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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Midsummer Night (at least by the time that I finish this thing)

Oh my! How the time has flown these past... 6 weeks?! Seems like I just did that blog post before I went off to camp (you know, the one that took me about 5 hours?), yet that day seems like it was forever ago. And it's also amazing how much has happened these past few weeks. It's crazy how the summer does that to you. Because during the school year, the only difference between, for example, late February, and mid-April, would be:
-Biology tests once a week, instead of once every two weeks.

Ha. Ha. Ha.
But I've definitely been up to a lot these past few weeks, and I hope that these things don't have some sort of word or character limit. I assume they don't, but I'll do my best not to ramble on and on in order to limit the yawns and sighs of boredom. Of course I already am rambling, so what's the point of stopping now?!

On the agenda:
-Camp Highlander: a brief recap of my three week stay up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, accompanied by photos (well, duh), of which there are just over 100(!).
-Summer Reading Update: Not much to tell there, but...
-Other news in SaraLand
-Obligatory (right word?) shuffle dance.

Ok, so first off: Camp Highlander. Ah, what an amazing three weeks, that, as always seemed to fly by. It's amazing to me how slowly 49 weeks go by considering that the three I spend at camp every summer are gone with a snap of the fingers.

Anyway, this year I was in Cabin 1, the oldest girls cabin (the journey has been long, folks. Eight years. From the youngest girls cabin, Cabin 16, to the top dogs). I had the best cabin that I can remember in a long time. All of the girls (there were eight of us, ten including the counselors) were incredibly nice and funny. I've never laughed so hard as I did for those 20 or so days.

Some high points:
-A three day overnight from the get-go. Opening day of the session was Sunday and Monday afternoon we set off for the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, about a two hour drive from CH. First, we went to a Cherokee reservation thing, which was pretty interesting. Almost too interesting for some girls. A sample conversation:

GIRL A: You know, I think it would have been cool to live back then. Like, you didn't have to worry about some stuff.
ME: Pshh.

Or something along those lines. Don't get me wrong, I find it interesting that they had a corn room and whatnot, but I would never want to live back then. Never.

From the Cherokee reservation we went to a lookout spot and took tons of pictures. Then it was off to the campsite, which was a public campsite, so that means running water and plumbing! Woo! We set up the tents (okay, we had ours set as the example), and ate, during which a total monsoon swept through the camp grounds. That's the thing about weather up there. One minute it's raining so hard you can barely hear anything (rain + tin roofs = no hearing), the next it's so hot, you wish it was raining so that it would get cooler and you could go inside.
Anyway, then we told some stories (some scary, some definitely not), laughed, etc.
The next day was the real "adventure day." First we went to Clingman's Dome, which is a mile or so walk up to a lookout tower thing that is the second highest point east of the Mississippi River. I'd seen it last year, so nothing too new there.

Then we had lunch and rested, for about an hour, and talked about... books, a conversation to which, believe it or not, I was actually able to contribute something of actual meaning. Go figure.

Then we walked and walked, and then walked up, way up, to Chimney Tops, a freakishly high point. Basically, if you fall, you die. I was actually never really too afraid of falling or anything, but still...

Then we went off to a watering hole that had freezing cold water, which, no matter what, is still cold even though you're hot and sweaty.
Later we went to Gatlinburg, an extremely touristy town, where people where fanny packs, and a resident's evening activity is limited to driving up and down the main street, blasting the latest rap music. All. Night. Long.

It's mostly souvenir-ish stores, but it's fine nonetheless. We danced with a folk/country/bluegrass/some genre of music along those lines band. That was awesome.

The next day we headed back to camp. Fun three-day.

-Counselor Hunt. Counselors hide. We try to find them. Okay, we didn't win, but we were definitely the most spirited, and the only cabin to dress alike (we missed Cabin Challenge, where every cabin dresses alike). And we didn't just go with "let's all wear blue shorts and white shirts. Oh, no. As you get older, the themes get more crazy and much more fun. Example: last year we dressed up for Cabin Challenge as ninjas. Coolest thing ever. Then for counselor hunt we dressed up as watermelons.

This year, we were the FBI. All black. Sunglasses (I'm kneeling in the photo, and I wore the star sunglasses because somebody had to). The works.

-Superhero and Villains Dance, thrown by Cabin 1. The first two Fridays are always "dance nights." One cabin sponsors/hosts the camp dance. There's always a theme, which range from "Black and White" to "80's" to "Hello My Name Is...," and ours was Superheros and Villains. Made up or real. The set up was long, but the payoff was awesome. Everything looked great. We even had two girls dangling on harnesses some 20 or so feet in the air as everyone arrived.

