A Place of My Own

•August 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ms. Read’s Almanac of Fortuitous Occurrences is moving to its own url.

www.msreads.com

Come on over.

Sunday Song: Far from Grace – The Doves

•August 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Amazingly, I am writing about a song that is not totally downbeat electronica. I was actually surprised myself especially since all I listen to anymore is my Zero 7 station which I thought I had been grooming to be almost wordless lounge music.

This song by The Doves snuck on to my Pandora station probably because of it  has that kind of dream like soothing sound that I associate as being downbeat electronica. Perhaps the small amount of Coldplay that I allowed to remain on my Zero 7 station helped it along.

I had never heard of The Doves before but according to their wikipedia entry they have been around for a while. Who knew?

The lead singers voice is so smooth it almost blends with the instrumentals. I barely know what he is saying because I hear it as another instrument weaving through the other sounds as a rich, dark undertone to the higher electronic sounds.

This song has an electronic sound I can’t quite explain. It starts at 0:21 on the youtube link I posted below. It is some sort of guitar sound that has a slight worble to it. I hear a similar sound though a little rougher in the start of the song The Ocean Breaths Salty by Modest Mouse. There is something about this particular sound that soothes me in some way its like a strange binaural beat to my psyche (Binaural beats effects were discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, consequence? I think not!)

In any case, its a beautiful and relaxing song. Perfect for my Sunday morning routine of relaxing and drinking some tea.

User Video for Far from Grace

Sunday Song: Nothing Happens in June – Ulrich Schnauss

•July 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My obsession with downbeat electronica continues. Or rather my love of my Zero 7 station on Pandora. It is the perfect mix of sounds at the end of the day as work is winding down but I still need to do an hour more of work. It keeps me alert and moving without distracting or grating on my nerves.

I like this song for the percussion. It reminds me of the drum track from Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief in that it sounds kind of like an electronic metronome except more erratic. Perhaps this is a symptom of being married to a drummer that I find the metronome-like sound interesting and kind of soothing.

I really like the sparseness of this composition. The problem with some electronica is it feels like everything is being thrown in whether it is needed or sounds good. “Oh look there is a dog barking sound on my synthesizer! In it goes.” This song has a lot going on but still maintains a sense of space for me. It brings to mind the wide open outside areas of the Getty Museum for some reason. As I listen, I imagine myself walking the Getty grounds and peering out into the expanse of Los Angeles that goes on and on.

User Video for Nothing Happens in June

5 Things of Interest

•July 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

1. Friends, Creme Fraiche hurling and poached apricots.

This blog post not only made me smile because everyone should have a friend they could hurl creme fraiche. It also reminds me I need to go buy up some late super fruit at the farmer’s market and start some preserving so I can have lovely fruit in the dark days of Southern California winter.

2. Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes on Chow

I am not much of a drinker anymore. The occasion gin mixed drink here and there but mostly I can’t handle my booze anymore (my 21 year old self would be so disappointed). I do get sick of iced tea…okay I don’t but it is always good to have options.

3. 10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life

I really liked this article. I think if more people tried to use the Internet like it was an extension of their real lives rather than this “other” life they would get more out of the Internet. It is a tool not an escape people. I especially like the advice of writing emails while imagining the person who will receive them.

4. Water Pitcher from DWR

I admit this water pitcher is a bit pretentious. I mean its basically a fancy version of a Brita filter is it not? And I tend to poo poo DWR because it does NOT live up to its name. Most people myself included cannot afford to spend 60 bucks on a tiny little water pitcher. Those things aside, I can’t help be drawn to the beauty of the simplicity of the design. If someone ELSE wants to buy it for me, I would accept it as a gift.

5. Vegan Flats on Etsy

These flats are so adorable. They also look exceedingly comfortable. I look at them and imagine a day padding around the apartment and then perhaps a brunch someplace small. A little reading in a coffee shop.

5 Things of Interest – Hot Summer Day Edition

•July 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Some links to help with the dog days of summer.

