Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hues of Gold

Autumn has dominated as my favorite season throughout my life. Knowing me, that's probably because its the sweetest sounding of all the words. Winter sounds bitter to the ear and spring brings images of coiled metal to the forefront of my mind, too bouncy. 

I must admit that I love summer, with its heat and promise of barbeques and thunderstorms. Who can deny the magic of crazy, hazy, lazy days? I'm a sucker for campfires and stargazing. But, nothing can compare to how I feel about the month of October.

The distinct smell of leaves on the lawn, the taste of pumpkin pie, the trees decorated with hues of gold and auburn. A fresh start to the school year. Wood-stoves starting up again. Boots.

In 9th grade, I found out that my best friend Michelle, who grew up in Florida, had never raked a pile of leaves and jumped into them. And so, we gathered every maple leaf from my lawn, with help from my dad's leaf-blower, and dove into the heart of autumn. (For Michelle if you read this, I was wearing a hat.) Then we made some chicken parmigiana, hot, delicious food perfect for a chilly day.

Anyway, the seasons are changing again. I know summer doesn't officially end until late Sepetmber, but in New England, we like to speed up the process. (The amount of Halloween candy and decorations in stores is unnerving these days.) I'm spending the rest of the day packing up for school, and enjoying the last few drops of sunshine before senior year begins.

My posts probably won't be as regular this fall, just because I have so much to keep track of once classes begin. However, I hope to post at least once a week, as to not lose track of my writing.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene




Life is sad;
Life is a bust.
All you can do,
is do what you must

Bob Dylan's an inspiration. Saw him in concert a few years ago, and must admit that his recorded stuff is better. He certainly has not aged well. I absolutely love this song. Listen to it every time it rains, along with the rest of my rain play-list, which makes my pen (or keys) dribble out thoughts like these...

***
In my dream, you looked like a pirate
and I said
you need a haircut
and you agreed
so I said
let's go
and we went
***
Thinks she's too old for plucking petals
from daisies.
There are some things we should just know.

Her toes curled over that sharp ledge, 
she looks out at marshmallow skies, 
which twitter with sparrows,
with the symphony of late August.
An applause of fallen leaves
sweeps the ground.
A standing ovation
persuades her
to stay for
Act II
 ***
Spent days filling her journal with all the stories of her life.
She figured those things happened
simply so that she could write them,
and please others
with her fairy tales.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

California Dreamin

As promised, some photographs from the trip

The Walk of 100 Giants, in Sequoia National Park.

 


I've never felt so small in my life

I know oil is dirty, and alternative energy is important, but these rigs were mesmerizing and majestic.

A beautiful lake in the middle of dry, arid mountains.

We drove most of the PCH on our trip. Beautiful beaches, the sun was shining. No complaints about that highway. The freeways on the other hand... questionable.

The view from the room of our 4th and final hotel!

Drive until you loose the road... (Which we did at some points)
 

The weary traveler

Started my day sipping a latte by the pool on the West Coast, spent the middle portion reading Don Winslow's Savages while flying through a windstorm, and am finishing it home, cozy in bed.

Los Angeles area was phenomenal, but you can't beat the stars capes of the country. Light pollution sucks, especially if you're a sucker for constellations, as I am.

Looking forward to posting some pictures tomorrow, but for now I need my zzz's. Need to run out and grab some stuff tomorrow before this hurricane. First an earthquake, now this?! Let's cool it on the natural disasters for a month or two, Mother Nature.


Buenos noches,
TB

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Los Angeles Transportation

What a joke. I'm not kidding.

It's no wonder the freeways are a tragic mess, congested and whatnot. Public transportation is unreliable...and nonsensical.

To paint an image: my mom, brother and I purchase metro passes, just as we would in New York or Boston. We walk to the turnstile and a big button reads "tap here" We tap our cards, press the button, look for a way to swipe in. We can't do it. Finally, a LA native arrives and tells us we can just walk through. We just waltzed onto the subway, no need to pay. And once we were down there, boy did I want to get back above ground.

Took the train to Hollywood, which was quite the experience. Saw Sunset Blvd and the Chinese Theater (got roped into tipping some grown men dressed up as Darth Vader). Ate in a Hard Rock Cafe. Questionable waitstaff. A man, a walking tattoo gallery, rather, approached our table and said, "be right back" and rushed away frantically. He didn't return. Our new waiter was fine, but made a wincing face when we told him we needed to take the subway home. Not reassuring, let me tell you.

The train was late, but luckily a man dressed up as a clown was on the platform to entertain the LA population foolish enough to accept public transportation. I was freaking out, trying to calculate the miles back to New York. I'd rather've walked at that point.

