Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Frivolity: Holiday Hallelujah Chorus Flash Mob edition

The concept of the flash mob is more or less performance art -- a group of people show up in a public area, blend in to the surroundings, and then on a cue, all begin to perform some kind of synchronized action.  A while back I posted some awesome examples of it, that I called "Choreographing Real Life."  Those included a group of people acting like zombies in Central Park, and a sneak-attack dance performance in Antwerp.

And, for your holiday viewing pleasure, today's Friday Frivolity features a surprise foodcourt performance of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus.  It's awesome.

(to make the video bigger, click the four arrows at the bottom right corner)

There was another good one performed at a Macy's in Philadelphia, but I chose to feature the food court because its easier to tell who's surprised, and who's in on it. :)  Enjoy, and happy holidays!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free Music Madness: NON-Christmas Music Edition, 15 songs from Broadway!

I don't know about you, but I love Broadway musicals!  And it happens to be our lucky day, because right now we can download a 15 track Broadway sampler from The Broadway League for FREE.  Sweet!  Follow the link, and enter the passcode BROADWAYINSF.  Click to begin your download via iTunes!  The tracks include:

The Addams Family – “Morticia”
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – “Populism Yea, Yea!”
Burn the Floor – “España Cañi”
Everyday Rapture – “Rainbow Sleeves”
Fela! – “Water Get No Enemy”
Finian’s Rainbow – “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?”
La Cage aux Folles – “With You On My Arm”
Leap of Faith: A New Musical – “Step Into the Light/Leap of Faith”
A Little Night Music – “Send in the Clowns”
Mamma Mia! – “Dancing Queen”
Memphis – “Memphis Lives in Me”
Million Dollar Quartet – “Blue Suede Shoes”
Promises, Promises – “Promises, Promises”
Rock of Ages – “I Wanna Rock”
Shrek The Musical – “Who’d I’d Be”

Thanks goes to Southern Savers for finding this one!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

iTunes Free Music Madness: Sick Puppies, Shakira, Digital Daggers, and more!

This week iTunes seems to have eschewed Christmas music and gone back to their regular offerings -- you'll find:

"Maybe" -- Sick Puppies
"Loca" -- Shakira (music video)
"No Easy Way" -- Digital Daggers (this one is probably my favorite -- it's electronica, but its rock, and super catchy... one comment called it "confusing," which I would tend to agree with... in a good way.)
"La Negra" -- La Santa Cecilia

Not much in the way of new free TV I'm afraid.  Though fans of Merlin might be excited about the 5 minute sneak peak for season three!  *coughmyhusbandcough*  ;)

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Free Music Madness: Carly Simon, MercyMe, Mannheim Steamroller, Indigo Girls, MXPX, and more!

All through December Amazon has been releasing a daily free Holiday MP3.  I didn't mention it until now because I didn't have the patience to post about it every single day, and because all the previous MP3s stay available for the whole month.  So far there's quite a nice range of styles highlighted!  Check it out, and remember that a new one will be added each day this week too!

"You're Here" -- Francesca Battistelli
"Father Christmas" -- Cary Brothers
"Together At Christmas" -- moe.
"O Come O Come Emmanuel" -- Halford
"Toy Packaging" -- Sara Groves (remember that there's a free live Christmas album from Sara Groves available on her website too!)
"In the Bleak Midwinter" -- Dan Fogleberg
“The Wexford Carol” -- Carly Simon and Andreas Wollenweider
"Punk Rawk Christmas” -- MXPX
“Joseph’s Lullaby” -- MercyMe
“Angels We Have Heard on High” -- Chanticleer
“Ain’t Nothin’ Like Christmas” -- Shelby Lynne
“Time of the Season” -- Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
“Joseph Dear, Oh Joseph Mine” -- Mannheim Steamroller
“Winter Night” -- Little and Ashley
“Auld Lang Syne” -- Chris Isaak
“Angels We Have Heard on High” -- Point of Grace
“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” -- Abandon Kansas
“Winter Games” -- Superchunk
“Your Holiday Song” -- Indigo Girls
“White Winter Hymnal” -- Fleet Foxes

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Frivolity: Princess Bride with Lightsabers Video

I couldn't help it... this video made me laugh.

