Friday, March 30, 2007

The Mercy Seat

Posh Spice taken to task for going braless.

Another stolen survey from Kelly. Hey, it was about books! I can't resist books.

Bold the ones you've read, italicise the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, and underline the ones on your book shelf! (The strikethrough function didn't carry over for me, so the ones that are normal text should be crossed out.)

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger - although it is lent out at the moment
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - I realise that this is a classic and I should read it, but I'm not sure 19thC Victorian novels are my thing.
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - I have zero interest in this book.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - My friend Suzy recommended this book to me years ago, but I just never got that far. I just read a review at and I have to say that I wish I had read it before this.
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut - I was supposed to read this in tenth grade, but some parents pitched a fit and it got taken off the list. The funny thing is that the year before my sister had the same class and read the book no problem. I think I'd like to know whose parents were the troublemakers.
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson – It's 1200 pages?????!!!!
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte – I remember trying to read this in high school for fun and just not getting past five pages. I probably should try it again, but we shall see.
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell A reviewer said this was essentially short stories and since I can't stand short stories…)
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë - Even though I know this is from that era of English literature which I normally avoid, after reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, I've been tempted to read this.
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Black Coffee in Bed

I visited Kelly and found two surveys to steal. I'll save one for another day when I have nothing to tell you, but here's one:

1. What's your name spelt backwards? Neelhtak – sounds like an alien race from Stargate SG-1.

2. What did you do last night? I had an eventful afternoon/evening. I had my dr.'s appt. to get the chest X-ray taken (also done), then it was on to see Maureen. On my way home I stopped at Target because I was out of toilet paper (and that's pretty darn essential). I bought a fair amount of snack items since my antibiotics are still wreaking havoc with my stomach. I made myself a DiGiorno's cheese pizza, watched the last inning of the ALCS Game 4 (and was singularly disappointed in the after game coverage), then turned on spring training Tigers game playing Atlanta where my Tiges took care of John Smoltz. I went to bed at 8:00 as I had been completely unable to sleep Monday night (2.5 hours tops).

3. The last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Probably a knitting pattern.

4. Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery? When I was young and stupid and did as my brother told me.

5. Last time you swam in a pool? I think last year at Grandma's.

6. What are you wearing? Black slacks (pants?), orange long-sleeved V-neck shirt, my really cool rhino socks and, as usual, black monochrome Chucks.

7. How many cars have you owned? 5

8. Type of music you dislike most? Country/Western – all that twanginess makes me want to put icepicks through my ears.

9. Are you registered to vote? Heck yes, the second I turned 18.

10. Do you have cable? Yes, for TV and computer.

11. What kind of computer do you use? POS Dell desktop at work. My beautiful MacBook at home.

12. Ever made a prank phone call? Hell no, the FF would have killed us if we did that.

13. You like anyone right now? I'm thinking a teenager might have written this. I like lots of people, care deeply about others.

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Hell NO!

15. Furthest place you ever travelled? Cairo, Egypt

16. Do you have a garden? No yard for a garden, but even if I had a yard I probably wouldn't. I had enough with gardens as the FF's indentured gardening servant. I don’t feel the need to pull a week ever again!

17. What's your favorite comic strip? Calvin & Hobbes

18. Do you know all the words to the national anthem? Yes, to the U.S. and Canadian.

19. Shower, morning or night? Every morning, but also afternoons after the gym. Sometimes when I can't sleep I'll take one at night, but always always always take one the next morning.

20. Best movie you've seen in the past month?

21. Favorite pizza toppings? Onions, although if I could artichoke hearts from Pizza Hut in Michigan like I could in California, I might say that instead.

22. Chips or popcorn? I'd normally say popcorn, but I read to avoid popcorn if you have trouble with cold sores and since I was fighting one for a bloody year, I stopped eating it. And when I had popcorn recently, I noticed that feeling, so no more popcorn for me.

23. What cell phone provider do you have? T-Mobile

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Why would I have done that?

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Oh yeah, NOT!

26. Orange Juice or apple? Grape. Apple is boring, and orange is too citrus-y.

27. Who were the last people you sat at lunch with? The Libertarian brought me lunch at home last Friday when I felt so horrible and left work a little after 11:00. Other than that, I'd have no clue as I go to lunch extremely rarely.

