30 May 2007

four years ago when i started my phd program, i couldn't listen to music and work. anything other than classical music distracted me. it got in my head. made me want to listen to the words, which kept me from capturing the words i was reading. its beat became an incessant, demanding irritant that made it nearly impossible to concentrate.

and now--now i can't imagine working without music. i'm sitting in the library grading papers right now. listening to the brazilian girls. and as i was typing a comment on the last paper i graded, i realized i was typing in time to the music. which made me realize the extent to which music has infiltrated my life. it's rhythms and language and energy coloring my world in ways music never has before. i'll never know it the way some of my friends do. i'll always carry with me the near-silence of my childhood and teen years (no television til i was 14; no real radio listening til i was 16). but that silence shapes and informs my listening as much as my friends' knowledge shapes theirs, and not just in negative ways.

thanks go to my friends (you know who you are) who have pushed me (gently and sometimes not so gently) towards infusing my life with music. i find myself dancing often. sometimes just inside. sometimes literally. and the old men in the library can look at me funny all they want as i do so, sitting in my chair bopping to the music while i work. at least i'm not giving in to the compulsion to sing out loud...
tonight, while at the greek theater for the arcade fire concert (second time in about a month), i was looking around at the trees and the people and the sky and i was struck by the magic of people coming together for no reason other than to celebrate life through music. outdoor concerts do that to me. one time some friends and i went to a concert in central park. and as we walked away from the park afterwards, i felt awed by the community i had just experienced. thousands of people brought together by the beauty of a summer night and the brilliance of human creativity. and tonight, for a moment, i experienced that awe again.

the concert tonight wasn't quite what last month's concert in san diego was. according to seymour, you only get a spectacular show when you have a great band, a special venue, a fantastic audience, and a little something extra. and we definitely had that in san diego. tonight's crowd was a bit lackluster. and the sound wasn't loud enough (in large part due to the outdoor venue, i'm sure). but i still felt that magic of people celebrating life through music. and when regine sang 'in the backseat,' it took me back to that gorgeous night in england when i sat in the backseat of a taxi from the middle of nowhere to beverley. my friend becca sat in the front seat and was obliged to talk to the driver; i sat in the back seat and lost myself in the peace of the english countryside and the beauty of a starry night.

28 May 2007

a few recent (re)discoveries.

  • house. a show i've watched on occasion with a friend. it's sardonic antihero, dr. gregory house, both amuses me and occasionally horrifies me, though in an entertaining way. now that my brother has provided me with cable tv and tivo, i'll be enjoying this one much more regularly.
  • finding neverland. a beautiful representation of j.m. barrie's friendship with the llewelyn-davies family, which inspired his writing of peter pan. it's obviously fictionalized, but it's well-done. i've been wanting to watch it for a couple of years, but never got around to it. when i found it on sale at target for $7.50 i just bought it. i watched it friday night. and quickly fell in love with j.m. barrie. or maybe johnny depp (though i was already infatuated with him before starting it). or i suppose johnny depp as j.m. barrie.
  • a bit of bizarro www. when i watched finding neverland, i did a quick google search for "peter pan" to learn a bit about its literary genesis (it was a play first; then a novel). and the results turned up "the home page of peter pan." which i had seen before, but which i had forgotten. it's good for a laugh. and a head-scratch while wondering exactly what this person means by "like minded souls." don't miss the photos...
anticipated viewing.
  • special edition monty python. i made a quick target run friday night. and i never go to target without perusing the dvds just to see if there's something on sale. i found the special edition dvd of monty python and the holy grail for $13. i picked it up and turned it over to see what special features this two-disc set offers and ended up laughing out loud standing in the middle of a row at target. among it's special features, it boasts:
    • NEW! High Definition widescreen presentation with pink frilly edges!
    • NEW! Subtitles For People Who Don't Like The Film (taken from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II)
    • NEW! Exciting "Follow The Killer Rabbit" Feature!
    • ALMOST NEW! A glorious extra 24 seconds absolutely free!
    • NEW! How to Use Your Coconuts (an educational film)
    • NEW! Behind-The-Scenes Photos -- hitherto unseen by human hand!
    • NEW! A Load of Rubbish -- a surprise package of mystery items specially included for the mentally challenged.
you get the idea. i'm particularly looking forward to the coconuts instructional film...

