Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Resolve...

2008 sucked monkey ass. I know I'm not alone in that assessment. I never make resolutions, but I think this year I just have to.

In 2009:
  • I will go back to Physical Therapy.
  • I will use the new ankle I got in 2008 and get healthy. (It would be about time.)
  • I will try to finish that novel. (I refuse to set myself up for a guilt trip so as long as I try I'll be happy)
  • I will get better organized with my writing and housekeeping.
  • I will pay cash for what I need and stop relying on credit cards.

Feel free to share your resolutions in the comments, or tell why you don't make resolutions.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all fans of Lost!

I'm dreaming of a Lost Christmas
Just like the ones with Ethan Rom
Where the treeline rustles,
and Sawyer hustles
To shoot bears and boars and Tom.

I'm dreaming of a Lost Christmas
With every Other that you fight
May your bears and bunnies be white
And may all your Dharma Beers be light

I’m dreaming of a Lost Christmas
With marbles colored black and white
Where the tree frog’s singing
And ears are ringing
From when the hatch blew up that night.

I'm dreaming of a Lost Christmas
With every number that is cursed.
May McCutcheon’s knock down your thirst,
And may all your bad luck be reversed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What the...?

I love going through the "recommended for you" items on Amazon.com. I shop a lot with them for pretty much everybody I buy gifts for, and it makes for some interesting recommendations. If you haven't used it yourself, it makes a suggestion and then says at the bottom what you have purchased or wish-listed that makes them think you will be interested in the item.

Today I got this recommendation:








If you notice, it says it has recommended this CD of Celtic New Age Christmas music because I bought an instant hot water heater for my kitchen sink.

Um, ok.

Is there a connection of which I am not aware? Do all the hip new-agers like hot water, but are impatient? Is this based on the stereotype that the Irish like to boil their food a lot? Perhaps it assumes I drink a lot of tea and would therefore be requiring a fun and quirky coaster made from a Celtic Christmas CD?

Looking at the play list, I see a song by the name "Un Flambeau". Did the "Recommendation Bot" think, "If you like scalding water you'll love a song about something that sounds kinda flame-related. 'Cause, you know, flames are hot too. And it's french. Pretty similar, am I right?" There is also a song called "Gloucestershire Wassail". Wassail is served hot, maybe they think I will filter cider, ale or mead right through the pipes and make a festive holiday beverage in an instant! Perhaps it's as simple as seeing the song "Snow" and thinking one would want a nice cup of cocoa after it's finished playing.

Well, whatever the reasons, Amazon, I will be taking a pass on this recommendation. Thanks, but no thanks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Christmas Ham

Last night was the Christmas show at my son's school. Who knew that having two parents with ties to stand-up comedy would produce such a shy and withdrawn child. Oh wait, mine is the one in the red vest? Then disregard that last statement.



My biggest wish this holiday season is that my parents' computers can play this video.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaNo Update

Well, I'm not going to win, that much is obvious. And at the moment my goal of, "If I just make it to halfway I'll be happy" is also about 5k words and 12 hours away from being a reality. I would love to say I am proud to just have written more words then ever before and gotten as far as I have in the story, but I am not. I wasted many, many days that could have been productive. Like today, for instance. I spent the morning playing Heroes trivia on Facebook. I could have written a grand or so in that time. Then there was that weekend early in the month where, instead of writing, I read Harry Potter books one, three and most of four. (who the heck did I lend book two to???) I may have written 4,000 words in one day last Monday but I haven't even tried to be productive since then.

On the up-side, I will say I really believe in my story. Every once in a while I write a passage that I think is pretty awesome. And a lot of my hesitation at the beginning was, as a good friend pointed out to me, because deep, deep down, I didn't think I could really do it. Now I know I can write 20,000 words, and even do one or more chapters in one day, and actually like what I wrote. That is a huge hurdle to get over, confidence-wise. Now I just have to tackle the Wall of Discipline. In an earlier post I mentioned the challenge I helped develop called R1. We have decided to do something different this upcoming January. We will have an "Add 25k Words to Your Novel Month". It can be something you've been working on for a while, or something you have just begun to think about. No rules, no restrictions, no cool web badges or counter widgets; just a bunch of people writing at the same time, checking in with each other and giving encouragement. Then comes NaNoEdMo.... but I'll worry about that another day.

