8 January, 2010, 1205 pm
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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.

5 September, 2009, 1002 am
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Mmk, I don’t want to push down the Intimacy Project post or anything, but I just had to tell you two stories.  One isn’t really a story.  The other is.

The first happened probably two nights ago.  I’d just gotten home from a fairly rough hangout and Virginia wasn’t home and I didn’t want to just sit around on my ass in front of the computer.  On the ride home, I’d seen this guy a few blocks away holding up a sign saying, “ANYTHING HELPS.”  I’d seen this guy before.  He was a part of the backpacking troubadours wandering through Richmond lately.  When I saw him, I immediately thought of the vegan pasta in my fridge and my birthday money.  I knew exactly where the majority of the backpackers were stationed, right by the ATM.  I packed up a good deal of pasta in a tupperware container, warmed it in the microwave, grabbed a fork, and set off for the ATM.

I got out twenty bucks and actually considered giving them fifty, but as I walked away from the ATM, some kid asked me for some money for fighting drug abuse by school-age children, and I guess if he’s talking about pot, then fuck that shit, but I can rarely say no, so I gave him five and then walked over to stand a couple of sidewalk squares away from the backpacking troubadours.

I was nervous as fuck.  I’m really intimidated by anyone new, but these were people I admired a good deal.  I mean, you can first identify them by their backpacks and all-over brownness.  They are grody in a way that I love.  They have dogs on worn-out leashes with bandanas around their necks.  And let me tell you, these dogs are not depressed to be backpackers.  They are overjoyed.  The backpacking troubadours care about them.  The backpackers take them on walks all the time and they love the dogs in a way that most suburbanites cannot understand.

I should also explain that the backpackers are troubadours because they all have some form of an instrument and they play on the streets to earn their money.  You see a few guitars, a musical handsaw that is bowed (yes, like amiina and yes, it sounds incredible and yes, Matthew the handsaw player does let other people try it out) and an alto saxophone and singers and a shaker.  And they are determined.

I stared at them from a couple of sidewalk squares away for a few minutes, too timid to approach them, but they definitely saw me staring, so I couldn’t chicken out.  I walked away and slipped a fifteen into their open saxophone case and they asked, “Would you like to hear a song?!”  I replied, “Yeah!”  They asked, “What kind of song do you want to hear?!”  And I said, “A good one!”  So they started playing.  I felt awkward standing in front of them for the serenade, so I sat down with them like a few other interested passers-by had.  Their sign said, “Dog In Hospital.  Anything Helps.”

I stayed for a few songs, which they played energetically.  I watched them try to woo passers-by, but it’s hard for them to even get college kids to stop because most are apathetic or maybe shy like me, and most don’t want to part with their money.  Sometimes they get frustrated with the people who ignore them, but mostly they just keep playing.

Between songs, they sometimes asked me questions.  What’s my name?  Where am I from?  Do I live here?  Do I go to school here?  I offered up the pasta, which Matthew, Adam the guitarist, and a few others happily ate with many compliments and shared a bit with one of their dogs.  What am I going to school for?  Am I vegan?  Adam was vegan for a long time.  Matthew scooted over to sit next to me and asked me more questions.  “You know, that sign is true.”  Turns out, one guy’s dog is in the hospital.  He contracted Hepatitis A from eating some fish so his eyes are all yellow and he’s in the hospital and they don’t know how much his treatment will cost until he’s actually done in there.  How old am I?  Have I ever been to Pittsburgh?  Philly is Matthew’s town because the black ladies love him.  One of the dogs who wasn’t in the hospital came up and gave my face a good licking.  Secret:  I don’t mind when dogs lick my face, but I never know what to do.

They played a song about a pretty girl who they wished had dirt on her face, hair on her legs, greasy hair, and a stench about her.  They sang about fighting the government.  They sang about being houseless but not homeless.  I couldn’t stop smiling.

Eventually, they began to stand up, I assumed to leave, so I shook some hands and left feeling mighty happy, but also a bit sad deep down.  It wasn’t because I pitied them, but it was more because I wished I could have helped them out more by giving them a place to sleep and giving them more food and giving them more money.  And I kind of envied their lifestyle.  Fighting the system.  They’re doing something.  I’m just sitting here so comfortably.  They have everything they need and nothing more, and they have all the friends they could ever want.  The only reason I’d have a hard time taking up their lifestyle is because I have a problem asking for help.  But I could learn to play the bells and join another pack of backpacking troubadours.  Someday.  I’ll start planning now.

