Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why My Mom is Awesome Part 2: Mother's Day Extravaganza

Prepare yourself for a mushy, sappy, sickly sweet post in honor of Mother's Day! Because I love my mama (and am a horrible person when it comes to giving gifts, sending flowers, and taking her out to dinner because I'm a. poor, and b. 500 miles away), I've decided to compile a list of all the reasons why she's awesome. I've already covered one major facet of said awesomeness, so I know you're dying to know more about the special woman who created the awesomeness that is me.

  • Mama Hutch gave birth to five children in ten years the drug-free, old-fashioned way, like a friggin' boss. Not that there's anything wrong with epidurals or C-sections. I plan on going that route myself one day. I don't believe in unnecessary pain. You have to admit, it's pretty impressive to shove not one but FIVE watermelons down your hoo-ha. And we were not small watermelons.
Pictured: Ouch.
  • She graduated from high school at sixteen and travelled throughout Scandinavia before college like some kind of overachieving viking. So when she got married at eighteen and had my oldest brother at nineteen, she was already way ahead of the game. 
  • She went back to school to get her teaching credential when I was two years old, meaning that she had five kids under the age of twelve and still managed to handle her business. What's your excuse?
No fetching hats required.
  • She has taught literally thousands of kids to sing, play all kinds of instruments, and genuinely enjoy music with a passion. From choir to band to piano lessons and musical theater, she has done it all, often spending her own money and free time to enrich her curriculum. The woman is basically a legit Professor Harold Hill, without the fancy hat. She organizes concerts every semester for parents bursting with pride at the sight of their children performing on a huge scale.
  • One of those children she taught to sing was me. First in church when I asked her why she was singing different notes from everyone else. She explained what a harmony was, thereby instilling in me an appreciation for the more hard core, under-appreciated altos of the world. I was hooked. She was my Mr. Shue in middle school vocal ensemble, with less hair product, and later the director/music coach for several musicals.
My mom is way less obnoxious though.
  • Given her large household of eight (including her mother who lived with us until I was fourteen), Mama Hutch was the guru of grocery shopping. By this I mean, she managed to fit 80 million bags of groceries (everything on sale) into the trunk of a compact Geo Metro. Watching her reconfigure the brown paper Tetris blocks was quite the feat. She could have had her own game show, for realsies.
  • Another little known skill is her ability to hide Easter baskets. I wrote an entire blog about that talent alone. I think she was a very successful pirate in another life, burying treasure where no one would EVER find it. It's probably because she is constantly losing things. Her keys, her phone, the remote, her damn mind (haha just kidding!)
(And to my theater snob friends,
get over Anne Hathaway. She wasn't that bad.)
  • She was the one who introduced me to Les Miserables when all we had was the Anniversary Concert VHS which we watched over. and over. and over. until she finally was able to take us to the real thing in Sacramento. It was very special to finally get to see the movie with her and my brothers Nick and Scott who are secure enough in their manhood to enjoy musicals (cough cough Andy and David...).
  • When I went away to college in Southern California, I wasn't homesick in the slightest until six weeks in when it hit me all at once. It was bad. I called her crying on a Friday afternoon and she literally jumped in her car that instant and drove five hours to meet me in Bakersfield to take me home for the weekend.
What I picture my mom doing everyday.
  • Did I mention that she's secretly Fraulein Maria (only a former Mormon instead of a former nun)? When I first into my apartment in North Hollywood, she came down to help me get settled. Most parents are willing to take their kids to Ikea. But do they also turn leftover curtain fabric into matching pillowcases? That's in addition to my favorite pink blanket, penguin apron, and countless costumes that she sewed herself. 
  • Oh yeah. And she makes OUTSTANDING chicken. Like for real. Even when the power went out because of a crazy blizzard and all she had to work with was our wood stove, she still made the greatest chicken of all time. Also pot roast. And cheesecake. And Orange Goop (family tradition, don't ask).
The Ladies Hutch
Even with all of this, she still thinks that she's a sub-par teacher, a bland cook, a less than perfect wife, a mediocre mother, and an only ok human being. To that I say, poppycock.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Prison Bound Playlist

I started writing this post when it was still relevant because I was in the throws of a gripping jury duty assignment. Two weeks later, I've decided to finish it because I didn't want to waste a good list. Feel free to download these songs and rock out whilst deciding a man's fate. Or just walking down the street, whatever.

So far my courthouse experience has been a tremendously fascinating bore (yes, it's possible). So to amuse myself, as I often do, I have created a playlist to make jury duty just a little bit more festive. I will leave out some of the songs just because I'm slightly embarassed that they exist on my iPod, let alone purposefully selected them to listen to whilst traveling to, from, or killing time in between sessions. Some are right on the nose, others are more metaphorical, and some just fit the mood of being trapped in a room with complete strangers who only have in common a random civic obligation.

Yep. Hot.

