Music appreciation

May 27, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Friends, life | 2 Comments

I was walking down the street today with a giant (cloth) bag of groceries, listening to my iPod and thinking about my favorite subject, me, when I was struck by the realization that the vast, vast majority of the music I listen to was recommended to me by other people. You know how there are some people who are always on top of new trends in some area of pop culture, whether it’s music or art or movies or fashion? Well, I am so not one of those people. I observe, sit back, watch others, and gather information that way. Hell if I’m going to sift through a dozen shitty CDs before hitting gold, and I’m certainly not going to see a single movie, indie or otherwise, before reading some reviews. I just don’t want to waste my time. (Oh. But. I guess I do sort of read a shitload of books, mostly without reading reviews or going on friends’ recommendations. Good thing books aren’t really that cool, or this would be me, once again, sitting in a glass house throwing stones.)

Anyway, I was listening to this one song and thinking about how much I like it and then realized that I’d never have even heard of it or the artist if someone hadn’t turned me onto it in the first place. I feel like my relationships — familial, platonic, and romantic — can be traced in my music collection. You can see my parents in the Beach Boys and the Beatles and Queen and Billy Joel (shut up) and the miniscule appreciation I have for classical music (sorry dad, opera didn’t make the cut). Eric gave me Rilo Kiley; Austin gave me Elliott Smith and Wilco (who’s now haunting me on my iPod so I’m not entirely sure how grateful I am for that gift); Domingo gave me the Postal Service and the Shins and Iron & Wine; Nalini gave me Cat Power. From my tenure at Books & Books I learned that I love Nick Drake and Bill Cruz and Eva Cassidy; I learned that I hate hate hate Nestor Torres and Buena Vista Social Club. Chris recommends so many bands that I can’t keep track of them all; the couple that I can remember are Rogue Wave (“Falcon Settles Me” is just so pretty) and Band of Horses. With Heather’s help I’m trying to shed my “musical misogyny” through Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse and a couple of golden oldies. In performing this little exercise, in trying to trace the origins of my current music collection, I’m left with very few bands or singer-songwriters I can claim as my own.

It’s funny that there’s this thing that’s so personal and so revealing — musical taste — and yet it’s formed by basically everyone else in my life but me. I wonder how common this experience is: are most of us a composition of other people’s tastes and influences?

I hate change.

May 20, 2007 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Friends, life | 2 Comments

This has been such a bittersweet weekend: on the one hand, Alli’s finally back from Asia; on the other, Lorien left for Yellowknife today for three months. That in and of itself wouldn’t be so bad, if I knew where I was going to be when she gets back. I could still be here, in Toronto, or I could be God knows where. Also, Alli and I said goodbye to Stephanie on Friday, who’s moving back to Minnesota. I know that things will work out for her, but I’m going to miss her a lot.

I organized a barbecue for Lorien’s last night, so yesterday evening a bunch of us gathered at the place where Dave was housesitting. It was amazing. The garden there is gorgeous, so we bought a bunch of food to barbecue, and we set up a table outside. The weather was lovely — during the day it was warm and sunny, and in the evening, cool and breezy. A bunch of people from Lorien’s program came, plus some of my friends. Dave set out a cheese spread, which was delicious, and the wine was flowing freely. We gorged ourselves on cheeses and crackers and dips…but somehow managed to have room for grilled chicken and burgers and steaks and hot dogs.

At one point, I was sitting on a bench at the far end of the garden, watching everyone talking and laughing and I was struck by how much I love my friends. I always have been a big friends person; when I become close with someone they know me better than my family knows me. Moving away is difficult because of those bonds — the night before I left Portland for Miami, the night after my going-away part/berry cordial bash, I cried on Paula’s futon while Eric laughed at me/comforted me. Saying goodbye to Aundra and Vito and Gavin, after graduating from college, was so hard. I remember standing in my empty apartment, the one that Vito, Gavin, and I shared, and my family had just left to return home from visiting for graduation, and being so overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness that I’m surprised I was able to leave that day.

