Friday, July 27, 2007

Random Friday

My brother-in-law complained that I didn't blog about his visit last week. He figured he didn't annoy me enough. Plz. He's never annoying. He's quiet and sweet and occasionally a smartass, but I like that.

If he wants me to blog about him, he has to be careful. I know the airplane story. And the minivan story. Of course, the haircut story trumps all, and does not show me in a favorable light, so maybe I should stop here.


I got my iPod back! I *heart* Apple. They got my iPod on Tuesday, and on Thursday there was a bright, shiny, not-scratched refurbished replacement on my doorstep. *hugs Rumsfeld* That's what I named it. Rumsfeld. Supernatural fans should get the reference. :)


Once in a while I'll listen to music on my iPod in shuffle mode. This is good because I then end up listening to songs I neglect, or didn't realize I had. But it can also get embarrassing, if I get caught singing "What I've Been Looking For" from the High School Musical soundtrack.

I bought the album for Number Two, honest. It's just...they watched that movie right outside my office. Over and over. And then Number Two played the CD in her room. Over and over. So yeah, I know the words. And no, I didn't skip the song.

See? Embarrassing. Best to stick to Jason Manns and Daughtry and keep my rep intact. Or, you know, not post to the world about my goofiness.


IMdB is mean.

Yesterday I was looking to see when "Tall Tales" originally aired because I'm watching the whole season again in order and I accidentally messed up the recording the first time it aired. It recorded on rerun last night. So then I clicked over to the Season 3 lineup to see if they had names for more episodes. They had the premiere air date as 4 September 2007.

I KNEW that wasn't right. But I got excited for a moment until I double-checked at The CW. Yeah, it's 4 October 2007. *sob* That's a looooong way away!


The CW is great. They have the fall schedule on their web site with an easy-access list of premiere dates for all the shows. ABC, not so much. They have the weekly schedule available, but I couldn't find premiere dates. It was 1:30 a.m. so I didn't check the other sites. I'm updating my spreadsheet so I know when all my favorite shows start.

Yes, I have a Fall TV spreadsheet. Yes, I am a total geek.


Number One talked me into taking them to a movie on Wednesday. Number Two was reluctant, so we saw Hairspray, which she was more okay about seeing (again) than Evan Almighty, Number One's choice.

I really liked Hairspray! I never saw the original or the play, so I came to it with no preconceived notions. I gave it a 9 instead of a 10 only because it has a really facile take on the issues it addressed. But the acting was great all around. Zac Efron was especially good (and wow, he's either the new Paul Newman, or he had blue contacts in). We--or at least, I--tend to have low expectations of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon vets. But he was excellent. It was probably the wardrobe.

Anyway...great acting, good music, highly recommended.


I should be writing right now. Add "coming up with random thoughts to post on my blog" to yesterday's list.

Somebody kick me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16

Thirteen Things I Do When I Should Be Writing

1. Watch YouTube videos of Jared Padalecki bringing sexy back.

2. Add up the bills I don't have to pay for a week to see how much "discretionary" money we'll have and consider what we can buy with it.

3. Read blogs, which includes checking my LJ friends list even though I just checked it ten minutes ago.

4. Wait for my computer to stop taking a break (yes, my brand new computer that I bought because the old one took so many breaks).

5. Pet the cat who just knocked my mouse to the floor so she could lie on the pretty carpet-style mouse pad.

6. Lift weights--can't stay flabby, it's not good for my health!

7. Install software updates that inevitably come to my attention just as I am opening my manuscript.

8. Engage in intelligent, passionate debates via instant message about developments in the field of romance writing and its adjunct affiliations.

9. Play with spreadsheets, especially the one with my new book ideas on it.

10. Read "Style Watch" in the People magazine on my desk, even though it's the most boring section in the whole publication.

11. Check my Netflix queue in case it suddenly decided to reorder itself.

12. Do laundry. That one's not a procrastination technique, it's a necessity, and an annoyance. It interrupts the flow, on the rare times I get the flow flowing.

13. Write Thursday Thirteen blog posts about what I do when I'm supposed to be writing.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Know, I Know

This is SO not my kind of show, real or fake. But I'm considering recording it and fast-forwarding through the meat bulk of it just to watch that TOTALLY HOT OMG HOW CAN HE BE EVEN HOTTER THAN LAST SEASON I CAN'T STAND IT *THUD* Jared Padalecki.

Yes, thank you, I am quite pathetic.

Monday, July 23, 2007

See? Just Relax.

Last month, it was announced that Supernatural was introducing two new characters.

Some people were upset.

One of my online friends was one of those, and her post is a good example of the reasons for the upset.

I thought they were valid concerns in a void of information, but I also thought it was foolish to get ourselves worked up until we knew how things were going to go. I trust Kripke and his team. They are no more perfect than any other show people, but they never ever fail to give me what I want from the show, and to improve it season to season (okay, so far, since there've only been two seasons).

Now that approach has been validated by the man himself:

Interview with Kripke

On the other hand, this has made me even more eager for season 3, and we still have two months to go. *sigh*


My ears hurt.

21 hours of recordings. Completed in 50 hours.

What? I had a FEW other obligations.

It's really, really hard not to say anything about it, but I really, really don't want to spoil it for anyone in even the most minor way.

I'll give you a week. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I have never attended a bookstore Potter release party before. I'm not very tolerant of crowds or long waits. But because my daughter is nearly as much into Harry Potter as I am, we went to Barnes and Noble last night for the final chance to participate in a release party. I'm glad we did. I'm already on chapter 6 and if I'd waited for this morning, soccer practice and other stuff would have meant I'd just be starting. :)

FYI, I'm on Internet blackout until I'm done. Since I do the audiobook and that's 27 hours, it will be a few days before I read blogs or news or possibly a number of e-mails. I'm terrified of someone saying, "Did you get to the part where..." and spoiling something.

Thank goodness for my friend Lainey. She called me at 4:07 yesterday to share her ridiculousness. She'd been shopping at B&N and saw that they were going to start handing out wristbands at 5:00 (which I knew but foolishly was going to go over at 4:45) so she got in line, even though she hadn't preordered. She said the line was already to the edge of the building. So I sped up there and joined her. Stood in line for an hour and a half. They gave out glow-in-the-dark Harry glasses, tattoos shaped like lightning-bolt 7s, and tassel charms in the Gryffindor colors.

Then Number One and went over at 7:30. We entered the trivia game, checked out the potion tasting (Maria Snyder was there, the author of Poison Study), and wandered around looking at the excellent costumes (Moody, Tonks, the portrait of the fat lady, and Moaning Myrtle were the best ones). Then we sat on the floor with numb butts for three hours. :)

B&N did a great job. We were in letter groups, and I had C. They lined everyone up half an hour early, did a big countdown, had everyone cheering and happy. When they started doing the sales they threw the empty boxes out into the crowd, which made people even MORE happy. We were outside by 12:11.

