December 24, 2011

As for the current state of affairs


I have turned in more than half of my college applications in the past week. It makes me even more excited. For those of you who don't know, I was deferred from my early application college - now, lots of people get "sad concerned" face when I tell them that. Yes, I am bummed. Yes, it makes me nervous. No, I have not fallen into a pit of endless despair. I am actually being serious when I say I can't even decide between my schools. This one was not my be all and end all. Yes, it would have been reassuring if I had gotten in. But I didn't not. So right now, I'm just wrapping up my last few applications and playing the waiting game. All of my decisions come in sometime between the end of March and early April, so this place will be filled with lots of news around that time (hopefully some good...).

Meanwhile, I've discovered this amazing major that some of my colleges are offering (usually titled something like Cognitive Science) which effectively combines psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and philosophy. I don't know what do with myself; it's like all of my interests just got combined and validated! Hopefully I'll end up somewhere where it's offered.

Aside from the college game, tomorrow I take off to New Paltz! I go there over December break every year (for the past 5 or 6 years) to see old friends and celebrate the Yiddish culture :) I may or may not have had my first kiss there... Anyways, I'm really excited. There will be pictures!

December 15, 2011

As for for mellow-drama

I find out about early action tomorrow. Long story short: Yes, I am nervous. But, I'm not completely freaking out. You know why? Because this is not my be all and end all. Yes, I will be disappointed if rejected, and bummed if deferred. But I sincerely love a significant portion of the colleges to which I'm applying, so if I don't get into one, that's fine, as long as I get into some of my other favorites. The main thing is particularly worrying for me, is that how I do tomorrow can sort of be an indicator for how I'll do at other top-tier colleges. And if this indicator is negative, I'll start really freaking out about the results in April. So this result is really just one out of a bunch. But it gives a hint to what the rest might don't know how to feel.

Answer: mellow.

I've been listening to mellow rock all week to chill out. It's totally working. I feel some semblance of sane! It's so nice! So here it is y'all: the Mellow Rock playlist. Float on!

Mellow Yellow - Donovan
I'll Be Your Mirror - The Velvet Underground
The Only Boy Living In New York - Simon & Garfunkel
The Crane Wife 3 - The Decemberists
Naive - The Kooks
Goshen - Beirut
The Greatest - Cat Power
Los Angeles, I'm Yours - The Decemberists
Come Sail Away - Styx
Oh! Sweet Nuthin' - The Velvet Underground
(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay (Live) - Sara Bareilles
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
A Few Screws Loose - A Great Big Pile of Leaves

December 8, 2011

As for valid narcissism

"If I celebrated every achievement, I wouldn't achieve anything." - Me.

Yes, I just quoted myself. This came spewing out of my mouth a couple of minutes ago, and then it suddenly struck me how relevant this was to the way I live my life. Hey, it's worked so far! Definitely the idea of every accomplishment being just one step in a process; you just have to keep going. Never let up. Never call it a day. Your job is never done.

December 7, 2011

As for a little rhythm

This past week and a half, I've gotten into a little bit of a rhythm. I've just been rolling along, business as usual. Nothing new. And yet, I don't feel my usual sense of restlessness and boredom when things get "old." I hesitate to say I feel "comfortable," because that's a little bit oversimplified. I was really stressed last week about finalizing the grades I needed to send into colleges (more on that later), and I am feeling a little pressure about finishing all my supplements, but I feel like those are going to be fine. I've been plugging away pretty continuously at all my various essays, and I'm not close to being done, but I don't really need to be; I'm making significant progress every week, and I know that's exactly where I need to be at. No procrastination! I actually feel really proud of that; going into this year I really wasn't sure how I would end up interacting with the burden of writing supplements - if I would feel constantly behind and stressed, or put them off until it was too late. I think the finiteness of the process and its significance really cinched the deal for my current state of mind. Surprisingly enough, I think this is actually the healthiest interaction I've had with a responsibility yet. I don't really feel annoyingly obligated to write them - I get to write about things I get excited about, and I really enjoy the enforced self-reflection. I guess the whole process has also been so anticipated and accounted for, that it's just something I've really accepted and come to terms with committing myself to. You know what it is? I deeply feel that it's worth it. 

Backtracking to my final grades - I DOMINATED. I pulled through. I surpassed my expectations. YAY ME. God, I'm just so relieved/proud. It's these final victories that are especially, wait for it, validating. Pulling my shit together at the last minute, following through, and ending in success, is so gratifying. :)

It's a rainy Wednesday, production week for Briefs, and I'm drinking a warm chai inside the coffee shop. Mmm. I also don't have an insane amount of homework, have been getting 6 hours of sleep for the past two weeks (this is a lot!) and am just about to start reading Northanger Abbey for my college class (also a good thing). Nice.

Mini-tangent: For class we have to chose between reading Northanger Abbey by Austen or Misfortunes of Virtue by Sade. MoV is just packed with sexual violence, rapes, abnormal sex acts, and gang rape (set in a monastery). Although I am very feminist and do feel comfortable talking about sexuality, personally and societally, I honestly just don't think I'm ready to read MoV. I don't think I'm strong enough yet. This is a little annoying for me to realize, because I like to think of myself as feeling comfortable discussing gender and sexual perspectives, which I am, but just reading a couple hundred pages of that level of graphic sexual violence would be much too tough for me. So, Austen, hello again. We've enjoyed each other before, and we will enjoy each other again this time, too. Sure, I feel a little weak choosing you over Sade, but you're snarky and NA's self-consciousness as a novel really appeals to me. So it'll be fun.

December 1, 2011

As for des romans

I love French novels. Novels written in France, about the French, about French food, translated from French, you name it. My heart seems to cry out, Seduce me! as soon as I open the front cover. I'm currently reading The Belly of Paris by Émile Zola. The first fifty pages is essentially a visual and aromatic orgasm as Zola illustrates the Parisienne marketplaces in the wee hours of the morning, just at dawn. The chapter I just read has the most touching, natural, and subtle description of blossoming love, more so than in many modern novels. A savory read. 

For my classes this year I've also read the likes of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Manon Lescaut, and Candide. Having just added Balzac's Omelette and Lunch in Paris, I'm ready to continue the trend! Allons-y!

