Friday, January 26, 2007

so i've been thinking about my next tattoo. i absolutely love the one i have, and i think i'm ready for another. being around them all the time just makes me love them more, since they say so much about the people who have them, and they can truly be beautiful.

the first question for me was where to get it, and i'm pretty sure my lower back/rear is the answer. NOT in the center - no offense to anyone who has one there, but the "tramp stamp" label is not one to which i aspire, and i don't want it used in reference to me. i want it on my right side.

the second question is what. naturally, it has to be timeless and personal - something that has meaning for me, but not meaning for now, if that makes sense. my most permanent interest/preference is the water - if i can't get to the ocean, there better be a bay or at least a river nearby. large bodies of water center me, and the ocean, in particular, is such a part of my makeup that it's like a finger or a kneecap - essential, non-negotiable. i feel a pressure in me that grows and grows until i'm on a beach or a dock, when a feeling of calm immediately takes over. it's weird, but it's not unique. it's just me. that's one of the reasons i chose seagulls for my wrist. obnoxious as they may be, snatching sandwiches and dropping unwelcome missives from above, their presence means i've nearly reached my destination.

so what signifies the ocean? dolphins? no thanks - completely played out. i went through my dolphin phase just like many girls, and i still love seeing them at the beach, but it's done. fish? i don't fish, and i don't swim (much) in tropical waters. and so i'm back to birds. i'm thinking a pelican - my mom loves them and they make me think of her, plus they're incredibly fun to watch. so i found two photos. the first is from the world book (so hopefully posting it here is like posting it in a report?) and the second is from a photographer named riddimmaker:

any opinons on which is a better silhouette? i think this one's going to be full-color, if that makes any difference...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the last three months in flickr

i finally uploaded a bunch of stuff to flickr from the last couple of months. i know you're excited! here's a preview.
my only photo from boston.

post-thanksgiving sopas, delicious!


cookie night!


peach bowl!

unfortunately, nothing yet from new years, though i know there are some cute photos out there...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

country music fisherwoman nascar chick

psmee warns me not to become her. i won't, but it's getting more attractive all the time!

