Welcome ya'll,

Thanks for checking out my blog. This is mostly my own crazy thoughts on a variety of subjects, but primarily they will be about movies, tv, and books. Being a movie junkie, rabid reader, and TV show-aholic, this blog is just another excuse to feed my addictions. [a quiet 'yay me']. Hope you enjoy, Clancy Metzger

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Author Victoria Dahl

It is a lovely morning here in Salt Lake. Yes, it's cold and the ground is covered in snow, but I am huddled inside in comfy clothes writing and I have finally completed a challenging task that procrastination and illness have kept me from completing for several weeks - I wrote my fist synopsis. I am basking in the glow of this accomplishment. But thinking of things writerly, I want to share with anyone who enjoys romance an author that has quickly crept to the top of my list of favorite authors: Victoria Dahl.

I have now finished reading every book she has out (except the stories in anthologies - working on those next) and love them all - okay there is one I like a lot but don't love like I love the rest. But of her eight novels and one novella (not including the anthology stories), I think that's some pretty good stats. She writes both contemporary and historical. Her characters are rich and believable, the stories engrossing and funny, the sex steamy (sometimes uber steamy) and her voice is like wrapping yourself in a comfortable blanket you know and love. And since I've met her, I can tell you she is a genuinely nice person. She has a new trilogy coming out in 2011 I can hardly wait to buy and read as well a sequel in the wings I am eagerly awaiting.

If you like romance and great writing - do yourself a favor and check out Victoria Dahl at http://victoriadahl.com.

Monday, December 27, 2010

'TRON: Legacy' and a brief rant

I have been sick lately - the last three weeks have been a blur of cold, fever, bed, then my tooth getting pulled out (another story for when you're really bored) and then having a cold relapse. I feel very rested now that I only have a lingering cough and the grand canyon in my mouth. So, here we go - back on track.

I took my son and his girlfriend to see TRON: Legacy on it's opening day...in 3D...on the IMAX. Did you just think 'AWESOME'? I did! And I was there and thought that then too. I have mixed feelings about this moviethough. Let's start with the love. Love Garrett Hedlund. Love Jeff Bridges. Love, love, love the special effects and the stunning visuals of this movie. Love Michael Sheen, who kind of stole the movie for me with his flamboyant David Bowie homage inspired character. Love the main cute girl (Olivia Wilde) - she is stunning. What didn't I love? I didn't love that sometimes you couldn't understand what was being said because the 'programs' speaking were made to sound electronic. And this isn't a love/no love situation, and it could be I needed to see the original more recently than a decade ago or that my brain was fuzzy from being sick at the time (I'm siding with this one) or I really am slow sometimes, BUT Jeff Bridges' zen thing going on in the movie and the point of it all (I'm guessing) threw me and thus the story line didn't always track for me. It could be it was just too esoteric for my wee poor brain.... or not - who knows. I'll have to watch the original and then this one again when I'm feeling good and sharp and see if I still have the same problem. But I had fun and enjoyed the ride (pun intended).

Now on to the brief rant. I just want to say damn you Hallmark (and occasionally Lifetime) channel! During my convalescence, I have watched 15 to 20 Hallmark channel Holiday movies (with the occasional Lifetime movie as well). Every one meant to be a feel good, cheesy, sometimes love story, always family centered, holiday warmth extravaganza celebrating Santa, the holidays, family, relationships and all things good cheer with the express purpose of making me cry at least once during said film. And I hate crying. I kinda hate being all warm and fuzzy too. And yet I can't stop myself from watching them - year after year. I'm obviously a glutton for punishment. No one does these type of films better than Hallmark - let me say that. So, damn you Hallmark for making me soft and gooey inside when I hate being that way and have no resistance to your wily, emotional charms. And I still have a few on my DVR to watch... and I'll love them... and hate them for making me cry and feel warm inside. I'm having a bit of a Grinch identity crisis over here. You know - that moment when his heart grows three sizes that day.... it's painful troops - don't kid yourselves. Grrr ... and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"The Tourist'

...with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. So good! Kept me guessing throughout. Also stars Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, and Rufus Sewell. Did I mention so good? Jolie is really gorgeous in this and Depp is utterly adorable and cute and sexy and beautiful and just always, always, always amazing. I may have a teeny tiny enormous crush : )

It's got action, suspense, mystery, romance and is set in Venice for the most part. I now have to go to Venice. Going to a Ball wouldn't hurt either. And a train ride and a boat ride. And since we're on a wish list, I'll just add kissing Johnny Depp to it : ) No spoilers folks - just a resounding Go See It.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A marathon of movie thoughts

Over the holidays, 1) I didn't post anything, so I'm behind & 2) saw a ton of movies, so I'll do a quickie marathon of thoughts... I caught up on some DVDs and streaming movies as well - but today I'll focus on new releases.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Pt 1: LOVED IT. Special effects rock, story and acting always rock, and it ends in a natural place - can't wait for Part 2 next summer.

Unstoppable: Stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine (yummy). Really good - on the edge of my seat and couldn't sit still for all the action. And it's based on a real story.

Tangled: Rapunzel as only Disney can do it. Great movie. Laugh out loud funny, beautifully animated, our hero as voiced by Zachery Levi is delicious, and a tear-jerker as well (if my adult daughter, who was sobbing at certain points, is any measure). Not just for kids, folks (we had none with us).

Love & Other Drugs: Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are wonderful in this. It's an emotional roller coaster full of gorgeous naked bodies (fun for all). I found it an interesting study on medicine, disease, doctors and sales people as well as being a really good love story. At the end - SPOILER ALERT - Jake's character turns out to be the perfect romantic hero as defined by romance writing dictates. I'd buy this one because it's so watchable and not just because I get to see so much of Jake (if you know what I mean).

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Megamind", Morning Glory" and "The Girl Who Played with Fire"

Yes, movies again. It's my addiction, people. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD!

Let's start with Megamind (in 3D no less - which was cool). Will Farrell voicing the blue, jealous, confused, smitten, alien wanna be villain and Brad Pitt voicing the super good, super good looking, super everything don't wanna be hero. It was funny (LOL funny) and had a lot of emotion. It's a pretty good movie when the main character has to go thru a lot of self exploration and growth (better him than me). Tina Fey voices the girl reporter all the guys love. Anyway - kids will love it, adults will love it. Did I mention the piranha like wanna be evil sidekick fish named Minion? LOVE HIM.

Morning Glory - Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, and Patrick Wilson. Something for everyone at any age - and all good. This was a really fun and sweet movie. I laughed a lot, I felt bad for the characters a lot, I cheered for them. It was emotionally very satisfying. I left a happy camper. So, what's it about, you ask? McAdams wants to produce a morning talk show more than anything. She gets her chance at an underdog show that stars Diane Keaton. Needs to boost the rating or lose her dream job. Hires embittered and lonely award winning serious-news journalist Harrison Ford who hates, hates, hates that he's reduced to doing a fluff morning show and makes everyone's lives miserable for it. Patrick Wilson is McAdam's love interest who also produces in the same building, so understands the demands of her job. After, McAdams does boost the show, A LOT, she gets a job offer from a better show. The only thing keeping her from staying at the underdog show- Ford's surly character. Will he invest in the show too in order to keep our young producer there? What do you think? Again - I was a happy camper leaving this one and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Finally, I just watched The Girl Who Played with Fire on DVD. I enjoyed the first movie (in Swedish) and have no issues with subtitles, but this one had an option to watch dubbed in English and that allowed me to watch the movie itself more, so yay for that. I love Noomi Rapace who stars as Tattoo Girl, Lisbeth Salander. She's amazing. As is Michael Nyqvist who plays our helper hero journalist, Mikael Blomkvist. This one is really dark too, but so good. Lisbeth kicks ass. Really. I haven't read the books yet (I am getting to them!), but the movies rock. Saw the trailer for the next one and can't wait. Yes, for all you foreign film snubs - they are making a Hollywood version of the first one starring Daniel Craig that is supposed to be out Dec 2011 (Pretty sure I'll love it too). But, really - you should watch the Swedish ones. They are so worth it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Hereafter" and "Kickass"

Let's talk about two movies that were not what I thought they would be. Neither of them - go figure.

Hereafter starring Matt Damon. I wasn't sure what exactly I expected, maybe a little action, a little thriller, a little drama - about dead people. The premise that you get from the trailers is that Matt Damon is a psychic who really can commune with the dead in the hereafter but doesn't want to. That's it. Yes, that's exactly what he is and what it's about. But it's also about a French woman and a British boy who have some hereafter stuff of their own to deal with and how these three lives eventually intersect. It's not fast paced, it methodical. It introduces these three characters, shows you their lives, lets it all simmer and eventually meld. It's character driven and by the end, I cared. I cared about these three people and their lives and their problems and solutions. I thought it was a good movie, well acted and a nice escape for two hours.

On to Kickass which I watched on DVD last night. I remember the trailers for this because I wanted to see it when it first came out but didn't get to. I remember it seemed like a wanna-be superhero sort of comedy not exactly spoof but not without some spoofy elements. That was my impression. There are one or two character actors you'll recognize, but aside from that the only people you'll really know are Nicholas Cage and that kid who played McLovin in Superbad (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) - both are good. The ones you need to watch out for are the kid who plays Kickass (Aaron Johnson) and the little girl who plays Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). They did a great job, especially this little girl - she was amazing. As for the story. I thought it was going to be a comedy (it's not), although there are a few funny moments. IMDB lists it as an action/adventure/crime/thriller. I'm not sure I see it as any one of those but it is a combination of all of them including comedy of a dark nature. If you know that going in, you may enjoy it more. I did enjoy it. I would have enjoyed it more had I not been expecting dumb comedy. I love the relationship between Nick Cage's Big Daddy character and his daughter Hit Girl - both in and out of costume. Love the girl across the board - when she goes in to kick ass and take names, she leaves no one standing. It's pretty awesome. The complete dorkiness of Kickass and his lack of abilities full of good intentions are endearing. And poor Red Mist, aka the villain's son, aka McLovin is so naive - you feel bad for him. It's good (not great, maybe more okay than good), just be aware - lots of violence (mostly by the little girl - seriously awesome to my sick sense of humor) and not a dumb comedy. I did like it and as I sit here after having returned the movie already - I kind of want to watch it again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Snow and books and movies, Oh My!

