Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beautiful Day: The One that Got Away

"Beautiful Day" always seemed like the song that I wanted so badly to be cliché because it was so easy and cheerful and overplayed, but to this day, no matter when I hear it, I get all wrapped up and happy in the sound. Of course, there's always that stretch of a song that you just kinda fake along the lyrics to and forget that you don't actually know the words, or better yet, create your own. After nearly twenty years of singing along to Bono's phrases, I present to you the dilemma-

(please listen to 2:24, approximately)

Now, this video does prove two things- that U2 loves a good diverse atmosphere in music videos, and that all my creative power was wrong. If you listen, Bono sings, around the 2:24 mark (and these lyrics have been confirmed by the helpful

"see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out"

Unfortunately, this never quite made it into my consciousness. See, I always heard-

"see the chitterfleets glittering the sea, ow"

What is a chitterfleet, you ask? This is the same question I asked for years. After much thinking, I came to believe that the chitterfleet was either a rare fish or exotic bird that sparkled beneath the waves. I mean honestly, Bono has traveled more than most, and so I figured he, of all musicians, deserved a unknown species reference to school us regular citizens on how lovely the world is. In my mind, chitterfleets were endangered, and Bono was out to save them. Clearly his last refrain of "ow" at the end of the phrase meant he felt for this species, that without the chitterfleets the day he was describing might be a little less beautiful. Furthermore, without their glitter and hope of survival, he wouldn't have anything to sing about.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that no, instead of a mythical and magical animal, Bono decided to let us observe tuna. TUNA.

We're talking about the canned concoction that made everyone else turn up their noses at the elementary school lunch table. Is this beautiful, Bono?! I mean, I know Planet Earth in HD makes us all excited to live on this world, but is tuna really the picture you were going for? Are tuna really that majestic? Did Starkist pay you a little somethin'-somethin' under the table to give tuna a new rock and roll image, further saving their company? C'mon! Is tuna swimming around, trying to avoid the canning industry, really that gorgeous? Really, Bono?! YOU COULDN'T GO WITH COLORFUL CORAL? OR STARFISH? OR EVEN THE BEAUTIFUL PATTERN OF WALLPAPER IN MY BATHROOM?!

But, I digress. For whatever reason, Bono went with a common household pantry fish. And maybe he finds beauty in such simplicity. Maybe if we were all to stop being so ridiculous with our metaphors, the world would look a little better. Honestly, I'm in no way denying that each day has the potential to be beautiful and that beauty is everywhere, I'm just sad one beautiful creature is no more. Goodbye Chitterfleets. I know that according to the same song, we don't have you in the world, so we don't need you now, but I will miss singing about you and thinking about what you could have been. Rest in peace, and know that you'll live on in my heart.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

She & Him & I

Things it is not-
1. A tiny guitar made for hobbits (although I plan on developing one)
2. A tiny guitar made for child Hendrix-prodigies
3. A tiny guitar made for Angela from The Office

Things it is-
1. An electric ukulele (they exist!)
2. Full of rockin' possibilities
3. Zooey Deschanel's instrument of choice

While the concept seems only a tiny bit ridiculous (pun intended), my materialistic instincts tell me I need one.....asap. Plugged into a little amp, I could just go to town playing my own concerts for the hallway of my dorm to enjoy and/or knock on the wall about. But seriously, all this springs from last night, when I discovered how great electric ukuleles sound, and rediscovered my girlcrush on Zooey Deschanel.

It was about 40-something degrees, and in Texas terms that equals freezing, especially when it's been gloriously sunny and 70-something the whole rest of the week. The letters "SXSW" have been permeating everyone's lives here in San Marcos. South By Southwest, or SXSW, is a music event not designed for fans, or really for anyone under 21, as the bars featuring bands don't often let you in, but this doesn't seem to stop the determined few who want to hear live music. Also, we're about a half hour away from Austin, and we're all college students itching to do something on any night of the week, specifically one that heralds itself as a "free concert". A few text messages and coordinated plans later, me and my troupe of musical comrades headed up I-35 to experience the last night of South by Southwest for ourselves, after scoping out where the stage that would let us young ones in was. A few opening bands later, She & Him, the little indie-darling duo that we all were ready to dance along with, took the stage. She is Zooey Deschanel, the actress who defines adorable and the girl that stands as a somewhat role model for me and embarassingly so, probably was the reason I cut my bangs and dyed my hair darker. Hey, we all strive to fit in sometimes. Him is M. Ward, another soft-spoken man with a guitar who can cut a solo wonderfully and make a writing a creative album seem easy. They both took the stage, along with backup singers and a little collection of instruments and although shivering and balancing the sound levels as they played, performed a wonderful little array of lyrically witty and lightly picked songs, headlined by Zooey's deliciously imperfect and unique pipes. What can I say? I love the girl, and the love only increased when she brought out said electric ukulele. I knew she played my favorite instrument, but the soprano in her hands made me almost giddy. Needless to say, it was a short set and my short legs meant I only spied the top of her head most of the show, but the woman I find darling strumming the little four strings I occasionally also strum made the night one of wonder and warmth, even if it the actual temperature dropped significantly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

But who's counting?

