Friday, March 30, 2007

Examining the History of [my] Obsessions

Earlier today anteka was pondering "what trips the wire inside my brain and makes me seek out a fandom?" And inspired by that, gailann discussed how she, too, only engages in one fandom at a time. She called her post "Obsessions R Us."

So of course that got me thinking about the subject, and my passions*. I love the comment grrli made on anteka's post, that the trigger is "Epic depth." She went on very eloquently and you should go over there to see what she had to say. She really describes the trigger perfectly, as it applies to everything *I* get passionate about, anyway.

*I joke about "my obsession...I mean, passion" but I really think passion is a better word for it. Something crosses over into obsession when it takes over parts of your life, or when awareness of fantasy blurs and reality becomes skewed. That doesn't happen for most of us, even when confronted in person with the beauty that is [insert fandom target here]. Nevertheless, I'll use the words interchangeably here.

Anyway, I've been a serial obsessive for about seven years now. "Hi, my name is Natalie, and I'm a serial obsessive." What causes my passion to fade is almost always lack of fuel. What triggers it, makes it more than just interest, varies in its method but comes down to what grrli said: Epic depth, which in turn triggers a desire for moremoremore.

I never used to be obsessive. Not until I met Megan. I don't know if I just became more like her or if being around her triggered something dormant in me. But suddenly, when The Mummy Returns came out, I became obsessed with Brendan Fraser.

Yep. Brendan Fraser. I watched or rewatched everything he made that I could get my hands on. I marveled at his acting ability, at his range, at his gorgeous eyes. I saw Monkeybones. In the theater. And Looney Tunes. In the theater. I started frequenting a message board where we talked about when we got hit by the Brendan bus and shared any news about him we could find. Then he had a dry spell broken only by The Quiet American and my obsession faded.

The next big one was Lord of the Rings. I saw Fellowship of the Ring and was blown away. I started reading articles about it, then books, and the more I read, the more impressed I was. I found and went multiple times a day. I watched interviews with cast and crew and fell in professional love with Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens. That one went on for a long time. There were three movies, and three DVDs, and extended films. More books and making-of documentaries. I had to see every movie made by every cast member. I bought Sean Astin's audiobook. And I set up my husband and friends for life: obsessives are SO easy to buy gifts for. :) Posters and action figures and puzzles and games and trading cards fill my office.

One obsession led to another. I was really impressed by Orlando Bloom's first feature film performance right out of acting school. He didn't appeal to me as a guy then. First, he was too young. Second, he was icky, with the mohawk and everything. But I loved his performance as Legolas, so I watched his career. As LOTR faded from the front of the public consciousness, Orlando took its place, solidified as an obsession when Pirates of the Caribbean came out.

Now, Pirates came at a very good time. Movies for the previous year had pretty much sucked. This one was clever and fun and over-the-top and smart (I didn't quite get it until the second watching) and full of lines to quote ad nauseum (one day I opened the pantry looking for chips or something and didn't find them. I said plaintively, "but why is the rum gone?" and it took me a couple of minutes to realize I'd said it). A few cheek flickers and some swashbuckling, and I was hooked on Orlando. I still love everything he does (he was impressive in Haven even if the movie itself was lacking). I watch for news of him, and record any talk show he's on. He's way old enough now to be an object of my interest. But my obsession has moved on.

My three biggest current passions/obsessions (besides the New England Patriots--sports are a whole 'nother thing) are:

1. Harry Potter
2. Firefly
3. Supernatural

They kind of intertwine as far as timeline goes.

I started listening to Harry Potter in 2000 when we had a long, late-night trip. Now all of us in my family have listened to the books on tape multiple times. We own the movies (except Chamber) and my kids have plastered their walls with movie images. But I've listened to the books more than anyone else and I'm the only one actively involved in the fandom.

Which requires me to back up. For six years, my interest in HP was only in the books, with a tangential interest in the movies. Then Serenity came out.

I saw the first episode of Firefly on TV, but back then I wasn't that into television, and though I thought the show was okay and worth watching, I had trouble finding it after that and never saw it on TV again. I had great interest in the movie when it approached, and SciFi started showing episodes again. I saw one more but wanted to wait and Netflix the series to watch in order. But I bought the DVD set the day after we saw the movie instead. I watched it straight through, loaned it to a friend, and immediately wanted it back.

That was a first. I've gone through other TV shows on DVD pretty quickly: Alias and Smallville and Entourage and Arrested Development. And by then, I was mildly obsessed with Lost, enough to go to The Fuselage (which I only started reading because JJ Abrams started it) and I watched a few of those episodes twice to try to see the connections I sometimes missed the first time around. But Firefly was the only TV show I wanted to watch over and over and over.

Until now. But that's jumping ahead.

So I saw Serenity in the theater three times before it was gone, and I watched Firefly over and over. When the movie came out on DVD I bought 9 copies for holiday gifts. And I wanted more. I Googled Firefly/Serenity and found The Signal, a podcast dedicated to bringing back Firefly. And there was born my connection to "fandom."

Now, anything can have fans. Some fans can be intense in their appreciation for a show. But it takes something more to be a "fandom." Fanfic and filk and art. Message boards and dissection and shouting from every possible forum to draw more people into it. I'm a peripheral fan in these communities, kind of on the edge, interested in but not really part of, for the most part. But I have to admit, I love them.

So okay, I started listening to The Signal. And I was all caught up and wanted more podcasts. I realized The Leaky Cauldron had to have one, and found Pottercast only a few weeks after it launched. (I tried Mugglecast [of MuggleNet], too, and I love the boys of Mugglecast, but the format and content of Pottercast grabbed me more.) Pottercast is up to 86 podcasts now, and I've listened to every single one. I love hearing the speculation and debate about what's coming in the final book, and what certain things mean. I am fascinated by discourse by really smart people about the stuff I love. I also enjoy yelling at them in my car. But I don't ever write to them, or participate in the message boards. I'm an observer in that fandom only, except for the stuff I post here on this blog.

