Thursday, December 29, 2005

"quiet in the theater or it's gonna get tragic..."

Wow, please tell me you've seen this - and if you haven't, watch it about 5 times. Brilliant.

SNL - "Lazy Sunday" (The Chronicles of Narnia rap)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

one week down, a few months to go

I realize it has only officially been winter for one week. Still, in these quiet days between Christmas and New Year's, when it's supposed to be cold and dark (at least to my way of thinking), there's this little bit of spring piercing through the veil of winter. It was 61 degrees today in Richmond. There's something that happens when the temperature reaches the high 50's and low 60's that allows the air to regain a distinct scent. I stepped out onto the fire escape outside my office and leaned around the corner of the building, and I swear I could smell the magnolia tree a hundred feet away.

I'm going to cut short this uber-sensitive post before sappy violins start playing in the background...but I always look forward to the end of winter when everything thaws and the world is reborn. I just wanted to send a little reminder to all those who feel renewed and uplifted by the advent of spring that it will arrive eventually, even when we're certain it won't amidst 4 inches of snow and ice in mid-February. Until then, we can enjoy the anomaly of these misplaced warm days while they last.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

on the second day of christmas

I have to say, it's been a pretty fun Christmas.

For starters, I'm typing this post on my brand new iMac G5 computer (the one where the whole computer is contained within the 20" monitor). I'm pretty sure it's wrong for me to feel such affection for a piece of machinery...but it's so beautiful. It's like furniture. Or candy. Inexplicably, I just want to bite the corner of the screen...and I expect it to taste like cotton candy.

In the realm of "all things Christmas," the past couple of days have been great - despite the fact that we never actually got around to my mom's over-the-phone reading of "Twelve Bells for Santa" per our yearly tradition. It is, after all, my favorite Christmas book, and no one reads it like my mom. But Christmas Eve dinner at the Rawls's house was as fabulous as ever; the 5:00 Christmas Eve service saw an attendance of around 800; the Messiah was well-sung at 11:00; I slept late Christmas day and put together the work bench that I bought at Lowe's; had a second equally amazing Christmas dinner at the Whitmire's on Christmas afternoon and then joined them in going to see "Walk the Line." Which, by the way, is worth the price of admission - I have to admit, Joaquin and Reece can both sing.

Tonight was the annual Boxing Day dinner thrown by a choir friend, Vienna. It turned out that I was seated next to my friend Antonia, who is a fabulous person with an amazing voice and who, it turns out, is an equally good dancer. Of course, Julie and Antonia and I (all of Thursday Night Post-Choir Drinking infamy) were the last to leave and stood around in the freezing cold making juvenile (yet strangely hilarious) puns on the word "beaver" in the Country Club of Virginia parking lot until midnight.

In completely unrelated news, I finally found this trippy Muppet song that my buddy Joseph played for me my freshman year in college. I don't know why it's been on my mind lately or why I find it so ridiculously funny.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

all quiet on the richmond front

With Christmas looming a couple of days away, things have been really busy and strangely quiet all at the same time. There's a lot going on in my day-to-day existence, but my little corner of Richmond seems to become more deserted by the hour. Colin and Nancy have both gone home for the next couple of weeks. Alyssa and Nate are out of town for the holidays. Erin has gone to Mexico for Christmas. In a way, it's helpful because it's cleared out all distraction so I can get some things accomplished: I had a dentist appointment today and then came home and spent a good bit of the afternoon cleaning the kitchen (specifically, scrubbing down the stove) before going to choir rehearsal. But even choir felt a little emptier than usual, with several people out of town for Christmas.

Included in my own goings-on this week were three events that I've been meaning to write about, but now it's kind of after-the-fact, so I'll just enumerate them briefly:
1. My friend Sarah's ordination to the priesthood on Monday night - great service (liturgically), terrible music. Anytime you take something as cool as Gregorian chant and try to turn it into something as cheesy as "praise music," disaster is bound to strike.
2. My existential crisis after killing a mouse. This is not the first time these two events have occurred in tandem.
3. A certain girl who will remain nameless used the word "wherewithal" in a phone conversation that we had yesterday (and did so effectively, I might add)...and being the vocabulary nerd that I am, I found it stunningly sexy. Is that weird? I don't know.

