Showing posts with label Entertainment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Entertainment. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Topping Off the Summer

On our last Saturday before school started, we took a day trip to Philadelphia and had a great day. I blogged about it Monday at The Gab Wagon.

It's been a good summer. Lots going on, many intentions that were never fulfilled, some stresses, but some good things, too, and overall, I'm happy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Entertaining Me

Whew, I've been absent a while. I actually had some things to talk about, too, and haven't found time or energy to post! Sorry. :(

So, here we go, I think in chronological order...

Life UneXpected
I'm done. Haven't watched the last two eps (three now), because the thought of watching shrill, whiny Kate makes my skin crawl and my stomach heave.

Parenthood
Still in, because I do love the family interactions (as Mary says), but not eager to watch each episode.

Thursday Night
I cannot BELEEEEVE how much I watch (i.e. DVR) on Thursday night. Starting next week, when everything's back, I'll have five shows to watch. Still loving all of them. (FYI, that's Bones, FlashForward, Fringe, Supernatural, The Mentalist; have to make sure there's no misunderstanding about that LOL.)

Anyway, Supernatural...

While I won't put "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" up on my top 10, I loved the episode. I mean, besides the fact that Bobby without a hat is just WRONG. And that as good as the actress playing his wife was, I liked the one from "Dream a Little Dream" much better. This one was too old, really—she matched Bobby's real age, not the age she would have been when he killed her. Still, she did a lovely job.

I won't rehash everything everyone else is talking about (the gore, the funny, the heartbreaking), but I wanted to talk about the thing that a lot of people took at face value and were disappointed with: Death.

Yeah, at first analysis, it seems kind of odd that after War's and Famine's level of power and destruction, Dead seems kind of lame. He raised 20 people? In Bobby's town? To send Bobby a message we never heard? Um...okay. Anticlimactic much?

HOWEVER! I have a theory, borne immediately of that oddness. I wondered if Death's power is diminished because his brothers' is gone. War and Famine aren't dead, as far as we know, but the source of their power (ring, souls) was taken from them. So maybe Death just doesn't have the juice, like if the brothers have a synergistic power relationship.

Plus, we've had hints about Lucifer. He's still powerful, of course, can never doubt that, but his vessel isn't strong, and it's weakening. Zachariah said Lucifer couldn't do much until he found a vessel, so it's almost a no-brainer that if his vessel is deteriorating, so would be his control. Maybe the message to Bobby was desperation, because he needs Sam so badly. Or maybe it's just a taste of what's to come.

So that left me feeling, in the end, like the show wasn't lacking, it was actually chock full of interesting stuff. :)

Friday with Jason Manns
Hot friends, hot music, what more can you ask for? Jason was as good...no, this was definitely the best concert yet. He played "Journey"! I don't think he's done that at any other venue I've attended. That's my definite favorite. He also did "Perfect Spot," my second favorite, and a couple of new ones from the CD, which I of course purchased and had signed.

How to Train Your Dragon
Believe it or not, this is the movie of the year. At least, so far. I have high hopes for Iron Man 2. But really, HtTYD was sweet, and funny, and incredibly rendered (even in 2D—3D is fine, but too expensive for not a big enough difference). The characters were all very well wrought, the storyline nothing really unique but still very well written. The flying scenes and fight sequences were exciting, and I got teary more than once, even letting out an "oh!" near the end. EVERYONE should see this movie.

There was only one thing that was kind of negative, but not enough to ruin the movie, of course. I don't understand why the Viking adults sounded like Scots while the Viking kids sounded like whiny Americans. The voices were all great and fit their characters (or the characters fit the voices), but it was a little weird. I guess we don't know what Vikings sounded like?

Random Comments

Nestor Carbonell is fantabulous.

Felicity totally belonged with Noel.

Human Target gets more interesting every week, especially as they bring back secondary characters from past episodes; love Leila, where's Martin?

Nathan Fillion rocks my socks.

I just remembered, my kid accidentally deleted Modern Family, and it's (hopefully!) sitting on my iPod right now. I'm off to watch it! (Or pout, if it didn't sync properly...)

What has been entertaining YOU lately?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Around the 'Net

This week is Read an E-book Week! Guess what? I have tons of e-books. I mean, most of the books and stories I've written are available in various e-book formats. The story I wrote for Heartwild Solitaire Classic is also, technically, an e-book. :) But you can get a whole bunch for free this week! Maybe mine, I don't know, I guess it depends where you go and what the promotion is. I suggest you start here, at Jody Wallace's blog. She listed a bunch of stuff so why should I do more work? :) Thanks, Jody!

Speaking of e-books, Victoria Allen's new story, Aces and Eights is on sale!

On March 18th, the cover for CRUSADE, the new series by Nancy Holder and Debbie Vigue, will be revealed at WICKED SERIES on Facebook.

Vicki Smith blogged about Sam and Dean today at Supernatural Sisters today. It's quite funny and soooo true!

Monday I did some contest venting at The Gabwagon. It's not the kind you think.

March Madness has hit! No, not basketball, SUPERNATURAL. My friend Gail does it every year, and it's fun. And very difficult on occasion. Head over and vote for your favorite SPN episodes in head-to-head matchups! And make sure to keep checking as additional brackets go up.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

BTW

My finger is fine. Once in a while, the joints feel crampy when I put pressure on them laterally, so I'm expecting "fine" to not last that long, but the trauma has healed completely.

I love my keyboard (Microsoft Wireless Keyboard 7000) and the mouse is mostly cool, just doesn't glide across the surface as smoothly as I want. I keep forgetting to take it up to rub dry soap on the little pads.

I miss Supernatural like crazy. True Blood is good so far (but only 2 episodes in) but it's not easing the pain.

Terminator: Salvation was excellent. I love the kid who plays Kyle Reese (also Chekov in Star Trek) and can't wait to see him in new stuff. I'd heard several people hated the ending, so I was prepared and therefore didn't hate it.

Can't wait to see The Proposal this week. I have a feeling Betty White steals the movie.

