Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I see black black green and brown, brown brown brown and blue,

I have been to many a show at Kilby Court and been witness to many a winning performance. So do not take it lightly when I say that last night was GOLDEN. Probably the gold-iest of the golden. My face was beaming the whole time.

First, Allison and I picked us up some Mexi-Fries from Taco Time. We were slightly dissapointed when we found out that "Mexi-Fries" is spanish for "Tater-Tots". There was not even the semblance of Mexican spices or anything. Oh wells. 

Waiting in line, we discussed the different names for carbonated beverages. I loathe the term "pop". I prefer saying "soda". But I think that "soda pop" is the best of all.

Yep. I love soda pop. 
Almost as much as I love Dally.
 But that's a story for another time. 

Back to the show. 

Our expectations were not low, per se, we just didn't know what to expect. I was familiar with a grand total of 4 songs before going, so I was content with just hearing those.

The first band, The Steelwells, hooked us within seconds of hearing their first song. They were great. Allison and I kept glancing around at the crowd with looks on our faces that essentially said "This is AWESOME! Don't you guys think this is awesome?! Am I right? AM I RIGHT????". We were entranced. 

Next up was Grouplove.  I heard them for the first time on the radio. Can you believe that? Who finds cool new music on the radio anymore? It wasn't even a podcast! 
This photo pretty much encapsulates what the group is like...

...and if the sentiment on their communal shirt is true, these fellows are the most untrustworthy of them all. 
Every song was lovable. I was anxious to hear them perform their single "colours" (it's on my march mix if you want to check it out), but to be honest, it paled in comparison to their other tracks.

and then

By the time they were done setting up the stage again, I was pretty tired. In my mind, I thought, "I could leave now and be perfectly content". But we did come for Foster the People, so we would stay for them too. 

I feel like I am running out of adjectives here. 
They simply made the night. 
Allison and I were dancing fools. I am sure Allison's friends can attest to that.

We especially loved the enthusiasm of the maraca-shaking man (when a kid in the crowd asked the band their name, the lead singer shyly mumbled, "foster the people". And then the kids insisted, "No, your names!" and he rambled off a spew of names we couldn't really decipher. He was so bashful. As a consequence, that one guy will forever be known as maraca-shaking man in my book). 

Here is a video from the show I found. You can kind of see our heads bobbing up and down, right in from of the keyboards, and maraca-shaking man doing his thing.

To sum it all up, last night was wonderful. Just the boost I needed to make it through the week.
When I thought it couldn't get any better, I saw this on twitter:

I'll personally take credit for that one.
My work here is done.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

This song has stuck in my brains and veins ever since I heard it on NPR tiny desk concert. Now it's "the big thing" and I am grateful for that. Everyone and their mother is covering it or remixing it. Awesome.
So this post is for my comrades who are also in love with the song. If the original is not your style, I'm sure you will be able to find a cover version that suits your taste.


"Crazy in the Deep" Adele vs. Gnarls Barkley

Jamie XX Shuffle version

Mike Posner

Young the Giant


John Legend (aka love of my life)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stand in Holy Places

We had fast and testimony meeting this Sunday because next weekend is General Conference. As usual, it was great; all the testimonies seemed so insightful. Quite a few of them remarked on the importance of the temple.

This is the first temple I ever visited. Salt Lake.

I saw the Cochabamba, Bolivia temple from the sky as we were
leaving for Peru. I just love it so much, and I can't wait to go there someday.

Ingrid showed me photos of the Manti temple yesterday.
It is beautiful. I'm definitely hoping to visit it sometime soon. 

The Provo temple is the one I'm visiting the most lately.
I know it's kind of funny looking, but I have grown to love it.

One my recent resolutions that has actually stuck around is attending the temple. I'm glad that it has. Out of all my resolutions, it has made the most difference. It has made me more concious not only have how I spend my time, but where. I like taking the idea of "standing in holy places" literally. A holy place is anywhere the spirit can dwell, and some places are more inviting to the spirit than others. More specifically speaking, places that inspire awe, reverence, and contemplation.

A lot of places have that quality, and I appreciate what people have done to create places that inspire that sort of veneration.

A favorite article of mine from the Ensign talks about one of these places. It discusses how the stained glass windows in the Chartre cathedral in France were used to teach Christian parables, specifically the story of the good samaritan.

