Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"He was injured...injured bad."

Because I am 13 years old on the inside...

It is possible that I have posted this before. After 1,100 blog posts, I can no longer keep track. But even if I have posted it before, I think we can all agree that it's totally worth it.

Love is everything. Some butterflies told me so.

Hey, so it's been a while. (Exact match for that phrase on this blog = like, a jillion.)

This weekend, I volunteered at the Best Buddies International leadership conference. It was great, and you should click that link to learn more about the terrific organization and the inspiring kids who commit so much time and energy to it.

On the way to Bloomington, a butterfly who looked remarkably like the one in the picture at right (credit: Nancy Myrland) dive-bombed my car and landed smack in the front grill. This doesn't typically happen in the city, but I figured since I was more or less in the country, it wasn't much of anything to be interested in.

So I proceeded to my destination, put in a couple hours of volunteer time, and as I was walking back to my car, I noticed something I'd never noticed before (or maybe it hadn't been there before). In the front driveway of Briscoe Quad, the dorm where I lived and worked for many, many years, there was a small flower garden. And in that garden, there were dozens of butterflies flitting from flower to flower, doing whatever it is that butterflies do with flowers -- I don't them, drink them, tell them dirty jokes, who can say?

This kind of put me on Yellow Alert because (a) lots of butterflies, man! and (b) I'd never seen that garden before, but it was a place where I'd spent metric crap-tonnes of time. But I went on with my day and visited with my friend Julie and her fiancé Matt, my hosts for the weekend. (By the way, their home is lovely; if you're ever in Bloomington for the weekend, call them. I'm sure they could arrange accommodations at very reasonable rates.)

Matt and Julie and I went to see the new Angelina Jolie thriller "Salt" (which, meh -- 2½ stars, I guess) and as we walked into the theater, there was another butterfly. This one was dead on the sidewalk just outside the theater entrance.

And then there were butterflies in the movie itself, when the main character flashes back to getting married in some sort of butterfly garden thing because her husband is an expert in spiders. Or something? (Again: "Salt" = meh.)

After those four butterfly interventions, I decided to tweet about it, because that is apparently what we do these days. A Twitter FIHMIPY, Stephen James, suggested that the butterflies were telling me to see his wife's art show on the First Friday of August. I'm going, and you should go, too, because her work is beautiful. The pic to the left there, which I've just realized I haven't asked permission to use, is one of her oil paintings.

So maybe I was putting too much thought into this and I just happened to see a lot of butterflies in Bloomington. But I couldn't help thinking there was probably a message to be gained, that the Universe was trying to tell me something. I assumed it was something about this being a time of change for me -- you know, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon and whatever. (Because "Scott is a delicate, precious snowflake in transition" is a message that the Universe would spend time sending. Actually, haha, that may be part of the message, but the rest of the message came today.)

For, you see, today, I was driving to work with my iPod on shuffle, as I do, and a song popped up that I hadn't heard in a while. It was East Village Opera Company's "Butterfly Duet" -- BUTTERFLY, got that? -- which is based on the Love Duet from Puccini's Madama Butterfly. (You've seen me reference EVOC before here; they're known for their contemporary take on classic opera songs.) At the end of EVOC's "Butterfly Duet," after the climax of the Puccini version, they added their own part in which they repeat, over and over, the message that I think I'm supposed to take from this weekend.

Take a listen and get some culture -- three minutes of quality music won't hurt you. If you're reading this on The Facebook, you'll need to click here to listen:

"Love is everything."

I know it sounds pretty woo-woo, but I think that's the lesson that I was supposed to take from the butterflies I met over the weekend and from the Butterfly Duet on my iPod.

Now I just have to figure out what, exactly, that means for me right now. Is that a nudge from the Universe encouraging me to spend more time with family and friends who love me just as I am and want what's best for me? Is it a glance from God saying that loving is more important than achieving -- and more important than being right? A kick-to-the-head from Karma indicating I need to realign myself with what's important? All of the above, and more?

It certainly has helped me to put some things into perspective and helped me realize that it's not about me and it's not about you. It's about us.

Love is everything. Love is every thing.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Song! Challenge! #17: Back to the Intros

When the first Song! Challenge! dropped, it was an homage to song introductions -- those first few notes or those first few seconds that can instantly trigger a memory or an emotion. This week's Song! Challenge! hearkens back to that first golden Song! Challenge of 2009.

This Song! Challenge! is probably more difficult than average because of a few of the clips. I've taken the first several seconds of 18 song clips. How many can you identify?

Your task is to identify all 18 clips -- TITLE OF SONG AND ARTIST -- in this week's Challenge!. Some extra information for this week's game:
  • No TV theme songs this week.
  • But there is something that all of the ARTISTS this week have in common. If you figure out what that is, it might make it easier to identify some of the ones you do not know off the top of your head.
  • This week, the numbers between the clips are here to stay! I think they might even make you laugh, too.
  • Each clip will be worth 2 points, and there will be partial credit. If you get the title but not the artist, or vice versa, I'll give you one point; get 'em both for 2 points. 18 clips x 2 points = 36 possible points.
  • Seems to be working well for me to hold all entries until the deadline. I'll wait to post entries until after the 7pm EDT Tuesday deadline.

The Rules

Your job is to enter your song guesses for all 18 clips (TITLE OF SONG AND ARTIST FOR EACH CLIP) as a single comment here on the blog. Standard rules apply (Judge's decision final, have fun, blah blah blah). Again, I'll be counting minor misspellings and other tiny inaccuracies as correct, as long as you're mostly right.

You can submit your comment-entry starting at 7:00pm EDT tonight, but I won't be approving any comments until after the Tuesday evening deadline. No help from other entries this time around. The deadline for all entries is Tuesday evening at 7:00pm EDT.

You may enter as often as you like -- but each comment/entry will be counted independent of your other entries; so if you get a question right in one entry but wrong in another, it only counts as correct in the one you got it right in. (Got that?) If you're reading this on Facebook, go to the blog: to hear the quiz and enter your comment/entry. And trust me, if you're reading this on Facebook, you're gonna want to hear this one.

The Grand Prize

The first person to correctly identify all the clips in a single entry -- or the person with the most points by 7:00PM EDT ON TUESDAY, JULY 6 -- will win a $10 Costco Cash card, sponsored by me.

And hey! If you're cool and would like to participate as a prize sponsor by donating a prize valued at $10 or more, please e-mail me at SSSemester(at)yahoo(dot)com.

(Almost) Everybody "Wins"

The target number for this week's (Almost) Everybody "Wins" is 20. You'll need to get at least 20 points in order to get the (Almost) Everybody "Wins" prize.

This week's (Almost) Everybody "Wins" prize is a surprise again. I don't have any good ideas, but I promise I'll come up with something! Make sure to leave your e-mail address in the body of your comment/entry so I can e-mail you. (If you're worried about spambots, use the format "user(at)domain(dot)whatever" like I did above, and we should be fine. Nobody reads this blog anyway -- not even spambots.)

Readysetgo by clicking the player below: