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.

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