Then came Supernatural. I Netflixed the DVDs when I caught up on Smallville. It was a show my husband was interested in last year, and one I would have watched, except we didn't get the WB. There was no local affiliate, and the Philly affiliate offered by Comcast was not also offered by DirecTV. But a few minutes into the pilot I was hooked (luckily, we did have a local UPN affiliate, which is now a CW affiliate). I have used my copies of the DVDs to hook other people, and every week we squee together over the show and make constant references to it and to Sam and Dean. I set up Google alerts for the show so I can read news stories about it, and for the actors so I can watch other things they do going forward (FYI, Cry Wolf is a better movie than Devour, but Jensen is better in Devour--and there's more of him--than Jared in Cry Wolf). Because of these Google alerts, I wound up reading ignipes's "10 things I love" about each episode and friended her on LJ because what she says about the show is so great. Because of my friends who also love the show, I have a series of YouTube videos in my favorites and I found my way to anteka's blog to read her Plastic!Winchester Theater and ended up friending her, too, because I thought what she says about the show is also great. I've friended a couple of other people who showed incredible insight and wit along the way. So I am more of a participant in this fandom than any other--though I don't read or write fanfic about the show, or decorate my blog with Sam and Dean (though Dean does tell me when my cell phone is ringing), and I don't participate in any message boards or communities.

Man, this is long and rambly. If you've made it this far, I apologize. :)

My point is, different things have brought me into fandoms. It usually starts as a driving need for more--the sorrow over the end of Firefly, the long distance between Harry Potter books, the more difficult though much shorter gaps between Supernatural episodes--and grows because of some emotional reaction to what I find out there in the fandom.

What I chose to obsess over, always, is something that has that "epic depth" described by grrli waayyyyy back at the beginning of this stupidly long blog post. Always, there is a world distinct from ours, ripe with relationships and emotion, big stakes, personal and physical journeys, and great wit as well as great drama. They enrich my life, make me dig dipper into the human psyche than day-to-day living does, and I hope that when these fade, there will always be something new to replace them.

I'm interested in hearing how other people feel about this stuff. If, like I was, you've been inspired to explore your own level of obsession in depth, please leave a link in the comments so I can go read it. :) Thanks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Musical Thoughts

My thoughts aren't really musical, of course, though I do almost always have music running through my head (right now it's Daughtry, "It's Not Over").

I was listening to a Nick Lachey song recently and it reminded me of Jessica Simpson's singing. They both have technically excellent voices, but they don't sing with true emotion. I may sing along and even like parts of some of their songs, but I'm removed from it. They, and others like them, project fake emotion by using their range and volume and strategic gasping.

Then I thought about musicians that seem to be singing with true emotion--say, John Mayer or James Blunt--but whose music still doesn't touch me. I can't identify with what they are singing, or how they are singing it. Their emotion seems to come from someplace I've never been.

Which is weird, because those musicians who DO touch me--Jason Manns and Chad Kroeger and Chris Daughtry--are certainly not singing from places I've been, either. But I think I can put myself in those places much more easily, for some reason.

I always say that a novel is a collaborative experience. What the reader gets out of it is as much due to the life they've lived and how their mind works as it is what the author put into it. So every partnership is unique.

I'm not lyric-driven so it never occurred to me before that the same is true of music. I mean, it's a no-brainer that musical taste is as subjective as taste in art or fiction. But it's not just about personal likes and dislikes. Who we are as individuals dictates the depth of our partnerships with those who play/sing the music we listen to.

It may sound like the same thing, but I don't think it is. Me liking "Wonderland" better than "What's Left of Me" is subjectivity. Me listening to Jason Manns over and over is about who I am connecting with something in him (or at least, the part of him he puts into his music).

I hope he doesn't Google Alert himself and see this post, or he'll probably be pretty creeped out. :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Here's the Thing the Boys Don't Realize

There's a lot of talk, after the last few episodes, about how Sam is expecting to "turn evil" and Dean knows that he can never kill his brother...

Oh, sorry, we're talking about Supernatural. So what else is new.

So anyway. John told Dean that he had to save Sam, and if he couldn't save him, he'd have to kill him.

Neither Sam nor Dean knows what John knew about the demon and his plans. Sam assumes it means he will "go dark side" and is always waiting for that to happen.

I think Dean, typically, has made no assumption or judgment.

But here's what they don't realize:

John did not know Sam. And he did not know SamsndDean.

Sam spent his whole life rebelling, in a variety of ways, against his upbringing and the inevitability of becoming a hunter. He was very young when he left for Stanford. He didn't "grow up," really, until after Jess died and he and Dean started The Road Trip That Never Ends. So John did not have any chance to get to know his son as an adult. And he barely got a chance to see the way the brothers operate together as adults. As partners.

So what's my point?

John was wrong.

Sammy won't--indeed, he can't go dark side. This may be because the demon, in marking him, set off a series of events that did not happen in any other family, with any other marked child. The demon has not influenced Sam's dreams or waking moments the way he influenced Anson and the last guy who was killed by Gordon (Scott? I can't remember his name). And Sam, by nature and by nurture, is a compassionate, courageous, strong man who had and has something no one else did or does: Dean.

I started thinking about this because I just cannot see the essence of Sam being anything but good. If something were to make him change that significantly, it would have been Jessica's murder compounded by his father's death. He would have been able to kill his father to banish the YED, and after his father made the trade to save Dean, he would have hardened himself. But he didn't. Men who can avoid that shell we often create to protect ourselves from further pain do not save vegetarian vampires or call the police instead of killing the man who tried to kill him. He's far too GOOD to "turn" evil.

Now, of course there are scenarios that work around that. We saw it with his possession, and the possibility with the werewolf. Madison could have easily bitten him and turned him into one. But those are NOT SAM, and the way the writers have progressed this storyline (Anson chose to kill, Scott was on his way), it's distinctly different from what the demon seems to intend.

With only five episodes left this season, we're very close to the answer. I, for one, can't wait.

On another note...

Sera Gamble gave an interview recently where she was asked about the reality of John being dead. She said he's not only dead, he's burning in hell.

Demons have said that twice (Crossroad Blues and Born Under a Bad Sign). I didn't believe them, given their propensity for lying and knowing exactly how to hurt their victims emotionally as well as physically. But Gamble's comment seems pretty conclusive, and it makes me ask why?

We don't know as much about John as we do about the boys, of course. But what we do know doesn't seem, on the surface, to justify hell. Or Hell.

