Reasons I heart Austin: stumble upon a Theophilus London show.

Note to self, and to y’all: if you think you can put just a teeny bit of laundry detergent in your steamer to freshen up a shirt, you can’t. It doesn’t work. I repeat: it does not work. And this is how the night began.

Am I an idiot in thinking that it would work? I don’t know, but I do know that my steamer was doing something akin to choking when I tried that. I was trying to make my shirt smell a little nicer since an hour in 107 heat at the farmer’s market earlier that day made it smell not so nice, and I still wanted to wear it out that evening. And so, put a little pinch in there, turned the thing on, and “GURGLE, KHOUGHKCGAHHKKEE”…uh-oh. And then I pour out the water and try again. And then I turn it off. And then there’s water all over my floor. And then I hand wash my shirt. And then I try blow drying it, steamer still going, TV blaring Comedy Central or something, and poof! Lights out.

So if it looks like I got dressed in the dark, it’s because I literally did! Ha! So funny! Actually, it really wasn’t that bad. In fact I was the oddest bit excited because a gift from my housewarming party the weekend prior actually came in handy! Cary in the office here and his wife Anne gave to me a Riesling (mm, yum) and because of a mention of “unfortunate lighting” on the facebook invite, also included an emergency LED light, and a Disney Princess flashlight – so perfect, right?!

(wait for it...)

The goal was to get to Alyssa’s house at 9 where we’d then head out for whatever on Rainey Street. That, apparently, was an ambitious time as it was, but she calls me to tell me to hustle up because of “a guy who just came on, my friend said it should be good.” Cool! Always down for some live tunes here in Austin. And so we get there, fill up a cup of water before the bartender fills us a glass of vodka-water, and I see the poster. I assume it’s just going to be some dude with long hair and a guitar, but no. Read: ‘DELL SPECIAL ENGAGEMENTS: THEOPHILUS LONDON.’ WHAAAAAAT!

I stuck my arm out to point and said, “Wait, THIS is what we’re seeing right now!? Theophilus London!?” And the bartender chick nods at me wide eyed, as if to say “YEAH, girl. I KNOW. Get in there.” I was so excited I jumped up and down and spilled my water drink and we grabbed another and went dancing on in through the distressed wood walls to the spacious backyard, lit with Edison bulbs in mason jars and big fancy stage lights to see this –>

And we looked like this:

And it was rad.


Back in the ‘Burbs: Week whatever

Well one thing is for sure: my phone has definitely stopped ringing. Now whether that’s due to the fact that everyone knows I’m M.I.A. in the suburbs or I’m just a huge loser these days isn’t certain, but I definitely feel like a homebody with no social life.

Yet I’m somehow oddly okay with all this. For starters, it’s super nice living in a HOME and not some run-down apartment that students had been trashing for literally decades. Add to that I have permanent A/C, and all of my things are in one, single, neat little home instead of split between multiple residences. It’s like living in a lap of luxury compared to my former living quarters. My nook in the east wing ain’t so bad; it’s like my little Lady Lair.

Also being at home has led to more sister-sister time, and with her being underage has led us to finding some uh, alternative activities. We went to the Boulder Fringe Festival to see “The Bicycling Comedian” a little while ago (it was rather mediocre), and the Air Show over by that Jefferson airport this weekend was kind of neat to see. We ventured over to a Rockies game last week too– gotta love those cheap Rock Pile tix. And I’ll definitely have to start golfing more at Hyland Hills, I forgot what a decent course that really is.

One unexpected suburbian effect: I’m reverting back to my bubblegum Pop days. Suddenly I find myself jamming to the likes of Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, and I am such a sucker for Ke$ha. I even popped in an old *NSYNC CD (though I swear, it didn’t last long). Thank you, mainstream radio. I’ll always be a bit of a snob, but I’ll never deny a good pop song, especially when my genre is tending to suck right now. Besides, you KNOW that “Teenage Dream” is damn catchy.

So nothing too exciting on the Erica front here, unfortunately. Keeping me busy is working part time for a certain office supplies company, reading all kinds, and hitting up the nice gym down the street with these psuedo yoga classes (former aerobics instructers don’t exactly make the best yogis). Oh, and I’m pretty sure Blockbuster knows my name now. I’m soooo cool.

So for now I’ll continue to cope with Arcade Fire . . . how fitting that The Suburbs should come out now, be the current favorite album, and the only one in my car. “Now our lives are changing fast/Hope that something pure can last. . .”

Back in the ‘Burbs: Week 1

Initial thoughts? Not so bad! But the reigning feeling is a growing despair.

