Story, Goal, Song: part III

It has been one of those lazy winter break days – one of those in which my most “energetic” moment consisted of shyly bouncing to “Steal My Girl” amidst the racks of polos at American Eagle. The remainder of the day was spent either laying down or sitting. And although I remain sitting at this moment in time, I am telling myself this is productive. I’m producing words. It’s a good thing my standards for myself aren’t this low when school is in session…

Anyway, this is my third “story, goal, song” post. If you missed the first two, you can easily find them here or here. For those of you who are caught up/don’t care about the previous installments, let’s get this show on the road.

A story: This will not be story, but rather some stories, because apparently I get a thrill from breaking my own rules. And admittedly I just can’t decide which 2014 concert I want to single out, so I’m taking the wordy route (a road I travel frequently) and telling a story about each of them.


The 1975: The initial struggle to find any joy whilst sinking into a shrieking pit of flannel-clad flower crown-wearers ceased when my sister and I withdrew ourselves from the tangle of teen girls. Upon our arrival in the breathing zone, we made friends (by means of eye contact and the occasional smirk) with a dance-crazed Ian Somerhalder doppelganger who made the already-delightful music of the 1975 even more so. I will always remember this beautiful man. And I will always wish I had joined in his dancing. And married him.


Bruno Mars: I thought I was one of the few who could claim having a Bruno Mars-obsessed mother… until I went to a Bruno Mars concert. Surprisingly middle-aged crowd there. A great show, nonetheless – if nothing else, proof of how futile my previous efforts not to love him were. In the eternal words of REO Speedwagon, I can’t fight this feeling anymore. He has found his music niche, he owns it, his band is SO FUN to watch. Might have taken a leaf from fake Ian Somerhalder’s book and danced a little.

Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer: (sadly no pictures were taken at this show – cry with me) One of the perks of being a college student is discounts, considering my friends and I paid a mere $10 for this concert while there were well-dressed old people shelling it out in the $50s. Tough to beat. Especially for Chris Thile, a world-renowned mandolinist, and Edgar Meyer, a world-renowned bassist. I already wrote an entire post about this, so I’ll try not to repeat myself, but watching these guys was a wonderful mix of easiness, tension, and perhaps hypnosis. And to my delight, their newest album, Bass + Mandolin, is nominated for a Grammy.

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Relient k: A concert I was not planning on attending, but I ended up (accidentally) emotionally manipulating a scalper into selling me a ticket for roughly $2 in profit – sincere thanks to that man, as a Relient k concert was precisely what I needed. It served as a reminder that, no, I have not outgrown a good, brash punk song with a redemptive bridge played on piano, and YES okay I still love Matt Thiessen. ‘Twas an evening of friends and nostalgia, and is there really a better combination? Doubtful.

A goal: This is just speculation, but I think humans like knowing where they stand with other humans. I don’t mean this to be some bitter reflection on the world of dating, in fact I’m not talking about dating at all – isn’t it just nice to hear “I’m so glad you’re my friend/sibling/personal chef/dentist” every once in awhile? One of the people I’ve grown really close to in the past year is so unbelievably talented in this area, always genuine, and it’s something I’ve really come to appreciate about her personality. Unsurprisingly, it’s something I want to bring into my own life. I want to affirm people, whether that means telling someone their hair looks nice or yelling “YOUARETHEBESTIMSOGLADWEREFRIENDS” in an unsuspecting person’s face. To put it concisely: I want to get better at out-loud appreciation, because people deserve it.

A song: It’s somewhat surprising that “Don’t Get Married Without Me” was my most-listened-to-while-driving song of the summer because, traditionally, car time is harmonization time, and it is so hard  for me to find a singable harmony for this song. But I love Punch Brothers, so I forgive them.

Ah. Reminds me of July.

Hope you have the least manic of Mondays! Till next time xx (that was me trying to be British, did it work?)


Find your fleece lining


I am welcoming the month of December in high style, and by that I mean I am wearing fleece-lined leggings under my jeans.

I’ve never really been much of a fleece person – by way of blankets, I generally prefer a down comforter or microplush Spider-Man throw – but I have recently come around. I got fleece-lined mittens a couple weeks ago ($3, I love H&M) and around that same time my mom sent me these leggings, which have actually changed my life. Winter is full of crisp, chilly mornings, especially when you refuse to turn your heater on, and these angel pants (did I just coin a new term of endearment?) are the perfect solution to the “freezing bare legs for five seconds while changing from pajamas to real person clothes” problem: wear them under your pajama pants, keep wearing them under your actual pants. And, of course, throw them in the wash every once in awhile. We are adults here.

