Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shut up, dude.

I can't get enough of this song right now.

It's from a free download called the Shut Up, Dude Mixtape which you may nab for your very own mp3 player by clicking on the link and waiting FOREVER for the zip to download. The whole thing is ridiculous and has a kind of hipsterish/parody vibe, but because of the wordplay, it's working for me--especially the above track, "You Oughta Know," "Shorty Said," and "Fake Patois" (which is rapped in a fake patois).

Then I was dinking around looking for more on Das Racist and found this, which is dope:

Another recent download is Dessa's A Badly Broken Code, which is excellent. She's part of the local Doomtree crew.

Also, I recently downloaded the 2008 joint from My Brightest Diamond--you can listen to most of it on the website, I think. I had their first album and decided it was pretty much too precious for me except for one song, so "Golden Star" is the only one still on my ipod. But I like this album better. Shara Worden's singing was the most interesting thing about the first album, but the arrangements on this one are so cool, and I think the band is probably just going to get more interesting.

Not crazy about this video, but whatever.

So that's just in case you were wondering what temporary music professors listen to in their downtime. It's some of that stuff, and Radiolab.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shop til you DROP.

Hi y'all. I thought I'd break my blog silence by talking about a few things I might buy. One thing I have to buy (and look forward to buying) is a gift for Henry's EIGHTH birthday. I remember 8 so clearly: it was the year I got glasses, broke my arm, learned long division, disliked my teacher, started German, cut off my long hair / got a sweet bowl cut, and wore ribbon barrettes that I made myself. Henry wants a satin bomber jacket, which I would also have enjoyed at that age, the better to play "bike gang" with. This game basically just involved describing our imaginary outfits in detail, and then riding bikes around the derelict tennis courts at the bottom of the hill. Once on one of these outings, my friend Holly pooped her pants and it was a manageable enough incident that she just chucked the turd over the fence. Could I be making that up? The memory is so clear to me, but it seems more like something my brother would have done. He was notorious for being too fixated on playing outside to pause for necessities like bathroom breaks. One time he peed and/or pooped his pants and came walking home with his shorts hanging off the end of a plastic baseball bat over his shoulder, like a preschool hobo.

Anyway, Henry may be getting a little Nintendo thingy from us. This is probably going to require buying one for Jude too. Which we're happy to do, as I so remember the potential emotional pitfalls of having a sibling close in age who liked the same stuff and who might feel dejected about someone else's birthday present. You know how that goes.

Aside from that, I have been shopping for bags on Etsy because I can never find anything I like in the thrifts and I want something high quality and straightforward and would rather give my money to someone toiling in a Pittsburgh studio than, you know, a department store. But oh sweet jebus, have you done a bag search on Etsy? People are so bad at tagging their stuff, and there are so many urrrgly bags. Also many that I suspect are not at all handmade (or at least, not handmade by the seller), and are merely "customized." Sigh. Here are some contenders (clicking on the pics will take you to the listings):

Pros: Minneapolis seller, rad colors, vegan.
Cons: Too damn big.
Pro: She will custom size!

Also good, by the same seller:

Pros: Colors, dude.
Cons: The strap is too thin for a bag that big. I mean as soon as I put a full water bottle in there, it would be slicing into my shoulder.

Pros: Pittsburgh seller, classic design, yellow on the inside, multifunctional.
Cons: Possibly boring.

Pros: I love the design of the bag--I mean how it's put together. There might be better examples in her shop, but I couldn't decide.
Cons: Looks a bit like an Urban Man-bag, has to come all the way from Portugal.

Pros: A great basic, it's called "Croissant," excellent shape.
Cons: Something in me obviously likes a brown canvas bag and yet fears that I will be bored by it. And it's another airmail jobby, from UK this time.

I also like this one of hers:

Honestly, all of her bags are pretty great.

As you can see, I am having a hard time balancing a need for versatility with a need for something interesting. But let me tell you, when you start looking at patterned and multicolored bags on Etsy, it becomes an absolute minefield of cutesy bullcrap and coordinating dots and florals. I sincerely apologize if these are things you hold dear; they are just so not me.

So then for a palate cleanser I look at rings. I'm obsessing over rutilated quartz right now. And green things.

Naturally, this one is sold. It was also a custom order and way out of my price range. But I love everything this seller does. I am wearing one of her rings right now, in fact.

This one I can actually afford.

It is only a matter of time before I nab something from this shop. Like for example this green onyx ring.

I've also been following this seller for awhile. I love the rough, raw gemstones she uses. I mean check out this lapis lazuli:

I'll save the rough diamonds for another post. I'm basically just procrastinating on work stuff I was going to get done this weekend, anyway.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Odds and ends, loose change, pocket lint.

Remember the last time you had to trot down a hallway with your shower caddy in order to brush your teeth? For me that time was yesterday. There are some advantages to staying in the Super 8, and one of those is having a private bathroom. There's only one bathroom for three bedrooms in ye olde collegiate guesthouse, and trying to time your shower and other morning functions around the schedule of other guests might lead you to have to go use the bathroom in the art building next door. And while you're there, you might hear someone noisily puking in another stall at 8:30 in the morning. I'm just saying. That is how one of my mornings went down this week: urgent eliminations of various kinds in public places.

Apart from that little issue, it was nice to be in a place that's more like a low-key B & B where you never see the proprietor or have to interact with other guests and less like an institutional chain where you are always sniffing around for cigarette smoke even though your hall is supposed to be non-smoking. I had two twin beds, a non-functioning fireplace, weak-ass wifi, and the world's oldest functioning cable TV, which I only needed for LOST anyway. And I was right across the street from my office, and I can't stress enough how wonderful that is.

Other things from this week: dinner was mostly cheese popcorn one night. I always file such culinary events under "awesome things about being an adult." I may have referred to my students as "a$$clowns" in class and later issued a retraction/ apology. "Clowns" would have been sufficient. I fought off, or maybe am still fighting off, a resurgence of that stupid cold. I can never get enough sleep. Yesterday I paid $5 for a chair massage at the co-op while I waited for my chipotle tofu panino to get properly pressed. I think this was the first week I actually taught all the lessons I am supposed to teach (someone always gets sick or has to reschedule), plus 3 extra. I also packed horribly for the weather we ended up having. Somewhere between when I checked the forecast and when I rolled into town, things changed dramatically. I ended up wearing jammies to teach in one day (covered with the ubiqui-hoodie).

I finally uploaded some photos to flickr, including:

Scenes from the road.
refinery by night, from the road

Downtown collegetown.

Midwestern humor.
Midwestern humor

I went to United Noodles for the first time ever this week, on my way out of town. I was bound and determined to get matcha. I saw a picture of a matcha latte last week that had me obsessed. So I got some, and also some coconut Vitasoy, and other Aaaaaasian treats. Why have I never been there before? What an oversight. Of course, while fighting the illness I didn't feel like drinking matcha or anything except herbal boosters. I will keep you posted on this beverage odyssey.

O happy Friday! Tonight is curry and layaboutness.