Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Musical Monday: Best of 2013

So the arbitrary standard for "Best of" is that I craved listening to a song, and it came out in 2013.  There are plenty of earworms this year that happened to come out near the tail end of last year or even earlier. And there are plenty of other songs that were fantastic this year and are on everyone's "Best of" list (i.e. Vampire Weekend) That I just didn't connect to in the same way as these.

I divided them into categories as best as I could with maybe a tiny bit of fudging, just so every song had a category.

If you just want to hear the music, without my explanations you can catch the Youtube Playlist of (almost) all the songs HERE 

Upbeat Dance Jams
I am all about music that makes you jump up, bob your head, or dance with your shoulders (I do that a lot when driving and grooving) and these songs all got me moving, even if in completely different ways to the different genres.

Avicii: Wake Me Up

Memory Tapes: Sheila

Fall Out Boy: My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark

Zedd: Clarity (feat. Foxes)

Pharrell Williams: Happy

MS/MR: Fantasy

Love is Complicated
Really I could include almost any song on here, love is the songwriter's ultimate muse.  However, from the aggressive entreat of Fey Moth to be "conquered," Phosphorescent waxing a slow regret, the ladies of Haim venomously pleading to be let go, Gungor's take on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and Oh Land's metaphor of love as passport, these songs all show how something so universal can be such a unique experience, as experienced through song.

Fey Moth: Alexander
There is no video for this song and the embedding code isn't working so head here to a past post highlighting this song

Phosphorescent: Song for Zula

Haim: Let Me Go

Gungor: Beat of her Heart

Oh Land: Green Card

Hits from Down Under
I love me some Australia. In fact, I;ll be posting on my favorite global music survey next week (as well as posting my votes) The Triple J Hottest 100. Two of my favorite Aussie artsts with new tracks this year make the cut, Matt Corby and Gossling both taking their sounds in a new direction in 2013. New Zeland gets a shout out too this year with the world's new favorite teen Ella Yenich-O'conner, AKA Lorde. New band FAIRCHILD also joins with a song that I almost put in the "Dance" section with Dancer. Their video inspired a lot of pretending I knew ballet.

Matt Corby: Resolution

Gossling: Never Expire

Lorde: Team


UK Beats
From the other side of the world The 1975, CHVRCHES, and Bastille show that HRH Baby George wasn't the only awesome thing to come from the Kingdom this year.

The 1975: Chocolate

CHVRCHES: The Mother We Share

Bastille: Sweet Pompeii

Close Your Eyes and Sway
Sometimes, you just need a slow jam. Whether it's about making it out of this world and into the presence of the Creator or needing your girl, music has a way of expressing longing, hope, expectation, loneliness, and "all of the feels" in a way that no other medium can. Also, inexplicably after the slow build through the bridge, the banjo and subtle beat drop at 3:36 was my favorite moment in a song all year.

Gungor: Finally

The National: I Need My Girl

What were your favorite songs on 2013? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter: @itzbizr

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Say "What!?" Wednesday TwelveEighteenThirteen

So I usually keep it pretty fun/detached/non-serious here in my Bitzy corner of the blogosphere.  After all, this is supposed to be something I enjoy and it's easier to enjoy things that are happy.

But this week I came across a collection of essays I couldn't ignore and feel compelled to share with you here on what is one of the biggest humanitarian crises in recent times.

The Washington Post compiled eighteen strikingly powerful photo essays with images of the tragedy playing out in Syria. The accompanying stories are well-written and offer a context for the pictures but the photographs themselves tell such a compelling tale. It's truly and interactive multi-media experience with videos and infographics as well.

I'll give you a moment to take it all in:

Eh, so there's not much to follow that with that won't seem thin or cheap.

I dislike posting such a downer during this Christmas season, but sometimes the things we need to see are hard to see. I don not think there is any easy solution forward in Syria and much smarter people than I are trying to formulate some sort of policy that will help more than harm the innocent civilians caught up in the conflict. And I know that I will go on to my holiday dinner tonight and this will pass from my mind as I enjoy good food and company. And when I do remember it, I will feel guilty for forgetting. But in the meantime, and every new moment I remember it, I can pray.

