Friday, June 30, 2017

Organizing Sheet Music

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I FINALLY FINISHED ORGANIZING MY SHEET MUSIC.

Back in January (or February--sometime around then) I thought: hey, why don't I try out this library cataloging app called Libib?  Maybe over the summer or something I will go through and catalog all my books so it's like a real library--that'll be so cool!

There are so many books though--I should start with something a little smaller and more manageable: how about my sheet music?  That won't take very long.

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Flash forward five or sixth months and...apparently I own a lot more sheet music than I originally thought...

What I thought would be a quick little experiment in order to test out this new library app turned into a grueling task of cataloging and organizing over 2,000 pieces of sheet music in folios, binders, folders, books, and loose leaf form.  

Because the app Libib wasn't really designed for sheet music, I couldn't use their handy scanning feature and I had to manually enter the title, author, location, publisher and year of publication all by hand for each piece of music.

After that I alphabetized everything.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have all this sheet music out of my room finally--it's nice and tidy once again!

You know how my room was really messy?  A lot of that was due to the thousands of sheets of music I had been storing in there.  But now I can finally see my floor again!

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Even though it was a draining process to get all this music organized, I'm happy I did it.  I made a lot of interesting discoveries: my great-grandma's sheet music that's over a hundred years old, sheets for cello, viola, and violin that go together which I previously did not know had the other parts, and lots of songs that I'm really interested in playing I had no idea we owned.

The Libib app is really pretty nice, though I feel like it would be more effective on actual books since that's what it's designed for.

If you ever feel like organizing something big, you should check it out and see if you like it.  Most of it's important features are available for free and you can access it from your phone, your computer, whatever.

I can not even explain how happy I am that this is done :)

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

June Jams for Your Summer Enjoyment

What have I been doing recently besides neglecting my blogging duties?

Listening to music of course!

Here are my top jams I've been loving recently that I recommend to you all as a nice finish to your June.

Reminds me of Ed Sheeran but better:



Man attempts to find meaningful jobs:



My Coldplay nostalgia compels me:




Ukulele or guitar?  Its a toss up:




Obscure country artist has a good song:




Man rejoices in California earthquakes...?  Still not sure what this is about:




The Lumineers play off their first success but better this time:




Woah, Vance Joy made it on this list twice:




Better-sounding acoustic version of an 80s new wave/synth:




The song we know the refrain to from an insurance commercial:




Lord Huron strikes again!




Hey it's U2!  Because we are cultured here:





Billy Joel rips off the Lion King's fugue style:




Aerosmith!  Steven Tyler, Liv Tyler's (Arwen) dad!  





The song that makes you feel bad for not travelling this summer:





The song everyone loves from Napoleon Dynamite (no, not by the White Stripes--although that one is great too):





The band that reminds of you of the White Stripes:


A song I feel like I know but don't know how and stumbled across randomly:


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson is a miniseries all about the infamous O.J. trial of 1994.  O.J. Simpson, a famous football player was put on trial for the brutal murder of his ex-wife Nichole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, apparently a companion of Nichole's, and despite all the evidence confirming his guilt was acquitted in the "trial of the century".

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The trial was already dramatic enough material to work with, and this miniseries really was thorough and true to the real story.

I first watched this series in December I think, and re-watched it a couple times since.  My sister Katie has just started watching recently and has been freaking out about it for a couple days.  She really loves dramatic stories, particularly crimes and mysteries.  This reminded me that I never reviewed it, so here I am.

My parents and some of my siblings were around when the trial was actually going on, and it's been interesting to hear how accurate the show is and what the feelings of people who lived contemporaneously with the trial were.

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The show has garnered a lot of attention from slightly younger viewers because we don't remember waking up every day for eleven months and being blasted with O.J. news, and some people don't even know what the whole trial is even about.

Aside from the clearly very dramatic material that the show covers, it is fantastically made content with beautiful camera work and lighting.  The acting is superb on all fronts, and I was especially impressed with how similar some of the actors looked to their real life counterparts.

The series is a nonstop roller coaster of emotion, and I even second guessed myself at times.

Marcia Clark was a very well developed character who had a family she worried about and a tough job to balance.  My heart broke for her when she had to undergo such harsh treatment for her looks and general "being a woman-ness" throughout the trial.

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Chris Darden was a sympathetic character.  I felt bad for him initially when he was put on the trial because he felt that it was only due to his skin color and not based on merit.  As the trial went on, I got a little frustrated with him, particularly when he disobeyed Marcia Clark and tried the gloves on O.J.  Overall though, I liked their friendship and found them to be likable characters.

Johnnie Cochran bothered me a little bit because he didn't seem to care at all about O.J. specifically, and just wanted to get his overarching agenda across through O.J.  Right off the bat he seemed disingenuous for this reason, but he was truly a powerful speaker and very persuasive when he spoke.

