Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Funniest. Video. Ever.

So I'm on my way to bed, feeling down for a few small reasons after a pretty good day. I stop at Ducky Does TV, and see this.

You really need to see this first, if you haven't already. But then see this. These will crack your sh** up.

WARNING: NOT WORK SAFE. DO NOT WATCH WITH CHILDREN AROUND. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THE F WORD, DON'T WATCH. But in the second video, it's all bleeped out. I have to look for a non-bleeped version.

But not now. Now, I sleep.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Consumer From You-Know-Where

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been having service issues that put me in a pattern of behavior of which I'm not proud. I call about my problem, get frustrated to the point of lashing out, then apologize because it's not their fault their company sucks, and praise their calm in the face of my bitchiness. Here's a sampling:

Problem: They keep sending messages over the phone line that our DVR is not activated, even though the TiVo has been recording consistently and every time I call (at least 6 times now), the response is "That's odd, we don't know why." Last weekend, we had about 15 messages. So I called again.

Sample Exchange:
Guy: It sounds like your box is going bad.
Me: So we need a new box.
Guy: Yeah. Now, we don't do TiVo anymore, but our DVR is the same thing.
Me: No, it's not the same thing, and I hear it sucks. I like TiVo.

None to the problem, but the CSR who transferred me to tech support said she'd give us a $5 per month credit for a year.

Problem: At some point Sunday afternoon, our Verizon-supplied wireless router to connect us all to our wonderful FiOS service went dead. Almost dead. There was a faint glow in two of the lights, but not the power light. The rep ran me through a series of very inconvenient but necessary steps until he said, "Yep, router's dead. You need a new one."

Sample Exchange:
Him: We can send you a new router, but unfortunately you'll have to buy it. If you had FiOS TV we could send you one for free.
Me: You don't have FiOS TV available here, unless that's changed.
Him: *pause* You're right, we don't.
Me: So that's not a very useful offer, is it?

Him: You can buy any router, though.
Me: So despite your dire threats when we subscribed about never using a non-Verizon router, even though our old router had better security and a stronger signal, you're telling me I can just use any old thing.
Him: Uh...yep.

Resolution: None from them. We couldn't find our old router, so I used a $25 coupon I had from Staples and bought a new one that I can include as a business expense on my taxes (since I communicate with all my nonfiction and editing clients online) and is, yes, faster and more secure than the old router.

Problem: Using Sheetz's touch-screen ordering system, I ordered a 20 oz. dark chocolate mocha and two hash browns. I went and paid. I came back, and no one was doing s*** to make my order. Three people stood toward the back having a little staff meeting. The basket was in the deep-fryer. The "drink order! drink order!" alarm had screamed when I first put it in. But when the little meeting was done, no one went to the food-making area.

Sample Exchanges:
Me (to woman who came around the counter): Uh, is anyone gonna make my order?
Her (to woman behind the counter who'd lifted the hash browns): Hey, is there an order up?
Other her: No.
Me: There should be, I put one in. (said in acerbic tone)

(A few minutes later)
Original Her (back behind the counter, to drink-making her): Are these hash browns even for someone?
Me: Uh, yeah. They're mine.

Drink-making her was very apologetic and sweet and hurried to make the drink. One of the guys (presumably making his own drink so he could hang around in the back making people like me angry becaues they're not doing anything--here's a tip: If you go on break, leave the area) had been making a drink and she thought he was making the order and had forgotten to hit the button to take it off. So she did it for him, because they get penalized when orders are up too long. Now, since she was very nice and worked hard to rectify it, and apologized about the hash browns, too, while the buffoon who bagged them glared at me balefully, I didn't tell her to next time ASK if he was making that order before she took it off the machine.

It takes a lot to move me to call anyone, and if it involves a problem where I think a confrontation might occur, I'll put it off or try to resolve the situation another way. But once I get into it, I'm no retiring mouse. I don't like being nasty, and the people I've had to deal with have handled me very well, demonstrating an upsurge in customer service skill and ability overall.

I just wish the frickin' companies they work for would put quality first so I don't have to even go there.

In case you're wondering,the decision on the TiVo is to nurse the box along (it loses connection to the satellite and has to be reset, sometimes more than once a day, sometimes not for weeks) until summer, when there is much less on TV to record and I can stomach losing the shows I've already recorded (that's a fib, there's no way I can stomach losing Supernatural for three months). I'll be researching our options for late summer/early fall to hopefully have a solution in place before football season.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Too Much to Talk About

I could whine about all the customer service issues I've had lately, and how if you work in a customer service capacity, you don't want to deal with me.

Or I could lament how my iPod died again, and it's been less than seven freakin' months since I got it, and how they are about to lose me as a customer because their products cost more than anyone else's and last less time and I'm so pissed.

