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Walkin’ Music

December 9, 2010

Hebert Hall (where I walk for most of my classes) when it snowed in December of 2008.

You know when you’re just walking along (maybe to class, maybe down the street, maybe even in the mall), and you wish you had a good song playing in the background of your life to entertain you? Well this blog post is dedicated to those songs. I’ve realized over the past few years that some of the most peaceful moments I’ve had are when I’m listening to my iPod as I walk somewhere. Every day when I go to class, I make sure that I have my music ready for the trek down McAlister Drive. My iTunes library is large enough for me to have a different song playing every time I step onto the road, but I can’t help but always pick the same songs for the journey. Whenever I hear these songs out in the real world (i.e. not playing through my head via earphones), I usually make the comment to whoever is listening, “This is a good walkin’ song.” There are particular songs that I listen to when I’m feeling a particular way, and there are songs that I just love so much, I can’t help but want to listen to them all the time. So I present to you:

Anna’s “Walkin’ Music”

  1. My absolute go-to walking song for the past month has been Dr. Dog‘s “Nobody Knows Who You Are“. I’m pretty sure I can safely say that I’m obsessed with this one. Dr. Dog really is the “sun that shines from afar;” the honey on my peanut butter sandwich; my cool side of the pillow. The rhythm provides a slow walking pace (and anyone who has ever walked anywhere with me knows that I’m a rather brisk walker), but it isn’t necessarily the pace that calls me back for more. When I’m walking along with this song playing in my head, all I wanna do is jam out and dance.
  2. Recently, Regina Spektor‘s “Fidelity” has been the headliner of my iPod. I liked this song when it came out a few years ago but never really paid that much attention to it. A few weeks ago in my yoga class, my teacher had it on her playlist, and it instantly became lodged in my brain. It’s a pretty low-key song to listen to while merrily strolling to class. If you’re not in too much of a hurry, the rhythm is a good walking pace as well. I just relax, enjoy the day, and “hear in my mind all this music.”
  3. The song that I find myself drawn to when I have to get myself up early to walk to my 8AM is “Lowdown” by My Morning Jacket. I dunno what it is about this song that makes me wanna listen to it early in the morning. Maybe it’s the dream-like effect that seems to flow through the song. Yim Yames’s voice is truly hypnotizing. Or maybe it’s just the name of the band (get it!?). The song starts off pretty smooth, but as you travel to the end, it adds hints of a build-up that wakes me up little by little. It’s like transferring from a subtle dream-like state to a more realistic one.
  4. I like to walk to “The Stars are Projectors” by Modest Mouse when I’m not in a very happy-go-lucky mood (like with items 1 and 2). This song is for those times when I’m feeling particularly driven. If you see me walking down the street with a determined look on my face, I’m most likely rocking out to this song in my head. Walking to it makes me feel like I can face any challenge presented ahead of me. Also, when I’m listening to this song, I tend to become absorbed in it and will most likely not pay too much attention to the things around me (that means I probably won’t give my usual smile and wave to people I see because, gosh darn-it, I’ve got somewhere to be!).
  5. The next two are both Deerhunter songs, and they go back to back. For a while, I would just listen to the entire album of Halcyon Digest for my walkin’ music. I eventually caught myself feeling like walking to two particular songs more often than the entire album. These two songs run right after one another on the album, so I think that line-up just stuck. First I’d start with “Memory Boy” because it’s a pretty up-beat, fast paced song. Since it’s such a short song (only about 2 minutes long), I would just kinda melt into the next (much longer and in my opinion better) song, “Desire Lines“. And let me tell you that “Desire Lines” is one of the BEST walking songs out there. The pace isn’t too fast, nor is it too slow. It’s got that sorta hypnotic “I’m in my own world” type of sound, and the lyrics are PERFECT. “Walking free/ come with me/ far away/ everyday.” Yeah, I could definitely walk with Deerhunter to far away places every day.
  6. I’m a little bit afraid to go into this next band, because there’s so much that I listen to while walking. That’s right: it’s Wilco. Perhaps I should just mention the ones I’ve walked to recently. Let me start with “At Least That’s What She Said” particularly Live at Keystone Park (Brooklyn – July 13, 2009). I gotta have that raw, distorted sound that only a live show can supply. I know, I know! It starts pretty slow, and isn’t necessarily walk-like, but once you get to that break-down, BAM! You’re walkin’! Another good one is “Theologians“. It’s the perfect walking speed for me. I just put my hands in my pockets and go. I listened to this one a lot a few weeks ago because I had to write a paper on Peter Abelard for my High Middle Ages class, and I wasn’t in the best of moods about it. Next is “I’m the Man Who Loves you“. Just another perfect walkin’ song. I shouldn’t really go on with more because I’m pretty sure I could fill at least 10 pages worth of Wilco walkin’ songs (and yes, it would include “Walken” from Sky Blue Sky). If you’re looking for a good Wilco song to walk to, I would recommend not even bothering with one particular song and just putting on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Pure Gold.
  7. Another very pleasant song for walking (I think I tend to walk to this in the morning) is “Haiti” by The Arcade Fire. The lyrics aren’t necessarily uplifting, especially if you understand the french parts, but if you let yourself get lost in the sound, that’s all you need. I’ve decided that my dance/yoga teacher has really awesome taste in music because we used to do warm-ups to this song. The entire album is amazing as well. If “Haiti” is too mellow for you, go for “Rebellion (Lies)” or “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”.
  8. This is probably going to sound stupid, but whatever. When I’m not in a very good mood, and I have to go to class, I usually turn on “There, There (The Boney King of Nowhere)” by Radiohead. It’s probably not one of the best songs to listen to when you’re not feeling particularly chipper, but I suppose it’s sort of a form of catharsis. Plus, it’s just a stellar song. I have a secret dream of choreographic a dance piece to it one day. But I guess that’s not really a secret anymore…
  9. So ever since I saw (500) Days of Summer, I’ve found that “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates is such a great walkin’ song. Every time I listen to it, I imagine myself in the middle of a crowd of people dancing around me. Best feeling ever. It’s a good pace, and it makes me believe that its making my dreams come true. And since Daryl Hall and John Oates sort of creep me out, I illustrated this with the movie (really, just google image them, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about). It’s a super cute movie that I absolutely love. I recommend it to everyone!
  10. Last for this list (but certainly not least) is one of the most feel-good, calming, groovy songs ever written. Yup, it’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon & Garfunkel. You can’t listen to this song without instantly feeling better about anything. It’s simply impossible. Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, you make your way happily to your destination without a care in the world. “Life, I love you. All is groovy.”