I listened to chapter one last night and am up to chapter 6 or 7 now. And I'm ridiculously happy that my downstairs bathroom needs cleaning so I can keep listening. I'm not very good at "doing nothing" and listening to audiobooks must be accompanied by productive activity. My house will likely be spotless by the end of the week.

It's all I can do not to comment, even generally, on the book so far, so I shall stop here. Please PLEASE, if you comment to this post, don't say anything spoilery! Even a tiny thing you think I probably already know! I don't want to spoil anyone else who might be busy or slow readers.

Everyone who's as passionate about this as I am--have fun!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15

Thirteen MORE Blogs I Read

In no particular order (okay, honestly, it's the order in which I added them to my "blog" bookmarks, in reverse, but some are from my LJ friends list, which screws up that reverse-bookmarked thing). Bottom line--the order is meaningless.

1. Shannon Stacey
I know Shannon from eHarlequin in ancient times. She's a New England Patriots fan, too. That was all I needed to know.

2. Amalah
Jody turned me on to this one. The author is very funny, very different from me, and often extremely insightful.

3. The Knight Agency
It's my agency now, so of course I read it, but I read it practically from the day they launched. The best part is when agents answer questions every week.

4. Ausiello Report Blog
To feed my TV addiction.

5. DuckyXDale
Because one blog about TV is not enough.

6. The CW Source Supernatural blog
An "official" source (or at least officially sanctioned) for Supernatural news and discussion.

7. The TV Addict
Okay, okay, my TV addiction may be out of hand. This one and the Ducky one I picked up when some TV bloggers got to go to the Supernatural set and did multiple-day reports on those visits. I bookmarked them for that and stayed for the occasional posts about other shows I watch.

8. Jason Manns
My favorite musician sometimes posts about events he's done. Since he never does a show close enough for me to attend, I just read about them and sigh.

9. Marilyn Philbrick
A good friend and great person. The daughter my mother should have had. :)

10. Betsy Morris
Screenwriter extraordinaire.

11. Nathan Fillion
Yes, the real Nathan Fillion. He rocks my socks.

12. Susan Grant
I love her futuristic romances and this is how I keep up with her release dates. She's also a commercial airline pilot who does international routes, and her blogs on that are fascinating. She doesn't update often, so I actually subscribe to her MySpace blog, which links to this one.

13. Many LJ Friends
I decided to just link to my Friends Page since I'm tired and there are so many. Some highlights:

Megan Hart, author and my best friend
Nephele Tempest, my agent
Anteka, creator of Plastic!Winchester Theater
Ignipes, who used to do these awesome Top Ten Things I Love lists for Supernatural
episodes, that usually numbered between 30 and 50
CE Murphy, awesome author who lives in Ireland

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aaaand...It All Falls Apart

My Wednesday plan?


That's enough about that.

For you to laugh like mad:


For you to behave when Those People want to cancel your favorite show (or you're just afraid they might):

Emily Post's Guide to Save Our Show Campaigns

And for a fascinating and unique analysis of Those Who Read, check this out.

This person thinks it's a good thing that some idiot broke the law and the spirit of the event and posted photocopies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the Internet.

She (he? I forgot to pay attention) makes a valid point that the people who got spoiled went looking for the copies. BUT.

The reason I hate so much that it's "out there" is because of the potential for inadvertent spoilage. When ...Order of the Phoenix came out, someone posted on a reader's e-mail loop I was on that Sirius died. (Oh, come on, the book came out YEARS ago--not to mention the movie's release last week--and if you're a real fan you already know that. It doesn't count as a spoiler NOW.) She read the book in, like, a day. She TRIED to hide that line. But she made the font white, it didn't translate because everything got turned to plain text anyway (and still does half the time) and it was one line that was impossible not to read before you had any idea what was about to happen. It didn't ruin the book for me, but it sure changed the experience, and not for the better.

I was all prepared to stay off the Internet for a couple of weeks while I listen to the book on tape (which is much slower yet more savory than reading it). But do I have to start already?

If anyone spoils me on this book, heads will ROLL, I swear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday Goals Met

Tuesday Plan:

  • Work out for half an hour (weights)40 minutes, go me!
  • Write 15 pages
  • Ship iPod (*sniff* she kicked it)
  • Go to post office
  • Clean living room and dining room/dishes/litterbox/put away laundry
  • Wrap D's presents
  • Meet family for dinner/dessert/presents

Amazing how productive I am when I think you're all out there judging me. Like any of you care if I do the dishes.

Which I didn't do, but only because there weren't any. Also amazing how that happens when there are no kids in the house.

I only got 13 pages written before I had to meet them all for dinner, but the ice cream cake was melting and the kids wanted to say at Nana and Papa's for another 40 minutes, so I brought the cake home and J stayed to indulge them. Which meant I had time to write two more pages.

My plans for tomorrow are all screwed up, because after the orthodontist and swimming lessons I have to meet the Nana and the cousins in Hershey for the afternoon. I am taking my Neo everywhere and will try to get my 10 pages done between...well, everything.

I'm determined now!

Raising Right

Today is Number One's birthday. She's 12. And as I've indicated here probably just often enough to be obnoxious, we have got one fabulous kid.

But no matter how smart, how well they do in school, how well-behaved, how great the friends they choose--no matter how good a job we do, parents will always wonder what they are doing wrong.

I passed a billboard today showing a very little girl at a lemonade stand, and it said "Raised $1M to fight cancer. Including hers." Which got me thinking about the horror of cancer treatment and how terrible it had to be, yet there she is with a huge smile, and how parents try desperately to shield our children from that kind of hardship and pain. Yet it's what we go through in childhood that makes us strong adults.

My oldest kid is 12. By the time I was 12, I had dealt with my parents' divorce and my father's apathy, moving from Massachusetts to California and back (plus three other moves/school changes), deaths of several grandparents (two great, one grandfather) and my grandmother's subsequent worsening alcoholism, and being bullied by kids at school. Not to mention the first D on my report card and being dumped by my first boyfriend.

D has had to deal with her grandmother's death, and it was harder than the ones I dealt with because they had a very close, very special relationship. But my mother lived a day's travel away, so her death, while difficult emotionally, didn't impact my kids' day-to-day lives. That's the only truly difficult thing she's faced.

Obviously I don't want bad things to happen, and it's not something I have control over, anyway. But will she be well-equipped when they do start happening, as they inevitably will? Maybe the support system she has around her will be all she needs. Maybe the less difficult or more positive things that she's dealt with--day care, broken bones, soccer and dance programs--are building an adaptability and strength that will serve no matter what happens to her.

I hope so. And I guess that's all we can do.

Best Laid Plans

This was going to be my post for today (it's still today, right? *checks clock* Yup) but I had that Nickelback thing already written, and you know it's kinda anti-climactic to post an event review more than two days after the event. So I'll post it now, which is still today, even though you won't read it today.

