Saturday, July 30, 2011

North Carolina

John Nesbitt Loop soundtrack: Ben Kweller - On My Way

Good things come from North Carolina.
Like the Avett Brothers:


Also, my cousins, the Whites are here.

We took a trot around the loop, then to Cowboys and Aliens.
Did you know that Paul Dano is in it?
What a scamp.

Then spent the rest of the afternoon on the boat, on the beach, and in the water.

Did you know that this is the first time in probably about 10 years that I've swam in honest to goodness salty ocean? With sand and a beach and shells and everything? I've missed it.

Sweet pics coming soon. I am exhaust.
Too tired for past participles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Old" Media

I am no longer up on what is cool and hip.
I rely on old comforts for my culture hit.

Like this movie.

We watched it tonight, and this clip cracked me up TOO much.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"You're a wizard, Harry"

Almost a week late, I finally watched the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Deux.
"What did I think about it?" you ask. "How did you feel?" What silly questions.

How would you feel as you watched your childhood disintegrate right before your eyes, crumbling and bursting into flames before it dies. And then how would you feel if you saw it "19 years later" and found that the product of your dreams was an emotionless, Justin Bieber-esque spawn and heroes that just got old and fat?
I'm talking to you Ron Weasley.


just kidding

I loved the movie

Did you see Griphook at the beginning was awesome!!! Did you see his teeth? Very scary.
And Hermione is very pretty.


Speaking of pretty...
Have you seen Neville in real life?
From this:

To this:

For all of you doubters, that proves that the magic of Harry Potter is real.
He is my new favorite.

On a more serious note, this last Harry Potter book is near and dear to my heart.
Harry struggles as he deals with Dumbledore's death and the fallout afterward. His relationship with Dumbledore, and his ultimate loyalty kind of mirror my own meanderings, especially in regards to my faith. Really!

Harry feels confused, like he doesn't have enough help. The odds seem insurmountable. At the same time, an "expose" of Dumbledore is released, and Harry starts to doubt that he even knew the man he trusted for all of his adolescence.
There have been times when I've had trials, and wonder if I had "enough" to navigate through them. I didn't have the answers immediately, so I thought that meant I was doing something wrong, or that maybe I was looking to the wrong source for inspiration. The LDS church (especially lately) is often under scrutiny. Conversations about its "peculiar" past can easily turn heated.
As I've re-listened to Deathly Hallows and saw the movies, I've recognized lines that I've heard in my whole life. During my mission, people would often ask me If I was "sacrificing too much" (like Aberforth did to Harry. eh? EH?). And how I could keep my faith despite not having all the answers.

But I soon realized that faith isn't really about having all the answers. Though I couldn't always eloquently share my beliefs, I also couldn't deny what I knew. Those sort of convictions that come from the heart are always difficult to explain, but they are real.

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?"

Long story short. I love Harry Potter. What are we going to do now? No more midnight screenings... No more book release parties... I guess it really is time to grow up.

OH. And in case you're worried about what the cast will do now that the series is over, you can rest easy. Tom Felton's gonna be a rapper:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ven a Bailar: This has been the danciest day of my life

Saturday morning = Zumba
It is so fun. The instructors are from the spanish branch in my stake, and they are also Zumba instructors at a local gym. They know what they're doing. Every morning, they come in color coordinated outfits. I love it.

So here are some of the songs we dance to, along with others that I have listened to on the Spanish radio lately:

Longest intro ever, you can skip to 1:30

Oh man.
You would love to watch this class. We are awesome. There's a lot of booty shaking going on in there. After class I went to the music store and bought this:

It's Radiohead sheet music! I've been a little obsessed with their song "Videotape". Seriously. I dare you to listen to this song and NOT let it become an obsession. "You shouldn't be afraid / because I know today has been / the most perfect day I've ever seen". SO, this was the best way to learn how to play it on the piano. Got it the first time. LOVE it. the book has other great songs too. Except it is missing one of my faveys, "Let Down". Oh well. I tried teaching it to myself, but I couldn't get the beats right. Try counting the beats to that song. I'm pretty sure there are two time signatures, at least at the beginng. Impossible. 


I went with Bethany and her friend Abby to swing dancing at Glen Echo Park.
I can't even describe it to you.

