mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
It's baseball season! I don't know if people who know me online necessarily know what a big baseball fan I am, because the "peak" of my baseball fandom happened before I even had a computer at home. (I think I inherited my dad's old Compaq in the fall of 1999, that was my first home computer. Little did he know what he was letting loose there.) I used to go to about half of the Astros home games in the last four years they were in the Astrodome; I probably went to about 200 baseball games total between 1996 and 2000. (Often with Rob or with friends, but also often alone.) Once they moved to the "new" park in 2000 it became a much more expensive hobby - I can't imagine any circumstances other than, y'know, winning the lottery under which I would see live baseball that much again. (If I was rich I would buy a townhouse near the ballpark and season tickets.) So I gradually went to fewer and fewer games, but we still watch a lot on TV. That's partly because it's just so much more expensive to go to games now, but it's also just life circumstances. In those years I had a day job and Rob had a night job, so I partly went to the games rather than sit at home alone. In the late 90s you could walk up on game day, especially on weekdays, and usually get a single in the field boxes behind the plate - it was $25, which is what an upper deck seat costs now. (Or if I was feeling broke, the good upper deck seats were only $7.) Rob started out not a baseball fan at all and I would drag him along some of the time, and he would eat his way through the games, pretty much, but he gradually got more interested. (I realized this was happening when he started asking me questions about double-plays and such.) By the time the Astros traded for Randy Johnson in the second half of 1998 he was really into it, too.

I'm partly thinking about baseball because I made a comment on Twitter over the weekend that baseball is one of the few things tying us to an actual TV any more. You can get MLB.tv but it still blacks out home games. We haven't figured out a way around that one yet.

(Rob also watches that goofy channel that shows all-old-TV-all-the-time, but there's bound to be some sort of substitute for that.)

Let's see, we watched a couple of episodes of MST3K, and I think that was the only thing I watched on Netflix over the weekend. MST3K was pretty good. Rob used to watch the old MST3K a lot more than I did, so he said it was taking him a while to adjust to the new robot voices, especially. I thought the skit parts of it hadn't quite jelled, maybe, but the jokes during the bad movies seemed just as funny to me as ever. (The first movie is a 1961 Danish (Danish?!?) monster movie called Reptilicus and it is just the most MST3K movie you can imagine.)

And in the middle of the night last night I watched the new Doctor Who. (U-verse was down all night Saturday night, which is the kind of time when I start thinking about whether we get our money's worth out of old-school television.) I liked "The Pilot" a lot. I liked Bill and I liked Nardole and I liked the Doctor more than I have a lot of the time in recent seasons. (I love Peter Capaldi but I think his doctor is either harder to write for or the scripts have just gone down in quality generally. Or maybe both, but I don't have the sort of DEFINITE OPINIONS on this question that a lot of people do.) This episode managed to be simultaneously very creepy and quite funny. Also, while I pretty much expected to like Pearl Mackie as Bill, I really liked her much more than I thought. And I liked the way Bill was clearly gay without anybody ever having to label her as such. SO refreshing. (Admittedly, that might have been why they announced it quite loudly ahead of time, so not too many people were surprised. I only float around on the edge of Doctor Who fandom, though, so I don't know how much flouncing around about it is going on over there.)

I feel like I'm forgetting something else that I watched that was worth noting. If I remember I'll come back and talk about it later!
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Let's just start right out with this: no, Beauty and the Beast didn't really need to be remade. I adored the old cartoon version. What I read about that was that Disney is apparently making tons of money overseas on all these live-action remakes of the old cartoons, so these movies aren't really being made for American audiences at all. It's the best explanation I've heard, anyway.

I guess this one was the first of those remakes I've seen - what else is there so far, just Cinderella and Jungle Book? but there was nothing else we wanted to see last weekend, and I thought if we were going to see it, seeing it while it's still in the big theater seemed like a good idea. Rob hadn't been dying to see it but he liked the old one too so he didn't gripe.

(My mother and I also went to see the Broadway-bound musical way back in 1993, I guess that was. See here. I know I saw it but it didn't make a big impact, to tell you the truth. The most famous person in it, at least then, was Tom Bosley, and I remember being slightly impressed by that part. And it had pretty impressive staging but that's really about all I remember.)

