The Late Autumn / Cold Weather Mixtape

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it’s practically winter. In two days I depart the relatively balmy temperatures of the UK for the frozen tundra that is America. As much as I’m looking forward to my return across the pond, I’m not looking forward to the cold. Despite the fact that it currently sounds like there’s a hurricane raging across campus, I have not yet embraced the deep chill I am sure will greet me when my plane lands in DC on Saturday. So, instead, I will finally post my autumn playlist. While I’m still in a place where the temperature hovers in the low 50s.

Use this playlist when you’re curled up in front of the fire on a cold night. Listen to it when you want to drown out the storm that’s raging outside your window. Put it on in the background as you work on your novel or while you’re writing love letters. Listen to it when you’re driving through the countryside, in the warm confines of your car. Listen to it on the bus, on the train, on the way home to your family for the holidays. Listen to it as you wind down from the stress of finals. Use it to keep calm in the face of family drama once you’ve been reunited.

Radical Face: Welcome Home

Bon Iver: Holocene

Mumford & Sons: Timshel

Of Monsters and Men:

Fleet Foxes: He Doesn’t Know Why

Deas Vail: Desire

Black Keys: Ten Cent Pistol

Dry the River: New Ceremony

The Shins: Young Pilgrims

The Dodos: Walking

Wilco: Handshake Drugs

Damien Jurado: Ohio

Florence & the Machine: What the Water Gave Me

Radiohead:  Reckoner

And relegated to Honorable Mentions position because it doesn’t have any video links:

  • Crush: I Look Good

No Matter How it Ends, No Matter How it Starts

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been fairly remiss in not updating my blog much at all this summer. And I truly, humbly apologize. It was just one of those summers where absolutely nothing happened. Okay, that was a fib. But it was another boring summer. This is my fairly Comprehensive List of Summer Accomplishments:

Books Read:

  • Loud in the House of Myself
  • Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Spoiled
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

TV Shows Watched (in their entirety, for the first time):

  • Parks & Rec
  • Modern Family
  • Firefly
  • Castle

Shows I Started Watching, but Haven’t Finished. Yet:

  • Friday Night Lights
  • Party Down
  • Supernatural
  • Everwood

Aside from those amazing feats, I spent my days at BVFAC and my nights… at BVFAC. When I wasn’t working (at BVFAC, if that wasn’t, for some reason, clear) I was probably at a funeral. Because I went to three this summer. One each month I was on break. If that’s not a downer, I don’t know what is.

But now I’m back! I don’t have to work for the next 4 months! This will be the first time since I graduated from high school that I haven’t worked year-round. And what better reason to have my work life on hiatus than the fact that I am no longer in America and that my visa doesn’t allow me to work? At all. Can’t even intern or volunteer. What a crying shame.

So now I’m just hanging out in England. I arrived on the campus of the University of Sussex yesterday after traveling for approximately 24 hours by train, plane, and automobile. The country, from what I’ve seen of it, is gorgeous. Brighton, from what I’ve seen, is gorgeous. Kind of like a more lived-in, less crusty upper-class Georgetown (the area, not the school). My dorm room is nice, but lacking posters. Send me posters! I really don’t have any complaints. At least not just yet.

Okay, well I don’t have any complaints about the accommodations. Campus is lovely, as is everyone I’ve met so far. Also, their public transit is just as wonderful as DC’s. But… from what I’ve tasted of the food so far, not awesome. The food that was university provided, at least. I ate lunch at a cool little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place today down in Brighton and it was wonderful. But the fish and chips the Uni gave us for dinner was… weird. And cold. Is that how it’s supposed to be? I though it was supposed to be served fresh from a cart on the pier wrapped in newspaper. (The fish and chips, not the cart on the pier. Damn dangling modifiers.) And the bowl of what I had assumed to be cheesy rice? Perhaps it was a rice pudding, but I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure and I’m not necessarily that keen to know. I guess it’s a good thing this place is self-catering after all.

The cool thing about dinner both nights was that, not only was it free, we were served alcohol. It was strange. Being served, not the alcohol itself. The beer I had both nights was good. I haven’t been to the pub yet, but I’ll make sure give one a review once I’ve hit that milestone. Instead of heading out last night after dinner, we found the common room and made fun of the weird British commercials played during reruns of Friends. Because I am classy.