Starting summer schedule this week. Plan is as follows:

8:00 Drop Number Two at mallet percussion lesson
8:06 Work out with Number One at Planet Fitness
8:45 Pick up Number Two
9:00 Check e-mail and plan work for the day
10:00 Clean designated rooms
11:00 Work
2:00 Do fun plans with the kids
4:00 Write

We'll see how well that works out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Susan Boyle Thing

A columnist on Buddy TV posted that in an interview, Susan let slip that the producers of Britain's Got Talent came to her, that she didn't audition for the show. The essay and comments together are pretty interesting, both in the columnist's extreme reaction and the commenters unexpectedly balanced viewpoints.

If Susan is exploited and Simon and company make millions off of her but she gets nothing but limelight, that's unfair...but it would be unfair whether she went to them or they found her.

If Simon knew she was going to sound like that and therefore his reaction was not real, sure, that's disingenuous. But does it matter? I mean, he DID say he knew from the moment she set foot on the stage they were going to hear something special. It made us laugh, thinking he was joking, but it's even funnier if he was serious. And the show is entertainment, nothing more or less.

I think perception is what's important. Who cares if the producers of a reality show are *gasp* manipulating things? Everywhere I saw this video linked, people were inspired. Since I mostly hang out around writers, they were mostly inspired to keep working, keep trying--and THAT'S what will lead them to success, not someone else's precedent.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Castle

As I'm sure you know, I am a Browncoat, an unabashed 100% lover of Firefly, and Nathan Fillion is a big part of the reason. I was very unhappy with the treatment of/result of the airing of Drive, which I thought was an awesome show. Bottom line: I really, really want Castle to be good.

It's not.

Luckily, it doesn't have to be to survive, because it has enough going for it, in the right way, that it probably will. It fits firmly in the crime drama realm, doesn't deviate from any tropes of the genre, and therefore should get enough eyeballs from the boring mainstream of America to keep it alive.

What Didn't Work

1. The writing.

The plot was dull, overused, flat, unimaginative...shall I go on? The dialogue was just...stupid. I mean, come on. The boy scout line? That was old 40 years ago. The central mystery was not interesting or intriguing or clever or all that difficult to figure out. And I don't WATCH a lot of crime dramas (except Bones and The Mentalist, and Numb3rs--but that's it).

2. The secondary characters.

Unlike those in the three crime dramas I do watch, the cast surrounding the two stars is unmemorable, unimportant, and cliché. The daughter is half an exception. The bright, responsible child is a cliché, but she's well acted and has good chemistry with Fillion. The mother is the opposite--you can't get any more cliché than her, and she added nothing to the show. Ditto the vicious ex-wife who is also his publisher. So she hates him...that doesn't explain why he has apparent custody of his daughter, and why she didn't mention or interact with her mother (unless the ex isn't the mother--never addressed).

What Did Work

1. The writing got much better in the second half.

Not stellar, but the way they had Castle and the cop working things out about the case, but separately, worked very nicely. There was some better (though not much) dialogue--"Apples! Apples! Apples!" went a long way toward keeping us through the end.

2. Fillion and the actress who plays the cop.

Castle's character isn't as one-note as one might have expected. His cockiness didn't cross too far over into obnoxiousness, and he was wrong sometimes, or could have been, which made for a nice balance.

I like the actress playing the cop. She has talent, and there was some subtle acting going on in the scene where Castle used a never-before-seen method (note the sarcasm) of putting her in her place about what kind of person she is. Even though that element has been done to death, both actors made it interesting and both their characters appealing.

I hope they make a bit of a shift into a more Brennan/Bones kind of relationship, with less antagonism and exasperation, which gets tiresome very fast, and more mutual respect.

3. The writing inside the story.

Okay, the conceit of the episode was dull. But one thing that did work was the whole "now that's a story!" factor. Of course, I'm a novelist, so the story stuff is like my geek food. But while some of the fantasy is difficult to buy (his level of celebrity), I identify with the way he thinks. I also loved the moments with Patterson and Cannell and hope they do stuff like that again.

So bottom line is that I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I will definitely keep watching and praying that others do, too, just so I can keep seeing Nathan Fillion on the job every week.

Who's with me?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salute to Supernatural—The Part I Wrote on Tuesday

I was going to talk about a different aspect of the convention every day this week, breaking it into a variety of topics, and then I typed 676 words so boring I was dozing off. Which, you know, after three nights of four hours of sleep, isn't that hard, but you don't deserve that.

So I'm just going to talk randomly about different things until I think I've done enough for the day or the to-do pile caves in on me, and then post some more tomorrow.

If you want organized, comprehensive, hitting all the big highlights, you can read my Supernatural Sisters post, which went up today.

First thing that pops into my head:

Breakdown of Who Watches the Show and Who Doesn't (in order of appearance):

Chad Lindberg—Only watched the episodes he's in. Admits it with such a puppy-dog look you can't care.

Richard Speight, Jr.—Only watched the episodes he's in. Is so freakin' awesome all around, you don't care.

Gabriel Tigerman—Only watched the episodes he's in. And he was so sweet and endearing, you don't care.

Traci Dinwiddie—Watches it all, is a big fan of the show. I think everyone understood why the others haven't seen it--when you're in only two eps, and guest-starring on a bunch of different shows, it makes sense that you're not going to become an automatic viewer of all of them. But the crowd really loved that Traci is a big fan. Pam returns to the show, and one attendee asked her for tidbits and spoilers. The crowd didn't like that, but it didn't matter, because Traci, as a fan, is a big believer in not revealing cool or important stuff.

Jim Beaver—He didn't specifically say if he watches the episodes he's not in, but he's in enough that he knows the show and everything around it pretty well.

Todd Stashwick—Again, I don't think he specifically said, but he referenced things so that you could tell he's seen more than just his one episode.

Charles Malik Whitfield—He asked for the DVDs when he arrived on set and started watching from the pilot. Watched the pilot, got up and turned the lights back on. :) He's watched the whole series.

Misha Collins—Like Todd, I don't think he made clear how much he's actually watched, but he knows the show well enough that I couldn't tell for sure if it was from the inside or from watching it.

