Poetry Games: The White Stripes

Because why not The White Stripes? Enjoy!

Let’s grab our “Seven Nation Army”

And head over to the “Hotel Yorba”

Because “I fell in love with a girl”.

Let’s sneak out of the rooms

“In the Cold, Cold Night” to 

Hear the “Icky Thump” rant away.  

Let’s see the “White Moon” rise

As the “Little Ghosts” draw 

a “Blue Orchid” on the walls.

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30 in 3 Book Challenge Update: Anna Karenina

Update on the book challenge!

I finished Anna Karenina! My 771-page book has been mastered! Took a few months due to fluctuating interest, but закончено. I’ll be honest: When it comes to Anna’s portion of the story, I should have stuck to the Kiera Knightley movie. But that would be terrible. Though I have never seen the movie, I don’t think the movie could encapsulate the other literary aspects Tolstoy so carefully placed in his mega novel. AK is beyond a mushy story about an affair between a beautiful aristocrat and a Russian count. There’s gender roles, philosophy, questions of religion and mental states.

The romance between Anna and Vronsky is exciting at first, but as you keep reading (and reading…and reading…and reading…), you start to think if Anna’s choice to escape with Vronsky to the realm of love and passion was a good idea. You question her credibility and her entitlement. Then, you think “Jesus! I’m just like the Russians in the book!” when you realize you are scrutinizing the woman and not the man. In the beginning of the book, Oblonsky’s, Anna’s brother, affair comes out. No one really does anything though. They don’t exile him. They don’t genuinely scrutinize him because he is the man, the master of the home, the breadwinner. They pity Dolly, Oblonsky’s wife, but it’s only surface deep. And this was set in the mid-1800s! When I think of today’s world with female empowerment and equal rights for all, it’s sort of the same yet sort of different. Women can easily be breadwinners and masters of the home. The shame though when a woman partakes in “inappropriate matters”, like an affair, well from what I have seen and even judged, is gray area. You hear a woman cheats on her husband or partner and others instantly go “what a slut!”. In this time and age though, you also scrutinize the man. I mean, it takes two to tango. Way to go Tolstoy, you got me thinking of gender roles.

My favorite storyline from AK is Levin’s, the co-protagonist. He’s kinda the odd ball out in Society because of he’s not a rebel like Nikolai, his brother, or a bookworm like Sergei, his brother who’s the shining light of Society’s intellectual clique. He’s nowhere near a socialite and hundreds of miles away from bureaucrat city. He doesn’t fit in any category of traditional high society, hence the appeal. He also poses many questions when it comes to Russia’s future. During this time in Russian history, Russia hasn’t full gone Western. Throughout the book, many folks in Society switch from Russian to French to English. Levin refuses to see his homeland go Western, but knows his homeland needs to use Western technology to stay relevant. There is also Levin and Kitty’s love story that is adorable: lost love followed by suffering but triumphed in the end. I am happy that there was at least one happy ending in AK. Literary nerds say Levin is a self-portrait of Tolstoy, citing examples as Kitty and Levin’s wedding and Levin’s acceptance of faith. I can’t necessarily agree nor disagree since I have don’t have much knowledge on Tolstoy, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve been known to do that from time to time in my own stories.

Spoiler alert: The mental stability was great towards the end of the book. Anna and Levin’s reactions to their situation greatly juxtapose each other. Anna’s choice to be fully involved with Vronsky sends her down a spiral of living nightmares, delusions and mental anguish, leading to her downfall, both metaphorically and literally. Levin, on the other hand, experiences great inner anxiety about his position in life after his baby is born. He even contemplates suicide more than a few times. But, unlike Anna, Levin finds the moment when everything makes sense and everything will be alright. He accepts his position and his faith and lives happily ever after.

I did love the book, again, mostly for Levin’s storyline. Anna’s storyline did bring a little relief from the intense economic, philosophical and self-reflection aspects Levin brought about. If I read this four years ago, I would have been all over Anna’s romantic story. Now, it’s like “you’re a rich girl with first world problems. You’ll survive (or not….cough cough wink wink)”. I would recommend everyone to read it. I would also recommend you take a longgggggg break from the Russian writers afterwards because it does mentally drain you.

Next stop, the French!

#TBT: “She Received 65 Proposals, but Never Married” from NY Times

As I was listening to the hearing, I played around on the New York Times’ website. I know, I should have been doing my work but this was just too good.

