Posts Tagged With: Music

2014 – A Retrospective

In previous years, I spent the last few days of December thinking about what I wanted to achieve in the next year while simultaneously crying about all the goals I hadn’t achieved. I think that’s pretty much what everyone does and new year’s resolutions are a perfectly common thing. But it also feels like you’re already starting a new year on a bad note, setting yourself up for failure. No matter how often we tell ourselves that they’re no actual goals, just guidelines and rough drafts, we end up thinking of them as some kind of milestone or goal post anyway. And let’s face it, 365 days are a long time. A lot of things can happen. Most of the time, we aren’t even able to tell what tomorrow is gonna be like and yet, we make these resolutions as if the only factor in reaching our goals was us. And even if that was the case, we may change along the way. Our perspectives could change, we may change our directions, there may be a perfectly fine reason why we didn’t go for that thirty pound loss anymore, or that change of jobs, or why we’re still single, and yet, we feel like we’ve failed.

For 2015, I don’t want to do that. I don’t even want to think of what I didn’t achieve in 2014 or all the bad things that happened. 2014 was a bad year for me, yes, but that doesn’t mean I’ll have to spend the last day of the year dwelling on that. The good thing about having had a bad year is that for the next, the only way is up.

What I do want to do, though, is remember the good things, the nice moments and things, the highlights, however few there may be.

Good Things That Happened in 2014:

  • I am fine, my mom is fine. After all the health issues this year, this is something that deserves to be celebrated. I daresay we’re even doing better than before. Especially my mom is filled with more energy than I expected from her.
  • I got a new car. I don’t think I mention it often enough but I love, love, love little Bruce. Not only because it’s finally a black car and I love driving it but also because it’s the first car I ever bought (well, financed) myself. My first two cars were paid for by my grandpa, the third I did buy myself but my mom brought in her own car which she didn’t want anymore and that exchange took a huge chunk out of the total price. So this is the first time I actually got one for myself and that only makes it extra special and I’m proud of my little Dark Knight.
  • I went to not many but great concerts this year. The highlight being, in absence of any AFI shows, of course, Taking Back Sunday.
  • New opportunities. I started a new project at work and also something bigger in my personal life. None of which have led to anything big so far but they’re fun, they’re new challenges and help break the routine a little.

Favorite Songs of the Year


Favorite Books I Read This Year

Favorite Movies of the Year

Things to Look Forward to in 2015:

  • London with Mel in January. Four days in my favorite city with one of my favorite people. I don’t know how often we talked about going on a trip together. And it seems insane that we never made it to any proper day trip but managed to book a whole city trip together. But I’m so looking forward to it. It’s the first time I’m not only in the city with someone else than my mom (who is great company but slow and not very interested in a lot of things) and it’s not part of an AFI tour. Because that always took such a large chunk out of our time and people I went with rarely showed much interest in sightseeing, after over fifteen years of visiting London every year, there’s still so much I haven’t done and seen and Mel and I have already put so many of them on our list. Excited much?!
  • Mallorca with my mom in May. Not even half a year left until I’ll be back on the beautiful island I lost my heart to two years ago. We even booked the same hotel. I always feel a little bad going to a vacation spot twice, and even to the same hotel. There’s so much of the world left to discover! But Mallorca is so beautiful and there’s still so much I haven’t seen or didn’t have enough time to enjoy. We got so little time in Sollér last time and also didn’t make the best of Palma. I’m excited to go back. And hotels…well, there are so many bad hotels out there, why not take advantage when you found one that makes you feel at home?
  • So.many.awesome.movies. 2015 will be one of the greatest years, movie-wise. I should just rent a spot in our local cinema and be done with it. Just a few I can think of right now: Big Hero 6, Into the Woods (won’t be out here before next year), Minions, Cinderella, Mockingjay Pt. 2, Jurassic World
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Categories: Bookworm, Me Myself and I, Movies, Music is my boyfriend, Wanderlust | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

My Blue Heaven

It’s a Tuesday night. I woke up early, when it was still dark outside, to go to work. Despite leaving work early, I’m so tired I can barely think straight. The plan was to get home, shower, then get ready and hurry back out. As usual, reality strayed from the plan. I made it as far as the shower, then crashed on the couch for a nap. Followed by…a nap. Dreaming of getting married on a beach because The Wedding Island or what it’s called was running in the background. That’s gotta count for something. Then I had to hurry and it was one of those ‘slap on foundation and lipstick simultaneously while blow drying my hair using all four limbs at once in the course of twenty minutes and hurry the fuck out the door’ affairs. I think I get bonus points for managing to order a last minute Christmas gift for my mom, though.

