Where Am I Now?

Hi! I don't really post here anymore. Where can you find me? Probably the most similar place is my personal tumblr, where I write about stuff that matters to me (a warning though, I'm more of a Tumblry person now than I was when I wrote stuff here). And all the current projects that are important to me, you can find at my website

How I Learned to Enjoy Sweets Better

I love sweet things. If I were not inhibited by my sense of health (and other things), I would eat icing right out of the can, and lots and lots of candy. Up until recently, I have eaten sweets in a ceremonious manner where I save the sweetest things for last, because they are, in my opinion, the best part. I've done this since I was a child. And recently I've realized that this method actually causes me to enjoy my junk food less than otherwise.

Here's the thing: Let's say I have several cookies in front of me. I separate out the sweetest and best one, and save it for last. Meanwhile, the whole time I'm eating the other cookies, a part of me is thinking about eating that last one, and by the time I get to it, I'm a little sad, because most of my cookies are gone by now. After I eat it, I still have a serious craving for more cookies, because sugar is addictive for me. This does sound a little childish to me, but there's a part of me that still thinks this way.

Eventually I realized that this method of saving the sweeter things for last was not the best way to enjoy something. I realized that if I eat the sweetest cookies first, or the icing on the cake, then I can live entirely in the moment while I'm eating them. Then as I'm eating the less sweet cookies, or the part of the cake that doesn't have icing, I can satisfy the sugar cravings that I got from eating all that sugar before, without intensifying them. This leaves me feeling more satisfied than my other method.

Weird laundromat dream

I had a weird dream this morning. I got a flier for a laundromat in town that I hadn't heard of before. It said $1 for unlimited laundry. I was like, that's an awesome deal! I went to check it out, and it turned out that it was a renovated single bathroom, with only one washing machine, which was an adapted toilet. So I was like, I don't know if I really want to do laundry here after all. There weren't even any dryers, that I can remember, but I don't think that occurred to me in the dream. I guess some things are too good to be true. Even in dreams.

More about 50 Shades of Grey

I was thinking more about 50 Shades of Grey. I thought it was good, but also pretty disturbing. It wasn't the physical acts so much as the emotional aspect of it. In the realm of BDSM, the physical things that happened in the book were very mild. I don't think it's primarily about BDSM, though. I think it's about a man with intimacy and control issues (who happens to be into some aspects of BDSM), and his abusive relationship with Ana (Keep in mind I have only read the first book, so this is just my perspective from what I know so far). I want to talk more about what I thought made the relationship abusive, because I think it's good to recognize these things and not mistake them for "just part of the BDSM lifestyle":

1. Christian made Ana sign a nondisclosure agreement about their sex life. To him, I think the primary purpose was because he was a well-known figure and he didn't want the public to know about his kinky lifestyle. To Ana, it meant that she couldn't talk about what was happening to any of her friends or family, so she couldn't get any outside perspective on the relationship. One of the common characteristics of abusive relationships is that the abuser makes it hard for the the victim to tell anyone about the abuse.

2. He "punished" her when he was angry. I can picture myself being a submissive in a relationship, but I don't think I would ever want my partner to touch me when he was angry with me. Not only would it be a less controlled environment, but I think it would be emotionally harmful to me.

3. He pressured her into getting into a submissive role when it wasn't what she wanted. There were particular instances when he pressured her into enduring pain when she didn't want it. He manipulated her because he knew he had power over her, and that she found him attractive. She recognized that he uses sex as a weapon. Yet he told her that it was all consensual.

4. He tried to put himself in a position where he was in control over most aspects of her life.

5. She could hardly ever be relaxed when she was around him, and she was emotionally tied up in knots during the relationship.

There's probably more, but these are the things that stood out to me.

Fifty Shades of Grey

So, I read Fifty Shades of Grey. After being told it started as Twilight fan fiction, I was curious about it. I wasn't expecting much, but I actually thought it was a really good book. I have only read the first one so far.

I've heard people criticize it for representing submissive/dominant relationships in an unrealistic and abusive manner. I think that's true. I think the relationship in it is abusive, and this idea is sort of swept under the rug by the idea that it's a sub/dom relationship (or at least, that's what the guy is trying to make it into). He starts out doing things that are pretty manipulative, while saying that everything is consensual, but I don't think he fully understands what he's doing, because the only experience he has had before was with self-identified submissives. This becomes more evident as he and the girl communicate more openly with each other.

I was surprised at the character depth and emotional pull of the book, given all the crap I've heard about it. I guess literature is in the eye of the beholder. Although I enjoyed Twilight more, I thought this was a better book - more character-driven and thought-provoking, and with a better sense of perspective from the narrator.

It's interesting, this book is getting so much attention for being erotic, but I don't think the sex scenes add much. I think the story is compelling.

