Sunday, March 18, 2012

Faith Hill & Tim McGraw Concert

On Friday I went to the Tim McGraw & Faith Hill 2012 Australian Tour concert.


For those of you who don't know, Tim and Faith are Country singers. New Country, not old style Country & Western. Faith has had a bit of a pop crossover as well (I'm sure just about all of you have heard "This Kiss" and "Breathe". Faith and Tim met many years ago, when they were support acts on a tour. They have now been married for a lot of years and have three daughters. They have toured together in the States, but this is their first time touring together in Australia. Adelaide was their first stop, and I bought tickets the day they went on sale.


The concert was awesome.


The opening act was a band from Texas who I had never heard of, The Eli Young Band. They were really good.


As for the main event, Faith and Tim are excellent showpeople, knowing just how to play to the crowd.

Faith came out first, singing some of her old songs, plus three new ones, from an album to be released later this year. When someone requested "It Matters To Me", which wasn't on her set list, she had to see if any of her band knew it, and when the piano player was able to play the music, she sang the first verse and chorus.


At the end of her set, Tim joined her onstage for one of their duets, and as she was leaving he told us we'd all just heard the best singer in the world, his wife. And it's probably a rehearsed line that he'll say at every concert, and a lot of people won't agree, but it was still really sweet.

Tim had a lot of energy on stage, joked with the crowd, played around, sang a mix of old and new songs. He ended his set with a song Faith sings backup on, and then they sang another duet.

 After leaving the stage they returned for one encore song. The song they sang, I Need You, is actually their one duet I don't care for, but they did sing it beautifully, and they seem to really enjoy and love each other, so the concert still ended on a positive note.


Pictures and videos:
                                                                    My concert t-shirt

                                                                              Faith Hill

                                                                              Faith Hill

                                                                            Tim McGraw

                                                                            Tim McGraw

                                                                          Tim & Faith


                                             video
                                                                    This Kiss - Faith Hill

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                                                     The Way You Love Me - Faith Hill

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                                                                     Breathe - Faith Hill

video
                                                 Like We Never Loved At All - Faith & Tim

video
                                                         Real Good Man - Tim McGraw

video
                                                     Something Like That - Tim McGraw

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                                         Angry All The Time - Tim feat. Faith on backup vocals


video
                                                            It's Your Love - Faith & Tim

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Flying Squid

I know I haven't finished the other story yet, but yesterday I found out squid can fly. They propel themselves out of the water, shape their tentacles into fins, and go as far as the wind/airlift will take them. Longest recorded distance, 264 metres.
Which had me thinking, as there have already been Syfy Original movies like MegaSnake, Piranha and Sharktopus, why hasn't there been Attack of the Giant Flying Squid?
Because I'm always happy to help out in a time of need (provided I don't have to do much, and only things I enjoy), I've written an opening scene.


Attack of the Giant Flying Squid

Opening Scene
    Bright moonlight shone across the lake. A hot summer day had turned into a pleasantly warm evening, and the water was cool and inviting.
    Two girls, Molly and Eve, wearing only bikini bottoms, played in the water, laughing and splashing, while their boyfriends, John and Steve, watched from the shore, wondering how many wine coolers it would take to talk Molly and Eve into kissing each other.
    The lake surface rippled as something in the dark water started circling around the girls. Grabbing hold of her friend, Molly whispered "Are there sharks in this lake?"
    Eve hugged her tightly, for comfort, and whispered back, "Not sharks. Maybe piranhas."

    The boys watched this display with enjoyment, not realising there was anything wrong. Suddenly a giant, flying squid launched itself out of the lake and flew toward them. The squid turned in the air and wrapped it's tentacles around John's head.
     Little suckers on the inside of the tentacles opened into mouths, lined with rows of tiny sharp teeth.
     Molly and Eve shrieked in horror as the giant flying squid started tearing John's face off. Splattered with his friends blood, Steve turned and ran.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shirtless Adventures In Mystery Land, Part 6

 Note: This story is running out of steam in my brain, so there will probably only be one more part after this one to wrap it all up.
Part 1  Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
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Joshua ran shirtlessly down the road, messenger bag bouncing against his left hip. Trying to outrun a swarm of wasp type things intent on stinging him, he noticed a river coming in to view. Desperately hoping wasps in this world hated water, he veered toward it. Throwing off his bag, he jumped shirtlessly into the water.

