Friday, June 17, 2011

It Wouldn't Be Summer Without:

1) A summer blockbuster—make it Super 8 so you can relive the magic of the first time you sat through E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. When you put the creator of Lost with Spielberg's genius, the result is a film that's as charming as it is suspenseful. Props to both for presenting an alien we haven't seen in theaters yet (as a total alien-movie nerd, I was pretty sure I'd seen them all). Definitely see it in the theater to maximize the suspenseful jumps and nostalgia that will ensue (preferably with a fantastic date to hang on to for the scary parts).

2) Peter and I will be hitting up the farmer's market this weekend with coffee in hand. In the age of bazillions of recipes available online, I can easily justify buying green tomatoes (to be made into fried green tomatoes, of course), jalapeno jam (for glazing salmon), and Japanese eggplant (um...jury's still out). It's actually tradition that I bring home a full Greek meal of soup, spanakopita, dolmadakia, and baklava whenever I go so we'll be reliving that.
The downtown one is getting almost completely outta control—if I want to buy candles, barrettes for a small child, and baked doggie treats I'll go there but Peter and I prefer the low-key, dogs-allowed, granola-eater's market on Sunday morning off of Old Cheney. God love the hippies!
I love to haul home big bouquets of mustard greens, fresh feta from the dairy, multi-colored peppers (purple's my favorite), and spicy radishes. Peter and I always try to out shop the other by finding the most exotic food and though he usually wins, I put up a pretty good fight.

3) Curling up on the couch with an ice-cold limeade(I made up my own concoction by squeezing a pile of fresh limes, making a muddle of basil and sugar water, and adding cucumber slices) and starting a summer read while it's storming outside. This year it's Moby Dick.

4) An art project. I haven't decided what this will be but I'm open to ideas. I have a few possibilities but so far lack the weekend during which to execute them. Last year it was learning how to knit once and for all.

5) Weddings! I luuuuurv weddings, what's not to love? You get to watch two people in love commit to one another forever, followed by food and dancing. The dancing is obviously the best part, but still. I can't get enough of weddings and I'm proud to tell you that it's not b/c I'm taking notes for my own. I'd be very okay if that were a long while off. The only thing I know about my someday wedding is that it will be comfortable, easy going, with the best food ever and lots and lots of dancing. I took this shot during the lovely Leslie Davila's wedding last summer (GREAT wedding) of The Test Nest.

6) Long morning jogs/walk with lots of sweat, long cool shower, and lunch outside with a friend is the perfect way to start any day.

9) Fresh flowers from Daddy's garden (they smell best when they're just brought inside all warm from the sun).

8) Summer music is absolutely one of the sweetest things about summer. Most of these are old, some are new, some are "what's old is new again":

Mumford and Sons — "The Cave"

I can't believe it, Fleet Foxes did it again with — "Helplessness Blues"

Sorry for no video, but this song is the sound of my first summer in San Diego. Totally under celebrated is Jacob Miller's — "Charlie Brown's Lament"

Not sure how new this is, but it's new to me as of this week and I can NOT sit still when that guitar gets goin'! The Wooden Birds — "Two Matchsticks" The vocalist sounds identical to that of Death Cab for Cutie, any relation?

Oh Animal Collective led by Panda Bear's Noah Lennox, you have my heart —"Summertime Clothes" (don't miss "My Girls" and "Brother Sport")

This was summer 2009 for me, The Temper Trap's — "Sweet Disposition" thanks to the movie 500 Days of Summer

Hey Rosetta! — "The New Goodbye"

If you haven't heard of Karmin yet, you have now. I'm a little obsessed with her rendition of "Look at me Now" originally by Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes

Friday, June 3, 2011

Long Time No Post

I tell others that successful blogs are like pets; if you don't feed them, they die.

The good news is, I don't have a "successful" blog by anyone's standards, I just have a lovely parking spot on the internet for all the books, artists, projects, and ideas that inspire me.

The next project is on hold; I was trying to create some blocks of time that haven't been and continue to be unavailable to me that I need to make it happen but I'm still stoked about it and it will happen, just not right now.

