INDIEchouette


BEFORE MARCH ENDS

I think this one is easier on the ears.

1.  Sea Legs | The Shins
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The beginning to this song, before any melody or lyrics, sort of reminds me of something Switchfoot would do, and I loved Switchfoot when I was maybe fourteen.  I have since moved on, but you could say that I am comforted by familiar things.  Everyone is.  In addition to reminding me of Switchfoot, the Shins will always remind me of some scene from Garden State, even if only two of their songs were in the movie.  “Sea Legs” is a darker Shins piece, but it’s not unpleasant.  In its boldness, it is pleasant.  It is assertive.  It is an evening piece.  The evening is my favourite time of day.  That’s why I put this on my March mix, because it’s starting to get warmer, it’s spring, and the evenings are beginning to grow more and more enjoyable.

2.  Unforgettable Season | Cut Copy
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Sometimes, when I have a clear head, blank slate, and I don’t already have a song in mind, I’ll allow my iPod to shuffle around songs that I don’t listen to very often.  That’s how I grew to like “Unforgettable Season.”  The reason I allowed myself to listen instead of switching the song is that it’s encouraging and atmospheric, like most summer songs.  It’s not summer, but it’s close enough.

3.  Can’t Stop Now | Keane
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As I said before, familiarity is comforting.  Keane is familiar.  Also, Keane and piano rock in general both give me this weird romantic-comedy feelings.  It’s probably because Keane always has this pained, broken-hearted sound that captures the feeling that someone is lonely and trying very hard to be happy in order to get over something dreadful.  I’m not going to lie (and really, why would I lie), I love that sound and I love that feeling.  Emotion keeps my heart running.

4.  Take Me Anywhere | Tegan & Sara
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I think Tegan & Sara’s short songs are the best ones because they pack the most feeling into the smallest packages.  For example, listen to “Soil, Soil.”  That’s one of my favourites.  Also, the short ones tend to be the catchier ones.

5.  Jedi | melpo mene
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I have a newfound love for Star Wars.  And I have a relatively newfound love for the style of elevator music that Melpo Mene produces.  But my love for gentle, delicate voices is not newfound.  It may be because of “I Adore You” or maybe because of the all-around sound that their albums produce, but I find that Melpo Mene is the epitome of a cloud-band.  Also, for some reason, maybe because his voice is just so delicate and his songs just so tender, Erik Mattiasson somehow reminds me of a Swedish version of Gael García Bernal’s character in The Science of Sleep, which is endearing.  It makes me want to tuck him in and make him breakfast.

6.  Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car | Iron & Wine
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Ali pointed out to me that Sam Beam looks like Jesus.  I already somehow realized this, but having her point it out so bluntly is only a little bit of a setback, because I generally love hairy people.  I really don’t care that he has taken up the typically unattractive Christ-look because of his delicate, smooth, and intimate voice, which is revealing but still manages to retain a great amount of dignity.  I love Sam Beam’s work.

7.  Let It Fall | Lykke Li
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I uploaded this song only a few days ago, but here!  I’m giving you another chance to introduce yourself to Lykke Li!  Every time I listen to this song, I want to hopskotch, jumprope, draw with chalk, and play outdoors kids’ games.  Do not ask why.  Probably because of the sing-songness, syncopation, and “so happy-ee-ee-ee!” Maybe I’ll make a mix of new childhood nostalgia songs for the summer.

8.  Soul Meets Body | Death Cab For Cutie
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I also uploaded this song recently, but I don’t think I ever explained just why.  I went on a bike-trip for dinner to Carytown with Virginia and Bryan, neither of whom have websites that I can link to.  We ate dinner at Nacho Mama’s and then left to gather up our bikes and as we drove past Nacho Mama’s again, we heard this song emanating from the outdoor speakers.  When I hear a song that I already love playing in a public place, I will be hooked on it for a while.  This one’s for the good biking weather!

9.  Coat Check Dream Song | Bright Eyes
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Cassadaga wasn’t as awesome as Conor Oberst’s older material.  We all know that.  The warbly voice was gone, the drugs were absent.  There were, however, some winners, such as this one, which features some woman as a guest–who is it?  Is there more than one woman?  Is one of those women Maria Taylor?  I think that the woman in this song really makes it.

