A Grimm Companion

Free Today on Amazon and iTunes

I am a big fan of the NBC television show, “Grimm,” so I was delighted to find a companion book available for free. The edition on Amazon is only available for the Kindle Fire, Kindle Cloud Reader, and the Kindle app for the iPad and Android. I have an iPad, so woo-hoo! I downloaded it and happily fired up my tablet.

What a disappointment. It looked like crap. No interactivity and lots of blank pages. No wonder it had so many 1 star reviews. I looked at the those reviews and one reviewer recommended downloading the book from iTunes.

I went to iTunes and found the book there for free, so I downloaded it. So glad I did! It looks beautiful and has all kinds of interactive features. If you are a “Grimm” fan, you will want this book.

If you have a Kindle Fire, you will probably want to try downloading it from Amazon first. I don’t know about the Android, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Grimm

Grimm: The Essential Guide is here! Download this free interactive eBook and let the NBC hit drama series Grimm, inspired by the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales, come alive!

  • Learn about Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt and the rest of the characters on Grimm.
  • Enter Aunt Marie’s Trailer and view her mysterious artifacts.
  • Read the pages from the family journal passed down by generations of Grimms.
  • Navigate through the Creature Gallery.
  • See behind-the-scenes photos from the filming of the television series.
  • Be one of the first to see the terrifying new creature, Mauvais Dentes.
  • Meet the cast and so much more!

iTunes Version

Amazon Version

Descriptions provided by Amazon and iTunes

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store and iTunes. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

Free books are usually limited time offers and there is no guarantee this book in either format will still be free when you click on the links. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Tiger & Bunny – Superheroes with Heart

I’ve got to shout-out this show because it’s awesome.

Tiger and Bunny

While at Fanime last month, I discovered a new-to-me superhero show called, “Tiger & Bunny.” Yes, it is a ridiculous name, but it’s fitting. The show tells the story of heroes, known as Next, who fight crime while being televised live. Each hero has corporate sponsors they must answer to. Tiger is an old school hero who rescues victims regardless of consequences. Barnaby is his new partner, a younger hero very attached to his corporate image. Tiger gives him the nickname, Bunny, though it’s not out of fondness, at least, not at first. It’s no spoiler to say this is the beginning of a great bromance.

This isn’t a children’s anime and has more mature themes. It’s great for teens and adults who enjoyed shows like “Cowboy Beebop” and “Trigun.” You can watch the entire subtitled series on Hulu with a paid subscription.

Fanime 2012

Or How I Spent My Memorial Day Weekend

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I have attended Fanime, an anime convention in San Jose, California, almost every Memorial Day weekend for the past 12 years. Why would I do such a thing? Because it’s fun! It’s like being in the middle of a huge costume party that runs nonstop for four days. And I like anime, so going to the convention helps me keep up with what’s new and exciting.

This year, I found a new anime to watch called “Tiger and Bunny.” I know. Sounds like something fluffy and light, but it’s actually a superhero story, and it looks pretty good. I  found a beautiful online manga called “Knite.” Can’t wait to see more of that. And I watched a touching movie called, “Sunny,” about seven Koren schoolgirls and the women they become.

In-between, I strolled Artists’ Alley, where talented artists sell their work. Some of the art is specific to a particular fandom, while other artists sell their own work, usually drawn in the style of manga, Japanese comics. I also spent some time at Clockwork Alchemy, the steampunk sister convention to Fanime. One ticket got you into both conventions, with free shuttles running between both venues 24 hours a day. Sweet.

A special shout-out goes to my friend, Jennifer, who attends this glorious geekfest with me every year. We do have fun.

Do I dress up? Not really. Not unless you count wearing cat ears and a Sherlock T-shirt as dressing up (I don’t.) However, I love seeing the people who cosplay (i.e., wear costumes.) Most people make their own costumes and they are incredibly creative. Think about it. They don’t have patterns. They are making costumes based on reading a comic or watching an animation.That can’t be easy.

The front of the convention center was packed from morning to evening with cosplayers posing for photos. It’s a lot of fun to take pictures. Above are some of my favorite photos from this year’s convention.

Next year, where will I geek out: Fanime or Eurovision? San Jose or Stockholm? It’s a big decision. We’ll see which one I choose.

Sweden Wins Eurovision 2012!

Loreen has won the Eurovison 2012 contest with her dance hit, “Euphoria.” Congratulations to her and to Sweden. This was a much better performance than the semi-finals. She moved and sang with confidence, and overall looked like a winner.

I was able to watch the grand finale in my hotel room, as long as I didn’t use full screen on my computer. Not too happy about that, but very happy that I was able to watch the show live. Thanks to Eurovision.tv for making that possible.

Actually, one benefit to watching on the smaller view screen was that I could simultaneously read the Twitter feed on the side. There were lots of funny comments. Some of the funniest had to do with financial crisis. One person tweeted, “The loser has to pay Greece’s way home.” Another tweeted, “Want to piss off Angela Merkel? Vote for Greece. They’ll have a huge party and Germany will have to pay the bill.” And another tweeted, “Ireland sent Jedward so they wouldn’t win and have to foot the bill for hosting next year’s Eurovision.”

It was interesting to see the voting process. Each of the 42 participating countries had a representative announce their top 10 and points would be tallied on a board. It’s a little confusing because the highest score is 12. The points go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12. For whatever reason, they give first place 12 points and second place 10 points. Still confused? It’s explained here.

Most countries favored their neighbors. For example, Greece and Cyprus gave each other 12 points. Turkey and Azerbaijan also exchanged the 12 point love. Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland all gave their 12 points to Sweden. Maybe it was so they could party in Stockholm next year.

Russia came in second place, but Loreen beat the Babushki by more than 100 points, so it was pretty much a landslide. Third place went to Serbia, fourth, to Azerbaijan and fifth, to Albania. Some of my favorites scored quite low, in particular the United Kingdom, France and Denmark. Norway had the lowest score, which surprised me. I thought Tooji’s performance deserved better than that.

Here are the scoreboards for the semi-finals and the finale, showing how each country voted.

First Semi-final Scoreboard

Second Semi-final Scoreboard

Grand Finale Scoreboard

I really enjoyed the experience watching Eurovision. I learned about other countries that had previously been obscure to me and I heard some really great music. There were also some not-so-great moments of performance, but so it goes. What appeals to one culture won’t necessarily appeal to another. Then there are those songs that can crossover and find a wide, appreciative audience. Congratulations to Loreen for singing such a song.

See you next year in Sweden!

Eurovision Second Semi-Final Results

It so happens that the Eurovison grand finale takes place during a holiday weekend in the U.S. This would be great, except I’m spending the weekend in a hotel with a mediocre Internet connection. I am uncertain of my ability to watch the finale live, which disappoints me. I was also inflight during the second semi-final and have only just caught up with watching the performances.

These are the ten countries who made it into the grand finale. They are listed in the order they were announced, but this does not reflect the number of votes, which remains unknown.

  1. Lithuania
  2. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  3. Serbia
  4. Ukraine
  5. Sweden
  6. Macedonia
  7. Norway
  8. Estonia
  9. Malta
  10. Turkey

I am very pleased that all the second semi-finalists in my top ten list made it through: Sweden, Malta and Estonia. I wasn’t so pleased about Turkey. One of my least favorite songs. I don’t know how that one squeaked by. I’m pretty much fine with the rest of the list, though I wish Donny Montell of Lithuania would lose the bling blindfold. It looks so cheesy.

For me, there were three standout performances of the show.

Kurt Calleja, representing Malta with This Is The Night

Great energy. Loved his stage presence. He sounded great and the band was tight, even with their dance movements.

Tooji, representing Norway with Stay

Another energetic performance. He and the dancers looked like they were having a great time up there. Very entertaining.

Gaitana, represending Ukraine with Be My Guest

I didn’t love the wreath of roses in her hair. Other than that, she sounded great. This song was an early favorite of mine. I particularly liked the dancers on the screens in the background. Nice choreography.

Loreen from Sweden and Ott Lepland from Estonia remain in my top three. Ott’s seemed nervous, so I’m hoping he shakes off those nerves and wows us in the finale. Loreen looked and sounded great, but nothing I haven’t seen from her before. I’m hoping she does something different for the finale.

The grand finale will air today, May 25, at 21:00 CET (Central Europe Time). If you can’t watch it on TV, you can stream it online at Eurovision TV.

12 points to Sweden! I believe “Euphoria” will win the night. However, I’ll still be pleased if Nina Zilli of Italy or Ott Lepland of Estonia win instead.

If Jedward wins… well, at least Ireland won’t be sending them back again. Or will they?

Enjoy the show!

Eurovision First Semi-Finals Results

The wait is finally over and the first Eurovision semi-final competition has taken place. 18 countries competed for the coveted 10 spots that will continue the competition in the grand finale.

The entire show ran a little over two hours. After all 18 countries performed, there was a 15-minute voting period. Only the 18 countries represented, plus three of the predetermined finalist countries, could vote. Votes are phoned or texted in, and you cannot vote for your own country. During the voting, viewers were entertained by an Azerbaijan folk dance and music troupe. At the end of 15 minutes, voting ended and the results were announced live. Why isn’t American Idol like this? It’s so much better! And, yes, I do mean the Azerbaijan folk troupe. So much better than watching Ryan Seacrest blather on and on.

Here are the results. This is the order in which they were announced, but this doesn’t reflect the number of votes, which will remain unknown until the finals. Special thanks to Markku, again, for keeping me in the know.

  1. Romania
  2. Moldova
  3. Iceland
  4. Hungary
  5. Denmark
  6. Albania
  7. Cyprus
  8. Greece
  9. Russia
  10. Ireland

All three semi-finalists who were on my top 10 list made it through: Iceland, Denmark and Cyprus. I have to say, I was really impressed by the performances of Hungary and Romania and am glad they made it into the finals. Check ’em out:

Mandinga, representing Romania with the song, Zaleilah

She was having technical difficulties, but continued like a pro. This was a catchy, infectious number that I really enjoyed.

Compact Disco, representing Hungary with the song, Sound Of Our Hearts

I liked this so much better than their original video. Great performance, with lots of passion and power given to the lyrics.

My favorite performance of the evening, though was Iceland.

Greta Salóme & Jónsi, representing Iceland with the song, Never Forget

What a great performance. So dramatic and beautiful. Greta and Jonsi have much better chemistry here than their rehearsal video. I think this is a contender. If they can keep this up in the finals, I think they have a strong chance of winning.

Two more things to add. It turns out that rotating thing in the Russian Babushki’s original video is an oven. The grannies were “baking” what looks like cookies. Dang, they are adorable! And speaking of adorable, I have to admit that the Jedward twins were mighty cute when they celebrated winning the tenth spot by turning cartwheels down the aisles.

The second semi-finals will be streamed live on Eurovision.tv on May 24, 21:00 CET (Central Europe Time). That’s 1:00 p.m. in Colorado. You can also watch a repeat performance of the first semi-finals.

Eurovision First Semi-Finals

The first Eurovision semi-final competition is streaming live now. You can watch on Eurovision.tv.