INDIEchouette


SAD ROBOT
Why I use the internet.

Why I use the internet.

I’ll say, stretching is underrated.  Stretch your arms way above your head, arch your back, twist around a bit.  You’ll see what I mean.  You might also yawn after, and then you will have to thank me.

Do you realize how profound a mother’s influence can be?  I was just reminded of a couple of girls (three, actually) I knew back in early high school whose moms got on their backs about their need to lose weight, to look a certain way, to wear certain clothes, to never forget makeup, and to retain certain ladylike hobbies.  All three of these girls are still pretty young, still in high school, but they’ve turned out to be Christian conservative girls with good posture.  They are beauty pageant daughters.  They don’t really enter beauty pageants, but I would not be surprised if they all attended Cotillion in middle school.  White, upper-middle class Southern belle dancing.  But in my humble opinion, these girls look fine the way they are.

Ma mère influenced me a good deal, too, and still attempts to reform my no-makeup, bad-posture ways.  And she can make me feel so self-conscious when she comments on my clothes or my hair or my skin or my eyebrows.  Sometimes it makes me not want to leave the house.  And she says that I absolutely cannot get piercings, except my ears if I want them, which I don’t.  But she allowed me certain liberties while growing up, maybe because I wasn’t an only child or even an only daughter, but one of three.  I was allowed to do whatever I wanted within reason, no sports, no girly activities like Cotillion, probably because it was too expensive and we were from the north.  My childhood consisted of making art, reading religiously, biking, playing outside, and writing.

The summer before I turned twelve, I spent all day reading every day for several weeks, and my mother grew concerned after a while.  She prohibited me from reading so much, but that’s the only time I can really recall that she stepped in.  I don’t remember how successful she was at that one.  Also, she hates the Shins because they remind her too much of the Beach Boys and doesn’t let me listen to them when she’s in earshot.  And she always used to say that she hoped that I did not listen to music about kids killing their parents.  Like I would.

Oh, “Jack Killed Mom” um…shit.  That doesn’t count!

Looking back, I’m glad she allowed me those liberties because even if I would look so much better if she were so strict about my appearance, she allowed me to develop into my own person, if somewhat reluctantly.  My mom let go of me at a certain point and allowed me to take control of everything from my hair to my eyebrows to my clothing to my music to my hobbies.  The only thing she will not let me control is body hair that is normally shaved.  The thing is that she doesn’t ever see my nether region, so she doesn’t know what’s going on.

Speaking of, here is one of the greatest scenes from one of the greatest chapters in all of the books I have read.   It is Everything Is Illuminated.  I guess I will only put some of it.

My grandfather and the Gypsy girl knew none of this as they made love for the last time, as he touched her face and fingered the soft underside of her chin, as he paid her the attention received by a sculptor’s wife.  Like this? he asked.  She brushed her eyelashes against his chest.  She moved her butterfly kiss across his torso and up his neck to where his left earlobe connected to his jaw.  Like this? she asked.  He pulled her blue blouse over her head, he undid her bead necklaces, he licked her smooth and sweaty armpits and ran his finger from her neck to her navel.  He drew circles around her caramel areolas with his tongue.  Like this? he asked.  She nodded and craned her head back.  He flicked her nipples with his tongue, and knew that it was all so completely wrong, everything, from the moment of his birth to this, everything was coming out the wrong way–not the opposite, but worse: close.

I can’t tell you how much of a funk I was in when I finished that book.  Right now, I feel out-typed, like I have been silkscreening my thoughts onto the internet for too long.  I can’t quite think straight.  I think that I just need vast amounts of sleep.

Between now and when I go to sleep, you should listen to some Stars.  I only obtained Sad Robots EP a few months ago, but ever since then, I am constantly listening to those six songs, minus “Going, Going, Gone [Live]” because it generally gives me a headache and reminds me of an alarm clock.

Undertow | Stars
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“Undertow” is a warm blanket on a cold night, an umbrella on a rainy day, and a bicycle on a sunny afternoon.  It is my crutch.  My favourite aspect of this song is that everything that is in the background is quiet.  So it’s really a tranquil song.  The breakdown near the end comes in at a close second place.

