I'll admit right off that I'm biased. I'm not much of an opera-aficionado, but I can listen to Puccini's Turandot over and over again on repeat. It's a beautiful opera, and "Nessun Dorma" is one its most recognizable highlights. It's incredibly stirring.
And it happens to be our lucky day, because the Italian coffee company Lavazzaa is offering a free-and-legal download of a wonderful performance of "Nessun Dorma" by Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons. You have to register, confirm your email address, and then log in, but the download is definitely worth it in my opinion.
Go go, hurry hurry, happy happy!
Thanks for finding this one, Muruch! It made my day. :D
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I'll admit right off that I'm biased. I'm not much of an opera-aficionado, but I can listen to Puccini's Turandot over and over again on repeat. It's a beautiful opera, and "Nessun Dorma" is one its most recognizable highlights. It's incredibly stirring.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This last episode of LOST, Ab Aeterno, definitely gets bonus points for being moving! Poor grieving Richard (or rather, Ricardo) trapped in the hold of that horrible ship, watching his fellow prisoners murdered and then experiencing the loss of his wife all over again, nearly had me in tears.
I'm a little burnt out on Lost right now (life has me preoccupied ;P), so this will be a short post and later I'll link to some of my favorite Losties like I've done in the past. One thing though... the translation of "Ab Aeterno," if you haven't already looked it up, is apparently "from the beginning of time" or "from eternity." The phrase can be found in Psalm 92 in the Vulgate... which corresponds to Psalm 93 in the English Bible. This wasn't the passage Ricardo was seen reading in prison (the passage in Isaiah about a prophet never being recognized as such in his home town. Though he might have been reading where Jesus quotes in it the New Testament. Did anybody notice?), but I figured it was worth mentioning just the same. Psalm 92 is very clearly discussing God, which would make the title of the episode more about the God-figure Jacob then about Richard himself. Some of the people on the message boards were complaining that Richard wasn't old enough to justify the whole "from the beginning of time" thing, so the Bible connection does serve to clear that point up at any rate.
Questions answered or clarified:
In a recent post I hypothesized that it would be revealed that Jacob was actually protecting the world from the island, and not the island from the world (see the section "My Best Prediction"). Jacob himself did indeed confirm for us that this is the case... at least as he sees it.
We know now when/how the statue was broken... but we still don't know when/how/why it got there. PS The ship crashing into the statue seemed kind of dumb to me. Like, 'oh we gotta have a reason for it to be broken... here, we can do that quick while the Black Rock is wrecking...'
Richard's role was to be Jacob's "representative" to the people Jacob brings to the island. In a way, I think he was kind of supposed to act like a prophet, steering the islanders in the way they should go and reminding them when their ways were faulty. That seems like it would fit with the Bible passage he was reading, right?
New or Continuing Questions:
Do y'all believe what was communicated in this episode, that Smoky-Dude is basically a manifestation of evil? I felt like this episode was trying to set up clearly the good/bad dichotomy, and I was curious as to whether y'all think we can trust that, or if it's just another rug that will be jerked out from under our feet later.
Smoky-Dude has wanted to get off the island for ages. When he says that Jacob took away his body and his freedom, does he mean that Jacob is responsible for the whole smoke-monster thing? So is Jacob the authority on the island, or was he too a man at one time, and there is some higher authority that made him into the island's keeper?
If Jacob can die... can Evil Smoky-Dude die?
Let me know y'alls thoughts! Also, there's a couple fun threads on the ABC message boards relating Lost to Greek and Egyptian mythologies, if you're interested in exploring some of those further. :) Come back later for updates and links to my favorite Losties, and keep me posted on any exciting theories you come across!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
MP3 Madness courtesy of Amazon this week features, "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" by *drumroll* Elvis! I thought that was pretty cool. And apparently so did Amazon, since they didn't bother giving us hardly anything else interesting this week, lol. But who will complain when they're being handed free Elvis?? Not me.