The other thing I wanted to say is that I’m proud of my sister, Alexa.  I swear she must read this thing.

26 March, 2009, 1259 am
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I drank Mountain Dew at about midnight.  Now I am just waiting for the caffiene to kick in or wear off.

Until then, I feel the need to document biking adventures for people who are considering investing in a bike.  I’m new to the whole thing, too, so I’m just going to share my own experience.  You can’t really take my word as The Word.  But I’d be more than happy if you’d share tips or your own experiences with me!  I’m currently obsessed with biking for many reasons, one of which being my lack of hunger for candy.  Another of which being that waiting for the VCU Campus Connector bus really blows sometimes.  I prefer to take the fate of my timeliness into my own hands.

I purchased my bike, named Ponyta for no apparent reason other than the fact that Virginia thought it was appropriate, at Bunnyhop Bike Shop on West Grace Street.  Before I made my purchase, however, I checked out Re-cycles on West Cary Street and one other place on Main Street, near Carytown.  I guess you could say that it’s on the way to Carytown.  Since I’m easily intimidated, Bunnyhop was the place for me just because the staff guy was helpful, friendly, and also…they a bike in my price range, which I fell in love with right away because it was so cute.

Ponyta is a green AMF Voyager with a basket and a bell and the kind of brakes where you petal backwards.  If you see her around, you should thread a note into the basket saying that I’m a sexy vegan because SOMEone did that last week, and I don’t know who it was, except that I’ve eliminated about five people.  Secret anonymous notes have serious potential to make my day.

Anyway, I started by riding on the sidewalk, which is apparently illegal in Richmond, but I have ridden past the cops on my bike on the sidewalk about ten thousand times, and they’ve never done anything to prohibit me from this activity.  If they did, then I think that would be very anal.  They’re probably more worried about legitimate problems like muggings and maybe shoplifting.  Plus, I saw a biking cop riding on the sidewalk.  So I think it’s okay.  But if you’ve ever walked on the sidewalk in Richmond, you’ll notice that they are very uneven, and the brick ones are extremely bumpy.  This is not only fairly dangerous, but it also makes progress pretty slow and requires strict concentration if you want to get anywhere.  It’s also common sense that if you want to maintain control of your bike while you’re going over any bikes, standing up briefly makes it far more tolerable.

For the record, my bike is a one-speed and I think it’s actually a kids’ bike.  Because I am lamely kid-sized.  But you know how gear bikes make clicking noises while you’re not pedaling?  Well, my bike is silent except when I go over bumps, in which case, it sounds like a shopping cart.  I think that’s why I have a bell, but I feel like an asshole ringing it at pedestrians.  Hi, here’s a cheerfuck “Fuck You” and by the way, get out of my way.  Pedestrians prefer if you ride in the street, and drivers prefer if you ride on the sidewalk.  It is a no-win situation.  For now, I ride generally ride on the sidewalk to get to main campus and I ride mostly in the street to get back to the other campus.  To get to Carytown, it’s fine to ride in the street on Main.  There’s enough room and it’s so much quicker that way.

I have rules of thumb regarding riding my bike between classes, too.  If it is between ten till and o’clock, I walk my bike to my destination because the sidewalks are so crowded with students getting out of and going to classes that it’s hard to keep from hitting anyone.  If it is any other time, then I can manage to ride.  I just think it’s kind of a courtesy and a safety thing because lots of pedestrians are unaware.  It’s a dick move to ride on the sidewalk with so many pedestrians.  It’s like you’re breathing down their necks.

For me, I think pedestrians are so cute and predictable, so fragile that you need to look out for their slow selves.  Drivers, though, are generally assholes to bikers, just as they are sometimes to pedestrians.  In my little experience, I guess you just have to hold your ground if you have the right of way and if you’re riding in the street.  When I’ve done that, I’ve had no problem.  Lack of assertiveness has created problems, though.  Drivers just need to respect that ground and not get impatient because really?  It’s not going to make them any more late to have to be able to wait to pass a bike.

