Thursday, July 30, 2009

because there's really nothing left to say.

Favorite lines/Listening To: My heroes have a heart to lose their lives out on a limb. And all I remember thinking is that I wanna be like them. - from the song Crazy by Gnarles Barkley (and redone by Ray Lamontagne. Swoon.)
Currently Drinking: A tall non-fat caramel macchiato. Its like they taste even better on rainy days.*

Greetings swamp mates :) I can't decide what to write about today.

I could write about how I'm so buying a People magazine this week. The Saved by the Bell cast is on the cover! I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so ... so ... scared...

I could write about how the space station and space shuttle were visible from earth this weekend. Did you see them?! It was crazy bright and moved fast and steady over the sky. (I read that it moves thousands of miles an hour... much like the traffic at my exit). I saw it twice. Freaked out both times. I can't believe I'm looking at a space station. And a shuttle (docked to the space station). I can't believe there are people in space, on a space station, looking down at the world while I'm looking up at them.

I could write about the Volkswagon Van I saw parked at the college near my house. But why write when I can show you a picture?

I could write about perfect advertising. I have a picture for this too. There is major construction going on at my interstate exit. To that end, there are porta-potties at various points. One porta-potty (how do you spell that word? My checker tells me ever variation is wrong! I'll go with the hyphen.) is located near a gas station. Beside the porta-potty, there is an ad from Quiznos:

Can you see the red sign? It reads: "Try our Toasty Torpedoes!" Heh.

If you were hoping for adult humor, you won't find it on today's blog. Just FYI.

At least I didn't make this item #2.

I could write about how I'm afraid the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are will be better than the movie. This is pretty hard to live up to, no? (The song is Wake Up by Arcadia Fire, just in case you were as curious as I was. Thanks, bro!)

The crowd in my Harry Potter theater on opening night went wild for the Wild Things trailer. Cheers and applause all the way around. Some trailers are so well done. Slight tangent: This trailer makes me think of short films in general. Last year, I watched a collection of short films about Paris. Some were cool. Some were annoying. There was one in particular I liked and I still find myself thinking of it pretty often. When I think of it, I think about how cool it is that a film lasting five minutes(ish) impacted me the way it did. I think good short films are like good children's books. What seems like a very short, simple story can become something profound in the hands of a capable arteest. It really is an art-form all it's own.

I could write about one of my favorite bands, Alathea. The band consists of two East Tennessee girls (woot!) named Mandee and Cristi. They play folk-rock music that will blow you away. Mandee writes most (if not all) of their songs and I've typed out the lyrics many times and pasted them inside my journals. Not only are the lyrics gorgeous (the girl won a song-writing award named after some John Lennon bloke), the music is incredible. If there is an instrument you can think of associated with folk or bluegrass they can probably play it (or will probably try). :) But this is what I love most: you can tell they love what they do. There's nothing gimmicky about their music. They sing about faith sometimes, but do it without sounding preachy or cliche. They're very indy (without being remotely pretentious).

On the positive side, that means they don't have the restraints a label sometimes brings with it. They aren't just trying to crank out hits; they're making good music, taking some risks, trying new sounds. On the negative, publicity is a bit harder to come by. Sometimes shows are hard to book and albums are hard to make. Their answer? They started calling their fans their "record execs" :) Once they get so many pre-orders for an album, they're able to make it. And they're hoping to make one this fall. I know it's risky to pre-order an album of music you've never heard, but trust when I say this music will break your heart in a good way. You can download some of their past work on iTunes (my recommendations are "O Love" and "Broken Down"). Here's another sample:

Back in ye days of olde when I worked as a youth intern, I planned a girl's conference called Bliss. I wanted to book a band, and I loved Alathea, but I knew a band that awesome would never come for what I we could afford. I emailed anyway and heard back from Vicki, who books the band. And guess what? They came for way less than they usually come for because they loved the concept of the event. They knew the audience wouldn't be big (we had like 20 girls ... that's it). But they came and played a full concert and made all twenty girls feel like the coolest VIP guests ever. On top of that, they were such genuinely kind people. I've worked with "Christian" bands full of divas, who demand red Skittles and bottled water from the south of France stocked in their dressing room. I was part of an event once where a worship band was super stuck up. They acted very different on stage than in person, which stunk. The Alathea girls aren't haughty like that (even though they didn't get paid nearly as much as those other twirps). They showed up in a pick-up truck (with their dog, Thumper :). Their friend Ted drove down from Kentucky to play banjo with them. I've never seen a band that talented who was also that laid back. So. If you like folk-rock, singer/songwriter stuff, please consider pre-ordereing their album so they can keep making music. You'll be supporting some incredible artists. :)

I could write about Steve's fantastic blog about his trip to Cambodia. His blog has long been one of my favorites and his posts about Cambodia always get me. Even if you don't have time to read the whole thing, you should check out his pictures.