I gotta say, though, I have some kind of built in good luck when going to concerts alone because I usually find a parking space within five minutes, not even requiring a full drive around the block. Now I’m here at everyone’s favorite venue in Cologne (not!), the Luxor, waiting impatiently for Taking Back Sunday to take the stage, or even just the support act. I’ve already had a rather cute young girl approach me with a flyer of one of the support acts, urging me on to visit their website and download a free song. My inner music snob took a look at the emo-goth-rock-pop-esque band picture and wanted to crumple it. But the girl was so adorable that I think I may just do it for her sake, even if she’ll never know. I’ve had too many people snubbing me and my favorite bands in my life. So I’m sitting here (Yes, sitting! Right behind the sound engineer dude wizard!), doing my usual crowd watching and I can’t help but feel that man, TBS has grown up, and so have their fans. There are the usual scene kids around, sure, but they’re a minority and probably here because they try to score as many gigs as they can in one year, not because they truly care about this particular band. I’ve noticed, with shock, that TBS have been around for so long now that they’re a classic, a staple in everyone’s emo-screamo-post hardcore-punk-pop-rock playlist. It’s been eleven years since I went to their first show, a day before getting my first tattoo. It was the same city, but another venue. Front row, getting covered in Adam Lazzara’s spit while trying to pretend I knew more than one line of one song. Time flies.

The first support act takes the stage, Blitzkid, from Manchester, as the singer likes to point out, even though his accent may have given it away already. I’m instantly smitten by their music, not so much the singer’s voice. For the first couple songs, I feel like it hurts my ears and even though I’ve never heard anything by this band before, I’m pretty sure his singing is off. Then, I’m not sure what happens, his voice gets smoother, fits the music more, and it becomes a really nice experiences. I reach for my phone and quickly make notes so I’ll remember to check them out later, maybe even buy an album if they’re as good on a record. They’re music sounds smooth, some obvious emo influences, a lot of melancholy mixed with inspirational ‘Let’s Get Going’ lyrics. I can see this band filling bigger venues at some point. Nice.

Now, support acts are a delicate affair. First of all, they’re support acts. They’re the only thing between you and the band that you came to see. If you’re lucky, it’s someone you know and like, or at the very least their name was announced before the show and you could check them out. (I always say I’ll do that but then I forget anyway.) For the most part, theirs is an ungrateful job because at best, the crowd will only be 50:50 in their favor. And you just never know what’s in store for you. I try to be fair, give them a chance, go along with things even if I’m not 100% impressed, unless they really, really suck (in my opinion). But even I have my limits.

So when the second support act, Marmozets, takes the stage, I am considerably less patient. It is almost nine, I am tired, I have gone through my first bottle of water, I am more than ready for Taking Back Sunday. But nope. What follows is…a new kind of torture. I don’t even know how to describe their music, I guess that alone would be fine. They even have some good riffs and their drummer is awesome. But the singer, my god, the singer! When she talks, or actually sings, you can tell her voice isn’t so bad, even quite pleasant. But she chooses to use it to screech and scream instead, reaching notes that would make bats curl up on the floor and cry. Around me, I can see that a lot of people are equally shocked so thankfully, it isn’t just me being ignorant. In the front, I see people dancing and pumping their fists, so I suppose they do have a fanbase. Good for them. I won’t be joining that crowd anytime soon, though.