Spluttering to the surface, scanning for wasps, Joshua noticed the area he'd run into was all burnt grass and scorched, blackened trees.

Looking around shirtlessly, Joshua wondered what could have caused this destruction. Fire, obviously, but what started the fire? And when had it happened? The scorched trees were still ashy and the grass hadn't had a chance to start growing back.

While he was shirtlessly thinking over this situation, several tiny humanoid creatures, wearing loincloths and shrieking loudly, ran past. Suddenly the tiny creatures were engulfed in a ball of flame. As Joshua managed to tear his eyes away from this horrifying image, they landed on a huge fire-breathing dragon. A beautiful animal, scales shimmering in purples and blues. Joshua stared in shirtless wonderment.

Snapping into action, Joshua jumped out of the river, grabbed his bag and advanced on the dragon, shirtlessly brandishing his sword.

The dragon snuffed out his flame, and gazed at Joshua, looking deep into his eyes.

"Joshua," he heard a deep rumbling voice, echoing inside his head, "help me."

Joshua shirtlessly surveyed the dragon, noticing chipped scales and rivulets of blood running down the dragons chest. The dragon's thoughts in his head told him the small creatures were pixies, and they had the dragon unprovoked, planning on slaughtering him, to use his scales for armor, feasting on his flesh.

"Can you fly?" Joshua shirtlessly asked the dragon.

The huge animal nodded.

"Can you carry me?"

"Yes." The dragon rumbled, lowering himself against the ground.

Joshua shirtlessly climbed on the dragon's back, avoiding obvious injuries. Together they flew in the direction of his castle.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Don't Believe In Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day again. People getting flowers and chocolates. People getting depressed because they're not getting flowers and chocolates. I don't get the hype. I don't believe in Valentine's Day.

I'm not religious, so I'm certainly not celebrating it as an actual saints day.

And I don't find it at all romantic to be given a card/bunch of flowers/box of chocolates/whatever on one particular day, because the gift giver has been told giving presents etc. on this particular day is romantic.

I'd much rather someone give me a nice cup of coffee, or a book they know I've been wanting to read, on some random day, just because they were thinking about me, and decided to get me something nice. That's romance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TV Stuff: Product Placement

My last TV Stuff post was about things people who are no longer enjoying a show waste their time bitching about online.
This post is about the main thing people who are still enjoying a show seem to waste their time bitching about online. Product Placement.

We've all seen it. You watch The Big Bang Theory, one of the boys opens up his laptop, and you clearly see the alien head on the cover. An Alienware computer made by Dell. Product Placement.

On Chuck, everyone had an iPhone and they frequently ate Subway sandwiches, which, when one was in a scene, they would often say what they had on their sub, or what they liked eat from Subway. Product Placement.

On Fringe, Walter eats Red Vines red liqourice, mostly from clearly marked Red Vines packets (on a couple of occasions he's had them in a glass jar, but one of those times he'd put a 'Red Vines' label on the jar.) They also show shots of the Nissan cars they drive, pulling away from curbs, at a camera angle that displays the car logo. We get inside of the car shots with the fancy dashboard showing. Product Placement.

On Warehouse 13, Myka eats Twizzlers red liquorice, from clearly marked Twizzlers packets. Claudia talks to Steve about his hybrid car, running through the car specs. We see shots of the cars as they drive down roads, car logos again on display. Product Placement.

You may not watch any of these shows. You may watch but not really notice the Product Placement. You may not notice it in the shows you do watch. It's there. And if you're not bitching about it in a forum somewhere, you probably, sensibly don't really care.

Here's the thing. I knew Product Placement existed, but until I started noticing people complaining about it so much, I didn't really pay attention to it, except in the way it was intended by the advertising companies (ohh nice Alienware computer, hey I do like Subway, I really want an iPhone, that kind of thing.)

Now that I do notice it more, I still don't get the endless complaining. As for the way it's used in the show, well, long before product placement was a thing, we would see shots of cars pulling away from curbs and driving down roads. We'd even see characters discussing their cars. It's just that now it's specific cars added for advertising purposes, instead of just to pad out scenes. Characters have always eaten food, snacks, and talked about what they're eating. Again, now it's just specific foods and snacks.

The problem so many viewers seem to have is "I don't watch a show to see ads. That's what ad breaks are for." But...how many people are using the ad breaks to quickly flick over and see what's on another channel. How many people are using the ad breaks to go to the toilet or get a snack. How many people are recording their show, and fast-forwarding through the ads. And how many of them are downloading their shows, and not seeing any ads at all.

