Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jam Sesh

As I sit amongst pillows and strewn clothing, snuggly in a sweater dress, thinking of all the books I want to read in the little time I have, my crackling heater seems to tell me that it is time for a Jam Sesh.

Although the holidaze have arrived, the majority of this session will not in fact be devoted to Christmas (/Chanukah/Kwanzaa) carols. Instead, I would like to celebrate the music of one of my favorites - The Decemberists. At first I was hesitant to choose them due to their out-of-date status. But in light of their upcoming new album, I think they deserve some additional recognition; and where better than the JAM Bar?
And I must say, straight off, that if you have not pleasured your ears and souls with the tunes of the Decemberists, do it as soon as possible. There are among the few artists whose every single song I like (that sentence was strangely put, but say in a British accent, and it will seem smarter).
On the eighteenth of January in the new year, The King is Dead will be released. Lead singer/songwriter and brilliant beautiful man Colin Meloy has really done it this time. The sound of the album is more on the light folksy side, seeming to have come out of left field after the dark electric guitar in their last release, a rock opera called The Hazards of Love. But as with each of their albums, I know it will be a gem in itself. I anxiously await its release (but I may have to snag an early slightly-not-so-legal copy off my friend out of pure impatience).
Have a listen (and a tease) of their newest shtuff:

I did not paint this gorgy portrait of Colin, but I do plan on whipping up a sketch of him in the future. When I do, the Bar will surely be the first to see it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To lighten the mood...

I feel bad for being in such an angry mood as of late so here are some jokes to put a smile on everyone's faces:

Joke 1:

Q: Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?

A: Because it was dead.

Joke 2:

Q: Why did the second monkey fall out of the tree?

A: Because it was stapled to the first monkey.

You're welcome.

More of Carol's Rantings

Whilst reading an article about exercise in Vogue on a five hour car trip this weekend, the second sentence caught my attention:

"Here we all are, trying to shape a body worthy of this season's long and lean dresses, maybe even a midsection viable in knit, while not letting vanity interfere too egregiously with our regularly scheduled responsibilities as lovers, mothers, workers, and friends."

There's a reason I don't typically read fashion magazines anymore: while Vogue portrays powerful, successful women in the fashion industry and elsewhere, its articles only give importance to the average woman in terms of her relationships with other people. We are lovers, mothers, workers, and friends, but never autonomous human beings with unique desires, individuals who love themselves for the way they are regardless of other people, or agents who accomplish things independently. Apparently, our biggest goals and joys in life are to serve the men, children, and friends in our lives. I'm not arguing purely against relationships here (I believe that relationships give life meaning and importance), but would you ever find this statement in a magazine for men? I think not. Why is women's value constantly depicted solely in terms of other people? Can't we ever be good enough on our own?

At the Steele family Thanksgiving this weekend, I encountered more of this offensive attitude towards women. I was having a conversation with a friend who came over for pumpkin pie and we were talking about school. Good ol' Grandpa Steele comes over and says, "Oh, probably talking about boys, are we?" And I responded, "No, neither of us need a man to complete us. We're perfectly fine without them and they are not the only subject of our conversations." So Grandpa Steele responded, "That sounds like a women's liberation movement kind of statement," with that sarcastic and judgmental tone typical of many men from his generation when discussing those dirty words, "feminism" and "women's liberation."

First of all, what the hell did his statement even mean? Seemingly sexist as he is, my grandfather has always told me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, that I will go far in life because of my hard work, and that I can have any job I want if I try hard enough, regardless of my gender. So why is the idea of my being an autonomous, independent woman who is not dependent on men so revolutionary to him? Isn't my statement representative of essentially the same things he's been telling me my entire life? I guess it's okay to be successful as long as you still acknowledge men's prominent role in determining your happiness and recognizing that, contrary to what you may believe, you're still dependent on them underneath it all.