Way Too Many Thoughts About Damien Rice

Damien Rice

ATTENTION: This is a music post that is not about Matt Nathanson! Shocking, I KNOW.

No, today I write about another singer/songwriter who takes up a giant chunk of my heart: Damien Rice. I (along with everyone else, it seems) have been a fan of Damien’s for going on 10 years now. I never dove into his music like I did with Howie Day or Matt Nathanson, but he was always there… in the back of my heart and my mind… singing ‘Delicate’ and ‘Amie’ and ‘Elephant’ and ‘Volcano’ and so on and so on and so on.

With so much time passed since his last album (9 was released in 2006), my love for him settled into that comfortable, bittersweet love you get for things you loved that are gone. Clearly Canadian, Vienetta, Shinylicious lip gloss, and Damien Rice.

Around the first week of September, Damien Rice suddenly released a new track. I’m sure this wasn’t sudden to some people, but it certainly was to me. I was immediately obsessed.

Obsession became jubilation when he announced tour dates. Obsession to jubilation to frustration when I saw that he had booked ONE tour stop not on a coast.

The Chicago show became my new obsession. I thought about it constantly and enlisted Kelly and a music-loving co-worker to help me get tickets.

I should probably back up a bit here and explain that I… well, I’m a spoiled brat. Hello, only child/oldest grandchild. I get what I want 99.95% of the time and that percentage is generously low. So when tickets went on sale, I was nervous but deep down I assumed I would get them because, duh, I get stuff. I was (overly) devastated when I did not get tickets. When tickets went on sale to the general public (2 days after my birthday, OF COURSE I would get them this time!) and I didn’t get those, either… well, let’s not go into how I behaved.

In addition to throwing that big fat crybaby hissy fit, I adopted a kitten that night. Mostly (the kitten) filled my heart and my days and my bed (she’s a total bed hog), but she couldn’t fill the void left by not getting Damien Rice tickets.

It was like suddenly Damien Rice was all I could think about, but listening to his music just HURT. I wasn’t used to NOT getting what I wanted, and it physically hurt. I have a wonderful life full of wonderful people and wonderful pets and a wonderful job with wonderful co-workers but all I could think was that I DID NOT have Damien Rice tickets. (What a brat, right?)

Fast forward to Monday when I listened to a radio show interview Damien had done with BBC Radio and Damien announced a 2015 tour. I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought (still wounded from my last ticket attempts, ugh) until Tuesday morning (4amish because I don’t sleep), when I got the email with my pre-sale code. My pre-sale code for the pre-sale. My pre-sale code for the pre-sale that started LITERALLY 33 hours after the email was sent. You know, the appropriate amount of notice to come up with $200 for concert tickets.

Thankfully, my mom is the f’ing coolest and she told me she hadn’t bought my Christmas present yet so if (if if if if if) I could get tickets, she’d get them for me as the best Christmas present EVER.

I’ll spare you the ridiculousness of the pre-sale and suffice it to say that I GOT THE FREAKING TICKETS! Indianapolis went on sale first so I’m seeing Damien Rice in Indy! (On a Monday, but that’s fine.)

It feels completely surreal and I’m more in love with his music now than ever. I’ve already looked up past concert reviews and set lists, in case you were wondering how crazed I am. I’m hoping the excitement plateaus at some point. If not, I’ll absolutely have a Damien Rice lyric tattoo and/or an ulcer by April.

I leave you with this, in case you are reading this and not familiar with Damien Rice. Please, please, please get familiar.

Rated P for Pee

I have a few questions before I get rolling with the [TMI] story of my most recent doctor’s visit.

1) Have you ever had to give a urine sample?
2) Are you female?
3) Are you plus sized?

If you answered yes to the first two questions but not the third, then you know what a hassle urine samples can be. If you answered yes to all three questions then let’s be real, plus sized ladies: it’s quite a simple task to do what needs to be done in the bathroom on a daily basis. However, throwing in a curve ball like having to hold a plastic cup in just the right spot to catch your wee is the opposite of quite simple.

