Kid Shaming

A girl committed suicide because her father internet video-shamed her. As parents, we have a contract of trust with our children to protect them from the world when necessary, not throw them, defenseless, into it. Please don’t make or share kid-shaming videos.

http://jezebel.com/13-year-old-girl-dies-by-suicide-after-dad-shares-publi-1708967488http://jezebel.com/13-year-old-girl-dies-by-suicide-after-dad-shares-publi-1708967488

Advertisements

Kitchen Fire

Tags

, , ,

Today I started a kitchen fire.

We’ve got all kinds of activities tonight, so I decided to get ahead of the dinner-time rush by making dinner this morning.

I had hot oil in a pan, and was putting rice noodles in to stir fry, but the starchy water dripped out first and a column of fire blasted up from the pan towards our ceiling.

And this is why I suddenly do not believe in evolution.

Because I stood there watching fire burst forth from my stove and you know what I thought of?

Not, “Where’s the fire extinguisher?”

Not, “I should get water.”

Not, “Maybe I should put down these noodles or something.”

The only thought going through my head as my feet were anchored to the Pergo was, “There’s a fire! A fire! Oh! Oh! It’s fire! Fire! Oh! There’s a fire!”

How did generations of my ancestors survive with this spectacular piece of crisis thinking? How can we be hundreds or thousands of years in the making of the blood line that can only identify a threat, but not flee from it, or neutralize it?

The fire went out, and I thought, “Fire’s out,” and I scanned the kitchen for damage. There was none thankfully.

But now I find myself in the position of refuting years of modern science, and I already had a lot to do today.

Or maybe Darwin was right, and I’m supposed to be the end of that line? That’s not comforting at all, either.

Frank

Tonight, I met someone in a bar I used to frequent when I needed to get out the house to write.

I haven’t been writing lately; in fact, I’ve had trouble producing anything resembling writing for some time now. So I thought it’d be a good idea to visit my roots: The dark wood and vaguely Irish setting of Mr. Toad’s.

This place has been elevated to mystical status for me at this point. Something happens when I enter that allows me to write without thinking too much. One could argue it’s the Guinness, but I have my drinks here at home, and that doesn’t seem to do the trick.

However, tonight I met this great guy.

I don’t want to name him, because it feels like a violation of trust, so let’s call him Frank. Frank is a ball of gruff joy. I described him on Twitter as a cross between Tony Robbins and Tom Waits. He is connected with the bar in some way (“she said, elusively”), and he was very excited to have a writer there. He spent a lot of time telling me about the writer’s groups that used to meet at the bar and how much he missed them. He also told me about the architecture (built in 1919), and he wanted to take me up to the upper floors that they were renovating in art deco style, but he was too tired. Next time, he said. I’d just met him, but he was sure we would be friends, and that we’d meet later, and somehow I’d be comfortable enough to tour this building with him.

He first walked into the bar during his oat-sowing days, in 1988, and instantly fell in love with the brick and dark wood. He has been there in some fashion ever since.

I was trying to permanently cement in my brain all of the wonderful things he said, but I only seem to have silt lately, so not much stayed except when I asked him who his favorite musicians were. Here, came a long explanation of Irish Catholic guilt, because his favorite musician is his grandpappy who used to fix instruments (lots of mandolins) and always tested the instruments by playing a particular church song (God forgive me, it was great, but I forget what it was. I mean, it was a perfect instrument-testing song). But his mother played organ for the local church, and even though neither of them are alive, he felt that he had to name his mother as his favorite musician. Because of Irish Catholic guilt. But outside of those two, it was Jimmy Page.

