Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book time!

This month's books seemed to go in a thematic order or so you will see. Plus a bonus book I forgot to write about from last month!

15) Love & Obstacles - Aleksandar Hemon.
Last month I wrote about his book The Lazarus Project and how much I loved it. This collection of short stories, loosely autobiographical, is so much better. I spent most of this book reading it in downtown Albany in the sunshine and I think that helped my enjoyment of it. Don't miss this one. Hemon is quickly becoming one of my new favourite authors.

16) East of The Sun - Julia Gregson
I was skeptical about this one. It's the story of a group of young women in 1920s Great Britain who set off for various reasons to India. It seemed like a fluff chick lit piece and I didn't really care for the beginning. Once the story got to India, it was far more interesting. Gregson could have shaved a good 100 pp off the book and made it a fine novel. It does have a bit of White Man's Burden to it, but if you read it with that in mind, you might enjoy it. For a dollar, it was not a bad read.

17) The Space Between Us - Thrity Umrigar.
I got this one at the book swap I went to at St. Rose, and I couldn't have enjoyed this one more. Well, enjoyed is a relative term. The book is depressing, with slight hints of not being completely sad. It's like the counterpoint to East of the Sun, with an all-Indian cast(e). One of my favourite books so far this year.

18)Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster - Alison Weir.
Once again Weir gets her hooks into a medieval subject and makes the most of the material that's available to her (read: not much). Katherine herself is hard to draw out, and while Eleanor of Aquitaine and Isabella of France had more substantive records, Katherine is just a valuable and interesting subject. Fans of Weir will enjoy this, but don't make this your first of her books. PS: Fans of Geoffrey Chaucer will enjoy this one, as it contains a lot of discussion about him. I learned a lot about him myself.

19) Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing - Rob Spillman, ed.
This is the book I forgot to recap last month. This book truly does what Spillman set out to do -- show us all the parts of Africa, from Egypt to Guiana to South Africa and Namibia. Laila Lalami is also a part of this collection, further reinforcing the need for me to get more of her writing. There's a lot of authors in here that I truly enjoyed and will be looking into getting their books. And I really appreciate Patrice Nganang's piece which gave me the most to think about in the entire collection, and that's saying something. Definitely worth reading if you can get your hands on it.

Well, that's all for this month. What have you read lately? The next book I'm reading is Miracle at St. Anna, by James McBride.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I only post on Tuesdays

So I was expecting a TRAINWRECK OF EPIC PROPORTIONS for Shania Twain week. I was super duper psyched expecting so many failures -- I couldn't wait to leave work and get some popcorn and make a night of it.

And I didn't get any popcorn and I didn't get any trainwrecks. GDI, Idols. You're supposed to be a weak class, what the fuck?

Ok here we go:

Lee DeWyze - You're Still The One

You're still the one stuck in my head, song. GDI. But Lee started out a bit shaky at the very beginning, very nervous. He "worked it out, dawg," and made another good performance. I'd argue the best of the night, but I'm biased. #TeamLee

Michael Lynche - It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing
This was a ridonkulously good performance. Big Mike can sing, and the more he performs the gladder I am that they did save him after all. He kept the preening to a minimum.

Casey James - Don't
This was miles better than last week. He even kept the goat tied up out back. I genuinely enjoyed this performance for once. I even told Name Twin so via text while I was watching it.

Crystal Bowersox - No One Needs to Know
This is a cute little song, and she sings the hell out of it. However, Simon's not wrong. This has a coffeeshop feel, and I know I'm always annoyed when I hear a band in a coffeeshop or a Goodwill* and can't hear myself think.

Aaron Kelly - You Got Away
This is not a bad week for anyone, it appears. Aaron does a nice job, but I was simply whelmed. I feel like it won't be enough to save him. Although he did dedicate it to his mommy.**

Siobhan Magnus - Any Man of Mine
Leave it to Siobhan to sing the non ballad of the night. Well sung, but I feel like she didn't have the staccato vocals this song calls for, and I am just not feeling it like the judges are. Ok, the ending is a keeper.+

Best of: Lee & Big Mike
Bottom 2: Aaron and Casey (I really am unsure at this point, I feel like they're the weakest fanbases though)
Going Home: Aaron

*I once did see a band practicing in a Goodwill store.
**I am auditioning for Idol this summer and I plan to dedicate any appearances I have on TV to my mom, who made me watch this show seven seasons ago. PS: I can't sing and I know it, but I am gonna audition anyway.
+I can't remember what my point was gonna be here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

stanning for dcook

I now have either an inxplicable rash on my arms or another sunburn. GDI it's not like I went out tanning. MY ARMS ITCH make it stop.

