Monday, February 25, 2013

Bird Watching

This morning on the way to work , I saw on the sidewalk, a pigeon frantically hopping around. Next to him was a dead pigeon. The alive pigeon looked so scared. He kept hopping all around the dead one and then throwing his head around –almost to appear like he was yelling at passerby to DO SOMETHING. HELP.

It was one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know if pigeons feel grief. But this bird was obviously terrified and devastated. And completely helpless. And it seemed to want help. Or maybe just recognition for its dead friend.

I began to wonder if maybe the dead pigeon wasn’t dead, but just terribly hurt. What could the other bird do in that situation? He was helpless. Birds can’t doctor. They can’t administer medicine. He could only watch as his friend lie there in pain.

It was awful.

And it’s filled me with great sadness this morning.

And yes, I know there are outrageous monstrosities happening in the world every hour of every single day. But that doesn’t make this any less sad. Sadness isn’t comparable. Sadness is just felt. And seeing those poor birds this morning just gutted me.

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Tucked into the beams that support the skyways near my office are nests where the pigeons sleep. They also lay their eggs there. It’s the perfect spot. Completely covered from wind and weather. As I walk to lunch, I can see them in there, sleeping or fixing up their surroundings. Then a little while later the eggs appear, completely helpless while mom is away finding more items for the home or gathering food. Then one day, someone had put up spikes in front of the entrances to all of these nesting areas. I don’t know what kind of damage the city believes these birds were doing. They can still sit on the ledge of the skyway and lay waste everywhere. Preventing them from entering their homes is not going to keep the area any cleaner.

The worst part is that they couldn’t get to those eggs. Imagine the devestation of those mothers watching some human carelessly board up your home with no regard for your soon to be children and there is nothing you could do about it. Eggs were left cracked and rotting.

Somehow, some of the birds still manage to get through the spikes and some eggs did hatch and now there are little baby pigeons nestled away. I worry about them to the point that I can’t even look anymore because I’m afraid of what other steps the city may have taken to keep these birds from their homes.

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Pigeons are considered the rats of the sky. I know they are unclean. I know they don’t care about me. But, if you watch them close enough, you can see the little lives they’ve built. Everyone’s just trying to get by and keep watch over the one’s they love.  

Everyone.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Movie Madness

Over the past two weeks I’ve watched 4 movies I’ve never seen before and two additional ones that I own and have watched many times. Here are my thoughts on all of them:


Looper
Looper is a time travel movie. Time travel movies can be very difficult because they are never without many plot holes and paradoxes. And Looper is no different in that case. But they get it pretty close. It’s very entertaining and feels like two movies in one. You think it’s going to be about one thing and then it changes gears about midway through. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a little creepy looking with his makeup to make him look like a young Bruce Willis. He kind of lays it on a little thick – both the makeup and the Bruce Willis impression. But the story is good, it makes you think, and I always forget how much I like Bruce Willis.
 


 
Moneyball
I used to be heavily into Baseball. And this movie takes place during the time period when I was heavily into Baseball. I remember this Oakland Athletics team vividly. And, being from Minnesota and the Twins being my favorite team, I remember our impact on their season. We ended their 20 game win streak (I was at the game we did it) and we ended their post-season run. That game is very clear to me and the movie misrepresented it. It was a day game. And Denny Hocking made the catch, not Corey Koskie. The movie failed on these details and it soured me on a movie that I was somewhat enjoying. I say somewhat because I just can’t with Brad Pitt anymore. And it was too long. But, as Baseball movie goes, it’s a good one. I do think you have to enjoy and understand the sport to like the movie, though.


 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
I admit, my main draw(s) to this movie was Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch Acting together (‘acting’ being capitalized because these guys know how to act).  I went through a huge Gary Oldman period in my late teens and adore Benedict Cumberbatch now so seeing a movie with both of them had to happen.  Because, really, a super dry and serious mystery spy movie that takes place in the 70s and really really really looks like it was filmed in the 70s and is full of Russian dialogue is not my cup of tea. But, it was a good movie. Or film. This really seems like it should be called a film. I found it a bit hard to follow at first. Strong accents, a lot of names being thrown around, very quick scenes in the beginning  made it somewhat difficult for me to catch what was going on.  But as the scenes slowed down the film picked up and I ended up finding it very intriguing. It definitely demands a second viewing. And both Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch are fantastic in it. As are the rest of the cast (which includes Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and John Hurt).

