Today I'm obsessed with the song "Underground" by Kimya Dawson. Behold:
Some people hate Kimya Dawson, I'm sure. Like, people who can play guitar really well and bitch about musicians only knowing 2 chords. Last year at about this time Brandon and I discovered the sweet brillance of her album Hidden Vagenda and spent great amounts of time on the road singing along at the tops of our lungs. When I was going through a box the other day I found another CD of hers that I had lost promptly after buying it, and brought it out to my car and have been revisiting it. It's appropriate since it was in the fall when I first got into her music. Anyway, this song has a lyric that is kind of sweet and morbidly depressing at the same time, something Kimya's really good at, that goes like this:
"So I tattoo instructions on my ass, that say don't ever put this body in a casket, burn it and put the ashes in a basket, and throw them in the Puget Sound, I don't ever want to be underground, oh no"
I agree with Ms. Dawson, please, please, burn me up. I am a little torn as to what to do with the ashes, however. I am sure that by the time I die, there will be a lot of places I've gone that I could feel very confident about being scattered. But what if my family wants to keep me with them? That would be just fine. I feel like when someone dies their loved ones are so overwhelmed that it would suck to leave them with a decision to make. I was OK with seeing my dad in his casket, but after the funeral I had nightmares about his body underground and I still do sometimes. Including one in which I had to hire a cleanup crew to dig him up and like, clean the moldering moss off his body? Yeah, maybe that is TMI.
Somebody please comment and tell me what you want them to do with your body when you die. I am morbidly curious.
Last night I went to Mezcal with Toby and Brandon -- this is our Monday night, post-school tradition -- and sometime during the meal I got a phone call from this ex-friend (God, I hate using that term, it makes me feel so DRAMATIC and IMMATURE, but it's honestly the truth). I didn't know I got the phone call until I got home, since my phone was on silent, but I also had a follow-up text from her that said something about her calling on accident and not to worry because she'd delete my number so it would NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. This is someone who I had been friends with since high school when things went South, and I thought the text was the most pointless, immature thing ever. Pretty much like saying "Please don't be mistaken. I still cannot stand you and will never be able to stand you again." I find that the friends I had in high school, on the whole, when worse came to worse with our friendships, acted much like we would have at 17. I have to include myself in this appraisal, too. Has this been anyone else's experience, that if you've known someone since you were a kid, in your interpersonal dealings with this person, there's some sense of arrested development?
I feel pretty confident that since I have asked pointed questions to readers today, that no one will respond. That will show me.
The Brandon Dill birthday spectaular phenomenon is planned for Thursday night. I am having his little friends over, and buying him soda and making pizzas. Also possibly ordering wings? Ugh, I just realized that there's an obvious connection between events in our lives in the past 6 months and my desperate attempt to mother him this Birthday day. I am not sure that I like it, but caring nurturer me cannot -- must not!! -- be stopped.
Also, I just caught myself choking myself a little bit at my desk. I'm a pervert.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Today I'm obsessed with the song "Underground" by Kimya Dawson. Behold:
Friday, September 26, 2008
So, last night I drove Mr. Dill and I down to Oxford, MS for the much discussed Neko Case show. I have things to say about this town. First off, it was weirdly off its rocker because the presidential debate will or won't be there today. (Jesus McCain, suck it up and get down there and get your ass handed to you. We all know you're not doing anything in particular in Washington, dumbass.) Ok, Oxford. I didn't hate it, it just left me, as it did Liz some time ago when she went, with a big Meh. Meh. I'll tell you something I did find incredible irritating about Oxford, and that was its mens' fashions. I don't know what has happened to young prepsters in the South, but Jesus Christ on the cross, thank God I'm not a different person in a different place, because there is no way I could stomach thinking these dudes are attractive. Let me tell you the basic uniform for a guy, age 18-28, in Oxford, MS, on a Thursday night in September. 1) Light blue collared shirt. This may or may not be worn with a white undershirt, depends on how studly you are feeling. 2) Khaki shorts or pants. 3) Brown leather loafers with no socks. Not wearing socks shows everyone how Goddamn casual you are, and that you're too Johnny Reb to give a fuck. (Don't their shoes stink really bad? Any pair of shoes I've ever tried to wear without socks, especially leather, stunk like the Devil. Maybe I'm just disgusting.) 4) Visor or cap shoved down over what I hate most about the Southern Prep, THEIR BIG BANG OF HAIR. Do y'all know what I am talking about? I'm talking about this:
Our two friends on the left are sporting the megabang. The one in the middle demonstrates how it looks under the most favored headgear of all frat boys, the "I'm too Johnny Reb to give a fuck" weathered baseball cap.
