21 December 2014

Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don't always spoil the good things and make them unimportant." -11th Doctor, Doctor Who

I don't know where to begin. I think it suffices to say that 2014 was a year of change and transition, or in a manner of speaking, a year of conjectures. As you are probably aware, the biggest transition was my move from Nashville to Flagstaff. After six years in Nashville, I packed up a truck and drove across the country to start a new life in a new place. And honestly, it has been bittersweet. It should come as no surprise that everything about this mix is tied to that moment, because if anything, 2014 was about that moment. From the seemingly endless job market to the official acceptance of a new position, this transition was woven into the fabric of my year. 

I can remember celebrating the New Year with Ashley and Michelle and all the lovely folks of the Germantown neighborhood, thinking, "This will likely be the last New Year we get to all spend together." And it became a joke (in that, every time I did ANYTHING, I said, "But, what if it is the last time?), but it always felt all too true. And then, one day, it was the last time.

 I plan to post my annual "A Year in Review" post closer to the new year; however, until then...here is the annual mix, complete with my typical banter about each song, some lyrics, and a few videos.

1. I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright): Hurray for the Riff Raff
Unfortunately, I only happened upon Hurray for the Riff Raff in the last month. I say unfortunately, because I could listen to them 22 hours a day and never feel bored (or, as my students might write, “board”). As typical in my "end of the year lists," there is generally a  band that I’ve only just heard of that shapes the transition from one year to the next. I have no doubt that this is the band that will do this for me. Absolutely amazing. 

“The sun is laughing in my face, shining its light on my mistakes,
You could be my Adam, I’ll be your summertime,
I’ll feed you watermelon off the vine, I know it’s wrong, but that’s alright.”

2.     Head Underwater: Jenny Lewis
I suppose if I was going to have a theme song for 2014, it would be this one. It reminds me of the feelings I had about leaving Nashville and moving to Flagstaff. It reminds me of all the heartbreaks that implied. It reminds me of that one afternoon in July, when you stopped by after work, walked into my apartment, and we danced in the living room...although I knew we shouldn’t have been doing any of that. Or, when we sat at that bar in Albuquerque. Because, there’s a little bit of magic in all of you. Every single one of you. It certainly reminds me of many thing I knew I shouldn't have done, but I did. And I don't regret one single moment. Because all of these moments are beautiful, no matter how weird, complicated, awkward, and well, fleeting. 

“I’ve been wearing all black, since the day it started,
When I stopped and looked back, as my mind departed,
I’ve been losing sleep and I cannot sleep still
I’m not the same woman that you were used to...
There’s a little bit of magic, everybody has it,
There’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass, 
There’s a little bit of magic,
Everybody has it.” 

3.     How: Regina Spektor
And, the heartbreak anthem. This one reminds me of 37208. It might be weird to dedicate a song like this to a neighborhood, but you know, I was in love with Germantown...and everything about it. And furthermore, it is hard to imagine ever loving a neighborhood and the people in it as much as I loved it. 

We will meet again somehow, my darlings. 

4.     Blue Eyes: Paul Baribeau
There’s miles in between, miles between… Yup, I can’t help it, but I miss you all the time, no matter the color of your eyes, my darling. 

5.     My Silver Lining: First Aid Kit
 If there ever is a song about my move, this is the one…

“I don’t want to wait anymore, I’m tired of looking for answers,
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter,
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow,
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no, I’ve got to go,
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races one,
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on…” 

6.     Violent Shiver: Benjamin Booker
I mean, Benjamin Booker, come on. Have you heard him? Have you seen him?


7.     Today and a Lonely Night: Justin Townes Earle 
Y'all know I heart JTE. He will always be Nashville to me. After moving, it took me a couple of months before I could listen to any of his music. I would hear his voice and the sadness I felt about leaving the city behind was too much. But I remember one day, I was walking around Flagstaff listening to his latest album. And this song played and it reminded me of how much I miss and love about that town. But how, sometimes, we also need to move somewhere new to start over again. Always, knowing we'll be back some day.

“I’ve been thinking of going West, just to climb up as high as I can get...I know inside, I’ll find my way back to this city tonight, feel the ground shake as the train goes by and not a star in the sky…” 

8.     You Are Your Mother’s Child: Conor Oberst
To all the beautiful babies out there part of my life, particularly my nephew Emmett and niece Rowan. I love watching the two of you grow up. 

9.     Cold Hands: Ezra Furman
I’m pretty sure I’m incapable of making any mix without the past three artists; however, out of all of them, Ezra belongs on every single mix. And honestly, the sentiment with this one works. 

“No particular pleasure to measure up to the pain. I want to be held in your cold hands.”

