Feb 28, 2013

Ballerina Black - Injureless

My love affair with Ballerina Black started with an innocent picture my friends took outside a Hollywood nightclub.   On the sidewalk was a cool logo spray painted on the cement.   We thought it would be cool to get a shot with my shoes next to it... having no idea what the logo represented.   Out of curiosity when I got home later that night I googled it.   And thank goodness I did because I ended up listening to some really great music (see kids, street art can educate you if you just open your eyes and your mind!).

I think the first song I heard was called "The Queen is Dead".   Something about the musical arrangement and the vocals- it just reminded me of everything I loved about good music when I was a teen and discovering bands like Silverchair and Blur.   I don't know why- it's not like they are really the same sound wise, but that's how my brain connected it.
In typical me fashion, I started following the band on twitter, instagram, facebook... and somehow ended up talking with one of the band's members, Bobby.   The band is interesting- they refer to their music as Mope-Rock/Grave-Wave/Gloom-Pop.   Which I absolutely agree describes their sound very well.   It's like listening to guitar and lyrics of someone going through something, only it's not tragedy specific or anything as a whole.   I mean, maybe it is for the group, but as a listener, it just sort of soothes you into reflection and quiet enjoyment- like, yes, this is exactly how I am feeling today, thank you for finding a sound that describes it for me.

I'm currently listening to the album "Injureless" and I have to say, it doesn't disappoint.   It's just mellow, but emotional.   The perfect blend of music somehow.   On their facebook page the band describes themselves like this:
Driving Mope-Rock could be one way to describe their sound, Grave-Wave may be another. Regardless of the sonic hemispheres, the paradoxes that exist in the Los Angeles based quartet Ballerina Black are startling. Singer-songwriter Moynahan seems to be incapable of answering band and music related inquiries without delivering a hyper-metaphoric, stream of conscious response that's ironically focused and congruent. This is ever-present lyrically as well. "Tears and fury are not that distant of relatives,.. and sometimes funerals are fun to dance at". Joined by bassist Sugich in 2007, a telepathy was forged; completing their first full length (Cattle Arithmetic) in 2010 and opening for the likes of Silversun Pickups and Interpol at LA Greek Theater. The two embellished on their uniqueness with drummer Anthos and extra guitars and keys provided by Eton, after which, releasing the first of a series of EPs in late 2012 under the division titled Injureless. "Maybe if Nirvana had decided to do covers of the Cure?,.. might come close to hitting some planet of reference in them Black universe surrounding these guys sound". What is apparent, the refreshingly austere catchy-ness of Ballerina Blacks message. But the biggest mystery still remains... how long is it going to take the rest of the world to start freaking out about this band?

I agree- why is this super talented dynamic group still unknown outside of it's core fan base?   The few times I have said this about a band, I can happily say that usually they end up blowing up within the next year or so- and I hope the same holds true here because I am certain there are a lot of you out there who will definitely enjoy them.   So check out their web page and stuff and let them know how you found them!

Website - Ballerina Black

Feb 26, 2013

Driicky Graham - Hush (S.T.F.U.)

The last time I wrote about Driicky Graham no one knew his name, or his music.   Now, you can't go to a club (at least in my neighborhood) that doesn't throw his hit 'Snapbacks and Tattoos' on the sound system.   So maybe, just maybe, this time you will listen to me and get his new single "Hush" for free before it blows up... because yeah, it will.

Oh and because you probably don't believe me - check out my post from June 2012... recognize.
Driicky Graham at Playhouse - Snapbacks and Tattoos

Feb 24, 2013

Smoothie Day 6

Ugh I am totally bored with this project.   Not the smoothies themselves- that part is great, but the idea that I am recording myself once a day and blogging about my talentless culinary endeavors.   If I am boring myself, I have absolute certainty that you must be bored too.   So, in the interest of not alienating all of you forever, I am going to stop blogging these daily- make no mistake, 30 Days of Smoothie is continuing on, but I am not going to keep throwing it in your faces.

