When I created my YouTube account, I had spent very little time browsing the website to get a taste of everything it had to offer.
My initial feeling about YouTube was that it encouraged people to behave like reality TV stars, to exploit themselves, their families, and even their pets, in hopes of gaining a large following.
With that perception in mind, I joined the site as a means to promote my artwork, after reading a business-related article that basically stated, “YouTube is the future [for your business]“…
The same article recommended having a Facebook fanpage (I had to create a personal page first!) …and what the heck, might as well sign up for MySpace too, even though it was a glittering ghost-town by the time I registered my name in 2009.
I was no stranger to the internet, however. I designed my first personal website in 1998 ~ a crazy little corner of the web where I shared my writing and drawings, with a large dose of off-the-wall humor that only two silly high-school girls would appreciate. The Ghost of The Pot Roast??
I also participated in computer-RPG gaming forums, online reading groups, and played around in FurryMUCK (animal role-playing).
But promoting “myself” through what would eventually be known as social media was a foreign concept to me. I mean, my website was only visited by a few close friends ~ my father was one of, perhaps, 10 people who signed my guest book, which had an animated .GIF of toilet paper unrolling across the page.
Even though I grasped the key elements of SEO (hey, I had meta descriptions and image alt tags; I was THAT good!), still Google virtually ignored my homage to haunted toilets and hairy chests.
Ebay was 3-years-old, and growing by leaps and bounds, but apparently there wasn’t a huge demand for ways to “Kill Them with Cheese Crackers” (the title of an unfinished play we’d written).
But returning to YouTube… the very first video that I favorited was a music video, Coquette, starring a childhood classmate, Libby, who fronts the Baltimore-based electro-punk band, Lazerbitch.
And predictably my Favorites feed is littered with silly cat videos, from the iPad cat meme to the controversial “Whack-a-Kitty”… not to forget the cuteness overload of the Meow Meow Lullaby, sung by Nada Surf.
Somewhere along the road, I discovered the popularity of cover songs by aspiring singers. You can find practically any song uploaded to YouTube, both in the original format and hundreds of cover versions performed by artists of varying degrees of talent.
I stumbled upon an entire community of excellent vocalists, self-promoting themselves, in hopes of “being discovered” as the next Justin Beiber or Rebecca Black. And quite honestly, many of them are better singers than those two combined. :OP
I figured out how to subscribe to those singers whose careers I wanted to follow… and soon my e-mail inbox was being flooded with the latest uploads from FirstTenor76, KendraPM16, BelovedStar18, and Jekkize, among others….
One of Jekkize’s recent covers caught the attention of my inner-gaming-geek… the theme song to Skyrim, the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda Softworks. The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, which won Game of the Year in 2002, became somewhat of an obsession for me a few years back.
I haven’t played Skyrim yet. I’m still a newbie character in ES4: Oblivion. After resolving to focus on art as a hobby AND a career, the desire to play video games has diminished.
But I still feel part of the community, the world, of Tamriel ~ its history, prophesies, political and religious unrest, and the futures of all the characters I’ve interacted with over the years.
The game is more than a game… the continuing saga of the Empire’s internal struggles, and tentative hold on its provinces, has become an epic story every bit as engaging as any popular fantasy series to make the Bestseller List.
I’m particularly fond of the soundtrack score, composed by Jeremy Soule. The theme to Morrowind ~ Nerevar Rising ~ is still ranked among my favorite pieces of music.
Whereas the Elder Scrolls III soundtrack is only 40 minutes total in length, and Oblivion’s lasted barely an hour, Jeremy wrote over 3 hours of music for Skyrim (on 4 CDs), including a theme song with actual lyrics, titled “Dragonborn” (which includes a strain from Morrowind’s theme).
This was the news that sent me into such a tizzy ~ there had never been lyrics for any of the Elder Scrolls themes before!
YouTube was on fire with cover artists singing in the Dragon tongue which game creators had written specifically for Skyrim.
Jekkize’s cover song led me on an adventure through uncharted waters, eventually winding up at this masterful bit of musical engineering from Peter Hollens:
Peter is known for recording music using ONLY his voice, including all the instrumentals. Although on the Skyrim cover, he partnered with violinist Lindsey Stirling… he also uploaded an a cappella version without her accompaniment. He also sings duets with his wife, Evynne, whose voice is equally gorgeous.
25-year-old Lindsey Stirling is enchanting to the ears (and eyes, LOL) as well, and that violin truly sings in her hands. I laughed out loud to see her performance as Link (in a Legend of Zelda medley)… but all her music videos are breathtaking. Including this one, a Phantom of the Opera medley, performed flawlessly with accompaniment by a rock band.