So my summer has not been going as planned. I seem to be doing more running around with no writing on the go. The fabulous Neo is filling with blog posts for Indulge Yourself and Gab Wagon, instead of action-filled, steamy, roller-coaster scenes from Hummingbird. My house is never as clean as I intend it to be, and my kids spend far more time than they're supposed to sitting on their butts.

This week, at least, all of that changes.

I wrote on the Neo at the pool yesterday. This afternoon I finally got past the end of the pages I'd already written, and after four hours and 13 pages it finally started to flow; I doubled the page count in less than two hours. My kids are with their cousins at my in-laws until tomorrow night, running around and swimming for hours on end. Activity, yay!

And I have a plan:

  • Work out for 45 minutes
  • Write 20 pages 26! \o/
  • Keep to my cleaning schedule
    • Bedroom
    • Bathroom
    • Litter box
    • Dishes
    • Laundry
  • Update checkbooks
  • Order cake for Saturday
  • Schedule oil delivery
  • Arrange for iPod repair (*sniff* she kicked it)
I also finished Lean Mean Thirteen and an issue of People. I am so good when I'm alone.

Rest of the plan:

  • Work out for half an hour (weights)
  • Write 15 pages
  • Ship iPod (*sniff* she kicked it)
  • Go to post office
  • Clean living room and dining room/dishes/litterbox/put away laundry
  • Wrap D's presents
  • Meet family for dinner/dessert/presents
  • Write 10 pages
  • Orthodontist (cough up lots and lots of cash)
  • Swimming lessons
  • Maybe library event with cousins
  • Pay bills
  • Clean office/litterbox/dishes
  • Exercise somehow
  • Hersheypark
  • No writing *sob*
  • Clean kitchen
  • Count walking all over damned park as exercise for the day
  • Write 15 pages
  • Swimming lessons
  • Clean downstairs bathroom/family room/dishes/litterbox
  • Soccer camp
  • Walk a mile
  • Pick up wristbands for Harry Potter event at bookstore
  • Spend entire day finding ways to justify listening to Harry Potter
I just finished watching Drive, the two episodes that were made but not aired because Fox execs are jerks. And I have changed my assessment. They are SUPERjerks.

Or maybe we are. Maybe there really are just too many stupid people in this country, and they'd rather watch shows about stupid fat men and their hot wives instead of smart, funny, intriguing, clever television. How else can we explain why all these great shows fail so freakin' fast?

Monday, July 16, 2007

F***in' Rock Concert!

I don't have extensive experience at concerts. It goes something like this:

1989 Billy Joel
1999 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2000 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2001 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2002 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2003 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2004 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
2005 Trans-Siberian Orchestra

None of them had opening acts, just the headliner. So I admit to being surprised last night when Number One and I attended the Nickelback/Staind/Daughtry concert in Hershey last night for her birthday (thanks again, Uncle Andy!)

We got our tickets late, so we were very high (row Y--only Z was higher) and facing the sun. It was 90 degrees, so the first two hours were a bit rough. But we were also in the section closest to the stage, and not only did that give us a great view (except of the drummers), it allowed us to see "backstage," the parking lot where the buses were parked. We got to watch Chris Daughtry skateboard, and Daughtry and Nickelback interact with the fans who'd won that right.

I love Chris Daughtry's voice. He is also very hot in jeans and a tank top. Even with his hands taped because he bit it the other day, fell off his skateboard. Or maybe I should say especially with his hands taped? He made a good effort to interact with the crowd, and had the easiest manner, but all of them seemed to be doing what they thought they were supposed to be doing. Like, "I rock, so I'd better bang my head now." And, "Rock stars stand on the speakers, so let me stand on the speakers."

I don't think live music always sounds better than recorded, but Daughtry did. Richer, more resonant. I would have been happy with just that portion of the show.

Staind was a disappointment. The music drowned out the vocals on half the songs, though it was better in the second half, when they sang my favorites. The lead singer seems very reserved, almost shy, and the guitarist might have been on something. He leaped about the stage like a spaz, played his guitar down around his ankles with his head hanging limply--it made us laugh. Staind also had meager lighting effects that amounted to a spotlight right in my eyes, something I didn't need with the sun doing the same thing.

It was a sold-out show, but about half the stadium was empty until well after Staind started their performance. People had been in traffic for two hours. But I iz smart, I circled around from the other side of town and took 10 minutes, maybe 20 including the roll through the parking lot. The group behind us was one of the late ones, and the women were chatting as if they hadn't just been in the car together for two hours. One was so loud I actually couldn't hear Aaron Lewis (I just looked up his name to make sure I had it right and found out Staind is from Springfield, MA, right across the river from where I grew up! Supercool!) singing "Epiphany." I asked her to be quiet and she did, and she didn't even pour beer in my hair. I also told this guy and this girl who were smoking new cigarettes every 15 minutes that I was allergic and they were blowing their smoke right in my face (the spaces next to us were empty so they were leaning back onto our bleacher, putting me an Number One right in the smoke's path). I asked them to lean forward while they smoked, and they did, and didn't even pour beer on my shoes.

I've been to too many pro football games, I guess.

It was actually a very well-behaved crowd, overall, and I was pleased. I hate crowds, I think people who smoke in crowded places (even outside) should be dragged across the asphalt naked--on their stomachs--and if I can't hear the friggin' 256 db band because you're screeching about some pregnant chick, I'm likely to be really grumpy. But it was all good.

So then Nickelback came on. They started with a huge crack like a gunshot, followed by an ever-faster heartbeat that launched them into "Animal," which was, like, the last song I wanted them to play in front of my eleven-year-old. LOL I'm not sure how much of the lyrics she "got," though, because it's one of the songs she's not familiar with.

Man, the difference in performance. Not just because they had use of more of the stage, or because they used lights and fire and video screens. But because they very clearly not only love their music, they love to perform. Chad Kroeger is a skilled showman, self-deprecating, funny, and fun, and the rest of the band was the same, on a slightly less energetic level. The concert was electrifying.

At the beginning, he said, "I apologize in advance to those of you who brought your entire families, your six year-olds, eight-year-olds, ten-year-olds. We're going to be dropping F-bombs all night long!" D laughed. I was amused. J, when I told him, was disgusted.

I guess D and I rock harder than he does.


I have a post I've written about last night's Nickelback/Staind/Daughtry concert, but I shall post it later because I am in the throes of sadness.

My iPod, she has kicked it.

It's been coming for a while now. It was freezing more frequently, and once I got the sad Mac face. Then, it magically fixed itself. Now, not so much. It's making a whining bleat whenever I try to reset, and won't connect to the computer. So I shall have to send it to them, and hope I get "it" back (They send a comparable refurbished item back, so it will never, ever be the same. But I shall pretend.)

The weird thing is, I keep wondering why I feel so down, remembering the iPod, she has kicked it, and (mentally) crying, "Noooooo! Deathly Hallows is less than a week away!"

