Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012 in Photographs.

(Okay, and in some writing, too. I mean, this is still a blog post.)

I’m not really a photographer (unless you consider filtering iPhone pics through Instagram photography) but I thought it might be neat to choose one day each week and create a post with just photographs. Who knows if I’ll actually be consistent with this, but for right now--for this post--I’m totally reliable.

Today was a weird day. It was even weird how I just didn't even try to transition fluently into the next thought. We were given this exaggerated lunch break at work as a well-intended gesture of appreciation, and while I tried not to be cynical about it because I knew it truly did come from a sweet place, the closely-monitored two hours left me feeling awkward about what to do.

So, I browsed record bins, browsed book shelves, and talked to a French woman who worked at Goodwill about what version of “La Vie En Rose” we preferred. I got a coffee, came back to work and doodled different font ideas in my notebook. Then I went home at 3:30 because I wanted to.

And that's pretty much August 29th in a nutshell.

PS, the book photos are AFTER I brought them home. I forgot to take pics in the bookstore. So, I guess I already messed this idea up. Don't be judgey.

I spotted this at Books A Million and had to get it. I own "Wilderness" and didn't realize anything else had been published since that. Also, I'm just realizing that I made Julia Child and Malcolm X bookshelf neighbors. (I really have absolutely no organizational system in place when it comes to my books. That's why I didn't pan out to include the entire wall. You guys would probably just pass out from overexposure to books and mess and weird author placement.)

BUT, I did put "Wilderness" and "The American Night" next to one another. I didn't want to overwhelm myself, so that was as far as "Operation Put Same Authors Together" went.

FINALLY. I got The September Issue. It is gigantic.
"The Passion of Paris" record I bought. All I recognized was "La Vie En Rose" and that was enough to make me want it. "Sabrina" (the Audrey Hepburn film, not the teenage witch or the Harrison Ford 90s remake) is probably in the top 5 of my favorite movies list. I saw it when I was around 12 or 13 and ever since I've wanted to go to Paris and look out a window at the street below and write to someone about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses while this song plays from the sky or something. IT COULD HAPPEN, GUYS. Until it does, I'll listen to this record.

Font doodles. It will take me until the day of the party (which is for my mom's 50th) to actually complete the invitations. I may just create a Facebook event and pass these out as party favors instead.
Black iced coffee; a lunchtime constant. (Please excuse my cuticles.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Finally Sees "Moonrise Kingdom" & Writes About It On Sunday Afternoon

Last night as I was watching "Moonrise Kingdom," I realized that Wes Anderson not only, you know,  inspires quirky Halloween costumes (and this was while I was mind-planning my own Suzy Bishop outfit) but he also creates visually consistent films.

An actual color palette for Wes Anderson films!
During the movie, all I could think about (again, other than my Halloween costume) was how aesthetically interesting the scenes were. You can see the way his color palettes take a normal surrounding and transform it into a Wes Anderson world. I can’t help but believe that the ease of pausing any given scene into a picture worthy of framing is deliberate.

I know some think that Wes tries too hard to make his characters quirky, but that’s why his work has such a cult following. He manages to present us with people loaded with idiosyncrasies, equipped with distinctly eccentric wardrobes, and who follow storylines that defy reality yet we can still somehow find them relatable in our own little way. Because beneath the intentional bizarreness, there is always this subliminal message beeping out into the audience that encourages individuality and the acceptance of social weirdness. Or in this case, the emotionally disturbed. 

Moonrise Kingdom Family Picture
In addition to the visuals, the Halloween costumes and my obsession with that portable record player, I really loved the soundtrack. And that’s saying a lot because it’s usually rare that I’m wholly convinced of the song choices for a film. Alexandre Desplat (who is responsible for a lot of instrumentals you hear in movies) was oddly perfect with Hank Williams and Francoise Hardy. It just made sense, even though it didn’t.

And isn’t that just like a Wes Anderson movie?

So today, be deliberately eccentric and maybe even dress up like Margot Tennenbaum like you've always secretly wanted to. And then, of course, dance to this.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Gets Bossy on Sunday

Sorry I didn’t post this on Saturday when it would have made more sense. I was in Orlando until late last night helping my friend pick out apartment décor because he’s basically enlisted me as a pro-bono interior designer, which is wonderful--I mean, what’s more awesome than being bossy with other people’s money?

