Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Music Revives the Soul

Once or twice a year I like to encourage others to join me, if not in my fanaticism, at least in my appreciation of a musical artist.

Allow me to introduce the lovely Missy Higgins.

Perhaps I should start with a little bit of back story. Five years ago, I had a friend hand me Missy's second album On a Clear Night. There were one or two Sarah McLachlan-esque type arrangements therein, and I appreciated it on a pop, superficial level. Nevertheless, soon she fell off of my radar.

("Where I Stood," from On a Clear Night had my attention for a little while)

It wasn't until a month ago, when I bought an album by Katie Herzig (a folk pop artist favorite of mine), that I discovered Katie had recently co-written a song with Missy Higgins. I thought, "I remember that name," so I felt compelled to check out Missy's newest album.

("Tricks," by Katie Herzig and Missy Higgins)

Missy's third album, "The Ol' Razzle Dazzle" is a far cry from the minimally produced, folksy, sometimes angst-driven, pop songs found in her first two. Evidence from this latest effort suggests she dug a little deeper for her inspiration.

Missy suffered from writers block after the international success of her first and second album. At one point, Missy admitted she had seriously believed she would never write another. During her "Block," she decided to explore other parts of herself. She visited India, went to university, and basically resigned herself to a life without music.

Thankfully, in 2010, even though she had strictly prohibited her manager from taking gigs, a call from Sarah McLachlan (ironic, I know) to play a Lilith Fair revival lulled her out of semi-retirement. She went on to play Lilith, and there she met Butterfly Boucher, fellow Aussie and Mclachlan's bass player. Missy and Butterfly formed a strong friendship, and eventually it was decided Butterfly would produce Missy's new album.

She's now up for three ARIAs (Australian Grammys) next week. I've got my fingers crossed that she'll come away with one or two to add to her already impressive collection of 7.

Below are some making of videos. I hope you take some time to browse.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Job Satisfaction

We’re closing in on the second year of my depression, and, sadly, I’ve not spent a lot of time pouring into this blog (I tend to be pretty useless when depressed; it’s been like bleeding a creative stone).

In any case, because of this, I never mentioned I quit my job as a secretary and have been working as an industrial light technician/parking maintenance flunky for the last ten months.

A lot of people have asked me how I’ve handled the transition from working in an office (which I HATED) to working outside all day.

Well, let me tell y’all.

At the beginning of last week, my boss told me to go down into one of our garages to clean up some standing water. He said it would be best to take my assistant, a power washer, and a push-squeegee to clean it up. After one very messy spray of water toward the drain, we realized we weren’t pushing standing water at all; we had just power sprayed sewage all over some very fancy-schmancy cars. It took us another four hours before we could safely say we had cleaned up the poop.

This assignment was not my favorite.

Nevertheless, at the end of last week, my boss told me he had another assignment: get rid of 100 cans of paint. Apparently, it’s illegal to toss that many buckets of paint down the drain or chuck them into a dumpster.

We found a loophole, though. You can legally pour it out, let it dry, and toss it afterwards.

Who knew?

So my stooge and I took enough plastic drop cloths to comfortably cover 15 yards of a football field, went to one of our vacated and decrepit properties, and dropped every last bucket of paint we had onto it.

Here are some of the results.

(My favorite color mix)

(My favorite composition)

So what is the moral of this story?

I’d rather clean up real crap than proverbial if it means they’ll pay me $15.50 an hour, for an entire day, to make modern art/finger paint.