Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fallen Icons

Okay, I'm back and have been back for a week, but was just too busy last week to post. I did start an entry, but didn't have the time to finish it. Here it is (now finished):

Yes, I had fun in Vegas. No, it did not make up for NOT being at Comerica Park for Game 4 in a seven game series where My Boys swept! Yup, swept the Oakland Athletics under the rug. We have our first AL Pennant in 22 years. And dammit, I'm buying one! Do they still make actual ALCS pennants anymore?

My flight was 30 minutes late getting into Vegas on Friday which isn't a huge shock really. Thankfully it was a nonstop, so I didn't have to worry about catching a connecting flight like Edmonton. It was the HOTTEST friggin' flight I've ever been on, however, so as soon as I got to the hotel, I took a shower and changed into my Tigers gear. With the winter-like weather in Michigan, game time had been moved up from 8:05 to 4:30 (Detroit time) or 1:30 Vegas time. I made sure that the sportsbook was going to show the game and got my butt there by 1:00 (actually, I think I was there by 12:30 to stake out a good table). Little Brother (LB) had taken his friends to their hotel over on Fremont Street and they were late getting back (really late), so I'm sitting in the sportsbook all by myself watching something with no sound. I kept wishing I had brought my book with me, but I knew if I got up I would lose my front row table.

I spotted a guy wearing a Tigers shirt and he came over and we discussed game watching issues. Then his friend walked in and I recognized him from somewhere. We chat and figure out we went to the same university. Small world. They went off to gamble or find food or something but promised to come back for the game. I wanted to watch the game with a group! If I couldn't be in Detroit, I was going to be with as many Detroiters as possible, dammit! A short while later, I spotted a guy in a Tigers hat (or shirt, can't remember). I was wearing mine, so they came over and asked if the game was going to be on. I tell them that I was told it was going to be, but didn't know what TVs. They were part of a bachelor party of 20 guys. Out of all those guys only 3 were cool and fun. The rest all acted as if I were a pariah or something. Whatever. I don't need to travel in a pack. LB showed up with the A's fans (Lupe, Antoinette, Jose, & Jorge) in tow three or so innings into the game and I had to give them a hard time because the A's were already losing by the time they showed up. Jose & Jorge got tired of the game pretty quickly and went off to gamble, but Lupe & A sat with us. At one point, they gave this weak little cheer when the A's did something that didn't suck. I turned around and told them that if they were going to cheer for their team I wanted them to cheer! I wanted to hear them! The Long Island iced teas kicked in and they got some real cheering going for their team – not that it mattered because Kenny Rogers was on fire for the second Friday night game in a row.

If you will remember, my reason for going to Vegas was to go hiking at Red Rocks Canyon and that was planned for Saturday morning as the damn baseball game had been pulled ahead to 4:30 (amazing how it was the "weather" that required the pullahead time, when the weather this past weekend was even more hideous and it didn't get pulled ahead) which was 1:30 Vegas time. It would have been a short hike, but at least it would have been something, but no, I woke up Saturday morning to a raging thunderstorm (thunder, lightning, pouring down rain). *sigh* Yeah, I wasn't happy.

It was harder to watch the game on Saturday because of all those stupid college football games. We didn't even get sound for the baseball game, as some stupid college football game was considered to be more important (whatever). Have I ever expressed to you all how much I hate football? Much less college football? I literally couldn't care less about it. The bachelor party showed up again, and instead of Mark and Rob (the guys who went to my college), we had Justin and Ron join us. We weren't an overly rambunctious group while the game was tied, although we cheered every good play, but when Maggs hit the walk-off 3-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to win, we went a little crazy. The A's fans had thought they had a chance, so they were especially bummed, but they recovered quickly enough. Mom called to say Yay Tigers, but then I found out that she called the LB first! I yelled at her! "They're MY Tigers and you call him first. He didn't even care which team won." He wouldn't even participate in Gum Time when I broke out my pack of Major League Chew and shared it around. I had to hug relative strangers (they weren't really strangers anymore after watching two baseball games with them). Then DWD called to celebrate – he was excited because the bastard was at the game using what should have been my ticket. Yeah, I'm happy for him, but I still wish to God I had canceled the trip to Vegas and stayed home. How often do I wish to stay in Detroit wintry weather? NEVER, that's how often, but I would rather be nowhere right now, not even in St. Louis.