Let me back up just a bit. I’ve been feeling fairly… well, crappy a lot of the time lately. I’ve been very sluggish in the afternoons, constantly lazy, digestive issues (let’s just leave it at that), etc. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when, after my annual physical, my doctor called (SIX. WEEKS. AFTER. by the way. Six weeks? Don’t get me started.) and said I needed to come in for additional blood work. I did that and scheduled an appointment to discuss the results with my doctor. At that appointment (which explained why I’ve been feeling poorly and may or may not be another blog post [as if anyone enjoys reading blog posts about health issues, ew]), my doctor said she’d like for me to also give a urine sample (UGH, fine).

My clinic is in the same building as the lab so I went downstairs and the very nice blood/urine lady (I’m sure she has a title that is not blood/urine lady) gave me my sealed little cup. Have these gotten smaller in the last few years?? I went into the bathroom and went through the opening drill: put my purse down, took off my fleece so I could have the range of movement needed for the acrobatic feat I was about to perform, took a deep breath, whipped down my skivvies, and sat.

This is where it gets TMI so if you’re pee-pee squeamish, bail out now. (This is also where I switch to present tense, because it’s how I tell stories.)

I place the cup where I think? probably? maybe? the pee is actually going to come out and I wait. Then I wait some more. My urethra has seen the cup and knows my hand is where it should not be during urination, so it’s got stage fright. I take another deep breath and try to relax. It’s just PEE, Kat. I feel something start to happen, but this awareness startles my poor urethra and it stops immediately. More deep breaths. It’s at this point I realize how long I’ve probably already been in here. It feels like 10 minutes and I can picture blood/urine lady rolling her eyes at a colleague because it’s just PEE. I try adjusting my grip on the cup so my arm isn’t pushing so forcefully up against… places and try to visualize my muscles relaxing. This time when it starts, I’m ready for it and I force myself to keep loose, don’t tense up.

Suddenly pee is everywhere – definitely in the toilet, definitely on my hand, and I assume definitely in the cup. It’s warm (like really warm) and weird and now I’m not so sure anything is going into the cup because I haven’t really gone that much and there is A LOT on my hand so how much could be left to go into the cup? So I stop. Have you ever actually tried to stop peeing in the middle? It’s pretty much awful and it tingles, not in a good way.

Then the unthinkable happens: I feel my grip loosening on account of all the pee. I try to pull the cup up quickly but instead it slips from my grip (I’m literally screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” in my head), and I hear a little splash. I sit in horrified silence, hand still between me and the toilet. WHAT NOW FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?! I’m still bad tingling and now I REALLY feel like I need to pee, to the point of almost pain.

I decide I’ll just tell the nice blood/urine lady the truth. She must hear “I dropped the cup. (with an awkward laugh, no doubt) all the time. I stand up and get situated and lift the stupid, tiny, pee-and-water-covered cup out of the toilet. But as I’m washing my hands I have a change of heart. I CANNOT TELL THE NICE BLOOD/URINE LADY THAT I DROPPED THE CUP OH EM GEE! No, no. I’ll just do it again!

So I wipe out the cup best I can (ugh) and try again. Again, pee. goes. everywhere. but I’ve got a grip on this cup so tight, the Jaws of Life couldn’t pry my hands off, so I finish peeing all the way (this gives almost no relief, by the way. If you hold your pee for too long, even the lovely sensation of emptying your bladder is taken from you.) and lift out the cup. I am not exaggerating (which I know I have a tendency to do, along with overuse commas and parentheses) when I say that there were approximately 7 drops of pee in that fucking cup.

At this point I’m so over it I could barf, so I put the lid on that stupid cup that has become the focus of every ounce of rage and hate in my body, slap it into the silver deposit box, and slam the deposit box door.

When I emerge (after God knows how long… probably 6-8 minutes [which is a long time to pee, for real] but it feels more like 6-8 hours), I approach blood/urine lady. I am certain she knows of my failures but I say quietly (too quietly, weirdly quietly), “I really didn’t have to use the bathroom; I didn’t know I was going to have to give a urine sample. So if that’s not enough, will you just call me and have me re-do it?