Of course, all of those times, things have worked out — I’ve made new friends. Unfortunately, I’m not really still friends with everyone from Portland and that sometimes bothers me, but for the most part, I’m happy for who I have in my life. Not all friendships are built to last. Sometimes it takes distancing yourself from people to realize that you didn’t have that much in common in the first place. Some friendships are so important, however, that living across the country from someone isn’t enough to break the bond.

Anyway, I guess the point of this post is just to point out that things are changing and that I’m not entirely comfortable with those changes. While I know intellectually that things will work out and everything will be alright, it’s hard to see that from where I’m standing now.

Musings upon a weekend

May 12, 2007 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Friends, life | 1 Comment

Things that are great about the weekend:
1. Banana chocolate chip pancakes made from scratch (3 consumed)
2. Adorable linen jackets (1 purchased, 1 on hold at another location)
3. New sunglasses (1 pair purchased)
4. Documentaries (2 watched: From Heroin to Methadonia, Manufactured Landscapes)

Things that are not great about the weekend:
1. Most of my friends being MIA (Confidential to China, Germany, and California: I hate you.)

Books book!

March 21, 2007 at 8:42 am | Posted in Friends | 5 Comments

When Alli started doing bookbinding, she showed me her secret Belgian bound books and I thought they were super cool. I immediately put a request in for one for Christmas. My idea was that, instead of a travel journal or a blank book, she could make me a Books Book. I read tons of books and I’m always on the lookout for new ones, but I never make lists. Or, I start to, but inevitably, I start to during class or on a plane or in the car, and it’s always, like, on the back of an envelope or a scrap piece of paper. Never in an actual dedicated journal, or even a spiral-bound notebook.

Anyway, Alli thought that was a great idea and immediately set about making a couple of book journals — for her family for Christmas. Not for me. Bitch ripped off my idea and didn’t even have the courtesy to make me one! Until now. And it’s gorgeous and perfect and I LOVE it.

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Not too shabby, eh? There’s even a nice little note on the inside cover, thanking me for being awesome.

My nation’s capital

February 24, 2007 at 6:10 pm | Posted in Friends, life | 4 Comments

is Washington, DC, but I’ve never been there. However, I did go to Ottawa on Wednesday.

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Alli and I drove up on Wednesday to get out of town for a couple of days during reading week. We stayed with Alli’s friend from undergrad. John, his girlfriend, and his roommate were amazing hosts. They let us crash on their living room, organized an amazing tour of Parliament, and took us out drinking both nights.

On Wednesday night, we went out to dinner with a couple of Alli’s girl friends from undergrad, who were hilarious (and obsessed with Facebook, as all good Canadians should be). After dinner, we met up with the John, Janice, and Sandro, and some of their friends. I really did mean to party hard that night but by, like, 8:30 I was drinking water and yawning every 5 minutes.

Thursday was our only full day, so we made every second of it count.

Here’s us in the Peace Tower, after our fabulous private tour of the Library of Parliament (no pictures cause photography is not allowed):
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From left to right: Sandro, Janice, John, Alli, and I

This is the view from the Peace Tower:
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After the Parliament Hill activities, Alli and I went skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, which was super awesome. I’d never skated outdoors before and it was so much fun. At first, Alli and I held hands, which definitely means that I’m a lesbian, but then I got more confident and skated on my own. I’m pretty sure I was like a bird learning to fly: a little bit unsteady and wobbly, but beautiful nonetheless.

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Me skating

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Alli skating

After another fabulous meal, this one prepared by yet another of Ms. Larsh’s friends from undergrad, we went out to this cute little bar and ordered pitcher after pitcher.

Here’s Alli and I toward the end of the night.
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This is my entry for the local public service announcement contest:

“These are your friends…”
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“These are your friends on booze.”
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