Saturday, May 31, 2008

these things are related

On Thursday I wrote two songs. One is a pop-y song about cheating (sort of). I also wrote a sappy song about depression. I can't figure out rhyme. Break is weird. In August I think I am going to cut my hair very short. Maybe I'll even expose my ears.

Every once in a while (maybe every few months?) something kind of minor happens and I'll feel extraordinarily vulnerable, like I need to hide or sprint. I usually just apologize a lot or shut up or, if I've continued to think about it a lot, I do hide. I remember how insecure I am and I feel like I'm back in middle school. I feel like an idiot about that, which makes me re-think other moments where I've been an idiot, and that makes me even more self-conscious and insecure. Eventually I try to make myself get over it or I just forget for a while and that turns into a few months. Then I'm pretending to read something important while I wait alone in my car, feeling like everyone in the world must be tuned in to how pathetic I am, and I (re)realize that I am foolish and fronting and I'm back to the beginning. I should make a flow chart. I need to tattoo it on my arm or something.

I think that going away for a while and being sort of alone will be really good for me again. I think having less internet time will be good, too. I think I've mixed up caring about people/wanting to be involved in their lives and insecurity/wanting to be liked, and that makes me feel really shallow.

It's hard to want to just "be yourself" and also actually hate a lot of yourself.

Friday, May 30, 2008

jeffrey lewis and los campesinos! at the varsity theater

Wednesday night I went to see Jeffrey Lewis and the Jitters and Los Campesinos! at the Varsity. I didn't take a camera along because I wanted to have fun and not worry about getting really great shots and that sort of thing. It seems like a lot of dudes go to shows just to take the best photo possible, so you can search flickr and find plenty of snaps if you feel the blog reader's need for accompanying images. I will also describe the show for you in case you're lazy like me:

The Varsity is this real swanky venue. Don't get me wrong--it's beautiful, it's just really different from Bob's Underground (home of a cute little mouse/a space that also happens to moonlight as a coffee shop) or Gardner lounge, my normal show spots. The ceilings in Gardner are so low Family Unit's juggler couldn't get a proper juggle on (back when they were a full band). What if they had brought along a unicycle?! Tragedy. Well, they'd be golden in the Varsity, where they have real high ceilings, a disco ball over the crowd, and two chandeliers over the stage. I guess what I'm getting at is the difference between what I'm used to in Grinnell and what you'll find at the Varsity is the Varsity is nice. The bar's way out of the way in the back and the room itself is all deep reds the way a classic theater would be. There is even carpet! You'd never have that in Bob's or Gardner--too many stains. Anyhow, similar to both my regular show spots, the Varsity has couches! It's kind of bizarre having fancy armchairs and couches slightly raised and bordering the room, since I was expecting more of a tiled-basement with cigarette burn flame resistant blue 80s sofas, but the lounge area housed lots of adult hipster couples comfortably and chairs around the floor with little cafe tables made a pretty good spot to wait for things to get started. I met Chris there (I'm linking White People Music because evidently I like linking in this post) and he had picked up a sweet Jeffrey Lewis comic already. (I mean, he purchased it. For a fleeting moment I saw the comic on the table and thought Jeffrey Lewis had just left out some comics as reading material. And, while Chris and I agreed that would have been really adorable, we also agreed that would be ridiculous.) So I perused Fuff #3 (the purchased comic) while Chris went on a parking meter mission and we waited for JL and his pals to open.

Jeffrey Lewis is pretty much the sweetest and cutest and most fun ever. His singsong-ery manages to make sad or depressing or kind of awful things really appealing. Maybe appealing isn't the right word, but something like that is. The Jitters were great, too. The girl on mini piano (I think her name was Helen) reminded me of my friend Claire a whole lot because she sort of hunched up her shoulders a little bit while she sang. Mostly she had this specific Claire expression (like she has a funny secret), and on top of that she seemed excited and fun. JL and the Jitters played a few songs and some were fast and some of them were big and some of them were ballads but all of them were great. And there were lots o' videos. I especially liked "The History of Communism: Part Three (Russia)" because Chris and I had just been talking about Russkiland and how crazy it is. I tried to chant "USSR" as they prepared but I think Chris thought I was chanting "USA" because he kept saying things like "Better DEAD than RED." At one point JL played a sweet, simple song about friends and atheism and sort of sad things--it's one of his songs that sounds a little like Kimya Dawson's stuff. I don't know the name of that song or really very many of his songs because I mostly bought my ticket to see Los Campesinos! and so initially Jeffrey Lewis and the Jitters were just an added bonus. (I do know they played "Banned from the Roxy," at least.) It's kind of funny that I hadn't planned to see those kids as much as Los Campesinos! because it turned out I liked them best. I am starting to think that 54% of the time the best band opens.

