December 31, 2008
It takes really great pictures, so I'm very happy about finally getting it! It's super easy to use and I'm having a lot of fun playing with all of the features (of course, this also means I have to actually figure out what they do...). Also, so I can keep track of what's what, and so you can all look at my pictures, I got a flickr account. For easy access I threw in a nice little link on the side bar of this blog (along with a few thumbnails to entice you), so feel free to look around.
December 23, 2008
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Angels & Demons
The Blind Assassin
Brave New World
The Brothers Karamazov
The Canterbury Tales
The Catcher in the Rye
A Clockwork Orange
A Confederacy of Dunces
*The Count of Monte Cristo (I will do it, I swear. I just need to be in the mood.)
Crime and Punishment
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
*Dubliners (This one's sort of been on hiatus. I really do want to read it, though. Or finish.)
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The God of Small Things
The Grapes of Wrath
Guns, Germs, and Steel
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
*In Cold Blood (So how long has Bernadette been trying to get me to read it?? I had it in my hand at B&N, too. But I'd already had my book-buying-binge for the quarter. You know, where you go to B&N once every 10 weeks or so and spend like 70 bucks. Wait... normal people don't do that?)
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
The Kite Runner
*Les Misérables (I know, how can I not read the book that is where my favorite musical came from?)
Life of Pi
*Love in the Time of Cholera (I loves me some Latino drama. Why isn't "Like Water For Chocolate" on here?)
*The Mists of Avalon (Okay, so Bethany has been trying to get me to read this forever. And frankly, I don't disagree. Who wouldn't want to read names like "Gwenwyfar" over and over, while trying to pronounce them mentally?)
The Name of the Rose
Neverwhere (I LOVE this book. LOVE)
*1984 (I really don't know why I haven't read this. Honestly.)
The Once and Future King
*On the Road (Cormac McCarthy. It's on the list.)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
*One Hundred Years of Solitude (I loves me some Latino drama.)
Oryx and Crake
A People’s History of the United States
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Poisonwood Bible
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Pride and Prejudice (My fav. Absolutely. In fact, I may just read it again over break. Cuz I can.)
*Reading Lolita in Tehran (Haven't been able to pick it up yet. I'll have to throw it on the library list.)
The Satanic Verses
The Scarlet Letter
Sense and Sensibility
A Short History of Nearly Everything
*Slaughterhouse-Five (I'll do it. For Kurt.)
The Sound and the Fury
*A Tale of Two Cities (You know, I really liked the end of this book - which is where I woke up in class and started paying attention - so maybe I'd like the beginning.)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
*The Time Traveler's Wife (It is sitting on my desk, I kid you not.)
To the Lighthouse
*Ulysses (I know... Joyce. But it's so BIG... I'll just start with Dubliners)
*The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Also, sitting on my desk. But I'm not feeling like much of a schauvinist right now.
War and Peace
Watership Down (Never. Again.)
*Wicked (I don't know. I think I might have to stick with the musical. It's on the book shelf, though, just in case.)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
December 17, 2008
SO... I'll give you one more chance to guess the movies by putting up a different pic.
"Clueless"! Betcha didn't guess that... yeah... riiight.
Isn't it weird that Turk is in this, to? And Alicia Silverstone... what ever happened to her? And Brittany Murphy. And that guy from Road Trip.
Yeah... you knew it the whole time. "Romeo+Juliet". When I first saw this movie (freshman year of high school?) I was totally freaked out by it. Shakespeare scared me, but Baz' interpretation of Shakespeare scared me even more. It almost felt like blasphemy. But since then we've developed a more casual relationship, Shakespeare and I, and I can appreciate this movie a lot more.
Rudd was Paris. Poor, awkward Paris. But you know what? He actually made me feel sympathy for his character - which was WAY more than anything Franco Zeffirelli could do.
"Friends"! Only the best show ever to watch at midnight when you can't sleep. Or ever when you can't sleep. Or when you're bored. Or drunk. Or want to laugh and then feel bad because sometimes it's so stupid it's funny. Or because it's actually funny. Yeah. He was Phoebe's boyfriend.
December 10, 2008
In no particular order:
Ingrid, Cate, Meryl, Irene, Kate, Judi, Kate, Rachel, Madeleine, Diane, Emma, Marion, Holly, Doris, Anne, Amy, America, Judy, Nicole, Gena
And I can think of TONS more!!
Oh wait a minute. I can't forget this one! So what if it's 21. What are you going to do? Spank me?
Okay so I thought of another one like 5 minutes after I posted this. But this is IT. Anymore I think of will reside in the comments section.
December 5, 2008
December 4, 2008
The country is getting married to the Obamas, finally.
