I bet you $5 RIGHT NOW that you know AT LEAST five John Williams pieces without even knowing it’s his work. Scroll through this list and if you don’t know 5 of these themes, you can come to the store and I won’t give you $5 but I will give you some musical listening/movie watching homework. Or we can just chat about movie soundtracks in general. He has seriously written so many iconic movie soundtracks that it makes me so, so, so… EXCITED.
I really love what John does. I saw him when he came to Pittsburgh in 2011 to perform with the PSO and I HAD SO MUCH MUSICAL FRISSON GOING ON IT WAS UNREAL. It was such a treat to breathe the same air as someone so accomplished and fantastic. I’m a total movie soundtrack nerd so you’ll have to forgive the utter CAPS LOCK EXCITEMENT in this post. I’m just so captivated by how transforming a soundtrack can be for a film (or even TV show.) Think about how blank a scene would be without music. Ponder that for a moment. ANYwho. Take a listen to these tracks and enjoy the diversity and awesomeness filling your head.
Valentine’s Day is next Saturday and we’re here to be your official Valentine’s Day Spirit Guide.
If there’s one thing we love, it’s love. And everything that comes along with it! In case you missed it, we have a three foot tall HEART in our window right now. It’s awesome.
What about a set of Valentine’s Day Cards? Say no more.
A perfect small gift for your dude or lady, you say?
Looking for something a bit more more tantalizing?
How about the perfect amount of cute?
Do you know how they shipped fragile things before 1957? I don’t know, since this was before my time (and my parents’ time) but I can only imagine how tragic a life without BUBBLE WRAP would be. Imagine never having popped those fragile yet cushiony bubbles. Imagine receiving goods damaged and maimed. The shame. The horror.
We’ve all gotten our dirty mitts on a piece of two or bubble wrap and OH GAHD is it satisfying. If you want to get really vindictive you can pop it behind someone unsuspecting and send their stomach into their esophagus. (This is what happens when you do things like that to me. It is awful but apparently highly amusing for the other party.)
Anywho. On to the fun facts.
- Bubble wrap was originally created in 1957 as wall paper. This should tell you how crazy the 60s were about to get. Imagine bubble wrap walls…
- There are different sizes of bubble wrap for different shipping and protection methods.
- The bubbles can be made into SHAPES. LIKE HEARTS.
- Bubble wrap appreciation day was started by a radio station in 2001.
- “Bubble wrap” is a trademarked by the Sealed Air Corp. It’s one of those things that’s trademarked but the commonly used terminology for any kind is used, like Band Aid or Kleenex.
- You can virtually pop bubble wrap here.
If there’s one thing you should always do, it’s read the book before you see the movie. Hell, you don’t even have to go see the movie, but it is 100% acceptable to read the book anyway. Here at KU, they’re making 12 of the lovely books we sell into movies this fine year. So, here they are in order of release date!
1. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L.James. Release date: 2/13/15.
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Release date: 3/20/15
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
3. Paper Towns by John Green. Release date: 6/5/15
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q … until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.
Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.
4. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. Release date: 9/18/15
Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch. There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die. The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off. There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.
5. Frankenstein by Marry Shelley. Release date: 10/2/15.
Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the novel’s enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron’s.
“We will each write a story,” Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s proposal.
The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”
6. Peanuts by Charles Schulz. Release date: 11/6/15
This isn’t exactly a book but THIS IS MY BLOG POST AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT. We love The Peanuts here at KU and we have enough salt and pepper shakers in their likeness to warrant their inclusion on this list.
7. Mockingjay: Part 2 by Suzanne Collins. Release date: 11/20/15.
“My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she’s long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn’t known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay — no matter what the cost.
8. Krampus: the Yule Lord by Brom. Release date: 12/4/15
One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets earthward, a magical sack that will thrust the down-on-his luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, and how half a millennium ago, the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.
Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself to his family, to save his own broken dreams…and help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.
9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Release date: TBA.
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.
10. A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. Release Date: TBA.
In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman named Alan Clay pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. In A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together.
11. Room by Emma Donoghue. Release date: TBA.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.
12. Pride, Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith. Release date TBA.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.
The perfect thing to shove in your facehole for breakfast in the dead of winter is oatmeal. Not only is it hot and delicious (if you can get past the texture), but it has soluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol. ON TOP OF THAT, it’s a bowl full of complex carbs, meaning it sticks with you longer than say, a doughnut.
If you’re not interested in the health benefits of oatmeal (we can’t be friends) but let’s discuss the many amazing flavors of oatmeal.