Think of it this way. Imagine a Star Wars convention. There are people who love it, and they are awesome and awkward. Like star wars kid. So this dance was like a ton of star wars kids of all ages, races, and gender(s). They were all awesome in their own way.There were more men then women (what!?) so we were always "cutting the rug" (that's dance speak for you newbs) with our new friends. Oh man. At the beginning, we learned dance steps, which were a struggle for some. But when they hit the floor, they would try and do every spin, dip, and twirl that they had seen in the movies or on "So You Think You Can Dance". The actual dance steps went out the window.  It was the weirdest/best thing ever. We laughed the whole time. I wish you could have been there.

So this was a very musical, dance-y day.

I am thoroughly exhausted.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stay Gold

WODdling Soundtrack: Surfer Blood - "Astro Coast"

Yesterday reminded me that I'm supposed to be a grown-up now.
You see, yesterday was 7-11-2011. You know,

This should have been a big deal for me, but it came and went without a blip. I rarely get Slurpees. I think they are only appropriate at certain time, like...

...after a soccer game when it's been blazingly hot and BYU narrowly won and then you notice that all the cool kids are going to "the sev" because they FINALLY got the Coca-Cola flavored kind.

...when you've just left Lake Powell and your skin is burnt to a crisp and all you've eaten is corn nuts and licorice for the past 24 hours and you've been reading Twilight while laying out, in the sun so you need good ol' brain freeze to help you gain control of your senses.

...after hanging out on the playground at Lindsey Gardens and it's the nicest time of night and the cops have already told you to leave... but how could you go home? It's a beautiful night! So you walk over to 7-11. They have those new straws that change color. And then you decide to hit up Emu's grave cause you just realized it's Friday the 13th!!!!!111!!!!1!!!

...after you've hiked Angel's Landing in Zions Canyon and you're on your way through Hurricane (pronounced hur-r-kin) and you realize if you time it right, you can hit up the sev AND see the new Pirates movie. You just need to hide your Slurpee up the sleeve of your sweatshirt. And hey, if you can guys work together, you may be able to smuggle in a whole pizza.

...your mom says you can get a treat but it has to be under a dollar but luckily they have those mini-slurpees for 75 cents and you're not allowed to have Mountain Dew flavor BUT if you put it in first and then cover it with pina colada flavor, MOM WILL NEVER KNOW.

... it's the summer of 2005, your last summer before college, and you have some time to kill before watching Batman Begins and luckily there is a sev two blocks away AND you get a free itunes download on every 32 ounce cup. You will end up getting a Slurpee every couple of days for the rest of the summer.

Those are the times that warrant a slurpee.

Even though I've tried to avoid full-on adulthood this summer, I can't help but feel myself falling into its clutches. This hasn't been a slurpee summer. I thought that taking care of kids would let me be more like a kid, but instead, it's turning me into a grown-up. I've looked up parenting advice online. Carefully analyzed music lyrics, movie and tv content to make sure the girls aren't exposed to anything unsavory. I check and double-check seat belts, water intake, and please's and thank you's. I make mental lists about the type of parent I want to be, the types of jobs I should be looking for as I graduate, and how I'll create a stable, debt-free lifestyle.

I guess I've passed the Slurpee time of my life. Attempts to re-live those crazy, care-free days of summer seem contrived.

But I'm certain that great summers lie ahead. Though they may be different, they will have their own sort of golden glory. This talk is helpful in maintaining that perspective.
Stay Gold.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Be prepared!

They told me I was going to give a talk sometime this month, I was just waiting to know when.
I walked in to sacrament meeting; late, hair unkempt, and flustered while looking for a seat. Luckily, I had picked up a program. Imagine my surprise when I saw "Gretchen Divine" listed as the 2nd speaker! 
Oh dear. 
I'm one of those people who when they are assigned to give a talk, they type the whole thing out, word for word, reviewing it several times. During the sacrament, I looked up some favorite scriptures, thought up a few examples, and hoped it would be enough. I was VERY nervous.


I think it worked out all right.

Moral of the story: be prepared

I hadn't been studying the scriptures regularly, and my plans to go to the temple fell through. Luckily, I take my journal around everywhere though, and it definitely came in handy when I was looking for scriptures. But from now on, I need to make sure I'm spiritually prepared "at all times, and in all things, and in all places," instead of just when I have a talk coming up :) 

Hope you had a happy sunday!
These are the scriptures I shared:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Color Capture

WODdling soundtrack: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Sometimes I forget that the past wasn't really in black and white or sepia tone. They lived in color too.

This is widely credited as being the first color photograph...from 1861! I though it was a diamond with fly's wings, but it's actually a tartan ribbon. I guess that makes more sense. 

