This is what I’ve been listening to for the last 11-ish months There are no albums on this list this year because in the entire year of our LAWD 2015, I failed to listen to a single entire album that wasn’t some sort of holiday compilation. I’m a tragic, elderly, embarrassing person.
5. How I Became the Bomb, “Ulay, Oh”
This song is like, almost physically devastating to me in a way that I can’t explain. I know that the video went ~viral but I hadn’t seen it until I was writing this post, so I didn’t even have the background to explain my reaction to it; I just happened to hear the song on some playlist on Spotify and immediately started weeping in my office. I also cried (a looooooooot) while getting caught up in the video this morning, so. I love songs that make me feel intensely and this one hits me from the very start. So good.
4. Goodbye Tomorrow, “Jay Z”
This is just… so good. So, so unbelievably good. Every song I have really loved this year has been endlessly repeatable and has made me want to play it really loudly while I drive around with my windows down and I did that with this one a lot. It hadn’t occurred to me that this sounds like a Kanye track until I read it in a post this morning, but that probably explains part of why I like it so much. A great example of the ways in which hip hop is supremely good at being both fun and powerful. “100K” also jams.
I honestly can’t actually count how many times I’ve listened to “Hood Go Crazy” this year because my iPod died before I could sync it and get the true count, but it has to be into the hundreds? I don’t know what it is about this song, but I could not let go of it earlier this year and I still think it’s an insanely good jam/perfect loud car jam. Also, the way “Kansas City” is said in this delights Crystal (Mostly because she can’t imitate it, no matter how hard she tries.) to no end which is a solid bonus.
2. Major Lazer & DJ Snake featuring MØ, “Lean On”
I have loved Major Lazer since the first time I heard “Hold the Line” what seems like a million years ago when it was the first (and only…) time I got the jump on my cooler friends with music. This is just good, rhythmic jamming and I listened to it everywhere. It’s also a particularly good gym jam for me because it matches my natural step rhythm. It also regularly demands that I get up from my desk and move around in my personal imitation of “dancing” which is very bad and involves way too much waving and flailing of my limbs. “Light It Up” also rules.
1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Hooooooooow is this song so, so good? I’m sure people who work in retail or listen to the radio are sick of it by now, but I don’t so it’s still as good for me as the first time I heard it. I love Bruno Mars in general, obviously (He is also Crystal’s current “Only Man I Would Leave Ash For” which is complimentary and stressful because, like, what if she meets Bruno Mars somewhere? And they fall in love? I fell in love with her! He obviously would too!) and this is just such a good, fun, catchy-as-hell jam. The video is goofy and delightful and stylish and it’s just all good. Extremely good. Excellent, in fact.
DISCLAIMER: I am posting these videos with the disclaimer that I haven’t watched any of them except for How I Became the Bomb & “Uptown Funk” because I don’t have the attention span for music videos. “Ulay, Oh” is excellent and I recommend you watch. And obviously “Uptown Funk” rules. Apologies if the others are NSFW/problematic/generally terrible.
I’ve been a terrible blogger! And I apologize! Because I love talking to you guys (and about myself, let’s be real) and miss it immensely! (I also just miss BLOGS so much. I love EVERY POST I see from Rae and Kimmie and the few other people I follow who still get out there and share about their lives! DAMN THE MAN, SAVE THE BLOG!)
Anyway, Crystal and I get married in TWENTY-THREE DAYS which means that we leave to make the drive to Vegas in just EIGHTEEN DAYS so I’ve been basically losing my mind once every hour because I am very ready to be MARRIED, but I am not ready to have a WEDDING even though I am super amped and L-I-V-E to host parties tbh. I guess when you get married you’re supposed to like, pay attention to your partner and be in love and stuff and probably not perform and try to make everyone ELSE love you the whole time? What’s the point, man?
Also! My sister HAD A BABY and it turns out falling in bananas auntie-love with your SUPER ADORABLE NEPHEW can be really time-consuming. Who knew?
A photo posted by ash rocketship (@ashrocketship) on
So aside from wedding planning and trying to be a Serious Adult about skincare so that I can look passably attractive in my wedding photos* and taking lots and lots of aquacise classes because they are my FAVORITE THING I’ve done this year, I’ve been reading a lot and traveling a bit and getting tattooed and watching documentaries because I’ve officially become an old person and it’s WONDERFUL. I’ve had ALL clear biopsies since my diagnosis in February of last year (which rules!) and I’ve bought a bunch of jeans (some of them in an actual brick-and-mortar STORE like a PERSON) and a giant new cellphone that’s almost obnoxious enough to be embarrassing and also lots of make-up and I have SO MANY favorites to catch-up on with you it’s probably embarrassing.
Hearing: Spotify because I’m still riding out my 99¢ three month trial period & lots and lots of our wedding music (No DJ! Curating my own pre and post ceremony playlists! Terror!) & The Weeknd because I am alive in 2015 like the rest of you.