We got our first snow of the year last night and I woke up to a pretty white blanket outside. All I wanted to do at that point was continue to lay in bed and read. But I didn't. I did a little, but not much. Now, I'm sitting here trying to work and all I want to do is lay on the couch under a blanket and read or lay on the couch under a blanket and watch a movie. I'm not going to. Probably. But my books are beckoning and my DVR has new recordings - oh the temptation.

What am I currently reading that has me tempted, you ask? Upstairs by my bed I am reading Lee Childs' The Enemy which is really good. On EpicBlackCar's blog he is reading a romance as an experiment and challenged romance writers to read The Enemy. Not being a reading wimp, I took the challenge. Not that it was really that much of a challenge since I already like the suspense thrillers that are written by the likes of Tom Clancy, Dan Brown and apparently Lee Childs. I need to read something by John Gilstrap too (met him and his seems right up this alley as well). It took me about 30 pages to get in to it, but that could have been my fault - being tired and on the verge of sleep as I read each night, but now I am hooked and can't wait to read the rest.

The book I am working on downstairs in the living room is a historical romance by Michelle Willingham. The Warrior's Touch is the second in a series I'm enjoying. It's set in twelfth century Ireland. I like her characters. They are always well rounded and I connect to them. And I love medieval historical romances, so color me happy.

I haven't watched any movies since RED (I didn't say TV, I said movies - pay attention) but you'll know when I do.... maybe lunch and a nap and a book are in order....

Friday, October 22, 2010

"RED" and update on that thing I didn't want to do

Last night a friend was an emotional basket case, so of course we indulged in much girl talk, food therapy, and went to see RED.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT - Let me start by saying this is a terrific movie. John Malkovich is hysterical, Bruce Willis is simmering and intense, Morgan Freeman is ...well, Morgan Freeman (hello...) and Helen Mirren is AWESOME!!!! She is the single coolest female character ever. She kills people for a living and loves it, and shoots things and blows shit up, and bakes and decorates her house to perfection and shoots the love of her life and is just freaking awesome. Yes - I have a lady crush. Anyway, funny, action packed, and cool - go see it people. Really, right now, stop what you're doing and run to the theater and see this movie. I may need to see it again myself. My son (don't worry - he's an adult) would enjoy this and how cool a mom would I be if I take him....

So, it was the perfect movie when you are feeling broken. My girl friend and I have decided we are both broken, for various reasons (don't judge - who isn't? hmmm...) and started our own little club - current members total two. So, this is where the friend rescue collides with all the other forces of the universe (remember the last blog - I spoke of them colluding to make me dig into my past) to once again make me look at myself under a microscope - Grrr.

I did the journaling, troops. I did it and 30 pages of scribbling and a box of Kleenex later, I still have no real answers. Perhaps a little insight (not 100% sure) but mostly I concluded I am a broken fraud. How is this helpful? Perhaps I am so damn broken, and have my closet so well protected that even opening that one door doesn't help when I have an unending supply of more doors behind the first. You know like that infinity type thing you can see when viewing something in two opposing mirrors...(I hope you got that image - it was cool). So, then my friend is in the same boat and we are commiserating and one upping each other with horror stories from our past (anything that isn't future counts as past - got it?) and crying and laughing our butts off at some of the horror stories. It was a day - we'll leave it at that.

Now, if you'll remember from the last post, I did this in an effort to figure out my characters so I can achieve writing greatness. I tried to get inside my heroine's head and guess what? I still have no freaking clue who this chick is - if anything I know less now than I did before. GRRRRR. I am now shaking my head sadly because I have to figure this out. My gal is the lynch pin to my story and professional people are waiting to see said story and lynch pin is missing, thus story is missing. I'm trying yet another character sketch exercise today to try and figure her out - wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Emotions..in books, movies, and life

I have to do something I really do NOT want to do. Finally, I have motivation to do it despite my better judgement (hmm) and despite my reluctance (oh yeah). I have to explore my past and my emotions and face up to what I fear. Ugh. It sounds awful, just saying it. Like I have to eat broccoli or something - yes, it's that bad (no offense to broccoli lovers). As a writer, I have been struggling with some characters, not just side characters or background characters, but the main characters. Why? Because they are one dimensional, because they all are struggling under the weight of emotional distance. So, my brilliant writing partner, S, says to me - "you need to face your fears" (I paraphrase), "you need to journal until you get it out." And I say, (in a whiny voice) "but, I don't want to" and she says, "but you need to." So, then I say, "Okay, I'll try to figure it out" and she says, "No. You have to feel it out." And I respond, "Grrr" (mind you I really did say grrr because I can't roll my tongue and actually growl). Fortunately, a mere 30 minutes after this conversation where I am committed (notice the word choice) to doing this, I am spared doing it right then because I have a movie date with a different girl friend, J.

While we were waiting for the movie to start, I told J what S had said and she said the same thing I did, "that sucks, that's what emotional closets were made for" (again I paraphrase). It gave me warm fuzzies to not be the only emotional cripple on the block. We went to see Life as We Know It with Katherine Heigel and Josh Duhamel. It was great. It made me laugh and cry and hope and ... feel. Damn. The two characters fight against a new life they never wanted but need to embrace and fall in love on the way, but things can't change until they get over their fears. J and I did not discuss the touchy-feely aspects of the movie because we jointly opened an emotional door and committed emotional homicide together (I smile).

Then I got home and I'm finishing up a trilogy of books by Victoria Dahl. All three awesome, all three romance, all three smoking hot (yes - that kind of hot - but not over the top graphic - but really really hot). And the last of the three is called Lead Me On (I recommend all three by the way - seriously. The first is Talk Me Down, the second is Start Me Up)... anyway, this one is about a girl who has a past she is trying to hide and deny because she doesn't want to be that person any more. But she can't embrace the perfect man for her until she embraces the fact that her past is part of who she is and he loves her for her past, present and future.

So, the culmination of yesterday is that I have to do this thing I do NOT want to do because I can't be the emotional power house writer I want to be unless I feel my way through any pain and fear and rejection and other touchy-feely crap I want to deny. This is a tough thing to do when you've spent decades (really - decades) stuffing emotions behind a closet door and leaving them there to fester and rot or hopefully die a quiet death. My friend H may do little happy dances and shout "About damn time" if she reads this, as it will vindicate every thing she's ever hollered at me when I opened that closet door and crammed another emotional carcass in there. Grrrr, I say again. I hate it when she's right.

So, this is my task today. Emotional roller coaster. Journaling to feel my way out. Closet door thrown open, carcasses dragged into the light of day to be forensically examined unto a natural, healthy death. I feel like I'm in line for that roller coaster and I have those nervous butterflies in my stomach, the good mixed with the bad and that overwhelming sensation that you want to throw up rather than take that ride, but now you're at the front of the line and there is no where to go but in the car and up that click-clacky hill and down through every twist and turn. Okay, now I really do want to get sick. If anyone sees or talks to me and I have a pale shade of green tint to my skin - I did it. If I'm smiling and laughing, I chickened out.

I'll do it - I really, really do want to be that awesome writer that pulls you into the characters journey. That is my dream, so there ya go. Kleenex on hand, journal staring at me from a foot away. I must post this and get on with it - no more avoiding what I must do. Keep your fingers crossed for me friends. Any future posts should indicate I survived this journey of self-discovery (GRRRR).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

An amazing romance book titled "Rough Canvas"

Let me begin this with a disclaimer: this is a G&L (gay & lesbian) erotic romance containing BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism) elements. I'm not discussing anything graphic here, but felt like I should warn ya'll anyway. And in case you read no further, this book is part of a series called The Nature of Desire, but Hill has other series and books that seem to be straight and less erotic (I think I saw vampires and mermaids in my perusing), so I encourage you to find one and read it. This is a remarkable author well worth the effort.

I have been reading a ton of romance in a variety of genres for months now. I am always a reader of romance, but now that I am writing romance, I am reading even more. Historical, contemporary, paranormal, short, long, all levels of heat - you name it - I'm reading it. That combined with a life long history of romances read and it makes for a serious number of books in this genre. With that in mind, I want to say, I have never read anything as romantically powerful as Rough Canvas by Jody W. Hill.

The characters of Marcus and Thomas are honest, complex, fully fleshed out people in a romance that is heart breaking, healing, confusing, and true. They have families, friends, careers, and emotional baggage - like everyone. Their romance has ups and downs, highs and lows - like everyone. And, as in all romances, a happy ending.

Jody W. Hill's writing not only propelled me through the story (all I could do was read this until I finished it), but pulled me right into this world where I felt their joys and pains in a physical way. Hill captures emotion in even the most simple moments and in such a way I am left green with envy. I now have about ten or more of her books on my wish list and can't wait to read the next one.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

'Going the Distance', 'Easy A', and GMC

Let's start with Going the Distance, a movie starring Justin Long and Drew Barrymore and a host of other terrific actors. Very funny. Lots of colorful language, sexual situations, raunchy humor, and some drug use - there's your disclaimer if you needed one. But it's a very funny movie and I laughed lots. Justin Long is just so stinkin' cute - it's officially a crush (ok, it has been for a while now). Drew Barrymore - I didn't realize she had this side to her, but I like it! The supporting cast is awesome - this was well worth watching, if you don't mind any of the disclaimer stuff.

Easy A starring Emma Stone, who somehow manages to be beautiful, sexy, and cute all at the same time, is amazing. Also starring Thomas Haden Church in a smart and fun role (kind of sexy even) - not his usual dumb guy funny, Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci are hilarious as the parents, and Amanda Bynes as a raving nut job. In small roles - Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Fred Armisen, and Cam Gigandet (you remember James from Twilight). This one seriously had me laughing thru the entire movie. It has a good message too, but don't hold that against it....it's so funny. Must see.