Until then, I'm back and will be posting regularly (at least as regularly as I used to).

Here are some items since I last posted:

1) Read Hunger Games, it's fine, not spectacular but a really easy summer romp. The movie next year should be entertaining though they picked a really odd director for such an action-packed story—Gary Ross, the guy who did Pleasantville (great movie), Big (yeah, the one from the '80s), Seabiscuit, and Dave...we shall see.

2) Reading The Remains of the Day a poor choice to read simultaneously because Ishiguro's prose can easily outsing any other contemporary voice in writing as it is, let alone a tween author. It's a beautiful novel and I'm savoring it but will have to finish it by book club on Monday. I'm hosting and because the book's all about a butler I'm having everyone dress in black and white and I'll be serving a traditional English meal at Meg Manor.

3) I've decided to never buy wrapping paper ever again. I'm just going to buy huge rolls of brown paper and dress them up in creative ways so I can save money and customize each package for the recipient. "Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things..."

4) I plan to photograph Lincoln more this summer than ever before and how can I help myself? The city is dressed up for farmers market, Jazz in June, First Fridays, and all the doors to all my favorite local haunts stand propped open and inviting. I hate the humidity but I love love love summer.

5) I've been cooking a lot more lately and I'm going to be cooking some delectibles from my wonderful friend's blog, The Test Nest. I've also been commissioned to make a new logo for the blog so I'll be working on that very soon—I'm pretty excited. Recent forays into cooking include a white chocolate bread pudding with fresh berry sauce, down-home beef stew with thyme and a whole bottle of shiraz, and strawberry rhubarb pie from scratch.

More later but for now that's what I've got. If, and I don't flatter myself that there are probably more than two of you, you followed my blog up until I stopped posting there for a while, my apologies and thanks for hangin' tight!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I have decided on a new project.

As the title of this post indicates, it's called ONEinSEVENforSIX. It's a lot different from the last one.

Details soon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Reading

Delicious thunderstorm outside today—the kind where the sky provides a dark blue backdrop to the budding trees whose new leaves look almost neon green and the pink buds fuchsia; thunder growls and lightning answers in broad flashes.

If I weren't at work now, I'd be in bed, resting a hot mug of coffee on my sternum and using the other hand to hold up one of the following books against my knees (I'm currently reading/starting the following books):

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir —Elna Baker

This book is like the Mormon answer to Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz, only cheekier. I haven't laughed out loud at a book in a long time but Baker has cracked me up multiple times with her funny memoir. A lovely little chick lit romp (but it's a memoir so it's okay).

This Is Where I Leave You —Jonathan Tropper
Don't know, haven't started it but I'm very excited about this dysfunctional family dramedy. And it already has two things going for it: it starts with a sex scene (so my other book clubbers have told me—I think they were trying to warn me as I'm perceived as the most naive member of the group (rightly so)) and I like the cover design.

The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales —Peter Rollins

Peter Rollins' talks have been rocking my world. He's a self-termed pyrotheologian promoting the idea that what we need is more doubters of God and fewer believers of God. He makes the point that one can fill stadiums with "believers" but getting people to doubt and ask intelligent questions about their faith rather than following their feelings is what will fortify and grow individual and corporate faith. Anyway, this is a tiny book of parables he wrote and I've only read one so far and I plan to read them slowly (which he encourages in the introduction of the book).

The Holiness of God —R.C. Sproul

Mum made me read a chapter out loud to her the other day. I had just used three curse words during a work vent and I think she was worried about the well being of my soul. I flipped through the chapter and saw that it was a good 15 pages. I said "no way, we'll read a few pages then you can read the rest yourself." Fifteen pages later I set the book down and told her "we should do this more often." I forgot how much I appreciate Sproul's noncondescending take on theology and how much he crams into a page. Plus, discussing faith with my Mum is the best. She brings the angsty 20-something feelings I have together with her years of study and wisdom to make for great discussion.

