Fav Vids of 2013

Again, it’s been a century since I’ve posted but it’s the end of the year and I just can’t help myself. It’s prime time for lists and lists are my fav. So here’s a list of my fav videos from this year because why not. And they may not necessarily be a product of 2013 but I watched them this year, so that counts.

5. Best of Fishing Bloopers: An old one, but good one. So many fishings gone wrong.

4. I’m Enjoying a Treat Derek: Credit to my brother here. Much weird. So hush puppy. Wow.

3. Trucks hitting a bridge: There’s not much more to say here, but so much laughing.

2. Nu Thang : Jesus is doing a new thang in 1990 apparently. This video has resulted in much infamy among my friends.

1. Chicken McNugget Rampage : This is the most glorious thing I’ve seen on the Internet in a long time. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve watched this.

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My Fav Albums of 2012

On the topic of lists, here are my favorite albums of the past year. This is the least official list of all time, but hey, it’s something.

5. Dolfish – I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay the Same

Probably my favorite local artist and one that I’ve seen quite a bit. Max is the best. I love the EP (Your Love is Bummin’ Me Out) he did with a lot of these songs but I love the addition of all the other crowd favorites on this full-length. Anyone who can pull off a similar to Daniel Johnston voice is awesome in my book.  He covered “True Love Will Find You at the End” at the last show I saw him play and it was heart melting. 

4. Mount Eerie – Clear Moon

Ah, what can I say? I love Mount Eerie. So much silence. So much noise. Two Mount Eerie albums were released this year and I haven’t given Ocean Roar much of a listen but I love everything they do. Haunting as always and beautiful nonetheless. 

3. Grizzly Bear – Shields

Another great album from Grizzly Bear of course. I can’t stop listening to “Yet Again” and “Gun-Shy”. I have a hard time with some of the lyrics but I don’t think it really matters.  Their songs just make me feel content and confident in some strange way.

2. Alt-J – Awesome Wave

I was immediately interested when I first heard Alt-J on the radio one morning on my drive to work in the dark. An internet search later and I was completely hooked when I first listened to “Tessellate”. The video is pretty great as well. This album is really a breath of fresh air. I don’t know what I would classify the music as, but it works, whatever it is. “Bloodflood” and “Something Good” are both moving lyrically to me and I could listen over and over and over. And I have. It’s just right.   

1. Right Away Great Captain – The Church of the Good Thief

This…this album. So striking. It fell into my hands at the worst time, which turned out to be the best time for it to have done so. There is a story that is told throughout the album (and through its trilogy) that I connected to immediately. It’s much darker from the previous RAGC that I was used to but I couldn’t be more pleased with this new one. Andy Hull’s eerie, and sometimes bitter lyrics are so so powerful. And his voice is impeccable. And I can’t get enough of it. I would give so much to see this live.

So there’s my list. A weird one, probably, but I love lists and fulfilling my need to perpetually organize. Music of 2012, thanks for being there for me. You were great.

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Au Revoir 2012, Glad to See You Go

When I look up at my 2012 probably-Instagram’ed-monthly calendar of Paris, hanging in pieces from rope and clothespins from a vent in my wall, I realize I don’t want to take it down. I could stare at Paris for years, but I digress. It’s almost the new year and while that doesn’t really mean much, it’s an end and a start point for lists. Personally, this year has been a rough one; the last four months making up the worst. Things are looking up though, particularly in the area of personal strength. While I’m still trying to calm my sporadic, nervous, and anxious tendencies, I see glints of a more sanguine, willing, and resilient side scantily shining through almost daily. Though there have been hardships, there have also been goodships. For end of the year purposes, I’d like to recap the finer times of the last twelve months as an exercise in keeping positive anecdotes. And obviously for reference when I’m older and feel the need to reminisce. That is, if I don’t delete this account due to the assured embarrassment that proceeds from reading one’s own writing. 

