Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wet Hot American Summer

I'd say this summer has certainly been something to write home about, but it's not yet over. A week from Saturday, I and many of my things will be slugging up to Chicago to take residence in a new apartment in that new city. I'm starting to get nervous. Real nervous. I'm forcibly reminded by these moving anxieties of two similar summers' ends.

Aug 2001, a sad and lowly freshman in a new school. I remember my parents driving me up to Kirksville in our sweet minivan, me sleeping on the back seat. I fell asleep and hoped the drive would never end. I started crying in a Staples store, and my mom hugged me, saying "I was going to be mad if you didn't cry." I couldn't eat dorm food until I was truly hungover for the first time. Things went uphill from there.

I remember the night before that trip in the minivan, the muggy KC August and the interior of Stef's ancient Green Machine. Why did we think we were different, that no one else had ever undergone such an uprooting? But we did. I did. Thinking back now, I know that I wouldn't relive high school for the world.

Aug/Sept 2003, left behind in my parents' home, in my summer job, while all my friends returned to school. I was working and preparing for my first trans-Atlantic flight, for a stay in the apartment of Spanish strangers. I had forgotten the terror of those last weeks until recently. It still surprises me - how can such a happy person, so excited to live, be so frightened of a thing she's waited for?

Two nights before I left, I watched "Wet Hot American Summer" after my parents and brothers had gone to sleep. Engrossed, I found myself shocked on the couch after the movie ended. I watched special features, little shorts on the making of "Wet Hot American Summer," anything to postpone the fact that soon I'd have to accept such a monumental task.

Now here I am, sitting in a room as messy as it's ever been, with scanty packed boxes lining the periphery. I'm leaving this afternoon to visit friends, and I won't return until 3 days before my scheduled move-in date. What was I thinking? Did I think that if I didn't pack, I wouldn't have to deal with my fear of the unknown? Did I think I could lie on the couch watching special features forever?

Things will get done; they always do. I will move a week from Saturday. I will start school again after a gap of two years, and I will work hard to impress my peers and professors alike. I'll somehow have enough money to eat, to go to concerts, to buy beers after long weeks. But for now, all I want to do is go rent "Wet Hot American Summer."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Step by Step by Step

Though I hate to be another brand snob, I made a new purchase this month which has given me hours upon hours of pleasure. Yes, it's a macbook. I'm a first-timer, but so far the transition has been smooth.

I've been so busy playing with my new toy that I'd forgotten about the ancient (6 year old) pc still sitting on the top of my $5 desk. After the rush of grad school apps earlier this year, I'd forgotten that this giant monument was a real, live, working computer. Today somehow became tech day (I still can't figure why the drivers on my computer can't get connected to the printer, but I gave up after two hours of error pages).

Tech day led to the amateur cleaning of my old college pc. I plugged my flash drive in and began to navigate all the old folders. I copied all school work, and thought I'd finished when I remembered Kazaa. That's right, in the days of the dorms, I had used Kazaa for all my free downloading needs.

I paged through those downloads today, and laughed at the mix-up of rap popular in my freshman/sophomore years (NORE, etc) and male singer/songwriters (Jason Mraz, Howie Day, and of course, John Mayer). There were some songs I couldn't bear the thought of deleting forever, so before I knew it, I was making... a mix CD.

Aug 07 - Final Mix from College Dell

1. Ani Difranco - covering Bob Dylan's "Most of the Time" Fab.
2. Eddie Vedder - "Throw Your Arms Around Me" Sadly, the sound quality is abhorrent.
3. Ben Lee - "Cigarettes Will Kill You" Catchy as hell.
4. Cody Chesnutt - "Look Good in Leather" Sample lyric: "mothafucka I'm coooool, with attitude and ego to spare." Yes.
5. Counting Crows - covering Van Morrison's "Caravan" One of Van's best.
6. Counting Crows - covering Psychedelic Furs' "Ghost in You" Forgive a girl for nostalgia.
7. Indigo Girls - "Galileo" An essential from most mixes created in college.
8. Jackson 5 - "ABC" Who can refuse?
9. Jamiroquai - "Virtual Insanity" Still great, from the ATO basement to today.
10. Les Miserables - "On My Own" It's gotten into my head a few times this past summer, I figured why not?
11. Live - "All Over You" I had room.
12. Lucinda Williams - "Passionate Kisses" Old-school and wonderful.
13. Goldfinger - covering The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" This song stays great in all incarnations.
14. Willie Nelson - "Maria (Shut Up and Kiss Me)" In spite of the quiet, backup presence of Rob Thomas, Willie Nelson makes musical magic.
15. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - "Tracks of My Tears" An American classic.
16. King Floyd (?) - "Groove Me" Irresistible link to the "Swingers" soundtrack.
17. The Band - "The Weight" Always good. Always.
18. Tom Waits - "Martha" Who didn't discover Tom Waits in college??
19. And to close, Wyclef Jean - "Perfect Gentleman" How many pre-drinks in dorm room 158 were consumed to this song? Still makes me want a Natty Lite.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

More stories per hour

I'm watching my dear darling Jon Stewart, and he just presented a sound bite: "CNN now has more stories per hour." This clip from CNN, sadly misrepresented by that quote, was referring to their morning show, and highlighting the ability of said morning show to present more stories each hour. Jon Stewart, of course, said it best when he made a joke about Americans only having time for one noun, a few modifiers, tsunami wet, Iraq bad, etc etc.

Isn't this what's wrong? If not the cause, certainly a symptom? Sigh.

Unemployment is good to me. I sleep ten hours a night, I clean all my dishes, I organize my CDs. I want to live in my little private cocoon forever. The most beautiful, most appreciated part of all this languor is that nothing is hurried. I do things in the time it takes me to do them, and then I move on to the next thing and give it equal attention. Any pressure from anywhere is gone. I breathe deeply. I spend time with my friends and family. Is this what we're supposed to do? I'll ask myself the same question in two weeks, after nearly three weeks of joblessness. I'll try to keep it to one story per hour.