Thursday, June 30, 2011

culture shock

I'm currently watching Daniel Deronda, the BBC miniseries. The girl pictured below comes on screen:

Me: I've seen her in a movie before!
Bethany: Yeah, she is in the new BBC version of Emma.
Me: oh... I was actually thinking of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

That's it. haha.

Slightly Offensive: Accents for all occasions!

WODdling soundtrack: Phoenix "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", and this song by Polyphonic Spree 

As I've slogged through 4 years of "higher education," (essentially focused on the humanities and social studies) I've had to do a lor of reading. Sometimes (most times?) it's dull.  You gotta liven things up. Reading things out loud usually helps. Especially if you know the author's ethnicity. Reading it in "their voice" helps reading comprehension and retention (surely there is a statistic out there that supports this claim). I used this technique in my theories of anthropology class a year and a half ago. We read a good selection from those European philosophers.

Reading Rousseau's commentary on the "social contract" is way more interesting when read in a French accent.

If you are not proficient in a certain accent, you may choose to read it with a speech impediment (I chose to drop all the R's while reading Kafka's Metamorphosis). This is only to be employed when you are alone, since most people will find it offensive. Your little brothers probably won't though, so you can read with them, trading off paragraphs. I speak from experience. 

Now that I'm nannying, I am doing LOTS of book reading. My accents need brushing up; I don't want the characters to be underdeveloped. 

I started looking online for help with my accents, but it looks like a lot of work. 

Amy Walker does a decent job. But I was quickly bored after meeting her 21 times.

This kid is awfully offensive, kind of racist, and pretty good. It is essentially 24 variations on the eff word. But don't worry, all the things he says are "100% random," hahah. Sure). Watch at your own risk.

This kid is just AWFUL but he made me laugh pretty hard. SRSLY. i am still laughing. North Wilson and South Wilson. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

This one is classic.

Accents are hard.
Guess I better get to practicing!

On another note. Impressions and accents go hand in hand.
Have you seen this trailer for "The Trip" yet?

Click here to see the whole Michael Caine scene.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Cute music.

WODdling Soundtrack: The White Stripes "Icky Thump" and "De Stijl" (P.S. The White Stripes are lo maximo. Really. I think they are one of the greatest bands EVER.)

I'm all about this right now:

There is so much to love in this photo.
Mr. Jack White has had some crazy past few months. First, The White Stripes ended, then he got a divorce topped off with a party, and now this. You should know by now that I am in love with Jack White. If you watch "It Might Get Loud," you will understand this love. So when I saw that he was collaborating with Stephen Colbert, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Anyway, click here for the full story and a TON of videos. This is my favorite one:

People are getting so funny.  So fine and fancy free. Especially music-y people.
There are all these great covers and collaborations to check out.

First there is a this Buddy Holly cover album.
He was such a dream boat.
Just look at who's covering him!

Notably absent from this list: Rivers Cuomo. WTHeck. Maybe that would be too obvious. His whole life is like a living tribute to the guy. 

He owes him big time.

Actually, it's probably for the best that Rivers isn't on the cd. We are not on good terms right now. BUT DOESN'T IT LOOK AWESOME!? You can listen to it for a limited time on NPR, here.

OH! and then there's that muppet/green album thing. That looks cute.  

OH! and here is a song in spanish! It is really cute too.

Well, the song is cute. The video... not so much. Actually it's really awful. Actually you probably shouldn't watch it. Oh my goodness. 

But look at these pandas!


Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm still confused as to what this is. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Would You Do? SUMMERTIME

What would you do if it were the first day of summer?
It was the first day of summer.
This is what I did.

Went to the kids house. Dropped Laila off at the bus stop. Played "bouncy ball" with Ava. Played "school" with Ava. Played "mom and baby" with Ava. PLAYED HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS WITH AVA.

By the way. I don't know why people are still debating the causes of childhood obesity. There is an obvious correlation between the popularization of Hungry Hungry Hippos and the BMI's of 5-12 year olds. They have been indoctrinated to scramble and eat as much as possible at an early age. Now, whenever I see this game, I think of Donnie Darko. "How do you feel being denied those Hungry Hungry Hippos?"

Dance time with Ava (Selena Gomez was involved). Watched Caillou with Ava. Picked up Laila.
Got ready for swimming. Went to "the club". Came home. Shower time. Picked up the house. "Quiet time" for 20 minutes. Came home.