November 29, 2011

As for a breath

I kind of need to take a breath. It's finals week. These are the grades that are going to be sent with my college application - you can't even fathom the pressure. This is the last step - if I fail, I will be devastated. After all this time...I can't screw this up. I just had a mocha. It's a mocha kind of day. Actually, it's a mocha kind of week. I had copious amounts of chocolate last night.

I have been listening to the soundtrack from An Education nonstop still. This song is my new favorite discovery.

A Sunday Kind of Love - Beth Rowley

November 26, 2011

As for some little things

I did have a lovely time reading Belinda in the sunroom today - cuddled up in one of those big rocking chairs...that was fleetingly nice.

Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese, was truly a spectacle. A beautiful love letter to the fantastical, to the imagination, to adventure. I just loved it. I particularly loved Isabelle, with her precocious vocabulary and love for literature (even Jules Verne!)....and her style.

And a treat for all of you....I adore this.
The Ballad of Love and Hate - The Avett Brothers

November 24, 2011

As for lonely nights

Tonight was just one of those nights. Spending the day with family was nice and all - dinner was  great, I love seeing my cousins and doing all of our traditions and such. Apples to Apples as always, and we had pumpkin cake with maple ice cream - keeping it classy! Near the end I got pretty claustrophobic, but that's ok, I just needed to escape to my room for a bit.

But yeah, just feeling kinda bummed. Then I wallowed in my bummedness. Then I listened to this song and danced around my room. Literally. Teenage girl style, all out (sans hairbrush microphone). Except, of course, I do not dance around to trashy pop music, I dance around to...

Eyes - Peter Bjorn and John

November 22, 2011

As for identity

We are all a conundrum of definitions.

5 feet tall. 100 pounds. Jewish. Upper-middle class. Student. White. Hourglass. Eastern European. 17. Brunette. Hazel. Bad eyesight. Straight teeth.

...and then, me.

I don't know about you guys, but I've always felt somewhat detached from my external self.

November 21, 2011

As for location, location, location

All these years of high school I've always thought about where I was exactly a year ago, and where I might be a year from that moment. After sophomore year, it really hit me how much a person can change in a year, and it kind of baffled me that once I was a junior, then a senior, I would have different attitudes and morals and experiences and opinions. That's pretty cool. But one thing that was always constant and predictable was my external situation; whereas internal was volatile, external was always the same. But now when I look to next year...I could be in Chicago, California, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, or Maine. Now that baffles me.

November 20, 2011

As for validation

It's a good morning, isn't it? I'm buckling down on some college supplements, but in a motivated and excited way (not in an anxious and rushed way). This is good. I'm stressing a bit about some tests on Tuesday, but...let's not talk about those.

This past week there has been a lot of press on a program that I work on (I won't discuss it in detail here because then this would turn into a blog entirely about that activity. Long story short: I've been working on it since ninth grade, it's been a huge growing experience, and I love it.) and lots of the adults in my life and that my parents know have been giving us lots of compliments and being very 'adulty proud,' etc. A big part of me dismisses the compliments. I know this sounds ridiculous and conceited, but ever since elementary school I've been overachieving and 'making adults proud.' Their fawning is nice, but I really do not get an ego boost out of it or feel more proud at all. I've always overachieved for myself. Kind of like a need to prove to myself my own worth (we're about to get psychological: watch out). I've never been the prettiest or the most popular; I got bullied a lot in elementary school and it took me a while to find really close friends (which I have now - hey guys, I really appreciate you). Overachieving is under my control. I can succeed in it and every day I feel validated by my successes. I suppose that's why the college process is especially scary for me - everyone is nervous about getting in to where they want, I understand that. But for me it feels like my acceptance or rejection answers the question "Was it all worth it?" Was all my work enough? Am I enough? I never had a "bad semester" or lull of achievement; I don't feel like my application has to make up for any imperfections. It is simply me at my best. And I need to know that my best is enough.

Also I would just like to say that being single last year was the BEST thing that ever happened to me. Sure all year I was all why don't any boys understaaaaand me, this sucksss (in that really annoying teenagey way). But that lack of social life really allowed me to dig into my studies and pound the pavement like I never have before. Last year was a great success for me academically (and therefore, overall). There was a lot of personal growth that I'm really proud of. That year and this fall have really proven to me that when I really need to get shit done and achieve, I will. That self-validation feels pretty great.

November 18, 2011

As for my autosocial life and books

Autosocial: (adj.) Aw-toe-soe-shul A word of my creation, of vague definition. In loose terms - when one enjoys being by oneself while others participate in their active social lives. The lifestyle of an independent operator. I still haven't quite figured out what it means either.

After one-act play rehearsal today, I went to the coffee shop for dinner and to do homework. Yeah....Friday night and homework. Mostly motivated because I won't get anything done tomorrow as I'm going to New Haven for the Yale-Harvard Game with a friend (which I'm very excited for)! So there I found myself, with the more seedy types filtering in and out and in general just not feeling the calming influence it normally has on me during the daytime. So now I'm home alone, in bed, with a hot water bottle, blogging, and watching The Daily Show/Community/Grey's Anatomy and reading Crime and Punishment and The Belly of Paris. This is so calming and comforting and good for decompressing, e.g. exactly what I needed. Lovely!

I also recently discovered these old Penguin Books ad campaigns; they are all so simple, clean, and thought-provoking/witty. Some of my favorites....

(c) Penguin Books
...and these.

I've also started progress on the mini-room-redecoration - last night I found myself taking out old dark-room prints and tearing out pages from the NYTimes Design magazine and pinning them up on my bulletin board. At 12:30 am. I wake up at 6 am. Still with physics homework to do. Eh, my functionality today wasn't the best.

Also my goodreads to-read list is absurd. It's obscenely long and awesome. It's such a problem because I desparately need to read each and every one right now, but can't commit in the throes of college application  and school (for which I'm always reading 2 or 3 books for at once). I find it painfully ironic that school keeps me from reading. Especially because the books that I want to read are not teen lit or trashy adult novels, but deeply fascinating fiction and nonfiction works. This is an issue for me. (p.s. if you want to share booklists on with me, let me know! This message is not endorsed; goodreads is just awesome).