He appeared to be a good father before Mary's death. He wasn't a very good one afterwards, but he wasn't abusive and even his worst actions--leaving them alone at times, teaching them to kill evil--don't seem to bad enough for Hell (though I admit what is "bad enough" is a very personal and widely variable thing).

On the surface, his role as a hunter seems straightforward enough. He hunts evil. By doing that, shouldn't he be worth a place in heaven? Or at least a nice suite in purgatory? Every single episode starts with Dean's voicing of John's legacy: "Dad wants us to continue where he left off...saving people...hunting things...the family business." But...what if that's not John's legacy? What if that's just Dean's interpretation of it? And what if, without Sam, Dean would have been destined to join his father?

Sam sees gray everywhere. He has no hesitation about killing evil and banishing the bad. But he doesn't like collateral damage. Ends don't justify means. Dean didn't think like that before Sam's influence. Evil was evil, and they kill it. End of story. Dean was always Dad's Little Soldier, so he's more black-and-white because of his father.

Now the question is, what did John do as a hunter that we haven't seen? Dean sees him as a hero. But we've heard tales of poor judgment in the name of getting the bad guy, and he seemed to alienate an awful lot of people. So it makes me ask:

Was John less like Dean and Sam and more like...Gordon?

ETA: My brilliant friend Megan said this:

"...maybe it's like a prison type thing. He traded his place on earth for the demon's in Hell in order to save his son, maybe? And it has nothing to do, really, with his soul, but rather was the bargain he made to save Dean's life."

Isn't she smart? :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Results are Trickling In

Today is the Big Day in romance publishing, the day finalists in the RITA (published book) and Golden Heart (unpublished manuscript) contests are announced. There are dozens of contests held throughout the year, but these two are the elite in romance.
One dedicated member is keeping of the results. Already three of my friends have heard they finaled. Mary Fechter I was expecting. I didn't know Trish Milburn (double finalist!) and Cindy Procter-King had entered, so it was exciting to see them final, too. And Allison Brennan, a woman I respect mightily, has finaled in the Rita. I'm eagerly refreshing the unofficial report every ten minutes to see who else I might know. :)

Big congratulations to ALL the finalists, including the ones I'm not friends with. May the joy of this day last you through July.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Save Your Show

I was quite surprised no one (no one I personally read, that is) has picked this up yet.

Kristin at E!Online
has launched her "Save One Show" poll/campaign thing. I suspect she exaggerates her power--it's kind of logical that the show people most want to save is less likely to be canceled in the first place--but it can't hurt to chime in with a vote and/or comments.

Supernatural is on the list! I strongly urge everyone to vote for it, as even if I don't believe it is in imminent danger, I DO believe it is most deserving of the winning campaign.

Of course I do. :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Supernatural Squee

Apparently, a lot of people didn't like last night's episode. I am not one of them. I loved it. And if you didn't, you don't have to say so here. Thank you. :)

Now, let's look at the progression:

In My Time of Dying
Dean is forced to consider how some of the evil things he hunts get that way

And then that some of the things they hunt might not be evil

Simon Said
And then that some people who might be evil aren't

Now he takes all that he's learned and faces the shattering of his black-and-white world. As Sam has always known, there are infinite shades of gray.

When faced with who he could be, might indeed have been at one time, Dean realizes he isn't anymore. It's not just about eradicating evil at all costs. Collateral damage isn't as easy to accept anymore.

This is where the focus shifts from Dean to Sam.

Sam makes Dean promise to kill him if he "turns." It's an unacceptable promise that Dean makes thinking Sam won't remember. But Sam does, and he expects Dean to follow through. Right now, it's all about him. He's not thinking about Dean at all.

Born Under a Bad Sign
The big test. Dean can't do it. He knows it's not really Sam--but what if it wasn't that simple? He had a way to save him and get rid of the Big Bad...this time.

Road Kill
Even when a spirit takes the path described to him by the reaper in episode one, the path isn't always irreversible...

...but sometimes it is. This was a perfectly done episode because both boys see that there isn't always a way to save someone who deserves it. More importantly, Sam may finally understand the magnitude of what he's asked of his brother. He had a difficult time killing the werewolf when he knew the woman hiding it only a few days. And he thinks Dean should be able to kill him after a lifetime? The only person he loves, the only person he has left? This is not same old, same old, in any sense of the word.

Addressing some other complaints:

They fell into bed too fast.
This isn't a romance novel, people! No one professed undying love. In fact, I think Madison was the one who said, "'re gonna get laid." It was his first time since Jessica died, so of course it was passionate and hungry. But it wasn't going to change his life.

Why can't Sam be allowed one happy moment?
A) He had one, or at least that's assumed. :)
Name one episode out of 39 where one of the boys was happy? Their reality is not happy.

If this episode had been a movie, or any other show, it probably would have been written much more predictably. They would have had sex the first night, before Sam knew she was a werewolf. Severing the blood line would have worked. The ending would have been pat and trite and the pattern obvious and Sam would have left just like he left the preacher's daughter in Hookman and Sara in Provenance. It would have been "been there, done that" and much less satisfying.

I know I can't change anyone's mind. Each person is affected the way they are affected. I find it sad that everyone doesn't feel the way I do, but oh, well. At least I'm happy. :)

And I am SO looking forward to the next episode. I wish it wasn't another whole freakin' month away, however. (I'd rather have had a break or two early in the season instead of 11 or 12 episodes in a row and these long hiatuses now)

And on a totally unrelated subject:

I'm getting really, really, REALLY tired of authors writing about new subdivisions in a very derisive "they all look exactly the same" way, as if our current way of doing things is pathetically different than in the past.

I currently live in a neighborhood built in the late 50s/early 60s. All the houses look the same. I grew up in houses built in the 70s and 80s that were even more identical than the houses around me now or the ones being built up the street.

