Sunday, August 28, 2005

Waiting for Life

Am in Austin! Am sitting in Quack's, enjoying the Internet and getting ready to study a bit, because it is lonely not having people pick up their phones when it's dark and the house is empty. And, for some cruel reason, I do not get cell phone service until nearly 38th street. I live close to 45th. Terrible! So, we painted the rest of the house/ living room yellow yesterday; light yellow, fiery red and teal look great together. Today I went to All Saints Presbyterian Church new location and the drive was absolutely splendid, even though we were never quite sure if we were following the correct directions. I'm talking about view driving up and down the hills of Barton Creek Blvd. off Bee Caves past 360 N. The little things that I love most happen always when I am actually doing something else. Let's explore more of this great city! Other than that, I have been getting to know my roommate, Kristen: she likes hot Cheetos with buttery toast, is reading Naked by David Sedaris (which I can borrow), has the same laptop and headphones as me, and kicked me out of the house this afternoon when she had a male guest. Boy that was awkward. I hope we'll get along swell the rest of the semester. Ah, sorry for the boring post, my brain must be in a studying mode.

Is this the end of fencing as I know it?
Does this sound ok? I guess it's too late to edit now.
Gosh, I never know how to respond assertively to other people pulling me in different directions. I have yet to learn assertiveness.

Letter to my fencing coach:
Hi Paul,

I have been thinking about the club for a good bit this summer (while fencing at Grapevine Fencing Club/ LaTouche/ Gold Blade Fencing Center like you asked me to) and I don't want to be on the national team starting this year, or even do much competing. Let me explain. Fencing is just a hobby for me and winning a nice by product. Even though I love improving and beating up on my opponents, I am not particularly interested in investing all the time and energy it takes to become a good fencer, like all the extra practices, tournaments and workouts. The price is too high and would be paid for at the expense of higher priorities; ultimately, I fence for fun. I'm also flattered that your expectations of me are quite high, but this resulting pressure is also uncomfortable, especially when I don't demand the same performance from myself. I am starting my teaching certification sequence next semester and I plan to focus on preparing for that right now, along with getting more involved in my campus ministry. I hope you understand and accept this decision, because the UT competitive team deserves to have on it the most dedicated and focused fencers. It is not fair for neither you or me if someone in my position is to represent the very best of our fencing team. I talked to James about it and he agrees with my sentiments. Thanks for your time, Paul.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Exercises in Design

I meant for this week to be uneventful and restful in preparation for the new school year. That didn't happen. In fact, I haven't thought about the future so much, discovered characteristics about myself or examined the multiple directions into which I am being pulled all in this kind of detail before. I just want a life of simplicity!

Do you realize what a great book title "The Valley of Vision" is? *Shakes head* I just did.

In the meantime, am researching a possible career in design. Here are a few links of interest:

Want to know how common a certain word is in the English language? Repulsive is #25454, wedged in between counterclaim and folio. Hm. On the other hand, I typed in "supercilious" and my browser crashed. Gotta watch out for those sneaky SAT words.
Word Count

Har har har! I got myself on a cool design blog, on the basis of someone else's excellent work. I made the recommendation. It's for these totally awesome silkscreened tour posters. And yes, Sufjan was one of his clients. Check it out if you like: The Small Stakes.

For only $12, build you own clock.. out of anything! You must be able to drill a hole in it though. Available at the Ready Made magazine store. I thought about using my vintage wooden tennis racket, but that's kind of heavy. I'll keep thinking. (Um, I didn't include a link to a photo, because the plastic parts by themselves look unimpressive. It's the idea that counts!)

Hm, that's good for now.

I've been reading C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves since yesterday. The man speaks such truths with such reason! He never ceases to blow me away with his ideas. And to think that I got it new for only a couple dollars. Of course, it always sounds shabbier when I paraphrase, but some of his points I took to heart were that natural human loves become demons when we allow them to become gods, Gift-love (vs. Need-love, like a child towards its mother) can be perverted by selfishness and thus becomes harmful ("the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift"; but the perversion occurs when the giver cannot bear to be not needed anymore and keeps on "loving"..mothers are particularly prone to this, I think), and that affection is the humblest of all loves because through familiarity and time, it connects you with the odd and different sorts of people you meet on a day to day basis, most of whom you would not otherwise seek out as friends. Erin used to say that she would not have picked some of her family members as friends, but over the years, of course she has learned to love them, hard as it was at times. "By having a great many friends I do not prove that I have a wide appreciation of human excellence.. The truly wide taste in humanity will similarly find something to appreciate in the cross-section of humanity whom one has to meet every day."