November 16, 2011

As for a delicate day

I just started reading Belinda by Maria Edgeworth for a college class I'm enrolled in - I just thought the cover art was beautiful.

I was on such an Ingrid Michaelson kick today, which is strange because I haven't really listened to her in a while. The "girl" singers (e.g. Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, etc.) acted as my musical initiators in middle school, but I have most definitely branched out. So below I offer you a mix of my  new and old, for a delicate piano-ridden day.

Giving Up - Ingrid Michaelson
You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger - Beth Rowley
Syrup & Honey - Duffy
Don't You Remember - Adele
All My Days - Alexi Murdoch
You Really Go A Hold On Me - She & Him
You and Me - Penny and The Quarters
J'ai deux amours - Madeleine Peyroux
Pictures of Success - Rilo Kiley
Blue Lips - Regina Spektor

November 13, 2011

As for Sunday

Now this is a weekend day. Much better than the weirdness of Friday. I swear going to this cafe is my therapy. They're playing cute 50s tunes right now - a perfect Sunday afternoon. I'm also analytically annotating the play I'll be producing at my school in the spring - I'm beyond excited. It speaks to everything thats interesting and in a beautiful and precisely on point fashion. "The Real Thing" by Tom Stoppard. I'm excited!

November 11, 2011

As for des achats

What is that, you may ask? WELL that could only be a Polaroid camera. In my possession! I'm ecstatic. However, I have no film. I'm working on that though; first batch will be ordered today. I'm just so head-over-heels enamored with the medium: the idea of selectivity (each shot is worth $2), timelessness, instant spontaneity, and truly capturing the moment - no photoshopping or editing these! Polaroids are true, and even though many shots can come out with someone blinking, or a fading smile, they somehow look great, warts and all. I truly can't wait to start - I'll be scanning prints as soon as I can! (In 2 or 3 weeks probably, the film takes a while to ship).

Last night I went rock climbing at a local rock gym for the first time since sixth grade. I had gone with my camp to Devil's Lake in Wisconsin and we had done some bouldering and repelling there, as well as waking up at 5am on the last day to watch the sunset from our tents over the beach. those were the kind of experiences camp gave me that I truly appreciate; those were times of innocence and really growing into ourselves. What I wouldn't give to experience that again. Needless to say, I had a really great time. And my arms are killing me (one of the good kinds of sore!).

Brassai prints!
As the winter flirts with us New Englanders, I thought it was pertinent to actually, you know, stay warm, and have invested in a toggle coat. Now, let me tell you, I love me some toggles. They are impossibly classy. If I see a young man wearing a toggle coat, I am a lost woman. This is the one I got! In blue! Lovely!

Also, here is a proven-to-work cuddle playlist. As anyone who is human knows, cuddling is simply the best. And what's a good cuddle session without calming tunes in the background? Therefore....The Occasionally-Not-So-Quiet Cuddle Playlist. Enjoy!

Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel
Sea of Love - Cat Power
Hey, Hey - Dispatch
The Great Escape - Patrick Watson
Pacifists Anthem - Sunparlour Players
Accidental Babies - Damien Rice
Holocene - Bon Iver
Where We Land - Ed Sheeran
Fire And Rain - James Taylor
Train Song - Feist and Ben Gibbard
Lover Lay Down - Dave Matthews Band
Heretics - Andrew Bird
Keep Me Warm - Ida Maria
The Fear You Won't Fall - Joshua Radin
Skinny Love - Bon Iver
These Days - Jackson Browne

November 10, 2011

As for blankness

I'm kind of exhausted, which is odd because I'm not that stressed and I'm not that tired. I can't even feel the refreshed start-of-a-weekend feeling (no school tomorrow). I'm just kind of keyed up. I need to relax. I need to lay down in a dark space and listen to Bon Iver and the like for an extended period of time....

This morning school started at 10, so I got up early and made maple oat scones, which was enjoyable. I packaged up two of them in parchment paper bound with cooking string for a teacher I needed to thank for writing a recommendation for me - it was very classy/American/rustic. Here are some of the goods!

I was fantasizing today about taking French in college - I'm currently in the highest level of French in my school, and I can function, but I want to eventually become conversationally fluent and study abroad in France. Now this isn't to say that I want to major in French or go into translation studies; I just love the culture and I love foreign travel. 

Hm, well. I'm ready to be accepted by a college now. Unfortunately, reality is not cooperating. Domage.

November 9, 2011

As for perceptions

I kind of enjoy that my peers who I'm not close friends with see me as someone completely different than who I am. I feel like people draw conclusions from what they see you as - different stereotypes have different connotations. Someone who studies often must be straight-laced and innocent. The ones who seem shallow....must be shallow. Assholes are assholes. Every morning I put on my disguise. My glasses and my sweaters and my scarves - I feel cozy and hidden. And they seem me as that girl - the short one, the studious one, I can't guess. Only I know my indiscretions - it's like keeping a particularly juicy secret that no one else knows. It's like being under the influence in public - you don't want to get in trouble, but wouldn't it be cool if some people could tell and then maybe think you were cool? No. But still. We identify people as having ideals and histories that parallel how we perceive them, I do it, that's for sure. And it's just not true. Underneath everything we're just purely ourselves. Raw. Touched by experiences and choices - evolving. And the beauty of it is, hardly anyone sees it but ourselves. Our remaining secret.

The Great Escape - Patrick Watson

November 6, 2011

As for this 9 day weekend

It's been kind of surreal. Like a summer break in the winter. I don't know if I can mentally comprehend going back to school tomorrow. These past couple nights I've been watching some great movies - Dead Poets Society, Fight Club, The American President. Tonight I'm watching Working Girl. I've been reading a lot too, getting back into surfing poetry sites on the internet and I just started the first Harry Potter (like I promised myself I would last summer). It's been really necessary. Two weeks ago I would never have guessed this would happen! A lot of things have happened that I never would have guessed. I predicted many things entering teenage-dom, all from my pre-teen reads. Things get strange when they haven't been in the books you've read.

