Sunday, March 21, 2010

March on Washington Political Protest

Yesterday I went to an anti-war demonstration.  It was here in Washington, right outside the White House, thousands of people rallying - which was pretty crazy and awesome to see.  In years past there has been tens of thousands of people who show up to "march on washington" (literally the demonstration involves marching through the streets of downtown DC to different significant government buildings or businesses), this year there were definitely thousands, but more like 5,000 instead of 20,000.

Summary version of events: listened to some speakers, took some pictures, marched through DC, took some more pictures, got a sunburn (so glad it's warm enough for that!), ran into a guy I knew and ended up in front with the media, whoa, nearly got arrested by association when after a few protest leaders got arrested the people right next to me pushed a barricade fence into the SWAT team, iyee, come on people, peace, for real, I don't have bailout money.  I felt like a for real photojournalist for like 5 minutes, it was totally cool.

Well I took a buuunch of pictures, too many for a blog, so I think I'll post most of them on flickr or facebook or something, but I put a few here too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I think...

Post Focus today: Music.

No rant or critique for today, just two groups to recommend.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - my new go to group.  They're sort of folk-bluesy rock.  I love it.  It's groups like this that are saving rock and roll...

Next up: Metric.  Yeah, amazing.

Metric's most recent album Fantasies hasn't left my car since I got it (that's saying something considering how long ago it came out).  These guys are more modern new-wave alternative.  The single off the album is Help I'm Alive right which is below, but my favorite's the next one Collect Call.
(So this is an acoustic version, I couldn't really find a good version of the original, seriously though, who doesn't love acousitc?)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hey all. I decided to try something new for the next few posts, instead of blogging my usual stream of conscious or posting a picture or something, I'm going to devout this blog post, and the next two, own personal Entertainment Ranting – imagine that being said in the booming wizard voice from the Wizard of Oz, because that's what I was going for.

Yes, so one post for books, one for music, and one for television, what the heck, lets make it four with another for film (though I make no promises they'll come consecutively).

First up: books, wahoo.

So, in literary news, I have sort of a book review for you I guess. I've recently finished reading them, an early novel from the crazily prolific oeuvre of Joyce Carol Oates (the woman's published like 6,000 novels! okay, that's an exaggeration, but A LOT). You hear her name thrown around occasionally by that one uppity, erudite friend everyone has, who's like 23 but subscribes to the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal and won't drink drip coffee only some weird Brazilian beverage, please tell me you know the type. Anyway, I figured I'd give her a try – not to become an uppity, erudite myself, more just to see what all the fuss is about. Bottom-line: just take a look at her, her writing will now come as no surprise.

SPOILER ALERT, don't continue if you would like to be completely surprised while reading this book.

The book was written in the sixties, set in impoverished,socially divided Detroit, and spanning 30 tumultuous years from the thirties to the sixties – so yeah, it deals with social division/poverty/working class tragedy, racism, war, corruption and politics, the human condition, etc. etc. but most memorably and simply, people; three protagonists, one family, a microcosm for an entire society. And let me say, the picture is not pretty. Things start out pretty depressing for the three characters, mother and children, but they are so incredibly human you can't help but relate and feel for them (this is definitely to the credit of Oates, she is a great author). Throughout the whole affair, there is sooo much potential given to each character, you end up investing so much in them, willing them to defy the odds, defeat their destiny, make something from nothing, all that Disney hope we're indoctrinated with from childhood, and for awhile it looks like they might. But it turns out Ms. Oates must be more of an existential realist than fairy-tale optimist, and the book is unrelentingly bleak.

I have a few thoughts on what she is saying about society and her characters and even the title itself– I mean them, its wrought with disdain and notably separation from us, but not to belabor or overdo for a non-literature focused blog, I'll leave them out (though email if you want to discus the book!).  Anyway, as it turns out when the book is finished, and you can't figure out if the characters you have been rooting for even deserved it...whether they were mensch or menace or merely human, and you're hesitantly leaning toward the latter – though the latter is incredibly depressing, you realize the return to your investment: feeling a bit empty; seriously it's a pretty gloomy painting of people. The thing is I didn't dislike the book, there's a reason it won the National Book Award, and it definitely left me thinking, but in the same way those “classic” depressing foreign movies leave you thinking, thinking but devoid of any sort of reassuring feeling. I'm tempted to pick Les Mis back up to teach me how to hope again. Years ago, Gore Vidal was famously quoted as saying the three saddest words in the English language are Joyce. Carol. Oates.  I can definitely laugh along with that now.

So will I read another of the 100 some writings from JCO? Haven't decided yet, but for sure not too soon, I'm going to need a good buffer period between novels or I might be in danger of becoming a nihilist.

Over and out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wait It's March?

It feels like SPRING!  woohoo right.  The winter was long, and I found myself cursing the snow/ice and yearning for LA sunshine more than a few times, but it is finally warming up here.  I don't have much to report, but here's the main points:

  • Midterms: Done.
  • Plane Ticket: Purchased.
  • Lent Running: Still happening.
I bought a plane ticket to LA - April 15th through 20th - in order to attend Coachella.  yay.  I definitely have finals the week after I get back...but I think the festival experience is totally worth it.  As for my goal to run for lent - that's still on and it has been rough, especially on those days I leave the running until after class.  Who wants to run after a full day of work and then 3 hrs of class?  Answer: no one.  But, Easter is in less than a month, it's only a month, right?  I'm pretty sure April is going to turn out to be a pretty great month.

In picture news, I sometimes run on a trail along the Potomac and come to this bridge.  I've ran on in a number of times (mostly on the weekends) and I think it's super cool.  I had been wanting to take some pictures of it since the first time I saw it.  Yesterday, I drove and parked near the bridge.  I went for a run and then grabbed my camera out of the car.  I didn't time my run right though and by the time I got back the bridge with my camera I had already lost the light, as the sun had set below the hills to the west.  The bridge runs North-South, so with the right low light, the sun passes through it in this really beautiful way, with these cool shadows.  I'm going to try to get back soon, before sunset.  

Well Happy Work Week all.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Hey all, sorry for the blogging MIA this past week and some, work and midterms have really kept me occupied...okay, not really - though they definitely should, I can't seem to muster up the will to study.  Instead, I've been working on a making myself a photoblog, it's been pretty fun and for real frustrating.  I have a definite, new found respect for html/xml wizards.  Anyway, I'm not quite finished with it, they're are a few things I want to change, mostly in the blogger widgets (if anyone's a widget-pro let me know), but check it out if you want, my photoblog (I haven't quite decided on a name).  And PS advice/critiques on the page are definitely welcome, it's sort of in a beta stage.  I'll let you all know when I officially unveil it though.

Well, in other news, the feet and feet of snow here in DC is finally melting and every once in a while it gets warm enough to fool you into thinking it's Spring already.  Okay, back to work. xx