And what was I? Oh, I'm glad that you asked. I was... ROGO GIRL! I'm sure you've heard of her. Pink shorts, pink tights, pink converses. A white tank top with my own crest, which I designed and drew onto the shirt. Pretty awesome stuff.

Oh, I could go on forever about everything else at camp that happened, but I'd actually be going on forever, so let's just leave it at this: It was one of the best summers I can remember. And I really hope that I can be a CIT next year and become staff.

Okay, Camp Highlander, check! Now onto Summer Reading update. Sunday night I finished my first (of three) books, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster. All in all, it was a pretty boring read, but there's no doubt that this guy has a serious passion for literature (not just novels, but plays, poems, stories, and even movies). And that he knows his stuff. There are just over 25 chapters, and each deals with a certain concept in literature.

Examples of chapter titles include:
-If She Come Up, It's Baptism (Deals with the concept that if a character falls into a body of water, and comes out of that body of water, he or she is reborn.)
-Flights of Fancy (Deals with the use of flight in literature, and the "pretty straightforward" concept that "flight is freedom.")
-When in Doubt, It's From Shakespeare... (Deals with the concept that an array of writers borrow plot devices, quotes, and even work titles [think The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner or Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes] are from Shakespeare's many works.)
-It's Never Just Heart Disease... (Deals with heart disease in literature and what it symbolizes: a character's broken heart.)

And the list goes on. But seriously, this guy draws upon practically everything that he's ever read and makes crazy, how did you seriously know that?-type inferences and conclusions about literature. That said, I still found it kind of boring, but I would recommend it to people who really love reading, because it will make them better readers.

And so now I am on King Leopold's Ghost. I just began it today. I am only on the prologue. It's not too bad yet. Keyword: yet.

Other news in SaraLand:
-I've started a workout/tennis program in order to better prepare myself to make the Varsity Team this spring. Maybe if I make the Varsity team, they will learn how to spell my name correctly. You can tell that I'm still bitter over that, can't you? Ah, I kid, I kid. If I had a nickel for everytime someone spelled my name "Sarah," I... would have a lot of nickels.
-I've made it my own personal summer project (in addition to summer reading, mom) to acquire every song that, to my knowledge, was ever played on The O.C. And folks, this is hard stuff. I have 84 songs in my "new for oc" playlist on iTunes, and a few in my "buy for oc" playlist, so I already have 300+ O.C. songs. But I still have a long way to go. Because, seriously, have you ever heard of First Com? Yeah, neither has iTunes. But Alex Patsavas (music coordinator for The O.C.) has, and she insists on using their tracks for a lot for the holiday episodes.

