Friday, October 31, 2014

The Quest for Forgiveness: Chapter 4 (Part 1)

Last time, we learned that Brijanna had accused Ethan of abuse. He hasn't, but he's decided he's not going to defend herself because it would hurt her reputation and because some Muslims might try to kill her if they learn that she converted to Christianity. I'm not really sure how this would come up if he defended himself and not if he didn't, but... that's Rothdiener logic for ya.

This is probably my favorite chapter in the whole book, guys. It's awful. It's so awful that I had to break it up into a couple sections.

So let's dive right in and tackle part one!

The chapter opens with a Bible verse from Job:
Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.
Which would be far more appropriate if Ethan HAD decided to call for help or cry he'd been wronged. As it is, Isaiah 53:7 seems like a far more apt verse.

So the case causes a huge media buzz because Ethan's a professor and his wife's a former beauty queen. Ethan shows up on the first day and gets all excited because Susan is there "to lend support," but shocker, she's not on his side. I guess he didn't pick up on that the other night when he called to try to talk to her and her dad said she never wanted to see him again.
The confident assistant prosecuting attorney, an energetic woman named Carol Moore, had a lot riding on the highly publicized event. It was her first major case, and she would make every effort to impress her superiors with a win. At any cost to Ethan!
Cue the villain.
Ethan and his lawyer learned that the judge was also a woman. The news troubled Cain who wondered if his male client even had a chance for a fair trial.
...If the judge was a man, would the prosecuting attorney start wondering if Brijanna even had a chance for a fair trial? I promise female judges can objectively hear the facts of something, especially when that's their job.

Ethan gets seriously angsty while the judge walks up to her seat:
All of his dreams were shattered. Emptiness filled his soul.
To be fair, things aren't going well for him, and since he has absolutely no intention of clearing his name, they will probably continue to go poorly. However, I really want to use the phrase "EMPTINESS FILLS MY SOUL" next time I feel a little sad.

The writing doesn't get any less melodramatic. The judge asks for his plea and this happens:
A wave of panic suddenly engulfed Ethan. Had the judge already decided his guilt? He swallowed hard. The drama must play out. How he wished he could open his eyes and wake up from the horrible nightmare he was facing! He knew it wasn’t possible— this situation was far too real.
Robert Cain (Ethan's lawyer) then explains that Ethan won't be taking the stand in his own defense. The judge is like, "Erm, what?" and takes Ethan and the two lawyers aside so Ethan can explain what the heck he's thinking. He explains that if he defended himself, the press would "destroy Janna."

The judge is all, "Ooh, that's mysterious," but Evil Carol the prosecutor just wants to get going so she can destroy him:
“Your Honor, can we please get on with the trial? I will bring out any secrets this man is hiding.”
...followed by an evil cackle, I suspect. The judge is NOT amused by this and snaps at her not to question the way the judge is running this trial. She then asks Ethan if he's innocent. After some pushing and prodding from his lawyer, he says he is. The judge asks why Brijanna would lie. Ethan's like, "Hadonno."

The judge has clearly decided Ethan's not guilty at this point, referring to Brijanna as the "alleged victim," and even pointing out that understands he'd be scared that she and Evil Carol are women. She ends with the bizarrely comedic line:
“How much more could this trial be stacked against you? Am I right?”
"Am I right? Am I right? Come on, this audience is deader than... something dead. You can probably tell I'm not that good with jokes."

Ethan says he won't reveal "all the details regarding my daughter," but I have NO IDEA WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT. What details does he think he's hiding that won't come out in the case as is? The only details he's hiding is the fact that he didn't do it. That's... an absence of detail. Does he think if he doesn't testify nobody will find out she used to be Muslim? Seriously, what is he referring to?

The judge asks him if Brijanna is lying, and Ethan just says he's innocent. The judge starts getting really persistent, being all, "Why is she lying? WHY IS SHE LYING?" to which Ethan responds:
“Teens are rebellious by nature. They lie, cheat, and steal.”
"And if my daughter stole a car, I would defend her then too!"

The judge keeps pestering him to tell her about his relationship with Brijanna, "off the record," and Ethan essentially says, "Everyone betrayed me! I'm fed up with this world!" Finally he caves and tells the judge that Brijanna was adopted from Kuwait as a Muslim and has converted to Christianity, and that "the more radical Muslims" will hunt her down and kill her for that.

