First, before I forget -- remember you can win lots of lovely FREE BOOKS over at the Summer of Seven site! Including a signed copy of Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter or Knife!

***

I promised a long time ago that I'd talk about why I love living in Canada, and I... totally never got around to it.

But today is Canada Day! The day when all the provinces decided to get together and become one happy family! And then they went out for butter tarts and poutine. Or something.

So I will celebrate by telling you why I love Canada.

Five reasons why being Canadian is pretty cool )

Okay, so maybe I'm not taking this list entirely seriously. But I have travelled to several different countries now, many of which I have found attractive and admirable in their own way and would be happy to return to as a visitor, but I have yet to go anywhere that made me feel sorry that I live in Canada. I love England, I am nigh fanatical in my passion for Wales, I enjoyed the year I spent going to school in New Jersey, and I thought Israel was amazing and would love to go back for another visit some day. But ultimately I am always glad to come home to my quiet, unassuming, fresh-scrubbed little (albeit very big, in terms of land mass) country.

And I think this video says it all, really. Warning: extreme catchiness ahead.



Brits have got the monarchy
The US has the money
But I know that you wanna be Canadian

The French have got the wine and cheese
Koalas chill with the Aussies
But I know that you wanna be Canadian





So this afternoon I decided more or less randomly to go to our piddly little small-town mall and get a new antenna for my oldest son's CD player, and as I pushed Paul's stroller through the door I saw a young man standing there holding a baby. Our eyes met and I smiled, as I usually do when I meet another parent, and then I kept walking, thinking idly to myself that his face looked kind of familiar. Thirty seconds later, it finally registers...

Dude. That was Shane Wiebe.

I turned back, tempted to go take a second look at his daughter and congratulate him if nothing else, but then I saw that he was heading out the door, so I didn't bother.

I know his wife has family in this area, but he lives waaaaaaaay out on the West Coast, and it's well past Christmas holidays. Talk about unexpected meetings...
Five people have defriended me in the past three days. O_O Since I was in the hospital and/or lying flat on my back for all that time, I can only assume it was something I didn't say...

I want to do the Introduction Meme, but right now I get tired just thinking about it. Somebody poke me if I don't do it within the next week, though. 'Cos it's cool and I'm really enjoying reading everybody's responses.

How much did the season 2 premiere of House rock last night? Not only was the House snark out in full force (that "Daddy and Mommy" line House delivers to the Ducklings nearly had me on the floor) but there were so many wonderful character touches, and Hugh Laurie seems to have mad chemistry with every single other character on the show (how does he do that?). And they sure packed a lot into that hour, with the A-story (nifty twist on the usual "Ooh, I hope House saves this person" riff) and the B-story (you know what? I like Cameron. Weird as it may be to hear this from a card-carrying INTJ, I like her for just being so darned emotionally sincere, for caring about things and people so much even when caring makes no sense and may not even be what people want from her) plus cleverly bringing new viewers up to speed on all the important background details from last season, without ever making the recapping too obvious.

(Also, how glad am I that Sela Ward says the House-and-Stacy stuff is going to cause conflict and tension but is not going to cross the line? Because adultery = so not cool.)

Re the Canadian Idol finale (of which I have only seen a few clips, like most of the rest of the season in fact, but when did ignorance ever stop me from voicing an opinion?): Congratulations, Melissa. You deserved to win, so I didn't think you possibly could. Good on you for being manifestly woman-shaped, too, instead of some fashionable stick insect. Don't let them talk you into anorexia, k? You look perfectly healthy to me. As for Kalan, it was nice to see you again, and the "Run. Run for your lives!" response to Ben's "What advice would you give to these two Idol finalists" question was perfect, especially as I suspect that deep down you really meant it. However, would you please get Peter Frampton off your head? Seriously, I was never big on the Little Lord Fauntleroy curls, but the sheer hideousness of that shaggy mop you have now is scaring me.