I haven't been to a pool like that since middle school. I much prefer lakes. But I guess a pool for the summer will have to do. I was the popular girl at the pool. A bunch of the kids gathered around so that I could throw their diving toys out for them to race too, and help them perfect their underwater handstands. I think I was the the only person over 15 who actually ever got in the water.  It's sort of sad that after a certain age, pools are for tanning, not for playing.


I came home. Chilled. Then walked to the post office. I listened to this song, and thought about how I'm in such a different place since the last time I listened to it. 

lights blinding, no way dividing 
what's yours or mine when everything's shining

your darkness is shining 

my darkness is shining

have faith in ourselves

Hope you had a good first day of summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Full Time = Fool Time = Pool time

WODdling soundtrack: Patty Griffin, "1000 Kisses"

To catch up quick:

Father's day was yesterday! 

I don't have a picture of my dad on this computer, so this will have to suffice.
If you went to his graduation from law school about 17 years ago,
then you will know why I chose this photo to represent him.
I think he had a good one. My brother tells that while they were on the Monster's Inc. ride, Roz "was attracted to him". Apparently she asked him out on a date. The old man has still got it.

Also, I'm on Twitter now! 
I am @GretchenDevine
Is that how it works? 
I have this many followers.
I am currently following: hypem, pitchforkmedia, RubySnap, theavettbros, tedtalks, AltLatino, browbeat, drshow, allsongs, KenJennings, nprnews, and nytimes.
I am such a nerd. I totally don't know what I am doing. I started this mostly just in case I somehow get stuck in Syria or Libya by some horrid twist of fate. That's how everyone has been navigating through the Arab Spring. Right? whatevs.

Also, I am a little bit in love with James Blake.

Also, that kid Rory Mcllroy.

Also, all you really need to listen to this summer is this album:

Also, are we going to this? Please say yes.

We made sidewalk chalk masterpieces today. 
Tomorrow I am taking the girls swimming. 
I want to take them swimming E-VER-Y DAY.
Any nannying tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated. They are 4 and 7 and super cool. I'm lucky to be hanging out with them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dream Big

Over the past month, I've been giving the same monologue a lot:

Yeah, I'm from Salt Lake...
like, Salt Lake Salt Lake, in the avenues...
No, I'm not doing an internship, I'm nannying for the summer... 
Yeah, it's FUN!!! The kids are cute...
Well I'm going to back to BYU in the fall and I graduate in December....
Yeah it will be good to be done with school...
I'm studying Spanish!
Well I don't really want to teach...
It would be great to come back and live in D.C. 
and work for a bit, maybe do an internship 
before going back to school...
I could study...
public policy 
...or something....

I think all of us have fallen into these monologues at some stage in our life. We try to sound responsible and like we have it all figured out. The more we repeat them, the more they become part of our life plan, and then they just sort of happen. And that's ok.
You know what I think would be really fun to do?
You know what my dream job is?


Except not like Ben Stiller. Maybe more like the mom in "What a Girl Wants". Isn't that a great movie? Remember this?

But really. Being a wedding singer would be the best job ever. It would be perfect for a mom, since you generally work on weekends. You get to dress up and look pretty; plenty of excuses for shopping. You get to have fun and eat and be part of the best day of someone's life. 

Pretty great.

I've been dreaming about this for a while. 
Now, this is what inspired this post.

I went out jogging at dusk today. It's my favorite part of the day to go on a run: the light is perfect, the weather is cool; I love it. It's not helping my social life though. There have a been a few times where I've chosen a solitary run in place of more social activities. Everything in moderation I guess. 
Today's run was particularly brilliant though. I ran a little farther than usual. It started to rain. 
Then it started to pour. 
Everything was in cold, sepia, light. Kind of like this photo from last year:

As I was running, I listened to a long neglected mix I had made. It's titled "Potential Cover Tunes". This mix is the first step in my dream of becoming a wedding singer. You see, our band is only going to cover songs that we would listen to in real life. So you know, ABBA, the Beatles,  James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Radiohead...they will all be well represented while such wedding staples (think Bootin' Scootin' Boogie and pretty much anything by Rascal Flats) will not be tolerated. Here is a look at some other songs that will be allowed.
In reading this list, you may wonder, "Who in their right mind would want these songs at their wedding?". I've been wondering that my self. I'm sure there are some folks that wouldn't mind a more eclectic wedding. So here's a sampling of some of the tunes I'm going to try and teach myself over the summer. Let's hope those years of piano lessons serve me well.

