Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 Faves

Some of my favorite things from 2008-
*Tina Fey!
*BBC America original sci-fi programming
*David Tennant as Dr. Who
*Rachel Maddow
*Fringe (best new show on network TV)
*Jack Johnson (best CD of the year)
*Taylor Swift (why would Nashville execs think middle aged women wouldn't like this great, creative kid?)
*Iron Man
*Tropic Thunder (one of the funniest movies ever)
*Twilight - the movie
*Cloris Leachman (cool again and the only decent thing about a dismal DWTS season)

And there have been some irritants this year -
*Jonas Brothers (I know some critics say they are talented, but right now they just dress like poser alt artists, and why on earth did they attempt to remake Aha's perfection of Take on Me?)
*Breaking Dawn - the book (characters should evolve, but not change the essence of who they are - and just a weird story line)
*Katy Perry (overmerchandized, overplayed, and are all the bells and whistles to cover up a lack of talent?)
*Jennifer Aniston (yes, you are hot to be almost 40 - but please cover it up, shut up about the ex (we all know he was in the wrong), find a grown up to date, and be the powerful, talented grown up woman you should be instead of trying to act like you are half your age - too many women half your age look up to you and need to know you can be single and proud of who you are at age 38 without trying to act like you're in your 20s again) - yes, working with college aged women gets me fired up on this subject!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I live with three piggies

Yes, I live with three piggies. These people are eating me out of house and home. One would expect that from teenage Sonny Boy. Yet, tiny (but out of this world metabolism) little gymnast Princess out eats him most days. And how does a 54 year old man keep eating like he is half his age and not gain weight? It blows my mind.

Mom was down the other day and she is always kind enough to cook when she visits. Any cooking or cleaning is always greatly appreciated. She made a large pot of mashed potatoes, and full skillet of green beans, bread, and a huge crockpot of 10 chicken breasts with cream soup. Princess had 3rds that night. Sonny Boy and Hubby had huge heaping plates. Mom thought it would last for a couple days for leftovers - yeah, right. The last of it was in tupperware last night about 9:30 when I went to bed. I was in bed, sound machine going, lights out, thinking about my favorite tennis shot. Hubby comes in and says he just needs to get some socks. He leaves. He is back in a few minutes for something else, and then starts discussing what final present we should get Princess for Christmas. I also remind him he has less than 24 hours to give me a viable suggestion of what he wants or he has no say-so. He keeps talking, but at least the lights were out and he couldn't see that I was ignoring him, had my eyes closed, and was trying to sleep.

Our bedroom door was open, and the hall light was turned on. Then Sonny Boy is in the room, turning on the overhead light, and holding the tupperware with the last part of the leftover chicken. He asks if he can have it. "Go away, both of you!" I say. Then Hubby says, "No, that's my lunch for tomorrow." "But I'm starving and there is nothing to eat in this house!" (even though the pantry, cabinets, freezer and refrigerator are all full) They continue to stand beside my bed, lights on, pulling the tupperware between them and arguing over who can eat it. It's 10pm by now.

"Both of you go away now! I don't care what you eat - just turn out the light, close the door and let me go to sleep!!"

My life...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ridin' Dirty

Here I am in front of my beloved Nissan - purchased right out of grad school and lovingly driven for 16 years. I've never had a ticket (knock on wood), but apparently my car has been attracting attention lately. Two weeks ago, I was two blocks from home, on my way to work. I stopped (or thought I did) at a stop sign, right in front of a police car. I wondered why he was there - thought he might be visiting someone in the home. He followed me after I turned left and then flashed his lights after a couple blocks. I couldn't imagine why. Then the nice young man proceeded to ask me if I knew what a Missouri stop was - I had no idea. I guess in a stick shift, one does start to roll through stop signs and not realize it. I only received a warning (with my clean record), but it took a couple hours for my heart rate to go down.

Then last night, I was heading back from a tennis match in a different part of town and saw two police cars stopped. After I drove by (definitely under the limit), one car turned and followed me a couple blocks. Then the lights flashed. I guess I am becoming so experienced at this that my heart was used to it and the beats didn't increase at all. Another nice young man - turned out one of my headlights was out. I had no idea, but thanked him and he sent me on my way.

Now Hubby hasn't been that helpful. I called him after the first incident, to let him know that the police were really watching in our neighborhood and to make sure he didn't speed or pause at stop signs. He asked if I'd been pulled, and when I muttered "yes," he started laughing. I hung up the cell immediately. And then last night I called and said I needed him to go immediately to the auto parts store and purchase a right headlamp. He asked why, and I told him, and he started laughing again. I won't print what I said, but I said it, and then hung up on him again.

Sonny Boy thinks my car looks like I'm a wild teenager and that's why they're pulling me. I just hope this is the end. Guess I should drive the hated minivan more often.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alternate Life?

Sonny Boy has really been on it lately. He feels he is not meant to be an average teenage boy living in the Southern flatlands. He is meant to live in the mountains with snow from October - May. He is in reality a cool snowboarding dude. Life is so unfair - if only his father and I would find jobs in some appropriate place, he could live the true snowboarding life. He could be the next Shaun White. He could have enough money that he could totally forget school, and then he could ship me off to Spain or Scotland so that I would totally stay out of his unruly hair. It's so unfair!

Life's not fair, I tell him. No need to mince words in the attempt to be a smothering mother. If my life had been different, I would be a globe traveling tennis commentator after a rather successful tennis career (consistent top 20 player), and Carlos Moya would be inviting me to come to Majorca with him.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another fantasy bites the dust...

Any follower of this blog knows that Princess and I are avid watchers of Dancing with the Stars. She and I recently ran across a workout DVD (only $9!) for DWTS. Professional dancers Maks, Kym, and Ashley lead the workouts and they focus on 4 dances. One of them is the Paso Doble.

I normally don't go straight to sleep when my head hits the pillow at night. To keep myself from thinking about work or housecleaning that needs to be done, I try to think of fun, relaxing or enjoyable things. Numerous nights I imagined Maks teaching me to dance the Paso Doble. I would always be in a beautiful black and red dress with a huge flowing skirt. I owned that dance.

Well, instead of this workout video bringing to life one small fantasy, it's destroyed it. I stink at the Paso Doble. Then I thought I can at least move my hips (unlike Shannon Elizabeth), so perhaps the Cha Cha was my dance. Well, my right hip hurt a fair bit the next day.

I am even all the more impressed with Cloris Leachman now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Twilight - the Movie

I haven't been sure what to make about the huge fuss over the new Twilight movie. I enjoyed the series (well, at least until the last book when the character development got really skewed), and I was looking forward to the movie. Wow - has it created a stir.

