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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy


Adam Lambert or Adam Levine? A guide to telling the difference

Two tall, good-looking, tattooed, stylish, Jewish-American pop singers with the same first name and same last initial.


Can’t tell which Adam’s on the left, which one’s on the right? Here’s some help.

Looks like Elvis?

That would be Adam Lambert.

A collage of Presley / Lambert, Presley / Lambert…
“Tonight, Elvis is dead… And love is a satire” (Adam Lambert, Ghost Town)

Moves like Jagger?

Then it’s Adam Levine.

I hear that this guy has got the moves like Jagger

Lead singer of Maroon 5?

That would be Levine.

Levine front and centre

Lead singer of Queen?



Keeps hunting for The Voice?

That would be your Adam Levine, long-time judge on NBC’s The Voice.

Levine doing the judging thing in the big, spinny red chair

Was almost the American Idol (and definitely has the X-Factor)?

It’s Lambert who first gained fame in season 8 of American Idol.

Adam Lambert re-creates his American Idol audition (singing Bohemian Rhapsody, natch)

And is now a judge on X-Factor.


Was covered on Glee?

Levine. They did versions of “Moves Like Jagger” and “Misery”.

I rather like this Moves Like Jagger / Jumpin Jack Flash mashup

Did covers on Glee?

Lambert, who appeared in a number of season 5 episodes.

Adam Lambert’s last Glee performance

Guess he did just want to be a rock star—he left the show to tour with Queen.

Dates models?


Levine rebounded from his breakup with a model by dating this Victoria Secret model

Is a model?



Can’t keep his damn shirt on?

If you see abs, that’s Adam Levine.

One of oh-so-many shirtless Levine photos available on the Google

Won’t take his damn shirt off?

This is about as much as you’ll ever see of Adam Lambert’s chestal area:


(Yes, I know he’s shirtless in the Welcome to the Show video, but with no more than his upper torso ever in frame, I think my point stands.)

Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys

So a photo of an Adam and another guy getting cuddly is probably of Lambert…

(The blonde is a guy…)

But don’t just assume…

Adam Levine and Blake Shelton bromance

Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into

Whereas a photo of an Adam kissing a woman is probably Levine…


But then again…


Sexiest man alive, 2013


Sexiest man alive, 2016


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It’s got to be Jamie from Outlander, right? 🙂

As played by Sam Heughan



Some recent-ish news about subjects previously featured in this blog…

KW Glee, who blew us away with their performance with the KW Symphony earlier this year, proved that performance was no fluke as they were named Show Choir Canada’s Grand Champions. They also won best vocal, choreography, show design, and new choir. Unsurprisingly, their spring concert is sold out! We’re going to have to be more on the ball for tickets if want to see them in concert again.

As for the TV show that inspired KW Glee, the last two season 5 Glee episodes featuring Adam Lambert — “Trio” and “New New York” turned out to be… Pretty good, actually. Not so good that I feel the need to watch more episodes of Glee or anything, but worth watching for more than the Lambert pretty.

Adam Lambert himself has been in full promotional mode this week, as his new single has been released.  “Ghost Town” is incredibly catchy and rather, as long you’re OK with the house style (which  I am). Now that I’m no longer in a grief fog, I’ve also been re-listening to his Trespassing album. It’s quite good (and more than just distracting pop, really); very surprising it wasn’t a bigger success. Let’s hope he gets the success he deserves with the new album, out in June.

Adam Lambert on radio

And he’s still handsome. Guess that’s not news.

.But the other “Americans” I’ve been watching, Elizabeth and Phillip, have been recognized with a Peabody Award for Quality in Television. Well-deserved, I think; we’re nearly done watching Season 1 of The Americans and the show only get more complicated and fascinating as it goes. Apparently it’s just as good (or even better) through seasons 2 and 3. Great viewing ahead!


Of him I wish to muse aloud

Adam Lambert is releasing a new single called “Ghost Town” sometime this month, to be followed by a full album this summer. I know this, along with many other Lambert facts, because I’ve recently become very interested in all things Adam Lambert. He is my current celebrity crush.