Monday, January 08, 2007

top 10 albums of 2006

10. belle and sebastian: the life pursuit - finally, the belle and sebastian i used to love is back! they tested my patience with their 30-minute set at the 40 watt in college, then lost me completely with "fold your hands," but it seems the isobel scourge has finally lifted and the band has finally remembered how to have fun. "another sunny day" is classic b&s, "white collar boy" is swinging and a little grimy, and if you ever laid in your dormroom bed and listened to "if you're feeling sinister" feeling wistful, "dress up in you" will take you right back to that place. not that i ever did that. and that doesn't even touch the remaining 2/3 of the album, packed with songs sure to keep b&s dancenights well stocked for years to come (not that i've ever been to one... ok, busted again.).
09. tapes n tapes: the loon - noisy and unpredictable, this is probably the most straight-ahead "indie rock" album on my list. my sister first played me "insistor" early in the year (her smart BF put it on a cd for her) and the "i'll be your badger" refrain stuck in my head for months, but the album didn't really take with me, as a whole, till after i saw them live and realized i was bouncing along and chiming in with virtually everything they played. the relentless "cowbell" and soft "omaha" are other standouts that aptly demonstrate the range of the tapes' sound.
08. the weepies: say i am you - this is absolutely the album on this list about which i am most embarassed, but i couldn't honestly leave it off. i first heard the weepies on npr's "weekend edition saturday." in the interview, deb talan - half of the weepies - describes how she and her bandmate/husband, steve tannen, got the name from old movies that guaranteed a good cry - weepies. she says, "we want to be able to provide that for people. we want to make music that touches them and moves them in that way; the place where tears come from, for joy and for sorrow." barf, right? i mean, can you get any more sappy? but there's something incredibly honest in that objective that carries me past the cringe factor, and while the songs don't make me cry, they're definitely affecting. the production is rich and warm, and songs like "take it from me" and "world spins madly on" make me crave a rainy day and a fireplace. the round-like refrain from "gotta have you" (no amount of coffee/no amount of crying/no amount of whiskey/no amount of wine, no no no no no, nothing else will do, i gotta have you) wound through my brain for weeks on end this fall. there are two real duds - "suicide blonde" and "love doesn't last too long" - and this record is DEFINITELY not for everyone. but i'm going to stop apologizing for liking it and move on to what some people will consider an even more embarassing pick...
07. justin timberlake: futuresex/lovesounds - i don't care that he was on the mickey mouse club. i don't care that he was in a boy band. i don't care who he's dating and i don't care about his clothing line. i DO care about this record. it's everything you want from the pinnacle of industry music - incredible collaborations (t.i., three 6 mafia), incredible production (timbaland, rick rubin), and hooks hooks hooks. when i first heard "sexyback," i thought justin had blown his load but i bought the cd just in case. then i heard "my love" and knew this release is for REAL for real.
06. toumani diabate's symmetric orchestra: boulevard de l'independance - often when i see international music (other than british isles artists) on critics' lists i think "oh SURE tengir-too's "mountain music of kyrgyzstan" made your list*... i'm SO sure you listen to that," but this is not my stab at elitism - it really is a great album that i came across simply because of the free cds i get at work. i didn't search it out because i'm some music archeologist, but i sure am glad it crossed my desk. diabate is music royalty in mali, and he's joined by an all-star band of 50 on this cd. they open with the exuberant "toumani" and then take it down a couple notches with the slower-paced title track and "mali sadio." "africa challenge" picks the pace back up, and the mounting storm of horns and percussion on "tapha nang" are sure to find their way onto a rap record in the not-too-distant future.
05. regina spektor: begin to hope - regina crept up on me this year. credit to my sister (and her BF) again - she first played "fidelity" for me early this year, singing along with this impossible-to-sing song, and shortly thereafter that song was cemented for me as the girl-anthem of 2006. i bought the album late in the summer, gave it a cursory listen, and forgot about it for a few months. i'm glad i did, because when i rediscovered it the timing was finally right.
04. jenny lewis and the watson twins: rabbit fur coat - i listened to this album almost exclusively last winter. lewis on her own is talented, but backed by the watson twins' harmonies she really shines. it seems everyone's searching out their alt-country roots these days, and lewis's sad stories and voice lend themselves well to this cross-pollenation. the titular "rabbit fur coat" seems an obvious nod to dolly parton's "coat of many colors" but transcends pure imitation, and the "handle with care" cover (originally performed by the all-star traveling wilburys [george harrison, roy orbison, tom petty, bob dylan, and jeff lynne], it's a classic in my family) is suprising and fun - not even an appearnce by conor oberst can keep it down. standout songs include "charging sky, the," "you are what you love," and "rise up with fists!!!"
03. gnarls barkley: st. elsewhere - what can i say that hasn't been said? maybe, for anyone who doesn't know, that there's a lot more than just "crazy" here. so wait for a sunny, warm day, get in your car, roll down the windows, and start driving. start with "go go gadget gospel" and sing with cee-lo "i'm freeeee! look at me!" scroll past "crazy" to track 5, "smiley faces." make sure you're at a stoplight or stop sign, because you will need to snap your fingers on both hands to swing with this one. get rolling again with #7, "feng shui," followed by #8 "just a thought," the contemplative part of your journey. then break out of your head, pull over, and open all the windows and doors of your vehicle: you're starting a block party with #9, "transformer." it's official!
02. eric bachmann: to the races - the love of my life hits another one out of the park. this record is a clear departure from his most recent crooked fingers album (my #1 of last year - "dignity and shame"), and at first i missed the horns and dark vitality of that release. but with further listening, i realized this may be his best yet. its sparse instrumentation pushes his voice and lyrics to the fore in a way the more produced crooked fingers records can't, and the occasional vocal harmonies, provided on the record by miranda brown, ease his talents into sharper focus. the soaring "man-o-war" makes my heart ache, and in spite of all his warnings (you ain't my woman, and woman, i am not your man), i just want to be his "carrboro woman."
01. mates of state: bring it back - i haven't seen this on a single "best of '06" list anywhere on the internet, a criminal oversight! it probably wouldn't be my number 1 if not for this gross negligence, but it really is a gorgeous, crazy-fun record. the refrains of "think long," "beautiful dreamer," and "for the actor" are tailor-made for screaming along to with a ridiculous smile on your face (which i did with my friend sara at the state theater, and many times in the car throughout the summer). it really is a great album, too, with highs and lows but no songs to skip (even if i do play "think long" three times in a row before moving on).

best random find: tarkio: omnibus - tarkio was colin meloy of the decemberists former band. i randomly picked up the 2-cd "omnibus" ages ago, didn't know anything about it, and didn't listen to it till just a couple weeks ago, when i realized i liked every song and was moved to actually take a look at the liner notes. no wonder i like it!
best album i have yet to purchase: the clipse: hell hath no fury - i know i'm going to like it. i just need to buy it!