Positive 2012 in a nutshell:

January: Took some of my (favorite–can I say that?) GSA students to the annual MLK Banquet where we got to see a great friend and LGBTQ district leader win an award AND hear Jessie Jackson speak. Pretty sure I didn’t understand fifty percent of what Jessie Jackson said, but this would be the first of two times seeing him speak this year, as he randomly showed up at WHS to give a speech one day. Understanding half of two speeches counts as one, right? The banquet was inspiring for the students, I hope, to see a great LGBTQ role model being awarded and recognized in our community and for the first time at the MLK banquet.

February: Bought a bike, or a frame rather. Bart built the bike for me. Rode it this summer. Still a little nervous through busy places, but German Village randonées are fine for my car loving self. Next summer I will venture farther than downtown, I’m hoping.

March: Officially graduated with my Master’s. Even though I left OU in ’09, I still had one class to take (so it would be easier to get a job with technically only a Bachelor’s degree). Two and a half years later, I decided to finish it. It took me three quarters to write my thesis though and let me tell you, it was a bitch. I wish I had completed it before leaving OU. But alas, the Bobcats were rocking out the NCAA tourney during my graduation weekend so the wait turned out to be more than a small celebration.

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May: Took students on the second annual field trip to La Chatelaine for French noms. No students were lost or injured, so…success? I love being able to take them out of school. So much more life experience is learned on those types of adventures.

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June: Took students (and my mom) to France for the first time. I led them on a ten day adventure through the Riviera, Loire Valley, and Paris fairly successfully, I would say. I finally got to see the Mediterranean and the south. I also got to meet up with my long lost copine, Ashley and her mari, Jon in Parieee. It was the most challenging (a year and a half in the making), but rewarding experience of the year. Those students will never forget their time there and I’m pretty sure I just created some new life-long Francophiles. It was also important for me to get my mom there finally. After all, she was the one who inspired me to go to France in high school through her stories of travel to Quebec in her high school days. It was nice to show her from where my obsession for the French language and culture comes and to repay her for supporting my past travels. Also in June, I got to march in the Pride parade with the Whetstone GSA in the first ever Columbus City Schools float.  Awesome! I also attended a Franco-American colloque in D.C. with some people I traveled to France with in 2008. Also got to attend the HRC Gala for the OEA at the end of June and collected signatures for the Freedom to Marry Ohio campaign. Yay culture and human rights!

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August: Got to see a couple of good friends get married (Dann & Andi, you are the best) as well as a second cousin of mine. Got to know a few of my other second cousins better because of said wedding. Open bars at weddings can certainly bring cousins together.  La famille, c’est important, non? Also, began my fourth year of teaching, third at Whetstone, and while I’ve lost some motivation for my job recently, I have hope it will come back. I really do think that my school is a great place to teach and it’s a job I want to do. Also, my good friend Jessie moved back to Columbus from her Brooklyn abode. I had missed her so.

September: My long lost Ashley came to the states to visit. Had some good hangouts and I’m looking forward to more in 2013 on her side of the pond again. I’ll ignore the rest of September and most of October for their awfulness doesn’t need to be revisited.

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November: I voted in my first non-absentee presidential election and Obama won! Progress looks more promising.

Concerts I saw that can’t remember in which months they happened: The National, Wilco, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Seedy Seeds, Real Estate, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and The Love of Everything. Bombay was my favorite, as they are every time, and I have gained an affinity for them that will not be replaced anytime soon. And Love of Everything slept in my living room. Eeeeeep. Looking forward to the awesome shows already lined up for 2013: Morrissey, Why?, and Joan of Arc for now.

In the last few months I have: started running again (a very slow process), given up vegetarianism (oh my god bacon), and started putting in some much needed time again with some old (and some new) friends. Seriously, I am so lucky for my friends and the varietal and comedic aspects they bring to my life.

Many things to be happy about, but I’m happy that 2012 is just a thing to look back on now. So, here’s looking at you 2013. Please let this year be better than the last.

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Mes amis…

Sometimes people show you what they’re made of. And my friends have. And they are made of the best ingredients: love, integrity, pure awesomesauce, and probably those dark chocolate Reese’s Cups that are so deliciously palatable. Going through one of the worst times of my life has shown me a silver lining that is their friendship. They have always been there for me, but lately they have been extra supportive. They give me melty feelings inside. Thanks, friends, I love you so.

