Archive for July, 2009

SYTYCD aka The Best Reality Show EVER

If you aren’t watching So You Think You Can Dance, you totally should be.  It is absolutely the best show on tv right now.  Next week will be the finale, so I’ll get you caught up…

Each season starts with auditions – much like American Idol.  People audition, performing solos in whatever style they choose from hiphop to ballet to tap.  Eventually if they’re deemed good enough by the judges, they’re given a ticket to Las Vegas.  During Vegas week these top performers are given difficult choreography in several different styles, and judges weed out contestants along the way.  Finally it’s narrowed down to 20 dancers – 10 guys, 10 girls – and we have (in my opinion) the real start to the show.  Each week after that a guy & girl are partnered & learn a dance in a random style.  Viewers get to vote for their favorite couples, and the next night the bottom 6 dancers (3 couples) dance solos to save their life.  At this point the judges have the power to send one guy and one girl home.  When there are 10 dancers left, the power to vote off individual dancers is given to America.  Right now there are 6 remaining dancers, with 2 to go home tonight:

Ade - contemporary

Ade - contemporary

Brandon - contemporary

Brandon - contemporary

Evan - broadway

Evan - broadway

Jeanine - contemporary

Jeanine - contemporary

Kayla - contemporary/jazz

Kayla - contemporary/jazz

Melissa - ballet

Melissa - ballet

My absolute favorites this season are/were Brandon and Janette, who unfortunately got voted off last week even though she was amazing!  So now my female loyalty has switched to Kayla, with a little love left over for Jeanine.

The two I wish had gone home WEEKS ago?  Melissa and Evan.  (Everyone who disagrees, bring it on.)

And now to get you psyched, here are some of the best dances from this season.  What are you in the mood for?

Love?  (Jeanine and Jason, also voted off last week)

Drama?  (Kayla and Kupono, voted off 2 weeks ago) (You may have to turn up the volume to hear the music.)

Zombies? (uh-huh!)  (Kayla and Jason)

Fun? (featuring my two faves, Brandon and Janette! and a song I’m in love with right now)

OK, now you’re ready to watch tonight & next week.  And if you start to get into it, you’re in luck…there’s a new season starting this fall!!!  YAY!

If you’re already watching, who do YOU love?  Which dances from this season stand out to you?

— Jill

Cutest Photo Ever?

Just thought I would share with you an adorable photo of the first time Rupert and Dan met nine years ago.

If we could only hear what they were saying...

If we could only hear what they were saying...

From The LA Times via Leaky

Jen

P.S.  Is Rupert wearing a Weasley sweater???

Why I Loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HP6I love all the Harry Potter movies, but usually they have to grow on me before I feel this way.  I remember after I saw the fifth movie I sat in shock, staring at the screen shouting “What the *#%& was that?  How could they leave out EVERYTHING!!”  Luckily I was in an empty theater with my sister at a special screening, so it was okay to shout those things.  But after I saw it a second time I was able to approach it with more of an open mind and enjoy myself.

I assumed it would be the same way with movie 6, but I was so, so wrong.  I loved it!  I truly truly loved it!!!  It was the best movie of the series by far and has worked its way into my top ten favorite movies.  I can’t quite figure out  why my reaction was so dramatically different than normal, but I have tried to come up with a few reasons.  My thoughts that follow contain spoilers for the movie and the book.

I already knew the Gaunts and Dumbledore’s funeral were cut out of the movie.  If I had been blindsided by this while watching the movie, I would have been very upset.

After I thought about it, I was really happy they didn’t include Dumbledore’s funeral in the movie.  It is one of my favorite scenes in any of the books.  I can recall it more vividly in my mind than just about any other part.  I remember Hagrid being comforted by Grawp, all of the characters from previous books showing up to pay their respects, Hermione silently crying while Ron comforted her.  It is so special and perfect that no amount of skillful moviemaking could capture it.  Let’s face it, if they had done it, they wouldn’t have done it right.  It would never have lived up to my expectations and so I am happy that I still have the pure form of his funeral from the books without a pale imitation movie version.  I feel like Dumbledore’s funeral is something that the fans of the books can cherish as their own without having to share it with the “movie fans” who would never have appreciated it the way we do.

