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Yeah, you caught me.

Jun. 20th, 2020 | 03:34 am

So I'm still updating the Livejournal I started in high school.

I have no shame about the emo roots of LJ - moreover, the handy fact that it's LJ helps shield me from any inadequacy I might feel about the sporadic updates and inconsistent quality of the blog, because hey, this is the LJ I started when I was sixteen. Because the goal isn't to be found by the public and get a book deal but to keep up with old friends in faraway places. And there's something satisfying about the continuity of entries from 2003 - present.

I don't write too much angsty stuff that I don't want certain of my friends to read anymore, so feel free to follow and not be worried about reading something you don't want to see. Or if you're one of the few LJ surfers visitng (a rare breed these days!), you're more than welcome to add and be added.

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Oct. 18th, 2009 | 10:36 pm

I just lost the pool. Fucking Jets.

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Oct. 17th, 2009 | 07:37 pm

I saw Where the Wild Things Are last night. I agree with the Slate review that it doesn't need to be "glossed, analyzed, or expanded." The movie is just childhood - overwhelming emotions, feeling out of control, trying to compensate for powerlessness, being confused by problems that can't be solved with fun. Karen O was perfect, and the kid was amazing.

And then I went with the girls to the neighborhood watering hole where my boy roommate bounces and had a few drinks and met a few randoms, then stopped by an art school party where I was treated to some tribal face painting and Funfetti cake, then visited Pat's for some cheese fries before walking the last block to my house.

I'm really liking the city and my work and my neighborhood so far, though seasonal depression is seriously looming. It's not that I work too too much, just that I haven't learned how to manage this kind of schedule yet. I'm terribly behind on email and internet, mostly because we haven't had wireless until today and to get online you had to wire up in my living room where there are usually people who have been drinking/smoking for hours, at any given time of the day (more on my living situation in a future post.)

And PS I am going to win my office NFL football pool for ~$650. Sweet.

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Summer is ending.

Sep. 6th, 2009 | 09:11 pm
location: Jason's roof deck - Philly
mood: indulgent

I drove about 6600 miles this summer, not including air travel or city driving. I was kind of all over the place. So I spent a hundred-plus hours in a car in large chunks, listening to CDs through a 1994 Discman hooked up to a tape adapter. So I now consider myself an expert on driving music.

I probably spent 50% of those hours listening to musical theater and 90s grrl rock and only 10% trying to get into new music. The rest was basically filled by the five songs below - my top five driving indie singles of the summer. Criteria included catchiness, singalong potential, and repeatability.

5. French Navy - Camera Obscura

Even my dad loves this song. Old-fashioned girl meets boy meets catchy summer pop, with literal sad violin flourishes.

4. Cosmic Love - Florence and the Machine

What is with great breakup albums? Sidenote.Collapse ) In any case Cosmic Love is as grand as Within Temptation --meaning amazing-- but without the metal-influenced drums.

3. This Tornado Loves You - Neko Case

Meant to be heard over the backdrop of the night wind. Once I got over the fact that I never capitalized on my concept album about natural phenomena, and then after I got over the fact that Neko Case kinda sucked at Bonnaroo, I played this song for at least 45" on repeat every time my drive took me past sundown. My heart still starts pounding every time every time the banjo picks up.

2. Betty Wang - Hospitality

Fun to try to learn, over and over again, despite the WTF-irony inherent in my drooling over a lo-fi song about an exoticized Azn in the city, no matter how tongue in cheek. Too catchy not to have you practicing the off-tempo lyrics and belting out "sous chef, zoo chef, zooshe, ZOOSHA!"

1. Sleepyhead - Passion Pit

This song is the crack cocaine of electronic dance. They just try so much harder than anyone else! (Who samples harps and gets away with it?) The song has like five distinct hooks that are all hot and perfectly mixed. Shocker that I don't care that the lyrics and basically unintelligible.

Runners up: Knotty Pine - Dirty Projectors + David Byrne, Introducing Palace Players - Mew, Choo Choo - Arctic Monkeys

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Aug. 26th, 2009 | 07:50 am

I am really sad about Ted Kennedy.

