I am substantially sleep-deprived, I haven’t eaten what constitutes as a true “meal” in almost two days, and my god, there is just so much crap to sort through.
I think this calls for a MID-TWENTIES TEMPER TANTRUM. WOOOOOOO!
No, wait! Don’t go! I’m better now. I just had a really fantastic moment or two after I misplaced my keys amidst all the crap needing to be sorted and whacked the shit out of my knee (I swear, I have Achilles Knee). So of course I thought I should document it on my blog, so that one day I can come back to this entry and laugh! Laugh is totally the right word. Right?
Ridiculous humidity: check. General discombobulation caused by re-entry into Central Time Zone: check. Flat corn and soy grids: check. Inexplicable urge to visit all Lincoln-related historic sites: check.
Just a reminder, what other people think of you is none of your business.
Hello readers. Here are the facts. I’m gonna state ’em: my car is much happier now that it’s had its tires balanced. Pie and ice-cream movie nights are pretty superb. I wish I owned fewer things. Sometimes I am all but swallowed whole by my own weird nostalgia. There is baby kale just sitting in my fridge waiting to be eaten, but full-grown flash-chilled/frozen kale tastes much better anyway and where is the time, huh? I feel like a serious doucher every time I say any words that are of Japanese origin using the pronunciation and inflections I learned during my four years of language study. I feel clever for using the term “fancy piece of stringed lumber” in reference to my cello. I PRACTICED YESTERDAY (big accomplishment). Luke Wilson does not look as handsomely good with buck teeth, BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE HE WAS ON THE X-FILES.
I know, I know. It’s actually Cover Thursday this week. Apologies.
Let’s start with: you probably wouldn’t think I’m a Tori Amos-listening person based on the other things I listen to, or in general just looking at me (or maybe you would, but when I look at me the way I think other people look at me, you wouldn’t). But she was a big musical thing for me back several years, especially in high school (for which I blame Renata). This is something I’ve started blogging about numerous times and has yet to make it to a published entry, but I highly enjoy song lyrics that are abstract and word-painting-y and don’t necessarily tell a story but rather allude to happenings and ideas. The kind of song lyrics in which literal interpretation of words is hardly useful. That kind of whimsical stuff. And Tori Amos is the master of this kind of word-use, and for this I love her. I mean, come on. Cornflake Girl? Space Dog? Seeeeriously. Also, she is a piano-playing madwoman. She was kicked out of the Peabody School around age 10 or 11, if I recall correctly, for not adhering to classical performance standards, and her skills are quite evident in the meandering improvs or the extreme and crazy solos, that are always somehow rhythmically driven and balanced, but never in a boring or repetitive way. Moreover, I like the sounds and textures she accomplishes, not just with the piano as a solo instrument but with all the other keyboard instruments in live and studio works (please see the album Boys for Pele for the use of organ and harpsichord, plus a lot of brass instruments and some excellent computer-engineered beats. This album remains one of my favorite, ever). In fact, the most amazing live show I have ever been to was Ben Folds and Tori Amos touring together during their Lotta Pianos tour ’round 2003. Boy oh freakin’ boy, was that a show to see. Unlike the live video linked above, Tori had her band backing her and sat on a swiveling stool that enabled her to go back and forth between her Korg and her Bösendorfer at a moment’s notice. She truly has, shall we say, a stage “presence” (Those are really sarcastic air quotes, the real term is probably “she is slightly insane and enjoys sharing this with an audience.” I stumbled upon a clip of her on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and he’s trying to ask her honest-to-god interesting, relevant, non-stupid questions, and for one of these questions she stares at him blankly for a moment and dumps her mug of water onto the floor. Your guess is as good as mine).
Woo, tangent. Anyway. What I really was trying to make a point of was sound. I think she has an ear for the potential of sounds, especially when it comes to the subtle (or not so subtle) use of electronics or amplification equipment. Which could easily be supported by this b-side track covering Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9. It is bad-ass, and not just because she’s a ridiculously talented performer, but also because she’s running her freaking Bösendorfer through a MARSHALL AMP WTF. Do you enjoy pianos with extreme distortion and feedback?! Me too. Behold.