28. Favorite chocolate bar? Lindt Swiss Classic Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bar or Dark Chocolate Santander – 70% Cacao

29. Who is your longest friend and how long? Wow, good question. I've known Lisa my entire life, but I almost never see her anymore, although we send each other b-day e-mails. I've known Marianne since high school, but didn't become friends with her until the early 90s, which I think leaves Soyon who I met in college, either 1984 or 1985. I know she was 19, and I think she just turned 40.

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Last summer, my boss would bring in cherry tomatoes from his garden and I would eat them all before lunch.

31. Have you ever won a trophy? LOL! No, although I did get a plaque for my intramural soccer team when we won the championship. I was not an important part of the team, as they replaced me in goal for the playoffs. What can I say, I'm not athletic.

32. Favorite artist? Ooh, hard one. I have a thing for Spanish surrealists, so Miró, Picasso and Dalí.

33. Favorite computer game? Cubis 2 which won't work with the Mac so I can't download it and play the full game, dammit!!

34. Ever ordered from an infomercial? No, although I do find a number of them fascinating and tempting. I have ordered from QVC, but that doesn't count.

35. Sprite or 7-UP? Neither. I find them boring. Squirt, however, is quite yummy.

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work? Oh yes, 12 years of Catholic school made sure of that, along with six years at Burger King – back in the oh so pretty brown/yellow/orangey-red polyester days. Trés chic!

37. Last thing you bought at the store? Toilet paper, toothpaste, dental tape, headphones, snack items, DiGiorno pizza, Target brand sleep aid for the next time I find myself awake at midnight and the alarm ready to go off in four hours.

38. Ever thrown up in public? Oh yes, and it's a charming story. It was my first day of living in SF, i.e., I had moved there that day, and Julius was taking me around and giving me the $5 tour. We were in the Haight, had eaten at a little Mexican dive, and then walked to the local Salvation Army/Purple Heart type store where Julius was looking for a blender, being the consummate party-giver that he was (back in his bachelor days). I was tired from traveling and walking up Calfornia Street, etc., so I decided to lean against a table while he perused the blender collection. I put my hand down and felt something. I looked down and I had put my hand directly into something some incredibly classy person had hacked up, i.e., sputum. I was grossed out beyond words and scraped my hand on the table and ran out the door to get some air. I was essentially Lamaze-breathing to avoid puking, until we could get to Julius' then girlfriend's house who lived at Haight & Ashbury, a block away. While we walked Julius kept going on and on about how gross that was and did I look at it and did I see such-and-such. A few steps before the corner of H&A, I lost my cookies (or rather tortillas) and puked, right in front of some of the faux Haight homeless teenagers who, of course, commented. I don’t think I washed my hands so thoroughly or so many times in a row as I did that day.

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love? True love.

40. Do you believe in love at first sight? I'm not sure I believe in true love, I'm definitely unsure about love at first sight. There's definitely lust at first sight.

41. Can exes just be friends? Depends. I'd never be friends with my first ex-, but I was friends with another until I moved to SF. I'd still be friends with him, except he seems to have moved into a different stratosphere of Detroit culture and I'm not cool enough anymore.

42. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Pamela's mother.

43. Did you have long hair as a young kid? Are you kidding? Hell yes! And I hated it w/a passion! It was down to my butt and straight as an arrow and did nothing for me. I couldn't wait until I had enough of my own money (sophomore year of high school) to cut that shit. I've never looked back.

44. What message is on your voicemail machine? Standard, boring, I'm unable to answer the phone, please leave a message and I'll get back to you.

45. Where would you like to go right now? Home in bed.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

What Not To Wear

It's Friday night and I'm in Detroit, not Baltimore as originally planned. Yesterday I came home from work feeling even worse than I had been. I had gone to the gym on Wednesday and was only able to do 25 minutes on the elliptical. The Libertarian came over to see how much longer I had to go, so that I could stretch his knee, and I discovered that not only couldn't I breathe, I couldn't speak - not a good sign. I wasn't too concerned though, I figured I could get through the weekend and see how I was doing on Monday. Yeah, not so much.

Yesterday I noticed that the fleece jacket I normally wear for warmth at work was bothering my right arm. Besides that I simply didn't feel well. I was very tired and really not very happy. I would have called the dr. for an appt, but I had The Libertarian's big mother truck and I just didn't feel up to driving all the way to the dr's office in it. I'm not comfortable driving something that large. When I got home, I called the dr. and asked them to have him call me which they said they would do. I then called RR to tell her that I was contemplating not coming as I just didn't have the energy for visiting. She understood and told me to let her know for sure. I then called the YS (younger sister), left a message and then went to bed.

