Saturday, February 28, 2009

Steph & Scott Tie the Knot!

By the way, Stephanie and Scott are now MARRIED!!!

Nous Non Plus et Vous

Seriously LOVE this band. One of my all time favorite finds. This video is pretty awesome too!

Band: Nous Non Plus
Album: Menagerie
Rating: Five out of Five Stars

Read Review at In Your Speakers

Elegant, sexy, chic and multi-lingual. No, ladies, I’m not describing the perfect man (well, maybe I am), but rather the perfect band. The challenge of finding the perfect band (and man, but that’s another review) has tormented music lovers such as myself for two decades. You know what I mean. They need that certain savoir-faire, that certain je ne sais quoi, that certain carefully crafted mixing of Moog synthesizers with string sections accompanied by horns with distorted guitars. But when you finally do find it, you propose. You wed. And you have a honeymoon full of sweaty love making a la 60’s French pop (Go-Go boots not included).

Nous Non Plus (pronounced ‘new non ploo’) is an indie rock band straight out of New York City. While they sound very French, the band is actually composed of five Yankees plus one Swiss-German. Many of the band members were actually part of the original collaboration of Les Sans Culottes, another faux-French band. Letting the faux-Frenchness go to their heads, a few of them followed the French tradition of staging a coup d’etat and leaving the band. After a very French battle at court, Nous Non Plus (literally translated to “us no more”) immerged on the scene.

Lead singer, Céline Dijon, bassman/lead singer Jean-Luc Retard, fiddler/vocalist Bonnie Day (which if you say it fast means “good idea” in French), guitarist Cal d’Hommage (which again, if you say if fast means, “what a shame” or “bad idea”), drummer Professeur Harry Covert ( say “Harry Covert” fast and it means “green bean”), along with synth player “Mars” Chevrolet, and François Hardonne (no explanation need for this one, c’est vrai?) fondling those keyboards and pumping his trumpet. So, while their nom de plums may give the impression that the band is less than serious, their faux-French sound will sing you the truth.

Simply put, the entire album is about having fun. The band never limits themselves to one musical style, thus the title of Menagerie holds true, there is something for everyone. It’s like a delectable selection from a never ending French buffet. “Loli” is as rockable in your mouth as a cherry tart, the harmonies of “Catastrophe” are as rich and buttery as warm croissants, French Teacher (my personal favorite because I DO play a French teacher by day) is a swirl of French/English smooth liquor going down just right. Are you hungry yet? You’ll be hungry for more, and this album will feed you and fill you without any guilt of the music calories. In fact, it will induce you into much gluttonous listening behavior.

You want a Broadway musical sound then try “Claque Claque.” What about spooky keyboards in “La Momie” a song about a girl in love with a mummy…pure genius, I know. “Toi et Moi” showcases Dijon’s sultry sound accompanied by a despondent piano, while “Mais Maintenenant, Il Faut Danser” (now, we must dance!) is full of a stomping beat that will have you groovin’ in the reminiscent style of Serge Gainsbourg and Bridget Bardot.

This album will keep you rocking, rolling and just plain ole happy for its entirety. More than that, it will also prove the old adage that, yes, everything really does sound better in French.

Latter-Day Saints Part II

This morning I woke up with a desire to focus on WHAT REALLY MATTERS. It comes mostly after reading the blog of a man I hope to one day call a friend. He is a doctor helping each day to inform, educate, help, and love. I'll be doing a post about him tomorrow. But today, I wanted to focus on what really matters about my LDS faith.

The LDS church participates in Humanitarian service across the globe, in vast ways, to far away lands, and all in the spirit of love.

So many people in my life have taught me the value of serving and loving. 

Whether it be from one of the latest campaign of 54,784 Latter-day Saint volunteers, the Church has contributed to measles campaigns in 28 countries. In total, 189,261,345 children have been vaccinated in the campaigns where Church members participated, according to Church Welfare Services.

And the effort is saving lives.

Worldwide deaths from measles were 242,000 in 2006, down from nearly 900,000 in 1999. The goal of the Measles Vaccination Initiative is to bring the mortality rate to fewer than 100,000 by 2010, said Dr. Peter Strebel of the World Health Organization.


