Friday, October 28, 2011

How he got his song

music: St. Vincent - Cruel (acoustic)



I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar. I have a Conde guitar, which was made in Spain in the great workshop at number 7 Gravina Street. I pick up an instrument I acquired over 40 years ago. I took it out of the case, I lifted it, and it seemed to be filled with helium, it was so light. And I brought it to my face and I put my face close to the beautifully designed rosette, and I inhaled the fragrance of the living wood. We know that wood never dies. I inhaled the fragrance of the cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar. And a voice seemed to say to me, “You are an old man and you have not said thank you, you have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose." And so I come here tonight to thank the soil and the soul of this land that has given me so much. (Read the entire transcript here.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WWBD?

music: International Liszt Festival (Radio România Muzical, live from The Hungarian Opera, Cluj)

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (#5 "The Chain"), Joss Whedon

Oh, you scared little girl, see, you're even disappointing Buffy. (Um, yeah, I'm talking to myself. I won't be surprised if in 40 years or less I am that lady you see on the street talking to herself.)

Sometimes I'm a completist. And sometimes that is not good ("not good". oh wow, what an immensely rich vocabulary do we have). Those lists of what to read / listen to / watch are getting longer and longer, while I don't know for how long I can keep this up.

Not to mention that I'm getting the itch. The itch to watch Buffy again. All seven seasons. And ohmygosh, I still haven't seen Angel.

Anyways, I'm loving the eighth season of Buffy, and I'm trying to finish it as soon as possible so that I can start reading the ninth season and be up to date.

Meanwhile, I'm begging you: watch Buffy. I know my text in DV is not convincing enough (and not as smart as I wanted it to be) so begging is all I have left. To say that Buffy is more than a vampire series is such an understatement, but I promise you: it's more than a vampire series.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

140+

music: Jay-Jay Johanson - On The Other Side

Just a few random thoughts, some too long for Twitter.

  • I think I'm going to puke a rainbow. If a story / movie is LGBTQ-themed is the rainbow / pink (or purple) / glitter absolutely mandatory? First of all: the message they're sending is that the story / movie is worth reading / watching just for the LGBTQ theme and that there's nothing more to it. Second: some (if not most) of these stories are really sad, and they're not gonna get less sad if you put a rainbow on them. Hey, I get it. They need sth to say "gay-friendly". But I don't know, I guess I'm sick of seeing rainbows and pink used to promote gay-themed stories that are supposed to be aimed at everyone, just as I'm sick of seeing pink used as a marketing tool for pretty much any product out there aimed at girls/women.

  • How many web sites do I have to follow in order to not get behind on the cultural news? Seriously! It's so frustrating. Radu Afrim has a new play at the theater from Satu Mare and I would've liked to go. Had I known earlier about it. And what the fuck is wrong with my googling skills? I must've spent an hour looking for the official page of this theater group.

  • Moi, earlier today: Uuuh, I'm going to write 12 pages on the awesomeness of Buffy. Moi, now: Sugar crash. Zzzz... Roger, c'est moi.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just my type of adventure

music: The Golden Filter - For Your Broken Life

Amanda Palmer to Neil Gaiman: "Are you going to tell them about how you call every trip to the store an adventure?"

On the latest episode of This American Life, Neil Gaiman talks about how unadventurous his life is (which, you see, is funny because his life is adventurous).



Oh, how I envy thrill-seekers. Supposedly, there's a gene that you either have or don't have. I guess I should put thrill-seeking on the list of things I have no control over and not beat myself up over this anymore. So, faute de the real thing, allow me to continue calling my trips to the store adventures.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A to-do list

music: Lesley Gore - It's My Party


*****

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to,
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Walk the walk!

music: Charlotte Gainsbourg - The Songs That We Sing

Source

Just a quick note on the SlutWalk movement. (In which I assume you already know what this is all about. I won't add a list of links because that would take me way too long. Honestly, there are more articles on this topic that I can or want to read. Google it.)

As I've already said a billion times, I'm saddened by the fact that I won't be walking the walk. Where? Bucharest. When? Tomorrow, October 6th.

Yes, the SlutWalk has been the target of some harsh criticism coming from feminists themselves. And it's all valid. I fully agree that the message is confusing - they should've stuck to the anti-rape agenda and not mix it with the sexual liberation. (And if I'm not mistaken, I did see a photo of a sign in the making for the Bucharest SlutWalk that was referring to actual sex workers - even more confusing! Ugh.)