My favorite moments were the parts where I gasped out loud: when the original second chair for the prosecution fainted at the beginning of opening statements; when Judge Lance Ito was thinking about recusing himself from the trial because of Mark Fuhrman's comments about his wife, etc.

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I also loved how the media circus was portrayed, and even today you can see the media sort of being it's own source of entertainment: they'll blow something out of proportion and then report on how out of proportion things have been blown.  It was fascinating to see the parallels between all those years ago and today.

To sum up, I really recommend this series.  It won't take a whole summer to watch, and it catches one's attention very quickly.  If you're in the middle of a heat wave, it might be a good day to hunker down and relive the "trial of the century."

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Monday, June 12, 2017

The Westboro Baptist Church Picketed My School

Before I go on with this, I just want to say that this event happened a long time ago.  I wrote my reactions to it at the time and saved the document to post at a later date.  This was done in order to keep my location mysterious and make it impossible to look up recent WBC pickets and find my school.

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It was Sunday when I first saw the Snap story one of my classmates had made ranting about some "anti-LGBT protesters" coming to our school and how she would fight them no matter what.  I had no idea what she was referring to, so I just closed her story and moved along with my day.

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Sunday evening my dad showed me an email that my principal had sent out to the whole school about an "out of state group of protesters" who would be on a sidewalk near our school toward the end of our school day that Wednesday.

I recognized the name "Westboro Baptist Church" from some apologetics studies, actually.  Often times when reading about apologetics, something like this would be said, "How do you counter claims that Christianity is responsible for evil things?  The Crusades, the Inquisition, and even modern day things like the Westboro Baptist Church..." etc.

I didn't really know exactly what they were renowned for, so I read the Wikipedia article online about them and watched a documentary.  I won't deny that I was pretty scared for what would happen at school.

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First of all, I felt really pretty bad that these people were travelling all the way up from Kansas to bother kids and teachers at my school.  I mean, that's pretty sad for that group that they believe such a perversion of Christianity, and of course I hated the idea of kids being targeted by protesters.

Clearly I knew (or thought) that basically 100% of the kids at my school would strongly disagree with the protesters, but I could easily see the pendulum swinging.  I was worried that kids would try to fight the protesters.  That would not be a good look, for sure.

Our principal assured us that police would be present and technically the group's time-slot of protesting ended right when our school day was over, which meant they would likely be gone before anyone saw them.

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I heard in passing during creative writing class that after the announcement in the morning that our principal made, that someone had stood up in their class and said that they "stood with the church", which first of all, I cannot confirm since I only overheard that claim, and secondly cannot believe.  How ridiculous do you have to be to a) say that and b) say it in the middle of your class where everyone can see you?  Do you have an actual social death wish?

At school there was a general buzz about the topic, but I tried to steer clear of it as much as possible.  WBC wants attention and I didn't want our school to give them that much.  Besides, we all have finals and the seniors have graduation to worry about.  We don't have time for this!

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It's all very sad.  We have a very good school, but we've had a couple dramatic incidents this year that have besmirched our name and rubbed our pride into the ground.  My sincere hope is that this WBC protest is ignored and they go all the long way back to Kansas unfulfilled.

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Okay, I wrote all of this before the protest, and now I am back post-protest.  I watched a documentary about WBC a little before the actual protest occurred, and I have to say that seeing the real people behind WBC was really, really sad.  They are just normal people--parents with kids and jobs etc. but they are so terribly misguided and their actions are truly hurtful.

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It did make me less nervous about the entire ordeal though, to see that the people were really just that--regular people.  Turns out there were only a few people even outside our school during a time of day when no one could even see them.  They stood across the street and held up their signs.

Teachers guarded the doors to our school so that no kids could leave early and go rile up the protesters, but other than that the school day went on uninterrupted.  Lots of kids wore pride gear and tried to virtue signal a bit and show that they disagreed with the protesters.

To be honest the protest ended up not interrupting my day at all.  When school was over I quietly slipped out the orchestra hall door, popped in my headphones, and walked back to school unimpeded.  Many kids at my school, however, in an effort to prove just how "courageous" they are, went to counter protest at the side of the street.

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This whole thing kind of made me just a little angry.  The protesters wanted this exact thing to happen.  Even once the WBC legally had to leave the property, counter protesting kids from school blocked off the streets and created a huge ruckus.  The news came, and WBC got all the publicity they wanted.

So in the end, the WBC got what they wanted, and the kids at my school got to virtue signal a bit.  Kids like me who wanted the protesters to just leave also sort of got what they wanted--an uninterrupted day of finals at school devoid of extreme controversy and danger.

It was definitely an interesting (and pretty random) event to end the school year with, but I am very thankful that everyone stayed safe at the very least.

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If the WBC ever pickets a place of worship or a school or whatever in your are, here are a couple tips I have for you.

