Chloe M. O'Connor | Layout, Illustration, and Freelance Design

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Picks Of The Week: Olympics Edition

Obsession of the week: Daytime, nighttime, all the time Olympics madness!

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

Hanging out with Ryan Lochte late at night. Scandalous.

No surprise, the Olympic Games have taken over many people’s lives. I am in full obsession mode, staying up late to watch NBC’s encore (and hour shorter) presentation of prime time since I work nights, and waking early to do everything I need to do before work in the afternoon/evening, all while avoiding spoilers.

Need convincing of my London 2012 addiction? Wednesday morning I watched Team USA win gold in women’s gymnastics and saw Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian while anchoring the men in the 4×200-meter free relay, which the USA won for the third time in a row. I skipped out on the medal ceremonies (sorry America!) and rolled into bed around 3:15 a.m., at which point I took what can only be classified as a long nap, then made it to a last-minute 8 a.m. dentist’s appointment. This is what I get for being frugal. But it was absolutely worth it!

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Music stream of the week: “London 2012” AOL radio station

Craving your favorite British hits? Looking to discover new songs by artists from the Olympic host country? AOL Radio has you covered with this awesome station, playing tunes from The Beatles, Oasis, Kate Bush, ELO, Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, Radiohead and more. Oh, and one of my favorites — Spice Girls. I’m holding out hope for a reunion performance at the closing ceremonies.

Muse’s “Starlight” just came on the station. I love that song. The band wrote this completely lame and uninspiring anthem for the London 2012 Games:

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Good tip of the week: Olympics workout game

As someone who likes to play bingo during the Oscar telecast, I was glad to find this Olympic-themed workout game from SparkPeople! I commented to the roomie on Sunday that I would be fat by the end of the Games, what with all the sitting around I did watching sports on the weekend. But with this fun set of I-Spy exercises, I’ll probably become as buff as the athletes for whom I’m cheering. Who am I kidding? I’ll definitely be as ripped as them!

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Inspiring female athletes of the week: Jordyn Wieber, Missy Franklin, and Helen Glover and Heather Stanning

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  • Wieber, a 17-year-old gymnast and World Champion, came off a heartbreaking miss at competing in the women’s all-around and helped her teammates triumph over Russia and Romania. Team USA took the gold for the first time since this.
  • Also just 17 years old, swimmer Franklin is racking up the medals, including her first individual gold in the 100-meter backstroke.
  • Great Britain’s 2,000-meter rowers Glover and Stanning shot from the starting line and didn’t let up, winning the race by a boat-length, securing their country’s first gold of the Games and the first ever for British female rowers.
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Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: Oscar bait in theaters.

Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, and the back of Jason Schwartzman's head in "Moonrise Kingdom."

Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, and the back of Jason Schwartzman’s head in “Moonrise Kingdom.”

It’s pretty early to be thinking about the Academy Awards, but let’s not forget “The Hurt Locker,” which premiered in early June 2009 and won Best Picture (along with five other Oscars) eight and a half months later.

Here are the movies on my radar:

  • “Moonrise Kingdom” — Wes Anderson has yet again created a film with heart, laughs, and gorgeous, meaningful visuals. I imagine a writing nomination is in this film’s future.
  • “Brave”* — Pixar missed out on an Animated Feature Film nod last season because of an underwhelming sequel, “Cars 2,” the first Pixar film since the category’s creation in 2001 to be absent from ballots. But with “Brave,” the company introduces its first female lead — and to good reviews — which will be enough to be listed as a contender come January.
  • “The Amazing Spider-Man”  and “Marvel’s The Avengers” — While not likely to be acknowledged for their stories or acting, big-budget action movies typically clean up in Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
  • “To Rome With Love” — Following up on a love story to Paris and an Oscar for Original Screenplay at this year’s awards, Woody Allen not may have another winner in this ode to Rome. But I wouldn’t be surprised with a nomination; the Academy loves Allen, even if he refuses to attend the ceremonies (save for this moving and funny love letter to New York in 2002, complete with a shout out to the late Nora Ephron).
  • “The Dark Knight Rises”* — Christopher Nolan’s last installment in his Batman trilogy has yet to arrive in theaters (July 20 is the release date), but seeing as how the “The Dark Knight” Best Picture snub at the 81st Academy Awards singlehandedly brought forth the increase in the category’s number of nominees the following year, this film has high expectations from all.

*Films I have not yet seen but intend to before February’s awards.

Video stream of the week: On Netflix, 17 of 50 films named by Entertainment Weekly as “The 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen”

You may have seen a handful of these films, all released within the last 20 years. To catch up on a bunch more, you can thank Netflix. Below are links to the 17 streaming titles, and for the full list of 50, check out EW’s photo gallery.

Free download of the week: “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon

The first 2:45 of the music video is one shot and includes a key-tar, sparklers, average-Joe dance moves, and a door one can only assume leads to Narnia. What fun!

I first heard this song on my favorite place to discover new singles, AOL Radio’s New Pop First station. Then I realized I already owned it (and had unknowingly heard it in episode 1 of the third season of “The Vampire Diaries”).

You can download the Cincinnati band’s track for free at Amazon.com. If you want to stumble upon other up and coming artists, check out Amazon’s monthly sampler of artists on the rise, which, for July, includes songs from Japandroids and Ed Sheeran (download Sheeran’s EP for free when you sign up for his mailing list on his website).

Filed under: Academy Awards, Entertainment, Hollywood, Internet, Movies, Music, Netflix, Oscars, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Picks Of The Week

Obsession of the week: My new prescription sunglasses.

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses

I was finally allowed to visit my optometrist last week (thank you, health insurance!). Thankfully my eyes have hardly changed, so I was able to forgo the purchase of new eyeglass lenses and invested in a pair of sunglasses. Prescription lenses are ridiculously pricey for a pair of shades (no thank you, health insurance), so thank goodness I had a $100 off a lens and frame purchase coupon from Lenscrafters. I am so glad I can protect my eyes from the summer sun. I even got to sport my newest fashion accessory at our company picnic Wednesday.

Video stream of the week: “Pretty Little Liars” on Netflix Instant.

"Pretty Little Liars"

“Pretty Little Liars”

Season 3 of this addictive ABC Family series began June 5, and Netflix is currently streaming the 22 episodes in Season 1. On July 3, Season 2 will be available. I hear the Rosewood girls find out who A is in Season 2!

Music stream of the week: “The Lion The Beast The Beat” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

AOL music is streaming this gem, the band’s fourth studio album. Grace Potter is a sweet-voiced rocker whose voice I had not taken the time to enjoy until this album, as I didn’t care for 2010’s single, “Paris (Ooh La La).” But I dig this good new-fashioned rock. Give a special listen to the upbeat “Loneliest Soul” and the killer ballad “One Heart Missing.”

I snatched up the album for $5 as Amazon’s daily deal Tuesday, but it’s worth the $10 it’s currently selling for on Amazon.

Viral video of the week: “Call Me Maybe” starring Jimmy Fallon, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Roots.

The most sugary pop song of the spring and soon-to-be summer hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart Wednesday. I venture to say this cutesy “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” version convinced enough people to request and buy the tune, causing Canadian Carly Rae to knock off Australian Wally De Backer aka Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

Filed under: Entertainment, Internet, Music, Netflix, Television, TV on DVD, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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