Monday, February 28, 2011

Rensselaer and anthems

#53: Rob Thomas, "Fire On the Mountain"
#54: The New Pornographers, "Sing Me Spanish Techno"
#55: Anberlin, "Impossible"
#56: Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run"
#57: Keri Hilson, "Pretty Girl Rock"
#58: Dido & A.R. Rahman, "If I Rise"



As we slowed to a stop near the river, I saw a young man in a T-shirt in jeans, walking on a ledge and playing his guitar. There was no one at the dock. Just ice breaking apart in the slow current.

Posturing? Playing sincerely?

I'll say a mix of both.


I hope that no matter how old I am, I'll always have a friend to drive beside me down the highway, radio cranked up, voices rising.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

5 miles to nearly finish February

is just what I needed, methinks.

I go through phases of what I think I need to run successfully. Music in my hand so I can adjust the volume and song to whatever mood the minute finds me. No music. A watch that counts up and down. Now switch the wrist so that each gets equal wear. Now no watch at all.

Trail and wind and no engine behind me. That's the way to run.


#52: Ozzy Osbourne, "Mama, I'm Coming Home"

Monday, February 21, 2011

instruments of measurement

I want to be able to describe that sound. The unpeeling from one world to another. The isolation of that single drop.


So! What about the writing?

I dabble as ever but it seems that my attentions are best spent on the longterm, hauling it over the miles and back again, and so I return to the page-a-day mantra.

In the world of minor victories, I unraveled the tremendous knot that is the project that interests me most right now. The whole "just go with it" mentality left me with 140 pages of chaos. Despite what the back of my car looks like, I hate the disorganization. It can be a mess, but it has to make mental sense to me.

After slow and infrequent returns since the summer, it turns out a simple solution was all I needed: Take the sections, call them chapters, save each as its own chapter, give them numbers that suggest some sort of order. Fourteen Word docs later, I see the unburied arc. And I see myself finishing this.


#50: And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, "Caterwaul"
#51: Led Zeppelin, "Immigrant Song"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Porthole of One's Own

The Perks of Having An Office, Despite the Windows That Are Too High For Anyone to Gaze Out Of:
  • Leftover Sierra Mist and half a bottle of water. The previous occupants don't want you to dehydrate.
  • Leftover printer, which could prove useful.
  • Super crisp and profesh legal-ish pad.
  • Really nice pen.
  • Phone extension. Call the work line, baby.
  • Aforementioned porthole.
  • Doors that lock behind you.
  • Spinny Chair. Did I even need to list the above items? I think not. In the world of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Spinny Chair wins. Always.

"I usually get protein by having a raw egg. Or an egg with beer. Or none at all." - Victor

#48: Blondie, "Maria"
#49: The Killers, "Why Do I Keep Counting?"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

open arches/gently kneeling

I want to say that writing will swim me through this but I'm not sure what will. Swim to greener marshes or whatever metaphor you like. I move indistinctly as sunlight in the window today. Blink and I drift through.


#46: "Knights of Cydonia," Muse
#47: "Cathedrals," Jump Little Children

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Si te vas

I'm hoping that by the act of opening up the YA nov document and starting to type, Flo Davies will be summoned into my life.


#43: Voz Veis, "Que No Daria Yo"
#44: Zac Brown, "Colder Weather"
#45: Lady Gaga, "Born This Way" (let the inevitable "Express Yourself" outcry begin)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

There is Superstition

If there's but one way blazed to success, you'd best believe I'll try to follow it again and again.

When I competed in gymnastics, there were rituals. Touch all my trophies, medals, ribbons on the way out the door. Say we went to this competition the year before and I did well. The next year, I copied my preparation. Same sandwich for lunch at the same place. Same hairstyle. Same clothes packed in the overnight bag. Same songs cued up on the Walkman and later the Discman.

Everything arranged just so, and then set into motion.

A few weeks ago, the Level 4's competed on Saturday and were rock stars. Could such a performance be repeated by our girls the next day?

So on Saturday night, just as on Friday, I cued up an episode of Glee online. Stayed up way too late and woke up as the sun was breaking. Listened to the same music on the drive. Arrived too early (not a usual problem of mine).

And it worked.

You'll see me again, old road.

All sorts of blue ribbons later,

I'm very tired, and very proud.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This is the train to Friday

Maybe it's the blue sky through the bare trees as I tilt my head to the window, or the green-brown grass revealed by melting snow, but for the first time all week I sit down and start writing, and I don't stress it. I just go.


#42: Chris Young, "Voices"

Hollywood and me

I've watched three movies since Saturday.

Months easily go by for me without movies. I like movies. I support their existence, mostly. I just don't usually sit down for them.

It's always been, "I could watch this movie or I could do work/talk to my friends/write/frolic out and about/fall asleep." That latter option sans movie. I've never been of the "watch a movie and fall asleep" camp. I prefer to sleep without sound. And I've never been of the "put on a movie while I do work" team, because if I've never seen it before, I want to give it my full attention.

