Thursday, May 30, 2013

Patience is a virtue

Patience and I have an all or nothing relationship. Waiting two years for a movie to come out? Sure! Fifteen hours trapped in a metal cylinder that's carrying me half way around the world by magic (and before you ask, no. I don't want to know how planes stay up)? Absolutely. Not a problem in the world. Be right here, watching movies and reading books and eating terrible food.

On the other side of the coin, if the tram is crowded? MUST GET OFF THIS TRAM NOW OMG ARE WE THERE YET. And basically the minute I order food, I start expecting it to arrive. I can watch the waiter/waitress walk away towards the kitchen and be like "OKAY. YOU'VE BEEN GONE FOR TEN SECONDS, WHERE'S MY FOOD???". Not that I would actually say anything because a) I'm aware that it takes longer than ten seconds to prepare food, and b) no one wants to end up on Not Always Right.

ANYWAY. One of the things I hate most is waiting to get assignments back. Because even though I've yet to get anything less than a distinction in my six and a half(!!) years at university, I still have a small inner panic attack that I'm going to fail every single time.

So obviously, handing in assignments electronically is ideal for me, because it means the lecturers upload the marks to the course website, and send us an email when they've done so. Getting assignment feedback that way is like ripping off a bandaid - over and done with in two seconds flat.

The situation I'm in at the moment is more like having your entire body wrapped in duct tape and the person who did it telling you that they'll be back in a week to take it off: incredibly irritating and more than a little stressful because you spend days building up in the pain in your mind.

In keeping with my theory that he's the ACTUAL WORST, I got an email this morning from the guy who ran the study tour. First of all, you should know that we handed in the last assignment for that class in EARLY MARCH. We have yet to receive any feedback. So my anxiety about my grades is worse than usual. Anyway, this email said several things:
1. That he's received our assignments back from the US.
2. That he'll arrange a time for us to collect them on Tuesday.
3. That he'll upload our grades at the end of next week.

So my choices at the moment are: a) rock back and forth in the corner biting my nails until Tuesday, then spend 45 minutes each way on public transport to spend 5 minutes at uni, or b) rock back and forth in the corner biting my nails until NEXT FRIDAY.


Happy Thursday?

K xx

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Actual longest day ever

Previously, Lor and I discovered that our version of crack is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

The following morning, we were up stupidly early on account of Lor had to drive back to South Florida, and I had a flight to Phoenix at noon. We had breakfast at IHOP, because OBVIOUSLY. Also, it was two doors from the motel. We didn't meet any deranged billionaires there though, which was more than a little lucky. Instead, there were just chocolate chip pancakes, syrup, and a small amount of regret because OH GOD SO MUCH SUGAR.

After breakfast, Lor dropped me off at the airport. I headed inside with a secret hope that I'd be able to get on a different flight to Phoenix, because I was leaving Orlando at noon and wasn't due to arrive into Phoenix until 9pm. Eleven hours of travel. Sadly, I was informed that there were no alternate flights. AND that I was stuck with middle seats for all three of my flights.

Obviously, I was thrilled with this.

The flight from Orlando to Cleveland(!!) was uneventful and relatively short - just over two hours. I was only meant to have an hour or so in Cleveland, so I ran off the plane and went in search of food. A chicken panini and some abuse of the free wifi later, I had every intention of making a John Green style vlog in the airport. I was defeated by a total lack of spaces in which to record, and generally feeling a little weird about doing so. I mean, I'd already taken photos of a plastic velociraptor in the airport. That was weirdness enough...
She didn't approve of the snow.

Eventually, I boarded my flight to Chicago. They closed the door, the plane pushed back, we made it to the top of the runway, and...we stopped. Five minutes later, it was announced that O'Hare had been closed due to bad weather, but that they were hoping it would only be a 15 minute delay. Half an hour later, we headed back to the terminal. And then sat for 20 minutes waiting for a gate to open up... When we finally got off the plane, a queue formed immediately to change flights. Of course, I got to the front of the line the second they started reboarding the plane. But it didn't really matter, because I was going to be on the same plane all the way to Phoenix.

So we reboarded, several hours after we were supposed to have left, and the minute they closed the last door, they announced that we'd have to undergo deicing, and that they'd need to turn the air circulation system off so that we didn't all die of deicing fume poisoning. Or something... It took them another 15 minutes or so to get around to our plane, then about 20 minutes to actually deice the plane. The one highlight was that the woman in the seat next to me had changed her flight, so I was able to sit NOT in the middle. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

The flight to Chicago was uneventful in the end, although by the time we arrived I was pretty exhausted. And hungry. And sadly lacking in books. Thankfully, there was a news stand thing opposite the gate, so I was able to procure a new book easily enough. Food, however, was a different story. The only place that was a) selling food and b) still open was a Starbucks. And considering it was like 10pm, their selections were rather limited...
Starbucks Employee: Hi, how are you?
Me: I've been better. Can I get a toasted bagel with cream cheese?
S.E.: Sure!
Me: Great.
S.E.: Oh wait. We don't have a toaster.
Me: *sigh* That's fine.
S.E.: And we've run out of cream cheese.
Me: Do you have anything else that I could spread on a bagel?
S.E.: Nope.
Me: Of course you don't...

