Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Morning Melody - Jes Hudak

If you live in Australia, you've no doubt seen this ad for the Australian version of that TV show The Voice. I personally couldn't care less about singing competition reality TV shows, but that song definitely captured my attention. So I used my Google-fu to find a full version of it. Apparently it's by someone called Jes Hudak, featuring George Arthur and it's called Different Worlds.

It's lovely, particularly the start.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adventures in Cooking - Choc Hazelnut Macarons

So, ever since I first attempted these strawberry macarons I've wanted to have another go because they worked so well. But I wanted something with a little bit more flavour, so I found this recipe on Taste and used it as a base. There were a few issues with it, but those were mostly because of my own STUPID UNPREPAREDNESS.

Anyway, let's get started, shall we?

1 1/4 cups hazelnut meal
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa

100grams good quality chocolate (dark or milk)
2 tablespoons thickened cream
2 teaspoons of peppermint essence
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Morning Melody - Peter Gabriel

It's a dreary Easter Monday and I'm feeling tired. So today's Melody is a nice, slow song. It's actually lovely and romantic and bittersweet, and maybe a little bit sad, but I just love it. The strings in it are just gorgeous.

Some of you may remember it as the final song in the TV show Scrubs. Some of you may have never heard it before. Whatever the case, enjoy. I just love it.
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Fun Friday Links

Hope you're enjoying the start of the four day weekend! And props to Mother Nature for making the weather gorgeous today in Melbourne. Unexpected, but greatly appreciated.

If you do happen to be working today, or you just want something entertaining to look at online, check out these links:

- 13 simple steps to get your through a rough day. These really are simple steps. And hilarious steps. I think number five is my favourite - that baby looks like it could kick some serious ass.

- Ever wonder what it's like to have a text message exchange with Hillary Clinton? It's basically like this. I love this one the most.

- In 1995 I was thirteen years old. And I watched most of these awesome movies. Especially Clueless and Now and Then. Sweet fancy moses, my friends and I watched those two films over and over and over again. Did you?

- This is a tumblr full of GIFs of how we react to real life situations. It's pretty good. Actually, it's really good. Especially this one. Wait, and this one.

That's it for today - enjoy your weekend and enjoy eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate, then pretending that you haven't when someone offers you some more. I know I probably will!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Glee Highlights - Season 3, Episode 14: On My Way

I really didn't enjoy much about this episode, to be honest. I think there was too much going on and certain story lines really needed to have their own episode. But let's have a look in closer detail, shall we?

Blaine's Solo / Karofsky's Suicide Attempt
I'm not that familiar with Young the Giant, but I did like this song. What I didn't like? The way it was tacked on over the top of Karofsky's suicide attempt.

This was obviously meant to be a serious and chilling event, but with the indie pop blaring over the top and the stilted cutaways to Karofsky preparing to kill himself, I found the whole thing to be way too highly stylised and ultimately totally ineffective. This is the one story line that needed it's own episode (or, hell, even some sort of build up - we go from someone finding out Karofsky's gay to a four minute montage of him trying to end his life. To say this story was rushed would be one of the greatest understatements EVER).

Warblers' Regionals Performance
Obviously we aren't meant to be as wowed by the Warblers now that Blaine isn't a part of the group, but I found this Regionals performance really, really boring. Even the choreography was a snooze.

Finn Cheering
And because I found the Warblers' performance really boring, I found it totally unrealistic that Finn would suddenly get up and start cheering for such a lacklustre performance, and then the WHOLE AUDIENCE also getting up and cheering wildly. It wasn't that great guys. I know life is short and we should all support each other and spew forth with sunshine and rainbows when our former rivals perform on stage, but this was totally not worth the applause it got, in my opinion.

Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows Regionals Performance

Although Figgins getting totally into it cracked me up:

New Directions' Regionals Performance
Not my favourite medley, but I did like the mix of R. Kelly and Nicki Minaj - Santana's rapping in particular was kind of awesome.

The cover of Kelly Clarkson's Stronger was also pretty good - zippy, enthusiastic and plain old fun!

The last song, Here's To Us, again is one I'm not familiar with, but regardless of that, I found it to be a bit anti-climactic as a finale number.

Mr. Schue's White Man Dancing
But no matter how much I don't enjoy a performance, I will NEVER not laugh at cutaways to Mr. Schue in the wings digging the performance and doing the white man's overbite. NEVER.

