The Universe and Me

Saturday, April 30, 2005

A little Biggi

Radio 2 has been playing this song I really like for the past few weeks but I couldn’t figure out who the artist was. Kept looking at their online playlist. No, nothing there seemed right. It’s definitely an Icelandic band singing in English. The lead singer’s voice and accent are very similar to the singer from the Ice band Maus. They’ve been around since 1993, have made five albums. Their last album Musick from 2003 was super fabulous. But the style of music and the singer’s voice are slightly different. Maus started as a punkish band, heavily influenced by The Cure, and progressed into more modern rock. The music of this mystery song is more pop. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Wilco’s “Hummingbird” song. Somewhat Beatlesque in its simplicity, musically and lyrically. Not Maus’s style which is apparently “Nordic vocals hovering over straight guitar figures and incessant drum tracks.” Carolyn wondered if Maus’s lead singer has a solo album out. So I found out his name is Birgir Örn Steinarsson or Biggi for short and he will soon have a solo project released under the name Bigital, “like digital, only bigger.” But the wonderful samples Biggi has kindly posted on his webpage are not the song I was looking for either. A couple of the times Hrafnhildur played Ye Mystery Song, I scribbled down some of its lyrics and Googled them, my last resort for when I can’t understand what Hrafn’s just announced, but nothing turned up. Yesterday I went back to Radio 2’s playlist and ah ha! solved the mystery and will probably blog about it tomorrow or thereabouts.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Lost: The Journey

Did my best to ignore the annoying narrator who sounded like a kindergartener teacher reading to us moronic children during storytime. What if you had a great TV show but you kept airing repeats and alienating half your audience? That’s what he should have been asking. Well, old clips were better than watching a blank screen. I guess. The hour focused heavily on Charlie and the heroin. And Locke’s obsession with the island as an entity. Ethan being from Canada was mentioned twice. Coincidence? Also, The Others were mentioned a lot and we’re left still wondering who are The Others? Were they from Danielle’s plane crash or were they already on the island? Danielle said they “were the carriers.” Of what? Some disease that drives everyone mad? Carriers of the luggage? Charlie made a point of saying “They only wanted Claire” and then everyone ignored his statement. And why doesn’t Locke want any of the other Lostaways to know about the hatch? Couldn’t he use their help with it? How did he manage to get that suitcase of knives on board the plane to begin with? It struck me as weird this time too that the pilot mentioned the radio went out before anything else started to go wrong. Was its transmission interfered with on purpose? And what's up with the Lostzilla monster? More questions probably would have been answered by sixty minutes of watching them sit around a campfire, singing koombayah and making smores.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

National Treasure

Movie: National Treasure. The past few years I’ve been more hesitant to proclaim “Nicholas Cage is a hack!” because he’s turned out some good performances in good movies. While this movie unashamedly borrows from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and The Da Vinci Code, it’s forgivable because it’s clever and entertaining. It’s only towards the end that Nic’s sidekick becomes a little annoying and unrealistic, as if the writers got a bit tired. Cage’s expression when exiting the elevator to return nonchalantly to the gala was wonderful. And nice jump into the Hudson. I also liked the lines, “This is not a day for ‘uh’” and one that went something like “Here’s to the men who did what was considered wrong in order to do what they knew was right.” Back in junior high school we had to memorise a section of The Declaration of Independence. I can still recite most of it, though I admit a section near the end trips me up. My sister Lori reminded me yesterday that we are somehow related (through Dad’s side, obviously) to Benjamin Franklin. While I’m not inventive, I do have an extremely independent nature and will always question authority.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

24: 1 - 2 a.m.

Previously on 24: Audrey, I know it’s late but wake up! Your boyfriend is a thug! Acting President Nervous Nixon reminds me of substitute teachers we used to have who couldn’t keep control over the class and then became furious when the class grew rowdy. I’m guessing Pseudo-Nixon never had kids to keep in line. And then he whines “It’s not my fault” in much the same tone as “I am not a crook.” So Mike taps his speed dial to Palmer who we know from past seasons never sleeps and I wondered if that was the plan all along. Maybe it’s not Marwan who’s the mastermind. Maybe it’s Mike. All this was to bump Keeler and party out of the White House and put Palmer back in. Or I’ve completely flipped. Yeah, that could be. I half expected Palmer to burst into George Costanza’s “I’m back baby!” So Marwan’s big plan is to blow up Iowa? And to implement that, he’s gettin’ down at some disco in downtown LA. Boogie on reggae Marwan! One of the sentry’s in the club looked a lot like Lurch. And I think my imaginary husband might have been one of the Secret Service. Jack chooses such a crucial moment to suddenly respect authority? Where did that come from? Interesting how whenever anyone begins a sentence with the phrase “With all due respect, sir,” it’s followed by a completely disrespectful comment. For a moment I thought Chloe had developed agoraphobia but it was really a healthy fear of wading into the Death Pool. If she’s so smart, why didn’t she think she might need a weapon? She knows what goes on in The Field. And good for Edgar for offering to take her place even after she gave him a “pretty rude attitude.” But our gal Chloe comes through in the end. Not only does she grab the laptop and the informant, she finds an M16 and blasts the bad guys to smithereens. Everybody say: “Chloe rocks!” Next up: somebody at CTU realises nobody’s eaten for 18 hours and the gang drops by a Chinese restaurant but they can’t get seated and go ballistic.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Which 24 Day 4 Character Are You?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Eliza and band Posted by Hello


