Monday, June 29, 2009
Anyway, I spend about 1-2 hours each night on the computer, posting on blogs, finding stories and aimlessly clicking around the internet.
I need some Christopher time. I have a few books in my head (children's stories and a "grown-up" book) and I want to take a few months off to develop them. Therefore, I'm going to spend the time I used posting to this blog writing for myself for a while. Maybe I'll get published, maybe not, but I'll never know unless I try right? Like my friend Giovanna always says, "Imperfect action is better than no action."
Anyway, don't fret dear reader, I won't stop posting completely - I'm sure a wonderful story or video or whatever will find it's way into my hands that warrants a quick post.
In the meantime, peruse the archives at right, listen to some music, or subscribe to any of these wonderful blogs. I'll miss you but know that I'll be missing you too.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
And I do say, this is the most eclectic mixtape I think I've ever made (and I've made many!) - Michael Jackson, Smashing Pumpkins, the Chi-Lites, Vampire Weekend, m....I've also created some front and back cover art that is in the zip file like last time (and in case you are wondering, the pictures for both volumes of the mixtape are from my copy of the Illustrated Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman - one of my favorite books).
Here is the tracklist (with links to the original blog posts):
- "Tender" by Blur
- "Concrete Sky (Acoustic)" by Beth Orton
- "Across the Universe" by the Beatles
- "Deep Forbidden Lake" by Neil Young
- "Sunday Afternoon" by Christopher Morris
- "For Martha" by the Smashing Pumpkins
- "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix
- "Playground Love" by Air
- "Have You Seen Her" by The Chi-Lites
- "It's Oh So Quiet" by Bjork
- "Rock with You" by Michael Jackson
- "Walcott" by Vampire Weekend
> Click here to download (74.2 MB)
...then click the "Download Now" button at zShare and the download will begin after a bit. The mixtape zip file above includes all twelve songs in mp3 format (192kbps) and front/back cover in jpg format. Close your eyes and listen. :)
Need some free "zip" software? Download 7-Zip here which is what I used. Your Windows program most likely can unzip this mixtape file with no problems - just double-click it and click "unzip!"
Disclaimer: I own all the CDs for which these songs came from - if you like any of the songs, please go buy the albums. I am offering them here for "sampling" only.
Looking for Volume I? Click here.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Why? He's cute and he really likes to get into stuff.
You'll see what I mean. This video of him jumping in and out of cardboard box is fun to watch:
Wow! And when he can't get completely into something, he at least wants to get his head into it.
Quiet hilarity. And when he's not getting in and out of things, he rests in the sink:
> Visit Maru's YouTube channel for more videos
> Visit his blog (yes, his blog!)
Related Sublime Goodness Posts:
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson is a huge part of my childhood (and others no doubt) - I remember waiting all night for his videos to come on MTV when I was little, I wore out my copy of Thriller, I had a MJ scrapbook, trading cards, and this classic poster of Michael in a yellow sweater vest on my wall. Later on, I was impressed with his willingness to push the envelope a little bit, releasing a lyrically edgy hit song like "Black or White."
Later in life, when I spent years in Europe I was amazed at how popular he still was over there - his fame never receded like it did in the U.S.. Now, for the last few years, MJ's been back in my life as my daughters have rediscovered Micheal's classic early work and relish it for themselves.
To honor Michael, I think it warrants posting one of the most famous moments in TV history - a night I'll never forget - his legendary May 1983 performance on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special of Billie Jean.
Oh, and he moonwalked too that night - I was in first grade and remember that the next day, every kid in school (probably every school...)was talking about it and trying to do it like he did.
