Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm Not Myself These Days

This phrase may not mean much anymore, but I couldn't put down this book: I'm Not Myself These Days.

A memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, also a best-seller in 2006, this memoir tells the story of a drag queen living in New York City with his male escort boyfriend. How interesting and bizarre. It might sound a bit strange, but the absurdity really caught my attention.

I love to read about bizarre tales that are so far from my own, especially if they are true stories. I also enjoy reading about lives in New York City, because it's such a crazy lifestyle that I envy but honestly do not see myself pursuing. I am not cut out for that life, even though I love to peer inside its lens.

If anyone has read it, throw some comments here. I'd love any feedback.

If you are an Anthony Burgess fan, I would definitely put this memoir on the top of my list.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Across the Universe

Okay, so do you want to see an increible, deep, breath-taking, allegorical film?

Across the Universe is it.

This film is a musical triubute to The Beatles, using Beatles songs as a story-line to represent the 1960s through characters with Beatles songs' names: Jude, Sadie, Lucy, Prudence, etc.

If you are fascinated with the 1960s, The Beatles, or thought-provoking films, this is a MUST see.

I don't want to give too much away, but I think pictures from the film sells it itself, so I will paste some here. Honestly, there is still some I need to figure out seeing it a second time around. I loved the creativity and artistic talent of the filmmaker. I love the sounds of the singers and the adaptations of The Beatles's songs. I wish I had this much talent to compose something so deep and meaningful. I want to own this movie, and I never really enjoy owning movies.

The film is so fantastic with 1960s representations, some that could even be used in the classroom. For example, portraying the Vietnam War and the draft--brilliant. Detroit race riots, racism, hippies, sex, drugs, music and musicians. And don't forget random appearances by Bono and Salma Hayek.

Check out these incredible pictures too. Please see the film, and if you do, throw me a comment here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bob Dylan in a Commercial?

Bob Dylan is in an Escalade commercial? Really?

Watch it.

What do you think? This isn't sell-out status, is it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fast-Paced World

Okay, yes, our world is becoming faster, which is a good thing, but how far can we go here?

Tools like the internet that make things more accessible and faster are good, yes; they are not hurting anything to most extents. However, some things really, I think, have gone too far.

This blog was inspired by a Go-Tarts, Pop Tars On-the-Go bars, wrapper that I saw on the lawn this morning as I walked into school. Were Pop Tars not fast enough to consume before? Aren't they easy enough to snack on by themselves? Why did we need to make consumption faster?

In the same respect, what about Gogurt (yogurt on the go)? Gogurt: Portable yogurt. What are we doing so quickly that we can't just sit down for even ten minutes to consume our food? Are we really running so quickly from point A to B that we can't eat a quick meal? Perhaps it's a convenience thing, but I think it's just becoming too extreme.

As if fast food wasn't bad enough. Drive-thrus and easily snackable fast food packages. I won't even go there.

Can anyone think of any more examples of on-the-go snacks/foods?

What do you think of these foods becoming easily accessible/consumable? Am I the only one who thinks this is utterly outrageous?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Marla Olmstead

Is anyone familiar with Marla Olmstead?

Marla is a now seven-year old painter from Binghamton, New York. She started painting randomly, like any seven-year-old would, but she ended up making thousands and thousands of dollars in the process.

At first, her artwork was displayed at a local coffee shop, where locals questioned the price for the pieces (which seemed like a joke at first). Eventually, Marla opeed her own show which caught media attention of the New York Times, and her name spread world-wide.

Then, 60 Minutes came out with a bit on the "scandal" of her paintings. Apparently, some analyst came to the conclusion that Marla was not painting the pieces, but she was receiving help from her father due to inconsistancies in the paintings and from video footage watching her paint. Her parents say that she does not perform the same when on camera.

It's really your decision. Who knows if she really is painting them? Do we need to know? Is this really a big scam to make money, or is she a child prodigy? I'm curious to see what you think.

For more information, check out this article, view the artwork below, or view the documentary My Kid Could Paint That, of which I have viewed, and it left me puzzled and still searching for answers.

What do you think?

Is it special? Significant? Does it matter that she does/doesn't paint this? Do you like it? Is it too abstract? Is it crazy that they're selling for thousands of dollars? Anything?

Lollipop House

Asian Sun

Sick Teeth

Ode to Pollock


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Give Me Truth

Before I put Into the Wild down and pass it on to others who need to read this incredible book, I wanted to record some passages that I found rather interesting and fascinating. They're thought-provoking, so I hope to provoke some thought and/or discussion amongst anyone reading.

The following is a passage highlighted in a book found with Chris McCandless's remains. It's a quotation from Henry David Thoreau in Walden:

"Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, an obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board. The hospitality was as cold as the ices."

I would prefer good conversation over food any day. You can smell insincerity as much as you can the aroma of a delicious dinner looming into the dining room. Conversation feeds the soul, especially if it is meaningful, and perhaps a bit deeper than a surface "how was your day?" conversation. Offer more than food to your guests.