There are also a few samplers worth checking out:
Frenchkiss Records Super Sampler -- Think indie. Eight tracks, including some I definitely approve of, from Local Natives, The Antlers, and the dodos.
March 2010 Saddle Creek Sampler -- Think alternative rock. Some of it is a little weird (umm still not sure what was going on with that Uuvvwwz thing), but I like the Old Canes, Land of Talk, and Mynabirds tracks. Thirteen downloads total.
Ok, now for the item that generated all the exclamation points in the post title... She & Him's new album is out!! I'm seriously so excited right now, even though it isn't free (the album is temporarily only $4.99 though, so it's still a good deal). Their first album, Volume One, still gets considerable play-time on my iPod, and it's looking like Volume Two will be just as great. For those of you new to the scene (hurry up and on board! all the cool kids are over here...), She & Him consists of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel, and really fabulous music-making. Y'all might be familiar with Zooey Deschanel from her roles in Elf, Yes Man, (500) Days of Summer, or the Sci Fi original, Tin Man, but she can also sing, and does so quite well. I actually have a bit of a girl-crush on her; however my love was much stronger before her horrible, drugged-out performance in that horrible, drug-induced movie The Happening. *shudder* In any case, M. Ward the musician is much more awesome then Zooey the actress, but you should check out She & Him even if you aren't familiar with his his solo work. (<--- link, so that you can remedy that distressing situation asap)
Have fun with the new music! I know I will. :D
Note: I'm part of the Amazon affiliate program but they in no way influence my views on music. ;)
Friday, March 19, 2010
Some of my favorite online sites have great sales and deals this weekend so I thought I'd pass them on to y'all!
Threadless is a fabulous, funky t-shirt site, with new community-submitted designs each week, chosen by open vote. As a result their t-shirts feature a huge range of styles, from humorous, to artsy, to geeky, to random. This weekend is their 10 year anniversary, and they're having a massive $10 t-shirt sale to celebrate. I've been shopping their site (and sporting the best t-shirts on the block!) since 2007. I . Check them out before the sale ends Saturday (oh eek, it ends at 10 AM central time... I didn't realize that until just now. Go quick, quick!!).
I'm also super psyched about Atlanta's Groupon this weekend: Spa massages and facials more than half off at Jazmin Spa. They have three locations and seem pretty fabulous... HAPPY!! Also, if you are sitting there feeling jealous because you are not in Atlanta, chances are there's something cool available in your city too. San Fransisco has half off a luxury bus ride to Reno or Lake Tahoe. Cincinnati has 65% off of two hours of handyman services. Chicago has half off of a helicopter ride or lesson; New York has 70% off of a singles dating event; Houston has half off laser tag and go-kart racing; Charlotte has half off fine dining at a restaurant named Sonoma -- and I could go on, but there are about 50 cities now and I don't have that kind of time. That brief overview gives you an idea of the kinds of things you will often see available though, and it just now occurred to me that I could totally keep an eye on the groupons for a different cities when I'm planning a vacation, etc, so I'm pretty psyched about that. All the deals I mentioned are good through the weekend; a new deal is available each weekday as well.
Think Geek is also having a clearance sale, though mostly I just window shop and email links to people with subject lines like, zomg this is totally you bahaha or rofl. I think I have to buy this. My favorite sale items include the Empire Strikes Back 30th Anniversary Playing Cards (which I actually will probably buy... the Force is strong with me), Curiously Strong Magnets, The Kitty Bi-Plane Play House, the Refill Required t-shirt, and -- oooooh noooo I'm being sucked into the Think Geek abyss... must... retreat...
I'll let y'all do any clicking from here, but take note of the Think Geek coupon codes too. Have fun with that!
Note: Some of these are referral links. Thanks!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
This week on iTunes you'll find a fairly decent little connection of free stuff...
Neon Trees, with "Animal" -- Killers-esque alternative rock (I feel safe making the comparison because they toured together, and it's also a compliment coming from me, because I love the Killers. Definitely grab this one!)