And in praying I can hope that the future of Syria will be better than the present.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Foto Friday: Walking (to Court) in a Winter Wonderland

So this past week we had some winter weather here in DC (and apparently in most of the country as well). On Monday I had a hearing in Alexandria Court. While Old Town Alexandria is normally picturesque, (and filled with incredible historic minutiae) with the snow & ice it looked magical!

I tried not to be too creeper and I avoided pictures of people's awesome indoor decor (cause that would've been too much). Here are a few shots from my journey to and from Court:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Foto Friday: Doctor Who in the Workplace

This week's Foto Friday was less about showing off photography skills as simply showing things I like.

So when you work/volunteer in an office with fellow whovians, you get to see gems like these:

What would your signature Doctor piece be? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @itzbizr

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Say What!?" Wednesday TwelveFourThirteen

Say What Wednesday: week three

Let's dive right in:

U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam — by parachute — to kill snakes
Washington Times

U.S. helicopters descended upon Guam on Sunday with cargo meant to kill, although this $8 million mission was unlike most others — 2,000 mice on cardboard parachutes were released into the forest surrounding Andersen Air Force Base as bait for brown tree snakes.
Guam’s population of brown tree snakes hovers around 2 million, with a density of 13,000 per square mile in some areas, CNBC said. However, the snakes are sensitive to Tylenol — 80 milligrams of acetaminophen can kill them. That’s where the mice come in.

The 2,000 rodents that were parachuted into the canopy were all pumped with the painkiller; when the snakes take a big enough bite, they die. Data-transmitting radios embedded within the mice help scientists gauge how well their program is working.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/3/us-drops-2000-mice-guam-parachute-kill-snakes/#ixzz2mbyQ3dnp
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Now, at first I thought, "Woah, COOL!" Then I read some of the comments which used simple math to break down the cost that even if all the mice get eaten by snakes (and not cats, to which tylenol consumption  is also fatal) and there's a 100% success rate it would still cost $4,000 per snake... and there'd still be 1.98 million snakes left on the island... maybe not the most cost effective or well thought through plan.

But it' still neat to picture the mice parachuting from helicopters... I imagine them with little mice helmets too =)

So unfortunately I ran out of time yesterday, which is why Say "What!?" Wednesday is out on Thursday this week and why I only have one news item instead of three. Sorry bout that. Christmas and its various time-consuming related activities have started taking over my life... but I'm not complaining =)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Say What!?" Wednesday ElevenTwentysevenThirteen

It's still Wednesday so this post still counts, even though I didn't complete it this morning and then forgot about it the rest of the day... 

Welcome to the second edition of "Say What!?" Wednesday a compilation of current events, news, and things from the interwebs (mostly from a little bird that tweets on my computer screen) along with my commentary.

First up New Vocabulary:

While not necessarily a "current event" or "news article" I came across a "new word" and find this interesting from a cultural standpoint, especially since we already have "bling" in Websters Dictionary and have *Literally* destroyed the meaning of the word "literally."

Sapiosexuality: 1. (n.) A behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.

According to http://www.collinsdictionary.com/submission/6304/Sapiosexual

Definition of Sapiosexual

One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature; behaviour of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.

Additional Information

Sapiosexual is a neologism word (recently constructed word) that has come into common usage;, especially on social networking sites where some people are self-identifying as sapiosexual. Origins: From Latin root sapien, wise or intelligent, and Latin sexualis, relating to the sexes.

So I just don't get it. Why must this word exist? I'm guessing it's just riding the coattails of nerd-culture in the mainstream. But do we now have to define our entire identity over traits we find attractive? I think it's great to be smart and I do find intelligence quite an attractive quality in someone but don't most rational thinking people?  Wouldn't Darwin have something to say about this? (Speaking of which, apparently the frog named after Darwin might've gone extinct, can you say IRONIC???)
Also, the fact that it's a "neologism word." Anything "Neo" just no. You're trying to do something that already happened. I'm a much bigger fan of "post-" movements, because they actually draw upon and subsequently comment on the previous movement (usually through subversion) and actually add something new to the mix.

Next Up: Some Thanksgiving-Themed Knowledge!

The Turkey’s Turkey Connection
Published: November 27, 2013

This article explains "why the bird you’re going to eat is named for a country on the Black Sea [even though it is native to America]. Other languages don’t make the same mistake. They make different ones. In France it’s called dinde, because they thought it was from India, or, in French, d’Inde. And in Turkey a lot of people thought that, too, so it’s called Hindi."

