Category Archives: Sound

I Want to Be a Part of it…

Photo courtesy of the boy.

It’s been over nine years since I’ve visited New York City.

As a kid, New York was one of the only places I ever dreamed of moving to. That’s pretty common in young girls, I think (especially those who have any sort of music and/or theater aspirations, as I certainly did at the time). But even since, everywhere I’ve lived or visited has been compared to this ideal of NYC that lives in the back of my mind.

I decided to go to school in downtown Atlanta because by the age of 15 the idea of the suburbs seemed intolerable to me. So I passed on the idea of a typical “college town” experience of dorm life and sororities and football games in favor of a campus that most of my friends and schoolmates felt was really intolerable.

I wanted to be downtown. I wanted to walk everywhere, be in the middle of the energy of a city. I wanted to ride the train every day. I wanted to people watch (State was SO GREAT for that). I wanted an eclectic backdrop to my college experience.

It’s admittedly laughable for anyone to compare downtown Atlanta with New York. But when the alternatives are Dahlonega or Milledgeville or Valdosta or even Athens — cool as that may be — the Fairlie Poplar district starts looking more and more like the real thing.

This way of life, ideal to me though odd to most I knew, has stuck with me. The reasons people generally give for never wanting to live in a city like New York, I idealize.

I’ve never romanticized owning a nice car, or a large house for that matter. Ever. I can’t think of a time in my life when I lusted after a car. (A scooter, maybe.) I think in the back of my mind what I’ve alway wanted is to not have to own a car at all. To this day, it sort of pisses me off that everyone is expected to spend so much money on such an unsound investment just because it’s the norm.

I’d rather be able to walk to work, to the store, to wherever I need to go. I’d rather not have to get in a car and deal with traffic for ten, twenty, thirty minutes just to visit a friend or find something to do. I’d rather live in a small apartment. The last two times I’ve moved I’ve actually downsized. I find myself wanting all types of music, every type of food, any type of cultural experience possible, right outside my door.  I love the noises and constant bustle of the city. I long for REAL outdoor farmers markets. I want diversity.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a misplaced New Yorker at heart.

The boy and I are visiting Brooklyn this next week. We’re going to walk around a lot, explore, take some photos, and meet up with an old friend or two. I’m interested to see how the past nine years — and my documented love affair with Decatur — have changed my perspective on the city. Because the other times I’ve visited I haven’t wanted to come back.

Photos to come…



Filed under Life, the Universe, and Everything, Sight, Sound, Taste

Girl Anachronism

Have found a new musical obsession. (It’s about time.)

I stumbled upon an article on Jezebel a couple of months ago that discussed Amanda Palmer’s controversial appearance at the Golden Globes, specifically citing her wardrobe and grooming choices.

I found the article fascinating and subsequently hopped over to the artist’s blog and her own recollection of the event, which was told in a very refreshing and humorous voice.

I’d never heard of her, or the Dresden Dolls (sadly I’m often a little late to the party when it comes to music I end up REALLY liking) but now, I’m completely hooked.

After reading more, Palmer became more and more fascinating. Engaged to Neil Gaiman (a hero around these parts). Part of a performance art cabaret duo (the aforementioned Dresden Dolls). Put out a solo album (Who Killed Amanda Palmer) produced by Ben Folds and a correlating photography book (a collaboration with Gaiman). About to release Evelyn Evelyn — a new, slightly controversial, concept album based on a collaboration with a set of 24-year-old conjoined twins who grew up playing the ukulele in the circus.

She’s a fantastic writer and musician, and very entertaining to watch. Her videos are pretty amazing as well.

I ran across this one the other day, apparently a song she whipped up on a cab ride home while on tour in Melbourne, Austrialia and played live the next day. This song has been stuck in my head for days.

How adorable is that? It’s apparently jump started a #vegemite vs. #marmite war on Twitter between Palmer, Gaiman, and what seems to be all of Australia.

I love finding new music. This woman is freaking fantastic.


