Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have now seen Hamlet performed live. On Broadway, starring Jude Law, no less! It's been a dream of mine to see the play live ever since I fell in love with it, lo these twelve years ago. Cowboy had to go to NYC for work this past weekend, and Dano and I went along for the ride. One of Cowboy's coworkers is also a Shakespeare fan, so she and I decided we could not miss out on the chance to see this production.

I missed the first five minutes of the show, due to a stomach disturbance I blame on NYC food, but I was back in my seat before Hamlet himself wandered out on stage, so I wasn't too sad. Anyway...

It was magnificent.

The set was very austere, with tall stone walls on both sides, and a back wall that could be big wooden doors, or it could be open to the "outside" with a brick wall behind, or it could just be an interior wall. There were very few props, just a chair or bench now and then, and swords/daggers when needed, etc. -- quite minimalistic.

The costumes were modern, all blacks and greys, except during "The Murder of Gonzago" when the Players wore all white. The men wore expensive suits and ties, while Gertrude and Ophelia wore dresses -- most of the characters were attired similarly to the audience, in fact. Horatio was the rebel, always in biker boots and a black leather jacket, with long black hair slicked back into a queue. And Hamlet wore many shades of grey, very layered, and more casual on a whole. (In this pic, you see Horatio, The Ghost/First Player, Gertrude, Hamlet, Claudius, and Polonius taking a bow.)

As for performances, Gertrude was sympathetic, and a strong woman, not a silly one. Claudius was excellent, and his closet soliloquy was heartfelt and compelling. Polonius was officious, but not unbearable. Ophelia was okay, though she was portrayed as timid and pliable. Laertes was acceptable. They went the rash, young, headstrong route, which is not my favorite interpretation. He was sweet to Ophelia, but lacked that brotherly protectiveness I always look for. But I'm hugely picky about my Laertes, and only Liev Schreiber has ever played him to my complete satisfaction (so far), so I wasn't too disappointed.

Horatio. Ahhh, Horatio. Not only was he hot, he was good. This Horatio was the best friend Hamlet totally needs -- strong, resilient, quiet, and completely devoted. He seemed to exude an aura of "I'm here, don't worry," and also a sense of protectiveness. And his "Now cracks a noble heart" brought me to tears, it was so heartwrenching. He had a great voice too, deep and just a little husky. Reminded me a lot of a young Cary Elwes, with his movements and body language, anyway. He'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.

And then, there was Hamlet. I'm not a big Jude Law fan -- I like him okay, but I don't seek out his movies. But he CAN act. No question. His Hamlet was confused, melancholy, jumpy, and so very tired of this whole mess. He did several scenes barefoot, which pleased me no end; it seems when he put on his antic disposition, he took off his shoes. And he made me cry twice, with his "Rogue and peasant slave" soliloquy (which he got clapping and cheers for, and rightly so, as it was probably his best moment) and his "If it be now" speech, which is not a place I usually choke up. He was just soooo tired of it all and ready to die if need be, so at peace with his fate after railing against it for so long... I loved it. Excellent portrayal overall.

I really liked the way they staged the first part of the bedchamber scene between Hamlet and Gertrude. A big, white, sheer curtain dropped down parallel to the backdrop, and Polonius hid behind it on the audience's side, while Hamlet and Gertrude were behind it, where they were still visible, but not perfectly. It reenforced the fact that we, the audience, are all eaves-dropping on the play, which rocked. When Hamlet stabbed Polonius, then the curtain fell down over him and we could see the whole stage again.

And I adored all of the soliloquies -- Hamlet broke the 4th wall every time and addressed us as if confiding his innermost self to a diary or bosom friend. The overall effect, for me, was to make me want to run down to the stage, throw my arms around him, and promise that everything would be all right. It was intensely personal and awesome.

The "To be or not to be" soliloquy was probably the least personal of all -- Hamlet came onstage "outside," with snow falling around him and blanketing the ground. He was still barefoot, and did most of that speech far away from the audience, only coming closer toward the end of it. A very meditative reading, and quite delicious.

And the end was perfect. Hamlet died in Horatio's arms, with Horatio sitting on the floor, one knee up to support Hamlet a little, who died with his back to Horatio's chest. After "Now cracks a noble heart," Horatio kissed him on the forehead, very reminiscent of the death of Boromir in LOTR. And then Horatio stayed there, cradling him, through the rest of the scene. He looked very much the steadfast, protective, broken-hearted friend to the end. He would periodically smooth Hamlet's hair, or lay his cheek on Hamlet's forehead, and remained very focused on him, only paying Fortinbras the barest attention. Perfect. I was bawling.

I would say Jude Law combined Mel Gibson's almost reckless energy and drive with Richard Burton's weary snarl, if I had to compare him to performances I've seen on dvd. The cast on a whole was excellent, and I'm so glad this was my first live Hamlet. Bravo. My only regret is that I'll probably never get to see it again, as it closes in December.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sigh. How have I neglected this blog for so long?

Okay, time to catch up a bit on what's going on around here.

First off, I'm preggers again! Which is pretty much why I haven't blogged here much. Between running around after almost-two Dano and the whole pregnancy thing, I've fallen behind on lots of stuff, this blog included. Oops. I'm 18 weeks along right now, and going to have an ultrasound next week, so should be finding out what this little Jellybean is then.