Then I remember I'm buying the cassettes. Duh.

Anyway. I'm going to mourn now. And possibly mope.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter Audiobooks

I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the midnight showing Wednesday, and then again with my daughter and her friends Wednesday night. No matter how good a job they could possibly do with the films, they can't come close to matching the books for richness of detail, emotion, and magic (in all senses). They always make me want to "read" the books again.

I say "read" because I listen to the performances by Jim Dale on the audiocassettes. I've gushed about him before. He doesn't just read, or raise his voice a little to signify a female speaking. Every character is distinctive and unique, and it's a true performance.

There's a bit of music at the beginning and end of the audiobooks. I'm not sure if it's Listening Library music or unique to the Harry Potter books, but it will always indicate HP to me. When I first hear it, even if it's at the beginning of a book I have listened to half a dozen times, it gives me a little thrill of pleasure. And when I hear it at the end of the book, it brings with it sad satisfaction.

I imagine next week both reactions will be intensified.

So, the movie. I always have to see them a second time, because the first time, no matter how hard I try, I can't help having a running mental commentary about the changes they made and why, and whether or not I like them. In the second viewing, both what they did best and what was flawed are enhanced.

WARNING: There are spoilers to the movie in the next bit.

Spoilers to the book, too, I suppose, but if you haven't read the book by now...

Things I Didn't Like

1. The stripped prophecy

They shortened the prophecy and made it basically say that Harry has to kill or be killed. I know they did it to simplify things. They eliminated the element that meant Neville could have been the Chosen One, which I'm okay with for the movie's sake. You want people to be able to understand what's happening without too much exposition and confusion. But they removed what I felt was one of the most important points about the entire book: It's our choices that define us. They made it so that the prophecy must be fulfilled. Not that Harry has to choose whether or not to fulfill it.

2. The length

The director felt the other movies were too long (which is so not true--ask any true Potter fan, and those are the ones who go see it over and over again, so those are the ones that make up the bulk of the income). He seems to take great pride in making the longest book into the shortest movie. But I think making it even 10 or 20 minutes longer would have made it more satisfying.

They were trying to emphasize the level of fear, but they did it by telling each other all the time that they should be afraid. Adding Molly's scene with the bogart that kept changing into everyone she loved, dead, would have gone a lot further to showing us the stress and strain they were all under.

3. The very, very bad editing

This was more the case in the first half of the movie than in the second half. There was scene after scene that went like this:

  • Establishing shot
  • Character one, dialogue, one line
  • Character two, dialogue, one line
  • Transition to new scene

By the end, it left me feeling like I'd satisfied a craving with inferior chocolate.

4. The Melodrama

Sometimes it was musical (during Dumbledore's final words at the weak trial). Sometimes it was acting (Hermione, in several scenes). Sometimes it was dialogue that was trite and dull (Sirius telling Harry he's not a bad person, just a good person bad things have happened to, as if he didn't know that). It wasn't through the whole movie, but when it came up, it was very obvious.

5. Not Enough...

Ginny. Ron. Kreacher. Dursleys. But most especially, Fred and George. That's a minor complaint in the grand scheme, though. Except about Fred and George.

Things I Really Liked a Lot

1. The Casting

Everyone's been saying all along that Imelda Staunton and Evanna Lynch were perfect as Dolores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood, and I totally agree. Some of the description of Umbridge didn't make it to the screen, but the spirit was completely there, and there wasn't anything about Luna that I can think of that was wrong or weak. Comparing to the horrible miscasting that is David Thewlis (a talented actor but SO not Remus Lupin) or the astonishing character assassination that was Michael Gambon's interpretation of Dumbledore, these two performances were inspired.

Bellatrix was slightly over-the-top, I thought, despite her suitability for the role, but that isn't a big thing. It's a matter of degree alone, and Helena Bonham-Carter's treatment is probably more like the author's vision than what I have in my head. I loved Tonks and wished she'd had a bigger role. I hope they keep her in the sixth movie.

2. The DA

The scenes where Harry is teaching the DA were so great. You could see his confidence building, as well as everyone else's, as they learned how to do patronuses and stupefy each other. I found it curious that they put levi corpus in this movie (as one of the things the DA learned--and it wasn't how it works in the book) when we don't see it in the books until book 6, and wonder what that means to the role of the half-blood prince in the script. And I still don't get the central role of "Nigel," who is solely a movie character. But this section was truest to both the spirit and the reality of the book scenes.

3. The Possession

At the end of the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort, Voldemort possesses Harry. Since in the books we obviously experience this as Harry does, inside, blind and in horrible pain, I knew it would be difficult to express on film. I'm not sure everyone who hasn't read the books will know what's going on, but I thought they did a good job with it.

4. The Atmosphere

The world building in the movie is STELLAR. I suspected that some of the trimming might have been due to budget, and read an article last night that talked about that very aspect. It looked like the majority of their budget went into the sets. Sure, they trimmed out nine-tenths of the Department of Mysteries, but the Hall of Prophecy and the Death Chamber were awesome, as was the rest of the ministry. The Fountain of Magical Brethren was huge and breathtaking, what little we could see. But my favorite was the Black house. It was exactly as I'd pictured it on the inside, right down to the troll-leg umbrella stand that Tonks tripped over.

5. Harry

Let's ignore the hair, which has NEVER been right. I always thought Daniel Radcliffe was well cast, and that when he hit a note ("I can figure out the right sort for myself, thanks"--to Draco in movie 1) it really resonated. When deeper emotion was called for, though, he tended to slide all over it (as in movie 3, when he was supposed to be so upset over Sirius betraying his parents). But it's been a lot of fun watching him improve with each film, and really embody the character so well. He's not perfect, but by the seventh movie I think he will be able to do it complete justice. And judging by the kiss with Cho, his kiss with Ginny will be everything I want it to be.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Karen Rose Smith was on TV yesterday. It was a local station's promotion for an event she's doing at the Martin Memorial Library next month. It was cool to see a romance author on TV, especially one I know!

Number One was very excited about her present from her Uncle Andy (and her father and me). We're going to the Nickelback/Staind/Daughtry concert tomorrow night. I just got an e-mail that it's sold out (not surprising, considering the crappy seats I managed to get). They advise arriving early but parking opens at 2:00 and the doors don't open until 5:30! I'm not sitting there for three hours!

I was looking up some cast information for an old episode of Supernatural today on IMdB. They had a link for season 3, and out of curiosity, I clicked it. It was mostly a list of empty episode placeholders, but the first episode was named!

"The Magnificent Seven."

Any ideas?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14

Thirteen Blogs I Read

In no particular order (okay, honestly, it's the order in which I added them to my "blog" bookmarks, in reverse, but some are from my LJ friends list, which screws up that reverse-bookmarked thing). Bottom line--the order is meaningless.