“Let me find out how much we need,” she says and walks over to her colleague (the one she no doubt rolled her eyes to moments ago, after my 76th minute of being in the bathroom) and asks how much is needed for the test. “One milliliter, you should be fine.” She says this with a comforting smile on her face because she has yet to see that there is no way on this beautiful green Earth I have deposited an entire milliliter into that cursed cup.

I smile and rush out before she can go to the deposit box and see what I’ve given her, which is approximately a sneeze’s worth of pee.

[/end present tense story]

I got my test results a couple of days later and they came back normal. I was relieved until I realized that they probably tested 1 part pee and 2 parts toilet water.

Now if I could just decide what it is I want…

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I don’t feel like I’m at a crossroads. I don’t feel like something’s gotta give. I don’t feel like I can’t go on this way. I just feel compliant. I do things the way they’re supposed to be done because I am supposed to and for no other reason.

I’ve always had a hard time with change. I love new things but hate the process of getting into them. I hate moving, I hate switching jobs, I hate rearranging and redecorating. Once it’s done, I adjust quickly but in the meantime, I’m miserable. I’m also the world’s WORST self-motivator. I won’t motivate myself and when others try I get annoyed. I’m truly hopeless, guys.

But lately I’ve been seeing a lot of things. This video for Passion Planner, a friend’s Facebook post (pictured above), etc. I just think it’s time. It has to be. I don’t know what this change is going to be, but I know it’s got to be SOMETHING.

Clear Sinuses, Full Hearts

I’m the Training Specialist for my company, so when new employees start, I’m the one who trains them. In the Client Services realm, the Client Services Manager takes the new employee(s) out to lunch for their first week. I had three new employees start yesterday, so the four of us plus Kelly (Client Services Manager) and Sara (Client Services Team Lead) went out for sushi.

The meal started out quite normal: we told funny stories about disastrous past co-workers, we compared TV shows we like (well, Friends. You can’t see Salmon Skin Roll on a menu and not reference the Unagi episode of Friends!), we had a short discussion on what Sara’s tea smelled like (I said bad breath but I think the consensus was garbage).

Then the food came. As is my usual sushi ritual, I placed a tiny bit of wasabi on the bite I was about to eat and smushed it down into the rice so the wasabi didn’t hit my tongue directly.

I ate a bite of my white tuna roll and thought to myself, “Oh, I got a bit too much wasabi on this pie… oh, God… OH, GOD…”

Too Much Wasabi

I will try to explain the feeling that started happening in my face. It started on my tongue: that wasabi burn, but it quickly began creeping up my nose, deep into my nasal passages. Deep deep. Brain deep.

My eyes started to water. I started to sweat. I could feel that I was about to sneeze and it was coming on fast. Without time to get my napkin up, I cupped my hands over my mouth…

But I didn’t sneeze. Not exactly. Trying to describe it now I would say simply that my face exploded. 40% bark, 30% sneeze, 20% cough, 10% gag. It was like some rabid seal with a head cold let itself into the restaurant.

It was like the scene from Paranormal Activity 2 when the entire kitchen bursts and pots and coffee cups come flying out of the cupboards.

Only it wasn’t skillets and dinner plates flying out of my face; it was barely-chewed rice.

I glanced at my horrified lunch companions and assured them, “That was a sneeze.” Kelly, across from me, nonchalantly gestured at her shirt. I looked down at my shirt. Rice. She swiped her lip discreetly. I felt my lip. Rice.

Friends, I would be lying if I told you that I did anything other than spit partially-masticated food at my brand new trainees. Trainees that I am expected to train for the better part of two weeks.

After cleaning myself up and removing my fleece (because DAMN, I was sweating), I think I said something like, “Don’t use too much wasabi, guys. That shit is for real.”

I continued to sweat and sniff for the next several minutes. Kelly and Sara told me that they had seen me pre-wasabi a few pieces, including the one I then double-wasabied. PRE-WASABI! Rookie mistake.

I did not finish my lunch; I took it in a To Go box and then threw it away when I got back to the office. After all, who knows how many little wasabi bombs I had waiting for me??

My trainees handled it gracefully and, thus far, have yet to tease me about it. We’ll see if they come back tomorrow, or if the prospect of facing someone who has expectorated half-eaten food in your general direction is just too much for them to bear.

