Monday, April 25, 2011

Sun and not enough swimming.

Suddenly, walking through the humid night air, it's clear that I'm walking through a mid-growth forest. Suddenly the weather turned and the deciduous trees bloomed into the foreground, and now I walk beneath a low roof of leaves, rather than under the open empire sky.

Today, I tutored Layla out on the dock in the bright sun, and we began and abandoned a story about three geese, and she sounded out words--water, sun, swim--that  I had written on the white board, and we counted and wrote numbers in chalk up to 100, and practiced a few addition and subtraction problems, and I wanted nothing more than to dive into the lake and swim around with all my clothes on. The water looked delicious. The dock isn't even close enough to the water to wet my toes, which is really a shame. But tutoring went relatively well, and afterward I helped Sannah with her fractions homework*, and just hung out and talked for a while. Layla and I started late, partially because I was late (thanks, Hunter) and partially because Sannah and I talked for a while before Layla and I started working. I love them. They're pretty great.

On another note, is it just me, or are there about eight hundred times more inchworms this year than usual? I've always been rather fond of them in the past, but bugs*** seriously lose their charm when they show up en masse.

Tomorrow, hopefully:

Clearing the driveway

Doing laundry

Packing for Lafayette (I leave Wednesday, and probably will not have internet access.)

Picnic at the park with Sara (<3)

Tutoring Layla

Introducing Hunter to the magical world of Talladega Nights

Drenching myself in epsom-salted water in an attempt to get rid of this stupid poison ivy. Why did it have to be on my face? I want to just take a bath in bleach, which is my usual remedy for the stuff. Not baths in it, obviously, but just pouring it over the affected area, or soaking a paper towel in it to accomplish the same thing. I'm not totally insane, no, though I do realize that this is not an option for those with more sensitive skin than mine. This remedy works because poison ivy is highly acidic, and bleach is a very strong base--so it neutralizes the acid. Or that's the explanation I've gotten, at least. The point is that it works. And I'm thinking of showering in it.

*Maybe I'm just a late bloomer, but lately it truly amazes me to realize how much easier math has become as I've gotten older. It isn't that I've practiced any of it, or even looked over it--but suddenly I can see the logic behind so much of it. Suddenly it makes sense, and I can't see why it seemed so difficult before. It's all geometry.**

**I mean this metaphorically. Geometry was the only math that seemed to fit with the structure of my brain when I took it in high school.

***Please note the use of "bugs" rather than "insects," as I am fairly certain that worms of any kind do not technically fall into the "insect" category. Six legs, and all that.

Happy day-after-Easter, loveys.

I haven't really been writing anything lately, except for short little things on my cell phone which are largely about sunsets. Perhaps I'll copy them over here. I haven't decided.

This past weekend though I was in upstate New York visiting my friend Lindsey and my godson (her son) Ian and his twin sister Adrienne, for their birthdays and, incidentally, for Easter. It was tiring and also really good to see them. Also though, it was cold. And when I stepped off the plane tonight into the warm, humid Virginia air, it was almost like a religious experience. And when Jack and I drove home on the interstate with the windows down, and talked the whole time. And when I walked with Miley through the moonless night, under the quietly, constantly rustling leaves of the trees. And when I smelled the wet dirt and the little creek and the hay strewn across someone's lawn. It is emphatically spring, and I love it. I do not ever want to move to the North.

ALRIGHT. Some of the things I wrote on my cell phone notepad:

4/22--This April morning the sun rises like a rocket, drawn up by invisible strings into the low hanging clouds, from the horizon to some unseen place behind the rainswept cloud bank in a matter of minutes. Last evening I watched the spring in the treetops, the sinking sun kissing and melting through the outstretched arms of warm wood, bathing the earth in green light.

4/24--We're flying through the ethereal world between cloud layers, in a perfect palette of muted white and graded blue. Slivers and spots of light from the setting sun spread softly and quietly across the Western horizon.

And tonight (and this I did not put into my phone), we flew near a thunderstorm on our way between LaGuardia and my hometown. Though I know I look like a small child and a person who has never flown before whenever I do this, I love to press my face up against the airplane window and watch the lightning in the clouds. The clouds themselves are rather stunning--sculpted shapes of the darkest possible gray filling the sky above the city, and enormous banks of it piling up in the distance--but in the darkness they have no definition. Each lightning strike looks like a tiny sunrise, and it highlights the hidden depths of the clouds for the smallest instant. It's gorgeous.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I keep forgetting to say--I got a 100% on my Red Cross WSI test! SUCKA WHAT.


