Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 25-27

Luckily I listen to a lot of comedy albums so this is a pretty easy one. I have a lot of favorites, especially with British comedians, but since I've already mentioned Tim Minchin, I'll pick someone else. I started watching Monty Python in high school I think, and I still think they're hilarious, even though my English husband doesn't find them that funny.  

Day 25 - A song that makes me laugh: Monty Python and the Holy Grail soundtrack - Knights of the Round Table

I can only play the clarinet and the piano marginally well. I started playing piano in 2nd grade and the clarinet in 6th. Mostly I used the piano primarily for sight-reading my singing pieces since I was in choirs from high school till I was about 26. When I was in high school, I went through this Fantasia phase where I got a songbook and started playing whatever I could from there. I can play on piano bits and pieces from a few of the parts of the Nutcracker Suite, such as  Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. 

Day 26 - A song I can play on an instrument: 1940 Fantasia soundtrack - Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony Pt. 1

Well besides Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor which I would love to learn to play on the  organ, I don't really want to learn how to play a particular song on an instrument. However, I would love to start voice lessons back up again once I am done with this pregnancy and my lung capacity is back to normal. I saw the opera in Florence, and got this version of the soundtrack conducted by Claudio Abbado shortly afterward, so it has a lot of value to me. It's still my favorite opera. When I'm really happy, I like to sing this in the shower, lol. I've always wanted to sing this song correctly with all the coloratura touches like in this version. 

Day 27 - A song I wish I could play (or in my case, sing): Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) sung by Teresa Berganza - Una Voce Poco Fa

Thursday, April 28, 2011

El Dia de Los Ninos/Libros celebration!

El Dia de Los Ninos/Libros (Day of the Child/Book), or Dia as it is more commonly known, is celebrated every year on April 30, or as close to that date as a library can get. It is a celebration of children, families and reading, and promotes literacy in all cultures. I attended a celebration last year and participated in another for my internship, and both were a lot of fun in very different ways. The one I went to as a visitor was centered on bilingual Spanish/English stories and featured a lot of Hispanic entertainment such as Flamenco and Salsa dancers. The one I actively participated in was more multicultural, with tables representing Asia, Africa, Mexico and the Middle East. It included crafts from each region, as well as food. We had the most adorable children (as young as 2 or 3) do Mexican traditional dances, Belly Dancers and a local karate school did a demonstration. Dia has been going on for 15 years this year and was started by an initiative proposed by author Pat Mora. My local library system got a mini-grant to do a festival this year and they are celebrating it at one of the more culturally diverse branches. 

This is the 2011 booklist and website reference list, in case you are interested in starting a Dia program in your area: 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 23 and 24

This one was easy as I've already had my wedding. I already have added "our song" from the wedding, so this time I will include the song that my dad and I danced to. It's funny, the only time I really cried, besides during the actual ceremony, was as my dad was walking me down the aisle and when we did the Daddy/daughter dance to this song. I guess it was a kind of "Wow, this is really happening" moment for me. To be fair, this song makes me cry now hearing it. 

Day 23 - A song I want to play at my wedding: Tony Bennett - The Way You Look Tonight

Weirdly enough, this one is also easy. The song from Day 2 will definitely not be playing, I refuse to have it there. But I want this as the prelude or postlude, as it has always been one of my favorites. I want them to play the full version of it (it is a bit long) on the organ, so it should be a really excellent quality church organ/organist. I figure if you're going out, it might as be with a bang and something really dramatic. 

Day 24 - A song I want played at my funeral:  J. S. Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Monday, April 25, 2011

Days 20-22

This weekend has again been busy and I've neglected the blog. We finally managed to pick up a ton of boxes this weekend and have begin the gigantic task of packing our apartment, though I don't think it'll really pick up until this weekend. I've managed to get some of the "things I need to get done before we move" actually done, like canceling services now that we have a move date finally. So this will be my last week in South Carolina and I have kind of mixed feelings about that. On one hand, I am glad to be going someplace new and different and having the chance to start over. On the other hand, that prospects frightens me a little bit. This is a huge move, the furthest I've ever gone. My only comparable move was from Alabama to Virginia, but this one is further away. Anyways, on to the song selections...

While I don't understand all of the references in the song, I still find this song pretty funny, especially the last line. So yeah when I'm pissed off, this song makes me laugh.

Day 20: A song that I listen to when I'm angry - Tim Minchin - Some People Have It Worse Than I

I discovered this song a few months ago and fell in love with it. It's great for days when it's sunny and beautiful outside, basically the entire summer. It's just a feel good song. The video that is with it is not the original, but it goes along with it. 