Or I could talk about the short story I'm working on for Amber Quill (release TBD, but maybe July). It's called RENEGADE, and it is inspired by the end moments of the episode "Nightshifter" from Season Two of Supernatural, though the characters and circumstances shall bear no resemblance to anyone you've ever seen. :)

But I would really rather talk about last night's Supernatural. Hope that's okay with you.

I watched "Nightshifter" first (which was coincidentally on before "Jus in Bello," which has nothing to do with the fact that I'm writing RENEGADE). At one point during "Jus in Bello" I thought, "The feel of this episode is so much more like last season." Which is neither a criticism or a compliment, just an observation. Could be the jail, could be the shot angles, could be the graininess of the film or the direction or a combination of all of the above.

Some of the good lines (as close as I can remember them without rewatching):

"Anyone got a breath mint? I got some guts in my mouth killing my way in."

"Yeah, but you didn't shoot the deputy."

"I'm so having a lot of sex when this is over. Not with you."

There was some complaint on a blog I used to read about how the show has made all women either evil/sluts or virgins/virgin-like. The complaint was followed by various levels of "feminist rage" aimed at the writers over this element, which I think is both vastly oversimplified and one of those things self-righteous people tend to find because they look for it.

First, I thought Nancy was great. Virgin sacrifice has ancient roots, so it fits the mythology of the show. But as the show went on, she revealed herself to be not much of a stereotype. She wasn't hot, but she was pretty in a normal-looking way. Certainly not someone who COULDN'T have sex if she wanted it. She wasn't completely fearful and shy/retiring, just scared of the guys the big bad FBI agent--the good guy, the one on her side, as far as she knew at the beginning--had told her were total monsters, something worth fearing. She acquitted herself pretty damn well, and was very brave, willing to give herself up to save her friends, and putting herself at risk to play her part in the battle.

Nor was Nancy the only non-evil female in the episode. Bela is not "evil" in that sense, she's just ambitious and without conscience, and probably more complicated than we have yet seen. Ruby isn't evil, either, taken at face value. Perhaps she'll be revealed later on to have ulterior motives that are firmly on Hell's side, but for now, she just keeps saving the boy's asses.

As for the rest of the season, we've had:

--Tamara, the hunter, who was smart, funny, a hunter

--The mom of the changeling who was just a scared mother

--Ben's mom, who seemed to be pretty together and neither evil nor virginal (thought it can be argued she had a slutty past, she wasn't portrayed that way on her episode), and Dean's momentary dream moment doesn't count because it was a dream

--Gertrude, the old woman...okay, never mind :)

Sure, there was the demon bartender, the pagan god woman, and the witches (whom I mostly place in a neutral category, as they were just selfish in a way most people are, not evil). But there was also the demon priest, Gordon, the ship captain's brother's ghost, the pagan god man, and the trickster. So how is a balanced slate of evil anti-feminist? Why not say, "The only non-evil man on 'Jus in Bello' was a buffoon, and so unfair to small-town sheriffs'?"

The other complaint I read about was that the show fell apart with the battle. I disagree. I think the problem is that people didn't get that Dean didn't tell US his whole plan. When he said, "We let them in, and then we fight," he wasn't talking about fighting to kill and be the ones to survive. He was talking about fighting to hold them until they could trap them inside and exorcise them, which they did, to great success, because as you could see when the lights came on, most of the people were moaning and moving.

Ruby wanted to kill the virgin and herself (supposedly, though I am in the camp that thinks there was more to that), use the spell to vaporize the demons and hopefully leave the people okay. Dean's plan had similar results, except they didn't have to cold-bloodedly kill the innocent woman. Choice is as much about being able to live with your decision (assuming you live) as about choosing the right thing. So while Sam was all "sacrifice the one for the good of the many," that was more than Dean could allow.

So, to recap:

1. They let the demons in.

2. They blasted them with rock salt and holy water that bruised the bodies but left them alive, and beat on them a little bit--again, leaving them alive--until they were all inside.

3. The deputy and the secretary/dispatcher used salt to trap them inside.

4. Sam's recording on the PA exorcised them all, leaving most, if not all, of the innocent people alive. Except the ones the demons killed before possessing, of course.

Seems like a very well-done plan, to me. I had no confusion while watching the show.

Okay, now the tasty little bits:

The tattoos
Some too-literal people might say, "How come they never mentioned that they had those?" but the show isn't like one perfectly connected series of moments. We don't see them doing laundry or shopping for rock salt (sorry, Megan), but we know they must. It's plausible that they got them after the big demon escape and before the season started, or between shows.

I just think it's hot that they have matching tattoos blocking demon possession. And that we got to see a flash of skin.

Speaking of skin...

Dean's shoulder
I like episodes where Dean gets shot in the shoulder. It's the only time we get to see those arms. Was that the same shirt? I have to watch BUaBS to compare. If it was, it was convenient that he had it on, pre-ripped sleeve and all.

