Monday, January 30, 2006

Everything you do, everywhere you go now....

I am a bit of a soundtrack connoisseur. I adore them. In high school I bought the Never Been Kissed soundtrack (without seeing the movie) and I've never looked back. Soundtracks remind me of favorite movies (French Kiss), encourage nostalgia (Dawson's Creek), and introduce new (and sometimes talented) artists (O.C. 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5). They are the perfect mix tape.
Recently, the tracks on the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack have provided me with hours of listening pleasure. So, taking a page from the iTunes music store, I give you my iMix, courtesy of GA:

Track 1: The Postal Service-- Such Great Heights
They will see us waving from such great heights. "Come down now," they'll say. But everything looks perfect from away; "Come down now," but we'll stay.
I live in fear of living an unextraordinary life, but this song reminds me of all there is yet to achieve.

Track 2: Roisin Murphy-- Ruby Blue
Makes me dance about the apartment when I'm cleaning/cooking/hanging out.

Track 3: Maria Taylor-- Song Beneath the Song
It's not a love, it's not a love, it's not a love song.
That about says it all.

Track 4: Tegan and Sara-- Where Does the Good Go
It's love that leaves and breaks the seal of always thinking you would be
real happy and healthy, strong and calm. Where does the good go?
Where does the good go?
Where do you go when you're in love and the world knows?
How do you live so happily while I am sad and broken down?
What do you say it's up for grabs now that you're on your way down
Where does the good go? Where does the good go?
Reasonable questions.

Track 5: Mike Doughty-- Looking at the world from the bottom of a well
Oh all the days
That I have run
I sought to lose that cloud that's blacking out the sun
My train will come
Some one day soon
And it comes I'll ride it bound from night to noon

1) Great song for the gym. 2) Great songs for the days I sit in my office convinced there must be something better (aka. greener grass days).

Track 6: Get Set Go -- Wait
Wait, wait til the signs are right
Wait til the perfect time
and you will wait to long, he will be gone.

This is particularly good advise for me. I don't generally take it, but it helps to have it repeated over and over and over... and over.

Track 7: The Eames Era -- Could be anything
I certainly hope that you are happy with your new change of company surrounded by your enemies.
Heartbreaking. A bit Avril Lavigne-y (in a good way).

Track 8: Rilo Kiley -- Portions for Foxes
When the loneliness leads to bad dreams
And the bad dreams lead me to callin you
And I call you and say: C'MERE!
It's bad news, Baby, I'm bad news
Known this song for awhile (it's on a couple of soundtracks). And C'MERE is never a good thing in an unhealthy relationship

Track 9: Ben Lee-- Catch my disease
They play Genesis on the radio and that's the way I like it They play the Replacements on the radio and that's the way I like it, that's the way I like it They play the Bangles on the radio and that's the way I like it, that's the way I like it And they play me on the radio and that's the way I like it So please Baby, please Open your heart, Catch my disease
Majorly fun shout-out section and a great "love me" song. Ironically perfect for a medical drama.

Track 10: The Ditty Bops-- There's a Girl
When I'm asleep it gives me time to think thoughts that I wouldn't dare speak aloud. I couldn't bare myself before a crowd. I bide my time while biting my tongue.... That's just the way things used to be.
Angsty. A bit angry. A bit seductive. Who doesn't love that?

Track 11: The Radio-- Whatever gets you through today
Whatever gets you through today
Uplifting; encourages rethinking your "decision making paradigm."

Track 12: Inara George-- Fools in love
Fools in love, are there any creatures more pathetic?
Probably not.

