Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Music: Rise from the Bottom

I haven't done "My Music" posts in a while, because how could any other song compete with a song I had listened to 25 times?  So I did something uncharacteristic (and a little morally hinky):  I reset the plays for any song I had listened to over 10 times.  That was maybe a month or two ago, so here is my current "Top 25 Most Played" list:
  1. "I Want To Be Your One Night Stand" - Jeremy Messersmith (referred to hereafter as J. Mess, because he's on here a Lot)
  2. "Scientists" - J. Mess
  3. "Bridges" - J. Mess
  4. "Ghost" - J. Mess
  5. "Someday, Someone" - J. Mess
  6. "Skeleton Song" - Kate Nash
  7. "the zombie song" - Stephanie Mabey
  8. "Across the Universe" - Fiona Apple
  9. "21 Guns" - Original Broadway Cast of American Idiot
  10. "You'll Only Break His Heart" - J. Mess
  11. "A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard" - J. Mess
  12. "We Get On" - Kate Nash
  13. "Merry Happy" - Kate Nash
  14. "For The First Time In Forever" - Frozen Soundtrack
  15. "Little Talks" - Of Monsters And Men
  16. "Wuthering Heights" - The Puppini Sisters
  17. "Bring On the Wonder" - Sarah McLachlan
  18. "Burn" - Ellie Goulding
  19. "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
  20. "My Love" - Irie Love
  21. "Death Bed Salesman" - J. Mess
  22. "Tomorrow" - J. Mess
  23. "Tourniquet" - J. Mess
  24. "Sigh No More" - Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon (from Joss Whedon's Much Ado soundtrack)
  25. "Cathedrals" - Jump Little Children
In some ways, this is like a jump into the past, as a lot of these songs are ones I haven't listened to in some time, which is fun, but also kind of bittersweet.  Also, if Jeremy Messersmith collected royalties based on my iTunes, he'd be so rich right now.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Honey Bee-YU, or (Very) Small and Simple Things

I went to BYU.  I really liked it.  Being a BYU student was a pretty good experience (probably because the aspects of my personality that I would have had to hide at BYU hadn't developed yet), but being a BYU Alumna, on the other hand, is a different story.

Every so often, on a Friday night around 7:00 pm (because somehow they know I have no life?), some perky returned missionary named Tyler (they're all named Tyler), calls me up on the phone, asks me about my life, tells me about the new developments at BYU, and then asks me for money.  Recently, I've decided to loosen my purse-strings a tiny bit and donate.  They do have a new anatomy lab, and I can support that, and I figured, maybe if I gave them enough cash they would finally acknowledge that my life is cool enough to get a two-line blurb in the "What are the Alumni up to?" section in BYU Magazine.*  This last time, I gave them some money, and I got this lovely card signed by Cecil O. Samuelson's printer:

This is out of focus, but whatever.  It's scriptures (of course).
It was nice enough from the front of the card.  But here's what the card said on the inside:

Keeping with the tradition of assuming people can't read things from photographs of printed words, here's the text of the second paragraph:
"In fact, your gift is much like the contribution the honeybee makes to its beehive.  Over its short lifetime a single honeybee contributes one-twelfth of one teaspoon of honey to its hive.  Because the bees work together and depend on each other, work that would be overwhelming for a few becomes lighter, and the results are astounding."
Um...what?  They could have just been like, "thanks for your donation; it was nice of you; here's a receipt for when you do your taxes," but comparing my donation to minuscule volumes of bee spit?  They should have just been a little more direct, for example:
Dear Alexandra,
Thank you for your small contribution to Brigham Young University.  We just wanted to acknowledge how small your contribution really was.  So small that a poor scholarship kid had to buy a used American Heritage textbook.  If you want some additional perspective, here's what the Marriots gave last week:  [large sum].  They're having another wing of a classroom building named after them.  You wouldn't even get one of the dodgy Cluff Building bathroom stalls named after you with what you gave us.  Nonetheless, we wanted to express our appreciation by sending you this thank-you card that cost only slightly less to design, print, and mail than the wee amount that you donated.  Someone will be calling you again shortly at a very inconvenient time asking for more of your mere pennies. 
Not even the current President of BYU because that guy only signs cards going to high rollers. 
Again, I liked BYU, and I would go there again.  I just wouldn't graduate.