21 Jump Street
I watched this the same night as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy so it was quite the culture shock. But this is a funny movie. I had heard so many good things about it and I am happy to report those good things are right. It doesn’t try to stick to the actual 21 Jump Street story and is really more of a tale of two friends. It’s funny, but not gross out funny which is so common in these kinds of comedies these days. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great chemistry. That Channing Tatum really is quite the Charming Potato (a nickname given to him from Pajiba).





(500) Days of Summer and Knocked Up
These are the two movies I’ve seen a number of times and just felt like ending my Sunday night with some comfort movies. Both are good for different reasons. (500) Days of Summer is almost too hipster for its own good, but I still really enjoy this movie. And I really like Zooey Deschanel, though I’ve never watched her show The New Girl. I’ve heard good things, though, so I should probably check it out.

As for Knocked Up, for reasons I cannot explain, I really like this movie. It’s a little long –as most Judd Apatow films are – but I just find it really sweet. It’s probably because of Paul Rudd. Paul Rudd makes all movies better.

Looking back on these “reviews” I just wrote, I’m reminded of Leonard from Community’s potato chips and frozen pizza YouTube reviews. Great. I sound like Leonard.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

"Can't Even Tell" Video Premiere Party!

We had a party at the Amsterdam Bar last night to celebrate the release of my very first music video for my song "Can't Even Tell" and it was super fun. One of my favorite shows.

Joining the lineup last night were my friends and favorites, Middlepicker:



And one of my new favorites, The White Whales:



Check them both out. Do it. I'll wait. There are links there and everything....




....It was a really good crowd last night. Lots of energy. Good vibe.




Setlist for Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul on 2/15/13

  • Good
  • Adore
  • Lens
  • Flavor
  • Can't Even Tell
  • Good to Know
  • Beg, Borrow, or Steal
  • Float
  • Introvert
Oh, and here's the video! It was animated by my good friend Rev K. 






Monday, February 11, 2013

The 2013 Grammy Awards

Good morning. I hope it’s a good morning for you. Mine has been rather pitiful. Oddly it has nothing to do with being up late watching those Grammy awards. More along the lines of I have exactly 2 pairs of pants in my wardrobe and they are both falling apart and coming to the realization that I have absolutely nothing to wear to work the rest of the week. Like, for reals. Like, not even overreacting.

I’m also seriously hating this weather. I think I’m getting a little S.A.D. I just want to see grass again. So does Robbie. This is him sadly looking out the window as the snow fell yesterday:

But I did watch The Grammys last night. All of them. Every last performance and acceptance speech and awkward silences after LL Cool J said something.  I haven’t been invested in The Grammys since the grunge era, but I still feel I must watch.

And, I must be old, because I just don’t get it anymore.

Granted, The Grammys have never actually been about what’s really good in music right now. There are exceptions, though. I assume they get pop music right with Adele and Kelly Clarkson. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are underground pop stars not getting their due. Of course then they woudn’t be pop stars.

I just think about my Favorite Albums of 2012 and am floored that Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp was not nominated for album of the year. It’s a stunning album. And it seems like it would be right up the Grammys’ alley.

Fiona Apple was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, but lost to Gotye (who also won Record of the Year for that song where he does the Sting impersonation).

Frank Ocean did beat Chris Brown – which was maybe The Grammys way of apologizing for giving that awful human so much screen time last year. Then Frank Ocean went and screwed it all up by singing a song about Forrest Gump. For reals. Forrest Gump. What I thought was odd was everyone on the Twitter freaking out about it, too. But I guess I assumed the song was on his album that EVERYBODY claimed to have bought and LOVED and OMG IT IS THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER!!! And a quick Google search tells me that it is indeed on the album…so did anyone actually listen to this album or just did they just like the one single and assume he was the greatest thing to happen to the music scene?

The other nominee in that category was a guy named Miguel. I had never heard of him before, but he performed last night and it was the only performance of the night that I actually turned my TV up. So I might check him out.

I had to mute the TV for Mumford and Sons. 

 
That song – which shall go unnamed because saying it aloud automatically staples it to my brain – is pretty much the worst thing in my life right now – and that’s saying something. The Mumfords also won Album of the Year. So, maybe now they will take a break and get out of my life. They are inescapable….the definition of overplayed. It’s best for everyone involved if they take a break for a while. Maybe try to write a song that doesn’t start out quiet and then rapidly build to speed bluegrass. Speed bluegrass. That’s a thing now.