Today I’m going to order some cd’s and dvd’s. One of the cd’s is from a band called Skandinavia formed by lead singer who these days goes by the name Eliza Newman. She used to call herself Elíza Geirsdóttir back when she lived in Iceland and fronted the bands Kolrassa Krókríðandi and/or Bellatrix. Since her father is half American and she’s been living in London for some years, she’s taken his last name. Back when she was 16 and living in Keflavík, she and some girlfriends formed Kolrassa Krókríðandi which may or may not be named after a children’s play about a witch named Kolrassa who flies on a broomstick and takes a little girl on trips with her to strange and faraway places. The group soon won some new band of the year contest which got them a record contract. A couple of wild and fun cd’s later, they ended up in England, using the name Bellatrix for the band. Their distinctive sound disintegrated into pop nonsense and they disintegrated. Now Eliza’s back with a new band that sounds much closer to Kolrassa. Zeppelinesque epic rock, heavy on the Nordic mythology, with powerful wailing vocals and a soaring ethereal violin. (Eliza is a classically trained violinist and opera singer.) I’m not sure why Eliza chose the name Skandinavia for this new band since Iceland does not consider itself part of Scandinavia. At any rate, I’m trying to get their cd which should prove impossible because it’s an import and has been backordered since about a month after its release last fall.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

SF in Music

I stumbled on the lengthy wepage SF References in Music the other day. The list seems to be less, "this song is based on this book" and more "this song has science fiction or mythological or supernatural themes or concepts." Thought I'd create a list from the list of songs I like or once liked. (Some music from the 80s is rather dated now and one's tastes do change.)

  • Amos, Tori: She's always been way out there, so any of her songs might apply.
  • Blue Oyster Cult: "Godzilla," as in "there goes Tokyo!"
  • Brickell, Edie and the New Bohemians: "Ghost of a Dog"
  • Bush, Kate: again, pick a song. "Breathing" "Cloudbusting" and its accompanying video with Donald Sutherland. "Hammer Horror" "Hello Earth"
  • Cheap Trick: "Dream Police" - one of Phyllis's fav's, always makes me think of her singing along.
  • Clash, the: "London Calling"
  • Costello, Elvis: "Waiting for the End of the World"
  • Emerson, Lake, & Palmer: "Karn Evil 9"
  • Gabriel, Peter: "Here Comes the Flood" and "Solsbury Hill"
  • Genesis: So many. "Watcher of the Skies" "The Return of the Giant Hogweed" (Hello Triffids!), "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" lp, "Get 'em Out by Friday" "The Knife" "The Musical Box" "The Fountain of Salmacis" "Supper's Ready" "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" "Cinema Show" "Squonk"
  • Gowan, Larry: "Strange Animal" - nice video for that song they used to play on CBC's "Good Rockin' Tonight"
  • Hackett, Steve: "Narnia"
  • Jethro Tull: I don't know Ian & band as well as my nephew Kevin, but I'll leave them in because I always liked them.
  • Joel, Billy: "Miami 2017" "We Didn't Start the Fire" (mentions "Stranger in a Strange Land")
  • John, Elton: "Rocket Man" "I've Seen the Saucers"
  • Journey: "Wheel in the Sky"
  • Kansas: "Point of Know Return"
  • Kayak: "Journey Through Time" "Daphne" "Phantom of the Night"
  • King Crimson: "Epitaph" - one of the classrooms at school had a chair I used to sit in which someone (not me, although I did once write out the lyrics to "I married a martian" on a chair) wrote these lyrics on.
  • Klaatu: "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" "Little Neutrino"
  • Led Zeppelin: "No Quarter" (speculation it's about Aragorn's trek through "The Paths of the Dead") "The Battle of Evermore" "Ramble On" "Misty Mountain Hop" "Stairway to Heaven" "Kashmir"
  • Manhattan Transfer: "Twilight Zone" - at college this gal who roommed across the hall from me Junior year used to play this song over and over and definitely over.
  • Marillion: "Grendel" (surely there must be others? Dan, where are you?)
  • Pink Floyd: "Set the Controls" "Obscured by Clouds" "Wish You Were Here"
  • Police: "Synchronicity II" "Synchronicity" "Wrapped Around Your Finger"
  • Prism: "Take Me to the Kaptain"
  • Queen: "Thirty-Nine" "Don't stop me now"
  • Renaissance: anything
  • Rush ; "2112" "Red Barchetta" "Rivendell" "Red Sector A" "Xanadu"
  • Saga: I have one of their albums but don't remember any of it.
  • Shonen Knife: "Riding on the Rocket" "I am a Cat"
  • Sparks: "Here in Heaven"
  • Styx: "Mr. Roboto" "Come Sail Away" "Lords of the Ring" may be Tolkien-derived.
  • Sugarcubes: "Speed Is The Key" "Planet" (see title of blog) "A Day Called Zero" and others. "Chihuahua" has Einar babbling about Aliens.
  • Supertramp: "Fools Overture" "Crime of the Century"
  • Talking Heads: "Swamp" anyone? probably not
  • Wings: "Nineteen Eighty-Five" - I have that 45 single! "Magneto and the Titanium Man" "Venus and Mars"
  • Yankovic, Weird Al: "I Think I'm a Clone Now" "Yoda"
  • Yes: "Starship Trooper" and the entire album "Close to the Edge"
  • Young, Neil: "After the Gold Rush"
  • Zevon, Warren: "Werewolves of London" - and even though the Sugarcubes have already represented Iceland, I'll add two more:
  • Stuðmenn: Úfó
  • Kolrassa krókríðand: Ikarus

