Monday, August 27, 2012

The Confectionery - 14

These are the things that I think are great.  So great that I want to sing about them.

Finally, a site that compiles all your favourite Romantic Comedy movie posters with the faces swapped.  I seriously love Sandra Bullock as a man in both of her posters featured on this site, but this poster has a tiny Ryan Reynolds, so...

And because I can't just choose one favourite, here's another one I can't stop staring at.  Is it just me, or do they look better like this?

See more of  your favourites, with a twist, here.


I know it's still August, & nobody should be thinking about the harsh realities of winter, but these are too full of awesome to wait.  Canada isn't quite the frozen wasteland Hoth is, but these new Wampa ice scrapers from thinkgeek will help me pretend.

I might get 2 & lumber around roaring & swiping at people.  They would certainly come in handy for snow-shoveling wars with the neighbours.  Available in October for $24.99, you can sign up to be notified by email when they're in stock here.

Perhaps I'm moving too quickly from nerd territory into super-nerd territory, but this must be shared.  The touring cast of The Addams Family reworked the opening song from Newsies, "Carryin' The Banner".  Tired of moping around on stage, here they dream about singing & dancing as happily as those newsboys, imagining "a show with no more snaps".

THEATRE PEOPLE ARE AWESOME.  Compare with the original version from my #1 sick day movie pick, Newsies.  Because how could Christian Bale in a Disney musical about unions in 1899 New York not improve your day?

This made me laugh.  To see a full list of movies used, go here & hover over the CC button.

Those were my favourite internet sweets of the past week.  Come back next week for more goodies!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Survivor: Philippines - The Cast

With only 29 days until the premiere of Survivor: Philippines, here is a quick rundown of the newly announced cast.

The "Meet the cast" videos are at (or for those outside the US, they are on YouTube), & you can watch the Dalton Ross pre-show interviews via Entertainment Weekly.

I'll divide everyone up into their 3 tribes, beginning with the returnees.



What can I say about Penner?  My favourite Survivor of all time, Penner loves & knows this game.  He's intelligent, hilarious, a hard-worker & fierce competitor.  He has the looks of a more refined Mike Portnoy (those eyes! sigh) with the voice of Alan Alda.  Penner was forced to leave Survivor: Fans vs Favorites when a leg injury became badly infected.  Most heartbreaking moment of Survivor ever.

Carter is a young track coach who doesn't believe in using belts to their full potential.

I like Dana.  In her video, she seems real & outdoorsy & smart.  What would she most like to have with her? "Picture of my family – to remind myself of the lives it will change if I win."  I like Dana.

I really like Dawson (she'll be going by her last name like that other favourite of mine, Cochran).  She seems really fun, & is a superfan.  She also claims to have made a girl cry over a game of Cranium.  Damn.  I respect anyone who takes their board-gaming as seriously as I do.  If she's a big fan like she says, there's probably a lot of respect for Penner, so hopefully we'll see a Penner-Dawson alliance?

Jeff is a former baseball player, most notably with the San Francisco Giants. He was a Toronto Blue Jay in 1992, & I would have a story to tell if only he had been a Jay in 1990, the summer my parents took me to to many games, even though I just sat there listening to Mariah Carey's debut album in my Walkman.  What a story that would have been.  I really like the way he speaks with a quiet intensity in his interviews, like he's a spy.

I imagine Katie on Survivor will be like finally seeing Kelly Kapowski on that camping trip everyone goes on at the end of that classic Saved By The Bell episode "The Fabulous Belding Boys".  Basically, she looks like Tiffani Amber Thiesson.  That's all I got.  Oh, & Delaware Delaware Delaware.  I don't think I've ever known so much where a contestant was from.



Skupin has been called a psychopath, due to him going Lord-of-the-Flies in Survivor: Australia on a poor little piggy.  A great provider of fish &, um, pork, he was forced to leave after he inhaled smoke & fell into the campfire, severely burning his hands.  I have that image of the skin peeling from his hands burned into my brain.  Horrifying.

Abi-Maria is originally from Brazil.  She was originally recruited for Survivor:Tocantins, but that didn't work out since that's kind of where she's from.  She likes ruffles on her bikinis.

