INDIEchouette


MUZAK AND SUCH

The weather was perfect.

We rode squished in the back seat of Carol’s car to the park.  Not that the park is not within walking distance.  Just, it would be convenient to bring Carol’s car and have a ride.  You know.  We played frisbee.  By the time we were all panting from trying to catch and throw with a perfect wrist snap, every last one of us was thirsty.  And there were seven of us.

Zelda’s was right there, but Katie pointed out that Zelda’s also has new employees “every day.”  This is actually true.  Plus, Zelda’s is inferior to Cherry Alley.  It’s simple.  We walked the extra blocks to the clearly superior café, and those of us without money ordered cups of water.  For some reason, don’t ask me why, I always feel guilty when I order water from a café or restaurant, especially if I’m not ordering anything else.  I should just wear a sign around my neck whenever I plan on eating somewhere.  “Hi, I’m a cheap bastard.”  But I really do love Cherry Alley.  I really do spend most of my time and money there.  And they really do play superior music.  They are superior.

We sweated it out at a table meant for four, and trekked back to the park for more frisbee.  Aulden went home and we continued to play frisbee.  Paige and Tim left, and we played more frisbee.  And then Carol drove the remaining three of us home.

The rest of the evening was humble.  I worked out for a fairly long time.  I watched television, made pasta, and here I am.  Simple.

Here is one thing that bothers me.

I constantly tell you that I listened to Bright Eyes because Erika urged me.  I will remember that day for the rest of my life.  The first album I listened to.  The first song, even.  The sun in my room.  That red plastic swivel chair from Ikea.  It was a profound experience that allowed me to branch out my musical tastes.  It started with other artists on Saddle Creek.  Then I used Amazon as my tool to new artists.  I found the Arcade Fire there and fell in love from the first time I listened to “Neighborhood #1.”  And when I say love, I mean love.  Erika gave me the hint about Rilo Kiley with the Saddle Creek 50 album, and I remember becoming addicted.  I added the two Rilo Kiley songs, “With Arms Outstretched” and “Jenny You’re Barely Alive,” to my poserpod.  And I was in the car with my mother on a sunny afternoon.  We were on our way back home from the Food Lion in Goochland.  I listened to those two songs in succession, and it made the afternoon seem infinite.  There is no better way to describe something epic.  Infinite.

Jared and Jordan noticed that I have a story about every song or artist or album I have ever been intimately connected with.  I even have stories about Motion City Soundtrack and Relient K and Switchfoot.  Avril Lavigne.  Yes, I loved them.  I don’t anymore, but whenever I find people who like them, I just think…there’s hope in this world.  They might branch out like I did.  Maybe they will have a friend with the decency to introduce them to Bright Eyes.  That friend will give them the right album, and they will listen to the right song first.  Maybe.

So you get it now.  I’m in love with music.

I’ve offered a million times to make Rachael a mix CD.  She hears my music loud and clear in the house every day.  My experiments.  New songs.  I told her years ago to borrow my Sufjan Stevens albums and become acquainted.  She would like them.  “Chicago” is pretty mainstream, especially because of Little Miss Sunshine.  Of course, she doesn’t listen.  But then she gets a whole slew of new friends who are casual listeners.  And she gets an iPod.  And she wants to fit in.  So she abuses the privilege.  And now what do I hear pouring out of her iPod?  Two Sufjan Stevens songs.  One M.I.A. song.  Three Shins songs.  ONE Arcade Fire song.  Two Eisley songs.  Maybe five Beatles songs tops.  Oh, and you can’t forget Tegan and Sara because she has three of their songs.

It’s okay that she listens to good music now.  In fact, it’s great.  But if it’s so casual that she won’t explore any songs that aren’t “popular,” ones that her friends won’t listen to by chance–so casual that she won’t be compelled to look into the artists and similar artists and other songs and new genres–what’s the point?!  It defeats the entire purpose of enjoying music and thinking for your goddamn self.  In fact, her friends get their music from boys.  Boys who get their music from probably skate videos and good movies.  So even her friends who encourage her to branch out a little aren’t original.  It’s all passed down.  But don’t you think it would be fun to be the trendsetter for a change?

And granted, I find my music with the help of lovely blogs and lovely friends and movies and such.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t branch out on my own sometimes using the resources I’m given like Amazon and Last.fm.  I guess we all have to piggyback a little, but when someone doesn’t appreciate what they’re given or takes it for granted or turns her nose up at it until it is popular, I get extremely pissed.



