Thursday, November 18, 2010

these magical days.

Listening To: Pretty Girl from Matthews by The Avett BrothersLine Love: "A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen." - From Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone

I love it when roses are blooming on the rosebushes. I love that, even when the roses wither off the vines, the shadows still bloom against the porch.

Today I will be talking about The Punch Brothers and Harry Potter and blogs.

These three topics have nothing in common and, despite my particular savvy for creating random segues ... even I cannot make them connect. Just wanted to warn you from the start ... this post is not cohesive.

(How've you been by the way? You're looking adorable! New hair? Are those cordones you happen to be a-footing? I think cordones are the cutest Toms yet.)

Let us commence with the randomness!

Part I: In Which We Discuss The Punch Brothers. Also, Murky and Lurky.Appropriately, this week is shaping up to be pure magic start to finish. Monday settled in cold and rainy and "cold and rainy," in the same day, makes me squealy with delight. Tangent: I have my Murky moments. I'll reiterate this point for new readers. I don't know if you remember the cartoon Rainbow Brite? Rainbow Brite's arch-nemesis was a tiny skullet-sporting-meanie named Murky (he had a tall, furry sidekick named Lurky). Please, please search for an image of Murky from Rainbow Bright so you can see him in all his villanry.
Murky's one reason for living was to suck all the color of out the world - literally.
When I dance around on fall days talking about how much I love dark clouds and rain and storms and such, I feel like Murky. (I get you, Murky. That's all I'm saying.)

Where was I? The magic week! The Punch Brothers!

On Tuesday night, I went to see The Punch Brothers play at the Bijou in Knoxville. Thus, on Tuesday night, I may or may not have flung myself at the stage, screaming Chris Thile's name.

Actually. I sat in the second row of the balcony, smiling non-stop like the utter-utter goober I am. I'm pretty sure I saw Chris nod in my direction several times though. (That is sarcasm, btw.)

On a serious(ish) note, I didn't just go to marvel at the handsomeness of the guys in the band. They are crazy talented musicians and put on a great live show. I think The Punch Brothers are a perfect soundtrack for the contemporary mountain south; the south I love most of all. I'm not sure I even know how to explain that statement. I only know when I hear The Punch Brothers (and the Avett Brothers ... and The Wailin Jennys ...) play, I want to stay rooted in the stuff that matters. And I want to be brave enough to wonder. The Punch Brothers play like that. They play classics without ever coming off like a coverband. They play new without being snobby. Their music is kinda wild and strange ... the kind of music that flicks back and forth between refined and unruly, between sorrow and surprise. It's dancing music. Thinking music. Dreaming music. They look like they're investing their hearts in every chord they pluck and their lyrics are pure poetry. That makes for a truly special show. (Also, I think they are handsome.)

If you're in need of some downloads, check out their new album Antifogmatic. I'm particularly fond of the song "Alex."

After The Punch Brothers, we went to iHop (is iHop spelled with the little "i," like iPod? Or is Steve Jobs doing some sort of mindmeld on me?). iHop is one of my favorite post-concert traditions. While we stuffed our faces with pancakes, The Rogue Accountant and I caught up with our dear friend Caitlyn. Midnight pancakes make for the best conversations, yes? We talked about people we know and people we don't know and bands we like and how very, very often we quote the movie Hocus Pocus when we talk to each other. It's like I can mark my different friend groups by which movies we quote to each other. My "tribes" all speak different movie languages.

Our waitress also informed us that there was a creepy UPS man who came in every night past midnight talking crazy and, if he came in again, she was calling 911.

Confession: My first thought was, "That'd be cool to blog about."

I recommend The Punch Brothers. I recommend making a midnight iHop run with your friends. I do not recommend crazy UPS men.

Part II: In Which We Discuss The Boy Who Lived.On Friday morning at midnight, you know where I'll be. I'll probably be where you are.

That sounded so creepy.

What I mean is ... I'm going to see The Deathly Hallows. I know you people love Harry and Hermione and Won-Won as much as I do and so I figure you might be at a midnight showing too. If you're in my city and at The Theater with Imax Capabilities, I'll be the short girl in dark-rimmed glasses stroking a box of Junior Mints and calling it "my precious." Holler!