There are a bazillion others similar to it online, so if you want to see Lord of the Rings with lightsabers, or Pirates of the Caribbean with lightsabers, check out youtube... but personally, one video was all I could take before the novelty (and entertainment value) wore off.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

iTunes Free Music Madness: TobyMac, Duran Duran, Daft Punk, free TV and more!

This is a don't-miss freebies week on iTunes!  You'll find a really great Christmas track from TobyMac (and featuring Leigh Nash-- this one gets the Devastate Boredom seal of approval), the kinda-holiday-ish love song "Snowflakes" from Jeremy Fisher, a new song from Duran Duran, an awesomely eerie electronica track off the soundtrack of Tron, a salsa-flavored track from Willie Colon.

"Christmas this Year" -- TobyMac (and Leigh Nash! Formerly of Sixpence None the Richer!  I love her!)
"Snowflakes" -- Jeremy Fisher 
"All You Need is Now" -- Duran Duran
"The Game Has Changed" -- Daft Punk (from the Tron soundtrack)
Canto a Borinquen -- Willie Colon

You'll also find an full episodes of The Full Metal Alchemist, the Comedy Central Season 15 Sneak Peak, Jersey Shores, Basketball Wives, American Chopper, Brandy and Ray J, and a 5-minute "Booty Blast" workout with Bethenny Frankel.

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free Music Madness: NON-Christmas music edition, 2 downloads of your choice from emusic!

Ooh, I have a good one for those of you who like some flexibility in your free downloading!  Just "like" the Schick Intuition facebook page, and you'll receive two free emusic download codes.  You do have to sign up for an emusic account though, if you don't already have one... but there's a perk to that too!  Once you're signed up for an emusic account, you'll be able to check out their free download page!  There is a TON.  Music from 142 albums, to be precise.  So yeah, if you're bored, this is a great one for killing some time.  ;P

A note about emusic -- they're a subscription service, but offer pretty good trial incentives usually if you just want to check them out.  Their prices are generally considerably lower than iTunes;  a classic Christmas album from Petula Clark costs $7.99 on iTunes, but will only run you $3.92 on emusic.  A great site to consider if you still pay for a lot of downloads! 

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wallet-Friendly Ways to Make a Difference this Holiday Season!

Money, versus compassion. Meeting your budget, versus making a difference. Tight finances, versus a generous heart. Unfortunately, it often feels like lack of funds equals lack of impact, even when you care deeply about issues involved and very much want to be a part of change and progress.

So what can we to do when money is tight but we still want to make a difference? Yes, time is the most generous gift of all, which makes volunteer efforts and opportunities hugely meaningful... but what about in addition to that? Here are a few of the best online "free donation" opportunities that I've found lately.  Drumroll please!

Birds Eye: "Help Kids Eat Better" Anytime during the month of December, "like" Birds Eye Vegetables on facebook and they will donate $1 on your behalf towards eradicating childhood hunger with the organization Share Our Strength.  According to the site, "One click. One dollar. One big difference. For every “like” on our Facebook page, we’ll donate $1 (up to $50,000) to Share Our Strength to help Feed Kids Better. Join in, and we’ll give you a coupon for Birds Eye veggies, too. Hurry, ends 12/31"  So far, they have only received 37% of the clicks they need to reach their goal of $50,000, so they still have a ways to go!

Kenmore: "Baking for the Troops"  "Like" Kenmore Ovens on facebook and they will send a soldier stationed overseas a dozen cookies on your behalf, personalized with a message from you.   According to the site, "All cookies sent to the troops are 100% natural and fresh baked by Katy's LLC, a company dedicated to supporting the military community.  Rich in fiber and high in protein, Katy's cookies are the ideal treat for soldiers away from home.  Kenmore is working with military partners, Operation Support Our Troopis Illinois (OSITIL) and the United Service Organizations (USO), to ensure the cookies are received by the troops during the holiday season."