What's more, if you drive south about three miles, you'll pass three old stone houses. How old? Two hundred years old. And guess what? They look exactly the same.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5

Thirteen Movie Moments I’d Watch Again and Again

1. The reunion kiss in Brokeback Mountain
More powerful emotion, I’ve rarely seen

2. X’s eyeblink when Dakota climbs on his lap in Devour
His vulnerability and confusion make my heart ache

3. "Get away from her, you bitch!!" in Aliens
Mother’s battle cry

4. Wesley and Inigo’s sword fight in Princess Bride
Cleverness and honor, with stunts

5. Trinity’s admission and Neo’s rise in The Matrix
Symbolic of the global truth, that love is at the root of everything worth fighting for

6. The exchange of swords, blood, and coin in Pirates of the Caribbean
I was pretty confused about the whole curse thing the first time I saw the movie, so the significance of this escaped me--except the beats of action and music were spot on

7. The Black Knight in The Holy Grail
One of the funniest sequences ever

8. Young Forrest running down the lane, his braces coming off, in Forrest Gump
Who hasn’t felt the need for that kind of freedom at some point in their lives?

9. Okay, I ran out of time and moments and if I don't post this now, I won't make Thursday. So...sorry! Feel free to add five more in the comments!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Random Wednesday

Our fridge was dying, so I bought a new one Monday. It was delivered today and looks pretty much like the old one. Except it's CLEAN. And I really like that. :)


I just finished two books. One I started last week. I'd been eager to read it and was mildly disappointed. It had a really good ending, so that bumped it up a point, but overall it was pretty standard. I'm tired of standard romances. I'm also tired of men who sound like women. A spec ops officer should sound like one even in his head. Forget this "oh, how he wished" crap. The emotion is necessary. I want emotionally intense heroes. But they can express it in a manly way. (Ref. Sam and Dean Winchester, please, or Malcolm Reynolds)

The other book was by one of my favorite authors. I hate that she only publishes one book a year. I got the book at 1:00 yesterday afternoon, ignored the unfinished book I just described (I completed it today), and finished the new one at 11:00 p.m. It was soooo wonderful to read a truly excellent book. The interesting thing is...this one was pretty standard, too. No surprises in what happened. But the characters were so well done I just wanted to hang out with them forever. I wish I had this woman's skill.


When I was at the club today, I caught part of a segment on CNN about how much time mothers spend with their kids and how guilty we feel about it. In 1965 mothers spent an average of 10 hours a week with their kids. Mothers now spend 14. I say we officially get off the guilt train. If you love your kids and are doing the best you can to raise them to be good people, that's all anyone can ask. It's a pretty sure bet that if you feel guilty, you likely don't have anything to feel guilty about. Bad mothers don't care that they are bad mothers.


I am sick of the freakin' grocery store. I went last Thursday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and today. TWICE on Monday, in fact. My husband and Number Two spent two hours shopping on Saturday. Why on earth can't I remember and/or be aware of everything we need? Forgot to put mouse traps on the list on Saturday (we've caught 5 now, maybe 6, and still I hear skritching in my ceiling). Then we ran out of dog food (no one told me we were on the last can!). Today I needed ice for my groceries in the cooler waiting for the new fridge. I'm going insane. I dream about well-lit aisles and delivery service.


Tomorrow is Thursday. Despite the fact that you-know-what is on hiatus again after that, it's a new show tomorrow, and that makes me very happy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It's Not ONLY About Me

I tend to post pretty frivolous things on this blog. I don't feel badly about that, because it IS my blog. But other, more worthy things fall by the wayside.

I was a little bored tonight and went to the NaNoWriMo site. And I found this.

Back in November when I did NaNo (for those who don't know, it's National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write a whole book in 30 days, which I did), I donated a nominal amount at the time, because...well, because it was all about me, and that reality included vastly lowered income since I'd quit my day job. And the holidays were coming, as well as Oil-Sucking Season, etc.

But seeing those kids in their brand-new library, realizing they are discovering a joy maybe they never knew existed...well, I'm galvanized. Donations are being accepted year round (here) and I'm due a royalty check at the end of this month. I'm going to donate the entire thing. It's not as big a deal as it sounds, but I can do without the few things it will buy me, and it will go a lot further there.

Random Stuff

My father-in-law thought he was getting smart with me yesterday, telling me my quarterback had gotten his current girlfriend pregnant in addition to his former one. Besides the fact that it is apparently not true, it's old news! Her family vehemently refuted the report 10 days ago! Sheesh.

Last night I dreamt I was back in college. Unlike the usual stress dream, though, it was awesome. I already had my degree, so I could take any class I wanted without worrying about minimum requirements. I was naked at one point, but it wasn't a vulnerability thing. More of a power thing.

Jason Manns is leaving LA! If you're anywhere within, oh, let's say three hours of Dallas, you should go see him play this Saturday at the Suede Bar and Grill. Details are here. If you go, let me know how it is. So I can be incredibly jealous.

If you're in LA, he's also playing Sunday at LScorpion.

Have you heard of Scott Church? He's a talented local photographer (central PA) who does some pretty innovative stuff. He has a great eye for contrast and emotion. (Listen to me, like I know what I'm talking about. *grin*). Anyway, he posts some of his shots on his LJ, and he just posted one here that makes me ache. I'm so saving up for a print. I love that in addition to being talented, he's accessible. He'll do a print for anyone--you don't have to find him in an exclusive gallery you can't afford to shop in.

I hate letting a friend down. Or at least feeling like I have. It unsettles me for days, even if it's something relatively small in the grand scheme of our friendship. Saying the wrong thing, or failing to say the right one, is such a failure.

So far I've managed to stay unspoiled for this week's Supernatural.

Ha! That is such a lie. I knew weeks ago, maybe months ago, the basic premise and the Big Thing that was going to happen. But what I mean is, I have managed for three days to avoid watching the Director's Cuts at The CW. I need to stay strong--I want to delight in the revelations as they come, not whet my appetite four days ahead of schedule.

Next week is back to repeats. Dang it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Supernatural Friday

Let's see if I can come up with something new to say about Supernatural, besides the usual gushing.

I love that the expected resolution often comes only 45 minutes into the show (like salting and burning the bones of the bad spirit and saving the victim) and leaves us wondering what twisty goodness we have in store. Or what brotherly goodness.

I love that even with all the broad and specific hints they give us in the "then" portion, I don't see it coming.

I love that even a non-mythology episode has references to the mythology--even when it doesn't.

I didn't love that when Sam was tasked to watch out for Molly, he let her stand next to a window, with her back to it, and moved away from her so the bad guy could grab her.

I did love that Sam and Dean were back to their normal relationship after the tension in Tall Tales and, before that, the stress of Born Under a Bad Sign.