This morning I was informed that the red welt-looking spots around my right eye are likely poison ivy, and shortly thereafter I found a seed tick on my stomach.

A few nights ago, while walking Miley, I heard the trees rustling in the night wind. Do you know what that means? Leaves. When I came home, I found two inchworms in my hair.

Last night I and another person sat out on a curb drinking wine (I from my dino sippy cup*) and talking and watching the moon rise until almost 1 am, and the bats were swooping over the spill pond, and we didn't even freeze.

I'm pretty sure that it's spring.

Also: there is nothing like the smell of calamine lotion. It ranks right up there with sunscreen on the "summer smells" list.

*who, it occurred to me last evening, is unnamed. How have I allowed this to happen? I think he may be a Harold. Or a Ferdinand. Or perhaps a Harold Ferdinand, which will prevent me from having to make any decisions on the subject. It has a nice ring to it. Harold Ferdinand.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hey, it's April again.

I guess it's been a few days. Seems like forever. But yes, it's April again.

For days I've been meaning to write about the fabulous sunset I saw on the way to Kelly's house the other evening, but I have felt neither the inclination nor the obligation to put anything down, aside from the initial notes on my cell phone notepad:

The most delicate peach-pink on the softest baby blue, and the whisping clouds in front a dark, pastel lavender. The sky is the only thing that can get away with pastels, if you ask me. A spring sky, post-rain, at gloaming time. Is anything more lovely? And the moon, hanging round and full just above the colored clouds.

I've been taking a WSI class, and I've been trying to coexist with my allergies, and it's just exhausting. The class was Saturday and today, and will run tomorrow and through Wednesday, 7-8 hours each time. I still haven't found the time and motivation to read through the materials, but I'd better before Wednesday, when we're sure to have a test. Red Cross rules rightly state that a person has to score an 80% or above to receive certification, and with the money Camp is paying for this class, I really think I'd better get a certification. So.

I'm enjoying the class though. Just not the fatigue, as much.

Regarding the allergies: I woke up sometime last week with a sinus infection, which has transmuted itself into some sort of dry-and-itchy throated, sleepy, sometimes headachy cough. And my eyes itch and burn.

Sunday, Lorraine and Jr and I responded (for once) to Anna's invitation to join her in dancing at Capital Ale House downtown. It was nice. And I had thought that Lorraine and Anna would hit it off, and they did. Lovely.

I seem to have been practicing self-sabotage on POF. That's probably okay. I've managed to end most email conversations that were going on, some more intentionally than others, and none gracefully. I thought I'd made a friend, back there at the beginning, and maybe I have--but we've hardly spoken in a week or so. It annoys me a bit that a week here is an "omg what's going on" issue, when going a week or more without contacting the vast majority of my friends is barely an issue, if it even rates mention at all. But anyway, I made boundaries and let him cross them, and it dampened my enthusiasm for the relationship. And then today a person I'd thought I might meet asked (or I assume that he'd have termed "send me a picture" as "asking") for a cell phone picture of myself, and I got annoyed and refused, and he got frustrated and hasn't texted since. (This is probably for the best, as I had nearly accidentally double-booked myself for Thursday evening.) It seems to be par for the course for that place to exchange cell phone pictures, but I think it's a stupid game. I don't really have a slew of pictures of myself on my phone, for one thing, but then also, who's to say we'll ever speak again? This is barely even an acquaintance-ship. You do not need to have a picture of me on your phone. And if you're asking because you don't "trust" the pictures I've got posted already, then you're kind of an idiot. One is faked as easily as the other.

That's the second rant I've written on the subject today.

Friday morning, quite early, I fly to Saratoga Springs to see Adrienne and Ian on their birthday. I'll be back Sunday, and Wednesday I'll be leaving for Lafayette, and will return Monday. Friday, or possibly Saturday morning, I'll be driving (or riding along) to Knoxville, to return Sunday. The following Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I'll be participating in a lifeguard training session taught by my friend Art, husband of Camp's director (friend Beth). The weekend after that I'll be house sitting for Sara's family, and do you want to know what's going on the weekend after that?


