Tuesday, June 24, 2008

you play with my world like it's your little toy

i came across this video from 1992 of mike and ed singing masters of war, a bob dylan song.

i'm biased, but i don't think you can watch this video and deny what an incredible voice eddie vedder has. PJ still plays this song sometimes; perhaps they will in boston?

you know what i hate? when you try to do a load of laundry only to have the washing machine take your 1.25 and not start and your apartment manager basically tells you, "tough luck." it's not "tough luck," jerk, i pay a lot of money to you every month, the least you could do is make sure your washing machines don't eat my quarters.

well, i feel a little better now.

could this week go by any slower? i am so excited to go to boston!!! since the weekend, my living room has been a mess with half-packed bags and clothes spread out everywhere.

right now, i'm reading when you are engulfed in flames, by david sedaris. if you've never read anything by him, do yourself a favor and check him out. to say that he's hilarious is an understatement. in fact, i think i will go read some more of him right now, and then go to bed and try to make saturday come sooner. (have i mentioned that i'm going to see pearl jam???) enjoy masters of war.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

got me a big wave...

this time next week, i will be in boston! ahhhh...

i am spending my evening listening to a live stream from the telluride bluegrass festival, where the frames are performing later tonight. (believe me, i thought about going but turns out it's kind of complicated to get to telluride).

i went to the fremont fair today; the highlight of which is the solstice parade, with it's wacky floats and, my personal favorite, naked bicyclists!

(the rest of my pictures are here)

Friday, June 20, 2008

take me for a ride before we leave

pearl jam countdown: 1 week!!

who you are, 6/11/08

doesn't sound half bad, although the video is kind of making me dizzy. i don't know why i love this song so much, but i do. just a little time before we leave...

is that the same backdrop ed used on his solo tour?

it's been such a long week at work, that the only thing that's keeping me going is knowing that i only have to get through 5 more days of work, and then i get 6 days off! i can hardly wait.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

step out on your porch

there's much more than this.

breath, from 1991:

nice hat, jeff.

now for something completely different.. long road:

i love the lyrics to this song. i might be wrong, but i don't think i've ever seen this song live. i just realized that both of my songs today are from movies; breath is from singles and long road is from dead man walking (which is a great soundtrack all around).

a little more than a week and i will be in boston! i am so excited but getting ready for a trip is really stressful. i have a to-do list about 2 pages long. i also have to spend time this weekend figuring out train schedules. i don't like to be unprepared. i only spent two days in san francisco in april, but i took about 10 pages of bus and subway schedules with me. yes, i'm a dork.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

mine is not a celestial state

in which megan posts a new favorite pearl jam song each day in anticipation of seeing them in concert at the end of the month. today, here is angel from 1992.

i think that if i could take the minute or so from 1:30 to the end and bottle it, i would be happy forever. ed's little pause before the first "i'm by your side" just kills me.

this song was never on an album, it was a song on pearl jam's fanclub christmas single in 93 (i think? it's the first one i have) every year they send a single to ten club members but it's always a record. when i was a kid, every time my parents went out i used to sneak down to the basement and listen to my fanclub singles on their record player. i particularly loved sonic reducer and history never repeats from the 95 single, although those are a post for another day.

in further proof that i need to cut up my credit cards, although i do not own a record player, i do own three pearl jam albums on vinyl, and they are currently decorating my walls. along with my posters from LA 2006 and philadephia 2000. i also own more concert t shirts than i care to admit, and i never even wear most of them.

ok, i lie. now i am watching old videos from bridge school benefit shows, and i came across sometimes from 96. i think this must have been during eddie's hair gel phase:

this is the first song on no code, my favorite PJ album. i love the lyrics: seek my part/devote myself/my small self/like a book amongst the many on the shelf... sometimes i speak of nothing at all/sometimes i reach to myself, dear god. i could write an essay about what pearl jam's lyrics mean to me, but it would be too personal and, i'm sure, too long.

Monday, June 16, 2008

it's time for you to raise your voice and capture what you're after

pearl jam played at the bonnaroo festival on saturday night, and i am so jealous because their setlist (and i know you can't judge a show just by the setlist, but...) looks AMAZING. i found a little blurb about it in the associated press, and this is my favorite part - because i can picture it, and it makes me so excited for boston (as if i weren't excited enough.. how am i going to make it through two more weeks of work?)

