Monday, January 31, 2011

MM... are moving!

I will now be posting my music monday choices to my photography blog:

See you there, starting next monday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

MM- Dance with me

I admittedly have a deep dislike for reality tv, but I was sucked into So You Think You Can Dance. I love dancers. I won't try to be eloquent and describe why, or how they make me feel. It would take too much time. However, if there is dance involved in something, I will like it more. :)

This song became a hit after being used on SYTYCD, and they were smart enough to use the same choreographer for the video. Enjoy the beauty.

I am a wasteland

At times I picture my goals like little singing birds, flying over my head, reminding me of what I have set forth to accomplish. Most of the time their song is beautiful and brings excitement... other times (typically if I let them sing too long) they get hoarse and squawk most deplorably. Either way, I have a loud reminder to get up, get out, and get something done. This week, I effectively killed 2 birds with one stone. That said, I wish I had a better metaphor so the birds didn't have to die. Hmmm. I'll work on that...

I have finished Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, by Patton Oswalt. I have checked off my 3rd book of 30 for the year, and it was non-fiction to boot! The book itself was an easy read, amusing, and (as a good comedian should) it succeeded in recognizing the awkwardness and absurdity of our culture. I highly recommend it to anybody who enjoy a good laugh. (and knows how to get one without resorting solely to dick & fart jokes).

Saturday, I was able to attend my first author event, featuring... Patton Oswalt and the above mentioned book! :) Wee. The booksmith could not contain all the fans, so the event took place at the Coolidge Corner theater, which is quickly becoming one of my happiest places in Boston. Hearing my favorite chapters again, but with the impeccable timing and playful intonations used by Oswalt, made this event a real treat. I look forward to more events through the Booksmith.

Coming up for the rest of January:
Bookshelf: Jane Eyre
30x30: Start work on my French textbook.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Imagine it’s 1995: almost no one but Gordon Gekko and Zack Morris have cellphones, pagers are the norm; dial-up modems screech and scream to connect you an internet without Google, Facebook, or YouTube; Dolly has not yet been cloned; the first Playstation is the cutting edge in gaming technology; the Human Genome Project is creeping along; Mir is still in space; MTV still plays music; Forrest Gump wins an academy award and Pixar releases their first feature film, Toy Story. Now take that mindset and pretend you’re reading the first page of a new sci-fi novel:

The year is 2010. America has been at war for the first decade of the 21st century and is recovering from the largest recession since the Great Depression. Air travel security uses full-body X-rays to detect weapons and bombs. The president, who is African-American, uses a wireless phone, which he keeps in his pocket, to communicate with his aides and cabinet members from anywhere in the world. This smart phone, called a “Blackberry,” allows him to access the world wide web at high speed, take pictures, and send emails.

It’s just after Christmas. The average family’s wish-list includes smart phones like the president’s “Blackberry” as well as other items like touch-screen tablet computers, robotic vacuums, and 3-D televisions. Video games can be controlled with nothing but gestures, voice commands and body movement. In the news, a rogue Australian cyberterrorist is wanted by world’s largest governments and corporations for leaking secret information over the world wide web; spaceflight has been privatized by two major companies, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX; and Time Magazine’s person of the year (and subject of an Oscar-worthy feature film) created a network, “Facebook,” which allows everyone (500 million people) to share their lives online.

The First Decade of the Future is Behind Us | Science Not Fiction | Discover Magazine (via arielwaldman)

MM- Let it be

I love the original, but I think this arrangement is beautiful.

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.

Bonus video!
Alison sent me this song today, and I simply had to post it. Soak in the loveliness my friends.

Strength to Love

The strong man holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. The idealists are usually not realistic, and the realists are not usually idealistic. The militant are not generally known to be passive, nor the passive to be militant. Seldom are the humble self-assertive, or the self-assertive humble. But life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony. The philosopher Hegel said that truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in the emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.

The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Jesus recognized the need for blending opposites. He knew that his disciples would face a difficult and hostile world, where they would confront the recalcitrance of political officials and the intransigence of the protectors of the old order. He knew that they would meet cold and arrogant men whose hearts had been hardened by the long winter of traditionalism. … And he gave them a formula for action, “Be ye therefore as wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” … We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

The tough mind is sharp and penetrating, breaking through the crust of legends and myths and sifting the true from the false. The tough-minded individual is astute and discerning. He has a strong austere quality that makes for firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment.
Who doubts that this toughness is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Softmindedness often invades religion. … Softminded persons have revised the Beautitudes to read “Blessed are the pure in ignorance: for they shall see God.” This has led to a widespread belief that there is a conflict between science and religion. But this is not true. There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists, but not between science and religion. … Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of softmindedness. A nation or civilization that continues to produce softminded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.
But we must not stop with the cultivation of a tough mind. The gospel also demands a tender heart. … What is more tragic than to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of toughmindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hardheartedness?

The greatness of our God lies in the fact that He is both toughminded and tenderhearted.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. … The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Monday, January 10, 2011

MM- New Day

I have had this chorus stuck in my head all day, and the video cracks me up! :)

Here's to a day full of (genuine) smiles.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Book Challenge!

I recently joined Valerie Geary to participate in Steena Holmes 2011 Reading Challenge. I don't need a push to read, but sometimes it's good for me to have a goal with how much I want to read in order to pick up a book over the TV remote after a long day. I also have been trying to branch out and pick up different styles & genres, and previously set a goal to get good use out of my library card, so this challenge will help with that! :)

I encourage you to join me. Books=awesomeness.