Friday, April 15, 2011

In its completely raw, unedited form

Because I am tired and lazy and short on time. Here are notes I wrote down two nights or so ago after working outside and driving over the river and walking Miley under the moon, and then never fleshed out. I've put them in chronological order and left the "and" before the robins, because I feel like it.

and the little red-breasted robins, hopping around on the newly turned earth as I worked.

the surreal beauty of the tall, straight, slender trees by the river.

the bare cold fingers of winter and the soft lacy sprays of spring, with the moon shining through.

Here are links from my facebook news feed and from other sources, some of which I have not actually yet read:

Here is a trailer for an indie film on the consequences of a childhood removed from nature. I'm not sure I feel like the trailer is extremely well put together, but I am interested in the concept.

Orange is not the only rhymeless word! This sounds like a good challenge.

Misplaced Mama is one of my favorite blogs. Probably my favorite, actually. I like this, about roots.

This I haven't read yet, but I love linguistics, so I'm planning to when it's not 1:30 am and I'm not late to meet Sara, etc. Evidently analyses show that all languages may have originated in Africa. GO FIGURE. (Given that anthropologists believe that human life originated in Africa, this doesn't seem too shocking. Still interesting though. Or I hope it will be.)

It seems that wolves have been removed from the endangered species list, not because they are no longer endangered, but because people don't like them. AWESOME.

"My Drunk Kitchen" on youtube. So classy.

Starting production on The Hobbit! Best thing of my life!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Never do I ever want a dog. Never ever. You know why? Because they get old, and it's sad. And it's depressing. And they go outside, do not pee, and then come inside and pee all the f over the floor, then walk through it and track it halfway across the house. NEVER.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It hasn't been the greatest day of my life.

Beloved, let us love one another--for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love.

Be ye kind, one to another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another--even as Christ has forgiven you.

I love Sara. I love Anna. I love organizing bookshelves. I don't love holding a boundary and getting bitched out for it. I do love Sara for taking my phone and deleting hurtful text messages and the phone number from whence they came. She's awesome. I do love the fact that I'll be at Camp soon. I do, I do, I do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is love?*

I need to write, I think. I have not been writing.

Sara's home. She and Brian came over tonight to provide moral support while I did my taxes. It was great. It was so great.

Earlier today Kelly came over to talk, and I ended up providing moral support while she talked to her boss and ended up almost certainly quitting her job. She'd planned to do that in person, but it didn't work out that way. It was so great. We went to Carytown to celebrate, had frozen yogurt, walked around. I saw some shoes I've been wanting in a shop window and ran in to try them on--they're so new that there aren't any reviews anywhere online--and they fit pretty well. I may go back for them.

It was great.

Sunday Jack and I came home from Camp, I jumped in the shower, and I ran over to Sara's parents' house so we could all take the "limo" to meet Sara and Brian at the airport. The limo turned out to be more of a party bus, and Ami and I got tipsy on pink sparkling sake on the way to the airport (I essentially never drink, so this soda-sized bottle of the stuff). We hid in the bus to surprise Sara, and when she saw us, she screamed. Group hug. Utterly unflattering pictures. Slightly drunken shopping at Whole Foods. Dinner of sushi and burgers and grilled zucchini back at the house. It was great.

And Camp...Camp was wonderful. It almost always is, when I let it be so. I had a hard time with that "let it be" issue over the weekend--I had a really weird, initially extremely unsettling and upsetting experience with some crazy guy from POF last week, and when I got to Camp it still had me in a heavy, black mood. I had to remind myself a lot to just drop it, but though I needed a lot of reminding, that reminding helped. I had had plans to corner Victoria and vent about this guy, and she was interested in the story, but she'd brought friends with her and felt the need to play hostess, and I didn't know what to say anyway. I was exhausted on several levels, and I guess I sulked for a while, but eventually I let go of my plans (always a good option) and hung out with Liz in the kitchen, talked to Jim on the swings, took a nap and saved this note to myself in my phone:

Here is where I am. Drop everything else. Here is where I am: alone and peaceful
in a warm, dry bed
in a safe place
surrounded by friends
and love
listening to the soft rain and distant thunder
retreating for a nap before supper.
Alone and warm and beautifully sleepy, in a wholly beautiful place. 
That is all that matters.

