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Showing posts from January, 2010

Making Mix CDs - My Favourite Albums

Feeling the pressure to make good mix CDs that introduce musically-savvy friends to new music, I'm browsing my library quite thoroughly. There are a lot of individual tracks I love, and then there are the artists that have whole albums I love.

These are the albums. Some old, some new. Some I found on my own, but mostly other people introduced me to their favourites. Either way, they've become my favourites and I think everyone should have them.


Mellow/Acoustic
Owl City - Maybe I'm Dreaming (thanks, Jonathan)
William Fitzsimmons - Goodnight - and really, everything he's done
Great Lake Swimmers - Ongiara (via Wendy!)
Damien Rice - O (from Amy Lee)
Headwater - Lay You Down (Laura, of course)
Sufjan Stevens - Avalanche, Seven Swans
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (Alasdair)

Rock/Indie Pop
The Killers
- Sawdust
Florence + the Machine
- Lungs (Alasdair, I think)
Anberlin - Cities, Never Take Friendship Personal, New Surrender (JC)
Jack's Mannequin - Glass Passenger (Manuela)
Mu…

Open Email: Follow-up Thoughts on Last Night

Since I already shared this conversation with you, I thought I'd modify & share the follow-up email I just sent my friends. I want my blog and my real life to be on the same page, having the same conversations...

Hey world,

I hope that Friday is treating you all well. I am having a much better (and more productive day) than yesterday.

This morning I told my roommate about our conversation last night - particularly what "Girl With Insight" said about boys needing girls for friends where girls don't need boys in the same way...and she made a comment that I thought was wise. I forget how she phrased it exactly, but essentially that just because we may not need boys as friends doesn't mean boys should either date us or get out of our lives. That's unfair and selfish of us to expect or ask.

I know we ranted a little last night (and sometimes those rants are needed...), but I know that really, I don't want my life to be only about the selfish relationships that…

This Weekend.

Friday:
Read my books.
Make mix CD for Alasdair.
Make mix CD for Steph.
Watch Numb3rs & text Jesskah about it.
Maybe catch up on other TV I missed this week...

Saturday:
Sleep in past 8am.
Gym with Lynsey.
Help Amelia find glasses that fit her face.
Coffee & chocolates with Terra at Cocoa Nymph.
Babysit adorable baby.
Dance to celebrate some birthdays.

Sunday:
Sleep.
Get up early.
Nursery.
Church.
Lunch.
Baby Shower.
Dinner & Bubble Tea with the roommates.
Sit in my room and talk to nobody.
Sleep.

Night Cap

Post small-group conversations are the best. Tonight the girls and boys went separate ways, and we ended up talking about (you guessed it) boys. It's fun to have these conversations for the first time...


Girl With Insight: The thing about girls is that we don't need men for friends. We have that emotional intimacy with other girls. We want men for dating. But men - they don't have those deep relationships with each other, so they look for that with women. They want women to bear their souls to, even when they don't want to date.
The Rest of Us: Hmmmmmmmm.


Girl: ...yeah, so I don't want coffee dates for friend sh**! I want coffee dates for dates!
Me: Uh, did you just say "friend sh**?
Girl: What? No! FriendSHIP!
All of us: That's not what we heard.
Me: I kind of wish you had said friend sh**...


On the bus ride home, I listened to Mumford & Sons. I'm officially addicted. They tug at me. Who knew the banjo could be so beautiful?

My Sister, The Monster

When I talked to Jake, my sister also said hello.

She is sick, and her voice sounds like a cross between a five year-old girl and the monster under my bed. It's quite frightening.

Then she emailed me this photo, and I laughed out loud.
That's right. It's a tiny purple platypus in the window of a cruise ship.

The lovely thing about families is that these sorts of jokes last for years. Literally. Since we shared a room in the old house.

But here's the problem, Sarah: I am leaving in 2 weeks and don't have him here!!!

