27 October 2007

Ever get... urges?

When Megan and I aren't exchanging stories about spiders after lunch (worst possible time ever for that, by the way), we try to keep it culture-centric. A couple of weeks ago, we were swapping stories about artistic urges... that is to say, the way you feel when you need to do something artistic--whether it's painting, drawing, writing, etc. With her, it's writing poetry, but our experiences are surprisingly similar. There's a distracting sort of little gnawing away at the back of your mind and very abruptly, you start feeling edgy--almost uncomfortable. Your muscles tense up, your heartbeat quickens, there's a rush of adrenaline--"it's almost... sexual," she hesitated to say, but I'm inclined to agree. It's a very primitive emotion for something that is, in essence, very human.

Usually, when I get the urge to paint or draw, I don't have immediate access to the materials that I need, so I end up frustrated and irritated, or sometimes, just downright surly. Very suddenly today, I felt the need to paint. It's almost like your body just grew without warning and your skin's not keeping up--you feel confined and the only thing to break out of that shell is to create. Unfortunately, it takes me about 5 minutes to set up to paint, and in that time so much can go wrong--mostly, you run the risk of losing the clear picture you've created in your mind. I did end up painting--I'm not very happy with what I painted, but at least I did it. There is relief in that.

I've noticed that when I feel compelled to write however, it's much easier. It's probably simply because I always keep a small notepad and pen with me, or I'm close to a computer, so there's a much shorter time between that sensation and the actual act of writing. But something I've noticed with the writing compulsion is that my brow literally jumps up when I get a thought I want to write down. It's just for a moment, but I must look startled and bemused--like I've just heard an elderly woman swear.

May your artistic urges be many, always be requited, and your facial expressions priceless.

26 October 2007

Talk amongst ya'selves.

This is amazing. I feel that Zack Hickman would be proud.

And now to add a little bit to a post that Eryn started. Since I'm at work, I'm not going to presently answer the more difficult questions, but I'll get to them soon.

Favorite Store Bought Cookie: You know, it's a tough call between the Oreo and the Mint Milano cookie from Pepperidge Farm. There's a Pepperidge Farm discount store (aka the "we sell expired cookies" store), just over the RI/MA border, so I may have to do some tie-breaking research this weekend. For the moment, I will default to the Oreo--Eryn's favorite--which always seems to be my favorite, as well.

Favorite Smell: I love the smell of beach roses. It rockets me back to summers spent camping on Hermit Island in Maine when I was a child. (It's as deceptively named as Rhode Island, as Hermit Island is actually a peninsula.) The swarms of bees, jumbo-jet mosquitoes, and a scooter wipe-out on a rocky dirt road pale in comparison to my memory of beach roses. The smell of a cool summer night is something of which I'll never get enough. The frantic smells of the day have sunken and the calm night air just lays over the fresh grass like a weightless blanket. It's peaceful, but not too peaceful, for somewhere in the distance is a Portuguese karaoke festival. Fantastico.

Favorite time/day of the week: Before I started this job, I would have said Friday night, but now I'm wiped out by Friday night. So, now I'm going to say Saturday afternoon. The day seems to have such promise after sleeping in (which at this point, is until 8:30 or 9), getting up, making coffee, leisurely getting ready, doing some yoga, then I like to hit the East Side for some (more) coffee or maybe some Thai or Antonio's... yesssss. I'm all for the simple things.

Favorite TV channel: Waaaaay back in the day when I had cable, it was between Travel, Food, and Comedy Central. Yes--three of my favorite things, which I guess means that a hilarious trip involving food would be ideal (Cinque Terre, post-dinner, A-Town giving Rachel a piggie-back ride--an amazing example.) Nowadays, if I actually watch TV, it's usually a PBS travel or science show, or "Father Ted" repeats. You can feel my vibrating waves of dorkiness from here, can't you? I don't care--"Father Ted" is amazing--the "Pete and Pete" of Ireland.

Favorite mode of transportation: Dublin light-rail. Absolutely. You're surrounded by people with charming accents who love to extemporaneously speak on nearly any subject, and all the stops are announced in English and Gaelic. A recording of a woman with a beautiful, futuristic voice says, "Smithfield... Nakherakrushnah..." Mmmmmmotherland! My Irish senses are tingling.

Favorite animal: Canines, in general, but wolves are such beautiful animals. Who can't embrace a creature that's the subject of quality airbrushed van art the world over? Polar bears, elephants, and gorillas round out the top 4 of my favorite animals.

Favorite childhood memory: Oh jeez. This is going to have to wait.

Favorite post-adolescent/adult memory: As is this.