Also note the improv on Greensleeves at the end.
My love for Tori Amos has waned somewhat since probably the middle of undergraduate studies. I think over the course of time I have lessened my pretentious need to find meaning in nonsense (I still think that crap is cool, or at least I would hope so if I’ve been attempting to write blog entries about it over the course of several months, but I definitely got a little carried away attempting to find minuscule and selfish meaning in obscure and nonsensical strings of words, more-so with Tori’s music than perhaps anyone else’s). Also, the fact that she is certifiably Cray Cray and no longer really looks like a normal human being. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been pretty ambivalent about her more recent albums, at least since Scarlet’s Walk, anyway. But a part of me will always love her and her ridiculousness (For real. Just go listen to Boys for Pele. There is something for everyone in that album).
It’s just that I’ve been so busy doing things like packing and graduating and eating ridiculous amounts of food and trying to make summer arrangements and not sleeping and visiting family and watching The X-Files and WOULD YOU LIKE FOR ME TO CONTINUE?
I’m currently with my family in Central NY. This morning I woke up, ran to the top of Starr Hill and back down, watched Rose-Breasted Grossbeaks feeding, sifted compost and helped to plant tomatoes and squash, and ate baby kale that is growing around the garden as a WEED with proscuitto and feta cheese (with some surprise spruce twigs — oops). I’ve also been playing with the latest canine addition to the household, a French Brittany (maybe?) named Poppy. Can’t I just stay here forever? And ignore the remaining packing and cleaning and relocating?
If there’s one thing I wish I could take back with me to Illinois when I’m so far from my family here and this region, it’s the summer-time smell up in the hills. There’s nothing like it, anywhere. The smell of sweet, wild grasses on the breeze. It’s the first thing I recognize every time I come back up here in the warmer months. Also, the view. It’s a mighty fine one.
In the same 80’s vein as the last post, here is something else to tantalize the senses. Oh. Yeah.
Also, I am so serious about Cover Mondays. It’s going to be super-great.
In far more important things, I just moved from one apartment to another a year ago. Why is it that I’m already moving agaaaaaain aaaaagggh?!
The plan, at this point, is that my parents (who came for graduation and then escaped to the hills for a couple days of relaxation) are headed here tomorrow to take at least half of all my crap back to Illinois with them. And then they’ll come back in about a week for the rest of it, and I will move out pretty much for good. And of course, I have packed basically nothing for the first moving session. GO ME.
And of course I’m blogging.
The thing that always hits me the hardest each time I move is how many damn partner-less SOCKS I end up with. I don’t understand how I lose that many single socks. There’s got to be some karmic sock-elf that comes and steals them away one-by-one, every time I shirk practicing responsibilities, or something.
Anyway, it’s going to be a late night. Don’t be surprised to encounter some further psychotic late-night blogging.
EVERYTHING IS FINE. NOTHING IS BROKEN. No. Seriously.
In other fun and decidedly not-Sad Sally news, I declare Mondays to be COVER MONDAYS.
Let’s start here, with the original song:
This video makes me all kinds of happy. The sound are just so…80’s. Those synth sounds belong to that decade and that decade alone. As well as that synth octave-jumping bass. I’m yet again a bit ashamed of how much I like this song in the same way that I’m a little ashamed of liking Röyksopp. Or Toto (SHHHH. DON’T. TELL. MY SISTER!). Because everything about it is just so…poppish. It’s also possible I’m so taken with the video because of how awesome I think it would be to have some er, kind of hunky Norwegian guy (Yes, A-ha, like Röyksopp, are of Norwegian fame. Damn Norway and its pop music) pull me into a comic book to take part in some extreme wacky antics. But anyway.
Here is the cover, done by A.C. Newman (of The New Pornographers), and man, is it one hell of a cover. It’s a timely discovery, since I’m recently finding myself getting much more into The New Pornographers.
I should start using categories. Or tags. Or both. What’s the difference, anyway?