Elliott Smith - No Name #3
Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) + Bryce Dessner (Bob Dylan cover) - I Was Young When I Left Home
M.I.A. - Paper Planes
Nick Drake - Which Will
Arctic Monkeys - Brianstorm ( We would do a lounge/jazzy version of this one. JAJAJAJA)
Belle and Sebastian - I Want the World to Stop
Arcade Fire - Wake Up
Bon Iver - Flume
Carla Morrison - Compartir
The Polyphonic Spree - Section 12 (Hold Me Now)
El Polaco - Porque Te Fuiste
Surfer Blood - Floating Vibes

Dream big, man. DREAM BIG.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Charmed, I'm sure": Old stone, Paris At Midnight, and Parts of Speech

What a week. A weak week. And a strong week at the same time.
My Pops came into town, so we drove around the town and he showed me this fantastic old chapel. It is absolutely beautiful.

Pretty incredible. There used to be an angel Moroni on top! Apparently, the Utah granite was no match for D.C.'s humid climate, so it is in desperate need of repair. It is now owned by the Unification Church. I will have to make another visit when I have a camera at my disposal. Go to this blog for more cool photos. And this site to learn more about what this church is made of (fossils!!!). You can also go to this blog for more pictures from the inside.

We then went to the National Cathedral, a totally different sort of experience. I will have to visit there again too.

After a bit, we went to see a movie. Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen, Rachel McAdams, Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Adrien Brody... what more do you need. Everyone is in this movie. Best of the past and present.

You should watch it. You will be charmed. I promise.
It kind of touched on the themes of nostalgia I talked about in this post.

OH yeah. Then we went to Great Falls.

Lived up to it's name for sure. I could have sat there all day. 
But I couldn't cause I had to go SAILING.
It was fun.
I have no pictures.
But I probably looked something like this.

HAHA. actually not. 
But it was fun none the less.
I thought of this song the whole time. And this song. But not this song. H no.

Actually. I liked crabbing more. I was really good at it! 
Feel free to get me this shirt:

This post is ending up much longer than I thought.

You have to check out these tracks before you leave. My friend Julia Mecham, just released her album yesterday. Listen here:

My favorite track is ALL OF THEM (though I have a particular soft spot for "Little Bird"). You know that Julia is a good soul because when we were in high school, we went on trek and talked about Elliot Smith for like 5 miles. And you know she is a good soul by listening to her voice. And her guitar playing. These are good soul tones.


Look at all these charming things, people, and places.

One should never be bored.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Concert Recap: "They are beautiful music" (Kishi Bashi, Nightlands, and SONDRE LERCHE)

I'd never been to the 9:30 club before, but I guess it's legendary? Also, I worried about finding the right thing to wear, which means I ended up wearing the worst thing possible. The worst thing possible being a soccer mom outfit, complete with nikes. Note: Whenever I wear running shoes with anything other than running attire, I feel that I am giving up on life. WHATEVS.
So I got there (it was so not hard to get to I LOVE the metro).

I really liked it inside:

I know it looks like, massive (it has a capacity of 1200). But it didn't feel ginormous. It think maybe because there weren't a ton of people there. I'm glad I got there early, because it would have been a shame if I missed this guy:
He does violin and keyboards for Sondre Lerche. He is crazy talented. He recorded and looped all the parts for his songs on stage; super creative. Kind of like Animal Collective + Nick Drake + Jonsi - sadness + accessibility. And look! You can listen to his tracks RIGHT HERE!
Isn't he lovely?

Next up was Nightlands. They were nice to listen to. But I don't know, not mind-blowing. Their songs sound like musical exercises to me. It might be worth your your while to give them a listen:

The lead singer is the bassist for Sondre Lerche.
And now onto the main man!
See more photos and a short review HERE
He is just adorable.
But one thing first. Going to concerts outside of Utah is a shock to the system. We Utahns are part of the western frontier, the lawless wilderness. We are just so darned appreciative when people venture out to our city, knowing they'll be in front of small, sometimes clueless crowd (Remember The Big Pink at Graywhale last year? REMEMBER? I didn't see you there, so I guess not. That was a travesty). DC is just so polished and civilized. No one was dancing except the brave, limited few, swaying about. How are you supposed to stand there with your arms folded tight when you are listening to this? I do declare, I do not know.

