Thursday, December 29, 2005

"King Kong" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

I went to see King Kong last night with ED and the Chameleon. I very much so liked it, so hooray for Peter Jackson! (Except for all those centipedes, I could really have done with out them.)

Later that night, the Chameleon and I watched Laura. And we noticed that these two very different movies--one a new monsterful movie and the other classic film noir--have startling similarities. Think about it...beautiful, fragile girl becomes object of monster's affection-that-turns-to-obsession. In King Kong, the monster is a giant gorilla; in Laura, it's a snide narcissist. Of course, Kong is actually be a sweetheart, while Waldo Lydecker turns out to be maniacal. But they both die at the end, and not by the hand of the guy that the girl ends up with (whew!).

Monday, December 26, 2005

This Christmas, I discovered a really great new fudge recipe--it's so much easier than the ones I've used before! It involves absolutely no stirring and stirring and stirring over a hot stove :-) Check it out!

Pudding Fudge

1 pkg (8 squares) Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
1/3 cup water
1 pkg (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding
3 cups powdered sugar

Microwave 4 of the chocolate squares, water, and 6 Tbsp of butter in large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir. Add dry pudding mix; stir until well blended. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, stirring until well blended after each addition. Press into foil-lined 8-inch square pan. Microwave remaining 4 chocolate squares and 2 Tbsp butter in large microwavable bowl on high 1-1/2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over pudding mixture. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Remove foil and fudge and cut into squares. Makes 36-48 pieces.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

I went to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tonight, with Noumenon and some of his (and Cowboy's) relatives. Two of the relatives were kids, 15 and 10, perfect for watching this kind of movie.

I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it. It was good, just not magnificent. If they would have gotten Weta Workshops to do all the effects, instead of just letting them do the armor and weaponry and giving the rest to Industrial Lights & Magic, I think it would have been better. I mean, the main CG stuff was good, like Aslan and the beavers and the centaurs, things like that. But there were too many minor parts that weren't polished and perfect, little flaws around the edges that kept catching my eye and distracting me. Like this one twitchy little critter in some of the scenes with the White Witch...I don't know what it was, but it annoyed me every time it appeared, because it looked like it belonged in Shrek, not this.

Oh, and can I rant about the costuming for a minute? Most of it was nice, and the bits of 1940's England were quite lovely. But what was up with the White Witch's main costume? Here, I've got a picture of it...isn't it odd? It looks like two giant styrofoam sno-cone cups stuck together and covered in squishy silver stuff. What is up with the whole shelf thing on her shoulders? It's just weird.

As for acting, well, I first have to say that casting Liam Neeson as the voice of Aslan was bloody brilliant. How delightful! As for the children...they're good little child-actors. Not Freddie Sizemore or Haley Joel Osment or Margaret O'Brien, certainly, but I'd say they're on par with the kids in the Harry Potter movies. And the boy playing Peter (William Moseley) is really rather hot...and before you accuse me of being a mental minor-raper, he was born in 1987, so he's 18 and legal, nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah. Actually, he was so charming and earnest and brave, I almost gave up my traditional allegiance to Edmund and became a Peter fan! But I didn't, because Edmund came through as usual and gave my heart-strings a good tugging with his whole fall-and-redemption character arc. He's always been my favorite, from the very first time I read the books. Maybe because I see a lot of myself in him--I hate being scolded and bossed and told to 'do as you're told'. His whole "Oh, yeah, well watch this!" attitude is a lot like mine.

I don't think I liked this enough to want to buy it when it comes out on dvd, but it definitely made me want to revisit the books. And I'm glad I went to see it in the theater, because that was loads of fun. Especially since I don't get to go see movies with gobs of people very often, and this is the sort of movie you want to see with gobs of people.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Ohmygiddyaunt! I finally finished my latest piece of Combat! fanfiction, "Dying Like Men". The webmasters of the Purple Hearts site are too busy with Christmas busy-ness to post it there right away, but I'd been writing this story since January and a lot of other fanfic writers were clamoring to read it. So I uploaded it to our Yahoo group page, where we put temporary copies of stories until we can get them on a real page. I'll let you know just as soon as it's posted for the whole world to read (if you simply can't wait, email me and I'll consider sending you your own copy as an attachment).

I have never before gotten reactions like this to one of my stories. Bayonet, one of the other fanfic writers that I admire the most (actually, she started the Purple Hearts page), wrote me this long letter of praise for the story. She said that if I wrote a story that had no one but Littlejohn in it, she would read it.
Let me explain what makes this compliment so wonderful that it made tears well up in my eyes. Littlejohn is a very minor character in Combat!. Most fanfic stories are about the whole squad, or at least several members of it. If they're about a single member of the squad, they're generally about Lt. Hanley or Sgt. Saunders. Or sometimes Kirby or Caje, the other two main favorites. There are a few pieces that focus on Doc and Billy. I don't think I've ever read a story about only Littlejohn. His character never got very well explored in the series, and he's mostly just kind of there, being useful for whatever plot device comes along. In fanfic, Littlejohn generally gets relegated into a sort of clumsy buffoon role, which I firmly dislike. In the series, he could be clumsy, he had some marvelous humorous moments (especially in scenes where he was the 'Older and Wiser Soldier' playing off Billy's 'Naive and Disingenuous Youngster'), but he was never a buffoon.

So I decided to write "Dying Like Men" as if it was an episode shot over Littlejohn's shoulder. It's got all the other main characters in it, but it's from Littlejohn's perspective. We get to hear his thoughts and observations above all the rest of the stuff. I wanted to show him to be the intelligent, insightful character I've always thought him to be. It seems I've succeeded. Wow. That's a pretty doggoned cool feeling: succeeding in getting readers to feel the way you do about something.

(In other words, for those of you that haven't seen much/any of Combat!, writing a whole story from Littlejohn's perspective is like doing a story focusing on Riley of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sulu of Star Trek.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I'm reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote at work during my lunches right now. I'm enthralled. I've read some of Capote's stuff before, like Breakfast at Tiffany's (which has a far better ending than the movie) and some short stories (which I seem to get confused with Tennessee Williams plays--they're all full of sweaty, unhappy people). This is so much different, I can't believe it's written by the same guy!

I think the thing I'm noticing the most is the way he's using foreshadowing. Usually foreshadowing bugs me. It makes me impatient, makes my brain scream, "Stop hinting and just tell me!" But in this, I'm not irritated, I'm tantalized. Every time he alludes to something that'll happen later, I think, "Ooooh, I wonder where that will lead? What does he mean by that?" I'm not sure how he's doing this, but I like it and I'm going to try to figure it out so I can do it too. Foreshadow without frustrating my readers.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Okay, the previous list of favorite Christmas songs just contains my favorites in general--no matter who performs them (with a few exceptions), I like 'em. Here, however, are my Top Five Favorite Specific Christmas Songs:

5. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey (I generally detest her music, but this is fun)
4. "Jingle Bells" by Barbra Streisand (Unexpectedly jazzy and funky for Babs)
3. "Do You Hear What I Hear" by Bing Crosby (Forget cheese, he is the Voice of Melted Chocolate)
2. "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Guitars and drums for Christmas!)
1. "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" by Elvis Presley (The percussion is amazing!)

Oddly enough, only one of those is on my other list..."Christmas Eve/Sarajevo" is a brilliant rock medley of "Carol of the Bells" and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen".

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My dad would say this is "indicative of our society". I just call it sad. On the radio the other morning, a dj listed off the top ten most-recorded Christmas songs from the last five years. Only one of them was a song about the birth of Christ: "The Little Drummer Boy". And it came in at number ten. The rest of them were all secular, about snow and Santa and such.

So anyway, here are my Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs:

10. "Pas de Deux" from The Nutcracker
9. "Silver Bells"
8. "Once in Royal David's City"
7. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
6. "If Every Day was Like Christmas"
5. "White Christmas"
4. "Go Tell it on the Mountain"
3. "Angels We Have Heard on High"
2. "What Child is This"
1. "Carol of the Bells"

Hmm. Seems like I'm half-and-half, huh?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I should be writing about the attack on Pearl Harbor tonight, shouldn't I? Being the big WWII history buff that I am, right? But I'm not gonna. I'm gonna write about Walk the Line, Joaquin Phoenix, and Johnny Cash. Because I just went to see the movie tonight, and it was even better than I'd hoped. Honestly, it was as if Joaquin Phoenix wasn't playing Johnny Cash, but he was Johnny Cash. Now, I'm not what you'd call a huge Johnny Cash fan--I mean, I don't know him and his music like I do Bobby Darin's, so I couldn't judge the acting and singing in this the way I could for the BD biopic Beyond the Sea, but to me it seemed like Joaquin really got inside who Johnny Cash was and the demons that drove him.

