July 7, 2014

Monday Mix - Jackpot

Today I put my iPod on shuffle. When the first song landed on Billie Holiday, I knew I was in for an interesting mix. I thought I'd write about, because well I'm not writing anything else around here lately. I might as well see if this blog thing still works. 

So here is my Jackpot Monday Mix. See I named the mix Jackpot because two of the songs that came up had 'Gold' in the title and the date was 7/7/14. I think it's a sign that I need to get myself to a casino and play the slots. Even thought I have the worst luck at casinos (I did just last month get told by security to stop singing so loud at one of California's premier gaming facilities. Fact 1 - I was sober. Fact 2 - If you don't want people singing then don't have a band playing on the floor of your casino...but I digress), but I have a feeling that will all change now. Enjoy what can only be considered the luckiest Monday Mix ever:

1) Billie Holiday - God Bless the Child
I think I might have bought this song when I was making a mix of songs form my grandma. Usually I would zip right past it, but after hearing Audra McDonald perform as Billie at the Tony Awards, I found myself lingering and enjoying. 

2) Pearl Jam - Last Exit
The first of two Pearl Jam songs on the mix. And surprisingly enough both from Vitalogy. I didn't really listen to this song very much, but after I saw PJ20, I fell more in love with it.

3) Once - A New Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) - Gold (A Cappella) - My obsession with Once is well documented. I just saw the musical theatre performance again when it came to San Francisco. It was just as beautiful as I remember. And yes, I may have cried again. Cause that's what I do. 

4) Pearl Jam - Bugs
The one with the accordion. The one that I probably will never see performed live unless I make it to one of the Halloween shows. The one that I had on in the car and my friend was like "What are you making me listen to?".

5) Ron Sexsmith - Gold in Them Hills
I love this song when I heard it in the movie "About Time". I'm such a sucker for Rachel McAdams romcoms. And apparently I'm also a sucker for the music in them.

6) Florence + The Machine - Kiss with a Fist
The first Florence song that I recall ever hearing. It was the gateway song to my Florence + The Machine obsession.

7) Grouplove - Naked Kids
I don't remember ever listening to this song before. The only Grouplove song that I knew was "Ways to Go". I'm on the fence about "Naked Kids" but I saved it from the recycle bin for later evaluation.

8) OneRepublic - Feel Again
Before you yell at me, I know. I FREAKING KNOW. If this song was played on the radio any more frequently it would have its own morning zoo. But this was an impulse purchase back when the song was newly released and hearing it wouldn't make me want to punish my ear drums. 

9) Zola Jesus - Vessel
I have literally no idea how this song made it into my collection (not only that on further searching of my iTunes I apparently have additional songs by Zola. What else is lurking in the depths of my hard drive?) I made it through listening (because for about 1/2 the song I thought it sounded similar in a weird way to the "House" theme). Just not really my thing. So long Zola, I barely knew ya.

10) The Shins - So Now What
One of my most recent and favorite purchases. It's from Zach Braff's upcoming Kickstarter film "Wish I Was Here" and I love it so so much. Braff's "Garden State" first introduced me to The Shins, so I'm glad that his most recent include this gem. 

(Final note: The pen (totally stolen) is from Dust Bowl Brewing Co in Turlock, CA. A delightful establishment that I visit every time I'm in Turlock (which is more than you would think). If you happen to go, make sure you get the 50/50 sliders which are 50% hamburger and 50% bacon. They will Change. Your. Life. The beer is also very, very good.)

So that was what I listened to today. How about you? What are you listening to lately? Do you love or hate any of these songs? 

March 1, 2014

My Weekly Trifecta Vol. 2

Did anyone else have a cray February? It doesn't seem like I accomplished anything. However, I have lots of lofty goals in March along with some travel, parties, and Veronica Mars. Here's hoping I can get 1/2 of what I would like to accomplished.

My Three Favorite Things of the Week:

(source)
1. U Talkin' U2 to Me

I saw U2 perform live once in Chicago. We were in the possible worst seats ever: behind the stage in the upper rafters of the United Center (basically right below the flag of the retired Chicago Bulls players). Now the seat situation created added pressure for the show to overcome. And it was nothing short of amazing. I've never been so far away from a concert stage but yet felt so close (as corny as that sounds). I may have gotten dust in my eye when they played my fave (and little known gem), Ground Beneath Her Feet.

