Friday, January 29, 2010

This is why I'm growing my hair out.

I need to remind myself more often that if I give it a few more months, this could be my hair (with a different color, texture, and face to go with it...) by summer.

I need to be like Samson. No scissors must come near my head.

London for lunch?

I actually took this picture last summer in London. This quaint little pub/restaurant is just down the street from Westminster Abbey.

Last night I had the best dream.

I dreamed I went to London for lunch. Yep. Just for lunch. I walked around Covent Garden, ate at a little outdoor cafe, and picked up a chicken pasty for my sister to eat for later.

Then I went home.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just take a short lunchtime trip to London?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is so perfect it almost hurts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I'd really like to be wherever this picture was taken (spotted on dream everyday).

Right now.

With a nice heavy coat, of course.

And someone who speaks French. But not in a snooty way.

I'd make this my music room.

Doesn't this coffee table remind you of a guitar pic?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Let Us Love" by Needtobreathe

I've liked this band since their hit "More Time" was released, but I really like the lyrics and urgent feel of this song. It speaks of letting go and loving the way that we did when we were kids - before prejudices, self-consciousness, and wariness entered into the picture.

And it's got a good beat to work out to.

Best line: "Every heart has an hour of existence/Every breath brings a chance for redemption..."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If I had the guts...

...I would get this haircut:

I love those bangs, even if Ashleigh did tell me that I would look like a chubby third-grader if I got them.

Such a killjoy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book #4: Twenty-Seven Bones

Twenty-Seven Bones by Jonathan Nasaw

A friend let me borrow this book - she said it was great.

Not so much.

It had an interesting plot (husband and wife serial killers who think that that if they breathe in the last breath of a victim into their bodies, they'll live forever), was set in an interesting location (Caribbean island), but that's about it.

Things I didn't like:

1) Nasaw has a fascination with breasts (or "big 'uns," as he constantly refers to them). The men in the novel are persuaded to do abhorrent things because Mrs. Lady Serial Killer swings her boobs in their faces, and bam! - they're hypnotized into doing her bidding. Right.

2) In the middle of the action, Nasaw inserts dictionary-ish definitions of psychological or police terminology:
"It was becoming obvious that with the entire population of the Core in on the secret, that particular holdback (information known only to the killer and the cops, which the investigators could use to differentiate the true killer from the phonies, the crazies, and the publicity seekers who always seemed to pop up in this sort of case) was useless by now."
"Interesting statistic about Antisocial Peronality Disorder: it has the lowest suicide rate of any major psychiatric illness."
So distracting.

3) None of the characters are likeable. Not even the kids. You don't really care all that much if anyone gets away from the psychos.

I get the feeling that Nasaw wants to write like Thomas Harris, but he just doesn't quiiiiiite get it right. Too much sex, too many wordy speeches from characters (no one actually talks the way that they do in this book), and not enough action make for a pretty unlikeable book.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book #3: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski

I wanted to like this book more than I did.

I heard Francis Chan speak at a conference last year, and what he said really resonated with me. He spoke of how hard it is to fully understand the depth of God's love for us, and of how difficult it is to let go of past mistakes and regrets. After he spoke, I bought his book from the merchandise section on the lower level of the civic center where the conference was being held.

I had hoped the book would be similar to Chan's message at the conference. Instead, the book pretty much soley focuses on how Chan thinks that if you are truly a Christian, you should be giving almost all your money to the church and if you have any luxuries at all, you should give them up. Immediately.

Now don't misunderstand me here. I think tithing is essential to a healthy Christian lifestyle. I agree that the more you give of your time, money, and self, the more blessed you are. I believe that a true Christian should joyfully do all of these things. But after chapter three, I was tired of hearing Chan rephrase the same thought.

He's also a pretty big tooter of his own horn. He gives example after example of how blessed he is because he's given this much money here, this much money there, downsized his house, how much his church gives to charities, etc. Please. Even most of the examples of Godly people seem to be from his church.