My first memories of Johnny Cash come from my teen years. Mom, Johnnycake, and I would watch Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman every Saturday night, and Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash did one or two guest appearances over the years on the show--I remember a Thanksgiving episode with them in it, for sure. My other memory is of this tape of Western songs my Dad has. It's got two Johnny Cash songs on it, "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" and "Wanted Man."

Then Johnny Cash dropped out of my life for about five years. He dropped back in when Cowboy and I got addicted to his version of "Hurt" the first year we were married. And now...well...I've got "Walk the Line" stuck in my head, if that's any indication to you...

As for Joaquin Phoenix, well, I've pretty much been drooling at his feet since I saw Signs and he was all broad-shouldered and broody. In this one, he's about the sexiest I've seen him, particularly since I'm enthralled with his eyes and he does a lot with them here...and who knew he had a voice that amazing? I'm going to buy the soundtrack. His lower register in particular just makes my toes tingle.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I uploaded my manuscript to the Official NaNoWriMo Word-Counter today, and it officially declared me a winner! So now I have these two nifty icons to use, and I also got to print up a certificate of accomplishment, which I plan to frame and hang on my wall to remind myself that I can write unbelievably large numbers of words in a very short time if I really want to...

Monday, November 21, 2005

After I get home from work in the morning, I will change clothes and help Cowboy pack the car, and then we will drive to the airport and fly HOME!!!!! Because I have 9 days of vacation! This will be the first time I have spent Thanksgiving with my parents since I was 17, and the first time I've spent it with my Grandma O. since I was probably 3. I can't wait! We're gonna have a blast too--we're going to Myrtle Beach over the weekend, I get to see Freestargirl and Jewels again...I

I haven't been home since July of 2004. That is way too long.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Everyone join me in a Dance of Joy! I've finished NaNoWriMo!!!!!!! I passed 50,000 words tonight, can you believe it?

And the novel's only about half done. Oh goody. And after I get the rough draft out, then I can edit it. Oh rapture.

But back to the Dance of Joy. Numfar couldn't make it, so I've got the Beatles here instead. Come on, join us! I did it!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Holy cabooses! I only have 2,201 words left to write to get to 50K! I could very possibly hit my goal tomorrow night!

And guess favorite character just now arrived. Rather Boromir-like of him to wait this long to show up, wouldn't you say? Silly boy. Of course, if I eventually rewrite it starting with that other character's death, then this darling boy will show up in chapter 5, not chapter 15. But mustn't think much about rewriting yet, must concentrate on initial draft.

Good thing I'm done with my writing for the night, cuz now I'm all distracted with thoughts of Boromir.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I only have to write 2,000 words a night for the next three nights, and I'm done done done done! Well, no, my novel's not done. But I'll be at 50,000 words and done with the NaNoWriMo madness. And still have one night off to pack before flying home!

Then when I get back from vacation, I think I'll try to write 1,000 words a day until I get the rest of this novel's rough draft finished. That oughtta push me to go fast enough that I won't be auto-editing and I might get the dern thing done in less than three years. But I'll still have time for things like washing dishes and editing my latest C! fanfic story, which I've promised my fans (I have fans!) I'll have done and posted online by Christmas...
I killed one of my four main characters tonight. I've known it was coming since I first envisioned this story. In fact, when I rewrite it, I think I'll start here. It's really the pivitol point in the other characters' lives, and the part of the story that really interests me is the aftermath of this death, not the stuff that leads up to it.

It was tough to write. I didn't think it would be, because in the piece of Combat! fanfic that I just finished a rough draft of, I killed off four characters in much messier ways, and I thought that would be good practice for me, get me all hardened up. Nope. Never gets any easier to kill off a character I like. Killing characters I loathe and despise, on the other hand, is loads of fun.

My wordcount is 42,098...only 7,902 words left to go.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hmm. I'm having second thoughts about buying Scott Stapp's new album. I just remembered that artists that go solo after their bands break up tend to not so much thrill me.

Artists that do a solo album while their bands are still together, on the other hand, I often like. Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty, for instance. And Gwen Stefani of No Doubt. And I adore Jon Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" album...

Today's word count: 2600 exactly
Total word count: 38,992

Monday, November 14, 2005

Scott Stapp is releasing a solo album! Scott Stapp is releasing a solo album! Scott Stapp is releasing a solo album! Wooooooooooohooooooooo!

As you can tell, I've mostly forgiven him (and the other guys, who went and formed a new band called Alter Bridge) for the breakup of Creed. I think. I'm listening to clips of Scott's new songs at his website, and they're pretty groovy. But not as good as Creed--at least, not the ones I've heard so far. Which I expected, because half of what I love about Creed is Scott's voice and lyrics. The other half is Mark Tremonti's music and guitar abilities. But I'll probably get Scott's cd ("The Great Divide") eventually anyway...

Oh yeah, got 3,049 words in on the novel yesterday, and 2,807 tonight...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I loved my night off from writing last night, and I guess it kinda rejuiced me, cuz I got in 2,829 words tonight. That puts me over 30,000! Woohoo!

Friday, November 11, 2005

I think I'm beginning to realize I started my NaNoWriMo novel at the wrong place. Originally I'd planned to start at the wedding, and show the previous year in flashbacks throughout the wedding ceremony. Then I decided I don't like doing flashbacks and, instead I started it where the main character meets her husband-to-be. Now I'm thinking I should actually start the tale after they've been married about 2 years, right when all the real drama starts up, and show the previous three years in flashbacks. Hmph.

Oh well, I will just keep writing from here, and then when I've got the rough draft done, I'll mess with starting points and flashbacks and junk like that. Got in 2,528 words last night, huzzah. Which means tonight Cowboy can take me out to eat and go shopping. I'm hoping to find a new nice shirt to wear to the Thanksgiving Eve service at home, and he needs new shoes. Fun fun fun! I'm really looking forward to taking a break from the writing, actually...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ohmygiddyaunt! I hit 25,000 words tonight! I am half-way to the goal! Whoawhoawhoawhoawhoa! This is sooooooooooooooo amazing!

This puts me a day ahead of my schedule, which I wanted, because Cowboy offered to take me dining and shopping on Friday before I go to work. And who wouldn't work extra hard to gain that kind of excursion?
I'm past the 20,000-word mark! Monday night I only wrote 2,115 words, but tonight I wrote 2,648. I'm still several hundred words ahead of where I should be. Huzzah!

The thing is, I'm 2/5 of the way to the word-count goal, but my story is only maybe 1/5 told. Yikes! Looks like I won't be actually finishing it before my v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n after all...but I'm fairly confident I'll reach the NaNoWriMo goal. Lord willin' and the creek don't rise...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

The author Logan Pearsall Smith said: "Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast." I love that.

As a person, I have pretty healthy self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, etc. I can do a lot of neat stuff, I'm intelligent, and so on. It takes a lot to shake that for me--I tend to live on a pretty even keel of self-acceptance.

As a writer, however, I tend to vascillate between three points. One one end is my "padded cell", the times I'm convinced I'm Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, and Patrick O'Brian all in one. The literary equivalant of combining Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson, Baz Luhrman, and M. Night Shyamalan.

On the other end of the spectrum lie the "doldrums". I can get stuck for days there, convinced I'm the worst writer in the history of mankind. This usually happens when I'm out of ideas--I drift along, slack-sailed, until another idea eventually wafts my way.

In the middle is reality. I'm there most of the time--I know I'm better than some writers, but not spectacular, by any means.

Oh, and I got in 2,728 words last night...I'm up to 16,235 now!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I am amused. The theater here in Ruralburg obviously employs someone who needs to work on their spelling skills...according to the marquee, they're showing "The History of Vilolence" right now. What makes it really funny is that they actually have two marquees on opposite sides of the building...and both of them have the same error...

In NanoNews, got in 2,726 words tonight. It was more of a struggle than it has been the last couple nights though. Could this be the the beginning of a new phase, one full of agonized staring at the screen while my fingers find no words? Or might it just be caused by too little sleep, having to drive Cowboy to work in the rain, and then taking a shower, rather than heading straight to the keyboard like I have on previous nights? Hmm. Guess we shall see, eh?