Sunday we went to the Grand Canyon and that was an extremely long day. We stopped at Hoover Dam so that LB and Friends could catch up to us, but that didn't work out as we waited 45 minutes for them, on the AZ side of the dam, and they stopped on the NV side to do whatever. HRH is not the most patient of people, so she decided we would press on and meet up with them closer to the Grand Canyon.

It took us a bit longer to get the GC than originally thought when you factor in HRH being pulled over by a Nevada cop for doing 86 mph in a 70 mph. This works well if you're from another country and they know they'll never get any money out of you. She got a written warning (which she's keeping with her written warning from Indiana that she got on our way to Road America a few years back). Then there was her obsession with Route 66. Every time we saw a sign that said "Historic Route 66" on it, we had to leave the highway and check out the tiny little towns that have absolutely nothing going for them except that they're on Route 66. As you can see from the pictures, some of them we didn't get to until after dark.

I had been to the Grand Canyon back in 1978 (North Rim, according to the LB), but HRH had never been. We went to the South Rim this time (because the weather report for the North Rim included a certain four-letter word that indicates frozen precipitation). HRH was blown away by it, even though she claimed on the trip there that she didn't care about nature. She said all the pictures that she has seen over the years do not do it justice. Check out the link above for my pics.

Now you would think that after an entire day spent in the car driving more than ten hours we would have fallen right into bed. And if it had just been me, I would have, but HRH wanted to gamble. We learned how to play Craps from some nice casino workers and then got chased to bed by an asshole casino worker who had the biggest chip on his shoulder ever in the history of the world. By this time, it was 4:30 a.m., so it's not like we shouldn't have been there already.

Monday we had brunch at Paris (fantastic buffet), LB and Friends left for the Bay Area and I went to lay out by the pool. HRH & I then went over to the Mirage to see the white tiger where we were mistaken for lesbians. HRH was playing Craps, again, and I was watching, as usual. Frank from Wisconsin, one of the craps table casino people types, said to HRH, "You need to win money to buy her more rings." I just said, "I can buy my own rings." HRH said, "I don't think so." It's impossible for two women to travel together anymore and not be mistaken for lesbians. I guess we need to travel in a pack.

Once we got back to our hotel, I went to the room and packed as much as I could. I might have gone back down briefly, but essentially I was beyond tired of cigarette smoke and just plain tired. I knitted and watched shitty network television until bedtime.

I'm not sure this entry was worth a week's wait, but it's all I got. At least, you can enjoy pictures of the Grand Canyon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just A Dream

As you all know I leave tomorrow for Vegas. What you don't know is that I don't want to go now. What? You say. Yes, that's right. I really don't want to go. A trip I've been planning since freaking January. Why? You ask. Because yesterday I got a phone call from GtG saying, "I have tickets to Saturday's game, right at 3rd base." My head literally hit my desk! OUCH! Double ouch! Yes, it's supposed to be 80 in Vegas and I'm going to see my Little Brother, but to be at the game where the Tigers could possibly clinch their first trip to the World Series since 1984? As those credit card commercials say, PRICELESS! You have no idea how bummed I am. I could be sitting at Tiger Stadium (yes, I know it's not called Tiger Stadium, but in my book that's where the Tigers play, not some stupidly corporately named ballpark) freezing to death, but watching my boys, the boys I've watched be diabolically bad for the past five or so years (yes, it's been longer than that, but I was living in the Bay Area before that, although I did go to a few A's games when the Tigers came to town) show the rest of the city that they're worthy of our love. I remember sitting at one of the last games of the season last year with GtG and him asking me what I'd change on the team to make it better. We went position by position and there wasn't a single person I wanted to change. We had Magglio in right field (love him and his curls), Curtis (my favorite Swede – or not – in center), Craig in left, Chris Shelton at first (I'm so sad he tanked so badly after his outrageous hitting start), Placido at 2nd (I love everything about him, from his bald head to insane playmaking and out-getting, to say nothing of his hitting), Carlos Guillen at shortstop (I can't even tell you how much I love him and what he does for this team), my Brandon at 3rd, of course. Others might want to dump My Brandon, but we all know I won't ever be on that bandwagon. Then we have Pudge behind the plate with Vance Wilson backing him up. Poor Vance doesn't get to play in the postseason, probably, unless Pudge gets hurt and we certainly don't want that. He's been calling some absolutely stellar games. And our pitching? I wanted to see them all come back and show that they could do it. We picked up Kenny Rogers in the postseason and I have to admit I was skeptical due to his age and our experience with Troy Percival. Thankfully that pick-up worked out really well.