And that's the story of how I ended up eating a stale, untoasted plain bagel for dinner. Upon boarding the flight to Phoenix - which was the longest yet at over FOUR HOURS thanks to stupid weather - I discovered that I was sitting between a broad shouldered businessman and a morbidly obese man. Said morbidly obese man announced that he was sorry I had to sit next to him, but that he flew all the time and had techniques in place to make sure he didn't get all up in my space. He then pulled out a long piece of elastic, looped it around his left arm, and attached the other end to the arm rest on his right hand side.
Like this, but he had the window seat... Also, source

It was thoughtful(??), but a little weird. And I can't imagine it was comfortable. The broad shouldered businessman promptly fell asleep and snored all the way to Phoenix, while I alternated between reading the book I'd bought at the airport and watching the marathon of Buffy season 7 that happened to randomly be showing on the TV in the seatback.

Eventually, over SIXTEEN HOURS AFTER I LEFT ORLANDO, I arrived in Phoenix. Even though it was 1am - FOUR hours after I was meant to arrive - my bloggy BFF Gina met me at the airport. In her PJs, because OBVIOUSLY. It was 1am, yo. And because she's the bestest, she swung through McDonald's on the way to her place so that I didn't starve to death in the (remainder of the) middle of the night. In short, bloggy friends are the bestest friends.

And then I pretty much passed out forever.

Next up, Gina's kids are HILAR. Also, singalong Les Miserables and a trip to Outback.

K xx

Monday, May 27, 2013

Movie Monday: Thor

It had been a whole 2-3 weeks since I'd seen a Marvel movie. Obviously, this had to be rectified. And what better way to do it than with a Marvel movie I'd somehow only seen once?!

Reasons why Thor is awesome:
1. Tom Hiddleston. Come on, like anything else was going to be at the top of this list.
2. The coffee shop scene.
3. Kat Dennings. She and her awesome lines are definitely a highlight of this movie.
4. Billowy cloaks of doom. I loves me a good billowy cloak of doom.
5. Chris Hemsworth. He's pretty great.
6. Blue glowy objects. Marvel sure does love those things.
7. Natalie Portman.
8. COOOOOOOOOOOOOOULSON!!! (side note: I am so freaking excited about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. OMG, YOU GUYS)
9. Mjolnir.
Now with added bicep appreciation. Source lost to the depths of Tumblr because
the way Google brings up Tumblr results is the WORST.
10. Ridiculous horned helmets.
11. Anthony Hopkins. Total BAMF.
12. Loki's amazing facial expressions.
13. Sif. She's an awesome character.
14. Table tossing.
15. Stellan Skarsgard.
16. Frost giants.
17. It's directed by Kenneth Branaugh.
18. Idris Elba.
19. Pretty much every scene where someone in New Mexico tries to wield Mjolnir.
20. Drunken Erik.
22. Stan Lee cameos.
23. Tasing Thor.
24. The continuity through the Marvel movies. It's freaking PHENOMENAL, you guys. (Dear Steven Moffat: please watch and take notes. Love, Whovians)

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Do me a favour. Don't be dead."
- "Only one of you can ascend to the throne. But both of you were born to be kings."
- "I have no plans to die today."
- "Run back home, little princess." "...Damn."
- "I need a horse!" "We don't have horses. Just dogs, cats, birds..." "Then give me one of those large enough to ride."
- "I never wanted the throne. I only wanted to be your equal."
- "Is this how you normally look?" "More or less." "It's a good look."
- "I knew this scientist, a pioneer in gamma radiation. SHIELD showed up and he wasn't heard from again."
- "You think me strange." "Yeah." "Good strange or bad strange?" "I'm not quite sure yet."
- "You want me to slow him down, sir? Or are you sending in more guys for him to beat up?"
- "Is that one of Stark's?" "I dunno. That guy never tells me anything."
- "Is there a Renaissance fair in town?" "Call it in." "Yeah. Uh, base? We've got, uh, Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood..."
- "You know, for a crazy homeless person, he's pretty cut."
- "I am not dying for six college credits!"
- "You're big. I've fought bigger."
- "We drank, we fought, we made his ancestors proud."
- "Oh my God, this is going on Facebook. Smile!"

So. Thoughts? Also, on a scale of one to fangirl flail, how excited are you about Thor: The Dark World?