Also notable:  I am gaining muscle pretty rapidly.  First of all, my thighs, which normally have no substance, are gaining a little muscle and I can tell when I sit down and pedal because my pants are tighter right there.  And for some reason, I am feeling my biceps building up probably not because of actual riding, but maybe because of lifting my bike on and off of bike racks and up and down curbs because I can’t hop.  Ponyta herself is light, but she is heavy when I have my Deutschbuch and assorted notebooks and novels.  The rest of my body seems to be very gradually evening out because with physical activity, I’m not so tempted to binge on candy and other unhealthy snacks.  I haven’t bought Sour Patch Watermelons for so long.  Instead, I regularly crave salad and cranberry juice and pasta.  And biking makes me tired but gives me motivation to get off my ass and work to get food.  I like this.

2 March, 2009, 1005 pm
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Paper Snowflakes | Son, Ambulance
[mediafire] [buy]

Snow makes me briefly happy, but coldness generally makes me want to hibernate or die.

Oh yeah, it snowed today as well as last night.

I like Son, Ambulance because they’re one of the more subtly sexual but beautiful bands I started listening to in my mid-teens. By this, I mean that there is some sex in most every song, but that instead of being raunchy, it’s more like a distant but fond memory, kind of nostalgic and never dirty. Listening to Saddle Creek bands often make me wish I could go back and be in high school, specifically sophomore or junior year where I was attempting to find myself but couldn’t do it in a sea of people who really didn’t give a shit. But I was glad to have a few misfits along with me who cared enough to invite me when they wanted to run around suburbia completely confused and confined, trying to trample some form of oppression but not completely knowing what it was. We were melancholy but happy together.

And now we have cars, we live different lives, and I don’t think any of us have found ourselves or anything better than what we once had, but I guess we probably all think we have.

Days like these remind me of the first time I saw Garden State, Kill Bill, and when I started watching Scrubs.  They remind me of when I started listening to good music, started giving a shit about current events.  The day I decided to give up meat permanently.  The moment I sold my soul to Bright Eyes.  Playing Emogame and feeling glad that someone else cared.  Renouncing religion and feeling fine with it.  And now, it seems like I’ve stopped revolting against the “system” so much, but those were just the futile beginnings.  I mean that it seemed so essential to conform to something, even a strict brand of nonconformity, in order to live the life I wanted and get the reaction I needed.

conorI know you’re probably thinking that kids who lived in the suburbs of Richmond, aka Short Pump–the haven of the young upper-middle class, capitalists and consumerists to the core–were hardly oppressed.  And as a bunch of white (or white-looking) youths who lived in big houses and went to the largest and “greatest” school in the county, I would probably have to agree with you for the most part.  There was pressure to conform to the status quo, but that could be satiated by conforming to a different status quo.  But I would say that capitalism and consumerism are forms of oppression, despite the fact that they’re generally directly connected to affluence and having means of buying things.  Like money.  Like the transportation to get there.  They’re oppression in that they expect something of you and demand so much from you and the people around you.  They’re illusions and they often get in the way, making it so difficult to find anyone who gives a shit about the things in life that actually matter.  Books, love, fucking, real knowledge, honest music.  Other people.

I’m listening to Bright Eyes, too, so I feel the need to present you to one of the older pieces that meant so much to me at one point.

On My Way To Work | Bright Eyes
[mediafire] [buy]

Bright Eyes still takes up a good percentage of my iPod.  Even if Cassadaga was a disappointment and even if Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band isn’t nearly the same.  Man, Bright Eyes sounds so good to me right now.  Refreshing and comforting.


This is my first roll of Diana+ Dreamer film.  I exposed it a little before I started, while I was loading, because it confused the fuck out of me.  I am a n00b, but now I know.

Also, I want to give you a song as a peace offering.  It was warm yesterday and this song came on at the bus stop.  On beautiful days, I’m extremely open to listening to music that I haven’t tested yet, whereas on dreadful days, I prefer comforting familiars.

Town of 85 Lights | The Occasional Keepers
[mediafire] [buy]

It’s been on my computer for probably forever, but it really struck me as something else, you know?  It’s almost as though it’s from a different era.  It’s a weird listen, but not displeasing.

Today, two friends and I journeyed to Carytown, because apparently it hit a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit here, which is sweet.  It was a nice walk, and I got to ride a bike part of the way.  I love riding bikes, and I love bike riders.  It’s a problem.