It’s officially been a week since I moved out of the sacred city of Boulder and back to my glorious, glamorous ‘hood. My hometown Westminster can be characterized as the ultimate suburb: families, raising their kids, sending them off on school buses, hiring babysitters, PTA meetings, play dates, pool time (with the aforementioned babysitter), church on Sundays… all taking place in the mass of cookie-cutter homes we grew up in and loved. As teenagers we complained there was ‘nothing to do around here!’ and leaving the nest usually meant for college.

Fast forward those next four years and yours truly is back, and utterly depressed. Now I have to DRIVE everywhere, and “everywhere” includes nowhere worth mentioning. I tried to pick out a cool spot for my old friend Scott and I to have lunch at around here, and I literally scoured Urban Spoon and the rest of the Interweb for 35 minutes trying to find something decent, y nada. We at least ended up at a decent Thai restaurant in Arvada.

Josh and I tried to grab a drink one evening at a local watering hole. We sipped down about a third before comparisons of Boulder came up. Then we started musing how, at around that time, people starting to flood the Hill…and then Pearl…the Downer, Bacaro, Catacombs…and then the after food deliciousness, oh! As you can imagine, we promptly escaped back up to the promise land. We tried, Westminster! We really did.

And so I weep. Never, ever, everrrr thought I’d be back, but here I am! I’m going to try and bring back all the awesome parts of my life back down to the ‘burbs, and you can be sure these ongoing trials will be posted here. Just spruced up old Lizzie my bike, so maybe we’ll take her out for a spin on some errand running and see how that goes.

I’m already just rolling my eyes. Stay tuned!

ASU vs. CU: Part 2 and Conclusion

I’m done, ya’ll! Que increible. I’m just a silly English lit major/political science minor (as opposed to some hyper tough technical degree) but I still can’t believe I actually made it. I mean, can you? Me? Finishing COLLEGE at a highly respectable one, and what is considered a public ivy league? High-five!

But just a little Real Talk: it was all thanks to mom and dad. Clearly they funded it, but that is so slight in comparison to the moral support and perpetual encouragement they both provided. If it weren’t for my dad, I would have stayed a b-school major and probably dropped out due to misery, and mom, well…she’s a mom, you know?

But besides all that, I think it’s due time to review my two schools. The more I look back, the more I see the significance of ASU on my college career. I technically spent only one more full semester at CU than ASU if you don’t count all the summer classes, so it’s definitely relevant. I also went abroad and spent a semester at a completely different school, and that helped me to further analyze what’s up. I feel like I’ve tended to mock and scorn it a little more than necessary upon revision, so here’s a final, somewhat objective, but mostly subjective view on these two big and literally awe-some universities.

In addition to the beauties that walk among it, the campus at CU Boulder is beautiful itself. My first impression upon transferring here was how good all the buildings look because, oh my god, they all match! All those sandstone brick buildings nestled up against the flatirons with plenty of green grass and trees to sprinkle it is something ASU definitely lacks. None of the buildings match, and the only cool one I remember was all windows and glass. The fresia trees and plants smelled sooo good in the springtime in Tempe, and the sunsets, believe it or not, might top Colorado’s. But FOR THE WIN- CU.

One of the awesome things that stands out aside from the school and campus itself about ASU and Tempe/Phoenix as a whole is its location in the great United States. Of course I’m partial to the Left Coast and the West in general, but you really can’t beat a 4-hour drive to LA, 5-hours to San Diego, 4 or 5 to MEXICO!, and a mere 4 hours to Las freakin’ Vegas as well. In Colorado, we have the mountains. Many. And you can ski on them. But all those other cities! FTW? It’s a draw.

As for everything else, I feel I touched on in the first post, which you can read here: Thoughts, ya’ll? I’d love to hear.

March Mixtape

It has been suggested to me that I come up with more apt and clever names for these mixtapes o’ mine, but as a modernist, I like the date reference, and also I’m stubborn, so damn it, it’s staying. And I know, I know, it’s TOTALLY April! But this had to go up! So many gems. You can find these tracks at THE HYPE MACHINE, most likely at one of my favorite music blogs, My Old Kentucky Bloggorilla vs. bear, or BrooklynVegan, or you know, you could always be a good citizen/music fan and purchase these outright from iTunes/LaLa or another MP3 provider of your choice. The new MGMT is on here which is a bit odd but still enjoyable, I’m in love with Beach House and Sleigh Bells , and the Best Coast song is simply delightful. Enjoy!

march '10 mixtape ya'll

UPDATE: GAH! The MOKB link isn’t working, because the site has disappeared! Not sure what happened…sadness.

