the boss honored at kennedy center

bruce springsteen & clarence clemons performing in november, 1975

for those who didn't tune into the kennedy center honors tonight, there was an absolutely amazing tribute paid to bruce springsteen. as one of the five honorees -- the others being robert deniro, mel brooks, dave brubeck, and grace bumbery -- springsteen was described by president obama as "the quiet kid from jersey who grew up to become the rock 'n' roll laureate of a generation.... i'm the president but he's the boss."

after a touching introduction by jon stewart, music legends -- eddie vedder, ben harper, john mellencamp, sting and melissa etheridge -- took to the stage to further honor bruce springsteen's work. mellencamp performed "born in the u.s.a.," dedicating it to the soldiers in iraq and afgnanistan; ben harper covered "my fathers house;" jennifer nettles (from the band sugarland) performed "glory days;" then the two collaborated on the classic "i'm on fire." this was followed with etheridge's cover of "born to run" and vedder's acoustic version of "my city of ruins," for which he was accompanied by a gospel choir. finally, sting, along with another, larger, choir, performed a rousing version of "ths rising" that brought the entire audience to their feet.

bruce springsteen definitely deserved the high praises he received tonight. his music has always, and always will, stand for something important; it tells the stories that are seldom told and it speaks to the masses in a way that not much music can.

“when you listen to bruce’s music, you aren’t a loser. you are a character in an epic poem about losers.” - jon stewart

my baby

pretty good for a girl

away we go

i just finished watching "away we go," a wonderful film starring john krasinski and maya rudolph, and i fell in love with it. i would recommend it to anyone -- it is beautifully written and filmed, paired with a wonderful soundtrack from singer-songwriter alexi murdoch. all of the actors shine, from krasinski and rudolph -- the heart and soul of the film -- to the staggering list of supporting actors -- catherine o'hara, jeff daniels, allison janney, jim gaffigan, maggie gyllenhaal, and paul schneider.

part of my love for this film stems from my love for the director and writer. "away we go" is directed by sam mendes -- the award-winning director of "american beauty" -- and written by vendela vide and dave eggers -- the author of three of my favorite books. while i had known about mendes's directing role, i had no idea that it had been co-written by eggers until after watching, and falling in love with, the film. rather than my love for eggers enforcing my love for the film, my love for the film reinforced my love for eggers.

go watch it. now.

verona: burt, are we fuck-ups?
burt: no! what do you mean?
verona: i mean, we're 34...
burt: i'm 33.
verona: ...and we don't even have this basic stuff figured out.
burt: basic, like how?
verona: basic, like how to live.
burt: we're not fuck-ups.
verona: we have a cardboard window.
burt: [looks at window] we're not fuck-ups.
verona: [whispers] i think we might be fuck-ups.
burt: [whispers back] we're not fuck-ups.


it's christmas! let's be glad!

i'm especially christmas-ey today. i did 90% of my shopping and am wrapping presents and listening to sufjan stevens's hark! songs for christmas volumes 1-3. one of my favorites:

even if your lifes been bad.
they're presents to be had.

take a walk out in the snow.
and hear santas, ho ho ho.
hes got a million miles to go.

la la la la la la ah

sing a carol to your mom.
'cause she knows whats going on.
and she knows if you've been bad or good.

and if you get what you deserve.
to be graded on the curve.
oh you got a lot of nerve.

la la la la la la ah

since the year is almost out
left your hands and give a shout
there's a lot to shout about today

since its christmas lets be glad.
even if the years been bad.
they're presents to be had.
a promotion for your dad.


air mattress

it's no secret that i love conor oberst irrationally. his new album with the mystic valley band, "outer south," features a song sung by guitarist taylor hollingsworth. listen to it. it's amazing.


always remember

it’s so easy to get stuck in the monotony of life. work, school, homework, sleep, and then repeat -- this isn’t so much selfish as it is human. no matter how badly we want there to be, there just isn’t enough time in the world to cherish everything that we have. but, every so often, something snaps us back to reality.

i had this happen to me recently and, while it was shocking, i tried to search for meaning. what i found was this: take a step back; look around you. breathe deeper, laugh harder, let yourself love.

and always, always, always remember:


"If you think I'm annoying and preachy now, you should have known me in grade school."

dave eggers:


"We are unusual and tragic and alive." - a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

"I like the dark part of the night, after midnight and before four-thirty, when it's hollow, when ceilings are harder and farther away. Then I can breathe, and can think while others are sleeping, in a way can stop time, can have it so – this has always been my dream – so that while everyone else is frozen, I can work busily about them, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, like the elves who make the shoes while children sleep." - a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

"...And there is a chance that everything we did was incorrect, but stasis is itself criminal for those with the means to move, and the means to weave communion between people." - you shall know our velocity!