You know all about that one time I saw Sondre Lerche. He plays so well, and I think he loves the world. Maybe it was a good thing the crowd was so polite; it fit him. Mr. Lerche is a gentleman. Turns out that Tuesday was the release of his new album. He asked, "Is anyone from the WHite House here?" with a strong "h" sound. He is so charming. 
You have to see him. He will be in Salt Lake He has something for everyone! He sings! He jams! He stutters on command! He does tricks of all sorts! He has lovely guitars! One of them sounding vaguely like my name!


He is a genuine musician. OK. Enough gushing. But I really do hope you'll see him when he is in your neck of the woods.

Private Caller (official video) from Sondre Lerche on Vimeo.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Take a chance on CHARITY

Can you believe this is the only video of this clip on the whole internets?

Also, did you know there is a whole "nanny-blogging" culture? Well, there is. And it has become quite useful in the past couple weeks. I especially like this one. Nothing really flashy to look at, but I think she is a good writer and provides a lot of insight into how kids think. This week on her blog, she talked about how one of the children she watches was being negative. Not that she was misbehaving, but that she had a "mental habit of negativity". Now I know that sounds sort of hippie-ish or whatever, but I think she hit it on the nose:

A child with a habit of negativity tends to regard the world with a certain level of suspicion. Interactions are viewed as potentially threatening, other children are impositions, daily events are to be resisted, not embraced.
Some examples from the previous day: 
1) Rory offers Jazz a toy. (Well, actually, it was half an empty CD case. No idea where he found it, but it was Special, and he was Sharing.) Jazz scowls, draws her arms close, turns away from Rory and grunts something grumpy over her shoulder.
2) Emily stretches her arms wide and tries to draw Jazz into a hug. Jazz howls as if Emily had wallopped her. (And no, Jazz is not autistic.)
3) Another child wriggles onto the couch beside Jazz and looks at the page of the book she holds. The other child does not attempt to take the book, nor even to touch it. They’re just looking at the pictures.
“No! No book! No!” 
If this happened once in a while — heck, if this happened six times a day (we are talking two-year-olds here) — I wouldn’t think much of it. But these days it’s been happening with almost every interactionAll interactions are viewed with suspicion. Everything is bad, or potentially so … until you tell her it’s good. 
1) “Rory is giving you a toy! Isn’t that nice? Say, ‘Yes’, Jazz. ‘YES!’ Say, ‘Thank you, Rory!’ “
“Yes! Sank you, Orry!” She favours him with an enormous full-voltage Jazz-special smile.
2) “Emily wants to hug you! She loves you! Say ‘Yes’, Jazz. ‘YES!’ Give Emily a big hug back!”
“Yes, Emmy!”, breaks into that smile again and snuggles into Emily.
3) “Say ‘yes’, Jazz, ‘YES!!’ Grace likes the elephant in your book. What’s your favourite picture, Jazz?”
“Butterfly!” (What comes out sounds a lot more like ‘bar-fly’, much to my entertainment.)
“The butterfly? It is pretty. Show Grace the butterfly.”
Jazz plonks a skinny finger on the page. “Bar-fly! Bar-fly, Gace!” 
Default for Jazz, at least this week, is negative, suspicion, and withdrawal. It doesn’t seem to be borne of fatigue, hunger, illness, change, teething, any of the usual suspects. It’s just a habit. It’s not a habit I want to linger. I want to replace it with a habit of openness, positivity, cheerful expectation. She needs to say “yes!” to the world.
You can read the whole entry here.
I can sympathize with little Jazz, except my negative thinking manifested itself later in life. I always expected the worst possible outcome and was cynical in every sort of social interaction. The constant though in my mind was, "This is going to end badly". This sort of thinking keeps you from moving forward and taking chances. Who knows where this cynicism came from? In the end, I don't think it really matters. What is more important, is to recognize this habit, and then work on changing it. That is where charity steps in.  
Moroni 7:45And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity is the opposite of negativity and cynicism. Charity thinks outside herself, and puts other people ahead of her own worries. Charity means being generous with others and thinking the best of them. In Relief Society today, we talked about the phrase "seeketh not her own". We sometimes think it to mean that we shouldn't seek only for our own good or gain, but it also could mean looking outside our own social circles and collective comfort zones to understand one another better. This TED talk touches on this topic. So does this old Ensign article. Charity is cheerful and hopes for the best. 