Then, there's the issue of the reappropriation of an offensive term like "slut". I am a fan of Bitch, I am a fan of Jezebel, but I must say I'm not a fan of this practice. I think some offensive words will forever remain offensive and "slut" is definitely one of them. (Okay, I'll admit I use "bitch" every now and then, and I have never had a problem with the word "queer", but then again, I'm not American, I'm not a native speaker and I think that has a lot to do with my level of comfort in using certain words.) Which takes me to the Romanian word for "slut". I find the word "panaramă" to be a very poor translation choice simply because... who uses that word?! I have maybe heard sm use it once, many, many years ago. And it was a woman insulting another woman. And maybe it's used in the Moldovan region, but I'm not sure, I don't remember having ever heard it during my trips there. Anyways, this is besides the point. Feminists can debate the reappropriation of offensive terms for as long as they want, but the real issue is this: ppl don't get it. They just don't. And it's not like "Oh I get it but I don't like it". No. They simply do not understand it. And I'm thinking here both of ignorant anti-feminists and of ppl whom I consider more intelligent than me. I mean, there are ppl out there who have heard about the SlutWalk on the news and think it's a march organized by prostitutes! So, if ppl don't even get to your message because they misunderstand the very name of your movement, maybe that's a sign that you should find another name for it. But to contradict myself: why would you make changes to accommodate a bunch lazy ignorant anti-feminists who are not even capable of following the news?

(Um, yeah, that quick note is obviously turning into a rant.)

However:

Were I in Bucharest tomorrow, I would walk the walk without any hesitation. I might be sitting on a sparkly rainbow that will quickly fade away but I think it's so incredibly amazing that Romanian feminism aligned itself to an international movement. I don't know any of these wonderful girls and women (and guys too, if I'm not mistaken) who organized the Bucharest SlutWalk / Marşul Panaramelor yet I send them a heart-felt "Congratulations!". You are my heroes.

Tomorrow, as I'll be sitting here between my four walls, I will know that I have, once again, failed at feminism. Honestly, though: I have absolutely no idea where I would even begin were I to "get off the Internet". And meet whom in the street? I'll have to admit that I'm extremely uninformed in regards to local feminism. I remember reading once about some academic feminist club at UBB Cluj but I don't even know if it still exists. Besides, I'm not even sure it was open to a general public. Actually, that's what kinda bugs me about feminism in Romania - I feel that it's still very much linked to the academic environment and it's this underground thing where if you want to participate you have to be in that academic environment and you have to know sm who knows sm and so on. And this is exactly why smth like the SlutWalk got me all excited and hopeful about the direction Romanian feminism might take.



I'll just add one more thing and wrap this up.

If tomorrow you're in Bucharest, please, please walk the walk. For yourself, for me, for every girl and woman out there who has ever been harassed in the street, or worse. And yes, I will emotionally blackmail you into walking the walk with this old blog post of mine.


+ the FB page for the Bucharest SlutWalk

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4: Is everyone hanging out without me?

music: Bright Eyes & First Aid Kit - We're Going To Be Friends (White Stripes cover)


Going out. Check.

I found out about this second hand store where they had music on vinyl and today I went in for a visit. Even though I didn't have high expectations, what I found there was more than disappointing. A bunch of German records, mostly from the 70s, hit songs and artists I've never heard of and would never be interested in. And in rest, junk, junk, and more junk. (That red reindeer would be nice as a Christmas decoration though, wouldn't it?) Actually, I'm pretty sure the owner goes in Germany and collects the garbage left on the roadside because all the furniture and electronics in this store look like the type of furniture and electronics that can be found on the roadside, abroad. Obviously, I haven't seen this myself - it's what ppl who've been abroad have told me. Today's little "adventure" outside my room might have been disappointing, but the important thing is: I went out. That's two days in a row. Oh wow, how I can wow myself.

#whatismakingmehappy:

+ The Arrested Development reunion (and the promise of a tv series + movie) - you can watch the reunion on The New Yorker's Facebook page.

(Taking advantage of this type of FB exclusives makes me feel so dirty. I check FB every day, several times a day because I guess it's become like a reflex but honestly, I don't know what I'm doing there anymore or why I even bother posting or "liking" anything at all. It's gotten to the point where I hate it. I really do. Oh wait. This section of the post was supposed to be about the things I like. Anyways, the point is I would totally quit FB if it weren't for these exclusives. Argh, trapped by my own addiction to pop culture.)