Track 13: Psapp-- Cosy in the Rocket
Nobody knows where they might end up
Nobody knows

A great song featuring "found" sounds and awesome lyrics.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I've been tripping from sipping the dripping dirty water tap

This past Thursday night I was invited to a friend's poetry/singing performance at the Library of Progress in Baltimore. Having nothing else planned for the evening, wishing to be supportive and intriguied by a friend's description of the Library as a "hippie comune with... books" I drove myself down and steeled myself for being the odd person out because: 1) I am not a hippie and 2) I don't write/enjoy/appreciate most poetry-- noted exceptions include Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver and Courtney McKim Yates.
It was... an experience. And for most of the evening I felt rather guilty for judging those brave enough to share their art/souls with the room. After all, it is quite possible that I am not nearly as emotionally or spiritually evolved as the poet who stated "My vote had been stolen from me... I love those I hate." I may have been taken in by the capitalist machine: I received many compliments on the purse I brought with me-- one I don't like very much, but bought to match one shirt in my wardrobe. I, perhaps, am too cynical... instinctually laughing at the mechanic doing his best (and most serious) Eminem impression. And, I'm sure it's a sign of my own brainwashing that I spent some of the poets' readings imagining what an episode of "What Not to Wear" or "Queer Eye" for that individual might look like.
Kyan: You've obviously worked very hard on... establishing those dread-locks. How long are they.
Hippie: 24 inches.
Kyan: 2 feet! Really? That's very long.
Carson (off camera): Where did this wardrobe come from? Vintage Bad Choices?
Kyan: This was all fine up to this point, but as you enter the next stage of your career, you're going to need something that reflects where you want to be.
Etc, etc.
As we left the library, I made my apologies for being a buzz kill. "After all," I said, "You never know what'll happen when you bring the straight-laced girl to the hippie commune. Could be a good time, could be disasterous...." At this point, the evening's focus shifted (for me) from the investigation of a sub-culture to an investigation of self. I was taken aback by my companions insistance the I am not as I had termed myself ("straight laced"), and am, infact, far from it. They played the word association game for a few minutes, and while that was less than enlightening, I spent my ride home mulling over our conversation.
And I've been feeling pensive and fragile ever since -- and not a little bit introspective.
No, I don't fit in with or understand or really want to understand the hippies. I am content to live in my apartment with my wireless internet, cable and dishes from Pier 1, emulating a metro-Crate and Barrel life. I believe Kyan when he suggests that I should try to reflect not only where I'm at, but where I want to be. I love to showers, baths and beauty products. I think pop music is okay sometimes... there are times when looking for deeper meaning distracts from the basic fun of the song, movie, book, conversation, etc.
But is that enough? This is a perenial question for me... the one that qualifies me as an over-achiever... the ledge I need to be talked off of occasionally. And my answer, this time, is that it isn't. I can believe myself to be quite happy in my life, but if I am not aware of the needs of others and making efforts to help them, my life entirely too isolated. There has to be (for me) a community component-- an agreement that we will watch out for each other, listen to each other, and make decisions that are not simply self-serving but recognize the effects of our actions on our communities: local and global. Without that support system, it can be rather hard to relax and enjoy all you have.
So, shout out to the hippies who remind us of universal truths.
Now, let's have some fun.

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. ~Guillaume Apollinaire

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If you ever need a stranger to sing at your wedding....