Today as I was unsuccessfully trying to go to sleep for the 10,000th time since I gave birth (one of the many charming sideeffects of the two antibiotics I'm on is insomnia, so you can imagine how much fun that is for someone already operating on a serious sleep deficit) it occurred to me that whatever happens in S5 of Alias, all would be perfect if at the very end of the season, we see Jack, Irina, and Sydney (with optional baby) all walking off together as one free, happy family. Because it's been all about the SpyFam from the beginning, hasn't it? Everybody else -- Vaughn, Weiss, Marshall, Nadia, even Sloane -- are optional extras: the core of the show is Sydney's relationship with her parents, and that's always been by far the most compelling storyline Alias has got.

Also, can somebody tell me when Lost premieres? ETA: Never mind, I found out: September 21st. Agh! Not soon enough!

Hm, I wonder if taking an hour to compose a LiveJournal post counts as the "resting" my nurse friend insisted I ought to be doing at every available opportunity. Well, I'm sitting, aren't I? And I had two one-hour naps today, which is all that my body seems to want to let me take...
Read The Hallowed Hunt last night, couldn't put it down, loved it. At first I was disappointed that Bujold wouldn't be writing any more Vorkosiverse stories and resented that she'd got caught up with this new series (which was ironic, seeing as I normally much prefer fantasy to SF), and I didn't really enjoy The Curse of Chalion that much when it first came out. But I really enjoyed Paladin of Souls and I think this one has to be my favorite of the series yet. Also, a story in which a minor spoiler ) may be a Bujold first, although I had to wonder a little about further minor spoilage related to the first )



Since I have pretty much given up on this season's Canadian Idol in despair, as there is not one single contestant in the Top Ten (now eight, I guess) that I care about enough to back, let alone vote for, I decided last night to give Rock Star: INXS a chance. *shudders* Never again. Sure, most of the contestants are poised and professional on stage (more than can be said for the Idol franchise), and the live band is definitely a nice touch. But the skank factor is just way too much for me. And Brooke Burke and especially Dave Navarro make me want to run weeping into the arms of Ben Mulroney, which is a very frightening thing indeed.



Aw, the Tenth Doctor is so cute in his spiffy new outfit. Stop pouting and get over it, Billie (who looks oddly pastede on yay in these pics, especially the last one).

Is it Christmas yet?



Massive congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] james_bow, who has just landed a publishing contract with Canadian publisher The Dundurn Group for his YA novel Rosemary and Time. Way to go, James!



And finally... some cold-related TMI )



ETA another silly meme result: That wand thingmy )
...to [livejournal.com profile] shoebox2, she of unofficial Canadian Idol recap fame. But she writes about a lot more than CI, and she approaches every subject with the same shrewd eye and dry, incisive wit. Her first post, about children's television, should be required reading for every longsuffering mother/babysitter/older sibling out there, if only to give them a good and probably much-needed laugh.

*pokes flist* Go over and say hello!

*chortles*

Nov. 11th, 2004 10:33 am
rj_anderson: (Kalan Hat)
Oh, my word. Why have I not seen this site before? Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] netninny for the tip. Of course, the videos are probably only funny if you're Canadian (although Due South fans will probably get a kick out of the guest appearance by Paul Gross), but you've got to love the bobblehead doll of our Prime Minister, at least.

On a more solemn note, it is Remembrance Day. *is solemn*

On a less solemn note, it is Kalan's 19th birthday, and next Friday the poor kid will have to put up with me asking him embarrassing questions over lunch ("So, when your mother heard 'Single', did she have kittens, or just a hairy conniption?").

Yes, indeed, I entered a "Q-Nadian Idol" contest offered by a local radio station, and yes, I won (thanks to the formidable voting powers of the KP Fan Club, who listened to the show online and called in from places like Vancouver and Quebec to support me), so yes, I am going to lunch with Kalan along with the four other contest winners.

I have the best husband in the world for not only putting up with my weird fangirly ways* but actually laughing good-naturedly when I asked his permission to enter the contest and telling me I didn't need to ask.

What do you think, should I print up the new t-shirt?

* I mean, it's not just this, it's been everything from making him read my Doctor Who fanfics to dragging him off to dinner with Laurie King to asking him to watch the kids for three days while I burbled about Snape at Convention Alley. Really, the guy deserves a medal.
Okay, in an effort to make some new CI converts (*cough*[livejournal.com profile] sabrinanymph*cough*) I am going out on a limb here and providing direct links. So if you want to watch any of these, whatever you do, please RIGHT-CLICK AND SAVE before you view them. Do not left-click and try to stream them directly off the site, or the nice folks at Red Hot Topic and CI2 Audio will be unhappy, and so will I. Thank you.

