mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (new year)
(Dreamwidth note: I fixed this where the links work, at least, but if you want the version with the nice embedded links you have to go back to the original Livejournal entry.)


To go back to the last MA post, the video that I posted on the 20th was "Black Sun" and the day before that, "Hard Sun" - there was sort of a method to my madness there, because the 21st was solstice and I wanted to go from the sun to the stars, for solstice. It just seemed appropriate.

And it also seemed appropriate that it be Bowie.
David Bowie Starman (1972) official video

Next is a video that Bowie was not in, I believe that was because he had some kind of scheduling issues. He did record a taped message for the B-side, though.
Do they Know it's Christmas ~ Band Aid 1984

Bowie wasn't in it, but George Michael was, so next I went to a George Michael song. I always liked Michael and I liked Wham! back in the day but they were definitely not taken seriously, back when they were first popular. And I have to admit this was not my favorite of Michael's solo songs or of the Wham! songs, but it fit in with my connections so this is what I used. (I may do another post about him and Wham! if I get a chance.)
George Michael - Careless Whisper (Official Video)

The reason that fit into my connections was that I was thinking about Rick Astley. When I was poking around on the internet trying to work this out, I found a mention of how people think "Never Gonna Dance Again" is the name of that song, and so that made it a good lead-in. Last year when we were doing the alphabet for Music Advent, I had this idea that it would be funny to rickroll Music Advent - except of course most of Music Advent goes on on Twitter, and if you put a link to a video there it's generally going to give you a preview, so it's not really possible to do a rickroll in the old sense of the word. But anyway, I remembered that this year and so I wanted to work in this song.
Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

I actually have two different connections for the next one. For some reason I completely didn't even think about the "Never" connection at the time. The connection I originally used was that Rick Astley and the Bunnymen are both from Merseyside, from the area around Liverpool.
NEVER STOP Echo and the Bunnymen

I got excited when I figured out that this video is apparently from the same tour (or anyway, the same year) that I saw Echo and the Bunnymen, which was in Austin in 1984. I knew the minute I saw it that it looked kind of the same - although Austin was a much smaller venue - I think it was the Opry House, which is quite small, relatively speaking - and so we didn't get all the strings and stuff. I'm not even 100% sure they did this song. (It seems like I remember being unhappy because they didn't, actually. But I'm not sure I'm remembering that correctly. That was a long, long time ago.)

Anyway, I actually used this song for Music Advent last year, and I usually try not to repeat myself (because y'know, it's not like there's a shortage of songs to use) but I made an exception for this one because it swung back around to day 1: it was on the tape that we played at our wedding reception. "Chapel of Love" was the first song on that tape and "Never Stop" was much further down the list but it was definitely there, because I insisted on it. The main criteria was that the song be a love song (about "real love" rather than just about hooking up) and we figured "this love we found should never stop" qualified. (Even further down the list we actually included Georgia Satellite's "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" - which was a new song that spring - because of its jokey take on sex before marriage. I'm not sure many people got that joke, but Rob and I thought it was really funny.)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
I'll get around to doing the last Music Advent post sometime this week, but one of the videos was "Careless Whisper" and that just makes me sad all over again about all these people dying this week. Then I looked at the phone earlier and there was a breaking news e-mail about Debbie Reynolds being rushed to the hospital, and so it was like, aaand here we go again.

It occurred to me that I didn't mention much about gifts in my last post. As I've said before, Rob and I are terribly pragmatic about gifts. We usually give each other some small surprises but we pretty much pick out the larger gifts so as not to waste money on stuff we don't want. (He gave me some nail things, for the surprise, and I bought him an Ohio State shirt that I had found on Amazon.) We got a couple of nice gifts from my cousins - a pair of those large stainless steel travel mugs (my cousin actually apologized because they were Sam's Club brand and not the name brand, and I said, "Honestly, I don't care at all about that, I like them") and a very pretty wreath that I can put out on my balcony. And my aunt gave us gift cards, as she nearly always does. I gave all the females who are old enough to wear makeup little gift bags full of sample stuff - everybody really seems to like those. I also gave some Star Wars stuff, which of course also goes over well. As for me, my big gifts were my planner - I like Erin Condren's and they are not exactly cheap - and I got a Kindle Fire when they were on sale on Cyber Monday. (I had a regular Kindle - in fact I' on my 3rd one, I think, but I'd never had the Fire.) (Rob wanted - and went and picked out for himself - a weight vest. To each his own.)

We went to see the Pixar movie Moana this afternoon - I knew it was supposed to be good, and it was - and on the way home we went down this street with a lot of big houses to look at the lights. In particular this one house has a gigantic oak tree in their yard that is completely covered in blue lights. Something about it is just mesmerizing, I love it. Also it always makes me happy when people still have the lights up the week after Christmas. There's something depressing about it when all of the decorations disappear on the 26th. (I do think it's fair game to take stuff down closer to New Year's because I know a lot of people have to go back to work right after the 1st. I don't insist they stay up until Epiphany or anything.)

We are watching one episode of Stranger Things a day. I figured out that this will get us finished on Sunday, just in time for Rob to go back to work on Monday. Some of the episodes have big cliffhangers, though, and sometimes it's really tempting to just keep going. But so far we haven't. (Episode... I mean "Chapter" 4 - they don't call them episodes - is called "The Body" so I think you've gotta say that's a direct Stephen King callout there. I also still think it's very reminiscent at times of early Spielberg - the thing where the lights kept going off and on reminded me a lot of Close Encounters - with a big heaping dose of X-Files and maybe even Twin Peaks. All of those are good things as far as I'm concerned.)

Holidays

Dec. 27th, 2016 12:16 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
I'm off all week - it's not actually holidays for me, technically, because I'm part-time and I don't get paid if I don't work. But we'll manage, financially, and I can't say I'm unhappy about the break.

We went to see my aunt and my cousins yesterday, Christmas Day, and came back today - which is Boxing Day, other places, but nobody calls it that here. It really should be called Returns and Gift Cards Day - although I admit it's not terribly catchy - because that's what an awful lot of people do on the day after Christmas, right? You return what doesn't fit, etc, you maybe buy some Christmas junk that's marked down (I used to do that a lot but I don't as much as I used to), and you spend the gift cards that people gave you, often on newly marked-down merchandise. However, we didn't do any of those things today. We got up (terribly, terribly early, by my standards), we went to my aunt's and had breakfast, and then we came home. Rob went to the gym after we got home; I played Marvel Heroes for a while and then went and took a nap, because I only got maybe 5 hours of sleep last night. And then when I got up we watched another episode of Stranger Things and then the Doctor Who Christmas special, which luckily taped because I set it in some past year and it always remembers. I do love U-verse for that (although we are plotting to get rid of the TV portion of U-verse if we can figure out how to make that work - I'm not really sure it's doable at this point but I'll report back if we make any progress on that).

I guess I should back up and talk about yesterday. Oh, no, actually I'll back up to Saturday night (or very early on Christmas morning, really) right after I posted the previous entry. I did paint my nails - the color is Twinkle Lights, if you want to know. I do really like it but it was a bit difficult to get opaque. Between coats of nail polish, I was messing around on the internet like I always do, and at some point I went back into Marvel Heroes and my inventory panel was suddenly chock-full of stuff. Presumably this was a Christmas gift of sorts from Gazillion (who runs the game), although there were two of everything and Col said today that the rumor yesterday was that the doubling-up was a mistake which they just decided not to try to rectify. It was all these different kinds of gift boxes, and I was determined to sort it out before I went to bed, and I felt like it took for-freaking-ever. There was lots of good stuff in there, so I'm not exactly complaining but it did stress me out for a while there. I did still get to sleep at what for me is a decent hour, because I knew I had to get up by 10 or 10:30, so we could get to my aunt's house in time for a late Christmas lunch.