Now these weren’t in any particular order so don’t take this as some top ten list of Anna’s favorite songs. They are some of my favorite Walkin’ Songs. What are some of yours?

Cooking Time With Anna – Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

November 23, 2010

So there’s this absolutely amazing restaurant in New Orleans called Boucherie where my friends, family, and I like to eat every now and again. Every time I’ve been, I’ve had to have one of the greatest desserts I’ve ever tasted: Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. That’s right, it’s bread pudding made out of a doughnut. For a while now, I’ve wanted to try to make this wonderful concoction of simplicity and elegance, but I just haven’t really had time for it. Now that I’m lazing around at home for Thanksgiving Break, however, and my mom just happened to buy two-dozen doughnuts from some fundraising group at her church, I thought what better time to bake! I researched a couple of bread pudding recipes and sort of figured out what I was supposed to do, so here’s my original take on how to make Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.


1 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

A dash of nutmeg (cause I really like nutmeg)

2 eggs

Start by cutting the doughnuts in fourths and putting them in a large bowl (trust me). Then take the can of condensed milk and pour it on top of the doughnut pieces. Let that just hang out while you crack your two eggs in small bowl. Whisk them a little, and then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk a little more until relatively smooth and pour over the doughnut pieces. Mix well to make sure that each piece is nicely soaking up the liquid. Let stand for about 15 minutes. You can take this time to let the oven preheat to 350°F.

Once it’s settled, give it once more mix and pour it into some sort of pan. My pan was a little too big for the amount of doughnuts I had (in my opinion), so I spread it out pretty thin. I suppose this is good though, because it means I’ll eat less of it when I cut myself a piece. Once it’s in the pan, pop it in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Mine took 40 minutes exactly, but every oven is different. Start low and keep checking up on it.

While you’re waiting for that to cook, you can start making the sauce. I used rum, because that’s what my sister told me to use, but I would’ve much rather used bourbon. Whichever you choose, make sure you have about two shots of it.

Rum Sauce Icing:

Rum (measure to taste)

~1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

~1/2 stick of butter

In a double boiler, melt about half a stick of butter (I ended up using about two-thirds of a stick, but my family is a big fan of butter). Once it’s melted, start adding your powdered sugar slowly. I didn’t really measure out the sugar; I ended up dumping in about a fourth of a cup in every time (averaging to about 1 ½ cups). Whisk until smooth every time you add more. When you’ve added about a ½ cup of sugar, pour in your rum and whisk it in. I’m only telling you to add it now just in case you add too much and you need to mix in more sugar (better to be safe than overly rummy). It will ultimately turn into an icing like substance. Once that was done I just put it aside. It’s best served while the bread pudding is still warm from the oven and the sauce is still warm from the boiler, but we weren’t quite ready to eat it yet.