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Not So Desperate Icelandic Housewives

Upcoming mockumentary currently without a title, although they are considering calling it “Heimilistónar in Pittsburgh.” Heimilistónar (translation: Housewives) is an Icelandic girl band composed of four accomplished actresses who in their spare time sing popular versions of old songs from the 60s and 70s in chirpy voices that tend to make my brain feel like someone is jabbing a knife through it. But if you want to hear “Sugar Sugar,” “What’s New Pussycat?” and “Please Mr Postman” in Icelandic, they’re your gals. Band leader Ólafía Hrönn Jónsdóttir recently lived in Bellevue, Pennsylvania while her husband was studying at a local gunsmithing school. Who has more fun than Icelanders? While there, Ólafía and her bandmates filmed an independent movie about their experiences of performing in nearby Pittsburgh. Friend, fellow actress and husky voiced big time Icelandic pop star Ragnhildur Gísladóttir was scheduled to join them, as she sometimes does, but couldn’t pass up an offer to perform at London’s Royal Albert Hall instead. Scenes in the mockumentary take place at Mt Washington, a Bellevue coffee shop and beauty salon, in addition to some local clubs. Move over Spinal Tap.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Winter, spring, summer or fall

Yesterday morning while listening to Radio 2 via the Internet, I noticed they were playing only songs by Icelandic artists. So I thought, is this some holiday over there? And I looked at my calendar hanging on the wall across the room. There wasn’t anything written in yesterday’s square, which wasn’t a surprise because it’s not an Icelandic calendar, but that was when my memory kicked in and I thought, don’t they celebrate the first day of summer right about now? Sure enough, they do. It’s called “Sumardagurinn Fyrsti” and always falls on the Thursday between April 19 and 25. Its earliness has something to do with the old Icelandic calendar which only distinguished between summer and winter. Summer marked the beginning of the growing season; winter, the end. These days there’s lots of flag waving and parades and generally being too cold outdoors in 40 degree weather. This year they also celebrated "Traveller's Day", trying to encourage Icelanders to view the place like a tourist and climb the Post Office walls, as any tourist would.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sumar í Reykjavík
 Posted by Hello

Colour your world

People who know me know I don’t like the colour (or color if you have to be American) red. When I get upset, more along the lines of frustrated or sad rather than angry, I’ve been known to say, “There’s too much red!” While my perception of colours as emotions stops there, people with synesthesia feel and see them in more ways. One of the most common forms of synesthesia (literally: joined perception) is seeing letters as colours. Every letter of the alphabet will be a different colour. Putting the letters together to form words can result in the word taking on the colour of the first letter. Some see only vowels in colour. With each person, the colour will not vary. Once you see the letter T as pink, every time you see T, it will be pink. But another person with synesthesia may see T as brown. It’s estimated that only one in every 25,000 people has synesthesia, the ability to feel smells, hear tastes and see music. Three times as many women as men have it. Synesthetes tend to be left-handed, intelligent (though not good with math), creative, and have a poor sense of direction, probably due to all those perceptions losing their separate distinctions. Synesthesia can be acquired through a head injury, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

