Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thesis Trees

At Reed College, the cherry trees are in bloom.  They arch over Eliot Circle and are dense and flowering enough so that you only see portions of the sky when you stand directly below (the photo is from a couple days ago).  Walking from Commons to Vollum (the lecture hall) to learn about the Aeneid and to discuss Baudelaire is pretty incredible.
In between all of the work, in between the paper on French poetry and the six books of reading and all three hours of Bach's St Matthew's Passion, between the crossword with my friends and playing the piano and living my pretty excellent life of intellectual inquiry, I get to walk beneath those trees and think about it.  I live here.  I am so lucky to be here.

(photo by the lovely Alexandra, who visited me over the weekend)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mike!

If you've been reading for a while, you know who Mike is - one of my best friends from high school, super-smart, pretty incredible....
And he is twenty years old today!  Or, I guess, one day older than he was yesterday...
I get to see him later today, so that will be lovely, and until then, happy birthday, Mike!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Barcelona and Beyond

Today my darling brother leaves for a two-month stay in Barcelona.  It's weird (and sounds silly, I know), but I thought that the first part of my break would go by a lot slower.  Instead I get important phone calls about exciting new progressions with certain boys from my best friends at college, almost no work done on my Cicero paper or my lab report, and now it's Thursday, the day that Caleb leaves.
He's going to go live with the girl who now definitely counts as a family friend, the girl who lived with my family the first two months of the autumn term.  He's going to get to go visit Paris and walk through the streets where we used to live, take coffee at tiny outdoor tables and people watch on Rue Daguerre or Rue de Turenne.  I am incredibly jealous - as much as I love my life at college, my desire to travel has in no way left me - and at the same time I'll miss him a ton.
Now instead of a three-hour time difference, we'll have a nine-hour one, but it will somehow be okay.
Caleb, darling, I'll miss you!

(the Casa Milà, in Barcelona, drawn by the incredible Zeljko Toncic, from here)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Break

I have a week off from college that I'm currently spending with my family, and it's fantastic.  Reed is incredible, but very challenging, and it's really lovely to have time to breathe and relax and catch up.  
It's also incredibly nice to see my family again!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who's Feeling Young Now?

Last night Gracie, one of my best school friends, and I went to go see the Punch Brothers at the Wonder Ballroom.  I think I've already talked about how brilliant the Punch Brothers are, but this concert....
Man, this concert was incredible.  The stunningly talented Aoife O'Donovan opened for them, singing, among other things, her songs "Red And White And Blue And Gold" (the most summery song I've heard in quite some time, reminiscent of New England beaches and long Tennessee nights by the lake) and another original song, "Beekeeper."
The Punch Brothers were on tour to promote their new album, "Who's Feeling Young Now?"  "Who's Feeling Young Now?" has a different mood than Antifogmatic - the songs are somehow a little more rhythmic almost, with a little more edge.  "Patchwork Girlfriend" is somewhere between quite funny and almost too close to home, "No Concern of Yours" is a little angry or bitter but quite poignant, "Hundred Dollars" is beautifully cruel, and "Soon or Never" is beautiful and quiet and true.  I could go on - tell you about the song "Who's Feeling Young Now?" and the quiet and lovely "Clara" and "Don't  Get Married Without Me," which contains the lovely line "Let's not fool ourselves, 'cause we aren't cowards, we aren't liars, we're just two people who are not in love... right now."
When I first heard the album, honestly, I was unsure.  In my defense, "Antifogmatic" might be my favourite album in the history of, well, ever - and hearing something from the Punch Brothers that was definitely different was kind of a shock.  But on hearing it in concert and spending more time with the record, I'm convinced.  It might (might) even eclipse "Antifogmatic" as my favourite record.
At the concert I went to last night, Aoife O'Donovan and Chris Thile (with help from the other Punch Brothers) performed their song "Here and Heaven" from the Goat Rodeo Sessions (another incredible album with incredible people that I cannot recommend enough).
This is one of the few (maybe the only band) whose concerts I go to with absolute elation.  This time around, I knew almost every word to every song and Gracie and I stood at the very front, leaning our elbows on the sold-out stage.  These guys are going to get incredibly famous sometime very soon, and it will be harder and harder to see them in small venues.  So go, while you still can.  Seriously.
(photo from here)