Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trying new things

A few weeks ago, on a whim,  I signed up for an introductory climbing class at the university's gym.  A few friends thought it was out of character, but I'm desperate to take up a new hobby and get back into shape now that "but I'm working on my dissertation" is no longer a valid excuse.  Oh, the excuses.

Besides, rock-climbing was one of those things I always wanted to try.  Why not now?

What I like about climbing is it's not only a full-body workout, there's also a lot of mental strategy involved.  It often rewards the bold too, which is not something that comes naturally to me.  Some of the best advice, when I get stuck on a move and don't think I can make it, is JUST TRY IT.

Yoda says "Do or do not. There is no try," but trying is the very least you can do. Trying allows you to fail. And when you fail, you at least learn what doesn't work, then you try again.  And try again.  And when you finally get it, you realize it wasn't so bad.

I'm not particularly adept at climbing, in fact I'm probably pretty horrible at it.  But it's fun, and seeing my confidence and ability improve over the course of a month is pretty rewarding.

So here's to trying new things.  You don't have to be good.  You just have to try.  

Last saturday we did our first outdoor climb.  Here's a picture of my ass getting past the crux.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Best or the worst?

LA Weekly's Music section just posted The 20 Worst Hipster Bands: The Complete List which could actually be called "DJ Kate's Top 20 Bands of the 2000's (so far, plus or minus a few)" because nearly all the bands are actually great and the author(s?) seemingly don't know anything about music.

First of all, are we really still talking about hipsters?  REALLY?  In 2012?  This is journalism?

Secondly, do The Black Keys suck because they're basically ripping off The White Stripes, who also suck? Is Grizzly Bear vague and depressing, in a bad way? Is Beach House "derivative electro mush" because Stereolab and Massive Attack did it first and that's as good as it gets?  NO. FUCK NO. And FUCK YOU for saying so.

I'm wondering why they didn't include other bands I like such as Local Natives and the XX?  Is it still ok to like them?  Or is this opposite day and they actually suck and all the bands on the list are good?

I'm so confused.  Maybe the authors are trying to be edgy and ironic.  Or maybe they wanted to intentionally piss-off a bunch of music lovers to attract traffic to their site.  (Even bad attention is still attention!  Side bar revenue!)

Anyway, people are really ripping into this article in the comments, which I find justifiable and hilarious.

Divine Fits

Divine Fits features Spoon's Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, and  keyboardist Alex Fischel.  

You can stream their entire album online.

Video teaser for the song "A Thing Called Divine Fits"

A Thing Called Divine Fits - August 28
from Divine Fits on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Listening to music to distract yourself

Earlier today, I was waiting at the busstop to come home from work when I realized I left my iPod on my desk.  I lamented having to ride the bus then walk home from the bus station (about ~30 minute trip) listening only to "the sounds of the world in my head," which is how I phrased it to my boyfriend later.

In this case I was specifically bummed because I was in the middle of a Marc Maron WTF podcast interview with Mindy Kaling* that I really wanted to listen to more of.  But it did get me wondering how much I depend on music/podcasts to get through things.  

Is the world so boring that I can't move through the world for thirty minutes without distracting myself?

Or, having depressive tendencies, do I need the distraction to keep my mind from wandering to negative things like feeling insecure about what I look like, replaying awkward social situations in my head, or thinking about how much I hate riding the bus/work/whatever?

Do I love my iPod because I hate my life?

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on this.  If you wear headphones while doing hour long cardio sessions it may be for an entirely different reason than wearing headphones while you're commuting or while you're sitting at your desk at work, formatting coversheets for your TPS reports.

* Level 1 girl crush - can we be friends?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By the way...

I started a new blog devoted to science and life as a scientist (technically I'm engineer, but that may be one of the topics to discuss in the future.)  I work on lasers and LEDs so I will talk about that, as well as graduate school and academia in general.  But I will do it with a twist of humor and self-loathing!

I figure it will be kind of like OkStoopid, but instead of being a 31-year-old woman and dating and dicks it's about being a 33-year-old woman and science and lasers.

Anyway, it's called My Laser Boyfriend and it lives at:

Answers to questions nobody asked:

Is this the end of Auntie Cake?
No!  I will continue to post random stuff about music, bikes and cats here at Auntie Cake.

Why start a new blog?
Because I'm bored.  Because I like new projects.  Because I want to find a way to bridge my interests in science, writing and humor, and a blog seems like an easy way to begin.  Also because I want something separate and a little more professional than posts I've written in the past so starting off fresh seemed like the way to go.

Why the name "My Laser Boyfriend"?
It started off as a joke between some friends of mine on Twitter when I was doing my graduate work and hopelessly dateless.  The joke was that lasers were better than boyfriends.  I'm not so sure it's true anymore.  Anyway, I may change the name.

Will I give up after two years and end up archiving the entire blog on Auntie Cake?

Does the world need another science blog from a female perspective?
Yes.  (The answer has to be yes, right?)

Thee Oh Sees

San Francisco band Thee Oh Sees.  They have the best album covers.

"I Need Seed" from their 2011 album Castlemania on In The Red Records

"Floods New Light"from 2012 album Putrifiers II on In The Red Records

"Tidal Wave" from a 2009 7" single on Woodsist Records

"Meat Step Lively" from their 2009 album Help on In The Red Records

"The Sun Goes All Around" from their 2009 album Dog Poison on Captured Tracks records.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Grizzly Bear "Yet Again"

From their upcoming album "Shields" on Warp

via Pitchfork

Marc Maron & Carrie Brownstein

I just listened to Carrie Brownstein's interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast and I highly recommend it if you're a fan of hers.  She discusses living pacific northwest, not being a lesbian, dogs, guitars, Fred Armisen, and being inadvertently rude to Peter Buck of R.E.M. one time.  

I know I've posted about Carrie Brownstein a few times before... because she's rad.  On the Jenna Marbles girl crush scale she falls in the Level 2 "I want to be you." 

source: @deejaykate & aunticake