-11 or Circle K, or boys who are at, inside, outside or even thinking about a 7-11.

It’s enough to make you curl up in a ball and hibernate until she goes off to college. So what can a parent do? You can’t hire Detective Benson as the Nanny. She’s busy. She’s also fictional. And, as far I know, there’s no App that can serve as your child’s personal behavior minesweeper – two clicks left, small explosive device in the form of that brazen kid whose parents are always out of town. Don’t post it, don’t text it. Retreat, retreat!

What you can do is take a deep breath, and maybe a stiff drink, and hug your new teen. Because as much as they might not show it – being perpetually grumpy and all – they still need hugs, lots and lots of them. Unconditional hugs. Patient hugs. Yes-Mom’s-freaking-out-but-she’s-not-going-to-show-it hugs.

And if it makes you feel better, you can also take delight in the new opportunities open to you now. To wit:

1. Being late will never be your fault again. Just as the family dog gets blamed for any suspicious smells, your teen can take the fall for group delays and tardiness. A simple roll of your eyes once you reach your destination and voila – she took forever in the bathroom.

2. Owing to your child’s recent growth spurt, your shoe wardrobe has just doubled. But don’t overreach here and think you can share jeggings too. That’s just Amy Poehler in Mean Girls. I mean, embarrassing.

3. Best of all: you can now (finally!) go to bed before your child.


2013: The Year in Random Thoughts & Obsessions

Hi everyone & Happy New Year! I just got back from the Christmas holidays where I tried (mostly in vain) to stay offline as much as possible.

Newborn elephant seal at sunset. Did you know the seagull will eat the mom's remaining placenta? Nature, nothing wasted.

Newborn elephant seal at sunset. Did you know seagulls will eat mama seal’s placenta? Nature, nothing wasted.

Damn all those vacation rentals and their easy Wi-fi 🙂 But it was good to get away – we drove down the California coast, saw some nature and lots of seals, sea lions, otters and stars, absolutely amazing stars at night.

And even though I’d made a California playlist for the drive, we ended up listening to the radio most of the time. Which pretty much meant classic rock and modern pop. So my kids now know who CCR is, and I know that Avicii is like, one guy from Sweden. We also watched the New Year’s Eve countdown shows, in which Miley Cyrus threw down the entertainment gauntlet by fondling a female dwarf in gold lame. Let’s see Lady Gaga top that!

So herewith is my second installment of the Year in Review, in no particular order, heavy on strong female voices. Hoorah!

Tessanne Chin’s version of ‘I Have Nothing’ on The Voice reaffirmed my belief in the power of a pop song. Whitney would be proud. Tessanne, you are golden.

Bieber & his moustache. You can do it, sweetheart – Movember is only ten months away!

Timberlake sings that he wants a girl to be “my mirror, my mirror staring back at me”. I say, “I’ve got no time for a raging narcissist, JT. I’m moving on.”

Critics’ Darling that’s actually kinda boring: Vampire Weekend.

Criminally Underappreciated: Neko Case.

Unexpectedly awesome in concert: Belle & Sebastian, Dirty Projectors.

Robin Thicke is that Dad with the hands that you had to watch out for when you were a babysitter.

What do Kanye West and Woody Allen have in common? They’ve both lost touch with the real world.

If you want to hear something cool, check out Lo-Fang’s single, ‘#88’. Debut album out soon.

Atoms for Peace is Pepsi to Radiohead’s Coke. You drink it anyway, but only because they’re out of Coke.

Pharrell Williams’ sweet, disarming face totally hides his pervy nature.

Whoever chose the Eddie Vedder/Pearl Jam songs for the TV show Castle is the MOST AWESOME PERSON EVER.

The best singer-songwriters today aren’t American or even Canadian. They’re Brits: Laura Marling and Jake Bugg.

One of my favorite things about 2013 was listening to Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies.

Super duo: Edie Brickell & Steve Martin.

There was more fresh, original music coming out of country and alt-country than the alternative/rock scene. Discuss.

Eminem is now 40. Can an angry rapper age gracefully? This could be interesting.

All hail the return of the king – David Bowie – and the art of the music video:

One day I’m going to listen to that Arcade Fire double album all the way through. But probably not ’til EO goes off to college.

The sad thing about Miley Cyrus is that she made us forget what a great voice she has.

New NCIS-LL Cool J crossover hit: ‘Grandmama Said Knock You Out’.

I know I’m supposed to say Breaking Bad, but what I really like are Arsenal games and Castle.

Still the coolest person in the room: Aimee Mann on Twitter.

The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street. Please can we stop with the all-soundtrack ADHD movie? It smacks of artistic desperation and well, laziness.

Embrace the cliché: 2013 was the Year of our Lorde. That is all.

Wait. Yet. It’s still Beyonce’s world. We’re just living in it. #texasproud