TRISTE

Almost every art class, I listen to the music of my peers.  Sometimes, I feel like forcing my music on them, “Here, listen to this enlightenment,” but I am scared.  When I do work up the courage to plug in my iPod, I become very defensive and shaky.  Once in a while, I will get a complaint to switch the song, but for the most part, everyone is quiet and I’m on edge.  Although I love to listen to “The Henney Buggy Band” by Sufjan Stevens while I am painting my projects, I do not enjoy wasting energy defending my favourite artists.  People do not understand me or my music.  Sharing my iPod is not a particularly pleasant experience.

benefits-of-headphones.jpg

Although I normally prefer my own music (and by that, I mean my favourite music), sometimes, another student will play some music that I can enjoy without shaking.  For example, one compadre (I like that word but I don’t know what it means but it seems appropriate) played the Arcade Fire once, and I was almost dancing in my pants all day.  My leg was twitching, kind of.  Another time, I swear someone was playing Johnny Cash.  I am not a huge Cash fan, but I can appreciate.  I smiled all class.  And then today, something interesting happened.  One of my fellow estudiantes played some intriguing music that I had never heard until that moment.  And it sounded very indie.  The voice sounded familiar, even if the songs did not.  In fact, upon thinking about it, the voice made me think of the Flaming Lips.  I bet it was the Flaming Lips, since I am not an all-too avid listener.  Anyway, I wanted to stand up and shout, “WHOSE IPOD IS PLAYING?!”  It would have scared the owner quite badly, since the two-dimensional tasteless boys at the table next to mine were yelling for a song change every five minutes.  And this art class is Design in 3-D.  Step it up, boys.  Anyhow, if the owner of the iPod had revealed himself (most likely a boy, since that class is swarming with them), I would have most definitely commended him on his superior music taste and then inquired as to the artist of the songs playing through the speakers over our heads.

But I didn’t.

Here is one thing I have learned from listening to other people’s iPods during art.  I listen to many, many female artists and I am not ashamed.  My peers may be incredibly open-minded enough to listen to many different races (including and probably limited to: Whites, Blacks, Latinos or whatever is politically correct), but they are the most narrow-minded when it comes to gender diversity in music.  At least as far as singers go.  Thus, whenever I make a new playlist that I could potentially play in art, I include many female voices to make up for those that other people exclude.

By the way, I hate it when people say “close-minded” to describe someone who is not open-minded.  The antonym of open-minded.  It sounds like you are saying “clothes-minded.”  You sound like a fool.  It’s “narrow-minded.”   Picture the mind as a stream.  It can’t really be closed.  It can just be constricted to let fewer ideas through.

The reason I am typing without contractions for the most part, in this voice with all my thoughts instead of in some funny voice to amuse you is because I am sad.  I tend to do that when I am sad.  And I am going to tell you why I’m sad because today, I was re-reading “The Shared Patio” by Miranda July today, from No one belongs here more than you, and this one tidbit really stood out.  It says:

If you are sad, ask yourself why you are sad.  Then pick up the phone and call someone and tell him or her the answer to the question.  If you don’t know anyone, call the operator and tell him or her.  Most people don’t know that the operator has to listen, it’s a law.

I have been the most monotonous person today, but I felt completely normal.  Other people, though, picked up on my deficiency of happiness and asked me what was wrong, and it wasn’t until I stopped to think if there was something wrong that I realized that I was sad.   I am almost always happy, no matter how silent I am.  But it made me even more sad that other people noticed, and not even me.

Well, I would call someone, but it is his sister’s birthday, so it would be a really short phone call and it would probably make him upset to know that I am sad.  So instead, I will say everything here.

The greatest reason for my sadness is that I miss Derek.  And I think that is quite natural.  He visited me this weekend, and I can’t think about it.  I never felt safer than when I fell asleep with my head on his chest while trying to watch SpongeBob.  And Travis was sitting there, too.  It makes me want to watch SpongeBob again, but I know that if I do watch it again, it will just disappoint me there because I won’t feel that comfort of Derek right there and Travis there, also.  I also felt safe in the car ride taking Derek back to the halfway point, when I fell asleep with my head on his leg and he was playing with my hair.  I wished I could have taken care of him as well as he took care of me.  And I kind of wish I always had someone to take care of me, to have my back all the time and play with my hair.

I feel like this numb, asexual being for the most part, about as attractive, unique, or interesting as a plain white wall.  Even the boys I date do not seem to be particularly attached or attracted to me, no matter how adamant I am about them.  It’s just those two or three days out of the occasional month that I regain the capacity to be loved, that I am loveable and adorable and beautiful, that anyone could see me as anything but wry and dry and plain.  It’s like I lose my ovaries for the better part of each month.  Even when I talk to Derek on the phone, I wonder why he would want to talk to me.  I have so little to say, but I guess we tend to express things less in words.  I had the hardest time this weekend telling him that I didn’t want him to leave, just because it felt so selfish when I ran it through my mind.