"Grampie's Muscles Are Like a Rooster"

So said Jake, in the midst of his muscle-flexxing show via Skype.





"Look at my muscles, Aunt Beth!"
"Those aren't muscles! Those are ribs!"
Yes, I have the world's funniest nephew. He's also adorable and scrawny. But that's okay when you are two.

More Books (X = 7 now)

I thought of more books last night that should have made the list (as I lay in bed, sleepless yet again).

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I hated this book in high school. But there is one scene, when Piggy and Ralph (I think) are sitting on the far side of the island watching the ocean together and wondering if they'll ever get home. It is incredibly poignant. And this is a powerful book about the nature of man.
- perhaps this one could replace Heart of Darkness for all the haters out there *cough*Laura *cough.*

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This one wins over 1984 for best dystopian novel. A society whose calendar is based on the invention of the car, who medicates to avoid negative feelings, and has replaced religion with group orgies. And then one man visits the "savages." Most notable character is the boy who quotes Shakespeare. This is a gripping novel.

The Friends

Some of you may have figured out by now that I really like my friend Nadine.

It's true. We met in university and were kind of friends. Then she graduated. Then I graduated. Then we read each other's blogs. Now we're blog BFFs.

Earlier today, I found this site. It made me laugh. I shared it with Nadine. Then she blogged it. And now I'm blogging it.

I shared it with Nadine because of this picture, which clearly applies to us.Now go laugh at everything else edward monkton created.

Wednesday's Word: Fave Books

My friend Kirsten just blogged a list of her "Top X Books, where x = an integer between 1 and 100."

I concur with her that it is exceedingly difficult to select only 5 books to recommend. But if I were forced to choose 5 fiction books to blindly and fully endorse, I would choose:

Heart of Darknessby Joseph Conrad. A novella on the colonization of Africa, it is dark and thought-provoking. The movie Apocalypse Now is an adaptation of this book set during the Vietnam War.

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry. A novella about a little prince from another planet who meets an aviator in the middle of the desert. Beautiful and touching. Read in French, if possible.

Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt. This play fictionalizes the story of Sir Thomas More, a martyr for his faith in 16th century England. There is a terribly slow-moving film version, but it's best just to read the play. Lots to learn from it on being a person of honour and heeding your conscience.

My Name is Asher…

Two'sday: Books on the Go

I have two books in mid-read. I'd like to get them both finished before Scotland (2 weeks and 2 days!!!), but I think that is a bit ambitious.


Book #1: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It is the Bollywood of novels. I'm 300 pages in, and have another 1100 pages to go. It is endearing. It is fascinating. It has a cast of at least forty. My friend Amelia lent it to me, because she loves India. And an Indian boy. Since I love her and am beginning to love India through a wide assortment of friends, I have committed to this book. The review on the front cover, from "The Times" says, "Make time for it. It will keep you company for the rest of your life.' (provided you can finish it before you die)

Book #2:How to Reach Your Full Potential for God by Charles Stanley. Thomas Nelson Publishers gives out free books if you promise to review it on your blog & a sales-site (aka, amazon.com). So I picked the most pretentious title. If you're going to promise something …

Conversations

Today was full of conversations. Some mine, some overheard.


Friend: oooh, the nose piercing! I haven't seen it in person yet.
Me:(modeling nose piercing, if such a thing is possible) So? (in peppy voice) Do I look bad-ass?
Friend: (looks at me strangely and laughs)
Me: What!?
Friend: You're wearing a sweater with pink owls on it!
Me: No, the sweater is pink. The owls are...dark green? (looking at sleeve)
Friend: Green!? They're black!
Me:(looking closer) Maybe, yeah, sure...they're black.
Friend: So you're bad-ass AND you're colour blind...


Friend: I give you two thumbs up!
Me: Wait a second...you gave me two thumbs up for my Chinese accent, which you LAUGHED AT.
Friend: Oh, those were sarcastic thumbs up. I thought you knew that...


