Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Speedo Fun, Love Cookies, Overcoming Bullies, and More!

Wow... have I found some great songs and... interesting.... videos recently. I hope you guys are ready for what's to come in this weeks New Music Tuesday blog!

*** Warning **** The first video has been labeled by YouTube for "mature audiences only." You'll see why...

LMFAO "Sexy and I Know It"

Right about the one minute mark is when I realized why this video has an 18 and over age restriction on it... and I liked it!!! Hehe. The song is catchy and fun, and I loved that LMFAO had a lot of fun making the video. I will not look at a Speedo on a guy the same way again ;-)

Timbaland feat. Pitbull "Pass At Me (Explicit Version)"

Timbaland bringing some Latino spice to his addictive beats... impressive! The video is just okay to me... I'm starting to get tired of seeing the same "remote island/boat/dancing with the natives" concept. If this is the beginning of a new Timbaland album, I cannot wait to hear the rest!

Sean Paul feat. Alexis Jordan "Got 2 Luv U"

I didn't like the song right away... it seemed too busy. But as the song went on, it started to grow on me. It's not my favorite of Sean Paul's (I really loved his Dutty Rock album). The video is okay... just another one of those fabulous looking clubs with attractive people dancing in it. Oh, and what's with his Mohawk... definitely different than dreadlocks.

Jennifer Lopez "Papi"

I am hit or miss when it comes to Jennifer Lopez's music. This one is a hit for me. Not only is the song fun and danceable but the video is hilarious!!! I loved the concept :-)

Jessie J "Who's Laughing Now"

Well, well, well... Jessie J gets a little personal with her latest single. It doesn't surprise me that a lot of celebrities were bullied as kids (then adored by those who bullied them when they reached fame), but I applaud Jessie J for making a song about it... especially since it will reach out to those who are bullied themselves. I enjoyed the video and how the "kid Jessie" dealt with her bullies. Bravo Jessie J!!!

Musiq Soulchild "Yes"

Did anyone else noticed the dedication at the beginning of the video? I actually got excited over it, just because Musiq created this beautiful video to make people realize that breast cancer isn't a deal breaker in relationships. If you are suffering from any form of cancer and there is someone who wants to be with you and to be support, then that's real, deep love. I highly respect Musiq for doing this. The song is just as beautiful as the video. :-)

Patrick Stump feat. Lupe Fiasco "This City"

I downloaded this song several weeks ago on ITunes... it was one of their free songs. I loved it! I was excited to hear it on the radio soon after. Now... a video. It is visually stimulating. The views of the city in black and white, the multi colored backgrounds, and the 3D projections... all very pleasing.

With that said... while looking at Patrick's suit jacket, I couldn't help but compare his look to Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show... something about the shoulder pads....
Blink 182 "Up All Night"

Yay! Blink 182 has returned!!! It was a long time coming, especially after the deadly airplane accident that almost took Travis Barker's life. I love that their music has matured over the years (much like their fans... or so I assume). The song has a great message to it... just listen to the lyrics. I enjoy seeing this adolescent party evolving around the band. I never went to any of those kind of parties as a teen (and didn't feel like I missed out, either) but I was certainly entertained.

Until next time....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Literary Thursday: Carrie Bradshaw Begins Life in New York City

As I was ready to write this blog in the afternoon, I came across some technical issues. Since Facebook has been making a lot of changes to their site, it somehow affected the speed and functionality of my Internet. I got frustrated since I was ready to spend some time writing today. Needless to say, I did not get the chance until I got home from working tonight. Since it's not Midnight yet (as I am typing this), I am still able to publish a Literary Thursday blog for you this week. :-)

"Summer in the City" by Candace Bushnell

In the sequel to The Carrie Diaries, we reunite with Carrie Bradshaw just hours after arriving in New York City, in which she was robbed and had one phone number to call for help... Samantha Jones. As Carrie and Samantha begin their longtime friendship, Carrie falls in love with living in the big city. She attends her writing seminar, experiments with fashion, goes to parties with celebrities, and begins a relationship with Bernard- who is a well known playwright and is recently divorced. Carrie also meets a young, red headed woman named Miranda Hobbes, who found her stolen purse in the garbage. It becomes very clear to Carrie that she was meant to be a New York City girl, but can her writing abilities keep her in the city?

When I read The Carrie Diaries last year, I loved reading about Carrie from her high school days. When I noticed there was a sequel, I bought it immediately. I liked this book so much more than the original, mostly because you see more of the Carrie Bradshaw that we all know from the Sex and the City novel/tv show, especially her sense of humor, her unique fashion style, and how she questions relationships of all kinds.

Samantha is already the sexually charged, strong, work oriented woman that we already know. However, it surprised me to see that she was in a long term relationship in the book. Miranda, upon meeting her, was involved in a protest. That does not surprise me that she would be the type to protest over things she believed in at a young age (you know, before diving into a career in law that consumes a lot of her time). She was very much an independent woman from the start, and it was very evident in the book.

