Monday, April 27, 2009

Small, Magical, Summerlike Things


Today it is ever so rainy and wet. But it is so very green as well; I saw the worms on the sidewalk and heard birds in the trees. It smells like summer. The last little bit of frost is gone from the grounds and flowers are growing. Daffodils come first; I think they always do.

Summer makes me think of lovely things, like chalk on sidewalks, long walks at night, stars and coffee, frisbee, campfire songs, lollipops and popsicles, sprinklers, and warm, muggy evenings that never seem to end.

I think there is something beautiful to be had in every season, but I'd like to think summer is my favorite season of all. I enjoy its laziness, its relaxed nature. I shall be working and commuting this summer, but all in all, should have a bit extra time.

I've made myself a little list of things to do this summer:

  • Go camping.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Read some books.
  • Have some tea parties.
  • Chalk up some sidewalks
  • Go rollerblading.
  • Sew.
  • Play my trumpet more.
  • Go for midnight walks/runs.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Make a blanket tent on the patio.
  • Learn how to bellydance.
  • Go to a concert.
  • Spend some quality time at an all-night diner.
There's something about doing 'nothing' that seems busy as well. I could paint or sew or go for a run and still do absolutely 'nothing'. I think 'nothing' implies spontaneity, an act done regardless of deadline, with no limits or setbacks in mind. Nothing is essentially something, but at the same time, that very something is nothing. I am very fond of nothingness, I think. I am feeling quite whimsical.

Have a wonderful evening.

"I shall make myself a wonderful tent and decorate it with holiday lights.
I'm going to write out some invites and send them to the furthest of kingdoms
and invite all the powdered, stiff ladies
And we'll have ourselves a tea party to head off the season."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Symphonies in Springtime

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful Symphony Orchestra concert. It was one of the most wonderful happenings of this week, in fact--and granted, it has been quite an adventurous week! The concert theme was "Great Firsts in a Genre", so selections were made based on a composer's 'big break' into the composing arts. This included work from von Weber, Wagner, and Bernstein among others. There were overtures from operas and musicals, and even the Montagues vs Capulets theme from the ballet Romeo and Juliet.

I've always had a secret desire to play in a symphony. Yes, I've played in a concert band, but I don't think it's quite the same. A symphony has a greater variety of instruments--strings, odd woodwinds, various brass, etc.

I came a little early to the event, so I could hear the various ensembles warming up and tuning. The great discord left my chest throbbing. In that moment, in a great sweep of sound, of plucking strings and singing valves, I felt myself tear up. I missed playing with a group so very, very much. I've decided to pick up my trumpet again seriously this coming summer. Not to mention, with a place all my own, I'll be able to play without bothering anyone in near proximity. I may consider joining a musical group once in my time here at school, since I miss it so sincerely. My only gripe is the issue of time. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day to squeeze in all that I'd like to squeeze in. I'd love to do so many things on campus, but one can only take so many credits, run so many miles, and sing so many lines in a day!

I'm going to go look for some sheet music. :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Old Father William

Curiouser and Curiouser!

I found myself awake last night, eyes pinned towards the window, watching the evening unfold, contemplating things. The night was incredibly beautiful; the streetlights and stars emitted eerie lights, repercussions of a day that once was an warning of a coming dawn.

I do sincerely love the night. I was once a nocturnal creature; last night carried warm memories of diners that never close and walks under the glossy spectacle of stars.

I thought about things, oh so many wonderful and frightening and trivial things. Mind you, unimportant things. Temporary things. Things one can build a whole life, a whole existence on--in other words, a bunch of cumulative, menial, unimportant tasks that are expounded and dissected by the human race in such brutality that they add up to something that is, indeed, important and meaningful.

We are all too frequently told to spend more money, to 'live laugh and love' more. There is a mediated sense of fulfillment and happiness we meet every time we listen to the radio or turn on the television. Why has happiness become so distorted? It's as if society is addicted to happiness and unwilling to accept otherwise, so constantly, we are bent on exploring that through music and production. And in this mediated process, happiness itself has become overlooked. We have succeeded in assimilating ourselves to the masses, shutting our mouths, ears, and eyes only to settle for something that is ephemeral and material.