And now, without further ado...

RJ's Top Ten Favourite CI Performances
(with whys, wherefores, and linkage of videos and mp3s for the Idol curious)

1. The Way I Feel - Shane Wiebe )
2. Nature Boy - Kalan Porter )
3. True Colors - Kalan Porter and Theresa Sokyrka )
4. Space Oddity - Jacob Hoggard )
5. Song for a Winter's Night - Theresa Sokyrka )
6. Canadian Railroad Trilogy - Top 6 )
7. Born To Be Wild - Kalan Porter )
8. Straighten Up and Fly Right - Jacob Hoggard )
9. Come Away With Me - Theresa Sokyrka )
10. Still - Kalan Porter )

Honorary Mention: Rock/British Invasion Medley - Top 10 )

Go! Watch! Comment!
Now that Kalan's won, bet you thought I was finished talking about Canadian Idol, didn't you? Ha ha! Not a chance. I need at least a couple more weeks. Right now I'm still going through withdrawal, and desperately browsing about for anything I haven't seen yet. Some recent discoveries:

Finale Bloopers )

Anime CI Fanart )

Idol show connoisseurs -- including a considerable number of Americans and other foreign viewers -- seem to agree that CI2 was the best Idol show ever, in terms of the sheer talent displayed by the Top Ten and the freshness their performances brought to a tired formula. Even some die-hard Clay Aiken fans have confessed that they think CI2 was better than AI2 by a long shot. I couldn't get through more than one or two episodes of AI3 this year and I really doubt I'm going to be watching AI4. I don't even know about CI3, because I think this season's going to be really hard to top. But I would recommend CI2 to just about anybody who likes music and enjoys live performances.

Soon I hope to do a post listing the top ten best performances of the season, with links to the audio and video of same for those interested ([livejournal.com profile] sabrinanymph, I'll convert you yet!). But in the meantime [livejournal.com profile] netninny has written up some handy summaries of this year's competition, meant to bring those who missed the show up to speed:

Canadian Idol 2 for Non-Canucks: An Introduction
Canadian Idol 2 for Non-Canucks II: The Breakout Stars
Canadian Idol 2 for Non-Canucks III: The Controversy
and soon to come, Canadian Idol 2 for Non-Canucks IV: ...And the Rest.

Not only are these summaries well-written and entertaining, they contain some of the more amusing quotes from Shoebox and Joe Dwarf's infamous snarky recaps, so well-beloved on the forums at TWoP. Bit of a strong language warning, but otherwise recommended.
Dear Idol People:

Please, if you love us, do not release "Awake in a Dream" as Kalan's first single. What have we done to deserve that kind of punishment? Instead, I beg you, release his duet with Theresa on "True Colours" instead. And put Jacob and Shane singing "Under Pressure" on as the B-side. I swear I will buy it and listen to it faithfully every day.

Oh, and make sure Kalan wears his cowboy hat on the cover. It actually makes him look like a man.

Thenkyew.
"Mommy," said my four-year-old son, "Are there two winners on Canadian Idol?"

"Not after tomorrow night," I said. "There'll be just one."

"Oh," he said. "Then the winner must be Kalan. Because he sang the rockingest songs."

I did not teach him this. Honestly. Nor did I anticipate that both my preschoolers would fall utterly in love with Kalan's version of "Born to be Wild" on the first hearing and beg me to play the video (or just the MP3) over and over while they sang along. They don't seem to care much for Jacob (who I would think is "rockinger" on the surface), and Theresa (whom I quite like) leaves them unmoved. But Kalan's more upbeat performances seem to go over really big with them. Heh.

Oh, and GIP!
Best. Group Sing. EVER.*

Six talented kids (oh, all right, contestants -- admittedly Jason looks about 40), six instruments, and the "Canadian Railroad Trilogy". With Gordon Lightfoot beaming approval in the audience.

Go on.** You know you want to. It's worth it even just for the musical "duel" between Kalan and Jacob near the end. Man, that kid can play fiddle. And Jacob's not bad with his guitar either.