10.  History Eraser: Courtney Barnett
 I don’t know anything about Courtney Barnett. She is one of those last moment additions, as I came across her music recently. I love EVERY SINGLE THING about this song. 

“I got drunk and fell asleep atop the sheets,
but luckily I left the heater on.
And in my dreams I wrote the best song that I’ve ever written,
Can’t remember how it goes. 
I stayed drunk and fell awake
And I was cycling on a plane 
and faraway I heard you say you liked me.
We drifted to a party—cool. The people went to arty school.
They made their paints by mixing acid wash and lemonade.

In my brain I rearrange the letters on the page to spell your name.

I found an Ezra Pound and made a bet that if I found a cigarette,
I’d drop it all and marry you.
Just then a song comes on: “You can’t always get what you want,” 
the Rolling Stones, oh woe is we, the irony..."

11.   Forgiven/Forgotten: Angel Olsen 
My love affair with Angel Olsen continues.

“If there’s one thing I fear, there’s one thing I fear is knowing you’re around, so close but not near, so close, but not with me here. So close, but not with me here.” 

12.  When I’m Gone: Caitlin Rose
Leaving behind the place that became your hometown is hard. Leaving behind your friends and family is hard. There is no doubt about that. But, I think another difficult part may be leaving behind people that you grew close to in the hectic months before your departure. You know, they aren't the ones that shaped the years you lived in the neighborhood, but rather, people you find yourself getting closer to, when you know better. And no matter how much you may try to keep distance, they come into your life so rapidly, right before you are leaving to start a new life somewhere else. But you throw caution to the wind. You try to soak up every moment, knowing the days are numbered. And more than that, you know that when you leave, they'll be but a fleeting memory of the hazy days when you use to run around that old neighborhood. 

“Thinking, I’ve been thinking about leaving this old town behind,
I’ll beg and borrow, to leave tomorrow,
Find all my sorry, and take it back.
Come on, you can sleep when I’m gone.
I was lying when I said there’s plenty of time…
Lying, I’ve been lying,
I’ve been lying around with the dogs in this town too long…”

13.  Tennessee: Gillian Welch
You didn’t think we could make it through this year’s mix without a song by Gillian about Tennessee, did you? 

14.  No One Else: Hurray for the Riff Raff 
I want to drink the red wine until our lips are stained purple and dance with you in the kitchen to this song. 

15.  Slippery Slopes: Jenny Lewis
Seriously, Jenny Lewis, get out of my head.

16.  My Dear Acquaintance: Regina Spektor
Happy New Year, my darlings. Cheers to another beautiful year, full of sunshine and joy. Keep those that you love close by and embrace every single beautiful moment. And is there a better way to end the annual mix than a cover of a Peggy Lee (is that all there is?) by Regina Spektor? 

Here's how to access the mix for your personal listening pleasure. There are several options:

1) Subscribe to the mix on Spotify. Here is the link: Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

2) Watch and listen all the songs on YouTube. Here is the link: Conjectures: Katherine's 13th Annual Mix, 2014

3) Or, if you'd like a hard copy of the mix and/or cover art, send me a message via email/Face/tumblr with your address and I'll send you a copy for the holidays.

16 June 2014

June 16. Song of the Day. The Living and the Dead: Dave Dondero.

June 16. Song of the Day. The Living and the Dead: Dave Dondero.

"Got a scrambled heart, it's a little over cooked
Got a novel full of wishes missing from your book
There's no insurance in this life
No protection from the night
Too many rules and no direction
You walk under a knife
It's just this temporality, creating fleeting moments
If your lacking in permanent
You better make your moment potent..."

Today, this one feels perfect today. All this temporality, make all those moments potent, folks.

June 15. Song of the Day. Fade Into You: Au Revoir Simone.

June 15. Song of the Day. Fade Into You: Au Revoir Simone. 

15 June 2014

June 14. Song of the Day. Shoop: Salt-N-Pepa

June 14. Song of the Day. Shoop: Salt-N-Pepa

Last night was certainly one for the record books. We started with dinner and drinks at Silo with Ian, Ashley, and Michelle. Then, we ran into Robbie and Alan. And, luckily we were able to convince Allison to come back out to join us. We closed out Silo, before heading to the Queer Dance Party over on the East side. There was loads of dancing, karaoke, and laughter. And it became abundantly clear to me that if I was ever to do karaoke, it would have to be this song, and only this song. I'll never forget dancing my butt off surrounded by this fantastic group of people on a random night in June.

14 June 2014

June 13. Song of the Day. Perfect Day: Lou Reed

June 13. Song of the Day. Perfect Day: Lou Reed

This one has been stuck in my head since last night when it played on the jukebox at The Villager. And now, it will forever remind me of that wild and crazy night with Ashley, Allison, and Ian.