Serve on a lovely plate and spoon the icing sauce on top. Enjoy!

Overall, it was pretty good. I wish the sauce had been more saucy than icing-y, but it was still acceptable. Next time I might try another sauce recipe. The bread pudding part was delicious, but my sister sort of spoiled it by saying it looked like a weenie casserole…

I’m a Nerd.

November 3, 2010

I’m pretty sure the world has figured out by now that I’m a big nerd. People have been calling me by this title for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never really taken much offense from it. I was never cruelly picked on by bullies as a child like you see in movies and T.V. shows. The only ones who gave me more than a hard time about my interests were my sisters. This didn’t really last long because as soon as they started reading Harry Potter (I was 11), their entire world was turned upside down. I never understood the appeal of the “too cool for school” attitude that all the kids around me seemed to have. Yeah, sure. I would watch The Real World with my sisters when it came on T.V. I would go see those silly teen movies in the theaters with my friends (what else was there to do in middle school). I played sports and took dance classes and was pretty athletic. But all these things weren’t particularly grand (except for dance – I will always love dance).

I think my nerdiness might have stemmed from the fact that when I was still young, my sisters got to a point where they didn’t play with me anymore. I didn’t mind this so much though. I would just go outside to the backyard and play by myself. I could dream up some fantastic scenarios involving the imaginary characters in my head and literally play in the yard for hours. There were no limits to what I might think up. The mysteries hidden in the secret brick that was loose on the side of my neighbor’s house. The great fortress (Murphy High School across the street) of the evil king that threatened to attack my home and family. The brave heroine who had to save her friends from some evil monster or tyrant. And of course I would sometimes imagine myself as a Sailor Scout, a character from Mortal Kombat, a Jedi, a power ranger, or other various pop culture characters from my childhood. Sometimes my sisters would come play with me, and we would run around the house as Jill Pole, and Susan and Lucy Pevensie. I have some great memories from that time.

So what now? When people first meet me, I don’t think that they get the impression that I’m a big fat nerd (correct me if I’m wrong). Recently I’ve been trying to find out if there is some sort of balance for my nerdiness and normalness at this point in my life. I’ve lived for 20 years now, so my experiences have definitely changed me from that little girl who used to play in the backyard, but I think my nerdiness level has increased. With this in mind, I looked around my room for some examples of some sort of leveling off.

Example 1 – My Choice of Posters

Welcome to the Northeast Corner of my room. Yes, that is in fact a map of Middle Earth at the bottom there. I love looking at it. I find it incredibly interesting that someone took the time to plan out all the details for a completely fictional land in order to sufficiently tell a story. I also really like maps. Notice the world map above. I could sit and look at that for hours. My ultimate goal is to get a giant wall map and hang it right beside my bed so I can just lie down and look at it whenever I want. Maps are cool. Fantasy maps are nerdy. There’s balance there. I also think the Middle Earth map’s nerdiness cancels out because I have two band posters next to it. The one on top is Sigur Rós, and the one on bottom that you can’t see very well is Wilco. I think Wilco can more that cover the cost of the nerdiness of my Middle Earth map. That corner of my room is definitely cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Example 2 – My Choice of Books

Ah, yes. My tiny dorm room bookshelf. My lack of sufficient space greatly hindered me from bringing my entire book collection to school with me, but I tried to take the ones most important to me. The first thing you may notice is that there are a great deal of fantasy novels on this bookshelf. If you look closer, however, you’ll see that they are series. Those only count as one in my eyes. Spread a little on top and bottom, I have the Wheel of Time series. It’s my favorite fantasy series. I enjoy picking them up from time to time, turning to a random page, and reading a chapter or two. I do the same with the Harry Potter books (sadly, my last few books in the series are currently lost). Then you have the Inheritance Trilogy. Honestly, I’m not too crazy about these books. Eragon was okay, but I found the writing style to be very annoying. I only have them here because I keep meaning to read them (because my sisters want me to). I’ve been working on getting through Eldest for about 3 years now, and I’m not even half way. Then you get to one of my new favorite series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Yeah, I know these books are probably on a preteen reading level, but they’re just so darn entertaining! Plus I can finish one in a day, so there’s not that suspense and longing that comes with reading the thicker books. Now we get to the cool stuff. If you look all the way over to the top left, you’ll see titles like On the Road, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Jitterbug Perfume, Crime and Punishment, Breakfast of Champions, Still Life With Woodpecker, Le Petite Prince, The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse Five, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and A Separate Reality. I would consider these all to be fantastic (and pretty cool) novels. I think they balance out my fantasy novel collection.