Maybe it's just because JL and the Jitters opened and they seem so sweet and really excited and earnest about music (and that's probably because JL's songs seem to be more about messages through lyrics rather than sound), but Los Campesinos! sounded just like they do on their recordings, which was good, but they also seemed a little...high school or something? I like their recordings because I like certain aspects of high school mentalities (the pop-y music parts, mostly), but it's also kind of like LC figured out all of the hip things to do in a band (tight t-shirts, violin, glockenspiel) and then put together as many of their friends as they could get away with and then got hyped a lot (Pitchfork) based on their recordings (and probably also because they're from Wales and have nice accents even when they sing) so now hipsters want to see them and so they get to perform. The girls were wearing tights with just the right amount of holes in them and it was way too hot for tights, which always makes me suspicious. They put on a good show, I guess, but I didn't feel like they were really into what they were doing--more like into being rock stars? They definitely throw out a lot of energy, but it seems to be more about showmanship and a punk rock-esque attitude than a real commitment to music. But like I said, I could be over analyzing because it's kind of impossible to be as sweet as JL and the Jitters. Los Campesinos! did start their set with an inter-group call-and-response type count off and I liked that a lot. More people stood up once they started and a few even danced a little (evidently people in MPLS don't really dance at shows?) so that's a plus for LC, too. Oh! and lol, their drummer looked like Minkus from Boy Meets World, but older, shirtless, and, to quote Chris, "buff." I tried to find a good Boy Meets World era picture of the actor but evidently he's on that WB drama One Tree Hill now and the Lee Norris fansite I found requires registration to get to the gallery and that is creepy and further than I'm willing to go to help you figure out that allusion.

I ALMOST FORGOT THE BEST THING: we met the legendary KDIC Flock of Seagulls haircut guy at the show! He's a Grinnell alum and he runs a big music blog so he goes to shows a lot and we saw him between Jeffrey Lewis' set and Los Campesinos!. I recognized him from a Grinnell magazine article/the 80s KDIC staff photo so Chris and I went up to him to confirm his identity. I would link to his fancy blog here but I am afraid he'd find this post and read my review of the show and think Grinnellians are kind of dumb now. I'm not going to tag Los Campesinos! for this post, either, in case they do things like google themselves. I don't want to make them feel bad. . . And now I feel bad. I just remembered one of the LC girls was standing next to me during Jeffrey Lewis' set and when some of the songs would pick up I would dance a lot and she would hipster shuffle a bit and that seemed nice of her, given the lack of dancing in the crowd. I don't mean to be negative because I had a really fun night! It was just different than I expected.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I am home and watching Jeopardy. There is a contestant who is one of those really calm, relaxed, together-seeming people. She also has a voice that's light and sort of scratchy, like maybe she smoked a lot in her youth and has learned from her wild days and now has things figured out. I imagine she has a library and maybe a small cocker spaniel. I want her to be my aunt. I also want to be one of those sorts of warm, comforting, calm people someday, but I think it's against my nature to be so mellow.

There's also a girl who is really great at the game but always picks 1600 to start each category in Double Jeopardy. She's really young and bright but seems kind of manic when she chooses 1600 each time. (She just won.)

I should try to learn more about psychoanalysis. I didn't know the question to a really simple answer.

(These photos are from Grinnell. Downtown and somebody's cigarette sculpture outside Bucksbaum.)

things to look forward to

I'm staying with my auntie again this summer in Delhi. She has a computer and used to know how to use the internet and things but has forgotten because she so rarely needed to use it. I want to (re)teach her how to use e-mail so we can keep in touch more often and so she can also e-mail and receive photos from her daughter who's moved to Mumbai. I am also going to try to take my auntie to see the Taj Mahal. The Taj is only about an hour and a half drive, bus, or train ride away from her house in New Delhi, where she's lived for the last 20 years, but she has never been to see it. My 71 year old auntie lived in Delhi for most of her childhood and now her widowhood, but has never seen one of the most iconic images of India. My auntie is India. She was 10 in Delhi during Independence! She nearly missed singing the national anthem with her class for Jawaharlal Nehru on the day of Independence but her cousin bicycled her over just in time. I know the Taj isn't as big of a deal to Delhi-wallahs, but it's still all over and so emblematic and I think my auntie should visit. She's traveled a lot, but I also loved the Golden Temple, so if we have a longer weekend maybe we'll get to go to Amritsar, too.


Other things to look forward to for The Future:

reading for pleasure
nimbu panni
summer movies
bucket baths
apartment decorating
fresh midwestern vegetables and fruits
changing leaves
foggy, frosty fall days
60s dance parties

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

bollywood summer

I'll be in Delhi this summer and that means Bollywood for the summertime! I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of new films with my auntie in loud, air conditioned theatres. I'm going to come home with so many DVDs again, too.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic features two of my favorite Bollywood actors: Rani Mukherjee and my boy Saif Ali Khan (who looks real good as a nerdy lawyer or something...why did you have to tattoo Kareena's name on your arm, boy?). The movie itself looks really hokey and probably heartwarming. Not even in the way most Bollywood is cheesy, either. Saif adopts four orphans and is bad at being their guardian and Rani bicycles in on a rainbow road:

It looks like there probably isn't much song and dance, and it might be too hokey, but I'll probably see it anyways. I love Saif and Rani.