My old Bishop went to Kenya to build a school. He took thousands of dollars of his own money to help teach and educate a village. He brought the young kids clothes to wear and school uniforms. He built desks side by side with the men of the village, giving them the tools to do so. He is, to this day, one of the most giving and charitable people that I know. THAT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS.


When April was living in Paris, she got into a horrible car accident. She was far from home, had no one around and the people of the church cared for her. They loved her. They went with her to the hospital, stayed by her side, helped her to pack and safely took her to the airport so she could come home. They were their for her each step of the way, giving her blessings, giving her love and care and THAT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS.


The countless times I have been in strange lands and foreign countries and I have felt comfort in knowing I had an immediate community across the globe of people who would be willing to help me and care for me. Even with Michelle and I got stuck in Argentina in September (curse you hurricane IKE!) We had seen the temple as we were driving into Buenos Aires and we knew that if our resources ran out, we could go there and they would help us. Some member would give us a place to stay. Someone would give us a ride to the airport. We could really count on that and I think THAT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS.


The amazing woman who lives in my sister's Ward who went to Africa on a mission for two years and taught the women of a certain village how to sew. She brought them sewing machines and material and taught them how to make these beautiful African baby dolls. These dolls are becoming well known. They are 25 dollars each and that is the pricetag on one year of education for a child. I bought my nieces one for Christmas. I spoke with the woman and she told me of the great pride these ladies in Africa have at actually being able to work for their children to go to school. No one likes a handout, but honest work, THAT'S WHAT REALLY MATTERS.


Latter-day Saint Charities
To help carry out Church humanitarian efforts, Latter-day Saint Charities was created in 1996. Latter-day Saint Charities is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable agency registered in many countries.

Latter-day Saint Charities is a member of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international development and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations.

There are just too many examples from around the globe to my personal life to really put them out here. But I do believe that most people are just trying to do the best that they can each and every day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Latter-Day Saints


1. I'm Tired.
2. When I'm tired I don't like strangers dropping by wanting to know why I'm not going to church.

When is enough REALLY enough? How many times do I keep rejecting people until the point is made (or a new Relief Society presidency is called or another person feels moved to contact me)? Last night, in the midst of a crazy week, dinner, emailing, and planning my two competions that I have this week-- two members of the RS presidency showed up, unannounced at my door and wanted entrance.

This comes after finally getting rid of my Visiting Teachers after repeatedly telling them I didn't want any contact (which they still did) and then I basically called the church and told them to NOT send them anymore. They finally got the hint. This comes after calls from the bishop's clerk for several weeks to set up an interview with me (no way in hell that that is going to happen, by the way). This comes after countless phone calls from Home Teachers and one horrific experience where I almost made the sister missionaries cry (I told them that I would return to church "As soon as women could hold the priesthood." Oh yeah, and I wouldn't let them in my house either, and they seemed very distraught as they walked away with heads hanging low).

The beauty of it all? I know EXACTLY what they are doing, their tactics, the strategies, the commitment pattern, the hope they feel, the idea that their message and friendship will save me and everything else shining through their eyes that look upon my sinful, hardened, removed-from-all-that-is-holy soul. I also, conflictingly so, know the complete sincerety with which they are fellowshipping me, because much of the time that I was in their shoes, I felt motivated by love.

Yep. I know. I've knocked on several doors of people like me. Karma has come back to fully bite me in the ass. Huzzah for Karma.

Here's how it went:

knock, knock

Me: Please don't be people from the church, it seems that whenever someone unexpected knocks on my door, it's someone from the church.

opening of door

two smiling faces

Me: Shit, church people.

Church Girl #: Hi! Are you D'Arcy or April?

Me: I'm D'Arcy

Church Girl #2: Oh my gosh, D'Arcy we've wanted to meet you for so long. We just keep seeing your name on the roles and that apostrophe is so cool.

Me: Yep, apostrophes are cool.

Church Girl #1: So hi, I'm Church Girl #1 and this is Church Girl #2 and we're from the Relief Society and we were hoping we could come in and talk to you.

Me: Actually, no. (I used to say, "no, thank you", but like I said, it's already been a long week).

Church Girl #2: (face falls, she looks truly sad) Oh, may I ask why. I know I don't know you, but can you tell me why you won't come to church?