In other news, I am exhausted but excited about the move, and once I get into a new place (this weekend?) I'll tell all about it.

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Going solo

Aug. 3rd, 2009 | 04:46 pm
music: The Police - Synchronicity

So today I was listening to the Interpol lead singer's solo project as Julian Plenti, and I really hate it. I know it's not cool to like Interpol anymore, but I still do, and I guess I always went for the bass player anyhow.

But it made me think about solo artists and I realized that if I like a band, I almost never like the solo spin-off of it. (Case in point: Amy Millan, I love your socks off, but Honey from the Tombs really sucks.) The only exceptions I can think of are Sting and the Police and Eric Clapton and Cream.

What about you guys?

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Falling action

Aug. 1st, 2009 | 11:21 pm
location: big pine key, fl

Okay, so I am about to finish The Golden Notebook and like almost all great novels, the end is going to let me down. I hate it when this happens. Because it leaves me with a bad taste in my mind and despite my avowals throughout the course of the book that I will re-read and analyze and enjoy, I will dread returning to this particular piece of prose because the end is, to wit, lame.


Maybe it's because life doesn't ever end, there is no closure, no denouement. How can a novel capture the reality that life is written like a soap opera, with no ending planned out a la the Deathly Hallows? It's the moment after you pass Intro Macroeconomics, when you realize that everything you've learned is absolutely useless because the Long Run does not exist anywhere or anytime.

Maybe it's because I'm still nine years old, and I turn to novels because I feel that the life I'm living isn't interesting enough to be paid attention to. But that's not it, because half the time I feel like I'm some Martin Amis-style crazed character who is so busy writing down things that have happened that she never has time to do anything new. I'm just upset that it's ending, or I'm insulted that it's not ending the way I think it should, or I feel that the author didn't quite understand her own work.


I read somewhere about a person or character who felt that afternoons spent reading were just as vivid and worthwhile as say, an afternoon in the park or out with friends. At first I judged him a bit (me!) because you can read anytime whereas the weather won't always be nice and your friends won't always be around. But that's ridiculous, because I'm always talking about how books changed my life.

I should think a little more about exactly what I'd be, and I use "what" deliberately, if I were a Martin Amis character. What would you look like if you were to draw a caricature of yourself?

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You'll laugh, but I want everyone to read this.

Jul. 8th, 2009 | 01:01 am

New Liberal Arts as a guidebook for a new [and simpler and more harmonious] economy?

A PDF file just convinced me that I'll never go to grad school. At least, not taking it seriously. I'm so excited that I'm barely jealous that I'm not cool and clever enough to have been a part of this. I'm too excited to labor over this post for days; instead, I'll just write it fast and recursively and hope madly that some of you will find this as illustrative as I do. New Liberal Arts are all the forces I can see at work and that I want to be apart of, but that I've been separated from by coursework and fashion and family and the universal threat of loneliness.

The reason I haven't found the field I want to study or the job that I find important and well-suited to my skills is because what I want isn't fully formed yet. I am wholly and completely a product and member of my generation, and my generation is shaping an inchoate new market to utilize society's information and energy.

This PDF file, New Liberal Arts reads as a collection of professors selling new courses on interdisciplinary themes of the 21st century. The pithy, playful unabashedly broad, yet easily absorbed descriptions follow the age-old spirit of the liberal education by offering topics whose further exploration might help us solve problems that will never be eliminated by science and technology.

From factory model schools to Cold War-era science fairs to multiculturalism to MBA programs, established curricula serves as a proxy for a critical mass of people who agree on what the most pressing social problems are. Here, the fields that hold potential solutions range from the established fields, redefined: attention economics, journalism re-described as a community's conversations with itself, mapping understand your role in the built environment...[which in turn] helps you understand fields like design, language, and economics.

The truly interdisciplinary like coding/decoding and play.
Modernist themes now in sharp relief - creativity, genderfuck, iteration.
The faddish ones - food, brevity - and the debatable ones - inaccuracy - can maybe be skipped.

But the brilliant pieces like reality engineering coursework includes War of the Worlds, A Million Little Pieces, and The Hills, translation we can't afford not to understand people whom we do not understand, photography, and my personal favorite, negotiation the lubricant...which reduces the friction of disagreement and produces collective, social rewards that compensate for an absence of personal, ego rewards.