K xx

Friday, May 24, 2013

Two wins and an epic fail

So yesterday was Dessert Day. And it was a very exciting Dessert Day because we were FINALLY going to follow through on making a recipe that I'd suggested to Deidre approximately forever ago (date may involve hyperbole). We had a special guest star yesterday in the form of my IRL BFF, Char. This had the added bonus of meaning that Deidre and I didn't have to go near eggs, which was VERY exciting because y'all know how we feel about raw eggs (icky and gross, in case you don't)!!

We had three recipes to make yesterday, but as you can probably tell from the title, not everything went according to plan...

We started out making gluten free goldfish crackers, except not goldfish shaped because a) none of us own a goldfish shaped cookie cutter, and b) ain't nobody got time to draw faces and eyes on five million crackers. (Word to the wise: we had to add a couple of extra spoonfuls of rice flour to make it form a proper dough. And we left out the xanthan gum because we like to live dangerously)

When we'd made the dough, we all looked at it and went "Pffff, that's going to make about five crackers!". And then we spent the next HOUR rolling out the dough and cutting out goldfish starfish and heartfish and birdfish and star-of-David-fish (because those are the cookie cutters I have that were a suitable size). So yeah. It makes about a millionty. And then we ate about half of them for lunch, because they were completely and utterly delicious. Here's a terrible photo of the ones we didn't shove in our faces immediately:

Next up, we decided to attempt making gluten free crumpets. This was partly because I've always wanted to make my own crumpets and the recipe in the Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook (published sometime in the 1970s, based on the recipes it includes) looked pretty easy, and partly because Deidre has NEVER HAD A CRUMPET. This made me sad for her, and I felt the need to rectify this.

So we made up the batter, and greased a million bunch of egg rings, and everything seemed to be going according to plan:
Yes, the one in the middle on the right is Australia shaped.
And upside down. What of it? 

Except that when it came to the end of the ten minutes recommended cooking time, the tops were still raw, no holes had formed, and the bottoms looked rather like they'd already been in the toaster. So we made an executive decision, and flipped them over, even though the recipe didn't call for it. While Deidre and I peered despairingly into the frying pan, Char set to work Googling other crumpet recipes to see if she could find out where we went wrong.

- Gluten is important.
- They need time to rest after you make the batter, even though the AWW didn't say to.
- Substituting gluten free flour doesn't really work.

Once both sides were cooked, we looked at them and decided that they were more English muffin-esque than crumpet-like. Plus, they were too fat to fit in the toaster. So we sliced them in half and put them under the grill in the oven. Result?

You may think they look tasty and vaguely crumpet-like. You would be wrong. They were stodgy and crunchy at the same time, while also having a hideous yeast-y and chemical-y aftertaste that none of us could describe. No one finished their "crumpet" half, and the rest of the cooked ones, along with the rest of the batter, went straight in the rubbish bin. Which was incredibly sad, but better than actually devoting time to cooking them, let alone eating them. Although honestly, considering we've now had eight Dessert Days (nine, including our Super Sized Dessert Day at Ganache Chocolate), I'm a little impressed that it's taken us this long to end up with a recipe that didn't work...

Our final dish of the day was quite possibly my favourite thing to come out of Dessert Day thus far: peppermint pattie brownies. We made a few minor changes to the recipe - namely, gluten free flour, caster sugar instead of white, and adding a few drops of green food colouring to the peppermint layer because Australian butter is BUTTER COLOURED AND NOT WHITE LIKE AMERICAN BUTTER, and the idea of a yellow-y mint flavoured layer gave me the wiggins.

ANYWAY. Minor recipe changes and a small disaster involving trying to make ganache from 70% cocoa dark chocolate later, the overall result = amazingness to the point where I'm going to be making them again tomorrow because I have the rest of a tin of evaporated milk in the fridge and this is the only recipe I have that calls for it, and any excuse to make peppermint pattie brownies is a valid one. Yes? Yes.

Enough words. Here, have some pictures to drool over:
Yes, Char's about to stab the brownies

Happy Friday, kids.

K xx

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Internet origin stories

It's the end of the month, and that means another vlog! This one is far more awkward than most, thanks to the fact that I can't find my tripod and I tend to gesture a lot when I talk, which made the camera shake a lot.  I made this in literally five minutes before I headed out the door to meet Deidre for Dessert Day, so I apologise for the fact that I'm talking really fast and that it's really poorly edited. There was insufficient space in my word vomit to make decent cuts.

Here's hoping I find my tripod before next month... And thanks go, once again, to Youtube for giving me a series of the most awful faces ever to choose from as the thumbnail.

What's your internet origin story?

K xx

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thunder Mountain junkies

Iiiiiiiiiiit's time for another exciting installment of Kirsti Tells You About Her Trip to the US Four Months After It Happened. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!

Previously: velociraptors, Downtown Disney, and Jeremy Renner.

