Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just Can't Getchu Outta My Head...

I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now, but I just can't help myself. I've got this girl, this character, stuck in my head and I can't seem to get her out. The thing is I can't figure out what kind of story she's supposed to be in, so I have to draw her. The problem with that is, I don't really know how. I mean, I know how to draw (sort of), but I don't know how to draw her. I got a bunch of soft pastels and some watercolors and stuff today, but I don't really know how to use those, either. I have a feeling this is going to be an uphill battle.

Her name is Brenda, and I can't figure out if she has blonde hair, red hair, or light brown hair. She has large eyes and she's very adventurous. She comes with a dragon named Chester. Chester presents another problem in that I don't really know how to draw a dragon. Especially not one like him. I think he will be modeled roughly after a cow. A Jersey cow, I think. Maybe a Durham Red. I shall have to do much cow research. But he is soft and sort of leathery-feeling, very friendly and I think of him whenever I see those reddish-purple leaves that all the bushes around here are showing off. Brenda and Chester have been friends since they were tiny children. They live in a cave high up on a forested mountain and they go flying together every day. They're strange because even though I know they have a story (eventually they'll save the prince), they just refuse to be written. I think after I've drawn them a couple of times something will start to come out.

Does anyone know how to use pastels? I've really only ever used graphite sticks and charcoals before, but I feel like I need more color. Maybe after I've played with them for a while it'll get easier.

And as for my huge paper due tomorrow? Um...we'll see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Song of the Day: Utilities

I'm not going to do that thing where you repost all the lyrics of a song in your blog. If you want to read the lyrics, you can just click here - and I suggest that you do.

On Sunday evening I was hangin' with some friends (my posse, if you will) when we started discussing "perfect" songs. Not objectively perfect songs, because I don't think such a thing exists, but songs that are or have been perfect for you, your mood, your life, etc. You know those moments when you listen to a song and you feel like you're writing it instead of hearing it? That's what I call the perfect song. It's interesting how much you can tell about a person from their list of perfect songs. For one thing, it tells you what kind of music is really their favorite - and it usually isn't "everything" like everyone says (I think we all listen to a little bit of "everything" these days - but that doesn't make everything your favorite). This particular discussion also reminded me about how no one I hang out with seems to listen to the same things I do. Interesting. Incidentally, the list of perfect songs I came up with on Sunday can be found in the appendix to this blog post (or in other words, in the small print at the bottom).

The very next day I was walking to class with my usual headphones on and the above-mentioned song, "Utilities," by The Weakerthans, came on. And for the first time, that song was perfect. Personally it'd never been my favorite song from their new album - I fell in love with the acoustic version a while ago and this one had just never done it for me - but for some reason on Monday morning this version of this song was just...perfect. I swear I almost started crying on my way to class at like 9 o' clock in the morning, which is either a very good sign or a very bad one. The sound, the voice, the oddly hopeful musical interlude contrasting with the melancholy lyrics; everything just came together under that refrain of "make me something somebody can use." I won't go into a lot of details right now, but I've been through some things lately and somehow that song just fit amazingly. It was like John K. Samson came to me, took everything I was going through, and created out of it 4 minutes and 35 seconds of total connectivity. Which he might've - and I couldn't blame him, because who wouldn't jump at the chance to encapsulate my feelings? Anyway, it was the perfect illustration of what it means to have a perfect song.

So thank you, John K. Samson. You've reminded me again how the perfect song on the suckiest day may not make everything better, but it does make it seem a lot more meaningful. (And sometimes you kind of feel like you're in a movie, which is fun.)

Julie's Impromptu List of Perfect Songs (as compiled Sunday, 8/21):
"None of the Above" - The Weakerthans
"Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" - The Weakerthans
"Left and Leaving" - The Weakerthans
"I Suffer This Like a Dream" - The Paperbacks
"Books as Furniture" - The Paperbacks
"The Devil Drives" - Murder By Death
"Further North" - Jets to Brazil
"Empty" - Ray LaMontagne
"Can't Get Enough of Your Love" - Barry White
At this point I stopped listing, I think because the conversation changed (nothing derails a conversation like the casual mention of Barry White). Could've gone on for a long time though...maybe someday I'll try to list them all, because that sounds like a fun exercise.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Like to Make Lists

"Favourites from Plimpton's list of objects thrown by Rangers fans: soup cans, a persimmon, eggs, a folding chair and a dead rabbit." - The Weakerthans, Elegy for Gump Worsley