10.  Dance Dance Dance | Lykke Li
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I searched Lykke Li on Youtube.  I found this video.  A dancer all alone.  This song could make you feel so alone in a crowd.  The percussion.  Her lonely voice.  The lonely lyrics.  I became ecstatic and fell in love with the song.  What I love is that there is not really any buildup and it never becomes a huge fanfare, though it gradually becomes a little more lively, a little more happy until there is a chorus of women and maybe one man.  Also, it’s probably the only song in the world written and performed by a self-proclaimed shy person.  I love that.

11.  Wedding March | Erin Tobey
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I don’t like the idea of marriage, but I love the idea of a female acoustic artist.  In fact, I love the idea of acoustic artists in general.  Or acoustic artists that are purely instrumental.  Or purely instrumental artists.  Lyrics sometimes get in the way.  That doesn’t happen with Erin Tobey.  Erin Tobey’s voice is so gentle, anyway, that it just combines with the guitar and absolutely floats as it ascends to meet Melpo Mene in the clouds.  Listen to the lyrics, though.  They are how I feel.

12.  Avignon | Pinback
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This was my first taste of Pinback years ago.  So when I was asked by Ke at the beginning of last semester if I had ever heard of Pinback, yes, I had, but I didn’t know it until I checked out my Last.fm charts from forever ago.  My first taste of Pinback was via Last.fm and I was probably sixteen.  I must add here that it was a faster verion and that I officially love songs with pet names.  In this case, they’re sad pet names.  In other cases, you get pet names like Baby Girl, which is basically my cat’s name.  Babygirl.  Babyqirl.

Avignon (Full Band Version) | Pinback
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This is the faster version.

13.  Hanging High | Lykke Li
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Supposing I have children, I want them to grow up listening to this serene tune.  That’s the first thing I thought when I first heard these bittersweet sounds.  She has a delicate but distinct voice, so sweet and dignified, so bold, and so young.  She’s so young.  It all shows here.

14.  Effigy | Andrew Bird
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You can tell that Andrew Bird definitely loops the beginning, which is a magical procedure to witness live.  He has to be so precise!  Anyway, I heard this one at Cherry Alley, which was another case of falling in love with a song I know and then hear in a public place.  I recognized Andrew Bird’s distinct voice immediately and felt calm.  As far as I’ve noticed, he rarely uses guests, but when he does, they’re incredible females.  Ali put it so simply:  It’s such a beautiful song.  Even if it’s about death.  Well really, those can be the most beautiful because they’re loneliest.

15.  House By The Sea | Iron & Wine
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I feel that I need to show you a picture of Sam Beam’s Jesus-ness in order for you to understand.

Not Sam Beam.  Actually Jesus.

Not Sam Beam. Actually Jesus.

The reason I love this song so much is that it talks about two jealous sisters waiting in a house, basically just prepping, doing nothing, waiting for something terrible.  I picture an abandoned house where my sister is making angels in the dust on the wooden floors and I am walking around, loving her, trying to take care of her, trying to change the locks on the door, trying to keep her safe even though we can’t be safe anywhere and we will have to leave soon.  There is a lot of imagery, and it reminds me of myself and my sister, Rachael.  Or what we could be if we were terrible people who had to get along because we had nobody else.  Also, I love raspberries.  And I love the way Sam Beam sings about raspberry leaves.  And I love the guitar riffs.  This is currently my favourite Iron & Wine song.

16.  Underground | Sentinel
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Even if the guitar parts make little sense to me, it’s my favourite part.  I like this song because it has potential.  It succeeds in being atmospheric and a definite travelling song, which is all I really ask of it.  My favourite part is either the beginning or the last ~30 seconds.  If you like it, then I advise that you check out “Avalanche” by Sentinel.