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Pip’s Late Night Adventure

Pip

At 11:20ish last night I was in bed, reading and I heard the cats TEARING through the house. Every owner of multiple cats (or a single, hyper cat) knows the sound – claws RIPPING across the carpet. I didn’t think anything of this, as Pip and Mostly can chase each other through the house for hours. But then I heard BANG! BANGTHUD. I grabbed my glasses and got up to investigate. When I opened my door, Indy was in the hallway looking freaked. Kelly came out of her room a few seconds later and saw Pandora behind me, also looking spooked. Mostly and Pip were nowhere to be seen. This is weird, because the second Kelly or I are out of our rooms, there are there are 1-3 cats following our every move. (And Pandora is not one of those.)

We checked the living room… nothing
Kelly checked the kitchen… nothing
I checked the bathroom… nothing
I checked my room… nothing

While I was in my room, I heard a little muffled meow. I told Kelly to come in, then made her stand perfectly still and listen, but of course it didn’t happen again. So, we kept looking.

Our apartment is small; there aren’t really that many hiding spots. As we were looking, Mostly suddenly appeared (seriously, like out of thin air) looking TERRIFIED. She doesn’t have a tail, but the rest of her was all puffed up and her eyes were WILD, but still no Pip.

Right about here is when I started to solidly freak out, because Mostly looked insane and the only time Pip has ever hidden was the day he ripped his entire claw out and hid under the couch for two hours afterwards.

Kelly shook the treats and dumped some on the floor which ALWAYS gets Pip to run into the room. Nothing.

We kept looking and I heard the muffled meow again. Kelly said, “I think that’s Indy.” This is plausible because Indy is what you would call a loud mouth. If your sentence ends in anything remotely sounding like a question, he feels the need to answer. So, as we’re both wandering around calling “Piiiiipsteeeer…”, it was believable that Indy could have been answering us.

But then I heard the meow from the opposite side of the house. I went into the kitchen and called “Piiiiipsteeeer”. Immediately, I heard the meow.

“NO,” I said, “It’s coming from in HERE. He’s in HERE.” There are about three places to hide in the kitchen so I looked inside the litter boxes, behind the pantry/baker’s rack, I even opened a cabinet as if Pip opened it, strolled in, closed the door behind him, and then got scared. Nothing. All the while, Pip meowed every time we called his name.

I followed the sound until I stood next to the window, which was open, but OBVIOUSLY he couldn’t be outside… And then I saw that the screen was gone and the window was just a giant, gaping hole. I looked out the window to see the entire screen laying on the balcony… and there is Pip. He looked TERRIFIED – his eyes were so big, you couldn’t even see the color, just black. His tail was puffed up to literally three times its usual size. He was just standing there, like he was frozen.

So here I am, 11:30 at night, in my pajamas, leaning out the kitchen window trying to grab my grown cat by the scruff so I can drag him back into the house. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach him. I didn’t want to open the balcony door because I didn’t want to startle him, and since we NEVER use the balcony, it’s partially blocked by storage cabinets.

Kelly and I are called out to him for several seconds while I pawed at him like some enraged bear… and finally Kelly started to climb out of the window (in hindsight, our new windows open so widely that I could’ve climbed out but I guess I’ve just got it in my head that I don’t fit through windows, so I didn’t even try. This frustrates me looking back on it because I WOULD HAVE GLADLY climbed through that window to grab him). As she starts to climb out, I backed up and kept calling his name and making the “pss pss” sound he responds to… when all of the sudden, he jumped up into the window.

Kelly grabbed him and I slammed the window (nice teamwork, actually). Poor Pip was so freaked that he dug all four paws (18 claws) in to Kelly – her chest and arm are all torn up and bruised from it. He calmed down pretty quickly, actually, but Mostly was terrified, trying to hide for a good 10 minutes afterwards.

Seriously, I know it’s a cat, but it was one of the most terrifying moments of my life! Very uncharacteristically, I stayed pretty calm during the entire fiasco, but once he was inside, eating treats with a normal-sized tail, I burst into tears. Today I keep running these horrible scenarios through my head about what could’ve happened, especially because I heard him LONG before we found him, which (if we’re being honest) also makes me feel like shit.