Dr. called me back around 5:30, we discussed my breathing issues, so he called in a new antibiotic for me. I couldn't even face driving the truck again, so I texted The Libertarian, but he was already home (45 minutes away). He offered to come up and pick up the prescription for me, but there was no way I was going to make him do that because I was too wimpy to drive 8 blocks. I threw on clothes, but couldn't face shoes, so put on my slippers and walked out the door. When I got outside, I noticed that both of Ursamajor's cars were there. I went back in and knocked on her door and she was so sweet and said, yes, she'd drive me to the pharmacist to get my drugs.

The YS finally called me back (she was at work), and when I told her about my arm which by this time was just exceptionally pain to even the lightest touch and sensitive to temperature, to say nothing of the tingling pain in my hand, specifically my thumb knuckle. It was a different pain/sensation than when I had my herniated disk, so I wasn't worried about that so much, but I wasn't happy, nonetheless. Her initial thought was heart attack, as she has this tendency to go straight for the worst possible scenario. I think I rolled my eyes. She had a few other thoughts, but I wasn't convinced. She wanted to talk to a few other people, and said she'd call me back. When she called me back, she said, "Shannon, the OT here, thought shingles." My heart dropped as I had had that thought myself, but didn't want to go there. I had it exactly two years ago and it was a miserable experience, and it lasted forever.

This morning I tried to get a dr.'s appt., but my GP had no appts today, so I called my old doctor (the one who diagnosed the shingles two years ago, and diagnosed my herniated disk 6.5 years ago), but she couldn't get me into today either. I made appt. to see the GP on Monday and then my old doctor for tomorrow. My issue with my old doctor is that she's a No Insurance doctor - which is totally great for people who don't have insurance - so my appt. tomorrow will cost $45 vs the $20 co-pay if I waited until Monday. After talking to The Libertarian, I went with the $45 doctor and canceled Monday's appt. I talked to Martha later and she agreed that it's better to get it taken care of sooner rather than later.

I hope it's not shingles, but if it's not then what is this strange painful sensation in my right arm? Maybe the alternative is worse. At any rate, I'm home. I didn't get to go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner tonight. I didn't get to hang out with RR and catch up and meet her 3-year-old son. Tomorrow I won't be sightseeing in my nation's capital or going to see SuperDiamond. Sunday I won't be having alone time with the YS and eating a second time at the Cheesecake Factory (I really wish we'd get one in Detroit). The only high point is that all this means I didn't have fly which is just such a complete PITA these days that I simply dread it. That's the only silver lining and I'm afraid that it's only plated, not a solid or sterling lining.

It's now time for bed. I hope everybody else's weekend beats the crap out of mine.

Update: The doctor said it's not shingles. She think my arm issues are related to my chest congestion and recommended that I see my regular doctor to get a prescription for a chest x-ray. She's the third person to say "pneumonia." So, essentially I wasted $60 since I have to go to my regular doctor anyway. Let's hope I can get an appointment tomorrow.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Small Victory

Today is the last day of winter and may I say that it couldn't come soon enough for me? I hate winter with a passion for so many reasons, namely I hate being cold. I hate having to bundle up to leave the house, I hate having to put on shoes, I hate the big coats you have to wear and then try to arrange yourself behind the steering wheel. Life is so much easier in the summer. You just shove your feet into sandals and run out the door (assuming you're fully dressed to start with, of course). I want to open my windows and feel fresh air blowing through the house. And since it appears the Muslims kicked the partying Mexicans out of the house next door, my summer will be quiet once again. I hope.

I have discovered something about myself since I got my iPod. I have a thing for male voices which sound extraordinarily alike – which I didn't really realise before. I have a lot of Peter Murphy, Joy Division, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Bauhaus, Billy Idol, Love & Rockets, The Stooges, Tones on Tail, etc. on my Nano and if it's a song I don't know particularly well (i.e., I haven't heard it a thousand times before), I discovered that a lot of times I had to look to see who it was. And this weekend I added two CDs by Voltaire and three from The Cruxshadows, so I just added to my obsession, which is all I can think to describe it. I never noticed that Peter Murphy and Nick Cave and Iggy really sounded all that much alike. And they don't always, but every so often there will be a song that makes me think, "Who is this?" And then kick myself because I should have known.