Now, I shall give a shout out for a writerly type book that is Awesome (yes - capital A Awesome). It's Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon. If you have a writerly bent of any kind be it novels, screenplays, whatever...this is a must read. No kidding. It may be saving my plot as we speak. I'm serious. I won't bore you with my plot trauma, but trust me it was there and between this book and the genius that is Clint Johnson (thank you, thank you, thank you, Clint) I may have found my tree in the forest or my forest in the trees - however that works. Problem solved is the point. 'Nuff said. I thank you all - now, go read, write or view some creativeness.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Machete" and "The Expendables" again

Did a two-fer with a friend. We each chose one movie. I chose Machete and he chose The Expendables which I had no problem seeing again.

Machete has a terrific cast: Danny Trejo is Machete (Yay - he's finally the lead and gets all the girls and I'm not gonna lie - IS sexy in a non-conventional way). Also starring - Robert DeNiro, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin, Steven Seagal, Jeff Fahey AND it's written/directed by Robert Rodriguez. It's uber violent, friends, there's a lot of blood, violence, guns, and machetes. It is also Awesome (imagine great background music playing as I say Awesome). And amidst all the blood spurting, heads rolling, political manipulating, bigoted haters, border control issues and Machete getting laid - a lot - there is a message. That message may vary depending on your personal stance - but there's one there none the less. It's over the top in every way possible yet still comes off as true. If any other this appeals to you - enthusiastically go see.

The Expendables - again. I already discussed this last time, but having seen it twice now. I loved it even more this time than I did the last time and that was already some pretty significant love. If you like action movies or any of these actions stars - just see it. I so have to own this one when it's released on DVD.

Friday, September 3, 2010

BAD Clancy - Lots to Discuss

I can't believe I slacked on this for a month. Sorry. So, let me discuss many things to make up for my lazy ways.

Today, I did a double feature because Clancy needed a brain break bad! I saw The Expendables and The Switch. I saw The Expendables first and can I just say - LOVED IT. It is a testosterone driven roller-coaster ride of muscles, violence and heart. You heard me - heart. Sure these guys are mercenaries and kill lots of people. Sure they all have muscles, moves, and weapons to spare. But, the guys they kill are bad and the people they save are innocent. And the muscles and stellar cast speak for themselves (if you don't know...Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts and just popping in are Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwartzenegger). See it on the big screen so you don't miss any of the non-stop action.

The Switch on the other hand is a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, with Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis and Thomas Robinson as the the kid - who totally steals the movie, by the way. Premise: Aniston wants a baby, best friend Bateman doesn't like that she is turning to a donor, Wilson, for the sperm. At her get pregnant party, Bateman gets drunk, spills the donor's sperm and replaces it with his own. You can sort of figure out the rest... but this kid is so deadpan neurotic, completely mimicking Bateman, you can't help but love all of them. This is a nice, feel-good movie, and since I have a crush on Jason Bateman and always have, a must buy for me.

Now for all my month of slacking (only here - I'm working my butt off writing) - here are highlights in a nutshell:

The Hurt Locker (on DVD) - so good. Jeremy Renner and all of the cast are amazing. I don't understand guys and the things they do - but gotta love 'em anyway.

The Other Guys - Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendez and more - a funny and sweet buddy cop movie.

The Kids are Alright - Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo - A married Lesbian couple used the same sperm donor to each have a child. Eighteen years later the kids hunt Dad down. This has some funny bits, but it is mostly a drama about relationships in all their forms and how complicated, difficult and rewarding they can be. I really enjoyed this one.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World - Huge cast - all good....but if you are not into comic books or video games, you probably won't fully appreciate the coolness they achieved with this movie. I saw it with a friend who falls into this category. She liked it - I loved it. You know where you are on this spectrum, view accordingly.

Book-wise - I'm reading a lot of romances because I enjoy them and because they are research since that's what I'm writing. The only one that has singled itself out in my mind, of the dozens I've read recently, is The Tutor by Hope Tarr. It's a Harlequin Blaze (romance with explicit and creative sex scenes) and it's a historical. If all that is your groovy thing, I recommend it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - the movie & some thoughts on

Hear's the story....
Twice a month, I go to a local independent bookstore for a writing critique group and all winter long, we were sitting in the mystery section of the book store and without exception I ended up sitting across from a display of the 'Millennium' trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked a Hornet's Nest) by Stieg Larsson. Sidebar: Sadly, all three books were published posthumously. Tangent: Let me admit, I am not a follower, sometimes to my detriment. When something gets too much hype, I tend to shy away. I am overcoming this idiosyncratic prejudice as I keep getting proven wrong in my irrationally stubborn behavior. For example, (I do start at the series beginning - just excessively late) I didn't start reading Harry Potter books until the 4th or 5th was released - love them all; the Twilight books, not until the last one had just released - mostly love them and The Host; The DaVinci Code, not until it had been out for two years or better - love it and now mostly anything Dan Brown writes; any many more books, movies and music. The point here is, I was actively not even glancing their way because I'm a dope and what made me change my mind and eventually give them a chance was someone whose opinion I trust implicitly telling me to get over it. Tangent over - I was not looking at these books. I saw them, I heard the talk, and I acted like a dope.

Two days ago, a friend (THANK YOU, J) loaned me the DVD of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had no idea what it was about having stupidly never read the jacket of the book. I watched it last night. I didn't even start it until midnight. So, now I'm tired having stayed up until 2 AM watching this really good movie. I thought they sounded literary (nothing wrong with that - but not really my groovy thing) - they aren't (again with the dopiness) - the books are murder mysteries with this excellent uber-smart, emotionally broken, hacker chick named Lisbeth. Now, I have to go read all the books and see what else is in this book that didn't make it into the movie, followed by the two sequels so I can eagerly anticipate their movie releases. I get so tired of being wrong.

This was a cool-ass movie. It's in Swedish, so yes, you have to watch with sub-titles unless of course you're fluent in Swedish. But, please don't let that slow you down. It's got a sexy smart heroine, a smart charming hero, action, murder, mystery, suspense, Nazis, sexual abuse, corruption, deceit, justice, sex, nudity (if case you need those last two to motivate you some), good acting and a good story. But not for the faint of heart - it has some heavy themes running through it and doesn't shy away.

I am publicly admitting my problem as a 1st step toward recovery - hopefully, I will resist all prejudicial dopiness in the future when someone is talking something up (probably, there's a good reason it's being talked up). Definitely see the movie, read the books.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Date Night" and "Grown Ups"

I'm going to start with the lesser of the two...

Grown Ups with Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider is good, but not great - perhaps I am not the right demographic though. There is a lot of sophomoric humor and typically I'm a huge fan of these guys and there brand of humor. It's not that I didn't laugh or that I didn't enjoy the movie. I did. I just didn't love it. It does have a kind of nice message interwoven into the barrage of testosterone driven idiocy. This is not an insult, people - just an observation. Like I said - typically a fan. This could certainly wait to be seen on DVD or even cable when you get around to it.

Date Night on the other hand - and I am the perfect demographic - I loved. I was laughing throughout the movie. It was exciting, fun, and the relationship thread is honest and relate-able. Steve Carrell and Tina Fey are hilarious and should do lots of movies together in my opinion. Mark Wahlberg is hot - duh. It has a solid supporting cast too including Taraji P. Henson, Ray Liotta, and Michael Fichtner. And a stellar bunch of cameos including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Kristin Wiig, and Mark Ruffalo. For a romantic comedy, it has a particularly awesome car chase scene. See it, see it, see it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Predators", "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", "Inception", and "Letters to Juliet"

It was a GREAT weekend my darlings! A great weekend. I saw four movies at the theater. All were good too. So, here we go in order of viewing.

Letters to Juliet is an utterly charming romantic-comedy with genius casting I will explain in a moment. The story: women leave notes to 'Juliet' on a wall in Verona. 'The Secretaries of Juliet' send responses to those letters on behalf of 'Juliet' (of Romeo & Juliet). An American chick played by Amanda Seyfried answers a letter that got overlooked for 50 years because it was behind a loose rock in the wall. When Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) and her grandson show up to go hunt for her long lost love, Lorenzo (Franco Nero), after 50 years, the American joins them on the hunt. Sweet and charming, and warm and wonderful. Not only does Claire find Lorenzo but sparks fly between the American and the grandson. It's a Rom-Com troops - no surprises there. Who cares. It's a journey worth going on. Now, about the genius casting... anyone remember the musical "Camelot"? In it, Guenevere and Lancelot have a wonderful yet tragic romance. Who played Guenevere and Lancelot? None other than Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero! Oh yes - an awesome layer to those in the know, my dears.

On to Predators. Fabulous cast: Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne (who has the funnest character), Danny Trejo, Walter Goggins, Topher Grace, and let us not forget some snaggle-toothed, ugly-ass predators with cool dreads. Now, we are on their planet, I guess, and they are hunting us. I won't give any spoiler alerts as to why, who survives, or how it ends. You wouldn't want me too anyway. But, it's interesting, as all psychological thrillers are, when you put humans into intense life or death situations and watch who is more or less noble, more or less self-serving. I like those kinds of movies. The friend I saw it with liked it, but still wanted something more from it, but couldn't name what it was. If anyone sees it and can pinpoint what that might be - please let me know. I liked it just fine as it was. I could be easier to please - who knows.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is as much fun as the trailers make it out to be. Nicholas Cage and Alfred Molina are the two major stars, but we also have Jay Baruchel, as the Apprentice, Alice Krige (you know - the Borg Queen from Star Trek Nemesis), and Monica Belluci ( who is beautiful on a whole other level of the word from mere mortals). I have a friend who has a theory that movies in which Nick Cage has long hair are generally not very good and movies where he has short hair are very good. The exception to her rule is Con Air where he has long hair and the movie is still good. I informed her last night that The Sorcerer's Apprentice is another exception cuz this movie is awesome and he has long hair - Awesome, awesome. Loved it. Cool action, fab stars, fun story, two romantic sub-plots, and it rests on the story of Merlin and Morgana Le'Fay (? on sp). Everything is there for a wonderful movie not to mention it was directed by Jon Turteltaub (of The National Treasure franchise) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, who is my personal hero.