Sam's Latin
OMG, he memorized the exorcism. And he said it so smoothly and confidently! Loved it!

Dean's jokes
I love the look that comes over his face when he just can't not say it, and he knows it's not right to, but he says it anyway. And it's always accompanied by Sam's bitchface, which is as dear to me as his hair. Which continues to be excellent, BTW.

Throwing them up against the wall
I don't think I'll ever get tired of that.

I probably have more thoughts I can't think of right now. What did I miss? What were your favorite parts? What was less than stellar that you can rationalize-away a la Natalie? :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

STILL Amazing Trish

She's done gotten herself into the final two! Way to go, Trish!

To vote on the best romantic/love scene, click below. Please vote!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When Bad Things Happen to, um, People

Today has been a case study in silver linings.

Bad Thing Number 1:

We were downstairs and heard a loud bang, followed by some clattering. I envisioned Number Two falling and dropping a box of stuff that scattered on the tile or hardwood floor. But the kids hadn't even heard it, and I couldn't find any evidence of the noisemaker. Not inside or out.

Until I opened the fridge a couple of hours later to grab a slice of cheese on my way out the door (I have developed an addiction to Kraft Singles Select cheese slices). I immediately understood the bang and clatter. See, when I bought a fridge, the one that fit our space, our budget, and my very very particular needs when it came to features, well the one I bought is not top-of-the-line. I like my stuff really cold, and keeping it that way causes a few freeze spots.

In one of which ended up a can of root beer.

Yes, the bang was the can exploding. The top blew off, and the side unzipped. Slush landed on every shelf, and brown drops flecked the walls and the stuff in the door.

Which I immediately closed and left to do my errands.

When I returned, the job was almost done. My fabulous husband and darling kids had taken every. single. item. out of the fridge and cleaned it, then cleaned the shelves and the holders in the door. Then they weeded out all the expired stuff, and the damned thing is now immaculate. No more jelly sticking the cheese drawer closed. No more tiny flecks of dried milk (that flaked off the neck of the jug) coalescing into a white coating over the main shelf. I was so happy. It felt like Mother's Day!

Bad Thing Number Two:

After finishing the cleanup (I helped do the dishes and stuff), we went downstairs and discovered that the Internet was down. The router had a very tiny glow in the Ethernet light but nothing in any other light. I launched into a VERY annoying conversation with Verizon. He made me crawl underneath and unplug the router, then plug it into a different outlet (after, of course, running me through a series of stupid questions and irrelevant tests that he had to do because he doesn't know that I'm not an idiot). His diagnosis? "Yep, the router is fried."

Other annoyances:

--The warranty had expired. No one is surprised by that, right?

--He could sell me another Verizon router. Yeah, 'cause the first one was of SUCH high quality. We could get one free if we had FiOS TV. Except they don't offer FiOS TV in our area, so that's not a very helpful offer, now, is it?

--We could buy any router anywhere. This, despite dire threats from Verizon when they installed it not to use any other router because it wouldn't be able to communicate with them for diagnostic purposes. Then again, that feature didn't exactly work out this time, either.

--I had to go shopping for a new router late on a Sunday. J made a joke about how we could save money and just go without Internet. HA!

Silver linings and other good things:

--It was only 4:00 on a Sunday, so the stores were still open.

--I had a Staples Rewards coupon card for $25 off a $50 purchase.

--I can expense the purchase, as it is impossible for me to do business if I have no Internet.

--The setup went pretty smoothly, with only a few difficulties. Like not being sure which cable went into the modem port on the router. And struggling to figure out how to get the other computers connected after I enabled encryption.

--The biggest silver linings are these:
**The security of the new router is MUCH better than the Verizon one.
**The signal is MUCH more powerful, so even in the far corner of the house, I get a
96 signal on my laptop (used to be lucky to get 60 with the Verizon one).
**I swear the service is faster on my desktop, which is wired to the router.

So I'm pretty happy.

Other things to make me happy:

Clips from Supernatural. OMG, do these two short bits make the next episode look made of awesome. The show will return April 24th for four episodes, which is less than any other show, but I'm just glad it's coming back at all. Unlike some other networks, though, they haven't yet announced renewals for fall. I'm trying to be patient.

So, how were your weekends? Got any silver lining stories?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finding Favorites

I love finding new authors/new books to add to my must-buy list. Usually, at least in the last few years, those books feature kick-ass heroines. Most recently was Suzanne Enoch, with her thief/millionaire series.

This week I found a new one. I never read Roxanne St. Claire before, but picked up Killer Curves at the library. I don't know why it caught my eye. I'm so not into NASCAR, so I wouldn't have bought it, but there's no risk with a library book.

NASCAR is much more interesting in a book than in real life. Whodda thunk it?