The courtship was a little painful at times, I'll be the first to admit. We were bachelors. We didn't know what we wanted, but we liked to complain about what we had. We took what we were offered, but remained unfulfilled, incomplete. The chemistry just wasn't there with anyone. We were beginning to lose hope; we didn't think we'd ever meet the one that made our hearts race just a little faster.
And then we met them.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It looked like this:
It wasn't love at first sight (for a majority of people), but there was definitely something there. We weren't sure if we were ready for this kind of commitment yet, so the decision was tough. We were forced to go through our little black book and think about all of the good times we'd had with our ex's. Was it worth it? We almost backed out, but the thought of losing them forever was enough to makes us take the leap of faith.
So the parentals have all the basics covered - we've chosen the church (this analogy just keeps getting better...), the date, the time, and they're setting up for the reception. All we need now is to make sure we've got our tux and she's got THE dress.
But what will it look like? Which one will she choose? This isn't just any wedding - it's THE wedding. The biggest wedding to EVER take place. EVER. And we're committed and we're doing this thing right.
So, since there's so much to do, WWD has graciously offered to help out with the most exciting part of the preparations: they're taking the bride dress shopping!
I've chosen my favs to post.
Diane von Furstenberg
A little conservative for my taste, but I like the way the top folds over. The cap sleeves are cute.
Okay, so it's yellow. But let's think outside the box for a moment. The woman looks killer in boat necks, so that's a plus. Big belt - or is it a huge cumberbund - brings it together. I like the grey inset. Very sexy.
He actually designed several dresses for Michelle, but some of them were a little too much. I liked this one because it showed a little skin, and let's face it - we are SO ready for a hot first couple. The HUGE bow at the back and the HUGE bow at her neck are a little much.
I am really feeling the one-shoulder thing. I like it. It doesn't say prom (which is a trap that a lot of designers fell into) and it doesn't say "imported" (which would probably be a mistake) or obscure fashion show in some alley in Prague (which, when you think about it, actually sounds kind of fabulous, right?)
Oscar de la Renta
Okay, so I kind of am in love this whole thing. All white says WAY too formal and gives me sort of a weird Puritan-y feeling, but this is the perfect balance. Absolutely. And the flowers are a great way of transitioning the colors. At first glance, I sort of worried that it would seem too simple to be a viable choice, but the detail on the upper bodice is phenom.
So this sketch is weird, I agree. But try to look at it and really envision the dress she has in mind. Strapless (very Michelle-y), big black belt used to divide the flowing skirt with the detailed bodice, and the top itself - great flowery detail. I really like it. My only issue is that it's not going to seem formal enough. It looks too much like something she might wear normally - she looks a little like she could just throw a cardigan over the top and hop down to the mall.
She gets TWO!!
Like I said earlier - the woman looks great in a wide neck. And the silhouette in the red is fantastic. I love the details at the bottom, too. But, much like the Kia Milla dress, it just doesn't seem formal enough. Love the dress, though. It has a little bit of a latin flair, right?
I really like the blue (?) one, too. It seems a little child-like when compared to the red dress, though. I totally love the knot in the middle of the top, though.
I love them all, I really do, but I'm going to have to put my vote forth for the Oscar de la Renta. It may not be the absolute sexiest dress that's being put forth, but I think says a lot about the way we feel about this occasion. It's simple, yet elegant. There's an delicateness to the design that I feel represents our (almost childish) optimism of the coming years. I wish all designers the best, and I know Michelle is going to kill it on January 20th.
November 29, 2008
For as many years as I've been familiar with either of them, Percy Aldridge Grainger and Thomas Hardy have held a strange (and somewhat connected) fascination for me. A quick and dirty analysis of why they're bundled in my mind would be to simply say that it's a coincidence. That my high school band was rehearsing Grainger's "Mock Morris" during the same few weeks that my English class was watching Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles"... but I'm not sure if that's entirely accurate. I mean, yes it was true... but I like to view it as more of a catalyst than a cause.
Hardy and Grainger were born about 40 years apart (Hardy, June 1840 in Dorset, England and Grainger, July 1882 in Melbourne, Australia) and, as far as I know, they'd never met each other. And yet in my mind the parallels and common themes that run throughout their separate works are incredible. Just the ideas of it... the visuals that erupt throughout... it's hard to miss, really. I'll try to put each of their lives into perspective (or Hardy's, at least because Grainger's is a little more... complicated) and then see if I can figure out a way to explain how I feel.
"Far From The Maddening Crowd" sort of introduces Hardy's audience to his view of the world, but doesn't quite explain it or even show the full scope of his opinion.
