26 October 2009

My name is not Justin Vernon and my thesis is not Bon Iver.

One awkward fall break.

While it is true that I took a page from Justin Vernon's book when I decided to hole up in a cabin for most of my fall break to produce what I hoped would be similar to the Bon Iver album, I have a feeling that my "cabin" experience was a little different from Vernon's. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure that NPR will never discuss my thesis.

I took three nights and four days to stay in a Bed and Breakfast in Monterey, Tennessee. While I had imagined a secluded cabin all to myself, I also find myself nervous about a complete disconnect from civilization (and honestly, the Blair Witch Project has left some lasting images in my mind for way too long). So I opted for a B&B, where I would be served breakfast in the morning- and I could trust that there was someone being paid to be sure that I had a pleasant experience. Mike, he was.

Apparently, these types of places typically serve the needs of a limited group of people- those getting married, those celebrating their anniversaries, or those having a romantic weekend away. Yes, I was very out of place. It was also pleasant to be constantly reminded that I was not in fact there for the same reasons. Why a constant reminder?

During my third day at the Inn, I was informed that there was limited space in the dining room- and I would need to sit with another couple for breakfast. I was also informed that one couple had already denied me- they didn't want to share their anniversary breakfast with me. Those cruel, cruel people. I did get the opportunity instead to meet some lovely couples during my last two mornings at the Inn. But that's the thing when you stay at a place like this- investment, personal investment in other people.

I did have a lovely time. I was successful in finishing a first draft of my thesis, which will now be subjected to the harsh eye of Tepper- but nonetheless, it was useful way to spend my fall break. And restful in a way.

After returning to the world of the living, I discovered an old friend (David Dondero) would be in town performing at a house party in Nashville. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than good friends and good music- and a house party. And so we did. While the show was scheduled to begin at 4pm, we were informed upon preparing for the party (read: imbibing) that it would actually begin closer to 8 or 9pm. Needless to say, it was a long night. Awkward and spectacular.

I could summarize quickly by saying that I tormented young hip kids for several hours while stealing away their beer...I watched a very, talented musician get cheated out of his money for the night...and I saw a dear friend of mine pass out in my chair. Regardless, enjoy some of the photos from the trip... and enjoy a short video that we took at the show.

I've mentioned before, but if you haven't familiarized yourself with the work of David Dondero- you should. And you should do it now.

From South of the South Video

21 October 2009

Otis Redding and Red Wine in the Mountains

I swore to myself I'd stay off the internet for the entire three days of my thesis vacation. I swore I wouldn't use the internet features on my phone either. Well, I lied. You have no idea how addictive it is to check your email. I had to forcibly hide my phone and I had to turn off the wireless function on my computer-- but I've decided to be thoughtful in my use. It will be a reward, much like the 5 magazines and 3 books I also bought for my trip- you know, the trip I was suppose to work the entire time. Distractions are surrounding me.

And I see updating my blog as a treat, a reward...for me, of course.

Regardless, one of the wonderful things about taking a trip like such- is getting to listen to music. And tonight on the agenda has been Otis Redding.

It did get me thinking about the first time I heard the song, "Try A Little Tenderness"- it most certainly wasn't Otis- in fact, it was Jon Cryer acting it out.

So, then I got curious- who else has done this song (read: distraction)-
Michael Buble, Chris Brown (hmmm), Three Dog Night, Percy Sledge, Nancy Wilson (are you kidding, why don't I own this?), Michael Bolton, Etta James (again, why am I missing this?), Perry Como, Rod Stewart, David Hasselhoff, Frank Sinatra and certainly the best version Mel Torme. I'm totally buying Torme later.

But where did it come from you ask?
Here are some facts (wiki-style)- written by Irving King (James Campbell and Reginald Connelly) and Harry Woods. Initially recorded in 1932 by Ray Noble Orchestra with Val Rosling on vocals. The Otis version is no doubt the most popular. And apparently placed 204 in the Top 500 greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone.

So, here you go- because I've got purple teeth and all- you should watch Otis sing it too.

I'm back to outlining a paper now. Enjoy.

03 October 2009

No excuses, but zombies.

While catching up on work today, I also took the time to catch up on old podcasts of All Songs Considered on NPR hosted by Bob Boilen. I now hypothesize that listening to good music increases my productivity more than working from the couch while watching bad movies on TBS. Thanks, Bob.

In addition, I came across this wonderful, wonderful song- and an album that I will anticipate for the next 3 days. The song "My Body's a Zombie For You" is one of the most wonderful songs I've heard recently. Why you might ask?

Well, for one, it is a sing-a-long (I absolutely love any type of sing-a-long). Two, the band is headed up by Ryan Gosling (who I have an incredibly, inappropriate crush on...which forces me to watch the movie The Notebook every single time it comes on television.) Three, it is perfect for Halloween (which I also adore). Four, it is about zombies (which reminds me of Becky and Art).

Here is the link to the Pitchfork page about the release. You can also listen to this beautiful song here.

So, go enjoy. Trust me, you'll love it.