Here are some Ole Miss boys and girls. Notice the guy bangs??? Omnipresent, like Baby Jesus.
If the girls feel like being cute, they wear mini-dresses such as these. If they're on their period, they wear short athletic shorts with baggy Bid Day t-shirts. But they still straighten their hair. I bet y'all are surprised to hear me pull a term like "Bid Day" out of my ass, and I'll tell you, I'm surprised too.
Where am I going with all this? (Things like this happen to me. I start a blog with some purpose in mind, and then coffee drives me into a shaking frenzy unable to transition into The Bigger Picture.) OK, so what I am trying to say is simple: These people get on my fucking nerves. But then I think, Amanda, you're a smart girl, delve deeper. The notion of sororities has long bothered me. Of course, this originated in my own, leagues-deep insecurity in early college when faced with packs of these tan, seemingly perfect girls; I channeled that insecurity into hatred, but now that I'm older and have more perspective, I still have a problem with the notion. I think that a sorority is just another way of grooming a woman into the pretty disgusting societal ideal of what she should be. Their uniforms, their identicalness, it all grosses me out and makes me sad for them. This article says it all much better than I can; it's a great one from Rolling Stone, written in the aftermath of the Duke rape scandal, and the first time I read it, I nearly wept with gratitude that I was too fat, nervous, and weird to be accepted into Greek life.
Posted by Amanda at 8:30 AM
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
We had a nice weekend out at Shelby Forest, camping with Dave and Amy. The ultimate in miracles has happened, you see, and we have found couple friends, in the town that we live in, that we can agree on, and who seem to want to be friends with us as much as we want to be friends with them. This is an elusive animal, as I think those of you who have been/are in relationships can attest. Either one half of the duo doesn't get along with someone in the other duo (usually split along opposite gender lines), or the dynamic between the other couple starts to get to you after awhile, and what was once your casual analysis of the relationship explodes into a situation in which, after every episode of hanging out with them, you end up saying things like "Did you notice how he said/did this thing and SHE JUST LAPPED IT UP?? THAT IS SO ANNOYING!!!!" Anyway, the point is, as of right now, Dave & Amy are our couple friends and we like it. I like it, anyway, I can't speak for the rest of the three of 'em.
We went to Shelby Forest because it was close by and I was happy that we'd picked it. Camping had never really occurred to me before 2007, I don't think? I had a tent that I'd bought for Bonnaroo... 2004?? I believe, and it had merely hung out in my closet/under my bed since then. I think that my enjoyment of camping relates directly to what a pseudo-spiritual guy told me soon after meeting me one time, that I was a "householder." I really squee over getting to set up a little home away from home in the woods. I think I'm certainly a householder. The intense joy I feel when seeing my primary colored Fiestaware stacked up in the kitchen cabinets confirms this. I feel the same satisfaction when smoothing a plastic gingham tablecloth over a concrete picnic table, rolling out our sleeping bags in our newly popped up tent, and spreading Patsy's homemade cherry preserves over a slice of peanut buttered bread in the chilly morning time, surrounded by trees. I am planning a birthday camping spectacular weekend in Arkansas for my best husband next weekend, and I believe we are going here, Petit Jean State Park, which the internet has told me was Arkansas's first ever state park. Say what you want about Arkansas, it does have all that natural beauty.