(By the way, if anyone has the following tracks by First Com, or knows where I can find them, I'd greatly appreciate it if you would let me know: "Hanukkah Lights," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Silent Night on the Praire," and "Silent Night.")
-In other O.C. news... wait, I cannot give more O.C. news, because, as horrid as this is coming from a devoted O.C. fan (okay, obsessed O.C. fan), I have not even finished the fourth season of the show, which came out in late May. LATE MAY, PEOPLE! But, never fear, I'm planning on wrapping it up on the car ride down to the beach this Saturday.
-I've just heard about the new Fall 2007 Keds campaign! Ah, yay! There are seriously some cute shoes in the collection. Check them out here.
Now onto the iPod shuffle. Because I don't feel like getting my own iPod, I'll just put our entire iTunes library (all 4,000+ songs), and see what happens.
No predicitons on this one. The odds aren't good enough, and everything is so unpredictable that every single song that comes up will probably file under "embarassing."
[Edit: Songs in parentheses are generally those on which I cannot comment, for any one of a number of reasons.]
Here we go:
1. (Una Notte A Napoli - Pink Martini.)
2. (Laura - Scissor Sisters. Can someone remind me why this is even on here? Does anyone listen to this? Anyone? Anyone?)
3. (Famine Pulse - Mars Volta. See above.)
4. (Dell'Amore Non Si Sa - Andrea Bocelli. Okay, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Will a good, familiar song ever show up?!?!?)
5. Because - The Beatles. Leave it up to The Beatles to answer my prayers. This is off of their Love album, a type of greatest hits compilation, but better, because everything is different, and reworked, and a really creative spin on just a regular old greatist hits collection. From this album, I recommend "Blackbird/Yesterday." Somehow, "Blackbird" segues pretty much flawlessly into "Yesterday." So much so that you don't even recognize the change in song.
6. (Il Mistero Dell 'Amore - Andrea Bocelli. I should have made this prediction: At least 20% Andrea Bocelli songs. Sheesh.)
7. (The Fallen Interlude - Blink 182. Katie must have forgotten about every Blink 182 and Green Day song on here when she deleted all of the punk music last year. This really needs to go.)
8. It's Because... We've Got Hair - Tunng. A beautiful song. From The O.C., episode 4-09, "The My Two Dads" (and no, that title doesn't make sense grammatically). The mix of female and male vocals in this song is the real hook of the song for me. And the nice beat that comes in about 40 seconds into the song.
9. Don't Ask Me Why - Billy Joel. This is from his 12 Gardens Live CD. Apparently Mr. Joel is fond of Spanish, because this song, quite randomly, begins with "uno, dos, tres, cuatro!" But I really do like Billy Joel. I went through a phase some months ago when I was really fond of "Allentown." But I liked Billy Joel way before that. In fact, my first mix CD (titled "Pop Mix," original I know) that I ever compiled included "Uptown Girl" on it. It also included "Mmm Bop" by Hanson. You can tell that my musical taste has since narrowed. And gotten better.
10. Albany Brownout - Francine. This is one of my newly acquired O.C. songs, and I've never listened to it all the way before, so that's all I can really say about it.
11. Caring Is Creepy - The Shins. Now this is beginning to feel like a shuffle dance of old. A little bit of The Shins, a little bit of some O.C. artists. Nice stuff. And I love this song.
12. (Lying - Peter Frampton. Please see Scissor Sisters - Laura.)
13. (I Know - Fiona Apple. What is this? In the words of Phoebe Buffay, "It's madness! MADNESS!")
14. (Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin. Quick trivia: Who wrote the work that this song is named after? Give yourself time to think about it, if necessary. You can find the answer here.)
15. A Fond Farewell - Elliott Smith. For a long time, I didn't like Elliott Smith, but leave it up to The O.C. to change that. Two of his songs, "Pretty (Ugly Before)" and "Twilight" were featured in season two episodes, and I really liked them, and I've really started to like him now. However, I've never heard this song before, and I cannot tell you anything about it. Except that I really love his voice.
16. Baby, I Love Your Way - Bob Marley. Let's jam.
17. Camisado - Panic! At the Disco. What can you do? This music is fun, the titles are strange. Like, for instance, "London Beckoned Songs About Money Written By Machines." Um, hello, but how do you ever expect that to get airplay? A DJ or VJ would run out of breath just saying the title. Come on, Panic! Be practical. And less wordy.
18. (Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - Paul Simon. I like the chanting.)
19. Make This Go On Forever - Snow Patrol. For some reason, this song sounds oh so familiar. But I wouldn't be surprised. Snow Patrol is almost as ubiquitous as Sufjan Stevens or Modest Mouse, and okay, I have definitely heard this before. And I like it.
20. 12:51 - The Strokes. Okay. Um, I know nothing about this song, except that it's three tracks after "What Ever Happened?," a song that I really like. So there we go. This shuffle dance is so random that I'm having to resort to guessing as to whether I've heard this song before, and then deciding that I definitely have, to commenting on it in relation to another song, and then talking about the randomness of everything.
21. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage - Panic! At the Disco. There you go again, Panic! with the long names. I went through a phase just after my 14th birthday where I had this song on repeat. And I played it over and over and over again. So now I know every word. And I'm singing along. And it's funny that just this afternoon, I was thinking about this song, and its title, along with other long titles from various bands, because all of a sudden there are so many long song titles out there.

Here is a random example:
Our Lawyer Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued - Fall Out Boy. Okay, then change the name of the song to something more appropriate. It's so unnecessarily long that it's not even funny, which I'm sure was the purpose of this title: humor. And of the title that you had to change, because your lawyer made you change so that you wouldn't get sued.

Fall Out Boy has other long song titles, but I feel as if this post is getting pretty long, so I will not waste more words with unnecessarily long titles.

