Pizza and Coffee and Football, oh my!

December 31, 2012 at 12:37 pm (Uncategorized)

As I sit here baking a pizza and drinking my coffee (I got a somewhat later start today–but 9:30 isn’t terrible I suppose) I am “watching” a fairly to this point unwatchable Sun Bowl between your 7-5 USC Trojans and 6-7 GT Yellowjackets I decided that this was a good moment to take some time and write for a few minutes.

(Lengthy pause to eat said pizza and drink another couple cups of coffee. Game becomes *slightly* more watchable)

Let’s see…I got into two choirs with the Beati Chorum organization (I hadn’t heard of them before, either) and I’m pretty excited. Wednesday nights will again be for choir! So will Thursday nights, but I haven’t been going to choir on Thursdays for the past 4 years so it has slightly less resonance with me. Looking forward to singing more again, and I think I’ll get to sing tenor II, which should be fun. I’ve never really gotten to do that (excluding SATB arrangements–which doesn’t really count) on a consistent basis, so it will be nice. While I can sing tenor I without any problems, my tessatura is definitely tenor II. It’ll also beat the hell out of singing baritone (which had its moments, but never again if I can help it).

(Glance up, USC pick. Still don’t think they want to be in El Paso)

The new year begins tonight, which is sort of arbitrary if you think about it. I feel that logistically it would make more sense for the New Year to start on the solstice, but what do I know? It clearly isn’t going to change in any case. That we all accept the fact that a new year is beginning makes it real, which you can say about a lot of things but is especially true when you are talking about units of time.

(GT fumble. Man, the Trojan offense isn’t doing anything)

Well, I’m out of things to say for the moment, but I have a few ideas I’ve been sketching out in my mind about topics to write about. Mostly controversial, but potentially worth posting to facebook. I don’t post any of my blogs that I don’t think are worth reading (like this one) because I figure that the people that are really interested can look on their own and if I post crap all the time then people won’t want to read the things that I feel like are better representations of my writing and might be worth their time. That brings up the question of why I post things like this publicly at all–and I guess it’s because I just like putting my thoughts out into the universe. Even  Especially if no one is reading them.

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Everything is Sound

December 31, 2012 at 10:58 am (Uncategorized)

It’s a song that I’ve forgotten often/it doesn’t make me wrong/’cause we all need the darkness/to see the light/in our own lives

 

When our two hands/are linked together with an ampersand/it’s my kind of diagram

When our sore eyes are lined up side by side/Yes I’m a happy man/Yes I’m a happy man

Yes ma’am/Yes ma’am/Yes ma’am/I am thinking about you

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Best of 2012 (A personal list)

December 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm (Uncategorized)

I thought I might post my top 10 albums of 2012 for kicks and to make people upset with my taste in music. I listen to a lot of music, though perhaps not as much as many of my more musically inclined friends, and I have diverse-ish tastes that tend towards the acoustic and pop genres. In any case, it was fun to think back about the albums I really loved this year and why I loved them.

The criteria were as follows: 2012 needed to be the first time I heard the album–I couldn’t have heard more than a single off of any of the albums released prior to this year and they had to be albums by a single artist/group (mix tapes wouldn’t really make sense, though I got some great ones).

Without further ado, here are my personal top 10 of 2012:

10. Lonely Avenue-Ben Folds and Nick Hornsby

This album came out in 2010, but I for whatever reason hadn’t jumped in and listened to it until this summer. I really enjoy Ben Folds in general, and I feel like this collaboration (him doing the melody, Hornsby providing the lyrics) works far better than it has any right to. It tapped into a lot of solid emotional places for me, and “Picture Window” is easily in the top 5 songs of the year for me, were I to make such a list. “Claire’s Ninth” and “Password” are also songs I will continue to love for a long time–but the rest of the album is really good too. It doesn’t get higher billing because there are a few songs on the album I care less for, and because I missed the train for a couple years before listening to the album.

