25 February 2009
And while I'm on the topic of the Whedonverse, I have to say that I'm torn over this new show Castle. I want to like it, because it stars Nathan Fillion, and he was awesome in Firefly and Dr. Horrible, and is just about the best thing to ever come out of Edmonton. But, sadly, the show (at least, in the commercials I've seen) looks a lot like Bones (which, ironically, also stars a member of the Whedonverse). And I already like Bones, so do I have room in my busy TV watching schedule for another comedic, character-driven procedural rife with sexual tension?
21 February 2009
I think the book was too depressing. I mean, I know it's about slavery, so it isn't supposed to be all sunshine and kittens, but the book didn't really leave me with any hope for her or her people. Which is weird, considering that she had hope (I think) and that I know slavery and the slave trade were abolished. I should have been filled with hope. She was such a strong woman, I guess I'm really disappointed that, for all her ability to cope, she never had more than a few moments of happiness.
And when I say it was depressing, I mean depressing. And this is me saying this. My three favourite books involve a school shooting, the end of civilisation, and a slow downward spiral into suicide. I'm no stranger to depressing topics, but none of those leave me feeling as low as this book left me feeling.
20 February 2009
I was sick on Saturday (and Sunday, and Monday, and still) so we went back to Alej's after the market and napped, then had a lazy rest of the weekend. On Sunday night I went to my Aunt's house to spend a few days. My cousin is visiting with her 4 month old, the smiley-est little kid I've ever seen. His cuteness gives giant pandas a run for their money (although he's not as cute as red pandas, but, really, what is?).
On Monday we took little Smiley to Point Pleasant for a walk. It was a sunny day, the wind was a bit sharp, but it was a great ocean walk anyway. As we left the park we saw a couple with a baby bulldog. It was only 9 weeks old and was absurdly cute. I didn't take a picture, because taking a picture of a stranger's dog is weird. But I got some off google:
On Tuesday we went to Pete's Frootique, which is a wicked grocery store that specializes in produce you've never heard of, and imported stuff from Britian. Every time I go into Pete's it makes me want to learn how to cook, just so that I can use ingredients like carambola, cherimoya, and feijoa. Sadly, Pete's has an extensive collection of seafood products, including chips:
This isn't completely new to me, I once ate cuttlefish-flavoured chips (before my moratorium on seafood), but for some reason, shrimp cocktail pringles completely grosses me out.
After Pete's we went to the Chickenburger for lunch. Chickenburger, unbeknownst to me, is a HRM institution and should not be missed. But if you do miss it, don't worry - it was pretty crappy. Rumour has it, the place recently changed hands and has gone downhill.
That's about the extent of my trip. I spent a lot of time playing with Smiley. I also spent a lot of time being creeped out. My aunt has two large stuffed dolls (for lack of a better word) that she keeps in a little tableau at the top of her stairs, and pretty much every time I went up the stairs, I thought someone was there.
The eagle-eyed among you will recognize that they're dressed in scouting uniforms. My aunt's a life-long guider and is using Mr. & Mrs. Creepy in celebrations of guiding in Canada (almost 100 years). At night, they come alive and dance a mournful waltz.
And ye shall not be disappointed, in my completely biased and enamoured-with-Bono'd opinion. But it's not just me, Rolling Stone gave it 5 stars and said it's the best since Achtung Baby, and Neil McCormack also said it was among their best. Although, he did go to school with them, so he may also be biased.
Here are my first impressions, along with some lyric snippets:
1. No Line On The Horizon ("you can hear the universe in her sea shells") - this reminds me of Miracle Drug from their last album, a pretty song that underwhelmed me on the album, but that was transformed when heard live.
2. Magnificent ("I was born to sing for you/I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up") - This song more than the others, just sounds like U2. You could have played the first 5 seconds and I would known it was them.
3. Moment of Surrender ("I was speeding off the subway/Through the stations of the cross") - One of the longer songs on the album. I love when they have long musical intros, they haven't really done that since Joshua Tree. This also has a gospel-type feel to it that they haven't really had since that era either.
4. Unknown Caller ("restart and reboot yourself/you're free to go") - This one is odd, with the lyrics being almost chanted over a really pretty, uplifting melody. I suspect that this is a song Douglas Coupland would appreciate, it would be right at home on a JPod soundtrack.
5. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight ("every beauty needs to go out with an idiot") - all the reviews I've read say that this will be a really popular song, because of it's sing-alongableness. I agree that it's sing-alongable, but I think Stand Up Comedy will be more popular. However, apples and oranges and all that. They both rock.
6. Get On Your Boots ("candy floss ice cream") - catchy and funky, and a great driving song as I discovered the first time I heard it on the radio.
7. Stand Up Comedy ("Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady" also "be careful of small men with big ideas") - Kickass! I liked this from the first second. Funky and groovy and impossible not to dance along with. It would make a great concert opener.
8. Fez – Being Born ("African sun at last") - Easily the most unusual U2 opening ever, with different music clips and sound effects. So far, though, my least favourite. I'll have to give it some more listens.
9. White As Snow ("As boys we would go hunting in the woods/to sleep the night shooting out the stars") - Not your typical U2, it verges on a folk song, and I can't wait to hear an acoustic version.
10. Breathe ("coming from a long line of travelling salespeople on my mother's side I wasn't going to buy just anyone's cockatoo") - The opening has a great drum beat. I really like this one. Some of the verses are very Elvis Costello, but the rest is very much U2 ("I found grace inside a sound /I found grace, it's all that I found"). This may be my favourite on the album actually.
