Odds and Ends

This will not be me in graduate school. I hope.

On that note, I’ve heard from one of the guys I visited Cornell with. He’s decided to go there as well, so that’ll be one person I know starting there with me.

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I can’t stop listening to Josh Ritter’s The Animal Years and the tracks from The Swell Season that Glen Hansard posted. One tends toward upbeat and catchy; the other is melancholy and heart-achingly haunting. “The Swell Season,” in particular, has stolen my heart.

I feel like I should write some kind of review for The Animal Years before going to the concert on Wednesday, and, since I’m not allowed to listen to any Ritter in the 24 hours preceding the concert, that means I should be writing that now. But whether I’m in the condition for it is another question entirely. A few notes though:

  • “Girl in the War” gets my award for the lyrics I can’t help singing. Something about a conversation between St. Peter and St. Paul is just… catching. Starting the album with this was a brilliant decision.
  • “Wolves” and “Idaho” are somehow completely entwined for me. I can still remember Josh playing the latter last time at the concert. Both end up reminding me of my suitemate from Idaho.
  • Aside from “Thin Blue Flame,” which I’ve loved from the first time I heard it, I think that “Lillian Egypt” is my favorite song on the album. I never would have imagined a love song cast into a silent film would be so much fun: He made her the star of the silent movies / But all she did was mouth the words / all she did was mouth the words, “Oh no!” / And he cast me as the villain as the sheriff’s worst enemy. The keyboard solo ranks up there with the intro to “Baba O’Reilly” in terms of awesome. I’ve got my fingers crossed on this one getting played Wednesday. I suspect that it will be one of those songs that’s as fun to witness and sing along to live as “Snow Is Gone” is.
  • In terms of similarities to past songs, “In the Dark” is now tied to “Kathleen” for me. I’m not sure entirely why, except perhaps in that they’re both easy to start singing to without realizing it.

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I got an e-mail from Glen today after sending him a question about how he got introduced to Werner Herzog films (i.e. Fitzcarraldo). His approachability never ceases to astound or impress me.

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In two weeks, my team has to present our design for an orbiter to visit Titan. In two days, I’ll be presenting my research poster at the symposium. Yes, the end is near, and it both saddens and frightens me.

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