I am in love with This Will be the Death of Us - Set Your Goals did an amazing job on this album, and I have a feeling it'll be in heavy rotation in the next few months. I think what I love about it so much is that it's not just awesome music, it's an awesome message as well - it's a 38 minute fuck you to people who have sold out the scene, and a celebration of the kind of music that I wish there were more of in the world. I can't wait to see them on Thursday; it's gonna be an awesome show, and I'm so ready for it. I haven't been to a concert in weeks - I miss the feeling of it.
In other news, Pete Wentz is being awesome in public, which I love; Ryan Ross, on the other hand, is being a bit of an idiot. My job still sucks, but I only have fifteen more days of work. I leave Chicago on August 9th - I'm taking a whirlwind trip through Boston and Jersey to see family and friends, and then spending two weeks in North Carolina. I leave for Tel Aviv on August 26th, though I won't actually get there until the 27th. Shenanigans will ensue!
I can't believe I'm moving to Israel.
It's complicated (and isn't it always complicated?) but I really don't want to leave Chicago. It sucks that I'm leaving my friends, it sucks that I'm leaving this city, I don't want to have to start all over, and I'm pissed that I'm leaving behind this boy that I really like and could potentially have a really great thing with. But I'm moving to Israel! It's going to be awesome. I'm going to live with two really great people in Jerusalem for ten months, studying things that are really fulfilling and important to me, and I'm going to have crazy adventures in foreign countries, and that's awesome. So awesome.
This is pulled together from what a lot of my acquaintances over at icecreamhdaches have been saying – credit to the mods and to lovelypoet, minna, loveyouallwrong, and riadsala.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since yesterday, because the thing is, if I’m going to be arguing with people about why the video for “Weightless” is misogynistic and dumb then I’d like to have all of my arguments marshaled and ready to go. Consider yesterday’s post an opening salvo.
One of the things that I really find frustrating about the video is how skewed it is in its’ portrayal of male and female fans. For example – the guys in the video get made fun of for bad tattoos, lack of talent and stupid clothes. The girls, on the other hand, get made fun of for enthusiasm, mental health, sexuality, physical attractiveness, and materialism.
In this video there are 29 insults to women and 18 to men (Yes, I counted. Shut up.). Of the female insults, only two (the overpriced band t-shirt girl and the girl who gets punched in the face) can be argued to be somewhat sexually neutral. The rest ARE girls who are fucking the band, are trying to fuck the band, or wish they were fucking the band. How hard is it to say...make the “All Time Blow” guys girls instead? Or hey, how about the merch girl wishes she was in the band?! Or how about any characterization where girls are not their vaginas?
Something else that bothers me is the logical fallacy displayed by the quote “good personalities don't get you back stage.” ...that's right, ladies, if you're hot you're a slut and therefore not worth knowing, and if you're not hot, you're not worth knowing! Also, what, you can’t say no? Poor dudes in bands…life must be so difficult for them, having to sleep with (un)attractive women for the music. Why is it that the women in these relationships are all being called sluts while the guys, who drive around from city to city and have sex with random girls aren’t called out on it?
Here's the thing, though - when a band's stage banter consists of asking 14-year-old girls to throw their bras up on stage and joking about how much they want to sleep with the hot girls in the audience, how is it really surprising that their fans then believe that they need to show their appreciation for the band by offering sex? That's the way the band has taught them they need to behave in order to get noticed.
Don’t tell me to let it go, or to take it less seriously. And ladies, don’t tell me that you’re not personally offended. Fine – you’re not offended. You don’t think it’s a big deal. I do. I think it sucks. I think it sucks out loud, and I want everyone to know about it.
All Time Low released a new video today, for their song "Weightless" off of their upcoming album Nothing Personal.
Let me start with a few positive things - first of all, I love the song. I think it has a great hook, and that it's a great summer song. I empathize with the lyrics - "I'm over getting older\maybe it's not my weekend\but it's gonna be my year" and I definitely know the feeling of being tired of wasting time, wanting to start moving forward.
I'm also really fond of the message All Time Low is sending in general right now, calling the scene out on some of its more ridiculous trends - see "tight leggings aren't for everyone" and "cut your hair you look ridiculous." I'm even a fan of "sleeping with band dudes doesn't make you famous" because it doesn't, and we should definitely be discouraging the kind of thinking that teaches girls that sex with semi-famous musicians is validating in some way.
That being said, I have a problem with the "Weightless" video and it is this: the phrase "band sluts." Guys. You were so close to doing something really awesome with this video. What's with all of the degrading of women?
