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Oh crap, Yuletide

Guys! Guys, guys, guys I found a prompt for Yuletide that I must have. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that there aren't that many other people offering for it, because I have ideas and for once they don't involve knowing London inside and out or something, and doing weird format-related things is totally fair game.

Aaand for those of you who aren't on board with that particular flavor of crazy (sorry--it's going to come up again, too)... it's meme time! apple_pathways ended up with the "What's in Your Bag?" meme yet again, which I seem to be doing once a year now.

Let's see if anything's changed...Collapse )

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Guys, you're officially allowed to completely disregard any opinions I have on music from now on, because I actually stood in line to see Patrick Stump last night, surrounded by tweens and teens who squeed in unison in response to Twitter posts and things, leaving me scratching my head for a while and feeling incredibly old. The messes look_alive gets me into... And, music wise... it was more enjoyable than I was expecting. It's definitely not anything I would've gone to see on my own, but after the first opener (who wasn't bad, but was kind of boring in a Glee-type-teen-drama-songs-but-without-the-hilarious-ridiculousness-and-social-commentary pop sort of way) things were downright entertaining. It involved an entire crowd of white kids trying to make rappers feel at home! (Other odd note about the crowd: I was one of the tallest people. What?) Actually, Rockie Fresh was the sort of fun I'm allowed not to be ashamed of (in part because it alienated a lot of people in the crowd, being rap/hip-hop and all, and I'm way more at home with musical alienation than I am with screaming and grabby-hands at lead singers). Also, we were in the section of the crowd that actually was on board with him, so people were dancing and everything (well, we were all waving our arms. Also, you can tell I'm totally not cut out for rap/hip-hop shows because I really cannot wave my arm up and down like that for more than a quarter of a song. I guess I need practice). And then there was Patrick himself... And yeah, he was pretty much as entertaining a performer as I was led to believe. All energy and vocal range in an electric blue suit, bowtie, and hair like he'd had an unfortunate run-in with an ungrounded amp backstage. And an interesting sort of... charisma, with some sort of qualifier I can't think of right now, but is related to (but isn't) shy. I dunno. He was definitely most at home behind the drums, though. The drum solo was probably my favorite part of the concert. More people should sing and play drums. All he'd have to do is just move the kit up to the front of the stage. I mean, from what I can tell the guy already plays all the instruments (and actually, if he ever wants to pick up the indie/experimental habit of just playing everything live himself and looping it... I feel like that'd be one of the most entertaining things ever. Though I know some people would have my head for encouraging him to abandon his band.)

And then I stuck my blinking tail light to look_alive and biked six miles home with her on the back of my bike--which doesn't have pegs, or really any passenger capabilities at all--through industrial nowhere and complicated intersections and hipsterville. I tried to pick side streets that wouldn't get us killed but there were dead ends and speed bumps and potholes and taxis and so much glass the pavement sparkled and a soundtrack pumped out of an iPod stuffed into a glove (there were also a couple of attempts at sing-alongs, to varying success and often interrupted by shouts of "Bump!" and then screaming). It was pretty epic, and we're both pretty sore, and though it was a terrible idea it was also somehow a fitting end to the night. I'll be honest, I kept expecting us to die, but we didn't even fall over. Nor did we get pulled over by the police (though we did debate whether what we were doing was illegal. I think we decided we were just endangering ourselves.) Still, it was better than the red line would've been. By which I mean it 1) was an adventure and 2) didn't take any longer and 3) didn't kill us.

Tomorrow I'm going to an info-session for the inner-city teaching corps, so everyone can expect me to be in non-stop existential crisis and permanent introspection mode for the next month or so. Just as a heads-up (honestly, I'm in it right now... I'm just not sure if the increase in my number of posts lately has to do with it getting better or worse).