Maybe, just for shits and giggles, I will try to make it to 25k by midnight tonight. If I make it, I buy myself the shirt. Because then, to me, I'll have earned it. Um... gotta go!

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Is Why...

... I don't 'do' Black Friday.

Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede
From the article by Joe Gould, Daily News Writer:

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."


Note: The picture is just random, not from the Wal-Mart story

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Conversations With My Son

My Son: Mom, who's Joe Biden?

Me: He is the man who will be the Vice-President in January.

Son: (exasperated) No, Mom, he's John McCain's father! (rolls eyes like he can't believe I didn't know that.)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trust me...

It may be the day after Halloween, but check this out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

When I was a kid, my brothers and I spent a lot of time unsupervised. It was the 70's, my mom was a single mom raising three kids, and also worked and went to school. Back then, "latch-key kids" were pretty much the norm. My older brother was a huge fan of scary movies. The gorier the better, at least to me it seemed. Because I idolized my big brother, and what girl didn't if she had one, I wanted to watch what he watched. By the time I was 13 I had seen Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen, Carrie, Alien and Jaws. A couple of them in the movie theater. My little brother was six when Jaws came out, and I know we all saw that in the theater because afterwards he was too scared to take a bath for a year because he thought a shark would come out of the drain and eat him. In addition to watching scary movies, my older brother also read about them in fan magazines and books. He would show me pictures of how the special effects were done, and when we watched the movies on TV he could point out the obvious fake heads and rubber knives to me until the scary movies had little-to-no effect on me. It took a lot to scare me when I was a tweener. And I was pretty darn proud of that. When I was 16 and at an all-girls boarding school (which sounds a little like it could be the opening to a slasher flick script in and of itself) we had a Halloween night scary movie marathon. As the girls around me screamed and hid their eyes from the creepy killer chasing kids around in Halloween -- probably, I don't really remember what it was -- I sat and pointed, saying things like, "that's not even a realistic blood spurt, and look, I can see the 'dead' guy breathing. Sheesh." I probably ruined it for the others, but at the time I couldn't believe anyone could have been fooled by such schlock.

That doesn't mean I was never scared by a movie. There was one in particular. One movie gave me the heebie-jeebies more than anything ever has. It was the movie that made me lie in bed, wide-eyed with vivid images of dozens of tiny little hands coming out from under the bed to grab me and drag me under... to drag me away. I think I was around eight or nine. Definitely old enough to have had the mysteries of movie gore totally explained to me. This movie, however, had not blood, nor ginormous glinting weapons, nor masked menaces jumping from behind doors to fill the screen and startle me. This was a made-for-TV movie that was called Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. It is from 1973. It's about a couple, Sally and Alex Farnham, who inherit an old mansion from Sally's recently deceased grandmother. After moving in, she discovers a bricked-up fireplace in the basement den, and asks the estate's handyman, Mr. Harris to remove the bricks, and allow the fireplace to be used. He reluctantly does so. It turns out some bad little critters come out of that fireplace once it is opened up, and they want the "spirit" of Sally for themselves. The embedded video below is the last eight minutes of the movie, and this is the part that set off a long stint of my life where I made sure every spare item of clothing, and/or all toys that could be spared were shoved into every square inch of space under my bed. I figured, if all that stuff was under there, then the little demons couldn't possibly fit. But just to make sure, I also kept my sheets tucked into the bed so they couldn't get to my feet. I'm not kidding. I still kind of do that last one. At this point in the movie, the little demons have spiked Sally's drink with sleeping pills, cut off the electricity and locked her friend out of the house. Her husband had been over at the handyman's house when Sally called and was abruptly cut off. This clip starts off during the frantic car ride home where we learn why the fireplace was bricked up in the first place. (And yes, the handyman is Uncle Charley from My Three Sons.) Don't be surprised if you sleep smack in the middle of your bed tonight. With the lights on.



ETA: I found out while looking for the clip that Guillermo Del Toro is remaking this movie but it doesn't mention a release date.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The AMY Memorial Random Wikipedia Look-up of the Day

Today I introduce a new feature on R2C, a random wikipedia page found by happenstance, usually while looking up something totally unrelated. It is named in honor of someone known to get lost in the wiki pages for days at a time, neglecting friends and family. She's not dead or anything, but it's named in her honor; hence the "memorial" in the title.

Today's entry started as a search for an episode list of a show on Boomerang. It ended up answering a question I have had for decades. What the hell are the names of the two rodent things from the Looney Tunes cartoons? I can't tell you how many times I have asked that question to friends.

