Word Games

July 20th, 2014

We love this instructive video by Weird Al. Not only does it proffer excellent advice, it spoofs the original song brilliantly.

This “Let It Go” video is a joy

April 1st, 2014

http://youtu.be/DAJYk1jOhzk

The song “Let It Go” from the animated smash Frozen was written specifically for the prodigious vocal talents of Idina Menzel. And she rocks the song.

The song is so beloved that there are literally hundreds of versions of it on YouTube. Of them all, this one is my favorite. Not only does Alex Boyé get props for his ingenius Lion King-like vocal arrangement but the young girl who sings, Lexie Walker–she’s eleven–is a true songstress. (Check out her singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It made my husband cry.

I’ve watched this video about twenty times now and every time it makes me smile.

Dabney Grinnan

“Typecast is a smart, sharp parody of “Royals”

March 30th, 2014

If you’ve turned on your radio anytime in the last year, you’re likely to have heard the song “Royals,” by the song recorded by a powerhouse teenager from New Zealand. The song won Song of the Year at this year’s Grammys and has spawned countless copies and parodies. This one, written, directed, and filmed by Tess Paras is funny and spot on.

“You can’t have two black friends.”

Sad but, on the big screen, almost always true.

Dabney Grinnan

Presto! Instant TV for Free!

March 28th, 2014

UK_MyChannelsWith season four of Game of Thrones right around the corner, I began thinking about how much my television viewing habits have changed over the last few years. I used to be a news junkie and would glom the cable news channels throughout the day to see what was going on in the world. I am still a news junkie, but I get most of my news fix from the internet these days. The television has been relegated to movie binges and series television show marathons.

I blame that on getting my Roku. Several years ago, my husband and I were trying to figure out how to play YouTube and Amazon Prime videos on our OLD television set. The newer televisions had built-in HDMI hookups. Sadly, ours did not and I looked everywhere for a connector that would hook up my laptop to the television AND produce sound.

During my internet search, I ran across the Roku and decided this would make a great Christmas present for my husband. For those not familiar with the Roku, it is a streaming player that runs off WiFi and allows you to access Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and hundreds of other channels, many of which are free to use.

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Strangest Ear Worm Ever

March 11th, 2014

babymetalSometimes I wonder about the originality of music – there’s a ton of great musical artists, but so many of them sound so incredibly similar (you can look at the confusion between Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” if you don’t believe me). Japan, however, has a different plan. When Suzuku Nakamoto got too old for the group she was in (too old = 16 apparently), her entertainment company decided to try something new – Jpop (Japanese Pop music) needed something a bit more intense, so why not add some heavy metal? (Sorry, can’t embed the video for some reason.

Someone wrote an article about it on The Daily Dot but this is the line that sticks out the most for me – “Babymetal is kind of like a magical, leather-clad, fire-breathing, sonic unicorn.” And it really is. I’m not sure if it’s the oddness of it, or the catchyness of the lyrics (my Japanese is a bit rusty, but it’s all about the tune anyways).

And what are those lyrics? Well, I found a translation for you!

“Check-it-out chocolate.  Can I have a bit of chocolate? But my weight worries me a bit these days. However, chocolate.  Can I have a bit of chocolate? But wait a while!  Wait a while!  Wait! Wait! Wait!”

Apparently I’m not the only one to think we need more songs in the world about chocolate.

What do you think? Ear-worm from hell, or the most ridiculous, catchy thing ever?

- Melanie AAR

PS – If you want to hear more, this is actually a better song. I just am highly amused by chocolate heavy metal…

Star-crossed Indeed

February 19th, 2014

starcrossedI’m a sucker for a good teen TV drama. Well, that is, a teen drama that doesn’t involve obscenely rich Manhattanite royalty-wannabes or were-vamp-warlock love triangles. So when I saw previews for the CW’s newest soapy offering for the under 18 set, I figured I’d check it out. I’m kind of glad I did because Star-Crossed, the love child of Roswell and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (with a good hunk of District 9 thrown into the mix) looks to have all of the tropes I love most in a TV program.

September, 2014, brings about the day that an alien ship crashes to Earth, filled with Atrians looking for refuge after their home planet becomes uninhabitable. They had hoped to find at least a lukewarm welcome from us humans rather than the open hostility shown them in the form of armed soldiers and violent shoot-outs. Six-year-old Emery finds a terrified Atrian boy hiding in her family’s backyard shed and offers him kindness in the form of a blanket and a bowl of cold spaghetti. But alien-sniffing dogs suss out the poor lad who suffers a blaster shot when he throws his tiny body in front of Emery in a heroic attempt to save her.

Cut forward ten years and Emery has grown into the beautiful Aimee Teegarden (hello, Julie Taylor!). Read the rest of this entry »

Best “School’s cancelled due to bad weather” announcement EVER

February 13th, 2014

YouTube Preview ImageI live in the normally warm state of North Carolina but yesterday a severe storm blew in and shut the Tar Heel state down. (It took my son four hours to get home from work.)

Every school around sent out “no school tomorrow” videos, but this one, the one from my kids’ school is hands down the best. It’s so good, it’s gone viral. It’s been retweeted by Vanilla Ice (to whom it pays homage), Buzzfeed, CNN, Gawker, and the hits on YouTube are rising every minute.

It’s written and performed by our head of school and head of the Upper School.

Check it out! I promise it will crack you up.

“Will They Or Won’t They” – Done Right

February 9th, 2014

S&A1With this week’s episode, The Locomotive Manipulation, The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler officially became one of my favorite couples ever.

I’ve been a fan of The Big Bang Theory from episode one, appreciating the quirky characters and silly humor supplied by producer Chuck Lorre, the amazing writing staff, and the hugely talented cast of actors. But it was the introduction of Mayim Bialik’s Amy Farrah Fowler as a romantic foil for the seemingly asexual Sheldon Cooper (played by the exquisite Jim Parsons) that really kicked the show up a notch, if you ask my opinion. The evolving relationship between these two characters has proven an absolute delight, and I would say it is one of the best examples ever of the will-they-or-won’t-they tease ever depicted on a TV program. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Kind of Winter Warmer

December 28th, 2013

I’ve so loved reading all of the Winter Warmer recipes shared by everyone at AAR. I plan to try out a number of them over the next few months (first up, Melanie’s potato soup).  But I find I’m now in the need of a very different type of winter warmer.

A little over a week ago my apartment complex came through and installed a lot of energy saving devices in all of the apartments. As someone who tries to be energy efficient, I was very enthusiastic. I came home one evening to discover a new “low flow” shower head, new pipes (wrapped with some kind of insulated stuff) under the cabinets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and a programmable thermostat. Having only dealt with an old dial thermostat before, this programmable thermostat was a revelation. It came pre-programmed for optimal energy savings, set for cooler when people are assumed to be at work or sleeping.

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Winter Warmers: Melanie’s Potato Soup

December 12th, 2013

2013-12-11 18.11.34 (800x600)I have a love affair with potatoes. And cheese. And anything that I can put in a crock pot and not have to deal with all day. This recipe is one I found a while back and have made multiple times over the years – it usually gets fixed at least once each winter. Actually, I might have to make it this weekend…

You will need:

  • about 4 lbs of potatoes (I prefer golden potatoes, but russets also work well)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 to 1.5 cups)
  • 5 ¼ cups chicken broth (42 oz)
  • about 1 tbsp garlic
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 8 oz (1 container) of sour cream (optional)
  • about ¼ cup cooked and crumbled bacon or bacon bits (optional)
  • Extra shredded cheddar cheese (optional) Read the rest of this entry »