Finally, I saw Inception. Christopher Nolan is a genius. That said, this movie is an amazing roller-coaster ride of a mess-with-your-mind make-you-think every single minute you are watching awesomeness. Lazy viewers need not apply. Nolan has written and directed a great story and assembled an amazing cast to carry it off. Leonadro DiCaprio headlines it, but he is strongly supported by Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy (so good), Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and in small roles, Pete Postlethwaite, Lukas Haas and the inimitable Michael Caine. The previews made the movie seem kind of weird and I had my doubts, but now that I've seen it - people, this is a must see. You need to go with a clear mind so you can pay attention or you may not get it. I already feel the need to see this one again. I believe each viewing will reveal more layers, it is that complex and well-done.

As a final note: I would like to comment on Twilight: Eclipse. Before I saw it two weeks ago, someone who'd seen it first said it was crap and that all it did was promote teenage sex. That comment has been bothering me since. I really liked the movie (like the franchise - deal with it) and it contnues to not have any sex in it. And though Bella is pushing for Edward to give it up, he is the voice of 'not-until-we're-married'. So, how someone can say it is promoting underage promiscuity is kind of beyond me and makes me wonder if they went in with a prejudice against it and didn't actually watch what was on the screen. Just my own two cents being thrown out there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Three TV Shows: "Supernatural", "Haven", and "The Glades"

Again - sorry for the long break between posts. Life goes to fast.

So, there are a couple of new TV shows I'm watching. First, Supernatural. Where the heck have I been since 2005 when this show started? I just started watching it and am seeing episodes from 2007. Love it! And the dudes - oh, girls - you must watch. Jared Padalecki (who plays Sam) and Jensen Ackles (who plays Dean) are NOT to be missed - don't let the perspective throw you either, Jared is 6'4" and Jensen is 6"1". I absolutely love Dean's irreverence for the demons they chase/destroy, his appetite, his sense of humor, his way with the ladies and his affinity for his car (the sound of the engine alone is hot, as in H-O-T, hot! I'll admit that). Sammy, sweet Sammy - he has so much intensity for what they do and is so sweet and well-meaning. The two brothers are heart breakers. If you like anything paranormal - it's just good fun, too. I am still stunned I could have been watching this for years and only now found it. Glad it's still around and there's plenty for me to catch up on. This one plays on TNT channel.

Second, a brand new show called Haven. It's based on a Stephen King story called The Colorado Kid. It's another paranormal, but since only the series premier has shown thus far (on SyFy Channel), we are not 100% certain what all the madcap mischief will be yet. We do have a chick who can effect the weather by her moods, and a hottie sheriff dude who has some disease or something that means he has no sense of pain (or maybe all touch), and an attractive heroine FBI agent who is visiting that has some strange connection to her doppelganger from the past. Since it's set in Maine, we have lots of supporting characters who are just that - characters. Fun and interesting characters. Loved it - can't wait for episode 2.

Third, another brand new show that premiered last night on A&E channel. It's called The Glades. It's a cop show set in Florida. Matt Passmore (who plays the main character Jim) is a doll. He's done a bunch of TV shows but no shows I've ever watched, so he's new to me and boy-o I'm glad he's in this one. Jim is a cop from Chicago who is now working in Florida because he doesn't play well with others. He probably doesn't here either, but he hasn't worn out his welcome here yet. He is a super smart, super excellent cop and he isn't afraid to let you know that he's smarter and better than you. But he is likable - don't think he isn't. He's the smart-ass, best-at-his-job, cute, funny, charming guy the guys want to be and the girls want to be with. He also has a friend Medical Examiner, Carlos, who is funny and cool (played by Carlos Gomez). And a sexy sweet nurse, Callie, that looks to be his romantic interest (played by Kiele Sanchez). Great show. Loving this one, too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"The Karate Kid" & "The Back-up Plan"

I'll start with the new Karate Kid with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith even though I saw the other first.

This is such a good movie. Good for everyone from the youngest to the oldest. Jackie Chan has never done better acting in my opinion -he was amazing. Jaden Smith is just a chip off the ol' parental block. He looks so much like his dad and he does a great job. This is a talented young man who will be a super star one day, I have no doubt. The story is, as expected, a young kid being picked on finds a mentor who teaches him all the right things and then has to fight the bully who's being taught all the wrong thing. And you might be saying, 'but Clancy, if that's the case, then why do I need to see the movie?' and my response would be - because it's a good story, with great actors (Taraji P. Henson is really good too), amazing scenery (China - hello), great karate fighting and training action, and it makes you feel good because good triumphs over bad! Go see it.

The Back-up Plan stars Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin. Hotties enough for all. And funny - I laughed a lot. Basically our girl is tired of waiting for Mr. Right to come along so she can have a baby, so she goes and gets inseminated and then meets Mr. Right. It's a rocky relationship, as can be expected due to her being pregnant and all, but while rocky for them, some funny stuff for us. I am not a huge fan of J-Lo, but I thought she did a really good job in this. Alex, oh Alex, he could just stand around shirtless and I'd probably pay to see it, but with that admission I would like to say he does a great job in this - he's not just a face (Ok - and a body), he's a good actor too. And perfect for a romantic lead. I really enjoyed this. So, don't snub it just cuz you have J-Lo issues people - seriously.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"The A-Team" Rocks!!!!!

Someone told me, Saturday, when I said I couldn't wait to go see this movie, that it was getting terrible reviews. So - reviewers be damned...this movie rocks! I went yesterday (Sunday) and I loved every minute of it. I wish I could go see it again right now.

The cast: Liam Neeson as Hannibal (amazing -hello? It's Liam Neeson), Bradley Cooper as Face (OMG - he's as hot or hotter than Dirk Benedict was), Rampage Jackson as BA Barracus (he's adorable in this really menacing way - so good), and Sharlto Copley as Murdock (did you see this guy in District 9? He was amazing in that, which if you haven't seen - DO! And he's amazing in this). Add to that awesome list - Jessica Biel as an Army Captain chasing the boys down (eye candy for the guys and she's good), Patrick Wilson as a CIA dude (way cute, funny and so charming) and Gerald McRaney as an Army General. And, what's not to love?

The action: Good grief! Crazy insane awesome summer blockbuster action. (I do need to go see this again - soon). Flying tanks, helicopters, car chases, huge planes, boats, motorcycles - wicked good fun.

The story: This, by the way, is where I was told it was lacking. I disagree. As a fan of the original TV show, the story is great - I understood it perfectly - I didn't think there were any holes. It has the same spirit and feel of the original. And, I love it when a plan comes together! Check it out troops...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Get Him to the Greek"

I literally just returned from watching Get Him to the Greek with Russell Brand, Jonah Hill and Sean Combs. This is funny on par with The Hangover, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, and Dude, Where's My Car?

Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is a rock star who has returned to drugs and alcohol and hasn't had a hit in quite a while. Sean Combs (genius) is the head of a music label looking for new talent. Johan Hill (so sweet and naive) works for Combs and suggests a comeback gig for Aldous Snow. Thing is, he has to fly to London, keep an eye on the troubled rock star and get him to LA in time for the big concert. Needless to say, hi-jinx ensue.

Rose Byrne plays Aldous' ex-girlfriend, and there are a ton of great cameo's. Russell Brand is wonderful in both his excess bad boy behavior and in his sweet broken caring moments. For no other reason than the party scenes in Las Vegas the movie would be worth it, but there are so many funny, quotable bits. Truly laugh out loud funny. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

'Prince of Persia'

First - sorry, I'm a slacker. I've been writing like a fiend and lost track of time.

On to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. So good!!!! I have no idea what the video game was about but I love the movie. Let's see why, shall we?

Male hotties: CHECK (and loads of them, not the least of which is Jake Gyllenhaal)
Female hotties: Check (and Gemma Arterton is beautiful and we like her)
Action: Check (and lots of it)
Exotic locale: Check (C'mon, it's Persia people)
Cool Special Effects: Check and double Check
Romance: Check (ahhh)
Betrayal, Familial ties, Horses, Sand, Royalty: Check to all
AND Alfred Molina is genius in his role as a Sheik.

I think you get my point. Both my girl friends that saw it with me, loved it too. And trust me when I say none of us were the intended demographic. I shan't ruin it by giving away any plot points ( I know - you just hate that - but it is for your own good). I will say, this is a keeper. I must own this one. And you should go see it, at the very least.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Animated Movies Galore

I'm visiting my grandson right now friends and so this is about my current viewing trend - mostly, but not exclusively, the animated film. My grandson is sick right now, so less up to playing and rampaging the house than laying around watching movies which I am watching with him. And I will refrain from gushing about how completely adorable he is in my completely biased opinion.

Disney and Don Bluth and other have made a wealth of really great films that not only children like, but adults (I will broadly include myself here) can enjoy too. And as a disclaimer - I am liberally using adverbs today!

Anyone remember Beauty and the Beast, the Disney version? Great songs, beautiful scenery and utterly charming. It also had Robby Benson as the Beast - awesome. My daughter loved it when she was little and I was reminded much I enjoyed it too. How about Anastasia? A Don Bluth I think. John Cusack, Meg Ryan, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lloyd, and Hank Azaria in the voice cast -Wow....and it it also has fabulous songs and gorgeous animation.

My son's favorite was Free Willy - a complete tear-jerker but also a really great non-animated movie. My grandson seems enchanted with the whale and as it has been almost fifteen years since I had to watch it four times daily for months on end I am also finding it a good watch once again. A new favorite... of mine.... is Chicken Little. Could this movie be any cuter? I don't think so. Another amazing voice cast - Zach Braff, Gary Marshall, Don Knotts, Steve Zahn, Joan Cusack and so many more - and the songs. The songs make you want to sing along (so I was singing - it's not that bad). Songs by The Barenaked Ladies and Patti LaBelle...it's really that good. I own it for me and had to buy it for the grandson and now we watch every time I visit. If you haven't seen it yet - what are you waiting for?

Overall, if you still have any of those old (or new) "kids" movies laying around, I say pop one in and remind yourself of how good they are no matter your age.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On Writing and "Shutter Island" and Larry Brooks

Friends, today we are digressing slightly from the norm. This is not exactly about Shutter Island the book or movie. It isn't even about the structure of the story by Dennis Lehane as deconstructed by Larry Brooks on his website, storyfix.com (if you write or aspire to write - StoryFix is a must read). I guess it's really about the benefit of deconstruction in general and specifically as done by Larry Brooks.

