Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stays Outside as the Sky Grows Dark // Walks In Time to Her Beating Heart

Near the end of summer, my family tries to hike and camp as much as we possibly can in order to make the most of the warm(ish) weather. Last weekend I climbed a peak with my mom, and this weekend we rented a cabin-type-thing for two nights and went on a nine-mile death march hike.

These hike binges (while utterly exhausting) are my favorite things ever.

I live in such a beautiful place. 

(Post title comes from this song.)

And I know that a lot of you readers aren't so lucky. Maybe you fall into the category of people who don't care for nature and wilderness, but love cities and noise and people.

But I think that nature has something to offer to each and every dang one of us. 

And so I'm going to try something I've never done before- recommend movies.
If you haven't noticed, I'm a book person. That's not to say that I don't like movies, but I just don't watch them all that often. But I do have a soft spot for a good nature movie.

But wait- before you click away! These aren't the kind of nature movies you might be thinking of. They aren't those boring Nat Geo movies you watch in science class (although I do love those as well). These are good stories, with developed plots and hidden meanings, that just happen to have prominent themes in nature. 

So let's give this a shot. Who knows, maybe some of you will enjoy them as much as I do:

1. Die Wand (The Wall)

Samantha and I randomly watched this Austrian film one day, and I really liked it. We really didn't know what we were getting in to when we started, but we ended up with an awful lot to think about. 

The basic premise is that a woman, vacationing with friends in the mountains, gets mysteriously trapped behind an invisible wall.

.....But really, that does not sum it up at all. That happens in the first ten minutes.

The rest of the movie is powerful. Her survival (I hesitate to call it that, because it was not that kind of "survival in the woods" story) was simple, and the words that were spoken in the movie were not very impactful. But the sweeping shots, with the woman taking up only a tiny fraction of the frame, made you think beyond the image you were seeing.

It's tricky to explain what I took from this movie. There was a lot of introspection on the comparison of humans and nature, and it left me with a knot in my throat.

Watch it, you'll see.

See what I'm saying with those wide shots? It's hard to tell that she's even there. 

2. Never Cry Wolf

You know what, this is just a good movie. 

It's a dramatized true story of a younger Farley Mowat, when he was sent to the tundra to study wolves and their effect on caribou populations.

As the main character studies his wolves, you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery and emotionally impactful storyline, and even have a good laugh every once in a while. The end scene will make you smile like an idiot, and you will be glad to have watched it all the way through.

This movie stands for a lot of what I believe in, and it really just makes me happy to watch. 

I don't want to say anything else, but if any of you have the chance to watch this, take it! You'll be in for a treat.

3. Alone In the Wilderness

.....Okay, so this one might kind of resemble a nature documentary.

It's the true story of a man who lived off the land in Alaska from the 60s until he died in 2003. The movie is compiled of his videos he made while he lived there, with readings from his journals narrating the story.

......Okay, so it is a nature documentary. But it's so good!

Some of his shots are just amazing. He filmed most of it in the 60s, so the vintage look to the movie is enough to make you just want to look at it. 

I mean, check out some of these stills:

Yeah, the whole movie looks like that. Some of the shots made me cry a little.

But the best part about the movie is how unbelievably happy he was. He loved his life, and he was absolutely blissful when he was alone in the wilderness.

Even if you don't feel the same way about nature, you can't help but smile watching how happy he was. It's a great experience, and I hope that some of you will spent the time to watch this movie. I don't think it's possible to dislike it.


I realize that this isn't what you guys signed up for when you decided to read my blog, but the wilderness is such an important part of my life & I'm hoping that I might be able to share it with you.

So enjoy these movies, and I will annoy you with more ramblings on a later date!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let the Golden Age Begin

The season of falling leaves, apple picking, carving pumpkins, and making pies. 

Oh, fall.

It's a pity you don't exist.

See, here in Butte we don't really get this "fall" business. We get hot temperatures and clear skies one day, then snow the next. This pattern will repeat for weeks until mother nature makes up her mind and decides to keep it cold for a while. 

Plus, our trees are almost all pine so we don't get any fall colors. The trees that do have leaves just kind of... freeze with the leaves still on them. 

Despite these reasons, I still get excited when I hear people talking about "fall." Those cheesy, generic clip arts of pumpkins and leaves make my heart jump. 

I get the same kind of thrill out of seeing pictures like this as I do when seeing a picture of a unicorn. For a second, I think that it might possibly (maybe) be real. Short-lived as it is, this enthusiasm gets me in a good mood.

So I do get excited about "fall." Maybe it's just the idea of it that I like.

......Or maybe it's the whiplash weather conditions that get me excited, keeping me on my toes and preventing me from getting comfortable.

Regardless of my reasons, I happen to like "fall." 