Moby Dick —Herman Melville
Harry selected this read and we're both going to read it before the end of 2011.
I'm going to finish it first.
That's not saying much though because he basically reads as many pages (600+) easily in a week or two of studying philosophy so I have a clear advantage. We'll see how far it gets me. But can I just say that it's hot to have a boyfriend who suggests we tackle classic literature together?

Disappointment with God —Philip Yancey
A.K.A. most depressing title of a book ever. However, this book is asking three questions that have tortured me for some time:
Is God unfair?
Is God silent?
Is God hidden?
Yancey doesn't sooth with platitudes, misapplied Bible verses, or "remember that time when God was nice to you? That's how you know he's fair, present, and listening..." Rather, Yancey intelligently and critically addresses the three questions above and doesn't ask the reader to agree with him necessarily. He asserts himself confidently through his writing but gives you that lovely author-to-reader trust that says "so there you have it, take it or leave it but thanks for listening."

I also have The Help and The Hunger Games on my bed stand since I'm not above purchasing these books under the pretense that they're for Mom then adopting them as my own once she's read them. The one good thing about popular fiction is that it's fun to share them at the office, among friends, etc.

Read on and feel free to ask for or give recommendations.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Postcard Project: DONE! (No Foolin')

THE GOAL—Send 50 cards in 100 days to 50 different people

THE DEADLINE—June 6, 2011, but finished 65 days early, April 1


TOTAL COST—$14.00 in postage

HOW DO I GET ONE?—You blew it. You can't get one now.
Actually, if still you want a postcard I'll be happy send you one, e-mail me your address at and I'll hook you up—I have some left over cards anyway.

CONCLUSION: I have a new appreciation for postcards. I like that there's no place for a return address on a postcard thus removing the obligation of responding to the sender.
I was very pleasantly surprised to receive some mail in return for the postcards! I didn't expect that and I received about five cards/postcards myself which was pretty great. Thank you, you know who you are!

WHAT NEXT?: Still considering some ideas. The rules are that the next project has to 1) benefit others in some way, 2) be realistic, and 3) be something that costs me effort and/or challenges me in some way. I'm going to take a little break, maybe for a week or so but you'll hear what I've got up my sleeve after that. I know millions are waiting with baited breath so I'll not dally too long.

Thanks to anyone following this project and for receiving my silly little postcards!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Postcard Project: Update #4

There have been 39 postcards sent (only 11 left!) and 68 days to go.

Lately, I've been contemplating doubling the number of postcards I send out. Could I send 100 postcards instead of 50? It would still have to be one postcard per acquaintance so I'd have to think of a lot more people to send to or receive more requests.

Let me know if you would like one at or in the comments below.

NEXT PROJECT: No hints yet other than to say it will be more intense than The Postcard Project. I am taking suggestions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Postcard Project: Update #3

THE GOAL—Send 50 cards in 100 days to 50 different people
THE DEADLINE—June 6, 2011
THE PROGRESS—32 cards sent with 72 days to go
TOTAL COST—$14.00, I'm not counting cost of postcards originally because when something sits in your closet and goes to waste it loses its value. I bought the box of cards I'm using when I was in high school and for the 20 I prematurely sent and had to subsequently resend, I'm using a couple books of postcards I received as gifts. So the $14 comes from postage only.
HOW DO I GET ONE?—Simple, let me know you want one at or in the comments below

Rachel and Kelli, thanks a lot for reading and for your requests, you'll be receiving your cards sometime in the next week.

NEXT PROJECT: No hints yet other than to say it will be more intense than The Postcard Project. If you have any ideas for a project, I'm very impressionable and will probably be inclined to listen then act on any submission you might have.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Songs

I had some help finding some good music for spring this week and was introduced to the following gems, I hope you enjoy them!

Band of Horses—"Is There a Ghost" (thanks Tiffanie Jurey)

The Civil Wars—"Falling," this one is so sad but so beautiful.

Daylights—"I Hope This Gets to You"—supposedly written for some girl and this guy hopes it will get to her virally and depends on viewers to get it to her. Gimmick to promote the piece? Maybe; doesn't change the fact that it's a great song with imaginative videography.