He asked if I wanted to do shots with him, and this is one of those responsible adult moments where you should say, “No, absolutely not,” but then you think, “How do I resist hanging out with this person?” So instead of saying no, I asked what he’d do shots of. “Fireball whiskey,” he replied. Oddly, I had only heard of Fireball whiskey the day before, so this felt like kismet of a kind. “I want to do shots with someone in this bar, and I look around, and I think I just want to do shots with you,” he said. In my world, honestly, this is a pretty high compliment. I don’t take drinking with a body lightly, since I don’t generally like to drink alone, and I understand the fraternity of the properly done drink. He had a shot and a beer poured for both of us, and we drank to health and happiness (“Always in that order,” he said, “because that seems to be what you usually need.”)

I asked him how old he was, and he said 52, but that his soul was 155. “That’s a good age,” he said, “One hundred fifty-five. But now maybe it’s one hundred sixty-two, because I forgot about our conversation, and that we must’ve had it before.” I aged his soul seven years. Not sure how I feel about that.

I told him that he was a delight to talk to, and he is, but he made me repeat that to the two female bartenders, who confirmed that yes, Frank is a complete delight, though they’d never phrased it exactly like that. In asking if they knew his soul was 155, they both nodded. Yes, they know how old his soul is.

It’s not lost on me that he could be a great source for a character, but I honestly think this guy is an actual muse, and I want all of you to come here and drink beer with me, and do shots with Frank as soon as is reasonably permissible. Bring your notebooks and tablets. He loves writers.

Shoelaces

Tags

, ,

I was at a writing seminar yesterday which focused on free writing. But there was a kind of departure from that near the end which was a true writing exercise, one meant to show that even writing about boring things could yield valuable material. Even writing – as the exercise went – about boring things in the most boring way possible could produce workable material. The idea was to challenge the advice “write what you know” or “write where your interest lies” that writers are so often given.

We were to pick a word we thought was boring, and write about it.  But also, every sentence in the piece also had to be boring. We had about 7-8 minutes. I enjoyed my piece so I thought I’d share it. I think a lot of it benefits from a monotone delivery as a spoken word piece, and I’m too close right now to properly decide if it stands well on its own. I hope so. Here it is, unedited.

Shoelaces

Shoelaces go on shoes.
They tie.
There are long shoelaces.
Some are not as long.
There’s a stiff thing at the end.
It’s part of the shoelaces.

Shoelaces are black a lot.
A good percentage of shoelaces: black.
But not always.
Sometimes they come untied.
Then, you tie them.
And they stay that way for a while.
You can untie them on your own.
You can leave them tied.
There are only two real states
for shoelaces then.
Tied.
Untied.

Shoelaces don’t have a lot of marketing.
They usually come with the shoe.
Sometimes you need more though.
Because shoelaces break.
That’s not fun.

But it’s not that bad either.
You just go out and buy another set.
Because they’re always kind of around.
You can get them at shoe stores.
They just hang there on the rack.
The rack with the shoelaces.
Then you get the broken one off your shoe and throw it away,
And you put the new one on.

Shoelaces go through holes.
Some people like the under method.
Some people like the over method.
There’s a new way that’s more across.
That’s the big news in shoelaces.

So, what did I learn from this piece? No matter what your topic is, or how well you know it, love it, want it, or hate it, you can still enter that topic. It might embellish a piece you’re working on. Or you might just come out of it with a jumping-off point for another exercise. For instance, the observation, “Shoelaces don’t have a lot of marketing,” is an odd one. What character would have this thought? “There are only two real states for shoelaces” is a thought a character might have when they’re thinking about choices.

Anyway, I thought this one was interesting.

Dinner – Week of 1/12/2015

Tags

, , , , ,

Food at my house is an involved undertaking. I am a vegetarian, my husband eats about five vegetables (this includes potatoes and onions), and my daughter only eats about four things generally (most include peanut butter). Also this month, I am determined to use up pantry items. I’ve got way too many grains and boxes of things that seemed like a good idea at the time. (Instant gumbo, anyone?)

Here’s what we’re eating this week. It’s an easy menu this week because I’ve got too much to do to mess around with too much cookin’. I love easy menus.