"You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living." -(Alex) Chris McCandless

Don't you feel this whenever you truly have a moment in nature? When I feel really connected and centered when I am hiking or somewhere outside, I really get this feeling that happiness and joy really is constructed everywhere. Reading passages like this make me feel less alone, that I'm not the only one who thinks that one can find joy in anything, anywhere.

"For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy." -G.K. Chesterton

How true is this quotation after what Alex went through in his death? He did not burn a fire down to draw attention to himself. He died an honorable death, not causing harm or destruction to anyone around us. I don't think I am as noble as that by any means. I think our natural instinct is survival, not necessarily what is always right for everyone and anything involved. This is one reason why I truly respect Alex.

"Happiness is only real when shared." -(Alex) Chris McCandless

Really? Do you agree with the above statement? I am normally in complete agreement with Alex, but I don't really know if I agree with happiness only being real if you share it. Share it with someone else? I think a person can truly feel happiness by oneself. Some forms of happiness can really only be truly understood and felt by the individual. Love, perhaps, is not one of those things. Perhaps happiness and joy for other things, like winning or excelling at something personal, could be experienced by oneself. Why does it have to be shared?

Any comments or questions to add to my further probing?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Apple Picking

Apple picking is definitely one of my favorite fall activities, hands down. I love getting out during the fall season, climbing trees, picking off delicious apples, sampling them, walking around the orchard, and taking some awesome fall photos.

I went apple picking a couple weekends ago, and I want to share the photography that we took.

Does anyone else love apple picking, or just apples in general? What is your favorite kind?

(I'm a personal yellow delicious fan. There's no denying that.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Into the Wild

Okay. I am absolutey FASCINATED by a new book: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

I recommend this book to every person who reads this. I am utterly astounded. I can't put this book down, I can't stop thinking about it--it follows me everywhere, in my mind of course.

The cover of the book basically reveals the background of the story: In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in his savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, buried all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

The book retraces his hitchhiking escapades, completely based on interviews and experiences had by all of those who encountered him. His life absolutely amazes me. This man was such an amazing, brilliant, free-spirit who died at the hands of being different and seeking adventure. I wish I had that much devotion to a cause or passion to live a certain way that I would give up material things for it.

This passage stuck out to me, and I felt that I really need to share it with as many people as I can. This passage was written by this man himself to a friend of his, giving him wise advice:

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty."

Wow. Wise. Can it be better said?

Change is such a scary thing for people, but taking risks (like threatening your stability through creating change) brings the greatest rewards. Taking chances (like instigating a relationship) may bring negativity (rejection), but sometimes it does work out. Don't those experiences bring us the greatest highs?

We have to keep changing our horizons, otherwise we will be sucked into a life of monotony, like he describes, and how can we change and learn if we remain so stagnant? Does it mean that we have to keep traveling? Not necessarily. I think we need to be open to try new things and experience, adventure, and explore our surroundings, including the people in those surroundings. Our neighbors can teach us the most valuable lessons.

And, so many people DO live with negativity because they refuse to let go of it. It's all up to that person to release that negative energy within themselves. Some situations are harder than others, but when we learn to forgive, then we can truly be happy and peaceful with ourselves.

Like another book I'm teaching with my class writes, something along the lines of, "We can only be truly peaceful when we find it within ourselves." (We talked about that in class today, which is ironic because it has to do with my rant on another fabulous book). Literature intertwines with life. That's a secret.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. What do you think or make of the above quotation? Please give me some feedback--it's too monumental and interesting to ignore.

Here is the brilliant, deceased man himself.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Yes, it's my absolute favorite season of the year: fall. This is the prime time that the leaves are changings from their natural state of green to various shades of yellow, orange, and red--all providing for excellent scenery for a long walk or drive. Even sitting here in my living room right now, as I sit I can see the yellow leaves out the window on a nearby tree. This is one thing that I absoultely love about Upstate New York.

What is your favorite color that the leaves turn?

(I'm a personal fan of that incredible red hue...)

I'm going to post some of my favorite fall pictures. Feel free to comment on fall or the pictures I provide.

My dahling and I...

And my yesterday walk...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pumpkin Fest

Pumpkin Fest: a tradition for all Cortland residents and college students. Every October for one weekend, the best food and crafts gather together at Cortland's main park area for weekend festivities. It's a cultural must-see.

Every year since I've been here (excluding freshman year when I did not explore Cortland very much), I have visited the excellent weekend we all know as Pumpkin Fest. I have walked away with incredible tie dye t-shirts, baked goods, artwork, and jewelery that I cherish to this day. You'll find such creative and interesting artifacts at such craft fairs. That's one reason I love events like this.

Anyway, what was so excellent about this year was that the park where Pumpkin Fest is located is literally in the backyard of my apartment this year. Parking is normally a huge issue since so many people come, but this year, I was able to just walk over from my apartment. I walked over with Megan, later accompanied by Jess, and we had a nice time walking around and buying cool things.

Let me show you my favorite Pumpkin Fest memories.

Sleeping hobo...

The cutest sisters feeding each other pumpkin pie. What else would you expect to see?

Check out the pumpkin-designing contest. Which is your favorite?

My Dad loves Pumpkin Fest too, so I'll end with him visiting me there. :-)