The judge reveals that Brijanna has rejected Christianity, saying it was forced on her and that she wants to find her real parents and reclaim her real faith. Ethan protests, "She was baptized," which is a totally sound explanation, because if you get baptized when you're not a sincere Christian, you just bounce right off the water and can't go under, like a witch.

After this news, Ethan just gives up and mutters that they should get this charade over with so he can just go to jail already. The judge tells everyone in the room that they can't say anything about this in court. Everyone goes back in except for the judge, who calls someone named John and asks for info about Brijanna because she wants to confirm his story (about the Muslim thing, I guess? Although Brijanna already told people that? I don't know what else she could confirm) and give him a lighter sentence.
Near the front, sat a row of women she believed was from a women’s rights organization . She had seen them in similar cases . Her experience told her they may not be searching for the truth, but for their own idea of justice.
Pffft. Like women's right organizations care about truth. They just want to hurt men! All the time! As much as they can!

The judge laments that she must keep an open mind, and the trial begins. But you'll have to wait for next week to find out more of how it goes. Hint: It goes stupidly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My iTunes Genius Mixes

Mostly I forget these exist, but every once in awhile I find my genius playlists on iTunes and go, "Huh, I wonder what those are now."

For those of you who don't have iTunes, genius mixes are computer-generated playlists based on similar songs. You can create genius mixes from a certain song (kind of like doing a Pandora station of songs you already own) but you also get pre-created genius mixes based on genres that there are many of in your library.

The last time I looked at these, there were like four "musicals" mixes, three "soundtracks" mixes, and then some random genres. And then those songs didn't exactly line up with what they were titled. But that was a long time ago and I've gotten a lot of new music since then. Let's see what we have now and what they play!

KISS ME KATE - 2014 Monomoy Theatre from Flickr via Wylio
© 2014 Monomoy Theatre Photo GalPal, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Mix #1: "Musicals Mix"

Well, that's not a surprise. I do have a lot of musicals. The first three songs played on this mix are Michael Ball's version of "The Music of the Night," "Man in the Mirror" from A Man of No Importance (which I frankly forgot I even had), and "Big Money" from See What I Wanna See (which I haven't listened to in forever). So, yes, this seems to be a musicals mix. 10/10.

Mix #2: "Musicals Mix"

I never understood why they couldn't just combine my musicals mixes into a single mix, but whatever. This mix starts off with "Follow Where You Lead" by Idina Menzel, which is why these automatic mixes don't always work -- Idina's usually a musical singer, but this is from one of her pop albums. The second song is "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis, which is accurate, but the third song is "Taking Chances" as performed by Glee. Which... I mean, I guess it's a showtune because jukebox musicals are showtunes, but it feels out of place. This is like a 7/10.

Mix #3: "Adult Alternative Mix"

Done with the musicals. I always forget I actually have a lot of adult alternative songs, but I do indeed. We start off this one with a Christmas song: "Little Town" by Over the Rhine. It's followed by "Wastin' Time" by Kris Allen, which I didn't even know I had, and "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Alison Iraheta, which... is a jazz song sung by a rock artist, so classifying it as "adult alternative" seems a little weird. But overall that's about right. 8/10.

Mix #4: "Christian Rock Mix"

I do have a lot of random Christian songs in here, mostly as a nostalgic thing, but this mix starts us off with "To Know You" by Nichole Nordeman. It's a favorite of mine, but I'd hardly call it rock. The next choice is even weirder, though, as it is "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," which is... neither Christian nor rock. What? The third song is "Emmanuel" by Laura Story, and I have no idea what this song is or where I got it from, but it sounds maybe a little bit rockier than the previous to, if maybe pop/rocky. This is a crazy one. 3/10.

Mix #5: "Christian Rock Mix"

...Guys, this mix is somehow even more off than the previous one. Our first three songs are "You Are the Music In Me" from High School Musical 2, "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White, and "Let's Get Together" from The Parent Trap. Sure, these are squeaky-clean songs, so Christian families could listen to them, but this is most definitely like... a kids' songs mix. 1/10 because none of these fit.