I am a bit weirdly monogamish about these. At any time, I of course enjoy the work and attractiveness of any number of celebrities. However, there is generally just one that I prefer above all others. Currently, that’s Lambert.

Adam Lambert with fringe

He succeeds Roger Daltrey.

Roger Daltrey with fringe

Whom, I believe, succeeded Spike, as portrayed by James Marsters…

Spike in Fool for Love

So I may have a “type” when it comes to celebrity crushes.

A cool, steampunk, glitter-rock vampire with, like, tats and guyliner…

— Blaine’s description of Adam’s character (who is basically Adam) on Glee

Adam as glitter-rock vampire

Of course, for an actual relationship, this type is completely unrealistic—starting with the fact that I will never meet these people. And if I ever did, I would never be beautiful or charming or interesting enough for them. I’d just be another fan.

Although this kind goes both ways. I mean, who would actually want to date a celebrity? Your life suddenly made public? Your identity subordinated to someone’s else’s fame? And having to deal with an artistic temperament? With a partner who’s always off on tour or shooting on location? Who is constantly being tempted by adoring fans and groupies, or having to make out with his coworkers? No thanks!

So, a celebrity crush is all about fantasy. And its unrealistic nature goes beyond just the celebrity vs normal person thing. For example, with Roger Daltrey, I wasn’t really into the present tense him. I mean, dude’s 71 years old! He looks great for his age…

Daltrey in concert

But he’s still basically a grandpa.

No,it was the Daltrey of the 60s, 70s, and 80s that I was into. This was a “time travel” crush.

Daltrey at Woodstock

Daltrey at Live Aid

Now, actor James Marsters is only moderately older than me; his present tense self was just fine, age-wise. Thing is, though, I didn’t really have a crush on “actor James Marsters”. I was really more into his character, Spike. Who was really very different from Mr. Masters. So this was a “fiction” crush. “Double fiction” really, as this was not only a fictional character, but a fictional creature as well. A vampire!

Spike the vampire

The non-vamp face was admittedly much hotter, though…

And Adam Lambert? He’s only 33, and he’s not fictional, so that’s all good. But he is gay. And not in “I can just pretend he’s bisexual” kind of way, but gay gay. So this would be a “sexuality is just construct” crush (or something. I have to keep working on that label.)

At any rate, I’m hardly alone in this impractical attraction.

Lambert is handsome — six feet one and 185 pounds, with patrician features and sky-blue eyes — and he’s unrepentant about flirting with both sexes. Even when you know that he’s gay, it’s hard not to find him physically attractive. And that’s the way he likes it. “I loved it this season when girls went crazy for me,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s all hot.”
— Vanessa Grigordias, Rolling Stone Magazine:Adam Lambert: Wild Idol

It appears that even some straight men get caught up in it.

[On watching the Queen + Adam Lambert UK New Year’s concert]

At the first few notes of Don’t Stop me Now, husband looked up.

“Fucking hell,” he said, “he’s gorgeous”.  This is a guy who is normally fairly heterosexual.

From My Bad Ass Alter Ego (a truly terrific blog about Adam, Queen, and music performance in general)

But it’s not just his physical beauty, or his incredible level of fitness, though both are quite remarkable.

✨🌟✨ 300 HQ pictures of @adamlambert - iHeart Radio Music Awards 2015 via @adamlambert_pic …

Mmm. Pretty. (Photo courtesy

(Particularly that his fashion and style sense have a come a long way since his Idol days.)

Because there are a lot of gorgeous, well-dressed celebrities. Not too many of them, however, sing as well as Adam Lambert does. His voice is often described as “angelic”.

Blast from the Past — Adam singing “Mad World” on Idol

Which again, might not be enough, if he didn’t also sing songs I really enjoy. I am truly grateful that he has revitalized Queen, my favorite band, breathing new life into their music and allowing me to see them in concert for the first time.

Adam Lambert’s beautiful interpretation of one of Queen’s best songs: “Who Wants to Live Forever”

He was also an incredible interpreter of many styles on American Idol, which I caught up with via a 2.25 hour YouTube clip! Besides “Mad World”, I also especially liked his take on Johnny’s Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. His own solo output is pretty small at this point—two studio albums, one live—but also quite enjoyable.