Believe it or not, all I personally picked up was an arrow bracelet, some really expensive tea that I pressure-purchased based entirely on the pleasant scent that was wafted my way when they opened the canister (so I guess I just bought potpourri), subsequent buyer’s remorse over the tea, and then a new-found desire to be a personal shopper after I spied the Anna Wintour-esque office of one at Neiman Marcus. Again, what would be more awesome than being bossy with other people's money?

And without thinking of a clever way to transition from Neiman Marcus and expensive tea to Bruce Springsteen and the middle-class America he sings for, “Thunder Road” is my favorite Boss song ever.

(BOSS. There's the transition.)

Bruce was so dreamy.
“The screen door slams/Mary’s dress sways/like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays”--perfect.When I hear this song, I see everything he’s singing. It’s a clear montage of beautifully ordinary pictures painted so that everyone listening can add themselves to the reel. I suppose most Springsteen songs are that way, but I've just been inexplicably drawn to this one since I was young. I used to play it over and over while I was driving the hour to and from school my last year in college, and because of this, I can't hear "Thunder Road" without seeing rolled-down windows or the UCF exit sign.

Unlike other musicians who I have distinct memories of discovering, I feel like I just innately knew about Bruce Springsteen. It’s the same way I feel about Hank Williams Jr. When I was little, most afternoons were spent outside on a blanket under the clothesline in our old backyard. My mom would lay out and I would read little books or color or just stare at the clothes swaying, but the constant was that there would always be a Bruce Springsteen cassette tape in the stereo. If there were times when someone else drifted through the speakers, I don’t remember it that way. It’s one of those things that whenever I think back to that moment, it’s always Bruce Springsteen. The same way it’s always Hank Williams Jr. playing in my Dad’s trucks.

Needless to say, there is a nostalgia tangled with Bruce Springsteen songs and I don’t think I’m alone on this. Even “Thunder Road” is like a hazy recollection of youth. So today I urge you to be inspired by the ordinary and revel a little in the past. Go through an old yearbook, listen to an album you haven't listened to in years--you’d be surprised at how a melody can awaken reveries so vivid, it’s like you’re right there again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mixtape for a Fierce Girl's Workout

As a writer, (or to some, a girl who simply took advantage of a free blog to post her thoughts about random topics) I tend to like music that has some type of lyrical value. But truth be told, lyricism takes a back seat when it comes to workout music. Unless the lyrics are “You’re gonna look so skinny after this!” most people I know just need something that makes them want to move and not lie motionless on the couch in reaching distance of some wine. Tonight while I was running (and by running I mean low-impact, slow jogging like in a rap video) I had to admit the mix I made was pretty awesome. In a 35-minute workout, you get the crazed energy of Karen O, the cool sass of Beyonce, and the badass feeling you can rebelliously spin out of parking lots in your Honda Passport compliments of M.I.A.

So without judging lyrical content or contribution to societal issues (step off, music snobs) just listen for the “makes me feel fierce enough to increase the incline” quality that is so essential in losing those last five pounds.

It may not be healthy, but I love diet coke :(
1. Bad Girls--M.I.A.

2. Warrior--Kimbra

3. Tick--Yeah Yeah Yeahs

4. Gucci Gucci--Kreayshawn

5. Run the World (Girls)--Beyonce

6. Your Honor--Regina Spektor

7. Pot Kettle Black--Tilly and the Wall

8. Paper Planes--M.I.A

9. Clap Your Hands--Sia

10. With Every Heartbeat--Robyn

11. We Turn It Up--Oh Land

Oh, and if your treadmill workout is longer than 35 minutes, you should just go drink some water out of a milk jug for no reason with all your braggy, buff friends and stop making everyone else feel sad about life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Cuts Its Bangs and Divorces Ben Gibbard

(Which reminds me, um, Ben Gibbard--when's our date? Arrange something that could be a scene in an indie movie, please.)

Zooey Deschanel and I are basically BFFs. She’s so my favorite that if she were to ever come out with any gimmicky celebrity product like a fragrance or makeup line or clothing line (okay, please God, could she come out with her own clothing line?) I’d have to buy it. She has shown me that 30-something women don’t self destruct or get forced onto a conveyor belt that rides through a mom haircut, French manicure factory. I mean, even on celebrity standards, not many women outside of Drew Barrymore maintain the fresh, carefree fun I so admire. And because of Zooey (and also Mindy Kaling and Rashida Jones and Drew--can’t forget my favorite girls in their 30s) I’ve realized that 30 may not be so scary. That quirky girls can grow up and not be the weird single lady who’s nurturing an increasingly disturbing porcelain doll collection.