A Fine Frenzy—"Lost Things," an oldie but goodie (thanks Larka for showing this to me). By the way, she's gorgeous in the video but Alison Sudol is absolutely stunning in person.

Alex & Twitch on So You Think You Can Dance
(sorry, not allowed to embed)
Lil Jon & LM*AO—"Get Outta Your Mind," this video is sick; so much better than subjecting yourself to the original music video. I hope this also proves that I can get out of hipsterville and rough it up a little.

Postcard Project update: 26 postcards sent so far. Doria and Kristen, yours are on the way if they haven't arrived already!

Friday, March 11, 2011

One Great Thing Friday

Why, oh why can't I think of things like this myself? WANT!

Twenty-one postcards as of today. Plan to send three more today. Send me an e-mail if you'd like one:

That's all. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Postcard Project: Update #2

Nine postcards with quality content as of today to nine wonderful people. About half of these are resends. Since I exhausted 20 of my Art Box postcards, I'll start in on a booklet of Monet and Salvatore Dalí ones I've had for a while to make up the difference. The Dalís are harder since some tend to be offended by his work...Grandma will be receiving Waterlilies, not The Enigma of William Tell.

I have 89 days to send the other 41 cards.

Don't hesitate to send your mailing address to if you'd like a card.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Postcard Project: Update #1

Good news: 20 of 50 postcards sent already.
The bad news: I just realized that the content of my postcards is rubbish. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I totally fell for quantity over quality. I feel like I never finish anything so when I conceived of this project, I was too eager to get 'er done than to do it right.
Sure, everyone likes getting mail, but I failed to put anything of value on the other side of the majority of these 20 cards (e.g., a meaningful quote, a memory, a personal note of what I appreciate about the recipient, etc.).
So now what?
Well, I have no other option but to harrass these same 20 individuals who have already received cards by resending them new cards with real, meaningful messages. As for the other 30 I have yet to send, I'll start now with being more intentional when I write them.
Why don't you just stop?
Because 1) I have tolerant friends who thus act as passive enablers 2) I have to finish something for once, 3) selfishly, I'm learning something about myself here, even if that something is, so far, mostly unflattering, and 4) despite my 20-card epic fail, I do have some pleasant things I want to share with the people I know/love and it's okay if even the second set postcards end up in people's trash bins with the other junk mail so long as I get a chance to pass on something potentially encouraging.
So keep you eye on the mailbox and don't hesitate to send your mailing address to if you'd like a card—admit it, you can't resist the ringing endorsement I've given myself in this update...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Postcard Project

What: The Postcard Project--50 cards in 100 days (deadline June 6)
Who: 50 people I know
Where: All over, even international
Why: Because I've watched Julie & Julia too many times and wanted a project
What else?: Send me your address and you'll get one

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Cup of Stars

"Eleanor looked up, surprised; the little girl was sliding back in her chair, sullenly refusing her milk, while her father frowned and her brother giggled and her mother said calmly, 'She wants her cup of stars.'

Indeed yes, Eleanor thought; indeed, so do I; a cup of stars, of course.

'Her little cup,' the mother was explaining, smiling apologetically at the waitress, who was thunderstruck at the thought that the mill's good country milk was not rich enough for the little girl. 'It has stars in the bottom, and she always drinks her milk from it at home. She calls it her cup of stars because she can see the stars while she drinks her milk.' The waitress nodded, unconvinced, and the mother told the little girl, 'You'll have your milk from your cup of stars tonight when we get home. But just for now, just to be a very good little girl, will you take a little milk from this glass?'

Don't do it, Eleanor told the little girl; insist on your cup of stars; once they have trapped you into being like everyone else you will never see your cup of stars again; don't do it; and the little girl glanced at her, and smiled a little subtle, dimpling, wholly comprehending smile, and shook her head stubbornly at the glass. Brave girl, Eleanor thought; wise, brave girl."*

— Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House)

Every time I take a trip I try to do something that I've never done before.