My 2011 reading goal: 30 books. I was going to set the number a little higher, but I currently have a few thick classics on my list, so I'm trying to be realistic. :)

So far I have read:

1. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
This book was... how to describe it... well, lovely. It's was unusual, creepy, heart-warming, painful, uplifting, hauntingly beautiful. I felt such a mix of emotions reading this book. I do not feel I can do this book justice, as I am not the most eloquent of people, so I simply recommend that you read it. Just make sure you aren't home alone on the nights you pick it up. :)

2. A Long Way Down - Nick Hornby
I am a huge fan of Hornby's work. My first experience with Hornby was High Fidelity, which has now become one of my favorite books. I know, me love a novel about a Brit who is obsessed with music... what are the odds? :) Since then, I have devoured most of his novels and essays This book is a playful story about 4 people who meet when they are about to commit suicide. Yes, I said playful. These characters make me laugh, roll my eyes, deeply, sympathetic... they are real. Their misery is real, it is easy to connect to. . A Long Way Down has a different feel to it than much of what I have read, but is still very ... Hornby. His dry sense of humor and clever observations brought a smile to my face. It was like catching up with an old friend, after being apart far too long. Sigh. Love me some Hornby.

I'm sorry these brief reviews are not better, but I am tired... and I have more reading to get to before bed. :) Good night!

Monday, January 3, 2011

MM- a new year!

This song just about sums up how I feel right now.
Here's to a fresh start... and feeling good ;)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best of 2010 (pt2)

Today, I start my seal of awesomeness awards for 2010.

Best independent coffeeshop: Ula Cafe

We stumbled into Ula Cafe after a visit to the Sam Adams Brewery. Now, this cafe goes hand in hand with our brewery trips. These are typically with guests, we are not alcoholics... though James was recognized there by a tour host recently. oops. :) I often wish Ula was closer. The food is unique and delicious. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. I appreciate that their wifi is free, though I never have to use it. Also, the staff likes my monkey hat, so they must be awesome. :)

Best Pub (tie):

I first went this pub for my birthday this year, and it did not disappoint me! We had friends popping in and out for over 4 hours, and were never hassled to move on. The Pig burger is TASTY. I want one right now. :) I have brought many friends here since. A few extra perks: our random parking pass on our "new" jeep lets us park there, the MFA (in all it's glory) is just down the road, AND the place is full of funny pigs. Fabulous.

The skellig is our local pub in Waltham. I can't help but feel like I am back in Dublin the moment I walk in. This Irish pub is a standing favorite with the Waltham crowd. It delivers plenty of guinness, fine ales, ciders, and all the charms-n-trappings of a traditional brogue bar. The food overall is yummy, and their heartier dishes like Guinness beef stew and shepherd's pie are, indeed, worthy of song. BAn added perk, the Skellig features live traditional Irish music nightly. In addition to bands, cute old people showing up with instruments and jam in the main room at any given time. You'd be hard-pressed to find better — and 'tis free, laddie.

Best Visitor: Alison Smidt

I am so grateful to say that I have had many wonderful visitors over this past year! I have dedicated friends! However, this award was no contest. Alison has come to visit 3 times since the move, 2 of those in 2010. I started my year with her (a fun and cold adventure), and towards the end of a very difficult year, she returned and greatly restored my spirits. Our times together have been bustling and joyful, have taken us through 7 states in just over a year, filled us with great beer & even greater food, plus we have shared photo adventures coast to coast. Alison will also help clean your home & watch Harry Potter, which is more valuable than many realize. :) On her most recent trip, she was awarded a Boston Terrier Medal of Awesomeness.
Many thanks to you my friend!!

Best Photo Inspiration: LOST

Say what you may about the finale (which I loved), but LOST was (and will remain) one of the greatest TV shows ever made. My 365 project was it's most enjoyable this year on the days designated for the weekly LOST inspired image.

That's it for installment 1 of the seals of awesomeness. I'll be back soon for more!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

30x30 - 2011 check in

As of the beginning of this year, I am proud to see I am swiftly experiencing and accomplishing one goal after another. I have a feeling that many will be coming slowly, as they require extended time and money, neither of which I have a lot of at the moment. However, I'm feeling confident. :)

1. Purchase a pair Warby Parker Glasses
2. Drink a cold Sam Adams while looking at a "cold" Sam Adams
3. Go to Wilmington and take cheesy photos :)
4. Take the trolley to Doyle's
5. Attend an author signing
6. Skate at Frog Pond
7. Work through my french text book
8. Attend one of Boston's quirky brunch options
9. Check a new state off the list (virginia beach)
10. Complete the Independent coffeeshops of Boston list (7 down, 6 to go)
11. Hug James as much as possible!
12. Decide my next career path
13. See Grace Potter & the Nocturnals in concert
14. Run a full 5k
15. Photograph the Polar plunge
16. Send more letters and cards
17. Own a pair of TOMS
18. Cook Julia Childs Poulet au Porto with Artichokes & hollandaise sauce (successfully)
19. Sing along with Carols by Candlelight at Trinity church
20. Watch the Godfather trilogy

21. Surprise someone
22. Take the girls to the Zoo (it keeps eluding us)
23. Enjoy a trip with James that does not involve work, school, or anybody we know!
24. Learn how to whistle loudly
25. Make good use of my library card
26. Swim in Walden Pond
27. Spot a classic Boston celebrity
28. Camp @ Boston Harbor Islands
29. Complete the Walks of Greater Boston list (one more completed, a few to go).
30. Be tumor free!

Best of 2010 (pt1)

In an effort to remind myself that much of 2010 was in fact pretty great, I will be posting a series of 2010 highlights. Above are some of my favorite moments throughout the year.