The Decemberists, Music Video

Warning: This video is bizarre and political (and not a reflection of any particular point of view of mine).

So, what’s it doing on Bmore Energy?

  1. My daughter Morgan created the animation and directed the video.
  2. The fantastical animation, combined with black-and-white photos, is mesmerizing.
  3. It’s interesting to explore different ways stories can be told. You might think the video is compelling. Or disturbing. Or just not your cup of tea. I bet if there were a group of people watching the video, each would have a different opinion. Maybe they would discuss their points of view. I’d call that a thought-provoking story.

The song Severed is from The Decemberists‘ album “I’ll Be Your Girl,” which is “intermittently political in its own way…it only addresses politics in the broadest sense,” said  Evan Rytlewski  on Pitchfork.com. Instead, the album captures the general frustration with the world right now.

“The Decemberists do a very particular thing – darkly ornate, literary-minded, self-consciously verbose Anglophile prog-folk-rock – exceedingly well,” said  onRollingstone.com. The Decemberists, an American indie rock band from Portland, Oregon, consists of Colin Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query and John Moen.

Related Posts:

Life is Beautiful Music Festival Video

Music Video, The Venus Project-(Won’t Hurt)

“Santa is a Psychedelic Mushroom,” Lapland Folklore

Reflections, Astonishing Animation and Interview with Morgan Gruer

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Kwame Alexander and the Rebound Bus

Kwame Alexander at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ.

Lucky me! I got to see Kwame Alexander in action.

Words Bookstore in Maplewood, NJ was Kwame’s second stop on The Official Rebound Bus Tour. REBOUND is the follow-up to his, Newbery-medal winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. It was standing room only to see this celebrity of Kidlit, but we were told his bus hadn’t arrived. Bus? Who takes the bus when the train station is right in town? I didn’t realize this was the bus…

Wow! Before Kwame read from his new book, he talked about what was in his bus–beds, bathroom, kitchen–the whole shebang!

Then he asked if there was a kid in the audience who could beatbox, and he, the musician who travels with him, and the kid performed an excerpt from REBOUND. Awesome! He said, “Sports are the hook, but the books are really about life.”

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshipping, basketball star his sons look up to.   Goodreads.

Not only did Kwame talk about his new book, he spoke about reading, writing, rejection and perseverance. I wanted to cry.

Kwame said,

If you say something twelve times, your heart catches up.

Books are like amusement parks. You have to let kids choose the rides.

The hardest part of writing a book is actually writing the book.

All the kids need all the books.

Words are the great connector. (Love, love, love this!)

Want to see Kwame in action, too? Click here to see a video of him reading excerpts from The Crossover.

Hello Universe, Book Review

Middle Grade Novel for Kids and Adults

Really!

When I finished reading winner of the 2018 Newbery Medal,  Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, it felt like my heart squeezed in happiness and I said, “That was SUCH a good book!” The more I think about it, the more I recognize how much I cared for the characters, how poignant Virgil and Valencia’s struggles were, and how every detail in the book played a part in the outcome of the characters’ fateful day.

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends — at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms. Goodreads.

Quotes from Hello Universe 

“Crying is good for the soul. It means something needs to be released. And if you don’t release the something, it just weighs you down until you can hardly move.”“People don’t want to listen to their thoughts, so they fill the world with noise.”

“Sometimes life calls on you even when you don’t raise your hand.”

“It’s not being brave if you aren’t scared.”

“Bayani, of all the things you ever tell yourself in life, never say, ‘There’s no chance.‘”  (love, love, love this quote!)

While looking up trailers for this wonderful book, I came across a treat–a video by Kelly on how to make a homemade kaleidoscope.

DIY: Homemade Kaleidoscope with Erin Entrada Kelly

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Sources:Goodreads, You Tube

Life is Beautiful Music Festival Video

Music with a Message

I am astonished by the gorgeous, detailed, layered and meaningful art and animation created by Morgan! She directed a promotional video for the Life is Beautiful Music Festival, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada September 21-23, 2018. According the festival’s homepage:

Every September we gather in the streets of Downtown Las Vegas to create a world that celebrates the beauty in ourselves and our surroundings.

A world in which music and art transform, positivity prevails, discovery ensues, inspiration overwhelms and creativity thrives.

A world that cannot be explained – it must be experienced.

Lyrics to All Together, the spoken-word poem by In-Q. 

If you’re not inspired by life, you’re not paying attention

Our world is beautiful beyond all comprehension

But we rarely look around

we’re so used to looking down

It can feel heavy when we even lift our heads up off the ground

We get lost inside of crowds

We forget that we belong

That our voices come together in this human song

It’s more than merely right or wrong, it’s learning how to get along

But it’s gets darkest right before the dawn

 

We are the rays emanating from the sun

Because faith is always blind

And the stories that we share become the mirror of our times

Our journeys intertwine, so the reflection is divine

I can see myself inside your eyes

We recognize the truth behind the disguise

Our struggles are the same

We have to celebrate the joy and celebrate the pain

We have to elevate the energy and rise to the task

Because change comes slow, but it happens fast

And since this moment doesn’t last our future is the past

But the answer has to first be asked

 

We call upon the dreamers, and the poets, and

the prophets, and the seekers, let your music reach out from the speakers, let it echo from the bleachers, from the artists to the teachers, from the painters to the preachers,

There is no one that will lead us, we the people are the leaders

And we don’t wanna wait on someone else to change the world

Or pawn it off on the next generation of boys and girls

There is no one that is coming

Because everyone is here

We can be found in the crowd from the sound of a cheer

 

So when it brings us all together

What will we have to say?