The way the convention went (which is presumably different than it would have been with Jared present), Friday was very moderately paced and only half-attended; Saturday was a big speedier, with more guests and more to do, but still with big gaps of time and lots of filler; and Sunday was boom-boom-boom, one thing to another, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (later for those who didn't score row C!).

Consequently, the guests on Friday and Saturday had more time to do the things they needed to do, which allowed for a more casual atmosphere and more approachability--as well as more opportunity to approach.

Friday and Saturday had more filler, too. Music videos (fan made, of varying quality, and with too much emphasis on seasons 1 and 2). An auction of vendor merchandise which was fun to watch because the emcee was amusing and, you know, Misha's face on a four-foot banner? Always delightful to stare at while people fight for it.

(Misha's banner was auctioned on Sunday and went for $500. The ones of the boys would probably have gone for more if they'd been there to sign them, but the banners that were going to be signed by all nine people in attendance sold for less than $200!)

They had a yes/no trivia game, where the last person standing won a $200 gift certificate (hi, Kayleigh!). I finally got up the guts to drag Lori up with me in the third round, and of course we got out with the first question. I know! But in our defense: The question was "The shapeshifter in the episode 'Skin' changed into three other people." There was no time to think, to count, and it sounded close, so we said yes. As did 26 other people on stage. Two were left standing after the first question. So we don't feel stupid at all.

Ahem.

They also held a costume contest. Megan went as:



Dean's favorite food, of course.

There was the girl from "Bloody Mary," a female Sam and Dean, a crossroads demon, and someone who'd made up her own character, complete with backstory on why she died and why she was a vengeful spirit. Third prize went to two young guys--who didn't know each other--who were passable imitations of youngish adult Sam and Dean. The Sam was best, and really hammed it up, showing his anti-possession tattoo. :)

Bobby took second place, and I was surprised, because the guy looked simultaneously just like Bobby, and nothing like him.



First place was no contest, though. A guy in a giant teddy bear costume, with stuffing coming out of his blown-open head, complete with a copy of Busty Asian Beauties and a chalkboard with his suicide note. When the emcee asked him who he was, he said, plaintively, "I don't know why I'm here!"



I think that's enough for one day, so let me leave you with some random beauty:













And this video, which tied for my favorite of the tribute vids shown at the con:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Teaser

I don't have time to post yet about the Salute to Supernatural! First thing Tuesday (like, midnight eastern time) I'll have a highlights post over at Supernatural Sisters, and I'll have posts here all week with details of my TREMENDOUS experience, but for now, here's a teaser:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

There's an AIFA?

A few months ago, Number Two and I discovered there was going to be a local arena football team. Two, actually, a men's team and a women's team. But then the economy crashed and I heard the Arena Football League was canceling the 2009 season. This weekend, I found out the local teams are still playing because the American Indoor Football Association is charging on. Who knew the U.S. could sustain two arena football leagues?

Oh, wait.

Anyway, we went to the first ever Harrisburg Stampede game last night, an exhibition game against the AIFL All-Stars. Turns out the Stampede has only had one full-speed practice. It didn't take a genius to figure that out.

For a while, I was thinking we were wasting our Saturday night. (Metaphorically speaking--it's not like our Saturday nights are rip-roaring or anything.) Getting into the Farm Show Complex was a huge joke. You go up the stairs in a mass of people and then find that somehow, you have to maneuver to two cashiers. One was labeled "Credit Only" and the other "Cash Only," but since you couldn't see the signs until you got right up to the tables, well, you can understand what a cluster-you-know-what it was. Plus, even though all the tickets for this game were the same price, we got stuck way up in the rafters, with two sections below us completely empty. WTH? Oh, well, one plus is that there really isn't a bad seat in the house. This is where they usually do ox pulls, so it's not exactly huge.

As for the rest of it, sheer amateur hour. No, that's not nice. I'll call it "Start-Up Syndrome." Instead of benches, the teams had to sit on those molded plastic chairs you find in school cafeterias. The cheerleaders were wearing black and white even though the team colors are blue and that neon gold the color of dog puke. And they mostly step-touched for three hours, with a little pom-pom shaking to mix it up. The strips of turf kept wrinkling and lifting off the field, and at one point, the chains got caught on the turf and they had to maneuver them out.

I've never watched arena football, so it was kind of weird to see so many non-players and non-refs on the field, inside the walls. Coaches joined the huddle and ran around the field between plays, trying to get the crowd to cheer. Four guys crouched on the sideline, ready to move the chains and the down marker.

On the other hand, the atmosphere was fun. They played awesome music, and the players danced around between plays. I could have done without the mascot race and the hula hoop contest during the one-minute warnings, and the sound system makes most of the announcements unintelligible.

Then there was the game itself. Harrisburg kicked off. The All-Star returner fumbled the ball. He picked it up, ran two yards, slipped, and fell. And that set the tone for the next three hours.

At first, the All-Stars dominated. But the Stampede came out a brand new team in the second half, recovering fumbles (of which there were approximately 83--I didn't realize a Nerf ball was so easy to fumble!) and intercepting passes and stopping the All-Stars on fourth down. Final score was 46-26, Stampede.

Some laugh-worthy highlights:

1. There were two penalties for hitting the hockey scoreboard during the kickoff. How did the AIFL come to build that into the rules?

2. Even though the goalposts at one end of the field, suspended by wires from the ceiling, were bowed inward and half as wide as they should be, one Harrisburg kickoff went the full 55 yards and split the uprights, giving the Stampede one point.

3. Number Two and her father went to the restroom in the third quarter. When they came back they asked what happened. I said, "There was a play, with a penalty, then a play, with a penalty, and then another play, with a penalty." I swear, they went back and forth between the 20-yard lines six times before they managed to complete a pass--penalty free--and go for a touchdown.

4. We left at the final one-minute warning because the game was out of hand. As we walked the concourse and looked through a gap onto the field, number 1 (the player, not my kid) was perfectly framed in the center, wiggling his butt.

You won't see that in the NFL.



