Friday Lyric Quiz, No. 470 (The Wintry Mix Edition)

Yep.

As I write this (7 p.m. on Thursday evening), I am enjoying 20 minutes (and only 20 — rush rush!!) of complimentary WiFi service in Chicago’s Midway Airport.  I’ve been here for three hours — three more to go — thanks to a blizzard that descended upon us just in time for New Year’s travel.

On the plus side, I have my Kindle, a couple of good books, a comfy chair (until I need to use the bathroom and inevitably lose it … ), and a carry-out Guinness from Reilly’s Daughter (quite possibly the world’s best airport bar).

Friday morning update: I sat around for lit’ rally 10 hours until my flight was cancelled.  At least I wasn’t among those traveling with small children.  Yikes!

Anyway, let’s make lemonade (or a shandy) out of lemon ice and parlay this into a lyric quiz theme, yes?  All of the clips below are from songs dealing with the topics of snow, ice, winter, numbed extremities, freezing to death, etc.

Hopefully I’m able to send this in the morning and am not still sitting here. (Note: see update above.) 

1. “Love is a bird, she needs to fly, let all the hurt inside you die ” (late ’90s) 

2. “From the coastline to the city, all the little pretties raise their hands” (mid-’70s)

3. “Seasons change with their scenery, weaving time in a tapestry” (mid ’60s, late ’80s)

4. “We, used to be, just like twins, so in sync” (late ’00s)

5. “You’re digging for gold yet throwing away, a fortune in feelings but someday you’ll pay” (early ’70s)

6. “Step from the road to the sea to the sky, and I do believe that we rely on” (mid-’00s)

7. “Well, maybe just a cigarette more … Oh, never such a blizzard before” (early ’60s)

8. “I’m the burning bush, I’m the burning fire, I’m the bleeding volcano” (early ’80s)

9. “Gonna take her home cause she’s over romancing, don’t wanna hold hands and talk about her plans alright” (mid-’00s)

10. “She bit my lip and drank my warmth, from years before, from years before” (mid-’00s)

Answers to Friday Lyric Quiz #469 [Hits of 2013]

1. “I put it in park and grabbed my guitar, and strummed a couple chords and sang from the heart”
Cruise, Florida Georgia Line f/ Nelly

2. “I just know I know I know I know that you’re gonna be OK anyway”
The Wire, Haim

3. “Remember only God can judge ya, forget the haters, ’cause somebody loves ya”
We Can’t Stop, Miley Cyrus

4. “The present has no ribbon. Your gift keeps on giving.”
Get Lucky, Daft Punk f/ Pharrell

5. “Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room”
Royals, Lorde

6. “Pop culture was in art, now art’s in pop culture in me”
Applause, Lady Gaga

7. “A constellation of tears on your lashes, burn everything you love, then burn the ashes”
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up), Fall Out Boy

8. “What do they make dreams for, when you got them jeans on”
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke f/ Pharrell and T.I.

9. “Oh, tear ducts and rust, I’ll fix it for us, we’re collecting dust, but our love’s enough”
Just Give me a Reason, Pink f/ Nate Ruess

10. “Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes, I went from zero, to my own hero”
Roar, Katy Perry

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I :heart: NY (In Which I Miss My Chance to Take a Greyhound on the Hudson Riverline)

What’s this?  A blog?  The things I’ll resort to when stuck solo at Newark Airport for two-plus hours (finally posting this almost a week later as I was waiting on buddy Sendil to upload his pictures for my own personal use). I started writing a Facebook status about my favorite moments about my recent New York trip, but it became bloated for a status update. I thought a short blog would be more appropriate.

1. Dining al fresco at Pure Food and Wine. The food — raw and vegan — wasn’t anything amazing on the palette, but the cozy table for three in a surprisingly serene garden was perfection. The crisp rosé didn’t hurt.

2. Meeting various Howard Stern staffers. The catalyst for this trip was that my dear friend Sendil won the opportunity to tour the Howard Stern studios and sit in on the after show — the ‘Wrap Up Show.’ In addition to catching a rare, split-second glimpse of a gruff King of All Media, we met all the back-office crew, including some of my faves — Benjy Bronk, Jason Kaplan, Sal Governale, and JD Harmeyer, who stammered as much to me about Cincinnati geography as he does to Howard about his love life. Everyone was far nicer than they needed to be, and I will remember the morning always. Hey now!

With Steve Brandano

Self-described cougar hater Steve Brandano hates being this close to a 38-year-old.