Monday: Turkey & Dumplings. I made Chicken & Dumplings last week, which is a meal my husband can eat pretty much every single day. I have leftover dumplings, so I’m defrosting some Thanksgiving leftovers. I always defrost things in some kind of broth or stock, to help offset any drying that happens when you freeze stuff. This also infuses whatever you’re defrosting with flavor (or at least that’s what I’m told). I will be having fake chicken from Quorn; it’s actually not bad. I don’t think it tastes like chicken, but I haven’t had chicken in almost 30 years, so it’s fine by me.

A word about faux meat: If you don’t expect the faux item to actually taste like the genuine article, they’re fine. They’re a good source of protein that is roughly-shaped and vaguely-flavored like the thing it’s supposed to be substituting. That means it’ll work reasonably well in recipes as a replacement, and it will fit on all the requisite buns and rolls. But you really have to approach it like it’s a different thing, like the difference between soy milk and regular milk. Soy milk isn’t milk. Don’t expect it to be milk. You may as well call it soy water, or soy juice or something. I think calling it soy milk sets people up for disappointment. Same thing with veggie burgers: it is vegetables that are pressed into a patty, that will fit on a burger roll, and which should not be mistaken for a burger. Only cow tastes like cow. Vegetables are not cow, in the same way that your car is not your bike. But if you think of it as something completely different, which also tastes good with relish and ketchup, then you have a nice little source of protein that’s easier to make, frankly, than the cow stuff.

The other reason I like faux meat is that real meat comes with rules. When I make real chicken, for instance, I have to spray the entire kitchen and all the people in it with Formula 409, because I fear meat-borne illness. As a result, I spend a lot of money on Formula 409. But I digress.

Tuesday: Two soups. Why two? Why not? It’s winter. You can’t go wrong having extra soup. This is one of my pantry items: I have two boxes of Matzo Ball soup, misguidedly purchased when I thought I would express fraternity with my Jewish friends during Passover last year, and ended up making something else instead…frankly, I don’t know what. I’ve made it before, and it’s actually really good. Here’s hoping nothing dramatic happened to it between last year and this, though in my experience, once something is dehydrated to the point that it can exist in a box, you really can’t hurt it anymore.

The other soup is a great vegetable soup that I love. It’s not hard to make, and there are endless variations. I use whatever beans and grains exist in my pantry, and I add some vegetable base for extra flavor. Here’s the recipe. I usually end up making this soup every week at some point. It’s a big fan favorite here. We eat it for snacks and lunches, too.

Wednesday: Steak, scalloped potatoes, green beans. I’ll make myself and my daughter a veggie burger to sub for the steak. For my husband, it’s a flat iron steak, slow-cooked on top of the stove, salt & pepper. The scalloped potatoes are boxed potatoes from the pantry. I think I bought them thinking it’d be a time-saver, but honestly, real scalloped potatoes don’t take that much time to make. Anyway, powdered cheese sauce for Wednesday! Yay!

Thursday: Baked Ziti. I had some ricotta and mozzerella leftover from a lasagna I’d made. Baked ziti is so easy. Since I’m half Italian and I’ve been making it with my mother since I was a kid, I don’t think I’ve ever had an actual recipe. This is the fast version, where you don’t make your own sauce. I’m sure my grandmother is rolling around in her grave, but you know, it’s the information age. We have stuff to do.

Baked Ziti: You boil a pound of noodles, and while that’s happening, you mix 2 lbs ricotta; at least two eggs, though sometimes more – you want it to be creamy; garlic powder (to taste. I use a lot, like at least a tablespoon); parmesan (1/2 cup? Ish?); dried basil (a teaspoon? more?); parsley (a tablespoon); salt & pepper (some of each? You can always add this to the final dish. I don’t worry too much about this); shredded mozzerella (a big handful? Probably about a cup or 4oz). Mix cooked noodles with the cheese mixture. Add about a jar of sauce (more is ok, too). Mix all this together. Put it in a big casserole dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Add another cup of sauce to the top. Cover. Bake at 350 for about an hour, until you see the sauce is bubbling on top. Remove cover. Sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of mozzerella, bake for about 5 more minutes. Take it out and let it sit there for about 15-20 minutes.