Also, can anyone explain how fandom on Tumblr works? I feel like I should finally start paying attention to it (mostly because there are things like this going on, which is Homestuck!headcanon for me now, I don't even care. (Warning for earworming and mild spoilers... though really it just doesn't make sense if you're not caught up.)) And all the fanart in the world seems to be there now.
Item One: It had been my goal, on and off for the decade or so, to locate a full copy of the "The Story of BJ and Rachel" set that Moxy Früvous played way back in 1998. I'd found a partial copy on Napster back in the day, and I loved it to death. The gist of it is that Moxy Früvous arranged their songs into a rough plot line and wrote ridiculous narration around it. I finally managed to find it on an old show-trading forum a couple of weeks ago, and finally got around to listening to it tonight. It's full of dated jokes and ironically-awkward storytelling and wordplay and it is embarrassingly obvious how much it influenced my early writing. I'm actually more embarrassed at how many of the jokes I didn't get back in high school. (This is also the concert that taught me the word "proselytize.")

Which actually makes a good set-up for Item Two, which was going to be the point of tonight's post:

Item Two: I just dropped my sign-up for bigbang_mixup because I wanted to write original fiction and all the listenable mixes with an original fic option were snapped up too quickly for me. (I am a horrible, horrible hipster.) So! I was thinking it might be fun to do something similar and just outsource it to you guys. One of the things I wished the mixers had done was give a rough plot outline or nudge the writer in the direction of some characters from the songs. My idea goes something like this:

Once upon a time, apple_pathways and I had a game we called "Surprise Music Battle!" and I kind of killed it by requesting that we come up with mixes that told a story, which turned out to be too time-consuming and complicated. In an attempt to undo my curse, this shall be "Battle me with Surprise Music!" in which you give me a song you think would be fun written into a story somehow (whether it's diegetic or thematic or character-driven or... whatever) and I will do my best to tie all the suggestions together into something coherent (hopefully plot-wise, but I'll settle for theme if you guys really try to kill me.) I'll post it in a couple of weeks, between when I die trying to write my Yuletide fic and I when I die trying to write my Ladystuck fic.

Things, things

I've been more and more laconic lately... which I'm doing my best to remedy, but my mind has been buzzing about with all sorts of Future-related nonsense (and writing for fests... agh, the fests) and that's not very conducive to writing entries that anyone will want to read (not that that has stopped me very often).

Mostly I've been back and forth with myself about what I'm really looking for from journalism school. The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure whether it's something I want to study so I can do it, or if it's something I want to study because I want to study it (in which case I should probably be looking into media studies instead, but what the heck am I going to do with a master's in that?) Too much of my time is spent listening to/reading articles and thinking about how the piece consciously or unconsciously reinforces a certain worldview for me not to take this question seriously (and then there are things like audio photoshopping, which fascinates me endlessly because you don't even think about it (or I didn't, at least)--until you realize most conversations just don't shake out as well as they do on the radio; then it's really obvious. And right now I'm trying to figure out whether things like this particular Planet Money podcast, in which they fail to find out any information they were looking for and end with a plea for tipsters actually viably happens in any other form of mass media. (My limited consumption of TV news, however, prevents me from figuring out the answer to this.))

I'm not even going to get into the overwrought internal battle I'm having about Internet Presence and identity and context and pseudonymity and social media obligation and honestly it doesn't really relate to media as such but it's kicking around in my head anyway and... yeah. So there's that. I've also been spending a lot of time bumming around with Yuletide pre-nominations and entertaining ideas for sharp_teeth (which is probably my favorite panfandom commentfic meme). Even if it generally makes me want to write creepy Glee fic, and... that's got to be beyond some kind of hipster-irony line I can't cross (much like the line between me now, as a sane cyclist, and me in a few weeks when I cave in and buy a balaclava so I can keep biking into December).

In lighter, less wiggy matters: someone want to take a crack at what thisCoeur de Pirate video is trying to convey? Why, Quebec, must your music scene be so interesting and full of odd videos? (Also on my list of things to ponder: finding a justification for moving to Montreal.)

I'm Still Alive!

A few random things to tide everyone over until I have enough time to write something proper:

Here are some songs that I keep going back to lately, to get them out of my headCollapse )

Also on the list of recent developments that have nothing to do with my job sucking my soul out and turning it into a fine soul-paste and selling it to yuppies for a premium at farmer's markets: it's nearly Halloween, and I've somehow ended up wanting to make all of the costumes. I picked up a couple of wigs for my hypothetical Grimdark Rose and Vriska costumes (which will not exist until convention season, methinks). I'm also working on what will probably be my Halloween costume forever, even if no one gets it: Janice of Electric Mayhem (no one will get it, but I'll have fun. And that's all that matters). I'm also battling a strong desire to pick up a set of white racing leathers and a helmet and bike around dressed as the Stig, but that, thankfully, is currently beyond my budget.