And he not only has the vocal chops; he is a performer. In concert, he is charismatic and fun. And quite the dancer.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I also appreciate that in interviews and such, Adam comes across as a rather sweet person, with an endearingly goofy side. He never seems to take himself too seriously.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Both of these GIFs also from

But he’s not all kittens and puppies. It’s good for a celebrity crush to have a bit of a dark side, for interest. Daltrey seems a very decent guy, but still had a temper (and more than few illegitimate children). Spike became one of the good guys on Buffy, but still and always—vampire! And Adam? Well, he’s the guy who nearly won American Idol, then scandalized middle America with his crotch-thrusting, tongue-kissing performance on the American Music Awards show. Remember?

Basically, the things he does with his hips, microphone stand, and tongue while performance are, well, not exactly “angelic”.

Adam Lambert and guitar

And what does my actual life partner thinks about my celebrity crushes? Well, he’s mostly confused by them. He doesn’t have his own, and doesn’t see the point of obsessions with the imaginary.

 But he’s come to accept it as something I enjoy that is no threat to him–except for his having to attend a few more rock concerts or watch a few more vampire shows than he might otherwise choose to.

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Goodbye to Glee

Glee Season 1I once loved Glee. Season 1, I was completely enamored with the show. There was no denying its flaws—those two terrible pregnancy plots; the sudden and unexplained changes in characterization from episode to episode—but it more than made up for it in originality, heart, and wonderful music and dance numbers. At least for that year.

In Season 2, I still watched every episode, albeit with less enthusiasm. But somehow, the season finale episode just did me in. They’re at Nationals, in New York, the day before—and they still haven’t even written, let alone rehearsed, the original songs they’re going to perform?

Even for the bizarro world of Glee where a high school show choir can sing and dance every new song perfectly from the first take, it was too much. I couldn’t buy it anymore. I couldn’t watch it anymore. Just like that, Glee was off the PVR list and out of my life.

Til Cory Monteith. Now, Finn was never my favorite character, I was never that taken with Monteith as an actor (thought Mark Sailing, who played Puck, was hotter), but it was just so sad when he died. He was so young, and he seemed like such a sweet person, and the fact that he was actually dating Leah Michelle (“Rachel”) in real life… I had to tune in to see how Glee would handle it.

“The Quarterback”, Season 5, was ten-hanky episode for sure (music—it’s an emotional mindfield), but I thought it was a lovely handling of Finn’s death. It was set a few weeks later, cause of death never specified, and focused on how the character’s dealt with his loss. Which, being Glee, was mostly by singing.

Glee Farewall to Finn

And then I stopped watching Glee until—you’re probably thinking until the series finale, but no.

Earlier this month Netflix US made season 5 of Glee available. So I decided to watch the five episodes featuring Adam Lambert.

The first of these turned out to be the one right after “The Quarterback”, called “A Katy or a Gaga”. Auditioning for Kurt’s band (though mind boggles at the thought of Lambert actually auditioning for Colfer, but whatever!), Adam does this incredible cover of Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night”. It so good it allowed me to forgive the rest of the episode, which wasn’t exactly bad so much as rote. So rote the characters themselves make snarky, ironic asides about the lack of originality. Sue somehow still hates the Glee club. Glee cast members might be new, but it’s still slut vs. virgin for the hunk’s attention. And so on.

The best scene from A Katy or a Gaga

Next up, however, was “Puppet Master”. And it has to be said that this episode has two terrific musical numbers: one a re-creation of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” / “Rhythm Nation” videos, another a black’n’white rendering of “Cheek to Cheek” featuring Will and Sue, of all people.

But it’s as though, having put so much energy into these two scenes, they had nothing left for the rest of the episode, which was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. With Muppets everywhere. And characters who seem completely different in personality from what they were on the previous episode I’d watched. And finishing off with that ridiculous “What Do the Fox Say” song. Why? I don’t know!

Blaine and muppets from Glee

(And one has to say that Angel has proven you can absolutely do an excellent episode of television based on Muppets! Having seen and loved “Smile Time”, I think, just made this awful Glee episode even more awful.)

