Monday, December 28, 2009

To be continued . . .

This was originally a mobile post that came out all wrong, so I'm just correcting the error, but I'll still keep it to re-creating the original mobile post:

Texting, emailing, mobile blogging, Blackberrying, iPhoning, and all similar handheld habits are the new smoking cigarettes.  This is the real reason that college smoking statistics have gone down - no one in college needs to smoke to kill time anymore!  Discuss.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I finished the month of November with my NaNo word count at 51,246.  I'm a winner! 



It was a little close at the end, but I managed to hit 50K with about an hour and a half to spare last night.  Go me.  Winning NaNo this year feels a little bittersweet, though.  First of all because the book is not done.  But last year's wasn't completed in November, either, and in fact, despite winning NaNo a few days early last year, that book was no where near done at 50K words.  The final, completed first draft of NaNo 2008 is around 123,000 words.  Right now, One Constant (because at least this year's has a working title) sits on my flash drive at 51,246 words.  It's closer to complete than NaNo 2008 was at this point, but I'm far less happy with it, and far less excited about writing it or finishing it.  There are a number of chapters (like, four maybe?) that end with a few sentences of "notes to self" of where I'd like the rest of the chapter to go, but that I just got stuck when I was writing.  These last few chapters that I just wrote and that I'm about to write are going to be the best part of it, and that's disappointing - to know that I'm going to need to rewrite or rework most of what I've spent the last month toiling over to even make it decent.  *Sigh*  I think with another 10 or 20 thousand words, I can have a finished first draft to start tearing apart.  I don't want to start editing until I get beginning to end down on paper.  Of course, that's where I left off last year's, in what? February?  March?  I can get this one done much sooner than that, I think.  There's not too much left to write, and I already have entire conversations swirling through my head, so it shouldn't be too much to finish.

My monthly writing plans for the near future:
December: Finish first draft of One Constant and develop anothr idea for a novella to be written in January
January: Kiwi Writers New Year Novella Challenge - write and edit.
February: Spend all writing time for the month seriously editing NaNo 2008
March: Revisit One Constant for content, structure and style

Let's see how well I stick with this.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More fun IMDB trivia

I found another nugget on IMDB today.

Pamela Adlon, who plays Marcy Runkle on Showtime's Califionication, also provides the voice of Bobby Hill, the teenage son on Fox's King of the Hill.



For reals?!  Maybe these things are common knowledge for some (okay, probably not the Thundercats thing), but it's the little things that make me happy, and this is just one such little thing.  Using the term "cuppy cakes" instead of cupcakes is another.  Hi Curt.

And while I'm at it - Californication is a GREAT show.  I was not an X-Files fan, and therefore not a David Duchovny fan (the two go hand in hand, do they not?) prior to seeing this piece of brilliance.  And to this day, I haven't seen the first season but for a couple of episodes here and there, but I've now watched all of the episodes in season three twice.  So now I guess I like David Duchovny, but I have a TV crush on Hank Moody, his character on the show.  Recurring guest appearances this season by Kathleen Turner and Rick Springfield have been brilliant, and this season as a whole has caused me to adopt the word "church" as a term of agreement.  Adlon's character of Marcy is one of my favorites on the show; she reminds me of Susie Essman's Susie on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is another great show, by the way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random trivia for today

I was just playing around on IMDB and discovered a fabulous piece of trivia!

GUESS WHO composed the original Thundercats theme song.  James Lipton!  He's the dude that does Inside the Actors' Studio.  I get such a kick out of him and his dry sense of humor.




I will not get into how I came to discover this information, i.e. how I came to be on either James Lipton's or the Thundercats' IMDB page (I won't say which I was on), but I'm kind of excited to have learned this new piece of useless knowledge.

Have you learned anything useless today?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In2Books

This school year, I'm participating in a program called In2Books.  It's an online pen-pal reading program for kids in 3rd through 5th grade.  You can sign up on the In2Books website, which involves paying a $5 or $6 fee to cover the expense of a background check.  Once you have been cleared, you are assigned a pen-pal, or e-pal as they call them, who you immediately start corresponding with through the In2Books web interface.  Your responsibilities as an e-pal involve writing an introductory email to your student, and then reading five books, selected by the student, over the course of the school year, and exchanging discussion emails with the student about those books.  The emails are exchanged using the In2Books website, so there's no actual email addresses exchanged, and all emails are screened by the teachers in the classrooms before they are exchanged between the student and the e-pal.

My student is a 3rd grader in Washington state named Glory.  From her letters, she seems like a really sweet girl, and really excited about reading and writing about it.  We have some of the same favorite foods in pizza and broccoli, too.  We just read Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech, which was Glory's selection for the fiction unit.  I sent my email about it last weekend, and I'm expecting my letter back from her any day now.  It was a cute book about the dynamic nature of friendship, and it even inspired me to make chicken soup the other day.  The In2Books program has five units over the course of the school year.  We just did fiction, next is social studies, then there's biography, traditional tales, and science. 

This is a great program.  I love that it gets kids excited about reading, gets them to read thoughtfully and to write about what they read.  I love that it lets kids have discussions about what they're reading with grown-ups that are really excited to read with them, and who they only know because of their reading with them.  Unlike a parent or teacher or tutor, who read with them because it's their job.  Here, the kids know that their pen pal is really excited about reading with them, and is looking forward to reading the books and hearing what they think of them.  This is my first year participating, but I can foresee myself staying involved with it for years to come.

Adventures in Baking, Part one

Red Velvet Cuppy-cakes

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to make cupcakes this weekend.  I was torn between cupcakes baked in ice cream cones, some kind of filled cupcakes, and red velvet.  Had I decided on the cake-in-a-cone or filled cupcakes, I was planning to use a boxed mix, on the grounds that the act of baking them in a cone or filling them was unique and fun enough to justify not making them from scratch.  In the end, though, I decided that I truly wanted to bake something this weekend, and for me, that means from scratch.  So I went with the red velvet.  This is the recipe I used, thank you Cupcake Blogger, whatever your name may be.

 

They came out great!  Jimmy and I each ate one as soon as they were cool enough to put frosting on, and both agreed that they're delicious. He's not usually a fan of cuppy-cakes, either, so for him to say they're delicious is a pretty big deal.  My only criticism would be that they could stand to be a little more chocolatey, so I think next time I make them (and there will be a next time), I will use an extra tablespoon or so of cocoa.  I'm not sure how much this'll change the consistency or anything (I'm totally not a baker), but I'm going to do it anyway.