Techno Punk from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 Gregor Fischer, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio
Mix #6: "Punk Mix"

The sample list of artist seems promising, as does the first song: "The Anthem" by Good Charlotte. (I don't believe I have any punk that's not pop punk... but then I've discovered a bunch of songs in these mixes I didn't think I had, so who knows.) The next two are "I Need a Break... But I'd Rather Have a Breakthrough" by The Rocket Summer and "What Went Wrong" by Blink-182, so, yup, we're on track here. 10/10.

Mix #7: "Dance Pop Mix"

I do have a lot of dance pop songs, so I expect this to be good, but then I also have a fair amount of Christian rock songs, and those playlists were goofed up. Song #1 is "Koocacho" by Kylie Minogue, which is mellow, but definitely dancey, so thumbs up. "Pearl" by Katy Perry and "Animal" by Ke$ha are up next, so clearly this is really the "Pop Artists Beginning With K" mix. These are all weirdly mellow dance songs, but I'll give it to them overall. 9/10.

Mix #8: "Teen Pop Mix"

And I definitely have a lot of teen pop. Let's see if this will actually play any of it. Let's see, we've got Glee's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear," the instrumental track "The Tear Heals" from Tangled, and "I'm Wishing/One Song" from Snow White. Um. Nope, this one is confused. 2/10.

Mix #9: "Classic R&B Mix"

I would assume this mostly exists because of my mucho Michael Jackson, but the first song is "Harbour Love" by Syreeta, which I completely forgot I owned, but I love it a lot. Not exactly sure it fits the tone I expected, though. Second song is "Rockin' Robin" by The Jackson 5, so that works great. And then we have... "Never Can Say Goodbye," also by The Jackson 5. So this mix appears to be "Michael Jackson + Syreeta." (I peeked ahead to see if it played anything else and it went with The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, so it does win.) 10/10.

SXSW Music 2011 - Austin, TX from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 kris krüg, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Mix #10: "Singer/Songwriter Mix"

This genre covers a lot, so we'll see whether it fits or not. Our first song is "Be Somebody" by Paula Cole, which I don't know anything about, but it sounds like it would fit, so sure! The next choices are "Lies" by Glen Hansard from Once and "Feeling the Pull" by The Swell Season, so overall I'm feeling OK about this mix. 9/10.

Mix #11: "Urban Crossover Mix"

I genuinely have no idea what that means, but the songs it plays are "London Bridge" by Fergie (which I occasionally feel guilty about owning and enjoying), "Bed" by J. Holiday, and "Queen of the Night" by Whitney Houston. So... more modern R&B/hip hop/pop songs? 8/10?

Mix #12: "Indie Rock Mix"

Well, the first song on this one was "Fader" by The Temper Trap, but the opening music sounded weirdly like the StrongBadia National Anthem and I was about to be like, "BEST MIX EVER." Unfortunately, I am less excited by The Temper Trap. I don't particularly like indie rock, but I seem to have a lot of it in my library and I don't really know where it came from. Song #2 is "Single Ladies" by Pomplamoose which is quite cool but it's more indie pop than indie rock. And song #3 is... "Hail Mary" by Pomplamoose. (Song #4, however, is "I Feel Fantastic" by JoCo, so that's cool and varied.) Aside from weirdly playing two of like... the four Pomplamoose songs I own in a row, it's fine. So... 8/10.

Probably won't listen to those ever again... but at least now I know that iTunes is REALLY CONFUSED about Christian rock.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Adventures in Organic Snacking! Spoiler: It Was Awful

So about a month ago I got a free trial snack box from a company that mails you a box of snacks that are organic or non-GMO or gluten free.

When my box arrived, I got all excited, because hey, free food, and Jacob and I planned to try one snack every day and I'd review it on the blog... except it turns out we thought everything in the box was terrible.

So I'm still going to review it, but I'm going to leave the name of the company out. If these sound amazing to you, go ahead and ask me what it was and I'll tell you, but I don't want to give them a bad name just because I have an unsophisticated palate or something.

Our first snack was "cheese straws," which I thought could be interesting, despite a name that sounds like a disgusting fake-cheese snack kids would eat while watching TV. These had real cheddar cheese and a li'l bit of cayenne in them. You could definitely taste the cayenne in the aftertaste, though at first I didn't know it was in there and I thought somehow we just had abnormally spicy cheese. Anyway, these tasted like blander Cheez-Its, and then when you stopped tasting cheese, you started tasting pepper. A weird combination, especially since I don't like Cheez-Its anyway. I think I ate two of them.