His energy is amazing here - enjoy:
Here is more background for the performance:
Five months after the release of his phenomenally successful second album, Thriller, Michael Jackson performs the 'moonwalk' on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special to his hit song "Billie Jean" on this day in 1983. (He had introduced the move in front of a live audience earlier that year.)> Learn more about Michael Jackson
Already well-known since the age of 11 as the star and lead singer of the Jackson 5, a family musical act made up of Michael and his brothers that was signed by Motown in 1969, Jackson released his first solo album, Off the Wall, in 1979 when he was 21 years old. The follow-up, 1982's Thriller, was packed with seven hit singles and went on to break all music-industry sales records as it made Jackson a worldwide superstar. Jackson's May 16, 1983 performance on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special boosted enthusiasm for the release and spawned the 'moonwalk,' a dance move--in which he appeared to be slowly moving forward as he actually moved backward--that is now synonymous with Jackson and his unprecedented critical and commercial success. (The move was actually a takeoff on the 'backslide,' which had been performed on Soul Train a couple of years earlier.) Later that year, he released a hotly anticipated 14-minute music video for the song "Thriller" on the year-old MTV music network, and was well on his way to revolutionizing not only pop music, but television as well. (from This Day in History)
BONUS: Jackson 5 - "I'll Be There"
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
A true "rags to riches" story about the amazing Khadijah Williams:
Around here [her high school], Khadijah is known as "Harvard girl," the "smart girl" and the girl with the contagious smile who landed at Jefferson High School only 18 months ago.There is much more to her story and I encourage you to read it at the LA Times here. She graduate with high honors, including fourth in her class. She also was accepted to more than 20 universities (turning down Brown and Columbia...) and plans on becoming an education attorney.
What students don't know is that she is also a homeless girl.
As long as she can remember, Khadijah has floated from shelters to motels to armories along the West Coast with her mother. She has attended 12 schools in 12 years; lived out of garbage bags among pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. Every morning, she upheld her dignity, making sure she didn't smell or look disheveled.
On the streets, she learned how to hunt for their next meal, plot the next bus route and help choose a secure place to sleep -- survival skills she applied with passion to her education.
Only a few mentors and Harvard officials know her background. She never wanted other students to know her secret -- not until her plane left for the East Coast hours after her Friday evening graduation.
"I was so proud of being smart I never wanted people to say, 'You got the easy way out because you're homeless,' " she said. "I never saw it as an excuse."
My takeaway - believe in yourself, work hard and know that anything is possible.
Related Sublime Goodness Posts
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This was the song that turned me on to Hendrix too when I was a teenager. At that point, I had only heard "Foxey Lady" and "Fire," two good songs but just blah classic rock to my grunge filled ears. Then I got a record player and put on the "Are you Experienced?" album that I must have inherited from my dad's collection. Today's song, "The Wind Cries Mary," came on and I was transfixed. The guitar, the groove, Jimi's voice, the stereo mix...it just blew me away and still does to this day. Enjoy.
Close your eyes and listen:
PS - I'll be in Boston the next few day for a conference so updates might be sparse. But stay tuned - next Sunday brings the second installment of the Sublime Goodness Mixtape. Are you excited? Me too! In the meantime, enjoy the first one here.
Friday, June 19, 2009
My heart goes out to Colby Curtin's family. Here is the short version of the story:
Colby Curtin, a 10-year-old with a rare form of cancer, was staying alive for one thing – a movie.> Read the rest of the story at the OC Register
From the minute Colby saw the previews to the Disney-Pixar movie Up, she was desperate to see it. Colby had been diagnosed with vascular cancer about three years ago, said her mother, Lisa Curtin, and at the beginning of this month it became apparent that she would die soon and was too ill to be moved to a theater to see the film.
After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.
The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters, to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie.
The animated movie begins with scenes showing the evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and going on an adventure with a little boy.
Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.
Thanks to Pixar for paying it forward in a big way and to Mike Lombardo who already wrote a song about the event.
Watch a short video recap:
Related Sublime Goodness Posts:
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This footage is fantastic. Prepare to be wowed:
When Gina Incandela of Kissimmee, Florida was two years old, she was diagnosed with a type of autism called PDD NOS. Her parents weren’t sure if she would ever learn to speak.
But after they enrolled her in a special needs class at the University of Central Florida, things began to change. As it turned out, music was the key to help the silent toddler find her voice—and as soon as she started singing, she never wanted to stop.
“We would recognize the melodies far before we recognized the words. Her pitch and melodies were so accurate,” her mother Michelle told the Orlando Sentinel.
Gina’s favorite singer was Leanne Rimes—and she especially loved Rimes’ rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. Soon, Gina had learned to sing the song so beautifully that her parents knew it was time to share their daughter’s gift with the world.
Last spring, when Michelle saw an ad for singers to audition to perform the national anthem at a Houston Astros game, she didn’t really believe that her little girl would be chosen for the momentous event. But Gina wowed the judges—and, at the game, her stunning performance brought many of the 40,000 cheering fans to tears. Her performance launched the child to instant fame, with performances at more sports events including the US Open and several Orlando Magic basketball games, as well as the Today Show.