While we were in town, we hit up Richmond Camera to pick up my film.  The people there are always helpful, not snobbish like you may expect artistic people to be.  We also went to Smoothie King for sick smoothies and then Bang-on to browse.

Tomorrow, Virginia and I plan to take rva’s advice and hit up Re-Cycles for sick bikes.

17 August, 2008, 246 pm
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I’ve been testing out my computer.

See, I got this HP Pavilion Entertainment PC and it’s sweet.  So smooth.  I like HPs because they look smooth and they run smoothly.  They have the aesthetic value and the performance value.  And this one is fast.  I like that.

I think my dad is talking to himself.

Okay, so move-in.  I moved into VCU yesterday.  I’m so glad I have a nice room-mate.  I guess for both of us, it was just get-in, get-all-your-crap-in, and get-out, so we didn’t really get to talk, but I did get to meet her family, which was cool.  That took a bunch of stress away.  However, she left immediately to go home until Tuesday, so this would have left me all alone.  I considered manning it up and spending the night alone in the dorm last night, but I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my mom and little sister before they left Richmond, so I decided to stay in the hotel with them last night.  Today, I’m spending time at my dad’s house, and then tonight, I’ll spend the night in my room and stuff because my dad’s leaving for California tomorrow for the week.  And then this week, I suppose I’ll spend a lot of time on my computer getting to know where to go, as well as a lot of time on foot just exploring the campus.  I’m at a bit of a disadvantage with my room-mate not being here, because I would have probably wanted to explore the city with her and get to know her and such, but that’s where my good old high school senior buddies come in.

The only thing I really feel uncomfortable with right now is all this free time I’ve got.  Classes start on Thursday, but until then, we really get to roam around and do basically whatever we want.  There are no instructions or real orientation plans, and it’s unnerving.  Right now, my major concerns are:

1.  What’s up with the bus systems?  Where are the bus stops?  What times do the buses come?  Is it free?  How do I pay for it?  Can I start using it all today?  How far apart are the MCV and Monroe Park campuses (because I reside on the MCV campus, but my classes will all be on the Monroe Park one) and could I realistically walk to my classes, because I think that would be great?

2.  If I want to bike around, where do I park it?  Is my bike cool enough?

3.  Are there any rooms I can’t go into on my floor (besides, you know, other people’s)?

4.  HOW do you act around upperclassmen?  How much do upperclassmen hate freshmen?  How much do I look like a n00b?

I’m not even that worried about meeting people at this point.  I’m just worried about getting to where I need to be.  I mean, when I get up tomorrow morning, someone else on my floor will have to be in the bathroom, too.  And I can say hi and introduce myself then.  Forced situations are great.

Anyway, I haven’t posted any music for you at all lately.  That will start again soon.


I would risk salmonella for a juicy, ripe tomato right now.  Tomatoes remind me of Brent and what he lied to me about.  Actually, he didn’t lie.  He joked.

And guys, let’s talk about being green.  I’m not talking about the colour.  I’m talking eco-friendly.

First, I need to introduce you to The Body Shop.  I experienced this lovely store for the first time yesterday while I was at Short Pump Town Center with Divya.  It was BEAUTIFUL not only because of the causes they support (animal rights, human rights, protecting the planet), but because they also filled my crazy francophile need for French.  Their products have French names under the English name and there’s even a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL canvas bag with their missions in French on one side and in English on the other.  While I am normally against buying bags because I can make my own in a jiffy for a fraction of the price (or sometimes free), I would have bought that bag if I’d had money because I believe a certain amount was to be donated to a good cause.  I cannot find it on the interwebs, though.

Oh, and look at this.

Moving elsewhere through the mall, which is the most fucking ridiculously pretentious mall I’ve ever been to (and it’s five minutes away from my old home and I would like to call it a ridiculous waste of land because ten years ago, there was a forest there), we came across Delia’s.  Half of the t-shirts in Delia’s are green-inspired and honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.

For example, I think this shirt is kind of cute.

