Tag Archives: So You Think You Can Dance

Emilie’s 2011 Best List

Each year, one or two categories are really easy while others are really difficult. Books will be fairly easy, movies much more difficult. Here we go…

Books:

Because I did my Quarterly Reading Reports, it’s a bit easier for me to pinpoint which books stuck with me all year long. The surprise for me, considering how slow I am when reading nonfiction, is that almost half of my best books of 2011 list are nonfiction titles.

1. House of Prayer No. 2, Mark Richard

2. Across the Universe, Beth Revis

3. Whip It, Shauna Cross

4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick

5. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

6. The Southern Cross, Skip Horack

7. The Devil She Knows, Bill Loehfelm

8. Matched and Crossed, Ally Condie

9. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

10. Knowing Your Value, Mika Brzezinski

Notables include Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Movies:

This list is a little longer and includes movies I saw in the theater and watched on DVD (or streaming).

1. Country Strong

2. Daydream Nation

3. The Adjustment Bureau

4. Wild Target

5. Bridesmaids

6. Elvis & Anabelle

7. Winter’s Bone

8. Super 8

9. Hanna

10. HappyThankYouMorePlease

11. Hugo

12. Our Idiot Brother

13. Stupid, Crazy Love

14. Circo

15. War Horse

My list includes one documentary and two others that I really enjoyed were Exporting Raymond and Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. A few films that were far better than I anticipated, rising above their genres should also be noted: X-Men First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Cowboys & Aliens.

TV

1. How I Met Your Mother

2. 2 Broke Girls

3. Raising Hope

4. The New Girl

5. Castle

6. Falling Skies

7. Downton Abbey

8. So You Think You Can Dance

9. Dancing with the Stars

10. Survivor

Notables include Bones, In Plain Sight and Psych of course, Storage Wars, Terra Nova, Suburgatory and Community (which I got into late this year), as well as wonderful cancelled shows I streamed on Netflix: Party Down, The Unusuals and The Good Guys.

Music:

Albums –

1. Adele’s 21

2. CAKE’s Showroom of Compassion

3. Christina Perri’s Lovestrong

4. Jenny Owen Youngs’ Batten the Hatches

5. Lissie’s Covered Up With Flowers

Singles (not from any of the above) –

1. The Generationals “Ten-Twenty-Ten”

2. Kid Cudi “Pursuit of Happiness”

3. Lil Wayne “How to Love”

4. Michael Franti & Spearhead “Say Hey (I Love You)”

5. Timothy Bloom & V. Bozeman “Till the End of Time”

On any other day, I might give different answers, but as of this moment, this is my 2011 Best List.

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Filed under books, coolness, movies, music, pop culture, t.v., what I'm reading

You Are Lucy and I Am Charlie Brown

“This time, you can trust me,” Lucy says to Charlie Brown, enticing him into their eternal battle of wills – kick the football and I won’t pull it away this time, I promise.

I love t.v. I love narrative in general and I get hooked into the story structures of t.v. shows over and over and over again. Even a “reality” show like Survivor has all the classic story elements that I crave and enjoy.

But I have been frustrated more and more the last few years. Here’s why:

– I have a busy schedule and like most people my age, I can’t be locked into watching a t.v. show at the same set time every week. Luckily, most shows are available online within 6-12 hours (sometimes a full day or week) later and I catch up with my “stories” when I have the time, which is often just a few hours or maybe a day or two after the original airing.

– The online viewing model seems to me an excellent one. I am still viewing advertisements, which should still be paying for the shows. In fact, I feel that I’m a more captive audience for online ads than the ones on my t.v. because I tend to walk away from the t.v. during commercials. I am watching the show at my convenience. Excellent, all around. But I’m not sure the Nielsen rating system is still in any way an accurate schematic (I don’t know how it could be) and to my knowledge, nothing else has replaced it. So how do networks know what shows I’m giving my loyalty and attention to? Theoretically, they should be able to track the downloads and online viewings, right?