These ideas will define our future. With others, of course. If I'd been in on the discussion I'd had submitted/suggested motivation and value, descriptions for another post.

Maybe it's just a study of our culture, but if so, the justification is the same as for myth and magic you have to learn and be immersed in your own myths... what are your archetypes, themes and tropes, core beliefs? What's a bigger liberal arts stereotype than Know Thyself?

New Liberal Arts pays homage to the reinvented, Long Tail-loving American individual with sections on creativity and finding. I don't mean to say that there's a paradigm shift in the way culture is organized, because the only change might be that William Whyte's organization men belong to co-ops instead of corporations.

But maybe there's a compromise emerging between the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses outer-directed mass of Americans and the rigidly confident inner-directed solo thinkers described in The Lonely Crowd. With the sharing of information and a new value for the good of the whole comes an implied belonging and responsibility, where people try to figure out their core beliefs and value systems together, and act accordingly.

I feel a little behind here because I never listen to podcasts or watch videos online, I am stodgy old media, and maybe everyone already has heard all of this. But even! There are a lot of us, a critical mass of twentysomethings who want to do with their lives work that isn't traditionally "work". Endeavors that are creative, intellectual, and with positive halo effects. Work that is collaborative and not aimed necessarily a manufacture of a physical or even intellectual "property". As "more things are becoming more like words and web pages", the production and transmission of products like goodwill, community, and beauty becomes more feasible.

It's clear that the saturated service and financial economy isn't sustainable in for the long term, much less widely accessible. Why not a market whose inputs and outputs are pleasure, friendship, fun, efficiency, and truth? This market won't buy and sell ideas themselves, it'll exchange new uses of them for net benefit.

I know, I know. Amorphous. Starry-eyed. Blatantly present-biased. It's impossible to know if this book signifies a true shift in cultural values or rather than the latest lifestyle liberalism trends.

But if science and technology have surpassed any reasonable expectation from thirty years ago, why can't the new liberal arts utilize them to create new lifestyles and with it, livelihoods?

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v.i. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts

Jun. 20th, 2009 | 03:32 am
music: phoenix - lasso

I worry more than I let on.

Not about getting places on time, becoming homeless one day, or my ballooning to-do list. Not about nuclear war, or market failure, or even very real health problems affecting people I know. If I’m not optimistic about these issues, I’m at least indifferent.

But I worry a lot about this man who bowls at Cordova by himself. He’s older, and in poor condition, often resting to huff and puff between frames. I went to that alley three times in two weeks once, and he was there each time, alone. Rationally, I know he might simply be a sad-looking man who bowls to clear his head or as a personal pursuit. But I worry that he bowls in the hope of making friends or that he used to have a partner who passed away.

I worry about a friend of mine whose life is quickly disappearing under work, whose active hours don’t synch up with the rest of ours. He gets up at 3am to collaborate with a research in Germany and sleeps as soon as he gets home from his 9-5. I worry about a neighbor who had cases of chips and beer and 2/3 of a birthday cake leftover after a party he threw. Did his guests not show up? Will he have one next year?

I worry about a smart, funny, capable acquaintance who looks forward to settling down and having kids, but hasn’t clicked with anyone in a long time and can feel herself getting older. She’s got tons of pictures of her friends’ children and they’re getting bigger and smarter and more like real people, while her own kids are becoming more and more of a fantasy.

I don’t need anyone to tell me that I’m being presumptuous or paternalistic toward people who are by and large older and more self-sufficient than I am. Or that worrying is a waste of time and egocentric. I know these people probably don’t want my worries – or less kindly, my pity. I go places by myself all the time! Restaurants, concerts, states – and I get pissed off by sad sidelong looks.

Or maybe they should worry about me, too? When I'm not caught up in the storm of falling in love or moving or working 12 hour days, I can categorize my hours as either (a) hopeful, almost unaware states of planning and laughing and enjoying, or (b) deeply quiet moments where I think that those periods of happiness are only distraction, distraction from the utterly lonely, Troy Maxson-like existence of chasing after fulfillment and community. So I worry that maybe everyone else feels the same way, and that I can’t write myself off as going through a bipolar phase and projecting it on everyone else.