  • Don't be scared.  As zealous as the WBC might be and as scary as the concept of extremism is, the WBC's weapon is words, and sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you unless you let them.  
  • Ignore them.  There is nothing the WBC loves more than attention.  They are kind of like the annoying sibling who will eventually stop if you quit reacting to their antics.
  • Keep things in perspective.  The WBC represents a small cult-like faction of "Christianity" (I hesitate to even give them that) and by no means is representative of Christians of course.  Don't paint people with a broad brush after seeing the terrible things WBC does.
  • Keep calm and carry on.  They will be gone by the end of the day, and life will go on.  Don't lose sight of that.
I hope that you never have to deal with a WBC protest, but if you do, just know that it will probably blow over very quickly and you will be able to get on with your regular life.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

2 Year Anniversary and GIVEAWAY

Guys, it's June 11th!!

I had a giveaway announcement planned for today, and I just picked the date at random, figuring that it would be long enough after my school year ended to get myself settled and the giveaway going.

My friend pointed out that my blog anniversary was coming up, and sure enough, when we looked earlier this morning, we realized that today is actually the two year anniversary of Lover of Lembas!

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I'm so happy he caught this and I didn't miss the anniversary.  I am so happy to have kept this blog around for two years.  Over the course of 730 days, I have posted 721 times--almost every single day!

1,912 comments have been left here and Lover of Lembas has almost 48,000 views!  Thank you so much to everyone who's been visiting and interacting--I sincerely appreciate it.

In a token of my thanks for all my wonderful readers, I have a special gift for you!  I am hosting a giveaway for the next couple weeks.

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All you have to do is fill out the following form and answer the very simple questions.  Please be aware that your answers may be published on the blog a little later with your name or screen name.

I will randomly choose one entry to be the lucky winner of...

...a Lord of the Rings coloring book!

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I personally have used one of these coloring books and I can vouch that it is pretty epic.  The scenes you can color in are iconic and I can't even explain how proud I feel when I finish one.

The lucky winner will be announced in just a few weeks :)

I encourage you to enter this fun giveaway, and I thank you for your constant support here at Lover of Lembas!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Save Money This Summer

Are you tight on the cash dollars right now?

Do you want to throw all your money at Caribou coffee rather than--I dunno--necessary things?

Well you're in luck, because it's the same with me!

These are some easy ways to save money this summer!

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Turn off your AC.  No, really!


I know.  You shudder at the thought.  And really, I do too.  Sometimes summer is just unbearably hot, and where I live it gets ridiculously humid too.

But AC really costs a ton of money over the course of a summer, and it's one area where saving money will feel nice on your wallet and nice in general.

You know why going to a cabin up north in the summer is so awesome?  It's because you spend the whole weekend laying out in the sun, going in and out of the house through just a screen door, and jumping in the lake whenever you feel hot.

Why not extend that type of living to your house?  Keeping the windows open makes it so you are basically outside all the time.  Being outside makes people feel good because it's simply more natural.  Don't be a soft human who just has to have everything perfect and controlled.  Let mother nature take care of you a bit and go with the flow a little more.

Bring that cabin-life mentality home!

If humidity is getting you down, dehumidifiers can help and they create nice distilled water perfect for running in fountains or watering your plants.

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Dry your clothes on a clothesline


This is very cheap and good for the environment.  Drying your clothes on a line can save your water bill.  It keeps light clothes looking crisp and pristine, and since sweaters are not generally standard fare in the summer, you don't need to worry a lot about stretching things out.

Additionally, your clothes will smell amazing after hanging in the sweet air for awhile.

Make sure your clothes are in a safe location where people and animals can't wantonly steal them and the sun hits them well.  Pin them up carefully (upside down is often the way to go) so you don't ruin the sleeves, and ensure that they are well dried before folding and putting them away.  They will be musty if you neglect this.

This is a very natural way of getting a necessary chore done, and it can be a very calming and relaxing chore.

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Travel on foot


If you have a nice summer season in your area (even if it's hot!) you should really make the best of it and try to walk places or ride a bike.

Clearly it's good for the environment, it's cheap, it's good exercise, and it releases endorphins.  It does take a little longer than usual depending on where you are going, but think about it this way; say you need to go to the grocery store, and you should also get some exercise.  You may spend an hour at the grocery store and another hour at the gym...but you could always combine the two by just biking to the grocery store!

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Get a haircut


This is clearly a natural step in the summer experience that only makes sense.  Things are about to get hotter, especially if you are planning on taking my advice and turning off the AC and being physically active during the day.

As someone with hair to her waist, I totally understand how much of a burden hair can be.  We often don't notice this because the burden is accrued slowly, but once you get a short hair cut everything feels so light and easy to manage.

This can really help decrease your feeling of oppressive heat and make things seem freer and less worrisome.

If you don't want to cut your hair, learn some quick ways to put your hair up that won't interfere in your daily life.  Your neck will thank you for the relief from heat.

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Some of these tips may have been obvious, but others may have stood out to you.  Carefully consider if you're willing to try these tips for the sake of money, or if you are going to spend the big bucks this summer.

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