My love for this show knows no bounds. Even though Elena got booted this week after giving one of her best performances ever, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Jason's dimply, grinning mug is still there... he'd just better not make it into the Top 3, is all I can say. Because that would be all kinds of wrong.

--
* See right side of the page, highlighted in red, "Top 6 Group # August 19/04".
** Alternate site.
Okay, I don't care what you say, even if you don't like Gordon Lightfoot or any of his songs -- last night's episode of Canadian Idol was sheer genius. And not from the expected contenders, either: this time it was Shane and Theresa who stole the stage. But Jacob, whose actual performance was fairly dull, did one classic thing for which I must love him forever: he gave the smarmy host, Ben Mulroney (and yes, he is the son of Canada's least favourite Prime Minister), a wet willy. A big smeary one. Which caused Ben to round on him and call him a "FREAK!" He looked like he was thisclose to losing his temper. I was highly amused.

[livejournal.com profile] lydaclunas and Pete (plus anyone else who might be interested), you can find the wet willy footage (or just a picture of the incident, for those cursed with slow connections) here. Hee!
From the official CTV Canadian Idol page, re this week's competition:

The competitors have chosen some of [Gordon] Lightfoot's most memorable songs, including "Sundown," "Early Morning Rain," "Song for a Winter's Night," "The Way I Feel," "Rainy Day People" and "If You Could Read My Mind."
And the results show:

Airing live this Thursday, August 19 from 8 - 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, the six remaining competitors will not only sing but also play guitar, piano, bass, mandolin and fiddle together on the classic Gordon Lightfoot song "Canadian Railroad Trilogy." Canadian Idol is the first series out of over 25 Idol programs seen around the world in which competitors will play instruments.
*faints with happiness*

Seriously, I'm not kidding, either. Kalan plays violin like a virtuoso, and the others playing instruments are no amateurs either. So whatever happens, this performance is not going to be mistaken for Tiny Talent Time. And Gord! A whole two hours of Gord! I love CI2, I do, I do.

Glorified karaoke HA! Not in Canada, suckers.

*feels sorry for all the people who got stuck with nothing but American Idol 3 this year*
An American speaks out about the relative merits of Canadian Idol in relation to American Idol and he's absolutely right. Especially about the judges. One of the things he forgot to mention was that the group sings (cheesy as they are and calculated to expose the singers' worst weaknesses), actually show some semblance of unity, as opposed to all of the contestants running around trying to out-glory-note each other.

For those interested in playing along at home, a nice, hard-working person who can't spell has created a comprehensive page of all the CI Top Ten performances to date. They say they'll update it regularly, which remains to be seen, but if you're curious about the kind of stuff CI2 is dishing out relative to AI3 (or any of the AI shows really), I recommend checking out any of Jacob or Kalan's performances, especially the ones from Top 10 week. Theresa's Good Mother from that week is also worth seeing, though her subsequent two performances were disappointing -- she just doesn't seem to know how to pick the right songs.

And if you want to laugh until your sides hurt, check out Shane's take on The Darkness, which is made much, much funnier by the awareness that up until this point in the competition he was a competent but dull singer of syrupy ballads. The falsetto has to be heard to be believed. I personally got a huge kick out of it, though the Scary Faces make it a difficult performance to watch more than once.

P.S. If the above links don't work, try here, but remember to right-click and save, please.

P.P.S. The aforementioned props were in Jacob's "Space Oddity", which is certainly one of the most gobsmackingly bizarre things I've ever seen in my life. Yes, including Bowie in his heyday doing the same song.
I've just gone through a round of defriending, in a possibly futile effort to cut back on the time I spend reading LJ and making comments when I ought to be working on other things (like revising my novel). If you (or your community) were one of those defriended, it will be for one or more of the following reasons:
a) We used to have a number of common interests, but one or both of us have moved on to other things, and while I like you just fine, I don't find that I have anything to say in response to any of your posts (and I get the impression you feel the same way);

b) You are just too darn interesting and/or thought-provoking and I have a hard time avoiding getting into big discussions on your journal;

c) You make frequent, long posts about political issues, which I'm sure are very articulate and well-reasoned, but alas, politics are just not my thing;

d) Most of your posts are lengthy accounts of your personal life and the latest stuff you did with your friends, which is perfectly legit but I don't know you on a personal level and I've never met said friends;

e) You've already defriended me, so I figure you won't mind.
As it says in my User Info, though, this is a public journal and I very rarely make locked posts, so even if you've been defriended, you needn't worry that you're missing anything important. And I do thank and appreciate all the people who watch this journal and make comments -- I wish I had time to read and respond to all of you, and I'm sorry that I can't.

