Sunday, June 26, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #4

Ray Lamontagne. He worked in a shoe factory or something before pursuing music. I'm so glad he quit the shoe thing and did this instead.


At Sea Soundtrack, Session #3

First Aid Kit is band I love love love.

Do yourself a kindness and listen to

Ghost Town

I Met Up With the King

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

When I Grow Up

You're Not Coming Home Tonight


But the last few days I've had this song weaving around in my mind. The lyrics are pathetic and painful and tangy.

Dreams I've had lately:

1. That Jerry and I drove up a steep hill (read: perpendicular to the ground) to pick organic blueberries at a farm. In our pajamas.

2. Elijah Wood was my boyfriend. All I remember is sitting next to him at a restaurant and that he was charming.

3. Getting in trouble at the office because my friend from Ohio jogged by and we talked for twenty minutes—when I was supposed to be working. I woke up stressed about losing my job.

Tonight I drank a diet cherry Dr. Pepper. I am very awake.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mail Order

I’ve been a Vogue subscriber for the past two years. I pore over the editorials. I read the articles. I breathe in the perfume ads. I give a little nod of respect to the names “Anna Wintour” and “Grace Coddington” on the inside pages of the cover.

But I’m kind of over the articles about the movie-star covergirls. They are uninspiring. Every celebrity they interview seems to “have it together” and seems to really “open up” and “be themselves” with the interviewer. Uh huh. Right. (And the hottest trend these days seems to be how “transforming” motherhood is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for motherhood. It just seems kind of uncouth when it’s placed at the same level as having the newest pair of Jimmy Choos.) This month was Emma Watson. I loved her in the Burberry campaign and she has some good points to her story. But I was just… uninspired.

So. Do I renew my subscription?

Oh geez. I probably will.


One time, when I was seventeen, I was at Jo-Ann’s fabric store with my mom. The cashier thought I was fourteen. One time, when I was at the Creamery getting kids’ meals with Jordan and Courtlin, some guy in line thought I was a freshman. I was twenty-four. People tell me that I’ll really appreciate that kind of thing when I’m forty. Now I’m twenty-five, but I still throw people off because I’ve been lucky enough to sport acne that usually only fifteen-year-olds get to have. Pity I don’t still have braces, or I’d have EVERYBODY fooled.

Now I am seguing into an unrelated experience. I went to the dermatologist recently (SEGUE) and as I was lying down on the examining table and getting light shined onto my extremely youthful face, the doctor asked me, “Where do you work?” and then “What do you do there?” I responded, “Oh, I just do secretarial work.” He was prodding my forehead with something metal and when I said that he patted my cheek and eyebrow with the palm of his hand and said, “You poor thing. Probably every time someone asks you that question you say ‘just a secretary.’” He then went on to talk about a lot of the “just” jobs he’d had and how you could turn it into something noble through your attitude and work ethic and he made several comments about my self-worth and potential and the important work I’m doing and about having dreams and— I could not think of a thing to say. I wanted to sound gracious and hopeful but instead I responded with, “Mm hm” and “Yeah.” Throughout the whole spiel he kept patting my cheek and poking at my face. The nurse who was in the room with us didn’t say a thing. I wanted to ask her if he did this all the time. I bet he does: writes prescriptions for zits and throws a little therapy in there too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girl, put your records on... Soundtrack Session #2

Today I stopped into Gray Whale. It is a wonderful, wonderful place. I was just browsing around in the pop/rock section (with frequent jaunts over to the indie section when a band came to mind) when I heard a delicious guitar solo over the in-store speakers. I wanted to ask one of the three employees who it was, but I was nervous. They all seemed nice enough: asking me if I was looking for anything, re-shelving CDs, scratching their beards and pulling at their grunge-perfect skinny jeans. One of them was leaving and called out in a sincere voice, “I love you, man,” to which his co-worker replied, just as sincerely, “Hey, I love you too.” By the time I’d gotten enough nerve, a few songs had passed, but I asked anyway. The employee was popsicle-stick thin, with scraggly un-washed-looking blonde hair, blonde stubble all over his face, wearing a faded plaid shirt and a look of genuine concern.

Me: Um, do you know who that song was? Not this song, or the last one, but the one before that?
Him: Was it totally shredded? Forehead accordionned together, eyes half-closed in concentration.
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh…
Him: Like, was it shred-tastic?
Me: Well… I can’t really remember it very well now... *This was mumbled because I do not know what “shred” means.
Him: Well, let’s check it out.
He walks over to his co-worker, who has a phone pressed to his ear and has a very orthodox-Jew looking beard (totally awesome) and asks him about it. The other guys turns to me:
Other Guy: Was it shreddy?
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh… There weren’t any vocals, just a guitar solo.
Other Guy: Ah! It was probably Dead Meadow.
Me: Ah! Thanks.

Other Guy then gives me a run down on the “birth” of music like Dead Meadow. And how it was post-this, and pre-that and if I was interested in them, I should also check out Dear Hunter and Crocodiles (it’s the one with the midget on the cover). And did I know how Black Sabbath sounds? (I do, thanks to my brother, Daniel.) It’s kind of got the sound of Black Sabbath. He tried to offer me more suggestions, but whoever he was supposed to be on the phone with must’ve actually started talking back. At about this time, I wanted to ask them both to be my friends and if they had any job openings. I didn’t.

