Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's Get Our Music On- My Search for Music Strange and Beautiful

There comes a time in everyone's life when the music that you listen to a billion times a day gets old (like Pink's "So What" that plays at least fifty times a day on my local radio station). It gets to the point that you feel physically ill and that you make a gagging noise every time the first five notes of the song begin playing. I listen to the radio whenever I commute to Portland and one day, I started my car and Adele's "Someone Like You" was on. I rolled my eyes. The song was good, once...but now every time it plays on the radio, I turn it off. I can't stand it anymore. They have played it and played it and played it to the point of exhaustion. If I hear it again, I may do something take a baseball bat to my radio.

Anyway, during these times of my life, where music from the radio cannot and will not satisfy me, I search for new music. I take it upon myself to find a musician or just one song that I have never heard before. One that doesn't sound like everything else, but that is completely unique, sometimes odd and often times just plain bizarre. In my searches, I have stumbled across some keepers. One of my favorites is the sister duo band The Pierces. Quirky and hilarious, their music makes fun of fame and fortune and will leave you thinking, Huh? Their music can get a little dry if you listen to it long enough (like their songs Secret and Boring, both can get repetitive). However, I recommend you listen to a few of their songs, especially Turn on Billie. Not only is the song catchy, but the music video is entertaining.

The next one that I have grown to love is Katie Melua, a Georgian born Brit who has one hell of a voice. I wish that her music was heard more in the U.S. because she has a real talent for singing. My friend introduced me to "The Flood" and the music video totes half naked men bumping bellies, yes bumping bellies. Despite the strangeness of the video, the song is powerful, the lyrics are well written and the beat will make you start dancing. "I Cried For You" is another one of my favorites from her. Yet again, the video is strange, but the music is beautiful and Katie's voice always catches me and makes me listen. Two others that I enjoy are "A Happy Place" and "Two Bare Feet."

Janelle Monae is my last and best. "Tightrope" is my favorite song from 2011 and in my opinion nothing can top it. She has a voice that will blow you away and dance moves that will leave your jaw open. You'll ask yourself, How does she do that? I don't know, but she has got something special. The rhythm of the song is addictive. And months after first listening to it, I still catch myself singing and doing a little dance move from the video. Another one of her songs is "Cold War" and her message is simple, Do you know what you're fighting for? Her music has powerful lyrics that critique our society and show you another way of seeing the world we live in. She has a rare gift that is both entertaining and informing. I hope that you will love her music as much as I do.

With that, I will leave you now. Have a wonderful weekend and I hope this music makes your lives less droll.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Speakers Charles Moore and Mike Biddle- Our Plastic Problem

I discovered about six months ago when one of my professors asked my class to watch "Life lessons from an ad man." Ever since watching that first video, I have not been able to get enough of The site features videos with innovators from around the world. They share their new ideas or offer solutions to problems. Many of these lectures are fascinating, others are awe inspiring and others are humbling. Topics range from brain science to music, anthropology to social networking, internet hacking to a range of social issues.

Recently, I found two videos that focus on the issue of plastics. I wanted to share these videos because they have important ideas that I believe everyone should know and understand about the world we live in. The first video features Capt. Charles Moore as the speaker. He addresses the growing problem with plastics in our oceans. Moore also has written a book on this issue called "Plastic Ocean." Moore's lecture is disheartening to say the least. However, Mike Biddle's speech offers hope and a solution to the problem with plastic. Of course, it will require a whole lot of people to take responsibility over their plastics and to recycle, but Biddle has decoded a problem that has been holding back recyclers since the beginning. Maybe his solution will be one of the first major steps to clean up our oceans and landfills.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Apple Season

It's apple season and the Golden Delicious and Granny Smith trees in my backyard produced a lot this year. Since I live at a higher elevation, our apples don't get ripe until it's almost freezing, but finally, about four days ago, I went out and picked the Golden Delicious and ended up with two heavy bags full to bursting. We don't spray them so they always look scabby, but they are delicious and none of the ones I sliced had worms. Thank goodness!

However, I am overwhelmed with all of these apples. Usually, I peel them and make a delicious apple sauce, but I decided to make an apple crisp first. This recipe originally calls for white sugar rather than brown sugar, but I think brown sugar gives a wonderful caramelized flavor. Also, to make a richer filling, you can replace the milk with half and half or heavy cream. Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

  • 10 cups all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/ tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).
  2. Place the sliced apples in a large bowl.
  3. Mix brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apples and toss well. Pour milk evenly over all and toss once more. Place the coated apples into a 9x13 inch pan.
  4. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
  5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  6. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream and whip cream.