Video of the Day 12/28/10 - Japanese Game Show Edition

These Japanese game shows never fail to amuse me...


Book Review: Under the Dome

Under the Dome
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Fiction, science fiction, mystery
Number of Pages: 1,074
Where I Got It: Library

First line: "From two thousand feet up, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester's Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down."

It's a typical day in Chester's Mill, Maine until suddenly and without warning an invisible force field surrounds the town, effectively sealing it off from the rest of the world.  The race is on - not only to free Chester's Mill from The Dome and rescue its inhabitants from deteriorating environmental and ecological conditions, but to also stop religious fanatic Big Jim Rennie who likes the idea of an isolated community all for his domination a little too much.  As Rennie continues to exert his power, Iraq veteran Dale "Barbie" Barbara and his allies start on a nonstop thrill ride to figure out the riddle of The Dome.

There are two things that will immediately scare you about this book.  One is the fact that it comes in at a whopping 1,000-plus pages.  The second is the lengthy list of characters, including Dogs of Note, that King maps out before the story begins. It's a lot to take in all at once and even made me think twice about picking this one up.

Wow am I glad that I did.

This book is genius.  This is my first try with anything by Stephen King (I know, a book-a-holic like myself never having read Stephen King is pretty blasphemous) and I am kicking myself over and over and over for not having tried something of his before.

Here's the thing. I'm not a fan of science fiction and I'm not a horror fan - both genres I immediately associate with Stephen King. This book though suspended all of that for me.  It was so well-crafted and developed so perfectly that I was engaged the entire time.  For all 1,074 pages. In fact, I was so into this book and the "will they/won't they get out of this Dome" concept that I found myself breathless and not able to read fast enough to get to the next part.

You guys. I cried.

I can't rave about this book enough. It took me on a literal thrill ride - I found myself holding my breath at some points - and I haven't felt this strongly about a book in a long time.  

Go. Read. This. Now.

Overall Rating: What do you think?

Coming Up Next: Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Portia Nathan is an admissions officer at Princeton University who scours the country looking for the absolute best of the best, and those that are even better than the best, and lives a pretty standard domestic life. But a life-altering decision from her past sneaks up on her and just as thousands of students wait to hear about their own admission, so too must Portia make the decision to make an admission of her own.

And now a movie review...
Role Models - Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are sentenced to community service at the Sturdy Wings mentoring program and are paired up with two kids who couldn't be more different. McLovin from Superbad is in this and is hysterical as a teenager who is obsessed with a fantasy world where everyone role plays characters from medieval times. Paul Rudd is one of my favorite actors and his one-liners are always hilarious. Overall this was a pretty good and funny movie and I recommend it. One thumb up, one thumb sideways.


Video of the Day 12/12/10 - Super Cute Edition

Shoutout to Phil for this super cute video I found on his Google Reader thing.


Whatever Happened To...

Ace of Base?

I've discovered 90s radio on iTunes which means two things: I have a LOT more material for "Whatever Happened To..." and it is making the work day go by so much faster. And which recurring gem of an artist keeps popping up? The one and only Ace of Base.  Although I am only familiar with "The Sign" as well as "Don't Turn Around" and "All That She Wants", Ace of Base had a lot of hits which they are still cranking out.

First, did you know they're from Sweden and three of the four members of the group are siblings? Fun facts. Second, the three songs I mentioned above all come from the same album making it the first debut album to produce three number 1 singles on the Billboard Top 40 chart. Sounds like Ace of Base was a lot more legit than I give them credit for.

The name Ace of Base comes from the fact that they rehearsed in the basement of a car repair shop and apparently considered themselves to be "masters of their studio" - thus aces of the basement and ere go Ace of Base.  The more I learn, the more amazing they become.

Their first, and arguably their most popular, album Happy Signs came out in 1993 and was followed by The Bridge in 1995 and Flowers in 1998.  A greatest hits CD came in 1999 and the group's fourth album Da Capo came out in 2002. The group took a hiatus for a few years starting in 2003 but came together for a reunion concert four years later, but slowly things started to fall apart.