I had talked to my aunt on Friday and I told her that we were leaving about 11, and she said "but it'll take you three hours!" and I'm not sure where she came up with that number, but we made sure to time ourselves because we were sure she was wrong. We started out the door at 11, actually pulled out at 11:15, and got there at 1:30 even with a brief stop at Buc-ees for a bathroom-and-cold-drinks break. so it takes, what, actually about two hours flat, driving time. (Of course there wasn't all that much traffic, on Christmas Day.) I had told her if they got ready to eat and we weren't there, not to wait, and they didn't. We got there right when they were finishing up. I was trying to decide if it was rude not to get there on time, but since they won't actually ever set a fixed time it's hard to work up much guilt there. There were actually still a couple of people lingering at the table and we just fixed plates and joined them, so it was like Christmas dinner, act 2, more or less.

I'm not going to try to distinguish too much between my various relatives, because there's too many of them, but basically, this group of people is composed of my aunt, who is actually my aunt-by-marriage (my uncle died about 15 years ago), my two first cousins who are in their 40s, their four children (between them), and the family of the oldest of those four children (husband & three little girls). (I always just say "my aunt and my cousins" - obviously some of them are actually first cousins at a remove or two,)  Plus there was my aunt's father, who is 103 and not in particularly good health (although he's hanging in there very stubbornly) and his caregiver. He is still living at home but he broke his hip and now has round-the-clock care as of this past year. (I can't imagine what costs them, but he's pretty well-to-do so I assume he can afford it.) The caregiver just joined right in with everything like she was part of the family. This is all a pretty extended family, I imagine you're getting that from this description if you've read this far, and so it has expanded and contracted to include a variety of people over the years. We usually only see them this one time of the year, but they always seem happy to see us, and it's sort of the last remnant of Christmas that we much participate in.

We normally go on Christmas Eve, stay one night, my aunt ritually complains that we don't stay longer, and we normally go on home late in the afternoon on Christmas Day just the same. This year, since we had to work on the 23rd, we begged off coming until Christmas Day. I enjoyed being home on Christmas Eve, as I said in the last entry, but I'm not sure if the logistics will work out to be able to do that every year. (We'll worry about that starting 11 months or so from now.) Anyway, people came and went, we opened gifts, we watched movies at my aunt's house ("Elf" and "Enchanted") and then Rob & I & a couple of the younger ones went down the street to my cousins' house to spend the night, and we watched more movies ("A New Hope" - which I hadn't actually seen in years, I decided - and part of "Avatar" before we finally collapsed. (To connect around to what I said earlier, I got about 5 hours of sleep, woke up at 6am and never did go back to sleep again. I finally gave up and started setting up my new paper planner that I got as one of my gifts.)

It was a pretty good Christmas, overall.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
Day 15 in Music Advent was The Police's King of Pain - so my next set of connections involved Alison Krauss, because she has worked with a lot of different people, including Sting (formerly lead singer of The Police). This song is from the soundtrack to the movie "Cold Mountain" and was nominated for an Oscar, I believe. (A lot of bad music gets nominated for Oscars, but I really like this one.)
Alison Krauss & Sting You Will Be My Ain True Love
https://youtu.be/IHbmJb3aXE0

And then Alison Krauss also worked with Robert Plant (formerly lead singer of Led Zeppelin). (I'm trying not to make assumptions that people know these names. Both The Police and Led Zeppelin go back a long way!)
Led Zeppelin - Kashmir (Live Video)
https://youtu.be/hW_WLxseq0o

I talked in the last Music Advent installment about how I had stopped planning ahead with the videos but then I decided for the last week to go back to planning ahead again. So the next video below is where the planning started again - but I kind of screwed up getting there. I knew where I wanted to end up the weekend, which was at this Eddie Vedder song, and I had vague ideas about how to connect from "King of Pain" which is where I was at the time, and get there by Monday. I had the basic steps figured out, which was Sting > Alison Krauss  > Plant/Led Zep > The Who > Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder. I came up with two connections between Led Zep and The Who - one was that Who drummer Keith Moon is said to have come up with the phrase, something to the effect of "that went over like a lead zeppelin" and the other is that there were always rumors, at least, of a feud between these two bands, enough that even I had heard about it and I didn't really follow rock music that much back in the 70s. (By which I mean I listened to it, yes, but I didn't read magazines or join fan clubs or anything like that to hook up to the gossip pipeline!)  And then Pearl Jam's sound is heavily influenced by both of these bands, but I had seen quotes from Eddie Vedder where he talked specifically about Pete Townsend and The Who.

So that's my reasoning, but I screwed up the number of days somewhere in there and ended up skipping The Who and PJ and going straight to Vedder solo, just because it's another song I really like a lot.
Eddie Vedder - Hard Sun (Extended) - Into The Wild Soundtrack
https://youtu.be/tz927SK5gYM
(I actually wasn't aware that this was a cover, originally done by Indio.)

And then there was another song with "sun" in the title that I became aware of recently (it was released in 2015, so it's a fairly new song). That was a really really obvious connection. (In fact you'll see that just because I planned these out ahead of time doesn't mean they're particularly more inventive connections.)
Death Cab For Cutie - "Black Sun" (Official Video)
https://youtu.be/eTbVIfqeDq0
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
It's Christmas, as far as I'm concerned. We're even having Chinese food afterwards.

(We work til 9:30 on Friday so that left a tight window to go to any movie then. We just got the tickets for 7:00 Saturday instead.)

I don't think I mentioned that I actually read the Rogue One "prequel" book that came out a month or so ago. It's called Catalyst. It's not a great book but it was pretty interesting. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but rabid Star Wars fans, really. It's the backstory of Jyn's childhood and how her father - who wasn't at all interested in weapons design - got roped into the Death Star project. It has a lot of back and forth between Galen, her father, and Orson Krennic, who's trying to get a weapon built for the Death Star. Kind of the most interesting part was a lot of detail thrown in here and there about the building of the Death Star. It took them years and years to build it (which is logical but I've never heard anybody say so before) - they started out with a flat circle and built from there, and the early part all had to be done by robots since there was no air. That was honestly the part I liked the best, not all the bickering and politics between Galen and Lyra (Jyn's mother) and Krennic and Tarkin. I'll be interested to see how much of that backstory made it into the movie.


Added after seeing the movie: having read the book did help me understand why Krennic pretty clearly went into the confrontation at the beginning of the movie planning to shoot Lyra unless she shut up and came quietly. He blamed her for - well, basically he was trying to pull the wool over Galen's eyes about what he (Krennic) was trying to do with Galen's research, and she kept making Galen wake up and see. And she masterminded the getaway scheme that resulted in them escaping the Empire (temporarily) and taking up farming.


I went and looked and Rogue One made $29 million on Thursday night previews, which is not surprising, really.

I watched "The Force Awakens" just now, since I am so firmly in Star Wars mode. Oh, and also I put on my Star Wars nail polish - which I actually forgot about last year. It's called These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For. I was already wearing dark-blue polish so it goes really well over that.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
(Added: ugh, I wrote this at like 5am so while that proves what I say below about going to bed at dawn, it also was very haphazardly written and even more haphazardly proof-read. So it've done some editing and hopefully it reads a bit better now.)