I think there were other ways to make that joke without actively tearing down women. I get the point the band is trying to make - "sleeping with band dudes doesn't make you famous." But I also think that particular culture is a very different one from some of the other jokes they made - v-necks, bro hugs, texting at shows, merch guys wanting to be in bands. If they don't want teenage girls to throw themselves at band members than I think the target should be band dudes who sleep with groupies. Make them look sketchy and uncool. Give the girls a break.
Went to see the Barenaked Ladies at the Taste on Tuesday - it was a good show, but I felt mostly like I was hanging out at a picnic and there happened to be Barenaked Ladies music playing over a PA.
I'm planning a little emergency stress relief kit for my roommate, who's having a crappy time of it right now. Play-dough, a coloring book and some crayons. Maybe some bubbles, too, if they're cheap.
In other news, I'm a huge fan of the Official White House Photostream on Flickr. Specifically, I love that the pictures are of really normal, everyday events, and then bam, there's a foreign dignitary. It's a great glimpse into life in the White House.
There's a new Avett Brothers song at loose in the world - you can listen to it here. It's amazing. "brooklyn, brooklyn, take me in. are you aware the shape i'm in? my hands they shake, my head it spins. oh, brooklyn, brooklyn, take me in."
I've got six more weeks in Chicago, which is a really surreal thing to be aware of. I have some big things to accomplish before I leave, including applying for a visa, purchasing a plane ticket from Chicago to Boston, working out taking the train\bus from Boston to New Jersey, getting to D.C., and then getting home. Also I have to work out whether I want to haul all of my luggage around to all of those cities - I think I might just go to Boston, and not do the rest of the stops, but I'm not sure...
I'm not ready to leave Chicago, which makes me think that I'll probably be coming back here after I leave Israel. There are a lot of places here that I could work, and be happy, and a lot of things I love about the city that I want to explore more. There are so many things I haven't done yet, and so many places I haven't been yet. I feel like in some ways I just figured this city out, and now I'm leaving it behind. I hope I have the same feeling of connectedness in Jerusalem that I have here.
The last two weeks of my life have been really, really difficult. Mourning the loss of a grandparent isn't easy - and there are a lot of complicating factors in my relationship with my grandmother and my father and his siblings that make this a difficult situation for me to navigate. Add in a five day jaunt with a boy that I really like who has now left to be in California for the next five weeks, and I'm a mess of emotions.
Being with him for those five days was amazing - but also completely terrifying and nerve-wracking and huge. It was a lot for me to process, and then to add in the feeling of being left at the end of all of it (even though he's coming back) was really difficult.
Let me just say this - last week was a really bad week for my therapist to go on vacation. I have an appointment in the morning, and I really feel like I need it.
I just watched the trailer for The Time Traveler's Wife, and it's moving up my list of must-see movies. Right now that list basically consists of Public Enemies, 500 Days of Summer, and Where the Wild Things Are, so it doesn't actually take that much to get bumped.
Simple goal for today - clean my office, and catch up on paperwork. Let's see if it happens!
The past eight days of my life have been insane - to explain in detail would be super complicated, but here's the summary:
I left Chicago on Tuesday for the funeral, had to fly to Atlanta to get to D.C., and then crashed at the hotel. Wednesday was the funeral (horribly sad, my mother yelled at me for looking bored in the receiving line, to which i responded "my grandmother just died, I can look however I want to, plus who the hell decided it was a good idea to have a receiving line at a funeral?"). Thursday I escaped the condo to take a tour of some of the House office buildings (my cousin is a staffer for a Rep. from Kentucky, so she's got access to all the cool places), and ate my way through a second minyan in a room full of people I didn't know. Friday I flew back to Chicago, got stuck in Philadelphia for an unconscionably long period of time, finally made it home, crashed in my own bed. Spent Saturday chilling, canoeing in the Skokie Canal (got paid to go canoeing because I participated in a study about the effects of the water quality on people who recreate in the water [which is really, really gross]), and then Saturday night our house hosted an Oregon Trail themed party.
And this is where it gets epic, because I finally hooked up with the boy I've been crushing on for awhile (not the one who turned out to be an asshole - I've moved on from him, and he's actually hooking up with my roommate), but another, amazing awesome person. I wound up spending the night at his place in a totally no-shenanigans, just sleeping way. And then he made me pancakes. :) Spent yesterday napping, and then went to Chicago Blues Fest from 5-10ish, where we had an excellent picnic, I got a good bit of sun, and there was cuddling. And dancing. And the boy is leaving on Thursday for a five week trip to California, so I'm just enjoying the few days that I have, rather than worrying about the logistics of what's going on between us.
