Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Verse: "The Nature of Gothic" - Margaret Atwood

I show you a girl running at night
among trees that do not love her
and the shadows of many fathers 
without paths, without even
torn bread or white stones
under a moon that says nothing to her.
I mean it says: Nothing
There is a man nearby
who claims he is a lover
but smells of plunder.
How many times will he have to tell her
to kill herself before she does? 
It's no use to say
to this girl: You are well cared for.
Here is a safe room, here
is food and everything you need. 
She cannot see what you see.
The darkness washes towards her
like an avalanche. Like falling.
She would like to step forward into it
as if it were not a vacancy
but a destination,
leaving her body pulled off
and crumpled behind her like a sleeve. 
I am the old woman
found always in stories like this one,
who says, Go back, my dear. 
Back is into the cellar
where the worst is,
where the others are,
where you can see
what you would look like dead
and who wants it. 
Then you will be free
to choose. To make
your way.

                                          - Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Music for your Midweek: Lake Street Dive - "Call Off Your Dogs"

Presenting your mom's new favorite song! You thought it was going to be "Happy" forever? We got some new kids in town. Give 'em a listen:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saturday Verse: "Possible Activities" - Margaret Atwood

You could sit on your chair and pick over the language
as if it were a bowl of peas.
A lot of people do that.
It might be instructive.
You don't even need the chair,
you could juggle plates of air. 
You could poke sticks through the chain-link fence
at your brain, which you keep locked up in there,
which crouches and sulks like an old tortoise,
and glares out at you, sluggish and eyeless.
You could tease it that way,
make it blunder and think,
and emit a croaking sound
you could call truth.
A harmless activity,
sort of like knitting,
until you go too far with it
and they bring out the nooses and matches. 
Or you could do something else.
Something more sociable.
More group-oriented.
A lot of people do that too.
They like the crowds and the screaming,
they like the adrenalin. 
Hunker down. Get a blackout curtain.
Pretend you're not home.
Pretend you're deaf and dumb.
Look: pitchforks and torches!
Judging from old pictures,
things could get worse.

                                            - Margaret Atwood 

Friday, February 19, 2016

February Mix: Time moves both ways

Got your little Pick 'n' Mix for ya right here. They're all medicine flavored:

1. My Life Is Starting Over Again - Daniel Johnston

2. Hey Lover - Blake Mills

3. Down By The Water - The Drums

4. Complexion (A Zulu Love) - Kendrick Lamar

5. So Real - Jeff Buckley

6. Time, As A Symptom - Joanna Newsom

7. The Anchor Song - Bj√∂rk

8. Affection - Cigarettes After Sex

9. Secrets Of The Stars - The Milk Carton Kids

10. Looking Out For You - Joy Again

11. Bros - Wolf Alice

12. Rider Of Days - Patty Griffin

1. Yes Daniel Johnston. Let's go.
3. I can't get over these guys. Watch this video that's kind of a big deal.
4. "If you don't see you beautiful in your complexion / It ain't complex to put it in context / Find the air beneath the kite / that's the context" Check out this great interview with Rhapsody who did a guest verse on "Complexion".
5. Breaking my heart a million times over.
6. She's coming to Salt Lake! Can't wait to see her.
9. They are also coming to Salt Lake! Sold out. But if you find a spare ticket you want to gift me, I wouldn't mind.
10. This week's cuties
12. Excited for his album. Hoping to take it out on a walk soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Music for your Midweek: Joy Again - "Looking Out for You"

Me, Lucia, and Anthony as cute kids in my
grandma Billie Ann's old house in Lancaster Drive.
circa 1990?

Listen to these cute kids.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Verse: "Dutiful" - Margaret Atwood

How did I get so dutiful? Was I always that way?
Going around as a child with a small broom and dustpan,
sweeping up dirt I didn't make,
or out into the yard with a stunted rake,
weeding the gardens of others
—the dirt blew back, the weeds flourished, despite my efforts—
and all the while with a frown of disapproval
for other people's fecklessness, and my own slavery.
I didn't perform these duties willingly.
I wanted to be on the river, or dancing,
but something had me by the back of the neck.
That's me too, years later, a purple-eyed wreck,
because whatever had to be finished wasn't, and I stayed late,
grumpy as a snake, on too much coffee,
and further on still, those groups composed of mutterings
and scoldings, and the set-piece exhortation:
Somebody ought to do something! That was my hand shooting up. 
But I've resigned. I've ditched the grip of my echo.
I've decided to wear sunglasses, and a necklace
adorned with the gold word NO,
and eat flowers I didn't grow.
Still, why do I feel so responsible
for the wailing from shattered houses,
for birth defects and unjust wars,
and the soft, unbearable sadness
filtering down from distant starts?

