Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Fuck grammar, I love you."

This is the e.e. cummings poem that started my love of e.e. cummings. I like it because I think he's basically saying, "Fuck grammar, I love you."

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for eachother: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

- e.e. cummings

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Picture Day!

                                                                  Morton Koldby

Happy American Thanksgiving, to those who celebrate it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is hanging in my dining room, which means that I read it everyday while eating dinner. Aside from avoiding loud people (many people I love are loud people), and distressing myself with imaginings (a favorite pass time), this is generally how I try to be.

Monday, November 21, 2011

variety in the pizza model doesn’t come with judgment

2. My dad. I visited my folks for a bit over the weekend, and when I got in my car on Sunday to come home I found that my dad had filled up the tank, put quarters in the ash tray, and stashed two bottles of Welch's grape juice in the trunk.

3. This NY Times Magazine article on positive sex ed. My favorite bit is when the teacher challenges our habit of talking about sex like a baseball game:

"Vernacchio explained that sex as baseball implies that it’s a game; that one party is the aggressor (almost always the boy), while the other is defending herself; that there is a strict order of play, and you can’t stop until you finish. “If you’re playing baseball,” he elaborated, “you can’t just say, ‘I’m really happy at second base.’ ”

He later suggests a pizza metaphor, which I intend to use for the rest of my life: 

 “So let’s think about pizza,” Vernacchio said to his students after they’d deconstructed baseball. The class for that day was just about over. “Why do you have pizza?”
“You’re hungry,” a cross-country runner said.
“Because you want to,” Vernacchio affirmed. “It starts with desire, an internal sense — not an external ‘I got a game today, I have to do it.’ And wouldn’t it be great if our sexual activity started with a real sense of wanting, whether your desire is for intimacy, pleasure or orgasms. . . . And you can be hungry for pizza and still decide, No thanks, I’m dieting. It’s not the healthiest thing for me now.
“If you’re gonna have pizza with someone else, what do you have to do?” he continued. “You gotta talk about what you want. Even if you’re going to have the same pizza you always have, you say, ‘We getting the usual?’ Just a check in. And square, round, thick, thin, stuffed crust, pepperoni, stromboli, pineapple — none of those are wrong; variety in the pizza model doesn’t come with judgment,” Vernacchio hurried on. “So ideally when the pizza arrives, it smells good, looks good, it’s mouthwatering. Wouldn’t it be great if we had that kind of anticipation before sexual activity, if it stimulated all our senses, not just our genitals but this whole-body experience.” By this time, he was really moving fast; he’d had to cram his pizza metaphor into the last five minutes. “And what’s the goal of eating pizza? To be full, to be satisfied. That might be different for different people; it might be different for you on different occasions. Nobody’s like ‘You failed, you didn’t eat the whole pizza.’
“So again, what if our goal, quote, unquote, wasn’t necessarily to finish the bases?” The students were gathering their papers, preparing to go. “What if it just was, ‘Wow, I feel like I had enough. That was really good.’ ”

4. Beardfolio! Portraits taken by artist Matt Rainwaters at the World Beard and Mustache Championships. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Music Music

One of my favorite things is when I hear a new song and immediately know that I'm going to listen to it so many times that I'll get sick of it. It's the best! Finding new music is one of my most time-consuming and enjoyable pastimes.
Here are some of my music finding secrets:
1) Listen!
TV commercials, movie previews, television shows, the radio, music your friends play on road trips. All great sources of music. I try to remember a few lines of the lyrics, then google it when I get the chance to find out who sings it. I also pay attention when people post songs on facebook.
Along with this secret come two of my music rules: don't be ashamed, and don't be a jerk. There's nothing wrong with finding out about a band through a car commercial. Music is meant to be enjoyed, you're enjoying it, and that's that. Likewise, if you knew a band and loved them and then you hear them on a TV show, repress the urge to say "I knew this band before they got played on Grey's Anatomy." It doesn't make anyone like you better, and it doesn't make you actually enjoy that song anymore either.
2) Last.fm.
Last.fm is a music website that creates a profile of the music you listen to, and can then give you recommendations based on the music you already know and like. You can also see what your friends are listening to, or make new friends from all around the world who have similar musical taste. Lastfm also has a radio player, similar to Pandora, and lists shows for bands you like playing in your area.
3) KEXP song of the day.
I'm subscribed to their podcast, so I get a new song everyday. It's free, and legal! A big plus about this is that the songs are from new records, so sometimes you get them before the album has been released. To convert a podcast file into a music file on itunes, select the song, then go to File > Get Info > Options > Media Kind. Select: music file. Also uncheck "remember playback position" and "skip when shuffling."
4) We Are Hunted
An online music chart / radio site. You can make your own chart with music you like. This site is based on what people are listening to, so it's not necessarily new music (many of the songs in the "folk" genre were released a year or more ago),  but it's still good for finding music that is new to you.

Other ways to listen to music online: Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify

And with that, here are some songs/bands that I've been excited about recently:
- Concerning Past & Future Conquests and Dig Down Deep by Vandaveer
- Pilgriming Vine and Heart of My Own by Basia Bulat
- Love Love Love by Of Monsters and Men
- Same Mistake - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
- Knees and Clothes, Friends, Photos by Peter and Kerry
Okay I just got overwhelmed at the amount of music that I want to share. You can listen to my playlist of "new" music (as in new to me, not necessarily new in the sense of recently released) on spotify here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jade plants require little upkeep

1. My plant, Teacake Rochester, which I got for free on a street corner, is growing! One day he will be a jade shrub!
My pride and joy. See those little leaves? Those are new!
2. This weekend I made this cake. It was okay, I'll be changing some things if I make it again. One thing is that I will not use a cake pan with a removable bottom. Oh the dripping of melted caramel into the bottom of my friends' oven, oh the smoke, oh the relentless fire alarm. The best was that my friends were still totally game to immediately try it again.