17.  2 O’Clock | Kaki King
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Kaki King is playing a childish game with us.  Her voice is like Erin Tobey’s in that it floats up in the clouds.  I’m guessing that this song is about someone who is taking care of a very injured person who doesn’t love her. the pain is the reason I love this song.  And the sing-songness she uses when she gets to the built-up part.  I generally love Kaki King’s ability to capture any melancholy emotion, though.  In a sense, it’s a shame she doesn’t sing more, since her voice is tinged with pleasantness, but then, I’d be afraid that her voice or lyrics would get in the way of her music, which would be unfortunate.  Also,  you need to listen to Kaki King’s retaliation at the end of the track.  Don’t stop when she stops singing.  Keep going.

18.  Out On The Weekend | Neil Young
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Listening to the original really stresses just how well Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes can cover Neil Young.  Or how much Neil Young influenced Bright Eyes.  I wish I had good taste when I was younger.  Don’t fret that it’s a really quiet track, either; my dad converted all of his records into mp3 format and that’s why.  “She’s so fine/She’s in my mind/I hear her callin'”  Yeah.  Favourite part in any version.

19.  Resurrection Fern | Iron & Wine
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My attention was called to this piece because it was on a mix that someone close to Jaimie had made for her.  It shows how close.  Whenever I hear, “Like stubborn boys across the road we’ll keep everything,” I think of Charles, Coleton, Phelan, Travis, and Torey and how close we were the summer of 2007 on North 11th Street under Charles’ tree.  Every day!  Every night!  Circle Meetings!  We were a family, along with my real family, Rachael, Alexa, and Shannon.  I loved them all.  I still love them all.  I miss being lonely, underage, and terribly sad.  I think that it’s harder to be lonely and of age.  I really do.



SUPER AMAZING ANDREW BIRD LUVSONG
6 January, 2009, 734 pm
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If you think that I listened to Melpo Mene for the entire month of décembre, then you’ve been fooled by my stealthy lying skills.  Though lyke I ttlly wish I did.  It simply did not occur to me because I was downing shot after shot of Andrew Bird all day every day.

20070227_andrew_bird_taggedNow, before, all I had listened to was The Mysterious Production of Eggs (and a few songs from Armchair Apocrypha).  I received this album from the mystical Santy Claus in 2006-almost-2007 (or was it 2005-almost-2006?), fell in love, and never got bored with it for two fucking years (not just regular years, mind you).  But upon visiting Ali’s place of residence in novembre, I was hit by “Dark Matter,” which she (Ali) assured me was her favourite song ever.  I felt beyond dumb because Andrew Bird was up there as one of my four favourite artists, and he was especially high on my Last.fm charts, but I owned just one album.

I reached out and obtained several more albums to add to my beautiful collection and soon took the time to listen to them.  When I started listening, I was unable to stop, especially after I purchased these premium Skullcandy earbuds, which cost so much less than iPod earbuds and are so much higher quality.

Anyway, I figured I ought to give you the best of the best (of what I have, save for Soldier On, since I do have that but have not listened to it enough yet), and the best way to accomplish this is to give you this .rar file I have ready-made, and then I guess to give you the individual mp3s, too.

Andrew Bird Tidbits.rar
[website] [myspace]

Fiery Crash | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

I | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Sovay | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Lull | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Dark Matter | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Masterfade | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Swedish Folk Tune | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Don’t Be Scared | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

The Supine | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Scythian Empire | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

The Naming Of Things | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

Tables and Chairs | Andrew Bird
[mediafire] [buy]

And if you like Andrew Bird, then I would also go out ona  limb to recommend Beirut, Rufus Wainwright, Final Fantasy, and Sufjan Stevens for similar vibes.

One last thing.  While I think that Demi Lovato is one of the prettier Disney Channel stars (not just cuz of her hair, guys), one with a premium Disney-created voice and a first-rate Disney-created image, man, her mouth is like…what the fuck.  You really have to see it in action to get the gist of what I’m saying.  And I think she’s positively gorgeous, but when I watch her mouth, sometimes I am grossed out.  It’s kind of like Miley Cyrus’ mouth, only not as exaggeratedly fucked.  Also, you think about this generation of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon stars, and they’re not actually attractive at all.  A few that I can point out who are include Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miranda Cosgrove.  You could also include Brenda Song, I guess, but she’s far older than this 90s-born generation.  When I was a kid, I just don’t remember this plague of fucked-up faces.



FINALLY

This is a mix I made for Jay called “Finally” to introduce him to some new kickass mewzik while he drove back to his school from mine.  Apparently, it’s immensely depressing.