I made mine already and put it in the refrigerator. Re-heated pasta dishes > freshly baked pasta dishes, because all those wonderful herbs have a chance to really meet and mingle with the pasta and cheeses. Though, I wouldn’t send a freshly baked pasta dish back, either. I mean, seriously, you can’t really mess it up, and it always tastes good.

Friday: Eggs, Pancakes, Fake Bacon. The one exception to fake meats that my husband will tolerate is fake bacon, or more specifically, Morningstar Farms Breakfast Strips. We love breakfast for dinner. My sister-in-law doesn’t like breakfast for dinner, but she also gets freaked out by talking monkeys, which I think are hilarious, so clearly her judgement is problematic. If I was limited to one meal for the rest of my life, it’d be breakfast. Or brunch. (Maybe brunch is cheating? I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.)

Saturday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. This is the perfect winter meal. I don’t care that it’s the go-to meal of the average 10-year-old. I still like dipping the grilled cheese into the soup. Yes, Campbell’s soup. Open the can, pour it out, add water and heat. Mmm. Mmm. Good.

Sunday: Pizza. Every Sunday my daughter gets together with a friend, and the only thing children reliably eat is pizza. So, pizza. I will probably make myself a salad, because my diet doesn’t tolerate the amount of pizza that I really, really want – something like half the pizza. I might have one piece. We’ll see.

An easy menu for a busy week.

Blocked

Tags

, , , , , ,

I wasn’t going to write about this. I actually had another post I’m really excited about that has nothing to do with writing. But someone on Ello had a question about being blocked on a story, and I gave her some advice that I find useful in my own writing.

I’m always surprised when I have anything intelligent to say about writing, because I haven’t been at it that long, and there are people who are far, far more qualified than me to talk about this stuff. Still, looking at the replies she’d gotten, I was happy that I had something of substance to add.

When I talk about being blocked, this is different that the inability to sit in a chair and make yourself write a story. I have that right now, and it’s because I lack discipline, and am feeling guilty about writing right now, because I need to spend most of my waking hours looking for a job.

This is different. I’m thinking of three separate stories that I have, which I still really like, but I have reached a point where all the action that comes next just doesn’t appeal to me. I want something more alluring than the garbage I keep coming up with, and when I want that, here’s what I usually do:

Get Inspired By Doing Something Else. Go to a movie, go to a museum, read poetry. See some dance. Listen to music. Browse Flickr. Think about your story while you’re doing this. See if you can pivot off of something you see or hear.

Get Inspired by Creating Something Else. I once was stuck on direction for a story until I wrote a poem from the standpoint of one of the characters. It helped me get past the words and get into the story, if you know what I mean. You might want to sketch, or even create a story from random internet pictures.

Rule of Three. No matter what I’m creating, if I don’t have an idea I’m in love with, I will try to come up with three ideas for the next action, even if I have one direction in mind. You’d be surprised how often the third idea is the more innovative, interesting one.

Drive It Off the Road. Sometimes I don’t like any of the options I have, in which case I try to come up with the most outlandish solutions I can think of. This can be enough to jog some things loose, and help me stop driving around in the same cul de sac of ideas I’ve been having for the last X hours. Even if you use none of them, at least you’ll have different paths to walk down.

Random Word Generator. And then, sometimes you have nothing. In which case, go to this random word generator. Click on “2” or “3” and see if you can make an action using the two or three words that came up. I like to play with the random word generator just in general; I think it’s a good writing exercise, and a good exercise for the imagination.