You’ve got your maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, cinnamon and spice, original, blueberry, you can throw in some bananas, some chocolate, pumpkin, peaches and cream… Oatmeal has variety out the wazoo.
While cereal is and will forever be my favorite breakfast option, oatmeal may come in at a close second. It tastes good, it’s good for you and it warms you up! There’s nothing like a good hearty breakfast to set the tone for your day. Because let’s face it, breakfast can make or break your day.
Hi and welcome to 2015! We made it!
KU Book Club is back this month and better than ever (which I’m sure you weren’t sure was possible, I know.) The meeting is on Sunday January 18 at 6PM here in the store and all are welcome. As usual, booze (for the over 21 crowd) and snickey-snacks will be provided. Now! On to the book!
This month’s book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Here’s a tidbit about the book from GoodReads: “Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.”
Every customer that comments on the book here at the register has only had fantastic things to say about this book. We hope you will too! See you on the 18th!
Friday December 26 is National Thank You Note Day. Obviously following the holidays, you’re gonna have a lot of thanks to show. And you know what’s a pain? Sitting down, thinking about all of the marvelous gifts you’ve received, from whom you received them, and then WRITING A NOTE?! It feels like a lot. It is kind of a lot. But I’m here to guide you through the process because NOTHING. I TELL YOU, NOTHING. Makes you look as good as sending a well written thank you card via snail mail.
- So, first things first. You’re gonna need to stay organized. People often give money in cards which are conveniently signed by said givers. So. Make a discreet note somewhere on the back of the card that these people just gave you dolla dolla bills yo. Don’t worry about writing down the amount, this is not particularly important for these purposes. (Your bank account is where that shiz really counts.) If you’ve gotten a tangible good old gift type item, make a list in your phone of who’s given you what. This is quick and easy with the smartphones of today. Tally up how many people you need to thank.
- Step number TWO. Collect mailing addresses. You can’t send mail to someone if you don’t know where to find them. If you don’t want to ask everrrrryone where they live, use Whitepages online. Ask your mom/dad/parent/guardian/favorite aunt if you can’t figure it out and don’t want to ask the person themself.
- Step number THREE. This, to me, is the most fun part. Choosing stationery! There are so many styles and designs to choose from (especially here at Kards Unlimited, of course). Floral, modern, sophisticated, plain, COLORFUL! You want it, we probably have it or something that will fit the bill. Make sure you buy enough for all of your recipients! ALSO. Don’t forget stamps!
- Step FOUR. Bust out that list of people you need to thank and start at the top. Or bottom. Whatever. Choose a starting place. Thank you notes do not need to be overly flowery and Tolkien-esque. The basic format is a lot like a five paragraph essay. Here’s how I do it:
It was great seeing you at Christmas. Your Christmas sweaters always make me smile. (Or alternatively, I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you at Christmas! I love you!) Just wanted to send you a note to thank you for the set of cookie cutters in the shape of cats. I’m going to be eating cat shaped cookies for the rest of my life (and that is excellent news!) Everyone loves a kitty cookie. (If I’m writing about a monetary gift, I say something like, Thank you for the cash, Grams [DON’T SAY HOW MUCH MONEY. THIS IS TACKY]. It will no doubt help me save up for (band camp, grad school, this awesome concert, college, retirement, my drug habit, etc.). You know how much I love [thing you are saving up for], it’s the reason I get out of bed some days! I hope you enjoyed the holidays this year! It was great seeing you/miss you.
And you’re done. You can use the same template/format for every note. Just change out the person/gift/tone etc. The hardest part about thank you notes is sitting down and getting them done, but if you make yourself do it it’ll be done in no time (and you won’t have to carry around guilt for the next 12 months for never saying thank you to anyone for the things they gave you.
So, there you have it! How to stay organized, and get your thank you notes DONE!
I’m not gonna get into the technical science-y parts of winter solstice because well, that’s not really what’s important to me. What’s important to me is that from this day forward, the days get a little longer each day! Aside from that, you have a very long night ahead to do a lot of fun, night time things and a very short day as well.
Ten things you can do to celebrate winter solstice:
- Have a night time movie marathon!
- Have a winter solstice party! Invite your friends over and use this as an excuse to drink!
- Binge watch a series on Netflix. Orange is the New Black here I come!
- Get no sleep! Stay up allllllll night. Have fun at work tomorrow!
- Go outside at noon and measure your shadow (it will be extremely long!
- Have winter solstice fireworks!
- Make your own Stonehenge in your yard!
- Celebrate every occurrence of the number 23 (the earth tilts at 23.5°)
- Watch the sunset- it’s so early!
- Spend your evening in a candlelit environment! Such ambience.