Friday, October 30, 2009

#51 Describe what to do with your body when you die

When I die, I want to be cremated. Rather than a memorial service in a stuffy church or too-sterile cemetery, I want everyone to find the little creek in Tillamook, OR where I used to play as a girl, just a few miles outside of town down Highway 101. There, they’d all have a picnic in the high grass that always smelled of horses and cinnamon. I want each of my loved ones to tell a story about me—not choosing the “best” ones or the ones that would be most sympathetic, just an honest experience they had with me that they’ll always remember. Then, I’d want someone with a good reading voice (and one of my best friends) to read The Little Prince aloud, in its entirety. After that, everyone could have a glass of wine and lay on their backs and watch the stars come out—because from that spot you can see the Milky Way and all the constellations you can name (mostly). While this is happening, they will all listen to music I’ve picked out. Someone will have to bring some kind of speakers and a copy of the following songs: “Bridges and Balloons” by Joanna Newsom, “Apples” by My Brightest Diamond, “Baobabs” by Regina Spektor, “A Comet Appears” by The Shins, “Passenger Seat” by Death Cab for Cutie. When it was all over, or it got too chilly to stay out, everyone would get a small bit of my ashes in a jar for them to take home. I’d want them to put them somewhere—spread them, bury them, anything they choose. All I ask is that it be a place they’d be able to visit alone, where they could remember me and smile, even if only for a moment.

"Funeral" Music:

Joanna Newsom--Bridges and Balloons

My Brightest Diamond--Apples

Regina Spektor--Baobabs

The Shins--A Comet Appears

Death Cab for Cutie--Passenger Seat

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Learning to Love You More

I've harbored a love for Miranda July for a very long time now. It's not one of those loves that burns you up inside so you can't sleep, nor does it hit me every day or even every month. It's one of those feelings for a person that sneaks up on you in the quiet every so often, and you just realize that they are perfect and wonderful--a still kind of loving.

I've also always meant to do the Learning to Love You More assignments--all of them. But I've always wanted to do them in a way that I could share them, and since the site stopped accepting submissions, I wasn't sure how I'd do that.

So now, dear readers, I think I'll do them, a little at a time, and share them with you.

Because Miranda is a special kind of person, and I am a special kind of person--compelled, I suppose you might say...

Expect to see them periodically.

And in other news...

Creepy dummies strike again...

Edit: x2!

Land of Talk--Sixteen Asterisk

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Almost forgot

Music for today: stuff that reminds me of fall and cold mornings--and what I hope to listen to when I enjoy my first yummy cider of the season.

Sonic Youth--Empty Page

Roman Candle--They Say

Men Diamler--Black as a Cat in the Morning


I've always rather liked these prank phone call recordings...Robert Popper is one of my favorites. Maybe it's the British accent...(yummy).

I like the idea of having cake statues of myself through each stage of my life. Fetus cake...hmm...

And finally:

Antelope X!

Most terrifying Beatles cover ever...

By a Hungarian ventrilo-choir. You won't be able to sleep tonight.

(nabbed here)

And typewriters...

Posting the scene from Marriage of the Blessed brought up in conversation with a friend another famously unusual typewriter scene from a film. In David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, William Lee's (Burroughs') typewriter becomes a literal character. In fact, all typewriters are found to be living, alien-like entities. At first, we think it's the bug-powder...but then...not so much. It's all so eerie and strange and...Cronenberg. I loved this film, though it's not really an adaptation of Naked Lunch so much as a surreal imagining of the crazy inner-workings of William S. Burroughs' mind.

Anyway, a scene from the film:

And just for fun--a Burroughs pumpkin:

This film actually inspired me to buy a vintage typewriter of my own (whose name is, of course, Clark Nova). It looks very similar to this one:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ware for NPR

Chris Ware's video for this story from NPR's "This American Life" literally blew me away today. I've always admired him (certainly check out Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth). "This American Life" in general can be pretty powerful, as this one is, but adding Ware's artwork to it makes it...haunting.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Susan Sontag

Taking a break from my prospectus and annotated bibliography--though I know they won't write themselves. Finding myself increasingly in awe of Susan Sontag's utter brilliance. Seems like she was the kind of person who was just *so* intelligent and intense she could pin you right to her chair. She had so many wonderful photographs taken of her, it was hard to choose my favorites. In any event, I completely appreciate the lucid, focused quality of her writing. It's clear and concise, and yet so smart. Most theory I read has to be unpacked and dealt with in a piece by piece way--but I never have to do that kind of legwork with Sontag's writing; yet I certainly come away with lots of ideas.