For my last video I made a Lemon smoothie- using Greek yogurt, a banana, honey, lemon juice and vanilla soy milk.   I added peaches after I tasted it because it literally just tasted like lemon milk.   The peach made it very yummy.

My favorite smoothie was day 4 (Ginger Strawberry Smoothie) and I am absolutely going to repeat that one a lot.   Like, probably too much.   I am sure I can use other fruits too, and keep it fresh and interesting.   The green smoothies were a tiny bit too healthy for my taste.   I mean, I will still try a lot of them, but I definitely prefer my smoothies smooth and sweet- not green and well, green.

This was fun!   Sorry to end it early here, but I promise I will find something new to work on...

If You want to watch them all in order:
Smoothie Day 1
Smoothie Day 2
Smoothie Day 3
Smoothie Day 4
Smoothie Day 5

Feb 23, 2013

Smoothie Day 5

Blah.   Today was a wash.   I was excited to try a smoothie with avocado in it and to be totally upfront- it was boring.   Avocado is more exciting sliced on a plate with lemon juice.   It wasn't bad or anything, just very bland and ho hum.

This one consisted of avocado, apple, banana, celery, spinach and a glass of water.   I think it needed a kick (and I was scared to try ginger since it wasn't written on the recipe).

It was a fairly uneventful blend, although when I went to grab my avocado I dropped it on the kitchen floor and it squished a bit.   If that means it was a bad avocado, well hopefully it wasn't.   I also think going forward I will only freeze bananas after I have peeled them because I don't like the process of washing them to remove the peel.  I am entirely unclear what purpose the celery served in this one... it seems like it was just a filler.

Anyway, I think I will try to find recipes which will utilize the limes and lemons I bought.   I like citrus so I really want to find smoothies that I can make using those fruits.

Feb 22, 2013

Smoothie Day 4

In the interest of giving my newly healthy insides a little bit of a break, I decided to use a ginger smoothie recipe today.   Everything I have read about ginger online (and heard from my yoga teacher mother who loves the stuff almost more than she loves her kids) hypes the healing goodness of ginger and the ways it helps people with immunity, digestion and energy.   Personally, I just like the taste...in small doses.

So, today I used ginger, six strawberries, a banana, a teaspoon of honey and a glass of almond milk.  Oh, and some ice cubes.   The recipe called for an inch of ginger.   Frankly that seems like the least scientific way of calculating quantities with regard to food I could possibly think of- my own "some of this" and "a little of that" is at least more descriptive!   I drank the entire thing and don't feel full, but I do feel satisfied.   The green based smoothies I had made up to now filled me up almost too much.   This was much lighter and fresher and tasted super crisp and clean- big fan!

I also want to elaborate on the banana thing- I have a lot of fruits and produce in my kitchen while I try to experiment.   I cut and bagged a lot of it and froze it so it won't go bad... and apparently when you just toss a bunch of bananas in the freezer they turn brown.   Which looks gross- but it tastes fine.   HOWEVER I totally did not think ahead- like, how to get a frozen banana out of its equally frozen skin?   I have no idea if this is common knowledge, but I ran the banana under lukewarm tap water and the skin slid off.   I also accidentally broke the banana in half, next time I will try the same method on the whole banana and see if it works as well.   I feel like a genius for figuring that out on my own though.


Feb 21, 2013

Smoothie Day 3

I can happily say Day 3 of my 30 Days of Smoothie went very well.   As far as taste goes, it was absolutely the best tasting mix so far.   I knew it would be though- all of the fruits were really sweet.   I would like to try more adventurous mixes using the ginger and lemons, limes... even though I am a bit chicken but I think it will be surprisingly good if I can just manage not to wreck my stomach on too much ginger.   I may also eventually attempt actual herbs like parsley, sage, ummmm if I say rosemary and thyme stop laughing, I'm not quoting the song (well, yeah I am).   Mint, basil... and I am fairly certain one of the aforementioned herbs is lethal somehow but I have no idea which one and why if it is lethal people use it to make edible stuff for human consumption.   I also really do not care enough yet to find out.