I could write about art. Which would just make me want to write about you cute people. A few years ago, a Brio reader named Evie Guerra sent me a drawing she did based on a column I wrote. The column was about trying too hard to be some version of perfect, and the sinking sinky awful feeling that comes when I (inevitably) screw up. I was thinking through the idea of a super-hero and how I measure "weakness" and "strength" in myself. The lesson I learned, that I was writing about, was that His grace is sufficient. And that my relationship with God is, thankfully, not performance based. I think it's a hard concept to grasp because so many "loves" are so conditional. Anyway. Evie drew Super Girl flying through the air saying "Thanks Natalie!". It is fantastic. Totally framed it. It's on my wall as we speak. I would show you a picture but my blog is being cranky :) Trust when I say it is amazing. Last time I talked to Evie, she was pursuing a career in animation. Her stuff is unbelievable.

She's not the only one who has the ability to blow my mind with her creative superpowers :)

I'm so impressed by the talent you people exhibit. This swamp is a veritable artists colony. Jimmy has a new film up that is spectacular (what does the process of grieving have to do with growing up and gold fish? You must watch to see. Actually, that might not be your interpretation ... but it's worth watching. Take dramamine beforehand). Kristen sews gorgeous wallets and (maybe?) sells them on Etsy (I kid you not, I saw Lucky Brand wallets in the mall last night for upwards of $60. They are not nearly as cute as these!). RileyTea is a writer and graphic designer. Her work has a lovely whimsical fairy-tale vibe to it. So pretty.

I read about how much some of you love music, and the practice you put into making your music rock. I read about the novels you invest massive chunks of time to write. And about the classes you're taking, and teaching, and planning. Even if you don't like to make things, the way you see the world is enough to make me flip out. Enough to make me happy in that special sparkly way only beautiful art can. Thank you so much for sharing your art with the world (and with me:). I know how hard it is to put something so close to you out there, knowing other people will most likely criticize it (and they so will ... sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes just because they're having a nasty day). I think sharing what you make is one of the most amazing, liberating feelings ever, and also the most terrifying. Go you.***

Alas. Since I can't decide what to write about, I'll get back to work. Hope you're having a good week so far :)

*The spell-checker almost changed macchiato to machete. That would have been awesome :) Delicious machetes ...
**If you have any art displayed online anywhere, don't hesitate to drop some linkage in the comment section! I would love to see it! Or "take a gander at it" as my granny would say.

Writing "linkage" made me think of the musical "Hairspray." Now I'll have those songs stuck in my head all day ...


  1. I love that porta-potty sign. (I don't know how to spell it either.) And I love when people surprise you by being laid-back and cool in real life. Of course, it sucks when it is the other way round.

    I didn't hear anything about the space station in the sky! How did I miss that? Well maybe I wouldn't have been able to see it from here anyway.

    Have a good week/week-end too, Natalie! :)

  2. I, too, will be rushing to buy the Saved By the Bell issue of People! I so wish that they would get together and do a reunion show. I think that would be so neat. They could do a class reunion show so we could get a glimpse of what it will be like. :) I'm kind of bummed that Screech has turned in to such a jerk in his adult life. He's writing a Saved by the Bell memoir revealing some juicy secrets (which they all say was made up). That's why he isn't on the cover.

    I want the see Where the Wild Things are so bad! Movies I want to see in the theater: 1) New Moon 2) The Time Traveler's Wife 3) Where the Wild Things Are. I have to choose carefully, so I'm hoping to see those three for sure.