Despite my sarcasm, we had a good time at the game, and plan to attend more during the season. I'm really happy these guys get the opportunity to play, and I'm even more excited to attend a Central PA Vipers (women's) game.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bloggin' Around Town

Today I posted at the Gab Wagon about Paperspine, a Netflix-like book rental service.

Tomorrow (posted at midnight central time) I'll talk about the effect of passion on expectations (in terms of being a fanatic) at Supernatural Sisters. Today's post at SPN Sisters was by MJ Fredrick about the upcoming movies the Winchester boys (well, the actors who play them, actually) will be in this winter/spring. And later in the week we have Tanya Michaels on fandom, Trish Milburn on Sam Girls vs. Dean Girls, and Terri Clark's recap/review of this week's episode, "Criss Angel is a Douche Bag."

Check 'em out!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Wrapping Up 2008

I have no posts in 2008 labeled "Goals."

None.

Of course, according to my final post about 2007, I didn't set goals. I made plans.

Let's see how I did:

Exercise

I did very well through May, when I got swamped with work. From May through August I occasionally missed my goal of 2.5 hours per week, and then I was totally inconsistent, with some weeks in the fall good, some bad, and then nothing at all in the entire fall.

Compared to previous year: 126 days of exercise compared to 301 in 2007. Ick.

Goal for 2009

I dunno. I started again this week, went to the club yesterday and today. I'm just going to try to go every day, except when I can't.

Weight

No change. Nothing different in my plans for 2009, either.

Entertainment

I read 95 full books, a falloff from last year's actual 107. I also started but didn't finish 40, and tracked 7 additional novellas.

I saw 22 movies in the theater, 8 fewer than last year, but 35 on DVD, up from 17 in 2007. Plus two on TiVo, two on TV, and two on DVD that I didn't finish.

I won't go into the TV I watched live or TiVo'd, I do that during the year. I also watched the following on DVD:

All the Buffy seasons
All the Angel seasons
Prison Break season 3
Entourage
Roswell season 1

Goal for 2009

I always strive to read 100 books, but I think I'll keep better track this year so I can push myself if possible and make the goal. I don't expect as many movies in 2009, probably about the same amount of TV. Once I finish Roswell, I might give Bones a try.

Work!

Okay, this is the biggie. Here's what I accomplished:

Overall writing

Fiction: 184,486 words (includes totally new text and added words during revisions)
Nonfiction: 57,855

That's a total of 242,341 written words in 2008. That's more than 60k less than 2007!

Goal for 2009

Whatever I manage to do, based on my circumstances.

Project breakdown

Fiction:
Submitted 8 projects
Sold 2 novellas
Wrote three novellas
Revised three+ novels

Compared to plan: Did two of the revisions I planned, started both of the sequels plus another book, though not the one I intended to.

A reminder of my plan for 2009:

1. Revise Under the Moon until it's ready for submission
2. Process critiques for Hummingbird and prep for agent review
3. Revise Fight or Flight again, if Agent Awesome so decrees
4. Do first round of revisions for More Than You Know and submit to critique partners
5. Finish Zoe WIP

What else did I do, that caused me to write so much less in 2008? Well, let me tell you:

Nonfiction:

1 20-page report
58 articles
74 biographies (short ones, not book-length!)
21 autoresponders, 4 ads, and a few miscellaneous things

Editing/Proofreading:

Approximately 3,579 pages, some being full editing in hard copy transferred to computer documents, some being small projects that I typed a list of corrections for.


Critiquing:

40 pages for LM
55 pages for M2
184 pages for M3
402 pages for TM
491 pages for JW
506 pages for VB
783 pages for VS
1,011 pages for M1

for a grand total of 3,472 manuscript pages! That amounts to roughly 868,000 words, though it's probably more than that because some people don't use standard format.

I think I only sent one full book out for critique in 2008. I'll make up for it this year!

Judging:

I judged 9 stories with just a scoresheet, and 279 pages that required comments as well as the scoresheets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay, I'm tired just adding that all up! I will no longer feel like a slacker! Such occasions are surely few and far between, with that kind of tally, wouldn't you say?

So that's all. Goodbye 2008 (a few days late) and hello 2009! May it be better than productive for all of us!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Are Being Taken Over...

By the Disney Channel.

Seriously. Who thinks the tweener demographic makes up most of the audience watching Dallas slaughter the Seahawks? Someone does, since they had Demi Lovato sing the anthem and the Jonas Brothers do the halftime show. If you recognize those names, there is a 93% chance you have tweener children.