It's beautiful, isn't it?

I wonder about these cathedrals.

They are monuments meant to inspire reverence to God. Like Latter-day Saint temples, members of the community often had to sacrifice so much so that they could be built. But where do they "stand" today? Are they filled by pious worshipers, or tour groups hurrying through so they can get their requisite photo and move on to the next site?

I love visiting the Cathedral of the Madileine, just down the street from my house. It's cool, because they do a lot of services in spanish, and they have free musical performances a couple times a month. When they are have something special like a carol service or those humanities performances that are coming up, they are usually filled to capacity. But mass? The few times I've gone, it's been pretty empty.

When I heard Mitt Romney's speech on religion and America, this sentiment rang true with me:

"I'm not sure that we fully appreciate the profound implications of our tradition of religious liberty. I have visited many of the magnificent cathedrals in Europe. They are so inspired … so grand … so empty. Raised up over generations, long ago, so many of the cathedrals now stand as the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer. The establishment of state religions in Europe did no favor to Europe's churches. And though you will find many people of strong faith there, the churches themselves seem to be withering away."

Let's not let these places be forgotten. I spend so much time at school and work; it is nice to have the temple as a respite. But you don't even have to go there to be in a holy place. You just need to make sure that wherever you are, the spirit is welcome there also.

This quote from President Faust puts it best:

"As President Brigham Young taught, 'Every moment of [our lives] must be holiness to the Lord, . . . which is the only course by which [we] can preserve the Spirit of the Almighty to [ourselves].' May the Lord bless each and all of us in our special responsibility to find holiness to the Lord by standing in holy places. That is where we will find the spiritual protection we need for ourselves and our families. That is the source of help to carry forth the word of the Lord in our time. Standing in holy places will help us rise above the evil influences of our time and draw us closer to our Savior."

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March Mix: Waiting for us to be brave

A good month for music. I've shared most of these before. I hope you like them.

1. Lovers' Carvings - Bibio
2. Black Night - The Dodos
3. Last Night At The Jetty - Panda Bear
4. Love Lust - King Charles
5. No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
6. Cosmic Love - Florence + The Machine
7. Wolf & I - Oh Land
8. The Look - Metronomy
9. Somewhere Else - Mesita
10. Dancing With The DJ (Acoustic Campfire Version)
11. Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
12. Puzzle Pieces - Saint Motel
13. Colours - Grouplove
14. The Funeral (Butch Clancy Remix) - Band of Horses
15. Bien o Mal - Julietta Venegas


I always have plans to go there, and I never make it.
7. It's official. I am going to copy her hair next week. Maybs.
14. Julietta Venegas: A veces no te entiendo como en este video. Pero esta bien. Las mariposas...pobrecitas.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Zuckerberg Zeal vs. Hatch Match

What a blustery day on BYU campus.

Walking into the Marriott Center, I wasn't sure what to expect from Orrin Hatch and Mark Zuckerberg, but I did think what resulted was a little odd. The stage was "cosily" set with two arm-chairs and a coffe table with flowers on it which only served as a place where Mark could let his bottle of orange juice rest. I don't know. Did anyone else think that was funny? Everything started well. The questions were slightly boring, but I felt that Mark answered them intelligently and honestly; overall, he seemed like a pretty personable guy.

The forum served as an interesting clash of cultures:

Mark Zuckerberg - 29, Harvard drop-out, youngest billionaire in the world

Senator Orrin Hatch - 77, Republican, longest-serving state senator in Utah

The forum served as an stage showing how different these guys are. 

Senator Hatch, while having a general sense of what Facebook is, he doesn't really know what it is. From the questions he asked and his approach in general, he sees it as an financial opportunity. Something that can help build the economy and create jobs. In fact, that's what he talked to Zuckerberg about over the summer. Well yes, and no. part of what makes Facebook incredible is how few people it takes to run. Zuckerberg pointed this out himself when he state that a staff of 2,000 serves 500,000,000. Do you see all those zeros. And that number is growing everyday. It was odd for Senator Hatch to say that one of the questions students were most interested in was "how they can work for facebook". It ran counter with everything that Mark had been saying, and truthfully, I think it was the farthest thing in most of our minds. I don't know many kids who are thinking "I want to work for facebook when I grow up." They want to create something new, something that's their own. Facebook isn't going to hire TONZ more people. It doesn't need to hire in order to expand. It is already taking over the world.

