Sunday, May 16, 2010

spiders across the stars.

Listening To: Josh Ritter. Over and over and over ...
Quotage: The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, delirious of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..." - from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I saw Josh Ritter in concert last night and Oh. My. Word. His music is all I can think about now. His concert was one of the best live shows I've seen. I'll swoon all about the show next week. But if Josh Ritter is touring near you - please go. You'll leave inspired and happy and aching to get a pen in your hand so you can write something beautiful. Joe Pug opened and he was also brilliant. The lyrics to their songs are perfection. I'm about to do jumpy claps just thinking about it. (For a story/song that will break your heart in the most wonderful way ... scoot over to iTunes and download Josh Ritter's "The Curse." "The Curse" is a twisted and wonderful kind of love story. Like a great novel crammed into a 3 minute song. It made me shiver.)

So that I can collect my thoughts on Josh Ritter and Joe Pug and not come off like some hopeless fangirl (though, admittedly, I am exactly that), I'll limit today's post to the following topics:

1. Hallmark. My brother and I couldn't get together to pick a Mother's Day card until last Saturday. At that point, the place was crazy-go-nuts. Chase, of course, planted himself a safe distance from the wild herd of card seekers, nodded toward them, and said, "Just pick something from both of us." And as I used my shoulders and elbows to shove my way to the front, where I could actually pick up a card, I heard him yell, "But don't pick something corny."

Have you ever been to Hallmark the weekend of some sort of nationally recognized holiday/event? It is chaos. It is madness. My bffSarah, who is not so OCD she can't function, but just OCD enough for me to take wicked delight in messing with her mind*, would have been flailing about wildly. Because people were putting cards back in the wrong slots. Now, I'll admit ... I'm an envelope swapper. Like, if the card comes with a white envelope? Please. I'm so picking a different color. But shuffling the cards is not something I do. (Typically.) That day? There were no rules. People were reaching for cards like they had golden tickets to Wonka Tower tucked inside. You had one chance for a swipe, then you were shoved aside until you elbowed your way back to the front again. Card picking was further complicated by the fact that pickings were so slim. Lots of the Hallmark cards read like bad country music songs. If it's too cheesy for even me ... then it's pretty much Velveeta in word form.

I finally found a card with a little girl feeding a monkey a banana. It seemed like a good idea at the time. (My mom prefers humorous to sentimental.) (Although sometimes I get her one of each because I'm sappy like that.)

Then Chase and I went halfers on a giftcard to Lowe's (mom 's trees) and then we joined the fam for dinner at Outback. As we boxed up our food to leave, Mom said, "You should write our names on these boxes so we don't have to open them and look when we get back home." She's a smartie. So we wrote our names. But my brother wrote the following:

In case you can't see the fine print, the box says: "Caution! ... Human Organ." The day wasn't exactly sentimental, but it was quite fun :)

2. Birthday Parties. Specifically: the Sweet 16 party my neighbor that would make the MTV execs do choreographed high-kicks of delight. I kid you not: I thought people only had parties like this on the WB. Picture this: I was shutting down my computer, getting ready for bed (at 10:00! Insane! Insert your jokes about Matlock and Ovaltine here:_______). And then the sky erupted in a series of shattery booms. I was already aware my neighbors were partying, because I had been bopping my head, and dancing through the house, to various kinds of hip-hop they were blasting from car-sized speakers in their backyard. (Am I the only girl who likes bluegrass at her parties?) But around 10:00 ... the fireworks came.

Necessary backstory: I grew up way out in the country, where cow fields are a plenty, and stars shine so bright you wanna lay out in the grass and stare at them for hours. Sometimes, on the 4th of July, my dad would set off fireworks. This consisted of dad placing around ten rockets in Coke bottles and then firing them up into the atmosphere (which means some of them made it above the treeline before they exploded). I've also seen my brother and his band of manly guy friends climb rooftops and run through fields trying to find new ways to shoot off fireworks.* (What is it with boys and fire?) Anyway! The point is ... I thought I'd seen some good homespun fireworks displays.

