Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mumford and Sons (Babel 2012)

Allow me to preface this post by informing you that I am not 'into' music.  I like music, but don't go out of my way to find new bands and I pretty much only listen to it when I'm in my car or working out.  Music is not my life...but it is enjoyable and I have such eclectic tastes that I will listen to almost anything (with the exception of the country genre...)

With that said...I must profess my love for Mumford and Sons.  Right here.  Right now.

Although they have been around since (roughly) 2010, I discovered Mumford and Sons in June of this year.  It was an instant love connection.  I listened to their album, Sign No More, on repeat.  For months.  Through yesterday.  I am in love with them.  They were on Saturday Night Live this past weekend and hell if I didn't record it and watch their two segments over and over...and over...and over.

I even watched their live show on iTunes yesterday.  It has become an obsession.  I have been counting down to their new album, Babel, (which debuted today) for months.  So you will be damned if you don't think I didn't set my alarm for midnight to download their new stuff.  I have been listening to them all day long--I really can't seem to get enough.

Here is an upclose shot of these English boys:

And here is Marcus Mumford.  I have never had a voice envelop my whole being as his does.  My entire body is affected by his voice, their music.  It's something magical.  Powerful.

So...as I stated.  I am not 'into' music.  I AM, however, into Mumford and Sons.  I love them.  I look forward to the day where I can be in the same venue as them.  That will be an incredible day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fair Day 2012

Yesterday was the last day of the 'great State fair of...OK-lahoma'...at the fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.  What an event--I love the little teenage couples there that drove in from their trailer parks, they are adorable.  Always dressing quite classy as well.  It's fantastic.

I go for the food.  Fried this. Fried that.  You can fry anything, how amazing is that?  I had fried cheese on a stick, fried macaroni and cheese and fried cookie dough.  I'm sure my heart appreciated that very much.  They even had fried kool-aid this year...and so much bacon.  Everywhere, there's bacon.  Bacon Brownies, Bacon Cinnamon Rolls...chocolate covered bacon.  So many clever ways to eat that shit.  Whod-a-thunk?

Here is a picture of Chanel and I eating our fried cookie dough.  I know, you probably thought it was a corn dog...or cheese on a stick.  They all look extremely similar.  I promise you, there was warm, gooey cookie dough in the middle--enough to make you sick after two bites.  Most of that was thrown away.

We also went to the fair and learned some stuff.  This little cartoon guy's message was pretty intense:

Apparently when I take a picture at the fair, if I stick my thumb in the air, it makes for a good shot.  Appreciate it.  I do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

No Easy Day by Mark Owen

No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden by Mark Owen.

I picked up this book because I caught the curiosity bug. I wanted to see what all of the media hype was about…what ‘secrets’ this former SEAL unveiled to the public which supposedly violated some governmental code. I also figured that after reading an amazing book such as Unbroken, I would maintain the military mindset and dive into this book with an open mind.

Epic failure.

Not only is this book one I would dub a ‘boy book’, but I am so not into military jargon that getting through it was torturous. I don’t care about the make of your planes and helicopters…in fact, B-52 is just the name of a band to me. I don’t care about your fancy abbreviations (night vision goggles = NVG…clever clever, you saved two syllables there)…I don’t care about your inside jokes. I just didn’t care for the book, really.

It’s amazing how the author had all of the good one-liners. He must be so smart. And reading an anecdote about a black dildo? Really? I can see how that helped in the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Oh you practical jokers…

In addition, the little jabs at the government, the white house and Obama…those were really cute. A couple of references to how the SEALS do all the hard work and the President takes credit for it was really classy. How did the SEALS know that Osama was there? Oh…CIA intelligence. So really it’s an entire system working together. Everybody plays their part—a society. And if the mission failed? The President may have taken slack for that, it may have hurt his re-election. Politics (something else I’m not too keen on).

