Monday, November 29, 2010

A perfect end.

Thank you Thanksgiving.
You were just what I needed.

Everyone came to our house for Thanksgiving. Billie Ann was the main chef, so no one should be surprised that we had falafel as an appetizer, oyster stuffing, and curried cranberry sauce.

Saturday was my cousin Emilie's bridal shower. I officially have my plane tickets so I can go to her wedding at the end for December.

Sunday night, my room mates and I had Thanksgiving Part II with all of our leftovers.

This is what Aspen Grove looks like right now:

Can you believe I live here? Neither can I.

I was listening to Prairie Home Companion on the way home from church on Sunday, and Punch Brothers were the guest artist. You know when you hear the first notes of a certain song, and you think, "THIS IS IT"? It happened to me when I watched "Once" and heard "Falling Slowly". It doesn't happen that often. Well, this is one of those songs.

The drive home was a perfect end to the short break.

"Back to school, and I hate it there.
Everything I want, I gotta wait a year."

I relate to you Kanye. I'm glad your lyrics mimic my emotions. And congrats on releasing an album that everyone says is the greatest thing ever. And I sure am grateful that you provided an alternate album cover. I'll take the ballerina, thanks.

Actually, I don't hate school. But I still feel like my life won't start until school stops. It doesn't help that I'm thinking of changing my major... yep.

two more weeks,
two more weeks,
two more weeks,
of classes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Mix: Something to cure what ails you

Alrighty tighty. You know those weeks when everything is wrong? You feel sort of desperate and broken and tired? Well this past week was one of those weeks. This mix is a shout-out to that feeling. Everything was a wonderful high, everything was terrible low. I think it was all just too much really. I was in a rush of school, work, HARRY POTTER, and snow. So here is how you fix it.

You let yourself commiserate and wallow in the mire of self-pity, and then you get better.

I feel much better now at least. You know, remembering to keep the main thing the main thing. That relief is mostly do to the fact that we have THANKSGIVING BREAK! And we are eating at my house! And I've been recruited to spend tomorrow making pies. Like 50 of them. Just so you know, thanksgiving is getter bigger and better. Billie Ann Devine found a new recipe for cranberry sauce that uses lychee fruit in it, so that means we will have a grand total of EIGHT TYPES OF CRANBERRY SAUCE. BOO-YAH.


Here is the mix to get you back on your feet. You are free from class for a few days, and you can use the snow as an excuse for being anti-social. Tracks 1-9 are the illness. These are the songs that run through my head when I have a fever. Tracks 10-16 are the cure, with a spoonful of sugar. Tune in, and have a safe and snug night.

1. Something Is Wrong - Phantom Planet
2. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan
3. Better Than Me - The Brobecks
4. I'm So Tired - The Beatles
5. It's Easy to Sleep When You're Dead - of Montreal
6. Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine - The White Stripes
7. Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches
8. Used Goods - Love Is All
9. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh! - Sufjan Stevens
10. If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle & Sebastian
11. Make You Feel Better - Red Hott Chili Peppers
12. Keep It Together - Guster
13. Fix You - Coldplay
14. Lullabye - Billy Joel
15. Days Like This Help Me Warm  - The Polyphonic Spree
16. True Love Will Find You in the End - Beck

P.S. I just figured out this playlist thing, so I hope it works! The only track missing is The Beatles. iTunes may have them  now, but they still are M.I.A. on grooveshark

Friday, November 12, 2010

I get by with a little help from my nonhuman friends.

That book I talked about a bit ago, "Pandora's Hope," got me thinking about nonhumans, formerly known as objects.

Definition of nonhumans: "This concept has meaning only in the difference between the pair 'human-nonhuman' and the subject'object dichotomy. Associations of humans and nonhumans refer to a different political regime from the war forced upon us by the distinction between subject and object. a nonhuman is thus the peacetime version of the object: what the object would look like if it were not engaged in the war to shortcut due to political process. The pair human-nonhuman is not a way to 'overcome' the subject-object distinction but a way to bypass it entirely."

From what I understand up to this point, Latour attempts bridge the divide that has artificially created, separating "us" and "them". So everyone is everything and we are all part of each other. This is a bit easier for Mormons to understand.

Moses 6:63 "And behold, all things have their alikeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me."

In class, we talked about how "all things" means ALL things. So that pen you are holding to take notes in class, the bagel with pear jam you had for breakfast, slush on the side of the road? Yep. They are testimonies of divinity. Latour may not have had such spiritual inclinations as he wrote, but I think he would give an appreciative nod to Mormon conception of human-nonhuman.

Anyway, I am human; and I love nonhumans; specifically these things here.