I’m pretty pleased with this new-found understanding of php and the infamous WordPress Loop. I FEEL SMRT. I also feel like if I put my mind to it and perhaps exerted effort, I could better master css and html in general and not have what I am pretty sure is a year-2000 ability in web-page construction/design/junk. Though I do keep discovering minor idiotic problems here and there. Oops. I am pretty happy I fixed the dumb-ass lower-case entry titles. That was really bugging the crap out of me.
I don’t know. It’s Friday night. Friday night should officially be “songs that are that much more awesome when played LIVE” night.
So here you go.
I’ve always really really liked They Might Be Giants, but never had a rampant obsession with them or anything. But every once in a while, I discover a song of theirs that is just, oh, so good. This happens to be one of those songs. I theorize that the combination of accordion, tuba and crazy guitar is what makes the live version so cosmically enjoyable. And thus I have been done in. Am did in. Done’d in.
Finally! After many hours of toiling and realizing that I was missing one important line of code, we have blog layout! Just a note that I realize things are not perfect. For instance, there aren’t yet corresponding pages to the top links (I’m workin’ on it!). Or the fact that the side-bar placement and usability is dumb (i.e., text doesn’t wrap around it and if there is less text in an entry than there is side-bar material, things get weird and clunky). Or the fact that entry titles in individual entry pages appear in all lowercase (which, by the way, wtf). So if you want to leave a comment about something not working (*cough Ryan cough*), please do so! Because I am indeed aware of some stuff. But probably not all of the dumb things.
I have to be honest, I’m really not 100% convinced by this layout. It’s pretty much the same design as my old blog hosted on Blogger with some tweaks, but somehow feels clunky and illogical. In this case, though, I feel like this layout success is more about the process than it is the produce. Now that I’ve wrapped my brain around the very complicated process of putting a layout together from scratch in WordPress, I may try for something a little more fluid or current. Or even just continue to tweak this one.
I must be finished with school because my body has officially thrown in the towel. I woke up this morning feeling a little like I had a lead weight attached to each of my limbs, two attached to my head. Plus a minutely scratchy throat.
I expected it. Every time I have a big stressful deadline and cease to sleep like a normal human-being and consume things I know are not doing my body any favors, that deadline comes and goes and as soon as I relax my body gets hit with whatever dumb thing is currently “in” and plaguing people. So here I am.
But what really gets me is the weather. This cold, windy, rainy, shitty weather is no help. There are potential snow showers in the forecast between tonight and the morning. And it’s May. And, okay, I will say that I am pretty sad to be leaving Rochester and am trying to relish every moment I have left. But by jove, I can’t wait to get away from the shit weather. I’ve tried to rationalize during the last two years that, oh, it’s not so bad! It’s just a little cloudier than I’m used to! And a bit colder! And a fuck-ton snowier! And the summer months are totally worth the pain!
But those are lies. The weather here can go ahead and jump up my butt.
Anyway. I have finished all work relating to school, possibly ever. Rejoice.
*edit* I AM OFFICIALLY REQUESTING WEATHER JUMP UP MY BUTT.
My God, this remains my favorite thing, pretty much ever. If I was stranded on a dessert island and could take one music video with me, hands down I would choose to take this one.
As for why I occasionally question myself or sometimes even feel guilty for going crazy over certain electronic-y, dance club-y music…I blame my parents*. Wait. No. I blame going to a music conservatory where it sometimes feels secretly, quietly DIRTY to enjoy pop music. Especially pop music that errs on the side of commercial.
Also. I’ve been thinking about it lately, and have realized that as a listener and as a musician, I naturally gravitate towards sounds, textures and I guess atmospheres than I do towards musical line itself. Part of this is probably due to how bass-oriented I’ve become over the years, with not only cello but a lot of jazz bass causing me to listen lower, and consequently, more into the percussive side of sounds. While I no longer retain my impressive (AND FRETLESS) bass-playing skills, I’ve come away from that semi-intensive jazz background with new ways of listening that I’m pretty sure will never abandon me. Actually playing the role of the bass within a rhythm section and a large ensemble has changed the perceive what’s going on around said bass. It allows me to hear textures and sounds and lines much differently than I might if I concentrated my listening more on the most noticeable and solo-focused parts of music. Unfortunately for me, I think because I’m so concerned with this particular sound-world, I have some issues with the musical line/singing world when it comes to playing an instrument. It’s certainly one of the reasons I’ve always struggled to sing through or create long lines and be really musical in that way on the cello, and have excelled in the more texture-related articulation and bow-stroke departments.
