Tag Archives: Music

7 Quick Takes on My High-Tech Radio, NFP Week, and Love Languages

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

My stereo was good to me. It was a gift from my mom. She is a master shopper; sometimes I request things when I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for, and she always delivers. This particular stereo had a radio tuner, a CD player, an iPhone connector (play and charge), and a remote. It was perfect. I even got a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter specifically so I could keep using it after I upgraded my phone to one with the newer connector.

I guess it started dying fairly early on. The first thing to go was the alarm. I switched to using my phone as an alarm clock, which turned out to be nice because then I hear the same sound that means “wake up” even when I’m traveling or napping. (I also hear that sound when it’s time to check my laundry, but still.) The next thing was the remote. It was a pain to have to walk across the room to change the radio station, but I got over it.

Then the radio started to go last week. For some reason, memory station #2 just would not stick. I tried scanning by hand to get back to the right station (96.7, which of course takes forever to reach no matter which end of the range you start from) and resetting the memory, but I failed twice in a row. That was the last straw. I need radio.

— 2 —

My solution deserves its own take. One of my roommates gave me an adorable Bluetooth speaker for Christmas. I don’t usually exchange Christmas gifts with friends, but it’s her love language, so we work it out. I have used the speaker with my current iPhone several times. It’s great for Pandora, but podcasts skip like CDs for reasons beyond my technical knowledge, so I just don’t use it that way.

I also have my old iPhone 4. I dug it out of my tech storage box, charged it (plugging in a 30-pin connector was so bizarre!), and am now using it like an iPod touch. It gets wi-fi, so I can play local radio stations live from their websites. (I guess I could also pick up stations from back home. I’ll have to try that next.) With my old phone paired with the Bluetooth speaker, I have a radio again!

Old stereo meets my new one: old iPhone and a Bluetooth speaker.

Old stereo, meet new stereo.

It’s not as easy to switch stations, but I only ever do that when I have time to spare anyway (i.e. not weekday mornings). It doesn’t play and charge, but Bluetooth allows me to play while charging at a distance. I need to take more advantage of that. It doesn’t play CDs, which encourages me to finally rip all my physical CDs so I can stream them in-house.

Finally, I updated to iOS 7.1 (the last one available for that device) for security purposes and because I couldn’t stand looking at iOS 5 anymore. Can I request that we never go back to keys that don’t visually switch between capitals and lowercase again? How did we live like that? #throwback

— 3 —

On the way back from visiting Mr. Man in Houston, I stopped for gas in Katy. I’ve done cross-country drives before and always done okay choosing a random gas station. (I usually pick one that is also near food so I don’t have to make a separate food stop.)

The random gas station I picked was super sketchy. I’m a little bit paranoid in general, but I felt so uncomfortable there that I just got right back in my car and kept driving down the service road.

The next station (seriously, the very next one I passed) was so much better. It was bigger and cleaner, and I felt much more safe. I went inside, and when I got the register with my soda, a man ran back in from outside to switch his pump number. The cashier looked up and saw me standing there. He was visibly startled and said, “I was not expecting to look up and see such a beautiful woman!” A lovely lagniappe for my day.

— 4 —

Last week was NFP Awareness Week. I have been aware of NFP for a while now (at least since I started going to church; imagine that), so I don’t usually see anything new in the posts and articles that emerge each year. I did notice that this year’s image has a couple at their wedding:

NFP Week 2016

Honestly, promoting NFP by using pictures of women with babies is probably not the smartest marketing move. This is a nice change.

This year, I want to highlight a brilliant post by the lovely Britt Leigh at Proverbial Girlfriend. She is a newlywed expecting her first child. Although that is not what most of the world thinks when they picture “someone who makes this NFP thing sound like a viable alternative to standard birth control,” I encourage you to read her post. She does a great job of linking it with weddings (our Not Alone Series topic for the month of July), sharing the reality and hopefulness of the NFP life, and neither sugarcoating nor sounding bitter or didactic.

I should read more blogs by writers. We are awesome.