I think I'll definitely try NaNoWriMo next year, and not go on vacation the last week in November. Doing this in four weeks must be so nice, instead of three like I'm trying.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm one-fifth of the way to my goal! I hit 10,781 words today. Wowie zowie, huh?

In non-nano-news, I watched Play Misty for Me on one of my days off this week. Which is a 70's movie starring Clint Eastwood, for anyone still living in a bomb shelter. Anyway, you know how I have always thought that Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine looks a lot like Clint Eastwood? I am now convinced that the people doing his hair and makeup for the X-Men movies are trying to deliberately make him look like Eastwood. Because Eastwood in Play Misty for Me looks unbeliveably like Jackman in X-Men and X2. This is the best I can do by way of comparison shots of the two of them...I'm having a really hard time finding photos of Clint from that movie for some reason...and this isn't a terribly good comparison, but maybe you can kind of get the idea.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Still going strong! Got in 2,599 words today, so still banking up extra words in case I need to go easy some day soon. Today was the scariest, actually, because I've had the last two nights off, so I could take my time if I needed to. Tonight I had to get it done in three hours, tops, so I can go to work. Got it done in about two, so hooray! I even have time to do email and blog a bit :-)

I'm a little afraid that after the first week or so, I'll run out of steam and the words will start dwindling away. Sure hope not, though.
Wrote 2,856 words tonight, for a grand total so far of 5,457. I'm on page 11 and chapter two!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Legend of Zorro rocks! It's a smidge less magnificent than The Mask of Zorro, but only a smidge. Really, the only thing it was missing was a fiery dance between Alejandro and Elena. And on the plus side, their little kid, Joaquin, is adorable!

Hey, didja notice that when they got married, Alejandro took Elena's last name? Yup, they're the de la Vega family! Guess you can't have anyone wearing the mask and cape but a de la Vega. It would just be wrong, you know?

Had the theater to myself again. Hooray! I could giggle and hurrah and boo to my heart's content. There were so many good lines, too, but of course I can't remember any of them now. Guess I'll just have to see it again, right?

All in all, I liked it nearly as well as the original. I'll definitely be adding it to my collection!

Oh, and speaking of people named 'Joaquin', I got to see a preview for Walk the Line, the movie about Johnny Cash that stars Joaquin Phoenix. Gonna make an admission here: I'm something of a Johnny Cash fan. Not a huge fan that collects his cds, but I like his voice, I liked his guest spots on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and...I think he's kinda sexy. And well, we all know how smokin' Joaquin Phoenix is...I'm definitely gonna hafta see that movie. He did his own singing for it, like Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea, but I think JP sounds a lot more like Johnny Cash than KS sounded like Bobby. I do remember a quotation from the preview for Walk the Line: somebody asked Johnny Cash why he's wearing all black, and said he looked stupid, like he was going to a funeral. Johnny said, "Maybe I am." It was just coooooooool.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

NaNoWriMo has begun! And I'm already 2601 words into my novel! How groovycool is that? I'm narrator's voice is pretty clear in my head and is coming through better than I'd hoped. I guess maybe I did learn some stuff from writing my first novel, like how to get my own voice out of the way and let the characters speak for themselves. It took me about three chapters to get that during the first novel.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Only a few more hours of freedom! And I'll be spending two of them at work...then the NaNoWriMo madness begins...except I probably won't actually start writing until I get home.

I have 43 characters. Most of them have names. Some of them are dead; they'll just be around in memories. I hadn't counted them before this...43 is kinda a big scary number! Only four are main characters though, the rest are just extended family, friends, etc. But I can think of several more that I haven't even put on the cast list yet. Yikes! Of course, this thing takes place over about 11 years, so I guess that's not so crazed.

Anyway, I'll try to post here every few days, to keep y'all abreast of how the novel is going...or isn't, depending on the situation ;-)

As my altar-ego Abby Sciuto said in the NCIS episode "Silver War", "Some people drown their sorrows in drugs and alcohol. I prefer caffeine."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"Doom" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

Went to see Doom on Tuesday night. It was pretty good--I'm definitely glad I went to see it in the theater, because I just don't think it'd be as cool on a small screen. Especially the ten or so minutes of FPS stuff at the end (that's First-Person Shooter, for you non-video-game-players)--that wouldn't be nearly as great on just my little tv.

The movie itself was okay...I have to admit I've never played the game or read any of the novels, so I liked all the expository stuff at the beginning. And you know me...I'm a Dwayne Johnson fan! And dear Karl Urban got to be the hero, which is just so cool. Yay for KU! (He plays 'Eomer' in Lord of the Rings, who ties with Gandalf for my third-favorite character, just FYI)

It was a lot creepier than I expected, with more scary chasing and freaking out in dark tunnels than the preview suggested. The music was appropriately wailing and wicked. The acting was adequate, and brilliant now and then. Karl Urban had the best character to work with, and he did a lot with it. I hope to see him in a lot more movies soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NaNoWriMo begins in one week! Gaaaaaaaaaaah!

Actually, I think I'll be okay. Stressed out and drained and very grrrrrr for a month, but okay. I've already got a good handle on the four main characters, I know where the story starts and where it ends, and a few interesting things that happen in the middle. And I've already written something longer than this, so I know I can come up with enough stuff to hit 50,000 words. I mean, I've got more ideas for this one than I had when I started my first novel. More scenes worked out in my head, more characters named and gelling, and definitely a better rapport with the narrating character.

If you're wondering why I've been so silent this past week, it's because my brother and his girlfriend were here Wed-Sun on their midterm break from college. It's the first time I met his girlfriend, and I really like her a lot. He seems to have chosen wisely :-)

I should really come up with nicknames for them, so I don't have to keep saying "my brother" and "my brother's girlfriend" about "Johnnycake" and "Dimples"?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I have an addiction to tactile sensations. You may remember my post about being barefoot...I'd like to add some thoughts to that.

I have a thing for texture. The way things feel in my hands or under my feet or in my mouth are important to me. They inform the way I respond to the world around me, the people I encounter, everything.

If you know me personally, you're probably aware of my hatred for potatoes. I hate the texture of potatoes, particularly when they're mashed or baked. They are mealy and mooshy and dry, and they spread themselves inside my mouth, caking around my teeth and tongue. Insidious and hard to dispose of. Lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and cooked egg yellows are also on my hate list for the exact same reason. Nothing to do with the way they taste, everything to do with the way they feel in my mouth. The only foods I dislike are foods with this texture.

I also dislike wearing sweaters. Why? Because of their texture. They pretend to be soft and snuggly, but really they're scratchy and constricting. They pull at my arm hairs and rub against my skin too much, like they want to take its place.

But enough about dislikes...I want to write about all the things I enjoy feeling. Crumbling dirt in my flower patch. Gloppy pumpkin innards. Slimy butter and gritty spices as I rub a turkey we're about to bake. Sticky cookie dough. The already-worn-smooth spot on the space bar of my new keyboard. Cold piano keys, waiting for me to impart my warmth before they will make music. The thick, weighty paper in old books. The demanding hardness of a trumpet mouthpiece that insists I conform my stubborn lips to its shape.

This is why I love Snickers bars and not 3 Musketeers and Milky Ways. Snickers bars have four distinct textures in one bite: smooth caramel, crunchy nuts, chewy nougat, and solid chocolate. Milky Ways and 3 Musketeers just have two rather boring textures. No fun.

I think the reason I notice and delight in tactile sensations is because I spend so much time living inside my head. I'm always thinking about something, or reading, or making up a story. Living in my head. Touching and feeling things brings me back to the real world, reminds me that I'm a part of this marvelous and endlessly variated Creation.

Maybe this is why my favorite Doors song begins with the words: "Come on, come on, come on, now touch me, baby--can't you see that I am not afraid?" I'm not afraid to experience life, even if I end up deciding I don't like particular parts of it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Nothing makes me so eager to write as having some housework I should be doing instead.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Poor Cowboy got his wisdom teeth removed today :-( I had mine out seven years ago, bwahahahaha. But that, plus helping nurse my brother thru his own teeth-removal three years ago, means I know what needs to be done to keep Cowboy happy and healthy.

So far he's been a very good boy. No more whining than normal, and he's even managing to go to the kitchen for pudding his own self. Helps that he wasn't under general anesthesia the way my bro and I were...he doesn't have all the grogginess to dispel.

Cowboy is a quick healer, so he'll probably be feeling fine so fast I'll get envious.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

You scored as River Tam. The Fugitive. You are clever and dangerous, which is a nasty combination. The fact you are crazy too just adds to your charm. They did bad things to you, but you know their secrets. They will regret how they made you.

