fleet foxes at the tabernacle

May 16, 2011

Last night was my first concert of the year. And, I must say, what a show it was! The Fleet Foxes brought what might have one of the best shows I have been to, ever. I’m not just saying that because they played every song of theirs that I love, but because they played them with such enthusiasm, zeal, and humility. I cannot attest to the genuineness of their appreciation for the fans, but they often seemed to be overwhelmed by the appreciation shown by the audience.  It was as if the band was saying, “Yes we get paid to do this, but we’re still honored and humbled that you came out and supported our dreams.”

From the moment the band came on stage and until their final departure, the Fleet Foxes provided a grand evening of wonderful and energetic music. I would highly recommend the Fleet Foxes to anyone looking to have a good time and shake a leg.

Here is the setlist from the night:

  1. The Cascades
  2. Grown Ocean
  3. Drops In The River
  4. Battery Kinzie
  5. Bedouin Dress
  6. Sim Sala Bim
  7. Mykonos
  8. Your Protector
  9. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
  10. White Winter Hymnal
  11. Ragged Wood
  12. Lorelai
  13. Montezuma
  14. He Doesn’t Know Why
  15. The Shrine / An Argument
  16. Blue Spotted Tail
  17. Blue Ridge Mountains

  18. Oliver James
  19. Atlanta Braves Tomahawk Chant (J. Tilman)
  20. Helplessness Blues

ash wednesday

March 8, 2011
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which signifies the beginning of Lent. In honor of the day, here is one of my favorite songs, which happens to include the name of the day in the title: Elvis Perkins’ “Ash Wednesday” – note, you will have watch/listen to it on youtube.

As is my custom, I am forgoing several activities for the Lenten season. I am also adding some as well. This year I am refraining from:

  • Reading my Google Reader
  • Reading blogs/Updating my blogs (with the exception of my family blog)
  • Facebook (I tend to do this every year)
  • Meat on Fridays

I am also going to do the following:

  • Read several books on Christianity
  • Run daily
  • Go on what I call the “half diet.” Meaning that I will only consume half the amount that I normally would, without really eliminating or limiting what foods I eat (other than the aforementioned no meat on Fridays).

There are other things that I am considering eliminating or adding, but I will have to fill you in on these once Lent has ended. Until then, have a wonderful Lent!

radiohead: ‘the king of limbs’

February 21, 2011

Unless you’re a Radiohead fan living under a rock, you’re aware that the group’s latest album, The King of Limbs, dropped last Friday – a day earlier than announced. I do not consider myself a proper reviewer of music, and as such, I will refrain from attempting an official review of The King of Limbs. I will, however, offer a few of my thoughts, as well as links to more proper reviews.

My Take

My initial reaction to listening to this album was that it reminded me of Amnesiac in many respects. Many reviews I have read are disappointed in The King of Limbs and its seemingly lack of novelty. I cannot disagree that the album does not seem to be mold-breaking or anything, but I cannot say I am disappointed. There are more adequate analogies than what I am about to offer, but this sentiment of being disappointed because it sounds somewhat familiar is, in my mind, akin to being disappointed in cheddar cheese because it has a familiar texture and is similar to swiss cheese.

I understand what many wanted with this record – something completely unexpected and new like OK Computer and Kid A – but being disappointed in this album because it fails to live up to your preconceived, and I feel misplaced, notions does a disservice to the music and talent of Radiohead. I am not as impressed with The King of Limbs as I was with some of their other works (most notably OK Computer, Kid A, and Amnesiac), but I do love listening to the album. I have also found, not unlike my experience with listening to most albums, that the more I listen to the album the more I am getting out of it. repeatedly listening is like watering the garden and this album is certainly beginning to bloom.

My favorite tracks, so far, are:

  • “Bloom”
  • “Lotus Flower”
  • ”Codex”
  • “Give Up The Ghost”

The video for “Lotus Flower”:

I don’t have any links for the other songs, but if you’re really curious and you have your best interest at heart, you’ll just go ahead and buy the album.

The Take of Others

Here are a few varied reviews of the album. I really appreciate the MTV.com review and the author’s description of how the album opens. Enjoy!

the quitter’s almanac.

February 17, 2011

QuitThis past Valentine’s Day marked two weeks for my vegan diet. For the most part, the only cravings that I had trouble with during this time were ones involving cheese or some product that normally contains cheese (pizza, nachos, cheez-its). I really had no other issues during the two weeks. That is, until my mom and sister were involved in an auto accident. They’re both fine, but the accident is hitting us hard financially and that brought on something that had really been absent for the previous 13 days: stress. I guess stress was creeping up either way – I’ve been studying for the MCAT and adhering to my studying schedule has proven less-than-stellar. Another event on Valentine’s Day that made things difficult was the absence of quality or really delicious vegan food in my house. I had mentioned before the importance of having a well-stocked kitchen, and I think it’s really helpful to have many options when stressful events arise and when willpower alone will not quell the cravings or provide comfort. Stressed, concerned about my and my family’s future, without many vegan food options, and feeling pretty lousy I decided to end the all vegan diet.