– Yet, some of my favorite new shows are consistently getting canceled, sometimes mid-season or after only one season. This breeds a vicious cycle that makes me and other viewers wary of investing in new shows. Why care about characters that might suddenly disappear, give our attention to stories that will remain unfinished? But what are a studio’s “obligations” to the viewers of its shows? I feel like a full season should be a standard network-viewer “contract.” Promising shows should really get two seasons to build their audience. Yes, it’s expensive. However, as far as I’m concerned, so is my time and my attention.

You might ask what has brought about this rant. Monday, the list of canceled t.v. shows was disseminated. First, it includes 32 shows across the networks, which is quite a lot. Also, it features some great new shows that I feel weren’t given a solid chance. Last, there are many shows on this list that I thought were already canceled several months ago because of reports I’ve read in the past.

I’ll break down the list for you.

Canceled shows I didn’t invest in because I figured they’d be canceled:

Better with You, Mr. Sunshine, Off the Map (ABC); Perfect Couples (NBC)

Shows I might’ve watched, but thought were already canceled or off the air ages ago because of reports I read, so clearly their networks were not doing a whole lot to support them:

My Generation, Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family, V (ABC); The Event and Outsourced (NBC); Lone Star and Running Wilde (FOX); Life Unexpected (CW)

Canceled shows that had a really solid chance to build their audience (regardless of how you feel about the quality of the shows and their demise):

Brothers and Sisters (ABC); Friday Night Lights (NBC); Human Target and Lie to Me (FOX); $#*! My Dad Says (CBS); Smallville (CW)

Canceled shows I’d watch if they were given a second chance:

Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC); The Event (NBC)

Canceled shows I’m really pissed about because I’d invested in them:

Breaking In and Traffic Light (FOX)

FOX has long been guilty of creating pretty good shows and then scrapping them before they’ve had a solid chance, in my opinion. Keep in mind, FOX also airs two of the shows I talk about most, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, but those are reality competitions and I don’t know that FOX has worked out their dynamic for scripted dramas and sitcoms. Out of all the networks on the list, FOX is canceling the most good shows, I think. Many on the FOX list had a good chance to sink or swim, but I think Breaking In and Traffic Light should be given more time. They are both hysterical half hour ensemble sitcoms, which I think we need more of on t.v. Good ones, that is.

So what are the networks gonna do next season? Give us 50 new shows, two thirds of which they’re prepared to sacrifice if we don’t invest quickly enough? Break our hearts again? Yank the football once more before we can kick a good, solid field goal? FOX, as well as all the networks, needs to create good shows and then stand by them. Have some faith in what you create, Networks.

Now, on to the slightly related topic of the Castle finale, appropriately titled “Knockout.” How is this related to my giant rant above? Well, first of all, it’s still about t.v. Second of all, one of Castle’s stars, Nathan Fillion was in not one but two shows that fell victim to FOX’s wishy-washiness (Drive and, ahem, Firefly, anyone?). Third, the finale happened to air on the same day the canceled show list was disseminated.

Castle is a fun, gripping show, a worthy vehicle for Nathan, finally, at long last, hallelujah, on a network that will support the show and create interest with tie-ins (novels, graphic novels, etc). It’s one of my favorite shows, especially because it has such a great cast and also all the qualities I loved about Bones in the earlier seasons. I’m still watching Bones because I love the characters, but it’s lost some of its sheen.

One of the elements I like best about Castle is that it is unafraid to be cheesy and emotional and sometimes feels like a sitcom wrapped up in a drama. This feels like old-fashioned, classic t.v., even while it is cutting edge. So it shouldn’t surprise me that every part of Castle‘s Season 3 finale felt inevitable in that way that good storytelling always feels. While the storyteller in me can appreciate the Castle finale’s unflinching and yes, even cruel twists, the viewer in me feels absolutely shellshocked, almost betrayed. And pissed. Pissed that they punched me the guts like three times in an hour and then walked away for several months, leaving me nursing my wounds and dying for more.

But you know what? You better bet I’ll be tuning in next season. And for that, I must congratulate them.

For a moment at the end of “Knockout,” in light of the canceled show list, I was very afraid that this was the end, that Castle was one of the unlisted “bubble” shows and it might not be back. I had to remind myself that it’s a popular show and that ABC has just as much invested in it as I have invested (some would say more). But that fear, that paranoia, is the best example that I can give you of what the networks have done to us with their “yanking back the football” behavior.