14 Forever | Stars
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Not like I’d like to be fourteen forever for real because I seriously hated being fourteen, but the feeling is so good.  You have to understand.  You know the tenderness that comes along with a first relationship, a first love.  I guess I don’t want to be left alone.

While we’re talking about being a teenager (“14 Forever”), I would like to mention the Hardee’s commercial which uses blatant meat pornography.  This is pretty much a double blow to me because while I could maybe handle some gorgeous woman sucking off a cucumber, it’s just disgusting to see her eating out a huge burger.  It’s not even the meat that really gets me, though.  It’s the pornography.

I’m a reasonable girl.  I can handle sex.  But I don’t think it’s appropriate.  I can’t quite wrap my mind around backup information as to why I can’t watch this commercial without thinking about a high-definition, high-budget porno.  You watch it, and it’s self-evident and shocking.  But it’s also advertising something that is despicable.  And the most interesting thing about this whole deal is that Padma Lakshmi, the model, used to be a vegetarian.  This is flipping a huge bird to the cause.

I don’t know.  You watch it and tell me what you think.

Just, I guess my probelm his that it’s sexual, sure, but it’s not sexy.  And it’s not doing anything to help the feminist front or the animal rights front.  It’s attacking both in one go.

Also, I just realized just how much I miss my mom, and how even if I was seventeen and had a nightmare and woke up screaming and sweaty because of a thunderstorm, she would let me sleep in her bed.  Even though I was just home recently, in March, I feel like I’m going nowhere.  I’m also so frustrated that I’m letting my grades suffer because of some inner crisis.  I also miss Lewisburg as a whole.  I miss Babygirl so much it hurts sometimes.  I miss Ali and Carol kidnapping me.  I miss Shannon coming into our house and eating our food and making up characters and gossipping.  I miss Aunt Peggy coming in and getting ice from the icemaker.  I miss making friendship bracelets without shoes on.  I miss biking around the neighborhood at eleven at night and crying so hard because I was so frustrated and I felt so helpless and alone, and then sitting in the back yard feeling dead, empty, and far from hungry and looking up at the stars.

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I’M GOING TO PRETEND I WAS NEVER ON TEMPORARY HIATUS

Here is a story for you.  I thought I had four As and one B this semester at college.  When I checked my grades online, I found that I had four As and one C.  The C was in my one-credit Intro to University class, where we did jack shit and my teacher was a certified phony.  I’d nabbed As in Psyc, English, Math, and Gov.  This was not an easy feat.  And that one-credit piece of shit class dragged down my GPA.  Needless to say, I was at least a little frustrated, and supposing my cousin, Liz, chances upon this entry, she will probably correct me and tell me that I cried and she wanted to punch me in the face.  College is something you have to pay for, so my mentality was to achieve all As (unlike my high school mentality, which was “Fuck It”).

However, I still made Dean’s List.  This is extremely satisfying.

My message to you is:  If you go to VCU, do not take Univ 101 no matter how your advisor urges that you do so.  It’s just not worth the time.

I will give you two more things today.

The first is a book recommendation.  If you’re like me, then you have multitudes of books lying around your room and your suitcase that you cannot wait to read, yet there are still so many more that you have not yet acquired of which you yearn to get ahold.  And you’re ever so open to recommendations, as you love to read and you love books, but at the same time, you barely have room for another book in your life right now.  I am like this now, and I was also like this when I purchased the book that I am currently reading, but I urge you to do whatever you can to make room for this book.  And I’ll tell you what this book is.

But first, I have to admit that I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.  I feel so overwhelmed now because I must have about a million undiscovered gems to read, especially considering the grandeur that is this novel.

everything-is-illuminated

The book is called Everything Is Illuminated and it was written by Jonathan Safran Foer.  And I’ll have to leave it at that, because it’s impossible to describe in all its intricacies.  I can tell you that if you doubt me at all, then just read the first “chapter” piece, narrated by Alex in hilariously fucked-up English.  If you’re a language person like I am, then you’ll appreciate these segments.  And if you still doubt me, then turn to the next “chapter” piece, narrated by Jonathan.  If you’re a detail-oriented person like I am, then you’ll appreciate these segments.  And if you still doubt me, well, you might as well read the entire novel.  It’s thick but the pages fly by.  And it’s probably worth it.