Barilla Pasta: "Share the Table"  This next one is perfect for people without a facebook account... simply stop by the Barilla Pasta website and click "Yes, I believe in meaningful meals" to donate $1 to Meals on Wheels.  So far 72,424 people have clicked, which translates into a really sizable donation overall!  You can click on this one to donate every time you clear the cookies on your computer (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, PLEASE, for your own web-browsing security, google it or ask a techie friend...).

Free Rice This hugely addictive "quiz" game has been a favorite of mine for a while. You can play with vocabulary, math and chemistry facts, geography, even art if you like, but regardless of which you choose each correct answer will result in 10 grains of rice being donated to the UN World Food program. I went over there just now to grab the link, and only managed to get off of the site 2,510 grains of rice later. Like I said... hugely addictive. The money for the rice is donated by the advertisers whose banners you'll see underneath the game play section... or if your computer screen is small like mine, the banners you won't see underneath the game play section. It's a fun and simple way to make a contribution and brush up on material from college courses that are being forgotten all too quickly. My best level so far on English vocabulary is 48. What about you?? No cheating allowed!!

The Hunger Site.
This site is similar to Free Rice in that the funds you're "donating" are provided by the sponsors whose ads are visible on the webpage. Unlike Free Rice there's a daily limit on how much you can participate, but since all it takes is a click, it's even more straight-forward. Make sure to tab through the list of charities at the top, so that you can make the most of your clicking. In the few seconds I was on the site, I donated .6 bowls of food to rescued animals, 1.1 cups of food to end hunger, and saved 11.4 square feet of rainforest, among other things. Slick, huh? ;P

Lunchables: Lunch Note Promise program. 
In return for a pledge to leave a surprise note in your child's lunch, Lunchables will donate $1 to Boys and Girls Clubs of America's creative programs, including MusicMakers, the National Fine Arts Exhibit, and Dance Stars of Tomorrow. You can also find fun lunch note downloads here as well, for a little added pizzaz.

Red Cross blood donation. This one isn't online of course, but since I was just discussing "highly personal" ways of making a difference, it still seemed like an important one to mention. Donating blood will cost you nothing but a half hour or so of your time, and can make a huge difference in the lives of up to 6 people. The need for blood donation is more pressing than you might think, as currently only 3 in 100 Americans give blood at all.

One of the best parts of these sites and opportunities is that you can fit them into your busy schedule now. You can take advantage of them right this second, while eating lunch, or waiting for that slow site to load, or that person to email you back... and if you're lucky enough to own a smart phone you can use them while sitting on the train on the way to work, or in that waiting room, or wherever you have a moment. Am I saying that these sites can replace more traditional volunteer and donation opportunities? Not a chance. But these sites are an easy, affordable way to supplement your other giving, especially when funds or time are particularly tight at the moment... a state of things that many of us wish wasn't quite so common these days. Don't let your slim wallet keep you from helping out someone who has even less than you! Take advantage of every opportunity to give back. :) 

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.  Check it out for tips and ideas on all kinds of topics!

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Free Music Madness: Sara Groves live holiday album download!

Recently Sara Groves "brought the Christmas spirit to the women of an Illinois prison" with a performance of her holiday album O Holy Night.  If you sign up for her mailing list, you can get a free copy of that live recording -- nine tracks in all, including holiday standards like "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" as well as original Christmas music from the artist.  Check it out on her website, or click on the widget below to listen to the album in full.

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Free Holiday Music Madness: Country Inspired Christmas Cheer, aka, even I have to like these!

Ok country fans, I've found our common ground.  Apparently, I like Christmas music with a country twang just fine.  Stop by People Magazine's December sampler, and enjoy it with me.  You'll find:

Brad Paisley with Away in a Manger
Rascal Flatts with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Joe Nichols with O Holy Night
Point of Grace with Little Drummer Boy
Rodney Carrington with Camouflage and Christmas Lights
Steve Wariner with Deck the Halls
Indigo Girls with Your Holiday Song
Dailey and Vincent with Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

I have to say though, I think calling Point of Grace "country" is a stretch, and Steve Wariner is just really nice instrumental guitar... if it weren't for Rodney Carrington and Dailey and Vincent and the rest, I'd probably try to pretend that me liking this sampler isn't such a big victory for country music after all.  ;P  Oh well.  Be off with you, and download!