That morning a group of us had gone caving. I had nearly backed out, but went anyway because another driver was needed. Jack went. The new people loved it. It was a very short trip, but it was good. That night we had a staff meeting to talk about programmatic changes, mainly to the patch and CiT voting systems. It was a really good meeting. And afterward, Charity and I talked to Beth about our roles as lead counselors. We talked about tithing to Camp and using the money to create a lead counselor slush fund. I'm really looking forward to it.

A game of pictionary was pulled together, using prompter cards from the 80's. A game of double Jenga was loudly taking place a few tables away, and later, an even louder game of mangy cat, which I and a few other pictionary players joined after our game wrapped up. It was really, really great.

*(Baby don't hurt me...)

Luckily, you'll probably read the more recent entry before reading this.

What was that I was saying a while ago, about how whatever goes up must come down?

That's a depressing sentiment.

This past weekend was wonderful. It was really, indescribably great, in so many ways. Saturday night I went to bed so happy that I couldn't fall asleep. On the drive home I was just basking in the beauty of the weekend, and working so hard to hold onto it that I didn't take my phone off of airplane mode until Charlottesville.

I had gone in in a terrible mood. I had had an experience with a guy I didn't really know that left me feeling disillusioned and used. Saying that makes it sound much worse than it was--it's not like anything drastic happened. I just met someone who seemed cool until it became apparent that I was only interesting for my looks and for the possibilities I might present as an object. I have never felt so used, and looking back, I think it hurt me more deeply even than I've consciously realized. I am not even really sure that he realized what a jerk he was being (though, of course, he may have been completely aware), but throughout the weekend I needed to almost constantly remind myself to let it go; remind myself that I was in my favorite place in the world, that I was surrounded by friends and love, and that that was what mattered.

This is a song that I had heard, loved, and forgotten. I remembered it, found it, and bought it last night. Woodie Guthrie wrote the words and never put them to music, so after his death, Nora Guthrie (Woodie's daughter) asked Ellis Paul to put the lyrics to music. God's Promise.

(I didn't ever finish this entry--just wrote a bit and abandoned it. Don't remember what else I had in mind to say.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

A smorgasbord

Have you seen that Direct TV commercial ("Opulence. I has it.")? The one with the miniature giraffe? Oh, excuse me: the petite lap giraffe. This is ridiculous.

I really have a thing for Star Wars. Possibly I haven't mentioned this, as I haven't been actively obsessive about it in a very long time, but my deep affection remains. And no, no, I do not mean episodes I-III. Those really hardly count as being part of the Star Wars canon. Anyway, I saw these bookends somewhere the other day, and I want them. I want them so bad. Unfortunately, I can't really afford to spend $200 on them. $200 bookends! WTF? They're extremely well-rendered though, so I guess I can sort of understand. And I love the idea of taking a scene from A New Hope where the characters are actually pushing against the walls and transforming it into bookends where they're pushing against the books. The timeline is slightly off, but I will accept this, as messing up the timeline allowed them to include the swamp monster thing (I actually used to know what this was called--that's how obsessed I was--but I've forgotten. Probably it's for the best) and Luke being thrown around by it.

You may have noticed that I've been kind of into Ok Go lately. I mean, more so than usual. Here is the link to their appearances in the NPR archives.

Speaking of Ok Go, there's a song on their album that I didn't really notice the first few times through. It's called "Needing/Getting," and it's awesome. If it had existed when David and I broke up (or at least, if I had been aware of its existence), it would have pretty much been the anthem of my life. Have a listen:

And here are the lyrics, if you're interested:

I've been waiting for months, waiting for years, waiting for you to change*.
Oh, well there ain't much that's dumber, there ain't much that's dumber
than pinning your hopes on change in another.

Oh, yeah I still need you--but what good's that gonna do?
Needing is one thing, but getting? Getting's another.

So I've been sitting around, wasting my time, wondering what you've been doing,
oh it ain't real forgiving, it ain't real forgiving
sitting here picturing someone else living.

And oh, yeah I still need you. But what good's that gonna do?
Needing is one thing, and getting, getting's another.

I've been hoping for months, hoping for years, hoping I might forget.
Oh but it don't get much dumber, it don't get much dumber
than trying to forget a girl when you love her!

And oh, yeah I still need you--but what good's that gonna do?
Oh needing is one thing, and getting
getting's another.

