Monday, January 31, 2011

Hometown Pride

My sweet friend Kylie calls my neighborhood the Hundred Acre Wood, because I live among about a billion eucalyptus trees. In the summertime, the breeze gently whispers through their leaves. And in the winter--well, a lot of them clunk over into the street when it rains (shallow roots, you see.). Still, they give Lake Forest a unique beauty.
The trees were planted in the late 19th Century because there was a lumber shortage in California at the time. In the woods behind my house where I used to help my big brother build tree houses when we were kids, you can still see perfectly straight rows of planted trees.
Want to learn more fun facts about my great hometown?
Check out The O.C. Gazette's February issue for my article on the history of Lake Forest.
I love the Gazette and am already working on my next assignment for them. I think I'll try typing up my next article. Real journalists use typewriters, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A NAMM Good Time

On Saturday, Nathan and I went to the NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center. I had never heard of it until this year, but the NAMM Show is basically the biggest music product trade show in the world. It's not open to the public--you've got to be a member of the music trade or date a cute drummer to get in.

Anyway, I must admit I was a pretty clueless girl walking around the show. My body is void of tattoos or musical talent. I do not play any instruments and couldn't tell you if something is high quality or rubbish. The instruments I liked the most were the ones that changed color, had rhinestones on them, or glowed in the dark. I don't know any famous musicians. And although I tried so hard to fit in with a plaid shirt and leather jacket, I doubt I fooled anyone.

But the great thing about the NAMM Show is that you don't need any of that stuff to have a great time. It was fascinating to be there and get a glimpse into a world that is so foreign to me, to actually appreciate the aesthetics of instruments. So many of the things we saw were truly pristine works of art. It really was incredible looking at everything.

There were so many musicians at the show, but I didn't recognize anyone. I mean, think of your favorite bands...I wouldn't know Will Champion (Coldplay's bass player) or recognize Grant Mickelson (Taylor Swift's guitar player) if I ran into them. Nathan did recognize Abe Laboriel, Jr. though...he's a famous drummer who tours with Paul McCartney. No big deal.

We mostly looked at all the drum stuff ("drum stuff"...yeah, see how I don't fit in?) since Nate plays drums. I took some pictures of my favorite things...

Pretty sure this is copied from a pattern from Anthropologie. So cute.

Loved this swirly dw kit.

And definitely loved this snare drum, although I highly doubt any respectable drummer would use it. (The exhibitor joked with me: "It's the cheapest Louis Vuitton you'll ever buy!")

This would be the kind of drum kit I would want to use. Anything pink and sparkly gets my vote.
Lots of beautiful, colorful guitars.
And lots of shiny cymbals! We probably tested out over a hundred. I find it interesting how musicians describe sounds...dirty, washy, dark, clean, trashy, thin, heavy, complex. It seems so abstract to me.
Concentrating on the sounds as I test out some more cymbals...
And here's Nathan testing some more. (No really, we did this a lot! It was a loud convention! Think dull roar.)
After the show, we walked to the lobby of the Grand Californian to rest our tired feet for a minute (and run into John Stamos), and then had a delicious dinner at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney (the beignets were the best). It was a long, loud, memorable day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Marc Jacobs handbags and Renaissance paintings
Stamps in my passport and old worn-in blue jeans
Perfume and fashion ads in magazines
These are a few of my favorite things

Jane Austen novels and hand-written love notes
Starbucks and Target and headbands with big bows
Friends who can make me smile through anything
These are a few of my favorite things

Paris and London and Berlin and Rome
Hitting all green lights when I’m driving home
The soft springtime sky and a warm golden breeze
These are a few of my favorite things

When the hair’s flat
When the sale ends
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Monday, January 10, 2011

La Dolce Vita

Answer: Traveling.
Question: What is something tantamount to my personal happiness, Alex?

With a new year comes new travel plans...

I am going to Italy on June 20th with one of my best friends. I have been thinking about our trip every day since I put down the deposit about nine months ago (nothing like slapping down some cash to make a commitment!).

First we are flying into Milan to head to Venice, which the world knows for St. Mark's Square (the one full of pigeons). We'll see the domed basilica, the pretty pink color of the Doges' Palace, the campanile (bell tower) and famous Rialto Bridge. Then it's off to Florence, stopping in Verona along the way to see Romeo and Juliet's balcony (um, you bet we'll be quoting sonnets!). In Florence we'll see the Duomo, the Gates of Paradise, and Ponte Vecchio. We'll visit Dante's house and Giotto's Bell Tower. In the Uffizzi Gallery we'll see some of the greatest Italian masterpieces, including the Birth of Venus by Boticelli. And of course we will see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia. After Florence, it's off to Rome and the Vatican Museums. We'll throw coins in the Trevi Fountain, eat gelato on the Spanish Steps, and stare up at the Sistine Chapel with our mouths ajar. I'll probably cry (okay, definitely will cry) seeing Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's, which I believe is the single most beautiful work of art in the world (and I'm me.). After Rome, we'll be heading to Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri as well.