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Lewis Biederman

This post is in memory of my maternal grandfather, Lewis Biederman.

I recently finished the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, in which a brief history of farming in the U.S. is discussed. As I conceptualize the history presented, I often think of my grandpa, who was a farmer his entire life, and what his thoughts were going through what has become a most disastrous industrial farming era. I have a million questions for him. I’d love to find out what it was all like. Reminiscing about him, I realize I don’t as much about my grandpa as I thought and I wish so badly to be able to talk to him. It’s so strange how inspiration comes to us when the opportunity has long been gone…

It was a snowy day in 1996. I was in the 6th grade. Arriving in my first period class, a good friend told me she was sorry about what happened. I said “thanks,” not wanting to feel stupid, but I had NO idea what she was talking about. I suddenly had this sinking feeling wondering what it was she was sorry about. I knew something amiss had happened and I worried all day. When I left school that day, my mom, dad, and grandma were all there waiting to pick up me and my brother. My parents thought it best not to mention it to me in the morning so that I could go to school without being upset, but my grandpa had passed away early that morning.

The imaginary image I have of him lying on the couch in the den when he died while my grandma was making breakfast is one I will always remember, even though I wasn’t there nor did I know the details. It’s strange to think of this when I think of my grandpa but I was only eleven and for some reason, I feel I have few memories of him for as much time as we spent together.

What I do remember is that he was quite the comedian, always acting like he was colorblind to make my brother and I laugh when he would say that my shirt was some odd color that it wasn’t. I remember he would take us for rides in the little wagon he would hook up to the lawn mower around the farmhouse property he and my grandma had lived in since the early 60’s. I remember he was a farmer, a boater, a fisher, and a hunter, which led to seeing some pretty disgusting skinning and gutting of hunted animals on the back porch (probably an early cause of my eventual vegetarianism). He was an active Democrat and member of a farmer’s association that I can’t think of the name of at the moment. He was also a smoker, causing his several heart surgeries, lung cancer, and way too early death in his 50’s. He was a bald, funny, and caring man who held my grandma in his arms and kissed her every single day he came home from work.

At his funeral, I remember a man speaking about his life. Something he said still sticks with me today and is the biggest part of my grandpa that I carry with me today. He said that whenever he was asked to work overtime at HPM, a manufacturing plant where he worked for many years, to make extra money, he always said no. Always. Every single time. This can be confusing having grown up with a dad who works non-stop and had always taught me the value of hard work and money, I thought my grandpa must have been crazy to turn down the opportunity for more work and money. But…the reason my grandpa turned down work was so that he could spend more time with his family. He really understood what life should be about. Less work, more actual living. He certainly wasn’t rich and I don’t think he felt the need to be. I admire that so greatly. In the last few years, as a member of the working world, I find this to be so necessary. More work is almost never worth the time lost to your family and friends. I’d rather say no to be able to enjoy my life than be thought of that person that is “such a hard worker, she puts in so many hours,” even though I was always taught to work hard and as much as possible. It’s been a struggle to say enough is enough sometimes and with such a demanding job, it’s a daily struggle to find the right balance of work and life. In a country that has a longer work week, no government-mandated vacation, or paid vacation at that, I see that the French really do have it right, where the work week is shorter, there are a guaranteed five weeks of paid vacation, and sixteen weeks paid maternity leave for men and women with a guaranteed job upon return . Their culture respects the pleasurable things in life and work is just a footnote in the book of life. They earn enough to be comfortable–not rich.  My grandpa had the right idea in an American sea of workaholics and money hungry men.

I wish I could pick his brain about so many things, especially farming and his thoughts on sustainability, organics, hunting, etc. In a somewhat moderate Republican to borderline Tea Party (Dad’s side) identifying family, I wonder if he would be my liberal Democrat ally with similar ideas about what life should be like. At family gatherings when my family is talking about supporting Senate Bill 5, George Dubbya, and all things opposing positive humanitarianism, I think about how my grandpa could have been in the room, on my side.  Even if we didn’t have the same ideals, I like to think we might have. And for that thought, I am thankful.