This year's Combat! fanfic-writers' Recon, dubbed Rebelcon, was awesome. It was in NC, so you know I loved that, and we had lots of fun together as usual.

Haven't been to a movie theater since my previous post, so nothing new to write about there. Just nothing out right now that I want to see. Hate that late-summer/early-fall slump.

And my creativity is sorely lacking while I'm pregnant (it was last time around too), so I haven't been writing much either. Until now -- these last few days, I'm suddenly back into it again, and working on revising the three Combat! stories I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. Pretty jazzed about that, so hoping this will continue for a while.

My craft store is still around, and I'm doing three craft shows this fall with my merch from it. Actually, the first one was on Saturday and was pretty disappointing, so not going there, thanks anyway.

I'll try to blog more often in the future, honest!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

This is my 500th post. Shazaam.

I went to see Public Enemies today. It was pretty good. Johnny Depp handed in a surprisingly restrained performance -- he was subtle and charming and vicious. Christian Bale had a pretty boring character. Not a lot to do but look determined, though in the scene between him and Dillinger's girlfriend, he was sweet. But still determined.

It was nice to see David Wenham in a big movie again. He didn't have as big a role as he did in Australia, but it was a fair-sized one. And Rory Cochrane had a nice role too -- I really only know him from the FBI mini-series The Company, and maybe they decided he looked good in a fedora in that and decided to put him in this, dunno.

Anyway, the storyline was pretty much your standard Movie About Bankrobbers. No huge surprises, good or bad. The dialog was good, sometimes really good, but never fabulous. The sets were great, the costumes rocked, and the music was okay.

But the cinematography? Ugh. Almost entirely handi-cam stuff, very rarely a moment where everything stayed still. And um... the last third or so was shot really oddly. When they got to the shoot-out at the little cabins in the WI woods, all of a sudden, it looked and felt like a teenage movie shot for YouTube. The cameras got extra-shuddery, the lighting went weird and sort of flat, and there was no music or any sort of non-diegetic-sound at all. The picture got grainier, and the whole thing felt very amatuer. It got a little more normal after that sequence, but not entirely. I'm assuming it was supposed to emphasize the way John Dillinger's world was slipping out of his control, but to me it was very off-putting.

So... if you love Johnny Depp, it's worth seeing just for him. But otherwise, I'm not so sure. And I'm afraid it gets three Warheads.

But one cool thing about this movie, for me: I visited a place where part of it was filmed before it came out! That's a first for me. I've been to filming sites for The Fugitive and The Patriot and lots of western stuff like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, but those visits were all long after the fact. But last summer, when I went to visit ED in Oshkosh, they'd just finished filming parts of Public Enemies there a few weeks earlier. She took me around to where some of the exteriors and interiors were done, and in one building, part of a bank interior set for a hold-up scene was still up. I snapped a couple pics:

I think they're from the first hold-up in the movie, but I'm not sure. Coulda been the last one. Not a lot of the set left, as you can see.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Farewell, Karl Malden :-(

From Where the Sidewalk Ends to On the Waterfront, from Pollyanna to The Birdman of Alcatraz, you have never failed to delight and entertain me. From General Omar Bradley in Patton to Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, you played unlikeable characters likeably, and made merely likeable characters endearing.

I miss you.
Six policemen wearing kilts walked into a Dunkin' Donuts.

Nope, not a joke in need of a punch line (though it could be one). That actually happened while Dano and I were at DD yesterday. Six policemen, all wearing kilts. I didn't muster up the courage to ask them if that's how policemen around here normally dress (and since I usually see them sitting in their police cars, it's possible, I suppose), or if there was a special occasion. They were way too jolly to have just come from being an honor guard at a funeral or something, and I'm pretty sure there was no early 4th of July parade going on.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I have outsmarted a pair of mourning doves. Yay me.

Last summer, we had hanging pots of flowers on the porch that opens off our bedroom. I overestimated how much sun would hit them, and they didn't do very well. After they all died, I just left the pots there because I wanted to use them again this year, but had nowhere else to store them. This spring, a couple of mourning dove decided one of the pots would be a great place to build a nest and hatch a pair of offspring. We thought this was adorable, and Dano enjoyed looking at the birds out our window every morning, especially after the babies hatched. We didn't mind them being there, because it was too cold out for us to plant flowers in the pots anyway.

So the baby doves hatched and grew and flew away with their parents. Yay!

A few days later, the mommy and daddy birds were back. Before we managed to put any flowers in those pots, they laid another pair of eggs. We sighed. We rolled our eyes. We resigned ourselves to another month of not being able to use our porch, for fear of disturbing them. Eventually, I planted impatiens and begonias in the four pots they weren't nesting in, and reserved enough flowers for "their" pot so I could plant them as soon as they vacated.

(We actually don't know that this is the same pair, but they seemed very focused on using the same pot again, so we assume they are. But according to Wikipedia, mourning doves can hatch up to 6 clutches of eggs a year.)

All went well -- both babies hatched, ate a great deal of regurgitated whatever, and eventually flew away. After we saw no birds for 24 hours, we assumed they'd moved on, and I planted the reserved flowers in the hanging pot.