Although I only have negative things to say about this book—I do admire the SEALs. I do. They are amazing individuals who go out every day and do things I couldn’t even fathom. They put their lives in harm’s way daily so that lame people like me can have a happy existence, family, job and security. They are clearly risking their lives so that I can blog about them in my online diary. I have the utmost respect for our military and our country. I just didn’t like this book.

As my friend delicately put it, this book could be summed up in a 10-page essay.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lopez Weekend Update

This past weekend was a whirlwind of busy, fun and responsibility. The days flew by, even with  an extra day off (Friday) that I took to move out of my house and back in with my parents.  Good times, good times.

After an exhausting day of moving big furniture and multiple small trips, I went on a girl-date with Chanel.  (Have I mentioned lately how incredible this girl is?)  We went and had a steak dinner in Bricktown and then to an art show in the Plaza District.  We ended our night at a dive bar called Blue Note where a 90's cover band was playing.  It was a really great time.

Saturday was a day of me trying to catch up on my DVR shows so I could watch everything I could before canceling and then my daughter had her first Fall soccer game.  Her team dominated--but it was fun because both of my parents went, my sister was down from Tulsa and my beautiful little niece came to support her cousin. 

Here is a picture of Auntie Lopez and her favoritest niece ever!

Since Saturday night was the last night in my house, I had some of my favorite girls come over for a Ribbon cake from Raspberries 'n Creme (omg yum!!!) and champagne.  Then we went to dinner at 1492 and had a delicious latin cuisine.  Yes, we had dessert first...because we are adults and we can do whatever we want!

Here we are at dinner...with our crazy straws!

After dinner, Chanel, Roxanne and I had a horror movie watch party and that's how we closed out Saturday.  Glorious...

Those are my weekend highlights.  Like I said...blog diary.  I can write about whatever I want :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kickball - Public Enema No. 2

Yes, yes...more kickball...but the best thing about having a blog diary is that I get to write about whatever I want.  It's pretty fantastic.

In the Oklahoma metro area, there are a couple of different kickball leagues in which one can participate. Our league is recreational at a sports complex in north Oklahoma City. Other leagues, located downtown, midtown and in Edmond, are WAKA leagues. The rules are a bit different, the ball sizes vary and WAKA is more competitive; yet, at the same time, I feel like WAKA focuses more on drinking and it's a bit less organized. A friend of mine plays on WAKA and because his team was the champion team, they are flying to Las Vegas in October to play in the championship. That's pretty cool.

When I tell people I play kickball, they laugh. They think it's so silly-- "Oh, I played kickball...in THIRD GRADE". I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten this response or very similar responses. When you play as an adult (alcoholic consumption included), it is so different. I can hardly even put into words how much fun I have out on the field--I look forward to every Wednesday night. Even when my team wasn't that great, I couldn't wait to get out there and play ball. So, unless you are a kickball player, you will never appreciate the love for the sport. All types of people are out there. It's a wonderful experience.  A great time.

Last night I played four games of kickball--that's four hours straight of nonstop madness.  I loved every second of it.  Since my team was playing at 7:30/9:30, I had the 6:30/8:30 slots open and a friend of mine was in need of a girl on their team (one rule in kickball is that you have to have a minimum of four girls to play or you get automatic outs), so since his games were opposite mine, I happily offered my services.

My friend's team (pictured above) is called Public Enema No. 2.  They are all doctors, so the name is pretty cute...but their athleticism is marginal--only because they spend so many hours in the hospital.  They have a couple natural abilities, but other than that, the team ranks pretty low in the league.  These are just facts, they mean nothing to me, I am not the best kickball player myself (although I am the best female catcher in our league)...but I love the sport.  I also enjoy the people I have met, they are all so different from each other. 

Anyway...we (Public Enema) lost our first game by one run.  We played an excellent team, so the fact that Public Enema lost by one run is pretty amazing.  My second game was with my team and we run ruled our opponents.  It was a fantastic game and I was completely warmed up.  My catcher skills were stellar and I continued through the rest of the night on top of my game.  The third game I played was with Public Enema and they won.  THEY WON!  Their first victory of the Fall season and I got to be a part of it!  I love it.  The last game I played (again, with my team) was an easy win.  I think the final score was 16-1.