A few pages in the first chapter were devoted to nature, which I thought interesting. This quote jumped out at me and forced me to reconsider some of my personal enrichment goals.
"Nature 'dies' on those who try to live for a love of nature."
He also expounded on the matter by saying that nature doesn't teach you anything, it only helps you understand. For example, "A true philosophy may sometimes validate an experience of nature; an experience of nature cannot validate a philosophy." I suppose if a nature enthusiast is told this early on, it would save him a lot of time. What do you think? What have been your experiences of nature and the like, you who possess "dark gods in your blood"?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

OH Lance - too good to be true?

Once again, ultimate winner Lance Armstrong is facing charges of steroid abuse, this time against claims made by the Tour de France chief. The drug in question? EPO: "For years, it had been impossible to detect the drug, which builds endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells." Wouldn't it be such a shattering of American ideals and pride if this is really true? I mean, he tested positive for the drug in '99 but denies it, saying he has "never taken performance-enhancing drugs." Well, let the tests speak for themselves and we'll see how it turns out. Ah, I never really liked the guy anyway and never thought once about donning a Livestrong bracelet in its heyday. (OK, well maybe once.) The reason is single and compelling to me; I can't have much respect for a man who left his wife and kids to go frolic with a rockstar. Great role model, man. Oops, hope that doesn't make me a terrorist. Correction: OK, it was a mutual separation/divorce agreement and he met Sheryl Crow a month afterwards. Divorce sucks!!

And I don't know if this is even all that interesting, but it tickled my fancy. (My fancy likes to be tickled, you know.) There's a discussion going on at a Sufjan forum about popular CCM artist David Crowder covering one of Sufjan's songs on his latest release. As was expected there was much dissing of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) and even some of David. But the man himself posted a long and sincere reply to all that jazz this morning.. I know because it happened while I was composing a reply of my own. Link This might be thought-provoking to read for fans of either band.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Common Creativity

So I made four shirts today. And that's about all I can take for a while. Since I seem to have exceeded my quota on Webspace, the goods have been uploaded to PHOTOGS. Yeesh, watch out for letters. None of them are for me, perhaps you can guess their future owners if I give you that Wilco is for my cousin Jonathan and Tilly and the Wall is for a certain somebody in Spain. What's up with the weak flash, my camera?

Hey interesting, Kanye West meets the Beach Boys. All tracks are free.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bird in Cage

I really, really want to backpack across Europe or undertake a huge exploration like that in the near future. My roommate Erin is living the dream right now, and after being so happy for her, I'm nearly crying everyday out of my green eyes. There's just so much to be discovered and experienced in the hazy "out there"! But, truly, how can I make it happen? No companion(s), no money, much summer school in view, and only one free summer left. I don't know why it's so pressing, but I will start feeling half-alive I don't start going places. SIGH. This bird is banging its head on the bars.

Friday, August 19, 2005

On the tv

I am an alien to the realm of hip-hop, but it really tickles my fancy that Kanye West's new album was produced by Jon Brion.

My first DIY shirt. Yay.

Killer alternate album cover!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nails & Details

