Thursday, January 03, 2008

Burton Snowboards are Going Overboard!

Do you want to save the world? Have a cause you feel deeply, strongly for? Got an idea you think can make a real difference? Listen up:

Burton Snowboards and Girl Overboard author Justina Chen Headley, in partnership with Youth Venture, are co-sponsoring the Go Overboard Challenge Grant to find the best youth-led ideas to change the world. What does that mean?

Write up your idea, or gather your friends or even your whole school to jot down your ideas and solutions and send them to Burton. They are giving away $1,000 grants to the ideas they like the best. You then use that grand to make your idea an ACTION! Love this!!

For the guidelines, rules and the how-to on the "grant" writing, go to Burton's Go Overboard site:

And feel free to let me know any of your ideas!!

"Let It Burn" Cover

24 year old Singer-songwriter Sara Beck aka Pink Nasty (terrible name, beautiful voice) covers Usher's "Let It Burn" live in Seattle back in September. I like her version better!!! I mean she's got this sweet voice and it's pretty funny, these lyrics sung by a gal. Sort of a "burn" on the boy, no? What do you think? Prefer Usher's version?

Like the sound of Pink Nasty? Check out her site.


I want my lunch to look like these every day!! Did you know in Japan they have made an adorable art out of packing lunches? They pack them in bento boxes, which are lunch boxes that have little compartments for individual types of food or that stack up and they are often decorated with cute Hello Kitty or other Japanese characters. This beats the school cafeteria's lunch any day.

The above image on the left is from a website that takes pictures of her amazingly cute lunches! And the one n the right is from a Flicker group that is all Bento boxes all the time! I've made a few that aren't nearly as cute as hers, but they're better than brown baggin in! I have this bento box called a Laptop Lunchbox. Wanna see...

Tee-hee... I eat healthy! I'm a dork... What do you eat for lunch??

An 8th Harry Potter Book?!

More Harry news... in an interview with Time magazine, JK Rowling said, "There have been times since finishing, weak moments, when I've said 'Yeah, all right' to the eighth novel." Her 14-year old daughter has apparently bugged her to write an eighth too! But she then went on to say that IF she were to write another volume, Harry would not be the central character.

Would you want another Potter book? Or did you love the ending to Deathly Hallows? What do you think could happen in an 8th? What would you want to see happen in an 8th? And not happen? Tell me!

Cute Couple Alert

They're still together... and out for a casual New Years' Eve in this picture. What's the word... you like her? him? Them together as couple? And what about the thing around her head? Headband? Is she about to go do some aerobics?

She's on the cover of Seventeen magazine this month dishing about her relationship with Zac, as well as her good relationship with her Mom, who she was just spotted with at Urban Outfitters shopping for clothes. Curious at all? In the article she says her favorite movie is Anchorman and kissing Zac on-screen is thrilling, not awkward. Hmmm....

New Survivor Cast!!

The new season of Survivor is a Fans Vs. Favorites thing and here is the first look at the "Favorites," aka the past Survivor contestants. Do you watch the show? Are any of YOUR FAVORITES here? Is the show even fun anymore or do you think it's totally tired? Let me know!

In case they don't look familiar, here is the key to which season each of these past contestants were on...

11 — Cirie Fields, 37, Survivor: Panama
12 — Jonathan Penner, 45, Survivor: Cook Islands
13 — Amanda Kimmel, 23, Survivor: China
14 — James Clement, 30, Survivor: China
15 — Ozzy Lusth, 26, Survivor: Cook Islands
16 — Yau-Man Chan, 55, Survivor: Fiji
17 — Eliza Orlins, 25, Survivor: Vanuatu
18 — Jon Dalton (aka Johnny Fairplay), 33, Survivor: Pearl Islands
19 — Parvati Shallow, 25, Survivor: Cook Islands
20 — Ami Cusack, 24, Survivor Pearl Islands

In case you were wondering where numbers 1-10 are, they are the Fans and they are completely NEW contestants we have never met before!

I Got a Puppy!

Her name is Ozzy, she's a mutt, but we know her Mom was a husky. She was going to the pound and we couldn't let that happen! Check out the ICE BLUE eyes!! She's already getting into everything and has knocked down two glasses of water off the table and eaten various things she shouldn't, mostly though, she's destroyed our yard. But, hey, she's cute! And super lovey and cuddly. Anyone else get a new pet over the holidays?? Send me a picture!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Just Do It!