Almost 6 months.

Blogging, or simply writing in general is funny in the fact that when I haven't written in a while I almost feel this sense of guilt. Not that I've got a captive audience on the edge of their seats waiting to read over my newest paragraph, but I just tend to think that there had to be some phrase describing some event in these past few months that seemed important enough to write down. I often use words to recap my memories, place important events into entries so that I can come back and reminisce, but I have a feeling that I've either been taking pictures to fill that need or I've simply had so much life happening that it would be impossible to express it all in sentence form! For now, I'll say it's a little of both.

I wish I watched the Winter Olympics, or any sports in general so I could be excited and involved in them. I wish my feet were smaller so I could share my future roommates' shoes. I wish I watched more classic films. I wish my hands were steady with a paintbrush and that something I created on canvas matched what was buzzing around in my brain as an idea. I wish I lived closer to home so I could have some of Mama's homemade fajitas and I wish polaroid film wasn't discontinued. I often wish I had an apartment that was pet-friendly so every single time an ASPCA Sara McLachlan commercial came on tv I could not feel as guilty for not rescuing every one-eyed dog on the planet. I wish I learned things like school materials and life lessons just a little faster. However, I don't wish to redo anything that's happened in these short 19 years. I write them down and photograph them, even when they're not pleasant, to grow from them and progress forward. I may not move at the fastest pace, but I've got friends who know me so much that it's scary sometimes, and with them to hold on to both figuratively and literally, I keep on walking. One foot in front of the other, wishes aside, getting to wake up and breathe and go out of my room to experience every other thing I haven't blogged about yet. And yes, despite the years of words and rambles, there's still a whole world out there to find the perfect adjectives to describe.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do I have to go with the cookie analogy?

There are frequent times where my ipod is useless because there's a melody sounding so strongly in my head that headphones seem silly. I get nervous that in the quiet lecture halls someone else can hear the swiftly-moving notes and the swelling crescendos as loudly as I can. I have a problem focusing on important dates in our Constitution's history and Henry James' refined criticisms on modern America's treatment of women as weak figures when I've heard some particularly delicious song earlier that day. I know there's scientific reasons and research of brain patterns to manufacture a reason for why certain sounds seem to stick with you, but I just think it's a little sliver of something bigger than our own existence. I know I can and often do ramble for hours and write pages of words about music and its role in my life but it's just that no matter how much I dissect, I can't quite make sense of why it sticks the way it does. There's seasons where I don't exert myself on music, where nothing seems to sound exciting enough or true enough or shake up my insides but there's always a return back to some harmony and I'm stuck again, hung up on a measure or two for days and lost back in my little iTunes-fueled consciousness.

I finished Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7 yesterday. This is hardly an accomplishment for a resume and yes, simply the title seems to garner some sort of stereotyped notion from various people, but I'm not going to launch into my usual somewhat-sci-fi-enthusiast defense of the show. All I can say is a small thanks to Joss Whedon and everyone else who decided to write/choreograph/produce/clean floors for a show that meant something to me and went beyond the surface to explore so many things that ring true. There's so much to take in from the fact that even on a small budget, despite criticisms and scoffs of it being nothing but a cheesy show about some blonde who carries around a stake, despite snubs from Emmys and the like, a story that is ultimately original and beautiful can make it. I'm done downsizing things that matter- great storytelling is powerful, no matter the medium. And I mean it when I say it- television will never be low brow. Where do we go from here? Not sure yet, but we'll always have Sunnydale.

*also a large "thank you" to Kevin T. Porter, Zackary E. Wilburn, and Jacqueline M. Findley for introducing/sharing in the joy of vampire slaying with me

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marvelously Remastered and Remixed

There are things to do here, things I missed. People to (literally) run into daily. Abandoned roads to drive down and scream at the impending excitement and darkness. Treasure, not always tangible, to find. Love to communicate! Songs to listen to, albums to live in, letters to paint, cars to name after food network celebrities. Videos to make, news to spread, phrases to repeat. Melodies to write! Lyrics to pen! Classes to sit up straight in. Literature to rest between the lines of and not just purchase.
I've missed not having time, not creating. There's an energy here that encourages me to speak up, to ask a million questions, to flail my arms in some white-girl dancing position 24/7.There's a never-ending list things to talk about, conversations that last four hours by a lake to solidify the fact that God's here and he's got me here for a reason. We're certainly not Ivy League in any sense nor out every weekend til the sun comes up, but all of this matters so much and is not filler time. I'm growing up by myself yet still leaning so desperately and heavily on these refined friends-become-family and it's barely been a substantial week. LET'S GO! No seriously, I've met the hands (with these hands) to hold me together so I don't break like I always have, so let's go! Boldly, even!