Once you start searching for these photos, it's kind of hard to stop. 

And this one is my favorite.

The Smithsonian is awesome. Look at what they found! Photographs from the earthquake in SanFrancisco in 3D!!!!!

On another color note, check out this website.

This system creates the color of words:
"[we use] an averaging algorithm on the colour pixel values of the queried images, displaying the result incrementally as each picture is loaded. Taking the assumption that random images will average out to become grey, we can attribute any colour bias which deviates from grey, to the term as searched. Any further interpretation is then up to the user."
That leads to results like this:

Here are some that I tried out:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Patriot Games

WODdling soundtrack: Radiohead "In Rainbows"

Dad was in town on Friday. This is what we did.

We went to the Session Stage to hear "Stories from the Studio". Man, I've been trying to remember the name of the guy we listened to... I think his name was Robert Montgomery? He was cool, and had some strong opinions about music:
"Music can bring people together, and it can tear them apart. I tolerate it better when it brings people together... Rock is a desecration of music. [During the motown era] we was giving a frequency that was bringing people together." 

We saw a bit of Miss Martha Reeves. She was a fun lady.

Fit in a bit of sightseeing:
Everyone sees this statue from the front,
but I thought you guys would like the opportunity
to appreciate how the sculptor captured
the draping and folds in the back.
So much work for something that no one really looks at.
I like it.

I forced dad into taking tacky tourist-y photos. He was a good sport.

Korean War Memorial

We saw this poor sick bird on the edge of the pool. I hope it's ok.

Then we found a great Bolivian restaurant! I was so excited. I hadn't had Bolivian food in almost 2 years!

Mocochinchi! It's made with dried peached, sugar, and cinnamon. Soooo good.
That's a dried peach chillin' at the bottom of the glass.

Choclo con queso. 

The peach. It tastes better than it looks. Trust me.

All in all, a good day.

Saturday was a laid-back affair.
Sunday was lovely.

Then the 4th.
We got up early to go see the parade. It was really funny when the tourists in line at the metro would ask me about getting around, since I was just about as clueless as they were. Hopefully I sent them the right way. There was some time to kill, so we visited that National Museum of American History. Kind of a strange place. Sort of hodge podge. But they had some good exhibits as well. I visited "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War" and this flag.

The parade was a bit of a hodge podge as well. But loveable. Like these guys who were riding around on penny-farthing bicycles like this:

The Bolivian dancers stole the show (REPRESENT!). I have no photos from this day, but will hopefully be able to share some with you soon. We walked around a bit, went to the Natural History museum, and re-visited the folk festival. I got some great music there, including this for 5 bucks!:

They are french folk songs. I love it already. 

I met up with some people in the ward later that evening at the Lincoln Memorial to watch the fireworks. They were spectacular! I loved looking around and seeing everyones faces as they watched, really magical. 

Hope you had a festive, firework-filled fourth!

July Mix: Independence Day After-Party

I am sore tired.
And I have so much to tell you. And hopefully pictures to accompany it.
But until then, you will have this mix to accompany you.

1. The Star-Spangled Banner - Stevens, Sufjan
2. Fireworks - Whitest Boy Alive
3. Independence Day - Elliott Smith
4. Magic America - Blur
5. Repatriated - Handsome Furs
6. Is This Love? - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
7. Babyface - The Elected
8. Through the Valley - Fan Modine
9. Leftovers - PS I Love You & Diamond Rings
10. Blow It Up - The Vaccines
11. Woods - The Rosebuds
12. It's Ok To Be Normal - The Gorgeous Colours
13. Some Kind of Death - Birdlips
14. Comme Des Enfants - Coeur De Pirate
16. Always Spring - I'm from Barcelona
17. America (Paul Simon cover) - Lucy Wainwright Roche

1. I visited the National History museum, and got to see the actual flag that inspired the national anthem. Sufjan's take on the song is now haunting me.
2. You recognize that voice from Kings of Convenience.
3. "You only live a day, but it's brilliant anyway."
8.  Guess you're on your own with this one. But look for it, it is worth it. Allison Bailey, if you are reading this, I think this is a concert that you would dig. We should go to it.
10. Maybe I'm behind of the times, but ambient surf is quickly replacing dubstep in my music go-to lists.
12. No vid for this one either
13. The actual track has a pretty prominent drum beat. Kind of like Pinback. I kind of like this pared down version. It is very pretty.