Example 3 – My Pictures

That may or may not be a signed picture of Michael Shanks, the actor who plays Dr. Daniel Jackson on the Sci Fi T.V. Series Stargate SG-1, that I may or may not have gotten at DragonCon*, a Sci Fi and Fantasy convention that I may or may not have attended in 2007. But look at all the great friends I have in the next frame! Cool points, right?

Example 4 – My Desk

On my desk in a tin lunchbox, you’ll find my collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. I know, I know. That’s the smallest Magic collection ever, but I never really did the whole card collecting thing. I’ve only ever built one deck on my own, and I haven’t played much since middle school anyway (my normal Magic partner goes to school in Boston now). But check out those awesome books to the left! They’re my books for my two history classes. You may notice that most of them say something about Vikings. Well, that’s because I’m taking a class called The Age of Vikings, and it’s pretty much the coolest class ever. My academic endeavors outweigh my Magic nerdiness. VIKINGS, for the win!

Also, I might want to mention that the tin lunchbox that my Magic cards are hidden in is actually a Harry Potter lunchbox…

Example 5 – My T-Shirt Selection

I guess these are what I would consider my “cool” t-shirts. They could potentially be considered hip. On the top row, there’s an old 1986 Jazz Fest t-shirt, an old 1984 Louisiana World Exposition t-shirt, and a battered Locus Fork Band t-shirt (a band my parents used to go see in Mobile). On the bottom, there’s my “Make Wetlands, Not War!” t-shirt from Dirty Coast, my Arabi t-shirt from Dirty Coast, and my Street Car shirt from American Apparel (my sister got that one for me). I guess I consider all these shirts cool because they’re all from New Orleans (except the Locus Fork Band one). Plus the one’s on top are all t-shirts that used to be my mom’s when she was younger (vintage!). They’re pretty cool hand-me-downs.

These are my nerdy shirts. The top is all Legend of Zelda t-shirts, and the bottom are all Star Wars t-shirts. The Wind Waker shirt, the Triforce shirt, the Empire Strikes Back shirt, and the Millennium Falcon shirt are probably my favorite shirts ever. I try to wear them as much as I can without seeming to geeky. The thing is, every time I wear one and someone comments, it’s usually to say, “Hey, cool shirt!” or something along those lines. And come on! Look at that Millennium Falcon shirt! There’s a tie-dyed Death Star! There are X-Wings and TIE Fighters shooting at each other! Sure it may be entirely too large for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing that bad boy as pajamas.

So those are some things that I immediately thought of, but there are probably more examples somewhere. And these examples (minus the Magic cards maybe) are physical things that people can see about my nerdiness. If they’re just looking at this stuff, and I don’t start talking, most people would probably think I was relatively normal. Once I open my mouth, however, and I start making obscure references to things (no one ever gets my references…), they’ll probably see that I’m a big-time nerd.

A Dr. Dog Day

October 9, 2010

Fate (Dr. Dog album)

My Favorite Dr. Dog Album

Let me tell you about my day on October 7, 2010.

I woke up that morning feeling a little groggy, but that was quickly remedied with a strong brew of Vietnamese coffee and the realization that today was the day when Dr. Dog would play for free on Tulane’s campus. When I sat down at my computer to check the pointless emails that I receive every morning from various subscriptions (Barnes and Noble, J.Crew, eBay, etc.), I opened iTunes, hooked up my computer to my speakers, and started my day with a little bit of Fate, my favorite Dr. Dog album. I cannot even begin to describe the absolute ecstasy I felt as “The Breeze” started playing. It was the best possible start to the day. The day before I felt a bit of pressure coming over me. I looked at my calendar to see that I have a paper due and a midterm early next week, and I probably wasn’t going to have much time to work on either since my family would be visiting New Orleans this weekend. This song was the cure for that tension. “Are you moving much too fast?… Then put a needle to the groove and sing.”

