Playlist of the Month: December 2016

Y’know, I mentioned at some point that it’d be fun to do some sort of analysis of my playlists over the course of the year. However, I’m sick, so I really don’t have the energy for that. Maybe next year.
5AM – Amber Run
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions in the Sky
Smoke Filled Room (Acoustic) – Mako
Sight – Sleeping At Last
Touch – Sleeping At Last
Half Light – BANNERS
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray
Better Man (Feat. Peter Gregson & Iskra String Quartet) – FYFE
Kusanagi – ODESZA
Stay High – One Room
Gods in Heat – Tobacco
Haunt / Bed – The 1975
Killer Queen – FIL BO RIVA
Worth It – Moses Sumney
 22 (OVER S∞∞N) – Bon Iver
715 – CRΣΣKS – Bon Iver
White Ferrari (Vasta Remix) – Frank Ocean1
Neptune – Sleeping At Last
29 #Strafford APTS – Bon Iver
Sun – Sleeping At Last
Small Crimes – Niliüfer Yanya
Brooklyn Baby – The Code2
Hallelujah – Pentatonix
All We Do – Oh Wonder
Coventry Carol – Pentatonix
Coldest Winter – Pentatonix
Afterthought – CloseTalker
Landslide – Oh Wonder
the mood – stefan
White Blood – Oh Wonder
Heart Hope – Oh Wonder
Belong – Roosevelt
Say That You Want It – Abroad
Ivy (Air Zaïre Remix) – Frank Ocean
Ferns – Iris Temple
Down – Buster Moe
Open Up – Jack Eagle
Earth – Sleeping At Last
Six Feet Under (Jerry Folk Remix) – Billie Eilish
Menswear – The 1975
Hypnos – Blueneck
I Heard the Bells – Sleeping At Last
Ghosts – Blueneck3
What Child Is This – Sleeping At Last
Real – Majik4
Snow – Sleeping At Last
You Are Enough – Sleeping At Last
O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sleeping At Last
Same World – YATES
O, Holy Night – Sleeping At Last
Get Away – Saint Motel
Mercury – Sleeping At Last
Water Flow – Klyne
Technicolour Beat – Oh Wonder
Move Magic – Julian Maverick
Other Gods – Blueneck
Plans – Oh Wonder
From Beyond – Blueneck
Rats in the Wall – Blueneck
Falling – ursa major
Southern – Sleeping At Last
ODESZA – Bloom (Live) – Day for Night
MNYMS – DENIAL – Day for Night
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Pentatonix
Slow Motion – Saint Motel
For Elise – Saint Motel5
White Iverson – Post Malone (Jake Miller Cover) – Jake Miller
Turn Off My Love – Xander Singh
Without You – Oh Wonder
Play Dead – Tom Walker
Waiting – Midnight Pool Party
Source – Tycho
Lullaby – ö
The Rain – Oh Wonder


  1. Chase keeps complaining about my choices of remixes and I keep ignoring him, and that’s how that goes 
  2. It’s like “I kinda want to punch this guy in the face for being like this” condensed into song form 
  3. I have multiple songs named “Ghosts” that I really like. Does this say something about my taste in music? 
  4. Probably one of my favorite ones on here, go listen. 
  5. I get the feeling I’m going to be hearing this one around the music department a lot when school starts back up. 

“Budapest,” or, “12 miles and 50 flights of stairs? WORTH IT”

The semester in Austria is done! But why go home right away – if I stay a bit longer, the price is “changing my tickets home and whatever I spend traveling around Europe,” which is a significantly better deal than “buying a ticket to Europe, whatever I spend traveling around Europe, and buying at ticket home from Europe.”
My mom didn’t really have the first option there, but she’s been wanting to go to Europe for quite a while, and “well, my son is already there” turned out to be the motivation she needed to plan out the whole route we’d be taking and hop on a plane.1
Thus begins the Whirlwind Tour of Europe.2 First stop: Budapest.
Continue reading “Budapest,” or, “12 miles and 50 flights of stairs? WORTH IT”

“The House at Baker Street,” or, “the patriarchy is an even more insidious villain than Moriarty”