And maybe I was being a little too harsh on old Butte. To be fair, we get some autumnal characteristics. 

Like birds. They all stop by for a few weeks to crowd our trees and keep my awake with their chirping. I really do love birds (no sarcasm, I swear). It's fun to see them all, if just for a little while.

Also, the sun rising later than usual makes for really nice walks to school. The sun rises about the same time I do, and pours into my east-facing bedroom window to paint everything gold. Then, when I walk to school (going east) I get to see the rest of the sunrise. It's really lovely.

And the snow (yes, snow!) we got a few days ago means it's officially fall. 

As I walked to school this morning, I made a playlist of songs that are best enjoyed in the autumn. The golden light and... let's call it crisp air fit these songs perfectly.

So here we go:

(.....Apparently Spotify doesn't have all the songs I want to include, so I will do this through Youtube. Bear with me here.)

1. Of Monsters and Men- "Lakehouse"

A great fall song. I am forever indebted to these guys for introducing me to Icelandic music, so it was a necessary pick.

2. The Beatles- "Dear Prudence"

....Kind of impossible not to like this one.

3. Alt-J- "Buffalo"

One of the songs that doesn't exist on Spotify, because it's kind of unreleased. Oops.
Anyway, it's marvelous.

4. Fleet Foxes- "Blue Spotted Tail"

I dare you to find a nicer song than this one. It's perfect.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- "Skeletons"

Bonus points for the FANTASTIC music video. 5 stars.

6. KT Tunstall- "Golden Age"

The theme-song from this playlist. Such a great one. Kind of makes me cry a bit.

7. Simon and Garfunkel- "America"

My mom makes fun of me for liking these guys. Oh well, what can you do?

8. First Aid Kit- "Ghost Town"

I've decided that this album ('Big Black and the Blue') is my favorite of theirs. And this one might just be my favorite from the album, so you do the math.

9. Cat Stevens- "Moonshadow"

Man, you've gotta love Cat Stevens.

10. Ben Howard- "Gracious"

This song kind of wraps it up. I love the ending (you'll see)....

So there you have it! Here's an abridged version for those of you who can't do without Spotify (I do not blame you. That shit is for real).

I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere are having a nice (maybe even real) fall, and I wish the rest of you a happy spring. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Midnight Snack

I'm always very cautious to share any poetry that I write (and I've only done so once on this blog) but I've decided to give it another shot and see what comes of it.

I wrote this poem around midnight last night when I couldn't sleep. There was a great moon and a clear sky, showing more stars then I had seen in weeks. I've always love night time- my favorite time of the day is at 2:23 AM. It's usually my most productive time, as I am always struck with inspiration while I look at the stars. I feel so alive when the sun is down. 

So without further ado, my poem:

She kissed the moon-
popped it in her mouth like
a grape.
She drank thirstily from its
glowing white light,
plucking the stars
one by one
     (like the chokecherries she picked
               on a happier day).
She plunked the tiny stars
into a bucket
and stored it away,
greedily hoarding her
stash of night time.
She bathed in the
thick darkness
that was left, coating her skin
with its velvet.
Like that she stayed-
full, secure-
until the harsh sun came
and stripped her of her treasures.  


Monday, September 8, 2014

Lord, I'm a Voodoo Child

A little while ago I watched a cool documentary on Jimi Hendrix. Jimi has been a long time idol for me, and his music is legendary- to say the least. The sounds he created with his electric guitar were revolutionary. 

He has been described as "the heart of Woodstock," and his use of ear-splitting feedback and instrument destruction (you know what I'm talking about) led a new era of psychedelic music. To this day, he easily remains the best electric guitarist of all time. 

No one can do what he could do. 

Going into this film, I had a good feel for what I was about to see- his life story, his music, and some interviews with people who knew him. But this documentary threw me a curveball and showed me a different aspect of Hendrix's life that I had previously overlooked - his style. 

I'm not sure if it was a matter of me not noticing his clothes in videos I watched of him live, or if I was just too focused on the music, but I was pleasantly surprised when the movie had a little section about the way he dressed. Hendrix was hardly a t-shirt and jeans type of guy- he went way beyond the basics of fashion and added a sharp and glamorous edge to the style of the 60s. 

His signature pieces were velvet jackets, military uniforms, bright scarves, psychedelic prints, tassels, bell-bottoms, and piles of antique jewelry. He sported pins that often showed his support of the hippie movement and his love for Bob Dylan, and in the late 60s he started wearing custom made stage costumes that were beyond cool. 

Really not sure why he's right-handed in this one...
Jimi's style was a part of who he was as a performer. Interviews with his friends and family show that he was generally not a very outgoing person. But when he decked himself out in his army jackets, feather boas, vests, rings, necklaces, and bellbottoms he was transformed. His stage presence was shocking and unforgettable- just how he liked it. He became a different person on stage, and his fashion was just another outlet for his performance.  