Almost every day I work in the Music and Media Section of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Today was my early shift (hello 8:30AM!), and I was running a tad bit later than usual, so I had to cross the quad to save time, getting my feet slightly wet (and cold) from the early morning dew on the grass. This didn’t bother me too much because I was listening to “The Rabbit, The Bat, & The Reindeer”, and how could anything be bothersome when I had that song playing in my head. By using hypotenuses instead of walking around, I made it to work on time. It was a relatively slow morning in the MML, so I was asked to check a potentially damaged movie at one of the viewing stations. This means that I got to spend a majority of my time at work watching a movie (Saved! starring Mandy Moore, Jena Malone, and Macaulay Culkin – but sorry guys, it’s super scratched). I also got to use the MML printer to print out my Psych notes for my class that afternoon, so it was free!

With a little help from “From”, I made my way to Hebert Hall for my High Middle Ages class. My professor started lecturing about Henry I (1100-1135) of England, but my mind wandered just a little bit. By the time we made it to Henry II (1154-1190), I had already completed my little doodle montage pictured below (which looking at it now, I realize my dyslexic brain mixed up a title). After that I figured I should probably start paying attention again, so I tried to do so. At the end of class, my professor decided that the midterm (which was supposed to take place next Tuesday) was going to be pushed back to the next week. A great sigh swept over the classroom as everyone heard this fortunate news. That was a huge weight off my shoulders.

Walking from class was accompanied by “100 Years” and “Uncovering the Old”. These songs brought me to my lunch, Bruff-to-Go, where they had egg salad sandwiches (my absolute favorite) and Coca-Cola Classic.

My journey to Psychology Test and Measure Lecture in Jones Hall was a hard one to take, but “My Friend” got me there in one piece. I was dreading this lecture because the outline I printed out to complete during class was longer than most of the ones we had done in the past. I was pleasantly surprised when we finished 15 minutes early. The walk back was taken with “I Only Wear Blue” (from the album Shame, Shame), and I couldn’t stop smiling after I saw the stage on the LBC Quad already set up and ready to go. In just a mere four hours, Dr. Dog would be playing on that stage.

As 6PM rolled closer, my friend Tina came over to campus. I also started hearing from my sister, Margaret, who would be in New Orleans very soon to stay with me. She was running a bit behind schedule, so Tina and I (deciding that we were very hungry) went over to the quad to get free food (Voodoo BBQ!). As we make it to the food line in front of McAlister Auditorium, our thoughts of food are carried away with the wind when our friend Bailey comes up to us and asks if we’ll go talk to Dr. Dog with her. At first I’m a little confused by what she’s asking. Talk? To the band? One of my all-time favorite bands? I look over on the steps of the auditorium, and there they were, eating they’re voodoo BBQ, relaxed at getting ready to play a great show. Of course Tina and I say, “Yes, more than anything,” so Bailey, Bailey’s friend who I never caught the name of, Tina, and I walked over to the steps.

Guys. They’re so cool. Bailey started telling them about the times she had seen them play, but since this was my first Dr. Dog concert, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation. Eric (drums) then told us that they went to The Spotted Cat (or That Cat Place as he called it) on Frenchmen Street last night in the Marigny. Toby (bass) also started talking about the various music clubs and bars they visited. I won’t go into too much detail of the conversation, but let me just tell you that it was amazing. Then some other girl came up and said something along the lines of “Hey guys! I don’t know which one you are, but I love your music!” This was the point when Tina and I decided it was time to go. We bid them farewell and finally went to get some BBQ.

The concert was amazing. One of the best shows I’ve been to. They opened with “Stranger” and completely rocked it. They jammed, they grooved, they rocked, they rolled. They were absolutely amazing. I’m having a hard time putting to words how truly awesome they were. I danced and sang along with them and had the time of my life. Did I mention that they were amazing?

After that we headed over to Bruno’s Tavern to have a few beers. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

Another Text Conversation: Immortality and Dragons

September 21, 2010

I want a Night Fury.

Okay, so I know lots of cool people. I’m not really that big of a talker in the real world, but in the text messaging world, I guess I just have unusually stimulating conversations with people sometimes. Presented here is a fantastic conversation I had with my friend Henry a while back. I’m pretty sure we’re on to something…

Henry: I think if I were immortal, I would breed elephants.

Anna: Why elephants? Maybe you could get them to be as big as oliphaunts! I would breed dragons.

Henry: What base animal would you start with for dragons? I was thinking about that too.

Anna: I dunno. I think it would be easier to eventually turn a bird into a reptile than give a reptile flight, but I wouldn’t want them to be birdlike dragons. Maybe I could perfect gene splicing and create one from both. I love alligators. I would want to work with alligators.