9:30 comes and goes. 9:45 comes and goes, too. Then, just before 10, Taking Back Sunday finally take the stage. It is quite unceremonious, or at least it feels that way after the Marmozets have used a dramatic intro. The first thing I notice all over again is how genuine and adorable the band looks on stage. More like a bunch of laid back guys deciding to make music together. It takes about one third of a song and you’re hopelessly smitten by these guys. What’s It Feel Like to Be a Ghost? has never been one of my favorite songs but it definitely makes for a good show opener. Personally, I’ve always wanted to hear them open a show with Carpathia because the intro to that song is just killer but it may never happen because it already seems to be one of those forgotten songs that no one ever remembers when asked about that particular band.

The setlist tonight isn’t the best I’ve ever seen them play but it holds some of my personal highlights, the biggest being My Blue Heaven which is very, very far up on my list of personal favorites (and ‘sing along to in the car’ songs, too, but that is another story, one that doesn’t beg to ever be shared with the general public, or anyone who isn’t me or my car). The choice of songs is also admirably diverse, containing some from the new album, of course, some more recent singles, but also a bunch of old classics.

If I ever forget why I love this band, I’ll just have to think of tonight. Because, as Adam explains later on, they were supposed to leave the stage at some point and sit backstage for a few minutes, playing the good old ‘encore’ game with the crowd. Instead, though, they squeeze in a few crowd requests, so we get additional songs instead of a couple minutes of dead time. Apparently they’re capable of playing pretty much their entire repertoire of songs by request – to a musical idiot like me, that’s admirable! Whoever asked them to play One-Eighty By Summer is a genius, too. Request well spent, my dear! Another little highlight comes when Adam points out a girl in the crowd, apologizes profusely for ’embarrassing her’, and tells the crowd that he recognized her from Twitter and how very much he and the rest of the band appreciate her dedication as a fan. These guys are so humble, it’s adorable! Imagine having thousands of people across the globe liking what you do and messaging and tagging you on social media websites every single day. Damn, I get overwhelmed when more than two people message me at once, and these people are usually my friends! And they remember a person who isn’t technically a part of their daily life and even manage to make her feel appreciated. Or at least I hope that’s how she feels.

The show ends with their biggest hit so far, MakeDamnSure. It shouldn’t be a surprise but it is because they’ve blown that one out early on the last time I saw them. I don’t care, either way, it is a damn good song and a great highlight to finish the show with. But it’s also awesome when a band shows they’re so in love with all of their work that they don’t need to have predictable highlights on their setlist. By now, I am so head over heels with Taking Back Sunday again, they could have ended the show with my least favorite song (which I can’t even think of right now), and I’d still be walking out of there with a stupid grin on my face.

I swear, every single time I’ve seen this band, I promised myself I’d stick around and finally ask for a picture with at the very least Adam, preferably every single member of the band. And every single time something happens that prevents me from it, not even myself chickening out but really some sign of the universe being against me meeting this band. This time, it was a combination of my parking time having run out and the fact that in theory, leaving your coat in the car to save space is a good idea. The practice, though, is that you emerge from a venue, slightly sweaty, and are met with a freezing cold breeze, then hightail it back to your car, all the while hoping you won’t lose a limb or two to the cold. So yeah, no picture this time, either. Boo. No pictures from the show, either. I tried to test the waters while Blitzkid played and got a blurry result that may or may not be a band on a stage. Serves me right for always, always, always, even against better judgement, relying on my phone all over again.

So this makes it the second time I’ve seen Taking Back Sunday in 2014 and while this year was pretty shitty in general, I can’t help but feel quite blessed because of this. I hope they’ll show us some love next year, too.

(I wrote the beginning of this entry on Tuesday, on my phone, inside the venue, hence the present tense. And I kind of liked it, so I stuck to that. PS: The WordPress app is pretty decent when only writing text!)

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It’s Just One of Those Nights

…and it’s only a little over a week until I get to see this live again!

Categories: Me Myself and I, Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lust and Love and a Smattering of Romance

So I am sitting in our local Starbucks right now and I am working on…something that I am not ready to share the details of out of fear that I’ll fail at it and feel like a tool again. And I have my earplugs in and am listening to my entire iTunes library on shuffle when this song comes on.

Hands down, that’s one of the best songs to lift your spirits. If this video doesn’t put a giant smile on your face, what will? If you’re having a bad day (or a good one, even better), do yourself a favor and watch this video.