Let's consider some Lewis Carrol:

"You are old, Father William," the young man said
"And your hair has become very white.
Yet you incessantly stand on your head;
Do you think, at your age, that is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared I might injure the brain.
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none
Why, I do it again and again!"
-From Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland

Silly Father William! How he stands on his head and somersaults out the door, despite his age!

Do you see the difference between Father William and his son?

Father William revels in experience, regardless of what his son thinks. I think there's some latent meaning in Carrol's little ditty. Who cares what others think? Regardless of what is 'considered' right, why do we listen to authority and media instead of doing as we inwardly think?

I write this,

for the conformity of happiness nowadays.

Revel in your experiences, in those fantastical things that made you so very happy before time and space were even objects of consideration, before we cared about how we acted and dressed and spoke. There is beauty and happiness all around us, and yes, these things are not things to be sought or bought--these things are as they are. There is beauty and happiness in nature, in others, in everyday life, in oversimplified little things that we so often take for granted.

Thanks, Father William, I am going to go stand on my head!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Empty Apartments: 1

The school year is almost done, and I'll be moving into my new apartment very soon. I admit I have been very anxious about moving, but in a positive way. I have had a bit of trouble living in the dorms, and finally, I have things to look forward to when I'll be living on my own--little luxuries I took for
coffee Pictures, Images and Photos

Early morning coffee, right at my fingertips, and a coffee shop right down the road!

My very own bed! I miss having a space to sleep all my own. It's so difficult to conform to other's sleeping and waking habits, so this should be a peaceful transition.

Cooking! Yes, now off-campus, I'll be fending for myself as of food. I can see this as a good thing and a bad thing. For one, I'll be forced to cook for myself. But the off set? I am a cross country runner with a huge schedule and an even huger appetite! I need to work hard to keep my nutritional needs in tact. This also means my food should be 100% vegan, ie, without animal products. Again, a bit of a challenge, but there's a lovely vegan food market just down the street, so I'll probably be a usual there!

Music time! Oh, yeah! We're talking techno time! I love dressing up in silly clothes and dancing around my house--and now I have an apartment for all my shinanigans!

Time to myself. I'll be living alone, so this should come in plenty. Granted I'm interacting with people all day long, and it's nice to have some down time.

Time for others. I don't need to play to anyone else's [except my landlord's!] rules anymore, and I can invite over who I please! PS2 and coffee party, anyone? Guests from back home also have a free place to stay if they plan on visiting, and myself and my boyfriend can have some time to ourselves as well.

What are some other advantages of living on one's own?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Persepolis: A Visual Approach

Persepolis Pictures, Images and Photos
Last evening I had the honor of watching a very interesting film, Persepolis.

In the following I am going to attempt an analytical approach at explaining certain aspects of the film--and keep in mind this is all completely subjective--moreover centralized to the visual display of the film.

Persepolis: the centrality of ancient Persia, which more or less translates to modern-day Iran. Amidst the booming Westernization and modernization of the Europeon-implemented Shah in the 1970s, the movie Persepholis follows the harrowing narrative of a young girl, Marjan. Marjan's life encompasses not only the fall of the Shah, but the Iraq/Iran Revolution and various other political turmoils.

Why then, Persepolis? The allusion to ancient Persia conjures images of sultans and tigers and ornate doorways and sprawling, spired palaces. The movie counterpart, Persepolis, contains little reference to the once-ancient Persia visually, but moreover metaphorically. The film is animated, which all at once conveys simplicity and complexity. The expression is simple, conveying basal human emotion, while the environment is multifaceted, multi-layered, and at times, incredibly ornate, nearly a puppet show of reality. Besides the geographical significance, this multi-lateral animation certainly makes allusions to ancient Persia. Marjan's own fantasies and off-color tanjents throughout the course of the film are incredibly ornate. The film itself is a tale of the past, and whenever the young Marjan finds herself encompassed in daydreams, the notion of 'past experiences within daydreams' are made eminent by the rollicking, puppet-show like animation. In this sense, Marjan's inner thoughts are more representative of an ancient Persian design scheme, whilst the 'real past events', colored in stark black and white throughout the film, depict what we generally percieve of modern-day Iran, that is, the purdah-practicing women, the blank stone walls of mosques, etc.

