Monday, November 9, 2009

New TV Review part II

V - Started late in the season (relatively speaking)

I don't feel like going in too much depth.
My first concern was how they would make things interesting when anyone over the edge of 30 remembers the basic gist of the 1980's miniseries. They solved that problem by not making the "reptile-ness" a secret from the audience. (Though it is not know to most characters in the show.)

Altogether, I liked the pilot and will continue to watch.

The teenager is annoying, but I remember being annoyed by Robin (the teenager who got pregnant) in the miniseries, so that comes as no surprise.

Eight out of Ten asterisks ********--

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Palai Eboulethen's Fall TV Review

New Shows!
(those I bothered to watch)

Eastwick- Everybody is typically in a huff about the "witch thing." Blah, who cares? It is not a how-to on witchcraft. It isn't any more dangerous than Harry Potter (which also caused a hubbub), or Charmed (ditto), or Bewitched. I do not know of anyone protesting Elizabeth Montgomery's studio, blah blah blah. Then again, I was not around when it was new. I just saw reruns that nobody cared a whit about.
That said, this is not a great show. It goes too far out of its way to be sexy. It would have been better if it had not. Now, I realize that sex is a major part of the novel (or so I have heard) and the movie that the series is based on. OK, I get that. They go too far here, though. I never would have guessed something could make me wish for the days of Charmed. But here you have it.
The worst part is I am enjoying the rest of the story. I don't know if I can watch it though. Too much sex. Maybe if I were a 20-something who wasn't getting any I would find it enticing. As it is, not so much.
Two out of Ten asterisks **........

Stargate Universe- Wow! OK, there is a lot to say. Originally my post was going to be about how firing the gifted cameramen of SG1 and SGA was a mistake. And that the budget cuts that led to them borrowing someone's camcorder rather than using the steadycam were regrettable. The more recent episodes have let go of the "found footage" feel that had become oh-so-chic. Thank goodness! No need for me to make the snide comment about the Sci Fi Channel airing the bastard love child of Stargate and Battlestar Galactica. (But seriously! Why cancel those shows if you are going to replace them with a mixed up duplicate?)
As to more recent episodes...I am left with wondering who at the Sci Fi Channel (I refuse to call it SyFy, which my entire brain says should be pronounced SIFFY) chose that the problem with Action Adventure Science Fiction was the Action and the Adventure. If things do not get interesting I am going to have to bail, and that really makes me sad, since I really WANT to like this show and am willing to give it all kinds of slack just because it is SG.
I cannot be interested in a show about a raving megalomaniac trying to save a bunch of whiners. Especially when all he is trying to save them from is Suffocation, Starvation, and Slow, Boring Death.
Three out of 10 asterisks ***.......

Flash Forward- my first thought when I heard about this concept (after the "Oo, this might be interesting!) was...but what will happen once they reach the point they all saw? Where will the series go after that? I suppose we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there.
So far I am really enjoying the mystery and attempt to piece together what happened. I could do without some of the angst, but I can see where it would actually be there if this were real. (Believe it or not, many science fiction fans, myself included, are real sticklers for whether something in their shows happens as it would if this were real life.) If "Oo,woe! my marriage is going to end!" or "Oo, woe! why didn't I see anything?!" get's too heavy, the show will get boring. So far the writers seem to have the right mix of pace and mystery. We'll see if they can keep it up.
Seven out of Ten asterisks *******...

Wow! I cannot believe that I am only watching 3 new shows. I would have worn it was more. Oh well, nothing else interested me enough to bother. I know V doens't start for a little while. We'll see how that goes. I am not sure how they are going to pull it off when everyone remembers the story from the 1980's miniseries. And I miss Morena Baccarin's hair. It was SOOO lovely! Why is it cut so short?!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Palai Eboulethen's TV Fall Season Review

This may come as a surprise to you, since I have said in the past that my family does not subscribe to cable TV, but I LOVE watching good TV. The adjective in that sentence is the main reason I do not feel "deprived" by not having cable. There are some shows I do enjoy, and they are generally available to watch online now, so I can enjoy what I do want without much of what I do not. (I also hope that online viewings are kept better track of than the antiquated Neilson ratings, so that my actual preferences get some consideration. I could be too optimistic there, though.)

So, to the shows I have seen recently, we'll begin with returning series...Hmm, should I go alphabetically, in order by weekly broadcast, by age, popularity? I know, worst to best in my opinion. Or should I go best to worst?


Smallville- I have loved Smallville for years. I like the Superman mythos, I liked the writing and acting in the show. Our (my husband's and mine) main complaint was too much teen angst, but seeing as it was a WB (and later CW) show, we cut it some slack there. (That would be like complaining about too much sportiness in an ESPN series.) BUT...this season, after one episode I am left with a deep sense of "Why should I care?" followed by "Meh" I'll tune in this week, but if I am not grabbed by the brain and shaken it will be the last time.
Two out of Ten asterisks **........

Heroes- Ditto **........

Bones- Seems to be progressing much as it has in the past. This isn't a bad thing, since it was a great show. They are, however, dallying very close to crossing the Moonlighting line, wherein they relieve the romantic tension and the spark goes out of the show. Things may go differently, I hope they do. Besides all that, I have no complaint about the season so far.
Five out of Ten Asterisks *****.....

The Mentalist- I am glad that Season 1 did not resolve the Red John serial killer plot line, but I am also glad they have backed off a little. The best part of this show is the way Patrick Jane interacts with the witnesses/suspects and the CBI team.
Five out of Ten Asterisks *****.....

Dollhouse- This was one of my most looked-forward-to premiers. That is possibly simply out of the joy that it managed to have a Season 2 premier at all. So far it isn't ruined or changed too badly. I was worried that Joss Whedon, out of trying to answer other people's problems with the show, would change Echo too much, bring out too much Caroline. The problem is, I didn't like Caroline, I liked Echo. If she changes, I want her to evolve forward, not backward. So far, so good this season.
Six out of Ten Asterisks ******....

Ghost Whisperer-
The addition of a child to an established series is often seen as a kiss of doom to an already failing show. Ghost Whisperer may or may not be on it's last legs, but they circumvented the Baby Blues by skipping 5 years in the first episode. I think it was a good move. It remains to be seen whether Aiden will be a benefit to the show or not.
Six out of Ten Asterisks ******....

Numbers- Likewise (see above) moving esptablished characters relationships to other levels. The season premier spent most of its hour without Amita answering Charlie's proposal (we thought.) I think that was a good move, making the answer not as important as other things going on. The show might continue as before. I hope it does. It has been a nice departure from my normal Sci Fi/Smart Comedy TV menu.
Six out of Ten Asterisks ******....

Dexter- Another show that made changes, this one BOTH taking a realtionship to another level and adding a baby. Oddly enough, it seems to have enriched things, at least for the viewer, and at least in the first episode. I still cannot verbalize why I even like this show that I didn't expect to like, but when I gave it a chance, I did; and the marriage and baby hasn't ruined it so far. Keep that up.
Seven out of Ten Asterisks *******...

Fringe- This show has shaken off a lot of my friends' "X-files" clone complaints and really made itself worth watching. I actually like it better than X-files. I have never liked when a show uses amnesia for any reason other than comedic effect, and then they only get to do it once. But, Olivia's amnesia seems to be useful right now, so I'll cut them some slack.
Eight out of Ten Asterisks ********..

Supernatural- Talk about bringing out the BIG GUNS! The show went from hunting ghosts and vampires to demons, then angels got in on the actions and now Lucifer walks and Cas wants to find God. Wow! It does make for some interesting TV. (I can accept fictionalized views of religion if done with respect. So far it has been, as much as can be expected from a battle-hardened warrior who feels put upon by the powers-that-be.) My main concern is, where do they go from here? No matter how this season turns out, really, where can you go after pulling out all the stops like this?
Eight out of Ten Asterisks ********..