24: 12 - 1 am

Previously on 24: Those wacky terrorists. They’ve built mountains in Iowa. Good one. Where did Marwan download that marvelously sinister ringtone? Very cool. For a minute I thought Curtis had dived into the deep end of the Death Pool, but he’s a good swimmer. What’s the deal with the bobbleheaded Logan? He’s quaking in his boots even though he’s safely secured in the spiffy Oval Bunker. What a wimp. I can’t believe anyone would think he’s qualified to have a paper route much less be Vice President. Why would Keeler put this loser on the ticket? I’m sensing conspiracy and it’s making me uneasy too, Tony. A nuclear warhead's been swiped and Mike's pointing fingers. “The good news is most the country is still asleep.” Just as I was starting to give up hope, in walks Jack at 12:42 and I thought, wouldn’t it be neat if a time clock announced your arrival wherever you went? But poor Jack, thwarted by the Constitution. And Kiefer a Canadian. But wait. Nothing gets past our suds buddies to the north. There’s no way Amnesty Lawyer Guy could have reached CTU that fast. It’s not like he’s Tony or Chloe. When Jack resigned, I had a freaky flashback of Frank Furillo turning in his badge for the umpteenth time on “Hill Street Blues.” So Jack becomes a private citizen and slimy Joe Prado (no relation to Prada) finds out that the only thing worse than being picked up by CTU is being let go by CTU. “Cut to the chase”? Wasn’t that what Jack did in Season 3? Har har. This episode seemed full of unintentional innuendo, from Edgar’s, “I’d like to get him in a room for ten minutes” to Michelle asking Tony for his “tactical input.” But the funniest line was saved for last. Jack’s “this’ll help you with the pain” had me laughing into the previews. Next up: he’s back! I’ve been thinking for weeks their problems would be solved if they’d just call on Allstate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ramble on to Rivendell

Coming soon to a theatre probably not near me: Ringers: Lord of the Fans. A feature-length documentary which explores the history of Tolkienmania and how Lord of the Rings has influenced western pop culture. A study of fandom with interviews from Peter Jackson and many actors from his films. Narrated by lostaway hobbit Dominic Monaghan who reportedly is “engaging as any visual stimulus on the screen.” Having read the trilogy in the early 1980s, the fan story that I remember most is from an author (whose name I’ve misplaced) who wrote about what it was like when The Two Towers was released. He or she stayed up all night reading the book which ends with one of the greatest cliffhangers in literature. The Return of the King wasn’t released until a year later. A very long year later. Being into music, Tolkien was a part of my life long before I knew it. His works heavily influenced the progressive rock of the 1970s, especially the bands Rush and Led Zeppelin. It’s funny to think back to when I was a kid, believing Rivendell was just some place Neil Peart had made up to write a song about. Now if I could just find my "Frodo Lives!" t-shirt.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Vera Drake

Movie: Vera Drake. I can highly endorse the movie, though not Vera’s actions in the movie. Putting aside the “abortion is murder” argument, I’m also against it because it is emotionally damaging, even if sometimes only on a subconscious level. Vera seemed to be in some sort of denial about what she was doing, brainwashing herself into believing she was helping. Was her constant humming to drown out the guilt in her head? I was amazed that a housekeeper with no nursing training that we know of thought she was qualified to do this. It never seemed to occur to her something could do wrong, that one of the girls could be harmed or die. Nor does she take her family into consideration. In the end, I thought her sentence was quite light and she was lucky. Fabulous performance by Imelda. The LAPD could learn a lot from the polite constables here. And Sid, The Smiths called. They’re looking for a new lead singer, if you have the time.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Mary Merry Marry

The English language test below had a question about how to pronounce these words. Having lived in Mass., I know they are pronounced three different ways. Back then I practised & practised to get the distinction down but being back here in New York, I've slipped into pronouncing them all the same. I need to work on this again. From the net, here's how to remember them for future use:
Only people from the Northeast tend to pronounce all three words with a different first vowel:
  • "merry" = /me+ri/
  • "Mary" = /Meu+ri/
  • "marry" = /mari/
Confusing? Not if you learn to listen carefully.