Henry: I was thinking gators, or komodo dragons. I’m more into giant agile lizards than flying lizards. Though you could probably get flying something like a dragon from birds. Still, they’d be…beaky.

Anna: I don’t know, now I’m thinking about lulling people into a calm with a pretty hummingbird. Then, BAM! Cheeseburger.

Henry: Oh man, I need a cheeseburger as if I were suddenly struck with an uncontrollable cheeseburger craving.

Anna: Yes! But I don’t want a beaky dragon. And I want to fly on a dragon. Wings are a necessity. I would want them to breathe fire too. I want one of those cheeseburgers that melt in your mouth with deliciousness and grease.

Henry: The breathing fire thing is gonna be the hardest. As far as I know, nature hasn’t really given that much thought. Discovery channel proposed something like dragons could have eaten some rock (sulfur maybe? Iono.) to fuel their fire breath.

Anna: Maybe they could just have a gland that spurts flammable gas and then some sort of striker on their tongue or in their throat to spark it.

Henry: Yeah. Living flamethrower. Not gas. Flammable liquid goes so much further and does more damage, plus the target will continue to burn. Dragons enjoy cooked meat. I bet you could eventually make an alligator fly.

Anna: That would be awesome! Liquid would be better. What would you do with your elephants?

Henry: Breed ‘em real big and real smart so when they get hurt, they don’t go rampaging on my own army. I assume if I’m immortal eventually a catastrophe sends the world back to the dark ages. Then the guy with the elephant army controls things. Also have ‘em be very long-lived and highly fertile. We’ll need a lot. And whatever happened to mammoths? I’ll need them to caravan across Antarctica to my ice fortress.

Anna: …Don’t worry, you will have the support of my dragon army.

Henry: You control the skies, I got land. But what about the seas?

Anna: Hmmm… It would be really cool to breed a shark army, but I may be too busy perfecting my dragons. Who wants to control the seas?

Henry: We’re gonna need water dragons.

Anna: I suppose I could work that out. I feel like I’d be too powerful though. The Greeks had a god for each.

Henry: Just breed super smart dragons to patrol the seas. Also, bringing back giant turtles is always a good idea. Especially if they can hold fortresses on their backs.

Anna: Oh my goodness! I’d have a fortress on the back of a giant turtle that swam in the middle of the ocean. You could only get there by way of riding a dragon (because if you came by boat, it’d be destroyed by the vicious sea dragons – they delve too deeply into the dark places of the earth, thus becoming tainted by the darkness). No one could attack my fortress on dragons either because all the dragons would be born with an inherited loyalty to their creator (i.e. Me), even the evil water dragons, which is why they wouldn’t ever attack my fortress.

Henry: My space elephants are gonna piss everyone off…

(edited for content)

So, yeah. As soon as I find that Philosopher’s Stone, I’m breeding dragons.

Oh! And don’t forget! How To Train Your Dragon comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on October 15, 2010! Who wants a sneak peek?

My Sister and I Have Amazing Conversations Via Text Messaging

September 13, 2010

If you’ve ever met me, I’m pretty sure you know (or can guess) that I’m a super-huge Lord of the Rings fan. Over the past few years, TNT has been showing the movies on TV as a little LOTR Weekend Celebration-type deal (more movie, fewer commercials). Well this past Saturday night, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers came on. I was at a friend’s house eating delicious empanadas and watching Ponyo, but Allison, my eldest sister, was tuning in to the cinematic masterpiece that is The Two Towers. Thus, an epic text messaging conversation was born:

I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re the coolest people ever.

Things Movies, Books, TV, and Music Have Taught Me About Survival:

August 22, 2010

It appears that I live a rather ordinary life. I’m a healthy individual with an adequate level of intelligence, a sturdy family, and enough common sense to get me through most problematic situations. So how did I get this way? I’d have to say most came from my upbringing, but I can’t ignore the fact that movies, books, television, and music have ruled my life ever since I was old enough to appreciate the ideas behind them. With this in mind, I compiled a list of the top ten things I’ve learned from these resources (in no particular order):

1)    Whatever you do, take care of your shoes. (Phish)

2)    A towel… is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

3)    Plan for the worst. That way, any surprises will be pleasant ones. (The Wheel of Time Series)

4)    Take care of your feet, and try not to do anything stupid… like get killed. (Forrest Gump)

5)    Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can! (The Great Gatsby)

6)    Everything is part of it, and it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. (Still Life With Woodpecker)

7)    It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

8)    The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. (Almost Famous)

9)    If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you’re missing all the rest. (Dave Matthews Band)

10) Life’s tough; get a helmet. (Boy Meets World)

So what have you learned?