Until a few weeks ago, I had never read a scary book. So knowing that I'd be, for better or for worse, with my parents 'round the clock for 10 days seemed the perfect opportunity to try to scare the pants of myself because, no matter how old you are, parents make monsters go away.

I went to A Novel Idea Bookstore and bought a used copy of The Haunting of Hill House. It met my criteria, it is: short, the premise to one of the greatest scary movies of all time, and by an author I trust implicitly to unnerve but not scare me out of my wits.

I wasn't disappointed. The book is character driven, psychological, and beautifully written. It's a work of terror, not horror. Horror relies on an external element to spook you, terror creeps innocuously and works from the inside out to make you afraid. Horror is a hand suddenly reaching from off screen to grab you, terror makes you inexplicably afraid of your own hand.

Jackson gives us Eleanor as our unreliable narrator. She is dull and pathologically insecure to the extent that, having no hue of its own, her personality takes on the color of all the other characters in the story. Indeed, Jackson takes her from the one-dimensional character we first meet all the way to a compendium of the experiences, events, and other characters—perhaps even the house itself—by the conclusion of the book.

Perhaps Jackson's success lies in the fact that she elevates the typical haunted house genre and makes it unique unto itself. To elaborate on the plot would be to spoil the fun; suffice it to say that this is a good book that becomes great as it gradually imbeds itself in your imagination.

*The passage at the beginning of this post is my favorite part of the book. Eleanor is a causal observer of this incident at a diner. The line, "Indeed yes, Eleanor thought; indeed, so do I; a cup of stars, of course," is amazing.
Without any context whatsoever, Eleanor childishly agrees that she too wants a cup of stars. Because of her suppressed and sheltered upbringing, Eleanor forgets herself and subconsciously reaches for her lost childhood. By the end of this excerpt, Eleanor is adamant that the little girl exhibit stubbornness and strength. It's a wish more for the little girl Eleanor harbors inside than for the little girl she is witnessing in this scene.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Donald Miller

Friends warned me to set aside a lot of time when I started this book because I'd read it in two days; they were wrong. I read it in one.

The book is about how Miller gets an offer to turn his bestseller Blue Like Jazz into a movie and the process of writing the screenplay. In writing an autobiographical screenplay, Miller is asked to present a cinema-worthy version of himself and discovers that his "story" is just not that compelling.

Miller realizes that he is being called to "write a better story" for himself. Somewhere between riding his bike across the U.S., hiking Machu Picchu, and starting The Mentoring Project, Miller lets the Author write him into a better character.

"You can call it God or a conscience, or you can dismiss it as that intuitive knowing we all have as human beings, as living storytellers; but there is a knowing I feel that guides me toward better stories, toward being a better character. I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us, even, and whispering a better story into our consciousness."

Miller talks about overcoming fear and addresses the problem of having over-elevated expectations about people, possessions, and even God: "When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you'd be surprised at how much pleasure you get in material possessions. And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you'd be surprised how much you like spending time with God."

Like me (and countless other people), Miller had to unlearn about the God he knew growing up—a god that inspires guilt and fear—in order to trust Him to write a better story. "As a kid, the only sense I got from God was guilt...The real Voice is stiller and smaller and seems to know, without confusion, the difference between right and wrong and the subtle delineation between the beautiful and profane. It's not an agitated Voice, but ever patient as though it approves a million false starts."

Miller doesn't treat God as a fearsome ruler or swing too far the other way, thinking of God as a fairy godfather; he treats God with as much respect as he does familiarity. Miller acknowledges that while God can help write a better story, He does not promise a perfect one: "Growing up in church, we were taught that Jesus was the answer to all our problems. We were taught that there was a circle-shaped hole in our heart and that we had tried to fill it with the square pegs of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; but only the circle peg of Jesus could fill our hole. I became a Christian based, in part, on this promise, but the hole never really went away. To be sure, I like Jesus and I still follow him, but the idea that Jesus will make everything better is a lie. It's basically biblical theology translated into the language of infomercials. The truth is, the apostles never really promise Jesus is going to make everything better here on earth...I think Jesus can make things better but I don't think he's going to make things perfect. Not here, not now."

