INDIEchouette


I GIVE MYSELF VERY GOOD ADVICE BUT I VERY SELDOM FOLLOW IT

This day marks the beginning of sophomore year spring break.  What have I done so far?

This morning, Alex y yo went to Diversity Thrift on Sherwood.  I’d never been there before (sin); I’d only ever seen the truck and the rainbow building.  I did not know that it’s completely within biking distance from me.  Or that it’s awesome.  I lifted seven books for a buck each and a fucking saweeeeet Spectra System Polaroid camera for three fucking dollars (yes, three fucking dollars).  It was rather dusty (both the camera and everything in Diversity, really) when I bought it but I cleaned it off with a Clorox wipe and I have plans to make a new strap for it because the included hand strap was grody and just actually fucking gross, and maybe to jazz it up with stickers or awesome.  Really, though, it’s a Polaroid, so how much jazzing up could it need?  Here is a video to demonstrate awesome.

Oh, oops, that’s not a demonstration of awesome.  That’s Rachael.  Here.  HAVE FUN WITH MY STUPID OLD PHOTOBUCKET ACCOUNT, lawl.  All of the video/monologues are to Ali, not to me.

Okay, lame sibling rivalry aside, I’m excited about having my own Polaroid, except for the fact that film is ridiculously expensive.  I bought a 2-pack (20 photos) for 30 bucks on ebay.  Didn’t Polaroid film used to be kind of…cheaper?  Oh yeah, it did, but it’s not being produced anymore.  Who made that decision?!  So I guess now I have two amazing cameras that take awesome photos with the price of expensive fucking fillllmmmmmm.

Fortunately, collectives like The Impossible Project, Save Polaroid, and Polanoid exist.  The Impossible Project is a newsy site with a shop for Polaroid products.  It kind of prepares us all for the Polaroid Apocalypse, or maybe even for the wider-sweeping Apocalypse of Analog Photography As We Know It.  Save Polaroid is sort of a grassroots effort to bring it the fuck back, and Polanoid : Polaroid :: Urban Nomad : Lomography.  Right now, my greatest material desire is probably Lomography’s Diana Instant Back +, which turns out Polaroid-like instant pixxxx.  Someday I will have you, my pretty…

On to the music.

I been listening nonstop to White Hinterland’s Kairos.  It all started when Stereogum offered “Icarus” as a free download.  The rest of the album was neither immediately nor easily adored, but it’s been a definite grower, growin’ on me like ivy.  There’s something to be said for Casey Dienel’s silky smooth, slithery voice, but I can’t say I love Luniculaire or Phylactery Facotry even nearly as much as I’m digging Kairos (though Luniculaire comes close).  It’s difficult to decide just which tracks to present here because they’re all worthy, just in different manners.  I’m not going to give you “Icarus” because you can so easily download that for free at Stereogum or Pitchfork.  By the way, if you’re going to take my recommendation, I recommend Stereogum more highly because that page also includes White Hinterland’s cover of Arthur Russell’s “Lucky Cloud”, which you cannot afford to miss.

First, I have to include “Cataract” because it’s a stunning display of what Casey Dienel can do.  This is White Hinterland’s most soulful oeuvre.

Cataract | White Hinterland
[mf] [buy]

Second, “Huron” because it is a heartbeat, and it feels life-changing.  I am also fond of [what I can make out of] the lyrics.

Huron | White Hinterland
[mf] [buy]

Third, “Moon Jam” because of the title.  It also feels so futuristic to me, and Casey plows forward in a manner that almost reminds me of Alice “Kingsley” from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland which I saw yesterday in 3-D.  It unexpectedly captivated me.

Moon Jam | White Hinterland
[mf] [buy]

It’s kind of strange how my musical tastes have transformed from oldies to power pop to pop punk to suck to mellow-ass indie all day, all night, every day, every night.  But Surfer Blood sort of justifies this change, almost pulling at each of my former favourite genres.  I mean, I know their influences are way more legitimate than say, The Click 5 (or probably any of said band’s influences), but I’d venture to say that I could have enjoyed me some Surfer Blood at any age.  In a really fucked-up way, they remind me of Weezer, only better.

Floating Vibes | Surfer Blood
[mf] [buy]

I also downloaded Gigi’s Maintenant, just digging the French title and the Pitchfork review’s reference to Camera Obscura.  I was pleasantly surprised by the album’s listenability and 60s nostalgia.  The guests are obscure, even for someone who delves into bands with both hands, but I still managed to find favourite tracks.  I’m going to put my two favourite female vocals out here.