Did you see this commerical on New Years' Eve? I love it because it covers every excuse in the book. That's real-life wheelchair bound UW-Whitewater basketball star Matt Scott. What did you think? Did it move you to get of your bum and do something?

Oh Harry, you're... Hairy!

He's come a long way since his first Potter days. Daniel Radcliffe beat out Orlando Bloom for the lead role in a new movie called Journey which is a true life tale about a young journalist in war-torn Somalia.

Okay so this picture is from his turn in the play Equus, but jimeny crickets, it's just so good I had to post it! Do think he's cute? Or do you prefer Ron Weasly? Discuss.

Super Clea's Corner 2.0

We’re gonna try something new. I’m gonna just talk and talk and talk and tell you all kinds of fun junk I hear about celebs and TV and movies and music and books and comics, and show you wacky stuff I see online. I’m gonna write about fashion trends and hot tips and I’m also still going to write about life as a teen in this here weird and wonderful world. And you can still write me -- in the comments section -- and ask me questions, send me intel, tell me I’m whack, or better yet, wondrous and all around speak out. So, on with the show that is this.

ps - that picture is me, with a frito boat in hand (fritos, chili, cheese, goodness) at Aero Dog, a hot dog stand in a cargo plane in central valley Cali - it was 25 degrees out and the plane is OPEN. Cold! But delicious...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yes, it's been a long, long time.

But I'm back for two reasons:

#1: I have finally purchased a DVD Recorder which allows me to take all those months and months of shows I've been saving on my fake-Tivo and record them on to disc and then put them in my computer and magically make MP3s of the tunes. And that my friends, is why I'm here today, to post the first batch of songs. I'm sure these have been on the music blogs before, but they are new to me and I suspect new to a few others as well.

#2: My books, I Wanna Make My Own Clothes and I Wanna Re-Do My Room, are officially out now. In case this is news to you (and it's not if you read my other blog) these books are part of a series I did for Simon & Schuster. They are DIY books for girls that will help them explore lots of craft projects without picking up big machinery or expensive tools or supplies. Good old fashioned fun and a terrific gift for that teen girl in your life (plus, it will keep her out of trouble this summer.) Please, I beg of you, and I hate begging, buy my books.

I Wanna Make My Own Clothes, By Clea Hantman

I Wanna Re-Do My Room, By Clea Hantman

Incidentally, if you yourself have a blog that reaches this audience of their parents and you would like to review my books, drop me a note via email and I can mail you a copy.

Now to the music.

The following music is from Austin City Limits, the television show. Both shows were terrific to watch and certainly there is a something-something missing from the audio that the video provided, namely in the case of the Flaming Lips show, balloons, adults dressed as giant animals, fire, confetti, a nun puppet "singing," fake blood and Steven's father on sax. Regarding the Wilco show you mostly just missed Jeff Tweedy looking a little worse for wear, crumpled and a bit mcgrumpled, plus close-ups of Nels smoking on his guitar. And that's it.

All Live on Austin City Limits

Flaming Lips, "Race for the Prize"
Flaming Lips, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"
Flaming Lips with Chan Marshall, "War Pigs"

Wilco, "At Least That's What You Said"
Wilco, "Muzzle of Bees"
Wilco, "Hell is Chrome"
Wilco, "Ashes of American Flag"
Wilco, "I'm a Wheel"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Heart of Gold My Ass

I could make a whole list of excuses. Maybe I will next time. But today I'm gonna write about my favorite show, and I'm not even a little embarassed to say it: Gilmore Girls. There isn't another show on the air like it, in the middle of the silliness and the Kirk-ness (oh I love him too) there is real storytelling with genuine emotions that are not always made-for-tv (OK, some times they are, but I won't nitpick my favorite show.) All in all, well-acted, well-written and well-scored! It's quite obvious to me that the creator Amy Sherman Palladino (who unfortunatedly departs now that this season finale is over) is about my age just by her music selections on the show. And of course the finale, featuring the Troubadorpalooza, was just another nod to the pop culture jollies that pervade each and every episode. Each and every week I'm wowed by a line or three, wonderful zingers that are funny and telling and so a part of the wonderful characters she has created with the help of some great actors (inclduing Liza Weil, who plays Paris and is pictured to the left with the Sonic Youth offspring, Coco). Okay I have bowed to her feet enough for now, I'm here to rock it. Below you'll find songs from the folks she featured on her last show, not neccesarily the songs from the show, just shows from those performers. I loved that Sam Phillips album when it came out. Listened to over and over and over and on and on. Joe Pernice? Yes. That was the nicest surprise. Also singing on the show? Mary Lynn Rajskub, comedian / actress / writer most known for Mr. Show and 24, doing a rif fon losing her Volvo. She also has a kind of fake band (well they've played, does that make them more real?) with another comedian / actress / writer, Karen Kilgariff, called The Girls Guitar Club of Greater Los Angeles. No mp3 alas.