Camp Beckwith

June 21, 2010

My alarm goes off. Time to wake up. I fall out of my bed, grab my toothbrush, and brush the morning from my mouth. I hear the faint call of a bell from outside. “Bell rang! Go to Wilson!” I shout to my cabin. Breakfast time.

Just another summer morning at Camp Beckwith.

My summer job consists of having fun all day long with great people, spending time in one of the most peaceful places in the world (at least to me), and reconnecting with my inner child. Where do I do this? Camp Beckwith of course! I have been coming to camp since I was in 3rd grade. It started as an offhand thing. My friend was going, and she didn’t want to go by herself so I went with her. I ended up coming back every year after that. Now I’m a Senior Counselor, basically getting paid to have fun.


My fellow counselors at this lovely place are quite the characters. Some are crazy and over the top, some are quiet and reserved, and some are a little mix of everything. We all work well together, especially for being in such close quarters for such a long period of time. I’ll admit, there is always drama that comes with working day after day with the same people, and sometimes people like to blow things way out of proportion, but at the end of the day, you just have to learn to let things go and not let it bother you. When you have ninety-six campers to deal with for a week, you can’t let petty differences and unnecessary drama cloud your judgment and attitudes. There are so many more important things to be attended to than whether someone else is doing something they shouldn’t be or feeling as if you’re left out of the loop.


I’m sure a great majority of the people who are on staff applied to hang out with the others on staff (including myself), but there’s so much more to Beckwith than the Summer Camp Staff. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful to me than waking up early in the morning to watch the sun rise over Weeks Bay. Taking a sailboat out into the familiar murky waters is just as exciting as sliding down the zip-line from 60 feet in the air. The yellow flies are pests and the heat is brutal, but I’d much rather get bitten by flies and pass out from heat stroke playing Star Wars, Ultimate Octopus, Camp-Wide Dodgeball, or doing the Mohawk Walk than sit at home watching television. All the Beckwith original games are my favorite, but simply playing soccer or canoeing is a much better use of my time than lying around. And what would camp be without the campers? The feeling of having younger kids look to you for fun or advice is such an empowering thing to have on a daily basis. I’m not going to lie, some of them suck for one reason or another, but most of the kids that come to Beckwith are interesting characters just like the staff. There are the long-time campers that you look forward to seeing again each year, and then there are the first-time campers that have never been to Beckwith before that you get to watch as they are simply blown away by how awesome the activities are that we do each day. I am generally a very self-conscious person. I don’t ever say announcements at meals, I don’t try to yell something funny above the rest of the counselors, all because I get nervous, but honestly, it wouldn’t matter to the campers at all. They laugh at my jokes and fight over seats at my table at meal times. That kind of attention is so heartening!


Now let me tell you about our fearless leader, Curtis. Last summer he was our chaplain and even acted somewhat as our summer dad, but this summer he’s Camp Director, aka Head Honcho. He says he can’t be our dad anymore because he’s the boss, but it’s hard to see him as anything else sometimes. He praises us when we’re good, he scolds us when we’re bad, and no matter what happens, he will be there for us when we need him. He’s a great spiritual leader and friend. He’s also doing a fantastic job as Director, keeping all of us in line and making sure camp is running smoothly. You can tell that he loves the place so much. By his side this summer is Katie, the Assistant Director. She also keeps us in line as well as taking care of all the Assistant Counselors we have coming to volunteer their time. They were both on staff together back in the day (Beckwith Staff ’93!) and are a great team. Katie is a delight. She is a middle school teacher, so she has lots of experience handling kids and is a big help with those extra difficult campers. We’re all still getting to know Katie since she’s a newbie to us, but she’s already an accepted and loved member of our Beckwith family.


The campers and staff all gather in the Chapel. The hour is late and many yawns are being spread throughout the crowd. Someone leads Compline (a night prayer), and we sing a calming song of praise. We all walk back to the cabins together for showers and preparation for the next day. I fall onto my bed after wiping the sand and dirt from my feet. I’m utterly exhausted from head to toe, mind and body, but I can’t help but admit that today was one of the best days of my life.

Such is everyday at Camp Beckwith.