There were a few thought-provoking statements, but on the whole - I was disappointed. It wasn't a book about how much God loves us, but more a book about how much God loves you if you behave exactly like Francis Chan.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"Crushcrushcrush" by Paramore

This is so not my typical kind of music, but this song just makes me want to dance (alone, in private, where no one can witness my embarrassing fist-pumps).

The Lovely Bones

I went with a friend to see "The Lovely Bones" over the weekend.

I read the book in college, and really the only word for how it left me feeling is "haunted." I thought about it for weeks afterwards and throughout the past eight years I have thumbed through it several times, re-reading certain sections. Sebold is so matter-of-fact about the circumstances of the main character's (Susie Salmon) death, but also manages to convey a charming (and a little creepy) fantasy about the after-life.

I went into the movie with a cynical attitude, honestly. I really didn't think there was any way possible it could live up to the book, but I was surprised - the movie left me feeling very much the same way that the book did. Every actor in the movie insinuated themselves into my memories of the characters in the book.

Granted, there were a few changes - the movie really fleshes out the evil-ness of George Harvey, focusing heavily on his former victims (even adding Holly as one of them), the absence of Franny and Susie's grandfather in heaven, and the missing discussion of the significance of the icicles (which was a big part of the satisfaction at Harvey's demise at the end). But all in all, I think Peter Jackson did a fabulous job in bringing one of the best books I've ever read to life on screen.

I left with a sad ache in the pit of my stomach. And a chill.

Go see it. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From the mouths of babes...

I teach preschool music classes two days a week, and they say some of the funniest things I've ever heard. Seriously. Here's a sampling:

3-year-old: "Smell my armpit. It smells wonderful." (Wait till you hit 12, buddy.)

4-year-old: "I know what kind of new car you should get, Miss Amanda! An S.O.B.!!!"

4-year-old: "Do you smell that?! Do you smell that?!"
Me: "No...."
4-year old: "Oh. Because I tooted."

3-year-old: "You know what I want for Christmas? A pterodactyl."
Me: "Wow. Why is that?"
3-year-old: "Well. There are a couple of reasons. But the biggest one is that I want him to be as big as the whole world."
Me: "The whole world?"
3-year-old: "Yes. Because then I'd never have to get off of him to get to school. Because. He's as big as the world."

3-year-old: "Something happened at church on Sunday. My mom and dad said it's a secret, and I can't tell you. But it"
Me: "Um...ok. Maybe you can tell me later."
3-year-old, adopting a 30-year-old expression and tone of voice: "Maybe. But I seriously doubt it."

Me, talking about the reason we celebrate Christmas: "Christmas Day is Jesus' birthday!"
3-year-old, throwing up his hands in exasperation: "Again?! How old is He this time?!"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song I'm Digging This Week

"I Saw You in the Wild" by Great Lake Swimmers

I came across this band courtesy of Pandora (my lifesaver at work). I love the mellow, guitar-driven tracks on this CD, especially this song. Perfect for a cold winter day - break out the coffee and daydreams.

Best line: "I could tell by your look/you came from a book/and I read many times/all your funniest lines/and the branches with the sages/I turned all the pages./We were two sets of eyes,/two fires burning behind..."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book #2: Holly's Inbox

Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

So I found this book at the used book store down the street from my apartment, and it just looked like a fun read. I wasn't expecting literary greatness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how funny it was, and how well written.

The book is made up entirely of emails from the inbox of the protagonist, Holly Denham (yep, same name as the author), chronicling four months of her job as a receptionist for a bank in London. I love all things British, so the tone of the novel sucked me in right away. It was a lot like reading Bridget Jones's Diary through emails.

I read it in a day, all 665 pages, so I think it's safe to say it was a pretty addictive story.

Book #1: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

One of my New Year's resolutions was to read 52 books this year, which works out to a book a week.

This first book of the year was in one word, magical. I really didn't want it to end.

Morton has taken the classic children's story The Secret Garden and created a "backstory" to it. Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of TSC, even makes a cameo as a character, alluding to the idea that perhaps she was inspired by this story.

There are ghosts, fairies, a wicked "queen," prisoners, unrequited love, an innocent heroine...all the ingredients for a truly delicious story, complete with a surprise and satisfying ending.

