Brent and I broke up a week ago. Two days ago was Derek’s seventeenth birthday. Today is my half birthday. Tomorrow is why it is Leap Year. In April, I’ll get word back about VCU. In August, I’ll head to college. A week or so later, I’ll turn eighteen. Crazy.

I have news for you.

A few posts ago, I mentioned good old Final Fantasy and his remix of Stars’ “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead.” Como se dice, “COMPLETELY UNDERRATED?!”

Owen Pallett

The song starts out with, “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.” But it’s said by several different people. My favourite is the last one, when this little kid yells, “Nothing left to burn! Set yourself on fire!”  It’s hilarious. Then the mood breaks into total ballroom waltzing. If that’s possible? Ballroom dancing. You’ve got this gorgeous, extremely formal piano. I want to say it’s cordial. Like, Victorian era, a couple dancing, but there was no PDA in that era, so they kind of have to keep things on the DL while they’re in a public ballroom. That’s exactly what it feels like. There’s a disruptive violin, and it’s resolved a few measures later. Instead of a chorus, you get the familiar piano, washing memories over you like waves at the Victorian beach where I guess all the water got to touch was your feet. And then when you have someone singing, the violin makes a little commentary on the side. And then the piano’s like a hug from an old friend. It’s comforting. The song finishes so tenderly. It’s so Howl’s Moving Castle. Listen to it after you’ve seen the movie and try to tell me it doesn’t belong.

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (Final Fantasy Remix) | Stars

Andrew Bird

Recently, I stumbled across an Andrew Bird song from Armchair Apocrapha; since I don’t have that album, I had to stumble across it. “Plasticities.” There are all the whistles and violins that are Andrew Bird staples, but then it’s a cheerful, incredibly enjoyable song, even (I think) for the masses. As always, the vocabulary is just pretentious and intelligent, but I love the lyrics. Andrew Bird satisfies my needs.

Plasticities | Andrew Bird

The Album Leaf

This time, think no lyrics.  I mean, do it for a few minutes.  Just instruments.  Layers, movement, development.  I’d certainly call this a sunny song, just because it’s most meaningful when the sun is out, as it sounds like it should be the sound the sun makes when it shines on things.  Or it is for me.  Sweet progress.

Drawing Mountains | The Album Leaf

Kaki King

Also, talk about an underappreciated instrumental song, Kaki King’s “Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers.”  Pretty intense title if you think about it.  Anyway, I love the bass, the movement and the progression of this song, and for me, Kaki King’s skillz express lots of built-up angst.  I guess it’s the angst that comes from oppression.

Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers | Kaki King

+/- Plus/Minus

I found this next song a long, long time ago, and I’m not sure where I found it exactly, but it stuck with me.  It’s not because I’ve ever had an abusive boyfriend or that anyone in my family is abusive.  I enjoy the alternating piano and guitar sort of pulling for power and the lyrics that don’t tell all but tell you enough to get the story.

Summer Dress 2 [Iodine] | +/-

Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley is arguably my favourite band.  Really, try me.  Most of their gems originated in the mid-2000s, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing good to be said of their oldest material.  In fact, some of their most meaningful songs are from The Initial Friend EP, released (I guess) in 2000.  You’ve got gems like “Papillon,” “Gravity,” “Glendora,” and then, of course, the slower jam, “85.”  It’s a confessional that almost seems like the predecessor to one of my little old favourites, “A Man/Me/Then Jim,” in the storytelling style.  It’s also incredibly reminiscent of Jenny Lewis’ act with the Watson Twins.

85 | Rilo Kiley

Joe Anderson needs more Glamour Shots

This is another one from Across the Universe.  Yes, I’m still stuck on that movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you go out to the movie store right now and rent it.  In fact, you might as well buy it.  You’ll want to.  It’ll trip you out a little, but it’s such a feat!  Such a feat.  A life-changing feat, at that.  Anyway, this is tied for my favourite song and I have to listen to it at least once daily.  I need my fix.