Also, the Dumbledore from the films is not the same as OUR Dumbledore from the books.  He is Harry’s mentor and professor, but not his friend.  This is not due to any particular writing, acting, or directing…….there is just not enough time to establish the grandfather/friendly Dumbledore that we know from the books.  The impact of his death is not felt the same way in the movie as it was for the characters in the books.

One thing that I loved about the movie that hasn’t really been present in any of the other movies is kind of hard to describe.  Some of my favorite moments in the Harry Potter books are the “walking in between classes/conversations in the halls/discussions during class/hanging in they Gryffindor common room” scenes.  The only time the other movies include these scenes is when they involve PLOT PLOT PLOT (oh things are getting bad, Voldy is getting stronger, blah blah blah).  There are hints of it in movie 5 (the trio laughing in front of the fire after Harry kisses Cho), but movie 6 has so many great scenes like that!!!!!!  After 5 movies of nothing but action, battles, and climactic scenes, I was willing to lose some big stuff in order to gain these fun little glimpses into Hogwarts.  I thought all three actors did an excellent job of portraying the trio and I truly bought that they were best friends.  This was definitely worth losing the battle at Hogwarts.

Speaking of the Battle of Hogwarts, yes it’s too bad that it wasn’t included, but in the book we didn’t even get to see it.  We only saw the aftermath, and the only really important thing was Bill’s condition, and oh yeah, that’s right, Bill isn’t in the movies (grrrrr) so it was kind of unnecessary.  Plus, it sounds like they are really going to do the Battle of Hogwarts justice in movie 7 so I am okay with that.

I am to the point of just rambling now, but I just wanted to quickly point out some things that I loved!

1.  Young Tom Riddles you were awesome!!!  Totally gave me the heebie-jeebies.

2.  Oh Rupert, you were amazing…..hilarious and clueless and wonderful!

3.  I liked the way Harry protected Ginny at the attack on the Burrow.  He really stepped up and looked like a grown up.

4.  I loved the hospital scene with Ron and Hermione……….pitch perfect!  Bravo Emma!!!

5.  I adored how they played the scene with Harry touching the Ring/Horcrux.  There is a moment when you can tell that Dumbledore realizes Harry is a Horcrux.  Nice foreshadowing.  Bravo Mr. Gambon!  I tip my hat to you!

6.  Thanks for not cutting out Fred and George!!!!!!!!!!

7.  Felix Felicis was phenomenal!  Oh Dan, you make me laugh!

Phew!  That post really exhausted me!  I hope everybody else liked the movie, or will grow to like it in time.

Jen

Whip It Good

I remember hearing ages ago that Drew Barrymore was directing her first movie and it was going to be about Roller Derby.  At first I thought it was a joke.  But now that I have seen the trailer……I am kind of excited about seeing it.

There are a lot of things it has going for it:

1.  Great cast (Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig, Drew herself, Alia Shawkat!!!)

2.  Fantastic character names like Bliss, Dinah Might, Malice in Wonderland, and Eva Destruction.

3.  Lots of roller skating……honestly, who doesn’t love roller skating.

So I will definitely see it eventually, because I’m a huge fan of Ms. Barrymore.  Good or bad, I bet everybody had a great time making this movie.

Jen

ALA! It Should Stand For Awesome, Literally Awesome

Right now, at this very moment, librarians from all over the country are gathered together in Chicago to celebrate just how great it is to be us at the American Library Association Conference.  I was lucky enough to go on Saturday and attend the exhibits, which let’s face it, are the best part about the whole thing.  For those who don’t know, the exhibits take place in a huge, HUGE room where vendors set up booths about everything from library furniture and library cards, to bubbly shoe inserts.  But mostly it is filled with publishers hawking their BIG things for the fall and giving out free advanced copies of books.

Now I went to ALA with one goal in mind………I was going to get my hands on a copy of Catching Fire by Suzaane Collins.  I tried not to get my hopes up too high because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but really that is the only thing I wanted.

My plan was simple.  As soon as the exhibits opened at 9:00 I was going to run to the Scholastic booth and knock down anything that got in my way.  Luckily, it didn’t come down to me throwing elbows, but I did RUN to the booth.  When I got there I asked as politely as I could while huffing and puffing, “excuse me, do you have any copies of Catching Fire?”  The woman looked a little startled, but that is to be expected since they were still setting up the booth and I came charging at her like a rampaging rhinoceros.  She told me that they were giving them out at 10:00 so I asked where I could stand in line to wait because I wasn’t going anywhere.  That is how I came to be first in line when they started handing them out!!!!!

