Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beale Street Weekend

Well, I've sucked at blogging this week, as I haven't watched any tv to blog about and I've been focused on getting ready to head to Memphis for this years Beale Street Music Festival. Hoping to enjoy the fest this year, even if the lineup isn't as awesome as it has been in years past (to me at least).

We're driving down tomorrow for three days of bands, hopefully some beer and lots of good food. I'm looking forward to seeing Mutemath, 3 Doors Down, and Seether, among others. Mainly, I'm just hoping we have some fun and don't get struck by lightning, as yet again, rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast.

I'll try to blog some pictures from the festival! Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Music Monday: Book Playlist - Qhuinn and Blay, Part II

One of my favorite things that my friends and I do all the time is put together playlists for books, individual characters and tv shows. We trade them back and forth and have fun figuring out which songs suit relationships and characters.

In honor of the release of Lover Mine tomorrow, the 8th book in JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I wanted to share my Qhuinn and Blay playlist. Qhuinn and Blay are two young warriors who have been best friends their whole lives and are now struggling with their feelings for one another. I'm eager to see how their relationship develops in this newest book.

Its always a struggle to match up relationships to songs, and I usually try not to limit myself too severely by making my focus too narrow. Sometimes its just the attitude of a song that I think suits and sometimes is the actual lyrics. I also try to play around with different viewpoints. "You are Mine" is totally a love letter from Blay to Qhuinn (thanks to Charlote for suggesting that song and helping with the playlist!), while "Not Meant to Be" is a Qhuinn to Blay song for me. The beauty of the whole thing is that another fan of the series might interpret the songs in a totally different manner than I did.

Hope my BDB peeps like the playlist!

Sexual Violence in The Black Dagger Brotherhood

Warning: The following post talks a great deal about rape and other sexual violence.

Jane L. from Dear Author commented yesterday on Twitter that it had been pointed out to her that JR Ward seems obsessed with sexual violence. I had always thought that Ward's books weren't for the faint of heart or those not into explicit sex that borders on violent, but I'd never really thought about the series in the context of how many characters had committed or been affected by sexual violence. When I started making a list, it was rather startling how long it was (spoilers!):

  • Beth (heroine of Dark Lover) is attacked and very nearly raped
  • Zsadist (hero of Lover Awakened) is held as a sex slave for years
  • Bella (heroine of Lover Awakened) is held against her will by a lesser and forced to shower in front of him and he carves his name in her stomach, though she is not sexually assaulted
  • John Matthew (hero of Lover Mine) was raped as a teenager
  • Butch (hero of Lover Revealed) had a sister who was raped and murdered
  • Lash (villain) almost rapes John Matthew, rapes another villain (The Princess) and its probable that he has been raping Xhex since he kidnapped her at the end of Lover Avenged
  • Vishous (hero of Lover Unbound) rapes another warrior in the camp (hundreds of years ago), as was the tradition of the warriors in his camp
  • Rehvenge (hero of Lover Avenged) is blackmailed into sex against his will for many years
  • Cormia (heroine of Lover Enshrined) is tied down by her fellow Chosen to be given sexually to Phury, though he releases her and condemns the practice.
There are only 8 books in the series (counting today's release of Lover Mine), which means that there are more entries on my list than books. I think this means that we can easily claim that sexual violence is not just prevalent in the series, but also that it is a major theme. I am in no way saying that there is something horrible about these books since they contain sexual violence, but I think that its interesting, nonetheless, that these bestsellers have such a theme.

I don't know JR Ward's personal background, but one has to wonder if she or someone close to her was affected by sexual violence and part of the way she deals with it is to write characters who overcome their experiences to have healthy attitudes about relationships. Zsadist may always be partly broken due to his years of abuse (which is realistic, as someone would always be affected by that level of trauma), but he can still have a wife and child he loves and takes care of. John Matthew can still find a woman he loves and wants to have a life with. Butch will never forget about his sister, but he learns to move past the guilt he felt and live a relatively normal life. I think this might also be the reason readers tolerate such a level of sexual violence in these books. A lot of fans list Lover Awakened as their favorite book of the series and I've no doubt one of the biggest draws of the book is that Zsadist overcomes so much to be with Bella. His story is heartbreaking and inspiring.