This is actually heartwarming:

"Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par," a movie made primarily for children, "has been dubbed in sign language for the benefit of hearing and speech impaired children," by Indore-based NGO Anand Mook Badhir Kendra. "Its director, Gyanendra Purohit told the United News of India (UNI) that all dialogues and songs of the film would be screened in sign language so that the children could also enjoy the movie along with others. He said they have also been considering to include the film in the education syllabus. With the state police providing its cameras and other equipments, the film had been dubbed in sign language within a fortnight." (from

Aamir Khan also looks kind of like a Bollywood Tom Hanks, to me.


6 June Heroes will be out. It seems pretty similar to the Rang De Besanti plot, but it has Preity so I'm happy.

11 July God Tussi Great Ho releases, though I'm dubious about it. Salman Khan is such a sleaze, and the poster and title make it seem like Amitabh will be playing God. Which is just weird.

I might see Singh is Kinng (8 August) but it actually sounds really stupid. I can only handle Akshay comedies when I'm in the right mood.

15 August I'll probably be leaving Delhi (and it's Independence Day, too...), but a Yash Raj film, Bachna Ae Haseeno, releases then. (Same with Drona.) Bummer. SRK's new movie, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, doesn't come out until 12 December, either. And Dulha Mil Gaya releases in November. Here's hoping Kambakht Ishq, Sunglass, Tasveer/Eight by Ten, Ghajini (a remake of Memento), Har Pall, and Dilli 6 release while I'm around!


Movies already released this year (a list of DVDs/VCDs to buy):

U Me aur Hum
Black & White
Jodhaa Akbar
Tashan (maybe)
The Last Lear

Saturday, May 17, 2008

end of the year

It's very strange to end a year in May. Spring means beginnings, right?

These are images of things that I am done with formally but that are supposed to impact the way I think forever. That sounds much more grandiose than I meant, but in some ways learning things in an institution is all about being grandiose, right? Building foundations and making connections and living life after that in a way that is changed and impacted, even if subconsciously. I like to imagine the things I learned this year are messy little forts scattered all over in my brain. Some of them are strung together, connected with dental floss or licorice or crown braids or rope.

(Wax, cast from plaster molds of a clay shape)

(Wafer cookies)

I've realized lately that most of what I write here doesn't make sense to anyone not in my head. I think that's ok. I think that maybe I might be at least conveying something that creates an impression of what I mean. I'm pretty ok with that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I always get along with boyfriends really well. I wonder what that means.

(What I meant by that is that I tend to get along with other peoples' boyfriends really well. Whatever that means.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I am feeling really groggy right now. I had a meeting this morning that went well but wasn't stellar and then an ending to my favorite class that was really abrupt in a way that I didn't realize until later. I took an accidental nap in the afternoon and missed a talk I was supposed to attend and then woke up and couldn't figure out if it was evening or morning. I was grumpy and barely dealt with way too many annoyances at dinnertime and now I have calmed down a bit but I still feel bad, in a different way. I feel like a bad person. I feel like I need to stretch. In high school once my gym teacher had us do all sorts of new age-y exercises that everyone groaned about but that I secretly thought were nice. At one point she had us lay on our backs and stretch. She told us to massage our underarms to get blood flowing to our lymph nodes. She said to massage our lymph nodes, they keep us healthy. I don't know if massaging your underarms actually helps your lymph nodes but I still do it anyways sometimes, especially when I'm feeling foggy like I am now. It helps something.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Sometimes I think we don't give ourselves enough credit. I give myself too much credit, but that's not what I mean. For the wrong things. Sometimes living is so amazing to me. Getting by. I wanted to cry for most of this evening because I am un-extraordinary and alone.

Sometimes being ordinary is rough.

I think that just surviving and getting by is such an accomplishment sometimes. I am not changing the world in big ways. I have to be ok with that. I am not a revolutionary. I am not Prestigious. Comparatively, maybe. I am going to have a degree in a year. That is a big deal. Comparatively. That is privilege. I need to rethink success. Reimagine. I am not them and measuring is useless. Opinions only matter if you care.

We're getting by. We're trying.

I feel like my life is a series of good spells where I forget and then short spells when I (re)realize how hard it is to keep up a facade of being happy and unintentional. That is probably not true. It's what it feels like now, at least.

Sometimes I am really aware of my shortcomings. Sometimes I am worried that it will be like this always, maybe with more sad parts. Things do not end. Forgetting and remembering are kind of the same.

Self, please remember: I am changing. Be aware. I am trying. I am coasting. Be intentional. Try. That's ok. That's enough.