January ’10 Mixtape

I had a lot to listen to when I got back from Brussels…the first CD is all those artists I had to catch up with, and the second is a little less easy listening and a little more of a party with some leftovers from the summer at the end. The necessities include The XX, Girls, Toro y Moi, Discovery, and the Diplo remix of Gucci Mane. Listen to what everyone else will be in 6 months. Enjoy.

jan '10 mix, volume 1

part deux

(Click to enlarge!)

Marrakech, Morocco and beyond…

Traveling around Europe is no doubt fantastic, but after a while, it really gets to be the same. I’ve been a little disillusioned with tourism, as everything seems to already be set in place for you, itineraries already drawn up, and the little jewels of culture enhanced just for the purpose of letting a bunch of tourists take pictures and throw away some euros while they’re at it. The coffee shops in Amsterdam are a prime example of that. It’s not really an authentic quirk about the city anymore- now, 80% of those shops are set up just for the tourists, and although it is still pretty crazy with the naked chicks in the windows, Red Light District has been pretty cleaned up from what it used to be. Where’s the danger?

Morocco proved to be a relief from that. My friend Erika and I chose to go somewhere outside of the Western world for a little taste of the exotic, and we got it. We stayed a traditional riad- a sort of old ‘traditional’ Moroccan home which is really just a hotel with a cool courtyard and often a pool, where we had a traditional Moroccan breakfast on the rooftop in the mornings. Since it’s a law that no building is to be taller than the famous Kotoubia Mosque, you could see all across the pink roofs of the city, some dirty, some exotic, and lots of satellite dishes.

We ventured into the markets and got a little lost in the tight streets that are filled with vendors. It is a souvenir paradise, but it’s not just us white folk buying crap. We were shopping right alongside all the locals zooming through the alleys on their motorbikes and donkeys picking up their spices and herbs, or a quick bite for lunch. There were all kinds of funky jewelry, ornate lanterns, and a ton of leather items for sale.

At night in the middle of it all, about 60 stands all crowded next to each other pop up grilling up food for everyone and hassling every person that walks by to eat at their joint, even though they’re all pretty much exactly the same. You sit down at a picnic style table and benches next to whoever else is there, and they put down a ‘placemat’ for you with a fat roll of bread, a dish of olives, and a dish of some other spicy tomato thing to dip the bread in. Then you could order a few plates for super cheap like a bowl of soup that costs 5 dirhams (about .70 cents), a plate of cous cous or tagine, and some fried eggplant and squid, all kinds of stuff. We never spent more than about $6 each every night for a bunch of delicious Moroccan food.

In the same square, just as the grill huts are going up, so are the circles of crowds forming around different performers. We sat and listened to the drums and strings of Berber music, had a monkey crawl all over us, saw some snakes being charmed, and got a totally bogus fortune telling. You’d think it’d be mostly white tourists like us, but we were surprised to find that there were a lot more locals hanging out and hitting on us like crazy. Who knew how…exotic? my blue eyes and blonde hair could ever be considered…

Another Moroccan staple we had to check out was the Hammams. Erika and I got basically naked in a bathhouse/tiled steam room where we got scrubbed down by two fat Moroccan ladies and a half-hour massage with their local oils for less than $20. This was in Essaouira (ess-ow-EER-a).

We did some of the normal sightseeing which included visits to a couple palaces new and old, a garden, and a museum, but one of the crazier things we saw was the leather tanneries. The people there are living, quite literally, on the edge of society to make this leather out of camels, bulls, goats, and cows. The place smelled disgusting, like a big stew of buttery poop. Locals would come up to us and offer a mint twig to sniff on while they gave us a sort of tour around the place. It was a pretty wretched site though seeing these people, including kids, standing in vats of pigeon shit and horse piss as they slosh the pieces of leather in and out. We took pictures, but now I don’t know how I feel about that. As if their lives are so far removed from the kind that we live, that it becomes a tourist attraction to go and take pictures of these people at their work.

We ended the trip with a 2-day/1-night excursion into the desert. After a few long hours on a bus with 6 others from Australia, Spain, and even a girl from Latvia (!), we rode camels for an hour and a half into a campsite in the middle of the Sahara desert, and saw stars for the first time in the whole four months that I’ve been here. They served us more of that delicious traditional Moroccan tagine and cous-cous, and the standard bread and jam in the morning. On our way back we wandered through an old village kinda like Mesa Verde where a bajillion movies were filmed, including Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, and The Mummy.