Which Serenity character are you?
created with

I can live with that. She's my second-fave character after seeing the movie...and I pretty much knew I wasn't gonna end up as Mal...I think I like him cuz he's all the things I ain't...

"Serenity" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

Went to see Serenity tonight with Noumenon. All I can say is: WOOOOOOOOOO! Way to go, Joss! To be honest, I've never actually seen an ep of Firefly, because it originally aired when I was addicted to Buffy and Angel and didn't have time for another show to soak up my rare free time. What an idiot I was! How could I miss such a great Joss world?

I had a basic idea of the premise, but I was totally unprepared for the magnificent Jossness of it all! I mean, someone has finally taken the whole idea of "cowboys in space" literally!

And now I cannot wait for the first disk of Firefly to arrive at the library for me. Because I need more! (I always thought that Nathan Fillion was too boyishly cute to be a baddie anyway)(Oh, and any time Adam Baldwin gets to play with explosives and guns, it's all good)(Also, playing "Guess Who Guest-Starred as a Villain on One of Joss's Other Shows" is way fun!)(And when has David Krumholz playing a nerd not been delicious?)

My fave line: "This is the Captain. We have a slight problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some turbulence and then... explode. " (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds over his ship's intercom)

My second-fave line: "Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint. " (also Capt. Malcolm Reynolds)

Joss Whedon, you rock my world!

(PS So do you, Cowboy!)

Monday, October 10, 2005

I did it! I finished writing my first novel! Okay, granted, it's just a first draft, but it took me 3 years to do, so I'm elated. Plus, I got it out of the way before NaNoWriMo begins.

But best of all, I have my first novel out of the way. It seems like first novels are generally crap, but you have to get through them and learn all sorts of things in the process, so that your following novels will be worth reading.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I'm doing research for my NaNoWriMo novel. The librarian probably thinks I've cracked...on my last visit, I checked out five books with titles like Being a Widow and Stepmothering and Helping Your Struggling Teenager. Since I'm obviously too young to have a teenager, as is Cowboy, and since Cowboy was there at the library too, she knows I'm not a widow or raising a struggling stepteen. Of course, she was too nice to ask why I was getting such odd books. All she said was, "Weren't you just here last night?"

So anyway, now you know that my NaNoWriMo novel deals with widowhood, stepchildren, and struggling teenagers. I'll tell you its title too: No Crystal Stair. It's from a line in "Mother to Son", my favorite Langston Hughes poem.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The October picture in my Coca-Cola calendar contains a very creepy man. I'm thinking of putting a post-it note over his face. His eyes are not focused. His left eye is looking at the cherry-cheeked maiden standing next to him. But his right eye is looking far off to his right, as if he's pondering leaving said maiden, just hopping into their car and taking off without her, before she's even finished her bottle of soda. You'd think the person who painted this advertisement could have made him look less creepy, more happy with his Coke and his girl and his car.

"Raising Helen" (2004) -- Initial Thoughts

I just watched Raising Helen. Interesting movie. I never thought I could hate Joan Cusack. I never thought I could like Kate Hudson. And I've never met a Lutheran minister that looked like John Corbett (alas). Or met a Lutheran minister who wore his collar so often--or looked so Episcopalian. Hmm. Wonder where they researched their Lutheran ministers...musta been ELCA...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

David Boreanaz has a new tv show! And I'm watching it right now! It's called Bones, and it's so weird to see him walking around in sunlight! And smiling! And joking! And relating well with people. He's an FBI agent (formerly a sniper!), and sort of the second-main character. It's another of those forensic shows that I love. Fortunately, my tv show provider likes them too...this is a surprise present from him on a tape that I thought would only have Battlestar Gallactica and Stargate SG-1 on it. I popped the tape in and thought, "What the devil is this?" and started forwarding through it, when suddenly, there was David! Angels sang, butterflies entered my stomach in usual formation, and I screeched with glee.
I didn't even know David B. had a new show! How cool for him! He's already worn a long dark coat once in the first 8 minutes, so I'm thinking they know how to dress him best. Also I adore his hair, it's more of a reversion to season 3 of Angel before some idiot thought he would look good with longer and curlier hair instead of delightfully short and spikey. But it doesn't go straight up completely here, sort of swooshes back a bit. And his eyes are still his eyes. The Eyes. Mmmmmmmm. And The Shoulders. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

It's based on a real person's life (not his, this forensic chick with a nose that tips up like mine).

He's got a kind of similar mission going on as he did as Angel: "Being a sniper, I took a lot of lives. What I'd like to do before I'm done, is try and catch at least that many murderers."

Oooh, speaking of Buffy alumni, Nicholas Brendan (Xander) has a new show too this fall, called Kitchen Confidential (also on Fox), but I haven't seen it. My tv show provider isn't into cooking, I guess...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Well, I did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Gaaaaaaaaah! I'm insane!

Betcha can't guess what my username is over there ;-)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Just figured out what it is about Chad Kroeger's singing that's so dead-sexy. It's the way he treats vowels. I'm listening to "See You at the Show" (he's the lead singer of Nickelback, FYI), and it struck me that he draws out vowels in a very unique way, like he's unwilling to let them leave his mouth. He hangs onto them a little longer than most singers would, and it just comes out all caressing and seductive.

Speaking of Chad Kroeger, I wish I had a better picture of him to put here, because he's my ideal Sirius Black. Whenever I'm reading the Harry Potter books, I always envision Sirius as a dark-haired version of Chad, all skinny and lanky and slightly sinister. Not that I don't love Gary Oldman, but he's not who I see in my head when I imagine Sirius.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I haven't posted much in the last few days because I am spending most of my free computer-time trying desperately to finish my first novel. I want to have it done by the end of October, because in November, I'm actually going to try doing NaNoWriMo! If you're not familiar with that term, it stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. The basic premise is that in one month, you write a 50,000-word novel. And considering that my first novel is at 56,000 words right now and it's taken me 3 years to get that far, I'm undoubtedly mad to try NaNoWriMo, but that's okay...I've been insane for years, and known it.

Actually, what's going to make NaNoWriMo completely psychotic for me is that I'm going on vacation on November 22, so I actually have to write 50,000 words in about 20 days, not 30. Because I'm going home, and I know I won't have the time or the inclination to work on it when I'm home. That means I have to do something like 2,500 words a day. Zounds!

So anyway, it's not that I've dropped off the face of the earth, it's just that I want to finish my first novel before starting my NaNoWriMo novel. Make sense?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I finally named my bike. Actually, I named it a week ago, but I didn't want to blog about it until I was sure I'd found the right name. Dragonfly. It came to me when I was pondering how to decorate the tote bag I'd just made for it.

See, I have this passion for making stuff. I particularly like to make new stuff out of old stuff. So in this case, I took an old pair of my jeans that had many holes in them, several in places that prohibit me from wearing them in public anymore. I cut off the top of the jeans, just below the back pockets, and sewed up the part I'd cut, making a nice bag. Roomy enough to carry 6 videos or medium-sized books, or lots and lots of dvds and cds. Since most of my solo bike trips are to the library or video store, I figure this is a good way to measure the size.

I knew I wanted to decorate it with some sort of beaded design on the front, so I started looking through my beadbox for inspiration. And inside my beadbox I have some little metal charms left over from when I was made a similar bag a couple years ago for my mom to carry her teacherly books to and from school. One of the charms was, you guessed it, a dragonfly. And I started remembering how in highschool, Freestargirl loved butterflies, Jewels loved ladybugs, and I kinda liked dragonflies. And then it came to me: not only would I do a beaded dragonfly on my totebag, I'd put the words "Fly with the dragons" on the other side. And that is when I realized my bike should be named Dragonfly.

The bag is working out really well--I've used it several times now. I attached it by the belt loops to my handlebars with pieces of suede lacing (my family calls the stuff 'yang', but I don't know if that's its real name or just another of our weird terms for things), and it's very handy. Especially all the pockets.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Quote of the day: "The job of the federal government is not to prevent idiots from making stupid mistakes; you cannot be free and still expect to be free from the consequences of your decisions."--Philosopher Poet (aka Flying Squirrel) on his blog...

I heartily agree.

Er, I mean, Arrrrrrr!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Don't forget that Monday, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Check out the official website for more details. Arrrrr!