Lumps wanted to be in this picture... anyway, day 2 was organic jelly beans. There were about 15 in the bag. The red and orange ones were OK, but the yellow ones were horrifying... and there were like 10 yellow ones. So after discovering that, I ate the rest of the non-yellow ones and threw the bag away.

Day 3 was a cinnamon-and-sugar banana bar with a label almost entirely in Spanish. I had high hopes for this one, but it pretty much tasted like just a squooshed bar of cinnamon and sugar, and that was WEIRD because that doesn't feel like a thing you should be eating...

We received both honey almond butter and chocolate almond butter, and we didn't really know what to do with them, so we ended up spreading them on KFC biscuits. The honey just tasted like gritty nothing, but the chocolate one was OK, if very sweet. Neither one of these were really spreadable; it was like trying to spread... I don't know. Congealed jelly. But I have to assume we were supposed to spread them, because the alternative would be just squirting a packet of almond butter into your mouth. That can't be right.

Oh gosh, the Snapea Crisps. If you've ever wanted to eat Cheetos that taste like peas, well, then, here you go.

The buttery shortbread square didn't necessarily have a lot wrong with it, it just didn't taste like anything. Maybe we should have saved the almond butter and spread it on this. The chocolate almond butter, that is. Spreading flavorless honey almond butter on flavorless shortbread would probably not accomplish much.

And, finally, falafel chips. While the chip texture was more appealing to me than anything we'd had thus far, there's still the problem that it tasted like falafel, which, as we discovered in NYC last year, Jacob and I do not like. If you like falafel, you might like these.

It seems my taste buds have been destroyed by snacking on junk food for 28 years. Thing is, I'm usually OK with healthyish snacks, but these... did not cut it. Maybe I'm stuck snacking on Twinkies forever...

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Quest for Forgiveness: Chapter 3

Last time, Brianna "Mary Sue" Bays was renamed Janna and adopted by an American man named Ethan. However, when he brought her home to the U.S., his wife was a crazy evil stepmother to Brianna. Janna. I've been calling her Brijanna. Watch out, she'll get more names later.

This chapter opens very abruptly: with Ethan being arrested out of nowhere. The police won't even tell him what he's being arrested for. We also get typically sloppy Rothdiener writing:
Humiliated in front of his students, the officers read him his rights, handcuffed him, and led him to a patrol car.
I'd feel bad for those poor humiliated police officers if they had told him the charges against him so he at least knew what was going on. He doesn't find out until he meets with his lawyer, Robert Cain, who is apparently a good friend of his. Turns out Brijanna has accused him of abusing her. Ethan gets upset about it, but then weirdly goes on a paragraph-long tangent about Brijanna's musical talent.

His lawyer appears to be reasonable, though:
The lawyer lowered his voice. “Ethan, this is serious, extremely serious. I can’t emphasize that enough. This is not the time to talk about her music!”
Ethan is sure he'll be able to figure out what's going on once he talks to Brijanna, but she's been placed in foster care, and his wife Susan has left him and wants nothing more to do with him.
The atmosphere was charged with emotion.
That's a full paragraph right there. You know, in case we thought there was no emotion at all in this scene.

There are hints all over the place that Ethan's going to be accused of not only physically abusing Brijanna, but sexually abusing her as well. He protests, his lawyer basically says, "Well, you have no proof you didn't do it," and says that the jury will probably assume he was sexually abusing Brijanna because his marriage with Susan was iffy.

Robert gets increasingly more agitated that Ethan just keeps saying he didn't do it. (Though I'm really not sure what he expected from him. Robert seems to believe Ethan, but he seems very annoyed that Ethan can't produce evidence of non-abuse.)

Ethan then says that if it's his word vs. Brijanna's, he's not going to defend himself because he doesn't want to drag her name through the mud. He says that would:
“ . . . [d]estroy her reputation, mess her up even more, and put her life in jeopardy.”
Her life? How would that put her life in jeopardy? I mean, yes, it'd be a terrible situation, but the chances of her dying because of this seem pretty slim.

