Episode 78: “With these broken wings I’m falling”

This song from Nickelback was mentioned in one of the books I finished this week (Dark-Hunter fans, you know what I’m talking about), but I had never heard of it before (yeah, not that much of a music geek, me). So what does a girl do in that situation? Look it up on YouTube of course! 

I don’t really like the song itself. Perhaps it may have been better, if someone other than Freddy Chad Kroeger was singing it, but with his raspy voice? Nope, didn’t fit for me. What I did like though was the clip:

I’m a sucker for Ben & Jerry’s. I like ice cream, but I love love love Ben & Jerry’s. My favourites are Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Half Baked (a mix of the previous two). But then I came across a list of the retired flavours… Oh My God! Some of these combinations just sound so perfect!

Here are a couple of the retired ice creams:

Aloha Macadamia
Milk Chocolate Cashew Brazil Nut Butter Ice Cream with Macadamia Nuts in White & Dark Fudge & a Milk Chocolatey Swirl
 
Baklava
Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Praline Walnut Baklava Pieces & a Honey-Caramel Swirl

Tennessee Mud
Coffee Ice Cream with Amaretto, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey and Roasted Slivered Almonds

Wavy Gravy
Caramel Cashew Brazil Nut Ice Cream with a Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Swirl and Roasted Almonds

Honey, I’m Home
Honey Vanilla Ice Cream & Chunks of Fudge Covered Honeycomb

White Russian
Coffee Ice Cream with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

Don’t they sound scrumptious? These are only a small selection of all the retired flavours; the list just goes on and on. I hope they’ll bring some of these back out of retirement, cause I’d love to try them. Now I’ve got a craving for ice cream again!

*sneaking to kitchen and obtaining the treasure from the white jawed ice monster*

Interesting links for August 6th through August 12th:

  • Geek Hierarchy: Find Your Place In Geek Life – I never considered myself a snob, but according to this "Geek Hierarchy" I'm pretty high in the list.
  • John Scalzi – Is The Dark Knight Oscar Ready? – The title says it all: a review of whether or not The Dark Knight will be nominated at the Oscars.
  • Tube Door Etiquette – I'm getting more and more annoyed with pushy people who want to get in the moment the tube doors open, while there are a bunch of people wanting to get out. Bit of room, bit of patience, maybe? I'm slowly learning to use casually use my elbow and nudge those type of people away, but it doesn't really help. This is a great little anecdote of what one girl did in the same type of situation. Pure brilliance…

My reading patterns are way weirder than my TV/movie habits. Sometimes I’ll go days without picking up a book, other times I’ll be completely immersed, reading at every opportunity I can get (much to the delight of Cristiano who yesterday discovered me with a book in my hand while preparing dinner). I’m currently in one of those book devouring moods: I’ve finished three books in the past three days, two of which I actually started in these three days. I also tend to read multiple books at the same time, choosing the one that best fits my mood at that moment (right now I’m stuck in 5 different books).

I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading the past months, doing a sort of mini review structure like what I did with the movies a couple of weeks ago. I’m going to try to do this more often; it’s a great way for me to keep track of which books I’ve been reading, plus I’d like to see what other people think of these books.

Belladonna (Anne Bishop)

While I loved the first part (Sebastian), this second and final book just fell a bit flat for me. I love Bishop’s world building and mythology (both The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Tir Alain Trilogy feature original and complex worlds) and Belladonna doesn’t disappoint in that area. The world of Ephemera is shattered and needs Landscapers and Bridges to connect and hold the pieces together. Glorianna Belladonna is the strongest Landscaper and has been prophesied to stop an ancient evil. I’m not sure why I didn’t like this book as much as the others; it somehow felt a bit more rushed and less thought-out than her previous books. [Anne Bishop's Website]

 

Heart Dance (Robin D. Owens)

Heart Dance is the sixth book in the Celta Heart Mate series. It’s set on the planet of Celta, a place where Flaired (psychic) humans settled after fleeing Earth. Since then generations have passed, and the world of Celta has developed their own traditions and customs, all revolving around Flair (psychic ability/magic). Heart Dance is about the “courtship” between two Heartmates, soulmates destined for each other: Dufleur Thyme, a scholar, determined to clear her father’s name as a mad scientist, and Saille Willow, a Flaired matchmaker, spurned by his mother, who didn’t believe men could wield the matchmaking magics. I didn’t like this book as much as previous ones, but it’s a nice addition to the overall story line. [Robin D Owens' Website]

Feast of Souls (Celia Friedman)

This is the first book in The Magister Trilogy, the first fantasy series from Celia Friedman (she has previously written SF works under CS Friedman). In this world magic is linked to your life force; witches can do magic, but with every spell they do they use a bit of their own life force, their own life, thus aging quicker and dying sooner. Magisters (male witches) though don’t have this problem, their magic supply is unlimited. Kamala, a witch, wants to become a Magister, even though there comes a terrible price in becoming one.

