Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blind Pilot: "Singing like it's Sunday"

Last Saturday (2/25/12), I was lucky enough to score tickets to see Blind Pilot at the Crowbar in Ybor City. The club is small and doesn't have the best sound, but I ended up just a few people back from the center of the stage, which was awesome.

I tend to exaggerate for effect, but I seriously loved Blind Pilot from my first listen (Don't believe me, see: "Courage laced with alcohol", Awesomeness Redux, and
Songs that I like to pretend were written for me...). There is something magical, sweet, beautiful, and philosophical about their music. After seeing them live, I realize that all of those things are the musical embodiment of song writer Israel Nebeker. The songs are so easily linked with the shy, subtle, modest yet emotional way that he carries himself. He is an old soul with the ability to capture the beauty and emotion in small seconds and turn them into amazing music. Even more, it is music that both breaks your heart and then immediately opens you up to the world. 

It would be enough to see them just for him, but the entire band is just amazing. The first time that I saw Amos Lee perform (Amos Lee, Poppin' Epiphanies, and the Peace in Truth), I was intrigued at how he was always singing with his eyes closed. True to the joke in About a Boy, when you close your eyes while performing, a rush of unfiltered emotion just seems to pour out . What I noticed most about Blind Pilot was that all members of the band seemed so cool and chill, but when it came to the music, they all played with the kind of emotion that demands closed eyes. I really dig that.

Every song was pretty great, but my favorites were New York and We Are The Tide.  I have been obsessed with listening to New York lately, so between the use of the harmonium (errr, maybe? I don't know what that thing is called) and the general emotion of the song, it was beautiful live.  And the drums and use of instruments in We Are The Tide is just fun and so full of life. 

They have such a beautiful sound, so my only complaint is that the venue just wasn’t the best place for that. I would love to see them someplace like the Capitol Theater (there has got to be a reason that Brandi Carlile keeps returning there) or Ruth Eckerd Hall where the venue would just amplify and build their sound. Either way, I’m ready to see them any time they come to town.

As a side note, I have to say that I am totally in love with their tour posters and their vinyl artwork. I love bands that put the time and effort into making both the music and the packaging really awesome (a la Pearl
Jam and The Avett Brothers - Make It Pretty Inside and Out, The Music Experience). Oh, for the love of vinyl and tour posters.

New York

We Are The Tide

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sixteen Candles, Part Deux

Tomorrow, I will be 32. I like to think of it as 16x2. Probably, I should feel grown up and responsible, which I do when I have to pay bills or make huge life decisions, but mostly, I still feel about 16. I still love loud, fun music to distract me. I fall in love at every concert. I daydream through bad days. I make faces at mean people behind their backs, and I have a love of candy that will never die.

I don't remember the details of my 16th birthday... or most of my birthdays for the matter. It might have been the year where I was obsessed with the Wedding Singer and saw it like five times at the theater. I'm sure that everyone was tired of me laughing at the microphone line, but everyone was too nice to complain or I was too amused to care. The movie still kills me.

What I do remember as a whole for all of my birthdays is that my family and friends have always made my  day feel so special and wonderful for me. It is about being remembered and acknowledged. So, even if I'm starting to feel a bit old, I don't ever want to be one of those people who shun birthdays. I like celebrating. I love cake. Balloons are fun. Beers are good. And I might dig a bit of the attention a bit too.

In honor of my birthday, I'm watching Sixteen Candles. Ahh, the magic of Jake Ryan... the most perfect birthday present any girl could ever ask for. John Hughes so got us.

Anyway, if you're looking for a birthday present for me, I'd really enjoy taking Molly Ringwald's place  in the following clip (apparently, you can only find the it in Spanish on YouTube, but you get it!). Oh, swoon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love and a Melody

I am a sucker for Valentine's Day. I love the hearts, the boxes of assorted chocolates, the purples and pinks, the sappy movies, and the crafty tin foil boxes for collecting valentines. However, my favorite part is the music. Music was made for lovers, both euphoric and scorned. So as my gift to you, a playlist of some of my favorite love songs. Happy Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day 2012 Playlist

Sunday, February 12, 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 24 - 30

I am extremely proud to say that I made it through the challenge. Thirty days can start to feel like a long time, but I am still extremely happy that I did this. It felt good to show up on the page every day and do something special for myself.

Day 24: A Couple

This is the day that I missed. It was a Monday. Monday's just suck, and I was trying to get myself to start practicing my guitar again.   

When I think of couples, I always think of that famous Robert Doisneau photograph Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville. Doisneau is one of my favorite photographers because he was so amazing at capturing the life and character of the people he photographed.

Day 25: Scenery

Driving to work, the air was a combination of fog, mist, and rain. It made the trees appear like they were melting into the gray sky. It was an absolutely beautiful morning.

Day 26: Something You Don't Like

I'm not sure that I hate anything as much as cockroaches. I know that it is irrational and they probably can't hurt me, but they still make my skin crawl. Even looking at a photo of one to draw this was giving me a serious case of the wiggins. Bleh.

Day 27: Someone You Love

Growing up, I lived next door to my grandparents. Each night, I'd sit with my Grandpa in his chair. He'd watch the news and we'd eat ice cream. I always loved strawberry because of the texture of the frozen berries. I'd fall asleep, and then he would carry me home to bed. It is one of my most special memories and I miss and love him very much. 

Day 28: Anything You'd Like

At first, I thought that this meant that I needed to draw something that I wanted. When I realized I could draw whatever I wanted, I felt stuck. In high school, I'd stay up all night on the weekends watching movies and drawing/painting. I remember watching some old surf movie the first time I drew this. Whenever I don't know what to draw, this is my go to doodle.