Oh yeah, and we're doing it all in ten days!

Now to figure out how to include a Vespa into our adventures...

New Starbucks Logo

Gag me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Survey

1) What author do you own the most books by?
JK Rowling. (The most books that I own by an author that aren't part of a series are by Jane Austen and Mark Twain.)

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Angela's Ashes. I have two paperbacks as well as a hardcover that I bought when I was in Limerick, which is where Frank McCourt grew up and the story takes place. Bam.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
No, because it's grammatically okay for sentences to end with prepositions if their absence would make the question or sentence sound weird. Although I am sure there are better ways to have phrased those questions.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Well, it's no secret. I love so many characters. Who do I start with? Edward Cullen? Mr. Darcy? Aragorn? Mr. Rochester? Atticus Finch? Holly Golightly? Elizabeth Bennet? Tom Sawyer?

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children?)
The Catcher in the Rye. I read it every Christmas. I'm kind of emo like that.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Little House in the Big Woods. I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls and wanted to be a prairie girl. I loved all her books.

7) What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Too much.

8 ) What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Water for Elephants was super entertaining, and I loved Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (I'm slowly dipping my pinkie toe into the pool of nonfiction, little by little...).

9) If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
I'm not tagging anyone, but this is impossible to answer. I would recommend different books to everyone. No one has the same tastes.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I am not sure what the requirements are to win a Nobel Prize, but Ian McEwan might deserve one.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a film?
Not sure...the books are always better, aren't they? I am excited to see Water for Elephants in April though.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a film?
Any bad one.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I cannot recall anything super weird. I did have a dream that one of Peter Pan's lost boys waited on me in a restaurant though.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you’ve read as an adult?
I do not read anything I would consider lowbrow. I mean, Nicholas Sparks books are a joke, but they're entertaining...I guess American Psycho? It was horrible...I did not finish it.

15) What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?
Hmm...The Grapes of Wrath was difficult just because I am such a non-fan of Steinbeck. I could only read about eight chapters. And Wuthering Heights was just the worst book to get through ever.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you’ve seen?
I haven't seen any obscure fact, I think I've only seen A Midsummer Night's Dream.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
FRENCH....Dumas forever.

18) Roth or Updike?
I haven't read either.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

21) Austen or Eliot
I haven't read Eliot, but will say Austen regardless.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I have not read a single Dickens novel...only A Christmas Carol, which is more of a novella. Shameful, shameful. What sort of second-rate educational institutions did I attend that I was not forced to read at least one Dickens novel?!

23) What is your favorite novel?
So many...Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Jungle, The Bell Jar, Peter Pan, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fahrenheit 451, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Color Purple, This Side of Paradise, Lolita, To Kill a Mockingbird, Animal Farm, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Angela's Ashes, A Clockwork Orange, Pride and Prejudice, Into the Wild, The Hobbit, The Twilight books, and The Road are some of my all-time favorites.

24) Play?
In college, I was obsessed with The Crucible. I also loved Doubt and Crimes of the Heart. I love reading plays. I just got the Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole...excited to read it.

25) Poem?
No way can I choose a favorite. No. Way.

26) Essay?
Essay? Really?

27) Short story?
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson. It'll take you five it. You'll cry.

28) Work of non-fiction?
Into the Wild. Catch Me If You Can. Kitchen Confidential. Zeitoun.

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Again, I have so many. Cormac McCarthy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian McEwan, Truman Capote, J.D. Salinger, Jane Austen, Frank McCourt, Jack Kerouac, C.S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde, Hunter Thompson, Tolkien, Rowling, Bradbury, Orwell...

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Dan Brown.

31) What is your desert island book?
The Count of Monte Cristo.

32) And … what are you reading right now?
The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly. It's a book about medieval European history and alllll about the plague.

Post your own survey if you're into books...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This is Your Year

(Thought of you when I saw this, Julie...)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho...

Today I am going back to work after two glorious weeks off. Back to agendas and alarm clocks. Back to the confines of a structured schedule, to the demands of the daily grind, to the rigors of the real world.

So, it's off to work I go.