Mirah has an irresistible voice, and it’s put to good use in this girly pop song.

Won’t Someone Tell Me (with Mirah) | Gigi
[mf] [buy]

I love a good, strong, slightly scratchy voice, and Katie Eastburn satiates my desire.

The Marquee (with Katie Eastburn) | Gigi
[mf] [buy]

It’s difficult to cope with my newfound love for Joanna Newsom, especially since her songs are so lengthy and layered.  It is mandatory to sit down with the lyrics in front of you, reading along, the first two or three times you listen to one of her songs, which are often epic-length.  But it was interesting, or maybe intriguing, or maybe just inspiring, to see her perform on Jimmy Fallon.  The morning I watched this video, I had “lawlessness, law-less-ness” stuck in my head all day.  It gave my day a sense of mission.

It’s also important to note this girl’s perfect posture and unrelenting confidence.  It seems that seeing her live would so greatly trump all of her recordings.

Soft As Chalk | Joanna Newsom
[mf] [buy]

Beach House has also pleased my ears lately.  I’m intrigued by Victoria Legrand’s voice.  It’s such a rare find, such a richly textured and deep female voice.  I watched Pitchfork’s segment with four Beach House songs, and was thoroughly captivated.  Plus, here’s a woman who is so perfectly…graceful?  Graceful.  Elegant, even.  Here are two songs from Teen Dream that were included in that sesh.

Zebra | Beach House
[mf] [buy]

Walk In The Park | Beach House
[mf] [buy]

I don’t write about movies very often, and by that, I mean that I don’t do it nearly often enough.  Films are rich and satiate much of my hunger for life.

Mermaid deeply affected me.  Made in 2007, it’s been described as the Russian Amélie.  On some level, I could agree with that, thematically, maybe.  If you loved Amélie, you’ll probably at least enjoy Mermaid.  But Mermaid extends beyond Amélie into the real world.  It’s awkward, charming, even cringeworthy at times.  It doesn’t extend hope to the rest of us, and maybe that’s why I prefer it.  Mermaid is realistic, even with all of Alissa’s miracles and reveries.  Compared to Mermaid, Amélie is surely a fairy tale; a simple dream.  Maybe the two are best set apart.  So you’re best off ignoring Amélie while watching Mermaid.

As for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, don’t go into the theatre expecting loyalty to the book.  Instead, Alice is nineteen years old and everyone seems to think she has returned to Wonderland, despite the fact that she has no recollection of ever having been there at all.  This particular take on Alice is a sort of clusterfuck mashup of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-glass, and that same seven-year-old heroine’s future.  A lot of moviegoers will complain about how that’s not the story of Alice and how Tim Burton has manipulated things and blah blah blah, but for what it is–that is, an artistic take on two classic novels–this version is magnificent, captivating, morbid…and then it has a weird spin on the end:  feminism.  Since when did Disney give a fuck about feminism?  Just look at all the Disney princesses, most of whom can’t do jack shit for themselves (exception: Mulan, but she gets married in the end so she did “need” a man after all…but is Mulan even a princess, technically speaking?).  Disney’s appeal for feminism appeased me, but I just wonder how far they’re going to take it, or if it’s going to carry into any of their future movies.  Probably not.  I also wanted to point out that while uplifting, the ending is entirely unrealistic.  Back in those days, Alice would have had to get married, would not have been taken seriously as a businesswoman…why pretend otherwise?

Instead of presenting you with the trailer, here’s a sweet music video made using fragments of the 1951 version if Alice in Wonderland.

You can download this track, “Alice” by Pogo, for free on Last.fm.



L’AMOUR PEUT NAÎTRE D’UNE SEULE METAPHOR

I tried on Deerhunter for size because I have tickets to see them with Spoon and Strange Boys in March, and they fit.  This trying-on also caused me to intensely long for the ability to take Bradford Cox into my arms and carry him everywhere.  Here’s why I fell in love with Deerhunter: Alex showed me this video on Pitchfork, which follows Bradford Cox around 2008’s Pitchfork Festival.  Guest stars include King Khan, High Places, Britt Daniel, and the late Jay Reatard.  It’s seriously the most hilarious and uplifting video I’ve seen since Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  I know that you want me to be joking, but I’m seriously not.  If there is one useful fact to know about me, it is that I actually adore that film.

