Last night I had a dream that I was starring as Batman in a new Batman movie that involves some fictitious islands off the coast of British Columbia and a secluded town in Alaska and I kept forgetting my lines and making Michael Keaton really frustrated (he was playing the maybe-he's-a-good-guy-maybe-he's-a-bad-guy that Batman meets up with in Alaska) and while we were shooting I had a moment where I was like "DANGIT I STILL HAVE LADY EYEBROWS AND BATMAN CAN'T HAVE THOSE" so I was like "I'll have to fix that tomorrow" and then during an action chase scene we were filming I was using blue construction paper instead of a rope to repel from and the director was like "you need to find a more realistic rope" so that was frustrating and then near the end of the day of shooting I realized I wasn't doing my deep Batman voice very consistently throughout the filming. Also, for some reason I was in charge of drawing the maps of the fake islands for the movie, too, and everything I came up with looked really, really bad. 

What could this mean? Do I feel like I have to be a superhero lately but also juggle a bunch of different time-consuming things akin to cartography and set-design and props that altogether don't really make sense? Am I trying to anchor myself with the equivalent of flimsy construction paper? Do I subconsciously just really want to meet Michael Keaton? Should I shave my eyebrows off? This is what happens when I actually get 8 hours of sleep on a weekday. 



If you thought your weekend was wild, I spent mine fooling around on Illustrator and making a bunch of patterns of food. Yes, this is a thing. And I've been enjoying all of my doodling of late so much that I thought I'd start sharing some of the stuff I make here, along with all of the other oddities that typically populate this space. So, on this most serendipitous of Tuesdays, I present to you: Tacos Muchos.  



I don't know about you, but there's nothing like the start of a new year or the rest of the world acting like it's the end of the world to make me reassess my life. And what I have assessed most recently is something I never needed to reassess in the first place, but I just felt like talking about anyway, and that thing is filling your life with good music. 

Good. Solid. Music. 

No, I'm not talking about the latest hit on REAL HITZ 2DAY Radio, or trendy folksy things that make you seem really deep and sensitive, or anything written by Max Martin (so basically every catchy song you've had stuck in your head recently) (sorry Max). I'm talking about 80'S MUSIC. Say what you want, but the music created in the 80s (and much of the 70s) is magical. Just straight up magical. I'm tearing up as I write this (not really, but I could be, and that's the point). It was what music was before the song machine started mass-producing hits. Back when the majority of popular musicians actually were musicians and wrote their own songs, and their goal wasn't to mind control everyone with the catchy hook in their song that was written by a team of twelve people using statistics and robots to manufacture music that is engineered to be popular. Back when a group called Men at Work never "worked worked worked worked worked."

The songs of the 80s were full of beautiful melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and some sixth sense magic that either make you feel many feels or make you feel like you can roundhouse kick anything in the face. 80s music is like my soul food music. It's the freshly-baked never-ending batch of chocolate chip cookies after a hard day, the chicken soup for my post-graduate soul, the mac and cheese that I will eat at any hour of the day simply because it is so good. Is there a little cheese? You bet there is. And that's part of why it's so great.

I would give my left arm to be able to turn the dial to the "Today's Hits" radio station and hear music like this. If all of the artists out there were just waiting for me to say this in order to proceed with making music that is actually good, there. I said it. NOW PLEASE GO MAKE IT AND ENJOY MY ARM YOU CANNIBALS. In the meantime, here are 5 songs I've been listening to that I am of the opinion just make everything a little bit better. 

1. "Never" by Heart

To people who didn't think girl power was a thing back in the day, meet the Wilson sisters. And by meet, I mean go watch the video to this song, listen to the rest of their songs, and just bask in their collective glory. While all of their songs are worthy of a mention, this one in particular is on the list because of just how re-playable it is. This song is appropriate for every situation. Need to feel empowered after someone breaks your heart? Need some energy after a lethargic morning in the office? Need the perfect song to celebrate to after completely destroying a test? Having a bad hair day and want to feel like a guitar-wielding 80s goddess? Transporting your great-aunt's casket in a hearse to the cemetery? Blast. It. (Well, maybe not really in the last case, since that would be inappropriate. Unless she really loved Heart. Because then I think it would be inappropriate not to.) 

2. "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel 

I know all of you are like, "Oh, yeah, Peter Gabriel--that guy who started Genesis and was replaced by Phil Collins after he left the band. I know his stuff," but in case you didn't say that, Peter Gabriel is the guy who started Genesis and was replaced by Phil Collins after he left the band. Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, THIS SONG. I LOVE THIS SONG. Everything about it. If I had a spa, this song would be on repeat. At my spa. Why? It just feels right. Listen to this and feel your troubles melt away. Literally. Make sure you have a bowl to catch them. Or a towel. 