Let's get this out of the way first - Catherine Hardwicke took a rather thin (but interesting) story line with little action and gave it gravitas. And instead of some bubblegum kids to star, she found real actors. This director and the two leads made all the difference in the world. This could have been as painful as A Cinderella Story, but it definitely was not. The visuals, pacing, interaction of characters, and intensity was very well done. It was a fun and intense ride. One could connect with the characters (even the vampires - I particularly liked Rosalie!). Okay - maybe the highly sought teen boy demo can't connect - but Sonny Boy can just keep seeing all the Adam Sandler movies he wants.

For the next movie (yes, there will be one after the first two weeks' take), let's hope they get more money for the FX. That could have been improved. And I am all for the story line being ramped up a bit. Overall, definitely a movie worth seeing, even if you have not read the books. My grade - B.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Hubby and I made it to the movies Saturday afternoon. I read movie reviews all the time (and wish someone would pay me to see movies and critique them), but it is oh so rare that I can actually see most of the movies about which I read. Daniel Craig has been a fave since Layer Cake, and Casino Royale was a truly engaging movie, Bond movie or not.

Quantum of Solace picks up just a few minutes after the ending of CR, where Bond's true love has betrayed him and then died. Bond discovers the betrayal is not so cut and dry as he might hope. His pursuit of justice initially lines up with Britain's, but it soon diverges and he is at a loss to find allies. Bond is a complete ball of rage, driven by an obsession to uncover the truth about his love's death and the forces behind it. His fury propells his body to move faster than his mind and heart. Hubby said the movie had too much action and he would have liked more character development (yes, I am actually from Mars and he is from Venus). The action was the character development (unlike the vast majority of movies where action is there simply because it sells, regardless of any plot development at all).

The storyline did feel like a conclusion to CR, but I'm fine with that. I know more will come and we will see this interesting character and his world continue to evolve. It was a limited scope as a movie, but as part of a franchise, it was still a good, solid movie. The surrounding characters were interesting, especially as counterparts for Bond and his vengeance. And has anyone ever imagined M as standing for Mother? Judi Dench is always brilliant.

Couple things I wish they would change. The theme song was absolutely awful - and I am a huge Jack White fan and like Alicia Keys as well. I would never have imagined that collaboration would turn out so poorly. And can we please get rid of the opening credits with Bond superimposed over female bodies? I felt like Roger Moore was about to make a cameo. This Bond incarnation is not just about the women, and the opening credits need to move beyond that.

Overall, good movie. My grade B.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Scott Avett sings

guess I am a Greensboro woman for the time being...

The Avett Brothers - Shame

Hubby and I had a wonderful Halloween - spent the evening with 7000 screaming Avett Brothers fans - great concert. It's no wonder those guys are so fit - not sure when I have ever seen so much energy from a band. And Edgy Mama - I was thinking about you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grimsley - Page game

Even though I still feel like a newbie to Gboro, I have heard of the intense Grimsley-Page high school rivalry. Hubby has taken Sonny Boy to the annual football games the past couple year. All four of us went Friday night in non-stop rain, wind, and greatly reduced temperatures from the day before. I was so grateful to the Booster moms who make sure they sell hot chocolate at those things.

The game was a bigger deal than I had envisioned. I know it's one of the biggest (if not the biggest) rivalries in the state. Even with the weather conditions, almost 5000 people were there. About a week before all parents had received a 3 page letter from the Principal detailing the events of Grimsley-Page week, and especially what was not tolerated. We also got the big automated call about the week. Friday morning (in the rain), Grimsley-Page alumni participated in the annual golf tournament. 280 participated and almost $30000 was raised, to be split between the two athletic departments. Wow. Scholarships were given as well.

I was an ice cube by the time I got home, even though I had dressed appropriately. Princess and I left a little early to go home and thaw out. Sonny Boy (who had insisted on only wearing his 2008 Grimsley-Page tshirt and a pair of shorts) came home a little after that. "I'm freezing!" He said. "Everyone thought I was an idiot!" I responded, "Well, do you think they were right?" (Before the game, I had tried my best to get him to at least wear a jacket - but you can't force a 14 year old who is bigger than you are to dress more appropriately). Sonny Boy just rolled his eyes and went straight to bed.

No one should be surprised that he was sneezing, coughing and congested over the weekend. And when he had to leave science class today to call a parent to pick him up because he now has a fever, his teacher said, "I'm not surprised. Saw you at that game Friday night."

Sure hope next year's game has better weather! And sure hope Sonny Boy might figure out that dressing appropriately for the weather might actually not be uncool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breaking Dawn - the review

In the summer, I posted about Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series - a juvenile fiction about vampires that I (along with millions of teen girls and their moms) became a touched obsessed with. I anxiously awaited the final book of the series, Breaking Dawn. Alas, it did not live up to my expectations. I really liked the first three books, but as I hear Edgy Mama say - "She really needs an editor!" It's a shame when someone becomes a big success that editors aren't willing to pare down or help reshape a book that really needs it.
And it wasn't just the length - the storyline just got weird. Bella has made her choice between gorgeous vampire Edward and rebellious human/wolf Jacob. I was fine with that. Gotta move forward in life, right? Yet, once that decision was made, things just got weird. Edward lost his dangerous mojo and was simply a boring, smitten, emasculated vampire. Bella, only age 18, suddenly became a strong, independent, and quite mature grown woman. And who didn't want Jacob to get a real life? He deserved it. The characters I grew to know so well just weren't the same people. The storylines didn't make sense because they weren't really the same people. Consistency is a must! Innovation yes - but once a character is fleshed out, how can they suddenly be a very different person?
Nessie (if you read it, you'll find out who she is) was just weird. I must say that Meyer still paints vivid images (can't wait to see them translated onto the big screen with The Twilight Movie next month). And I enjoyed the exchange between Jacob and Rosemary. But the rest was disappointing. Sad way to end something so promising.
My grade - C-

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tropic Thunder

I wish I could forget one of my most frightening Halloween memories. I was in college, and there were just no good parties to be found that night. One of my friends, Stephen, suggested to a group of us that we go see this new movie he'd heard was really good. "What's it called?" "Platoon." "What's it about?" "It's about the Vietnam War."

Okay, I thought. Always up for a good movie, and I did like history. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. For anyone who recalls this movie, it was the beginning of those violent, rated R, movies about guys bonding together under the worst conditions imaginable. I had nightmares for weeks.

I've been reading about Tropic Thunder for almost a year. A comedy about making a movie along the lines of Platoon? Ben Stiller at the helm? Robert Downey, Jr. playing an Aussie actor who goes through a procedure to become "black" for the role in this pretend movie? It was either going to be great, or completely awful. I was hoping for the former.