I might as well add that yes, a movie version does exist, and it may or may not be loyal to the book and it may or may not be fulfilling, but I only recommend the book.  It is worthwhile to read the book.  Elijah Wood is in the movie, but I don’t know whether or not it is worthwhile to watch.  Just read the book already.

Also, okay, since I had to find a photo of the book cover, I also ran into shots from the movie and it is tempting to watch it now.  But please, be a good person and read the book.

The last well…maybe the last thing I wanted to tell you is that of course I enjoy Melpo Mene, and that I have another Melpo Mene track to share with you.  Not unlike the band’s other tracks, this one is a sweet, soft lullaby-like crooner tune but it strikes me probably because it is both incredibly joyous and terribly melancholy at the same time.  It is not unlike a sunny afternoon on a day where you’ve slept too much, because while it’s dandy that everything is gorgeous and that you are well-rested, the sunlight will go away soon and the day will end and then you’ll have nothing to do.

I should get away | Melpo Mene
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And I was just thinking that maybe this should be the end of my post, but I have decided to take it upon myself to introduce to you a phenomenon.  If you have already seen this phenomenon, then I am proud of you.  But I can only go a few days or weeks without seeing this video before having to refresh my memory.

It’s not that I think this girl is stupid or that I want to hate on her.  I just find her videos humorous in content.  This is probably the most popular one, but her others are gems as well.  She can be good-natured and excited, which in turn brings a smile to my face maybe because her good moods are fairly contagious, or maybe because she’s just so unbearably silly.  It kind of reminds me of an exaggerated version of me reacting to anything to do with Rilo Kiley.  I’m not praising her views on Twilight, though.  I find it fairly silly to defend something like a popular (and allegedly poorly-written) piece of literature so relentlessly and without restraint.  This sort of video by a self-proclaimed “twituber” makes me want to test Twilight for myself so I can be a better judge, since my taste in literature is relatively acute.  Then again, most girls who read Twilight, their taste is acute too.  They mostly refuse to branch out from the Young Adult section, which means they’ll just imbibe novels like A-List, The Clique, and other such teen romance/girl-fiction shit.



SO I’M READING THIS BOOK CALLED CUNT
28 October, 2008, 1250 pm
Filed under: Books, My Experience with Existence | Tags: , ,

Cunt didn’t make me love my period.  Reason being:  I already loved my period.  Cunt helped me realize just why I love my period.

I love my period because it cleans out my system, it is my body’s magical way of synchin’ up with the moon, it makes me assertive/aggressive instead of my regular passive-aggressive, it shows my emotions at their clearest, it helps me resolve problems, it naturally calls for a break in all of my regular life-functions, and it gives me a valid excuse not to talk to people (because if I want to talk to you while I’m on my period, I am expressing utmost respect).  If I was on my period now, then I’m certain that I could dig up more reasons.

But more than that, I enjoy reading Cunt every chance I get.  It’s one of those books I have to read with a highlighter.  And I’m not even done with it yet.



FREAK

Recently, time has been crawling closer and closer to when I planned to go vegan.  I had decided that I either had to be eighteen or in college.  Since college comes first, my initial effort is about a week away.  I’m anxious, though.  I can’t wait to have the freedom to eat whatever I want, and yet I feel completely unprepared.  I know what I can’t eat.  I think the issue is more what I can eat when I’m vegan.

Well, I recently remembered about this gift certificate to the independent bookstore downtown which I’d received as a graduation present from neighbours.  Today, I hit up the shop and browsed titles before I made my decision.  I initially planned on investing in some hardcore Vonnegut or maybe Palahniuk or something, but I normally gravitate to the pop culture section of the store, and you can find Palahniuk and Vonnegut at the library.  This time, I wanted to check out everything to make a wise investment, and I came across a whole section on vegan literature that I had somehow overlooked before!