3. "Baby I'm-a Want You" by Bread

First, you should already be wanting to listen to this purely because it is sung by Bread. It's not every day you get to hear bread sing, as it is primarily seen toasting, crumbling, and generally being pretty quiet. What really makes this song for me is the falsetto jump at the end of each verse. It just gets me, you know? Oh, and the sheer weirdness of saying "Baby I'm a Want You." The grammar nazi within me wants to time travel back to when Bread was coming up with this song and barge in with a big eraser and force them to make their song make sense, but then the nonconformist within me enjoys their blatant disregard for convention. Because like, whoa, maybe they're trying to say that you can't make sense out of something like love? That a feeling like wanting someone makes words meaningless? Wow. I knew bread was a complex carb, but that's something else. (Also, I know this was written in the 70s. Not the 80s. Sue me.)

4. "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston

I will forever be mystified by how every dance-inducing song that comes out today has to be either super sexual or made up of gibberish words and neolithic grunts that, unbeknownst to me, are probably the exact same noises that signaled man's discovery of fire. I mourn the lost days when Whitney Houston was in her prime, when music could make everyone within a mile radius want to dance and feel uplifted in that dancing instead of objectified or just really, really gross. This song always manages to instantly makes me feel ten times more productive than I am, makes me bob my head back and forth like a jazzy seal, and generally just makes life feel like one big step-aerobics class. Which is a good thing. Throw in that the music video for this song looks like a nightmarish episode of Reading Rainbow, in a good way, and I just don't think it can get any better.

5. "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross

Feeling lethargic on your morning commute? Need some confidence before you burst into your class to give the presentation of your life? Just want to feel cooler when walking? This is the song for you. And if all of the other elements of this song weren't great enough, MICHAEL MCDONALD KEEPS POPPING UP IN THE BACKGROUND. MICHAEL OLD MCDONALD. What more could you want? I would pay Michael (we're on a first name basis) a pretty sum of money to just pop up in the background of my life and sing with that voice of his. And the line "And I've got such a long way to go/To make it to the border of Mexico" evokes the spirit of Robert Frost's "But I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep," and if there's nothing I like more than classic American poetry, it's random songs from this era that I can outlandishly compare to classic American poetry. 

Also, talking about Michael McDonald just now made me realize this song needs to be included too. So I'll just leave this here, and you can thank me later. Or now. Whichever works for you. I can wait. 



The North Pole. Christmas Eve. A large group of reindeer is gathered and standing completely still in a snowy glen. Rudolph approaches, cautiously.

Rudolph: Hey guys. So, now that you all love me and everything, I was wondering if you would let me play some of your reindeer games. Could I?

Comet: Yeah, sure, pal. We’d love for you to join in.

Rudolph: Oh man, I am so excited! Seriously, you don’t know how long I’ve waited to be a part of this. This really is a dream come true for me.

Donner: Oh, we know.

Rudolph: So, uh, well, I’m ready to play! What are the reindeer games?

Vixen: We’re playing one right now.

Rudolph: You…you are? What is it called?

Blitzen: “Stand as still as possible.” I think I’m winning.

Rudolph: Oh, well, that sounds…fun? Um, what are some of the other ones you play?

Dasher: Hmm…well, this is the one we play most often, but sometimes we play this one where we put as many gingerbread men in our mouths as we can.

Rudolph: But aren’t reindeer allergic to gingerbread?

Dasher: Exactly.

Rudolph: *blank stare*

Cupid: But there are other games. Like, the one where we just stare at each other while trying to stay balanced on our right legs.

Dancer: Or there was that one year we shaved mohawks on each other!

Comet: Or when we drew straws to see who would eat those strange berries we found!

Dasher: Poor Herman.

Rudolph: Herman? I don’t remember him.

Vixen: Well, that’s because of the berries.

Rudolph: *sweating* Oh, wow. Um, so…do you ever play Duck Duck Goose, or Monopoly? Bocce Ball? I wouldn’t mind a nice game of Bocce Ball right now. Ha ha ha…..

Comet: Nope, never heard of them.

Prancer: I really like the game where we race to the iceberg, and then bury whoever finishes last in the snow.

Rudolph: How long do they stay buried?

Prancer: Well, if we remember to get them out, not very long, but sometimes we forget to, and well, in that case, we just hire a new reindeer. Not a big deal.

Dancer: Oh oh oh ! Let’s play that one right now! 3, 2, 1—

Rudolph: No, guys, wait! I don’t want t—

Dancer: GO!

Moral of the story: It is far better to be left out than get buried in a snow drift. 



Hey. So I did a thing that you might get upset about, but here it is. I renamed all of your favorite Christmas songs with lines of their own lyrics to turn them into the tracks of a soulful, R&B Christmas album you can listen to by the fire with that special someone. So, here it is. 

As Long as You Love Me So

The Highest Bow

Christmasing with You 

An Open Fire

The Eskimo Way

Where the Lovelight Gleams

Naughty or Nice

Sentimental Feeling

Kiss Her Once for Me

The Ones I Used to Know

Just Holding your Hand 

Things for You and for Me

Bonus Track: Justin Bieber's Mistletoe