And that was what I got. I actually saw it twice. I laughed so hard I literally cried. The movie pokes fun at the most ridiculous aspects of the Hollywood movie industry, and yet still finds some humanity in the midst of insanity. Robert Downey, Jr. was beyond hysterical. He was the ultimate "Russell Crowe" method actor. The man can take a big risk and make it work. And as much as I loved the movie, the "previews" and "commercials" from the big name actors in the fake movie at the actual beginning of the movie were really the icing on the cake.
Not a movie for everyone - still lots of violence and certainly some crude humor. But I can say I found some redemption from that nightmarish Halloween over 20 years ago.
My grade - B+

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Family Name

School started on Tuesday. Princess began Middle School and Sonny Boy began High School. It turns out that one of Princess' teachers, Ms. M, was Sonny Boy's student teacher last year. Ms. M knew Sonny Boy for the wild boy he is and didn't let him by with much. He just knew Princess would not like her.

The Middle School has the mascot of the Tigers. When a student behaves well, they get "pawed," which is a gift certificate for a free drink at a local gas station. This is the conversation that centered around that fact after the second day of school.

Princess: Mom, I got pawed today! It was my second one.
Mom: Honey, that's great! I am so proud of you.
Sonny: (tearing into the living room from another part of the house) What? You got pawed twice and it's only the second day of school? Who pawed you?!
Princess: (grinning a knowing grin) Ms. M.
Sonny: What!!! She NEVER pawed me last year. In fact, I only got pawed once the entire year. You better cut this out. You're ruining the family name!!

Ahhh, siblings....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Providing Public Entertainment

One of my memories from childhood is Mom reminding members of the family not to provide free public entertainment. This was normally directed at Dad. He just couldn't help himself at times! It's a good thing he never cared what other people thought. And my own family these days certainly provides our share of entertainment for the masses.

I contributed to this early Wednesday morning. I was driving to meet KB, my carpooling buddy. I am so sick of the minutiae of the political campaigns that I have been listening to morning radio with crazy DJs. I turned on the local 98.7 Simon, just in time to hear that they were accepting callers to play Password for free Jack Johnson tickets. Jack Johnson! One of my absolute faves! I can't even remember the last time I saw a concert - they are pretty pricey these days.

So I picked up the cell, thankful that there was not much traffic (Dad - I am very sorry I used my phone while driving). I can't believe I got through, and then I actually got to play! I was just a teeny bit excited, and had to come from behind to tie with my competitor Emmett. But thanks to the generosity of 98.7 Simon DJs, they gave us both tickets so I am actually seeing Jack Johnson Tuesday night!!!!!! Wooooooohooooooooo!! (And just for the record - if someone is playing password and your teammate says "puppy," don't respond "animal shelter!")

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

A few years ago one of the great movies of modern times came out - The Mummy. It had lots of action, humor, interesting characters and was a really fun ride. Not one scene or line was a throw away. They were all perfect. It was then I began my great love for Rachel Weisz. Brendan Frazier and John Hannah were great (as they normally are), but Rachel captured my heart as the kinda goofy, but adventure craving librarian who stole the hero's heart.

The Mummy II was pretty enjoyable. Not as good as the first, but I still enjoy watching it. All the main players were back (plus a 10 year old son). I was happy with a completion of the story.

So I was not thrilled last summer when I first read that a 3rd Mummy was being filmed. And then I found out that my beloved Rachel Weisz would not be in it. I vowed not to see it. And then what do I discover last spring? Maria Bello was taking the role over. Well, she is by no means anyone to sneeze at. Then I read that Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh were also starring. That settled it - Yeoh is one of my all time favorites. I love kick-butt women, and it's hard to beat Asian martial arts.

So I dragged my family to the theater this past Friday afternoon. The first 10 minutes were compelling as it told the story of the evil Chinese emperor and the beautiful witch who defied him. "This might be just fine," I thought. Then the next 20 minutes were bogged down with slow backstory about the O'Connell family (with the son now in his early 20s) in 1946. The movie sparkled with the action scenes, and Yeoh of course always lit the screen. She was definitely the best part of the movie. But the movie dragged. It was heavy, bogged down by relationships and conversation that never felt real or compelling. Bello's Evie was no longer the goofy adventurer - she was an overly serious, overly protective mom who was supposed to be superspy now. The O'Connell family didn't feel like a family. The relationships just didn't work and family dialogue was tedious. The strength of the original Mummy movies was snappy, quick, and fun action and dialogue. I think I only cracked a smile or laugh a couple times in the entire movie. If I want to be depressed this summer, I'll go see The Dark Knight. To be fair, I believe the actors did the best with what they were given. Perhaps a different screenwriter would have brought the lightness and fun back to this movie.

My grade would be lower except for one scene. When Brendan Frazier's Rick O'Connell is recovering from a stab wound, his shirt is off for a few minutes - a sight we did not witness in the first two movies. Not bad at all. Had to move the grade up slightly. My grade - C

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Training Bra

I will never forget when Princess was 3 years old. She and I went to Walmart to purchase her a very casual play outfit. I found a very cute skort and matching top. The whole thing was just $5. She needed something she could get dirty in, and she was so tiny it was not always easy to find clothes. I remember this outfit was a 2T. We arrived home and I put it on her. The top was a mid-riff. I was appalled. What business did a 2 or 3 year old have wearing a mid-riff??!! Since then I have been horrified at what styles are out there for little girls. High heels, more mid-riffs, slits, low cut tops, fake leather. Anything to make them look "sexy."

And the truly awful thing? Low cost clothing for little girls always tended along the Britney Spears line. It was very difficult to find appropriate clothing on a budget. There were and are age appropriate clothes - but always in higher end stores. If someone had the money, they could dress their little girl like a little girl and not mini-Britney Spears. Sexist and classist.

In recent weeks, I realized Princess was ready for her first training bra. Since we just needed the beginning basics, I didn't want to spend much money. So we went to Walmart. (I am very glad they are around in this economy - please understand Restless.) We were looking for the smallest beginning bra. And did you know that one can easily find a 30A training bra with padding and underwire? Black, red, hot pink - you name it. We managed to find a cute little white one that was appropriate, and then some sports ones - but no little girl in a training bra needs push up padding with underwire in sexy colors!! It's no wonder that girls have so many problems with self-image. Before they even know what sexy is, their clothing choices are supposed to be that. And if one is on a limited income, it's even more prominent.

Wish I could design an appropriate girl line for a discount store and get rid of all the inappropriate stuff.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Friday was the day. I finally got to see Mamma Mia! For years I have wanted to see the stage version. Who doesn't love ABBA? And the songs always remind me of my childhood in the '70s. I'm not really a big fan of the modern musical (Howard Keel and Jane Powell were stars of the last musicals I enjoyed), but centered around ABBA songs - it just had to be good.

