Freedom

I actually had a pretty free Fourth of July.

I got up a 5 A.M. For once, it wasn’t hard; I’d been glad to escape my terrible nightmares involving hiding in dirt-holes from rouge robotic-cops. (Usually my dreams are mundane and pretty clearly linked to whatever I did that day, so I don’t know where that one came from.)

I had to get up early to travel home, which would take about three hours. I wanted to get there in the morning to avoid traffic from the nearby city. So, even though waking up sucks, I had the pleasure of driving east into the rising sun.

I live in Pennsylvania, AKA the greatest state ever, and driving through misty mountains at sunrise is exhilarating. Heedless to the fact that it was 6 AM, I was having a solo party in my little Ford Focus, rocking out to my favorite songs and drinking the views ’til I drowned in ’em!

I mean, I was driving, too, but I was also multi-tasking and doing all of this much more interesting stuff at the same time.

It occurred to me that I am a twenty-year-old American woman, and I am very free. I have my own car and I can drive it to wherever I want to go. (Mostly because I’ve never felt inclined to go to off-limits places, anyway– places like Area 51 and Centralia.) I don’t have much money, but I have enough that I can spontaneously drive three hours away to spend an explosive American holiday with my old high school friends.

There’s a lot of bad things behind why I have all this privilege and freedom and I think it’s also true that I’m not as free as my country’s leaders would like me to believe. But since it was a holiday, I temporarily let myself forget those negative things and enjoyed myself: me, being loud in a car pushing 70 on the highway in the Creamsicle light of the rising sun.

FREEDOM. (ha.)

Also, take this kind of kitschy but still awesome tune by Foxy Shazam to get your daily dose of Uh-Merica. Oops, that is a Regina Spektor reference… :)

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The dashboard melted, but we still had the radio!

Modest Mouse is a rock band from Washington state. They’re not quite one of my favorite bands, but they come pretty damn close.

Everyone’s musical taste has a story. Here is a timeline of my relationship with Modest Mouse.

December

  • Find “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” on ultra-clearance at the mall. Purchase with Christmas money.
  • Hoot and holler while jamming to “Float On” in my car.
  • Listen to “Ocean Breathes Salty” three times in a row. Feel exhilarated. Marvel at this song’s perfection.

January

  • Hang out with an old friend. Find out he loves Modest Mouse.
  • Jam with friend.
  • (even though the friend is a real MM fan and likes the songs that I don’t like too much)

February

  • Tell cynical college student that I like Modest Mouse.
  • Get told by said cynic, “You’re not angry enough to like Modest Mouse.”
  • (what does that even mean)

March… was like that period in a relationship where everything is smooth and nothing much happens.

April

  • Fall in love with a cool guy who also happens to dig MM.
  • Dance to “Sleepwalking” and “Dashboard” in his room.

May

  • Begin the lonely part of my summer.
  • Be consoled by listening to music. INCLUDING MM.

June

  • Lots of driving for summer travels. Modest Mouse CD comes everywhere with me.
  • (so i don’t have an iPod in my car, get over it)

July

  • Start hangin’ out with a summer coworker.
  • Bam, Modest Mouse comes on in his car.
  • DING DING DING this friendship is clearly destiny

So.
There you have it. How Modest Mouse came into my life.

I’ve encountered many jams, as well as a few cringes when their songs get a little weird. More than that, the last three people I’ve really clicked with have all been MM fans. I guess a kickass rock band doesn’t have to be one of your favorites to be the soundtrack of a piece of our life.

 

ps- Three outta four of the songs I linked here have official music videos. I’ve never seen them until I linked to them here; I’m impressed! They’re great! Creative, without trying to be deep. I bed Isaac Brock had a lot of fun starring in them all. :)

Ballads — Old English to Eminem

I’m writing a reflection on the 1959 Soviet film Ballad of a Soldier (Баллада о солдате)– which has a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! Cool.

I’m writing on the term “ballad,” its broad definitions, and what makes this film a ballad. The paper can only be one page long (which sometimes actually makes more grief than a 2-3 page paper), so my only criteria of a ballad are: narrative, and sentimentality.

This makes me wonder: can Eminem’s songs be considered ballads? According to my definition, they can. They are very emotional, often tell a story, and even include a chorus.

I wonder if Eminem would do a cover of “Barbara Allen.” … Maybe I wouldn’t want to hear it, though. I don’t know how I’d handle it if he called her a slut. (:

sincerely,
capricecake

‘The Perks.. Wallflower’ & Communication

In my Interpersonal Communication class, I’ve used the beloved character of Charlie to describe what it means to be a good or bad, but mostly good, listener. As always, I strayed a bit from the prompt, but I’m confident about what I’ve written and its relevance to the subject at hand. Here it is! :)

            A good listener has a strong mind and good heart. He or she uses their brain first to pay attention, and later to remember what they’d heard. They respond from the heart with concern and, ideally, they empathize. The goal of listening is understanding, which links the head and heart. When the receiver’s thoughts and feelings work together to receive and listen to another person’s message, that is understanding.