Filed under Sight, Sound

Too Much

Originally posted July 22, 2009

A friend recently posted this status on his Facebook page:

“The happiness we associate with youth can be attributed to limited resources and purity of experience. An album is more enjoyable when it’s the only one you can afford that month and you’ve only heard 5 good albums in your lifetime. Which leads me to think ipods accelerate unhappiness.”

I responded to this saying I wasn’t sure if I liked it or if it depressed me. Then I started thinking about it. Sure, it talks about youth and happiness in a more broad sense, but does he have a point on the music thing?

I’ve written before about music and memories, and also music and moods. I think they have a huge impact on us. And I have to wonder [cue Carrie Bradshaw voice-over and keyboard clicking sounds] Are the never-ending play lists of iPods (not to mention my newest vice, Pandora – more on that later) doing us a disservice? Our attention spans are shrinking at the same rate as our options are growing. Is our appreciation of music suffering in the information age?

When I got my first car, I had a five-disc CD changer that was located in my trunk. This arrangement made it rather inconvenient to switch those CDs out frequently, and ensured that I listened to those same five albums MANY times through. (Though I’ve never really had problems with listening to the same music over and over and over, anyway.)

My senior year in high school, the following albums were in constant rotation:

Counting Crows – August and Everything After
U2 – Joshua Tree
Dave Matthews Band – Crash
The Cardigans – Life
Third Eye Blind (first album)
Jewel – Pieces of You
The Sundays (whatever album had the crazy doll head on it)
Beatles Anthology III

Combine those with whatever was currently playing on 99X (I remember a lot of “Bittersweet Symphony”), and you pretty much have the soundtrack to my 17th and 18th years. With the frequency I listened to these albums, it’s no wonder they’re nostalgic. I knew every nuance of every warble Jewel uttered on that first record (PLEASE NOTE, this was back when she was just a hippie chick with a guitar. None of the vamped out, glossy pop stuff she did a couple of years ago). And I listened to that Beatles Anthology so much that hearing the final studio recording of Rocky Raccoon still sounds foreign (Paul didn’t crack up in the middle of that one…).

But what will I listen to years from now that will make the memories of THIS era come flooding back? The Gotan Project channel on Pandora? I LOVE music. And I listen to it a lot. And sure, if I find something I really dig I’ll still listen to it over and over, but I feel like I only manage to get one listen in before I’m presented with something else I JUST HAVE TO LISTEN TO.

I’m feeling overwhelmed and over stimulated just thinking about it. Maybe it’s time to step back from all the clutter and focus on just one or two albums for a while.

When I’m not listening to Pandora, that is.

(Artwork courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

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Lo-fi Girl

Originally posted June 28, 2009

So I said a WHILE ago that I would be posting “soon” about my new discoveries in the worlds of cocktails and photography (ooh! a new blog name, perhaps?). The martinis might have to wait for another day, but the photography’s been on my mind as of late.

We have a couple of friends who turned us on to Through the Viewfinder photography, a process by which you take a digital (I know, I know, how the mighty have fallen) photo through the viewfinder of an older — usually non-working — camera. This adds in all the old dust, scratches, and whatnots from the lens of the older camera (in this case, an Argus Seventy-five) into the new digital image, giving it a very aged feel. It adds character into an otherwise too-clean (in my opinion) photo.

I was telling my dad — a life-long graphics guru — about this on Father’s Day, and he said that the way I was talking about the character of these pseudo-vintage photographs reminded him of all of his friends who complained about music sounding too crisp and clear when that industry started making its way toward digital, rather than analog, technology.

And I have to agree. Something about the soul of certain songs is stripped away when you listen to an MP3 of it after hearing it on vinyl. I guess that’s how I feel about these images. The flaws add character. (Kind of like with people.)

So I told him I guess I’m just a lo-fi girl at heart. He got a big kick out of that.

He also got a kick out of the name of this blog, which if I remember correctly, he described as “… um… adventurous?”

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Happy Holidays, Monsieur Hippo!