I fully intend to check out those three bands, and I’ll let you know what I think. But for now I leave you with something that isn’t exactly shred-tastic, but is definitely fantastic.

This song shoots right to my fif-six-seven-eight-nine-teen-year-old heart. In it is the boy I had a crush on in high school and then the boy I was half in love with my freshman year at college. We’d run into each other on campus, both nervous, and me not quite managing to breathe correctly. To me, everywhere was the park because of him.

THE PARK -cover by Bon Iver

There is one minor swearing incident during the interview, before the song begins. To avoid that, start listening at 0:51.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


My mom is reading a book called Delta Belles by Penelope Stokes. I have no idea what it's about or if it's any good, but there is a poem in the front, presumably by Ms. Stokes. My mom showed it to me when she started reading.


The sweetest word
upon the tongue

Come back to where
you once belonged,
back to those who
knew you,
loved you,
believed the best of you.

Row, if your ship has sailed;
Swim, if all your bridges have been burned;
Fly, if the chasm seems too wide or deep—
But come.

There are times in our lives when we have to return. Sometimes what seems like the next step turns into a detour and we find ourselves miles upon miles upon miles away. And when we finally realize it, we must pack our bags, put on our most comfortable shoes, and hope that our legs are stronger than they seem. Sometimes it's time to come home.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take a leotard and add a skirt

I’m not Betsey Johnson’s biggest fan, or even much of a fan at all. But I do have some respect for the woman because hey—even though she’s almost seventy she does a cartwheel at the end of every show, sports the most obvious weave and mowed blonde bangs I’ve ever seen, and her line is always unmistakably hers. Maybe I wouldn’t wear it, but I’d never confuse it for anything else either. If you could fill a blender with psychedelic colors, Americana, 40’s pin-up girl style, biker chick chic, and add a heavy dash of everything outrageous—you’d have yourself a Betsey Johnson concoction.

So why even write this post? Because the hair at her fall 2011 show was AME. SOME. She used spray paint and lace to create a silhouette on her models’ hair. Totally beautiful, totally original, and totally Betsey.

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #1

Sometimes I wish my life could have a soundtrack. Just making a mixed CD to be played at my brother’s wedding reception provided (literally) hours of joy. I’d like to put my life playlist together myself.

Be the DJ of your own life!

(Motivational speakers everywhere are undoubtedly going to pay some serious lettuce for the rights to that phrase.)

Or else maybe it would be better if someone else made your soundtrack—some demi-god of music who could add in an unknown, yet perfect folk song for the day you drove towards college and away from childhood. Perhaps some obscure classic-rock ballad for your stint on an intramural soccer team. Maybe a ten-minute guitar solo for the sweaty-palm moments leading up to your first kiss. Things like that.

For this first session of At Sea Soundtrack, I bring you a song from Zee Avi. I have loved this song for several years; it resonates.


One-Minute Dance

My freshman year at college was a tumultuous one. I wasn’t having torrid love affairs or losing big money on risky investments (who knew inflatable furniture would be a bust?). I was just an emotional wreck. But there were a few things that helped me survive: baked potatoes, good friends, strawberry milk, multiple dates with a boy who was always looking for my never-home roommate—just to name a very few. And then there was the one-minute dance.

You probably don’t yet grasp the radness that is the OMD, and you won’t until you try it. The name is deceiving; it’s a dance all right, but it’s not just one minute in length, it can go for as long as you want. OMD can be done alone, with a partner, or (provided you have enough room and padded walls) with a group. While you may be dancing in the same room with someone, you’re not dancing with them.

It has a few seemingly ordinary components that come together to create unadulterated magic:

First: Find a room that has a lot of open space, or at least is a room that you know well enough to have a good sense of where everything is.

Second: Find some sweet tunes with a phat beat, like this, and put them on the stereo. Turn up said tunes.

Third: Turn off all of the lights.

Fourth: Dance like nobody’s watching—because they aren’t; you turned off the lights in step 3.

The third step is really the most crucial. It’s so powerful because with one flip of a switch, any self-doubt about your ability to break it down is gone. This is an ideal time to try out your c-walk or whip out your Shakira -inspired moves, circa 2006.

I have very fond memories of OMDing. One time my friend, Kate, and I danced for 30 minutes straight. We were stressed out and just trying to stay afloat. There is a camaraderie that comes with doing the one-minute dance: you can’t see the other person, but you know they’re there, probably doing some funkified verison of the Macarena, which makes you feel pretty good about your attempted crunking.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I had another blog before this one. But I'm starting over at so many things right now, so a new blog seems logical and necessary.

My name is Amanda, but on here I'll being going as Sylvia Louise, which is a combination of my two middle names—one given at birth, and the other given later by my older sisters.

Right now I'm working at a job I don't love and eating a lot of peanut butter—which I do love.

It's so good to meet you. Let's do lunch sometime.