Who knew there was even *more* music?

2010/07/30

I have recently discovered Rhapsody and I feel like I might explode with the sheer possibility of music to discover. I've come a long way from my teenage years when the only popular music I listened to were the classic rock tunes being piped in for high school assemblies or the alternative fare being served up at dances. Music is such a huge part of how I navigate my days and I appreciate a wide variety to say the least. But of course, only good stuff. Good being defined by my particular taste.

First were the BMG years when the CD collection grew and grew (and grew). And then the beginning of the digital age where Dave and the "legal" websites from Russia supplied many, many more albums to the stable. And now ownership has really stopped meaning anything and Rhapsody means I can listen to absolutely anything anytime I want. It is revolutionary to say the least. I feel a little sick to my stomach after a few weeks gorging on new music and can't even remember half of what I've listened to. But thanks to my other best friend, last.fm, I can keep track of it all. Last.fm is where the data geek in me meets the music lover. Heaven.

Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of FortuneDaughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I was wanting to love this book but it just didn't happen. I wasn't really caught up in the plot and found myself putting it down for days and days without the drive to get back to it. I could find some gems of Allende's writing that I normally love, but on the whole it just didn't wow me. Still, an interesting story and a decent book.

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Strengths

2010/07/27

The scriptures say that your weaknesses can be made into strengths but today I feel like my strengths are a big fat weakness.

I took the "StrengthsFinder 2.0" test at work today in preparation for a team building activity. The results weren't exactly startling - my strengths lie in the arena of intellect and reason and learning. These are things I know about myself and I do find pride in them. But of the 34 labels (they give everyone five) that are possible results, I didn't get anything even remotely associated with people or emotions or creativity. Each one of my strengths are good, but taken as an aggregate it made me feel kind of cold and robotic. Like they couldn't possibly give me "Empathy" or "Connectedness" so they just kept heaping on the brainy crap. I guess such a reaction to my results must mean I've got a beating heart somewhere under all those layers of reason and logic after all.

  • Input - People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
  • Strategic - People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  • Learner - People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
  • Intellection - People who are especially talented in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.
  • Ideation - People who are especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

After the Quake

After the QuakeAfter the Quake by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I adore this author and this is the first collection of short stories I've read by him. They were enjoyable and interesting, well written, but they didn't dazzle me like his novels do. His novels confound me and confuse me and delight me in fantastic ways and these stories were only a glimmer of that.

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The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock HeartThe Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


There were some charming moments in this book but by the end I just wasn't sure what the urgent message the author was trying to tell me with his elaborate metaphor was.

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Add one more to the stable

2010/07/22

I had to rescue Tessa from the evil clutches of a gecko that was marooned in her shower this morning. Who knows how he got in the upstairs bathroom but we'll add him to our long list of pets that we had for 1 day this summer.

Are you bored yet?

2010/07/20

I almost feel like I need to apologize for the sheer number of my book posts this month. I guess my little dry spell where everything I read felt like eating paper is over. But my spree is not likely to end quite yet. Sylvie's sick this week and just wants me to sit on the couch with her and Dave's out of town which means I don't feel quite so compelled to make dinner. So I have much more time to sit and sink into a book. It's either that or stare at the cobwebs in the corner so I'm guessing books will win.

Nocturnes

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and NightfallNocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Such beautiful stories. Each one captivated me and I was sad to see them end. The common theme was music and they all ended with such a sense of possibility, but with sadness too.

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The Peacegiver

2010/07/18

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and HomesThe Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


There's no way to really encapsulate what this book has meant to me. It is a very simple story but the magnitude of the message has really impacted me and my understanding of the Atonement. Completely breathtaking and revolutionary for me. Beautiful to say the least.

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SuperFreakonomics

2010/07/17

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life InsuranceSuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is probably my favorite vein of non fiction and I loved their first book. This one was also highly enjoyable, but I didn't feel like the chapters were quite as tight. They meandered a bit and were more losely organized. Which I guess is not really bad, but it just didn't leave me with as strong of an impression. But behavioral economics is just incredibly fascinating to me.

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Movies

2010/07/12

Movies that I'll stop and watch if I see them on TV no matter how many times I've seen them. Not because they're always the best, just because I can't help it. I've put them into rough categories.