As an eleven year old, he was the first person I actually knew that died and I don’t think I quite understood it. I don’t think I ever cried in front of anyone else about it–only when I was alone in my bed did I feel it okay. I felt the need to sleep with a bible under my pillow every night for a month. It took my family a long time to begin to recover. My mom stayed the night at my grandma’s house for a week and my aunt gave birth to my first cousin just a couple of months later. I can only imagine the concoction of emotions of those who had known him longer.

My grandpa was a more interesting person than I ever knew growing up and he is an inspiration to me on a daily basis now in ways that I never could have understood as a child. It’s been almost sixteen years since his death and it’s funny how people can be gone for so long but just begin to inspire you years later.

 

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Antiquing

I have found a new hobby or maybe an obsession; one that maybe a person in their fifties might pick up, but this twenty-something has adopted it. It started innocently enough as a way to be a greener person and make the holidays, which are filled with such evils as killing millions of trees for wrapping paper, expending loads of resources on new products for people to buy, and giant corporations hounding us with commercialism, greener. I started shopping at Heritage Square Antique Mall in Reynoldsburg with a few friends to find Christmas gifts so as to not contribute to the production of new things. Antiques are set up in booths, each with different owners, in a giant square with neatly aligned rows in the middle.  There were some really unique booths that have caught my eye each time I’ve visited and I have trouble leaving their ten by ten corner of modern antique charm.

I also discovered The Greater Columbus Antique Mall in Brewery District/German Village area, just a short jaunt over from my place. This place has a lot of history as it is a house that was built in the nineteenth century and supposedly is haunted because it was once a funeral parlor. Unlike Heritage Square, there is no organization in this “mall”. The middle ground floor leads from room to room with options of entering the basement through several different hallways and a stairway that leads you to the second floor.  From the second floor, there are a couple of entry ways to the attic. If it wasn’t for my excellent sense of direction, I’m sure I would’ve gotten lost trying to find my way back to the front. It took me two trips before I was able to conquer the whole chateau of a house.  The day I searched the attic, people were few and far between.  You pass people here and there as if they’re on some sort of sacred journey scuffling along without eye contact in and out of the hallways. It was an adventure of my own, exploring the attic alone on a quest for some alluring grail of a gift. Fortunately, some cool items were found without any of the ghosts.  Maybe next time I’ll have to go on a cool rainy day in the fall to feel a little more creeped out. Nonetheless, it’s a very unique place that I wouldn’t mind checking out every now and then for some housewares or gifts.

Here are some things that I purchased; most were Christmas gifts, but some are things that I didn’t necessarily have a need for but loved anyway.

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I Made Bobby Tea

So, it’s been almost a year since I’ve written anything. It has been an extremely busy and tiring year but it’s almost 2012 so I’m determined to get back on the blog train.

A few weeks ago, one of the most awesome (to me) events of the year happened. In mid-October my friend and I had plotted driving to Youngstown from Columbus to see one of our favorite bands, The Love of Everything, who make a very rare tour appearance, let alone in Ohio. The date approached and with it being a week night and a 4+ hour drive, we opted out, not thinking much of it. A month later, at Bourbon Street Cafe, at one of my boyfriend’s shows, I saw the most epic thing I could have asked for: a poster advertising a Love of Everything show on December 6th. A week night, yes, but a four hour drive, no. Game on. December 6th rolls around and I’m so excited and afraid of the show getting packed because of such a small space that we get there right when doors open. There is no one but a few locals and Love of Everything mic checking. Beautiful. Eventually people show and it ended up being a great show. After all the bands have played we gather ’round the merch table and talk to LOE and eventually Josh asks if they want to record a video or two at his studio. Shockingly, they say yes. (!!! is how I was feeling.) They happen to be staying the night and have some free time the next day so I ducked out of the last hour of my professional development meeting to be at the studio during the videos. I made Bobby and Matt some tea and sat back to watch. I made tea for Bobby Burg. Perfect. I couldn’t believe my ears when hearing them record a couple of songs in Josh’s studio.

All of this means nothing to most anyone else but to me it was awesome. Love of Everything has been my number one on my last.fm since 2007 when I first started listening to them. Seriously, it made my year.


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