    Final thought: I want to ride in the souped up VW van! We could take that up on Chitwood for the after-reunion party! Stylin'. Everyone would be soooo jealous! :)

  3. I must say, the other day I was hoping to see another blog post from you. I rather enjoy reading your weekly-ish posts. :)

    When we were stranded on the side of the road from 11pm-1:30am in Ukraine, I looked up at the sky at around 1:30, and pointed out what I thought was an airplane to Tiffany. Bob the missionary corrected me, saying it wasn't an airplane, but a satellite! I thought that was pretty cool!

    This past weekend, my friend Angel and I went to PA. We stayed with some friends of ours, and she and I slept in what used to be the boys' room, still with some of their stuff. Including machetes and knives and whatnot leaning in a corner--we said they were to protect us against intruders. A 4 yr old neighbor warned us, "you should NEVER touch those!" Angel asked her, "What, the knives?" and she responded, "the SWORDS!!!" :)

  4. Man, Alathea, what a blast from the past. I really liked their "What Light Is All About" album, it was one of my first experiences with bluegrass... I kind of lost track of them until you mentioned them today.

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog.. That made my day.

  5. On how to spell porta-potty...a different variation here; my little sister used to call them "pottyhuts"! :)

  6. Sarah, I was alerted via Jenny Jones's Facebook status! If I find the link for the site again (it's not popping up in my browser for some reason), I'll link it on here. It was so cool. I think this one was harder to see depending on how far North you live (you're in Canada right?). But I'll see if I can find the site. It was worth dorking out over.

    Mel, when I saw the van my first thought was that I really wanted to ride in it too! I bet that guy is the most popular guy on campus, for real. Is it sexist for me to assume the ride belongs to a guy? :) I think we could probably fit all our friends in that van ... Also! You need to wait and go see The Time Traveler's Wife with me! Resist the temptation to go with your cool friends back home.

    Jess, I originally thought I would update this twice a week. Now the plan is obviously falling through :) I could do this like a normal person and write shorter posts I suppose : ) How fun that you saw a satellite! Does it blink or is it a steady light? Also, what is it with boys and knives? But I must admit ... a sword would be awesome. :) Such a cute story!

    Steve, that's my favorite Alathea album too. What a good way to experience bluegrass for the first time! My favorite style of bluegrass is still like that - more new grass, steady vocals, etc. I like the old stuff (like Ralph Stanley) but I can't listen to it nearly as long. :) Your blog is awesome. I almost posted the link for the post about the restaurant review your brother (?) wrote. That made me laugh so much. But I decided to keep it serious :)

    Poohbonnet, what a fun word! I'll try to use it in context sometime very soon ;) (Pottyhut so much cuter than porta-potty.)

  7. Thanks! you're sweet.

    YaY! being surrounded by artists.

  8. Thanks so much for the mention in your blog. =) I don't sell on Etsy yet, but might in the future (for now I just get a ton of inspiration from there and drool over things I'd like to order). And thanks for taking the time and effort to actually respond to people on here...not many people do that!
    I was also wondering about "Where the Wild Things Are." Me and my mom went to see HBP again yesterday, and I was reminded again of how cute that trailer is. I just can't figure out how they'll make it into a movie. I do love the song playing in the background, too.

  9. J, the new film is truly fantastic. It comes off very personal, almost painfully so, and I think that's what makes it so good. I'm not always one for sad things but this time it was sad in a good way. Sad in a "Word Spins Madly On" by the Weepies way.

    Kristin, get yourself on etsy pronto! :) I go there and drool all the time too. My favorites on there are TheBlackApple and Elloh. So with you on the trailer. I definitely think the music has to be part of the awesomesauce which binds it all together. It builds at the most perfect moments. Makes me shiver everytime I hear it! :) (Also - love the music always playing on your blog! The soundtrack for Pride and Prejudice is breathtaking!).

  10. I might get on Etsy when I have some more stuff made, LOL. For now I'm just selling to family, friends, and at the local farmer's market. I hadn't seen those two sellers before, but I really like them...especially the Mary Poppins and Alfred Hitchcock ones on Elloh. I love looking at all the vintage clothing they have on there, and the jewelry. I love the necklace pendants that are on there (like PendantLicious) that use Scrabble letters for the back. I found a really cute necklace the other day and now I can't find the seller, because I forgot to write it down. Thanks, I love the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, too. It's my favorite (newer) movie and has one of my favorite soundtracks. I listened to it (and the Narnia ones) all the time when I used to do my schoolwork to help me concentrate, LOL.