It was very cool that they messed up the usual order and stuck us in medias res at the beginning of the show, and even cooler that for once (maybe the first time ever!) Sam got to dig up the body (awfully shallow grave, that) and salt and burn the bones while Dean tried to save the girl. Dean's been ending up crumpled against the wall an awful lot lately, though. Poor Dean.

I've been allowing myself to be spoilered by my desperate need for anything Supernatural, especially in hiatus time, but I love it when they surprise me anyway. Didn't figure it out until after Molly spotted David (though before they told her the truth). Probably makes me look dumb, with all the hints in the opening montage and the way they talked to her and everything. But I'm happier for it.

I think Tricia Helfer is the best guest star they've ever had. I loved Ava, but Tricia tops her by just a little. What a good actress, and how well she fit in.

I was thinking about this "war" that's approaching. The YED isn't making out too well, is he? Max killed himself, Andy shot his brother and, when we last saw him, was untouched by the evil. Gordon killed the other guy, and Sam won't do the YED's bidding. The only one who seems like she'd serve the "army" is Ava.

Yeah, I've gone dark side on Ava. I think she was consciously working on the demon's side to help Sam not get killed by Gordon. I mean, Sam's no good to him dead, right? And she left with the demon after killing her fiancé. I don't want it to be true, but I suspect that's what we'll find out in the season finale.

Which I really, really don't want to see. I mean, of course I do, but it means four months with no show. That's depressing.

As I uploaded this, it occurred to me that of course we don't know who else the demon has on his side. We're taking Ash's word for it that only those people fit the criteria. And we already know someone in the roadhouse betrayed Sam. Ash seems most logical to me, and Ellen is in denial, trying to claim she knows a dozen hunters who could put it together--there is NO WAY anyone knows about Sam's visions without having been told or witnessing them, and even if they do know about them, how can they know about the rest? So I think a lot of Ash fangirls are in for it.

Last night's Google Alert for Supernatural included some big newspapers, which looked like they were favorable. I'm glad to see the show getting some publicity.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I read an article in People last week about a church who is selling non-complaint bracelets. The idea is that you try not to complain at all for 21 days. Every time you complain, you switch the bracelet to the other wrist and start the countdown again.

Yeah. I wouldn't last an hour.

Note: I started writing this very late Wednesday night.

Last night I watched Scoop. I will admit, I never "got" the Woody Allen thing. Maybe I'm too young, or not neurotic enough. But I don't think I've ever liked a single one of his movies. I rented Scoop because it was a cute premise and it had Hugh Jackman. Winning combination, I figured.

Boy, was I wrong.

I never thought Scarlett Johannsen was that great. Mainly because I never, ever forget that she's acting. I can usually see cold calculation behind the character, like she has a plan. In this movie the cold calculation was less evident, but so was any semblance of skill. She was like a bad copy of Woody, who played himself, of course, and any time she relaxed too much and got natural, she reined it right back into being a high-school freshman in her spring play. I can't blame her, though. I blame the directing. Any director who can make Hugh Jackman superficial and uninteresting is failing, I'm sorry.

I checked the time when I was about 42 minutes through the film. Then I checked the timer again at 45 minutes, lamented that only 3 minutes had passed, adn started to doze off. That was when I turned off the movie.

Here's a bigger complaint. I stayed up until 1:00 in the morning to watch Jensen Ackles on Jimmy Kimmel Live. I started watching at midnight, before the show began, and at approximately 12:55 he came on. He was done at 1:00 a.m. That's horrendous! That was less than he got from Megan Mullally!

Let's break down the show:

12 minutes of mildly amusing monologue
5 minutes of stupid marathon hijinks (I didn't know so many out-of-shape people tried to "run" marathons!)
11 minutes of Rosie Perez
5 minutes of Evanescence
21 minutes of commercials (mostly local)

Why is it even worth it? I mean, he has to take the time to dress up (god, he looks good in a black suit with an almost-purple, satin-stripe shirt with white buttons), travel to the studio, hang out in the green room forever, and listen to Rosie be cute (probably not such a hardship, actually). I have to say, he didn't look that thrilled at the end of the show, either.

But the interview itself was good. I like Jimmy Kimmel, I think he's pretty natural with his guest stars and mostly doesn't do the same old questions over and over. And it's good that the show is getting some publicity. And Jensen rocked his five minutes, that's for sure.

Let me tell you something. Certain people *cough*husbands*cough* think otherwise, but I am not all about looks. The celebrities who make the top of my Passion list are always there because of talent or personality or some other trait in addition to being physically attractive to me. But there are plenty of others who don't even get a glance from me, no matter how gorgeous they are, because they don't have the extra something that appeals to *me* even if it appeals to someone else.

But oh, my, is Jensen Ackles pretty.

Rosie asked him if he curls his eyelashes. And I swear, he must spend an hour a day getting his hands manicured. Yet there's nothing unmasculine about him at all. He's got the angles and the walk and the voice to balance the hands and the eyelashes, which is partly genetics, but also partly who he is inside.

It's a delectable combination. Now please, give us more than five minutes of it, all right?

Continued Thursday morning

They're calling for snow tonight and tomorrow. Three to five inches. I'm not complaining about that. I love living in the Northeast, I love snow, I don't even mind shoveling it. But what I am frustrated about is the likelihood that the kids will have another snow day. My routine was barely re-established. And summer seems to be looming very close. There's a lot I'm looking forward to, but losing my work time is not one of them.

I think that's sufficient for today. I'll be cheerier tomorrow, because tonight Supernatural is new again!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Usually, when you put telemarketers or research people off once, they don't ever call back. Which is great, because I hate to be mean to people who are just trying to do a job and support themselves and maybe their families.

So this research firm called a few weeks ago, asking for my husband. Told them he wasn't here, and that he works, he's not home during the day.

Well, apparently they really, really want his opinion on health care. Because they called again. And again. And again, and again, and again. And then one more time.

First they'd ask for him, then when to call back, then if "Mrs. Damschroder" (which I do not use, though I will cop to being his wife) can do the survey. The first time, I was in a hurry and said it wasn't a good time. They asked when would be. I told them mornings are better.