“Many families that receive a similar diagnosis are struck with fear and react with denial,” Gina’s mother writes on her website. “They are overwhelmed with the feeling that their child will never achieve the same goals as other children. Well, Gina is an example that these children are capable of wonderful things. Gina has gracefully walked through every door that has been opened for her through early intervention. It is my hope that others will hear her story so that their children may follow through those doors to reach their own goals and fulfill their own dreams.” (from Gimundo)
By the way, it's worth reading some of the comments on this video's YouTube page here.
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Monday, June 15, 2009
For two years, everyone from jockeys to longtime racing fans have come through Gate 1 for more than just the races. One worker's story, his love for work, can be a lesson to us all.Watch the video:
Sometimes it takes some giving up to get where we want to go. For James Cornette, it means putting off his 31st surgery to work at Churchill Downs. "He told me that I needed surgery right away, but I told him since I just started working, that I wanted to wait," said the Churchill Downs employee of his doctor.
Right now Cornette has two fractures in his back and health concerns so great he takes 11 pills everyday to get by. This medicine helps make it possible for James to tackle a job of a lifetime -- handling tickets and programs at Gate 1 of the track that gave him a chance.
"James was looking for work and he actually told us that he would work for free if we'd let him work, and of course, we told him we can't do that there's laws against that, but of course we'd have to pay you," said Chuck Jetton, James' Manager at Churchill Downs.
For four days a week, the 23-year-old and his mother are stationed at Gate 1, Mauk helping her son where she can. It's a job James has had now for two years. "Sometimes it does get a little overwhelming having all these people come through here," he said.
Still, James Cornette's dedication is enough to inspire an entire racing community, including the jockeys who race at the track.
"He gets up everyday for Churchill Downs. He lives it, he eats it. breaths it," said James' mother Jackie. "It has given him the willpower to push and to strive to do better."
"This is my hero right here, " said racing Fan Hezekiah Bush. "Some days I'll come in, I'm feeling kind of down and kind of bad, and every time I see James it just picks me up."
"I'm going to work til I can't work no more," said James of his job at Churchill Downs. (from Wave3)
Wow - are you as excited by what you do every day?
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Sunday, June 14, 2009
Which leads me to "Rock with You." It's a brilliant song (read a detailed reason why here) and survived the Disco years to still be relevant today. It's one of those songs that you can put on at home, the club, the car - wherever - and have everyone nod in agreement. Universal sublime goodness.
Close your eyes and listen:
Have you downloaded the Sublime Goodness Mixtape yet?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
For some reason, this video reminds me of Susan Boyle (of Britain's Got Talent fame).
Why? Because when it starts, you can see everyone around kind of going "what's up with that guy?" and just amused. But then one by one, people start dancing with him and by the end of it, everyone is having fun and part of something bigger and organic.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
"Not your typical rescue story" is what I first thought reading this. Instead, a powerful story of second chances. Here is the deal:
Charity Townsend Caldwell wasn't even going to go to her own graduation that day, but a friend talked her into it at the last minute.Watch the CNN Video:
As the new nursing graduate hustled out of the rain into the DeSoto Civic Center on May 2 and saw a crowd gathered around a man, her instincts kicked in.
"I'm a nurse," she called as she pushed through people, got down on the floor in her heels and her half-zipped graduation gown and checked for a pulse. The man's breathing was shallow. Then his pulse stopped.
"All I was thinking is, 'I only have three minutes to get the blood flowing to his brain,'" she said.
Caldwell, 35, began chest compressions, an act she had only performed once before and an act she was later told saved the life of Southwest Tennessee Community College's Dean of Health Sciences, Glen Swinny.
"He really wouldn't have made it, we don't think, without Charity," said Provost Joanne Bassett. "It was just amazing to see a little angel working in front of us."
Swinny was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto. He had suffered a heart attack and his arteries were 90 percent blocked. He had double-bypass surgery two days later.
Caldwell had never met Swinny, but she visited him in the hospital the day after his surgery.
"I couldn't recognize him at first, but when he looked at me, I knew his brown eyes," she said. "He hugged my neck, kissed me and said, 'Thank you so much.'"
School officials called Caldwell a heroine, but she views it differently.
"It was divine intervention for both of us," she said. "He let me know that I could do it."