(On a another note. I can't be sure that it was at the U2 concert or not, but one night when leaving the United Center after a concert, my friend and I forgot where we parked. Like completely and utterly lost my car. We had a three hour drive ahead of us and were walking aimlessly trying to figure out where the car might be. We eventually talked one of the parking attendants into driving us around to find our car over an hour and a half later. It's a perfect small town farm kids go to the big city. If it weren't for the fact that..........I did the same exact thing and lost my car twice last year. So I can't blame the first incident on my youth or not having smart phones with apps and GPS pins. This seems to be a symptom of a larger problem.)

OK, I've gotten completely off topic here. U Talkin' U2 to Me features actor, Adam Scott, and Comedy Bang Bang host, Scott Aukerman, talkin' about U2 (among other things). I mean it was probably a no brainer that I would like this show. I like podcasts. I like U2. I like Scott Aukerman. I like Adam Scott. But I would think that even if I didn't, that I would like this show anyways.

(source)
2. Pearl Jam Oakland Bootleg 11/26/2013

This is another given. Again I'm a little biased both by my love of Pearl Jam, and the fact that I attended this very concert. But they just released 2013 Oakland bootleg is 3 Hours and 16 minutes, 3 disk set of awesomeness. The fact that I also got to hear one of my perennial fave Pearl Jam songs (and depending on when you talk to me, my favorite of all time), Smile, was the icing on the cake. (Now you might be like how does your favorite Pearl Jam song change? Like my fave PJ song right now is Of the Girl. I also have been known to rank Footsteps at the top. It really does vary between 5-8 songs depending on my mood, if Mercury is in Retrograde, etc.)


(source)
3. See America Project

I am absolutely obsessed with the amazing artist designed prints and images showcasing America's national parks. And I'm absolutely bummed that there was a See America Project exhibit in San Francisco in January that I missed! I seriously have been going through the different states and obsessing over all the gorgeousness. I'm hoping that they put together like a postcard set for all my letter writing needs. And this is yet another reminder, that I have a lot of national parks to visit. I mean I've never been to the Rosie the Riveter national park. And it's like an hour away.


Other
My big goal in March is I want to do one of the photo a day projects. However, I'm planning on attempting to do a photo a day with both my analogue 35mm Olympus Trip 35 and my digital iPhone of the same subject. I think it will be fun to compare. Plus I have several parties, trips, and cups of coffee in my future for March. All perfect times to try it out. We'll see if I'm able to remember to take one each day, but I'm looking forward to trying.

What are you obsessed with? Anyone else love the See America project? What are your favorites (Utah's designs are enough to make me want to book a flight to Salt Lake at this very minute). Any big plans for March? Anyone else getting excited for the new Veronica Mars movie? Thanks for stopping by.

February 2, 2014

My Weekly Trifecta Vol 1

Happy Groundhog Day. Or Superbowl Day. Or Sherlock Season 3 Finale Day. Or whatever day you choose to celebrate. I, as always, choose Sherlock. I've been watching/reading/listening to a
lot of great stuff lately and thought I would share my favorite things of the past week:

1. Rainbow Rowell - OK, technically my obsession started when I read Eleanor & Park in 2 days in early January. I have since managed to read Fangirl and finished Attachments yesterday. Now I will have to wait for new books to be released. It's torture you guys. I love her books because they are wickedly funny, like "I'm-laying-on-my-couch-and-just-cackled-even-though-no-one-is-home-funny". Her characters are flawed and real and I just love them all so much. Extra shout out for all the curly haired characters!

2. Ann & Chris's Goodbye on Parks and Rec - I'm kind of bitter that Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are leaving Parks and Recreation. I mean Rob Lowe keeps breaking my heart by leaving every series that he joins. The breakup of Ann and Leslie may have made me teary-eyed, even though it contained one of the best scrapbooks ever. A Kelly Clarkson scrapbook. I mean is Leslie is looking for a new best friend who also loves Kelly Clarkson.....


3. Nerdist Podcast - Work It Out - This episode had two of the hosts, Chris and Jonah, record and work through a fight that they were recently having. Like civilized adults. Like fighting right without name calling and using 'I feel' before declarative sentences. Now when I fight with my friends I tend to just ignore the problem until it magically gets resolved (and by magically gets resolved I mean nothing changes, but it is just ignored. Like the passive aggressive girl I am). It was so fascinating to listen to people work through their problems.

Other than that everything is good here. I helped throw one of my friend's a baby shower this weekend. I was on favor patrol and decided on doing treat bags with macarons. (Here's a pro tip. And I think I can officially consider myself a pro after throwing 5 baby showers Do edible favors. People tend not to "accidentally" leave them behind and you get to do taste tests in the weeks leading up to the shower for "research". That is how I earned the frequent shopper discount at my local macaron bakery).



