Monday, October 19, 2009

in tender appreciation of jingle jangle mornings.

Currently Listening To: Foggy Mountain Breakdown by Steve Martin and Earl Scruggs
My dog: loves her Kong toy! Thanks Jimmy and Carra :)

Fall is here. Ring the bell. Back in school ... I'll stop now. Momentarily. We'll get to Jack White in a sec. First, allow me a moment to utilize horrible conversation filler and talk about the weather. It is cold here, weirdly cold. For 10 months out of the year, this city hovers at ninety degrees. Then come the two months of winter when temperatures plummet and I get to wear cute cold weather clothes. The seasons are all pretty here, but they aren't very distinct. Typically. But wow. Fall has fallen with a big icy bang. And I like it. :) I've been wrestling with a cold, but on Saturday I bundled up and went to an apple festival with mom and some friends anyway. It was so much fun. My favorite quote was this:

"Are those apples?"
"No. Those are pork rinds."

It's an easy mistake.

Fall festivals, apple cider, sweet friends, and cold days make me happy. Thus, I've made a list of more pieces of awesome conducive to happy making this season. Some of them are girly. I apologize to our male readership. There are a few guys brave enough to read this blog, so I'll try to find some man stuff to throw on the list too. Then again, you might be a man who likes his guyliner. If that is the case, this post won't alienate you in the least.

Ruben Toledo's covers.
Ruben Toledo is most popular for his fashion illustrations, but Penguin Classics has highlighted his brilliance on the covers of three classic novels: Wutehring Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and The Scarlet Letter. I am drooling over all three of them. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this endeavor is that the books are paperback, a mere $12 a pop. Three cheers for affordable art! I think it's interesting that he illustrated these particular novels (which he didn't read until he knew he was doing the illustrations). Because how many ways have these three books been reinterpreted over the years? And how timely and appropriate are the issues in all of those novels still? I'm excited because I think the covers are beautiful. I'm also excited because people do judge books by covers (I've done it), and I think covers like this will inspire new readers to give these books a try.

Laura Mercier eyeliner in stormy grey.
Have I ever told you how much I like the show Alias? I have every season of Alias on DVD. The show is smart, funny, sassy and cool. The hero is a girl, who manages to kick butt while still being smart, kind, and endearing. She's tough and feminine simultaneously. Here is one of my not-so-brilliant observations about Alias: whenever a female agent is about to go bad, she starts wearing heavy black eyeliner. Have you noticed this? Maybe I've been watching too much Alias. Maybe it's all the smeared gray autumn skies. Maybe it's that I've been listening to Death Cab too much ... but fall makes me want to wear dark eyeliner too. As my skin is the palest of pale, black can be a bit too harsh. But this stormy grey color? It looks cool. Edgy without being severe. Plus, it is really easy to use and doesn't make a hard jagged line. Easy to wear. Easy to smudge. Doesn't flake off. I like. I rarely splurge on makeup (if something cheap looks cool I always ALWAYS go that route :), but this was a fun way to use up a gift card. Hopefully my dark eyeliner days aren't a sign of something serious. When you see me trying to jump off the couch and do a round house kick, you'll know it's time to intervene.

This scene.
I can't stop smiling when I watch it. The whole movie is cute but, even if it weren't, it would be worth watching for this scene.

Give Up the Ghost by Brandi Carlile
This review in Paste sums it up perfectly.

Printed tights.
I wore a black dress and printed tights to Sarah's wedding, but the tights didn't distract from my wardrobe malfunction. On Sarah's wedding day, I discovered I no longer wore the shoe size I thought I wore. How the heck did that happen? Do feet shrink?! I tried to wear the black heels anyway. The deluge of rain, paired with my usual clumsiness, paired with wearing shoes that were too big, let to tripping, or walking out of a shoe, many times. When I left the church, I was taking teeny-tiny baby steps all the way to the car. At least my tights were cute. (That pic is from an Anthropologie catalog. Kudos to the designers there for putting together a catalog that always looks like a coffee table book. So pretty!)

It Might Get Loud.
Any guitarists out there? My brother is a (really good) guitar player. And he's extremely excited over this documentary. By extremely excited this is what I mean: instead of his usual ho-hum expression the corner of his mouth kicks into a very slight almost-smile. I think it looks cool too, even though I only know four chords on a guitar. (Jack White intrigues me.) This city gets a few artsy movies and documentaries each month, but this one never came. We're holding out for Netflix.

Apple farms.
Not like farms for mac products (perchance to dream) but for ye olde crunchy apples. I've been to two orchards now and one apple festival. I have consumed apple dumplings, apple cigars, caramel apples, plain apples, and fried apple pies. My character in THE IT lives on a farm. They sell apples in the fall. So at first I tried to justify these excursions as research. The only conclusion I have made from this research is that if I eat one more fried apple concoction I'm going to bust out of my jeans. The only apples I'll be consuming from now on* are plain ones. But it's still kind of an idyllic thing to do in the fall.