So I did not tell him.

Then when we were on the phone after he arrived back at his humble abode, he sounded so happy.  I get like that, too, though, when I get home.  It’s relief from homesickness and a return to normality–never at the fact that I was apart from him.  But it always seemed like he took my departure harder than I did, like a burden on the soul, but now I realize it must be the sensation of being left behind.  I tried to explain this to him, but I guess I couldn’t do it in words, so I gave up.  And I do not think I could convey how upset I was because I didn’t cry or anything.

This sadness leads to another one.  I feel like I am destroying the lives of young boys all over America.  Normally, when I date someone, I take time to get to know them and then I find that they are as distant and unattached as I am.  And that’s that.  They have a special place in my brain, depending, I guess, on how I treated them.  And Phelan has a special place in my heart as a friend, as does Brent.  But I feel like when I end it with a boy, it’s more of me being reckless, but I have never dated and dumped anyone who really needed me.  I have just dated and lost many people who I need.  And the one I was most reckless about was the one I needed the most.

But I suppose I feel guilty.  Because while most males fail to see how I treat them like shit, or do not reflect the ugly face I make at them, I am fairly certain that Brent had the clarity to realize that I was not acting as I should have, even when I did not realize it myself.  And if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have continued my serial dating spree with truly pathetic souls.  But Brent is not pathetic.  And I think that he instinctively played the game I was playing all along, and it sort of slapped me in the face and it made me realize, toward the end, what I was doing.  I was being a bitch.  And just because I had not gotten my period in two months did not grant me any extra-special right to be a bitch to everyone around me.  This last part of the realization came right after I got my period for the first time in two months.  All I can really do is beg for forgiveness, but now that I have been reunited with the capacity to shed the lining of my uterus, I cannot help but cringe at myself for being such a dumbass and want to make it up to him.  I am well aware that another shot at dating would not be fair, advisable, or nice.  Fair, because of the advantage Derek already holds over me.  Advisable, because I am a recovering serial dater.  Nice, because I have found that I take advantage of those who leave their hearts vulnerable for my scrutiny.  But perhaps a batch of cookies will patch things up.  At least I have found a true voice of reason through all of this.  We may have different opinions on authority, and I may have been saddened by the discouragement and negativity I faced while under his care, but I am certain that if I ever find myself in need, I can go to Brent for a good old consolation party.  Or just a hearty conversation in general.

And I guess that only leaves me one thing to be sad about.  This last thing is the simple fact that I will not be around to see my boys grow up.  And I mean Travis, Charles, Coleton, Torey, and Phelan.  They are freshmen.  I have almost known them for a year.  But I have to leave them soon, and I do not want them to forget me.  Because I will never stop waving at them in the hallways.

The Darjeeling Limited

Well, there is only one song I can give you today, but I can give you a bit of a story on it.  This Saturday, Derek and I watched The Darjeeling Limited around lunchtime.  The movie is about three estranged brothers who make a cross-country train trip in India in an attempt to reconnect.  It is a Wes Anderson film.  I love Wes Anderson films because they are timeless.

Hotel Chevalier

The movie is prefaced by Hotel Chevalier.  It is a short film labelled as “Part I” of The Darjeeling Limited.  And Jason Schwartzman from Phantom Planet plays our protagonist, Jack.  You do not learn his name until you watch The Darjeeling Limited.  Well, he is waiting for a woman in a Parisian hotel.  The woman is his ex-girlfriend, played by a bruised Natalie Portman.  And when she arrives at his hotel room door, he plays this ridiculous French-sounding song.  They act formal.  She snoops around.  Food arrives.  And then they have sex.

I could relate best to Jack.  The music, the height, the French.  Travelling.  Never settling down.  But I am terrified of commitment, and it seems that Jack is, too.  He has his one mainstay woman, the one he keeps going back to, the one with the most rickety relationship.  And he has all these other women he wants and eventually gets.  But the only one he loves is that mainstay woman, that Natalie Portman.  And those other women do not love him, either, so they leave him.  He just has them as a temporary drink of freedom, I suppose, and then he misses her and it shows.

Well, here is the song.

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) | Peter Sarstedt

After I obtained this song, I added it to my iPod and I wedged my new earphones into my ears and I laid on my bed and I pulled the covers over my head and listened to this song loudly and I just cried.  But I love this song.

I’m sorry for being sad today.  Later this week, I will bring you happiness.  I promise, also, that I feel better after writing this down.