And I have to say that I liked the new movie more than I expected to. I didn't love love love it like I did the older one, but it was still pretty good. The love story works, and a lot of the changes worked at least reasonably well, and... it was pretty good. I do have a tendency to compare it to all those retellings I've read in the interim, like both of Robin McKinley's versions, in one of which the Beast does stay a Beast at the end. But I don't really feel like that would have worked here. This Beast wanted to be a boy again.

I ended up watching a bunch of interviews and stuff on YouTube when I got home, and a bunch of interviews with Dan Stevens (I didn't watch Downton Abbey so I didn't particularly know who he was) and the upshot of that was, that I watched the beginning of Legion - he stars in that also, in case you're not getting the connection there - and I liked it. So then I made Rob watch part of the first episode also, and I'm not sure if he saw enough of it to get hooked but I definitely did. It's interestingly trippy and not at all like what I'd think "Uncanny X-men" would be like even though that's what it's based on. (I haven't read any of those comics but I guess I would expect something more like Doctor Strange, to the extent that I'd thought about it at all.)

(But we also are still watching Daredevil Season 2 and Iron Fist, etc, so we are getting more and more backed up with the TV stuff, and now baseball season has started so there's another thing to compete for our time. So I don't know when we'll get around to that.)

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.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
Well, the junk first of all: If you went to movies a lot in the '80s, like we did, this is a stupendously easy quiz. (A 50-question quiz that 11% of people get 100% right can't be too difficult, after all.) (I did have to guess on a couple, but they don't even make guessing terribly hard. I am kinda the queen of the educated guess.)

We went to see Rogue One again (still love it) and ate lasagne and watched the first episode of Stranger Things. That was our Christmas Eve. Honestly, it beats most Christmas Eves cold, at least the ones of recent years. Tomorrow we have to do the family stuff. I've washed my hair and I need to do my nails and I'm sure I'll think of ten other highly-important things I have to do before bedtime. I can't much make myself care, though.

Stranger Things was pretty awesome, although more of you probably know much more about it than I do. (Does that sentence make any sense at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaving it like that anyway.) We finished Jessica Jones yesterday (also awesome) and I told Rob that we could watch Stranger Things next if he wanted before we go on to Luke Cage. I don't know that Rob knew anything at all about it, but *I* knew that he would love Stranger Things, it's totally right up his alley. (Speaking of '80s.) It's very, um, early Steven Spielberg crossed with Stand By Me. Or something like that.

Col and I played Marvel Heroes for a while. He is playing Luke Cage and is surprised that he likes it. I liked Luke too (not to mention that he's stupendously hot in Jessica Jones, but I hadn't seen that yet when I was playing him) so I'm not too surprised. Oh, having seen Jessica Jones TV now, I realized suddenly what she's wearing in the game, the other day - it's the "Jewel" superhero outfit that Trish is seen in the series trying to get her to wear. She's been standing talking to Ben Urich in Avengers Tower since I've been playing, and I always wondered what the hell that was she was wearing. (I believe you can also play Jessica as a team-up but I haven't tried it; I'm pretty sure she's wearing something else in that incarnation. And Ben Urich in this game is a younger-looking white guy, in contrast to the older black guy who's in the first season of Daredevil. Reconciling all this now that I've watched half - exactly half - of the existing Marvel Netflix stuff is kind of weird.)

Also (still on the Marvel Heroes track) I spent some money on costumes last week and I now have the girl version of Thor and a couple of Christmas costumes (Daredevil and Squirrel Girl). I'm probably going to feel like I wasted my money on Christmas costumes later but I really like the female Thor. There are actually two female Thors; the other one is Jane Foster (who I think becomes Thor for a while in the comics?) but the one I'm using is the Earth X version, which I really know nothing at all about. She says something about Loki having tricked her into the new body (but she also says she kind of likes it.) Either I read somewhere or Col told me (I have no idea which) that this version, or maybe both versions, won't let anybody call her Lady Thor or anything like that; she's just Thor, still. That's about all I know about that, although I'm interested that they bothered to do two different female voices for Thor. He has a buttload of costumes, too (although not as many as Iron Man) - some of the male ones might have "enhanced" (aka different, rerecorded) voices, too, for all I know. I haven't paid much attention. But I tried playing regular Thor with the default costume and I stalled out about level 30-something. So I was hoping that the different take on Thor would propel me along, and it has - well, I'm still not all that far along in story progression but she hit level 60 tonight, so that's definitely an improvement. I'm not sure why it makes that much difference, exactly, but apparently it does.