"It's interesting that in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes, the only practical advice given about living a meaningful life is to find job you like, enjoy your marriage, and obey God. It' as though God is saying, write a good story, take somebody with you, and let me help."

My fear of writing a better story is obvious: I'm worried where God will ask me to go and what He'll ask me to do. Also, I worry proximity to God will mean losing too much of myself. I'm not that great or anything, but at least I know who I am.

I worry that if I get too close to the source of all good that somehow I'll be absorbed; I'll never swear, or drink, or think about sex again. I'll become this Jesus drone—that God will steer me back to the Lutheran bubble, ask me to preach apologetics, and cause me to inexplicably volunteer to bring ambrosia salads for the church potlucks.

But what if it's not like that at all—what if proximity to God meant that I could be more myself than ever? Perhaps closeness to God would mean I could love more and judge less, have confidence to approach my Christian community with my biggest doubts and hardest questions, and read the Bible less for platitudes and more because it's full of stories about people even more messed up than me. What if it meant that, overall, I could live a better story?

I guess there's only one way to find out. I don't have a good conclusion for this post but I think I've at least got an inciting incident for my story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Long-Distance Relationship

Bottle from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.


By one of my my favorite stop-motion directors, Kirsten Lepore (she did "Sweet Dreams" too, I'll post it sometime).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A January Review of The Decemberists' New Album

The Decemberists have parred down their style and got back to their roots in their new album, The King Is Dead and I'm liking some but not all of it. The group embraces a more down-home, americana approach that is almost anachronistic for its time—with no point of reference, it would be difficult to discern whether the songs heralded from yesteryear's recordings of appalacian folk, the 1970s movement, or today's freak folk scene.
I predict that "Don't Carry It All" and "Calamity Song" (a tribute to R.E.M. that doesn't remind us of "Talks about Passion" at all...nope) will garner the most itunes downloads but I personally enjoyed "January Hymn" for its honest, simple melodies. Those who, like me, abhor country music should be warned though, the slower songs have more twang than you might like and toe the line between folk and folk country; "Dear Avery" especially starts out well but then crosses over into what I deem unlistenable territory (thanks to the introduction of the Dobro a minute or so in).

All in all, I don't think The Decemberists can compete with the best out there in freak folk right now—I'm thinking Mumford & Sons (if you haven't heard them yet, look them up, they're divine)—but fans probably won't be too disappointed by the latest offering.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Everyday Ordinary

I threw together this graphic because I loved this quote from Woolf, a woman who saw the extraordinary in the most banal of objects and circumstances.

I stumbled upon these photos of what someone did with chain link fences and I wondered what that person had to do to get permission to alter the fences, how much work went into them, was that person hansomely paid? Or did he or she do it for peanuts just to beautify something plain? Regardless, how much time went into these? I don't know the origin or the story behind these but I sort of prefer it that way. It's enough to see that someone took something prohibitive and harsh and wove it into inviting, delicate lace.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Black Swan—Movie Review

I wasn't going to go see this movie because I heard it was a little naughty (which it is) but it was getting so many award nods that I couldn't resist the pull of feathers, tulle, and promising performances. I wasn't disappointed.

The lovely Leslie Davila and I went last night. We dressed up for each other, each got red slushies, and went to the ballerina movie—a consummate girl's night out.

The movie begins much like any ballet movie; Nina (Natalie Portman) wakes up in a pretty pink nightgown, surrounded herself with her stuffed animal collection, and is sing-songed awake by her overly affectionate though somewhat unbalanced mother. Nina buzzes with anticipation knowing that auditions for Swan Lake are coming soon pending the retirement of the prima ballerina, Beth (played well by Winona Ryder). Here's my first spoiler—Beth retires and Nina gets the part (shocking, I know).

That her technique is impeccable and she embodies the virginal, delicate white swan, the director knows; his concern is that Nina won't be able to play the sensual, powerful black swan too.