Yesterday morning, they were back. Trying to nest in that pot again. Smooshing down my flowers. Cowboy went out and shooed them away several times while he was getting dressed, and left me to defend the fort when he went to work. I spent two hours running out onto the porch every five minutes or so to clap my hands and yell and wave plastic bags to scare away the birds. They kept coming back. And they began to build another nest. I threw away the twigs they brought, and they just came back with more.

I thought about making a scarecrow. I considered wrapping all the plants in plastic wrap until they got bored and left. I thought about playing loud music on the porch.

And then I realized there was a very simple solution: no hanging flower pots, no nesting spot. I brought in the pots and put them in the pantry, which has lots of light, as well as a baby gate that keeps a certain little mister out.

The birds were extremely confused. They spent several hours perching on the porch railing, craning their necks around to look for the missing flower pots. Periodically, one or the other would fly up a couple feet, to where the pots formerly had been, and flutter around. Maybe they thought the pots had just turned invisible or something. At any rate, by noon, they gave up. We haven't seen them since.

So yes, yours truly has outwitted a couple of bird brains. Aren't you proud of me?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I watched The Crimson Pirate (1952) last week, and all I have to say is, I haven't had that much fun watching a pirate movie since the first Pirates of the Caribbean film! I'm not saying I loved this the way I love Curse of the Black Pearl or anything, but it was a resoundingly enjoyable film.

Okay, okay, a lot of that is due to the fact that Burt Lancaster spent most of his time looking like this. Though this picture doesn't do his manly biceps and triceps justice, I'm afraid. He also spent a remarkable amount of time swinging through the air while brandishing a cutlass. They definitely put his circus acrobat training to good use, that's for sure. I've never seen someone climb up and slide down so many ropes in one movie. Also, he got to dress in drag, and he makes a remarkably attractive woman. No, I'm kidding -- he makes an extremely ugly woman and no one in their right mind would ever be fooled by him in a skirt and blonde curls for a second. Which made it even funnier.

I can't actually tell you what the plot was about, as I'm a bit fuzzy on it myself. Something about stealing guns and pretending to sell them to some rebels, and then double-crossing the rebels by telling the British officials where to find the rebels, except then they decided not to do the double-cross part, except then they decided to do it after all, except... somewhere in there, I got lost. And I didn't care. The plot was entirely beside The Point, which was that Pirates Have Fun! Lots and lots of fun. They sail around and swing on ropes and taunt soldiers and walk around on the bottom of the ocean with a boat over their heads and kiss women and never, ever, ever stop smiling. Especially not Mr. Muscles And Teeth, who was having the most fun of all.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

So much to blog about, so little time! But Cowboy and Dano are "reading" a National Geographic together (Cowboy explains the pictures to Dano, who points to things and asks, "What's that?"), so I'll take these few minutes to get caught up.

A guy we knew in college, Steve Corona, has a small part in an episode of In Plain Sight on USA tonight at 10 EST. We don't get any TV channels, but I'm going to watch it on tomorrow. Check it out if you can! I'm very excited to know someone in the movie biz.

I went to see Wolverine again today. Mmmmm. Definitely loved it again. So much, that I drove to Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target looking for the soundtrack. I remember when you could buy movie soundtracks at such stores, not so many years ago. Now they just have Hannah Montana and movies I've never heard of. So I ordered it online at I think it will be good writing music. Of course, I'm gearing up to finish my 4th novel, Salem, and this would be better music for writing actiony stuff like Combat! fanfic, but I'll be writing more of that eventually. And I haven't gotten a CD in a long time.

My Huggermugger store is starting to take off -- I've had a whole bunch of sales in the past month, as well as some trades. I've got some cool new items, so stop by and check those out!

Let's see, what else? I got a Burt Lancaster movie out of the library again this week, so I'll no doubt be discussing that later this week. I also got a couple new books out, including Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs -- it's the first of the books that spawned the TV show Bones :-D I'll probably blog about that either here or on my writing blog once I've read it. Speaking of which, I need to go review a book over there, and I think I'll get a start on that now. Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm starting to like Burt Lancaster. A lot.

That makes sense, you say. He's got massive shoulders. He's an Old Hollywood movie star, and Hamlette loves old movies. He made westerns and war movies, and Hamlette loves those kinds of movies. He's got a boyish charm, a quick grin, and a smooooth voice. Of course Hamlette likes him.

But for most of my 29 years, I haven't liked him. I haven't hated him -- I haven't avoided his movies, or at least not often. I just thought he was boring. Vanilla. White bread. Bland and uninteresting. Granted, I'd only seen him in a couple movies, like Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and From Here to Eternity, but he was pretty dull in them, so I didn't bother looking for more.

Then DKoren told me last year that one of her all-time favorite movies is The Professionals, which stars Lancaster and Lee Marvin and is a fun western romp. A few months later, I was at my parents' house and discovered that my dad had two copies of The Professionals. Sometimes that happens to him, because he can't always remember if he has a movie or not. When Johnnycake and I were home, he'd always ask us before buying a new movie, and we could tell him if he had it or not. But now we're gone, so sometimes he finds a movie he thinks looks good, buys it, and then I come to visit and discover he's got two copies of it. Anyway, Dad gave me one of his copies, and I watched it sometime during the winter.