Castle- Ah yeah, Baby! This show rocked last season and the first episode in this was just as fabulous. I was a little worried that the Becket's Mom's murder case deal would cloud over the fun with (gasp!) a plot arc, and it still thereatens, but it hasn't interfered too badly so far, and the hilarious team of Castle, Becket, and those other two guys rolls on. This is one of my favorite shows.
Nine out of Ten Asterisks *********.

Next time on Palai Eboulethen's unpronounceable blog...NEW Fall Shows (the ones that at least looked interesting enough to try out.)


Bleeding Heart Barbie is so happy! Now that President Obama runs the car companies, every car can be a hybrid and stop killing the world. Yay!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sept. 11 Tribute - Doreen J. Angrisani

Doreen Angrisani

Doreen J Angrisani was born in Queens, New York and lived there with her sister and brother-in-law.

She worked for Marsh & McLennan for 23 years. She started as a clerical worker and over time worked her way up to management. Something like that takes hard work and dedication. But, her job was not her life. Form all that I can find, Doreen loved the finer things in life, family, good music, and Mets baseball.

Wherever I read about Doreen, either from fmaily memorials or notes left by former coworkers, her love of classic rock music is mentioned. For that reason I ca't think of a more fitting memorial than to add some MUSIC to my normally silent blog. I chose songs I hope Doreen would have approved of.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Under Attack

Last weekend's battle of the driveway ended in a draw, although our side did manage to rescue one hostage. Both sides continue to eye one another warily without making any overt moves to continue hostilities.

Recent intelligence reports, however, indicate that covert maneuvers by the enemy are attempting to flank our position and take the bunker from the rear. Sneaky devils! Another hostage has been captured! Rescue attempts cannot be put into action for another 24 hours. By that time, who knows how far the enemy may have advanced?

This battle has been brutal all season. In past years, initial forays were met with swift retribution and incursions were stopped before they could gain a foothold. Unfortunately, last year the bunker's new generals were somewhat lax in their continued surveillance and security measures. That, coupled with injuries and fatigue this year have left a prime opportunity for invasion. If it isn't stopped soon, we may be overrun completely!

(Last week we cut back some of the weeds in our driveway, but only moderately took after the kudzu. It is mostly around the edge of the drive where we do not drive, so it has been ignored, this year and last. It does creep in bit by bit.

Kudzu on the parking lot, where we do not drive.

The kudzu had grown up and was starting to cover one of our fir trees (bushes) but we cut it back and got the poor thing free.

The freed hostage (view from my bedroom window.)

I just saw that kudzu around the side and back of the house, where no one ever goes, has grown up into and all over one of the holly bushes in the rear. It is very close to the house and if we leave it it will start covering the walls.

Kudzu growing up holly bush. I had to look out the back window at an odd angle to see it. (Pay no attention to spider webs. I figure if I leave them long enough I won't have to decorate for Halloween. It isn't procrastination, it is preparation!)

The kudzu on the holly is perfectly visible from my daughters' bedroom windows. Did they think to mention it? NO)

Daughter's window. Why wasn't this reported? (Could she be a kudzu agent?)

Small sample of what kudzu can do. There are trees under there!

Friday, July 31, 2009

What am I up to?

(trying to avoid a What Is For Dinner? entry)

So, how have I been spending my time?

On the computer- Facebook (FarmTown, Farkle), listening to talk radio streams, watching TV (mostly things I have seen before) including Burn Notice, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and eagerly awaiting the new seasons of Monk and Psyche (and later Chuck, Heroes, Lost, and Smallville)

the Bible, the "in a year" schedule I am on has me in the middle of Psalms right now and I just started Romans.
Fantasy Pulp- I had gone for a long time without endulging in frivolous reading, but I recently started a 6 book series, well, a month ago. I am about to start Book 6.

Crosstitch- Well, I am not sure yo ucan call it that. I have been doing Blackwork, which is basically outlining, rather than X-ing. (Traditioanlly done in black thread, I am actually using other colors.) I also stitched the names of our family members to go along with the next item...

Quilting- I had a idea to make a wall quilt with a tree and then have seperate apple motifs with the names of out family members stitched on them. I have the names stitched, but have not made either the apples or pieced the tree quilt. It is still kind of in the planning phase. (I have a lot of things in the planning phase.)

Nothing has been done in- Knitting, Crochet, Jewelry making, sewing, doll customization, web design, gardening, photogrpahy

Home School-
We have been taking some time off, but will be getting back into the thick of things starting next week. Also, I decided to take a more active role in PEAK, a good idea for the group's facilitator. If everything I have planned comes about we will have an activitiy once a week (almost.)

In the works for PEAK-
American Girl Book Club
Monthly Birthday parties/planning meetings
Ancient Civilization Days (a new civilization every month)
Science Fair
Art Fair
US State Geogrpahy/Culture Fair
World Geogrpahy/Culture/Food Fair
History Fair
Photography Fair
Physics/Inertia Demonstration
Bowling Field Trip
Swimming field trip
Automobile Museum Field Trip
Memphis Zoo field Trip
Poetry Fair
Thanksgiving Play

And, as a therapy for my hermetic tendencies, I am going to try to make it to all of these (and whatever there is that I forgot to mention) I already know that i am going to start tothink to myself, "Why did you commit to that?! I want to just stay at home!" But by then it will be too late! I will have boxed myself in! Hahahaha!

Oh, I almost forgot...
Role Playing-
Just in case you had mistaken me for a grown-up...
Mostly Forgotten Realms. Not using 4e, can't stand it enough to buy the books. I have been picking up 3e and 3.5 for pretty good bargains on eBay.
DH is running a game for me alone set in Sigil (planar hub) in which the Prime Material plane is Forgotten Realms, should I decide to go there. My character is a psion.
I am planning a game for the whole family (Yes, we are teaching our girls to play, so sue me.) based in FR (3e, or maybe starting in 2e and working forward) The characters will be signing on to a merchant caravan. I want to start in Waterdeep (Northwestern coastal metropolis) and work my way along trade routes across the whole continent. So much of FR has printed source material that there is something for everywhere, even if I do not use modules. (I hate modules.)

There you go.
I am off to watch this week's Burn Notice.

This is Cumberland Falls in April 1998. We went there to celelbrate our 1st wedding anniversary. It had been a very raainy Spring and the river was UP. In some places the walkways to see the falls were flooded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recent Knee Pain

Since February I have had increasing pain in my knees. It started light, only when I went up or down the stairs. Then it was not light, when I went up or down the stairs. Then it was light all the time. Then it was not light, all the time. Walking across a room became something to be avoided.

I did some research and thought it might be arthritis. I had always thought arthritis would come on more slowly. I went from "OK" to "Can Barely Walk" in a month. Also, everything I read, and the people I talked to, saaid that arthritis gets better and worse according to barometric pressure. I saw no real difference in the pain based on weather changes.

I haven't been to see a doctor. I hate going to doctors. My husband is trying to get me to go, but I keep putting it off. Nothing I have read has said anything about a treatment option that I need a doctor for, unless I want my knees replaced, which I don't think is quite necessary yet. The websites I saw said to loose weight, take ibuprofen or naproxin (Advil or Aleve), try to stay off the knees, and maybe menthol cream (Ben Gay). I have been doing all of that and it helps a little. (Except the weight loss, which is too slow to see improvement yet.)

And something told me that it didn't quite fit the arthritis self-diagnosis. So, I continued my research.

Another possibility presented itself. Tendonitis

I think I had avoided anything that focused on sports medicine when I did my first research, which is why I missed it. Tendonitis fits my situation better.

The pain started when I moved my desk from upstairs (where my bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom is) to downstairs and started having to go up and down the stairs 5 or 6 times a day. A sudden change of physical activity can cause a tear in the tendon.

Now, if a person is in good shape going up a few flights of steps every day is no trouble. I fully acknowledge I am not in good shape. I am working on that. (Of course, having trouble walking does not make exercising easy.)

Anyway, tendonitis is not subject to atmospheric pressure changes. Check.

Tendonitis is caused by an injury, such as from sports or a sudden change in physical activity. Check.

Pain can be caused in NEARBY areas due to prolonged favoring of the injured area. Check. (This is what caused me to revisit the arthritis self-diagnosis. For the last couple of weeks my knees had not been hurting much at all, but my calves felt like daggers were going through with each step.)

Last week after we got back from our vacation I bought a cane. I decided to make that concession to my vanity in favor of being able to walk a little more comfortably. Within two days the pain in my calves was GONE and the knee pain is easing up considerably.

I think I am going to be ok.

My husband has said he will give me a few more days before he insists I see a doctor.

I think I can put him off. I do actually feel like I am getting better.

DD10 wearing some silly glasses.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back from Vacation

We went on vacation this weekend. My husband's grandfather was visiting my in-laws, as he does for a few days about this time every year. The visit was short, but nice. The weather was fabulous and not too hot.

My husband and I pledged to each other that this was our "Stress-Free Vacation." Anytime blood pressures started to rise or voices got a little higher pitched, we stopped, thought things through, adn decided either on whatever decision we actually wanted, or to forestall the decision until such a time as it could be made with no stress. It was marvelous.

I hate driving through Memphis, Tennessee. Driving through Nahville on our way to Kentucky never bothered me the way Memphis does. I would drive 50 miles out of our way if I could to avoid Memphis. However, I generally just grit my teeth and pow ahead, paying as close attention as I can to highway direction signs and trying not to let crazy dirvers get to me. It is usually only 30-45 minutes of the 7 hour trip.

Traffic on the I-55 Mississippi River bridge was horrible. There was construction being done lane by lane as best they could, to do repairs without having to close the bridge. We had slow going headed north but never had to actually stop. We could tell the south-bound lanes were not so lucky.

"Good thing we are going this way."

"They are not likely to have it all done by Tuesday."

"We could take a different route on our way home."

That started a spark of thinking on our parts. I know of two other ways to cross Tennessee on our way from Kentucky and proceed further southward. Of course there are others, but they don't really count.

"We could go through Jackson (TN) and down through Corinth, like we did when we lived in Tupelo. Or we could go through Huntsville. It adds and hour and a half to the drive time, not counting whatever time we spend IN Huntsville, seeing friends or doing whatever."

"Sounds good. Let's do that!"

I know very well that there is almost 0% chance we would have sat in stopped traffic for 10 minutes, let alone an hour and a half, if we had just driven through Memphis on our regular route. But the spirit of the week was fun and fancy free. And we had not visited our old home city in years.

We thought about going to see tourist sights, and Yes, Huntsville, Alabama has quite a few, but that wasn't really in our budget, so we passed. We drove around the city pointing out to the girls our old stomping grounds, apartment complexes, and the hospital where two of them were born.

I am amazed at how much one state university can change in 6 years. They must be doing well, funding-wise.

As we drove past the old dorms I noticed a fraternity-sorority row and pointed it out to DH. I pulled in and parked at his fraternity's house (built 3 years ago, it turns out) to let him go in to see if there were brothers there to show him around. he acted at first like he wasn't that interested, but then I ended up having to go fetch him after 20 minutes.

We got to have lunch with a friend, even bumped into a friend we hadn't been able to contact, randomly. The girls had fun even on what could not have a been a great day for them, and we got home with a day to spare for Dh to recuperate from vacation before heading back to work.

All in all it did indeed turn out to be a stress-free vacation.

Can you believe that I was in 6 different states over the past week? Pretty impressive for someone who doesn't normally travel so much. The girls only went to 5, since they never crossed the Ohio river into Indiana, which Dh and I did while we had a date night, leaving the girls to their grandparents (and great-grandfather.)
Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How is your kung fu?

My husband and I went to see Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen last night. That being the case, you might expect this to be a review of that movie. Sorry. There are hundreds of other blogs you could read that in. My movie review series involves DVDs in my family's collection. Today...

Forbidden Kingdom

This is, I hear, the only movie with Jackie Chan and Jet Li together. Both men are very talented at the martial arts and the transition of such to the silver screen. They aren't bad actors either. My husband said he did not recognize Jet Li in the Monkey King costume until nearer the end of the movie. We ahve thought it over and we believe this was because he was smiling and laughing so much. Jet Li does not smile and laugh much in his movies. Jackie Chan often smiles and laughs in his movies. I did not recognize him in his make-up as the old shop keeper until nearer the end of the movie.

It is a fun fantasy movie, set in mythical ancient China rather than the more usual (for westerners) mythical ancient Europe. There are some incredibly funny parts, wonderful action/fight sequences. The plot is great, a little predictable, but still with some twists that caught both of us jaded movie-goers by surprise.

I loved the character of Sparrow. When I get the time I plan to design a custom Barbie for her and for the Wolf Witch, but lets not have this review devolve (evolve?) into a discussion of custom dolls.

There was one part of the movie that really struck a chord with me, moreso than the rest. It was a discussion between Jason (played by Michael Angarano, who is not Shia LeBouef) and The Drunken Master, whose name I forget (played by Jackie Chan.) They are discussing Kung Fu, what it is, what it means, what it needs, etc. The Master tells the student that the essence of kung fu is not the fighting, it is being the best at what you do, no matter what you do. It is an artist capturing beauty in a way that touches the soul. It is a butcher cutting meat to a perfect cut. To have kung fu, whatever is your trade or passion, you must study, learn, practice, and do your best.

So, as Sparrow asked Jason, I ask you...How is your kung fu?

Here is a picture of a timber wolf I took a few years ago at Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Despite being a classicist, I have only seen the movie 300 three times. Since my Dear Husband has seen it ... more ... times, I decided to let him write this entry's movie review from our DVD collection.

What is it that makes this movie so great?
First is the sheer heroism. The story is ancient and true, and absolutely heroic. I know, people don't believe in heroism, but there it is - confirmed historical fact.

Other points are arguable - whether the adrenaline-pumping action, the witty dialogue, or just that the underdogs bloody up the pompous bad guys. At the risk of being to clever, I will chalk all this up to the excellence of the craft. While no movie is everyone's flavor, this movie is well-done from start to finish, even in the scenes I don't like. The story, the acting, the writing, the directing are all extremely well done.

I would also argue that this is true back in the story itself. The Spartans were truly great warriors, and this depicts (with some artistic license) their excelence of the craft as well. Any movie that depicts people doing amazing things by their skill and diligence is likely to be a hit. If the makers of said movie also perform with great skill and diligence, then you've got a sure winner.

The odes to freedom and the fight against tyranny attract me just surely as the other points I made. While people in high offices of the world, even occasionally here in the USA, seem to consider people merely as resources or worse, I have always felt the passion for freedom that the movie describes. I suspect this is true for many people around the world. This story is from a time long since gone and a place around the world from where I sit now. I find it comforting that people so foreign to me can have so much in common with me (and trust me, as much as we "inherit" from the Greeks, the Spartans would be unrecognizably foreign to us). As is directly mentioned in the movie, Xerxes uses a massive army of slaves, and they are barely a match for 300 free men. I find it alarming that so many people think the opposite on these issues, but that's for another movie review.

Now, there are things I would change. It seems like every movie today has either a love scene or at least a topless woman. Perhaps the award committees have this as some absurd requirement, or perhaps some "critics" don't consider it "real art" without some flesh. The sex scenes and nudity in most movies just get in the way, and that's especially true in this movie. I would give examples, but this is one of those things that mature people already understand. If you don't get it, me rambling on about it won't help you.

Similarly, I'd also drop some of the exageratedly long shots of the king groaning in defiant pain. I don't have a problem with the idea of the scene, but it's another one of those award-show requirements that it last an extra thirty seconds for no reason. I wish Hollywood would realize that it's becoming a joke about such things in the real world. In those dramatic pauses at the star's face, I can no longer help but hear a director in the background yelling "and hold that pose for the award shot!... hold... hold...hold...hold...hold...hold...hold..."