Across from me in the coffee shop is this gaggle of elderly people, maybe mid 60s to mid 70s. They're always so happy, and are here every Sunday morning. I want to have friends like them when I'm their age. Meanwhile, it's odd to think (as I already have my schedule for the year), that there are some teachers I'll just never have and some classes I'll never take. I remember sitting down with the course catalog the spring of 8th grade and making a huge list of all of the classes I wanted to take as an upperclassman; some I have, some I never will. It's so finite. Scary. But in the meantime, I do love sitting here with my mocha and breakfast sandwich, with all of these relationships and conversations and music surrounding me. I love the bustle of familiar life. If I went to college in New York....goodness, that would be the right environment for me. I love ducking into any old shop and knowing that in the back room, there are little communities, dozens on each block. You really can't find that anywhere else; it's exciting. I can completely imagine living there or in London or Cambridge as an adult, raising a family there... I really can.

I'm baking maple oat scones this evening for one of my teachers. I can't wait. Also, now I really want to watch the first Harry Potter movie also played the Sims yesterday. What is happening to me? I also made an apology that was a long time coming. It made me feel pretty refreshed. Phew.

There is nothing more sad than looking down in your mug to see that there's nothing left.

November 4, 2011

As for nostalgia

"Carry You" by Dispatch just came on in the coffee shop. I felt like crying.

Here is my "Weighty" playlist.

Carry You - Dispatch
Lean On Me - Bill Withers
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Eva Cassidy

Addendum: Y'know, sometimes I just feel like watching a political movie in bed and not talking to anyone. Jeez. 

As for pretty pictures

Lately I've developed quite the affinity for clean and classy design elements (most of which incorporate walls covered in pinned polaroids and the like). I can't wait until I have power back so I can print out multitudes of photos to pin up on the corkboard in my room, because the little postcards and snapshots I have up there now have been there much too long and are collecting dust. 'tis a waste! I also just ordered to postcard-sized prints of some Brassai photographs; let me express, I love Brassai. Here is an example, just so everyone can appreciate.

Beautiful. Also, his female nudes are literally like landscapes. He documented Parisienne nightlife mostly in the 1920s and '30s and has a lot of beautiful shots of couples, characters, ballet dancers, and the backstages of erotic clubs. No matter what aspect of a seedy underbelly he might have captured, he always did so in the most gentle and still fashion, always creating a quiet and intimate moment. These snapshots are truly little self-contained gems. Some of my absolute favorites. I also highly recommend playing the soundtrack to "An Education" as you peruse his portfolio.

Anyways, back to where I started. This is also getting me stoked to decorate my dorm room, and really take advantage of the clean white space. I can't wait to create little photo collages in every nook and cranny, and safety pin a string of photos on a piece of yarn (which is what I'm going to do in front of the window by my desk...when I get around to it). I promise I won't procrastinate this mini-project, and I'll post some pictures once it's done :) See, now that I wrote it here, I actually have to do it....

Also, I'm mildly obsessed with those apps that take pictures with vintage/polaroid effects (this is just me getting eager about getting a polaroid camera!) Here's one. I'm on a fervent craigslist hunt for a vintage one...looks like I might have some luck!


ALSO I just finished Patti Smith's biography "Just Kids" thanks to the multitudes of unplugged time due to this damn weather, and let me tell you, it was truly a revelation in its clarity and honesty. It was nearly like being uprooted and plopped down in this central location in this turning point of a time period - Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, the Chelsea Hotel...the list goes on. A very worthwhile read (especially as a pleasure read, I sure as hell needed a break!).

I can't stop listening to Eva Cassidy.

November 3, 2011

As for Snowtober

We are currently embroiled in a premature winter vacation - no school through Thursday (and most people think it'll be cancelled on Friday too!). It's positively absurd! And yet, most of us are still sans power, myself included. Last night I was curled in bed watching the seventh Harry Potter...what else would I do? It's kind of odd to for your surroundings to actually coincide with nature - my house is dark when the sun goes down. I rise when the sun rises. Out of all of my wake/sleep patterns over the past six-ish years, this surprisingly has probably been the healthiest! I've been consistently getting precisely nine hours of sleep...who'da thunk it?

Also, I hate snow. I hate winter. Fall is great because it feels like crisp new beginnings and possibilities. Spring feels like a revitalizing awakening. Summer feels like freedom and happiness. Winter feels like solitary depression. Every single winter I just get incredibly restless and bummed out. Seriously, you don't want to be around me. This is the only reason I would ever move to a warmer climate, although I do love me my foliage.

She - Ed Sheeran
I'll Be Your Mirror - The Velvet Underground
Love Me Like A River Does - Melody Gardot
Holocene - Bon Iver
I and Love and You - The Avett Brothers
On My Way Back Home - Band Of Horses
F-Stop Blues - Jack Johnson
Wonderful World (Don't Know Much) - Sam Cooke
A Hazy Shade Of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
Where We Land - Ed Sheeran
I May Be Young - Dean Friedman
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Winter Song - Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

Last week we turned in our senior, this was especially challenging for me since I have an obscenely large Word document in which I've been keeping quotes I like since the seventh grade. Hi, I'm Jess, and I'm a quote obsessive. That being said, I knew that I just had to pick something that was relevant to my current 'life philosophy' if you will, and not just something I  appreciated (in which case we'd end up with some Eleanor Roosevelt quote or the like). So, here it is!

Don't pass it by - the immediate, the real, the only, the yours."   - Henry James

I'm also a little more than mildly annoyed that by now nearly everyone has power back and I don't! Humph. Well, here's to a one day school-week! 

November 1, 2011

As for my apocalypse

Last night I slept curled around a pile of foot warmers. Foot warmers in my socks. Taped on my knees. Between my hands. Under me. Why? you may ask? WELL Saturday night as blue and pink lights flashed across the sky and one foot of disgusting wet snow dumped down on every single house and tree in the surrounding area. Great. See, normally one foot of snow = pas de probleme. No sweat. But with all that nasty depressing semi-frozen water on trees who haven't lost their leaves yet? Yeah, chaos ensues. That night you could go outside and just hear snapping - trees falling over because of the weight. There are power lines trailing on the streets. Huge branches lining the streets. And this happened Saturday night (it's Tuesday!). We still have no electricity or power - hence, me camping out at the coffee shop telling y'all this. The blue and pink lights I mentioned above? An electrical transformer literally exploding a couple blocks away from me. Prime. But Sunday night I was salvaged in my oh-so-privileged fashion - I had plans on going to Boston that night anyways, so while most of my classmates were freezing, I was taking a warm bath (filled with bath salts) and reading Patti Smith's memoir. More prime! But, now I'm back, and it's our second day of cancelled school and I need to take a shower somewhere...blerg.