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm reading a book by Stephen King! As you probably know by now, Gentle Reader, I do not ordinarily read books by Stephen King. They scare me. I don't enjoy being scared, except by vampires, Alfred Hitchcock, or M. Night Shyamalan. Or Vincent Price. Or Christopher Lee. Or Edgar Allan Poe. Anyway, I've tried reading horror books/stories by Stephen King a couple times before, and never particularly cared for them. I've seen 5 or 6 movies based on his writings, and only really liked Secret Window and The Green Mile.

But I'm really enjoying this book! What is it? On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. He's got this great sense of humor, and his quirky musings on his childhood have really captured my attention (I'm only about 50 pages into it so far). I got it out of the library because Noumenon sent me a link to a couple pages from it on, in which King discussed dialogue, which is something I really focus on in my own writing.

It will be worth reading this book, for me, if only for this little section about watching mainstream movies in the 1950's and 1960's, found on page 45:
"They were boringly wholesome. They were predictable. During The Parent Trap, I kept hoping Hayley Mills would run into Vic Morrow from The Blackboard Jungle. That would have livened things up a little, by God. I felt that one look at Vic's switchblade knife and gimlet gaze would have put Hayley's piddling domestic problems in some kind of reasonable perspective."
Love it! Altho I really like The Parent Trap, the idea of pitting the bubbly blonde twins up against that menacing hood Artie West is deliciously intriguing...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Must gush for a moment about the sweetness of Cowboy! I got home this morning from work, and he announced he got me a present. Guess what he got me? My very own 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest!!! I buy it every few months, maybe 4 times a year or so, when an article catches my interest in the grocery store and I don't want to just surreptitiously read it and then put the magazine back.

Well, Cowboy decided it would be cheaper just to get a year's subscription than have me buy them at the stand now and then. Isn't he sweet? Okay, yeah, sure, he's cheap...but sweet too!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I have started a new writing regimine. It's sort of inspired by Dkoren/Lanyn's mention a while ago (I think on her blog, but it coulda been in an email to me) that she keeps a record on a particular calendar of how many words she writes every day. It's also inspired by an article I was reading in Writer's Digest at the grocery store the other day, that talked about the importance of making yourself write every day, even if it's just a little bit. In that article they mentioned that Hemingway himself often only wrote 400-500 words a day. So I thought to myself, "I'm about half as good as Hemingway, so I'll start out trying to write half as many words a day!" So my goal is now to write at least 200 words every day, on one of my many projects. And on my 'weekends' I have to write at least 1,000 words in the two days. So far I've stuck to it too (but then, I only just instituted it on Tuesday). In fact, on my three days off this week (I love holidays!), I wrote more than 4,000 words! Just makes me feel good to know I've accomplished something, you know? Oh, and by the way, this posting happens to be 232 words long! Just so you have an idea how little I'm actually making myself write...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Do you know what it means when you look down at your bare foot and wonder why there is an empty banana peel draped carefully across it? When the plastic 20-oz bottle of Coca-Cola on the desk in front of you has only about 3/4 of an inch of liquid left in it, and you're the only person in the house? When somehow the Metallica cd you remember just cranking up a moment or two ago now sounds an awful lot like Rob Thomas? When that apricot-scented votive you picked up on clearance for a quarter last night is now a puddle of peachy wax in your favorite votive holder?

It means you're Hamlette, the Dame, and you've just gotten so involved in the story you were writing, you lost track of a couple hours of your life.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I bought a bicycle last night! It's a Huffy Cranbrook, and absolutely amazing! I fell in love with this bike when it first arrived at work last fall. Since the area I stock is right across from the bike rack, I got to see it quite often. I love it for its classic, sleek curves, the way it looks like a bike from the 1950's. Other things I love about it:
  • Pedal-brakes (aka Coaster Brakes), not handlebar-brakes
  • Single speed
  • Lots of chrome
  • Cushy wide seat
  • Wide, swept-back handlebars so I can ride upright
I think the brakes are my favorite feature, other than just how it looks. I rode Cowboy's bike and my mother-in-law's bike a couple times, both of which have those newfangled handlebar brakes, and once I nearly got hit by an SUV because I forgot how the handlebar brakes worked and tried to stop by jamming the pedals back. Naturally, that didn't work, and I had to swerve really quickly to avoid the SUV, and subsequently nearly ran into a parked car. Which is why I won't ride in the street like the crazed Cowboy anymore, I will only ride on the sidewalks.

So anyway, with gas prices being nuts like they are now, I decided it was high time I get a bike for my in-town errands, like running to the library a couple times a week. And so I got my bike. But wanna know the really cool thing? It was on clearance! We only had 3 left in the store, and instead of paying $79 for it, I got it for $50!!!

Ahhhh, if there's anything sweeter than getting something you've wanted for months, it's getting it on sale!

But now I need to name it. It's about the color of a Carolina sky in the winter, so I was thinking of something like "December Sky"...but with all the silver reflective tape I'm putting on the spokes and stuff, it looks kinda spooky, so I also thought of something along the lines of "Carolina Phantom". Hmm.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Is it just me, or are we experiencing a dearth of good romantic comedies lately? I just got back from Must Love Dogs, which I expected to like, because after all, who can resist the combination of John Cusack and puppies? Well, fine, I suppose there are plenty of people who can resist that. After all, the world is full of curmudgeons. But I am not one of them! I love John Cusack, I love dogs...I should love this movie. Right?

That's what I thought. And honestly, if there had been more puppies and more of John Cusack stalking about in his swooshy long black coat...and less Diane Lane curled up in a comforter sipping tea and looking exotically frumpy, I probably would have loved the movie. Or even if there had been more Stockard Channing and Christopher Plummer. Or if John Cusack had at least gotten to be happy for more than five minutes here or there. I mean, I love broody boys, don't get me wrong. After all, who's the pathetic girlie who swoons over Angel every chance she gets, right? Really, if John Cusack had just walked back and forth in front of the camera for 90 minutes, wearing that long black coat, grinning shyly now and then...I'd shell out $7.50 for that.

But this movie had a serious shortcoming: too much dithering. No one could decide what they wanted! Even John Cusack's character changed his mind several times. At least we had some good character development in this one, not like My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the bridegroom never got to move past Nice Guy Who Understands. But the pigheaded blindness of the female character in Must Love Dogs was on a scale of Julianne Moore in Laws of Attraction. Couple that with about eighteen Awkward just got messy. And did I mention John Cusack spent too much time off-screen?

My point is this: what happened to really great romantic comedies? Where did they go? Where's the Sleepless in Seattle, the While You Were Sleeping, the You've Got Mail for today? I mean, since What Women Want, Someone Like You, and I suppose Bridget Jones's Diary, I haven't seen a decent new romantic comedy. Why? Have they all been made now? Are we doomed to drivel from here on out?

Oh yeah, other big drawback for Must Love Dogs: Dermot Mulroney. Blech. The crooked smile works for Harrison Ford, not for you buddy. You just look conniving. I suppose that's okay if you want to play untrustworthy cads for the rest of your life.

Also, why is it so hard to find pics of John Cusack in the sexy black swoosh coat? I wanted to link to at least one.

Sigh. I suppose this is why God gave me Combat!, isn't it. So I can come home to my brand-new dvds of Season 5, curl up in my purple "Love me, love my sergeant" t-shirt, and savor a brand-new-to-me episode. At least some things in my life can be depended upon to satisfy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I've been really cranky lately. I think I've snapped at Cowboy at least once a day for over a week. And I can't blame it on PMS anymore either. I'm not entirely sure what my problem is. Like my favorite State Fair song says, "I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented, like a nightengale without a song to sing." I'm intermittantly grouchy and I don't know why.

It's not like I haven't been writing enough, because I have. I've just finished a short story that I submitted to an e-zine contest (more about that if I actually get into the e-zine). I'm working on my novel quite a bit--just passed the 50,000-word mark, which was my original goal nearly 3 years ago when I embarked on that mad journey. And I've got two other short stories in the works, one fanfic and one not.

It's not like I haven't been stocking my Creative Reservoir either. I have. I just read Robert Ludlum's amazing The Bourne Identity, and I've watched my usual amount of movies and tv eps. I've been listening to some great music, especially my new Bobby Darin cd, "Live at the Desert Inn." So it's not like I've been drawing from my supply without replenishing it, which does sometimes give me the widgets.

Nope, I'm just broody. I've got what Stephen Maturin calls the Blue Devils, and I can't seem to slay them.