Also, I apologize, for there are a lot of repeats here–things I’ve previously loved or posted on my blog.  I think you’ll find a few new treasures, though.  And if you’ve never read my blog before, all the better.

By the way, I’ve got a new mix headed your way super-soon, so keep lookin’.

1.  I Will Never Love You More | Soko
[buy] [mediafire]

2.  Green Rain | Shugo Tokumaru
[buy] [mediafire]

3.  Sleepyhead | Passion Pit
[buy] [mediafire]

4.  I Adore You | Melpo Mene
[buy] [mediafire]

5.  Seaside Sorrow | Lonely Boy
[buy] [mediafire]

6.  Sunrise | Caroline
[buy] [mediafire]

7.  Plasticities | Andrew Bird
[buy] [mediafire]

8.  Postcards From Italy | Beirut
[buy] [mediafire]

9.  The Funeral | Band of Horses
[buy] [mediafire]

10.  He War | Cat Power
[buy] [mediafire]

11.  Fools | The Dodos
[buy] [mediafire]

12.  Holes | Melpo Mene
[buy] [mediafire]

13.  Acid Tongue | Jenny Lewis
[buy] [mediafire]

14.  (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan | Dntel
[buy] [mediafire]

15.  Return to Goleta Drive-In | The Northern Two
[buy] [mediafire]



COME TO THE LEWISBURG ARTS FESTIVAL, PLEASE

So.  I’m completely grounded.

This is exceptionally rare for me.  Even when I am semi-grounded, I normally have some freedom to roam about the neighbourhood, but this time, I am confined to home, which basically means that I need to take up Colonial girl hobbies.

One of my semi-Colonial hobbies is writing pieces for my senior project, that zine I mentioned a while ago.  It’s coming along.  Actually, that’s the reason I am grounded–my senior project is not finished yet.  But I’m about halfway there, if you exclude distribution and the final paper.  I’m trying to go out of my way to make it nice and different from your typical zine.  I’m veering away from words and photos that look clipped out of magazines, though I did find this HILARIOUS photograph of a bunch of baby hawks in a 1974 issue of National Geographic that I must use.  They’re Coopers hawks.

I guess the cover is giving me the most trouble.  I want to draw something, but I need a title first.  I don’t want to rely too heavily on music, either, because then people will get it right away.  That’s one problem with a lot of my artwork, actually–I make art inspired by the music I listen to, so when other people look at it, it lacks the sentimental value that it has for me.  I want a title that will test my potential readers and draw them in.  Then again, I guess if I dig deep enough in my music library, I can find some obscure line that will lure in the lovers and the uninformed.  I kind of want to go French on them.

Speaking of art, if you live anywhere near Lewisburg, even remotely, you ought to come to the Lewisburg Arts Festival.  I recommend coming on Friday or Saturday, I think, because that’s when the high school is selling artwork, I think, and I’ll be selling a bag or two that I am making in hyperspeed this week.  In keeping with my Colonial hobbies, I’ve also been making friendship bracelets for the festival; in fact, kids all over Lewisburg have been working hard at bracelet making.  The bracelets will be fifty cents each and profits will go to help people in Darfur.  It may seem like very little money, but even fifty cents can buy food for a few days.  Allegedly.  I mean, it’ll help, it’ll help.  Also, after finishing two bracelets, let me tell you, they’re no easy feat.  It takes hours of concentration–even a medium-sized (widthwise) bracelet takes about 500 knots, give or take a few.  Not that I counted, but there are ways to figure it out using a calculator.

Oh, but as for the bag sales, you’re probably wondering why I’m selling those.  After all, they’re one-of-a-kind, handmade, they take forever to design and create, and they hold tons of sentimental value.  Well, here’s the thing.  I only really need one bag for myself.  Selling these bags will help the situation in Darfur.  Currently, I am debating donating 10% or 100% of the profits, because I want to help, but seriously, girl needs to save for college.  That’s selfish, I know, but I hate asking my parents for money constantly, just like I hate asking them for rides so I walk where I can.  10% would be decent, but 100% would kick some ass.  I guess it depends on how much I sell the bags for.  Another part of my internal debate is that if I donate the full profits of these ones, it would be like…you know, some limited edition thing available to the public that you can pay for.  And that would be AWESOME.  But what if I start selling them more frequently if and when I buy a sewing machine of my own?