Ethan insists that Robert prove him innocent, but refuses to defend himself publicly, which... makes Robert's job pretty dang difficult. He says again that he's going to talk to Brijanna, and Robert is all, "I just told you, you can't," and then we get the really bizarre reason why Ethan thinks Brijanna's life is in danger:
“I will not allow this to hit the major newspapers. She was a Muslim and became a Christian. Some may see that as rejecting her faith, which could result in a death sentence to her. I cannot, will not, put her life in jeopardy. You know that!”

First of all, there's not much he can do from jail about newspapers not printing it. He says he won't allow it like he's got Supreme Newspaper Authority, even when he's in jail.

Secondly, who does he think is going to kill her? She's not living in a Muslim country under Muslim law. Given how homogenous good chunks of the U.S. are, she may not even know any Muslims in her new home. She doesn't even have the same name as she did then. Muslims in the U.S. have converted to Christianity before without being hunted down. I'm pretty sure most extremist Muslims don't spend their time searching through crime stories in American newspapers to find names of former Muslim children to target specifically. They're not Disney looking for copyright infringement.

And for that matter, why does he think that would even come up in any articles? Was he planning on making a big deal of his faith and her former faith in the courtroom?

This just sounds like paranoid Islamaphobia to me, and I'm not a fan.

Robert gives up trying to convince Ethan to defend himself and instead decides to super interrogate Brijanna in court.

Ethan gets out on bail and heads back to his empty house to do some thinking and try to figure out how it all went wrong.
Ethan prided himself on the fact that he was a good provider— Susan never lacked for anything. They lived in a luxurious home with no financial worries.
No kidding. They bought a five-bathroom house when there were only three of them. That seems pretty luxurious to me.

Incidentally, though, that's kind of a weird segue. The intro to that thought that was, "They were very much in love when they married... at least, he thought they were. He knew he was." So... he must have been in love because he provided for them? He'd better have provided for them if he was going to make her stay home and not work...

Ethan wonders if maybe his past caught up to him -- his past being that he was in love with someone before Susan. Because apparently if you're in love with someone and then fall in love with someone else, you're really always still in love with the first person. (I'm glaring at you, How I Met Your Mother...)

Ethan tries to call Susan's parents to reach her, but Susan's dad is all, "Nope, you're gross, don't come near any of us," and hangs up.

The chapter ends with Ethan crying a lot, which is kind of a downer. But the next chapter is probably my favorite in the whole book, as it shows us one of the stupidest trial scenes ever written. So you've all got that to look forward to!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can You Guess the Horror Movie From Its Mangled Plot?: Answers

Here are the answers to last week's movie guessing game!

1. $ 40,000 from her and her live in Phoenix close the administrator of his mother, a secretary, a young man in bed for research and development.

2. Commercial ship Nostromo receive a call from the unexplored world. After the escape, a back seat in the house only to see that the work BIOFORM join them.

3. From the past to the future and about the spiritual son of the evil forebodings, when the evil and the spiritual, the power of this different hotel to the cold head of the family.
(The Shining)

4. Sitting in Antarctica-change pin to see the shape of a human face.
(The Thing)

5. Women have the opportunity to change, and he sought the help of two priests to save her daughter.
(The Exorcist)

6. A group of people hide from bloodthirsty monsters on the field businesses.
(Night of the Living Dead)

7. Part of the exhumed bodies of scholars prepared a concern.

8. The second child moves into a new house, just around the city and special events. Women mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over security unborn child begins controlling her life.
(Rosemary's Baby)

9. The opportunity to shoot a movie of the summer island and takes a shine to female surgery and the stars of the big gorilla.
(King Kong)

10. Psikozaj murder to the first boy that killed his sister, from his docs from the Seventies and a bookish girl street a young man and his friends.

11. Monsters, while only survivor onslaught of the home of a group of strangers.
(Evil Dead II)

12. Many of the small town and country and represent an alien duplicates the effect on learning.
(Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

13. A sudden increase in the number of birds and all of the great development in San Francisco and started killing people there and Vicio increases slowly because their boyfriend to a small Northern Californiacity ​​authorities.
(The Birds)

14. Changes to the animalistic Mr. Hyde of the dark and wild side a potion that, when Dr Jekyll face unpleasant consequences.
(Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde)

15. And a dead lies between them, the two men "mystery" is the name of the cave memory and a serial killer on the essay. They are seeking to do the surgery in a game set in a Variety of men will follow the laws and regulations.

