Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two recent book purchases:

The first time I heard The National's High Violet, I was sitting on the floor of this place, waiting over an hour for my 6 peso pizza.

For the record, 6 pesos back in May of last year equated to approximately $1.68 USD. Now it's about $1.48 USD. $1.48 for an entire large delicious fresh cooked pizza. [Which reminds me, listen to the This American Life podcast about money. It's excellent. Especially the part about Brazil's economy.]

Anyway, my point is that I was sitting on the cracked concrete floor of la fabrica de pizza when I first heard "Terrible Love" and exploded with that forced-deep-breath-heart-full-&-bursting-needing-to-laugh-&-cry-&-dance-all-at-once feeling I only get from listening to amazing songs for the first time. Now that I'm going back to la fabrica, or rather, back to Buenos Aires, I am hoping beyond hope that I'll find as wonderful a travel companion for this trip as High Violet was for that one. I'm open to suggestions. But I'm also sort of just wishing to stumble upon the right music like last time. One of my favorite aspects of adventure is discovering the music that accompanies it. I cannot wait to once again cross the equator and return to my South American home, this time to a new soundtrack.

it takes an ocean not to break

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some of my favorite things I've collected from the internet in the past month:

Put these links together and you have a pretty complete picture of the things I love: writing, travel, creativity, music, books, sex, furniture, art, typography, candy, and sushi.

The only things missing are: fishies, bacon, love, boats, and my home.

In other news, I am presenting my first paper at a conference at the University of San Diego this June. I leave for Buenos Aires in a little over a month. And I am very close to finishing my first year of grad school. Also, "Sussudio" will not get out of my head.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Trying to remember how to do this again

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I just found an old document with the songs titles of a mix I made right after I moved back from New York City. I provide it now as evidence of my ridiculously strong associations between music and places/events/people. Because after every song, I also listed the location I was in when most frequently listening to the song. And yes, I can absolutely organize my music autobiographically.

R Train/Union Square/Evening
Nowhere Warm - Kate Havnevik [Yellow and Green Subway Lines]
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane [4 & 6 Trains]
Mr Blue - Catherine Feeny [Green Line]
Start Without Me - Pedro The Lion [ Rockefeller Center]
I Don't Want To Die Anymore - New Radicals [Union Sq./St. Mark's Place]
Another New Year - Shane Bartell [Midtown at dusk]
Venus In Furs - The Velvet Underground & Nico [Union Square, night]
The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine - Spoon [Union Square/R Train/Midtown]
Speed Trials - Elliott Smith [M66 Crosstown Bus]
I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away The Ending - New Radicals [Lower East Side/Delancy&Essex]
Joe's Head - Kings of Leon [6 Train/Upper East Side/Union Sq.]
Lover Arrive - Ambrosia [Staten Island Ferry]
Life In A Glass House - Radiohead [Airport]

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's really hard to say what books one should read while traveling. In Europe. Not that I'm traveling to Europe. I'm traveling to Buenos Aires.

Last year in Buenos Aires, I read José Saramago's Blindness. I had gone to South America with Blindness, some Borges and some DeLillo. By the time I finished Blindness, I didn't want to read anything other than Saramago for the rest of my trip. I searched all the book stores I could find in the city for English translations of his work to no avail. I then had a mini-career crisis in South America when I realized I wanted to study everything in the world. Languages, physics, linguistics, fashion, architecture, politics. I still love literature, and when I have a plan, I don't like to stray from it, so I resolved my crisis by sticking with lit but broadening my area of interest from contemporary American to contemporary global. Shockingly drastic, I know. But seriously, I was leaving behind an entire world of incredible literature before for the sake of specificity of study. Blindness opened my eyes [shut up, bad joke].

My point is, reading while traveling is amazing. I will always remember the books I've read in the places I read them. This makes choosing the right books for traveling a little difficult. I do belief in the serendipitous nature of literature. That the right words find you at the right times. But suggestions can't hurt. And suggestions do by no means constitute a review. I wouldn't want Charles Baxter ripping me a new one. Anyway...

Book Suggestions for R Who is Traveling to Europe:

Blindness. José Saramago. Hi. Do I really have to say more about this?

The God of Small Things. Arundhati Roy. Coming soon to a mailbox near you. If there's any other book that understands the world the way I do, it's this one.

Everything Is Illuminated. Jonathan Safran Foer. This is actually a tough one. Wanna read a book that takes place in eastern Europe while you're in eastern Europe? Cause that'd be fancy. This book was hard for me to get into because the first twenty or thirty pages read like the old stories the rabbis used to tell us at summer camp. Like the one about the coins and the oil and the water. The ones with morals about fairness and loss and love. But the struggle of the first chapters is worth it. Please. Trust me. It's premium.

Borges. Anything. A collection of short stories. Ficciones. Because you've always loved ingenius narrative innovation and I don't know why I never thought of this before.

Salman Rushdie? Maybe The Satanic Verses. If you want something more linguistically challenging. This one's a pretty big investment, but the language is outstanding.

And you can never go wrong with Kundera. I know people who would punch me for saying that, but I stand by that man always for his beautiful understanding of the most important things.

[And if only there were a way of communicating with the person you love that didn't involve your writing or the writing of certain wonderful authors. I wish someone would have invented airplanes. Or telephones. Or solutions to the most complicated problems in the universe.]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

1. new purchases [tiny blank page books]:

2. new present [Fuji Instax Instant Film Camera]:

3. new experience [power outage = reading WCWilliams by the light of nine tiny candles]:

4. new weather [warmth, Liberty Park]:

5. new obsession [Typography]

Just trying to get myself some gravity

[But really all I want are old things. Old music. Old friends. Old home. Buenos Aires. Los Angeles. Driving westbound C-470. Orion over the Valley, not Orion over the Wasatch Mountains.]