If you’re going to the festival (which I advise), I’m making one bag inspired by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins and one bag inspired by some other artist–I’m considering Stars, Andrew Bird, or Final Fantasy.  I don’t know yet, though.  I almost feel like people won’t buy if I make bags themed around the music, but at the same time, that’s sort of my “thing.”  Whatever.

In other reports, today, I was writing notes in English, hunched over my desk, and I realized that my hair was resting on my arm.  This is not a huge deal for most people, but I’ve gone for the past two years with chin-length hair.  And now, when I am sitting straight, it skims the clip part of my bra, on my back.  It serves several purposes.  One, I am more able to emulate Jenny Lewis than ever before, because I am certain that this is the longest my hair has ever been.  Two, it is heavy, dark, and appreciated.  Whenever I had my hair long before, I hated it.  I couldn’t do anything with it.  But I think having bangs helps.  Three, I’m well on my way to donating it to Locks of Love.

My paternal grandmother always brags about how she has two granddaughters (out of many) and one daughter (out of four) who have donated their hair.  She sneaks up behind teenage girls at church who have their hair hanging down to their waists and taunts them–“That would make a beautiful wig for some child who needs it.”  She’s hardcore, but her campaigning has made me strongly consider it.  I just need to wait and keep it healthy in the meantime.

In honour of spending this past weekend with people I have missed and having a comfortable time, I have some mp3s.  For the record, I have never been able to bring myself to sing comfortably in front of anyone else–too much pressure, too much criticism.  But I was so at ease.

This one was my favourite one to sing, and apparently the only song Phelan enjoyed from Across the Universe.  And it reminds me of that TV show, The Wonder Years.

With A Little Help From My Friends | Joe Anderson and Jim Sturgess
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[buy] [mp3 direct link]

“Silver Lining” summons memories of moving here, wanting to play Ragnarok all day, feeling sexy without the aid of makeup or a hair straightener for the first time in my life, getting along with Rachael again, missing Richmond perpetually, and spending all day outside but retaining my pale skin because of the religious application of sunscreen.  SPF 50 or so.  I felt so helpless sometimes, but I was free.  Gold.  New.

Silver Lining | Rilo Kiley
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[buy] [mp3 direct link]
Rilo Kiley’s Website
Rilo Kiley’s MySpace



SO MANY THINGS

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.



HOW ABOUT YOU READ FOR A CHANGE?

This morning, I painted my fingernails bright red. I think I’m taking my life on the wrong path. Hope I veer onto the right one soon. I use the red nail polish as an excuse. Erika always had red nails. Why can’t I? But I haven’t painted my own nails in years because whenever I do, I imagine that my fingers are suffocating. Even when I went through those brown nail polish phases. And people thought I’d painted them black. No, they were clearly brown. People say that about my hair, too. Black-haired girl. I’m so flattered; I wish my hair was naturally darker. No, it is clearly brown. My mom always says she expected to have little girls with very pale skin and very dark hair. And when I was little, I had very olive skin and very dark hair. And now I have moderately pale skin and moderately dark hair. I tell her that when I get older, I’m going to make my hair darker brown. And she asks why, my hair’s so pretty, so shiny. I don’t know. Live up to my own standards of beauty. You know why I’m pale now? We skipped a year at the beach, and after that, I avoided the sun like it was the plague. In the shower, though, today, I was thinking that I wish I was born a different race or a different nationality, or both. I have life so easy! I’m white and American! My parents are alive! I have a house to live in! Food to eat! Choice in the food that I do eat! There’s nothing desperately wrong with me. I can live with extreme social anxiety. It won’t kill me. And it’s not fair that I can live like this and other people can’t. We always look up, why can’t I live like this other person better-off than me? We should look down, why can’t this worse-off person live like me? What can I do to make it so she can live a better life? But we don’t.

