Monthly Archives: December 2009

married to blogging

dessert + photography = love

Okay, so maybe that’s not the most accurate description of my online activities of late (what can I say? I’m a busy gal), but it’s how I feel deep down inside.

Anyway, I’d like to do a little shameless self-promotion, and ask you to check out my guest post over at married to chocolate. My friend Kris started the blog as a supplement to our grad school capstone project, a magazine aimed at divorced women.

When school and the project ended, she continued writing, transforming married to chocolate into a mouth-watering must-read for any dessert aficionado.

Read my post if you want (and try not to judge the awful self-portrait too harshly. I much prefer the one on this page), but don’t miss Kris’ commentary on all things delicious. Just prepare yourself for the drooling sure to follow.

the lights & buzz

The last few weeks have been a furious flurry of shopping, wrapping, planning, packing, traveling, cooking, baking, eating, and, oh yes, drinking.

With another sojourn home looming, a mini family reunion with Papa Nowak’s cousins next weekend, and the end of the Christmas season not slated to end chez moi until sometime in early February, I’m hunkering down for even more exhaustion in the days and weeks to come.

Having said all that, there really is something special about the holiday season, if only for its ability to provide us with endless photo opps. Minor White, one of my favorite photographers, once said: “When gifts are given to me through my camera, I accept them graciously.”

Thanks to the lights from the tree and Nick’s glasses for this one.

Merry Happy, everyone!

lovely lime(y)

Logged into the latest version of LimeWire today to find this as the loading page:

First of all, love the play on lime/limey. Second, if you know me at all, you know how I feel about London, and Brits is general. (I even know exactly which phone booth this is — Big Ben in the background gives it away.)

Needless to say, this was quite a delight for me. And especially fitting, considering my desktop background:

Goes quite nicely with the Buckingham Palace gates and Jamie Cullum lyrics, no?

Any serendipitous screen shots you want to share, Sparkies? Is anyone as tickled by this as I am? Anyone? Bueller?

the post-birthday world

a selection of cards from my lovely friends.

Yesterday was a big day: Beethoven’s birthday!* Okay, so it was also my 24th. As I contemplate turning another year older, and inching further and further (farther and farther?) into my twenties, I think about all the things I’ve accomplished, and all the things I have yet to achieve.

(*Though I have to say I was disappointed with Peanuts‘ lack of recognition, considering all the build-up.)

At 23 I got a master’s degree, met the love of my life, finally started this long-gestating blog, and interviewed at my dream magazine. I still need to secure a job using said degree, move closer to the BF, update waaaaay more, and try to break my unofficial boycott of The Title That Shall Not Be Named.

Oh yeah, and read more books.

I used to read a book a week, sometimes more, but with school, the soul-suck of the job search, and endless traveling, it’s been hard to fit it in. Birthday to the rescue! I received three new books as presents, and I can’t wait to dive in: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, and About a Boy and Songbook by Nick Hornby.

I’ve wanted to read all three for ages, especially Songbook, and I’m positively giddy that now I can enjoy them at my leisure. And since I seem to have a lot of leisure time lately, that will hopefully be sooner rather than later.

the birthday book haul. (with bonus bananagrams gift in the background!)

I’m also going to try to write more here, and hope to bring you reviews of each title. I haven’t written a straight-up book review since about the sixth grade, when I’d complete countless fill-in-the-blank worksheets asking for characters, plot details, and my overall thoughts and grades of books I read in my spare time. I found a whole bunch of these reports recently, and they generally involved copious exclamation points and grades in the A+++ range. I’d like to think my tastes have become more discerning since then.

Also in the spirit of growing up, I’m attempting to make my baby blog a more real part of the ‘sphere by featuring some guest posts in the coming weeks. The first should be up today, with at least one more to follow. (Ahem, Mark.) If you’re interested in writing one, or have suggestions for something you think I should write, drop me a line at catchthesparks.blog@gmail.com.

I even have a blog email now — how’s that for adult?

PS: Check out the site my flatmate Jaime made for me. This girl is talented (and thoughtful), no?

[insert witty headline mimicking ‘the onion’ here]

At this point, saying The Onion is funny is like saying “Party in the USA” is the worst song ever recorded: most people will vehemently agree. Still, as 2009 comes to a close, signaling not only the end of the year but the end of the decade, it bears repeating: The Onion is awesome.

While most newsmagazines and websites have been busy counting down the biggest and best newsmakers and entertainment from the last ten years, the Onion folks thumb their noses at such confining parameters, instead recognizing The Top 10 Stories of the Last 4.5 Billion Years.

image and caption courtesy of the onion: "Clockwise from left: da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Shakespeare. Theirs are among the best-known names of the Renaissance, which stands to reason, because everyone else basically did dick-all to make it happen."

But it was another story that made me laugh the most (aside from the headline “Rod Stewart Mistaken for Elderly Aunt“) and seem especially relevant to my annual dilemma of finding new and exciting music to add to my holiday playlist: “Holiday Music Aficionado Urges Friends To Check Out ‘Frosty The Snowman’.” Because nothing says “mix CD” quite like some douchey suggestions from that ubiquitous music snob down the street.

Keep checking back to see the rest of the Top 10 — along with hilarious “honorable mentions” and other bonus content — revealed.

Tell me, readers, what’s YOUR favorite Onion story from recent memory? Has this post been too much of a shameless love fest for you to even consider responding? And does anyone have a clever way for me to work the Shrek-Donkey exchange about onions and layers into this post somehow? I tried and failed.

the sky looks like an astro pop

Some songs get stuck in your head and you want to die. Butch Walker‘s “Last Flight Out” has been in mine for three days and I couldn’t be happier about it.

The tune is actually kind of glum in theory (the singer is flying away from his love for the last time), but its soaring chorus and crunching guitar riffs transform it into nothing short of an anthem. There’s also something delightfully kitschy about Butch’s shout-out to now-defunct Astro Pops.

Uplifting, nostalgic, and bittersweet — who could ask for anything more?

i’m not lying — this is stunning

As anyone who’s talked to me in the last few days is aware, life at home, it ain’t so grand. Good thing the Internet exists.

Thanks to a mention on The Huffington Post, I was introduced to this uh-may-zing a capella cover — complete with choreography! — of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” Behold, the glory of goofy guys attempting (and ROCKING) hilarious, suggestive dance moves:

My love for all things a capella dates back to high school, when I harbored a slightly unhealthy obsession with the University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers. But putting my clear bias towards these kinds of things aside, I truly think it’s a swell cover, and entertaining as hell.

If it can bring a smile to this miserable monster’s face, it gets my seal of approval. And I’m not bluffin’.