Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story.

This was mentioned in one of my classes today, and so I just spent the last 20 minutes sitting on the couch enraptured watching it. I had never heard of Chimamanda Adichie before or read any of her books, but after 20 minutes I can tell you she is pretty great and what she has to say is pretty important, not to mention pretty darn inspiring for what I want to do with my life, and also anytime I see something like this I am in awe/jealous that I will never be able to speak publicly so intelligently, and so this is what I like today and I think you should listen to it.

Ps. This whole website seems somewhat amazing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rain boots.

I am an increasingly big fan of things which are extremely simple and remarkably efficient. In fact as a society we could all use much more of them. And one of those things are rain boots. The Northwest is notorious for being rainy - in fact, as a kid growing up on the East Coast, this is pretty much all I ever learned about the Northwest, that it rains a lot, which seems slightly weird/funny to me now - but the truth is most of the time it's this light, drizzly rain that is often so constant during the fall and winter that one almost doesn't notice it after awhile. However, this morning when we took Toby out for his morning walk it was a certifiable downpour, almost akin to a thunderstorms-in-the-South kind of downpour. Well, not really like that, because it wasn't muggy and magical, just shocking and cold. My sneakers and socks quickly became soaked and my jeans commenced that awful mysterious event wherein as soon as the cuffs were wet the water immediately traveled upwards until I was soaked up to my knees. If there is one thing I really do NOT like, it is this walking-in-jeans-in-the-rain phenomena. So before heading back outside again on my way to class, my eyes alighted on my rain boots and I said, "Hey! Now there's a good idea." And let me tell you, they are. Wearing rain boots almost feels like a joyous adventure to me. Every time I walk right through a puddle and don't feel ANYTHING I feel practically giddy. Even if it is raining all day, my feet and my pants are bone dry when I come home. It is amazing. Also, they often come in an array of fun designs and bright colors, they are comfortable (I did a lot of walking today and didn't even get a blister), and often they are real cheap. If only everything in life was that awesome.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brandi Carlile.

I feel like I don't even know how to start to write about Brandi Carlile because I love her SO MUCH that I feel like it will be impossible to describe it without delving into hyper tween fandom shouting. She is my Jonas Brothers, she is my whoever-the-stars-from-Twilight-are, she is JUST AWESOME AND I LOVE HER, OKAY?!?! I LOVE HER! And yes, this picture is extremely hot, whether you're gay or not (she is)!

Okay but seriously here's the deal: When I am busy, kinda stressed out, kinda feeling like I am in one of those stretches of time where life is just unexciting and tiring, and I put in one of her records and I haven't listened to her in a while, as soon as I hear that voice, all the muscles in my neck and shoulders relax, bam just like that, and I feel better, comforted and calm. No joke. Here's the deal, furthermore: If you just listen to her records, you hear another good, folksy, female singer-songwriter, good but not life changing. If you see her in concert, you are hyper tween fandom IN LOVE FOREVER. I think I have seen her in concert now as many times as I have seen Hanson in concert - five, six? - and if you know me and my history with Hanson, that is saying something. My favorite live experiences of hers include seeing her with the Seattle Symphony last year, and seeing her for free at Copley Square in Boston the summer of 2007, because it was free and so Boston-y and summer-y and fun.

Specific song notes: Every time I hear The Story (the song) I am floored by how much I like it. Every time I get That Year stuck in my head and think about the lyrics too much I feel like crying.

She is amazing at covers and these have been my faves:
1) Madman Across the Water, at the Crystal Ballroom last year, Portland
2) Fortunate Son, Copley Square, Boston
3) Hallelujah, Seattle Symphony
4) Mad World, this week at Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
5) Folsom Prison Blues, various concerts

Recently I have also been realizing how, even though I started listening to her a long time ago, I have begun to strongly associate her music with the Northwest. In particular, all of my favorite, fun things about the Northwest - drives to Seattle, Seattle itself, drives to Eugene, drives to the coast and to the Columbia Gorge, going to random festivals in random small towns, getting Burgerville milkshakes. Seattle in particular, and I'm not sure if this is because I know she's from the Seattle area, or because the Seattle Symphony concert was so awesome, or because I have just really been wanting to go to Seattle lately and have been thinking about it while listening to her new CD on repeat in my car. In any case, I have been mentally organizing my life by music for years and years and feel comforted that certain songs will always bring me back to certain places: Dave Matthews Band owns fall and field hockey seasons in high school, Modest Mouse owns that one summer in Boston I worked at Barnes and Noble and hated it, Wilco owns the semester I spent in Europe, Arcade Fire own my last year in Boston, and Brandi Carlile owns my life here & now, among the fir trees and Cascade Range peaks and traffic on I-5.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pretty much any & everything pumpkin related.

Including but not limited to:
1) Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte
2) Burgerville's Seasonal Pumpkin Milkshake (still not available yet, though...we wait for the day)
3) Pumpkin bread
4) Pumpkin pie
5) The Pumpkin Patch at Sauvie Island - Corn maze and all!
6) The Pumpkin Festival at Oregon Hill Farms in St. Helens we went to our first year here
7) Pretty much any fall pumpkin festival ever
8) Pumpkin pancakes
9) Pumpkin beer
10) Toasted pumpkin seeds
11) Yes, the word 'pumpkin' does look weird after typing it that many times

In conclusion, pumpkins & my favorite season = awesome.