Quick Summary: Basically, the story revolves around Bathsheba Everdene, a young, independent woman and Gabriel Oak, a somewhat poor, 28-year-old shepherd. He wants to marry her, but she brushes him off and moves away. Several years later their paths cross and he ends up working for her... it's kind of like an awkward pity thing at first. During this time she has acquired a suitor - an old, rich guy - when suddenly a young soldier shows up and whisks her away to elope (think Marianne Dashwood here... except without all of the gushy romanticism. Or, actually...) Anyways, years go by and she's ended up marrying both guys, people kill each other, lose money, she's full of regrets (who hasn't been there?) etc. when she's finally alone again. Gabriel is about to leave to find other work (he's protecting her dignity because he's a man of high moral standards apparently) when she realizes that Gabriel has been the perfect companion for her all along! I mean, c'mon, he's a reliable, kind friend who's basically been there for her throughout the novel (and it don't hurt that he knows his way around a hoe, if you know what I mean. Eh? Eh? Okay, bad farming joke). After what she's been through, he's basically like an angel sent from Heaven to relieve her of some of the guilt and remorse that she's accumulated over the years.
So, some of the most important things to get out of his first important work are:
1. Hardy's relish of the English rural life: Don't kid yourself, he LOVED it. It may seem like "what the hell are all of these hicks even doing??" most of the time, but trust me. He. Loved. It. This aspect of his writing is probably the most obvious connection to Grainger, whose most well-known compositions are of rural English folk songs. And let's not forget - who gets the girl in the end? Yeah. The FARMER.
2. Hardy's taste for Tragedy. So basically, in every Hardy novel EVER someone gets royally fucked. It's usually the girl. On occasion it's the girl AND the boy. But, in his defense, I will say that it was a time dependent thing; the older Hardy got, the less concerned he was about the well-being of his characters. So, in the case of "Far From The Maddening Crowd", the end wasn't tragic. But trust me: unrequited love, bastard children, murderous vengeance, gambling, lying, relentless misfortune? All present and accounted for.
It's hard to describe in words why Grainger's music feels tragic to me. I'm going to guess that it's simply because it's based on English folk songs, which were written by rural people who lived the sorts of lives (roughly) that are described in Hardy's novels. A lot of his music is happy (or maybe contented is a better word), but so much of it is reflective or nostalgic that I can't help but envision the lives of these people.
3. Location Location Location. This is the first of Hardy's novels to take place in... Wessex! A fictional area in Southwest England. After reading his novels, you'll definitely want to take a holiday there. Yeah. Riiiight. This doesn't really relate to Grainger, but I just like the word Wessex. Every time I hear it I think about Shakespeare in Love and Judi Dench - "Lord WESSEX".
Back to Hardy.
After publishing "Far From The Maddening Crowd", he wrote (chronologically) "The Return of the Native", "The Mayor of Casterbridge", "The Woodlanders", "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", and "Jude the Obscure", to name several of his most important works.
That all felt a little long winded, so I'm sorry to have subjected you to that (if it was, indeed, painful), but I think, in this instance, that to grasp the feel of time and place is a very important part of understanding his connection to Grainger. Well, that and who wouldn't want to know??
Hardy's internal conflict over nature and religion (in my mind) is perfectly orchestrated in Grainger's compositions. Grainger's pieces are both sad and happy, his music both complicated and simple, rural and worldly. Like the man himself (and Hardy, for that matter), there is a detached feel to it sometimes that gives the listener a chance to feel what they want, instead of what he wants them to feel. Like he's putting something out there and he wants you to decide if it's tragic or not, if it's joyful or melancholy.
I think that I know enough about music to be able to say, with some small degree of certainty, that there is absolutely NO way I could prove this with anything but words. I can't say that his music sounds a certain way because of chord progressions, key changes, inverted or ex-verted whatevers, or anything technical whatsoever. But I do know the way that it makes me feel. And when I hear it, I can feel inevitability. I can hear fated choruses. It's like Tess or Bathsheba; there's no way they can stop what's happening to them - they're part of the past and the future, just along for whatever ride fate has in store. But, the one thing that they do have is hope. Hope that tomorrow or the next day things will be better, and even if it's not... then they can still hope for a place to rest in Heaven.
They're sad and tired and worn out and cold, but they're certain. Something out there will be right.
And that's what's tragic. And that's what's romantic.
My favorite Grainger piece. The second movement "Horkstow Grange" is a good example of what I'm talking about.
In Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urberville's", Tess is basically subjected to fate over and over again. She's been raped by her cousin, given birth to a bastard child (who died shortly after), vowed to never marry, been convinced to marry by a love-struck preacher's son, confessed her past on their wedding night, and then been abandoned for admitting the reason (her "sin") why she'd never wanted to marry in the first place. She's miserable and humiliated and disgusted with herself and suicidal. Tess herself wants to die, wished that she'd never existed... But we don't. Even after all of that - we know her, we know why we want her to live. We know she deserves it. Hardy is proving to the reader that we're all alike - we all have that same feeling of hope, no matter the circumstance.
by Thomas Hardy
I would that folk forgot me quite,
Forgot me quite!