The part I struggle with in all this is with Vishous. His book was controversial in the fandom and not just because of the scene where he rapes another warrior in the camp, but that's the part that bothered me the most. Ward, love her though I do, has this whole schtick of "the characters tell me the story and I just write it down." Most of the time, I find that entertaining, just because its funny to imagine these imaginary badass vampires telling these stories to her. However, in cases like this, I almost find it to be a cop out from taking responsibility for what you write. "I didn't make my hero a rapist, he told me that's what happened." Now I know that Ward explains that this was a cultural tradition of the camp Vishous lived in, but I still find this as uncomfortable as those romance novels in the 80s where women were raped and it was explained away as being a part of the time period. Just because something was culturally acceptable doesn't make it right.

To give Ward credit, she does depict Vishous as remorseful for what he'd done, and I don't necessarily believe that all book heroes and heroines have to be perfect. Still, I think being a fan of something, and I am a huge fan of Ward's, doesn't mean that you have to love absolutely everything that she does, and I didn't love that. More Qhuinn and Blay please, Ms. Ward, less rape.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun Friday: Toby Eats a Salad

I love this scene from West Wing, mostly because Toby and I feel the same way about salads:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Glee: The Power of Madonna

I took 3 pages (!) of notes on this episode and instead of putting them into a paragraph form and have it come out to be forever long, I went with bullet points. I'll also spare you the recap. If you need to know what happened, check out the EW recap. Spoilers below!

  • I didn't buy the scene where Artie was being a jerk to Tina. We've seen no evidence that he was a misogynistic jerk before. It didn't ring true and just felt like they needed some guy to be a prick so they could shoehorn in this 'girl power' theme for the episode. It was clumsy and awkward. I know we're used to Puck being a dick, but it still would have made more sense coming from him.
  • "Express Yourself" - The girls looked beautiful in this number with the costumes and hair. Loved the Madonna style choreography, Kurt pumping his arms in his seat, and the crotch grab at the end.
  • Santana was fabulously mean in this episode: "Finnocence," "You're about as sexy as a Cabbage Patch Kid. Its exhausting to look at you."
  • "Borderline/Open Your Heart" mashup - It was great to see the return of the Finn/Rachel chemistry that I love so much. Cory Monteith is at his hottest when playing the drums, so more of this please. I loved the awkward end too, where they both realize how into each other they are despite the fact that they just agreed to be friends.
  • I liked that Will got a dig in at Sue since he's usually just so "aww shucks" when she picks on him. "How's the Florence Henderson look working out for you?"
  • I wish the show would stop trying to make me and any characters sympathetic towards Sue. The beauty of her is how mean she is, but this makes it impossible for me to buy that Mercedes and Kurt felt bad for her and wanted to make her feel better. To that end, "Vogue" was more fun out of context at the end of last week's episode than it was during this ep. I did like Sue's story about her childhood though, if only because Jane Lynch does a great job of making us always wonder what Sue is telling the truth about and what she's lying about: "My parent's were famous Nazi Hunters."
  • "Like a Virgin" - Brilliantly edited. Santana was hot and the girl has pipes! All three couples had great chemistry in the number.
  • I loved Finn's reaction to losing his virginity to Santana: "I didn't feel anything because it didn't mean anything." It was heartbreaking to watch, but oh so realistic.
  • Jessie joining New Directions is obviously suspicious and I'm curious to see exactly where this is going. Loved Finn's reaction - "What the hell? Now it seems like everyone's doing things just to hurt my feelings."
  • Also curious to see how the Finn/Rachel thing continues to play out since she pretended that she did sleep with Jessie and he pretends that he didn't sleep with Santana.
  • "4 Minutes" - Chris Colfer was just hot during this performance, and of course I thought so cause its my curse to fall in love with the gay ones (doesn't bode well for Jessie St. James!).
  • "What It Feels Like for a Girl" - This was cheesy but the song is catchy. I hate the way Cory Monteith says 'boy' for some reason and its hurting my ability to listen to this song on the CD.
  • Tina's tirade towards Artie is hilarious. Glad they gave her a little screentime! "My eyes are up here!" Yay for them getting together, that kiss was adorable.
  • "Like a Prayer" - Beautiful vocals here, but I wish they'd left more of it in the episode, since you hear more members of the club on the soundtrack version. Loved the choir, the red shirts with jeans, and Kurt's falsetto.
So many good lines in this episode:
  • "The last guy I liked was the mayor of Gaytown." - Mercedes
  • "I thought I smelled cookies wafting from the ovens of the little elves who live in your hair." - Sue
  • "When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist." - Brittany
  • "No chick intimidates Puckzilla." - Puck
  • "You have all the sexuality of one of those pandas down at the zoo who refuse to mate." - Sue on Emma
  • "Its gonna be Madge-ical" - Kurt
  • "Mercedes is black. I'm gay. We make culture." - Kurt
  • "Foreplay shall began at 7:30 sharp." - Emma
  • "Mr. Shue, is he your son?" - Brittany on Jessie