Anyway, here’s my favourite track by Deerhunter, “Agoraphobia”.  It’s actually one of the few songs penned by Lockett Pundt and not by Bradford Cox, and it therefore retains a far different, more mellow, more spaced-out feel, but it’s a great introduction to Deerhunter for those who have only heard stray tracks.  To give you a more typical Deerhunter sound, I’m also going to throw in the album’s title track, “Microcastle”, because it completely changes by the end and really, how can you not love the transition in the middle?

Agoraphobia | Deerhunter
[mf] [buy]

Microcastle | Deerhunter
[mf] [buy]

I just managed to cover my glasses with accidental glitter for two reasons.  One, I am wearing one sparkly-ass skirt and two, I just returned from a Valentine-making sesh.  Here is the front of one of the few sweet-ass valentines I made.  Um, plus my face?  You might have noticed, too, that over the past four or whatever years that I’ve been maintaining INDIEchouette, I’ve omitted my face.  You can click links to get to my Facebook, MySpace, whatever <<< that way somewhere, but I’ve kept my face out of it.  I recently realized, however, that this keeping-my-face-out-of-things has rendered certain years of my life more graceful but completely undocumented in photographs.  Upon sifting through my Photobucket for photos of my olde “emo” self (harhar), I realized that I couldn’t really find many.  This might be for the better, but I remembered that when I took the ones that I did find, I felt extremely ugly in one hundred percent of them.  Looking four, five, six years into the past, I realize that youth is fleeting.  I thought I looked ugly then, but I’ve got to give myself some credit.  I looked young, and even though I didn’t look the way I wanted to, I still wasn’t unattractive.  Just uncomfortable.  Now, however…

I suspect that the cycle will continue so that by the time I have gained a mere thirty years of age, I will simply begin to wear a bag over my head.  And maybe I’m wrong.

Speaking of thirty years, let’s talk about the thirty-some-year hiatus Vashti Bunyan took from the music industry!  I am late to catch on to things, but when I found out that Feist and Ben Gibbard’s “Train Song” was a Vashti cover from long, long ago, I was kind of impressed and excited, because I love to hear covers.  I immersed myself in Vashti Bunyan and in the work she did with Animal Collective, and from three of her most renowned works, I surfaced with three favourites.

First of all, you have to love “Train Song” from Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind.  Lyrically, there is this sense of anxiousness for the singer to finally see her lover (if this person would still accept the title of lover) after an incredibly long time, and you can’t help but grasp some of that anxiousness too.  But if you didn’t listen to the lyrics, it would be a chill and slightly melancholy piece.  Feist’s proud voice and Ben Gibbard’s lullaby croon make the cover a real keepsake.  Vashti’s got a voice like cotton candy clouds, which washes over the song with an air of effortlessness.

Train Song | Vashti Bunyan
[mf] [buy]

From her work with Animal Collective, I prefer “Prospect Hummer”, the title song from the Prospect Hummer EP.  According to ReynoldsRetro, Vashti says of her work on the EP, “My daughter says she can hear me smiling on the title track […] and I was. I loved having the freedom to sing as I wanted. I was still finding my voice after burying it for years.”  That’s why I love this song.

Prospect Hummer | Animal Collective & Vashti Bunyan
[mf] [buy]

And of course, on 2005’s Lookaftering, the track that stands out most is “If I Were”, featuring the harp stylings of sweet, sweet Joanna Newsom.

If I Were | Vashti Bunyan
[mf] [buy]

But I haven’t even told you that I’ve developed a huge crush on Joanna Newsom’s Appalachian voice!  Agh.  Right now, my favourite is “Bridges and Balloons”.  It makes me feel cool and floaty, possibly because somewhere in all that seriousness is a bit of whimsical crazy.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, she has a new album due out on the twenty-third of this month, entitled Have One On Me, which sounds strangely drinky and down-to-earth for the country fairy tale girl who wrote Ys.

Bridges and Balloons | Joanna Newsom
[mf] [buy]

Some day, I will take music reviews more seriously, but for now, I will just write from the heart.  I like these songs.  They make me happy.  That’s all you need to know.