If last year's soundtrack ended with Win Butler longing to stay, this year begins with a freeing eight-minute-and-thirty-eight-second borrowed solo that makes me kinda dizzy from all the goodness. Too soon? Ask me tomorrow. Cause I mean it- this place of life and love right here is more than enough, but it's all we got. So what's the equation everyday? No waiting, no putting off. Let's steadily keeping going- cause we're bold, we're bold as love.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I've been lazy with writing paragraphs lately, so some lyrics will have to suffice:

I have too much free time.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rod Stewart Song Title Pun Here

My grandmother made chicken soup for our dog shortly after we left the vet and discovered she was in stage three of canine lymphoma.

Her rationale has always been that everyone who is sick deserves, or a step further, NEEDS, chicken soup to help them get better. She ladled it into Maggie's bowl and told her to get well soon. Cancer's an interesting battle in that it makes everyone try every possible option to cure one little part of it, especially when your family member walks on four legs. There are people who sympathize and those who consider her "just a dog" and it doesn't matter much to me either way. Trying to talk about a pet relationship is different- it's not at all like one shared with a person. Hollywood latches onto tons of dog movies and Marley & Me stays on the bestseller list, but even so, trying to show how much the cliched "unconditional love" factors into all of the stories is impossible because it is such a personal bond.

Maggie is constantly playing, drooling, barking, shedding, digging, chewing, yes- all of that- but constantly beside me. She's prone to dreaming out loud, weighing upwards of 70 pounds, nearly breaking leashes and getting a glazed-over-at-bliss look when she's poking her head out of my truck window and her cheeks are flapping in the breeze. She's excited to see and sniff everyone who enters or even gets within two miles of our house but this is only if she decides to get off one of her many beds. I've learned to share my mattress (or rather, surrender 3/4 of it) and spell out "W-A-L-K" instead of saying it. She is my family's first dog after a childhood of cats and we all became suckers from that first day when she worked her puppy charms and also her way into my mom's suburban. We turned into "those people who bring their dog everywhere'- restaurants had to have patios, there were always multiple food bowls and water bottles marked "DOG ONLY" in our cars and Maggie lounged at home, vacationed at the lakehouse and even enrolled at Texas A&M for a few semesters. She is really the third child in the family and very much so the baby, eager to please and more than ready to snuggle up next to anyone who will sit still for two seconds. She is constantly and consistently by our sides 24/7, always has been.

It's hard to elaborate on her state and well-being now. We were given the time to expect in months and her medication has prolonged the number, but every new day is different, good and bad. The cancer has manifested in her eyes so she's not really able to see things anymore and is nervous about running into objects. She takes her time on the stairs now instead of zipping up, two at a time. She is part greyhound but her strength and stamina, even on small walks, is severely reduced. She sleeps a lot more and her breathing is often labored and significantly louder. However, the funny thing is, her tail is working overtime. She hears one movement and she is there, a little slower than before, but constantly bumping your hand with her head, wanting to be petted and excitedly wiggling her whole back end. She's still sitting by her leash every morning and goes to her pillow every night after she hears the television turned off. Cancer is supposed to weaken everything but it hasn't reached her constancy; it hasn't kept her away from always poking her nose quite literally into every part of our lives.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say with this. It's not a plea for sympathy or something I am drawing a "this is the lesson we can all learn" sort-of conclusion from. I can't end this with anything deep or meaningful or bright-sided. Sometimes I think I write things publicly in an aim to be widely read or analyzed but this is not one of those times. No matter how miniscule or ridiculous it may seem to say, the absence of that love and constancy scares me. Or simply, I'll soak up all the time we have now, but you know, I'll miss my dog a whole whole lot.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Your PeopleSoft connection has expired."

My sleep schedule is always off. On the nights where I actually feel exhausted, I end up watching the musical numbers from the Tony's on my Tivo til 2 am then decide to download the entire Hair soundtrack and dance around my entire house to said album. On the nights where I'm still awake and relatively excited about what the evening could hold I usually turn in early, turn my phone off, and bury myself under three blankets and seven pillows- content in my cocoon. I think it's just that the act of sleeping and I have developed a love-hate relationship as of late. I enjoy resting and there's usually not a morning that I wake up genuinely wanting to rise out off my mattress on the first ring of my alarm, but at the same time, sometimes sleep seems like such a waste. There's so much I could be creating or experiencing or discussing or letting out or listening to...right? Why not be proactive and never even go to sleep? Of course, "being proactive" probably involves writing a heart-wrenching novel or feeding the homeless instead of watching old tv shows on dvd or searching for pictures of baby sugar gliders on Google Images.

New goal possibility 1: save the world instead of sleeping!
New goal possibility 2: go to sleep at a normal time.

Today at work we counted down the minutes until the very last second of official registration completely ending. No more system crashes, no more filing, no more checking 200 messages a day, no more matriculating, no more hectic nights of every line being busy and most importantly, no more angry people cursing us out over the phone that it's our fault that they didn't sign up for classes and that their child is still going through emotional trauma from Hurricane Katrina and do they turn left on highway six in front of the James Coney Island? And so, ceremonially, at exactly 5:30 pm, we blared this from the front desk's Dell's little speakers-'s the small victories that count.

p.s. happy 6/9!