Friday, December 29, 2006

Feel Good Lost

The above photo is probably a pretty accurate representation of how I've spent the holidays: unimpressively (and unimpressedly) looking for a job. Perhaps it would have been wise to take some time to relax, but I didn't want to miss any good opportunities, so I started the hunt as soon as I got home from Europe (which, by the way, I secretly miss infinitely). The response to my search has left me optimistic about actually getting a job, but slightly distraught about getting the right job. Between applications, cover letters, resumes and interviews I've decided that I might have some commitment issues.

Two days ago as I was driving home from an interview that took a lot longer than anticipated, I felt like things had gone pretty well. There was mutual interest, but when they called me back only hours later for a second interview - which happened today- I was pretty skeptical. I feel good about taking things slow and I don't want to get into anything too fast that I might regret later. I would not consent to marry someone after only going on one or two dates with them, but somehow I'm expected to make a decision about how I'll spend the majority of my waking hours each day after a 40-minute interrogation.

While I have some inherent moral opposition to looking around after you've committed yourself to a relationship, I somehow feel alright about taking a job to get by and keeping my eyes wide open. At the same time, I feel like doing so would be just as deplorable as deciding to date someone that you've already determined you're going to break up with in three months. I wonder if e-mail is considered a kosher way to terminate employment. Hmm...

I wish I had better things to say about the job hunt. I can only hope that after dozens of disappointing interviews, I will find myself with an offer that doesn't seem to require too much convincing or rationalization. I sincerely hope that I am not naive to think that something will eventually just feel right.

-Broken Social Scene-

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dead Duck

What can I say? Even though I have some odd appreciation for University of Oregon, I'm true blue, through and through. I thought that U of O would bring a challenge to the Cougars, but by the third quarter I was bored with yesterday's Las Vegas Bowl game. One of the only things that kept me entertained was mentally exploring the possible reasons that Oregon chose such hideous uniforms. I have nothing against the green and yellow - I think it can look pretty sharp. But what's with the helmets that looked like radioactive baby spew? Honestly. I thought that Brady Leaf looked pretty stupid with his ungathered sleeves too. But why waste time criticizing the uniforms when we could really be tearing up their football game? I think my favorite part was when the commentator said, "This is becoming an old fashioned butt kickin'"

Go Cougs!

-Badly Drawn Boy-

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exit Music

It's that wonderful time of year when all radio stations, music blogs and online music stores are compiling their lists of the best albums and songs of the year. Since music is something I'm pretty interested in, I thought I'd create a few lists of my own. I'd love to hear your comments and recommendations. My only disclaimer is that some of my picks are based on things completely unrelated to musical merit. We all have those songs that just get to us and we're not sure why. I even let some Kelly Clarkson tracks live on my iPod for more than a few hours. Enough said. Drum roll please... Uptown Girl Presents:

The Best Songs of 2006 (in alphabetical order because I couldn't decide on rankings)
Adem - Something's Going To Come
Joseph Arthur - Too Much To Hide
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Bedroom Walls - In Anticipation of Your Suicide (mp3)
Beirut - Postcards From Italy (mp3)
Brandi Carlile - Late Morning Lullaby
or Hiding My Heart (watch her KCRW show)
Cat Power - The Greatest (mp3)
Corinne Bailey Rae - Put Your Records On (acoustic version)
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife 3
or O Valencia (stream entire album here)
The Elected - Beautiful Rainbow
The Format - Dog Problems (mp3)
Tobias Froberg - For Elisabeth Wherever You Are
Keane - Hamburg Song
Mat Kearney - Nothing Left To Lose
The Kooks - Seaside or She Moves In Her Own Way (mp3)
KT Tunstall - Other Side of the World
Ray LaMontagne - Be Here Now (real audio of 9:30 Club show)
Korby Lenker - Papercuts
Landon Pigg - Sailed On
or Can't Let Go (quicktime)
The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes (acoustic version)
Fionn Regan - Be Good or Be Gone
Josh Ritter - Girl In The War (mp3)
or Thin Blue Flame (mp3)
Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
Snow Patrol - You Could Be Happy
or Chasing Cars
Regina Spektor - Fidelity (best video of the year)
or Samson
Thom Yorke - Atoms for Peace
The Weepies - Gotta Have You

The Songs/Albums/Artists of 2006 I Am Still Scratching My Head About
TV on The Radio - I know, I know... they are so "cutting edge" that everyone is still scratching their heads and in turn thinks that head-scratching is the new recipe for greatness. I saw them in Brooklyn and left early. But it was also raining and the sound wasn't great. Convince me that I should give them another chance and I'd be happy to.