I went back and forth from book to book–I wanted this one, and then I thought that this one might be a better investment, and then I considered that I don’t generally use cookbooks, even ones for lazy people, so I wanted some hard literature.  I eventually came across one titled Vegan Freak.  The testimony on the back claims that I will find:

-how to easily go vegan in three weeks or less
-the arguments for ethical veganism
-how to get along with family, friends, and others, including other vegetarians
-tons of practical tips for traveling, shopping, and living as a vegan
-tips for surviving the grocery store, restaurants, and dinners with omnivores
-how to respond when people ask you if you “like, live on apples and twigs”

And as if that’s not enough, the authors aren’t afraid to drop the f-bomb AND they listened to fantastic music while writing (see:  Death Cab and the Arcade Fire).

Just thought I’d share.



PLEASE DON’T LET ME ESCAPE

My headache has subsided temporarily and I can think for a moment.  By the way, I got a killer headache earlier from playing Solitaire on the computer obsessively.

You could say that Long Beach Island was enjoyable only during the day, when I could lounge on the blanket on the sand with my iPod cranking out “Parisian Skies” by Maximo Park (which Ali supplied me with) as I stared out at the ocean and considered that the Atlantic is all that separates me from France, pretty much.  I hate the people on Long Beach Island.  Everyone’s living for the wrong reasons.  Why can’t you just kick back and enjoy how beautiful life is for a moment?  Salty air coursing through your hair.  Sand exfoliating your feet.  Being feels so healthy at the beach, yet when you look around, you just see that everyone only aims to be aesthetically pleasing, and few succeed.  I always feel overprivileged and greedy when I’m at the beach, which makes me feel extremely guilty and slightly nauseous.

I wore a bikini for the first time in ever this year.  I never wore one in years past because I was afraid of offending people with my body.  Pale, hairy, full of baby fat.  It’s a strange train of thought, I know.  I disagree with it.  But really, being bikini-ready is the least of my concerns.  I am more concerned about contentment and knowledge than I am about whether or not superficially-oriented boys will want to fuck me because of the display I put on while half-naked at the beach.  And hey.  If I was really that terribly self-conscious, I never would have bought the thing.  This is a small step towards confidence.

I read a whole lot while I was on the beach.  In fact, I covered three books.  Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk, and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.  I was already a Palahniuk fan, already a Vonnegut reader, so my thirst was quenched by those two.  Survivor is up there with Invisible Monsters.  I love Palahniuk because he doesn’t give you some bullshit happy ending.  The important questions are answered by the end of the book.  That doesn’t mean all of your questions are answered, though.  I would like to call his novels “mind-fuck” and leave it at that.  Through his characters, he also takes our culture apart from the inside–not as someone judging or evaluating, but as someone who has experienced it.  And best of all, he doesn’t do sequels.  Vonnegut was stunning.  Something about his writing style made Slaughterhouse-Five a quick read.  I never wanted to set it down.  I love his commentary on religion, especially in Cat’s Cradle, but there is certainly plenty of it in Slaughterhouse-Five.  There are actually many similarities between those particular novels.  As for Rice, well, she’s wordy, but I did crave more when I’d finished reading the novel.

Now I’m reading Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.  I find it a bit more difficult and lengthy to read, possibly because of descriptions, but it’s surprisingly hilarious.  Chuck Palahniuk sometimes solicits a small chuckle from me, but this one often gets a hearty laugh.  I’m only a few chapters in, too.

Somehow, despite the fact that I have a fairly firm grasp of who I am, my cousin constantly makes me feel like the inferior laughing stock of the family, and though I usually laugh it off, I flipped out about it this time.  Just not to her face.  With the help of the people who take me seriously, I was able to cool off fairly rapidly.