"GOD: I own you like I own the caves.
THE OCEAN: Not a chance. No comparison.
GOD: I made you. I could tame you.
THE OCEAN: At one time, maybe. But not now.
GOD: I will come to you, freeze you, break you.
THE OCEAN: I will spread myself like wings. I am a billion tiny feathers. You have no idea what's happened to me." - how we are hungry

"You invite things to happen. You open the door. You inhale. And if you inhale the chaos, you give the chaos, the chaos gives back." - you shall know our velocity!

"I hung up the phone, jubilant, and threw myself into a wall then pretended to be getting electrocuted. I do this when I'm very happy." - a heartbreaking work of staggering genius

"One might think that a boy who was out in the snow for so long would get cold, but Max was not. He was warm, partly because he had on many layers, and partly because boys who are part wolf and part wind do not get cold." - the wild things

"I have an irregular and bursting heart and that's why I'm here. It erupts so many times every night and I can't help it." - you shall know our velocity!



i made the drive back to school today and it only took an hour-ish longer than it should have -- thanksgiving weekend added on unwelcome bumper-to-bumper traffic. it was the first time i'd ever driven a long distance alone and it was surprisingly fun. just driving listening to music and being with myself was calming in some strange, unexpected way (at least for the first five hours). and then, while unpacking and listening to music in my room, i discovered a song that seems to fit perfectly.

i'm in love with massachusetts
and the neon when it's cold outside
and the highway when it's late at night
got the radio on
i'm like the roadrunner


b & bn photos

i don't have the time/energy to talk much about it, but i just got home from my second concert of the past three days -- brand new. i've loved them since junior high school and they finally came through the area. janette bought tickets for us to go see them for my birthday (side note: my birthday was in july). it was a special concert for me; seeing one of my oldest, favorite bands with one of my oldest, best friends. they were really good -- high energy, great live -- but, unfortunately, any concert in the world would have been a let down after bruce springsteen and the e street band on sunday. which brings me to the connection between the two -- photos! i have some photos from bruce (taken on my cell phone, so they're not too great) and some photos from brand new. enjoy!

bruce crowd surfing

this was right before i touched bruce springsteen
photo taken by my bro

bruce and some of the members of the e street band --
you can see clarance clemons and nils lofgren in the background
photo taken by my bro

brand new

brand new's lead singer, jesse lacey, singing "play crack the sky"
with audience members waving their lighters in response

brand new


bruce springsteen and the heart-stopping pants-dropping house-rocking earth-shaking booty-quaking viagra-taking love-making legendary e street band!

i can't sleep. i just got home from seeing bruce springsteen and the e street band close their workin' on a dream tour. after waiting in lines for close to three hours, it paid off -- our numbers were drawn, along with 496 other springsteen fans, to be given spots in the pit. basically what that means is we were second row center.

i can't even begin to form the words to explain how amazing the concert was. they played for almost four hours without pause -- something you'd be hard-pressed to find another band do. not only that, but they played their first album "greetings from asbury park, n.j." in its entirety for the first time in years. and, on top of all of that, it was little steven's (who plays both the guitar and mandolin in the band, and is also silvo dante on the sopranos) birthday. at one point they brought him out a cake emblazoned with both "the e street band" and "the sopranos" and covered in 59 candles.

