Monday, September 29, 2008

5 Weeks To Go

There are plenty of things to be annoyed by during the last few weeks before an election.  Here are a few things that make me almost wish the election wasn't so soon.

The SNL version of the Couric/Palin interview.

The Daily Show's footage of Palin's visit to the UN

I love these posters. Vote for your favorite then print some for yourself. Found via I was lucky enough to meet the lovely and very talented Denise this weekend.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Your Right To Read

I love reading. I got my new Multnomah library card this weekend. I thought it was a good way to celebrate Banned Books Week. Here's a little more info:
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW's 27th anniversary. BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
Wondering what to read? Here's a list including my favorite book of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird

Wondering what you can do? Here are some ideas.

And if you live in Portland, you can go to this event.
Saturday, October 4, 1–2:30 p.m. - Central Library, U.S. Bank Room
Please join us for Banned Books Week, an annual celebration that highlights the importance of intellectual freedom and reminds us to cherish this precious democratic right. Lawyer Steven T. Wax will be our guest speaker. As head of the Oregon Federal Public Defenders' Office, Mr. Wax was responsible for representing inmates at Guantánamo. He also represented Brandon Mayfield, an Oregon lawyer who was falsely linked to the Madrid train station bombing. His book, Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror — A Public Defender's Inside Account, examines this and other cases and the erosion of civil liberties in the wake of 9/11.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Early Christmas Ideas

Crate and Barrel calls these "corporate gifts" because they are under $20, If I remember correctly from my corporate days, that means they don't have to be reported on taxes. I love all of these ideas. I would be very merry indeed to receive them from a business associate or anyone else, especially this plate and bowl.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Music Monday - 9/22/08

No music to share this week.  Partly because I'm fairly busy and partly because I've been feeling very unbloggish lately.  But don't worry, this is still a good Music Monday.

Look at The Black Cab Sessions for some amazing music performed in the back of a cab. There are almost 60 artists so far including everyone from Brian Wilson to Langhorne Slim.

Here's what the site says:
The sessions are all about great music and the venue strips that to its essence. We aren't picky about genre and will happily open the cab door to anyone who blows us away.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oregon Food Bank Cans Film Festival

Since I've moved back to Portland and gotten on a more normal work schedule, I have started doing things I like to do such as volunteering.  I have volunteered at the Oregon Food Bank a few times and think it is such a worthwhile, well-run organization.  They always accept donations and you would be amazed how much they can buy with your monetary donation.  But next week there's a special event - The Cans Film Festival.  On Thursday September 25, you can see a movie and get popcorn for free by simply donating 3 cans or boxes of food at Regal cinemas in the Portland area.  Check out the site for more details.  

Yearbook Yourself

Remember when yearbook day was the best day of the school year? Or how much fun it was to flip through your parents' old yearbooks?  Yearbook Yourself lets you upload your own photo and see how it would looks from the 1950s through 2000.  I grew up in a very preppy Southern town and have very straight hair that no amount of perming or aqua net could tease big so I missed some of the most cringe-inducing styles.  But this site lets me see what I might have looked like.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music Monday - 9/15/08

I've been trying to get back to the gym. My new job is about 2 blocks away from a branch of my gym and so I really have no excuse. But of course I like to try to come up with one. My most recent excuse was a lack of good workout music. Most of mine is kind of old (and somewhat embarrassing). What songs get you moving?

Work That (mp3) - Mary J Blige
Please Don't Stop the Music (mp3) - Rihanna
Clumsy (mp3) - Fergie
Gimme More (mp3) - Britney Spears
L.E.S. Artistes (mp3) - Santogold

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have been hesitating all day to even write anything. I almost feel like I have no right. I wasn't personally affected by September 11, 2001 and as far as I know, no one I am close to was either. I was living about as far away from NYC, DC, and PA as possible, way over on the West coast. I had been laid off and was asleep when I got a call from a friend. I didn't have a job to go to so I watched the footage all day, and cried.

