Category Archives: Things I love

Number 64 – Quantum Leap

Perhaps the best TV show of all time.  One of my favorites, at least.  I got really, really into Quantum Leap during 6th grade – it was on USA every night before dinner.  I loved the story, I loved how Sam changed history for the better and I loved Scott Bakula.  He might seem like an odd man for an 11 year old girl to have a crush on, but have you seen him?

I love the show so much that I’m sure I’ve seen each episode more than once.  My favorites are when he goes home or his leap crosses with his life or Al’s life or something like that.  I was such a devoted fan in middle school that when we went to Universal Studios and was offended they didn’t have people dressed like Sam.  Seriously.  I remember one night I was doing my homework and my parents were channel surfing in the next room.  I heard Sam breathing (not talking, mind you, breathing) and shouted, “You can’t watch Quantum Leap without me!!!” My parents even let me stay up to watch the series finale on a school night.  Best series finale ever.

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Number 63 – The Waking

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

-Theodore Roethke

This has been one of my favorite poems since I was a senior in high school.  It reminds me to be aware of where I am and of where I’m going.  It reminds me to not put too much weight on my ideas of where I think I should be and where I should be going.

(photo credit: Satirenoir )

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Number 62 – Pie

Really… what’s better than pie? Enough said.

(photo credit: richietown)

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Number 60 – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

When I was little I had this art game that had a bunch of postcards of different works of art.  This was one of my favorites.  I remember looking at the woman’s expression and wondering what she’s thinking.  It always fascinated me – still does, in fact.  I still can’t tell what she’s thinking.

I have always loved the soft focus and pale-yet-vibrant colors that Renoir used in his paintings.  There is a sense of motion and depth in his subjects, whether they are people, landscapes or still-lifes.  I love impressionist painters and Renoir is one of my absolute favorites.

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Number 57 – West Side Story and Leonard Bernstein

When I was little Ed Ragozzino would produce a musical every summer.  I remember listening to the cast recordings on cassettes in our car all summer to get ready for the production.  They were quite amazing for a little town like Eugene to produce.  One of my favorites was West Side Story.  I remember asking my mom who the good guys were – the Sharks or the Jets. She said there were no good guys, or bad guys in West Side Story.  This blew my little brain right out of the water.  I knew that I loved Anita and her feistiness, but I think I figured Bernardo and the Sharks were bad guys since Tony (my hero) was a Jet.  This was a story where the antagonist was a situation, not a person.  That might just be what makes this story so beautiful and believable (I know that most of the credit goes to Shakespeare for this one…).

This year at the Oregon Bach Festival there was a concert of Bernstein’s musical works narrated by his daughter Jamie.  Jamie told some lovely stories about her father and about how West Side Story came to be.  The most interesting to me was that Bernstein had the idea some years before he actually wrote the musical.  At the time there were intense gang wars between Jews and Catholics on the upper East side. When he got around to writing it, the East side gangs were gone but some Italian and Puerto Rican gangs were fighting on the upper West side.  Not only did this change the title of the show, but it also gave Bernstein the fodder he needed to begin writing the music.  Now he had direction for the two gang’s musical styles – upbeat jazz for the Jets, sultry mambo for the Sharks.

When I was in high school I got to see Bernstein’s Mass.  This was a life changer for me.  I remember sitting in the audience, very aware of how beautiful and genius the music was.  I don’t recall any of the music or melodies, but I do recall the feeling I had.  People say that Leonard Bernstein was one of – if not the most – influential composer of the 20th century.  I couldn’t say whether or not that’s true, but I can say that he is one of my absolute favorites.

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Number 54 – Pandora

I know this is kind of a silly post, but it really is one of the most amazing things that the internets have given me ever.  I love pandora.com so much.

If you live under a rock (or have been in the Peace Corps for 3 years) it is high time you learn about Pandora.  What you do is you tell it a song or an artist that you love and it comes up with other songs that it thinks you will like.  It is quite genius.  We have so many ‘stations,’ that are edited to pretty much only play the music we love, that we never have to get bored of our old CDs and mp3s ever again.  The only downside is that there’s a limit for how much you can listen to in a month, but it only costs $0.99 a month to keep the music coming.  The only other downside is Pandora’s crazy affinity to Jack Johnson.  Seriously.  He shows up on all our stations – Decemberists, Audra McDonald, Glee Cast, Deb Talan, Emiliana Torrini.  Everything.  No matter how many thumbs down we give him.  Oh well.

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Day 45 – Dave Matthews Band

I don’t know if there’s really a band that’s influenced me more than Dave Matthews Band.  It was the first band I really became obsessed with.  During high school I would drive around in my little white Ford Escort playing cassette tapes of DMB songs that my friends I would make and pass around.  I have so many great memories of driving around Eugene with the windows down and Dave blasting out of the pathetic little speakers.  Memories don’t get much better than that…

I saw DMB for the first time in 1999 with my friend Echo (turns out Jesse was at the concert that day too… we would meet about 2 years later).  I felt like such a grown-up going to a big concert of the band that I loved more than anything.  Fun times.

My obsession lasted quite a while.  I had posters during college, went to see  many, many shows.  One day, one fateful day, at the Gorge in Washington, I met Dave Matthews. Yeah, you read that right.  I’m kind of a big deal.  Not only did I meet him, but he signed my shirt.  Not only did he sign my shirt, but he also drew a man smoking a joint on said shirt.  That’s right.

If you watch the following video you will see the aforementioned white Ford Escort (and subsequently hear my friend and me scream) around the 2:49 minute mark.  You will also see various bits of my head and face in the foreground from 3:32- 3:48.

I still listen to DMB from time to time, but I’m not nearly as obsessed as I was during high school and college.  I still love the music and the memories it brings up for me.

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