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You Had Time to Waste and I’m Not Sorry

Alkaline Trio & Bayside, Cologne

Alkaline Trio & Bayside, Cologne

I went to see Alkaline Trio last night. I’ve liked them for a while but they’ve always been one of those bands that I enjoy listening to but would not call myself a fan of. But when I heard they were playing here only last week, and that the tickets were indeed only 20 Euros, I spontaneously decided to go. This was crazy in so far that I decided to go on my own. I don’t know why I don’t do this more often. Yes, things are often more fun with nice company. But quite often, going alone beats the available company in my case. Going with someone is only fun if the other person is able to enjoy it, too. At least I’m not comfortable with feeling like I’m dragging someone along. So in most cases, I just end up not going at all. I don’t even know why.

I was so comfortable last night. The breaks were a bit dull, yeah, but I can always do stuff on my phone and simply go back to the good old people watching.

The venue, Bürgerhaus Stollwerck in Cologne, is one of my favorite locations in the world. It’s a community center that’s used for a number of shows, gatherings and other events, so it doesn’t look very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ but the sound is great, the air never gets too stuffy, it has too large balconies that have a great view if you don’t want to go down into the pit and it’s easy to go their by car or public transport. That’s more than can be said about most venues in Cologne. And can we just take a moment to hate the fact that I actually have to go to Cologne for most things?

The awesome part of this show was that they were bringing Bayside along for this one. The downside was that they still had another support act, Apologies, I Have None from the UK. Musically, they were awesome but I didn’t like the singer’s voice at all, which is, of course, subject to personal taste and has nothing to do with talent. Still, I could have done without another support act.

Bayside were great, although I’m afraid to say that either the majority of the crowd didn’t agree or they simply didn’t like to show if they enjoyed it. I’m not much of a dancer myself but then I don’t go stand in the front rows. Sadly, just a small pit in front of the stage did rock out to the band, although they did their best to get the crowd going.

But then again, even when Alkaline Trio finally took the stage, that small island within the crowd was the only place where people really went along for the first few songs. After a while, though, people slowly started losening up and the mood got better and better. If I had one thing to complain about, though, it’s that I’m tired of American bands mentioning German beer. Yes, we brew some mean stuff, get over it!

The band themselves seemed a little moody but I don’t know if perhaps they’re just not to sweet bunch of guys. They seemed pretty…tough?! But that wasn’t what I’d come to there for. I wanted to hear some of the songs I’ve been listening to and loved for years and that’s what I got. Musically, they’re surely one of the best bands I ever got to hear live. Impressive!

It left me hungry for more, though. I’m thinking about going to see Kristopher Roe from The Ataris supporting MxPx next week but I don’t know. He’ll play an acoustic set and there’ll be a second support act again, too. I don’t know if I’m up for that. Right now I’d say yes but eeeehhh, decisions!

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Goodbye 2013! My Year in Review

We talked about 2013 on a forum I frequent the other day and when I wrote my short recap, I came to the conclusion that 2013 pretty much just was for me. It had its ups, it had its downs. I’m not sure I’ll look back on it as a year that was all that special on a personal level.

But even though, or maybe because, it was so unspecial, I’d like to focus on it in a bit of a detailed view. It’s good to look back on things and learn from them, appreciate them and just remember them. This also led to the first time ever that I jotted down notes before writing a blog post. I’m pretty sure what I’ve written in this blog in over a year now is a dead giveaway for how unfocused my blogging usually is. I sit down and write and to be honest, most of the time I have no idea where I’m going until I’m done. But when I decided I was gonna write a recap of my 2013, I quickly came to the realization that reviewing a whole year just isn’t gonna work without notes. Without thinking long and hard, I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch today, so remembering the past not-quite-365 days without a reminder here and there would be close to impossible.