First, let me begin by saying that I think Larry Brooks is a genius (or at least a really, super smart guy). I've just learned a ton about writing, structure and other writerly things due to his blog.

He recently, as in just finished it in the last couple days, a series of posts deconstructing Shutter Island. I think I have a fairly analytical mind, but I aspire to his level of skill in breaking apart a story. I am getting better at it as I read more of his deconstructions and deconstruct more stories for myself, but I still have a long way to go. As a writing tool, deconstruction is brilliant. I can't even read a book now without looking for the four structure parts, the plot and pinch points, it's really changed how I read. I want to see what the published authors are doing at the specific points in their stories that transition the four structure parts from one to the next.

Before Larry, I had never actively, consciously, thought about the parts of the story as he puts forth: the set-up, the response, the attack, and the resolution. And that each of these has a specific goal or mission to accomplish had sort of passed right by me as well. Now, they do not. I watch for them, I notice them, I appreciate them more when they are done well, and I'm excited by my new found recognition of them because they are improving my writing tremendously.

As a side note - Shutter Island... Leo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and a really amazing cast- seriously crazy amazing. Do I really need to say it? Watch the movie, read the book, do both, do one twice - you really will need to invest in more than one visit to Shutter Island (remember The Sixth Sense and you had to watch it twice? Think that one on wicked good steroids - no kidding).

Friday, May 7, 2010


Picture this (pun intended) - Opening Day - IMAX - Noon - Four months in the planning! And there we were ... today ... watching Iron Man 2. And baby, it was just as good as the first one. Loved it.

Just based on the previews, I wasn't actually sure if Scarlett Johansson's character was good or bad, but I know now. I'm not going to tell you. I'm not going to tell you anything of substance at all. Nothing new you say? I can take it you critics you. Samuel L Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Gary Shandling, Jon Favreau, and Scarlett J. are all terrific in their respective good/bad guy roles. Don Cheadle does a really good job stepping into the shoes of Terrence Howard as Rhodey. Gwyneth Paltrow is, again, great as Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke was great. And I don't care what anyone wants to say (you hush - H!) - I would watch anything Mickey is in - I think he's awesome and am so he's back.

And of course Robert....aaahhh, Robert Downey Jr. This man is the perfect triple threat - a genius actor, cute as a bug, and so smoking hot sexy he can steam up my glasses at the very thought of him. Oh and he's so, so, so good as Tony Stark.

I think it goes without saying that this is a must see...several times...hmmm.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It was 'Werewolf' day on the SyFy Channel

Oh yeah, baby! Cheesy werewolf movies galore. Seriously, you gotta love the SyFy channel for keeping the B-Movie industry alive and kicking....And I can assure you I am doing my part too, by watching : )

I'd already seen Skinwalkers, so I didn't watch it again, but it has Elias Koteas and I like him. He was Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and I love that. He was also recently in Shutter Island. It's OK as cheesy movies go.

I did watch Thor:Hammer of the Gods. It had Zachery Ty Bryan as Thor. You may remember him as the eldest of the three kids from the TV show Home Improvement with Tim Allen. The premise rocks - Vikings and werewolves on an island. And the dialogue making full use of Viking values is great, like when one brother says to another after a big battle, "It is a shame you did not die" because, as we all know, nothing is better than dying in battle so you can eat at the table of Odin in Valhalla. Heck yeah - crank up the cheese-o-meter and check it out.

And last but not least, War Wolves. This is about six soldiers fighting in some unknown middle eastern country get bit by 'the dog people' and come home, you guessed it, werewolves. Three girls and one guy embrace it, one we see off himself in the opening scene and one, Jake, battles 'turning' fully. The girls are hot. Jake is rocking a smoking hot bod (look past the hair) and wait for it cuz he doesn't take his shirt off till half way thru the flick (but it's so worth it when he does!). It has a pretty cool cast including an John Saxon, Tim Thomerson, and Adrienne Barbeau who is awesome. Not the greatest story line but it obviously didn't slow me down.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A local author and blogger - M.J. Cunningham

Meet M.J. Cunningham and her blog, Writing Realities (you'll find a link just to the left under the sites I follow). I'm writing about her blog for a few reasons:
1) I want to support local authors and Utah has a bunch of good ones.
2) I like her goal to gain 100 followers by a certain date and then doing what she needs to make that happen (I need to do this also - but thanks to you few who do follow).
2a) She's having a contest to boost her followers, so I'm trying to do my part.
3)I'm still looking through her posts but I like her humorous style of writing.
4) She is having her first book published in 2011, The Eye of Tanub and that is noteworthy : )

Check it all out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

And the movie marathon continues...

I've been feeling a little under under the weather lately which allows my sick addled brain to catch up on movie watching. I frequently seek out movies for my DVR to capture for a variety of reasons....I think it actually looks good, it has some actor/actress in it that I like whether it's good or not, it's a natural disaster flick (we've discussed this before), it's a romance of some type, and a host of other dubious reasons. So, on with the fun.

Journey to the Center of the Earth with Greg Evigan (again...I know). This was equally as cheesy and bad as 100 Million BC which, you may recall from the last post, he was also in. He had a larger part in this one, the soldiers this time were all girls, it still had dinosaurs, it still had science of a dubious nature, land lots of people die, but the special effects were minimally better. It is based on the Jules Verne story, but there are far better versions unless you just want to spend your time watching military chicks in skimpy tank tops being attacked by giant beasties in the prehistoric center of our earth. Not sure I would bother.

Prince Valiant with a really young and hunky Robert Wagner, James Mason and Janet Leigh from 1954....I know....how cool - huh? It was awesome! Robert Wagner had this terrible wig that was always - always - perfectly coiffed. If you remember the old newspaper comics the movie was based on, you'll know the style I'm talkin' about. James Mason was looking pretty good too. I really got into it too - vikings in King Arthur's court - a definite check it out.

A Sound of Thunder with Ed Burns (yummy) and based on a Ray Bradbury story. This one I'd seen before when it first came out in 2005 but it's good enough I wanted to see it again. This is about a company that takes people back in time to kill a dinosaur. The First Rule of time travel - don't change anything. The Second Rule of time travel - if you do and time waves start changing the future which is your present then figure out what that change was quick and fix it before humans turn into some funky creatures. This one is pretty good.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SyFy Channel movies - The OK, The Confusing & The Cheesy

Yesterday was my day to catch up on my DVR'd SyFy channel movies. Three to be exact and without further ado...here they are.

First, I watched Riverworld, a four hour movie event based on books of the same name. It was well made, special effects were decent, acting was pretty good, cast was appropriately attractive for everyone concerned, characters were mostly fun but some left me wanting. The story seriously left me confused. SPOILER ALERT: I'll try my best to describe it (difficult though) - earth may have been destroyed by some blue alien people but after the humans died they kept a bunch around (not sure why) in big water tanks (think Matrix without the wire hookups) and randomly choose to put them in a land that is just a river and the forest on either side of it and act as caregivers pitted against each other and trying to have the humans help them beat each other in some vague goal. Confused? Me too. And I watched all four hours. And to top it off the main guy, Mat is perpetually hunting for his lady love, Jessie. Problem - that they only knew each other two months before dying and his only purpose in living, getting beat to hell, tortured, etc... is to find Jessie. And even after he finds out that perhaps she is not all that and a bag of chips - he still continues to search for her obsessively. Had me scratching my head - I can tell you. Maybe the books were better.

Next in my little marathon was 100 Million BC. Not to be confused with the 1966 One Million Years BC with Raquel Welch. This one starred Christopher Atkins (remember Blue Lagoon), Greg Evigan and Michael Gross. It was such a cheesy bad movie and yet I still watched every minute. Why? I'm a sucker for that cutie-pie Christopher Atkins - that's why! The special effects were so bad and funny because of it. The storyline was dubious and and the science behind the story probably even more questionable. There is time travel, practically everyone dies and a dinosaur ends up in Los Angeles. And with all our modern technology - it was still surprisingly difficult to kill this rampaging T-Rex (or something similar). In the end, they had to send the dinosaur back to its own time but did so by landing him in the middle of giant rock which I found cruel and unnecessary since he was only doing what's in his nature. So, not gonna recommend this one unless you too have a weakness for that cutie-pie Christopher Atkins.

Third was Lost City Raiders. A story about the future where the earth has mostly become covered by rising water levels. The goal - everyone wants some ancient artifact that may be able to control the water and save (or not) mankind. It stars James Brolin, Ben Cross as our villain, and Ian Somerhalder (dreamy!). This one had OK special effects and action scenes. The acting was mostly good and the story was mostly OK too. It was good just not great. I would not seek it out to watch again but if I was channel-surfing and came across it, I'd probably get sucked in again (if for no other reason than to check out the hottie Ian S.). The resolution seemed a little futuristic (considering how ancient the artifact is) and out of place, but it got the job done. So, if you can't find anything better to watch you could do worse than this one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love & Laughter"

I volunteered to review The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love & Laughter" by Kathi Lipp and thus I received it free (disclaimer over). Why did I volunteer? Because I read an excerpt, found it funny and liked the writer's voice. This is a Christian marriage self-help type book and whether you have similar beliefs or not - I think it has a lot of value.

I am one who does not share the writer's religious beliefs, but I read it cover to cover and liked it. I chose to overlook the parts that were Christian and focus on the parts that are about relationships. I am not currently in a relationship and have no plans to get into one, but I have friends and family who are and I will be sharing it with them.

This is a specific month long project for a couple to do together (or alone if the significant is reluctant) that can improve your relationship as you're doing it and for the future. Her premise is loving with 'intention' and I really like that concept. She frequently brings up the differences between when we were dating and after we are married. The difference? Dating = fun, excitement, looking forward to seeing each other, doing special things for each other (Intention). Marriage = can become old hat, the usual, boring, the last thing we worry about on a long list of things we juggle daily.

Kathi Lipp asks you to commit to doing the 21 days worth of projects together. Some are really easy and inexpensive or free and some ask for a little more, some are focused on partner A and some on partner B, but they are all worthwhile. She asks you to plan them out on a calendar and stick to it. She gives you specific examples not just ideas, she shares an anecdote about the idea behind the daily project, and she gives you feedback from others who have done the project.