And, best news yet this week: I've been summoned to jury duty. I'm pretty excited because 1) time off work! They're actually required to give me lunch breaks and I can bring my laptop and write, at least during jury selection and 2) I'm kind of gleefully anticipating the chaos this is going to cause at work, even if it means I have to clean up the mess afterward. Maybe someone will realize that I do a heck of a lot more than they think. (More likely, I'll probably just have to leave jury duty and then go in to work. But oh well! At least it's something different.)

Indecision 2011

Just a few random things. In re: my flailing around about not being sure how I feel about Occupy Wall Street got tidied up quite nicely by (oddly) the Planet Money podcast about the movement, in which they explain it's more about having a forum than being or asking for anything specific. (It's also a great exercise in what difference a journalist's choice of framing makes for a story.) That makes a lot of sense. I am, in fact, totally for that. It also allows me to disown the people there who I think are lazy bums who don't actually know what they're doing. (That does not excuse the dunderhead in the ski mask that tried to stare me down at Jackson and LaSalle.) So, I'm revising my position to be wholly in favor of Occupy Wall Street, and still on shaky ground in terms of Occupy Chicago (I'm also slightly bitter because apparently there were thousands of people in the streets in the loop tonight and 1) I was nearby and didn't see it and 2) I didn't even know it was happening, save for noticing the helicopters that were apparently keeping an eye on it.)*

I also had some adventures in searching for grad schoolsCollapse )

In other news, I've signed up for way too many fests. I'm already signed up for dwsanta and bigbang_mixup and ladystuck and will be signed up for yuletide once that rolls around. Do not let me sign up for anything else! Please! Even if I come to you with a really compelling argument.

*Also (about 15 minutes later) it has come to my attention that Occupy Chicago actually came up with a list of demands. I... well, that pretty much cements how much they're unlike Occupy Wall Street, but at the same time, I don't disagree with any of those demands, so I guess I'm back on board with them, too. Just... not some of the people.

Mad Brain Disease

The system at work went down at exactly 5 today, so I got to go home on time for once. Hooray for small victories! This also means I finally have time to tell you all about Beirut.

In which a concert is exactly what I needed in my life.Collapse )

So, in conclusion: Beirut. Good show. Very good show. Would attend again. The only major drawback is that the live show sounds better than the albums, and now I know... (My life, it is oh-so-difficult.) In fact, being the massive stalker dork I am, I'm already making tentative plans to go see him in Pittsburgh in December or something.

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Delayed Reaction

There are serious drawbacks to not being able to sit still for more than fifteen minutes at a time, due to Life. As such, I owe the ether two concert recaps. Let's see if I can handle this.

First there was the Hideout Block Party...Collapse )

And actually, I think that might be enough gushing for tonight, so you'll get my massive wall of text about exactly how brilliant and wonderful Beirut is in concert and how I want to take Zach Condon home and keep him for ever and ever tomorrow.

Out, out blasted block!

All right... it's been a while since I've gotten my rant/analysis/squee on about Doctor Who (since June, in fact... where have I even been?)

So, let's do thisCollapse )

Also, I finished my Homestuck re-read today and I totally need to ramble at someone about things I totally missed the first time around.

Regrets

I really need to learn to just go to things, even when I'm tired and cranky from work. There was a book-release party last Tuesday for the @MayorEmanuel book at the Hideout (♥), which I'd planned to go to and then skipped at the last minute. But, since hindsight is 20/20 and youtube makes an excellent telescope into last week, it became obvious to me today that I really should have gone... (though I guess watching videos afterward is the next best thing. Nothing like a reading complete with meta and verbal footnotes! And, in case you didn't guess, copious swearing on the part of our imaginary alter-mayor, for anyone in public or semi-public spaces, or who doesn't like swearing). Also highly recommended is Jeff Tweedy's deconstruction of "My Humps." I ♥ the things this city produces. (Even if it does currently smell like burning because of Minnesota.)