I loved how Candace Bushnell incorporated some minor characters from the series/book into this novel. For instance, Capote Duncan. I recall that he was known as a toxic bachelor from Sex and the City. He was one of the bigger characters in this novel, and it brought some interesting insight to Carrie's lifestyle and to how she interpreted relationships.

For anyone that is a fan of Sex and the City, I highly recommend reading both of the prequel books. They are light reads, very entertaining, and you get to see the naive sides to the women that we fell in love with 10 years ago. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 19, 2011

Movie Monday: Zombies, Bridesmaids, Competitive Teachers, Death Traps, and Sex!!!

I have a confession to make. I have not been watching any new movies the past few weeks. For one, I have been reliving my pre-adolescent days by watching The 90's are All That, a TV block on the TeenNick channel dedicated to the Nickelodeon television shows of the 90's. I also had been investing my time (and some money) at Borders (R.I.P.). Between those things, my child, and work, I have just not been into watching new movies lately.

Then, my friend Aggy posted a website link to my Facebook about a website she's been using to watch television shows that are on cable. I told her I would check it out. As soon as I got on the page, I realized that it wasn't just for television. I found a website to watch movies that are currently in theaters. After the initial feeling of guilt for gaining access to these films, I have enjoyed movies that I have debated on seeing at the theaters.

Get ready for some reviews on a lot of recent movies in the foreseeable future... including today!

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is at a crossroads in life. He is working at a mediocre job, his roommate Ed (Nick Frost) does not contribute toward rent or bills, and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumped him over the dismal efforts he made toward their anniversary dinner. As he devises a plan to win Liz back, the townspeople have turned into zombies. Shaun and Ed find themselves finding refuge from the zombies while protecting their friends (and Shaun's family) from the same fate.

As a fan of horror movies, I have been recommended to watch this movie from several people over the past couple years. I knew it had a cult following. This is one of those movies that I fell in love with in the first five minutes. I loved the characters, the plot, and the fact that it was a comedy. I cannot find anything that I hate about this movie. Watching Shaun go to the store for a few things- while being completely oblivious to the zombie invasion- was absolute perfection. When Shaun and Ed are sifting through vinyl albums to throw at one of the zombies, I was cracking up. To think of trivial things like that while under a distressing situation is pure comical goodness. I highly recommend this movie! Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Annie (Kristen Wiig) has reached a low point in her life when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) chooses her to be her maid of honor. Annie soon realizes that Lillian's friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying to destroy and upstage her wedding responsibilities. As planning for the big day goes forward, Annie tries to prove to Lillian that she can handle things, despite being broke.

Hollywood is an industry where comedies are normally male driven (or features just the main character as a woman). This movie is one of the few standouts for women in comedy. I have not enjoyed a comedy like this since The Sweetest Thing (with Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair). This is also the first time that I have really enjoyed a character played by Kristen Wiig. I got a lot of laughs from the bridal shop scene and the opening scene (can you say most awkward sex ever???). This movie was more entertaining than I expected. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bad Teacher

Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) had her dream lifestyle with her fiance/sugar daddy. But when he suddenly dumps her, she ends up with nothing. When the school year starts up at the junior high, she meets a new substitute teacher, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). In order to impress him, she decides to get breast implants. To afford the surgery, Elizabeth gets involved in as many fundraisers as she can, which includes attempting to get the teacher's bonus for having the class with the highest state test scores. However, fellow teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) is onto her game and will stop at nothing to prove that Elizabeth is deceiving everyone.

When this movie was announced, I was in love with the concept. I also loved that I would get to see Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake together in a movie (that wasn't about ogres). Oh, and Jason Segel... RAWR!! This movie was exactly as I expected from this kind of raunchy comedy. It was interesting to see Justin Timberlake play a more timid, straight-laced guy but it worked well for him. It was pretty predictable, but I enjoyed the little twist at the ending... I didn't expect it, which made it more enjoyable to me. If you want a movie with some good laughs and a few one liners worth repeating, check this out! Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Final Destination 5

While leaving for a work retreat, a group of coworkers find themselves escaping from a suspension-bridge collapse after Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) has a premonition of their brutal deaths. Over the following weeks, each of the survivors are dying off in freak accidents. Sam realizes that there is a design and death is after them, unless they succeed in the loophole that allows them to cheat death.

Final Destination 4, in 3D, was a success... so it's not surprising that they made another sequel aimed for the extra dimension. Now, I didn't see this film in 3D but I assume it would have been very interesting to watch. It was obvious that the deaths were intensified compared to the first three films (I mean, it has to in order to keep audiences coming back). I wasn't as fond of this one but the eye surgery scene is one of the few (out of all the films) that actually creeped me out. I'm a little trepidatious about having that procedure done to me someday because of this movie. The ending was the best part, and for me to reveal why would be a major spoiler alert. You'll just have to watch it to see what I mean. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Friends With Benefits

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is a workaholic. So is Jamie (Mila Kunis). Both of them get dumped by their significant others. While Dylan makes a business trip to New York City to meet Jamie for a business proposal, he decides to take the job and move across the country. Dylan and Jamie become friends and enjoy the city life together. One night, they decide to avoid all the Hollywood movie cliches and have a sex-only relationship. They both realize that even with the simplest of ideas, things become complicated and threaten their friendship.