Is anyone exhausted with keeping up with the 'it' dessert? Don't get me wrong. I will eat each and everyone of them, but first it was cupcakes, then cake pops, then macarons. And I'm pretty sure I'm about two deserts behind the latest craze. I've heard good things about these cronuts, but that's frankly a while from making it's way to me. What are you obsessed with lately?


PS - Here's a bonus clip of Sherlock mussing up his hair. You're welcome.

January 7, 2014

What Are You Doing 2014

Now that we are 1 week into the New Year, I thought I'd try to write up the things I'm trying to work on this year. Now last year I failed at almost all of my goals (except to read more books), but I have much higher hopes for 2014. Here's some info on some of them:


Read Books I Already Have - This year I want to focus on some of the stacks(!) of the long neglected books I have sitting on my bookshelves (I've made it through 2 books so far in 2014 and both of them have been from the library. Still plenty of time to address the stacks).

Scan Grandma's Photos - My grandma has 100 plus photo albums. I've scanned the photos in one of them, now I just have 99+ to go.

Upgrade - I'm hoping to move this year and upgrade a few pieces of furniture. My television is approximately 11 years old which has caused me to be the source of ridicule among my friends. 

Get Healthy - I'm a bridesmaid in May (For those keeping track at home, that's #7 as a bridesmaid or #11 as a wedding day participant (aka - performing a reading, assistant to the bride, flower girl, and guestbook)). I'm trying to drop a couple of pounds before the big day. My exercise plan is heavy on yoga, zumba, and hiking.

Learn Spanish - I'm heading to Mexico in the spring (#10 visited country) and would like to continue to work on becoming more adept in Spanish.

Travel - In addition to the trip to Mexico, I'm going to be heading to SoCal in May and will probably also be doing a road trip from CA to IL to clean out a long neglected storage unit. It'll be like a treasure hunt, except with things I already own.

Clean and Purge - I cleaned out my freezer today. I had a bottle of vodka in there that I don't remember buying (we drink many things here, but vodka has never been one of them).

Are you making any resolutions this year? What are some of them? Are you doing any of the same goals I am? 

January 1, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things of 2014

I love New Years and January. It always makes me feel so hopeful, you know for those few days before life comes in and sucks all the energy and joy away. Since I just went through and listed my favorite pop culture things from 2013, I thought I'd share some of the things I'm looking forward to in 2014.

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pulp Fiction classified people as either Elvis or Beatles fans, however I tend to think people are either James McAvoy or Michael Fassbender fans. I'm personally a James McAvoy girl (I still love Fassbender, but there can only be room for one #1 in my heart). I cannot freaking wait to watch them both in the new X-Men movie. I mean not only is Bryan Singer back in the directors chair (WOOT!) but it's basically got everyone cool from all the X-Men movies together. Plus McAvoy has an amazing hair/beard combo that totally is working for him me.


2. Traveling Broadway Shows
Blame the great schedule at SHNSF this season for a dent in my savings account. I have tickets to see Book of Mormon, Mama Mia, and Once. I've never seen Book of Mormon or Mama Mia performed live, and well, I'm kind of obsessed with Once. I also am hoping to score some tickets to Wicked when it comes to the area as well. There is going to be an abundance of jazz hands in my life in 2014.

3. Sherlock
Have we talked about my obsession with Benedict Cumerbatch lately? For example - I sent 21 emails in 2013 that contained the word 'Cumberbatch' (I wish I could say that this fact wasn't true). Finally our long global nightmare is over with the return of Season 3 of Sherlock. Now I'm doing my best to ignore spoilers as the show started airing today in the UK and trying to hold off looking online until it airs here on January 19th. #sherlocklives

4. Bloodlines & Lunar Chronicles Book Series
OK, I think we're over the point of having to apologize for reading young adult fiction right?   I'm really excited for the next books in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series.

Silver Shadows (Book 5/6 of The Bloodlines Series) - I beyond love this series (and yes it may revolve around vampires, no judging). See the protagonist is wicked smart and solves most of the dilemmas with logic instead of her fist, bow, or gut which really sets it apart from other young adult series. Plus Adrian Ivashkov is the kind of guy that causes millions of teenagers to fill up their laptops with fanfic.

Cress (Book 3/4 of the Lunar Chronicles Series) - Fairy tales stories of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel in a future that includes robots, cyborgs, and humans? Sign me up.

5. Veronica Mars Movie
Teen angst show on The WB, UPN, CW? Assume I've seen them all. But one of my all time favorites is Veronica Mars. So when they held the Kickstarter last year to fund the movie, I was one of the first to sign up. I cannot wait to see what has happened to our favorite former teenage detective and everyone else in Neptune.

