30 May 2012

+JMJ+

Westlife UK #1 Singles Smackdown!



This smackdown series should have occurred to me weeks ago. Heck, Westlife themselves should have occurred to me years ago. Or even just one year ago: then I could have seen them live. Posts like this are the things I do to make up for lost time because I'm pathetic.

Westlife have a record fourteen UK #1 singles--one for every year they have been together--and just two songs short of a bracket. But that's easily remedied when one of those #1 singles was a double-A-side with another song . . . and when one track that was released internationally but not in the UK would have totally been the eighth consecutive UK #1 hit if they had only made a different decision. (I know this. My name is Enbrethiliel, I travel through parallel universes, and I know this.)

I love all these songs on principle but will be happy to spend the next five or six weeks determining, in my usual scientific fashion, what the #1 single among the #1 singles truly is.

Help me pick the the eight songs which will move on to the next round in our latest tournament bracket by voting in the combox. Votes will be accepted until next Tuesday, 5 June 2011 whenever the heck I decide I have enough. =P So please keep sending your friends over to vote. ;-)

Round 1
The Swear It Again Sixteen

Swear It Again vs. My Love
vs.

Two lead singles of two very successful albums face off. Westlife had hoped Swear It Again, their first ever single, would at least crack the Top Ten. It stayed at #1 for two weeks. By the time My Love repeated the feat, it was their seventh consecutive #1 single. But is it harder to get to the top or to stay at the top?

29 May 2012

+JMJ+

Tutor Tales, Volume 36

Two weeks ago, I got a call from a Korean woman who lives in Star Shaker and Skid Breaker's old building. I guess their mother had recommended me. Excited about my first referral in a long time--especially after she told me she had three children--I agreed to meet her that very day.

When I arrived at her flat, she got down to business immediately, asking, "How much for one hour?"

I told her. Her eyes went wide. Then she said she had been hoping to pay only a fifth of that.

Later, a friend told me: "You should have walked out
the second she dumped that figure on the table."
And he was right . . . but let's not
get ahead of the story.

28 May 2012

+JMJ+

If Only I Had an Owl . . .


Of all the alternatives to In My Mailbox that are now available to us, it is Owl Post that sings to my heart the most. It takes the same idea of mail and multiplies it by magic. What's not to love?

But not all mail comes by owl . . .

26 May 2012

+JMJ+

Locus Focus: Take Seventy-Four


This is the last Saturday of May at the Movies, which is kind of a relief. Who knew that finding--and blogging about--movie settings full of books would be such a challenge? (Well, yes, I complain speak only for myself, but then again, I was the only one doing this!) In the past few weeks, I managed to find a faerie tale library, a controversial bookstore, and a real-life used bookstore. See them on all on the Locus Focus page! =)

Next month's Locus Focus theme will be another "sequel" . . . Since I will be hosting my third June Giveaway, I will repeat last year's theme of Foreign Shores!

But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's spend this Saturday looking at my final movie setting that was a great place for books . . . 

25 May 2012

+JMJ+

A Musical Indulgence

If this blog isn't for indulging myself, then what is it for?

There have been so many times I scrapped a "Reading Diary" or "Twelve Things" draft that I knew my "target audience" would love because it just wasn't happening for me. And there have been other times I went out of my way to write about a book or a movie that I knew would throw everyone else for a loop, simply because I loved the totally random angle it had suggested to me. But these decisions do cost me in comments and return visits--and believe me, I feel that.

What this post really should be is a McFly album review. (Heck, I should have at least three McFly album reviews in my archives by now.) Or at the very least, a Westlife album review. You know, something that makes sense. But of course it would be something else . . .

7 Notes on Insatiable

19 May 2012

+JMJ+

Locus Focus: Take Seventy-Three


Welcome back! We're still celebrating May at the Movies . . . and still playing Family Fortunes! (It doesn't make much sense, does it? =P Work with me here . . .) So far we have the top two answers on the board. One hundred people were asked to name a place where there are books, and most chose either a library (See Take Seventy-One) or a bookstore (See Take Seventy-Two).

Now, if you've ever watched the show, then you know that sometimes what you consider a single answer gets two separate spots on the board. I wish I could give you a really good example, but all I can remember is the time "Something with a button" had Jacket and Cardigan as two different answers. To people as close to the equator as I am, a jacket and a cardigan are pretty much the same thing. =P

But I think the following setting, while closely related to one that has already come up, is definitely a different breed, if not a different species!

16 May 2012

+JMJ+

Happy Poem Day!

studio g Stamp Set Stencil Letter W ampersand & rubber stamp letter q
number 2 Rubber Stamp Number 1

Today is the day Word & Question officially turns twenty-one! It took over twenty-one months to get here, but that's because, here on Shredded Cheddar, we measure time not in arbitrary clumps of twenty-eight to thirty-one days, but in poems. (Learn more about W&Q on the page for Poetry.)

For this month, I have an "extended" form of a very traditional and very well-known type of poem.

15 May 2012

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about You Again

12. There are very few pleasures I feel guilty about, but a certain subset of what we call the High School Movie is one of them. I'm referring to those movies about adults who should know better but who still regress to high school behaviour because they're just not over the past. And I feel guilty because I know I should be over the past, too--or at the very least, trying to get some real catharsis instead of watching actors do it for me on screen.

But it's just so much fun, you know?

11. And I feel less guilty when there is a quote that puts everything in perspective: "High school was a Horror movie! And this weekend is the sequel!" 

You can't choose your genre, remember? ;-)

10. But my favourite quote is: "There are seven billion people on this planet--and I get stuck with Satan's Spawn as my sister-in-law!" What fantastic use of Horror imagery to subvert typical Chick Flick serendipity! LOL! 