Dan Black, "Symphonies" -- In general I don't have much patience with music videos, because I like to multi-task while listening to music, and not necessarily sit there and watch people dance around. There are always exceptions though (Johnny Cash doing "Hurt" for example) and I think think this comes close to qualifying. The video component is kind of like a tour through vintage movie-openings, and I thought it was fun.
Dantom Eeprom, "Thanks for Nothing" -- iTunes calls this electronica... I call it confusing. But if it's your style, then awesome!
Banda de Touristas, "Lo Comandas" -- I like this one a lot actually. It has kind of an indie vibe. I really wanted to find the lyrics to see if I could translate enough to figure out what it's about... but alas, even though I knew that "letra" is "lyrics" in Spanish, I couldn't find them transcribed. If anyone can help me with that, that would be cool.
Last but not least, there's the pilot for the show Sons of Tucsan. Its a new Fox series about three brothers who hire a dude to act like their dad while their real dad is in prison. It actually looks pretty entertaining in a precocious preteen kind of way. Which isn't surprising, seeing that Wikipedia claims that Justin Berfield (aka, Reese of Malcom in the Middle) is one of the executive producers.
The pilot episodes of Parenthood and internet-favorite The Guild are also still available.
Enjoy the downloads! And I just can't resist... if you haven't already seen this you should.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"Surprised?" Detective James Ford replied sarcastically, in what was possibly one of my favorite Lost openers ever.
I loved this episode, even though I was seriously displeased at Sawyer and Charlotte hooking up... I mean, what? I've never really liked her though, so you'll have to excuse my being indignant over that bit. (She always seemed like such a BE-och, smirking secretly over the fact that Daniel was hopelessly in love with her...) Otherwise though, I loved seeing cop Sawyer in his other life -- the same person, but different choices. I also enjoyed the interactions with Miles. Do we think he can talk to dead people in this reality?
The theme of mirrors reemerged again as well, but now I'm thinking that perhaps it's simply a device to emphasize that the two realities are mirror images... the same, but flip-flopped. Though that explanation still be a bit simplistic, since this reality is not just reversed but is also completely different. Example: The existence of Jack's son David. Regardless, it's a nice motif... maybe it's even a little more specific than that, like a leitmotif associated with Jacob, as established by the mirrors he used to watch the Candidates in the lighthouse.
- Sawyer isn't really on Team Smokey, he's just a free agent right now. Or a loose cannon, however you want to look at it.
- Claire is crazy... at least according to Smokey-Locke. The Kate/Claire show-down was a little anticlimactic though, one minute Claire is clinging to Kate's hand and the next she's pulling a knife on her, only to be immediately disarmed and dismissed by a slap-happy Locke.
- Widmore was not coming to take Smokey-Locke off the island. Whether Widmore actually even wants his death is perhaps more questionable... that is what Sawyer assumed the goal was, but we don't actually know.
Our New Questions:
- Who is Smokey's mom? Obviously Real-Locke also had a psycho mom, but I'm assuming that Smokey was referring to his own alleged former status as human with this one.
- Did Smokey incite Claire to the little knife-episode? It occurs to me that he might have set it up to try to coax Kate into trusting him after he "saves" her. That would explain Claire's bipolar switcheroo, as well as her tearful contrition later. I don't trust the silky-smooth, puppy-dog-eyes Smokey-Locke one bit. "But I just want to leave..." Yeah right! You probably want to leave and take over the world, and turn it in to your own little smokey house of horrors. Well, not on our watch!!
- What's in the locked room on the sub? Personally, I thought that whole "oooooh it's a locked doooooor, that's tooooootally significant" thing seemed pretty contrived, but since it seems to be considered a nail-biter within the show I'll include it for good measure. People on the forums were guessing that Walt or Desmond were in there, but I figure it's some mystical weapon that nobody would ever have thought to expect.