Movie: Birth. I wasn’t sure I would be able to blog this morning because my cat decided to take a snooze while draped over half the computer keyboard. At one point during her nap, she typed out the word “Poo” and I couldn’t help wondering if that was her succinct review of the movie. The reincarnation theme was probably supposed to be controversial or thought provoking, but it’s actually common for children to remember “past lives.” Since I don’t believe in reincarnation (not in this life, anyway), I’m more inclined to see this as tapping into what Carl Jung termed the Collective Unconscious. Sort of a universal memory spanning time and space. If this film contained any such insights or “sub-sonic nuances,” I missed them. The minimalistic dialogue and acting made the characters seem emotionless and mind numbingly dull. Mime troupes are more exciting. And five minute close ups of a face are not slow, they are stopped. Whoever convinced Nicole Kidman to go with the pixie look should never be allowed to work in the film industry ever again. The hairstyle and colour were not right for her face and made her look downright ugly. Poo is right, kitty. The wacky Anne Heche as the girlfriend was the only one who seemed to understand that this should have been filmed as a thriller. Her character is lively and intriguing and deserves her own movie. On the upside, I thought I saw Lauren Bacall.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Movie: A Series of Unfortunate Events. After the dismal reviews I’d read when it was released in theatres, I expected to be disappointed. So I was glad I wasn’t. The cinematography lends itself to comparisons with Tim Burton and Roald Dahl but probably owes more to the Edwardianness of Edward Gorey and Charles Addams. One scene towards the end where they make a final stop at their old house is visually stunning. Well, as are many other scenes. Jim Carrey’s galumphing and over the top acting is appropriate for the stick-figured Count Olaf since Olaf is an over the top, galumphing actor (who I believe I dated in a previous incarnation. Ah yes, I recognised some of that emoting and manipulative timbre.) The ubiquitous (which here means “He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!”) Jude Law continues his quest to be a one man film invasion by playing the silhouetted narrator. I loved Meryl Streep and her floppy bun as the delightfully anxious, literally living on the edge Aunt Josephine. And Billy Connelly can sing me Scottish dirges whenever he wants. Baby Sunny’s expressions throughout the movie were almost better than her snarkisms (which in the books are more monosyllabic and more ingenious.) Only inexplicable were Klaus’s missing glasses.

Friday, April 15, 2005

American English quiz

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English
30% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern

Killer's Guide to Iceland

In my ongoing quest to keep an eye on all things Icelandic, I've stumbled across a book called The Killer's Guide to Iceland by Zane Radcliffe. Sounds like a combination of a how-to book and travel guide. Instead, it's a thriller novel. Thrillers are not my thing but if this one ever shows up here, I'll read it, of course. Radcliffe first became interested in Iceland after hearing a song by an “elfin girl with a voice like a cat being strangled” on television. Subsequent readings of interviews with Björk and the Sugarcubes increased his interest in Iceland. He visited the country to film a television commercial and learned even more. And came up with this book's plot:
Callum Pope cannot escape the horrors of his past He has fled his native Glasgow to make a fresh start in Iceland with Birna Sveinsdottir, the pretty glaciologist who is slowly thawing his heart. He has moved in with Birna, her indomitable mother (who happens to believe in fairies) and her eleven-year-old daughter who refuses to believe in Callum. He tries hard to adjust to this new life among three generations of singular females, however the dark secret Callum is hiding is about to raise its malign head, threatening not only to destroy his relationship but also the life of a young girl...

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Movie: Sideways. Not the laugh a mile I thought it would be. Knowing nothing about wines and very little about California, I found most of it dull. Kind of a lame on the road plot: Shadoe Stevens and Chris Elliott decide to have one last fling (not with each other) disguised as a wine tasting tour. Kerouac and Cassady, they are not. The morally bankrupt Shadoe never seems to learn that his actions cause his downfall. The ending was downright sweet and probably belonged to another movie. I did enjoy the extreme golf and the line “no going to the dark side.” Overall, their own line “quaffable but far from transcendent” summed it up.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

24: 11 pm - 12 am

24: 11 pm – 12 am. I had this strange feeling that Air Force One was going to crash land on the island of “Lost” and my two favourite shows would merge. When Mr & Mrs Hippy Camper needed the combination to the football, I said to the TV, “Use Hurley’s numbers!” And I couldn’t help wondering if *76144 opens Locke’s locked hatch. Now Mike Novick is back, pushing the wimpy son of tricky Dick VP to be sworn in. Do we even know the extent of Keeler’s injuries? Were those voices in his head the Veep appeared to be listening to? He’s way too Nixonesque to trust. Mr & Mrs Hippy Camper must be extremely heavy sleepers not to hear half a plane fall around their tent. I know I’ll sleep better knowing Buchanan and Michelle aren’t as happenin’ as she led Tony to believe. Mrs Hippy Camper should catch up to speed by watching the previous episodes. She’s willing to trust Jack because “he’s kept us alive this far.” Oh honey, talk to Dina. That’s right, you can’t because Dina’s dead. And then she fumbles the football and the seemingly omnipresent Marwan picks it up. And Jack praises her efforts. Must be he knows Audrey’s ardour is cooling and he needs a backup. Audrey’s clipped her hair back again. Don’t think we haven’t noticed the changing hairstyle just because we didn’t mention it until now. The continuity crew is pooped, aren’t they? Interesting the still awol Heller wanted (pretty much ordered) Jack in the field. The football’s missing pages wouldn’t be akin to page 61 of Lolita now, would they? I appreciated the phrase “passive triangulation” even if I have no idea what it means. Main gripe: not enough snarkin’ Chloe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The future of music

Book: The Future of Music. I subscribe to an online music service but last year they changed a few things and I've not been as happy with them as I was at first. In a few months, or perhaps later this year I'll start looking for a different service so I can stay legal. This book has lots of good ideas the record companies could easily implement to stop illegal downloading. Not even taking a different approach into consideration will be the death of them. And the majority of people (and probably artists) will say good riddance. Here's my favourite idea:
Just as ASCAP or BMI collect blanket licensing fees from radio stations, so could similar organizations collect blanket licensing fees from the P2P companies for access via their systems... If 50% of the world's active Internet users would pay only $2 per month, the industry would collect $500 million per month--$6 billion per year--a whopping 20% of the current revenues from CD sales.
Sign me up!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Mest spiluðu lögin á Rás 2 þessa dagana!