Bright and early the following day, Alice and Emmy came to pick us up from our motel, and we headed to Disney World. Now, the last time I went to a Disney park was in 1989, and I was *just* old enough to have worked out that there were PEOPLE inside the costumes. So I spent about half the day completely terrified because OH GOD PEOPLE LEGS AND CARTOON BODIES AND I'M BEING ENCOURAGED TO HUG STRANGERS DO NOT WANT. See?

That's the only photo of me with a character. Also, please marvel at my dad's stunning acid wash jeans. And my general toothlessness. And the many bumbags in the photo...

ANYWAY. We made it to Disneyworld and Lor and I started judging other people's outfits pretty much the minute we hit the car park. Because we're super nice like that. Eventually, we made it into the park - we'd decided to just do The Magic Kingdom - and headed up Main Street USA:

We headed pretty quickly over to Tomorrowland and headed into Stitch's Great Escape because there was no line. That wasn't all that exciting, and once it finished we jumped in the queue for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. The queue moved pretty quickly, and soon enough it was our turn. But shortly thereafter, the ride stopped. And the place where the cart thing that Lor and I were in stopped right next to a laser point. So I quietly sat there hitting the trigger on my laser gun and giggling to myself as my score increased. After a minute, Lor noticed my score going up, and was like "HOW ARE YOU DOING THAT NOT FAIR". The answer? "Taking advantage of the situation".
Our final scores. 


From there, we foolishly decided to ride the Carousel of Progress, which was hilariously awful and which we snarked our way through because OBVIOUSLY. Snarking is what we do best. By that time, we were all pretty hungry (Lor and I had Pringles and fudge for breakfast), but in our search for a restaurant we found the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. And we figured it was best to ride that BEFORE we ate rather than after. Somehow, we managed to cram all four of us into one teacup, which caused rather insane levels of spinning. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

After lunch, we headed up past the new section of Fantasyland (it was too crowded to actually visit) and ended up in the queue for Peter Pan's Flight. For some inexplicable reason, the queue took over AN HOUR AND A HALF, and by around half an hour in, Lor and I were into the giggly stage of "I have been standing in this queue for too long". So when we spotted a woman in the next row of the queue wearing a full body jumpsuit that was lemon yellow with grey and pink chevron patterns and bright orange running shoes, it was all over. We broke into hysterical giggles any time we passed this poor woman and her insane outfit. After that, the ride itself was something of a let down.

Our next stop was It's a Small World because apparently we're masochists. And you guys have probably already seen the results of our ride through that... After that, we stopped for Mickey Mouse shaped ice creams and a trip through the Haunted Mansion, then into Frontierland. Lor and I got express tickets for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which Emmy and Alice didn't want to ride, and then the four of us headed over to ride Pirates of the Caribbean while we waited. The movie-ification of the ride would probably disappoint those who are Disney classicists, but pfff. Captain Jack Sparrow is awesome, and I don't think they could really NOT include him after the success of the movies.

Then we rode The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, because apparently we're seven years old, and got pineapple Dole Whip, because OBVIOUSLY. Clever Girl enjoyed it rather a lot.

Once we'd finished our enormous ice creams, we split up: Lor and I headed towards Thunder Mountain, while Alice and Emmy headed back to Main Street to go and visit the princesses, with an arrangement to meet up in an hour and see the fireworks. We had a total blast on Thunder Mountain, so much so that when we got off and the wait time was only 10 minutes, we jumped straight back in the line again. We had just as much fun the second time around. We still had some time to spare before we met the girls, so on our way over there we jumped on the teacups and recorded some ridiculous video footage, because OBVIOUSLY.

Alice and Emmy had snagged a prime spot from which to see the fireworks, although I will admit that I saw a decent chunk of it through my camera...

Once the fireworks were done, we headed over to Main Street to grab a spot for the parade. Except that just after we found a prime spot, the security guards came through and ushered everyone back from the curb and into a much smaller area. So we grabbed a bite to eat from a nearby snack place (I'm pretty sure I had a bucket of chips), and then discussed what we were going to do. Emmy and Alice wanted to see the parade, while Lor and I had the following conversation:
Me: So...
Lor: So......
Me: Thunder Mountain?

So we raced back there and rode our favourite ride all over again, giggling hysterically throughout. The view over the park was rather spectacular, I must say.

Then we wandered back towards Main Street past the parade, which was kind of insane in parts:

And then we met the girls by the entrance to the Magic Kingdom and made our very weary way back to the car, then to the motel where Lor and I bid Alice and Emmy a reluctant farewell. And then proceeded to rearrange the furniture in our room so that we could vlog even though it was after midnight, because OBVIOUSLY.

Next up, the longest flight from Orlando to Phoenix of EVER.

K xx

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Am lost, send help

Earlier this evening, I realised that I'd forgotten to check xkcd yesterday. And yesterday's xkcd comic was about Geoguessr. Obviously, I was like "Oooooh, that sounds like fun!" and have spent the past two hours on there.

