Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ye Olde Dictionary Of Fun

I picked up a Webster's dictionary at an estate sale recently.  Normally, that wouldn't be cause for celebration, but this one's extra special -- it's from 1962. Ooooh!

Words' meanings, of course, evolve over time.   And you know all the naughty words of today had different, more tame meanings back then.  Funny meanings, really.  So of course, the first thing I did when I got the book was look up all those words! ;-)

What's even more fun than THAT, though, is looking in the New Words Department, toward the front of the dictionary.   It's funny to think that, not so very long ago, words that WE use everyday were brand-spanking new to folks of the forties.  (Or perhaps they'd been around for years, but were just then being made official by the snootisodes over at Webster's.)

In 2009, Webster's officially added words like "earmark," "flash mob," "frenemy," and "zipline."

In 1962, they granted us (among others):

Astronaut - One interested in travel in outer space.

Benadryl - A drug used in the treatment of hay fever and asthma.

How people lived without this AND super-suction vacuum cleaners, I will never know.

Boloney - (slang, USA) - Nonsense, humbug, buncombe, hooey or the like; balogna.

Strangely, "hooey" itself doesn't get its own entry anywhere in the dictionary. I demand justice for hooey!

Civil Disobedience


Commercial, or commercial broadcast - A radio broadcast that is paid for by an advertiser.


Facsimile transmission - Transmission by wire or over the air of text or pictures, and, at the receiving point, production of an exact copy on paper.

I didn't know they had this back then.  For reals, I'm kind of impressed!

Frozen Foods

Jam session - (slang) - A meeting at which musicians play without scores, in swing fashion.

Loan Shark

Lobotomy - A technique of surgery in which sections are taken from the frontal lobes of the brain: used in treating certain forms of insanity.

I like their philosophy back then.  "If it's broken, just take it apart!"






Scrabble - A popular parlor game involving the arrangement of letters having various point scores into words.






Zoot Suit

I don't know about you, but I would not want to live in a world without Scrabble and wacky.  I just wouldn't.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Four More Movie Characters I've Got A Crush On

Ah, yet another addendum to my Movie Character Crushes list. Or four.  Hey, why not?  There's enough love for everyone!

Bert, Mary Poppins

So he can't hold down a steady job -- so what?  Neither can Mary Poppins.  I mean, let's face it, she may be a snazzy, smart nanny, but how long does she stay with the Banks family... a week?  During that time, her friend Bert, a pseudo-cockney Jack-of-all-trades, takes on the roles of a chimney sweep, a one-man-band... person, a kite salesman, and a sidewalk chalk artist.  And he does them all with gusto.  He's also kind and helpful and has a sense of humor.  And, as Mary Poppins points out in one of her songs, he would never think of pressing his advantage.  Which I think is Mary's way of telling him he'd best keep his soot-stained paws to himself, lest he feel the wrath of her birdie umbrella.  (P.S. Mary Poppins is crazy.)

 Marty McFly, Back to the Future

When I first saw this movie at the age of eight, I thought Marty McFly was the coolest person ever.  He could skateboard (with style!), rock out on the guitar, and, oh yes, drive.  Not only that, but he got to have a Walkman and a video camera and a cordless phoneRemember, that was 1985.  That'd be like owning an iPhone... and... well, that's basically it... today.  Uh, nevermind, that comparison sucks.  Whatever.  Marty = very cute, super cool, and there to save the day -- no wonder Lorraine had a mad crush on him!  And heck, if he was willing to go out on a date with his mom, certainly he would consider a little eight year old girl to be his sweetheart?  Right?  Oh well, a girl can dream.

Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird

Oh, beloved Atticus.  I don't approve of you shooting dogs, rabid or no, but anyone can see you've got madass morals and strong convictions, and that, my dear, is commendable.  You strive for justice and you stand up for what you believe is right.  And even though your parenting style is a tad unconventional, you've somehow managed to raise two wise little buggers.  You value the truth.  You haul a lamp down to the jailhouse so you can read a good book.  That's awesome.  And so are you. 

Attila The Hun, Attila

So he kills people and burns their villages.  So he has eleven wives and forty-five kids.  None of that matters when you've got killer abs.  None of it!

* * * * *

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This... Is... Persia!