I also didn't use cream cheese frosting.  Red velvet cupcakes are so rich and heavy as it is, I just didn't see the need to up the decadence level any more by slathering them with cream cheese frosting.  So, while I baked them from scratch, I then used spray Cool-Whip to frost them.  Honestly, they don't even need frosting, they're so moist and delicious as they are, but what's a cuppy-cake without frosting?  Mom says she has a delicious boiled frosting recipe, so I'm going to snag that the next time I visit, and I'll actually make it and properly frost the cupcakes next time I make them.  For now though, spray-and-enjoy works just fine for me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gospel choirs

I believe that any artist that can pull off a performance with a gospel choir deserves respect, and has mine.  I hate to beat a dead horse and talk more on here about how much I love Jason Mraz, but his performance on Conan last night inspired this post.  Mr. A-Z performed Live High on Conan last night with a gospel choir, and it was great.  I just tried to find a video to link, but apparently I suck, because I couldn't.  Who else comes to mind when you think of non-gospel performers effectively bringing a gospel choir into their act?  U2, in Ratle and Hum - which was brilliant.  Jay-Z, I think?  Snoop?  It's not just rappers, either, there are plenty of others that I just can't think of because it's Friday night and I've had a few drinks.  Anyway, I love gospel music, but only live.  I mean, by live on TV, I still mean live, but I'm just not into gospel on CD or radio. Anyway, my respect for a musician doubles, if not more, if they're able to perform meaningfully with a gospel choir.  I'm just saying.  If you can find JM's performance on Conan last night, it's worth 5 minutes of your time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNo 2009



My 2009 NaNo Novel has not only a working title, but a .jpg to go with it.  I rule.  This .jpg might give away more than I care to about the plot, though.  I may keep playing with my new free photo editing website and make another one or two before I settle.

It's not YA anymore, by the way.  In case the picture didn't give that away.  I decided in the end that I couldn't handle the idea that I had before; it was just too personal.  There's going to be elements of that idea in this story, but I'm using this as a bit of a stepping stone to get myself ready to write that story next year sometime (maybe NaNo, maybe not).  For now, I just hope that the huge outline that I have thrown together works to help me keep writing, and doesn't hinder me or somehow constrain me.  I'm afraid that I'll feel bound by the outline.  Writing starts tonight at midnight, so we'll see how it goes.  My immediate goal is to get to get as close to 10,000 words as possible by bedtime Sunday night.  Really, if I can get to 5,000 by then, I'll be satisfied, but I'd love to hit 8K or 10K by the close of business on November first.

I made the .jpg smaller, for my message board signatures:




Monday, September 28, 2009

Random thoughts

This post is inspired by Mark Patinkin's articles in the Providence Journal this weekend.  I laughed out loud at both of them.

I hate my lunch today, but we had nothing in the house.  Salad with lettuce and tomatoes only and an english muffin with sugar-free jam, and a few fritos.  Boring.

Untoasted english muffins are just gross, and weren't meant to be eaten that way.  At all.

Does it still count as salad if it's just lettuce and tomatoes in a bowl?

I regret not buying the crumpets I had in my hand at the grocery store last week.

I love Cozy Shack rice pudding, but I very rarely purchase it because then it's more of a treat when I do.

I refuse to buy orange marmalade for my house, because then it takes some of the magic out of going out for diner breakfast.

Is it weird that I made a conscious decision not to bring any Cozy Shack with my paltry lunch today because eating it at work would ruin it?

I've been in a dark, moody and brooding mood for over a week now, and it doesn't appear to be getting much better anytime soon.

My new favorite dark, moody and brooding mood song is Bad Day by Fuel.  Conviently, on the Best of Fuel CD that I own, it's followed immediately by Last Time, which has prooved to be angry enough to help me out of the sad mood inspired by Bad Day.  It works out really well, I think.

I'm beyond excited about the fact that over the weekend, my name was picked in a drawing to win a free copy of this magazine:



I'm bummed that I don't have the equivalent of a "man town" to display it in.  I doubt it would go over well if I displayed it in my bedroom at home.  I guess it's relegated to my office.

I'm thinking of chopping my hair short and coloring it darker than it is.  But I secretly know that I'm too indecisive to do this just yet, and it's going to stay the same color and keep on getting longer for at least a few more months.

On Saturday afternoon, we mowed our lawn.  It took two of us all afternoon to get it all done.  Note to self - do yard work more often than once a month.

Fuel is a great band, by the way.

Sometimes I look back and feel like entire years of my life have disappeared from my memory.  Then I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I've never come to any conclusion on that point.

When I go to make my lunch for tomorrow, there's still going to be nothing in my house.  Actually, there will be less nothing than there was today, because we're out of lettuce now, too.

There's also nothing there for dinner tonight without some farily extensive cooking.  Guess who won't be home long enough to cook anything for dinner tonight?

A day without protein is like a day without sunshine

I wish I could quit my job and go back to college forever and just keep earning new degrees, but I don't want to be made to pay for any of this, and I never want to put any of the degrees to any practial, job-related use.  Specifically, I would like to start with an MBA with a focus in advertising and marketing, and a masters in meteorology.

I'd also like to do some more "studying" abroad.

Shutter Island just made the short list of the best books I've ever read.  There will be a separate post (with spoilers) about that in the very near future.

I shouldn't promise future posts like that, because I have a history of not following up.

Does it even matter?  Anything, I mean?

Friday, September 25, 2009

I have decided what I'm writing for this year's NaNoWriMo. I just hope I can handle it. It's going to be YA because I'm jumping on that bandwagon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Green Day has quietly remained a force in the music industry for a really long time now. I'm a bigger and bigger fan the more I think about that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

America's Next Top Model

I love this show.  I'm honestly addicted to it.  But somehow in 13 seasons of watching it - I still understand nothing about fashion or fashion photography.  Honestly, during the judges' critique every week, I can not stop giggling at how the judges describe and discuss the pictures. 

"Honestly, it's a great photo, but had you just sort of slumped forward a bit, but kept this face, it would have been an interesting photo."

If you've ever seen the show, you can guess which judge said this to someone this week.  Imagine it with a british accent.  I mean, c'mon.  What?  I'll never stop giggling at this kind of crap.  This show is one of many guilty pleasures I am addicted to.  Is it bad that almost every show I watch on TV, I consider to be a guilty pleasure?  I watch some ridiculous television shows.  This, 90210, I'm currently watching (on DVR no less) the first episode of the Vampire Diaries, and I'm looking forward to the season premiere of Nip/Tuck.  It's bad, but at least I acknowledge it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opposites and Lullabies

An old boyfriend once presented the theory that there are certain defining likes and dislikes that can predetermine the functionability of relationships.  Simply put - people who like olives always end up with people who don't.  The same goes for mint chocolate chip ice cream, for some reason.  I believe this might also be true of onions on salad; that way, the people who don't like them can happily give them to the people who do.  It just works out.  I can't explain the mint chocolate chip ice cream thing, but in my experience, it's completely true.  I think it's also possible to add something about alarm clocks to this list.  Those who need them and those who don't, or those who like them and those who don't.  I, for example will set four alarms when I know I need to wake up for something important.  I might set more of them if my cell phone would allow me to have more than three alarms in addition to my regular alarm clock.  My dear husband is generally able to remember to set the one, but that rarely matters because he normally doesn't hear it going off for 15 minutes anyway.  Conveniently, he married me, and I'm alarm clock-obsessed, so he doesn't usually have to worry about remembering his alarm.  People who are obsessed with alarm clocks end up with people who can't seem to hear them.  Discuss.