And Burt Lancaster wasn't boring in it! He was sarcastic and sly and sexy, with a twinkle in his eye and a trick up his sleeve.

So I decided maybe I'd have to give him a second chance. But, my life being what it is, I didn't get around to watching one of his movies until this week. I saw Birdman of Alcatraz. And I loved it. And I loved Burt Lancaster. He was subtle, he was angry, he was loud, he was quiet, he was just plain cool. And did I mention he has the broadest pair of shoulders I've seen on a man since, oh, David Boreanaz?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So to celebrate Bobby Darin's birthday today, I was going to link to a whole bunch of videos on YouTube like usual, but I found one that just blows the others out of the water for me, so I'm only posting it. Here's Bobby Darin singing "Sweet Caroline," my favorite Neil Diamond song.

I have never heard this before, and I am now longing to find it on cd somewhere. He sings it so slow, sweet, tender... and then there's that ending! Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Happy 73rd birthday, darling Bobby ♥

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What a summer for fun movies! I went to see Star Trek today, and treated myself to a cherry slushie since it's Mother's Day. Now, I didn't love this like I loved Wolverine, but that's okay. I didn't expect to. In fact, I was quite prepared to hate it if necessary, to erase the whole thing from my memory. Fortunately, I don't have to.

First and foremost, I have to say that the actors portraying Baby Kirk, Baby Spock, Baby Bones, and Baby Scotty (which is how I keep thinking of them) were amazingly good match-ups for those characters' original incarnations. Chris Pine, who played Baby Kirk, had Bill Shatner down pat. The swagger, the grin, the cocky smirk, the captain's-chair-sprawl-and-lean -- he did everything but imitate Shatner's oft-mocked dialog delivery. Of course, since Jim Kirk has ever been my favorite character, I may have been paying a wee bit more attention to details like those, both in the original series and in this ;-) I'd say I was second-most impressed with Karl Urban as Baby Bones. I've loved Urban ever since he played Eomer in the Lord of the Rings, and I have to admit I was really curious about this casting. But he had Bones' drawl, laconic attitude, and perpetually worried expression in spades. Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg were also great as Baby Spock and Baby Scotty, and also had ther moments where they were spot-on perfect, but they had a lot of help from prosthetics or a strong accent to get them into their characters.

Baby Uhura was a beauty, Baby Chekov was cute and smart, and Baby Sulu got a nifty sword. They were all acceptable. Bruce Greenwood made a lovely Capt. Christopher Pike, and I wish he'd had more screentime.

The real surprise in the cast for me was Eric Bana! He acted! Honest! I'm usually bored to tears by him, but he was actually having fun as the renegade Romulan -- he totally needs to play villains from now on.

As for the plot... it's about time travel. I tried hard not to think about it too much. Leonard Nimoy had a nice chunk of screentime and I was happy for him. Oh, and I probably should mention they had me in tears before the opening credits. Never after, though. I did laugh quite a bit, as did lots of others in the theater. And we clapped at the end :-D

A bit of spoilage:

So, um, Baby Uhura and Baby Spock? Yeeeeeah, what was up with that? I really felt like they just threw that in to spice things up a little and not let Baby Kirk get all the kissing scenes. Totally unneccessary, IMHO, and I wish they hadn't gone there, as it has all sorts of implications and repercussions that I don't want to think about. Now, Baby Uhura catching Baby Kirk hiding under her roommate's bunk in his tighty-whities? That worked for me, because sometimes Uhuhra does get this glint of amusement in her eye when interacting with Kirk, and this works as what she could be remembering.

And, they're sooooo going to have to do another one, because Amanda Greyson is still alive in the series. Yeah, need to fix that. Also, Jim needs a brother. And a dad. Ahem.

So anyway, if I hadn't had my yearly slushie, I'd have given it two Warheads, because it got a bit soggy in that bit where Baby Kirk was running around the Ice Planet Hoth.

Oh, a note about the Romulan ship and Spock's shuttle -- was anyone else thinking Firely? The Romulan ship really reminded me of something the Reavers might fly, and Spock's shuttle's rear section was really remeniscent of Firefly-class ships like Serenity.

So, I'd totally see this again on DVD, and I'm all psyched to rewatch the original series now. I believe I can watch all of them for free on, so I may just start going through the series from the beginning -- there are actually quite a few eps I haven't seen, even though I've loved Classic Star Trek for a couple years longer than I've loved Combat! (not that I've seen all the eps of that, either). Also, I might see if I can get this soundtrack, cuz it had lots of percussion and horns, which I love.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Happy birthday, Rodolfo Guglielmi!

I know I usually post a bunch of YouTube vignettes in honor of Rudy's birthday, but Dano is insisting we go play outside. Since this is the first day it hasn't rained since Friday, I'm inclined to acquiesce to his request. So I'll just link you to this one, which starts with footage from the 88 American Beauties contest, has random candid footage in the middle, and ends with the best bit from "The Shiek's Physique." Enjoy!
Dude, they're doing an NCIS spinoff! And it's going to star Chris O'Donnell!!!