Despite those peeves (which I feel are more like commentary on all movies today), I still love this movie. These and other problems I'm sure people have (the violence? it's about Spartans!) barely dent my admiration for this movie.

RebelAngel's score 3 stars-*** DH's score 5 stars-*****

Bleeding Heart Barbie cried when she heard about the fly. She thought President Obama knew better than to take the life of one of the Universe's creatures. However, she understands that everyone can need teaching in some area. Bleeding Hear Barbie and her friends atPETA are offering the President a humane fly trap. She suggests that if Obama would just shut his trap, things would be much better.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Camp Rainbow

This week we are having our Camp Rainbow summer festivities here at Our House. It
may sound corny, but it works if done well. The house work will be game-ified. There will be prizes for who can do whatever fastest or best. We will have weed-pulling races in the yard, as well as washing the car and cleaning the patio. I'll have prizes and awards, and music, and whatever else I can think of to make cleaning our house the most fun we have ever had. Sock mopping is always a favorite with camp Rainbow campers.

I have craft supplies that need to be put into storage. I think we'll chuck them into a box from across the room and award points for making it in. In the afternoon, after "camp" activities are done, we'll go to the park or for nature walks, or to the zoo or something else cool and fun.

I have plenty of yard work that needs to be done that can be made fun. There are more than enough weeds, as well as ivy that needs to be trimmed, and sweetgum saplings from seed balls that fell from our front yard tree and were lucky enough to hit dirt rather than parking lot (We have a parking lot.) Since I am not fond of sweetgum seed balls, I do not believe that we need to allow 5 more sweetgum trees to grow. I like sweetgum trees just fine, but I hate the ugly, prickly seed balls. (Could be worse, though. Could be bodach trees.) The yard work will be fun, I think. One way or another.

Also, since kids at summer camp do not have to do school lessons, we will also be taking the week off. That certainly gets some smiles around here. I just hope they do not forget everything we have learned.

Upon learning that I intended to cut down sweetgum saplings, Bleeding heart Barbie has tied herself to one of them in a vain attempt to save my yard from deforestation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

It occurs to me as I go throught this blog, rereading past entries and laughing at my own clever wit, that i promised to review my movie collection. (I also promised a bible commentary and to blog every day, but that is neither here nor there.)

Finally, I give you...

Hmmm...I probably should have chosen a movie before I started this. One moment, please

Oh Mandy, well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away
Oh Mandy, Well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
And I need you today
Oh Mandy.

Galaxy Quest
This is a Trekkie movie. not a Star Trek movie, but a movie written for Star Trek fans. If you are not specifically a Trek fan but enjoy science fiction; you will probably still enjoy it. It pokes good natured fun a tthe Star Trek stereotypes and eccentricities. Even if scifi isn't really your thing, but you still like a good action/comedy, I don't think you would hate this.

For the trekkie, though, this film is the Mothership calling from home to say you were always her favorite, even if no one else can see how special you are.

Tim Allen does superbly. He never was someone I would peg as an action hero (Buzz Lightyear notwithstanding) but since his character is "not quite an action hero" it fits.

Alan Rickman has been a favorite villain actor of mine for many years. Die Hard, Quigley Down Under, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry Potter (sort of)
He only really played a good guy in Truly, Madly, Deeply and no one has ever seen that movie but me, so it hardly counts.
This movie brings out his comedic talent as even Marvin the robot from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy does not. (another movie in my DVD collection)
I loved that, as much as Alexander professed to hate his prsthesis, he was still wearing it off-hours.

Sigourney Weaver hasn't been this funny since Ghostbusters (chucklefest that Alien was.) She was very good in Galaxy Quest and it was clear she was having fun.
There is an interview in the bonus features where she discusses the absurdity of the movie's plot (in a good way.) Imagine an invasion by freaky aliens...whom do we need to save us? Well, Sigourney Weaver made movies where she kicked some alien butt. Let's get her!

Sam Something-or-Other (IMDB; Rockwell) was hilarious as Guy, the Extra.
Wouldn't you hate to find out you were living a movie and you are just Crewman #6?...and the character's name is actually Guy! I love it!

The acting is good all around. Also in this film are Adrian Monk and Veronica Mars' dad. Just kidding.

I LOVE Tony Shaloub! Wings, 13 Ghosts (not a fav of mine), Men in Black, Monk...Are my husband and I the only people who remember Stark, Raving Mad? Tony's character on that (very short-lived) series was just about the exact opposite of Adrian Monk.
But enough about all that. The character of Fred Kwan (not his real name) is unphased by anything! Nothing gets to him (exceot operating the tranporter) I love it. Who else could eat cheese crackers while their shuttle is about to crash on an alien planet?

I love this movie. My husband and I often quote it to each other in weird, nerd-based (and even sometimes in normal) conversation.

This one is 5 stars. *****

DD11 starting to practice her geisha skills, in case she cannot be an astronaut.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Today was really great!

We didn't do anything special, but ended our brief hiatus from schooling to hit things back in full stride. No one seems to have forgotten what she had been learning earlier, and everyone seemed to grasp today's new concepts easily. And I didn't feel overrun, probably because I spent about an hour going over workbooks and files last night to prepare. Who would've thought?

So, in the interest of continuing what works, I believe I will spend a brief time this evening preparing for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will go smoothly as well.

Since I cannot spend so much time going up and down stairs anymore, I am planning to move my personal office into our sunroom and much of the resources we need here to the dining room. I was really stoked when we moved in to have the garage all to myself for a classroom, but now it is hard for me to get to and is sitting neglected. The dining room will be easier. And if things don't turn out that way...I can always switch back. I am flexible that way.

Math progreses, as math is wont to do. Reading leaps forward in unpredictable bounds, but I can take it. Science notes get lost, and then found, and then expanded upon. And we still haven't done Social Studies today, but what the heck, it'll keep for later.

Now, everybody make a sad face...

OK, now...back to normal!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What should I write about today?

I am sorry I have not been by here much. Life goes on outside the blogosphere and requires my attention more urgently.

School is going well. Division, Division, Algebra for Math. Europe for Geography. Eyeballs for Science starting next week. Do you know the difference between a rod and a cone?

DH said he saw a trailer for the new V series that looked like a serious dig at PrezO. Maybe the series is and maybe it isn't, but the trailer certainly was. I haven't seen it yet, personally, what with life going on and all that.

DD8 was baptised Sunday without a hitch. Her maternal grandparents were in attendance as well as her maternal paternal great-grandmother. (My parents came and my dad's mother.) I have pics but won't be posting any just now.

We are planning our summer vacation. We'll be going to Kentucky to visit my in-laws. We may go by Mammoth Caves. The girls enjoyed it the last time we went. I don't really know how I feel about the idea.

What is for dinner tonight? I have no clue. It is already 4pm, better decide, eh?

Bleeding Heart Barbie has a very important announcement.
She is just overcame with sadness and all sorts of bad feelings over the plight of Hostage Bunny. Until that poor bunny is released she will be on a hunger strike.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


For someone who has gone t ochurch all her life, you would think I knew pretty much what is in the Bible. (and I do, more or less, just nowhere near as much as I should)

I have been reading through since New Years. This is new for me, I generally don't bother. (That sounds terrible, doesn't it?) I have tried in the past and somewhere in the first five chapters of Leviticus I just can't keep on. The stories of the Old Testament are all familiar, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Esther...I know the STORIES, but in my reading just now something profound stood out to me. It didn't change what I already believed or thought, it just phrased it in a way I find truly beautiful and profound.

1 Kings 19:11-12

A gentle whisper

Photo Assistant

My DD10 and I both agree that she had a "stupid job" to do during the latter part of our photo shoot. When I needed to take lower-seated shots of DD8 I had to take the backdrop (see one navy bedsheet) down off the closet door because it didn't reach to the floor and I didn't want to see the stoll or floor in the shot.