PS in other news, I may have shrieked and flailed like a little girl when David Cook appeared on Idol Gives Back. Yes, I am a hopeless fangirl. There is no cure. DC <3

PPS: I am srsly wanting another DD Iced Tea. I got one on a lark today and it was delicious.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A new week, a new twist.

I posted this to blogspot first instead of my livejournal. The reason for that is ridiculously simple: every week blogspot catches my HTML errors and LJ doesn't. My AI recaps require a lot of simple codes that I always fubar, so I figured why not start here?

So THIS is American Idol: Idol Gives Back/Songs of Inspiration/Alicia Keys night.
I don't get to vote so I hope no one fucks up royally. I can't save you, save yourselves!
PS: Did I just see a Simon/Ryan fanfic sign?

Casey James - Don't Stop (Fleetwood Mac)
Doing his best goat impression, he chooses to make the song paint by numbers. The man can play the guitar, but I am not sold on the singing. Ehh. PS: Saying you liked doing the song is a curse of death on IGB week. I remember a certain gorgeous young Australian male who said the same thing about both a Fleetwood Mac track and an Aerosmith track and lost on IGB week. Beware the Michael Johns curse.

Lee DeWyze - The Boxer (Simon & Garfunkel)
Is it wrong I was hoping he was gonna sing the Carbon Leaf song?
Something Dave Karger said in the Idolatry video this week stuck with me as Lee was singing. He complained that Lee doesn't sing, he mostly growls through songs like Nickelback's lead singer Chad Kroeger. I can buy it, but I feel this week Lee sang the hell out of this song. Team Lee for AI9! He even got the emotions into the song.

Tim Urban - Better Days
(Goo Goo Dolls)
Uh, the Goo Goo Dolls were my high school band crush and NGL, they still are. John Rzeznik (and yes I can spell his name without thinking tyvm) has the most magnetic voice, I don't even care. SHUT UP. Anyway, I love this song so it better not suck.
Uh, it was a karaoke version, and there was a point where even I noticed he was offkey. He has such a puppydog face though. "PLEASE LIKE ME" he seems to say while singing.

Aaron Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly)
Well, Seacrest made the obligatory last name joke so I don't have to. I like the countrified twist on it, and I feel like he'd have a good niche as a country Justin Bieber. ALthough I don't know if it was entirely necessary to sing all the notes possible at the end.

Siobhan Magnus - When You Believe
(Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey)
Love the beginning. She's got a voice on her and I missed seeing it. I also love that someone took the time to graft plants on her outfit. Oh, I guess they're butterflies.
To be fair, I think I've only ever heard this song once before, so while it was a Mariah & Whitney song I think she did it justice.

Michael Lynche - Hero (Chad Kroeger & Josie Scott, who I had to google to remind me)
I do love this song. He does it like Eleanor Rigby and I really think it works for him. I'm on the Big Mike Bandwagon, but I don't think we needed a closeup of him licking his lips after the final note.

Crystal Bowersox - People Get Ready
(Curtis Mayfield)
Acapella intro. Would have loved it if she'd done the whole thing sans instruments. If you're not on an Idol Bandwagon, might I recommend Crystal's? Wow, she just kinda...broke down at the end. Whoa.

Best of the Night: Lee, Crystal
Worst of the Night: Casey
Bottom Three: Aaron, Casey, Tim
Going home: Aaron

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

I was helping this lady in my store, telling her about the awesome clearance sale we were testing and everything. I go to ring her up and she refuses to put in her email address which is fine, cause it's optional. Then she busts out this whopper of a line. "It's illegal for you to require my email address for discounts."

Baffled, I said, "uh, no it's not. Also your email isn't required."