It was also pretty funny when Senator Hatch asked which classes students should take to be able to create something like facebook (or whatever it was he said). Zuckerberg kind of laughed at that one considering he dropped out of college. Do you know who else dropped out of college? Steve Jobs. Oh yeah, and Bill Gates. You don't learn how to be creative in a classroom. Innovation happens on your own time through dedication, practice, and desire. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers talks about this. It is worth your time.

The real power of Facebook isn't in the capital it generates, but in how it is changing the way we interact as a society. We have already seen how it is a catalyst for change, dialogue and revolution. I know that sounds dramatic, but we have seen over the past few months how this is true. I was dying, DYING for a question about the role of social networks in cases like Egypt (some other kids in the audience had the same idea), but it seemed Hatch was interested in other things. I was super bummed. Zuckerberg touched on this subject when he mentioned and also Khan Academy. Super cool.

Zuckerberg: A-
Hatch: D+ 

This article does a pretty good job of covering the forum.

Social media is huge. duh. But we don't know what to do with it. We have a revolutions being triggered all over the middle east with these networks serving as a backbone. And what do we do with facebook? Farmville. I feel dumb about my Lent resolution. To take yourself out of facebook is to exclude yourself from the world, really. I'm excited to go back in and see what changes we can make.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lent Lament: Life Outside of the Social Network

Forty days is oh so long.

I think I should have considered my options for Lent more carefully. There are many things that I should give up, but the purpose of Lent isn't necessarily giving up stuff that is bad for you. The most common thing to abstain from is meat, partly with the intention of enjoying days of feasting afterward. So like many have done before me, I gave up Facebook.

It is unsettling much of my daily rhythms and rituals are centered on this website. While my scholastic productivity has sky-rocketed, my awareness of viral you tube videos is abysmally low.

Just one more month, and I'll be back on the grid.

In related news, Mark Zuckerberg is speaking at the Marriot Center tomorrow. I wanted to come in costume, but I don't have a GAP sweatshirt (because duh, we don't live in 1995), and I think it will be too cold for flip flops.

I will be there regardless.

Will you be going?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fashion Smashin'

My dear friend George just graduated from fashion school! He escaped LA for a bit, so Linds put on a little get-together for him to celebrate his achievement. We all dressed up as different fashion styles (I got the 80's), played "pin-the-clothes-on-the-mannequin," and ooohed and ahhhed over George's portfolio.

I like to pretend I am "fashion" (note: I remember going to my new ward in Peru, and Sister Loidith introduced herself saying, "Hermanas, soy lo mas fashion de todo el barrio!" tranlation: "Sisters, I am the most "fashion"/stylish in the whole ward". She was fun.) I follow The Sartorialist and Garance Dore in hopes that their good taste will rub off on me.

But I'm not usually not interested in fashion shows that much. Unless it's Project Runway, but that's cheating. They just seem so unbelievable. There is usually nothing anyone could really pull of wearing in public, and I don't have the right background to fully understand it all. That is, until I saw photos from the Hermes Fall 2011 ready-to-wear show:


When I saw this, my first thought was that this outfit would be great for the Hunger Games themed party I will inevitably throw:
Hermès Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear

Leather leggings? So necessary.

Why yes! That is a bow and arrow!

Go here to see all the photos from the show.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The strangest of surprises

I went to put on my wellies this morning, and something in my left boot felt strange. I thought maybe the insole was just loose, so I turned my boot upside down to pull it out and...

a ton of rice fell out.


Like, probably a cup full of uncooked rice.
How did this happen? Was it some sort of weird joke? Why just the left boot? It really freaked me out, I thought they were bugs or something.

I left the dejected rice all over the living room floor as a testament to an odd morning. And I will not clean it up until one of my roomates fesses up to planting it in my boot. Otherwise, I will have to accept the fact that maybe a mouse was using one of my boots for food storage. Ewwww.

My search for "rice boots" brought up this picture:

and also lots of pictures of our former Secretary of State in stylish shoes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hidden Notes : Notten Hids

Let's all appreciate Jack White a bit more, shall we?

Brian Muldoon and Jack White (right) of The Upholsterers on the cover of the Makers of High Grade Suites 7".