9 And as always with Horror--even Chick Flick Horror--it's easy to root for the Final Girl . . .

14 May 2012

+JMJ+

McFly Monday: The Songs Everybody Knows

Tom McFly got married last weekend (Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher!!!), but I'm not about to stalk the Tumblr people for the few photos papparazzi and fans alike managed to sneak of wedding party, so I might as well blog about the recently concluded Keep Calm and Play Louder Tour instead.

Not that I got to go or anything. But when other people go and bring Panasonic cameras with them, it's really the next best thing.

Perhaps the most popular set this year was Everybody Knows, which had a little surprise after the guitar solo.


Many thanks to Charlie Bell for filming this!
(Send her your compliments on Twitter!)

So can you identify all the pop songs in the medley? When I first saw this video, I could sing (and scream) along to all of them but one--and since then, that has been rectified. =) I've lived for stuff like this ever since I fell in love with The Four Chord Song.

As the tour progressed, McFly added a Busted song to the mix. Got to love those boys!

13 May 2012

+JMJ+

Another Book, Another Wish


You don't have to have read books to be able to write about them. I have posts here about books I've bought for myself or received from others that I had yet to get to at the time I blogged about them. But that's because they are stories wrapped in stories--that is, the stories of other writers wrapped in the stories of how I got them--and although I can't tell the former yet, I can certainly share the latter.

It is books that elude my grasp that are trickier to write about, which is why I've only managed two On My Wishlist posts in the past. (See #1 and #2, both from a couple of years ago.) Only very recently has another coveted title proven elusive enough to inspire a third.

12 May 2012

+JMJ+

Locus Focus: Take Seventy-Two!


Welcome Back to "May at the Movies"!

This month's theme feels like a survey on Family Fortunes: "We asked 100 people to name a place where you can find books . . ." I'm sure the top answer would have been a library, which we covered last week with Beauty and Beast. Today, we have what would likely be the second most popular answer. (And after this, I'll just have to scramble around for two more . . .)

Remember that you may grab the badge from the sidebar and write your own Locus Focus post at any time. =)

11 May 2012

+JMJ+

Hit Me . . . with Your Best Prompts


Twenty-one is one of my favourite numbers of all time. It has been since those Blackjack lessons my grandmother gave me when I was nine years old. So I didn't mean for the twenty-first W&Q call for prompts to be displaced from its expected Wednesday position--but Westlife has been on a winning streak lately, and they deserved that space.

Then I saw a Theme Thursday topic I just had to do. You know how it is . . .

But I'm finally open for prompts today and will accept them until Monday. Check out the full schedule after the jump:

10 May 2012

+JMJ+

Theme Thursday 6


Although I don't join Theme Thursday every week, I hope that I make every post I do put up worth reading. I'm really happy that today happens to be a perfect follow-up to the last one I participated in, which was about Food . . .

This Week's Theme:
Drink

09 May 2012

+JMJ+

Westlife Wednesday: #ThisTrophyIsVeryHeavy

Let's start from the beginning. Not the real beginning from fourteen years ago, which will finally end sooner than I'd like to think, but one of many mini-beginnings that lead up to mini-endings that don't have too much bittersweetness mixed up in them.

It all started (as we say) two weeks ago, when Westlife member Nicky Byrne retweeted someone's tweet to him about about an "online poll" Westlife had been entered in.


What a misnomer. Calling a tournament bracket an "online poll" is like calling the Olympics a "sportsfest." And you all know how I feel about tournament brackets, don't you?

08 May 2012

+JMJ+

Twelve Things about The Roommate

12. Rebecca: "I always wanted a sister." I'm sure that's true. It was the mainstream acceptance of birth control and shrinking family sizes which gave birth to modern "Roommate Gothic".

Did you see what I did there?

11. Sarah: "You're the first roommate I've had since [my sister] died." Even a Grade-B Thriller pig can find an acorn. If only on a subconscious level, the writers would have understood that "Roommate Gothic" is driven by the loneliness that comes from the loss of siblings. But I don't know whether they also consciously realised that siblings who are lost before they can even be born can be just as haunting.

Yes, I'm totally making that connection. Shrinking family sizes (whatever the direct cause) also led to the rise of the BFFs.

10. Oh, speaking of sisters, Leighton Meester (who plays Rebecca) and Minka Kelly (who plays Sarah) would be believable as siblings . . .

05 May 2012

+JMJ+

Locus Focus: Take Seventy-One!

Welcome to "May at the Movies: Part II"!

Blogging about books is great, but I'm a fan of other media as well. Thanks to last month's theme of "Settings in Song", I got to feature some music I really like; and now that last year's "May at the Movies" is finally getting a sequel, I get to gush about movies again.

But not just any movies . . . Last May, I gave myself the additional challenge of finding maternal settings and was able to come up with an alma mater, a place from Mother Nature, someone's Motherland, and the most "womb-like" SF setting I could find. It was so much fun that I think I'll do it again . . .

This month, all my the featured places from movies will be places which feature books! =P

Feel free to grab the badge and blog your own Locus Focus. (You don't have to do the extra challenge as long as you follow the main theme.) I no longer put up a linky, but if you leave a link to your post in the combox, I'll embed it at the end of this post and the beginning of next week's post. =)

04 May 2012

+JMJ+

Character Connection 34


The only section in my entire library that could rival my collection of Young Adult and Middle Grade books is that which holds the Great Books. (You know, Books Written by Dead White Men.) If that fact is not reflected in my book blogging, that has to do with the latter not being as cheddary as the former by half. And we love cheese here, don't we?

But I've just spent the last few months rereading a rather hefty Victorian classic with some friends; and now that we're done, I find that it's the only book I really want to blog about this week. So much for cheese.