The problem I'm having is this: it keeps dumping me on obscure rural roads in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and the only clues I'll have to go on are the following:

  • This road is insanely straight.
  • I clicked 5,000 times and finally came across a car. It was driving on the right. This cuts out Australia, New Zealand and the UK as possibilities. 
  • There are no gum trees. 
  • Is that a sheep or a piece of rubbish in a paddock?
  • It's sunny.
  • The one house I've passed in my 5,000 clicks has had a mailbox on a stick by the side of the road. This limits it to North America. 

Yeah. That really helps me narrow it down to ANYWHERE EVER. 

The problem with this is that I'm a perfectionist, and anything less than 20km of being completely correct is not good enough. So I could just guess wildly and be totally wrong and move on to the next one. But NO. I have to spend half an hour of my life trying to work out where I am. 

My favourite so far? On a rural road about 15km outside a town in Manitoba with a population of 501 people. Yeah. Thanks, GeoGuessr. That was really easy.........

Out of the two rounds I've played so far, I've gotten a grand total of ONE that's been in an urban area. Please go and play GeoGuessr and tell me that I'm not alone in being dropped on roads with no identifying features for miles in any direction???

K xx

Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Monday: Eurotrip

In honour of the amazing fabulousness that was Eurovision, there was only one movie I could see fit to watch this week: EUROTRIP. Yes, it's completely and utterly ridiculous, and mostly found entertaining by teenage boys, and filled with some truly terrible acting. But I love it for completely inexplicable reasons.

Reasons why Eurotrip is awesome:
1. Matt Damon cameo of amazingness.
2.The soundtrack. It's fantastic.
3. Vinnie Jones. There are no words for how much I love Vinnie Jones in this movie.
4. The scene on the train with the creepy Italian dude.
5. Lucy Lawless. LOL FOREVER.
6. Insanely awkward break ups.
7. Fighting the robot guy at the Louvre.
8. The best email alert EVER.
9. The opening credits.
10. Bert. He's great.
11. Scotty Doesn't Know.

12. Spontaneous travel plans. They're the best kind of travel plans.
13. The country introduction montages.
14. Soccer hooligans.
Yup, that's Vinnie Jones opening beer bottles with his eye sockets. Also, source.
15. The double decker bus.
16. English swearing.
17. Mieke's little brother. OMG.
Source lost to the depths of Tumblr
18. David Hasselhoff.
19. Cooper's phonecalls with his boss at the law firm.
20. Bratislava and stereotypes of Eastern Europe.
21. Absinth.
22. Hanging out in the Pope's apartment.
23. Scotty as Pope.
24. Employment from Frommer's.
25. The outtakes and additional scenes in the end credits, especially Joanna Lumley.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "This isn't where I parked my car!"
- "I'm never drinking again."
- "Mi scuzi..."
- "Sorry to hear about Fiona. She's a whore."
- "You guys are the worst twins ever."
- "Cooper... Take off the Pope hat..." "Oh, no, it's okay, I'm Catholic!"
- "This is the biggest sausage fest on earth..." "It's the International House of Sausage!"
- "What the hell is that?" "A traveller's moneybelt! Frommer's says as long as you have one of these, no one can rob you of anything!" "Except your dignity..." "No, you just put that in your...wait, what?"
- "Why are you wearing my bathrobe?" "Oh, I'M SORRY. But somebody PISSED all over mine last night!"
- "Dear Mike, greetings from your American pen pal." "Scotty, girl scouts have pen pals. Listen to yourself, all right? You met a "cool guy" on the Internet? This is how these sexual predators work. Next thing you know he's gonna want to arrange a meeting, where he will gas you, stuff you in the back of his van and make a wind chime out of your genitals."
- "Dear sweet mother of God. We're in Eastern Europe..."
- "Oh, Jesus, Jenny. I thought you were some GIRL."
- "Yeah... um, listen. We're trying to get to Berlin, Germany. Do you know if there's a train coming anytime soon?" "Oh yes! Very soon! They are building it now!"
- "You didn't tell your boss you were leaving the country?" "They would have stopped paying me. Seemed easier."
- "Enjoy Bratislava. It's good you came in summer; in winter it can get very depressing."

So. Have you seen it? Did you think it was the dumbest movie ever? Or a secret piece of genius?

K xx

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The most wonderful time of the year, part 3

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's finals night!!!!!!!! :D

If you missed the semi-finals, you can check out my posts here and here. You can see all the acts on Youtube here, and all pictures are sourced from the individual country pages here.

We're starting with a choir singing an anthem written by some of Sweden's best known artists. And there's some kind of flag parade going down, like it's the Olympics or something. Only most of them are wearing white, because IT'S EUROVISION. Also, it's taking all the fun out of how insane the outfits will be. For shame, Sweden. FOR SHAME.