It took a lot of perseverance and little bit of luck for Caldwell to reach the graduation ceremony that night.
As a single mother working full-time, Caldwell struggled for eight years to get her nursing degree. She began when her son was in kindergarten, taking one class at a time. After failing two classes, she was dismissed from the program.
"I was crushed," said Caldwell, who said she has always wanted to be a nurse.
When Southwest instituted a readmission policy in 2007 in response to the state's nursing shortage, she gave up her full-time job as a clinical reimbursement specialist at Smith & Nephew and started over.
In a letter to the school's president after graduation, Caldwell wrote: "I have no doubt that the second chance I was given to pursue my dream resulted in a second chance for Dean Swinny. To all of my instructors, classmates, friends and family, thank you for believing in me." (from Memphis' Commercial Appeal)
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Again, this came by the way of serendipity when another friend tweeted today:
RT @robinmcmillan: Cooooool post-it stop motion: http://bit.ly/IOUNS...and it is cool. Very cool - almost awe-inspiring. Stop-motion with post-its. I like the part with the lightning (the driving is neat too!). Enjoy:
Here is some background - the piece was done by Bang-yao Liu and on the YouTube description it reads:
This is my senior project at Savannah College of Art and Design. Where my idea comes from is that every time when I am busy, I feel that I am not fighting with my works, I am fighting with those post-it notes and deadline. I manipulating the post-it notes to do pixel-like stop motion and there are some interactions between real actor and post-its.I also recommend you check out the making-of video here. Interesting and informative - yes, it's harder than it looks. They did it on computer first via flash animation and projected it on the wall to get it right. Over 6,000 post-it notes later...
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Monday, June 8, 2009
Thanks, @pinkbirdi, for passing along "50 ways to find joy" - http://is.gd/TDbkI read the list in full and thanked him for giving me something to post about tonight. So here dear readers are my favorite from the list of 50 ways to find joy and brighten your day:
2 Get outside. Whenever you feel bored, antsy, or gloomy, go for a walk. The fresh air, changing scenery, and exercise will boost your mood.
6 Build someone's future. Volunteer with a local charity. To find a nonprofit or tax-exempt organization near you, visit www.volunteermatch.org.
10 Know you're loved. There's no greater joy.
16 Keep in touch. Write a friend. Use your best pen and beautiful stationery. Realize that you are actually sending love.
32 Meditate while you walk. Stroll through a familiar part of town and focus your mind on its sights, smells, and sounds. If other thoughts pop up, acknowledge them but return your concentration to what's around you. [I really need to do this more often!]
36 Paint a picture. You don't have to create a masterpiece. Buy some inexpensive watercolors and a pad of paper, and let the colors guide you.
37 Croon in your car. Stash a cassette tape whose lyrics you know by heart in your glove compartment. When you're stuck in traffic, play it and sing along as loud as you can. [this has saved my life - also I do this every single day]
47 Bake cookies. And bring them to work.
> Read the full list of 50 here (bnet.com)
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Sunday, June 7, 2009
As a sidenote, I was lucky enough to run into Billy in downtown Chicago one day passing him on the sidewalk on a quiet Sunday morning (I was on the way to work and he was seemingly on the way to the gym by his towel and outfit). I said hello and introduced myself - he was gracious and I told him that"For Martha" and the album Adore were vastly underrated and I've probably listened to them a million times in pure enjoyment. I'm glad I got to tell him that.
Close your eyes and listen:
...Your picture out of timeHave you downloaded the Sublime Goodness mixtape yet?
Left aching in my mind
Shadows kept alive
If you have to go dont say goodbye
If you have to go dont you cry
If you have to go I will get by
I will follow you and see you on the other side...
Friday, June 5, 2009
Some of the best kitchen and household tips were published during World War II when recycling & rationing was vital not only for the nation's economy, but necessary for the survival of each family.Each post is a blast from the past - culled from the pages of old magazines. Charming, nostalgic and fun to read. Oh and most are actuallSome of my favorite:
Some of these tips were handed-down from grandma, but were often they were dismissed as cute anecdotes, stories of 'hard times and hard work' which were not necessary in times of prosperity and a plethora of modern conveniences.
As a result, many of these kitchen and household tips have been lost to history -- unless you collect vintage magazines.
There, in the yellowing brittle pages, you'll find a slew of household tips that are amazingly still practical today.