Other things:

Yesterday I was told that I "work like a Jamaican." I don't, really, but it was amusing to hear. I kept remembering that phrase today while I was standing outside pressure washing a tool shed. It's rather wet work, especially when the jet of water hits a corner in the woodwork and throws everything back onto you. It's like standing in your own little private rainstorm. On the upside, rainbows.

Speaking of water jets, Jr and I were driving down my street yesterday, and there was a sprinkler on! A sprinkler! (I just typed "sprinklet" by accident. I like it.)

Something I've been trying to figure out and put into words lately: maybe these aren't warring sides in every person, but they are warring sides in me: stoicism and hedonism/epicurism**. These aren't quite a dichotomy, but that doesn't mean they can't fight. For me, stoicism almost always wins. It's not that my actions are never decided by my hedonistic/epicurean side, but that's in the moment. Hedonism, or my brand anyway, is all in the moment, and in the long run, it doesn't make me happy. Stoicism is long-term: it keeps on walking after hedonism lies down to take a nap--and that's when it turns around, looks at what the hedonist has done, and passes judgment. So. Yeah.


1. One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.
2. Stoic A member of an originally Greek school of philosophy, founded by Zeno about 308 b.c., believing that God determined everything for the best and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Its later Roman form advocated the calm acceptance of all occurrences as the unavoidable result of divine will or of the natural order.

1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good.

         1. Devoted to the pursuit of sensual pleasure, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort.

*Just to be fair and to be clear, I wasn't just waiting around for David to change. We both needed to change. Things in general needed to change--but they didn't. Or not in the way that we (or I) might have hoped. But they're pretty good now. Things are pretty good.

**I usually work so hard to avoid putting two colons in one sentence. Sometimes though, I just don't feel like rewording the whole thing for the sake of pet peeves. I'm not actually even sure that that's technically incorrect, but it feels like it would be.

***Please forgive the fact that these are different parts of speech. Probably you aren't as much of a perfectionist as I am and didn't even notice, but it's killing me. I'm leaving it because the definition of "stoic" on this particular website is better than the definition of "stoicism."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

This post made from 85% post-consumer recycled material.

It's spring, it's spring, it's SPRING, and the staff retreat starts tomorrow. I mean, two days from now in my mind, but technically tomorrow.

Speaking of which, have I mentioned this? The fact that I have many strengths, but that regular sleep is not among them.

Back to the beginning: the staff retreat. It makes me so happy to think about it. I am so looking forward to being there, and for so many reasons. I'll be taking a break from work, I'll be taking a break from everything that is my life in Richmond, I'll be seeing so many people I love and living in a place that is, in so many ways, the home of my heart. I can't begin to explain the logic or the depth or breadth of my love for the place. The air is different. The tone is different. Obviously people are still people there--people still do stupid things, people still have the same personality flaws that they have anywhere else--but still, somehow, sometimes it feels like wings begin to sprout from my shoulder blades when I step into the car to leave for camp, and when I step out into that gravel driveway and I hear the sound of the creek and see the trees stretching up around me, they unfurl. When I think about being there this coming weekend, I literally feel as though I've been breathing stale air, or like I've been holding my breath. I literally look forward to being able to breathe this weekend. That's all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rodents and emails

I rescued a squirrel today. Its name was Tony. I have decided.

(I walked out the door to go to work, and heard Faith behind me as I approached the car. She was trotting across the porch with a live squirrel in her mouth. This is because she figured out a long time ago that we didn't like her bringing dead animals into the house all the time, so she started bringing live ones instead. She put it down and I put her inside, then picked the poor thing up. I was afraid she'd broken its spine, though I couldn't see any blood, but I put it down on one of the cushions on the porch swing and it lay there wide-eyed and motionless except for its panicked gasping. I was afraid that it would die of shock, if not internal injuries, but it was gone when I came back home. I'm hoping that it recovered and scampered off.)

Man when I'm on this POF website, there are a handful of cool people it seems like, but mostly I just want to send people obnoxious snarky emails. And I mean that's fun, but then sometimes they email back when really I just wanted to say that one thing...

Aaaand I'm a jerk.

Or anyway, sometimes they DON'T email back when I was actually making a possibly not-that-humorous attempt at conversation. So I guess it all works out.

