Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Long Shot & My Top Tens

So I've taken the long shot of applying to write for Pitchfork.  Probably won't happen - I do not delude myself.  I consider myself a padawan in terms of music writing, but I pride myself in recognizing how much I have to learn and improve (in all things).  The time I spent making my application wasn't a waste, regardless, though, as I compiled a few top-ten lists I'd like to share, (debate?).  I feel like John Cusack in High Fidelity making these, although he only went to five, (slacker).

My Top 10 Albums of 2010 (no order):

  1. 1.       Wintersleep: New Inheritors
  2. 2.       Holly Miranda: The Magician’s Private Library
  3. 3.       Free Lance Whales: Weathervanes
  4. 4.       Fanfarlo EP
  5. 5.       The National: High Violet
  6. 6.       Quiet Company: Songs for Staying In
  7. 7.       Magic Man: Real Life Color
  8. 8.       Band of Horses: Infinite Arms
  9. 9.       Suckers: Wild Smile
  10. 10.  Good Old War: Good Old War

My Top 10 Tracks of 2010 (no order):

  1. 1.       Hanna (Freelance Whales)
  2. 2.       Atlas (Fanfarlo)
  3. 3.       Mirror Matter (Wintersleep)
  4. 4.       Sleep on Fire (Holly Miranda)
  5. 5.       Daughter (Magic Man)
  6. 6.       My Body (Young the Giant)
  7. 7.       Martha (Suckers)
  8. 8.       Totuus minusta (Regina)
  9. 9.       My Own Sinking Ship (Good Old War)
  10. 10.   Your Love (Keane)

My Top 10 Albums of All Recent Time:

  1. 1.       The Jealous Girlfriends: The Jealous Girlfriends
  2. 2.       Ludo: Broken Bride
  3. 3.       The National: Boxer
  4. 4.       The Get Up Kids: Something to Write Home About
  5. 5.       Hot Water Music/Alkaline Trio
  6. 6.       Mineral: The Power of Failing
  7. 7.       Band of Horses: Our Swords
  8. 8.       The Format: Interventions + Lullabies
  9. 9.       The Walkmen: Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone
  10. 10.   Grand Serenade: Lean Times

    Let's play the High Fidelity game: do you have a top ten list of albums, bands, or tracks?  I'd love to see it.

    I really wanted to have pictures of The New Pornographers show from Friday night at Stubb's, but thanks to Stubb's discriminatory camera policy, I have none.  I drove back from Little Rock to make it to the show by 8pm.  I barely made it, (9 hour drive), had to park in way far away east Austin, had only my wallet, my camera, and a water bottle in my bag, walked the long way to Stubb's, and was turned away at the door because my camera had an interchangeable lens.  Excuse me?  By the time I walked back to my car, hid my camera under a seat, debated going back, decided to with coaxing via text, and walked all the way back, I'd missed The Dodo's, and was thoroughly ticked, and will probably hold a grudge against Stubb's for a long time, because that's how I roll.  Luckily, Ludo will be playing at Emo's, and that's a show I might have gotten over my grudge to go see, begrudgingly.

So I leave you with the ultimate hipster video and a song I really like: Totuus minusta by Finish band Regina. Complete with bear costume, and cake.  And puppets.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Whole Week's Vacation

Starting on 5 p.m. yesterday, my vacation week officially begun.  I'm en route to Little Rock, but stopped in Copperas Cove to visit my dad and step-mom.  They have this beautiful pool, and I'm yet to even swim in it!  This will need to be rectified soon.  With 100 degree temperatures like we had today, I probably have some time to make it happen.  I find myself already stressing about how much I will be able to get "accomplished" over this week, and then I want to thump my head on a wall.  All I want is one week without a to-do list hanging over my head, or the itch to "get ahead" on projects or article writing.  Although I have a friend's wedding coming up, and I'd like to save up to afford the gas to get there - it's quite a drive from Austin, so article writing may be in the mix.

These pictures let know just how much I need to work on using a light meter properly.  That, and checking when the date stamp is on - I had to crop it out of all my pictures - oops.  I've had this skirt in my closet for two months but never cut the tag off till today - what was I thinking!?  This may get worn everyday this week.  I have an eight hour drive ahead of me, so I should probably stop posting pictures of myself (I still feel weird about this - but it's fun to take them) and go to sleep on my air mattress.