Anglel - Smile Time

Scene from “Smile Time”, Angel season 5

As the AV Club said (not nearly scathingly enough, in my opinion):

It’s like “Puppet Master” is so embarrassed of this plot that it just wants to get to the fun stuff.

That discord is what really feels lazy. There’s no meaning in the mix of songs in this episode or the way these plots have almost nothing to do with one another, even though three vaguely revolve around leadership.

To make it even worse, Adam Lambert’s part is teeny tiny in this episode. (But at least the badness doesn’t rub off on him so much.)

So what was most shocking about the next season 5 episode I viewed, “Frenemies”, was that it was actually a quite decent episode of Glee. Artie and Tina; Kurt and Elliott (that’s Adam’s character); and Rachel and Santana try to maintain their friendship despite their rivalry, with mixed results.

Two more eps to go. (Then Adam left the show to tour with Queen. Good move!)

Meantime, I did in fact watch the finale, after the fact, on City-TV’s website. (Which featured far fewer commercial interruptions than I was expecting.) And much like “The Quarterback”, and much for the same reasons, it worked for me. The first half harkened back to the first season in 2009, filling in the storylines not featured then of how Rachel, Artie, Tina, and Mercedes came to join the Glee club. The characters began discussing Finn only near the end of that half, and then—there he was on-screen, as they replayed the “Don’t Stop Believin’” scene from episode 1.

Don't stop believin' from Glee

Don’t stop believin’

Cue the Kleenex, but very effective.

The second half occured now and in the future, and everybody is happy as their dreams come true, except there is this sadness over everything—because, Finn. Based on the AV Club comments, this was not very satisfying to those stalwarts who actually stuck with this program for six seasons.

But for fair-weather friends like me, it was just about perfect.


KW Glee

I am really, really surprised how much I am enjoying this concert.

— Jean, at intermission

Tuesday night we went to see KW Glee perform with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony at Centre in the Square. KW Glee is a show choir that was, in fact, inspired by the TV show Glee. So they sing pop music, and they don’t just stand there while they’re doing that—all their numbers are choreographed.


The inspiration

What’s different from the TV show? Well, this show choir is much bigger; they have many featured vocalists, not just one girl (Rachel) and one boy (Finn) who do most of the lead singing; and especially; no auto-tune!


The actuality

And what voices, my friend. My goodness, such talent in this community. I’m wondering which of these young people will break out as a  huge star some day. Seems likely at least one of them will.

The set list consisted mostly of what kids are listening to these days, which meant that—honestly—I did not know many of the songs. In some cases I hadn’t even heard of the artist. (VV Brown?)

No matter, They had us at the opening number, a mashup of “Some Nights” by Fun and “End of Time” by Beyoncé, performed by choir only, then carried us through as the Symphony joined in on “Counting Stars” by One Republic mashed with “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.

And then we got Junior Glee, all on their own. Oh, my goodness. These are the 9 to 12 year olds, and they are mostly girls (Senior Glee is somewhat more gender balanced), but their first number featured three young boys singing Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”. They were both adorable and deeply impressive at conveying this love song.

In the introduction by artistic director Amanda Kind, we were told that the youth auditioned based on vocal talent only. All the dancing, they’d have to learn in their 12-week rehearsal period.

But some of them obviously have some additional dance training. “Say Something” (by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera) was performed as a vocal duet, with two of the choir members dancing. It was lovely—reminded me of the performance of this song on “So You Think You Can Dance” (and nearly brought me to tears).

“Say Something” on So You Think You Can Dance

Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” (a rather sappy song, that) was another that featured two other talented dancers.

Adding to the excitement were a great number of costume changes. I don’t know how many, but we didn’t have time to get sick of any particular outfit, let me tell you. (It must have been chaos backstage.) For example, for all-ladies singing of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, the singers were all in sexy black and red. For Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, the outfits were more eccentric. For Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” mashed with Rhianna’s “Disturbia”, more scary.

