Things I Love: Santogold/Okkervil River

Finally gave into peer pressure and, to my surprise, actually like Santogold. My particular favs are "L.E.S. Artistes," "Lights Out" and "Creator." I'm not going to try to describe the music, since I'm terrible at that for some reason. But those three songs are pop-y and unique enough for my liking.

My favorite of album of the year is still Okkervil River's "The Stage Names" (it came out in 2007, actually, but I'm a bit slow on the uptake). A few years ago I heard "Black" from the 2005 album "Black Sheep Boy" and since then have considered it one of the most perfect songs I have ever heard. The lyrics, the singing, the structure...it all enthralls me every time. Finally, I got around to "The Stage Names" and it has been on my rotation ever since. My favorite songs are "Unless It's Kicks," "You Can't Hold The Hand of a Rock Star," and the absolutely incredible "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe."

Also, I just installed the new iTunes app, "Genius." It lets you chose one song and then bases a mix off of it. It only uses music from your library so doesn't really expand your horizons as much as, say, Pandora, but is sort of cool nonetheless.

"If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up" - Woody Allen

Why do I love this quote? I guess because I have a fondness for both Woody Allen and for Jesus, and neither one makes sense. As far as Woody goes, I'm not a New Yorker, not a Jew, and not a man who enjoys dating women significantly younger than himself. And yet Manhattan is my all time favorite movie and the opening 4 minutes thrills me every single time.

As far as Jesus goes, that link may be even more unclear. I'm not a religious person, not even "spiritual" (whatever the hell that means). My many years in Catholic school mainly served to teach me about hypocrisy, not so much about religion. And, yet, I sort of feel OK with Jesus. I feel like he was a young guy, confused about the way things were, trying to get people to talk about making things different. I sort of feel like he would be OK with me. OK with my life, my decisions, OK with the messiness and confusion. I don't think he gives a shit if I drink or smoke or who I sleep with or vote for. I think he would get that my heart is in the right place most of the time and, for some odd reason, I find that comforting.

On The Page: "A Yellow Raft in Blue Water"

"A Yellow Raft in Blue Water" by Michael Dorris (1987)

I just read this book after years of encouraging from my mother, and on the recommendation of another friend. While I'm sorry I put it off so long, I also tend to think that books find you at the right times. And this was definitely the right time for me to find "Yellow Raft." Simply put, what an amazing book. It is definitely one of the best novels I've read in the last few years. In addition to being moving and very readable, it's also (as many a critic has pointed out) amazing that a man could narrate the lives of three women in such a truthful way. A powerful story of three generations, "Yellow Raft" is (to me) a book about the misunderstandings in families, the complications of relationships, and the power of understanding, love, and forgiveness.

The book follows three generations of Native American women living in the mid-to-late 20th century. Through the unique voices of each, we learn more about their secrets and the motivations behind previously inexplicable decisions we have seen them make. I'm trying to let this book sink in instead of plowing onto the next tome. Having recently been at a three generation family reunion, I have been steeped in thought about the ways that, while being critical of previous generations, we must also accept that we will never know the full reasons behind the decisions that shaped us.

Another note in conjunction with this book: Michael Dorris was married to the author Louise Erdrich and, sadly, committed suicide in 1997. Having just finished his masterpiece, it is heart-wrenching to think that someone so talented could have been so tortured as to take his own life. However, his book also shows how finely attuned he was to the lives of those around him. To be so aware, so bare to the world, undoubtedly must have taken a toll. What a complex life he led...


Testing testing testing....

"There are only two mantras... yum and yuk. Mine is yum"

- Tom Robbins, "Still Life With Woodpecker

Hello there (I guess at this point, since I haven't told anyone about this blog, I'm talking to myself...). This blog is a place for me to try to embrace my inner "yum" - the things I enjoy, the things that make me feel good. I'm not worried (too much) about sounding clever or entertaining, just about taking note of my life as it passes. That will most likely mean keeping track of the books I read (since both books and lists make me happy) as well as the occasional restaurant or music review, some rants about politics and the law, and maybe some upcoming notes about life as a West Coaster, moved East for graduation, and moving South for love. To be continued...