Only You're The One, and how I feel about Lifehouse

First of all, this is going to be a long post, so you may not want to read it if you're not interested in the subject. I know it's been a while since I've written about Lifehouse, except for concert and album reviews. I wanted to write a bit about one of the songs on Almeria, Only You're the One. I think it relates both to how I felt when I went to my first Lifehouse concert, and to how I feel about Lifehouse in general. Some of this occurred to me when I listened to the commentary on The Spin Cast (the episode I'm referring to isn't up yet - technical difficulties or something, but it's the Almeria commentary episode). Anyway, the song obviously describes some sort of concert experience, but beyond that, there are a lot of things in the lyrics that I extrapolate my own meaning from, and also the whole sound of the song captures the sort of excitement that I felt.

This is a night like none before
I knew it when you opened up the door

There are a lot of things I still remember about my first Lifehouse concert. For one thing, I didn't even know whether it was going to be an enjoyable experience or not. I wasn't, and still am not really, a concert person. But there's something different about Lifehouse, and I remember hearing that first soundcheck, while I was still sitting outside, and just knowing that I was hearing Lifehouse play live was amazing to me. By the time the doors opened, I knew it was going to be special.

With a look to paint the sky
Let me read between the lines in your eyes

I remember I was close enough to make eye contact with the band members, and it was really exciting to me. I got really excited when Jason smiled at me - I felt like I was interacting with them.

It's the event we dreamed about
Where we whispered all the words they're shouting out
And now it's one, two, three, four

At my first concert I was at a point where I was just starting to love a lot of the music, and I couldn't help but sing along to it. But I always did it quietly because I didn't want to overpower them.

I'm with you when the lights go down.
Take my hand, I'm all yours now

I know that a concert can be fun if I'm there with my friends, especially while waiting in line, but ultimately when the concert starts, I'm there to see Lifehouse. This was especially true the first time because I didn't know anyone else who was there. And I'm impressed with the degree that Lifehouse can actually connect with the audience at concerts. Like, I remember the first time, they made me feel like I was there with them, not just watching them perform. And that's one reason why I don't like just any concert...

I know you're the only one
That would never lead me on

I don't like watching bands that are being theatrical just for the sake of it. And I know some people do like that. I think this is a hard concept for me to describe, but I like it when a band has a genuine connection with the audience. And I feel like Lifehouse does that for me better than anyone else I've seen. I think one of the reasons why I feel that way is because I feel like their music is genuine, and their music doesn't demonstrate any good qualities that they don't stand behind.

You're the one and only
You're the one and
The only one who keeps it here
In each moment as the voices disappear
The audience stands, the band begins
And it's one, two, three, four

In general, I don't like concerts. I find concerts to be mildly entertaining, if I like the music. Lifehouse is the exception, and there's just about nothing I'd rather do that be at a Lifehouse concert. They're the only ones that I feel that way about.

Reaction to Lifehouse's "Almeria"

So, Lifehouse's newest album, Almeria, recently came out. After hearing mixed reactions from fans, from being sorely disappointed to loving it, I was curious and didn't know what to expect.

I'm not quite sure how to sum up my reaction to it, but most notably, I would say there's a stark contrast between how much I like the individual songs. They're much more different that usual - from each other, and some from anything Lifehouse has done before. And that's kind of cool in some ways. I'm always interested in seeing how Jason Wade does in different genres from his norm. But it also has the downside that some of these songs are so outside of the norm that I don't like them at all. At least not now. I can no longer say that Lifehouse's music is so consistent that I like all of it.

Maybe that's a small loss compared to how much I like some of the other songs. My favorite is Where I Come From, which doesn't seem so different, but definitely has a unique quality to it, and I can't put its appeal into words. And I feel similarly about Only You're the One and Nobody Listen.

One song that stands out to me is Pins and Needles. That song is pretty different from anything Lifehouse has done before, but not extremely different. It's the kind of song I've always wanted Lifehouse to create. It's interesting, somewhat unpredictable and weird, but it's catchy and it still has a familiar emotional hook to it. I want Lifehouse to make more songs like this one!

There are lots of other songs on the album that range from emotional pop-sounding to hard rock/western. I just can't warm up to songs like Right Back Home, although all the fans I've talked to seem to love it. All in all, I think it's cool that they're experimenting with different styles. I absolutely love most of the album, and I love the edge that the deviation adds to a lot of the songs.

Stand Up to Breakfast!

I was thinking about the concept of "breakfast" in our society and it's so weird! Lunch and dinner are pretty similar. There's an endless variety of foods to choose from to construct an appropriate lunch or dinner, and many of them overlap. But breakfast is completely different. There are certain foods we think of as "breakfast" foods. Eating different foods for breakfast, or breakfast foods at other times, is somehow outside of the norm. And I was thinking about this the other day: traditional breakfast foods are generally pretty unhealthy: fluffy white pancakes and waffles, covered with syrup. Bacon, muffins, cereals than have more sugar than grain. Pop tarts, donuts? Let's face it, a lot of these foods qualify as dessert. I don't think all breakfast food in itself is unhealthy. What bothers me is, vegetables seem to be off-limits, except in the one case that you're having an omelet. Fruit is okay, on the side, as an afterthought. Unless you count dessert as a meal, breakfast is the unhealthiest meal of the day!

