Posts tagged ‘music’

24 September, 2011

American Slang, Inappropriate footwear, and Boston 365

I feel like an editorial note is needed about my photo-taking techniques. I basically want to point out that I have none. I don’t even use a “real camera” to take these– all of my photos are taken with my camera phone, pretty much while I’m walking (or standing around). Often I don’t even break stride while I line up a shot. The other thing is that I pick weird moments to take my photos. I pick moments when I’m alone, or on my way somewhere. This series is about me and this place, not the people in this place.

Also, this week kind of became “take pictures of my feet week.” I blame Diluvian.

September 19: Government Center, with a big blue sky– Quincy Market in the background. One of my students this week told me that what struck her the most the first time she came to America was how beautiful the blue sky was. This was followed by a shot at the Public Gardens (taken about 30 seconds before the swan bit the little girl, if anyone’s curious.)

September 20: Wearing sandals in inclement weather. I tried to take a picture while it was still raining, but by the time I got off the bus again it had finally stopped (dammit!)


September 21: One randomly interjected branch of autumn (I think the bird poop in Boston might be a little corrosive. Check out the holes in the leaves.)

September 22: Same tree as last week, further along in its reddening. I keep looking around at the green things everywhere in Boston, like I’m frantically trying to commit them to memory. Like I’ve never done a winter in the Northeast (in fact, I’ve never NOT done a winter in the Northeast.)

September 23: I AM SO CAFFEINATED AND IT IS AMAZING. FEAR ME, I NO LONGER STOP FOR BREATH WHEN TALKING (actually, not as scary as it looks. Tea bag mountain here took a few days to build.)

September 24: In the library someone spilled the paper assholes all over the floor. It was like carpet lice. Actually, at the time I was in full-on writer-brain mode, with no way to get to a writing place, and the paper assholes struck me as oddly whimsical and fantastic, which is why this picture was taken. This general stupidness is followed by me taking a rather dramatic shot of a statue on campus of the archangel Michael (being generally bad ass).

Now I’m going to actually do my readings for Monday, and drown myself in Erik Satie’s pretty, pretty music.

Until next time, love the blue sky, watch the leaves, and stay caffeinated.

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18 September, 2011

Week two, check; Heraclitus and Big Brother and the Holding Company

Briefly, this week I attended part of a hermeneutics conference. Being that my knowledge of Gadamer is zilch, however, I respectfully bowed out after the first lecture. There was a salient crumb from the hour and a half I spent there, however– I was reminded of Heraclitus.

Heraclitus is remembered for his interest in logos— the word, reason, plan which drives and unites the universe, and for his doctrine of flux. All is in flux, ever changing– each instant we are in a different universe.

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει” καὶ “δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης”
Panta chōrei kai ouden menei … kai … dis es ton auton potamon ouk an embaies
“Everything changes and nothing remains still …. and … you cannot step twice into the same stream”

–Heraclitus 402a, qtd. from wikipedia (because I don’t feel like cracking my ancient Greek philosophy books.)

In each moment the world is changed. Flux is constant; action now is different from action even a millisecond from now. Nothing is ever repeated. It’s a terrible beauty.

 

September 12: I found this beautiful oddity tacked to a telephone pole while attempting to find the grocery store (I realized about five seconds after snapping this that I was in fact walking the wrong way).

 

September 13: The leaves are starting to turn on campus and in the parks. This is outside of Gasson– expect indoor shots of the beautiful Gasson Hall later next week. There’s a poetry reading in there that’ll take me back in there in the coming days.

September 14: This week I embarked on the sacred quest for a Most Excellent Used Books Purveyor. I haven’t found a good, grungy one with dirt cheap books yet, but I did find Brookline Booksellers, which is wonderful, filled with books, knick-knacks, and all sorts of charming things. Like magnets. They also have the Jesus Shaves/Saves mug, which I NEEEEEEED.

Also, in the used book cellar, the far wall is “Mystery, Mystery, Mystery, More Mystery and Still More Mystery.”

September 15: My studies force me to have hermit days every so often, so here’s a tableau of hermit day #1 in this set: my book, and my snack bowl. It’s a beautiful green glass beauty that I got at a garage sale this summer for a dollar. Also, my proliferation of flags, which pretty much make flagging pages useless, given their overwhelming number.

 

September 16: There’s a beautiful patch of sunflowers on my walk to the T. I snapped this just as a car was zooming past. Flowers in motion.