So I finally got around to watching Prince Of Persia the other day.  (I say "finally" because I've been playing with the LEGO sets for months.)

Enjoyable film.  It had a medieval, Robin Hood-esque feel to it.  It had time travel.  TIME TRAVEL! Speaking of which, I think they should change the subtitle to: "The Sands Of Time: Because DeLoreans Haven't Been Invented Yet."  It had Lizzie Bennett from Lost In Austen.  It had freaking Ben Kingsley, who can play creepy like nobody else can.  And, of course, it had Jake Gyllenhaal, who I'm a bit torn over.

Jake, like his sister Maggie, has one of those faces that is both hauntingly beautiful and strangely disturbing at the same time.  But for this movie, he had a buff body to go with it.  Still, his hair was all dirty and he was always kind of sweaty... and not in a good way... more like I-just-fell-into-the-alligator-pit-at-the-zoo kind of way.  Also, he reminded me of someone...

It always bothers me when people look like Muppets.  George Clooney looked like Statler in Leatherheads, and I haven't been able to appreciate him since.

Oh well.

Prince Of Persia's strong points:

Acting, at least from Gyllenhaal and Kingsley.  Really amazing stuff out of both of them.

Cinematography: Gorgeous!

Special Effects: Some really cool stuff.  Some of it was over-the-top, but I can let it slide, seeing as how this was a video game adaptation and that extra-techy stuff is probably what they were going for.

Music: Beautiful, mystical, memorable

Weak points:

Editing.  Guh.  I'm such a whiner when it comes to editing, I know, but this movie could've been better in that department.  It could have used some better transitions, and some parts were just too long

Shades of Aladdin when Jake's character is a young boy.  Running around the marketplace, jumping off rooftops, trying to get away from the soldiers -- I was half expecting to see a cheeky little monkey pop on screen and for Jake/Dastan to break into song!

I'd give it three stars out of five, except I really liked the time travel stuff and the fact that Dastan changed & grew as a person, and morphed from an arrogant jerk into a courageous gentleman.  So four stars.  Because I can.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feel-Good, Family Friendly, and other F words

A Walk In My Shoes <<--view the trailer

I was there the day Nancy Travis smushed the Benson Bubbler.

The other day, I had the following conversation with my brother:

"So my movie is airing December third."

"What movie?"

"A Walk In My Shoes. The one with Nancy Travis..."

"What? Who?"

"Uhhh... she was in So I Married An Axe Murderer?  Three Men And A Little Lady?  Greedy?  The Jane Austen Book Club?"

"Oh.  I thought you said Nancy FRANCIS."

Nancy Francis used to be a local TV news anchor here in Portland.  I had completely forgotten she existed.

Maybe what my brother needs is a photo.  I'll google A Walk In My Shoes and see what I can come up with.


I'm not sure any of that's helpful.

Well, just watch A Walk In My Shoes on NBC on December 3rd, look for me wearing a purple jacket in the park scenes and a blue jacket in the Nancy-Travis-can't-drive scenes, and whatever you do, don't mistake that purple shoe for a gravy boat... although I can see how that might happen.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuppence, Tuppence, Tuppence A Bag...

So I don't think I ever introduced my chickens!

Here they are...

Uh, yeah... I've had them a while. :)


Q: Are they laying eggs?
A: Not yet. Although they are indeed hens (for a while we weren't sure; it's nigh impossible to tell when they're young), hens don't just pop out of their eggs ready to lay the next generation a.s.a.p.  They will usually start laying at around 5-6 months of age, though in some cases they'll wait 'til the spring to begin the process.  My chickens three will be 6 months old this November, so we're just waiting to see....

Q: Mmm, chicken! Are you going to eat them?
A: NO. Not only am I a vegetarian, but they're my pets! Do I ask you if you're going to eat your dog? RAWR.  Stop causing trouble!

Q: What are their names, and how do you tell them apart?
A: The yellow one is C.C., short for Chickity China The Chinese Chicken.  The black one with the gold specks on her chest is Servo.  The black one with feathers on her feet is Gwynn (short for Penguin, which is what I called her originally, because she had a white chest as a chick.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scattered Childhood Memories #3: Exchange Students

The summer I turned five, my family hosted two teenage exchange students from Japan. Their names were Yuko and Naomi. 