Basically, the traders from Turkey brought a bird from Madagascar (now known as the Helmeted Guinea Fowl) to England where people thought "This is great! we love those Turkey traders!" And then when the colonists got to the new world they were either lazy, uncreative, unobservant to the differences or just didn't have time to come up with new names so they were all "Hey, look at all these Turkeys!"

Cool story Hansel

And on that note: Happy Thabksgiving everyone! Enjoy your time of reflection with family & friends (and of we're honest, plenty of pigging out on delicious food)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Foto Friday: Fall Flowers

Foto Friday is back y'all! The following "fotos" are from my moms garden back in early October. All taken with an iPhone 4S & edited in Camera+

I love these flowers and berries and the purple & green combination that stands out right as the leaves begin to fall from the trees. These fall colors compliment each other and stand in stark contrast to the backdrop of oranges and browns. 

Seeing the butterfly lets me know I'm not the only one to appreciate these late bloomers :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Say What!?" Wednesday ElevenTwentyThirteen

Welcome to the first iteration of "Say What!?" Wednesday where I blog about random facts, news, topics happening in the world right now (or maybe old news that I'm fascinated be in particular this week), that made me say "What!?" followed by a brief sound-off of my thoughts/opinion/reaction.

So Away We Go:

First Up: Pregorexia: yup that's a thing. A little birdie (Twitter) told me so:
According to the article:
"Pregorexia is not a formally recognized medial diagnosis. It is a term coined by the media, public and doctors in recent years to describe the eating disorder behaviors experienced by women while pregnant, which could include intense dieting and exercise, but also binging and purging.

While there are no known statistics on just how many pregnant women experience pregorexia, it is estimated that about 30% of American women don't gain enough weight during pregnancy, according to Dr. Ovidio Bermudez, the chief medical officer at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado."

While I know the opposite approach to pregnancy, where a women eats whatever she wants (read: a lot of unhealthy food) because she is pregnant can lead to health concerns, I really think that when a woman's own body image issues put a life at risk, it's time to check in with ourselves as women and society as a whole. What do we believe "healthy" or "beautiful" look like, and do the two have to be mutually exclusive? Whether its photoshopped Victoria's Secret Models, every magazine cover in America (AIRBRUSHED), or our fellow women coworkers and friends, the images we allow ourselves to believe are normal and beautiful can be vastly different from what is actually healthy.  If anyone can figure out how to reconcile the two, let me know!

Typhoon Haiyan Relief, Great to See Support But How Effective Can That Support Be?

From a #Haiyan Twitter Search:

  • Millions have been affected by Typhoon . Help survivors w/ & I’ll match your donation this week:
  • To help support the IRC's response, text REBUILD to 25383 to donate $10. Terms:

  • I think it's great that celebrities are matching donations and that it's as easy as a text message to donate to the clean-up, humanitarian, and relief efforts. However, the realist/cynic in me wonders just how much money actually results in effective aid.  One of the biggest issues with this particular situation is that immediately following the storm a lot of aid couldn't reach those in need because of the utter devastation wreaked upon the infrastructure by the typhoon, as well as the geographic challenges of the Phillipines itself. Much of the initial aid piled up at airports undeliverable until ways could be cleared. It's unfortunate that even the best intentions couldn't save lives immediately following the typhoon but hopefully those who have survived thus far can benefit from the aid soon.
    Instead of the Porcelain Throne, Let's Call it the Golden Throne?

    According to BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25013393)
    "A stash of 24 gold bars worth more than $1.1m has been discovered in the toilet compartment of a commercial plane in eastern India."
    Indian saleswoman arranges gold bars at a jewellery store in Ahmedabad (file image)

    "As gold import duties have risen in an effort to curb domestic demand, the incentive to smuggle gold has risen.

    The plane on which the 1kg (2.2lb) gold bars were found on Tuesday had reportedly come from Bangkok, local media reported, before making stops in India.

    "The cleaning staff of the airport were going though their routine duties and found two bags in the toilets of the plane," airport director BP Mishra told AFP news agency.

    The gold has been valued at between 70m and 90m rupees (up to $1.4m or £890,000)."