The story is fairly basic - a 20 year old woman is ready to marry on her Greek Island home. Her mom, Donna, (Meryl Streep) has never revealed her father. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds Donna's diary and realizes there were three distinct possibilities. Unknown to her mother, Sophie invites all three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding, hoping the truth will be revealed.

I believe I have not been a big fan of the modern musical because they take themselves so seriously. They are trying to come off like a serious and artistic movie with songs written to tell an exact and specific story. Dance steps are choreographed to the hilt, and it is just way overdone. Shouldn't a musical just be fun? Shouldn't the songs just be catchy ones to sing instead of melodramatic or greatly verbose ones? The songs here are obviously some of the best from pop culture history. One who have to be a dead piece of wood not to sing along (and I certainly did - admittedly, not very loudly). The setting was perfect. The Meditteranean and the Greek island were a visual feast. I was transported back to the couple days I had on Crete almost ten years ago. And then the movie did something really right - it casted stars who are true actors and can sing okay (not great, but good enough). Having really gifted actors makes all the difference in the world. Streep could not have been any cuter or appealing - it makes me feel better about heading into my middle age years. Brosnan and Firth - can't even say any more than that. And Julie Walters and Christine Baranski are always magnificent. I had only seen Seyfriend in Mean Girls. She has a sparkling voice that was perfect for this young, hopeful woman with such a generous heart.
Some of the most fun I've had in a while. And after the gore and angst of some recent movies, everyone needs some fun. Life should have some fun, some gifted and good looking middle-aged actors, and always some ABBA. My grade - A

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I have for many years been a proponent of absence making the heart grow fonder. Familiarity breeds contempt. Too much of a good thing... You get the idea.

During the summer months, Hubby and I both are at home (since we both work an academic year). However, this summer I have been diligently working on a chapter for a book that is due in a few days. I was honored to be asked to write this chapter and have tried to put my best effort into it. Not an easy task with all the family around.

I had a deadline this afternoon of getting the chapter to my two readers before I send it off to the editor in a few days. And you know what babies men can be when it comes to illness or getting older? I wasted some valuable days last week trying to calm Hubby's fears over his first colonoscopy. For goodness' sake, Katie Couric did it on national tv! So this afternoon I am working hard on the laptop, trying to get the chapter completed. And how many times can Hubby (and kids) interrupt me? The final time Hubby interrupted me was this -

Hubby: "Look at my bicep. I have a bug bite on it." (as he models bicep)

Rio: "That's nice." (while continuing to type)

Hubby: "I think it's deformed my muscle. Look."

Rio: "Looks fine to me. Just a bite on the bicep." (as I glance momentarily at it)

Hubby: "But look at the other bicep! It looks kinda weird too! Do you think something is wrong with my muscle?"

Rio: (through gritted teeth) "Your muscles are fine. They are just old. Please go away and leave me alone."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer Movies

Yes, I have not blogged in a while. I don't work during June and July, except for being a homemaker and referee between my children (which is much more time consuming than heading to my "job" each day and actually having time to blog). I have been fortunate enough to see some movies this summer and here are my reviews -

Iron Man - hands down, the best movie I've seen this summer. I was never a comic book geek, so I didn't know anything about Iron Man. Apparently he was a genius weapon's designer who was also a rich playboy. After being captured by a terrorist group, he creates the Iron Man suit to escape to freedom. Upon reaching home, he reevaluates who he is and what he does. His one true friend is his assistant, Pepper. Robert Downey, Jr. is absolutely perfect as Iron Man. It was so nice to see a fully grown man, dealing with mature issues as a superhero (as opposed to some geeky teenager that is moping around after his lady love). Gwenyth Paltrow can never do wrong and is spot on as Pepper. She very subtlely delivers the best line in the movie about taking out the garbage.

Iron Man was fun, engaging, interesting, and I can't wait for the next one. My grade - A

Wanted - I have been anxiously awaiting this movie for two reasons - Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. They are far and away two of the most gifted actors out there. And who doesn't want to see Angie kick butt in the cool way only she can do? The movie begins with a wimpy office drone, played perfectly by James McAvoy. His voice over and humor are one of the best things about the movie. Angie is part of an assasins group that is given hits from some kind of mystical loom (yeah, I thought that was kind of weird too - I'm all about the mystical stuff, but weavers as the world's best assasins?)

The action was great - could not have been better. Angie and Jamie offer their usual top caliber performance. Yet, I found myself wishing for more when the movie ended. The movie dealt slightly with the morality of listening to a loom that tells you who to kill before they commit atrocious acts. But there was more to be explored here among the gunfire - why should we trust this information? Who is really playing God when it comes to life and death? What kind of person does it entail to blindly follow orders?

The movie left me wanting something a little deeper instead of the tough gloss. My grade - B-

Hancock - I'm not sure I would have seen this particular one if Sonny Boy had not needed someone to drive him there. Yes, Will Smith is beyond cool, and the premise seemed interesting - a very faulty, drunken mess of a superhero. The first half of the movie dealt with this quite well. It was entertaining. Hancock meets a PR guy who wants to change the world for the better (Jason Bateman), and he helps Hancock redo his image.

Then the second half of the movie starts, and one wonders how someone thought to place the two parts together. It goes from an interesting superhero study with some good action and laughs to a melodramatic, soul-mate, mushy thing. One scene particularly overdoes it with feeling another's pain. It was fine to explore who Hancock really was, but the movie would have been far better served if Charlize Theron's character had maintained the ticked-off, cocky, kick-butt attitude she displays when interacting with Hancock one-on-one. There were better, and more consistent, avenues to be explored there.

The camera angles literally gave me a headache. A large portion of the movie was devoted to very up close shots of parts of the face - Theron's eyes filling the entire screen, Smith's lips and nose, Bateman's forehead. I kept wanting to back up so I could see the entire face. I have no idea if the director thought this was a symbolic way to show that we only see part of others - but it was way overused and I hope never to have to see movie filmed in that way again.

However, Smith, Theron, and Bateman were all quite good. The music was killer. My grade - B-

Friday, May 30, 2008

I am ancient

Sonny Boy had his last choral concert last night at the middle school. (That, in and of itself, is quite an entertaining story.) On the way home, we were discussing "the one hot girl in the school who is really nice." I finally figured out who she was last night.

"You know honey, you can always talk to me about any girl."

Big time eye roll.

"I'm serious. That's what moms are for."

Even bigger eye roll. "I'll talk to Dad. Not you!"

"Honey, it's great you want to talk with dad, but if you ever need a female perspective, remember that I work with teenage girls. And I was a teenage girl one time."

