Wednesday, November 26, 2008

21: Bombay Blast

I came downstairs to write my papers. But my battery is half gone and all I can do is read more about the terrorist attacks in Mumbay, stare at the Flickr streams and read the Twitter streams, feed the squeaky toy back to my dog just so she leaves my computer alone and I have another minute to keep reading. Dear God. Dear dear God.

Friday, November 21, 2008

20: Had the most intense dream

last night (that's what I get for watching 'Rescue Dawn') and realized, a few minutes before really waking/alarm going off, that the dream couldn't be real. The 70s did not have the Internet, or Gmail chat, no matter how advanced proto-Communist countries might have been. I guess that's what I get for living way too much through Gmail chat lately, and applying labels to everything and then changing the color of those labels, the background to my email. Too easily you have won me over Google! I have not yet begun to fight!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

19: In Love

Must memorize this poem for tomorrow. Made easier by being in love with it.

This Lunar Beauty
W.H Auden

This lunar beauty
Has no history,
Is complete and early;
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.

This like a dream
Keeps other time,
And daytime is
The loss of this;
For time is inches
And the heart's changes
Where ghost has haunted,
Lost and wanted.

But this was never
A ghost's endeavor,
Nor, finished this,
Was ghost at ease;
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

18: the Remnants of Yesterday

On my second mug of tea (mango black, for those interested in that sort of thing) and picking through the fourth chapter of the Book. I want to hole up and read Hemingway, and Fitzgerald and write, and kill all these goddamn flies that are not taking the bait I so cleverly left in the kitchen. I want to be back in Galway, I'm wondering if I have the money for the flight and the room to write, if I could convince NFAA to grant me the money to have the time to write, though I don't think that's quite the point of those alumni grants. Worth a shot though, yes?

17: What I Do When Sick

  • Clean (the kitchen, vaccuum the downstairs, laundry; I'm fighting the fruit flies, but they seem to be winning. Funny how we never had this problem in Ireland though our common areas much more resembled a squat then here. Must have been all the alcohol, killing anything and everything but twenty-somethings)
  • Sleep (epic proportions)
  • Eat soup. Eat mac n cheese. Sleep. Repeat
  • Watch the Daily Show and badmovieswithAshleySimpsonthatoneexpectswillturntomusicals, and listen as my laughter turns to hacking. Priceless, really. How am I still single when I am just short of spitting soup through my nose?
  • Think about doing homework, but instead just go to sleep because damn it, I'm sick.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

16: Sick

I spent today sleeping, and probably confusing anyone with the misfortune to speak to me. Being sick seems like the perfect excuse to further engage in one of my favorite pastimes- sleeping like a bear approaching hibernation. Now that I am approaching my 4th consecutive hour of being awake today (at 11:06 pm, no less) I'm wondering if I should just go to bed now or try and force a more normal schedule.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

15: War Paint

I found this photo looking for pictures of camouflage. It's from CNN, one of their photos of the week from the Israeli-Lebanon conflict (2007). It's the photo I would love to take, but instead I end up taking photos of places, and not people.

But I'm aiming to get better. Like this one, from the Smithfield Horse Fair.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

14: Post Meds

Lately, I've been hankering to write. I can't tell you how reassuring that feeling is- my biggest fear with medication was that I'd lose the ability to write, or the desire for creativity. So far, not the case. I've begun a new chapter of the Book, and I want to seriously get working on the Story. So, if you're an artist or you know someone who wants to write a graphic novel, let me know. I want the art to not just be ink and pen, but with the influence of photography and painting, the same way I want the writing to be more than dialogue and narration. I want to play around with the graphic novel form and idea. I suppose it's a good thing I was linked to Write or Die then, which reminds me of that quote from 'Bird by Bird', one can either write or kill themselves.

As for the side effects, still feel them. They've been covered up lately with this bad cold (I absolutely cannot wait for this persistent lump in my throat to be gone!), and soon enough that'll pass and I'll see how my system feels. Either way I have another appointment to talk about the blood work and the after shocks. My fingers are crossed for good things.

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
Anne Lamott

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

13: Autumnal Mix

For curling up in bed, or in a warm sunny place, with a mug of tea and your headphones.
It's a little sweet, and soft. But that's fall with a cup of chai and a toasty scarf.