I already started the next book, the first in her Bullet Catcher series, and she's become a must-buy for me. KC's heroine was strong, though not technically kick-ass, but the heroine in the first BC book is ALL kick-ass. I'm excited to read it!

But now, I must go family clothing shopping. *groan* I'm such a guy when it comes to shopping. I save up all my errands to do all at once. I know what I'm looking for, and I like to get in, find it, and get out. The kids hate it and wish I wasn't going. I don't like to browse for no reason or windowshop for fun, and the mall is only beneficial if I need a lot of things (like at Christmas) or if it's likely I'll have to try several stores before I find what I want.

Today will be a non-Natalie-type shopping day. Feel sorry for me!

Friday, February 15, 2008

You Would Think...

...I'd have learned not to trust my computer.

Not too long ago, I started getting a message every time I opened Adobe Acrobat Reader that there was a known compatibility issue. I periodically clicked the button to check for a solution, to no avail. But then I lost the ability to print on my color printer. It would start, then stop and scream until I shut it off and pulled the paper out. I thought for a long time it was the printer, until I found that it printed other color things perfectly fine. After a while, I realized it was just AAR, so I went to the Adobe site, and guess what?

It's been lying to me for weeks. There was a new AAR, which I downloaded and installed, and viola, it prints fine now.

Can't trust anyone.

Now. How about the things I loved so much about last night's show? (That would be Supernatural, of course)

I'm going on memory, since I won't watch it again until later. But here are the things that stick out in my mind:

1. Sam's eyes, giant-sized, when he wakes up to Asia. Over and over again.

2. The excellency on the part of every actor in this episode, when it came to repeating their lines and actions exactly, every time, only modifying when forced to by Sam's or Dean's changes. The waitress's "oh, crap" was my favorite. The words and inflection were the same no matter whether the bottle was on the floor or already back on the table when she said it. I'm guessing Kim Manners' direction had a lot to do with it.

3. That they could take something so horrific--Dean dying--and make it so damned funny. "This taco taste funny to you?"

4. Of course, the simultaneous conversation in the diner. "Sam Winchester keeps a ruler next to his bed..." !!! I hope this episode gets a making-of on the DVD. I so want to see behind the scenes!

5. Jared Padalecki's acting.

6. Jared Padalecki's hair.

7. Jared Padalecki's abs, even though they weren't really his abs, they were latex put over his body so he could pretend to stitch his own side. Seriously, I loved that whole montage. They basically sped up all the changing he will have to do to "become" Dean, to be strong enough to "face what's coming," to fight the war on his own. I loved Bobby's comments about the vampires and stuff, showing us that Sam is continuing to hunt and being frickin' good at it.

8. His intensity and weariness after he'd been through a hundred Tuesdays, and the determination that is unflagging, no matter how exhausted he has to be.

9. The series where they're walking down the street and he's reciting everything that's about to happen. His tone and delivery are perfect.

10. The trickster. A lot of people seem to be unhappy with his part in all this, questioning why he would care about teaching Sam a lesson. I think it's pretty clear. First, that's what the trickster is about. He teaches people lessons. Usually they seem to be to more to amuse himself than to actually effect change in the person, granted, but Sam and Dean are a special case. They're the only ones who tried to do something about the trickster's manipulations. They're the ones who have a higher purpose, who are trying to do something ultimately good. That may or may not matter to the trickster, of course, but they are a different kind of challenge. I think Sam intrigues him, and he wanted to see what he was made of, how he would react to his biggest fear coming true. It's also possible (though there's no evidence as yet) that he's aware of the war and was doing his part to get Sam ready.

11. The HUG, OMG, the hug. Sam getting out of bed and practically bodyslamming Dean. And Dean just taking it, understanding, and not making a joke or deflecting.

Well done. Just very well done.

One thing confuses me. When they changed the airing dates, supposedly switching "Jus in Bello" and "Mystery Spot," the reason I read was that "Jus in Bello" was a better break point than "Mystery Spot." The listing on my TiVo says for "Jus in Bello" that the boys break into Bela's apartment (of which there was no hint that I could see in the preview for next week, but it does look maybe like they're arrested in Bela's apartment, so that part may fit). In "Mystery Spot," Dean says he'd rather go after the Colt than investigate this lame-ass mystery, and Sam says they have no idea where Bela is. So that seems to fit the timeline the way it's laid out now. Did they shoot a little extra when they knew they'd be changing things around, and insert that bit? Or would the break-in fit either time frame? I guess I just need to wait until next week to find out.

Jericho was offered free at iTunes, so I'm watching that tonight! Can't wait!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Squee

I'm not gonna say much about anything in depth because I'm way too tired.

I hope your Valentine's Day was as lovely as mine. I got Tyvek envelopes!

Supernatural could not have been any better this week. I have never laughed so hard, or ached so much for Sam.

