Monday, July 30, 2007

I love it when companies keep their promises! Today I got my free Harry Potter t-shirt and my $50 online gift certificate that Scholastic Books promised to send me in return for me waiting to read HP until it was officially released. Woo! So now I have a new shirt to take on vacation with me, and I went and ordered a boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia and a Harry Potter journal with my gift certificate (have to pay shipping and handling still, but oh well). Wooo!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I am finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I read the whole thing from 12:15am-10:15am, pausing only to eat supper and do some laundry. When Cowboy came home at 6:30am, I had 250 pages left to read, and he very sweetly did the dishes and made supper so that I could keep reading and finish the book, since he knew very well I probably wouldn't be able to sleep until I did.

I will not post any specific spoilage here, I'll just say that I cried a whole lot, but not always because I was sad. And it's a perfectly wonderful book, all kinds of loose ends get pulled together and stuff suddenly makes sense that you've been kind of wondering about through the first six books.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I have only read the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows so far. I read it this morning before I went to a dr. appt. This afternoon (while we were asleep), we got this call from Scholastic Books saying that Deep Discount had mailed out my book early by mistake (DUH!), and offering me a $50 gift certificate for Scholastic books if I agreed not to read the book until Saturday, when it officially comes out. And a free t-shirt while supplies last.

Well, I'd planned to read the book on my two nights off, Thursday and Friday. But for $50 in free books, I figure I can hold off until 12:01am Saturday (which is 3/4 of my Friday night off anyway). They said they'd email the certificate to me, but it hasn't appeared yet. If it's not there, or some message from them, by tomorrow night, I guess I'll go ahead and start reading it again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. I have the new Harry Potter book already!

On Saturday, the 14th, I finally realized that I would not be at work at 12:01am on Saturday, the 21st, to buy the new Harry Potter book when it comes out, because I'm off Thursdays and Fridays now. So I decided to preorder it online, figuring it had a week to get to me, and I had a decent chance of getting it on or around the 21st anyway. Plus, I found it at Deep Discount for $18, which is way cheap, as they don't charge for shipping and handling.

I had secret hopes that it might get here like a day early, since I know whenever Dkoren preorders movies, she gets them a day or so early. But four days early? No WAY!

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Er, I mean, I solemnly swear not to post any spoilage here. After the 21st I'll probably post about it again, but anypossible spoilage will be written in invisible ink.

Mischief managed :-D

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) -- Initial Thoughts

Went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix tonight. I don't think it's a good idea to go see one of these only about a week and a half after reading the book. Because this movie just felt really patchy to me. Yeah, the book is huge, so even a two-and-a-half-hour movie is going to have to skip a lot of stuff. The others have skipped lots. I was expecting this one to skip things. But it felt more disjointed than I was expecting. They did one or two good montages that sort of glossed through large chunks of the book, like Umbridge taking over Hogwarts decree by decree, and those were okay. It's when they messed with stuff just to cobble parts together that I got kind of mad -- like having it be Cho that revealed DA's meetingplace so that drives her and Harry apart instead of them falling apart more organically. It works, I guess, but it felt all wrong. And I really did want to see Firenze in at least the scene where he gets brought in as the new Divination professor.

At least Sirius got to be in this one more than one tiny floo-powder scene. I actually got more teared up over two of his earlier scenes with Harry than I did in the Department of Mysteries. (Being a bit vague here because certain people, namely my parents, have neither read the book nor yet seen the movie, but plan to).

But all in all, I felt like the last movie, Goblet of Fire, flowed much more smoothly. It was a shorter book, and I suppose had more of a central focal point, but I think this one could have been less jumpy.

Oh, and they radically changed the look of the Dementors, which I didn't much care for. And I was rather disappointed by the wizarding duel in the Dept. of Mysteries between the Order and the Death Eaters -- too much swooshy special effects and too little real people dueling.

But the casting was, as usual, superb. Of course, the main three are brilliant, and the professors and other students at Hogwarts. Fred and George Weasley were particularly amusing. Jason Isaacs just gets creepier and creepier as Lucious Malfoy. The only off-note for me was Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. She's good at being wacked-out and evil, but she seemed a little too... cute. And her hair was much too bee-hive or something, just unbelievable. I wanted her to be more mad Ophelia and less fairy-tale-witch.

But it got one Warhead, or maybe one and a half, as I did once consider getting another one out of my pocket, but then got interested in what was going on again and never got around to eating a second Warhead.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Did you know your night can go from Great to Crap in the time it takes to open the refrigerator door? Well, it can.

I was having a great night off. First I wake up with my wonderful Rudy dream lingering in my head, then I get like 50 pages of the fanzine proofed, then I go to see Live Free or Die Hard, which completely rocked in an over-the-top, unbelievable, but pulse-poundingly fun way. I give it one Warhead, although it might have deserved two, except I was enjoying my annual cherry slushie and so didn't need another Warhead. We'll give it one just because it was such a fun ride.

So then I get home and spend almost two hours chatting with some pals, one of whom, I found out tonight, actually reads my blog (dude, that makes like what, seven people reading my blog now? Eight? Two of whom are my parents and one of whom is my husband....). And I have a great night of relaxing watching lined up: three eps of Remington Steele and four of Wanted, Dead or Alive. A night full of Pierce Brosnan and Steve McQueen -- what could be better?