16. The ancient Vampire de Jumpsuit arrives in England and begins to prey on young Chinese Mina.

17. UK across the bright, infectious disease to four weeks later, a few of the survivors try to find sanctuary.
(28 Days Later)

18. One man against the armies of the dead, they will return to the Necronomicon in 1300 AD, and transfer.
(Army of Darkness)

19. The journey of the operation of a U.S. diplomat. It is true that the child is the Antichrist? Devil himself?
(The Omen)

20. Five of their friends, and they know how to leave the meat monsters in the forest, and the city and walking.
(The Evil Dead)

21. The desire of the victims, a child murderer killed the street Lynch mob.
(The Nightmare on Elm Street)

22. Visit the Tomb of the liquor-friendly long-chainsaw wielding cannibals and disease and terrorized his family.
(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

23. The family of the host haunted by ghosts.

24. Young girl abused and m 17 years has telekinesis and space effort to push the boundary of the school prom night.

25. They were two elderly women, one that will bring out a little over time to apologize for the death of a husband and wife in Venice.
(Don't Look Now)

26. A young journalist in the week came the death of the other, which will examine the videotape operation.
(The Ring)

27. Zombie lives reincarnation is a beautiful woman of the street.
(The Mummy)

28. After moving to New town, two brothers are convinced that the area is frequented by Vampires.
(The Lost Boys)

29. A masked starts killing teenagers and towns, and the number rises to themselves in real life, a girl and her friends for a concert "law".

30. Owner of a wax museum with a friend, but a vengeful killer and escape.
(House of Wax)

31. They agreed to return more room in the woods for a break of five friends. Together, they must discover the truth behind the house in the woods.
(The Cabin in the Woods)

32. The harmful florist who needed food and aid of a high-cost plants are able to succeed in romance.(Little Shop of Horrors)

33. Joanna Eberhart and his family to Stepford, Connecticut, Quaint town, but it is not really a bad attitude-based search for the perfect life.
(The Stepford Wives)

34. After moving into a suburban home, a couple who become increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.
(Paranormal Activity)

35. Our students learn in the film, leaving a city report, Blair witch, a film about the Maryland woods while touring.
(The Blair Witch Project)

36. They know that the dead are connected to the spirit of seeking the help of a young and sad.
(The Sixth Sense)

37. The F.B.I. New battle a serial killer Skins exploited to the operation and devising evil murderers in prison would be.
(The Silence of the Lambs)

38. One man, and win back his former girlfriend, let her relationship with her ​​mother, and the people are dealing with the total of the dead to life and shows that his death and decide.
(Shaun of the Dead)

39. Two American college students on a walking trip of Great Britain, it is not to be a werewolf army.
(An American Werewolf in London)

40. The famous author of a car crash or support any- "or".

41. Breaking the 3 important rules about her new pet, the men of the horde and monsters and towns malevolently broken request.

42. In a recently deceased ghosts pathological attachment to the house to remove a new "bio-Exorcist" of the program.

43. A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to be the leader of side-show performers, but his flow of friends and find that it is the only husband and wife are sleeping.

44. Brother, commands the composer looking for a new love and an opera singer.
(The Phantom of the Opera)

45. M St. Bernard "Cujo" contracts rabies name for the rule of terror on a small American town.

46. Paranormal researchers and scholars and women are called to haunted Mansion. Immediately began to lose his mind.
(The Haunting)

47. A great white shark begins a relationship is critical that the small island nation, set out for the chief of police, a research and grizzled fisherman let out.

48. Since there are m dead, two Philadelphia swat one, a message of the great plagues, and television-head with a friend looking for a refuge various market places.
(Dawn of the Dead)

49. The people and the police cadet leaders, and not the Scottish island country in search of a missing girl. Visitors to the pagan religion.
(The Wicker Man)

50. A surprise storm Angeles-water swamps of shark scare people as a whole, the death, and, sea, air and land outside.

How many did you get right?

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite Genre-Switching Covers

If you know much about my music taste, you know I have a fondness for covers that sound nothing at all like the original version. I'm fascinated when artists slow down goofy songs, cheer up sad ones, or just generally change it up. Why cover a song if you're not going to put your own spin on it, after all? Here are a few of my very favorite weird covers!