If he wasn't already, Vedder appeared completely converted to the joys of mega festivals when the band played "Better Man." The audience sang along and lifted lighters in the air, and only then did Vedder realize how large the crowd was. He muttered, "That's ... beautiful."

this weekend, i made copies of live on two legs and pearl jam for kristine, who i am dragging to boston with me (i already copied vitalogy for her. i would have done yield but my cd's are such a mess that i can't find it). it was really fun to listen to those, especially live on two legs which i'm sure i haven't heard since 1998. i also had an urge to watch some dvd's... i have a really odd relationship (well, it's hardly a relationship if it's only one-sided, but let's pretend) with pearl jam (and my other favorite band, the frames) in that i can go weeks without listening to them but then, when i do, it feels like i'm talking to my best friend again. i don't know how else to explain it. i guess it's because i've been listening to the music since i was 12 years old - i literally have grown up with it and have stories for almost all of the songs in my head. that's why i don't think i would ever want to meet any of the band members. what do you say to someone who has been such an important part of your life even though they don't know you? "uh, you're my favorite band" (all i unfortunately said to glen hansard) just doesn't seem to cut it.

i've been meaning to write about the book that i'm reading right now. it's called the cellist of sarajevo. you know how sometimes you find a book that you just don't want to put down? but at the same time, you're a little bit afraid to finish it because you love reading it so much? that's this book. the author has such a lovely rhythm to his writing, he can make words sound like songs. it takes place during the siege of sarajevo, sometime in the 1990's, and the character referenced in the title watches his neighbors killed by a morter while they stand in line for bread. he decides to play his cello on the street where they died for 28 days in rememberence. he never says why he decides to do this (well not yet anyway; i'm more than 2/3 through the book). is it an act of defiance? of resistance? of hope? i suspect a little bit of both. i think that, ultimately, his music becomes a source of healing for the city. even though there are snipers and morter attacks happening all around them, people can still gather and feel better together for a little while at least.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

are you there? it's me, again

i spent an embarrassingly large percentage of my weekend sitting in movie theatres. after work on friday, i went to see the happening. this was a really strange movie. i can't say i really enjoyed it, but i didn't dislike it either. it just left me with an odd feeling. i think that one thing it did do was tap into the feeling that there is something not quite right going on in the world at the moment. be it global warming, war, whatever... mark wahlberg was surely the bright spot in the film; i think he's a great actor, and there were several moments during the movie when he made me laugh out loud. zooey deschanel was really good as his wife (and i realized halfway through that she looked so familiar to me because she plays the sister in almost famous).

the basic premise is that something is going on that causes people to decide to kill themselves. it starts in central park and moves to philadelphia and, eventually, every town in the northeast. at first, the government says that it is some kind of chemical attack, and orders new york to be evacuated. mark wahlberg's character, eliot, lives in philadelphia - he takes his family and leaves the city on a train that ends up getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, and from here the movie becomes an escape story as eliot, his wife and his niece try to outrun "the happening."

here is where the plot holes in the movie started to distract me. while eliot and his family are wandering through a field in pennsylvania, they meet a soldier who says that everyone at his base has been affected by whatever is happening and has killed themselves. yet, despite knowing that that this mysterious illness causes suicide, the soldier does not get rid of his gun. so when he, predictably, comes down with the sickness, he has an easy way out.

this was also the last weekend of the seattle international film festival, and yesterday i went to see a documentary called accelerating america. it is about a school in providence, rhode island, that tries to take kids who are at risk of dropping out of school and accelerate them (i.e. have them complete 2 years worth of work in 1 year) through middle school so that they can, hopefully, be successful in high school. the idea is that a kid who's been held back a lot is not very likely to stay in high school until they are in their early 20s.

this morning, i went to see a canadian movie called the 5 senses. i was excited to see that because mary-louise parker, one of my favorite actresses, is in it. it was a good movie, although at times i thought that it had too many story lines going at once. but while i was in line, a lady came by who was giving out passes to see gus van sant's new movie on wednesday night for free. it sounds quite good so i'm pretty excited: "acclaimed filmmaker gus van sant teams with the incomparable sean penn (!!!) and a supurb supporting cast including emile hirsch (!) to tell the inspiring, thrilling and deeply emotional true story of harvey milk, openly gay and one of the world's most visionary and charismatic leaders who was assassinated in 1978." lady, you had me at sean penn. i love him.

pearl jam countdown: 12 days!!

i'm still alive

from my email:

