Mind Cleanup – March 2016

Epiphanies

  • I need to stop telling people in “the real world” about my blog...
  • … or I need to own up to my thoughts and opinions and face the music when stuff I write here reach the eyes and ears of people I know.Oh-hi-gif
  • (Hi friends and co-workers!)

mirrorSelf-reflection

  • cuddle donkeys.jpgJust like everyone else, I need oxygen to live. I also need water and nutrients. And chocolate. Pretty straight forward stuff. However, I can also run out of animal love. I found this out last weekend, when I visited the petting zoo (don’t start, I live in the city, I need to get my furry fix somewhere…). I felt so replenished after having cuddled with a donkey that I realized I had run out weeks ago and only now felt complete again.

emoji happyUppers – Cowabunga

  • Donkeys.donkey.jpg
  • I got a new bike after my previous one was stolen (again!). Thx Zeefje!

emoji disappointedDowners – Bummerama

  • Caitlyn supports Trump… Now this really got me fired up. This is some new level donkey droppings. WHY is this even on TV?! And why do I know about it? Argh… I don’t know where to start but my dog, it really truly deeply annoys me…

emoji SeeNoEvilDenial

  • When I was walking home on the 24th and saw many government buildings in The Hague had flags hanging at half mast, I decided that we had instated a national day of mourning in memory of Johan Cruyff, and decided to act as if terrorists didn’t exist.

emoji musicMusic

  • My dad bought Coldplay’s latest CD for my mom… which confused me… and surprised me in a pleasant way…
  • I’m going to see Beth Hart in June!

emoji film.jpgMovies

  • New Indiana Jones in the making. O.o
    (don’t want to get excited, but most of all don’t want it to suck. Still kind of hoping it’s an April fool’s joke…)
  • Deadpool: Very funny. Pretty brutal. Go watch!
  • I re-watched Frozen, after having expressed my dislike for this film a couple of times, which is apparently “not done”. Friends told me I probably didn’t like it because I didn’t really get it the first time. I needed to watch it again. So I did.
    • My summary of the movie before re-watch:
      It’s about anxiety, poor communication and anti-social behavior
    • How people summarized it to me:
      It’s about love, self-worth and letting go of fear.
    • My summary of the movie after re-watch:
      It’s about bad parental advice, bad judgment and poor communication, with a small bit about love and family at the end.
    • What would have made me like it more:
      • Explain the origin of the trolls.
      • Better understanding of why the troll-king found it necessary to remove all memory of magic from Anna’s mind… Really don’t see the use in that.
      • Explain the origin (and use) of the ice-magic gift/burden
      • Leave out the Olav-song and the troll-wedding-song
      • Explain Kristoff’s background. Did he just leave his parents because some rock troll decided to keep him? Or was he actually an orphan? Where are his folks?
      • Make Sven more reindeerlike. Why does he have to pant like a dog?

I still don’t like hearing kids sing “Let it go”. It’s not a healthy song. It’s a frustrated angry song. It’s an “up yours”, a “fuck you all” an “I don’t care” in a fancy dress. Elsa is not a likeable person.

Hakuna_Matata

It made me think about Hakuna Matata and I wondered if that isn’t also a “fuck you all”-song. I don’t think it is. I think the final effect might be the same; which is doing whatever the hell you want, but Hakuna Matata is not an angry song. It has a “Don’t worry, be happy”-message, that might have irresponsible and anti-social behavior as a side effect, but not as a goal.

look-downLooky here

This new mind cleanup category will be where I will dump tidbits that I saw or read over the past month and that I want to share with the world:

emoji paellaEpicureous

  • I have been going through an avocado craze phase in my diet. I found a small fruit and vegetable store near my house that sells ultra ripe and yummy ones, which has spiked my avocado intake by 2681%. I have come to the conclusion that eating more than half an avocado a day makes me feel bloated though. Kind of interesting, kind of a bummer.

 

emoji hourglassEpilogue – What’s up, April?

  • I have a week off in the first week of April. Still no plans. Looking forward to it, though!

Mind Cleanup – January ’16

The first month of the year flew by like a rocket! I must find a way to slow this thing down. I hope you all had a good start of the year. I would rate this month a 8 out of 10.

emoji happyUppers

  • My work contract was extended for another year!
  • My brother made a bird feeding house for on my balcony and managed to attach it to my unconventionally shaped banisters and now cute little birds come visit every morning (until the seagulls arrive).
  • Serena Williams did not win the Australian open, but was a really good sport about it. The hug she gave Angelique Kerber at the net after the game, really made me smile.

emoji disappointedDowners

emoji sunriseEpiphanies – getting to know myself

  • After watching a documentary called Growing up Trans I came to the conclusion I am more conservative than I thought, when it comes to accepting transgenderism and sex-change operations (and I will write a full blog on this topic soon)…
  • I really hardly drink alcoholic beverages at all but I have decided that if I drink at all, I prefer beer over wine. For some reason I used to always order white wine, out of some sort of strange society-induced conviction that that is the drink women should order or something…

emoji paellaEpicurious – food related thoughts

  • Five sperm whales died last month on the beach of our largest Wadden Island, Texel. I have been having so many discussions with my colleagues about what is healthy for us and the environment and the animals that we do or do not eat that I can’t help but wonder….
    • Could we eat the meat of beached whales?
    • Should we?
    • Where does it go when it gets “disposed of”?
  • I recently found out, yes thanks to one of my fanatically vegetarian colleagues, that we use pig and animal hair as a fluffener in bread… Who knew…
  • I have never had a quiche that made me want to go for a second round. I think it’s the egginess. I’m just not a big quiche fan. There, I said it.

emoji musicMusic related thoughts

  • I have never really cared for David Bowie
  • Sam Hunt’s hit song was one that I was pretty ecstatic about when it first came out but it’s sappiness kind of gets on my nerves now.
  • Speaking of Sams, I think Sam Smith has an unpleasant voice.
  • I really like Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, which has introduced me to some great new music, but for some reason keeps suggesting crappy covers of Beyonce’s “Halo”, which I really don’t understand…
  • Some songs get a whole new dimension when listened to with headphones on or with an incredibly good sound system.

emoji hourglassEpilogue – February expectations

  • Carnaval!
  • Valentine’s day
  • I will be going funtubing with a friend, next week.
  • I am going to go to a karaoke evening with my co-workers. The kind of thing you are totally looking forward to and totally not, all at the same time. haha!

 

Gratitude attitude

i-am-grateful.jpg

  • …to my nieces and nephew for showing me I am actually OK with kids.
  • …for my five senses.
  • …for social media, despite my occasional eye-roll
  • …for my shower’s trustworthy steadiness in temperature and perfect intensity.
  • …for my health, both physical as mental.
  • …for my boyfriend, who keeps me balanced, entertained and on my toes.
  • …for my freedom, which is so easily taken for granted.
  • …for my blog.

The R is back

August, where did you go?? I wrote you a promise and I must confess I did not fully deliver.

I promised you 31 blogs, 31 pieces of fruit, 5 jogs and one bucketlist item. I pretty much failed at ticking every single box. The final score is:

  • 26 blogs
  • no clue, didn’t keep track of the fruit but I’d say I did eat more than usual but definitely not every day.
  • I did go to the gym every week but did not go out for a run every week. I think it was three times this month and once went to work by bike.
  • I added three items to my bucketlist, CHECK!

Now, fun as it was, I will definitely not keep on trying to squeeze my brain like an orange for inspiration and forcing myself to look at my computer screen on days that I would much rather go to bed early. I did however very much enjoy pushing myself a bit and reading back the results at the end of the week. I saw the view count on my blog go up a bit and did definitely notice that the more you write, the easier it becomes.

Some of the things I posted were definitely easy cop-outs and may not stay online forever, but they still served their purpose.