1. My car

 OK. Putting up a picture of a car makes me feel like a bad word. Like I am a 19 year old boy or something. This isn't my actual car, but it looks a lot like this. Mine has tinted windows. It makes me feel fancy. My car's name is Leon because: 1) the first CD I listened to whilst driving was a "Kings of Leon" 2) the Real Salt Lake Mascot is named "Leo" C) I have an appreciation for Leonardo DiCaprio D) Leon means '"lion" in Spanish. I guess none of those reasons are really connected, but they are good enough for me. I have been a walker and bus-taker for years. I regularly made the two-hour trip to Salt Lake hopping on and off buses and trax.
It was ok.
I try to decrease my carbon footprint, but when I got a job in the mountains, I needed transport to and from school, so there you go. One day, I will not have to drive so much, but until then, I have Leon.

2. Perfume

I like perfume so much, I haven't worn any of my own for the past few months. I always want to be ready so that if I walk into a store, I won't have a confusion of scents and I can experience them the way they are supposed to be experienced. I got a huge perfume coffee table book for Christmas, and then this book for my birthday:
When I live in Virginia this summer I will venture to New York if only to go to this store, and revisit this place. I love perfumes because they are the most frivolous and nonsensical things to buy. That is what make them lovely. 

I also love...
3. Shower curtains

They provide privacy in the bathroom, but can also be used to spruce up a bedroom cheaply. I have some hanging on my walls.

Thank you my nonhuman friends. You help move myself, enrich my life, and make things beautiful. Asceticism is all the rage, but I will always cherish "objects" and the relationships I have with them. They almost want me study Archeology...almost. Oh, nonhuman friends...where would I be without you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Library Notice

Everytime I see a message from the BYU library circulation, my heart skips a beat, but it always says the same thing:


Lee Library

Devine, Gretchen E


You recently placed holds on the following materials. You
will be notified by email when these materials are available.
If you no longer need these items, please remove the hold, so
other library patrons will not be unnecessarily inconvenienced.
To remove a hold:
(Login, click on "Review My Account", then under "Holds"
click items to cancel, then click "Cancel Selected Holds.")

If you have any questions, please contact us at 422-6765 or reply
to this email.

Never let me go / Kauzo Ishiguro
Number of copies in circulation: 1
Your holds queue position : 3



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We made such a mess together.

I have to admit, for the first half hour of the Sufjan Stevens concert, I was unsettled. I had heard that this album was different, but since I had only listened to “Enchanting Ghost” and “Futile Devices,” I didn’t realize to what extent. I don’t know how to explain it, but I was worried that he wasn’t creating music like this because he wanted to, but just because. I don’t like it when people do things just because. It seems nihilistic to me, I guess. I don’t know if I’m using that term right. I need them to be compelled to do what they are doing, or at least to want to, in terms of music anyway. Or maybe I just didn’t want him to be one of those “phony” people that Holden Caulfield is always going on about.

I mean, he was wearing a sideways visor for goodness sake. With LED’s. I didn’t know if I could trust him just yet.

Then about half-way through, he told us about Royal Robertson. His story reminds me of the feeling I had when I went to Vegas to see Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright and met up with Jade, and she took me to that house where a guy puts a new object outside every night so that aliens won’t abduct him. So his house, roof, porch, everything is just covered with STUFF. Like tons of it. Lawn ornaments and decorations and signs and cars and it’s COVERED. And we drove to that house, and we ran outside and touched the fence, and I was really a scared for real. And then we went to that same house the next day and it was light outside and I thought “Well, this is all kind of silly”. And I wished that we hadn’t seen the house in the day so that it could still be eerie in my mind. So when Sufjan talked about Royal, it was kind of the opposite experience. I started out thinking, “Well, this is kind of silly,” then I saw it in the light and and thought it was pretty awesome. I wish he had told Royal’s story earlier; then I would have understood things more from the beginning. Like when we read the liner notes before we watched The BQE. Helpful.

By the way The BQE is a lot like this book that I’m reading for my Philosophies of Anthropology class:

Chapter titles include: “‘Do You Believe in Reality?’: News from the Trenches of the Science Wars”, “The Historicity of Things: Where Were Microbes Before Pasteur?”, and a soon to be favorite, “A Collective of Humans and Nonhumans”.

Anyway. I “Impossible Soul” is where it all turned around for me. I loved it. And I loved how Sufjan danced and I am really disappointed that my youtube search on “How To Dance Like Sufjan Stevens” was fruitless. DID I MENTION HE USED AUTO-TUNE?! Although the part that he sang that way mentioned windows and it immediately made me think of this. Distraction. In the end, he rewarded our acceptance of his new album with some songs from Illinoise. All I really wanted was to hear John Wayne Gacy Jr., and Sufan delivered. After I thought about it a while, these new songs are not so different from his other ones. Strip down the instrumentation and you have the same concepts.

What a night.

Thanks Sufjan Stevens, we really can do much more together.