When it brings us all together

And the music starts to play

When it brings us all together

How will we own today?

Because life is beautiful

And it’s up to US to keep it that way

Roasted Paprika Chicken with Potatoes and Turnips

Roasted Paprika Chicken with Potatoes and Turnips.

I love finding new recipes and cooking tips in the Food Section of The New York Times. This chicken recipe, which I modified slightly, was excellent! I intentionally made extra, freezing it for another day. I plan on roasting more potatoes and veggies, and adding them to a future meal.

Happy cooking, hon!

Roasted Paprika Chicken with Potatoes and Turnips

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ Tablespoons sweet paprika

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon turmeric

¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts without wings

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large or 2 medium turnips (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

1 large parsnip, peeled and diced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

……………………………………….

{I didn’t add the cucumbers, but next time I might because they would add a cool complement to the dish’s mild spiciness.)

2 to 3 Persian (mini-cucumbers or 1 large cucumber, peeled if desired, thinly sliced crosswise and kept refrigerated

Chopped dill or parsley, for serving

Sour cream, for serving, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine oil, sweet paprika, tomato paste, 1 1/2 tsps salt, turmeric, 1/2 tsp pepper, cumin, lemon zest, and garlic.
  2. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet pan and rub chicken all over with the marinade. Cover and let rest at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Toss potatoes, turnips, parsnip, 3 Tbl olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper together on another rimmed baking sheet or 9 x 13 pan.
  4. Slide both baking pans into the oven. Roast chicken until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Roast vegetable, tossing after 15 minutes. When you remove the chicken from the oven, turn up heat to 500 degrees F and continue cooking the vegetables until they are golden brown, another 5 to 10 minutes longer. (Tent chicken with foil and let rest while vegetables finish cooking.)
  5. Place the chilled cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and herbs. Serve with chicken and vegetables, garnished with herbs. Pass the cucumbers and sour cream (if using) at the table.

Yield: 4 servings

Tip: This dish took longer than anticipated. Allow time to prep, for the chicken to cook through, and for the veggies to cool down a bit before serving. Chicken with marinade can be made ahead of time.

Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019194-sheet-pan-paprika-chicken-with-potatoes-and-turnips

Spring Bouquets

Who doesn’t love a bouquet?

We were at an event where every table had a different bouquet and, of course, I had to absorb the colors and combinations. The two arrangements below are nestled in DIY Woodsy Centerpieces. Bendable twigs, vines and branches are wrapped around glass vases. The branches-wrapped-vases sit on thick slabs of wood. Simple. Woodsy. Pretty.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Ravenclaw Knit Scarf

Ravenclaw scarf.

My kids are crazy for Harry Potter and if my youngest went to Hogwarts, she’d be in the Ravenclaw house. She asked if I’d knit her a scarf for Ravenclaw Pride Day. It was easy, peasy and I learned how to carry up yarn.

Happy knitting, hon!

Ravenclaw Scarf

Materials:

–blue and tan or goldfish yarn, (I used Red Heart Soft, colors Navy and Wheat, 256 yds/234 m each. In the end, I used approx. 1 1/4 skeins of Navy and 1/2 skein of Wheat.)

Tips about yarn: The yarn I used was 100% acrylic which, it turns out, did not block, so the sides of the scarf curl in. If wool or cotton is used, the scarf can be blocked. If you  used acrylic, I suggest adding a seed stitch or some other stitch on each side so that the scarf lays flat.

Straight or circular needles: size of needle will be determined by the weight of yarn used. (I used size 8/5mm circular needles.)

Tapestry needle

Gauge: not important, the scarf can be either fine, chunky or in between.

Finished size: 7 inches x 8 feet (I wasn’t planning on the scarf being that long, but when it didn’t block and I steamed it, it grew!)

Instructions:

Cast on 32 stitches of blue yarn.

Using stockinette stitch (alternate rows of knit and purl stitch) and carrying both color yarns up while knitting*, create scarf following pattern.

Pattern:

  • blue yarn, 6 inches
  • tan yarn, 4 rows
  • blue yarn, 4 rows
  • tan yarn, 4 rows

Repeat pattern 8 times total (or less depending on desired length of scarf).

After repeating pattern 8 times, end with 6 inches of blue yarn.

Bind off on knit row.

Block and add fringe*. I alternated between blue and tan fringe on each end (blue, tan, blue, tan, blue, tan, blue).

*Click here to watch a video on how to carry yarns up.

*Click here to watch a video on how to make and add fringe.

P.S. Use different color yarns for other schools, real or imagined.