I really felt like I had more to say than that, but I guess maybe I didn't. POSSIBLY I'M JUST BORED OUT OF MY MIND.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Regarding my standards:

Firstly, let me say that yogurt plus granola plus banana slices equals a culinary masterpiece. This almost counts as "cooking" for me. Isn't that sad?

Secondly, Miley-the-drama-queen was itching for a walk at 1:30 after I took her at 9:30, so in order to tide her over until her 4pm walk, I took her up the street to the pond. The reason any of this is worthy of note is that there were frog eggs in the water. Pretty awesome. They weren't placed extremely well--clumped around a random stick that was/is stuck into the muck* at the bottom--but still. Awesome. Miley splashed past it and disturbed a frog, actually. I don't think that amphibians particularly guard their eggs, so maybe it was just a random little guy/girl hanging around, but still. Cool.

EDIT: My BestBuy stuff came in the mail! NEW CDS FTW. I haven't bought an album in ages, so it's pretty exciting. It's pretty exciting especially because of the new OkGo cd chillin in the mailer envelope. Want to know what's in the liner notes? Graphs. They did an analysis of the cd and another of the book after which it is named, and presented graphs on comparative sentence length, syllables, parts of speech, and words in common, in that order. From a latter page of the notes:

"The diagrams on pages 2-7 compare the album's lyrics to an excerpt of the book it is named after, General A.J. Pleasonton's The Influence of the Blue Ray of the Sunlight and of the Blue Color of the Sky, published in 1876 by Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, Philadelphia. The graphs on page 8 compare the lyrics with the entirety of Pleasonton's text."

Have I mentioned that this band is great?

Even more intense:

"The front cover displays themes common to the book and the album. Each line represents a sentence, with the album's lyrics (not including the bonus tracks) fanning to the left and the text of the book fanning to the right. Each theme is represented by a color. For sentences dealing with multiple themes, the colors are added together as light is...such that each theme's color both lightens and tints the resultant line."

1. Unfounded or Wildly Broad Claims
2. Wonderment
3. Causality/Unavoidable Consequences/ Compelled Behavior
4. Reference to an Individual, or Direct Address to/from One
5. Anecdotal or Expository Context
6. Figuring It All Out
7. Unanswerable/Impossible/Rhetorical Questions
8.  Light/Optics/Color
9. Fire/Combustion/Chemical/Physical Reactions
10. Attraction/Repulsion
11. Things That, in Retrospect, Proved to be Wrong
12. Plants and Animals/Animal Behavior
13. The Sky or Things Falling From It [As I typed this, I heard "and now the sky is falling" play through my speakers. Ha.]
14. Women
15. Optimism/Hope
16. Dissatisfaction
17. Bodies/Body Parts/Bodily Function
18. God/Faith
19. Corruscation
20. Death
21. Magic
22. Global Mechanics
23. Confusion/Curiosity
24. Pride
25. Prescriptions for a Better World

Theme visualization:

*That "stick stuck muck" thing was entirely unintentional. I just couldn't find a more satisfactory way to word it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Early spring softness

The night air is so gorgeous this evening--soft and warm. It makes me want to sleep outside. I considered doing so for a moment, but it is important to remember that as warm as 50 degrees might feel while you're walking a dog, try to sleep outside in 50 degree weather and it's suddenly cold as anything. In early summer in the mountains it gets down to the lower fifties at night, or upper forties if we're really unlucky, and I end up supplementing my blankets with sweats and socks and longjohns and a hat. It's really flippin cold.

But anyway my point is that it's a beautiful night. Summer is coming.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The art of navel gazing.

I'm a pusher.

Am I an introvert? I've always said yes, and in a way I believe that I am--but I tend to fall so squarely on the line that I can't really be completely sure. Somehow that's an odd feeling.

I'm about 98% positive that a dating website is not the thing for me. So why am I still there? Maybe it's a way to kill time. You know, because I need more help killing time in the middle of the night. Clearly screwing around online is a better idea than sleeping at 3 am.

Ok so I'm reading this article from Psychology Today on introversion (almost an obsession lately--I know, weird), and OMG look at this:

"In a series of studies in which subjects were presented with an effortful task such as taking a test, thinking rationally, or giving a speech, introverts did not choose to invoke happy feelings, reports Boston College psychologist Maya Tamir. They preferred to maintain a neutral emotional state. Happiness, an arousing emotion, may be distracting for introverts during tasks. By contrast, extraverts reported a preference to feel "happy," "up," or "enthusiastic" and to recall happy memories while approaching or completing the tasks."