These are just some things I do. I know some people use newspapers. I have something called “Story Cubes” but I haven’t used them yet, so I don’t know if they’re helpful. I also have something called “The Observation Deck“, and I haven’t used that either, but they’re fun to read. As with all things, your mileage may vary.

(Full disclosure: I get no advertising dollars, or even an acknowledgement or a thank you note from Amazon for linking the above. I’m a mad linker. I do it for the hell of it. I’m a woman alone. A renegade. A force of overwhelming internet prowess.)

(Yep. That’s me. The person who couldn’t find a graphic for this post. I’m a force.)

My Favorite Diet-Time Foods

Tags

, , , ,

Veggies

It’s always nice to look back at my blog entries and see no discernable pattern.

Anyway, this year I’m thinking about health. I’ve already gotten more sleep in the last four days than I’ve had in the last four months of 2014. (Of course I’m exaggerating, but it certainly feels that way.)

I’m one of those horrible people who is actually excited about getting healthy. I got resistance workout bands for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to resuming my regular walks.

I’ve done this before. In 2007-8, I’d lost 70 pounds and kept it off, mostly, until late 2011 when fate bestowed an exciting, life-altering concussion upon me, and I couldn’t do anything physically challenging for several months. For the first few months, “physically challenging” was “getting out of bed”. Anyway, I gained all the weight back, and from 2012 until just this past June, I’ve been caring for an elderly relative in my home, which didn’t allow for much autonomy. I was able to do some walking and running, and even some training for a triathlon (which I stupidly didn’t prepare for very well the day of the race, but that’s another story). But I didn’t really do much with my diet.

That changes tomorrow, at the official end of the holiday vacation.

As a general philosophy, I like to go low-carb, but not insanely low-carb. My body doesn’t process carbohydrates very well, and I can lose a significant amount of weight just by limiting carbs to about 150-175g of carbohydrates / day, and not even thinking about fats or protein. Of course, your mileage may vary, biology being unhelpfully inconsistent.

(After a certain point I will hit a plateau, and that’s when I actually have to pay attention to all my macronutrients and my calorie intake. To calculate a good calorie intake and proper macronutrient levels, I use the free calculators over at freedieting.com.)

But right now I’m looking at a low-to-moderate carbohydrate diet of 150g / day. I’ll allocate it like this, probably:

Breakfast: 15g
Snack: 15g
Lunch: 45g
Snack: 15g
Dinner: 45g
Snack: 15g

I’m vegetarian, so getting high-protein, low-carb foods does involve a bit of research but not much. Here are some foods (both high-protein and not-so-high-protein) I usually turn to when I’m on my diet:

V-8. This is 35 calories in a 5.5oz can. It’s 5.5g of carbs (after you subtract fiber) and it’s a great little drink to take your vitamins with.

Low-carb bread. We have a whole wheat bread that boasts 70 calories and 10 net g of carbs in two slices, which is fantastic. It also has 5g of protein for those two slices. With this I will make some very simple sandwiches, which are great for packing up and taking to work:

  • Tomato sandwiches. A little light mayo (35 cal/tbsp), thick slices of tomato (5 cal/slice) and some salt make a really good sandwich. (This New Jersey girl always enjoys a big, flavorful Jersey tomato.)
  • Egg sandwiches. You can make an egg (70 cals) and put it on two slices of bread (70 cals) with the light condiment of your choice for a sub-200-calorie lunch.
  • French toast. This is essentially an egg sandwich where the egg just hugs the bread tighter from its inside air pockets. Use a sugar-free syrup, or a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or even a sugar-free jelly.
  • Cheese sandwiches. Mozzarella and American cheeses are the lowest calorie cheeses I could find, coming in at 80 and 70 calories per ounce, respectively. I used to like to have half a sandwich and a light soup or broth for lunch.

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese. Coming in a 80 calories for a half cup, this food has 14g of protein, which makes it extremely filling. Also, only 3g of carbs. I like to mix mine with low-sugar jellies or preserves.