I will never be too old for lullabies.  There are a number of great lullaby-type songs in my iPod, and most of them have corresponding videos on You-Tube that I can play on my phone when I'm falling asleep at night.  Lullabies aren't just for kids; it's great to be sung to sleep at any age.  Here's my current favorite:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rent: The Broadway Tour


I saw this in Boston on July 25, 2009, and it was the best performance of Rent that I've seen aside from the one and only time I saw it on Broadway. That's easily explained by the fact that Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal are reprising their roles as Mark and Roger as played in the original Broadway cast. These lead roles were written for them, at least in part. More so for Anthony than for Adam, but no one can play them as well as these two, for sure. I was completely blown away by this performance.

That said, The show was at the Colonial Theater, which I had never been inside of. we had orchestra seats, right side, on the aisle, about 15 rows back. But holy cats, there's only about 30 rows in the orchestra at the Colonial! That theater is so small, it was amazing. It made the show feel so much more intimate, which I think is a great, great feeling for this show. And the sound! That was my biggest complaint last time there was a tour in Providence, last year, was that the sound was just off, somehow. But the sound was so clear and perfect at the Colonial - I don't know if it was a function of the small size of the theater, or just a better sound team on this tour, but wow. I haven't heard the show sound that good in years. Adam's voice has changed a bit since I saw him on Broadway 13 years ago (yikes, where does the time go!), but not in a bad way, and he is definitely the same Roger. I've never seen anyone put that level of emotion into Roger's character. Anthony Rapp's voice sounded just as crisp and clear as it always has, and the level of emotion and love he has for the show comes through in each and every performance he gives.

I fully expected to cry, and while the tears welled, I managed to hold myself together. The biggest tear-jerker in the show for me, is Collins' I'll Cover You Reprise in Act Two - in fact, just the line "When your heart has expired" in that song, especially as sung by Jesse L. Martin, can bring me to tears, but not this time. I love the actor who played Collins in all other respects, but I didn't feel as though he gave that song the level of emotion it needs. After this performance, Kid and I both agreed that we would lay off the show for a while, because we were feeling as though this amazing performance may have ruined all other tours for us. However, I just learned that this tour has added dates in Providence in November. While I don't think I can justify paying for full price orchestra seats again, I fully intend to wait for $20 student rush at least twice during the week-long run. I bet Kid will be right there with me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby Strippers

On the books in RI: anyone who's old enough to work and old enough to have a job, and old enough to consent to, you know, is old enough to strip. That means that you only have to be 16 to work in a strip club in RI. PS, in case you forgot, "indoor" prostitution is also legal in RI. Sin City my ass, welcome to RI. Right? Bill O'Reilly is doing a piece on this right now. The only law relating to this is that under-18's have to be home by 11:30 on a school night. I hate Bill O'Reilly, and like he does with everything else and his two blonde girlfriends, he's blowing this WAY out of proportion

I mean, this is a joke - the illegal prostitution thing is legit: for real, you can whore it up indoors all you want, you just can't sell it on the street - but the rest of this, about "children" working as strippers, this generally doesn't happen and it's truly the loophole in the law. These laws, in this very combination, have been on the books for AGES, and yes, the combination of them all in a given set of circumstances works out to make it technically legal for a 16 year old to work as a stripper, but no employer in her right mind would put a 16 year old girl to work as a stripper. This is one case that took years to come up. It's not as though there are scads of 16 year olds stripping all over the great state of RI. 1) We're a wicked small state, there are very few strip clubs; 2) I've been to half of them; 3) Bill O'Reilly is a D-Bag; 4) the VAST majority of girls working there are clearly much older than 20. Much older; 5) This is the exception to the rule, I promise; 6) Bill O'Reilly is a D-Bag.

I truly hope that this doesn't turn into a thing, because it's foolish that Billy O made an issue of it in the first place, and I hate that I justified him by writing this. Boo.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Student Loans (sigh)

I just looked at one of my student loan statements. They show up here every month, but I rarely ever actually look at them. But I somewhat remember signing up for some kind of "graduated payments," that would supposedly increase as my earning potential increased. Hmmm. So every now and then I like to take a look and see if the payments have gone up. I see that the money comes out of my checking account every month too, don't get me wrong, but I just never notice exactly how much it is, and since I don't know how much it's going to "graduate" by, I sometimes get concerned.

Well, how excited was I today when I looked at that statement and realized that 2 of the 4 loans that are consolidated into that account now have balances that are actually LOWER than the ORIGINAL LOAN AMOUNT! I realize that this shouldn't be so exciting, but interest builds on these accounts at almost more than I'm actually paying every month! How sad is it that it's so exciting for me to see that the balance has actually dropped below the original loan amount? It only took 4 effing years to get there!! And even then, it's seriously only by about $60.

AND, I realized that I just turned 30. I've been alive for 30 years. Coincidentally, the term of my student loan repayment is 30 YEARS. Do you know how loooooooooong that feels right about now?! Ugh.

Friday, June 26, 2009

FYI

It's one of those Friday nights . . .

I love mobile blogging. The random posts that have no titles and consist of about a text message worth of discussion are all mobile posts (please notice the post time of some of them . . .). Ideally, they're meant to be place holders; the plan is that I'm going to go back and write whole posts on those topics, but I'm beginning to wonder whether that will ever happen. Hence this post explaining the random Chinese food fortune posts or "discuss" posts. I'm getting there. In the mean time, please discuss amongst yourselves.

Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island . . .

The Nate Mott Band

Now playing: The Nate Mott Band - Would You Stop Falling

Add to the short list of regrets in my life the fact that in the two years that I've know Evan, I've never previously gotten into his band. Evan interned for me in the summer of 2007, after his first year of law school and again in the spring of 2009, to complete his community service requirement for graduation. He's the best intern I personally have had in the few years that I've been an attorney, and I know that he will be a fabulous lawyer (good luck on your bar exams this summer, Evan!).

