Thursday, September 30, 2010

You were always on my mind

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

1. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
2. Paul McCartney - Paul is Live
3. Various - Broadway:One

4. Original London Cast - Les Miserables
5. "Weird" Al Yankovic - Alapalooza/Bad Hair Day
6. Matchbox 20 - Yourself Or Someone Like You
7. Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill (the acoustic version is AMAZING too)
8. Original Cast Recording - The Last 5 Years
9. Instant Winner - Instant Winner/Milkshake
10. Tracy Byrd - No Ordinary Man
11. Boston - Boston
12. Enya - Paint the Sky With Stars
13. The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night
14. The Aquabats - The Fury of the Aquabats
15. Yann Tiersen - Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain

Honorable Mentions
Original Cast Recording - Songs For a New World
California - 1000 Kilometrov

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I heard you on the wireless back in fifty-two

More weekends. More adventures.

I spent last weekend in the mountains running around dressed as a superhero. Some may say that makes me sound crazy. This may be true.

This last Friday night, I discovered that I can really get into drag racing.
They raced both cars and motorcycles. It was fascinating to see how slow the cars seemed after the bikes, but dang.

Saturday, I took advantage of the Smithsonian's Free Museum Day and visited the Dumbarton House, a Federal Period historic house museum.
It didn't take long to tour, but it was still interesting. One of the docents showed me the china pattern specifically, which was designed by a cousin of the owners of the house during that time, which was fascinating. The walk through residential Georgetown wasn't so bad either.

I poked around at the National Book Festival, but there wasn't anyone I was really interested in seeing. I intended to go to the Museum of Crime and Punishment, but since I was actually supposed to be spending the day with a friend who didn't make it and it's an interactive museum, I figured I'd have more fun with them at a later date. So, I got out of the half-block long queue, had some frozen yogurt that restored both my will to live and my willingness to let others do the same (I was a little tired and my feet were kind of hurty) and called it a day.
Or so I thought.

As I was driving home from the Relief Society broadcast, the DJ on the radio said that caller 10 would win tickets to a Wizards game during the upcoming season. I thought "what the hey?" and dialed the number.

"Hello! Mix 107.3, who do we have on the line?"

"Um, Amanda. . ."

"Hi Amanda! Just give me a second to start the recording and then I'm going to make you look smart and me look dumb, and we'll get you hooked up with hose tickets. Okay?"

"Okay!"

We then started the conversation over, recording it for playback after the song ended. He asked who I was again, what I was up to that evening (for the record, "just did a church thing and I'm now heading home for dinner" did not make it to playback, can't imagine why), and then the DJ asked.

"There is a video on our website called 'Take It Off.' If I asked you who the artist was, do you think you could tell me?"

"Oh no, I don't know that I could."

"I've got your back, I bet you can."

"Well then, if you've got my back, let's do it!"

"Haha! Great! Okay, who did the video 'Take It Off'? Was it A. the artist Ke$ha? B. [some joke answer]? or C. [another joke answer]?"

"Ha! Well, any one of those could be good possibilities (DJ laughs), but I'm going to say A. Ke$ha."

"You're right! You've won a pair of tickets to a Wizards game!"

"Woohoo!"

"Who hooked you up tonight?"

PANIC. What station am I listening to anyway? Glance at dashboard. "Mix 107.3!"

They played it back on the radio a few minutes later. That was really odd. I actually recorded a radio spot for one of my dad's clients a few years ago, and it was weird hearing my own voice then. I guess it always will be.

But hey! Wizards tickets are worth it!

[Confession: I remembered it was Ke$ha long before the silly options made it obvious.]

[Confession Part Deux: I have it in my collection.]

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup

Sunshine, book, and lunch
Happy tummy full of soup
Is it nap time now?

Monday, September 13, 2010

If she wants to rock, she rocks

And now for some lighter fare, with reports of my local adventures!

Captain Deviance and I went bowling. I did awesome. He did not.

Game 1:
Game 2:
Snowflake and I went to the Nationals v. Marlins game. They didn't do awesome at all.
We also visited the Pentagon Memorial on September 11th. This was awesome, but in a more somber sense of the word.
And I finally laminated my joy list!

LIFE is awesome!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Don't wanna talk about politics

I don’t debate politics. I generally don’t even start political discussions. I will state my opinion on something, but that’s usually about as far it as it goes. I do have opinions about many political issues, I just don’t feel the need to debate them and try to prove that someone’s opposing view is wrong.

Why?

One, I’m a self-identified moderate. I lean right on some things and left on others and can, therefore, I easily see both sides of just about any argument. One thing I remember from American Heritage at BYU was that when it comes down to it, most politicians end up somewhere toward the middle themselves when you average out their political beliefs and votes and there are very few on either extreme end of the political spectrum. Therefore, I study the issues and the people and vote bipartisan, instead of just clicking the Vote All One Party button at the booth.

Two, I don’t like to spread negativity. I even limit my rants and venting sessions on non-political matters to my head or personal journal as much as I can, because there’s too much badness in the world as it is. I don’t need to add to it. Unfortunately, most political discussions I’ve ever been a part of become negative quickly. Just look at the campaign ads – they’re mostly about what the opposing candidate has done wrong, rather than what the promoted candidate has done right.