I’m pretty upset that I only made it halfway through my goal, but on the other hand, I’m also pretty proud of myself for doing it for two weeks. No it’s not an impressive feat; I didn’t do anything that would amount to much, especially when compared to what others have done with their diets. It’s not that I achieved anything, really. But I did manage to do something, even in my quitting, that I have had trouble doing over the years: I halfway kept a goal. I didn’t completely stick to my goal – and yes, that is failure – but I did keep it for two weeks. Normally I would have failed to merely keep it a day, let alone a full week or two. I still have difficulty exercising regularly, waking up on time, going to bed on time, completing my daily to-do lists, as well as a slew of other things. I by no means stuck with my goal. I in fact failed, rather miserably I might add. I didn’t form some new eating pattern or see the light. I didn’t stick it out long enough for my sense of taste to change. I didn’t even manage to make it to 21 days, which I hear is the time needed to form a new habit. After two weeks, I know what I knew before: I am a quitter. I quit when the going began to get tough. I quit.

So what now? Do I plan to resume the vegan eating anytime soon? I’m not sure. I have noticed that even though I’m allowing myself to eat non-vegan foods, I am still mostly eating vegan. I think if I learned anything these past two weeks, aside from the realization that I can somewhat stick to a goal, is that I am more aware than ever of what I am eating. I wish I had stuck it out and had realized some of those changes that I’ve read about – more energy, the change in taste, needing less sleep, better sleep, clearer skin, weight loss, etc. – either way, I’m still satisfied with the outcome of this experiment. I now need a new goal. Or maybe an anti-goal. Maybe I need reverse psychology or something. It’s true that we only want to do what we’re forbidden to do, so maybe I should go on a 28 day long non-vegan binge fest. Perhaps not. I think I just need to work towards change, as gradual or dramatic as I can handle at the time. And, when it doesn’t work out, give it another shot and keep at it. After all, you’re only a quitter when you quit. As long as I keep trying I’m not a quitter.

“make me wanna” by girl talk

February 16, 2011

absolutely brilliant.

laura gibson: my latest musical discovery

February 11, 2011

Laura Gibson (2)

Further adding to my already enormous affection for the Portland, Oregon music scene is singer and musician Laura Gibson. I’m not sure how I found out about her, but I think it may have been Pandora’s hit-or-miss system that played Gibson based off of my fondness for The Decemberists. Anyways, Gibson’s latest album, Beasts of Season, released in 2009, is simply a joy to listen to.

My favorite song of hers is “Edelweiss“, released in 2010. This is one of my favorite songs and her version is so beautiful. Her voice is soft and delicate and nothing less than gorgeous. Favorites off of Beasts of Season include:

I recommend giving Ms. Gibson a listen, if you haven’t already. You won’t be disappointed.


February 9, 2011

I just read this article. Pretty interesting timing given my month-long goal of eating completely – and healthy, mind you – vegan.

days 5, 6 and 7 results

February 8, 2011

Week 1 is in the bag. Here is a description, plus a recipe, of what I ate for days 5-7:

Day 5: 2 cups light soy milk and 2 cups low-sodium V8
Day 6: 2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted bread with 1 tablespoon of Simply Jif peanut butter and 1 banana, 1 cup light soy milk, and 2 cups low-sodium V8
Day 7: 3/4 cup old fashioned oats, 2 oranges, 1 cup low sodium V8, and a cup of hot green tea

Day 5: Whole wheat pasta topped with steamed broccoli, steamed cabbage, steamed brussel spouts, and marinated artichoke hearts
Day 6: Three-bean chili with Saltine crackers (recipe to follow)
Day 7: Three-bean chili and an apple

Day 5: Three-bean chili with Saltine crackers
Day 6: Domino’s Thin-crust pizza topped with spinach and green peppers (from my limited on-line research, it appears that Domino’s thin-crust and their basic tomato sauce is vegan. I admit, however, that I do not 100% know this to be the case. At any rate, this may have been a foul-up on my part, but it remains immensely healthier than a 4-meat, extra-cheese pizza. I might add that a cheese-less pizza wasn’t so bad. Although it could have used more toppings [I had a coupon for 2 toppings only])
Day 7: Rice mixed with kidney beans, black beans, southerwest corn mix (corn, tomatoes, black beans), fire roasted tomatoes, a salad with tomatoes and bac-o’s, and blackberry raspberry cobbler (recipes here)

Blackberry Raspberry Cobbler

I actually did not snack much aside from eating a bit more of the chili on day 5. For the Super Bowl, I just ate the pizza and nothing else. On day 7 I had an orange.

I felt hungry for most of days 5 and 6 – even after eating the entire medium pizza on day 6. Until day 6, I had not exercised at all since starting this plan. On day 6 I went for a 21 mile bike ride and I felt strong throughout the ride. This might have been why I was still relatively hungry not long after finishing the pizza. Overall, in one week, I have lost 5 pounds. Not bad!