OK, that's enough for tonight. I need to go do my nails. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or other holiday/nonholiday of your choice. Or Christmas Eve Gift, as my grandma used to say. (Family phrase of unknown origin; I think I end up explaining that one pretty much every year.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
Actually, I've been watching stuff on YouTube about Rogue One off and on all night, but the last thing I watched was about The Force Awakens, and it's awfully good.
https://youtu.be/nVZGUV77aRg
It's not a series I was aware of before, I may be watching the Fury Road one next.

I started this one last night and finished it tonight (and Rob watched a good bit of it with me, too) but I still can't believe I sat through the whole thing: an HOUR AND A HALF of Kevin Smith and some guy I've never seen before rhapsodizing about Rogue One (and in case you're not otherwise paying attention, this is WAY SPOILERIFIC).
https://youtu.be/uLljgEUPmRQ
(Obviously I've never seen that series before, either, or I would already know who this other dude is.)

I watched some other stuff: nail polish, more nail polish, music videos (which I won't link to til I get to the next Music Advent post, probably tomorrow), somebody obsessively breaking down the GotG vol.2 trailer, more Rogue One stuff. Way too much YouTube, clearly. Oh well, I'll get over it in a few days, I imagine.


Oh, and I forgot to say that we watched two more episodes of Jessica Jones, before all of this. (Hey, it wasn't on YouTube, at least!) I think we have three or four more hours of that left, I've lost track.
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!" (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: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Dr Who - Wilfred)
Okay, I said I was sort of "meh" about Shadowhunters the TV series, but I actually watched it again and I was still (mostly) interested, so I guess I liked it more than I thought, really. So I have Thoughts, which are not going to be really deep or anything, most likely. I was thinking about the cast of the movie vs the cast of the TV series (vs maybe also the books), so let's see...

and oh, right, SPOILERS (if you haven't seen Shadowhunters pilot, or y'know, read the books - I guess I'll put the rest it behind a cut, just to be polite)

Read more... )
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Mel - snow)
I said I was going to use my LJ to try to keep up with movies, but maybe I'll talk about TV also. I haven't been watching a lot of TV lately, in general, but this week while Rob has been gone I've done an unusually large amount of binge-watching, spread out among several different series.

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
This is a 7-part miniseries of a book that I've read and re-read over the past few years. I had seen the first episode and liked it, but I failed to set the DV-R and I didn't get episode 2 when it was on BBC-A last summer, and I refused to watch it out of order. So finally I saw that it was available on Amazon (I think it's on DVD as well) and caved and bought it. I started to buy one episode at a time, but I figured I would end up watching it all and I did. It got the gist of the book quite well. It's a big book and it took some telescoping of events to fit it into 7 hours, but basically I think they did it justice. I have plenty of small quibbles (for example, it's repeatedly said in the book that Jonathan Strange is not handsome, but here he rather definitely is. But that doesn't really especially affect the plot, I have to admit) but no really gigantic ones.

2. Mozart in the Jungle
I had never even heard of this until it started winning Golden Globes the other night (I believe my actual comment to Col in Trove chat was along the lines of "wtf is Mozart in the Jungle?") but it turned out to be about classical musicians in NYC. I have a music background and so this right up my alley. I loved it. It's on Amazon Prime, which I already had, so it didn't require any additional cash layout.

And then that made me think of the other Amazon Prime series I was already aware that I hadn't watched, and that was (of course)...

3. Transparent
Honestly, I had a mixed reaction to this. I loved Maura and wanted the series to spend much more time with her and much less with her whiny children. I watched the first three or four episodes (I forget; it was late) and I'll keep going but I really only love about 25% of it.

Oh, and one more, although this was on network TV (on the former ABC Family, which has some new name that I've already forgotten) and is just starting so no bingewatching:

4. Shadowhunters
I can't say that the first episode was good enough to make me want to binge-watch, anyway. But it was better than the movie (which was The Mortal instruments: City of Bones) - which is to say, not absolutely awful. And I love these books, so I'll keep watching at least for a while. (I guess this is one of those products of the New Age of Entertainment or whatever: has there ever previously been a failed movie which was immediately picked up and made into a TV series? Maybe there has, but I can't think of one, offhand. But then, Cassie Clare's books have a huge and mostly young fandom, and if they can successfully tap into that it'll all be gravy.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Mel - snow)
If anybody's interested, iTunes has that new Kelly Clarkson Christmas song for free as the Single of the Week. I don't know how to link directly to it, but it should be easy enough to find. "Underneath the Tree" is the name of it.