This may sound dramatic, but I just can’t get his scared little face out of my head or the vision of Mostly frantically looking for some place to hide. She tried to hide on a shelf of the entertainment center, behind the PS4.

I’ve said this many times and I will say it again, in writing: Why do people say “never a dull moment” like it’s a good thing? I CRAVE dull moments.

4th Annual 31 Horror Movies in October (2014)

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Rosie Day as Angel in The Seasoning House

01) The Seasoning House: I wouldn’t actually classify this as a horror movie, other than one or two fairly gory scenes. It’s more of a thriller with disturbing content. The Netflix synopsis was WAY off (something about “The only thing that can save them is what’s hidden in the walls that trap them.”); it’s actually about human sexual slavery. It was very well acted and suspenseful so, if you’re up for that heavy of a subject, I do recommend it.

02) Apartment 1303: Truly, truly awful. The timelines made no sense, the characters were completely unbelievable and unlikeable, and there are scenes where it’s obvious that something was edited out that was pivotal to the scene. It’s not even a “it’s so bad, it’s good” thing. It’s just bad.

03) Oculus: I liked Oculus a lot. It was really creepy, had lots of good jumps, had a really unique concept, and kept me on my toes. It did leave me with a few questions, but nothing I couldn’t deal with.

04) The Returned: This was WAY better than I expected. There are only a couple of real zombie scenes, it’s more so a drama/thriller outside of that, but I recommend it if you like zombie movies that are more about the survivors/world in general.

05) The Haunting of Helena: Eh. It wasn’t TERRIBLE but it certainly wasn’t great. I have a tooth thing so a couple of scenes really got to me, but if you’re not horribly afraid of the tooth fairy, I think this would be pretty dull.

06) Barricade: Oh, Will Truman. Why? I thought I was going to like it: trapped in a snow storm? It’s like The Shining, what could go wrong? Well, a lot. I have no idea what happened. At all.

07) Toad Road: This one frustrated me. 1) So much wiener in the first few minutes. 2) I could barely tell a couple of the actors apart and they only call like 2 people by their names so I couldn’t even differentiate them that way. 3) The idea was great and creepy but it just NEVER got there. 4) I have no idea what happened. I just DON’T KNOW. If someone watches this and gets it, PLEASE explain it to me.

08) Wishmaster: Kelly and I hadn’t seen this. I was expecting horrible 90’s and it did deliver that, but it actually stood up pretty well for being 17 years old. If you like older cult horror movies, this is a decent one.

09) Dark Touch: Really different and very sad. I liked it but it was tough to watch at parts; it deals with really sensitive subject matter (no spoilers here).

10) Slaughterhouse: I saw this movie when I was 8 and I’ve had a weird fear/hate/love for pigs ever since. I decided to re-watch it to see if it’s as terrifying as I remembered, and it actually kind of is. As a horror movie, it’s awful. But as something that scarred me as a kid, the parts that terrified me or disturbed me still terrify and disturb me. Kelly just kept saying, “NO WONDER!” and “This explains so much.”

11) 7 Below: Had I known Val Kilmer was in this, I wouldn’t have chosen it. To give you an indication of what we thought of this movie, we went to bed with 40 minutes left and finished it 2 days later. It didn’t make sense (they reference this TERRIBLE storm yet show a shot of the sky with zero clouds and a glowing moon, etc) and it was pretty terribly acted.

Olivia Cooke as Jane Harper in The Quiet Ones
Olivia Cooke as Jane Harper in The Quiet Ones

12) The Quiet Ones: LOVED THIS. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped more at a movie; I must’ve jumped 10 times. It was creepy, well acted, had some interesting turns, and didn’t overdo it with the “found footage” aspect. I definitely recommend this one.

13) The Sacrament: It’s Eli Roth so I was expecting something shocking and disturbing… but I wasn’t prepared for this. Through the entire movie, I kept thinking I had a handle on things, but I really didn’t. I personally wouldn’t classify this as “horror”. There are a couple of shocking, graphic scenes but it’s more of a drama to me. I had read a lot of people said it was slow, but I like a movie that takes its time building towards something, so long as the climax is worth it, and this was.