Yesterday they called at 3:15. I told them that every time they call, they ask for my husband, and I keep telling them he's not there. He said, "You told us he'd be available in the morning."


"No, I told you I'd be available in the morning, and it's 3:15 in the afternoon."

The guy confirmed that if they called me in the morning, I'd do the survey. I said, sure, if you call me in the morning.

They just called. And asked for Jim.


I said, "No, there is not a better time to reach him." He thanked me and hung up.

The kicker? It was the same guy I talked to yesterday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Scary Doors

I have this weird door thing. I don't like to close them.

Well, I do CLOSE them, what's formally known as "brought to" or something like that. But I don't latch them. Which means when I want "privacy" in the bedroom or bathroom, the dog is constantly pushing her nose in and pissing me off. Which is really how I noticed I have this door thing.

Because I have a hard time shutting the main door tight when I leave the house for any reason. If it's five degrees outside and I'm letting the dog out, I'm leaving the door wide open behind me, or, if I think about it really hard, I'm leaving a two-inch gap.

I don't know if I'm afraid of locking myself out (which I've done) or locking myself in. The former is logical, but doesn't explain the inside door thing. I've never been locked in anywhere that I recall. No one shut me up in a dark closet when I was a kid or anything.

Maybe it's sound I have a problem with. Or laziness. Or a combination. Like, closing the door carefully takes too much effort, and if I swing it closed too hard it will slam and be loud and obnoxious, so I've developed a knack for pushing it just enough to be "closed" without being shut.

Any other theories?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gimme Jake

A "friend" told me recently that I should watch Jake 2.0.

I thought she cared about me. I didn't know she takes glee in being an enabler.

I mean, I already watch way too much TV! And I already have deep caverns of despair in my soul over all the excellent shows that were so well done, yet were cast off, unlamented, by Stupid Network Suits. I really didn't need another one.

I don't know how this show didn't survive! Wait, yes I do. I just looked it up--it showed on UPN. What a shame.

Jake is the perfect hybrid hero. He's brainy and smart (two different things), a total geek who gains confidence and capability in every episode but retains his inherent geeky soul. And he looks good without his shirt! He is inherently good but that goodness leads him into trouble again and again.

The show was episodic enough to appeal to the networks' driving need for syndication ability, and had a diverse, solid supporting cast. Best of all, the plots were rich and meaty and clever, leaving the viewer feeling like they'd had an awesome meal without inducing headaches.

Luckily, the SciFi network is broadcasting the episodes, including the three never before aired, and you can all catch up! It's only sixteen eps! Not much investment at all!

I played hooky today and watched the last three that aired, and the final one was a heck of a cliffhanger. I'm so glad I wasn't watching when it was on TV, and doomed to be left not knowing what happened to Jake. I'll be finishing up tonight and I swear, if **** and ***** don't get ********, I'll be seriously p.o.'d.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Week's Worth of Supernatural

Three years ago, I didn't pay any attention to what TV shows were ending and what were being renewed for another year. If a show I watched was renewed, I'd keep watching it. If it wasn't, I usually shrugged. Occasionally I got annoyed (Stark Raving Mad) or pissed (John Doe), especially if it left us hanging. But TV played a very, very small role in my life.

Since LOST, however, I have been a completely different person. Evidence: My progression of activity this week.

I think it started Tuesday, when someone posted that Kristin on E! Online said it didn't look good for renewal of Supernatural. Even though people said she was quite often wrong and gave examples, I spent the rest of the day e-mailing the media and writing letters to The CW and the people who make the show.

If it gets canceled, it's not going to be because I did nothing. Or, you know, nothing besides "guessing" each week that the next cover of Entertainment Weekly will be Supernatural in the hopes that they get sick of me making that guess and just make it happen.

So then Wednesday I got the Ask Ausiello (TV Guide columnist) newsletter. Though I had sworn off reading it because I've been getting too many spoilers, I couldn't help myself. Someone referenced "a certain someone's" warning of the show's demise, and he said he thought she jumped the gun and put its chances at 60/40.

On Thursday I stayed up late to read Plastic!Winchester Theater, gave myself a head injury laughing too hard, and dreamt about Plastic!Winchesters all night.

Friday...ah, Friday. On Friday someone linked to Keith R.A. Decandido's blog. I know his name because he did the novelization of Serenity, a previous obsession (and ongoing, though it is not currently being fed as there is not much new going on and my Firefly DVDs are in Texas).

Guess what? Keith is doing not ONE, but TWO Supernatural novels! One is Dean and Sam in NYC and will be coming out in August. The other is to be released in November.

Does that sound like a show that's going to be canceled?

Certainly not!

MaryFalso linked me to the prequel comic book. I didn't think I was interested, but then I thought about Wee!Sam and Wee!Dean and I don't think I can resist. It's not like it's expensive.

On a downer note, Jared Padalecki did an interview recently where he said he thinks Sam and Dean have to die at the end of the series. I only read a couple of the comment responses because they disgusted me.

Fiery and dramatic deaths in fiction may be all poetic and shit, but you know what they really are?

Lazy cop-outs.

Take The Horse Whisperer. I loved that book, and then I hated it. The protagonist was not the kind of person to step under a horse's hooves, under any circumstances. The writer had backed himself into a corner and couldn't figure out how to get out of it, so he solved the problem with death.

Death is easy. It takes any decision-making away. No one has to make hard choices, or try to live without something they need, or live with something they did. It's not the ultimate sacrifice. It's the ultimate escape.

Dean losing Sam and facing his worst fear would be heart-wrenching indeed, but as a series finale it would demean everything those boys fight for every week. I'm not saying having them buy side-by-side houses in Middle America is any better, but there is a much more reasonable compromise. Dean. Sam. The Impala. Taillights in the distance. A vague hope that allows every fan to create her or his own ending.

Never death.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Top Shelf of my TBR Pile

Eragon, Christopher Paolini
A gift from someone who got two copies

Something About Cecily, Karen Kendall
The Parting Glass, Emilie Richards
I got these as freebies in the Doubleday Book Club and haven't gotten around to reading them yet.

Die in Plain Sight, Elizabeth Lowell
Lover's Lane, Jill Marie Landis
I think I got both of these at National, two different ones, probably.

