Sunday, February 23, 2014

TV Round Up: The Winter Edition

It's an interesting time, TV wise, as the Olympics are just ending and the winter premieres are all set. I originally had planned to catch up on my DVR (which is at a steady 70% full constantly) while everyone was showing reruns, but then I couldn't turn off the Olympics for about two and a half weeks. Oops! I just set up my new recordings and have about an hour until work so I'm fitting in an episode of The Blacklist, but really, TV is so good nowadays that it's kind of ridiculous. It's a full time job to keep up! Or really, I wish it was my full time job to keep up:)

So what am I current on? What am I excited about? What can I just NOT get through? Let's go through it all:

The Standbys:

Pretty Little Liars. Always. The season started out with some bombshells, but then it was several episodes of no new reveals until about a month ago when things got CRAZY again! Well, it's always been cuckoo crazy, but now it has forward motion again.

Downton Abbey. Obsessed. Completely obsessed. I watch this show and swoon the entire time. I want to BE Lady Mary!

Parenthood. Another show I always watch immediately. This will never collect on my DVR. It's gotten a bit depressing, but I guess that's 'real'. Still, I hope they have some happier storylines soon!

The New Editions:

The Returned. Have you seen this show? It's French and with subtitles, but it's so creepy and mysterious. The premise is that the dead come back to their small town in France. They're not zombies, though. They just return as they were before they died. I'm only about halfway through the season so I've gotten no answers yet, but I do really enjoy it. And I think NBC or something is remaking it for America.

True Detective. I'm two behind and I've already been told about the awesomeness of the most recent episode, but what I've seen already has been great! Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey play detectives who worked on a murder case years ago and are now being interviewed about it separately to see how their knowledge plays into a current case.

The Upcomings:

The Americans. I am SO excited for Season Two of this excellent show, especially after my life has been filled with all things Russian these past few weeks. Things ended on a tense high note last season and it's going to be great to get back to this show.

Hannibal. Possibly one of the best shows on TV right now. It's SO effed up and different than anything else on TV. I sometimes can't watch it at night because it's that creepy.

Red Road. I know nothing about this show, but it's on Sundance so it's gotta be good, right?

Anything you'd recommend!?!?

Let me know in the comments!


Monday, February 17, 2014


Sooooo, today is my birthday! In honor of today, I thought I'd let you know some of the things that have happened on 17 February.

  • 1653- Corelli, the composer, is born.
  • In 1753, Sweden switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and went from 17 February to 1 March! 
  • 1864- The H.L. Hunley became the first submarine to engage and sink a warship.
  • Madame Butterfly premieres in Milan.
  • The Blaine Act, in 1933, ends prohibition.
  • Newsweek is first published in 1933.
  • Rene Russo is born in 1954
  • 1962- Lou Diamond Phillips was born!
  • 1963- Michael Jordan was born. 
  • 1971- Denise Richards born.
  • 1972- Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters are both born!
  • 1980- I was born! 
  • 1981- Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Paris Hilton are born.
  • 1982- Thelonius Monk died:( Listen to some jazz in his honor. 
  • 1991- The birth of two gingers: Ed Sheeran and Bonnie Wright
  • In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer is jailed for life for murder.
  • 1996- Sasha Pieterse was born. She is on Pretty Little Liars.
  • 2014- Scarlet has a great birthday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Like Spinning Plates" vs "Everything In Its Right Place"

Guys, this pairing makes me nervous. I love both songs SO much! This is going to be tough.

"Like Spinning Plates"

While you make pretty speeches
I'm being cut to shreds
You feed me to the lions
A delicate balance

And this just feels like spinning plates
I'm living in cloud cuckoo land
And this just feels like spinning plates
My body's floating down the muddy river

(2001. Amnesiac. I Might Be Wrong.)

This song is an absolute favorite. It's simple and without a lot of lyrics, but man, those words that are there are just perfect. I've always loved the phrase "like spinning plates" and it just evokes such a desperate feeling. I also love the line "While you make pretty speeches, I'm being cut to shreds". I've always felt like this song would be very fitting in a dystopian movie. The music sounds kind of futuristic, and the lyrics definitely leave a feeling of hopelessness.

"Everything In Its Right Place"


In its right place
In its right place
In its right place
In its right place

Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon
Yesterday I woke up sucking on a lemon


In its right place
In its right place
In its right place
Right place

There are two colors in my head
There are two colors in my head
What is that you tried to say
What is that you tried to say

Tried to say
Tried to say
Tried to say
Tried to say
Tried to say


(2000. Kid A. I Might Be Wrong.)

Clearly another song without a ton of lyrics. Not that it affects the greatness of any of their songs. Radiohead excels at creating a feeling with each and every song and they don't need versechoruseverse to do so. I love how this song has multiple layers of sounds throughout and it builds throughout. It's very classical in it's structure. If Beethoven had been a rock musician, he would've written stuff like this.

And the winner is...

Another incredibly tough call, but for a different reason because I do love both of these songs, but I've gotta go with the words from the one so...

Like Spinning Plates!

"Faust Arp" vs "Meeting In The Aisle"

Check out the bracket before we get started.