1. Gail Overholt
I "met" Gail on the blog of the woman who creates Plastic!Winchester Theater. I thought she was super-cool and started reading her regular blog.

2. I Can Has Cheezburger?
The funniest pictures with the even more funniest captions. A daily must.

3. Writer & Cat
Formerly just MeanKitty's blog, now a combo for MeanKitty and her owner, who is also author Jody Wallace. Usually they are both very funny, though Jody also often gets pensive. Which always makes me think, dammit.

4. Misty Simon
Misty writes funny stuff, writing progress and event stuff, general minutiae of life stuff--on a very irregular basis.

5. Ten Inch Hero
This is another infrequently updated blog. It is relating to all things Ten Inch Hero, an independent film that does not, apparently, yet have a distribution deal. It has Jensen Ackles in it, but it also looks very good and is written by a screenwriter I admire very much.

6. The Gab Wagon
I'm a contributor to this multi-author blog, four women who have opinions and aren't afraid to use them. I read it every day so I can see what the others are posting and participate in the comment trails.

7. Ceiling Fans
Author Vicky Burkholder shares her experiences with her two (soon to be three) new books, as well as tons of insight into the craft and business of writing.

8. Vicki Smith
I don't actually have to read this blog. I communicate with her all the time and usually know what's going on. But with four very busy kids, she has the funniest stories and the wryest outlook on life. I also love being told to "behave" every day.

9. Writing, Reading and More, Oh My!
Trish not only is an interesting woman and a well-connected writer with lots of news-flash information to share, but she likes the same TV shows and movies I do.

10. Karmela Johnson
I first came across Karm on the Bombshell threads at the eHarlequin boards. We were both aspiring Bombshell authors. She's got more energy than my kids combined, I swear.

11. Pub Rants
Even though I now have an agent, I still read this. Kristin Nelson has great things to share about the business, and her clientèle is packed with authors who appeal to my tastes. I've picked up several auto-buy authors by reading her.

12. Whedonesque
So I'm always up on Joss Whedon's activities, as well as any information about Firefly and its actors.

13. The Bandwagon
Mary shares bits of her real life and her writing life, and we have a lot in common. I'm soooo rooting for her to win the Golden Heart this weekend! And hopefully managing to meet her some day. We missed each other in Atlanta.

Geez. That's only SOME of the blogs I read. I guess I'll do a part two next week!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Crazy Night

Okay, it's only crazy in a self-indulgent, tee-hee, I'm-a-36-year-old-pretending-like-I'm-18-tee-hee kind of way. But as a 36-year-old, work-at-home mother of two fully entrenched in my rut routine, it felt crazy to me. And, of course, since I'm 36, I will pay for it severely. But not until tomorrow.

Here's my night:

5:45 p.m.
Reach the end of a chapter on Hummingbird (work in progress) and realise I have to add another chapter between this one and the next one, and that means I won't finish the read-through of the 127 pages I have currently written. Stop for the night.

6:00 p.m.
Kids are away for the night, and I screwed up the plans with the long-suffering husband. Make popcorn for dinner while he goes to play City of Heroes. Something different.

6:30 p.m.
Start watching disk 3 of Gilmore Girls. Something different.

7:00 p.m.
Receive text from Lainey saying "T minus 5 hrs! Can't wait!"

7:37 p.m.
Get cursed at by husband for sucking him into yet another TV show he had no interest in watching.

9:30 p.m.
Finish GG and go upstairs to read White Knight, the Dresden Files book MIL got me yesterday at the library since I can't buy the hardcover and no library in my county has it or can get it.

11:15 p.m.
Leave for theater.

11:29 p.m.
Get text from Lainey saying "I'm here!! Yay!"

11:31 p.m.
Join Lainey in line for concessions. Make her buy my drink since I bought her ticket. She owes me $5 but didn't have change. Refuse to take her tenner.

12:01 a.m.
Lights dim. Crowd cheers.

12:09 a.m.
Commercials end and previews start.

12:22 a.m.
Movie finally starts. Crowd cheers again and gets shushed as the strains of "Hedwig's Theme" rise around the theater.

1:12 a.m.
Lainey asks if any other actress gets more worse with each performance than Emma Watson.

2:29 a.m.
Leave theater, uncertain how I feel about treatment of Order of the Phoenix. Some parts were perfect, others fragmented and annoying, leaving me feeling like I'd satisfied a craving with inferior chocolate.

2:48 a.m.
Arrive home. Not sleepy, idea of lying in bed wide awake unthrilling. Start reading Dresden again.

3:45 a.m.
Get ready for bed. Big battle about to start, go back to living room to keep reading.

4:47 a.m.
Finish book. Now that's satisfying. Still not tired, despite only drinking half of small Coke three hours ago.

4:48 a.m.
Decide to take daily walk before going to bed. Consider watching sunrise.

4:55 a.m.
Take off headphones in the middle of "Mardy Bum" to listen to stillness. Disappointed by highway sounds and hum of power lines overhead. But no natural sounds.

5:03 a.m.
Finish walk, recline on car to watch sunrise.

5:05 a.m.
Sky is getting whiter in east. Clouds, cottonball kind, moving in from west. Dirty glow from city to the north starting to burn away.

5:10 a.m.
Music starts. Robins, starlings, sparrows. Loud trilling from the tree behind the house across the street, followed by similar trilling to the east, and then again, further away. They're talking to each other.

5:17 a.m.
Plan for morning: Shower, write new chapter in book, blog about crazy night. Sleep all day.

5:18 a.m.
Think about content of book chapter.

5:19 a.m.
Think about blog post.

5:20 a.m.
Go inside and retrieve Neo so can compose blog post while watching sunrise.

5:21 a.m.
Climb with amazing lack of grace to sit on hood of car. Appreciate everyone else being asleep and not witnessing lack of grace.

5:22 a.m.
Sweat. Air still and muggy. New robins awaken at house to the right. Wonder where they are all hiding.

5:23 a.m.
Notice sky has slight pink tinge. Can see Neo now, typos fewer.

5:27 a.m.
Car goes by. Realize bugs come out with the birds. Possible correlation. Scratch scalp, slap upper right arm, brush off left shin. Wonder if this was a stupid idea.

5:30 a.m.
Second car goes by, doesn't even slow at stop sign. Idiot. Realize the temperature is suddenly much, much cooler and more tolerable than half an hour ago. Appreciate light breeze. Sky that perfect shade of whitish-bluish-pink that can't be duplicated by humanity.

5:35 a.m.
All caught up on blog post. Consider abandoning sunrise watch. No patience. Plus, the cottonball clouds are now obscuring horizon.

5:36 a.m.
Decide to make up rest of blog post so can go inside and shower.

5:40 a.m.
Go inside and shower.

6:00 a.m. 5:51 a.m.
Sneak into bedroom for nightshirt. Wonder if husband will freak when he wakes up and I'm not there.

6:05 a.m. 5:54 a.m.
Go downstairs and open manuscript.

