The Other Stuff

7 Quirky Things About Me + 11 Questions Answered

I have recently been nominated for two blogger awards: the Liebster (I love how that just autocorrected to Lobster) and the One Lovely Blog award, so I’m just going to tackle them both in one post!

But first of all, thanks so much to Erika Kind (Liebster) and Susanne Valenti (One Lovely Blog) for the nominations!


So here are 7 (quirky) facts about myself:

1) At my 16th birthday party, I accidentally set my hair on fire.  My mother and friends had just finished singing Happy Birthday to me when it fell into the candle flames on my birthday cake.  I was concentrating so hard on blowing out all 16 candles in one breath that I didn’t even notice…I just saw my friends staring at me with wide eyes and heard my mom shouting my name and clapping her hands against my hair. Oops.

2) Freshman year of my undergraduate experience my roommate and I teamed up to kidnap our friend’s mannequin.  Where we left ransom notes, he responded with Pulp Fiction quotes thrust under our door.  But hey, he started it by scaring me half to death with that mannequin just chilling in our shower.  So I have no regrets.  (P.S. for those of you who may be wondering, we did–of course–eventually give it back.)

3) A tree frog jumped on my face once in elementary school.  We were Continue reading “7 Quirky Things About Me + 11 Questions Answered”

Books, Judging the Book By Its Cover

What Happens When You Actually Judge a Book By Its Cover?

From dark twists on Peter Pan to time traveling heists, book covers can make you imagine all sorts of things.

I chose five intriguing covers of books I knew nothing about from Goodreads and imagined what stories the pages might contain. Below are my ideas next to the actual Goodreads summary. What other stories do you think could match these covers?

Thanks to Tasha for tagging me (warning: I may or may not have taken this idea and run with it in a not-necessarily-intended way)!

1) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere Neil Gaiman

My Ideas: This title reminds me of “Neverland” from Peter Pan, especially with that picture of the clock tower on the cover (good ol’ Disney!). So I’m thinking this is some kind of darker spinoff of the J.M. Barrie novel (please please please).

Meet Brandy, a youth destined not to be happy and carefree for much longer… Mysterious clues and messages start to pop up around him, his name carefully inscribed on the front and inside describing things only he could ever know about his life. Gradually, they lead to the terrifying realization that he has been trapped in a place called “Neverwhere” for years. Like Neverland, Continue reading “What Happens When You Actually Judge a Book By Its Cover?”


A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Choose Your Own Adventures

 Choose Your Own

Do you ever find yourself screaming at a character not to open that door?

If no, go to a)                                      If yes, go to b)

a) Or mentally imploring them to give that guy a chance?

If no, go to b)                                      If yes, go to c)

b) …Hmm, I guess just go to e) if you want (look for the aligned center)

c) Then Choose Your Own Adventure Books are right up your alley! They let you, the reader, choose what happens next in the story from a given set of options. Continue reading “A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Choose Your Own Adventures”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 5)


At last we come to the final movement. But first, let’s indulge in a quick recap:

  1. Anna arrives by train to help mend Dolly’s and her brother’s marriage after the brother was unfaithful.
  2. Anna falls desperately in love with Vronsky.
  3. While among highbrow, sophisticated society, they try to contain their emotions.
  4. But then Anna is dying and Vronsky doesn’t matter anymore—she only wants her husband. Unfortunately for that husband, those feelings don’t last long.

So now we come to the fifth and final movement. What is Grieg going to leave us with? Continue reading “Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 5)”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 4)


Holberg Suite, Op. 40: IV. Air (Andante religoso) by Edvard Grieg

Hold onto your hats, kids, because the hint of tragedy that was in the second movement is in full force now. We hear a pervasive hopelessness and what sounds like a struggle against something unchangeable (…hence the hopelessness). Plus, when the music comes back to repeat, it’s even sadder and more disillusioned, just like Anna after she gives birth to Vronsky’s child and thinks she’s dying.

(2:55) But then things become much more tender and hopeful (definitely a welcome surprise after all of this depressing music). It’s like when her husband, Alexei Alexandrovitch comes to visit her. Now that she’s sick he’s the only one Anna wants—the only one who can break her out of her own misery and self-pity (a.k.a. all the music up to this point).

(3:27) All of which leads quite Continue reading “Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 4)”


Detective Stories…Without Detectives (My Top 6)


The “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Glimpse of the World With Detectives” blog posts from “Confessions of a Readaholic” have caused me to think lately about what a detective story really is (and since my posts lately been pretty much dominated by the Anna Karenina Classical Music Stories series, I thought I’d take a quick break to talk about something different).

Sure, we generally think of them as containing, well, a detective, and solving a mysterious crime. But I’m starting to think that other stories are like “detective” stories, too.

After all, when you read a book you’re always solving a mystery in a sense. You gradually discover who the characters are, what will happen to them, and/or how Continue reading “Detective Stories…Without Detectives (My Top 6)”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 3)


Holberg Suite, Op. 40: III. Gavotte (Allegretto) by Edvard Grieg

General Story:

This movement sounds like a sophisticated, formal ball to me. I can just picture the nobility in their fancy suits and ball gowns as they dance the evening away.

(1:21) Then the music switches to two Continue reading “Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 3)”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 2)


First, I forgot to mention something in my last post: the way I’m describing and “interpreting” the music should be understandable by anyone and everyone.  You don’t have to know anything about classical music in order to “decode” the emotions or actions it’s communicating.  That famous quote about music being a “universal language?” Well, there’s some truth to that.

There are, however, some requirements for understanding the music, which I will go into now:

  1. Have you grown up within a Western musical culture? (Ex: Do you listen to pop or rock music? Have you ever seen a movie that used a soundtrack in the background? Have you ever watched TV or seen commercials that use music?)

Yup, that’s it.  That’s all you need.  You’ve been trained your whole life to recognize “happy” and “sad” music, and in general to connect certain types of music to certain types of feelings or actions.

Okay, time to get off my soap box and just tell you the story:


Holberg Suite, Op. 40: II. Sarabande (Andante) by Edvard Grieg

General Story:

The opening theme is so hopeful and beautiful (have I mentioned how much I LOVE this piece?)—it sounds like someone is daydreaming and/or in love.

(0:55) It’s not all daisies and sunshine, though. After all, if someone’s filled with hope then they Continue reading “Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 2)”

Classical Music Stories

Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 1)

I’ve dealt with this idea a little in previous posts, but now I want to address it head-on:

classical music tells a story.

It has characters and actions, plot twists and classic endings, heroes and villains.  Of course, since music is so abstract it doesn’t tell a specific story (most of the time).  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use your imagination to hear one if you want to.

I think the simplest way to think about it is to imagine that the piece you’re listening to is actually the score of a movie adaptation of a book. I know, I know, books turned into movies aren’t always the best…but here’s your chance to do it correctly inside your head. Who would the characters be? What would they be doing? You’re basically Continue reading “Classical Music Stories #1: Anna Karenina (Part 1)”


Did You Know That Classical Composers Were Superheroes?

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 2.18.27 PMLudwig van Beethoven: Mind control

How else could he have ignited the fierce battle that took place between Brahms and Wagner? They were both so obsessed with pursuing Beethoven’s legacy that they must have been under his power.

But before you go thinking he’s a supervillain like Loki, he also wrote some pretty different music that stretched the boundaries of what was acceptable at that time, and everyone loved it. We still love it today. So he used his powers for good, too (wait…could we still be under his superhuman influence??).

W.A. Mozart: Super speed Continue reading “Did You Know That Classical Composers Were Superheroes?”