Friday, October 23, 2009

Five Great Things Friday

My cheap $10 earbuds look like a chihuahua got to them and outright unsafe as the plastic bits are clumping off (let's hope not in my ear!) so I went online to try to find a quality pair for cheap and here are some of the fun earbuds I found:
Ah-dorable, I'm totally digging this tongue-in-cheek set (I wonder if the angel side is louder??).

Too punky for me, but I do love these.

Will these make my ears fat?

I am LOVIN' these! But at $52 a pop, they're over my budget by about $32. I like these best, but I wouldn't say no to...

5)...these! YES PLEASE! For someone who doesn't have pierced ears, I'm thinking some genuine diamond ear bling is still within reach thanks to these babies.
Here's another pair, these would cost $3k...small price to pay for music, right? Sure.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Five Great Things Friday

Here are five great Web sites I'd never heard of before this week that are super great.
Ever kind of wish you were back in school sitting back and soaking up knowledge? I confess, sometimes I really do. I love a good lecture (they were sometimes few and far between in certain college subjects) and at this Web site, I can pretend I attend Yale, Princeton, Harvard, or MIT by sitting in on these classes by the best in their respective fields. After all, what's the difference between a Stanford student and me if we're getting the same lesson? I paid a whole lot less (i.e., nothing)!
I live and die for, however, every time I first glimpse the site I always thing "Huh, they still haven't prettied this up, huh?," not quite so. At you get all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a site so widely used and loved and it convenientely eliminates the old posts and gives you more surfing options in the side bars. You'll never craigslist again after visiting their site like this.
In case I haven't made it abundantly clear, is everything and the kitchen sink. Inspirational, entrepreneurial, home-grown, handmade bliss in a Web site. I admit I haven't purchased anything from the site yet but browsing makes me so dang happy I hardly need to thus far. Not like yo mama's craft fair, this site sells everything from one-dollar finger felt finger puppets, to mid-century pristine condition furniture; priceless antiques; one-of-a-kind diamond wedding rings; huge oil paints by soho artists, anything beautiful a person can make with his/her hands is here. Plus I love that they share the love and talent with instructional videos on the blog and interviews with the artists.
I'm proud (a little overly so) to say that I'd discovered Pandora about three years ago before it accumulated much praise (and before commercials filled every other minute of listening...ah I miss those days). I have not found its replacement yet, but I did find a fun site called Like most streaming music sites, it's better if you're a member (not that I would know b/c I'm too cheap to spend the cash, but this site generously reminds you at every click that it's better if you pay). Anyway, this site works like a mood ring for music; tell it your favorite song or artist of the moment and tell it whether you're feeing calm, positive, dark, or energetic and it will match music to your preferences. Give it a whirl, it's better than pandora commercial pandamonium.
This is what living in the 21st century is all about. Period. This is science fiction. You type in whatever you have in your fridge and this site comes up with recipes for what you've got. This is the best thing since sliced bread, end of story. I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

Hope you enjoy these, if you end up using one, let me know what you think. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something in Commune

After living alone for almost two years now (is it possible it's been that long?), I think I'd be amiable to the idea of living the kind of life style the folks in the video below have created. I absolutely love people, but it's not always easy to get along with those individuals who aren't my particular cup of tea. But I'm learning to look for the good things in them rather than the bad (thanks, Lindsey—you make me a better woman).

My pastor did a sermon not long ago saying that community wasn't real community unless it had people who were off beat, annoying, or even volitile; these people bring things out in others that wouldn't otherwise be seen/known.
He told the story of The Inklings, a literary discussion society in the 1940s that included famous Christian thinkers three of whom included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. When Charles died, Jack (C.S. Lewis' nickname) mourned his friend sincerely but confessed to be privately pleased to finally have Tollers (J.R.R. Tolkien's nickname) all to himself and not have to share him. However, after a few visits with his friend, Jack discovered that rather than having more of Tollers, he had, he was surprised to learn, less of him. For only Charles could tell a Charles joke and make Tollers laugh a certain way, Jack couldn't wring out certain convictions from Tollers the way Charles could, nor could Jack inspire the same sort of discussions Charles may have conjured up provoking a one-of-a-kind response from Tollers. Life wasn't the same without "the extra."

So I've been trying to appreciate the "extras" in my life and not despise their strange habits, loose tongues, careless comments, and idiosyncracies...besides, who knows? More than likely I'm someone's extra, and if I am, I must say that I am admirably tolerated.