A couple weeks ago us Austria students spent two days setting up for and helping at a charity bazaar. The entire first day was devoted to setting up the tables – a couple metric tons of books take a while to lay out nicely, you see. This was a dangerous proposition for me, because in the face of that many books I am weak and I wound up buying several. Which I now have to get home somehow. Whoops.
The books I grabbed were “City of Dark Magic”,1 “The Clockwork Scarab”,2 two others that I haven’t yet read, and “The House at Baker Street”, which I finished just last night.3
I’ll admit, finishing the book last night wasn’t the best decision I’ve made recently – I’m fairly tired and irritable now, having stayed up a bit later than was advisable – but I’d gotten to that point in the book where you just can’t put it down.
The book was written as a take on the Sherlock Holmes story that is entirely compatible with the original novels – one or two of the things that the author treated as canonical aren’t precisely confirmed as such, but even those are based in popular interpretations of the canon.4 The core of the idea is “what do Mrs. Hudson and Mrs. Watson do all day?”
The answer, as it turns out, was generally ‘putter around doing appropriate things for a woman of the time to do’ … right up until the beginning of the book when Sherlock, rather characteristically, rejects a potential client. Mrs. Hudson offers the young woman tea, and winds up hearing her troubles – someone is blackmailing her, not with anything she did but just with the threat of spreading the sort of nasty rumors that can ruin someone’s life. Mrs. Hudson, and Mrs. Watson, being nicer people than Sherlock, decide to take up the case and help the young lady as best they can.
And then it starts to get fun, because it’s just a delightful romp through the world of the background characters of the Sherlock Holmes books. I really don’t want to say anything more, because it’s still a mystery novel, and it’s quite a good one – I didn’t see the ending coming, and I’m usually fairly good at calling how things are going to go.
In sum: Mrs. Hudson and Mary Watson are awesome, go read this book about them.


  1. Which I didn’t finish, so don’t hold out hope for the review of that one. My silence is my review. 
  2. I liked enough to share a link to it, but I was so irritated by the ‘buy the next book!’-ness of the ending that I decided against writing a full review when I finished reading it. 
  3. One of, I should add, three Sherlock Holmes themed books – “The Clockwork Scarab” being the second, and the third I can’t recall the title of but appears to be a Russian riff on the Holmes theme. 
  4. The one I’m referencing here is the idea that Mrs. Hudson’s first name is Martha – my understanding is that it’s never explicitly stated, but the general consensus is that that’s the case. 

“Votivkirche,” or, “it’s hard to take pretty pictures while also writing final papers”

So my time here in Austria is coming to an end.1 As a bit of a last hurrah with the folks I’ve been here studying abroad with, a couple of us went over to Votivkirche, the big fancy church you see above that we saw every Tuesday and Thursday on our commute to and from the University of Vienna campus where we were taking German.
Continue reading “Votivkirche,” or, “it’s hard to take pretty pictures while also writing final papers”

Playlist of the Month: November 2016

It’s been a busy month, and the next one is going to be even busier. Fortunately for you, dear reader, the second half of next month should, if everything goes according to plan, lead to a lot of fun travel posts.
Anyhow, the playlist from this month has the beginnings of Christmas in it. Hey, I’m in Europe, it’s not like they celebrate Thanksgiving here.
5AM – Amber Run
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions in the Sky
Team (Lorde Cover) – Matthew Mayfield
Smoke Filled Room (Acoustic) – Mako
Home (Tim Palmer Mix) – Blue October
Sight – Sleeping At Last
Touch – Sleeping At Last
Half Light – BANNERS
Be Somebody – Kings of Leon
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray
When The World Sleeps – Lowland Hum
Better Man (Feat. Peter Gregson & Iskra String Quartet) – FYFE
Kusanagi – ODESZA
Stay High – One Room
Division – Tycho
Gods in Heat – Tobacco
Haunt / Bed – The 1975
Two Blue Eyes – Tall Heights
Fallingforyou – The 1975
Where’s My Love – Syml
Killer Queen – FIL BO RIVA 1
Doing the Right Thing – Daughter
Worth It – Moses Sumney
Slack – Tycho
 22 (OVER S∞∞N) – Bon Iver 2
Receiver – Tycho
 715 – CRΣΣKS – Bon Iver 3
White Ferrari (Vasta Remix) – Frank Ocean
Field – Tycho
Neptune – Sleeping At Last
29 #Strafford APTS – Bon Iver
Sun – Sleeping At Last
Small Crimes – Nilüfer Yanya4
Brooklyn Baby – The Code
Hallelujah – Pentatonix
Emphasis – Sleeping At Last
All We Do – Oh Wonder
Horizon – Tycho
Epoch – Tycho
Coventry Carol – Pentatonix5
Coldest Winter – Pentatonix
Rhythm & Blues – The Head and the Heart
Afterthought – CloseTalker
The White Strip – Blueneck6
Landslide – Oh Wonder
Robbers – The 1975
the mood – stefan
White Blood – Oh Wonder
Heart Hope – Oh Wonder7
Hold On – Chain Gang of1974
Dancehall Remix – Horses Heaven
Belong – Roosevelt
Say That You Want It – Abroad
Ivy (Air Zaïre Remix) – Frank Ocean8
Good Grief – Bastille
Power – Bastille
Ferns – Iris Temple
Down – Buster Moe
Open Up – Jack Eagle
Give In Ft. Airling (Golden Vessel Remix) – Xavier Dunn
Miko – Chain Gang of1974
Earth – Sleeping At Last
Six Feet Under (Jerry Folk Remix) – Billie Eilish
Menswear – The 19759
Dark Days – Local Natives
Transformations – Sleeping At Last
One In Ten – Sleeping At Last
All We Ever Knew – The Head and the Heart