Give me Nickelback, or David Cook, or hell, even one of the Lacheys. Enough with these overly made-up teenyboppers with their manufactured images and questionable talent. (Note: My 13-year-old stole the Neo to write on and read this, and told me she totally agrees. \o/)

~~~~~~~~
So as you can see from my word meters to the right (or here if you're reading this at LJ or MySpace), I completed my read-through of Under the Moon. While I wait to discuss my revision suggestions with my agent, I've worked a little more on Heavy Metal for NaNo. I'm pushing through to 50k, but the story is so all over the place and boring that I really need to go back to the beginning and run through it. A couple of major issues to address: Roxie's abilities and the bad guy's big plan. Until I know that last one, I'm just kind of running in circles.

But after Monday, that probably will get set aside for a while. First, because I have several books I need to work on ahead of it. More importantly, because it's a sequel to a book that hasn't been submitted yet, never mind sold. So. My plan:

1. Revise Under the Moon until it's ready for submission
2. Process critiques for Hummingbird and prep for agent review
3. Revise Fight or Flight again, if Agent Awesome so decrees
4. Do first round of revisions for More Than You Know and submit to critique partners
5. Finish Zoe WIP

That's at least a good six months of work, probably a lot more. Kind of overwhelming when I look at it all at once, and it makes me chaff at doing anything that's not writing.

Um. Like blogging. So...yeah...I'm gonna go back over to file 5 and get back to work.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fall TV 2008 and Summer Movie Wrap-Up

As mentioned, I've been watching Angel to tide me over until the fall season starts. My local Netflix center hasn't had the disks, so they're coming from Michigan and Louisiana, and taking three days to arrive. It's killing me.

Anyway, I'm getting my DVR situation straightened out (moving boxes around the house) and planning the recording for the fall, and this is what I'm planning to watch this season (in order of the return/premiere):

Prison Break
I had a mini-marathon a couple of weekends ago when Blockbuster didn't have Angel and I caught up on the two-thirds of last season that I didn't watch. Yes, I stopped watching when they cut Sarah's head off. Yes, I'm going back because so is she. But I missed the guys. I love Michael and Lincoln.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
As I said during last season, Brian Austin Green elevated a decent show to very good. I can't wait for it to come back.

Fringe*
JJ Abrams. Nuff said.

Supernatural
I spent some time earlier this week watching the last three episodes of last season while I recorded them for a friend. The return can't be soon enough for me, even though it's two weeks earlier than last year.

How I Met Your Mother
My lone sitcom. I like the dynamics and the writing, but it's all Neil Patrick Harris for me. This is a show I don't rush to watch and wouldn't lament if it was gone, but I enjoy watching it a lot.

The Mentalist*
I don't remember what this show is about, I just know that when I first saw the write-up, I decided to try it.

Knight Rider*
I know. Mock me all you want. I wasn't thrilled with the movie they did, and my expectations are really, really low, especially given how little I liked the remake of my favorite childhood show, Bionic Woman. Nostalgia has me giving it a one-episode chance. Then we'll see.

Chuck
This show has me all confused. There was an episode aired toward the end of the "season," but not the last show, where the military woman told Adam Baldwin's character that the Interface or whatever it was called had been rebuilt, and he was to kill Chuck. Then there were two episodes burned off after that that didn't reference that at all. And it hasn't been on since January, I think, so I barely remember what happened at the end.

My Own Worst Enemy*
For no particular reason, I get an Alias-type vibe off this show. Not that I've even seen a preview. It has Christian Slater--oh. He was on Alias and he's a spy on this show as well as a regular guy--and he was a regular guy on Alias. Okay. There's a reason. Anyway, even if the writing is mediocre, he's bound to elevate it.

Pushing Daisies
To be honest, I'm not as ga-ga over this show as everyone else is. It's a little dull. One of those shows I enjoy while I'm watching it, but wouldn't care if I didn't have it.

Private Practice
I can't wait for this to come back, solely for the Del storyline. I am completely in love with Del and his love for Naomi. And yes, I know she belongs with Sam, but day-um. Being loved like that by a guy like Del is a helluvan ego boost.

The Ex List*
I think this looks cute, and it's a good counterpart to all my testosterone-driven choices. :)

Numb3rs
A nice, solid, reliable show with great characters and investigative science that always has me going "huh? how did they make that leap?"

Eleventh Hour*
Jerry Bruckheimer, who has a lot of cred with me because of Pirates of the Caribbean, though I don't think I watch any of his TV shows. Like others mentioned above, I don't remember what this is about.

Crusoe*
The latest-debuting show on my list, and the one I'm least certain of (besides Knight Rider). But it seems worth a try.

*Last year, I was so pissed off by the previous year's cancellations that I refused to watch any new show until it had at least 4 episodes and showed no signs of being canceled. It worked then, but for some reason, I care a lot less now, maybe because I don't feel that betrayal. I'm prepared to fall in love with a show and lose it. I think partly because there are enough returning shows that are safe to keep me in TV for a while.

So what are you looking forward to? What shows will you be watching?

~~~~~~~~~~~~
I finally got to see Hancock last night, and I want to know what the critics were smoking. Some of the criticisms were:

SPOILER ALERT although this late after release, spoilers should be a given.

It took a dark turn about halfway through

Um, hello! Sociopathic alcoholic superhuman! We knew that immediately, right from the trailer. Most movies get darker as they go along, until they get to the "black moment" when all seems lost. I didn't see any inconsistency there. Despite the humor (which was pretty dark itself), Hancock was who he was.

Charlize Theron being his wife was out of the blue

Okay, I knew this ahead of time, but still, the instant she saw him, there was something there. We knew immediately that she knew him, even if we soon learned that he didn't know her. I loved the worldbuilding, even if it came as exposition and backstory, and it really fed the bitterness of the climax.

Some other thoughts...

Michael Mann. Geez. It's a joke now, about how much he likes to destroy things, but I'm tired of it. It's more tolerable in a movie like this that has powerful emotion, too, but still. Totally gratuitous.

Jason Bateman. I sooooo want to see him in a romantic comedy. He's just made of awesome. I can't decide if they missed the boat on his character development with not getting enough of a reaction from him to the knowledge that his wife is technically already married, or if they did a really great job avoiding the expected response and having him just be secure in her love and their belonging together. Him chopping off the bad guy's other hand was fantastic.

Tonight I'm going to finally see Dark Knight, and my summer movie viewing will be complete. There are a couple of movies I didn't get to see, Wanted the only one that actually comes to mind, but I'll Netflix 'em eventually, when I'm done with Angel.

The fall movie season is upon us now, and frankly, there isn't a single movie I'm excited to go see. Not sure if it's too early to blame the writer's strike, or if it's just that kind of year.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Can I Come Up With a Title When I Don't Have a Topic?

My cats have lost their water privileges.

Recently, I've been finding one of the two cat water dishes tipped over or splashed, or even just the mat under them wet. I took that dish away, assuming it was too tippable—it was just a "disposable" storage container—but it didn't solve the problem. I caught Maya—the good cat!—deliberately tipping over the other, more stable, meant-to-be-a-pet-dish dish. I'd just filled it, and the water cascaded across the freshly washed kitchen floor. So now they have no dishes. They mostly drink out of the dog's water dish, anyway.

~~~~~~~~~~
Why do kids always say, "Mom, I need a note" five minutes before it's time to go to the bus stop?

~~~~~~~~~~
I miss Doyle.

I'm watching Angel season 1, and Doyle was my favorite character. The way he died was great, well done, but the fact that he died has brought the show down in my estimation. And it was only the ninth episode! I didn't believe it until Wesley actually replaced him in the opening credits.