Also, school is cancelled Wednesday too. Awesome.

In other news, I recently mediafire-d Ed Sheeran's album "Songs I Wrote With Amy." It is completely defining my desperation for a boyfriend. But see, here we find ourselves in a catch-22. Wanting a boyfriend and having standards typically don't go well together. At least not for me. You may be thinking, well, she's probably just being too picky, she's bringing this upon herself! Nay, I tell you. My standard: I actually have to like who they are and they have to actually like who I am. WOAH, high standards! this day and age...those kind of are. Absolutely 0 of my past male experiences have lived up to that and I'm so completely sick of settling/having low self-esteem. I was so naive and I don't blame myself at all  they were all "learning experiences" - but right now I want a *gasp* "emotional experience." (by the way everyone, I am way over-caffeinated right now, which explains this spastic post).

But seriously everybody. Listen to as much Ed Sheeran as possible. Favorites: "She" and "Cold Coffee"

October 29, 2011

As for tumblr

Yeah, I fully acknowledge it has a stereotypical hipster reputation. But I don't follow that bs...I've definitely found an appreciation for very classy and quality images through some very selective following.  Especially an appreciation for breakfasts and men's shirts... check it out at !

October 27, 2011

As for another step

Last night I turned in my first college application. I have applied to college.
I, Jess, 17 year old high school senior, have applied to college.
I am in my last year of high school.
I have seven months left living at home.
I love my friends.
I actually feel like myself.
I've come so far in the past two, four, six, years.
I've been looking forward to this since I learned what "college" meant.
I've strayed.
I've thought twice.

Four years ago I saw myself as I completely different person - and I never saw that changing. I still felt lost in the sauce and overwhelmingly self conscious. I didn't always want to be known as "the smart one."
The people I wanted to be friends with four years ago I would never want to be friends with now. Four years ago I didn't want to be who I was. Now I can't imagine going back to that place. It's eery to think my time here is almost over. I've been so focused on looking forward, especially with applications, that it keeps on striking me how close we really are to the end (or the beginning, whatever). This is it.

In other news, good happy music (aka what I listened to all day in celebration of first submission): Anything by The Guggenheim Grotto. I first saw them open for Ingrid Michaelson two years ago and they were not only adorable, but very good too. Two acoustic-instrument playing young Irish men - what more could you ask for? My personal favorite album of theirs is "Happy the Man" and my favorite songs are "Her Beautiful Ideas" and "Sunshine Makes Me High." Go listen! Actually....listen right here!

Her Beautiful Ideas - The Guggenheim Grotto

October 25, 2011

As for risky sin

We've all had those times. Times when we've thrown dogmatism and morals to the wayside and entertained our curiosities (and if you haven't yet, you should). Let's not go to extremes here, but there is something to be said for doing the unexpected and really learning from it and growing as a person (you might discover that you're someone who would never riskily sin again, or that maybe that risky sin isn't all it's cracked up to be). Cross your own expectations. Never blame yourself for curiosity.

Here it is - the Risky Sin Playlist.

Cover This - Dispatch
Mardy Bum - Arctic Monkeys
Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic) - Metric
I Don't Know What I'm Doing Anymore - Lissie
Sinful Wishing Well - Caitlin Rose
Syrup & Honey - Duffy
The Mistress - Amelia Curran
Babylon - The Elusive
Bad Blood - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
My Little Demon - Fleetwood Mac

October 23, 2011

As for some twangy loveliness

Mmmm, Sunday morning has come again. I really truly love this. Yesterday was kind of blechy in the sense that I stayed home all day. By the end of it I was definitely coming down with a bad case of cabin fever. All I had to do was reading for school and kind of work on some essays; needless, to say, it did not prove to be the most inspiring. But what was lovely was for dinner we made boeuf bourguignon, buttermilk bread, and a pear tart. Such a country supper! This morning I've churned out one short essay and started a really productive essay of a full one. It's really shocking that this month has gone by so fast. I'm practically ready to submit my first college application. How crazy is that? I am pretty proud of how I have been doing everything in a very measured and spread out way; true, I'm not going to be done "super early" or anything like that, but giving myself time to grow into my writing style and to develop the ideas and content of my essays has proved invaluable. And nothing will be last minute - win! I've already mapped out my essay plan for all of the rest of my colleges for November through December, and have given myself two solid weeks of revision time in mid-December, and will have everything submitted by December 23rd so when I go off to KlezKamp (so excited) everything will be out of my hands and I can just celebrate and relax.

Also, I'm so ridiculously excited for KlezKamp. Every year (for the past six winter breaks!) I go to this weeklong intensive and it is really the only place where I feel in touch with my background. Synagogue frustrates me, b'nai mitzvot tend to be tedious, but this is a revelation. Every year I've gone it's been at this same hotel and I am lucky enough to have a clan of people my own age to hang around with. This was the place I had my first boyfriend, my first kiss, and my first "starring" role (I was 12). It really brought me out of my shell; the first year I went, all I did was go to my instrumental classes and hang around with my dad, and now I get back to our room around 1 or 2 in the morning and dance the night away. 'tis lovely. Two more months to go!

Here's my "Old Twangy"-esque playlist for y'all (sorry for some of the overlap with the last playlist, but thus is life)!

Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor
Wagon Wheel (Cover) - Mumford & Sons
These Days - Jackson Browne
Trouble - Cat Stevens
Piano Man - Billy Joel
The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One - Neutral Milk Hotel
Don't Think Twice - Juliana Daily
Take It Easy - Eagles

October 21, 2011

As for a fuzzy week

This whole week I've almost been in a daze. I keep on getting super exhausted and napping. Right now I can barely keep my eyes open and it's 6pm and I'm going out to a show tonight. And I'm caffeinated! I don't understand!