I started feeling like I'd gotten a bit off-track about Music Advent - which is to say, it's not that I was doing anything wrong, but I think it was more fun when I planned it a little more. I've kind of gotten myself into a time-crunch, though - I work in the evenings, we don't get home several days until after midnight, and while I do stay up literally until dawn a lot of the time (as in, it's often getting light outside by the time I go to sleep), I'm still dividing those night-time hours between a number of tasks. I partly stopped planning ahead on Holidailies because it saved some time, but eventually it started feeling like it was ultimately taking longer, and I was less happy with the results. But it's getting slower at work as it gets closer to the holidays, and so I sat at work with my planner calendar yesterday and started at the 25th - because I did have an idea where I wanted to end up, with Music Advent - and worked back to the date where I am now. I couldn't actually look at videos very well from there, but I think I got it figured out as far as songs and connections and it makes pretty reasonable sense. I hope it continues to.

Anyway, I'll elaborate when I get to the parts that involve that. The last song in part 3 was the Karla Bonoff song "Personally". The next connection was an easy one: I used a song that Karla had written, Wynonna Judd's "Tell Me Why":

I'm not generally a fan of mainstream country, but this is a good song, so go Karla & Wynonna.

For the next day I was looking at some of Wynonna's discography and especially some albums she had done with lots of covers on them. I found that she had done "Ain't No Sunshine" and I figured, "well a lot of people are bound to have covered that" and I listened to a couple and arrived at this one, just mostly because I really like it. It's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Des'ree:

Some beautiful singing there.

The next few days are where the part I'd already done intersects with the newly-planned part where I was working backwards. I have some more connections to firm up over the weekend, but I think I have a basic plan for that that seems to be working for far. But that'll be in the next entry. Here, I just went with songs having a portion of their name that's similar: "Ain't No..." you could say. For the above song that's "Sunshine", for the next one it's "for the Wicked". This is a pretty well-known song so it's not the most interesting choice in the world, probably, but I like it, and it works for where I wanted to go.


Then the link with the next one is that they were both used in the soundtrack to the tv series "Lucifer" - in fact in the first two episodes. If you've watched that show, Cage the Elephant was in episode 1 and The Police are in Episode 2.

I'm happier now that I have a definite plan. But I'll tell you more about it the actual plan four days or so from now. (Or watch the #musicadvent tag and see what pops up there.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (quilt - zipper)
I said I would come back and talk about the backs of my quilts, so I might as well do that! Bear in mind that I haven't made a quilt in several years now so things may have changed, some, and/or I may have forgotten a thing or two. But I think the basic idea of it's still valid.

This first one is a more simple example of how I used to do the backs of my quilts. Even if you're doing the same fabric all over, you're going to have to put at least one seam in the back for most quilts, unless you buy special extra-wide quilt backing fabric. (That does exist but it's a bit pricey and the selection is relatively limited.) I just figure, given that, why not run a few seams and use up some scraps?

This was a quilt that KarenD and I did together. I know that fish fabric was hers, and the batik was a fabric we picked out online. I'm not sure any more which one of us contributed the other pieces. Basically, though, the idea is just that you just keep going until you get something big enough.Make a row that you know is wide enough, and then make another row, til it's big enough with several inches each way to spare. (Cutting it too close is a bad idea, here - if something comes out short you're really screwed.)
back of the fish quilt

Here's a more elaborate example (this is the back of the one that's in my icon). I had lots of little pieces left over - it's the "teeth" part of the zipper, see - and I just put them together in big strings, like so:
zipper+scraps.jpg
(I actually went and dug out the link from my old quilt blog because I knew I talked about this there. It's got more detail about the dimensions and stuff, and why I did it the way I did, but unless you're actually going to make a quilt you don't really need to know all that. That blog is unfortunately just a mass of dead links, mostly, so I really need to make some effort to pull the "good parts" out and catalog them somehow!)

Anyway, if you clicked over there, this is just a bigger version of that same picture. I worked the strips of small pieces between the bigger rows and this is what I ended up with for the back:
the+back+of+the+zipper+quilt.jpg
(A lot of it is things I didn't end up using on the front!)

Added: it occurs to me that people might want to see the front of the thing in a larger size than icon size, so here's that (with Rob's head peeking out at the top). Note that the binding is not whipped down here, but other than that, it's done.
no title

I've actually found a few more pictures of the back of things so I might have another entry about this eventually.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - adipose)
A couple of people have written entries about coffee for Holidailies in the last few days. I started to write one yesterday and it only got as far as how my parents both drank their coffee black before veering off to talk about the other things I drank over the years (large quantities of iced tea, Diet Coke, and Shiner Bock, at various stages of my life). So instead I'm still going to start with coffee but I'm not going to pretend that I'm going to write a whole entry about it. I do have a serious Starbucks habit these days, but it's a relatively recent thing and really has nothing to do with my parents and their (really revolting, as far as I'm concerned) black coffee habit. I only drink my coffee with large quantities of milk and artificial sweeteners, and I don't care how bad Equal is for me, so don't try to tell me. (I'm pretty sure that the Starbucks drive-through people at two different locations in two different towns know it's me just from my order.)

When I was trying to write about this yesterday, I also tried to look up "supertaster" because I've been told several times that I probably am one, but what I got from that search is that the only people who claim to know what a supertaster really is are people who are trying to sell you testing kits. It's definitely true that I'm sensitive to bitter foods, especially, and I basically can only tolerate them if they're highly watered-down in some way. But I'm also generally a picky eater in a number of other ways. I'm super-sensitive about texture - which is why I don't eat shellfish, because ugh, rubber - and I'm far too fond of the kind of traditional Texas diet that's heavy on grease and starch and meat. So I don't really know where all that gets you.


Let's see, what else - we're still watching Jessica Jones, and we're now maybe about halfway through the season. (I haven't looked to see how many episodes there actually are. Daredevil had 13 but I don't know if J.Jones is the same.) We did two episodes today and one yesterday, which is about as fast as we ever manage to go with shows like this. We don't have Netflix set up on our TV, for one thing - our regular (U-verse) television feed is still hooked up to my mom's old TV, which is a large and incredibly heavy old CRT. We keep saying we'll get a flat-screen when that one goes out, and it hasn't so far. It's got to be something like 13 or 14 years old because my mom died in early 2007, coming right up on 10 years ago, now, and I know she had it for a good while before that. So when we want to watch Netflix I have to pry myself off the computer so we can watch it there. It's all very out-of-date, I know, but it's worked for us so far.

I would like to cut the cord and not have regular TV at all, but Rob is a TV addict. One reason our crazy schedule works for us is that he goes to bed a lot earlier than I do (at which point I generally turn the TV off) and then he gets up much earlier than I do, of course, and he spends his mornings (the part when he's not working out, that is) watching old re-runs, which I can't stand. He loves Andy Griffith and Gunsmoke and all that kind of old stuff, which I can tolerate in small doses but generally got sick of years ago. (I got up to pee one morning this week and could hear Edith Bunker's voice from the bathroom - I didn't even know he'd been watching All in the Family.) I have my old Dell computer; I'd like to just buy another monitor like this one (20" Samsung, I see it's less than $100 on Amazon) and hook it up to that for TV-viewing. I don't think Rob would let me cut off the "real" TV, still, though.

Anyway, we both really like Jessica Jones a lot, and I was really happy when we got to this last episode where Luke reappears, which probably means I'll be ready for one of those Luke & Jessica icons by the time we finish. (Is there a cutesy name for Luke/Jessica? Lessica? surely not...)

(I think I'll post this and then go play Marvel Heroes some more. I really need to get Storm through chapter 4.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fireworks)
I have another four Music Advent videos to show you, so yay, I don't have to stop and consider what to write about next. (See here for the explanation of this year's "connections" theme.)