Alberto Vargas

Browsing in Barnes&Noble today (no, they don't have Nook demo yet...those jerks), I found a really nice coffee table book of Alberto Vargas' pinup art. This guy drew some pretty cool lady pics, and sold many of them to Playboy. He even designed an album cover for The Cars! (neat) Anyway, I can't post most of his stuff on here for fear that you'll think I'm some kind of creep. If you like looking at pretty drawings of pin-up style naked ladies, you can see it all here.


I'd like to imagine this is what a music video collaboration between my friends and I would turn out to be. It's colorful, odd, and full of crazy synth. This band seems promising...

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool--Dance the Way I Feel

Green Pink Caviar

Really strange video, though I think I like it. It sort of made me want to cover my monitor like I was watching something naughty--but then again, I was compelled to finish. Odd.


I couldn't sleep last night, and only managed to get an hour or so of rest before I had to greet the day. As such, I'm in the mood for soft, lulling, hushing songs and small forests.

Woodpigeon--Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nice nice

I seem to find female vocalists so appealing. Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite bands have male leads--but...there's just something nice about a girl who can sing. It's effortlessly charming and wonderful.

Caitlin Rose--Song for Rabbits

Those Darlins--Wild One

Or else!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

a new song that makes me happy

Apparently Of Montreal is going to be releasing a new album in 2010 (at some point). I'm very excited about this, though to be honest the only song I'd heard from this new record was Wet Butcher's Fist--which is very weird (weirder than usual). But then I found this video, and all was right with the world.

This is what my morning sounds like

The sun is just starting to touch the houses down the street, and I can see from my window the deep grey of the sky--I hope it will rain again.

The Innocence Mission--Brotherhood of Man

Alela Diane & Alina Hardin--Bowling Green

Friday, October 23, 2009

Belarus бабушка

This woman from Belarus plays a bluesy version of an old folk tale--using a lightbulb as a slide. I find it charming, sad and wonderful all at the same time.

(originally from here)

Pretty Pretty

--Justin Nelson

--both by Julianna Swaney

--both by dkim

Rainy Day

I wanted to start posting music on this blog...and it's complicated. Hopefully this will work for you guys. (Let me know in the comments if you have an issue.)

Anyway, it's rainy--and I want to hear rainy day music.

Talking Heads--This Must Be the Place

Vashti Bunyan--Leave Me

Panda Bear--Bros

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down--Know Better Learn Faster

Green Porno

You should absolutely start watching Isabella Rossellini's short film series "Green Porno", available to watch at the Sundance Channel website here.

I've seen all three seasons, and I have to say she's completely brilliant. Ostensibly it's a series about the sexual habits and characteristics of various animals (insects, ocean creatures, you name it). It becomes so much more than that in the viewing. Rossellini, in donning the animal costumes and performing these sexual acts invites a completely new reading. Rather than a "simple" documentary film, her work becomes a complex relationship between information about nature and poetry that seems to revel in the intricacies and beauty of nature. Her dialogue is more lyrical than you'd expect, and what is titillating and exciting at first becomes moving and provocative as you continue.

It was difficult to embed the videos directly from the site, and YouTube had a limited selection of them to choose from. My favorite was the shrimp episode from Season 3 (so by all means, watch that one)--but here is another really great one:


I recently discovered that Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince was based on his own experiences with a crash-landing in the desert. He even tamed one of the desert foxes (a fennec), which I suspect is why the fox from the story doesn't really resemble the foxes we're familiar with. More on The Little Prince later...I've recently rediscovered my adoration for it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Images of Communist Europe

I know it seems I've gone on a bit of an historical bender...but these photographs are just so striking and beautiful. It makes me think of the eastern Europe that was--and the almost desperate desire I have to visit this wondrous place.

"Pop Magic, Krakow, Poland, 1988"

"Woman passes one-wheeled motorcycle, Krakow, Poland 1988"

"Tea Room, Katovice, Poland, 1988"

All images taken by David Hlynsky and can be seen here.

Maybe I Need This...

For my head-cold sickness...

Marriage of the Blessed

I just watched a film from my Iranian cinema course that was so great that I had to share. Marriage of the Blessed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf is visually arresting. It reminded me of the weirdest parts of Requiem for a Dream, and had this overwhelming sense of unease that felt much like David Lynch's work (particularly Eraserhead). The editing and cinematography of the film were astounding--relying on clever camerawork and match-cuts to make connections between Haji's modern, "civilized" surroundings and the war-torn, hostile environment of his thoughts and memories. It was hard to find footage or stills from this, as it's certainly a lesser known work, but this clip is exemplary of the style of "flashback" the film relies on.