I am so going to try to nominate @MayorEmanuel as a fandom for this year's Yuletide.

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On a swarm of bees...

A brief update to say the following: I am back at my parents' house in Ohio for the weekend, enjoying the fresh air and bountiful veggies I can walk out the back door and pick. I'm quite enjoying the quiet and slight boredom here (though I keep thinking I can go outside and walk to Hyde Park Produce, and woke up yesterday morning thinking the crickets were somehow street cleaners. Oops.) My parents have a dog now, which is kind of adorable. Walks are her favorite things ever, so I've ended up taking her out about five times a day, since I also cannot resist walks. I'm trying to teach her which mailboxes on the street are not hers (and are therefore not for peeing on). Actually, I think I've probably said "No, that's not your mailbox" more than any other phrase since I've gotten here. (I'm reconsidering dog ownership, as this weekend is proving that I 1) have entire conversations with dogs; 2) am incapable of using only one word for "no" or "stop" (darn you, synonyms!); and 3) tell dogs which things they're not supposed to pee on.)

I spent the morning photographing my parents' garden, which is far larger and far more impressive than mine, and includes some rather monstrous vegetables (actually, the pictures are mostly of their flowers, and the super-zucchini). Someday, someday I will have a little plot of land I can throw compost onto for years and years until the dirt turns almost black and produces two-foot-long zucchini and sometimes plants materialize out of it just by force of will (and seeds in the compost, but whatever).

In addition to the organic gardening and attempts to inflict John Locke's theories of property rights on dogs, I've also been listening to and discussing vinyl records and we're all packing up the car and going swimming in a quarry and then going to a Zaireeka listening party at a little venue up in Cleveland. So... at least Ohio is keeping me entertained. (Though the whole small-town thing was weird again when we went out to eat. I forgot that I can experience culture shock here. There's a complete loss of subtlety around here when it comes to Who Has Money. Who the heck buys a Porsche t-shirt to wear when they drive their Porsche?)

An Intro Post!

Okay! Intro post time! Better late than never, right? (Hello, new friends!) We've already covered the fandom-type things in the memes, so this should cover the other types of things I'll probably bring up in the future without any sort of preamble.

The basics: I'm 26, I live in Chicago (a city I adore and/or hate, given the season and time of day). I'm a legal assistant at a smallish downtown law firm that handles mortgage foreclosures. No one is entirely sure what my job description is anymore (somewhere between "everything other people don't know how to do" and "everything."), but whatever it is, it's something Kafka would've been proud to have invented. I made a resolution earlier this year to stop complaining about it so much, so this will come up far less often than it used to. Mostly you'll see me complaining about not finding a better job.

That Ridiculous Hipster Thing: I started commuting by bike last spring and I've decided it's basically the best thing ever (someday I am going to make a video of my gorgeous lakefront commute), though I haven't figured out how to do it year-round. My winter replacement hobbies are baking and crochet (though the baking tends to go on year-round, with the (usual) exception of 90+ degree days). I also have a container garden on my back porch and am way too attached to my plants. And I attend concerts and festivals as often as I can afford to. I have a thing for vests and hats and snazzy shoes. I often wish that hefting my lit-crit education against non-literary media was actually a cool thing to do, rather than just a weird thing to do.

My Fake Jobs: I'm on a volunteer kick lately, so you will see things about Destination Imagination (DI) (this also neatly circumvents the camwhoring thing: I am the girl in the "Start a Team" picture. The only reason I can think of for this is that the women that run my region are evil. They also put that picture on the cover of a book. A book! Not how I wanted to be published!) I've also recently hooked up with the Active Transportation Alliance and have a plot to keep bees for the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory (a place I knew I loved, but didn't realize how much until it was half-destroyed by hail). I want to volunteer with WBEZ because I have a serious idealism-crush on the entire idea of NPR but they're playing hard-to-get with me. (This is how I'm going about pretending to be 1) an adult and 2) not a shut-in.)

