Valentine's Day is a fake madeup Hallmark holiday

....but since you're going to spend money on random crap anyway, why not spend it at Threadless, where from now 'til February 5, you can get $10 off if you buy two of the same t-shirt (even if its in different sizes). This is roughly equivalent to 50% off of most shirts. C'mon, you know you want to. It's dorky to wear the same t-shirt as your S.O., you say? Well, that might be true, but it's even dorkier to buy Hallmark cards and gross chocolates and roses that will die the next day. And if you don't have an S.O., get one for your BFF instead.

I'm actually not that into Valentine's Day. The stress of the day ends up making all the trouble you go through seem not being worth it. My favorite V-Days have been ones I've shared with friends, making dorky decorated cookies or chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Here are some of my favorite audio tracks on the subject of love. I'm actually not nearly as disillusioned with love as this list might make me seem. In fact, I like it very much. But I definitely think commercialized varieties of love should be experienced with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Operation Cliff Clavin: I'll be my own valentine"

OP:CC is an old PIX band, which eventually morphed into Ghost Mice. This song should be a classic anthem for every single woman on Valentine's Day

Days of War, Nights of Love: Love

This is actually from an anti-authoritarian treatise. It's kind of hokey but I always enjoy reading it. And the dude's voice is kind of hilarious.

The Distillers: Love is Paranoid

One of my favorite Distillers' songs. The throatiness of Brody's voice just makes her sound so independent and in control, but the song is fundementally about losing control ("I'm falling all the way in").

Even in Blackouts: Love Cynical Style

Even In Blackouts is an acoustic punk band mostly consisting of Liz Eldridge and Jughead from Screaching Weasel. Their 2002 album, Myths and Imaginary Magicians, features (in addition to this one) covers of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge" and Screaching Weasel's "Hey Suburbia."

The Magnetic Fields: The Book of Love

This is one of my favorite songs from 69 Love Songs, despite its cynicism. It's such a great testament to Stephin Merritt's ability to fuse traditionally beautiful melodies with tongue-in-cheek commentary about serious subjects like love.


I love technology made for forgetful people like me

iConcert Cal may be the best thing ever. It uses your iTunes artist list to make a list of shows coming to your town (or gigantic metropolitan area, in my case) and puts them all into a calendar, complete with links to the venues, openers, and sometimes start times. Amazing. The only bad thing about it is that you have to consciously turn on a Visualizer in iTunes before using it.

Here is what it looks like:

Now, if only I could figure out how to subscribe to it with iCal.


don't tell me what i already know

I'm really sad about this news, especially because I was out of town and missed them in November. It isn't just about me liking post-punk bands with female leads. Pretty Girls Make Graves are one of my favorite bands ever. They've gotten me through sooooo much angst (and I have a lot of it). :( Watch their website for more info on the May tour dates.

Right now, I'm way too tired to worry about not having an outlet for my post-teenage angst. I'm also wayyyy behind on my thesis. My weekend was super awesome but coming back to the real world always makes everything seem so tedious.

One more thing:

how AWESOME is this!!! Bridge to Terebithia was my favorite book in elementary school. I cried every time I read it. It also probably laid the foundation for all of my weird and intense friendships since then. The reviews of the movie make it sound kind of hokey (and it is rated PG, after all), but I'm totally psyched.


How cute!

I am in Hanover, NH at a quaint little inn that has real keys for the doors. There are real quilts and you even get chocolates on your pillow. It's totally adorable. Today, I saw my first snow since I lived in Nebraska years and years ago. It was really pretty, in a New England kind of way.

As beautiful as it is, it is asstastically cold. Here are my favorite songs on the subject of cold in general:

Mirah:Cold Cold Water
Cursive: There's a Coldest Day in Every Year



I love how well Kimya plays with children.

In other news, here are Yo La Tengo's tour dates for their album, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, which I wrote about here. I am going and so should you.