So where I stopped in the entry linked above was with "Wicked Game." And it wasn't a stretch from there to think "Wicked Witch" but using Wicked the Musical seemed like an uninteresting choice, and the Wicked Witch in the old movie doesn't sing. So the other thing that occurred to me was "The Wiz" which I'm not really familiar with at all. I looked it up and the Wicked Witch there is named Evillene and she does indeed have a song - apparently only the one, near as I could figure out. I knew (or well, I was prodded by the internet to remember, anyway) that Mary J. Blige did this role in the recent "Live" TV version, but again, that seemed like an obvious/less interesting choice. I hunted around and found this rather amazing version from the old Wiz movie. This is Mabel King, who apparently also did this same role in the original Broadway production. I love that costume, for one thing - how many crowns is she wearing? about five? - but also, going from the lead-in to the number, this full-on gospel-style number is just not what I expected. It's pretty awesome, and now I may have to (finally, after all this time) go back and watch the whole movie and find out if there are more gems like this there.


As I said, I planned out the first few days and after that I realized that this is not really all that hard, coming up with connections, and I could just wing it. The next day, I started poking around in the Wikipedia article about The Wiz, and what I found that I eventually used was that Mabel King was the Wicked Witch and Lena Horne was the Good Witch. So I decided to do a Lena Horne song, and pretty much the first thing I found was "Stormy Weather" (which I think may be from a 40s movie of the same name) which seemed thematically appropriate as well. Heck, the way the wind is blowing in the background for most of that song, it looks like there's gonna be another twister any time. Also, if you're interested in such things, be sure to stick around for the ballet number (!) that follows the song.


So then, the next night, I came home and read the Wikipedia article on Lena Horne for inspiration. I found connections to both Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett, among others I could have used, but I also found that Janet Jackson was once cast as Lena in a biopic before Nipplegate put a stop to that. And I wasn't really wanting to stay with these really old songs that badly, so I went with Janet. I picked this one, just because I like it:


And then we come to this last night. I was driving home in the car thinking about this, and I went, well, if we're avoiding the obvious, the really obvious thing here would be to jump to Michael or the Jackson Five or something like that. And from there I thought, well, how about a different Jackson? Like Joe! And then "Steppin' Out" immediately started playing in my head, but I really never liked that song that much. I did really like Joe Jackson at some point, I remembered, though, and I knew there had to be some more songs to choose from even if I couldn't remember exactly what they were, at that exact moment. And luckily I was almost home by that point and didn't forget my new inspiration before I got there. So instead of that song I don't like (which I wouldn't have used, anyway - I would have gone to Janet's Wikipedia entry for more inspiration, rather than that), we have this, which is a live version from the Jools Holland show in 2003:

(From his reaction, this must be a much more enthusiastic response of "WHERE?" than he was accustomed to - he nearly cracks up both times.)

And I have no idea what I'm doing next. you'll have to check my Tweets (or the tag) or wait another four days to find out!

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Potter - sit down)
I did a quiz! Online quizzes seem like an artifact of the old Livejournal days, to me. This one is about "secondary" Harry Potter characters - apparently everybody other than Harry, Ron, Herminone, Voldemort and Dumbledore are secondary, in somebody-or-other's opinion (even Snape!) - but anyway, this thing has something like 84 questions and I got 94%. I couldn't remember which one was Crabbe and which one was Goyle, and the rest of them I missed were pretty much the really minor characters, the ones that stayed in the background, mostly some of the most minor adults. (I've read the books more times than I've seen the movies, so it's putting the faces with the names that I tripped up on. The spelling of the names is not a problem for me.)

Anyway, that reminded me that I meant to come back and talk about Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them, because I don't think I said anything about it other than that we'd been twice and that (obviously) we liked it. I'll try not to be spoilery, because the main thing I wanted to say was that if you haven't seen it you really ought to. I read somewhere that while its first weekend wasn't spectacular, it's holding on really well and it's going to end up making more money than they first thought - it has "good legs" as they say. And that tells you that the word of mouth is good. I guess the #1 thing that I liked about it were the CGI animals, because they are gorgeous, but the rest of it is awfully good too. I have never been a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne's, but he is really good in this as well, as is, well, everybody else. Other than Redmayne and Colin Farrell and the (cough) surprise guest (which I won't spoil) at the end - and, well, Jon Voight, but that's also practically a cameo - mostly this is a cast of relative unknowns. They're people who have been around, yes, but aren't really super-famous. -- Anyway, everything else I can think of to say seems to veer into spoiler territory, and to avoid that, I better just stop here.

Regarding the title of this entry, the "Wizarding World" thing seems to be what they're pushing as an overall name for the two series, since "Harry Potter" doesn't exactly work any more. (Before this I had only heard it as the name of that theme-park thing in Orlando.)


Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Black Widow)
I had a new icon yesterday and I have another one today. I saved a few more so you may see some more new ones, eventually. I go poking around in my icons every December, because I have so many I don't even know what all I have. They're kind of a record of my years at Livejournal, really - baseball, Buffy (TONS of Buffy), Harry Potter, m15m, WoW. Kingdom of Loathing - that last one goes back a while, especially. I've deleted a few over the years - usually the ones that I most rarely used, anyway - but there are still lots of old ones there. (I saw "NaBloPoMo 2007" for one, and I doubt that that's the oldest one still here, either.) The first one I remember having as my default was one of the m15m Harry Potter ones - I think it was Snape saying "sit down and shut up." Actually if you look at my userpics page, they seem to have the current default first and after that they appear to be chronological, so if I'm correct about that, the Snape one IS actually the oldest, or the oldest that's still there, at least.

Anyway, I don't see anything Marvel in my existing icons. I suppose it's been so long since I was really a regular poster here that it was mostly before Marvel became a big thing. But I have been doing movie posts all year and if you paid attention to that you might have noticed that the bulk of the movies I've seen this year were superhero movies - a few DC but even more Marvel. There's a post somewhere in there that talks about what I read as a kid (Wonder Woman) and didn't read (anything Marvel, really). (Here's that entry.) I got gradually more into the Marvel movies as they came out, and then - as I mentioned in that entry - I started playing the Marvel Heroes 2016 game this year and that really got me even more into it because I'm gradually figuring out big chunks of backstory. Anyway, I figured it was time I had a Marvel icon and so I went and poked around again and Natasha here was the first one I found that I really liked. (I can't make a habit of spending time looking for icons, though, I have enough time-sucking hobbies already without adding more.)

If I'd found a good Daredevil or Jessica Jones one first, though, you might be seeing that instead. (I did eventually find a couple of them but half of them were Luke/Jessica and I'm not into it far enough yet to be invested in those two as a couple.) We just re-started Netflix a month or so ago after a LONG hiatus - like, a couple of years - and the main reason we re-started it was for the Marvel stuff (and Stranger Things for Rob, but we haven't gotten around to that yet). We finally got through season 1 of Daredevil last night and we watched enough of Jessica Jones after that to determine that we did in fact want to watch it. I was pretty sure I would, but I wasn't sure about Rob - then once we got really rolling I realized that this is right the heck up Rob's alley. It's practically a horror movie, or at least it's creepy-as-hell suspense. Anyway, we're only two episodes in and we haven't even really seen David Tennant's face yet, but we're pretty into it. We're both off tomorrow so hopefully we can get at least one ot two more in.

(Have I ever mentioned that my mom thought when we first started dating that Rob was some kind of serial killer or something? Because he liked horror movies and stuff about Charles Manson. Heck, practically every guy my age likes that stuff. My mom had some weird ideas sometimes.)

