Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Head Cold

Am feeling under the weather, will post again soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Amazing Thing Friday

I can't take any credit for finding this, my dear friend Ann W. showed this to me last night and I've become obsessed with it. I've already watched it six times. Everything about this works, the kitschy background art, the two very beautiful people in adorable threads, the song, and of course, the ah-mazing hand dancers.
Two celtic dancers when they're not dancing with their hands, these two are adorable.

I can only post this small size so I encourage you to double click the embedded video below to see bigger on YouTube.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Object Orange

I can't take any credit for this whatsoever, I found this on my friend's blog, Jerry. Jerry is a new friend of mine; he's the best tango dancer I've found in Lincoln so far but he only moonlights as that, in real life, he'a an architect with a really cool Web site and blog. Here is a recent post about art students in Detroit who, sick of looking at all the dilapidated houses in the area, decided to paint them bright orange. Find out why by clicking here, I thought it was an awesome story. Thanks Jerry!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photo Phabulous

These made me happy and gave me ideas. That's all. Enjoy Carl Kleiner's work!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All Tango-ed Up

Not the best picture of me ever or anything, but I'm proud of it because it's of my first tango lesson.

Oh my word. I have a new obsession. I am addicted to tango.

I swore I'd never be able to tango. This was based on a humiliating tango lesson during my time living in Buenos Aires—I'd just come from Mexico where I'd finally become a really pretty good salsa/merengue/bachata dancer and I foolishly assumed that the prowess I finally showed for those dances would come through in tango. I was so dead wrong. My partner actually left me on the dance floor partnerless visibly frustrated with my clumsiness. Part of my problem is that I kept pulling away from him as I felt he was skeevily pressing me to him (erm, it's called close-embrace tango...he wasn't skeevy, he was right). I swore off the art then and there and was almost in tears as I sat alone at my table and changed back into my street shoes.

Well, a couple weeks ago I'd left behind my credit card at Sur Tango's salsa night and returned for it Friday evening after first friday art galleries. I grabbed the card, and made to leave but I was mesmerized by the dancers. Cheek to cheek they glided across the floor perfectly mirroring each other, but their feet made rapid, fluid movements that belied their relaxed, unmovable frames above the waist. The girls curled their lovely legs around the men and the men returned the favor by bending her back elegantly. I sighed and was almost out the door when I bumped into a dancer friend who insisted I participate. Despite my (I thought) firm protests, he slipped my purse off my shoulder, firmly backed me onto the dance floor and drew me into his frame so a lesson could begin. He was brilliant and made the movements very doable. I've been going to lessons since and have been loving every second of it, even the awkward ones when I step on or kick my partner during a "castigada".

I honestly didn't think I'd love anything more than salsa and tango still ties with bachata but tango has stolen my heart. I fantasize about it all day at work and look forward to putting on a dress, my suede-soled shoes, and plastering my hair up for an evening of lessons three days a week.

So far I can do the "parada", "carousel", "castigada", front and back "ochos", "bolero", and "hook". It's the leading into these moves I still have trouble following but I'll get there.

Try tango. So far, the best part of all of this is the amazingingly friendly and accepting tango community in Lincoln. They are so eager for me to catch on that they never let me sit out a dance and are patiently giving me tips which I soak up as much as possible.

When I grow up, I want to be a tanguera.

Thanks for indulging this post, I know it's pretty focused on me, me, me but I am just bursting with enthusiasm over this.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Things to Tell You:

1) I love classic literature. LOVE it. Like, pretty sure I ruined a couple promising dates by waxing poetic about the brilliance of Jane Eyre's caracter or the deep perversion of Dracula, or arguing that Gatsby is the most tragic individual in literature since Hamlet. I even loved The Scarlet Letter while my classmates scoffed! However, I have finally determined (with 100 pages to go, mind you) that Anna Karenina is nothing but a verbose doorstop. This massive tome was NOT worth my time. I know it's this multifaceted Russian commentary covering everything from religion, sportsmanship, politics, industrial revolution, to infidelity, parenthood, and sex (and well it should, comprising a whopping 864 pages--only Harry Potter can get away with that much heft).