Stranger 1: (ranting about the injustice of a cheater who doesn't work as hard as her)
Stranger 2:(calmly) I understand that you're upset about this, but getting worked up isn't helping anything. And you're upsetting me. Nothing h…

Sometimes I Sing on Sundays Too

I have had a lot of conversations in the last few days. A lot of them have been big. And then I have lots more to think through. I like this in my life. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming though, and then I seek a little respite in music. The following are all tried & true hits in my music library.


Carlyle Lake - Sufjan Stevens

Mmmmm, Sufjan.


Electric Bird - Sia



Such Great Heights - The Postal Service

Hooray for freckles!


and another version of the same song...


Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine

Which is better - acoustic or full rock sound?


Cemeteries of London - Coldplay

Mmmmmmmmmm, Coldplay.



Who Let You Go? - The Killers

I often ask myself this very question...


Time After Time - Eva Cassidy

Can't you picture this in your head while she sings?


Look After You - The Fray

This is one of my favourite love songs. It gets me every time, as soon as he says, "If I don't say this now, I will surely break..."


Stop This Train - John Mayer

This is how I pray some days..."I'm on…

Back to Basics

Last night, I lay in bed for over an hour, unable to fall asleep. I partially blame my friend Amelia, who fed me caffeinated tea late in the afternoon. However, it was the third night in a row that I was awake into the night, so I don't know if I can fully blame her.

As I lay in bed, I wrote emails, planned my day, trouble-shooted (trouble-shot?) a few different decisions I need to make, and wondered why there isn't yet a way to go directly from thought to computer. Why can't I compose a blog entry or an email or a task-list in my head and then have it appear on my screen? In my current reality, I end up doing these tasks twice, and forgetting things the second round through.

le sigh.

I also decided to kabosh my uber-structured approach to blogging. It was good to try out, but this much structure stresses me OUT. And then I don't write at all, since what I want to write about doesn't stick within "the guidelines." I am going to keep the Sunday Starters'…

Blind Photography

On recent Air Canada flights, I have twice run into a fascinating glitch in their seatback personal-TV system. Selecting a movie from their list of options, I began watching it only to realize, ten minutes in, that this was not, in fact, the movie I wanted to watch.

Earlier this month, I wanted to watch A Single Man, starring Colin Firth - and ended up watching a subtitled film in which a Jewish wife stabs an old man that she believes to be an evil spirit. I turned it off, thinking It's like the horror version of Fiddler on the Roof....

The first time this movie-mix-up happened, I was ten minutes in to what I thought was Proof, trying to figure out why I hadn't yet seen Gwyneth Paltrow or Anthony Hopkins before I realized they were never going to show. By then, I was hooked and fascinated - and convinced that I was watching a very young Russell Crowe. Which, in fact, I was. In the 1991 Australian film, Proof.

The basic premise of Proof (starring Russell Crowe) is that of a blind …

And the Rain Boots

Putting Pen to Paper

This afternoon was the first meeting of our newly formed writers' club. It makes me happy to be back in some sort of community where I can talk about writing, where I can encourage others to write, and I am encouraged to write too.

We started by reading and responding to the poem "January" by WCW.

This line:

"I am bound more to my sentences the more you batter at me to follow you."

inspired this poem:


You can prod
probe or
problematize

You can deride
deny or
desecrate me

But I am bound to beauty

And your fingers will fail
to finish the fight
for my heart
my hope
my words
my thoughts

Saturday Sing Along: Song Association

Remember that game (or psychiatrist gimmick?) of "word association"? I say, "Peanut!" and you say, "Butter!" etc etc. Well, tonight we're going to play a game of "song association."

This morning, when I was contemplating a tattoo in lieu of my piercing (which is still in, so no tattoos, Mom), I can't believe it and don't know how, but this song popped into my mind:

Please do not watch this video. It's as terribly cheesy as the song itself, and as low-quality as the sound. But this is the only video I could find of this song. Please forgive me. For the crappiness, and for the fact that I can sing the chorus.