— 5 —

Wrapping back around to love languages, Verily posted an article this week about how to speak your man’s love language when it is Physical Touch (besides that). That is not Mr. Man’s love language (we have the same one, Quality Time), but I read it anyway. I was delighted to find that the tips the (male!) writer gives are applicable to learning to speak every love language. Especially if your snuggle bunny’s love language is not the same as yours. Even if your snuggle bunny’s love language is the same as yours.

The same word can have multiple meanings and various connotations in a single language. “I’m fine” means very different things when you (a) have just fallen into a literal deep hole and are physically unhurt but unable to reach the surface, (b) are a woman responding to an inquiry from your main man, and (c) want a store employee to leave you alone. So it’s important to approach speaking someone’s love language with an open mind and a heart ready to learn. The words of affirmation you say are not necessarily the words he wants to hear.

— 6 —

Speaking of women and stores, I heard a profound insight some time ago: Men don’t go shopping. They go hunting.

— 7 —

I was wrong about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: it actually did raise a lot of money, and it actually did make a difference. I maintain that I saw too many videos framing the challenge as “donate or dump ice water over your head,” as if the bucket were a way to get out of donating, but the money came in somehow and was put to good use. I can get behind that.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes on 2 Viral Things and Also Grammar


— 1 —

That intense cold I mentioned last week is still hanging on. It has now taken the form of a super-attractive persistent cough. I’ve sworn up and down that I have not taken up smoking for Lent, but I sure sound like it. Cough medicine isn’t working, and I can’t exactly work on cough drops all day. I’m about at the point of pursuing home remedies. I would love to hear yours in the comments.

— 2 —

I think I just had my third viral post. The first was an ancient one back in the days when my blog was called Contrariwise, Switchfoot’s website had a fan-run blog, and fewer than 50 visits in one day was a big deal. The second was my post on my five favorite love songs. I hit Hallie’s link-up at just the right time to snag one of the first few spots, and my traffic was accordingly gigantic.

This time, it was my post on joining the Apostleship of Prayer. I’ve already mentioned that the national director and children’s ministry director, Fr. James Kubicki and Grace Urbanski, had read and enjoyed my post. They said they wanted to share it (although you can’t really demand permission for anything that isn’t behind a login wall), and I was totally cool with that.

I did not expect them to share it in the monthly e-newsletter. I opened mine shortly after it arrived and was bewildered to find a giant photo of myself. My bank includes my name in its emails so I know they’re real, but none of the previous AOP e-newsletters have had a picture of me. Then I realized it was about me. This month’s universal intention is for women (in accordance with International Women’s Month), so I guess they went with me since I am one!

I can’t quite express how flattered I am. I even sent a link to my mom, and, as mentioned, my site traffic was ridiculous. It was my best single day (traffic-wise) ever.

— 3 —

The other highlight of my week was getting to visit my former roommate and her new baby. The little cutie pie was several weeks early, so we showered New Mom with gifts after her daughter was born. It was pretty delightful to get to hold the baby at the shower.

I showed up empty-handed that day, though, because I had only been invited a few days before. I was left off the Evite list at first. New Mom was super chill and completely understood. I was able to get in some shopping and wrapping over the weekend, so I went over to see the new little family after work yesterday.


Among our conversation topics was the completely casual way infants spit up. They seem totally unfazed by food going back out of their mouths. I guess it’s pretty new that food is going in, though, so out isn’t as much of a surprise.

— 4 —

Matt Maher is releasing a new album! It will be all new songs, not mostly live ones like the previous album. I was rather disappointed by that last one, although I understood that his life changed a bit after getting married and having two kids.

I received the happy news of this new material through the email newsletter. (I’ve been signed up for years.) In addition to advertising, he has been sending out a series of daily reflections based on the lyrics from his song “Because He Lives.” The reflections are, of course, awesome.

The campaign worked. I pre-ordered the deluxe version, getting me “Because He Lives” immediately, and I’m listening to a free-in-exchange-for-your-email stream of a few other songs. I am pleased.

— 5 —

We have a new bishop! I’ve lived in Austin for almost five years now, and I said Bishop Joe needed an auxiliary the whole time. Back home, they have three auxiliaries. My friend Michael Raia, whose writing on his employer’s blog I have recommended here before, was able to attend the Mass for Bishop Garcia’s ordination. His summary of the background info and the Mass itself is fantastic, and you should go read it.