*i actually own this, but only because i got it at work - i'm sure i won't listen to it till i need some music from krgyzstan. and i really did see it on someone's list on metacritic. whatEVER!

Friday, January 05, 2007

stupid cupid

i was at a hallmark store the other day picking up thankyou notes for my christmas gifts. of course, the place is completely turned over to items already - yuck! - and of course i studiously ignored it all. i go up to the counter to pay for my cards and there's a display of those cards that play music when you open them, and right there in front is a freaking johnny cash valentine's day card - it plays "ring of fire" when you open it. cam idolizes cash. he's got "a boy named sue" as his ringtone. no i did NOT buy it - it's freaking january! - but if the time comes and i need one, it's nice to know it's there. the card itself is ugly, though, so i might have to get 2. IF i even need to, of course.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

in like a lion...

ok, back to business.
MARCH: things started to pick up in march. i went to a bunch of shows - belle and sebastian, reggie and the full effect, matt pond PA (by myself!), the go! team. that last one was the first test of life in the same city as my former friend, and while i felt stabbed every time i glimpsed her, it was completely manageable and i fully enjoyed the show. a visit from my ex was another milestone and test that i passed with flying colors, feeling no pangs of regret. slowly but surely i rebuilt my personal resources, surrounded by incredibly supportive friends and family. a whirlwind trip to boston capped off the month - lunch at the pru, the hockney exhibit, sambucca in the north end.

APRIL: in april i finally regained the ability to take full deep breaths without thinking about the former friend. i think the thing that finally brought me completely around was volunteering for my sister at the spca of annapolis. there's something about socializing cats, walking dogs around the trails, and matching up eager families with the perfect pets that is so rewarding, and really restored my faith in the order of things, and myself.

MAY: glasses! i finally saw an optometrist for the first time in my life, and lo and behold, i now have glasses. this month also saw the inception of SURIs - friday evening cookouts with friends from work (who are actual, true friends) in a wonderful backyard nearby, and a reconnection with some amazing old friends i thought i may have lost in the january apocalypse.

JUNE: mission accomplished, new year's resolution: race for the cure, DONE. ran it in its entirety. my time was pretty crappy, but the whole first mile we could really only shuffle due to the congestion on the road. didn't bother me a bit, though - it was a complete success. the following weekend i watched two dear friends marry one another, a gorgeous ceremony and fantastic party weekend. highlights included shutting down locos and inventing the honey huddle, a slideshow of the couple's lives, and catching up with everyone. the day after i returned i headed to ft. lauderdale for work (got to dip my toes in the ocean, hurrah!), and the following weekend psmee flew in, fabulous! in continued non-stop style, the following weekend my roommate and i drove to philadelphia to attend a BFF's housewarming. we got to meet her man, indulge in multiple pimms cups, and play kickball in the middle of the night. it was a month that really felt like summer.

JULY: ohhhh yeah, atlanta bachelorette party!!! stretch explorer, inappropriate party favors, custom-made mix, dancing and laughing and just the right level of debauchery. later that month my whole family attended a paul simon concert, complete with pre-show tailgating, singing, and dancing on a grassy hill. also attended a WUOG reunion for jocks in this area - wild! - followed by karaoke and a hungover day at work friday. worth every minute. the lowest point was saying goodbye to a friend headed for bigger and better things in chicago - i miss her still, and am awful about keeping in touch with her. there might be a new year's resolution in there for this year. fortunately, that low was quickly followed by the high of adopting my kitten, winston! i could only resist the wiles of the spca for so long.

to be continued...

happy new year!

in what has become a bit of an annual tradition, i rang in the new year with the mt. ranier crew, this time at their (cam's) place. it was a blast - dress-up (i wore this and these in rust - hands down the hottest shoes i've ever owned), friends new and old, plenty to drink but not too much. my sister and her BF breezed in just before the ball dropped, sparkly and fun, the life of the party as ever. i sent and received a billion texts, smooched cam, missed psmee, and got to sleep around 4. work was rough the next day, but i soldiered through and managed to get to the annual black-eyed-peas-and-collard-greens (peas for luck, greens for wealth) new year's day party in annapolis, hosted by my sister's BF's mom. she's an incredible woman... fabulous mom, former caterer, current elementary school teacher, and enduring the radiation stage of cancer treatment with humor and grace. this has become a can't-miss event for me. the food is delicious and inventive (black eyed peazza, peanakopita...), and the combination really seems to work, as last year was filled with both luck and wealth. i think i got a speeding ticket on the way home, but even that couldn't kill the evening for me.