The day became more meaningful to me a few months later when I visited a friend in DC. The Smithsonian had an exhibit about 9/11. It included pieces of the buildings, photographs, video, and stories. The one I remember the most was the handle of a window washer squeegee. Believe it or not, I just found an article online that explains it so much better than I could:
Window washer Jan Demczur was on a break when the first hijacked plane slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, trapping him and five other men in an elevator on the 50th floor.  When they managed to pry open the elevator doors, instead of an exit they found a wall. Demczur used the blade of his squeegee to carve a hole through which they could crawl. It took 45 minutes, then the men raced down a stairwell to safety before the tower collapsed.
And then there was the room at the exhibit I couldn't go in; I was already in tears. I could hear it from the rest of the exhibit but tried to block it out. Bits of it still haunt me. The room I skipped contained voicemail recordings from people who knew they weren't going to make it out, calling their loved ones from any phone they could find. It is still heartrending to think about.

I'm not sure how to end this, these are just my thoughts today. I guess I should go call the people I love and tell them I love them and then give thanks I was lucky enough to be so untouched by a national tragedy.

Pilates Suggestions?

I had a Pilates video I liked but now haven't done in forever.  I'm looking to join this century and get a DVD. I could just buy the same one but wanted to try something new.  Do any of you have one you love? Preferably not to tough, I'm basically starting over and it would also be great if it lasted about 15-20 minutes so I can have time to do other cardio stuff too.  Doesn't have to be Pilates, just something for core-strengthening. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Oui ou Non? Mais Wii!

Guess what my awesome parents got me for my birthday last month...  A Wii!  I love it! Before getting my very own wii I had only played once before and was NOT good.  I'm getting better and loving the practice.  I've made a mii for me and my roommate.  I like all the games but by far my favorite is boxing.  I love working up a sweat and getting a bit violent.  And then I start yelling at the TV telling my opponent, "You stay down when I knock you down!"  I might even swear a bit.  

So far I only have the free wii sports.  I definitely need to get more controllers and of course, guitar hero.  Any other suggestions?  What are your favorites?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Music Monday - 9/8/08

Want to know a quick and guaranteed way to feel old? Try to survive 4 nights of Musicfest NW. Here's what I have come to realize, I have no idea how musicians go on tour. I felt exhausted after 4 nights of watching an average of 4 to 7 hours of music each night. How do they put on a show each night? I guess the drugs help.

Sunday consisted mostly of sleeping, relaxing, movies, and cooking dinner for friends (zucchini risotto, yum!) I have now recovered enough to tell you about the shows.

Wednesday 9/3 @ Berbati's Pan
The 1900s were first. The Portland Mercury summed them up pretty well as, "unironically cheerful and fully energized, with frighteningly catchy melodies." One of those bands with at least 7 people including a violinst, a cowbell-ist, and 3 singers, 2 of which had tambourines. Very fun and a great way to start off the fest.

Norfolk & Western One of many local bands that we planned to see. They were a smaller group than normal but still great. And the bass player further cemented my theory that all bass players are hot. I had to work at 7am the next day so I had to miss Langhorne Slim and The Old 97s (Rhett, don't hate me).

Thursday 9/4 @ The Crystal Ballroom
Eskimo and Sons They were a surprise last minute addtion, not even mentioned on my schedule. And what a nice surprise they were. I had never heard of them. I chalk that up to the 2 years I didn't live in Portland. And that's my loss since this was their second to last show.

Calvin Johnson I had never heard of him either but a quick Wikipedia search showed me that I am stupid. He's worked with so many amazing musicians like Modest Mouse, Beck, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I may not have really liked his set but I sure do like his work as a producer.

M. Ward This guy is all over the place, he's worked with pretty much everyone. And guess who was on drums, Rachel Blumberg from Norfolk & Western and formerly of The Decemberists. And his guitarist, Mike Coykendall, is the same guy I saw at SXSW who still looks like Philip Seymour Hoffman.  M. Ward was the perfect end to the night. He played with his band, solo, and in duet. His voice sounds like a less-cigarette-gruff-Tom Waits. And he totally won me over when he played Paul's Song.