Grant Lee Phillips, "Dixie Drug Store" (such a great song)
Sam Phillips, "I Don't Know How to Say Goodbye"
Sonic Youth, "What a Waste"
Sparks, "Angst in My Pants"
Yo La Tengo, "Autumn Sweater"
Yo La Tango, "You Tore Me Down" (Flaming Groovies cover)
Pernice Brothers, "Working Girls (Sunlight Shines)"
Pernice Brothers, "One Foot in the Grave" (Live on KEXP)

And though he wasn't on the show, he was part of this show, Neil Young. These are from 1971. Live. Can you imagine hearing his voice back then, live for the first time? It's so extraordinary and otherworldly.

Neil Young, "Heart of Gold"
Neil Young, "Needle and the Damage Done"
Neil Young, "Tell Me Why"

For great commentary on Gilmore Girls and TV in general, check out Television Without Pity. But only the recaps; those fanatics on the gripe boards are insane.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What Makes A Great Steak?

I haven't posted in ages on this site. I have been posting reguarly on my smALL AGES blog, but this one has escaped me lately. I just couldn't find the motivation. And honestly, I've been writing so much (new books!) that I can barely stay awake at night long enough to do this. But I was thinking I would try something new.

There is a Wilco song, it's called "Hell is Chrome" and when I hear it, the lyrics, it makes me want to write. I don't know if anyone else has that feeling for a song, but this song, it has that effect on me. (Affect? Crap.) The lyrics conjure such a story that I feel longs for flesh. It is about the devil.

So I began to write a story based on the idea behind the song. Or rather, what I thought the idea behind the song was, my own interpretation. And so I've decided to post the first chapter here. It's super rough, no editor and I need an editor. But still. If you actually read it, let me know what you think. Not sure you can see exactly where I'm going with it yet, but I know. Oh I know. Song posted at the end.

I would sell my soul for a voice like Kelly Clarkson.

Not that I'd use it like she does.

I mean, save for that one catchy cheese puff "Since You Been Gone," hers isn’t exactly music to my ears. I prefer mine less glossy, less made-for-TV. But that voice. It's soulful, it's sweet, it's girly, it's sexy, it's pure pop perfection. You could do any number of things with it: A White Stripes 60s redux with screeching yelps and knowing hip shakes. Or a tender reading of a classic that brings tears to everyone's eyes. You could don a guitar and rock out like Jenny Lewis in Rilo Kiley, drawing all the boys in with coy smiles and knowing glances. You could sing sweet alt pop with an electro dance beat that gets all the gay boys on their feet. You could sit at a piano and sing melodramatic pithy songs about your sad internal life. Or punch it up with a swinging back beat and turn out some cool blue jazz for the new millennium. And of course, you could win American Idol and go on to sell bazillions of records. If that was your sort of thing.

I once asked my parents if there was any musical talent in the family genes. Did they ever sing in a chorus? In church? Did aunt Thelma know how to play piano or did Uncle Jim play guitar? I would've gladly eaten up that my distant cousin Pete playing banjo at a backwoods bar, badly. But all I got was a simple "Nope."

My parents are non-conversationalists. Not non-confrontationalist, but they are that too. See, they don’t have conversations, as in two-way, back and forth, ping pong.

They talk, for sure. My mother barely takes time for a breath, but they don't engage each other. Or me. Or any one else I've ever seen.

My mother rattles things off, like she's writing lists in the air. And she gives you blow by blow commentary on whatever is passing by her eye at the moment. Like in the car, "Oh there's the bank, it looks open" (not that we were headed to the bank or even needed to go to the bank at all) or, "you can't park along this stretch of road here" (not that we were setting to stop there or anywhere near there.) And her favorite topic is the weather, as in "haven’t seen this much rain in three months. Or four. No, three." None of which is kindling for conversation.