G2 ink pens and clean journal pages.
Argue for your favorite inky utensil if you must. But so far, I've yet to be swayed by lesser writing instruments.

Hey Mr. Tamborine Man by Bob Dylan
Fall is a melancholy, si? This is a melancholy song. The Byrds made it sound more pop, more upbeat and happy. But Bob's version is my tried and true favorite. If I were picking a movie scene to pair with this song, it would be a scene where a guy writes a letter to an old girlfriend, trying to convince her he's happy. And he is happy, for all practical purposes. Life moved on, and he's okay with that. But as he's writing, he starts to remember all the lazy summer days they spent finding shapes in the clouds. Days when they had absolutely no clue what the future had in store for them, just that they had each other. He's happy with his life, happy with somebody new, but his heart starts to feel heavy while he's writing. Nevermind. Ignore my drivel. Just enjoy the poetry (and write your own less melodramatic scene to go with it):

My weariness amazes me,
I'm branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming.

The first paragraph of Thing.
A dancing skeleton is involved. :)

Kelly Clarkson's Cover of The Climb.
Sarah and I are going to see Kelly Clarkson in concert this week and I am way excited! Don't judge me.

The pacing reminds me of Alias. This thing moves. Time flies while I'm watching the pieces come together, and while I'm trying to figure how they'll come together before I'm told. There's a slight spiritual subtext too (one of the characters I'm most interested in is trying to find a way to atone for something she hasn't done yet). The acting is good (where have you been Frankdemort? Welcome back!). The story is great. Dear cable overlords: please don't cancel Flashforward!

My brother's impression of Christopher Walken reading The Raven.

Advocacy in action.
My senator, Lamar Alexander, is a co-sponsor in the Appalachia Restoration Act. Yay! This bill, when passed, will keep the rivers free of coal sludge and (hopefully) help end mountain top removal. As I'm sure you know, mountain top removal is a horrible practice. Not only does this extreme form of coal mining obliterate mountains, but the excess ("the spoil") is dumped in rivers. It hurts the environment because the mountain never recovers. And it hurts people, because they end up drinking and breathing all the crap and coal ash left over. I don't understand how this practice is legal but it is, and it needs to stop. Has to stop. I'm so glad Lamar Alexander is ready to make it stop. Your move, Bob Corker. If you want to see your connection to mountain top removal, click here. Then fire off an email to your senator or representative here thanking them for their action, or encouraging them to take action.

Classic cold weather stories.
You know the type: Wuthering Heights. House of the Seven Gables. Jane Eyre. I'm talking about the really dense old novels that completely suck you in and make your skin crawl (and do it without needless gore). I'm talking about the book you read late at night and while you're reading it, a tree scrapes against your house and makes you jump so hard you drop the book, and lose your place, and you think you should go to sleep before the book freaks you out anymore than it already has. But you don't go to sleep. Because there's a monster in Rochester's mansion. There's something shadowy in the window of one of those gables peering back out at you. There's something so sinister and sadistic about Heathclif you can't help but hate him, but what you hate even more is how you kind of love him too. You can't sleep away ghosts like those. So you pick the book back up, and you keep reading while the wind makes breathy patterns all over the window.

Fall is kind of incredible like that :)

What's making you smile this season?

You might be wondering where my leafy pictures are (Leafy! Leafy!). The leaves haven't turned much here yet. But soon. Soon.
* Or for the next week. A day, at least. You know.


  1. In four simple words...I love fall, too! I love that I can start to wear sweaters, and I don't feel like too much of a slouch if I wear jeans. It is my second favorite season, after winter of course.

    Also, finished the book. It was SO good. Definitely better than expected. And underneath all the 'stuff', there was a very deep and thoughtful story. I liked it. A lot. Thanks for the good read!

    Sing a little Kelly for me at the concert! Wish I was going, too. :( But all is well!

  2. I absolutely love that version of the "Pride and Prejudice" cover. I already own two copies of it, but that's so awesome that I might have to get it, LOL. It's sort of creepy and modern in a way, but it still fits with the story somehow.
    I love the piano music in "The Corpse Bride." Thanks for reminding me to watch that before Halloween. =)
    You've also made me want to finally read that copy of "Wuthering Heights" that's been in my bookcase since last Christmas.
    My pumpkin candle and scratchy swing records on my record player have made me smile this season, most importantly this weekend when I was stuck up here doing homework.

  3. Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks. Scarves (I have like 20). Forest green. Fuzzy socks (I wore bright pink ones yesterday and people looked at me jealously). Little Women. Season 1 of Gilmore Girls. Body pillows. Candy corn. Popcorn balls. Pumpkin spice candles. People not looking at you strangely if you happen to have a ball of yarn in your oversized purse. An excuse to look pale and not be weird.