For the James Bond Medley, the guys were all dapper in suits, of course. For “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine, the lead singer was in a lovely red dress, while the rest of the choir wore black, representing the demons being “shaken off”, per the song lyrics. You get the idea,

And the Symphony? Well, honestly, they were very much in the background—especially in first half. Staging-wise, they literally were seated way back, to allow for so many singers and dancers to do their thing in the front part of  stage. But, they did get to shine more in the second half, which featured more quiet numbers. They actually started playing the second half—the James Bond theme—before any singers were on stage.

And there’s no doubt that throughout, these talented musicians provided solid backing. There’s nothing like live music. And everything was a world premiere, friends. There has never before been a full concert of show choir + symphony. All the scores—all of them—were written especially for this concert by conductor Trevor Wagler.

Another highlight to mention was the performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Obviously, this one has been done by lots of singers. KW Glee had four young men from Senior Glee perform it. Simply the fact of it being sung by four people instead of the usual soloist made you forget about comparing it with past covers, as each did a nice job on his own and their voices mingled beautifully when they sang together. The orchestration was also fantastic. Though the audience probably could have been popping up all night, this is one place where a standing ovation occurred mid-concert.

That was fantastic! It was just amazing.

— Jean, after the concert

A terrific report on the concert by SpokeTV—starting with a bit of “Hallelujah”

Set list:

  • Some Nights (Fun) / End of Time (Beyonce)
  • Counting Starts (One Republic) / Wake Me Up (Avicii)
  • Treasure (Bruno Mar)
  • Toxic (Britney Spears)
  • Bye Bye Bye (N’Sync)
  • Bad Romance (Lady Gaga)
  • Disturbia (Rhianna) / Thriller (Michael Jackson)
  • Say Something (A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera)
  • Beside You (Marianas Trench)
  • Brave (Sara Bareilles)
  • Viva La Vida (Coldplay) / Firework (Katy Perry)


  • James Bond Medley: Bond Theme / Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney) / Another Way to Die (Jack White & Alicia Keys) / Skyfall (Adele)
  • Turning Tables (Adele)
  • No Good Woman (Elise LeGrow) / Rumour Has It (Adele)
  • Shark in the Water (VV Brown)
  • Shake It Out (Florence and the Machine)
  • Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  • A Moment Like This (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Let It Be (The Beatles)
  • See Your Star (KW Glee original, written by Jason Berry)


Shaking up the Christmas playlist

I should warn that my Christmas playlist isn’t much of a traditional one to start with: The only Bing Crosby is a duet with David Bowie. The most frequently appearing orchestra is the one accompanying Brian Setzer on rockabilly takes of Christmas tunes. I have more versions of “Christmas” by The Who than “Silent Night”, by anybody.

Still, I can only take the playlist in small doses. I get sick of it! And lest you think that means I’m a Christmas curmudgeon, I would point out that my favorite Christmas song remains Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun”, with its “I really like Christmas!” sentiment. Because I do. But much of my favorite music could be characterized as loud or angsty rock. And that is pretty much the opposite of most Christmas music.

Still, the seasonal sound is nice on occasion through December (not every day!), and when else are you going to listen to most of this stuff? So it is nice to rejuvenate it with some additions. Some of which I thought might interest more than just me.

A lively take on tradition: “Joy to the World” by Earth, Wind, and Fire

I first heard this on CBC radio, and Google Play is currently giving it away for free. A completely original take and a welcome reminder that Christmas should be about joy. “Somebody clap your hands!”

Joy to the World by Earth, Wind, and Fire

The mashup: “Tommy’s Royal Christmas” by DJ Schmolli,

Nothing’s taking the place in my heart from Spiraling’s amazing mashup of “Do you hear what I hear” and The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”, but I will say that this combination of Pete Townshend’s demo of The Who song ”Christmas” with Lorde’s “Royals” is pretty interesting.

Tommy’s Royal Christmas

A hilarious celebration of Christmas food: “La Tourtière” by La Bottine Souriante

There’s nothing about Christmas in this song, so you just have to know that French Canadians mainly eat la tourtière (meat pie) at Christmas time. The song is lively and danceable, and the lyrics—if you understand them—are hilarious.