The Writing Thing: I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of conquering my post-college writer's block (I majored in English lit and creative writing, which is an excellent way to torture and then kill your muse). I don't post fic to this journal very often (though I do complain about writing it). The things I can stand to have other people read are eventually posted on my AO3. I also do a lot of anon things I will probably never own up to, and am easily susceptible to peer pressure in the correct circumstances. (Most of these circumstances involve really weird ideas. No, really, look_alive once half-convinced me to write a speakeasy AU about Panic! At the Disco and I don't even... bandom, what‽) I've also been doing a bit of original fiction here and there lately, and my goal is to be published somewhere before my high school reunion (which gives me lots of time, still... I've set easy goals in this regard, since I'm still skittish about hitting writer's block again).

Miscellany: When I grow up, I want to be a journalist with a secret fiction-writer alter-ego, or vice-versa, with a posse of other creative types whose work I can ogle and discuss in my spare time, and a TARDIS. (Failing that, any single one of those things would suit me just fine.)

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Many Mini Things

I need to get back into the habit of writing more frequently. It's kind of awkward to mix an intro post (which I still haven't managed to do) with real life japery with fannish squee. Plus I'm sleepy and my brain is vacant enough that I nearly set frozen vegetables on fire this afternoon, so we'll take it easy. (And by we I basically mean me.)

In which I bike 51 miles in a dayCollapse )

And then I got home and was so tired I set my vegetables on fire. (Note to self: get new battery for smoke detector.) I was also going to pontificate about "Let's Kill Hitler" but I'm still sorting out exactly what I thought about it. Parts of it were wonderful. Parts of it were sloppy and very un-Moffat-like. Lots of things were tied together, though, and I'm beginning to feel like I have too-clear an idea of what is going to happen with the rest of this season. It's confusing! I don't know what to think! (I suspect that part of my problem sorting my feelings out might have to do with my efforts to re-read Homestuck this weekend, too. Trying to make sense of two massive, timey-wimey nonsensical canons at once is almost too much for my brain to handle. (Almost.))

Oh! And there are also new developments in the Case of the Missing Cash, but I'll cover that tomorrow once I'm clearer on what went down on Friday. (If the partners didn't just surreptitiously fire all of us on Friday. It's a possibility, given that the day ended with them taking everyone's office keys away.)

Failure!

I got my "Thanks, but no thanks" email for my job application at WBEZ today. I was kind of expecting it, so I'm not entirely heart-broken (at least, I don't think I am. We'll see how I feel tomorrow after the five-hour meeting with the new client, during which I'm almost certain they're not going to bother to feed us). Unlike Random House's wait-six-months-until-she-forgets hate letter, it only took them a little over a week to get back to me, so, WBEZ... we will meet again. Considering I can't even manage to land a volunteer position even if I catch the volunteer email within fifteen minutes, I'm surprised they even looked at the application for a week. (Or it took them a week to look at it, but I'm going to pretend, okay?)

Actually, I know I'm okay because my form of self-medication when I got home was 1) making an heirloom tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad and then putting it in the fridge without eating it in the name of making it taste better first and 2) making stir-fry in my new wok. Guys, how have I gone 26 years of my life without a wok? It's magic! (Though I did overcook the shrimp.)

And can I geek out for a moment? Next spring, I am going to take a beekeeping class, and someday I will get to work with Garfield Park Conservatory's bees. I am really kind of excited about this. Bees! (I was really excited a couple days ago because I was going to take the fall class, but it turns out I'm not going to be in the city. Sigh.) Also plants! Also, coolkid access to a gorgeous, plant-filled space.

I also owe apple_pathways a story about "free-range organic werewolves," so I am putting this here so you can heap shame upon me if I don't do it.

Back to Ilinocahi, full of goat

Just so everything isn't all "Why job why oh why!" (which I will do my best not to return us to tomorrow)...