Happiness Is a Warm Gun | Joe Anderson feat. Salma Hayek

Cherry Alley

Oh, also, if you are ever in town, Lewisburg, whatever, go to Cherry Alley Café.  I know, I know, blatant advertising, but I like the hot chocolate there, plus, they’re constantly playing excellent music.  I mean, Neutral Milk Hotel is on quite a lot, but you’ve also got a good dose of Sufjan Stevens (they played “The Henney Buggy Band” and I almost died because Derek made me adore that song), a dash of Bright Eyes, some Death Cab over thurr, and Mates of State.  Absolute props.

25 February, 2008, 736 pm
Filed under: Barrels of Fun, My Experience with Existence

brought to you by the lovely Fracas.

1. The Magnificent: Name someone you absolutely adore, and tell us why.
Not only is Divya a stunnah lookswise–she’s also quite the scholar. Her chocolate-brown eyes reveal an intriguing depth and compassion that reflect her personality. Divya is a humble one. She loves animals and has been vegetarian for perhaps a decade (and plans to go vegan SOON). She’s a fashionista, but she’s not condescending to those who aren’t as fortunately fashionable. Quite the thrifty shopper, she’ll point out the dollah deals. In real-life difficulties, she won’t only hear out your woes, but she’ll actually listen and sympathize and offer a pleasant solution. Plus, she’s extremely affectionate in all the right ways–I would be proud to walk around in a public place like the Short Pump Towne Center holding her hand. As myself, I mean, but I guess even more so as a man. Oh, added bonuses: She’s a Liberal, she’s Indian, and she’s musically inclined. Plus, she’s like quadrilingual (at the very least in the speaking aspects). Hot. More than anything, though, Divya’s just the very best friend who will stick it out over the years. She’ll yell your name down the hallway and run to catch up and not care who hears, because you’re cool enough, period. And she might even link arms with you. Divya can make you feel like the most important person in the world, and she’ll wash away your loneliness even in the most awkward situations (such as Math Analysis). But she is mine. It may sound like I’m trying to auction her off to be married, but she’s not for sale.

2. The Muddy: Tell us something about life you just don’t “get”.
I’m sorry, Brent. :) People who say they don’t like “hip-hop” or “rap” when all they’ve heard is either: A) REALLY DIRTY or B) Just shit on the radio. That is the whitest thing ever. Look. Do a soul search for real artists. Listen. Then you can judge and say what you want. But I swearz it’s not what the radio makes it out to be, just like Death Cab for Cutie is so much more than “The Sound of Settling” or you know…indie rock is so much different from Paramore, Fall Out Boy, what have you. I guess I’m just really stoked after listening to Brittany’s iPod in art today.

3. The Magnetic: Name something or someone good (or bad) you’re drawn to and you just can’t help it. Tell us if you want to change this or not.
You know when two actors kiss and you can see the bottom of the girl’s jaw? It’s normally shaped like a rounded-off “V” and I guess guys would have that, too, except that in movies, girls are always the ones who have to look up to, tippy-toe up to, and generally break their necks for the guys. I often strive for that visible “V”. I’m not saying I wouldn’t date someone shorter than me because it wouldn’t give me that. It’s just hard to find guys who are shorter than 5’2″ who would not land me in jail or at least juvie for now. Actually, I’m not attracted to them anyway if they’re that young. Like, sixth grade, I guess.

4. The Mainstay: Who or what is something you just can’t live without? Why?
Um. Kitty. He sits on my lap while I’m on the toilet. What’s not to love?

5. The Masquerade: Tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t already know.
This one is so difficult for me because I know myself all too well. There’s nothing interesting to report. The problem here for me is that I figure it should be about me directly and not about my crazy family or about I don’t know…an addiction of mine or whatevah. Like, I could tell you that after a long day at school, my feet smell like vinegar and my mom tells me to put on socks maintenant, but that’s not about me. That’s about my gross feet. I could tell you about my ears again–oh, I know! I totally got this. Okay. I have quite the admiration for nice or at least um…characteristic feet, hands, and ears. I think I’d probably shit myself if I had a crush on Travis, but I do appreciate nice feet. I’d never suck someone’s toes because of the way mine smell, and that’s gross. Same with hands–you don’t know where those fuckers have been. But I enjoy looking at the seasoned characteristics of feet and hands. They say a lot about a person. And I love long, thin feet and toes, probably because I have them myself. I also love warm hands and feet because I have freezing hands and [rightfully] symbolically cold feet. I acquired the foot love on my own and I learned from Divya and from my mother how to love hands. As for ears, I dunno! I like to be scratched behind my ears like a cat, I like ear kisses, and I love making other people’s ears feel good.

