Wine Tasting: Liebfraumilch

Name: Liebfraumilch

Variety: Riesling

Region: Rheinhessen

Country: Germany

Year: 2016

Price: $11.99

Winemaker Description:

Pale in color, with a shimmer of gold, this wine offers the scent of honeysuckle in the nose. Although a touch of grapefruity citrus can be found, the aromas are more tropical – with notes of white peach and melon followed by ripe mango. On the palate, it’s juicy and delivers ripeness and concentration, while retaining elegance and freshness in the off-dry finish.

 My Review:

I decided to get this wine because I had never tried a German wine before, and I was spending time with a friend who recently returned from a year long stint in Heidelberg, Germany.  I knew I wanted to try a German Riesling and when we saw one that looked good at the store, we couldn’t resist. Also, I actually drank this wine at the proper temperature (I’m normally too lazy to chill my wine to the right point) and I think it definitely had a positive effect. The wine was a really lovely golden/yellow color and smelled like apples and honey, and it tasted like lemon, apples, and cinnamon. It was an excellent wine, especially for this time of year, and I’m excited to keep drinking it!

I drank this wine initially on its own, and it was really good! I think it could go well with something along the lines of Chicken Parmesan if I make any in the near future.

Wine Tasting: Voga Moscato

Name: Voga

Variety: 100% Moscato

Region: Pavia

Country: Italy

Year: 2016

Price: $12.29

Winemaker Description:

The key to making true Italian Moscato is to capture the natural fruity aroma and vibrant flavor of the Moscato grape. The grapes are crushed and quickly pressed. During fermentation the carbon dioxide is retained giving the wine its “frizzante” character. Close your eyes and think of fresh grapes, that’s exactly what Moscato tastes like.

 My Review:

I decided to try this wine after one of my old friends told me that this is her absolute favorite Moscato. We have similar tastes in wine, so I thought I’d give it a shot. The first thing I noticed about this wine was that its color was clear but tinted green. I thought that was a little odd because I’ve need a lot of yellow hued wines, but I hadn’t seen any green ones before. Regardless of the color, it smelled like what I have come to expect from Moscato, namely apples and pears, but it also had some lemon scent thrown in there, which was a nice surprise. The taste was not what I was expecting. Knowing my friend, I expected it to be pretty sweet, which it was, but it was also quite acidic, which cut the sweetness really nicely. The flavor of the wine is actually kind of hard to describe. I definitely tasted some honey and pineapple flavors, but there was something else in there that I couldn’t name. I still can’t put my finger on it, but it was bright and fresh and made me think of yellow, but I have no idea why. Maybe it was lemon? I’ll have to try it again to find out!

I drank this wine initially on its own, and it was pretty dang good! I think it could go well with pasta or shellfish in a white sauce though.

Movie Review: American Satan

*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!!*

 

 

Yesterday was a day I had been waiting for since its announcement in early 2016: American Satan, a rock-and-roll thriller starring Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack and Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce, was released into theaters. Though it was only released in select cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, I was lucky enough to be able to catch a screening in my town. And I must say, the movie was well worth the wait. It was dark, sexy, and kept me on the edge of my seat for its entire just-under-two-hour runtime.

For those unaware, American Satan follows fictional rock band The Relentless as they move to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. However, they quickly learn that fame is not easy, and they will have to make some sacrifices. The band makes a deal with a man who seems to be following them, named Mr. Capricorn (portrayed by none other than Malcolm McDowell). However, this deal causes them to make some difficult decisions, such as whether or not to kill the douche-y singer of another local band, whom their bassist Lily (Jesse Sullivan) had some past relationship struggles with. After they fulfill their end of the bargain, their popularity explodes. However, they struggle with vices that come with high levels of fame, including sexual temptations and heavy drug usage.