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I love you, I hate you

Some poor soul on Ravelry asked people to post their favorite breakup songs recently, to help her while she was feeling down. I didn't get any tv watched last night and was at a loss for what to post when I remembered that thread and thought I'd share my own personal breakup playlist. Not only was it cathartic to make, I think its fun for any time, not just during a breakup, since I tried to strike a balance between sappy-woe-is-me, angry, and fun. I'd like to do a second installment soon, to incorporate some great music I've gotten since this mix was made. The Script's "Break Even" might be the best breakup song I've ever heard, second only to the legendary "I Will Survive" on the playlist below.

The only song Lala didn't have is "Why Did You Mess with Forever" by John Mayer, which I'm embedding via YouTube below. I adore the song, but I've never found an official recording, so I'm still listening to an old bootleg version I got years ago on Napster (that statement makes me feel old, btw).


Monday, April 19, 2010

Music Monday: Hanson

I know what you're thinking, I've heard nearly every Hanson joke under the sun. They look like girls, they're nothing but bubblegum pop, etc. The latter might be true, but I'd argue that bubblegum pop has its place in music, and a large place in my music collection.

It might have been my teenage hormones that drew me to the band in the first place, I'll certainly cop to that. But it was the music that has kept me a fan into adulthood, when the other boy bands I listened to have fallen by the wayside. Sure, I'll still listen to some Nsync, but its mostly for nostalgia's sake.

I won't go on and on about how awesome they are (and they are!), but if you like piano driven pop rock and you've never given Hanson a chance because of their boy band reputation, check out the playlist below. The first three songs are off their debut album, but those are probably the most teeny-bop songs on the playlist. The rest are from their more mature later releases.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Supernatural: Point of No Return

Spoilers below!

Supernatural's 100th episode was a doozy! Thankfully, it was in a good way. Last week ended with Dean running off, presumably to say yes to Michael, with me yelling at the screen and tweeting "Oh for fucks sake Dean. You're so fucking broken, even I'm beginning to get tired of it." That's a big step for a Dean Girl such as myself, but my faith in Dean Winchester was restored and validated by Kripke and Company this week.

Dean might have run off and left Sam, but he underestimated his brother's ability to find him. Sam enlisted Castiel to spirit Dean away to Bobby's before he could do anything stupid, but before they could really get into it, we were faced with Surprise!Winchester, Adam, brought back from the dead by the angels to be Dean's backup plan.

Dean is tired of fighting the angels and doesn't want to see Adam get hurt because of him. He also confesses in a hearth wrenching scene that the reason he's going to say yes is that he has no faith in Sam and doesn't believe that Sam will be able to refuse Lucifer. And since he believes that, he sees saying yes to Michael to save some people as the only thing he can do.

Then Castiel beats his ass like a red-headed stepchild, since Dean is the reason he rebelled from Heaven in the first place.
Sam: What happened to him?
Castiel: Me.
Sam gives Dean quite the pep talk, and the Brothers and Cas go off to rescue Adam from Zachariah (who has revealed that Adam is essentially bait to get to Dean). Cas sacrifices himself (as far as we know, though I'm sure Misha Collins isn't going anywhere), so there's no telling what shape he'll be in when we get him back. Zachariah tries the 'hurt Sam' routine (and Adam too) to get Dean to say yes. Dean plays along convincingly but at the last minute, kills Zachariah. The episode ends with Dean's faith again restored and ready to fight to the end with Sammy.