Either it's a quarterlife crisis, or I'm starting to feel the effects of all that overtime Cowboy's been putting in. Maybe I'm just craving attention, and since I'm not getting the warm and fuzzy kind as much as I'm accustomed to, I'm lashing out in hopes of at least getting some reproachful complaints.

Maybe I should just go the way of Kay from Men In Black and start jumping up and down, waving my arms and shouting "Eat me! Eat me!"

Maybe I need chocolate. And more Combat!. Could be Combat! withdrawl--haven't watched an ep in over a week. Maybe I'm just jonesing for a Saunders fix. But Cowboy's napping on the couch right now, and I don't want to disturb him.

On second thought, maybe I do...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Evil Corporate Spambots Attack!!!!! No, not the latest headline from the hotsheets. It's what's happened to my blog: they keep commenting here, leaving moronic advertisements. So, alas, I am forced to put a little word-verification thing up, which means you have to type in some cryptic numbers and letters before you can comment here. Sigh. Sodding spambots.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hey, guess what? Suddenly, magically, I'm down to 145 lbs again! And I haven't even been dieting! I've just been sticking to my One Sweet Per Day rule, and boxing. This is my ideal weight! I haven't weighed this since I was a freshman in college! I hadn't checked my weight in like 2 weeks, but it'd been steady around 150 for f-o-r-e-v-e-r. And suddenly, whamo!

I think I'll just indulge myself in a little Dance of Joy around the Crypt now...where's Numfar when I need him?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cowboy is teaching me to box! I've always wanted to learn to box, ever since I was a wee girl watching the Rocky movies in my family's darkened living room while eating pizza and drinking that rarest of treats: soda. My brother and I actually had an inflatable Mickey Mouse punching bag when we were little, the kind with sand in the bottom so it would bounce back up when we hit it. Alas, it quickly acquired a hole that refused to remain patched.

But a couple months ago, Cowboy got some books from the library and started teaching himself how to box. Just for exercise, you understand. You see, he's always trying to get me to exercise. I was doing really well with my yoga for about six months, doing it at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. Then I went on jury duty, and never really got back into yoga after all that disruption. Then Cowboy came up with the brilliant idea of combining violence with the exercise. Perfect! Once he'd learned the basics fairly well, like the stance and things like that, we went out and bought a punching post thingie and bag gloves for each of us.

So now he's teaching me to box. I'm still working on my stance and jabbing, that's all. But we've learned something rather interesting: although I'm ordinarily right-handed, when I box, I'm a southpaw! We found out because, when he started teaching me the stance, I kept reversing my feet because I felt off balance. And he'd tell me, "No, no, the right heel has to be ahead of the left toes." And I'd complain, "But I'm gonna tip over!" Also, I kept wanting to jab with my right instead of my left. So finally we switched me around to see if doing things the other way would work out, and it did! Weird, huh?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A List of Things That Irritated Me Today
(Brought to you by PMS)

  • People who hum during the opening run-thru of a hymn during's so distracting...
  • People who sing or hum while they're's just wrong...
  • Bad Country remakes of good non-Country songs...especially if I'm forced to listen to them on the radio at work...
  • People who confuse 'infer' with 'imply'...especially in written, published works...
  • People who ask me what book I'm reading, then ask "Is it any good"?, you moron, I'm reading it cuz it sucks...
Where, oh where, is my Mallet O' Understanding?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Do you know what I love about making Cobb Salad? The leftover Blue Cheese. I love cheese in general, but Blue Cheese remainders particularly delight me. They're moist and crumbly, and I have to lick my fingers often when I eat them, so as not to waste one sour morsel. Cowboy is in the kitchen, whistling "Prima Donna" from The Phantom of the Opera and finishing the Cobb Salad, like the good little House Elf he is. And I sit here with my tiny clear plastic container of Blue Cheese, searching out the final morsels with diligence and glee. Life is good.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My Top 20 Favorite John Wayne Movies

20. Big Jake
19. Hatari!
18. Angel and the Badman
17. Red River
16. McLintock!
15. The Horse Soldiers
14. The Commancheros
13. The Quiet Man
12. El Dorado
11. The Flying Tigers
10. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
9. The Sands of Iwo Jima
8. The War Wagon
7. Chisum
6. Hondo
5. The Searchers
4. North to Alaska
3. Rio Bravo
2. Operation Pacific
1. The Sons of Katie Elder

NOTE: This is not my list of John Wayne's best movies, it's a list of my favorites.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm not ordinarily creeped out by things in my actual life. I mean, I can get scared by horror movies--unless they involve vampires, or are made by M. Night Shyamalan or Alfred Hitchcock. Those just give me a good woooooooooo while I watch them, and don't seriously freak me. But real life, stuff that actually happens to me and not stuff I read or see on tv/movies, doesn't scare me easily.

But yesterday something gave me the biggest wiggins I can ever remember having. Cowboy and I like to go 'graveyarding' (some call it 'graveyard rambling')--we walk through graveyards and look at old headstones, neat monuments, etc. We've done this ever since we were first dating. Yesterday morning, after church, we stopped at a big cemetery here in Ruralburg to wander for a bit. It's a cemetery I hadn't been to yet, altho Cowboy'd been there before. So we strolled around, looked at some cool monuments and headstones, and circled a neat Gothic-looking chapel built in 1940.

And then we found this tiny little mausoleum/crypt. It had a little door with a window in it, and then on the back wall opposite that door was a stained-glass window. I was just looking at the odd cement architecture of the building, but Cowboy looked through the window in the door and said, "Gaaaaaaaaah! There's a head in there!" And sure enough, silhouetted against the window in the opposite wall, were a man's head and shoulders! I let out a screech myself, and ran out of the shadow cast by the mausoleum, back into the safe sunlight. I do not know what it was--and I'm not sure I want to. Was the man embalmbed sitting upright? Is it a statue to his memory? Or did someone have a really warped sense of humor and have a statue put in his crypt to freak out people that looked inside?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I love learning about the WWII era. I love reading history books about it, people's memoirs, fiction set in the period, and of course, watching movies and tv shows set in that period.

Last night, I saw an amazing movie: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). It's about three guys fresh out of the service who all live in the same town and struggle to readjust to civilian life. I didn't know they made movies that frank on the subject right after the war! I thought they were all glossy and upbeat, like White Christmas (1954).

I grew particularly fond of the character 'Homer Parrish', played by real-life veteran Harold Russell. Russell lost both of his hands in an explosion during the war, and was trained to use these incredible hooks. He's absolutely amazing! You'd have to see it to understand, I can't explain it. Anyway, his character was such a sweetheart, and I was afraid through most of the movie that he was gonna commit suicide.

This movie, especially Homer Parrish's story, made Born on the Fourth of July look like a bowl of self-pitying, self-righteous mush.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tonight I finished reading John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth by Michael Munn. It's the first biography of John Wayne I've ever managed to finish reading. I don't usually read biographies of celebrities that I admire, because too often they end up ruining my idolization by waving all sorts of dirty laundry in my face. In fact, up to this point, the only celebrity biography I'd made it through is Dream Lovers: The Magnificent Shattered Lives of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee by their son, Dodd Darin. (I own that particular book, and now also this one about the Duke.)

I think the difference between these two books and the other celebrity biographies I've tried--and failed--to read is that these are written with real love and/or respect for the people they're describing. Michael Munn actually met John Wayne in the 70's, and his description of the time he spent in the Duke's company is especially touching. The book basically details John Wayne's whole life, from birth in Winterset, IA, to his death in CA. Munn discusses every movie the Duke made, and makes extensive use of interviews with others that worked on those films, letting them tell the story for him. Through these first-person reminiscences, we get to see different sides of John Wayne's personality down through the years.

For instance, here's something Lee Marvin told the author about a conversation he had with John Wayne on the set of The Commancheros:
"Duke said to me, 'I think there's a great part for you in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.' I said, 'Which part would that be?' He said, 'Liberty Valance.' I said, 'Who's the man who shot him?' He said, 'Me.' I said, 'Duke, if anyone's gonna shoot me, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be shot by.' And he was as good as his word." (pg 231)
Munn also writes about the Communist plot to assassinate John Wayne, which I hadn't heard about before. It seems pretty credible, and although I can't link you to any text from the book concerning it, here's something in another book that gives you a general idea. I was anti-Communist before, but now...whooo, they tried to kill John Wayne! At least three times! Yeeeeahhhhh. I think I'm gonna go burn anything remotely red-colored in my closet...

Anyway, it's a great book, and I kinda want to just start reading it over again right away. I enjoyed it that much!