Crochet skirt: Forever 21
Peach tee: from SoLa in Austin
Necklace: Little Rock boutique
Ring: Little Rock antique mall
Shoes: BGBG Girls

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

I went tubing weekend before last on the Guadalupe river.  One house had this long rope swing with a platform to jump off from and swing into the water.  This guy pulled it off successfully, and then this poor girl got up to try with everyone cheering her on.  Her hands slipped or something and she fell with a full face plant onto the ground and then sort of skidded into the water.  Everyone was STUNNED.  She was ok.  I doubt her pride was, though.

So, moral of the story - don't drink and rope swing, kids.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blue Giant & Regina reviews

Read my review for Venus of Blue Giant's self titled debut here.

Read my review of Finland's Regina new album here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Poison Japanese Jasmine

Now that taking pictures of myself has become more of an undertaking - what with needing my tripod, two lenses, (one that only half works), my remote, the energy to run back and forth after a long work day, etc - I've noticed that while the original goal was "fashion" photography, I've become more concerned with simply staging a decent picture than with the elements of my outfit.  While my lack of emphasis on unique clothing and accessory choices sort of kills the "fashion" element of it all, I do like that my focus is on learning how to play with light at different times of day, play with the focus, even utilizing the broken zoom on my wide angle lens, and try to pair backgrounds with clothes.  Taking a daily "outfit" photo is too much work, but I like creating an editorial style photograph, and I hope to improve at it, as well as all aspects of picture taking.

In these photos, I truly suffered to create them.  Those are morning glories growing on the fence, with a few springs of Japanese Jasmine interwoven between them in spots.  I learned the hard way that leaning into the Japanese Jasmine vines makes my skin burn horribly, turn red, and prickle with hard bumps all over.  Nothing calamine lotion didn't heal - forty-five minutes later.  I sucked it up and finished shooting - tell me that's not being a trooper!  After the first couple backwards shots I couldn't do anymore because the exposed part of my back had turned bright red, as had the backs of my arms, haha.  If I ever wanted to pretend I was a super hero, the time has finally come - I've found my kryptonite!  And it's a flower.  Sigh.

Dress: Wal-Mart.  I am fascinated, still, by the ability to buy clothes and groceries at the SAME TIME.
Shoes: Classified
Necklace: from Buffalo Exchange in Dallas

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eclipse Soundtrack Review

I reviewed the Eclipse soundtrack for Venus, and you can read my thoughts on that here.  My favorite songs were The Black Keys' "Chop and Change" and Fanfarlo's "Atlas."  Since hearing Fanfarlo, I've fallen 100% in love with them, and they just released their new EP with "Atlas" on it.

Tomorrow we are taking 80 of our kids to see Eclipse at the Bob Bullock Museum and Imax theatre.  Is this movie appropriate for middle school??  Trying to coordinate field trips every day has been nuts and I can't WAIT for my week of vacation!

I've decided that a song is like a wave pool. Or the water of a beach, you decide whether you're a naturalist or not. If a song is good, it will be like floating in, under, and on perfect waves - like the types of waves you can boogie board on. They spin you around, raise you up, bring you down at the right time, and leave your head still swimming like you're floating in water when it's over. To me, that's a good song. What does a good song do to you? Any bands you're in love with lately? - I'm always looking for good music advice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goal Oriented

One of my favorite Austin blogs, Hipstercrite, written by Lauren, posted about five and ten year goals as revisited by someone past the ripe age of 25.  This makes me hyperventilate a little.  Here at the house-sitting house, where there is cable, I fall into the trap of watching HGTV.  On these home buying shows, perfectly composed nearly-30's purchase townhouses for half a million dollars and look like they walked out of a Talbots catalog.   I missed the instruction manual on how to be that perfect.  I still dream about the perfect pair of boots to wear to a concert to not get my toes stepped on while still looking feminine.  Not cardigans with rosettes.

At 26, I've had to do a lot of restructuring of my long term goals as I realize some of my initial goals, like, marrying a millionaire so I can be an agoraphobic eccentric novelist, are not going to pan out.  How does a person make goals when they keep changing?  With Lennon telling me all about his explorations of DC these past few days, it's had the effect of reminding me how much I would love, love, love to run the education program at a museum.  Like, say, one of the fifty thousand Smithsonians up in DC, (and I'd love to live there again).  If I could get to that position, and write for some (any!) publication, and have a closet full of pretty shoes, and a garden that actually produces a tomato, I'd like to think I'd feel accomplished in life.