— 6 —

March 4th was National Grammar Day! I do love grammar, and I was delighted to have several friends share happy greetings on my Facebook wall. The best press I saw was this interview by Grammarly with Martha Brockenbrough, who started the whole holiday. I may or not be a card-carrying member of her other brainchild, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG).

— 7 —

I had takes about Jesus (via Bishop Garcia) and grammar, but I don’t have any Harry Potter takes today. Sad day. Next time?

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Hollywood Never Gets It Right (Review: “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”)

The photographer’s grandmother among the cast of The Sound of Music in 1967.
(photo by Sarah Macmillan)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing media lately. Aside from my recent post on media discernment, I had a lively discussion with some friends about the same subject, and there’s always another trashy TV show or a movie like Magic Mike to start a firestorm. It’s enough to make you want to give up all movies, TV, and books and go live in a cave.

Well, maybe it’s not that bad. But I do start longing for something uplifting. Real life is tough, but there is hope, and sometimes I need stories that remind me of that. This seemed like the perfect summer to continue my quest to learn the rest of the story. Previously in this column, I discovered that the family behind Cheaper by the Dozen had some madcap moments, and that Yours, Mine, and Ours was much more about faithfulness than either movie version made it seem. Since the hills of Zilker Park are alive this summer (see the bonus at the end), I turned my attention to The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

Read my review of the real story at Austin Catholic New Media.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 179

— 1 —

Nickelodeon has rebooted Figure It Out. This sounds like a good idea, except that they’ve apparently done the same thing CTW did to Sesame Street. I haven’t watched Sesame Street since I was about seven, but I’ve heard that the old-school “How to Get to Sesame Street” song has been changed to a ten-second spree of colors and a super-fast song.

Among the problems:

  • I am definitely old, because I have no idea who most of the panelists are. I want Danny Tamberelli and Amanda Bynes back, man.
  • There is a definite lack of Summer Sanders.
  • Each round is supposed to be the same length. It’s not fun if the panelists don’t win every now and then; it just seems fixed. I want kids to win prizes, but I also want to watch a good game.
  • The set is so busy. There are colors and funky shapes all over the place. Bring back Billy the Answer Head!
  • The prize announcer and sound effects are loud, and the kids aren’t super interesting.

I know I’m not their target market, but if you’re going to reboot a classic, at least do a good job. The 90’s Are All That has been so successful! Maybe Figure It Out just needs to be hosted by Stick Stickly.

— 2 —

To celebrate Independence Day, I went with some friends down to Auditorium Shores to watch fireworks against the skyline. There was an amazing reflection off the mirrored windows of the closest skyscraper. I didn’t take any photos of the fireworks themselves, because no camera is as good as my eyes (with glasses), but I had a great time hanging out with friends and getting a bit of fresh air and sunshine.

This blue color was incredible!

— 3 —

On a related Instagram note, IG has redesigned the individual photo pages. They are much more useful now. Check out the page for that skyline photo, and if you’re on Instagram, follow me!

— 4 —

This probably should have been number 1, but today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti! She is my favorite saint for a number of reasons. I wear holy medals every day, and the only one with an individual saint (besides Mary and Jesus) is one of her. I pray four novenas every year, and I just finished the one to her yesterday afternoon. (I missed a day somewhere, but I caught up, which is my usual novena pattern anyway.) If you’ve never heard of her, you’re missing out. She is one to know for chastity advocates everywhere.

— 5 —

I discovered this week that two of my real-life friends who I didn’t know had blogs… well, do. Brittany at Miss Communication writes about her life as a slightly sarcastic but very lovable counseling professional (the lovable is my assessment, not hers, but it is still true. Pomeranian Catholic writes about the life of faith and his experiences training to become a Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate and as a young adult Catholic living with disability.

— 6 —

I would like to second Jen’s observation that midweek holidays are disconcerting and toss in a vote for weekly Wednesday holidays. Unfortunately, I also have to add the bad news that Halloween is already scheduled to fall on Wednesday. Which weekend do you throw your party: the one that’s clearly too soon or one that will feel too late because it’s several days into November?

