Friday, September 19, 2008

Rilo Kiley = Awesomeness

I was first introduced to the indie rock band Rilo Kiley in 2003. My freshman year roommate had this annoying tendency to play their song "The Frug" several times every morning - on a loop. I wasn't particularly fond of said roommate and our relationship ended six weeks later when I got the hell out of there, switching dorm rooms, and never looking back. I thought I would end up loathing "The Frug" simply out of spite, but the song was just charming enough, just winsome enough to stay with me over the years.

I was reintroduced to the band in 2004 when I came across their animated and Lite-Brite-tastic music video for "It's a Hit" on AtomFilms. That song and a handful of others joined my playlist and slowly started taking over, climaxing in my own Rilo Kiley loop of songs from all of their CDs (except for Take Offs and Landings which I tragically haven't gotten around to purchasing yet).

There's something undeniably lovable about the band and their music, and it's not just lead singer Jenny Lewis's utter adorableness or her saccharine and sultry vocals.

I've always been a fan of singer Jewel, both as a poet and a performer. I love that she really says something in her lyrics, speaking from her heart and from an idyllic, universal human perspective. Rilo Kiley's songs move me in a similar way, although their lyrics are much less straight-forward. I love the way they string ideas and imagery together, seemingly at random, before throwing them out at the audience to take and make something personal out of them.

And another thing to love? Well, if you grew up in the early '90s like I did, you probably grew up loving half of the Rilo Kiley crew without even knowing it. Both Jenny Lewis and lead guitarist Blake Sennett (aka: Blake Soper) are former child stars, Sennett of Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World fame, and Lewis as Shelley Long's daughter in one of my personal favorites, the campy 80s classic, Troop Beverly Hills. And for Buffy fans - Blake also appeared as witch Michael Czajak in the third season episode, "Gingerbread".

I saw Rilo Kiley live for the first time in June at Terminal 5 and they were fantastic; so full of energy and enthusiasm, it was a full week before I got over the disappointment of having to listen to their albums again. But no worries - I made a full recovery.

My Top Ten Rilo Kiley:

1. With Arms Outstretched
Now some days they last longer than others
But this day by the lake went too fast
And if you want me
You better speak up, I won't wait
So you better move fast
2. Spectacular Views
See the stars from where the birds make their homes
Staring back at us
Indifferent but distanced perfectly, projected endlessly
It's so fucking beautiful
3. Portions for Foxes
I know I'm alone if I'm with or without you
But just being around you offers me another form of relief
When the loneliness leads to bad dreams
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you
And I call you and say, "C'MERE!"
4. The Good That Won't Come Out
It's all of the good that won't come out of them
And all the stupid lies they hide behind
It's such a big mistake
Standing here on this frozen lake
5. I Never
And I'm afraid habits rule my waking life
I'm scared and I'm running in my sleep
For you
But all the oceans and rivers and showers
Will wash it all away and make me clean for you
6. The Frug
And I can hate your girl
I can tell you that she's real pretty
I can take my clothes off
I cannot fall in love
7. It's a Hit
Ah, but the pardons never come from upstairs
They're always a moment too late
But it's entertainment
Keep the crowd on their toes
It's justice, we're safe
It's not a hit, it's a holiday
Shoo bop, shoo bop, my baby
8. A Better Son/Daughter
And your ship may be coming in
You’re weak but not giving in
And you’ll fight it
You’ll go out fighting all of them
9. A Man/Me/Then Jim
"Diana, Diana, Diana, I would die for you
I'm in love with you completely
I'm afraid that's all I can do"
She said, "You can sleep upon my doorstep
You can promise me indifference, Jim
But my mind's made up
And I'll never let you in again"
10. More Adventurous
I've been trying to nod my head
But it's like I've got a broken neck
Wanting to say I will as my last testament
For me to be saved and you to be brave
We don't have to walk down that aisle
Because if marriage ain't enough
Well, at least we'll be loved

Friday, September 12, 2008

Books From My Childhood

I read a lot growing up - on the bus, at the playground, while not paying attention in class. I tended to strongly dislike, on principle, the books that were required academic reading (with a few notable exceptions - The Giver, Number the Stars), but that didn't stop me from discovering other, much beloved literature outside of the grade school system. Below are some of my favorites from elementary and middle school - books that kept me entertained, flexed my imagination, and helped shaped my perception of the world narrative.

I went on to read many more books by the same authors over the years, but these are the particular first-reads that really sparked my passion for literature - from young adult to nineteenth century classics.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Owe Me a Michelin, Motherf*cker.

During my most recent foray into marathon television via Showtime's killer original series, Dexter, my heart opened - somewhat unexpectedly - to the arrogant asshole, Sergeant James Doakes (played in spectacular archetype fashion by Erik King).

In Dexter, the titular Dexter Morgan is your run-of-the-mill, likable sociopath whose day job with the Miami Metro Police Department is in blood spatter forensics where he works with Sergeant Doakes, a homicide detective with a short temper, a foul mouth, and frequently pursed lips. While Dexter's sister Deb works her way up the police ranks and Lieutenant Maria Laguerta gives him googly eyes, everyone in MMPD seems surprisingly oblivious of Dexter's after-hours job, moonlighting as a serial killer of the people who "deserve" to be murdered the most - other murderers.

Except Doakes.

Sergeant Doakes is on to Dexter from the beginning, making it clear that the forensics investigator gives him the f*cking creeps and promising to uncover his secrets. The sergeant has a lot of free time on his hands, spending every night for a month tailing Dexter in the second season, and later breaking into his apartment to find whatever bloody trophies Dexter has stashed away in air conditioning vents. The Doakes v. Dexter tension (sexual, perhaps?) climaxes in one very bad week for both men, bringing their altercation to an explosive end.

I'm sorry to see the Doakes v. Dexter conflict end with the season two finale. Doakes is crude and obnoxious, bullheaded, and he curses like a sailor who did time in special ops. It's hard to deny that the sergeant ultimately reaps what he has sown, but in Dexter's freshman and sophomore seasons, he was also a lot of motherf*cking fun.

Doakes Drinking Game
  • A shot for every time Doakes says "motherf*cker"
  • A shot for every time Doakes stares down Dexter, this close to jumping his bones
Doakes Motherf*cker Buttons
Surely Showtime will add these classic Doakes quotes to their merchandise line.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Buffy the Vampire Miis, Part Two

Having previously created half a dozen Miis based on popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters, it didn't seem right to stop there. What about the rest of the cast? Cordelia? Tara? Even annoying little Dawn? It's only fair that they become Miis too. And thus, I present Buffy the Vampire Miis - Part Two.

In this entry: Willow, Oz, Cordelia, Faith, Dawn, Tara, and Principal Wood. Notice the similarities?