Blog Archives

Dave Matthews is More Important Than My Blog

Tonight I am going to a Dave Matthews Band concert. If you  go on his website, look at his tour dates, find out where I live, and come murder me right there on the lawn, you can. But that wouldn’t be my preference.

Happy Memorial Day, ya’ll. Or something else more jam bandy.

Love,

The girl with a little bit of heaven and a little bit of “hell yeah!”

 

“How I Came to Love Bob Dylan”

WARNING: This post will probably not be very funny. In fact, this post will not be funny at all. If you want funny, go to Yahoo News. They’re terrible reporters. It’s a hoot.

For those of you who have read this blog before, you have probably detected my slight obsession with Bob Dylan. By slight obsession I mean borderline psychotic feelings of love for him, comparable to that which a mother feels for her child or Hugh Hefner feels for implants.

He’s so cool

 

But as a 23 year old woman who admittedly listened to complete and utter garbage until the age of 18, you may be asking yourself “How Lena did you get from Dashboard Confessional suicide tracks and Nelly remixes to Bob Dylan”? I know. The anticipation is ruining you.

So I thought to myself, what better day to answer this question than Bob Dylan’s 71st birthday.

 

Here is the true, very unfunny story:

 

In the fall of 2007 I was a sophomore at a mid-sized college in Pennsylvania; a rural setting settled between two small, somewhat ghetto fabulous cities. Despite this, the college town and campus were relatively safe places for clueless, lightweight 19 year olds such as me to roam alone at all hours of the night and even for the occasional tryst to class.

 

But just two weeks into the fall semester things drastically changed.  On the streets of our small town a student was brutally murdered by a group of non-students visiting a downtown bar. The story went that the student was leaving his brother’s house in town and walking back to the campus, alone, around 2:30am when a group of men he did not know attacked him in a completely random act of violence, beating him to death and leaving him to die on the street.

 

The crime shook the campus. What always felt like a safe place suddenly felt extremely unsafe. Charges were filed and the men in custody were rung through the legal system with too much leniency in my opinion. In the week following his death, those who chose to pay attention learned a great deal about the student through University newspaper articles and press releases. Apparently he was a cute, 19 year old history major, who wrote poetry, hated pop culture, and loved Bob Dylan.

 

Reading about this boy, reading his poetry in a book the school published in his memory, made me feel extremely connected to him, despite the fact that we had never met. Every day following his death I read his Facebook wall; the heartbroken posts from friends, family members, his girlfriend, all asking the same questions and mourning the same loss of one person who was victimized by brutality that had nothing to do with him.

 

On the one week anniversary of his death, word got around that the school was organizing a candlelight vigil for him at the time and site of his death. I was determined to attend and after talking to my roommate she agreed to go along. We left around 2:00 am to walk downtown to the site, after gathering a few more reluctant girls from our dorm reminding them that if this was their brother or sister or friend, they would want as many people as possible to show.

 

Small groups of students filtered out of their dorms and off campus apartments, dressed in hoodies and pajama bottoms, some holding candles, others only holding back tears. Most of us didn’t know the boy who was killed, but that didn’t seem to matter. At the site there were police barricades, hundreds of students, and soft pools of candlelight filtering through the night air, as we encircled the spot of pavement, still stained with his blood and freshly blotted with tears.

 

I took a candle from someone passing them out and stood quietly in place. For the distance of the street, students continued in crowds in an act of solidarity I didn’t expect to exist. Some representatives of the University spoke, thanking us for our attendance and offering emotional condolences to the family and friends of the boy.

 

His brother stepped up and thanked us all saying he never imagined so many people would come. He said his brother was one of a kind, a free-spirit, a loving, creative, energetic force, who believed in the powers of love and imagination. He said a few days earlier, at his brother’s funeral, as they lowered him into the ground they heard a train whistle in the distance and all collectively felt that this was his way of saying goodbye. He said that if there was anything his brother would want it would be for all of us to be kinder to one another, to stop watching TV, to step outside and enjoy the wind and the rain, and read a book, and fall asleep under a tree. And then he said, after a few seconds of silence, “just listen to Bob Dylan.”

 

I’m not sure why, but I heard this in a very real way. After his sister and his girlfriend cried together, they announced that they were going to play his favorite Bob Dylan song and they asked anyone who knew the song to sing along.