Pssst, Lindsey, you need to record a Cats medley sometime! ;O)
Perhaps one day I’ll dedicate more time to promoting my own YouTube channel. I’d love to experiment with stop-motion animation to truly bring my Regency Cats to life ~ seeing Mr. Darcy Cat walking and talking would be the cat’s pajamas!
On Tuesday, I forced myself to take a critical look at my wardrobe… and weed out anything in my closet that I haven’t worn in the last twelve months.
Barring costumes, of course, which I haven’t had an opportunity to wear lately. But I will!!! In fact, I’m making room for more Regency dresses….
I shared the ill-fated nightgowns and t-shirts with friends on Facebook, who had a good chuckle remembering the horrific ensembles I wore in high school. Spandex pants were sooo not cool in the mid-90′s.
Although they seemed shocked to see some items included which didn’t make the grade ~
Like this T-shirt featuring the cast of Taming of the Shrew, from my freshman year in Drama:
I played Bianca, the beautiful younger sister of The Shrew. I had two of these identical shirts… and really only need one as a souvenir.
The Phantom of the Opera tee was a surprise, even to me, but I honestly haven’t worn it in ages. I was half-tempted to add my Sunset Boulevard shirt AND my X-Files tee into the pile, neither of which have seen the light of day in awhile.
But they both received a temporary reprieve, until I need additional space in my closet.
Same goes for this shirt:
“It’s a Theatre Thing” …. on the back, it reads “You Wouldn’t Understand”.
I’ve loved this shirt, which was purchased at the state drama competition in Huntington, WV, in 1997.
We didn’t win that year, but I received a cool trophy, induction into the All-State Cast, and the validation I craved. This shirt reminds me of the “high times” from high school.
Another cast shirt from my first freshman performance at Berkeley Springs High:
The director, Joe Santoro, loved my audition for “The Reluctant Dragon” so much, he re-wrote the character of the little boy who befriends the dragon…. as a little girl. Just for me.
And he asked me to choose a name for my character; I named her Alice. Not in deference to Lewis Carroll, although the girl-meets-dragon story would have been an appropriate comparison.
No, it was entirely personal. “Alice” was the code-name of a boy I liked…. which was very mild, compared to the crazy code-names that Carolyn and I invented for my later crushes: Peanut Butter, Blue Mascara, and Caterpillar, to name a few. LOL
Speaking of Peanut Butter. The first time I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with fellow BSHS student (and current WV Young Republicans’ chairman), Conrad Lucas, was in this production; he starred as my very Reluctant Dragon.
Reluctant to learn his lines anyway…. he ad-libbed 85% of his material, forcing me to learn a harsh lesson in show business:
Another article that hangs in my closet for purely sentimental reasons, is this gym shirt from the private grade school I attended in Bowie, Maryland.
(And I still wear the gym shorts!)
I’ve also kept one of the uniforms I wore in junior high… because you never know when you might need a school-girl uniform, right?!
I’ve held onto it as a reminder of my past, a small memento of that former life that always appeared rosy-hued and unfocused in my mind…
Of course, now we have Facebook. And classmates who post embarrassing pictures of us from 4th grade. My memories are becoming less and less rosy-hued. ;D
One of the things I remember most dearly about my childhood in Bowie, were those countless hours spent at my best friend Heather’s house.
Her mother was THE Poster Mom for stay-at-home parents everywhere.
I can still picture her, wearing her trademark jumper and blouse… cooking healthy meals from scratch, sewing dresses and costumes for Heather, keeping up with the laundry and household chores (their home always looked immaculate! You could eat her pasta straight off the floor…), carpooling a minivan-ful of kids to and from school/dance/piano/sports practice, and somehow keeping track of us (and her sons’ friends) …. all the while maintaining a relationship with her husband.
I think I envied her sewing skills the most, a talent she passed onto her daughter. Unfortunately, our close association over the years wasn’t enough to ensure even a basic understanding of sewing in me.
However, when Heather would weed through her own closet, I would occasionally get the handmade hand-me-downs, including this floral skirt:
Originally it was paired with a cute matching jacket which Heather outgrew in the early 90′s… and I outgrew a few years later… (she was blessed early with a woman’s figure, heehee)
I’m hoping that it’s still packed away somewhere, as I would hate to think I’d lost this skirt’s life-partner.
I haven’t worn this skirt since high school, however it has a permanent hanger in my closet. Perhaps I’ll pass it down to Lydia and Mia when they’re old enough to wear it, because that is the true beauty of handmade things.
I can still squeeze into it, despite the lack of an elastic waistband. LOL
Now that my closet has a bit of wiggle room to accommodate new items I might chance upon, I can only wonder: Which brand-new garments will eventually become treasured keepsakes?
Someday. Every single piece of clothing in my closet will tell its own story.