1. How to make popsicles without molds

When its hot, all I want is some ice cream and other cold treats but I don’t want more pesky unitaskers hanging out in the kitchen.

2. Tom Collins Recipe

My favorite adult beverage in the summer is a Tom Collins, its like lemonade with a buzz.

3. Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream

Vegans need to stay cool too, right? And David Lebovitz is just the person to help them do it.

4. Lovely Linen Dress on Etsy

When it’s hot all I want to wear are light clothes. And skirts and dresses are ideal to stay cool.This dress is a beautiful and a vivid color.

5. Think Cold

If all else fails, think cold. Here is some photo inspiration for thinking cold.

5 Things of Interest

•July 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

1. The Creativity Crisis

This is an article about the findings that Americans are becoming less creative. I am not just talking about in the arty farty way either (though that plays a part in all this). It is a very interesting and disturbing article.

2. Pumpkin Daal with Rice

I love pumpkin and Mr. Read loves Indian food. This sounds like a must try for our household.

3. Dishwasher Lasagna Florentine

It’s totally what you think! How it works…I am still trying to wrap my brain around. I am equal parts intrigued and frightened by this recipe.

4. Wash With Joe

This product was recommended in Real Simple. I am attracted to it due to my forbidden love affair with coffee (I really can’t drink it anymore due to health reasons). I love the smell of coffee though so using it as a body wash might be a compromise I have to come to.

5. Writing on title with Dry Erase Markers

This is a picture from David Lebovitz’s flickr stream of a friend’s kitchen. The friend has scribbled a grocery list on the tile with a dry erase marker. First, this looks cool because it is in French, everything is cooler in French. Second, what a great idea. I used to something similar to this at my old apartment. I would write notes on our mirror with dry erase. Lastly, I love little pictures of everyday life. Perfect.

On Being a Renter

•July 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am far from an expert on purchasing and owning a home. In fact, I would venture to guess that most people could tell you more about how escrow and mortgages work than I could. Here is what I do know, I am not ready to own a home.

I have many reasons for this. First, I read horror stories like Dave Erikson’s ongoing ordeal with Bank of America and trying to buy a home. And it’s not exactly like he is alone in problems with banks, real estate agents and home sellers. One of my favorite bloggers, Dooce just wrote about her own home buying fiasco. These kinds of tales of woe not only piss me off on behalf of the poor souls that simply wanted a home of their own, but freak me out. So that is my first reason, the whole home buying process seems overly complicated. And the possibility of my putting my personal finances in mortal danger seems just way to big to contend with right now.

Second, I enjoy the perks of renting. What perks you ask? My friends and family know of my many rants about the downsides of renting. And they do exist. I have dealt with my own ordeals in renting in the 9 years of being a renter. And I rather hate shared laundry rooms. I do however, enjoy when my plumbing is going wacky being able to e-mail the manager and then she deals with it. I don’t even have to take a day off work to wait for the plumber to show up. I also really like the flexibility of being about to decide tomorrow I want to move and doing it with much less hassle than selling my home, finding another one…see reason number one.

I often tell people I feel that owning a home requires more commitment than marriage. When I decided to marry Mr. Read the only thing I considered was whether he was right for me. I didn’t consider if in a few years I didn’t want him anymore if anyone would be willing to take him off my hands. However, in buying a home you must consider not only if YOU like the house but if you will ever be able to sell it in the future. I have known more than one person who desperately wanted to move but due to quirks in their home like size or location it remained on the market a very long time. In addition, when I married Mr. Read I knew he was mobile. I knew if we got jobs else where in the city we could make compromises and move to make commutes more reasonable. With a house, if you get a new job at a new location you either have to grin and bear a potentially long commute or…move. Going through what seems to be an awful process all over again.

Perhaps I just watched the movie The Money Pit one too many times but to me, I am not ready to put my heart and soul into a brick and mortar location. Not yet at least.