Should I, like Charlie Brown, continue to trust all the Lucys promising me big and then yanking it all away? Despite all the times that I have been burned and lost “stories” that I loved, should I trust the networks? Like Charlie Brown, I hate looking stupid by falling for it again and again, but just like him, there’s no other choice for me. I love stories too much not to take the kick of faith every time.

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Filed under art, musing, pop culture, random rant, t.v., technology

Emilie’s 2010 Best List

I’ve been thinking about this post in the back of my head for the last few weeks. And now it’s come time to look back at my favorites of the year…

Books are pretty easy because I read fewer books this year than…ever. At least, any year since I’ve been keeping track and that’s a decade’s worth of reading. The last time I read fewer than 100 books in a year was my second year of grad school and I read considerably fewer than 100 books this year. So my quantity was down, but not the quality – a read quite a few books this year that I’d had on my to-read list a while.

1. Kai Meyer‘s The Dark Reflections Trilogy and most of The Wave Walkers Trilogy
2. Rebecca Cantrell‘s A Trace of Smoke
3. Audrey Niffennegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife
4. John Kennedy Toole‘s A Confederacy of Dunces
5. Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones
6. David Madden‘s Abducted by Circumstance
7. Mary McMyne‘s Wait. (manuscript)
8. Suzanne Collins‘s last Hunger Games book Mockingjay
9. M.O. Walsh‘s The Prospect of Magic
10. Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy (still working on the last, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)

In the interests of full disclosure, I have some reservations about labeling some of these “best,” as I had some issues with a few of these books – notably Stieg Larsson’s books and The Lovely Bones – but they are unconditionally the ones that I invested the most time in, spent time thinking about. And there are some absolutely stellar BEST books on this list. And, of course, I read dozens of short stories through my work with Narrative, several of which I’d love to put on a best list, but can’t disclose. Interestingly, there’s no non-fiction on my list this year.

I actually saw quite a few movies in the theater this year, or maybe they stand out because I quite liked so many that I saw there. Rentals were often disappointing – slightly better than I’d expected or boring or not as good as I’d heard. So this is tough, but the movies I enjoyed the most this year:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (I have to do it, it was so good…)
2. Inception (I saw it 3.5 times in the theater)
3. Toy Story 3 (Pixar has always been really smart with these sequels)
4. Easy A (it was as funny and good as my favorite 80s comedies)
5. Red (it was like Sneakers jacked up, so of course I loved it)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (of course, it’s about Banksy)
7. Going the Distance, Get Him to the Greek (a tie)
8. Twilight: Eclipse and How to Train Your Dragon (a tie)
9. Nine (I love musicals)
10. The Kids are Alright

Honorable mentions: Last Station, Hereafter, Black Swan, True Grit, Despicable Me, The Ramen Girl, St. Trinian’s, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, The Young Victoria and Coco Before Chanel.

TV had to take a serious back burner this year because I never knew when I’d get home from work and had so much going on. This list is basically comprised of the shows that I kept up with in the chaos. Also, it should be said that I watched every episode of Law & Order SVU through Season 10 this year.

1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. Survivor
3. Castle
4. Glee
5. Raising Hope
6. Dancing with the Stars
7. United States of Tara
8. How I Met Your Mother
9. Bones
10. Fringe

My super notables:  The Tudors, In Plain Sight and 30 Rock.

I might go so far as to say that music was one of my biggest influences this year. I probably went to more concerts this year than I have every other year combined. Because my favorite songs are generally still my favorite songs from last year and the year before (with a few new exceptions), I’d much rather outline the best concerts of the year and the cds that I’ve been listening to obsessively.

CDs:

1. Lissie‘s Catching a Tiger, as well as her EP Why You Runnin’
2. Roisin Murphy‘s Ruby Blue
3. Mark Growden‘s Saint Judas
4. The Dresden Dolls‘s Yes, Virginia…
5. Black Gold‘s Rush

Shows:

1. Dresden Dolls at Tipitina’s in New Orleans
2. Black Gold at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
3. Citizen Cope at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
4. Simon Lott at Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans
5. Mark Growden at Circle Bar in New Orleans

I think that just about covers the highlights of 2010, so all that’s left to say is Happy 2011!