It was revealed that one of the female leads hadn't been part of the group for a while (scandal) and nobody wanted to sign the group now that there were only three members.  An album they put together in 2009 never got released, but they kept insisting that new music is coming out.  Also, one of the guys is a judge on Sweden's version of American Idol.

Well lo and behold, the new and improved Ace of Base, complete with two new lady members, released a single called "All for You" in September. Magic.

So have no fear LTD and Ace of Base fans, it looks like the quartet, albeit a brand spanking new version, is still going strong. I know I can rest a lot easier now.


And Now... Sports

It's amazing. Until very recently, I used to be "sports girl". I could talk pretty intelligently about how different teams were doing, especially college teams, and who players to watch were. I watched a lot of ESPN and Lately? Don't care. And I'm 100 percent fine with that.

Last night though I was definitely interested in the story of LeBron's great return to Cleveland... the city he so unceremoniously broke up with on national television out of nowhere over the summer. A week before this game, there were already reports coming out of extra security and police being called in for this one game. I knew it was going to be nuts. And I knew I had to tune in.

I know this has all been covered back when "The Choice" or "The Decision" or whatever the hour long special ESPN made about whether or not King James would be going to Miami was called came out. Was this the right move? And I give a resounding no to that. LeBron is very good at basketball, but this still does not warrant an all-out lovefest about yourself before you crush the hopes and dreams of millions of your fellow Ohioans... Ohians... Ohians?

The problem does not lie in the fact that he chose to leave the Cavs for what is just now starting to look like greener pastures. He was a free agent. He saw the chance for a championship and better pieces all around him and he took it. Let's not pretend that this is the first time in the history of sports that someone has done this to a team they were on. Chris Bosh just did it too. How about when Garnett left Minnesota for Boston? Fill in any other names you can think of. I also guarantee that he won't be the last.

For the fans last night, this was now their chance to say back to LeBron "Oh yeah? Well screw you too" because let's face it - that's pretty much what he said to them when he chose to air that TV special. LBJ went to work, dropping 38 on the Cavs in the rout, but did that stop the fans from voicing their concerns at any point during the night? Nope. I just don't think that for the fans it was about who would win or lose this game. I, for one, did not think Cleveland would get the win. This was about them telling him this is where you grew up, where you played high school ball, where you played professionally and where you were absolutely worshipped. And that's the thanks we get? You did us wrong man and now you're going to hear about it - over and over and over again. Because they will never stop booing and waving signs and coming up with ways to antagonize him on the court at every chance they get.

Let's say he had gone the traditional route of a press release and press conference announcing his move. Sure the fans would still have been worked up about him leaving but that's a lot less of a blow than that TV show.

I still can't really speak as an expert in this area though considering I've never had anything like this happen to me. So I thought, what if it did happen to me? How would I feel? So then I remembered about that time Kobe straight out said he wanted to be traded and that's pretty much as close as you can get to the LeBron debacle.

I remember thinking to myself "What? No. Kobe... leaving? He couldn't. He wouldn't! He IS Laker basketball. Would he? Is this real?" I kind of felt like this - like I was very out of touch with reality. The idea was absolutely just too big for me to even fathom. Life without Kobe? Impossible. I told people there was no way it was happening, but there was still always a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach yelling "But what if he does?"

What would LA do? Ha probably riot. How would fans react when he came back with Random Team X to face the Lake Show? Boo? Cheer? Riot again? I honestly do not have an answer to these questions. I still cannot imagine Kobe playing in any other uniform except the purple and gold.

But it happened to Cleveland.

I do know one actual diehard Cleveland fan and so one day I hope to ask him all about his thoughts and feelings on this whole situation and ultimately answer the one question on everyone's mind: is it the fact that he left? Or the fact that he did so in such an egotistical way? I really think it's the second one. And I hope Cleveland fans keep on booing LBJ every time he comes through Quicken Loans Arena. Make those signs, get as loud as you can, know that LeBron will always respond by dropping 40 on you, but never stop showing him that he's no longer boys with Ohio.

Will this create a rivalry between the Cavs and the Heat? I wouldn't go that far. There has to be some level of excitement basketball-wise in order for that to happen I think. The Cavs aren't that good right now so maybe in time, but for now it's The People vs. LeBron James. And you can bet that the people will not let this go lightly.