14) April Fool’s Day: Another one that scared me as a kid, but this one did NOT have the staying power to scare me like Slaughterhouse. It’s a decent 80’s (it came out in 1990 but OMG THE HAIR. It’s 80’s.) slasher flick.

15) Stephen King’s It: Definitely scarier than I remembered, even with the 2-3 HORRIBLE claymation/CGI scenes.

16) The Bell Witch Haunting: This movie pissed me off. It would’ve actually been pretty decent (a few good jumps, interesting locations, etc) but the editing was AWFUL. AWFUL. Timelines skip around all over the place, a bandage suddenly appears on the dad’s arm but it’s not for 20 minutes that he actually gets the cut, and on and on and on. It’s like nobody actually watched the finished product.

17) The Blair Witch Project: I hadn’t seen this in years, I think I’ve only watched it once since I saw it in the theaters. As expected, still scary.

18) Paranormal Asylum: I should’ve listened to Tommy and Kelly when they told me never, ever to watch this POS. But I didn’t. And they were right. Total POS: horrible acting, atrocious make up, unlikable characters. The only somewhat redeeming quality is that the lead actor is hot.

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+1

19) +1: This is one of my favorite so far. It’s really different and cool. Not something that’ll keep you up at night, but I definitely recommend it.

20) Pumpkinhead: This movie scared the hell out of me as a kid and I have to say that, for a movie that was made 26 years ago, it stands up! The creature make up alone is worth a watch; Greg Nicotero of The Walking Dead fame is part of the make up crew.

21) Cabin Fever: I saw this years ago and really, really loved it. On re-watch, I didn’t like it AS much – it’s a lot more… I don’t know, filler? than I remember. Eli Roth’s cameo(s), the weird kid at the gas station, etc. Aside from that, though, it’s a solid, gross (in the good way) virus movie.

22) Munger Road: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT watch this! It was JUST getting good when “TO BE CONTINUED” flashed across the screen. A quick Google search told us that Munger Road is the first in a two-part series, the second half of which never got released.

23) 28 Days Later: I’d seen this years ago and absolutely LOVED it. I think I’m getting soft in my old age, because it was way more brutal than I remembered. Still great, just don’t call it a zombie movie. The infected are not zombies.

24) Poltergeist: This really stands up to the test of time. There are a couple of scenes where the effects are painfully out of date, but other than that, DEFINITELY still scary.

25) Poltergeist II: I thought I’d only seen the first one as a kid, but after finishing the first, there were still two things I remembered: braces and worm. It wasn’t until we were a few minutes into the movie, when Carol Ann was drawing a picture of a super creepy old dude, that I remembered Kane. I immediately got goose bumps and demanded Kelly turn it off. I had completely blocked ever seeing it, most likely because Kane is truly chilling. She didn’t turn it off, of course, and I can still hear his voice in my head. Ugh, chills.

26) Poltergeist III: Woof. They should have stopped at II.

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Melanie Papalia as Elizabeth Benton in The Den

27) The Den: Yes! Loved this! An interesting, unique spin on found footage, decent gore effects, SEVERAL good jumps. This was in my top 3 for the month.

28) Entity: The first 2 minutes of the movie are definitely the scariest part. After that, nothing special – half found footage movies are tough.

29) Torment: While it was definitely creepy, had a couple of solid jumps, but it’s very The Strangers-esque and only The Strangers can do The Strangers. I think my love for Katharine Isabelle (Ava Wilson in Supernatural) helped.

30) Alien Abduction: I was REALLY surprised at how much Kelly and I both liked this. It’s a found footage, so whether that’s your thing or not, I’m not sure… but it’s a fairly interesting take on it, and alien movies (when done right) are so creepy.

31) The Exorcist: I didn’t see The Exorcist until last year. I expected some cheesy 70’s movie with horrible effects. Let me tell you: The Exorcist holds up. We chose it as our last horror movie for this October and it was a great choice.