I've taken to listening to audiobooks while crocheting (and doing other things), and I've found myself checking out books that I might not have otherwise, simply because the audiobook selection at most libraries is so much smaller than the print collection. That's how I ended up listening to Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. The author, Rob Sheffield, shares various mix tapes he's made over the years and the time in his life they represent, with the bittersweet edge of losing his wife along the way. Listening, my mind kept wandering to the mixtapes I myself had made, though they weren't really the kind of tape he was talking about.
From 1998 to 2006-ish, I filled 10 and half tapes with my favorite songs from musicals (and the occasional movie or TV song). I didn't really have the intention of making that many when I started, mind you. In the summer of 1998 I fell in love with the OCR of Sunset Boulevard, which I had taken out from the library, and listened to it nonstop. When its due date arrived, I couldn't bear to return it, and I didn't have the funds to buy my own, since a. it was a two-disc set and b. Amazon.com wasn't on the radar yet. But then I remembered that my father had once told me that you could copy CDs from the library because they pay a special fee, or something, and I just happened to have a boombox with a line-in connection (a surprise fulfillment of a Christmas request for a tape player a couple of years earlier), so I hooked up my CD player and recorded my favorite tracks from that, and a few other CDs I had out at the time. I actually lost that first tape fairly early on, but I still remember most of the shows that I pull songs from (including Pippin, The Muppet Movie, and Shenandoah).
Even with the arrival of mp3s and cd-ripping into my life, I continued to make my Broadway mixtapes. I didn't even think of switching to CDs, which means that I occasionally run into songs that I no longer like as much as I used to (if at all) when listening to the cassettes, and have to suffer through them. Which is probably why the nail in my mixtape-making coffin was when I got an mp3 player. To be fair, I was losing interest by then, partially due to the difficulty of finding CDs of musicals that I hadn't heard yet that also had songs that I wanted to keep listening to, and the fact that I no longer had my own CD/cassette player (the line-in boombox died earlier). But the mp3 player basically did what my mixtapes had: let me pick and choose from the best of my collection, with the added bonus of being able to remove songs I was tired of and skip ones I wasn't in the mood for. I still have my tapes and I still like to listen to them and go back to the time when they were made, though I haven't actually listened to them that much since I got my new car that doesn't have a tape deck.
Sorry for the lack of posts this month. Besides the usual things that keep me busy, most of my evenings these past few weeks have been devoted to practicing for, and then performing in, the skits for my church's Vacation Bible School, The Egypt File. Of course, being me, I spent a good chunk of time that I wasn't on stage taking note of the various tropes that appeared in each day's skit.
The overall plot takes place in a museum being opened in Egypt by Claire and Percy Sedgwick, a brother and sister from England fulfilling their late grandfather's dream. Along for the ride are their butler, Albert, and the summer intern, Mackenzie Ross. When the money box is stolen, the Sedgwicks call on Detective Carson Hughes to investigate, and all signs seem to point to Joe the janitor.
Tropes found in these skits include:
An Aesop - Each day's skit has a bit of dialogue (usually delivered by Mackenzie to Claire) that ties in with the lesson presented by the rest of the program.
Detective Mole - Carson Hughes turns out to be an artifact smuggler pretending to be a cop in order to search the building for a hidden treasure.
Reverse Mole - Along the same lines, Joe reveals himself to actually be an undercover cop named Nick Raines.
Spotting The Thread - Mackenzie gives out the clues that lead her to realize Carson Hughes wasn't really a detective: she found his hotel key card, he didn't know where the post office was (instead telling her to have the hotel mail it for her), and a threatening letter she received had the hotel's stamp on the back.
Noodle Incident - When asked how she knew Nick wasn't really a janitor, Mackenzie replies that when she saw him using the floor buffer, she figured something was up. Nick concurs, adding that it was quite amusing.
Saving The Orphanage - The Sedgwicks bought the orphanage next door in order to tear it down for parking. The director, Miss Brown, comes over in a few skits to ask for more time to relocate the orphans, but the demolition crew is on a tight schedule, and the museum really needs the parking. By the end of the week, Claire has a change of heart, mostly due to Mackenzie paraphrasing James 1:27 ("helping widows and orphans in their distress"), and tears up the demolition contract, making the orphanage The Sedgwick Children's Home instead. Which kind of brings up the question, what are they going to do about parking, then?
There are more, of course, but those are all I could find and/or think of. Also, despite the characters' name, no one has a Sedgwick Speech.
So I watched Youth in Revolt today, mostly because I've all of a sudden become interested in movies that have Michael Cera in them (most likely due to the combined forces of the upcoming Scott Pilgrim movie and watching Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist the other week), but it turned out to be a pretty good film. Of course, my opinion of it was helped by a surprised cameo by Fred Willard (all movies with a surprise Fred Willard are pretty good, just on general principle). But on the whole I enjoyed the movie, and the strange twists and turns it took tell its story, which is basically about a teenage boy who goes through a lot, most of it illegal, to get with the girl he loves. It made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, which is more than I can say for some movies that I absolutely love.
This past weekend I got around to watching Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which I put in my queue not because I'd read the book, but rather because I saw the guy who co-wrote it, David Levithan (which I wrote about during the writing meme). The movie was pretty good, though I only knew one song in it ("After Hours" by We Are Scientists), plus it had a stealth cameo by Andy Samberg. I ended up watching it three times over, since there were two commentary tracks, one with the director and some of the actors, and the other with the director, the original authors, and the screenwriter. I enjoyed both commentaries, though I liked the writer one a little bit better, not just because it had more tidbits about the actual story (always my favorite thing in commentaries), but because it had a lot less "it was so cold in this scene" comments.
The real point of this post, though, is to link to a video of one of the special features, a 4-minute puppet version of the movie with 20% more bear attacks:
Seriously, I love this thing. Still makes me laugh each time I watch it.