I ended up spending the morning/afternoon today with look_alive (I'm really not sure how she's not tired of me yet) and her newly-arrived-in-Chicago cats (so cute! Especially little Patrick, who follows her around everywhere and is so codependent he uses the bathroom at the same time she does). We meant to go grocery shopping, but ended up exploring Marshall's Home Goods, which led to much amazing discovery in the way of home decor (a mutated Stanley Cup, a creepy, unintentially Little Shop of Horrors-style lettuce-shaped dish, countless bizarre knickknacks, a pixellated crayfish dish... and giant forks. I made her promise she wouldn't tell anyone that that picture was me, but apparently I have no shame (also, it's not as creepy as my attempt at American Gothic with the even larger fork). I'm actually rather surprised that we didn't get kicked out of the store, but we did spend money, and I did end up with a giant copper wok among other things, so that may have had something to do with their restraint. I suspect the guard that wished me good-day on the way out was doing so passive-aggressively, though. People really should not allow us out in public together. (I so want a reason to buy those giant forks. If only they were cheaper.)

Then I summoned one of my other old roommies from the abyss and we went out to Birreria Reyes de Ocotlan, which is a neat little hole-in-the-wall in Pilsen that has a menu that is only two pages long (not counting the back cover, which is drinks. Just horchata and fruit juice). That's all. Simplest place ever. Serving only one thing: goat. We split up four tacos, and between us had goat, goat head, liver, and tongue. It was excellent. I mean, if you're into eating unusual things. I also ended up racing a bus to Chinatown, since I was tired of taking the CTA everywhere... and I won, even though it was kind of terrifying because I forgot how often Cermak is crossed by train tracks (I live in fear of the day I get my tires stuck in a railroad crossing. It's going to happen, and it will be painful).

So, that was basically my attempt at forgetting about my job for the weekend. It worked pretty well, I think.

Infinite Chicago

Not even sure where to start with this. look_alive has been keeping me very busy. Busier, actually, since she's moved back into our old neighborhood, but that's because we made all of the plans for the weekend. So, a general recap is in order, because I have a ton of random notes in my iPod that would otherwise go to waste.

Friday and Saturday we went to the "Local Music Revolution" festival. The description on the press release I found was "the acts run the gamut from...electronically influenced pop punk to...reggae and ska influenced pop punk." Which I laughed at, because that's actually a very short gamut and is pretty much the reason I haven't bothered much with the Chicago scene, but things running that particular gamut are totally look_alive's thing, and I pretty much don't say no to shows, so we went. And I suppose I can cover both days at once.Collapse )

Sunday was spent at Chicago Comic-con, because we could (and because there was a Groupon and so we only had to pay $15 each). We ended up wandering the merch room and talking horror movies while random guys attempted to get our attention (the guys with the posters actually came close to being endearing, because they kept a distance and just gently mocked us for looking at every single poster. But whatever, both of us were looking for things to stick on our bare walls, and now I have a Dalek schematic, and the I Want to Believe poster (in case I ever have my own office)). We didn't do much panel-wise, but we did watch the kids' costume contest, which was one of the most adorable things I've seen. There was a tiny, brooding Nightwing, and a tiny Indiana Jones, and two Angs and a Zuko all together and a girl-Iron Man (complete with lipstick on the mask) and a tiny girl Mario who was just wide-eyed and enthralled by everything, and who tried to give look_alive the sword she'd won as a prize. The only judging was done by an older preteen kid we dubbed Judging Jedi, who walked around pointing his two lightsabers at people going "You're awesome, you're awesome..." He later had a duel with James Bond, after loaning him one of his lightsabers. It was just relentlessly happy, and there were no tantrums, no screaming fits. Guys, I'm pretty sure all the world's problems can be solved by dressing kids up as superheroes and giving them weapons. I've seen it with my own two eyes. Heck, I was sitting right next to the prizes and I didn't even get whacked in the head once by a stray sword. The parents had raised these kids right!

Gosh guys, I hope that was long enough for you. Did I name-drop look_alive enough? (I run out of pronouns too quickly.)

Unsettling the World

First of all: The world has got to settle down with the horrible things. London! My heart goes out to you! (I want to come back and visit, stupid hoodies need to stop burning it!) And Chicago needs to get itself in order, too, because downtown rush hour shootings and Lollapalooza gear thefts are seriously uncool as well.