the playlist, in its entirety:
Wrecking Ball (with trumpeter Curt Ramm)
The Ties That Bind
Hungry Heart
Working on a Dream
Blinded By the Light
Growin' Up
Mary Queen of Arkansas
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?
Lost in the Flood
The Angel
For You
Spirit in the Night
It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City
Waitin' on a Sunny Day
The Promised Land
Restless Nights
Surprise, Surprise
Green Onions
Merry Christmas Baby (with Curt Ramm)
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (with Curt Ramm)
(I Don't Want to) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes
Boom Boom
My Love Will Not Let You Down
Long Walk Home
The Rising
Born to Run
Tenth Avenue Freeze-out (with Curt Ramm)
* * *
I'll Work For Your Love
Thunder Road
American Land (with Curt Ramm)
Dancing in the Dark
Rosalita (with Curt Ramm)
Higher and Higher (with Willie Nile and Curt Ramm)
Rockin' All Over the World

every song i wanted to hear was played and, i have to admit, i cried throughout thunder road. springsteen knows how to work the crowd so well -- he crowd surf
ed at least three times and kept running around the perimeter of the pit and sticking his hands into the audience. at one point he was right in front of my brother and i and we reached right up and touched his hand. i touched bruce springsteen. i can die fulfilled and happy now.

i have, and always will have, an undying love for bruce springsteen and
the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-shaking, booty-quaking, viagra-taking, love-making, legendary e street band. i only hope that the rumors aren't true and tonight wasn't their last concert. but, if it was, they went out in style.

p.s. it needs to be noted how much i adore clarence "the big man" clemons. he makes beautiful, beautiful music with that saxophone of his.



i really love mashups. there's something about taking two songs that seem completely different and making them work together in a new way that is so compelling. since i stumbled upon the song "is this digitial love" -- a mashup of bob marley's "is this love" and daft punk's "digital love" -- earlier today, i can't stop listening to it. here it is in all its glory:


welcome to autumn, fuckheads


I don't know about you, but I can't wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I'm about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it's gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There's a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.

I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I'm going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, "Aren't those gourds straining your neck?" And I'm just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, "It's fall, fuckfaces. You're either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you're not."

Carving orange pumpkins sounds like a pretty fitting way to ring in the season. You know what else does? Performing an all-gourd reenactment of an episode of Diff'rent Strokes—specifically the one when Arnold and Dudley experience a disturbing brush with sexual molestation. Well, this shit just got real, didn't it? Felonies and gourds have one very important commonality: they're both extremely fucking real. Sorry if that's upsetting, but I'm not doing you any favors by shielding you from this anymore.

The next thing I'm going to do is carve one of the longer gourds into a perfect replica of the Mayflower as a shout-out to our Pilgrim forefathers. Then I'm going to do lines of blow off its hull with a hooker. Why? Because it's not summer, it's not winter, and it's not spring. Grab a calendar and pull your fucking heads out of your asses; it's fall, fuckers.

Have you ever been in an Italian deli with salamis hanging from their ceiling? Well then you're going to fucking love my house. Just look where you're walking or you'll get KO'd by the gauntlet of misshapen, zucchini-descendant bastards swinging from above. And when you do, you're going to hear a very loud, very stereotypical Italian laugh coming from me. Consider yourself warned.

For now, all I plan to do is to throw on a flannel shirt, some tattered overalls, and a floppy fucking hat and stand in the middle of a cornfield for a few days. The first crow that tries to land on me is going to get his avian ass bitch-slapped all the way back to summer.

Welcome to autumn, fuckheads!

**side note: this was originally published in mcsweeney's (conveniently founded and edited by one of my favorite authors, dave eggers). i came across it re-published in one of the bathroom publications at my college. life is perfectly aligned.


i love radiohead. watch this video. creep.


whatever you like

it's time to tell a secret... i'm an avid gossip girl fan and proud of it(!). while watching this week's episode a song started playing and my reaction was woah what is that? after much searching, i discovered that it was a cover of the t.i. song "whatever you like" by singer-songwriter anya marina.

here it is; i like it so much more than the original version:


know your onion!

shut out, pimpled and angry.
i quietly tied all my guts into knots.
gave up on trying to make them,
i figured it'd take them too long to look up and besides...

it was undeniably clear to me i don't know why
when every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
i knew what worthless dregs we've always been.

lucked out and found my favorite records
lying in wait at the birmingham mall.
the songs that i heard,
the occasional book
were the only fun i ever took.
and i got on with making myself.
the trick is just making yourself.

but when they're parking their cars on your chest
you've still got a view of the summer sky
to make it hurt twice when your restless body
caves to its whims
and suddenly struggles to take flight...

three thousand miles north east
i left all my friends at the morning bus stop shaking their heads.
"what kind of life you dream of? you're allergic to love."
yes i know but i must say in my own defense
it's been undeniably dear to me, i don't know why
when every other part of life seemed locked behind shutters
i knew the worthless dregs we are,
the selfless, loving saints we are,
the melting, sliding dice we've always been.