I came across an article written in January 2017 by Lesley M. Blume. It’s a short piece on Mary London Baker, a socialite who throughout her life, as the title suggests, received 65 marriage proposals and denied every single one of them. Ironic how this is in the Weddings section of the paper.

She was known as the “shy bride” who denied her first fiance three times in the 1920s and then denied men 62 more times until her death in 1961. “Shy bride”? Really? Highly doubt that. In the article, it mentions that her father confessed Miss Mary was not shy at all but rather a party girl who like to tango with princes and travel the world.

It is interesting to see how her position and status cast her off from the typical role women played in the mid-twentieth century. Her father was a well-known (and very rich) financier, so she lived a very comfortable life. She refused marriage because she could. She didn’t need the support of a man to keep her social status among her fellow socialites or her pampered lifestyle. She was truly free to wander around, fool around and live life to the fullest.

Nowadays, it’s different. If a woman refuses to marry, it’s not because she’s some rich heiress who wants to travel the world and has the privilege (though they may be a few of those still around). A woman can refuse because she wants to focus on her career or because she does not like the idea of being tied down. She wouldn’t be refused by (most) social circles because of her choice. She’d be applauded. She wouldn’t be labeled as a “spinster”. She’d be labeled as a “modern woman”.

Or maybe I’m just stuck in my millennial mindset and trying to justify my choice to not get married anytime soon (or ever).  Hey I’m a busy girl with big plans. 🙂

What do you think? Comment below!

(Read the full article at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/weddings/165-years-of-wedding-announcements/mary-landon-baker-shy-bride)

June 7, 2017

Happy birthday Prince. Your death, more than a year later, still feels surreal. #PrinceDay

prince-s-most-inspiring-song-lyrics-and-quotes-communicating-his-message.jpg

May 30, 2017

The girl said “Yes” when I wasn’t ready. I kissed her lightly and got so dizzy I had to sit down.

-Antonio Banderas

For all you folks out there worried about their first spring kiss: you ain’t the only one who has had awkward moments. Besides, it’s much more fun to tell an awkward kissing story than a perfect one. xD

Downtown Travels Mixtape Vol. 2 

It’s a such a beautiful day out here in ATX. Definite blast the car stereo weather. Therefore, time to share the second volume of the Downtown Travels series! This time we have Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Avett Brothers in the mix.

This playlist is more along the lines of what I’m interested in. A sorta favorites list because I like the vibe, sound, lyrics, and all that good stuff. A few have a couple stories attached.

  1. Frank Sinatra – Fly Me to the Moon

Ah Frank Sinatra. I should really write a post on his great life. Note to self. Sinatra is first on the playlist because, well, Sinatra is the answer to everything (at least according to my friend Siddiqi and me.)

2. The Postal Service – Sleeping In

The opening lyrics is what gets me. “Last night I had the strangest dream / where everything was exactly how it seemed / where there was never any mystery / of who shot John F Kennedy”. It gets me thinking of a world where things are simple. No wars, no global climate problems, no conspiracy theories. It also gets me, the history nerd, thinking, “what would have happened if JFK lived out his full four year term? Would the 60s be the 60s with him around?” Sound the conspiracy music!

 

3. The Beatles – In My Life 

Once you hear the piano, you’ll understand.

 

4. The Avett Brothers – Another is Waiting

One of my favorite 21st century bands…actually make that all time bands period. The lyrics are fun. They are great live (no, I have yet to see them in person but watched enough Youtube videos to make this sound judgement). They are folksy and have a great piano player. They’ll even get ragtimey at times. Yep, gotta dedicate a post to them soon.

5. The Beatles – All My Loving

Funny story about this one. I once dared a friend, who has a rather terrible singing voice (not that mine is any better), to sing a song. No conditions or anything, just any song. He didn’t do it at the right second. Instead, he waited a good week, knocked on my door and started singing the Beatles. Silly me should have gotten it on video because it was pretty good (and hilarious!). Every time I hear this song, part of me will think there’s someone at the front door. That and the lyrics are just absolutely adorbs and soooooooo 1960s.

 

7. New Politics – Harlem

Because you just need a song to dance to.

 

8. Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear – Silent Movies

You know I am a fan of the soulful voices. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear do not stray from this. Their raspy voices transport you to another world, another time. Did the mention the instrumentals are amazing?