He did an interview with All Songs Considered on NPR. You can listen to it here. He talks about making cd's and writing notes which he hid in furniture that they were re-upholstering. I like hidden things. Stuff that people probably will never find or care to notice, but you know it's there.

When our family moved from D.C. to Utah, I wrote a note to our old home. 

Our house was a cute little thing in Silver Spring, Maryland. There was a sort of fire-pit in back, with slabs of stone making the floor. I would lift up the stones, looking for worms, and generally make a mess. That got me in trouble, cause then it didn't look right. 
Those stones weren't meant to be lifted. 
And then there was one time when I was given a big sticker (probably as big as whatever computer screen you are looking at) for someone who was running for office. I think it had to do with the school board. Anyway, they said that we needed to put the sticker where people would see it, so I put in on our front door. 
I got in trouble for that too.
My mom scraped it off.

Despite my best attempts to leave a mark on that house, all my plots were foiled; I don't think I made a lasting impression. When we were finally getting ready to leave, I ripped a page out of my journal. I don't remember what I wrote, probably something along the lines of, "Thanks for all the good times, pal". And I think I drew a picture of the house, smiling, like that one Disney cartoon:

I folded up the note really little, and left it in the corner of my room, half hoping that someone would find it, half hoping that no one would find it. 

When I went to Europe with my high school, there was a group that was visiting some of the same spots we were, just a week earlier. We were both going to visit this one cathedral is Spain (this one cathedral, ha!) and we agreed that they would hide a note in the under the second to last pew on the right side. When we got there, we found it! It was quite charming. 

I think I want to start this again. Hidden note sharing. So my fellow BYU friends. What say ye? Drop me a line, and let's make this happen.

P.S. Has everything I said today been true? Probably. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

all this ye can do if ye will

We had a great fireside tonight, wish you all could have been there. It was about studying the scriptures the Lord's way, and the blessings it brings. I especially loved this scripture that Sister Allen shared:

Alma 33:23
And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen.

So to get this tree going, I've made a goal to set aside time in the morning for scripture study. 6 AM. My eyes haven't seen 6 AM in a long time. Oh dear. I will really need divine help with this one, but I know it will be worth it!

This will be me in 7 hours...

But I won't be wearing a wedding dress.
And I will probably be slouching.
And I don't think there really is that much light at that time of day.

But won't I look tranquil? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erin go Braugh

Happy St. Patrick's Day

My grandpa died 4 years ago this month. He was a true Irishmen, in probably every sense of the word. At his funeral, we had shamrocks and a processional with a bagpiper. These shamrocks are the same ones from his service, growing contentedly in our kitchen. 

In honor of this day, I am listening exclusively to Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, and The Pogues...i.e. it is rocking.

Lunch was festive. Here are some photos to make you jealous:

 Irish Soda Bread

Corned Beef

Cabbage and Such

 What a lovely composition

 Dessert trio

Ginger Cake with Guiness

Now I am back at Aspen Grove, and we are going to watch The Secret of Kells. Perfect.
I hope your St. Paddy's day was just as grand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blame it on the Romans

Beware the Ides of March.

That would be today.
Beware of today.

This is funny.

and so is this... kind of.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Head and Heart

Articles like this make me wish I had time for an anthropology class:

