BEST CHOICE I EVER MADE, short of marrying my husband. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this CD, and incidentally I am shattered that I can't find it anymore. He is so talented, and you don't really get a good feel for what his music is really like if you're stuck listening to a studio track. This CD is just him and his hand-drummer. I am not a good reviewer at all, so I will leave my ravings at this: AWESOME.
The drawback is, I got spoiled. I don't really like most of his radio releases because I know how much better they would be, live. They're basic and crude and have so much potential but ultimately are a let-down.
I have been yearning to see him in concert, in a small or smallish venue, for a long time now. We're talking years. Like 6 years. That's kind of a long time. And the reason I've been waiting so long is that he has never come to my town. He's come near my town, but never close enough to be attainable for my tight budget and need for not driving back home at 3am. Resignation and despair.
NOW. Shift gears a little bit.
All the cool kids know about Pandora by now. If you're not cool yet and you want to be, the transformation is simple: check out www.pandora.com and enlightenment will come to you. On my pandora, I have a particular station that plays several of the songs on Jason's latest record, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things.
I definitely want to get this one, to bring my Jason Mraz CD Library to a total of 2 albums. I can already tell that I will love it. It's just a matter of time.
Enter my dilemma, with some dallying at the beginning.
We are having a whirlwind Thanksgiving. The plan is to leave town Wednesday evening to overnight with my family. Get up early and finish driving to Brian's homestead. Friday or Saturday, drive west to Asheville to hang out with (and in my case, meet) two of Brian's cousins - and oh yeah, attend the farewell concert of Brian's favorite folk singer, in his (the singer's) home venue, which is something Brian's wanted to do for more than a decade, he says. And then eventually we will end up back in Richmond sometime Sunday, to collapse and return to work.
Did you catch that? We are in an entirely different state on the day before and the day after Thanksgiving. To see family. Many hours away. For a holiday.
If you're smart, you know where this is going.
Jason Mraz is going to be in RICHMOND at the NATIONAL on the day before AND the day after Thanksgiving. In case you aren't paying attention, I live in Richmond. He's coming straight to my town. Not DC, not Charlottesville, not Virginia Beach. Richmond. (Well, maybe he's going to those places too. I don't know.)
I have waited for SIX YEARS for this day (these days) to come, and now that they are on the books, I won't be able to make it. I won't be able to go!! To a concert I've waited 6 years to come to fruition!!!
I love you, Jason Mraz, and yet I hate you, so so much, right now. You have toyed with my heart and I am growing weary. I have been loyal and supportive, defending you to nay-sayers and expounding on your virtues, but I don't know if I can last another 6 years.
If I have done my research correctly, then my conclusion that this, ladies and gentleman, is a pheasant, and more specifically, a hybrid of a Golden Pheasant and a Lady Amherst's Pheasant, is correct.
I would like you all to meet our pumpkin. We picked him up at the Lakeside United Methodist bazaar last Saturday. They had some GREAT pumpkins - all shapes, sizes, and various stages of smoothness and otherwise. We were charmed by this guy's knobs and bobbles all over. I'd never seen one myself, actually, and it was instant attraction. We haven't discussed whether or not to put him under the knife. It would require careful planning, but I know Brian has the skills and vision to make something fantastic, should we choose to interfere with nature.
The Setup, from the Booking through Thursday website:
Okay–here was an interesting article by Christopher Schoppa in the Washington Post.
Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.
But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.
So, the question is his: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?“
SO MANY. There are so many books I have kept around because I am just waiting for the day for the right mood to strike, the right amount of free time, and optimal interplanetary alignment to cause me to pick up "that book" and get it read.
I appear to have made the commitment to read more books this year, as evidenced by my have-read list (look over to the left), which is already tremendously longer this year than it's been in a long time. The majority of these are books that had sat on my shelves, through two moves, just waiting to be read. Some are books from the library that I'd been meaning to read for years (the Narnia books, Friday Night Knitting Club, Kitchen Privileges). Only three of these books are new acquisitions (Wild at Heart, Sushi for Beginners, and Balzac) through PaperBackSwap. Peace, Evensong, Monk and North Haven are required reading for the class I'm taking. All the rest are mine and had been mine for quite some time.
You should probably know that I cull my books at least once a month. I've also stopped requesting books on PBS unless I really need or really want them - no more 'hey that sounds good' requests. My ultimate goal is to have my collection whittled down to just the essentials - the most loved, most useful, and most sentimental books. And I'm proud to say that the out-going stream is a little swifter than the in-coming one. I'm also making good friends with the neighborhood library branch. In the meantime, I've got shelves and stacks and piles to get through.
Right now most of my reading is for my Theology in Literature class. It's a great class and I love the reading list, but I do have a moderate amount of baseline frustration that I'm not making any "progress" (and in fact, I'm ADDING to the list of tomes I ultimately want to read). But with that said, a sampling of the titles up to bat once I finish the class include:
First Things First, by Stephen Covey
The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron
Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
As usual, we'll see what book ends up screaming the loudest when I'm browsing for a new read.
You may or may not be aware of the tiny dog living in our house. He is 3 years old, his name is Eli, and he likes to wear sweaters when it's cold, which can be loosely defined as 'October through April.'
There seems to be a general acceptance of the idea, at least in the circles I frequent, that there is a big difference between the two. The main thread of the argument is that anyone can read and learn - become educated, that is to say. But not everyone can take their own knowledge base and analyze it, apply it to theories and circumstances, or essentially 'do' something with it.