In the process of taking my notes, I quickly started putting them into categories. Originally, this was just meant to help me organize my thoughts but then I figured it was a good way to do this. So here’s my year…

Personal Highlights

  • AFI: I wrote about this long and hard already, but my favorite band released a new record this year, after four long years of absence. It is hard for me to write about this on a platform like this blog because I’m aware how this comes off with other people. The majority of people have fond memories of being a fan of a band – when they were 14. They can’t fathom what it’s like when that kind of love for (an) artist(s) remains. With most people that gets replaced by other things that become important to them over the years and just like with other values that we are taught are ‘publicly acceptable’, we come to feel like ‘the odd one out’ when we feel differently. I’m not ashamed of how I feel about AFI, I’m just afraid of not doing how important they are to me and on what level justice by not finding the right words. I don’t want people to think this is a silly thing, just because I fail to explain it properly. For now, though, let it suffice to say that I’ve missed being an active fan of this band. And by active I mean actually having something new to deal with, having a word to spreads, having a tour to hope and plan for. The latter still hasn’t happened but I’m confident that it’ll happen in ’14. As an album, ‘Burials’ hit me on a very emotional level. The hurt and anger and emotional stress of this album is so raw and familiar to me that I think it would have caught me off guard either way, whether it is by AFI or another artist. For weeks, I built myself a home inside those songs and lived there quite comfortably. Which is exactly what I’ve always known and needed from this band. Which explains quite perfectly why they’re such an important part of my life.
  • Friendships: 2013 Has been quite the nice little rollercoaster ride for me when it came to friendships. I got a lot closer with one friend who is especially important to me because we have so much in common and are so very alike in aspects that matter. So far, there was this invisible wall between us that drove us apart whenever we started opening up, as if we were afraid to do just that. At some point, after a lot of fights and drama, this wall disappeared and we grew so much closer which is a nice, if even a little scary, feeling. With all of my anxiety and trust issues, I still feel the urge to run every now and again but I can even tell her about that without feeling like she thinks I’m crazy. Then another friend came back into my life at a time when I least expected it, catching me off guard and leaving me to contemplate things all over again. Now, after several months have passed, I’m confident that letting her in again was a good decision. It’s still a bit tender, like a new tattoo and I think it’s still a matter of trial and error with finding the right dosage of each other but at the moment, it feels right, like we’re doing the right thing. What I didn’t like was how it threw me into yet more drama with people who I feel have no say in what I do with my life and who don’t even know me. On the kindergarten frame of mind level, they still think in social groups and all you can do is choose not to play their games. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try to still drag you down. I know that it’s partly my own fault for allowing them to do that and for letting it get to me but sometimes I can’t help it. Especially when some people are so obsessed with getting at me that they cannot even let it go, even when I choose not to comment on or reply to anything they say or do. The third friendship that is giving me a bit of a headache is also my oldest friendship. A girl who’s been nothing but kind to me in over ten years. Almost 15, I think? We used to be so close but over the past couple years, I feel we’ve drifted apart. And I’m not completely innocent, I know that. It’s just really hard to face this huge and important talk I know we’re supposed to have about it all eventually. It’s actually one of my goals for the next year to try and save this friendship or maybe move it to a new level, if need be. The last one that deserves to be mentioned here is a girl I met through my weight loss journey. We’re not so close, yet, that I’d see her as a part of my inner circle but we’re in such a similar position with where we are with our weight loss and what we’re struggling with that our conversations get increasingly personal and it’s nice to share that with someone who truly understands.
  • Mallorca: After I don’t know how many years, I finally had a proper holiday again! I’ve blogged about this more than is healthy already and I’n still missing the last part which I may add later just for closure, so I’m not gonna go on and on about it. Let me just say how good it was to get out, change the scenery for a bit, enjoy the sun and think of nothing but which sights I wanna see tomorrow for a while.