These foods are all things I love to eat sometimes, but not the first thing I want to eat upon awakening. Do you really want to wake up and stuff yourself full of carbs, sugar, and fat, and feel gross and bloated and really tired until lunch? That's not how I like to start my day, so I'm rebelling against breakfast. When I wake up, the first thing I eat is a chicken green salad. It's just what I want then, and it's refreshing. I feel much better eating all those heavy foods later in the day.

How do you feel about breakfast? Remember, you don't have to limit your diet to what society dictates. Stand up to breakfast!

Lifehouse Concert #22: Mix106 Philadelphia

So, remember a while ago when I talked about getting into the PST Live Lounge to see Lifehouse? It was an agonizing, anxious process, but I got in. A few months ago I told myself I wouldn't do that again - I wasn't going to call radio stations in a panic, chasing after these precious exclusive intimate Lifehouse performance passes. After all, I've already experienced that whole thing before.

So the passes to this next event just kinda fell into my hands by accident. Mix106 was like "Tweet this, and follow us." So I did, and next thing I know I get an e-mail saying I won. And most of my fan friends had won too. And Lifehouse had re-treeted it, so I figured there were going to be tons of people there if it's that easy to get into. It turned out to be only a small room full, and the event was a lot like the Live Lounge, except there was also a period where they asked the audience for questions. I ended up in the front row off to the left, the side where Jason was sitting. They first played Somewhere In Between, which I don't think I've ever seen them perform before (in person) but it's one of my favorite songs! So that was cool.

By the way, this whole thing was being recorded and live steamed to the entire world (or anyone who wanted to watch it on the station's website, anyway). The radio DJ's did some interview-chatter in between songs, and they asked the audience for a few questions. I didn't have any questions prepared, so I didn't raise my hand. I hoped some of my friends would have good questions to ask. Someone asked if they were going to record the song Angeline, which I thought was cool because I like that song, and Jason was surprised that she knew it. I was like "I love that song!" And then (this part is a little confusing because what I thought happened wasn't what really happened when I watched the livestream again) Jason looked at me and he was like, "You do? Oh, thanks you!" And at the same time Bryce said, "Hey, Sylvia, how are you?" And the DJ's cut him off before I could respond, so they could get more questions from the audience. What I thought happened at the moment was that Jason said all of it, instead of Bryce. I guess I was a little out of it, haha. And I was thinking, wow, Jason just said hi to me on a live stream that who knows how many people in the world are watching right now.

So after the performance we got to get pictures with the band. That was cool. I was wearing my green stenciled Lifehouse shirt, and I unzipped my sweater so they could see it, and Bryce commented on it when he saw me, and asked if I made it. Then Jason and Rick gave me hugs, and Dara and I posed for a photo with them. I don't know if Bryce is less comfortable with hugging people, but he always goes in for a handshake, and he's never hugged me, whereas Jason has hugged me every time he saw me the last several times.


All in all, it was an awesome event. Well worth the tweet.

Lifehouse Concert #21: MLB Fan Cave, New York

Hello! I went to another Lifehouse concert today in New York City. It was a free concert, which was cool because I always spend so much traveling to New York. Unless I accidentally buy the wrong (cheaper) train ticket, and I just sit there looking suspicious, waiting for someone to confront me about it but no one seems to notice or care. Not that that happened. And I'm sure no one riding that train ever gets "Penn Station, Newark" and "Penn Station, New York" mixed up.

Anyway, I decided to wear my Kelsey Wynn Harris Foundation shirt to the concert. If anyone doesn't know who Kelsey is, she was a Lifehouse fan who died of cancer, but before that she got to spend a day in the studio with Lifehouse while they were recording, and she posted a blog about it. So I was wearing one of the shirts from the organization that her family founded in her honor. And while we were waiting in line for the concert, Lifehouse pulled up in a black van right in front of the line. They started talking to some fans, so I went over to them, and Bryce noticed my shirt! He said that they had shirts like that too, which I knew because Kelsey wrote that she gave those shirts to Lifehouse when she was in the studio with them. He pointed it out to Jason too (who seemed really happy to see me, as always), and we started talking about Kelsey and how they had her in the studio, which I thought was really cool. Jason said she was a really sweet girl.

The concert was pretty cool. They played the new single, Between the Raindrops, which I love, and other fans don't seem as enthusiastic about. It was a cozy venue. I'm glad I went to that concert, because probably after their next album, Lifehouse will be opening for some big shot in arenas, and I won't want to go to those concerts.