"Well you shouldn't have to get my info to give me discounts." Uh, I'm gonna go with NO here. You see, my store kind of has customers that stop shopping here after a certain age and it's easier (read: cheaper) to have the customer sign up for our mailers periodically instead of mailing out thousands of fliers to parents whose kids are too old for the store.

Also, it is not illegal. So there.

That reminds me of the lady who screamed at me that because the Government knows how much money she makes she doesn't have to give me that information. Because I work for the Government. And the CARD Act doesn't require annual income on credit applications any more or anything....

Look, I get it, frustrating having to say no to every damned sales pitch that gets tossed your way at every store. But there is no excuse for being an utter bitch to me. None. YOU walked in my store, and decided to buy something. And my job is to sell you those things regardless of whether or not you think you need them. I'm not gonna badger you about it. But I find myself recoiling after I say the words, "go ahead and enter in your email for me" and expecting a bitchy reply every single time.

I often wonder how likely it is that people don't have email addresses in this day and age. Maybe it's because I've had an email address since I was 17, but I just don't understand how people this day and age don't have one. Is it really that uncommon? Is this a privilege that I have?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It is that time of the week again: where I watch American Idol so you don't have to. I know you were all looking forward to the compilation of the horrors of Lennon/McCartney night, but she already saw them so I can't torture her with them. Meanie.

Anyway, it's Elvis edition which gives me flashbacks to Season 5, and Chris Daughtry. But tonight's mentor is Season 8's own Adam Lambert, who I totally think is awesome. Most of you know I didn't watch last season because I didn't have cable and AI loses its punch if you don't watch it same day.

Crystal Bowersox - Saved
A song in her wheelhouse. Another excellent performance and I truly enjoyed the scream at the beginning.

Andrew Garcia - Hound Dog
He has a parachute in his pocket. Love that Adam told him straight up he was boring. (OH. See what I did there?) Lounge-singer esque. Vocals sound good, and like Ellen, I was entertained. Surprised the others didn't like it, thought it might have been his "hallelujah" moment. (Apparently where Jason Castro started to suck less, but I begged to differ. But I hate hippies. And can't explain my love for Crystal Bowersox.)

Tim Urban - I Can't Help Falling In Love
Turban? Really, Seacrest? Really? Again I don't hate it. Sounds like something my customers and their children would listen to in my store.

Lee Dewyze - A Little Less Conversation*
This is the song Daughtry lost on :(
I like this version too, it's different from Chris's take on it, and I really love his smile. SHUT UP I LOVE HIM.

Aaron Kelly - Blue Suede Shoes
Another for the Disney Radio Express. I could hear this song alongside Selena Gomez (who may I just say has more computer in her vocals than Britney does). Definitely one for the kiddies. I wrote: "Disney Idol?" Some fancy footwork from Aaron though.

Siobhan Magnus - Suspicious Minds*
Wait, was THIS the Daughtry Elimination song? I know he did both.
I feel like I'm in an 80s infomercial or Church. Until she got to the chorus. I agree with the judges, her split singing personality isn't working in this song.
Siobhan's hair is taller than Seacrest.

Mike Lynche - In the Ghetto
Consider this me climbing on the Big Mike Bandwagon. He sold this song and it was, alongside Lee's, my favourite of the night. Adam Lambert gave it a Standing O. Not mad they saved him now.

Katie Stevens - Baby What Do You Want Me to Do?
She sounded better in the clips with Adam. The edge isn't there. Simon's right, it was loud and annoying.

Casey James. I tried to get the name of the song but I can't figure it out. No clue.
I totally forgot him. I kept wracking my brain to figure out which Idol I was missing. I did this to Katie last week. This has that bleat that I find so annoying, and I can't stand it.

Best of the Night: Lee, Mike, Crystal
Worst of the Night: Aaron, Siobhan
Bottom Three: Aaron, Andrew, Katie
Going home: Aaron & Andrew.

so, are you an Elvis man, or a Beatles man?


So tonight's episode was all about Hurley, but I couldn't help but notice once again how awesome Desmond is. PS: I totally yelled at the TV when Locke brought Desmond to the well. I knew he was gonna throw him down, but then he didn't, but I didn't calm down. I knew that Scottish unlucky bastard was going down there.