Church Girl #1 (equally sad face) Yeah, is it like the people or the doctrine?

Me: It's doctrinal. The people are great. You guys seem great. Thanks for stopping by. (This isn't really true, I mean most of my issues are doctrinal, but the culture of the people is hard to take too. I go to shut the door)

Church Girl #1: (pleadingly) Oh, well you know. I could probably answer any questions you may have.

note to self, CG #1 looks all of 21 and CG #2 looks all of 18. Hmmm, could they REALLY answer my questions. During my active 30 years I read voraciously on church history, doctrine, commenteries, not to mention all of the standard works a few times (ok, Old Testment all the way through only twice, but I've read the Book of Mormon in depth over 30 times {2-3 times a year since I was 15}) I was the girl in the MTC that was called "Sister Scholar", I've been the one in my family that people always went to for clarity or history or fun facts about Prophets! (and boy do they get fun!) I was the one who went to the temple at least monthly if not more. And wow, here it was, the person who could answer my questions. I know she didn't mean to sound condescending, but with the journey I have had with religion, it sounded pretty condescending. (Especially because I think the assumption is that single people who tend to go inactive, do so because of laziness).

(FYI: I am sure, postive really, that I perfectly understand the spirit in which these girls MEANT to "help" me. But after so many attempts, I've finally gotten riled up enough to blog about it.)

I just said, "No, thank you." and shut the door.

In discussing this with a friend that night, he suggested a more delightful way in dealing with them would be to give them a challenge.
Have them define "sexism"
Then have them define "patriarchy"
Then have them give at least three examples of a "sexist" events.
Then have them give at least three examples of "patriarchal" events.
Then have them design a structure that is truly sexist and truly patriarchal.
Then have them compare that with the LDS church structure.
Then point MIGHT be made?

Sadly, I guess that goes for almost EVERY religion in the world and the LDS church is no exception.

I just wished that the LDS church WERE the exception, then I'd be able to let them into my home.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Best Thing About the Oscars (Part Deux)

1. HUGH JACKMAN. HUGH JACKMAN. The man is an Australian who played an Australian in a film called Australia. If that is not acting range, I don't know what is. PLUS we got to see him do what he does best, sing and dance, tap and woo, and just be Hugh. And while most love it when he's all muscled up and kicking ass, I just love to see his sentimental dreamy side in a coat and tails.

2. BEN STILLER's impersonation of the freaky sleaky Joaquin Phoenix. "I just don't want to be the funny man anymore." Too bad Natalie Portman isn't as good at comedy as Ben, but it was still a good laugh.

3. Anne Hathaway's dress and VOICE! Oh, her and Hugh really pulled that number off delightfully. It's still depressing to me that because of conflict schedules Anne wasn't able to be in The Phantom of the Opera and we are stuck forever with Emmy Rossum.

4. The way the camera kept focusing on Brad and Angelina the whole time that Jennifer Aniston was presenting. Very tacky Academy, very tacky.

5. The new way of personalizing the presentations was simply moving. Having past oscar winners come out and give indivdualized recognition to each of the nominees was such an AMAZING idea that I can't believe they hadn't done it before.

6. The entire cast of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. If that's not indication of the law of attraction, I seriously don't know what is. I am so glad a happy, moving movie actually won this year (what with gory and depressing The Departed and No Country for Old Men winning the past two years.)

7. LET'S JUST SAY IT ALL TOGETHER NOW: THE MUSICAL IS BACK!!! What great numbers! I loved it!

8. I did miss having each of the musicians actually play the nominated songs. I missed it so much that I acutally missed the part where someone won for that? I can't even remember who it was? Not memorable at all!

9. Tilda Swenson is still as freaky looking and freaky dressing as ever. What will it be like when her eyes are no longer PEIRCING into mine with an intensity that burns me to the core??

10. THE FASHION!!! People played it safe and classy this year. And while I always like seeing a few crazies to make things interesting, it's also nice when all the women and men (wait a second, Mickey Rourke DID give us some eye candy! Oh yeah, and seriously PSH? You COULDN'T remove the beanie for the Oscars? Seriously...) are flawless.