Since I knew 3 minutes into the day that I was actually going to achieve my goal, I was floating on air and pretty oblivious to everything else that happened.

Here is me right after I got my book.  I look like I am going to eat it.

Notice how I have magically picked up swag while standing in line.

Notice how I have magically picked up swag while standing in line.

Here are Abby, Steph, and Liz getting ready to grab their copies.  I love the look on Steph’s face.

Wheeee!

Wheeee!

I had so much fun walking around the rest of the day collecting free books in a wild frenzy of craziness.  My right shoulder has a huge line of broken blood vessels from where I carried my books around, but it was totally worth it.  Here is a picture of my haul.

stacks

I love this because the cover looks like it is really on fire.

I love this because the cover looks like it is really on fire.

Some notable titles are the new Gordon Korman Pop, the fourth Bayern book by Shannon Hale, the third Skulduggery Pleasant book by Derek Landy, and the third Cat Royal book by Julia Golding (finally!!!).

I am still at a loss for words to describe the day, but Abby does a good job over at her blog.  I had a great time with my friends and hopefully didn’t embaress myself too much in front of my colleagues.

I’m already looking forward to next year!!!

Jen

Batman Blog: Part One

OK, I just had to post because I’m thinking of posting right now, but I know I shouldn’t.  So I decided to split this up into 2 (or more, who knows?) parts.  

So last night I watched Batman.  The first one.  From the late 80’s.  I’d never seen it and so my husband put his foot down and said it was a classic and it was a crime that I hadn’t see it and so we were going to watch it (gosh darn it).  

And so we did.  It was a full 2 hours of CRAP.  Yes, you read that right.  I thought Batman was CRAP.  The only part I liked was Jack Nicholson as The Joker.  Jack was so great!  And that circus music and dancing and stuff – that was just great.  I loved it.  

I think the real reason I hated it so much was the love story part.  I thought it was rather stalkerish than lovey dovey, and in part 2 I will expound on this further.  But for now, I will just say:

BATMAN IS A SUCKY ASS MOVIE.

Seriously, if you disagree with me, think about when you first saw it.  Maybe it’s because the first Batman movie I saw was The Dark Knight.  That movie was effing awesome – great acting, great sets, realistic explosions and effects (no it’s not really fair to compare special effects of late 80’s to the late 00’s, but still).  So I guess I should really blame The Dark Knight for setting my expectations so high.  But seriously, go watch it again.  I dare you not to be creeped out by Bruce and Vicky and their weird ass fatal attraction to each other.  Girlfriend has really got to get some more self esteem if you ask me.  And 108 pounds?  I wanted to kick her in the freaking face.

More later,

ngtlindsay

 

Ill still watch more Batman, if only to see if it gets better.

I'll still watch more Batman, if only to see if it gets better.

 

Trying to look like princess bride barbie, but really looking like a douchebag.

Trying to look like princess bride barbie, but really just achieving the look of a douchebag. "I'm smart because I'm posing in front of books. I take photos btw. LOL."

……can you tell I really really really hated Vicki Vale in this movie? Because if you didn’t realize by now….wait. No it’s not possible to not have picked up on my Vicki Vale sucks vibes.

The Best Farm to Live On?

I have been doing a lot of driving around the Midwest over the last two weeks on my way to interviews, which I may or may not blog about soon.  My favorite thing to look at while driving (ooh wait, sorry, SECOND favorite after lakes!) is wind farms!  They are so pretty!  I know some people complain about them and actually think they are ugly because they seem so strange in the farmland, but I think they’re great.

Did you know that Iowa is #2 for having the most wind power installed in a state?  I haven’t seen any wind farms in Iowa; I think maybe they’re in the N/NW part of the state.

windfarm_iowa

Wind farm in Iowa. Pretty, no?

Wind farm in Hancock County

Wind farm in Hancock County

I did see wind farms in Illinois on my trip.  Illinois is ranked #10 in most wind power.

wind_farm

Wind farm in Illinois

windfarm

Another wind farm in IL

What a good, CLEAN way to get energy!  Way to go, Midwest!  It’s nice to know your boring flatness is good for something.  🙂

– Jill