Now that September has crept up on me with the first autumn rains, I have decided to make some new goals. Definitely not as ambitious as posting a blog a day, but inspiring stuff nonetheless. Between now and August 2016 I will

  • donate my hair to charity
  • learn bee-keeping
  • volunteer at refugee foundation
  • go back to donating blood regularly after my 6 month hiatus due to trip oversees.
  • blog about all the above and more
  • get back into photography and post the results
  • strike some (let’s say at least three?) of the items off my bucketlist

So, I am ready take on this final quarter of 2015 and get some things done. Onwards we go!

Movie yays and boos

You know how, back in the days when people still used to buy these things, guests would stroll over to the cabinet with all the CDs and DVDs and rate your taste? It says so much about a person, don’t you think? I’ve written blogs about my musical preferences in the past, so it’s time to reveal where I stand on a filmographic scale. It was really hard to limit these two lists to just ten movies but I managed, in the end.

thumbs up

All though the thumbs-up-list was much longer than the thumbs-down-list a couple of minutes ago, I managed to bring it back to ten, with pain in my heart. The movies that survived the cuts are all movies that I recommend to anyone. They’re not the best or most complex movies I’ve ever seen but I could definitely re-watch any of these on any giving moment for the ten millionth time and not mind for a second.

I will give every movie three key words to illustrate my affection for them.

  1. Snatch
    hilarious, quotable, interesting
  2. American History X
    confronting, intense, thought provoking
  3. the Mexican
    odd, light-hearted, amusing
  4. The Dark Knight
    dark, troubled, awesome
  5. Hotel Rwanda
    tear jerking (only movie that ever accomplished that with me), important, full of love
  6. Finding Nemo
    Deep 😉 , inspiring, beautiful animation
  7. La Vita e Bella
    unique approach of WWII theme, motivating, heart warming
  8. Shrek
    Fun, amusing, clever
  9. Sleepers
    captivating, gruesome, stirring
  10. Collateral
    Surprising(ly good acting), entertaining, uncomplicated

thumbs down

The next ones are pretty bad, all though I still think I owe a special shout out to every movie ever made starring Steven Seagal… Let’s bowe our heads in sorrow for all those mistakes and hope they some day stop being aired on TV.

I’m afraid I can’t summarize in 3 words how and why these movies are so bad, but I’ll try to be brief.

  1. From Paris with love
    Oh John… I never even gave the rumors about your alleged homosexuality any thought until this movie came along. You tried so hard to be manly and bad-ass and failed so terribly horribly miserably.
  2. Saving Private Ryan
    Did we REALLY go to this much trouble to retrieve one insignificant dude from behind enemy lines? Just to save one random mother from any more grief? I.just.don’t.get.it.
  3. the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    I like Sean Connery, but wtf was this? I’m even into superhero stuff, but this was such a weak attempt that it failed in all senses. A pity, because it did have potential, imo.
  4. Lost in Translation
    Slow, boring, overrated. I want to say how much I hate Scarlett Johansen’s acting (in general, not just in this flick), but I know how guys get when I say that, so I’ll just leave it… 😛
  5. World War Z
    Apparently zombies are hot & happening, and I was prepared to embrace this fact, as I thought Brad knew his way around the undead since his stint with the vampires twenty years ago (!), but boy was I wrong. This was just disappointing, predictable and boring.
  6. Seven Pounds
    Watching Will Smith being depressed for 123 minutes is not my idea of fun. It’s a total downer. No happy ending or nothing. It doesn’t suit you, Will. I like you funny.
  7. Gran Torino
    This wasn’t even a disappointment as I kind of knew it might suck but I also kind of hoped Clint had one more good movie in him… but nope… just meh.
  8. Crash
    I actually don’t hate this movie. I actually was quite impressed with it, I just never want to watch it again as it plummeted my faith in humanity down to an all time low. I don’t need that kind of truth. I am cynical enough as it is.
  9. Pitch Perfect
    Beside the fact that the story was uninteresting, boring and predictable, the singing wasn’t particularly inspiring either. Can’t think of any good reasons to watch this again in my life.
  10. Indiana Jones – Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    All though I’ve put this movie on nr ten, it definitely doesn’t mean it’s the least bad of all of them. It’s actually the only one that actually made me angry, because I was actually looking forward to it. I wanted it to be AWESOME. I craved for another Indiana Jones movie. Bad special effects are totally OK. A little self-mockery is fine too… but this was really truly an insult to everyone. This should never have happened and I regret having spent money on it. Shame on you, Harrison, but most of all you, STEVEN SPIELBERG!