So here I am listening to the National every day, sitting on my computer while wishing I’d had the chance to have a Triad reunion back in Richmond. Playing some DBZ video games or doing spontaneous things. Talking. My favourite thing about going to Richmond was being told that my ass/thigh region was smaller than before. Just kidding, that wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but it did make me happy for some odd reason. Lately, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to have a huge ass. Like, fucking huge. But I can’t picture it. I guess I’m just not an ass person. Eyebrows are more my speed. Make or break a person. They do say quite a lot about a person, though, more so than body type or whatever.

Here is what I noticed in Richmond. I am a jerk. Sometimes, I wish I could find someone in real life who genuinely and openly hates me because I find that people are mostly lukewarm about me, or they keep their dislikes on the down-low. I’d totally deserve it. Some things people say about me are actually fucking hilarious because they don’t know me at all. But I wish someone would get to know me and then hate me based on things that are completely true. Maybe it’s because I can’t hate anyone. Maybe it’s because I wish I could give myself a break because I know I’m the one who hates myself the most.

We were reading “Hamlet” in English, and my teacher was trying to get us to empathize with Hamlet. To understand him. You know, Pretend your uncle killed your dad, then hastily married your just-widowed, barely-mourning mother for lust and power, pretend that he wanted your life, maybe because you get in the way of his power, maybe because you’ve got some Oedipus Rex complex and while you’re at it, your girlfriend takes back her love for you and then you kill her father accidentally, which makes her insane, pretend that she commits suicide and her brother wants your life and teams up with your uncle to kill you and then they kill your mom with their scheme. You may or may not have feelings for your mom, but there are hints. That sort of thing. Seriously, though, to be able to get Hamlet’s reaction out of me, you’d have to delve deeper and completely alter my past. First, you’d have to build up my relationship with my father. Then you’d have to take away my capacity for empathy, and that’s just not working. If I was in Hamlet’s situation, I wouldn’t even consider killing anyone. I wouldn’t have time to be angry I’d curl up in a depressed, sad lump of flesh and tears, and then I’d stop eating. So I’m sorry, I don’t really like “Hamlet,” even if Shakespeare had to spice it up because it would be a rather boring time just watching some Prince of Denmark cry on a stage for four hours.

Oh. Friday night, Travis took off his socks. Travis has the unusual quality of having feet that smell like dryer sheets. I don’t think he’s even capable of emitting bad smells at all. Anyway, he has the most magnificent feet I’ve ever seen, save for his weird toenails, which curve with his toes. Hard to describe. This revelation–that Travis has magnificent feet–has sparked in me the desire to improve my own foot hygiene. Take better care of those phalanges. I don’t wear socks. In fact, I hate socks. My own feet are constantly bruised, scarred, FREEZING (ask Derek), and gross-smelling. I had gorgeous heels until band camp before my junior year, when I didn’t wear socks with my sneakers for one day and then I got blisters from running laps there. And they scarred. Speaking of running, I feel the need to start again regularly, but there are two problems. One, I can’t just run. I’m too self-conscious about the way my legs fly out all over the place when I run. People make fun of me and then I have to laugh it off, and sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Two, when I asked my mother if we could join a gym or something (since that’s something she constantly talked about over the summer), she rolled her eyes and made a sound of disapproval. What happened to my moderately-health-conscious mother?! I need seratonin, and I’m not gonna get it sitting on my ass in front of my computer all day, thinking about the past. I need to be productive to be happy.

I’m still getting used to these nails. I think they make my hands look so much more sophisticated than they actually are.