I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to this movie. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning; so much sad and happy and nervousness all churning together in my heart. Those books rocked my heart so hard. The movies are stunning. Sirius Black is my literary crush second only to Gilbert Blythe. (I'd planned on wearing a t-shirt to this premier with the names of the marauders on it ... but it didn't get here in time.) (I'll wear it for the second half next summer ... and show you a pic. You'll dig it.) I can't believe the movies are almost over but I'm ready for this finale. It will be big and scary and beautiful and sad. The best stories always are.

Are you going? Are you as excited-sad-happy as I am about this?

Part III: In which we discuss blogs that make me smile.Lately, I've discovered a few new blogs I thought you might be interested in:

* Seasons of My Life by Trish Dubes. I connected with Trish awhile back and I've been following her blog adventures ever since. Actually, Trish authors two blogs - a personal blog and a blog for her new venture, Frilly Milly Events. Frilly Milly is like this whimsical blend of Martha Stewart and Urban Outfitters and Domino Magazine. It is hipster without being even a little bit pretentious. I adore reading what she has to say on both sites (and printing out her recipes) (candy corn cupcakes!). Her photography is beautiful. I've discovered some great new bands thanks to her. And she makes me laugh. On her personal blog, she recently shared this gem of a quote:

"Scarves are like a woman's version of a beard. If you drop crumbs while eating you can find them in your scarf for an afternoon snack."

That's pretty much fabulous. On that same post, she name drops "Book-It." Book-It?! Please. Book-It was my life in elementary school. Why is there no Book-It for adults?!

* Piewacket. I suppose Piewacket would be considered a lifestyle blog. The author is a photographer, who frequently shares her work. Her work is stunning. But she shares more than that too: she talks about what she's reading and watching and listening to. Her interests are so diverse and so fun (without being pretentious) (being un-pretentious is a must for me) that I always spend inordinate amounts of time reading along. Also, she writes a great deal about what's-worth-doing in Atlanta. I live pretty close to Atlanta now, and I've just started exploring its vast riches. I've made several notes of "must-do's" thanks to her site. You can check it out here.

Cynsations. This isn't a new read for me; I've been a fangirl forever and then some ... but it is most definitely worth a mention. If you love childrens lit, and young adult lit, this blog is a must read. I particularly adore the author interviews (the little kid in me never gets tired of hearing what inspires authors to go after certain stories). I love the variety. I think, in any genre, certain books get way more hype than others. Sadly, really incredible novels seem to get lost in the marketing machine. I adore Cynsations because the blog focuses on so many different kinds of books - epic and artsy and commercial and literary and all that and none of that. It's a great place to discover new reads. The Cynsations Universe is ruled by YA author Cynthia Leitich Smith, who just wrote a new picture book called Holler Loudly that I cannot wait to read.

* Ashley Mays. For many, many years, I wrote a monthly column in a magazine called Brio. Ashley Mays was a staff writer for Brio. She's a super sweet, super spunky person and she just put together a website made of swank and sass that you can check out here. If you already know her from the Brio era, then I'm sure you already adore her. If not, I'm pleased as punch to introduce you.

Those are just a few newbies that are regular clicks for me. But if you could see my GoogleReader, you would quickly surmise that I am out of control with blog adoration. In fact, while I watched The Pioneer Woman throwdown Thanksgiving Dinner with Bobby Flay last night (vanilla brussel sprouts ... my mind still can't wrap around that), I kept screaming, "There's Marlboro Man!" Or, "Is that Tim?!" I've read her blog for so long, I felt like I was watching my favorite sit-com. Blogs are too fun. Which gave me an idea.

I know many of you are fabulous bloggers. I know because I read your blogs and I adore them. I've received a few emails recently with people asking how to gain a readership for blogs.

My answer is: Um ... I have no clue. :) I think you are the sweetest and cutest bunch of readers in the world, but we are not mass in number. That said! If you're blogging, and you wanna maybe connect with a few more swanky bloggy types, here's an idea: introduce yourself down in the comments, and share a little bit about what your blog's all about. (Or maybe you just want to comment and say, "Hey." Or maybe you want to say, "Junior Mints instead of Sour Patch Kids?! What brand of crazy doest thou speak?!" Comment as your heart desires.)