It's a quick and easy read. She writes very conversationally and has a good sense of humor about herself and the challenges of relationships. I plan on giving this to a couple close to me whose marriage could use some extra love & laughter. If you're looking for something to boost your relationship that is practical and specific, not just theoretical and vague - this is the book!
You can check out Kathi Lipp and her book at http://kathilipp.com.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dan Wells' "I Am Not A Serial Killer"

Have no fear friends, I'm still reading slow - I just happened to be reading this one simultaneously with the last book and couldn't put it down.

WOW. Fun isn't really the right word, but sort of applies to this latest read. Dan's book, I Am Not a Serial Killer, is a young adult fantasy horror. Now, horror is not my usual thing, but this isn't slasher, well I guess it is sort of slasher (if you read it, that's funny), but not senselessly, descriptively, gratuitously gory - so no worries. It's about, John , a 15 yr old boy who is a sociopath (antisocial and lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience), is obsessed with serial killers, and realizes he has all the traits to become a serial killer himself. The kick? He doesn't want to...so, he sets up rules for himself in order to curb his tendencies and try and behave 'normally'.

This is the story of what happens when a real serial killer sets up shop in John's hometown. When the story reveals who the serial killer is, I was a little surprised by the 'what' ...ok...and the 'who'... but mostly by the 'what'. Cryptic - I know - I just want you to remember it is a fantasy horror. 'Nuff said. But, it was a quick read because I didn't want to stop. It's funny, suspenseful, and enlightening (if you want to know more about morgues, embalming or serial killers). A great story, well written, and an intriguing concept. Can't wait for the sequel, Mr. Monster, out in October (here in the good ol' USA).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"The Philosophical Strangler"

I am reading so slow lately!

I finally finished reading The Philosophical Strangler by Eric Flint. As bizarre a book as its title suggests. And so much fun too.

This is a fantasy novel about Greyboar and Ignace, a professional strangler and part time philosopher, and his agent. It takes place in the town of New Sfinctr in the country of Sfinctria in Joe's World. It has a cockney London feel to the dialogue which is awesome, a wide cast of characters hard to imagine, harder to forget, and easy to completely enjoy. And it has philosophy like you've never thought possible - a hint: it involves torpor. There's a cool tavern where the seedy reside, a lot of fights and other such action type bits, nuns, a talking lizard, and just so much more. I think you get the picture.

Eric Flint's brain was working overtime on this one - everything is topsy-turvy and yet makes complete sense. I would read this one again, and I think there's a sequel (must find). Check out it out friends.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Sarah, Plain & Tall"

Apparently I have a love-hate relationship going on with the Hallmark Channel. I hate loving their many tear-jerker movies. I hate crying (I hate being a softie) and yet willfully subject myself to watching movies I know are going to make me cry. What is up with that?

Sarah, Plain and Tall and its two sequels, Skylark and Sarah, Plain and Tall: Winter's End are three such movies (from 1991, 1993 & 1999). Glenn Close and Christopher Walken star in these 1910-1920 Kansas farm romance-dramas based on novels by Patricia MacLachlan. Remember back a bit when I had some thoughts on "The Love Saga"? These are the same and yet different and overall, I will say I liked these better because they weren't religious and had so much less melodrama - again having everything to do with my not preferring things too touchy-feely or feel-good.

These movies are about a widowed Kansas farmer, Christopher Walken looking pretty durn attractive (sexy even - in a smoldering sort of way) and not creepy in the least, who posts an advertisement for a wife to help him with his kids. Glenn Close is the single woman from Maine who answers the ad. Struggles, love, hardships, and a drought carry the family through the three films. I did cry in each and every one, but I also really enjoyed them. They had terrific acting, the kids were not irritating, and were not so syrupy that I was put off in the least. Plus, everyone wasn't either dying, getting married, remarried, or giving birth habitually. My thought then is that I'm glad I watched them, and sorry I waited so long to do so, but better late than never. Check 'em out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"Hot Tub Time Machine", "The Bounty Hunter", & "Remember Me"

So, I actually saw these a few days ago, but have busy- sorry. Better late than never. I did an all day marathon of these three back to back (it take s some skill to time them just right) - but fear not friends - I HAVE those skills! So, in order - here we go:

Hot Tub Time Machine - this was a fun movie but the humor at times will make you cringe or winch at the very least. I adore John Cusack, so he can do no wrong in my eyes, but the other guys in it were really funny too. If you think you will or won't like it based on previews then you probably are probably right on this one. I thought I would - I did - it was funny, but I like this kind of humor, so there ya go.

Remember Me - Wow. This was so much more and so much deeper than the previews suggest. It stars Robert Patinson, Chris Cooper, and Pierce Brosnan and many other actors I am less familiar with but who also did wonderful a job, especially the girlfriend and sister. I hesitate to give the story away, so let me instead say it took me through a gamut of emotions, broke my heart, and actually made me cry (this takes some doing, folks - trust me). This is a keeper for me. I will need to add this to my collection when it is available, pop it in the DVD, fall in love, feel frustration, be angry, flush with happiness, and break my heart again and again. If you doubt in any way, shape or form that Robert Patinson can act - watch this and rest assured, he really can and beautifully so.

The Bounty Hunter - Glad I ended with this one, so I was feeling upbeat about life and love at the end of the day. Nothing like a good romantic comedy to make all right with the world. Let me say that I adore Gerard Butler (I adore many actors - get used to it), so he too can do no wrong in my eyes. He is so good at romantic comedy (and action)(and drama)(and musical)(OK, everything - see previous disclaimer. And seriously, could Jennifer Aniston be any prettier and look any better? I think not. This is a comedy - he is a bounty hunter trying to put her in jail for jumping bail and.... they used to be married. It is an action movie - he is chasing her, she keeps escaping, and...she has murderers trying to kill her, and...he has bookies he hasn't paid looking to break his legs. And it is a romance - they have mixed emotions about each other and as they say, there is a very thin line between love and hate.

All in all, it was a very successful marathon - I left with a deep sense of satisfaction in picking three movies I completely enjoyed and all for completely different reasons. My thoughts are check them out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brian Williams of NBC's Nightly News

So, when did network news broadcasters become sexy and cool? Because Brian Williams is both sexy and cool, really sexy and very cool. Don't believe me? Go watch Jimmy Fallon's Late Night show and you can see this for yourself or watch his news show, but that may not show his coolness. On a Jimmy Fallon episode sometime in the last few months, Williams was on the show and I was struck by his coolness and yes - his sexiness. On the Fallon show he and Jimmy did the news in a 'slow smooth' (I think that's what they called it) with The Roots Band. Then I saw him during the Olympics doing news updates. So, here I am catching up on my recordings of Jimmy's show, the episode shown on 3/29/10, (Yes- I have a little talk show addiction) and Brian isn't even a guest, but he shows up for the opening half of the show to do another news update in a slow smooth. That means The Roots play some soft blues-y music and Brian and Jimmy report the news in a sort of soft rap. Just cool!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Remember Jumanji with Robin Williams? OK - jump ahead ten years and put it in space and you have Zathura. It's basically about two brothers, age 6 & 10, who have to survive a game that puts them in dangerous situation after dangerous situation - in space. It wasn't as big a success as Jumanji, but just as good to my mind. Why you ask...well let me tell you.

1. Jon Favreau directed it. You may remember he recently directed Ironman.
2. It has Dax Shepard. I may be a little biased here as I have a bit of a crush on him. You may know him from When in Rome or currently the TV show, Parenthood.
3. The brothers - Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo. Josh has quite an extensive list of movies most recently Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant and Journey to the Center of the Earth, but by far my favorite is Little Manhattan (I'll have to discuss this one later). Jonah Bobo is probably the cutest kid ever - seriously - he is completely adorable and also does a great acting job.

4. For Twihards, Kristen Stewart (you know...Bella...from Twilight) plays the sister and even gets frozen.
5. Tim Robbins plays the dad, and Peter Billingsley (the kid from A Christmas Story) is a co-producer.
6. Finally, they completely destroy the house throughout the course of the movie - literally! Jon Favreau is an advocate of practical stunts, so the house set moves, tilts, and is physically destroyed by the end of the movie - soooo cool.

So, my thinking is - you should watch or re-watch. I just got done re-watching it and had so much fun.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dancing With the Stars - new season

YAY! A new season just started and it looks to be a pretty good cast. I already have my favorite that I hope wins, and aside from two 'stars' I hope leave sooner than later, I like everyone competing. There are a few who are not really good dancers, but we'll see if they improve. Some of my favorites, thus far, are Evan Lysacek, Niecy Nash, Chad Ochocinco and Shannen Doherty.

My mom is watching for the first time because she's a fan of Niecy Nash. So, it's kinda fun sharing with her this season.

Does anyone else watch or have a favorite?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alcatraz versus Evil Librarians

This is just a fun read. I highly recommend this as a read for adults and kids. It's a young adult fantasy written by Brandon Sanderson. Some of you may know him for his own Mistborn series or perhaps a little thing he is writing - finishing Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.....

This is about a 13 year old boy, Alcatraz, who learns that the world as he (and we) knows it is actually far more extensive and that the evil librarians are controlling our knowledge. Alcatraz is in a constant state of having to readjust his view of everything. Brandon's imaginative use of this extra worldness is creative and wacky and terribly funny.

There are two more books currently available in this series - I can't wait to read them. Go find and enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Several thoughts on assorted things

I don't know if I already mentioned it, but I had decided to track all the books I read this year, so I've been tracking that. I will occasionally update ya'll how that's going (mind you I'm reading very slowly these days). As of March 1st, I've also decided to track all the movies I watch (not TV shows - that would just be too much), so that too will be updated periodically.

On to other assorted things.
I watched "I Love You, Man" the other night and I was surprised that it wasn't nearly as stupid as I thought it was going to be. Mind you - I like "stupid" humor. It certainly had stupid humor in it and it wasn't the greatest movie ever made, but it had a nice little bit about friends and it wasn't as juvenile as one might think. Worth a watch.

A blast from the past - "The Talk of the Town" with Cary Grant, Ronald Coleman and Jean Arthur. AWESOME ( I wish you could hear the sing songy extension I gave this mentally). Cary Grant is a fugitive from the law hiding out in the home of Jean Arthur who has just rented said home to Ronald Coleman (dishy), a high falutin' legal eagle. Comedic mayhem ensues. Hunt it down - watch it!