I can't wait to read Morton's first novel, The House at Riverton.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The OK Go Table Tennis Program

I'm not sure how I missed this when they posted it a few years ago, but this video from OK Go (the band that did the hilarious and amazing treadmill video for their song "Here It Goes Again") cracks me up.

Favorite moments:
"It's just like normal tennis, but with different rules."
"Not breathing can cause you to die."
"Tilling the soil, catching the children..."
the foot slap fight

Monday, January 4, 2010

I will shush you at the movies. I will.

I went to the movies by myself on New Year's Eve to see "It's Complicated." It was my first New Year's Eve by myself - I've always been with family or friends, but this year it worked out that it was just me. It really wasn't too bad - I just relaxed and basically did whatever I wanted to do. And since I LOVE any Nancy Meyers movie, I thought that it was the perfect way to end the year.

I got there just before the movie started to find that the theater was packed, which surprised me. I thought people would be busy at New Year's parties and shindigs, but evidently I wasn't the only one excited to see the movie.

One of the only seats left was on the back row, and I ended up sitting next to a teenage couple.

Yeah. One of those couples.

I began to get worried during the previews (which, let's be honest, is one of the best parts of going to the movies) when Mr. Teenage Couple proceeded to talk loudly - in baby talk, no less - to Miss Teenage Couple. But I decided to calm down, because maybe they just didn't appreciate the previews like I do. Surely they'd shut up during the movie.

No such luck. It just got worse. If anything, the talking increased, as well as the volume.

And then - my breaking point. Midway through the film, their conversation was really going, and I turned to look at them and came face to face with Miss Teenage Couple's foot. She had stretched out over the seat between us and had put her bare feet inches from my face.

That was it. I felt something come over me - my face started getting hot, and I started getting angry. I paid for this ticket. I paid to enjoy the movie. I couldn't concentrate because I couldn't drown them out, and now - now, she's going to stick her stinky foot in my face?


So before I had time to think twice about it, I leaned over and said loudly "Hey. Are you guys here to watch this movie or to make out? Because frankly, I'd like to watch the movie, if you don't mind."

Shocked silence. Not another peep. For the whole movie (which was fabulous).

I felt so triumphant. Exultant.

And then I realized - I have become my father. My dad was notorious for doing things like that when I was younger - I can remember being in line at Disney World in middle school in line for Splash Mountain. We were behind another teenage couple, who proceeded to play tonsil hockey the entire time we were in line. My dad was disgusted and annoyed, and I could see him keying himself up to say something. I remember praying "Pleasepleaseplease don't say anything...pleasepleaseplease..." I breathed a sigh of relief as the couple got on the ride. Dad had been able to rein himself in. But just as they were taking off, my dad leaned over, slapped the back of the "log," and yelled "YOU HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THAT YOUNG LADY!" to the boy. I wanted. To. Die.

But now I look back on that moment and think "Go Dad!" The boy didn't have any respect for that girl. And someone needed to point that out.

The fact is, teenagers don't know what's best and sometimes they behave like idiots.

And if my dad and I have to be the ones to point that out, then so be it. I don't mind being the scary adult every once in a while. Especially if it allows me to enjoy a good movie.

Song I'm Digging Today: "Let Go" by Frou Frou

This is the CD that introduced me to Imogen Heap, and it really is great. Frou Frou was a collaboration between Heap and British musician Guy Sigsworth, and I think it really defined Heap's future musical sound. Every song is lush and cinematic.

This song has become famous for being on the "Garden State" soundtrack, but I actually heard it before that at a Bible study in Nashville, where they used it as the soundtrack to a montage video. I immediately tracked the song down and bought the CD. It's been on my iPod ever since.

Best line: "Excuse me/too busy writing your tragedy/These mishaps you bubble wrap/When you've no idea what you're like"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Chain

My sister sent me the video she took of my little coffee ship gig a few months ago, and so I thought I'd share one of the songs with you all. This is probably my favorite Ingrid Michaelson song, "The Chain." It's actually a round, so my sister Holly Jo (on the left) was sweet enough to sing with me so it worked.

Hope everyone is having a great start to their new year!