6. The Mettle: Tell us about a time you showed courage in yourself, or tell us what you wish you had the courage to do.
I was just thinking about how uncorageous I am. And then I was thinking about my friends and hanging out. Here’s my point. In Lewisburg, I have a few friends, and when I hang out with them, I either laugh harder than I’ve laughed in many grim months or I have some of the deepest conversations I’ve ever had, I mean, save for this one conversation I had with my father regarding divorce, drugs, religion, politics, and everything in between. Anyway. I guess I wish I had more courage or motivation regarding making friends at school, but I get so nervous. And then it comes down to this. They know I’m quiet, so that could go one of two ways: I either completely lack sanity and am rather dull or I’m exactly who I am. The “voice of reason,” as my mom used to call me. Either that, or I could just not have much to say at all. Maybe I’m not actually shy! But whenever it comes to talking to new people, I mash up my words, stumble, mumble, and my voice is altered and I just can’t talk the way I talk to my family, which is laden with monotonous sarcasm. And that very sarcasm makes my mom laugh which, in turn, makes me laugh. But most times, other people don’t catch my blatant sarcasm, or they think I’m being contemptuous. In some instances, I’m afraid that people might judge me by the way I look, too. I’m not the spiffiest dresser, but I don’t dress just like everyone else. And they might think I’m stupid or dreadful because of that. That I attempt to stand out with my clothes. But really, I’m just drawn to all the shades of gray. So I’m on my guard constantly, looking out for sideways glances and stuff. Not really, though, because I enjoy school quite a great deal because my classmates are clever cats. I mean, I get a kick out of their logic. I just wish I could contribute and make some people laugh the way I can make my mom laugh sometimes. Haha.

Bee-tee-dubz, tomorrow is Derek’s birthday! I’m just sayin’.


Travis has a blog, my biceps are ever-growing, Headlights has a new album out, I’m a better liar than you (or I) thought, my music taste is so white, and books are calling your name.

So I believe that Travis is my most unlikely friend.  When I moved here, I met him almost immediately, but it seemed I would be closer friends with the other kids in his social circle.  Well, je me suis trompé.  We’re family now.  Anyway, he has a blog called Aluminum Pancake (because Metal Waffle was taken–I kid you not), and I think that if you click and check it out often, he might get an ego boost and start to write rather frequently.

Biceps, I started lifting, blah blah blah, muscles, blah blah blah.  I know it’s not interesting or anything, but I swearz to Gawd that I started seeing results after…I want to say not even a full week of casual lifting.  You don’t even have to do anything heavy duty; most of the time, I lift five pounds, no lie.  Then again, this is coming from a girl who has no muscle on her body.  I’m so untoned.

 Headlights like Rilo Kiley

Derek gave me Headlights’ first album, Kill Them With Kindness, for my birthday.  This was shortly before I turned into a bitch.  Anyway, I fuckin’ loved the album even if it was a little pop for my peculiar tastes.  No worries, though, since I asked for it and I truly enjoyed it, even if I could see my FOB-fan little sister listening to them.  Well, that album was what, 2006?  Yeah, 2006.  I’m not a big checker-upper on even my favourite bands; par exemple, I haven’t heard shit about Jenny Lewis since August when Rilo Kiley released Under the Blacklight.  Yesterday, I was surfing the interwebs (particularly the Hype Machine) and lo and behold!  A holy blog article about Headlights was perched there like a sign from JESUS.  And it gave me two mp3s, which I ungraciously stole like the little bastard I am.  However much I cursed Headlights’ white, white, whiiite teenish almost atmospheric pop-rock approach to Kill Them With Kindness (while I sang along), I completely embrace their new sound, which almost seems to grab influences from some sick indie bands.  Belle and Sebastian a bit, perhaps, or maybe Camera Obscura or SOMETHING I CAN’T PUT MY FINGER ON.  Reminiscent of a band that pulls from another decade, 1960s-ish.  I can see Erin Fein in a red polka-dotted dress.  You know what I’m sayin’?  Or maybe Rilo Kiley’s “With Arms Outstretched.”  Of course, I’m buying the album, but before you do, I can give you an mp3 to tide you over.  Oh, and no need to worry–they still have beloved bells on at least one track.