Rachel's Dad
The way Jeff Goldblum delivers the "bring it, bro" line to Burt Hummel in the hallway is the funniest, most unsure challenge to a fight I have ever heard. Also, the deadpan explanation that faking an epileptic seizure would be obviously fake since he doesn't have epilepsy was hilarious. I wish they had featured more in this episode.

Rachel's Wedding Dress
Much as I don't want Rachel and Finn to get married (and I'm betting they don't), I LOOOOOOOOVVVEEEED her wedding dress. Perfectly retro, it reminds me a lot of Natalie Wood's white dress at the end of Splendor in the Grass (which I can't find a full length shot of, unfortunately). Gorgeous.

Quinn Texting and Driving
I also totally betting Quinn doesn't die because I took a sneak peak on YouTube at the next episode's trailer and it was totally upbeat and happy and didn't hint at all at the death of one of New Directions most try-hard rebellious members. I think she'll be just fine. Famous last words? We'll see!

I'm disappointed I didn't like this episode more and I hope the next one is way better. Your thoughts?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review - The Night Circus

Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Year of publication: 2011
Publisher: Harvill Secker London
Page extent: 387


Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, we meet a young girl named Celia Bowen, the daughter of magician Prospero the Enchanter (also known as Hector Bowen), and an orphan named Marco Alisdair, the ward of a mysterious man referred to only as Mr A.H—. The children both display special talents that they don't fully understand, and without their knowledge, Hector and Mr. A.H— , long time rivals, enter them into a contest of skill, with no real start or end date. The contest between the young proteges is a test of illusion, enchantment, and magic, and the children are bound into it with no hope of escape. They are trained relentlessly by their masters, prepared to face off against each other at some vague point in the future.

There are many principal characters, but the introduction of Chandresh Christophe Lefèvre ushers in the beginning of the mysterious and whimsical Le Cirque des Rêves. As Chandresh's assistant, Marco, now an adult, controls every single detail of the mysterious circus that only opens at night, in seemingly unplanned locations around the world. Celia, a striking young woman, is hired as the illusionist for the circus, and with a slew of eccentric secondary characters, the backdrop of the circus is slowly painted in exquisite detail for the audience.

At Le Cirque des Rêves, visitors marvel at the seemingly effortless elaborate tents and sideshows, but Marco and Celia work hard to use their talents to create magical worlds inside the black and white striped tents as they compete against each other in a contest no one else realises exists. Morgenstern creates an astoundingly magical world, with flawless attention to detail as new tents are conjured up, and colourful illusions are performed easily as Celia and Marco become increasingly immersed in their contest. But Hector Bowen and Mr A.H– don't count on Celia and Marco becoming more invested in each other as the contest progresses. As their romance develops, the binds of the contest constrict them more and more as they realise how the contest must end, and the passion with which they create illusions for each other is as enticing as the passion between the two of them on the few occasions they find themselves alone. Their love story is the spectacle around which everything else in the circus exists, though they are the only two people who realise this.

It's not often that an author can create a marvelous world that exists equally in reality and fantasy, but Morgenstern has done exactly that. Her careful construction of every inch of the circus is truly a wonder, and readers will sink into the world both inside and outside the circus gates in a deliciously slow fall. It's an almost dream-like descent into one of the most fantastical circuses one could ever read about, but Morgenstern has it exist within a reality that is also completely intriguing, rich with characters, and full of mystery that the jumps between circus life and civilian life with ease. Colours, textures, sounds and scents jump off the page, and when the book is closed, it's hard not to believe that the world you've been reading about is not the same world you're living in.

The Night Circus is such a richly created novel that this review really doesn't do it justice. To enjoy it, one really needs to set aside hours to delve deeply into the world of the circus and marvel along with the patrons at the amazingly detailed nocturnal whimsy that will dazzle, charm, and delight. This book is one not to be missed - I can't recommend it enough.

In a word: delicious

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Morning Melody - Carly Rae Jepsen

I cannot even believe this is what I'm posting for my Monday Morning Melody. It's just that whenever I hear Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe on the radio, I cannot. Get. It. Out. Of. My. Head.

Listen to it - you'll be humming it all day, regardless of whether or not you like it.

That is all.

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