Seize the freakin’ day.

3 11 2007

In this presentation from the 2002 TED Conference, science journalist Stephen Petranek lists the 10 most likely ways the world could end suddenly. That sounds depressing, but there are things we can do about most of them. And we can always, um, colonize another planet.

Anyway, this is a good reminder to live life to its fullest—now.


Your Sister Cried

2 11 2007

Place Settings
The Ex and I separated in October 2004. I haven’t written much about him here, and that probably seems odd. It seems odd to me. After all, we were together for six-and-a-half years. Plus, I’ve posted repeatedly about the Soulmate-Who-Got-Away (SWGA), the man I fell for twice—once before I ever met the Ex and once after our separation.

But SWGA is probably the man I’ll always think of as the love of my life. He‘s been the “problem” I needed to resolve for the past couple of years, so I’ve written about him. I haven’t had the same need to write about the Ex, I guess.

That said, I absolutely loved the Ex, too. (And I still do.) It was a different kind of love, of course—a more adult, less dizzying kind of love. When I was with SWGA, I always felt like I was under the influence of some powerful chemical. With the Ex, it seemed like we’d used our brains and decided to be together. Unfortunately, it just didn’t always seem like we’d necessarily made a good decision….

Anyway, a year ago this past Wednesday (yup, on Halloween), the Ex got married. To a woman. I passed through some of the usual your-ex-is-moving-on feelings when he told me. I was jealous that he’d found someone else, and so easily. I was miffed that I hadn’t found someone else. I knew it meant he’d never play a large role in my life again. Ever.

I also passed through some fairly unusual your-ex-is-moving-on feelings. Was the Ex straight? Had he been straight when we were together? Had I been an experiment? Did his new life cast our six-plus years in a different light?

I eventually got a grip, though. Although the Ex had self-identified as gay when we met, I knew he’d dated women—and not all that long ago. So he probably wasn’t 100% gay. But he definitely wasn’t 100% straight, either. When I really thought about our time together, I knew we’d had something. I knew he’d been attracted to me. I knew he’d loved me. I was no experiment.

I wasn’t invited to the wedding, and I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to go. The Ex and I were right, I suppose, to separate. But it just made no sense to me that he’d moved on so quickly. And I certainly didn’t think he should spend the rest of his life as a straight man. I hoped he hadn’t trapped himself in a miserable life. I wanted him to be happy, but I just didn’t see how this marriage would work for a lifetime.

A year later, I feel pretty much the same.

When I think about the Ex’s wedding—and I guess I’ll think about it every Halloween now—I think of “Your Sister Cried,” a song written by Fred Eaglesmith (and covered beautifully by Mary Gauthier). I follow along with the song, imagining that I went to the Halloween wedding, with the Ex’s sister, both of us knowing that something terribly wrong had happened:

Well, I stared out of the windshield into the rain so light
And I turned on my dims, and somebody flashed me their brights
And I reached over and turned the radio way down low
Your sister cried all the way home

Lightning crashed, and the road shone like a mirror
A dog came out of the ditch, then he disappeared
And I remembered a conversation we once had on the phone
Your sister cried all the way home

I’ll never know how you got into such a mess
Why do the bridesmaids all have to wear the same dress?
Everybody said you looked real good
But I think you looked stoned

Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home
Your sister cried all the way home

Tonight, I miss the Ex.

Ongir Pengar

1 11 2007

When I was a kid, growing up in rural northeastern Oklahoma, I would look through atlases and play with my globe, imagining all the exotic places I’d visit when I grew up. As I’ve mentioned before, during that time, I developed a real crush on New Zealand. But I dreamed of lots of other places, too: Denmark, Uruguay, Liechtenstein.

And the Faroe Islands.

The Faroes are a group of islands between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. They’re sort of midway between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway. Although officially a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroes are mostly autonomous. Fewer than 50,000 people live in the Faroes, and the economy is dominated by the fishing industry. The Faroes also have their fair share of sheep.

I know all that, by the way, because of the various term papers I wrote in school about the Faroe Islands. (I was a quirky kid, ok?) And, oh, because I just glanced at the Wikipedia entry for the Faroes.

Anyway, at some point along the way, I started to be interested in Faroese pop music. (I’m a quirky adult, ok?) For a relatively sparsely populated place, the Faroes have produced a lot of good pop music. These days, I’m listening to good, recent albums from Eivør Pálsdóttir, a rootsy balladeer; Páll Finnur Páll, a rock band with a social conscience; and Teitur Lassen, a singer-songwriter.

Of the three, Teitur, as he’s known, may be the most accessible (and most familiar) to American ears. His debut album, 2003’s Poetry & Airplanes, was amazingly accomplished, and it attracted the attention of John Mayer, who championed the album. Teitur’s lyrics are smart, and his English seems to be better than mine. Plus, he has a real way with melancholy, and that’s always appealing (to the lovelorn me, anyway). Teitur’s second album, 2006’s Stay Under the Stars, was also quite good.

This year, Teitur released Káta Hornið, his first album in Faroese. The album is available on iTunes, and I’ve really been enjoying it. If you’re adventurous, or even just curious about what Faroese sounds like, I’d recommend it. Now there’s a video for “Ongir Pengar,” one of the songs on Káta Hornið. Directed by Marianna Mørkøre and Maria Arnell, it was filmed at an abandoned salt silo in the Faroes. I think the video is an awfully cool piece of work.