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Filed under books, movies, music, New Orleans, pop culture, t.v., what I'm reading

Hey Dancing Heart

The title of the post is the title of a personal ad I happened to see. I love it, so I’m kinda playing around with it to see what it fits. Because I just have to use it. 🙂

Life’s been kinda chaotic. My temp job came to an end and the very same day (after my going-away party, awwww), I drove up to Baton Rouge for the Louisiana Book Festival. Many of my friends were on panels and Jamey was kind enough to invite me to share her gorgeous hotel room. That first night, we were driven in style to the Author’s Party at the State Library – which was good, because I hadn’t packed for the cold and that’s a bit of a walk from the hotel! We met some really amazing people, caught up with old friends and ate wonderful food from Mansur’s in the stacks of the State Library. There is nothing like witnessing your friends being celebrated, so it was a good night. Jamey and Barb met up with the folks from the Oxford American who’ve published them this year, as well as other writers-including Alex Cook, who not only writes for Oxford American, but 225 Magazine and Country Roads as well. And it turns out we have a decade-past M’s Fine and Mellow Cafe connection, so that was cool. Louis and his wife Elly were there and I got to see my mentor David Madden as well. After we were put into the last cars back to the hotel, some of us decided to go out on the town a bit, though we had to be up early, and that was a blast as well.

The whole time we were at that end of downtown, near the LSU Museum of Art and the hotel, close to the river, I was having fits of nostalgia, some really powerful flashbacks. Nearly ten years ago, the hotel was a ruin and the museum wasn’t there. Downtown was a ghost town after 6 p.m. when all the government workers would flee the encroaching darkness. M’s Fine and Mellow and Tabby’s Blues Box were pretty much the only things open and the year that I became a regular at M’s (every Tuesday, open mic night) was a year of my personal blossoming. I met many of my friends then and there, I forced myself to come out of my shell more. And it really felt like the place was ours, empty and dangerous as it may have been. Now the mural that used to be on the side of M’s is gone, replaced by a painted sign for The Roux House, which occupies the same space. The parking lot I used to park in is the cradle of the gorgeous museum, whose rooftop offers a breathtaking view of the river. Tabby’s is gone and in its place, a club my friend Daniel Lee plays at sometimes, I think. I met Daniel that very first Tuesday I went to M’s, grabbed his hand as he passed by my table and told him how much I liked his music. He thanked me and sat down to talk. These days, downtown Baton Rouge is full of life and it’s great to see. It’s not the same, but it’s still a beautiful thing.

The day of the Book Festival was glorious and overwhelming. I don’t know what voodoo the organizers of the Book Festival do, but there always seems to be gorgeous weather for the festival. Sometimes it’s hot, but as far as I can remember, it’s always been clear. This year, it was chilly with such a crystalline blue sky, you felt like you were walking around in an advertisement.

I had to pop in and out of panels to see everybody, but I feel satisfied with my glimpses and experiences. Barb in the enormous Senate Chamber with Rick Bragg et al for just a few minutes. Then, Louie’s book reading where I ran into a friend who is coincidentally a fan of his and was gratified to hear another reader say, “I picked up your book because of the piece I read in 225…” Then, a thrilling ride in a golf cart with Elly and Louis to the signing tent – Elly and I crying, “Wheeeee!” and urging the driver to go faster on the sidewalks around the Capitol building and Louie trying to act like he didn’t know either of us.

After chatting with Louie and Elly for a few minutes, I wandered around some of the vendor tents, stopping to talk to the great folks who publish me occasionally at 225 Magazine. It was really nice to put a face to the e-mail conversations. I’ve known my editor, Jeff Roedel, since our days in the Cinema Club together at college, but I hadn’t met Tom Guarisco, 225‘s editor, though we’d communicated. One of the downfalls of freelancing, though it’s so great when you get to have a face-to-face. I’d never spoken with Rachael Upton, the online news editor, but I was very pleased to meet with her there at the festival. She does really great work with the website and she just happens to be really nice.