Can I just say, the women in the Relief Society in the Langley Singles Ward are great. They have so much insight, and are genuinely kind. They are friendly, and quickly made feel like I was a part of their group, even though I am only going to be there for the summer. They are true examples of charity.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Kickin' it on Friday!

Watch this video to get a glimpse of Rebecca Black 15 years from now:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Small Spaces

WODdling soundtrack: Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs"

I love the Hartt's home. It has the same character as my family's home in Salt Lake. I'm pretty spoiled, getting to live in these old houses. But I think that this would actually be my ideal: A small, comfortable home with character.

Ok. I like pretty much everything except for the homeschooling part. I think that would make me stir-crazy. But isn't their home charming?

Once you get started looking at homes like this, it is hard to stop. Ikea has always done a good job of designing pieces for small spaces. This blog has videos of several "homes" contained in Ikea stores.

Just take a look at Zach Motl's apartment. Only 178 square feet!

Click here for the New York Times article.

Do you remember the Jarvis family from "This American Life"? I chatted about it with my cousin Emilie this weekend. You can listen to it here. I think they had a good idea about living simply, though they faltered a bit on the execution.

Your home says a lot about you. The space you live in shapes who you are. Small shared spaces for us to be courteous, considerate, and make connections to one another.
Small rooms or dwellings discipline the mind, large ones weaken it.                                                       - Leonardo Da Vinci

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Mix: New Brunette

I am using the Air as my primary computer this summer, which means I only have a tiny fraction of my music collection at my disposal. But I think this is also a benefit. It forced me to examine each of the tracks I had, and see if I should keep them because of low memory capacity. a sa consequence, I rediscovered some oldies but goodies. I think you will like them too.

1. The Perfect Nanny- Jon Langford
2. Greetings To The New Brunette - Billy Bragg
3. A Summer Song - Chad & Jeremy
4. Time of the Season - The Zombies
5. Needed Change - Skrillex
6. There's a Star - Ash
7. Viva la Vida - Coldplay
8. Calgary - Bon Iver
9. Maybe You Can Owe Me - Architecture in Helsinki
10. Singin' In The Rain - Gene Kelly
11. Parklife - Blur
12. Maybe Tomorrow - The Chords
13. Young Boy - Paul McCartney
14. (Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
15. Te Imagino - De La Ghetto & Alexandra
16. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Cake
17. No Matter What - Badfinger
18. In the Sun - Michael Stipe & Coldplay
19. Bugs - O'Death
20. Poor Places (Wilco cover) - The Punch Brothers
21. Surround Me - Ben Taylor

1. That's me! I hope.
2. That's me too!
3. It's summer.
4. I love Zombies (but only the musical kind)
5. Dubstep. You may have thought I would have fallen off this terrifying bandwagon. Nope. Not yet. in fact, sometimes I feel like I'm the only one on it. haha
7. So here's the thing. I know that for most of you, you heard this song over and over in like, 2008? 2009? Well I was on my mission still, so I didn't. But on the off chance I did get a chance to hear it in the streets of Peru or Bolivia, it just about made me tear up and i don't even know why cause the lyrics are pretty much incomprehensible. Whatever. There is a line that says "missionaries in a foreign field and I would say to the hermanas, "That's us! They are singing about us!" I don't think they were as impressed as I was. And now when we're driving in the car and I want to listen to this cd everyone kind of moans because they are sick of it. But I still love it. So there you go.
But what a boring music video.
8. New Bon Iver, mmmmmm
9. Maybe going to their concert. FUN.
10. I hear it has been raining and gloomy in Salt Lake. This one's for you.
11. Why don't people love Blur? I still think they are great. Damon Albarn. Luv him.
14. David Burns is super. If  any of you happen to find the Caetano Veloso cover of this song, I would love a copy.
15. Translation: She takes me to the moooo-oooo-oooo-ooo-oon!
16. I intentionally picked this video because it is soooo bad. Love it.
18. "I think this is the greatest song ever written, in my opinion," - Chris Martin. I kind of agree.
19. Iron & Wine + Midlake + The Shins + Punch Brothers + Yann Tiersen - cynicism = O'Death
21. I found this song in the midst of my "America Dreams" obsession (Auralee, Ingrid, and Whitney. You girls know what I'm talking about). If you haven't watched American Dreams yet, you really need to see the error of your ways. It only lasted 3 seasons, suffering an early and undeserved demise, just like Freaks and Geeks and Pushing Daisies. Anyway. YES. Ben Taylor is James Taylor's son. Great right? Right.