Richard Speight Jr. is a pretty amazing actor. I knew, watching Jericho last week, that I knew him, but not why. Then at the beginning of this Supernatural episode I remembered, but spent all of his scenes questioning myself. Yeah, he was a little heavier in the face and a little darker-haired, but his demeanor was totally different. Very much one of those rare actors who disappears into his character, erasing himself. Brava.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Monica tagged me!

The rules:
Once you're tagged, you have to write a blog with ten (10) random things, facts, goals or habits about yourself. At the end, you choose ten (10) people to tag, listing their names and why you chose them. You also have to leave them a comment telling them "you're it," and instruct them to read your blog for instructions. The rules also state you can't tag a person who's already tagged you.

Let's see if I can think of 10 things I haven't posted already.

1. I used to be the newsletter editor for the local chapter of the Cleveland Browns Backers fan club. The internet made the task obsolete, but I did a nice layout and got football news from old-fashioned bulletin boards. I mean, old-fashioned computer BBs, that is.

2. I took sailing lessons the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I don't remember any of it. That was the same summer I worked on the beach. Man, that was a great summer. Of course, I also worked at Blockbuster, so I didn't have a lot of leisure time.

3. I am hard to live with. Okay, okay, stop laughing, I guess everyone knows that. I get cranky easily, I'm selfish and self-focused, and I hate to clean.

4. I own TWO jars of Foxboro Stadium dirt.

5. If we'd had a boy, he would have been named Mason James. I liked Tasslehoff Nelson Damschroder, but Jim objected. I think Tas is an awesome name for a kid. Points for you if you know the literary reference. :)

6. The "E" on my keyboard is completely worn away. L, O, and S are soon to follow. I guess that's not something about me, really. I mean, what could it reveal? That I use the same most-frequent letters as everyone else? Please don't point out that it spells "LOSE," thank you.

7. I try not to fear things. Like something happening to my kids, or major diseases for me or anyone in my family, or disasters, or whatever. Stuff that's mostly out of my control. I have a theory that fearing things attracts them to us, based only on a lot of people having their biggest fears happen to them. I mentioned this to a psychic once, and she pooh-poohed it, but I don't think it's a bad strategy anyway. I mean, there's no value in getting anxious about breast cancer or child abduction, right?

8. I write romance because I am addicted to falling in love. In real life, I would never change my choices. My husband is the perfect partner for me, I love my life, my children, my job. But there is nothing like the feeling of falling in love. I joke about falling in love with TV characters and shows and movies and stuff, and I do, but that's all superficial. When I'm writing about two people falling in love, I can actually live it. It lasts a lot longer than reading a book does (taking me four to twelve times as long to complete writing than reading). And I can't imagine that ever changing.

9. I don't like to write dark. I like adventurous, upbeat plots, even if the end of the world as we know it is imminent. I don't write a lot of tortured characters or get into the heads of evil people. I have a difficult time killing important secondary characters, and I never write about murder and that kind of mayhem. But I just got an idea for a book, and guess what it has? A tortured hero. Death and evil (governmental evil, even). Mayhem and probably murder, I don't think I can write it without that. And I'm kind of excited about writing it, too. Mostly because of the hero, of course.

10. I hate being wrong. Not to the extent of failing to admit it when I am, because I think in order to have people listen when you are sure you're right, you have to be willing to admit when you're not. But I try hard to make sure what I think I know is correct. Not that this is a unique trait, of course. But it wounds me. For example: I always pronounced "contrived" as "kon-try-ved." My whole life. But then I heard someone say it as "kon-tree-ved," and it had to be someone I deemed "in the know" because I started pronouncing it that way. No big deal when it's in my head, but I used it in front of friends recently, and they made fun of me. Teased me about it for DAYS, including in front of people who had no idea what was going on. I cried inside, and vowed never again to take a chance. I'll find a way to avoid saying words of more than two syllables from now on.

So there you go. Now, to punish by tagging...Megan, Jody, Misty, Vicki, Vicky, Mary, Trish, Jacki, Gail, and Karmela. I picked you guys just by going down my blogroll, so you may or may not be deserving of punishment. :)

Various Strike-Related Stuff

First, the most important thing:

IT'S OVER!!!!!

I am pleased and excited that the strike served its purpose, that a large and reportedly fractious group of people were able to stick to their guns for 100 days and get the job done. Congratulations, WGA, and all my favorite television and film writers!


I was reading a post at United Hollywood by a writer for a cable show who talked about how she gets paid less than she would elsewhere, for doing the same amount of work, and how it was a failure of negotiations over the past 20 years that led to that. She was less complaining than being forward-thinking, talking about using the past to make things better in the future.

Over the past many, many (far too many) weeks, I've been 1000% on the side of the writers. I've overcome my typical aversion to the modern union because I believed what they were fighting for was important. But there's a big flaw in the above thinking.