There's an incredibly attractive college student in the cafe I'm in right now. I don't think I can bear sitting 30 ft. away from him; it's nearly killing me. He's got Jordan Catalano hair.
Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto)

I'm actually not feeling stressed about college apps at all. I feel really on top of it and it's so comforting to know that the material I'm writing is really of a very high quality and communicating what I want to communicate. I don't feel like any aspect of myself that I need to express to the admissions committee is slipping through the cracks and my essay progress has been good. Also - with help from writing here - I've become so much more comfortable with writing narrative essays. I'm really proud of the supplements I've been writing and that's a first for me - I have never been a writer or really dedicated myself to expressing something real and true about myself, like I do in my essays. It's also really nice to have the quality and content of them vindicated by adults in my life who know what they're talking about.

Tonight I'm actually going to let myself sleep without an alarm. I really wanted to wake up early and do lots of work tomorrow morning, but I know at this rate of exhaustion, I won't be able to function in the slightest if I don't let myself rest. I went to sleep at eleven last night! That's obscene! Unheard of! I haven't gone to sleep before 12:15 all year! Ah! Needless to say, it didn't help considering I got fourish hours of sleep the night some, lose some. Alright. I guess I'll go be productive now...

October 20, 2011

As for days

It will never cease to befuddle me that most days are simply leading to the next. They're mundane, repetitious, and slide by without nary a second glance. And then some days change and define your life. Still 24 hours. And they still pass. How odd.

October 16, 2011

As for refreshingness

(Yes, refreshingness is now a word).

Favorite times of the week: Friday afternoons, Saturday mornings, and Sunday mornings. Of course they're weekends - that's a given. But for each of these, there's a sense of newness and balance. Especially when it is crisp, sunny, and automnal outside. I woke up in an empty house at 8am, did some homework, listened to Rilo Kiley very loudly, and in general felt super...balanced. And ok. And refreshed. Which just goes against all of my experiences with stress and what I anticipated for this fall. I am supposed to be more stressed than I was last year. I'm supposed to be constantly walking around like a zombie. Sure, I'm feeling cynical and restless - but only in the sense that I'm sick of wasting my mind's time in high school. I fully accept I just need to play the game for seven and a half more months, but it's just aggravating. Even so - I just feel so damn fine! Not free and easy like this summer, but productive. As if this year is mapped out and things are within my reach. It's not all so 'far away in the future' right now and that's just happy. It's all going to be ok. 

I got the grades I need to for my progress reports. I did it. One class I needed to pull up my grade by five points, the other by one. I had a week to do it. I didn't give up - I mapped out the things I needed to accomplish for each (one of the tasks was "grade grubbing") and by God it worked. I got the one point, and for the other class I got seven more. This was one of the last in-school grade reports I had to get under my belt and it looked like it wasn't going to happen. Well it did. Fuck yeah. It just felt that much more awful that I might not succeed at the very last minute, when I've done everything I needed to do for the past four years. It seemed so unfair. But now I'm proud :)

I have to write some short supplement essays today and read some of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (ooh, how suggestif!). Thank god I'm not taking last year's coarse load right now; I mentally couldn't handle it. 

I'm also really glad this year I've kind of become more comfortable with myself and the little things that make me happy. Like breakfast (at noon).

"Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it" 
- Andy Rooney

October 15, 2011

As for early mornings

It was beautiful watching the town wake up this morning. I had a chai and an apple cinnamon scone and it was lovely. Very calm. Mm.

October 13, 2011

As for the process

I think I'm pretty much finished with my personal statement. I will be in a crapbucket of stress until Monday for other reasons, but it's a slight comfort that a big step is done. The amount of supplement work I still have to do is more than daunting, so I can't mentally be truly happy for myself about this - but a little bit.

So far it has been a really frazzled journey towards this final draft. I started (and as of a couple days ago) didn't have a defined topic. Contrary to popular advice, this lack of direction is what ended up leading me towards a topic that is the most personally defining. I was writing drafts of all sorts of different topics - I think six or seven total. They were all decent. Then I wrote one that I had a "good melon" feeling about. I read it over a week later and discovered that it was awful. Totally flustered (and with absolutely no faith in myself as a creative writer - I haven't written a narrative essay for years) I floundered and started a couple other drafts that were more occasion-specific until I came back to that disappointing essay and over a couple of days, redrew a completely different path for it. My process was unguided and divided. But it ended up leading me, stumbling, towards the perfect topic and (finally) the perfect expression of my point. I truly feel so proud of it, so much so that I keep on coming up with conspiracy theories that prove that I somehow didn't write it, because I just don't feel like I'm capable of writing a good creative piece.

It just SO embodies the roots of who I am.

"You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room." 
- Dr. Seuss

Exactly so. It was a process. And to think without this insanely stressful method of applying for college, I never would have discovered things I actually knew about myself, but just hadn't unearthed. Even essays that weren't on the same topic as my final...writing so many of them all over the place was like outlining an oeuvre of what's important to me and what has been integral to crafting who I am today. We think we know it in our heads, but to actually take the weeks and months to get that all out - that's priceless. And to think, in 80 days my applications will be sent away and these essays will be buried in one of many folders titled "Personal Statements." I can't wait to discover them (and this blog) in the future, especially because I feel like they really are snapshots of where I am now and what I feel has been important to my development. 

Here's a short selection of what I've been listening to for the past couple of days (reminder: playlists are always better when you listen to them in order!). This is a conglomeration of really disparate musical styles, but they all somehow blend together. 

These Days - Jackson Browne
The Bad In Each Other - Feist
Easy - Deer Tick
Blow Away - A Fine Frenzy
Far Away - Washed Out
Trouble - Cat Stevens

Also - this cover is epic.