September 17: I left the Copley library on Saturday needing coffee. Found this tri-corner wearing Godzilla demanding that I pahk the caaah in a  Starbucks. Love it, and Bostonians’ acute awareness that they talk silly. Because so many people who live here are college transplants like myself, however, you rarely hear the Boston accent.

This is in the Copley library. Each section of the hall I was sitting in had the name of a great thinker, artist, or writer carved and gilded below the coffered barrel vault ceiling (fear my art history jargon). WITHOUT LOOKING, I sat myself under Socrates. This is the kind of stuff that happens to me. Things chase me. Socrates is one of them.

September 18: another academic hermit day. This, by the way, is the view out my window into part of the playground/park/field that I live next to. I took a nap face-down in these pillows today instead of reading about reception history.

And, to round out a completely disjointed set of images and thoughts, Janis and Big Brother Caterpillering. ❤

 

15 August, 2011

Prepping for the Big Move

In two weeks I pick up, move to a new state, and begin the adventures of an English grad school student. I’m knee-deep in preparation work, and I need to remember to take pictures of my room at home before I completely dismantle it. Already, parts of it are starting to look pretty spare. While I meditate on that, have some music, some words, and some peace of mind.

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Spun silk of mercy,

long-limbed afternoon,

sun urging purple blossoms from baked stems.

What better blessing than to move without hurry

under trees?

–from “Last August Hours Before the Year 2000,” You & Yours by Naomi Shihab Nye

18 April, 2011

Random Love for Tim Minchin

Today I love Tim Minchin. I just…can’t resist.

It really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Feast, friends.

And, I actually think that Storm is funnier when you realize that Tim Minchin looks like that silly rumpled fellow in the video. All the time.

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I love this man's face.

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How could you not love a guy who looks like he’s been mauled by panthers before making all public appearances? Who makes that face all the time right up there?

Also, he seems to play piano like a beast, barefoot. All the time barefoot. This, keep in mind, is praise coming from a girl who recently walked a mile of highway road barefoot, and wrote in her personal statements to grad schools that she had been barefoot in six countries (these are true facts. I own a lot of shoes, and I hate wearing them.)

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Also, that right there might need to be my new life anthem. That version.

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Also, he has great crazy eyes, and I love crazy eyes.

This man might be my rumpled, crazy-eyed, barefoot comedic soulmate.

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I have a few other things to post in the coming days, including a sketch dump, which I might just hold off on until I’ve scanned more…also, book reviews cometh.

19 February, 2011

In which we are chased by the bliss…

I love how sometimes people and things sneak their way into your life. This is a very Campbellian “Follow your bliss” kind of moment for me, so I hope you can bear with me here. Sometimes you just have to let go and let the world take you where it is going to take you, and accept the fact that your input, at this point and time, does not matter in the least.

Is this an invocation for fatalism? No. There’s a difference in not having freewill and not having control. We rarely have control. Control is collective. Right now control rests with five grad school committees, two hiring committees, and people I never have and never will meet. What I can control is myself, the number of books I read, the number of tea cups I empty, the number of walks I take, and other microscopic things.

That being said, in the dozens of touchy-feely conversations I had about life and its direction last year, all of them inevitably mentioned that the right path will seem easy– it isn’t the easiest path, but pieces fall into place. The path feels right. There’s a part of me that feels like that’s happening right now. I’m not following the bliss…it’s kind of stalking me. One of the things I continue to be is an artist, and I keep selling stuff, and showing stuff, and making stuff. Seems pretty natural, but I never intended to be a professional artist– I actually turned my back on that avenue with all the venom I could manage. Now I’m beginning to wonder if that was the right choice. If the bliss tackles me and beats my head into the pro-art direction (why not, I’m going to be poor anyway), I’ll let you know.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.
-Joseph Campbell

Also, Adele has been sneaking into my life for a while without me realizing it. Every time I saw the I Am Number Four trailer, I went “I like that song a lot.” I finally looked it up, and found out it was hers. Then I looked her up, and discovered that I knew five or six of her other songs, too. I’m being stalked by music! Blissful, bluesy music!

Anyway, enjoy.

Here’s the official video. It won’t let me embed it, but the official video is nice and pleasantly bizarre (there are ninjas and lots of broken white things.) I actually went through about twelve videos before I could find one that would embed. By the way, no one seems to know what she’s saying in the “lay your ???? bare” line. I’ve seen ship, shit, and sheet.