Things I started out saying as a joke that have now become a part of my regular vocabulary, making it so that every time I open my mouth I just want to mock myself:
  • "Yo."
  • "Word."
  • "Sup?" and "Whattup?"
  • "Cello" in place of "Hello" in phrases such as "cello, you got a bass"*
  • "Like"**
  • "So totally" or its more pernicious variant, "Like, so totally."
  • "Whatev."
  • "Samwich" instead of "Sandwich."
  • Shakespearean-sounding words and phrases such as "Verily," "Doth," "Hath," "Quoth," "Whilst," and the like.***
  • "Ain't" and its close friend "ain't no."
  • "More better," "More bigger," "Biggerer," and other inappropriate uses of the suffix -er.
  • Comebacks involving "your mom" and "your face."
Words I like enough to insert into my daily speech even if they make me sound ridiculously pretentious:
  • Pernicious
  • Non sequitur
  • Loquacious
  • Hyperbole (or Hyperbolic)
  • Quintessential
  • Dionysian
  • Machiavellian
  • Didactic
  • Eschatological
  • Dissemble
  • Ginormous****
Things I like that some people judge me for:
  • Dogs in clothes
  • Unicorns
  • Pink things
  • Makeup
  • 4-inch Heels
  • Sword fighting
  • Cheesy teen romantic comedies
  • Justin Timberlake and others of his ilk
  • Spice Girls
  • Spider-Man comic books
  • Video games
  • America's Next Top Model
  • "Modern" Art, including Abstract Art
  • Taking pictures of myself
None of these lists are meant to be all-inclusive, I'd like to make that distinction now. Anyway, that's it for today.

*Watch School of Rock. Just do it.
**But it was in like 5th grade so by now it's an inextricable part of my vocabulary.
***A while back someone knocked on my door and I actually shouted, "Hark, who calls? - er, I mean, who's there?" Very embarrassing.
****Okay, so this one doesn't make me sound pretentious so much as give me away as a Will Ferrell fan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

New AND Improved!

Tired of my old blog template, I have sought out and customized this one. Hurray! It's dark, it's edgy, it's moody...just the right backdrop for a blog apparently entering its rebellious teen years*. You'll notice also, assuming you've ever read the blog before, that I changed the title. The simple reason for this is because the old title "Beaucephalus Beauregard III," while fanciful, made positively no sense. So read, my friends. Read and enjoy. Especially because I can't guarantee that it'll look like this for long.

In other news, I'm trying out Netflix** and have just discovered that I can watch all the seasons of "The Office" (US version) on my laptop anytime I feel like it. So you might not see me for a while, that's what I'm trying to say. Woo-hoo!

*What does that even mean?!
**And they didn't even pay me to link to their site...yet. Anyone from Netflix out there reading?

Monday, October 08, 2007

I Don't Really Like Halloween.

For someone who pretends like she's other people all the time, I really don't like dressing up in costumes very much. I also don't like being scared all that much. And I'm Hypoglycemic, so being surrounded by candy I can't actually eat isn't really that appealing. But now that it's October and everything seems to be turning orange and black, I can't deny that Halloween is upon us. Now, normally I would remain in denial about the whole event until the night of, when I would throw together some things from my closet and call it good, but since I know some friends who are already planning their Halloween parties and dances, I figure I should get on it. The thing is, I haven't planned a Halloween costume in advance since I was a little kid and Halloween was about innocent dress-up fun and going trick-or-treating. Now that I'm all old and jaded and I don't want to spend much time or effort on a real costume, I'm finding it hard to come up with an idea. Let's brainstorm a little bit, shall we, beginning with some popular costume ideas, most of which I've tried before.

The Cowgirl
Jeans, button-up shirt, boots, borrowed hat. Slap on a bandanna and some pigtail braids for extra measure. Inspiration: Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, some girl country singers.
Pros: Easy
Cons: Sweaty guys in cowboy hats who think you're easy (why do so many people think that costumes and making out go together??)


Leggings, long shirts, huge belts, boots, ginormous hair, crazy makeup. 80's is fun, fun, fun! Plus it's apparently back in style now. There are a few basic directions to go with 80's: punk, mainstream, or aerobics instructor. All are fun, and though the differences between them are subtle, it's best if you choose one. Inspiration: Debbie Harry, Cindy Lauper, Molly Ringwald, Suzanne Somers, Madonna.
Pros: Easy (Goodwill and DI are your friends), plus the night comes with a built-in soundtrack.
Cons: Hugely overdone.

Piercings, hair wax, temporary color, black eyeshadow, ripped up clothes, safety pins, fishnets, boots, leather. The problem with punk is you kind of have to choose a particular era in the music's history. Personally I recommend going back to the roots rather than trying to emulate the punks of today, especially if you aren't really in touch with current punk trends. You want to dress like a punk, not a poser (actually, dressing like a poser could be fun idea, but it requires very delicate work). Inspiration: The Sex Pistols, The Ramones. If you want to head in a more general "rocker chick" direction, look at Siouxsie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, or the like.
Pros: SO much fun.
Cons: Lots of people won't get it.