I hear Daredevil season 2 is not as good as season 1, which is disappointing because I really, really loved season 1. We may watch season 2 eventually but I figured it'd be nice to see if we could catch up with at least Jessica Jones & maybe Luke Cage too before any more Defenders stuff comes out.


Holidailies - blue
mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
I said last night that I didn't have any nail polish icons, and so after I posted, I went and poked around in the icon communities, and to my amazement, among all the fandom icons I actually found a nail polish one. So don't think this is my nails or anything (my nails haven't been as long as the ones in that icon for some time now!) but hey, I have a nail icon! (And this is my 200th icon, for the record. I've been on LJ for a long time and I was a paid member and then a permanent one, so because of all that I have a lot of space for icons. I think it said I can have up to 235, now.)

That said, I'm not planning to write a whole entry about nail polish again, I'm not saying that might not happen before the end of Holidailies, if I can't think of anything else to write about, but definitely not today, anyway. Instead - as I usually have regularly for the past several years - I'm going to write about Music Advent. (Although there is a nail polish connection down here somewhere.)

I think this is the fourth year they've had Music Advent, where you pick out a music video daily from Dec.1-25. (This mostly takes place on Twitter using the hashtag #musicadvent, but has also expanded to other social media platforms to some extent, I think.) They've had other themes in other years, but this year it's modeled on something called The Chain, which is a BBC Radio thing. You just have to come up with a connection between one song and the next - any connection. I sat in the car one night on the commute home and came up with most of the ones I've used so far, but now (after the four in this entry) I'm just winging it. I figure if I get stuck I can just google the song and figure out some sort of connection to some other song - same producer, maybe, or same year - the possibilities are pretty endless.

So I started out with a connection in mind that I didn't actually use, but I figure if I get organized enough to be clever, I can work back around to it at the end and make it a circle. The one I didn't use was that this first song was on the mixtape that we used at our wedding reception. So if I end with another song from that tape, then I'll have a circle. (I don't think I remember what all the songs were on the tape, but we spent quite a lot of time on that tape and I remember quite a few of them, even after nearly 30 years.)

This song, was, in fact, the first song played at our wedding reception - "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups:

Rob came up with some stuff that I wouldn't have thought of, and some of my friends from Austin helped, too. I was never a really huge fan of all the 60s girl-group stuff, so on my own I would never have thought of this song. (If you followed all my many Music Advent posts from past years, you may already know that I'm a much bigger fan of the oldies of the 80s - although we got married in 1987, so they weren't even oldies at the time - than the 60s.)

For Day 2, my connection was "from the chapel to the wedding" - which maybe wasn't the most glib phrasing I could have come up with, but anyway, it works as a connection.

This is definitely one of my 80s songs. I remember watching this one on MTV, back when MTV was relatively new and people actually sat and watched it.

So this second song was actually the first connection I thought of, because I had some Pandora 80s channel on in the car that night. It's not highly original but oh well. It's Billy Idol/American Idol. Rob and I watched American Idol for years so it was a pretty obvious one to me. And then I picked this particular song because it fit into the next connection, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Once I got to American Idol, I figured I could use anybody who was ever on Idol, really, but the most obvious people to use were Kelly and Carrie, because they were the biggest stars to come out of Idol in the US. Then once my brain got to that point, I thought, "Ooh, nail polish." Because Deborah Lippmann nail polishes all have names that are song titles, and I knew for sure that there was at least one that was a Kelly Clarkson song. I actually got on the website and made a list of songs I might want to use. The song I originally thought of which I knew was a polish was Stronger, but in fact I found at least four songs that I could have used: Miss Independent, Stronger, Before He Cheats, and Superstar. (I don't know which "Superstar" Ms Lippmann actually had in mind, but I knew that Clay Aiken sang it on Idol at some point.) I did get as far as looking for a video of Clay singing "Superstar" but I wasn't blown away by that video, so I went with Miss Independent instead. I do like the "Stronger" video but it's not my favorite of her songs. And I'm not a huge country fan (although I do like Carrie Underwood alright) so that's why I thought the older, more rock-inflected Kelly video reflected my taste the most, of those choices.

And then the other video I used the next day, which is also a Lippmann nail polish, is another 80s song, Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game":

This video feels familiar to me, but I doubt that this is the exact video MTV used back in the 80s because it's a bit risque for back then. (I mean, it's really not, because you can't actually see anything much, but just the fact that the girl in this video doesn't seem to have a top on for a good portion of the video probably was too much, in the 80s, even if it was cable.)

(and four videos is plenty for one entry so I'll continue this later)


Holidailies - blue

Nail candy

Dec. 4th, 2016 01:46 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (nothing to say)
I didn't get around to writing an entry on the 3rd, mostly because I spent way too long playing with the new nail polish that showed up from a Black Friday sale and then writing an entry in my nail blog about it. (That's here.) I've resisted the impulse to use my nail polish blog for Holidailies - somehow it doesn't feel right - but I have been really, really steadily posting there for most of this year. I started this project where I talk about my polishes a couple at a time. I went all the way around the nail wheel by color, posting once or often twice a day, and now I'm working on the things I missed the first time and re-doing pictures I wasn't happy with and things like that. There were a lot of pictures I wasn't happy with so that may occupy me for a good while longer at this rate.

I got a new iPhone for my birthday, back in April. It's my second one and I had the first one for five years - man, that's forever in internet time. It was an iPhone 4 and it was seriously getting unusable by the end - like, most of the apps were refusing to update and stuff like that. I justified the new one (mostly to myself, although of course theoretically since it was a gift it came from Rob) because I also had an even older camera that had also crapped out. It was a 10-year-old Canon and I figured by getting the iPhone it was killing two birds with one stone, since I'd heard how much better the cameras are in the new generation. It was effectively a new phone and a new camera in one.

What I got was an iPhone SE, which in case you're not already aware is basically the guts of an iPhone 6 stuffed somehow into the case of an iPhone 5. I didn't really want the bigger footprint of the 6 so it seemed like a good compromise, and it was quite a lot cheaper. Of course now there's the 7 and all that is theoretically obsolete anyway, but I don't care. It's a helluva big upgrade from the 4 and the 10-year-old camera, let me tell you. And we've recently put daylight bulbs in our living room (they're so bright Rob doesn't even like to turn them on) and I discovered that if I turn all of those lights on and take my pictures in the living room, they come out really well - or well, much, much better than my old ones, anyway. I don't spend enough time futzing around with my pictures to get anything like professional-quality pictures, but at least I'm up to "decent amateur" status now.


(Hmm, I don't even have a nail polish icon. That seems like a significant oversight.)

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (HP - Phoenix)
I was going to write something about "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" - which we saw twice, once the weekend before Thanksgiving and again on Thanksgiving Day - but I can't figure out what to say past "I liked it a lot and so did Rob." This may have more to do with my state of body/mind right now - I feel kinda like crap, honestly - than with anything having to do with the movie. Obviously I'm going to have to come back to that topic later.

Man, I hope I'm not getting sick.

Well, here, I'll throw you a couple of random holiday-related pictures. I found a paper-chain kit at Target last week, in the $1 section, so I bought three of them. They came color-themed so I bought one of each in red, green, and gold, and I alternated them when I put them together. It's not something it ever occurred to me that I needed a kit for before, but now that I have paper-chains draped all across the living room, I think they're pretty brilliant. It was just pre-cut strips of paper and some stickers to hold them together with.
paperchainkit.jpg
It doesn't say how long of a chain you're meant to get, but with three kits' worth, it wraps most of the way around two sides of the living room. I estimated I have something like 18 feet of chain, altogether. Here's part of it:
paperchains.jpg
I just taped it up and so far it's holding fine. I think it's kind of awesome, really.