And now, on with the performances! I'll do proper stuff for the Big Five and Sweden, and a couple of lines for the rest, as they've already performed in the semis. On with the show!!

France - Amandine Bourgeois
She's wearing an insane fringed leather dress and it's kind of blues-y. Couldn't be more different from last year's French entry, but I'm kind of liking it. Although she sort of reminds me of Veruca from Buffy, so now I don't know how to feel. Gah. Nicely rock-y and very minimalist in terms of visual effects. A good start to the night!

Lithuania - Andrius Pojavis
I think I like this better than I did in the semi-final. The lyrics are still kind of insane though.

Moldova - Aliona Moon
Time for the insane costumes to commence!! I still hate her hair with a fiery passion. She brought her A game though, so at least the singing didn't suck. 

Finland - Krista Siegfrids
Oh God, here we go. I'm pretty sure her shoes have gotten even more insane in the past few days. Honestly, I'm a little disturbed by how catchy this song is. Bonus points for the onstage costume change! 

Spain - ESDM
Bagpipes. Which, you know, Spain is totally famous for... She has crazy sparkly eyeshadow going on, along with excessive use of the wind machine. It's kind of rock-y and I think I love it. Plus, their guitarist is wearing a bowtie. Bowties are cool. Her dress looks a little bit like it had an unfortunate encounter with a lawnmower. But it wasn't a sad tragic ballad, so...WIN.

Belgium - Roberto Bellarossa
I didn't think it was possible, but I think he's singing with his eyebrows even more than he was the other night. Wowsers. I still don't really understand why his back up dancers are so corporate-looking, but I think the song has grown on me. 

Estonia - Birgit
Apparently she's preggers, which at least explains her slightly insane cone-like dress. Although I don't know why the footage starts in black and white and then switches to colour... 

Belarus - Alyona Lanskaya
I think the cameraman's drunk - the footage here is totally insane. Also, she's sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiightly flat and it's killing me. 

Malta - Gianluca
I think I like this more than I did the other night too. Maybe he seems more relaxed or something? IDK. He's still insanely squinty from smiling though. The bit where he went out to interact with the crowd was AWFUL though. Seriously pitchy. 

Russia - Dina Garipova
The repetition of "ified, ified, ified" at the start of the song is still crazy awkward. Still, it's a song about peace, and Eurovision goes crazy for that shit. 

Germany - Cascada
I can never work out how I feel about Cascada, because a lot of their songs end up as Body Pump tracks... ANYWAY. That is one HELL of a shiny dress. SMOKE MACHINE. She also seems a little flat and it's making me cringe. It's a pretty catchy song though, and I'm chair dancing which always results in bonus points, but usually leads to songs getting almost no points in the voting. So...there's that. 

Armenia - Dorians
Still going with no. Too much double denim. And hand close ups. Someone really needs to talk to that cameraman. 

The Netherlands - Anouk
I still can't tell if she's crazy pitchy or if this song is just legitimately insane. It kind of sounds like it belongs in a moody teen movie involving a boy with a crooked smile and someone with paranormal powers. 

Romania - Cezar
Cezar, you are the personification of Eurovision. I love you. And I'm kind of obsessed with your song. And you nailed that performance.

UK - Bonnie Tyler
Oh, Bonnie. If you were singing Total Eclipse of the Heart, I would be totally on board with your presence here. Sadly, you're not. At least it's an improvement on last year's Engelbert Humperdinck?? Wow. Bonnie, honey. This is pretty awful. The UK *really* doesn't want to win, do they?! It's entirely possible that this is WORST than Engelbert. I didn't think it was possible. She HAS broken out the wind machine and a levitating stage, so I guess that gets her like half a point... 

Sweden - Robin Stjernberg
He's dressed in all white and has Jedward hair. Things are off to a good start. The stage is flooded with smoke and he has back up dancers doing acrobatics. The amount of make up he's wearing is slightly terrifying though. His song's not bad, but it's crazy repetitive. Fireworks AND a curtain of sparks falling from the roof. He definitely brought his A game! 

Hungary - ByeAlex
Ugh. Still hipsters, still a boring song, still all kinds of nope. 

Denmark - Emmeline de Forest
I still love this song and her Ronan Keating lookalike on the fife and side drum. AND they just released sparkly confetti in the arena! Denmark are going above and beyond tonight. 

Iceland - Eythor Ingi
Thor! I didn't notice last night, but he has awesome jewellery going on. And he just did a seriously hard core "throw the mic stand out of the way" move. Awesome.

Azerbaijan - Farid Mammadov
This is still awesome, and I still don't understand how the guy in the box is doing all the stuff he's doing. Because it's hella impressive. 

Greece - Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis
Oh Greece. You're still insane and confusing and brilliant. Love every second of it. 

Ukraine - Zlata Oglavich
The eight foot tall man in a Braveheart costume is still insanely confusing. She appears to have kicked her dance moves up a notch since the other night. Although she still can't really move in her silly mermaid dress. 