At first, I didn't know quite what to think of these two visitors. They smelled different. They were different. They knew very little English, something which I had never encountered before. Over the years, my family had -- and would -- host a variety of visitors, but these girls were (pardon the pun) the most foreign of all.

One night during their stay, my dad decided to try to teach Yuko and Naomi a card game known in our family as "Knock" (but which my grandpa calls "Polish Poker." Who knows what it is.) It was simultaneously fascinating and frustrating trying to watch my dad explain the rules of this relatively simple game -- in English -- to two girls who barely understood the language. But bless them, they tried, and with much laughter, everyone finally got the hang of the game.

Another time, the girls -- along with other members of their exchange group -- put on a magic show. One of the tricks involved pouring milk into a newspaper -- and keeping it there. I mean seriously, no milk dripped out. I'm still wondering exactly how they did that!

I remember one day we all went up to Mount Hood and rode the alpine slide up at timberline. This was my first time on a ski lift. Another time, we went to the beach. There's a picture of me in the back of our car, leaning my head against Naomi's shoulder. We're both fast asleep. Suffice it to say, I got over my initial apprehension and became close to those two.

One thing that helped bring us all together was origami. I've always loved art projects, so when the girls showed me the fancy little papers and told me I could make them into shapes, I was all aboard with that idea. Except for one thing... I wanted to use scissors and tape on my projects. Yuko and Naomi and even my parents tried to convince me that origami did not require those tools -- only folding. Yeah, but every time I tried to fold anything, I wound up with a big wad of paper. But the girls were ever patient.

I suppose Yuko and Naomi are in their 40s now. I wonder if they ever wonder about my family? Have they ever been back to the U.S.?  Where have their lives taken them? Do they have children? Grandchildren? They could, you know... that was 25 years ago, I mean... anything's possible. 


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scattered Childhood Memories #2: Innocence Lost

For my 7th birthday I've received a gumball machine money bank.  A dime, nickel, or penny'll get you one gumball. I love the machine because 1) I love gum, and 2) I love buying things. Before long, all my minor coins are sacrificed to the machine.

A few days later, along comes my friend Beth, who takes one look at the gumball machine, pops off the bottom, and shows me how to not only get my money back, but to get all the gumballs I want, whenever I want, without having to pay. Sheer brilliance!

Of course, soon the gum is gone, and I don't have much in the way of $avings to show for my losses.  And so the gumball machine becomes a useless toy, like a Pez dispenser without the Pez (unless you collect them, which I began to do in my late teens. They're much easier to collect than gumball machines, though. Where was I going with this?)

So, to summarize:

I was ecstatic when Beth first showed me the secret of the gumball machine.  But I was sad soon after, once the gum had all been devoured.  I wished she had never shown me how to open the bottom. Wished that had been left a mystery.

Wished I wasn't so darn greedy.

Woe to the gumballs.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scattered Childhood Memories - #1: Blue Lake Shenanigans

I am 3 or 4 years old and we're at Blue Lake Park. I'm playing on one of the playgrounds -- for reference, it's the one that used to have the swings that looked like they were recycled from the swing ride at the fair, a double metal slide (stairs up the middle, slides on either side) and a metal jungle gym in the shape of a train engine. The floor of the playground is comprised of sand.

My parents are nearby, though they are not watching me directly. Maybe they're chatting with the extended family or with friends, whoever else is there. My brother is probably in his porto-playpen, too young to join in my adventures.

There's a boy about my age who is throwing sand. He's claimed ownership of the train engine, and won't let anybody get near it. Should any child attempt it, her eyes will sting from the impact of projectile sand. I have experienced this first-hand. No parents seem to be watching this unfold. The adults are all too preoccupied. Perhaps I even ask for help... but if so, none is given.

I decide to take matters into my own hands.

Anyone can fight with sand, but I can do one step better. I gather sand and grass in my hands, then meander over toward the boy, looking like I couldn't care less about his dumb old choo-choo train. When I get close enough, sashaaa! -- I get him, right in the face.

He gets upset. In fact, I think he tattles on me. But his mother takes one look at little innocent ol' me and does not give her son the benefit of the doubt. Either that or she chooses not to bother with me. She does not know my parents, what can she do?