I was poking around iTunes mostly because of X-Factor, which I don't talk about much because nobody I know online ever seems to be watching. But somebody is watching, because one group (Alex and Sierra) has the #1 and #7 singles on iTunes and one of the two solo guys is #4. There were 4 acts left before tonight, and I haven't seen the results show from tonight, so somebody is already gone by now. (And we just fast-forwarded through the results show to see, and it was the boy-band - who did not have singles in the top 10 - who got sent home. They're a country band, which isn't our thing, so they would have been our pick for who to send home, although neither one of us actually voted.) I have downloaded songs by both of the two who are in the top 10, because I do like both of them. The guy's name is Jeff Gutt, and he's kind of a bog-standard rocker, but he's a really good singer. Alex and Sierra are a little more funky and out of the ordinary, and I'm guessing that they are going to win, especially because of the iTunes thing. But it's hard to be sure on these shows. iTunes sales don't count towards the vote.

We have been watching X-Factor since the beginning - three years now, I think? We have been watching American Idol for a number of years, too, although not from the very beginning. I think we picked up maybe with season 5, which was a good many years ago - seven or something like that? Hmm, actually, according to Wikipedia, the upcoming season is #13, so this will be the ninth year we've been watching. Good lord. -- Really, I was following it, more or less, even before that, because those were the years when it was fabulously popular and everybody talked about it endlessly at work. But I only actually started watching when Rob got interested - and I'm not sure why he did, actually. I forget to watch TV on my own half the time, which means I tend to watch what Rob watches - unless it's something that actively annoys me, in which case I retreat to the bedroom or, more often nowadays, he watches recorded shows in the mornings before I get up, since he works during prime time anyway.

(And no, we don't watch The Voice, or Dancing With the Stars, or any of the other talent shows that have come through in recent years. I'm sure we'd get interested in them if we ever started watching them, but we haven't.)

holi13badge-snowflake
holidailies.org
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas lights pink)
I seem to be getting a fair number of entry ideas from Twitter this year - not surprisingly, since I finally gave in to Twitter this year in a big way after resisting it for a long time. I think I got this link from somewhere else originally but I know I tweeted it one day a couple of weeks ago: apparently somebody wrote an entire book about Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", and then somebody else wrote an article about both the book and the song for The Atlantic with multiple video links, which the book presumably lacks).

(The title refers to a song that I always wanted to be allowed to sing when I was in high school - that Mozart song with all the runs and trills. I had a tendency to pick over-ambitious songs and that certainly qualifies. I think from looking around online it's usually spelled "Alleluia" but anyway, same word-root but a far different song. I think you can find many versions of that on YouTube, also -  but I can't hunt around for one I like since I don't have any sound where I am!)

Anyway, this is about the Leonard Cohen song, not Mozart. I was interested in that article because it had several versions I knew and several I didn't. I knew I had a bunch of versions on my iTunes, and when I looked there were seven:
Jeff Buckley
k.d.lang
Timberlake/Morris (from the Hope for Haiti benefit album)
Brandi Carlile (live)
and 3 from Idol contestants: Jason Castro, Tim Urban, Lee DeWyze
(Man, I think I'm just a sucker for this song. I don't even LIKE Lee DeWyze all that much.)

I don't want to talk about my bad Idol habit, which this could easily drift into, but anyway, clearly I like this song a LOT. Like a lot of other people clearly do, too. I will say that it definitely has become a staple of all the singing competitions that are so popular these days. After I had already written a draft of this, a 13-year-old X-Factor finalist did a pretty good version, too - I couldn't find a direct link but it's still on the website as of today. (It was 2nd place finisher Carly Rose Sonenclar, and it was labeled "Carly Rose's $5m song" or something to that effect. I'm sure it's probably available on iTunes for a little while longer, too, if you're determined to track it down!) I thought it sounded fairly similar to the Alexandra Burke version - which you can see on that Atlantic page, and which was also X-Factor, although it was the British X-Factor rather than the American one, and apparently it was a big hit in Britain at the time. (But I had never heard it until I read that piece the other day, actually.)

The funny thing is, I don't much like the Leonard Cohen version. I think it's safe to say that in general I like Leonard Cohen more in theory than I do in practice. He's too... raw, or something. And I'm sure it's not news to anybody when I say that he's not really a terribly good singer, in the pure sense. (Wasn't there a version by Cohen on the "Watchmen" soundtrack? I didn't find it the other day when I looked, but I seem to remember that I liked that one better.)

