Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Music: Duper Sessions by Sondre Lerche and The Faces Down Quartet

Picture this: A great indie/alt-rock musician, plus a talented jazz quartet. What do you get? A truly incredible and interesting musical experience. Sondre Lerche is most famous for recording the soundtrack from Dan in Real Life, and although we had never heard the Faces Down Quartet before this, we can attest to their talents. This is an awesome album, we heartily recommend it to anyone that likes any kind of music.

"Don't be ridiculous sweet darling,
It's so unlike you to be blue.
You had them the moment you walked in.
Oh, everyone's rooting just for you."
- Everyone's Rooting For You

"You can tell me everything,
I'm old enough to know where you have been.
I couldn't ever fall out of our love.
Fact and fiction look alike when such a lightning strikes,
But I believe that I can face the curse of being in love."
- The Curse of Being in Love

Quick vote: This is one of our all-time favorite cd's! Just when we thought it couldn't get better, and he included a Cole Porter song. Incredible!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Books: The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

Our mother's book club picked up a fairly dry, but quite applicable book to read for July, The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry. As a group of mad scientists, they were very interested in the story of the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 1918.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The author is long-winded and gets lost on random (and occasionally pointless) tangents that left us wondering what the point of the book was from the first place. However, during the description of the plague and its transmission, we were fascinated. It made us think twice about public health, and the trends of viral pandemics.

Quick vote: Fascinating in parts, incredibly boring in others. Pick up only if truly dedicated.

Aunt Annie's Two Cents: Did you ever notice how there is swine flu, avian flu, but never canine flu? I feel left out...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Music: Far by Regina Spektor

We are big fans of Regina Spektor and we were excited to hear that she had come out with a new album this summer. We were not disappointed. Far is the same fun music we expected from Regina Spektor's earlier albums.

"So we made our own computer,
Out of macaroni pieces;
And it did our thinking,
While we lived our lives.
It counted up our feelings,
And divided them up even,
And called that calculation perfect love."
-- Calculation

"They started off beneath the knowledge tree,
Then they chopped it down to make
White picket fences.
They marched along the railroad tracks,
And smiled real wide for the camera lenses.
They made it past the enemy lines,
Just to become enslaved in the assembly lines.

Blue lips,
Blue veins,
Blue, the color of our planet from far, far away."
-- Blue Lips

Quick vote: Good album. It was just what we had expected based on her previous work; nothing more and nothing less.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Books: Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

Un Lun Dun is a young adult fiction book by China Mieville about two girls who get thrown from their regular life in London to an alternative universe where all the refuse, oddities, and mistakes from London end up; Un Lun Dun. Deeba and Zanna are the only hope that Un Lun Dun has against the fiercest enemy it has ever seen.

The characters and the ideas behind this book are awesome. We loved the binja, the Un Sun, and the other city names (Bag Didn't, Parisn't, Lost Angeles, Sans Francisco). The plot and storyline however left something to be desired.

Quick vote: This was a fun book. Good, but not great.

Note: This is an Uncle Cushy Book Club Selection!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blogs: Awkward Family Photos

We have really been enjoying the blog, Awkward Family Photos. What's a better way to enjoy your day then to look at pictures of families acting like big fat dweebs.

Quick vote: Seriously, check this blog out, it will make your day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Movies: Hotel for Dogs


Two sad orphans, thrown from foster home to foster home struggle to hide a dog as their only constant. In the city, they find an abandoned hotel and hide their dog, as well as a couple of other strays. They find more and more dogs to keep, and create a host of inventions to care for the dogs. Evil strikes in the form of dog catchers (classic evil) and foster parents. And in the end, everyone is happy.

Quick vote: Alright, this is a crazy cheesy movie, but we did like it. No doggies were harmed during the making of this incredible cinematic experience!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TV: Gilmore Girls

After finding out that our Aunt Jocie watched the Gilmore Girls, we checked it out to see if it was worth our while. We were very pleased to find out that it was a show we could enjoy. The cheesy, witty, and wholesome television show is everything you can expect from a single mother/daughter show on the WB. It is quite refreshing.

Lorelai Gilmore, a daughter of privilege, became pregnant at sixteen, where she named her daughter Lorelai after herself, whom she calls Rory. They live in the small town of Stars Hollow in Connecticut where smarty-pants Rory attends private school and aspires to an Ivy League education. Her mother, Lorelai, runs a local inn, has a hectic dating life, and is ridiculously addicted to coffee.

Quick vote: This show is cheesy aand loveable. We have grown quite fond of the Gilmore Girls and we're excited to watch the rest of the seasons and see what life has in store for them!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Music: Bird Wings in the Bleak by Libbie Linton

Libbie Linton is a Logan singing sensation. We got a hold of her debut full-length album, Bird Wings in the Bleak. We were anticipating good acoustic music, but nothing of this caliber. The album has great production quality with a full band. We love her soulful lyrics, sombre sound, and catchy instrumentation.

"Don’t tell me cancer,
It’s just a curse word.
All this pale light has gone to heaven with the dust,
But this would feel just more like having time to yourself."
--Edith Sings For Us

"shackleton, I’m solid,
Only bored out of my skull,
And these two big wandering eyes they lie.
I’ve no one here at all make me out to be the one I wanted,
To be strong and sturdy for you."
--Shackleton, I'm Solid

Quick vote: Great melancholy music, perfect for listening to while reading or on a long contemplative road trip. We try to take road trips to dog parts and PetSmart whenever possible.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Books: Anathem by Neal Stephenson

We are huge fans of Neal Stephenson's works, from Snow Crash to Cryptonomicon, he's one of the best science fiction writers we've ever come across, and we've read quite a bit of science fiction. We were obviously excited to hear about his highly anticipated huge new book, Anathem.

Anathem is about a world, different from our own, in which a portion of the society seperates themselves into monastaries, that study math, geometry, physics, and other hard sciences; instead of religion. These monastaries are known as Maths, and it's in one of these, that life on Arbe will change forever.

Quick vote: If you love Neal Stephenson, pick up this book. If you've never read anything of his, we recommend that you start on something a bit more smaller and more palatable before diving in.

Aunt Kenya's Philosophy: Some complain that Stephenson is a tad too obtuse, and that he tends to obfuscate his reasoning in mundane and extemporaneous descriptions. I would juxtapose this with the position that he is one of the most intelligent and inventive authors of our time, and this book, with it's 960 pages, it worth your effort.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Books: Tweak by Nic Sheff

After finishing the book we reviewed yesterday, Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, we found out about the companion book, Tweak by Nic Sheff. While Beautiful Boy talks about a travel through meth addiction from the father's perspective, Tweak follows the same story from the son's perspective.

We have read a couple of other books from an addict's perspective, and they are all incredibly raw. At times we laughed, cringed, squirmed, and cried for the plight of a stranger, caught in addiction from an incredibly young age. We feel for him, we sympathize, we scorn, we judge; it's a book that consistently evokes an emotional response of some sort.

Quick vote: We liked Beautiful Boy better, but we still thought this was an interesting read, and compelling for its rawness.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Books: Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

Our father recommended the memoir Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, and we always read the books that our father tells us to, because we are good dog-ters.

David Sheff records the details of his son's decline into meth addiction in heart-wrenching detail. The book starts with his son's birth, through a difficult divorce with complicated split custody, dating and remarriage, new children, and finally to the point where Nic starts to lose track of himself. He becomes addicted fast and early, struggling through rehab, relapse, and tragic addiction. It was fascinating to read.

Quick vote: This book was raw, wrenching, heartfelt, and touching. We loved it, but were relieved when we had finished it.