And then it was back into the Capitol building for a whirlwind of panels. A few minutes in the “Humor in Welty” panel that some professors of mine from LSU were on, and then across the hall to Barb’s very intimate reading from her book, More of This World or Maybe Another. She read from the story “Killer Heart,” and there was this one particular line (won’t say which, not out of context) where I felt like she’d reached over and punched me in the stomach. I made an audible sound, a sort of agonized, “Oh,” and that’s probably one of the best compliments I can give a writer. Especially a short story writer because, as I confessed to Barb later that night, I struggle to read and write short stories. There’s something about them that is harder for me than novels. They’re very different beasts. More on Barb and her book in a few paragraphs.

I had to leave Barb’s panel to get to Jamey’s “Work-in-Progress” panel with our teacher Moira Crone and another writer named Maggie Collins. It was really great to hear Moira read her piece. Jamey’s was material I had heard about, but never read (or heard). She prefaced hers by saying that it truly was a work in progress as she’d been working on it that morning at breakfast. I can attest to the truth of that. 🙂

Again, I had to duck out early from the “Works-in-Progress” panel to get to Toni’s panel about the Bobbie Faye books. She was entertaining her crowd with behind the scenes stories about the repackaging of the series and they asked a lot of questions about whether there’d be a fourth Bobbie Faye book (yet to be determined), one reader even going so far as to passionately say, “I think you owe us that story.”

The rest of the day was conversations, drinks and then a long, wonderful dinner. And then a long, not-so-wonderful drive back to New Orleans, getting back late at night/early in the morning, whichever way you look at it. Sunday was a recovery and packing day, catching up two friends for lunch and dinner respectively, before driving to Georgia on Monday.

Tuesday, I attended a press session with some of the Top 10 dancers from Season 5 of So You Think You Can Dance. It’s interesting covering an event as press when you are also a fan of whatever you’re covering. It was hard to be cool and professional when talking to Evan, for instance.  At one point, he was playing lacrosse with one of the tour folks and the ball rolled up a hill to land at my feet. I got to toss it to him and I was giggling girlishly (in my head, oh, I hope it was just in my head) as I tossed it back to him. Hold onto that journalistic integrity with all your strength. You’ve got to, as there’s still something of a prejudice against bloggers (I was there representing Pure SYTYCD, not my personal blog). I think the dancers definitely appreciate the bloggers from the fan sites cause they know their names and stuff about the show – also, as “my boys” (Phillip, Jason and Evan) pointed out, one of the recent fan site bloggers knew a lot of stuff that was going on with the tour that only the dancers knew!

Also, an advantage of blogging? Immediacy. A disadvantage at times, maybe. But, that day, total advantage. I was able to go to a nearby Kroger with a Starbucks (and wifi) and upload the pictures I’d just taken for our readers. Check out the post I did that afternoon here. I’ve been struggling on a book for years that relatively few people have seen, so it’s nice to have something in my life that I can write and have thousands of people see immediately. It’s helpful to have some instant gratification in my life and career.

It was another long day as Mamma Mia! met me at the Arena for the show that evening and the show itself was several (wonderful) hours. And then, being the total dorks and enormous fans that we are, we stayed afterwards (hours in the cold) for the meet and greet with the dancers. All of the dancers I’d met that afternoon remembered me when we met late that night. Unfortunately, most of my pictures didn’t turn out all that well, but I had some good conversations I will always remember and I did get a picture of Evan’s and my almost-matching wrist tattoos. It was both a freelance opportunity and a great bonding experience with Mamma Mia! Lyndsey Parker (Reality Rocks) set a great precedent when she took her mom to the American Idol finale. Take your mom to work, payback for all those “take your daughter to work” days growing up. 🙂

And then, of course, we got to watch the Top 20 announcement episode together the next night. Had dinner with high school friends and their daughter my last night in town and then rocketed back to New Orleans on Friday – especially for a book party for Barb.