7:00 a.m.
Yep, husband freaked.

8:15 a.m. 6:48 a.m. (was wayyy optimistic while faking rest of post)
Check e-mail. Give up when fifth jaw-cracking yawn causes pain eyes start closing mid e-mail.

7:00 a.m.
Husband didn't even seem to notice I was not in bed. Humph. Tell him to feed the dog. Go to sleep.

8:30 a.m.
Go to sleep smiling.

1:30 p.m. 12:50 p.m.
Get up and eat, read e-mails, review new RWA policies, discuss new RWA policies, then upload this post. Realize I really COULDN'T see at 5:17 a.m., not sure what I was typing. Revise for readability.

1:33 p.m. 4:04 p.m.
Publish blog.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What Type of Writer Should I Be?

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's Not a Competition

There's something that's been bothering me for a long time. It's getting worse. And most of my friends do it, so any of them who read this are going to think I'm a superior bitch (and not in a good way) for saying it. Which is why I haven't. But now it's reached a critical mass and I can't stand it so I have to say it.

It's called National. Not Nationals.

National is short-hand for "Romance Writers of America 27th Annual National Conference." It's a national organization. There's no "s" in any of that, so I just don't get where it comes from. Nationals to me is a high-level swim competition. Or maybe gymnastics. Such competition is a series of events, like the Olympics, so the plural makes a little more sense. But RWA National is A conference. Just one.

It probably bugs everyone else when they say "I can't wait for Nationals" and I say "I can't go to National until next year." And obviously, if 85% of the people are already using the illogical plural, it's going to become the official phraseology.

Just not for me. Because I am a superior bitch. Even if it's not in the good way.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

My Very Own Reading Book

A couple of months ago, my husband was searching for his old football videotapes and Number Two, while "helping" him, came across the very first book I ever wrote. I thought I was five when I wrote it, but I was six, and I thought it was "My Very First Book," but it was the above. So my official bio actually lies.

The book is made of 8.5x11 sheets of manila paper folded in half with a purple oaktag cover (is it called oaktag if it's purple?). The title is multicolored crayon, and there is an illustration of a crayfish-like creature, one of the few things I could ever draw. The back has a poorly rendered profile of my brother, pouting, and says "Nuj, Gr 2" (yes, I was six in Gr 2).

Here is a list of titles in this book, which is really a collection of short stories:

"The Whistle" by Jaime Jamie
I apparently edited this sometime after writing it, because I "fixed" the author name error and then wrote a big NO over the first page. Self rejection at age six. Harsh.

"The Baby" by Jaime Jamie
Unfinished story, also with "NO" written over it.

"Elizubith" by Jamie
No text written on this one.

The next ones were written when I was older, as evidenced by the improved penmanship, spelling, and author attribution, as well as length.

Bobby's Adventures by Natalie Jacobus

"Bobby's Scare"
Wherein Bobby spies on his sister. This story is over three pages long and also displays evidence of later editing.

"Bobby Meets a Girl"
Wherein Bobby makes a new friend. Four and a half pages.

"Bobby's Easter" (3 pages)

"Bobby's Letter" (one page, unfinished)

I was going to say Bobby's Adventures was my first unfinished trilogy, but since it extended to four pages, that doesn't apply.

Maybe next week I'll post a story or two, to show that despite my interest in fiction as far back as 30 years ago...I sucked.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Stuff on Saturday

Yesterday, Number Two closed her thumb in the car door. Yes, her own thumb. Door was shut tight. Nail was purple before she even got the door open. We saw the dr. and got a splint and I praised her for doing her major injury on a weekday, unlike her sister, who always manages to hurt herself on a Sunday so we have to spend five hours in the ER.

But today blood had filled the nail so we had to go to the acute care clinic, anyway. I thought, since we were the only ones there, it would be a quick visit. Go in, pierce the nail, wave bye and go get ice cream. But they couldn't find the piercing tool! Poor things spent half an hour searching, and the first one didn't work. Unlike the old days with a heated paper clip, they now have a tool that has a fine wire that gets heated to a bright glow. It smelled like the dentist's drill. But the pain immediately decreased and she's much happier.

I have a new guy. Well, he's not MY guy. But he's been added to my list.

J and I started watching Dark Angel last night. I fell for Michael Weatherly the first time I saw his eyes. His character is so strong yet so NOT macho, and his feelings for Max are palpable.

I don't even care how long it will be until Jensen Ackles comes on the show.

I hate Julie Kenner. I just finished Demons Are Forever, the third book in her Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom series. And once again, I have to wait a friggin' year before the next book.

Though things are slightly better this year than last. With the last book, things were left in a more unsettling status. Stakes are higher with this one, but with truths revealed it at least didn't leave me desperate for answers. And this time, there is mention of the next book coming out in 2008. In the last book, it didn't say there was a next one, and her web site hadn't been updated.

If she gets Google alerts for her name, I hope she clicks through to see why I hate her. It's the best possible reason, of course.

My current manuscript is a mess. I have been working on it a little better than I did last month, but I keep thinking I only have to tweak a couple more things and them move on, and then I realize that an element I fleshed out makes NO SENSE in the timeline and has to be changed. I added scenes and have been jumping around so much in these first 125 pages, I feel like it's a jigsaw puzzle that's 1/4th put together and everything's in place but none of the pieces actually connect, or only connect in chunks. And finding very short bits of time to work on it (i.e. between my child slamming her thumb in the car door and taking her to see the doctor) is making things worse.

I take the kids to Camp Nana on Tuesday, and then have all day Wednesday for writing. I will probably neglect my exercise regimen in favor of coming straight downstairs and working all day long. I shall feel much better after that.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #13

Thirteen Harry Potter Theories I Don't Like

1. Harry is a Horcrux
Harry cannot possibly be a horcrux. Creating a horcrux is heinous, so it can't be simple magic or created by accident. Yes, I think it's logical and even probable that Voldemort intended to create one using Harry's murder. But the creation of a horcrux can only be done after the soul is torn in two, which can only be done after the murder is committed, or at least while the murder is committed, and Harry wasn't murdered. So he can't be a horcrux. Ditto on his scar. I mean, come on.

2. Harry Will Die
Okay, I get it. Jo "understands" why certain authors killed their elderly sleuth protagonists when they finished their series. I don't blame her for not wanting anyone else to ever be "able" to use her characters and her world. You know, 75 years after her death (or whatever the British copyright laws are). But the truth is, it doesn't matter if she kills Harry, once the copyright expires there is nothing to stop someone from doing a "what if" (what if Harry didn't die and a new villain came along fifteen years later, when he is a paunchy father of 12 with his wife, Ginny?) or a "reset" (read the final battle the way it could have been!). Anything can happen.

And I truly believe that if Harry dies, the story is not served. I don't see Jo's message as "life's a bitch and then, just when you think maybe it's not, it gets worse, and then you die so you never get to to be happy because what's important is the greater good and not one person's life." If her theme was the greater good, she would not have focused so tightly on Harry for six books.