Sad songs despite my good mood

First of all I want to come clean and admit straight away that I missed day four in my daily-blog challenge, so today I am posting twice. One in the morning and one in the evening, I’m sure that’s spread out enough to make it count as two separate days in some other timezone…

Anyway, the second confession is that I really don’t know what to blog about. Nothing really makes sense as a follow up for this morning’s blog. So, how about some music…?

I am actually quite an optimistic person but for some reason tend to enjoy melancholic and slightly sad music. So, my idea for this blog is to give you the top five of ultra moody songs.

There’s no particular order for these songs so listen to them as you wish. Here we go!

This first song really gave me insane chills the first time I heard it. The only right version is the live version, in my opinion. The song is written for her father, who re-married and whose wife would not let him have a proper relationship with his daughter. This is Beth Hart, begging her father to stand up for her…

Another song that caught me unaware and brought a lump to my throat for reasons I still don’t truly understand myself is by Lady Gaga. In this case also, the live version is actually the best.

This next song is by Maria Mena and I think she is wonderful. She’s such a beautifully troubled soul that I love to listen to on quiet evenings with a comforting cup of tea. I have never been in a complicated relationship and don’t have any past I would need to let go of. However, I totally understand the “fear of normalcy” she sings about.

No melancholic list is complete without the Civil Wars and all though it’s hard to choose, this is one of the songs I always come back to.

A singer that makes Maria Mena sound like the happiest kid on earth is Sinead O’connor. This song in particular has so much anguish in it that I can’t always deal with it. But on some nights: Full blast out of my speakers and howl to the moon! The video is new to me too, to be honest…

So that’s it for day 5 of Blogust. I’m back on track.

And if you have any melancholic music tips, do share!

A for August

Exactly one week from now it will be the first day of August and instead of starting with good intentions, fresh new promises and strict commitments in January, I decided to just start completely randomly in the eighth month.

Contrary to new year’s resolutions they will not be plans for the following 12 months but just for the month of August itself and we’ll just decide how to proceed when September comes peaking.

So what are my goals for the month of August?

  • Post one blog a day all month
  • Eat at least one piece of fruit every day of the month
  • Go jogging at least once a week
  • Add one new item to my bucketlist

And that’s it for now! So to sum it up: 31 blogs, >31 pieces of fruit, >5 jogs, 1 bucketlist item in 31 days.

See you on the other side!

Musical revelations of 2014

Two more weeks until the end of the year. Time for looking back.

These are the artists I have been listening to a lot this last year. I do realize a lot of these artists may have had their major breakthroughs longer ago, but I’m a bit slow with these things sometimes… So here it goes, my musical reminiscence list!

James Blake

Love the slightly eerie atmosphere he brings and the sweet balance between electronic sounds and chilled out beats. I have to admit I can’t always handle him though. Sometimes the laid backness makes me impatient and I get these urges to kick him up the ass, but most days: Mmmmmm.

First Aid Kit

Ah, these ladies with their pagan songs; so moody and haunting. They’re not of this world, not of this time.

Rachel Sermanni

Aaand, we’re off to Scotland. This following song is similar to the one above, in the sense that it has this fairy tale feel. We’re still in the woods, we’re still in folkytown and it’s still lovely and poetic.