Let me say one more time – it’s a wonderful thing to see your friends celebrated and no one deserves it more than Barb. Hosted at a gorgeous Midcity home right off the bayou, the event was simply breathtaking, what each and every one of us can aspire to one day. Reward for finishing and publishing our books. Earlier in the day, I’d been reading More of This World or Maybe Another at Cheers and Barb’s story “If the Holy Spirit Comes For You” made me cry in public. If you can make me laugh out loud on buses or cry in my local coffeeshop, you have completely moved me, sucked me into your world and, as I said earlier, that is the highest compliment I can pay a writer. I was so mad at the characters in that story and so mad at Barb for pulling all these emotions through my skin (painfully) and out of my body with her words. But apparently, it’s great advertisement for her brilliance because my neighbor S. saw how upset I was and when I told her why I’d been crying, she said, “I can’t wait to read that book!”

And that pretty much brings us up to date, to now. I’ve fallen out of the habit of being at Cheers everyday [:(] and today, just now, I noticed that they painted over the bathroom graffiti. It was really disorienting and kinda sad. But then, I just told myself – it’s a blank slate, a clean canvas. Like my book. What was there was great, but what will be there will be better. And I can’t wait to see what it will be.

Two people at the festival told me, “it’s your turn soon, to sit over there and sign books.” I have to take their faith in me and make it my own. And do the freaking work.

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Filed under bragging on, family, freelance work, Friends, So You Think You Can Dance, writing updates

One week later

So I finished my “quick edit” on the book a week ago, after finishing it and not looking at it for 24 hours. I’m making myself not read it for a least two weeks so that I can do another read-through and edit relatively fresh-minded. And you know what? It’s actually pretty hard. I haven’t so much wanted to tinker with it as read it. I want to read my own book! I hope that’s not another indication of delusion. 🙂

In the vein of not thinking about it, I have been reading a lot, watching SYTYCD, having dinner with my Papa Bear and friends and spending way too much time on Facebook. I haven’t worked any on the essay that I wanted to go back to, not yet. So basically, I’ve been giving my creative juices a big ol’ break.

Speaking of SYTYCD, I’ve been enjoying it immensely (and will even more next week, when the Top 20 are paired up), but I’m very, very angry about one thing. Why did Natalie get cut without even a chance to dance for her life? She’d done everything right up till that point, had even been asked to demonstrate (with Brandon) the dance she got cut on. What’s with that? I smell some sort of conspiracy or cover up, but haven’t been able to find anything online, just other people really upset and angry over it. Did she get offered a contract at the last minute and rather than explain that she had, they cut her? I don’t understand. Were they being accused of favoritism because she’s Katee’s former roommate? They’ve been really hard on favorites who tried out and almost made it in other seasons, but why cut her? She didn’t dance the routine that badly, and even if she had, it was her first mistake (televised anyway). I guess that’s enough rumination there.

Some great stuff:

Video of Toni Morrison talking about post-Obama writing.

Awesome journal, One Story.

I’m like the last person to discover Texts from Last Night. Kinda painful. And glorious.

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Filed under family, funny, literature, musing, pop culture, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v., writing updates

Fess Up Friday (Just Tell the Story edition)

I’ve been writing throughout the week and socializing like a fiend on the weekend. Big sigh. But how do you say no to drinking at new bars with visiting friends, 12-hour adventures with D. (a seasonal treat) that involve the recording studio, Elizabeth’s, Apple Barrel and the casino and then matching R. and B. drink for drink at the local after said 12-hour adventure (never, never, NEVER again)? Why are y’all colluding to make me have fun? Stop the conspiracy! 🙂 I need better willpower.

I wish I could say it’ll be better this weekend. But with N. in town and J.‘s birthday…that might not be likely. At least there will be less drinking…right?

And of course, with the t.v. I watched AI, yes, I did, and saw Kris win (very glad because though I love me some Glambert, I think Kris needed the positive reinforcement and we all know Adam needs nobody’s approval to be hisself). It was a great finale, with a lot of fun performances. Could’ve done with less Gokey and more Alexis and Megan, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Allison singing with Cyndi Lauper – AWESOME! And loved Megan and Michael with Steve Martin on “Pretty Flowers.” I agree that “No Boundaries” is The Worst Song Ever, but Kris did an admirable second go of it (I prefer his to Adam’s, and with a singer like Adam, that’s probably no accident) and it was really good to see him embrace his wife right as the show signed off.