Joanna Newsom: Y's - I haven't heard much, but uh... yeah.

The Knife - I'll admit I haven't really given them a chance. Since last year I've assumed that the Jose Gonzales cover of Heartbeats was the best thing that could have happened to The Knife. Let's just say I was surprised to see it at the top of so many lists.

Damien Rice: 9 - What happened? If he could have just kept his momentum from O, we'd have something beautiful. Oh well, he's still one of my favorites.

The Best Songs Released Prior to 2006 That I Didn't Discover or Fully Appreciate Until 2006 (in no particular order)
First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Lack of Color - Death Cab for Cutie (and the entire Transatlanticism album)
Know By Heart - The American Analog Set
Let It Die - Feist (the entire album)
The Littlest Birds - The Be Good Tanyas
FM Radio - Joshua James
Oh, Lately It's So Quiet - ok go (and the entire oh no album)
Nothing Brings Me Down - Emiliana Torrini
Avalanche - Ryan Adams
Ten Days - Missy Higgins

Albums of 2006 That I'm Still Excited About Discovering
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
Beck - The Information
The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
Richard Ashcroft - Keys To The World
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go
Josh Rouse - Subtitulo
Tom Waits - Orphans
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
M. Ward - Post War

Albums I'm Most Excited About for 2007 (so far)
Gabe Dixon Band
The Arcade Fire
Pink Martini
The Shins
any others I should know about?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Wind

It's 3:30 in the morning. This is one of the reasons that I really hate traveling -- not the hobby -- just the actual act of getting from place to place. This jet lag has definitely gotten the better of me, and for the past three nights I've been wide awake between 3 and 4 am; ready for the day. But jet lag is just one of the nuisances - a necessary evil for a greater, grander good. The thing is, there are just so many more: lost luggage, paying for luggage, mean airport people, silly security procedures, and ultimately finding the place that was once home feels a little more foreign than you ever expected it could.

In the past month I've flown eight times. While waiting to board my flight home from Belgium, I determined that I have been on fifty post-9/11 flights. Fifty. It made me think of just how much money I've spent on flying, how many miles I've covered, how many times I've had to remove my shoes, take off my jacket, and dump my bottled water to get through security. It made me think about all of the random people I've met on planes and in airports, how many flight attendants have annoyed me, how many days I've felt perfectly caught up with the world and its happenings after watching hours of the same news stories on CNN. It made me think of how many delays, cancellations, technical problems, shaky take-offs and rough landings I've experienced. It made me think of how many times I've cried for the person or place I've left behind. Or for the person or place that I'm about to see. Or for the person that is supposed to be in the empty seat next to me. And with all of that, I've determined that I'd be just fine with taking a break from the airport for a little while.

-Cat Stevens-

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

When I Look At The World

In less than twelve hours I'll be on a plane back to America. It's hard to believe that my time in Europe is over! In the past four months I have:

taken 37 trains
slept (in the same room) with 33 people
visited 32 cathedrals
visited 28 cities
taken 12 planes
mastered 12 public transit systems
visited 11 countries
been in countries where 10 different languages were spoken
slept in 10 beds
gotten 10 rides in a car
had 10 gelatos
had 9 crazy co-workers (give or take)
stayed in 8 hostels
eaten 7 waffles (the real kind with strawberries/bannanas/chocolate/caramel/whipped cream on top)
watched 6 movies
taken 6 "best couple '06" exclusive trips (Jackie and me)
been through 6 airports
used 5 bars of soap
been in 5 different cars
rented 4 bicycles
gone to church in 4 chapels
visited 3 museums
tossed 3 pumpkins
taken 2 taxis
eaten 2 things at McDonald's
had 1 incredible time...


Monday, December 11, 2006

When You Wake Up Feeling Old

On December 8th, my guess is that most bloggers attributing some significance to the day only had in mind the fact that it was the anniversary of John Lennon's assassination. But that's probably only because they don't know that it was also the day that I was born. In truth I'm not too disappointed to share the day with one of the most innovative musicians of our time. But that's not the point. The point is here I am, alive and older than ever to tell you all about it. Want to know more? You can read all about me on my blog. It's been around for almost an entire year now. In twenty four years it will be as old as I am now.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Holiday in Spain

On Saturday I finally embraced the reality of a decision I had made several weeks earlier to spend the weekend in Spain. It seemed like a really good idea when we bought the tickets, but obviously we didn't realize that a 6:30 flight would mean waking up at 3:00 in the morning, catching a cab to the train station; bus to the airport; plane to Girona, Spain; bus to Barcelona. When we finally arrived, I was thankful for the choice we made and everything seemed to fall into place as it always does.