Being a Detroiter, I was willing to give Alan Trammell the last year on his contract and when they fired him the day after the season ended and then announced that they hired Jim Leyland, I said, "He better have this team winning big-time or people will not be happy about the firing of Alan Trammel." And look at that, nobody even thinks about poor #3 anymore, at least, not as a manager.

So, instead of being at Game 4 on Saturday, I'll be in Vegas in some SportsBook watching the game with my brother (not a bad thing, by any stretch of the imagination) and his Bay area friends (one of whom is a HUGE A's fan) and wishing like hell I were there and straining to see if I can find GtG in the crowd and see who lucked into my ticket because I'm a dumbass and planned a trip in mid-October. Damn me! I so suck.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Run For It

THAT'S MY BRANDON!!! My Brandon (Inge, 3rd baseman for the Detroit Tigers) made up for his 3 for 24 (I think) batting against the Yankees by going 3 for 3 with a walk in Game 1 against the Oakland A's last night. He was the first Tiger to get a hit off of Barry Zito (aka Pitching God, apparently, if you were listening to the Fox broadcast team) and it was a home run. Woohoo!!! The next inning he hit a double driving in a run and then Placido Polanco singled to bring Brandon home. Oh, it was a beautiful thing, if you're a Tigers' fan. Sadly, Sean Casey blew out a calf muscle or something in the 6th inning and he won't be playing tonight. NOT good. After we lost him last night, Jim Leyland moved Carlos Guillen to 1st and put Ramon Santiago in at shortstop. It'll be interesting to see what Leyland does tonight. I pray he does not feel the need to play Omar Infante. I have no clue how I'm going to stay up, though, tonight for Game 2. Midnight is a tad past my bedtime. I even gave myself an extra half hour on the alarm clock, but it was not sufficient.

I have so much to do today. I have to try to find 3 oz. bottles/containers of all the stuff I normally take on a trip so I can put it in my carry-on. I can probably find a small bottle of saline, but I'm not sure about the actual cleaning solution. And the FAA is still recommending people get to the airport three hours before their flight. Give me a break. I've been getting to airports for two hours for the past five years and I swear I'm the only one and I waltz right through. My flight leaves Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., and I don't think I can make DWD take me at 5:30 in the morning. I'm not so sure I want to anyway! I'm aiming for being at the airport by 7:00 a.m. Let's all cross our fingers and hope that is sufficient. Oh yeah, I'm heading off to Vegas this weekend. My Little Brother (LB) is coming down from the Bay Area with some friends of his and we're going hiking in Red Rocks which is just north of the city. Race weekends in Vegas are not conducive to doing much other than going to the racetrack (although last year we did get to Hoover Dam).

Friday will be hanging out day. I get in early (10:30), but HRH doesn't get in until 2:30. I might have to remember to pack my bathing suit and I can lay out by the pool. (Note to self: Pack bathing suit in carry-on.) Saturday will be hiking day (but not for HRH as she does not hike – she gambles, which I don't do) and Sunday we're heading down to the Grand Canyon (a four hour drive one way). LB leaves Sunday night or Monday morning and HRH & I have plans to spend Monday (although we hope not the entire freaking day) with a friend who lives there. Which reminds me I need to e-mail a friend who I knew when I lived in SF (we worked for the same shitty company). Hmm, her hotmail isn't working. Guess I'll be calling her a bit later.

Anyway, I have to do a load of laundry (did one last night), pack, clean up the kitchen, etc., all before I leave Friday morning. I have to say that due to the new regulations for packing and flying, I don't even want to go to Vegas this weekend, but I'm sure it'll be fun and worth it once I get there. And I will make sure I'm at the airport three hours ahead of time leaving Vegas as that's one airport where the previously recommended 2 hours was completely necessary. At least I can still take on my knitting.