That brilliant masterpiece is by Plus One. I was having trouble finding it on Youtube because I thought it was by Jake.

This next song is by Jake. (here's to you, Nadine.)


That's right. You could be the one!

Speaking of cheesy music I listened to in the 90s. I owned this cassette, and not gonna lie, I LOVED IT!


The Brothers g…

Friday Vari-e-tay: Inside My Head

Clearly, daily blogging is a wishful thought.

Other thoughts from today:

Salt-water solution up the sinuses: uncomfortable but effective.

How can I stay inside and out of the rain today? And tomorrow? And the next day? Or I need to buy rain boots. I think it's time I bought rain boots.

What if I put it in my suitcase? Does it count then?

I was awake at 3am on Wednesday night with that song in my head...what was it again? Oh yeah.

Thanks, Sarah for bringing it at karaoke!(don't tell me you don't want his shirt!)

My desk is a disaster.

I need to write thank you cards. And a letter. And watch I Am Legend.

I double booked myself. Again.

When it rains, it pours. Literally. And figuratively.

Oh!! I am way behind on TV. Bones, The Mentalist, The Office - I haven't seen any of them this week. And am I going to keep watching Better off Ted and The Big Bang Theory? I think that five shows is too many. Something's gotta go. I'm a better person when I watch less TV.

I think my nose pi…

Mondays Mean More: This Year's Theme

I'm not great with resolutions or goal-setting. It stresses me out because I get overly focused on the task at hand and beat myself up if/when I don't accomplish it. I've been this way for a long time - I've got a list from an old journal entitled "Things I want to be." The last item on the list of fifteen adjectives is PERFECT. I still remember writing the list and wishing that I was essentially a different person than I am.

To over-compensate, as an adult I set goals that are so low and easy to reach that they're pretty much non-goals. Which may be less helpful than having too many impossible goals. But I think I'm finally finding my middle ground. Instead of goals or resolutions (although I do both of those in small ways, like when I decided to join a gym or go six weeks without using the word "busy"), I mark my years with themes.

For 2008-2009, the theme that I would say dominated my life was rest. I learned (and applied) a lot about the r…

Birthday Week: Wrap-Up

Summary: It's been good. Less hype than I'd started out with, but definitely felt cared for and appreciated. Highlights include 2 slumber parties in 2 nights with my dream-world-future-roommates, who don't know each other (yet).

It's amazing what singing can do for the mood. If tonight hadn't been my own party, I might have canceled - I just wasn't feeling it at 7:45. But by 8:45, with mic in hand and friends clapping...I was glad I'd stuck with the plan. And now, at 11:45, I am hoarse. I sang (off-key and enthusiastically) for a good two hours. I laughed. I grooved. I had a great time. Pictures to follow. If they're amicable. Thanks, ladies!

Here is a sampler of songs sung tonight:


















Phew, I'm tired again just thinking of it all.
Night, folks.

Birthday Week: Day #3

Okay, so maybe the celebrations aren't happening every day...but the rest of the week is looking good.

Tomorrow I fly back to T., and my lovely host for the night will hug me and we will eat cake together and talk. Which we would do if it weren't my birthday, but this doesn't matter. On Friday (the actual birthday) I will be in all-day meetings, although there are a few people coming who I'm confident will wish me a happy day. And on Saturday - oh, on Saturday! I will come back to Vancouver and there will be karaoke galore. Happiness will be mine.

I have never made such a big deal of my birthday before. It's kind of fun. And yet tiresome.

Tonight's dilemma: do I bring the cards & gift that I've already received back to Ontario just so I can open them on the actual birthday? Do I cheat and open them tomorrow before I leave? Or do I wait until I get back on Saturday?

Birthday Week: Day #2

Nothing really exciting in birthday-land (although I did get treated to dinner and an impromptu dance party; I'll just pretend that was Simon & Ali's way of celebrating my birthday), so I'll follow up on yesterday's link with a synopsis on year 24.