Thanks to Dano taking a lengthy afternoon nap, I just watched the two latest eps of NCIS on, which provide backstory for the characters in the new show. Ultra cool. I can't wait to watch this new show! And how cool that NCIS, itself a spinoff from JAG, is jumpstarting shows now.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009) -- Initial Thoughts

Halfway through Wolverine this afternoon, I hugged my popcorn bag to me, overwhelmed with sorrow and pity for the tragic hero before me. I actually wanted to hug Wolvie, of course, but the popcorn bag was the best I could do. I didn't relinquish my hold on it until the final credits started rolling.

I was really worried about this movie. I've loved this character since I was in high school, before the movies ever came out, and I've read quite a few comics revolving around him, and if they'd screwed this movie up, I would have been bitterly disappointed. Angry, even. And there were a lot of ways they could have screwed it up.

But they didn't. In fact, I thought they did a remarkably good job of taking Wolverine's long, convoluted, sometimes contradictory, always somewhat ambiguous backstory and making it into a cohesive and comprehensible movie. That's not to say I loved everything about it, but my objections are small, nitpicky, and not worth mentioning. And far outweighed by my approval.

As usual, Hugh Jackman brings just the right blend of ferocity, rage, and vulnerability to the role, nailing Wolvie's swagger and sneer as well as his underlying dignity and honor. Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice; Jackman is the best I can imagine at playing Wolvie, and what he does is very nice indeed.

Most of the other casting is also superb. Liev Schrieber as Sabertooth stands toe-to-toe with Woverine very convincingly. Taylor Kitsch makes a delightful Gambit. Lynn Collins has the right blend of earthy and ethereal beauty to bring Silver Fox to life. And while I prefer Brian Cox's smirking portrayal of Stryker in X2: X-men United, Danny Huston's is adequate (but he lacks his grandfather Walter's fire, I'm afraid.)

The following musings are spoilage-heavy, so read them only is you want to be spoiled.

One of the things I liked best about Wolverine was the way they tied in so many things from the previous three movies as well as from the comics, even some comics that didn't involve Wolvie. For instance, The Blob was first encountered in a very early volume of the original Uncanny X-men back in the 60s. And we see here how Wolvie gets that leather jacket he's wearing years later when he meets Rogue in the first X-Men movie (though he leaves it in Gambit's plane, so we'll see if they have Gambit give it back to him in a sequel or something). Those are my two favorite examples, but there are obviously so many more. And I loved loved loved Professor Xavier making an appearance! Total surprise to me, and it rocked my world. Also, Cyke wasn't very annoying, and that was pleasant :-D

Anyway, if you haven't seen this yet, Stay Through All The Credits.

I'd give this one Warhead, though I actually ate part of a bag of popcorn instead because I was there with a friend and we splurged on treats. Which was a good thing, cuz hugging an empty Warhead wrapper through half the movie wouldn't have had the same comforting effect.

Friday, May 01, 2009

How do I love Wolvie? Let me count the ways.
I love Wolvie to the depth and breadth his
Claws can slash. My love for Wolverine is
More than some swift-passing adolescent craze.
I love Wolvie when his steely, sidelong gaze
Says more than any quip. Yet, when he says,
"Them's fightin' words, Bub," that too is pure bliss.
I love Wolvie, who, with a cigar always
Clamped between his teeth, will sneer and snarl and growl.
I love Wolvie as he wades into a fight,
I love the way he swaggers. I love his howl,
His berserker rage, even his lack of height.
What can I say? The Wolverine can prowl
My territory any day or night.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Want to win one of my groovy collaged journals absolutely free? Zip over to the Ozark Scents blog and read their feature of me. There's a fun little interview, plus pics of a bunch of my items, and the rules for how to enter the drawing for my "Off the Beaten Track" journal. They even have ways for you to get entered in the drawing multiple times by doing things like following my Huggermugger blog or their blog, etc -- check out that post for the official rules.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"East Side, West Side" (1949) -- Initial Thoughts

I just finished watching East Side, West Side (1949) for the first time. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, James Mason, Van Heflin, Ava Gardner, and Cyd Charisse. Yeah, quite a lineup, huh?

I picked it up at the library, where they'd stashed it in the Mystery section, which is about par for their decidedly odd genrefication system there. Because while a murder does occur, it's not until an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, and it's not really the point of the movie. The point of the movie is, should the steadfast wife (Barbara Stanwyck) believe her philandering husband (James Mason) when he repeatedly promises to reform and stop seeing his old girlfriend (Ava Gardner). Or should that steadfast wife say enough is enough and start her life anew, possibly with the upright, charming cop/reporter/agent (Van Heflin) who's just wandered into her life? The murder is just a side issue, really, but the library decided that meant it should classify this as a Mystery. Which is actually a good thing, because if this movie had been lost in the vast Drama section, I probably wouldn't have seen it, borrowed it, and um, well, er, uh, heh heh... gotten a crush on Van Heflin.


Sigh. Smile. Grin. Bounce. Sigh again.

