just mixin’ it up a bit

…for those of you who happen to visit this blog in its original wordpress glory, instead of within a reader (like how I read your blogs).

psst. if this is your first time reading… I just switched up the wordpress themes and header. wooo.

I think it’s nice and springy.

April 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm 2 comments

worth every minute of your time

Dr. John Medina gives a talk to Google employees discussing how and why our brains work well or poorly under different circumstances and what we can do with that knowledge. Also, in the last minute or so of his talk, he gives a really brilliant explanation of the scientific mind.

April 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Emily Cash

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of catching the work of this incredible local artist, at the tail end of her residency at ArtSpace in downtown Raleigh. There’s an element of chaos and unpredictability in her work in the sense that the more you explore it, the more unexpected elements you’ll find. At the same time, the incredibly intricate nature of her pen and ink drawings really gives the viewer a sense of the artist’s control and purpose. Emily is working on her Masters in Fine Arts at UNC.

From her bio on emilycash.com:

My work deals with obsession; obsession with drawing; mark-making, mechanical devices, food and the body. Obsession is perfection. Often painters, sculptors, printmakers and other artists start off with drawings. Artists use drawings to give them an idea of how to start a project; they are generally a part of the process. Drawing is my entire process. I am obsessed with perfecting the beginning sketch that often, other artists discard.

April 10, 2008 at 10:06 am 3 comments

thank you internets

So I noticed on a news site that I was reading yesterday that the Boston Celtics were playing on St. Patrick’s Day. As many times as I’ve heard the name, never until that moment had I ever wondered about why it’s pronounced sel-tiks instead of kel-tiks. Did this musing bug me until I found a satisfying answer? You know it did. I don’t care what anyone says, Wikipedia makes me happy.

From an entry entitled “Pronunciation of Celtic

The word is believed to have originated in an early Continental Celtic language, but it comes to us from Greek (Keltoi), where it is spelled with a kappa; thus /k/ is the original pronunciation. This was borrowed into Latin (Celtae), where it was likewise pronounced /k/. However in Mediaeval Latin, the letter <c>, originally pronounced /k/, shifted to /s/, a process known as palatalization, and many words and names borrowed from Latin into English after this sound shift are pronounced this way: centre, Cicero, et cetera. Thus /s/ is the inherited pronunciation in English. For additional discussion see Latin pronunciation.

Until the mid-20th century, Celtic was usually pronounced with /s/ in English except by academics, but the pronunciation with /k/ has been gaining ground rapidly. Following the usage of philologists, /k/ is now almost invariably used with reference to Celtic languages even in non-academic contexts. It is also the more popular pronunciation when talking about most other aspects of Celtic culture. However /s/ remains the only recognised pronunciation of the word when it occurs in the names of sports teams, most notably Celtic Football Club and the Boston Celtics basketball team; as these are proper names, the traditional pronunciation is entrenched.

So there you go! I’ve added another useless random fact to the trivia cache in my mind and now so have you. You’re welcome.

btw, don’t you miss those shorty-shorts the basketball players used to wear?

March 18, 2008 at 3:04 pm Leave a comment

in rotation

Just a few things I’ve been listening to, reading, watching and mulling over…

They Love the Church but Not the Institution – A really insightful blog post over at Out of Ur about what it means to love and serve The Church.

A Gallery of Creative Bookshelf Designs – Pretty self-explanatory. For about 6 months, most of my books have been stacked up on top of my dresser. These designs are definitely inspiring.

Michael Slezak blogs and vlogs about American Idol – I’ve decided to give up the AI prognosticating because Slezak just does it so much better. I love his o’ so appropriate nicknames for the contestants, my favorite being Kristy Lee “Wide Stance” Cook, his constant and incredibly on point criticism of David Cook’s heinous hair, and his unabashed pop sensibilities. That’s not to say I won’t occasionally post an opinion, but if you enjoy Idol, you’ll love Slezak and all of the other pop-pundit EW writers that appear on the Idolatry “set.”

Matt Costa – I’ve apparently missed the boat on this guy. Gorgeous, beautifully rich melodies, catchy hooks and fascinating lyrics. Check him out if you’re as late to the party as I am. You can stream full songs off all of his albums at mattcosta.com/music.

Articles about dating – I guess because I never really did much of it until fairly recently and because I’m fascinated with social psychology. Don’t hate folks, you know you read ’em too. Here are a few I found particularly interesting: 5 Fun Affordable Dates, Why Do I Hit Home Runs in Person, But Strike Out Online?, The Perils of Playing House

The Office on DVD – After finally finishing up the first three seasons of Lost on DVD I’ve been working my way through these for the past few weeks. I’m constantly amazed by the comic genius of Steve Carrell. I also love how Darrell has become a more consistent member of the supporting cast. Dinkin Flicka baby. I’m so excited about the post-strike return of this series in April. Sooooo excited.

Revealing Your Idols – This was a sermon, preached by Tyler Jones, one of the pastors at my church. It included about a dozen questions which, along with my answers to them have been lodged near the front of my mind for three weeks now. Tyler uses the term, “wrecked” a lot and I have to say that becoming aware of the idols in my life has definitely wrecked me as of late. It’s been a very sobering realization for me that the thing I longed for years, that I begged God to give me so that I could be happy, that I promised myself and God would be the only thing that I’d need to be happy has, upon being given, become the very thing that is most hindering my relationship with Jesus.

