20 June 2010

Say what?

So, I have this thing I do when I'm running. You know, to distract myself from the horribleness of the running. Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration. I mostly enjoy running, it's just that sometimes I need a little distraction from the actual doing of it. From the putting one foot in front of the other, the oh-jesus-am-I-really-only-halfway-done aspects of it.

Anyway, like most people, I listen to music while running, and I’ve started to notice that with nothing else to focus on while running, I pay more attention to the lyrics of whatever song happens to pop up on the iPod. I mean, usually when I'm listening to music, I'm also doing something else—driving, reading, cleaning, typing, general multitasking, what have you. But when I'm running, I'm pretty much just listening. As a result, I've begun to discover a number of differences between what up until this moment I thought the lyrics were, and what I have now actually discovered the lyrics to be. And I thought I would pass along some of these discoveries as I stumble upon them.

[An aside: I've discovered that this phenomenon is called a mondegreen, which is "the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning." Excellent word.]

I'll start with a little ditty by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I select them due to the fact that they are the purveyors of the classic misunderstood lyric “there's a bathroom on the right” (or bad moon on the rise, if you're looking for accuracy.) Anyway, I was listening to “Lookin' Out My Back Door” (which is an excellently paced song for running, if you are interested) and there is a line which I have now determine to be “tambourines and elephants are playing in the band” which I misunderstood a variety a ways. (And I preface this by saying that even the correct line it itself makes little sense. Songs are like movies and such, and you have to be down with the allusion and metaphor and suspension of disbelief and such. So, you know, there's an elephant playing in the band, deal with it.)

I had previously always thought this line to be “memories and elephants,” which made sense in my brain, since elephants are alleged to have excellent memories. I also thought it might be “Anne Marie's an elephant” which could either refer to an actual elephant named Anne Marie, or perhaps metaphorically to a girl named Anne Marie who was perhaps a bit on the large or unattractive side (although that would take the song into a meaner direction that the rest of the happy lyrics would indicate). Anyway, I maintain that my interpretations make at least as much sense as the actual words, but it's nice to know the correct words as well.

26 April 2010


I have a huge (and I mean HUGE) bruise on the back of my left calf. How did I get it you ask? Well, I’ll tell you – attempting to climb through my bedroom window. Why was I doing that, you ask? A reasonable question. Answer: I accidentally locked myself out of the house.

So, in order to get back in, I had to access the only window that was unlocked, which was my bedroom window. This situation has happened in the past (and here I would like to digress to point out that in this and other cases, the reason I was locked out of the house was not entirely my fault. In fact, I would go so far as to say very little of it was my fault. In my house, I never use the locks on the door handles, I only use the deadbolt. So, it’s not usually a problem for me to close the door behind me when I go outside, because if I want to lock the door, I have to use the key. But, on the occasions when someone else has been in the house – say feeding my cats while I’m out of town, as was recently the case – these other people tend to sometimes use the handle locks, which I have no way of knowing until I am locked out of the house)

Anyway, the last time this happened, I was able to get in through the window in the guest room, which is actually slightly closer to the ground than the one in my bedroom. Alas, that window was locked. So, I get this like, bench/stool thing from the backyard, put it under the window, and climb up. I get the window open, pry the screen loose, and shove the bed out of the way (yes, the bed is in front of the window, but fortunately I have hardwood floors and have therefore attached those little felt circles to the feet of all the furniture. In addition to keeping the floors from getting scratched, it makes it pretty easy to slide the furniture around.) Now, as I have said, this window is slightly higher off the ground, and as a result, the thing I was standing on was not quite tall enough to allow me to step through the window and onto the floor of the house. I tested it out by putting my leg through the window, and discovered that I would have to use my arms to hoist myself up to the windowsill while simultaneously not falling off the stool and not knocking myself unconscious by banging my head into the window itself—a prospect I was not sure I could pull off. So, I was standing there with one leg in the window, trying to decide the next move. That’s when the stool decided to fall over.

Luckily, it was near the exterior wall of the house, which it hit and which kept it from turning over entirely. But, it did leave me balanced on its steeply sloped surface hanging by one leg from the window sill. As the metal window frame pressed painfully into my leg and began forming the giant bruise on my calf, I tried to pull myself up, right the stool, and generally try not to break any of my vital body parts. I managed to extricate my leg, break the frame of the window screen, and fall on my ass, but was otherwise unharmed. Except for the aforementioned extremely painful and now huge and purple bruise, of course.

As my cats came over to help by attempting to escape through the now open and screenless window, I decided it was time to call in reinforcements. Standing on the now righted stool, I could reach through the bedroom window to the phone on my nightstand, which I used to call the holder of my spare keys to come over and let me the hell back in.

10 March 2010

Dear Chapstick,

I don’t know why I feel the need to mess around with those other lip balms. I'm weak and easily seduced by their glossy packaging and empty promises of healing powers and moisturizing goodness. Please forgive me. You know I always come back to you. You may not be sexy, Chapstick, but you work like a champ. Thank you for taking me back and offering my poor chapped lips your delicious strawberry protection from the blustery London winter. I promise not to stray again. Love, Liz