Me: What the hell are the names of the two rodent things from the Looney Tunes cartoons?

Friend: Chip and Dale?

Me: No, not the Disney chipmunks, they were in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, they're also chipmunks, I think. Or maybe squirrels. They're really polite.

Friend: I don't know what you're talking about. Oh, do you mean Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Me: No! Thats three chipmunks, these were only two and they would say things like "After you," "Oh, no I insist, after you," and "Indubitably," in a British accent."

Friend: Oh yeah! I remember those guys. Maybe they don't have names.

Admittedly, a strange conversation to have, but I swear I've had it many, many times. Well, for anyone else that has ever wondered about meaningless crap, and strive to fill your head with useless knowledge that will never come up in conversation unless you can work it in yourself, I give you the name of the two Looney Tune creatures:

(imagine fanfare sounds here)


Mac and Tosh.

Together they are called the Goofy Gophers. The link to their page is here, if you wish to delve further into their story. Me, I was just surprised to learn they were gophers. I guess that explains their tunnels when they were tearing up Bugs' carrot patch. I guess I wasn't very deductive about animal species back in the 70's. Must have been all that Hawaiian Punch and Lik' M Aid warping my little brain.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hallo-won'ts

I just got back from a trip to the party store. My search was pretty much unsuccessful. After searching through the women's costume section, I feel like I just left this place (Not exactly safe for work because of language):

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cayley Practices Her Photoshop/Photo Uploading Abilities




I think I must have scurvy.


First, I was on a quest for lemon juice.





Then, I started adding this to my water.






Then I had an overwhelming craving for Limeade and sent my husband to store for a couple cans of it.




And now this is my favorite beer. It is apparently "inspired by a Mexican recipe with lime and salt." All I know is that it's limey, and not in the derogatory name for an Englishman way. Me likey limey lately.





As a postscript, if you think lime flavored beer is gross, then I can't imaging what you will think of me when I tell you I have found something else I want to try while I was searching for the Miller Chill photo:

I believe I have mentioned before that I like, nay, love Clamato so you know I just have to try this. Mostly just to tell the story of the historic day I was brave enough to conquer the odd concoction that struck fear into the hearts of all around me. And, of course, to see what it tastes like.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NaNoWriMo or Bust!

In 8 short, quickly moving days I will try my second attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Participants in NaNoWriMo begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

From the website:

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

The fact that somewhere in the vicinity of 99,000 other foolish souls are in this with you helps a lot.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

I tried this last year. I had hit my Stumble Upon button on November 5th and came across the website. I enthusiastically thought, "No preparation necessary? Write like a maniac even if it doesn't make sense? This has my name written all over it!" I got to 7,500 words. My friend AstroJones and I had started a website called Scribe Asylum, which was like a MySpace for writers. We decided to co-opt the idea. We started a challenge called Resolution One: One Month, One Novel. When I tried that novel, I acheived 12,000 words. My goal is to "win" this Nano, but honestly, I'd be happy with 25k.

Wanna join me in this ridiculousness? My user page is here. Make sure you add me as a Writing Buddy. Wanna just watch me suffer? Check in here from time to time. I have a widget in the right hand column that should tell you how I'm doing. It's supposed to tell you my name also, but right now it just says "participant." I'm going by the name of Blinky in honor of my late, great cat (right). We'll see if the widget gets more efficient once November kicks off. Knowing that you, my readers, will be seeing how badly I'm doing should be the impetus for keeping me plugging away. So, you know, uh, thanks for that in advance.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

3rd Annual Squish The Girls Day

I just learned that today is the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Totally coincidentally, last Thursday was my annual mammogram.

I go to the unfortunately named Faulkner-Sagoff Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Centre in Boston. They have night time hours to keep me from having any excuses for putting the procedure off, which is exactly what I wanted to do at first. Three years ago my primary care doctor ordered the mammogram when I told her I had just turned 40. It's the standard age to start such tests, but I was a bit anxious about the whole subject because my mother and paternal grandmother had both had breast cancer. That grandmother's sister and my maternal grandmother both had stomach cancer that metastasized to the brain, so cancer doesn't so much run as flow in both sides of my family.

Knowing all that, I still didn't want to have the test because basically: I heard they hurt. I told myself that all those cancers happened post-menopausally so hey, I had plenty of time before I had to worry about the "C" word.