I liked pretty much all of this episode, but my favorite part was that Kripke and Co. restored a lot of my faith in Sam, and Dean's too apparently. It was nice to see Sam admit that he'd made a lot of wrong decisions, and also great to see that he still has confidence in his big brother. I also loved Baby Winchester. He's basically a mini-Dean, attitude and all, and I'd love to see him as a recurring character. I'm assuming that Michael got him at the end, so there's a chance we'll see him again.

Best lines:

"Did you get to third base?" Dean to Adam, like to see Dean still being Dean in the middle of the Apocalypse

"Cas, not for nothing, but the last time someone looked at me like that, I got laid." Dean, making Dean/Cas shippers everywhere hyperventilate.

"Don't mess with the nerd angels." Dean, after Cas delivers his beatdown

Next week: Looks like a MotW episode involving a hotel. Also, perhaps I'll pay attention to funny lines from characters other than Dean.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Supernatural Turns 100: My Favorite 13 Episodes

I tried to make a top 10 list, but that proved to be harder than I thought. I just started listing them from earliest on and got to 13, which seemed like a fitting number for a Supernatural list.

1. 1-1 Pilot: As pilots go, I'm certain there are better one's out there. However, I had to include it because its Genesis, the way we met the Winchesters and in a lot of ways, it tells us everything we ever needed to know. Dean is a smartass, but deeply messed up. Sam is striving to be normal, but deeply messed up. Daddy Winchester, though absent in this episode is just deeply messed up.

2. 2-1 In My Time of Dying: Season one had some good moments, but this is when the show comes into its own. Great performances here from Ackles, Padalecki, and Morgan as Daddy Winchester sacrifices himself to bring Dean back. The concept of selling your soul would also become a cornerstone of the show.

3. 2-22 All Hell Breaks Loose, Part II: I still cry every time Dean is talking to Sam's dead body and I still cheer every time Dean shoots the Yellow Eyed Demon after an assist from briefly corporeal Daddy Winchester. Also, its the episode I always remember when I hear 'Carry On, My Wayward Son' by Kansas.

4. 3-8 A Very Supernatural Christmas: This episode is both hilarious and heartbreaking, as well as more than a little gory. Its the first time that we glimpse the brothers' childhood, and it hurts my heart, y'all. Also, I just love a good Christmas episode, no matter the show.

5. 3-11 Mystery Spot: The trickster is at it again, as Sam experiences a macabre groundhogs day, watching Dean die over and over again in a myriad of ways. Its funny all the way through, but the ending isn't, as we see how Sam reacts to Dean being really dead, a portent of things to come.

6. 4-1 Lazarus Rising: This episode sets the tone for what'll be two seasons of Apocalypse, and it introduces Castiel, angel extraordinaire.

7. 4-6 Yellow Fever: Wussy Dean is the most hysterical thing ever: running from the Yorkie, screaming like a girl, manning the flashlight. Also, before the credits, the video of Jensen Ackles lip-syncing 'Eye of the Tiger' is my most epic video ever.

8. 4-13 After School Special: Dean as a gym coach in tiny, tiny shorts? Yes, please, and thank you. Plus we get an insight into the school days of the Winchester boys.

9. 4-17 Its a Terrible Life: Sam and Dean caught in an angel induced illusion where they are strangers who work in the same corporation, banding together to defeat an angry spirit. The many jokes that long time fans will get are what makes this episode great.

10. 4-18 The Monster at the End of this Book: The Winchesters find out that there's a book series chronicling the last couple years. I love the prophet Chuck and the brothers learning about the crazy fandom, including Wincest!

11. 4-22 Lucifer Rising: The shot at the end of Dean grabbing onto Sam when they realize Lucifer is coming makes this whole episode worth it. Poor, poor Winchesters.

12. 5-8 Changing Channels: Hilarity from beginning to end as the brothers are trapped in different television universes. My favorite is the crime procedural with both brothers doing their best Caruso. Also love Sam as the Impala.

13. 5-10 Abandon All Hope: *sob* That's really all I can do or say here. Sad, but beautiful.

Hanson: Thinking 'Bout Somethin'

My favorite band of brothers, Hanson, just released the music video for "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'," the first single off their upcoming album, Shout it Out (June 8).

Thinking 'Bout Somethin'

HANSON | MySpace Music Videos

The video is sunny and fun, just right for a spring/summer single, I think. And the cameo by Weird Al doesn't hurt either!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

All New Glee: Hell-O

Spoilers below!