Also, if you get bored, you might as well hit me up with questions on formspring.me/almostness, where I am trying to figure out whether or not life has meaning.  I am kind of kidding, but I know that truth box-esque formats like this can tend to lead to many interesting escapades.  If you have a formspring ID, tell me so that I can pose you some questions.  Since I now have a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Formspring.me, I’m starting to think that I’m almost too tech-savvy.  Something is bound to go wrong!

It will snow this weekend in Richmond after last weekend’s humongous catastrophe of a blizzard, and I will not be prepared.



JUICY GOSSIP
8 January, 2010, 1205 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

The other day at Video Fan, I heard a series of two songs by the same artist.  I had no idea what the artist was, so I asked the kindly female at the counter what she was playing.  Answer:  TV on the Radio.

EDIT:  Ummm Lindsay pointed out that I mislabeled “Wolf Like Me” earlier, so I’ve relabled it.

Wolf Like Me | TV on the Radio
[mf] [buy]

I Was a Lover | TV on the Radio
[mf] [buy]

Last night, I had a dream that I had really wide, hairy legs.  In my dream, it made me uncomfortable because my legs are, I think, the only redeeming part of my body.  But in reality, I have lost about five pounds just from being home over break.  I’m in Richmond now, and I don’t see myself keeping off this weight that I did not mean to lose.  This is simply because I lack self-control.

In other news, this is a series of things that do not matter:  One of my sisters got a detention, and the other one was sent to sit out in the hallway.  How these things happen, I don’t know.  For one thing, I never had a detention in all my however many years in grade school.  In fact, I never came close to getting a detention.  I’m too much of a perfectionist with my behavior.  For another thing, my sisters aren’t even nearly bad kids.  All three of us are too shy, or too obedient, or too wary of offensiveness to act out in public places like school.  Rachael got a detention because she was late to school too many times.  Fair enough, because it’s usually her fault that she’s late, but sometimes she’s late because she has to drive my mom to school.  The day they wanted her to serve her detention, she couldn’t because she had to pick my mom up from work (my mom works in the school system).  Funny how that works.

As for Alexa, the whole situation is out of line.  Some kid in her class said something funny, she smirked at it, and she was sent to sit in the hallway for thirty minutes with the girl who forgot her homework.  When the teacher came out to retrieve them, she asked them if they knew what they had done.  Alexa said, “Sorry, but no.”  She’s so sassy when she’s right.  The teacher never explained it to her, probably because she doesn’t even know what Alexa did.  My sister put on a happy front at school and then cried at home, which is better than I would have done.  Behaviorally, Alexa is like me–very prim–but she has an added advantage of charm, which I never had at her age.  Her charm allows her to impress people her own age in a relatable way.  And work-wise, she’s a perfectionist like me, but she’s more motivated than I am.  I think she’s escaped the family curse, and because of it, I think she may easily be the smartest one.



I RITE MOAR
2 January, 2010, 446 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

As a dedicated francophile and one who is in love with La Science des Rêves, I listened to Charlotte Gainsbourg’s whispery sophomore album, 5:55 a whole dang lot.  Naturally, I was ecstatic when I found out earlier this year that she was due out with another album, which turned out to become IRM.  When Alex showed me the video for “Heaven Can Wait,” I was not disappointed.  And when I obtained said album, I still remained undisappointed, which is a grand feat for me ever since Rilo Kiley’s Under The Blacklight killed me.  It took me a while to get used to Charlotte’s new, very Beck-influenced style (obviously), but I’d say that all in all, Ms. Gainsbourg’s musical career has taken a turn for the better with Beck on board.  The percussion is heavy, gritty, and groovy and her voice rises at times from a Jane Birkin whisper to new, messy volumes.  And just like in 5:55, she doesn’t shy away from using bells.  And it’s brilliantly beautiful.  Now I just wish she’d begin writing her own lyrics instead of collaborating for everything she does.

Highlights: “IRM”, “In The End”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “Me and Jane Doe”, and “Time Of The Assassins”, but I’m really in love with most of the tracks here.