I looked up the actor, because to leave a show that early, I figured he had to have gotten something else, like a bigger role on a new show. But not only did he not get a new show, not only did he hardly ever do anything again...he died of a drug overdose three years later! It's tragic. My husband suggested that might be the reason he was canned, the drugs, but if it was, it didn't show in his performance. He was sweet and brave and weasly and Wesley has his points, but he just doesn't measure up.

~~~~~~~~~~
I felt borderline hypocritical yesterday, but then I realized I wasn't at all hypocritical, I was exactly what I'd always said I would be.

Number One has gorgeous hair. It's so thick, we can't find ponytail bands that will hold it properly. When she's on the soccer field, it looks like a horse's tail. And she's 13, so it's lush and healthy as well as long and thick.

Well, it was long. Almost small-of-her-back long. And it was due for a trim, but she wanted it shorter, like shoulder length. I lamented, but said it was okay. I mean, it's her hair.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law was telling me about a friend's grandchild who'd gotten a spiky mohawk and colored it some putrid color. I said "so what?" She didn't debate the topic, but the look on her face said I was nuts. I've always felt that hair is not worth fighting over; there are more important things to put your foot down on (facial jewelry is one of the minor ones—overnights with a boyfriend would be a major one).

Anyway, the hairdresser of course tried to talk her out of it, but Number One kept saying, "It's just hair" and "It's not like it won't grow back." So then Lisa, the hairdresser, was measuring how much she wanted off, and said if she went about an inch higher, she could donate it to Locks of Love, something she'd done once before, and she immediately agreed. We feel good about that—her ponytail was about the size of two normal ones, and it takes 15 to make a wig for a kid with alopecia. And when someone donates, Lisa doesn't charge for the haircut. So I wasn't going to argue.

But when she cut off that tail...oy. Some of the shorter hairs were at the nape of her neck. So instead of being just above her shoulders, it's just below her chin in front and barely at her neck in the back.

It's a lovely cut, with ragged ends and a great curve that looks adorable on Number One, and she's delighted with it. But I cringed a lot, and made noises in the back of my throat, and kept asking if she was okay with it--like it could be put back or something. That's when I felt hypocritical. But then I realized, I always said my kids could make their own decisions about their hair. But I never said I wouldn't be vocal about my own thoughts on the matter.

~~~~~~~~~~
I don't know why I keep reading Supernatural: Rising Son. Okay, I do know. I keep reading because I got the comic book store to put every issue in my husband's box, and once it's there, I can't make myself give it back, and I don't think to cancel it. But every issue, I hate it more and more.

BIG HONKIN' SPOILER ALERT


Okay, I can buy the storyline as an alternate "what if" scenario, but not something that really happened in the canon of the show. I mean, they made Sam a killer. He's old enough in the comic to REMEMBER that in the present. To remember that people were after him, and that he could do things. His visions wouldn't have been so out of the blue.

Worse, they made John a murderer. Not someone who hunts supernatural evil, but someone who pre-emptively kills men in horrific ways, and I just don't buy that of John. Sure, he was a terrible dad, but that's because he left his kids alone all the time and was obsessed with finding Yellow Eyes and raised the boys to have all kinds of issues. The John in the comics who's killing all these guys is not the John who would be in so much pain when Meg kills his friends. Murder deadens you, hardens you, makes you less able to connect to other people, and in the comics, this is happening way before he had "falling out"s with all his friends.

Plus, Dean killed a man, a regular person, and whenever that happened in the earlier days of the show, it was a Big Deal. If he'd first done it at age 10, he'd be a totally different kind of person in the present.

The thing I do kind of like—well, I guess I'm conflicted about—is that Lilith has been introduced as someone who wanted Sam way back when he was a kid. I don't like the details of it, what she's trying to do, and a lot of the worldbuilding in the comics doesn't jibe with the worldbuilding of the show. I mean, sure, if Kripke had the budget, he'd totally have a demon build a monster out of shattered train parts and have it go after the Winchesters. You can do more in comics. But the creation of a semi-sentient hunk of autonomous, killing metal? Doesn't belong.