That article mentions it being big at weddings, which I think is strange. Do people not listen to the lyrics of their wedding music? Very downbeat for a wedding, seems to me. I mean, I guess it's not completely inappropriate, but it's certainly not "We've Only Just Begun."**

**I realize that The Carpenters are undoubtedly not fashionable wedding music nowadays - but that's what was big when I was in high school, so that's what popped into my head as a contrast. It's just my age showing, that's all.

Local again

Dec. 3rd, 2012 11:26 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Texans)
(Look! Texans icon! I made it myself!)

More Houston-Galveston stuff, some of which refers to yesterday's entry:
  • Aw man, I knew it was probably coming, but Jim Deshaies is leaving us for the Cubs. I adore that man. (But I'm not sure I adore him enough that I'll go watch Cubs games just for him. Of course, if the Astros are bad enough this next year, that may start to look like a more attractive option.)
  • In other (ex-)Astros news, Brad Lidge is probably retiring. Also, bonus footage there of the Astros clinching in 2005. (Rob and I were watching the faces and in some cases the jerseys during the scrum, and going, "Berkman! Biggio! Clemens!" Damn, that was a good team, even if they couldn't win a WS game.)
  • I had to go to Galveston today for a doctor's appointment, and the other Carnival ship was in today. I got out of my appointment right at 4:30, which I have learned over the past couple of years is about the time that the ships usually depart. You could tell that anyway, because when I got back downtown, half the passengers were lined up looking over the railings. To me this always brings to mind old black-and-white movies where the passengers line up to wave at their loved ones who are waving back from below. But nobody is going to stand around to watch you leave when you're just going sailing around the Gulf of Mexico for five days or whatever it is. Plus most of the passengers arrive on buses or park remotely, so there's nobody to watch, in any case. (I'm sure the passengers aren't really lining up for that at all, they're just watching the ship pull out. Still amuses me just the same.)
  • I said confidently yesterday that the Texans game was taping (by which I actually meant DV-R'ing, of course, but that just doesn't have the same ring to it) so of course when I got home it hadn't worked properly, and I only got the last hour or so. I didn't really care that much, anyway, but I really should probably investigate what happened there. It seems to have switched on at three o'clock or something, and our games are nearly always at noon. Honestly, U-verse, you're supposed to just read my mind! (And often it seems to. I'm terribly spoiled, really.)
  • Also, the Texans have serious injury problems. They coped with it pretty well, yesterday, but that was just the Titans. New England may be another story.
Note to self: 45 minutes is too long of a drive for a routine doctor appointment. (As the university knows full well, it's why they have about a zillion clinics scattered all over the north half of the county.)

(I was going to add a picture of the rather excessive holiday decorations around our apartment complex, but my phone isn't cooperating. Sorry.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Happy NY - gif)
Remember how I said I wasn't sick any more? Apparently I was mistaken about that. Which is sort of odd - I had two fairly crud-free days in a row, but today it's back. I don't know how I managed that, but oh well.

I am watching "A Christmas Carol" (the Doctor Who one, I mean) - I watched it last weekend when we got home, but I was distracted by something or other and was paying attention to the second half more than the first. Now that I've watched the whole thing, I have to say it makes a lot more sense. Speaking of making sense, we watched some episodes yesterday that I had not seen, or at least only half-seen - some parts of it I'd seen and some I hadn't. I don't remember why that was. ([livejournal.com profile] nonelvis , do you remember trying to explain the whole Stolen Earth/Journey's End thing to me, a while back? It was that, and I have to say I see why you had trouble.)

I did drag myself out of the house today to go to dinner. Other than that I just played a lot of Guild Wars. (It was the annual Wintersday New Year's festivities - the "hats" this year were a halo and and some really creepy horns.) Oh, and I watched the Rose Parade. My favorite was the Pac-Man float.

I'm sure there was football somewhere around today that I didn't come across (I wasn't looking very hard, let's face it) but it seems to me that New Year's Day is a shadow of its former self when it comes to football. Another thing to lay at the feet of the BCS, I suppose!