9. channel ORANGE-Frank Ocean

This album makes the list because it is a) excellent and b) reminds me of spending most of the summer at Yellow House with Avery broing out and having a great time. So do Rumours and Tusk, but unfortunately for Fleetwood Mac I have solid experience listening to them. The only experience I had with Frank Ocean was his appearances on a few songs in Watch the Throne. His solo album does not disappoint. The highlight for me is “Sweet Life.” It isn’t higher because while I legitimately enjoy this album, it wasn’t one I came back to a ton. But it’s solid and the memories I have associated with it give it top 10 status.

8. The Lateness of the Hour-Alex Clare

I will tell you that this is just one of several albums on the list recommended to me by the one and only Danny Schneider, and it is a good one. It’s great for parties or riding in the car, as most of the tunes have a certain techno-y dubstep-lite vibe to them. “Hummingbird” is my favorite track on the album. I really enjoy this album, but for whatever reason to me 8 is as high as I could put it. It’s not any one thing, I just didn’t like it as much as the albums above it (what a blatantly obvious thing to say. Sorry readers).

7. First Love-Yiruma

Another older album, this was released in 2006. It’s a collection of piano music. I love this album. It’s fantastic for just laying in bed, or reading, or deep thought. I almost never listen to purely instrumental music (what can I say, I’m a vocalist) but this was 100% one of my top albums of 2012. I found it randomly when a song came on spotify radio, and I liked it so much I listened to the album. Then I listened to it again and again. “It’s Your Day” is the first song I heard as well as my favorite track. It’s not higher simply because I enjoy songs with vocals too much. In terms of how often I listen to it, this album is top 5 or 3.

6. Human Again-Ingrid Michaelson

What a wonderful and different album from Ms. Michaelson. She branches out in terms of instrumentation and the feel of several of the songs on this album from what you’re used to hearing with her, and in my opinion it works fantastically. I love Ingrid and I love this album. “Ribbons” is the favorite track here. It’s not higher because I listened to nothing but this album for a little while and then it got pushed to the back burner and only recently has made a strong listening comeback. Highly recommend.

5. Red-Taylor Swift

A great example of an excellent pop album. I think it’s her best yet. I am a sucker for T. Sweezy in the first place, but I was really impressed with this album. I actually didn’t love it on the first listen through, but after giving it a second chance I was hooked. I know a lot of people like to dismiss Taylor Swift outright, but it’s worth a listen. It pisses me off that this album isn’t on spotify, because “We are Never Getting Back Together” is not a great representation of the album as a whole. Favorite track is “Sad Beautiful Tragic.” It’s not higher because there are a couple ehhhh songs on the album and I’m still upset that it isn’t on spotify for the world to hear. You sold like 10 bajillion copies, Swift! Isn’t that enough?!

4. One Upon Another Time-Sara Bareilles

This is a 5 track EP that SarBare released earlier this year. I already loved her, and this EP doesn’t disappoint. If anything you’re left wanting more because it’s so short. Favorite track is “Bright Lights and Cityscapes.” That song gives me all the feels. It isn’t higher because it’s only 5 songs, and I have to be in the right mood to want to listen to “Sweet As Whole.”

3. Lungs/Ceremonials-Florence + the Machine

I discovered Florence this year, and thus I discovered both albums. I think Lungs is better, but Ceremonials has a lot going for it as well, so I lumped them together. I don’t know why I hadn’t started listening to her earlier, but I’m certainly glad I found her now. Favorite tracks off of those albums are probably “Cosmic Love” and “Heartlines” respectively. I also have an inkling that you could make a super weird/indie rock opera using just Florence + the Machine songs, so that amuses me. These albums aren’t higher because the next couple albums just carry a lot of emotional resonance for me that isn’t present here.

2. Casey Abrams-Casey Abrams

Casey Abram’s self titled album is an album I was built to love. It’s a lot of acoustic guitar, smooth poptastic vocals, and it’s just sugary and emotional enough to hit me at a time where I was mourning a relationship and really sit with me. I love the guy’s voice, and I’m hoping he has more albums forthcoming. “Blame it on Me” is my favorite track. Just a super solid album. I have listened to it more times than I can count. Why isn’t it number one? Because number one will probably be my favorite album for years and years to come.