TV- Headlights
You're a Wolf-Sea Wolf
Teenage Kicks (Undertones cover)- Seabear
One of these Things First- Nick Drake
Lump Sum- Bon Iver
In the Hot Hot Rays- Fleet Foxes
Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl-Broken Social Scene
Hotel Song- Regina Spektor
Rescue- Seabird
I Am Warm and Powerful- Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
A Little Lost (Arthur Russell cover)- Jens Lekman
Kiss Me Again- Jessica Lea Mayfield
Chelsea Hotel #2 (Leonard Cohen cover)- Rufus Wainwright
Lover's Spit- Broken Social Scene

12: Bikes

Got a new bike- super sweet, though it has its creaks and rust. That's called character.

What the bike needs though, is a good name. I've been kicing around old school action stars- Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine type names, vintage because it's a 1977 Raleigh. But today Roy Batty came to mind.... hmm...

Monday, November 10, 2008

11: Autumnal

Fall has really set in lately- the weather has been dipping through the fifties and sixties, making it perfect jeans and scarf weather (which basically holds through the winter for me too). I've listening to Nick Drake all morning, which just adds to the mood.

I want to curl up on some leaves and go to sleep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

10: Jens Lekman

Saw Jens Lekman in concert last night- it was good. Mostly him and a guitar, with a CD player to help out with some of the backing instrumentation. It wasn't great- I liken it to seeing Jose Gonzalez, where it mostly sounds like you expect everything to sound. With Gonzalez though, there was a different, more reverent crowd energy until the last song which became this massive sing-a-long (currently searching for the song). There was swaying.

There was also a massive amount of hipster fashion. We're talking feetie leggings, headbands, semi-wedding dresses, sweaters without pants- and when the announcement came that Girl Talk will be playing in February, I could see the wheels begin to churn in so many heads, planning the outfit. I suppose my bitterness is unfounded, mostly because it's not bitterness. I understand that people do look at me and occasionally think hipster, and I know that the very essence of hipster is to be disparaging while denying your own conformity. I guess what it comes down to money. I shop in thrift stores cause I don't have tons of money. I listen to a lot of indie rock, but I also love Van Morrison and Jackson Browne.

Oh well.

I went to a party after the show with some people from work, and got to watch other people dance from the comfort of a couch, which is less antisocial than it sounds. If Ireland has taught me anything, it's that you have much more fun being ridiculous on the dance floor than rehearsing your moves in a mirror.
Jens Lekman showed up to the pary, which created an odd mood. Suddnely everyone in the back headed inside, and the whispers started. 'Have you seen him?!' 'Jens is here!' 'Oh god, I hope I get to talk to him!' I went in for the bathroom, and saw him talking to a few people, with a cluster a few feet away, looking for all intensive purposes like they were waiting in line. He came outside, so did everyone else. I ended up splitting. It reminded me too much of that scene in Almost Famous.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

9: Some Racing, Some Hiding

It's odd that most of my friends down here in Virginia are the science sort. Most in Boston are the film/liberal arts type, and I mostly hung out with artsy kids in high school, when I hung out. It's odd because a science track gives a much more definite plan of what one must do to be successful. Me, I just want to stand in front of tanks and tell Communists to tear down walls. I want to travel, and write, and build houses. Yet there's the push for grad school, for meaningful internships instead of spending a summer cueing music for a radio show, summers spent working minimum wage may be necessary but stack up in the collegiate sense. I hate the feeling that I have to pad my resume.

When I think about post-graduation, I see mostly paths and nothing definite- WWOOFing, Peace Corps, Grad School, Travel, Internship, Working. I feel guilty, like I'm just another twenty something who'll move back in with their parents while they figure out their life, like I'm going through this existential crisis that's so in vogue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

8: Biking in the Dark

Tonight I'll be working another late night shift, so from 8:30 pm to approximately 3 am. I have yet to see anyone throw up, but I've seen fights, I've seen people pass out, dance on tables, make out with someone's mom, play quarters into a pitcher (really? really?? no seriously, really?) and break up. I've beer spilled on me, elbows to the stomach and I've stepped on a lot of toes. It's not that bad though. It's a whole lot of jump and movement, and then long moments of waiting, but it works out.

