Meb Byrne

Archive for the ‘smile-inducing’ Category

Carving Initials Into Desks

In album, inspiration, music, romance, smile-inducing, women on April 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Something’s happened. Your day-dreaming quota is through the roof. You’re Facebook stalking like a pro. You find yourself compulsively hugging your knees and grinning like a Cheshire, or pogoing around your apartment and shrieking. Face it- you’ve got a crush on someone.


What to do, you implore? Not much. Don’t overthink; don’t do anything too stupid; remember to eat once in a while. Your euphoria might not last forever, and it might not last the summer, and it might not last the week, but dammit, right now, it’s new and exciting and all your single friends are jealous. Now is awesome. Focus on now.

To add some extra height to that hop in your step, here’s a playlist for all you twitterpated punks out there (to be played in sequential order).

1. I’ve Just Seen A Face, The Beatles

2. Suddenly Everything Has Changed, The Postal Service

3. First Day Of My Life, Bright Eyes

4. Balance Beam, Blue October

5. Hands Down, Dashboard Confessional

6. Come Down With Love, Allstar Weekend

7. She’s Got You High, Mumm Ra

8. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths

9. As Lovers Go, Dashboard Confessional

10. Die Alone, Ingrid Michaelson

11. Tiger Lily, Matchbook Romance

12. All My Loving, The Beatles

13. I Will Hold On, Moxy Fruvous

14. Giving Up, Ingrid Michaelson

15. Her Beautiful Ideas, The Guggenheim Grotto

16. Never Gonna Leave This Bed, Maroon 5

17. Parachute, Ingrid Michaelson

18. Blue Skies, Blue October

19. 18th Floor Balcony, Blue October

20. Take Over The World, Juliana Daily


Deserve Better Playlist

In album, inspiration, music, smile-inducing, women on October 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Let’s face it: you miss your ex.

He was sweet. He was comfortable. He was familiar. He was also a total loser and a creep, which is why you gave him the boot- but that doesn’t make it any easier to fill the hole he left in your life.

This is a playlist for the dumpers: those girls and boys who were honest with themselves, ended things quickly and cleanly, and still can’t get their erstwhile significant other off their minds.

I’ll be the first to say it: you deserve better. You deserve someone who can live up to your expectations, who’s cool and who thinks you’re cool too. Right now, you deserve time alone to wade through your confused feelings, knock back a few margaritas and begin your life anew. And dammit, you need a soundtrack while you do it.

Without further ado: the Deserve Better Playlist (to be played in sequential order).

  1. I Should Have Sent Roses, Elton John & Leon Russell
  2. Not Goin’ Cry, Mary J. Blige
  3. Gone, Ben Folds
  4. Turn The Lights Out When You Leave, Elton John
  5. Did You Give Enough Love, Celine Dion
  6. Once Was Love, Ingrid Michaelson
  7. Why Should People Stay The Same, Harry Chapin
  8. Sorry To Myself, Alanis Morissette
  9. Shesmovedon, Porcupine Tree
  10. Why Don’t You Love Me, Beyonce
  11. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough), Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
  12. When A Woman Doesn’t Want You, Elton John
  13. Been Down, Blue October
  14. Irreplaceable, Beyonce
  15. My Heart Dances, Elton John (from The Road To El Dorado)
  16. Stronger Than Me, Melissa Etheridge
  17. Better Than Me, Hinder
  18. I Look So Good (Without You), Jessie James
  19. Now I Feel Better, Ayo
  20. Stronger, Britney Spears
  21. U Should Know Better, Robyn feat. Snoop Dogg
  22. Can’t Touch It, Ricki-Lee
  23. Better Days, Bruce Springsteen
  24. Miss Independent, Ne-Yo
  25. Whole Lot Of Leavin’, Bon Jovi
  26. Strong Enough, Cher
  27. Independent Woman, Boy George (from Taboo)
  28. Love Is On The Way, Celine Dion
  29. Haven’t Met You Yet, Michael Buble

For your listening ease and pleasure, this playlist is also available on Grooveshark.

Sterling Renaissance Festival

In fashion, geek, historical, photo op, recommended, renaissance, smile-inducing, syracuse, theater on July 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm

When I was eight years old, my mother took me to the Sterling Renaissance Festival (or Faire) for the first time. The Faire recreates the town of Warwick in the county of Warwickshire, England, in 1585, celebrating a visit from Queen Elizabeth I. The food, the shops, and especially the performers captured my young imagination, and have drawn me back year after year. This summer, I traveled upstate to celebrate the Pirate Invasion, one of Sterling’s theme weekends. Many things have changed since that first visit, but at its core, the Faire still retains its wonderfully magical appeal.

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The Sterling Renaissance Festival runs Saturdays and Sundays in Sterling, New York, rain or shine, until August 15.


Jell-O Mold Competition

In brooklyn, dessert, event, exhibit, food, funny, geek, science, smile-inducing, treasure trove on July 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm

To properly celebrate America’s birthday, certain foods are required. The most inscrutable of these culinary staples is Jell-O, an old-timer from the 1950s. Omnipresent yet ignored on many a picnic table, Jell-O manifests itself in various questionable yet patriotic shades, and is packed with similarly questionable fruits. Has the once-proud dessert been sequestered to this sad fate forever?

Never fear! The brave folks in Brooklyn will not let the gelatinous dessert go wobbly into that good night. Recently, down a small, forgettable Park Slope side street, several score amateur Jell-O enthusiasts gathered in the Gowanus Studio Space for the Jell-O Mold Competition, to showcase their imaginative gelatin creations and vie for prizes.