We're finally done with the Glee hiatus! And the show was back with a bang as far as I'm concerned, though the first few minutes were a little rough.

The show picks up shortly after "Sectionals" ended. Glee club are still social outcasts but Will gives them the assignment of finding a song with "Hello" in the title to symbolize a new beginning after Sectionals. Sue has to get herself re-instated by giving Figgins roofies and taking compromising photos of them together as blackmail. Other people liked this bit, but I didn't find it all that funny, which is why the beginning of the episode was rough for me.

Finn and Rachel are now a couple, with Finn not sure this is what he wanted. He's casting looks at Quinn, who is now with Puck (I guess? They didn't say for sure.) Rachel is bringing her usual over-enthusiastic crazy: Team Finn t-shirt (I want!), relationship calendar, etc. He finally admits that he's not sure he wants to be in a relationship as he needs to get his head on straight after the whole Quinn debacle. He's helped along by Santana and Brittany trying to date him on Sue's orders (she wants Rachel humiliated so she leaves glee club). His realization comes during a performance of "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors that rocked my socks off. Please let Cory Monteith sing in a lower key all the time! He was fantastic and sexy and cocky.

Rachel is heartbroken, and she performs a blistering rendition of All American Rejects "Gives You Hell" aimed at Finn. She's not heartbroken for long though, as she meets the lead singer of Vocal Adrenaline, Jesse St. James (guest star Jonathan Groff). I wasn't into Jesse until he opened his mouth and began to sing "Hello" with Lea, but then I was totally sold. Since I'm now shipping them, at least for now, I'm sure we're going to find out that he's romancing her for nefarious reasons related to VA beating New Directions at Regionals.

When Finn tries to reconcile with Rachel, she shuns him for her new man, thought I can't blame her because he goes about it the wrong way and is motivated by not wanting to be alone. Finn is suspicious of Jesse, and tells the rest of the club, who try to force Rachel to break up with him. Rachel is prompted by a scheming Sue (who gathers a lonely hearts club of school outcasts to convince Rachel she shouldn't give in to the club's demand) to go to Jesse, and she ultimately decides to stay with him in secret so the club doesn't kick her out. He assures her that he's on the level but shares a look with Shelby that could mean differently. Groff and Lea Michele have smokin' chemistry, at any rate.

Somewhere along the way, probably when he realizes Rachel wants someone else, Finn decides that he truly wants to be with Rachel, all in. You could tell a part of Rachel really wants to take him up on it, but she's secretly with Jesse, so she tells Finn they can't risk the drama of a relationship in the club and wind up with another debacle like Sectionals. Finn has a new swagger though and assures her that he's not giving up, which leads into the final musical number: the whole club doing "Hello, Goodbye." The tables have turned from the first part of the season, with Finn openly pursuing Rachel and her backing away visibly during the number.

Will and Emma try to date, but hit the breaks when Emma admits she's a virgin. Will meets Vocal Adrenaline's coach, Shelby (Idina Menzel) and makes out with her (Bad Shue!). Emma has a run in with Terri at the Schuster house, leading up to them deciding to cool their relationship so Will can get to know himself since he's been with Terri since he was 15 (and the show continues to push the Will/Finn parallels). Can you tell I don't really care as much about the adults in this show?

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the episode, though I would have liked more from the other glee club kids. All their stories took a backseat to Rachel/Finn/Jesse and Emma/Will. I think this episode showcased some of the best work we've seen so far from Cory Monteith, especially his performance while Rachel was singing "Gives You Hell." I'm interested to see where the Jesse/Rachel relationship goes, and if he's going to be good, bad, or somewhere in between. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Finn Hudson pursues a girl, and how that might affect the 'Kurt likes Finn' storyline.

Fox aired Sue Sylvester's "Vogue" music video (featuring Kurt and Mercedes) after the episode and it was so much win you have to see it for yourself, as I can't adequately describe it.