Seriously, I didn't find any particularly redeeming qualities about this book. No real take away quotes, thoughts on life, none of it. I am not totally sorry I read it but I will be much more selective in the next Russian novel I take up. Giving it minus one star out of five. Blech.

2) On the upside, Mumford & Sons music has given me new-found hope in new alternative/indie music (so has Florence + The Machine, I guess) but check out these fabulous songs! WARNING: "Little Lion Man" has the f-bomb in it over and over--not in a totally crass way, I think the group was trying to add edge to their folk song with the expletive and I forgive the gimick for its fabulous sound.

3) NPR.org is the I Ching. If you haven't messed around on that site lately, you're genuinely missing out. I discover my best music on "All Songs Considered" (though I would skip the most recent show and try this post), get my literary snack from "The Writer's Almanac" and have been known to listen to up to 12 past episodes at a time just to catch up. Morning Edition is the best news site you will find period (BBC is a close second). Don't forget my post on StoryCorps
I posted (and probably made you cry, again, sorry!) in August.

Enjoy the latter two, skip Anna Karenina.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Fall is here and I can prove it:
1) First Husker game (and win) of the season was on Saturday. Sorry we wiped the floor with you, W. Kentucky, can't say you weren't warned!
2) Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Salted Carmel Hot Chocolates are at Starbucks. I've only indulged in the first so far but the second promises to be almost as heart-stoppingly delicious and bad for me as the first so it will happen soon.
3) Squashes are starting to show up at the Farmer's Market and the first crop of apples is sneaking into the grocery store and consequently being swarmed by apple loves (I got the last two honeycrisps on the stand last week).
4) I'm already getting the "winter reading itch" and plotting the books I'll read in Winter 2010/2011
5) The weather has necessitated runs back into the house for cardigans and sweaters
6) My favorite clothing Web sites have been advertising shooties (booties + shoes)

7) Peach pies are beginning to give way to apple pies soon (though, the peach pies were fantastic, if I may say so myself—I acheived a lattice top this year too).

8) I've revived my ghost story I'm writing and it's coming together plot wise—now I just have to write the dang thing.
9) Previews for scary movies are coming out; I tell myself I'll go to all of them but really end up just renting one of the not-so-scary ones six months later.
10) Halloween candy is out and I bought my mother a bag of mallowcream pumpkins yesterday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

There's No Place Like This: Socotra Island

Socotra is a small Yemeni archipelago of four islands and islets in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Horn of Africa, about 350 kilometers south of the Arabian peninsula. Socotra is one of the most isolated landforms on Earth of continental origin. The archipelago features narrow coastal plains, a limestone plateau with caves, and mountains which rise to 1,525 meters above sea level.

Like the Galapagos Islands, this island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic, i.e. found nowhere else on Earth.

Socotra is home to more than 800 species of plants, some 240 of which are endemic to the island, and there are certainly many more plant species that have yet to be discovered. The climate is harsh, hot and dry, and yet - the most amazing plant life thrives there.

A Dragon’s Blood Tree (Dracaena cinnabari) is seen in front of the Skund mountains on the island of Socotra, Yemen. The tree is so named because any injury to the bark results in a deep red liquid excreting from the scar – compared in the past to the "Blood of Dragons". It's also called the "Dragon Head Tree" since in legends, when brave knights beheaded dragons, they discovered that two grew back in the place of the one, and four grew in place of the two, and so on; this tree looks as if great heads have sprouted from all the primary branches amassing into a big, multi-headed beast.

The branches spread out into the sky and from below appear to hover over the landscape like so many flying saucers... and from above they have a distinct mushroom look.

There is also the Desert Rose (adenium obesium) which looks like nothing so much as a blooming elephant leg.

A Socotran Fig Tree (Dorstenia gigas) with a bizarre swollen trunk that almost has human proportions grows against a limestone rock face on the island of Socotra. The plants are one of over 300 plant species endemic to the island.