Event Reminder
Sun, 06/15/2008 Hello Megan. Your event is happening soon!
Pearl Jam
When:Monday, June 30, 2008 7:30pm
Where:Comcast Center
885 S Main St
Mansfield, MA 02048

...as if i needed to be reminded. trust me, i won't forget. i've already started packing.

pearl jam countdown: 13 days!!!

love the hat. ed looks like a truck driver. and i love how he forgets the lyrics at the beginning. awesome. mike mccready is some sort of god, i think.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

this is our heyday baby

and we're not gonna be afraid to shine
cause we can make our heyday last forever
and ain't that what it's all about?

the swell season/frames at bonnaroo, june 13, doing a mic christopher song.

i love how happy everyone looks. i love glen's dance moves - watch out, new kids on the block. most of all, i love how glen is able to get the crowd to sing the chorus to a song most of them have probably never even heard. i also like what he says before the song - "it's a dance song - i don't really care about you dancing in terms of our egos; i just care in terms of your enjoyment." ha!

i found a little blurb with glen in the new york times (he really gets around).

When the band was in Louisville, word came that it was invited to hear Barack Obama speak. “It was amazing, just like everything else that has been happening for us,” he said. Mr. Hansard is contemplating a move to New York from Dublin. “I don’t really live anywhere right now, but Dublin is where I keep my stuff,” he said.

while i find it insane that someone would want to move from europe to the united states, may i suggest seattle? not only do we have coffee and music, but we are also colder than siberia (according to an article in the seattle times this morning). if you need a place to stay, i even have some room on my couch. (kidding!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

somewhere there i lost my way, everyone walks the same

i kind of regret not making more of an effort to see rem on this tour.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

i can have way too much fun with this...


1. 7 day mile, the frames. (good grief, this is a good version)
2. growin up, bruce springsteen.
3. sleeping in , the postal service.
4. nightswimming, rem
5. a sort of homecoming , u2
6. present tense, pearl jam

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what's your part? who you are

pearl jam's tour started tonight in west palm beach, florida. one of the most exciting parts of their tours (besides eagerly awaiting my turn to see them :) is reading setlists and guessing what they will play/ wishing i could have been there to hear a song that i love/ being excited when they start playing songs they haven't played in awhile, and hoping that they will do more of that. apparently tonight, they played who you are, which really makes me happy because.. well, watch this video from 1996:

who you are is from 1996's no code, an album that, everytime i listen to it, reminds me of sitting on the floor of my bedroom in bangor, singing along (but hopefully not so loudly that my parents could hear.. although i probably didn't succeed at that). there is just something about this song.. even though the lyrics are kind of random ("that's the moss in the aforementioned verse"?), when i hear ed sing "what's your part?/who you are/you are who/who you are," it kind of makes my heart swell (especially the way he sings it in this video). there is a part of me that will always be the 16 year old i was when i first heard this song, who has no idea what she is doing or where she is going, and to me, this song is kind of saying that it's okay to feel that way, but the things you do do matter. everyone has a part in this world. i also think that this song is about making the most of your life - something that makes much more sense to me the older i get (and the crazier the world becomes). "take me for a ride before we leave..."

or.. maybe i read wayyyy too much into ed's lyrics. i'd really like to hear how this song sounded tonight.

i can't wait until boston now! as if i weren't excited enough...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

may you build a ladder to the stars...

i love this. swell season with liam o maonlaĆ­ singing forever young a few days ago in prague. they also did this song in seattle and it was wonderful.

speaking of the swell season, there's an interview with glen and marketa in performing songwriter. (unfortunately if you go to that link, you can only read the first page or so; you can, however, see the cover, which i love. glen hansard on the cover of a magazine!). it's a good read.
how does it work when you write together?
hansard: i enjoy that, because it's like my foot is off the gas. she feels it's my song, and i feel it's hers. when i feel it's hers, that means i don't feel responsible for it, so i play around and kick it into different shapes. i feel a lot less precious about it. and she doesn't get precious about it, because she thinks it's my song. the idea is it's just a song, it's neither yours nor mine. the songs that mar and i write together are like sketchbooks, not paintings. you sit with your friends, do some doodles, and have a laugh with it. it's still very serious and personal but because it was written by the two of us, we have less fear about what it ends up being.

and this:
music is something i will never do as a job.. if i think about it that way, it's dead. music's very shy. it's like a bird. it's with you until you catch it.

oh.. and this. i want someone to say something like this about me.
she's really smart and together. in our relationship, i spend all my time not knowing where i'm going. she's the one who's more grounded. i'm the one who deals with life in a different way. she has this easy pace and even temper that i admire. she's a good person to be around.