THE HOPEFUL MIX

Broken Heart by Hotel Lyric on Flickr

Pretty dramatic. Haha, I hate being dramatic.

Since my love life has been screwed over as of last night, my insides have been pretty cold all day. TOTAL FUCKING KARMA. I deserve it. Thus, today deserves a not-love song. However, I feel that posting a not-love song would be jinxing it. So instead of posting a not-love song, I’m going to post some of my favourite songs for “rough times.” We’ll call it the “Hopeful Mix.” Or something. Kinda corny.

Hopeful Mix | zip file

1. A Better Son/Daughter | Rilo Kiley [buy]
And sometimes when you’re on/You’re really fuckin’ on/And your friends they sing along and they love you/But the lows are so extreme/That the good seems fuckin’ cheap/And it teases you for weeks in its absence
Basically, this is why I love Rilo Kiley so much. I mean, they’re kickin’ and screamin’ and marchin’ for happiness. That’s what this song almost feels like–a march. And it reminds you of everyone who loves you, and it put Jenny Lewis in the ranks of people who’ve got your back. She knows what you’re going through, and you’ll survive. Look how awesome she turned out.

2. Crown of Love | The Arcade Fire [buy]
If you still want me/Please forgive me/Because the spark/Is not within me
“Crown of Love” is definitely a winter song by The Arcade Fire, which is definitely a winter band. The violin says it all. My favourite part is the end, which you could almost dance to.

3. All The Young Dudes | Mott the Hoople [buy]
And my brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones/We never got it off on that Revolution stuff/What a drag too many snags
This track’s in the trailer for Juno. The lyrics aren’t particularly hopeful or anything. Just, the use in the trailer makes it out to be a hopeful song, so that’s how I’ll always see it.

4. Hold Me Now (Radio Edit) | The Polyphonic Spree [buy]
You’re still miles away
What a fanfare. But seriously, the Polyphonic Spree can grant hope any day. It’s just the whole orchestra vibe they’ve got goin’ on.

5. Hey Jude | The Beatles [buy]
Take a sad song and make it better/Remember to let her under your skin/Before you begin to make it better
My reasoning? The transition from softer to louder. Also, fuckin’ revolution. I want to see Across the Universe.

6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room | Death Cab for Cutie [buy]
All you see/Is where else you could be when you’re at home
This is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I just wish I could convey the extent to which I love it, but I just can’t. I wish I had a pal like Ben Gibbard.

7. Cleanse Song | Bright Eyes [buy]
And if life seems absurd/What you need is some laughter/And a season to sleep/And a place to get clean/Maybe Los Angeles/Somewhere no one’s expecting
Erika brought me to Bright Eyes with Lifted. “Coat Check Dream Song sounds nothing like my first tastes of indie, but it’s so irresistibly beachy clean. Although I’ve not yet completely accepted Cassadaga, maybe just because Conor Oberst was clean in making it, I do like this song. It’s really light.

8. Hey, You In The Pants | The Underquotes
The Underquotes broke up earlier in 2007 after releasing a few pretty tight songs. None of their songs have lyrics, and this one especially may be a bit raw, but just listen. It’s not a sad song, that’s for sure. To me, it just speaks for itself.

9. The Henney Buggy Band | Sufjan Stevens [buy]
Oh Father John, you cannot tell me/What’s right and wrong/You cannot tell me
This song was introduced to me as the favourite Sufjan Stevens song of someone very close to me. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I actually picked it up and started listening avidly. “The Henney Buggy Band” seems happy. But it seems that way because it’s nostalgic. And I dunno about you, but nostalgia makes me feel good sometimes.

10. Look Up | Stars [buy]
So far keeping it together’s been enough/But look up rain is falling/Looks like love
The reason I started listening to this song in the first place is that it was mentioned in the book Miss Misery. David wants to give Cat a mix tape, and he puts this on it. He notes that it’s hopeful, and there’s hope for them to be together. Of course, in the end, he doesn’t give her the CD after seeing her immense collection of them and learning of her immense dislike for them. Well, I’m not saying there’s hope for me to be with someone, but I am saying that it’s possible to be as happy again.

11. Kissing the Lipless | The Shins [buy]
But you’ve/Got too much to wear on your sleeves/It has too much to do with me/And secretly/I want bury in the yard/The grey remains/Of a friendship scarred
The Shins make me happy.

12. Teenage Love Song | Rilo Kiley
I still love you/And always will/All those motel rooms/Ya footed the bill
LAWLZ. So much angerrrr! I’m not mad myself, but ah, her situation makes mine seem fairly minuscule.