Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ultimate 5 : YouTube Guilty Pleasures

If I'm in the mood to let the Internet entertain me, this is where I turn. It is absolutely fascinating what people put on YouTube. I don't have anything up there, myself.


Meekakitty, aka Tessa, is a redheaded model who lives in NYC and recently won $100,000 in a vlogging contest- which she says she will use to go to college for video editing. Awesome! She's funny and can sometimes talk really fast and comes up with the strangest things to do on camera, yet doesn't come across as a try-hard. She's a Zelda nerd and she doesn't drink coffee. Everything else, you'll have to find out by watching her videos.

Chocolate Shop Adventure
Tessa + Caffeine=WORST IDEA EVER
51 Things I Found In My Suitcase

2. An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Two geeks. Three cats. Corporal snuggling and cat yodelling.

The Original
Halloween Portrait
Cat Yodelling

3. Michelle Phan

I discovered Michelle Phan by chance, and although I've watched a few random makeup tutorials before (none of which have made me want to race to the drugstore or department store makeup counter) Michelle is in a different class. For starters, she's a professional makeup artist. Her videos are clean and crisp, she does the video separately from the audio so you can actually see and hear what she's doing, all her makeup and tools are listed in the sidebar, and she mixes it up. Sometimes she'll do a simple look I could wear during the day (not that I have - still at the "watching and marvelling" stage of viewing makeup vlogs) and other times, it's a really big, impossibly complex costume makeup tutorial.

Here are a few that impressed me or bewildered me the most.

Glamorous Birthday Look
Easy Autumn
Lady Gaga Bad Romance Look
Sailor Moon Transformation
Kissable Cheeks with Chocolate!

4. Harry Potter Puppet Pals

Some are better than others, and some are not suitable for school-aged kids... but they make me laugh. Potter fanfiction has practically over-saturated the web, but Harry and pals as puppets? I only wish they could have talked Alan Rickman into reprising his role as Snape.

The Mysterious Ticking Noise
Wizard Angst

5. YouTube, Granny-style

Jody's grandmother asked us to show it to her, because someone told her, "You can just type in any tune and it will play it for you - for free!" She was rather excited about this. I was more than a little wary. The person had not told her there were videos to match... Fortunately there wasn't much that could go wrong from her chosen "tester" song, Auld Lang Syne.  (Thank goodness she asked me and not Jody, who can't spell.) I typed it in and explained "suggestions" to her -

"See? There's Auld Lang Syne with drums, or with bagpipes, or a choir - "
"Oh, let's have bagpipes!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Heat

It is something else to be down under, watching Canucks giving their all on the climate-challenged slopes.

To help athletes see the course through fog, childish blue lines have been painted onto the crisp snow - and unfortunately, it's not the idyllic freshly fallen snow we could have hoped for. They've been trucking it in and shifting it all over Cypress Mountain, but the trees are strangely bare of the white stuff.

Rain has also been affecting the field of play. Eight thousand "standing room" tickets have been canceled, for fear that the onlookers will sink into the slush and mud at the bottom of the hill. It's been so bad, in fact, that US skier Hannah Kearney got a hole in her ski from a sharp rock protruding from underneath the thin coating of snow on the ground. But you know what? She still won the gold medal.

Canada has won TWO gold medals, as of Feburary 17th! And TWO silver medals, plus a bronze! We are rockin' it on home soil, but I'd be just as excited no matter where the Games were being held.
Results so far:

Alexandre Bilodeau : Freestyle Skiing - Men's Moguls
Maelle Ricker : Snowboard - Ladies' Snowboard Cross

Mike Robertson: Snowboard - Mens' Snowboard Cross
Jennifer Heil : Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Moguls

Kristina Groves : Speed Skating - Ladies' 3000 m

I haven't been able to watch as much of the action as I'd like - work plus the time difference plus coverage that is, naturally, geared for an Aussie audience have made it difficult to plunk myself in front of the TV.

I did get to watch Bilodeau take the gold, live, and it was fantastic. I don't know how they could have judged it; the results were so close! There were two other Canadians not far from the podium, as well, and it made me so proud. I let out a whoop that I'm sure half our apartment building could hear.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

If I Were a Rich Girl

Oh Sony, why do you torment me? Why do you make an adorable handycam called a Bloggie? It is far too tempting. I am just a humble blogger, not a vlogger...

And Tiffany & Co., since November your sparkling key pendants have been the object of much sighing and wishing. It was my birthday, and then Christmas, and now it's nearing Valentine's Day. Your ads are still splashed across bus stop billboards, and I can walk to your hallowed glass-fronted shop to look at the diamond-studded, antique-styled gorgeousness.

But I hold back, because if I were to look through the window I would go inside. And if I were to go inside, it would be very difficult not to see the keys sparkle behind the display cases. And then... I would be hard pressed to leave the store without one, though it would likely be one without diamonds. And those are not too far out of reach, and even harder to resist!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Makin' it Funky with dc Talk

Today? Not my best day. Not my worst either. When Jody tried to cheer me up with a rendition of "Lean on Me," I couldn't bring myself to help him with it. He was sure I knew the song - and I do - but to be honest, the version that sticks in my head belongs to one of the most stellar Christian rock groups of the '90s : dc Talk.

From the dc Talk website:
"Although various rock predecessors have examined spiritual issues - U2, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan immediately come to mind - dc Talk has taken the notion to new lengths, both in commercial terms and depth of artistic exploration. Numerous Dove Awards, three Grammy Awards, one multi-platinum album, two platinum albums, two gold albums and two gold-certified long-form videos attest to the group's ability to bridge the wall between religious and secular audiences."

Toby Mac. Michael Tait. Kevin Max. These guys had serious cred, and judging from the Youtube and iTunes comments, they've still got it. Hip hop, rap, pop-rock - it's all there as they experiment with their sound, but they never lose their standout voices or their firm beliefs.

I did try to teach Jody the dc Talk version of "Lean on Me," but I hit him with the boys' untraditional bridge first:
Make it funky, make it funky. It's more "fun-kay" than "fun-kee" - oh, just go listen to it already. In the Youtube comments purethug says, "whoa... was not expecting that. it's got everything - soul, funk.. perfect."

After I heard "Lean on Me" after so many years away from my sister's music collection, I tried to think of which five dc Talk songs were my favourites... and I couldn't. There are so many awesome songs, it was more like a top 10.

Lean on Me
Luv is a Verb
Jesus Freak
Jesus Is Just Alright
What Have We Become
Socially Acceptable
What if I Stumble
Consume Me
In the Light
My Will

Those last four are particularly amazing to me. If you think Christian music is all choirs and piano, take a listen, especially to anything from the "Jesus Freak" album.

dc Talk's music was one of the best things about my teen years. It's nice to know that some things stick with you, and even nicer when you come back to them and they're just as good as you remember.

* Free at Last album cover from