Day 21: A song that I listen to when I'm happy - The Eels - God Damn Right, It's a Beautiful Day 

This song makes me laugh when I'm upset because I can relate to it. The song is about a guy who has been having a tough time of it and his friends are trying to cheer him up. Since I've been spending a lot of time at my apartment with just me and the dog, it makes double sense. (Warning: minimal amount of cursing)

Day 22: A song that I listen to when I'm sad - Avenue Q Soundtrack - There Is Life Outside Your Apartment 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 18 and 19

I discovered this artist from a fellow librarian/ex alum of USC as he enjoyed them and kept posting when Pogo posted a new video. I got into them and soon I was browsing through his stuff, picking out what else I liked. He makes his music using snippets of sounds from predominantly movies, such as Snow White and Lord of the Rings, and this is one of his more recent songs that I really like. 

Day 18: A song I wish I'd heard on the radio - Pogo - Joburg Jam

I discovered this artist about a year ago, after my hubby introduced him to me. Tim Minchin is an Aussie based in London, a fantastic piano player, and also happens to be a hilarious comedic singer as well. Ok I will admit that while most of his stuff is hilarious, if you offend easy, please don't listen because you will be offended. I personally think he is brilliant and I would love to see him perform live. This is technically a beat poem with music, but figured I could include it. 

Day 19: A song from my favorite album - Tim Minchin - Mitsubishi Colt

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 16 and 17

We finally have a moving date, May 3, so I'm glad that is nailed down. Now we just have to pack like crazy between now and then. Hopefully I'll be able to get to sleep better so that I actually have the energy to do this, which so far hasn't happened. We should be getting to Arizona by May 6 or 7. 

In 2004, Green Day came out with its American Idiot album. My hubby and I discovered it about two years later and were listening to it all the time as kind of a young adult anthems, damn the man and I'm a loner etc. However, MTV and all the radio stations way overplayed it and now most of the songs on the album, this one included, I hate hearing. Actually it made me hate listening to all Green Day songs, which is a shame because not all of it is that bad. 

Day 16 - A song I used to love but now I hate: Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Nearly every time I turn on the radio, this song is playing. However, since I only like a few of Katy Perry songs, I prefer the Glee version by Lea Michele. 

Day 17 - A song I often hear on the radio: Katy Perry - Firework

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kazu Kibuishi, Laini Taylor, Tom Angleberger, Arthur Slade - 2nd half of book reviews

Children and Young Adult
The Dodgeball Chronicles (Knights of the Lunch Table, #1) by Frank Cammuso 
Cute graphic novel in the vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and twist on the King Arthur myths, new kid Arthur King claims to be a dodgeball champ in order to get friends and of course gets sucked into a dodgeball game to the death vs the school bullies the first week of school. Thankfully though, he is blessed with a "magic" locker that makes him the king of the school and gives him two friends, Percy and Wayne, to help him out. I liked that the author/illustrator manages to slip in a Macbeth reference as well an Obi-Wan line from Star Wars: Episode 6. Great illustrations that made me laugh. Can't wait to read the next book in the series! Four stars, recommended for ages 9+. 

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
The premise of this book is great, as it is about an origami Yoda who spouts advice and a nerdy kid who wields it. What is the kid's agenda? Is he really that wise or is it all a practical joke? Or part of a larger plan? His friend Tommy wants to find out, by putting together a casebook of questions that kids in his 6th grade class have asked Yoda and the results. I like the little illustrations on the pages, esp the Tie Fighter and X-Wings at the page numbers. The author even explains how to make your own origami Yoda in the back of the book. Good book for boys who want something similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Three stars, recommended for ages 9+. 

Dove Isabeau by Jane Yolen
A fairytale in the vein of Snow White, Dove Isabeau is a beautiful noble girl who is admired and loved by all. That is, until her mother dies and father remarries a witch who wants nothing more than to kill her stepdaughter, which she tries to find out by wishing into a glass ball every day. Eventually she traps Dove Isabeau and turns her into a dragon, which the king's son (who has of course always loved her) must defeat but there is a twist to the story. Four stars, recommended for ages 8+.

Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark, #1) by Laini Taylor
Normally I avoid faerie stories like the plague, thinking them too girly and fluffy, with the exception of Spiderwick Chronicles which I thought were brilliant on an illustration and storytelling level. However, I gave this series a try after picking up the second volume and realizing that I should probably read the first book in the series first. With a recommendation on the back cover from author Shannon Hale, I started reading. Laini Taylor has created a vast new world that I dove headfirst into. Magpie Windwitch is a faerie who travels around the world getting rid of devils, until she finds a foul thing known as the Blackbringer and traces it back to her birthplace Dreamdark. Here she is drawn back into the world of the local faeries, imps, and the Djinn King. It is a bit long at 437 pages, but once you start reading you, you won't want to put it down. I can't wait to read the next book in the series! Five stars, recommended for ages 10+. 

Silksinger (Faeries of Dreamdark, #2) by Laini Taylor
I honestly didn't think the author could do as good a job as you she did with the first book, but Silksinger was awesome! The storyline was just as good as the first, almost more so because you find out more background information on the Djinn and main characters. In this book, Whisper Silksinger is trying to escape the devils that have killed her entire family with the Djinn Azazel safely hidden with her. She escapes to a nearby settlement where she meets a hobgoblin's caravan and Hirik, another young faerie with secrets of his own. Meanwhile our heroine from the first book, Magpie Windwitch, is tracking down the other five Djinn left in the world with her friend Talon and the crows. Once she learns where Azazel is from Whisper's family, she tries to track the girl down. Will Whisper get Azazel to safety and away from the devils? Will Mags and her crew find Whisper? To find out, you must read this amazing book. Five stars, recommended for ages 10+. 

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
I got the recommendation to read this book from a Teen Services Workshop that I went to at the beginning of the month. It was on one of the best books for younger teens list. I knew it was about the Black Panthers, which I didn't know much about other than the basic info, i.e. that it was a pro-African American power organization in the 1960s. Overall I thought the book was a little slow in the beginning but picked up about halfway through. I thought the book was a very good historical interpretation of the late 1960s, in so much as the setting and language. 

Eleven year old Delphine and her younger sisters Vonetta and Fern have been raised by her father and paternal grandmother for as long as she can remember and her mother was never around. So one summer, her dad decides to send them from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to visit their mom, Cecilia. She makes it very clear from the beginning that she did not choose having Delphine and her sisters sent to Oakland, and that she is not into mothering. The only thing Cecilia is into is writing poetry, sometimes for the Black Panthers. So the girls are pretty much left up to their own devices for most of the book, which includes going to to the Center to be "educated". Will Cecile ever be the mother her daughters want her to be? Recommended for ages 10+

Young Adult
The Cloud Searchers (Amulet, #3) by Kazu Kibuishi 
This is the best volume of the series so far, and it was a nice quick read. In this volume, we follow Emily and her friends and family as they try to find Cielis, the Stonekeeper Guardian Council city, which may or may not have been destroyed completely by the elves. There is an assassin hunting them while they search. The elf king's son, Prince Trellis, finds out and reveals some secrets from his past to Emily as they are forced to join together. I am very interested to see what happens in the next installment! Five stars, recommended for ages 11+ (For more info on the series, see the book trailer for the first book - until 1:26: 

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Thank goodness this book is finally over! I've been trying to get through it for about a month and a half, but it was really long (70+ tracks per MP3 disc) and I was only listening to it 15 minutes at a time while I was driving. The story started off really interesting, with a 15 year old poor girl named Dashti who is educated enough to become a lady's maid and becomes Lady Saren's maid. Lady Saren has enraged her father by professing her love for another, not the one her father picked for her to marry, and so she and Dashti are to be sealed in a tower for 7 years. Dashti is telling the story from inside the tower. The book is set in the Asian steppes, China or Mongolia I'm guessing, and according to another reader is based off the Grimm's fairy tale "Maid Maleen" ( I got so lost/bored in the middle of the book because it was dragging and the Lady Saren turned out to be such a whiny, cowardly character who is supposed to be gentry, while Dashti is courageous and full of life. The ending was surprising and worth the trudge through the middle of the book. It kind of reminded me of Hale's other book, "The Goose Girl". 

Apparently I forgot to listen to one CD, so once I finish, I can more properly comment on this book. Actually I would've been happy if it ended at the end of Disc 5, I think it would've made more sense. I know not every book has to have a happily-ever-after ending, but it just seemed right with this book as Dashti worked so hard, so why shouldn't she have her Khan? But I must say that the actual ending at Disc 6 was far better than I could've thought, so much more crazy and romantic. Lady Saren finally gained some vim and vigor at the end of the book. Four stars, recommended for ages 12+. 