But probably the worst news for my book – So You Think You Can Dance started again Thursday. I love that show. Like seriously love it. Cat Deely is The Best Host Ever – case in point, she went to congratulate a contestant and being profusely sweaty after his audition, he was wary of messing up her couture jacket. She grabbed him in a hug, crowing, “Dry cleaning!” Hysterical.

Finished The Song Is You and while the plot got a little weird for me, the writing was always incredible and, most impressive of all, Arthur Phillips managed to consistently convey those indescribable things that music makes you feel. Utterly personal things and yet somehow universal at the same time. I’m reading some new books now (I can never read just one), so look to your right for that.

I took a quiz on Facebook called “Are You a True Bengali?” The questions were in Bengali (I assume, I don’t know Bengali) and I used deductive reasoning and picked whichever answers sounded the best when I tried to read them out loud. Turns out I’m 100% Bengali. I thought perhaps the quiz was rigged, but one of my non-Bengali friends (lol) took the quiz and her result was of the “why, dude, why – why did you even bother to take this quiz?” variety. I feel like I have achieved something here.

Enough with that, my deadline is ticking ever closer, so the fun may have to be quarantined. Hands off Sunday! I have nine days left and I’m going to crush this sucker – just watch.

New words –
5.15: 183
5.17: 601
5.18: 1,714
5.19: 526
5.20: 637
5.21: 248
5.22: 710 (so far today, one monstrously difficult scene).

In a weird sort of reverse logic, it’s a good thing to see fewer words because that means I have less new writing to do (don’t worry, there’ll be some whopping numbers coming up next week). I’m making some real strides in understanding a few things that eluded me previously. But I made the mistake of going to read the rules for a contest I want to enter soon and that stymied me for about a day and a half. Bad idea – I need every day and a half I can get. And I have a few of these hard scenes coming up, so I’ve been floundering a little bit.

But, as the card I wrote and put on my desk says: JUST TELL THE STORY!

It’s a bit early, but on the 26th, I will have been writing this blog for a year. You won’t hear from me again till the 29th with the last Fess Up Friday this month, so I thought I’d say something now.

In parting, some links:

D. worked on one of these top Sundance films.

Longest running fictional character.

Green Day takes on Wal-Mart. Finally.

JUST TELL THE STORY, EMILIE.

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Filed under American Idol, books, bragging on, Fess Up Friday, Friends, music, musing, New Orleans, pop culture, random rant, review, So You Think You Can Dance, t.v., what I'm reading, writing updates

American Idol predictions

I can’t promise I’ll do this every week, but gonna make some AI predictions.

Going home: Jorge or Jasmine. She looked gorgeous, but she’s not ready for this. Sucks cause everyone else is pretty freaking awesome.

Surprised me (pleasantly): Kris Allen. He rocks. And I think he handled Simon pretty well, though I suspected he wanted to beat the crap out of him for the, “Wouldn’t have brought the wife out just yet” comment. Anoop did a pretty good job, I thought, but got trashed by the judges. I always enjoy Matt when he’s singing, but I never remember him.

Not surprising me (unfortunately): Allison Iraheta. She needs to sing something soft next week, to show us she’s not going to be screaming every week. Love her, but we need some variety. Scott can sing, but he’s singing the same stuff I’m not terribly interested in every time. Like Michael, but he doesn’t have a lot of variety either.

They rock, but not my favs: Lil Rounds, Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. Not worried about any of them.

My favorites: Megan Corkrey and Alexis Grace. Megan looks like she has a lot of nervous energy onstage and physically does the same thing every time. Hasn’t mattered to me one bit cause I love the sound of her voice and I don’t think she’s picked a single bad song. Alexis has got it all. I’m worried she’s pulling a Kherrington (my fav from SYTYCD) and getting cocky. But I loved “Dirty Diana,” especially when she belted out, “make me a star!”