What I loved most about this movie, aside from its kick-ass soundtrack, is the fact that, though the story itself was fictional, it was based in reality, and showed that fame and the music industry are not all glitz-and-glam. All of the actors’ performances were superb, so much so that I, someone who typically struggles to focus on one thing for a long period of time, was completely glued to the screen. Though my initial interest stemmed from Andy Biersack’s involvement, the film was so well done that I think I would have still enjoyed it had someone else been starring. The soundtrack was also perfect, featuring Remington Leith of Palaye Royale as the recorded vocalist for the Relentless. The film was nothing less than exhilarating, and the only thing stopping me from seeing it again is the fact that I can’t drive myself to the theater.

My only criticism is the amount of sex and nudity that appears in the film. While I understand that the purpose was to emphasize the indulgent nature of the stereotypical “rock and roll lifestyle”, I wish there would have been a little less. Regardless, though, it was still a phenomenal work that I would recommend to any fans of rock music, or anyone who wants to see a dark and sexy thriller.

Tsunggita’s Revenge

Reposted from my blog for my Mythology and Folklore class. 

Long before Tsunggita met Don Juan, she knew that she was a part of her father’s plan to defeat the king of Laguna and his three haughty sons. How could she not be, with her fantastic ability to shift into any form she chose? One day, her father called her up into his favorite tree for a strategy talk.

“Tsunggita, my dear, the king of Laguna has sent his three sons off to take their fortunes, and one of them is headed our way. I have a plan, but it involves you marrying one of his sons. I fear they will treat you badly, and the need is not yet dire enough that we could not find another plan.”

Image result for long tailed macaque
Monkey. Web Source: MacleanGray.

But Tsunggita, being rather idealistic and having heard many stories from the birds of fabulous princes in far off lands, thought that the ones near by should be even nicer, just as her own kingdom was nicer than the ones in the stories. “Of course I will marry him, and that way if he is nicer than his father there will be no need to defeat Laguna.”

The first step in the plan was for Tsunggita to turn into an old man and entice Don Juan to her father’s palace with promises of good fortune if he offered bread to the monkeys at the gate. This was the first test, to ensure that he would not turn immediately violent at the sight of monkeys. Then her father set up the marriage, and Tsunggita went back with him to join his other brothers, Don Pedro and Don Diego, and their beautiful human wives. Tsunggita was rather disappointed from the beginning, as Don Juan seemed quite ashamed of her and appeared to wish that he had a wife like his brothers’. At first, the king seemed to be taking her appearance in stride, but then the tests began.

Embroider a coat. Embroider a cap. Draw a picture. All things that required one of the humans’ best gifts: an opposable thumb. Not to mention, it would have been useful to have grown up where coats and caps were worn. Tsunggita had already considered shapeshifting into a human to win her husband’s heart, but her stubborness kept her clinging to her monkey identity. Now her life was on the line: if she could not complete these tasks to the king’s satisfaction, she would be put to death.

Help came from an unexpected source. Her husband was immensely eager that she should win, not for the sake of her life, but so that he would be awarded the throne. He brought her all the finest cloths, threads, and paints. He even brought maids to perform the tasks for her, but she turned them away. “I will do it myself,” she said. Show them that a monkey can do anything they can.

Except she could not avoid the need for thumbs that would hold a needle or a brush. So at night she turned her hands into human hands and completed the tasks. She won them all, and her husband was crowned king.

But his joy at attaining the throne did not diminish Don Juan’s hatred of Tsunggita, and during the very ball that celebrated his victory he threw her brutally against the wall. In terror, she turned herself into a beautiful human woman. Don Juan was delighted: at last he had a wife who he could show off as a prize.

Her father heard the story and was absolutely furious. Against the wishes of his advisors, he refused to follow the original plan, to wait for Tsunggita’s son to take the throne and rule as a monkey king. He marched up to the palace in the capital of Laguna and accused Don Juan of using black magic to turn his daughter into a human. Since he came without an army, he was easily captured by Don Juan, who planned to kill him. But the people of Laguna were touched by the story of the father coming to rescue his daughter single-handedly from a cruel husband, so they marched to the palace and demanded his release. Don Juan was as lazy a king as he was fortune-seeker, so to avoid further problems he released the king. Tsunggita turned back into her original form and won over the hearts of her people. After Don Juan’s death, she became queen and joined the human and monkey kingdoms.