It's me. It's me. I hate emotion when I'm trying to think. Or focus. Or relax. I pretty much just hate emotion. Imean, it has its place. I know it does. But that's a thing I need to keep telling myself, or I'll forget. 

(Don't know what's up with the font sizes. Sorry about that.)

"Even a simple opener of "Hello, how are you? Hey, I've been meaning to talk to you about X," from anyone can challenge an introvert. Rather than bypassing the first question or interrupting the flow to answer it, the introvert holds onto the question: Hmm, how am I? (An internal dialogue begins, in which the introvert "hears" herself talking internally as the other person speaks.)
Even if the introvert responds, "I'm good," she's probably still reflecting on how she is: Good? That's not quite right. I really have had a pretty crummy day, but there isn't a quick way to explain that. She wants to first work out privately her thoughts and judgment about the day. She also may evaluate the question itself: I hate that we so often just say 'good' because that's the convention. The other person doesn't really want to know. She may even activate memories of how the question has struck her in the past.
While the introvert is evaluating the question on at least two levels (how she is feeling and what she thinks about the question, perhaps also what this says about our society), the speaker is already moving on to sharing something about his day. The introvert must take the incoming message from the speaker and tuck it into working memory until she can get to it, while more information keeps flowing in that demands tracking, sorting, searching, and critical analysis."

For me at least, I'd say that calling "hey, how are you, I've been meaning to tell you [x]" a "challenge" is a little strong, but it can be an irritation. My brain really will run straight off track just like that. Actually, the thing about "good" just being the convention might as well be a direct quote. Original, right? I know. The best part of all this is that I'm not naturally an auditory learner, so that "tuck it away for later" thing doesn't work well for me. I try automatically, but it doesn't so much work out. I've been working on the auditory processing thing, and it's improving, but it takes a lot of focus.
Anyway though, here's the article: "Revenge of the Introvert." It's a little long, but pretty good and very informative. I especially like the "things never to say to an introvert" section at the very end.

This is a place holder.

So there is intentionally not much here. However, here are two old entries of mine that I particularly like from 2010:

It makes no sense.

Why do I have such an aversion to bedtime?

You know, if we hadn't effectively ruined natural selection, I'd be an evolutionary dead end. THANKS, SCIENCE.

I still love you, Rams.

VCU lost. I am disappointed, but it happens. I feel bad for them.

Today I woke up late (again) and took a shower and went shopping with Kelly and Maggie. This was all Kelly's idea ("Kelly, wasn't this your idea? Why are we shopping?" "There are sales."), but I'm pretty sure she didn't buy a thing. Maggie and I did the talk-through-the-dressing-room-wall thing--who designs this stuff? Why in the world would there be a zipper there? God, I love this shirt. Who would pay $25 for this? I hate money. This is the best dress ever--while Kelly wandered. I spent too much money today, but that was partially because I had to fill my tank, and that cost right about $70. Great.

An aside: this cat has been trying to muscle her way into my lap for about 45 minutes. I mean she really has been trying hard. She left a few minutes ago, I let my guard down, and BAM. Here she is smearing cat hair all over my new clothes. Thanks, Faith. Thanks. I love you too.

Eventually I kept my promise to my friend Joe to visit him and bring iced cream. I assumed he'd want the iced cream because he's just gotten his wisdom teeth out, but he's actually feeling pretty okay. So that's good. He lives about 40 minutes away, which was a little intimidating (aka "which sounded like a lot of work"), but it was a nice drive. I was evidently feeling a little pensive on the way home, and I made up a song. I have never, ever, ever done this before. It's not like there are a lot of lyrics, but I made up a song. I sang it into my camera so I wouldn't forget it, and I thought about posting it here, but what with my fatigue, and my focusing on driving more than singing, and the road noise and so on, the sound isn't all that great. Maybe another time. This type of thing embarrasses me. And I'm aware that it isn't particularly awesome or original, but I was just driving home and suddenly decided to sing it. And that felt sort of cool. So it goes,

You are there.
You are always there when I call your name,
You are always there when I call.
You are always there when I call your name
You are always there when I fall.

