Saturday, June 20, 2009

Art Review Numero Uno--Once

I love art: music, books, movies, paintings . . . It's amazing to me how influential and inspiring and emotional words on a page, or images on a screen, or some musical notes can be. So I decided I wanted to write about some of the amazing things that I love. I would love to make this a series--a weekly review of some work of art that has amazed me recently. So here's the first of hopefully many.

Once is the story of two musicians who meet coincidentally. It stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. It's an independent film that was shot over 15 days with $150,000. It really is a touching story of how these two people touch each others' lives through collaborating on their music.

I feel like this movie is very much about love, though not in the typical love-story sense. I think it is about how two people can love each other enough to do what's right by the other person and what is right for themselves. It took me a little bit to get into the movie, but the realism with which it was filmed intrigued me. Eventually I felt like I was spying on someone else's life, like I was watching them live without them knowing I was there. The fact that I never found out what the characters' names were made me feel even more like I was watching a little piece of two strangers' lives. The dialogue was natural, like it wasn't scripted or outlined at all. They were simply talking like any normal people having normal conversations. It was so simple and so ordinary, yet so poignant and so significant.

A lot of the movie is dedicated to the amazing music they create. I watched this movie last Sunday. On Monday I got the soundtrack, and I haven't been able to get enough of it. The music is absolutely brilliant. I love it. Glen Hansard is a very famous musician in Ireland who fronted the band The Frames. He sings with such passion and such emotion, and as I listen to his songs, I can't help but feel what he must have felt as he wrote them. Marketa Irglova's soft harmonies add depth to Hansard's emotion.

Here's a little sneak peek of the music. I think it's best if you experience the music through the movie with all the emotions of the situation attached, but this is the song that is most well known. It's called "Falling Slowly" and it won the Oscar for best original song in 2008. It is definitely one of my favorites on the soundtrack.

The movie is set in Ireland (in Dublin, I think) and is rated R because they say the f-word a few times. But there's no sex and no violence.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Being a Kid Again

I found out about this book from a friend's Facebook profile. She had posted a picture of her copy of Wreck This Journal. She had done so many different things to this book, and I was completely intrigued, so I looked it up. And then I had to buy it. This seriously was the most fun I've ever had with a journal. Definitely a well-spent $13.

The cover. The doodling is all me. Not that exciting, I know.

Title page. Again, doodling by me.

Burning was fun. Even though I had to stomp on it to quench the flames.

Ooooh, pretty colors.
This was the first thing I did to the journal. It was very liberating for an anal-retentive bookkeeper like me.

"Collect the stamps off of all your mail."

This damage was done with a pumice stone. It was pretty effective.

Scribbling on the edges.

I dabbed this paint on more than dripped it, but the effect was similar.

I carry this book with me everywhere now, just in case I find something else fun to put in it/on it. I feel like I'm ten again, and it's incredibly fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I cannot get enough . . .

. . . of this video. Well, mostly the music itself, because it's freaking amazing. Thanks, Jeanette, for introducing the office to it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Strengths and Weaknesses

I took this 240-question test (yeah, it's a doozie) about my signature strengths. It gives 24 strengths, and it says that the top five are your strongest that you should implement in your daily life. I guess that means the bottom five are the weaknesses. And wow, does this quiz really make you think. It's interesting to see how much I agree with these strengths and weaknesses. There are some I only partially agree with. But the weaknesses strike true to me . . . which makes me a little sad. I guess those are some things I have to work on. Do me a favor and don't judge me by them.


1. Humor and playfulness (I wonder about this one, which is weird since it's number one)
2. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
3. Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
4. Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
5. Curiosity and interest in the world

Weaknesses (these are the scary ones):

20. Kindness and generosity
21. Self-control and self-regulation
22. Modesty and humility
23. Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness
24. Industry, diligence, and perseverance

Click here to take the test yourself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Have you ever done your best at something, tried so hard to do the right thing, and failed every time? It's pretty much the most frustrating thing ever, whether it be with relationships, school, or work.

That's how I feel right now. No matter what I do, say, or don't say, it seems like it's the wrong thing. No matter how hard I try, it's never good enough. I'm always doing something that upsets someone else, and it sucks. I feel useless, and I don't know what to do. I guess the only thing left is to forget about trying and just . . . do what's best for me. Sometimes you can't always worry about other people. Sometimes you've got to put yourself first. And when worrying about someone else does no good for me or that other person, I think that's the best time to stop trying and do what's best for me.