Monday, December 31, 2012

Shake and bake, do whatever it takes.

Sayonara, 2012!
Where did the year go, again?  The world was shaken up more than we could imagine, but as always, it continues onward.  For me, the year could be neatly divided into three parts: the second semester of my sophomore year at college, my summer home working at Mill Creek, then my junior fall -- with ridiculous antics in between!  Unfortunately I can't report any love connections, but I did find a new family as a resident in the Habitat for Humanity theme house, left my heart in San Francsico, acquired a sound board of co-workers, became a full-fledged player on the Ruckus Bus ultimate frisbee team, and gained friends with some incredible ladies and gents this fall.  As mundane and tireless as each day can feel, looking back at the collective experience is astounding.  I turned 20 in early November, so I believe that this will be the start of the next greatest decade of my life.  I'm finally starting to feel older, and sometimes it's a seizing moment of oh shit, this is growing up-- but I have nothing to complain aboutLife will only be better from here.   

Because lists are fun, for 2013 I loosely resolve to:
x. Throw caution to the wind and let life consume me in any circumstance
x. Stop feeling sorry about myself for petty things.
x. Stop questioning and just GO, DO IT AND FIND OUT.
x. Treat my body in a way that makes me feel good.
x. Read more leisure novels and absorb the wisdom they impart.
x. Paint, write, dance and remain artistically in touch with my mind and spirit.
x. Do serious things, but never take myself too seriously.
x. Never allow anyone to make me feel less than I am, and let others know that they are worth something to me.     

May this new year bring you health and joy,
Nicole L.E.

Listening: "El Manana" by the Gorillaz

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rubblebucket Rochester Rager

Rubblebucket loves Rochester, New York.  
And we love them even more.  I'm that fan girl clamoring at the barriers of the front row, the irremovable grin of ecstasy screaming lyrics, hollering for marriage proposals and dancing like an octopus out of the water.  Best part is, I had nine other friends from college doing the same thing!
I invited anyone who was free from the Western New York region to come to my house, cooked lasagna, meatballs, a fruit-filled salad, and garlic bread for dinner, slowly drove north through the snow to Water Street Music Hall and watched Thunderbody (a Rochester favorite, but we missed Driftwood who opened prior) and Rubblebucket jam as we raged on the dance floor until one in the morning.
 They always put on such an amazing show with their energy, dancing, streamers, face paint and audience interaction.  There were a few times that Thunderbody and Driftwood came on stage to play and party on as well!
Anakalmia on stage with Thunderbody.  
  She's a beauty.
 Thunderbody and Driftwood dancing on stage with Rubblebucket.

 After the shows, Rubblebucket usually does a troubadour parade through the crowd to their merch table, not quite ending the dance party. 
 My roommate Olympia and I.  You will always find us shaking it down in the front row.
And yes, we were those outrageous girls in the bathroom of a venue covering our faces with paint in a dance floor warrior fashion having way more fun than everyone else.  Not pictured: the cobalt blue glitter :D

Alex, the trumpeter, gave a shout out to their concert here exactly one year ago-- which I was also at!-- and how they debuted their wacky, aluminum-plaster robots on backpacks of people that dance through the crowd, how they were only supposed to last six shows and ended up performing at over 150, and I was squeeling with delight because since that concert last winter I've seen them four more times.  My fondness for them has never been stronger, because after they finish a back-to-back New Year's bash in Burlington, VT tonight and tomorrow, they will finally have a well-deserved break.  I love Rubblebucket shows because although their prominence is growing, the audience and venues are still intimate enough to absorb the good vibes of the band and everyone around you!

I finally bought the 7" vinyl of their latest EP, Oversaturated, and had it signed!  They played most of their new songs, though the one thing that would have made the concert better was a longer set with the older songs that I also love.  The lighting in this is terrible, but now I finally have a picture with Anakalmia and Alex.  I was startruck; they are incredibly talented and fun and just so damn cool.

Because of the road conditions we didn't make it back to my house until 2:45 am, and after staying up until 4 we slept in until 9:30.  We had a big breakfast, and once everyone left I slept for three more hours, haha.  Always worth it!  2012 isn't quite over yet, but that was one of the best damn ways I could imagine concluding.
Listening: "There's Only Pain from Love" by Rubblebucket!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


24 hours, 3 acrylic paintings. 
By no means are they complex or anything ground-breaking, but I was on a fantastic artistic streak.
 First I painted a tropical fish inspired by Williams-Sonoma plates that I bought my parents for Christmas.  It's my dad's 66th birthday, so when I was done painting the fish I cut a hexagonal border (you can kind of see the tape) and pasted it onto another sponged background of graded blue.  I think he liked it!
 My dad's aunt and uncle came to visit, and in between meals and conversations I ducked into my room.  I don't why but I was particularly motivated to do a self-portrait.  At first, I was really pleased with the pencil sketch, nervous to paint... but then the brush hit the paper.
 They say that we create self-portraits the way we wish to be perceived in the world.  If that's the case, I want to be viewed as reliable, elegant, bright and open.  Beautiful would be nice, too.
I've been looking at a lot of graphic illustration lately, so then I made this whimsical design of a hot air balloon.  It actually took a lot longer than it looks because the balloon was initially emerald green with streaks of yellow and white, until that struck me as too much Wizard of Oz.  The white smudge across the middle is where I'm going to write an insightful quote on traveling or whatever :).