First, there were the obvious edible creations. Along with the predictable shiny apple pie  and red velvet cake, artists assembled Jell-O sushi with chopsticks, slid oysters melting on the half-shell, and carved up a delicious trio of multi-flavored fruit wedges molded into the hulls of peeled grapefruits. For the more culinarily adventurous folk, beef- and pork-flavored Jell-O were carved into taxidermy on wooden plaques. (The flavor was dead on, but the consistency was uncannily, unpleasantly reminiscent of jellied gristle.)

Food wasn’t the only source of inspiration. Piles of translucent, horse-pill-sized pharmaceuticals abounded, as did giant LEGOs, floral plates, and lithographs of the Brooklyn Bridge. A vibrantly blue and silver model of the Brooklyn sewage plant drew laughs, while Jell-O-cum-explosives, complete with a video presentation of said explosions, failed to inspire. The entries showed a huge variance in quality, from the impressive cloth-draped and olive-bedecked display shrine for Bloody Mary Jell-O (molded in the shape of the Virgin herself), to wimpy Styrofoam lunch trays supporting globs of what may have been octopi Vikings, but may also have been last year’s meatloaf, grown sentient and resentful with time. My favorite eats included fruity Jell-O Superballs dispensed from a quarter machine, and an impressive full-sized Tiffany lamp, supported by a sugar paste structure and lit with real bulbs. The most inventive creation, edible drinking cups made with vegan-friendly agar agar, could be filled with your drink of choice and then munched on as well, for a multi-faceted imbibing experience.

While the crowd waited for the judges to review the entries, five or six kinds of free Jell-O shots were on hand. The mixologists were enthusiastically inventive, if a bit heavy-handed with their herbs; tough sprigs of rosemary and acerbic strips of orange rind overpowered two of the jiggling shooters. Still, most of the drinks were popular and disappeared quickly: the delightfully zingy Hair of the Naval; Hot Sh*t (its real name), a dark pudding laced with cinnamon and topped with cream; Summer Salad, a gelatinous vodka watermelon; and the non-alcoholic yet pungent Kir Royale.

If this event was any indication, Jell-O will certainly live to fight another day.

Coney Island Mermaid Parade

In american, event, nyc, smile-inducing, street food on June 23, 2010 at 9:40 am

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In the sweltering New York summer, there is one place on everybody’s mind: the beach. Just a hop, skip and an N-train ride away, one beach above all features the craziest cast of characters: tattooed and dread-locked vegans, Latina mamis and the boys who want them, babies screaming in the heat, all muddled in the sandy, boozy cocktail that is Coney Island.

Last weekend, the usual suspects were there. Bare torsoed men showed off beer guts and whittled waists, skin either bronzed or a pimply alabaster. Septuagenarians with rumpled faces and crooked smiles sported sun hats and looked dazed. Ladies drew stares with creatively exposed breasts and stomachs and rolls of fat. The plasticky smell of sunscreen permeated the air, wafting over bespectacled faces and questionable yet enthusiastic dye jobs.

On Saturday, though, the high-wire crackle of amusement park energy was cranked up a few notches. A new cast of characters appeared: a pink haired pirate, a glut of Viking hats with horns, the occasional kilt. A crush of humanity stood six deep all along Stillwell Avenue, from the subway to the Cyclone, holding their cameras aloft. Little girls perched on Daddy’s shoulders and strained their necks. Grown men clamored up lamp posts and fire hydrants. What were they climbing to see?

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, of course.

From what this blogger could glimpse, the parade was a mish-mash of flatbed pickups and pedestrians- a low-budget, sticky-sweaty Greenwich Village Halloween parade, if you will. Both on and off the parade route, the outfits were fantastical: pinup girl hairdos and 50s rockabilly fashion, goth girls with paper Japanese parasols, Day-Glo wigs and neon sequin stretch bikinis, fishing nets, feathers, leather, cleavage and torsos smeared in glitz and grease paint. Everything was homemade, without the glossy finish of so many NYC parades. As more and more bystanders poured out of the subway station, the throng started scaling chain link fences to bypass the impossible-to-navigate parade route.

The parade, still cocooned in the impassable crowd, looped up onto the boardwalk that overlooks the coastline. Sensory overload set in: sweat, wood, water, sunsparks off the ocean dazzled. Hawkers hawked mango flowers on sticks and dried snacks in plastic bags. The beach was hopping too, with sunbathers packed to the shore, trying to sip summer in through their pores. Obese little boys, tummies protruding from oversized swim trunks, hopped about the sand, past stoic little girls dressed as Ariel in ratty red wigs, clutching Mom’s hand. All shades and shapes of people, all showing too much skin, welcomed in the first official day of summer with salt and sun and the oom-pa-pa of the Hungry Marching Band winding into the distance.

This article was picked up (in a very small way) by the NY Daily News. Thanks, guys!

1000 Awesome Things

In blog, funny, smile-inducing, website, website wednesday on June 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

If you’re suffering from a case of middle-of-the-week blues, have I got a website for you.

1000 Awesome Things is a wonderfully optimistic blog by Neil Pasricha, dedicated to making you smile through very little effort. The site’s concept is simple: each day, you can read about a new awesome thing. The posts are all about simple, everyday occurrences, most of which you yourself have probably experienced but have never stopped to appreciate before.

Peeling an orange in one shot?

Being the first table to get called up for the dinner buffet at a wedding?

The final seconds of untangling a really big knot?


Even if you don’t read the text of the posts, simply scrolling through recent titles is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. The site just hit the halfway point in its countdown (to 1,000 posts, of course), so you’ve still got lots of time to read about the awesomeness in your life!

For the non-internet-junkies, 1000 Awesome Things has even spawned a book! Grab a copy today and enjoy warm fuzzies at your leisure.