Bibliography: Dean S. Fansler’s Filipino Popular Tales, link.

Author’s Note: In the original story, Tsunggita (Chonguita) is not a shapeshifter, and there is no mention of how she became a human. Also, no plan to take over the human kingdom is mentioned, and the story ends after she becomes a human. I wanted her to retain her monkey-ness, as well as to explain why she married Don Juan and how she became a human. I changed her name from Chonguita to Tsunggita to reflect more of the original Tagalog. Tsunggo means monkey, and the -ita suffix is a common borrowing from Spanish.

Uncategorized

Growth Mindset: What’s a Motto?

Nothing, what the motto with you? (Lion King reference, Ladies and Gentlemen)

I chose to make this motto into a Growth Mindset picture thingy because I think that people who put things off until tomorrow are never going to get anything done. New Years Eve is my favorite holiday because I love the idea of everyone getting a fresh start, but New Years resolutions are a pet peeve of mine. If you want to change something, it needs to be now. If you have to wait until New Years, or Lent, or any other event to happen, then you don’t really want to make the change. Why put off till tomorrow what you could do today?


Image: Web Source.

Learning Challenge: The Tomato Timer

As I was wondering through the extra credit assignments of Mythology and Folklore, I stumbled across a learning challenge for the Pomordoro Technique, which I had never heard of. But you know what I have heard of? The Tomato Timer! I have an app for it that I use when I really need to get work done. I’m actually using it right now! (Just took my five minute break!)

The basic idea behind the Pomodoro Technique is that you set a timer (or press go on the app. I use Be Focused from the Apple app store) for 25 minutes and you work without interruption for that time. 25 minutes isn’t that long, so it’s easy to do, and any distractions or thoughts that pop up can easily be set aside for the rest of the interval. Then, when your timer goes off, you take a short 5 minute break to do anything except what you were just working on. Then you just rinse and repeat. After ever four intervals, you take a long break – 25 to 30 minutes.

One the most simple level, this technique is supposed to break down whatever you need to work on into smaller manageable chunks, as well as help eliminate distractions from your workplace. I’ve used it irregularly for over a year now, and I firmly believe that when I do use it, I become much more efficient. But it does have drawbacks. For example, if I’m cramming in a little studying between classes, there’s not really enough time to effectively use my tomato timer. I normally only use it for longer homework sessions in the evenings or on weekends. Also, it’s only as good as your own accountability. If you don’t keep setting it and switing when you’re supposed to, then there’s really not point in using it. I find that I will often work through my breaks when I get on a roll, which is both good and bad. Regardless, I’ll keep on using the Pomodoro Technique as long as it keeps working for me!


Image: Pomodoro Technique by Luca Mascaro. Source: Flickr

Famous Last Words: Tomorrow Will be Kinder

For those of you wondering, yes the title of this post is a reference to a song by The Secret Sisters from the first Hunger Games soundtrack. Deal with it! 🙂

Why would I start with that you ask? Because that is something I tell myself every week. Next week will be better. And I somehow expect it to magically be true, when the only reliable way for next week to be better is if I change my behavior or change my attitude. So here I am, in front of the whole internet, promising to do so. I don’t want any more weeks where I watch work pile up (seriously, I have a mountain range to rival the Rockies) while I do absolutely nothing about it. That’s just plain unacceptable!

So next week will be better because I have decided to make it better. How will I do that? Well I’m glad you asked! First and foremost, I need to fix my on-again, off-again relationship with my planner. The two of us need to work it out. So I will be working on that tonight. Additionally, this weekend will be dedicated to homework. I plan to conquer those mountains I mentioned earlier, and maybe even get a little head start on next weeks work. Although, honestly, that may be too ambitious. Keeping realistic goals is one of the keys to success. But this is a great weekend to work on everything because it’s OU/Texas weekend! That means that all my friends left Norman to go home or go to the game, and I can work all weekend without distraction (because there’s no way I’m watching the game! Let’s be real – I hate football). Not that it’s my friends’ fault that they are distracting. I am definitely the one who choose to be distracted 100% of the time. But not anymore!


Image: The Hunger Games by Kendra Miller. Source: Flickr

Week 8: Progress

Looking Back: To be quite honest, this semester hasnt’t been going as good at it should be. I’ve been mostly coasting in all of my classes, and it hasn’t come back to haunt me yet, but I know it could. I know I can do better, but without the looming fear of failure to motivate me, I’m having a hard time getting things done. But every day is a new day and a new opportunity to act differently. The only problem I really have with my weekly routine is sticking to it, so I’ll be working on that from here on out. I don’t have a problem getting the reading assignments done, but I’m not sure if that’s because they’re at the beginning of the week or if it’s because I love reading. Regardless, I need to apply myself more to the end of week assignments and start doing some more extra credit each week to catch up.

Looking Forward: I think that for the second half of the semester, I need to focus more on myself, which probably sounds a little weird. But I know that recently I’ve been trying to have it all. Every college student has seen this triangle

 

(Source: Crown)

I have been trying to do everything and it’s honestly a bad idea. I think I need to take some time for myself and refocus before I go back out there and try to balance all three of these things again. Luckily for me, it’s fall break; that’s always an excellent time for some much needed R&R.


Image: The Road Less Traveled by Donna Smith. Source: Flickr

Week 8: Comments and Feedback

Feedback in: I think a lot of the comments I’ve have been receiving this semester have been very nice and well thought out, but honestly I would prefer more criticism. I don’t exactly have the highest opinion of my own writing (I don’t think I’m horrible, but I’m also trying to avoid hubris). I think my writing style and tone is often too elaborate, so the most helpful comments are the ones that address that, in a positive or negative way.

Feedback out: I definitely think my commenting needs to improve. Despite the fact that I say others are being too nice, I find myself falling into that trap a lot. I want to let them know that their work is good and that I enjoyed it so much that I’ll emphasize that over anything I think they can improve. I also haven’t been getting much practice, so that’s a problem.

Blog Comments: I’m happy with my space, and I feel like I am getting a taste of different people’s personalities through the comments they leave. I’m also really glad that I included my shot glass collection, because most people seem to find it pretty interesting.

Looking forward: I won’t be making any changes to my blog, but I do need to make a change with my feedback and commenting. Namely, I need to start doing it much more consistently. The cat in the picture says to study hard and then take a break, but I’ve been having problems with too many breaks and not enough studying, so fixing that is a place to start. I also know how nice it is to have people reading my blog, and I want other people to have that experience as well.

 


Image: Growth Mindset Cat. Source: Cheezburger

The Holiest Communion

 

When that cup passed from one hand to the other the word absolution became solidified like rain that falls at 11:59pm on December 21st. We ushered in a snow capped mountain, a glacier that stayed white and dense all year round, white like the robes John dreamed of. Our body: a bag of old WonderBread ripped with grimy fingers and presented like an engagement ring. We were unified in our embracing of jokes like “The Body of Christ: the best thing since sliced bread.” We didn’t have anything better, holier, purer, than sliced bread. I imagined the plasticky wafers I’d been consuming at communion since childhood and I realized that all those other communions were Wheaties in the face of this one. This one was Captain Crunch, Peanut Butter even. No other sandwich will pass my lips without bringing me back to that place of WonderBread salvation. Those wafers of old were good but bland, or at least as good as a wooden pew and “Peace Be With You” salvation is. Not that that kind of salvation is bad or even below average, I know tons of souls who find Jesus in the two-by-fours of that seating arrangement, but me? I’d rather be wished “Life Be With You” than “Peace Be With You”, I want a life that embodies the full spectrum of chaos to peace. I’ll take Peace any Sunday afternoon, but he better keep his hands off of my Friday mornings. I imagine 12-year-old Jesus had just as many skinned knees as the rest of us and He was still the definition of Holy.