She said she expected her legs to get tired, but found that instead her arms got tired. (I could have told her that was what was going t ohappen.) I tried t obe quick so she didn't have to stand there long. In the picture she really looks gloomy. In actuality she was quite helpful and chipper, enjoying most of what we did. I just happened to snap the wider shot (than we had been taking of DD8) when she had a droopy expression. She laughs when we look at this picture.

Her hair is in its normal, woefully unbrushed, condition.

My Daughter , age 8

Tomorrow, DD8 will be baptised into our church. SHe is not nervous at all and greatly looking forward to the ceremony.

Today we went together, just she and I, and did a little shopping. While things in the Baptist tradition are less formal, I have always admired something of the majesty with which Catholicism treats such occasions. So, we bought a white dress for her to wear tomorrow and took pictures to commemorate the day. We discussed what the ceremony tomorrow means religiously and I made sure she was not just wanting gifts and to play in the water during church, haha.

More pictures will be forthcoming. We had a photoshoot today and I will be taking more photos tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What a Fabulous Date Movie!

Do you like satire? It tends to be a more sophisticated form of humor. It is one of those things that some people just don't get. (Of course, I suppose that can be said about just about any form of humor.)

I can remember reading Janathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" in high school. The majority of the class, even in AP English lit, were just sitting there with befuddled looks on their faces. (Many because they could not negotiate the outdated English verbage.) Two of us were chuckling the whole time. When the teacher asked what the class thought, most stayed quiet. Some said they thought it was "horrible!" And two of us said it was hilarious. If you haven't read it, do.

Anyway, satire. It is sometimes very subtle. Like sarcasm, it can be lost on the audience. The writer of satire needs to be very talented, or else it is misunderstood, either as "making fun" (which it is, but in a higher form) "sarcasm" (which is less delicate) or as an endorsement of what was meant to be satired. "Happy Together" by the Turtles is an example of this. It was written because the songwriters was tired of sappy-happy love songs and wrote the supreme, ultimate sappy-happy love song to make fun of them. And, it was so enjoyed by people who love sappy-happy love songs that it joined their list of favorites.

Back to today's real prize. I love this. Understanding it does require a basic understanding of 20th century cinema and western culture. Well, not really, but you do have to know something about what "The Shining" by Steven King is about.


DH's opinion of the clip...
I generally dislike youtube because a vast majority of its stuff is brain-numbing bile, but every so often you come across a gem like this, where someone creative has made a small, possibly satirical, masterpiece.

DD10 built a card house neighborhood.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My dear husband and I are very proud to announce that our youngest daughter has accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. She had come to us saying she did not want to be a sinner and sha wanted to be a Christian. She and I talked for a few weeks about what it means to be a Christian, about what we as a family and she as an individual believes about God and His Son. This morning she went forward during the invitation and spoke to our pastor about making a public profession of faith in Jesus.

We could not be more proud. Her smile was as big as any I have ever seen. She was nervous about going up in front of the congregation, but managed to get through it. It helped to know that everyone there was supportive of her decision.

We'll be figuring out over the next few weeks when she will be baptized.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I am just giddy!

This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes...

Our new washer and dryer arrived this afternoon. I cannot tell you how happy I am about this. (As are the people who must be around me. Fortunately, thanks to my life choices, those people are few.)

They sure are pretty. (the machines, not the people) Fancy little buttons and gizmos all over the front panel. The washer plays a jaunty little tune when the cycle is finished.

I am so jazzed, just to have machines at all, but especially to have these. They are highly rated, not incredibly expensive, and, best of all (given my recent laundry history) fully functional.

I did a load of our black clothes to christen the machines (though not being fully goth when younger, we do still have a lot of black clothes, enough that they do not have to be washed with navy or brown clothes to make a full load (or 3.) Then turned the laundry room over to my brother. He has fewer clothes to wash, but also fewer all together, so he is a tad more desperate. Once he has his two loads done I am back to it and I plan to spend all day washing tomorrow. Yay!

The guys who delivered the appliances were very nice. The driver, who didn't really have anything to do once I signed the paper, was great. The girls asked if they could have the boxes and I said no, because of the staples. He got a pair of pliers and pulled the staples out. Now the girls have a little cardboard neighborhood of houses in the garage. (The boxes won't fit through the door into the house.) He was very sweet about it.

Hmmm, I wonder how long it will take to get the laundry caught up. This is going to be fun. I cannot wait. Laundry is my favorite chore.

DH and DD8 (long ago) play Row Row Row Your Boat. I love the look on her face.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To celebrate our 12th anniversary last week we took the girls to dinner
and a movie. We went to see Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D. 3D technology
has come a long way since Jaws 3. It was amazing. I heard DD11 next
to me whisper "Wow!" when the first scene (an outer space scene with a
ringed planet and space debris) came on the screen. We all thought it
was impressive. The whole movie was. DD8 said she didn't care for
having to wear the glasses, but still liked the movie.

The movie was good. The monsters were funny, but the alien was
hilarious. Most of my favorite scenes from the movie were with him. His
incredible hubris and disregard for life juxtaposed with his panic when
things didn't go as planned were priceless.

"Just to recap, I come in peace, I mean you no harm, you are all going to

Earlier this week we had an outside activity wherein the girls played the part of red blood cells, moving in and out of our blanket "heart." All three said they had fun, and did seem to retain at least some of the information we went over.

Kickin' in Our PJs

All three of the girls are sitting around in their pajamas today. That is one
of the perks of home schooling, of course, but we are not just revelling in
our anti-social freedom from proper daytime attire. We are revelling in
not having a working washing machine.

My dad came to have a look at it, since he knows washing machines (20
years of repairing them, along with dry cleaning machines, dryers, and
industrial presses will do that.) He thought from my telelphone desription
that it would be a broken or fallen-off belt. If so it would have been an
easy fix. No such luck, though. Turns out it was the timer. A repairman
could fix it, but we have some money saved up and I have been wanting a
new set of machines. DH put a price cap on (to make sure I don't go too
far off the deep end) and I hit the internet. I found what we wanted and
we should have it in a few days.

DH was all for just getting a washer. That is all we need, right? The dryer
still works. I managed to talk him into getting me a new dryer too. It is not
too extravagent. I am more familiar with the condition of our current dryer
and, believe you me, it could have easily been the problem. The thing is
noisy, shaky, unreliable, and a mess. That happens when you buy
someone else's 20 year old machines. Dad says getting the matching set
now is a good idea. Odds are, since the old machines are the same age,
the dryer would be clunking out in a few months.

Now, after a week and a half without a washer, we are rationing our clean
clothes. If we need to stay home, pajamas are ok. Actual clean clothes
are being saved for when we need to go out.

The garbage bags full of dirty laundry are starting to pile up. I am actually
looking forward to getting the new machines and get rolling on the clean-
up. I actually enjoy doing laundry. New gadgets are going to make it
even cooler. I can't wait.

Judging by the background, I think this is another example of swing-photography. however, since things are not swirl-blurry, I think the artist was stationary, if slightly askew in taking this shot of her sister.

Not Looking for Gore, but where is it anyway?

I watched in the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale last
week. I never played Dungeon Siege, but I do like Sword and Sorcery
movies. It was good enough, for what it was. One doesn't expect oscar
-calibre work from a vehicle like this. (But then again, most Oscar-calibre
movies are not really my cup of tea.) It was better than Dungeons and
Dragons, certainly.

Claire Forlani was great. Jason Statham as well. Ray Liotta was too far
over the top. I guess evil wizards are outside his range.

One thing I did notice, when the evil wizard bad guy got his throat slashed
by the hero (sorry for the spoiler) there was no arterial spray, none at all.
People don't just get a thin red line across their throat if they have a fatal
slash. Don't these people watch CSI?

A hawk or falcon or something landed on a branch of our tree. I took some pictures.