Day 29: A Place You Want To Go

My sister told me to check out that new show Alcatraz (I did, and it's good!), so I had San Francisco on my brain. Between earthquakes and the crazy cost of living, there are a million reasons why I shouldn't be interested in San Francisco, but whenever I read or see anything about it, I really want to go. Also, not related to my wanting to go, but San Francisco always makes me think of McTeague. What a jacked up, weirdo book.

Day 30: A Congrats Banner for Finishing the Challenge

Ok, so I was sort of cheap with my drawing today. I've been obsessed with reading the Little House on the Prairie books and I just wanted to get back to them. But anyway, yeah! I did finish. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Days 17 - 23

Only seven more days to go! I was busy with other things this week and got a little lax in the drawing. The good news is that they still got done.
Day 17: Favorite Plant

I shouldn't admit this, but I did have to look up whether a tree was a plant or not. When I think of a plant, I think of green and leafy things on the ground. Trees are powerful, tall, and amazing. I love how in the winter, trees transform and hibernate. It is magical and amazing.

Day 18: Just a Doodle

I just doodled. I've always been a circle doodler. In school, I drew tons of circles in the corners of my pages until they looked like dragon skin. To this day, I still feel like I comprehend things better when I'm doodling.

Day 19: Something New

This is the most embarrassing one so far... a quick and dirty (and completely inaccurate) drawing of the purple straight leg chinos that I just got from Boden.

Day 20: Something Orange

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. In honor of them both, this is a jack'o'lantern.

Day 21: Something You Want

One of these days, I want to own a cool, funky little craftsman style home that I can decorate and make all mine. Dark grey with white trim. I can see it perfectly in my head.

Day 22: Something You Miss

Living in Florida, I really miss the change of the seasons. The seasons in Florida are something like chilly (for about 10 days in December and January), perfect and beautiful (end of February to about April), and then hot, hotter, and deathly hot (summer and fall). I really miss Fall and Winter, but I'm guessing all the warm weather is what makes me long for the chilly temps.

Day 23: Something You Need

I wasn't exactly sure how to draw this, but what I need more than anything lately is a quiet mind. It would be nice to have some relaxation and peace from all of my rambling thoughts. Growing up, when I had a bad day or needed some time alone, I went into the woods behind my house. I could walk on the paths, kick over dead trees, and take my dogs into the creek. It was always a perfect get away. I would love to find that in my adult life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

So, This Yoga Thing

I probably don’t have the right personality for yoga, but I am trying anyways. I want peace, calm, and a rocking bod. I want to tell my brain to shut up and actually have it obey. I’m cautiously optimistic but there is a small (err... ish) part of my brain that is completely pessimistic. I really don’t want to become one of those pretentious snobs that talks to everyone about how yoga transformed my life, but it would be cool if it could help slow down all of the thoughts racing through my brain.

I attended a class the other day. It went something like this...

I'm nervous. Immediately, they want me to take off my shoes and leave them in Kindergarten like cubbyholes. My shoes suddenly become my security blanket. I'm hesitant. What if shoe bandits abound? Normally, I prefer to be barefoot.

The room is quiet, dark, and text book tranquil. Figuring out where to place my mat is like trying to pick out the right lunch table the first day of junior high. I don't know better, so I have a suitcase sized bag of my belongings. Every time I move, straps and blocks and keys fall out of the bag and echo through the room when they hit the floor. 

When I finally settle down, I don't know what to do with myself. Everyone around had their eyes closed, meditating. I nervously fidget and want to ask everyone a million questions of what is expected. To pass the time, I furiously scroll through my Twitter feed, trying to stock pile a few minutes of self-deprecating snarkiness before it is quiet time. I tweet a bunch of random stuff which ends up with misspelled and mistyped words that make almost every tweet non-sensible (sorry guys!).

When the instructor comes in, she tells us do what feels right for us. Right. I’ve been trained to do what is expected, I have no idea how to feel what is right anymore, which makes me realize just how much I need this.

The music is killing me: Sarah McLachlan, chanting, chimes, flutes, Native American drums, and James Taylor. Is there a class somewhere that does this to The Smiths? Please? In any other situation, I would have found a way to take over the stereo.

The instructor tells us to quiet our minds and focus on our breathing. Sure. All I can focus on is the lady across the room breathing so loudly that I wonder if she has an oxygen machine. I think about everything that I want to include in this blog post. I realize that I am failing at the whole point of this, so I try my best to focus on my breathing and keep my eyes closed. I am certain that I have attention deficit disorder.

The stretching feels good. I relax a bit. Maybe I'm not too bad at this. I look around the room to compare my stretch to everyone else. I’m definitely not the worst one, but I still feel the need to  push the stretch further just to see what happens. Ouch, damn. I might be a little too competitive for this.

The teacher helps us get into this crazy, pretzel-like backbend. It feels good and when it’s difficult, I am finally fully focused. The lady beside me lets out the longest, most ridiculous fart. It sounds more like a shart and I instinctively hold my breath and try not to laugh. No else one laughs or flinches. I waver, trying not to laugh and stumble out of my pose. Lucky for me, my body is so tangled, it just looks like a symptom of my horrible balance.

By the end of class, my muscles are twitchy and warm. The final meditation is peaceful. No one is practicing their lamaze techniques across the room and I’m proud of making it through the class.

I think the goal is to leave class peaceful, but I can’t wait to get to my car and scream along to Do The Evolution. I wonder if my overactive brain is more suited for kickboxing. It always seems like when I punish my body, I can get out of my head. But no, I want to try this. The amount of apprehension proves that it could do me good. I’m going to try this for a while and see where it leads me... even if it just leads me to more snarky posts.