Three years ago, for my first one after turning 40, I walked in cracking nervous jokes about the impending torture test. This annoyed the nurse doing the procedure to no end. Maybe she was just cranky after a long day at the Iron Maiden, but she told me what she thought about my flippant remarks. Sighing, she said, "I get so tired of women telling me it's going to hurt when they haven't even had one. It's really not that bad. But every time someone gets all freaked out thinking it's going to hurt it makes my job so much harder." It turns out she was right. It didn't hurt at all. It tugs a little up at the pit area, like the twisty, rubbing feeling of the "Indian rope burns" we used to give as kids.

So after that, every time I heard a friend of mine was going in for their mammogram, I assured them completely that there was absolutely no pain at all and they should have no fear or trepidation going into the procedure. And every one of those women have come back to me and said, "I am going to fucking kill you for lying to me like that!" Yeah, apparently it hurts other women. So, sorry to anyone I may have misled. See, I'm not particularly lucky in the breast department. I have them, I'm not flat-chested. The thing is, I'm flat-boobed. If I'm not wearing a bra they just lie there. They have no natural roundness. Let's put it this way: If nipples were eyes, I could read a newspaper I was standing on. So, I guess if they already look like pancakes, squishing them in a machine has virtually no consequence. Finally, I have a reason for my friends to be envious of my chest for a change!

Yesterday I received in the mail my report from the radiologist: Clean. No cancer detected for the third year in a row. And I have already made my appointment for next year because while these boobs ain't getting any younger or better looking, I sure want them to grow old with me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Conversations With My Son

Scene: At restaurant. There is a family a few tables away with a toddler girl who has wandered over to the little old lady sitting at the table next to us. We can hear them talking.

Little Old Lady (to toddler girl): Why, aren't you the cutest thing I've ever seen? You are so cute! Do you know how cute you are?

My son: (to me): Mom, is that lady talking to me?

Me: No, sweetie. She's not.

Son: I think she's talking to me.

Me: Really? Why do you think so?

Son (shrugging shoulders): Because I'm the cutest kid in the whole wide world.



Current Self Esteem Status: High

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Endeavors, uh, Anew

Goodness gracious, it's been 2 weeks since I made a post!!?? Wowza. Well, I'm not sure if anyone is still checking in over here after my blatant neglect, but if you are, and you happen to watch the NBC show Heroes, then by all means come over and see the brand new site I started. See, I really wanted to torture myself with high amounts of pressure to commit to things I had no time for. So, I ask you, what would be more perfect for that than a whole website of my own? Exactly. The site is found here. It is part of the Quantym network that I mentioned previously. We also have a great site for you Fringe lovers. I thought I'd post the review I did of the premiere episode from last week, as I'm very excited for this weeks new episode.

And They're Off and Running

Episodes 3x01 and 3x02 kicked off with a three-hour Heroes-apalooza event on NBC. They started with a preview show where they did some catching up from last season. Some of us did need reminders of where exactly we left off. They also included some great bits from the Season 2 DVD extras that were a lot of fun to watch. The setting for the preview show was outside the Premiere party, and many of the most popular characters stood on the red carpet in front of a throng of screaming fans and introduced the clips. Some of the actors were a little wooden as they read their lines (yes, I’m looking at you, Ali Larter. I’ve seen carousel horses that were more emotive.) After an enthusiastic countdown to the top of the hour the episodes “The Second Coming” and “The Butterfly Effect” began.

What worked:

There were some great callbacks to Season 1. I felt it gave it a nice feeling of starting over, which, let's face it, we could use. Sylar had to (almost) start from scratch hunting down “evolved humans” after losing most of his abilities. Hiro is once again daydreaming about destiny and fiddling with the clocks. Claire is repeatedly throwing herself into harm’s way and filming it.

We saw the beginning of many compelling mysteries. Is Linderman alive but invisible, or is he dead and a hallucination? Or is he dead and come back Obi-Wan style? Is Tracy Niki or is she her own separate entity? How did Daphne know to be in Hiro’s office at that very second? How did the painting of the earth blowing up get in both Africa and New York? How many people are seeing this vision? Did Ando betray Hiro like Hiro says, or is Hiro wrong just as Ando says?

The special effects were stellar. How cool was that 3-dimensional trail of color frozen in time and space behind Daphne? The gore in Angela’s dream was spectacular! Claire’s decapitated remains were especially gruesome. You know, in a good way.