I understand the concept behind designer fashion. It is about art.
Especially the weird stuff everyone laughs at pictures of from out-there
runways. Oscar gowns, wedding gowns, formal attire as well; art on the
human form.

Everyday "style" is a little harder to understand. I find it hard to believe
that designer jeans, let's say Tommy Hilfiger or FUBU, are art enough to
justify the difference in price from Levi's.
This one involves status more than anything; I think. Showing you are
well-off enough to afford designer clothes. The designer name doesn't
indicate that the jeans are better so much as they are a surrogate
price tag.
OK, I get that too.

What my mind refuses to wrap around is designer hand bags. Once price
differences due to materials are accounted for, why are some leather
bags worth $50 and others $1000? For that matter, why would anyone
pay $50 for a purse? I don't get it.

Another picture of dogwood blossoms for your enjoyment. The flowers grow on trees and are usaully between 2 and 3 inches from petal edge to petal edge. Most are white, but they also come in shades of pink.


Cop shows being my flavor of the month, becoming a receent David
Carusso fan, and having heard that someone I respect liked it, I decided
to check out NYPD Blue.

I am afraid I only made it through the first scene of the pilot.

I knew there was occasianal nudity and bad language. That I can deal
with. I actually prefer a bit of realism IF that is what the show is shooting
for. (If realism is not the aim, I do at least require continuity, but that is
not for this entry.)

I could not handle the shaking. I know, it was "edgy" and "gritty" and cool
when it came out and the show lasted for 12 years, there was definitely
something there. I am not knocking the plots or acting, just the camera
work, and since that was on purpose, I just didn't feel like continuing to

All the budget of a network cop show and they decide to make the show
look like it was shot with a camcorder? Not to my taste Oh well.

For you today I present a close-up of the ubiquitous Southern blossom, the Dogwood. It is not the state flower of Mississippi, but is of Virginia, and likely a few other states (I'll ahve to look that up.) They are everywhere in the southern US, and bloom usually during March and April.

CSI: Miami

Having gotten bored with, or watched up to current episodes, the TV I was
into, I recently joined millions of others in becoming a forensics junkie.
CSI is pretty good.

I watched the original version, set in Las Vegas, all the way through.
Very cool. I miss Grissom though, and Warrick. Sarah, not so much.
She was too gritty for me.

Anyway, having run out of on-demand, not-yet-seen episodes of that CSI,
I switched to CSI: Miami. It took a few episodes to get used to a different
team, but now that I am 5 or 6 seasons in, I know them and am just as

It is interesting to note the differences in the series', but I will wait until I
have watched this one all the way through and have at least finished
season 1 of CSI: New York. (I have seen a few episodes of that, but
decided not to split my focus.)

I need to check to see if CSI: Miami has changed directors a few
seasons ago. I can handle gratuitous bikini butt shots of inconcequential
people on the beach. That is part and parcel of a show set in Miami. But
recently the show's camera work has gotten weird; odd camera angles,
vertical or horizontal scene flipping. Collage shots of the same scene
from 6 or 7 different angles. It is a horrid distraction and takes away from
the show rather than adding to it. It didn't start out this way. Only over
the last few seasons has this gone on. And it is getting worse.
The attempt to make a cop show into "art" is degrading to the genre. I
suppose the over-production is a reaction to the purposeful
underproduction that had been popular in the last decade.

More on that later.

The girls liken to take pictures with my camera (when I will let them. I always tell them to be extra careful with the camera, and they always say they will. One of them thought it would be a cool idea to take pictures while they were on the tire swing. That isn't really what I call being careful, but the electronics didn't hit the dirt, so I'll let it slide, this time. Here is one of the fruits of their efforts at swing-photography.

The Edge of the World

I am very sorry to have dropped off the edge of the world for the past few
weeks. I would like to give you a good explanation, but I don't really have
one. I have been blowing off the blog in favor of other activites.
Other writers of other blogs say they prepare their entries ahead of time.
I might try that, but there is no guarantee that I will follow through or that
even if I do it will make a difference in how often entries appear.

My attempt to Blog 365 is pretty much a lost cause. I am going to give up
trying to make up for lost time. It is only contributing to making me feel
behind and like a failure. So, I will stop worrying so much and just post. I
will try to post as often as possible and with read-worthy topics.

Of course, what is read-worthy is really up to the reader. So, again, no

For you photographic pleasure, DD11. Doesn't she look pleased that upon being told that she had her hair caught in the swing rope my first instinct is to take the camera out there? We did get her untangled, eventually.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Green (Feb 7)

The trees are finally really budding out. Odds are we won't see any more cold weather.

I need to get rolling on our garden boxes.

My procrastination tendency has stopped more than one garden from ever happening.

Now, where did I out those seed packets?

Here are the girls having fun in the wading pool, 7 or 8 years ago.

Ewww! (Feb6)

Something in the fridge went horribly wrong.

My chief suspect is a pack of chicken breast patties that should ahve gone in the freezer upon arrival from the grocery store but was put in the vegetable crisper drawer of the fridge instead. Without me knowing

So, yesterday I had the girls clean out the fridge. I told them to toss anything that looked bad or was past date. I could smell the nasty all the way downstairs.

I really need to take a handle on our food again. Now that all the stuff that cannot be eaten is gone the fridge is pretty bare.

I had not put much thought into needing to shop for groceries because every time I openned the fridge (which was generally just for drinks since Dh does most of the cooking) it was...if not full, at least not empty. So, I never put it all together that shopping was needed.

(Note: We are not out of food.)

I am going to put my homemaker hat back on and whip up a menu for the coming week, and a shopping list to go with it.

Here is DD8 (a few years ago) up a tree.

Mightier than the Sword (Feb 5)

Since I am spending more time away from my computer (or trying to) i am writing out my blog long hand on paper (and trying not to lose it.)

I have always liked to write. I love the feel of the pen sliding across paper, especially with more paper underneath. There is something about the cushioning that I like. (When writing in pencil it is the opposite; I prefer no paper under the page being used.)

This has been fun, writing more. It brings back memories from bygone years staying up all night writing out silly stories until my hand cramped.

I actually have nice handwriting, if I do say so myself.

Here is a picture of DD10 on her 6th birthday. She wanted a pirate theme. We hung a sheet between a tree branch and picnic table to make a sail. We had a treasure hunt and lots of cool games. It was a great day. We even had wonderful weather for an outdoor party. That is not always possible in November.

Being Holy (Feb 4)

The preacher for our church's recent revival focused on what it means to be a holy man.

He made a specific point that he wasn't talking about the Pope or some sort of high priest. He preached about the average Christian being holy.

God commands that His people be holy, for he is holy.

What does it mean to be holy? What is holiness as it pertains to us and our life?

What do you believe it means to be holy? Is it possible?

The munchkins a few years ago, 2003, I think. We had a photo shoot outside for the Fall. I really like this one.

I do need to get more photos on my laptop, though, or start blogging from my desktop.

New Haven (Feb 3)

I spent a day (a few days ago) cleaning my bedroom. it took all day, but the result is well worth all the effort. Why did I put this off for so long?

I joked with my brother that since we've been here almost a year I had decided to finally finish moving in.

Having the room clean has been wonderful. It is like a haven now where I can escape the chaos of the rest of the house. I moved the table that was in the kitchen at the old house (but which hasn't really found a home in the new place) into the bedroom. I makes a nice spot to have the phone and laptop. I joked with DH that I need to get a minifridge and microwave.
He said I had better not hole up in here. They would never see me. Eventually, the mess from the rest of the house would block my escape should I need to leave.

I haven't made my final decision yet. Minifridges and microwaves are not too expensive. I could even bring the coffee maker back here. I am the only one who ever uses it.

With all that, plus regular maintenance to keep the clean going, it could be like I have my own little hotel room at the end of the hall.

I could print up a fire-route paper to put on the back of the door to finish the effect.

That plus a "Do Not Disturb" sign and I am on vacation all the time.