In the meantime (and not that I give a hoot), but... how about them Sox?


23 October 2007

Like we are all half crazy and all at least half alright.

I got my tickets to the JR benefit gig, December 11th in Cambridge, a smidge more than two months after seeing him a couple stops down on the Red Line in Somerville. It's a tiny place and he's playing a ("mostly") solo acoustic show for the benefit of a friend with cancer. Good music and a good cause--during the season of giving? What more can you ask for? Should be amazing.

Obama was in Boston today for a rally, but I skipped it so I could get home before 9. Sorry Barack--but you don't need to preach to the choir. You got my vote, and frankly, a Democrat speaking in Massachusetts is like the Pope speaking in Brazil... you're surrounded by your biggest fans. But I guess it's a good ego-boost (especially with Hillary schooling him in the polls lately.) Whatever--his universal healthcare plan is by far the most solid. Go Barack.

But who am I kidding--I'll vote for whatever blue person is on the ballot.


21 October 2007

Of yoga, art, forums, and Finns.

Oh you know... just listening to some Dusty Springfield, hanging outside, enjoying some té bianca. Cause that's how I roll on a Sunday. Went out for a late brunch on Wickenden this afternoon with Joj, cause you know, sometimes a girl just has to have some blueberry pancakes. It was nice enough to eat outside–-sunny and warm–-the last bastion of summer... perhaps.

I've been a pretty good A-Town lately. Made the switch to skim moo juice, and I'm not really sure why it took me so long. I've also started up a daily yoga routine after little Erin gave me a talking-to ("you have to find the time!"), and I'm glad that she did. I took it senior year and did it off-and-on for a while, but now I'm back with avengence--it's actually become something that I look forward to post-work. It's a great way to chill out and rid oneself of a long commute. And it's easier to keep up than running or biking since it isn't weather or equipment-dependent. We may have found a winner.

As if I really even need to say so, NPR is amazing. They've posted the recent Josh Ritter concert from DC on iTunes–-for free. And, immediately following the concert, there's an interview. The guy conducting it is a bit of a tool who apparently loves the sound of his own voice, but whatever... JR's rad. NPR's website also posted an acoustic in-studio of "To The Dogs or Whoever". It's a great time to be a Mr. Ritter fan or to become one (hint hint Eryn.)

I've been in a major lull for art work lately, but I've been writing more. They seem to balance each other out, but it's still frustrating to want to draw or paint, but find oneself with a blank page and a mind equally barren of inspiration. Tips as to beating the blank canvas syndrome are welcome.

Alright, it's getting chilly and dark, so I'm moving inside.

I had a classic lunchtime phone call from A-Town this week, and among other things, we spoke of where he and Eryn were going to be staying while in Rome--as far as I know, it's still up in the air. I've been trying to remember where we stayed as a class in Rome... not that I'm advocating that as a honeymoon destination. But it was very close to the Theatre of Pompey where Caesar was stabbed, and relatively close to the "Typewriter" in Piazza Venezia. It seems that you can't really go wrong in terms of what is surrounding you in Rome.

"This is where Augustus stubbed his toe and uttered, 'stupid Jesus sandals' ...truly curious, as Jesus was not active or alive during that time."

But I just want to advocate the NY Times travel section (here is their section on Rome.) It has everything. It breaks themes and topics down to manageable chunks. When looking at a place that you're not familiar with (say, Barcelona), it's almost a little overwhelming, but don't be alarmed. For the relatively OCD traveler such as myself, it's amazing.

One last item, Kimi Raikkonen, taciturn Finnish F1 driver extraordinaire, has (finally) won his first World Championship. Yeah, Kimi! It was beginning to feel like rooting for the Sox, pre-2004. As for you, Mr. Hamilton--maybe next year. You've still got quite a career ahead of you, so... don't blow it.

13 October 2007

"Balls to the water."

I was fishing through my closet today and found a cheapo video camera that I used during the Bufa Reunion of 2005. There was only about 9 minutes of footage on the tape, but it was like finding $50 in the pocket of a coat you haven't worn in years (though that's not to put a price on the Bufas.) I plugged that puppy in (unfortuntately, it's VHS), and it was nine golden minutes of the camera pivoting on the table, capturing Rachel, A-Town, Fink, me, and the one and only PL being... stupid. That is to say, us. We're singing along with John Mayer's brief foray into blues, out of key and getting the words wrong. We're playing a delectable game of Tunk, where I drag Team A-Town down, Eryn giggles like a giddy school girl, A-Town soulfully "sings," and Rachel plays air guitar with her teeth. And Fink is an old man.