That's not the point of this post. Evan plays bass for The Nate Mott band. I recently came across their website and MySpace page and discovered that they have a couple of albums available on iTunes. They're fabulous. They're sort of Sublime-ish, I guess - mellow, but funky. Lyrically, they remind me a little of Jason Mraz (enough, I know I have an issue, but really . . .) - just in the wit and creativity of the lyrics. They're catchy, and you will love them. Their music makes me want to shake my ass, and that is key to my acknowledgement of a good band. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
Now playing: The Nate Mott Band - Laugh Out Loud

It Might Kill Me

Now playing: Jason Mraz - If It Kills Me (From the Casa Nova Sessions) [Bonus Track]

I have a new favorite song of the week: Jason Mraz (surprise, surprise, it's all I listen to lately), If It Kills Me. Holy crap. Have you ever had the experience where you've heard a song a whole bunch of times, but then this one time when you hear it, you really hear it? We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. has these bonus tracks that are all live and/or acoustic. One of them is If It Kills Me (From the Casa Nova Sessions), and it's so perfect, it hurts. I'm not kidding - the regular studio version of this song is fucking beautiful, but this other version is un-fucking-believable. Here's the lyrics:

Hello.
Tell me you know now.
Yeah, you figured me out.
Something - gave it away
And it would be such a beautiful moment
To see the look on your face
To know that
Know that you know now
And baby that's a case of my wishful thinking
You know nothing
Cause you and I
Why, we go carrying on
For hours on and
And we get along much better
Than you and your boyfriend
Well, all I really want to do is to love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can't say it after all we've been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
Well, how long
Can I go on like this
Wishing to kiss you
Before I rightly explode
And this double life I lead
Isn't healthy for me
In fact it makes me nervous
If I get caught, I could be risking it all
Baby, there's a lot that I'll miss
In case I'm wrong
And all I really want to do is to love you
A kind much closer than friends use
But I still can't say it after all we've been through
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As the feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
If I should be so bold
I'd ask you to hold my heart in your hand
Tell you from the start how I've longed to be your man
But I never said a word
I guess I'm gonna miss my chance again
Well all I really want to do is love you
a kind much closer than friends use
But I still can't say it after all we've been through
and all I really want from you is to feel me
As this feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
If it kills me
I think it might kill me
And all I really want from you is to feel me
As this feeling inside keeps building
And I will find a way to you if it kills me
If it kills me
If it kills me
It might kill me.


Right? This song makes my heart hurt. It never used to, but the other day it was like all of a sudden I could hear the pleading in his voice in the acoustic version, and it hurt. It hurt just like it did the first time. This song completely brings to mind that new, unsure love feeling from high school and college - when you're so into someone, but you're just not sure if they're into you; if you're really just friends or if maybe there's something more there. Remember that feeling? Wasn't it wonderful? That's why I read young adult books, right there. God, that was a beautiful feeling. If It Kills Me portrays that feeling perfectly. Now I can't stop listening to it, and I almost want to cry every time I hear it. Again, the studio version is so, so beautiful, but it's the bonus track acoustic version that really hits me. Wow. Keep it up J; see you July 31.

PS - while we're talking about Jason Mraz - Butterfly is a hot song.

Now playing: Jason Mraz - Butterfly (From the Casa Nova Sessions) [Bonus Track]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Puppy Love

So, this is a little delayed, but we got a dog last week! He's a smooth fox terrier, and his name is Murphy McLovin.

He's very sweet and very friendly and very, very hyper. But we love him for it.


----------------
Now playing: Styles of Beyond - Be Your Dog

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chinese food fortune: From now on your kindness will lead you to success.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Brontes were the original chick lit. discuss.

24 Hours of Le Mans

I'm not into cars. I'm not into auto racing. At all. However, about a month ago, I watched a documentary by NFL Films called Truth in 24, about the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that takes place at Le Mans every June. I was just reminded of this as I was thinking about Audis. The documentary is basically about Audi Motor Sports' teams and cars, and their road leading up to the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It was fabulous. And I'm absolutely not just saying that because Jason Statham narrates (I swear. We all learned from my earlier post about that God-awful Dungeon Siege movie that there are some thing that even Jason Statham does that I simply can't tolerate.). No, this was really very good. I couldn't shut it off, and I've been recommending it to people, and have begun watching it at least 2 more times. I completely recommend it; it's been on ESPN and Speed Network lately, and you can download the whole thing for FREE on iTunes.

This race is so fascinating to me. It really is the epitome of auto racing. These cars run, at upwards of 200 miles an hour sometimes, for over 24 hours straight. The best of the best of all engines in the world show up to challenge themselves and the rest of the best. The race was this past weekend. It was televised on Speed Network. I used to have Speed Network, but we changed our cable package, and now we don't have it anymore. I was so bummed when I found this out on Saturday morning when I went to turn on race coverage. I mean, it's not like I was going to watch it for 24 hours or something, but I did plan to at least check in now and then, and to watch the beginning and end of the race. So bummed. Anyway, I'm not going to ruin the movie by commenting at all, but I'll just report that Peugeot won this year's race, and finished second. Audi lost two of their three cars to an accident and mechanical troubles fairly early on, and their third car, under Kristensen's lead, finished a long third, 50 miles behind the leading Peugeot.

Good times; exciting stuff. Watch the movie, if you have the chance.

EDIT 6/26/09 - I'm not into cars? Not in a technical sense, I suppose, but really? A nice, high-end sports car is real, real hot. German engineering, what? I'm just saying . . .

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Theme Songs

While I finished the first draft of my novel a few weeks ago, the ending was still sort of hanging out there - it was done, but not done-done, if that makes sense. I sort of knew how it was ending, but I couldn't put it into words or make it happen the way that it needed to. Until last week, when it just clicked in my head while listening to Jason Mraz's song You and I Both on my way home from work. I was happily singing along at the top of my lungs with the windows open and the music blaring, as I've been know to do, when the words really sunk in. Since then, I've had trouble shutting that one song off. I literally cannot hear it enough, and it makes me smile ear to ear every time I hear it. That song is Sarah and Brady's theme song. Beginning to end, every word speaks to their relationship. To a T. It's just a Brady kind of song, too - the whole sound of it fits his personality. It floors me to think of what a perfect fit it is. Anyway, so once I realized how perfect that song was, I was able to sit down and bang out the ending - I actually outlined the details and highlights of the last chapter while I was sitting at the bar waiting for friends to get there last week. Cliche, right?

So, then another day last week, also on the way home from work, windows open, music blaring, happily singing along at the top of my lungs, I had my iPod on shuffle and Evanescence's Bring Me to Life came on. And holy crap, if that song isn't a theme song for Sarah and Jason and for the book as a whole, I don't know what is. It's a nice juxtaposition of sounds, I think, between this and the Jason Mraz song, which also fits the relationships in the book. None of this will make any sense without reading the book or at least knowing the story line, I know, but I just wanted to write about my excitement. Clearly, it's chick lit, and there's a bit of a love triangle involved surrounding Sarah and Brady and Jason. Maybe if you listen to the songs, it'll give you a feeling for the book; maybe if you're lucky, you'll be the next one to get an email draft to read for me. Check 'em out below.