La Tourtière by La Bottine Souriante

A song about another late-year holiday:  “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” by The Barenaked Ladies

These guys give a wicked Christmas concert that I was privileged to see a couple years ago. This lively take on the Jewish holiday was the song that stood out for me, giving Adam Sandler’s “The Chaunukah Song” a run for its money as best non-Christmas Christmas song.

Hanukkah, Oh Hannukkha by The Barenaked Ladies

Inappropriately sexy: Mon Beau Sapin by Garou

“Mon Beau Sapin” is “O Christmas Tree” sung in French. This Garou version was an iTunes freebie. Is it just me, or does he sound unnaturally attached to this tree? Maybe he means it as a metaphor?

Mon Beau Sapin by Garou

A great singer at work: “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by “Glee Cast”

This song was used on episode of Glee, but except for the narration, the voice is all KD Lang. And I never get sick of that voice…

KD Lang sings You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

The great Christmas song that never was: “She’s Right on Time” by Billy Joel

Most modern Christmas pop songs are basically love songs set in December, with the singer wishing / bemoaning / celebrating that their loved one is or isn’t around. “She’s Right on Time” falls into that category, but seems to have slipped through the cracks of ever being treated as a Christmas single. Too bad; it’s an excellent song from Joel’s best album, The Nylon Curtain, in which he celebrates that his girlfriend has chosen to forgive his “far too many sins to mention” and return to him right at Christmas time: “I guess I should have known it; she’d find the perfect moment!” (I especially love that he spends most of the song running around getting the house in shape for her…)

She’s Right on Time by Billy Joel (I think this goofy video may not have helped this song…)

And, Band Aid 30 has released a new version of Do They Know It’s Christmas. Sure, the original was better, but this one is helping to raise money for the current Ebola crisis. You should get it. (Or, just donate to Médecins sans frontière.)


Update on Fall TV

A couple months in, thought it was time to report back on Fall TV prospects.

Best new show remains CBC’s Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Although I was also right that nobody is watching it; the ratings are dire. Even though they actually have moved it to Tuesdays, right after the very popular Rick Mercer and 22 Minutes. So I’m not counting on any more seasons, which is unfortunate. But at least CBC has indeed pledged to run all of this season’s episodes.

(By the way, this is no Lost; I don’t think it would be difficult to pick this series up even if you haven’t been watching from the start.)

Cast-drive new shows: Secret Circle and New Girl are in (for now); Ringers is out

One thing I can say about Secret Circle is, they aren’t afraid of casting women. The witches’ circle has four girls and two guys—one of whom (spoiler alert!) died. The adult characters feature quite a few women as well.

The show continues to be nothing more than a teenage witch show; most definitely not developing into Buffy. And sadly, the delicious Gale Harold is playing a “Dad” whose character is unable to get any (so far, only the teenagers get any). But still, it’s engaging enough, for what it is.

… Whereas the second episode of Ringers was so ridiculously awful, we had to drop it. Like, immediately.

But New Girl, we’re sticking with for now. It’s not Big Bang Theory funny yet, but amusing enough.

And I’m pleased that most sexist of the fall outings—Playboy Club and Charlie’s Angels—are already history.

Returning shows: One disappointment; two wins

The Mentalist followed up their completely awesome season finale with the lamest possible season opener: (Spoiler alert) Jayne was purely acquitted of the murder he clearly committed, then concluded that it wasn’t Red John he killed after.

So the finale that seemed to change everything, actually changed nothing. Bah.

But Big Bang Theory picked up nicely where it left off (good that they showed two episodes to start, though, as the first wasn’t quite as strong) and I continue to be really impressed by the mad figure skating skills of the hockey players on Battle of the Blades. Having a woman hockey player in the mix has been a great addition.

Returning shows on the bubble

My recorded episodes of Glee sat unwatched for so long the PVR decided to deleting some itself, along with my request to tape any future ones. (Seriously; it did.) But I did catch a few before they were permanently snatched.

And they actually weren’t terrible. I still don’t think the character of Sue is working, but others seem to have had some reparation, and the dropped characters… Haven’t really been missed. So I may try a few more episodes, PVR willing.

As for Bones, that starts tonight, and is set to record, but I’m still basically dreading it.