Friday and Monday I was eating my breakfast sandwich and trying to read The Picture of Dorian Gray (which I finished last night). Now, I take about 3 minutes to eat my breakfast, so it's not like I'm taking an overabundant amount of time or anything, but I want those three minutes for Oscar Wilde. Well, on Friday one of the supervisors stopped by my desk and just started chatting. WTH is up with that? Can he not see I’m reading a book and eating my breakfast? He said something, I answered and went back to my book, but he kept going, wanting to tell me a story about a dog or something. I turned back to him, apparently not hiding the look on my face which said "Can't you tell I'm reading my book?" although I didn't realise it. He said, "Oh, do you want me to go away so you can read your book?" "Yes." I mean, really, is 3 minutes too much to ask for some peace? And today? The YS called. Now, granted (or as one of the stupid secretaries would say, Granite), she couldn't know that I was eating my breakfast, as she's in Virginia and I'm in Michigan, but it did mean that I got about two paragraphs read. I thought if I got my breakfast right at 7:00 when the cafeteria opened, I wouldn't have to worry about someone interrupting because there's nobody freaking here at this hour. *sigh* I'm not even PMSing, so I have no idea why things are annoying me so badly, except that it happens all the time at work. I'm eating my lunch at my desk with my book and people just stop by and don't go away when they see I'm eating my lunch. If it's a quick question, I don't mind too much, but people who just stand there chatting while my lunch gets cold really piss me off. How rude!!!

I called the guy who moved us over to Building C(rappy) yesterday to find out when we're moving back and he said he wasn't sure because he talked to the move coordinator on Monday and found out that the guy has to find 80 desks for some other people. I told him that I need to get out of this building and sooner rather than later as it's making me sick (literally). He didn't know anything essentially, but I told him that I would be harassing him every single day until we move back to Bldg. A. He understands as he knows how crapping this building is. Then this morning the supervisor who interrupted my breakfast on Friday told me that supposedly we're moving back at the end of April. We shall see. I’m tired of not feeling well. I couldn't even do my full hour on the elliptical yesterday because I just couldn't breathe, and then I went to bed at 7:00 p.m. I was positive someone (namely my mother since she was traveling yesterday and she likes to call to tell me she's home) would call, so I put the phone on silent. Nobody called, but I know if I hadn't that damn thing would have rung and that would have pissed me off.

I leave Friday for Baltimore/DC/VA for the weekend. My good friend Railroad lives in Baltimore and I haven't seen her since her wedding (which she tells me was five and a half years ago – ARGH – where does the time go?), so I'm flying into BWI and RR is picking me up and I'm meeting her little boy and we're going to spend the night hanging out and catching up. I'm really looking forward to seeing her. Then Saturday she'll drive me into DC to meet up with the YS whose friend from PT school is also coming into town, so we're going to check out monuments. Saturday night is the SuperDiamond concert which is always a fun time. I don't come home until Sunday evening, but have no idea what Sunday has in store, other than getting PT school friend to the airport and then driving me back to BWI. BWI isn't ultra convenient to Alexandria, VA, but it worked for RR, and I simply refuse to fly into National now that it's named for a certain now dead President who was most definitely not one of the greatest presidents ever, regardless of what some Republicans will tell you. I just hope I feel well enough to enjoy the weekend!

A month or so ago, I told you about BlueMeany's blog and to go read it because she's so damn funny, remember? Anyway, she leaves today for her second deployment to Iraq (even though she was supposed to get out of the army in April) which is supposed to last about a year, so go over to her site and wish her well and keep her in your thoughts and prayers (if you're so inclined). Thanks.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stolen from Trinamick

To Hell With Poverty!

Two days ago I was contemplating wearing shorts and sandals (except my toenails weren't painted), today I was cleaning my little car of about 2" of really heavy wet snow. As we like to say, "Welcome to Michigan, if you don't like the weather, stick around ten minutes, it'll change." Today's weather is courtesy of Canada, supposedly, so thanks, Canada. I preferred the jet stream from the south.

