Archive for the ‘love’ Tag

Animated Holiday Greeting: from jcm to you!

Dear Readers & Friends,

 

Please click on the image or link below (and kindly turn up your volume) to enjoy my holiday greeting to you:

Winter Gifts


Many blessings & best wishes to you and yours!

A Manifesto: To iPhone or Not to iPhone?

I share here a recent solicited (and edited) opinion from a friend on my impending new phone purchase. The 7-year old Samsung Clamshell that came free with my Sprint plan finally kicked the bucket. His manifesto is chock-full of ruminations on the perks and disadvantages of both options. Perhaps it will also help inform you, as it did me with an upcoming purchase!

Do You ❤ iPhone?

I think iPhone users have to say they love their phone, but I’m ambivalent about mine. I like the smartphone concept but I’m not a real “power user” of anything it offers, except email when I’m on the train. I’m also not an iPod user, except SOMETIMES when I fly, and I don’t take tons of photos and want to upload them instantly to FB.

You, on the other hand, are more techy and much more connected via texting, phone, email, Facebook, etc. You can get the same via a nice phone from Sprint (HTC?) with an unlimited data and text plan, but it won’t have the Apple cachet.

I do think that one should not have to dial numbers or look them up. If you have someone in your contacts, you should just be able to tell the phone to dial. That was not on the first iPhone but was part of my previous Samsung phones’ package for at least 8 years.

AT&T vs. Sprint

iPhone and AT&T will be more expensive initially and monthly than Sprint. It’s hard to do an apples to apples comparison because the plans are different, but it is significant. Not a plane ticket to New York each year. But maybe two very nice dinners with wine a year.

Coverage

You can log into the AT&T Coverage Viewer web page and input your zip code to see your coverage. Mine, for instance, does show as lower quality. I’m not sure about your neighborhood, but I do remember when I called you on the way to meet you at the DeYoung Museum last week, I tried to use the 3G service to get Google Maps and it was worthless. Typical. I get good service at home on my Wi-Fi where I don’t need a map, but when I’m lost and away from my home Wi-Fi connection, AT&T sometimes fails me. All networks will probably have problems somewhere.

I do have much slower connection times (from the time I dial to the time it starts ringing) with AT&T than I did with SprintMore dropped calls. Has been totally awful? No. Do I like my phone? Yes. Could I live with another phone from another network? Yes.

Consumer Guide Weighs-In

Consumer Guide just came out with a pretty big statement that they cannot recommend the iPhone (4). But only because they feel that Apple is putting too much of a burden on consumers to ASK for a case to bypass the antenna problem that Consumer Guide says is a design flaw that Apple needs to fix. I agree that it’s bad that Apple initially spent tons ‘o money to send cases to current iPhone 4 users who bought the phone before it was a known issue. But now they seem to have the attitude, like…well, people should know about it by now, so why should we fix it?

Just Like Barbie & Ken

On a lighter note, if you do get an iPhone, before you know it, you’ll be playing with it in bed until the battery goes dead. And, then you’ll totally be accessorizing it like a Barbie or Ken doll. Everyone does, you know. :)

It Can Be Undone

Whatever you do, it can be undone. You simply have to pay some money to cancel a contract (which I believe depreciates over time) or you just hold on for 2 years. There will be more advances by then and you WILL NOT hold on to the same phone for 7 years like you did the last. It will be like wearing the same costume to Trannyshack 2 years in a row! Just telling you, because a new wave is coming and you’re going to ride it.

Play with phones in both places AFTER you know the price differences. Then, go with your informed gut. Remember that none of the marketing or bells and whistles they have on the phone is geared towards what we actually NEED. They will be pushing all your buttons to get you to focus on what you WANT — or, what the world makes you WANT.

What do you WANT? That is the only question you need to answer. Then just buy it — whatever it is.

— Guest Ghost Blogger

[jcm footnote: Just in case you're wondering, I DID purchase my first iPhone, a 3GS, and am just breaking it in! As a web designer, I couldn't pass up on the amazing and intuitive interface, despite these stated disadvantages. I can't believe I waited this long. I also opted for the warm grey, metallic Incase.]

“Turn the clock to zero…”

I have no idea which interpretation of this Sting song will hold true for me on this most important of days, but it inspires me to start anew, continue looking and building forward, and choosing love and truth:

“I’m thinking in a brand new way…
The river’s wide, (I’ll) swim across.
We’re starting up a brand new day.”

Thanks Sting!

(Here are the complete song lyrics.)

“Just as Long as I Have Breath”

The gift of a song at the “right” time


Sometimes your first experience of a song can come at such a ripe, “right” time, it feels as if it were written expressly for you. The words seem to speak directly to you, and the state or space you’re currently in. Today that happened to me at church (www.uusf.org), thanks to the following hymn.

The entire song was beautifully relevant to me…but the third verse, in particular shot straight through to my heart. I am so thankful I attended the service. You just never know when a gift like this, including the entire rest of the beautiful and cohesive liturgy (crafted and led by recently ordained Denis Letourneau Paul and Lindasusan Ulrich), is going to come along. This inspiration is what drew me to become a member of the community a few years ago, and what keeps me going back.

After the service, I speedily went into the church office with hymnal in hand and asked them if I could make an (illegal) copy of it! Thankfully, the very helpful office asst. made me not one, but three copies. It’s not a text I would want to have lost track of! I hope you find it meaningful too.

As an aside, the other musical offerings, by Hans York, my favorite occasional music minister at our church were transcendent and joy-filled, as always. Enjoy samples of his music on iLike.