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Now playing: Jason Mraz - You and I Both
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Now playing: Evanescence - Bring Me to Life

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Conan's new gig

I just came across this livejournal blog about Conan O'Brien's new set for the Tonight Show. In summary, it demonstrates that it looks like Conan's new monologue set (the blue, patterned wall backdrop) is modeled after a level of Super Mario Brothers. It's genius, and there is a rumor that Conan is going to talk about it on tonight's show. This is all you really need to see:


I love Conan more now that I've seen this than I did last night when he and Andy Richter did the updated "In the Year 3000" sketch and Conan said:
"In the year 3000, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook will merge to create one super-giant time wasting website called YouTwitFace."
That, my friends, is comedy gold. I love Conan and I love the new Tonight Show.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 2009 MTV Movie Awards

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Now playing: Eminem - We Made You

This show was fantastic. In a way that no MTV awards show has been fantastic in a very long time. For real, the MTV Awards shows have sucked it up the past few years, both the music awards and the movie awards. But this Movie awards show was fabulous. Some highlights (spoilers if you haven't seen it yet - DVR and all that):

ANDY SAMBERG, Andy Samberg, and Andy Samberg. Holy cow, he is hi-LAR-ious! I was a fan before, but he was just such a fun and refreshing host, I have become an even bigger fan in the past 2 hours. Love him. From the intro movie montage sequence right through the very ending, he rocked. I guess it should be mentioned here that the montage of SNL digital shorts was fabulous. And all of the making fun of Twilight was great too. I understand that he was not the sole vision behind writing this show, but only a part of it, however - the whole production was great, and had a distinctly SNL feel to it, and I have to think that he had a lot to do with it. Anyway, I think Andy Samberg alone is the reason this show was better than the last few years worth of Movie and Music awards, and I applaud him for that. Go Andy!

(And while I'm on that topic - SNL is great again. There have been only two periods of SNL that have ever interested me enough to watch before, and I wasn't even really around for the first one. You know, the John Belushi/Steve Martin era? I was born in '79 folks, I missed that the first time around - but syndication is a beautiful thing, and I celebrate that period of SNL wholeheartedly. The other was the Adam Sandler/Chris Farley era in the late 90's and early 00's. You know you loved it. And again now - Andy Samberg, Seth Meyers, and company have brought SNL back to life, IMO. Give it a try, if you haven't already)

Anyway, SACHA BARON COHEN and EMINEM?!?!?! I think it was all staged - Borat was meant to fall on Em from the second he strapped into that harness, but Em knew nothing about it as far as I could see. He was downright pissed and it was great. I can only hope that Eminem will have an epiphany (One-Minute Writing prompt word from last week - it has showed up in my day-to-day conversation for days!) along the lines of Kanye after the gay fish thing on South Park. We can only hope.

But Eminem's performance was awesome. I haven't really been into him lately, which is maybe evidenced by my reference to him needing a Kanye-style intervention, but I love this new song. I bought the album tonight as I was watching the show. Reviews to follow in a later post.

BEN STILLER!!!! I'm such a Ben Stiller fan, going back God-only-knows how long, and the whole montage of his work was an awesome reminder of how wonderful he truly is. He didn't look great, and the intro to his big award (Zac Efron and Keifer Sutherland) was obnoxious, but DAMN are his movies funny. I adored the montage of his work and watched it more than once.

KINGS OF LEON were fabulous, as they always are. I think I'm going to go see them this summer. I wanted to before, just because I like them, but I've never seen a "live" performance on TV (does that make sense, "live" on TV? I think the quotes make it work), and I thought they were even better live (which potentially says a lot in the age of Auto-Tune. Or do they use Auto-Tune on awards shows too?). Their performance was similar to hearing their CD, honestly, but I don't know - their sound is just so, so interesting; complex and layered, and they reproduce that sound so completely and excellently on stage, it's fabulous. I love them. And the golfing commercial? Great.

LASER CATS! Okay, they weren't laser cats, they was more like Mr. Bigglesworth, but it SHOULD have been a Laser Cats skit. That was one thing missing from this show - Will Ferrell in a Laser Cats skit would have been perfect. Keyboard cat was not even a close second.

THE ONE EPIC FAIL of the night, however, was the "Congrats to this year's best villain, Heath Ledger" afterthought. Are you serious? I mean it's one thing that he died before the film even came out, but you're going to put so much of this awards show into effing Twilight and then barely acknowledge how brilliant Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker was? That, my friends, was a travesty. I almost missed it when I went to ffwd the DVR. I hope that everyone I know has seen The Dark Knight. It was fantastic, and Heath Ledger stole the effing show.

At the end: I'm a fan of Denzel Washington, I really am. He's a class act and an excellent actor.

Don't get me wrong - most of the actual awards were all wrong, it's the production and the show that I truly enjoyed. As much as I'm a Twilight fan, it should NOT have won all of the awards that it did. I voted for the awards this year (GREAT procrastination material, FYI), and I'm not sure I voted for Twilight for a single one. I'm a fan, but I fully acknowledge that the film was JUST NOT THAT GOOD. I don't think it was nominated for a single Oscar, and there's a very good reason for that. Guess what it is. Ugh, even I was sick and tired of Twilight after an hour. But that aside, I thought the show was great, and I encourage MTV to stick with this fabulous formula on a going forward basis. Or at least hire Andy Samberg as lead writer for all awards shows in the future.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I have a new fiction idea about a high school outcast who acts out publicly without anyone ever knowing it was him . . .

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I won, I won!

My haiku response on The One Minute Writer the other day was chosen as the writing of the day! I'm proud and honored to add the winner button to my sidebar.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Haiku Day!

I'm not sure just why,
but today is haiku day.
But only for me . . .

Emails to Jimmy,
One-Minute Writer response,
All written this way.

One-Minute Writer
Asked for a homework excuse
This is what I wrote:

"I wrote a haiku.
That wasn't the assignment?
Better luck next time."

I thought it was cute.
Now it's your turn to share one.
Please post a comment.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

High school cafeteria politics. discuss.

New Garden = win!

It's all done! I managed (with some help) to get it all done yesterday before the rain started for the rest of the week! There's two place-holder pots there right now, where I'm going to put a balloon flower from Gina and another peony bush, but I don't even have those yet, so I can still say I'm done. I need to take pictures with something other than my phone so that I can post them. While I sometimes feel slightly technologically advanced, I have yet to reach the point where I know how to get the pictures from my phone to the computer. I still have some other planting to do, but not there, that garden is DONE!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gardening update

Despite the on and off rain on Saturday and Sunday, we managed to get a fairly significant amount done on my new garden this weekend. If we hadn't both been hung-over messes today, maybe we could've finished it, since it was so beautiful out today. But alas, I was a bum all day. Anyway, we got everything out of the old bed and delivered the two holly bushes to Bill's house around the corner. I have a ton of lilies that are sitting in a bucket waiting to be re-planted, and the ugly bush is out at the curb, waiting for me to tie it up properly for the trash men. God, that thing was awful. We also managed to put scalloped brick edgers in around the border, which was a surprise add-on project because J wanted a nice neat edge, since the garden is likely going to be a bit unruly. I also started raking through the dirt that's there, getting out the huge rocks and the roots, but I haven't finished that job yet. Once that's done, I just need to mix in the new soil and then I'm ready to plant! Hopefully I can at least have it ready to plant - if not partly planted - by this time tomorrow. We'll see.

In other gardening news - I did manage to get the four tomato plants (2 grape, 2 cherry) and all the basil into pots on the deck. I think I'm going to have to split the basil, though - it's too much in the two pots it's in right now - I know it's going to be too big. I also got all of the impatiens into the big buckets under the deck - they're going to look great when they fill in. And I put snapdragons in the milk cans on the front steps and behind the mailbox, but they're so not working in either place, so I'm going to move them and replace them with impatiens too. Other than my new garden, then, I still need to move the snapdragons and plant impatiens in their place, and I need to plant the dahlias around the light post and the mailbox. Good times!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I went plant shopping yesterday. I bought a bunch of flowers for my new "English country garden,"and some tomatoes and basil and a few annuals for the front yard. Today, I was planning to hang a load of laundry outside in the sunshine before running out to get a few more pots for the tomatoes, some fresh, fertilized soil, and a peony bush holder, and then I was going to remove holly bushes and start planting my new garden. Except I woke up today to everything grey - it's pouring out!! I guess it's inside project day instead of outside project day. Bummer.

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Now playing: Guster - What You Wish For
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It might really be done . . . I may have really just finished writing a novel. And I have no idea how to handle that.

Oh. Emm. Gee.

I mean, I know that's an absurd title for a post, but I have no words.

My personal "you, yes, you" just received her very own first draft . . .

I have now officially sent 80-ish pages to one soul. Yup - one person, other than me, has permission to look at it. . . The novel is 250+, and I sent the first 80-ish out, but I'm now terrified . . .

And truly, I hope that no one else reads this and feel slighted for not being "you, yes, you" for the first installment - I can't explain the decision, it only made sense to me . . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The One Minute Writer

I'm such a fan of this blog. Every day, it provides a quick prompt to get you to write something, and asks that you spend a minute responding. Literally, one minute. It even has a 60 second timer for you. I've never left my responses in the comments there, but I do write the responses sometimes - not every day like I should, but sometimes. It's a nice little way to get you to be creative and thoughtful for at least a minute a day. I added a button link in my sidebar, so it will always be accessible from here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Violent?

Netflix just gave me a category of recommendations that I've never seen before. The category was "Violent," and was based on my interest in "visually-striking violent crime movies." Really? Is this something people should be concerned about, do you think? Hmmmm . . .

[TITLE]

I'm exhausted and drained again this past week. It occurred to me at some point last week that June 1 is right around the corner. The once far-distant deadline for redeeming my "prize" of a free paperback proof of my novel is now looming under two weeks away, and alas, the book remains incomplete. My plan was to have something completed and at least semi-edited done by May 31 so that I could at least say I did it, and after again looking over the now 250 page, 111,000 word document, it's already semi-edited, cause I've been doing that all along. I realized then, last week, that I just need to bang out another 2 or 3 chapters, and I can call it done and redeem my prize. So I'm back to staying up late and not doing much around my house and being scatterbrained whenever I'm not sitting at my laptop, thinking/daydreaming about Jason and Sarah and Brady (who is now on his 4th name, btw), and it's exhausting. I do think I added some depth to the story yesterday, though, which is really sort of a breakthrough for me and my shallow smut. And this is saying nothing of the fact that I remain title-less and cover graphic-less at this point, with no real intention of thinking of something before I send this off to print (if something comes to me, great, otherwise, the cover will resemble Catcher in the Rye, only with something like [TITLE] written in the center). So please pardon my temporary ADD until after June 1. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Put it in your blog

This is like one of those silly FB games where you fill out the survey and post it and then everyone else does it too. But this one is for blogs. Just change the things you're already done to bold. It doesn't get much more random than this, folks.


1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not sick.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to truly be satisfied.
38. Seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served in a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Been to the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the paper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had Chicken pox.
89. Saved someone's life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Good times.

A Clockwork Orange: The Book

Spoilers ahead.


I'm going try really hard to keep this post about only the book. I'll do a separate one about the movie and comparing the two after I watch it again later this week. It's been years.

So, this book nearly jumped off the shelf at the library last week. I had never read it, despite being a HUGE fan of the movie when I was younger. So I picked it up. It's considered a classic, which may come as a surprise if you've seen Kubrick's movie, but after reading it, I can completely understand why. It's the story of a teenager, Alex, and his band of droogs, who spend their nights wreaking havoc on the streets, drinking, smoking, beatings, rape, murder, all just for fun. A bit of the ultraviolence, if you will. Eventually he gets arrested and goes to prison after he pisses off his friends and they leave him behind to get caught at the scene of a breaking and entering where Alex has just beat an old woman to death.

While in prison he is enrolled in an experimental procedure to attempt to "cure" him of this ultraviolence using a Pavlovian technique that leaves him ill at the mere thought of perpetrating violence, or hearing his beloved Beethoven, or any other classical music, which he so enjoys prior to the experiment. After being "cured" and released, he stumbles into the hands of a political coup, who attempt to use him as an example to overthrow the current government. After a failed suicide attempt (jumping out the window to escape the classical that's being pumped into the room he's otherwise locked into) lands him in the hospital, he is then treated for the after effects of the Ludovico treatment, returning him back to his ultraviolent state of mind.

Whereupon the original American version of this book ends, leaving the reader with the slightly conflicting emotions that oh good, Alex is no longer behaving as a "clockwork orange," his free will has been restored, the poor dear child has been set to right, and oh shit, but Alex's free will and sound mind leaves him in search of the ultraviolence, and now he's being put back on the street to commit more rape, murder and mayhem. In the original Original version, there is another chapter, wherein we find that while Alex has been set back to his right mind, that being with a tendency toward ultraviolence, his heart is no longer in it. He's very much in charge of his new group of droogs, him now being the oldest and wisest, but he tends to just give orders ad watch them being carried out, no longer feeling the need to participate. After running into one of his old droogs in a cafe, sharing coffee with his new wife, Alex realizes that maybe it is time to grow up after all, and maybe this ultraviolence is for the kids, and was just a phase that he is now over. Growing up and looking to settle down with a wife and children, Alex heads home to bed, sworn off the ultraviolence for good. All he really needed in terms of "treatment" was some time to grow up and make the decision for himself.