"Mom - that was last century!"

Technically, he's right.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I was a teenager when the first Indiana Jones movie came out. I was working at summer camp, and one of my fellow counselors spent the whole summer wearing an Indy fedora and carrying around a fake whip. We were all a bit obsessed. I loved all three of the movies, so I have anxiously been waiting for the latest installment. In recent weeks, Hubby and I have shared the original trilogy with Princess and Sonny Boy since this was all new to them.

I was not disappointed Sunday afternoon when we saw the movie. I know everyone keeps talking about how old Harrison Ford is (I think he's 65), but that man can still kick butt. Shia Lebouf is always fantastic - a very gifted young actor (so hard to believe he got his start on a Nick kids' show). Cate Blanchett - never wrong. And it was so great to see Karen Allen again. And it was really great to see Ford and Allen looking age appropriate - not like a weird Martian with elongated eyes (that was another character in the movie).

The movie was just all out fun. The storyline was interesting; not as compelling as the first or third movie - but still entertaining. I liked the conspiracy mythology thrown in. The action was great. Do you remember how Indy liked to climb in and out of vehicles while socking the bad guys? Look for one scene with this which also involves a motorcycle. One of my favorites in the movie. One thing I enjoyed as well was that the characters were growing up and dealing with life. Life goes on and people have to live it - one way or the other. It was nice seeing old friends live their lives, battle the bad guys, and have a great adventure while doing it.

My grade - B

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sonny Boy was right

On a fairly regular basis, Sonny Boy greets me at the end of the day with, "You won't believe what ridiculous thing they made us to at school today!" It is usually just normal school stuff, but Friday was different.

"Well, you know we have those stupid EOGs next week (for the uninitiated - End of Grade tests that the state (read - bunch of older white male lawyers) makes the schools give out to see if children should pass or not - because they seem to think that qualified, hard-working and underpaid teachers don't seem to know if a child should pass a grade or not; and also - why not make a little 3rd (or 5th or 8th) grader freak out and be unable to sleep because of sitting for 2 hours a day filling in circles on a scan card?)?
So - today, we had a pep rally for the EOGs. We all went to the football stadium and they tried to get us to chant "EOG!" and do the wave with EOG. Then they gave us all these tshirts that said "Rock the Test," and the teachers were laying on the field spelling out "Rock the Test" and then they tried to get us to chant "Rock the Test." But we all thought it was pretty stupid and just a few nerds were the only ones who did the chants a little bit."

After I stopped laughing, I responded, "You're right. That was ridiculous."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Poem

Here is the poem Sonny Boy wrote for me for Mother's Day. I have kept the spelling as is, and "pom" stands for pomengranate.

She is like the fruit, wonderful pom
but I just like to call her mom.
Sometimes she can be a bit of a hastle
but she is as great as a wonderful castle.
She is one of the greatest people alive
if she died I would stick my head in a beehive.
I love my mom and that's all I have to say
except Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

In Memory of Dr. James E. Hull

Here is an article from the Gboro newspaper. It's about a very influential man in my life - one of my college professors, Dr. Jim Hull. Dr. Hull was a religion professor for many years at Greensboro College. As a religion major there from 1985-89, I came to know him well. I thought I would go on and get a Ph.d. and teach religion at a college somewhere. He kept saying, "Lassie, perhaps God wants you to go in the ministry." He continually introduced me to women who were ministers (my first encounter with clergywomen, because there just were not that many). He helped me explore Divinity School options (which I would go to regardless of an academic or ministerial life). Dr. Hull was a very strong support - always listening to any problems I had and encouraging me that God had great plans for me. He is certainly one of the major reasons I am in my chosen profession.

Dr. Hull also performed the marriage ceremony for Hubby and me 19 1/2 years ago. He will always be fondly remembered as a very important person for me personally. I hope that in all my years of working with college students, I might can attempt to be the same kind of person he was for me and for so many countless others over the years.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Princess to the Rescue

I had what I believe was a combination cold/allergy episode a few days ago. My voice was fairly scratchy on Wednesday, and then by Thursday morning I was teaching my class in a very loud whisper. After that, the voice was almost completely gone. It's been over three years since I last lost my voice. Never fun. I had a co-worker call Hubby to tell him not to call - I couldn't talk at all. (I thought I would act preemptively, since Hubby loves to call and just say hi.) A couple hours after that I was sitting in my office (all by my lonesome) when the phone rang. Princess was home from school. She didn't know my voice was gone, but I was hoping I could croak out a loud whisper, "Voice! Lost!"

I answered and attempted the two words. She kept asking "what?" and I kept trying to no avail. I then tried, "Call Daddy." She heard daddy (being the Daddy's girl she is, I should not be surprised) and hung up the phone.

Within two minutes my cell rang again, and it was Hubby. I answered the phone and said nothing - he knew I couldn't talk. He said, "Princess called and said that you were really upset. That you'd lost something. What's wrong."


Hubby had a good laugh and hung up.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I hate Guitar Hero III

Sonny Boy is pretty good with money. He knows how to save for things he wants and how to find good deals. This is a feat most adults have not accomplished, so I'm quite proud of him. Today, he accomplished his goal of acquiring a used PS2 version of Guitar Hero III. For those without a teen, it is a video game where you hold a plastic guitar and follow the "chords"/color-coded keys while strumming a white switch at the same time when the screen indicates that color. It also tells you the duration to hold the color coded key.

GHIII has a number of songs from the hair bands of the '80s - my kind of music. When Sonny Boy's buddy, TC, was here today, I even bragged that I could "kick his behind" in GH. (Yes, I really did say that, and I was pleased that I substituted *&#! with behind - my competitive spirit is a bit much at times).

Turns out if you don't do the chords exactly right, the convicts at the concert start booing you. And if you miss enough notes in a row, they riot and your song is over. This has happened through five songs now - 4 '80s hair band rockers and The Killers' When You Were Young. I could understand why guitarists smash their guitars during a concert.

Plus the fact that my tendonitis (which so far is surviving a new tennis season) is now hurting once again. Guess I need to go get some gin soaked raisins and get my "behind" to bed.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bad Mood

What does it mean when someone is in a bad mood for two weeks straight? And even the return of Moonlight, Robin Hood, and the presence of a homemade carrot cake doesn't quite get rid of the bad mood monster?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Someone please tell me when I am too old to drive...

One of my favorite things to do on Saturday mornings is to head to Greensboro's downtown farmer's market. I love to buy locally and fresh. I usually see some people I know. It's really a pleasant experience and a stress reliever.