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Halloween playlist

Not sure why, as Halloween’s not a big thing for me, but got a yen to put this together. Not claiming these are the ultimate Halloween songs—just which of my songs are most “Halloween-y”. (And I wasn’t aiming for 50 songs. That’s just where it landed.)

  1. Angel Main Theme (the Sanctuary Extended Remix) – Darling Violetta – Live Fast, Die Never (Music from the TV Series)
  2. Another World – Joe Jackson – Night And Day
  3. Ballad for Dead Friends – Dashboard Prophets – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale (Music from the TV Series)
  4. Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell
  5. Beware Of Darkness – George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
  6. Boris The Spider – The Who – Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy
  7. Brain Damage – Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
  8. Buffy Main Title Theme – The Breeders – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale (Music from the TV Series)
  9. Clap For The Wolfman – The Guess Who – The Greatest Of The Guess Who
  10. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd – Pink Floyd The Wall
  11. Cry, Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys) – Gerard McMann – The Lost Boys
  12. Dangerous – The Who – It’s Hard
  13. The Devil You Know (God Is A Man) – Face To Face – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album
  14. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Roger Daltrey – The Lost Boys
    [A darker—and, I think, better—take on the Elton John song]
  15. Down in the Park – Foo Fighters – Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by ‘the X-Files’
  16. End Of The Night – The Doors – The Doors
  17. Funhouse – P!nk – Greatest Hits…So Far!!!
  18. Ghost Story – Sting – Brand New Day
  19. Ghost Train – Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Get Happy!!
  20. Ghostdancing – Simple Minds – Glittering Prize: Simple Minds 81/92
  21. Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  22. Happy Phantom – Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes
  23. Hell’s Half Acre – Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson
  24. Keep Myself Awake – Black Lab – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album
  25. Lost In The Shadows – Lou Gramm – The Lost Boys
  26. Moonlight Drive – The Doors – Strange Days
  27. On the Run – Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
  28. People Are Strange – Echo & The Bunnymen  – The Lost Boys
    [The original Doors version would also do. This cover isn’t much different.]
  29. Phobia – The Kinks – Phobia
  30. Rest In Peace – James Marsters – Once More, With Feeling (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
  31. Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits
    [Though Rhiannon isn’t a very scary witch]
  32. Science Fiction/Double Feature – Richard O’Brien – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  33. Showdown At Big Sky – Robbie Robertson – Robbie Robertson
  34. Something’s Gonna Die Tonight – The Doughboys – Tribute to Hard Core Logo
  35. Spooky Girlfriend – Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel
  36. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
  37. Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s A Doll Revolution) – Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel
  38. Thriller / Heads Will Roll – Glee Cast – Single
    [I don’t have the Michael Jackson original, but I do like this mash-up]
  39. The Time Warp – Rocky Horror cast – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  40. Transylvania Concubine – Rasputina – Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Album
  41. Under a Raging Moon – Roger Daltrey – Under a Raging Moon
  42. Under Your Spell / Standing (Reprise) – Amber Benson and Anthony Stewart Head – Once More, With Feeling (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  43. Unmarked Helicopters – Soul Coughing – The X-Files: Songs In The Key Of X
  44. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
    [A recent acquisition. Ah-oo! Werewolves of London]
  45. Wicked Annabella – Dave Davies – Rock Bottom Live At The Bottom Line
    [So good I’ve included it twice.]
  46. Wicked Annabella – The Kinks – The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
    [One list I saw had Apeman by The Kinks as a Halloween song. What? Nothing Halloween-y about Apeman at all. This one, though, is about a scary witch who snatches away naughty children who refuse to go to sleep. Clearly composed by an exhausted parent.]
  47. Witches’ Song – Marianne Faithfull – Broken English
  48. X-Files Theme – Mark Snow – Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by ‘the X-Files’
  49. X Files Theme (Remix) – P.M. Dawn – The X-Files: Songs In The Key Of X
  50. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) – Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell
    [“On a hot summer’s night, will you give your throat to the wolf with the red roses?”]