If you don't know the story of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, it's about a princess, Odette who gets turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. One day, Prince Siegfried goes hunting at dusk, sees and takes aim at a lovely white swan for his collection when the swan transforms into a beautiful woman. He learns that until she receives a promise of love from a virgin prince she will ever remain a swan by day and woman by night. The prince falls in love with Odette but by a trick of the evil sorcerer he is seduced and accidentally proposes to another woman at a party (the black swan in human form). Odette, devastated, kills herself and the prince feeling so regretful follows her so they can be reunited in death.

Nina's professional training to become the black swan becomes a destructive transformation of herself: her mommy issues, pressure for perfection, and, most prevalently, her sexuality.

All in all, the film is visually stunning, the plot edgy, and Portman's performance is perfectly en pointe. One can see that she has shed blood, sweat, and tears to become a dancer for this film (one entire year of training) and her acting gave me goosebumps. I will also submit that this movie has the feel of a classic film—it was the subtle suspense that carefully avoided cheesiness and the perfectly packaged storyline.
Things you should know before you see this film:
1) It's naughty—there's about every variety of sexuality in this film but I strongly feel that it was necessary to tell the story
2) It's graphic—dancers already have enough cracks, snaps, and bloodied feet but this film takes it to the enth degree by adding an element of fantasy and horror, and
3) If you're easily spooked, you might want to rent or skip this movie altogether.

All that said, if you think you'll like this movie at all then definitely see it in the theater. Natalie Portman shimmers, the costumes wow, and I just don't think a television will give the same feeling of there being a stage before you as the big screen will.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Three A.M. Resolutions

Happy 2011, all! I am still up on New Year's Day and already breaking would-be resolutions as I sample a couple of the delicious but unhealthy hors d'oeuvres left over from my party and shirk the responsibility of cleaning up and opting, rather, to blog. I was and remain unsure of whether to share a short list of resolutions on the blog because 1) really, who cares other than me and 2) is this really how I wish to start my 2011 blogging—oversharing while overtired?

However, I become most inspired when reading others' New Year's resolutions—even if the resolution is awful or not applicable, it will, more often than not, remind me of something that would be relevant to me and lead me to a new idea. So here's to sharing ideas if for no better reason than inspiring even more impressive ones in the minds of others. Here's only a snapshot of my very long list of resolutions (in absolutely no discernible order):
—I already signed up for a 10k race in June, I know that I could get through it now by walking (possibly crawling at the end) but I resolve to train so I can perform at the race, not just survive it.
—To be more thoughtful of friends and family: go play bridge with my grandpa, write letters to my West coasters, beat deadlines at work to make my colleague's jobs easier, find more ways to show my parents and brother I appreciate them
—To pursue graphic design with more intention and focus this year
—Finally finish the One-Year Bible (I'm still stuck in May)
—To read 40 books this year
—Go to the library more
—Take vitamins every night before I go to bed
—Put more money away in savings, set and adhere to stricter budgets, and tithe faithfully
—Buy one book of stamps every two months and send enough mail so I have to repeat this six times this year
—Make do with less; do a spring clean very early to start the year fresh
—Find and pursue at least one type of volunteerism/charity
—I have a really great guy in my life for the first time so I would like to learn what I can do to make him happy, support him, and be the kind of woman he is proud to have by his side
—Practice things I'm only so-so at: piano, tango, salsa, baking bread, photography, etc.
—Travel more this year
—Try 11 new things in 2011 and do much more exploring in general
—Consider leading or joining a Bible study again
—Become more articulate and stop speaking in hyperbole as often as I do
—Make my incentives at work and put earnings directly into savings
—Practice Spanish much more this year
—Spend less time in front of screens (TV and computer)
—Make my blog more dynamic, beneficial for others, inspirational, and with more original photography

There are many more but for now, these will have to do. Have a wonderful beginning of 2011 and make this your best year ever.

My all-time favorite rendition of Auld Lang Syne (skip the video, I just posted so you can hear the song):