Which makes my evening seem really kind of out-of-sync with the rest of the world. My Brightest Diamond played with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra tonight. It had started raining at about 4:30, and the show didn't start until 6:30, so the only people that stuck around for it were people who didn't mind being sopping wet. I was kind of sad that there weren't more people there, since there really should have been. It was so, so worth getting rained on for. It sounded fantastic, and Shara Worden was just so happy to be playing with the orchestra (watching her bound across the stage in her sparkly dress was absolutely endearing). She mentioned several times that it had been a dream of hers. And the orchestra filled out the sound in just amazing ways. (I will remember that version of Feeling Good forever. Just... wow.) By the final song people were up and dancing in the aisles (including a pair doing the goofy Doctor dance. Actually, most of the dancing was interpretive dancing). Just a lovely time. And then I rode home in the rain... which is one of my favorite things to do, ever.

What's this? An entry?

Long time no see, eljay. (Well, long time no post, at least. I tend not to take a break from reading.) I'm in the lull right now between the mass exodus of my closest college friends and the return of the prodigal look_alive later this weekend. So it should be a good time for a recap, right?

The short version: Work is driving me crazy, I nearly threw a temper tantrum yesterday, I hate all of our clients, and one of the bosses told one of the attorneys that they need to discuss taking away "some or all" of my responsibilities. Also the aforementioned exodus. (You don't want the long version. It makes for pretty awful reading, and is mostly me moaning and waving my hands in the air shouting "MY LIFE IS A WASTELAND".)

But I signed up for a bunch of volunteer things last night, I actually took a lunch break today, I went to a fancy soap store and let the guy cover my hands in lotions and salts and try to sell me all of the things, and I dodged the masses of Lollpalooza attendees and got home unscathed. My weekend has started. And the Chicago Reader just asked to use one of my photos in next week's issue.

And so, even if I've been a wibbly, emotional thing for the last couple of weeks, I'm pretty sure I will survive this general upheaval. And this weekend, I have one goal: Get. enough. sleep. How's everyone else's life?

Pitchfork, Day 3

Two years ago, I avoided making a full recap post for Pitchfork's Friday lineup because I didn't have very many nice things to say. I'm currently weighing letting the same rule apply to today (Cut Copy were great, as were Baths). Above all, I realized that whatever I meant to watch at 2:00, it was not actually How to Dress Well (I still cannot sort out what the heck was supposed to be going on there, but it had the biggest, most enthusiastic crowd of the first three acts I saw... which is silly because despite the fact that everyone on stage was a competent-if-not-good musician, it was terrible. It was vapid R&B sung by a falsetto-y white guy, it was a string section so pretentious they actually had a conductor, it was heart-breakingly un-ironic dedications of sappy songs to one's mother, it was... it was... what was it? What???)

I think I just broke the "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule, so I might as well give this a go.

1:00 Darkstar, at the Blue Stage. The usual droning sort of techno. The guy wore sunglasses throughout most of the set and avoided eye contact with us, and liked to mime shooting himself in the temple with his index finger. But the music was decent enough for the 1:00 act. Also, I was there early enough that I was only a couple of people back from the stage (hence the observations on what the guy actually looked like.)

1:55 I accidentally watched How to Dress Well. Probably because I was almost right up against the stage and didn't feel like moving because I had a vague desire to actually be able to see things today. There has got to be something I'm missing with this group, because people were way too enthusiastic about it for it to have been as insipid as it sounded. Also: the lead singer was not dressed well. (Though his band was, so maybe it's like the one good barber in town having a terrible haircut. Though one would presume the guy has a mirror and doesnt let his band dress him.) I definitely should've gone to see Yuck.

2:50 Twin Sister. This was billed as some sort of "hypnotic pop." It was hypnotic, and was certainly interesting--the lead singer was about 5'3 and had almost knee-length blue hair, and sounded a little bit like Emily Haines, only younger and less tough. Not bad, though. And a welcome reprieve from How to Dress Well (I might decide to consider them my enemy.)