My father tells the same dozen or two very limited stories over and over again. They're not of the great action and adventure variety. They're more about a great savings at Costco on six extra large cans of baked beans or his dog's irregular sleep patterns that force him up at 3 in the morning. I say his dog because the dog simply ignores the rest of us in the house as if we were not there at all. Always has the best seat in the living room, the one facing the TV. His focus is solely on my dad and I think my dad likes it that way. Not that you can tell. He doesn't much smile. My dad's speech is mostly comprised of "uh-huh’s" to my mom’s endless parade of non-sequiters. That, and the occasional canned dinner table talk: "This butcher always gets a good steak." So one day I confronted this statement, which had just been said for at least the 17th time in this, my 17th year, I said, "What makes a good steak Dad?"

He didn’t even look like he thought about it, he just said, "You know one when you taste one."

So I asked about the butcher, "What's his name dad?"

"Don't know," he replied. He didn’t even look up from his plate.

"Where do the steaks come from dad?"

"Couldn't tell you." See what I mean? There is talking, sure. But no conversation. And the non-confrontational thing, well if I had finished that little conversational attempt by tossing out "I'm giving up steaks, Dad, and becoming a vegetarian," he would have just nodded and given me his patented "uh-huh." No questions asked.

I used to think the house's stifling boredom was due to the fact that my folks are so much older than my friend's parents. Sort of like, they were such normal 50s-era Leave it Cleavers they were weird. People always think they're my grandparents, not my parents, which seems to neither bother them nor amuse them. But then I figured it out. I put my finger to the core issue, the driving or rather stagnant factor of my mysterious familial misery. It's this lack of communication thing. The omission of dialogue. It’s the non-conversation. How can you value opinions when you don't ever seek them? How can you value knowledge when you're not ever asking any questions? How can I grow up to be a creative genius when I live in the thicket of this?

I’ve taken to imagining their lives before they had me. Or re-imagining them in my own shadows. Dad played piano in a juke joint, one of those places that barely had four walls and smelled of stale liquor and nobody minded. He did this in the evenings after working all day as a neurobiologist, curing diseases and whatnot. I dreamed he was a perfect yin and yang of brainy brilliance and searing talent. I dreamed that maybe he didn't talk so much even then, but his silence was simply masking his deep-seeded internal struggle, what with all the neuro-stuff by day and hot bombshells after him all night. Plus there was that super secret spy work he was conducting 24-7 unbeknownst to every one except the tight-lipped handsome man in a suit that appeared out of the shadows every Tuesday. Now Mom I imagine was a basketball star (she's tall, she could have been) with a sultry voice that made all the boys hearts quiver even though she wasn't the best looking broad in her brood. She was dangerous, she was a risk-taker, she was the personification of intriguing. I suspected that she'd sneak out to piano bars after her own folks were asleep and sing for the sailors, her long legs only barely sheathed in luscious ruby red satin.

It's hard to keep this image floating in my head when I hear her honk in her geese-like soprano, "Slow down, there is that deer crossing up ahead on the left." The deer crossing we pass every solitary single time we leave our neighborhood.

Wilco, "Hell is Chrome"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

He's Older Now...
But So Am I.

I was so obsessed with Billy Bragg in my college years, when he made it over to the States I followed him around and got to see him play up and down the Cali coast. My love for him was due to my obsession with both socialist / leftist politics and Englishmen. The accent. Oh the accent. But it was his songcraft that was really at the heart of it. Below you'll find a couple of tunes from the KEXP podcast from SXSW and some others as well. I love the first song, "Greetings to the New Brunette," because besides riffing on James Blunt's hair, he talks about how while he's known as a political songwriter, "he did the mats on it" and really 3-1, most of his songs are romantic love tunes. And so romantic are they.

I'm not normally a poster of lyrics, mostly because I love them in context with the music and then they are allowed to swirl around us and be what we want them to be. But this song kills me.

Levi Stubbs Tears (Billy Bragg)

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It's you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs' tears run down his face

She ran away from home on her mother's best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn't a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barratt Strong
Are here to make everything right that's wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs' tears...