You know, at first glance.  But then when you think about it, this dinosaur shirt is an exclusive club.  You have to be vegetarian to wear it or else you’re a hypocrite.  And I’ve been against those sorts of shirts since my elementary school days, when Limited Too had sports shirts and shorts and I fit into none of the categories they provided because I was a bookworm, not an athlete goddamnit.  Also, you’re taking credit for being vegetarian.  You are advertising, “I am a better person than you are because I do not eat animals.  Street cred.”  But you don’t see “vegan” shirts at Delia’s, probably because veganism is a bit too radical.

Then you get into their other green shirts.  You’ve got Snoopy, arguably my favourite comic character, lounging on top of his dog house, and underneath, it says, “Save our planet.”  Horton sticks in his head to remind us that “every voice counts.”  A shirt proclaims, “Make art not war.”  There’s this Omni Peace 2025 tee shirt with Africa posing as a hand, and there are fingers forming a peace sign above it.

I have grown to dislike the exploitation of cartoon characters.  Well, good cartoon characters like Snoopy, where the creators are dead and can’t prevent the exploitation.  Snoopy probably doesn’t give much of a shit about saving the planet, and Horton doesn’t care whether or not we vote.

As for “make art not war,” AGREED AGREED AGREED, but fuck, if you’re so artistic and creative, make your own fucking shirt.  Don’t buy it from a store that may use sweatshops (“Made in USA” does not necessarily mean what you think it does–look at all the islands our country “owns” out yonder in the Pacific).

Omni Peace 2025 is a cool shirt, too, but again, child labour and…how many people who shop at Delia’s are educated enough to know about the child labour thing and the situation in Africa?  I’d be willing to bet NOT MANY because they can buy their clothes elsewhere.

My sister, for example, who owns this shirt, is all about “peace and love and no dramaramamama” around her friends, but at home she is a belligerent person and she knows nothing at all about Africa.  She would probably have a fairly difficult time locating it on a globe.  She doesn’t give a shit about Omni Peace 2025.  She bought the shirt probably because one of her friends said they thought it was “cute.” In fact, she probably doesn’t even know that it’s promoting Omni Peace 2025.  She probably doesn’t even realize it’s Africa.

I’m not saying I’m more intelligent than she is, but when I say I support a cause, I do.  And I research it thoroughly until I’m fairly well-informed, and then I attempt to inform other people.  It’s just hard to inform people about animal rights or child labour or anything without it being against their will, because they are so unwilling to admit that they are at fault, even if I’m just trying to help them change their ways.  And when it is voluntary, when they do ask, I can’t make a lasting impression on them.

And Rachael, mysisterRachael, bought a peace-sign necklace from American Eagle recently, thinking she was so awesome and hip, but what she didn’t know is that the necklace part is made of leather and she probably paid close to ten dollars for it, which is so not awesome and not hip.

As much as I love Urban Outfitters, too, “Made in India” is not for me, and I’m surprised how many supposedly hip people go in there to buy aesthetically pleasing clothes and don’t realize that.

I mean, I’m fucking guilty, guilty as the next person, maybe more so depending on who you are, but at least I’m willing to change.  And here’s the thing:  This “green” movement has got to inform people better.  I like where it’s started, but it needs to expand.  It shouldn’t just encourage them to buy hypocritically green shirts.  It’s got to make them think about the welfare of others.  I’m not just talking about future generations, because even that is a fairly selfish motivation.  I mean that we have to reach out to the people around us who are still alive today.  People and animals.  You would like to think we’re all so different, but we have more in common than you’d know, and we could have more in common if you’d just stop and think and listen and go a bit out of your way right now to find out some new tidbits of information.

Since I got here on Saturday, I’ve been having regrets about consenting to go to college in Richmond, where drivers are assholes and everyone hates you automatically until you do something nice for them.  I love Lewisburg because it’s quaint and people are kind and you make friends fairly rapidly (I say that because moving to Richmond in second grade made me a depressed lump of lard because I had no friends, as opposed to moving to Lewisburg, which made me a happy lump of lard because I have friends).  But now, I’m thinking that Richmond might need someone with the insight of a small-town person, so maybe I shouldn’t be as scared as I am.  No, I didn’t fit in with the fashionable beautiful people at Rilo Kiley.  But I guess I hope I never do, because then I’d lose my mission and I would be blissfully ignorant.  Can you backtrack from enlightenment?  I don’t think you can.

But guys, if you come across places you like that don’t use sweatshops, hit me up in the comments and I will check them out and write about them.  Expect a post on the Wombats soon.