What I like the most is the ride home. Yes, I should get a ride from someone. No, it's not safe for anyone to bike at 3 am. However, it's a well lit road and there's rarely anyone on it. I keep to the fringe, and I (illegally, yes) go against traffic so I have more control on anyone who be swerving my way (yet to happen). I love how abandoned it is, with only hotels and shut down pancake houses. I love being able to sing along to my music (posted below is an updated playlist, Saving Face, previously seen on the website). I can de-stress from the spilled beer and awkward conversations with old men, or drunk men; I've been figuring out dialogue lately, and bits of poetry; mostly though, I just listen to music and let that clean out my head. More and more I'm taking solace in the moments where I don't have the overrepresented script going, and more and more I'm finding that exists when I have music on.
Saving Face

the Airborne Toxic Event- Sometime After Midnight
Kings of Leon- Sex on Fire
Radiohead- the Bends
Yo La Tengo- Little Eyes
the Coral- Being Somebody Else
Blitzen Trapper- Furr

Joy Division- Love Will Tear Us Apart
the Clash- Straight to Hell
Damien Rice- Creep (Radiohead cover)
the National- Daughters of the Soho Riots

Damien Jurado- Gillian was a Horse
You Say Party! We Say Die!- Monster
Kevin Devine- Whistling Dixie
Bon Iver- the Wolves (Act 1 and 2)
Stars- Personal
Submarines- Brighter Discontent
Silver Jews- Suffering Jukebox
Steve Wynn- Manhattan Fault Line
Jessica Lea Mayfield- Kiss Me Again
Keren Ann- Lay Your Head Down
Radiohead- Electioneering

Thursday, November 6, 2008

7: Old Journals

I apologize for this not going up yesterday. We lost power at mein Haus, and with it, the wireless. Double posts make up for it!

Earlier this week I reread good portions of my journal from last year, specifically the spring abroad, looking for suitable words for a pastoral poem I knew I wanted to write about Galway. Incidentally, I found the beginnings of a poem I wrote on Jan Palach, the rough draft of a poem I wrote on graffiti found by the old ChristChurch in Dublin. I was reminded of walking with Bruno (my couchsurfing host) through Berlin the May before, trying to explain why I write in a journal. He dismissed the concept as pointless, while I argued that by writing down bits of what I see, half remembered dreams and conversations, I can search back for poems. Beyond that, I can chart a timeline of who I am at any particular moment.

'I don't know if I'll go back to school for a time- it's less expensive to travel then to study....What I'm realizing is that I'm done with education. I want to learn, and learn everything I can get my hands on- Czech, German, Buddhism, how a coffee machine works, what animals think about, literary theory, Jungian psychoanalysis- and to read as much as I can. But I'm tired of arbitrary classes, of being dictated to, spoken at instead of spoken with...' Galway

I really like the idea of having all that space to do nothing but think, to the point where I'm willing to give "On the Road" another shot. I really want to begin to come to terms with the concept of being an American: I feel as if I've seen more of Europe than I have of the U.S, based on emotional responses.' -Prague

'We kept passing by cows and horses lying in the grass, which startled me. I read somewhere when I was little that horses never lay down, but that's clearly wrong. Still it's hard to shake the image of them standing through nights and rain, clustered together but unable to share the weight, how tired I thought their knees and hips must be' -on a bus trip from Cork to Limerick

And the poem?


The four hours there, the same small pub with light

streaming through someone’s window,

the fields of sheep and lambs,

the baby cow that startled and kicked

as we passed,

rolling the same last cigarette

the last few matches

because I wanted to smoke them by the sea.

I stood on the retaining wall for a long time

watching the other side of the Atlantic ebb.

Swans drifting through the ends of waves,

gulls cried for fish and livers,

I could smell the tide.

You were somewhere behind me.

You were somewhere ahead.

Everywhere the legacy of boats,

the trinity of drizzle,

I counted the Irish I knew

(taoiseach, craic, fir, slainte),

and smoked a broken cigarette,

spitting out tobacco curls.

It was raining.

Of course it was raining.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

6: Electioneering

I voted for the first time today. I didn't do it for the sticker, and the free goods that I can get today by showing it off. I didn't do it because of peer pressure. I didn't do it because of the dozens of people who would come up to me in Dublin, in Prague, in Germany and will the American people through me to make a change. I didn't do it because Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene asked me to. I did it because it felt right. And it's done, and tonight when I watching the results come in while I serve beers and burgers, I'll know that I did something.