There have been a lot of emotional highs and lows over the last few days. I think it's actually a blessing in disguise that he'll be gone for a few weeks, so that I have some time to find a little balance post-funeral. There's a lot going on in my life right now, and I'm working on figuring it all out.
I've been listening to a few albums on repeat lately:
Glasvegas - Glasvegas ("my name is geraldine, i'm your social worker")
Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger ("just keep your head above, swim")
Paramore - Riot! ("i'll take the truth at any cost")
Set Your Goals - Mutiny! ("i will mourn the loss and i will be stronger")
I've been listening to a lot of Glasvegas in the last twenty-four hours. I can't explain it - it's melancholy, but it's big - I feel like the music is filling me up with sadness, rather than draining me dry. And that's what I need right now - something to keep me full.
I'm getting on a plane tomorrow at 7 am so I can fly to Atlanta so I can fly to Washington, D.C. so that I can go to my grandmother's funeral on Wednesday. I'll be traveling through Friday - I don't get back to Chicago until 3:15ish, which means I'm not going back to work until Monday.
I'm stuck on a loop of grief and anger. This sucks. It sucks that she died, it sucks that she died this week of all weeks, it sucks that I'm missing some things I really want to do so that I can be at her funeral and it sucks that I'm upset about that. I don't want to deal with any family drama right now and I'm going to get sucked right into it as soon as I get off of the airplane and I just. I want to be with my friends right now - the family I've pulled together here, not the family I was born into. This is not what I need but it's what I have to be doing and so I will do it. But I refuse to pretend that everything is alright.
I spent my morning avoiding work and instead planned an awesome trip around the east coast after my program ends. I have to move out of my current apartment on the 9th of August, and I won't leave for Israel until August 27 or 28, so rather than spend three weeks going crazy in my parents house, I'm going to fly to Boston, and then work my way from there to New Jersey, and then to DC, and then home. It'll cost less than $250, because I can take buses and trains most of the way, and it'll be really great to see all of my relatives and a bunch of my friends before I move to Israel. Plus, there's the added awesome factor of transitioning slowly home from AVODAH to my parents house, rather than jumping right from one to the next.
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my grandfather's death. I'm going to temple tomorrow to say kaddish, but I can't help but wish that I had someone here to celebrate his life with. Kaddish is so mournful - and while I certainly felt and feel the pain of losing him, I don't know if what I need right now is another sad day.
It's been a tough week here at the center - we had to call DCFS on Monday, because one of the infants here at the center was being abused by his mother. He's only fourteen months old and he has three current fractures, plus evidence of older ones that have already healed up.
It's been really difficult for all of us - we're glad that we were able to get him out of a bad situation, but in some ways his life just got a hell of a lot worse. His mother was an undocumented worker, and she has no other family in the country, which means that the baby is going to be given to the state. It's possible he'll be adopted by someone good, but there's also a lot of possibility that he'll wind up getting screwed over by the foster care system, and it's all because of us. Add in the fact that he has three older siblings who all just became wards of the state, and you know that family will never be whole again. The oldest of the four kids is a fourteen year old girl, and it turns out that she's been cutting herself, so she's not doing very well. Their father is an abusive alcoholic - the mother has a restraining order against him, so the kids definitely won't be going back to him. They've been living in a shelter here in the city for months.
The whole thing just sucks. I'm feeling incredibly disillusioned by people in general and this woman specifically, and it's been really difficult to process this mess.
Look, I know they're taking over the world, and that some day I'll probably find out that I'm being brainwashed through my e-mail or something but for right now, all I really want to talk about is how Google is awesome. Benjamin Franklin is flying a kite in a lightning storm around my inbox, because somewhere there's an engineer with a great sense of humor, and I'm really entertained by it.
Also, every once and a while I stop and marvel at how awesome technology is. Generally this happens right after gchat randomly does something really cool, like automatically embed miniature versions of youtube clips that I link, or when reader archives an article that was posted and then deleted, meaning that I still have a copy of it to read later.
I wrote an entire blog post about serious things and then firefox randomly crashed and I lost the whole thing, so instead you got this. Sucks for you.
I watched Rachel Getting Married last night, which triggered all sorts of unpleasant thoughts and reactions. I was completely unprepared for it to be that intense.
It was an especially strange switch for me after the day I'd had - a bunch of our kids "graduated" yesterday because their program ends for the summer, and in the fall they'll be going to kindergarten. It was adorable; they put on a concert for their parents and sang a couple of songs, as well as played instruments they'd made in class (mainly shakers with lots of tempra paint and glitter).