*They still haven't.  Apparently spending a year identifying the remains of missing American Heroes before going on to get my freaking doctorate isn't as news-worthy as having my eighth kid or publishing a book about upholstery. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Reasons Why July Was Pretty Fly

Again, apologies for the lame rhyme, but I couldn't help it.  Incidentally, I once dated this guy who would give me a dollar anytime I used the word "fly" or some other lame slang adjective ("dope," maybe?) in public.  I didn't take advantage of that as much as I should have.  Oh well, live and learn, I guess.

Anyway, back to July being good:

7/1:  I went to Toscanini's (a delicious ice cream place in Cambridge) for a friend's going-away shindig, and I ate Grape Nuts flavored ice cream (it was delicious, trust me).  Also I marveled at how late I was staying up on a school night.

7/3:  I made a ton of delicious muffins and it rained spectacularly.

7/4:  I went to an Independence Day breakfast at JM's house and then I rented a Rug Doctor to clean my couch (you should have seen the color of the water afterwards) and felt really good about all of my efforts.

7/5:  I defrosted my freezer and found five dollars (on the street...not in the freezer).

7/7:  I went to Tri-Ward Home Evening for the first time in ages.  We played that game where there's a water balloon and you catch it in towels.  It was actually fun.

7/11:  Some friends and I got together for a burger outing at Burger Dive in Somerville.  I walked across the Mystic River to get there (more accurately, I walked across a bridge over the Mystic River) and it was beautiful.  Burger Night was great as well--it was a great group of people and many laughs and many dipping sauces were had.

7/12:  I went swimming at the public outdoor pool in Brookline.  It was great and refreshing.  Then I got frozen custard in the middle of a really long walk.  I ended up walking a total of over 7.5 miles that day.

7/13:  John Ratzenberger (aka Cliff Clavin) was at church for some reason.  My inner child-raised-on-TV exploded a little bit.  Then Germany won the World Cup and I won a bet (though the party against whom I won got a fairly decent consolation prize in my admitting that I actually got excited about a sporting event).  I stayed up too late this night.

7/14:  Weird Al Yankovic started releasing a million new music videos (and by a million, I mean eight).  They were fantastic.  "Word Crimes" is my favorite.  I also stayed up too late again.

7/18:  I gave my NIH grant proposal a title and a budget and it became an official administrative thing!

7/19:  I bought a cake stand at a secondhand shop in Allston for five dollars (this is exciting because before that I had been serving my cakes on dinner plates like some kind of Philistine).  Then I ate a Lobster Roll for the first time.  It probably wasn't a spectacular lobster roll from any famous lobster roll place, but I just wanted to say that I've eaten one.

7/21-7/25:  I went to the gym every day this week.  I am awesome.  (Although I only went to the gym one day of the week before and one day of the week after, but I blame a weird foot pain on the latter week being a slacker week).

7/25:  I participated in the first half of a "Ladies Night" which consisted of getting frozen custard with a bunch of ladies from my ward.  Apparently we were very apparently Mormon, because a woman came up to us and asked if we were a group of Mormons.

7/26:  After living in my apartment for nearly a year, I finally organized all of my sheet music.  I ate Thai food at Basil Rice with JM.  It was delicious.

7/27:  It was Sunday.  Post-church Munch and Mingle was the most delicious fresh fruit I had eaten in a while.  I probably ate too much of it.

7/31:  I FINISHED MY GRANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Cue celebratory music and happy dancing.)  I celebrated by eating Panda Express and spending money on bargain cookbooks.  One of which is a Kosher Holiday Baking Book.  I'm not even Jewish but I'm really excited about the over 45 Passover recipes.

Even if the rest of the month had been total crap, the fact that my grant is turned in and I no longer have to think about it just makes the month.  After the Panda Express eating and the book buying, I packed my stuff to go home for the weekend.  I'm writing this in Pennsylvania right now.  I'm thinking that August is going to be pretty good as well.