Monday, August 20, 2012

Poetry: Emily Dickinson

I do a lot of musical appreciation posts on this blog but so far no poetry appreciation. Probably because my musical knowledge is far more extensive than my poetry knowledge. Today's poet of choice is the classic, the one, the only: Emily Dickinson.

I started reading her poetry, like many others, because it was assigned in school. For me it was tenth grade and to be honest I was all the enthused with the idea of it (mind you, I wasn't enthused by a whole lot in tenth grade). But, looking back on that year it was probably one of my favourite reading assignments from that class, next to The Great Gatsby.

What I like about Dickinson's poetry is that she rights about big things in an eloquent and somewhat simple way. By "big things" I mean, death, and hope, and love lost. She writes about big ideas in a relatively small way and paints pictures with few words. Before we read Emily Dickinson I had never really grasped poetry or connected to it very much (perhaps due to my stubborn adolecent brain) but her poetry at least let me figure out what I like and what I would like to read and where to go from there.

One of the poems that stuck out to me most in my tenth grade english class was "Hope is the thing with feathers". I love a good extended metaphor and so this poem is right up my alley. Taking "hope", this huge unidentifiable idea, and comparing it to a simple bird. The way she makes the ambiguous idea of hope so familiar is kind of comforting to me.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Song recommendation: Have You Ever by Brandi Carlile

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Floridian Haul

I was in Florida visiting some family and since it's too hot to do anything in the outside world I did some shopping. Here's what I acquired. (There's a dress missing from this haul that I bought at anthropologie -on sale- because it was in the wash when I was taking this photos.)

sweater: Urban Outfitters ($54)

daydreamer tee: Urban Outfitters ($19)

trench: Forever 21 ($32)

knapsack: Urban Outfitters ($49)

loafers: Urban Outfitters ($29)

earrings: Anthropologie ($14)

headband: Anthropologie ($22)

Song recommendation: Live It With Love by Ingrid Michaelson

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Musical Appreciation: Ben Howard

This blog seems to be turning into a musical appreciation blog. I see nothing wrong with that. Today's artist of choice is the brilliant Ben Howard. I started listening to him about a month ago upon recommendation from tumblr (that seems to be the case lately). Now, I'm always up for some good old acoustic folk/rock but Ben Howard is something special. His voice is just so easy to listen to, it almost feels instantly nostalgic, like you've been listening to his songs all your life. Despite the fact that he's only released one studio album his songwriting is exceptionally mature and complex. Listening to his music just feels good. Like, close-your-eyes-and-sip-on-tea good music. To boot, Howard is an exceptional guitar player.

Naturally I've delved into the depths of YouTube to see what kind of covers I could find, only to be pleasantly over and over again. He covered the infamous 'Call Me Maybe' and completely turned it on its head and made it really enjoyable. It was almost unrecognizable until he uttered the words "I threw a wish in the well". He also gave Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" a whirl only to succeed yet again. I'm starting to think this man can do no wrong. I feel as though he's only just scratching the surface of his talent and that we can expect so much more from him in the future.

I would recommend his whole album "Every Kingdom" but specifically the song "Keep Your Head Up".

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Reflections

After a week in Florida, I'm heading back home tomorrow for the last leg of the longest summer vacation ever. A break from school is always good but I think four months is just too long for me. I plan on taking some spring classes next year though so I'll have a slightly more reasonable summer. That's never something you would here my child-self complaining about but I'm just far too restless now to be able to handle for months of structureless living. I think it would be okay if I could have a job with some sort of regular schedule but alas I am floating in a sea of joblessness.

Though it's been a long summer, it's been a fairly good one. Traveling to France, spending quality time with friends (Wilmington adventures), completing quite a bit on my summer list of things. I'm especially happy that I spent a lot of time playing music. Whether it was piano, uke or guitar I did spend a lot of time learning new songs (and occasionally being brave enough to record them).