Originally posted December 28, 2008

I meant to post this a few days ago, but with it being the holidays and all, it’s been a bit busy ’round here. Better late than never, though, to show you the CUTEST thing I think I’ve ever seen.

Capucine, the little girl in the video above – who the brazen mavens over at Jezebel have taken to calling “Amelie Jr.” – makes me want to move to Paris and have little French-speaking babies. Or maybe just become an au pair. Do yourself a favor and watch the very imaginative story she tells in the video, then scroll down to read her letter to Père Noël for Christmas, as transcribed by her Mère.

Père Noël,

I would like a nice gift, and I would like to see you.

Because I have been very good throughout the year. I have listened well, I have cleaned up my room by myself and I had fun at school, and I have played with my friends.

Also, I am going to move, I will have a nice house and a mezzanine.

I eat everything, but sometimes, I don’t.

Then I would like to see you for Christmas and Halloween and talk to you. I would like to sing you a song-poem. When is winter coming ?

Also I would like to talk to you, but if you leave and go far away, I would like to see you in your house.

If I hug you, your beard will not sting, it will only tickle.

And I would like to go into your sleigh. How will I do that ? Do I have to climb up the trees ?



I can’t stand the cuteness. I don’t know that I was ever so innocent and sweet as a child. I feel like I emerged from the womb a sarcastic little spazz.

Merry Christma-Hannu-Kwanza-ka everybody!

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This I Believe

Originally posted December 9, 2008

A friend recommended that I check out today. I’d heard of it before and have read a few of the essays. You could spend hours on that site. There are a lot of thought-provoking ones, like this one and this one and this one. And I’ve always adored this one. After reading a few I thought I’d start compiling my own list, because a lot of times my own rambling thoughts don’t make sense until I get them down on paper. It’s a work in progress.

I believe life should be lived with all five senses at attention.

I believe that we are innately good, but that goodness must be fostered.

I believe retaining one’s idealism and optimism is hard work — maintaining low expectations so as to not be disappointed is taking the easy way out.

I believe the definition of “wrong” or “sinful” is anything that harms or tears another person down. One should strive to build other people up. It’s that simple.

I believe wars are not the answer, but will never be avoided without education and open-mindedness.

I believe differences should be celebrated, not converted.

I believe laughter heals the soul, and keeps one youthful.

I believe happiness is a choice, not a circumstance.

I believe that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. (Thank you, John Lennon.)

I believe that however well-intentioned, religion often creates a lack of social responsibility.

I believe that we should want to spread the wealth.

I believe everyone has the right to health care.

I believe everyone has the right to an education.

I believe that not everyone has boots, let alone bootstraps.

I believe travel and experiences are more valuable than property and possessions.

I believe sharing a meal with loved ones is a sacred ritual.

I believe touch is a basic human need, and one that can have detrimental effects on a person if it is denied or withheld.

I believe music is magic, and that those who can create it have a genius I am envious of but will never possess.

I believe that not knowing exactly what one believes — and freely admitting it — will earn a listening ear far quicker than dogmatic conviction.

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Filed under Life, the Universe, and Everything, Sound, Taste, Touch

How Love Should Be

Originally posted December 8, 2008

There is a bronze sculpture on a bench right outside the Old Courthouse on the square that tugs at my heart every time I pass by it. I believe it is called “Valentine.” An elderly man and woman are sitting close together, her hand resting on his arm, with their heads gently leaning against each other. There’s an overwhelming sense of quiet and stillness to this piece. Such a sense of comfort between the two figures, looking off into the distance. It’s beautiful and touching and somehow unbelievably sad.

Whenever I see it, I start singing the song “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie in my head — yet another song that I can’t listen to without crying. You should look it up if you’ve never gotten a chance to hear it, because the melody is almost as sweet and haunting as the lyrics.

“I Will Follow You Into The Dark”

Love of mine, some day you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
And illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school, as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
“Son fear is the heart of love”
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
And illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It’s nothing to cry about
’cause we’ll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

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