Italy - Marco Mengoni
The last of the big five. He's singing in Italian, so I have no idea what's happening. It's all very minimalist, and I'm not sure what to make of it. Yet another impressive set of eyebrows, but at least he's not using them as back up performers. I'm kind of loving his blue/green/teal suit though! 

Norway - Margaret Berger
Her hair is as awful as it was during the semi-final, but the song is still awesome. And her dress is pretty great. 

Georgia - Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani
Time for the only duet of the night. I think the song's grown on me? I think. I can't really tell, to be honest. Maybe if I wasn't distracted by her insanely sparkly dress I'd like it better.

Ireland - Ryan Dolan
The final song of the evening brings us tattooed shirtless men in very shiny trousers. I'm still a little disappointed that it's not Jedward for the third year in a row. Sigh. The song's not terrible, but the crazy dance moves are hilarious. 

And we've got last year's winner, Loreen, as the interval entertainment. Awesome! Although I'm not quite sure why she's got wings... Oh. Because she was going to get hauled up into the air. OF COURSE. And an ABBA tribute, although no actual ABBA. Sad panda. 

On to the voting! Hurrah, awkward satellite linkups from all over Europe. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!! I'm not going to go through the individual results because we've be here FOREVER. So let's cut straight to the good stuff.

The winner is...*drum roll*...DENMARK!!! It's ever so slightly disappointing because she was the favourite, but at least it was a decent song. And hopefully this means more people playing the fife into the future!! Still, I'm sad that Romania weren't higher up the points than they ended up... 

See you all in Copenhagen next year!!

K xx

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The most wonderful time of the year, part 2

If you missed last night's post covering semi-final 1, go and check it out before you read this.

For those who've read it, let's get going on semi-final 2!! Once again, you can see all the acts here (The former is mostly preview videos, and the latter may only work in Australia). And once again, all images were sourced from the individual country profiles here.

Here's hoping Malmo delivers us less ballads than last night, or I may just cry... 

Latvia - PeR
OH MY GOD. The Latvian version of Jedward. They're wearing the sparkliest suits ever. And are alternating between singing, rapping, and bouncing around like idiots. Also, they have a keytar player. And a guy whose guitar has an iPad in it?? Awesome. We're already off to a better start than last night!! The song's incredibly repetitive but pretty catchy. WHEEE, STAGE DIVING!! That was kind of great, in a trashy Europop way. 

San Marino - Valentina Monetta
It's the girl who sang the Social Network song!! Only she's ginger this year. One wonders if her song any better than last year's trainwreck... Um. She's waving a giant glowing ball around the stage. So while the song is less awful, I'm still pretty confused. She appears to be wearing a nightie borrowed from Morticia Addams, with a nice ON STAGE COSTUME CHANGE!!!! billowy cloak of doom effect. Pretty great compared to last year.

FYR Macedonia - Esma & Lozano
A t-shirt with a tuxedo? Uh. Sure? And OH MY GOD you have to watch the video for this because her dress is freaking insane. It's like the crazy baby of a sari and a flamenco dress. Awesome. The song is...I honestly have no idea. It's like a combination of 12 different factors and I can't work out what they add up to. I think I like it though. 

Azerbaijan - Farid Mammadov
You'll be thrilled to know that his eyebrows are less terrifying than in that picture. Which is a relief. For some reason, he's on top of a perspex box with a person in it. And said person is doing acrobatic stuff in the box. Ohhh. I think the person is meant to be his shadow. That's pretty cool!! And he's kind of adorable. And now there's a girl in a billowy dress with an insane train. And the box is getting filled with rose petals or confetti or something. I'm kind of loving this. Way to bring it, Azerbaijan. 

Finland - Krista Siegfrids
Apparently her back up dancers are known as "Team Ding Dong". LOL WHUT. Oh dear God. She's in a wedding dress and pink booties. And one pink glove. This is........awful. Even by Eurovision standards. It sounds like it was written by Anastasia Steele... They just pinned a giant sheet on her head. FIREWORKS!!! And ON STAGE COSTUME CHANGES!!! Her back up dancers just went from purple crushed velvet tuxes to pink bridesmaid's dresses. And a girl-on-girl kiss at the end. Because...of reasons?? IDK. 

Malta - Gianluca
SBS didn't have a picture. Thank God for the Beeb.
Apparently this dude's a medical doctor as well as a singer. Who's not?! Awwww, he has a ukelele player. It's kind of John Mayer-esque... He's very squinty, but he looks like he's having a good time, so I guess that's what matters? Another song where we have the lyrics on the screen. How thoughtful. Apparently the song is about not procrastinating. Whut. It was kind of catchy, but lacking in ridiculous theatricality. 