One and Only - Elizabeth Gillies

October 12, 2011

As for my feminist rant

1. The idea that being a feminist is something to be embarrassed about. That any diatribe a woman may go on to prove her point is stamped "a feminist rant" and intellectually dismissed as beating a dead horse. That any woman who wants equal treatment is too 'caught up' in 'new fangled areas' such as gender/sexuality research. Every woman every day experiences some fashion of gender discrimination, whether they realize it or are so used to it, they can't anymore.
2. That anyone with curves must dress excessively modestly to be taken seriously. As someone with "pre-Raphaelite curves", if you will, I see this every day. It is automatically assumed a woman is of a lower intellectuality if she has curves or looks pretty. If she's blonde and wears an argyle sweater, she gets the stamp of sexy librarian. If she's brunette and dresses modestly, she gets the ever-alluring girl next door. If she has curves - slut. The very idea of modesty. That defeminizing oneself is a "smart move" for those who want to be taken seriously (we can see this from Queen Elizabeth I to Rachel Maddow, to the baggily-dressed journalist in The Ides of March).

Courtesy of
3. That if a woman staunchly portrays herself as asexual or as very sexual, she is thought of in sexual terms. We see women who dress as "tomboys" or "butch" and automatically think "lesbian" or "desperate." We see women who wear clothing that doesn't hide their figure as easily accessible sex objects. Adamant virgins become "virtuous" and therefore of a higher quality (and now qualify for fetishistic male fantasies). Women who embrace their sexuality and decide to sleep with whoever they damn well please are seen as therefore willing to have sex with anyone as well as easy and devalued. There is also the assumption that they are implicitly open to propositioning and would welcome such advances.
4. In general, women are there for the taking. Sure, our day would be made if you honked your horn at us. If you grabbed us on the street. If you yelled out anything containing the phrase "pretty lady."

I was in a high school class today. A girl was reading out her short essay on another member of the class (male). It was jokey, but contained compliments. Immediately one of the guys started miming a blow job (you know, that old 'if I move my fist forward and backward outside my mouth and press my tongue against my cheek it looks like I'm giving head' witty move that has been around for decades): dude, she totally just s'ed his d. Yeah. Two days ago I left the coffee shop and two guys, obviously 5-10 years older than I, flirtily yell out to me Smile for us, sweetheart! Give us a smile! Now there's another one. If a woman gets mad, the reaction is often either don't mind her, she's PMSing, and her point is dismissed or cheer up, huh? Why so serious? Give us a smile! No, I am not your little dolly. I will not look cute for you on command. I am not flattered that you think that I have a nice smile or should be obligated to be perpetually cheery and on display for the male sex to amuse themselves with. When I was in fourteen years old I was walking by myself. Straight forward, eyes in front of me, determined. Wearing sweatpants and a workout t-shirt, having just come from a dance class. Three boys, about 18ish, walking down the street towards me start with the "Hey there's!" and "In'nt she cute!s" due to my 4'11" frame. They grab my chest, pretty unremarkable at the time, and continue on down the street laughing. I rush away.

Yeah, sexism is still around. It's sad that people don't see it, but understandable. We're bombarded with it nearly 24/7 and have been for decades. It's easy to become numb to it and dismiss it.


October 10, 2011

As for small things

I took unplanned naps today and yesterday. It was this persistent pressure on my eyelids...not the normal type of epic sleep deprived exhaustion that I'm used to...but the kind of urge that you just physically can't say no to. Strange. I never nap.

Last night I revised my second draft of one of my potential college essays (I think this is the one). I have to add a couple more sentences and it's pretty set. I feel so good about it. I just know that there's still so much writing to get done, but it feels nice to be taking steps in the right direction.

Guys I had the best breakfast sandwich the morning. It was truly a thing of beauty. The entire time I was fasting on Saturday, this is what I was thinking about. On a pillowy ciabatta roll....unfgh so good. That's all.

October 9, 2011

As for frustration

Today was an odd one. Fasted for yom kippur (I don't know why I did). Feeling a little bit old. It's weird to think of things that happened in your life that were so integral and really changed your life experience and yourself, and know that they happened years ago. Seeing remnants from those occasions is almost haunting.

I was definitely not feeling intellectually motivated at all today. Pretty blech. So, in that vein, here's a Frustration playlist. For relationships and for life.

Our Battles - Maria Mena
Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise) - Spring Awakening
Heartstrings - Breagh MacKinnon
Heavy In Your Arms - Florence & The Machine
A Better Son/Daughter - Rilo Kiley
Skip the Charades - Cold War Kids
Hope for Now - City and Colour
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Blood On the Frets - Speechwriters LLC
F*ck Was I - Jenny Owen Youngs

October 7, 2011

As for le weekend

It's one of those crisp fall afternoons. Even better, it's a crisp Friday before a long weekend fall afternoon. Things seem fresh and I've got infinite amounts of free time. Hopefully it will be conducive to really digging into some writing. If not, I'll at least get to finish the immense amount of reading I have to do for Tuesday - finish Pamela for my college lit course and Faust for high school among other insignificant brainless tasks.

I'm sitting in the cafe and all these middle schoolers came in. I didn't have such a bad middle school experience, at least while I was there, but looking back I can see just how much of an identity crisis I went through. Well, not crisis so much, seeing as how I hadn't really solidified one in the first place. By tenth grade I actually started to condense. But, they have so much time ahead of them (as I guess I do too) and haven't even figured out where they stand yet. That's exciting. And daunting.

I'm feeling alright. I'm not dying from stress. It's just...going through the process. And I'm going. I just have to get there.

Happy long weekend everyone, I hope we all have a good one :)

October 6, 2011

As for atonement

I'm not atoning tomorrow. I'm not atoning ever. I have nothing to be sorry for and I regret not. I don't need someone to validate or pardon my sins; I'm perfectly adept at the process of acceptance and learning from experience myself. I'll just continue on in my humanist way, don't mind me.

One thing I am for, is forgiving others and asking for forgiveness from others of your own accord and once having fully understood the situation and whatever wrongdoings you may have committed. May apologies be made on any and every day, but never feel obligated. We all know, even from the days of elementary school scoldings, when someone is asked to apologize, it is hardly ever sincere. Reflect, to be sure. Take another step in the process of forgiving yourself. But obligation falsifies truths.

Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me

I do, however, obligate you to listen to this classic. Keep loved ones close, screw the rest.

Note to my readers: I never mean to offend, nor do I often go on religion-inspired rants. These are simply my views. As always, thanks for reading. 