Thanks for your understanding.

Oh, and GIP! Because I am a sad, sad Canadian Idol fan. And I hope Kalan wins, even if he's too shy and well-mannered to inform the L'Oreal makeup squad that he is not, in fact, a girl...
Because I am lazy and also because it's time to go to bed, I am copying this over from an e-mail I just sent to my brother:

Tonight's episode of Canadian Idol )
Yes, I admit it, I watched World Idol last night. (Our Christmas celebrations are the 24th and the 27th, so the 25th was a pretty slow day around here.) Some of the contestants were unbelievably bad, others were just mediocre, and our boy Ryan came through with a competent but not show-stopping performance. It looked depressing like Kelly Clarkson, whose voice I really don't care for at all any more and whose performance utterly failed to inspire me, was going to win. But then, last of all the performers, came this stocky, round-faced Norwegian guy with messy blond hair and a humongous gap between his teeth. You could practically see the looks of amused tolerance on the faces of all the judges, and indeed the world audience... but then he started to sing.

And he was amazing.

By the time he'd finished the judges didn't know what to do with the guy, you could tell. Most of them made disparaging comments about his appearance -- called him a hobbit, said that if there were a "Middle-Earth Idol" he would definitely win, that kind of thing. They admitted he was a good singer, but said that for this competition, with all the pretty people around, he was something of a dark horse.

To which I say, feh. I liked Ryan, I voted for him, and I was happy he won Canadian Idol, but even after listening to some song snippets I really haven't felt motivated to buy his CD. Kurt Nilsen, though -- as soon as I heard his performance of U2's "Beautiful Day" I wanted to run right out and buy his solo album -- only I can't, of course, without getting it as an import and paying an exorbitant amount of money, which is really not something I'm prepared to do, even for music I like.

However, I managed to track down three singles and a couple of videos of Kurt's on the web today, and I'm already hooked on his original single "All You Have To Offer" (you have to register with that site to see the video, but it only takes a minute, and it's worth it, really).

Anyway, yeah. If there's any justice, Kurt will win World Idol. And in so doing, prove all the judges who think that music should only be made by Barbie dolls (*cough*Simon*cough*) to be the idiots they really are. Let's hear it for hobbits!
Okay, as of today Scream of the Shalka is complete, all six episodes, and oooooooh I loved it. Seriously, if you are or ever have been a Doctor Who fan at all, or heck, even if you're not, it's worth seeing. I'm still getting used to the Ninth Doctor -- he's a bit peculiar at times, even over and above the way in which I'm used to the various incarnations of the Doctor being peculiar -- but even so, he's grown on me like a fungus.

On a completely unrelated note, but similarly odd, and somewhat fandom-related: I had this really weird dream last night... )

My brain regurgitates the oddest things, especially after I've spent a long evening surfing the web.
WOOOO!!! RYAN WON!!!

Justice has been served. I'm all the more gleeful since a girl in the crowd supporting Gary had an anti-Ryan sign reading "Harry Potter is Going Down". Not Harry, you twit. James. She couldn't even get that right, no wonder she was wrong about the rest of it. :)

Anyway, I am satisfied. Plus, tomorrow I'm picking up [livejournal.com profile] avarill from the airport and we're going to hang out together and go geocaching. So -- yeah!

And that is all.

Sigh...

Sep. 16th, 2003 12:57 pm
rj_anderson: (Ryan Canadian Idol Hopeful)
I saw this coming, but... )

and then...

What gender is my LJ? )

In other, equally frivolous news, if Gary "Mushmouth" Beals wins Canadian Idol tonight instead of my boy Ryan, I will be very, very peeved. For at least... oh, six or seven minutes. Because you just know that all these people are going to be completely forgotten in a year or two's time anyway...

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