I find the earrings distracting, but I like Artis, who may already be this season's most quotable player.  In his EW interview, he says he's "a chameleon with the ferocity of a praying mantis".  Dudes, I saw a praying mantis documentary last year & those things are insane.  Artis has beaten stage 4 cancer, & lists his ex-wife as his inspiration, saying "she’s my light, my strength, my everything. I pray everyday that we are brought back together".  Awwwwwwww!  Team Artis!

Lisa looks pretty much the same as when she played prissy Blair on The Facts of Life.  A fan of the show, she campaigned for her spot.  I promise there will be no theme song jokes.

Pete thinks he can be a social chameleon because he's "been almost every single kind of guy", & goes on to tell us all the different kind of guys he has been: hardcore gamer, jock, frat boy, the kid that sits home & studies, & finally, the kid riddled with acne who is now a model.  Pete is most proud that he put his engineering degree to the side so he could model.  Yeah.

I like RC quite a bit, despite a hoop-rolling competition being her claim to fame.  An investment banker who is athletic & a strong swimmer, she's intelligent, well-spoken, & a fan of the show. 


The "nice Russell" from Survivor: Samoa, Russell was a great leader, fun, & really just super-likeable.  Russell over-exerted himself & was evacuated for dehydration after a very scary fainting episode.

Angie is another pageant girl, who doesn't want to "make anyone annoyed", & says she has "negative personalities that might come out".  Angie also called herself "well-rounded" without any intention of an double entendre.   Aw, good luck, sweetie.
*Update: Angie posted the following on facebook: "Watch me compete for the title of SOUL Survivor!"  Hey, maybe she's really, really deep?

Denise has been practicing how to make fire.  It drives me crazy when people go into Survivor not knowing how to make fire.  She also brought a sports-bra to wear so she doesn't have to do physical things in a bikini top.  She is someone who actually prepared for Survivor, so SHE IS MY FAVOURITE.  I hope the young players keep this strong, smart lady around.

Malcolm is a very likeable, smart superfan who understands that the game plan changes depending on the people around you.  He says he can't see anything without hairbands, so he brought a bunch of them, & they're all around his wrists.  He's prepared, too.  I like Malcolm.

Roxy is a seminary student who says she's most like Brandon.  Jesus is on her side, & He wouldn't have brought her this far for too bad, other Christian contestants!  Jesus loves Survivor, & he loves Roxy more than He loves you.  She seems very sweet & nice & hopefully she brought more than faith with her.

Zane's pet peeves are as follows: "butt-kissing, lazy people & ice cream sprinkles".  The man is too hard-core for sprinkles!  Zane tried to put on weight before Survivor instead of working out so he'd look pretty on TV.  Just when I'm starting to like Zane, I see that he says he's most like Brandon.  Well, even I liked Brandon for an episode or 2 when he was Cochran's protector, so maybe there's hope for Zane.

With 7 of the players over 40, & 3 tribes to start, this actually looks like it may be a great season for the "older" players.  Beyond that, I make no predictions.  Bring on September 19.

Are you happy with the players they brought back?  Any newbies you're excited about?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Confectionery - 13

These are the things that I think are great.  So great that I want to sing about them.

I could waste hours on etsy.  Not being a very crafty person means that crafty people amaze me.  Sometimes I just click & click, letting the site lead me where it will.  The other day, I searched for Breaking Bad items, & I love what I found.

Walter White 10" cutout - Pine.  Buy it here.

Earrings.  Should be cufflinks, but oh well.  Buy them here.

Walter White painting.  Buy it here.

Heisenberg doll.  Buy it here.
All are welcome in my home.

This is a guy who is passionate about his food.  The original YouTube review is pretty amazing, but this songified version makes me laugh, dance AND sing along.  I've watched it at least 5 times.  Dayum, Dayum, DAYUM!


When I first saw this, it was being shared with the added statement "Can't be real".  It's not that hard to do a little research before speaking, people.  Stephen Wiltshire is an autistic artist with a passion for architecture.  

Aerial of Toronto

Even more amazing is that he is considered a savant in 2 areas (visual art & music), which is something only recorded once before.  His story is fascinating - read more & buy his prints & books at his official site.

I didn't want to watch this, but after 3 people sent it to me directly, I broke down.  So trust me, & watch it - it's not what you think.  Or maybe it is...

