Friday, December 31, 2010

In Which I Am Resolute

Three New Year's Resolutions

1. Read Moby Dick.
2. Get a job.
3. Learn what an f-stop is and how to use it well.

That's all I ask of 2011.  You won't begrudge me that, universe, will you?

painting is by the incredible Kelly Reemtsen.

Music, Music, Music

I've always been the sort of person who listens to the kind of music I like but doesn't purport to know anything about music in general.  But last year, I started doing periodic posts about the music I was listening to over on the other blog, and reviewing them, I realized I've listened to a lot of new music this year.  Something about the combination of walking dogs for a living and then moving to the middle of nowhere, I don't know.  So, here's your penultimate list of 2010: my top albums.  Note: they weren't all released in 2010, they're just what I listened to the most.

Twelve Albums I Enjoyed the Heck Out of in 2010:
1. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes - Up From Below
2. A Fine Frenzy - Bomb in a Birdcage
3. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Greatest Hits
5. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
6. Hans Zimmer - Sherlock Holmes Soundtrack
7. MC Frontalot - Zero Day
8. Edith Piaf (not my album, but close)
9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
10. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
11. Sleigh Bells - Treats
12. She & Him - Volume Two

Clearly most of these are older, because I am, as always, late to the game.  The list is in no particular order, but my number one album is definitely Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More.  Number one single was far and away "F**k You," by Cee Lo Green.  Nothing holds a candle.  Honorable mentions go to The Black Keys and the Avett Brothers, which I adore but only discovered, like, yesterday (this is an exaggeration, but only slight).  I am also really, really enjoying Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger's Acoustic Sessions.  They will all probably be on next year's list.  If there is a list next year.

I think this years biggest discovery was how much I love film scores.  I've bought one or two in the past, but realized this year just how much of a treasure trove they are.  They, along with video game scores (many of which are exquisite, they really are), are about the closest my generation comes to embracing new classical music, I think.  Hans Zimmer is my favourite film composer by far, but I also love Dario Marianelli.

One more list until this year is done.  It's going to be a short list, and it's all about resolutions.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Story of Santa's Beer

This is a story I posted on my other blog last Christmas, and it remains the quintessential Williams family Christmas tradition, so I'm posting it here this year.  Hope you enjoy it!
ours for the taking
I find that Christmas is the best time to reminisce. It's so full of traditions that there's always something to look back on. So, indulge me, will you, as I stroll a bit down memory lane.

I have to say that my absolute favourite thing to look back on are the years we still left cookies out for Santa. In the beginning, we left him cookies and milk, as most kids do. However, after a few years of disappointment upon discovering that Santa had completely ignored the milk, my dad suggested an alternative. All the other kids leave Santa milk, he explained, but you know what Santa really wants on his busiest night of the year? A nice, cold beer. And it made a strange sort of sense. My dad loved beer, so why wouldn't Santa? Plus, if we were the only ones leaving it for him, he'd probably like our house more than the others, which couldn't be a bad thing, either.

And so it came to pass that every Christmas Eve, the Williams children carefully placed out where he was sure to see them a plate of homemade cookies and a nice, cold beer. And you know what? Santa didn't always eat the cookies, but damn if he didn't down that beer every year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snapshots of December

I have been scolded for neglecting this blog.  And Jamie shamed me by posting a whole bunch of December-in-Marlinton photos last night.

(Random side note: before moving away, Jamie kept a blog about her home town, Los Angeles Love Affair, and it's my new favourite thing online.  Whether you've been there before or, like me, have never even been to the state, it's a great read.)

I haven't done much wandering this month, as it has been cold, and snowy, and COLD, but I do have a few to share.  They are completely unedited, just snapshots.
The lovely signs we made for the Opera House float in the Christmas Parade.
The float ahead of us in the parade.  It was from the Gesundheit Institute, and you can't see them well, but it had great, flapping wings.  Very cool.
The woman of the hour, Opera House VISTA Jamie, treated her carolers to homemade cocoa generously laced with Peppermint Schnapps.
Then it snowed!  This is from the first snow, which you can tell because the tops of my shoes are still visible.  We got a good foot of the stuff a week later.
Vista looks quite lovely in the snow.