Fall means new TV

Last year at this time, I was complaining that so many summer shows were still on, I had no time to check out any new programs. This year, that’s not the case. Both dancing shows are done (one permanently—sniff!), Mad Men is not on until March or something, Flashpoint took a hiatus… My PVR’s been near empty for weeks.

But I need a distraction from the news, which I’ve been particularly depressing of late. So I’ve decided to audition a number of new shows, to see if any are worth sticking with.

Best new show (so far)

Completely unfair to judge this yet, as I haven’t even watched all the new shows I intend. And just one episode isn’t much to go on. Nevertheless, I feel I should mention CBC’s Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays (which, confusingly, actually plays on Wednesdays) as I suspect most haven’t heard of it. It’s a half hour comedy, pretty simple premise: Michael has been in therapy for 15 years for various social phobias. His doctor is writing a book about it.

Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s funny. And feels true. And it has women characters as well, and they even get to talk to each other (not about men). And it’s fun spotting the various Ottawa locations in use. And being Canadian, it’s both unlikely to overstay its welcome, or get cancelled prematurely—at least this season. CBC has no doubt ordered a certain number of episodes, all of which it will broadcast.

New shows I’m checking out only because of the cast

1. The Secret Circle

Because it features the delicious Gale Harold, whom I loved in Queer as Folk, here playing a very nasty warlock. It’s a show about teenage witches in a small town. And based on one episode, it’s… exactly what you’d expect a show about teenage witches in a small town to be. So far, not promising to be more, à la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But still, enough entertainment factor there for me to return for more episodes and see how it goes.

2. Ringer

Speaking of Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar is back in this new series, playing identical twin sisters. Boy, has this one received mixed reviews, some really dire. And sure, the premise is fairly ridiculous, but again based on only one episode, I’m willing to give it a few more views to see how it develops.

3. New Girl

This one stars Zooey Deschanel, and its main selling is most definitely that it stars Zooey Deschanel. It is totally running on her personal charisma. I found the first episode OK. It had some funny moments. I know feminist me is supposed to be offended by her manic pixie dream girl persona, but in a season also giving us a redone Charlie’s Angels and The Playboy Club, (and I’m not so sure about Pan Am, either) it’s hard to work up the outrage.

Returning shows I’m looking forward to

1. The Mentalist

This is one I never would have picked before. Not that I dislike The Mentalist, but it’s more Jean’s show, just one I also don’t mind watching, because the characters are fun and have good interaction.

But I have to say that last season’s finale really blew me away. It was completely gripping in and of itself, in a way that show isn’t usually, it apparently resolved the Red John storyline that had underlined the series since its start (but had become increasingly and a somewhat absurdly convoluted), and in way that I really didn’t expect but still didn’t seem unrealistic at all.

Now, I just can’t wait to see how they get Jayne out of this, and back to helping the CBI solve crimes. (They promise it won’t all have been a dream.)

2. Big Bang Theory

Here’s another show that went out last season with an ending both surprising and realistic, and it should be great fun watching all this unravel. I love this show for its consistent ability to make me laugh out loud. For real.

3. Battle of the Blades

Because the only hockey players I want to see are those wearing figure skates.

Returning shows I’m not sure I’ll keep returning to

I’ve already decided to drop the too-uneven How I Met Your Mother, and I’m not sure about these two:

1. Glee

Because in the past, no matter how bad this show sometimes got mid-season (and it could get pretty bad), it always seemed to pull together a finale that made me love it again. But last season? Holy geez, that was crappy. Replaying the Quinn-Finn-Jessie-Rachel love triangle again? Seriously? It’s the night before Nationals, and they haven’t even written the songs they’re going to perform yet? What?

And having made Coach Sylvester a total cartoon then decided we all needed to cry over her sister, what the heck will they do with her next? And apparently they had some reality show this summer to pick new cast members.

I don’t know, Glee. You’re sitting on the PVR there, but I’m not feeling in a big hurry to press Play.

2. Bones

Brennan and Booth and baby. Boring!

And for a bit of dancing

I have been checking out Nico Archambault’s Ils Dansent, focusing on the training of 10 male dancers. With no dropping of one dancer each week! Just learning new and increasingly complex choreography. Nice-looking show. And I can certainly use the weekly exposure to the French language.