(I'm all into creative use of tape, lately. Late one night I used most of a roll of flashy purple mylar tape decorating the edge of my computer monitor, and you can also part of see the results of that in this picture.)

Thus far the only outside decoration I've put up is my big silver wreath on the balcony door. I'm sure I'll get around to doing some more of that later.

Holidailies - blue
Holidailies
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (autumn - fall leaves orange)
Because Holidailies is starting and this seemed like a good introduction.

1. EVER BEEN GIVEN AN ENGAGEMENT RING?
Huh. Actually, no, even though I've been married forever. We didn't have any money so I told him not to bother. I'm not a big fan of diamonds, anyway.
2. LONGEST RELATIONSHIP?
30 years and counting. Married 30 years next spring - that's so hard to believe.
3. LAST GIFT YOU RECEIVED?
Probably nail polish.
4. EVER DROPPED A CELL PHONE?
Oh hell yeah. Without Otterboxes I could never have an iPhone.
5. WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU WORKED OUT?
Does three minutes count?
6. THING(S) YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY ON?
Lately, moisturizer.
7. LAST FOOD YOU ATE?
A piece of streusel cake.
8. FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Height, I suppose.
9. ONE FAVORITE SONG?
Yellow. (I know it's uncool to admit to liking anything by Coldplay, but for some reason I love that song.)
10. WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Houston suburbs
11. HIGH SCHOOL YOU ATTENDED:
Small Town USA (actually it's about 10 miles from here)
12. CELL PHONE SERVICE PROVIDER:
AT&T
13. FAVORITE MALL STORE:
Sephora, I suppose, although usually when I actually go in a Sephora store I end up pissed off about something.
14. LONGEST JOB YOU HAD:
Secretary for a bunch of accountants.
15. DO YOU OWN A PAIR OF DICE?
There might be a Monopoly game stuck in the closet somewhere, in which case, yes.
16. DO YOU PRANK CALL PEOPLE?:
I did when I was 12 or so. Recently? No.
17. LAST WEDDING YOU ATTENDED:
My cousin's. Which was a while ago.
18. FIRST FRIEND YOU'D CALL IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY:
I'm not sure I'd tell anybody. (I probably wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut, but I think it'd be the best idea.)
19. LAST TIME YOU SAW YOUR BEST FRIEND:
Well, if my best friend is the person I play games with, he lives on a different coast than I do and I last saw him in person in, like, 2005.
20. FAVORITE FAST FOOD RESTAURANT:
Since McDonald's started serving sausage biscuits all day, I'd have to go with them.
21. BIGGEST LIE YOU HAVE EVER HEARD:
What did Trump say today? (I guess that would be something to the effect of "Oh no, we're not giving any tax breaks to Carrier!")
23. WHERE'S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT WITH FRIENDS?
THE place around here for socializing is a Mexican place called Gringo's, so let's go with that.
24. CAN YOU COOK?
When I bother, yeah.
25. WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE?:
2009 Toyota Corolla
26. BEST KISSER:
Rob, although it took me a while to come around to his kissing method.
27. LAST TIME YOU CRIED?:
I tear up really easily, so if we're talking a little stealth crying it probably hasn't beeen long. Full-on crying? Not so recently.
28. MOST DISLIKED FOODS:
Slimy things: squid, oysters.
29. THING YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF:
I'm smart.
And I have good hair.
30. THING YOU DISLIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF:
I'm fat. (Honestly, I probably have worse bad points, but that's the obvious one.)
32. LONGEST SHIFT YOU HAVE WORKED AT A JOB?:
I used to work in a restaurant and we did 11 a.m. to close on weekends - probably 13 or 14 hours, a few times.
33. FAVORITE MOVIE?
Let's say Aliens. (Tomorrow I'll probably say something different, though.)
34. CAN YOU SING?
I was a voice major once upon a time. Nowadays, not so much.
35. LAST CONCERT ATTENDED?
It was so long ago I'm not even sure.
36. LAST KISS?
Earlier today.
37. LAST MOVIE RENTED:
No idea. We don't have a working player so we don't do Redbox or anything. I've probably rented something or other from iTunes most recently but I don't remember what.
38.ONE THING YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT:
iPhone
39. FAVORITE VACATION SPOT:
Las Vegas (as long as it's not summer)
43. LAPTOP OR DESKTOP COMPUTER?:
Desktop. I know, I'm all retro and stuff.
44. FAVORITE COMEDIAN?:
Jon Stewart, I guess.
45. DO YOU SMOKE?
I did for about six weeks in high school. I suspect I never really inhaled.
46. SLEEP WITH OR WITHOUT CLOTHES?
Without, unless I'm cold.
47. WHO SLEEPS WITH YOU EVERY NIGHT?:
Nobody. We've been married for nearly 30 years, we have conjugal visits but we don't actually sleep in the same bed. (Free marriage advice? Separate beds are a wonderful thing - especially once you get to the point where somebody starts snoring.)
48. DO LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS WORK?:
Never tried it.
49. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN PULLED OVER BY THE POLICE?
Enough over the years that I've lost count. Last time was a couple of years ago. I was legit speeding but he let me off with a warning.
50. PANCAKES OR FRENCH TOAST?
If forced to choose in a restaurant I'd take French toast. I like Rob's pancakes but not anybody else's.
51. DO YOU LIKE COFFEE?:
Oh hell yeah. (As long as it has lots of milk in it, I don't do black.)
52 HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?
Scrambled. And if they're runny I won't eat them. I'm a picky eater, can you tell?
53. DO YOU BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY?:
No - although I am a bullheaded Taurus and I do occasionally think that's an interesting coincidence.
54. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?:
My aunt. Actually that's not true, it was some random caller at work.
55. LAST PERSON ON YOUR MISSED CALL LIST?:
Some random number, probably.
56. WHAT WAS THE LAST TEXT MESSAGE YOU RECIEVED?:
Well, now that the election is over it's probably not Hillary. It's more likely to be some robo-text thing than a real person though.
58. NUMBER OF PILLOWS?:
Several. No specific number required, though.
59. WHAT ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW?:
A Longhorn t-shirt and some ill-fitting knit pants that I never wear outside the house.
60. PICK A LYRIC, ANY LYRIC:
Not all those who wander are lost. (Hmm, that's actually a poem, does that count?)
61. WHAT KIND OF JELLY DO YOU LIKE ON YOUR PB & J?:
Grape. (I like blackberry on English muffins but grape on PB&J. Go figure.)
62. CAN YOU PLAY POOL?:
I know how, more or less. Haven't tried in years, though.
63. CAN YOU SWIM?
Sure.
64. FAVORITE ICE CREAM?:
Vanilla
65. DO YOU LIKE MAPS?
I do. I like them a lot, actually.
66. TELL ME A RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOURSELF:
I had heart surgery when I was 12.
(Hey, where's 67?)
68. EVER ATTEND A THEME PARTY?
Sure. Not lately, but that's because I'm kind of a hermit.
69. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON
Fall.
70. LAST TIME YOU LAUGHED AT SOMETHING STUPID?
I do that all the time.
71. WHAT TIME DID YOU WAKE UP THIS MORNING ?
9:00. Then I went back to sleep.
72. BEST THING ABOUT WINTER?:
I live where winters aren't very cold. The best thing about winter is that it isn't 90 degrees all the time
73. LAST TIME A COP GAVE YOU A TICKET?:
Probably 2008. (I briefly a had a very peppy Ford Focus and the Galveston police caught me speeding on the way in to work a couple of times that year.)
75. NAME OF YOUR FIRST PET?
Tiger.
76. DO YOU THINK PIRATES ARE COOL OR OVERRATED?:
Only fictional pirates are cool. Real ones are horrible.
77. WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND??
Nothing much, probably.
78. BIRTH DATE
April 26... a long time ago.
79. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE:
Um. Rich?
(more missing numbers, that bothers me.)
85. ARE YOU ON A LAPTOP?:
No.
87. ARE YOU SMILING?:
I am now.
89. DO YOU MISS SOMEONE RIGHT NOW
Again, not until I thought about it.
90. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
London, maybe.
92. ARE YOU IN HIGH SCHOOL?:
Ha. Not for a long, long time, no.
93. DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH?:
No, thank goodness, I seem to have finally gotten over those.
94. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NAME?
Moon Unit
95. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BATHING SUIT?:
Blue.
96. DOES YOUR SCHOOL START IN AUGUST?:
The one where I work does, yes.
97. DID YOU GO ON VACATION LAST MONTH?:
Not unless you count Thanksgiving.
98. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON A CRUISE?:
Nope. It's my worst nightmare. (Claustrophobic, see. I want to be able to get OFF if I want to.)
99. DO YOU HAVE A SISTER
Yup.
100. ARE YOU UPSTAIRS?:
Yes.
101. ARE YOU IN LOVE?:
Yes.
102. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THE HOSPITAL?
Yes. (See above, about heart surgery.)
103. DO YOU WISH YOU COULD SEE ANYONE PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW?
My mom, I guess.
104. WHAT JEWELRY ARE YOU WEARING?
None.
105. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO AFTER THIS SURVEY?
Fart around on the internet some more, probably.