I walk away, go over to my parents. I tell them nothing, though I am quite proud of my efforts. Proud of how I've stood up for myself and the other kids. I want to tell them all about how I thought to mix the natural elements for added effect! But something tells me it might not be best to share what I have done with grown-ups. They have strange, strange ideas about right and wrong, about justice.

No, this one will be my little secret.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Put All The Blame On VCRs

I was thinking the other day about how my parents didn't take me to very many movies when I was a kid.  I don't know why.  I know they went to movies without us sometimes, so it couldn't have been that we were too poor.  I also know that they wouldn't let me see the Back To The Future sequels in the theaters because, ohmygosh, they were rated PG and might be too intense for us!  (Nevermind that the original BTTF was one of my favorite films, which I watched repeatedly on tape.)  So, I mean, maybe they were just way overprotective ... only prone to letting us see the G-est of the G-rated.

Here are the movies I remember seeing in the theater as a kid:

101 Dalmatians
Batteries Not Included
Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
Home Alone
An American Tail (possibly?)
Cool Runnings

That's between the ages of 0-13.  And you might think I saw more, but that I just don't remember them...  yeah, well, I doubt it.  I have a pretty good memory when it comes to movies.

Meanwhile, we did have a VCR when I was growing up.  My dad purchased the first one in 1985.  I remember the night we first got it, how he tried to explain to me that I couldn't watch Dumbo NOW, but I would be able to watch it the next day.  Madness, I thought.  Man, you're crazy!  But sure enough, there Dumbo was the next day... and the next... and the next....

Thanks to the magic of TV and that VCR, I spent my childhood watching (and rewatching) Dumbo, Mickey and the Beanstalk, Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Heidi's Song, Garfield In Paradise, A Garfield Halloween, A Garfield Christmas, Garfield In The Rough, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Race For Your Life Charlie Brown, What A Nightmare Charlie Brown (and about a dozen more CB specials) Mary Poppins, Peter Pan (with Mary Martin), The Care Bears Movie, The Secret Garden, Robin Hood, Flight Of The Navigator, Back to the Future, The Goonies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, multiple Looney Tunes cartoon specials, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, the Claymation Christmas Special, Alice In Wonderland, The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Pollyanna, and many more.

However, just because things were edited for television didn't mean my parents always approved of what they had taped for us....

Once, the movie The Adventures of Mark Twain aired, and my family watched it together.  My brother and I really enjoyed it, but my parents were not pleased.  There's a storyline involving Adam and Eve that is, well, not exactly Biblical.  And my parents were all about things being correct, satire be darned.  They decided the movie was just too scandalous.  And so, after explaining their reasonings to my brother and I, they did the unthinkable:

The taped over the movie.

So of course, because of this, The Adventures Of Mark Twain took on a whole new life in my brain as That movie we loved but that my parents stole from us.  For years I yearned to see it again.  As soon as I could, I bought myself a copy on VHS.  I've watched it several times since.  The funny thing is, the Adam & Eve parts are probably the lamest of the whole movie.  But the rest is really creepy and cool.  Silly parental censorship!

Another time, my dad decided to tape Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for us.  This may have been the second time it had aired on network television, because my dad was ready with the VCR remote during the scene where Walter Donovan turns to dust and bones (read: he chose poooorly).  My dad actually paused the tape during the recording so that Walter's progression of deterioration was almost entirely omitted.  Why he thought this scene, out of all the scenes in the movie, was the one thing that needed to be censored, I will never know.  As it stands now, I don't find that scene -- the full version -- scary at all, and never have.  I think it's actually kind of cool!   My brother and I both chuckle at this memory of my dad's over-protectiveness.

My parents weren't the only ones trying to look out for us.  A lot of those taped-off-TV-movies I watched repeatedly as a kid had already been censored quite a bit by the networks.  Back To The Future, for example, had most of its "bad" language replaced with somewhat less-objectionable wording... but otherwise, the film remained the same.  Not so with the network TV version of The Goonies back in the 80's.  That was the version I always watched as a kid.  As an adult, I got the DVD and was stunned to see a bunch of scenes I'd never laid eyes on before.  The kids shaking the pipes and disrupting the plumbing in the country club?  Mouth talking to Rosalita about drugs?  Andi kissing Mikey and commenting on his braces?  Where did all these scenes come from?  To this day, I find them foreign, as if the version on the DVD is some bizarre director's cut or something.