Me And Jane Doe | Charlotte Gainsbourg
[mf] [buy]

In The End | Charlotte Gainsbourg
[mf] [buy]



NYC TUESDAY, LBG WEDNESDAY, RVA SUNDAY

I don’t entirely know why, but lately, I have been having some fucked up mood swings.  One moment, I am on the verge of crying at the jewelery counter at Boscovs with my dad because everyone there is totally insensitive to the blood diamond crisis.  The next moment, I am giddy with delight at the fact that I can eat a tangerine and play The Sims 3:  World Adventures.  One moment, I am curled up in fetal position because I miss you so much, wondering how I would get on without you if I never spoke with you again.  The next moment, I am elated at the fact that I get to go back to Richmond on Sunday.  I am deflated because I feel so spoiled at any gift-receiving opportunity, so self-righteous, I hate myself for being warm in my parents’ respective homes, for being able to cuddle with their cats who are held there against their will, or because many other people my age don’t get these comforts.  Everything wonderful has some problem, simply because I am able to enjoy luxuries.  And technology mostly distracts me and provides temporary relief and more cause for distress.  Reading absorbs and depresses me.  I want to read.  I just can’t bring myself to do it.

One thing I do love unconditionally is giving gifts, though.  Holiday gifts are okay, but I really prefer giving spur-of-the-moment gifts, like monthly mix CDs and crafts and love letters and vegan food.  No matter what, gift giving always makes me feel better.

The only real solution here is to cut back on playing The Sims 3, Country Story, Restaurant City, and Crazy Planets and to start living unvicariously.  I will still  write.

I want to take more photos with my Diana+ Dreamer, too.  I want to take more photos and get more developed and take photos of my crafts and read more and quote more and live more and cook more and eat more and give you recipes by which you should live.  I want to quit eating processed foods.  It all sounds like a New Year’s Resolution, but it’s not.  I’m just realizing that I’m unhappy.  And maybe it’s because I’m home for break, dependent once again.  I resent being dependent.  I do not resent my friends or my family, but I do resent being dependent on them for everything from rides to groceries to entertainment.

At my dad’s house today, Rachael, Alexa, and I tuned in to the middle part of Into The Wild, which is a movie that I would love to see.  It was extremely sunny and beautiful except for the part where he kills a moose, which I have mixed feelings about because it would be okay if maybe he won in hand-to-hand combat with the moose, but he used a gun.  And it would be okay, maybe, if he were truly desperate, but he is not.  I mean, I know that he plans to eat everything, but there is no compassion in the scene.  Even Avatar has some damn compassion for animals.

It was sunny outside of my father’s house, and the sun was making its descent behind the snowy mountains littered with hibernating trees.  At that moment, there was no way that I wanted to die.  I wanted to drag you out onto the Pennsylvania highway with me so we could look at houses from the roads and take photographs of the Lehigh Valley.  I was in one of those moods where I could listen to any song, so I listened to “tinsel and foil” by Paik even though I don’t like it very much even if it is Charlatantric’s favourite song of 2008 or something.  Do you ever get romantic like that on car rides?  Ridiculously idealistic?  Do you fall in love that way?  I fall in love on car rides and journeys of all types.

Here’s a song I listened to in the car today which I enjoyed.  I got this song from a mix CD that came with a book that I am going to give SOMEone for Christmas when I see her.  I wish someone would put this on a mix CD for me.  Instead, I will put this on a mix CD for someone else.

My Funny Valentine | Norfolk & Western
[mf] [buy]

Speaking of excellent songs from mix CDs, Kelsey made me a CD of her favourite songs about a month back, and while the whole entire thing strikes me as brilliant and thoroughly playable, this one song stuck out above the rest.  “Home is whenever I’m with you.”  Yeah, that’s true.  Plus, I can’t get over all of the old-fashioned sayings throughout the song.  It’s the most beautiful piece of elation I’ve ever heard.

Home | Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
[mf] [buy]

Tomorrow, I am journeying with my amigas to New York City, probably the Village, and I will probably fall in love on the car ride and I will miss you dearly.  This travel time will probably clutter my Twitter a little bit.  By the way, pleeeease don’t resent me for having a Twitter.  I don’t think that anything I tweet is important.



INSPIRATION ALWAYS COMES TO ME IN THE SHOWER…WHEN I’M NAKED

If you want to take the title line analytically for a second, you can gather that being nude allows me to take a moment or two to assess my body.  If you don’t want to take the title analytically, then I am just trying to put images into your head.  Much like Ali does every time she writes me a letter.