This past Saturday I pulled off Yanceyville (a four lane road) onto the street for the market and then took an immediate left into the parking lot. A car was in front of me. I assumed the older woman driver was waiting on a parking space. The minutes began to tick by and cars began to pile up behind me - about 10 at my last count. Yanceyville Street was enduring a good little traffic jam. The woman was stopped right in the middle, so I could not drive around her. I didn't blow my horn, because she was an older woman and I didn't want to be rude. Then I saw a passenger from a few cars back knock on the woman's door, obviously pointing out the serious traffic problem she was causing. I saw a couple empty spaces off to the right, and when the woman still didn't move, I assumed she was waiting for someone. Then a parked car to the left of the lot left, and I pulled in. One less car, I thought, for the big traffic jam.

I then strolled through the market, and while standing at the freshly picked strawberries, an older lady came up to me and said, "You took my place." I was confused, and said, "Excuse me?" "You know what I'm talking about! Out in the parking lot! I'd been waiting for that space!!" A couple people were looking at us. "Mam, you had been waiting for about 10 minutes and had ignored a couple empty spaces, so I thought you didn't want to park - that you were waiting for someone. There was a big traffic jam." "You did not think that! You know exactly what was going on!" "Mam, I assure you that is not the case. I'm sorry for any inconvience I caused you." As she walked past me she hissed very loudly, "A*#+hole!!!"

I was rather stunned, to say the least. No one has ever called me that before (at least to my face), and I honestly thought I was doing the right thing. Mom reminded me that young people who are mean usually turn out to be old people who are mean. Be that as it may, someone just please tell me when I am too old to drive.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Champion is Crowned

If you recall, I was woefully ignorant of College Men's Hoops this year, and chose to spend my madness in March with the Fug Girls. The Champion was crowned yesterday - the person who dresses the fugliest of all. Check out this link for a sappy tournament retro look.

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Very Special Kind of Prayer

This post is for my family (nuclear, origin, and extended) who mostly seem fairly interested in bodily functions.

In preparing to teach my World Religions class, I ran across this segment on the topic of Judaism. Jews are expected to give thanks continually, and there are blessings for many of the everyday actions of life, like taking a drink of water. Below is the blessing to be recited after using the toilet:

Blessed art thou, our God, Ruler of the Universe, who hast formed (human) beings in wisdom, and created in them a system of ducts and tubes. It is well known before they glorious throne that if but one of these be opened, or if one of those be closed, it would be impossible to exist in thy presence. Blessed art thou, O God, who healest all creatures and doest wonders.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hot for Teacher

Sonny Boy and I had dinner together last night, and this is the conversation we had:

Sonny Boy: The really hot student teacher is back in Language Arts. She'll be there the rest of the year!

Mom: Really?

SB: Yeah! I kept raising my hand and participating a whole lot in class.

Mom: More than you normally you do?

SB: Oh yeah! Everyone was kinda laughing at me because they know I don't usually do that. And she even knows my name 'cause I was doing so good in class. She said she really likes to read and asked if I liked to read. And I said yeah I really like to read, even though everyone knows I can't stand it.

Mom: Yes, I know dear. You have told me that enough to fill a book by Tolstoy.

SB: So she asked me what my favorite book was and I told her To Kill a Mockingbird. She didn't know I had to read it for class last year.

Mom: Or that I had to explain much of it to you?

SB: (continuing to ignore me and grinning rather widely) She was real impressed that was my favorite book. I told her I really liked non-fiction, real type stories.

Mom: Why didn't you choose a different book that you've read?

SB: I know that would be the most impressive one!

Mom: Well, honey if this is what it takes to get you to put forth your best effort in school...

SB: Man, I wish all my teachers were so hot. I'd make straight As.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I've always loved sci-fi shows - anything that's a little different, with lots of great action, some camp, and interesting stories. BBC America has one of the best ones out there right now - Torchwood. It's a spin-off of the newly revamped Dr. Who (quite good itself). Captain Jack Harkness (center) is the leader of a current day team based in Cardiff, Wales that monitors a time riff and fights aliens. Good stuff! You see, everything changes in the early 21st century, and the Torchwood team is there to do what they can to save the world. Captain Jack is a mysterious, charming man from some other time (and maybe another planet). He leads former cop Gwen (the heart of the team), tech expert Toshiko, doctor Owen, and everything guy Ianto.

Torchwood comes on 9pm Saturdays, with the former week's episode at 8pm. Check out the site and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Winning Dirty

For many years I have been impressed with Brad Gilbert's ideas on winning tennis dirty. It doesn't mean unfairly - it just means you do whatever it takes (within the rules). This is especially effective when one's mental prowess and tennis IQ are limited by lack of physical attributes. It's my mantra.

I played the other night for the first time in 3 months. With my spring league, there are 2 doubles courts and 1 singles. I gladly took the singles because I didn't want to have to keep apologizing to my partner for incredibly poor and rusty play. And rusty it was. A few shots pleased me - but I mainly just tried to keep the ball in play. It was nighttime, and I started using the lob a whole lot, hoping that my opponent would lose the ball in the lights (and she did a few times). Dirty.

After the match (which I did win!), I was talking with some of my teammates and a couple young guys who are pros. We discussed strategy and interacting with your opponent. I commented, "If I think she's not calling the lines that accurately, I always ask her what she does for a living during changeover, and then I volunteer that I'm a minister. People hate to lie to a minister." One of the pros responded, "Man - that is a great strategy! I'm gonna start doing that." One of my teammates then said, "But she really is a minister."

Kinda fun to see the looks on the guys' faces. But they did agree that saying you're a minister (whether it's true or not) is a pretty good way to win dirty.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What is Black Liberation Theology?

I haven't had the surprise and fear many white Americans have felt from the sermons by Barack Obama's minister. I also realize I have academic training that prepares me to hear a message coming out of liberation theology, particularly black liberation theology. I was going to give some basics explaining this theology, but I found a lecture online from a local professor that explains it far better than I could. It doesn't take long to read - I hope you'll make the time to learn about something so important and crucial.

And I'd like to say another word about not agreeing with someone you love. My brother and I don't discuss politics on a deep level - we need to stick to television reruns. I love him - he will always be my family. But I know he would not understand why Sonny Boy and I stood in the wind and rain for an hour and a half last night protesting the war in Iraq. And that's fine. My brother is a good person and I respect him even if we don't agree on politics.