Song of the week: I'm too lazy and tired at the moment to find it and link to it, but if you have the means (or should I say "wherewithal") to get your hands on Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl" from her album Revival, then do so. For some reason, this song is sticking to me and won't leave me alone.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

through the wardrobe

I went to go see "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" yesterday afternoon. I've been waiting for a decent live-action version of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia for years. The seven books in the series are my "desert island" books. I re-read them every few years, and each time I'm reminded how believable the characters are and how easy and fluid Lewis's writing style can be. Thankfully, the movie did not disappoint. Was it a mind-blowing film? No. But it was pretty great...and it made me nostalgic for the fantastic imagination of childhood as I watched the action on the screen and simultaneously remembered reading each part.

And besides...Tilda Swinton is pretty smokin' as the White Witch.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

straight on til morning

It's well after 4:00 AM. I've got to go to sleep. However, there was one moment earlier in the night that was comical and surreal at the same time and thus deserves being on record. I somehow managed to smash my knee on the corner of my desk earlier today, and it caused a fairly serious pain (and subsequent limp) in my left leg. Luckily, a W&L friend, Sarah, is in town visiting tonight, and she just had her interview for her medical internship/residency at UVA earlier this afternoon. So there was a moment after dinner and before drinks at the Commercial Taphouse when I was sitting on the rear bumper of my car with the hatch open, both pants legs pulled up over my knees in the 28 degree weather with Sarah squatting on the pavement inspecting my patellae, pushing and prodding in an attempt to diagnose the seriousness of my retarded knee issue. With cars driving by and Colin watching from his own driver's seat, it was simultaneously a medically reassuring and realistically ridiculous moment.

I can't believe I have to work tomorrow. I mean today.

Monday, December 12, 2005

o ephemeral internet

So, I wrote the post below in order to share this bit of holiday humor passed on to me a couple of days ago...only to find that the link no longer exists. I'm going to leave the original post just in case the link is back up sometime in the near future...but O! Internet! With your fleeting humor, how you mock me...


I can't decide if this is hilarious, tasteless, or both:

Watch the volume - you don't want the Burger King guy singing too loudly in your office.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

what's drew got to do with it?

This has been a weekend of perpetual motion.

Friday was Soup Kitchen, coffee with a friend, numerous errands, and the much-anticipated choir Christmas party, where there was a surfeit of wassail, egg nog, and bad singing (ironic for a choir party, no?). Of course, the highlight of the aforementioned musical debacle was twofold: "Jingle Bells" sung in dog barks courtesy of Andrew, Anita, and myself, followed by the much anticipated debut of "Silent Night" in cat harmony. Wow, what a show! What a display! What...what...what the hell? Consummate nerd-dom, I tell you...and extreme self-indulgence.

I managed to get up Saturday morning and join the guys (and girl) of Oak Lane for a 9:00AM-to-noon set of acoustic music at Grove Avenue Coffee and Tea. Three hours of mandolin playing was a great warmup, but why stop there? I spent an hour or so afterward helping my friend Russell with some original recordings he's working on. Then more errand-running and failed attempts at productive Christmas shopping. Tack on a second weekend holiday party Saturday night (I mention it only to construct a facade of popularity) complete with bourbon and ginger and sundry baked goods, and I'd call it a pretty full day.

Today's marathon was brought to you by St. James's Episcopal Church - two services, 9th grade classroom painting/cleaning, and a trip to Williamsburg with the Youth Group...though the trip didn't actually happen because virtually no one showed up. So we played foosball and ate pizza instead. Productive? Not really. Fun anyway and easier than driving back and forth to Williamsburg? Of course.

In other news, I think I'm a little bit in love with Drew Barrymore. There are those who argue her awesomeness...but those people are stupid. More on this later, perhaps.

That's all I've got. It's going to be another crazy pre-Christmas week, so buckle up, buckle down, and stay warm, little campers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

hello? are you kidding me?

I reaffirmed for myself today how retarded I am on the phone...especially when trying to leave a message. I was calling someone (who will remain nameless for fear that she may one day read this blog) I'd met only once through a friend because I thought it might nice to get together for a drink or something later this week or next. Should be a simple, straightforward call, right? A no-brainer message? Nope. I turn it into an awkward, convoluted, bumbling, talking-too-fast, minute-long ordeal recorded for posterity on her answering machine. Possibly one of the lamest messages in the history of telecommunications. It's one of those moments when you hang up the phone, pause, acknowledge the welling sense of nausea in your stomach and think to yourself, "What the hell was that??"

Anyway, moving on. Arguably the most productive thing I did all day was to fill out this iTunes survey that a friend posted on MySpace. At least it makes me look like I have eclectic (and, I hope, reasonably good?) taste in music. For your edification, I'm including it below - feel free to comment with your own version of the survey.