3. Sing Sing karaoke. You pass around a wireless mic and everyone just sings along in supportive fashion while sitting along the bar. You buy tickets for each song you want to sing, which keeps things fair. It was a great crowd, we had a fantastic and enthusiastic bartender, and the songs sung included Hanson, The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Proclaimers. (Thanks to Molly for the recommendation!  One day, I hope to venture here together.)

3. Playing Sunday afternoon ping pong at a subterranean dive bar in the West Village. Ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, and pool tables were lively, while a guy in the background played jazz piano. Craft beer flowed from the taps, and wine was served out of low balls. What’s best, I felt like the only tourist there.

4. Central Park carousel. There was no one who wasn’t a tourist here, obviously, but the day was beautiful, the music was oddly quirky (Mary Chapin Carpenter, calliope style), and at $3, it’s the best tourist-trappy deal in Manhattan.

Central Park Carousel

Round and round (what comes around, goes around, I’ll tell you why-y-y-y)

5. Lucking into Book of Mormon tickets. Having bought tickets to the Chicago performance two years ago, only to miss the performance due to a shellfish reaction, I never thought I’d end up seeing this show. But asking at the box office six hours before the Saturday evening performance yielded a box seat.  Even Gary Dell’Abate said this was a miracle.

6.  Realizing that I love Chicago. One of my life’s biggest regrets is not moving to New York City right out of college.  Back then, I was used to roommates and ramen and limited living space. By the time I came to another life’s crossroads, I’d gotten used to my 800 square-foot apartment for $450 a month, and didn’t think I could appropriately downsize. New York is bustling and happening and great and unlike any other American city, but Chicago’s pretty fantastic, too. And more my pace. So as I sit here, tired and sad to have this trip in the rear view, I’m also happy to be headed back home.

Thanks, Sendil, for a very memorable trip!

Thanks, Sendil, for a very memorable trip!

The Secrets of an Extended Stay

Well, well, well, I got a new full-time job. It’s exciting and new, but strangely familiar, as I took a different — hopefully better — gig with my old company (1997 – 2008) and will report to one of my former bosses. Even more flattering? The Cincinnati-based company recruited me from Chicago, which means they really value my skills but also means I will be frequenting the Queen City more often than I used to.

Which is fine.

I like it here, I have friends here from years past, and the beers are cheap.

I’m here right now for a month and am staying in an Extended Stay hotel. It’s clean, it’s close to the office, and the shower’s water pressure is surprisingly satisfying. And yet, I must admit, it’s a tad depressing. There are fellow business people here, but also people who appear to be shacked up indefinitely. I saw one room from the parking lot where a mother and small daughter had evidently hauled in in a wire shelving unit to hold piles and piles and piles of clothes.

Sigh.

Here are other things I’ve learned in my 24 hours here:

1. Bring or buy your own coat hangers. My room had four. For a place that charges by the week.

2. You might want to bring your own towels. This isn’t the Ritz. Ditto body wash, hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner. This isn’t the Hampton Inn.

3. A ‘fully equipped kitchen’ means one skillet, one pot, two plates, a small fridge, a sink no bigger than the one on airplanes, bowls large enough to hold one Frosted Mini-Wheat, no oven, and a colander.

3a. If buying wine for said small fridge, get screw-top, because there isn’t a corkscrew. And snag a wineglass or two if you’re particular about such things. I? Am not.

4. Go ahead and bring/buy some: dishwashing detergent, Clorox wipes, paper towels, hand soap (for the kitchen if not the bathroom as well).

Now, I’m not sure how many people use the ‘fully equipped kitchen,’ but it was important to me.  It’s not healthy to eat every meal out, nor is it economical for my company. And I figured my new/old job in my new/old city (temporarily) would be a good chance to kick off on achieving my new/old body. When I left Cincinnati in 2001, I weighed about 15 pounds less than I do now. If I keep up this impressive 15-lbs-per-decade pace, I will not be living my Golden Girls life to the fullest.

So I swung by Trader Joe’s last night after checking in and picked up some provisions. Fizzy water, tea bags, wine (see above), raw oatmeal. And for dinners I aimed for simplicity. Tonight was veggies stir-fried with a touch of curry sauce served over Quinoa.

And this feast came after a lovely walk in the park. Oh yeah. Also on the ‘pro’ side of this Extended Stay hotel? It’s a five-minute drive to a beautiful park with a 2.6-mile jogging loop that provides dusk-time glimpses such as this:

And a visit with this little guy:

So it’s not all bad. I’m excited by the prospective challenges of my new job, I look forward to some time spent with long-distance friends, and while I miss Chicago, maybe I’ll be looking a little bit trimmer when I return. Just in time for lake season. (Note: I go to the lake like once a year).