All the people doing all this complaining seem to conveniently forget that it's the ad money that is keeping their show on the air, and the companies paying for this want to make sure their product is seen.

I don't work in television, or in advertising, but I do like my shows. This year Fringe is on the bubble for renewel. It may not get a season 5, because it costs so much to make. So if they want to have an episode where every scene has either a Nissan car, or a pack of Red Vines, or the Fringe team in a Nissan eating Red Vines, as long as it keeps the show on the air I won't complain.

Product Placement works like any other advertising, with the bonus that you get to see people you like interacting with the product in question rather than annoying overly load music, or overly enthusiastic announcers.

And just like any other advertising sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, and sometimes it will make you buy something else entirely.

My product placement story (which I know you've all been waiting for): I don't drive or care about cars, so this will be about liquorice.

Right now, my two favourite shows are Fringe and Warehouse 13. They both product place red liquorice. Red Vines & Twizzlers. I'm a Red Vines girl, when I can get them. When I can't I don't have any at all. I never go for the Twizzlers. So sometimes when I'm watching Fringe, I'll see Walter eating a Red Vine, and think 'I kinda feel like Red Vines'. And then maybe the next day, I'll go buy some.
But when I'm watching Warehouse 13, and I see Myka eating Twizzlers, I usually think, 'ew Twizzlers. Red Vines are better. I kinda feel like Red Vines. I love Myka.' And the next day I'll go buy some Red Vines. So the Warehouse 13 Product Placement actually inspires me to buy a different brand.

****This post is not sponsered by Red Vines, although if they would like to give me some money, I would happily start Product Placing it into all my other posts.****

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quote Of The Week

"Socializing is as exhausting as giving blood. People assume we loners are misanthropes, just ­sitting thinking, ‘Oh, people are such a bunch of assholes,’ but it’s really not like that. We just have a smaller tolerance for what it takes to be with others. It means having to perform. I get so tired of communicating."
              --- Anneli Rufus

I read this quote today and it resonated with me immediately. This is how I am in most social situations. Sometimes I get accused of being snobby and thinking I'm too good to talk to people. I'm not and I don't. Sometimes people tell me I'm just shy and if I make more of an effort I'll have no trouble being comfortable in a crowd. I don't consider myself to be shy, because I have no trouble saying what I think needs to be said, regardless of who I might be speaking to, if I actually have something to say.

It's just that when there's people around I don't often have much to say. I find making the effort to stay engaged and interested mentally exhausting.  It's not a judgement on the people I'm around. It's me finding interacting to be a huge effort I find completely draining. It was nice to see my feelings summed up so well in one paragraph.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hola, Niñas y Niños

I've decided to start learning Spanish. I've always loved the sound of Spanish, and as much as French is supposedly considered the language of love, Spanish is the one that still sounds sexy, even when you're being yelled and/or sworn at.

I've wanted to learn Spanish for the longest time, and I always put it off, because I don't like classroom environments, and when a teacher is standing up droning on for any length of time, I get distracted and start writing stories to myself in my book margins. I learn best through reading, and then trying, not through being told. I think this ties into how much I desperately wanted to be home-schooled as a kid. I was under the impression if I were home-schooled they'd just send out a years worth of work and I could read through it all on my own and send it back when I was done. I was so disappointed to find out it didn't work that way.

My sister who has taken a Spanish course, because her sister-in-law is from Chile, has said she thinks I could teach myself from a book, and that she'd help me with pronunciation if needed.

I downloaded a book to the Kindle application on my phone, Getting Started with Spanish. It claims to be set out for use by homeschoolers, and it includes a website address to download sound clips of the words being spoken, if pronunciation is a problem.

I've read the first couple of mini lessons, and have learned how to say 'girl and boy' - 'niña y niño' 'the girl and the boy' - ''la niña y el niño'. I think one of the hardest parts may be remembering which form of 'the' to use. We only have one, they have a female 'the' - 'la' and a male 'the' - 'el'. Easy when refering to people, not so easy when talking about objects.

Still I shall persevere, and hopefully before too long I will be able to converse in Spanish.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lite n' Easy

Disclaimer: I paid for my order, and I am not being compensated for this post in any way.

I want to eat healthy foods. I do. But I hate preparing it, and I hate trying to decide what to have, and I know when I buy fresh food that needs to peeled, and chopped, and assembled into things, I'll get home from work, feel to tired to bother, and throw something pre-packaged into the oven or the deep fryer.