Things I Learned / Achieved

  • I’ve finally accepted and come clean about my own anxiety. It shows in many ways but mostly, my social anxiety is really, really bad. I go through good phases when it doesn’t bother me at all and life seems easy to me but the bad times are never far away. I’ve told my closest friends about it, so they know I’m not being unnecessarily difficult. Which doesn’t mean I get to hide behind it and be reckless, but I hope it’ll help them understand how my mind works sometimes. It’s also something that I know fessing up to was just the first step of. I’ll have to work on it and constantly push myself to my own limits so hopefully, I’ll get better at dealing with it, even though I don’t dare hope this will ever leave me.
  • One of the best things I’ve done today was changing my doctor. In Germany, everyone has a regular practitioner that you go to for check-ups and temporary illnesses like a flu and who you will also go to for a recommendation of professionals regarding more difficult or permanent things. My old one was just really not very helpful and supportive and I’m so glad I switched because even though I’ve only seen my new doc twice, she’s already helped me a lot and made me feel much better about myself and my health issues.
  • The other good thing, though I’ve not been doing so well in the past few weeks, was changing my gym. It’s a much more professional place and gives me the opportunity to follow a much more personal and custom plan. Unlike my old gym, it makes me feel like I’m not alone, like there is someone who will listen to what I want to achieve and help me get there. When you’re a born lazybutt like me and someone puts you into a gym, you just feel overwhelmed. Where do I start? What do I do? How do I use all those machines? What courses are right? At my old gym, though people there were nice, I just felt alone with my quest and like everything they had to offer was made to suit everyone. Which just doesn’t help. I have to lose a significant amount of weight, the next person may be skinny and wanting to gain a lot of muscle. So we have different needs but the gym wasn’t really prepared to offer help with that. So I already feel better knowing that what I do when I go there is the right thing for me.
  • I took up writing again. Nothing major but when Secret Santa time came around, not only did I finish the actual story for that but also one for a friend and it reignited the spark I’d been missing for so long. Since then, I’ve had a million different ideas and hope to go through with at least some of them, rather than adding another few dozen unfinished pieces to the long list on my hard drive.

Books

  • The Land of Stories 1 & 2 by Chris Colfer: I’ve been a fan of the TV Series Glee for a while but never knew that Chris Colfer had written a book, or two by now. So I stumbled upon the first book by accident when I found a thread on a book community in which someone offered her copy as a wandering book. I signed up and had to wait for quite a long time. So long, actually, that I had considered buying it instead. But then it arrived and I read it and loved it so much that I immediately pre-ordered part two which I also got to read this year. I recently learned that Chris is working on part three and this got me so inexplicably excited! Fairytale adaptions are one of my weaknesses and he does it so well!
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: For some reason, TFIOS was almost the last book by John Green I got to read after falling in love with this author. Even though it is his most well known and popular publication so far. I think I was a little afraid of my own expectations. It is, after all, a YA book about a girl who has cancer. You find way too many books about The Big C on YA literature shelves and one day I hope to explore why that is so. Most of them are amazing but you know what they say, ‘too much of a good thing…’. So I was a little hesitant. But TFIOS really is as amazing as they all say. And more. I am 31 and I have a teeny weeny crush on Augustus Waters. There, I said it!
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This was probably my big surprise this year when it came to books. I bought this as part of an Amazon special in which you could buy three English paperback titles for 10 €. Most of the titles on offer didn’t seem very appealing to me as they were a lot of romance or sequels to books I hadn’t read. But I already had The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Map of Time in my basket and needed a third book and then I saw Ready Player One and remembered having read a good review about it somewhere. The plot seemed vaguely interesting, so I put it in my basket. It ended up being the first I read of the three and even though I was so suspicious about it, it turned out being one of my favorite reads this year. It was nerdy, clever, sweet at some point and set in a really, really detailed future world that you could imagine to exist a couple hundred years from now. Even though I’m nowhere near as obsessed with virtual worlds as the characters in this book, I can understand where the author is coming from. It’s so easy to lose yourself in online games and identify with your avatar in one way or another and Ernest Cline simply took it a step further, creating a wonderful ‘What If…’ scenario.
  • Authors: I discovered two new authors this year whose work really impressed me. One is Linda Castillo whose Kate Burkholder series I started with early this year. Right now, the fourth book is waiting to be read by me. It is set on the edges of an Amish community and besides the tension and suspense her stories offer, I like learning about these people and their traditions without it being boring in any way. With Neil Gaiman, I’m a little late to the party. Whenever I mention how much I enjoyed reading Neverwhere, everyone just rolls their eyes at me. Apparently, the whole world has been a fan for years. I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I made it a plan for ’14 to read more of his work.