The Fattening Hut by Pat Lowery Collins
Interesting verse novel about a young teenage girl named Helen who lives on a fictional African island (though the author says the traditions/scenery are based off Nigerian customs and the Caribbean island of Martinique, I believe) whose tribal customs include arranged marriages, the fattening and female circumcision of their women to prepare them for said marriages. However, Helen does not want this life, but dreams of freedom and the chance to be educated. Will she escape her fate? Although I thought it was a little long-winded, it was an fascinating look into traditional African customs and thinking outside of the box. Three stars. Recommended for teens 15+, though the topics are difficult to read about. 

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
I liked that this book was a twist on Victor Hugo's book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Modo, a deformed child, is bought by the mysterious Mr. Socrates and brought back to England to be raised, trained in combat, and survival techniques. Eventually he is used a secret agent by Mr. Socrates to try to uncover the goings on of the Clockwork Guild, who's story is simultaneously going on with Modo's. Does he manage to stop the evil Clockwork Guild as they scheme to take over the British government? Can't wait to read the next book in the series. Four stars, recommended for ages 11+. 

Frank Cammuso, Katherine Hamilton , Dr. Seuss, and Jane Yolen to name a few

I haven't done one of these in awhile due my lack of continuous reading, but figured it was about time for one, since I recently finished two books in the past week. Since there are so many, as I have not done this the beginning of March, I will divide it in half again. 

Otto's Orange Day by Jay Lynch and Frank Cammuso
Cute introduction to young children who may have never read a graphic novel before, which features Otto the cat who wishes everything to be orange. The moral of the story is to be careful what you wish for. I mostly picked up this volume because I love Frank Cammuso's more adult work, "Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective," and was thrilled to know that he also did children's graphic novels. Three stars, recommended for ages 5-8. 

Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Seuss
I had never heard of this Dr. Seuss book before, but found it the other day when I was helping with a project at the library. The idea is interesting, a young boy (Peter T. Hooper), wants to create the best scrambled eggs ever so he goes all over the world collecting bird's eggs. The crazy names Seuss comes up with for the birds is awesome, though the story goes on for much too long. Three stars, recommended for ages 4-8. 

A Boy Named Giotto by Paolo Giurnieri
This children's book was a random find for me while shelving, and tells the beginning of the story of the Renaissance painter Giotto. He is a poor shepherd boy who likes to draw and is found by the famous artist Cimabue, who helps him learn how to paint and get the colors he needs to create his realistic artwork. The art in the book I liked, though I couldn't quite place where it was from, until I read this NY Times article(, which sums it up: "The book's rich, gilded illustrations evoke the Byzantine style that preceded Giotto, while suggesting as well the more subtle colors and the emotional intensity for which he later became famous." My main problem with the book is that just as it was getting interesting, the book abruptly stops the story. I think it should've gone into more detail about his work, or maybe given resources for the child to explore Giotto's life further. Three star, recommended for ages 8-12. 

My Uncle Emily by Jane Yolen
Cute story based off real-life events of a young boy named Gib and his "uncle" Emily Dickinson, bees and 2 poems that she wrote him. Loved the illustrations, that showed Ms. Dickinson in a very humane and loving way (I always thought she was a little creepy to be honest). Four stars, recommended for ages 5-8. 

Ida B:...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World by Katherine Hannigan
I picked up this book as I had been shelving it a bunch and the cover looked interesting, plus it had the recommendation from Kate DiCamillo on the cover, so I decided to give it a try. Ida B is a young girl living on an apple tree farm with her Mom and Dad. She is home-schooled and lives a simple life talking to the trees, who answer back. Everything changes when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, the family has to sell part of their land and Ida B is forced to go to public school. So she spends most of the book being really angry and sad at everyone. Three stars, recommended for ages 8-12. 

Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
I love this little cute picture book that I picked up while shelving the other day. This little white dog, which reminded me of our dog who likes to sniff and lick all the books I borrow from the library, loves books and decides to open his own bookshop. While he is reading, he gets transported to whatever world he is reading about, be it dinosaurs or marsupials or alien civilizations. He helps a young girl find all the books she needs too. Four stars, recommended for ages 3-8. 