- Vintage cake recipes
- Common Terms Used In Cooking
- Proper care of books
- How To Hang Pictures On Plaster Walls Without Chipping Plaster (hey, I live in an old house...)
- Thirteen Uses For Bacon Grease
- Thrifty 1940's Kitchen Tips From Farmer's Wives
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Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Kyle, at 16 a friendly kid with a beard who towers over his peers, shows a visitor around his art class in an office building on Madison's east side. "We make a lot of good stuff here," he says, pulling out a collection of miniatures he fashioned from clay. "This is a dead leg," he says. "Here's a squid, a tree, and an overflowing toilet. A dead beached whale. A dog cleaning itself."> Read the full story and see more pictures at the Wisconsin State Journal
He points to a splat of clay. "This is road kill." Kyle once stitched together a carcass of a run-over rabbit and propped it up in his bedroom until his mother made him throw it away. "And this is my favorite: Mr. Brontosaurus on the toilet," he says, handing over, sure enough, a tiny dinosaur reading a tiny newspaper on a tiny toilet.
When Kyle opens his backpack to reveal a stuffed girl vampire he has created from scraps of material and yarn, the other children in the class stare with admiration. "Can I hold it?" begs Ashton, 8. Kyle hesitates. He rarely lets anyone look at his creatures, much less touch them. "Okay, but be careful," he finally says. Ashton grins and gently cradles the figure before Kyle returns her to his backpack, smoothing her clothes in place. Later that night, he will rip her apart and sew her back together again. "She is very precious to me," he confides. "But I'm having trouble with her. She keeps coming undone. She is very fragile."
Kyle and Ashton are fragile, too. So are the other two dozen kids or so who have attended this unusual art program this year. They all suffer from serious emotional and behavioral problems. Some of those mental health problems are the result of abuse and neglect or chaotic home lives. Others are simply the result of being dealt a lousy genetic hand. Kyle, a high school freshman in Sun Prairie, has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. He has been hospitalized for depression and suicide attempts. Ashton recently was suspended for attacking a schoolmate at his Madison elementary school, where he is in second grade. His official diagnoses include Oppositional Defiant Disorder and bipolar depression.
Twenty years ago, many of these troubled youngsters might have been in institutions. Today the goal is to treat them in the community. Kyle and Ashton's art group, ArtSpeak, is part of an array of "wraparound" services offered by Madison's Children Come First program, which tailors services to individual children and their families and guardians. Administered by Community Partnerships Inc., a nonprofit organization funded by county mental health and Medicaid dollars, the program currently manages the cases of about 165 at-risk kids. ArtSpeak is a refuge, one of the few places where these children say they feel accepted and celebrated in spite of their challenges. An exhibit of the children's work now on display through the middle of this month at Hilldale Shopping Center reveals unique visions and voices desperate to be heard. "These kids are really talented," says their proud teacher, Kay DeWaide, a family advocate with CCF.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I received a nice email from Mike Bright who runs the Help From Home website - here is what he had to say:
I run a website called 'Help From Home' which provides information on easy, no commitment volunteering opportunities that can all be performed from the comfort of a person's home. Almost all of the 450 plus actions listed on the site will cost nothing or very little to complete and take no more than 30 minutes to accomplish. Some can even be performed in under 10 seconds without getting out of your favourite chair or pyjamas!Cool, eh? I just bookmarked it and will visit it often.
I run it on a purely altruistic basis with no intention of making or wanting to make any money out of it. I started it back in January 2009 and have been gaining positive feedback about it ever since.
What I'm attempting to achieve is to change people's mindset by enabling them to see that volunteering for worthy causes can actually be conducted from within their own house, rather than the more traditional approach of joining a group of people at a certain place and a certain time to perform actions that benefit others. Most of us spend a lot of time in our own home, where potentially some of that time could be devoted over to helping charities or worthy causes. If people were able to donate between 10 to 30 minutes of their time to such endeavours on a one-off, daily, weekly or monthly basis, just think how much of an impact collectively it would make into the goals and aims of initiatives that are attempting to make the world a better place to live in.
In closing then, I believe the opportunities listed on the website really can inspire people to make a difference, not only at a community level but also on a national and global basis as well.
> Visit Help from Home and start doing some good!
Do you have a sublime site or story to share? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Monday, June 1, 2009
* Hat tip to Gimundo for this one.