Oatmeal. It’s about 120-150 calories for 1/2 cup of dry oatmeal, but the volume increases significantly once water’s added and it’s cooked. It’s a bit high on the carbs at 25 net grams per serving, but if you’re looking for something for lunch to accompany something high in protein (like cottage cheese!) this is a nice partner. I add stevia and cinnamon, and sometimes throw in some lower calorie chopped fruit.

Greek Yogurt. You can use any yogurt, but I like Greek yogurt, because it’s high-protein and very creamy. I used to get unsweetened applesauce, stevia, and cinnamon and mix them with yogurt. You can also use unsweetened peaches, or really any fruit that isn’t too high in calories, like berries.

Berries. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are wonderful to add to things or just to eat as a snack. A cup of sliced strawberries is moderately filling, only 50 or so calories, and a net 9g carbs.

Light soups. These are great for a quick meal, though you have to be careful with prepared soups, because they’re usually hella high in sodium.

Vegetables and dip. I have never been good at light ranch dressing. If you’re going to have ranch, go ahead and just have it. That being said, you can dip vegetables in hummus as well. Also, sour cream is lower in calories than you think, and mixed with some spices it’s not too bad as a veggie dip. Try onion powder and garlic powder paired with parsley in your sour cream, or perhaps dill, lemon juice. Add a little salt if it’s too bland.

Light Soy Milk. There’s only one brand of soy milk that I can stomach, 8th Continent Light. It’s not really soy-like, and it’s only 50 calories per cup, with 8g of protein. Don’t get the vanilla. Just…trust me on that. (I don’t know. I generally like vanilla and I hated it. You might like it. But I tried to warn you.) Also, keep in mind that soy is a pseudo-estrogen, so you don’t want to do this too often, but it’s ok every once in a while with cereal.

Special K Protein Cereal. Speaking of cereal, 10g of protein and net 16g carbs for 3/4 cup make this a good breakfast or lunch choice.

Salads. A bowl of vegetables and a light dressing. Gets the job done. Add an egg and/or some lower-fat nuts and/or beans for protein.

Beans and Lentils. I put beans in everything, but especially soups and salads. I have been known to add a tiny bit of sugar to kidney beans and just eat them straight. You can coat them with a bit of salad dressing. You can blend them and add them as a thickener to things (more soups, especially). I used to make a potato soup that was actually a good percentage blended navy bean.

Giant Dill Pickles. These are big, crispy, and you definitely feel like you’ve eaten something.

Popcorn. I have a terrible habit of eating while I work. A big bowl of air-popped or microwave popcorn does a nice job of giving me something to munch on without piling on the calories.

Here I will also mention edamame and quinoa, because they are both complete proteins, but they’re not low-calorie.

There are also a few vegetarian faux meat products that are nice.

  • Yves’ Tofu Dogs are 45 calories per dog and taste just as good (as far as I remember) on light bread with ketchup and relish.
  • Also from Yves, their meatless turkey slices will set you back about 100 calories, but are 16g of protein and 5g of carbs.
  • Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Patties are 110 calories, net 6g carbs and 10g protein.
  • Quorn “Chicken” Cutlets are 80 calories per “breast”, with 3g of carbs and 11g protein.

I’m also planning on doing some of my own protein shakes. I’ll let you know what happens with that. I’ve never played with protein powder before, and I now own a large cardboard cylinder of it.

Ok, that’s it for now. Please feel free to add any low-carb, low-calorie suggestions in the comments below! I’m sure as I put my diet into action, I’ll probably remember more things to add. It has been several years since I’ve done this.

(If you’re looking for a good place to get nutrition facts for all manner of fresh, packaged, or restaurant foods, I recommend going to Calorie King.)

2014: The Year In Review

Tags

, , , , , ,

I thought I might like to add my own Top Ten List to this year’s parade of annual reflection.

2014 was a year.