Tops on my list were always and forever Nicole Kidman, she can do no wrong in my book (and I TOTALLY want to do my hair like that!) Viola Davis was stunning. Penelope Cruz's vintage dress was breathtaking. I also like Marisa Tomei and I just love Kate Winslet...even if her hair was a bit helmety.

P.S. --Sophia Loren, I can't find a photo of you right now. But you officially scare the shit out of me. Officially official.

P.P.S.--Kate when your dad whistled so that you could know where he was, that was seriously awesome and kind of choked me up a bit.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Disclaimer: yep, before you even read I have to be honest and tell you that I am NOT seeking for any type of validation that you may feel the need to write to me after you read this post. Seriously. Don't do it.  Just think the thought I'm presenting and walk about in it for a bit.

John Legend has a beautiful music video of the song "Ordinary People" that you should all watch, but youtube won't let me post it. Instead, I'll post my new favorite song. Maybe all of us are just "dreaming of Revelry" and thus don't have time to call each other and form functional relationships?

Lately I've been pondering the fact that I might actually be completely ordinary. That there might not be anything truly magnificent about me. That there might not be anything that makes me stand out in a crowd. That there has to be some reason why things in my life continue to follow similar patterns. That there is reason why some people spend one or two evenings with me, or a weekend away, and then kind of shrug their shoulders at the idea of spending more time with me.

Yep. I'm ordinary. 

Last night I went to a dinner party with Michelle as my date. We had dinner with Stina and Alisa and their spouses. While driving to dinner, Michelle and I had an interesting, non emotional (and VERY rational...cause we're like that) conversation that the reason we seem not to make it past date one or two or three (her number lately has been seven, which throws my three out of the water) is because we just don't have that certain "je ne sais quoi" that keeps them coming back. What IS THAT anyway? Can someone define that for me?

Dinner was awesome. The six of us laughed and talked and joked and had some crazy conversations (A and S, you KNOW what I am talking about!). It truly was a wonderful night.  At the beginning of the evening, as Michelle and I were sharing our "ordinary" philosophy, Stina's husband said "Well, you just haven't found the RIGHT guy." And he really meant it, as do most people who tell us that. (Although, I'm beginning to wonder about finding lots of wrong guys for the past 13 years seems like a long run of REALLY bad luck.)

Where were we? 

Ah yes, the "you've not found the right guy" bit. If I had a nickel for every time someone has said that to me, I'd be a woman of leisure (and heaven knows THAT's not my reality at the moment, damn you economy and 401 k plans!!!!!)  I wonder (and A and S, take this with all the love and thought that I am putting out there) if that is an easy thing that people who married young and found "the one" say to others who don't have what they have (and in fact have NEVER had what they have).  I wonder if that's just an assumption in their minds because it actually did become a reality for THEM. When the truth be told, it very well might NEVER become a reality for me (or Michelle, that's right, I'm not going to be alone in this!!) It HONESTLY really might not ever happen. And yet, most married people and many single people still hold on to this idea that it just HAS to happen in life. It is part of life. When really, that's just a Hollywood definition of life, is it not? I mean, I am VERY happy with life and love where I am at and actually think that being single just might be for me, but that doesn't mean I don't get irked with the whole game of love and dating.

So yeah, I am totally on the fence about marriage at this point in my life, in fact, I don't desire it at all right now. However, I would like some practice of just having someone return my metaphorical phone calls. The good thing about Michelle and I is that we are not psycho (at least in actions). We aren't hard to get rid of, we don't keep after men who don't call when they say they will, we don't make a nuisance of ourselves. We are actually very GOOD dates. We make good conversation, we are well groomed, we are intelligent. And I wonder, has that become ordinary? Are there so many over educated, intelligent women who also have that certain flare that that leaves those of us who might be flareless kicked out of the bed? 

Hmmm, it's interesting to think about. Because there definitely ARE those girls that have the flare. We all know them. Maybe you are them. Maybe you hate them. Maybe. But they are there and it's no use pretending that they are not. How do they know what to do? Are there classes that teach the flare? If there were, I couldn't afford them, damn you twice economy!!