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Free Music Madness NON-Christmas music edition: Agent Ribbons, Birthday Massacre, and lots more!

For those who don't celebrate Christmas, or consider themselves to be the bah-humbuggy-est of Grinchs, I have some non-holiday music to highlight today:  the Nail Winter Sampler 2010.  And it's a good one!  You'll find tracks from Agent Ribbons, The Growlers, Mugstar, The Birthday Massacre, Stereo is a Lie, Jen Wood, Watchmen, Diwon, Lo-Pan, and Deadbeats.  None of whom I had heard of before today, but I'm quite pleased to have made their acquaintance just the same.

My favorite is "I'm Alright" from Agent Ribbons (it has an oldies feel that I just can't help but go for), but there's a pretty good variety of styles on the sampler so click around and see what strikes your fancy!

PS  Just one thing... the Watchmen track?  Um yeah, possibly not safe for work.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free Holiday Music Madness: Veggie Tales Christmas fun!!

Wow, does anybody want a whole album of Veggie Tales Christmas music for free?  If so, you need to hop over and download all 16 holiday songs from the soundtrack of The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree off of Amazon.

There's also a non-holiday free download of "It's About Love" available from the Veggie Tales album God Made You Special.

If anybody's child (or inner child) was needing a VeggieTales "fix," I think you should stay happy for a while with all that!

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Frivolity: Cowboys and Aliens. Yes, really, and Harrison Ford too!

I have such high hopes for this movie...

With Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, and a premise like that, how could it NOT be amazing?  Also, I would just like to say, I'm lovin' the reappearance of Harrison Ford these days.  (the often disappointing Indiana Ford and the Crystal Skull notwithstanding.)

Cowboys and Aliens.  No, I'm not kidding, and yes, it looks awesome.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free-and-legal Instrumental Holiday Favorites! aka, classical guitar, harp, and piano... now all we need is a dinner party!

The Sugo Music Holiday Sampler is your new go-to source for elegant background music this holiday season.  Featuring five tracks of classical guitar, piano, and harp renditions of Christmas favorites like the Carol of the Bells and O Holy Night,  how could you go wrong?  Prolific classical guitarist Steven Pasero is an old favorite of mine (his album Guitar Masterpieces is an awesome study background) so I'm extra excited to find him making an appearance here!

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

Note:  Some links in this post are affiliate links.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Free Music Madness: NON-Christmas music edition. Jupither, Tikkle Me, Bedroom Eyes, and more!

If Christmas music isn't your style, rest assured that I'll do my best to keep up with non-seasonal free downloads too! Currently available is a free sampler from the label A Westside Fabrication, featuring 5 MP3s from Jupither, Breather, Tikkle Me, Bedroom Eyes, and Penniless. I hadn't heard of any of these groups before now, but I especially like the tracks from Tikkle Me and Bedroom Eyes. Catchy and fun!

There's also a free track available off of Elephant Revival's album Break in the Clouds. This band's style is described as transcendent folk, which I can't help but find intriguing. From what I've heard of them, I highly recommend for fans of Josh Ritter, and maybe Owl City.  And saying that is basically an endorsement, since I love both of them.  :P  I look forward to hearing more from this group.

Happy downloading!

Disclosure:  Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

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Free Holiday Download from Trans-Siberian Orchestra

You can find a free download of a new version of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's track "Dream Child" available on Amazon right now.  This one is much more of a melodic ballad then the rock/orchestral mash-ups that the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is generally known for, but it is a very pleasant, dreamy piece.

If you like instrumental electronic rock Christmas music in general, you might want to check out Mannheim Steamroller -- unfortunately not free, but definitely my favorite for that style.

There's a veritable bonanza of free holiday music available this Christmas season!  Take a peek at the rest of my findings so far, and check back every day for more!

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