No Regrets, Shannon K. Butcher
I bought this because when I asked Deidre Knight if single title adventure romance was doing okay even if Bombshell wasn't, Nephele Tempest had just sold this book at auction. Deidre said it's like Suzanne Brockmann, who is one of my favorite authors, so here it is.

Summer Island, Kristin Hannah
Not sure where I got this one. Might have been free at National. I don't read a lot of this kind of book.

Seal Island, Kate Brallier
One of the early Tor Paranormal Romances, and loaned to me by a friend.

Ghostlight, Marion Zimmer Bradley
I bought this when my agent had recommended I try writing a fantasy for Luna. I was looking to see what was out there that might be like what I would write. I don't know why I never read it.

The More I See, Lisa Mondello
This book is by one of my best friends. She doesn't read this blog, or I wouldn't admit it's still on the TBR pile. I started it but wasn't in the mood at the time for this kind of book.

Causing Havoc, Lori Foster
Purchased for a stupid reason. Her book trailer started with "Everything about Dean was hard." I couldn't pass up a book about Dean. :)

Death Masks, Jim Butcher
Blood Rites, Jim Butcher
I've been slowly working my way through his series. I love it, but can only handle one or two books at a time. Dark matter, light tone, an excellent combination.

Dirty Little Lies, Julie Leto
Playing With Fire, Gena Showalter
These were birthday and/or Christmas gifts purchased off my Amazon wish list that I have not yet gotten to because everything was shoved where it fit on the shelf, and I'm reading top-down now.

If your book isn't on this list and you feel it should be, rest assured--I probably either already read it, or it's among the 55 books on the lower shelves.

Horrors! I only have 70 books on my TBR pile! That's the lowest it's been in six years.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Amazingly True

You Are an Ice Cream Cake

Surprising, unique, and high maintenance.
You're one of a kind, and you don't want anyone to forget it.
You're fun in small doses, but it's easy for people to overdose on you!

Dogs and Cats Living Together...

J thought it would be funny for me to blog about how I have nothing to say, but when has he ever known that to be the case? Sheesh.

It's snowing today, the kind of snow I like to live up north for. The kind that muffles everything, makes the outdoors the kind of peaceful place people climb mountains to find, but here it is, in the middle of the suburbs. It's powdery and light, but moist enough to pack. Perfect skiing snow, if I still skied, which I don't partly because it's expensive, partly because I love it and am so out of shape, the humiliation of falling and fatigue would ruin it for me. So maybe next year.

Last night I was watching Heroes and the news teaser said they were going to talk about the early Daylight Savings Time change (it's three weeks early and one week late this year) and how it will wreak havoc on our computers and cell phones and PDAs.

I scoffed, but just to be sure, I went online afterward and looked up some news stories. They were mainly doom and gloom, or at least trying to be. "Disasters of Y2K proportions."

Um...yyyeeaaahhhh. I remember that disaster. The one that didn't happen.

The articles talked about how companies would lose an average of $50,000 in productivity and fixes for this situation. Because apparently, corporate America has forgotten how to use a watch.

Seriously, the reporters stated flat out that if their PDAs aren't fixed, they will miss appointments and flights and stuff. Because not only do they not have watches, they will go an entire day not realizing they're on the wrong time. (Daylight Savings starts on Sunday; most business won't be conducted until Monday.)


So I was scoffing and joking and being a general snot, and figured it would be hilarious if, after that, it wasn't as simple as manually changing my clock settings on Sunday. One article had the URLs for Apple and Microsoft to obtain fixes if you have an older computer (i.e. without Windows Vista or one manufactured after Congress decided to change the date of the time switch).

Guess what? I already had the patch. Seems Microsoft can think ahead. And now that I was told I was all set, I vaguely remember the patch being a part of my March 1st automatic software updates (which I always look at before I download).

It probably surprises no one that my Mac laptop is all up to date, too.

Someday I will cease to be amused by the intense need for the media to overdramatize and sinisterize any little piece of news.

Today is not that day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Range of Existence

I'm about to try to pull a bunch of random thoughts on a particular topic into a coherent thought. Wish me luck.

My admiration for and desire to have personal (platonic) relationships with certain people is strong. Many of these people are younger than me. Some of them are men, and some of those men happen to be really hot, which means a lot of other women I know are attracted to them. But many of those women feel "wrong" for the attraction because the men are younger than they are. I feel nothing of the sort.

I have a friend who has been happily married for many, many years with a man 30 years her senior. The woman my grandfather is currently married to is younger than my mother, and they've been married longer, I believe, than he was to either of his first two wives.

I have a group of friends who has grown very close over the last six months. We range in age from 30 to (I think) 50 (she implied that once, but I don't see it). That range has very little bearing on our friendships, if any at all.

Society puts a lot of emphasis on age. Magazines like People always list the age of the person they are talking about (celebrity or not). We have opinions on who should or shouldn't go together, and express amazement when a teenager has a close friend who's elderly or if there is a long marriage with a large age discrepancy, as if love of any type has nothing to do with complementary personalities.

To me, the deterrent is much less age than experience.

I live in an area where it's quite common to never leave your county, where the "big city" has less than 50,000 people, where a family might go "out west" to Pittsburgh for the holidays. Since I've lived in fifteen places in seven states and visited at least half the states in this country, I feel worldly in comparison.

But in truth, my life has been very encapsulated. I had just barely started to explore when I got married (at age 21) and we started being all responsible and shit. I became a mother at 24 and since then, no matter where my personal focus is, my experience has revolved around my family.

There's nothing wrong with that, and I am extremely happy. But it's the major deterrent to relationships I desire with those creative people I admire so much. They've traveled more, met a broader range of people, lived harder and probably with more depth. They'd have no interest in someone like me.

So, okay, I sped past the coherent point and landed on self-pity. Sorry about that. I'll go back to listening to Jason Manns and thinking about Supernatural while I prepare to do a final edit on This Book I'm In Love With, and leave you with this:

Age is irrelevant. Experience is key.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Variety Show

Number Two's elementary school holds a variety show every year, and usually it's a good mix of talent and creativity, heart and skill.

This year, it was less so. There were still some talented kids who played instruments, including one amazing pianist who did Für Elise with perfection. And there were a couple of group dance acts--one a group of second-grade girls, another four third-grade boys--who had great choreography and made the crowd laugh and cheer. And one okay act that made fun of local Blue Shield commercials that was kind of cute.