And now it's 2010 and VCRs are practically obsolete.  Tivos and Blu-Ray players reign.  But I don't understand how people can get rid of their VCRs.  Don't they, too, have tapes full of old memories?  Or is that just my family?  I guess most people can just update their movie collection when a new format comes along, but I'll never be able to.  I mean, yeah, I have Pollyanna on DVD now, and I have to admit it looks a whole lot better than the tape -- but sometimes, just sometimes, it's nice to pull out the old taped-off-channel-12 recording of it and watch it alongside those goofy 80s commercials that accompanied it back in the day.

Because that's the way I used to watch it.

And sometimes... that's just the way I want it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Partnership For A Slackerful Existence

 This is my brain...

This is school...

This is my brain on school...

Any questions?

I mean, besides asking me why I'm using mixed metaphors and yoinking egg images from Google?

No?  Okay, carry on, then.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

If You Build It... (aka Lego Projects: "Made In Oregon" (2010))

I built a Lego thing for the state fair.  I called it "Made In Oregon."  AND IT WON THIRD PLACE!

Well, it won third place in the "Original design, LEGO bricks only - adults - over 5 years experience" Lego category.  There are about eight categories, I should mention that.  It wasn't, like, the third best Lego design of ALL or anything.

Okay, it was.  Actually it was the ultimate awesomest for realz!

Listen to me, acting like a proud beauty pageant mommy!

The thing was, that was not easy to build!  I have ultimate respect for Lego builders, now, because wow... I mean, Lego bricks are great, but if you press too hard, your whole structure can go kablooey in a hurry, and then you have to start all over and... yeah, it's totally an exercise in patience.  This took me more than a week to build.

More photos...

Also, two of my scrapbook pages won ribbons!  This was my first year entering anything in the fair.  (I almost did last year, but then the date for delivering your entries coincided with my trip to Nebraska, so it didn't happen.)

My Little Sister and I are already talking about what we will make to enter next year.  Decorated cakes, perhaps, because with cakes you can eat your mistakes!  (Okay, what is UP with me and the dorky rhyming?)

The Oregon State Fair runs through September 6th!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


So the Emmy Awards are tonight.  Every year it's the same with me -- a sense of apathy about the whole thing.  How come?  Well, because the shows I watch are rarely nominated.  Because most of the nominated shows are on channels I don't get.  And other whiny reasons.  Take a look at the shows that are nominated this year, in one category or another...

30 Rock
The Amazing Race
American Idol
Antiques Roadshow
The Big Bang Theory
Big Love
Breaking Bad
Burn Notice
The Cleaner
The Closer
The Colbert Report
Curb Your Enthusiasm
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Dancing With The Stars
Desperate Housewives
Dirty Jobs
Friday Night Lights
The Good Wife
How I Met Your Mother
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List
Law & Order: SVU
Mad Men
Men Of A Certain Age
Modern Family
The New Adventures Of Old Christine
Nurse Jackie
The Office
Parks and Recreation
Project Runway
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien
Top Chef
True Blood
Two And A Half Men
Undercover Boss

That's a lot of shows.  What do I watch?  The Amazing Race, Survivor, Antiques Roadshow, and The Office.  Forty-something shows, and I watch a mere four.  Okay, sometimes I watch House with my mom.  So five, I guess.  And I think I've missed episodes of every one of them, so it's not like I'm a die-hard or anything.

Meanwhile, the Emmys are constantly snubbing the shows I enjoy most.  Buffy The Vampire Slayer, one of the cleverest shows ever, never got a main Emmy nod.  The Pretender?  Nope.  Lois & Clark?  Not even.  Wonderfalls?  Completely overlooked.  Since a lot of the shows I enjoy tend to be off the Emmy radar, I often feel like it's pointless to care about the awards.  Obviously, the academy of Emmariffic arts and sciences is comprised of a bunch of dodoheads, so why should I give them my time?

Typically, if I do end up watching the Emmys, I often find myself rooting for specific actors or actresses -- and not because I liked their performance in the show they're nominated for -- but because, eh, I liked them in some movie back in the 80's.  Nostalgia conquers all!