-- know your onion!; the shins

how i read

i get obsessed. with genres, with series, with certain book cover designs, and, mostly, with authors. the best examples: i read fight club almost three years ago and then proceeded to read everything else chuck palahniuk had ever written. last year, for my non-fiction novel class, we read what is the what: the autobiography of valentino achak deng by dave eggers and, after being told by rascal that eggers is her favorite author, i have read everything by him -- save for a few short stories and the second half of the wild things, which i'm reading now.

palahniuk has perfected the plot twist -- anyone who has seen/read/heard of fight club will agree wholeheartedly with this -- while still playing with the form his novels take. one of my favorite books by him (it's so hard for me to rank) is titled
rant: an oral biography of rant casey. the story opens with the reader discovering that the main character, buster "rant" casey, for whom the novel is named, is already deceased. from that point, various people discuss their memories of rant and present stories that serve to form and push forward the story. not only does rant provide a really great plot twist, but it also is one of the most interesting ways to form a work of fiction that i've ever read.

my eggers obsession took a bit longer to kick in. while i loved the way he wrote
what is the what: the autobiography of valentino achak deng, especially the idea of a fictionalized autobiography, i wasn't sold on him until reading you shall know our velocity!. i would recommend this book to anyone (and i have) but only if it contains the section narrated by the character hand. for some reason, not every copy of the novel contains this addition -- the first time i read you shall know our velocity!, it wasn't included. i didn't even realize what i was missing until rascal referenced it and then forced me -- thank god she did! -- to read the addition. it changed everything. without revealing too much, essentially what hand does is call into question the reliability of the novel's narrator and, therefore, undermine everything presented in the story. you'll finish reading it feeling lied to, cheated, and, i dare say, hurt -- but, also, confused because it's only a work of fiction, so why should you care?

i think what sucks me into my obsessions is the twist a novel provides. if an author can play with accepted literary norms and make me question everything i believe, then he has my heart.

also, from another of my authorial obsessions... i wish this was for me:




"you know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? all of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.... it's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. you won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. i don't know, but i miss the idea of it, you know. maybe that's all family really is. a group of people that miss the same imaginary place." -- garden state

i used to think my home was located in leroy, new york. but now that's just "my parent's house." i don't know where my "home" is -- maybe it's with the people i love or inside of me or maybe it doesn't exist. and as depressing as this thought seems, it's actually kind of liberating.



absolute truth
not making sense
3-wheeled bike rides


there's nothing the road cannot heal

see those headlights coming towards us?
that's someone going back
to a town they said they'd never, yeah
they swore it on their life

but you can't break out of a circle
that you never knew you were in

-moab; conor oberst


viva la hampshire!

i'm almost a month into my second year of college and i can't believe how much has changed and how much has stayed the same and how much more acclimated i am to this environment.  so so so much work.  so so so much pressure.  but, i think it's safe to say that it's only beginning.

also, i've been exploring a lot.  hence the nature photograph.



i don't have a memory that krystal isn't in the background of. i don't remember a time without her. she was a part of our family for sixteen years of my life, and now she is gone.

the veterinarian put her to sleep at 5:20 p.m. on august 30. one moment she was looking right at me and thirty seconds later her head was rolling to the side and she was asleep. dead. asleep then dead. it took me a while to gather the energy to walk across the room and touch her. she felt exactly the same except she wasn't pushing back against my hand.

and that's when it clicked for me. the dog lying on the floor wasn't krystal. yes, it was her body and yes, a few minutes prior it had been a part of her, but it wasn't her. she had been released. i don't know to where and i don't know by what -- or, for that matter, if there even is a destination or an organizer -- but i know that she was gone from her body and no longer suffering.

i don't believe in much, but this has reinforced my belief in spirit. i watched her slip away and i know that a spark like she had couldn't have just fizzled out. rest in peace, krystal. you will be missed and loved always. <3


a basterd's work is never done

go see inglourious basterds. right now. it's amazing. leave it to quentin tarantino to completely fuck with historical accuracy and still create a film so convincingly authentic. you won't even remember what actually happened in ww2 once you step into tarantino's version. after all, who says hitler didn't attend movies virtually unprotected during the climax of the war? ww2 would've been crazy had it actually gone down like this.