This last chapter changes everything, does it not? So why was the 21st chapter originally left off in the American version? Because the American publisher felt that Americans would relate more and appreciate the story more if it left you with the sense that more mayhem was to come. Believed that Americans wouldn't enjoy the story with the ending that the Author wrote, the ending that leans toward hope and gives a feeling of growing up and coming of age, if you'll pardon the use of that term. WTF? I fully understand why Kubrick chose to make his film using the 20 chapter version instead of the 21 chapter version, but more on that in another post, as I said. But I don't think the book is a classic without that last chapter. In fact, I'll say it here, and probably again in the movie post, but I don't think the film would have received the critical acclaim and award nominations that it did if it had included the last chapter, and at the same time, I don't think the book would be the literary success that it is if that last chapter had never been written.

Burgess developed his own slang for this book. It's mostly a cross between Russian and British cockney rhyming slang, often spelled phonetically, with a little bit of school-boy talk thrown in. It takes some getting used to the language, but once you get used to it, the book really is so very good. It's funny how the book involves some level of brainwashing, and by writing this way, the reader is brainwashed into learning this Nadsat language he's created. I've even found myself using words here and there for the past few days. And I've talked to other people who've had the same experience. It's brilliant. This book is brilliantly written, perfectly put together and a fantastic read. One of the absolute best I've read in a very, very long time. I've been thinking about it for days. A book that can make me think for days goes on a very special list for me. I have favorites and I have favorites, and this has just landed among the latter. Read it, if you haven't already.

Stay tuned for another post about the film later this week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I just realized over the weekend that Ash Roth's new album, Asleep in the Bread Aisle, dropped last week, on 4/20, fittingly. I downloaded it yesterday, and after just one listen, I'm into it. I think his mixtape from last year is easier to get into because most of the beats are recognizable right off the bat, but the new album is good. I like Ash a lot for his rhymes - as juvenile and ridiculous as they can be at times, they're thoughtful overall. I'm really glad to see that The Lounge made it onto the album; that was one of my favorites from the mixtape. Asleep in the Bread Aisle is available on iTunes for only $7.99. Pick it up.

Friday, April 24, 2009

75 books in 2009

I just added a new badge to my sidebar, proclaiming my participation in a challenge to read 75 books in 2009. I've never kept track of how many books I read, or which books I read, for that matter, but I'm trying something new this year. It's kind of neat to keep track. Again with the FB I'm Reading App thing - I've been adding mini-reviews, if only for myself, each time I finish a book, including the date that I finish. Initially, when my internet book club was setting up these challenges, I unofficially decided I'd aim for 50 books in 2009. There were people challenging themselves to 25, 50, 100 and 200 books over the course of this year. Now, put some thought into that - there's 52 weeks in a year. So 200 books in a year is about 4 books a week. That's crazy talk in my world. Having never kept track of my reading before, I figured, sure, a book a week is probably about average for me, I can swing 50. But a few weeks ago, when I was at 18 books by late March, I realized that 50 wasn't going to be much of a challenge, so we did some re-configuring and a few of us decided on 75. I now know that I do not average 2 books a week, for the most part, so 100 is probably not going to happen. In fact, today I started and read most of my 23rd book for the year, but a large part of that is because I've been reading a lot of YA stuff lately, and it all reads so fast. Anyway, I will start posting updates on my progress in the sidebar. Good times.
Success. I seem to have just turned my blog into a Twitter. Weird.
Testing out mobile blogging. This could be interesting . . .

Crank: Book of the day #2


I've been reading a lot of young adult stuff lately, and enjoying most of it, but nothing as much as Crank by Ellen Hopkins. The book tells the story of 16 year old Kristina/Bree's descent into the world of meth addiction and all of the sordid details that go with it. Crank is written in verse, which really brings out the depth of the story. The writing is fantastic, and the verse style bring a feeling of swirling and tumbling with the words and with Bree/Kristina as she suffers the highs and lows of her addiction. It's fast paced, gets into the story immediately, and doesn't let up until the final page. I read it in under a day, and I recommend it to everyone.

I've always enjoyed stories like this, the teenage drug diary genre, if you will; The Basketball Diaries was a favorite of mine in high school, and I've gone through a number of others over the years. But I don't think I've found any to be quite as powerful as this one. Maybe because Kristina is such a normal, above average girl, who just finds herself in a certain place at a certain time, and gets sucked into it before she really knows how or why. I think it has a lot to do with the writing and the verse style of it, too. It's just so well told.

One review I read before I read it compared it to Go Ask Alice - the prototypical teenage drug diary of the 70's, which I had never read. After reading that review, I picked up both Crank and Go Ask Alice, and after finishing Crank yesterday, I'm about 2/3 through Go Ask Alice now. Maybe it's the time frame that's doing it, but I'm not enjoying Go Ask Alice as much. It might be a little more disturbing than Crank, sure; Alice is involved in all sorts of drugs, she's a runaway, her first trip was slipped in a soda without her consent. But, Crank is just more modern, more recent, more relevant - for me, anyway, but for the times, really. I can relate to it better - to the extent that I can relate to a 16 year old meth addict at all, but you get my meaning. I think it's a great book, and I hereby recommend it to all.

Without You: Book post of the day #1

I don't post about books very often any more, but I've read a few lately that are totally worth posting here. Since I'm home alone and sick on a Friday night, this is how I'm spending it. I slept all afternoon, and there's only so much couch lounging one can do. Incidentally, if you ever care about what I'm reading, I use the Facebook App conveniently called "I'm reading" to keep track of my books, so if you're my FB friend, just grab that app, and you'll be able to see my books. If you're not my FB friend, why not?


Okay, book number one: Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss and the Musical Rent, by Anthony Rapp. I'm a Rent-head, and I always have been. I've seen the show something like ten times now, on Broadway, in Boston and in Providence, over the past thirteen years. Anthony Rapp, for those who know the show, was the original Mark Cohen both in the workshop productions of Rent and then on Broadway, as well as in the original London and Chicago casts, and a couple of touring casts and in the film. For those who don't know the show, Anthony Rapp played the nerdy blonde guy in Dazed and Confused - you know the one that hung out with the chick with the crazy red hair? Yup, that's him. He was also the boy being babysat in Adventures in Babysitting - I know you remember him now.

While I knew about the history of the show before reading this book, hearing it from his perspective put it in a whole new light and gave me a whole new appreciation of the show and the people involved in it. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I recognize that's a big statement, but I stand by it here. Rapp discusses the phenomenal effect that Jonathan Larson and Rent have had on his life, and truly, the effect that he and other cast members and production staff have had on the show. If you don't know the history of the show, here's a Cliff's Notes version: Jonathal Larson was a struggling writer/musician living in the East Village when he wrote Rent. A number of principal characters, and the play as a whole really, are based on his friends and his life. He saw the initial success that the show had in a first round of workshops, and was thrilled with the very idea of the play being produced at all. Jonathan Larson, then 35 died suddenly of an aneursym on the eve of the preview if the New York Theater Workshop production, making the great success that the show had experienced bittersweet, to say the least.