Yeah! I finally got my IKEA futon today. Dingle, baby. I'd been checking its stock online for the past week or so and the disappointing "no" turned to a joyous "yes" last night. So I went with my parents the hour it opened. The rest of today I stuck by Jocelyn's side, with a few firsts: making a drink at Java and Cha (local coffee shop owned by a friend) and making my first DYI t-shirt, then built a new IKEA 4' bookcase for my brother, since I'm taking his for the Austin house. (If you haven't seen the pictures of the newly painted yet, go here.) It was tiring to say in the least, with all the nails and details usually reserved for machines and carpenters. It was just me and my mom tackling this task. When I have a house of my own and need a whole new set of furniture, I will probably look the other direction, even though these Swedes are smart. Been listening to a couple tracks off the new Death Cab. I really like a few of them, and the other ones are forgettable. I am wondering if I should buy it, since I own everything else they have put out, except the "Forbidden Love EP." Ah, I do believe that fame really changes an artist, and their stuff is less intimate, less biting, more generic and more "ba ba" poppy than I prefer. All this I thought about lying in bed last night, so dumb. Well, hats off to them for making more money and being heard on the "OC" anyway. Goodbye, my favorite band in high school! Alright, another round of studying Chinese, sigh..
Can I do this to our unwanted heavy trash couch sitting on our front porch?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

So Many LIES

Ok, so I just found out yesterday that fluoride, in our tap water, toothpaste and many food products, is actually bad for you. Fluoride Alert and book. So is soy apparently, but I'll disregard those studies because I am OK and I drink soy, and Chinese people have had soy in their diet forever and they're very much OK as well. Stop killing us innocent citizens with your lies, you greedy businesses and seedy politicians! I know there's more truth like this out there to be uncovered, but I'm not particularly inclined to gloom up my life by finding out about them. I'll put up a fight next time I have to get a fluoride treatment at the dentist's, how about that?

New York Shitty

What's so great about New York anyway? The standard of living is crazy high, $80,000/yr serving as the state poverty line for a family of three living in its wealthiest areas. Sure, sure New York City has been a hub of culture for ages, but are people living there better off than the rest of us? Are there any books coming out from there about the secrets to a well-lived life or the wellsprings of happiness? Rather, from there we hear more about corruption, disillusionment and the underbelly of many American practices and institutions. Maybe people who live there and elsewhere in the United States fall in love with the great city's possibilities and its rich history, always looking towards a brighter future. OK, I admit that I'm pulling these idea mostly from the sky to form a dissent against the popularly held belief that this city is the American utopia and I realize that there's also great stuff to be found there. But I refuse to love New York and its City simply because of its cultural grandeur, press, fashion, nightlife, high rent, broadway shows, museums, and fast-paced livelihoods. Those things only don't make a life, they use it. Show me meaning and that's what I'll hold on to.

Love it, Sufjan.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Century of Fakers, Pt. II

   Today I wished I could live in a place where things are mostly real. Like Europe, or any other country more than a few hundred years old. We're talking merchandise here. The idea of putting a fake vintage piece in my house is more than mildly distasteful. All the phony, factory made in China, brandished metal tables, lamps and other adornments at Ross reminded me of the stuffy state of common American furnishings. (If I'm going to buy something made in China, I prefer that it be an original Chinese product.) It and a lot else in that category is probably is result of the combination of a relatively short history and greedy business. There were some dear handmade stoneware bowls from Italy and Germany there that caught my eye, I may go back and get them tomorrow; they're lovely, simple things, rich with history and superior in design and quality. On the other hand, I predict that many people's homes will look similar thanks to IKEA.

I <3 design! A Starbucks doubleshot urged me to post a few of my favorite ideas from this season. It's here; it's xanga, but they actually let you post pictures, unlike blogspot. Not sure why I am still keeping that ole high school thing up, except for pictures and a few people.

A Century of Fakers

"What Goes On" (Real Player) - Sufjan Stevens
[From 2005 "Rubber Soul" tribute album, "This Bird Has Flown"]

==A few photos uploaded==

August 12 2005
I'm not doing another rushed entry again. It's terrible stuff!