THINGS I AM SICK OF:

1.  Inadvertent accusations of fatness.

Britney Spears at the 2007 MTV VMAsThis rarely comes from people in my life (except sometimes from my roommate when she accuses herself of being so fat).  No.  More often, it comes straight from the media.  Today, Virginia (my roomie) and I were channel-surfing during CSI commercial breaks when we came across some documentary on Britney Spears and how she was so fucking fat during her performance at the 2007 VMAs.  Sadly, not only did the celebrity gurus assert that she looked terribly un-sexy in her underwear getup, but Spears herself added that she looked like a “fat pig.”  I have a few problems with this.  One, I have a “fatter” belly than she does–in fact, those photos of her puffed-out tummy and less-than-toned arms are reminiscent of my own.  But I could never rock that underwear getup like she did.  I’m too pale (and in love with paleness).  Two, I think she looks perfectly healthy and sexy, so what’s wrong?  I don’t even want to mention that Spears isn’t acting like a super-good role model (though really, Paige, when does she?) by putting down her own perfectly healthy body, or that the media’s expectations of celebrity women are really just fucked up.

If I got this from you, shoot me words and I will link to your site.

Why am I talking about Britney Spears, though?  Don’t you expect me to be talking about some indie goddess?  Thing is, indie goddesses don’t give me these sorts of problems.  Sure, I’ve been confronted with photos of Jenny Lewis in near-undies and Chan Marshall unveiling her pubes.  But the media simply doesn’t comment on their figures, however nice they are.  This is probably because they’re not pop-icon formulas.  Jenny Lewis does not make me feel bad about my body.  The media pressure on female celebrities does.  And it puts women in competition, too.  I am sick of sizing up other women to determine how much better their bodies are than mine.  I am sick of feeling in competition with my own female camarades on occasion.  That’s something that I feel should never, ever have to happen.  But it does, because instead of accepting many different body types as beautiful, the media accepts one:  thin.  I’m not arguing, by the way, that thin bodies are not beautiful, or that we should apply pressure on thin women to gain some weight.  Thin bodies are beautiful.  But voluptuous (I am not talking Beyoncé; I am talking Gabby Sidibe) bodies are beautiful, too.

I choose to fall in love with women such as Jenny Lewis because I can relate to them.  She is perfect in her imperfections.  We saw her evolve imperfectly in the limelight.  She makes mistakes, she writes about them, she is relateable because her goal does not seem to be being sexual or stunning or unrealistically beautiful.  Her goal seems to be being.  I can do that, too.  That’s where the problem comes in for people like Britney Spears.  Their goals are unattainable, even for them.  Or if they are attainable, they are fleeting.  You can’t hold onto a perfect body forever.  Eventually, even George Clooney will sag a bit.

Another thing is that maybe it’s just a morbid curiosity, but because everyone is telling me I’m fat all across the board, I have gained this terrible, insatiable interest in the way my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends look[ed].  It’s not to make myself feel good.  It’s to make myself feel like shit.

2.  Hating on body hair.

If this is yours, hit me up and I will linkety link link link.

I have not shaved since early September [EDIT:  My mom has compelled me to shave twice since then]!  My legs are hairy.  My armpits are hairy.  And my mom will flip if/when she learns this information, which is why I have to shave on November 24th or November 25th before I return home for Thanksgiving break.  Refraining from shaving has made me a little more comfortable with myself.  Body hair is natural, even on women.  Why do we shave it?  We do it for men because we think men like it.  Why do we think men like it?  The media projects expectations on us to look like prepubescent girls.  Sometimes when I leave my apartment in shorts, I have to prep myself as to all the reasons why I don’t need to shave, but it’s not like I get to explain the political context to people.  They just believe I’m hairy or dirty or a crazy feminist without even really thinking about any other possible reasons.  I am a crazy feminist, but I’m resigned to the fact that a woman does not need to be hairless to be beautiful, especially if the hairiness comes so naturally.  I’m done with fighting my body on that one.  Unfortunately, I’m even more resigned to the fact that my mom will not take any explanation for this, and that on the sight of unsightly body hair, she will yell and hand me a razor tout de suite.  The only comfort she would probably take in this is the assumption that I’m not getting laid, because what man wants a hairy gnome?

Added afterthought:  Who determined that head hair and eyelashes on women are sexy and that every other bit of hair (besides some very specific eyebrow hair) must go?  If a woman is completely devoid of any hair whatsoever, she is not sexy.  If a woman has lots of hair, she is not sexy.  It all seems like a game.  You can’t have it both ways!

PS Frida Kahlo is beautiful.