So.  Kickball to me is like crack.  I am addicted--but being addicted to a good time isn't so bad.

[As you can see in the picture, I have my regular team's uniform on...and my friend is the guy next to me. He's a cutie, for sure.]

Monday, September 10, 2012

OU Game Day - September 8, 2012

Let me preface this post by saying I DO NOT wear crimson and cream...but my friends do and they shine beautifully in it!  I am an Oklahoma State girl, orange and black all around.  This shirt made me break into hives.  Guilt and shame sat on my shoulder all day as I walked around as a traitor...but you know what?  I had fun!  Also, staying true to my pokes, I had my O-State panties on ;)

Saturday was my first tailgate ever and I went with Chanel and Amanda.  A day of drinking, eating, looking cute and football...and so many girls in cowboy boots and booty shorts/dress combos. 

It's a football game..do you really need THAT MUCH make up???

The Oklahoma Sooners won (good job!), but my Oklahoma State Cowboys lost (what sadness)...

Side note:  I love these girls more than anything.  They are amazing, beautiful souls and I'm so happy to have them in my life.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is a powerful book. This is story about the phenomenal life of Louis Zamperini (“Louie”), a former Olympic 1-miler, one of the fastest of his era. His feats as an Olympian are astounding, but when he goes to war, his will to survive is beyond anything I’ve ever imagined.

When his bomber plane was shot down over the ocean during a rescue mission, Louis and two other men survived the crash and began a perilous 47 day journey over 2,000 miles of ocean fighting heat, starvation, dehydration and sharks. Aggressive sharks. On the 47th day, when a Japanese ship came up on their torn raft, only two men remained and thus began over two years in Japanese POW camps. Two years of torture that one only reads about, much less survives. Beating after beating…illness, wretched living conditions and near starvation…it is incredible what Louis endured. It is amazing to read about what all of the POW’s had to experience. So many lives lost. So much torture, sadness and pain. Completely unnecessary torture.

Before this, the only material I had read on WWII were novels (a lot of times with happy endings) or non-fiction books based around Germany. I had no idea how vicious the Japanese were during the war, taking the souls of more soldiers than any other country. Sadists to the extreme—beating, humiliating and demoralizing their captives. My heart broke reading this—even though it happened over half a century ago.

After the war, nightmares and alcoholism consumed Louis. Post-traumatic stress and the memories of one captor in particular (“The Bird”) kept Louis from being happy until he discovered faith through evangelical speaker, Billy Graham. I am so grateful that he found happiness…something that alluded so many other survivors that could not deal with their demons.

Louie’s family went years assuming he was dead, although remaining hopeful that a miracle would happen. I can just imagine the families of countless soldiers who prayed day in and day out that the same miracle would happen for them. It never did. The Zamperini’s were lucky. They endured years with torment of the unknown, but in the end, they were all together. Moving forward as a whole.

Ironically, Louie ended up outliving them all—he is still alive today. Louis Zamperini is the ultimate survivor.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Books: Paper vs. Electronic


For over the past couple of years, I have read my books on my IPad.  It's amazing how easy the Kindle app + Amazon.com have made purchasing a book, the quick download.  Instant gratification for millions and millions of titles.  The expense can also add up...but I read pretty slow, so it is rare that I buy more than one book over a two week period. 

I love swooping my finger across the screen to turn the page.  I love putting my book mark in the corner and seeing the line at the bottom of the screen to show how far I've gone through the book, the percentage of completeness as well as my current location.  I love being able to highlight a word I am unfamiliar with and the definition popping up at the bottom.  I love highlighting a name or event and having wikipedia bring me to the exact page where I can read on about it.

Electronic books are amazing.  I can carry my entire library with me at all times.  A book lover's dream.


I still pick up the occasional book...when someone lends one to me or a book I've had lying around the house that I haven't gotten to.  Also, re-reading one of my classics (Catcher in the Rye) causes me to use a book rather than my IPad.