Lines of the night:

"Dolphins are just gay sharks." - Brittany
"No, she's dead. This is her son." - Kurt
"I'm engorged with venom and triumph." - Sue

Next week: "The Power of Madonna" and hopefully less gratuitous use of parentheses (maybe)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trying Out Hipstamatic for iPhone

I downloaded a new photo app for the iPhone this morning, and its a lot of fun: Hipstamatic. Its meant to emulate an old plastic toy camera. You get a choice of three lenses, three film types (affects the frame of the picture) and two flashes for the 1.99 app download. You can also buy more lenses, films, and flashes from the Hipstamatic Mart. I haven't bought anything from the mart yet, but I probably will in the future. Its very easy to take pics straight from the app and upload to Flickr (as I have with the ones below) or to post to Facebook. My only complaint is that there's no option to tweet your photos, or if there is, they've made the option too difficult to find.

I had some fun switching lenses and photographing the same Coke bottle on my desk:
Kaimal Mark II Lens


Jimmy Lens


John S Lens (my fave so far)

And just for kicks, here's my new Kindle skin:

Kaimal Mark II Lens

Monday, April 12, 2010

Music Monday: Wherein Holly is a Lounge Singer

I often have elaborate daydreams while on road trips. I've driven the roads between my house here in Conway and my hometown of Jonesboro so many times that its a great time to let my mind wander (not too far, no wrecks!).

One of my favorite things to do is to put the shuffle on my iPod and look for songs that suit my mood. Then I pretend that I'm belting them out in front of an adoring crowd. I have a fantastic singing voice in my day dreams, it never cracks or can't hit a high note.

Last night, the setting for my performance was an intimate club, just me and a piano. Today, I made a playlist with many of the songs I chose and some that I didn't get to on the trip that would have worked well. It turns out, lounge singer me is kinda depressing and whiney, but hey, we all get in that mood sometimes. For a giggle, picture me singing these songs in my car by myself at the top of my lungs.

Enjoy my playlist!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fun Friday: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

Today's Fun Friday video is The Potter Puppet Pals' "The Mysterious Ticking Noise." Love this video and its catchy little song that is so easy to get stuck in your head. Also fun for assigning out parts to your friends and trying to recreate it!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

When One Door Closes, a Window Opens

April 8th is the day TOMS Shoes sponsors "One Day Without Shoes" to raise awareness of the number of children in developing countries who go barefoot every day. People all over the world go barefoot for the day or just a few minutes to experience what its like to live without shoes.

A few facts from One Day Without Shoes:

* In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.
* Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
* Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
* In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
* Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

After hearing about this event on Facebook, I really wanted to participate, mainly by going barefoot at my job so that I could raise awareness there. Let's face it, that's my main avenue for contact with people, a consequence of living alone. However, I made the mistake of actually asking for permission from my bosses to do so, and was refused (they're good guys, but HR has to be lawsuit conscious).

Then something awesome happened. Kris Allen, the American Idol winner from here in Conway, is involved with One Day Without Shoes, and it just so happens that I work with his Uncle Kenny. God bless him, when he heard that I'd been denied permission to go barefoot for this good cause, he wanted to do something about it.

Thanks to Kenny, I got pretty much the whole day off to go be barefoot. He also made sure I (along with my friend Sarah) got put on the VIP list for Kris' UCA show, where we got to sit in the friends and family section. Thanks to him, I got to spend the afternoon participating in the Barefoot Walk at UCA and seeing a fantastic little concert.

Tonight, my feet are sore and skinned, but I have the luxury of antibiotic cream and comfy socks tomorrow. My heart goes out to those who don't. This is a cause worth contributing to!

Check out the links above if you're interested in what you can do to help kids without shoes. I will be buying myself a pair of TOMS shoes very soon. I think its a win/win situation. I get a cute pair of shoes (there's a pair that sparkles!) and a child gets a new pair too! Also, I'll have pictures of today's walk and concert very soon!

This was such an inspiring day, and its amazing that I had no idea that any of this would happen when I got up this morning. In fact, I was convinced that I'd be going barefoot to get the mail instead of being out there, walking for the cause.

Thanks for being a window, Kenny.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TV Tuesday: NCAA Men's Basketball Championship

Close games raise my blood pressure. The closer the score, the lower the time clock goes, the more tense I get. By the last minute of the NCAA Championship game between the Butler University Bulldogs and the Duke Blue Devils, I couldn't even be in the room with the television. Instead, I was standing in my bedroom, peeking around the corner every minute or so to check the score.