Things referenced on the message boards that I had totally forgotten:
- Miles was hired to go to the island by Widmore through Naomi... Bram & Ilana grabbed him and told him not to go, that they were the good guys and he should come with them instead. This would seem to imply that Widmore is not on "Team Jacob."
- Apparently, at some point there was an auction in which Charles Widmore bought a journal that belonged to the first mate of the Black Rock. Does anybody remember this? I still don't, but the person posting seemed fairly certain of themselves.
- Sawyer mentioned Little House on the Prairie to Kate in Dharma-ville, and she laughed at him for it.
"Spoilers" from the message boards (take with a grain of salt, I'm not vouching for veracity):
- There's going to be an episode set entirely in 23 AD (that would be sweeeeeeet)
- Supposedly 8 of the 15 main characters are going to die. I don't want to know who even if it's a totally false, malicious rumor, so my interest in that spoiler ends here.
Let me know your thoughts and theories on this episode! And be sure to fill me in on anything I missed...
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I've had a couple of people express to me that they miss the money-saving updates, and I will try to bring those back more in the coming weeks. Like everything else right now, it's just a matter of stealing the time away to make it happen. ;) Here's a quick recap of healthy and organic money-savers available right now:
Coupons.com has printable coupons for:
Land O' Lakes and Alpine Lace cheese
Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks
So Delicious coconut milk products
Alaska Pollock or Cod fresh or frozen breaded fillets
Olivia's Organics Salad
Gold N' Plump All Natural Chicken
Good Earth Tea
Project Runway for Wii
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on DVD (omg, this was one of my absolute favorites as a kid..)
Huggies products. (Y'all with little ones should definitely buy your child Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while you're at it... ;P)
and lots more.
If you don't find these coupons using your zipcode at the prompt, try a few others... they offer different things regionally sometimes. I usually try: 30033, 92701, 75254, 02108 etc.
Smartsource.com has printable coupons for:
Toms of Maine Maximum Strength Fluoride Toothpaste
World's Best Cat Litter (it's River and Firefly endorsed... plus rebate alert!)
Odwalla Superfood drinks
al Fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage
Green Giant Frozen Vegetables
and lot's more.
Redplum has printable coupons for:
Sara Lee pre-sliced deli meat
Earth Grains bread
Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread
Mambo Sprouts has printable coupons for:
Country Choice Organic
Wallaby Organic Yogurt
Earth's Best baby food
Florida Crystals Organic sugar
Whole Foods has printable coupons for:
365 Organic Peanut Butter
Brown Cow Yogurt
Luna & Lara Bars
Organic Valley Cheese
as well as others.
(Keep in mind that these are store coupons, so you only can use them at Whole Foods or at a store that accepts competitor coupons. However, you *can* stack them with manufacturer's coupons, so it can turn things into a great deal really fast if you're lucky enough to be able to use them)
Target has printable coupons for:
Morningstar Farms entrees
Kashi Products (several "Buy two get one free" coupons for different products)
Honest Kids Organic Drinks
Sobe Life Water
Archer Farms "Simply Balanced" products (bread, tortillas, pasta & sauce, etc)
Seventh Generation cleaning products (*Target store coupon! So you could "stack" it with the Manufacturer's coupons available on the Seventh Generation site)
And last but not least (this one is for my mom, who loves these things), here's a coupon for Skinny Cow Truffle Bars too.
If you're like me and have been having trouble finding your favorite organic foods on sale at your local grocery store, it's well-worth keeping your eyes open for manager's specials on Amazon. Right now they have a great selection of organic teas available, as well as some organic coffees, candy, and these trail mix/granola bars, all 40% off or better. Keep in mind though, its kind of the internet equivalent of buying in bulk at a club store, so it might not seem cheap at first glance. You come out ahead in the end though!
Let me know any exciting healthy/natural deals y'all find!