If I sell my book to Publisher A, I stand to make several thousand dollars more than I do if I sell it to Publisher X. That wouldn't change the effort it took me to write the book, the amount of time spent and so on. Similarly, if my CFO husband were working for a different company, he could be making tens of thousands of dollars more. That's the nature of capitalism. I have never had an interest in economics or politics, so forgive me if I sound ignorant, but isn't everyone being paid the same amount called socialism?

In any event, that one small bit of perspective has shown that my attitude toward unionization hasn't really changed.


On a lighter note, check out some final picket signs here. My favorite is the scripts one.


TV Guide has a new Strike Chart, showing the tentative status of most shows. Most of the ones I watch will have more new eps in March/April/May, exceptions being the ones that just started (Terminator and Jericho shot their full orders for this season and are TBD for the fall) and a couple of hour-longs that probably won't come back until the fall. But it's still something to look forward to! Check out the list for your own favorites.


I fell in love last night:

I'd forgotten that BAG was the reason I watched a few episodes of Freddy a few years ago. I, like most of my generation, think of him as David Silver, the break-dancing freak of Beverly Hills, 90210. But his role in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is perfect. Some of it is the way the character is written--self-contained passion, driven, SPOILER ALERT being John's uncle, fuhgawdssake, how could it be any better? But most of it was the way BAG layered his character, showing us so much with so little. Each choice lent every other a value, giving every moment bigger impact.

The crappy thing is that he's only credited for two episodes, dammit, and the only other thing listed at IMdB looks like one of those straight-to-video-after-three-years-on-the-shelf movies.


At least I still have Jericho.


I had a lot--and I mean, a LOT--of work today. But the entire time, my brain kept going, "Can we iTunes it tonight, canwecanwehuhhuh???" Turns out, CBS is showing the whole series on their web site, so I watched three. (Thank goodness we have a two-hour delay tomorrow!)

Yes, I'm still nitpicking. There was a little thing I noted last night that I don't remember now. My biggest complaint is that, as compelling as the overall show is, and as much as I like the Hawkins storyline, for too many episodes the focus was too much on him and not enough on Jake. I think I have three episodes left. When I forced myself to stop watching, the New Bern dictator was lying about Jake and Eric and the intentions of the people of Jericho.

I'm looking forward to spring. On the show, of course. I think they need to do an episode with Jake and Stanley chopping wood with their shirts off. Yeah, Jake's pretty scrawny, but he has nice arms. I'm an arms girl.

Sucks that Heather is (apparently) dead. I like her, and with her and Roger both gone, the only prospect for Jake getting it on is Emily, and that prospect does not excite me.

Still two episodes of Supernatural left (speaking of excitement!). This week, Dean dies over and over as Sam keeps reliving the day. It's already killing me, too.

Must go to bed now, and hopefully dream good dreams. I have enough inspiration, don't you think? :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Missing Mass.

Some of you may know that I grew up in Massachusetts.

Obligatory Exchange:

You: Funny, you don't have an accent.

Me: Only Bostonians have an accent. I'm from Western Mass. We enunciate more clearly than any other region of the country, or so I've been told.

(I've since met more people from all over the country, and while it may be partially true, there are accent-less people everywhere.)

Anyway. I lived in MA from age 1 to age 16, when my mother remarried and we moved to upstate New York (halfway between Hudson and Albany). A year later, I went to college in Ohio, and six months after that, they moved to Connecticut. I lived in Michigan, California (for two weeks), Maryland, and now Pennsylvania, where I've lived second-longest.

But you never forget your home state. I was lucky, and have mostly good memories. I evoke my New-Englandness several times every winter:

"I grew up in New England. I learned to drive through the Berkshires. I'm not afraid of a little snow."

I miss a lot about Mass. The foliage (it's okay down here, not always spectacular). The real snow (we get more than six inches about every three years). The solidarity (It's hard to be a Pats fan amongst Steelers, Eagles, Redskins, and Ravens fans, though it could be worse--I could be living in Indianapolis).

But you know what I miss most?

The presence of the word "wicked" in my vocabulary. As in, "Those Pats were wicked awesome this year."

I need to go home.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Doesn't She Have Anything Else to Talk About?


I'd heard a lot about Jericho, but nothing ever made me say "Yes, I must watch that show!" But recently J expressed interest, so I put it on the Netflix list. We were gonna watch one episode, and ended up watching all four. I can't wait to get the next disk now.

It's not perfect. I mean, no show is, of course. But it doesn't make me want to talk about it, like LOST did, or watch the same episodes over and over, like Firefly or Supernatural. And though they don't in any way overshadow my enjoyment of the show, there are a few too many "that doesn't make sense" moments.