I keep thinking about staying in Budapest, and watching coverage of the nomination process in a room of Americans, Brits, and Canadians. And there was one Canadian arguing with us Americans, stating how much better we think we are, how self important, when really the rest of the world doesn't care who we elect because we're all the same, anyway. The Brit spoke up and reminded the Canadian that actually, it does matter. It felt so surreal to be in that moment, to be watching other people debate something I'd always dismissed as common place. I actually felt to be an American, carry over I assume from earlier that day, when I saw graffiti that commanded 'Yankees go home'- the sudden anger at the confusion of who I am and who I am not, who I will always be, and my own politics cast off in favor of assumptions.

It's odd that as newspapers everywhere are calling upon the youth vote (and for once the politicians are listening), and the youth are responding, I'm researching youth movements at the beginning of the century, when the term teenager was first being developed, and in present day Balkans and the surging fascist movement there. Do I mean to say that today's American youth are fascists or future Hitler Jugend? No. But it is interesting the similarity in quotes, as generations recognize the revolutionary potential of the young.

I hope, more than anything, that the youth movement doesn't die out now. There's so much potential to keep going, keep pushing for change. Was it Spinoza who declared that revolution is the only way to significantly change a democracy? Or was it Kant? Either way, I want this brewing to bubble, to churn and make positive change more than just throwing collective weight around.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

5: Covering Up

I can't quite explain my love of cover songs. The best I can do is point to how it makes it possible for anyone to at least put their own spin on an amazing song, even if they didn't write it themselves. One of my favorite things about listening to music is picking out songs I think deserve, need, cry to be covered and imagine who would do the best job of doing so.

I'm a nerd.

My top five?

Final Fantasy- Song Song Song by Broken Social Scene
I love how this song starts with a disjointed drum beat, that's really just a bow on strings. This song just sounds like someone breaking down and building themselves up, only to fall back apart. If there's anyone who can capture that, it's the collective voices behind Broken Social Scene. I'd be intrigued to see how the could take what's a fairly expansive song and blow it up.

the Rolling Stones- Gimmer Shelter by Kevin Devine
God bless Merry Clayton. Her scream makes the song. As for Mr. Devine, his scream turns songs like 'Just Stay' and 'Cotton Crush' from plaintive to heart breaking. Kevin, make it happen.

Broken Social Scene- It's All Gonna Break by Pedro the Lion OR Jose Gonzalez
Favorite Broken Social Scene song? Yes. Do I love all 10 minutes of it? Yes. Do I want to see what would happen if you brought it down to just one voice? Hell YES. Why the split between artists?
A. Pedro the Lion is no more. So even in theory, chances of this are unlikely. But should for some reason, the PtL gentlemen see fit to reunite for a single cover song, chose this one! Oh please, chose this one!
B. Jose Gonzalez can do a mean cover. I have full faith that he would do a (dare I say?) righteous job. But I'd love to see someone a little more unexpected or underplayed behind the healm on this one.

MGMT- Kids by Regina Spektor
Strip this down to the synth and the lyrics, and you have a decent song. Spektor could bring the heartbreak, and the hipsters would bring the standing there with their arms folded. Which is normal; I hear if hipsters break a sweat, an angel loses its wings. They're so considerate, those elf ears kids.

Van Morrison- And It Stoned Me by Kristoffer Ragnstam. (My favorite Van Morrison song. Of all time. And, I love this Sweede. Seriously, he has some great Van Morrison -eque instances on his albums, and I think he could do this baby justice. Or else. And by or else, I mean I tie him up in my bedroom and force him to be adorable and Sweedish for me only. Warned!)

