My Record’s Scratched

The curse of being an avid reader is that the more you read, the less there is to read. Now, in the grand scheme of things, there are more books that you could even read the titles of, but still. I got a book on Tuesday afternoon and finished it Wednesday morning. It was such a good book, but now it’s over and I’m sad. And, worst of all, it was the first book in a new series and the second book comes out in August. Ugh. I know not everybody reads like I do and, to be sure, that’s not a bad thing. But I get so wrapped up in stories (books even more so than TV or movies) that sometimes I’m actually trembling and giddy just reading words on a page. I think I’ve said before that I’ve never cried during a movie but I cry all the time reading books (this was not such an occasion). There’s something about books that moves me deeply and provokes an actual physiological response. Trembling, little yips of surprise or excitement, head flailing, loud, frequent, strained whispers of, “Golly!” Ahh, stories. Stories. Stories. Books are so much more than their pages.

Also, went and saw the new X-Men movie with my movie-going mate, thoroughly enjoyed it. X-Men is another story that I love. My favorite bit, not a spoiler, was the part where Charles said, “Goodbye, old friend” to Magneto. At the very beginning of the first X-Men movie, you become acquainted with the tragical history of Erik Lensherr and he calls Professor X old friend. Except you don’t know anything about that friendship (as a non-comic book reader). So I just think it’s amazing to see the tumultuous, trying, tremendous evolution of a relationship that, even with the Magneto of the first movie showing no sympathetic traits, at the end of the movie, the good guys’ wise sage character can call him friend. The scene in the new movie mirrors almost verbatim an exchange at the end of the first. It’s just a great moment. A full circle of sorts. Friendship is so mysterious.

On that note, I’ll continue with things that I’m comfortable making a top list about: X-Men! 1) Iceman 2) Storm 3) Nightcrawler. This movie definitely cemented the place of the second and third. As far as Bobby goes, he’s my favorite less because he’s a super awesome X-Man (his portrayal in the original trilogy was good not great) but because ice has topped my superpower list for as long as I can remember. I’ve often had to make do with another option, since it’s rarely offered, so I have respect for more traditional choices like invisibility, mind-reading, and telekinesis. But, I don’t know, there’s something about ice.

And now for something completely different. Around this time, one year ago, I entered Croatia for the first time. It was kind of a big deal for me, as someone who had spent the better part of the previous several years wanting to move there. And it didn’t disappoint. This was part of a larger tour of the Balkans with the AU Chamber Singers that, while not totally comprehensive, was absolutely amazing. We traveled through Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. One of my most unexpected highlights was the cheap restaurant scene in Prishtina–in particular, a fabulous establishment known as Fast Food 5 Plus. I don’t know what it was, it just served traditional Albanian food (burek–technically of Ottoman origin) which happened to be quickly prepared but it was outstanding. And I love it. This in addition to the phenomenon we encountered in Macedonia called тост (that’s tost =/= toast) which was a crazy combination–sort of–of hamburger + pita pit + french fries + panini + pizza. The place we got them in Skopje was called Magic Burger.


Burektore means place that sells burek

Also, I know at the beginning of this blog I said I would probably talk a lot about the Russian language and I haven’t really. Most of you (probs all, honestly) are likely relieved. But I’m going to include this little note on Albanian because I can. FYI, Albanian is a really hard language. It uses the Latin alphabet, but very deceptively. For instance, tea is pronounced chai–not uncommon in other languages. But it’s spelled qaj. Which I love. But Albania, in Albanian, is Shqipëri (I think pronounced something like Sh-ch-EE-puh-ree). And thank you is faleminderit (fal-eh-meen-DER-eet). And xh, like in the Albanian last name Hoxha, is pronounced dg like edge. So there you go, didn’t think you’d be learning some Albanian today, did you? Surprise. Also, I didn’t include any of his songs this week, but if you’re interested in listening to some Albanian music, I might recommend Butrint Imeri.

Anyway, here’s the music list for this week. A few people have commented to me that these lists have been a trifle emo-lite, if you will, and I want to just put a little disclaimer–two, actually. First, I’m not feeling low or anything like that. I’m just into calm music, sort of like smooth jazz but not. It appeals to me regardless of mood and, while lyrics are important to me, I don’t necessarily identify with all of these. I’ve never been in love, I’ve never been heartbroken, it’s all good, I promise. But I want to say that this is my platform which, while I write with an audience in mind, I really am writing for myself and I want this blog to be honest and genuine, whatever mood I’m in. But anyway. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this month’s playlists and I hope you have too. This is the final installment for May, but it will be back–perhaps sooner rather than later. We’ll see. For now, enjoy.

  1. Do What You Love – Lily Frost
  2. Landslide – Oh Wonder
  3. Not Your Lover – Hermitage Green
  4. One Step at a Time – Jordin Sparks
  5. Over You – Ingrid Michaelson ft. A Great Big World
  6. I Found – Amber Run
  7. No Me Mirès Màs – Kendji Girac & Soprano
  8. Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy – Troye Sivan
  9. Somebody – Rhodes
  10. What Kind of Love is That? – Donovan Woods

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