There were a great many that were uninspired, though, and made me long for years past. If the music choices had been better, even the bouncy-flailing would have been more fun.

My biggest complaint, however, is with the crowd. Happens every year. If I didn't know better, I'd think we were all a bunch of brainless morons. Any and every song that has a decent beat, the audience starts clapping along. It drives me insane, but when the dancers are doing the same thing, it's to be expected. But every song?

And it's not just the dance numbers. They did it for singers. For soloists.

They did it when one poor boy was singing Proud to be an American.

Fine, if you want to drown out the music 'cause you think the kids will feel you're "involved" with the performance, have fun. But do you have to make it impossible to hear the poor singers, those brave kids who get up their all by themselves and do something so personal? It's infuriating, and it isn't even my kid.

This year there also seemed to be a lot more high-pitched screaming when names were announced than in years past, and for the first time, there were hecklers in the audience. Things have really gone downhill since Number One's class moved up to the middle school.

Speaking of Number One. She didn't want to go. One of the first acts was the brothers of her crush, who accompanied them on guitar. (I love watching him perform, he's one of those kids who's a cut above everyone else. If they're still doing American Idol and the like in six years, we might be rooting for him.) I called Number One to tease her, and offered to go talk to him about teaching her guitar for the song she's writing. She begged me not to, said it was pathetic. I said I was at least going to tell him I liked hearing him play and that I was her mother.

She didn't want me to tell him I was her mother.

I feel like I've been shot in the heart. *sob*

Friday, March 02, 2007

So Totally Not The Post I Was Gonna Post Tonight

I don't read fanfiction, even for Supernatural. Almost never. Except that Interplanet Janet one. And maybe one other.

But this. This I could not resist. It has flaws. A little (a lot) too much slime. A minor Wincest element that does nothing for me except... cracked my shit up.

(I think that's how you say it. Me=dork.)

It's short and fun-NY. Give it a try.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Clean What?

The Boot Squad (my group of writer friends that's an offshoot of the overall Hobnail Boot Squad, aka Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers) is coming over tomorrow for our monthly lunch. I told them I wasn't going to clean. They're the kind of women who are cool with that.

But there's "cleaning" and then there's cleaning. I swept the kitchen but didn't mop it. Vacuumed the living room but didn't dust. That kind of thing.

The kitchen needed the most work. While I was doing the counters, I realized I still hadn't swapped out the outlets. This was the last bit to do in our kitchen remodel. The one we did three years ago. I just kept taking out those outlets and putting them away, because it was a pain to go downstairs and shut off the breaker.

But I thought it would be nice to get rid of the ugly old dirty outlets, so I made the effort. (There was a problem with the second one, so I just cleaned it best I could and left it alone).

I've changed outlets before. It's not hard. Unscrew the face plate, unscrew the outlet, unhook the wires, hook the wires to the new outlet, screw it back in, replace the face plate. No problem, right?

Not in this house.

Someday I'll regale you with the stories of how NOTHING in this house was done the way it was supposed to be originally, or how we otherwise encounter issues when trying to update/upgrade/remodel.

So I got the old outlet out. I attach the ground wire, the bottom left wire, the two top left wires, and the bottom right wire. The top right two wires are very thick and don't want to both fit around the screw. I spent nearly half an hour trying, while I'm stretched across the top of the stove. I had to change from my sweater to a tank top I was sweating so bad. I couldn't see because the sun was starting to set and of course the power was off. I used needlenose pliers to tighten the curve of the wires. I needed more space, so I forced the screw a little looser.

Of course I went too far.

Of course the screw came off.

Of course the frakkin' thing fell behind the stove.

I briefly considered using a screw off the old outlet, but since they weren't exactly the same, thought I better not if I could help it. So I pulled out the stove.

On the plus side, I was able to clean the giant nest of dog hair, old dog biscuit, battery, and yellow marker out from under the stove. It was also easier to reach the outlet.

On the minus side, it was also easier to gouge my scalp on the corner of the cabinet. Three times.

I retrieved the screw, pressed it into the smaller curve of the wires, and started to screw it in.

Except the damned wires were so thick, the screw wouldn't reach the hole.

So, yeah, I used the screw off the old outlet after all.

When I came out from behind the stove, I saw the the side of it on the "prep" counter side had crumbs and drips and streaks all down the side of it.

So there you go. I wasn't going to clean at all, but now the cleanest thing in my house is the side of the stove that will never, ever be seen.

But my outlet looks pretty.

Goals Check, February

I'm not going to say "I can't believe it's March first already!" Not only is that cliché, I CAN believe it and I'm GLAD it's March. March isn't my favorite month. It's kinda near the bottom, actually, though that has more to do with the way it sounds than with anything real. But February felt freakin' long. Ironic, huh?

So, let's see how I did with my goals progress in February:


My goal for the year is 350,000 words total. That breaks down to 29,167 per month. In February I wasn't working on a new book, but I did have a short story/novella (not yet done, don't know which it will qualify for) and I counted all the words that increased my total count on the book I revised. So February total is 23,974. Since January was so big and my total is 83,068 for the year, I'm still way ahead. I expect that to change in March, which will be all revision. But right now, I'm good.


Ugh and ugh again. Goal for the year: 115 books. That's about 9.5 a month, and I'm at 13 for the YEAR. I attempted 23, but only finished 6. Way behind! Even though I only had 1.75 critiques and four Entertainment Weeklies. Must do better.


I wanted to lose a pound a week. So far I'm at 4 for the year, which is bogus. But that's okay. I'm not working that hard for it. More importantly...


I'm proudest of this so far. I've exercised 50 days (including today) and only skipped 10 (never more than two in a row), so I'm on track to do 300 days of exercise this year. My gyn was impressed at my ambitious goal--doesn't seem that ambitious to me. I mean, sometimes it's just a 15-minute walk with the dog, or cleaning the house (done right, that's strenuous!) or shoveling/chipping the driveway. But usually it's a more extensive workout than that, and I'm noticing some changes.

Dining Room

Um...we've talked about it. Once. Gonna start planning and buying supplies this month. Maybe.

So, how are you doing on your goals?