Tomorrow is a trip to London! So expect an update. And my class starts on Monday. Yup, class. Just the one. I have one class the entire month of September. And it involves a bunch of field trips. So, updates to come. And pictures. I don’t know how soon, but definitely sometime this month. That’s the best I can do, because I’m also in the midst of planning weekend trips. Because the one class I’m attending? Only meets two days a week. On concurrent days. In the afternoon. For two hours. So. Much. Free time. I’m hoping that by the end of the month I can, at the very least, check Dublin and Scotland off of my to-travel list. Keep your fingers crossed! (Both for me and timely updates!)

Gambino is a Mastermind

For as much as I love music, I never go to concerts. Honestly, I’ve only ever been to two in my life. One was in August of 2008 when I went with my brother to see Radiohead at Blossom Music Center. The second was Sunday night when I went with Amanda to see Donald Glover / Childish Gambino at the Black Cat in DC.

Even though I finished with finals on Thursday of last week, I stuck around DC three extra days so I could see the sold-out concert. It was a great decision. He delivered a nice blend of stand-up with rap.  Donald Glover spent about a half an hour doing jokes about Justin Beiber, Reggie Bush, and being co-workers with Ken Jeong and Alison Brie.

The second part of his act, after a brief interlude of a couple videos reminiscent of his time with Derrick Comedy, was his music. He rapped and sang for a solid hour. Most of his songs were tracks from his self-released EP.  The nice thing about a Childish Gambino show is that it’s not just him standing up with a producer on a computer in the background making beats. Instead, he’s got a drummer, bassist, violin player, and guitarist/computer mixer. His clever lines make it pretty obvious he’s got a brain in his head. I mean, the guy did graduate from Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Dramatic Writing. He also had a job writing for 30 Rock before he was 25. A fact which he references during one of his songs.  A lot of people give Glover flak for being a “white rapper.” And, while he did write a lot of material for Jack Donaghy, and despite a pasty-skinned girl from the suburbs like me liking him, the crowd was pretty diverse.

In the end, he performed a high-energy show. I laughed, I danced, I sang along. Okay, and maybe I ogled a bit, too. What’s a girl to do? But all in all, he put on a great show. I’d go see him again in a heartbeat. A very quick, fluttery, excited heartbeat that belies how very in love with him I am.

It’s fine.

This is a video of him performing at the Black Cat during the encore. No, my spot wasn’t quite as good. I was about three rows of people back and stage left. And, yes, he did the entire encore shirtless. It was the best going away present ever.

This One’s Optimistic

In exactly 20 weeks I’ll be leaving this continent for the very first time. It’s kind of a big deal. But seriously, the furthest out of the country I’ve ever been was Niagara Falls, Canada. And the way I see it is, if you can make a day-trip out of visiting the country (from America), it doesn’t really count as traveling abroad. I seriously doubt that I went more than 10 miles away from our border.  And when I went? Didn’t even need a passport.

Right now I’m just excited, exhilarated, and very optimistic. I have plenty of time to freak out (I really do need to buy a suitcase and find a flight, though).  But for now I’m just going to roll with it. I’m happy with my choice and have something to look forward to (aside from papers and finals, obviously).

I have a long list of things I want to do once I get where I’m going. There’s time for that list to grow and change. But for now, all I really want to say is, 140 Days! Brighton, see you then!

For your edification (and viewing pleasure):

I Really Need to Lock. It. Up.

I don’t know if I love this week or hate it. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s indecision.

The Ups:

There were fireworks. Literally. I walked down to the Mall Saturday night (yes, I’m counting it as part of this week. My week seems to run Saturday-Friday. So what?) with some friends to watch the fireworks that were being set off over the water front to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival. So, not just fireworks, but cherry blossoms, too.

Got my offer pack from the University of Sussex. That’s right, chumps. In 5 short months (4 of those summer break! Eat it, nerds!), I’ll be making my way across the pond to tepid summer days. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Also worth looking forward to: accents, fashion, traveling around the UK, traveling around Europe, visiting that place Elizabeth got proposed to by Darcy (the first time), and THIS.