What else? Last night, Derek called spontaneously and told me about these videos he saw with cats being tortured. Depressing material. And I wondered at first why he was telling me, but duh–who else would empathize? It’s a shame that you know, seeing a chicken or a cow or a pig or some foreign animal being tortured is just normal by some people’s standards, almost acceptable, if a little sad, but because it’s distant, it’s okay. But then seeing some household animal, a pet, being tortured, that’s what sparks an interest in animal rights. Save the cats and dogs! How could people eat cats and dogs? I live with cats and dogs. My question to you is how can people eat pigs, chickens, cows, fish? I’m not implying that about Derek. It’s just something I’ve noticed. I am confident that he is as noble as a person can be. What really touched me was that he was afraid of that happening to Little Ding, his cat (who is seriously, I swear, only a cat when he’s sleeping–otherwise, he’s somethin’ else). It’s a strange situation. I run into these videos from time to time and they provide motivation, they provide anger and sadness and some of the strongest emotions I’ve ever felt. Frustration. How could a person do that to an animal? How did that person grow up? What led her to become this way? And how could anyone look into an animal’s eyes and kill him or eat him? How do hunters do it? How can people eat it? I’m still somewhat of a hypocrite for not being vegan, and I’m afraid I’ll always be a hypocrite no matter what by taking what society gives me and living, breathing, buying. But I want to cut down on the damage. These emotions, though, I don’t–I can’t–share them with friends. I shelter them. I’ve seen it so you don’t have to. I’m going to make my point by being vegetarian and you don’t need to ask questions that’ll make us both feel uncomfortable and guilty. Me, I don’t want to make you feel bad, to push my strongest beliefs on you. The ones that make up the essence of my life. But my personal choice is not to live that way.

I have a few songs that you’ve already heard. They’re for you.

Vampire Weekend

Walcott | Vampire Weekend

I’ve been thinking about making a Vampire Weekend bag lately, just because I think it would be insanely cool. This here song makes me want to move my body aimlessly in a room filled with other people moving their bodies aimlessly. We could all be tiny atoms! In a giant room! Together! Just listen to the song, appreciate the voice that’s from another decade, the orchestra, the intensity, the nostalgia. It makes me think of A Separate Peace, something I’ve never experienced, the decade I wish I grew up in, a beautiful mindset I can’t attain. Sophistication. These red fingernails that couldn’t possibly be mine. They must be yours.

Nantes | Beirut

Zach Condon’s voice reminds me of Andrew Bird’s voice in some aspect. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it’s classy and I love it. Being in love, drinking coffee on a sunny late-winter afternoon. Touching someone’s hair. Trying to tickle them. The sun’s coming in the windows, in your eyes. You don’t mind. Everything’s parfait. I guess it could also fit that one time I drove home late at night over the summer in my car and couldn’t stop crying. There was a red light and the person in the next lane over stared at me uncomfortably and I had to calm down on Broad Street. When I got back, I parked in front of the house and had to calm down for a few minutes before I could go in.

Ferraby Lionheart

Small Planet | Ferraby Lionheart

His style reminds me somewhat of Jens Lekman, maybe just in this song, maybe not, but I always like piano/orchestra pop-ish music. You know, unconventional instruments to hear in music with lyrics. Added bonus? Why, yes! Webquest time! Go to his website’s Biography section and just read it. Might I mention that he’s another Silver Laker? Like Rilo Kiley! This song reminds me of the Turkey Trot every year, early in the morning, crunchy leaves, screaming children, and then the fulfilling tiredness that sets in after.

Rufus Wainwright

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk | Rufus Wainwright

If anyone in the world reminds me of Andrew Bird, it would HAVE to be this man. He may not be a professional whistler or violinist, but his voice is impressive. You hear about Rufus Wainwright all over the place, but it wasn’t until friends mentioned him recently (and referred to him on a first-name basis, “Rufus) that I opened my ears up and started to listen. I’m glad I did. The song is simpler times, like when I used to French braid my American Girl Doll’s hair (Samantha, of course). Tea parties on the front lawn. Summer days when Rachael and I used to take our Barbie dolls out to the pool in the back yard. Sticking Sailor Moon’s hands in the crab apples in the yard. Good times.

Andrew Bird

Measuring Cups | Andrew Bird

What can I say? Andrew Bird owns. He taught Jay how to whistle better, he made me love xylophone, he makes me want to sing. And then I remember that it’s not particularly pretty, me singing. But I sing plainly regardless. His songs motivate me to look things up, references, and I learn things. Maybe not things that are particularly applicable to any regular conversations, like the ancient story behind “Sovay” or love theories from “Imitosis,” but gaddamn. It was love at first listen. Once I heard his voice once, I was thirsty for more. I asked for a CD for Christmas and I remember sitting up on the floor of my old room, just listening for however long on Christmas day and repeating “Sovay” over and over and over again. It was magical. Doors opened. Enlightenment.