                                                    - Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

To dust you shall return

     This year's Lent snuck up on me. I like to live by these old traditions, if only to give my life some structure when I feel a bit unsteady. The ash crosses that people receive on their foreheads is supposed to remind them of their own mortality. Grim, but important, I guess. Near tragic when you see babies with their heads marked. I did a bit a bit of searching this morning, and found these to be a goo primer. Also, this lovely editorial on Lent. A thought from it here:

Wisdom comes from the bare places because they force humility upon us. In these Lenten places, where life thrives on almost nothing, we can see clearly how large a shadow modern life and consumption cast upon the earth... learn the value of abstention and... consider how to let the bare places flourish, or even simply to exist. 

     From Arthur Brooks talks about practicing Lent as "rebellion for grownups". Writing in the New York Times, he says "[lent is] a personal declaration of independence. The objective is not to cause yourself damage, but to accept the pain and fear that are a natural part of life". Right up my alley. I'm big on remembering my own mortality.

      I considered giving up meat, but thought it would be too easy. Seconds later, I walked into the office break room where there were leftover sandwiches up for grabs. I hate passing up a free thing. I let myself have that sandwich, but I'm giving up meat for the next 46 days. It really is going to be hard because it means
1) Passing up on free food that has meat
2) No more three-pointer specials at Jazz Games
3) No cheeseburgers which is mostly my favorite food (S/O to Wendy's Cheeseburger Deluxe. It's only $1.29 you guys)
     And I just remembered I'm going to tea on friday (no ham crossoints) and lunch on Saturday (no cafe rio pork salad or New York H from Hires). So I guess this year's Lent option is an acceptable sacrifice. Maybe next year I'll try for the real deal.

Revisiting this album as a Lent soundtrack.
What does it matter?
We're all gonna die.

From here

Music for your Midweek: Arcade Fire - "Here Comes the Night Time"

New video from Arcade Fire that they filmed during Carnaval in Haiti in 2014:

Arcade Fire are still as special to me as they were 10 years ago, even if they've gotten a bit silly and self-important at times. Here are some of my favorite parts from Win Butler's interview with Rolling Stone back in 2013:

Can you tell me a little bit about both parts of "Here Comes the Night Time"? Both songs are very different from each other, and build very intensely. They're kind of opposites. The second one was actually written first and it almost starts the second half of the record – kind of like after the Carnival. Both of them are very much influenced by when the sun is just starting to go down in Port au Prince, and it's really intense because most of the city doesn't have electricity so everyone is just racing to get home before dark. 
In the airport in Haiti there are always these packs of missionaries with matching T-shirts that say "God loves Haiti." And you talk to some of these people and you're like, "Oh what are you guys doing here?" And they're like, "Oh we're going to help Haiti! We're going to paint houses!" And you're like, "Well why don't you hire a Haitian to paint the houses? I guarantee they would love to paint a house." So I don't know, it's just like this mashup of missionaries and Port au Prince and that's probably it. 
Are those some of the missionaries you sing about in "Here Comes the Night Time?"
Yeah. Well there's a line in it that says, "The missionaries, they tell us we'll be left behind, we've been left behind a thousand times." 
What were you thinking when you wrote that?
Just the absurdity that you can go to a place like Haiti and teach people something about God. Like, the opposite really seems to be true, in my experience. I've never been to a place with more belief and more knowledge of God. 
On the last record you were singing a little bit about the parents' perspective. What do you think the songs have in common?
I studied the Bible and philosophy in college and I think in a certain sense that's the kind of stuff that still makes my brain work. There's an essay by Kierkegaard called The Present Age that I was reading a lot that's about the reflective age. This is like in [1846], and it sounds like he's talking about modern times. He's talking about the press and alienation, and you kind of read it and you're like, "Dude, you have no idea how insane it's gonna get." [Laughs.
What about Kierkegaard's essay did you find relevant?
It reads like it was written here, basically. He basically compares the reflective age to a passionate age. Like, if there was a piece of gold out on thin ice, in a passionate age, if someone went to try and get the gold, everyone would cheer them on and be like, "Go for it! Yeah you can do it!" And in a reflective age, if someone tried to walk out on the thin ice, everyone would criticize them and say, "What an idiot! I can't believe you're going out on the ice to try and risk something." So it would kind of paralyze you to even act basically, and it just kind of resonated with me — wanting to try and make something in the world instead of just talking about things.