And then I moved here. My neighbors let off fireworks to rival any small town 4th of July Festival. They had a fireworks cannon! ... an actual machine that poof-poof-poof-poofed them out one right after another! They were so pretty and loud and the whole show lasted a really long time.

So I was standing on the back porch, watching the fireworks when Biscuit, poor Biscuit, came to the door. She stepped outside, looked up in the sky, squealed, and backed up into the house.

I found her standing under a table in the living room, tail tucked. When the second round of fireworks went off, she ran under the bed, where she stayed for a long time (until she was finally pulled out). After that, she stayed snuggled close beside me, trembling all night long. It was so sad. Those fireworks scared her silly. I don't know what we'll do on the 4th of July.

3. Gaga vs. Ace of Base. This will only make sense if you were alive and thriving in the early 90's. You know the new Gaga song she sang on American Idol a few weeks ago? Alessandro (or something)? I think it sounds just like an Ace of Base song. Does anyone remember this band? I got my first CD player when I was in middle school. The first CD's I ever received were: Garth Brooks, Hootie and the Blowfish, and a compilation CD of country music singers covering Eagles songs. I took my Christmas money and bought Ace of Base and Alanis Morisette. Oh, the memories! :) Speaking of Idol, I'm mostly bored with it this year. Bowersox has been my girl from day 1. I think she'll take it. Her duet with Lee was great last week. Still ... something's off this season. I think American Idol as a show, and as a social hub, is starting its slow descent into oblivion. Glee is pulling me closer though. That Puck is such a doll. (Is it creepy that I'm saying that? Saying he's a doll doesn't sound too cougary does it? Is he really a teenager?)

4. I so love Tennessee. I'm always proud to be a Tennessee girl, but over the past few weeks, as new hero stories emerged from Nashville, my pride is nearing epic levels. I don't think Nashville is getting the media coverage it deserves. Maybe the rest of the nation is aware of the severity of the flooding. But they also need to be aware of all the good rising out of that city right now. Way to show the world what it means to be neighborly, Middle Tennessee. :) If you want to read a more personal perspective on the whole ordeal, check out Annie's blog (Annie is one of my favorite bloggers -- you'll love her dearly). I'm also partial to this YouTube clip.

Endnotes! Loved reading your notes about your mamas :) I also noticed some comments on the last post regarding the Bible Study method mom taught me in High School. I'm happy to share! I'll make that a topic of one of next week's post. Also, I'm hoping to have the Q&A post up sometime soon. Thanks for sending such fun questions. If you have a question you'd like answered (that doesn't have to do with politics, raw meat, or math) (neuroscience isn't a speciality either, but I can always make stuff up ...), let me know in the comments or shoot me an email sometime this week. I'll keep all questions anon for that post.

Hope you're having a great weekend! : )

* Like, I might have reverse a couple of pictures on her mantle once. Or, if I know she's coming over, I'll mix up the order of series books I have. Narnia and Harry Potter will still be shelved within their appropriate series ... but I'll switch around the numbers. The BEST was when I knew I would be going by her house, so I only painted my nails on one hand. It's really a miracle we're still friends.
** And yes, I was always the overprotective dork constantly yammering about how dangerous fireworks were. I even emailed them YouTube clips one year about how to be safe with fireworks. (The clips were intense! The mannequins that held onto the fireworks too long actually lost limbs!) I'm sure they watched the videos intently and took copious notes.


  1. I love that Chase wrote Human organ on his food box. Mark Salling who plays Puck on Glee is in fact in his mid twenties and fun fact, he grew up at Scofield and his parents still attend today. Puck was at our Christmas eve service, it made me laugh when i saw the mohawk and realized who it was :) Hope you are well my dear.

  2. aww, poor Biscuit! My golden retriever, Taffy, was scarred for life when our neighbors set off fire works. now she can't even stand thunder!

    love that your brother wrote that on his food box; that's sounds like something my brother would do! :)

    Happy Sunday!