So today's smoothie was spinach based with banana, strawberries, mango, honey, cocoa powder and almond milk.   I sort of get the point...start with spinach and add a few sweet fruits.   Easy as pie (sigh, why do I always think of baked goods when I start talking about the kitchen).   I almost included the peanut butter, same as yesterday, but decided that peanut butter mango might be a tad bit gross for an early morning me.  Also, I know yesterday I wrote I wasn't going to edit my videos...I'm not, but I am going to record shorter videos and string them together to shorten the total time....

Researching recipes on the web I am still not sure which green is better- kale or spinach- although I think it is more of a taste thing.   From the first try, it appears kale is not as sweet or smooth as spinach, however I maintain that I am still unsure if what I bought actually was kale, so jury is still out on that one.

Ooh- I also (on the advice of a friend who looked at my fridge and started laughing incredulously) cut up all of the strawberries, pears, and peaches and put them in the freezer with the bananas.   Apparently I bought way too much and it will start going bad.  (Side note- did you know eggs go bad?   I had mine from February until September and when my friend saw the expiration date those eggs were promptly evicted from my fridge... I had no idea, aren't they Darwin approved ever fresh or something?)   I was not sure what to do with the mango and avocado so they currently occupy the spot on top of my microwave, but I did leave the lemons, limes, apples, celery, kale and spinach intact, in the fridge.   Furthermore, now I am even using knives to prepare foods for the next day AND utilizing Ziploc storage methods.   If I wasn't almost thirty this would definitely be a bigger accomplishment.   Right now I think my mom is really the only one who actually understands how monumental this sudden interest in using my kitchen is for me, instead of ignoring it like you would an umbrella stand on a sunny day.

Feb 20, 2013

Smoothie Day 2

Whelp.   Yesterday, Day 1, was a success albeit not as yummy as I wanted and a little more textured than I would have preferred.   The ginger was definitely a touch strong although I did end up drinking half at the time and half later that night.   Also it should be noted that I was TOTALLY wired after drinking it.   It gave me amazing energy and all kinds of happiness.   I should probably try to do these in the morning not the evenings.

Day 2- Spinach, banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, almond milk smoothie.
That's pretty much the ingredients.   I might throw in strawberries next time, possibly try the chocolate flavored soy milk too.   And it must be noted I LOVE this smoothie.   I will totally drink it often and it will be a repeat.   The spinach is smoother than the kale, and there's peanut butter.

Yes, I ate a double cookie with peanut butter creme while I waited for the smoothie to blend.   I figured it would be less boring than making faces at the camera while the blender assaults our ears.   I am not going to edit these videos... I think it's cool to just put them up and not sweat the cuteness of me or the accuracy of my culinary skills beyond not causing physical damage to myself or my surroundings.

It sucks because I am all healthy in my kitchen and it rained today so no yoga outside for me, but I will go on Thursday!   I also finally bought normal sneakers because it turns out you cannot scale a mountain in combat boots or converse.

Leave your thoughts and comments and let me know if you try it!

Feb 19, 2013

Smoothie Day 1

I jumped the gun a bit and published the video already yesterday and then decided I really needed to document my journey on my blog... so without further delay I present:
30 Days of Smoothies.

Realistically I will end up repeating so there won't actually be thirty different smoothies but I will try to mix it up a bit and I will try to actually drink one every day for the next thirty days.

Here's some background on me.   I hate kitchens.   I love food.   The two have been in a constant juxtaposition for decades now.   I am that girl who forgets pop tarts are wrapped in metallic foil and accidentally explodes her microwave.   You know that person who claims they burn water?    That's me too.   More than once I have returned from an evening out to find my apartment uncomfortably warm and the pot on the stove bright red and all of the water evaporated.    There's been an unofficial ban on me using the stove/oven (yes, I banned myself).   I gingerly use the toaster oven but limit it to toast, which I consistently burn anyway.   The microwave has been my best friend except where alloys come into play. (You can microwave M&M's- 15 seconds and they are epic!)