This is a funny kind of crush, I've gotta say. Because I've seen Van Heflin in several movies, like 3:10 to Yuma and Shane and Battle Cry and The Three Musketeers and Grand Central Murder, and I always thought he was a good actor and okay to look at, but nothing to make me dust off my swooning couch. But boy howdy, was he just cute as a button in this! All sweet, non-home-wrecking, gosh-I-wish-I'd-met-you-before-you-married-that-jerk, upstanding, cute... and you should see him playing someone who'se pretending to be drunk! Hot diggety dog! Hamlette's having another spring fling, folks. The boy next door turned out to be a lot more interesting than she'd thought. I think I'll try to watch this one again before I take it back to the library.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Sad news -- Andy Hallett, who played Lorne on Angel, just died of congestive heart disease :-( Here's him singing "Lady Marmalade" from the season 4 ep "The House Always Wins."

Man, are there ever a lot of great Silly Songs with Larry that I've never seen! I think this is my favorite of the new ones:

Monday, March 30, 2009

"We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow." -Charles Bronson

Just found that quote on and am totally in love with it :-D

Friday, March 27, 2009

Snagged this from DKoren's other blog. I'm gonna do it with Windows Media Player because I have no ipod (nor do I particularly want one).

Here're the rules for those interested in playing along.
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Play tag, have fun, and all that jazz.

And now my WMP declares:

"Someday" by Nickelback (Well, somewhat appropriate, what with the lyric "Someday, somehow, I'm gonna make it all right, but not right now....")

"Come Save Me" from Boy from Oz by Hugh Jackman and some chick (Hmm, I do sometimes need a bit of rescuing from a certain tiny tyke)

"With or Without You" by U2 (Oh man, this is the song I always associate with Angel. How weird is that?)

"God's Got an Army" by Carmen (Hmm.)

"The Rifleman" main theme (Hee, so my life's purpose is to shoot people? I dig it!)

"Pas de Deux" from The Nutcracker (Well, I do like dancing....)

"Kryptonite" by Three Doors Down (Yeesh, I hope not. Thought it IS about friends sticking together through thick and thin, so that might be a good pick after all)

"God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys (Entirely too appropriate)

"Ask for More" by Shakira (Hee, too true)

"The Fourth Musketeer" from The Three Musketeers soundtrack (Lol, that fits!)

"Hogan's Heroes" main theme (So... my life is a funny version of WWII? I can see that)

"The Christmas Guest" by Johnny Cash (Too perfect! I love Christmas)

"Broken" by Seether featuring Amy Lee (I hope that's a reference to how the mourners are feeling, and not the state of my corpse)

"In Pace" from the Hamlet soundtrack (Mmmmm, Hamlet. Totally my hobby/interest)

"Fading Like a Flower" by Roxette (Lol, not something I've ever worried about)

"Should've Listened" by Nickelback (Hee hee)

"The Dark Mark" from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire soundtrack (I do not! I swear!)

"Spanish Flea" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (Giggling)

"Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack (Ohhhhh boy.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's true. He says it a lot. And then we watch bits of Combat! or songvids on YouTube. He's starting to say other character's names too, but Kirby is his first and his favorite to say.

(This picture is currently the home page pic for a C! discussion group I belong to. And nope, I didn't make it.)
It's been a rough morning, so to distract Dano (and myself) from the crankiness du jour, I started finding John Wayne videos on YouTube. Dano quickly learned to say 'Duke' and even sometimes pointed at the right guy when he said it. Here's one of the vids I found, one that made me laugh and laugh. And maaaaaaaan, was John Wayne ever tall! Sometimes I forget, or get used to, him being 6'4", and then I see him next to someone like Bing Crosby and think, "Boy, howdy, he really was tall!"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I've got a new fanfic story up on Fruit Salad! It's called "Walk a Crooked Mile" and is one of the stories I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. Go read it -- it's only about twelve pages! Hey, come on, that's short for me!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Cinderella" (1957) -- Initial Thoughts

Did you know Julie Andrews did Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella for TV in 1957? Yeah, me either, until I found it on DVD at the library last Saturday.

It's okay. They basically did it as a stage play and filmed it -- those were the early days of television, you know. So it felt like early Masterpiece Theater in a way. Julie Andrews was luminous, of course, but the rest of the production was... okay. I don't mind having spent part of my life watching it, but I won't seek it out again.

Oddly, several of the songs seemed quite familiar, so I must have heard them on The Lawrence Welk Show or some Best of Broadway cd or something.

In random Julie Andrews news, I see she has a new movie called Tooth Fairy due out sometime this year that also stars... Dwayne Johnson! Oh man, I am so there. Can you imagine those two squaring off? Priceless!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We're back from our grand vacation! And it was grand indeed; we flew to NC on January 31st, and just returned to CT last night. I think our vacation was made even sweeter by the fact that for the four days before we left, we were sick with a vicious stomach bug. Thank the Lord we were all well enough to travel by the 31st and didn't have to rebook our flights!

We hung out in NC with my family for a few days, and I got to see Freestargirl and Knitsational and their girls. We also toured the Biltmore Estate up in Asheville because Cowboy had never been there and Dad keeps wanting to take him there.

On Thursday, Dad, Grandma, Cowboy, Dano, and I piled into Grandma's Mercury Grand Marquis and headed for Florida and our big cruise! Alas, Mom couldn't get the time off from teaching ESL to accompany us, and we all missed her. In the car, Dano appropriated my sunglasses, and continued snurching them for the rest of the trip.