    This makes me wonder if $1.4 million would be enough of an incentive to start checking the toilets (or as Jay-Z and Kanye might say "watch the Throne") on my next flight. Unfortunately, it would be a fruitless search unless I can find a reason to fly to India. Maybe I can talk with my boss... just kidding.

    Let me know your thoughts (either on the articles, reactions to my opinions, or something you'd be interested in reading about next week) in the comments or on twitter @itzbizr

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013


    So its been 2 months, almost to the day, since I last posted on my blog. I'd like to day it's just cause life got busy, which it did, but it also was because I succumbed to a sense of ennui that had been attacking my productivity, and this blog was a place where I felt little accountability to continue once my effort evaporated.  And like Newton's second(? or was it first?) law that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, blogging just fell out of my life.

    Well I'm back! And while I can't guarantee any sort of schedule (I'm bad at those, remember the blogtember that never was?) I'll try to keep up with Musical Mondays and Foto Fridays and maybe instead throw in some "Say What!?" Wednesdays or Thinking Thursdays or some other alliterationally appropriately titled posts.

    So at least for the moment, I'm back and while I'm here I'll point you to some of the music that's gotten me through the fall so far:

    Great Music Finds of Fall 2013:

    HAIM: Days Are Gone

    One of their older songs but it's still one of my favorites on the album.
    I've featured this sister act (plus one unrelated male drummer), currently touring Europe with Phoenix, numerous times here. You Me & Charlie has championed them from the beginning, and Rolling Stone has an article on them this month. The album is solid and anyone with a penchant for 80/90s era rock, pop, and R&B will like their sound, filled with guitar riffs and infused with a millennial smoothness enhancing the throwback sound.

    Oh Land: Wish Bone (full album streaming below)

    Oh Land is spectacular. The end. Also, Green Card is an AMAZING song.

    Gossling: Never Expire

    I discovered Gossling the way most people did, as the singer for the hook on 360s Boys Like You, but have become a fan through listening to the evolution of her own sound. This single is one of her latest and has a deeper, more electronic, heaveir sound than her previous work but it works well complementing her airy voice.

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Foto Friday: Pinky Gets Married

    So I admit I sucked at Blogtember this week but it's been a whirlwind week, and between my work & personal life I'm looking forward to a slow weekend to recover... Oh wait I'll be driving down to VA Beach for a kickball tournament. So much for resting up.

    Why has this week been so busy you may ask? 

    Well it's because my wonderful oldest sister, miss Pinky of Pink Persistence (or is it Mrs. Pinky now) got married!!!

    The following are some pictures from the fabulous event:

    And this is when the bridal party goofed off while the bride & groom took romantic pictures together:

    It was such an amazing time and I wish I had a time machine to do it all again!!

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    BLOGTEMBER Day Three: Advisensational!

    Thursday, September 5: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

    Stretch Every Day!

    See, even the animal kingdom knows this to be true:

    I had a yoga instructor once say "every day you wake up and your body is a little tighter, a little stiffer... unless you move it." Think about how many elderly people walk very stiffly, needing to take small steps and shuffle instead of walk, cause their bodies have tightened all the way up. Through stretching, you allow your body to release lactic acid from over-used, tired, or stiff muscles, and it actually elongates your muscles, there's a reason dancers have such long, lean bodies (besides the obvious potential eating disorder thing)

    Her advice stuck with me and I noticed how much less tension I held in my body on days after I made sure to stretch.  

    If you have a desk job, think about how often you are sitting down and the tightness in your hips that results, well, sitting cross legged on the floor before bed and melting your upper body down towards the floor is a great way to stretch your hips out. Also a lunge-based stretch is great too.
    No, you don't have to even get CLOSE to this, but it can be something to aspire to
    You don't even have to be a yogini like Tara Stiles or even like yoga, but but if you simply find a few stretches you like to do before bed for your back, legs, hips, and shoulders can make you feel limber and ready to face tomorrow.

    Also, be sure to stretch your mind, capacity for kindness, and your funny bone everyday! I have a feeling the metaphysical mirrors the physical so if you don't want your mind, heart or humor to tighten and shrink in capacity

    Here's some help on the humor front (also keeping with the animal kingdom theme):
    Ylvis: The Fox