This weekend had enjoyable parts and it had exceeding lonely parts. I'm glad I didn't have to stay there all summer. That house is not a home, yet. I played the role of reclusive cat lady half the time, sitting around in the house, stroking the felines, and shaking my head at the disarray of everything. There were many points in time (among people) when I wanted to disappear from the face of the earth, but not in a violent or despairing way. I'm tired. It would've been easier to not have to deal with all that awkwardness and dead time. Whatever, I'm sure I'll always harbor that selfish thought somewhere in the back of my consciousness. I ate some of my leftover gingerbread pancake today. It was pretty excellent this time. Meg, my breakfast date and RUF intern, forgot about our breakfast get together that morning, so I sat on the bench leafing through the latest Alamo Drafthouse schedule. (I called her eventually.) I'm not a huge huge fan, but how awesome is it that they are showing the LOTR trilogy with a seven course hobbit meal interspersed throughout the viewing? And I remember when Amelie came out, they gave each audience member a creme brulee and a spoon with which to crack the caramelized top. How can you not love a theater that hosts events like that? E&K picked out paint colors for our house and it's so last minute so I am probably not going to help paint. I amn't going down every single weekend til school starts. The dining room is a light yellow, probably won't be able to tell if it's the reflection of light or real paint, the dining room a fiery red, the kitchen a hint of blue, like the lightest sky, the bathroom a light lavender, and Kristi's room a mint green, like the outside of the house. All the light colors were so darn near white that I could barely see the sample dab on their stickers. I swear, if it wasn't for the dining room and my room, our house would be a genuine Easter egg. Where's the Austin boldness? That's OK though roommies, I am looking forwards to the photos and finished product anyway. I think I just felt like a rant. And we didn't smoke any cigs, that was a joke. Smoking cigarettes is a nasty habit to pick up and quite a costly way of slowly killing yourself. I've had cigars and pipes before, they seem much more refined, like art. But I've given those up for the time, as they are still tobacco and cancerous. The blood drawing experience was great, as I got to see one of Mary's workplaces (the other being the Cactus cafe on campus) and do something to help sick people. She was very kind and gentle to me the whole time, after I admitted I was a bit nervous, and even sat and chatted with me at the "recovery room" with all the snacks and ice cream.

I went over to Jocelyn's house for a potluck and we ended up with less people than expected, so the only way to down all that food was to be distracted by a movie. We watched Snatch. I had never seen it and it pleasantly exceeded my expectations. Those British films, I can never quite get them. Oh yes, and thank you Mr. Richie for no gratuitous gore. I guess I'm going shopping this afternoon for more dressy clothes, that's all I really need now. I say that every Sunday. Shopping is so tiring and it's hard to find things I like. Personal shopper, anyone? All I want are things with which I can get by, to be presentable. That's all you need really, none of that time consuming riff raff. Don't you ever get tired of buying new things? Strange enough, I am and am ready for a life of simplicity and purpose.

The discovery of my drive to explore. I've been thinking about this and how I love relating to places and developing connections. They don't have to be deep, although they should. I have never been to Europe and it's my next destination, I hope. Why? Hard to say. And going to foreign places makes coming home so much sweeter. Of course, it'll never do if all I am for is to fill a big void in my life. I know it can be good for other things. If I want to see more of the world, if definitely has to be done before marriage, because marriage means kids. Perhaps my mate will enjoy seeing things as well. Mind you, I don't want to be one of those weary, older mothers who decide to start a family after they make sure their careers are firmly established or whatever. That isn't good for anyone. Poor Dalbert in the 6th grade lamented on how he is going to have to grow up faster because his parents are just so darn old. Of course, you can't always help this, but I'll plan what I can.

Oh and the best part of the day was this morning after service.
Pastor Katong (to Jocelyn): "Excuse me, are you related to Jocelyn?"
Jocelyn: "Um, I am Jocelyn."

Harhar, why do we never think of younger people growing older like the rest of us? It has made centuries of offenses for sure.

My new phone has been acting up again, putting in gibberish entries and deleting numbers. I've already sent in for a new one- this one is faulty as well. Maybe I should change the SIM card this time. Curse technology! I know that getting upset at an inanimate object does absolutely no good, but arg! Ah, what a waste of frustration! Bah.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Song of the day.
Romantic Rights
[Death From Above 1979]

No real update, because there has been another change of plans: I am leaving for Austin in the next hour and will be there for a few days. I'll let you know the juicy details after!