Perhaps every cloud has a silver lining (I never remember to check), but not every pair of leggings has a fleece lining – find yours.

Other things I’ve been enjoying lately: sleep, the song “On Ice” by Chris Thile, family time, burning candles even though I’m not supposed to, Sufjan Stevens’ rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and, as usual, Zayn Malik’s face.

Happy last month of 2014!

I’ll Remember For You

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“There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact.” -Milan Kundera

Last night I found myself in the balcony of a darkened theater, my gaze on the stage, unwavering – Edgar Meyer was bent over his bass, Chris Thile practically dancing with his mandolin, both so intently focused on playing the strange and intricate pieces they had composed together. Every once in awhile there would be a clever and unexpected twist in the music, eliciting quiet laughter from the audience. Some pieces would be tense, dissonant, and when the music would stop, there would not be silence or applause but a collective exhale. I watched the bow being dragged across the strings, and I realized I wasn’t remembering anything, and I wasn’t imagining anything either. I was just there. Present. Not letting that moment escape my grasp. I love concerts for this very reason.

I am a highly distractable person. I am also a daydreamer and an avid rememberer. In and of itself, it’s not necessarily a bad combination, it’s kind of fun, actually… until time goes FWOOSH and suddenly the summer is over and you realize you spent more time in other times instead of the time that counted. Read that a few times, you’ll get it eventually. It’s a common theme in books and movies and songs, failing to relish each moment as it happens, and sadly it is a concept which is very applicable to my life. I’m certainly working on it – everyone has room for improvement. But I can’t deny its difficulty. The present moment is elusive, especially when you’re constantly thinking of the next present moment.

My favorite song they played last night was not on bass and mandolin, but rather piano and acoustic guitar. It flowed along just like a lullaby, and I remember being so enchanted by it but also so concerned that I wouldn’t be able to remember the sights and the sounds and the feeling of it later on. I was distracted by my fear of forgetting the details. This fear was only heightened when they failed to mention the name of the song, and I thought maybe it was un-released or something pretentious and annoying like that. Well. I found the song today, on their newest album, and it is perfectly titled “I’ll Remember For You.” Do I even need to say anything else here? My heart has been touched, people.

Just be present and enjoy the moment you’re living in, I’ll remember for you. It’s comforting. Like eating waffles and watching Boy Meets World. Can you tell I’m 20?

On a different, slightly more promotional note, I would highly recommend listening to Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, whether it’s their collaborative stuff or individual. But especially “I’ll Remember For You.” iTunes. Hit it up.

Best 10: Netflix Edition



Netflix: a beautiful and dangerous thing. So many movies. So many TV shows. So many options, what is one to do? You can waste half of your life just browsing. Well fret not, dear readers, I am here to help you. Without further delay, I proudly present to you my second annual “Best of Netflix” list, now including TV shows and documentaries:

1. An Idiot Abroad

Starring Karl Pilkington, Stephen Merchant, and Ricky Gervais' laugh

Starring Karl Pilkington, Stephen Merchant, and Ricky Gervais’ laugh.

Quick Summary: Karl is cranky and hates adventure – so naturally his friends, Ricky and Stephen, send him to exotic locations around the world to film a documentary travel series. From visiting the “Alright Wall of China” to a village of flatulent snakes in Thailand, Karl remains unimpressed and full of reasons to whine.

Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest series I’ve ever watched. It’s basically two grown men thinking up ways to bully their friend from thousands of miles away, and it is BRILLIANT. No matter what they arrange for him, whether it be dogsledding or climbing Mount Fuji, Karl’s reaction is priceless and usually makes me double over in laughter. It’s inappropriate, ridiculous, occasionally offensive, and his attitude is rotten, but apparently this all makes for phenomenal television. Six million stars for An Idiot Abroad.

2. Helvetica

Starring people who are obsessed with fonts.


Quick Summary: Fascinating interviews with prominent typographers and graphic designers are punctuated by montages of Helvetica-ridden city streets; seriously though, it’s everywhere.

This documentary is proof that any subject can be intriguing if only handled in the right way. It’s not just about the history or ubiquity of the font known as Helvetica, it’s an exploration of the links between culture and design in the past sixty-odd years, and it is really interesting. Type is something so present in our lives everyday, and we hardly ever give it a second thought (with the exception of Comic Sans, because everyone vehemently hates Comic Sans). This documentary will make you think. And it will also make you try to recognize things written in Helvetica wherever you go, which is kind of annoying and kind of fun.

3. Love Actually

Starring every actor in Britain.

