Thursday, September 30, 2004

Last night, I finished reading Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl for the first time. Naturally, I loved it! I'd read two of his books previously (Aku-Aku and Fatu-Hiva) and enjoyed them too, so loving Kon-Tiki came as no surprise. Not only has he had fascinating adventures to write about, but Heyerdahl has a fantastic way with words--I think he's my second-favorite writer in that respect, after Raymond Chandler. But whereas Chandler has a uniquely skewed and metaphorical style, Heyerdahl is conversational while being creative. He writes about the everyday things, like whether or not he got tired of drinking coconut milk. Yet he keeps things fresh, using precisely the right words and descriptions. Here's one of my favorite passages from Kon-Tiki to illustrate what I mean:

"Perhaps we did the shark an injustice, but we suspected it of evil intentions and rammed a harpoon into its skull." (Heyerdahl, Thor. Kon-Tiki. New York: Pocket Books, 1984. Pg. 120).

See what I mean? Sharks are something they encountered pretty regularly while floating about in the Pacific on a balsa raft, but he doesn't describe this encounter in a bland way. He could have just written, "A shark scared us, so we stabbed it with a harpoon." That is what happened, after all. But no, he explains amusingly that they "suspected it of evil intentions", as if it was a stranger lurking in a dark alley. Then he quits being prosey and cuts to the chase with "rammed a harpoon into its skull", which reads so quickly and violently that you can almost feel that those are your muscles tensing as you strike at this toothy villain with your pointy stick.

Oh, to write that well! Sometime I'll share some Raymond Chandler with you to show you what I mean when I call him 'uniquely skewed and metaphorical'...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I have a confession to make. To those of you who think of me as a mildly erudite, bookish, quiet and shy person, it may come as something of a shock. For those of you who know me as those things, but also as a person who grew up watching John Wayne and James Bond movies, it will not be a shock. And some of you are already aware of this thing I am about to reveal.

I am a Dwayne Johnson fan.

(Most people know Dwayne Johnson as "The Rock", the wrestler-turned-actor.)

Let me be very clear here: I am not a wrestling fan. Not in any way, shape, or form. But I am an action movie fan, and Dwayne Johnson makes action movies. Actually, he makes pretty good action movies. I wasn't terribly fond of his debut in The Mummy Returns, although I do like the movie. But when he stomped on screen, swinging a sword and bulging menacingly as The Scorpion King, I was amused. It's a formulaic movie, sure, but it's a fun romp in the desert nonetheless, and the action is really pretty great. I mean, can it get much better than muscly guys sword-fighting and spitting sly one-liners, while occasionally raising one eyebrow and smirking? Okay, it can. There can be guns involved too, which is what happened in The Rundown. How could I not like it? Not only is The Rock toting a firearm, but we've got quirky little Seann William Scott to deal with too!

What brings on this posting is the fact that Walking Tall came out on video and dvd this morning (but I didn't buy it). I saw it in theaters, and I liked it. The Rock has slimmed down now, he's not soooooo muscley. But he still has those shoulders--and I have ever been attracted to a good pair of shoulders. In fact, every guy I've ever liked in real life has had a great set of shoulders, my husband especially. Of course, no one quite comes close to the shoulders of David Boreanaz, which add so magnificently to his broodiness when he plays 'Angel'...but Dwayne Johnson has a nice set, and he's actually turning into a decent actor, much like Ahnold once did. Will we ever see The Rock in fuzzy polar bear slippers? Who knows...(see Batman and Robin if you don't get it)

Okay, I have now confessed. I am a violent bookworm.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Yesterday, I had an experience straight out of the Anne of Green Gables books. Seriously, when you read about it, you'll think it's waaay too weird to have happened in real life.

Okay, so every day that my Cowboy rides off on his bike to go to work at 5:40pm, I stand out on our cement slab porch and kiss him good-bye, and watch him ride off down the block and around the corner, until I can't see him anymore. Well, last night after he'd ridden off, I turned back to the house and discovered I was locked out. There I stood, wearing nothing but my pajamas. No shoes. I ran after Cowboy, but he was blocks ahead and didn't hear my pleas for help. So I walked 17 blocks through the center of town, barefoot and in my pjs, during rush-hour traffic.

I had two things going for me though: 1) I walk barefoot all the time anyway, so my feet are tough, and I didn't get blisters; 2) the pjs I was wearing are really just regular clothes, a pair of black shorts and a red t-shirt. So I'm not footsore, and I didn't look too rakish.

Anyway, I walked to my in-law's house, and the Rescue Ranger drove me to the factory where his wife, Banana, and my Cowboy work. I got the house key, and he drove me home. But boy! Was he ever surprised when he opened the door and I stood, barefoot and bra-less, on his front porch, in need of rescuing once again.

I have come to the conclusion that the citizens of our town need to upgrade their sidewalks and stop mowing their grass so short.

I'm sooooo gonna put this in a story some day.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Did I ever mention I have fanfiction published online? It's all about the 1960's tv show Combat!, which was a historical drama about WWII. Well, one story does cross over a character from Angel (and previously of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). You can access them at --most of them are on the "Purple Hearts" site, which is an offshoot of Story Nook now. The ones on "Purple Hearts" are under the name White Queen. There's one on the Story Nook site too--"Bulletproof". That's the crossover one...Spike wanders into the Combat! world. Anyway, just thought I'd share the link.

I really like writing fanfic. It lets me try out new ideas without having to create new characters. That really cuts down a writers' workload. It's challenging too though--you have to really nail those characters or else your readers will dislike you for being uncanonical and stop reading your work. I've got a new bit of fanfic percolating in my brain right now. It's going to be kinda unconventional though, at least compared to the fanfic I usually write. I'm crossing a Combat! character into the Angel universe, and in the present day. But then, there are Star Trek/Combat! stories around, so I think I'll still have some readers...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Shrewd move, Tom Cruise. Most of your public, critics, and reviewers blamed you for your divorce from Nicole Kidman a few years ago. I even did, a little bit. I'm not sure why, but we collectively felt bad for Nic, and painted you as the bad guy. I still liked your movies; The Last Samurai makes me weep. But I'd lost my fondness for you--the sparkle you could bring to me had faded. Not that you've ever been one of my most-favorite actors...but you're in my top 25, probably. So what did you do? You accepted the fact, eventually, that we didn't really like seeing you as the good guy in your movies, because we all felt a little miffed with you, even now. And you decided to play a bad guy in the movie Collateral. I saw it a few weeks ago. Your plan worked--I loved you! And now, I'm not mad at you anymore. Neither is anyone else, it seems. If I had a vote in the Academy, I'd vote for you for best actor for that movie. Unless you were up against Harrison Ford or Mel Gibson or Johnny Depp, of course.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

If you're wondering who Archie Goodwin is, and why I named my Betta after him, allow me to explain. He's the narrator of the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout. I love these mysteries. Not only are the books fabulous, but they've been made into a delightful series on A&E, starring Timothy Hutton as Archie. I love the series, because not only do they nail their interpretations of the characters, but the costumes and props are fantabulous! They're sorta 40's/50's, with lots of vibrant colors and flashy suits with awesome hats, for both the men and the women. Mmmm.

Anyway, my Betta is really flashy, sort of an aquamarine blue with major fins that have red tips. And the colors reminded me of the colors from the tv versions of Nero Wolfe mysteries.

Now that I've explained all this, I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotations from a Nero Wolfe book: "Archie doesn't like him, and I have learned that it is always quite possible that anyone he doesn't like may be a murderer." -Nero Wolfe in And Be a Villian by Rex Stout.