29 August 2012

berkeley

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Last time was for San Francisco, this time was for Berkeley.

I wish I could have taken a picture of every single house we saw. Never has architecture made my brain buzz like this. Never have I seen so many paint colors, so much flora. Every kind of flower you could imagine, blooming, year-round — it's dazzling.

I wish I could capture the simple euphoria of tucking into roasted corn pizza and cold Orangina after a seven-mile trek. Or the head-ringing rush of the Campanile tower top when the clock struck four. Or the tingly fear of scrambling over Indian Rock, so we could sit quietly side by side and look out at the Bay.

We had d'affinois cheese and Vinho Verde and that monstrosity you see above is the "meat and potatoes cake" the birthday boy made for dinner. So many silly times, balanced by damp-induced allergies and a bad combination of Benadryl and wine. Oops. This was my weekend.

Berkeley has cast a spell on me. Something about the color of twilight on Solano Ave, held in my mind like a jewel, will always remind me of what it is like to be happy.

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26 August 2012

mix no. 15

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I keep serendipitously stumbling across my favorite kinds of songs — jangly guitars, layered harmonies, moments of euphoria, moments of melancholia — and they embody the end of summer so well for me. I can't get enough. I just wish I had a car to drive so I could listen with the windows down and the bass pumped up.


Find it here.


Tracklist:

01.  Sun's Going Down - Shimmering Stars
02.  Yes Yes Yes - Elsinore
03.  Catamaran - Allah-Las
04.  Answer to Yourself - The Soft Pack
05.  All I Wanna Do - Stone Darling
06.  Daydream - Beach Fossils
07.  All I Have to Do Is Dream (The Everly Brothers Cover) - Young Rival
08.  2080 - Yeasayer
09.  Sometimes - The Bandana Splits
10.  Bright Side - The Soft Pack
11.  Left and Right in the Dark - Julian Casablancas
12.  In the Summertime - The Rural Alberta Advantage
13.  Chemicals - Elsinore 
14.  Didn't You - Cloud Nothings
15.  California Sunrise - Dirty Gold

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23 August 2012

traveling blues

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It's funny to me that although I've been learning to live on so little this year, I've nevertheless been able to take several trips across the country (thanks to a generous someone's frequent flier miles). As anyone who lives in New York knows, it's a treat to get out of the city, especially in the summertime — and I'm so grateful I've had the chance to rinse my eyes with new landscapes every few months or so. But constantly transitioning between travel and stasis has made me feel thoughtful, stretched out, and sad, too.

Are you the type of person who begins mourning a trip's end before you've even left? I know that's a silly way to behave, and while traveling I do my best to live in the moment. But, it's a fact: the more I travel, the more often I therefore experience post-trip depression, and I dread it each time.

I know it has much to do with parting from loved ones, best friends, and family, whom I won't see again for months or longer. I know it has to do with that lonely train ride back into the gray city, the renewed daily grind that makes recent adventures seem an exaggerated dream, the isolated independence I quietly swallow as my due since moving myself somewhere new, alone, to pursue a career.

But it also has to do with my propensity to connect with every land I visit — to fall in love too easily, too hard. It's no secret I become attached to each place I've lived (and I think I'll forever long for each one, no matter how happy I am in my current home). But now I'm becoming tied to places I merely linger, however briefly — and after I return it feels like my wandering heart's still wandering without me, roving over the map while my hollow body sits behind a desk.

This push-pull messes with my sense of belonging. I become used to New York, embrace its passions and oddities — but then I set out on a journey, welcoming new landscapes and faces and flavors into my bones. When I return to New York, it seems my sullied old stand-by...until I grudgingly come to love it again. Until my next trip resets the clock. That cycle makes it hard to know how I really feel about this place, if I consider it home. 

In the past, that gray train ride wouldn't matter — our clean, bright house was always welcome after a journey, no matter how wonderful the trip had been. There's nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, right? So I have to wonder why that feeling doesn't wait for me here. Does that answer my question about whether New York feels like home? Or has something just changed within me?

Because truthfully I don't know if I could put down roots anywhere right now, when I'm wishing I could make every beautiful place my own, a dreamy impossibility.

One of travel's greatest gifts is its ability to expand our horizons, our understanding and our capacity for wonder. But is there a limit? Can one's horizons be stretched too far? Will I ever be content to settle down in one place, for good?

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22 August 2012

jennifer davis

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Enamored of the Jennifer Davis's work; her use of color and detail is phenomenal.

Images via her shop and site.




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15 August 2012

trivia two

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More things I've learned lately that made me go whoa, from the gossipy to the mundane — in case they'll make you go whoa, too. (Probably not. I'm awed by the littlest things.)


- Rashida Jones has a fascinating family background. Her dad is music producer Quincy Jones, and her mom is actress Peggy Lipton (Norma on Twin Peaks!). Her sister Kidada was engaged to Tupac Shakur.

- The literal translation of Italian dessert tiramis├╣ means "pick-me-up" (or metaphorically, "make me happy"). Cute.

- I know Joss Whedon is everyone's darling lately and can do no wrong (although I quite understand, hello Firefly), but he even co-wrote Toy Story? Come on!

- Stendhal syndrome causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, and confusion "when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place." A similar reaction can also occur in response to "immense beauty in the natural world."

- American presidents' favorite foods not only shed light on presidential personalities, but also remind me how much food trends change over time. "Hamburger soup"? (Reagan.) Baked possum and persimmon beer? (Taft.)

- Another interesting Office connection - Ellie Kemper once had Jon Hamm as a high school drama teacher. (I know!)

- Did you know that the rabbit test existed? Weird stuff. (How can there be so many dark, hidden twists to history that I'm still constantly being surprised?)

- If you're as fascinated by linguistics and dialects as I am, you'll love this theory of how American and British accents came to diverge. "What's surprising, though, is that Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen's English."

- Hard to believe that though I studied literature in school, I only just realized the difference between horror and terror. Terror is the dread and anxiety one feels in anticipation of danger, while horror is the revulsion felt upon witnessing something frightening. (I guess now I finally have a name to pin on that feeling I hate more than any other, while watching a scary movie, when the bad guy is about to pop out of nowhere...)


(image via here, from one of my favorite scenes in this)
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01 August 2012

slower, summer

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For the Fourth of July we traveled to North Carolina, where we feasted on the best burgers and sat in the woods behind my favorite coffee shop, surrounded by whispering trees that sounded like the sea. There was a giant potluck cookout with our best friends, and two straight days of playing rummy, and grilled hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The weekend was a rare treat in that it felt like real summer, those lazy, sleepy days we haven't known since we were kids (and Skyping the family dog felt like a valuable use of our time).

Then a week later my sister visited me in New York, and though we kept ourselves busy (mostly by running from one food destination to another — Guinness milkshakes again!), her stay was full of such leisurely moments that I didn't feel scattered at all. We split a slice of apple pie in Katz's Deli, sitting right at Harry and Sally's table. We contemplated Vincent's thick brushstrokes, wishing we could touch them. We picnicked in Central Park (I napped, she sketched). And finally, a dream came true: cream tea in the Village. We drank a pot each, willing the afternoon to go by just a little bit slower.

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