Charlie of the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a boy who understands when he listens. He exudes empathy like other teenage boys ooze sweat. But Charlie is more than just heart: he pays close attention to what people say, do, and feel, and he remembers it all. This indicates his brainpower. Because he offers safety and intimacy, various characters bare their souls to Charlie. However, he is a wallflower, and this actually impairs his listening skills in some ways. Listening is transactional, but Charlie is too withdrawn to “participate”; Charlie receives, but does not respond. Thus, when his friends want support or advice, he lacks the confidence and skill to provide it. As a result, Charlie is a receptacle for his friends’ thoughts and emotions, which leaves them only as satisfied as one who keeps a diary. As for Charlie, one of the core conflicts of the novel is that he, being a wallflower, is overwhelmed by all that he does not express.

Obviously, one fault does not make Charlie a bad listener. He generally does not practice any of the bad listening habits, with the exception of the period when he tunes out a chatterbox-girl who takes advantage of his reticence. Bad listening habits are designated as such because they negatively impact the communication and often the relationship between the sender and the receiver. In this example, Charlie creates a perfect atmosphere for closeness with his new friends, but he only achieves this closeness when he finally learns to “participate.”

… That’s it. Thoughts?

yours, capricecake

(Edited on 7.9. Just a touch-up~!)

Political Compass

I have finally checked out politicalcompass.org. I’m excited to see my name plotted on an X-Y chart near Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, although I haven’t decided what that means to me, yet. -shrug- I have so much to learn about politics, economics, history– and everything in the world, in general– I never know where to begin, or where I’m straying too far from “practical” study.

(The most interesting information is often, somehow, the least useful! You know?)

Anyway, I can’t wait to see how my views will change in twenty years. I hope one day in the far future I will think to make the comparison. Surely, some things will change. I took the compass test very seriously and, as a result, found a few of the questions quite hard to answer. Frankly, I felt a little under-qualified to answer two or three of them!

 

<3 your favorite left-wing libertarian (apparently, ha!)

caprice cake

This is more learning than I’d intended.

Studying in St Petersburg these past three weeks, I’ve actually had a lot of free time. To amuse myself, I’ve been reading into whatever interesting topics I have come upon. Without further ado, here are some highlights of my reading!

petergreatbeard_token164838

  • Peter I (18th century tsar of Russia) was so hands-on that once when he ordered a fleet of ships be built, he worked alongside his men to complete the task. Generally, he was hungry for knowledge. Owing to his curiosity, there exists in St Petersburg a museum founded by Peter I which contains scientific oddities– two-headed babies floating in jars, for example. I haven’t been there, but I’ve heard “things.” And one last bit about Peter the Great: since he wanted to push Russia into a new age, he demanded that men shave their beards. Those who didn’t were subject to a beard tax. What is perhaps more interesting to me is that Peter was not the only ruler to do this throughout history!

  • Anne Frank’s diary has been proven to near absolute certainty to be authentic. A few groups (generally, if not totally, comprised of Holocaust-deniers) use the Internet to spread the idea that her diary is fiction, but their alleged proof is invalid. FOR EXAMPLE: they claim that Anne’s diary contains notes in the margins made with red and green ballpoint-pen. However, these markings were made by Anne in colored pencil. The idea that they were made in ballpoint pen (a device which Anne couldn’t have used) comes from a careless report made on the general appearance of Anne’s manuscripts. In case you didn’t know, Anne edited her diary herself during her lifetime in hopes of publishing it after WWII. Her father, Otto Frank, also edited the work as it was in the process of being published.

 

That’s all for now!

From Russia, with love,

caprice caaaaake

Guess what, I’ma poet.

I have to wonder if anyone has any idea how much poetry I have written in the past few years.

My poetry is this weird external organ of my body, like an ear, but weirder. For how important it is to me, I really should back it up more often on my special flash drive. That being said, it terrifies me to share it with people I know, especially by reading it to them. And most especially if it is about them.

Poetry is weird, you know? At least, that’s the reputation it has. I realized when I was younger that everyone I adored would be much more receptive to my art if I made songs, instead. And hey, I play the guitar, so it should be easy, right? Except I’m bad at it. Writing comes naturally, but music is a task.

In short terms, I think my poetry is better than my music, so I never got around to that nomadic-folksinging career I always dreamed of.

So since poetry is weird, I have shown very little of it to anyone. The majority of it that was shared was shown to an online audience on deviantART.com. (It’s a safe haven. <3) I have only tried once to have poetry published, and the cost of submitting poems for consideration has deterred me from trying again.

I have vaguely considered this before, but now I am starting to feel a new urgency for the matter: I need to put my work “out there”, even send it to some magazines and other types of publishers. The only problem here is that I know my poetry means a lot more to me than it would to most because I write all of it for myself! How on Earth can I publish anything for an intended audience of myself? All I can say it that it’s going to have to be some pretty special and well thought-out piece for that to work…

love,

capricecake