{update: since i bought the monty python dvd, target has put it on sale for $10. this week only. y'all should really get it. because no life is complete without a little monty python in it.}

21 May 2007

i have been initiated into the wonderful world of wii. and i'm totally hooked. it's ridiculous. it's made my arm sore. it's made me laugh so hard i nearly fell over. it's given me two hours of high entertainment with my brother and his girlfriend.

and i haven't even given anyone a black eye with the controller yet.

we're hatching plans to get our mom and dad in on the action. now that should prove thoroughly hilarious.

{addendum: i'm sitting in the family room working on my computer; my brother and his girlfriend are in his room playing wii tennis. and i just heard my brother's girlfriend, in a slightly panicky-concerned voice, say: 'oh--sorry!' it really is only a matter of time until the wii produces stories of bodily injury...}

20 May 2007

today, the beatles--and my ears--were violated. i was on my way to church. and i tuned into klos to find 'mean mr. mustard' from abbey road playing. it's a song that starts a trio of songs that i love. when the trio ended, i begged the radio gods to give me more beatles. and they complied. 'golden slumbers.' 'carry that weight.' and 'the end.' i was singing along, loving my beatles, and then--right before it got to the gorgeous final line of 'the end'--it stopped.

just stopped.

i was left hanging with no resolution. and why? cause the morons running the station today thought it would be a clever way to lead up to paul mccartney's new single, 'ever present past.' it didn't work. and, while i'm sure sir paul's music is lovely and all that, clever disc jockeying is not a sufficient justification to violate the beatles.

as soon as i got to the church, i pulled out my ipod and rectified the situation by listening to the last seven songs of abbey road in full. thank heavens for ipods.

09 May 2007

so. i'm mid-stride while teaching today. i've just posed a thought-provoking question about the relationship between fashion and language in conjunction with woolf's orlando. and one of my brighter students has her hand up to comment. i call on her and what does she say? 'i've been watching that spider?' (pointing towards the floor about five or six feet in front of her.) i look at the spider and say, 'huh.' she continues, 'it's crawling towards me.' i look at her quizzically and ask, 'do you want me to kill it?' she replies, 'yes please. i'm sorta arachnophobic.' at which point i squished the spider (which though unusually black was very small) and re-posed my question verbatim while the rest of the class contained their amusement so as not to embarrass the poor girl. and inside i was laughing, even if i was all business and fashion and orlando.

07 May 2007

so today i opened a piece of mail from the american honda corporation. i don't normally do this because they're just account statements and my payment is automatically deducted from my bank account twice a month and i monitor it all online. so i only open these lovely envelopes when i plan to file the last several months' worth and shred older ones. but today for some reason i picked up the envelope from my mail and opened it. and rather than an account statement, i found my title. i'm now the proud owner of my own honda civic (that i've been paying on for the last five years). i knew it would be fully paid for shortly, but i had forgotten that by opting for a twice monthly payment plan, i'd save myself three months' worth of payments in the form of interest not accrued. yippee!!

06 May 2007

just a taste of my sunday.
  • leading the music in sacrament. which means i get to set the tempo (no hymns masquerading as funeral dirges).
  • being told by a woman i would never have suspected of knowing the film pretty in pink (simply not in her generation) that i'm cute and remind her of that darling molly ringwald and the way she dressed in the film. {aside: this is not the first time i've been told i look like molly ringwald. in fact, i've heard it quite a lot--sometimes even overheard perfect strangers making the comment.}
  • homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner after a day fasting. delicious.
  • a hot dry wind leaving the sky beautifully clear for a gorgeous twilight.
  • making a thick, creamy chocolate milkshake to share with my parents and brother.
  • looking at the forecast and discovering it will be hot enough to wear skirts for the next several days. which makes me strangely hungry for summer with nights so warm that i leave my blinds and window wide open with the fan on to increase air circulation and sleep under nothing but a sheet. i love those nights.
  • a yard full of birds and roses. positively delightful.
it's been a lovely sabbath.

03 May 2007

richard the third, that terror of all royal terrors (if shakespeare is to be believed), may just be buried under a car park in leicester. that is if his body wasn't disinterred and dumped in a river during the dissolution of monasteries under another royal terror, henry viii.

those royals. a veritable treasure trove of amusement.