Angel has this week's Stuff We Like with a little of something old, something new...
When I was little, my parents would take us to the library and encourage us to pick out not only books, but also records to borrow. Our library had a wonderful section of vinyl narrations, you see, people with wonderful voices reading stories. The expressiveness of these narrators captivated me, allowing me to hear dialogue in different ways, to paint mind pictures I wouldn't have on my own.
We don't outgrow the desire to have stories read to us. You just have to look at audio book sales these days. But I have to be honest - a bad narrator can just kill a story and sometimes you just can't get past the first five minutes because of a flat, uninflected reading. Recommendations and reviews of narrators have become just as important as the reviews of the books themselves.
When you find a good narrator? Holy crumbs and crusts, it's almost better than Death by Chocolate. Or sex. Or sex with Death by Chocolate. In my rambling way, this is me saying that I like good narration and finding the perfect narrator for a story. For Shax? That person turned out to be Vance Bastian, our amazing narrator for Hell For The Company. Vance not only manages an incredibly fun range of voices for the characters, he gets the voices right for the scene. Shax - sometimes vain and roguish, sometimes a bit freaked out. Verin - from vaguely irritated to really pissed off. Ivana - from snark to sweet. Ness - from completely flummoxed to finding his feet. Heck, Vance even managed the perfect voice for Benny, which makes me want more Benny scenes so he can read them.
Look for Vance's work on Hell For The Company on audible and ACX, and here's hoping he agrees to do more. 'Cause we do like being read to and we most assuredly like Vance.
Vance Bastian can be found at: http://www.vancebastian.com/
Hell For The Company: Brimstone 1
Audio edition narrated by Vance Bastian
Angel's turn for this week's Stuff We Like and she's brought us something a little unusual...
Hi all! None of our regular readers will be shocked to hear that I love gardens. I've posted a couple of times about them, after all. Probably also not a shock that I like unusual art installations. So this week's SWL is an ingenious melding of the two.
Longwood Gardens, about half an hour from our house, is the former estate of Pierre S. DuPont, a man of vast wealth and power who was nevertheless one of the good guys. He rescued a beautiful arboretum from the lumber companies, bought it and the surrounding lands, and created an amazing country retreat with formal gardens, conservatory, greenhouses, and wild spaces. In his waning years, he gave the gardens to the public, for everyone to enjoy.
Longwood is an art installation itself with it's ever-changing colors, it's wonderful celebration of the seasons. But to provide an additional bit of amazement, for the past couple of years artist groups have been setting up large-scale installations with light and sound, using the plants as a backdrop.
This year's installation was called "Nightscape" in which several areas in the gardens, both indoor and outdoor, were transformed after dark into these astounding giant art pieces using projected light and music. It's a bit difficult to explain, so I thought it best to show you:
These videos only show a portion of the installation. It was bloody brilliant, the whole thing and I can't wait to see what they do next year. :)
Morning! Welcome to another week of Stuff We Like brought to you by the letter 'c' and Freddy.
Want to know why? Because not only are you doing something good for yourself, you are doing good for others.
Every work day I walk to the train station, take the train downtown, then walk to my work. Once my day is over I hoof it back to the station and get home. I am guaranteed to walk a minimum of 6 miles a day, 5 days a week.
I do it because I enjoy walking. I put in my head phones, tune out the world, and just go. It's my time to myself, and I relish it. Even in subzero temperatures I walked to work.
When a coworker was introduced to this app, the first person they thought of was me, because they know I'm already walking/running to and from work.
Might as well do some good, right?
These are just some of the charities that are partnered with Charity Miles. The list is even longer. All reputable places you can give to while you're walking/running/biking. You pick one then Humana or Johnson & Johnson sponsors you as you do your thing.
If you noticed you have a selection and can go from there.
There are quirks, and some things I wish they could improve, but for now I'm happy that there is something out there like this.
It's nice to know when I'm trying to take care of myself, I can help someone else too. All those cents add up after a while.
Toni here for another episode of Stuff We Like. This week I'm here to talk about holidays. I'm currently in the countdown for my next trip to the U.S. 8 Sleeps and counting. *Squee*
One thing I'm not really looking forward to is the flights. Brisbane to LA is a 13hr flight. The return to Sydney is 15 hours.
The problem with being 6'2 and traveling with a child under 15 is they aren't able to sit in exit rows - Which means no extra leg room for me. I'm gonna die!!!
I have to say I'm a little excited and nervous about driving in the US, considering you all drive on the WRONG side of the road and the car! Plus, everything is in MPH... Seriously come over to the metric system people. It makes sense, I promise!!! So, if you see reports about an erratic driver cruising down the highway on the wrong side between Orlando FL and Atlanta GA in November, just ignore them, it'll probably be me, the crazy Aussie.
I found out today that Darwin, is about to be hit by a heat wave. I have to say I'm a little happy we're disappearing, even if Chicago decides to snow for me. (I'm not build to handle snow, I'm from the tropics!!)
A little over a week to go, I can't wait. I know it'll be all over before I know it, but the waiting is killing me!
Way back when I was in elementary school, we had standardized tests, just like the ones today with the little fill in ovals. But we had one test every year that might surprise some people - map reading. Is this even a thing anywhere these days?
Map reading was the bane of my kid existence. Reading, math? No problem. But the little graph of my scores always had an anomalous canyon in them. The giant sinkhole in all those nice consistent scores was always, always map reading. It's an odd visual/ spatial issue that was never seen as a learning challenge and always dismissed as not vital to my education (though, if this was true, why test for it???) so it was never addressed.
It did indeed become an issue when I got older. Business trips often became a nightmare of anxiety and getting lost in strange cities. A nervous session of "please tell me you know where this is" followed every car rental, with me relying on how knowledgeable the person behind the counter was and how good they were at giving directions to someone directionally blind. Dallas was especially problematic since the street I was supposed to follow abruptly ended before the target destination and those directions from the car rental person were all I had. Believe me, going in a bar and asking the bartender through snot and tears how to find a particular hotel and having the bartender look at you like you're an alien and tell you it's just around the block? Excruciatingly humiliating.
But those were the bad old days. Now we have navigation and Skynet...er, I mean global positioning tells us where we are. This might seem lazy to some hard core map readers (points quietly to hubby) but for me, it's a life saver. As long as I have an actual address to plug in, I can find it. Does this mean I don't get lost anymore? Well, no. There was a certain learning curve to the whole using the GPS thing. Like putting in the right state when you're in a border area and both states have the same town or street names nearby.
But my GPS is my friend. We picked the Aussie voice and named her Sheila and I adore her. So long as no one changes the settings and I've planned the trip with addresses beforehand, I can do this. I can conquer the world. As long as I actually listen to her...and pay attention to which street the purple line indicates...
In 200 feet, turn right... Recalculating....