Holidailies - blue
(Huh, why is it cutting off the end of my little graphic?)

Holidailies - blue
(There, that's better.)

holidailies
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fangirl squee)
omg, they gave LJ entries a like button? That's just wrong.

Rob was out of town two weeks ago when Doctor Strange started. I hadn't been to a movie by myself in ages but I bestirred myself for this one. As I've mentioned (probably several times), I've been playing Marvel Heroes for... coming up on six months now, I think, so I'm all into that stuff. I'm not a fanatical Benedict Cumberbatch fan but I do like him, and he's definitely a good actor. And I adore Chiwetel Ejiofor (although I had to look up how to spell his name but not how to spell "Cumberbatch" - go figure). I was a bit uneasy about the whitewashing issues but I do like Tilda Swinton a lot, too, and I do pretty much buy the argument that this movie was gonna have some issues related to race no matter how they cast it, just due to the way it was written 50 years or so ago.

So I went, and I pretty much loved it. (Surprise!) Not unreservedly, because when do I ever love anything completely without reservations? I'm pretty good at seeing at least some of the flaws in most things, no matter how much I love them. This movie is pretty much the same old Marvel stuff, as far as the plot is concerned, and those amazing cityscapes certainly do owe a lot to Inception, and, well, I'm sure I could think of more if I worked at it, but you get the idea. It has flaws, plenty of them. But still, it's a good movie. And especially since I had been playing that damn game and I knew a lot of the lingo in advance, the magic stuff was really fascinating. And the effects were gorgeous, even the Inception ones. Especially the Inception ones, really.

It always floors me when people walk out of a Marvel movie before the credits. Actually about 90% of them stayed until the Thor bit, after the main credits (is that what you call them? the ones that would be at the beginning except they're at the end) but after that about 90% of the people who were still there, got up. I had already checked on my phone and I knew there was more at the very end, but it's always a very small group that stays. Of course I was in Pearland, and Pearland is weird, but still. I don't know if they don't know or don't care or just have to get the kids to the restroom, but most everybody left.

Well, anyway, so then during the next week Rob came back. Rob and one of his brothers talked about going to see the movie in Ohio, but Rob had gotten up at something godawful like 3:30am or maybe it was earlier - I've already forgotten - and spent most of the day travelling, and he said he just didn't have the energy to stay up any longer by that time, and you can't blame him for that. And I wasn't really unhappy about that because I really wanted to go again anyway, and since Rob hadn't seen it, that gave me an excuse, and so last weekend we went again. And I really enjoyed it, in a different way from the first time. To tell you the truth I'm not sure how much Rob loved it. He didn't hate it but he didn't have much to say about it - probably partly because I was talking too much and he's too polite to talk over me while I told him about relics and stuff.

I always watch different things the second time I see a movie, but they vary. Sometimes I get really involved in the music on repeat viewings, but I didn't really get as far as paying much attention to that here. I remember that I was watching the way they had Strange's hair turn gray at the temples over the course of the movie. And I was paying extra attention to the names of the relics and the spells and all that stuff. Anyway, it was definitely still fun. I wonder if I can talk Rob into going again in a few weeks?

The theater was still pretty full on the second week, but still, 90% or so of the audience was gone after the Thor sequence in the credits. People are just weird.


I think we're going to see Fantastic Beasts thingamajig tomorrow. Rob always liked the Harry Potter movies so I didn't have to talk him into that. I'm kind of excited for that one, too, really.


Oh, and Holidailies registration is open, yay. (No worrying about whether it's happening this year, they'd already updated the site by the time I got around to checking. So expect a lot of the usual babble in December.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - Wilfred)
(Look, this actually makes four icons with Star Wars references that I've found. I have close to 200 icons so it's possible there's something else in there that has escaped me.)

If you haven't been following this all along, by "alternative" I mean the stuff that I didn't actually pick for Music Advent. Part 1 is here.

(Here's what I actually picked for N-Q)
So picking up again with N, the only thing I wrote down was "Nothing Compares 2 U" - which I think was just in case I completely didn't find a video for "Never Stop," to tell you the truth. Because that's just one of those songs that I have strong and ancient emotional ties with, you know?
So here's Sinead's version of that, in case you only know it from "The Voice" or something):

(Lyrics are useful for this song, I think - I always had trouble understanding her, at least.) This song was written by Prince, incidentally.

O: I think I mentioned somewhere along the line that I had "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" written down for O - that's always been one of my favorite old carols. (I have a weakness for the minor-key ones, generally.) What I actually used was Dishwalla's "Opaline" and I did have a couple of things besides those two written down: The Eagles' "Ol' 55" and also "One Headlight" which I think is the Wallflowers.

P: I used Radiohead's "Pyramid Song" but I had several other things written down. One was "Pat-a-Pan" which is most generally famous in this Mannheim Steamroller version. (Gawd, I just listened to that, & I didn't remember it being as boringly repetitive as it sounds to me at the moment. I suppose that's because it's one 30-second melody which they then proceed to repeat about 10 times.) Then there was "Psallite" which is also something I know from choir - it's not generally something you hear around at Christmas because it's too obscure for that, but from what I remember of the (Latin) lyrics it does seem to be a Christmas song.

That's a nice version of it. Much better than my 7th-grade choir one was, I bet!

The two non-Christmas songs I had written down were "Purple Rain" (speaking of Prince) and Jackson Browne's "The Pretender."

For Q, I had "Queen of Hearts" written down (which I know somebody else did use in Music Advent, because I looked) and something called "Queen of the Air." - I don't have easy access to my iTunes list right now so I'm not entirely sure what that is. (Possibly Everclear, because it's a song on an album I know I had.)

(R-U picks here)
R songs other than "River" which I used: Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" - one of my old favorites. Here's David Byrne in a 2002 performance:


Other R's: Radioactive, by which I'm sure I meant the Imagine Dragons song, not any of several older ones. (One thing I've noticed about the Imagine Dragons song: it's one of those songs people sing along with. Pay attention the next time you're in the supermarket or somewhere and it comes on, I bet you'll notice it.) Also Real Fine Place To Start, which is one of those country-ish songs that I picked up somewhere along the line.