I'm always trying to write entries late at night when I'm falling asleep, and this is another of those days. I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open - so good night, and happy new year to you all, once again!
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Xmas - Mr Darcy)
I talked Rob into going out to eat with me tonight, and going to Half Price Books afterwards. I can't ever get him to go anywhere on work nights - I don't even try any more - but since he doesn't have to work tomorrow, I kidnapped him as soon as we got home and we went and ate Italian (just for fun, we went to a different Italian restaurant than the one we normally go to!) and then went book shopping. I completely forgot to buy anything for my father - that tells you how disconnected I've been from my normal Christmas preparations this year, 'cause normally I think of things like that a lot earlier in the process than December 23rd. I almost always buy my dad books, thus the trip to Half Price - they always have a good selection of the kind of thing he's interested in. Don't ask me the name of the book I bought - something about the days leading up to Pearl Harbor. My dad says himself that I have a good track record for picking books he'll like, so hopefully this one will work.

Jay Thomas is on Letterman right now, telling a story that I've heard before, I'm pretty sure. Maybe it's part of the Christmas tradition, along with throwing footballs. (Letterman seems to have a lot of Christmas traditions, after all these years. Wonder if Paul has done his Cher imitation yet.)

I mentioned something about nail polish and small children's gifts, or something to that effect, yesterday. I meant to talk about the highly important subject of my Christmas-green nail polish, I think, which I am now going to have to re-do, or at least touch up, because my nails have pink and purple paint stuck to them, from said small children's gifts. I had to go and buy something that needs painting. (I am still working on this. I'll try to remember to take a picture when I get done. I hope to god these gifts are not totally embarrassing in the end. Of course the kids in question, who are quite small, will probably think they're great no matter what.)

Stuff about A Game of Thrones, with one fairly mild spoiler. )

Points

Dec. 14th, 2010 02:44 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Mel - snow)
I'm not doing all that well with Holidailies - I think that little number on the front page was what usually kept me going, and that's not there this year to prod me. Still, I haven't given up yet.

I've been watching Doctor Who season 2, most of which I haven't seen but once or twice - and I've finally hit an episode I haven't seen ("The Idiot's Lantern"). Rob and I were watching "Love and Monsters" which I had seen but he hadn't, and then we watched the rest of the disk ("The Impossible Planet" - which I might not have seen before either, come to think of it, but I had seen "The Satan Pit"). Rob was not really a Doctor Who fan until recently, but he seems to be getting more interested now. I knew he'd like "Love and Monsters" because of all the ELO, if nothing else. Rob loves him some ELO.

I'm trying to do Weight Watchers again. If you follow these things (hey, it was in the New York Times), you know that WW has changed their program lately, and that it's somewhat controversial. Well, not really controversial unless you're part of the Cult of Points (aka the old system). I didn't realize how freakishly attached some people were to the whole point system until this happened, even though I've been going to meetings off and on for years. There's still a point system, it's just changed some. They're making an attempt to keep up with all the latest in food science. The old system calculated points by the calories/fat/fiber in a food. The new system throws calories out the window and goes by fat/carbs/protein/fiber. It seems to make a good bit of difference - some carb-heavy foods, in particular, seem to have gone up a lot. Still, it seems workable. You can now eat all the fruit you want, and I like fruit, so that makes a big difference to me. We'll see how it goes. My history has been that I can stay on WW in the short term but not the long term, so I don't know if unlimited fruit is enough to make a difference.


The color of the year for 2011 is "honeysuckle", according to Pantone. Which is a dark pink - not the color that the honeysuckle around here is (as the WSJ article notes - ours is the yellowish kind) so I'm kind of thrown by the name. But I really like that color, whatever it's called. I'm a fan of pink, in general - I've been threatening for ages to make an all-pink quilt - but I particularly like that dark almost-red pink. I've been seeing it around the last few years and I didn't know what to call it. Now I guess I know!


Anybody make icons? I really feel the need for an icon that says, "You're an elf. You go Keeble!" (from here) - I do have Elements so I suppose I could figure out how to do it myself if I tried, though.


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy - patrol)
It's funny, we've had U-Verse since the beginning of February, and it's only gone out a few times, which means it's probably more reliable than Time Warner/Comcast was, on the whole - but I don't know, the times that U-Verse chooses to go out seem to be more showy, or something. I had gone out to run some errands, and I got home about the same time that Rob got home from work, and when we started turning everything on we found that the TV, internet and phone were out. The phone came on after a while, but the TV and internet stayed out for several hours - but finally, after a long time on the phone with AT&T, we got it to reset. The tech said that the signal was there all the time (well, all the time I was on the phone with her - I suspect that it had been out at some point) but that something somewhere in the system was blocking it. She tinkered with things on her end and I hit a lot of reset buttons on mine and eventually - about the time she was about to submit a ticket to have a tech come out to the house - it decided to cooperate.