"you probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' nazi business. and cousin, business is a-boomin'." -lt. aldo raine (played by brad pitt)


fart nuggets

i grew up listening to blink-182.  they were the first "angsty" music i listened to and, in some way, created a bridge from the "bubblegum pop" i had been spoon-fed to "pop punk" -- the first step towards all that is my current musical taste.  their hit list is staggering -- dammit, what's my age again, all the small things, adam's song, the rock show, first date, stay together for the kids, feeling this, and i miss you -- and each song on it can take me right back to age 14, 15, 16...

blink-182 was formed in 1992 by mark hoppus (vocals/bass), tom delonge (vocals/guitar), and scott raynor (drums), who was replaced by travis barker in 1998.  unfortunately, they split in 2005 when tom left the band.  for a while, all three members worked on other projects -- mark and travis formed +44 and tom fronted angels & airwaves -- but on february 8 of this year, they announced on their site, "to put it simply, we're back.  we mean, really back.  picking up where we left off and then some.  in the studio writing and recording a new album."

so they got back in the studio and took to the road.  and the welcome they have received is amazing -- blink has been missed.  and for good reason.  while all three members are amazing musicians in their own right, together, they form a group with universal appeal.  not only do they deal with real issues, they do it while telling fart jokes and saying "fuck" a lot.  and who doesn't like that?

needless to say as soon as tickets went on sale i bought mine.  it was amazinginfgidsnfoinhifo words can't describe.  even all the way in the back where i could just barely see the stage if i stood on my tip toes, the energy was insane.  at one point during the encore travis barker was lifted up on a round platform and spun around to a 90 degree angle to the stage... all while doing a drum solo.  unbelievable.  

they played all of their hits along with some of their older tunes, yet, amazingly, not one song lagged behind the others.  and, as per usual, there were fart jokes.  at one point, mark asked tom to say something "smart and witty," to which he replied, "...fart nuggets."  blink is back in full force.


and in that moment, i swear we were infinite.

last night i went to the movies with two of my best friends, katie, who i haven't seen in at least 6 or 7 months, and janette. we saw 500 days of summer which, even though this isn't technically a movie review, i would suggest you go see. it has a great concept, a great message, and great actors (joseph gordon-levitt and zooey deschanel).

on our way home from the theatre it began to storm. it had been hot and sticky all day, so the storm was, at least to begin with, just heat lightening. there's something beautiful about lightening without rain -- the otherwise uninterrupted darkness is cancelled out for a split second, allowing everything to be illuminated; most shocking because one doesn't expect the night to suddenly revert to day. it was still warm out, so katie and i rolled down our windows and blasted the radio. the combination of the most amazing lightening storm i'd ever seen, the much-needed reunion with my best friend, the wind in our hair, and the blasting of iris by the goo goo dolls was incredible. the only thing i can think to describe it is a quote from a book i read a number of years ago, the perks of being a wallflower by stephen chbosky: "in that moment, i swear we were infinite."


the existentialism of blogging

i never thought it would happen. i'm blogging. i'm a blogger. i've never been the kind of person who kept a diary for any reason, which isn't to say i didn't try. i reluctantly recorded both of my trips to europe only because i knew i would be thanking myself later (i still haven't looked back at them). i also dabbled in diary keeping around the age of 13 which i don't even think i enjoyed doing at the time.

now, if you (the invisible audience) are anything like my dad, you're screaming "but you want to be a writer! how can you be a writer if you don't write every chance you get?!" my programed answer has always been "i don't know," because, truthfully, i didn't know. i still don't know why fully, but i think part of it is that i just don't see the appeal in writing down the monotonous, uneventful things that happen to me. i can remember only three occasions that i wrote about my life to relieve some sort of heightened emotion or work out what was going on in my head. they were very personal but very far from what i imagine constant diary-keeping to be.

and then late last night, i created a blog. why, you may be asking, would a girl so anti-diary and anti-writing-about-her-life be blogging? well, for one, my dad is right (as per usual). writers, or in my case, writer hopefuls, need to write. practice makes perfect, right? and secondly, i've been watching a few of my friends blog for a while now -- check them out on the right! -- and i figured it was time to jump on the bandwagon. after all, a blog isn't a diary so i won't be writing that much about my life -- just about my opinions on random shit. and who doesn't like preaching to an audience that can't protest?