01-25 Louisville, KY - Bomhard Theater
01-26 Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay Theatre
01-27 Knoxville, TN - Bijou
01-28 Tallahassee, FL - Moon
01-30 Orlando, FL - Social
01-31 Miami, FL - Studio A
02-01 Tampa, FL - State Theater
02-02 Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theater
02-03 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
02-05 Chapel Hill, NC - Cat's Cradle
02-06 Chapel Hill, NC - Cat's Cradle |
02-08 Charlottesville, VA - Starr Hill Music Hall |
02-09 Baltimore, MD - Sonar |
02-10 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero |
02-19 Tokyo, Japan - Shibuya O-East
02-20 Tokyo, Japan - Shibuya O-East
02-22 Nagoya, Japan - Nagoya Club Quattro
02-23 Osaka, Japan - Big Cat
02-24 Fukuoka, Japan - Drum Be-1
02-27 Perth, Australia - Amplifier Bar
03-01 Sydney, Australia - Metro
03-03 Brisbane, Australia - Laneway Festival
03-04 Sydney, Australia - Laneway Festival
03-06 Melbourne, Australia - Corner Hotel
03-08 Adelaide, Australia - Fowlers Live
03-10 Meredith, Australia - Golden Plains Festival
03-12 Singapore, Singapore - Concert Hall at Esplanade Theatres on the Bay (Mosaic Music Festival)


Clearly PETA needs to rethink their definition of "progressive"

I'm starting to recover from the past few weeks but this week and weekend are going to be insane. I had a good weekend, though, and got to hang out with a lot of my good friends. My yoga class was also totally awesome today and I feel pretty rejuvenated already.

This year's PETA Proggy Awards are out, with a couple of interesting picks:

Most progressive politician: Arnold Schwarzenegger, for banning the chaining of dogs in cruel ways, and possibly being about to ban foie gras.

As an aside, doesn't the fact that ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER is the GOVERNER OF CALIFORNIA and is now being nice to animals still make you feel like you live in bizarro world?

Most vegetarian-friendly food service operator: Sodexho. I bet to differ. Sodexho is TERRIBLE. Not only is the food bad but I often wander around the cafeteria finding something truly vegetarian to eat. Blech.

North America's Best Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurant Chain: Red Robin. I might actually agree with this one. They have a lot of different kinds of burgers you can get a boca with. The Vortex, of course, is wayy wayy wayy better, and not because their website features a weird biker chic with torn stockings. Seriously, look at the menu. The Yokahama Mama is amazing.

Best New Cookbook: Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Moskowitz. I wrote about Isa awhile back. She has a vegan cooking show called Post Punk Kitchen, which is pretty awesome. She also did a vegan cupcake cookbook. I've tried some of the recipes and they are all amazing.


Welcome to hell

I'll be spending my weekend in one of the most depressing cities in the state of Georgia. My trip will involve getting up at 5 a.m. and driving in a big bus with a bunch of other people only to spend my day in a bunch of cold classrooms. Splendid, I know.

To celebrate (or cope, depending on how you think about it), I'll be listening to a lot of Ska-P, Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, and Streetlight Manifesto.

I'm sure I've written about all of these bands before, but they're probably my favorite third-wave ska bands.

Ska-P: La Estampida.
Ska-P is a pretty political band and this song reflects their Spanish anarchist roots. Other songs on this album decry McDonalds and consumerism.

Streetlight Manifesto: Point-Counterpoint
This song's title is more than appropriate, given what I'll be doing this weekend. It was the first SM I heard, and became the muse of much remixing my freshman year. It generally sounds slow, but it gets awesomely fast at times, making it one of my favorite songs ever to sing along to.

Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution: Here's to Life.
Like Ska-P (and a lot of ska bands, actually), BOTAR had like 15 members. Another Tomas Kalnoky creation, BOTAR acoustically covered this Streetlight Manifesto song. I personally think it sounds ten times better. This song also gives a shout out to Kurt Cobain. See if you can find it.

In other news, Green Day is re-releasing my favorite album of theirs, 1,039 Slapped Out Happy Hours. C'mon, who doesn't love a little "Going to Pasalaqua"? The reissue is called "1,039 Smoothed Out Happy Hours."


New from Plan-It-X

I was looking for info on Plan-It-X fest 2007 when I found out:

-Ghost Mice will be releasing a full-length album this year, called these people are rad?, as well as a split with Andrew Jackson Jihad. Last year, they released Europe, and the Pretty Hot/Ghost Mice Split. these people are rad? will be their fourth full-length, if you include the very first S/T album. It seems that they're continuing their tradition of doing splits with lesser-known bands, which I think is pretty awesome.

-The Door Keys, will be releasing 3rd Album, which, consequently, is their third album, following Greenwood Park Mall and Holy Shit, It's the.... Not the cleverest of names but I can't wait to hear it.

You might be able to get the albums through No Idea, but I'd just get them directly from PIX.