As noted, I had a three-bean chili for dinner on day 5. I have also eaten it every day since. It is a combination of two recipes (first recipe here, second here) that I altered to fit my tastes. I believe it is one of the best tasting batches of chili I have ever had. It’s hearty, perfect with Saltine crackers, a bit spicy, and overall delicious. I think it would also go well stuffed in a tortilla wrap and eaten as a burrito or eaten as a thick and hearty bean dip. I will have to make more though to find this out, as I just finished the last of it!

Pepper and spice mixture for three-bean chili

Three-Bean Chili
1 can pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans (I had made a batch of kidney and black beans earlier in the week, so I used then instead of canned. I did use a can of pinto beans, however)
8 oz can tomato paste
12 ounces beer (I used Yuengling Light – I think a darker beer would have been a better choice)
12 ounces water
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 green pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 package frozen whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
3-5 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried cumin, or to taste
salt and black pepper, to taste


  • Add oil and onion to large boiler on medium heat, cook onion until translucent (5-6 minutes)
  • Add garlic, all peppers, and all spices. Stirring frequently, cook for 3-5 minutes
  • Add beer, water, tomato paste, and beans. Stir mixture well, reduce heat to low for a slow simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes. I allowed mine to simmer for almost 2 hours.
  • Serve topped with cilantro, crackers, or corn chips.

days 2 and 3 results.

February 4, 2011

Days 2 and 3 proved uneventful. Breakfasts were Kamut with flaxseed meal on day 2, and steel cut oats with flaxseed meal on day 3.

Lunch on day 2 was whole wheat angel hair pasta with Newman’s Own Sockarooni pasta sauce, I also had field peas and 1/2 ear of corn on the cob. Lunch on day 3 was the same pasta and sauce combo with black beans and an assortment of raw vegetables (tomatoes, celery, carrots, and cucumbers).

Dinner on day 2 was brown rice topped with black beans, a huge salad, and steamed broccoli. Dinner on day 3 was whole wheat pasta mixed with brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach, topped with marinated artichoke hearts and about 2 tablespoons of the aforementioned pasta sauce (it’s a great sauce!). I also had a huge salad before day 3’s dinner as well.

My snacks have varied depending on what I was craving. On day 2 I had an apple, baked corn chips, and 1/2 cup of salsa. On day 3 I had an apple, a piece of Ezekiel 4:9 bread topped with peanut butter and a banana, and a few cups of popcorn.

Overall, I’ve lost a pound a day since going vegan. This is in spite of nearly doubling my daily intake of carbohydrates. I am eating until I feel full. A goal of mine has always been to slow down while I eat and it seems this is almost required when eating whole grains. I cannot speed my way through steel cut oats or brown rice even if I wanted to. One thing that has really helped me is that I started off the week by going shopping. Because I have quite a few foods to choose from I do not feel limited in my dietary choices. I have plenty of options for meals and snacks, which I think is necessary when beginning any changes to one’s diet. It’s much easier to resist the whole milk when I have soy milk (which, by the way, I love!). It also doesn’t hurt that whole grains are stacked with fiber – thus, making me fill full on less. Another thing that has helped me has been drinking lots and lots of water. Water combined with the fiber really fills you up.

I’ll probably post my results for a few more days and then once weekly from then on out. The point of this blog isn’t necessarily to chronicle my dietary choices, but also to allow me to ramble about other things as well. Thanks for reading!

the results: day 1

February 1, 2011

The first half of my first day of vegan-only eating began slowly. I had breakfast planned but I was still undecided on lunch as I left for work. I decided to bring along with me some red pepper hummus and wheat pitas as snack or an option for lunch. After work I went shopping and picked up a good bit of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried beans, and some more grains. Here is what I ate for my first day:

Breakfast (~400 kcal)
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats
2 tbs. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Mill (added to oats)

Lunch (~460 kcal)
2 Wheat Pitas
2 tbs. Whole Foods Market Red Pepper Hummus
Two Roma Tomatoes

Afternoon Snack (100 kcal)
1 pack Raw Almonds

Dinner (~650 kcal)
Romaine lettuce salad with 1 tomato and 1 cup alfalfa sprouts
4 tbs. Maple Grove Farms Fat-Free Greek Dressing
1/2 cup Steamed Brussel Sprouts
1/2 cup Steamed Broccoli
1/2 cup Hodgson Mill Wheat Angel Hair Pasta
1/2 cup Newman’s Own Sockarooni Pasta Sauce

I ate about 1600 kcal and I was able to limit my fat consumption to 19% of my caloric intake. I want to keep it below 10% to stay in line with Dr. Esselstyn’s suggestion. The oats, pasta sauce and hummus made it difficult to really limit my fat consumption. Overall, even though I began the day without a clear plan on what I was going to eat, today’s eating ended in success. Today marked the first time I’ve cooked and ate wheat pasta. It’s not the best, but it certainly wasn’t unpleasant to eat. Tomorrow I’m going to make Kamut for breakfast in place of the oats. I’ve never had Kamut, so we’ll see how it goes.

%d bloggers like this: