Weird Things From Google Alerts

Okay, I was listening to Natasha on That’s How I Blog! when my connection, or blog talk’s, not sure, crapped out.  I was going to have to listen to it a second time anyway, since the kids decided to have a screaming match and wanted me to referee.  NOW, now that I’m NOT listening… they’re angels.  Better not type too loud, they’ll be in here fighting and fussing and chasing me off the computer!

*sigh*

So, during Bloggiesta, there was a mini-challenge about setting up the Google alerts.  I set up about 4 or 5, and then I get an email once a day with detailed web traffic that used the terms I put in.  So far, most of them link back to either my posts, comments or tweets.  Or they simply link to posts that happened to contain all the words, but not together. “Reading the other team’s stats, the Welsh rugby team has a challenge ahead of them!” has Welsh, Reading, and Challenge, but has NOTHING to do with the Welsh Reading Challenge.  Silver lining, I suppose, I’m learning a LOT about rugby… lol

But once in a while, it turns up a treasure.  There’s a blog out there named Scaling Mt. TBR and I felt an immediate kinship.  She reads a lot of historical romances and not as many books as I, but we rode the same wavelength.  She even has a Mountain pic in her header, like I do, but hers is massive and snowy and intimidating.  I like my green and trees and lake with the mountain.  There’s LIFE around my books.  I like her pic, too, but I like mine better ;-)

I’ve also discovered the Welsh Reading Challenge is sponsoring the Left Coast Eisteddfod.  It’s posted on the Hiraeth page, as well as being in a widget, but I didn’t think of it as sponsoring, since I didn’t give money.  I thought I was only spreading the word.  I do support the event, and would go if I could.

Then there’s Wuthering Expectations.  I had to laugh when I read this:

As a side note, see here for the brand new Welsh Reading Challenge.  Now we just need an Irish challenge, and a Jersey and Guernsey challenge, a Cornish challenge, an East Anglian challenge, etc., etc.

I commented that actually, if we just went with Celtic Reading Challenge, it’d take in Irish, Scottish and Welsh, and the rest didn’t matter anyway :-D  I think Care said she’d like a Celtic one, too, so it’d work out.  I want to read Anam Cara (suggested by a good friend), and I could do that with a Celtic challenge.  Ah well, next year…  By the way, Amateur Reader at Wuthering Expectations is hosting a Scottish Literature Reading Challenge, but I don’t completely understand the instructions.  I do know this, though:  If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!

So, do you use Google alerts?  Anything interesting come up for you?  Have you ever discovered you were linked somewhere and didn’t know it?  Was it a good or bad thing?

Viral Video Wednesday ~ What’s Ur Sub?

Happy Wednesday Everybody :-D Today’s VVW is all about the subs.

I’m not talking about “What’s long, hard and full of seaman?” I mean subscriptions. To what YouTube channels do you subscribe? What videos made you subscribe to them? What’s their current video?

Here are mine:

asathecomic has a strange, but hilarious sense of humor. He’s easy on the eyes, I might add. Often his videos are social commentary, but he can also sing.

The first Asa video I watched and the one that got me to sub his channel is “7 Youtube ‘Don’ts!’ – STOP IT!!!!!!!!” It’s probably the video that introduced me to the idea of viral videos in the first place. If you like VVW, thank Asa… if ya don’t… :-D

His current featured video is “We Make YouTube – [Eminem - We Made You SPOOF]” which oddly kind of calls back to the previously video. He does a lot of other stuff too, I promise.. lol. While writing this, Asa made a new vid Dragonball Evolution Sucks?!? (FAN REVIEW), but I didnt’ feel like rewriting this.

Cory “Mr. Safety” Williams, owner of smpfilms channel, looks like Sylar from Heroes, I swear! I have featured his videos on past VVWs, including the first video I saw, Mean Kitty, and the Numa Numa parody. I’m not sure if I subbed for the Mean Kitty music video, or if it was one of the “how to deal with Sparta” vids, so I’ll share the one with the Witch Doctor, because it cracks ME UP!

The channel’s feature vid is called “What Goes Up…” and Cory gives the following description for it:

If you’re not of a fan of my “artsy” videos, don’t worry… I’ve got a dumb one coming right up! Tony and I had fun with this video and we hope you do too : )

Of course, there is FRED. Fred, the eternally four-year-old boy with an alcoholic mother, enprisoned father, and a C-Span watching grandma, who has a crush on Judy (she hates him) and a problem with a bullly named Kevin. Fred has an anger problem and a YouTube stalker, he takes medication, ran for class president, ran from Kevin, sleeps with the cat with rabies and thinks the neighbor’s pekingese dogs are squirrels. I love FRED! He was also recently on i-Carly, where we got to see the real guy behind Fred, or rather… got to hear his real voice.

Fred goes to the Dentist was probably the video that made me subscribe. His voice, his screams, the idea of his mother… lol… I hit the yellow sub button before I even knew it!

Fred’s newest video is a Thank You vid for reaching a million subscribers. BTW, for those who might not know…. Fred is the #1 sub channel of all time :-)

My first time seeing Tony “The Wine Kone” Huyen was actually with him in a YourTubeNEWS video segmant called the WTF Factor. I laughed so hard, and had to go and look up TWK himself and subscribe.

His featured video is a Q & A with him. Here’s the description:

Do you have a burning question you need answered? Ask away on Twitter or here or wherever. It could be YOU who I call an idiot next!

 

Probably, by far the most disturbing channel I subscribed to is Mr. Pregnant’s. I actually have to admit that the following video was one of the very first videos I ever saw on the Internet (I had a long period of time with no ISP in which YouTube and a lot of other things happened). AND I first saw it on Grouper, before I had even heard of YouTube. Apparently, though, due to copyrights on the song, the original video has been pulled from YouTube. It was originally made with the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.

Kinda sux now… not even half as funny as the original, but such is life.

I had messed up on the copy/paste and put the same vid as above here, so I went back to grab the right one. But now there doesn’t seem to be a MrPregnant feat vid, so here’s the one that pops up on my YouTube home page for him:

Before I knew he was on YouTube, I was subscribed to Mark Day‘s video blog at MySpace. Mark Day is originally from Scotland and lives in San Francisco. He’s a social commentator with an interestingly twisted view of things. Plus, he’s Scottish… and if it isn’t Scottish, it’s CRAP!

My first experience watching Mark was at some random video site, which made me check him out on MySpace, which then sent me to his YouTube channel to which I subscribed. This is that video WARNING: Video contains adult content:

I messed up putting Mr.Pregnant’s correct current video in this post, putting it over Mark Day’s current feature video. So when I went to grab Mark’s current vid’s code, I found he had a new one up. So here it is. I’ll warn you, though, it does have some offensive material in it.

Red State Update is another of those MySpace-YouTube crossovers. Hailing from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Travis and Johnathon, aka Jackie and Dunlap, are a comedy team providing politcal satire for the masses. Conservative and Republican, they’ve also appeared on CNN during the ’08 campaign offering their YouTube question. Dunlap is a total goof, who opens his mouth and inserts both feet with politically incorrect statements, while Jackie is a grumpy (but loveable) old man who tries to maintain some amount of respect, grunting in between swigs of beer and puffs on his cigarette.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what the first video I saw was. I watch them regularly, though less often of late. So I’ll give you my all-time favorite RSU video. Last year, Dunlap was promoting Jackie Broyles for President, to which Jackie vehemently denied his candidacy. His refusals did NOT stop Dunlap, however, and the following is one of those campaign vids. I actually have this video memorized…

Their current featured video is a bit strange for them…. Dunno if I like it very much, but it’s okay… The description says:

Non-actors Billy Bob Thornton and Joaquin Phoenix share laughs, swap stories, and discuss tricks of the trade in this enlightening one-on-one.

I guess I’m sub’d to more channels than that, but I think my kids have done some of the subbing…. lol… I’m thekoolaidmom at YouTube, too, if you wanted to see what all I’m doing there. One of these days I’ll get a cam and make some of my own videos.

So, You’re turn…. What channels do you subscribe to? What video made you click the sub button? What’s your fav of theirs? What’s their current featured video? Leave a comment sharing your vids or, better yet, blog it and leave the link so I can check your VVW out :-D

Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith

Title:  Love Over Scotland

AuthorAlexander McCall Smith

Illustrations by:  Iain McIntosh

Paperback:  357 pages

Publisher:  Anchor Books (div. of Random House)

Publish Date:  2007

ISBN:  9780307275981

Miscellaneous:  This is the third book in McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series.

There was no electricity in the village, of course, and when night descended – suddenly, as it does in the tropics – Domenica found herself fumbling with a small Tilley lamp which the house servant had set out on the kitchen table.  It was a long time since she had used such a lamp, but the knack of adjusting it came back to her quickly – an old skill, deeply-ingrained, like riding a bicycle or doing an eightsome reel, the skills of childhood which never left one.  As she pumped up the pressure and applied a match to the mantle, Domenica found herself wondering what scraps of the old knowledge would be known to the modern child.  Would that curious little boy downstairs, Bertie, know how to operate an old-fashioned dial telephone?  Or how to make a fire?  Probably not.  And there were people, and not just children, who did not know how to add or do long division, because they relied on calculators; all those people in shops who needed the till to tell them how much change to give because nobody had ever taught them how to do calculations like that in school.  There were so many things that were just not being taught any more.  Poetry, for example.  Children were no longer made to learn poetry by heart.  And so the deep rhythms of the language, its inner music, was lost to them, because they had never had it embedded in their minds.  And geography had been abandoned too – the basic knowledge of how the world looked, simply never instilled; all in the name of educational theory and of the goal of teaching children how to think.  But what, she wondered, was the point of teaching them how to think if they had nothing to think about?  We were held together by our common culture, by our shared experience of literature and the arts, by scraps of song that we all knew, by bits of history half-remembered and half-understood but still making up what it was that we thought we were.  If that was taken away, we were diminished, cut off from one another because we had nothing to share.

-Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith, pages 174-175

Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith was both the first book out of the 44 Scotland Street series that I’ve read, as well as my first experience reading Alexander McCall Smith.  It will not be the last on either account.

At first, though, I was uncertain if I would like it.  McCall Smith has a quiet writer’s voice.  Whereas other authors may have said Irene was a self-absorbed, narcissistic mother who lived her life vicariously through her six-year-old son Bertie, McCall Smith does this by simply having Irene constantly saying, “Melanie Klein says” this or that, as if to let the other person know they are a stupid twit and should stop talking (including her own husband, Bertie’s father).  Irene is an absolute helicopter mom, and McCall reveals this about her through Bertie, who thinks, “nobody [is] always there, except perhaps [my] mother.”  McCall Smith’s writing is subtle, and instead of compelling the reader forward, he floats you along on the currents of the story.

While being a 3rd book of a series, Love Over Scotland is perfectly capable of being a stand alone novel.  It may have helped in the beginning had I had the background, however the characters show themselves and develop quite well on their own in this book.

Quick Summary of Love Over Scotland:  44 Scotland Street is the address of the apartment building in which most of the characters live, with the exception of Angus, Matthew, Pat (who lived there in the previous novels but has moved), and Big Lou, who owns the coffee shop they all frequent. 

  • Irene, Stuart and Bertie are a young family in one flat, and the “Bertie Project” is Irene’s attempt at making Bertie into a super-genius and prodigy.  She pushes and bullies people, only listens to Dr. Fairbairn (Bertie’s therapist) because he’s the only one who is as intelligent and informed as she, and even goes so far as to manipulate the Edinburgh Teenage Orchestra into admitting her six-year-old son, much to Bertie’s lament and opposition.
  • Pat and Matthew are co-workers and Matthew has a thing for Pat, who sees him as being a “nice guy,” which means boring.  Pat, on the other hand, meets a man who calls himself “Wolf” and is smitten (or bitten?).  But honestly, is it possible for a guy named Wolf and who uses “Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood” for his pick-up line to be any good?
  • Domenica is an anthropologist who has gone to study pirates in Malaysia.  When she arrives at her bungalow in the village, she is told the young man on the porch is there to serve her in every way. :-D  While Domenica is having her tropical adventures, her friend Antonia, who is writing a historical fiction about sixth century Scottish saints behaving badly, is subletting her 44 Scotland Street flat, and isn’t getting along very Angus.  Cyril, Angus’s dog is dog-napped while tied up outside an Italian market and has to make his “Incredible Journey” back to his man.
  • And Big Lou’s heart is in the right place when she loans her fiance Eddie a big chunk of cash (£34,000) to open his own restaurant AND made him co-owner of her coffee bar.  When Eddie begins telling her of his new waitresses, ages 16 and 18, and his aspirations to open a gentleman’s club (complete with pole dancing) instead of the restaurant, Big Lou remembers his past legal troubles in the US with underage girls.

The book is altogether fun, with a message of loving and accepting each other and that you can greatly increase the happiness in the world by giving someone a gift. :-)  The book is written from an omniscent third person POV, but not exactly the omnipresent.  You kind of flit from mind to mind, listening to the thoughts of each participant briefly, including peeks into Cyril the dog’s thought processes.

My favorite characters were definitely Bertie, Angus and Cyril, and Matthew, and I was rather fond of Big Lou, too.  I have mooched 44 Scotland Street from PBS and added Espresso Tales (the second book of the series) to my wishlists.  ALSO, there is a fourth book in the series, The World According to Bertie, that came out last year, and I’ve added it to my WLs, as well.  I’m going to have to give The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books a go, too.  *sigh*  So many books, so little time!

For it’s fun, light hearted and warm storyline and characters, I give Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith 5 out of 5 stars.

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The following video clip is of a street performance in Edinburgh.  I thought it encompassed Bertie’s love of music, Wolf’s smexiness, and the city the book takes place in, not to mention the desire being felt by several characters and the exotic setting of Domenica’s pirates….  and okay, I admit it… the lead drummer is hawt! :-D

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