It was a good year. To summarize:
I met a porn star. He played a song for me on his harmonica (and no, that's not a euphemism. He really did).I finished my job well on campus.I made some friends who are very different from me. And I like that about them.
I traveled overseas and led a team of people on a six week cultural exchange. It was stretching and uncomfortable. I learned a handful of phrases in a new language and used some French. I cried. I laughed. I loved it. (I want to go back)I went to a bunch of weddings. I smiled and hugged and danced and celebrated for lovely friends who were found by fantastic boys. I drove eighteen hours roundtrip for one of them.I hung out with my family.I went to Saskatoon and gorged o…

Birthday Week: Day #1

New Year's is my one-week pre-birthday marker. On NYE, I think about my birthday.* I wonder Do I want to make a big deal out of it this year, or tell no one and pretend its a normal day? I have this debate every year, and it seems this year I've landed on BIG DEAL. I think it's because 25 is a "milestone" year, and for the second time, I'm not wishing I was three years older.

Today, I began to celebrate my birthday. The week of fantastic-ness (I'm assuming it will last) started with a non-date date, courtesy of my younger-but-bigger brother, Jonathan. He transited for an hour or more to take me for dinner. He brought my parents' gift, which they had subtly sent with him when we flew back from Ontario. He let me choose the restaurant. And he was a perfect gentleman.

If I were to go on an actual date, I would like it to go something like tonight did. Laughter. Serious conversation. Delicious food (Burgoo, I never tire of you!). An errand run to the grocer…

Sunday Starters

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep up with a different 'theme' for blogging every day. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I hate it. But what I do know is that Sundays are no longer Fundays. (well, in reality, I'm sure they still will be). Instead, I want to do this:

I start a sentence, and we all fill it in. However we want. There is only one rule: You have to play the game too.


Example:
Happiness is...
...a warm puppy
...time with my family
...a myth
...knowing that in the end, he/she's got my back.
...impossible to pin down.



This week's starter:
When I was six, I thought...

Saturday Sing Along: Recent Songs

Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

This is my 2.5 year old nephew's favourite song on Rockband. He even knows the chorus (he also likes Hungry Like the Wolf, and Spirit in the Sky)


Bad Reputation - Joan Jett

It was fun to sing this with my brothers backing me on Rockband. And it seems fitting, even if it's not entirely true.


Simple Love Song - Hello Kelly

It's a catchy love tune that gets stuck in my head.


Forever - Chris Brown

I resisted for SO LONG. But now this song will forever be linked to New Year's Eve 2009/10. Probably the first & last time I will do any sort of dance in front of 400+ people.


Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus

Opinions on her personal life aside, her songs are catchy. And as discussed on NYE, the way she name drops other current artists (& hangs a giant American flag in the video) means it'll be around as a marker of this generation for awhile.

Okay, I have to say it: when I was just-seventeen, I was getting ready to finish high school. I was qu…

Friday's Vari-e-tay: 2009 Movies

I know it's a new year, and I am just coming back from a big conference and haven't blogged since Christmas...BUT let's start with the important things, which in this case is an old draft that came to mind when I had the chance to watch Adam on my flight back to Vancouver.

Movies from '09 That I Want to See:

It's Complicated
The Princess and the Frog
The Blind Side
Up
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Invictus
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Up in the Air
The Informant
Where the Wild Things Are
Whip It
Star Trek
Up!
Precious
A Single Man

You may read this list and ask, Beth, what have you been doing all year? These are ALL the good movies of this year (except (500) Days of Summer).

Which is mostly true. (500) Days of Summer is the only good movie I remember seeing in the theatre this year. Wait. Make that last year!

Then on today's flight, I watched Adam. And I quite liked it for the following reasons:

it is about a girl named BethBeth loves The Little PrinceBeth loves the night skyBeth wants to …