P.S. If one person tells me that I will find the "one" or anything along those lines then I am going to hunt you down and go crazy on your ass. However, if you want to discuss anything else not along those lines, be my guest. Though I've probably scared you away from commenting at all. Which is fine. What is there really to say? Nothing much. I think that's why I find myself shrugging my shoulders for most of life's big questions now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Write My Own Love Songs

When you're young and impressionable, you believe that one of the most romantic things that could happen to you is that your love would inspire a song. Yes, that you will have a romance of bibilcal proportions, that you will be a MUSE (!!!!!!!), that you will inspire poetry and agnst, and large consuptions of alcohol!


But, honestly, that's never happened to me. I never seem to leave a very large mark on past loves, though most of mine still haunt me in some way. So, when my friend Emily asked me to compose a song for her latest album, I decided that I would take my last love and pretend to write a song that maybe I could have inspired. I know, so pitiful it makes you think I'm a bit off in the head. And if you don't know by now, I'll confess, I'm a bit off in the head.

But this was fun. We'll be putting it to music soon and singing it. Until then, I'd like to know your thoughts on a proper title. I have a few ideas, but want to see what you can come up with:

I dreamed a liquid dance
And danced a golden dream
of cherry blossom cheeks
And super nova powers that taste like cream

Digging deep rather than digging wide
our secret confessions and that
stellar explosion inside

woo ooh ooh (or something like it)
woo ooh ooh

What a chance for romance, you
Know I like making love.
Like Alobar and Kudra
With the perfume of a jitterbug.
In the light of the dawn, in the
Dawn of the day we'd still
have secrets to spare,
and skin to skin shows how much we care.
Holding your hand with the palm staring up at me.
The lines run deep like stellar streams,
They tell tales of cherry blossom cheeks,
And super nova powers that taste like cream

This is the song you'd write me
If you wrote songs
These are the words you'd say
If words came that way
This is the life you'd paint
if living were art, but your colors
have faded from my redblue heart

A guilty god watches over me,
And the Paris wind freezes our liquid dream,
But I have the cherry blossom cheeks
And I'm the super nova that tastes like cream.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Parisian Wardrobe

I've been carefully planning my summer elegance in Paris. Despite all the amazing people I am going to meet, the beautiful kisses I am going to have, and the divine inspiration of creativity that will pepper every minute, I've also been carefully buying summer dresses on sale during the cold winter months. I'll have to take some photos to show you, but this one is the latest purchase (and probably the final one) and I have to stay, I'll be pretty stunning in it as I walk around the warm city with my hair pulled back, my big sunglasses on, and a baguette in my hand.

Post Script:

I picked this one up for said Romantic Evenings. Don't worry, I've already got the red lipstick and the shoes.

Now let's just hope my hair flies about my face and body to the perfection of a VS model :)

The Root of the Root

I like to revisit the past as much as I love thinking about my future as much as I am in complete and utter adoration of my present.

I was flipping through an old book my mom brought out and found my breath taken away by this collection of photos of the grandmother I am named for, Virginia. I love everything about it, from her hair and hat, to the gentle way that she must have had that smile spread across her face as the camera flashed. I wonder what she was thinking. I wonder if she knew how beautiful she was. I wonder if she knew that she would one day have a granddaughter like me. I wonder if she knew how far reaching her life and actions would have on so many different parts of the world as her children and grandchildren have given service and love across the globe from England to Hong Kong to Samoa to Africa to Brazil...

Can any of us truly know the times and seasons of the moments we are living and breathing?

"All that you have of body and mind will be transmitted through you to the generations yet to come." 

Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Money, Money, Money

Money and relationships. Can the two go together? They usually do. To form a relationship-- one (or both of you) is spending money to make that happen. Dinner, movies, concerts, museums. Who is paying for all of these things? Should we share it? Should they pay for it at the beginning? How fair is that??!

But then again.....

I was raised to expect the man to pay for me. I was raised to expect him to open the door. I was raised to expect him to carry my bags and books and groceries. And old habits die hard. And I am a hypocrite because I want a relationship not tied to gender specific roles (in some cases), and yet I find myself tied to some of these archaic practices myself. I don't want to change my last name when I get married. I want a husband who doesn't mind if I work. I want a spouse who will share the dinner making responsibilites. I want a spouse who is equally responsible for raising our children together. I want all of these things, and yet, I still want him to open the door for me. I think I must be crazy, right?