I was intrigued by way the magic works here. It comes with a way higher cost of using it than with other fantasy books and that makes it so much more interesting. Would you heal someone, knowing that because of it you’ll die sooner? I can’t wait till the next one comes out; I want to know how this continues! [Celia Friedman's Website]

Vampire, Interrupted (Lynsay Sands)

The Argeneau Vampire Series is the funniest vampire romance series out there. Vampire, Interrupted is the ninth book and features the final Argeneau, Marguerite. Finally, after a couple of centuries, all of her children are married, so she’s decided to start a career as private investigator. Her first assignment is to help another immortal find his mother. It seems simple enough, but soon she finds someone wants to kill her. I loved this book! It’s one of those reads you just can’t put down and have to finish in one single setting. [Lynsay Sands' Website] [Argeneau Series]

Kushiel’s Justice (Jacqueline Carey)

I don’t get why the Kushiel series is often classified under Erotica. Yes, you’ll find sex in the story, but way less (and less descriptive) than your standard romance book. Plus it isn’t the main plot of the book; it’s a real fantasy epic with political intrigue, battles and mysteries. I love these books; I think they may be my favourite fantasy series. Kushiel’s Justice is the second in the series about Phedre’s son Imriel (the fifth in the complete series; the first three Kushiel books were about Phedre). I always thought the Imri books would never be as good as the Phedre ones, but this one proves it’s worth. Bring on the next one! [Jacqueline Carey's Website]

Lover Enshrined (J.R. Ward)

Yes, another vampire series (do you notice a trend?). What I like of this series though is the way the story is delivered. Most romance series revolve around the two main characters and only feature view points from those two main characters. Here it switches way more often and there’s a subplot through-out the whole series about newbie John (aka Tohrment). This book is about Phury, who is now the Primale in charge of the procreation of the Brotherhood bloodline. Again, not the best book in this series, but I’m looking forward to the next one. [JR Ward's Website]

Acheron (Sherrilyn Kenyon)

This is the 20th story in Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series (14 novels, rest anthology/ebooks) and the most anticipated. The Dark-Hunter books are one of the best romance series I’ve read, interweaving vampire lore with Greek mythology (I’ll do a longer blog post of this whole series in the near future). Ever since the character of Acheron was first introduced as the leader of the Dark-Hunters (5 years ago in Night ), everybody has wanted to see his story. Fans have been wanting to know for ages what his mortal life was like and, of course, who he be paired up with. And it doesn’t disappoint.

The first half of this book is set in Ancient Greece (and Atlantis), chronicling Acheron’s life as a human; it’s darker and not as pleasant as Kenyon’s standard fair, but it’s all necessary to show us why Acheron has become the man he is. The second half of the book is set in our time and Kenyon is back to her normal self with a mouthy heroine, funny lines and (most of all) a great story. Highly recommendable, but if you haven’t read any of the series yet, I’d suggest you start at the beginning. [Sherrilyn Kenyon's Website]

Guardian of Honor (Robin D. Owens)

I was already a fan of Owens’ Celta romance series (see above) and wanted to see how this series would be. It’s about Alexa, a human lawyer, who gets summoned to the world of Lladrana to fight in their war. I’m not completely convinced by the series yet, but I’ve heard the second one gets better. [Robin D Owens' Website]

The Innocent Mage/The Awakened Mage (Karen Miller)

These two books revolve around the kingdom of Lur, a country inhabited by two races: the Doranan, a magical folk, who form the nobels and elite of the country, and the Olken, magicless commonfolk. Asher, is an Olken fisherman from a small coastal village, who moves to the main city to find his fortune, but gets involved into the politics between Olken and Doranen. 

I had heard a lot of good things about these books, but I wasn’t that impressed by them. I first thought it felt as if it should have been one book that was just split right in the middle into two books; the first book doesn’t really climax (only a minor cliffhanger), and there’s no build-up to what would make Asher the Awakened mage. After finishing the second book though you notice that it remains like that throughout the whole story; this was one of the worst endings I’ve ever read. Not so much in plot, but just the way it was delivered: no build-up, no emotional depth, no fun. [Karen Miller's Website]

Episode 78: “You’re running Mac or PC?”

I have no idea where these Muppets videos come from. It seems they’re meant as “web-clips”, but I wonder if they have anything to do with the upcoming (still to be filmed though) Muppets movie.

I mentioned in a previous post back in January that The Sword of Truth fantasy series by Terry Goodkind was picked up by Sam Raimi for a possible TV show. Well, now the promo’s out and it’s been renamed to Legend of The Seeker. Take a look at it yourself:

Hmm. I’m still undecided. It doesn’t look as bad it could have, but then we haven’t seen any of the main characters open their mouths. I think it really depends on the acting chops of Craig Horner (Richard) and Bridget Regan (Kahlan). I’m hoping they’ll go the Stardust way instead of the Xena way. It’s a very close line, cause Stardust was a tad cheesy, but there they managed to balance it with the right atmosphere. 

Both main actors are relative newcomers; they’ve both done their share of TV show guest appearances, but this will be their first real starring role. I like the look of Bridget Regan; she somehow does fit my idea of Kahlan. But could they have done without the low cut dress? Craig Horner as Richard… I’m not sure yet. He’s got the right sturdy look, but I’d pictured someone older and larger.

I want this show to work out, not just because I liked the books. These books were the first fantasy books I ever tried, and while by far not the best out there, they’re still part of my triyearly re-reads. No, I want this to work out, because I’ve been saying for years that movies won’t do a fantasy book justice, but maybe, just maybe, a TV show will. Chances are high though that I’ll be thoroughly disappointed by this, so I’m not expecting that much. It’s better to be surprised by awesomeness, than to be let down by unimpressiveness.

There’s one thing I hate about summer: all my favourite TV shows goes on hiatus. What I most of the time do, is find series I haven’t seen yet and watch them all in one go. In this recurring ‘To Watch’ post, I’ll recommend some series that have been going on for some time (or have at least one season and have been renewed), that aren’t that popular or well-known, but are well worth watching. 

To start this series off: Eli Stone. It’s a part comedy, part musical, part legal drama (intrigued yet?) that runs on ABC. So far there is one season of 13 episodes, but the series has been renewed for the fall season (returning on Tuesday’s 10pm). 

Eli Stone is a thirty-something attorney, who works for a big law firm, representing big important companies. He’s an arrogant jackass, who doesn’t care about the people who he comes up against in court. That all changes when he finds out he has a brain aneurysm that starts giving him hallucinations (of people singing, mythical creatures). The hallucinations all relate to cases he’s working on and slowly he starts believing that maybe they’re not just hallucinations…

The premise of the show is unique. What other series can claim it’s a comedy/musical/legal drama combined? And that’s what makes it so great. It’s just so different than all other series out there; it’s a nice breath of fresh air. The musical sequences are fantastic; because they’re hallucinations, anything can happen, while not feeling too silly.

Jonny Lee Miller is likable as Eli. You’re supposed to find him arrogant and non-likable at the start, but you quickly start feeling for him. Mark my words, by the end of the first episode you’ll be rooting for his character. 

Besides Eli, there’s a nice cast of other characters and all of them make the show work. For starters, there’s Loretta Devine (Boston Public, Grey’s Anatomy) as Eli’s secretary Patti. Wow, she’s got a voice! Then there’s Natasha Henstridge as Eli’s fiancée, Taylor Wethersby, and Victor Garber as Jordan Wethersby, Taylor’s father and Eli’s boss. I knew Garber had done musicals before Alias and it’s great seeing him in these musical routines, yet still remaining a pretty tough and strict character. Add to that, the characters Maggie Dekker (played by Julie Gonzalo) and Matt Dowd (played by Sam Jaeger) who both are lawyers at the Wethersby law firm. Rounding off the cast is Eli’s brother Nate (Matt Letscher) and Eli’s acupuncturist and friend, Dr Chen (James Saito). 

I’m curious to see what season 2 will bring us. I loved the first season and I think it’s slipped under a lot of people’s radar. Give it a try; wanna bet you like it as I do?