And I think, would my days be completely different if I’d never read The Stranger?

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Jun. 18th, 2009 | 12:34 am

I have slept in my bed nine out of the last thirty-five days.

Bywalafest (NOLA), Alaska, Mia's wedding (Nashville), Bonnaroo, climbing (Foster Falls).

I am exhausted but utterly pleased with how all of these trips turned out. Trying to keep notes, left notebook in the rain while camping, trying to take pictures with found camera, never have batteries.

Gainesville in three days.

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family vaca on a boat

May. 30th, 2009 | 05:38 pm
location: memphis, tn
music: the lonely island

ten days
seven family members
seven cities
four planes
four boats
two trains
~twenty humpback whales
~forty bald eagles
one porcupine
three bears
fourteen seals
three sea lions
one sea otter
four mountain goats
seven glaciers
five dance parties
six books
countless meals

unfinished photo album here

it was super bougie but a ton of fun, and absolutely breathtaking. i can't decide if the draw of the wilderness for me personally is mostly the beauty, the simplicity, the escapism, or the combination of all of those things that we see as some kind of pure existence. but the draw is definitely more complex than chris mccandless, jon krakauer, or michael kimmel would tell you.

i want to take seasonal jobs across the hemispheres so that there is always twenty hours of daylight. i couldn't live in any of those towns during the eight months of winter, ten feet of snow, and two hours of daylight, but the summer would be lovely in a place like seward. after a couple days your body capitulates and decides to give you twice as much energy as a normal day deserves, and i made the best of it. walking looking reading thinking eating talking and believe me when I say: i fucked a mermaid.

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It can't just be me

May. 20th, 2009 | 11:15 pm
music: phoenix - lasso

I take email very seriously. If I write you a decent email I'll expect a response, and if it contains a direct question you had better fucking respond or else it's a blatant disregard for the time I dedicated to making said email a little more courteous, funny, or interesting for your pleasure.

People have tried to fuck with me on this recently.Collapse ) That is another issue entirely, and what prompted this post is not the fact that I've gotten in minor tiffs over email but the fact that multiple times per day, I wish that more communication took place in writing.

Sometimes it's in class, when a professors asks for an opinion that I haven't thought through or researched and I look up begging, Don't you want this in paragraph form? Or a discussion turns into a shouting match and calls for not facts or logic but gestures and rhetorical devices and I get pissed because seriously, what a shitty way to win a debate. Or someone says something so outrageous that I stare directly at them just to see if they'll return with a belligerent countenance that says "go ahead, write it down, because you'll want to quote it later." Most often, I hear something that deeply offends me but I can't succinctly and cuttingly explain why. and a 550-word op-ed piece delivered by print deadline won't have the same impact.

Sometimes it's at work, when I'm dealing with a patron who would never recognize their childish complaints if they wrote down No I will not move three feet to my left to clear the stairs, it is my right to stand wherever I damn well please! Or I'm at someone else's workplace and I'm told that I am not in fact getting the veggie tempura the menu states comes with my meal, and Is that okay? I automatically respond that It's no problem! when I could have prepared a request for a substitution if there'd been a sign posted.

But most often it's a personal matter. Someone wants to know if boy/girl really likes them and what they DON'T want to hear is that I need a moment to think it through. Or someone reveals a tragic event and I know that I could come up with the right comforting response if I only had ten minutes and 150 words. Or a close friend asks a favor that I can't/don't want to give and I think really, if you're going to ask something like that, it's only fair to give a girl a heads-up. Or significant others get upset and say things that aren't true, but since they're crying, you convince them that the discussion would be more productive if it took place over a series of one-page essays.

All of these people are asking for my instinct, or my intellect, or my compassion, and I don't always feel that I have it at the ready. I have these things but not in spades. I need time, I need to cut and paste, I need turns of phrase to compensate for what I lack in quick wit and emotional IQ. It's embarrassing. It's enough to make me want to embrace the oral tradition.

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