12.30.2009

Book number 18

The Late Bloomer's Revolution The Late Bloomer's Revolution by Amy Cohen


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just finished my 18th book of the 2009, The Late Bloomer's Revolution by Amy Cohen. I'd like to read more next year. To do that, I really need to pull myself away from the computer and the TV. They're taking over my life! Now, I'm not making any New Year's resolutions, per sé, just mulling this over in my mind. I have a friend in Georgia who I'd guess averages at least 3 books a month. (Jeanene, do I have that right?) ;o) Not sure I can swing that, but maybe I could manage two/month.

Anyway, about the book. I'd really like to give this 3.5 stars if I could, but Goodreads.com only lets you rate books in full number increments. I enjoyed this memoir by Amy Cohen, a single woman in her mid-thirties trying to find herself after a bad break-up and the death of her mom. I really related to Ms. Cohen and found some hope for myself in her story. I didn't give it a full four stars, or five, because toward the end, it seems like the the author got to a point where she gave up and said, "I need to finish this now." I feel like a couple of chapters in between were missing and the ending felt rushed. Still, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to those who like to laugh while they're reading, yet still be moved by poignant moments. It's a sweet book.



In other news....

I've seen several movies this past week. On Christmas Day, my family and I went to see Up in the Air with George Clooney. Man, he just gets better and better looking! We all enjoyed the movie a lot. Not the ending I was expecting, and that's why I liked it all the more. In the movie, George Clooney's character works for a company who is hired by other companies to come in and fire people. I remember hearing an interview with the director, Jason Reitman, where he mentioned a lot of the extras in the film were folks who'd been recently laid off work. The reactions of these people in the film were so heartbreaking. I found this bit of info from Wikipedia:
While shooting the film in St. Louis and Detroit, Reitman placed an ad in the paper asking if people who recently lost their job wanted to be in a documentary about job loss. He specified documentary in the ad so actors who wanted to be in the production would not answer the ad. Reitman was amazed by how many people of different age, race, and gender were willing to speak frankly about what happened and what a cathartic experience it was for these people. They received a startling amount of responses with 100 responses, 60 people on camera (30 in Detroit and 30 in St. Louis and 22 who made it into the film. They interviewed them for about ten minutes on what it is like to lose their job in this kind of economy and after that they would actually fire them on camera and ask them to either respond the way they did the day they lost their job or if they preferred, the way they wished they had responded.
Wow.

Also cool: Jason Reitman received a demo tape from someone who'd been laid off and wrote a song about his troubles. The songwriter/singer offered the song for use in the movie, and Reitman did use it during the closing credits.



On Sunday, my sister and I went to see "It's Complicated." I loved the performances of Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and especially John Krasinski, but there were certain scenes that were over the top and unnecessary--these sort of dragged the story a bit. (For those who've seen it, I'm thinking right now about the kids' reaction to their mom and dad's big news, as well as some of the scenes with the girlfriends. Too much.) I think Meryl Streep's nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy for the Golden Globes is well-deserved (though, if she wins, it should be for Julie and Julia), but the nomination for Best Motion Picture--Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay are a bit off. (By the way, my pick for winner in the Musical/Comedy category is (500) Days of Summer. The other three nominees in this category are Nine, The Hangover, and Julie and Julia. Too bad Julie and Julia wasn't just about Julia Child--that half movie could've won a best movie award, but as a whole? I don't think so.)

I also finally saw Up! on DVD. Simply delightful! Also watched Paper Heart, which was a lot of fun. I've just adored Michael Cera since his Arrested Development days, and he didn't disappoint.



And last but not least, tonight I watched the 32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors. The honorees were jazz musician Dave Brubeck, Robert DeNiro, Mel Brooks, Bruce Springsteen and opera singer Grace Bumbry. Sting--whose beard and outfit made him look like he might set off to fight in the Civil War after the show--along with an enormous choir, closed the show with Bruce's The Rising. All the people in the Kennedy Center, including the Obamas, were on their feet singing, clapping and dancing. It was a terrific, rousing ending to a great show.

12.21.2009

Still don't like him.

I'm talking about David Archuleta.

He's on Hota & Kathie Lee and while I'm sure he's a nice kid, he's still as goofy as ever. He's promoting his Christmas album.

Look! It comes with a little elf on the cover:



I'm sorry--that probably isn't in the Christmas spirit, but I couldn't help it. :o)

12.16.2009

Yes!

Russell won SYTYCD! I'm so happy for him! The whole show went just as it should. The rundown was:

6th place - Ryan
5th - Ashleigh
4th - Ellenor
3rd - Kathryn
2nd - Jakob
1st - RUSSELL!!!

That was a perfect ending.

In other news, I'm so sick, sick, sick of hearing about Tiger Woods. Instead of talking about that, I thought I'd mention a couple of other stories I heard on the news recently.

This morning I heard about a four-year-old who decided to give away his Christmas toys to kids at a hospital. The little boy was born at that hospital and spent time in there due to health complications. Apparently when he saw pictures of himself in the hospital, he decided he wanted to help out the kids who are still there. Ummm...yeah, the news brought a tear to my eye at 6am this morning. How sweet is that? We need more kids like that.

I also heard a heartbreaking story about a little girl and her dog. Someone stole her dog out of the yard. The little girl wrote a letter to Santa saying all she wants is for him to find her dog. Jeez. The girl's grandmother didn't have the heart to tell the little girl that her request might be outside of Santa's scope. THANKFULLY, someone turned the dog in to the police department and the family and dog have been reunited. Yay Santa!