Interesting links for July 31st through August 4th:

  • When Geeks and Stained Glass Collide – Ooh pretty! I like stained glass artwork, but most of the time it's boring bible depictions. This is way cooler! I especially love the Spiderman one.
  • Why Heath Ledger Can Be Replaced As The Joker | The Movie Blog – I agree completely wit this blog post. The author tries to reason why (if the Joker has a role in the next movie) he could and should be replaced. It shouldn't be seen as an insult to Ledger, that's like saying (now I'm quoting) “The best way to honor the magnificent career of Michael Jordan and to thank him for what he did for the game of basketball is to shut down the NBA after he retired”.
  • The Art of Alex CF » Artwork – The artist that inspired the Wonderland expedition kit (see next link). These designs are just gorgeous (although I don't think I'd actually want to own any of these).
  • absinthetic: Wonderland expedition kit – Guy made this for his girlfriend's birthday. It's an expedition kit from an explorer who traveled to Wonderland, filled with "exotic" memorabilia and specimens. I love the pinned up Soldier of Hearts and the small/big potions.
  • Top 10 Geekiest, Nerdiest Bento Box Art – Funny list of geeky bento boxes. Some obvious designs like Mario and Pacman, but also some strange choices like Bill Gates. None of the boxes actually looks that edible.
  • Quint chats TERMINATOR: SALVATION with McG! – My main concern with the new Terminator movie was the talent of it's director, McG. This interview though helps alleviate my fears a bit. McG seems to know he wasn't that much of a director (remember Charlie's Angels?), but hopes he can create a Terminator movie that's worthy of it's predecessors. Fingers crossed!
  • Interview with Victor Garber from Alias and Eli Stone – Short interview with Victor Garber; I love his role in Eli Stone!

Okay, this isn’t really a photo, but still it’s pretty cool. Crazy 4 Cult is an art show in LA, hosted by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. This cool poster was specially designed for this event; it’s full of cult movie characters and it’s one of those posters you can send hours looking at, yet still discovering new things. Now this isn’t even the full poster, just a snapshot. For the full version, head on over to /Film, it’s definitely worth a look. How many characters can you recognize?

Cristiano and Alper pointed out to me that I hadn’t written a review yet about Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Now I kind of assumed people would know I loved, loved, loved it. Anyhow just like with The Dark Knight I’m not going to do a real review about it, just some random thoughts about it all. I’ll try to keep it a bit more general here, leaving the spoilers for after the image (with a big BEWARE above it) in the case you haven’t seen it yet.

For starters, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s still available to watch for free on Hulu (see below). Alternatively you can download it from iTunes for a small fee (although it’s not available yet in every country).

The characters are perfectly cast. Neil Patrick Harris is superb as Billy aka Dr Horrible. I’d expected to see him the whole time as Barney from How I Met Your Mother, but from that first scene on he WAS Dr Horrible. And his singing! Before this I didn’t know he had a musical background, but now I’d love to see him one time on Broadway. Nathan Fillion‘s Captain Hammer is spot on; he’s cheesy, smarmy and so obnoxious, you can’t help but hate him. Felicia Day finishes the triangle as sweet Penny. I’d love to see more of her; I’ve just finished watching The Guild and it’s brilliant. Someone give her a TV show already!

Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is truly a sing-along. The songs are catchy, staying in your head for a couple of days after watching it all. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite; they’re all so great! Somehow I just know that given some time I’ll know the lyrics by heart and be able to fully sing-along with it. The soundtrack should be coming out sometime in the next couple of weeks and I know I for one am going to buy and download it straightaway. I also can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD of this, especially because we’ve been promised a musical commentary and a gag reel.  

After the image: beware spoilers!

Argh! Here Be Spoilers!

Knowing Joss Whedon, I should have anticipated that ending. However, even when Penny died and Dr Horrible was carrying her away, I had the hope that somehow it still would all turn out fine. I find it amazing how gut-wrenching those final minutes are, when you realize she really is dead and that Dr Horrible now has everything he thought he wanted. Even on a second viewing it remains gut-wrenching.

Don’t you just love that Bad Horse is actually a horse? All the members of the Evil League of Evil looked interesting (here’s a cool blog post matching the names up with what we saw) and I love that almost all of them are cameos from Buffy verse people. And did anyone else notice that the news anchors were David Fury and Marni Noxon? 

I want more Dr Horrible! In his new shiny red lab coat. As part of the Evil League of Evil (btw, they’re not accepting applications at the moment… not yet at least). Doesn’t this all feel like a great set-up for more? I’ll be happy if they leave with this, but I’d be thrilled if they have more sing-alongy goodness. I’m not sure though where it would go from here; I wouldn’t want them introducing another love interest. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Whedon and co have planned for us.  

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