Three, I’m underinformed. I admit it. For example, I know very little about the debates in the political world related to education. My opinion is – education? Get one! I know some people feel very strongly about public v. private v. home schooling v. Montessori and vouchers or no vouchers and No Child Left Behind. I don’t, really. Maybe when I have my own children and I’m deciding how they will be educated, I will do more research about it, but for now, get an education in a manner suitable to your style of learning. I don’t read political blogs and keep up with up to the minute news. I don’t care to get up in arms about something I don’t actually know that much about and I'm just going look like an idiot if I do.

Three-A, if I’m underinformed, so might my debate partner be. That kind of discussion won’t get us anywhere. It’s like people trying to debate tap versus clogging when all they’ve done so far is try on their respective shoes.

Three-B, there is a major danger in being misinformed as well. Too many people get their information from political pundits who believe the same way they do and spin the information accordingly, rather than study the actual facts. I never involved myself in the health care debates, because I had never read the entire bill, and I didn’t want to base the opinions I shared with others solely on what I’d heard.

Four, I don’t know the rules of formal debating. Nor do most people, and far too many discussions I’ve witnessed have quickly devolved from “This is what I believe” to “You’re a brainwashed sheep.”

Five, unless it’s a moral issue, there may be no obvious right or wrong, so, to me, it’s pointless to argue it. If it is a moral issue, and we disagree, we’re still likely going to be unable to reach a compromise.

Above all, I operate under the assumption that everyone, including myself, is trying to be their best self at all times, as best they know how. Most issues, be they political, personal, religious, or what have you, come down to what’s right for you and what’s right for me, and they may not be the same and that’s okay. That’s what makes people so fascinating! I’ll talk about what I believe and why, and I’ll listen to you do the same, and we can correct each other on facts and maybe even share things we’d never thought of before that might change our minds, but convincing each other to change our feelings and personal interpretations is often counterproductive, and I choose not to risk it. If you choose to discuss, debate, or research politics, more power to you! It’s just not my thing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I've been through the desert on a horse with no name




As I’m writing this, I’m on my third flight in 10 hours, 5th in 72. I am quite the little jetsetter. I even have the foursquare badge that says so! Unfortunately, that title comes with a price, as it’s 8 in the morning Eastern Daylight Time, I barely dozed on my 3.5 hour flight, and I have to work today.

But you know what?

Worth it.

I spent this weekend visiting Eilonwy and Mr. Eilonwy in Tucson, AZ, and it was glorious. Wide expanses of desert sky, open terrain surrounded by majestic mountains, and cactus everywhere you look. I love the trees and buildings of DC, but it’s refreshing to be in a place I can look around for miles.
The company wasn’t half bad either. They were going to have a sign for me at the airport, but I got there first. I was also impressed by the Guest Information they left for me - just like at a fancy hotel!
Saturday, we toured the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I’d forgotten there were so many types of cactus! We also saw a wide variety of desert animal life – my favorites were the hummingbirds, mountain lions (Go Cougars!), and javelinas.



I also got to take home a saguaro cactus of my own. Meet Steve, Stef├ín if he’s feeling suave.

Monday, our adventures took us to the Catalina Mountains, just driving to see what happened. It was awesome.





I learned that Tucson is an Indian word meaning “at the foot of the black rock.”



The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing – reading books, playing games, naps, cheering for our BYU Cougars against UW, eating at Beyond Bread, exploring Bookmans (best used bookstore ever, yes I bought 4 books), and enjoying our brief time together.

I especially enjoyed getting to know Mr. Eilonwy better. He’s a good match for my Eilonwy.


Our time was short, but it was a wonderful weekend!

(Photo credits - myself and Eilonwy)

Monday, September 6, 2010

With love, from me to you

On my joy list is a curious item - mail something.

Why is that there?

Because I don't know a single person who doesn't like to get something fun in the mail. Bills, magazines, catalogs you've never asked for (I'm on some national mailing list for gardening supplies - I've had mail from nurseries in Tennessee even - and I don't even have so much as a plant) - those are not fun. But a handwritten letter or a package? That's worth the daily trip to the mailbox.

So if I take the time to mail something fun, then I get to make other people's day, like sending a Klingon Bird of Pray corkscrew to Ex Libris and Harry Potter books to Eilonwy. Also, on every trip I've gone on for at least the last six years, I've found a postcard and mailed it to Xena. She loves them, and I love sending them. (I even send them sometimes when I'm visiting my home state, which is where she lives, but in the next valley north. This amuses me.)

Having a sister on a mission gives me even more reason to mail things! I returned the favor after my birthday package arrived looking like this:


Care packages = WIN. Care packages covered in stickers = EPIC WIN!

So, don't be surprised if something random comes in the mail to you from me!

(P.S. Between writing this post and finishing it, I acquired a cactus. Let us pray I do not kill this one. Yes, I can kill a cactus. No, I do not want your gardening magazine.)