In most cases I like being an adult, making all my choices and mostly I do it well. When it comes to food, I want to be 7-years old, having someone decide what I'm having for breakfast, send me to school with a lunch they've packed, and have dinner all figured out when I get home.

This is where Lite n' Easy comes in. I tried it once about 15 years ago, and liked most of it, then I couldn't afford it, and had to stop. Someone at my work has been on Lite n' Easy for almost a month now, and it got me thinking about trying it again.

I got my first week delivery today, to start tomorrow. The menu is:
Day 1
Breakfast: 4-Grain cinnamon cereal, multigrain toast with strawberry jam.
Morning Snack: Orange
Lunch: Crunchy chicken & corn salad; vanilla pears with orange syrup
Afternoon Snack: Apple & cranberry muffin
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese

Day 2
Breakfast: Classic fruit muesli, wholegrain & oat toast with apricot jam
Morning Snack: Two fruits fruit cup
Lunch: Lamb & feta pizza; red apple
Afternoon Snack: Greek style mango yoghurt
Dinner: Crumbed fish

Day 3
Breakfast: Blueberry yoghurt crumble, wholegrain & oat toast with vegemite
Morning Snack: Orange
Lunch: Soy chicken tender with salad and hoisin dressing; fruit salad fruit cup
Afternoon Snack: Sweet corn fritters with fruit chutney
Dinner: Apricot chicken

Day 4
Breakfast: Fruit & bran cereal, wholegrain & oat toast with peanut butter
Morning Snack: Kiwifruit
Lunch: Italian meatballs with pasta; seasonal fruit (apple)
Afternoon Snack: Apple & vanilla custard
Dinner: Beef & black bean sauce

Day 5
Breakfast: Bacon, egg and tomato with multigrain toast (I am so happy I still get bacon)
Morning Snack: Apple
Lunch: Hokkein stir fry noodles; pear fruit cup
Afternoon Snack: Walnut & date cake
Dinner: Lasagne

Day 6
Breakfast: Toasted fruit muffin with spread
Morning Snack: nectarine
Lunch: hamburger pattie with beetroot relish and tomato on a roll; orange
Afternoon Snack: Spiced fruit cookies
Dinner: Chicken dijon

Day 7
Breakfast: Vanilla crunch cereal; wholegrain oat toast with vegemite
Morning Snack: Peach fruit cup
Lunch: Chicken & pasta bake; apple
Afternoon Snack: Crunchy noodles
Dinner: Homestyle macaroni bake.

The only change I'll be making isn't to the food that was delivered. In the menu they suggest that the cereal be served with skim milk. I hate any kind of milk on cereal (except on Coco Pops), so I'll be eating my cereal with fruit juice. Probably the apple, banana & kiwi fruit one they sell at a convenience store near my post box.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's Award Season...

...and once again I wasn't nominated for a Golden Globe or an Oscar. I've been snubbed, y'all.

As is the case every year, when some people don't get nominated, magazines and websites everywhere start putting up slightly hysterical sounding articles outlining all the people who were 'snubbed' by whomever is choosing the nominees.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that when you snubbed someone, you deliberately excluded them with the express purpose of hurting their feelings, and then engaged in all kinds off passive-aggressive behaviours to convey the fact that they have been snubbed and they should feel bad about that.

I suppose it's possible that the people choosing the nominees are doing just that. That they each have someone they particularly hate, and now that they've successfully blocked the nomination, they are following that actor around Hollywood, laughing at them about how they could have been nominated, but they weren't, because they're not liked. I don't know exactly what goes on over there.

It just seems to me that it's far more likely, that when you only have six available spaces, and hundreds of actors submitting 'for your consideration' tapes of their work, some people are going to have to be left off the list. (Meanwhile can you imagine how hellish the Awards shows would be if everyone who submitted a tape got nominated. They're bad enough now with the six person limit.)

I wish that unless the media had actual evidence of someone not being nominated solely to hurt their feelings and make them feel left out, they'd stop saying people were snubbed. It's ridiculous.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm not...but...

Ever notice how often people will say "I'm not (whatever)" and follow that right up with "but (whatever)", pretty well proving they are what they say they're not.

"I'm not racist, but I don't trust Asian people." Guess what, you're racist. Not trusting an entire race makes you racist. And I don't want to hear what you're planning on saying after that opening sentence.