As nothing I've been mulling over in my brain to blog about came to fruition today, I thought I might do a comparison of Ice Radio 2's playlist to the US's obnoxious Clear Channel. But I couldn't find a CC playlist anywhere, so I'll just post the current most played songs on Rás 2 and some parenthetical comments from me on them.
  • BUBBI MORTHENS / Þú (can't go wrong with the Troubadour)
  • GORILLAZ / Feel Good Inc.
  • HILDUR VALA / Líf (naw...)
  • JACK JOHNSON / Sitting, waiting, wishing (not bad)
  • JOHN MAYER / Daughters (I detest this song)
  • JOSS STONE / Spoiled (fabulous voice)
  • LEAVES / The spell (yeah!!!! it's great! release the cd already!!)
  • LOW / California (one of Jon's fav. bands?)
  • NEW ORDER / Krafty
  • R.E.M. / Electron blue (REM always okay with me)
  • ROBERT PLANT / Shine It All Around
  • SELMA BJÖRNS / If I Had Your Love (ooh - no - so wrong)
  • SKÍTAMÓRALL / Hvers vegna (love it!)
  • STUÐMENN / Látum það vera (lurve it!!!!)
  • SÁLIN HANS JÓNS MÍNS / Aldrei liðið betur (Stefan's my man!)
  • Í SVÖRTUM FÖTUM / Eitt (pop but okay)
  • AMPOP / My delusisions (not a big fan of theirs)
  • ASH / Evil eye
  • BECK / E-Pro
  • EMILIANA TORRINI / Sunny Road (she's gone too mellow lately)
  • THE FLAMING LIPS / The Psychic wall of energy
  • GWEN STEFANI / Rich Girl (she has so much more talent than this! What a waste!)
  • HAYSEED DIXIE / Walk this way (a country cover of Aerosmith?? Yikes!)
  • IDLEWILD / Love Steals Us From Loneliness
  • JENNIFER LOPEZ / Get right (No! a thousand times no!)
  • KASHMIR / Rocket brothers
  • LEONE TINGANELLI & REGÍNA ÓSK / Ef ég gæti... (eek!)
  • MOBY / Lift Me Up
  • MUGISON / I want you (very different, but okay)
  • NÝ DÖNSK & SINFÓ / Sökudólgur óskast (love it!)
  • RAZORLIGHT / Golden touch
  • THE KILLERS / Somebody told me
  • THE MARS VOLTA / The Widow
  • TINA TURNER / Complicated disaster (please stop playing this before my brain explodes!)
  • WILCO / Hummingbird (my current favourite)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Excellence on Ice

Yesterday afternoon Jerry, Vic, Mom and I went to the local arena to see the ice show, Excellence on Ice. While the loud music and bright lights have left me with a dull but expected headache today, the skaters performed wonderfully. Several stood out, in particular Taylor Firth. As there were three other girls with the last name Firth, she either has three sisters or relatives who also skate. I suppose that would make them the Four Firths, not to be confused with the Firth of Fourth in Scotland. Also good were the dance team Jenna Cogley & Christian Pickard, the pair team Jennifer Tingley & Michael Donovan, and solo Robert Dierking. The ensemble performances to "Bolero" and "Bond, James Bond" were exceptionally well choreographed. Maybe in the future we'll see some of these kids performing on national tv, and being critiqued by Dick Button & Peggy Fleming.


Movie: Zelary. A Czech epic drama set in the 1940s and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2003 which it didn’t win but probably should have as I liked it a lot more than “The Barbarian Invasions.” Concerns Eliska, a medical student and part-time resistance fighter whose cover is blown, forcing her into hiding. A peasant/mountain man/sawmill worker whose life she helped save agrees to save her by marrying her and bringing her back to his remote, backwards village, Zelary, probably not pronounced like celery due to its having several accent marks. (Where’s Mr Vee when I need him?) Throughout four seasons, we see her life transform as she acclimates to this rustic life and the villagers around her. A very lengthy film, at over 2 ½ hours. Fabulous acting by Eliska and Joza. And the goat too! And it made me very appreciative of running water. Yahoo movies has the trailer and some clips.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Movie: Spanglish. Was it supposed to be about the cultural differences in the two daughters' lives? How the little Spanish girl was awed by what material things and advances in life money could buy but that money can't buy love or a Beatles reunion? I have no idea because Tea Leone's HyperMom character was too distracting and annoying. Driven, neurotic, psychotic, obsessive, obnoxious, cruel, bossy, moody, thoughless, selfish, spoiled, bratty, fiercely competitive, insecure, insensitive, emotionally manipulative, overpowering, self-absorbed, adulterous, shrewish and downright just a horrible person. Who in the end is rewarded for this behaviour by retaining her sensitive husband, above average children, sprawling Beverly Hills mansion and summer beach house. There's a great life lesson for us all. My other main gripe: poor Flor (or Florrrrrr) was too perfect. Even when she was being stubborn, she had a right to be. Yes, there was a lot wrong with this movie. But it was also entertaining. Cloris Leachman (is she really almost 80?) was great. Her uncanny sense of comedic timing lit up every scene she was in. And I did chuckle at Tea's line, "Don't translate asides."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Lost: Do no harm