11 June 2014

June 11. Song of the Day. Epilogue: The Antlers.

June 11. Song of the Day. Epilogue: The Antlers.

This song reminds me of you, when both of us were less steady and the pull of gravity was so strong we fell to the ground often. While it may sound romantic in retrospect, it wasn't. In fact, it was tragic. And luckily, we both made it through those times to find something much more fulfilling.

A life full of stability and thoughtful choices and purpose. That is romantic to me.

"In a nightmare, I am falling from the ceiling into bed beside you.
You're asleep, I'm screaming, shoving you to try to wake you up.
And like before, you've got no interest in the life you live when you're awake.
Your dreams still follow story lines, like fictions you would make.

So I lie down against your back, until we're both back in the hospital.
But now it's not a cancer ward, we're sleeping in the morgue.
Men and women in blue and white, they are singing all around you,
with heavy shovels holding earth.
You're being buried to you neck.
In that hospital bed, being buried quite alive now.
I'm trying to dig you out but all you want is to be buried there together.

You're screaming,
and cursing,
and angry,
and hurting me,
and then smiling,
and crying,

And if you are interested, you can The Antlers newest release on NPR's First Listen.

10 June 2014

June 10. Song of the Day. Harry Nilsson: Coconut.

June 10. Song of the Day. Harry Nilsson: Coconut. 

The past couple of weeks, I've been fighting off some type of illness. So, yesterday, when I realized I'm getting dangerously close to having a throat so swollen I won't be able to eat, I made an appointment to see my doctor at Student Health. No, I won't stand for not being able to eat.

On my way out of the office, Dr. Hanson, my doctor, realized this was likely (and hopeful, in the case of this illness) the last time we would see each other. She wished me luck in Flagstaff. She told me to stay in touch. And then, she opened her arms and gave me a hug.

I guess not everyone has this type of relationship with their doctor, particularly at a clinic on campus. But Dr. Hanson and I go way back. She was the first doctor I saw at Student Health. I remember walking in there in substantial pain from what later was dubbed, Carl the Carbuncle. He was a somewhat stubborn clogged boil or something of the sort located in my armpit. Yeah, sexy, right? In my mind, he was humongous. But Dr. Hanson, calmly, eased me through the bludgeoning of Carl. She was kind and gentle and firm. I had to go back daily for almost two weeks to change out the bandages and so we got to know each other quite well.

She also helped me through the whole "heart skipping a beat" debacle and "sensitive nose" situation. She never judged me for coming in once every six months for a round of HIV/STD testing, but rather praised me for being a conscientious patient. And, thankfully, she always kept an eye on my mental well-being as related to my physical health. When she noticed I lost 30 pounds in the summer of 2011, she asked me about it. We went through a series of blood tests to find out if I had any related problems, like with my thyroid. When I rebounded those 30 lbs and then some, I shyly made a little joke about it, she said, "Well, that was a really rough summer for you, wasn't it? It is good you are back at your normal weight."

Cheers to Dr. Hanson, who will likely never read this, but yet, I felt the need to pay tribute to her...particularly given that hug today. I'm grateful.

June 9. Song of the Day. The Moon Song: Karen O

June 9. Song of the Day. The Moon Song: Karen O

I knew from the first moment I saw a trailer for the film Her that I would absolutely adore it. As suspected, I fell in love with the film. I watched it several times. And now, I'm anxiously awaiting my copy on DVD, so I can watch it over and over again.

One of the reasons I love the film so is because the relationship that develops between Theodore and Samantha reminds me of a long distance relationship. More so, the ways in which technology plays a role in relationship complicated by distance. When trying to maintain intimacy with a partner across the distance, the phone and computer take on a different relevance in your day-to-day life as you exchange hundreds of texts through out the day, schedule time to video chat, and email back and forth. While you know there is another person on the other side of the line, you spend more time in an intimate relationship with your telephone and computer than anyone else. And that is the part that really resonated with me about the relationship in the film.

There are dozens of reasons I love this film including the familiarity of the character of Theodore, who reminds me of one of my long distance partners, and the fragility of human emotion, which reminds all of us how we should seek out as much joy as possible in the time we are here.

And for what it is worth, every single time I hear this song from the film, all those emotions and memories come flooding to the surface.

08 June 2014

June 8. Song of the Day. If You Don't Know Me By Now: Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

June 8. Song of the Day. If You Don't Know Me By Now: Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

My grandmama has been on my mind lately. More so than usual. Its likely because this is around the time of the year we lost her. It has been two years ago and I miss her all the time.

This morning, I was walking home from the grocery store. Someone was blaring this song out of their car windows. It was one of her favorite songs.

And suddenly, it was like my grandmama was right there with me, holding my hand.