22. (It's Not a Fashion Statement, It's a Death Wish - My Chemical Romance. Barf. This really needs to go. Maybe my own personal summer project should be tidying up our iTunes library, because it is in desparate need of a tidying up.)
23. King's Crossing - Elliott Smith. See other Elliot Smith song.
24. (Go Where Love Goes - Andrea Bocelli & Holly Stell.)
25. E Talking - Soulwax. This is one of the newly found O.C. songs. This is proof enough as to the difficulty of my summer project. I mean, have you ever heard of Soulwax. Me neither. Yet, someone else has.
26. Somebody Told Me - The Killers. Wow, this song seems so old, but I guess it's running on three or so years. This was the first single off The Killers' debut album, Hot Fuss. But this is a fun song, with fun lyrics.

(I'm skipping a Blink 182 song because it is truly, truly terrible. It's not even music. Literally.)

27. Girl - Beck. This is a great, summery song. In fact, it's not "my summer girl" but "my sun-eyed girl," which is so much better. The music video for this song is really cool, too. You can see it here. This song was also on The O.C., in 2-15, "The Mallpisode."
28. Army - Ben Folds Five. Wow, I haven't listened to Ben Folds in a while, but this is a really great song. It's even better on his live CD, Ben Folds Live. This is what he does with the trumpets and the saxophones. It sounds really cool when it all comes together.
29. (Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses.)
30. Paperback Writer - The Beatles. I feel like I've heard this song before.
31. (Piove - Lorenzo Jovanotti. Totally not in English.)
32. (Confessions of a Futon-Revolutionist - The Weakerthans. Oh my goodness.)
33. (Mother and Child Reunion - Paul Simon.)
34. Fortunate Fool - Jack Johnson. I do like some of Jack Johnson's songs. Mostly the ones that I've heard. Oh, I have heard this one before, I think. I wish he would have some stuff that's a bit more up-tempo, though.
35. (A Thing Going On - JJ Cole.)
36. (Baby, What a Big Surprise - Chicago.)
37. What I Got - Sublime. Huh, it's funny that I was about to put this song in parentheses, but I've actually heard this song before, although I never listen to Sublime.
38. Hit Rock Bottom - Dandy Warhols. This is another instance in which I can only comment on this song in relation to another by the same artist. Dandy Warhols have actually had a few of their songs played on The O.C. ("We Used to Be Friends," most famously, which plays in 1-12, "The Secret"), and it surprises me that an entire one of their albums is in our library, because, well, it's not like anyone ever listens to this entire album.
39. (Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman) - Led Zeppelin.)
40. Fruit Tree - Nick Drake. I love two of Nick Drake's songs, "Pink Moon" and "Northern Sky." I just really like his voice. This song, in my opinion, is not as good as the others just mentioned.

That does it for this shuffle. A new spin on the old ways. Or something like that.

As for music that I'm really liking right now:

-Heretics - Andrew Bird. This was a very popular song on music blogs that I read a few months ago, and I finally got it just a week or so ago, and am totally in love with it. There's so many hooks in it, it's crazy. A song that you can't get out of your head, but that doesn't really bother you (well, it doesn't bother me).
-You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb - Spoon. This is off Spoon's new album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Yes, that is the title of the album. Anyway, I've been in love with Spoon ever since I heard their single "The Way We Get By" on The O.C. Mix 1. They've been sending out awesome tunes ever since.
-Save Me - Jude. I discovered this song as I was making my way back through all of The O.C.'s tunes. It played in 4-01, "The Avengers," and I really liked it then, but I had just mistaken it for another song.
-Send Me on My Way - Rusted Root. I'd always recognized this song as "the one that plays at the end of Matilda." People were talking about it at camp, and when I arrived back home, I got it. Wonderful song.
-Beretta - Manishevitz. Another song that I finally found as I made my rounds on all of The O.C. songs. Wonderful song. It plays in 3-01, "The Aftermath."
-Good Day - Luce. This is a song that I'm planning on purchasing on iTunes. It has such a fun, summery feeling. I absoulutely love it! (And I found it when going back through all of The O.C. songs. Well, duh.)

Have a wonderful rest of the summer, everyone!


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, I am in awe of your writing ability--absolutely fabulous. Was fun to read about camp after hearing about it from you in person. Will keep fingers crossed that you become a CIT next year. As to the songs...I think you've left me way behind but it was fun reading about them. Have fun at the beach. Love, Grandma

Wednesday, 18 July, 2007  
Blogger Mary said...

ah - delightful as always - what a nice way to start my day! surprised I haven't awakened the house with all the laughing out loud! definitely need to update my ipod with some of your new recommendations - they're always some of my favorites. good luck with the reading. love, m. xxoo

Thursday, 19 July, 2007  

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