[3.12: So they sent two people home – Jorge and Jasmine, both of the two I said were in danger.]

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Via Gawker

A portrait of Tom Lefroy, potentially the love of Jane Austen’s life, one of only two known images of him, was found at an antiques fair. I liked Becoming Jane, which dealt with Austen’s perhaps love affair with Lefroy and it’s the moment I started liking James McAvoy (I’d been on the fence before). I absolutely fell in love with Pride and Prejudice and Lefroy is supposed to have been the basis for (swoon) Darcy himself. Yes, I know, stereotypical, but it is Darcy, for pete’s sake. I love that Colin Firth is so indelibly linked with Darcy that he played the character twice (Pride and Prejudice BBC and Bridget Jones’s Diary).

In other McAvoy news, his movie Wanted looks awesome. And, also via Gawker, there’s a clip of a man going beserk in an office that turns out to be a viral marketing video for Wanted? Eh? It’s a fake and I’d like to think that I would’ve known it was a fake, but… who am I to say? I already knew it was a fake when I saw it. LOL. It’s kinda ingenious, I expect. Someone says, “Hey, did you see that clip of the guy going nuts in his office?” (or links to it on a blog…) and then everyone goes to look and sees, WHAM, a big ad for Wanted on the right of the video clip. Also, I think McAvoy’s character is an office worker before he discovers he’s a super duper assassin man. I don’t care if their advertising is slick and sick, I still want to see this movie.

Also, via Gawker (they have some good stuff up today), Britney Spears has chosen her burial plot. Oh Gawker, you sick funny deviants:

“We like to imagine that the service, before she is entombed in Hollywood Forever, will consist of mournful piano renditions of her hit songs like “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” and “Lucky,” while her two sons, wearing sailor costumes, slowly waltz.”

No calls or visits tonight, friends, SYTYCD is on. You know what this means. Or you should, by now, if you love me at all.

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Step into my office

At the coffeeshop that a friend dubbed “Cheers without the alcohol,” with the best seat in the house. In a little while (who knows exactly when), this will be my office. So I’m at *the* table (yes Jamey, yours) and there are only two problems with this table – the gnats/flies and the fact that everyone covets this table, so they’re watching you, ready for you to leave. Hey, I do it too. Not to Jamey (I never want her to leave, even if she has *the* table), but to everybody else.

I think I’ve met most of my New Orleans friends in this coffeeshop. Those I didn’t meet by advertising for a roommate (honestly, I’ve met at least one very good friend this way).

Some observations from sitting here for hours not writing (just yet):

-A newborn baby, small and wrinkly. How can they look both beautiful and like amorphous little aliens at the same time?

-A girl laughing so helplessly while I was waiting in line for my latest drink. How do I describe this? It was slightly annoying for a second, high pitched and invasive. And then, I saw her face and she was so genuinely happy about something, laughing helplessly (it’s the best word, really) and the laugh was whispy because she could barely breathe. I just bet everybody in the shop wanted to know what she was laughing at. But I think that would kinda ruin it.

-I’m deleting this song I’m listening to because it’s annoying. Something you’ll learn about me is that I’m absolutely crazy about music. I listen to everything, absolutely everything. You’d think my iTunes playlist was for an entire extended family and not just one person. A family that can barely stand to talk to each other, but then has touching moments of reconciliation. I download almost indiscriminately and then listen, listen, listen and delete when I realize I don’t so much like this or that. I often think it would be my dream job to pick music for movies. Except I have no training. Just what I like and what I don’t. But every book I’ve ever written, I’ve created a soundtrack for.

Some songs from The Current Book’s soundtrack:
Yael Naim’s cover of Toxic
Change is Hard She and Him
Arms of a Woman Amos Lee
Safe and Sound Azure Ray
Missed Me The Dresden Dolls
Is That All There Is Peggy Lee
Night of the Dancing Flame Roisin Murphy
Secret The Pierces
Where Did You Sleep Last Night Nirvana (My Girl)
Carnival Town Norah Jones
pretty much every song from Devotcka and Circus Contraption

You’ll also learn about me that I’m a huge t.v. fanatic. I’m currently looking forward to So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) tonight.

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