Late train followed by a tardy bus...we stood in some financial-district-by-day, shelter-by-night street corner for, get this, THIRTY FIVE minutes. 35. Wasn't too frightening, almost comical actually. Once we boarded, we found the root of the problem: a bored girl who wouldnt leave the distracted driver alone. We stopped on the next corner, no one entering nor exiting, and idled for 5 whole minutes, while this chick blabbered away. I think he was just leaving the door open, hoping she'd exit.

The whole time we kept laughing about the TAP here incident and wondering if the subway really was free.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Largest Living Organism!

Sequoia National Park yesterday.
what an experience!!

Can't wait to put some photos up. Theviews and trees themselves were
unreal.

Headed to LA now, though,
and cant post well from my iPod.

A quick quote from StoryPeople.com,
which sums up my trip so far:

"She said she usually cries at least once a day,
Not because she was sad,
But because the world was so beautiful
And life was so short."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

3 planes in less than 12 hours

Starting to think I could have walked to California faster!

Been on the road since 3:30 this morning, and am
starting to feel weary.

Stopover in Minneapolis exposed us to some authentic MN
accents. It was just like listening to Michele Bachman...

Waiting to board a teeny plane from Utah to LA now.
Salt Lake City airport has a smoking room in it?
Stinky. Cancerous. Strange!

Diet typical of travel: peanuts, raisins, Wisconsin
Coconut bar (questionable, in retrospect).

Could really use an espresso, but the terminal is too
spread out, and we're boarding soon!!

going to see Sequoia National Park tomorrow!
My mother cannot contain her excitement about "those HUGE trees"

Pictures to come,
Ciao,
TB

Friday, August 19, 2011

California Sky's Got Room To Spare


Headed out to the West coast tomorrow morning! Psyched to get some California sunshine, see Los Angeles & Sequoia National Park...even though we leave at a mind-boggling 4 am. Last time I was in California was in August 2005, and I came down with tonsillitis. Spent a good amount of time in the San Diego ICU, got a prescription for some heavy duty anti-biotics, and didn't really enjoy the trip. 

Hopefully this time will be different!! Busy packing and getting all my stuff straight today. Needless to say, there's a lot of caffeine flow going on here.

Enjoy these great youtube videos while I'm away.
West Coast, by Coconut Records. Catchy, fresh, fantastic. 

Classic, It Never Rains in Southern California by Albert Hammond Jr. 

Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also check out Dani California and Tear, two of my favorites. Did you hear they're coming out with a new album? New guitarist too. That should be interesting. Looking forward to that later this month.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We're not so different afterall

        We may be extremely advanced here in America. Our currency (though its weight not so heavy) may be the universal exchange currency. We may have opened our arms to immigrants in the past, allowing our lands to be a melting pot of culture and prosperity.

        We may be fighting wars in the middle east right now, in some vague attempt to stick up for what's right. We put down Muslim nations for treating their women poorly. We react with disgust and outrage at stories like the one of Sorya M., about whose stoning both a book and movie have been written. We're too blinded by the red-white-and blue banners, and luxurious freedoms in America, to ever think that situations just as pitiful as those in the middle east could occur on North American ground.

But they do.

        I just read this article about a young girl in Missouri, a special ed kid nonetheless, who was kicked out of school for accusing a boy of rape. She was forced to apologize to his face for her "finger-pointing." A few years later, the former incident recurred. She was afraid to speak up and say something, afraid of being dismissed from school again. After investigation, police found that she had been assaulted sexually by the same boy, twice. And as far as I can tell, no one is taking the blame for this scenario.

        Now this doesn't just happen to girls and women. Just over a decade ago, Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered in Wyoming because of his sexual orientation. Two years ago, Dr. George Tiller was shot down in his church, because he refused to stop performing abortions.

The list goes on, I'm afraid.

        This post isn't meant to be cynical. I don't intend to step on the integrity of America in any way. I merely want to recognize the fact that culture doesn't define behavior, as much as human tendency does. I don't know why we're so mean or cruel to one another, but I know that as a global society, we let these injustices slide. Genocides happen. Murders, homicides, theft, and assault happen.

        I'm not sure how we can squash these problems. I guess one start would be sympathizing with the victim, hearing their side. This could have prevented the Missouri case, and the Sorya's case as well. We preach freedom of speech, and so we must ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to exercise his or her voice. The other option, I guess, would be a world-wide law...just be nice. That would do the trick. Now just how to go about enforcing it....