I honestly do not know if I have posted this picture already. This is the eye of an American aligator at the Memphis Zoo.

Schedule Change ?

my life, well, my daily schedule at least, has become far too lackadaisical. I need to shape up a bit.

I have been "enjoying" being a stay-at-home mom so much that I have taken the freedom to far. I have decided to continue enjoying my freedom but to inject a little structure.

Of course, it is easy to say that, harder to make it happen.

The girls here are climbing on a pile of rocks my in-laws have in their yard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Not on Drugs (Feb 2)

In the interest of entertaining myself I decided a few days ago to begin a series of entries with reviews of movies that I own on DVD. This is both to save me from having to pay to see new movies I don't want to see and taking time out of my day to see them. With my own DVD collection I have hundreds (yes, I mean that) of movies to review AND I like most of them to one degree or another.

To prove that not all of these reviews of movies I own are going to be fluff pieces to benefit (though I don't know how) movies I like, I planned to start with one I do not like. I even wrote out my review on a piece of paper (that'll teach me) and promptly lost it, since I haven't been at my desk in a couple of days and there are gremlins about.

Anyhoo...I think I can paraphrase what I had without taking the time to think too hard and re-write the review itself.

Cutthroat Island sucks!

Whoever told Geena Davis she could act should be SHOT! Or made to watch Cutthroat Island. The jury is really out on which would be the harsher punishment.

I actually remember enjoying this film when my friends and I went to see it in college. I know I wasn't on drugs, so I must have been sitting next to the guy I had a crush on, thereby enjoying the company rather than the film.

I bought the DVD out of nostalgia for thinking I had enjoyed it in the theatre. I sat down to watch and was not able to stomach more than 10 minutes. It is HORRID!

Next time an entry about a movie I did like. There are more of those.

I mean there are more of those in my own DVD collection, NOT in existence.

Here is a shot of a Cinderella barbie doll I took the eye paint off of. The lashes on one eye smeared badly and were a pain in the acetone to get off. SHe looks a little like Seven of Nine. Hmmmm...


I did not want to get out of bed this morning.

We did not stay up super late or have to get up early.

Yesterday I threw away our old (OLD) pillows and had the hubby pick up new ones on his way home. Wow! Cushiony heaven. Ahhh!

Here is my youngest daughter hanging out a window at my in-laws' house. No worries, my father-in-law was behind her holding on.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Difficult Distance

I need to back my time on the computer WAY down. There is really no way around this. I am not being the wife, mother, teacher, and housekeeper that I want to be because I am sitting here, desperate for something interesting to read or watch. What good does it do me to not have cable TV if I sit in front of my computer screen all day? (Well, given that my choice in internet entertainment is of higher calibre than most tv shows, I guess it does SOME good. But that is beside the point!)

I still want to get at least 365 blog entries this year. (Yes, I know I am still behind.) I am going to limit my computer time every day, if not spend some days completely away. I will post blog entries (at least one) when I do have computer time, and when I do not I will try to write something profound down on a piece pf paper to transcribe into the computer when I get a chance. Updates will be more sporadic, but I hope to net 7-10 / week.

And, if it comes down to a choice between giving my family and myself what I need in person, or logging on here to talk about the weather and what earrings I have made... or something more interesting like politics (I am Republican with strong Libertarian leanings,) religion (Christian,) or movies (action, please, with comedy in for spice,) I will chose my family. (Golly, that was one heck of a run-on sentence with all kinds of tangents to wander down.)

If I cannot manage to jot down an entry on a napkin, I will try taking pictures of my life and posting them. I make no guarantees about the quality of my photography.

Here is DD8 (7 at the time) at the bottom of our back stairs. This is where my desk is now. You can tell this spot gets more than its fair share of morning sun. This was 11 months ago, a few weeks before we moved in. It is much messier now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on Horror (Feb1)

My husband and I were discussing movies a while back and we started to think about why we liked some movies but not others, even when on the surface the films might seem similar. I had been watching a little bit of the computer animated Resident Evil: Degeneration but stopped because I was losing interest and neither engaged in the story nor frightened. The first two Resident Evil movies were decent enough. The third Mila Jovovich one was ok, but not up to the first two. This computer animated one really blew. Eventually I went back and watched the second half just for laughs.

Anyway, like I said, my husband and started to talk about movies, and drifted to horror, given my choice of recent viewing material. Here is his take (edited somewhat) on what makes a horror movie good (or bad.)

Me- What makes a movie scary if you don't want to rely on gore or cheap startles?

DH- There are a couple of thrills aside, really good suspense flows well, actually, the cheap thrills usually stop good suspense.

Me- The suspense has to lead somewhere, but cats jumping out when you are afraid there is a killer is just plain stupid.
"Haha, it was just a cat, blah blah blah, the audience will love that laugh, they are so stupid"

I see THAT is a mistake writers make. But there is more to it.

DH- The key to good suspense is to keep building slowly, never letting it totally down (and avoiding the bum-bum-BUM moments.)
That means good plot, and some pay-off doesn't hurt when it's not cheap.
Look at 6th sense, leaving aside any gore, it would've been just as scary with no gore.
You make sure the audience KNOWS the bad things are about to happen, and that's really where the suspense is.

Me- The gore in 6th sense was not to shock the audience but more to give sympathy for Cole; a kid should not have to see that all the time.

DH- Yeah.
Now, some other things...

Creepiness; this is really the function most hacks use gore to achieve.
Other common ways to achieve creepiness is by using things that people innately fear or avoid, like bugs and insane people.

Me- HP Lovecraft studied psychology to delve into what primally scares people; being eaten is a big one.

DH- The last piece I would suggest again comes to plot, but isn't so much a device... it's the timing and flow. Scary movies are like musical pieces when done right. They have to flow together from one movement to another with lots of minor apexes, but only one big crescendo. When you let it come down, you have to keep enough tension to keep the ball rolling. You can't have too many big points that detract from the finale, but you still have to have the minor points that make everything feel like progress forward and to keep interest.
You can't rely on one big scare.
Your plot is vital to this, because gimmicks just don't do it.

I hope that wasn't too hard to decipher, given that we were IMing at the time.

"bum bum BUM" Are a big cheese factor. Anywhere you can say (or hear an actor say, which is even worse) "It was the little boy all along!" or "Oh NO! Just as she almost got out!" or "The scientist took a sample to his lab!" These are sometimes accompanied by sweepy camera moves, to make sure you see it, or accenting music. bum bum BUM. B horror flicks do this a lot. Resident Evil: Degeneration did this so much it was amusing.

Not long after we had this conversation DH and I went to see Coraline. It is a children's horror movie. This meant the gore was kept to a minimum (Do splattered silverfish count as gore?) and the story would have to carry (or fail to carry) the suspense and horror. (And there was more likely to be a happy ending. There are very few things I want to take time out of my life to watch or read that I will be satisfied by a tragic ending. It just seems like a wild waste of my time.)

DH said Coraline was superbly done, one of the best movies he has seen in the last five years. (That sounds like a compliment, but thinking back on the releases of the last five years, it isn't saying as much as it sounds like it is saying.) There were minor apexes leading up to, but not detracting from the final climax.

I liked it a lot too, though the trapeze scene was a little...over the top. The creepiness was certainly up there on the scale. I have heard that adults are actually more creeped out than kids by this film. I can see that. There are nuances that kids either don't get or take as a given that mess with adults. It depends on the kids, of course, and the adults. The buttons really get me, eewww!

I don't think I would take my 8 year old to see this, but the older girls, sure.

The rhinoceros at the Memphis Zoo. I cannot remember what her name is. I keep thinking Rosie, but I would not bet money that is correct. Isn't she beautiful?
The weather today and yesterday has been very nice. The sun is sparkling in a bright blue sky. The temperatures are warmer than they were last week while it rained. I may send the kiddos outside this afternoon to get out of my hair the house.