Note: Some of these are affiliate links. :)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Y'all are already aware how much I love Groupon, right? It's a daily deal site, like Woot and Pennywise, but features city-specific restaurants, events, gyms, spas, museums, bakeries, dancing lessons, etc etc. I'm kind of obsessed with it, and it's a fun way to find out about new things to do around town even when your bank account is a little slim. They feature most of the big cities across the US, and are expanding rapidly to others.
Anyway, recently they started a "Live Off Of Groupon" contest/promotion: "We will choose one person to attempt to survive for one year with nothing but a laptop, cellphone, and an unlimited supply of Groupons. If successful, that person will receive $100,000!"
It looks pretty awesome, and if I weren't engaged and in grad school I totally would have applied, gotten accepted, and become famous blogging about my adventures during the course of that year. ;P Alas, I won't be winning the $100,000, but everyone should still head over to check out the videos of the six finalists and vote on your favorite. The clips are pretty freaking awesome. At first I was all about Josh Stephens, because, heck, he turns into a superhero and defeats a grizzly bear with groupons, but Ross Cook-Golesh won me over. Yes, despite his horrible mustache. I just don't think anybody who dreams of being a photo-journalist should be doomed to chopping up raw meat all day... *subliminalmessageVoteForRosssubliminalmessage*
You and I might not be in the running to live off of them and win $100,000, but Groupon rocks the show just the same. You should check them out if you haven't already... awesome deals are headed your way. And if you're already well-acquainted with them, what's been your favorite deal so far? I think my favorite is yet to come... I have an hour-long massage scheduled for April at a reeeeally nice spa that I purchased for $10. Counting.the.days. ;P
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I have a fatal weakness for free stuff. Fatal I say. I think it all started with the Free Stuff For Kids book my mom bought me when I was twelve... I was so obsessed with getting mail that at one point I had 16 pen-pals, including one in Russia. So the combination of "free" and "mail" never fails to make me happy. Here are some of my current favorite freebies:
Yogi Tea -- Well-Wishes Card and Samples -- I love Yogi. They're really creative with their tea, and have some organic ones too. You can choose your samples based on mood, flavor, and purpose, and send them either to yourself or to a friend. :)
Kashi -- Cereal or Bar -- I also love Kashi. You can currently pick between three options, GOLEAN Crisp! Toasted Berry Crumble, GOLEAN Crunch! Honey Almond Flax, or TLC Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain Bar.
Crest -- 3D White Strips -- Given how expensive these things are, I love getting a couple free as a sample lol.
Olay -- Total Effects Body Wash -- This one is fun because it isn't one of those annoying little packets that you can't manage to tear open once you're in the shower... its an actual little bottle.
Dunkin' Donuts -- Turbo Coffee -- You'd believe me if I told you I only drink coffee for the antioxidants, right? (you would? SUCKER!)
Have fun! Your mailbox can thank me later. ;P
Just in case you haven't yet gotten your fill of Lost, here are links to some of my favorite recaps and commentaries. :)
Chris Kirkman @ Hobo Trashcan
(Chris makes Doc Jensen look like a wannabe hack.)
Anne @ Green Jello
Emily @ EverydayMOM
Shannon @ Rocks in My Dryer
Lost Blogging Collective @ Stream of Consciousness
Kisatrtle's Kreative Korner
No matter how cool you think they are though, you have to promise to keep liking me too, k?? 'Cuz I'm insecure like that.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The blog Muruch has been featuring some great promotional downloads lately... from City Light's memorable pop anthem "Someday Maybe" to two amazing French baroque flute pieces performed by Robert Stallman.
And nobody should overlook The Living Sisters, an awesome new collaboration between Inara George (of The Bird & The Bee), Becky Stark, and Eleni Mandell... They remind me a bit of She and Him in their retro-indie stylings, the Andrews Sisters reference in the Muruch review definitely fits too. It's a really fun sound -- I'm looking forward to hearing more from them! The MP3 available for free download is "Double Knots."