Cherry Tulips | Headlights

Lies, I lie to myself all the time.  I don’t lie to other people, but the one biggest thing I’ve ever lied about, I don’t feel guilty about it.  Or not in the way I’m supposed to.  I feel guilty to the wrong person, maybe.  And I definitely should feel some correct regret by now.  Just wait, though; karma will come around and I’ll gain a port wine stain or go blind or get pregnant (herpes at the very least).  Miraculously.

Speaking of whiteness and lies, I have realized as of late that I’m a fair bit of a hypocrite because while I claim appreciation of hip-hop, I have found that my collection of this genre has strangely depleted over the past few months.  If you can point me in the right direction towards any music that is cultural or different, I’d appreciate it.  I’ll write about it if I like it enough, and I’ll probably have to mention your name because I’ll be so full of gratitude.  I don’t mind foreign languages.

I can’t tell you enough times to just pick up No one belongs here more than you and read it.  Read it all the way through and savour it.  Read it with a yellow highlighter on hand and mark the parts that touch you.  Read it on the couch on a lazy weekend.  Read it when your heart hurts.  Read it before bed.  Read it like a Christian would read the Bible.  Read it, and it’s okay to cry when Pip leaves the narrator for Kate Berryman.  And when she picks the narrator up from work that one time.  And when Lyon still loves Deb.  Read it over again and just appreciate it and you can cry when you’re done.  The book is that phenomenal.  “Everyone knows that if you paint a human being entirely with house paint he will live, as long as you don’t paint the bottom of his feet.  It takes only a little thing like this to kill a person.”

Oh, yeah, there’s a lunar eclipse tonight.

18 February, 2008, 835 pm
Filed under: My Experience with Existence

Brought to you by Fracas
1. The Magnificent: Name someone you absolutely adore, and tell us why.
Liz and I have always been tight, but hanging out with her in December rekindled the flame.  We had new material to talk about, and I think that us being older and accepting that we’re growing up differently has made us closer than ever.  Our opposite natures compliment one another.  For example, she’ll sing for a living and I’ll write about her music for a living.  She’s always beautiful, her sarcasm has brought me close to pissing myself from laughter (at the very least, it’s rendered me incapable of speaking due to excessive giddiness and laughter), and even though she’s quite the joker, she’s still incredibly rational and gives excellent advice when I’m in need.  Plus, she’s a good secret keeper, and one of the few people I trust with everything.

2. The Muddy: Tell us something about life you just don’t “get”.
When I want to be in a relationship, nobody else does.  When I don’t want to be in a relationship or can’t be in a relationship, everyone crawls out of the woodwork and comes a-knockin’ on my door.  It’s not like I ever even crave a relationship, because I don’t thrive off of attention, much less any attention thrown my way from desperate males.  It’s more that those I pursue with genuine, wholehearted interest are generally disenchanted or just plain uninterested in me.

3. The Magnetic: Name something or someone good (or bad) you’re drawn to and you just can’t help it. Tell us if you want to change this or not.
Flats are an incredible style of shoes that do three things for me.  One, they generally allow me to walk as though barefooted, which is nice.  Two, they highlight my height, which doesn’t amount to much, even when I’m not slouching (which is rare).  Three, they make my feet smell rancid.  But I love them in all their simplicity.  I guess I wish I was drawn to a better-smelling shoe, or maybe I just wish flats smelled better.

4. The Mainstay: Who or what is something you just can’t live without? Why?
Yesterday, Brent asked me a “Would you rather” question.  Would you rather have no eyebrows at all or have a unibrow/monobrow?  My answer?  I’d rather live with a unibrow because at least I could groom it to look just so.  I couldn’t live without eyebrows.