6. Justified
Season 5 premieres next week. I kind of became obsessed with the adventures of Raylan Givens and his friends and criminal frenemies during 2013. Luckily I just finished Season 4 so my suffering for new episodes is nothing compared with the people who watched it at the beginning of 2013. But still a week without Walton Goggins is a sad week, you know?

So there seems to be an abundance of detectives and pop culture for teenagers (or shows that check in with our favorite teenagers) in this list. Are you a McAvoy or a Fassbender? What are you looking forward to in 2014?

December 29, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things of 2013

I'm a bit of a pop culture junkie. I consume enormous amounts of television, movies, podcasts, music, books and articles a year with pleasure. Some would even go as far to say it is too much, however, I tend to ignore those type of people. Now even with this pop culture appetite there are many things I miss or catch months (or years) after the fact. After all, I'm not a machine. With that in mind, here is a list of my favorite pop culture things I loved in 2013.

1. Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
This is a no-brainer. Everyone who knows me knows I love Pearl Jam and have loved them for years. And I will continue loving them even into the future. Lucky for me that Lightning Bolt is an easy record to love. While it isn't my favorite "modern day" Pearl Jam album (Backspacer holds this lofty perch), it does give me lots of joy.

Another reason Pearl Jam is at the top of my list this year is that I got to see them in concert  at the Oakland Coliseum for a 38 song, 3 1/2 hour set. I was halfway convinced that I was going to miss the last train home because they were playing so long (although it would have been totally worth it). The fact that the setlist included Smile (one of my top 3 favorite Pearl Jam songs) was just the icing on the cake.

I mean just watch this video for Sirens. Surprisingly it took me a few listens to get into this song but now I can't understand why. Plus I love the video with Mike McCready switching from acoustic to electric halfway though the song (after playing the first half of the video with both of the guitars strapped on) and having all members singing into the microphones at the end for the Ahs and Ohs.


Honorary Mention for Fave Pearl Jamish moment: this video of Eddie Vedder and Jeanne Tripplehorn singing Shattered by the Rolling Stones. With Jeanne Tripplehorn singing as Julie Andrews.



2. Warm Bodies
I had very low expectations of this movie when I went to see it. In fact, if I hadn't been craving movie theatre popcorn I don't think I would have even watched it. Lucky for me, my low expectations were quickly dashed. Sure it's got zombies, but it's also got romance, humor, and an amazing soundtrack. (Side Note - When R is getting his makeover the first few chords of Pretty Woman start playing and I recognize the song, I burst out with an obnoxious sort of laugh in the theatre. No one else in the theater (you know the teenagers the movie was marketed to) laughed until 20 seconds later when the chorus comes on. What do they teach kids in schools these days?)

3. Neil Patrick Harris - Tony's Opening
Sure Neil Patrick Harris can do it all. I mean in this video alone he jumps through a hoop, does a rapid fire signing dialogue, a magic trick, sings, and dances. I re-watch it every couple of weeks and find something I missed before. It's that great.


4. Dave Baxter - Let it Go EP
Before this year I hadn't heard of Dave Baxter or his band Avalanche City. Then I came across the free EP download here. And now 2 of my most played songs in 2013 according to iTunes are from this 6 song set. Whispers and Diamonds seem to fit any mood I'm in. And I cannot wait to listen to more.

5. The Way, Way Back
I'm a sucker for coming of age movies. I will watch them all and still not grow tired of them.  If you give me a coming of age movie written by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, I'm going to be even more obsessed. And Sam Rockwell is a freaking delight. I will watch this movie over and over again.

6. Let It Go by Idina Menzel
I have yet to see Frozen. However if the movie is even 1/10th as good as this song by Idina, I'm sold.


7. Justified
I thought that this was a TV Western for the longest time. My father is the Western fan in the family so I figured that Justified wasn't for me. Turns out I couldn't be more wrong on both accounts. Thanks to the awesomeness that is Amazon prime I managed to stream 3 seasons of Justified in like a week. Not only did I love this TV show so much that I started grabbing Elmore Leonard books from the library to hold me over until the show comes back. Plus I have a bit of a crush on almost all the male characters. Tim Gutterson, ex-Army-Sharpshooter-young-adult-book-reader, is currently my favorite. 

8. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Merchant Lip Sync Battle
It's something to be said when Jimmy Fallon is the weak link of any sketch but he is totally outsynced by JGL and Stephen Merchant here. I have since stolen some of Stephen Merchant's dance moves to supplement my own Single Ladies dancing performances. Seriously for a tall guy Stephen Merchant can really get down.