(As always, * = not family friendly)

Badi Assad from Flickr via Wylio
© 2006 Borya, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio
Ring of Fire by Adam Lambert, originally by Johnny Cash

*My Humps by Alanis Morissette, originally by Black Eyed Peas

Umbrella by The Baseballs, originally by Rihanna

*Get Low by Dan Henig, originally by Lil Jon & Eastside Boyz

Bangarang by Dario Fo, originally by Skrillex

Rolling in the Deep by Dirty Loops, originally by Adele

My Favorite Things by Family Force 5, most famously by Julie Andrews

Holding Out for a Hero by Frou Frou, originally by Bonnie Tyler

*Baby Got Back by Jonathan Coulton, originally by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Blow (Deconstructed) by Ke$ha, originally by Ke$ha -- she covered herself

Once Upon a Dream by Lana del Rey, originally from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty

Who Let the Dogs Out by Matt Mulholland, originally by Baha Men

I Will Always Love You by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, originally by Dolly Parton and famously covered by Whitney Houston

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Paul Anka, originally by Nirvana

Single Ladies by Pomplamoose, originally by Beyonce

*Get the Party Started by The Rebeatles Project, originally by Pink

You're Still the One by Roper, originally by Shania Twain

All I Want for Christmas Is You by Sam Tsui, originally by Mariah Carey

California Dreamin' by Scala and Kolacny Brothers, originally by The Mamas & The Papas

*Thrift Shop by Scott Bradlee, originally by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Leaving On a Jet Plane by Slightly Stoopid, most famously by Peter, Paul & Mary

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? by Stellar Kart, originally from the Frozen soundtrack

Both Sides Now by Susan Egan, originally by Joni Mitchell

I Wanna Hold Your Hand by T.V. Carpio from Across the Universe, originally by The Beatles

*97 Bonnie and Clyde by Tori Amos, originally by Eminem

Wannabe by Zebrahead, originally by Spice Girls

I'm always on the lookout for new songs -- so what are your favorite genre-switching covers?

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Quest for Forgiveness: Chapter 2

Last time, we learned about the better-than-everyone-else Brianna Bays. Her lawyer/manager friend went off to find her lost family, only to discover both her parents are dead and her mother's Iraqi parents have a hit out on Brianna. We're now entering a flashback about something mysterious Brianna did that was wrong and hurt somebody.

We jump into this flashback in 1994, where Brianna is three years old and living in an orphanage in Iraq that seems to be more than a little Annie-esque. It's a hard knock life indeed for Brianna, who laments that she "merely existed."
She asked, but no one knew anything about her past life. There were no pictures of her as an infant, no accounts of her being held or loved. Nothing! It was almost as if her past was erased, or she had never been born.
These are some deep angsty questions for a three-year-old...

Time goes on, and Brianna keeps not getting adopted. She's convinced it's because she has blue eyes and a heart-shaped birthmark on her face.
Brianna longed to live a normal life and play games that little girls played. Dolls , dress-up, and jump-rope were things she desired to do, but unfortunately never would.
I'm not entirely sure how she's aware of these things at this age and in her situation. Is there a TV showing these things in movies or shows? If the orphanage has a TV and TV coverage, how can it not afford ropes? You don't even need a jump rope to jump rope. You just need a rope. Surely that can't be that difficult to come by.

Brianna lives for a little while in a house that is apparently going to do sex trafficking with the kids they adopt, but before they get around to that, the kids are rescued. The kids with families are sent back to them, and the orphans are reassured that they'll get adopted, but Brianna gets extra sad because she's convinced she's never going to be adopted.

The man in charge of the rescue talks to Brianna for awhile, including talking about God and making her repeat a Bible verse in English, which she does not speak. Then he renames her:
“Now, Little Miss, your name is not ‘Wesh-m,’ anymore. You will be called ‘Janna,’ which means, ‘God is gracious.’”
I'm assuming he has some reason to know that this is what Janna means, but I like to think he's just a walking baby name book. Or he names every orphan he sees "Janna" because it's the only name he knows the meaning of. (Incidentally, Janna does indeed mean something like "God is gracious." Yay research! We don't get a lot of that in these books!)