There was more of the Heroes special brand of humor. The scene where Sylar is stopped by two of the Companies finest, filmed through the dash-cam as they make the poor decision to taze him was downright hilarious. Hiro was fun to watch as he taunted Daphne in her Parisian apartment. “Here kitty, kitty.” The talking turtle, however, was by far my favorite scene. From the moment when Usutu asks Matt if he knows Brittney Spears, I had a new favorite character. Don’t hold me to that, though. I can be fickle.

What didn’t work:

I could really do without this new turn for Mohinder and Maya. Sure, his storyline was getting stale, and it’s a way to get another superpower without having to introduce yet another character, but I liked the old Mohinder. This new slimy “how you doin” cheeseball annoys me. Plus, I don’t like how suddenly the powers are based in the adrenal gland. For two seasons they have indicated that Dr. Chandra Suresh’s research and book were about the DNA of the superheroes. They have shown the powers to often be passed down along familial bloodlines. This passing out powers twist is cheap. I don’t like it and I think it’s cheating. And finally, was Mohinder going to destroy the syringe with the magic potion by incineration? Oh, no, he wants to throw it in the river. Because it’s so likely to just sink to the bottom and not affect the water or the critters living in there. I know the pollution in NYC is bad but I don’t think it can neutralize stuff that turns you into a fly. I wonder what it would do to an actual fly!?

I’m uncomfortable with Nathan becoming uber-religious as a storyline. Hopefully it is a result of the “near-death” experience and it eventually fades away. It’s not that I don’t believe in God or have a problem with religious based plotlines. Believe me, I loved Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel. I just think that this as a story could go horribly wrong. He’ll either be made to look like a fool by the other politicians just because he is religious, or they will deify the superhumans. If it’s the former it will be a distraction. If it’s the latter, it may just jump the shark.

My conclusion: I think it did more good than harm. I give it a 7.5 out of 10. It had lots of action, laughs and set up a great start for this next volume. Knowing we will have a complete season this time (knock wood) makes me look very much forward to how this act plays out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Daily Crutch

Things have been great for the leg. So great, in fact, that I have been so out-and-about that I have lost 6 lbs and haven't been sitting at my computer for as long as I used to. Which is why I hate to say it, but today is a bad day for the ol' hoof. I mean, I know why it hurts; I spent all day on it yesterday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I did way too much walking. The good news is that if I don't overdo it, I can walk almost perfectly.

I stopped wearing the cast last week because I discovered that the pain I was getting in my back was increasing, and I was guessing it was because I was walking all lopsided. I think my back was trying to tell me, "Look, the leg is better, walk on it already! I know it's my job to carry you, but this is getting ridiculous!" I think the last week of wearing it was just as a hard, grey, bulky security blanket anyway.

I have been in PT for two weeks now and I have seen tons of improvement in my strength, flexibility and balance. I see victory over Wii Fit Ski Jumping soon within my reach! I've even been thinking it might be fun to try real skiing for the first time in decades. Maybe this will be the winter I hit the (bunny) slopes once again. Today, while I was at PT getting the massage they give to my scar to try to break it up and flatten it, one therapist said to the other, "She has a scar that's fun to play with, doesn't she?" That may have to be my Myspace page tagline from this day forward.

Because of my long day yesterday, I didn't go swimming or walk today, but tomorrow when I drop off the boy, I will take a short walk, and start the swimming on Wednesday. I'm interested to see how the leg feels while doing laps. Last time I was in the water I could not propel myself with that leg, and the jiggly feeling as I kicked was just... weird. Really weird. Stay tuned to see how I did!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Initial Thoughts On The Fringe Premiere

John NobleI loved it, of course, just like all the reviewers said I would. They were also right about it being exciting at the middle and end, but a little draggy in the middle. I expected draggy, though. They had a lot of set-up to do and sometimes exposition can drag itself out. I am hoping that now in subsequent, shorter episodes we'll have more quickly paced writing.

If you haven't seen the episode, be warned: this blog post will contain spoilers.

As a Lost fan I chuckled to see the show open with a flight attendant chasing a nervous, sweaty man down the aisle during turbulence. Luckily it took a decidedly different path story-wise. I knew about the flesh-eating toxin before watching but man oh man was that done with jaw-dropping gore. Literally. I backed up my DVR to see the co-pilots face slide off again and again. Apparently the flesh-eating toxin was also a clothing-eating toxin as I thought it funny that some of the corpses were just skeletons. Some were clothed in photos but one just had on a tie. I hope his name wasn't Faraday. Hmm.