So there we go.
All that said, I definitely go for more textural things in the music I enjoy listening to as well as playing. I enjoy minimalist music, maybe a lot. And I enjoy repetitive, texturally imaginative and vast music, a lot. Which then means that sometimes I hear pop music that to my naked ear seems loud, brash, directionless and annoying. And I end up liking it more than I feel is okay (by which I guess I could say “a lot”). That’s not to say that this kind of electronic music I enjoy lacks musical line or the kind of suspended beauty that opera of vocal music possesses, certainly not. But I do believe that with the potential of electronic and computer noises, this sort of pop music lends itself more exploration of sound-worlds as a focus. Which I just can’t keep away from.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I like sounds. And pop music.
*My parents are both classically trained performers and it’s a way of life for them. I grew up surrounded by and listening to a lot of classical music, which maybe explains why I don’t listen to all that much of it in my spare time now, as I honestly may still be recovering from some burn-out. A few years after I started getting kind of obsessive over non-Western Art-type music (like…R.E.M. And Björk), around age 14 or so, my mom point blank told me that I listened to too much rock music. And I’ve been a little, uh, sensitive about it ever since, even though it’s been at least ten years since this exchange and I’m sort of an adult now, I guess, question mark? I also recently discovered that my parents are NOT fans of jazz, at all. Which explains why they really weren’t happy when I told them during my senior year of high school that I very much wanted to pursue jazz studies as my major. I guess we all know how that turned out. But it’s for the better. I would have made a terrible jazzer, anyway.
*edit* So, I was thinking further, and when I said “Röyksopp” and “Euro-pop” and “feel a little dirty for obsessing over this” I really should have posted this video as a better example of those three things combined. Also, the implications of this video are kind of freaky, if you manage to watch the entire thing.
Well that sucked ass, and is just one of the many reasons I’m pretty sure I’m done with school for life. I am, as a pal who just took the same exam has exclaimed in the past, annoyed-a-tron.
It frustrates me that I’m now going to associate music from the 20th century that I really do enjoy with essays from hell in which my right arm throws in the towel and basically quits in the middle of the second of three essays.
This reminds me that I really need to take more time to talk about the music I love in a setting in which my arm doesn’t suffer and nobody is GRADING what I write.
I should do that here, shouldn’t I.
This academic stuff is such a burden to my creative energy and endeavors. I can’t wait for it to be over. Same goes for dumb social insecurities. I need a vacation. In a densely wooded area where no one can hear me being happily ridiculous.
Which I guess brings me to the real question: if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, AM I STILL RIDICULOUS?
Man, there is nothing like a 6.5 mile run to help a person leave behind Whiny-Sad Town.
Also, to procrastinate.
I hate that I’ve been falling into these weird emotional funks more frequently than is typical for me, but running is a sure-fire way to kick my own ass and off-set the effects of whatever various thing is making me crazy. Also helpful is the fact that I’m now completely addicted to it and can’t seem to go a day without some kind of semi-lengthy run.
I will say I’ve had amazing luck running with others recently, and that my Eurhythmics-class pal who has occasionally gone out for runs with me has seriously kicked my ass in ways I forgot were possible, but in general been a fun running companion. But I still enjoy running by myself for the most part. It makes sense that you feel very different depending on the pace you’re moving on a physical day-to-day basis. I’ve found that while I enjoy leisure time and don’t really like keeping myself too busy, I can’t sit around in one place for too long, otherwise I feel a stagnation to my thoughts and feelings and all that jazz. That’s why, especially recently, spontaneous and ridiculous walks have become fairly common hereabouts. It seems like the act of engaging in some kind of rigorous movement can help dispel icky and bad feelings, or at least keep them at bay to some extent. Walking is great just to get thoughts and energy moving a little. Running does the same for me, but more-so. In some ways I feel like I run and it absolves and pushes aside many of my stupid, tiny anxieties in life that add up to create a big stupid anxiety. Times of running are probably when I’m most present and in the moment. Also, the longer the distance I run, the more bad-ass I feel.