Of course.

I'm happy to have found it, but it was also a sentimental reminder that I haven't seen three of those peeps face to face in two years to the day. How odd.

April's so far off.

06 October 2007

But the music's never loud enough.

Right when I stepped out of Back Bay Friday morning, I knew it was going to be a fantastic day. But before I get to why I was more right than I ever could have imagined, let me break it down like a fraction for ya.

The Journey

Work was unremarkable, though exceedingly slow. I got out in plenty of time for the 7:30 concert opening... or so I thought. Little Erin and I were going to the show together and I was going to swing by her apartment first, then we'd grab some pizza with E.C. and her friend before the show.

The T has a funny way of choosing when it catches fire.

Park Street, the main hinge of the T, combusted at rush hour on this particular Friday–the very Friday before a long holiday weekend. And, oh yeah, the Sox were playing. Amazing.

But apart from the relatively inconvenient delay, it was actually sort of beautiful. I went up to Tremont to see people literally filling the streets around Downtown Crossing and Park. All this was happening at sunset with the city just beginning to slip into its nighttime glow. It was surreal... like a very pretty and only slightly annoying apocalypse.

Eventually, the red line started running again and I was able to get to Davis Square and meet up with the girls. We desparately needed sustenance, so we got pizza in lieu of the bulk of the opening act's set. I am glad, however, that I got to see Old School Freight Train's version of "Heart of Glass" which was nothing short of genius.

As soon as I saw our seats, I began to smile with a grin that still remains plastered on my face at this moment. I was dead center, seventh row in a tiny venue. While we were waiting, Erin noted that it felt like the theatre had really great energy, and I have to agree. It was pretty electric, even when people were just waiting for the show to start.

The Show

Josh and the band came out and played a phenomenal set chock full of wholesome rocking goodness. They boiled with energy and enthusiasm, opening with "Mind's Eye" and "To The Dogs Or Whoever." The fact that they were having a blast playing up there made it so much more enjoyable for everyone. It was like permission to not take it too seriously. Josh was smiling away the whole time he sang, and 90% of the audience had the same expression reflected on their faces.

Unfortunately, I can't remember the whole set list, but some major highlights were "Rumors," "Me & Jiggs," "The Temptation of Adam," and "Naked As A Window" flowing into an assertive, electric version of "Girl in the War." "Monster Ballads" and "Here At The Right Time" were so beautiful that I welled up with tears. I liked those two songs before, but I love them now. His voice was clear and strong and the band was tight. He sang a full song without the mic, projecting out into the venue. It was amazing.

Josh also gets props for good banter, as I'm a big fan of concert banter. Ryan Adams is pretty good in a rambling-crazy-guy sort of way (when he bothers to actually speak), but Josh was humble and charming and just a little bit goofy--"...but avoid the deli section, where they're angry for no apparent reason..."

Long story, short, it was incredible and the most fun I've ever had at a show.

The Ritter

Afterwards, Erin and I went for a drink at a particularly classy establishment... and by "classy," I mean "questionable smelling," and by "establishment," I mean "closet with 60 people in it."

When we walked back by the venue, Josh was signing stuff and talking to fans. We stuck around to chat with him. I'm not going to say I wasn't nervous, because I sort of was, but I wasn't intimidated. He was just genuinely happy that people cared enough to hang out and talk to him about music and life and everything else.

We chatted about the show and random things (Erin: How are you sooo humble?), and I ended up giving him a dog tag from an on-going project by a Providence artist. It had occurred to me a while ago that its engraved quotation just seemed really in tune with his music and maybe some of the philosophy behind it. Apparently, my intuition was correct--he loved it. Really. "Oh man, I wish I wrote that line!" he said. He was so appreciative, and at the risk of using a bland word, he was nice. He was really, truly nice.

Even if he hadn't taken the time to talk to us, I would still buy his music and go to his shows, but the fact that he did simply reinforced why I dig him, his music, and why I would do something like give him that one particular token...

"in the smallness of this world/ in the smallness of this world/ in the small small smallness of this world."

04 October 2007

"STOP. Just stop. Next time, I'm silencing you at the fifth syllable."

Having just talked about The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, I felt compelled to post this. An artist lived in the Providence Place Mall undetected for four years. That's 36 different kinds of amazing. Make sure to go to his website and look at his statement--it's pure gold. And judging from an article or two that I've seen, it sounds like the police weren't even mad... sounds like they were actually subtly impressed. I mean, who wouldn't be a little amused?


Edit: by the by, this link was provided by Rob. I would give you his blog address, but he doesn't actually post. What a little bitch.