Example:  She wanted to swim in the ocean.  I was wary.  When I was twelve, I was sucked off the knee-deep sandbar over an 8-foot-deep hole and had to tread water while screaming for help and trying to live.  I just remember trying to keep my head up, and wondering when the lifeguard was going to come, thinking I was going to drown and die.  Whenever I used to think about my death scene, I would think about last words and telling everyone how much I loved them, but in that death scene, there was no time for last words.  Afterward, I completely forgot how to swim and stopped enjoying the ocean.  I find nothing about that story funny, but for some reason, my family thinks it’s hilarious that I had to get a lifeguard to save me.  So flash back to this year, and everyone still thinks it’s a great one and I still find nothing funny.  I reluctantly consent to go in the ocean, and it’s fine except my cousin’s already ditched me for Rachael and as I try to catch up to them, I’m suddenly in an area where I can’t touch bottom and I start panicking, breathing hard, and flailing, but this time I can turn around and ride the waves to shore, and I’m shaking and when my cousin gets out of the water twenty minutes later (because they abandoned me), she tells me that I missed the six “hot guys” who got in after me.  Too fucking bad, right?

There’s always some criticism of my style.  Your sandals don’t match your outfit.  Or your sunglasses are atrocious.  You wear that shirt every day.  This song is stupid and I don’t know why you’d listen to it.  You sit on your ass all day at the beach.  That guy is so comically ugly; I don’t know why you like him.  You should get your eyebrows done thinner.  You look young today.  You’re the eight and I’m the nine.  You are the eight.  And I am the nine.

I am not the favoured one by my grandmother, no matter how much I resemble her.  It’s because I’m not sassy or outrageous.  Only once:  We were thirteen or fourteen.  My cousin said she liked hot guys, and I asked if intelligence mattered to her one bit.  My grandmother laughed and noted that I was the smart one.  And that’s just it.  My cousin is the conventionally hot one, and I have to be the conventionally intelligent one, no matter how hard she tries to make it seem like I’m not only less attractive, but I’m also less intelligent.  I’m just good for a ho-hum laugh and it’s all good.  But not anymore, because I’m sick of everyone laughing at me for being the weird one.  I’m sick of having to laugh at myself for being the weird one.

Today, I’m going to give you a Bright Eyes tune.  I some of my Bright Eyes on my computer, and I feel compelled to share some of it.  I enjoy listening to this one before I do something important.  And freshman orientation is tomorrow.  I hate it when people confuse the words “freshman” and “freshmen.”  I know, but it happens.  It really does.

Gold Mine Gutted | Bright Eyes
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Bright Eyes’ Official Website
Saddle Creek Official Website

What the hell?  I’ll give you this one, too.  As far as I know, it’s Erika’s favourite Bright Eyes tune.  I personally love Maria Taylor’s heavenly voice floating over the heavy lyrics.

Nothing Gets Crossed Out | Bright Eyes
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I have so much music I want to share with you soon.  Why do I keep seeing American Apparel ads everywhere I look?



NOTHIN’ MUCH

I am at the beach, and I just keep thinking about the tales that everyone brought from Europe, and how much I dislike America.  How much I dislike being American.  Everyone here at the beach, on Long Beach Island, embodies the typical American tourist.  And we haven’t even left the country.  I keep wondering how much the people who work here hate us.  We’re feeding them lots and lots of money with our stupid yearly rituals.  Mini golf.  Dinner here and there.  Buying this and that.  But we’re so stupid.

I finished Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk last night, and this got me thinking, too.  I guess they really aren’t targeting the smartest people as their customers, because the smartest people see the traps and the fakeness and how even though the Atlantic Ocean is beautiful and it’s all that separates me from France, it’s a tourist trap.  The shore is a tourist trap.  LBI is a tourist trap.  But there’s almost no other way to really enjoy the ocean, not here in America where they have to package and sell everything.

Why, also, do you think I love being pale?  Why do you think I crave pearly white skin?  Anyone can become tan.  Even the most milky white people like Rachael can go to the tanning bed and gradually gain immunity in the form of beautiful bronze skin.  But it takes a certain kind of person to be able to be pale.  And I’m not racist.  If I wasn’t able to have very pale skin, then I would next want to have cinnamon skin or dark chocolate skin.  Those are my next choices, because I like the extremes.  Very dark or very light, those sorts of skin colours take a special kind of person.  But it’s not possible for me to have very dark skin, so I have to aim for the lightest end of the spectrum.

