Movies I’ve watched, week fifteen

24. Futurama: Bender’s Big Score
25. The Lion King 1 1/2
Two direct to video releases, both pretty good. Futurama feels like a bunch of new, connected episodes, but that’s not a bad thing. The original cast returns, and it’s pretty funny. It can be enjoyed on it’s own, but seeing the eps about Fry’s dog and Christmas enhance viewing. Lion King 1 1/2 is a prequel/Rashomon retelling of the original movie from the viewpoint of Timon and Pumbaa. Most of the original cast returns (Mufasa and Scar appear but don’t speak, while Jonathan Taylor Thomas was too old to be young Simba), and it’s more amusing than the original movie (I particularly liked why the animals bowed when Simba first appeared). Futurama: Bender’s Big Score B The Lion King 1 1/2 B+

Books I’ve read, week fifteen

24. The Innkeeper’s Song
Writer: Peter S. Beagle
A very original fantasy tale of three mysterious women, the boy who chases after them, their quest and what happens to the stable boy. My favorite line: In my village, one of our priests says love between men is a great sin – the other argues that nothing at all is sinful except weak ale, overdone meat, and building a fire in any way but his. B

Dan Wilson at the Birchmere

Last night I headed over to the Birchmere. It takes a lot these days to get me to go out on a school night, especially solo, but Dan Wilson‘s tenor will do it. He came to fame with Semisonic and has gained fame when winning a Grammy cowriting with the Dixie Chicks. He played mostly songs off his new album, which was fine with me. He started off with “Easy Silence”, one of the songs he cowrote with the Chicks, and he gave it a low key introduction, “I wrote this song with three nice women from Texas”.

I’d seen Semisonic twice, once pre-hit (opening for emmet swimming, unimaginable two years later) and once at an HFStival. I liked ’em a lot but those shows didn’t allow Dan to shine. He’s a funny and warm performer, getting an unfamiliar audience to sing along. I was amazed to learn that the big hit “Closing Time” was a way to sneak in the impending (at the time) birth of his daughter, definitely puts the song in a new light. My favorite moment was his last song, “All Kinds”. I’d picked it for my CD compilation last year, and had been singing it to myself all day. It felt good when he encouraged all of us to sing along.

Kathleen Edwards was the headliner, and I’d been meaning to catch her for a while (though I doubt I’d have made it over without the opener), picked up her last two albums. She had a full band with her, which was a must as some of her songs (especially the new ones) were softer, but the band forced more of a dynamic into them. She endeared herself to me when she introduced one song then said “I know this is awkward, but I’ve really got to pee, so you’re going to get an extra length guitar solo”. She was pretty good, but I left early as it was a school night, though I’d see her again if the opportunity presents itself.

Warm and cool

Saturday was supposed to be rainy, but the rain never showed, and that was fine by me. Plenty of time outside, and no sunburn this time. I read the newspaper and a book, and we ate dinner outside (I roasted a chicken and made mashed potatoes and asparagus with it). I also ran errands during the day, picked up some nice new beers, including a delicious apricot hefeweizen.

Today was cool, though it never rained today either. I had a walkthrough in the morning with the HOA, and between that and the dog I was busy into the afternoon. More eBay fun followed, and some reading and TV watching. I cooked ribs for dinner, then watched a movie while I finalized the taxes.