Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Every generation gets a chance to change the world. Pity the nation that won't listen to your boys and girls. 'Cause the sweetest melody is the one we haven't heard. Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear? The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear. Oh, but a change of heart comes slow..." ~u2

I've been listening to U2's new album No Line on the Horizon for awhile now, and I really, really like it. It does sound different from their most recent albums, and I welcome the change (not that I didn't enjoy their last two albums, I just like the new sound). "No Line on the Horizon" is a great opener, "Moment of Surrender" is beautiful, "Unknown Caller" is captivating and the chorus sometimes makes me think of "Numb" (which is a HUGE compliment from me), "I'll go Crazy if I Don't go Crazy Tonight" is incredibly catchy and energizing, "Breathe" is just wonderful (I love the rhythm)...there are so many strong songs on this album. I've tried to avoid reading reviews while I keep listening to it and am forming my own opinion, but now I'm interested to see what the critics say (not that they'll change my opinion).
I'm bummed that U2 is doing a stadium tour this summer, though. I was hoping for arenas. I suppose it will be easier to get tickets to stadium shows, but still.

I just finished reading The Great Gilly Hopkins (by Katherine Paterson) once again. I've read it many, many times, and each time it makes me cry. I'm in the middle of reading it to my classes, and I'm afraid that I'll start crying in front of them when I get to the end. I can't help myself. It gets me every time. It's such a good book. I want them to love it as much as I do, although I'm afraid they don't so far. It's disappointing how many of them don't like reading and can't connect to books, no matter how hard I try to engage them and to find them books that I think they'll enjoy. I quickly learned that they don't like most of the books I loved as a young adult. I thought this one would be different, and some of them are interested, but still...I suppose I can't expect miracles. We'll see how the rest of it goes.

South Carolina was good. I loved doing nothing. And I loved seeing my grandparents. It was difficult to come back to school this week. And it is a crazy week. Tomorrow I'm going to a workshop with Yo-Yo Ma that lasts until 7:30 (I'm missing my grad school class that I also missed last week). On Thursday we have parent-teacher conferences until 8:00pm, and then I have to rush to my grad school class that ends at 10:00pm. That means on Thursday I'll be away from my apartment from 7:00am-10:30pm. That's a long day. I also have a loooot of work to do, for school (teaching) and for grad school. Ugh.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Come to me now, and rest your head for just five minutes. Everything is good, such a cosy room, the windows are illuminated by the sunshine through them. Fiery gems for you, only for you. Our house is a very, very fine house. With two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy 'cause of you." ~crosby, stills, nash, & young

My grandparents have moved from the house where they lived for over 25 years. I miss their old house. It was where I was brought home from the hospital and spent the first few months of my life. I loved visiting them in that house. I loved swimming in their pool and playing croquet on the lawn and sitting on the incredibly Southern front porch with the huge pillars and gathering pinecones and wandering around the rooms greeting the hundreds of teddy bears scattered around. I inherited my pack-rat qualities from my grandmother. That house was so full of...I don't want to say stuff because it sounds so trivial, but I don't know what else to say. She had so many knick-knacks, so many dolls, so many teddy bears, so many antique collections. It was like heaven to a child. All the walls were covered with photographs of our family and needlepoints made by various family members (I even contributed). I loved that house. I always said I wanted to inherit it.

They've moved into a smaller house in a separate part of their old neighborhood; it's a living community for senior citizens, with different levels of housing depending on your needs. They have their own house, and it's a nice house, but there's not nearly enough space for all of their belongings. They've settled in and have taken over the space, but the garage is still filled with (full) boxes and much of their stuff was distributed amongst family members when they moved (I have a bed, a lamp, a set of nesting tables, a chest, a tea set, and many, many other little things). On this visit my grandmother has already given me more things to take back with me (I've agreed to take two rugs, perfume, old pictures, and who knows what else). I like being able to fill my apartment with reminders of their old house. It makes it feel more like home.

One cool thing about their living situation is that their house came with a golf cart. Everyone here has one, and they use them to drive around the neighborhood. They eat dinner in the dining room, and they drive to dinner in the golf cart. I got to drive tonight. I love driving golf carts; for some reason they're so much more exciting than cars. I'll never forget the time when my brother was driving a golf cart on their golf course and drove straight through a white picket fence. It was thrilling. Although I don't think my grandfather was too happy, because I'm pretty sure he had to pay for the fence. Anyway, I liked driving the golf cart to dinner. Dinner was interesting. I was the youngest person in the room by about 50 years. I met many of their friends, some of whom were very interesting characters. They were all very nice. I love hearing my grandmother's southern accent deepen. When she's just around us it isn't that noticeable, but when she's surrounded by other southerners it becomes more pronounced. I love that. I love the south. It's in my blood.

I guess that's all for now. I really need to go to bed. I got up before 5:00am this morning and it's almost midnight, so I'm tired. But I'm glad to be here.
"It's going to take a little time, while you're waiting like a factory line. I'll ride across the park, backseat on the 79. Wasted days you've come to pass..." ~vampire weekend

I've been really busy lately, but now it's difficult to go back and reflect on everything. I'll do my best.

The Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall was wonderful. The National played two new songs(!), Vampire Weekend played one of my favorite songs from their album (M79), Steve Earle was good, and Patti Smith led all the performers in a really cool closing sing-along.

Guys & Dolls. That was my Christmas present; my mom and I went to see it on Broadway. We had the best seats in the house, front row mezz. I've written so much about it in other places that I don't feel like writing more right now, so if you're curious what I thought feel free to ask me. Some people who read this blog have already read my detailed reviews, anyway. I will say that seeing Lauren Graham onstage was wonderful. She really impressed me. And I got a picture with her afterwards, so I'm still on cloud 9 about that (even though it's an awful picture of me). It's posted in an entry below.

Last weekend was a busy show weekend (3 shows in 3 days). Besides Guys & Dolls, I also saw Becky Shaw (featuring Kelly Bishop, Lorelai's mom on Gilmore Girls) and The Savannah Disputation. The Savannah Disputation was fabulous; I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it because I wasn't sure what to expect; basically all I knew going into it was that it was about religion. It was hilarious. Dana Ivey and Marylouise Burke are sooo funny. It's a smart, entertaining play and if you get a chance to see it I highly recommend it.

I am now in South Carolina visiting my grandparents. I have next week off from work, so I'm getting away for awhile. I love being here. I was born here (in Columbia, SC). It feels like a second home to me. The weather isn't great (my gran said "it's a Cleveland day"), but that's okay. I'm still happy.

Here's another video that I took at the Tibet House benefit concert (make sure you watch the video posted in the entry below as well).
Vampire Weekend performing M79:

Saturday, February 07, 2009

"We got another thing coming undone, and it's taking us over..." ~the national

Just one more thing. I have not stopped listening to this song since Wednesday. It was the first time The National have played it (it's a new song), and I am so glad I was there to witness it because it's already one of my favorite songs. I recorded it (and it's a good recording, too). Here's my recording:
And here's my video:

I'll probably post more about the concert later when I have time. That and Guys & Dolls saved my week.
"I won't be no runaway, 'cause I won't run..." ~the national

I have so much to say (my life has been a roller coaster lately), but absolutely no time or energy to do so. So this is a short post. I just need to let out a quick "squee" (see below).