I just thought of something, though.  About culture.  I am sort of glad I grew up American because I have control over what I become.  I have control over my cultural education.  It may be difficult at times, but I have such a selection.  And I know exactly what I dislike about being American.



JE LIS

Read. That is what I am going to do with my summer.

You probably think I’m taking the valedictorian speech too seriously, but after picking up the habit of reading the news, I feel empowered or maybe just knowledgeable.

When I was twelve or thirteen, maybe fourteen and just filled with angst, I had my mother take me to the library at the beginning of the summer. I borrowed loads of books, maybe seven or ten. And when I got home, I just started reading. I read for hours. I lounged on the couch and absorbed these books. When I finished the first one the next morning, I immediately began the next. I kept going, and my mother thought that it was unnatural and unhealthy. Maybe it was. I don’t care. Perhaps it helped seal the fate of my eyes. The reason I wear contacts and glasses, after all, is that when I began reading in elementary school, I didn’t want to stop. I remember in second grade, when we moved to Richmond, that’s all I wanted to do. I would lay on the couch and read. Sit at my desk in school and read. Go to recess and read sometimes (or play kickball, hopscotch, hang-glider, or swing). And goddamn, at that point, I hated writing. It wasn’t until fourth grade, when I wrote an essay about how I got this scar on my forehead, that I began to enjoy writing.

I forget most days about that scar. My bangs cover it, on the left side of my forehead. When I think about it, too, it seems so insignificant. A fact of life that has been present since I was four, and I can’t remember life before it. But it’s a story I’ve never shared with you. And you will not hear it today, either.

Anyway. Yesterday, I went to the library and chose seven books, but they weren’t enough. I want to gobble them up. I know, though, that it will take me at least two weeks to read them all. July 3rd. That’s when they are due. I finished the first last night. Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. Which is an incredible emotional journey that you won’t be able to stop reading until you’re completely finished. Maybe I will make a list of the books I read and want to read this summer. I have missed reading for pleasure, and now that I have the opportunity to do it again, I will take full advantage.

I think that it should be noted that while I am a fast typer even by my peers’ standards (but certainly not by my own), I am an incredibly slow reader. I don’t know this in words per minute or anything, but I know that it takes me maybe a minute or two to read a page. While some people would probably pin this on my stupidity, I like to think that I am absorbing the book better than anyone else is. And it’s probably at least partially true. I tend to remember details better because I am spending a longer time with the words than other people are. When I did Book Bowl in fifth grade, they nicknamed me “Buzzy” because I always got the Bonus Round questions so rapidly, and they were correct. Thus, I would never want to change my habit of reading slowly. I do not want to become a skimmer. I enjoy letting everything season in my brain for a bit.

I haven’t written about music in a good long time, though. I wonder who visits my blog every day, and I just assume that it’s probably random viewers from search engines, mixed in with perhaps five solid readers. Merci, though.

Here’s the thing. Today, I will write about the Wombats, finally.

I borrowed the Wombats from some other music blog, most likely All Things Go. I mean, if they ever did an article on the Wombats. Thing is, while I normally don’t like cymbal-heavy Brit-pop, I love the Wombats. And it’s not like they only have one catchy song that will resonate with a few people. Their music is entirely contagious, universally catchy. It’s everything about it that makes it so great, and it’s one of those bands where every time you listen to the songs, something new will catch your ear. I love that.

Anyway, the Wombats have followed me on many important journeys. On my first trip to New York City, I kept listening to “Moving to New York.” I hated New York but continued to love the song. On my first trip to Bounce Funplex with Ali and Carol, Ali included this on a mix CD and added that I should check out “Backfire at the Disco.” So I did, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Thus, today I present you with the track that Ali so strongly recommended. What’s funny is that such an incredibly successful, serious band spawned out of a grand joke.

The Wombats | Backfire at the Disco
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Also, guys, I’ve been inspired by Sara and my sister. I’m going to compile a list of songs that I greatly enjoyed when I was maybe fourteen or fifteen and was heavy into pop-punk and I worshiped it. I’ll upload it soon, after I finish Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Et je veux lire des livres en français, mais je ne sais pas où je pourrais les chercher.