A tale of two Jens:
While abroad my senior year of college I met a church musician whose name, I believed, was "Yes." He was Swedish, and took advantage of all that that implies. Clear blue eyes, white blond hair, pale ivory skin; he took his heritage rather seriously. He was a musician, and watching him play the piano at the small church I attended a few times was an experience in itself. He was very accomplished on keyboards of many different types, and he led the international crowd in hymns new and familiar.
*On an interesting side note, the building in which services were held had been school before communisim reigned supreme in Budapest. The communists, in their infinate and far-reaching wisdom, used the building as a horse stable. The Presbyterians signed a 99 year lease after an early 90's return to democracy and were in the midst of renovation when I was last there. It was a beautiful building.
To meet him, I agreed to sing at one of the church services. While I have been singing in churches much of my life, I had never done so in Swedish with a Swedish keyboardest/director, and this turned out to be not such a great idea as I'm not really familiar with Swedish or what to do when your voice breaks in the middle of a foreign parish... but that is neither here nor there, and not really the point of this story. So, I worked with him. We met 2 or 3 times before the "performance" and talked more than we sang (also not the best idea for Swedish singing success).
We met for coffee. We met to do some Christmas shopping. I attended a piano recital at one of the best music academies in Eastern Europe. He asked me out for drinks. I declined-- he was surrounded by students and teachers yammering at him in languages I didn't understand, and I had a final in molecular biology the next morning.
We met for espresso my last week in the country. He talked about teaching Swedish to Hungarian psycologists. I talked about American movie theatres. He told me he was fluent in 5 languages and when I asked how he explained that he had followed various girlfriends to various countries and picked them up much as one picks up suveniors.
I thought, "Oh, crap! I can't just bring him home! I don't want to bring him home! How do I always find the psychos? How is it possible that this seemingly well-rounded individual is this ridiculous? Well, he already speaks English so he probably doesn't need to come to America. Maybe I can make-up some excuse about having to pack....."
He then told me about his fiance. And while I was a bit put out that we had gone out for a month without this being something he thought was important to tell me, I was relieved. I have been imagining Jens knocking on my door, smiling with suitcase in hand... and I wasn't happy to see him.
Jens and I left each other exactly halfway between his destination and mine. Occasionally I get an email about a concert or recital he's giving. I always reply to say I'm unable to attend seeing as how I'm in America and he's an ocean and half a continent away.
He never writes back.
And really, that works for me.

Jens Lekman has been voted one of the sexiest men in Sweden the past two years. He's a singer/song-writer inspired by Lawerence Welk. He's charming and funny and everything (in my experience) a Swede named Jens should be. He writes in English because when he started his career, he didn't think Swedish was a very sexy language (and really, "Jag älskar dig" sounds more like a sneeze then "I love you"). He's spectacular.

When people think of Sweden
I think they have the wrong idea
like Cliff Richards who thought
it was just
porn and gonorrhea

And Lou Reed said
in the film
"Blue in the face"
that compared to New York City
Sweden was a scary place

They seem to have a point

after meeting with this girl

maybe not Cliff Richards
Lou has surely m
et her

The doubt in her eyes when
I said I wanted to kiss her
for the sake of liking her
and not because of the blizzard

She said "shhh
please be quiet
I know you don't want to
but please deny it"
'Cause the cold Swedish winter

is right outside
and I just want
to hold me through the night.

And that works for me.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Running wild among all the stars above

It is January... and I am ready to hibernate. Although I am managing to pull myself out of bed and to the gym at the wee hours of the morning, I want nothing more than to sleep 'til noon; to play with textured yarns and smell soups and stews bubbling away. And, for the first time in years... I'd like a little snow.
It's a bit hypocritical. After all, I left the great north (aka Massachusetts) to escape to a slightly more temperate climate. But snow = snow days which fit well into my hibernation plan. And if it only sticks around for a day or two... it's really quite pretty.
While I am not big on resolutions (I made a list my junior year of under-grad and am still working on it... many successes) I have decided to take advantage of the Podcasts feature of iTunes in order to keep myself more informed: 5 minutes of NPR news in the morning, 20 minutes of Jim Lehrer at night. I now know things before Katie Couric... or at least before she reports them to me as I workout on the elliptical. That makes me feel a little bit special....

Have recently re-fallen in love with The Office, so I'll leave you with a little corporate wisdom:

Michael Scott: Toby is in HR, which technically means he works for corporate, so he's really not a part of our family. Also, he's divorced, so he's really not a part of his family.

Jim Halpert: The Albany branch is working right through lunch, to prevent downsizing. But, Michael, he decided to extend our lunch by an hour, so that we could all go down to the dojo and watch him fight Dwight.

Dwight Schrute: In the wild, there is no health care. In the wild, health care is, "Ow, I hurt my leg. I can't run. A lion eats me and I'm dead." Well, I'm not dead. I'm the lion, you're dead.