It is a little bit of a mixed blessing. My desk is quite near our back (south facing) window and I am facing east. Between 9 am and noon I can barely see for the glare of sunlight right in my face. I am thinking of moving my desk. It is either that or move the sun. I tried moving the sun first. It worked for a while but then the blamed thing just went right back to where it had been.

This is a really good place for my desk. It will take some thinking to decide where I want to put it. I might have to rearrange the whole house. What fun.

Maybe I should see if there is some way to get curtains up onto the large window. It is pretty big, and the top left corner is a good 3.5 - 4 meters up, hard to reach. I'll really have to think about it.

I suppose if I buy or rent a ladder to help with outdoor high place maintenance I could also use the ladder inside to hang curtains. They would definitely need to be on some sort of pulley system. The window is too big to just grab the drapes in the middle break and sweep them open with your hand.

I suppose my other option, besides moving my desk or hanging drapes, is to just live with the glare. But that doesn't sound fun at all.

My friend Sonya. RIP

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Without Me

Aside from the sadness I feel at Sonya's death, I also feel the need to not only make sure my family knows I love them, but also to make sure that the future is planned for what they would do if something happened to me.

I suppose those are both perfectly normal reactions. At least they feel perfectly normal to me.

DD11 and I have actually discussed this matter in the past. But I think I need to make sure DH understands and wants what I want. And that he knows how to get what he needs to continue taking care of the girls the way I would prefer, should I not be here to finish their education.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


PLease pardon my typing today. I do not have my glasses on, and I cannot really see even then.

You may remember a few days, weeks maybe, I don't know, I was complaining about my friend not listing my blog on her blogroll..

Well, it's there now.

I was there looking for glimpses of her. SHe died Friday.

I never mentioned whose blog didn't list mine. God, I hope she didn't know I meant her.

But Iam listed htere now.

I had other things I was going to blog about, but I may not be over here for a couple of days.

I am sorry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mississippi Magic

Growing up with my dad in the military we didn't get to visit my grandparents in Mississippi very often. Usually it was either a week in the summer or a week at Christmastime.

I can remember as we would be driving in, closer and closer to the marvelous house I knew so well. The highway would wind through tall trees that dripped with kudzu vines. My sister and I called it our Mississippi jungle. We'd pass the little church where our parents were married (and at least 3 pairs of aunts and uncles) then more woods. There on the right was the road to our aunt's house. Up on that hill, that white house was our mother's cousin's home. Then the road would bend and there is was, down off the highway, a gravel drive, magnolia tree, vegetable garden, and a small, little house that never felt small to us.

My family was not wealthy, generally more the opposite.

My grandparents did not have a switch to turn their dining room light on and off. We, or rather, an adult, had to reach up and give the bulb a twist, making sure to cover their hand with a wash rag if the bulb had been on a while. I have no idea how they came to be without a light switch back then. In the years since then that problem has been fixed.

The only interior room to have a door was the combination bathroom/laundry room. All of the bedrooms had old quilts nailed up in the doorways.

That was probably wise. The floor was so warped that the bathroom door had the tendency to jam after opening only a few feet.

My mother's stepmother always had a parakeet. I don't think it was ever the same bird from one visit to the next, but there was always a bird in the dining room.

The front door was never used, too many old refrigerators or freezers or hub caps to be convenient. The side door was more easily reached anyway, and safer. There were wasps on the porch, so we never played there, even if old hub caps and freezers did seem cool.

Those visits were a chance for three kids from the suburbs to be free for a while from The Brady Bunch and The Jetsons and just see what there was to be seen. We could build our own fun from there.

Sometimes there were chickens we weren't allowed to chase, sometimes not. There were often beagles in the wooden pen that my grandfather used to hunt. We weren't allowed near the pen either.

I don't know what that pen was built for originally, but my earliest memory of it was it housing pigs. I guess dogs was a step up. We didn't really want to mess with the pen.

Our imaginations could turn the woods behind the house (woefully void of kudzu) into a jungle or wilderness. We would search down the hill for treasure amongst 40 years of junk that had been tossed down there out of view of the house before the county started collecting. (Left over food went to the dogs (or pigs) and junk was tossed down the hill. Broken sewing machines, kitchen chairs, stereo speakers, old boots, 20 year old empty soda bottles, broken eyeglass frames, old broom handles, it was a gold mine.

We were not supposed to play down there.

I love living in Mississippi, even if living somewhere is very different from visiting for a week, and 2009 is very different from 1982. I still love kudzu vines, even though I am not supposed to. I love looking through junk to see wondrous possibilities for fun. I love exploring and learning about the past.

I want to capture some of the magic Mississippi had for me as a kid, for myself as well as for my own children. I am just not sure how. (Tossing all of our broken junk into the backyard not really being where I want to take this.)

Here are DD8 and DD10 trying to roller skate.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's for Dinner? (Jan 31)

So, I know I promised to try to keep the mundane to a minimum, but we can already see how that has turned out. So, for today's blogg-a-riffic enjoyment, I present...

"What is for dinner?"

We have Chef Boy-ar-Dee ravioli, some Dinty Moore beef stew, chicken flavor Ramen noodles.


I do believe a trip to the grocery store may be in order.

So, now that the options have openned up to include "Anything I Want," What should we have?

DD11 says Spaghetti, or Fettuccini Alfredo. I don't really feel like cooking, and those are MY recipes. (Some things I cook, some things DH cooks.)

DB says he doesn't know. "Did we decide to not have the ravioli?" That is his answer. Or meatball subs, he suggests, once I clarify that a trip to the grocery is going to happen first.

What is it with all the Italian (-based) foods? We eat too much pasta. Well, I guess meatball subs don't quality as "pasta" per se, but it is in the same "food family."

I could really go for a BBQ sandwich. Too bad I didn't put a roast in the crock pot 8 hours ago. We could go for "heat and eat" but it isn't the same. If we lived in Huntsville still, I would know just where to go. I am not as clear on where is good around here. I learned to make my own when we lived too far to pop out for take-out. Now that we are closer to town I have not explored the glories of Oxford BBQ. I think I'll ask around some of my friends. (Yes, I have friends.)

We have been having tacos a lot recently, as well. It has been good, but the bloom is off the rose. (That is a saying, right?) And I am tired of hot dogs, too. They have been my default "I-don't-feel-like-cooking-or-salad-meal recently. I ma tired of hot dogs.)

Now that I thought of BBQ, I cannot get it out of my head. I may have to suffer with "heat and eat" but things could be worse. I could be forced to cook for real.

Chuck (Jan 30)

We have gotten adicted. Gotta have a new series to watch. (Thanks A LOT for suggesting this one, DS! Now we don't get anything done.)

Super Spies, Super Computer, a Best Buy knock-off as a set, and Adam could that go wrong? I think Ellie and Awesome are my favorite characters (besides Chuck, Sarah, and Casey.)

DH says he doesn't think it is written by nerds. The nerds on the show are too cliched, he says. He may be right. He may be in denial. I do believe we went to college with some of these guys.

TV watching doesn't go the same way here as it does for most of you. All my watching is done on-line, so if a show is not brand new I get sucked into watching episode after episode, much like have a season on DVD (which is also done around here.) Things settle down to watching once a week only when we have caught up to current shows.

Rather than an 18 hour slob fest we have decided to keep it to 3 episodes a night. It draws out the fun and allows other things to get done. (I did a couple of 18+ (do not ignore the +) runs to get up to speed on Ghost Whisperer. Can you say "Jumpy?" Half the reason I stayed up through the night to watch was that I was incapable of going to bed and trying to sleep, even with the lamp on. The other half was that the story really drew me in. (Still hooked btw. Do you watch? Do you think Sam/Jim is really gone?)

Well, DH needed a quick nap after work. It is about time for Chuck. See ya'!

Today's photo - My Dad and Grandad (his father-in-law) sitting near the fireplace at a family gathering. Dad is usually off on the side at a Mom's-bunch gathering. I do not know why Grandaddy is. he is usually right in the center of everything.