I've actually improved my guitar skills quite a bit over the last month or so (after finally getting my mum's old guitar fixed) and though I'm nowhere near pro I feel like I have at least a vague idea of what's going on. After spending a week away from guitar I'm itching to get back to it, so I think that's a sign that I'm going to have to buy my own when I get back to school. Something to annoy the floormates with, excellent!

The goal is to successfully record something on garageband, which I'm still int he process of figuring out. And perhaps I'll post it on here. Maybe.

song recommendation: Undertow by Sara Bareilles

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Do to lack of any internet yesterday I was unable to blog. So let this be known as BMOA, or Blog Most of August. Because this every day thing has sort of sucked this year. My apologies.

However I didn't have internet yesterday for an exciting reason, I spent my day at the Universal Studios park. A love Girls Day Out with my mum. What was great about this trip was that since we had been before we knew what rides we wanted to hit and what lines would be longer at what times. Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a must (we went during the morning and at night). After our wizarding adventures we made our way to the Jurassic Park ride, which was fantastic. My brother didn't come with us this time around but he had one request and that was to buy him a tube of miniature dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park store. My brother is sixteen years old, no shame there. Other high points of the day included eating Hard Rock Cafe's twisted mac and cheese, getting complimented on my dress by two different strangers (male and female), and riding the 4D Harry Potter ride with barely any line up.

I wasn't particularly looking forward to going to Florida before the trip but I am actually really enjoying myself. But really who couldn't be happy running around theme parks and shopping. I don't know what I had any hesitation in the first place. Oh right, the heat. However, the difficult breathing aside, Florida's alright this time around.

song recommendation: Spectrum (Calvin Harris Remix) by Florence + The Machine

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guilty Pleasure Television

If anything I am a professional watcher of television. Once I get into a new show there's no stopping me and I'll lock myself away from society until I finish the whole thing. Though I'm usually pretty shameless when it comes to what I watch there are those certain shows that you find yourself going "why am I even watching this" as you click next episode. 

Thus, is my struggle with Pretty Little Liars. Ever since I first saw an advertisement for the show on ABC Family I mocked it and hated on it simply on the premise that it was an ABC Family show about pretty, little, liars. Also it didn't help that the only people I knew that liked it were not exactly my favourite.

I pretty much wrote it off as a "never watch, like, ever" show when I first saw it, and frankly that opinion didn't change until a couple of weeks ago when I youtuber I really admire and with whom I share a large number of pop culture interests, talked about it on her channel. She didn't say it was the best show ever, but she also didn't say it was terrible. So, in attempts to fill the gaping void that Gossip Girl left in my heart, I decided to give it a try.

Conclusion: It's pretty bad. However, more than it is a bad show, it is an addicting one. And Aria's love interest is easy on the eyes. There are a total of two characters that I don't dislike. As the songwriter Sara Bareilles once said "something always brings me back to you, it never takes to long."

Song recommendation: Dusk by Wilsen

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Closing Ceremonies

There's something pretty spectacular about people coming together to take part in a worldwide celebration of athleticism and culture. I am not even an athletic person, aside from skiing on occasion, but I always feel myself drawn to watch the games. Partly national pride, partly world pride. World pride, is that a thing? It is now.

I'm currently watching the closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games with my family. The show is just fantastic so far, and a perfect wrap up to the games. I particularly loved their journey through British music history, because they have so much to show case (that Spice Girls reunion: A +++). Rio's introduction to their turn with the games is making me eager to for 2016. But it's strange because when I think about the next summer olympics my mind immediately jumps to "where will I be when I'm watching them in four years from now?". I'll have an undergrad degree under my belt (hopefully). I'll be twenty-three (OH GOD). Where will I be living? Will I have a significant other? That's another fantastic thing about the olympic games is it almost acts as a marker for  a stage in your life. For instance, I remember that during the Salt Lake City Olympics I was in grade three and I remember learning where Utah was on the map. There are many great things about the olympics but I see it as briefly claiming time as well as preserving it.

As the London Games come to a close I look forward to 2016 (and even before that, Sochi in 2014) and looking back on London and remember the summer of 2012.

Song recommendation: Bright Lights and Cityscapes by Sara Bareilles