My reassurance comes from this sassy person who fully embraces whimsy and wit and awkwardness, and in her, I see who I want to be: the 30-year-old girl at the party wearing a tiara and glittery dress, playing the ukulele, and making too many pop cultural references. And I’d like to pull it off in a way that makes people adore me instead of admit me into an asylum. (PS--Isn't JGL cute in that video?)

She & Him.
A little before the success of the wonderfully written, "New Girl," and my ultimate favorite ever, "(500) Days of Summer," I started to get into She & Him. Even the band name makes me happy (remember my thing about not naming characters?) Their sound is such a literal encapsulation of their style. It’s fresh but retro but modern but classic country but 60s pop-ish but fun but meaningful. When I hear their songs, I see a girl wearing a Modcloth dress and a guy wearing cool sunglasses. It’s Zooey and M. Ward and there’s no denying that.

Today, as I take some sewing lessons and obsess over the reissued, retro patterns I bought, I’d like everyone else to embrace their quirkiness, too. Live out some scenes from your favorite indie movie--I’m sure there’s an Ikea somewhere that’s just begging to be ran through while a Doves song plays in the background.

Saturday Song: Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?--She & Him

PS, I had to post this version of the music video. I mean, for obvious, cute reasons :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Only Child Syndrome

Me after being invited out for a night on the town.
I possess the strange ability to both desire and be annoyed by social interaction all at once. I sometimes find myself declining amiable invitations for no other reason than to go home and listen to a record. Or write a blog post. Or just watch Dawson’s Creek on Netflix.

But, I mean, I still want the invite. Just because I said no the first 12 times the person asked, doesn’t give them the right to forget about me or exclude me. It’s like, seriously--don’t be a jerk.

As I listened to “Bratty B” I thought about what it is to be an adult brat. Do you transition from toy possessiveness to emotional possessiveness? Do you graduate from temper tantrums to silent treatments? Do you just go around calling people jerks when they don’t keep putting themselves out there while you remain complacent and unmoving?

I am an only child.

I feel like I use this fact as a scapegoat for most of my idiosyncrasies. I don’t relate to my peers? Oh, that’s because I’m an only child. My paralyzing self awareness? Well, I didn’t have any brothers or sisters. My egotistical yet somehow deeply insecure internal monologue? Clearly it’s because I spent the majority of my youth around adults.

It’s probably safe to say that most zero-sibling kids develop a certain kind of independence at a young age that allows them the freedom to do what they want, how they want. Without peers there to dictate or skew your plans, you’re pretty much given creative liberty with your free time.

As a result, I usually think my ideas are awesome. With constant reassurance from my parents (remember, no other kid to give overwhelming and possibly undeserved praise to) I come programmed with an ego and self-indulgence I can’t deny. I mean, why else would I think anyone would be interested in reading a blog post about me and my musings about me written by me while I listen to a song I like that inspired me to write about me? Fortunately though, the maturity I acquired early on from being an only child equips me with the self-awareness to write that last sentence.

However, the exclusivity of admission into my little world has created a person who treads lightly around others--an oddly humbled girl riddled with paranoia that people won‘t see past the quirkiness. Now that I’m aware my parents and close friends are simply expected to indulge and support me, I can never truly trust if I’m actually worthy of the praise I sometimes receive. So as I let others in at a pace that can only be measured on microscopic levels, I worry about what they will think. But then don’t care.

But then might still secretly pout a little if they care in a way I don’t want them to. Because ultimately, I’m still sort of a bratty b--something I conveniently blame on the only child syndrome.

But we can still be friends; I promise I won't be such a brat.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Highly Anticipated Review of The Dark Knight Rises*

*Yeah, it’s actually not so much a review as it is just a list of my likes and dislikes. But “My highly anticipated lists of comments about ‘The Dark Knight Rises' that will not at all help you make a decision on whether or not to see the film” is a little wordy.


I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” this weekend and thought I’d illustrate my emotionally confusing, love/hate relationship with the film by doing something I just love to do: making lists.

Despite almost not arriving to the theater in time, having to sit right up front (I mean, first row) and being subjected to this nearby creep's loud, villainous laughter whenever Bane would do something evil (seriously--it was weird and made me wonder what basement he wandered out of), I was able to persevere and actually see a movie that EVERYONE is seeing. Oh, yeah, and this post contains spoilers. Not sure why I need to say that though. I mean, really, if you haven't seen the movie by now, you probaly don't care.