This is a quick update! To report that I am alive and very well!1 and that instead of being wildly busy with being sick and miserable all the time, I am instead very busy with a very boring but fairly well paying full-time job! Where my fiancée is my boss! Which can get kind of weird, but is largely okay!
So, since I have been a very bad blogger and very, very absent and also, to be honest, pretty boring in general — Truly. Are you an insomniac? Let me lull you to sweet sleep with wild tales of reorganizing an entire employee file system! Let me tell you about entering hundreds of insurance claims at a time and then submitting them! Over dial-up! You’ll sleep like a baby. — I thought I’d steal a meme from the awesome Kimmie at That Girl in The Wheelchair that she posted and I saved about a million years ago!
To be perfectly honest, the first answer that came into my head was sleep, but that’s boring, so I’m going with 1.Lumosity since breaking up my work day by playing games that are supposed to make me smarter is actually much more enjoyable and useful to me than taking a lunch. 2. This Smith’s Minted Rose Lip Balm because it’s like, the second lip product I’ve ever tried that I thought actually made a difference to my lips. And 3. Bath & Body Work’s Sweater Weather. I know I’ve talked about how much I love this before, but dude, I really love this scent. Soon it will be too wintery to burn any longer and I will mourn it. It is so strong (such a good ~throw) without being overpowering and the scent lingers forever without getting stale. Oh and also, my new glasses!
To be honest — and to my dismay — I honestly don’t even know what I watched on purpose last. I haven’t intentionally watched an episode of TV since the end of September and I haven’t seen a movie in theaters since we saw Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st. Tragedy! We did however manage to get through an entire movie on Netflix last weekend! And a documentary no less! I Know That Voice was super delightful! And fascinating. And definitely worth watching if you have even a passing nostalgia or interest or enjoyment of animated movies. I’m interested in voiceover work anyway, so it was particularly interesting to me. Love seeing the faces that go to the voices. And we’re going to see Big Hero 6 tomorrow! And also I watched a bunch of eps of The Mindy Project and that is pretty fun.
Oh, and also this. On repeat.
The answer to this question should be: my finished book that needs editing, my next book that needs writing, the book after that that’s in need of conceptualizing, my screenplay, my other screenplay, the dozens of projects I have in lists everywhere, but mostly I am working on trying to get better at adulthood. It turns out that managing time is really hard and trying to have a life while working 8-10 hour days is, like, actually difficult? Last time I had a full-time job, I was too depressed to care if I ever had any fun or leisure, so this time around it’s at least an improvement!
I am also working on a post about what I’ve been up to since my last update (The Twin Cities! Great food! Yellowstone! A new puppy!) and the Totally Top 5 series for 2K14! Oh, and I’ve also been posting the #holidayjamz I normally upload to my tumblr (who Cease-and-Desisted me to death! Thanks, Stevie Wonder!) as Youtube links to my twitter instead with #holidayjamz2k14 because the holiday season begins November 1st and if you can’t take that… well, suck it.
1: Cancer treatment is going very well! Can’t use the word remission until I have a hysterectomy, but my oncologist is very chill about waiting for surgery and very confident that we caught the stuff early. Woo!
2: What I’m currently reading/watching/listening to is always over there on the right hand side of the site. I update it fairly regularly even!
3: I am ~feeling a LARGE number of the frames from Warby Parker, but I didn’t like any of the ones in my first home try-on (at least on my face, they looked great off) so I am hesitant to take the plunge and order the ones I really want, since they don’t even have a home try-on option. Free returns and all, but nail-biting! We’ll see how the next box goes.
4: “Her [REDACTED] became a gourd of hot syrup, spilling into Dominik’s mouth.” So, yeah.
So I’m kind of anal retentive, you know? (Yes, yes you do.) And you’ve got to know by now that I have a deeply, deeply obsessive personality, yeah? (Of course you do.) and that I like techy things and gadget-y stuff? Okay, well, that all culminates pretty intensely on my computer and phone and, since I use lots of little things that make my life easier and am also driven to tweak how things look like a crazed monster, I thought I’d like, you know, share some of those things and tweaks.
So my desktop pretty much always looks something like this:
And right now it looks just like this except without all the writing and arrows showing you what’s what:
So let’s start with Adium which I have been using as my chat client since I got my first Mac as a college graduation gift in July of 2007. It integrates pretty much every chat client* you could possibly want to use into a single interface so you don’t have to have a million things open and it does it while being extremely customizable.
I use Decay 2.0 which is an included theme and layout and just tweak it obsessively until I like the way it looks, including changing the font to Helvetica Neue to match the message style I use. I use the Minimal set of service icons, White Chat Bubbles status icons, and Flat Bubbles 2.0 for my dock icons. I don’t keep a menu bar icon active because i don’t like doubling up in my dock and menu bar. Redundancy is ugly! I’m c r a z e d about this.
My message style is Pretty Simple used pretty much as is. I set my background to gray and made it nicely transparent. There is also a nice matchy Pretty Simple contact layout and, though I like the font, the layout doesn’t work for me because I keep my list pretty narrow and it cannot display statuses below their contacts. I prefer Decay 2.0 solely for this reason and just changed the font to match my messages. I told you, I’m super intense.