The New Humanism

Over the course of my career, I’ve covered a number of policy failures. When the Soviet Union fell, we sent in teams of economists, oblivious to the lack of social trust that marred that society. While invading Iraq, the nation’s leaders were unprepared for the cultural complexities of the place and the psychological aftershocks of Saddam’s terror.
We had a financial regime based on the notion that bankers are rational creatures who wouldn’t do anything stupid en masse. For the past 30 years we’ve tried many different ways to restructure our educational system — trying big schools and little schools, charters and vouchers — that, for years, skirted the core issue: the relationship between a teacher and a student.
I’ve come to believe that these failures spring from a single failure: reliance on an overly simplistic view of human nature. We have a prevailing view in our society — not only in the policy world, but in many spheres — that we are divided creatures. Reason, which is trustworthy, is separate from the emotions, which are suspect. Society progresses to the extent that reason can suppress the passions.
This has created a distortion in our culture. We emphasize things that are rational and conscious and are inarticulate about the processes down below. We are really good at talking about material things but bad at talking about emotion.
When we raise our kids, we focus on the traits measured by grades and SAT scores. But when it comes to the most important things like character and how to build relationships, we often have nothing to say. Many of our public policies are proposed by experts who are comfortable only with correlations that can be measured, appropriated and quantified, and ignore everything else.
Yet while we are trapped within this amputated view of human nature, a richer and deeper view is coming back into view. It is being brought to us by researchers across an array of diverse fields: neuroscience, psychology, sociology, behavioral economics and so on.
This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.
This body of research suggests the French enlightenment view of human nature, which emphasized individualism and reason, was wrong. The British enlightenment, which emphasized social sentiments, was more accurate about who we are. It suggests we are not divided creatures. We don’t only progress as reason dominates the passions. We also thrive as we educate our emotions.
When you synthesize this research, you get different perspectives on everything from business to family to politics. You pay less attention to how people analyze the world but more to how they perceive and organize it in their minds. You pay a bit less attention to individual traits and more to the quality of relationships between people.
You get a different view of, say, human capital. Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:
Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.
Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.
Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.
Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.
Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
When Sigmund Freud came up with his view of the unconscious, it had a huge effect on society and literature. Now hundreds of thousands of researchers are coming up with a more accurate view of who we are. Their work is scientific, but it directs our attention toward a new humanism. It’s beginning to show how the emotional and the rational are intertwined.
I suspect their work will have a giant effect on the culture. It’ll change how we see ourselves. Who knows, it may even someday transform the way our policy makers see the world.
Of course we are emotional creatures. Marina told us that already.

And the Hoodie Allen version. 

P.S. I did not know he was white... like, super white. I feel deceived.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Firmes y valientes en la lid

Did you watch the devotional last night? If you missed out, then here it is:

It's easy to get caught up in everything. What are we to do with Libya? And Wisconsin? Did you hear about the girl in West Wendover? We have to get out of debt sometime soon. And they really might cut funding to NPR. And the end of the semester is in 5 weeks. And there is not enough time for everything and not enough determination to use that time wisely. 

But, in a round about way, we already have the means to address what troubles our heart.  If the solution to the world's problems is the gospel of Jesus Christ; then shouldn't that be what we are focused on? Shouldn't we be sharing it? Sometimes chances to talk about the things we believe will spring up naturally. Most of the time, they probably won't, and we'll have to take the initiative. Either way, we need to be prepared for when that chance does come. We have to be brave about it. It's funny how we are all kind of afraid of each other. We really shouldn't be. There are so many people that are trying to follow Christ, like these kids. We are more alike than we are different. We chose to come here. That makes us all allies, even if it doesn't seem like it at times. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We're howling forever, oh oh

I like songs about wolves.

You know Oh Land? I feel like I am kindred spirits with Nanna Øland Fabricius. Like when you see people, and you're like "We could be related... we are probably far off cousins". That's how I felt about her. Turns out I am probably right, cause she's Danish, duh. And her bangs look just like mine when I don't blow dry my hair. I always thought they looked kind of goofy, but she makes them look cool.

TV on the Radio is one of the best in the world. When I got back to from my mission, I got rid of their album, "Return to Cookie Mountain" because I felt that the above track was too sexy. Glad I grew out of that phase. Though you have to admit, it is pretty darn sexy.

James Vincent McMarrow sure is lovable. I like this type of music. Which reminds me. Guess what I'm NOT going to today. Punch Brothers. I am working standby up at Aspen Grove...all day and all night. I think that makes me my own one man wolf pack. Whoever you are dear reader, I hope that you will make the journey up to Ogden to see them play tonight. They are steller.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Once upon a Winter:

More photos that needed a digital home:

Jana had her 21st birthday this December (also known as Janapalooza). To celebrate, we invented a selection of virgin fancy drinks. Aspen girls don't need alcohol to get tipsy. We are silly enough as it is.

Christmas with the Devine's

We celebrate Christmas like true Americans. Classy and Commercialized. 

This is me, happy to have paneton and ready to make hot chocolate just like we ate everyday during the holidays while I was in Peru. I tried to look civilized...

...but this is how I really felt inside!!!!!


We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day with KFC, of course. 

Then my birthday was next!

My favorite chocolate cake from Bakers of Normandy. We couldn't find birthday candles. Luckily Tianna and Allison had a yummy scented candle that worked just as well.