Hey, here's a little bit of trivia; did you know J.J. Abrams wrote the opening theme song? Is there anything that man can't do? There's got to be something but it's probably a little thing like he can't make a decent omelet. The music for the rest of the episode was composed by Michael Giacchino, who is also the composer for Lost, and it is apparent to everyone that watches both shows that he uses the same type of musical cues to heighten tension. Again, it brings back flashbacks of Lost, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's only helping here.

I mentioned in my earlier post that I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi and there was a scene that sort of illustrated my underlying nit-pick about the genre. It went something like this:

"How did the plane land if everyone on board was dead?"

"Oh, Logan Airport has this special doohickey that lands the plane automatically."

"I accept that with no reservations as totally believable. Moving on now..."

At that moment I knew I had a choice: get annoyed and end up over-the-top critical about everything they put forward, or buy it and enjoy the ride. I chose the latter, of course, so I won't dwell, but I did think it needed to be said.

The middle part, again, was all about giving us massive amounts of information and back-story, which was slower than the beginning, but compared to other shows, still excellent television. It's kind of like saying that compared to the Sistine Chapel, the Mona Lisa is a bit drab. It still sure as heck beats Dogs Playing Poker, is what I'm saying.

I did not see the ending coming at all, not one bit, not one iota. But after I caught my breath again, I could only form four words in my head: LEAST GRATEFUL BOYFRIEND EVER. I mean, she went through hallucinogenic drugs, skull probes, walked around in her underwear in front of an old crazy guy, flights too and from Iraq, cow procurement, dealing with a meanie-head boss, transported his see-through hiney all over eastern Massachusetts to save his life, and he still runs her off the road? I'm starting to think he would not, in fact, do the same for her if the situation had been reversed. I love the idea that he will be interrogated post-death. The lady with the robotic arm whose name escapes me looks like she is going to be one of my favorite evil genius villian characters. My favorite overall character on the show so far? Without a doubt, Walter Bishop.

I have watched the show now one and a half times, and plan on keeping it on my DVR. It definitely deserves at least another rewatch, but for now I pretty much give it an enthusiatic 8 out of 10, if only because I could have sworn it was supposed to be 2 hours, not an hour and 37 minutes. The show has made a fan out of me. They had me at "flesh-eating toxin", of course, and the rest of the show just solidified this relationship.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's Bringing Me To The Fringe Table?

I really am looking forward to this show tonight, albeit with a little trepidation. I am drawn to this show mostly because I am a fan of Lost, and the J.J. Abrams connection there could very well be all the reason I need. Truth be told, I really didn't get all excited about the early ads for Fringe. Sure, they said "from J.J. Abrams", and they featured the actor Lance Reddick but the confusing and frantically paced commercials still seemed a mite bit sci-fi-y for my tastes. Just because the two shows had a few people in common didn't mean I'd automatically like it. In fact, I haven't watched any of the other shows by Abrams. Then I started to hear that it shared a few more quirky traits with my favorite show, such as a crazy genius, an airplane and a secretive corporation. OK, I thought, but still... I don't really want a Lost Redux. Ultimately I decided I would watch the show because just about all my friends are thrilled out of their gourds about it. I figured maybe I'll give it a chance just so I don't feel left out. Then the reviews began to come in, and the show was compared to The X-Files, Bones, Twin Peaks and Heroes. I love love love all four... ok, three of those shows. Hey, I wanted to enjoy Twin Peaks but I missed the first season and was totally baffled by it when I tried to watch the second season. (Is she cradling a LOG? ...The hell?) I saw in an interview with Abrams that Fringe was decidedly not going to be one of those shows where if you miss an episode you weren't screwed and I was so relieved to hear that. I definitely couldn't handle another group of people who call me after every episode so I can explain what just happened because they had missed two or ten episodes.

Today David Zurawik of the the Baltimore Sun had an article about Fringe that included this quote:

As has been the case with so many network dramas since Sept. 11, that 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon can be felt in virtually every frame of this new series. Think of Fringe as a post-9/11 version of The X-Files, with lots of pseudo-science from NBC's Heroes, and you will have a pretty good fix on the pilot for this wildly uneven but most-promising series from one of TV's most in-touch-with-the-culture creators.