In other news, I have finished reading the chapter about the urinary system - lots more about glomeruli - and I am planning on taking the test over that and the respiratory system tonight, and after that there's only one chapter and one test to go, not counting the final. I need to pay for the coding class soon, so that when I'm ready for it I have the materials. If I understand the syllabus right, I have to complete it within 4 months, so that means that around Christmas, I'll be done. Well, and then after that (hopefully very soon after that) I'll have to take the certification test. Which means I'll end up being out of work for just about a year, assuming that I then get a job very quickly - and everybody keeps telling me that I will. Everybody I talk to in the healthcare industry makes it sound like the shortage for coders is nearly as bad as the one for nurses. (Nobody has said that outright, but that's what they make it sound like. Like they're pretty much desperate, really.) I hope they're telling me the truth, and not just trying to make me feel better!

We watched a couple of Buffy Season 4 episodes while we had no other TV. We have been gradually working through S4 recently, but I have also been cheating during middle-of-the-night study sessions and have worked ahead to S5. There may be a Buffy post in the offing (sooner or later when I get around to it).

Teh random

Jan. 2nd, 2009 09:37 pm
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote - plastic)
I am cleaning, and it's no fun. Which makes a "random" entry a good thing to do in the intervals when I run out of steam. I HAD to go and offer to cook lunch for Daddy and Barbara tomorrow. (I still have to go to HEB and buy groceries, too.)

1. I have "I Kissed a Girl" (the Katy Perry one, that is) stuck in my head and it's starting to drive me crazy.

2. Sort of related to that - only because I made it related - my Facebook status is still on what I set it on Wednesday night, which was "waves bye-bye to 2008. It's lucky I don't kick it in the ass on the way out." I think that little piece of bitterness has been there quite long enough and it's time to change to something else. So I just changed it to "has 'I Kissed a Girl' stuck in her head."

3. I am really tired of these commercials about how your antenna TV is going to stop working soon. Surely if people haven't figured it out in the past SIX MONTHS, they're not going to get it now.

4. Like [info]karen_d , I am interested in cemeteries - although maybe to a lesser degree - and through this entry I found this website which has pictures and info on many cemeteries, including George Cemetery, which is the cemetery that most of my mother's family is buried in, and which I have posted pictures of before, I believe. I am going to have to dig through my pictures, because I should be able to add some information that's not already there. I am related to all of those Batson and Martins on that list (my grandmother was a Martin, and the Batsons are cousins in some way I'm not sure about), but my more immediate relatives are missing as yet.

5. Ghost Whisperer was a kind of dumb show to begin with, but seeing the repeats makes me realize how much it's gone downhill this season. (It's one of those shows that I only watch at all because Rob does - when I'm sitting at the computer right next to the TV it's hard to ignore.) The changes they made this year - I'm trying to say this without being spoilery - were not at all to my taste, let's say.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy - patrol)
I'm going to try to write an entry but my internet is being kind of wonky this morning so let's hope LJ doesn't eat it or something. (I started to say "eat it for breakfast" but it's already getting to be a litlle late for breakfast!)

I have just been looking at the calendar - we are going to Ohio in three two weeks. And taxes are due the day we get back. Yike. I am running very behind on the taxes - it's not mine I'm worried about so much, but we have to do that last tax return for my mother for 2007, and then, I dunno, do we have to do one for the estate, also? I didn't even think about that one until yesterday. Well, I am clearly going to be filing some extensions, anyway. I'll probably just do mine online like I always do, but I'm not confident enough about what I'm doing to do my mom's that way. (But damn, I probably have to do mine before I leave, then, because my in-laws do not do the online thing, unless I go over to my sister-in-law's house or something... which I guess I could do if worse came to worst!)