Let's start with the good, though. I like the characters, for the most part, especially the ambiguity of the mayoral candidate/mine owner. Jake's a bit of a Mary Sue (what CAN'T he do? and for a screw-up, he's sure willing to take risks and help strangers!), but I like that and don't want him to be any different. I like the women on the show, too, even though they're all too perfectly beautiful when they're under 50 and over 16, and the perfect blonde stays perfect no matter what she's up against. Seriously, though, I like that she has redeeming qualities as well as annoying ones, and that the "good" one--the teacher--has her own flaws (she's a bit wimpy, despite her core strength).

I like the story, the mystery that is Hawkins, the handling of the issues that come up. I'm really glad we started season one before season two arrives this week, and am recording that. I hope there is enough late interest that they keep it (writer's strike should help!).

Now, the nitpicks . Emily (the blonde? is that her name?) was driving toward Wichita when she ran over the birds. I haven't looked at a map, but at one point someone said that was the opposite direction from the blast (which is why she didn't see it). So at first I was thinking that maybe that was the outer limit of the blast wave, and it pushed all the birds to that point before gravity drew them down, but that didn't fit the location. And the escaped prisoners say the birds must have flown through the radiation. So they all just croaked at the same second, and fell in the same place? That was annoying. I like effect, but I don't like when logic doesn't support it.

Then, also related to Emily, she stopped her truck at the end of the pilot because she ran over the birds and got out to see what they were. Start of the next episode, she's walking with a gas can, presumably back toward Jericho. That makes no sense to me. Why wouldn't she have enough gas to get to Wichita? Why wouldn't she have kept going after she got to the birds? If she hadn't kept going, why not just turn around, and if she just turned around, why would she have run out of gas and why would it take until well after sunrise for her to still be nowhere near town? SUVs have big gas tanks. Now, it could be argued that she figured she'd get gas in Wichita, but then please give me a simple line that explains what's going on, don't leave it hanging. You can also blame the distance between most pilots being shot and the second episode being shot, I guess, and watching in a row on DVD shows flaws more easily.

There were a couple of other things like that, but I don't remember them, so--minor. The other thing that bugged me was that they had this big rainstorm coming, carrying dangerous radiation. Huge threat. I could see the problem right away, and yes, they did exactly what I expected them to do. First, the wind ahead of the rain? Would have carried radiation, too. But the big thing was that it was such a huge thing, and then once the rain passed, it was nothing. The Geiger counter didn't register anything, they took no precautions, they didn't say anything about groundwater or monitoring each other or anything like that. Stanley is a-okay! Yay, no more radiation issue, ever! Okay, I don't know that for sure, but still. It got eliminated pretty damned quickly.

Anyway, overall, good show, glad I started watching, can't wait for more.

I hadn't realized I didn't talk about this yet on here, just in comments, mostly on other people's blogs. I really enjoyed the season premiere, especially the flash-forwards. I find myself more curious about how they're going to play out the seasons rather than who the Oceanic Six are. Like, will they get off the island this season, and then we'll have their deterioration next season, as well as what happens to those left behind, and then the last season have them go back and what happens when they're reunited and trying to get off the island...again? That will be fun to see play out, I think. Best part of last week was Charlie. Man, is dead!Charlie hot! I love the confidence and true swagger he has, as opposed to the false bravado he often displayed while alive. Give me more dead!Charlie!

Last night's ep was like eating a carton of low-fat ice cream, though. It was fine while I watched it, but at the end, I was surprised it had gone so fast and left me with so little. Jack's ambush lines were pretty good, though, and as always, the acting is superb. I'm very curious about the new people from the helicopter, too.

It returned last week with an okay episode. There wasn't enough meat to the episodic story, but the acting was good. I liked all the characters, and of course the moments--when Sam said he had to be more like Dean, when Dean clutched at his brother in pain and Sam shoved him off so he could find the hex bag and save him. When Sam busted down the door *guh*, and later, when Dean talked to Ruby and said there was no way to save him, and she said no.

This week was much, much better. Oh, man, so much goodness. Poor Bobby and his wife, and how he got into hunting. How Dean drew him out of the dream, saying Bobby is like a father to him. When Sam woke up from the dream about Bela! I laughed and laughed, watched it again, and laughed some more. Sam in the bar, all morose--is there anything more appealing than a morose Sam?--and oh, Dean confronting himself. Dean with demon eyes. *guh* some more. And then, of course, the moment he tells Sam he wants to live, and it's understated and quiet but you can feel Sam's relief and their mutual hope, just when it seems there can be absolutely none (from an outside perspective).

The only thing I don't like is that they keep putting Sam in these crucifixion poses. Last week on the wall, and this week tied up on the ground. (At which point I said [internally, of course], "hey, that's MY dream!") We GET it, all right? He's supposed to be the demon messiah. He was sacrificed, betrayed, and came back to life. The facts themselves give us the symbolism, stop throwing it in our faces.