Now watch it again.

I've just discovered this new series by Jerry Seinfeld, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee".  Even though I had seen his tweets about it, I never really got it.  Which makes me dumb, because it is as literal as a title can be.  It took a tweet from Elijah Wood, calling the series "inspired", & then I had to watch it.  (I don't know what it is, but Elijah Wood seems very trustworthy to me.  The hours I have spent watching the Lord of the Rings special features have taught me much about movie magic, but also that Elijah Wood is incredibly articulate, well-informed, & a cool guy.  I'll believe anything he tells me.) 
Make yourself a coffee & watch the 4 short episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee here.  The latest episode with Alec Baldwin is fantastic, but I am partial to the Larry David one, because Larry David.  Enjoy the promo for the show which features AN AUTHENTIC SPIT-TAKE.

Those were my favourite internet sweets of the past week.  Come back next week for more goodies!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Accordion Locations

During a 1989 family vacation in Newfoundland, my parents videotaped my Great Uncle Leo playing his accordion.  Here are all the different locations & angles they utilized:

The corner of a room!

The corner of a different room!  I know it's a different room because...

...this floor is carpeted & needed the foot-tapping boards brought along.

With the Atlantic Ocean in the background!

Greenery in the background!

A dam (?) in the background!

On a car, with the ocean, greenery, the dam (?), & me in an acid-washed jean jacket in the background!

In a chair, next to me & my Mom!

From this angle!

And that angle!

In front of a house, with his audience behind him!

After watching this hour of footage, 2 things became clear: My Great Uncle Leo could really play that accordion...& he was a really, really good sport.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Confectionery - 12

These are the things that I think are great.  So great that I want to sing about them.

Marketed as "a party game for horrible people", Cards Against Humanity is not a game for the terribly PC, or a game I will ever play with my parents - the thought of explaining some of these cards makes me physically ill.

The rules are simple: a black card is drawn, & everyone plays a white card from their hand of 10 to answer.  The most appropriate (usually the funniest) card wins, & that player gains the black card as an Awesome Point.  Whoever has the most Awesome Points at the end of the game wins.

Recently I played this game with some horrible people whom I adore, & it was tons of fun.  I knew we would all be at our most awful (especially with drinks flowing), & the game didn't disappoint either. (Except when my "Teenage pregnancy" card didn't win for "What can't you have just one of?"  COME ON.)

There are House Rules I liked: You can discard any card you don't understand, but "must confess your ignorance to the group & suffer the resulting humiliation".  It helps if you play with a super-smart dude like Anthony Oliveira, who can explain both "smegma" & "Hutus & Tutsis" without sounding like a know-it-all.  (It's quite possible he actually knows it all.  All of the things.)

There are House Rules I am still bitter about: An extra white card is submitted every round, belonging to an imaginary player named Rando Cardrissian.  If Rando wins the game, "all players go home in a state of everlasting shame".  I can't completely despise him because of his amazing name, but damnit if Rando didn't beat me.

A completely random drawing of cards gave me this potential outcome.

You can get Cards Against Humanity from the official website in 2 ways: order a physical copy for $25, or you can download the PDF, print & cut the cards yourself, & play right away.  We had them printed for $6 by a very nice printer lady we know, & while she probably thinks very poorly of us now & will never make eye contact again, $6


The other fun thing I did this week was attend an online concert from my home office.  Stageit is a site that offers "a front row seat to a backstage experience".  Broadcasting live, online concerts, it's a much more interactive experience than watching YouTube videos.  A streaming forum next to the video screen makes it easy for the performer & audience to connect with each other.  As a fan, you buy a ticket (most are under $5), can directly tip the artist, request songs, ask is very cool, & truly a new way to share your talent or attend (not just watch) a show.  Read about my first experience with Stageit via a Glen Phillips show here.  I felt like I was sitting cross-legged on his California lawn while he played for everyone, & everyone had a front row seat.