  4. And pumpkin bread. With whipped cream. You can totally get it at Starbucks and then I'll totally be your best friend because I'm the one who told you about it.

  5. What is making me smile this season?
    Lots! My best friend just threw me a surprise birthday party. That made me smile alot! My boyfriend, friends and family were all there. It was awesome! I also love this season for so many birthdays. I get to buy everyone gifts!!! :) haha. A few more things are awesome music like David archuleta's Christmas album!, my new pea coat, snow boots, hot tea, cold mornings, fall harvest candles, and traveling.oh and endless reading :) I love this season because of the sense of family and love it brings with it.

  6. Mel, it makes me happy that we like cold weather. I feel like most girls are summer girls. I loathe summer. Glad you liked the book! I'll get you the rest when I see you :) I wish you were going to see Kelly too. It won't be as fun without you. Someday we should all try to go to the American Idol concert together. That would be a riot. Not as fun as N'SYNC, but fabulous nonetheless.

    Kristin, I re-buy books for the cool covers too :) I've been looking for a really pretty copy of Jane Eyre, which is dumb since I already have it. But I'm with you. Also, love that you listen to records. That scratchy sound is the best :)

    Ashley, warm fuzzy socks are awesome! You know those onlookers were jealous! :) I'll try pumpkin bread. I'm not as ga-ga over pumpkin as most people, but I try something pumpkin every fall. It doesn't feel right if I don't. My brother is a pumpkin fanatic, so he will be most grateful for the suggestion. The day pumpkin spice lattes come back at Starbucks ... that is his favorite day of the year.

    Steffanie, happy late birthday! How sweet that your friends had a party for you :) It's sweet how love makes you feel all warm inside even when the weather is icy. I love that too ... and I LOVE that Christmas is only two months away! :)

  7. "An excuse to look pale and not be weird." Ha, not so in my town (and we don't live at the beach). Let me rant for a moment. Every girl in my area between the ages of 13 and 25 has a permanent tan (courtesy of Tropical Rayz tanning salons), except me. I can't figure it out, except that maybe they want to look like festive gingerbread people for Christmas.
    Forgive my rudeness, but I find it ridiculous.

  8. I think people always look best when they work with what they have. If you're already tan, be tan. If you're pale, skip the fake tanner and bronzer and just be pale. I think both are really pretty, but once people try too hard to make their skin look like it isn't supposed to look ... it always looks weird. I grew up in a town where people hit the tanning bed all year long too. And I always thought ... is it really that bad to be pale? I will always be jealous of you lucky ducks who are able to tan in the summer, because you can walk outside without turning into a tomato. :) But other than that, I've learned to love the freckles. I'm proud of you for rocking your paleness, Kristin. In ten years, you'll be especially glad you didn't do a tanning bed.

  9. Things that make me smile this season:
    -Crunching leaves under my feet
    -The smell of cinnamon coming from the kitchen in the mornings
    -Getting to wear cute sweaters and boots that have been hidden fom the sun
    -The cold air that freezes the tip of my nose and creates wisps of steam from my mouth
    -Curling up with a fuzzy blanket to watch a new episode of Monk
    -Making hot chocolate just for the fun of it
    -Carving pumpkins with a mass crowd of friends
    -Bundling up to the cold just to swing at the park
    -Wearing sweats and fuzzy slippers around the house
    -Lighting candles around my room while doing homework
    -Taking drives just to see the beautiful foliage

  10. Glad to hear Biscuit loves her Kong--yay!

    I'm trying to think of what's rockin' my fall other than my normal loves (the changing leaves, sweatshirt weather, pumpkin pie candles, etc.). I'd have to say yoga. My mom, a roommate from college, and I enrolled in a local community class, and I'm loving it--again (it's my third or fourth time taking it; each time I try to bring someone new along and introduce them to the wonderfulness that is fitness yoga).

    My other new love this season is Godiva's triple-chocolate brownies (yay for yoga!). Their gooey goodness is so stinkin' delicious. ;)

  11. Jerica, love your list. My dad is a Monk fan too! I've only seen a few episodes, but he makes me laugh so much. Monk is a sweetie :) Reading about hot chocolate, fuzzy blankets, and candles left me with a big smile on my face. (I like seeing my breath curl in front of my face too :)

    Carra, is fitness yoga different than regular yoga? I tried yoga, once, but I didn't like how slow it was. Granted, I'm not very good at chilling out and slowing down ... so maybe that was the point I was missing :) I really like pilates though. Brownies ... brownies are my nemisis. I love the smell, the batter, everything. I never make them because when I do, I consume them all. I can only imagine what an amazing motivator Godiva brownies would be ...