in something completely unrelated, if anyone who is reading this happens to be looking for a ticket to pearl jam on the 30th, leave a comment or email me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

i cook 'em just to see the look on their face

i was walking around greenlake today and had my ipod on "random," and it played dirty frank. i started laughing and i think people might have thought i was crazy. just watch:

"where's mike mccready, my god he's been ate!" gets me everytime. although whoever uploaded it to youtube called it "pearl jam's feel good hit." uh, i don't think i'd say that.

you've got the right stuff, baby

the new kids on the block are playing the tacoma dome in november (they're also playing at madison square garden. woah). a couple of the shows are already sold out - i guess there's no cap on the market for boy bands from the 1980s. seriously, who are buying these tickets? women who are now in their late twenties and early thirties and want to relive elementary school?

oh, alright.. if tickets weren't 75 dollars (if they were, say, 5 dollars), i'd be going. i used to seriously love the new kids. i owned all of their trading cards (like baseball cards, only cooler) and cried when they broke up (i think i was 9 or 10). and if i could have bought this, believe me, i would have:

how awesome is the new kids fanny pack? almost as cool as pearl jam socks (which i don't own, but are a real thing).

oh my god. it might be worth the price of admission to see 40 year old men do those dance moves.

i found this little nugget on their website: “ We’re still young, we’re still hot,” McIntryre answers with a laugh. “Our fans are between 25 and 35 now because they were really young then. They’re still very attractive — and very legal. So it’s going to be a girls night out. I know my wife’s going to be there every step of the way, but it’s still going to be fun.”

uh, okay..

Saturday, June 7, 2008

good food, or why i love farmers markets

argh. it feels like january, not june. i don't think it got out of the 50s all week! annoying.

3 weeks from tonight, i will be in boston seeing pearl jam. yay! i hope it's warmer there. i am excited to eat a lobster roll for the first time in 6 years, drink coffee from dunkin donuts and, of course, see my favorite band!

this afternoon, i went to see good food, a documentary about washington state organic, family-run farms. it was really interesting, not the least because i got a kick out of seeing some of the farmers i buy food from every saturday at the farmer's market on the big screen. going to the farmer's market is actually one of my favorite parts of the week - i only miss a saturday if i am out of town - there is nothing like a carrot that has just been picked and bought with its tops still on it. in fact, i don't buy fruits and veggies, with the exception of oranges and maybe one or two other things once in awhile, at the grocery store anymore. thanks to the farmer's markets, i've also started eating things i never would have tried otherwise. all winter long (the university district market runs all year round! yay!), i had a few steamed brussels sprouts almost every night. for the past two weeks, i've been eating spinach, something that i haven't bought at the store since the outbreak of e-coli a few years ago. my new favorite vegetable, asparagus, i never ate until i started getting it during the few weeks it is fresh in the spring (there is nothing better than steamed, in-season asparagus).

after the film, the filmmakers and a few of the featured farmer's did a little q&a session, and the one thing that stood out to me is when one of the farmer's said that, once you take into account the sustainability of the soil, small-scale, organic farming actually allows them to grow more than conventional farming would.

if you're interested in this, i also recommend the book animal, vegetable, mineral by barbara kingsolver. a couple of years ago, she and her family decided to move to a her husband's family farm in virginia and spend a year (i'm not sure if they are still living this way; i suspect they may be) growing all their own food. it's a really, really fascinating book, and what got me interested in buying food at farmer's markets in the first place.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

everyone you meet, they all seem to be asleep

with the exceptions of marching bands of manhattan and i will follow you into the dark, i did not like death cab for cutie's last album. at all. so much so that i was ready to give up on a band i had once thought was really promising - for a long time, i was obssessed with their two albums before plans, the photo album and transatlanticism. i think i feel such a strong connection with the latter album because, when i was living in tacoma and could not find a teaching job (and was really unhappy as a result), i listened to it every single night for about two months with headphones on. so, i was really excited for plans, and when it came out, i was incredibly disappointed. it just seemed... boring . maybe it was the fact that it was their first album with a major label, i don't know - i just felt like it was missing something.