There are some bands that bring you right back to the age you were when you first heard them.  Blur is one of those bands for me.  There was a time in high school when I may have existed inside a BritPop bubble.  My 6-disc CD player held a rotation of British bands like Pulp, Menswear, The Charlatans, Manic Street Preacher, Elastica, Cast, Suede...but none of those bands got as much play as Blur.  They had such a progressive pop feel: unique guitar sounds, odd song structures, & observational lyrics that made you feel like you were in London with them.  They were also 4 cute boys.  In 1997, I went into a Blur concert in love with Daman Albarn & came out in love with Graham Coxon.  Something about that nerdy-looking boy playing the guitar, the musical mastermind behind Blur's original sound.  Adorable, & so very British.

How I wished my name was Cheryl.
I watched the entirety of Blur's fantastic 1994 London concert "Showtime" via YouTube on Saturday; I immediately was 17 again.  Listening to Parklife, doing homework on my bed, wearing my puke-green cords & an R.E.M. tour t-shirt, while my dog (Einstein) chewed on my suede Converse shoes.  Enjoy the fan-favourite "To The End":

I got caught in a Blur YouTube spiral after that, & was pleasantly surprised at the amount of Graham Coxon solo material.  He has released 8 solo albums & YouTube is full of performance videos, including this treasure, "In The Morning".  The guitar is mesmerizing in this Beatles-esque beauty.

I had read that Blur would be performing for the last time together for the Closing Ceremonies of The Olympics, & they did...but in Hyde Park, with none of it televised.  It was a sad "Sunday Sunday" for me.  By tonight, the audio from the concert will be available on iTunes.  Next week, a 3CD set will be released with bonus live tracks.  November brings my Christmas present: a DVD/CD set of the concert, plus extra bonus tracks, plus a 60 page hardcover.  Yes, please.
Watching the videos already uploaded from last night's concert, Blur sounds & looks as great as always.  Their last live song, "The Universal", reduced me to tears from the first notes, & it didn't help when Damon blinked back tears of his own.  "Just let them go."

Note that Graham walks offstage carrying what looks like a cup of tea, so he remains the most adorable ever.  High school Lisa has resumed Graham-crushing.

This has been posted on my facebook feed by at least a dozen friends, but I had avoided watching it because I can't stand the song.  I'm glad I finally gave in, because Steve Kardynal video-bombing random people is hilarious.  I still think Chatroulette is creepy, & all the shirtless guys reaffirm the high douche factor...but it really is nice to see how many people were quick to have fun with it after the "WTF" moment passes.

Those were my favourite internet sweets of the past week.  Come back next week for more goodies!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Glen Phillips - Stageit Concert

Last night I bought a $3 ticket to a concert in California.  I attended this concert from our home office in Ontario...& not the Ontario in California.  $3 for a live, online concert given by a talented artist, straight from his backyard.  It would be an understatement to call this a bargain, even without factoring in the Canadian dollar's rise above parity!

Stageit is an online site that streams exclusive concerts to ticket-holders.  From their website: "Where performers can broadcast LIVE and interactive experiences directly from a laptop, while offering unique fan experiences that are never archived." (Out of respect for this, any videos I'll be posting will not be from Stageit shows.)  To be an audience member, you spend a minimum of $5 for notes (Stageit credit), & purchase your ticket.  Most shows are under $5 or pay-what-you-can, & throughout the shows you can directly tip the performers.  What a wonderful idea.  I am a strong believer in supporting the arts (come see me in Fiddler on the Roof!), & Stageit makes it so simple, so grassroots, so easy to say "I appreciate your talent, & that you took time out of your life to share it with us.  With me."

Glen Phillips is one of my favourite singer/songwriters & whether we're speaking of his work with Toad the Wet Sprocket, his solo work, or many of his side projects, I am a huge fan.  The name of my blog comes from Glen's solo album Winter Pays For Summer, & more specifically, from the song "Duck & Cover".

I knew that Glen occasionally gave "couch concerts" on Stageit, but they have usually fallen on Sunday nights (EST), so I've never been able to catch one.  This week, Glen held an "All-Toad" concert on a Tuesday, & I've never sat my kid in front of a TV so quickly.  You want a Coke at 8:30pm?  Will it keep you in the family room for 45 minutes?  Well then, absolutely.

As I've written before, I fell in love with Toad the Wet Sprocket in high school, just missing a rare Toronto concert in the mid-90s.  They broke up shortly afterwards, & my hopes of ever seeing them live were dashed.  In 2011, it was a very, very happy coincidence that newly reunited Toad was playing at the House of Blues in Orlando while we would be there on vacation.  It was one of the best concert experiences of my life - not only because their music brings me joy, but because I never thought I'd have the chance to attend a Toad show.