  3. Kay ... Puck's parents go to your church?! I must visit Dallas. For Christmas. When he is there. That's possibly the most fun celeb sighting ever :)

    Happy Sunday to you too Courtney! Taffy sounds just like Biscuit. And it makes me feel bad b/c it's not like you can reassure a dog that it's okay. Like, I can hold her and pet her and all that but she was freaked out for the rest of the night. We don't have bad storms here usually, but if we did .. I bet the thunder would be bad news. (Thanks for your note re: the Courtyard Hounds. I listened to some clips on iTunes and I wasn't feeling it. It was good to have my first impression affirmed ... :)

  4. Oh...the books being out of order on the bookshelf would have driven me crazy! LOL I probably would've had to switch them. I sympathize with Sarah. :)

  5. You are just so funny!
    Yeah, I quit watching Idol this year when it got to like the top 8. It just doesn't seem good anymore, and with Simon not coming back next year, it's totally going down the tubes. But I agree Crystal rocks!

  6. I'm done with Idol. I think the thing is (I was actually analyzing it this weekend because it's more fun than watching it) is that there is talent, but nobody has that "star" quality. No stage presence really. That indescribable quality that makes you stop what you're doing and pay attention. And I was totally bummed w/Big Mike leaving. I didn't think he was that great initially (esp when he bailed on the birth of his baby), but he's grown a lot (musically).

    And I totally remember Ace of Base. All that she wants...isanotha bay-bah!"

  7. (:

    i always love to get on and read what you have to say.
    your posts always brighten up my day, but the only time i ever get on anymore is when i post something new. FROWNYFACE. which is hopefully from this post onward going to try to be successfully frequent (: crossy-fingers. (i think i found my voice. it got lost for a little while)

    oh my goodness. I made it through my last few days of AP English with ms. brewster (: im excited (:
    i never thought i'd make it this far.
    which means all thats left is college and the rest of my life.

    As always.
    thanks for brightening my day.
    love aaallllways.

  8. LOL! I swear I jump up and down everytime I see that you've posted something new!

    Yes.. I hate it when the BEAUTIFUL cards come with plain dull boring envelopes... LAME! LOL I always go and find a new pretty one!

    My 16th birthday is in 15 days!! WOOH! But I won't being having a big party.. I'll have some friends over and well go midnight bowling! Better remember to bring my camera! =]

    Alejandro... Wow. I actually met a guy names Alejandro at Winter Jam this year! He lives in Chile (Trust me the earthquake scared me to death!) and when I heard that song I DIED laughing! Now everytime I talk to him I have to say it like Lady GaGa!! =] He hates it =]

  9. I love Josh Ritter. Haven't dug too far into his stuff, but I plan to expand my CD collection in that direction next. I made a mix a couple weeks ago for a friend of mine and now he keeps singing to me, "All the other girls here are stars, you are the northern lights..." It's pretty wonderful.

    My brother applied for a job at the Hallmark store today. I think he's oddly excited about it.

    I'll take any party with bluegrass. A friend of mine got married last year and had a live bluegrass band at the reception and it was perfect. (Of course, they also gave out moonpies and RC cola as guest favors. And the groom's cake was General Lee.)

    I've been trying to collect enough excuses to go to Tennessee to make a trip up there explainable to anyone who asks. I'd love to head that way sometime soon.

  10. The same thing happened to me when I went to Hallmark the day before Mother's Day. Luckily, I had already gotten one for my mom. Tucker had procrastinated. :) my dog, Daisie, also hates fireworks. She starts panting, digging in the carpet and hides in my closet. It's so sad. She about has a heart attack. Looking forward to the next post! :) have a good week!

  11. That quote at the beginning...I saw it for the first time a couple months ago posted outside an instructor's office and took a quick photo. There's just something about it. :)

    And agreed, Bowersox = amazing.
    Re: they still air Survivor or Big Brother anymore? We used to watch those in the early early seasons as a family.


  12. Katie, yes, they still air Survivor! =) My family has been watching it since season 1 and still does. This past Sunday night was the finale of the 20th that's pretty much 10 years. They're running out of ideas, but it's still hilarious. =)


  13. Natalie, I just wanted you to know you've been awarded at my blog!