Yep, Mr. Dill's birthday is next week, his 28th (it feels surreal to be getting so close to 30) and I am orchestrating gift-giving and special dinner-making to make up for last year, when I had just started my job and was broke as a joke and only gave him a subscription to Aperture magazine. I am super proud because not only have I had both his gifts, which were ordered off the internet, in my possession for more than a week, I have secreted them away in my work cubicle away from his prying eyes. Score! My goal is to prepare more surprises and pull them out at random times from October 2-5, at which time all birthday celebrating will finish. It's funny because he doesn't really give a shit about his birthday, which I took full advantage of in both 2006 and 2007, but Goddamnit he deserves some attention and I'm going to give it to him.
The last point I want to touch on is the fact that I am considering initiating a weekly Sunday night potluck at our humble abode on Lawrence Avenue for old & new Memphis friends. When we first moved to Memphis, we happened to stumble upon Brandon's ol' MTSU friend, Jen, at El Mezcal, and she and her husband invited us to one they had each Sunday night that was attached to viewing of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I miss the tradition, especially since Fall is coming and the cool weather is inviting me to make homemade mac and cheese and pad 5 additional pounds onto myself. We will not be watching any tv shows, but we will be talking and drinking wine (if anyone has the forethought to buy it on Saturday). We would do it at like 7'ish, and anyone would be invited to come and bring friends with them. We can get a real little network built, and it's the perfect night for Lindsey & Dave to hang out. I will be discussing this more with youse guys in real life, I hope y'all want to do it.
P.S. I have been spending at least two hours daily at work listening to Suspense old time radio. Is that really weird??
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I'll tell you a phenomenon I love: Listening to music that reminds you of a particular time in your life and having the same feelings that affected you then rise over you in an awesome wave. That is an incredible feeling. I am sitting at work this morning listening to Neko Case's album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (and no, she's not the only music I EVER listen to) and I am stricken with the sensation that I am driving my car down the interstate on a hot summer night and falling in love with Brandon Dill all over again. I remember one particular night distinctly, driving the both of us from Wendy & Mark's in Nashville to B's hovel in Murfreesboro, right after I'd gotten this album. Despite the fact I should have still been traumatized by the end of a long-running relationship, I knew deep down inside myself that what Brandon and I were feeling about one another was pretty dang undeniable and I was so fucking excited about the whole thing every minute. And I still get really excited, even though sometimes we are freaked out about money or generally pissy or bored. I really believe that things are better with him than without him, and better than they would be with anyone else because something that lives inside the both of us, something deep and old that connects to our hearts & our minds, that part of the both of us recognized the other as soon as we looked at each other and paid attention. We try to remind each other how lucky we are to have found one another quite often.
I had a lovely time at my mother's this weekend. The air is crisping up and her orchard is full of apples, pears, and muscadines. If you've never eaten muscadines before, they are very sweet when they get ripe but have a thick, bitter skin and seeds. When I was a little girl my father used to !PoP! the pulp in my waiting mouth and this is the way I still eat them today. I tried to teach my five year old nephew how to feed them to me in this way, and ended up with a mouthful of fingers.
My relationship with the land I grew up in, the house my great-grandparents built there in the 1930s is very deep and complicated. There's some kind of psychic impression that has been left there by the four generations of Yarbros that poured their love and work and lives into the place, and I feel like it's my destiny to end up there with my own family someday. Finding a way to survive there would be wonderful for Brandon and me, but it's a hard thing to figure out, because the nearest towns offer nothing in the way of opportunities financially, much less socially. In some kind of fantasy world, we could have a retreat for all types of creative people and that would solve both problems at once. I have long had dreams of living in that house and inviting a huge circle of friends to visit twice a year to eat fresh food from long tables scattered across the back yard while lightning bugs flash and naked babies run around with great abandon. Maybe this is possible? Some practicality in me pooh poohs the possibility, but it's the same little voice that tried to tell me it was impossible to go live out of a pack in Europe for three months, and I did that, so you never know.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I don't know about you guys, but I'm happy it's Friday; Brandon and I will be visiting my mom this weekend while all the rest of the Memphis folks get TEE-rashed at Cooper-Young fest but it's okay, because I love my mom and she makes me lots of good food and gives me all her elder woman wisdom when I come around.