Also, 99% of every story is in Harry's point of view. If he dies, it's OVER. Nothing left. Bam, book's done. She could completely change her format, but I don't think that would make for a very good finale.

3. Harry Will Travel Back in Time to the Day His Parents Died
So many things wrong with this theory, which is probably borne of the intense need of some fans to know exactly what happened that night 16 years ago. I empathize with that, but I don't think all those details are necessarily so important. First, no one ever said, I don't think, that there was someone else there (there could have been, but we don't know). Second, how could he go back that far? If three turns of the time turner takes them back two hours, how many thousands of turns would be required for 16 years? Plus, she's done the time travel thing, quite well. It would be a cheap way to address that night.

4. Harry Will Go Behind the Veil
Of all the theories I don't like, I think this is the one that's most likely to happen. I can't say for sure why I don't like it. Jo said that death is final, but in book 7 we'll come closer to the dead than ever before (or something like that). Going behind the veil is a distinct possibility. But it seems too far of a departure from the world she has created. As fantastic as things are in the magical world, they are still grounded in our reality. The characters are still human. Traveling the path of the dead a la Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is too much for me.

5. Dudley Will Be the One to Discover He Has Magic
Apparently, Jo has said at some point that someone who has not displayed a talent for magic before will do so in book 7. As much as it would do for dramatic irony, I don't want it to be Dudley. He doesn't deserve it, and he could wreak slapstick-level havoc if he got it. There are much more important things to deal with in this book, IMO.

6. The Deathly Hallows Refers to Something Holy
Alternate translations for books in non-English countries (i.e. Harry Potter and the Relics of Death) have shown this to be pretty solidly untrue. The hallows are objects, not religion. Not that I have anything against religion, but I don't think it has a place in these books, especially given that it never had one before. It wouldn't make sense.

7. Snape is the One "Approaching" in the Prophecy
The beginning of the prophecy says "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches" and someone on Mugglecast suggested it referred to Snape, who was approaching the room where the prophecy was being spoken. Clever, but wrong. The end of the prophecy says "...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies." So there goes that--it refers, without a doubt, to Harry Potter.

8. Voldemort Accidentally Made a Horcrux
This is not a repeat of the first one, because some other theories mention the possibility that at some point Voldemort said "whoops! I split my soul, didn't mean to do that." I say again, it is very deliberate and complex magic. It has to be, to do something so unnatural.

9. Ollivander Willingly Went With Voldemort
This is a minor theory. But I like him, and hate the idea that he joined the dark side.

10. Harry Having His Mother's Eyes is Important
People say this is mentioned so often, it has to refer to some latent magical ability or something else of that nature. I think it's just Jo, poking fun at people's propensity for pointing that stuff out. Every single time there's a baby born, every person who sees it tries to identify the features that are like Mom's and the features that are like Dad's. It's annoying, I hate it, and I do it anyway. So that's all I think it is.

11. James Used a Switching Spell with Remus and is Really Alive
This is an old theory, expressed in the book Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter by "Galadriel Waters" assisted by "Prof. Astre Mithrandir." Jo debunked it for the same reason I hated it--James would never sacrifice his friend. Ever. Not solely for the purpose of saving his own life, after which he did nothing noble to make up for it. He also would not have abandoned his son, and since Lupin wasn't around for 12 years, that's what it would have amounted to.

So if Jo already debunked it, why did I put it here? Um...I needed a number 11.

12. Any Other Character Has Created a Horcrux (especially a good guy)
People just do not seem to grasp the magnitude of the task. Creating a horcrux is not just something a clever witch or wizard can do. Murder is difficult and unredeemable, and someone like Dumbledore would never have done it. Even if he had acceptable enough reason (like killing Voldemort would be, or in self defense, or accidentally) splitting your soul is an even more difficult thing to do. Dumbledore has never feared death, or feared leaving those whom he mentors. Certainly not enough to do something so horrible. Theories list plenty of other possible horcrux-makers, but again, it is very hard to do. I don't think Voldemort would share the secret, I don't think your average witch or wizard has the ability or the fortitude, and I don't think they would be nearly the important things they are if anyone else had made one.

13. Ginny Will Die. Or Ron. Or Hermione. Or Fred and George. Or Any Other Weasley.
Death is a part of this book. She has said so, and I believe it. But in saying "one person got a reprieve and two died who weren't originally going to," Jo opened up a world of speculation that led down a road to "everyone will die!!!!" Or a belief that only important people will die. I will be really, really unhappy if any of the above kick it.

I do think Hagrid might, though it might be too simplistic. As soon as she said in her interview with Melissa and Emerson that the mentor, aka Dumbledore, had to die, I thought of Hagrid. He is the last direct parental figure to Harry, even if that only lasted so long as partway through the first book.

I am pretty sure Snape will die, and one theory I agree with is that he will do so working for the side of good (though I would never call him a good man).

Others are up in the air, and I think (as Joss Whedon displayed in Serenity by killing Wash) that the tension of believing anyone can die is worth the reality that anyone can die.

That said, the above-listed people are the ones I say can't because they are simply too important. To me.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tuesday Tidbits on Wednesday

Obviously, I never got around to posting this yesterday.

Ate dinner last night at a sandwich place that has really good flatbread pizza. I like the one with artichoke hearts, spinach, Parmesan, and pine nuts. Except last night mine had no pine nuts. It did, however, have a plastic bread closure.

When the waitress came over, I showed her and asked what my prize was. She was very apologetic, of course, said they are supposed to throw those away immediately so it doesn't happen. I told her my husband wanted me to be mad so I could get a free dessert. She laughed and thanked me for being nice. I said, well, it's not like it's a finger.

She gave us TWO free desserts, worth over $8.00. When I paid, I made a joke about the plastic thing again and the cashier tried to give me 10% off my bill. I stopped her. I am nice.

I am in love with my new cat litter box. It's called "Roll'n Clean" and you don't have to scoop at all! It's got a grate and a drawer. You roll it all the way over onto its top, then roll it back. The litter is all clean, without chunks from broken-up clumps, and the clumps are all in a little drawer that you pull out and dump. So worth it! And much more logical than the litter box that washes and dries the litter. What a waste of energy.

I started watching two new shows this week. They're actually old shows that I'm Netflixing.

The first is Gilmore Girls, which some people who have taste similar to mine have liked, and the other is Dark Angel, one of those shows I knew I probably would have liked, but it was on back when I was watching almost zero TV. I recorded an episode of DA on a whim the other night and really enjoyed it, and J likes Jessica Alba, so we'll watch it together starting Friday.

I watched the first disk of GG last night, and I liked it. I like Lorelai a lot. Rory a bit less. She's stiff and emotionless. I hope her acting improves as the seasons go on. I like all the quirky characters, too, and can see why it was a popular show.