There you go. I got some studying to do.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday Verse: "Birthday" - May Swenson

What am I doing here?
What are the waves doing running? —
the grass doing growing?
What is the worm doing
making its hole? —
the sun glowing? — the stone
sitting unmoving. Remove
the stone: A shadow is missing. 
The moon is making its circle.
A moth is emerging.
A mountain is shifting. A forest
is burning. A snake
is leaving its skin. A fig tree
is bearing. What am I doing here —
the waves running and hissing? 
Dawn is doing its breaking.
The grass is growing.
A buttercup fills with light.
What am I doing? What am I making?
What is the stone doing? Making
its shadow. The worm is making its hole.

- May Swenson                                                                              

Still getting used to being 29 years old.

Hoping this article is true.

Friday, February 5, 2016

---> Happy Birthday to Myself <---

Last known photo of me as a 28-year old

I'm old, guys. Officially twenty-nine today, and feeling terrified. Here is a random selection of some of my favorite things to keep us distracted for the next year or hour or whatever:

My theme song by Daniel Johnston:

Carpool Karaoke featuring Chris Martin. This video reminded me that "Yellow" is truly one of the most romantic, beautiful songs and I may have choked up a bit. Also, you should just watch all of these vids, especially the one with Jason Derulo. He is ADORABLE:

And here's a sweet story by Miranda July:

This cover by Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield that I never get tired of listening to and posting:

That's it kids. 
Carpe Diem, I guess

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Heart Hungry Woman

I have taken advantage of task-less work days to revisit article and links I've kept in my bookmarks bar. Here's some of what I found.

A little while back, I started researching the life of my great-great-great-grandmother, Emily Dow Partridge. I had to stop my digging because it made me feel too much. I felt heart-sick for her and for myself. You can see the burdens she carries in being a wife and mother. I think there is a similar burden in not filling those roles. It's awful to feel so out of control of your own life.

from here

Our lives and challenges were different, but I feel a sense of sisterhood with her. I still can't believe that I am her descendant (though we both seem to share a similar sense of gloom. It shouldn't be too surprising). She was married to Joseph Smith, and then to Brigham Young. This is part of her story, first found here:

"...have been sick in bed for two days. Am much better today. I feel rather dispirited and a good cry might do me good. I feel quite ashamed to be known as a wife of the richest man in the territory, and yet we are so poor. I do not know why he is so loth to provide for me. My children are his children. He provides sumptuously for some of his family. If he was a poor man it would be different . . . He manifests a desire to cast me off, and I cannot ask him for anything. What his hired men will let me have I get, but it is like pulling teeth to get that sometimes. I feel very loanly tonight. I hope I do not sin in my feelings. 
Sunday. Today I’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking. My mind goes back to days gone by. And what do I find, can I find anything so pleasant that I could wish to live it over again or even to dwell upon it in thought, with any degree of satisfaction. No I cannot. My life has been like a panorama of disagreeable pictures. As I scan them over one by one, they bring no joy, and I invariably wind up with tears. I have been heart hungry all my life, always hoping against hope, until the years are nearly spent, and hope is dead for this life but bright for the next. 
And then I aske myself what great or good thing have I done that I should hope for better things in the next world, or what great trial or exploit can I recount like many others perhaps, that will bring honor and greatness. I can only sum it up in one word, and that is I am a ‘woman’. . . . 
or if that is not enough I am a ‘mother’ and still more I am, as the world calls it, ‘spiritual wife’ of early days, when public opinion was like an avalanche burying all such beneath its oppressive weight. Some will understand what it is to be a woman, mother, or an unloved ‘spiritual wife.’ 
Woman has had to bear her own burdens, and also a great portion of mans curse. She is not only expected to bear children, but she must drudge from morning untill night; and her duties as wife and mother often follow her from night until morning; and her labors never cease as long as she can place one foot before the other. I do not think that God designed that man should enjoy all the sweets of Liberty; while woman is bowed down in shackles. Liberty is sweet. As sweet to woman as to man. . . We do not wish to drag our brothers down, but we desire to raise ourselves up to his level. We have born the galling chains a very long time."

From this project

I know it would not be fair to judge my own life based on the darkest moments in my journal. But you can't deny those experiences either. I hope her life had some joyful moments. I'm astounded by her strength and perspective. The following is a poem she wrote at the time of President Brigham Young’s death:

Speak not a word to dishonor his name,
Lisp not a sound but in praise,
Close up the mouth that would sully his name
Or tarnish his honor in death.

Low in the dust he has bowed his head
His spirit has soared away
He has gone where the wicked will trouble no more 
The noble, the true and the brave.

I don't have much commentary to add to her experience. Just want to do a little part to make sure it is heard.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Music for your Midweek: Sort Sol and Lunch and Julian Casablancas and Jehnny Beth - "Boy/Girl"

My dad (right) on his mission in Switzerland

This cover is old news but whatever. We all know the original is better, but Julian Casablancas is just too cute so here you go:

and the original:

It's all very in, you guys.