Last night I uploaded a video to YouTube for the first time ever, and I'm going to try and do some more soon. When we are travelling B always shoots lots of video on my little camera, and we've been meaning to start postin' em on ye olde internet for a long time. For a grand, adorable debut, I give you: Puppet Bike!!!!
Now, we saw Puppet Bike outside the poster shop where we bought this (let me tell you, it took much hemming & hawwing to make a decision). I don't know the gender of the person inside the Puppet Bike stage thingy, but whoever it is, I love them. This is probably the most awesome street entertainment I have ever seen, because it is so unexpected and out of the ordinary and CHARMING. Look at those puppets! I'd say what you need to do right now is go get in your car, or, be more environmentally responsible/cheap and get a megabus ticket and get your ass to Chicago and DO NOT REST until you see this puppet wonder for yourself. Amen.
Also, in the grand tradition of Liz, also known as Bette Davis Lies, also known as Peggy Noir, I wanted to post a recipe that I cooked last night, boosted from Recipezaar. I have to say that the dinner I made last night was one of the best dinners I have cooked in my life. Like, definitely the top 10. And it was vegetarian! And it was an incredible amalgam of spicery! Yes! (Can you tell I've had my morning coffee??) OK, so I made I Can't Wait for Chole, which I had made before, except this time I added some sliced zucchini in with the chickpeas because I am in lust with zucchini. But the real star of the meal was the COCONUT RICE, people. The recipe follows. Make it. Make love to it, and thank Mother Earth that coconut milk exists.
1 cup long grain rice or jasmine rice
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1. Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a medium sized pot.
2. Add the rice, ginger and salt.
3. Stir and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. While waiting, heat the shredded coconut in a skillet, toasting it lightly.
6. Remove from heat and set aside.
7. When the rice has cooked for 20 minutes, fluff it with a fork and throw out the ginger root.
8. Toss with toasted coconut.
9. Garnish with chopped cilantro just before serving.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Keywords that people have searched for that lead them to me, according to Google Analytics:
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Oh, you internet psychos.
Posted by Amanda at 12:05 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I decided I'd better blog before some well-meaning blogosphere passerby read my last entry and assumed that I had thrown myself down an old well. Or something like that. Honestly, I am doing fine today, and in the past week I have had a gutbomb of anxiety off and on but I think it can be attributed to the dread of tomorrow's anniversary as well as my clenching fear regarding the upcoming election.
I have been reading this blog lately, as recommended to me by Liz. She actually pointed me to Nienie's sister's blog, because the sister is taking care of Nienie & her husband's four kids since they were critically injured in a plane crash in August. Yes, very heavy. One of the first entries I read was this one, in which Nienie describes the back to school dinner party she had for her two school-aged children. It was freaking incredible. When I am sucked into some kind of real life drama that is playing out on the web, I am always stricken by an "Oh my God, this is real life" feeling. Anyway, reading her blog makes me feel so very underwhelmed by my own creativity that I want to cry. That is something to work on.
Last Thursday I was stricken by the certainty that I needed to cut off all my hair, and handled the urge the way I usually do, but making an appointment at Dabbles (one of the most embarrassing names ever for a place of business, surely) for Saturday and rushing there to get John, a very nice stylist, to cut it all off for me. Behold, a shitty Photo Booth image of yours truly sans flowing locks:
Jesus Christ on the cross, I am fairly sure that a Very Large Man that sits near me is afflicted with whooping cough or another such malady that launches him into coughing fits that goes ON and ON and ON, and is the kind in which you can detect phlegm. Sounds like he is going to die and I can't muster anything more than disgusted annoyance. What kind of person am I.