That's all...for now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I had never watched The Who's rock opera "Tommy' until last night. This may seem a big deal to some and an irrelevant fact to others, but until recently, I just had not had any interest in it - it seemed strange to me. So, now that I've watched it, I can say with out any hesitation at all that it is indeed strange.

It may be my lack of rock knowledge or my naivete when it comes to things counter culture, or possibly I'm just a little dumb in some things - I dunno - but I did not understand this movie at all. Not one little bit.

I liked a lot of the music. Some of the songs were just terrific. Elton John as a the Pinball Wizard until his dethronement was cool, Tina Turner as the Acid Queen was bizarre, and Oliver Reed and Ann Margaret as really bad parents were disturbing. Roger Daltrey did a great job of playing the deaf, blind, mute Tommy. But the point of the story escaped me and even though I did make it to end, I kept waiting for the point to appear, so it would all become relevant and enlightening. I'm still confused. If someone can explain this movie to me, I welcome any and all explanations. Therefore, I won't say I did not like it or that it was bad - neither would be true - but I also cannot say I liked it or that I thought it was good. Confused - see?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Reviews to come

So, I have this long list of books I am going to read in the very near future. I will then follow up with a review of said book. Keep an eye out for upcoming reviews of the following books maybe even in this order:

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson - this is for Young Adults (but so was Harry Potter and Twilight - so there!)
The Philosophical Strangler by Eric Flint - fantasy/scifi...sounds like fun
Quicksilver by Joy Spraycar - paranormal romance (can't wait)
Dark Prince by Christeen Feehan - more paranormal romance (I just can't get enough!)
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - fantasy
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia - gun-toting urban fantasy? I think....I'll let you know

So , this is the short list - I have a serious backlog and am not reading nearly fast enough to satisfy my interests.

I do want to shout out Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul by Deepak Chopra. I read it but need to now read it again when I actually have the time to do all the exercises, meditations and such that will truly internalize the message it is giving. I fully advocate what it is saying though - that we all have the power within ourselves to create our reality.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood...and the Oscars!

I think for the first time in so many years I cannot remember, I watched the Oscars and did not have one single, "Are you kidding me?!" moment. Which is great because there have been years I've had so many of those, I was ready to give up watching the Oscars, my other favorite Sunday annual event (hint: The Super Bowl). It doesn't mean I agree with all awards given, it means I did not egregiously disagree with who won. So, lets look at some of the movies offered up last night....(I am not going to go into the Technical Awards - sorry)

The Hurt Locker - Remember awhile back when I told you about Jeremy Renner....he's in this one and was nominated for Best Actor but didn't win (sniff). The movie did however win big: Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow, 1st woman to win Director), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Original Screenplay. Not too shabby for a little film that could.

The Blind Side - Sandra Bullock won Best Actress. She is so funny, smart, talented and gorgeous.
Precious - Got Best Adapted Screenplay and Mo'Nique won Best Supporting Actress. She is one beautiful and gracious woman.
Crazy Heart - It got Best Original Song and Jeff Bridges took home Best Actor. He's so cute.
Avatar - Not the ones everyone was probably expecting but not bad... It won Visual Effects, Cinematography, and Art Direction.
Inglourious Basterds - Christoph Waltz snagged Best Supporting Actor and is such a completely adorable guy. Quentin Tarantino is brilliant -again.
Star Trek - They won Best Makeup, but it does seem like they should have won more awards to my Trekkie mind.
Up - Won Original Score and Animated Feature Film.
The Young Victoria - This period piece won Best Costume Design. Looks good - must see.

Now - I think the awards were spread around nicely, there were some surprises and some "I thought so" moments and , again, nothing I didn't think - "Fair Play." But, there was one movie I felt got snubbed and should totally have won something - anything - it was a fabulous movie that has stayed with me and made a brilliant statement. District 9. Yes, it was nominated for Best Picture which is great, but seriously it should have won something. It's the only movie I felt the loss of last night and kept waiting for and being disappointed. And its star, Sharlto Copley, I really felt deserved to be in the Best Actor nominations. So, even though this is the best Oscars I've seen in many, many a year (thank you Adam Shankman) I am sad that District 9 did not win any much deserved awards in my humble opinion. Award season is now over for another year - carry on...

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Love Saga by Janette Oke

I may be getting soft in my old age. The Hallmark channel recently had a 16 (yes - Sixteen) hour marathon of movies based on the books by Janette Oke collectively called The Love Saga. I DVR'd them all (I couldn't watch them then - the Olympics were on and I barely had a life already). They are Christian Historical Western Romances based on one family as they pass through several generations. I have not read the books, thus my comments are solely based on the movies. So let's break this down...

Christian - if you are into that, these are made for you - if you aren't, you can overlook this aspect and still appreciate I think. What does it mean for the story: There is a lot of talk about God and faith and praying for answers and such. It also means that every disagreeable misunderstood person will typically end on a happy note having learned something and grown as a person (and as a person of faith) because of their interaction with or within our primary family.

Historical Western - they all take place in roughly the 1860 - 1880/90 period while we were settling this country and times were plenty tough. What does this mean for the story: It means that a lot of people die, a lot of people have babies, a lot of people get first and second husbands/wives and there are plenty of adopted children (cuz a lot of people are dying). The family is defined as whoever you choose to include in it - thru adoption, marrying, blood, or friendship ( I like the inclusiveness of this family definition).

Romance - Yes, it has the typical romantic formula for happy endings which I love and is why I read so much in the romance genre. What does this mean: Every movie is about a couple finding their way to love and the alter. It also means that everyone stays together forever... unless one of them dies.

Is it formulaic? Yes, but all genre stuff is - not just romance - get over it.
Does every single story line get wrapped up and usually happily so? Yes - we can all use some positivity in our lives despite all the hardships of frontier life and everyone dying.
Is it sappy-sweet? Oh heck yes! Sugar-shock sappy-sweet (except right when someone is dying - but then shortly after yes again).
Is anything surprising? Mostly no, but I was shocked (and appalled when my favorite hottie husband died....sniff).
Is it trying to make you cry? At every given opportunity - darn it all. Geez - I hate crying and am cold-hearted (I've mentioned this) and I shed a few tears I'll admit, grudgingly (maybe more than a few - I'll never tell). Even if you know it's coming and you are prepared and may even find the situation corny, when whatever is going to happen happens - you cry. Grrrrr.
Is it addicting? Yes again - I sat and watched all eight movies over the course of one evening and the entire next day! I had no self control and only stopped overnight because I didn't want to fall asleep and miss something.

It has some really good actors in the movies (Katherine Heigl, Patty Duke, a young January Jones, and Dale Midkiff) a slew of cutie pie guys (some are just downright smokin' hot) for our gals to fall in love with, advocates for literacy and education (always a plus to my mind), and has strong women (another plus). All in all, I say I liked them (OK - I liked them a lot...told ya I''m getting soft) and if romance is a genre (with or without the Christian aspect) that you are into - then watch. Here are the eight movies in order: Love Comes Softly, Love's Enduring Promise, Love's Long Journey, Love's Abiding Joy, Love's Unending Legacy, Love's Unfolding Dream, Love Takes Wing, Love Finds a Home.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

My final Olympic feelings

The Olympics ended tonight and I am sad, but I can now look forward to Sochi, Russia in 2014! I want to say I thought Canada was a wonderful host country, the Opening and Closing ceremonies were amazing, and I cried way more than I like to do... ever.

Final Woo Hoos
The USA broke a record for its winter Olympic medal count and topped the board with 37 total, but Canada took it home with the most Gold medals (14) in these games and came in third for total medals with 26. Germany was second with 30 medals. All told, I think there were 87 countries participating and 24 of them took home at least one medal, so just one big Woo Hoo for the 21st Winter Olympics.

All Curler's everywhere - Woo Hoo! (An homage to my dad who curled once upon a time)
All the 50km Cross country skiers - Wow - just to ski that distance is really something

And of course the ice hockey... it did end up being Canada vs USA for the Gold and it was a cliffhanger of a game that went into overtime. Both of these teams wanted this one really bad but to paraphrase Bob Costas, Team USA wanted this but ALL of Canada needed it. And the Woo Hoo goes to....
Team Canada - The Gold

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Olympic Woo Hoo's

OK - more well earned Woo Hoo's for the world's athletes!

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (Canada) Ice Dancing - The Gold - Way to go for the home country.
Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway) Alpine Skiing Events - 1 Gold / 1 Silver / 1 Bronze - So he added another two medals from the last woo hoo. Seriously- could his dad just be any cuter?
Ashleigh McIvor (Canada) Ladies' Ski Cross - The Gold - Ski Cross (and Snowboard Cross) are just really fun to watch.
Team USA Nordic Combined 4x5km - The Silver - Oh, AND Bill DeMong and Johnny Spillane of Team USA also took some individual medals: a Gold and a 2nd Individual Silver respectively. Now we have a whole bunch of medals in Nordic Combined where until this Olympic we had none. Yay us! (We still need to conquer that pesky Biathlon)
Erin Pac & Elana Meyers (USA) Women's Bobsleigh - The Bronze - Well done. And yay to Canada's teams who took Gold and Silver.
Alexei Grishin (Belarus) & Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (USA) Men's Aerials - The Gold and Silver respectively. Another very cool sport to watch.
Team Canada & Team USA Women's Hockey - Gold and Silver respectively - You know...hockey...Canada...need I say more? I think not. Also - we may see another Canada vs USA in Men's Hockey (we'll see...)
Yu-Na Kim (Korea) Ladies Figure Skating - The Gold - She is THE athlete for Korea and had so much pressure on her to win and she did - boy did she - by such a margin that it's amazing what this young lady can do - truly amazing - she's beautiful to watch.
Mao Asada (Japan) Ladies Figure Skating- Wow! She did two (count them, 1-2) Triple Axels (that's a jump - a difficult jump) in her Free Skate and one in her Short program. The first lady to land (perfectly, I might add) two, let alone three, in one competition.
Joannie Rochette (Canada) Ladies Figure Skating - This young woman fought back through some incredible pain to medal here. Three days before her short program skate her mom died very suddenly of a heart attack. Joannie and her mom were very close. As my dad died very suddenly last year, I can tell you - I was doing good to just be functional in the first few weeks after my dad died let alone phenomenal and win an Olympic medal just days after such a horrific event - so amazing, inspiring and strong. Very well done, Joannie.
Team USA "The Night Train" Four-Man Bobsleigh - The Gold - These are some way cool guys.

