Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eurovision 2012 Wrap-Up!

Eurovision! I'll be damned if I don't love me some friendly inter-country competitions, and Eurovision is among the most entertaining of them. I mark my calendar months in advance every year for the Eurovision final.

Normally I like to go into the final without much prior exposure to the songs, but this year I also caught parts of both semi-finals for fear that I might miss the final due to other important obligations.  I did miss part of the final but saw most of it (which capped off a pretty awesome day).

Here are a few of the highlights and lowlights:

Let's go ahead and just bring the Russian grannies straightaway. A big favorite of all those watching in bars, I was super surprised to see grans in traditional dress in the competition! Honestly, the song and singing aren't good, but it's hard not to love them anyway.

Lithuania provided one of those moments that's so cheesy I laughed out loud. Enjoy.

Surprise! Engelbert Humperdinck is not only not fictional, he's alive!! A nice voice, but alas, his song was lyrically corny in a painful rather than a funny way, and the dancers in the background are really an awful touch. Sorry again, UK.

I wasn't sure what to think about Turkey this year. On one hand, this kind of thing is EXACTLY what you watch Eurovision for - it's hilarious. The melody actually has some potential, but the arrangement and singing are pretty bad and it probably didn't deserve to make it to the final.

Among the ballads submitted, Serbia was the best. That's probably faint praise from me, but it did well and came in 3rd.

Moldova was awesome again this year...when are they going to win!? Every year they bring a hilariously goofy presentation which is matched by a song I'd actually play at my house. I voted for it and I'd do it again! :)

I voted for Norway, too. NO SHAME....even though they came in dead last. :|  Nothing special about the performance, but I love me some dated little Benassi-esque synths.

And finally, the winner, Sweden.  I thought the camera work/performance/something about it was slightly better in the semi-final than in the final, but both were very well-executed performances that really stood out from the others.  I don't really know if the song itself is that special, but the use of more subtle lighting and effects, the focus on just the singer, the capoeira-like moves and her lack of a sparkly dress or even shoes all separated this performance from the rest, so I'm not surprised it won and pretty pleased with that result even though I didn't vote for it. 

Re: the other notable countries: Ireland sent Jedward again this year. My god, they were bad...actually, I don't think their microphones were even on, as they are completely reliant on the backup singers...but I sort of love to watch them anyway. Albania apparently sent some pretty crazy stuff but I didn't see it myself. The bodice on Spain's dress was so fascinating that I remember nothing else about the performance. Germany's song was a complete snooze; I thought it would get last but it did very well, so ...there are obviously some things I don't understand.  Like pop ballads.

I could go on, but I'll stop there. What were your highlights/lowlights?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A small sampling of things we ate in the US

Thai food at the same place I used to eat in college! I had the Lad Nar with crispy fried wide noodles...haven't found that on a German Thai menu yet.  (But the photo shows my husband's drunken noodles.)

Cake Lady Cake.  So wonderfully simple.

Cinnamon rolls the size of entire cakes at the Iowa Machine Shed.  (Okay, I only ate about a third of one.)

Taco pizza and crab rangoon pizza at Fong's in Des Moines!

Jalapeño-juice-soaked carrots.  I didn't have the guts to try a straight-up jalapeño.

Heavenly tamales. This, together with the carrot appetizer and a small bowl of chicken soup, was only $6!!

Dim sum!  This is only about a quarter of what our table ordered.

Chicago-style pizza!

I had forgotten the entire existence of this stuff until I saw it at Del Seoul...

...which specializes in Korean tacos.  For real.  Marry me, Chicago.
Dairy Queen Blizzard with peanut butter cups!
Eaten but not photographed: barbecue, amazing donuts, Americanized-Chinese buffet, whoopie-pie-esque cake, chocolate cake with peanut butter filling, bagels loaded with cream cheese... time for some post-vacation detox.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A little something special with your pizza!

Yesterday I pulled yet another pizza delivery menu out of the mailbox.  I was about to throw it away, but as I folded it over to do so, I saw something interesting on the back:

Root beer, Dr. Pepper, and peanut butter cups! I wonder what prompted a pizzeria in Ziegelhausen to offer all of that? I've still got a couple cans of root beer left from my birthday, but after it's out it's nice to know a craving could be filled by a handy delivery service.

In other news, it's so GREEN!!!:
Happy May Day!