My favorite tool by far is TinyAlarm which I’ve been using for approximately 1,000 years. It’s a little menu bar timer that lets you set alarms super quick. It’s tiny and effortless and I use it pretty much daily. I mostly set timers to remind myself to do things — usually to go upstairs and cook dinner or check a load of laundry, stuff like that — because I am unbelievably terrible at knowing what time it is and remembering that I have to do things. I also used to do it to set productivity windows but I’ve recently moved on to the next item on the list for that.
While writing this I realized I hadn’t updated the app in forever and when I did, it was new and ugly and also shareware that costs $7 after thirty days. I hate the new menu and was irritated with the whole thing in about a minute, so I downgraded via my Time Machine backup and am much happier again. Since it was free for such a long time and is no longer the same app, I’ve uploaded the old version so you can have it too.
My next favorite thing is Eggscellent which is a productivity app based on the Pomodoro Technique. I use thirty minute chunks and five minute short breaks and I love how easy the app makes it. Plus I can throw a bunch of things on my list and have them waiting when I’m finally ready to get to them. I’m still figuring out the right settings for everything and I wish the visual timer were more customizable — I’d like it to be significantly smaller and preferably square and definitely sleeker (Is that nest and egg situation really necessary?) or I’d like the internal/external distractions to be clickable in the drop down from the menu bar so that I could close out the visual timer entirely — but even with my complaints, I’ve already used it every single day since I installed it.
When I discovered If This Then That through Flickr last week I had one of those rare moments where my eyes went really wide and my mouth dropped open and I went, “Oh my god, how did I not know about this already?!”
Basically, IFTTT lets you create recipes for actions on the internet. I use mine to automatically upload Instagrams to my Tumblr and Flickr and also to automatically share new posts I make on all the various social media accounts I have. I am really, really bad at self-promotion and terrible at remembering to crosspost, so those recipes are incredibly useful to me.
I also have to throw out a recommendation for freethephotos which is a migration tool to get all of your Instagram pictures into your Flickr account. I tried Flickstagram with almost no success (It lagged like crazy and stalled halfway through and also added a bunch of unnecessary tags to my pictures.) and so I tried freethephotos instead and it was super simple, fast, and didn’t lag or over-tag. And since I set up an IFTTT recipe to do it automatically after I Instagram something, I don’t have to worry about using it again.
My phone is also, obviously, important to me too, but I am much less likely to use really useful things on it since I do most of my being productive stuff while at my desk. Most of my phone apps are for photography, including my most recent download InstaPlace. Because I live in the middle of nowhere, this is not yet all that useful to me, but I have a feeling that when my gf and I take a road trip later this year, it will be. It’s a fun one to play with anyway.
My last two recommendations are Hippo Remote Lite and Sleep Cycle. I’ve been using Sleep Cycle for a long time — on and off since I got my first iPhone in 2009 — and for the last 99 consecutive nights. I don’t know that the data it accumulates has any real value — most of the nights I wake up feeling the worst, the app tells me I’ve had a 90% or higher night of sleep — but the gentle alarm is great. Hippo Remote Lite, on the other hand, is very new to me and has already been super, super useful. The last three Monday nights we’ve had storms that interfered with our satellite and interrupted our recordings of Teen Wolf and we’ve had to resort to watching on the MTV website. My computer is pretty big, but we have an Apple TV and would much rather use AirPlay to watch it on our tv, so we do, but using the mouse from a distance is kind of weird and almost impossible depending on where we sit with it. Hippo Remote Lite solves that by letting me use my phone as a mouse right in front of the tv. Magical.
Now go forth and anal retentively organize, tweak, and time. You deserve it.
“Toy,” on the other hand, is associated with a feeling. And that feeling is what we are trying, time and again, to convey to people. That sex toys are not just mechanical objects that will get in the way of your sex life. They are not ominous gadgets that will turn your girlfriend into a vibrator-wielding recluse. They are toys, meant for adding playfulness and fun to your sex life. In our sex-negative culture, where to even enjoy sex (especially as a woman) is somehow blasphemous, this is important.
– Epiphora‘s great post What Should We Call Sex Toys?
What is the date of my commencement at my previous position? Why, I believe t’was a September, as the hot summer winds where just beginning to gently falter, the sweet New England crisp in the air was creeping over Beacon Hill like a rare red squirrel emerging from it’s winter slumber. What date, specifically? Uhhh, I don’t know, the fourth? The fifth? If memory serves, I believe I was living in a house with 5 other 19 year old art students, eating exclusively at “Finagle a Bagel” in Coolidge Corner, and napping at my mother’s basement apartment in the middle of the day. This will not fit in the assigned “date” box! Fuck it! It was probably the fourth, who gives a shit?!
– Zoe Hyde‘s Open Letter to the Electronic Resume Form is perfection.
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