This year, I'll be rooting for Andre Braugher on Men Of A Certain Age, because Scott Bakula is also on that show, and Quantum Leap brings back fond memories.  Aw, Sam and Al and Ziggy... those were the days.

I'll also cheer on Kyle Chandler -- not because I've ever seen Friday Night Lights, but because I used to like his show Early Edition back in the day.

As for the ladies, I think I'll root for January Jones, because I like people who are named after months.  Plus she was in a TV movie I liked once.  If TV movies aren't prime factors in these kinds of situations, I don't know what are!

And you know... sometimes the Emmy telecast does turn out to be worth it.  Like when Kristin Chenoweth won for Pushing Daisies?  Totally awesome.  I was glad to be watching it that time.

Besides, Ricky Gervais has been known to show up at the Emmys and sometimes even present awards.  Ricky is totally worth tuning in for.

Oh, I've also seen one of the two nominees for outstanding TV miniseries... Return to Cranford.  It's up against The Pacific, which is getting all the good buzz.  Cranford, in case you were wondering, was one of those Masterpiece-Theatre-Judi-Dench exhibitions.  I seem to remember either someone getting hit by train or being trampled by a cow.   Or maybe it was both.*

In the end, I don't really care who wins anything, except in the Reality Show Host competition.  I swear on a stack of Little Golden Books, if Tom Bergeron wins  that one, I'm boycotting the Emmys next year.

And by next year, I mean FOR-EV-ERRR.

*Edit: Oh hey, I just remembered.  The cow got hit BY the train.  Wow, how did I forget a thing like that?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Swarm

Do you want to see something gross?

In case you don't particularly, I'll make the picture small.  But you can click on it to see it in its finest state...

<--- Flies.

I bought this fly trap about a week ago, to take care of the pest problem around our chicken coop. $4.99. Previously I had been spending 45 minutes outside daily, bludgeoning flies with a swatter, in what amounted to a modified game of Whack-a-Mole.  And while that was fun for a while, I realized I wasn't making much of a dent in the fly population.  Besides, my shoulders were starting to hurt.  I needed something else.  So off to the store I went, intent on buying an electric-shocking flyswatter or some other novelty.  That's when I saw this.  All I'd have to do was set it up, hang it up, and wait. 

Day 1 - 8 flies.
Day 2 - 82 flies.
Day 3 - 200 flies.
And so on...

Today, a week later, the trap is half full of insect carcasses.  See that green stripe with the word "Rescue" on it?  The bodies go all the way to the bottom of that green part.  They just keep adding up, stacking on top of the previously deceased.  Isn't that revolting?  I love it!  The fine print on the packaging says the trap can hold 2,000 flies.  TWO THOUSAND.  So that means there are about 1,000 in there right now.  Incredible!  Wait, I shouldn't have told you that... we could've had a contest, like those jelly beans in a jar contests.  The one where you win the jelly beans.  Only this time, it could be loads better.  Whoever guessed the closest could win the bag of flies! Think of how happy that could make your pet frogs, if you had any.  Just THINK!

Oh well, maybe next time...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fabulous He

I have an addendum to make to my movie character crushes list.

I present: Prince Albert from The Young Victoria...

Or, as I have affectionately dubbed him, Hottie McHotalot.

At first I wasn't sure if I should include him, since Albert was a real person, not simply a movie character.  But then I remembered that it's my list and I get to make the rules.  Prince Albert makes the list because he is kind and helpful and head-over-heels in love with Victoria.  Like, at first his relatives/advisors try to set up the marriage for strategic reasons.  But when Albert falls in love with Victoria, he turns his back on all the scheming.  His heart is pure.  I love it when hearts are that.  It just makes me all googly inside.

So welcome to the list, Al!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Raving About Ramona!

I'm so happy right now becauuuse...

RAMONA AND BEEZUS IS NOT AN EPIC FAILURE (as was previously feared)

A bit o' history: I discovered the Ramona books when I was seven or eight years old. I've read all of them, now, multiple times. I love them. And I loved the Sarah Polley TV show. So, you know, I was going to be hard to please anyway. When I first found out they were making a Ramona movie I thought, Why? The 80's TV series was awesome. It captured the essence of the books. Why can't they just leave it at that? The movie's going to go and tarnish the memory of Ramona! RAAWWRR!! (I find that a good roar often gives a rant a little something extra.)