"Faust Arp"

One two three four

Wakey wakey
Rise and shine
It's on again, off again, on again
Watch me fall
Like domino's
In pretty patterns
Fingers in the blackbird pie
I'm tingling tingling tingling
It's what you feel now
What you ought to, what you ought to
Reasonable and sensible
Dead from the neck up
Because I'm stuffed, stuffed, stuffed
We thought you had it in you
But no, no, no
For no real reason

Squeeze the tubes and empty bottles
Take a bow take a bow take a bow
It's what you feel now
What you ought to
What you ought to
An elephant thats in the room is
Tumbling tumbling tumbling
In duplicate and duplicate
Plastic bags and
Duplicate and triplicate
Dead from the neck up
Guess I'm stuffed, stuffed, stuffed
We thought you had it in you
But no, no, no
Exactly where do you get off
Is enough is enough is enough
I love you but enough is enough, enough
A last stop
There's no real reason

(2007. In Rainbows)

This is an interesting arrangement of acoustic guitar, strings, and lyrics that fill the track. It sounds like Thom Yorke is standing very close to the microphone or something in a way that, as a listener, I don't always hear the accompaniment.  Unlike a lot of Radiohead songs, the lyrics are front and center for this one and there are a lot of them! Radiohead lyrics aren't always so lengthy. All in all a good song, but not my favorite type of Radiohead song.

"Meeting In The Aisle"


(1997. Karma Police. Airbag/How Am I Driving. No Surprises/Running From Demons.)

My first thought on listening to this song is that it would have been a great fit for the movie The Beach. Not that there are many aisles in that movie, but it has that trippy feel to it that the movie exudes. I always love a Radiohead instrumental because usually I am so enamored by Thom Yorke's voice that it's special to love one of their songs solely for the instruments.

And the winner is...

Wow, this is a tough one! Honestly, I don't LOVE either one, but I like both. Aweajdksljdklas! Which one wins!? Okay let's see: I like "Faust Arp" because of the lyrics, but I like "Meeting In The Aisles" because of the driving instruments. However, "Faust Arp" has great accompaniment, too, so I think the winner will be...

Fasut Arp!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Day 6: Kirkwall

It was a beautiful day when we decided to walk to the Highland Park Distillery, which is about a mile outside of town. A long, long mile as it were.

But we got to pass some pretty funny street is one:

Check out the sky! So pretty! And that's the water in the near distance:

The Distillery was one of the things we were most looking forward to doing while in Scotland. We had hoped to go to the Orkney brewery while there, too, but it had just closed for the season. We made up for it by drinking a ton of Orcadian beer while there. The Distillery is really cool because it's the top spirit in the world yet it exists on this tiny island and it has such an old feeling to it. You would think that such a popular whisky would be produced in a much larger and more modern way, but it's not.

And it's such an old place!

We took the tour, which I highly recommend, and James, our guide, was amazing. He was so informative and you could tell he really loved the place. We got to see all the parts of the whisky production:

After the tour, we got to try a wee dram of the whisky and it was delicious! And strong!

And then, the coolest thing happened: James all of a sudden went to the backroom and came out with another tray of samples. Apparently it was a "special group" and we were going to get to try the 18 year old scotch, as well! We're still not sure what made us a special group, but we kind of think it was us. The other people in our group were from Glasgow and France...but we had definitely come the farthest! All the way from America! It was quite special. And damn, that 18 yo is good.

Please please make the Highland Park Distillery a part of your trip if you ever find yourself in this spot in the world. This was one of the best things we did on the whole trip! Amazing!

On the walk back to town, we stopped by the amazing spot where Bishop's and Earl's Palaces are. These palaces are so cool to see in person and it was amazing to see how they're just chilling right on the edge of town. when I had researched them before the trip, I kept picturing them way on the outskirts, but they were practically a part of the neighborhood. The house next to mine here in Virginia is 20 years old. I can't even imaging living next to something from the 17th century!

The rest of our day was spent shopping for souvenirs and gifts and that evening we had drinks and ate dinner at our hotel. It was a great day.

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery: Wonderwall

I can't explain why a cover of a song is so special, but so often I end up loving another artist's rendition of the same words and music more than the original. I guess sometimes it's because I've heard the original so much that a new fresh take on it makes it fresh again. And other times, another artist is able to show a different side of the lyrics and music. That's definitely the case with Ryan Adam's cover of "Wonderwall" by Oasis.

First, listen to the original:

Now, check out Ryan Adam's haunting cover:

So, what do you think? I have to admit that Ryan Adam's version has been on heavy rotation in my world since I rediscovered it a few years ago. I think the biggest difference is that the Oasis version has both Liam Gallagher's distinct voice and a much more produced sound than Ryan Adam's version. Supposedly, when the song first came out, Noel Gallagher (the writer of the song) said it was about his then girlfriend, but after they broke up he said it was "about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself." To me, Ryan Adam's version has way more emotion in it and it just oozes with feeling. It's just a fact in my world that an acoustic, slowed down version is almost always going to resonate more with me. In this battle, I would definitely pick Ryan Adam's "Wonderwall" as the superior.

That said, I have to include Oasis' cover of their own song (Noel singing now!), which apparently was inspired by Ryan Adam's cover! Love this...check it out, it's quite good:

So, which do you prefer??