11. Cedars Of Lebanon ("Choose your enemies carefully cause they will define you") - I like these types of songs, when Bono writes longer lyrics (say, unlike Boots), and there's more of a story there.
19 February 2009
So, I'm playing on the Internet instead and I came across this acoustic cover of Get On Your Boots.
I really like it. It makes me wonder, though, The cover band (The Wrecking) uses two drummers, but U2 only has Larry [Mullen Jr.]. Does this mean that the song needs two drummers and that for the live performances they'll use backing tracks for some of the drums? Or, does it mean that Larry is as awesome as I have always suspected and he can do the work of two drummer boys?
Funny thing about me, but the name "Larry Mullen Jr." will forever be heard in my head as "Larry. Mullen. Junior." And if you care to know why, you should watch this performance of Angel of Harlem from the Rattle & Hum doc (I can't embed it, for some reason).
So, I've spent the last 20 minutes watching clips of Rattle and Hum, trying to find my favourites, but I want to put every single one up here. It's just too hard to choose. So I'll put this up, for no other reason that that I'd forgotten about this part of the movie. The song starts with a performance of Exit, which is one of the darkest, if not the darkest, U2 song. The album version starts off very slow, and quiet and it's very effective. I've read that this song was inspired by the works of Flannery O'Conner (if you're familiar with her, you'll know her writing is far from cheery), and what really makes it infamous is that there was a guy arrested for murder once who said that this is the song that told him to kill. The song ends in a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria. To me, the juxtaposition works.
And speaking of songs that make people kill, here's Bono taking back Helter Skelter.
Okay, I think that's enough copyright infringement for one night.
18 February 2009
1. An article on an interesting connection that I never really thought about before, between U2 and science fiction.
2. A shout out (or, rather, a "bravo!") to Alej for being the first to make themselves an official "follower" of my blog. I suppose I should have created some kind of incentive program to attract followers. The first 20 followers get free shout outs! Join now!
14 February 2009
12 February 2009
I did, however, commandeer the TV on Tuesday night and make my brother and sister-in-law watch the NOVA doc on the court trial to teach Intelligent Design. I'm not going to go into a huge rant about ID and how frustrating it is. I did that while I was watching. I think my family was getting tired of hearing me yell at the TV and slam my fists into the couch cushions. But how am I supposed to react when someone criticizes a biology textbook for being "laced with Darwinism"?
The doc is really good, even if you know the story already. I totally love the narrator, at one point he's describing ID as "scientific" and you can hear the finger quotes. If you've got nothing better to do tonight (and you probably don't, because Bones isn't on), watch it and yell at the ID people, and feel admiration for the high school teachers, and find yourself feeling a begrudging respect for the judge, despite his unsavoury connections to Bush.
Hey, "doc" is "cod," backwards.
10 February 2009
Or, they can turn it into something awesome like:
Which comes out this spring and apparently is ~80% original Austen. And there's going to be a movie! Oh, please, please, please let them cast Colin Firth!
08 February 2009
05 February 2009
03 February 2009
I've never watched the Superbowl before, but I watched it on Sunday because the family members that are currently supporting me during my unemployment invited some people over and my options were a) sit alone in my room, or b) watch the Superbowl with some drunk people and have a little fun. Only one of us really even liked football, and the rest of us were just watching for no real good reason, as far as I could tell. We made quarter bets on things like first point, first touchdown, first commercial after kick-off, etc. Having no prior knowledge of football, I felt at a bit of a loss. But when I was told that the Cardinals were the underdog, I knew they would win. If a lifetime of inspirational sports movies has taught me anything, it’s that the favourite to win will do well in the first half, but the underdogs will rally in the second half and be triumphant. So, I placed all my bets based on that philosophy. For a while there, it looked like that was a great move, but then in the last few minutes, the other team pulled ahead and my underdogs lost. So sad. I’m down 50 cents.
I gotta say, football makes no sense to me, and I’ll probably never make any effort to learn anything more about it. I mean, if I watch it once every 20+ years, what’s the point? Did you know that some of what we see on the TV screen doesn’t appear on the field? Like, there are lines and signs that we see, but they aren’t there in real life. And the coach for the winning team was very young, and looked like Foreman from House. There was one really funny part, where one of the Cardinals made a leap to tackle someone (I presume) and totally missed, so he was basically just throwing himself on the ground with gusto, nowhere near the action. Oh! And NBC does this thing, when the stats for the players come up, they show little headshots of the players – but they don’t show still pictures, it’s like a film clip of the players staring into the camera and trying not to move and sometimes they blink and some of them were really freakin’ scary looking.
And the commercials sucked, but that’s because we had the Canadian feed, so there was commercials for Dartmouth Sportsplex and some local Liberal guy. Hardly entertaining. I’ve since read that the Springsteen halftime show is being called the best in Superbowl history. My ass. I haven’t seen all the Superbowl halftime shows, but there’s no way there isn't at least one more entertaining that Bruce Springsteen running crotch-first into the camera. And I’m not just saying that because U2 did the halftime show in 2002 (as a 9/11 tribute, no less). I will say that the post-bowl episode of The Office had the single funniest opening EVER in an Office episode. In fact, the first half was probably the funniest 20 minutes the Office has ever done. And that's saying something.