A year or so later, when I caught a glimpse of some of the movie audition videos online... and noticed that the dialogue/situations were not straight from the books, but rather seemed to take place AFTER the books... I thought, Great, it's not an adaptation... it's like a continuing story. We know how those can turn out:(

And then I heard they'd cast Selena Gomez as Beezus and thought, Ugh, Disney Channel stunt casting. This is REALLY going to bite.

AND THEN, when I realized the screenplay had been written by the same lady who was responsible for adapting Ella Enchanted for the big screen, I started screaming obscenities and throwing tomatoes.

Well, not really. But I did frown some.

So suffice it to say, I was nervous going into the theater, but I had to see Ramona and Beezus for myself!

And guess what? I was really, really, really, pleasantly surprised!

Ramona and Beezus takes place when Ramona is nine years old, sort of in Ramona's World territory. Things are a little out of sequence, though, as baby Roberta has already been born, but the cat, Picky-Picky, is still around.

Events from many of the Ramona books pop up, including the toothpaste incident, the crown of burrs, the raw egg fiasco, and jumping through the "hole in the house." A BUNCH more, too, but I don't want to spoil them all. Let's just say, fans of the books? You won't be disappointed.

Of course, the movie doesn't stick 100% to the books. There are quite a few new scenes in the film, but they work to tie everything together. There's also a subplot involving a teenariffic romance between Beezus and Henry Huggins. (Gasp! What would Beverly Cleary say?!)

Overall, it's a really cute movie. Sad scenes (warning! warning! Ramona Forever fans may know the one I mean) are handled tastefully (which is not to say I didn't shed a tear, because I so totally did.) Joey King, who plays Ramona, is a natural comedic actress. And 99% of the casting decisions were spot-on.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who used to love the Ramona books. This will definitely be one I buy on DVD and show to future generations of kids.

Well, that and the Sarah Polley TV show. I mean, come on... that's a classic!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Up A Tree Without A Clue

Every year, people are faced with the same grueling decision: What to put on the top of the Christmas tree?  

Should it be a star, symbolizing the star the Three Wise Men saw up in the sky that led them to the little town of Bethlehem?

Or, perhaps, an angel, in honor of the angel & his posse who heralded the lowly shepherds with the news of Jesus' birth?

It's a tough one.  Luckily, some families do not need to make this yearly decision, because they have a set tradition. Every year, it's the same.  These people are, you could say, on Team Star OR Team Angel.  

But, for the sake of shaking things up a bit, I would like to propose a NEW team.  Something entirely else for trees this holiday season.  Something like this...

Huzzah! Vampire up a tree!

Last weekend I was visiting my relatives in Port Angeles, Washington, one of several meccas for Twilight fans.  In the first book and movie, Bella and her friends go there to buy prom dresses.  Bella goes to a book store and then nearly gets attacked by some frat guys.  She is saved by Edward, his Volvo, and his Glare of Doom, and they go out to dinner together.  She eats pasta, he eats her, they all die, the end.

Or no, I think I skipped a part.

SO ANYWAY, Port Angeles has decided it wants to cash in on all the Twi-hards by offering them wares galore in a store called "Dazzled By Twilight."  Yes, in the heart of downtown Port Angeles, there is an entire store devoted entirely to the Twilight saga.

 How long it'll actually last is anyone's guess.

Inside, there were racks of garments honoring all the vampires.  There were statues and cardboard cutouts and posters and mugs and bleeping shrines devoted to the major characters.

There were middle-aged ladies scoping out the newest merchandise and pestering the clerks about when sold-out items would be in stock.

There were pieces of merchandise celebrating Forks, the town where Bella and Edward supposedly live.  There was a display devoted to La Push, home of Jacob and his ilk.  

 hay guys anyone got a shirt i can borrow?

There was jewelry, including Bella's engagement ring -- so that you, too, can be engaged to Edward.  Oh, Edward and his silly polygamous ways!

To the Twilight fan, Dazzled By Twilight has got to be a dream come true.  For me, who read 90% of the first book and saw two of the movies, it's a little strange and overwhelming.

And which team, you ask, am I on?  Team Edward or Team Jacob?


Team Angel all the way!