In both shows (one episode of each, as a matter of fact), it was quite weird to see Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.

Jared was so much younger, and at first glance he looks nothing like his current hot self. The weird part is when he has an expression I know so well, or in hearing him talk for more than a few words, his voice is very close to the same. But he was so SMALL and he had such a baby face!

Jensen was only a little younger, relatively speaking--there isn't as much difference in his body, no difference in his voice, and his face is like a slightly softer version. His mouth is more pronounced, his cheekbones a bit less defined. His character is lighter in personality, but he's a fighter, and can shoot a gun, so sometimes he's like Dean. The weirdest part? He wore a turtleneck the entire episode. :)

The weather has been really nice all week, so I've had my office window open, but then I get pissed off because my next-door neighbor smokes on his back porch and it always blows in my window. I hate that.

Happy Independence Day!

I'm not going to be like everyone else and add "to my American readers/friends" because even though this is a holiday in the United States, celebrating the birth of the nation, I think EVERYONE can celebrate their personal independence.

So go light a sparkler and drink a toast. And have a great day!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Justin Long is My New Hero

You know Justin Long. The uber-nerd from Galaxy Quest. Ditto from Dodgeball. Slacker nerd from Accepted, if you stooped to seeing that movie (I had it on my Neflix list until yesterday, when my husband shamed me into deleting it). More recently, he's been the cool guy, the Mac in the excellent Mac and PC commercials.

And now he's an action hero.


I swear, I'm getting old. I've always enjoyed action movies, but hated the extraneous murder, the cavalier approach to collateral damage, the explosions that were there just because some juvenile male director loves to blow things up. Live Free or Die Hard has all of that, and while I can't say I loved them...well, it was very easy to overlook most of the time.


Kick-ass nerd.

Wildcat chick who takes after her dad.

And Bruce Willis. Bam.

There were some things I just couldn't swallow. I won't spoil them in detail, but let me just say:

  • Natural gas doesn't do that
  • Fighter jet sequence--completely ridiculous
  • Location of final showdown lazily convenient

There was also a moment when Justin Long's ADR was horrible. I mean, like 1970s era kung fu movie horrible. It not only didn't match up time-wise, the words we heard didn't go with the motion of his mouth. I haven't seen dubbing so bad in a big-budget movie maybe ever.

Okay, that's enough of the bad. The good was stellar. I think the prize goes to Timothy Olyphant as the villain. Totally different (as far as I can recall) from past Die Hard villains. A little more depth to him than we often get in bad guys.

Justin Long was just excellent. He had a subtle progression from the frightened geek boy in the beginning to the hero at the end. The role gave him an opportunity to show his range, and though he hasn't exactly been hurting for parts, I think he'll be getting better and better ones after this.

Bruce was Bruce. I swear, he was no different than he was in the first movie. A little older (but not as much older as he really is). A little slower to recover from a beating. Just as dedicated a cop, just as determined to be "that guy" because he's the one who can. A little more willing, maybe, to take help and ask for it.

That's one of the new elements, actually. He's not totally alone, with the good guys as much against him as the bad guys. Another is, of course, technology. There's an awesome sequence where McClane is going to hotwire a car, and Matt (Justin Long) shows him a better way.

The stunts are old school, very physical, very solid. Not much of the gliding wirework we're used to post-Matrix, but all of the crashing and destruction and fist-to-the-face fighting of yesteryear. He does fight one guy whose grace and ability is awesome to behold (I don't know if he's that much of a gymnast, or if it's enhanced with CGI). And he fights a chick (not a woman, a chick), gets his ass kicked, then gives back better than he got.

The snark and wit is fully intact, and I already have new lines to spout for the next 20 years. I will be delighted if Len Wiseman decides to direct yet another Die Hard. He'd better hurry, though. Bruce won't be in this good shape forever.

Goals Progress, June

I have to say, June was a better month than I expected. I made it to the final round of the Samhain Publishing blog first line contest. They started with 273 entries and I'm one of the final 22. They'll invite 10 to submit next week.

Rebuilding Forever made the Amber Quill Press Top Ten Bestseller list not just in May, but in June, too.

I only wrote 8133 words, mostly nonfiction, but I did completely finish one book and did a little work on the next (and already am better in July with regard to the new book--I even put in a new word meter!).

I fluctuated in my weight over the last four weeks (by two pounds, so doesn't really count). But I only skipped two days of exercise the entire month.

I read 11 books, 9 magazines, and one unpublished manuscript. I'm only behind my book goal by 2! If I push, I may catch up this month.

No work on the dining room. But we did get a piano, which Number Two has been playing daily, despite not knowing how. :)

I'm very optimistic for July. Maybe because, as far as non-goal, non-work things go, I'm excited (Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter book, Camp Nana, present for Number One's birthday that's cool for me, too, etc.). But I also have this heightened sense of anticipation, as if good things are going to start flooding my world.

We'll see!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Being Like Our (Ugh) Parents

A few years ago, not too long before my mother died, I was picking on her about her "address book." It was probably 20 years old or older. Leather, originally nice. Pocket sized.

And so stuffed with business cards and pieces of paper and Post-it Notes and the torn-off corners of envelopes, she held it together with a rubber band.

Most of the stuff in it was old and outdated, but she never cleaned it out. I couldn't understand why. She didn't even have to take hours to do it--just throw away one bit at a time that was no longer applicable. Anyway, I laughed at her for her pack-rat tendencies and her inability to let go of the past.


I'm not quite to the level she was (of course, I'm 20 years younger, so I haven't accumulated as much). But the address book I use is the one I bought back in college, which was 15 years ago. Until recently, I had phone numbers on slips of paper and a few torn-off envelope corners, mostly from preschool friends of Number One's, kids she'll never see again. I finally sorted through them (less than a dozen, rather than the 249 my mother had) and threw them away or wrote in the information.

But I have a better understanding for the reasons she kept everything. I mean, the main reason I've kept this is because even though the Js (for Jacobus, my father's side of my family) and the Ds (for Damschroder) are full, due to the frequent moving over the years, I still have a ton of space in here. Almost every letter has a few pages still empty.

It's also handy. I never converted it to the computer because I don't want to have to boot it up and launch the software just to address an envelope.

But there's another reason, and I don't like to admit it because it makes it seem like I'm growing old.

Remember those ridiculous nostalgia posts a short while back? I remembered Vince's last name is Scarpetti, but I wasn't sure how to spell Peter's last name (it's an "e" instead of an "a"). I didn't remember Jeanne's last name, and some people I'd forgotten their names entirely (like Joanne Torma-Kelly, our old neighbor in New Buffalo). Even though the attached information is no longer helpful, the names are. They're a connection to my past, a past I've let go of, that rarely surfaces (except in my dreams, and then it's never accurate).

I like paging through the memories that float up when I see Mark Daley's name, or Sharon Lank's. So I think I'll be keeping this address book forever.

Sorry I picked on you, Mom.