And then there was Jack. And a Mrs Jack we never knew about. My guess is the marriage didn't work and Jack was thinking about this past failure because he was afraid of failing Boone. Kudos to the makeup department for the extra gore and to whoever for sparing us the leg chop. Does Jack think his last name is Bauer? He was just dying to say, "I'm gonna need a hacksaw," wasn't he? Meanwhile, Boone was just dying. Sorry, pal. We thought you were too obvious a choice but the writers fooled us by not fooling us. We're reasonably confident we'll be seeing you in future flashbacks. Good on Hurley for not fainting. Did Sun add in a few nursing courses while she was sneaking off to Korean University to study English? Did Locke go back to the hatch? He might want to stay there. Nice reaction to the birth by Charlie hugging Jin. If little Rosemary names her baby Boone, I may threaten to stop watching. Interesting reaction by Walt when everyone was oogling Island Baby. Will he be jealous? Hate to see the baby go the way of the raft. Is the monster hibernating? Best line: Charlie's, "He talked me through it. It's relatively simple." Jack's echoing Locke's oft spoken "Don't tell me what I can do!" can't be good. Next up: everyone goes postal.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Soon to come: Without Gravity

Icelandic alt-country band Tenderfoot's first cd entitled "Without Gravity" is scheduled for release on 9 May. I've been anticipating this for at least a year, ever since hearing the few mp3's they posted on their home page. And now even more since Radio 2 is playing some songs. I hope their record company will release the cd in the States too. From the Grapevine review: Jeff Buckley’s only album, "Grace", is a huge reference point as well as the work of other usual suspects such as Nick Drake, Gram Parsons, Neil Young and Elliott Smith. With the backbone of Tenderfoot’s music being the influences of such great musicians, the quartet is obviously destined to pale in comparison but as debuts go, "Without Gravity" is certainly a promising one with its soft and sweet harmonies. The ingredients are certainly there and in Karl Henry, the band has an undeniably gifted vocalist who, much like the band itself, is only a step away from discovering his own unique voice. While waiting impatiently for the cd, listen to a radio show of 10 or 11 songs they performed while in New York .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

24: 10 - 11 pm

Previously on 24: Twice in one hour Jack gets to shout the phrase, "Drop the weapon!" Who has more fun? Nice serpentine, there. The Fake Agent Drake should have realised CTU agents are not that sloppy and drywall isn't that thick. Thar' she goes. Tony's brooding reaches new levels as he learns Michelle's downgraded to that old Division geezer Buchanan. If that's what they mean by "the twist that will change everything," we don't want to know. Sure, nights alone working on perfecting her ventriloquist act must be lonely, but at least someone like Edgar would be cuddly. Mr Bean is out of surgery, probably in a wheelchair for life and in need of Miss Freebie's emotional support. Who didn't see that rolling down Sunset Boulevard? President Keeler has been flying for over 20 hours and all he got was a lousy t-shirt and a lousy InstaSon just over from The OC. Former Pres Palmer may be relegated to commercials for Allstate, but he's not being shot out of the air, either. Smirk. Chloe gets as sensitive as she's ever gonna and helps out a co-worker. Sigh. I believe I heard a distinctive sampling of the music from "Mission Impossible." So the terrorists have been spending their time here making pillows? That'll teach us. I want to know how Marwan knew where Air Force 1 was and suspect Heller, with his previous obsession over the president's whereabouts and his 2 or 3 episode awolness, is responsible. Next week a football game inexplicably appears to break out. Everybody say wha?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Who Moved My Cheese?