Half Nelson – A gritty, independent movie about addiction and loneliness and friendship and redemption. While it has a few of the pieces, Half Nelson is definitely not your typical inner-city teacher-inspires-students- to-greatness flick.

March 12, 2008 at 10:44 pm Leave a comment

American Idol – Guys’ First Night Out

So I’m not sure if anyone reading this actually cares about my thoughts on American Idol, but I enjoy giving them so here goes…

Best performance of the night goes surprisingly, to one of the most under-hyped contestant ever. Yes, that dred-locked character who’s been lurking in the background for the past few weeks can actually sing. As the judges correctly assessed, Jason Castro was natural, effortless, and contemporary with his rendition of Daydreamer. He was also adorably shy and just might steal a few grandma votes from little David.

Michael Johns did a steamy version of Light My Fire and even though I’ve seen him belt that one before, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I think he has an incredible shot at being in the final.

The obvious favorite of judges and producers is David Archuletta. As I’ve previously mentioned, he’s got vocal skill far beyond his years and he showed it off quite well with Shop Around. His greatest asset, I think is an ability to choose good songs and then figure out the right way to perform them. There were some really obvious vocal slip-ups that I’m surprised weren’t mentioned by the judges, but overall it was a great performance. Also, I’m not going to say it’s happened quite yet, (because I totally still just want give the kid a hug and pinch his cheeks) but David’s constantly blushing demeanor reminds me a little too much of Melinda Doolittle and has the potential to wear a bit thin after a while. I’m just saying that if you’re great (and he just might be), a little confidence doesn’t hurt.

And then there were the rest. Honestly, not one of the remaining guys stood out all to me. I’ll give a quick rundown anyway.

David Hernandez – decent vocals but effortless it was not. He strains too hard and makes weird faces and by the end of the song I was really ready to not hear his voice singing the chorus to Midnight Hour anymore.

Danny Noriega – I can get behind a flamboyant and fabulous performer as much as anyone, I just really doubt that Danny’s got the vocal talent to back up the show. After a mediocre version of Jail House Rock, his sassing of the judges was amusing if not a bit uncomfortable. I think I’m going to have to join the bandwagon and call a Sanjaya on this kid.

Colton Berry – I thought his vocals on Suspicious Minds were great but he smiled and mugged at the camera through the entire song. He could take a lesson from David Archuletta on how to perform a song in a way that actually makes sense with the lyrics.

So who else…

Oh yeah, that kid with the long curly hair. Garret. He was cute. I totally would have had a little crush on him in high school despite the kinda gross peach fuzz hanging out on his upper lip. His attempt at humor was endearing and after an incredibly boring performance he was sufficiently humble and took what I thought was some overly-personal criticism really well.

The “rocker” guy…what was his name?…Robbie something. Anyway, he wasn’t particularly rocking except for the outfit which he later pointed to as proof of his rocking nature. I think I agree with Simon, I just don’t buy it. He has a decent enough voice, but there’s nothing about him that particularly wows me.

The other “rocker” guy is David Cook. I mentioned him before. He did a fairly uninspiring version of some sixties song that I can’t remember right now. I do remember that he used that same old shout he’s been relying on up to this point. I assume he’s got the Daughtry contingent behind him and will do fairly well, but for some reason I’m just not getting it.

So what about the dude who looks a lot like a paler version of that guy from Windtalkers and Flags of Our Fathers. Apparently he has a son. I think we’re supposed to like him because he has a son since the fact that he has has a son was the extent of the information given in his back story and they cut to reaction shots of said son about 20 times during his segment on the show. He sang Moon River. It was less bad than the judges gave him credit for. Sadly, he was also the victim of poor sound mixing because I couldn’t hear his vocals over the music until the very end of the song. I suspect he’ll be gone soon. Oh yeah! Jason Yeager. That’s his name.

Oh Chikezie. Where did your totally awesome and rhyming last name go? Please bring it back. I have to tell you though that was one of the worst arrangements of a song I’ve ever heard on Idol. I think Chikezie Eze (I can at least use it) did a decent job vocally (meaning he held notes and was in tune) but the song itself was unrecognizable. Why would you completely and totally remove all melody from such a great pop tune? I kept waiting for the catchy chorus of I Love You More Today Than Yesterday to kick in and all I got was the same R&B tone from one bit to the next. Simon labeled it old-fashioned and he was right. However, I have to admit that I did kind of like the orange suit once I saw it up close.

Luke Menard – I actually thought he had some nice tones to his voice and I could imagine him doing really well with a more upbeat song, but his performance didn’t do any favors to the slow and sad ballad he chose. He wasn’t completely forgettable but did seem really nervous and the whole thing just wasn’t up to par for a nationally televised, watched-by-millions, singing competition.

So there you have it. I have zero clue who will be knocked out first. My best guesses are Luke Menard and Jason Yeager. Garrett Haley is another that might head out on Thursday. However, usually as soon as I think I have it figured out someone like Melissa McGhee, or Scott Savol, or Haley Scarnato makes the top twelve. Remember them? No? Me neither. I had to look them up. Don’t worry, a few forgettables will slip through this year as well.

So tonight it’s the ladies’ turn. I’m still putting my money on Brooke White for a great/unique performance, but we’ll just have to see…

February 20, 2008 at 3:42 pm 4 comments

Sigh…

Today’s the 40th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

If you were a kid in the 70’s or 80’s you probably miss him just as much as I do.

A word of warning: If you’re not prepared to tear-up at least a little bit you might want to avoid these videos.

February 19, 2008 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

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