Joseph Gordon Levitt
He managed to be adorable and endearing despite the terribly cliché “young cop” dialogue he had. He’s just so cute. And I liked how his uniform accentuated his cuteness. Basically, he was my favorite part of the movie. I feel like it should have just been about him being him in his own life with lots of camera time for his face.

Anne Hathaway’s Sassy Attitude
Again, even though her entire character was one giant cliché, you can’t help but be all, “You go, girl!” when you see women kicking ass while managing to keep their hair from frizzing.

Morgan Freeman’s Bow Ties
He played a professor in this, right?

Football Field Explosion Scene
No wonder they whored that footage out in every trailer for the movie.

Cat Woman’s Heels
Badass fashion that doubles as weapons.

Marion Cotillard’s Makeup
Normal stuff you think about during action movies, right?

The Post-Bane Takeover Sentencing Room
It was where they went to choose exile or death. I just really liked the visual of the papers falling and how exaggerated the stand was. When I saw it, I could immediately picture it in a comic book.


The Batman Whisper
That’s a given. I just can’t take a guy seriously when he’s whispering threats.

Bane’s Voice
I really wasn’t prepared for such a dignified and ostentatious voice to come from behind a black skeleton mask being worn by a huge guy who dresses in cargo pants and army boots. I kept wondering if his villainous back story would have something do with being an 18th century butler who was done wrong. And then I couldn’t stop myself from imagining him maniacally ripping away his coattails and throwing down a silver tray in slow motion as he dashed into the sewers to go work out and stuff. Also, all throughout the movie I knew I had heard that voice before. It was here. His voice is the SNL depiction of Sean Connery.

The Dialogue
Okay, I know that hero movies have some cliché and that’s kind of expected, but I just couldn’t overlook the following:

Batman’s beating up guys in an alley or sewer or something and when he’s done, he looks at JGL. Bad guy in background coming up behind Batman. JGL: “You missed a spot.” Batman turns and punches bad guy. I puke/laugh.

Anne Hathaway sitting in seedy bar. Guy sits at table with her. Anne Hathaway: “Hey handsome, what you doing in a place like this?” or something like that. I puke/laugh.

Marion Cotillard is about to die. Marion (weakly): I will finish my father's plan. You can't stop the bomb. Haha" then she dies. I puke/laugh.

The Overly Obvious Tie-In to the Movie Title
The Dark Knight is literally rising out of a hole in the ground.

Batman's Miraculous Health Improvement
He’s barely able to chew a cracker that’s been hand-fed to him, but then they turn on the TV and the next scene is him doing push-ups.

The Cape
I'm sorry. I know that's a pretty blasphemous statement to make in the presence of hard-core fans and I would never admit it out loud at Comic-Con, but the cape is just ridiculous. I hate how it dramatically ripples in the wind.

Overall, I liked it alright, I guess. It’s not really my thing, but I feel like for a superhero movie, all the necessary elements were present and done pretty well.

But, I’m just some girl with a blog who makes lists and calls it a movie review. And I also saw Step Up 3D in theaters. So, there’s that added credibility.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Kate Nash's "Nicest Thing" is kind of my favorite.

While I enjoy the use of highly metaphorical or abstract emotional descriptions just as much as the next writer who works hunched over parchment paper, manifesting literary canons via quill and lots of melodramatic, oil lamp lighting, I tend to love writing the heaviest subjects with an almost minimalist simplicity. Think skeletal.

When you’re writing something that exposes vulnerability, it’s sometimes more difficult to plainly state it without shielding yourself with piles of complex language. I understand the compulsion to hide behind sentences laced with ambiguity, but to create a heart-to-heart connection with an audience, I think you should just be real.

Not to say that you should reduce your articulation down to a text sent in a mall food court near a Piercing Pagoda or anything, but rather just say what you feel how you would really say it.

And that’s what this song does. I love it so, so much because it’s conversational and honest and sad and genuine. It’s not overwrought and it’s not understated. It’s not antiquated or juvenile. It just is exactly what it is. And I think that’s beautiful.

At the end of the day, writing should be about establishing a connection between you and someone else--reaching out and saying, "It’s alright, because someone else feels that way too."

We've all felt the way Kate has. That basically, you wished that they loved you. Isn't it nice to know we’re not alone in the heartbreak?