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Sunday, August 10, 2014

life in seemingly perpetual motion

Tending towards entropy without giving in to drift

I'm at that stage of moving prep where I go through boxes and stacks of paper and try to get rid of things I don't need, or take care of things I've let sit for too long. It's a little easier this time around. I did it when I moved to Oakland in 2011, and again when I moved to New Orleans in 2012, and again when I moved to Brooklyn last year. So, my packratness notwithstanding, there's not really a lot that I've got that I'm able/willing to get rid. As my best friend pointed out in advance of the Oakland-->New Orleans move, I am not a minimalist. And I'm ok with that right now. I don't give in, full tilt, to my urge to keep and catalog everything, but I also don't fool myself into thinking that I'll have, in any literal sense, only what I "need." But I also haven't had quite so much time to let the stacks of things accumulate between my last few moves, which probably helps as well. This time, a few books and DVDs, some old bedding, and a few pieces of clothing look to be all of the physical things that I'll get rid of on this move. And I've recycled a bunch of paper and made a list of follow-up and to-do items, mostly calls to be made to my insurance company, because god forbid they should get something right the first time and without making me fight for it. Ugh.

But, there's a whole nother world of virtual accumulation to deal with now—inboxes and folders and lists of links; things Pocket-ed, Pinterest-ed, or otherwise saved for later. Today, I've been going through some of those virtual things. This is, in some ways, much easier that the other kind of purging—there's no sentiment or nostalgia attached to the URLs and PDFs, and most of them are obviously disposable, being out-of-date in one way or another. But there have been a few things it was worth taking a few minutes to read. So far, I've reminded myself not to get so hung up on goal-reaching as the way to happiness (a chronic problem of mine); I've found a task-organizing program that I do actually want to give a test run (Todoist); and I'm making a playlist of new-to-me music to check out while fighting the neverending tendency towards entropy.

Now, yes, I've also put off the document review I'll have to do before I sleep tonight, and the actual putting of things into boxes that will have to happen before I can move, but this is not wasted time for me. Some people run as a way to clear their heads. I impose order by organizing to accomplish the same.

While deleting a bunch of things I no longer had any interest in or need for (so much easier than giving away clothes I don't wear anymore!), I found this little post hiding among the lifehacks and tips on everything imaginable. It doesn't have anything in it that I don't already know, but it's nice to be reminded to think of things like this. And, since I've been thinking of significantly scaling back my Facebook time, it's good to remember that there are other (and I might argue better, at least for me) ways to keep in touch.

So in the spirit of National Long Distance Friendship Day (I made that up, but don't you have a friend you need to call?), here is a list of the tips, tricks and forgivable blunders that have allowed me to delight in a collection of real friends."across the country and internationally.
--from Louise Hung's "Long Distance Friendships: 5 Louise-Approved Tips for Making Them Work" (xoJane)


Special shout-out to the friends who've made #5 happen when I couldn't. It's been fabulous to see you in New Orleans and New York, and I look forward to seeing you where you live when life allows. In the meantime, I'll see you on Skype and Google, and in New York again. I might even get my act together and call you someday soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn in New York

For a long time, I only knew Harry Connick, Jr.'s version of "Autumn in New York," from the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally (1989). It's jaunty, for lack of a better word -- the kind of song I play when I'm in a good mood, or when I want to be in a good mood. It might actually be the first NY song I ever loved, though I had absolutely zero dreams of living here, at the time. And every time I hear it, the playlist in my head segues directly into "I Could Write a Book."

Perhaps because I had been so very attached to that soundtrack (I wore it out on my mom's portable cassette player, and eventually on my very own Walkman), it took me a while to warm up to the next version I heard.



Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1957)

It did, eventually, grow on me. If I'm in the mood for the more melancholy sound, though, I prefer Sarah Vaughan's version, from just a year earlier.



On the random, there's a bit of this version where the instrumentation reminds me of a James Bond theme.

So, it really is Autumn in New York. I've been here for just shy of a week, but am already feeling immersed. My things arrived from California the day after I landed, so there was a scramble to find movers and transfer it all to a storage unit, which was, of course, more expensive than I'd budgeted for. But it was doable, so now it's done. And with that, I have—after 9 months—really, really left the bay area! I've also received word that my New Orleans stuff is (finally) en route to Brooklyn. No clue, yet, what I'll do with it all in the long run. Depending on what apartment I eventually find, it may all end up in storage, or maybe just sold. Either way, it'll feel good to have it all in one place.

After a couple of days spent largely at U-Haul, I've now been able to start exploring and meeting/meeting up with people. I've mostly been in Prospect Heights—I'm crashing here, but it's also turned out that the people I've been meeting up with are in this area as well. Yesterday afternoon, I had brunch (lunch, really) with two ladies I hadn't seen since high school. We went to a Mexican restaurant called Taqueria des los Muertos (not the name I would have chosen). In the evening, I had dinner with a friend of a friend, who had been kind enough to invite me over. We talked until late, and I walked home, around the corner, in the rain. Today, I'll probably drop by and watch a movie with a former coworker from San Francisco, who has recently moved into an apartment right down the street from where I'm staying. It's strange, like acquaintances from far flung times and places have all converged in one place.

So, now I'll start figuring out my place here. I expect to be a bit of a nomad for a while, which I'm beginning to get anxious about. I do think it's all going to work out, but I'll feel better when I know how!

Friday, September 20, 2013

"NYC" and a little music trivia

I've never seen the stage production of Annie. I've also never watched the entire 1999 film, but will need to rectify that sometime. Audra McDonald (Grace) is a boss. Victor Garber (Spy Daddy Warbucks) is a boss. If they weren't awesome enough, there's also Alan Cumming (Rooster), Kristin Chenoweth (Lily), and Kathy Bates (Miss Hannigan)!

This number, NYC, isn't in the 1982 movie (which I watched A LOT as a little girl). Bonus points for the Andrea McArdle cameo.



True story: I thought McArdle was the original stage Annie, but looked it up to confirm. Turns out she wasn't—she replaced the original actress after a week of performances. The role was actually originated by a girl named Kristen Vigard. Funnily enough, I know that name, but only because my friend M. put a fantastic song by her on a mix.

Kristen Vigard - God Give Me Strength

I later heard a cover of the song by Audra McDonald -- Annie full circle! I like both versions, though I tend to prefer Vigard's: I find hers more powerful, though McDonald's is more beautiful.

Also true: I didn't know until tonight that "God Give Me Strength" was a Burt Bacharach tune (written with Elvis Costello for the film Grace of My Heart). It's not as obvious in the version I'm familiar with, but this earlier version (featured in the film, though not on the soundtrack) is totally Bacharachian. And here's Bacharach and Costello performing it on Letterman, for good measure. I'm not enough of an Elvis Costello fan to appreciate that version, but it's still clear that it's a gorgeous song.