Wear anything you want and then just throw some animal ears over it. You can look as much like or different from the chosen animal as you'd like. Animals are one of the easiest routes to take if you're wanting to go in the "Sexy _____" direction. For example, on our right here we have the Sexy Cat, Sexy Bunny, and Sexy Mouse costumes from Mean Girls.
Pros: Easy, Flexible, Adaptable
Cons: At best, it looks silly. At worst, slutty.

It's a delicate balance with Halloween costumes - too obscure and nobody gets it, but too generic and nobody cares. Hopefully I'll have a good idea by the 31st, but until then these basic cliches should make a good start. And if I don't feel like putting in more thought this year after all, they could form a fine ending point as well...

Personally, I just can't wait for November 1st so I can really kick off my Christmas celebrations in earnest. Only 77 days until Santa comes!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Random Thoughts

I can't think of any one thing to write about, so here's lots of things instead:

I wish I learned as much from my success as I do from my mistakes. Maybe then I could have more cool stuff and be a better person.

Hanging out with friends really can make everything magically better - at least for a while.

My favorite part about making cookies is giving them away. I can't eat cookies anymore because I'm hypoglycemic, but I still like to make them because then you can give them to people and for a tiny second you'll see what their eyes looked like when they were just some 5-year-old kid who loved cookies.

I really want to learn Gaelic. Did you know that Irish Gaelic is the oldest written language still spoken in Western Europe? There's at least one instance in which Ireland beats Luxembourg.

I love to perform for children because of the way they allow themselves to affect you. I love the way they demand a shared experience instead of just sitting back and making you do all the work. However, I love to perform for adults because they realize that you're a regular person just like them and try to keep quiet even when they're bored. I suppose the ideal audience would be comprised of polite, communal man-children. Or woman-children.

Just once in my life I'd like to say, "That's sweet of you dear, but I really don't have time for you to sweep me off my feet right now" and not be making a pun. On a related note, I recently discovered that my bedroom window is ideally situated for nighttime serenading. I'll be waiting expectantly come Valentine's Day this year.

"Wow, that doesn't look nearly as bad as I thought it would" is still a compliment, even if it's one I have mixed feelings about.

King Lear is great. Performing in the Nelke is great. Knowing my friends are in the audience at a show is great. If you could all come see King Lear before we close our on-campus run this coming Friday night, then that would also be great. Tickets are still on sale at the HFAC ticket office.

I LOVE birthdays. Anyone's birthdays.

I hate Physical Science. Any Physical Science class. I especially hate my Physical Science class.

I don't like to sweat. I find it gross.

Once when I was in London on study abroad I had a chocolate emergency. I decided I just HAD to have some. So I grabbed some cash and set off down the street to the little mini-mart store thing. There was always this guy sitting right outside of this store, and I always just ignored him. I tend to ignore all strange men I see on the street actually, especially when I'm having a chocolate emergency. Anyway, I walked into the store and spent all my money on chocolate - probably like 5 or 10 pounds (that's British for "dollars") that I really couldn't afford to spend frivolously. When I walked out of the store, there was that guy. And then I remembered that he was homeless and had basically nothing, while I was wasting all of my money on chocolate because I was having some kind of "emergency." I didn't know what to do because I had nothing to give him but candy, which seemed somehow inappropriate; I finally just walked past him and went home. The chocolate did little to assuage my guilt. It tasted really, really good though.

Really big earrings make me happy.

I hate going to computer stores alone. This is largely because of a few too many bad experiences involving store attendants wearing "hate cologne"* who stand way too close to you and follow you around the store even after you tell them you don't need help. I'm never sure if it's because they think I'm pretty or because they enjoy knowing more about computers than I do. Either way it makes me uncomfortable. I know that the vast majority of computer store employees are probably very nice people who would never dream of invading your personal space, but those are my prejudices and I don't aim to change them very soon.

Eye contact is confrontational to almost every animal except for humans. Some would argue that eye contact is confrontational for humans, as well. I tend to disagree with those people, though it is interesting how direct eye contact can become really unnerving if it's held for too long. Interestingly, if you want to tell a dog to calm down, you should avert your eyes, yawn, and turn your body away from her/him. If you want to annoy your mother, do those exact same things. Now you see how lots of people stress their dogs out by treating them like humans while other people offend their mothers by treating them like dogs.

I'm out of things to say now. I hope this was an enlightening experience for all involved.

*I don't know if it's a particular brand of cheap cologne or what it is, but there's this scent some guys wear that automatically triggers my hate reaction.