I had never been in a crowd where I didn't immediately hate everyone around me, but for Toad, everyone wanted to be there. No one was obnoxiously drunk, talking loudly or flailing rudely  - everyone cared about Toad the Wet Sprocket that night.  You know it's magical when the crowd is truly excited to hear a brand new song.  In this video, you can see my red hair in the front centre, to the left of my tall husband.  Just imagine a beaming smile on the other side of my head.

Thanks to Stageit, I kind of relived that happiness last night.  I enjoyed a Sam Adams Summer Ale in Ontario while humming harmonies along with Glen Phillips - just a guy in his backyard with a guitar & a beer of his own.  Beginning with "Crowing", it was like every song was chosen just for me, a feeling I'm sure every other attendee shared.  "Walk On the Ocean" made me tear up a little bit, & "Windmills" had those tears pouring down my face.  The deceptively simple-sounding beauty of this song just gets to me, always.

"Rings" & "Dam Would Break", 2 of my favourites from Coil, had me bouncing in my seat, & wishing I could play an instrument with such flawless ease.  (If you've seen my previous attempts with instruments, you know why I'm now a singer, not an instrumentalist.)

The whole experience was much more than watching YouTube videos.  Stageit has a running forum next to the streaming video for interaction with the artist & other ticket-holders.  It was clear that many of these fans were not first-timers - it seemed like a very welcoming club.  I had the screen full-sized most of the time, but Glen was reading along quite a bit, frequently losing his place in songs because of it.  I don't think anyone has ever been so charming when fucking up.

Glen took requests, asked questions, & shared his frustration that he really likes a lime in his Trader Joe's Mexican beer, but you can't recycle the bottle when there's a lime in it.  Adorable.

He even spoke of Bobak Ferdowski, everyone's new nerd crush, & asked everyone to make another ticket-holder (whom I believe worked at NASA as well, but wasn't feeling the same amount of love as Mohawk guy) feel just as sexy.

The result left me feeling as if I'd shared a moment with a great artist.  Feeling like I was sitting cross-legged on a Santa Barbara lawn while a friend played a few feet in front of me.  All from the other side of the continent, for $3.  I will be back.

There are lots of other artists using Stageit - Sara Bareilles has a benefit concert coming up on Sept 10 that is pay-what-you-can - so I suggest you support some artists for the price of a latte.  I'll leave you with Toad the Wet Sprocket playing Walk on The Ocean, just a few months ago.

It's all worth waiting for.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Confectionery - 11

These are the things that I think are great.  So great that I want to sing about them.

A Reuters photographer, Luke MacGregor, captured this beautiful image of a full moon rising behind the Olympic rings on London's Tower Bridge.  Perfect.

As many joked on the night this was taken, the moon may now be sued by the IOC.

Early this morning, the Seven Minutes of Terror took place, & ended successfully.  Amazing.  @NASA tweeted a photo of the Curiosity Rover's shadow in the Gale Crater, which is located ON MARS in case you forgot.

Read more about the landing here.


Whether you're a seasoned musician or a 4 month old, you will enjoy Jordan Rudess' latest app.  The keyboardist for Dream Theater has co-created several apps - MorphWiz & SampleWiz have won several awards - & now Tachyon lets you create music with your fingertips, transforming the screen into a visual representation of the sound. 

It's fun, cool, pretty, & if you're a musical genius like Rudess is, you could use it with another app, DrumJam, like this:

Could be the coolest musical instrument you can buy for $1.99.  Get it here.

It's about time for a Firefly reference, right?  Here's a 7 foot LEGO model of the ship that's still flying, The Serenity.  Adrian Drake spent almost 2 years building this, beginning with The Serenity's blueprints for accuracy.  Yes, they're available.

Yes, I recited the lines when I saw that last photo.  Why don't you watch this classic Firefly scene so you can do the same?

To see more photos of the LEGO Serenity, go here.  To see photos of the construction (with Adrian's commentary), go here.

Those were my favourite internet sweets of the past week.  Come back next week for more goodies!