Meh:

Pre-departure Orientation: This Saturday I’m meeting with the study abroad advisers for GW England and talking with a bunch of other students who’ll also be going abroad in the fall. It’s not that I’m not excited for the meeting, because I am, but rather I don’t really have time for this.

The Downs:

School: Right, yeah, I’m at college by my own choice, yadda yadda yadda. That doesn’t mean that I want to be, like, assessed and stuff. Just let me learn and trust I paid attention (jokes). I’m not even worried about finals – that’s what reading week is for. It’s just the papers that are getting to me. Three papers in three weeks. Is there no mercy? As Uncle Jesse would say, “Have mercy!” (Though that might be a smidge out of context.) I turned in my first today, a biography of Charles Preuss. Next week I’m turning in a paper on the alternative belief systems of the European Enlightenment. Like, you know, Deism, Paganism, etc. The week following I have to turn in a dissection of the British Council and their public diplomacy, specifically in regards to the “special relationship” with America.

The weather keeps f*cking with me. Honestly, Mother Nature, just pick something and go with it! I’m sick of this dithering. First you’re cold and rainy, then cold and windy, then hot and windy, then warm and rainy and now just plain warm. I need you to lock it up. Cold and rainy – that’s fine with me. Warm and rainy – a-okay! Windy – sure, why not?! Just lock. it. up.

Okay. Rant done. I’ll just be over here, taking some calm, deep breaths. It’s fine. Radiohead will make me feel better, it always does.

This Day Exploded into Awesomeness

Everything is the best. Today has been one of my favorite days in recent memory. I couldn’t stop smiling all day. I woke up at a reasonable hour (before 10am), and stayed productive throughout the day. I applied for my passport so that I can finally study abroad (UK or bust!), was the 2nd person in line at Chipotle the entire day, had great classes, found out that Demetri Martin is coming to DC in April, and, to top it all off, it was 65 degrees today. Absolutely beautiful.

Then, when I got home, I found Rachel and Amanda watching Friends in my room. A delightful turn of events. We ordered dinner and at 7:30 we tuned into Jeopardy!, one of my favorite shows (minus Alex Trebek, obviously.) To make it better, it was the premier of the IBM super-competitor, Watson. If Amanda and I were to team up, we would dominate him. Then we settled in with a new episode of HIMYM. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I found out that Radiohead is releasing a new album this weekend!!! Could life get any better? Yes!, because I also got to go on a virtual tour of the University of Sussex campus. Nothing could have made me happier today. Except, perhaps, a round of golf.

Something else that makes me happy:

Adulation: My love letter to Community.

2010 wasn’t completely terrible. I had some good times. I mean, of course some really, really terrible things happened, too. I could waste your time by listing them all, but someone’s already done it, and I promise, she did a much funnier job than I ever could. Check it out.

Anyway, I’ve had a few good discoveries of 2010. One of my favorites was Twitter. It’s not that I didn’t realize that it existed, so much as I thought it wasn’t for me. Boy, was I wrong. I love that site.

Two of my other great discoveries were both Community related. I don’t know why I didn’t give it a chance before, but I wish I had. It’s hilarious. I guess it was because I never really watched The Soup, so I had no appreciation for Joel McHale. And the latest project I’d seen of Chevy Chase’s was, quite possibly Caddyshack. (That’s not counting Hot Tub Time Machine, because he wasn’t a main character. And, for the record, I love Caddyshack.)

But now that I’ve seen it, I’m sold. Joel McHale. Love him. Donald Glover. Love him. Danny Pudi. Love him. And all the rest? Love ’em. I mean, you stick Jon Oliver in your pilot episode, it’s pretty much destined that I’ll love the show. You make an episode entirely claymation? I’ll write you an ode.

The characters are all fantastic. I especially have a soft spot for Abed, with his intensive pop culture knowledge. And Britta was dear to me as soon as she admitted that she dropped out of high school because she thought it’d impress Radiohead. Troy is just adorable and Jeff is quite possibly the coolest guy at Greendale.

I’m also thankful that Community gave me another new discovery: The 88. They do the theme song for the show and I kind of love it. They make a halfway decent Pandora station, too. (Pandora, another new discovery of 2010. Thanks to Amanda.)

Okay, love letter over. But I will gift you with a compilation of end-tags from the show.