I didn't have any particular loyalties going into this game. My only traditional loyalty is to the Razorbacks, then after that to the SEC. When those two rules aren't in play, I usually root for the underdog. This meant I was rooting for Butler, like a lot of other people. Duke came into the tournament as the first seed in their bracket, while Butler was 5th.

Butler also got my vote for having the cutest coach:

And Butler has this guy:

His name is Gordon. How do you not root for a guy named Gordon with big ears?

Anyway, Butler wasn't expected to give Duke much trouble, but it was a close game from beginning to end, making last year's North Carolina win seem boring in comparison, even though it was my beloved Psycho T's last college game. I never saw Duke get ahead by more than 5 points. Butler was down by 2 at the last second and poor Gordon's half court shot didn't fall.

Cinderella didn't win the game, but I don't think they really lost it either. There's no shame in being a 5 seed that lost by 2 points to a 1 seed. They fought hard and should be proud. As for Duke, I harbor no ill will towards them, but I'm pretty unmoved by their win. I'm sure the players are ecstatic, but I can't get too excited when a traditionally winning program wins some more, unless they've had a bad couple of years (which Duke hasn't).

Sorry, Gordon, maybe next year.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Music Monday: Lil Wayne

I love hip hop and I'm not sure how that happened. I'm a white girl who mostly grew up in redneck country, but from the time that hip hop started infiltrating my radio, I've been enamored. Though I wouldn't necessarily listen to it today, I think it started with the Will Smith songs that were played on pop radio when I was a teen, then Eminem blew up right around the same time we got MTV for the first time.

Over the past couple years, Lil Wayne has solidified himself as my favorite rapper. I won't claim to be in touch with the rap underground or to be a fan of gangsta rappers most people have never heard of. My tastes run to the mainstream stuff that gets played on top 40 radio, so my first exposure to Weezy was probably Lollipop, even though I vaguely remember him as part of the Cash Money crew from years ago.

Though I love his style, my affection for Lil Wayne is also about his personality. If you get the chance, check out his Behind the Music. The man is outrageously intelligent and loves his home city of New Orleans. He's in prison in New York right now and his people are posting letters from him at The first letter is humble and poetic, so check it out if you're curious about him as a person.

Just a few songs on the playlist, but there's some good stuff in there. "A Milli" is probably the best rap song I've heard in the past 5 years, and "Forever" is a fantastic collaboration, as is "Swagga Like Us". Enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fun Friday: The Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality

This is probably my favorite West Wing scene ever. Its not unusual for me to quote it randomly, even if no one knows what the hell I'm referencing. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

TV Thursday: Justified

I'm loving FX's new show Justified! The show, based on an Elmore Leonard character, follows US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) as he's re-assigned to his home state Kentucky after he shoots a suspect under slightly suspicious circumstances. The supporting cast includes Raylan's boss, his fellow US Marshals, his ex-wife, and assorted people from his past.

The first villain introduced in the pilot is Boyd Crowder (such a great Southern name, and I'm pretty sure I've known several Crowders and a couple of Boyds), and I hope he's the one that sticks around. He's played brilliantly by Walton Goggins as a Neo-Nazi hellraiser. Olyphant is just as brilliant as Raylan, and I think the show would work just as well for me if every episode spent half the time just watching these two interact. Olyphant (who I've always liked, even in cheesy movies like Live Free or Die Hard) is hugely charismatic, playing Raylan with a simmering intensity that's hitting all the right notes for this viewer.

The writing on the show so far seems to balance drama with some hilarious one liners that keep the show from being too heavy. I've watched the pilot and episode two, "Riverbrook," and those two episodes seem to suggest that we'll be getting a mix of overarching plot and stand alone procedural type episodes. That's a difficult line to walk, but I'm impressed with what I've seen so far.

I think my favorite part of the show, besides Olyphant and Goggins, is the way the show has captured the atmosphere of a small Southern town. I know there's a lot of miles between Arkansas and Kentucky, but the show still feels like it could be taking place in one of the small towns I grew up in. The music is a huge part of that, and I'm loving the rap-bluegrass-country tone of it.

Its also worth noting that the accents on this show don't get on my nerves, which is quite an accomplishment. I'm usually driven up the wall by fake Southern accents, but that hasn't happened here. Fingers crossed that remains the case.

Justified airs Tuesdays at 9 central on FX!