their new album, narrow stairs, begins with bixby canyon bridge , a song that i have to say has really grown on me since the first time i heard it on KEXP (and thought it was such a waste of time that i turned it off). the song begins quietly, and then builds until it feels like it's going to explode. maybe this is what was missing from plans. like marching bands of manhattan, bixby canyon bridge just seems.. big. 'big' as in it makes me want to strech my arms out wide while i close my eyes and sing along. lyrically, the song has lots of references to jack kerouac (which i know you'll appreciate, kristine). all the way from san francisco as i chased the end of your road/cause i've still got miles to go. like the best death cab songs, this one paints a beautiful picture in my mind. i can totally see ben standing in a hot canyon, hoping somehow to discover the secret to life, but then realizing that he can't, and coming to terms with the fact that that's okay.

musically, narrow stairs doesn't really break any new ground for the band. i still want to listen to it a little bit more, but a couple of the songs remind me of older songs (long division in particular sounds really familiar. i think that it reminds me of why'd you want to live here, one of my favorite death cab songs). cath begins with a guitar hook that hasn’t left my head for days. long division has a catchy chorus that I love to sing along with, and no sunlight does a great job of juxtaposing upbeat music with depressing lyrics.

speaking of lyrics, one of my favorite things to do when a band i like releases a new album is listen to it while analyzing the lyrics. ben gibbard is, i think, really good at writing songs from other people's points of view, and the strongest songs on narrow stairs play to this strength. cath, probably my favorite song on the album, is about a woman who, on her wedding day, regrets her choices in life: she stands with a well intentioned man but can't relax with his hand on the small of her back... what became of you when your heart was dying fast. grapevine fires, a song about a family that watches a forest fire becomes a metaphor for coming to terms with the fact that life has no guarantees: the northern sky looked like the end of days/a wakeup call to a rented room sounded like an alarm of impending doom/to warn us that it's only a matter of time before we all burn. even no sunlight, a pretty straightforward mid-20s 'what the hell am i doing here?' kind of song, reminds me of lazy summer afternoons: when i was young lying in the grass/ i felt so safe in a warming bath of sunlight/the vast open sky could do no harm like the embrace of a mother's arms.

This album is not one of those that you will like immediately - at least, it wasn’t for me. And I can’t tell yet whether it will stand the test of time, but, for now, I don’t want to let it leave my CD player.

Monday, June 2, 2008

it's only a matter of time before we all burn

i am in love with this song right now.

that's all.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

recommendation #2

first of all, i think i may have to eat my words about death cab for cutie. i bought their new album today at easy street because it was on sale. i'm listening to it right now and, although it's my first listen, i think i like it. a lot, even. in the future, perhaps i shouldn't be so quick to judge something based on its creepy song titles. the award for best lyric about my life is you can do better than me but i can't do better than you. that ben gibbard sure is good at writing depressing love songs.

but here's something i can judge. today, i went to a movie called strangers (it was at the uptown theatres, as part of the seattle international film festival). i first heard about this movie because, a couple of months ago, glen and marketa sang on its title song, which i now think is interesting because strangers and once do share some intriguing parallels. both movies are great at evoking the feeling of living in the moment, but knowing that the moment can't possibly last forever.

strangers is about eyal and rana, an israeli and palestinian, who meet each other during the 2006 world cup finals in berlin. the film actually has lots of funny moments, especially at the beginning, when eyal and rana meet by accident - their bags get mixed up on a subway train and there are a couple humorous scenes of them going through each other's things. during the next few days, they start falling in love (although their feelings are never given a name), but then rana has to return to paris (where she has lived for 5 years) and, despite her telling eyal not to follow her, he does. some other stuff happens - which i won't write about in case someone happens to get the opportunity to see this movie (which you should!) - and it's all set against the backdrop of news reports about bombings in lebanon. even though the film is about the relationship between two people, those two people cannot separate themselves entirely from their political realities. when she first realizes their bags have been mixed up, rana (who has figured out that eyal is from israel because she finds a hebrew book in his bag) hesitates calling eyal because of who he is. later, eyal and rana joke that the palestinians and israelis both have crappy soccer teams because the best palestinians become terrorists while the best israelis join the army. in paris, eyal argues with rana's friends about which side shoulders more responsibility for the war. however, rana tells eyal that, if they got married, she would live in israel (which kind of reminded me of the scene in once when the guy and girl are sitting by the piano talking - dreaming - about moving to london together). can they ever really be together? the ending is pretty ambiguous.

the acting in this movie was GREAT. especially the woman who played rana - i want to see everything else she has ever been in. i love seeing foreign films that i would never otherwise see (everyone reading this should support the seattle international film festival! they have films all year long, not just during the festival).