Thing is, I always loved making videos in high school. I spent hours editing projects, making sure the cut was just so. Ideas came easily for sketches and longer pieces. They still come through. Maybe the process interests me more than the product. Or maybe the product would interest me more if I were part of the process. I'm not sure.

Maybe this lack of watching is due to lingering fear from being traumatized by movies as a youth. Anywho, I think it's clear at this point that I don't often watch movies, and this week, films and I have been in the same room as one another and we sized one another up.

The three:

Everyone's favorite "Girl Gone Fowl"

Followed by

Everyone's favorite pseudo-intellectual thriller with inexplicable shoot-outs in the snow (sorry, Tony)

And finally

From the genre of, "Wow, this movie makes me hate life and yet feel somehow uplifted"

As always, I think, "Hey, that wasn't so bad, and I liked two of the three. I should watch movies more often."

And always, I know, Nah, I won't.


#40: Eric Clapton, "Lay Down Sally"
#41: Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson, "Don't You Wanna Stay?"

I may start a movement to BRING BACK THE POWER BALLAD!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Destiny Prefers Tiny Dancer

This is what I mean by "coincidence":

On the drive home, I flip through the stations and arrive at "Tiny Dancer." Brings me right back to slow dancing in Shelter. I'm enjoying this flashback when, just as Elton sings, "Dancing in the sand," a gust of wind blows sand into the windshield. Sand from the plows that have lumbered over the streets this winter. Sand that will crunch under my boots when I step out of my car later. Plenty of sand to go around.

But only in this instant does it fly up around me.


As per the suggestion of Emeline, who has officially moved from a GN "great nurse" to an RN "ravishing nurse":

#39: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Cool me down.

So behind on the MUSICS.

Correcting that now:

#33: Darius Rucker, "Come Back Song"
#34: Sugarland, "Baby Girl"
#35: Lady Antebellum, "American Honey"
#36: The Black Seeds, "Cool Me Down"
#37: White Stripes, "Icky Thump"
#38: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Heads Will Roll"

It's a veritable playlist 'round here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

her wings are breaking through

Last night I read an interview with Vincent Cassel, who plays the director in Black Swan, and found this small quote quite interesting.
"Q: Do you take an interest in the world outside of acting and film in general…

Well I have more interest in the world outside of films than films. I don’t watch a lot of movies anymore actually. I wish I could but I don’t. You have kids, you have life, there are so many things. I’d rather watch documentaries or the news than movies after a certain point because once you become what you do you are dead. So if you keep on shooting movies and then in your free time watch movies you’ll think that’s what it’s all about. And I know it’s not. I still know it’s not all about movies. So yes: I’m interested in the world."

The art cannot survive without outside forces. Multiplicity instead of singularity. I love writing about gymnastics but it's not the only story I tell. Telling stories in beats and light. All of this comes to mind.

Throw your world wide. See what you pull in.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Circle Road

Some days my mind grinds to a stop. But my body's still moving. Dance in the dining room and slam my thumb into the wall. The music still plays. This is the making time.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A tisket, a tasket, some gymnastics

Shawn Johnson Back on US Team



While we're talking gymnastics, I must say that I'm starting to be won over by Division I. Back in the day I'd catch college meets on television and find them a little lacking. Less difficulty than my Olympic favorites, inflated scores, silly floor routines. Not my scene.

Thanks to YouTube, though, I'm starting to appreciate the following:

  • Hit routines. It's not easy to compete every weekend. And it's not easy competing in front of a packed arena as fans and teammates scream.
  • The CROWD. Those folks are crazy. It's awesome. (Ah, the high school varsity team days, where at away meets, my parents were our only audience.)
  • Girls who rock their floor routines. Not really feeling the weird techno theme that all of the Florida team has, but Alaina Johnson is lovely. And if you're looking for a real rock star, look no farther than this gem -- I've posted it before, and I'll post it again, gosh darnit!


Speaking of Shawn Johnson two ellipses ago, just watched Bud Greenspan's 2008 Olympics documentary, namely the Nastia segment. I'd love to see what her father/coach, Valeri, is really like in the gym. But he's pretty funny in the interviews:

"Nobody likes beam. I went on it once. I couldn't run. I could only walk slowly. I don't like to talk about beam. It's crazy."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

marketable skills

  • writing Peace Corps recommendations
  • creating ridiculous slogans <- trust me on this

In light of an unhurried day, I spent much of the time working on a essay*. It felt right to do so. Sprinkling water on the earth and pushing the edges together.

(*Except I don't really like the word "essay," nor "nonfiction" dangling on its lonesome, so I'll go with "a creative nonfiction piece" instead. You know what I speak of.)


#32 (Oh, noes -- I can no longer use the days of the month as a handy tool for keeping track):
Arcade Fire, "Wake Up"

The question arises:

Which country next?

I'm ready.


Alex, as he drags laughing Beth to her feet on the sidewalk: "Tony, will you date me?"


Just roamed into the bathroom, where I found my sock in the sink. Hmm.

To finish January, the 31st song:
Unwritten Law, "Seein' Red."