So there we go - only a few more events to go and we'll wrap this up. By the way, I did not say this yet, but I want to send out my best wishes and sympathy for the family, team, and country of the Georgian Luge athlete, Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a terrible accident during a training run on the opening day of the Vancouver Olympics.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On "Persuasion" and Jane Austen

Color me HAPPY. I just found another version of Jane Austen's "Persuasion" to love.

Some might call me obsessed - I'll call myself passionate. I currently own movie versions of all six of Jane Austen's stories:
Pride and Prejudice - I have the 2005 version with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen and a 1980 BBC version with Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul (*Note: Must acquire the 1995 Colin Firth version).
Sense and Sensibility - I have the 1995 version with the stellar cast: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Tom Wilkinson, Imelda Staunton, and Hugh Laurie (but their are more versions for me to get - yay!)
Emma - I only have the 1996 version but it has a great cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Alan Cumming, Juliet Stevenson, Ewan McGregor and Toni Collette (but there are sooooo many versions from me to choose from for further acquisitions - yay again!)

Mansfield Park - I have a 1983 BBC version which is good. Sadly, there are only two other versions out there, so far... I really want the 1999 version.
Northanger Abby - I have one of the two versions available (I think it's the 1986 A&E one) though to be honest I really do not care for this one so much, but am compelled to own at least one as I do not wish my Austen collection to be incomplete....you understand.

Finally, Persuasion - I currently have the 1995 version with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds which I also LOVE (and there are several versions out which I would like to view). But, today I watched a 2007 version made for TV that I was completely entranced by and now am compelled to acquire (as soon as able). It was shown on Masterpiece Classic on PBS and starred Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones (wicked cute).

I think what we can all take away from this is - Clancy does not own nearly enough of the many versions of these movies available! I mean, I do own three versions of Jane Eyre, so how can I not represent Ms. Austen better - right? And fear not reader/writers...I do also own all six novels as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I LOVE the Winter Olympics

The Olympics rock, but the Winter Olympics really really Rock! I love practically every event and watch almost every minute of it - the missing minutes being the really late show that doesn't start until almost midnight. And in the name of national pride I want to acknowledge that we are seriously leading the medal board (at this moment we have 24 medals with the next closest being Germany with 18). But in the name of international pride in all Olympic athletes I want to give out some big Woo Hoos for the following outstanding medal winners (needless to say ALL the Olympians - medal or not deserve a Woo Hoo for just being there). So here are some wins that had me on the edge of my seat! Sorry this is long BUT it is worth reading : )

Bode Miller (USA) Alpine Skiing Events - 1 Gold / 1 Silver / 1 Bronze (and he's not done yet).
Michael Schmid (Switzerland) Men's Ski Cross - The Gold - Wowser was he fast.
Mark Tuitert (The Netherlands) Speed Skating Long Track - A Gold - He was so excited it makes me smile just thinking of it.
Shani Davis (USA) Speed Skating Long Track - 1 Gold / 1 Silver
Simon Ammahn (Switzerland) Adam Malysz (Poland) Gregor Schlierenzauer (Austria) - Ski Jumping Long & Normal Hills - 2 Golds / 2 Silvers / 2 Bronzes respectively - they are just THE ski jumping guys.
Lindsey Vonn (USA) Alpine Skiing Events - 1 Gold / 1 Bronze (and she's not done yet either)
Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway) Alpine Skiing Events - A Gold - this guy came back from a serious injury the year before and has an adorable dad behind him.
Evan Lysacek (USA) Men's Figure Skating - The Gold - He has just been beautiful this year
Evgeny Plushenko (Russia) Men's Figure Skating - The Silver - He retired for 3 years and returned just for the Olympics - the man is such an amazing and powerhouse skater.
Diasuke Takahashi (Japan) Men's Figure Skating - The Bronze - He is fabulous and theatrical - a joy to watch.
Torah Bright (Australia) Ladies Half pipe Snowboarding - The Gold - with an awesome trick - so worthy. And go USA for getting the Silver (Hannah Teeter) and Bronze (Kelly Clark) here.
Maria Riesch (Germany) Alpine Skiing Events - A Gold
Shaun White & Scott Lago (USA) Men's Half pipe Snowboarding - The Gold & The Bronze - of course.... helloooo....it's Shaun White!
Marit Bjoergen (Norway) Cross Country Skiing - 1 Gold / 1 Bronze- she ruled and it was an exciting finish for the Gold.
Petra Majdic (Slovenia) Cross Country Skiing - The Bronze - Serious props for this gal who skied way longer than anyone who has several broken ribs and a punctured lung should ski. I am going to forgo any opinion on the politics of the accident that caused the injuries. I will only say that it takes some serious mental and physical strength to finish the long skiing event let alone finish fast enough to medal.
Julie Mancuso (USA) Alpine Skiing Events - 2 Silvers (and she's not done yet either)
Hongbo Zhao & Xue Shen (China) Pairs Figure Skating - The Gold - Here's the deal - they have been skating together for 18 years, were recently married and have medaled at the Olympics before (they're 36 & 31) but never been able to grab the Gold, so they put their marriage on hold in order to train and try once more for a Gold medal and it paid off - they were phenomenal.
Seth Wescott (USA) Snowboard Cross - The Gold - this was a come from behind exciting win.
Alexandre Bilodeau (Canada) Men's Moguls - The Gold - Not only Canada's first Gold on home turf but an excellent story about Alex being motivated by his older brother, Frederick, who has Cerebal Palsy.
Hannah Kearney & Shannon Bahrke (USA) Ladies' Moguls - The gold and The Bronze respectively. Moguls are just cool.
Apolo Ohno (USA) Short Track Speed Skating - 1 Silver / 1 Bronze - he is now the most decorated Winter Olympian in USA History with 7 total Olympic medals over 3 Olympics.
JR Celski (USA) Short Track Speed Skating - A Bronze - this young man came back from a horrific life-threatening accident in the not too distant past.
Johnny Spillane (USA) Nordic Combined - A Silver - This was one of two winter events we had never medaled in...UNTIL now - yay us! (Now we just have to conquer the Biathlon)

Honorable Mentions
Chris DelBosco (Canada) Men's Ski Cross -He came in 4th but he was so close and it was heartbreaking when he crashed on the verge of getting a medal.
Nobunari Oda (Japan) Men's Figure Skating - He's a great skater. I expect he'll medal in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
Johnny Weir (USA) Men's Figure Skating - Johnny finished 6th but he skated clean and did two terrific programs. He can be proud of what he did in Vancouver.

On a final note - I am always in awe of these athletes who get seriously injured in the course of their sports and yet fight to come back and do it again - it takes some kinda courage to my mind!
And I'll stay on top of this so the next updates won't be so long : )

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Cool Daddy Rat" is pretty darn cool

"Cool Daddy Rat" is a children's picture book written by Kristyn Crow and illustrated by Mike Lester. It is full of crazy rhymes and a very jazzy, very cool - daddy rat. It's won awards and deservedly so. It's "jazzy spazzy zee zat".

Go to the Library or your local book store and find it and read it - out loud.
It's fun to listen to and fun for the mouth to say...so Clancy says!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

JA Konrath's Jack Daniels novels

I just read the first two books of JA Konrath's Jack Daniels novels. I'm in!

They are about a police detective, Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels. It's in first person, so you always are in her head, or the bad guy's, and it really works. Mr. Konrath is a guy who really knows how to write a strong female protagonist and is also able to write super creepy, and I do mean Super Creepy, bad guys. And the books have great names - "Whiskey Sour", "Bloody Mary", Fuzzy Navel"....you get the idea.

Jack has relationship issues, an obnoxious ex-partner, a funny current partner, a mom she loves and respects but makes her a little crazy, and a wicked bad case of insomnia. Each book, at least the first two, takes you from beginning to end of a case involving a serial killer. I am not a fan of horror and rarely read mysteries or thrillers, but I like these. There's enough grisly to make me wince, but not so much I don't want to read it and the tension and pacing keeps me up reading late into the night. They are an easy and entertaining read that I think is worth the time. (I'm diving into the third one tonight!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sorry I was MIA this last week...

My computer got a virus and I was completely at a loss. I got it back today, so tomorrow I will post something (of substance - not like this)!

Woo Hoo....Clancy

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Yes - it is Super Bowl Sunday troops! I am sad and happy. Happy it's here and the two teams I really wanted to see play are playing - since my boys didn't make it - Giants : ( And sad because football season is over and we now have a drought until September (sigh).

So, I will be happy if either the Colts or the Saints win as I like them both (it IS OK). And since the Pre-pre-show has just started - that is all I will say for today. Oh - I do want to say I am also looking forward to the many new commercials - always a treat! And to hearing The Who at half-time - also always a treat! YAY SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Is it just me...

Disclaimer - I am going to keep these 'personal thoughts' to a desperate minimum - I promise.

I have begun to notice as I go through my day that I talk to my pets. Most pet owners that feel as though their pets are like their children will understand this - I understand this -as one of those people. What worries me is that I am now having full conversations with them and have also begun talking to Dante. Dante is a large goldfish (I think you can see my concern).

My dogs and my cats have full personalities and do not hesitate to share their opinions with me - all - day - long. Mostly, I appreciate their input. Topaz is a little pushy and Apache is a little whiny, but we all have our little issues. It is disconcerting though when I realize that I just held a five minute conversation with my dogs and I feel like they won whatever discussion may have been being debated. To be fair - they are really persuasive and I have little self control when it comes to them - so sue me.

It would be nice, dear friends, to be reassured that I am not going crazy in my isolated writing existence and others also "talk to the animals" to quote Doctor Dolittle. Give me a shout out and let me know I'm not alone - or give me a shout out and let me know my isolation is surely getting to me (either will strangely put my mind at rest). THANKS