Also, I enjoyed a cathartic response when Desmond smacked Locke in his wheelchair a scene later. Even if it's in a different universe, it's nice to see that Desmond's getting vengeance set himself up to send Locke to meet Jack and himself to meet up with Sawyer, a cop.

And now, my favourite GIF featuring our favourite Scot:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'd cut off my feet to spite my face but that might hurt.

1) My feet hurt. See, I can't wear open toed shoes to work anymore, it violates our dress code. It sucks. So I bought a pair of cheap flat ballerina type shoes to wear and they hurt my feet. So that's a no go. Back to socks and shoes until I can find a better solution. Kim suggested Crocs and as ugly as they are I've heard they are ridiculously comfortable. So let us hope.

2) Big Mike got saved on AI. I don't think I would have used it on him, because what happens if Siobhan or Lee ends up as part of the double elimination next week? Ahh well, at least there is a save rule. There wasn't one when I watched seasons 2-7.

4) My Time Warner DVR is a piece of shit and I hate it. Ever since they "upgraded" it, it hasn't worked right. It freezes, it deleted ALL my scheduled recordings and I only noticed with three minutes to go before American Idol started (I always, always, always watch on tape delay) that it and Lost weren't recording. Then tonight I had planned to come home, make dinner, and eat dinner while watching Lost. And yet, the DVR didn't record it.
So I checked my scheduled recordings, and Lost is set to record next week, but no trace of this week's Desmond-centric episode. So I had to go and download it. YAY. PS: Desmond, I love you.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

didgeridoo and bagpipes too?

this is American Idol -- Lennon and McCartney style. AKA the night that Laura runs away cursing my name.

Aaron Kelly - Long & Winding Road
This could have been good. It sounds like a Rascal Flatts tune and he does his best but there's something lacking. The bad note at the beginning and the power of ONTD-AI and VFTW may doom him. DOOM!

Katie Stevens - Let it Be
I don't know why she discounts country music. I can hear it in her. Although if they start that debate again I'm strangling both Simon and Kara.


Andrew Garcia - Can't Buy Me Love
This reminded me of his Maroon 5 audition, which was amazing. I can see the corny side but I still loved it.

Mike Lynche - Eleanor Rigby
I seem to remember a certain American Idol husband of mine doing this song. I was dismayed to find someone doing it, but Mike did a completely different version of the song and if you don't watch him perform, he does an amazing job.

Crystal Bowersox - Come Together
Carly Smithson did a version of this song. (Did they not have a L-M night in season 8?) Her version, like Crystal's, was smooth and sexy. I loved it.

Tim Urban - All My Loving
The first one I hadn't heard before. I'm going to blaspheme here and say he reminded me a bit of Michael Bublé. But with a bajillion percent less talent. Not horrible.

Casey James - Jealous Guy.
I'm not that familiar with John Lennon's solo work, so I originally wrote the title as "Gentle Sky." Hey, it sounds Lennon-esque, sue me.
I hated this. The vibrato that annoyed me is back in full force and I did not enjoy this in the least. Simon and I are broken up again. How was this the best performance of the night when Crystal performed ahead of him?

Siobhan Magnus - Across the Universe
Fiona Apple did a lovely cover of this song and so does Siobhan. This reminded me of her performance on House of the Rising Son, and she was so lovely and restrained on it. Just amazing.

Lee Dewyze - Hey Jude
He's got the confidence and the smile and I just love it and him. He'd make a great band lead singer, I'm not even lying.

Can you guess which performer used the didgeridoo and which used the bagpipes? You might be surprised.

My verdict:
Best of the night: Lee, Siobhan, Crystal
Worst of the Night: Casey, Aaron.
Bottom three: Aaron, Katie, Tim
Going home: I want to say Tim again.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

David Cook, how I love you.

This week has reminded me how much I truly love one Mister David Cook, my American Idol season 7 winner. Sure, Lee did an excellent job this week, but DC remains my favourite male contestant ever to take the stage. I can't wait to get his second album which is, according to his twitter almost done. Also, Kristen, we're gonna go see him out on tour even if he's not with Ryan Star. Just warning you now.

Here is the evidence that Season 7 > Season 9, DCook vs Lee Dewyze.

What do you think? (hoping that the embeds come through on Facebook. If not, please go to the original source)