+ Bright Eyes and First Aid Kit Cover The White Stripes To Benefit South Africa

A song for kids / your inner kid and Conor's voice blended with the voices of the Söderberg sisters - is there anything more soothing than this? And it's so perfect for a sunny fall day. It makes me wanna take a notebook and a pencil and do some homework and then watch Sailor Moon dubbed in Italian.



+ Great Photographers Who Use Crappy Cameras - I cannot tell you how reassuring this Flavorwire piece is. There would be nothing more frustrating than spending lots of money on a DSLR and then realize that my pictures are as crappy as ever. Besides, I have to admit that I'm not really that interested in the technicalities of photography. So for now I'll hold on to my toy-like camera and maybe, just maybe one day I'll have a spark of creativity and come up with an interesting photo-project to occupy my time.

+ Mindy Kaling's website: http://theconcernsofmindykaling.com/ and her upcoming book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). (Well, I already know the answer to that question. Um, yeah, they are.) I'm looking forward to reading the book. Meanwhile, I've read this excerpt. I like Mindy's style - she's funny but her humor comes from a very honest, sensitive, sweet place. And that is so rare these days. I feel like a lot of comedians are trying too hard to be edgy and raunchy and most of their jokes are simply off-putting.

+ Speaking of comedy and book previews, Leslie Knope's Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America came out today. Entertainment Weekly has two exclusive excerpts from the book: "April's Guide to Hipster Pawnee", which unfortunately is not available online, and Ron Swanson's "The Solitude of Nature: A Diary", which can be read here. Ron's contribution to Pawnee is "typed on an Underwood 5 typewriter with original carriage return that I found in a dumpster and completely restored". Hm, I'm not sure who's the hipster here: April or Ron. Needless to say, this is yet another book I'm looking forward to reading. Knope 2012! (I can't help it. I have to, I simply have to say "Knope 2012!" every time I mention anything about Parks&Rec.)

If you have no idea who Leslie Knope is and how great Pawnee is you need to stop whatever you're doing, like right now, and go watch Parks and Recreation. You can thank me later. (How presumptuous of me to think anyone's reading this, oh my. Or that anyone would trust my taste in pop culture.)

*****

This morning's feelgoodsong was PJ Harvey's Good Fortune:

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3

music: Zola Jesus - In Our Nature






I went out. On a day I didn't have to go out. Oh my gosh, I know! I didn't get too far from my place, but I did spend an entire hour outside, in the warmth of this October sun. And that is kind of a big deal for me. I keep telling myself that if I don't have a reason to go out I need to fabricate one. Like taking silly pictures of... myself, of... whatever. Today I've been so into this solitary game that I've even made the effort to put an outfit together, instead of just throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, like I usually do. Tomorrow... I don't know, we'll see if I'm still in the mood to play.

Notes

{1} We used to hang out here. (Whenever I pass by places like this one Arcade Fire's Wasted Hours pops into my head.)
{2} This pair of shoes had been sitting in my closet ever since I bought them, which was more than a year ago. They're probably out of fashion by now, but who cares? I still like them.
{3-4} Like I've said: silly pictures of myself. (The light was so good today that even with my toy-like camera and my lack of skill I still ended up with a bunch of pics that I don't absolutely hate.)
{5} No, I did not make it to the DV festival. Ufa. But this Dilemateca dossier on Gellu Naum made me feel a little better. Reading this made me realize that I wanna join the Gellu Naum cult. I am not exaggerating. It is a cult. People who like his oeuvre are really into it, like really into it. For now though, I can only take a few timid steps towards them - I still have a lot of reading to do, and most of all, I have a lot of deciphering to do. Meanwhile, I got my ticket to see Ada Milea's adaptation of Naum's Insula on the 9th. It's a really bad seat (this is one of the disadvantages of not being in Cluj - most of the times I get really bad theater tickets) but I do hope I'll be able to get another ticket, for the 29th.

*****

This morning's feelgoodsong was Sade's Cherish The Day:



Also: I enjoyed listening to my nerdy podcasts:
+ This American Life #309 - Cat and Mouse
+ WTF #215 - Jon Hamm

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 1: Tea with MMH

music: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Moya


My love affair with MMH's words continues.

ceva a speriat păsările,
nimic nu s-a clintit în jurul meu.
nici bunăstare nici nesfârşită interogaţie
doar firimituri şi o cumplită sfârşeală.
- Marin Mălaicu-Hondrari, excerpt from "Poemul amorf" in La două zile distanţă (Charmides, 2011)