Hopefully, as you check back in the comments you can find some new blogs to visit and get inspired by. Truly, you people inspire me all to pieces. You guys are Punch Brothers awesome. You are Sirius Black awesome. You are pancakes with apples on top awesome.

And that's a fact.

Go Gryffendor!


  1. I, too, was an obsessive Book-It-er. We SHOULD start a Book-It for adults.

    (Does Book-It even exist anymore?? And are the prizes still personal pan pizzas? Gosh, I feel old.)

    PS: Thanks for the shout out. :-)

  2. I'm going to see Harry tomorrow after work. I'm thrilled but a little sad, this being the beginning of the end of the movie journey. And where did you order this t-shirt? Must get one! :)

  3. Also, note to Natalie's readers...

    It appears that my site is down and my web guy is in Peru. Boo!

    But in the meantime, you can check out my blog:

    The bloggy love never goes down! :-)

  4. I'm so excited about Harry Potter!! I was happy to see it made your blog post :) It's gonna be so sad when it's all over. When I finished the last book I wanted to cry. I hate book series least the magic continues until next summer!

    Cute website Ashley! I always loved your Brio articles.

    I wish I had a personal blog, but the father doesn't agree. So for now I don't have one. (I plan on asking again to make one then next time I go through any transition so I can tell him it'll be therapeutic). But I do blog for my webzine for missionary girls:

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the movie, Natalie! :)

  5. I used to LOVE the Book-It program! Starting one for adults sounds like a good plan to me. Let's do it.

    Also, thanks for the music/blog suggestions! I'm always up for discovering new things along those lines, and I tend to like your taste. ;)

    Oh, for the record (and since you asked), it's IHOP (all caps). However, I think your version of it looks much cuter. Haha.

  6. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Harry Potter! I will be there and I can't wait!
    P.S. The quote you used in the beginning made me tear up.

  7. I am so excited for Harry Potter!! I will not be at my town's midnight showing, though. I like to be at least partially conscious when I watch movies, and I am not a good stay-up-late person. When I was younger (that makes me sound so old), I used to love staying up all night at church lock-ins. Now I realize that I get mean and ill and hateful when I lose sleep. So, for the sake of those around me, I am going tomorrow afternoon to see HP. :) I'm still rereading the book-at "The Elder Wand" chapter. I know I didn't have to read this far for Part 1, but I couldn't resist finishing it. Anyway, I cannot wait for tomorrow! It's going to be lovely and sad. The other day, my dad (who I call Googledorf, because that's what he jokingly calls Dumbledore) said, "What are you going to do when the last movie comes out and Harry Potter is over?" I refuse to think about it.

    I've discovered several great blogs through the comments on your blog, so I'm looking foward to checking out the ones in your post today. As for introducing myself and my blog in my comment: I am a nerdy bookworm, seamstress, and classic movie fan who blogs about my favorite things and why I was born decades too late. :)


  8. Book-It? YES. We should all just start our own little program. :]

    Also, can I just say that this blog was the first place that I heard anything about Mumford & Sons, and because of that I got tickets to one of their concerts just in time before they sold out? Thank you, for that. SO MUCH! :]

    My blog is nothing too special, but my name is Allyson and I have one. A blog, that is. Let's be friends, guys!

    Have a great weekend!

  9. So how was the movie?

    My blog's not much, but I kinda love it. :)

  10. My sisters still do book-it :) They actually do something here where I live, where if you read a certain amount in one month, you get a free ticket to a theme park near here. It's pretty cool!

    I just started a blog... it's not much but check it out if you want :)

  11. I'm kinda scared to reveal my blog, because it's been around exactly a week. But I trust that no one here bites. ;)

    It's just a personal blog that I've started as practice for next year when I go off to college (you know, when my friends and family will actually want to read it). It has no real point or theme: it's just me. :)

  12. I just want to thank you for your blog Natalie! I used to get Brio mag years ago and always loved your columns and found your blog when looking for other stuff you had written. It's one of my favorites. :)

    I started a blog about a year ago.

  13. okay how about a real comment. I was just so excited about the movie, which I thought, BTW, was amazing. What'd you think?
    I'm glad you got to see your fave band, and I love what you said about you and your friends and the way they all speak differently. that's so true. all friendships have unique languages and it's just so fun.
    so here's me and my sissy's blog, it's not that special and we don't have many followers, but it's a good place for us to be us. please visit!