On Saturday, the 7th, we met up with some other couples from Dad's church, since this was actually a group trip the Couples' Club took and we just tagged along. We boarded the Carnival Cruise ship the Fascination and had lunch in the Coconut Grove bar and grill, then got settled in our staterooms, which Cowboy says were designed specifically to encourage people to enjoy the other amenities provided by the rest of the ship. We spent the day exploring the ship and getting our sea legs. The ship had stabilizers that kept the decks fairly stable, but there was still a gentle rocking motion that I still feel now sometimes, even though it's been four days since I was aboard.

The Fascination has a Classic Hollywood theme, which of course appelaed to me to no end. My favorite part of the ship was called Hollywood Boulevard, which ran half the length of the ship along one side. It had cozy little window seats looking out over the water, random chairs, and tables decorated with Al Hirschfeld caricatures of famous stars. Several other rooms and shops opened off Hollywood Boulevard, one of which was a coffee shop called Bogart's, which had very yummy mochacinos.

Sunday was a day at sea, which Daniel spent climbing up various stairways and getting used to eating ten meals a day. Which I mean literally, by the way. This is his average meal schedule during the cruise:

6 am: Morning snuggle snack (which is what we call nursing)
7 am: Breakfast with Daddy while Mama got ready
7:30 am: Breakfast with Mama.
9 am: Breakfast with Grandpa and Great-Grandma
10:30 am: Mid-morning snack (usually grapes)
Noon: Lunch
1:30 pm: Pre-nap snuggle snack
4:30 pm: Mid-afternoon snack
6-8 pm: Supper (this was formal meal with multiple courses, so he ate in cycles of eating and playing. He'd start with a couple of dinner rolls, play a little, eat an appetizer, play a little, eat about 1/3 of an entree, play a little, and eat about 1/3 each of three people's desserts.)
9 pm: Bedtime snuggle snack

So yeah, Dano had no trouble gaining back all the weight he'd lost during the nasty flu we had. Unfortunately, neither did Cowboy or I. I'd lost 5 pounds during the flu, and I gained them all back again. Sigh. The food was excellent, if you can't tell! And plentiful.

We spent Monday on Half Moon Cay, which they all pronounced 'key,' and which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines. So we were the only people there, all 2,500 of us, plus the staff. Dad and I went on a trail ride, which ended with us riding horses through the ocean! You know that scene in The Man from Snowy River where they drive the horses through the river and Curly falls off? It felt like that, only without the falling off part. It was amazing -- I don't think I stopped grinning the whole time we were riding in the water! The ocean was up to my thighs, nearly over the horses' backs, and I had such a feeling of freedom and exhilaration... I think it was the most fun I've had since I was five. Dad and I agreed it was worth the price of the whole cruise just for that experience.

Dano and Cowboy spent most of Monday playing in the sand or napping. All in all, it was a great day!

Tuesday, we docked at Nassau. Since several 007 movies were filmed on Nassau, including Thunderball and the magnificent Casino Royale, Dad and I were really excited to visit there. We took a horse-drawn surrey tour of half the island, and then toured the remains of Fort Charlotte before eating lunch at a local restaurant called Coco-Nuts that had the very best dessert we ate during the whole cruise: guava duff. I definitely need to try making it sometime. Cowboy and I spent the rest of the day walking on the beach with Dano and making a brief visit to Paradise Island, where famous people like Sean Connery and Shakira own houses.

Wednesday was another day at sea, which we all spent resting up and recuperating from our previous adventures. Cowboy and I had top-to-toe massages, our big splurge for the trip. Ninety minutes later, we felt like we'd had a full night's sleep. Dano opted for the more traditional way of relaxing, as you can see.

We docked in Jacksonville on Thursday morning and were in the car and ready to head 'em up and move 'em out by 9:30. We drove all the way home that day, surprising Mom to no end when we arrived a day earlier than she'd expected us. That gave us Friday to relax, do laundry, and re-pack.

There you have it! Our Grand Vacation, a wonderful mix of fun, food, and festivities. We all agreed we'd love to take another cruise sometime. Even Grandma, who, at 90, was probably the oldest person aboard!

Cowboy and I decided that the one thing we miss the most from the cruise is Didik, our steward. He cleaned up after Dano's messes, made our beds, folded the clothes Dano merrily strewed about our cabin... we could really use him around here. And he made super-cute towel animals for us every night too!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"The Remains of the Day" (1993) -- Initial Thoughts

I watched The Remains of the Day (1993) for the first time this week. And also the last time.

My family and I adore the remake of Sabrina (1995) and have watched it a zillion times. At one point, Sabrina's chauffeur father says to another servant, "Have you been watching Remains of the Day again?" when she brings him some tea on a tray with a vase of flowers. So I've always wanted to see this movie.

And I get the Sabrina line now, because Emma Thompson's housekeeper character keeps bringing Anthony Hopkins' butler character fresh flowers. So I'm glad I saw this movie for that reason.

But what a depressing movie! It has a completely unsatisfactory ending. I know they're making a point about not speaking up for yourself, not letting your feelings show, yadda yadda yadda. But did they have to do it in such a bleak way? Sigh.