3. The Adele Moment that Articulates Everything in Your Soul

4. Remember last week when I posted about this awesome mural on the side of an auto shop? On Sunday I saw another mural evidently by the same artist on the side of the parking garage on Clinton. Today I found out who's doing them! Well, kind of:

His mural on Clinton:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music, Art, Food (Things I Like in a Nutshell)

1. Ella Fitzgerald. Been listenin' to her all day. 'Cole Porter's Song Book,' is a particularly enjoyable album.
(Although I don't want to endorse the romanticizing of the "so taunt me, and hurt me, deceive me, desert me - I'm yours till I die" mentality of the above song, it's still super beautiful. And listen to Ella's range! Gosh.)

2. Artwork by GĂ©rard Stricher. I wish I could articulate why these paintings transcend a bunch of colors on a canvas, but I can't. Just look at them.
"La Fuite en Egypte"
3. Looking forward to the lunch I have packed for myself all morning. Today I have potato leek soup, good bread, and roasted beets and carrots. I made the soup on Tuesday. The recipe called for bacon, white wine, and heavy cream. That's a lot of money right there. So I chose one of the three: bacon. I haven't cooked meat in almost two years (between living with vegetarians, trying to cook cheaply, and trying to eat locally/organically, it just doesn't make a lot of sense), so I decided that if I was going to buy bacon, I was going to use it. So I did. Not all of it, but three more strips than the recipe called for. Delicious.
(Note: I've easily made the above recipe vegan/vegetarian before, substituting soy milk for cream, earth balance for butter, skipping the bacon altogether, and it was still tasty). 

It's come to my attention that not everyone knows how to roast veggies. Roasted veggies are, in my opinion, the most delicious veggies, and are easy to make. The only vegetable I've found to not roast well are greenbeans. Don't go there.
Here is a basic guide to roasting veggies. You can google for specific vegetable types. Once you get some experience roasting, you'll know what speed different vegetables roast at - when roasting a variety of vegetables I try to put them in different pans according to how long they'll take (beets and potatoes together, carrots and broccoli, etc). I like my veggies with a little bit of black on them. My mom says blackened food contains carcinogens, I say bring it - I probably take in more carcinogens walking down a busy street than eating these tasty tasty beets. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good Songs Good Claps

This is how I feel.
 It's been quite a project, but I fairly happy with this, the Good Songs Good Claps mix. It's gotten to the point where I awaken in the night remembering a song with clapping, and spend far too much time in the car hunched over with my ear to the stereo, saying "was that clapping? There's clapping in this song!" It is time to lay this project to rest. My one regret is that I do not have a flamenco or Spanish song on the mix. I tried.

Here is the track list of the abridged mix (CD length). There was a lot of angst in editing the list, sacrifices were made.

You have multiple options for listening to this mix. You can download it here (but note that it's not in the right order, the order that I painstakingly crafted).
You can listen to it on Spotify here. (This is my first time using Spotify, so if it doesn't work, please let me know).
A big thanks to everyone who suggested songs for the list. If your suggestions didn't get onto the mix, I'm sorry! It may be that I couldn't find where to download the song, or that they are on the extended list, which I plan to keep adding to throughout my life. If you would like to listen to the extended list, you can do so here on Spotify.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sliced Bread

1) On Friday I had one of the best trips to the grocery store ever.
- An elderly man told his wife to sit on the front of his small shopping cart, which she did. I overheard her say "How far are we going?" and he said "Wherever you want to go!"
- Free cheese samples.
- Two small brothers walking after their mom with their arms around each other.
- Free beer samples, and the woman distributing them told me that there are actually fewer calories in Guinness than most other beers.

2) This awesome new mural on the side of an auto shop on Seneca.

3) Jimmy Kimmel asked his viewers to tell their kids they'd eaten all of their Halloween candy. You can see a combination of all of the videos here, but I think this is the best one by far:


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poetry Post!

Dirge Without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

2. From what I've seen, Haiku For the Single Girl is not quite what I'd expect (things about single women are usually self-deprecating and trite, and although these poems have a little of that, they have a little of something else too).

This has been one of my favorite poems for nearly ten years. It was originally written in spanish, and it's the most beautiful that way. For those of you who are able, you can read the original here. Below is my favorite translation. 

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She wil be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last lines I write for her.

- Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Post!

Halloween! Here are some Halloween things that I enjoyed this year:

1. On Sunday night I attended a haunted tour led by my 12 year old housemate and her friend. It included an overhead assault, creepy music, and hilarity.

2. Yesterday I dressed Baby up as an apple and went for a walk. The high school's girl cross country team ran by in full costume, their reaction to Baby was so high pitched that I think only the local dogs could really hear it.

3. Last night I drove around like a creeper looking at kids' costumes. My favorite was a homemade carrot costume.

4. After stalking small children, I went home, drank ginger beer, watched halloween Buffy episodes, and made art. It was a pretty great evening.

5. Halloween photography from Brooklyn by Joey L. who stopped people on the street to take pictures of their costumes.

5. Halloween in Harlem photography by Amy Stein.

6. Halloween or Williamsburg. Hilarious. And the captions are also fantastic.