I told you a few weeks back that a dear friend of mine got me the Firefly boxset for my b-day. I didn't know anything about it except that I had seen people list it in their profiles under Favorite TV Shows (or whatever that category is). But after I had declared my love of Babylon 5 and Stargate SG-1 (but only the episodes with Richard Dean Anderson, thank you very much), he decided I would like Firefly. Dammit, but he was right. I have one episode left to watch and I'm so bummed that it's already over. I can totally see myself re-watching them all right away. Just taking out disc 4 and putting in disc 1. I have the Serenity movie waiting at the top of my Netflix queue (too bad I haven't had time to watch the movies I have at home: The World's Fastest Indian, Birth of a Nation, and Intolerance). I just know it's not going to be enough though. I'm still trying to figure out why the only shows I watch anymore are science fiction! I don't even like science fiction!!!! How did this happen? I know how to blame, however. And you know who you are, as well.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Beat It

Can I get a GO TIGERS!!! from my dear readers? How freaking awesome were my Tigers this weekend taking care of the hated, despised, much vaunted, but in the end pathetic New York Yankees? You're welcome, Boston! ;-) I watched Thursday's game out of the corner of my eye at the gym since all the dipshits who didn't give a damn about My Tigers three months ago had their butts planted on the elliptical machines in front of ESPN. DAMMIT. Friday I was out with Martha for her birthday and thankfully the restaurant had the game on the TV (although during the innings of Ernie Harwell in the booth I was stuck listening to crap jazz from two guys – one of whom played a keyboard guitar thing) and I was able to watch Kenny Rogers teach the Yankees a lesson. He definitely had his game face on. I got to see Pudge Rodriguez pound the ground after his safe slide into 3rd. Oh, they were pumped for this game! I got to see Joel Zumaya's fastball scaring the big bad Yankee hitters. Ha ha! And then Todd Jones came in for the save. Oh, it was a sweet sweet night for the Tigers faithful (and bandwagoners).

The fact that we got to relive it the next afternoon just totally kicked butt. Jeremy Bonderman was channeling Kenny Rogers from the night before and even had a perfect game going into the sixth inning. He struck out Gary Sheffield twice on the same freaking pitch! It was so cool. I thought they were showing a replay of the first strikeout, the ball positioning was so perfect. My Brandon finally got a hit (thank God we rely on him for his fielding and not his bat). I watched Sean Casey score from 2nd and he looked like he was going to have a heart attack, but he was bound and determined to score, you could tell from the look on his face. What a lovely trade deadline addition he was to the team!

All season long, on TV and at the ballpark, "they" have been asking "Who's Your Tiger?" By the end of the season I realised that They're All My Tigers. Just watch a game with me, and you'll hear the following words come out of my mouth, "Ah, Maggs, I love Maggs." "Ah, Pudge. I love Pudge." "Kenny? I love Kenny." Etc. Name a Tiger and I pretty much love him. Well, I haven't exactly warmed up to Omar Infante yet, but it would help if he got rid of his Merengue "walk-up" music. He's had it for two years now and I'm pretty much over it. Hell, I was over it last year. The last game I went to (two weeks ago – and the last regular season game they won), Omar wasn't in the line-up, but I heard his music and said, "Oh no, what's Omar doing batting?" I knew without an announcement or looking up that he was coming into the game. I lived through it, but it was painful.

Now it's on to Oakland and the A's. Normally I like the A's (from having lived in SF and hating the Giants), but I shall not be rooting for them. In fact, I need a four-game sweep because I leave Friday for Vegas and on Sunday (i.e., Game 5) I'll be driving to the Grand Canyon with HRH and my Little Brother. And being that it's a bit of the middle of nowhere, I'm thinking we might not get ESPN radio. Therefore, a little note to My Detroit Tigers – SWEEP, BOYS!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Come Sail Away

Here, finally, is the picture of the 3-day-old calf I took two weeks ago:


I've spent the past three days being domestic. If you know me at all, you know that I'm not one to prefer cooking, cleaning, or vacuuming over sitting on my butt and watching movies while knitting. But it's The Libertarian's birthday on Sunday and he'll be gone to visit his parents, so I had him over last night for dinner. Yup, I cooked. Be scared, be very scared!!!

And as is normal for me, I did not come out unscathed. I usually cut half my thumb off when cooking (okay, chopping), but there were no interesting additions to the recipe this time. Nope, I managed to burn my thumb taking the cheesecake out of the oven on Tuesday. I'm so pathetic that even though there was a bloody potholder in my hand, my thumb escaped its safety net and grabbed the pan. OW!!