Anyone else bothering to read them? Liking them, or not?

~~~~~~~~~~
So we got a phone call last night. I didn't answer, and I was asleep when J came to bed, so he didn't tell me about it, and we don't really cross paths in the morning until he's in the car. I found out from one of the moms at the bus stop that the call was an Instant Alert from the school superintendent, telling us to check the website and our e-mails. Apparently, there's a guy in a white van with brown curly hair and a tattoo trying to pick up kids. He tried at the high school and at one of the elementary schools. Not the one my kids go to, but one friends of mine have kids attending, and those schools are only two miles from my kids' and less than five from my house. Easily expandable territory.

This is where the balance of parenting gets so hard. I walk Number Two to the bus stop, but not Number One, and they both walk the half a block home on their own, with the other kids from the bus. That's the only place they'd really be vulnerable, and now I feel I have to meet them every day, or at the very least go outside to watch them get off the bus. I don't want to let Number Two practice soccer in the front yard, or walk up to her friend's house. Yet I don't want to make her a prisoner or be overprotective, either.

We were talking about this the other day, a group of us, about how when we were kids, we left the house in the morning and roamed the neighborhood all day. Parents didn't know where we were. At my cousins' house, we were often deep in the woods (probably not as deep as it seemed, but out of calling range) or way up the street and around the corner. We came in when the streetlights went on. No way can any of us let our kids do that now. There are more cars on the street, driving faster, and the risk of abduction just seems too damned high.

I bet it's not. I bet that proportionately, the risk is the same as when we were kids. What's changed is the information society. When a child in Florida gets abducted in a car wash parking lot, we hear about it almost instantly in Pennsylvania or California. With video. So 20, 30 years ago, if we didn't know someone it had happened to, it wouldn't affect our behavior. If we did have a personal connection, if we knew someone who'd been taken, it would scare us into taking precautions. Now, though, we know everyone. Everyone could be us. And we live our lives accordingly.

And we try to find a balance between giving our kids some independence and protecting them from the horrors out there, knowing that we don't really have that much control.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Random Entertainment Thoughts

On the end of the season...

The only show left that I watch that hasn't finaled is Lost. I probably have unreasonably high expectations because so many professional TV watchers are building it up. I'm dismayed by the spoilers I've let leak through, but they already killed my beloved Charlie. Since then, I've just been along for the ride, which means it's pure fun with no emotional investment.

It's really funny. I used to watch so little TV, finale week meant nothing to me. Summer drought wasn't a problem. Now, I've got my scheduled worked so that not only am I able to spend the time on TV in the evening, I don't have energy for anything else. Which means...summer drought is depressing. I've increased my Netflix by one disk as a result. I know. It's very sad.

Speaking of disks...

I've gone through a bunch of movies on DVD lately.

We Are Marshall was good. I was a little distracted by McConaughey's obviously put-on mannerisms to make him like the coach he portrayed, which doesn't mean they weren't well integrated. I used to wonder why it took them so long to make this movie, but the ending explained it. It wasn't the typical success story. In fact, it was kind of sad. But they still managed to make the final game intense.

For Your Consideration was weird. It was all one note, beginning to end. No real turning points, no black moment, climax, or denoument. Well acted, I suppose, but kind of boring.

The Departed was intense. And surprising. The elevator scene had be gasping and gaping at the screen for a whole minute, then being pissed, and then cheering at the end, but in a kind of nasty way. A friend from Massachusetts had mentioned to me the Boston accents, and it was fun watching them get dropped all over the place, especially from the one guy who's a native Bostonian.

Next up: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, Babel, and August Rush.

I also saw...

Indiana Jones last weekend, with Number One. It was fun. Shaia LeBeouf was better than I expected, and I already expected him to be good. Cate Blanchett was classic villainess. Harrison Ford was his excellent self. But the story could have been better, with a lot less borrowing from the Mummy franchise at the end. It was worth the price of the ticket, but I didn't leave the theater feeling exhilarated, as I should have.

Oh, but one cool thing about it...one of the trailers was an extended one for Hancock, and it looks AWESOME. Jason Bateman is in it! I can't wait! (And when is that guy gonna do a romantic something? [Not in the near future, apparently, but at least he's busy!])

And finally, about the show that never leaves my mind...

I have pretty solid confidence that Kripke and company are not going to ruin my show. Granted, season 3 didn't engage me as completely as season 2 did, but that wasn't entirely their fault. There have been no real missteps with the brothers' relationship. The FBI thread could have been tedious and get in the way; instead, it got more awesome every time Henricksen showed up (RIP). Ruby was a very rare case of a performance that didn't live up to the caliber of nearly every other guest or recurring actor on the show, but I liked her, and I'm still intrigued by the questions she has brought up. I would have preferred Dean and Bela's relationship to be more "Bad Day at Black Rock" and less "Red Sky at Morning," but the way her part ended was excellent. And overall, the "war" that the network insisted on, plus the strike, meant less of a variety of storylines, but we got to focus on the main, most important one. And we got tons of humor, which I loved, and returning guest stars, which I loved even more.

The problem is, Kripke is taking evil delight in playing with us, I know it. There was a Mitovich Minute at TV Guide where he said Dean will be "cooling his heels" in hell for a while, and his bond with Sam will be forever changed. And now there's this:

Question: Thank you so much for the reassuring scoop about Jensen Ackles' return to Supernatural (as if any of us ever doubted it, come on!). But what I'm worried about is how much Dean is going to change. — Meredith

Ausiello: Yeah, well, can't help you there. Dean is going to change. Big time.


So here are some speculations on my part. They aren't spoilers, because they're all in my head. :)

1. "A While" can't really be very long, because they know how the fans reacted when the guys were separated in "No Exit." Granted, we complain less when the writing is better, and when the emotion is high, like in "The Usual Suspects" or "Mystery Spot." But we won't tolerate a separation of more than an episode or two. So it might be more of a referential thing, like we jump ahead in time a little when the season starts.

2. He said the bond is affected, and that Dean changes, but he doesn't say it's a BAD thing. Some possibilities: Dean gains some powers and that puts him on more equal footing with Sam; Sam rescues him from hell and ends his torment, removing much of the "I'm the big brother" perspective and putting them on more equal footing; Sam being away from Dean for a while gives him room to assert himself (did you notice, even when he tried to argue, and went around Dean, he still didn't actually override him to his face?), which puts them on more equal footing...well, I guess there's an obvious theme in my speculations. But doesn't that make sense? :)

3. I would like Bobby and Ellen to open the Devil's Gate for me and Sam when we he climbs out of hell after rescuing Dean. I also imagine one of those weedkiller chemical packs, you know, with the hose and sprayer? Sam will need one full of holy water when he goes into hell.

4. Bobby will need to keep Dean's body on ice while Sam saves him. Or maybe he should embalm it.

It's going to be very hard for me to get through the next wayyyyy too many weeks. It would be very nice of the CW to premiere this show in early September instead of early October, but they're too sadistic for that.

Oh, and one more thing. Not to end on a downer note or anything, but the rumor is that the CW may close next year. That would kind of kill a season 5, I expect. :(

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reality Week, or Someone Stole My Brain