Aside from the allusions to ancient Persia present in the title and context of the story, there are various other aspects of animation and visual presentation that make reference to outside [both related and nonrelated] sources. Again, as a discretionary note, this is all my personal observation and interpretation. Consider, for a moment, the foreground animation of the movie, that is, the moving, interacting characters. The entirety of the film is black and white, and likewise, the entirety takes place in the past. Naturally this conveys the notion of time change effectively. The animation style itself draws inspiration from the past. I am incredibly reminded of Sidd Hoefs books and Felix the Cat! However, the backgrounds are unmistakably modern, either blocked out in a heavy shade of black or etched with what gives the impression of charcoal.

This is going to sound a little disjointed in comparison to the rest of what I've already written, but I'll say it anyways--if you're going to watch this film, make sure you have a bit of background on the historic events surrounding the course of the movie. I went into this move completely naiive. Reservations are made for naiive audiences, thank goodness, in the emotional and personal journey of the main character, but it takes a while to catch on to the tumultuous events that cause such emotional and personal storylines to emerge.

In all, a very enjoyable film that I'm sure to watch again if I get the chance. If not for the pure 'artsiness' of this French masterpiece, watch it for the love, the loss, and the profoundly graphic storyline [regardless of being a cartoon, it is incredibly potent in nature]. Also, remember that Persepolis also comes in graphic novel form!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Romance Novels and Spring Flowers

I received a parcel of romance novels from a friend for my birthday--my birthday is this weekend, and since I live a grand 4.5 hours away from any of my very close friends, she was kind enough to visit and present me with an early birthday gift. The gift itself was nothing short of lovely. I admit I am a sap for romances. She also presented me with some iced tea as well, of which I'm sure I'll enjoy.

But in receiving these novels, I happened upon an interesting thought;

What is love?

I love something that stops at the last page of a novel, or something that continues onward, forever, incessantly.

I took a walk this morning amongst the hills and trees beyond the borders of campus. It was cold, but the birds sang regardless. Shoots of plants were beginning to peek from between the sodden layer of dead turf and leaves. There was snow in the air, but these poor flowers, and these shrill, beautiful birds, went on with their lives as if the cold was not an object. And what could they have done against the wind? What say had they in the turning of the world and the steely embrace of time? Nothing. They may whisper amongst themselves. They grow through the sleet and hale. They sing though wind robs their throats of audible tones.

spring Pictures, Images and Photos


Life is just as breezy and unpredictable as the weather. Sometimes we shrink, sometimes we shine.

I am grateful for this, for it is not in calm times that we appreciate those we love, but when things are turbulent, do we appreciate those happy instances all the more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Debut: The Girl in Apartment Eight

Hello, all!
I suppose this is a debut blog, and I might as well give a little description before I go any further.

I began this blog for several simple reasons. First, I am coming to a great transition point in my life, that is, I shall shortly be moving into an apartment of my own.

I am a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, majoring in Art Education and running for the cross country team. I am currently a freshman moving into my sophomore year, and the basis for this quick transfer to an apartment has to do with the fact that my university is expanding at an alarming rate. Much of the campus has been renovated, but the residence halls remain in tact. Thus, many of the sophomores are seeking release forms, given that there will not be enough room for the incoming freshman populace. I have recently obtained a release form, and have found myself an apartment. I shall be living alone in the apartment--it is quite small and cozy, with one bedroom and a combo kitchen and living room. I do not need much; I adore small spaces. The rent is cheap and it is close to campus and a lovely little coffee shop.

Given that this is such catalystic event, I thought it reasonable to begin a blog chronicling my adventures and experiences living out on my own. I have an inbred knack of getting into both fortunate and unfortunate adventures every day...!

Secondly, I sought to begin a blog on the basis of forcing myself to journal daily [or as much as I can!] I feel it very theraputic to write down my thoughts, and I think a blog is a great opportunity to write down my thoughts and hone my writing skills.

Things are a tad scarce around here as of now, but as time goes onward, I shall be posting more and more, and hopefully, things will take flight.

Much love,