I know I've bitched extensively about the new building where I work (it's only new to me as I'm pretty sure it was built long before I was born, but not in a cool early 1900s kind of way), but new bitching needs to be done. We all know that in December I moved from what I shall call Building A to Building C (for Crappy) and that I'm all annoyed because I now have to drive to work which entails cleaning snow off the car. I know that's a well established whining point. Well, since moving to Building C (for Crappy), I've watched the people who were residents here before us moving out in droves to…you guessed it…Building A. Now all along the powers that be have been reassuring us that we will be moving back to Building A, but I'm beginning to wonder if there will be any room left. Of course, everybody but us and Mr. Snorty across from me has moved out. Last week Mr. Snorty took his annoyingness to a new level – he clipped his nails – for at least ten minutes. I mean, Dear God, how long does it take to clip your friggin' nails??? And don't you do it at home? I will confess that when I break a nail at work I will file it so that it's not catching on all and sundry (namely my clothes), but it takes me mere seconds to take care of the problem. I had to get up and walk away from my desk after five minutes. When I got back, he was still at it. I would have bet money he had taken his shoes off and was clipping his toenails. I stopped by a co-worker's cube kitty corner to mine in the opposite direction than Mr. I-Don't-Know-How-To-Blow-My-Nose-I-Prefer-To-Suck-It-Back-Up-And-Gross-Out-My-Neighbors is and asked him whisperingly if the nail clipping was driving him crazy. "Oh yeah." I then asked if the sucking noise annoyed him and he said he hadn't noticed that. I, of course, being the sharing person that I am e-mailed him the next time Mr. I-Don't-Know-How-To-Blow-My-Nose-I-Prefer-To-Suck-It-Back-Up-And-Gross-Out-My-Neighbors did it and asked "How can you not hear that?" "Hear what?" Then a few moments later, a second response "Thanks for bringing that to my attention." I think he might have been annoyed. ;-)

I have taken to listening to my iPod at a really high volume because I just can't handle the noises anymore, and this week it's extra special because he has a cold, so it's more often and more disgusting. I want to go over there and slap him and tell him to go the bloody hell home, if I get sick again, I'm going to blow a gasket. A friend of mine thinks I get sick so often because of my apt. I think it's these bloody climate controlled buildings where you can't open a window and get fresh air and germs stick around in the duct work. My apt.'s so old that there is always fresh air coming in some crack.

I was really looking forward to the symphony last Friday – a number of my favorite composers, my favorite conductor, a good friend going through a rough time – but I ended up with the headache from hell. You know the type where any light at all makes your head hurt that much worse? I thought I could take a hot shower, a 30 minute nap, a vicodin and all would be good. I was wrong. After 45 minutes I called BST and asked "What are you doing tonight?" "I don’t know, I'm on the phone with Perl right now." "Oh good, because I was supposed to go to the symphony with Perl tonight and I have a migraine type headache and there's just no way I can go." After a couple of phone calls, it was all set, they stopped by to get the tickets and I went back to bed where I remained for almost 20 hours (4:20 to 12:15). I did get up briefly to call Ursamajor who had sinus headache pain reliever type medication, so I made my way downstairs (I'm so going to miss her when she moves out and into her new 1900-built house) for the promised drugs and then went promptly back to bed. The rest of the weekend was spent at siblings' houses for nieces and nephew birthday parties. I did get to see The Libertarian on Saturday night, though, so that was nice. We watched Hitchcock's Notorious and he made me dinner, although not in that order. He had dinner waiting for me when I got there from the first birthday party where they were serving Stouffer's Mac & Cheese and Lasagna for dinner. I don't eat lasagna, obviously, and I *hate* Stouffer's Mac & Cheese, so he held dinner for me. He even knew I would want a Guinness when I got there, so he had put a glass in the freezer. Too sweet.

This weekend the Formula 1 season starts in Australia and has been my custom for the past five years, I go over to my friend Dan's house and watch the race with him, so that's where I'll be Saturday night. Now that Der Chin has retired I can, I hope, properly enjoy the F1 season and even though my beloved Kimi Raikkonen has left McLaren (my favorite F1 team) to go to Ferrari, I hope he does well and that it's a good battle between him and Fernando Alonso for the entire season.

I'd talk hockey but I'm so disgusted that my beloved Red Wings picked up The Goon of All Goons, Todd Bertuzzi, at the trade deadline that I might not even watch the playoffs. Everybody tells me I should get over Bertuzzi's incredibly vicious, dirty, vile hit on Steve Moore three years ago, but I firmly believe that if you injure somebody to that degree you don't play until they can play again. And I'm sorry, but his "14-month" penalty doesn't count in my book when NOBODY played hockey for those 14 months. It was the lockout season. It's complete bullshit that Bettman let him back in the league at all, but he should have at least not been allowed to play the season after the lockout. He wasn't punished at all in my opinion.