Silly Flooding

May 16, 2010

Today I had to check out of my dorm. About the same time that I started packing things into my car, mother nature decided that she wanted to rain a lovely monsoon on the City of New Orleans. Thank god for friends who don’t mind getting a little wet in order to help you get your giant mini fridge (yes oxymoron) into the trunk of the old Ford Explorer. And thank god for SUVs. I wouldn’t have been able to leave New Orleans when I did if I had been driving a coup. Traveling 50 feet down Willow Street proved to be much more difficult than usual.
Once that river was crossed, I came to my next trial. I call it The Great Claiborne River. Cars were parked all over the neutral ground, attempting to keep out of the rising water levels on the streets beyond. A few unfortunate souls sat unmoving in the middle of the street, stranded due to a miscalculation of just how high the water would reach on their small compact cars. The stretch between State Street and Nashville Avenue was the worst to face. I had to stop and work up my courage to drive through such a mess, even with my elevated vehicle.
After that it was relatively clear of flooding, but it poured for nearly the entire 3 hour drive (yup, took me an hour longer than normal) to Mobile. I’m just very glad that I had The Great Hunt, Book Two of the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan on my ipod to listen to as I crept down the barely visible interstate. It’s good to be home, yet despite all my inconveniences of the day, I miss New Orleans. We shall meet again soon enough. Until August, my dearest!


April 23, 2010

As a current resident of New Orleans, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the new HBO Original Series Treme. My friends and I have been looking forward to this show since last year when it was first announced that they were going to make it. As a part of the group of Tulane students who actually care about the city of New Orleans, I was surprised to find that many people on Tulane’s campus hadn’t even heard about it. This is a very unfortunate occurrence in my opinion, and needs to be remedied as soon as possible. But I digress.


Treme is a story of the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck on August 29, 2005. It takes place three months after the storm, sharing the stories of people who lived-out the devastation or those who evacuated returning to houses that are utterly destroyed. The visions presented in the show are great representations of the post-Katrina NOLA. Some scenes are actually filmed in neighborhoods that have been abandoned and ignored since the storm because of the lack of funds and support to rebuild them. The images are very real.


At the time, I was still living in Mobile, Alabama, just starting my sophomore year in High School. My family and I used to go to New Orleans all the time because I had three uncles living in the city for a while. I actually visited the July before the storm hit in order to celebrate my Uncle Ed’s birthday. I didn’t return to New Orleans until Spring 2007 to go to Jazz Fest and see The Allman Brothers and visit my friend Tina who was a current freshman at Tulane. Mobile wasn’t exactly in the hurricane line-of-fire, but we saw a bit of damage here and a bit of damage there. I was out of school for about two weeks or so until the power came back on. On the flip side, my Uncle Ed’s house was completely flooded (Happy Belated Birthday!), and he and my aunt ended up buying a house in Mobile instead of trying to fix their old one. My Uncle Dave (someone I see as a hardcore New Orleanian) wasn’t run off though. He and my aunt lived on the third floor (basically the attic) of an apartment house on State Street. I think the bottom floor flooded a bit, but my uncle’s place had lots of water damage due to a damaged roof. He and my aunt lived in Mobile at my Grandmother’s house for a while, but they moved back as soon as they patched up all the damage done to their apartment (and it was the coolest apartment ever too, up until they had to move out this past Christmas break).


Treme is a great representation of everything that happened after the storm from what I know. I watched the behind the scenes special the other day, and it’s a great addition to the back-story of the show for someone who isn’t that familiar with New Orleans culture and history. So far, I’ve only seen the first episode (and I plan on watching the second very soon), but it was phenomenal. Usually HBO series are a little slow at the beginning in order to properly introduce all the characters and stories, but I was engrossed in the story of Treme from the very start: the first Second Line Parade in New Orleans after the storm. I was hooked as soon as Steve Zahn’s character Davis McAlary says he thinks he hears Rebirth playing in the streets (one of my favorite brass bands in the city). There are so many instances of name-dropping of people and places; I just get so excited when I recognize them! Kermit Ruffins is even in the first episode (and he’s phenomenal! If you’ve never heard him, you need to change that as soon as possible). The intro for the show is also really cool. Along with showing scenes from classic New Orleans, the back to back shots of the water lines on houses after all the flooding are such powerful images. There are just so many great things in the show: John Goodman (who plays a Tulane professor) going off on an ignorant reporter, the beginning of a Jazz Funeral featuring the Treme Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins playing and not caring about who Elvis Costello is, a Mardi Gras Indian chanting down the street in the middle of the night, awesome music, second lines, Budweiser, and depictions of one of the greatest cities in America. So do I recommend Treme as a must see? Absolutely.