On love and music

II.            
            Could you pick me out in a crowd?
            Without my screaming aloud?
            Would your eyes meet mine,
            In a packed room?
            Or in an empty room?


IV.

They’ll fall--
            rain drops from petals
            And snap--
            Into place, a perfect fit
            puzzle pieces
             
A Tenderness lost
            that was never meant to stay,
            It was meant to be this way.
        
They may not have fallen
            into love
            any other day.

VII.
            The windows of her mind,
            Every single pane shut out
            by ice,
            Which cuts like a sword,
            Through your pure heart,
            Or jabs into a stone,
            Only to disappear when
            The right person
            Sheds his warmth,
           Wanting to melt that cold away.
           








Sunday, August 14, 2011

Note Card of the Day

The only interesting tidbits of today include the following pieces of info that were scribbled down on note cards during my breakfast shift. Inspired by the simple facts that I am allergic to kiwis, and I really really dislike ketchup. Especially on eggs.

Enjoy. I promise to post more engaging musings...soon.

 Just happy with the fact that
she could enjoy her rice-cereal 
with kiwis and fresh berries.
And just happy that he could
treat his 99-year-old mother like the queen,
as they laughed and strutted out
into the rain, in their little fluorescent jackets
and New Balance sneakers. 
***

What does it say about you, 
that I pegged you as the type
who would eat ketchup on eggs?
What does it say about me
that I can peg people
as the types who would eat
ketchup
on
eggs? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sun Sun Sun

         Yesterday's post was a bit political and dramatic. I was pretty upset, if that didn't shine through in my writing.
         Today I calmed down a little-- Went to this local hiking trail with my friend Andrea, and tanned for a while by the river. Shockingly, the sun provided some nice heat. Maybe I'll be lucky and have a bit of color tomorrow. I guess we'll see!
         Splurged on a peppermint-mocha frappe at some local coffee shop. It tasted like a peppermint patty on steroids. Fantastic. Saw Crazy, Stupid, Love. For the first hour I was really confused about why I had paid 8.50 to see great actors in such a ridiculous and at times boring film. But once all hell broke loose on the screen and the ends met up, I couldn't keep from laughing.
         I guess the rest of the night looks pretty quiet. Apologies to those of you reading who have probably been snoozing through these past few posts. Life's been busy these days, and I haven't had quite enough time to write something decent. (Aside from my college applications, which I've been chiseling on each day.) I promise I'll have something decent up soon. I've been dying just to write for some time now. One day it'll break through.

Until then,
Go see a movie. That's what I'll be doing!
TB

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turn up the noise

Highly entertained tonight by the GOP debate tonight,  followed by The Daily Show, which gave me some perspective.

I learned a lot tonight:
  • Michelle Bachman has had more foster kids than were in my elementary school class
  • She also thinks that submission is equal to respect
  • A pizza delivery man wants to lead my country
  • You can preach equality while still refusing to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage on the federal level
  • Iowans deep fry butter.

Furthermore,

        Mitt Romney believes that the "ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad." However, our very successful current president was raised by his mother and grandmother. In fact, the idea of a traditional family is rapidly changing these days...there is no such thing as a cookie-cutter family in this country.

        When Santorum stated [on abortion], "To be victimized twice would be a horrible thing. We should surround these women and help them," I agreed. We should support women who cannot support their children. I'd like to see Santorum himself going around and handing out blankets, diapers and food to every pregnant woman across this nation who cannot raise her baby, and could not get an abortion. Once I see him do that, I'll begin to consider his candidacy and validity.

        I could go on and on about the ridiculousness of politics,
but I'd rather not.
        I'm going to read some more of my Joshua Foer book, and get some sleep.
But before I do that, I'm going to watch the Colbert Report...
And you should get your dose of Steven Colbert too:  click here!

Home sweet home

It's 1.30 am, and my mom and I just pulled in from our 12 hour drive up from North Carolina.
I am beyond excited to sleep in my own, familiar bed, since we've slept in 4 different hotels on the last
four nights!

But, I thought I'd sneak in a quick post just to remark that road trips truly are wonderful. We definitely rushed through the South, but I liked what I was able to catch sight of on our little stint. (people drive somewhat betterdown there. Unlike in NY, where I was enclosed by 3 maniacal trucks tonight on the parkway. I felt like I was in a video game!)

Saw three amazing meteors/comets/glowing space debris as I was
Driving home tonight, which was pretty cool. I have always, and
will always, believe that wishes on stars come true.

More on my thoughts about karmic action tomorrow. Time for bed!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet the south (pt 1)

So, we made it down south. Took us two 8-hour days to make it down to Atlanta, and now we're working our way back up the East. 