1. "Prison Bound" by Social Distortion
The namesake of the compilation. Mike Ness makes prison almost sound sexy. Which from what I understand, it most certainly is not.

2. "Police on My Back" by The Clash
This always makes me think of 80s youth causing mayhem and frolicking through the streets of London, being chased by ineffectual British Bobbies.

This is what happens when you google "British Bobbies."
Doesn't exactly inspire fear of authority. Just giggles.

3. "Policy of Truth" by Depeche Mode
We discussed at length whether witnesses can be trusted to tell the truth or not. The result of that debate was that we would hope so, but people lie all the time. Whether lying under oath on penalty of perjury, or lying to themselves about what they want to have seen. Truth is so subjective, it's scary.

4. "Two Points for Honesty" by Guster
Along those same lines, I have to respect a witness admits something that portrays themselves in a less than positive light. This song also keeps popping up randomly on my shuffle and I always forget how pretty it is.

Oh Kingston Trio. With your sweet harmonies and matching shirts. 

5. In the Jailhouse Now by The Kingston Trio
My dad used to listen to this old school folk group all the time when I was growing up. It’s also on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, but there’s far too much yodeling in that one.

6. "Criminal" by Fiona Apple
So. Messed. Up. And yet so good. I'm not a Fiona Apple fan, (I just want to slap her in the face with a two-foot hoagie of pretentiousness) but you can deny how brilliant this song is. It's also hot in a confusing and wrong way.


7. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash
You knew this was coming. Johnny Cash also makes prison sound awesome.

8. "My Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett
Yes, this song is way over-played, even to this day. But whatever, it kicks ass.

9. "My Bloody Valentine" by Good Charlotte
Just a tad embarrassing, but Goof Charlotte was my jam junior and senior year of high school. So earnest yet disturbing. I remember singing this at the top of my lungs while driving Stan home. RIP Stan.

Florence is just so damn ethereal. I'm not entirely convinced she's human.

10. "My Boy Builds Coffins" by Florence and the Machine
Every so often I will hear a song from Flo that I never noticed before and it never fails to change my life. Ok, total exaggeration. But she is phenomenal. And this song makes you think about mortality all philosophical-like. (Also can you tell I chose the last three songs by going in alphabetical order down my iPod?)

11. "Cry Me a River" by Justin Timberlake
This may seem like an odd choice, but I was getting so sick of my peers going through selection who spouted all these sob stories to get out of jury duty. There was a pregnant full-time student who mentioned she had to reschedule a midterm to be there, and I didn't hear her complaining. Suck it up guys!

I dig this. I think I need a life-sized version in my foyer to discourage any
would-be wrong-doers.

12. If It Hadn't Been for Love by Adele
I've never heard anyone talk about this song. It gets overshadowed by Adele's numerous monster hits. But this broken down, badass blues burner gets to me. I think I was a scorned woman in another life.

13. Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z
Jay-Z is not my usual cup o’ musical tea, but I’ve always gotten a kick out of sampling show tunes from a musical about a little ginger girl for a supposed ghetto anthem. I heard he’s also doing the music for a reboot of Annie. This should be interesting.

Makes me laugh every time.

14. Janey's Got a Gun by Aerosmith
Aerosmith takes me back to my childhood as well. I don’t think I really understood this song back in the day though. Guess that’s a good thing. High five for Janey though.

15. It's Too Late to Apologize by One Republic
Hehe, get it?

Panic! At the Disco. Douuuuucches.
Yes, it's possible to hate the band yet love their music. 

16. Build God, Then We'll Talk by Panic! At the Disco
Catchy and kind of gross. Makes you want to dance, then take a shower. I was obsessed with this song when I lived in France and was dating the French Creeper. If this song reminds you of your significant other for some reason, you really need to end it.

17. Tha Crossroads by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
I don’t know why I picked this one, but I dig it. It's like a peaceful resolution. Even if the name of the group pisses me off for grammatical reasons.

Marcy Playground. So. Much. Angst.

18. Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground
Another weirdly sexy, sinister song that makes you want to shower after. I loved this vestige of 90s angst.

19. I Hung My Head by Johnny Cash
This song is uber-depressing and dark, and gives me the chills every time I hear it. God bless Johnny Cash, man.

Cage the Elephant has a wicked sense of humor.

20. Ain't No Rest For the Wicked by Cage the Elephant.
One of the best hooks as well as awesome tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Just listening to it makes me feel like a badass.

21. I'm a Man of Constant Sorrow from the O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack
If you don’t love this song, then there’s something wrong with you. That’s just the truth.

Love it.

I'm listening to it now, kind of dark, bluesy, rebellious and yet self-righteous. Not a bad mix for the days you find yourself tagged with a number, a badge, and a week off from the real world. A world where frozen chicken doesn't determine your verdict. (I hope...)

Oh, and by the way, he was guilty. And kind of an asshole.

Also, the District Attorney looked exactly like B.D. Wong. And there's not a damn thing wrong with that.