The character I most sympathized and identified with was Haji's long-suffering fiancee/wife Mehri. She was both the strongest character in the film, as well as the strongest woman. She even had her own exhibition of photography--how cool is that?

Ice Ice

I really, really wanted a glass of ice water this morning, but all three of our ice trays in the freezer were completely empty--I hate that. Anyway, I poked around online to find pictures of ice water that would alleviate my frustration, and came across some interesting ice pictures I thought I'd share.

Apparently this is Lake Sammamish in the 1950s...with ice on it.

And here's an ice bar in Thailand. I really wanted to go to one of these when I was in Vegas, but first of all the cover would've been ridiculous, and fun would an ice bar be? I mean, sure the novelty of having ice chairs, ice walls, ice glasses, ice tables would be cool for the first...15 minutes? Then you'd be cold and completely unattractive as you'd have to wear one of these unflattering parka type deals (see picture for evidence). Meh.

And finally, a cool 1950s ice skater:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gask masks

I've always been interested in gas masks, er rather, I've been interested in their aesthetic appeal and (perhaps even more so) in the fetishistic attention we seem to give to these objects. Here are some of my favorite gas mask images. I'll even dig out my own gas mask in the next day or two and post a picture. Yes, I have my own gas mask.

I love that the banner in this photo reads "Why wait till 1955/We might not even be alive!":

And the very cool Cthulhu mask:

In honor of "Hedgehog in the Fog"...Hedgehog gas masks!:

The Road

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am for this film. I've literally been waiting for it (read: stalking film blogs) for over a year! Cormac McCarthy is an utter genius, and for the few years that I was a Creative Writing major, a total inspiration. His prose is succinct, brutal, and straight to the deep-down marrow of it all. The Road is, arguably, his best novel yet--and I still cannot read it without crying. And mind you, this isn't simply sniffling, this is wracking, chest-heaving sobs of complete loss and despair. Yeah, he's that good.

Anyway, the trailer for the film looks awesome:

What's just as exciting as the trailer is the soundtrack, which I've just heard was scored by Nick Cave. If you don't know him, please Google him. He's an incredible artist.

Here's the title theme from the upcoming soundtrack:

Kazuki Tomokawa

I recently stumbled across this unbelievable (and, to me, incongruous) Japanese band. Watching this video, it's hard to believe the sound they generate. And what seems even more difficult to imagine is being in that room when they fill it up with noise. It's beautiful and disjunctive and not at all what I have come to anticipate from Japanese music. So raw and wrought.

I completely adore La Blogotheque videos, so you will more than likely see more in the future.

Hedgehog in the Fog

Hedgehog in the Fog or Ёжик в тумане (1975), is an incredible animated film. It's based on a Russian folk tale, and apparently many Russian children grew up and are familiar with it. It won several awards, including best animated film of all time at the Laputa International Animation festival in 2003. It's charming, evocative, and oddly eerie in a way--I'm absolutely enchanted. I'm also learning Russian this quarter, so it's nice to hear it spoken so fluently, and with accurate inflection. It's such an intricate and beautiful language.

My Next Toy

Barnes & Noble recently announced their new e-book reader (to compete with the up-to-this-point-I-totally-coveted-it Kindle/Kindle 2). It's called "Nook", and looks...pretty amazing actually. I've been wanting an e-book reader ever since I noticed how great e-ink technology looks--and since I've gotten far enough into the English major that I'm hauling five or six books around with me at all times. Phew.

The color screen at the bottom is a nice addition, and it's a touch screen that seems as easy and classy-looking as any iPhone or (what I own) Android phone. Plus, the B&N reader can hold up to 1500 books, comes with *free* Wi-Fi, and lets you upload and play your MP3s. You can also read one free e-book every time you visit a B&N store--just like browsing a bookstore with tactile books! (What a concept!)

It doesn't release until the end of I have plenty of time to save for it.

Dancing Choppers

I just find this sort of thing completely joyful and beautiful. A combination of synchronized, mesmerizing movement, powerful machines...and Italian policemen from the 1950s.

Horror Makeup

I've been really fascinated with horror films lately (probably because I took a course on them over the summer). What I find really interesting is the process of transformation these actors go through, emotionally and physically, to become their characters... Imagine what 13 year old Linda Blair had to be feeling and thinking as she became Regan MacNeil. Or how early horror film actors, including Boris Karloff, were able to channel such memorable (and memorably disturbing) characters as Frankenstein's monster. Not to mention that crazy processes involved in creating movie makeup and special effects work.

And so it begins...

I've found that I love to post things--interesting tidbits and found (virtual) objects. I also love blogs, and yet have never started one. So here we are, starting with a lovely image. I hope to remain faithful and interesting.