While it would be really amazing to see everyone dressed like Hendrix every day, forever, this isn't going to happen. And, let's be honest- the tasseled jackets and colorful bell-bottoms will probably be fine staying in your aunt's closet for now. 

But you could aim for channeling Jimi's style, rather than replicating it. Get some relaxed bohemian prints, distressed denim, and pile on the vintage jewelry. Bonus points if you rock the Sgt. Pepper jacket as well. 

But what I would truly love to see in fashion today is a person who can express so much of themselves into the clothes they wear, the way Hendrix did. His outfits were a part of Jimi as a person and, most importantly, they helped to create Jimi as a performer. 

If we can all take just a little bit of inspo from this magical man, think of how expressive fashion could become. Plus, it's about time for velvet jackets to make a comeback. Just saying.

I'm not huge on fashion, to be honest. I mostly wear clothes for comfort.
But Hendrix inspires me to use my appearance as a way to express myself, and to create myself. 

And boy, did he do it well. 

(Photos all taken from here, here, or here)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Let's Face It- Old Souls Like Us Are Being Born to Die

Did any of you look forward to the start of school when you were little, planning your first-day outfit ahead of time and buying school supplies in, like, July? Well, school has started this year with none of that. Not even a tiny burst of motivation to make my handwriting look nice or make a good impression on my teachers.

This year started out with a good 'ol "Damn this all straight to hell," as I dragged myself out of bed at freaking 6:45 in the freaking morning to go to freaking SCHOOL. I've done this four times so far (we started on Tuesday) and I think I'm done for the year.

BUT, I've made it through the week without getting detention OR failing any classes, so I'm not feeling too bad right now.

In fact, I'm feeling pretty good. The weekend is looking bright and shiny, and I've got tons of things to appreciate right now.

So many things, in fact, that I've decided to compile a list to (hopefully) make your beginning-of-school more bearable:

1. An Album

I know that I just recommended an album in my last post, but "Kaputt" by Destroyer has been my safety net this week. It's just so good.

(The title of my post came from "Savage Night at the Opera")

2. A Suggestion

I found today a way to make long lectures more bearable. I drew these little...accessories? with the idea that they would look cool while I played my fiddle. Spoiler alert, they do:


3. Two Poems

I checked out a book of Modern Scandinavian Poetry at my library, and I LOVE IT. Particularly the ones from Iceland (of course) and the Faroe Islands. Here are two of my favorites:

by Steinn Steinarr

I have wandered along sun-warmed beaches.
And the roar from strange seas
mingled with the murmur of my blood.

I have left havens in every land
and flowed in the wake of every tide.

And at the bottom of my immeasurable depth
        I've buried my will my awareness
and I no longer know
        if the sea is myself
or myself the sea.


Talking to a Tree in Leaf
Hannes Petursson

I'll not be a poet until I find that you
are part of my blood, I've become you:
a leaf-green harp in the hands of darkness and light,
heaven and earth, become a living bridge
uniting sun and chilly earth in one;
become a potent instrument in life's hands,
a harp of living strings - just like you.

4. A Source of Hope

I went out to eat Chinese food with my family, and check out the fortune that came in my cookie:

"A woman who seeks to be equal with men lacks ambition. Ouch!"

Isn't that amazing? Ouch! I was so thrilled to see it in my fortune cookie- it certainly made my day.

5. A Shameless Self-Promotion

So... I have another blog. This one is with my sister, and we're doing a vlog-brothers type of thing where we correspond while we are separated (that stupid idiot went off to college, ugh).

It's really ugly right now because my SISTER REFUSES TO MAKE IT LOOK NICER AND I CAN'T SINCE IT'S UNDER HER ACCOUNT but you can check it out if you want:

Dollface and the Pudge

6. A Less-Shameless Promotion of People Who Actually Deserve It:

These are some of my favorite blogs at the mo:

an exercise of my faculties
intergalactic glitter monster

7. A Picture:

I found a tumblr of these ghost photos and love them a lot.

So there you go. I hope these things will give you some tiny amount of joy in your next few days, and maybe even help you survive this "school" business.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Simmer Down, Settle In

I realize that I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I spew music recommendations like no body's business, but when someone tells me to check out a band (unless they are someone like Samantha who has never failed me) I tend to ignore it.
For some reason it means more to me when I find a band all on my own, rather than having it shown to me. Is that just me? Probably.

Anyway, I'm going to continue with my blatant hypocrisy and recommend another artist to y'all.
But this one is a different. This singer is very close to my heart, and I love her new album more than I can say. So if there is one music recommendation that you listen to from this blog, let it be this one.