Movies

  • Despicable Me 2: If you know me, you know I’m slightly obsessed with the Minions. I have posters, figurines, apps…whatever I can get my hands on and can actually use in some way. The first movie was probably one of my all-time favorites and I was looking forward to the sequel like other people are looking forward to their wedding days. For months, we had posters outside the cinema near the mall and every single time I saw them, I’d squeal. When the time finally came, sadly, I only made it to the cinema twice, not a million times like I’d planned. But it was glorious. Amazing. My God, how I enjoyed this movie! And I didn’t even particularly care for the plot, though it was enjoyable. I can’t wait for the Minions movie!
  • The Hunger Games – Catching Fire: I’ve read the books, I’ve cried, I’ve been tempted to throw my Kindle at the wall. So I have to watch the movies, too. And how brilliant they are! Catching Fire was so close to what I imagined things to look like while reading the book, I spent most of the time in the cinema convinced that I had already seen the movie. Which was impossible, I’d hardly even seen trailers. But it really came so close. I loved every second of it and can’t wait for the next part.
  • Now You See Me: This was my big surprise this year. I love Amy Adams, so one night when my friend and I found ourselves on the steps of a local theater, spontaneously in the mood to see a movie, I instantly voted for this one. But at the time I didn’t expect more than a bit of mild entertainment. But this movie was so, so good, really smart and had more strengths than just the magic tricks / special effects.

Goals 2014

  • Lose weight: I don’t remember a time in my life when this wasn’t part of the plan. Instead of making it a goal to be a skinny supermodel by the end of the year, though, I’m just not gonna set a specific goal but just promise myself that I’ll do my best to achieve as much as I can.
  • Be more organized: Again, this is a rather vague thing that involves more than just tidying up more or keeping the paperwork at home in line. It also includes small things like taking notes at work, using post-its for actual reminders rather than just doodling, remembering distant friends’ birthdays and sending cards out in time, taking two minutes to remove my makeup at night, not constantly forgetting to brush my hair, clear the dishes right after meals, and so on. If I get better at this, it’ll be easier for me to deal with everyday life in the long run because I know things are just running automatically and I don’t have to stress myself out so much over the smallest things.
  • Stay calm / Relax more:  I tend to freak out at the smallest cause because I’m just so annoyed with things in my life right now. It doesn’t make things easier and it doesn’t help and the only thing I achieve with it is make myself feel worse, so I need to find a way to stay calm and not act like a crazy ghetto bitch.
  • Rekindle friendships: There’s one particular close friend I already mentioned earlier who I’d like to become closer with again because I really miss her friendship. We’ve drifted apart a lot and I know we’ll never fully be on the same emotional level and share so many interests again but that doesn’t mean we can’t make this work. And then there are a few other people who I’ve never really been close with before but we were on casual terms, checking in with each other every other day and that’s gone down the drain over the years, as well. I’d like to get back to having that extended circle of friends again and let them know I’m here if they need me.
  • Save Money: I’ve really lost my way here. I went from having almost 1.000 € in my savings account + another 150 € in my piggy bank to have almost nothing left. And with the prospect of a possible AFI tour soon, I really need to get my act together. I’ve done well this month already by putting aside almost 100 € again and I hope to stay on this track. Also I want to stop abusing my credit card for spontaneous purchases whenever I don’t have the cash, so I can use it for the tour as well.
  • Go veggie: I want to give the vegetarian diet another go. I thought I may start by challenging myself to stick to a veggie diet for a week, if that goes well, extend it to two weeks, and so on. If I fail, I’ll start again. In the past few weeks, I’ve already explored several veggie lunch alternatives I could rely on at work. There’s a bakery / lunch restaurant that has freshly cooked pasta dishes every day and most of them are vegetarian. And there are a bunch of different supermarkets nearby that offer different kinds of salads or other vegetarian dishes. So even if I forget to pack lunch, I’d have good alternatives.
  • Cook more: This goes along with the goal above because it’s certainly easier to stick to a certain diet when you’re prepared. But it’s also easier to lose weight and be healthy when you eat homemade food that you know the actual ingredients of and that you can alter according to your own likes or dislikes.
  • Laugh more, cry less: Sort of explains itself, really.