But this is truly a memoir, and is about so much more than just the time that Rapp spent with Rent - his writing is fantastic as he tells the stories of his life - from discovering his sexuality and some of the trials of his early relationships, to his mother's battle with cancer and its effect on him. He writes with a confessional honesty, a brutal, no-holds-barred approach to the truth, both the external, factual truth and the internal truth of his feelings and emotions during these challenging and trying points in his life. A number of times as I was reading, I found myself shaking my head saying "wow" out loud to no one in particular. Truly a fantastic book.

My one caveat about this book is that if you haven't seen the show, and you disapprove of spoilers, stay away. You will learn a lot about the touching and poignant history of Rent, and about the music and story of the play and the amazing people and stories that surround it, and the ending is discussed. Fair warning. This book is a must read if you're a fan of Rent, but even if you're not, it's just a great book; one of the best I've read, for sure.

As a side note - Rapp is touring with Rent this summer, along with Adam Pascal, who played Roger Davis on Broadway, and won a Tony for that performance. The tour schedule, along with other information about the show is available here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Snakes on a Plane

I love this film. It came out a few years ago, but it has caught my attention again recently because a) it's on TV this weekend, and b) because of this article. I literally laughed out loud when I saw the article, and was blown away by the fact that the article didn't even mention the movie.


It's on TV this weekend, but you know that's going to suck. Truly, I should own the DVD, preferably on Blu-Ray. Snakes on a Plane in HD? It can't possibly get much better than that. Unfortunately, I looked into purchasing the Blu-Ray, and it isn't available yet. I hope that they will make it, though. Until then I may need to just give in and purchase the regular DVD. I went to see it in the theater when it came out. I'm such a fan. I think Snakes on a Plane is a new classic. Plus, I adore Samuel L Jackson and the middle initial thing he has going on.

Trivia:

1) SLJ's line about the MFing snakes on the MFing plane wasn't even in the script, nor were most of the classic lines and scenes. They wrapped principal photography and then 6 months later went back and shot for 5 more days to put in a lot of that stuff because all of the blogs and message boards had sprouted up on the internet making fan-trailers and spoofs. So before the movie was even done, it was a cult classic and fans were helping write it. (One of the best such websites, and one that sort of sums up the whole fan-dom that came with this film is Snakes on a Blog. It's great.)

2) SLJ's agent told producers that they had to change the name, because SLJ couldn't work on a movie with such a ridiculous title. Producers were willing to change it. When SLJ found out about this he flipped out and said, "no, we're changing that title right back to Snakes on a Plane - that's the only reason I took this job, was because of the title."

I am a wealth of useless Snakes on a Plane knowledge. Very nice. If you have not seen this film, please do yourself a favor and go rent it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Christian Bale remix

This is totally win. Everyone's heard about the whole thing with Christian Bale flipping out on the director of photography on the set of Terminator Salvation. I haven't seen a video of it, but I've heard the audio, and it's pretty severe, and I'm a fan. I like Christian Bale's work. Anyway, I just found this remix techno song using his rant on YouTube, and it's fabulous. I think I want it on my iPod. I dedicate this to everyone who has pissed me off in the past year. (Warning: explicit content).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spiritual Rez


These guys opened for George Clinton & P-Funk at House of Blues in Boston last night. They were already on when we got in, and I really regret missing the beginning of their set. They describe themselves as "a 7-piece reggae horn funk dance party," and that pretty much suits the bill. They're from Boston, and it's always great to support local music. You can hear in their sound how much of an influence bands like P-Funk are for them, so I'm sure it was HUGE for them to open for George Clinton last night. I'm psyched for them, and really jazzed about them, so I feel the need to spread the word. Check them out!

I just bought their independent EP, which is available on iTunes or through their website, and it doesn't entirely do their live show justice. According to their website, though, they're planning to put out a live album this summer. Plus you can download live stuff on their website, too. And fortunately, there's a few videos on YouTube. Here's one, but please, do yourself a favor and check these guys out and go see them if you ever have the chance:


George Clinton at long last


I've wanted to see George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic for as long as I've know who George Clinton was, and that's going back awfully far. He used to play in Providence almost annually, or it seemed that way at the time anyway, but I somehow never made it to a show until last night. Last night's show was George Clinton & The P-Funk All-Stars at the brand-spanking new House of Blues in Boston.

First off, I'm a fan of everything about the House of Blues in the first place, but I had never actually been to one until last night, and the club completely met my expectations. I really like it there. It's small enough to have a nice, clubby feel to it, but big enough to hold a pretty good crowd, and I'm not sure there's a bad "seat" in the house. The only actual seats are along the first balcony in front and in the upper balcony. We never went upstairs, though.

Now, the show itself. It was fabulous. There's a line in the Jimmy Buffett song Manana that says "Don't try to describe a Kiss concert if you've never seen it," and I've been reminded of that line a lot today when people have asked me how last night's show was. There is nothing I've ever seen that is quite like a P-Funk show. Watching George Clinton & P-Funk live is like watching a ringmaster with his circus. No joke. I don't think there's ever fewer than 12 people on stage, though which people they are is constantly changing, and at one point I actually counted and there were over 20 people on stage. George himself is like a conductor, and he is somehow able to make the audience a part of his band. With all those people, they are able to be so tight and so on, all the time, it's amazing. I think there were 7 or 8 guitars, including bass, two sets of keyboards and synthesizers, about a million singers, and George in the middle of it all. I've said it before, and I think it bears repeating here: I'm attracted to a lot of the music that I like because of the complexity - I like music with some depth, and I'm not sure it gets much more complex than the sound that P-Funk puts out. I danced my face off, and I can't wait to see them again. And again. And again.

House of Blues, apparently, closes at 1:00. When 1:00 rolled around last night, though, George wasn't done. In fact, he was in the middle of a song when a little after 1:00 the house lights came on and the mics and amps were unplugged. House of Blues unplugged P-Funk. Having never been to a P-Funk show before, I don't know how common this is for them, but everybody on that stage looked pretty shocked when it happened. So they started the crowd chanting "ain't no party like a P-Funk party, cause a P-Funk party don't stop," which after a while led into the crowd singing along to "We Want the Funk," and "Shit, hot damn, get off ya ass and jam." Needless to say, no one left the stage, and the crowd continued dancing until around 1:30 when we finally left. George and a lot of others were still on stage when we left, and the crowd was just starting to dissolve. It potentially went on for a while longer than that. So it was a really late night, but so, so worth it. I had so much fun. Here's a link to PrefixMag's pictures from last night's show.

The opener was a band called Spiritual Rez, and they absolutely kicked ass. But that's another post.