From KEXP podcast from SXSW:

Billy Bragg, "Greetings to the New Brunette"
Billy Bragg, "A New England"

From Back to Basics:

Billy Bragg, "Strange Things Happen"

From Talking wth the Taxman About Poetry:

"Billy Bragg, "Levi Stubbs Tears"

And finally a political track, this from the Yep Rock site, a twist on Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues":

Billy Bragg, "Bush War Blues"

Some Velvet Blog posted on Billy Bragg a few days back. He's got two great covers, the first a Love track, "Seven and Seven Is..." from the Rubiyat compilation that had newer Elektra artists covering older ones (on this same double CD it had the Sugarcubes covering Sailcat's "Motorcycle Mama" which I will be posting on my other blog, smALL AGES this week thankyouverymuch Heather.) The other Bragg track SVB has is "When Will I See You Again," originally performed by The Three Degrees, from an NME compilation.

More about: Billy Bragg, Some Velvet Blog
Buy Billy's re-mastered collection of songs, here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lush over dubbed vocals make me smile

Course I don't know what this band sounds like live since I never get to go out but gosh darn it if I don't just love the recordings by band Pas/Cal. Silly name, what with the slash and all, but I don't care. I loved their EP, "Oh Honey We're Ridiculous" for it's glorious unadulterated snap crackle and pop. They even shout out some spelling, a la the Bay City Rollers in the tops song, "What Happened to the Sands?" They are currently recording a new CD and the band blog about the happenings and coming and goings here. Two demo versions of new songs were found on their website as was my favorite Sands song. Lush and pretty like Belle & Sebastian with a bit more '60s thrown in for measure. I'm surprised they aren't bigger but then again, they have only recorded two EPs and a split single. Still, the sound is glorious.

Pas/Cal, "Oh Honey, We're Ridiculous" (demo)
"The Glorious Ballad of the Ignored" (demo)
"What Happened to the Sands"

Pas/Cal's website.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Starlight Mints

Okay so I didn't post on Friday (both internet and brain malfunctions) and now I'm here on a rare Saturday when I should be playing with my daughter or baking cookies or something. I love Starlight Mints. Not because they sound a bit like Pavement (and the do) or that they hail from Oklahoma or they have a married couple in the band but because I love jungly jangle pop music that has weird orchestrations and instruments, I love a little flute and strings in my rock, especially if it's sugar coated and Starlight Mints, true to their name, are indeed breath fresheningly sweet. New CD due April 25th of this year, that's just a few weeks away. Till then, a new track and two older tracks recorded live at KCRW in 04, I think.

Starlight Mints, "Inside of Me" (from Drowaton, due out April 25th)
Starlight Mints, "Black Cat" (live)
Starlight Mints, "Brass Digger" (live)

Pre-order the new CD. And their website.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Girl Talk: Date Line

The Talking Dating Game. You learn about how to ask boys out and how to respond when boys ask you out. And it's a game. Genius. Or not. The game came with a cassette that you played while you played the game. Here is a reel of the "dont's" as opposed to the "do's in one long, fairly weird, hilarious and totally 80s mp3. Oh and my favorite is Joel because like me, he hates rainy days.

Girl Talk Game Losers

Wanna buy the game? They have 'em on eBay. This is from the geniuses at WFMU.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Trio of Duets

The latest Rhett Miller CD The Believer, features a duet with Rachel Yamagata called "Fireflies." I like it, and offer it up here, mostly for Rachel's last bit where she sings, "For the last time, I'm not your mother." And Rhett's still singing about "nineteen." It's a purty tune, nothing extraordinary but lovely just the same. I like that Rachel's voice isn't overly sweet here too, it's got a nice slightly drunken northern drawl. But for a real drunken drawl in a duet, I pick the Eddie Spaghetti and Kelley Deal track "Hungover Together" from the Supersuckers CD Must've Been High. My other favorite country-tinged duet of the last few years is by the band Blanche. Marrieds Tracee Mae Miller and Dan John Miller do a convincing job as, well, marrieds, who are treading into unstable waters on the awesome track, "Do You Trust Me?" (From If We Can't Trust the Doctors.)

Rhett Miller with Rachel Yamagata, "Fireflies"
Supersuckers with Kelley Deal, "Hungover Together"
Blanche, "Do You Trust Me?"

Rhett's Cd can be found here. The Supersuckers can be found on SubPop and Blanche is on V2.