I had made a prediction that Friends with Benefits would be better than No Strings Attached. While I enjoyed both movies, it became clear that my prediction was accurate. The jokes were funnier, the supporting cast were more entertaining (thank you Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson!), and overall this movie felt like it had more life in it. I loved how flash mobs were incorporated in several parts of the film (I have a fondness for them). I also got to see Justin Timberlake's ass... and it was very nice! Yes, the plot was predictable but I don't care... all that matters is that I was entertained. Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Oh, how good it feels to write about movies again! I apologize for having several weeks go by without a Movie Monday blog, but I promise that you will have another blog to look forward to next week! See you then! :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Literary Thursday: Stephen King Discusses Writing

I am sad.

When I was a senior in high school, a new shopping center opened. In the shopping center was a bookstore, Borders. That store became my "spot," a place where I could spend hours browsing the aisles in peace. It was somewhere I would go when I wanted to enjoy moments of solitude. That store closed its doors for good this week. I will miss it dearly, especially since it was only a few minutes away from my house.

With that said, I have invested in a lot of books. I think I lost count around 60 (if you think I'm kidding, come to my house and look at my bookshelf- and the pile of receipts from the past two months). What does that mean for you? A lot of Literary Thursday blogs in the foreseeable future. I already have six or seven books ready to review, but to not overwhelm my readers, I will post each review one at at time (since I tend to be more descriptive when reviewing books). Enjoy the first of many reviews coming in the next several weeks!

"On Writing" by Stephen King

Stephen King has written a part-biography/ part resourceful novel that explores the art of writing. He divides the novel into many parts: his childhood/early start in writing, struggling to establish himself as a writer, advice/useful tips for any aspiring writer, and how he was able to pick himself back up from a near-fatal car accident in 1999.

Well, I am 27 years old and have never read a novel by Stephen King... until now. I'd say I picked the perfect first novel for me to read. Yes, I am aware that this is not one of his infamous fiction stories, but it was exactly what I needed to read several weeks ago. I became a fan of his writing when I read his columns in Entertainment Weekly. They were funny, well written, and made me realize that I am as much of a pop culture geek as him. I also realized that one of my top 10 favorite movies is based on one of his short stories (The Shawshank Redemption). Anyway, about the novel...

I loved how Mr. King explained certain aspects of his adolescence and how they contributed to his writing (and to future characters). While reading it, I caught myself reminiscing about how my passion for writing developed over the years. Then, when he explained the struggles of raising a family while struggling as a writer, I was able to relate what he went through.

My favorite part of the book (which also had a huge impact on me) was his section about the art of writing. I took so many things he discussed to heart and have already applied them toward my writing/lifestyle. The most important thing he said was that if you do not have time to read, then you do not have time to write. Reading is a key element to writing because you constantly see how sentences are structured, how conversations between characters are executed, and it helps with your imagination when it's time to write something. Adverbs will never look the same after reading this book. I promise.

I recommend this book for any writer out there. He has a lot of good advice and he makes it entertaining, unlike reading a textbook on writing skills. It's personal and educational... the best of both worlds. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

See you guys next week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Bush, RHCP, Avril Lavigne, and More!!!

Happy Tuesday everybody! I hope you are all doing well. I know I have been enjoying the gorgeous weather Kansas City has had to offer the past week. When I have been indoors, particularly at work, I have been keeping myself satisfied with new music and hits that I had forgotten about over the years. As far as new music goes, I have a handful of songs and videos to share with you this week. Please, enjoy!

Bush "The Sound of Winter"

New music from Gavin Rossdale & Co. I am in love. :-)


I could compare NEEDTOBREATHE's vocals to Mumford & Sons, but the accompanying music is more pop sounding. I enjoy the combination and will be looking into other music of theirs I found on YouTube.

Red Hot Chili Peppers "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"

I first heard this song a couple weeks ago, while at work. I love the familiarity of hearing a RHCP song... they just have their own unique style that's immediately recognizable. I know that some of their videos are absolutely awesome but I love that they went low key with this one. It helps introduce the new music to their fans. This is a really good song!

Scars on 45 "Heart on Fire (Grey's Anatomy version)"

Grey's Anatomy (one of my favorite shows) not only grips audiences with stories of strange medical cases and a lot of sex, but it has also made an impact in the music industry (example: Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars). I hope Scars on 45 benefits from their song featured in the show (and on the latest soundtrack, which came out today) because they are talented :-)

Avril Lavigne "Wish You Were Here"

It seems, to me, that her marriage coming to an end worked well toward a new album. Anyone that's had their heart broken can relate to this song, especially at the beginning of a breakup (where all your thoughts are consumed with the other person). Love, and loss, can produce some pretty powerful emotions....

And this concludes New Music Tuesday. Stay tuned for next week's blog!