But you can tie Sam up in other ways. I don't mind that.

Next week's episode looks killer. Literally. Poor Sam! I bet those writers had a blast coming up with ways to kill Dean.

Monday is Terminator, which I'm loving and can't wait to see Brian Austen Green next week, and Kyle XY, which is okay, something I watch eventually, when I have nothing else to do. Then Thursday is Lost and Supernatural and then, presumably, a couple new episodes of Reaper when Supernatural is done. Pretty weak. Pleeeaaasssseee, let the deal being presented tomorrow be a good one, and let the writers agree to take it, and let the strike end next week, so they can get back to work quickly and ramp up production. There are so many bigger problems in the world, and even in my own life (though nothing truly major at the moment, knock on wood), but my life feels incomplete without the fictional element.

Random Other Stuff
Speaking of fictional element...

Writers often talk about how they wrote stories from the earliest age, etc. My own biography talks about my first book, written at age six or seven (yeah, we found it recently, I was in second grade, not first). But it was incomplete. I never could keep up a journal, and I didn't write true fiction until after college.

What I did do was narrate my life. And oddly, despite narrating many other lives (in my books, that is), I'm doing it again.

I have a memory of walking along the edge of a lake, and thinking about my actions as if they were written in a book. Describing the sky and the way I moved and what I thought about. I was doing the same thing yesterday, driving to soccer practice, when a car came flying up my side of the narrow back road I was on. I started describing the shoulder and the mud and the sky and stuff. I guess it's another sign I need to get back into my fiction.

I did start revisions on an old book the other day, which got stalled again by an editing job. It was exciting to be back into it, even though I only got through six pages.

That thing I kept meaning to talk about
I finally remembered!

"They" talk about how, when trying to find time to exercise, you should do things like take the stairs and park far from the store so you increase your steps. Several times a week, I am highly amused at myself as I park as close to the health club as I can possibly get. I do the same thing at any store. It's not laziness, though. Most of the time it's weather. It's too cold to walk in that wild, frigid wind! When it's not too cold, it's too hot! The rest of the time--like those six nice days between summer and winter, and winter and summer--it's a matter of time. I'm always in a hurry. I can't stand wasting time on travel, especially when it's not necessary.

So glad I already know English
I've been doing an editing job on some text written by someone for whom English is not their first language, or translated from another language. And as I corrected articles (a instead of the) and tenses (bring instead of bringing) and word selections (beat instead of win), it hit me how damned hard our language really is. Even setting aside exceptions to rules and spellings influenced by too many different sources, there's just so much detail to it! Nuance that has taken me 37 years to learn. It amazes me that adults from other countries can master it so well.

Eloquent Inferiority
I've been keeping up with the writers strike via a number of sources. One of them is United Hollywood, which has posted many thoughtful essays on the issues. I've been amusingly passionate about something that has nothing to do with me--mostly to my husband's amusement, on the rare occasions I've been unable to avoid bringing it up. He doesn't want to hear my rants, really, and is uninformed so won't debate me. Anyway, I'm desperate to get the writers what they deserve, even though I have no control and can't picket and won't be affected professionally, as I don't expect to ever write producible material for any medium.

Anyway, those essays are not only passionate and well-reasoned (both of which I can be from time to time) but philosophical and eloquent, two things I lack. I am unable to evoke emotion via metaphor, or inspire choking laughter, two common results when I read UH.

Obviously, what I lack in quality, I make up for in volume. File this under "five posts in one."

Or at least, have a good weekend!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I Don't Want to Talk About It

And any comments that mention it will be deleted. Thank you.

The weekend was excellent, overall. Yesterday Number One had a 7:00 a.m. soccer game again and I was all set to go as it was J's birthday weekend, but he hadn't seen a game yet, so he went and I slept in a bit.

I had my chapter meeting (Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers), which is always a shot of energy and determination, and which had an excellent presentation on setting with a focus on architectural history.

After the meeting we went to lunch at a new restaurant near me, that I had not yet been too. Yee haw! Our waiter, Albert, gave us excellent service and was a very good sport. And very other things, too. He made it the best lunch six women have had in a long time. :)

Yesterday afternoon was shopping for J's birthday, then grocery shopping, then some editing work and the rest of a critique for a friend. Today was sleeping in a bit again, supervising the kids' breakfast for Daddy's birthday, presents, work out, more editing, go to pick up the wings for dinner.

My weekend ended at 6:25 p.m. precisely.


This week looks to be a decent one. New Terminator tomorrow, new Supernatural and Lost on Thursday, and I'm feeling a little caught up on my to-do list. I plan to get a lot of work done this week. Now that certain obsessions-that-shall-not-be-named are no longer distracting me or anything.

Yeah. *sigh*