B has a wedding in M'boro this weekend, and I am going to my mother's. This burgeoning autumn weather makes me want to drive in the car, don't know why it does that. Also makes me want to go camping, which I think Baby B and I will do, in Arkansas, for his birthday in October. He will be 28. 28! He is old! We are nearly 30! But we have a savings account, feels good that we've at least accompanied that.
Posted by Amanda at 9:19 AM
Thursday, September 4, 2008
"It’s so quiet down here – if this is the end, shouldn’t we be talking and making sure we mark all this time with its true importance? Yet we cannot do that, because it would be admitting it might be the end, which is not something any of us want to say. Or feel. Or believe."
Posted by Amanda at 4:08 PM
Okay, day three of Master Cleanse finds me feeling much better and without the chronic headache I had ALL DAY yesterday. It followed me through 8.5 hours of work, (non)dinner at Jasmine's, running around with Amy, and the two hour season premiere of ANTM at Zach's. It was a devil of a pickle.
But, I'm sad because food is gone and I love food.
Since I have so little to contribute, let me leave you with what's possibly the best documentary ever filmed about little girl beauty pageants in the South. This had some sort of serious impact on me at 19, I'll tell ya.
Posted by Amanda at 3:55 PM
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Well we had a pleasant journey to Chicago and back and here I am, once again, working for the man. My job has been shifted around, September being the first month that the change took effect, and let me tell you, so far, it's the bees knees. Two days in and not a single interview!
I really do love Chicago. It's so overwhelming to be in such a HUGE city when I'm so used to living life here in what now feels like teeny Memphis. We went to the Jazz Fest, and the Art Institute, the beach, hung out with our great friend Simon, and ate lotsa food of course. Incredible deep dish Chicago pizza and Indian food; also, I went into this sweet shop on a street full of Indian & Pakistani restaurants & shops, and got some excellent halva; I hadn't eaten any since I was in Greece, and what I got in this shop was excellent, both carrot and pistachio. I have to check some markets here in Memphis and see if I can get any. So, Chicago joins the list of "Cities in Which We Might Breed;" it's really the only one on the eastern side of the states. We have to do some more scouting in the West before making any kind of decision. The thing about being married, in my late twenties, is that I feel that the decisions I am making right now will really have an incredible impact on things for years and years to come. Oh Lord, anyone who ever reads this has seen this diatribe countless times, so I will spare you.
I started this Master Cleanse thing yesterday. I have done it once before, in early 2007; it's that cleanse where you have no solid food for 10 days, you only drink this lemonade concoction that is sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with cayenne. Also laxative tea at night and a "salt water flush" in the morning. I have not yet done the salt water flush because I'd have to do it at work and we all know how shit-shy I am (it pretty much makes you pee out of your butt. No joke). I've got to figure that part out. Today is day #2, and I have a kind of slight dull headache and a serious lack of energy, even though I slept like the dead last night. I know from my prior experience that my exhaustion will go away in the next couple of days, but dammit, all I want to do is go home, crawl in bed, and pull the covers over my head. Speaking of sleeping, I had a terrible dream this morning in which Bad Guys were somehow taking my mother's house away from her, and in it, all dream-Amanda could do was sob uncontrollably. I mean, throughout the whole dream, all I did was cry. I have these on occasion and they're particularly sucky because the already present helpless feeling is just magnified tenfold by the crying.
So all in all, this blog is much like my dietary life right now: BORING AS HELL. However, when I'm once again on the food wagon and regaling you with tales of my booze-fueled evenings, it will be all worth it, kittens. Because I'll be skinnier.
P.S. Liz, Amy, and I, as well as some people around here who don't actually blog, will be meeting at Jasmine's in Cooper-Young tonight for an early dinner (5:15ish). The husband and another pal will be tagging along, and anyone from my wee internet world is welcome to come, too. We'll have a fine time. Jasmine's got some of the best tofu that you've ever eaten, buddy.