Peoples! A short notice last last night, and now I am in Austin. So it was a secret, but now I can say that as of last night, my friend Sara Linville is engaged!! Yahh!! She's a year older than me and way cool. I'll post pictures as soon as I get home and upload them. Anyway, wow. And that's all I have to say about that.
What did I do last night? Well I'll tell you. After the engagement party (which was thinly disguised as a housewarming party), where there was much wine (none for me), friendly friends and a few parents, we went home to the house. Ah! We sat outside on the sidewalk next to the street and chatted a bit in the cool night wind, while cars slowed down to peek at our cute abode. (Well, not so much, there's a speed bump there.) We noticed our neighbors out, this cute girl playing with a gigantic homemade hula hoop and a few guys sitting out on the front porch. Anyway, we met them, and then got kinda sad that they were only staying for a few more months. The girl works at the original Kerbey Lane (nice!) and is an independent fashion designer. Her boyfriend's father was so funny, after offering us drinks and smoke and us politely refusing, he said he would make it his goal to "corrupt us college girls" and went on to assign each of us a brand of cigarettes for "orientation smoking" tomorrow night. Then I cut out on the fun and went to bed, but laid there for a long time, not used to the new environment and hearing my roommate Mary creak the floorboards upstairs while finishing up painting her room.
OK! Lunch at Foodhead's in thirty minutes, then going to the blood and tissue center to let Mary draw my blood, then eating the prize, a pint of ice cream, then going to Waterloo and picking up Okkervi River perhaps, then dinner at the delish vegetarian restaurant across from the street, Mother's, then who knows! OK sorry for the quick update, will make the language better when I have time. <3

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Big Box of Junior Mints

A few pictures up from painting in atx at photogs.

"Nowadays, naked women are just bad porn." :(

How come you will be charged with double homicide for murdering a pregnant woman, but abortion is legal?

Car Radio
I Turn My Camera On
I Summon You
Spoon!! I was apathetic about them for a long time, but their punchy adult guitar rock has slowly crept into my current playlists, now dominating. Classic. I can't say I love them, but I am starting to like them a lot. Perhaps that is a better way of going about enjoying art.

And another gem from Wednesday
Exodus Damage John Vanderslice

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Toil for fun

Ah, I have been treating myself to a two hours worth of listening to the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic Feist performance (pretty good), the Teenage Fanclub full album stream at Merge, and tracks from the Wolf Parade CBC Radio 3 sessions. Why this sudden lapse into hedonism? Because the house is now a lot cleaner, and my mom really appreciates the organized refrigerator exterior. At least in this aspect I'll be a decent housewife. Man, I've been thinking about how we/I unthinkingly try all the time to satisfy our desires. That requires taking a step back and slowing down in my case, cycles of consumerism. As far as music goes, lately there have been a lot of new releases that I think would sound pleasing in my ear, but I had kinda decided earlier on to only buy really good albums that'll last. Doesn't that make sense? Maybe it's just me trying to cut out excess and live more simply, but it goes against my immediate desire. I'm starting to wonder if it's a sign that when I can't do something in moderation I should cut it out completely. Perhaps that is why people enjoy mix CDs from their friends so much: they do none of the work, yet get to enjoy the results, the good culled from the mediocre. Would someone like to do that for me? They have statistics for how many days/years the average person spends sleeping, watching TV (yech.), and the like. They should get with the times and do one for music listening. When the things you consume start to consume you.. read the main page article in Newsweek today about America's budding addiction to meth. Sad news. Also, I went to court today for my class. In hindsight, the case was exceedingly boring, it was about a seatbelt violation. But it was fun visiting the building in downtown Plano, a part of town I have rarely frequented. I love novel experiences, even if they're truly ordinary.

I really should be packing for tomorrow's road trip to Austin. Really. And we're having dinner at S__ P___ (name?), the restaurant by Clown Dog Bikes, where San Jacinto turns into Duval. Unfortunately, there is no hot water in the house, so I suggested that we go on a run around HP before showertime. Their response was feeble. Anyhow, I am excited to return to the lovely capital. We are all so proud of it! And, my friend Jocelyn started making t-shirts with paint and stencils. I'm hoping I can get her to help me out a bit and make a few, maybe an easy Elliott Smith one and then a more challenging Sufjan one. DYI projects, what do you think?

This moment: I rather like the last half of this song. Pelz Komet - The Kingsbury Manx
More Xiu Xiu? Sad Pony Girl