"I'm not homophobic, but I don't want me and my family to be around gay people. They'll probably try to convert us." You're homophobic. And I don't want to hear the rest of what you're about to say.

"I'm not trying to offend you, but you'd look so much prettier if you put on some makeup." You don't start a sentence with "I'm not trying to offend you", unless you know you're about to say something potentially offensive. Don't say it.

I don't know what kind of person you think I am, and I don't know how you got the impression that it's okay to say that stuff to me. Don't. I don't want to hear it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Buying One Should Be The First Thing You Get Fined For

Zooey Deschanel's current TV show New Girl, has something called "The Douchebag Jar". Basically if you act like a dick, you have to put money in the jar.
An American clothing company, Urban Outfitters, is now selling the jar.
And people are buying it. An empty jar, with a money slot in the top, that retails for $8. I can understand buying one of those money tins that you can't open just by twisting off the lid, because those are probably really hard to make. This is just a normal jar. For less than half the price you could buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, and after you've used it to make some delicious spaghetti, you can wash the jar, cut a money slot in the lid, and put on a sticker labelling it a 'Douchebag Jar'.

If you go to a store a buy one pre-made, your change should automatically have to go in the jar.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Shirtless Adventures In Mystery Land: Part 5

Because River reminded me I hadn't worked on this in a while.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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The mermaid's tail turned into a pair of legs. Really nice legs, Joshua noticed, as she stood, stretching nakedly, before walking over to an alcove near the back of the cave.

She came back to the pond carrying a large, shiny sword. Joshua felt slightly panicy seeing it. Was she going to kill him? What did mermaids eat anyway? Before he could get too carried away with his own thoughts, the mermaid nakedly offered him the sword.

"You'll be needing this on your journey," she said. "The key to your castle has been taken by a nasty tribe of Brownies."

"...little chocolate cake things have my key?" Joshua asked hestitantly.

The mermaid laughed at his question. "Brownies are a type of faerie, somewhat related to goblins. Ususally they're nice, helping people with harvests and housework. This tribe has gone bad, we don't know why. Don't lose the sword Joshua, you'll need it."

Joshua sighed nakedly as he weighted the sword in his hands. It was a good fit. Well balanced, felt like it would be easy to swing and stab. He'd just prefer not to have to use it.

"Good luck Joshua." The mermaid smiled, leaned forward, and kissed Joshua softly. There was a flash of sparkly light, and suddenly Joshua found himself standing shirlessly in a forest, holding his sword. (Not a metaphor).

He was a tiny bit disappointed, as he'd kind of been wondering what mermaid sex might be like. As long as her legs stayed legs of course. Joshua shrugged shirtlessly, adjusted his messenger bag so it was sitting more comfortably and headed off through the forest.
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Nearing the edge of the forest, Joshua shirtlessly came across a stream with a huge waterfall. Pausing to stare at the breathtaking image, he decided this would be a good place to take a break and eat lunch. Shirtlessly setting down his bag, he was knocked off his feet by a small, slender man with very sharp teeth. The small man sat on Joshua's shirtless chest, biting his flailing arm.

Realising this must be one of the Brownies he was meant to find, Joshua heaved himself upward, forcing the man away. Five more Brownies rushed at him, trying to knock him down, biting him anywhere they could.
Joshua scrabbled for his messenger bag, managing to snag it, and retrieve his sword. Backing away from the rabid-seeming creatures, he swung the sword menacingly.

"I don't want to hurt you," he shirtlessly tried to explain, "I just need my key. If you give it to me, I'll leave you in peace."

The Brownies ignored this, snarling and advancing on him, looking to attack. Reluctantly he stabbed at the nearest one, spearing him in the chest.  As it fell to the ground, the five remaining Brownies shrieked and leaped on him, biting and scratching. Joshua fought back stabbing and swinging the sword.

Finally Joshua stood, shirtless, wounded and bleeding, surrounded by the bodies of the dead Brownies. He turned away, horrified by what he'd just done. What he'd had to do. Joshua walked down to the waterfall, standing shirtlessly under the cascading water, washing off the blood. He stayed there long after he was clean, until he felt he could face the bodies again.

Joshua shirtlessly searched the Brownies until he found a large iron key hidden in the clothing of the first Brownie to attack him. It warmed in his hand and seemed to be pointing him in the direction he needed to go to find his castle.

Joshua started walking.
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TBC.
Hopefully this time it won't be a five-month wait before the next part.