Furthermore, Christmas Day is on a Tuesday. UT final exams end exactly one week earlier. When should I plan to fly home? If you’re a Christmas Eve pageant Massgoer, do you go two days in a row (the Fourth Sunday of Advent and then the very next day)? If you go to an actual Midnight Mass at midnight, does it feel like Christmas lasts for three days? (It actually lasts for eight, but that’s a different deal.) If you wait until Christmas Day, what do you do with that odd Monday in the middle?

This bunny and I have similar expressions when our wonderfully comforting patterns get disrupted.
(photo by sgrace)

Leap Day, you are a cute novelty, but why did you ruin the calendar for the rest of the year?

— 7 —

I participated in Hallie’s love song linkup, and then I realized that, aside from admitting to “Love You Like a Love Song,” I left out any other silly choices. Although I’m not big on “Silly Love Songs,” by Wings, I do like silly love songs. I also like some of the super-angsty ones like “Iris,” by the Goo Goo Dolls, even though that will always be associated with someone from my past. This sounds like a follow-up post to me!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

My 5 Favorite Love Songs

I think I’ve mentioned here before how much I enjoy reading Betty Beguiles, a Catholic source for fashion and romance advice. Way to find a niche and fill it, Hallie! Occasionally, Hallie hosts themed link-ups. The past ones have been about how you met your husband or your favorite date night tips and so on. I’ve never been able to participate—until now!

My Favorite Love Songs, in No Particular Order

“Set Me As a Seal,” by Matt Maher: So beautiful, so biblical, and not hard to sing. It’s a duet, so the man and woman get to share this expression of their feelings. It contains actual Scripture quotations. This is love.

“God Gave Me You,” by Dave Barnes: He let Blake Shelton re-record it. I’m hoping this could be like “Your Grace Is Enough” and help get people to notice the original artist. (“Your Grace” is a Matt Maher song. Chris Tomlin is his friend.) My friend Jess actually used this as her first dance song (albeit sung by Blake Shelton). It is the perfect blend between a song that praises the beloved (like secular songs at least try to do) and a song that acknowledges the true Lover. (As a bonus, I also snagged this song free and legally online!) (Warning: You might need your tissues for this video.)

“Beloved,” by Tenth Avenue North: This is another song that makes a very clear statement about where love really comes from and what real love looks like. My favorite part is, “It’s a mystery” This is another good candidate for my wedding first dance song.

“At Last,” by Etta James: Just when you thought this whole list was going to be serious and intense. In the Harry Potter fandom, we sometimes discussed what song Ron and Hermione would use for their first dance. This was a good candidate because it’s about finally being with someone you’ve been waiting for as time passes by.

“Only Hope,” by Mandy Moore or Switchfoot: I love both versions, and I love how it was portrayed in A Walk to Remember. When I was a teacher, I used to show music videos to my students on Fridays in lieu of our standard prayer to start class. I called it Song Prayer Fridays. I fielded student suggestions, and one of my tenth-graders sent me a link to this video. I gladly played it, because if God is love, then every love song is a song about God.

I will also admit to a soft spot for the premise to “Love You Like a Love Song,” by Selena Gomez and the Scene. I like the concept that everything good about love has already been said. It’s like the idea that there are only something like seven stories in the world and every new story is just a retelling of those. Love has been around since the beginning of the world, and it will always remain.

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 178

— 1 —

I’m always a little miffed when a solemnity sneaks up on me. I made a Catholic calendar for Google; you’d think I’d actually read it sometimes. The problem is mostly that I have prayed the incorrect day of Night Prayer.

On the bright side, I realized that it’s a Friday solemnity. That means it’s Meatday again! This is the last one until the Friday after Christmas, so enjoy your Church-approved bacon!

This is like the Friday after Easter! (Click for full size.) (image from Slightly Orange)

— 2 —

Next on the list of things I’ve nearly forgotten, I am now three days into the Novena to St. Maria Goretti, my favorite saint. She’s my favorite saint, so I was super embarrassed to forget to start it on the correct day (Wednesday), but I prayed two days’ worth yesterday, so it’s all good. (And I already did today’s, so hooray!)