Lastly, while you're over on at Muruch, be sure to enter her Corrine Bailey Rae and Madison Violet CD giveaways! Both end Friday, so don't miss out. :)
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I don't know about the rest of you, but I found this episode REALLY satisfying. Actually, usually when I love an episode everybody else hates it, so, um, opinions anyone?
But yeah, I loved the opening, with Dr. Linus discussing Napoleon exile on the island of Elba, and his struggle to reconcile himself to life without power... it was a beautiful parallel for Linus' struggles in the island reality. I loved seeing the LA Linus interacting with Roger, Alex, and Locke, and, oh my GOSH, it was a huge aHA! moment for me when Roger mentioned the Dharma initiative!! Besides the opening shot of the Dharma village underwater at the beginning of the season, there hadn't been any real clues thus far regarding to what extent it had actually existed in this reality... now we have more of an indication! Why do you think the two of them left? And Horace and Ben seemed to have a very caring relationship in the LA reality, which was also refreshing.
And it just got better from there! Lots of suspense culminating to a really emotionally satisfying reveal about Ben's continuing grief and guilt over Alex -- he almost had me crying when he said that Locke was the only one who would have him now. After the long darkness of the last episode, I was really ready for the hopeful notes we found in this one, and for the redemption of Ben's character.
The interactions with Richard were also great; he's finally becoming less of an enigma and more of a person. His bitterness over Jacob's betrayal (by dying, when Richard himself cannot?) leading to Jack's sudden faith in Jacob's Plan felt very real... Though Jack seems to have a death wish himself lately, what with all the pills he's been swallowing and dynamite he's been lighting. Also, isn't it pretty clear now that Richard did indeed arrive on the Black Rock? I'm guessing it was a prisoner transport. Or, in a somewhat more gruesome/complicated twist, that he was a slaver whose ship crashed; his prisoners escaped and left him chained in his own hold, and he was freed by Jacob to redeem himself from the evil life he used to lead.
We also had some more discussion about the candidates: Ilana affirmed that the idea is indeed to find "candidates to replace Jacob." She also says that there are six left. Any guesses on who? I'm guessing: 1) Jack, 2) Sawyer, 3), Kate, 4) Jin, 5) Sun, 6) Hurley. On the forums people are also guessing Miles, Lapidus, Claire, and Sayid. However, Claire and Sayid seem pretty committed to the dark side to me, and Jacob didn't try to get Miles out of the temple before the massacre... I suppose if the six was the Oceanic 6 then Lapidus might be a candidate too, especially if he was originally meant to be the pilot of the plane. Thoughts? EDIT: Oh crap, what if Ben is still a candidate and the whole thing with Ilana was a really elaborate test?? Bahaha that'd be great. The only problem being, of course, that I think his name was already crossed out in the cave.
Now that I've had a chance to do a little more thinking, were the Napoleon references also supposed to be a parallel for Smokey's story? Exiled to the island... Pseudo-Locke claimed that that was his situation an episode or two ago. Struggling to get off the island and regain power is also exactly what Smoky is trying to do right now. He claimed that he was formerly a man; it would be FABULOUS if he turned out to be the spirit of Napoleon. ;P
What have I missed?? There was so much this episode that I know there's something... Oh, the return of WIDMORE!! I can't even begin to speculate on what all that implies, but I assume his was the arrival Jacob told Hurley about at the lighthouse. I need theories and opinions, STAT!! :)
Monday, March 8, 2010
Check it out -- currently you can download a full live album from the up-and-coming "swirl pop" group Star and Micey, who will be performing at SXSW in Austen this month! They explain "swirl pop" as a "swirl of country, bluegrass, and blues," which all melds together into a pretty great eclectic sound.
Check out my favorites, "Forever and Never" and "She's on Fire," or snag the whole album. You can also download three tracks off of their debut album Star and Micey as well.
Kudos to my friend Melody, who heard Star and Micey play in Louisiana and got to spend some time getting to know the band afterwards... good find Mel! :)