Challenges 2014

  • Lose weight: This is not one big challenge as such but rather one I plan to take baby steps with as before. Right now, I’m still on the first step that’s listed on my Challenges page which is to lose 2.2kg by mid-January. Since I’m still lacking a working scale, I have no reliable result but hope to be on the right track.
  • Goodreads Challenge: As every year, I’m gonna take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge again and since I’ve struggled to reach my goal of 50 this year, I won’t up it and set it to 50 again. This time, I’ll put the widget on my Challenges page as well as soon as Goodreads lets you do that.

So, that’s all, folks!

I hope everyone has a great NYE, a lot of fun, whether you’re partying or staying home. I know I’m ready for 2014 to arrive.

Ready for 2014!

Ready for 2014!

Be safe and see you on the other side!

Categories: Bookworm, Foody, Me Myself and I, Movies, Weight Loss, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I feel like I am sixteen again

Yesterday, I got my first letter from a new penpal. I used to have a lot of those but as I got older, I got a lot more picky. There are safety issues with giving your address to strangers, of course, but more importantly, you really need to have a connection with someone to be able to write letters that are several pages long. Letters, even more so than small talk, can be really awkward and full of uncomfortable little silences between the lines.

My favorite penpal for years was a girl from Australia. We wrote whole novels to each other and really clicked because we shared the same humor. But then we ruined it all by becoming friends on Facebook. Or at least I think that’s where we went wrong. We started writing messages on there instead and it just wasn’t the same. Our letters took months to write and send out. In a year, we made it to perhaps three or four exchanges. But once we had taken things to the Facebook level, it was so hard not to fall for the ability to reply within a few hours. And even harder not to get used to that. Messages came faster and faster, got shorter and shorter and were less and less thought through. In the end, I think both of us had a hard time not to take it personal when we were taking a few days or weeks to reply. It’s a real shame but none of the things you could take back just like that.

After that, I started the odd attempt to find new penpals and found it really hard. Penpal websites are full of people who want to find other people from all over the world to practice their languages at best. Which is a really nice idea but I’m just not very good at that. I just really like writing letters, thinking about what I want to tell the person, how to put it all, then send it off and wait impatiently for a reply. It’s so nice to find a long letter from a nice person among all the bills and bad news in my mailbox.

But still, I got tired of looking. Whenever I updated my profile, it would appear on the frontpage of that website again and I’d get seven million emails, some nice, some obvious scam, but never really anything that made me feel like I was talking to a person I could really connect with. So I gave up on it. I haven’t updated my profile for years now and to be honest, I forgot about it all. Until sometime in October when I got an email from a guy telling me he’d found my profile. At first, I thought it was spam but then read the email anyway. What he wrote sounded like he really knew something about me. It was all there, my love for music, books, etc. It made me remember all about that dreaded profile. And it also made me reply in an instant because it was so crazy how much we had in common, how easily we could get into talking. But we both agreed that snail mail was so much nicer so after two or three emails, we exchanged addresses. (Don’t try this at home, kids! Normally, you shouldn’t hand out your home address to strangers so easily.) I agreed to write first and I did so right the next day. And then spent weeks waiting impatiently. Until I found a thick envelope in my mailbox yesterday.

Now, let me tell you, I know I’m a girl. It’s so easy to wow me. But this new penpal of mine made me smile like an idiot while I was reading his letter. Not in a crush-kind of way. But we have so many interests in common, share opinions and can just talk about things forever, especially music. I felt like I was sixteen again and rambling about my favorite bands to someone, then hear theirs. The way we talk, it’s straight out of a Nick Hornby novel, I swear. And yes, there was a squeaky “OMG, he likes my favorite band!”-moment!

I’ve never really shared this with anyone. I have an old friend who I used to fangirl with a lot but we haven’t done so in a while and even then, we usually just listen to each other’s newest obsession but never really find ourselves on the same page. While at the same time, of course, he and I can also talk about other things. It’s only been two letters but we’ve already written about deep, painful things that happened in the past and even then, what he has to say makes me smile because it all seems so sincere.

Let’s just hope I won’t mess this up again. No Facebook this time!

Categories: Me Myself and I, Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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