— 3 —

I have discovered the benefit of pre-meetings. Get-It-Done Guy has recommended pre-meetings for ages (under “Meeting to Make Decisions”), but I never attempted to actually have one until now. (Sure, that was because my boss/priest asked me to, but that totally counts!) Instead of trying to hash out a plan with six interested parties all at once, I’m trying to meet with four of them individually and use the big group meeting to combine and summarize all our ideas. I’ll let you all know how it turns out.

— 4 —

I try not to turn Jen‘s Quick Takes into mine, but she is going to write about “Somebody That I Used to Know” next week, so I had to watch her recommended covers and share the “five people, one guitar” one I posted here. So, here’s Ingrid Michaelson playing ALL THE INSTRUMENTS!

— 5 —

I did a lot of evening traveling this week. In addition to my usual Monday night holy hour and my new Wednesday night Bible study, I went to a happy hour straight from work yesterday.

On Tuesday, a coworker drove us all the way to Temple straight from work. We had to leave at 5:15 to get there just before 7 p.m. (oh, Austin traffic), but it was worthwhile. I got to see Bishop Joe in his non-Mass fancy clothes (purple cassock and surplice) and to support our student who received the Lumen Gentium Award. It’s an annual diocesan award to the person or couple in each parish who has best been a “light to the world” (as in the encyclical Lumen Gentium, which I am coincidentally reading right now).

— 6 —

I also “traveled” to the eye doctor this week. It’s been five years, so I figured it was time. I have also finally realized that squinting against the summer sun is not a good idea, so I’m going to need sunglasses, and it would be silly to use a five-year-old prescription for them. To my delight, my eyes haven’t changed very much. Frame shopping is always tricky; if I could see how I looked, I wouldn’t need them! My new plan is to take iPhone photos of myself and evaluate that way. We’ll see how it goes.

— 7 —

Here’s some great music as you slide into however much time you get off for Independence Day. Amazon MP3 is offering 20 summer songs (classic and 2012) for 25 cents each! One quarter for “Call Me Maybe” or The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” (featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff)! (They also have 50-cent Linkin Park songs. Those are less seasonal, but some are equally catchy.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday Five: Choices

This week, we have a Five of fives.

  1. List your (current) top five favorite food dishes; include photos if you’d like. Just last night I went to a small potluck dinner. I made a baked potato dip from Allrecipes that goes over very well every time. I also love enchiladas in general, and flautas are becoming a new favorite. There’s always Pasta Lindsay (rotini, ground sausage, marinara sauce, and love), and my modifications to a chicken tortilla soup from Allrecipes.
  2. baked potato dip photo from Allrecipes by Koriekiss

  3. List your top five disliked movies of all time and why. Mystery Men will always top this list because it was weird and I will never live down my family’s teasing that I was the one to choose it for movie night. I hold a grudge against Avatar because the 3-D hurt my glasses-wearing eyes and it had a lame plot. I watched Bad Boys 2 against my will and have yet to see a movie more plotless.
  4. List your (current) top five favorite TV shows and why. I still love Jeopardy!, even if I never do watch the episodes I DVR. I recommend How I Met Your Mother to everyone I meet. I struggle with Grey’s Anatomy, but I love it anyway. I will probably watch Degrassi forever, and I just finished watching last week’s Once Upon a Time, which is the first new show I’ve started watching in a long time.
  5. List your top five favorite places to visit; include photos if you’d like. Does home count? I think it counts. I like going home to Maryland because it’s familiar. I’m counting the National Shrine as a second place because it’s awesome and it requires some traveling from home proper. Other than that, I don’t really like to travel, so I tend not to. Does the bookstore count?
  6. List your (current) top five favorite songs; include video if you’d like. My current favorite song is “Jack Sparrow,” by The Lonely Island, of “I’m on a Boat” infamy. I introduced a bunch of friends to it last weekend and they loved it. I’m really glad that Switchfoot’s current single is “Afterlife,” because it has a similar message to “Stars,” that we know there must be something more beyond just what we know. My personal theme song is still “Vow to Vowels.” Other than that, pretty much anything from the 80’s or 90’s will get my windows rolled down and the radio turned up. I’ll admit to having a sweet solo dance groove to “Party Rock Anthem” a few weeks ago, but that’s it!

The Friday Five

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