I'm trying to let go of these unrealistic expectations...but old habits die hard.

I've had some modern day experiences with money lately that have made me feel uncomfortable at first, and then wonder if it should have made me feel uncomfortable at all. It's this entire unknown universe still seeking definition! Because of this, I find myself over-analyzing money everytime I go on dates. I am never sure what I should do/pay for/or offer as I don't want to offend/assume/or exploit.

Up until last year, all my boyfriends (yep, all four of them in the course of my days) and all previous dates I had been on, just paid for me. I never had any weird experiences like my sister April, where the guy asked her out for dinner and then his card was declined (after he ordered several drinks, appetizer, dessert, and she had only ordered a side salad because she wasn't that hungry. She ended up having to pay for dinner AND drive his car home because he got too drunk to drive!). Even after they stopped being my boyfriends and we would just hang out as friends, they still ALWAYS paid for me. Men in my past just paid for me. Is this fair? Is this right?

I've met two different types of men lately:

Summary of Guy #1: He treated me with old fashion gender roles, opening my door, pulling out my chair, helping me with my coat--but still wanted to split the money. So yes, we split the money, but this man would be the breadwinner and I would stay home with the kids and cook and clean. If he is expecting the gender roles, then should he be paying for the dates?

Summary of Guy #2: He treated me with modern gender roles. We are both people and we should show equal respect, so whoever gets to the door first should open it, that's logic. So, yes, we split the money, but this man would also split the cleaning and the cooking and the raising of the kids.

Which is better? What do I expect? What do I want? I don't know!!

I think the thing that I get so worried about is for a man to think I am dating him BECAUSE he has money, or that I even care about MONEY at all. This makes me paranoid. Especially when the man makes more money than I do (which most of them do, because, hey, I'm a poor Utah School teacher). Should it still be 50/50 when one of you makes a considerable amount of money and the other is as poor as a church mouse?
With my recent dates, I find myself offereing to help pay, but none of them have accepted and they have all been paying. Should this bother me? Does that mean they are going to want me to act in a traditional way? Are they not even thinking about it because it's just expected of them? AGH!!!!! Dating is HARD!?! Should I step up and insist on helping out?

How did you handle this when you were/are dating?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Alela Diane and her Slightly Psychedelic Band

Artist: Alela Diane
Album: To Be Still
Release Date: Feb. 17, 2009

Hey music fans! Do you like being put into a trance? A dance trance? A trance where you may or may not end up wearing natural fibers and chewing on a piece of hay as you sit around the fire and smoke something? If so, then Alela Diane's latest album, To Be Still, is the album for you. And yet, don't overlook these melodies as simple campfire songs. If there is one thing that Diane's two albums have shown the world, it's the fact that she is capable of a delicate and haunting compilation of music tracks.

Alela Diane came on the music scene with her simple self-release of The Pirate's Gospel in 2004 (revamped and rereleased in 2006). She caused a rippling effect throughout America, that landed her in Europe where her success and talent have continued to grow. Raised in Nevada City, California, and currently living in Portland, Oregon, Alela Diane is classified in the Psych Folk and New Weird America genres because her meditative lyrics are earthy and natural and her sound combines a trance-like compilation of simple instruments. She is most often compared to Jolie Holland, Josephine Foster, and let's not forget The Be Good Tanyas.

Her follow-up album has been long awaited and much anticipated. But is it worth the wait? Yes. Sort of. No, it really is, but I have some explaining to do. Her first album boasted the amazing title track "The Pirate's Gospel" with a sing-songy "Yo ho yo ho" and a deeper, stronger voice than she shows us in this current album. She just seemed to have more spunk, more energy, more attitude, and more to prove than she does in To Be Still, and maybe this is to her credit. Perhaps the first album was the artistic expression of a girl who had to show the world what she was made of (and we liked it), and her second album is the artistic expression of a woman who is whole and complete. While weighing in at only 25 years old, her voice contains the cadence, pitch, wisdom, and soul of a much older woman, and I just like that. I like that she knows who she is. I like that she wrote every track and every lyric. I like that her voice gives you unexpected sweeps and lurches, almost like sailing on temperamental waves. She has intense diction, and that's rare. I like that her simple symphony sings you to sleep, ahem, in a good way. It's just a calming album. Sit on your porch, relax, and take it in. If your looking for that intensity that the first album made you feel down in your gut, you're just not going to find it here.

"Age Old Blues," with its interwoven harmonies, simple tale of field workers, and quick guitar will be a fan favorite. Also noteworthy is the Celtic feel of "The Alder Trees" as her vocals truly soar and her arrangements are powerful. Yes, those two will be the favorites of the album, but I have to say that I became more awake when I listened to "The Ocean". The powerful drum, the female seeker of truth, "the sunset by the sea is in her mind and she was always hopin' to someday to leave the mountain, domestic chores and children, the darkness of winter. Painting all these mermaids wandering to the seashore. She wanted him to follow, but his heart was with the hillside. In spirit, she drifted to the ocean" just made me feel like I had been sung a good tale.

When asked about the creative journey in producing this album, Alela Diane said, "It began in Portland, OR and was finished in scatters between tours at my dad's home studio in Nevada City, CA. I wanted to record this collection of songs using arrangements which would represent them in their finest form. These songs requested more instrumental filigree than those on The Pirate's Gospel. It was challenging to delicately, yet purposefully incorporate instrumentation into songs that I was so used to singing by myself. I was determined to make it work, because I wanted percussion! I wanted to hear the lonesome bow of the violin! I heard many harmonies in my head, and so I set out to capture them."

Well, Alela, I think you succeeded with what you set out to do.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Can Boys REALLY be Boys?

How have we defined the male in society? Is it fair? Is it just as full of loopholes and stereotypes and judgment as those definitions are for the feminine?

In a recent class with my seniors, we were discussing traditional gender roles verses the modern variations. In writing out their feelings, one of my amazing male students wrote the following:

"Guys in the media are portrayed as screwups. These days I feel like men are victimized by the media . It's frustrating because while there's a level of sexism on either side, it seems that generalizations of men are taken a lot more lightly."

I have to agree with this. How many of us women get angered or spat back quick and sharp (and in some cases witty) retorts when any type of stereotypical comment is made. BUT, I can find myself resorting to trite and blanket statements like, "Men!" (as I shake my fist in anger) and many other colorful variations along that train of thought. And I receive no repercussions because no man would dare to tell me NOT to subject him to a traditional gender role-esque angered comment (really, they wouldn't dare, I can get scary).

And yet, how many of my friends, when figuring out if they can go out for a night sans children have to ask their husbands to "babysit". Um, what? Explain that one to me. Why are YOU raising them and your HUSBAND babysitting them?

How many times does the mother worry leaving *her* baby with the husband for more than a few hours at a time. Like he isn't as capable of loving or nurturing his own child as much as she is??!! I find this completely insulting. If you don't think your husband is smart enough and capable enough to watch your child, then why did you reproduce with him?

The following is a list of topics worthy of discussion (taken from this post). I think that these ingrained mindsets are just as hard for us to break down in society as the fact that all women were meant to be stay at home wives and mothers.

The Myth of Male Weakness, where they are taught that they can not control their baser urges, are seen as untrustworthy (a man with my children? scary), somehow defective, and punished far more severely than a woman for the same offenses (statistically true).

The Myth(s) of Masculinity, where they are taught that real boys and true men only feel anger and desire, not love nor fear nor tenderness nor embarrassment nor giddiness. For shame.

The Superiority of Maleness, where they are taught that girly things are embarrassing and inferior, pink and tutus and dolls and feelings are to be held in the lowest of contempt.

The Culture of Cruelty, where boys are tortured and physically abused and emotionally isolated both by their peers and by adults unless/until they conform to expectations of masculinity.

Doesn’t sound like a barrel full of happy fun to me.

In my world of feminism, I've discovered that I also care (almost equally) about masculism. While I will always fight for equal treatment of women, I think that this should not overshadow the fact that more of my male students are failing, more of them are lost, and more of them feel pretty hopeless or apathetic about life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Audacity of Soap

Just one of the beauties of living in a Capitalist society.

Monday, February 2, 2009


When are we going to learn how beautiful we all are?