We walked in a delirium to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece,
that could easily be confused for a cathedral designed by Dr. Seuss himself. Gaudi was the leader of the Spanish Art Nouveau movement, but his style is completely unique. Although some would characterize his work as absurd, I love his undulating facades and approach in general as it is thoroughly referential to nature. We walked through the city exploring Christmas fairs, listening to performers, touring Las Rambles and taking in everything we could until our bodies demanded a siesta and we checked into our eerier than ever hostel.Since FCB had an away game, football was out but luckily we came to Barcelona on the right weekend for music. We hit the mainstage of Primavera Rock '06 and caught Laura Veirs, Cat Power and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco in all of their live splendor. Jeff Tweedy was especially good - a captivating and entertaining performer - and oh, so talented. It helps that he played How To Fight Loneliness and made my night just that much better. Jackie and I considered it a great achievement to get back to our hostel past 10:00 pm, and were anything but anxious to get back to the place where we would only spend a few hours sleeping.Day two was all about Park Guell, which inspired me in a major way to add mosaic creation to my plans for 2007. Barcelona, beach, Arc de Triomf (yes, with an -f), palm trees, Mediterranean, Colombus, sunshine, blue sky, tired, tired, tired, Barcelona. Back to Brussels.

-Counting Crows-

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wishful Thinking

Tonight I came home from work and picked up my guitar. Among other things, I started playing a song I handn't in a while, "Jesus, etc." by Wilco. I decided to check Wilco's site for tour dates, thinking maybe they would be playing somewhere this winter where I could possibly be living - Salt Lake, Portland, Seattle, Boston, New York. To my shock and surprise, this is all I found:
Of the three shows left on the tour schedule, one is tomorrow. In Barcelona. Where I'll be tomorrow. Fate? It's quite possible. Maybe getting a cab at 3:45 tomorrow morning will be worth it after all.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

You To Thank

I'm not sure exactly what everyone's Thanksgiving looked like this year, but I have a pretty good imagination. Since Jackie and I were in Greece on Turkey Day, we created our own slightly belated version of the holiday. We planned everything out on the plane on our way back to Brussels and we were not prepared to skimp on anything. The menu included turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, rolls, and pumpkin pie for dessert. We were ready to have quite a feast.

As we wandered down the three aisles of our grocery store, it became obvious that our menu would need some amending: turkey, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are apparently not grocery store staples at this time of year in europe. Our turkey was replaced by chicken. For rolls we had a choice of croissants or baguettes, so we had pringles. Pumpkin pie turned into chocolate mousse pie, which consisted of squished frosted cookies with pre-made mousse dalloped - ok, piled - on top. Basically, it was one of the more memorable Thanksgivings I've had on a Monday. Ok, it's the only one.-Ben Folds-

Monday, November 27, 2006

Can't Get You Out of My Mind

So I didn't have much of a turkey coma this year. But I did just get home from five wondrous days in Greece. I can hardly begin to describe the place and my complete obsession/fascination with it. But here is my ode and a few favorite photos:

relics, ruins, oh so pleasing
tossing waves and winds a'teasing
boat rides leave me nauseous, cautious
autumn winds leave locals freezing
wanting, wishing, nothing more
than time upon Aegina's shore
sunshine shines on coastal boulders
kisses lips and toes and shoulders
temples touch a foreign sky
I dream -
I gaze -
I wonder -
O, marble city on a hill
where Paul once taught and people still
find solitude in Pagan cries
of earth and sea and sand and skies

Here I am with never-ending Athens. It really seemed to go on in all directions forever.
There were beautiful orange trees lining most streets. They were just so appealing, I had to pick one. With one bite I discovered why they were still on the trees - it was the most bitter sour citrus experience of my life.The Plaka stayed alive after sunset. There were plenty of Greek sales people trying to lure us in to buy their cheap mini parthenons. We only succumbed to one sympathetic shoemaker from whom we each bought a pair of sandals.Here I am with the Temple of Zeus. See how tiny I am? That's just how big the thing is. It is still blowing my mind.First modern Olympics: 1896. Yessss.
This dear little woman tends the church at the top of Lykavittos Hill. She was so quintessentially Greek, I just had to do a discreet photo shoot of her.
And here is the church with the bright blue sky. When we arrived, a storm threatened and the scene was completely black and white.
On our way down from Philopappou Hill after sunset.Jackie and me on Aegina. It was so so sunny and warm. We were pretty happy about that.We saw a pretty amazing sunset from an unassuming dock in the fishing village of Perdika.
There are all kinds of intimate little churches around the coast line of Aegina. On Sunday morning we rode bicycles around the coast and rang the bells of all the churches hoping to fill the tiny chapels. It didn't work.We left the islands and the seagulls in the sunset.