 Where to begin?
First off, pizza down here is nothing like up in NY. Really fluffy, and 
way more focus on the cheese than I'm used to. Cholesterol. Yum. 

Secondly, I've seen every kind of building you can imagine converted into a church. 
Houses, industrial-style garages off of the high way, 
you name a location, people are praying there down here.

And, as expected, we got lost. However, it was not our typical experience. More of an adventure than a stomach-dropping, fear your life, detour. My mom and I took the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia, which was gorgeous. But, we got off too soon, and ended up navigating our way through some very rural regions of the state...without a map.

Met up with some friends along the way--A nice way to break up all the driving! 
So happy that they were willing to meet up, on short notice in some cases. 
Seeing them made up for all of our strange gas-station-clerk interactions,
helicopter parents on college tours, and the bizarre wine-bar dinner
we just had in suburban North Carolina.

Stranger experiences await, including the aforementioned NC dinner, a giant peach off the high way in South Carolina. But for now, I need to catch up on some sleep, been a little deprived lately.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thumbin' My Way to North Caroline ♫

         And she embarks on yet another road trip! (Though I won't be hitch-hiking, as the title suggests.)

         Waking up with the sun tomorrow and headed down the East Coast to see some states I've never seen before.

         Looking forward to the stack of CDs I just burned, with classics...The Marvelettes, Beatles, Talking Heads, Jackson 5, Franki Valli, Tina Turner, The Supremes. And then some slightly more modern hits, Tom Petty, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Kooks, Michael Franti, The 88...and so much more.     

         My mother informed me that our diet will consist of diet coke and pretzels (I need to get my gluten levels up before my test next week. Ugh...) But I stocked up on some veggies, since I'm practically addicted to baby carrots these days.

         I'll be sure to update whenever I get wifi. If you don't hear from me for a while, maybe it's because I got stuck staring at the world's largest ball of yarn, or some other crazy pit stop down I-95.

         While you anxiously await my next post, listen to these... a few of my classic driving songs.


Because it's just so good. 


Becoming a bit too obsessed with this song this summer. 

 A bit of a downer, but I love it nonetheless

Got this one from the movie You Me and Dupree.
Pretty good, and definitely more upbeat than that last one.

OK, now I need some beauty rest. 
Ciao, 
TB

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Variety Hour

It's been a whirlwind recently. Between work, college apps, eating lunch, work, accidentally hitting birds with my car, trying to figure out my gluten allergy, work, and shopping at the mall, I haven't had too much time to post. But here are some cool things worth viewing. 

TED.com is one of my favorite sites. I could spend a whole day being mindblown

Car for blind people?! I thought it was crazy too. Watch this short clip & see for yourself!


Fact of the day:
Ofcom (a media regulating company) says one in three adults and 60% of teenagers classify themselves as highly addicted to their smartphones such as iPhones, Blackberrys and Androids. 
That's absolutely sick if you ask me. When a person can't get through a meal without checking his or her Blackberry, something's wrong. Smartphones are the new cocaine. It's time to crack down and get our population snapped back into reality. 




Joshua Foer on the 99% (a new favorite website, similar to TED).


Until we meet again, 
-TB

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Memorize This

I'm reading Moonwalking with Einstein- The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer right now, and am completely mind blown.  He discusses memory as a dying art. The current chapter I'm in describes how far we've fallen since the golden ages of the Greek. Back then, they memorized scrolls. They internalized words, and learned them. Today, we skim. We read billboards and text messages. Some of us read a book in a week, or a day. When we move this quickly, we fail to absorb the content of what we lay our eyes on.

Foer described one guy who literally compiled an entire electronic database of his life. He recorded every conversation, scanned every sticky-note, thank you letter and tax return into his hard drive so that he would have every moment easily accessible. While I think this is a bit excessive, (OK, absolutely mental) I agree that we need to take more in. Life moves too quickly. They say we forget moments at about the same rate we relive new ones. I refuse to accept that as truth. We need to adapt as a society, think before we speak, and act in ways we want others to remember. (And then make an honest effort to remember more of what we do, read, hear and experience.)

While I don't want to store every moment of my life, or  be able to remember as well as some of the characters Foer meets and describes, I do want to be better at the art. After all, the world's greatest books and documents, ancient literature, were written at a time when reading was completely different. When "reading" meant "internalizing," not taking in words on a page for the sake of brief entertainment. Memory gives meaning.

More about Moonwalking with Einstein and Joshua Foer
Go out and read it!!
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