“Just as Long as I Have Breath”

Words by Alicia S. Carpenter (1930- )
Music by Johann G. Ebeling (1637-1676)

Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, “Yes,” to life;
though with pain I made my way, still with hope I meet each day.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, “Yes,” to life.

Just as long as vision lasts, I must answer, “Yes,” to truth;
in my dream and in my dark, always: that elusive spark.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, “Yes,” to truth.

Just as long as my heart beats, I must answer, “Yes,” to love;
disappointment pierced me through, still I kept on loving you.
If they ask what I did best, tell them I said, “Yes,” to love.

Words: © 1981 Alicia S. Carpenter

What Defines Me?

I just discovered a colleague’s very stylish blog, and was inspired by her post asking What Defines You?,” and her subsequent personal list. As a bit of a Top 10 List addict, I was fast on my way to rounding up my own. I’ve left jcm off the list, as it’s eminently clear that this blog defines me, but that’s just too easy, eh? Here they flow, in random order:

My 7th Birthday Photo


This photo (May ’77, Cincy, OH) conjures up the warm, sentimental feelings of uncomplicated youth, and a loving connection with my family. Although my folks aren’t pictured here, their nurturing presence is all around (and on the other side of the camera). The Winnie the Pooh cake was likely by my special request. I love the retro feel of the old square prints, with rounded corners.

There is a simplicity to my memories of childhood, and of these such moments…no crowded party, or branded birthday theme (seemingly requisite these days), just closeness and joy. I’m so thankful to have the foundation that my upbringing provided me. Funnily enough, CJ has a photo that is almost exactly the same (parallel lives?). Now, just two months from my 40th bday, I suppose I’m a bona fide “adult”!?

“Peristeriona” Ceramic Vase


This vase holds all the memories of CJ’s and my beautiful around-the-world journey together…Hong Kong to Greece to Senegal. It was something I had dreamt of doing for decades, while I racked up frequent flyer miles!

We purchased this in a charming little shop on Sifnos, an authentic, less touristy Greek Island option that we both long to return to one day. The yellow and black colors call to mind the brilliant glow of the sun, and the contrasting shadows, on the traditional white structures and breezy hillsides.

CJ and I have the gift of travelling very well together, and our time on this island was one of our most special yet…divine food, a white-knuckle scooter ride through the hills, and lots of R&R by the sea.

Continue reading post —>

Hankerin’ for some fresh Christmas music?

Looking for some fresh (if not new) Christmas/Holiday/Winter music to add to your annual listening tradition? I know, nobody really buys or listens to “albums” anymore, with our iTunes-driven music world being so song-centric. Well, that may be true most of the time, but at Christmastime I’m still quite album-centric, since I prefer to pack my cds away with the decorations, and essentially rediscover them each year.

Plenty of the mainstream classics are among my annual favs too, including those by John Denver & The Muppets, Vince Guaraldi, The Carpenters, Leontyne Price, and Mariah Carey. BUT, it’s a relief to have less touted treasures to lean on, especially when the classics are getting overplayed…like right about now! Please weigh in on your own rarer holiday favorites.

Classical


Images de Noël: Karina Gauvin (’99)
A phenomenal, underrated crystalline soprano, who specializes in baroque repertoire. Here, she offers spirited renditions of holiday-themed art songs.

The Christmas Album: Original Masters: Various Artists (’03)
Vintage German/Austrian favorites, originally recorded from ’52 to ’70. Includes greats Gundula Janowitz, Fritz Wunderlich and Hermann Prey. You’ll feel like you’re having a Christmas in Salzburg! The retro graphics are charming too.

Carols From the Old and New Worlds: Theatre of Voices (’93)
I first experienced this album thanks to my old voice teacher, who was a member of Theatre of Voices at the time of this recording. It features TIGHT harmonies that feel authentically old world, but still fresh.

Pop/Rock/Folk


A Cold December Night: Erin Bode (’08)
This album offers perfect winter simplicity, delivered in Bode’s gentle spirit.

Classic Christmas: Billy Gilman (’00)
This is easily my most fun and cheerful Christmas album…it’ll make you feel a bit more like a kid again.

The Hotel Café Presents: Winter Songs: Various Artists (’08)
A great compilation of atmospheric, moody contemporary performances, including many originals. Tracks 1, 7, 11, and 15 are favs.

Christmas Means Love: Joan Osborne (’95)
Originally released by Barnes & Nobles, this album didn’t get wide enough distribution. You’ve gotta listen to “What Do Bad Girls Get?”. Her inspired pipes are showcased throughout!

Jazz



Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas: Various Artists (’89)
There is NO better jazz compilation than this. All tracks are mid-century recordings, performed by jazz greats. Originally given to me as a gift, it has become a necessary annual tradition for me! Truly perfect!

An Oscar Peterson Christmas: Oscar Peterson (’95)
Tired of Guaraldi, but you like the whole jazzy Christmas thang? This is another great option.

Hymns Carols and Songs Sbout Snow: Tuck Andress (’91)
Of Tuck & Patti fame, Andress offers up some gentle renditions of the classics.

Misc.

Christmas Disco: The Mistletoe Disco Band (’78)
Wanna shake things up a bit (literally!)? I grew up on this album, and was SO obsessed with the girl on the cover (or, was it her outfit?)! This is some of THE finest Christmas cheese, and the periodic sexy back-up singers are priceless.

The Bells of Dublin: The Chieftains (’91)
I’m honestly not sure how many or few have this album, but I’ve never heard it get any play on the radio, nor heard a friend reference it. So, I’m going to assume it’s not as well known as it should be. Do some vicarious travel to Ireland, thanks to this cd.

So, pour a glass of egg nog, nestle under your most comfy blanket (with a loved one, pet or just yourself), and enjoy some less “played” tunage!

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