Yes, I not only made dinner, I made a cake. Are you impressed yet? You should be as the usual extent of my cooking is grilled cheese or ramen noodles. As I've told people, it's not that I don't know how to cook, I just choose not to because cooking for one person is just not fun and then I'm stuck eating the same damn thing for a week.

Of course, there has to be drama when I cook and this time it was when my electric mixer refused to work on Tuesday when I was trying to beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla into submission. I thought maybe it was the outlet, but I tried two others and still nothing. I went through the building knocking on doors, trying Schneider first, but Schneider's wife told me she doesn't cook at all, not a lick, so no go. I then tried Ursamajor. I knew she'd still be at work, but I could tell OOMA was home because there was music emanating through the door. Unfortunately, I think he thought I was knocking on the door to tell him to turn it down, because all of a sudden the music was gone, but he didn't answer the door. ARGH!!! I called Ursa at work and she couldn't get him to answer his phone, making us conclude that instead of turning the music off, he simply put on headphones. DOUBLE ARGH!! I then tried Bob, but when his son Rob moved out he took the mixer. I tried using the old fashioned hand mixer I got from my Grandma, but it was a bit difficult being cream cheese and all. I was a little frustrated at this point, but Ursa promised to bring it to me once she got home. While I waited for Ursa to get home from work, I called Jen and Irean and left messages for both of them. It's so nice having a friendly building. Jen called back pretty quickly with the news that she doesn't own a mixer, but definitely needs one. Irean was next to call me with the news that "I don't bake, girlfriend." Thankfully, while talking to Irean, OOMA and Petey appeared at my door holding Grandma's electric mixer. Yippee!!! I almost wept tears of joy.

The damn cheesecake was done within minutes of the appearance of the magical mixer and into the oven it went. I have determined over the past two days that my oven does not get as hot as it's supposed to (unlike my downstairs oven which was over hot), as it took a good extra 20-30 minutes for the cheesecake and the quiche.

Quiche is so darn easy to make. I should make them for myself more often – especially now that I found my Kroger has frozen pie crusts made without lard. Oh happy days!!! I bailed out of work right on time yesterday, cut up and steamed the broccoli and then went off to the gym where I ellipticalled for my usual hour and saw the Libertarian where I told him that he could come over earlier than 6:00 if he needed to. Yeah, I didn't mean 5:15. Ah well. Can't complain when he brought tools to help me hang the coat rack I had bought over a year ago. I'm so tired of all my coats/jackets/fleeces taking up space on my dining room chairs. I had gotten the quiche in the oven right at 5:00 and it was supposed to take 60 minutes to bake. Uh huh, we finally sat down to eat at 6:45. Now, if I were Martha (my friend, not Stewart) I would have had more than just quiche and mixed green salad, but hell, I think I'm doing well when I turn the freaking oven on, so no fancy French bread with dinner. Who has time for this stuff?

The verdict was that everything (all two items) was excellent, and since we were eating dinner we talked about foods we liked, so now I know he likes the dark meat of chicken and turkey but not white meat. He loves casseroles (I got a whole dissertation on why the casserole is the perfect food), hates lima beans and walnuts (we're kindred spirits on this score), doesn't like bleu cheese or balsamic vinaigrette salad dressings, thank God I had Thousand Island in the fridge for when I make myself veggie Reubens, and needs milk when he eats cheesecake, and will make do with the ¼ cup I had left without complaining.

All in all, I think it was a good evening and he graciously accepted his Champ Car t-shirt present even though he doesn't watch or really care. I did not finish the scarf I was making because I lost a boatload of time on Monday by going to bed at 7:30. Ah well, I'll just have a Christmas present done way early!

The Banned Book List

Oh yay, a blog entry idea stolen from Trina which she shamelessly stole from dreadmouse here. Somehow we all missed out on Banned Books Week. Here is a list of the top 100 books which had stupid people up in arms. These are only the most challenged books from 1990-2000. I have highlighted the ones I've read..

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel (I think I read this way back in 1978, but I'm not sure as it was so bloody long ago.)
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (I was supposed to read this sophomore year of high school but some parents objected, so it got removed from our reading list.)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (I own this book, but haven't read it yet. Now that I know it upsets some people I might have to get it off the shelf.)
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I am embarrassed by my poor showing with this list. Especially since I know there are a number of these books sitting on my book shelf. So so sad. I'm amazed that Fahrenheit 411 isn't on this list since it’s essentially about the ridiculousness of book banning. Guess it was too subtle.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Katherine Legge on Ellen

I hear Katherine Legge is going to be on Ellen today (check your local listings). I know I'm setting my VCR!

