Quite Contrary Pop Culture

Here's what's going on around here.

December 2016

#AmListening:

It's been all about the Christmas music around here. Plus a few podcasts. Mostly, I've been listening to snippets of the songs that my 12yo daughter is wanting to download. Luckily, it's been stuff like Blur and AC/DC and the Beastie Boys. I'm calling that a parenting win.

#AmWatching:

Thank you once again, Netflix, for bringing the awesome. We've been family bingeing on The Office and I love those early shows. I'm so shipping Jim & Pam. I hope they get together (yes, I know they do). When the kids go to bed or are outside playing in the freakish today it's cold/tomorrow it's warm weather, we've been watching Narcos, which is another sort of brilliant. At first I bristled because subtitles and that means I can't multitask when I watch, but now I'm all in and can't imagine it any other way. Seriously good show that's supposedly not based on anyone in real life but is also all about Pablo Escobar and the war on drugs, so there is that.

 #AmReading:

This is a good news/bad news situation because I've been working which means reading manuscripts and which also means that I don't have time to read for pleasure.

I guess I should call this one my "Will Be Reading" list because I'm not quire there yet. Those end of year best books lists are a budget breaker for me.

So my TBR pile is way high (thanks, presents!) and will be thrilling me soon. Yes, the books I was reading in November are still there. No, I don't care if you judge me.


November 2016

#AmListening:


Going old school with Alice in Chains—seriously, I think Dirt is the epitome of grunge music. I dug up the CD after a song came up on shuffle and made me want more. I would easily call this one of the best albums of the 90s.

There's lots of new music I'm loving right now, including Deap Vally, a feminist duo that kicks so much ass. I first heard of them on one of the Music Choice channels on cable—Sirius let me down in the punk category but Music Choice has my back. Femijism was released this past September and it’s worth the listen.

And can we talk about the Hamilton Mix Tape? Because it’s available for pre-sale and Lin Manuel Miranda, awesome as he is, is releasing tracks here and there to keep us addicted. I’ve heard 4 of the tracks so far and while, yes, I do prefer the original, the remakes are sweet.

Finally, I’ve long held the belief that there is a very fine line between bluegrass, punk and hip hop. Beyonce and the Dixie Chicks prove that with their Daddy Lessons performance from the CMAs, a studio version of which was made available for download following the performance. So much awesome.



#AmWatching:

Thank you, Netflix, for The Crown—a peek into the early years of Queen Elizabeth and her ascension to power with Winston Churchill (played to perfection by John Lithgow) advising and sometimes throwing roadblocks out for her. Binge worthy.

The whole family is sitting down every Tuesday night for This is Us on NBC—the first network show I’ve made time for. It’s smart and funny and each of the characters has a facet I can relate to, though I think I’m most like Randall, who has the tendency to say what he’s thinking (usually a sarcastic comment). It’s sweet without being treacly, great balance of comedy and drama.

 #AmReading:

Continuing with the music memoir theme of last month, I picked up a copy of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run, which I’ve barely scraped the surface of.

Also on my TBR pile is Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holes, which, for the record, I picked up before the election results.

Want to get your book or music or movie or show on my #QuiteContraryPopCulture list?
Shoot me an e-mail.

 

October 2016

#AmListening:

I mean, it's October which means it's ROCKtober, which means that I'm digging deep in my catalog for music.

I've added new music—most notably, Against Me!, Green Day and Deap Vally (whose name I keep autocorrecting in my head), with preorders of Sleigh Bells (due 11-11) and Highly Suspect (due 11-18).

It's a good time for rock or punk or alternative or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I just know that I'm able to find heavy drums and hard-charging guitars and growly singing and smart lyrics and I don't have to look too hard to do it—which makes me happy.

 

#AmWatching:

There was a point earlier this month when all things pointed to Breaking Bad. So I listened to the universe and started bingeing the show (because I have nothing better to do? No. Because I like distractions), and I'm kind of torn about it because there are a million things I'm noticing about the show that I didn't notice before.
As for television shows, it's all about This is Us on NBC every Tuesday night followed by heated discussion and much pulling at the strings of story lines with other like-minded individuals and the newest season of American Horror Story, which is set up like a reality television show and I'm watching in real time—unlike how I usually watch it, when the season is over. The show is episodically scary, but if I binge it it never seems as scary. This new season is a doozie.

 

#AmReading

Currently working on editing a few fiction manuscripts, so that means it's time to get all my nonfiction reading on.

In honor of ROCKtober, I'm reading Chrissie Hynde's memoir—I've never been a big fan of the Pretenders, but I'm so down with a hard-core, badass woman making her way in the world.

Also reading Real Food Fake Food which has been highly recommended all around. I started reading a sample of this and could not put it down—an unanticipated reaction to a book about the source of foods we all love.

Want to get your book or music or movie or show on my #QuiteContraryPopCulture list?
Shoot me an e-mail.

 

September 2016

#AmListening:

Seriously? Of course. Because how can you not be listening to this right now? I've shared it with my kids and my daughter has kept it on repeat since I left it in her bedroom.

When I see Lin Manuel Miranda's story I almost cry. What a truly American success story. I cannot wait until it airs on PBS in the fall since I know I probably won't have a chance to see it before then.

I'm literally waking up every morning singing songs from this album. It would drive me crazy if it wasn't so awesome.

A few months ago, a friend recommended The Interrupters to me because of my love for the band Rancid. This one came out last month and I just downloaded it so I am just starting to listen. If you like punk like I like punk, you should check this out.








#AmWatching:

I binge watch TV shows like other people binge eat potato chips. Or like I binge eat potato chips. Whatever. This summer is all about the scary things, apparently. What have I been loving?

Stranger Things on Netflix. You've heard of this or you live under a rock. This was the phenomenon of the summer and it lives up to the hype. My only complaint is that everything looks grimy. I think that's pretty accurate to the time, but still.

American Horror Story (all the seasons). I had been watching season five slowly to stretch it out before season 6 but then I saw the trailer for the new season and now I'm compelled to binge watch all the seasons because if you believe the hype, this is the one that ties it all together—and also seems to ping some of the biggest horror movies and tropes of modern times. And I'm giddy.

Ghostbusters! Have you seen this movie? It's awesome. One of the best movies I've seen in a while. You should check it out.

#AmReading:

I like to have a non-fiction book going at all times. This is the one that's currently on my nightstand. It's a dense read, so I'm going s-l-o-w-l-y. I picked it up in the airport during a recent trip but I will admit that I'm having a hard time getting invested in it.

I'm a fan of Klosterman, though I usually at one point or another throw his books across the room—which is why I don't buy these on Kindle or iBooks.

I'll keep going.



My current non-fiction read is taking me a long time to get into only because it's come so highly recommended and I don't want to rush it. I picked it up back in May and thought Wow that's a big book and Damn it looks rather literary. So it languished on my shelf, patiently.

Then, after a summer where all my brain cells had been scrambled for other purposes, I picked it up and dove in. And I'm reluctant to come up for air because I just want to spend all my time reading it.




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