Then I went to make lunch. When I left the theater, I considered running across town to Taco Bell and picking up a couple of supreme Beef Gorditas to have for lunch later, as I've had a hankering for them for a few days. But I said, "No, there are tortillas left from that weird turkey taco thing we had for supper a few nights ago. I'll just make a microwave quesadilla and that ear of corn Orance* said he left for me, and save myself the money and the gas." Right. So I open the fridge around 1:30am, and... no tortillas!

Fine. Orance had a few extra days off from work this week, so he probably had them with the leftover weird turkey taco stuff. I get out my ear of corn, shuck it, and put it in the microwave. I can just nuke a couple of my beloved Ball Park franks and have them on slices of bread for the rest of my lunch.

Except there are no Ball Parks in my freezer. There are no hot dogs of any kind in there. I distinctly remember there being several packages of Ball Parks a few months ago, and I'm quite sure I've eat maybe 8 hot dogs since then. Ball Parks are my special hot dogs, they're the only ones I really like, so we get several packages when they're on sale and just buy cheaper hot dogs for Orance whenever he needs them, because he's not picky about hot dogs. But it seems someone who is not me has eaten all my hot dogs.

So I have one ear of corn. And sure, there's other food in the house, but I wanted something kind of salty and meaty. It's one in the morning, though, so Taco Bell is long closed. Fine. I know that McDonald's' drive-thru is open 24 hours, so I will get the car out of the garage again and drive all the way across town and get a Big Mac. I haven't had a Big Mac in a long time, and it sounds quite tasty. And I can try one of those new cold coffees they have now.

Except when I get to McD's, they inform me that they only make six particular value meals between midnight and six am. And the Big Mac is not one of them. Which to me seems very very stupid, like Taco Bell not selling tacos at night, or Burger King not serving Whoppers.

So I get a Quarter Pounder value meal with coffee instead of soda, except they charge me extra for the coffee, but by then I'm too pissed off to care. I don't get a supreme Beef Gordita, or a quesadilla, or a Ball Park hot dog, or a Big Mac. I get a Quarter Pounder, which is probably cold by now, and an over-charged-for coffee.

And when I get home, there is a big, ugly, spiky spider on the living room ceiling right above where I usually sit when I watch movies by myself, so I have to kill it with a fly swatter at great peril to life, limb, and the light fixture nearby.

The only good parts about this story are that the hazelnut iced coffee is really great and they're salting their fries again at McD's. And I got a much better ratio of limp fries to regular fries than normal.

*"Orance" being what I call Cowboy when I'm miffed with him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I just had the coolest dream. I should be working on proofing the 2007 Combat! fanzine right now, but I need to record this dream before it fades into the ether.

In the dream, Johnnycake, Mom, and I were swimming in this giant swimming pool at some hotel. It was at night, and we were the only people in the pool, which was bigger than Olympic-sized and surrounded by all these bushes and things on the two longer sides. It was inside like a green-house sort of glassed-in edifice. Mom, of course, was sticking to the shallows by the broad steps that led down into the pool on one of the shorter sides. And on the other short side they had a big-screen TV that changed via a waterproof remote near where Mom was hanging out. So she channel-surfed for a bit until she found some TCM-like channel that was showing a Rudolph Valentino movie.

This is where it gets really good. Because I got to swim around in a giant pool and watch a brand-new Rudy movie. In the dream, I had seen it before and kept having to explain plot points to Mom and Johnnycake, as it was kind of an incomplete print (like what survives of The Young Rajah). But it was a Rudy movie that was never in real life made, because... it was a talkie. And Rudy was older in it, probably in his 40s, getting these distinguished little smile-wrinkles around his mouth and eyes and looking devilishly handsome as usual. Obviously, this movie couldn't have ever been made, as Rudy died before reaching 40 and before the dawn of talkies.

Anyway, one of the cool things about the movie is that I actually remember the plot right now! I have no idea what it was called, but in it, Rudy played one of his rather usual characters, sort of a rich playboy with no real job who likes to pick up cute chicks and have eyebrow-raising flings with them. The costumes were all 1930s, rather than his usual 1920s, in keeping with it being a talkie and him being in his 40s. And the plot revolved around him pursuing this reckless young girl who had just arrived in Hollywood and was making a name for herself as a big flirt and also as a rising young star, as she'd been discovered by some movie producer and made this big smash movie. I clearly remember a scene involving a big Hollywood party where she's having a grand old time and he's sort of watching from the sidelines, chatting and smiling with a couple acquaintances but keeping his eye on her and obviously plotting how and when to make his move. Now, the girl is accompanied to Hollywood by this old maid aunt who's supposed to be her chaperon and spends most of the movie making scary faces in close-up and warning the girl not to make a fool of herself, not to talk to worthless older-man playboys like Rudy, etc. Actually, I don't remember her talking at all, just the scary warning faces she'd make that sort of implied all the rest of it.