 

Our blood was a company issued bottle full of vitalyte water, because if the Lord’s blood is going to bring you forgiveness, it might as well bring you electrolytes too. “This is the blood of Christ, shed for you and for many in forgiveness of sins”. I thought back to the grape juice I would guzzle back in a church that had walls and all I could think was that Jesus’s blood probably wasn’t that dark. He was probably malnourished, with blood wanting for iron and sugar and anything not the color of the dust he walked. I like to think our barely tinted orange vitalyte water reminded Him more of Himself than that grape juice ever did. It certainly reminded me of Him more. At the end of a long hike or run or climb, when I’m sweaty and tired and scraped up and yearning for rest, vitalyte water will provide me with a layer of restoration far thicker than purple sugar-water ever could. I could tell the hands that gave it to me understood how much more sensible it is to use a plastic water bottle instead of a chalice, they understood how important each ounce of weight is, they understood that Jesus probably walked more than we did and that he understood the importance of weight too. If I am going to carry a salvation with me into the afterlife, I hope it’s a salvation that doesn’t force me to my knees, that’s a stance no one should ever have no choice in. A man I met in the Canyon once told me that the holiest of rivers is the one quenching his thirst. In that same way, I think we found that the holiest of communions wasn’t the wine or grape juice bought by the church’s kitchen committee, it was the sacrifice of vitalyte powder, a potion that has literally saved lives in the Canyon, a potion that allowed us to keep on sweating and breathing and walking.

 

Regardless of the lack of propriety our body and blood may have had, the people that passed that cup around the circle are the kind of people you want holding your hands all the way through this life and then as pallbearers when you enter the next. They were the kind of people who would laugh in your face when you tried to pull the “but look at all of my sins” card, they would laugh in your face and then stick that card right in a shredder and say “this ain’t texas hold ‘em so stop trying to hold onto them and just let go”. I suppose we all did a whole lot of letting go. Or at least started to. Doubt fear loneliness parents broken bodies broken brains resentment shame perception sadness lust loathing mistakes self destruction, you name it, we had it. We entered that circle at the start of the summer carrying a whole lot of shit and, I don’t know about everyone else, but by the time we left I felt a whole lot lighter.

 

I don’t know why that communion was the first communion that actually gave me some sense of relief. In one word it was Holy. And it was equal. There was no man standing in front of me acting as a mediator between my sin and God. There was only us, equals, and that brought God out of his tall, unreachable throne and put Him barefoot, in the dirt with the rest of us.

 

I’ve been reading Mark 7 a lot this week. Verses 14 and 15 say this:

 

“14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

 

We talked a lot this summer about how our church leaders don’t really support us listening to Kendrick Lamar and how us girls were always told to put more clothes on and how we felt heretical when we admitted to liking beer. We found solidarity in our feelings of “bad Christian” because the things we liked didn’t fit with what we are told is good. I wrote all my sermons with a beer sitting on the rim next to me and I know that elixir helped me relax enough to stop thinking that I am only filled with bad things and I should not put my femininity in front of a congregation, and to actually come up with words of Peace and Truth. I am not ashamed to say that I shared some really good messages this summer. That is not the bad kind of pride. Kendrick talks more about racism on one album than entire churches do in a year so I will be proud of my ‘bad’ habit of cracking open a cold one with the boys – The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

 

A lot of good things came out of us this summer. I rescued a girl from the woods. We prayed over a suicidal coworker. We sang worship songs at people hiking into The Void. It is my belief that God cares a lot more about what comes out of our lives than what goes into our bodies. It is my belief that Jesus wouldn’t hesitate when it came to using a swear word if it gets his point across. It is my belief that The Church places too much emphasis on what we look like doing something than the thing we are actually doing.

 

I want to do Good things. I want to have people in my life who aren’t afraid to challenge the tradition of man. I want to find absolution in the shape of a Nalgene water bottle and a bag of trail mix. And maybe this is heretical and I am just a wild eyed temptress who will never find salvation because it stays seated on a church pew, but John the Baptist drew closer to God than ever before by wearing camel hair, eating locusts, and running around the desert. Something tells me there weren’t many steeples full of plastic wafers out there.