Asgeir

Back in Northern Europe, with Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir. I didn’t realize it until now, but there seems to be a pagan, folk-tale kind of theme in my musical preference of late. Vague figures prowling around in the shadows, pretty girls in dresses huddling together, foggy woods and people singing songs by the fire… Or in the words of Asgeir:

Glistening nighttime dew, and she is walking with me.
From the house of red, I hear a child crying.
Foxes heading home, their prey hangs from their jaws.
And the forest knows, but it won’t share the secret.

Fink

A song about self critique, sung by someone with a touch of irony: You don’t wanna hurt yourself, hurt yourself by looking too closely. He’s singing it to himself, me thinks…

The Civil Wars

This duo has been going at it for years, apparently, but I only started listening to them a little over a year ago. I did know Joy Williams, from one of my all time favorite songs, “Speaking a Dead Language“. I was always a bit disappointed there were no other songs in her repertoire like that one song, but luckily I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s so much melancholy in this couple it fills my heart with agony almost as much as it fills me with delight. The fact they were breaking up while making this last album does explain a lot… and they’re called the Civil Wars, for crying out loud! Listen and weep for Joy (pun intended!).

Kongos

Kind of a brusque transition after the previous soft folk melodies above, but it’s time to rock it out a bit. Simple melodies, real instruments, rocking guitars and encouraging lyrics. Hurray for the Kongos!

Imagine Dragons

These guys just get me every time. They’ve unlocked some sort of sing-a-long key in my brain, because I can’t listen to them without my lips moving along. It’s what I want to scream along to when I’m in the car. I really hope they have more of this for me in years to come!

Chef Special

Time to represent my home country. Yes yes yes, these be Dutchies!

Dotan

Another home grown band with a lot of promise in its sound. Home is definitely the most catchy tune thus far but if you have the time, do check their other songs out too.

And that’s all I’ve got! I mean, no, not true at all. There’s a lot more, but it looks kind of coherent now and I think it’s best if I leave it that way. And I’ve been told a new year is on its way, so that means new opportunities to check out new music around here and make more lists when the mood is right.

Happy-New-Year-2014-Fireworks

The soundtracks of my life.

I’m feeling guilty about neglecting my blogbaby, so it is definitely time feed it with something new. And when lacking inspiration, making a “top ten” is the way to go.

While listening to one of my playlists on grooveshark today, I realized there are quite a few songs that have been on my playlists for years now. So I decided to present you all with these soundtracks of my life.

Intertwined with my very first memories are two songs, or as a matter of fact, the LPs they are a part of. The first one is Paul Simon’s Graceland. Homeless is one of my favorite songs of all time, as is “Under African Skies”, thanks to the stunning performance of Ladysmith Black Mambazo in both songs. The one I am going to share here is another of my favorites, because there is no denying that I know what I know!

1.

The second album I hold very fond childhood memories of, is Tracy Chapman’s selftitled album, that came out in 1988. This woman’s voice is amazing and I wish she would have made more albums like that first one, all though I can imagine it was kind of difficult to top that masterpiece… It’s hard for me to choose just one song from that album but it will definitely not be “Talkin about a revolution” or “Fast car”. Amazing as those songs are, they are just too well known and I think there are other songs on that specific album that are at least as good, that deserve attention. This one for example:

2.

All though I am sure my parents played this music during my early childhood as well, my love for the next artist  grew exponentially a little later on in my life. Known as la negra, Mercedes Sosa is the one artist that manages to give me goosebumps every time I hear her voice. Her song “Gracias a la vida” is without a doubt the greatest rendition of that song, which in itself is one of the most beautiful songs ever. The songs I am sharing here though, is one that moved me to tears after I left South America as a kid, as it recalls the beauties of this continent and how their peoples should unite as one. I still miss her enormous presence in Latin American music. RIP Negra:

3.