So of course, Rudy pursues the girl, who is all young and carefree and they do the usual stuff like go picnicking and sailing and horseback riding, always trying to evade the old maid aunt. And of course, Rudy actually falls in love with this girl, instead of just dallying with her and discarding her as has been his wont in the past, but right about the time he figures this out, and before he can declare his true feelings to the girl, she leaves him and starts running around with this nancy-boy actor she's making her next movie with.

Cut to some great brooding scenes with Rudy sitting alone at a table in a little posh bar. Could have used a few more of those scenes, they were lovely. So finally he gets all determined and smouldery and storms onto the set of the movie, past the furious old maid aunt who thought they were well rid of him, and tells the girl just exactly how he feels about her, and that he's leaving Hollywood because he can't bear to be there without her and going back to Italy where he belongs. At which point she, of course, throws herself into his arms and declares her love for him, and that the whole reason she came to Hollywood was because she'd read about him in glamour magazines and thought he was a despicable womanizer, so she came here to meet him and teach him a lesson, but now that she's in love with him, she can't bear to do that, and will he ever forgive her, etc. Which necessitated putting on some thick black-rimmed glasses rather like mine, for some reason, which prompted Rudy to put on the cutest pair of little wire-rimmed specs. And so, defying the old maid aunt, they climb into Rudy's car and go driving off the set and into the glorious future.

And just before "The End" could be scrolled across the screen, our phone rang and woke Cowboy and me up. But I know it was the end of the movie anyway, so all is okay.

And the other best part of this dream? Hello? Talkie! I got to hear Rudy talking! With this lovely smooth baritone voice with the most delicious Italian accent, about as thick as Antonio Banderas' Spanish accent in some of his earliest American roles. Understandable, but oh-so-very-Italian. I've never heard Rudy's voice in real life, as there's only the one recording of it that I know of, but I did dream about him once before, and this was the same voice he had in that dream. And also the one he has in my imagination ever since that first dream (which was much shorter and involved Rudy making his first talkie and me being the script girl who had to keep prompting people with their lines).

So yes, delicious dream. Love all the detailed, lengthy, memorable dreams I've been having while pregnant, they're quite cool. Woke up in the best mood after that dream, singing "S'Wonderful" in my head cuz I think it was playing in the background at the end of the movie. What a great start to a night off, huh?

Okay, time to actually go work on proofing the C! fanzine for a while now.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I picked up Bon Jovi's new album, Lost Highway, a couple weeks ago.

I'm disturbed. Miffed. Somewhat disappointed.

Since when is Bon Jovi a country band?!?!?!?! They are supposed to be rock! Pop rock, yes, but I want guitars and percussion and bass, not twangy fiddles. I know that their duet version of "Who Says You Can't Go Home" with country singer Jennifer Nettles on their last album became the first number one single by a rock band on the country charts, but does that warrant making the next album almost entirely country-flavored? What about people like me that aren't particularly country fans and like Bon Jovi for their rockiness? I'm pretty sure their core fan base isn't any more fond of country than I am. Sure, we all bought this album cuz we couldn't tell from the first single ("[You Want to] Make A Memory") that the majority of the songs would be country-influenced (although I had my suspicions, since it features artists like Leann Rimes and Big & Rich on a couple tracks). But are we going to buy the next one? I don't know if I am.

Here's Jon's explanation and defense of how this album sounds. The first two-minute segment is specifically addressing this issue of countrification.

Of all the songs on Lost Highway, "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore," is actually my favorite so far. Oddly enough, it's probably the most country track, but it's the kind of country I like, sort of old-fashioned-sounding or something. Here's a link -- it's just a slideshow of pics of Jon, but at least you can hear what I mean. I like the way Jon and Leann's voices blend, and I really like the line, "It would be so easy/To live your life with one foot out the door." Also, if you know the songs on Have a Nice Day, you'll recognize a little riff from "Welcome To Wherever You Are" running through this song.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I suppose a baby update is in order about now. I'm starting my 27th week, so I'm basically six months along now. Gumdrop should be about 14 inches long, head to heel, and weigh nearly two pounds. And he's now capable of having hiccups, although I don't know if he ever has yet, as I haven't really noticed sustained rhythmic movement that lasts for more than like five movements. And his lungs would be capable of functioning, with assistance, out in the real world if I should have him prematurely.

As for me, I've gained about 13 pounds, which isn't much, though my nurse/midwife isn't concerned, but she did say stress could be a factor, so I'm trying to switch my days off at work to give myself a less stressful schedule. I have a little heartburn now and then, but rarely bad enough to even make me take a Tums. I'm not retaining water yet -- my shoes and rings all still fit, and my ankles aren't swollen or anything. It's harder to bend over, as there seems to be this baby thing in the way, so I do a lot more squatting and kneeling at work to stock the lower shelves now. Plus, blood rushes to my head if I bend over for more than a couple seconds, which is not terribly joyous. I avoid lifting boxes I know will be really heavy (over like 25-30 pounds), and most of my co-workers will not allow me to pull anything other than empty pallets anymore.

Anyway, the baby blanket is progressing nicely and I might make another one just cuz I like crocheting. This baby will have lots of blankets -- he might have to share with later siblings ;-)