3.  Sexist notions in existential novels.

Want.

Male existential novelists are guilty.  Do I even need to put the “male” there?  It seems like every existential novelist, philosopher, and filmmaker is male.  I am an existentialist.  I love existentialism.  But I am sick and tired of the sexist notions littered throughout the books I’m reading.  Kundera says women are sex objects.  Kierkegaard says women are not to be trusted.  Kaufman writes women as obstacles in life.  You can forgive Kierkegaard a little bit because he probably never expected women to gain access to his novels.  You can’t forgive Kundera of Kaufman, though.  I love them both–Kundera for his animal rights reasoning and Kaufman for his ability to write a kickass film–but I am so sick of this unfair portrayal of people like myself.  Not to mention that besides being predominantly male, existentialists are white, middle class, and Christian or atheist.  I guess it can go one way or the other with religion.  If you’ve found any female existential novelists, let me know!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the reason I’m pointing this out is that I’ve been reading loads of existentialism this semester because of a fifteen-page essay I wrote and aced on the influence of early existentialists on modern-day existentialists.  All of my sources were penned by white, middle-class males.

4.  Jon & Kate/Tiger Woods media coverage.

They are simply people living their lives.  I don’t care.

5.  Not being able to level up in Restaurant City because okay, I forgot to feed my staff, but does that mean that my approval rating should drop?

That's mah homeboi.

I like to give my customers a little bit of credit.  Like, if they see that all of the employees in my restaurant are passed out on the floor from sleep/food deprivation (and/or hardcore partying at Erika’s El Paso the night before), don’t you think they’d leave instead of sitting down, waiting for these unconscious waiters and chefs to serve them?  Low approval rating means fewer customers, which means fewer experience points, which means it is going to take me forever to get to level 22.

6.  Songbird freezing.

Meh.  After the latest iTunes update, I’m thinking about converting back to iTunes anyway.  I guess Songbird and Vista just aren’t meant to be.

7.  Ouija Board.

I can’t sleep too well ever since I found out about my apparently long-present secret roommates, Rubi and Zach.

8.  That Kelly Clarkson song.

It is soooo repetitive, SO annoying.

9.  Explaining to people that I am vegan.

Since I’m a mild-mannered, gentle, shy person, I generally don’t want to offend.  In fact, you could say that part of why I don’t want to eat animal products is that I find them offensive.  So it’s a difficult thing for me to explain to people that I am vegan because it is so often offensive.  I won’t eat their food, I can’t share their love for cheese, and I don’t find their jokes about my eating habits funny.  But I’m stuck on the fence because it’s obvious to me that non-veganism is really the offensive route and deviant and just wrong (morally, ethically, environmentally, and taste-wise), but so many people seem to believe that I am the one in the wrong.  Even some of my friends who occasionally declare my journey as noble seem to believe that my dedication is offensive.  Or when they choose a restaurant where I absolutely cannot and will not eat anything, it is I who chose to be vegan, and not they who chose an offensive restaurant.  Fortunately, my mother has finally accepted my veganism and my nose ring.

10.  Jewelery.

Yesterday I had to go with my dad to a jewelery counter at Boscovs so he could exchange some stuff.  The people who shop here are ridiculous, and they don’t know or particularly care that the blood of children was shed for their shitty-ass diamonds.  Another thing is that I am a fan of handmade jewelery that is askew and imperfect (but I guess it wouldn’t be considered jewelery, per se, because I hate jewels).  Jewelery counters sell shit to people who have sticks up their asses.

THINGS I AM NOT SICK OF:

1.  Camera Obscura.

T & The Fonz in Philly

Since August, my life has been set to the tune of this Scottish group.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I am behind the curve on this one.  Camera Obscura is a sixties-reminiscent indie pop band, and they make me feel legitimately amazing.  When I listen to Camera Obscura, I’m ready for whatever Monday chooses to throw in my path.  When I feel ugly, I listen to Camera Obscura and feel prettier.  When I need to brush my teeth, I tune Songbird to Camera Obscura.  When I am behind schedule in the morning and running late to class because I can’t find my keys (and little do I know that they are in my jacket pocket), Camera Obscura is the band for me.  I am a Camera Obscura kind of girl.

Also, I got the amazing opportunity to see Camera Obscura with Alex in Norfolk the weekend before Thanksgiving and they were awesome, as was expected.