I liked this video exemplifying communal living taken to an extreme but beautifully, I think. For a place this gorgeous, I think I could pretty much put up with anyone though!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Five Great Things Friday

Today I'm recommending five great Halloween reads. I feel I'm especially well suited to do this as I am a weenie when it comes to the scary stuff and, therefore, won't be recommending anything too errie or dark.

1) Dracula by Bram StokerI just finished this book and I am obsessed with it! It was so very different than I thought it would be and even hotter than I expected. Recommendation: read "sex" into pretty much everything that transpires between the humans and the vamps and you won't even believe this thing got published at the turn of the century! Well done, Victorians, well done. NOTE: If I'd had my choice and a little extra cash to burn, I would've read Jae Lee's illustrated version of the book, (its cover is seen here in the picture); it's magnificently done.

2) Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyPrepare yourself, this is a slow read but the rewards are great. You have to wade through a lot of mental meandering (not all of which is absolutely necessary) but you'll notice as you're wandering around the rich, well-written prose that all the sudden stuff starts happening. This is a wonderful science fiction piece, in its essence that was so far ahead of its time it's not even funny. If you want to really do your homework, check out the circumstances under which this story of a modern Prometheus was written.

3) In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteWhat's spookier than a true story? This is the story of a cold blooded murder of the Clutter family in Kansas. Super, who wants to read that? Consider the author. Truman Capote had just had raving success with his short novel Breakfast at Tiffany's and wasn't being taken seriously by his cohorts in the NYC literary society so he and his bestie Harper Lee (of To Kill a Mockingbird) headed to the midwest so Capote could write his harrowing piece about the grisly murder that forever changed the town of Holcomb. The book is spooky on many levels, the stories of the murderers before they committed the crime, the crime itself, the town's reaction, and Capote himself as he observes the whole event cooly, envoking emotion at will and arguably exploiting the murderers (they're just a couple of killers, right? What else are they good for besides wringing the story out of them, it's not like they're people...).

4) Wicked by Gregory MaguireI actually really enjoyed this book, for all its hype. It's a lot more twisted than its on-stage counterpart and it's an adult read with regards to language and vocabulary (keep the dictionary by your side!). This book makes you feel like The Wizard of Oz conspired to only give you part of a much richer, more politically charged story.

5) The Turn of the Screw by Henry JamesThis little read is freaky! It's short, so it packs a punch; one of the original psychological thrillers, this book is scary (or is it all in your head?). It was brilliantly interpreted for film and renamed The Innocents starring Deborah Kerr, HIGHLY recommended even if you don't make time to read the book.

Other good Halloween Reads:
For a shorty, read The Lifted Veil by George Eliot
The play, The Crucible is absolutely fantastic by Arthur Miller
If you want to play it really tame, check out Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and get wrapped up in this gothic romance.
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter is a great collection of retold fairy tale stories that are quite twisted, don't read if you're not a little weird yourself.
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is always good
Finally, read at least one Frank Peretti novel in your life; this Christian thriller author manages his craft if not brilliantly then at least with skill as a writer balancing spirituality with the horror genre. When you contemplate the spiritual world, the two are not so distantly related as we might like to think.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Five Great Things Friday

I'm never as homesick as I am in the autumn here in San Diego. The mornings are brisk but toast up to the 70s or 80s by noon, no cloudy days, no wind, few changing trees, and San Diegans generally revel in their still-constant fair weather (go figure).
I miss wind too. Big gusty, stingy wind that makes you grateful to be indoors with a hot cuppa.
So, today, I celebrate five great things about San Diego to remind me why everyone and their boyfriend wants to live here:
1) I love the military presence, although it is a grim reminder that we are a nation at war whether we act like it or not, I feel safe when helicopters hover, indestructable ships float in our harbor, and men in uniform guard the city.

2) The big blue bridge to Coronado is a beautiful feat of architecture and I almost can't keep my eyes on the road whenever I'm driving by it.

3) I love the Mexican influence in the city, only thrity short minutes from Tijuana, and I've never had better Mexican food in my life. Here's Alison from her visit last year, we were in a traditional tin shop where you find these glorious stars so indicative of Mexican decor.

4) I drive by the San Diego Mormon Tabernacle every day (it's simultaneously creepy and beautiful...doesn't it look like it's made of paper or foam board?), ironically, I don't have my own photo of it—I had to go to a mormon Website to get one and the site wouldn't let me go "back," "forward" or click out of it which I thought was pretty funny. Yikes!

This thing looks BUCK when it's foggy, it's absolutely haunting.
5) The sunsets here aren't too shabby. They're as beautiful as those in NE, but they're just totally different.

Home is where the heart is, and I left mine in Nebraska, but I guess I can stand San Diego a little longer.