Education can expose a person to all sorts of new ideas and perspectives, but that's all just input. Intelligence is where education is measured. It's the output mechanism. And you can be very intelligent without having much education.
I, myself, have always struggled to flex my intelligence. The education part has always been easy for me - I love learning, taking in new knowledge, making connections, cross-training, and whatnot. I was labeled the 'smart kid' for a while, because I could spit back any fact I'd come across in the previous several years. I could figure things out pretty well, too - including the 'mechanisms' behind standardized tests, so I generally aced them. I loved, and aced, algebra, because it was all about figuring out which rules applied to which strategy.
It was always the 'analytical' assignments that tripped me up - the abstract thinking (geometry) and those proofs you had to do in philosophy. You can't approach these the same way you would a formulaic problem in algebra or all the nuances in a poem. (Incidentally, I do much better with poetry when I can see it.) And abstract art? I could stare at it all day and say how it makes ME feel and even enjoy the experience, but figuring out the artist's intention is maybe not the easiest part for me.
What was the last book you bought?
a coffee table book of 'space photos' - planets and stars and whatnot.
Name a book you have read MORE than once
to kill a mockingbird. i have read it probably 13-15 times.
Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
anne lamott's traveling mercies changed my life in a big way. it set in motion a big internal struggle over what really constitutes a 'good Christian' and whether there actually is such a thing. she was very much NOT the conservative evangelical Christian i'd spent my whole life accepting as 'right.' and yet i couldn't dismiss her, because her writing was so captivating. it validated her, to me. BIG big struggle, perhaps the biggest one i faced in college.
How do you choose a book? eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews
sometimes the cover matter, but mostly through recommendations.
Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
no preference, but i read more fiction right now because i'm in a literature class.
What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
beautiful writing, as long as it's meaningful. there are different kinds of beautiful.
Most loved/memorable character (character/book)
scout finch, from TKAM
Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
i finished a couple of books in the last 2 weeks - balzac and the little chinese seamstress, by dai sijie; and evensong, by gail godwin. evensong was the first book i've read by godwin and it certainly won't be the last.
Have you ever given up on a book half way in?
i gave up on great expectations a few months ago.
B. Best friend? Brian (aka my attachment)
C. Cake or pie? CAKE!
D. Day of choice? Saturday
E. Essential item? Hair elastic
F. Favorite colour? Light blue. Really, almost any blue.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Worms!
H. Hometown? Charlotte. It's true, what they say about Carolina girls.
I. Favorite indulgence? Giant Hershey bar. Oh yes, Hershey's chocolate runs through my veins.
J. January or July? January please!
K. Kids? We'll see.
L. Life isn’t complete without? Family. Music. Design. Humor.
M. Marriage date? Dec. 1. We're coming up on the anniversary...any suggestions?
N. Number of magazine subscriptions: 1 - Whole Dog Journal.
O. Oranges or apples? Apples, most days
P. Phobias? the one where you're afraid of tight spaces, and the one where you screech and run when you see a bug of any kind
Q. Quotes? The task of healing is to respect oneself as a creature, no more and no less. Wendell Berry.
R. Reasons to smile? NBC 12 was reasonable.
S. Season of choice? Fall
T. Tag 5 people. Brian, Kim, Steph, Jax, and Lara. (ps, Lara, you need to invite me to read your blog. srsly.)
U. Unknown fact about me? I eat the exact same thing every day for lunch.
V. Vegetable? Right now I'm in a major yellow squash phase. Got any good recipes?
W. Worst habit? I sometimes assume the worst about people.
X. X-ray or ultrasound? X-ray, they're a lot less invasive and there's no cold goop to deal with.
Y. Your favorite foods? Bread. Butter. Bread and butter. Carrott cake.
Z. Zodiac sign? The one in mid-April.
Time management is one of those wonky things that demands a somewhat significant investment up front from people who don't have the time to spare in the first place. The thing is, you just have to carve it out to make it happen, and it might take more than a day. Funny how that works. But in the same way you have to spend money to make money, you have to find time to make time.
One of the books we talked about was Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but I did page through a copy and I've familiarized myself with his processes a bit via blogs and podcasts. His method is all about maximizing every minute you have, to build toward your bigger goals. (Other folks like to look at the big goals and use a more top-down method for productivity.)
One of his hacks is the thing I like to call 43 Folders (mostly because I used to listen to a podcast called 43 Folders, and I never knew what it meant until I took this course). It's a tickler file - a system for having a folder for every day of the year. It's meant to be a home for physical items that you need to deal with on a given day in the future.
I really hemmed and hawed about making this tickler, for some reason. I kept thinking I could come up with a system that would work better for me. Maybe I could, if I really wanted to sit down and plan, or research all over, but this one works just fine and I had the stuff to make it happen. Besides, I had already missed 2 days of work taking this class and I needed to put some of this time management/productivity business to work, fast!
It's pretty janky-looking, because all the folders are recycled so they're soft and ratty and have writing all ove rthem, and actually that drives me crazy a little bit. (I also realized in this time management class that I am a visual learner, and I'd had no idea how greatly visual clutter distracted me until now.) But, I work for a nonprofit. And Lord knows I don't have the spare cash to get it myself, right now. Maybe when the Staples Reward check comes in.
The system is pretty cool, really. There's a folder for each month, and then for eacy number, 1-31. Combining these in the right order gets you through every day of the year. Pretty sweet, no? You can learn more about ticklers here or here and you can see some photos on flickr. It's a great tool, and I'm thinking of a way to adapt the system for home use too.
Anybody out there looking to get rid of some clean manilla folders?