 

I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back I think it was either “Girl From the North Country” or “Boots of Spanish Leather.” Either way it was the first time I ever heard the song. After it ended, we all returned to our rooms and the warmth of our beds. Days passed and conversations resumed to topics discussed before this tragedy, but I couldn’t forget about the boy who died and I couldn’t forget about his brother’s words to “just listen to Bob Dylan.”

 

After a few months of Dylan discovery I began to understand and five years later as a passionately enlightened fan I fully do.

 

Bob Dylan is more than just a musician or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee. He is more than the songs played on classic rock stations and the influence for every singer-songwriter with untraditional singing voices. Bob Dylan is a human being who has been able to transcend generations, genders, races, religions, and political ideologies with his unique ability to capture the collective feelings of failure and success in the human experience. His words inspire in his fans to live and to be a certain way that has nothing to do with fulfilling expectations of others or herding with the masses, but rather to be true deep down in the soul of our individualism, to who we are and what we believe in separate from societal pressures. He captures the raw ugliness of human emotion and flaw and makes it something beautiful. Bob Dylan manages through his words and his music to connect so deeply with his fans that at a candlelight vigil to honor an untimely death of a young man, his music is that which is played and his influence is that which is mentioned.

So I’d like to take a moment to wish Bob Dylan a Happy 71st Birthday and remind him that I would still pay to have his babies. Anytime, Bob. Anytime.

 

Love,

 

The girl who will be funny again tomorrow. Or not. Whatever.

One of the best versions of one of the best Bob Dylan songs EVER

Top 5 Most Embarrassing Songs Found On My iPod

My iPod is passing away. It’s currently attempting recuperation on my iPod dock, unable to play above a whisper, with the occasional static of an old age cough, but really there is little hope. My iPod is from 1978, an early model not even Steve Jobs is familiar with, and although it has served me well for several years even prior to my birth, it is nearing its demise and all I can really do is get down on my knees and pray to the Apple customer service that it is only a fluke. That tomorrow, everything will be back to the way it used to be before the pain of inevitable loss set in…
But life most go on and to prepare myself for an iPodless life I have decided to single out the 5 most embarrassing songs found on my iPod that make the idea of life without it, a little more manageable.
1.      “Get Your Freak On” – Missy Elliot
This might not be embarrassing for most people. But I am not most people. I have zero rhythm and a translucent skin tone and it is physically impossible for me to listen to this song without gyrating in some aesthetically unpleasing fashion, taking the suggestion to “get my freak on” far too literally.
2.      “I Love My Bitch” – Busta Rhymes
How did this get on my iPod? I’d love to claim ignorance here, but during senior week at Ocean City, MD after high school graduation, a group of friends and I walked into a boardwalk tshirt shop where this musical gem was playing. I have never felt so emotionally fulfilled by a song in my life and as I listened to the repetitive phrase “I love my bitch” resonating off of the retractable walls of the shop, a single glistening tear trickled down my cheek.
3.      “Hey Juliet” – LMNT
“I think—
You’re fine—
You really blow my mind—
Maybe—
One day—
You and me can run away—“
And then we can kill ourselves.
4.      “Imagine” – Jane French
This isn’t even a real song. That’s how embarrassing it is. This monstrosity of a love song is a fictional single featured on the now \-cancelled soap opera Passions. In middle school my sister and I watched Passions every day after school with bated breath.
Will Ethan ever leave Gwen for Theresa?
Will Ivy ever tell Sam that Ethan is his son?
Will Sheridan ever discover why she has dreams about killing her mother?
Will Tabitha find a replacement for her talking doll?
With questions like this, need I explain the embarrassment of this song?
5.      “One the Way Down” – Ryan Cabrera/”Bare Naked” – Jennifer Love Hewitt
These are both equally disturbing however since I have already featured “Bare Naked” in a previous blog entry, I think I owe Ryan a little time in the spotlight. Even if its for creating horrible music.
This song came out when I was in high school. When I was in high school I was silly, washed up, idealistic twit. I thought Ashlee Simpson was cool. The worst part is, I actually remember thinking this was a great song. Like, I can recall the words “Ryan Cabrera is a great songwriter” coming out of my mouth. It’s no wonder the God’s of music sent me Bob Dylan. I needed saving.
Love,
The girl who can’t deal with loss, or death, or the smell of water chestnuts