Okay, I'm done with all that sports talk for now. Have a great weekend as I probably won't be updating before that!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

You Take Me Up

I know it’s been a while, but I got some new responsibilities at work and they keep me very busy. I’m not complaining as being busy helps the day go by much more quickly, but it does mean that I don’t have time to write an update or an e-mail. I don’t even really have time to read everybody’s blogs but when I get bored with the latest project I take five minutes just to clear my head.

It’s already march 6 and I haven’t regaled you with my books and movies of February, so that’s what you’re going to get today. I did much better reading wise in February than I did the previous two months.


The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (414 pages) – I loved The Garden of Good and Evil when it came out so when I saw this one, I had to get it. He writes compellingly and beautifully about Venice in this book and he made me want to go there and live for a year or ten. After reading this, a week trip to Italy including one day in Venice would just not be enough. I highly recommend it.

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne (189 pages) – You can download it for free at that site as it’s apparently no longer copyrighted in the States. This was Winnie-the-Pooh’s writer’s only foray into mysteries and he does quite a good job of it. My version had a cool introduction where he explains why he wrote it (for his dad). I think I had read it a few years back, but it apparently pays to get old because I didn’t remember it at all. If you like a quick easy to read mystery, and have an spare hour or two, do yourself a favor and check it out.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (410 pages) – If you do a search of A Tale of Two Cities in goggle, it’ll pull up a whole bunch of links where you can read it for free. Who knew? Anyway, my SIL had lent me this book years ago as it is her favorite book and I thought it was time to read it and give it back to her. It was perfect timing because she had just decided she wanted to re-read it and had forgotten she had lent it to me. My only previous foray into Dickens had been in college when I read Hard Times. I liked it, much more than I thought I would, but just hadn’t gotten around to anything else by him. After read Tale, I thought I would try Bleak House, but it’s mother huge and I’m not sure I can handle that much Dickens so soon.

Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich (164 pages) – This was a Valentine’s novella between the numbers of the Stephanie Plum series. It was amusing.

If I Live To Be 100 by Neenah Ellis (256 pages) – One of my bosses lent me this book and it was so cool. This project started out as an NPR project and she turned it into a book. She interviewed a bunch of centenarians and wow, it made me feel that growing 100 would be cool. I loved this book.

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall by Carolyn Keene (178 pages) – I hated this particular story of the Nancy Drew series when I read it as a kid and it’s probably the only one of the original stories (for me the originals only go up to #56) that I never re-read. I liked it this time around. I think the problem the first time around was that it was a tad scary – ghosts and all – but I liked it well enough this time around. I don’t know that it’ll ever be one of my favorites, but it was a good story.

The Clue of the Leaning Chimney by Carolyn Keene ( 176 pages) – It’s Nancy Drew. I think that says it all. I loved the series as a kid, and still do.

The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare (145 pages including introduction and notes by David G. Pitt and John Dennis Duffy) – My Shakespeare is woefully inadequate. I know I’ve read Hamlet, but that’s the only one I can say for certain, although I think I’ve read another one. It was cool to see all the famous quotes in their preferred context and it was a quick easy read.


I watched a fair amount of movies this month, so I’m not sure I’m going to link to all of them. I’m feeling a tad lazy.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) (N) – (83%) – Some incredible performances in this movie – Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell – Wow. If you haven’t seen it, and have even the slightest interest in the aftermath of WWII, then check it out.

Above All Else: The Everest Dream (1999) (K) – I have been fascinated by Everest and all mountain climbing for over ten years now and have read many books on the subject, classic accounts, more recent ones, etc. So, this movie was a natural for me. It shows your basic insanity that is climbing an 8000 meter mountain.

The Great Escape (1963) (K) – (9r%) – It’s Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, etc. It’s classic and if you haven’t seen it, you should do yourself a favor.

The Quiet American (2002) (N) – (89%) – This film shows Vietnam a few years prior to the start of the war and it’s very moving. It’s also based on Graham Greene’s novel of the same name. I think it’s an important film for anybody who wants to know understand Indochina before the Vietnam tragedy.

The Lady Vanishes - One of Hitchcock’s British films and I’ve watched it a number of times, but I never get tired of it.