Monday, July 25, 2005

I finished reading HP and the Half-Blood Prince. Sob sob, sniff sniff, wail wail, gulp gulp. It ended not well. I refuse to post any more spoilage, so that my Mom, my brother, and Lanyn don't get things ruined for them. Lanyn especially, since she hasn't read ANY of the books yet.

I'm not as weepy as I was at the end of HP and the Order of the Phoenix, or as shocked, but I'm still pretty sad. And I want the final book to come out NOW!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"Fantastic Four" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

I just got back from Fantastic Four. Hmm. Freestargirl saw it already, and said she liked it better than X2. I didn't. Not that it wasn't a fun ride, and of course it was fabulous seeing Ioan Gruffudd on the big screen (more about that in a minute). But I don't think it was as good as X2. I don't even think it was as good as X-Men. Actually, I'd put it about on par with the first Spider-man. It was good, it had some majorly fun parts, but there were some really slow spots and it felt kind of...scattered. Yeah, scattered, that's a good description. It lacked focus. I think it had basically the same problem as Spider-man (and X-Men too, to some extent): it had to spend so much time explaining who the characters are, their relationships, history, etc, that the plot kind of had to be built around that. I hope they make a sequel, because both X2 and Spider-man 2 far exceeded their predeccesors, mostly because we could explore new stuff, not re-explain the past.

But about Ioan Gruffudd...this is the most I've ever seen of him on the big screen! I was too poor to see 102 Dalmations in the theater, I didn't know who he was when Titanic was around, he's only in like 4 minutes of Black Hawk Down, and King Arthur spent way too much time on that Arthur dude. So I'd mostly seen Ioan on my tv set, which is very lovely, but not the same as having him encased in spandex and filling up a theater screen with his magnificent beauty. I mean, I thought his eyes were huge before! As dkoren/lanyn would say, "Don't step in that puddle, it's me!" And because I went to the 10:05pm show, I had the entire theater to myself and could feel free to shout, cheer, laugh, sigh, boo, and drool all I wanted. Love that. Best thing in the world about being on 3rd shift. I can walk into the theater, tell them what I want to see, and when they pick up a walkietalkie and say, "Uh, Joe, we've got Fantastic Four" (or whatever I'm gonna see), I know I'll probably have the movie world all for me.

Also, I got a free mini-poster. Just what my playroom needs--more Ioan pictures! Can never have enough of those. He's maturing very nicely too...he's still got that puppy playfulness, but he does 'serious' a little more convincingly than he used to. Still one of the best at looking embarassed/uncomfortable too. And now that the rest of his face is filling out and fitting his nose a bit better, he's just d-e-a-d s-e-x-y...oh, did I mention the shoulders? He's always had such delectable shoulders.

Yeah, so the best part about Freestargirl liking Fantastic Four is that she now properly appreciates Ioan Gruffudd. She always used to think I was daffy. Okay, so I am daffy, but now at least she understands it. That makes 4 converts: I'd already gotten ED, LN, and the Chameleon onboard the Ioan fanboat. That metaphor made no sense--I think I'm gonna go watch some Horatio Hornblower movies...that ought to put me back in shipshape!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I actually managed to leave Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at work, locked in my locker, when I left this morning to begin my two nights off. I was mighty tempted to bring it home, believe you me. But I'm glad I didn't. If I'd brought it home, I would have just lolled on the couch reading it through to the end. And I don't want to finish it in one fell swoop like that. I want to savor it. I want to churn the new ideas and theories around in my brain. And besides, I have a lot of stuff to get done this 'weekend'. I'm well on my way to accomplishing them too--I've written more than 700 words on my novel in about an hour!

But speaking of theories about The Half-Blood Prince, I have a couple, which I will now write with invisible ink, just in case there are others out there that haven't finished the book yet and don't want to know what kinds of theories I'm formulating...

First of all, everybody knows that another main character is going to die in this book. J.K. Rowling said so, before the book was even published. I read a newspaper article that said the death will cause much wailing and weeping from fans. So I figure it won't be Snape, since not everybody loves Snape. I think it'll either be Dumbledore or Hagrid, because they're the two that almost everyone loves. And I'm rather inclined at this point to think it'll be Dumbledore (I've just finished Chapter 17). Why? Because he started out being charming and delightful, and making me like him a lot more than ever. And Sirius was being much the same in Order of the Phoenix. But it might not be Dumbledore, because he's a very Gandalf-like character, and if he dies, it might feel like a Lord of the Rings rip-off. Hmm. Then again, JKR might want me to see similarities between Dumbledore and Gandalf, so I'll feel secure in the idea that she would never copy LotR. Blast that Joss Whedon for teaching me to second-guess my second-guesses!

Second, I think Tonks was in love with Sirius Black. Maybe they were even secretly married, who knows. I mean, Sirius was who-knows-where for a year or so...Tonks could have been hiding him. Anyway, I have lots of reasons I think this. Tonks is really really really sad after Sirius' death. Her patronus has changed shape, which can happen after a really major emotional shock. Harry saw it, and it had four legs...and I think he thinks it was a big Sirius-like dog. If Harry's patronus is a stag, which is what James Potter's animagus looked like, why couldn't Tonks's patronus look like Sirius' animagus? PLUS, the Black family was one of those stuffy pureblood families, and as we know from what we're learning about Tom Riddle, the purebloods often marry their cousins. And Tonks and Sirius were cousins. So maybe they weren't married, but I think she was in love with him. I should really reread the last book to see if I can pick up on any details, watch her behavior around him, etc.

If you've finished reading THBP, please don't write me comments confirming or denying these speculations, because I really don't want the book ruined for me. Okay? Thanks!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I decided not to buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when it came out today. I decided this months ago, and for several good reasons:

  1. The books come out in hardcover initially, and generally costs gobs and gobs of money.
  2. I don't have any of the other Harry Potter books yet, and if I get this one, I'll want to go buy the rest of them too.
  3. Mom pre-ordered it, so when she and my brother finish reading it, I can borrow it.

This is the first release of a Harry Potter book that has occured while I'm actually interested in the series. Well, rabidly interested, anyway. When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out, I'd only read the very first book, years earlier for a college class I was helping teach. But in the past year or so, I've read all of the first 5 books, and fallen severely in love with Sirius Black (and slightly-less-seriously in love with Severus Snape).

And then I went to work tonight. At midnight, the 1.5 pallets of stacks and stacks of The Half-Blood Prince trundled out to the floor. And I realized I was doomed. My fate was sealed when my pal D. bought a copy on her lunch break, and came and told me it was waaaaaaaay on sale, for almost half the usual price! So on my lunch break, I ran up to the registers and bought my own copy...for $15.05!!! After I bought the book, I found out that due to a managerial snafu, we had to sell it for the pre-order price to everybody, because management had forgotten to leave us the official list of pre-orderers! And I got my employee discount off on top of that, so yeeeeeeeeahhhhhh.

I'm done with the first four chapters already! Mild Spoilage follows...highlight the blank space to read a couple comments:

They mentioned Sirius in chapter one already! And several times thereafter. It took me a moment to realize that altho I'd gotten sorta used to Sirius being dead by now, to Harry and the others, it's still a recent tragedy. Snifffffle.

I got to visit inside Snape's home!

Harry Potter isn't mentioned until page 25, and doesn't actually appear until page 38. Hmm.

And I think I found a typo already: on page 10, on the 8th line, the last word is 'site', and I think it should be 'sight'...

End of Mild Spoilage! I'm only thru chapter 4, so it's safe to read what I wrote if you're past that already ;-)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mom is gone. She flew out this morning. We had a lovely 9-day visit! Not that we did anything spectacular while she was here--we put together 3 jigsaw puzzles, watched over a dozen was just a nice visit. She said she got very relaxed and well-rested, which I think she really needed, being a 4th-grade teacher, after all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mom and I are having a brilliant time together! Cowboy and I picked her up at the airport Tuesday evening, came back to our Crypt and just hung out until she went to sleep about midnight. Then this morning she got up and ate the Veggie Lo Mein we made (supper for us, breakfast for her), and we took her out and showed her the sights of Ruralburg (the public library and Cowboy's boss's house being the highlights).

Tonight, after Cowboy left for work, Mom and I cooked a turkey together. We had the maximum amount of fun you can have cooking a turkey! I think the best part was when we both were covered in butter and spices up to the elbows and had to decide who had the cleanest hand and could turn on the water so we could wash up. After we put Pedro in the oven (inside joke for Giant fans!), we comfied up on the couch and watched The Phantom of the Opera, the Andrew Lloyd Webber movie version. It was Mom's first time seeing it, and of course she adored it! I think she's about as in love with Raoul as I am!