I don't watch reality TV.

Okay, there have been some minor exceptions. One of the HGTV fix-it shows, with a funny host, for a season because it was educational and funny and something I could watch with my kids without my brain leaking out my ears. And Dirty Jobs is pretty interesting sometimes. And I loved the first season of Queer Eye.

But all forays into reality TV were short-lived, and it's been a really long time. Four or five years. And I have never, ever watched American Idol.

But let me back up a little. A few years ago, when we got TiVo, my kids got into Dancing with the Stars. I thought it was good for them. Something really out of the realm of their experience. And it showed people working hard at something they might not be good at, and friendly competition, with a lot of respect and admiration for each other. When Drew Lachey did his freestyle, that was the first time I ever watched it. I've caught a minute here and there, but that's all.

Then Tuesday, Number Two read something in her book about 9/11 and asked about it, and she got sad and upset about all the death and loss, and wanted me near her. She also needed something to distract her, so she wanted to watch Monday's final dances. I had something to read while she watched, but...well...

Oh, come on! Jason Taylor is THE hottest man in the NFL! Look!



I couldn't NOT watch!

And then there's this:



Not only is he also very hot, he did serious damage to his elbow several weeks ago, so he's playing handicapped and in pain, and being a truly good sport about it all.

To top it off, it was pretty clear a woman was finally going to win. And she did!

None of that is really embarrassing. Here's the embarrassing part:

Wednesday morning. I'm at the health club, storming along on the treadmill, listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for, like, the eightieth time, and I glance up to see the three finalists on Good Morning America. I plugged in to listen. And...oh, the shame!...when I got home, I turned it on in the bedroom so I could see them dance a little on GMA.

*hides head*

That leads me to American Idol.

I have enough friends who watch the show, and I read enough People and Entertainment Weekly and blogs that I always know what's going on. I knew about the David vs. David showdown, and I didn't care. I mean, yeah, I like some of Kelly Clarkson's stuff, and I love Daughtry, but I've just never been interested in seeing them get to that point.

But this evening I was reading blogs, and saw this one and this one.

The latter actually had video embedded, but it was the description in the former that made me want to see a clip. As Cindy and Shannon are very different people, the clip on Cindy's blog was not the one that gave Shannon such...ahem...pleasure. So I had to find it. Which led to me watching not just 4 minutes, 11 seconds of American Idol but well over 10 minutes.

But I have to pretty much agree with Shannon. :)

So yeah, tomorrow I'll probably spend too much of my writing time downloading *gasp* AI tracks from iTunes. Maybe not even just songs. Maybe--oh, the horror!--video!

Geez, what's next? The Bachelorette?

Ack! Somebody please help me retrieve my brain!

But watch this first:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Magnificent May

May is my second (or is it third?) favorite month of the year. Maybe it's the first, but only in the spring, like October is my first in the fall and December is my first in the winter.

I love living in the Northeast. :)

Anyway, there are always lots of good things happening in May:

1. TV Sweeps and Upfronts

Even though things are a little anticlimactic this year, with the strike and resultant huge gaps in quality new television, I love when all my favorite shows turn up the heat and let the plots boil. This year we anticipate Dean's possible descent to Hell, the Oceanic Six's departure from the island, a Scrubs fairy tale, and who knows what Numb3rs has that might top Colby's shocking triple agentry?

At the Upfronts, the networks present their fall shows to the advertisers. I've only been paying attention to these for the last two or three years. This year, two of my favorite shows got early pickups, and that's nice (more for them than for me). But there's something exciting about seeing which other shows got renewed, and hearing about all the new stuff that has great potential.

2. Mother's Day

Possibly my favorite day of the year. My birthday comes close, but there's usually so much going on, being two days before Christmas and all, that relaxation isn't always at the level I want it to be.

This year, I want to do nothing. They don't have to make breakfast for me, because I don't want to schedule ANYTHING, including what time I get out of bed. I don't want to go anywhere, including dinner out, and I don't want to work, and I don't want any demands on me by child or animal. Since it means very little work for them, except the routine chores of feeding the animals and maybe doing the dishes, it's a pretty good deal for all of us.

3. The Retreat

This will be Central Pennsylvania's Fifth Annual All About Me Writing Retreat. We have a really sweet deal at Rhodes Grove, a Christian camp and convention center. They have a hotel-like facility (but no phones or TVs, though they do now have wireless Internet) and provide all meals plus the rooms for one low price. We don't have to clean or cook or anything. All we have to do is write. We have brainstorming or critique sessions if we wish, and hand out tickets for accomplishments that can be used to at the end of the weekend to win a prize pack. We have welcome kits full of cool things, and Saturday night we take a break and play a game.

We all love the retreat so much that last year we expanded it from Friday to Thursday. Last year was also the year I got an offer for representation from my fantastic agent, Nephele Tempest, while I was at the retreat. While I'd have preferred not to wait a year for a sale, it would be quite poetic to have it happen next week, while I'm with my friends who shared my good fortune last year.

What? The retreat is called "All About Me," after all. :)

There are a bunch of little things that happen in May, too. Concerts and pictures and soccer tournaments and the return of Movies Worth Seeing in the Theater. Not to mention lovely weather, which we've had all this week so far. Sunshine and temperatures that start at 47 and rise to 82 before dropping back to the 40s. Spring rains that bring peace instead of drear. Greens and sweet smells and clarity in the air.

Ahhhhh, May. My favorite month. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Comic Perfection

Comics are not my thing. I used to read some when I was a kid, but my taste ran more to Archie and Friends than any of the superheroes, generally speaking. I admire modern comics and graphic novels as artistic wonders, but I find it difficult to concentrate on both visual and story at the same time. So it takes a lot to make me read them.

A lot, like, maybe continuing one of my favorite TV shows?

I wasn't thrilled with the Supernatural: Origins series. The art isn't to my taste (not disparaging the skill, just saying it doesn't speak to me), and the story didn't fit with my interpretation of the mythology. Nor was John Winchester ever the big draw for me. Therefore, I only got about halfway through the series.

A new series, "Rising Son," starts soon, and that looks more to my liking, as the story focuses more on young Sam and Dean. I've subscribed to it at my local comic book store so I can easily get all the issues, so we'll see.

I liked the Serenity comics that came out before the Serenity movie. They filled in gaps between the show and movie. The art was okay, the covers excellent.

The new miniseries blows those away! Called "Better Days," this three-issue series is Spot. On. The art is so true to the actors, and the writing to the original tone of the show. And by writing I mean not just story and dialogue, but layout and reaction. I laughed at about half the panels, and the lovemaking panel...well. Very nice. I can't wait for the third issue, and I'll be very disappointed if they don't do more. I think I read that they are, and that the next set will focus on Book. I know I'm not the only person eager to get his story!

How about you? Anyone reading, say, Buffy Season 8?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

We Interrupt This Silence...

I'm sorry, I totally owe a huge update post, but I can't seem to get here. A million little topics flit through my mind every day, but are gone before I can type them up.

Anyway, the Part 4 of the Tales of the Brotherhood of the Tearaway Pants (Made Up of Guys Who Don't. Tearaway Their Pants.) is up.

And I also got this to show you:

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.