No, that’s not right. 2014 was terrible. A wasteland made of the dust of abused hope. A flailing leprechaun set aflame. A lobotomized ferret…

ANYWAY. Here’s my

Top Ten Horrible Things That 2014 Was.

10. A wasp-filled day overcast with yelling fear angels.
9. A black closet containing dehydrated fairies and dead kittens.
8. A soup of tears and poison.
7. Banshees flying a garbage truck into an active volcano that spews the legs of beetles, and then bodies of beetles.
6. An old, dead carp.
5. Fifteen eyeless zombies who sing “Good Morning” to you at 4:30am in atonal harmony.
4. A bag of decayed, severed limbs found in the bottom of your pantry while you look for stale, unsatisfying croutons to add to a wilted salad of bitter greens.
3. Thousands of indestructible crickets in your sofa.
2. A giant laughing ghost who steals your soul and knits it into a hat for the Spider King, Head of Subterranean Slave Operations.

And the Most Horrible Thing that 2014 Was, as selected by me:

1. Your dead Aunt Lucy sitting at your dining room table, asking for a back massage.

14565176608_9cb32bf80e_o

An actual picture of me on my summer vacation.

Thank you. That was helpful.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

Tags

, , , ,

Gingersnaps

 

This recipe is from the Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book. My copy is from 1946. My mother’s copy is from 1947, I believe.

This is a recipe for gingerbread.

This is the recipe for gingerbread.

This is the recipe that forced my brother and I to have a conversation about the things we would inherit when my parents eventually pass. (I bought my own copy of the cook book, because I couldn’t stand to think that we’d have to fight over it.)

This is what defines Christmas for my oldest brother. My mother had to ship these cookies to him every year. Two dozen. Now his step-son is in charge of making them.

This is what my daughter thinks of when I say, “Let’s make cookies.”

And this is the recipe I’ll be making this week.

Frost with buttercream. Let dry. That’s very important. The buttercream softens and sweetens the cookie, making them habit-forming.

New Release Tuesdays

Tags

, ,

10471138556_505e312034_z

From 1990-1996 I worked at CD Superstore, a music retail chain that eventually turned into Planet Music. I could say so much about my experiences in music retail – I am still friends with many of the people I worked with, and I learned so much professionally there – but one of the things I really miss was listening to new music, every single Tuesday.

Tuesdays were wonderful days. Our staff was made of people who genuinely loved music and we would gather ’round a stack of CDs, opening them like it was Christmas morning. We would take the most eagerly-anticipated CDs and pop them into the overhead sound system. Qualities of each album were thoughtfully assessed, discussed and debated.

Sure, we were a lot like the guys in High Fidelity who took ourselves way too seriously. But hey: love is love. When you really love music, and you’re around a bunch of people who feel the same, that’s just what happens.

Anyway, I’m here to tell you about a bunch of places you can go to create your own New Release Tuesday. Billboard Magazine used to list every single new release, but I don’t see it on their website, so I’m guessing you have to buy the magazine to see it now. Which would be fine if the subscription wasn’t a car payment.

So. Here you go.

Spotify has a playlist they update every week. It has curated selections from new albums.

AllMusic.com has a very good list. They also feature biographies and other artist links and information.

Metacritic. Also a curated list. From their website: “Metacritic’s proprietary Metascore distills the opinions of the most respected critics writing online and in print to a single number.”

Amazon’s New Release List. They have a “CD and Vinyl New Releases” section, but unfortunately you only get to view twelve at a time. It may well be comprehensive, but I don’t have the patience to scroll it all to find out.

Best Buy’s New Release List. This looks like a comprehensive list, viewable 50 at a time, which is better than Amazon. Once you get there, you can limit by a number of attributes, including actual release week.

When I get the chance, it’s fun to pick out some of the new releases – especially from bands I’ve never heard of – and pop them into Spotify or Soundcloud and check them out. Makes Tuesdays more fun.


Photo by Eldeem on Flickr’s Creative Commons