9. Fringe
I was late to the Fringe series as well. I didn't start watching until the season has ended. Then when I started watching it took everything in my being to not search online for discussions on some of the plot twist and turns for fear of spoilers. I'm kicking myself for not recognizing this great show until after it was gone. Plus Peter Bishop/Joshua Jackson can seriously wear a pea coat (speaking of pea coats, Walton Goggins in Justified can also rock one. Guys take note. Pea coats are sexy).

10. Radical Face - Welcome Home
This song was released in 2009 but remained hidden from me until this year. Every time I start to complain that my favorite song is being ruined by being in an advertisement, I'll have to remember that I was introduced to one of my current fave songs through a Nikon ad. Fave lines: "All my nightmares escaped my head Bar the door, please don't let them in" 


11. Waking Sleeping Beauty
This documentary talks about Disney animation from the 80s and 90s. I was sharing facts that I learned from this movie for weeks on end. I'm always down for learning and revisiting some of my favorite Disney Animated movies from my youth including Fox and the Hound, Beauty and the Beast, and the Lion King. And yes it may have made me cry as well.

12. James Spader in The Black List
I have a crush on James Spader in this show and about 95% of the people I tell this to look at me like I've lost my mind. But he wears stylish hats! And vests! And three piece suits! He says things with such disdain! What's a girl to do?

Like many other similarly inclined girls (aka it seems like every girl these days), my favorite book of all time is Pride and Prejudice. I'm a bit wary of all re-imaginings and sequels. However, this web series is so charming, addicting, and lovely one cannot help but enjoy it as well.

14. Audra McDonald
Since my title post is My Favorite Things. I couldn't leave out something from the live version of The Sound of Music. I loved many things (and hated many others) in the show. But my favorite thing is Audra belting out Climb Ev'ry Mountain. Incredible.



And Things That I Continue To Love Every Year:
The Good Wife - Seriously this season may be showing some of the best episodes of the series.
Parks & Recreation - Team Knope forever and ever.
Parenthood - Sobbing never felt so good
Mindy Kahling
Scandal - I proclaim WTF at least once every episode.
Benedict Cumberbatch
Jennifer Lawrence (seriously I will read every Buzzfeed article about her, without shame)

So those are some of my favorite things in 2013. No way is this an exhaustive list, but just things I remember becoming obsessed with though out the year. I read a lot of books this year (61 in fact) and while some were very good, none got under my skin. We'll see what 2014 has to show. I wasn't planning for so many broadway items or discussions about men's clothing, but I like what I like.

What were your favorite things in 2013? Agree/Disagree with any of my loves for 2013? 

September 16, 2013

The Moonlit Wings Reflect The Stars That Guide Me Towards Salvation

When I went to Tanzania, my hotel room in Arusha had a great view of Mt. Meru (which is only like 40 miles away from Mt. Kilimanjaro although I never got a clear view of Kilimanjaro). The balcony of my room had a mirrored window so I attempted several times to take an old school selfie with my Olympus Trip 35 (Theoretical Question - if you try to take a selfie with an analogue camera is it still called a selfie?) with Mt. Meru in the background.

I failed each time (one of the drawbacks of not having a digital and only have fixed focus settings), but I kind of love the failed photo attempts. I managed to get a couple of shots of Mt. Meru by itself and will have to continue to work on my skills to achieve my mountain selfie photo. PS - C'mon power lines, why you ruining my Mountain photo?






Shots taken with Olympus Trip 35 and Kodak UltraMax 400 film.

And just to mix my Africa Photos posts up, here's thing I'm currently obsessed with:
Food - Trader Joe's Roasted Gorgonzola Flavored Oven Crisp Crackers (no idea why Amazon is currently trying to charge $10.00 for a box)

Place - Berkeley Marina - I went here this weekend and it may be my new favorite place in the Bay Area. We bought a kite and became way too obsessed with it. 

Books - Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I'm officially nearly 20 years late in becoming obsessed with these books, but better late than never right? I'm currently read three and have requested the others from my library and my friend's libraries. Only 16 left.

Bag - I <3 Mr. Darcy. I saw Austenland this past weekend and am now determined to get my very own I <3 Mr. Darcy bag.

Necklace - Pac-Man necklace. Am I in my 30s and did I buy a Pac-Man necklace? You're damn right I did.

TV - I called and got a free upgrade on my cable. So instead of 20 channels, I have like 100. That's right. 100 channels. I may never leave again the house.

So what are you obsessed with? Does the term selfies only apply to photos taken with cameras manufactured after 2005? Anyone actually seen Kilimanjaro? Please share!

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