The 39 Steps - Another of Hitch’s British films and one with the classic Hitch theme of the innocent man being wrongly accused. Another good one.

Star Wars: A New Hope - I hate having to call it A New Hope. I should say Star Wars and everybody should know that I mean the first one and by the first one, I mean when it came out. It’s classic, although not quite in the same league as a Hitchcock classic, but it is the first sci-fi I ever liked.

Ice Age II: The Meltdown (2006) (N) – (56%) – I have to agree with the 56% actually, I loved the original Ice Age, but this one was not as much fun. I had trouble getting interested until about 30 minutes from the end. Not exactly riveting, although some of it was amusing. I’d say kids would probably like it.

Stargate (1994) (N) – (43%) - As you all know I’ve gotten sucked into the TV series Stargate SG-1 and since it was based on this movie, I figured I’d check into it. It was okay. This would be an example of the TV offshoot being much much much better than the original movie.

Pretty In Pink - It was on Lifetime or something one Saturday and realised I hadn’t seen it in forever and then that evening I found it at Target for about $7, so I picked it up and watched it again. It was nice to see what was deemed either unsuitable or unnecessary for television.

The Devil’s Advocate (1997) (F) – (71%) – Wow, I can’t tell you how much I did not care for this movie. Al Pacino was icky, beyond belief icky. And for heaven’s sake, it had Keanu Reeves it!!!! Unless you like scary-ass, icky satan movies with Al Pacino making icky motions with his tongue, give this one a miss.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) (N) – (92%) – I held off seeing this movie for a long time, I guess mostly because I didn’t know what it was about. I finally put it in my queue after seeing the cast on Ellen and a little snippet of the film. I’m glad I did as I liked it a lot. I laughed out loud at the ending.

Joy Division: Under Review (2006) (N) – Technically, not a movie as it was a bunch of British music types talking about Joy Division. If you’re not a fan, you probably wouldn’t be interested, but as I’m pretty much insane when it comes to Joy Division, I loved it and found out that there’s a new book out about Joy Division. So exciting to us Joy Division geeks.

Babel (2006) (N) – (68%) – I have to say that I agree with this percentage, because I didn’t get the big deal. In fact, I pretty much could live without ever seeing it again and that’s saying a lot considering how often I’ll rewatch movies. I read a mini review where they compared it to Crash from last year – they preferred Babel. I preferred Crash.

Finding Neverland (2004) (K) – (84%) – Johnny Depp…with prettier hands than me…need I say more?

Don Juan DeMarco (1995) (K) – (71%) – Johnny Depp playing the world’s greatest lover…need I say more? Although I have to say that I’m not quite sure why Marlon Brando is considered to be such a great actor. And who really wants to imagine him in bed with Faye Dunaway???

Qué viva México (1930) (N) – This was Sergei Eisenstein’s only North American film and from all accounts it cured him of ever working here again. It’s a beautifully shot film and that link does a much better job of explaining the film than I ever could.

Serenity (2005) (K) – Yeah, I know I just watched this in October, but since I rewatched the entire season in January, I felt like I hadn’t completed the saga without watching the movie. I’m still pissed about the people they killed off.

Reno 911: Miami (2007) (Theatre) – (37%) – The Libertarian wanted to see this and I went along for the fun of it, even though I had never seen a single second of the TV show. It is - apparently - 84 minutes (I thought it was only 70 minutes) of pure ridiculousness. This is not high-brow film aiming to engage your mind or make you think. And sometimes thinking is not what you want to do.

It’s now March 7, because as you can see, I decided to link which took me a lot longer to write this. I wasn’t as lazy as I planned on being. I had a really good weekend which involved the symphony on Friday night with the Libertarian, dancing Saturday night for four straight hours, and then I blew my Lenten resolution on Sunday by going to church after which I picked up my friend Soyon and headed off to Lansing where The World’s Greatest Yarn Store was having a massive sale. Sadly, the sale started on Thursday so pickin’s were slim, not that that stopped me from finding plenty of yarn to add to my stash. And yesterday to add to my excitement I picked up the new Stooges CD in anticipation of the concert on April 13 (yup, I got tix to see Iggy), and a new Iggy boxset with five previously unreleased complete live concerts from 1977-1981, some un-recorded songs, interviews with band members, unpublished photos from each tour on stage and backstage and two tour stickers.

And I think that’s enough for one post! Hope everybody is doing well.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows

Ahhh, this is so cute!