Meet Cold Specks.

Cold Specks is a singer out of Montreal (where I used to live, by the by) whose music I stumbled upon last winter. Since then, I have fallen hopelessly in love with her first album, "I Predict a Graceful Expulsion."

I have a hard time classifying her music, so I will steal what wikipedia has to say:

"Her musical style can be described as doom soul, and shows the influence of American deep south gospel with a strong goth streak."

(I'm not sure what that entails, but it sounds hella rad to me.) 

I would simply describe her music as "perfect." It is so emotional, and every chord hits you with such intensity that you can't help but wonder if she's even a human being. And her lyrics.... My word, there is nothing that could make them any better.

Plus, Al Spx (her real name, which is really cool) is possibly the most beautiful human being I have ever seen. From the interviews I've seen, she is a very shy person. But when she sings....oh my god. 

She just stands there, looking at her feet, letting loose this voice that reaches right inside you and makes you shiver for no explicable reason. It's like she's singing straight from her soul into yours. I know it sounds horribly silly, but that's the only way I can describe it.

So before I get to the main point of this post, lets recap what I've gone over so far:
Cold Specks is a goddess. 

Are we all on the same page? Cool. Now I can say what I came here to say:

She released a new album on Thursday. 

Most of the time I am at a loss for words when I talk about music, but this album is a strange exception. Each song floods my mind with descriptions.

The overall sound is dark, and every note is as clear as a bell. Even when there are lots of different elements to the songs it never sounds muddled.

It's powerful. Unlike her last album, this one features a plethora of instruments that give the songs a certain depth.

The lyrics are phenomenal. I cried when I heard "A Season Of Doubt" for the first time.

She builds up the tension so carefully in each song, making you feel like you're standing on the edge of a cliff. Then she eases it back down, leaving you with a feeling of utter perfection.

Even though it's only been out for a few days, this album has already become one of my favorites. I can tell it's going to be the perfect soundtrack to fall, and I can hardly wait to go on long midnight strolls with this on my ipod. Maybe through a graveyard. Who knows?

So there you have it- Cold Specks. I'm all out of words. Just ahhhhhhhhhhhhhfhdjkfsdlf.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Standing Up and Facing Those Fears

Hello internet. It's me, Maggie.
You might not remember me. It has been a while.

But now I'm back, and it's due time for me to write something.
It's time for me to stop running from my thoughts and actually do something about my situation.


...Wow, sorry. I got excited.
Let's back up a tad:

So I was in Canada for the past few weeks. This was great and amazing and wonderful, but I don't feel like talking about it. So I won't.

What I will talk about is not talking about things. 

Wow, okay. I need to phrase this better:

What I'm sucking at saying is that I suck at confronting people. Whether I'm sharing some unfortunate news or expressing a problem I have with a person, I'm so afraid of upsetting them that I frequently won't say what's on my mind. 

This has caused many problems for me, and you would really think that I would know by now to just face my problems head-on. But alas, I am a chicken.

For example:

Instead of telling my old soccer coach that I was upset about him not playing me in games, I decided to just stop showing up to practice. This would've worked fine, unless I was to see him ever again. Which I did. And he was nice about it and I felt horrible and I can never face him again without feeling like a complete asshole. I'm sure that if I said something to him he would've fixed it. I was just too scared. (To be fair, though, I did quit for many other reasons as well. I'm not that much of a jerk. I hope.)

Or, a few years back, I broke up with a guy I had been dating for 9 months because I was uncomfortable with how quickly we had been moving. I could've talked to him, but I just broke it off then and there without explanation. (Again, to be fair, there were additional reasons for breaking up with him. But you get the point.)

I could go on and on about how many times I ended up being an asshole while trying hard to not be an asshole, but it's all the same thing. And I never learned.

"No matter how many times I tell myself I have to be sincere,
 I have a hard time standing up and facing those fears."

......But wait Maggie! Didn't you just confront someone the other day? What was that all about?

(This is the part of the show where I boast about confronting people. Feel free to ignore it.)

Remember that story I just told of quitting the soccer team? I was given a second chance. That's right, I quit another soccer team! But this time I actually spoke with my coach about it. It was hard to do, but I did it. And boy, did it ever feel good to be honest about things.

And do you remember that story about not being honest with a guy? I was given (believe it or not) another second chance! It wasn't with the same guy (thank goodness) but it was in a very similar situation. Things were moving in an uncomfortable direction and I asserted myself. It was really scary. But I'm glad I did it. 

So maybe I am learning. Who knows?

I just wish there was an easier way to go about these types of things. I bet power rangers never had these problems.

I think I'll be red ranger from now on.

P.S. My BFF Samantha just started a blog! She's fantastic and I love her. Check it out here.