So, we've been keeping warm.  I baked cookies for six hours the other day, but that's pretty much the most physically exerting thing I've done in weeks.  Mostly, Vista and I are staying bundled up inside, watching movies, writing short stories, and listening to music.  I've been loving "Treats" by Sleigh Bells, "Doolittle" by the Pixies, and "Oracular Spectacular" by MGMT.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cinema Overdose: Christmas List

Noir City
I'll be spending Christmas in a place where there are movie theatres.  Not just one, or even two, but several.  I feel like spreading myself out and catching shows in multiple places, just because I can.  The AMC, Cinema Arts, E Street, Bethesda, Old Town.

Movies I Want To See (In No Particular Order)
1. Wild Target
2. Black Swan
3. The King's Speech
4. Tron Legacy
5. True Grit
6. Tangled (yes, again)
7. Waiting for Superman
8. And anything else I can think of, really.  (The Tempest, maybe?)

So.  Freaking.  Excited.

photo by La Tur

Muppets for Christmas

In the house I grew up in, nothing said "Christmas" like the muppets.  Thanks to Jimmy Fallon, not only do I know that's still true, I also know that they still make me laugh like a loon.  This little video has put me in the Christmas spirit more than anything else in days.

Also, sidenote: Jimmy Fallon was absolutely my least favourite member of the SNL cast in recent years, but I adore his post-SNL career.  He's freaking adorable.  That is all.

If you're subscribed to both my blogs, you're going to get this twice, cause it is getting cross-posted.  I love it that much.  Merry merry!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday Mysteries

My roommates had a party on Saturday night.  I was involved, but only peripherally, in the sense that I live in the house and was therefore present.  Don't get me wrong, I know and like the people who were gathered, and I like the concept of a tacky Christmas sweater party.  But the house is really small, and I get nervous when there are lots of people in my little house.

I've mentioned that I'm a bumbling mass of neuroses before, haven't I?  Because--hoo boy!--am I ever.  So I was at the party, but in and out.  I've been pouring my soul into writing short stories lately (which I kind of want to share here because I'm ridiculously proud of them, but probably won't because the subject matter is SUPER DUPER NERDY), and spent most of the evening curled around my laptop, tapping away.  I drove the last of the guests home around 3 am, collapsed in bed, and naturally assumed that life would return to normal, all of my mental ducks back in a row, on the morrow.  Instead, I was confronted with a series of mysterious events over the course of the day.  They went something like this:

1. Why are there people shouting in the kitchen at 8:30 on a Sunday morning?
2. Why are there people shouting in the kitchen at 10:00 on a Sunday morning?
3. Who unplugged the mini-fridge?
4. Where'd this gigantic amp come from?
5. Why is my bathroom hand towel in the kitchen?
6. Why are people shouting in the kitchen at 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon?
7. What was that crash in the next room?
8. Why does the shower smell overwhelmingly like feet?
9. Why is the yellow ducky bath mat on the far side of the living room?
10. Why is there a fellow playing a bass guitar in the middle of the kitchen?
11. Why are all of the DVDs on the rack turned around backwards?
12. Why does the dog have bits of broken candy cane stuck in her paws?

So many mysteries.  Most were solved over the course of the day, though I still haven't figured out where that amp came from.  OR why it took precedence over the perishables in the fridge.

Anyways, on the upside, I got a full three chapters written over the course of the party and the next day, and feel very good about that.  Later this week, probably: posts about snow and Christmas.  In the meantime, here are recent posts from my other blog, about Christmas music and how to buy gifts for nerds.  Enjoy!