Let's see, what did we do this weekend? Not a whole helluva lot, actually. Saturday we went to the mainland, and Sunday Col and I played GuildWars almost all day, and squabbled a lot but managed not to kill each other. Rob went off to see some horror movie but I don't even remember which one it was. -- Oh, we did watch some DVDs over the course of the weekend - we watched Labyrinth, which amazingly, neither of us had ever seen. I liked it but I can't say I really adored it, it was too much of a kids' movie for that. (Not that that always stops me, really, but I dunno, it did somewhat with this one.) And we finished the Torchwood disc that we had, which was season 1, episodes 3-5 - Cyberwoman, and the fairies one and... I forget what the ep we had already watched before that was. Oh, Ghosts, I think it's called. The one with the alien cell phone thingamajig. I really like Torchwood generally - much more than I expected to. More than I like Dr Who, to tell you the truth. I like Dr Who but I have never been a huge, huge fan. Torchwood - well, we'll see how I feel when I get through the rest of series 1. But I like it a lot, in any case. I think I like that it's darker.


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (WoW - shiny)
Wanna know why I am getting so much into jewelry? It's all Elise's fault. God, I love that necklace. I want to be able to make something like that someday. (And I also would like to be able to sell things that cost $700 and change, incidentally!)

I had a watchface I hadn't made up my mind what to do with, so I made a watchband out of jet beads for that, finally - which I keep forgetting to take pictures of - and last night I made two more bracelets and some earrings. My sister thinks that we should try to get accepted to sell at the Nutcracker Market this fall (big, big gift show held in Houston every November) so obviously I need to get to work. I'm watching very closely about what items I wear that people admire, and so forth. Doing something big like Nutcracker Market is going to be scary when I'm not entirely sure what's going to sell. I really think the little short dangly earrings that I've been making out of Czech beads* will sell well to that sort of crowd, though. I guess I just need to make a lot of those in wintry colors and cross my fingers. (Which is not to say that that's all I will make, anyway. I will try out a number of things.)

Incidentally, I was telling[personal profile] columbina  about my watch with the jet beads and we ended up discussing the Wikipedia entry on jet. (Jet is actually a petrified wood - sort of similar in composition to high-grade coal, oddly.) We is geeks.

Speaking of geeky, I am fascinated by stuff like this: Dino-Era Feathers Found Encased in Amber


mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Well, we did finish watching the old "Lost" in time for the new "Lost" and I was pretty glad we did. It appears that we stopped watching right about the time the show started improving. And god knows there's not much else to watch right now, anyway!

Partly in service of improving the "nothing to watch" problem, I finally went onto netflix.com and reported the "House" disk that disappeared while we were moving as lost. (Heh, maybe it'll turn up on the island!!) It gave me a message when it went through that you can return the lost disk for a refund if it turns up within a year, which is nice - especially since I keep expecting it to turn up any day now. I know I saw it when we were packing, so unless we accidentally gave it to Goodwill, it ought to be here someplace! The problem is the boxes full of papers - mostly my mom's stuff - that we haven't gotten around to scanning/shredding yet. If it's in there, no telling how long it will be! The next thing we need to do, Netflix-wise, is either watch or return the two X-Files disks we have had out for ages.

This weekend is Mardi Gras (that is, the Galveston version, which is largely confined to the two weekends prior to Fat Tuesday), and the weather is supposed to be pretty nice for the Momus parade, which in turn means the traffic in Galveston, and especially getting in and out of town, will be horrific. We don't ever go to the parades, mostly because neither of us is big on crowds. One of these years I need to buy us grandstand tickets so that we will obliged to go to the big parade. It's supposed to be pretty nice, and I know that a good many people I know are probably actually in the parade, since it's a big deal in certain circles here. (Mostly the kind of circles that have money. Krewe membership is expensive.)

My sinuses are still making me crazy. It probably has to do with the ever-changing weather we get this time of year - one day cold, the next day warm. Quite literally. Yesterday morning it was pouring down rain; yesterday afternoon I got out on the porch and watered the plants barefoot. But this morning it was cold again.

I got my hair colored again yesterday even though it'd only been about six weeks, I think. But my bangs were way the hell down in my eyes and the gray was already visible in my roots, and I thought, well, if I'm going to go get my bangs trimmed I might as well do the whole shebang and get it over with. But I can't make a habit of doing it that often, it costs too much. I did make sure the guy trimmed the front shorter this time. Last time we were chatting madly about something-or-other and I forgot to pay sufficient attention to the haircut. I need to watch that. The haircut as a whole looks good, anyway, and so does the color. I look about 10 years younger with my hair colored and cut right, I really do.


I have to quote[personal profile] ursulahitler because this cracked me up - from a political discussion the other day: 'Look at this way: whoever wins, we'll be trading way, way up. The mayor from "Buffy" would be an improvement! Pre or post ascension, either way, he'd be better than W!'


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