Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I'm a Johanna!

Which Hunger Games character are you? Find out here!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Music Munday: Postmodern Jukebox

Today's Music Munday is a brief one, because I'm on my way to GCSU to see Robert Venditti!

I'm a sucker for a few things when it comes to music: mash-ups, hand claps, and pop song covers. Glee is actually pretty good at these, which helps explain the embarrassing amount of Glee sounds in my iTunes. I recently discovered a (new to me) band that does something similar: Postmodern Jukebox.

Did I mention I'm also a huge Ke$ha (Kesha? Kesha Rose?) fan? Well, I am. I absolutely ADORE this cover! A few of my other favorites:

Bluegrass "Blurred Lines"!

Doo Wop "We Can't Stop"!

Vintage "Thrift Shop"!

There are tons more at Scott Bradlee's YouTube channel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: Diverse Energies

Title: Diverse Energies
Editors: Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti
Genre: short story, dystopia, sci-fi, romance, YA
Published: 20 November 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 6 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley, Lucky No. 14

Synopsis: "In a world gone wrong, heroes and villains are not always easy to distinguish and every individual has the ability to contribute something powerful.

In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more." (from GoodReads)

My Review: I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but I requested this one from NetGalley because I like some of the authors mentioned and I love supporting books about diverse characters. The stories are all interesting, but there are definitely some that I enjoyed more than others. My favorites were "Uncertainty Principle" by K. Tempest Bradford (a girl discovers that she's the only person who can detect temporal anomalies), "Gods of the Dimming Light" by Greg van Eekhout (a modernization of Ragnarok - especially cool because I read it the day before Ragnarok was thought to occur!), and "Blue Skies" by Cindy Pon (not your typical kidnapping story). The others weren't bad, but these were the three that I found the most interesting and wish I had gotten more story for.

This collection is great because of the much-needed diversity it features. However, the downside is that so much of it is bleak. The worlds these authors have created are beautiful and fascinating, but also really terrible if I were to actually live in them. I would love to see a collection of stories (or novels) about these characters when they're happy and living normal lives.

Disclaimer: I received an electronic review copy from NetGalley in exchange for my review.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.

I'm a Logan! (?)

Which character are you? Find out here!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Munday: The Doubleclicks

Today's Music Munday is a special one: a music video featuring yours truly!

I've written about The Doubleclicks before. They're still awesome and still making fun, geeky music. I recently funded their new album kickstarter, and I can't wait to hear it.

Last week, this showed up on my twitter feed:

Of course I had to join in the fun! Batman and I went to lunch at Hankook Taqueria, one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta. I got a shrimp burrito to use as my music video prop:

It was one of the easiest (and tastiest!) ways I've ever participated in a fandom. :)

Here's the finished product, "Love You Like a Burrito:"

I'm at 2:15, in case you missed me. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Teacher life

One of today's literary terms was "etymology" (the study of word origins), so I assigned my tenth graders different Greek and Latin roots and had them identify words that correctly used the root they had been given. They also had to create a poster explaining the root, the words they chose, and how the definitions related to the root. I also asked them to draw a picture or symbol to help them remember. 

All of this to share one of the funniest unintentional jokes ever told in my class. One girl had the root "-cracy" (rule), but couldn't think of a picture to go along with it. 

Me: Well, think about this: what do rulers wear?
Her: ...Numbers?

Best laugh I've had in a while. :D

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: Mafia Girl

Title: Mafia Girl
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Genre: YA, romance
Published: 1 March 2014
Pages: 270
Rating: 2 / 10
Challenges: NetGalley Reading Challenge

Synopsis: "'What's in a name? Everything if you have my name.' At her exclusive Manhattan high school, seventeen-year-old Gia is the most hated/loved girl in school. Why? Her father doesn't have a boss. He is the boss--the capo di tutti cappi, boss of all bosses. Not that Gia cares. But life gets complicated when she meets a cop she calls "Officer Hottie" and feels a suprising chemistry. Then Vogue magazine wants to feature Gia in a fashion spread about real-life bad girls. On top of this, she's running for class president. Can Gia step out from under her dad's shadow and show everyone there's more to her than 'Mafia Girl?'" (from GoodReads)

My Review: Full disclosure: I was not able to finish this book. I got about halfway through and just had to put it down. I got frustrated with Gia and her shenanigans. She was neither believable nor likable. I was really excited to read this - I expected a Godfather/Gossip Girl hybrid, not a whiny spoiled brat. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was the incredibly inappropriate relationship that develops with (and is reciprocated by!) "Officer Hottie." So illegal. I'm all for suspension of disbelief, but when he started texting her back and calling her "Baby," I rolled my eyes and put my Kindle down in disgust. I much preferred the election subplot to the "romance," but I couldn't handle slogging through one for the other.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book as well, leave me a message in the comments and I'll link to your review.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Music Munday: Welcome to Night Vale Live!

Yep, it's the triumphant (?) return of Music Munday. And what better way to celebrate than a post that's only tangentially related to music? :P

This past Friday, Batman and I saw a live show of one of my favorite podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale! It was actually my Valentine's Day present, and I was beyond excited. If you're unfamiliar with the show, the conceit is this: WtNV is a community radio show, hosted by the amazing Cecil. Every week, he delivers news about the desert town of Night Vale (usually involving the mysterious and supernatural) and the people who live there. My favorite recurring characters are the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your House and Tameka Flynn (a middle schooler who battles the town's dangerous and carnivorous librarians). Here's the first episode:

Awesome, right? I discovered it thanks to my friend Shivana, who cosplayed as Tameka at DragonCon last year (complete with decapitated librarian head!) and was hooked immediately. It's the perfect blend of unsettling, zany, and hilarious.

You might be wondering where the "music" comes in for this Music Munday post. About three-quarters of the way through every broadcast, Cecil brings listeners "the weather" in the form of a song from an obscure (at least to me) artist. It's pretty hit-or-miss in my opinion, but every once in a while there's an interesting band or really great song. Usually I just want to skip through them, though. Luckily, the musical guests chosen for Friday night's show, Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, were pretty good! Carrie reminded me of Jennifer Nettles back when she used to do solo shows. They performed this song together and I really liked it, but couldn't find a video of them together:

So here's a bonus video of Carrie covering Bob Dylan:

It was definitely an experience to watch a podcast (especially when I'm used to just hearing it!) being made. If you get the chance, check it out! It was a fun night.

The cast of Welcome to Night Vale