If anyone is at all interested in reading my super nerdy thing, let me know and I will send you the link.  But, a warning: it's super nerdy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

VISTAs in Profile: Roxy Todd

While at a VISTA meeting last week, I decided I would attempt to use this blog for VISTA-related good, and thus begins what will hopefully be a series of little profiles about my fellow Pocahontas County VISTAs.  Why?  Because the whole lot is pretty awesome, in my very biased opinion.  To start the series, this is Roxy, a VISTA based in near(ish)by Elkins, and the newest addition to our little crew.
Home town: Smyrna, TN
Background: She studied creative writing and education at Warren Wilson College and is a massage therapist
Why here? Roxy was trying to escape "the plastic world of suburbia."  She loves places with roots, and her boyfriend is originally from West Virginia.
How she's going to save the world: “I learned long ago not to worry as much about saving the world as much as to enjoy understanding and writing about it.”
Why she's awesome: This is Roxy's second term as a VISTA; she moved here from Missoula, Montana. In Montana, she worked with high schoolers on a project encouraging them to ride bikes, skateboard, walk, and take public transportation.
Project: Rebirth of the Federal Writers' Project
How you can help: Roxy wants to find out what people like to show their friends and family when they come to visit; what they're proud of about where they live. Her focus is on the Route 219 corridor through Randolph and Pocahontas Counties, and she's looking for what about the history of the area appeals to the people who live here.

If you have stories or other material you'd like to contribute to Roxy's project, feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail me at periwinkled (at) gmail (dot) com.  You don't have to be from here originally to contribute, either!  The project's just getting started, so any contributions would be very welcome!

Thanks for letting me pester you with questions, Roxy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Yes, I Am A Natural Blonde

20 Things I Forget
1. Where I put my glasses
2. To eat breakfast
3. To eat lunch
4. To eat dinner
5. That I am a human, and thus need food to survive
6. Where I put my checkbook
7. Where I put my camera upload cords
8. To pay bills until the day they are due
9. To put my clean laundry away
10. That I do not own a snow scraper
11. Or gloves
12. Or snow boots
13. That last week's leftovers are still in the fridge
14. That a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper is not actually a meal
15. That my car has almost no gas
16. To return library books
17. That I have an advent calendar
18. Oh my gosh, I have an advent calendar!
19. I have so many days of chocolate pieces to catch up on!
20. That I'm still writing this list

True story: I started the list and then forgot about it.  I remembered approximately the same time I recalled the advent calendar.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which I Look Forward, A Little Bit

This is my 100th post on this here little blog, so I thought I be introspective in it.  Or something.  I'm about halfway through my 6th month as a VISTA in Pocahontas County.  I decided to do this because it would shake my life up, and if there was one thing my life needed, it was shaking up.  Well, mission accomplished.  Consider me shaken, and maybe a little stirred, too.

I've learned a bunch about myself in my 6 1/2 months, and one of the most important has been that, as much as I like this little place, I cannot stay here.  I've always felt I'd enjoy living in a smaller place than the vastness that is Northern Virginia, but it seems I need someplace a tad larger than this one.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if I ended up at the beach (Vista looks so pretty on it!), but there are things to consider.  So I'm considering.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dog Meets Beach

Update: still sleep-deprived, still stupid.  Broke out the advent calendar this morning, so breakfast was taken care of--woo chocolate!  Here are two more doggie videos, this time consisting of considerably more doggies.  A 200% increase in doggies.
My aunt has four dogs, all boys.  This video is a bit lengthy (I'd just gotten up and was still stumbling around), but you get to see all of the pups.  Oh, and notice my aunt's porch set-up.  Upon arriving at the house, Vista ran full speed into both the screened and the plate glass doors, poor thing.  In the case of the sliding glass door, she slammed her head into it three time in quick succession.  Took her a minute to figure the thing out.
I spent a week at the beach this summer, but Vista did not, so this was her first introduction to the ocean. She figured out quickly that it was water, but not terribly tasty water.  She could not, for the life of her, figure out why it wouldn't stay still.  Eventually, she gave up and chased birds up and down the beach.

She's been in canine withdrawal since we got home.  Her only company has been a dog belonging to one of the apprentices at the shop, who is very shy and doesn't want to be friends with Vista.  It's all very tragic, the life of a dog.

Anyway, Happy December, all!  I am allowing myself to listen to Christmas music today.  It's even snowing outside.  Now if I could just retake my place among the human race.  I know I left it around here somewhere...