After the movie, and after we took Pedro out to cool, Mom wanted ice cream. Alas, it was 9:30 at night, and A&W was closed. So we got Wells Blue Bunny "Bunny Tracks" (like Drumsticks) from a gas station instead. Then we came back to our Crypt, and Mom called Dad while I made us some cappuccino. Then we started putting together a Coca-Cola jigsaw puzzle while watching Picture Perfect--not the Jennifer Aniston movie, a "Feature Films for Families" movie that's charming and funny (it stars Richard Karn, who plays 'Al' on Home Improvement). Then we cut up Pedro together--Mom carved, and I cut the meat into bite-sized chunks that we freeze in 2-lb packages to be used in stir-frys and casseroles. While messing with the turkey, we listened to her LP (yes, as in vinyl record) of David McCallum's album "Music: A Bit More of Me"...

Now she went to sleep, about 45 minutes ago or so. This is gonna be a fantasmagorical week!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cowboy got some scar tissue and a mole removed from his chin this week. I'm hoping the horizontal incision and stitches will leave him with a sexy scar like Harrison Ford's. But knowing Cowboy's uncanny healing powers, he'll probably have no scar. Maybe I should change his nickname to Wolverine.

ED and I went to see Batman Begins last night. She loved it, of course. She thinks it's as good as X2. I think it's about as good as X-Men, but not as good as X2. I like it better than both Spider-man and Spider-man 2 though.

My Mom is coming to visit us next week. She's flying in on Tuesday, so if I'm suddenly silent for about a week, that'll be why. I haven't seen her since last July, so I'm really looking forward to her arrival :-) And Cowboy is so sweet about it too--he gets along pretty well with her, which is great. He's always really cool about having my brother over here during my bro's college breaks too.

I seem to have a giant bruise on my left knee, but it doesn't hurt when I poke it, and I have no idea how it got there.

I'm very very very stuck in my novel right now. Every time I think I'm getting somewhere, I bog down and end up hating what I wrote. Grr. Plus, I'm kinda stuck in my current Combat! fanfic story too. Not as badly though.

Sad news: Civil War historian/writer Shelby Foote died on Monday :-(

Cowboy is still asleep. We've been married 3 years, and I can still be amazed by his ability to sleep forever and ever. We were up late today--didn't get to sleep until noon. I woke up at 9pm, and I've been doing email and stuff since then. 

The first season of Remington Steele is coming out on dvd next month! I've only ever seen the pilot ep, and it's magnificent, of course. How can it not be? It's Pierce Brosnan, being roguish and charming!

Cowboy just woke up. Hooray!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ever dream of becoming Supreme Dicatator for Life? Who hasn't, right? Heh heh heh...anyway, if you have any aspirations at all of someday ruling the universe, or some substantial chunk of it, you absolutely have to read The Evil Overlord List. In fact, if you just happen to watch or read sci-fi and/or fantasy, you will spend a sizeable chunk of time giggling maniacally over this list, and the two lists that branch off from it.

Cowboy also linked to this, but there are several people (Lanyn, Lily Snape, Freestargirl) who read this and probably don't read his blog, but who will definitely enjoy the list :-D

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I finally figured out how to add a links section to my blog! Well, I sort of figured part of it out, and Noumenon helped with the rest (since he actually knows something about html). So on the left side of my blog, you'll now find links to my friends' blogs :-D Hooray!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Batman Begins" (2005) -- Initial Thoughts

Batman Forever has long been my favorite movie about the Dark Avenger. Long, as in more than ten years. To me, Val Kilmer is Batman. Chris O'Donnell is Robin. I've seen Batman, Batman Returns, and Batman and Robin as well, but none of them struck the same responsive chord on my heartstrings. I could imagine no better representation of the Dynamic Duo than that put forth in Batman Forever.

Until I saw Batman Begins tonight, that is. Of course, there's no Robin, and that's quite the downside for me, since traditionally I like him better than Batman. And while Ken Watanabe and Liam Neeson are great as the badguys, I like them much better as goodguys...

But those are my only two complaints. Christian Bale is broodingly brilliant as Bruce Wayne and Batman. Some actors only pull one side off: I think Michael Keaton was better as Bruce Wayne than as Batman, and I feel the reverse about George Clooney. Only Val Kilmer and Christian Bale have worked as both sides of the coin for me.

SPOILAGE ALERT! Read no farther if you haven't yet seen Batman Begins, intend to, and don't want stuff spoiled!

I love seeing the early days of Batman, before he got good at his gig. He makes mistakes. Not a lot, but some. And he doesn't get the girl in the end, which is A-OK with me because I don't care much for Katie Holmes anyway (a crooked smile is enchanting when worn by Indiana Jones, but it does nothing for her). In fact, when I thought they were gonna end up together, I didn't get the warm cuddlies--I got the screeching alarm that sounds in my head every time someone makes me watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. The "this relationship will not work!" alarm. I nearly cheered when they didn't hook up!

But enough about the gooshy stuff...this movie is full of solid butt-kicking action that I mostly loved, except when the camera got in too close and things got confusing (I have a similar complaint about the light-saber battles in Revenge of the Sith; I want to yell at the cameramen, "Back up! Back up! I can't see what's going on!").

My only other complaint is a minor one: the Batmobile looks funny. It's supposed to be sleek and shiny and sexy. It's not.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My favorite recurring guest character on M*A*S*H is Colonel Flagg, the FBI/CIA/Intelligence man. He totally cracks me up! We just watched the season 5 ep "The Abduction of Margaret Hoolihan", in which he said: "Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don't know what it is. I keep myself in a perpetual state of utter confusion." We laughed so hard, I had to rewind it twice to hear the dialogue that came next! I think I'm mostly tickled by the way he can say the most ridiculous, nonsensical things totally deadpan. That and he gets the weirdest dialogue.

And I just found out (via, one of my favorite websites) that the guy who plays Flagg, Edward Winter, was in an episode of Mathnet, the Dragnet-esque segment of Square One, which I adored when I was a kid! I think I vaguely remember the character he played ('Clarence Sampson' in "The Problem of the Missing Baseball")...

Friday, June 17, 2005

As you well know by now, I love Angel. Both the show and the character, actually. Anyway, if you ever watched the show, or if you at all like Angel and/or Spike, you have to check out this awesome comic, based on the Season 5 ep "Smile Time". Yeah, the one where Angel gets turned into a puppet. It's better than the professional comics you can buy in stores! (Many thanks to Noumenon for linking to it on his blog, which is how I found it).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Beyond the Sea" (2004) -- Initial Thoughts

It's no secret that I love the music of Bobby Darin. Maybe 'love' is too mild and common a word. 'Adore' doesn't quite work either. 'Worship' seems a bit... blasphemous. Maybe I'll settle for 'delight in'. I delight in the music of Bobby Darin. I revel in it. I let it tickle my toes and wash through my fingers. I absorb it; I breathe it in like incense; I soak in it with greatest bliss. 

I just saw Beyond the Sea tonight. Yeah, the semi-biopic about Bobby Darin that stars Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and John Goodman. They got Spacey to look quite a bit like Bobby, and he moves so much like him it's scary. Spacey does his own singing, which I was a little worried about. But he's brilliant! He perfectly mimics Bobby's unique timing and signature vocal quirks. He even nails that little husky purr that always melts me. His voice is pleasant, but not magical like Bobby's. 

I cried at the end of the movie. I didn't think I would; obviously, I know how it's gonna end, right? Bobby Darin died. Fact. But when the audience at the Flamingo started grooving to his song, I choked up. When they hit their feet, I was a goner. And then when he launched into "The Curtain Falls" me, they were tears of pure, unsullied joy. Joy that this movie fulfilled and surpassed all my hopes and expectations. 

Now, please understand that this movie is not a strict portrayal of the life of Bobby Darin. No no no. It's rather a celebration of the music and magic that Bobby gave to us. But it's not a total fictionalization, like Hans Christian Anderson. It's kind of a romantic retelling of his magnificent tale of triumph. 

I've delighted in Bobby Darin's music since the first time I heard his version of "Mack the Knife" on the radio on July 7, 1997. The following day, I bought a cassette tape of his music; during my first hearing of those 8 or 10 songs, I felt certain this voice, this music would consume me. 

Twenty cds, several movies, and three original vinyl LP records later, my delight has not abated.