There isn't any info on PIX Fest '07 yet, but I assume it'll be in Bloomington again. More info when I get it.


i saw you one time at the back of the club, chewing on glass and a ticket stub

The Fratellis are three brothers (I think) from Glasgow. You might have noticed them on some recent iTunes ads. I usually kind of hate commercials with stupid dancing people--like that Intel Core 2 Duo ad, but these two really work for me because the music is so appropriate. Listening to the Fratellis actually does make you dance like that. I've only listened to the Flathead EP so far, but those four songs were enough for a one-woman dance party, complete with arm flailing, the likes of which I haven't participated in since the first time I listened to This Bike is a Pipe Bomb's Dance Party With....

You can listen to a few older songs on their Myspace page, or head on over to iTunes to buy them. You can also hear Flathead, probably their best song, on the Apple ad.


The night you can't remember is the night I can't forget

Exhaustion really does catch up with you when you've been under the weather and trying to suppress it for nearly 2 weeks. I finally gave in and went to the doctor today. I'm convinced that the doctors at my student health clinic are idiots. They stare at me blankly when I indicate that a part of my body hurts that obviously is a vital organ, or they just prescribe antibiotics for everything. At this point, though, I'm ready to try anything so I can finally get some sleep.

Someone posted this list of 69 Love Songs fantasy covers on Stephin Songs. If you join the wiki, you can add to it. Here are some of my picks:

-Papa Was A Rodeo: Loretta Lynn
-Underwear: Regina Spektor
-Strange Eyes: Shonen Knife
-I Can't Touch You Anymore: Echo and the Bunnymen
-I Don't Believe in the Sun: CocoRosie

I'm going back to sleep. Happy fantasizing!


Movies Worth Seeing

There is a quaint little video store around the corner from my favorite bakery called Movies Worth Seeing. At MWS, there are a couple of walls of films organized by genre (like biographical documentaries, 80's childrens television, etc.) but the store mostly focuses on VHS's (and some DVDs) organized by director.

As tradition dictates, I spent the first few days of the new year watching as many movies as I could. The new year didn't officially begin for me until January 6th or so, but the past three days have been awesomely filled with movies, reading and knitting. Here's what I watched and what I thought:

-Strangers With Candy (the movie) was not as exciting as the TV series. Focusing more on the Jerry Blank story, it omited a lot of the slapstick craziness for which the show is famous. I really love Stephen Colbert, and I especially adore Amy Sedaris . But if Amy Sedaris is going to be so damn ugly, the film has to be a LOT more offensive/satirical/politically incorrect.

-I had waited quite some time for Art School Confidential. John Malkovitch, Kate Moennig, what else could one want? The movie is this weird juxtaposition of a murder mystery and really comical scenes. Its character study is probably the strongest I've seen in awhile, although I wouldn't expect any less from a movie that takes place in an art school. The women (Kate Moennig, Sophia Myles) are especialy beautiful, complex, and strong characters. I would definitely recommend Art School Confidential to anyone in a grumpy mood who wants to cheer up a bit.

-Clerks II was everything I expected it to be and more. Dante and Randall relocate their clerkship to a fast food place called Mooby's, which, as far as I can tell, is a strange combination of Burger King and McDonalds. There are two really memorable scenes. The first involves a donkey, a guy named Stud, and a lot of smoke. The second involves Randall "taking back" a certain racial slur. As with many Kevin Smith films, there is a pseudo-sappy ending that is at first complicated by a number of factors and ends up working out.

-Everything Is Illuminated would have been a lot better if not for the constant Clesmer music. In fact, I couldn't finish it. It was too slow and boring. Elijah Wood plays a kid who collects objects as memories and goes to the Ukraine in search of the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. His tour guides are an old half-blind man and a younger guy who bears a very strange resemblance to Borat (I think at one point he even asks if Elijah "makes sexy time"). There is something very dull and bleak about this movie that is extremely off-putting, given the brightness of the DVD cover. Maybe I'm not being fair, but it was bad enough that I, having close to nothing else to do, did not finish it.

In music news, I'm still ploughing my way through a bunch of albums I acquired at the end of the year, but did want to include something I found on YouTube. Does anyone remember this? It might be the most adorable thing I've ever seen:


I am on hiatus

I'm chilling in California this week (well, not quite *chilling.* More like getting sick and not sleeping) but I just wanted to point out that someone found my blog searching for the words "keanu reeves in bed with sexy vampires."