Bulgaria - Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov

There are a shit ton of drums on stage right now. Along with Bulgarian bagpipes. One of the drummers has an EPIC mullet. Awesome. She seems a little out of tune. The backing singers look INSANELY bored and kind of awkward. Okay, now it sounds like the introductory music to Compass... Are they drumming with glow sticks???? ...There is now a guy carrying a giant face mask. Like, GIANT. I have no idea what to make of it. 

Iceland - Eythor Ingi
Bonus points for having "Thor" in his name. It's clearly hard to sound plaintive while singing a ballad in a language full of choking sounds... It's all very minimalist, but I kind of like it. He seems to be fighting the urge to rock out, which would be kind of great. He's got back up singers now, and is rocking out a little. You know, as much as you can while singing a ballad. Again with the weird hand close up at the end. I think the cameraman has a fetish... 

Greece - Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis
Apparently we're about to get Greek music in a ska style. Uh, okay... The song is called "Alcohol is Free", which LOL. All of them except the old dude are wearing...Greek kilts?? IDK. And they just dropped the bass and now everyone's rocking out. Kind of like their song is the Greek version of the Harlem Shake. I think I like it. I'm particularly impressed by the guy who can RUN around the stage while playing the accordion. Because those things aren't light! Speaking of lights, all their instruments have LEDs around the edges. Awesome. 

Israel - Moran Mazor
Oh my God, Israel is doing a ballad about love rather than something about peace?? I can't even begin to process this. Or the fact that her dress is split to the naval and is like 50% cleavage... Seriously, I can't even focus on her song (which is in Hebrew, and therefore features lots of spitty noises) because I'm scared she's going to have a costume malfunction. MASSIVE KEYCHANGE. And her female back up singer has hilarious hair. And AGAIN with the hand close up. Someone needs to have words with this cameraman. 

Armenia - Dorians

Apparently this song is written by the guitarist of Black Sabbath. AWESOME. The smoke machine is working overtime, and the lead singer is wearing one hell of a hipster man scarf. He also appears to have a tea towel hanging off the back of his jeans, and a scary pair of eyebrows. Another hand shot. And another ballad with a slightly more rock beat. FLAMES ON STAGE. And a guitar solo! I'm not loving the song - it's kind of like the winner's single from [insert country here] Idol

Hungary - ByeAlex
Ohhhh honey. Could you be more of a hipster??? Good grief. And his guitarist has Jedward hair. Ten seconds in, and I kind of hate this song. It seems a little like bad karaoke - like he doesn't quite have the voice to carry it. With a different singer it might be okay. But it's falling flat for me at the moment. 

Norway - Margaret Berger
We're starting off with a seizure inducing light display. She's in a Pretty White Virginal Dress, but it's a bit badass-y with silver studs down the sides. She kind of sounds like she should be in Buffy, playing at the Bronze. I kind of like it. Although I want to brush her ratty looking fishtail braid... The song was pretty great in the end. 

Albania - Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko
Flames AND the smoke machine? We're off to a good start! It's more rock-based than your traditional Eurovision song. Mostly I'm just revelling in the Not Ballad-ness of it all! There's not enough head banging at Eurovision, if you ask me. A GUITAR THAT SHOOTS SPARKS. Excellent. I approve. 

Georgia - Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani
The guy that wrote this wrote last year's winning song. Hmm. Interesting... The smoke machine is working overtime. Her dress looks like it was stolen from the Queen. I feel like this is one of those songs that grows on you. But right now, I'm not really feeling it. Although they've added a massive key change and a shower of sparks from the ceiling, so that definitely takes things up a couple of notches! Aaaaaaaand the wind machine's just picked up to blow her dress everywhere. 

Switzerland - Takasa
The old guy in the photo up there is NINETY FIVE. Awesomeness. There's a marching drum, a flying V guitar, a double bass, and a trombone. And it's a rock song. How can you not be on board with that?? Their female singer has awesome shoes. I want them. And the guitarist is pretty cute. But the song was kind of meh. They're a Salvation Army band, that pretty much tells you all you need to know! 

Romania - Cezar
Is it just me, or does he look like a Romanian version of Rupert Everett?? The smoke machine is working overtime. And his costume is HILARIOUS. He has an insane range though. He's currently singing contralto and HOLY HELL. He also has some guys doing a weird interpretive dance in front of him. Now he's rising up into the air and is singing higher than I can. Whut. FLAMES!! Awesome - it's kind of like watching Dracula sing falsetto. AMAZING.

Well. Malmo definitely kicked it up from last night! Which is something of a relief. Hurrah for less ballads!! 

Who's made it through to the finale? Let's find out!!!

1. Hungary
2. Azerbaijan
3. Georgia
4. Romania
5. Norway
6. Iceland
7. Armenia
8. Finland
9. Malta
10.  Greece

Are you watching the big finale tomorrow? Who would have your vote given the opportunity?? And - most importantly - are you hoping that ABBA turn up at some point??? 

K xx
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