Also, I kept expecting to find out that the butler was a secret agent, that those little Chinamen figurines had microphones and recording devices in them or something. And none of that happened. So that also disappointed me.

But I'm getting fonder of Emma Thompson. In fact, at the library today I wanted to get either Howard's End or Sense and Sensibility, but neither of them were there. Grr.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When Dano had his 15-month checkup last week, I told the doctor he had a vocabulary of around 40 words. The doctor was suitably shocked, as babies this age normally can say 4-8 words.

But I was wrong. Today I wrote down all the words Dano says regularly, the words he not only can say, but knows what they mean. He understands many more words, and he can say a few that he's just mimicking us on and doesn't really understand, but he has a working vocabulary of about 80 words. Yes. Eighty. Eight zero.

Don't believe me? Here they are, with his pronunciation in parentheses if it differs from the ordinary:

All done (ah dun)
Apple (appah)
Arm (ahm)
Baby (bahbuh)
Ball (bah)
Balloon (boon)
Banana (bahduh)
Bear (beh)
Beep (bip)
Belt (bop)
Bird (bud)
Block (bop)
Blue (boo)
Boat (bup)
Book (bup)
Boot (bup)
Bottle (boppa)
Bounce (bop)
Bowl (bow)
Box (bop)
Brush (bop)
Bug (bucch)
Bump (bup)
Bunny (bundy)
Burp (bup)
Button (bahpuh)
Bye (bah)
Cake (gagk)
Car (cah)
Cheese (Tchee)
Coat (tut)
Cookie (googkie)
Dance (dats)
Daniel (Dato)
Deer (deeuh)
Down (dah)
Duck (dat)
Ear (eeah)
Egg (ot)
Eye (ah)
Grandpa (appah)
Hi (hah)
Hippo (hempa)
Hot dog (hot day)
Kitty (diddy)
Laundry (wahndee)
Light (wite)
Lotion (wladeen)
Mama (baba)
Oh boy (ah buh)
Out (ot)
Outside (awdah)
Paw (pah)
Pen (peh)
Pie (pah)
Pillow (pehbuh)
Roar (awah)
Sock (hot)
Spoon (poon)
That (dat)
There (deuh)
Toe (ta)
Tractor (tattuh)
Train (dain)
Tree (tee)
Truck (tot)
Waffle (vaffa)
Warm (vahm)
Water (wadduh)
Wow (awah)
Yarn (yahw)

As you can see, many of them would be understandable to strangers. And the letter 'b' is by far his favorite, the word 'bop' gets used for many different things, and he likes to pronounce his 'w' Germanically.

Yes, I'm partly bragging here. And partly preserving this word list for posterity. And partly I'm telling you just how much trouble Cowboy and I are in -- Dano may be much too smart for us!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Johnnycake and Dimples have been here all weekend because everyone is off work/school today. How did we celebrate? By making them work, of course. Johnnycake fixed the lid of my toy box, and Erika did dishes yesterday while Cowboy, Dano, and I napped.

Don't worry -- we have given them a bit of time off for good behavior now and then. On Saturday, we watched Melinda and Melinda (2004), a Woody Allen movie where two screenwriters, one who writes dramas and the other who writes comedies, take turns telling a story about a woman named Melinda. They use the same basic premise, that she's a divorcee who's trying to get her life together, but she comes to very different ends in the two stories. An interesting premise, and it was carried out pretty well, so I guess we can chalk it up as another Woody Allen movie that I actually liked okay (the other, so far, being Scoop).

And last night we played the new Beatles Monopoly that Mom and Dad gave Cowboy for his birthday. We stopped the game before it could descend into slumlordism and declared Cowboy the winner. I lost. Badly. I only managed to buy two properties during the whole game because I kept landing on things Johnnycake had already bought. And once in a while things other people had bought, but mostly it was Johnnycake. In fact, he and I just kept trading the same few bills back and forth for most of the game.

This morning, we all got to sleep in -- Dano and I until 6:45, Cowboy until 7:15, and Johnnycake and Dimples until nearly 10. They're packing up this morning and will leave us after lunch, alas.

Funniest part of this weekend: Dano calls both Johnnycake and Dimples "daddy." Cowboy's a bit miffed, of course, but it makes the rest of us laugh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We gave Dano his very first box of crayons today! He's been playing with our pens for a while now, whenever we had any that were safe to let him use. He'd just been chewing on them or smacking things with them until this week, when he started pretending to write on bits of paper with them, so I realized he was probably ready for crayons.

Is he ever! He calls them pens (which he pronounces "behn"), and he likes to tap them on the paper more than scribble so far, as you can see.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I just realized the real reason why Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) is my second-favorite character on CSI: NY (after Mac Taylor, obviously). It's not the scruffy goatee, it's not the cute little wire-rimmed specs, it's not the buff bod, it's not the well-worn jeans, it's not the gets-into-trouble tuffness, and it's not the messy hair.

It's the accent.

Danny has that Noo Yawk accent, it's for real, and it makes me grin every time I hear it. He doesn't quite have the Bronx growl like Vic Morrow or Bobby Darin -- that would've made him perfect. But it's a great accent nonethless, and I dig it. I'm not a big fan of NYC itself, as it's a monstrous city and I don't like cities. But that accent -- oh baby!