And when I run,
and when I'm run down,
and when I run around,
you are there.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ok Go (reflections on college idiocy)

The night that I met Ok Go and didn't even realize how GDMFing awesome they were will forever live on in my memory in awesomeness and infamy. I had only heard one song, and only because Zach had put it on a mix cd for me, and I harassed him until he answered my "who the hell are these guys? So awesome!" questions. It was this one:

And then they came to play at our school. For free. And after some deliberation, and some assurance from my music source that they were good, I went. And they were awesome, I'm sure, but concerts are always better when you know more than one song. And at the end, when we cheered them back onstage for an encore, they said, "You know, bands always sound much better on cd than they do live, so we're just going to play a song from our new cd for you." And we thought,

Surely, they must be joking. Then a cd was placed into a boom box on the stage.

A joke, right?

They all lined up, pushed play, and stood still. We're almost on the verge of booing at this point. But then!

The A Million Ways dance. No one had seen this before. The video hadn't been released yet, as far as I know. And it was awesome.

And they came and hung out for a while afterward, and they were great. And so patient with an obnoxious freshman (sophomore?) like me who obviously knew nothing about them, didn't even know that they had a new member, bought the old cd and asked the new guy to sign it. Several of us took a picture with Damien Kulash with Megs' camera. I never even saw the picture. I could die. I spoke to Tim Norwind and had no idea that he was hilarious. I spoke to Dan Konopka and didn't know he was great. I made Andy Ross sign his name on Andy Duncan's album page. I'm an idiot. I guess these things happen, but it's a little painful to think about.

But anyway, I love them now, and that's the best I can do. Not in an "I know everything about every one of them and I dream about them at night" sort of way (actually, I had to get most of their names from Wikipedia just now), but in an "I think you guys are great. Your videos are great. Your music is great. I love the way you left your label so you could do what you wanted. If you ever decide to stop making music I am going to be quite sad" sort of way. And do you know what else I love about them? I love that they don't play into the "we're famous and sexy" BS that goes on in the world of music. I love that you get to see all of their faces in their videos. It's not "Damien and band"--it's Ok Go. And they're not demigods--they're guys from Chicago who make great songs and great videos.

For reference, the first video above, "Get Over It," is great in a pop rock, "our lead singer is hot" kind of way, and it does have a little bit of OkGo flair in the insertion of things like a random bale of hay and a few seconds of ping pong, but it's bland. I still like it, but it's really bland. By contrast, here is one of their more recent music videos:

Thoughts? They're so odd and so awesome, and I'm more in love with the music from "The Blue Color Of The Sky" all the time. It's in the mail right now, on its way into my very own loving hands and cd player. (And it's all because of you and your Best Buy Rewards Certificate, Sara. What would I do without you? I don't deserve your friendship, I'm pretty sure...)

From Today:

Anna is awesome. Duh.

I hung out with David for a short amount of time and didn't even get upset or anything. Win.

Volunteer work never sounds good to me at all, but I love helping out at the RBA, often even if I'm helping with things I don't even like to do. Today I spent several hours trying to get in touch with campers who came last year but haven't sent in their registration forms this year. Some had moved. A lot had disconnected numbers. A lot of the numbers I called had answering machines that didn't give their name. It was pretty awesome though, every time I could get somebody on the phone. And I had a good time.

I tutored Jacob tonight, probably for the last time, and afterward taught him to make origami frogs (and taught his mom and sister to make 3D paper stars) as a going-away gift. He's a good kid. They're a nice family.

I went to Kelly's after work and we watched Wipeout, which is along the same lines as, or is sort of a cross between, MXC and that one gladiator (?) show with the super hardcore obstacle courses. What's it called again? Anyway, Wipeout was awesome. All those shows are awesome.

Rock music: I love it. And I need to fix my OkGo cd. I've tried to be nice to it, but six years is a long lifespan for a disc. I sometimes have a hard time understanding why everyone doesn't love OkGo, or Everclear, or Ambulance LTD. I just don't get it.

Thanks to my friend Zach Bowman for accidentally introducing me to Ambulance LTD by raising the idea of going to see The Killers at the NorVa in...2006? There are quite a few things I owe to Zach Bowman, actually: for one, he introduced me to OkGo as well. THANK YOU ZACH.