 

9. Future Islands – A Dream of You And Me

For those days when you need a sorta more soothing approach. This song reminds me of those lazy spring days laying on the grass in front of Main Building at St. Ed’s where you are trying to study but are so focused by the beauty that surrounds you.

 

10. The Decemberists – 16 Military Wives

The Decemberists are great with lyrics. The instrumentals are simple, which is nice because it helps you focus on the storyline that is portrayed in the song. It’s political yet fun. It’s got a bit of a marching beat to it, much like the military marches.

 

11. Foster the People – Best Friend

I am originally from the Voldemort state (you know, that one big West Coast state that Texans do not like and wish would stay away from any inch of the Lone Star State in fear of completely screwing up the mellow/country/old school landscape), so it’s no surprise I would cheer for a band from my old stomping grounds. The song is catchy and when you hear them live like I did at SXSW a few years back, you can’t get rid of them no matter how hard you try. The lyrics, if you truly listen, have mixed meanings. I’ve taken it as drug addiction problems, writers block, and even the general concept of friends being there for each other no matter what the situation is.

 

12. SPEAK – Carrie

Another one of my favorite bands of all time. A friend introduced me to this Austin band about four years ago (yes, the same friend who sang the Beatles on my front porch on a dare). This song is from their 2011 album, I Believe in Everything. Regardless of whatever mood you are in you will dance to the beat of this song and fall in love with Troupe Gammage’s voice. Definite song of any summer for me.

 

Hope you enjoy. There will be more coming soon!

P.S did anyone catch the typo? 🙂

April 28, 2017

Marriage is a wonderful institution… but who wants to live in an institution?

-Groucho Marx

 

Hmm…Never thought of it like that. All the more reason to stay away from marriage. xD

Heineken: Worlds Apart

We all know about the Pepsi ad flop. You know, the one with Kendall Jenner stopping a protest by giving a police officer a can of soda. Nothing against Kendall Jenner. The creators of the ad, however, its a different story.

Now I am not here to rant on how wrong Pepsi’s marketing department was. No negativity here. Rather, I would like to praise another brand’s ad for truly bringing opposite ends together to have a reasonable, calm-mannered, rather friendly conversation.

Yes that’s it ladies and gents: Heineken with their “Worlds Apart” ad. The video has essentially reached every news site around the internet these past couple days, so you may have already seen it.

The ad is a social experiment in which the participants are interviewed individually on their views of the world. The opposite views are unknowingly paired together to work on a project. Midway through the project they converse with one another casually. Connections are made. They finish the project before the individual interviews are revealed. Faces drop. Shock courses through the participants as the person next to them is everything their values are against. The glorious moment comes when the hosts of the experiment provide the option to either leave or sit down and discuss matters over a bottle of Heineken. Well, I’m not going to tell you how it ends because that would be incredibly rude. To view the video, check out Delish‘s article by clicking here.

What Heineken does splendidly is the fact they do not portray fighting. They do not portray protesting. They portray people with their views. Views they have either been taught since childhood or views they’ve collected throughout life. Heineken prove that differences can be united. Just because they have different views doesn’t mean you can’t work with them to complete a simple task. Heineken also teaches us a lesson on judgement. Basically, don’t judge a book by its cover. You don’t know where the person has seen or been through.

The final aspect, one not so philosophically based, is marketing based. Heineken’s bottles are strategically placed on the table for the label to face the screen. The nice thing about it is that is does overpower the ending. The focus is on the participants and their newfound knowledge of their partner. The beer is simply a prop for beginning conversation, not the sword in the stone to end the battle.

Kudos to Heineken for creating a thoughtful ad.

Poetry Games: George Gershwin

I finished watching An American in Paris (1951) and figured I should play the game out of Gershwin’s music. Here we go!

In the “Summertime”

On a “foggy day”

There was an “American in Paris”.

The American,

a tall, handsome fella,

sure could dance.

he would put on a “funny face”

when he would “strike that bass”.

A “fascinating rhythm” he had.

He would always joke

“‘The can’t take that away from

me!'”

He was “someone to watch

over me”,

“the man I love”,

“but not for me”.

Good sir,

“embraceable you”,

“‘s wonderful”.

“I got rhythm” now.

It’s a wonderful

“Rhapsody in blue”

So “strike up the band”

with the “Cuban overture”

because “they can’t take

that away from me!”

April 27, 2017

Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet service to see who they really are.

-Will Ferrell

 

True dat.