Day 13 - 15

I've been MIA from the blog again due to being out of town this weekend. My family decided to put a baby shower for me in Georgia, so I went up Friday night and stayed with a friend of mine outside of Atlanta and then went to Athens for the shower itself the next day. It was nice to catch up with everyone, who I had not seen in a couple years, and I had a blast at the shower and hanging with my friend. She has a 5 month old, who I got to meet for the first time, and totally fell in love with her. She is so precious and has an infectious laugh. I hope I get a baby that laid-back. John and I were both easy babies, so I'm hoping Baby H will be that way too. Only 2 1/2 more months before I find out, so we'll be seeing very soon. 

Day 13 is a guilty pleasure song and it took me awhile to come up with this one. When I was driving in the car yesterday, it finally hit me. I guess it was about a year ago, I was on YouTube and had heard that my favorite band from when I was in 4th-5th grade was touring again, so I decided to check out some of their new music. Yes, I'm talking about NKOTB, which I'm sure some of you know stands for New Kids On the Block, which were all the rage back in the late 80s/early 90s. I, like most of the girls back then, were in love with Jordan and Joe. I liked a couple of their new songs so I put them on my MP3 player, including this one. 

Day 13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure: NKOTB - Summertime

Day 14 is a song that no one expects I would like, which is frankly a bit like the last day, but I'll try to come up something different. So I usually hate country music, but sometimes there's a good song, usually the funny ones or ones that are more rock than country. I learned how to country line dance to this song in middle school, so I guess you could say it has some sentimental value.

Day 14 - A song that no one expects I would like: Alan Jackson - Chattahoochee

Day 15 is a song that describes me, which I thought was pretty difficult. But I think this song pretty accurately describes what I've been trying to do the last couple of years. 

Day 15 - A song that describes me: Avenue Q Soundtrack - Purpose

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CNN article

Well I figured since this week is National Library Week, I should post something about it. I seemed to have missed most of the celebrations thus far, but I did find this article today that I enjoyed and wanted to share. It was written Tuesday by a CNN librarian, so I thought it was most appropriate. I especially like the quote at the end of the article. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 12 : A song from a band I hate

As I have mentioned in the previous post, things have been rather crazy in my life, so I figured I would start where I left off in "30 songs in 30 days" challenge today. I wouldn't say I hate him, but I do find him very annoying, especially when he tries to use big name rappers to give himself some street cred. 

Day 12 - A song from a band I hate: Justin Bieber - Baby ft. Ludacris

Finally some good news!

So I have been totally neglecting this site for the last couple weeks due to the fact that my life has gotten significantly crazier in April. I had to go back to the doctor's office and take a third glucose test after my second random test was high, which they neglected to tell me involved four blood withdrawals. Eek! I hate needles, especially because they can never find the veins in my elbow, so it is usually drawn from the top of my hand, which hurts like crazy. Thankfully I managed to get through it without vomiting or fainting, though there were some close calls. The good news is I don't have gestational diabetes, so there is a good chance of my baby being born normal size and not up to 12 lbs! The rest of my 6 month checkup went well, with no other complications. I am now 6 1/2 months pregnant and my next appointment is in two weeks. Meanwhile, I have an appointment with WIC to do a mandatory nutrition class with them tomorrow. Should be interesting if nothing else. 

My other good or I guess I should say interesting development is that after about a month of trying to figure out if we were going to buy a house or rent an apartment/house, we've decided it would be better if we moved closer to family. That is to say, closer to my parents, so we are moving to Arizona by the end of the first week of May. I have been thinking about moving there for awhile to be closer to them, but I honestly didn't think it would be so sudden. So we're going to be moving back in with my parents, which I know will take a bit of adjustment, but I know they will help us out and that's what we're looking forward to most. Living in South Carolina, we are 6-8 hours away from my grandparents and it's even further to my brother and his family in Mississippi. At least this way, if we have difficulty we'll be living in the same area. We are hoping to find work shortly after we get there so we can move to our own apartment. All the libraries I had been interviewing for in Arizona had told me that the most construction/remodeling jobs that my husband could do for his job would be in the Phoenix area. Plus it is nice to get to know it better, as I've only been to the area for 3x for short visits. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 10: A song that makes me fall asleep and Day 11: A song from my favorite band

I honestly don't know what song to use for Day 10, but I figure this song is lovely and low enough to make me fall asleep if I was comfy enough when I was listening to it. 

Day 10 - A song that makes me fall asleep: Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D 

Since I don't have one favorite band, I will include one that I really love. I have no idea what the actual purpose of the song is, but I think it's a tribute to beautiful women and being comfortable with yourself no matter your size. 

Day 11 - A song from my favorite band: Mika - Big Girl (You are Beautiful)