October 5, 2011

As for blur

This week feels like a blur. I can't articulate anything that happened, how I've been feeling, anything. I feel like a drought. I don't know...everything's been alright. Things are weird and new and I don't feel stressed all the time but then I just keep myself up late as self-inflicted punishment. For what, I don't know. Here's a song that sounds how I feel. Not so much the lyrics, but whatever.

Sorry - Maria Mena

I don't even know. Self-reflecting for my college essay is weird. I don't want to write something superficial or normal. I'm writing really about myself and who  I am stemming from the beginning, so it's an emotional struggle and an issue of willpower. I don't know if I can do it. I just need to get through these next few months and no one can help me. It's a personal process and I understand and accept that. So, I'll just keep going. 

October 3, 2011

As for break ups

Because this playlist is just necessary. Some of it will make you more sad, more angry, more lost, and more ok.

The Break Up Playlist.

Theme Song - Aster
Farewell to the Fairground - White Lies
Gravedigger - Dave Matthews Band
The Next Time You Say "Forever" - Neko Case
Are We There Yet - Ingrid Michaelson
Where Are You Going - Dave Matthews Band
The Only Exception - Paramore
I Don't Know What I'm Doing Anymore - Lissie
Heavenly Day - Patty Griffin
Colors (Ft. Norah Jones) - Amos Lee
I Never - Rilo Kiley
Dirty and Left Out - The Almost
World Spins Madly On - The Weepies
Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths
Tell Me What It's Worth - Lightspeed Chanpion
Fly One Time - Ben Harper and Relentless7
Breakin' Up - Rilo Kiley
When They Fight, They Fight - The Generationals
Melody - Kate Earl
Mad World, Outlive Me - Amelia Curran
Die Motherf*cker Die - Get Set Go

October 2, 2011

As for quiet days

What a cozy weekend it has been. I woke up bright and early (and by bright I mean cold and rainy and by early I mean 8am) Saturday morning to work on my take home essays for the 18th Century European literature college course I'm taking - due at 1pm! A couple of years ago I would've balked at writing a 6 page essay in one or two days, whereas now my reaction is...psh, bring it on. The rest of my day was crazy relaxed. This has probably been the only school weekend in 2 years that I haven't had to hardcore do schoolwork the entire time. I only wrote a 6 page essay, read half of Pamela, and did a physics problem set! Huzzah! I also took a languorous bath in the middle of afternoon and started reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road because I feel ridiculous not having read it yet.

I also saw "The Guard" at our local arts cinema - go. see it. It's dry sense of humor was beautiful, as were its philosophical and principled drug traffickers. Ended up finally getting to sleep late late late and then decided to actually give myself the luxury of sleeping in. Again, beatiful.

I always have just started listening to Beirut. I know, I know, I'm totally late on the uptake, but please listen to this thing of beauty for me.

Sundays are truly my favorite day of the week. Sure, sometimes you have to do a procrastinated homework crunch, but come on. There's a new issue of the New York Times! What could be better?!

I also got my senior pictures done this weekend by a close friend (who has lovely camera skills) - here's one of my favorites. I don't know which I'll choose yet though.

(c) Leah Parker-Bernstein

(c) Leah Parker-Bernstein

September 30, 2011

As for grunge rock

I have been in this...I don't want to say "rut," but....musical rut. NOT that that's a bad thing. I love this rut. I am jammin out in it. But all I've been listening to is relatively grungy 90s-style rock. It's so great, you're really missing out - oh, wait. I'm uploading a playlist today. So you can get all caught up.

I've just been feeling like such a typical angsty teenager. In a kind of 'done with this/superior' kind of way. I was talking to a friend this afternoon about one of classes and I was talking about how little intellectual presence required to get an A in the class, and she replied "Thank God you have an easy class at least!" and my first reaction was - I'm sick of easy. I'm sick of being able to tread my way through these mundane and passive classes. There was a point in my educational timeline when they were useful. But right now I feel like for 6 hours a day I'm just paying dues and getting absolutely nothing out of it. Usually when you hear "I hate school!" it means that person is a slacker/doesn't care...etc. But for me...I'm hating school right now and loving my college class. I'm hating that taking 4 AP classes simply presents me with a crapload of busy work and nothing that actually requires presence of mind. Sure, we write analyses in English. But by "analyses" it's essentially - this is the plot line. This is the character's personality ... Are you still awake? I seriously need engagement right now. I'm wallowing in unwanted passivity.

To illustrate the above - here is a small selection of grungy and crushing songs. Enjoy!

Gold Sounds - Pavement
In My Head - Dum Dum Girls
Heartstrings - Breagh MacKinnon
What I Wouldn't Do - A Fine Frenzy
No Language In Our Lungs - XTC

September 28, 2011

As for....Blane?!

This is Duckie's reaction face to Blane's name. In Pretty in Pink.....duh. "Blane's not a name! It's a major appliance!" Hence, my car's name is Blane. Just thought this was pertinent to life. It seems to me that who you are in your car alone and driving is very emblematic of...the essence of you. Sure, it's a mundane exercise we need to complete to get from point A to point B, but who we really are gets expressed in the little things, the mundanities. Do you like to roll down the windows even when it's autumn and crispy cold outside? Do you dangle your fingertips over the windowpane? Do you tap your left foot along with the music? Is there music? Is it in the background or is it the only thing that keeps you from falling asleep? Do you turn your music down or up when the windows are open? Do you listen to NPR? Do you feel superior to the people walking? Do you hate pedestrians? Are you aggressive? Timid? Easily frustrated?

I hate slow drivers and yet I never cross far over the speed limit. I blast acoustic music with the windows open. I like that crisp air. I close my windows and sing very badly and very loudly. These were moving interludes tend to, in a way, condense my mood. It's the moments in between when everything outside can stop and you can just...turn inwards.

Oh no, my introversion is making itself known again.

Today in physics I wrote haikus about wanting to get out of here. Maybe I'll compile all my boredoutofmymind senior haikus (written in bubble letters) into a monotonous chapbook illustrating utter boredom. In the sense that the contents will be about being bored and reading it will be boring. How postmodern of me.

It's 10pm and I'm done with homework. Except I will never go to sleep.