3:45 (Still at the Blue Stage) I had Shabazz Palaces on my schedule mostly so I wouldn't have to see OFWKTA. Unfortunately, the stage was running late and I got to hear the copious amounts of cursing wafting over from their set anyway. Most of what I could hear was swears, and the only complete lyric I remember was "something something shut up b*tch". Lovely music. (Though word on the street is that they secretly brought cupcakes to Between Friends (in the last paragraph there), which I'm sure they did to throw their callous exteriors into sharp relief.) But Shabazz Palaces weren't bad. I don't remember most of their set, though, because by this point I was getting kind of hungry and wandered over to get some food.

4:15 Which, for whatever reason, motivated me to go over and see Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (possibly because everyone kept mentioning them). The little Pitchfork write-up said "pop surrealist" so I wasn't really expecting grungy, growly stuff. It was actually pretty terrible, and whoever was doing their sound was the only person I heard screw things up on the Green Stage all weekend. (I don't think the feedback was intentional, at least.)

4:45 So then it was back to the Blue Stage for Baths, who were actually catchy. Kind of like Animal Collective chilled out a little bit and without the screeching and a little more glitchy sampling. I was still worn out enough that I sat down for most of the set, but it was good. I'll have to get a hold of some of the mp3s.

5:15 It's really nice that they staggered the times this year, so you could get away with wandering back and forth between stages and, if you were ambitious, you could see almost everything. So I caught a bit of Superchunk. But it was boring, so this became my dinner set.

5:45 I grabbed a pretzel and sat down by the Blue Stage for Kylesa, just because I knew there would be places to sit on the grass, since most people were listening to Superchunk. They were billed as a "hardcore with a touch of psychedelia" sort of group, and I can see that. But this is where things get a little embarrassing for me. Because I actually kind of dozed off. And by kind of, I mean actually leaned forward and didn't really notice most of the set. Oops. (I guess if I slept through the one "hardcore" act of the day I must've been very tired.

6:45 (I skipped Deerhunter at 6:15 because I'd already seen them, and because I was sleeping.) Then there was Toro Y Moi, which was pretty much as classifiable as everyone said it would be. I didn't find it terribly exciting, but it wasn't bad. I stayed for the whole set, which I'd only willingly done for two bands up to that point, so that's something.

7:25 Cut Copy! A breath of fresh air! It actually took them until the third song to really get going, but their set was easily the best of the day. People were dancing all the way back through the crowd, they had a good rapport with us... and they sounded great, despite being on the Red Stage... which apparently they figured out the sound on. In time for the very last act on it. But whatever, it was good, so I'm happy.

8:30 And finally it was TV On the Radio. And I'll begin this with a disclaimer: I was tired, and sunburned (despite copious amounts of SPF50 sunscreen and a decent base tan) and really sick of pot smoke. But I'm not entirely sure what band showed up to play TV on the Radio's set. Because it took them five songs to play anything that sounded recognizable to me, and in the end they only played three songs total that sounded anything like the versions I'd heard before. It wasn't a bad set by any means--in fact, it sounded quite good. It just sounded nothing like the TV on the Radio I was expecting to hear. I actually almost left a couple of times, and kept moving farther and farther back in the crowd. I finally ended up just past the edge of the crowd, and watching everyone dance around to the last few songs helped my grouchy mood immensely.

All in all, today was kind of a confusing, hit-or-miss sort of day. But well worth it anyway, just because it was fun and I heard a lot of things I wouldn't otherwise have heard (and one thing I hope to never hear again). Next year, though, I am going to remember the trick to the Blue Stage: wiggle back past the beer/water tents and head down along the far fence. There are always places to sit because most people don't breach the first line of people. Also... overall comments. They gave away free water all day to people near the fronts of the stages, which I thought was awesome (it was 90-some degrees with humidity that made it more like 100 today... I drank just shy of a full gallon of water). The crowd was way nicer than two years ago (and way higher, and way dancier. There may be a relation between these things). I just wish they'd curated Sunday's lineup a little better. Maybe dumped OFWKTA, moved TV on the Radio up a spot or two, and thrown in a more solid closer. (Then again, I left early during the National last time I went, so take my comments on closing acts with a grain of salt, or several. You can trust me on the How to Dress Well thing, though. But if you happen have them figured out, please let me know, because I am so very confused.)

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evilhippo
EvilHippo of the Clan MacHippo
I take a lot of pictures...

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