The man, whose name is Ethan Anderson, decides to adopt BriannaWesh'mJanna and take her home to Arizona. They talk a lot on the plane, and during the stretch from L.A. to Phoenix, he teaches her "This Old Man." (Apparently one of the themes of Ethan's life is that he sings a lot.)
He smiled at the child and repeated the song, teaching her the words and motions . Before long some of the others on the plane sang along. By the time they landed in Phoenix, she and many of the passengers knew the words and actions by heart.
As we see in Skye later, Rothdiener has no idea about appropriate airplane behavior. I would not be fond of a "This Old Man" sing-along that ran for the entire duration of a flight, even a short one like this.
The flight attendants were humored by the antics of the passengers.
"Oh, I wish I had more flights where people sang the same nursery rhyme for an hour and a half!"

Ethan talks more about Jesus. The scene's preachy, but not horrific, so we'll skip past it and move ahead to where we meet Ethan's wife, Susan, and get some back story about her:
She was a college student, a business major, when she first met Ethan. After graduating, she landed a lucrative career at a large cosmetic firm. Advertising was her specialty. Her glowing face was often seen on commercials, billboards, or in beauty magazines.
Business majors working in advertising don't frequently end up in the spotlight -- that's more typically done by, you know, models or actors -- but the book does make a point of telling us a lot about how beautiful she is. She won some beauty pageant once. I just like imagining her at work: "I have an idea for a new campaign. And it will feature... ME! Again. Of course."

We discover that Ethan wanted to be a missionary, but when he got married he settled down to be a counselor and college teacher instead, and he's always felt there was something missing as a result.

Susan is super nasty to Brijanna right from the start, making a face at Brijanna's birthmark and then saying, "This is your idea, you know, not mine!" to Ethan. So we've got a Cinderella's stepmother situation here for sure.

On the ride home, Susan gets all kinds of snarky about the birthmark, saying that kids are going to make fun of her because they make fun of kids with disabilities and that she's going to make it tough for Susan and Ethan's other kids to follow her in school because of it. Dang. Ethan snarks back at her, since she's the most ridiculously shallow person on earth, and everything is awkward.

At one point, Susan, who is pregnant with twins, talks about wanting to go back to work after the babies are born, and this exchange happens:
With certainty, Ethan replied, “Susan, nothing is more important than raising our children.” 
“Oh, I see, a woman’s place is in the home!” 
Her words stung. Without backing down, Ethan glanced at her out of the corner of his eyes. “At this point in our lives, yes, it is.” 
With that, the conversation was over. Susan knew she had gone too far.
1) She had "gone too far"? By daring to insinuate she wanted to go back to work? Well, that's a line you just do not ever cross in this family, I guess...

2) ETHAN WHAT DID YOU DO. If he plans to leave the child-rearing to Susan, adopting a new child who has been neglected before is the worst idea.

Also, it's worth mentioning that this is one of those situations where I really have a problem with defaulting to the "man works, women takes care of the kids" scenario. Susan clearly likes her job more than he does (and almost certainly makes more money) and he clearly likes taking care of the kids more than she does. The scenario they have going right now will make everyone in the house miserable, and it's the kids who are going to suffer the most.

Ethan and his wife apparently live in a massive five-bathroom house, which seems really unnecessary for their family, which consisted of three people before Ethan abruptly adopted Brijanna. Susan seems pretty high maintenance but I seriously doubt she needs three different bathrooms for her morning routine.

So time goes by, the twins are born, Susan is still an awful person, Ethan gets sad, and Brijanna is bitter.

There are a few things Brijanna does like: music and the ocean.
Many times Janna would ask, “Daddy, can we go see the ocean?” They would pack their bags and head to Ethan’s parent’s beach home near Corpus Christi, Texas. It was the favorite place for Janna and Eric.
...Guys, that's a 15-hour drive from their home in Mesa.

That is longer than it would take for me to get to the Atlantic Ocean from my home in Indiana. Sheesh, why am I not driving to New York City all the time?

When Brijanna turns 10, things take an even darker turn. She gets all rebellious and difficult and starts lying to Susan all the time. But Susan's not exactly easy to live with either. One day she smashes Brijanna's guitar because she was tired of hearing Brijanna play.

Brijanna turns 12, everybody stops going to church which is clearly a sign that it's all about to implode, and the book hints that things are indeed about to get a lot darker:
A couple months later, Ethan’s world was turned upside down, shattered. The reason was unknown. Nevertheless, it happened.
Gah. This writing. It's a good thing this is the end of the chapter, because I am pretty sure I couldn't read much more of this.