Some weeks ago Chris asked me to read the book Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson and explain why the tremendous appeal. The more staggering thing to me is the book's price, $19.95. What should have been published as a five page pamphlet is stretched out to 94 pages (although the preface ends on page 18) with about a dozen full page illustrations, using a way too large font, and just plain immense top and bottom margins. Guess who's in line at the bank ahead of you, grinning? You're much better off leaving this overpriced marketing ploy at Walden's and borrowing a copy from your friendly local librarians. In reading it, here's what I learned:
  • We feel secure in our comfy routines, happiness and success.
  • Confidence grows into arrogance and a feeling of entitlement. We feel we deserve the things we work for.
  • When we lose what we've worked for, we become frustrated and angry and place the blame on others. These emotions cloud how we should be viewing the situation.
  • We need to change the way we look at change. It can be invigorating and lead to improvements.
  • We need to adapt to change, take control instead of just sitting around waiting for the situation to improve.
  • Life is full of continual changes and we need to learn to anticipate them to know what to do when they happen.
I have a feeling the author was in his college dorm room, listening to REO Speedwagon's "Roll With The Changes" and staring at his roommate's "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade" poster, marvelling at the fact that these pithy sayings were making people rich and figured he could one-up them. We want quick, simple answers to life's problems and that's what this book provides (and probably why it's so popular), providing you have simplistic problems. If one of those lemons conceals a hand grenade or a piece of cheese is laced with cyanide, you won't be laughing at your own folly for not seeing it coming (as the book advises). Yeah, good luck there.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Movie: Hotel Rwanda. A must-see, not just for the message, but also for the performance of Don Cheadle as Paul Rsomethingunpronounceable who tries to maintain composure during the horrific genocide. Here's the guy you want in charge of public relations. The one who knows who to bribe and with what. The Hutus versus the Tutsis sounds like it should be the plot to a lame "Star Trek" episode. Sadly, not so. Nick Nolte mumbled a few lines of an otherwise solid performance. I found Paul's wife annoying with her clinginess and neediness. Considering what was going on, the woman had every reason to behave that way. But I'm Swedish and we have to be self-reliant, no matter what the circumstances.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Nói albínói

Movie: Nói. An Icelandic drama filmed with blue, green and blueish green tints or "nuances" as director/writer Dagur Kári (who better hurry up or he's going to be late for curtain call at the Abba musical Mama Mia) terms it in the excellent making-of feature. This brings an even greater eeriness and etherealness to the already ominous otherworldly landscape of the remote fishing village. High school student/albino Nói is either a whiz kid or an idiot, a juvenile delinquent or a genius. The town's isolation and his own personal isolation of feeling different from everyone else has created severe malcontent. Nói's reaction to the rainbow over the fjord speaks volumes. When he meets Íris (pronounced EE-ress?) he becomes hopeful for a better life. The recurrent theme (which I won't give away), starting with the mention of Kierkegaard ("a fitting name for an idiot"), sets up the viewer for one ending but then something totally unexpected happens. That's Iceland for you. There were wonderful moments of subtle humour. The possibly insane grandmother, with her odd behavior delivered with such deadpan expression, is hysterical. The French class would be giggled over by essayist David Sedaris. The kitchen disaster is a riot. Overall, clever and thought-provoking. (And Carolyn, we may have a winner. See my IM.)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Kaiser Chiefs Posted by Hello

Kaiser Chiefs riot on Letterman

The Kaiser Chiefs American network debut was Wednesday night on Letterman. I do believe the performance (of the catchy "I Predict a Riot") gave Carolyn the vapours! Enough to make a gal fan herself with the Publisher's Weekly list. These yummy lads from Leeds made the most of their three and a half minutes and if they're still kind over at the cbs website, you can watch a video of it there. (If they've taken it down, here's a large zipped file.) Don't blink or you'll miss the leap! Yes, the lead singer Ricky Wilson is very springy! Quintessentially British and a whole lotta fun. "Thank you, boys." Indeed!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Lost: Locke's story continued

Another episode of "Lost," another batch of questions to add to the lengthy list. So Kevin Tighe has gone from "Emergency" good guy firefighter to organ thief scum since the 70's. Bit of a step down. I'm guessing that he and Swoozie were not Locke's real parents, but were just working in cahoots with the adoption center guy to scam orphans out of their organs. But since it seemed Tighe did not skip town afterwards, maybe not. So add Locke to the list of characters with father issues. His premonition was a creepy "Twin Peaks" moment. Has he been having premonitions all along? Is that why he seems to know things about the other Lostees? Is the island giving him the premonitions? Why not tell about finding the airplane? Is he afraid Charlie will get back on the horse? Was the corpse from Nigeria and/or the Nigerian e-mail scammer? Are Hurley's numbers the co-ordinates to somewhere in Nigeria? What's the significance of Nigeria? The episode ending, with the hatch lighting up, was great. Now you've woken them, you know. As for the rest of the show, we learned that Sayid moonlights as an optometrist, trebuchet is a fancy word for catapult, brain tumors make you smell things burning, and there were no survivors on Flight 815. Best line once again belonged to Hurely (Sawyer looking like a steamrolled Harry Potter) although I liked Jack saying any conversation with Sawyer just gets him "a snappy one liner and a brand new nickname." Better roll up those sleeves there, Betty. Boone's bleeding all over and Claire's about to pop.