I better quit talking so much about every single song or I'll never finish this.

S: I used the cheesy 80s song "Stone Cold" but my alternatives were Fixx, "Saved by Zero"; "Superstar" by which I think I meant the old Carpenters song rather than the musical; and "Second Chance" - the Shinedown song from a few years back. (All I wrote down were titles, which is why I'm going through my list and trying to decide which version of a song I meant.)

T: I used the 80s song "True"; my alternatives were Dan Fogelberg's "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler," Pearl Jam's "Tremor Christ" (but I used Pearl Jam twice this year as it was) and that old cheeseball classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

U: I used Simple Minds' "Up on the Catwalk" because neither one of the other songs I had written down had a video I liked. In the case of "Under Your Spell" from the Buffy musical - and that seems sort of odd (that I didn't like the video, considering that it was the original video), but it didn't appeal at the time, that's all I know. The other one was "Unwritten" (Natasha Bedingfield).

(V-Z videos here)
V: I used "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" (i.e., "O Come Emmanuel" in Latin) for my actual pick, but I also threw another V song into this entry, Ultravox's "Vienna." I also had "Valotte" (Julian Lennon) and Vasoline (Stone Temple Pilots) on the list.

Possibly my favorite thing that I skipped is "Wig in a Box" (movie version) (but again, I had already used a Hedwig song):



other W songs, besides the Wassail Song which I used: another musical song, the "Watch Dog Theme" from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and also Amy Obenski's "Words on a Page"

(Best Little Whorehouse is another thing that I have a weird emotional reaction to - or maybe it's more accurate to call it a heavily nostalgic reaction. The Chicken Ranch story broke in the summer, one of the years that I was a teenager, and we used to watch Channel 13 all the time and saw all of Marvin Zindler's posturing about it. I think we thought it was all pretty stupid even at the time, but I also remember being oddly riveted by the whole thing too. - Ask anybody from Houston: there was just something about that man you couldn't turn away from, possibly like a trainwreck.)

(I'm running out of steam here, so I'll be brief.) The Y alternatives were Coldplay's "Yellow" which I have always been unaccountably fond of, and another 80s song, "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record.) For Z, the alternatives I had were "Zat You, Santa Claus?" (if anybody actually used that, I didn't see it) and U2's "Zoo Station." (Frankly, I was at my aunt's house late on Christmas Eve after everybody had gone to bed, and I think the one I used was the first one I looked at, "Zydeco Stomp." I think I used it mostly because I was tired and I didn't want to look at any more videos. "Eh, I like that song, what the heck.")

2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas light gif)

I don't seem to be much into talking about our Christmas and stuff right now - maybe later, if I get in the mood - so I guess I'll do this instead. Then - again, assuming I get in the mood, which is pretty chancy these days - I'll do one more post like I did before about the stuff I didn't choose. That seems to be what I'm most reliable about wanting to talk about these days.

The first two are Christmas songs (which is another reason to get these up sooner rather than later) and then I gave up on Christmas for the year (although I did listen to a Pandoria "holiday music" channel in the car on Christmas Eve). Both of the Christmas songs are old favorites of mine.

I had the first one on the list twice: I skipped it at O (in English: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel") since I had more options there, and saved it for V, where there were fewer. I knew there was an Enya version (which I think is in both Latin and English, on successive verses), but I went with a full-Latin version by Hayley Westenra. So this is "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel" instead. (Note that the translation in the video is a more literal English one, but there's a link under the video that has the traditional one.



This is the one I was talking about in this entry, the Wassail Song (specifically, Ralph Vaughn Williams' arrangement of it. c.1910):

And then we skip X (#musicadvent's official decision, to fit into the advent-approved 25 days) (plus, y'know, how many X songs are there?) and go on to Y.

So now we're out of holiday mode, and while I would like to be able to say I'd been a bit more creative about this, I went with classic Pearl Jam, "Yellow Ledbetter" - just because I love this:


And for Z, a little Zydeco Stomp for Christmas:

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas lights pink)
For R I went with a Christmassy song (although it's not really a Christmas song, just because it mentions Christmas - although actually I think "sad Christmas songs" could be their own genre, almost) - and not incidentally, this is one of my favorite songs of all time: Joni Mitchell, "River"


After that I got in an 80s groove, although none of these songs are much alike. The first one is a rock song: Rainbow, "Stone Cold"

This is one of those very silly songs (or well, the video is very silly, anyway, and I think MTV must have been where I first heard the song because the two are inextricably merged in my mind) that you can't help sort of liking anyway. Also, at 22 or so, I thought Joe Lynn Turner was really cute.

Then we have this sort of smooth, slick thing that is "True" - I think Spandau Ballet was lumped generally under the "new wave" banner at the time, but I also think for this song, at least, that's pretty debatable:


This is a song that never caught on in the US, as far as I know. Simple Minds had a Moment in America (mostly because of Breakfast Club) but they were a much bigger thing in Europe. Anyway, this is my favorite Simple Minds song. I think I posted this video during Holidailies last year but I didn't actually use it for a Music Advent pick at the time.

(As I said when I posted it before, I don't remember seeing this video at all back then. I just knew the song.)

And as a bonus (because I'm pretty sure I'm not actually going to use it for Music Advent tomorrow), another one of my fave 80s songs, Ultravox's "Vienna"


2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - pink aluminum)
I used this icon because I drove down the beach this afternoon. The water is so pretty in the winter. (I was distracted a bit from that, though, because the powers that be have built new beach where there used to be no beach - it was just rocks - in the 7 years or so since we lived in Galveston, and it startles me every time I see it.)

I said I was going to do four more installments of three Music Advent songs, but actually four days have done by since then so I think maybe I'll do three installments of four instead. Next week's likely to get crazy anyway, so that's probably better. So this post will have N, O, P, & Q. (and this post has all the links to the first half of the alphabet)

N: Never Stop, Echo & the Bunnymen
This was my very favorite song in 1984, as I recall.


O: Opaline, Dishwalla
Dishwalla was never very famous for any song besides "Counting Blue Cars," but I really like this one.


P: Pyramid Song, Radiohead
Because I love the song and this video goes so well with that sort of eerie vibe.

I'm fairly certain that I first head this song and saw the video at the same time, on the computer, when it first came out. In 2001, that was pretty radical. (YouTube didn't come along until 2005, remember.) I noticed watching this - on YouTube, of course - just now that it looks pretty pixellated in full-screen mode. I'm pretty sure that's because it wasn't really meant to be watched that way. Almost 15 years is a long, long time in internet time, and back then, you could usually barely get a small-sized video to download in a couple of hours, and usually when you did it was really stuttery. (I remember watching this at work, where the connection was much faster.) I believe it was a big deal at the time that Radiohead released it this way, too. Now that I think of it, the song has a sort of stuttery sound anyway - maybe it's meant to match!

Q: "Quelle est cette odeur agreable?" Clare College Choir
(I like this, but mostly I was trying to pick something that hadn't been picked already. "Queen of Hearts" which was also on my list was long-gone.) The official translation of that - presumably because it has the right number of syllables - is "Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?" but I think a more modern, syllables-be-damned translation would be more like, "What smells so good?"

Here's a translation, and I have to say it doesn't make much sense to me. It starts off talking about fragrance and shepherds and then in the second verse it starts talking about light - the light of Christ. Which I guess smells good? I don't quite understand. (I don't think it's just a bad translation, either, because my French is good enough to get the gist of things, usually, and the French version seems to be along the same lines.)

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