As I mentioned above, I grew up in South America and the following band is therefore unavoidable. Maná is the U2 of Latin America and I was a giant fan of theirs throughout most of my life. I still kind of am, all though their songs have become a little too preachy and mushy in recent years. The old stuff still pops up in my playlists every now and then and even some of the newer stuff is pretty good, when I’m in the right mood. Their repertoire is enormous, and all though the lyrics to this particular song are kind of depressing, it is definitely one of my favorites:

4.

If I listen to the mixes I listened to during my high school years, there are obviously some things I am not particularly proud of (yes, the Spice Girls were on there and all though it’s kind of scary to admit it, I think Wannabe might still be one of my guilty pleasures. 😛 ). Some of the bands from that era kind of stuck with me though, and one of these bands is K’s Choice. A Belgian band, with Sarah Bettens’ amazing husky voice as the main attraction. All though the song I am posting is not particularly representative for their style (it’s usually a bit more rocky), it is just so hauntingly pretty I have to share it. If I run out if ideas before I reach ten, I might post another one…

5. 

The song I am putting on number six conquered much of Europe back in 1996 and anyone who doesn’t understand French (like me), and has never looked up a translation of the lyrics, should do so. Do it  now. Actually, I’m going to check if I can find a youtube version with translated lyrics so you guys can appreciate its full glory… I love this song. It is amazing and Cheb Khaled is a hero for having sung it, when he did.

6.

In comparison to the previous songs, the next one is relatively recent (2009). It is a song I had on repeat for a while when I first discovered it. All though I’m not completely sure what it’s actually about, I always imagine it is some Tower of Babel reference. It is a beautifully tender song for quiet moments or to wind down with after a long day at work.

7.

I wish I could make this transition less rough… but I can’t think of another song to squeeze in between these two right now and I guess it does kind of reflect my musical palette. So… Peter Fox! German ginger rapper with amazing talent for good beats and catchy tunes. His lyrics are pretty cool as well, but I won’t bug you guys with that right now. In the following song he is on his own, but he is also part of a band called Seeed (yes, three e’s), with a more reggaelike flavor to it, that is worth checking out!

8.

OK, only two more to go… Must. choose. wisely…

I guess my list wouldn’t reflect me properly without a song by the Cat Empire. The lead singer is such a walking, dancing, jumping, smiling hormonebomb that just listening to them just makes me blush sometimes… He isn’t handsome in a conventional way… but so friggin sexy… But we were talking about music, I believe. They do that too! And quite well, as a matter of fact. All of their music is really optimistic and happy, but with pretty profound lyrics here and there. Love them. Love them! Ch-ch-check it out:

9.

Hmmm, this last one is tough…

I looked at my recent youtube searches to see what my last song should be and I realized I have been listening to a lot of youtube cover artists. Kina Grannis, Boyce Avenue, Hannah Trigwell and of course, the one and only: Walk of the Earth (WOTE). All of these artists also have posted their originals online but their covers are what they are best known for.  WOTE in particular, excels in making other artists’ songs their own and in many cases making them so much cooler. We all know their “Somebody that I used to know”-rendition on one guitar, but they are just so awesome, I have to post something of theirs here. They have a lot to choose from, but I think I’m going with this one:

10.

And that wraps it up! I got some inspiration along the way for future blogs, and I’ll try to be better at blogging more regularly.

I am sure I am going to wake up tonight and realize I should have put in this or that other song, but that will just have to wait for a #2 of this post then. I’m off to bed!

The satisfaction of a list

As my first post on this blog I thought it might be a good idea to get inspired by today’s Daily Prompt, which describes the satisfaction of making a list.

I love lists. The type of list I am most familiar with is the to-do list of which I tend to  make a new one everyday when my head is feeling particularly full.The fact that I make a new list every day (or sometimes even several a day), does not mean I have checked off all the things on the one from the day before. It usually means I misplaced the previous one and can’t remember where it is. So all though I enjoy making these lists of tasks, I’m actually not very good at following through with them.

Perhaps I should start using my blog as my to-do list. I could access it from anywhere and always know where to find it. Now all I have to do is think of tasks to put on my list…