(lyrics after the cut)

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12 February, 2011

Alles Neu / All Is New

I burn my studio, snort the ashes like coke
I slay my goldfish, bury it in the yard
I blow up my digs, I let go everything I’ve got
My old life, tastes like a sloppy toast
Roast me a grand steak, Peter cooks finest meat now
I am the update, Peter Fox 1.1

I want to dance, celebrate, but my pond is too small
Grow me new chompers like a white shark
Waxed, doped, polished, brand-new teeth
I am euphoric, and have expensive plans
I buy me construction machinery, diggers and barrels and cranes
Jump at Berlin, press the siren
I build beautiful speaker-towers, bass stimulates your soul
I am the wrecking ball for the g-g-g-german scene

Hey, every thing’s shiny, pretty new
Hey, if you don’t like it, make it new
The world covered in dust, but I want to see where this is going
Climb the mountain of dirt, because on top the air is fresh
Hey, every thing’s shiny, pretty new

I’m fed up with my old stuff, let them rot in a sack
Throw my clothes away, and then I go naked shopping
I am completely renovated, chicks have something to stare at
Right as rain, well-toned, world champion in chess and boxing
From now on only concrete talk, give me a yes or no
No airy fairy, I stop with the old grimaces

Should I ever smoke weed again, I’m gonna hack an axe into my leg
I want to never lie again, I want to mean every sentence
My head bursts, everything has to change
I seek the button, meet the most powerful men
Force the land into luck, buy banks and broadcast stations
Everything goes nuts, shaky sheep and lambs
I look better than Bono, and am a common man
Ready to save the world, even if that’s maybe too much

Hey, every thing’s shiny, pretty new
Hey, if you don’t like it, make it new
The air here is all consumed, breathing is difficult
Bye bye I’ve got to get out of here, the walls are getting closer
The world covered in dust, but I want to see where this is going
Climb the mountain of dirt, because on top the air is fresh
Hey, every thing’s shiny, pretty new

Translation borrowed from Last FM’s Aroused Ninja.

 

The first time I heard this song I was really intimidated by its tone. The second time I followed the lyrics (I don’t speak more than a pathetic smattering of German, but there are enough random cognates and words like “gluck” and “alles” in the song, along with natural pauses, that I actually was able to follow line by line through the translation) and I feel like I got it.

I’ve been wondering for a while if lyrics matter. A lot of people ignore lyrics in songs, and I myself have a difficult time following lyrics the first, second, or even eighth time I listen to a song. It involves real effort on my part. I have to say, though, I think this song is a great example of a song whose lyrics matter incredibly. Without them, you watch, more or less, wondering “why are things exploding,” and realizing “Oh my god, the monkeys are following him!” With them, this is an anthem. It’s really something special, I think.

This song originally came to my attention through Goodmorning and Goodnight.

I could wax poetic/philosophical on the ramifications of everything being new, and the utter radical nature of the declaration, but not today. Or, at least, not right now.

6 February, 2011

How about a little exploration of Emily?

What’s in a name, exactly? It’s incredible how many things can share a name. Are names arbitrary? Shakespeare famously says in one of Romeo’s lavishly cheesy entreaties to Juliet, “That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet,” but like so many things in life, names take on meaning because we, as humans, put that meaning there.

This started out in my head as a poetry post, featuring Emily Dickinson, and look what happened (dammit, brain!)

Names have meaning, but from where? Some names harken back to old languages– Melissa comes ultimately from the Greek word melitta, or “bumble bee.” Christopher literally means “bearer/carrier of Christ,” also from Greek. Some names are synthesized, created new by parents (or so they hope), perhaps in search of something unique that their child can have that is theirs, and only theirs. What a gift to give a child; what a burden. Having a history to your name at least gives you something to lean on, and humans love to lean. We love to be a part of something. It’s when we’re unchained that we tend to come unhinged.

Why do we track the popularity of baby names? Seriously. They put this stuff in newspapers. Why, though? I’ve always found it weird that people would want to know how popular the name they’ve picked is. Do you want an Emily, or do you want an Orangejello? What’s better? What’s worse?

At least if you’re Orangejello, you begin your own legacy. You might not be a link in a chain; you might be something new, shiny, and interesting. At least you don’t have a billion people, and at least a dozen songs named after you.

Let’s do some Emily-legacy, because this started out with Dickinson.

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