Oh, how I love holiday weekends! I'm watching DVDs with my brother. I'm justifying catching up on magazine reading. I'm going to see a movie at a real theater. I'm getting sucked into random TV shows. Example: This weekend, my sister called. The conversation went like this:
Her: So what are you doing?
Me: Watching Antiques Roadshow.
Her: Wow. Don't get too crazy.
Before you judge me, or send me some Ensure in the mail, you should watch an episode. Antiques Roadshow is more fun than The Price is Right (except when they play Plinko). The best part is guessing the dollar value for things people find in yard-sales and dumpsters and attics. Equally fun (in a sick sort of way) is when someone brings a coin they think is from the Titanic and turns out to be a token from Chuck E. Cheese. Riveting television. It has edged my former favorite reality TV show: British House of Commons.
I'm not a regular viewer of Antiques Roadshow. However, I figure since it's a long weekend (or maybe even your spring break), it might be fun to talk about what I am watching/reading/listening to this Spring. I would love to hear from you too :) I'm always up for discovering new stuff. I just got an iTunes gift card, so I'm particularly interested in songs you think are download worthy.
The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists.
"Every Grain of Sand". One of my favorite songs is "Hey Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan. I like the version The Byrds sing, but I like Bob Dylan's version more. The song is bittersweet, I think. It sounds like a perfect Spring day when you're thinking about someone you miss, or something you want to do, or something that feels a little bit undone. The song makes me feel content and restless at the same time ("I'm ready to go anywhere/ I'm ready for to fade."). I think it's possible to feel both. Another one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs is "Every Grain of Sand". That's the song that has been on my mind for weeks ("In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand/ in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand."). This is a plus because sometimes the songs that get stuck in my head are lame. Remember the song called "How Bizarre" that came out in the 90's? That one drives me crazy. (You're welcome :). "Every Grain of Sand" is gorgeous. Dylan wrote and performed "Every Grain of Sand", but I especially like the way Derek Webb covers it. My brother was the first person to send me this one (of course :). Here's a glimpse:
I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.
I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.
- Bob Dylan, Every Grain of Sand, 1981
** Discussing the next two items will also involve bragging on some friends. However, I don't just like their work because they're my friends. They happen to be pretty spectacular artists too.
Bird in My House, Angel in My Heart
My friend Jimmy is a filmmaker who lives in Brooklyn. Jimmy and I have been friends since high school. High School: when all the kids hung out at Dawson's Creek, not in The Hills. When "fun" was riding around in a truck on Friday night (we drove up and down "the four lane" so named b/c it was the only four lane road in town). When cell phones were just tracking devices. *sigh*
Anyway. I remember looking at Jimmy's senior art exhibit already ecstatic about the day the rest of the world could see his work. He left the mountains for NYC, where he went to art school, and then married Kohli, an actress/musician (I know. I KNOW. It's like talent is never divided equally among the masses! J&K have a dog too and I'm sure the dog sculpts or sings or something). "Bird in my house..." is their latest collaboration and, even though I'm a fan of their work in general, this is hands down my favorite. In case it isn't obvious :), I like birds. I poems and songs about birds. I like bird silhouettes. One of my favorite parts in the Bible is when Jesus talks about sparrows. I don't decorate my house with birds or anything (no Norman Bates crazy up in here), but I like the image. I think it's sweet how something so fragile can fly. Here's the gorgeous, lovely, awesome (and many other adjectives) video:
One of the books I'm most excited to read this spring is a novel called So Not Happening, written by my friend Jenny B. Jones. Jenny's first books centered about a girl named Katie Parker and, from the start, I knew Katie would rock my world. She's genuine and vulnerable and tough. Love it. I also like any novel with a sassy granny, and the Katie Parker series gave me exactly that in Mad Maxine. It is rare that a book makes me laugh and squeezes my heart and those books did both things. I also like that Katie processes her faith in an honest way. Sometimes in novels, it seems like the God-factor is just tossed in. The girl wears designer boots and her boyfriend leaves her so finally she prays, has a big epiphany, kisses another guy whose name is ____ Darcy, and the end. That never feels real to me. Katie Parker's story (and struggle) feels more genuine. She moves through a difficult family situation with tact, grace, and sadness that seems totally realistic. And there's some romance and I like that too :) (FYI: This blog is officially Team Tate territory.)
Just when I was mourning my exodus from In Between (Katie's Texas town), I found out Jenny's new series starts this spring. Wah! This time, the story revolves around Isabella Kirkwood who moves from snazzy NYC to Boringtown, Oklahoma (which, according to Merle Haggard is "A place where even squares can have a ball."). I read the first chapter on Jenny's site and now I'm going nutters waiting for the rest. I'm so going to break my rule. Usually, if a book is a series, I won't read it until the series is about to wrap because I HATE waiting. It's why I'm not reading The Hunger Games until next year (or whenever the last one comes out). It's partially why I was the last person to get on the Hogwarts Express. For So Not Happening, I will make an exception. You can read the first chapter of the book at Jenny's site and you can also read her blog, which is fabulous.
The following authors are not my friends. I like them though, and I like their work. I thought you might wanna check it out too :)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
I shall admit it. I like sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy as long as those books are still character driven (however, when the characters have names like Tron and Voltar, I get nervous. Then it becomes harder for me to get interested. Example: Lord of the Rings. Like the movies. Can't get into the books). I also like futuristic (or dystopian) novels so The Adoration of Jenna Fox piqued my interest as soon as I read the synopsis. The story begins with Jenna waking up from a year long coma, remembering nothing about her former life. The novel is set in the future (after the last wild polar bear has died, after an earthquake has sliced off most of the West Coast ...). The time and setting give off a helpless (and mildly creepy) vibe from the start, which is only intensified when you realize Jenna's parents are keeping some big secrets from her. I don't want to give anything else away because trying to figure out those secrets is one of the best parts of the novel. The novel is written in first person (a trixy way of writing a novel but it works here) so you feel like you are discovering the truth as Jenna discovers it. The book is a quick read. The prose is lovely. Downer: the epilogue at the end felt unnecessary to me. I think it detracted a bit from the story. But that's just one little thing. The rest of the novel is quite interesting. It's also a great conversation starter about what, or who, defines "life" and what a soul really is. I would say this one is definitely a book for older readers (late high school and beyond). Also, there is a granny but she's not sassy.
"Monet Refuses the Operation" by Liesel Muler
I'm not going to post any of the poem here, even though I want to. I would rather you find it for yourself (you can probably find it online, or possibly in your library, or in the front of a collection of Anne Lammot essays called Plan B). Once you find it, DON'T look at it. Save it for a day when the rain makes everything smudged and blurry, when you feel like you're stuck inside one of Monet's paintings. Then read it and let the storm clouds be your canvas. :)
And finally ... Happy Easter, friends. :)
Let me know about some books, music, and movies making you happy these days!
Love (and a Chuck E. Cheese token),