And as a minister, I would also like to say that I would be fearful if I had a parishioner who totally agreed with everything I ever said in a sermon. I hope my sermons will provoke thought and faith development - but we are all unique people and need to think for ourselves. A minister is a spiritual advisor, not a cult leader who insists on complete uniformity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5th Anniversary of War in Iraq

Today is the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been impacted by this war - the 4000 US soldiers who have died, the thousands of others who have come home with serious physical and mental disabilities, the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their lives, the Iraqis living with violence and fear each day, and all the many loved ones who are affected by loss and pain.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Alternative March Madness

I don't know what has happened to me. I used to be so obsessed with Men's Division I College Hoops. When we were forced to move down to the NC flatlands almost three years ago, one of the positives was being in the heart of ACC territory. I once even told someone (not really joking) that College bball was one of the glues of my marriage. I was even at Duke for the backtoback championships in '91,'92. I do a tourney bracket every year, and the last time Duke won, I only missed calling 8 games. What has happened to me?

I don't know. I do know I have watched the least amount of Div I ball that I have watched in probably 25 years. I just don't care. I mean - yeah, I hope the ACC does well in the tourney. And VT really should have gotten in (at least, that's what Hubby says - I don't have enough info to know for myself). But I didn't even watch tv last night to see my man - Jay Bilas - give his predictions for the field. No bracket this year - I have no clue what's going on.

But - there is another March Madness for which I am well informed to participate. The Fug Girls are doing Fug Madness - four brackets of the fugliest dressed celebrities and pseudo-celebrities that you can hope to find. Their brackets are already up (play in game is Tues), and I am ready to roll. I think I will be quite successful in my predictions in this particular madness.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

14 Years Ago

14 years ago I was in Mission Hospital in Asheville. I had been there since about 2am, when we thought Sonny Boy would be arriving in the next few hours. His beautiful round head, broad shoulders, and fat little baby body ensured that he did not actually arrive until the evening of the 13th. It was a Sunday - why am I always working on Sundays?

Hubby and I called my parents when we went to the hospital. They wanted to be there when their first grandchild arrived. My younger brother Jerry was supposed to take Granny to church that morning, and we would call when Caleb finally arrived on the scene.

For many hours, contractions kept coming about every 5 minutes. I was so into natural childbirth because I thought it was the best for my baby. If I ever did it again, I'd think - who cares! give me some drugs! - but that was then. So, Hubby and I kept walking around while I kept having contractions. We walked several times out to the lobby where my parents patiently waited. About mid-morning, I noticed Jerry and Granny had arrived. I turned to Mom, "I thought they were going to church." I then paused to have a contraction.

Neither Granny nor Jerry spoke to me, but Granny walked to Mom and said, "Jackie, give Amy some lipstick! I think it'd make her feel better."

What a nice memory.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Learned something new

The time change always just kills me in the Springtime. I really like my sleep. I don't sleep well most the time. Every single extra hour is of great importance. So, I really hate having to "spring forward" and lose an hour of sleep.

I did make the executive decision that we would skip Sunday School this past Sunday morning. Sonny Boy was very happy, and I'm not sure Princess noticed. All four of us filed into the usual pew, with me in between Hubby and Princess. There wasn't much room on the pew that day, so I was pretty close to Hubby. I really could not keep my eyes open. I leaned against him so I wouldn't fall forward as I kept dozing off. I know he thought I just wanted to be close to him (and he can keep thinking that). After a fairly long prayer, I just kept my eyes closed. I was in church, after all. Wouldn't people just think I was still praying, really communing with God? I would open my eyes on occasion throughout the service so I wouldn't get in too deep a sleep. I think no one noticed.

Except Princess. Towards the end of the service, she poked my arm pretty hard during a short doze. I opened my eyes quickly and she smirked at me. Takes one to know one.

Are you smarter than an 8th grader?

I apparently am not.

Last night I was walking up the stairs while Sonny Boy was walking down them. We decided to play chicken, and after a minute or so of dodging each other to get by and laughing, I said, "You may be taller than I am now, but I still weigh more!"

He responded, "Mom, that's nothing to brag about."

I let him by and popped him on the behind as he went down the stairs.

Friday, March 07, 2008

My Days

I'm a mean, lean demerit machine...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Best Birthday Card

Today is my bday, and the best card I received read as follows,

"I thought about running away and joining the circus....and then I realized that would be redundant."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Portland - the Place for Books

I spent most my time in Portland attending a conference. However, there was some time to ride the MAX lightrail and do a little shopping. One of the best places we went was Powell's Bookstore. Powell's is the largest bookstore in the world. It is independently owned and has new and used titles. If you spend more than $50, they will ship your purchase wherever you want. And of course, you can go on their website to make a purchase as well. I only saw a small part of the store due to time constraints. It was probably a good thing. Otherwise, I would have been severely lost and missed my dinner at Jake's (which is also definitely a place to go when in Portland).

My favorite things at Powell's? The notes pads that had reasons listed under different headings of "How to make me happy today," "Why we should have sex," "Things that get on my nerves," and "My mood today is..." I thought about purchasing any number of those note pads, but then I figured, if my husband can't read my mind after almost 20 years, why should I help him out with a note? He needs to keep up his mindreading skills. Can't make it too easy for him.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Loretta Lynn-Portland Oregon

Just got back from a conference in Portland, Oregon and this song kept going through my head...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Awesome Voicemail Greeting

13 year old Sonny Boy's most recent voicemail greeting on his cell phone -

"Hey, you've reached Caleb. I'm not here and that really sucks for you because you miss out on my awesomeness. You still get to hear my awesome message. Leave a message and you can talk to my awesome self later."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Special Puberty Moment

Sonny Boy has spent the last couple weeks loudly complaining about the fuzz on his upper lip. Yes, it was starting to look something like a mustache - but it wasn't really that bad. Now, I know every boy is supposed to be given his first shaving lesson from dear old dad, but when the opportunity arises...

He kept complaining the other night when his Goggy (my Mom) was in town. So Goggy and I took him into the bathroom, pulled out my lavendar scented shave cream, and taught him how to shave his 'tache. He was pleased afterwards. Of course, one day he will realize that was not a cool moment and probably complain about the strong-willed women in his life.

Goggy and I had a pretty good laugh afterwards.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I am so glad the movie Juno has stayed on long enough for me to get to see it. It's shameful how many movies I have wanted to see that leave the theaters before I can get there. Of course, the movies I prefer are not all those ridiculous rom-coms starring Kate Hudson, but smaller, independent films (and if they are British - all the better!). Last summer I started reading about Juno. It stars four of my fave actors - Ellen Page (one of the very few decent things about X3), Jennifer Garner (forever wonderful Sydney Bristow to me, and even sparkling as Electra), Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (who played father and son in the absolute gem Arrested Development for way too short a time on the small screen).