Ok, so I realize that this blog barely skims the surface of my 800+ photos from my Greek experience. Here's a video so you can experience everything I did. Well, kind of.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Gift

Every once in a while, I'll receive a gift and wonder if it was a mistake. I don't mean that to sound like an expression of ingratitude. But often the implications of a gift go far beyond the gift itself. Whenever I'm left wondering what misdeed was done to deserve such a thing, it's typically not a good sign.

I am reminded of the time when I was 13 and babysitting frequently for a family in my neighborhood. When I arrived one Tuesday around Christmas, Beth graciously handed me a beautifully wrapped package as she headed out the door to leave me to tend her daughters. I'm pretty sure her husband was the one to take the next shift and I took my gift home to open it alone. I removed the bow and carefully peeled the tape from the corners to reveal an extra large men's pajama top - green and covered in alligators. The term 'complete shock' come to mind. I'm sure I spent some time looking through the paper to see if the pants were somewhere. They weren't. Then I wondered if maybe I had accidentally received a gift that was intended for her extra large husband. If I were to confront the alleged error and it weren't an error, I would look like a fool. And if I thanked the family for their gift and they realized the error, we would all look like fools. And if I said nothing... well then we could all just pretend it hadn't happened. Husband could enjoy his alligator pajama pants with a t-shirt, while I swam in my own sea of reptile fabric, forever uncertain of the intention of such a gift. And that's exactly what happened.

My thirteen year-old mind didn't really project any intended meaning into the awkward gift, I simply accepted it as strange. But perhaps the cynicism that comes with nearly 25 years of life has changed me. When I came into work on Monday and saw something strange on my desk, I first asked my coworker what it was. When she didn't know, I realized immediately that I was once again victim to the strange gift syndrome. Only this time, nothing was done to conceal it. Alone on my desk, wrapped only in clear plastic, was a single placemat and set of chopsticks. Later, my boss came in and confirmed that it was, in fact, intentional. It was to "thank me for all my extra work in making Medica a success." Sure, it was thoughtful of them to get me something, but since then I've had a while to develop different theories about the true origin and/or implications of my gift.

First of all, I was thrown off by the fact that it was a single place mat. Don't placemats usually come in sets? Who did they pawn off the other placemats on as gifts? Past interns? Who knows. The fact that there is just one makes me wonder what they must think will come of me - maybe that I'll become some lonely girl sitting in an apartment alone eating chinese take-out alone. Well, you never know... but who are they to assume it? Basically, I've decided that it was just some rejected house deco. For as much as I would have liked the Buddha statue instead, I've learned that gift recipients cannot be choosers.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

City Rain, City Streets

It looks like the real Belgium will be making an appearance all week.-Ryan Adams-

Trying to Sit Out

I just returned from a week in Germany. I was there for work, to participate in Medica, the world's largest medical exhibition. Over the course of the week, whilst I ran around 17 exhibition halls and did my best to make a dent in talking to the 4,000 exhibitors there about entering the European market, I learned a lot. There are some things that I never even wanted to know but am now sure of. Sorry, I realize that I just ended that last sentence in a preposition.... deal with it. Among the highlights:

1. Twenty-four hours a day with the family of a family business of which you are an employee but not a member of the family is way too much.

2. Hearing your bosses voice whilst in your pajamas is super freaky.

3. Seeing your boss in his pajamas (or lack thereof) is even more freaky.

4. These people really are work-aholics. The show opened at ten. What time did we get there? Eight. It closed at six. What time did we leave? Eight. I got home from the day at 11:15 pm each night.

5. Talking to people from America or Brazil will always make me a little nostalgic, regardless of the level of coolness of my current living situation.

6. Five Israeli men + One French man + One American girl = Six people actually picking up my fork and knife and trying to teach me the "correct" way to hold my utensils. I was pretty upset when this happened. I think they could tell and backed off.

7. Despite the amount of laughter that accompanies a conversation, Hebrew is still not funny.

8. Getting a break from the office is... not as fun when you're still with your bosses and doing work.

9. It is possible to get car sick - even in the best Mercedes on the market - if you get lost in a parking lot for over an hour while trying to follow a GPS that is unfamiliar with the territory.