In very exciting news, I've signed a lease on an apartment for next year in Jerusalem. I get a little thrill, every time I say something that ends in the words "next year in Jerusalem." I feel like I've been waiting for this move for twenty three years, but I'm also completely terrified of it. One of the things that's going to suck about being in Israel (and there are not very many) is that most bands on world tours don't stop in Israel. In fact, I would say all bands on world tours skip Israel. Jerusalem, especially, is not known for it's hard rock scene. Punk is going to be a little scarce on the other side of the ocean.
As always, I'm counting down the hours until the weekend. Six and half to go...
I've been listening to Mutiny! all weekend, which is always an awesome choice.
I have trouble picking a favorite track off of Mutiny!, but "An Old Book Misread" is definitely one of my top choices. In a scene that often has little room for people of faith, Set Your Goals is one of a handful of bands who have managed to not only write a critique of organized religion but to also express the message that different people are allowed to have different beliefs. It's all about respecting the individual.
Speaking of Set Your Goals, I am so excited for the FYS\SYG tour this summer - I haven't made it to see either band before, and this is so much better than seeing them open for someone else (not that that's not awesome, but I want full length sets, you know?). I'm looking forward to getting sweaty and hoarse and a little bruised, and then I'm taking the next day off from work so I can sleep it off. That's gonna be a particularly awesome weekend, because it's also Pitchfork, which means I get to see the Flaming Lips on Sunday. And the Thermals, and the Walkmen. And possibly Vivian Girls as well.
I went to see empires last Friday at the Bottom Lounge - American Taxi and Company of Thieves opened. Company of Thieves in particular were amazing - they pulled off a hell of a rendition of "Piece of my Heart" by Janis Joplin, which is not easy to do. I was really blown away. Empires was awesome, as expected - they're doing a good thing, and I really hope it keeps going for a long time.
Sometimes you go through a period where every day feels like the worst day ever. It's hard to fall asleep, you wake up exhausted, every hour in between is a struggle for coherency and urgency and will to keep moving forward.
When this happens, it's important to stop and take stock - to assess every single part of your life, figure out what is good and true and honest and brave and what is bad and fake and ugly and scared. You have to find a way to gather the good parts together and leave the rest behind - to shed all of your dead skin and take the little energy you have left and put into growing and going forward.
Often there's not a lot we can do at first - when the problems you are facing are ill family members, troubles at work, financial instability, you can't always make a huge change. But there are little things that you can do, and these become incredibly important.
There's a lot of bad in my life right now - a pretty overwhelming list on the best of days, and a completely unmanageable list on the bad ones. I hate my job, but I can't quit. I'm saying two extended goodbyes to grandparents, watching my father fight cancer, and not being able to help any of them in their journeys.
I'm tired of living passively and watching all of these things happen. I am making a list of things I want to start doing differently, and I'm sharing it with you:
I will no longer hold my tongue about my frustrations at work. Nothing will change if my silence continues - it is only by speaking up and expressing my discontent with the status quo that things will change. Likewise, I will not speak up solely for the sake of speaking up - I will offer logical solutions to problems, and I will listen to the rationale of others.
I will call my grandparents every week. I acknowledge that it will be difficult, it will be frustrating, and it will make me want to stop, but I know that this is important.
I will exercise at least four times each week, if not more.
I will spend at least one hour outside every day.
I will eat more fresh vegetables and fewer prepackaged carbohydrates.
I will spend money wisely. I am enough of an adult to live within a set budget - there is no need to be stressed about finances.
I will try to take things less seriously. This will be hard, because sometimes I am an uptight bitch. I recognize this about myself, and I refuse to let my neuroses win.
That is a lot, and that is more than enough for now.
Andrew Langer is crazy. That is the best I can come up with after approximately five minutes of research into the new guitarist of an awesome band, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons.
Andrew, it seems, is also the band equivalent of a polygamist - he's in The Sleeptalkers and Ezra Furman and the Harpoons right now, used to be in the Redwalls, and is possibly in another band right now as well (my internet stalking stopped after finding the Sleeptalkers\Ezra Furman connection).
I accidentally left the internet for two weeks. Woops.
In that time I have: started seeing a therapist, been accepted to a program in Israel, applied to work as a roadie for Invisible Children, realized that I hate my current job, fallen in love with the city of Chicago again, gotten several blisters and a mild sunburn, gone camping, gotten a new retainer, seen The Thermals, and joined The Rescue.