However, I miss the smell of a new book.  I miss the first moments where I flip the pages and smell the crisp paper...and indication that every time I pick it up, I'm going to be lifted from my life and deposited into a world in which I know nothing.  Meeting characters that I love or hate...or love to hate.  I miss walking into the office of my home and seeing my bookshelf lined with my conquests.

What I don't miss, is carrying a giant book such as Shantaram or War and Peace with me everywhere I go...having to carry an extra large purse to fit my current read. 

So...books, be it electronic or paper, have their advantages and little perks...but I will say that I absolutely love having information at my fingertips.  I love reading on my IPad, but also the nostalgia of laying in bed with paper in my hand.

Um...random?  Yes.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was a rather twisted read.  A woman goes missing and all of the clues point directly to the husband.  An ironclad case...but is he really guilty?  The reader is left wondering in the first half of the book, mind going in every direction. 

Maybe this happened...or maybe that.  Different theories flying through the mind, the author having done an excellent job guiding the reader to like this character more than that and think multiple scenarios were possible.

18% of the way through the book, I decided I knew what happened.  I was right.  Flynn threw me for a loop one time where I thought maybe something different may have occurred; however, I ultimately became right and knew what was going on early on.  I just didn't know the reasoning behind it all.

You would think I was disappointed by that.  Everyone likes a good twist.  I was not.  The reasoning for WHY the action occurred made my blood flow, my heart beat faster.  During the second half of the book, I thought "wow...maybe I am Amy Elliott Dunne" more than once.

I can't go into detail of the plot because of the mystery aspect of the book, but if you have read this far, you might not want to continue.

I am a woman who was deeply betrayed.  I was hurt beyond anything I could have ever imagined by a person who was supposedly my best friend...and another person who played the part of BFF like a fucking sociopathic piece of shit (classy, I know).  So when it came to light that Amy Elliott Dunne was framing her husband in the most elaborate way for his infidelity, I was proud of her.  You go girl.  Her strategic planning and patience almost sent her husband to death row.  What scorned woman doesn't want the most terrible thing to happen to a cheating man? 

Turns out, though, that Amy was a bit of a psychopath.  I did feel bad for her husband every once in awhile, but not bad enough to think that what Amy was doing was wrong...until the end.  When she comes back.  Her narcissism couldn't keep her away.  I was happy that the husband wasn't going to prison, sure...but she comes back and is in control of everything.  She never gets caught for a single lie that she made (by the right people, i.e. the police) and she moves on with her husband as her prisoner.  Unhappiness.  Everytime the husband finds an out, she has another trick up her sleeve.

The last sordid thing Amy did was get pregnant, using semen she got at the sperm bank from years before.  Her husband was trapped.  They stay together in this miserable life, supposedly 'addicted' to each other.  No.  She was addicted to him...he was a 34 year old sucker who was going to have to be with this insane woman for the rest of his life.  He was going to raise a child in an unhappy home.  He was going to have to fake it for the rest of his life.  Angerness, bitterness every time he looked into his wife's face. 

The book ended.  Nothing was resolved.  I felt cheated, as a reader, for not having the ends neatly tied up.  I realize this is very trendy thing for author's to do, but who doesn't like a nice, happy ending?  I do.  I feel incomplete with the ending of this book.  To me, these characters are stuck in a house, unhappy and about to bring a child into the world...a woman who has murdered and lied her whole life never being punished for anything.  No consequences for Amy.

I will always wonder why the marionette dolls didn't put Amy away...

You have to understand something about me.  I like to read.  I like a good story.  I only get surface deep, though.  I don't go and read reviews before and after a book.  I don't try to find underlying meanings or compare characters and actions to huge themes and life lessons.  I read for entertainment purposes only...so this book may have some deep meaning that I didn't pick up on.  One thing that I do like is discussing a book with someone else when I'm done to see what they thought--but it's hard when nobody reads the same books as me.