But, if I ever should get engaged again, that could throw a wrench in things - having to accommodate a husband's career and what not.  Sounds like a hassle!  I really do want children, but I certainly see enough of them during the day, and when they start to get cranky I send them home, (like today!  goodness kids get cranky when you ask them to clean things as a service project), and then I can go spend my take home pay on a new dress instead of baby things.  I'm O.K. with this arrangement at present.  That, and coming home to Bella.

Do you have a five or ten year plan?


Monday, July 12, 2010

Working Girl

So in two weeks I start my new position at the Ann Richards School for Girls.  The focus of the school is on developing female leaders, and I'll be doing less running around over a giant campus than I did at Reagan.  This all means that I can dress more like my former-teacher-self.  But, most of my three year old teacher items are getting a little threadbare, and some probably don't even fit anymore.  I'm scared to try on my khaki pants.  

My high heels have been in retirement for a long time and I'm eager to break them out again.  I'm also interested in dressing "nicer" at this school, because I'm genuinely worried about what the principal is going to think when she sees my tattoos that were concealed beneath a cardigan at my interview.  It wasn't an issue at Reagan at all, but at ARS, I'm nervous.  I would like to counterbalance any negative associations they might have by looking like I run the Boys and Girls Club there, (wait, I do - and I love it).  

Charcoal DressFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

These heels are too high to wear functionally for me, but I do like the color.  And I'm in love with this dress, and will probably save my nickels to buy it in the next few weeks.  I've had a pair of black patent Cole Haan pumps for years that are already whispering to me that they want to be worn with that dress.

khaki workFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

I was in Target yesterday and found a dress really similar to this one for $40 as opposed to $100, but they were out of my size, and it wasn't nearly as "neat," it had a bunched elastic waist, and the thing I like about the Modcloth dress is how smooth and pressed it is.  Plus I certainly wouldn't actually be getting Christian Louboutin shoes, but certainly any color would match.

Is it normal to be fantasizing about work-wear in the summer?  Maybe it's because I've been wearing t-shirts and pedal pushers all summer while working with the teens at the community club - I'm essentially a camp counselor.

Any suggestions for shopping for affordable work clothes and shoes?  I still don't want to run around in stilletos, but maybe I can give my flats and tennis shoes a rest.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

House Sitting

I am in love with this garden.  When I get home from work I come out and water all the plants and pick things that are ripening.  It was also necessary to share with the world how big Rufus's feet are.  He makes Bella look dainty. 

 I made pesto with the basil leaves from the herb garden.  I'm growing some basil in a pot on my balcony but it's still just a sprout.  This is enough pesto to maybe last till it's full grown.  Also, I really had to fight the urge to draw faces on those adorable baby tomatoes.  I may yet lose.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


For two weeks I have a big back yard to play in - that's something I don't get in an apartment.  Tonight I used Swiss chard from the Keep Austin Beautiful gardent at LBJ High School to make bow-tie pasta with chard, garlic, olive oil, and sliced cherry tomatoes from this backyard garden.  Tomorrow I'm going to make string beans that I picked from this vine right before taking these pictures.  I got eaten up by mosquitoes while taking these, but it seems the trick is to not itch them initially and then they go away.  I'm opposed to spraying bug repellent on myself if at all possible.

It appears that this summer I have taken on too many projects and extra work, and without time to do all of it, I end up in a state where I just want to scream and can't do anything.  This is sad, because everything I'm supposed to be doing, I like.  But I agreed to do too much, all on top of needing to writewritewrite articles to recoup all of my moving expenses.  Being a grown-up is hard.  Maybe that's why I like the doll house look of this workshop.  I gave myself a "vacation" tonight to take pictures and cook, but really, not accomplishing anything just makes me more anxious, (well, not accomplishing anything extra - I did go to work all day).  So, tomorrow will be a day of grinding paces (post-work - arg).

Dress: Blue Velvet Vintage in Austin
Pearls: my grandma's
No shoes: the Arkansas in me
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