Swans | Camera Obscura
[mf] [buy]

2.  Florence.

Florence Henderson.

Just kidding.

<3

Florence Welch.  Ali and I have been raving about her for many months now, with that stadium-filling voice, but when I passed Ali the Flo-torch, she took it and ran with it.  So now we’ve both got serious lesbian fixations on red-haired women!

Postcards From Italy (Beirut Cover) | Florence & The Machine
[mf] [buy]

3.  Fleet Foxes.

There is nothing to say, except that I never talked about them this summer even though they formed most of it with their sweet crooning ever since I heard them in Paige H.’s car while sitting next to Kelsey in the back seat on the way to Knoebel’s.

Ragged Wood | Fleet Foxes
[mf] [buy]

4.  Bitchfest!

I read it on the toilet, which says a lot because the books I read on the toilet must be captivating and absolutely cannot be nauseating.  Not only does Bitchfest educate me on oft-overlooked feminist issues, but it also teaches me how to write a well-structured essay!  I highly recommend this one to men and women, boys and girls alike.  And if you’ve already read it, I recommend Cunt by Inga Muscio.  BITCHfest made me a better woman, and it will make you a better man, woman, girl, boy, or what have you after you’ve read it.

5.  CSI reruns.

I am not much of a television junkie.  In fact, this (CSI: Las Vegas, of course) and [adult.swim] are the only reasons I will usually turn on the television.  It’s a puzzle.

6.  Gray hairs.

I have a lot of them.  Maybe I don’t have enough to consider myself a gray-haired individual, but I imagine I will get there before long.  I’m excited about them because they constitute a natural change in my body.  Plus, how many under-twenties besides Holden Caulfield get to rave about having gray hairs?

7.  Black pitted olives.

I think it’s the vinegar in the holding solution.

8.  jj.

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier.  jj is a mysterious Swedish band that makes incredible dream-pop dreamy dream music.  And hey, don’t take my word for it.  Chris recommended them in the comments section of my last post, too!

It was ecstasy when I heard this song.

Things Will Never Be The Same Again | jj
[mf] [buy]

9.  My roommate, Va.

She just asked me, “Oh man, do you write about me in your blog?!”  Now I do.

10.  Eisley.

Note the velcro shoes.

They are dreamy and melodic and beautiful and even my sister, Rachael, likes them.  I wish that Chauntelle still sang.  Her name, when stretched to French, practically dedicates her to the singing tradition (chanter).  I like to quote them and sing along to them badly.

I Could Be There For You | Eisley
[mf] [buy]

11.  Yeasayer.

With such a sicknasty sound and a great Blogothèque presentation, how could one get sick of them?  Alex introduced me to them, and now they are a staple in my collection.

Wait For The Wintertime | Yeasayer
[mf] [buy]

12.  Vegan cooking.

It always seems like it’s going wrong, but it always turns out so, so right.  I can guarantee that I never would have learned to cook this well on my own, even if I were vegetarian.  It takes the vegan push.

13.  My RayBans.

Myow.

I was going to get wire-framed cheapo glasses, but the woman at For Eyes told me that my prescription is so high that even with a thinning procedure, the lenses would be too heavy for the frames.  So I “had” to get RayBans Wayfarers.  While I used to wear contact lenses every day (and night), I now wear glasses all the time.  I’m materialistic in this sense, but only because I can see…clearly…in all directions…without my eyes drying up and shriveling within my eye sockets.  It’s also been established that I have worse eyesight than any one of my friends.  It’s also also been established that I am happy to do a five-second trade with any glasses- or non-glasses-wearer who wants to try on my funny-looking, humongous glasses to try out my horrible vision.  I have been told that it’s like wearing drunk goggles.

14.  Tamagotchi.

His name is Fart.  I got him for 5 bucks at Five Below.  I’m sure some of my readers know that I’ve been an on-and-0ff Tama user for years now, especially since my junior year of high school.  Well, now it’s on and I am not ashamed.

15.  Skirts.

I will wear them for the rest of my life.

16.  This.

Presented to me by Nim, who left me a beautiful comment.

I also wanted to tell you all that I love you.  Yes, you.  I will not leave you.  This particular absence was a vacation to stupidity.  I will write you more petty things very soon.  The whole being-professional thing just doesn’t work for me.



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
[mediafire] [buy]
“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
[mediafire] [buy]
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.