  1. I find this name oddly hilarious. If it wasn’t in all caps it wouldn’t be nearly as funny, either. 
  2. People give me concerned looks when I walk around the school singing “it might be over soon” quietly to myself 
  3. seriously the names on this album are so pretentious 
  4. Knowing how to type umlauts before I started learning German was quite helpful. 
  5. This is a great christmas song for singing along to. 
  6. I consider Blueneck to be vaguely christmas music, which is… weird, to say the least. 
  7. No seriously just get this whole album okay 
  8. I just really like the way that lowercase-i-with-umlaut looks 
  9. The link caption for this one is “Amazon: Menswear” which makes me feel like I’m just linking to the online version of a department in a Macy’s. 

“Upper Belvedere,” or, “I, too, use gold foil and hypnotoad as my decorating theme”

It’s been a while since my last post, but the weather has been getting colder and colder, and my focus has been more and more on writing the various final papers for my classes. Which is, y’know, not the most exciting thing for people to read about.
But we’re still going for the occasional tour: this week, we spent some time in the Upper Belvedere, one of the many palaces the city has to offer.
Continue reading “Upper Belvedere,” or, “I, too, use gold foil and hypnotoad as my decorating theme”

“Imperial Vault,” or, “no thanks, just launch my body into an erupting volcano”

Our tour this week was a bit spookier than most, even the one in the graveyard1 – we went down into the Imperial Vault. Which is not, as I initially thought, where they used to store their crown jewels and whatnot – that’s the treasury. No, it’s where they store their dead relatives. Because, y’know, normal graveyards are too passé.
Continue reading “Imperial Vault,” or, “no thanks, just launch my body into an erupting volcano”

Playlist of the Month: October 2016

It just now feels like it’s getting towards the end of the year, it’s weird.
5AM – Amber Run
Your Hand In Mine – Explosions in the Sky
Team (Lorde Cover) – Matthew Mayfield
Smoke Filled Room (Acoustic) – Mako
SWORD – ΔUGUST
Home (Tim Palmer Mix) – Blue October
Sight – Sleeping At Last
Touch – Sleeping At Last
All I Want – Kodaline
Half Light – BANNERS
Be Somebody – Kings of Leon 1
Big Jet Plane – Angus & Julia Stone
Atlas – Coldplay
Ghosts – BANNERS
Shadow and a Dancer – The Fray
 Remains (Bastille Vs. Rag N Bone Man Vs. Skunk Anansie) (Crossfaded Version) – Bastille
When The World Sleeps – Lowland Hum
I Love You (Quintet Version) – Woodkid
Better Man (Feat. Peter Gregson & Iskra String Quartet) – FYFE
Kill V. Maim – Grimes
Kusanagi – ODESZA
Live in This Moment – Kakou
Little Higher ft. Xavier Dunn – Terace 2
Postcards feat. Sam Island – Equal
Folding Hills feat. Xavier DUnn – FØRD
Stay High – One Room
Summer Heat – Solidisco
Division – Tycho
Gods in Heat – Tobacco
The Void – IAMX
Haunt / Bed – The 1975
Two Blue Eyes – Tall Heights
Fallingforyou – The 1975
Saturn – Sleeping At Last
Where’s My Love – Syml
Dead In This House – IAMX
Lethargy – Bastille
Speed Of Sound – Communist Daughter
Killer Queen – FIL BO RIVA
Campus – Bastille
An Act Of Kindness – Bastille
Warmth – Bastille
8 (circle) – Bon Iver3
Doing the Right Thing – Daughter4
Worth It – Moses Sumney
America – XYLØ
Slack – Tycho
She Way Out – The 1975
 22 (OVER S∞∞N) – Bon Iver5
Receiver – Tycho
Atlas: Life – Sleeping At Last
City Club – Los Growlers
Facedown – The 1975
Let It Happen – Tame Impala
Reality In Motion – Tame Impala
 715 – CRΣΣKS – Bon Iver
Paranoicosis (Whale Roads) – Polymath6
Fossa – Daughter
White Ferrari (Vasta Remix) – Frank Ocean
Pluto – Sleeping At Last
Masters – Local Natives
Field – Tycho
Neptune – Sleeping At Last
Actualized – DANAE
Direction [Acoustic] – DANAE
29 #Strafford APTS – Bon Iver
You Don’t Get Me High Anymore – Phantogram
Sun – Sleeping At Last
Small Crimes – Nilüfer Yanya7
Fake It – Bastille
Precious – Kevin Garrett
Light – Sleeping At Last
Everybody Knows – RAEKO feat. Mating Ritual
Brooklyn Baby – The Code
Mine – Tony Pops
Jellyfish – Local Natives
Hallelujah – Pentatonix8
Emphasis – Sleeping At Last
All We Do – Oh Wonder
No Care – Daughter
Horizon – Tycho
Epoch – Tycho