So... since I recently lost my job and have not that much to do with myself I started doing yoga in the mornings a few times a week.  Once I started that, I thought I should probably try to at least eat healthier- problem is I dislike water with a passion.   That was a starting point- hydrate properly.   I can't help it, I've long maintained that water tastes thirsty (that taste you get when you are thirsty- that is what water tastes like to me).   Blech.   So I settled on juicing- until I started researching juicers and realized I have a blender already and can probably start there instead.   Also, when I mentioned juicing to people they looked at me a little oddly and asked why I was trying to lose weight- I'm not- I just figure I have the time now and at some point I should learn how to feed myself beyond frozen dinners and yogurt/granola and tea.

So... here is my 30 Days of Smoothie.   I looked up a bunch of recipes, I am aiming for green ones- kale and spinach based, and I welcome input and ingredient ideas.   Be gentle, I am a produce moron and was completely overwhelmed in both the kale department and the cocoa powder aisle (I have since been convinced that hot chocolate is not in fact an appropriate substitute, my bad- it seemed to make sense to me at the time).

Enjoy- and if you'd like more info hit me up- I'd love it if you joined me in this randomness I am embarking on!

Feb 17, 2013

One month later - Danny M

I haven't been myself this last month.   Aside from not knowing what to do on a daily basis, I find that things I would usually shrug off strike deep chords within me and I am able to let a lot of other issues slide that I wouldn't usually let go.   I attribute this deep sense of displacement to the events that happened to me four weeks ago (see In Loving Memory - Danny M).   People ask me why I am so affected and besides feeling misunderstood the only answer I can give them is that my entire world that I had poured every part of myself into suddenly disappeared in one day.   Gone.

My grief isn't that of a family member, and I am not remotely suggesting that is the case.   It is more personal than that of an employee.   I am in the uniquely strange position of having cared entirely too much and becoming totally emotionally invested in something- a person, a place, a company, the tangible and intangible, all of it, in a very short period of time.   And it hurts.

Most days, I can get through without really having that gut wrenching moment of pain when something randomly reminds me.   Then there are instances where that damn Swedish House Mafia song plays (of course, it is possibly the most popular song playing on the radio so that makes it even harder to avoid) and sometimes I will just crumble into a bawling heap.   Other times I smile and dance and raise a hand up to the sky because I feel comfort.   It can really go either way.

The video I recorded the day after he died and shared on facebook was intensely personal for me.   I rarely sing in public, and when I do I never share with strangers... but a friend saw the video and said I had to share it with other people who were also hurting and missing him.   I did not expect it to get the views it did and the love and comfort I received from strangers and friends alike was very healing.   It definitely makes me uneasy to blend my real life with this blog- something I use as a hobby to talk about music and the very real and seriousness of the situation I'm dealing with.   But I love how many of you have been so supportive and might actually start blogging again properly- as in, long winded written articles where I discuss whatever whimsical topic strikes me.

There have been two times now in the last few weeks where I was out in public and the actual song started playing.   This blows my mind- I have spent years adoring this song and never hearing it unless I pulled it up on my play list.   The first time was at a beauty pageant- as the show ended and we exited into the lobby of the theater, a live band started playing the first notes.   I literally stumbled on the stairs and sat down, there was no air in my lungs and giant tears slid down my face before I realized what I was even reacting to.   The second time was less dramatic but no less strange- I was at a birthday dinner at a house and the party was for one of Danny's friends, also a random event I had not known prior to arriving.   They were playing music on a laptop and of course, Hallelujah starts playing.... I mean.   Instead of reacting I stood up and excused myself, went outside and composed myself and came back in, no less shaken than the first time but I'm getting better at coping with it.

Anyway, enough rattling on about all of this, here is the video.   Please respect the reason it was made, even if you don't like it.   I miss Danny every day and this was the most honest, raw and respectful way I had of reacting in the first few days of total mind numbing sadness.