I would that I could shrink from sight,
And no more see the sun.
Would it were time to say farewell,
To claim my nook, to need my knell,
Time for them all to stand and tell
Of my day's work as done.
Ah! dairy where I lived so long,
I lived so long;
Where I would rise up stanch and strong,
And lie down hopefully.
'Twas there within the chimney-seat
He watched me to the clock's slow beat -
Loved me, and learnt to call me sweet,
And whispered words to me.
And now he's gone; and now he's gone; . . .
And now he's gone!
The flowers we potted p'rhaps are thrown
To rot upon the farm.
And where we had our supper-fire
May now grow nettle, dock, and briar,
And all the place be mould and mire
So cozy once and warm.
And it was I who did it all,
Who did it all;
'Twas I who made the blow to fall
On him who thought no guile.
Well, it is finished--past, and he
Has left me to my misery,
And I must take my Cross on me
For wronging him awhile.
How gay we looked that day we wed,
That day we wed!
"May joy be with ye!" all o'm said
A standing by the durn.
I wonder what they say o's now,
And if they know my lot; and how
She feels who milks my favourite cow,
And takes my place at churn!
It wears me out to think of it,
To think of it;
I cannot bear my fate as writ,
I'd have my life unbe;
Would turn my memory to a blot,
Make every relic of me rot,
My doings be as they were not,
And what they've brought to me!
Just as a side note, here's a link to Grainger's arrangement of Gershwin's "Love Walked In". His interpretation is fascinating.
For a song reference, here's Dinah Washington's version.
November 23, 2008
We regret to inform you that your dear friend Brittany has died of obsession. She was heard cursing at the computer earlier when she discovered that all 28 - YES, 28 - copies of "New Moon" have been checked out from the HBPL library indefinitely. Shortly after, screams of joy were heard when she successfully downloaded a torrent with all 4 books attached as pdfs. The first 50 pages were printed (2 per page, of course... she didn't want to hurt the environment in her quest to satiate the obsession) and then she died. Of obsession.
Again, we are sorry for your loss.
The How-Can-Stephanie Meyer-Possibly-Have-Done-T
SHP status. I'm not exactly sure how it happened... but somehow in the last 48 hours I have completely transformed into a 'Twilighter' (Bethany's word, not mine). These books are seriously (and somewhat bizarrely) amazing. It's not the writing, exactly. It's sort of a combination of events and people that make it so worthwhile. Bella is literally "every-girl", and yet manages to remain completely unique. I felt like I knew her, or was her, the whole time... but I also was drawn in by some of her unexpected choices.
And Edward is obviously the tortured artist type - the I-Can't-Be-With-You-Because-I-Love-You-So-Much-It's-For-
Your-Own-Protection type. Whatever. Obsession.
Not sure about the movie, though. I don't really see it as being that well translated without seeming... I don't know... ridiculous, or completely far-fetched. Or just way, overly sappy and COMPLETELY marketed towards screaming 13-year-olds. After having read the book and then re-watched the movie preview, I'm more speculative than I was before, but I guess we'll see.
Though, the things I haven't done seem infinitely more telling...
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (maybe. See #64)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
November 15, 2008
Bernadette and I have been working on a little "project" that I like to call: If Anyone Needs to Go to Washington D.C. on January 20th, It's a Mexican and a Black Chick.
So far we've been met with obstacles at every turn (odd how it mirrors the hard history of our great peoples) and to be honest some of the things started to take the wind out of my sails. But we SHALL prevail!
Yes, it's true that we searched for days before booking a hostel only to find out the next day that it had been overbooked. "Thanks, but no thanks." Who got the boot? Yes, we did.
But we SHALL prevail!
Yes, it's true that we searched for plane tickets and found ridiculously cheap ones, only to stop ourselves from buying them because the site didn't seem "legit". I called Debbie the next day and of course it was.
But we SHALL prevail!
Yes, I've emailed strangers begging them to let us stay at their overpriced apartments because all of the hotels are TOTALLY booked... and yes, we run the risk of getting harassed, molested, robbed, or a number of other terrifying things.
But we SHALL prevail!
Because it's worth it.
Revised Nov 29, 2008
YAY! We got everything in order - We're GOING. !!!
More details to be posted as the date arrives.
November 8, 2008
October 30, 2008
I love this photo because of the contrast between her face and everyone else's faces. Just look at it! Her expression is saying, "Nope! Mhm-mm... not saying a thing!" And she's just casually looking off to the side, like, "Next". And I LOVE the magnifying glass she has attached to her necklace (if that's what it is).