Top Covers:
  • "Kid A" (Radiohead)- John Mayer (I hate myself for saying this, but he does a really strong job. don't know if I give him more credit on basis of the other shit he's released, or because it's a strong cover, but this song somewhat redeems the waste of tabloid space he has become)
  • "Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai" (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) -Jeff Buckley (I love Jeff Buckley. I do, I really do. But I can openly admit that the man spends way too much time sometimes blowing songs out of proportion. However, sometimes that works (his cover of "Je n'en connais pas la fin" is another fantastic example of this). The way his voice soars and breaks totally makes up for an eight (8!!) minute cover of 'If You See Her, Say Hello")
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door(Bob Dylan) - Antony and the Johnsons (heartbreak. pure. simple)
  • 'Hand on Your Heart' (Kylie Minogue)- Jose Gonzalez (like I said, he knows his covers)
  • 'Jump into the Fire' (Harry Nilsson)- LCD Soundsystem (try not to dance. I dare you)

4: Of Your Mouths, Of Your Mouths, Of Our Mouth

listening: WOXY Stream (currently Annuals)

I don't want
this to descend into a pity party. The better writings keep their confessions, but maintain a degree of civility. I am no Anne Frank.

So I'll make lists. Lists are easy to deal with; they appeal to every part of me that loves being ordered and stacked.

Scenario: You're being sent to a deserted island. Oh no! But don't worry, it's just for a year. It's only some sort of experiment for which you will be handsomely compensated. Plus, shelter is provided (tree fort!) and there's a supply of canned food, and books on what you can kill/gather. Those nice experiment creators have even taken it upon themselves to outfit you with a few luxuries. A solar powered stereo they say? Some quality reading?

So quick! Name the five artists who musical collections are essential for a year of solitude, five literar-ists necessary for your mental stimulation, oh and whatever you would stuff in your pockets to keep you occupied before you're sent away.

the Clash-- in case I need to gather the wildabeasts to me in order to start a revolution
Broken Social Scene-- dance party in the tree fort, all invited.
Van Morrison-- nothing else reminds me more of home
Radiohead-- what better way to procrastinate from my berry picking than to ponder 'Kid A'?
Elliott Smith-- islands get lonely. Mr. Smith knows his lonely.

Kenneth Patchen, Collected Poems
J.D Salinger, Nine Stories/Franny and Zooey
F. Scott Fitzgerald- everything
Etgar Keret- everything
something by Steven Heller, so I can decorate my tree fort

Cheese. Some chocolate. Pictures of people/places. A pair of gloves. A scarf. Pen and paper. Oh so many pens. My pants will have pens sewn into the hems. I hope there are bottles on that island for my letter deliveirng convenience.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

3: Personality Cues

November is a month that for some reason, brings out the resolutions in people. Election Day. No Shave November. National Novel Writing Month. National Blogging Month. Monkvember.

Me, I'm just trying to get through. Treat myself better. Sleep again. It's at the point where I don't really want to sleep, which was always a downside of the mess during high school. I'd do homework and then read and write and dick around online instead of sleeping, because sleeping was really just waking up every few hours and then running through the script of the day instead of falling back asleep. I got some good poetry out of it though, and I read a lot.

Now with wifi, I just watch movies on Hulu, listen to albums to shut out the sound of my head, and read through the news. I get to the point where it can't even be called procrastinating. It's just anything to stay focused on something, even if just for the minute or two read of the point of an article.

I want to be writing. But I can't get myself to. It's not like there's a dearth of ideas, or mediums. It's just easier to rest on what doesn't require emotion, like taking personality tests.
Favored Careers:
psychotherapist, artist, art curator, bookstore owner, freelance writer, poet, teacher (art, drama, english), library assistant, professor of english, painter, novelist, book editor, copywriter, philosopher, environmentalist, bookseller, museum curator, opera singer, magazine editor, archivist, music therapist, screenwriter, film director, creative director, librarian, social services worker, art historian, sign language interpreter, photo journalist, makeup artist, photo journalist, homemaker

Personality Types:
creative, smart, focus on fantasy more than reality, attracted to sad things, fears doing the wrong thing, observer, avoidant, fears drawing attention to self, anxious, cautious, somewhat easily frightened, easily offended, private, easily hurt, socially uncomfortable, emotionally moody, does not like to be looked at, fearful, perfectionist, can sabotage self, can be wounded at the core, values solitude, guarded, does not like crowds, organized, second guesses self, more likely to support marijuana legalization, focuses on peoples hidden motives, prone to crying, not competitive, prone to feelings of loneliness, not spontaneous, prone to sadness, longs for a stabilizing relationship, fears rejection in relationships, frequently worried, can feel victimized, prone to intimidation, lower energy, strict with self