So I have been waiting to find time to get to the theater, and so thankful for all the awards and noms the movie is getting. And yes, it was well worth the wait. The story isn't really realistic (but hey - we all know Mr. Darcy doesn't exist, either), but that's beside the point. It's the characters and how they engage each other in the storyline that is so real. The acting is just superb, and there are plenty of laughs to be had. It is great to see a strong young woman in a lead role, especially since she is not perfect and finds herself in a difficult situation. It's even better to see parents who can support without being totally bananas, and even better yet to see a sweet, nerdy guy as the one a girl can't do without. Such a nice alternative from usual teen portrayals in the movies.

Yet, my heart is with the adoptive mother of the teenagers' unplanned baby. Jennifer Garner is always so compelling and real, but especially as the yuppie mom wanting to be a mother more than anything. In the midst of a world where fairy tales don't happen and love is by no means always easy, she provides the hope and foundation a child always needs. Wow.

Go see the movie. One of the best out there.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent (the 40 days before Easter, minus Sundays which are mini-Easters). One of the ways to prepare for the celebration of Easter is to take on something extra (like volunteer work or daily devotions) or to give up something. I have given up meat, soft drinks, various food items, tv, and even gossip. This is the fourth time I am attempting to give up chocolate. I know that the third time is a charm, but I'm hoping it's four for me. We'll see how it goes, or how crazy my blog get.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Funniest

New quote from Sonny Boy:

"The funniest thing I ever heard was when I said..."

No self-confidence issues there...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

3 Strikes?

Do you think if you spill food or drink on yourself three different times during the day (or morning, really) you should be able to leave work and go home?

I feel like the only thing I have accomplished today is giving the high school girls I teach something to laugh about. I couldn't write on the board (how hard can it be to write "work"), couldn't come up with words ("Now what is that word that means something like assimilate?"), and spilled diet coke down my sweater. At least they enjoyed class...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sweet Smell of Defeat

Loyal readers know I have been fascinated by Sonny Boy's wrestling this season - a sport beyond my comprehension. I missed his tournament last Saturday (Hubby was there), but here is a synopsis of a phone conversation:

Mom - How did this first match go, honey?
Sonny Boy - I lost.
M - Well I'm sure you did your best. You seem okay about it.
SB - I didn't get pinned until the last few seconds. I was wrestling a girl. (pause) She's hot.
M - Oh?
SB - Yeah - all the other guys on my team want to wrestle her too, but she's not in their weight class.
M- Well, I'm glad you got to wrestle her sweetie. Hope your other matches go better.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tendonitis Cure?

I have been dealing with tendonitis in my right hand for a full year now. I have tried all sorts of things - my chiro does laser treatment, a tennis elbow thingy when playing and using the computer or doing some housework, really cutting down processed foods (love my Wheat Thins), and just not using my hand. I had blamed tennis for the bulk of the problem, but I have not played in over a month now and am still having issues.

So last week a co-worker said I should eat 9 golden raisins, soaked in gin, each day. Well, I figured, it couldn't hurt. I have been doing this for a week, in addition to all my other little tricks. Any opinions on this?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger

I have always been a sci-fi/fantasy fan. (probably started with Star Wars when I was 10 years old). 10 years ago a fantasy show called Roar lasted about 6 episodes. I loved the show, but was probably the only person in the country who was watching it. It was written and produced by Shaun Cassidy (yes, the former love of my life when a pre-teen). It centered around a Celtic prince in Roman ruled Britain. The prince had such an incredible presence. I found out he was played by a young Aussie, Heath Ledger. When I discovered he was only 18 years old, I was stunned. So much talent for one so young.

He came into the mainstream not much later with 10 Things I Hate About You, one of the few teen movies out there that is a real gem. But I think most of us will always value his work in Brokeback Mountain the most.

Ledger was found dead in his apartment in NYC yesterday. The cause of death is unknown as of yet, but there is speculation it was an accidental overdose of sleeping pills. He leaves an ex-fiance, the talented actress Michelle Williams, and a 2 year old daughter. He was only 28 years old. It's such a tragic story - to leave family and loved ones so unexpectedly, and for all us not to be able to enjoy his gifts in the coming years. My heart goes out to his loved ones.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Morning Talk

Listening to the local pop radio station this morning (can't do NPR every morning), I heard this interesting tidbit. Apparently, a woman called the police because she couldn't get her husband to stop talking. Hmmmm......

Monday, January 14, 2008

Atonement - the Movie

A few years ago, my Asheville book group read Ian McEwan's Atonement at the suggestion of Edgy Mama. I only read it that one time, but it is one of those stories that I just couldn't forget. I was curious how it would be adapted to the big screen, and recently was able to see for myself how this was done.
The story is about a writer's search for atonement after a fiction she creates in 1935 as a 13 year old girl. This fiction destroys lives around her. Does she have the courage to atone for this terrible thing she has done? Will others be able to overcome the harm done to them by her actions?
The movie itself is beautifully and wonderfully done. The acting is superb. I have been a huge Keira Knightly fan for years. I wrote off James McAvoy as that deer type creature in Chronicles of Narnia -boy was I wrong. He brought me to tears several times in the movie. And the different incarnations of Briony (the 13 year old at the beginning of the movie) - each of the actresses were brilliant. Her self-righteous attitude and rigidity were matched in the posture and facial expressions of the actresses. The score matched the acting (with staccato typing throughout) in a perfect manner. Much has been written about the large war scene on the French shores. The intermixing of the story from small British countryside to a large scale international scene was quite moving.
This movie deserved the Best Picture Golden Globe in won last night. It is an interesting and thought-provoking story. The characters feel so real and immediate. It is a story that stays with someone. I was so uncertain this story could be brought to the big screen in a manner consistent with this wonderful book, but it was done. Definitely one of the best pictures (if not the best) of the year. My grade - A

Monday, January 07, 2008

The New American Gladiators

Just a little over a month ago, I recounted my love for the classic American gladiators from the early '90s. Due to the writers' strike, reality tv is more and more of a reality, but I was pleased when NBC premiered the new American Gladiators last night. Kids and I had been anxiously waiting.

I was thrilled when I saw that Laila Ali was one of the hosts. She is so way cool. But then there is Hulk Hogan as the other host. He is just so way annoying. He particularly annoyed me when announcing the first men's event. The women had already completed an event, so he introduces the men while saying, "And NOW we are ready to get serious!" Because of course in his mind the women's events aren't as serious as the men's'? Don't know if Laila heard that, but I bet she could kick his overtanned and bleached hide in a heartbeat.

Overall, I enjoyed the competition. My fave new gladiator is Crush (see picture). It is nice to see women on tv who actually are a normal size (most the female gladiators weigh around 150), and then to have such great muscles. The male gladiators were just a little scary (6'9 and 290 pounds? - who wouldn't be scared?).

The events were fun, the competitors sassy and energetic, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Every Monday at 8pm I have something to keep me entertained. We'll see how it goes...