5. The Masquerade: Tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t already know.
Hm.  I’ve never had a piercing, even on my earlobes, and I don’t really plan on getting a piercing, either.  However, if I did happen to pierce my ears, then I’d probably get really tiny gauges.  It’s crazy and ridiculous and I know some people find them ugly (plus, they’d stretch out my ears a bit–but not beyond the healing point), but if I’m going to get a piercing, then I’m going to go all the way.  For the record, though, I currently see no point in getting my ears pierced, especially because I can’t tolerate pain.

6. The Mettle: Tell us about a time you showed courage in yourself, or tell us what you wish you had the courage to do.
In history class last year, we held a classwide debate about gay marriage.  My teacher asked me my opinion on gay rights, and I was frozen for a minute because I’d never really gotten the opportunity to openly express my opinion on a topic so near and dear.  I told him something along the lines of, “Love is love and gay people are just that–people, and we shouldn’t discriminate.”  Most of my class snickered and roared at me condescendingly, but two of my classmates stuck up for me.  I was shaking after class, but I’m glad I got that out there.  And I don’t regret it.


I’m not even going to give you an explanation.  I’m just going to jump right into things.

First, you must listen to Eugene Francis Jnr.  When I hear of new bands via MySpace, I’m always wary because a lot of times, they are teenagers who think they have talent.  And quite frankly, they don’t have any talent at their disposal, at least not musically or creatively, even though they cite Bright Eyes as their main influence.  They are not worthy of being compared to Bright Eyes.  Eugene Francis Jnr is different.  I mean, he toured with Tegan and Sara last year by their demands.  And Bright Eyes is at the bottom of his list of influences, so you know you’ve got quite the journey in store for you.

 Eugene Francis Jnr

There’s a bunch of folklore associated with Eugene Francis Jnr, and he hasn’t even released his first album yet.  For example, legend dictates that he was born in Wales to an Apache Indian father and an Eskimo mother and that he travelled the globe with them.  His parents educated him in music and hippie-dom before he eventually settled in London, playing in various bands before skittling off to America.  Yeah, I don’t know how much of that’s true, but at the same time, I don’t really want to know.  If it’s a tale, then it just shows his creative prowess, and if it’s the truth, then it just shows how cultured an artist he is.  It shows in his music.

I want to say that his music is comparable to the wind, but it has layers and flavour that make it more substantial than that.  I notice something new every time I listen.  Perhaps you could just extract the exoticness or the travelled-ness from the wind and say that’s what I’d like to compare it to, because it would be the truth.  There’s also some self-love/world-love, rather inspirational vibe about some of his songs, most especially “Poor Me.”  Lucky for you, I’ve got that there mp3 for you to enjoy.  My favourite line says, “Don’t want a world where religion is power.”  Word.

Poor Me | Eugene Francis Jnr [buy]

This should tide you over until the album, The Golden Beatle, is released on April 28th, 2008.  Unfortunately for us, it’s only being released digitally outside of Europe, but that’s better than nothing, right?  Here’s the video.  Pretty interesting, reminiscent of some nursery rhyme or fairy tale.  I forget which one, though.

In other news, I went to Richmond last weekend.  I even got to miss school on Friday!  The first thing I did when I got there was visit Derek.  Even when we haven’t seen one another in a long time, we don’t know what to do.  This time, though, we watched Across the Universe and let me tell you…it changed my life.  I love the soundtrack, the character development, the art.  I love how relateable the story is.  It makes me want to fall in love and then be separated from a long time to be reunited again forever.  The soundtrack’s constantly playing in my head, and if I don’t have “All My Loving” stuck in my head, then you can be guaranteed that “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” has taken its place.

All My Loving | Jim Sturgess

After movie-ing and Chipotle-ing and Erika visit-ing with my best frieeeend, I waddled over to Paige’s house in my car.  I miss my car.  So many memories.  It’s a black ’92 Plymouth Acclaim with a maroon interior and a new CD player that was added a few years ago.  A hand-me-down from my parents.  When I drove it around this summer, I always planned to fix it up and put pillows in the back (partially because I have to sit on a pillow to drive it) but I never did.  I didn’t know how to sew yet.  I remember once Derek took me to the car wash and we cleaned it out, vacuum and all.  That was a great day.