And today there's a story about a young woman who was abandoned on a doorstep as an infant. Two teenagers found her and got help. The baby was adopted and 20 years later, she found her rescuers on Facebook and sent a note to thank them. Nice, heart-warming story.

Finally, a couple of laughs. I usually fast-forward through commercials, but I have caught several funny holiday commercials this year. To wit:


The kid on the couch cracks me up, and I think what I really love about this commercial is that it's something we'd totally do to my dad.



Oops!

Better late than never

I'm just now watching last night's performance finale of So You Think You Can Dance. More specifically, I just finished watching Kathryn and Jakob's performance to Michael Bublé's version of "At This Moment." It seems each season there's a performance or two that brings tears to my eyes, and this season, on the second to last show, it finally happened. What a fabulous, passionate, beautiful performance. It left me breathless.

Hmmm...interesting. I just went to YouTube to see if I could find the video to post. There's a nasty message that says "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Dick Clark Productions, Inc." Okay, that's fine, but why can I find other performances from last night. I guess the Kathryn/Jakob performance probably got too many hits and the attention caught the spying eyes at Dick Clark Productions. Oh well. I'll keep looking for it over the next several days. Fox really ought to put the performances onto the SYTYCD website.

In a few minutes, I'll start watching tonight's finale show, already in progress...

12.09.2009

SYTYCD - ***SPOILER***

arrrrggghhhh....

I am SO friggin' annoyed that Ryan and Ashleigh made it to the SYTYCD finale. I think America gave them the sympathy vote.

Ashleigh couldn't dance last night because during rehearsals, her shoulder had come out of the socket. Despite that, they gave her a phone number and told America they can still vote for Ashleigh based on her work the entire season. I didn't, and wouldn't, vote for her because I've never liked her--not since auditions.

Then, later in the show when Cat was giving out Ryan's phone number, he interrupted and made a tearful and emotional plea for people to please call and vote for his wife. That was sweet, but...my cynical side can't help but think that Ryan knew exactly what he was doing and America's votes fell right into his and his wife's hands.

Mollee was FANTASTIC last night, and I just don't think it's quite fair that she's out of the finale and someone who didn't even dance is in.

In addition, I'm really pissed that Ryan kept my man Legacy out of the finale. Legacy is SOOOOO much more dynamic (and my god, have you seen him shirtless?!).

Oh well, as usual, America f'd it up. I'm not surprised really. It's completely typical.

So, in the finale we have Russell (yay!), Ellenor (yay!), Jakob (yay!), Kathryn (yay!), Ryan (boo!) and Ashleigh (boo!). Deep in my heart, I'm pulling for Russell who, seemingly, can do anything. I think Jakob is the best technical dancer and I love him too. After that I'll be happy with anyone except Ashleigh or Ryan winning.

Interesting that the finale has the Top 6 versus the Top 4 as in previous seasons. Looking forward to see what else they're changing.

Just a spoonful of sugar...

Heaping Spoonful Heaping Spoonful by Shauna Glenn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stumbled upon Shauna Glenn's blog recently and find her to be really funny, so I was excited to read her first book. It's a quick and easy read, and I liked the main character, Claire, quite a bit. There were a few plot points that changed a bit abruptly for my liking, but beyond that it was a fun book, which seems strange to say considering it's about a woman surviving after her husband has passed away. I'm anxious to try some of the recipes that were included and I also enjoyed the short stories at the end. I look forward to whatever Ms. Glenn comes out with next.

12.05.2009

iPod Top 25 - December 2009 edition

Here I go again, posting my top 25 played on the iPod. Last time I did this was in February 2009, and judging from the list, I need to get in a bit more variety. I placed the Top 10 in a playlist in the sidebar.

  1. Imma Be - Black Eyed Peas
  2. Meet Me Halfway - BEPs
  3. Alive - BEPs
  4. Just Fine - Mary J. Blige (I just LOVE this song. And anytime I hear it, I can't help but think of her performance on the Today Show and David Gregory getting his groove on.)
  5. I Gotta Feeling - BEPs
  6. Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
  7. Boom Boom Pow - BEPs
  8. Rock that Body - BEPs
  9. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
  10. Missing You - BEPs
  11. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
  12. Forever - Chris Brown (I really should delete this. I feel like a hypocrite since I deleted Kanye West after the MTV incident. What Chris Brown was so much worse. OK. I talked myself into it. I'll delete it.)
  13. Umbrella - Rihanna
  14. Ring-A-Ling - BEPs
  15. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  16. Can't Stop - RHCPs
  17. Ramalama (Bang Bang) - Roisin Murphy (remember this from SYTYCD? Still one of my faves of all time.)
  18. Crazy in Love - Beyoncé
  19. 1+1+1 Is 3 - Prince
  20. Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
  21. California Love - 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Roger
  22. If I Can't Have You (American Idol) - Adam Lambert (this was my favorite performance of Adam's when he was on the show. The studio-recorded version that's on my iPod is even better.)
  23. My Humps - BEPs
  24. Party All the Time - BEPs
  25. Like a Star - Corinne Bailey Rae
OK, so I listened to the Black Eyed Peas CD almost non-stop for a month (or two) over the summer. Most of the other songs are from a playlist I created to listen to while on the elliptical at the gym. I must have music to get me moving while I'm there. I find the cardio machines SOOOO boring. I guess I've been listening to that pretty regularly. Tonight I'll reset the iPod and we'll do this all again some time in the future.