Sidenote: I have a banjo. I even wrote a song on it recently. But I am going to redo the song because Mumford and Sons have killed the banjo for me.

Wow. I sound pretty bitter, don’t I?

I didn’t hate it all. I’m so happy Kelly Clarkson won and we got to hear her sing. I just love her. She’s the best. And so adorable and honest. Her speech was just so earnest.

Beyonce and Ellen introducing Justin Timberlake were also adorable. And Justin put on an excellent performance – as he always does. And then Jay-Z joined him on stage and Jay-Z is The Coolest Person EVER, so that was good.

I was enjoying LL Cool J and Chuck D’s closing song, but then they through advertisements over it and that was just gross. Especially since they were attempting to pay tribute to MCA.

And the country singers were fine and unoffensive as usual.

Oh, and Jack White. Jack White was awesome. I need to put that album on my get list.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Things I Love Right Now



1. The Cure: Disintegration


I was big Cure fan in high school. I adored them. I wore the t-shirt I had for their Mixed Up album nearly every day. But sometimes I forget how much I love them and it’s nice to be reminded. I put Disintegration onto the iPod last week and have been very much enjoying it ever since. It’s just one of those perfect albums.

2. Dark Dark Dark: Who Needs Who


This album came out last year and I didn’t get it until late in the year and didn’t really start listening to it until December, so it didn’t quite make my Favorite Albums of 2012 list. Though now, it probably would. The album is full of beautifully stark piano driven songs with a quirky rock edge led by Nona Marie’s aching and honest voice. A must listen.


3. Republic
Republic is a bar on the West Bank of Minneapolis (they also just opened a location in Uptown).  The beer selection is plentiful, the food is fantastic, the atmosphere is perfect and they might just have the nicest staff of any bar in town. Go check it out!

And this isn’t really a thing I love…in fact, I really dislike asking people to do things for me. But I’m in a contest and I could use your vote! It’s for Vita.MN’s Are You Local? contest. And if I win, I get to perform at SXSW and it would just do wonders for my music side of life. You can vote HERE. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Little Faith



It’s amazing what little faith I have in myself. I doubt myself constantly. From the big to the little. For example, last night I went out. Got home late. It was snowing. I put the car in the garage. Went inside the house. Got ready for bed. Crawled into bed. Laid there for about 30 seconds and started wondering if I closed the garage door. I was so certain of my failure in closing the door that I got up out of bed, peeked out the front door, barefoot in a tanktop and shorts, in the snow and strained to see if the door was closed.

Of course it was. It would be harder for me to forget to close the door.

But I do this all the time.

Every time it is my responsibility to do something like that, I doubt that I actually did it. Even if it’s just being the last one to bed at night and locking the front door. Or being the last one to leave the house and making sure the stove is turned off – even if I haven’t used it!

Geez. OCD much? Right?

It’s like I am so certain that I’ve failed that I just assume that I’ve done something wrong even if the opportunity to do something wrong isn’t there. This applies to work, too. If something goes wrong at work, I’m always certain that I must have had something to do with it. I am constantly double-checking my work to make sure I haven’t made a mistake. I’ve been known to offer up myself to blame for something even if there is no way I could have done it.

So, after it was confirmed that I did indeed close the garage door, I laid in bed thinking about all of this and trying to trace back to why I assume that I’m always in the wrong.

My family has always been very supportive of me. I certainly did not grow up in the most typical of environments. I grew up with a single father who did not find education to be the most important thing. It’s not that he didn’t think it was important to be smart, but he really just thought of high school as something you got through so you could get a job and start earning your keep. There was not a lot of pushing me to excel. But, at the same time, it’s not like he ever told me that I was terrible at things. He treated me like I was the princess who could do no wrong. So I don’t think it stems from there.

Teachers were always encouraging.

Siblings may have teased, but they never made me feel too terrible.

This all seems to have started in adulthood. And I just have no idea what brought this on. My OCD tendencies have really exploded over the last couple of years. I’ve always been ridiculously superstitious. I have rituals I have to do at night because if I don’t I fear everything will go horribly wrong in life. (yep, I know. I’m crazy).

But this assumption that I’ve probably screwed up is not really an OCD thing. It’s totally a self-confidence thing, I know.

And it’s very very annoying.

And all this talk about little faith has put the song “Little Faith” by The National in my head.