Anyway, once I arrived at Paige’s house, there was lots of giggling and the biffs and I watched Across the Universe before bed.  The next morning was Paige’s birthday.  She likes to sleep in, so Erika and I watched Interview with the Vampire before she woke up. I’ll take any opportunity to mock Tom Cruise or Kirsten Dunst as a child.  I’d never really planned on watching it, but it was actually quite enjoyable, especially since we can’t take movies seriously.

I met up with Divya at the mall later that day.  I realized that I don’t get enough time with my best friend.  Isn’t everyone my best friend?  But I have loyalties to Divya because we’ve known one another for ten years.  A whole decade.  I generally hate going to the mall, but Divya and I have many of the same tastes, especially when it comes to clothing, so there were no problems in store choices.  For once, I felt like I fit in at Urban Outfitters, what with my unkempt hair and my weird clothing choice.  I’ve changed so much, not only in mentality, but also in looks.  Long hair, whatever clothes, jeans, no makeup.  Low maintenance is key for me.  Just a smile, come as you are.  I bought a shirt for ten bucks and when Divya and I had to part, it was difficult.

Then I went to Derek’s, lost the keys to my car at dinner, and went home after calling my dad to tell him that I’d lost them.  I always have car troubles.  Like the time I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the headlights.

Valentine’s Day was misleading.  I flip-flop back and forth about it.  For example, I love love and I love making other people feel good.  But Valentine’s Day is sort of exclusive to couples, which sucks, and anyway, as Divya says, you should express your love for people every day, not just on one shitty day in February.  Commas.  And commercialism blows.  This year was different.  I didn’t make valentines by hand with love like I normally do.  Instead, my mom bought me Pixie Stix and I handed them out rather generously but I still didn’t get rid of all sixty.  So when Brent and I went to Cherry Alley as a casual regular after-school gathering, we chugged them.  And I still didn’t get rid of them all.

Now, the fact that we went out on Valentine’s Day is misleading in itself because not a word about it passed between us during those two hours.  No mention of Valentine’s Day.  I figure that’s partially my fault because I assumed that he hated the commercialism of the holiday, and anyway, Brent isn’t a hippie.  He doesn’t love everyone.  I would have been categorized as “naive” to bring it up.  And I am naive, I’m so naive, but you can’t go wrong appreciating people.

It’s so misleading, too, because you’d figure that we’d at least be extremely genuine or kind to each other on that day, but I was being a bitch and then we had a conversation about suicide.  Naturally, that didn’t end well because we have disagreeing views on it.  I find it selfish, though in some contexts it can be beautiful.  You kill yourself, and then you find that people loved you and needed you and you let them down because you were full of self-pity.  There’s always something that could convince you not to do it.  Namely love, I think, or the right expression of appreciation.  That’s not to say I hate people who commit suicide.  It just makes me upset hearing about it.  I could have stopped them.  I could have loved them.  In reality, though, I couldn’t have because I didn’t know them.

Recently, someone said that all you need isn’t love.  You need food, shelter, water.  I read an article about Zimbabwe recently and their 26 000 percent inflation, and how people have to walk epic lengths to get to work because riding the bus costs too much, and how making ends meet is difficult.  And just applying that knowledge to my life, I know I’ve got it great.  It’s cut down on my wants, my so-called “needs.”  I want to walk to school every day just to feel a fraction of what these people are feeling.  I want to pursue my education with greater vigor because not everyone has the opportunity I do.  But when I share this information with other people, this inflation and inspiration and great sadness that just sits inside me that other people have to suffer and they don’t even have it the worst because they have jobs, well, nobody cares.  I get snide remarks like, “Sounds like what’s happening in America.”  It’s not, though, and it frustrates me.  Everyone wants to think he has it the worst.  Even though all these conspiracy theories are circling about American government, even though nothing’s perfect here, we have life so easy, so privileged.  Life is peachy.  There’s hope for everyone here.  There’s love in the form of food, shelter, water.  It’s pretty accessible here, even if it’s not abundant for all.  And you don’t see that in Africa.  I hate how often my acquaintances take things for granted.