Starring every actor in Britain.

Quick Summary: Somehow Hugh Grant has become Prime Minister, and his sister is Emma Thompson, who is married to Alan Rickman, who works with Laura Linney, who falls in love with the real-life version of Aladdin…?

As the cover claims, this actually is the ultimate romantic comedy. Very romantic, very comedy. Who even cares that it’s set during Christmastime, love is not seasonal!

4. Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Starring, who else, Mike Birbiglia

Starring, who else, Mike Birbiglia

Quick Summary: Mike Birbiglia delivers a hilarious and sweet stand-up routine at Seattle’s Intiman Theater (woohoo Seattle).

I feel like usually stand-up comedy is just stand-up comedy. You know, a line of jokes delivered semi-obnoxiously, a comedian strutting around the stage, pulling faces and extracting raucous laughter. Maybe it’s just the subject matter of his performance, but Mike Birbiglia seems different to me. He’s not obnoxious at all, he’s endearing and honest, and his routine flows really well because it’s a story. Good writing, good delivery. GOOD MAN.

5. Say Anything…

Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye.

Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye.

Quick Summary: Classic (maybe the original?) underdog-falling-in-love-with-the-valedictorian story. So very 80’s. So very boombox.

First of all, John Cusack was precious in 1989. Second of all, Cameron Crowe directed this and Jerry Maguire, so two big points for Cameron Crowe. Also, up until this year, I thought “In Your Eyes” was sung by Phil Collins. Speaking of Phil Collins…

6. Tarzan

Starring cartoons.

Starring cartoons.

Quick Summary: A shipwrecked family builds a sweet treehouse (hm, Swiss Family Robinson?), but then a jaguar attacks the parents and the baby is kidnapped and raised by gorillas.

See, I thought every 90’s kid ever had seen this movie, but one of my best friends hadn’t watched it till I made her last summer – so despite it’s popularity, Tarzan still belongs on this list. If I had to pick my favorite Disney movie, this would probably be it. The music alone makes it worth watching. (but it’s also just really good and I love Minnie Driver’s voice)

7. Aerial America

Starring the United States of America.

Starring the United States of America.

Quick Summary: Sweeping aerial footage of the 50 states (although there are only 10 episodes on Netflix) is accompanied by educational commentary.

IT’S NOT AS BORING AS IT SOUNDS. In fact, this is the second time I’ve blogged about this show. If you’re interested in history, or geography, or even just roadtripping around the states, you should watch this. You can sit on your couch and eat a pint of ice cream and not feel bad about it because you’re technically “learning.” One downside to this show: it makes me want to go everywhere, and does not provide me with the means to do so. I guess you take the good with the bad?

8. How to Grow a Band

Starring the band Punch Brothers

Starring the band Punch Brothers.

Quick Summary: Cameras follow Chris Thile and his bandmates around on their first tour together.

I was really excited to see this pop up in my suggestions the other night, because a) I have been listening to this band a lot lately, and b) after watching the Swell Season last week, I am digging the films that document both music and the dynamics between the people playing it. How to Grow a Band showcases some really fantastic musicians, and it explores how they learn to create things together without falling apart. And I don’t mean to trivialize Thile’s talent by choosing to talk about how adorable his crooked teeth are, but really, his crooked teeth are pretty adorable.

9. D2: The Mighty Ducks

Starring Emilio Estevez.

Starring Emilio Estevez.

Quick Summary: The Ducks add a few members and become Team USA, competing in the Goodwill Games in LA – but will they have to sell out in order to win?! Will the Icelandic team kill them in their sleep?!

One of the best parts of babysitting three young boys? Movies like this suddenly resurface. I don’t care what anyone says, D2 is a forgotten classic. I’ll admit I am not a huge Emilio Estevez fangirl, and I don’t really like hockey either, but the kids in these movies are so perfect (comedically and athletically) and who doesn’t love a good team bonding scene? I only watched this a few days ago, so maybe that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about it, but I’m pretty sure this movie is actually gold.

10. Amelie

Starring Audrey Tatou.

Starring Audrey Tatou.

Quick Summary: French people speak French and everything is quirky and magical.

I don’t know why this is #10 on my list – it’s actually one of my favorite movies, ever – but I’m too lazy to switch things around. On a gloomy day, this will totally turn you around. Life is beautiful, people are funny, love is real. It’s overly optimistic and a little fantastical, yes, but we need stuff like this every once in awhile. Especially stuff that’s scored by Yann Tiersen. Anyway. Amelie is timeless and everyone should see it at least once, come on, humor me.