The last three days I've been up before 7:30, isn't that outrageous?  I don't necessarily need to, but at least I have these extra hours of daylight.  It's snowing like mad here, I hope the roads it doesn't impede the roads too much. Tonight my favorite band Rubblebucket is playing a show in Rochester, and I've invited all my friends from around Western New York so we can go together!  I can't wait to get my dance on.  This afternoon I'll cooking lasagna, meatballs, a salad and whatever else I can find for dinner for 15 people, potentially.  In my new apron, of course.

Listening:  "Hurricane Drunk" by Florence + the Machine

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Holladaze

Okay, I've done enough Montreal reminiscing to bring us back to the current affair: the holiday season!

I dressed up for Christmas.  
The only one, of course, but I wanted another excuse to wear this dress from Francesca's.  

I was mildly indifferent about Christmas this year, not annoyed by the glee but not entirely absorbed.  I think I was too lost in my warp of school.  Nonetheless, I exercised significant consumer power (see the new L.L. Beans boots above) and returned the favor.  I'm still young/poor enough to not feel obligated to buy gifts for everyone in the family-- I hope in a few years I can afford that though!  For my dad, I bought him a nice pen from my school's bookstore (yeah, he likes pens!) and 'man' soap from one of my favorite local shops, Wickedly Scent in Canandaigua.  They make lotions, soaps, candles and other bath things by hand with few artificial ingredients.  I've been a loyal customer since last spring.  For my mom, I bought her hand lotion from there as well.  I also bought these lovely porcelain, tropical fish set of plates from Williams-Sonoma, so that was more a family gift.  I think they'll be marvelous to use at our house in Florida.

But I'm not that eager to hop down south yet, I'm enjoying the snow!  Above is a picture of some of the charming boat house cottages on the pier in Canandaigua.  Below, my house after the night-long snow barrage.  It's the perfect nordic ski weather if I could just get off my butt and go outside.  It's also the perfect cuddle weather, but oh wait...

Haha, fortunately I have evidence of productivity that I'll do another post on.  Look at this blogging streak!  Trying to sneak as many in before the year ends, I suppose.  Hope you're all staying warm, how were your family festivities?

Listening: the local Top 40 radio station.  It's complete crap, why am I doing this to myself?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Montreal, encore

I just couldn't stay away from Montreal!  The second time around in the city of poutine and beer was the first weekend of December.  We scuttled through the cobbled streets, significantly colder but alight for the winter holidays.  Dressed in a simple black Urban Outfitters dress (courtesy of Courtney), black tights, riding boots, a magenta scarf and three freshemen (HA!) boys in tow, I saw Band of Horses play at the Metropolis for their Mirage Rock tour (the album released in September).

 I honestly didn't know their music too much beyond "No one's ever gonna love you" and "Funeral", but I'm so glad I went because I'm now a converted fan.  It was amazing; their talent was raw but appeared relaxing, easy and pleasing for the band.  Ben Birdwell, the beautifully bearded lead singer and founder of Band of Horses, his vocals simply soared.  They played on a backdrop of projected scenes from western USA, a lot of Lake Tahoe-region locations that our friend Dylan recognized (he's from California).  Right before I came home for the winter, Colin shared all the music he has and I'm enjoying going through their albums, suddenly recalling what we saw live.
That breath-catching moment when the band steps onto stage, illuminated as silhouettes against the stage lights,striking the first chords on their guitars.. AH :)

This is a video I took on my phone of "No one's ever gonna love you" in acoustic!  It's quiet but so lovely.
Here's a video that someone else took at the concert. I wasn't too much farther behind them, and it's pretty good quality so it catches the incredible feeling of "The Funeral." Ben's voice reverberates into your soul!

Compared to the last concert I saw at the Metropolis (3OH!3 my freshmen fall, don't judge it seems so long ago), the atmosphere for Band of Horses was incredibly relaxed.  Everyone was hanging out, calmly sipping beers and buzzing with excitement, minus the shoving and desperate clamor that I've normally experienced at concerts.  Lots of coiffed hairdos, thick-rimmed glasses, blazers, skinny jeans and cigarettes.  It's either a pseudo-European scene, or I'm just not used to being in cities.
All smiles after the show, mine the typical snarl.  I look so short!

After the concert, we took off into the night and drank lots of amber beers, found ourselves at a hardcore metal underground bar, an outrageous gay kareoke bar, the lavish but deserted bar of our hostel (M Hostel by the way, highly recommend it!) and then the two mile hike to La Banquise!  It's the mecca of the finest poutine that serves 24/7.  I hadn't eaten since lunch before we left school.. the hot fries smothered in grilled pepers, onions, cheese and gravy (la Rachel specialty) saved my stomach!  The last time I was here with the frisbee team I split the poutine, but this time it allll went to me..

And there went another overly expensive weekend in a foreign country.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Listening: "Feel Alright" by Albino!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Poutine and Beer

I more or less joined my school's ultimate frisbee team last spring, but this fall I played at full force.  In October we ventured to Montreal, the famed city of poutine and extra-large beer, for our big tournament of the semester.  We are the Ruckus Bus but we became known as Team Shithead.  We didn't win as many games as we had hoped, but there was no doubt that we won the party.
The first night my vehicle was the last to arrive at the apartment where we stayed, and we evacuated into the night because of police-issued noise violations before I had a chance to change out of my well-worn tye dye and zip-up.
 These are only photos from Friday night!  Saturday was more outrageous because our hosts at McGill University rented out a club for all the teams in the tournament.
 There was a lot of nudity-centered antics, but hey, who's to expect less from a group of 18-21 year olds who are hammered the entire weekend.
 It was an epic bonding experience, to say the least.  Although we weren't the most eccentric team there, the frisbee culture proves to be a band of raucous misfits, and we were no exception.