Eternal Odyssey Returning

Yesterday was a busy day at work, as my Mondays usually are but then we had a mandatory 1:00-4:00 p.m. meeting, so no post yesterday. Here, however, is my list of books and movies, read and watched, in September of the year 2006.

The books list is a tad sparse as one of the books took a year to read. I mean, really, it was nuts. The Libertarian informed me he was getting tired of seeing it at the gym.


The Prince of Mexico by Federica de Cesco – 224 pages – I picked this up the year we got stranded in New Orleans (was it just January 2005?) at a little used bookstore, Glen and I wandered into. Being completely in love with Mexico and its history, I loved this fictionalized account of the time of Montezuma and the Cortes invasion, as it was told from the Aztecs' point of view. It wasn't great literature, but it was a nice story (the whole annihilation of a race, notwithstanding).

Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez - 484 pages – I have not read as many books of Sr. García Márquez's as I would have liked, but something prompted me to pick up his autobiography – in fact, I picked it up twice. Thankfully, I figured it out and returned the second one the next day. He is not what I would call an easy read, although he's very interesting. This book was not written in chronological order at all! He writes about his family (where he gets most of his story ideas, I think) and how he developed into a writer. Although it took me three weeks to read it, I did enjoy the book, but was glad when it was over.

Since I finished this on Saturday, I've already read one whole book and started another. I hope this month is a little better, reading-wise.


Come September (N) No score – My family in Mexico, actually one of the daughters, recommended this to me last year when I was there and I finally got around to it (you should see my Netflix queue – it's stupid it's so long). I never would have picked this on my own, so I'm glad I took Karla's advice. I loved it. And it was that much more interesting to me since it was the movie where Bobby Darin met Sandra Dee, and I had watched Beyond the Sea semi-recently. If you like 1950s-style romantic comedies, I would definitely recommend this.

Rushmore (G) 85% – As most of you know, I have refused to watch Bill Murray films, but recently started to give in and see them after seeing Broken Flowers which was directed by Jim Jarmusch who is my favorite independent director (holy cow, that sounds so pretentious). Again, I say "mea culpa" for avoiding his films for so long, at least the quirky dramadies. I can say unequivocally that I liked this movie and would watch it again for any nuances I probably missed. If you haven't seen it,

Ocean's 11 & Ocean's 12 (K) – I'm not going to bother linking these or anything since I watch them so often. I still love these movies for when I'm bored and don't feel like watching the profound movies that Netflix sends me.

Stage Fright (K) 82% – Another Hitchcock – I watched this a year or so ago, but finally got it back from someone and when he was talking about it, I realised I didn't remember very much about it, so I watched it again. We all know how I feel about Hitchcock movies, so suffice to say that I liked it a lot. Hitch's daughter Patricia appears in this one as a schoolmate of Jane Wyman.

The Poseidon Adventure (K) 77% - I have nothing bad to say about this movie. I've loved it for ages, although I realised that I have never (until this time since it was on DVD) seen it from the very beginning. I've always caught it on TV after the ship has already flipped. Besides the Ernest Borgnine Factor, it also has Red Buttons, Malcolm McDowell, Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters (who gained 35 lbs and took swimming lessons for the role), Jack Albertson, Carol Lynley, Stella Stevens and Pamela Sue Martin (of Nancy Drew fame) in it. How can you argue with that cast?

Jet Lag (N) 57% - I'm not sure why critics bother themselves with fluffy romantic comedies as they hate them all. I loved this movie! It's not going to tax your brain, unless reading subtitles is too much for you, but I thought it was an enjoyable fluffy romantic comedy. It's French, but it has Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno in it. Non-foreign film watchers might remember her as the chocolatier in Chocolat while Jean Reno has apparently been in the first Mission: Impossible film. I've seen enough Jean Reno films now that I've been contemplating him for my List of Five and eliminating David J, as I'm pretty darn sure he's gay. (Yeah, it might be the boa that gives it away.)

Clerks (R) 86% - I borrowed this from my friend Rob because I thought I was going to see Clerks II and it had been a really long time since I had seen the original. I still haven't see Clerks II, but enjoyed seeing Clerks again as I had forgotten most of it. Still a fun, independent film and worth watching if you haven't seen it before or rewatching it if you have.

This is Spinal Tap (G) 97% - Somehow, I managed to miss this movie even though I love Christopher Guest films and even though it was played at damn near every party back in college (actually, I was out of college, but most of my friends were still there). I wouldn't say I liked it 97% worth, but I definitely thought it was very funny and after seeing the rest of Guest's mockumentaries, I recognise damn near everybody. If you liked Best in Show, A Mighty Wind or Waiting for Guffman, then I say check the original out. I'm glad I finally saw it.

Wages of Fear (B) 100% - I saw this movie years ago at the DFT (Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts – much too lazy to link) and remember being on the edge of my seat. It features Yves Montand who is always worth the price of admission. Maybe it was the group of friends with whom I watched it, but the first time around I had missed all the hints of gayness, and I think that helped cut the tension that I know I felt the first time I saw it.

The Ladykillers (1955) (TCM) 100% - This is the original version with Alec Guinness and as it is in my 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, I taped it when I saw it was going to be on TCM. I'm all about checking movies off in my book (This is Spinal Tap is also in the book.), so I was happy to see it w/o having to Netflix it. I have not seen the Tom Hanks' version, so I can't compare, but once again the cast in this baby is stellar! Peter Sellers in his first film role with Katie Johnson in her last as Mrs. Wilberforce. We all know I'm all about the old movies these days but I think even people who prefer films made within the past 20 years would like this. Yup, I recommend it.

Munich (N) 77% - This was the last of last year's Best Film Oscar nominees for me to see. I just read a review at rottentomatoes and it said that the film humanized the terrorists as well as the people sent to hunt them down afterwards and that's definitely what it did. I was only seven when this happened, so I wasn't really too aware of all the nuances involved, if I even knew it happened. And even later, I was fairly ignorant about the details. I liked this movie better than Syriana and really more than I thought I would.

The Double McGuffin (1979) (N) No score – I remember this movie from when it hit HBO in either late 1979 or early 1980. I watched it every time it was on. I absolutely loved this movie, and am happy to say that the intervening 26 years have not changed my opinion of it. It has the Ernest Borgnine Factor, so there's that. But there's also the kids taking on the adults theme and even though I'm technically an adult, I still like this idea (probably because I don't have kids). This movie brought about the film debut of Lisa Whelchel.

Notorious (K) 96% (although the one review that didn't like it was apparently written by a moron, so let's say 100% when it comes to normal people who weren't raised on action films) – Classic Hitchcock and we all know I love him, to say nothing of Cary Grant or Ingrid Bergman. Jason got me this for my b-day after I mentioned the fact that I had been unable to find it – it's too classic Hitch not to have in my collection – and he found it for me. I still get caught up in the suspense of the key and the wine cellar and the poisoning, no matter how many times I've seen it. This will probably pop up semi-regularly on my Movies Watched This Month List, so be prepared.

Catwoman (N) 9% – Wow, what can I say except that everybody was right? What an incredible piece of dreck! I only Netflixed it because Peter Wingfield is in it (for a whopping 12.5 seconds) and we all know how much I love and adore and lust after Peter. It was sad how little he was in it and how awful the movie was. Not even Benjamin Bratt was enough to make me watch this fully – and by that I mean, without doing something else at the same time – like cleaning (not that I cleaned, although I did walk out of the room without worrying about pausing the DVD). It was ridiculously horrible. My favorite review said "It's bad enough that not only are careers over, but somebody should be slapped." It's worth reading the whole review as it is much better than the movie itself.

Thank God I was able to follow up that incredible piece of pig dung Catwoman with Rashomon (TCM) 100% - so I was able to get the residue of complete shite out of my mind's eye/brain. I mean, Really. Thank God for Akira Kurosawa. I liked the idea of this movie – a crime occurs and then you hear the story from four different sources – the three involved and a watcher. If you have yet to see any Kurosawa I'd start with Yojimbo, just because it was remade as that Clint Eastwood spaghetti western whose name is escaping me right now, so it'll seem a little more familiar. Rashomon, however, is very worthy of being someone's first.

The sad thing about this list is that all those movies were watched by 9/19. Road America and last week kept me too busy since then to watch anything else.