So I ought’er keep this up. And I ought’er train for a half-marathon, because now, unlike maybe four years ago when somebody suggested I should go for one of those, I see that as being possible.
You know what’s also great for procrastinating? Ze Frank’s The Show.
Yeah, the news is in no way current, but my god, Ze Frank is still amazing.
Side-story: My sister met Ze Frank’s Dad while she was in Germany a few years ago. And I am still jealous.
Maybe it’s just me, but the changing of the seasons drives me nuts. I mention occasionally that spring is a ridiculous time and that the foliage emerging and flowers blooming and lengthening of days causes me to have all kinds of energy I don’t know what to do with and then I don’t really sleep. But weather patterns also happen to contribute to this problem.
Naturally, no matter what I do or how hard I try, my sleep patterns are much worse in the warmer months. Humidity plays a significant role in this. I associate the extreme humidity we’ve been experiencing for the past few days here in Rochester with Midwestern, severe summer weather. And by severe I do mean tornadoes and thunderstorms and the like, but also the cut-with-a-knife thick weight of moisture in the air that seems to that either flows with moving weather-patterns or stifles everything it encounters with its weight. Either way, intense is the word.
Some people feel the pull of the moon. I feel the pull of weather-patterns. Those humid summer nights in Illinois occasionally cause me to lose my mind. There is a difference between building humidity before a storm and the kind of humidity that just hangs around for fun. The former is the kind that usually eggs me on and causes me to become antsy with boundless amounts of energy, preventing me from really getting any sleep. The latter is the kind that leaves me feeling emotionally heavy, as if I’m swimming in feelings and atmospheres.
Even when I was much younger, say before age 10, I had this can’t-sleep-weather-will-eat-me problem. Living in an older house, no true ventilation system reached my room, meaning I would rely on fans and open windows as a cooling agent in the high summer heat and humidity, which as it turns out do pretty much nothing for that kind of 85 degree+ 100% humidity weather. I remember a lot of late nights and early mornings spent staring out my window at the stormy (or murky) skies while listening to music. Sometimes I would read, if I could focus enough, which was rare in those circumstances. Interestingly enough, this late-night early-morning insomnia parties occurred very frequently around the time that I started raiding my older sister’s cassette tape drawer in search of weird sounds. This was, unsurprisingly, the age in which I discovered R.E.M. and Beck and some other weird crap on a few un-labeled cassette tapes that even now I can’t put a name to.
I suspect that this kind of weather causes me some subconscious distress via unsettling dreams. I remember my dreams better or worse depending on how well I sleep. So in the winter, when I generally sleep more consistently, I remember my dreams better upon waking with much clearer images of what occurred in the dreams. In warmer weather, like now, everything in my dreams is a vague blur upon waking, but I’ll have sudden glimpses and breakthroughs of what truly occurred in my nightly dreaming during parts of the day. Like while I’m out running, or walking to school. For some reason it’s more shocking to suddenly realize the contents of a dream when it comes to you spontaneously while you’re doing something very day-to-day, especially if those dreams were less normal and much more morbid than usual.
For whatever reason, in the last few nights, my dreams have been really dark and unpleasant. Things involving funeral home basements and hiding from place-less search lights in endless cornfields. I realized this morning that last night I dreamt I visited Renata in the DR, except as it turned out I had actually run to the DR to flee from some evil men (not dissimilar to these evil men), but they’d rigged all of my means of travel and by the time I’d met up with Renata we realized they were close on both our heels, and that’s really all I remember. These kinds of weird, freaky, somewhat apocalyptic dreams have been plaguing me for the last few nights. I wish they would stop so I could continue having my normal-type odd dreams in which I do something totally mundane and then my subconscious makes five or ten surprising and ridiculous but unsurprising connections from every day occurrences.