Comedy:
  • Rat Race
  • O Brother Where Art Thou
  • Best in Show
  • Office Space
  • A Christmas Story
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy
  • Raising Arizona
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Gross Pointe Blank
  • High Fidelity (not really a comedy I guess, but I'll keep it here)
  • Oscar
  • Cannonball Run
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
  • Almost anything with Bill Murray
Romance:
  • Princess Bride
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Sabrina (both versions)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (not that it's ever on TV)
  • Moonstruck
  • Love Potion No. 9
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Notting Hill (damn it I like Hugh Grant even though I don't want to!)
  • The Graduate
  • Roxanne
  • Emma
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • The Importance of Being Ernest
  • Say Anything
  • Garden State
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet
  • might as well throw in Moulin Rouge to complete the Red Curtain Trilogy
  • Anything by John Hughes
Awesome:
  • The Fifth Element
  • The Matrix
  • The Mission
  • The Dark Crystal
  • Any of the new generation of martial arts films a la Crouching Tiger
It's driving me crazy that I have no doubt left something off the list, but it's a pretty good list regardless. Makes me want to sack out on the couch.

Catching Fire

2010/07/11

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I did it again - sat down to start this one after dinner and stayed up until 1:00 am to finish it. Just couldn't put it down. If I had known how addictive these books are, I'd have waited until the weekend before the third comes out to read them. Now I have to wait weeks until the last installment hits the stores. Just a great story and a wild ride. This one caught me up in the emotion even more.

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Words

2010/07/09

Sometimes I feel that despite the armies of words I enlist every day in my cause, there is only one true weapon.

The Hunger Games

2010/07/08

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Whoa! I'd heard everyone say how engaging this book is and completely impossible to put down, but I didn't really understand until I picked it up this morning and found my whole day given over to it. I don't remember the last time I read a book in one day clean through. The main character is great and the action just really pulled me through. The second book is on it's way from Amazon and this is one time two day shipping won't be fast enough.

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Family Pictures

It's been a while since we had real family pictures taken so I was excited to have a friend take some this May. Digital photography has made for some well documented kids, but sometimes we forget to really sit and take a photo altogether as a family. And of course these turned out better than anything I could do with my stinky point and shoot. Thanks Bekah!






You can see more in our May album here.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh how I love and adore this book! I haven't read it in close to two decades but I think I loved it even more now than I did as a girl. It is such a delicious time capsule. So much about life is contained in the characters. But it's just her beautiful and poignant descriptions that are so fresh yet ring so true that really capture my heart. She says all the things I know in my heart but could never really articulate. Fabulous!

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Blues on the Green

2010/07/07

We're out in glorious summer weather enjoying a free concert at Zilker Park. And I'm not even being sarcastic about the weather - mid 80s with a breeze is perfection in July. Alejandro Escovedo is playing and I'm reading a Yoga Journal article about non-attachment and equinimity. Well I'm certainly aware of the transitional nature of a lovely night like tonight, especially when I started out this day with a terrible headache. Ups and downs and I'm just trying to witness it all.

Bonfire of the Vanities

2010/07/06

Bonfire of the Vanities: A Novel Bonfire of the Vanities: A Novel by Tom Wolfe


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's hard for me to articulate how I feel about this book. There is so much going on in the book - a strong sense of time and place, some totally crazy characters, a great story line, and some great moral nuggets. But it's still hard for me to really connect with the book because it's so incredibly MALE in its perspective, and the language is so harsh that it was hard for me really sink in. I guess some of that shock and discomfort is what makes it effective. I hadn't read Tom Wolfe before and while I certainly don't think we'd be fast friends, he certainly is a talent.

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Infidel

2010/07/02

Infidel Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was no doubt an illuminating book. The scope of her experience is a little hard to process. Something about her tone didn't strike me as quite right as I made my way through the narrative. Some time it seems a little removed and sometimes it seemed a little self serving. I guess it's a memoir, right? But definitely a great story and educational as well.

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Beauty and Truth

2010/07/01

I seem to be stuck on the same chapter in the Book of Mormon for a while now, reading it over and over because it contains one of my favorite passages. It's where Nephi is quoting Isaiah who is speaking Messianically. The poetry and the power of the second verse completely overwhelm me.
For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son or her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.