  1. They have a new album out but I haven’t acknowledged it yet, so don’t expect anything from that in here. 
  2. Other than “make it less of an awful pile of crap” I think my main request for the iTunes team would be “better metadata for multiple-artist songs.” 
  3. The song names on this album are the most “pretentious hipster” thing ever
  4. Props to Taylor for making me listen to Daughter, I’m a fan. 
  5. No, seriously, I’m just copy/pasting this over, I’m too lazy to dig through the ‘insert special character’ thing for this. 
  6. Now that is how you do a weird song name. No obnoxious characters to type. 
  7. “ü” doesn’t count as a weird character by my definition, because I have to type umlauts a lot. I’m in Austria. 
  8. Not my favorite version of this song ever, but that goes to the version I sang in my senior year of high school, which I don’t think is recorded anywhere because copyright law is fun like that. 

“Salt Mine,” or, “the deepest wifi hotspot I’ve ever used”

You’ve already read what we did on the afternoon of our final day in Poland; now it’s time to hear about what we did that morning. And yes, that is out of order, which I normally don’t do, but I wanted to save the best for last.1 This being me, “the best” is defined as “a cool underground thing.” More specifically, a salt mine – the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Continue reading “Salt Mine,” or, “the deepest wifi hotspot I’ve ever used”

“Krakow II,” or, “this time, with more church”

I promised myself I’d have something happier to follow up my last post, and I also promised you, dear reader, that I’d eventually talk about the big fancy church in the Krakow town square.
Today, it is time to deliver on those promises.
I’m actually getting slightly out of order, because what I’m writing about here happened after the events of my next post, but the next one is also very long, so I’m taking a bit of a break from the long posts to have something short and sweet.
Continue reading “Krakow II,” or, “this time, with more church”

"Auschwitz," or, "I'm not putting a silly title on this."

One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic.

The human mind is a miraculous thing, but it’s also a flawed thing. We weigh emotions far more highly than we do logic, which is how something like the quote above1 comes into being. To the human mind, a single death is a tragedy – a life snuffed out, an intelligent being gone from the world. A million deaths, though? We can’t comprehend that in the same way; instead of a million tragedies, a million lives gone unlived, untold billions of hopes and dreams obliterated, it’s just… a number.

In the years 1940-1945, the Nazis deported at least 1,300,000 people to Auschwitz:
1,100,000 Jews
140,000-150,000 Poles,
23,000 Roma (Gypsies),
15,000 Soviet prisoners of war,
25,000 prisoners from other ethnic groups.
1,100,000 of these people died in Auschwitz. Approximately 90% of the victims were Jews.

On Monday afternoon, we arrived at Oświęcim, a town of about 40,000 people about an hour away from Krakow. As towns go, it’s fairly normal – the most notable thing I can remember seeing was a mall that was utilizing a KFC as an anchor store.
And then you hit the edge of town, and find out why the name seems ever so slightly familiar: three quarters of a century ago, the Nazi government of Germany decided they needed somewhere to put their prisoners. Having recently conquered Poland, they decided they wouldn’t waste any of their precious homeland on prisoners, and allocated some land in their new largesse. With a characteristic disdain for everyone they were in control of, they wrote off the Polish language – and all the Polish names for places – and renamed the town.
Continue reading "Auschwitz," or, "I'm not putting a silly title on this."

“Collegium Maius,” or, “COPERNICUS WAS HERE”

Day Two of our time in Krakow began with a walk back into the center of town to meet in the shadow the church I wrote about previously. A few people went in, as we had a bit of time to kill, but I’m still using that as a teaser for an upcoming post – I didn’t actually go inside the church until our last day in Poland.
Instead, we headed across town towards the Collegium Maius, the heart of the ancient Jagellonian University.
Continue reading “Collegium Maius,” or, “COPERNICUS WAS HERE”

“Krakow,” or, “what do you mean ‘the dragon has the day off’”

Saturday night, we hopped aboard a train to Krakow; as I’m writing this, we’ve arrived back in Vienna on Wednesday morning, and I’m taking advantage of the fact that Wednesday is a national holiday1 to get caught up on writing up all the things that we did over the past few days.
It was a night train, so we arrived in Krakow on Sunday morning, feeling… not-well rested. There’s only so much sleep you can achieve in a bed that’s slightly shorter than your body and vibrating to the slightly-irregular rhythm of a moving train. We caught a group of cabs2 to our hotel, dropped off our bags, and then met up with our tour guide to start exploring the city.
Continue reading “Krakow,” or, “what do you mean ‘the dragon has the day off’”