This morning I was actually relieved to be awakened by some powerful rain banging on my window. I think there have been chances of storms all weekend and they’ve just conveniently managed to slip by and leave everybody to simmer in that anticipatory wind and moisture and CRAZINESS.
Hopefully the weather will either be more compliant for a time or my body will suck it up and adjust.
A trouble for limbs and lungs
Just rain, already
In lieu of the last entry’s hasty haiku, I thought I’d throw another one out there. Why the sudden haiku, you ask? Mark (whose blog you can find here) and I were reminiscing about our past experiences in haiku and both agreed to start our next blog entry with one. And perhaps one wasn’t enough for me.
High school seemed to be the optimal haiku-writing period in my life, though a few good ones came later. I was enrolled, along with Michelle and a few other key people, in a really really REALLY uninteresting creative writing class. Until we got to our haiku unit, at which point we apparently all lost our minds. My favorite haiku, ever, written by either Justin or Rob, is as follows:
Lonely orange peel
Lying beside the walkway
The best haiku I ever wrote came later, and was inspired by a roommate clipping fingernails onto the floor and not cleaning it up:
A light dust of dying cells
Please use a trash can
I miss harnessing words in this way. So…let the haiku continue.
Wind whips the debris
Particles sting guiltless eyes
Thanks a lot, weather
Yes, it is Haiku Blog Saturday. And I do kind of shake my fist at the weather. There’s nothing quite like being out running, all sticky and sweaty due to it being 80-something degrees out (I guess I’ll give the weather that much) with the wind already flinging pedals and regular-type debris when all of a sudden I find myself downwind of some landscapers who are doing all sorts of trimming and crap. It would be fine if things didn’t get in my eyes.
But anyway, as was mentioned in a previous entry, I did in fact have the bejesus cut out of my hair the other day.
I actually went to my hair-cutting person (who is AWESOME and talks with me about food and music and seems to enjoy the fact that I am indeed a major spaz) earlier in the week, and in the wake of not knowing specifically what I wanted done with my hair, she suggested that I grow it out. In my head, I said “nah, I’m over long hair.” But out loud I said “er…uh, okay.” Once upon a time, I had some pretty long hair, and then I got to about age 22 and spontaneously decided to have it all chopped off. I was convinced for a very long time that long hair was the only way for me, but I don’t think my hair ever quite did what I wanted it to, or achieved the “long hair” look that was in my head. I think one of the problems was the difficulty of actually figuring out my hair type, what it’s prone to doing, and how to take care of it so it won’t freak out and be extremely damaged. Over a period of time and help from a curly-haired friend, I was able to identify that my hair is naturally very wavy, but fine and so easily weighed down that even a slight breeze will alter its state. But somehow it came to the point where I realized that, holy shit, my hair could be amazingly curly if the right actions were taken. Unfortunately those actions included meticulous scrunching of product and nothing touching it or altering or doing anything to it during the 2.5 hour period it required to dry. The results weren’t really worth the trouble, and I believe this only spurred my incentive to chop it all off.
And so began a series of haircuts that progressively made my hair shorter and shorter. And the absurd thing is that my hair refuses to curl like it did while it was long. I don’t know if I’m just not making the same effort, or it needs the length to spiral, or what. I just know that it seems much happier in this shorter state, and that curls or no, short hair suits me much better than longer hair ever did. So Wednesday I went back in to my awesome hair person for a second time (who told me to come back free of charge if I was skeptical and wanted my hair shorter) who proceeded to, as previously mentioned, cut the shit out of my hair. My god. It is so short. I can’t even tie it back anymore, something I admittedly miss for instances of running. I like it a lot. But I may have just found my short-hair threshold. Otherwise soon I’ll be getting a pixie cut or shaving my head. And truly, my head is not the optimal shape to pull of either of those things, I think.