10. Day six of 24x7 with me and my 30-year-old-son-of-our-CEO manager = me saying things to him that I would normally regret immediately, but cannot and do not because of his joyous reaction at me actually speaking my mind.

him: "How old are you again?"
me: "Twenty-four, I'll be 25 in a few weeks"
him:"TWENTY-FIVE?! What are you doing with your life?"
me: "I don't know. Maybe I'll work for my dad and let him pay my cell-phone bill."
him:"Ouch. Good job."

11. If you want to get a word in edgewise, sometimes it's best to just find the nearest medical dummy and vent to him.
-Field Music-

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Delicate Place

Every time I go to the Grand Place I have a different experience. And with each one I think I fall a little more in love with the place.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Just One Thing

first thing I noticed this morning:
-blue sky, yessss

random thing I appreciate in a person:
-ability to write well

thing I miss right now:
-my mission

thing I decided today:
-I'm joining the peace corps when I turn 30 (if I'm not busy with other things)

another random thing I appreciate in a person:
-good taste in music and/or appreciation for my [fantastic] taste in music

random thing that I'm a little OCD about:
-the organization of dishes in the dishwasher

thing I haven't done in a long time that I need to do:
-listen to an entire CD, start to finish

thing I'm really good at:
-keeping in touch

thing I wish I were better at:
-giving advice

another thing I haven't done in a while that I should:
-sit down and write a good, old-fashioned handwritten letter... but to whom?

thing I need to develop more tolerance for:

-boring people (or do I?)

thing I'm listening to right now:
-La Boheme, though I'm not sure it exactly exhibits what I would consider my traditional fantastic taste in music... it's Sunday

thing I ate today:
-the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life - how could anything in europe with cheese not be good?

thing I'm really excited about:
-going to greece next week!

thing I wished for today:
-better public transportation in more american cities

thing I'm trying not to think about:

-well, admitting it wouldn't help the cause very much, now would it?

-My Morning Jacket-

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You and Whose Army?

Yesterday we missed the train to Aachen, Germany by a few minutes. Instead of waiting two and a half hours for the next one, we decided to explore something a little closer to home; Armistice Day in Waterloo. We climbed 226 stairs to the monument in honor of the location where Prince Guillaume of Orange was wounded. We enjoyed the view from the top of Butte de Lion. We mourned over the loss of 40,000 people. We played with toy guns in the gift shop. It was a good day.

I can say I was a little depressed to discover that I (almost) single-handedly allowed the Democrats to take control of the Senate by not being responsible enough to somehow obtain an absentee ballot in order to cast my ever-important Virginian vote. I'd like to apologize for anything bad this could - and probably will - mean in the next few years. I'm sorry.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Million Ways To Be Cruel

I've noticed this trend in the blogging community, of telling twelve unidentified people anything you want. Reading Jared's, Christina's, Becca's, and Adrienne's lists had me pensive and itching with curiosity. I thought about doing my own. I thought about writing twelve things to one unidentified person. I thought about twelve people and what they might want to say to me. I thought about writing haikus to twelve people. So what I'm trying to say is, I'm trying to come up with a way to copy everyone else while maintaining some originality. So far, mission unaccomplished. But when I come up with something, you'll see it here.

-OK Go-

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cold To Colder

I'm not really cold right now. I am quite toasty. But I am looking out my window at the cold, black night and I'm still at work. Realizing that sends a cold shudder down my spine like the fierce icy wind that is yet weeks away. Work has been a drag today, but you can't say I didn't accomplish something while I was here. I present pallindrome haiku:

i am so tired.
think and sit. you sit and think,
"tired? so am i."

-Sasha Dobson-

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lesson Learned

Today I woke up and dressed like a Calamity Jane for Halloween. I was the only one dressed up at work. Jackie wasn't allowed to dress up since she spent the entire day in meetings in Amsterdam. She didn't even get home until about 7:30. Our plans to attend the Institute Halloween gathering were thwarted. I unbraided my hair and took off my bandana. It looked like it was about to be the worst Halloween ever. Again. Two worst Halloween's ever (in a row!) would almost make the holiday irredeemable and forever poison the potential for fun. But we just couldn't let it happen.

The solution? Two girls, four costumes (80's rocker, Calamity Jane, Pirate, Hippie), brownies, great music, dance party of the century.
Best Halloween ever.
-Ray La Montagne-

Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But

We carved pumkins.-Arctic Monkeys-
Blog Widget by LinkWithin