Songs of Saturday #16 + Major Ketchup

That awkward moment when you haven’t blogged in a month… Here, have some excuses.

When I left you after my last post, I traveled to Florida with my family to see cousins and aunts and such for Thanksgiving. We camped in Fort De Soto Park, just a few hundred feet away from the water. The whole time I was basically dying for internet. Which is actually extremely sad but not unusual for me, i.e. the girl who’s spent her nights this past week on Netflix… Anyways, it was wonderful to see my 5- and 3-year-old cousins, both of whom had plenty to say and plenty of creative ways to express themselves. At one point we were hiding in a palm frond house to get away from the “zombies” outside, I think? Ah, those were the days.

The view across from our campsite

The view across from our campsite

Elsewhere in the campground

Elsewhere in the campground

beach time

beach time



So all that happened. I returned home, after not having practiced for a week, ready to play juries in a couple weeks.

Let me explain something about not practicing for a week. For the first few days, you feel horribly guilty. You go, “Oh damn, I’m going to suck so much. God is going to punish me, or maybe my teacher will.” You debate about whether anyone at the campground will actually mind, or if they’ll storm over and tell you to please-please-please-sweet-lord-stop-practicing-F-sharp-major-thirds. After a while, you resign yourself to the fact that even though you’re a kickass violinist, you cannot for the life of you play F sharp major thirds and people probably will mind. Let’s face it, you’re not actually going to practice. You’re on vacation! You enjoy a blissfully peaceful week without picking up your instrument once. Then you get back, force yourself into a practice room, and attempt to play. Dear God, it’s like learning the whole damn thing all over again. How does a bow work? How do you move your left hand? How do you read music? It’s very disheartening.

At least, that’s the way it worked for me. But I pulled it together, relearned how to play violin, and killed my jury on Thursday! I did this piece, and let’s just pretend I sounded like her…

And so I’ve been spending my time still at school, pretending like finals don’t exist, and indulging in copious amounts of food, music, and 30 Rock (Liz Lemon and I are literally twins). I also hear How I Met Your Mother Season 7 has been posted, so… more excitement ahead!

True excitement came in the form of one Surfjohn Stevens Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Yuletide Disaster Pageant on Ice.

The angel himself and Sheila Saputo, aka Rosie Thomas, who I also dearly love

The angel himself and Sheila Saputo, aka Rosie Thomas, who I also dearly love

It featured a huge-ass Wheel of Christmas, which was used to determine which song we would all sing next, songs off various Christmas albums of his, and even several off Illinoise. It was absolutely magical, and sometimes I still think of it randomly and inwardly freak out a little all over again. He seriously does have the voice of an angel. He also brought Rosie Thomas with him, who was basically his liaison with humanity, since apparently Surfjohn does not enjoy interacting with people. Rosie provided some very strange stand-up before the show as her alias Sheila Saputo and threw inflatable unicorns into the crowd (no love for the left side of the stage, I’m sad to say, but still interesting to witness). Also, there were SO MANY HIPSTERS. Also, he played For the Widows and Casimir Pulaski Day and I just about died.

ALSO TOMORROW I GET TO SIT ON STAGE WITH ITZHAK PERLMAN AKA GOD AND WITNESS HIM PLAY VIOLIN. Then afterwards I’ll probably go home, cry, reconsider my life (“What makes you think you can play violin, huh?”), but be a better person in the end. I cannot wait.

I go back home next Tuesday, and honestly I can’t wait to cover songs (or at least pretend like I can) with my friend in his basement, practice intensely (oh boy), visit my high school orchestra and teachers, and see all of the friends I’ve been missing all semester. I still can’t believe I’ve already gotten through (or almost, one more final to go) a whole semester of college. It seems like it’s lasted forever, and yet in the grand scheme of things it feels like no time has passed at all. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster at times, and like I said, I’m ready to go home, but at the same time I’ve enjoyed myself immensely and can’t wait to come back. If that makes sense.

Now that I’m done with all the ketchup, here, have some music:

1. O Come O Come Emmanuel–Sufjan Stevens

In the spirit of Christmas and Surfjohn, here is his version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Everytime I listen I kind of want to cry it’s so beautiful. You should also consider checking out his version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!”, and “Christmas Unicorn.” Happy Holidays, guys.

2. Your Hand in Mine–Explosions in the Sky

Here’s a good one to have on repeat forever. Good for background music, good for blasting and letting it take you over completely. Most Explosions in the Sky stuff is pretty good, some of it is probably going to take some getting used to.

3. Suego Faults–Wolf Gang

Just this gorgeousness. I spent a good chunk of an afternoon getting into Wolf Gang, and I think I’m going to have to go with this one as my favourite. But they’re pretty wonderful, so there are a few close runner-ups that you should definitely check out. :)

4. For Your Love–Marching Band

When this first came up on my shuffle, I hadn’t taken time to listen to the album Spark Large and didn’t recognize it. They sound extremely close to Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, and since I love SSLYBY, I fell in love with Marching Band immediately, too. This is the first track off the album, which I still haven’t listened to nearly intensely enough, but this is a good starting point.

5. Further Away–Ben Howard

Honestly, I know nothing about this man at all. But this video, just… One summer I thought I’d teach myself guitar. That didn’t happen, and after watching this, probably won’t if this is what it means to know how to play. Not to mention the fact that it’s so incredibly beautiful.

Sorry for the gratuitous amount of information/gushing/freaking out/trivial life details, but I feel better for being caught up now. Hopefully this month-long winter break (!!) will afford me many more opportunities to blog and there won’t be any more month-long hiatuses (Hiati? Nah…).