1. Love is a 4 Letter Word-Jason Mraz

I don’t know how to express how much I love this album. It gives me all the feels. It resonates with my Buddhism. It resonates with how I feel about life and love and relationships. I love the vibe of this album, Jason Mraz’s voice, and how this album came at a perfect moment in time to make me love it. This album cuts to the core of me. If you want to know me, listen to this album. I will continue to love it for the rest of my life. Words fail. If I had to pick a favorite off of this album (and every track is great) I would probably go with the live version of “I Never Knew You” at the end. That’s the other thing. Buy the deluxe edition because the bonus/live stuff is gold. The demo version of “I Won’t Give Up” is better than the radio edit/normal album version. This album. Go listen to it. So good. Best album of 2012.

Honorable Mention: Lights-Ellie Goulding; PTX: Vol. 1-Pentatonix

 

So there you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? I would love to hear about YOUR favorite albums–I’m always looking for new music to listen to.

 

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Dec 29

December 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm (Uncategorized)

The new year is rapidly approaching, and I feel both excitement and apprehension about 2013. It’s going to be a lot different than the past several years in that I am no longer living in Moscow, no longer surrounded by academia or multitudes of people my own age, and my life path for now has gotten fairly hazy. I’ve been looking for a job in the Portland area for the past month-ish, except that I lost a week to thanksgiving and two weeks to Hawaii (Christmas with my mother’s side of the family). I have no regrets about either of those events, but it makes my real job search time something more akin to two weeks. That is fine, but I’m itching to go out and be productive–and let’s be honest, writing all those cover letters and filling out endless applications can occasionally feel degrading. It seems to me that if someone gives me a chance that they will see that I am smart, a quick learner, and capable of doing a multitude of things that I have not done before but could easily master if given the opportunity. As of yet, that opportunity has not presented itself.

C’est la vie.

Another thing that feels weird about 2013 is being single. I would term it as being “alone” which probably isn’t true but occasionally I get caught in the midst of certain depressive states and would classify myself as such. I have been dating for mostly my entire college experience, with only brief interludes, and as my last relationship ended more out of physical than emotional distance I find myself in the odd position of not really wanting to be in a relationship. Which is different for me because generally there’s nothing I would rather have, and the sort of stirring loneliness I have found upon returning to Camas (in that particular regard) feels strange in the absence of wanting it to change.

C’est la vie.

These varying factors lead to a certain kind of self doubt to which I am unaccustomed; I hope it ends sooner than later, if I’m being frank. If I’m being even more frank, I will tell you that I am less unaccustomed to this sort of self doubt than I would care to be. Furthermore, this self doubt has me feeling rather down on myself. I am writing it down in the hopes that just talking about it will make me feel better. Talking about it IS making me feel better, and though I can be assured of only a handful of people reading this blog, knowing that I am telling someone is gratifying in it’s own way. Is that strange? I think it might be a little–being an exhibitionist with your emotions. However, I can’t help but feel that autobiographical writing lends itself to that sort of emotional exhibitionism. Realistically as the kind of person who enjoys performing on the stage both musically and theatrically, some exhibitionism is probably to be expected.

C’est la vie.

On a more positive sort of note, I have my callback for Beati Chorum tomorrow. Beati Chorum is a choral group in Portland, I had my audition a few weeks ago and that went well so they emailed me some music a couple days ago and I’m memorizing it for tomorrow night. All I can say is that I thank whatever powers that be I have friends who can help me in times like these. I can say with all honesty that I’m quite good at learning songs by ear, and that I am downright terrible at learning them off of a page. I think I will do well enough to get into the group. If I don’t…well, at least I tried.

I thought about auditioning for Rent down at Clark College, but a) I have no idea of the level of shows performed there and b) I didn’t want to commit myself to a rehearsal process when realistically getting a job needs to be my #1 priority. The choir thing is different because they’re flexible and it’s one night a week, and I get stir crazy and a little bit depressed when I’m not singing so it just needed to happen in one form or another.

Hawaii with the family was excellently relaxing, except when it wasn’t. I have quite a few more freckles than I did before, so that’s kind of exciting. If I had the ability to tan it would be even better. A part of me was sad to leave, but I think on the whole I do have a soft spot for mild, rainy winters. I guess I’m just conditioned, but it’s part of who I am.

So, that’s life for right now. I’m going to try to write more now, but lord knows I have trouble writing with any sort of consistency.

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