Friday 9/5 @ The Wonder Ballroom and the Crystal Ballroom
This is the day that almost did me in. I had already been to shows for 2 nights, gotten up early for work, and now I was in line at 4:15 to get into the Wonder Ballroom. Around 5pm I realized I would still be at a show at midnight. Thank heavens for comfortable shoes and earplugs!

Britt Daniel The short version: This was the highlight of MFNW for me. The longer version: I love Spoon, I liked Britt Daniel's solo stuff too. And he brought out Janet Weiss to play drums. He was adorable and personable. He restarted one song when he realized he needed to run through his chords one more time. And at the end of another song, he looked down a bit and when he stood back up, he bumped his head on the mic. I'm not sure why these little mistakes were my favorite parts but they were, he seemed so at ease and just there to put on a great show. And in case that wasn't enough, he said, "I've lived in Portland for 3 years now, I love it, it still seems magical to me." I've lived here for a total of 8 years and it still feels that way to me too.

Built to Spill They were performing their 1997 album, Perfect from Now On. I only got to hear about 5 songs because I had to leave early to meet up with Lizzy for the rest of the night. But Built to Spill holds a special place in my heart, not just because they are Built to Spill but because their drummer was also in The Spinanes, the first band I ever reviewed in a college paper.

Lackthereof Eh. Had never heard them before, had heard Menomena, a side project of the main guy. Didn't love it, didn't want to rip my ears off.

John Vanderslice Meh. Had heard him before and had already deleted all his stuff from my iTunes. Not horrific, I just don't like it.

Vampire Weekend Finally, the reason the night was sold out! They were on the schedule for 90 minutes and I was kind of concerned, do they even have that many songs? They only did one encore, Walcott, and said it was the only song of theirs they hadn't played, that's about what I thought. I might have felt old and tired earlier but this transported me back to my college days, in my plaid skirt and Docs, listening to The Special Beat at the Armory. Delightful!

Saturday 9/6 @ The Crystal Ballroom
Mimicking Birds We had bought wristbands and were so excited at the start of MFNW. But by the last night we were tempted to order in pizza and watch a movie. This mellow band was just what I needed, I didn't even wear my earplugs. Go see them if you get the chance.

Blitzen Trapper I saw them at SXSW and they didn't sound at all like their songs that I know and love. But this time they did and I loved it.  I'm from the South, these guys remind me of so much great southern rock. Love the harmonizing.

Fleet Foxes And speaking of harmonizing, this band is the king! What beautiful voices and guitars. I liked them enough to listen to them before the show, during their show (duh) and a bit when I got home. And we got home early since we decided we had tipped the scales in favor of getting our money's worth and skipped Menomena and The Helio Sequence.

When I Say Go (mp3) - The 1900s
We Were All Saints (mp3) - Norfolk & Western
The Blizzard (mp3) - Eskimo & Sons
Paul's Song (mp3) - M. Ward
Writing to You in Reverse (mp3) - Britt Daniel/Spoon
I Would Hurt a Fly (mp3) - Built to Spill
Oxford Comma (mp3) - Vampire Weekend
Remnants and Pictures (mp3) - Mimicking Birds
Country Caravan (mp3) - Blitzen Trapper
Mykonos (mp3) - Fleet Foxes

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Music Tuesday - 9/2/08

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

Last week I shared the CD I made for my music club and noticed that several of the songs were covers. I think covers are fun. A cover can either be a new, good interpretation of a song or completely cheesy like when Marilyn McCoo or Rick Dees would sing with the weekly guest on Solid Gold.

Here are a few of the former variety...

Bring It On Home To Me (mp3) - Spoon - Sam Cooke cover
Modern Girl (mp3) - Camera Obscura - Sheena Easton cover
Sick of Myself (mp3) - Ben Gibbard - Matthew Sweet Cover
The Gambler (mp3) - Mike Doughty - Kenny Rogers cover
Always On My Mind (mp3) - Iron & Wine - Willie Nelson cover
I Summon You (mp3) - The Watson Twins - Spoon cover
Sweet Child O' Mine (mp3) - Taken By Trees - Guns 'n Roses cover
Everywhere (mp3) - Vampire Weekend - Fleetwood Mac cover