How many songs: 2,785

Sort by song title:
First Song: 'Deed I Do by Diana Krall
Last Song: Zuiderzee Blues by Django Reinhardt

Sort by time:
Shortest Song: Monologue - The Suckiest Water by Jeff Buckley (Live @ Sin-e, Disc 2) (0:08)
Longest Song: Vox Patris Caelestis, a choral piece by William Mundy (19:19)

Sort by album:
First Album: 1 by The Beatles
Last Album: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

Top Five Most Played Songs:
1 I Have Seen by Zero 7
2 Ribcage by Elbow
3 Winding Wheel by Ryan Adams
4 Lover, You Should Have Come Over by Jeff Buckley
5 Landed by Ben Folds

First song that comes up on Shuffle:
Hell is Chrome by Wilco

"sex", how many songs come up? 2
"death", how many songs come up? 13
"love", how many songs come up? 112
"you", how many songs come up? 246

Monday, December 05, 2005

first snowfall

I love the first snow of the season. It's usually the first day that I drag my long overcoat out of the closet and wrap up in a scarf to brave the elements. The uniformity of whiteness covering the whole city somehow feels universal, as if objects, places, and people that usually seem completely unrelated suddenly become connected under this ubiquitous blanket of frost.

So tonight, I'm going to take advantage of this quiet snowiness and make an attempt to go to bed before midnight for a change. I know the snow will all melt tomorrow, but it's nice for tonight, anyway.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

crossing the weekend finish line

My brain is fried. Went to a dental/med school party with some friends on Friday night. Saturday morning bluegrass rehearsal with Oak Lane. Singing gig for a choir fundraiser Saturday night. Three services of singing today, with youth group tacked onto the end. I can only think in lists, so here are some random thoughts from the weekend:

1. I love Advent, and I love the discrepancy between the liturgical season of Advent and the secular "shopping season" of Christmas. We had our Lessons and Carols service tonight - every year, it really marks the beginning of the season for me. An hour of quiet reflection and music in an otherwise hectic time of year.

2. Did you see the Duke v. Va. Tech game tonight? I mean, did you SEE THAT?!?! Absolutely ridiculous and insane - who makes that kind of shot under that kind of pressure?

3. Just out of curiosity, I wonder how many pounds of fur my dog has shed all over my house in the past two and a half years? There is Scout hair everywhere, no matter how often I sweep and vacuum.

4. How come recycling only gets picked up once every two weeks? If you forget a week, you have a month's worth of recycling to put out. And that's a huge pain in the ass.

5. It's supposed to snow around here tonight...but Richmond is right in the "wintry mix" band on the radar. It always snows in Ashland, rains in Petersburg - and we get slush. Sweet. Maybe it will be enough to keep me out of staff meeting tomorrow morning.

I'm going to bed. It's been a fun, busy weekend...but I'm done.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

two cakes may be too many

This post is for my roommate, Colin, because today is his 27th birthday. One of his professors made a point of saying, "Good Lord, you're almost 30." Probably not what you want to hear as you transition from your mid-twenties to your late twenties.

In any case, celebration abounds. Last night Colin, Nancy, Alyssa, Nate and I made the epic journey to that den of gluttony, the Super King Buffet. Three horseshoe-shaped tables of all kinds of Chinese food, fresh sushi, crab legs, a Mongolian stir-fry "made-to-order" bar, and the worst desserts ever. (Seriously, ever.) I had five plates of delicious grossness. And Nate almost ate a chicken foot. Rock on. For those keeping track, last night's gifts from Alyssa and Nate included a chocolate cake with white icing, a plastic egg full of "Angel Snot" and some Slang Flashcards. Yeah, for real. Possibly the greatest collection of presents I've ever seen.

Tonight after choir, Nancy and I had planned to make a if the one we already had wasn't enough. Not only did we make said cake, Nancy truly came up with the cake-decorating goods: those saccharinely sweet (in so many ways) cartoon butterflies, frogs, and snails made of sugar, all lined up underneath the cleverest of slogans spelled out in blue sugar-gel across the chocolate icing (perhaps you can make out this bit of genius in the picture). Ever the virtuoso giver of gifts, Nancy offered up timeless classics like Fun Dip for everyone, Gobstoppers, a blue Ring Pop that actually lights up, and a huge smiley face helium balloon. There was a book, too, but that's a little more personal and less ridiculous than the pile of candy.

So cheers, Colin, and happy birthday. Hope this post doesn't make you self-conscious, because we do know how you roll: uncomfortable.