This is the kind of thing that I am hearing about the show that has me excited. What I am not looking forward too are the morning-after news reports that come out where all the reviewers try to make the corny pun about the ratings showing "Fringe On Top!" I will have to run over anyone who says that with a surrey. And like chicks and ducks and geese, they'd better scurry! Ok, I'll stop.

Originally published at Fringe@Quantym.net

Update Update

I have been so bad about posting that I have actually not even looked at this site due to the shame I feel in neglecting it. The past two weeks have been a blur of school preparedness. Add to that back pain that has made anything other than breathing and eating completely unappealing and you have, well, this: The lonely un-updated blog of yours truly.

I have been writing today, and you will shortly see a blog posting I wrote for a new website about the Fox show Fringe. The site looks great and I encourage all you fans of the show to stop in and check it out. If you are a fan of Sci-Fi in general, why not visit their sister site, Quantym?

Then, I will be updating The Daily Crutch, news on my boy's first week of school and other things that I am watching and hearing about.

A few more quick updates: I found lemon juice at Walmart the other day, and I saw it again at my supermarket today. Unfortunately I hear from Wisconsin that a friend of mine can't find any at her markets, so maybe we're just stealing it from the midwest. And going back to one of my earliests posts, I finally got around to listening to the Dork Forest podcast (I know, I'm slow. Did you not know I'm a dork myself? It explains a lot.) Anyway, I found it hard to listen to at first because the podcasters produce it by calling into a service and that "over-the-phone" sounding voice is a little distracting at first, but the show was funny enough that I really enjoyed the program and can't wait to download another one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why Am I Always The Last To Know?

Since I harbor the pipe dream of becoming a writer, I subscribe to a number of advice-giving emails from The Writer's Digest. I don't actually write anything, you know, like a novel or whatever, I just get emails that make me feel writer-esque. It's a lot like taking your laptop to Starbucks and surfing the web. Hopefully once I look like a writer and get emails like a writer, I will suddenly transmorgrify into a writer. It's all part of my master plan. But I digress.

One of the emails I get is called the "Guide to Literary Agents" and it gives advice and examples of query letters, as well as names of agents that are actively looking for authors. Doesn't it make you think of me as more authory knowing that I know these things? No? Oh. Anyway, in the email I got today there was a mention of a contest they were having. It's called the "Worst Storyline Ever" Contest. It's pretty self explanatory, but the contest is that you gve them a one-sentence synopsis of the worst storyline you can imagine. The prizes are pretty sweet, too. If you win you get to talk to the editor of the Guide to Literary Agents, Chuck Sambuchino, and get a personal lesson in making queries, including a critique of one of your own. Plus a copy of the 2009 Writer's Market and the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents.

The problem is the contest started 10 days ago, on the 18th, it ends in three days, and the email about it only came today. I know, I know; I should probably check the website everyday. Except I didn't know it was it's own website. Um, I thought it was just a more specific email sent out by Writer's Digest. I should probably learn up on some of this technical stuff before I actually start writing that Great American Novel. Anything to delay any serious, actual work! Well, I'm off to wrack my brains for some of my worst dreck. Shut up! I do not have an abundance of that!

Much.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's a Girl to Watch?

I think I am getting a girl-crush on Sarah Haskins from current.com. Her Target: Women pieces are brilliant as far as I'm concerned. I practically squeed like a fangirl when I saw there was a new one. Also, am I too old to use words like squee and fangirl? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Iron and Steel NYC to Shanksville

Sourpuss

I have been looking for concentrated lemon juice for weeks now. I always like to have some on hand not only for cooking but for one of my favorite beverage concoctions, a Clam Digger (I prefer lemon juice instead of lime, and lots of it.)

After finding yet another empty shelf at the supermarket I came home and googled "lemon shortage." And, well, yep. We have one. Apparently it isn't just here, it is an international shortage. In 2007, there was a horrible growing season in the European crops, and freezing weather in California and Argentina destroyed what should have been the backup supply. Add in drought conditions in Spain and Australia and lemon lovers are really screwed. Once the lemons become a rare commodity, more of them go to the markets as fresh because they can sell them for more. Concentrating them for bottled juice isn't as lucrative, hence the empty shelves every time I go to get a bottle.

From what I've read, the juice will start to get back on the shelves mid-September, but the shortage problem won't be totally alleviated until mid-2009, when this years crop is harvested, juiced, and bottled.

Since the bottles are gone and the fresh lemons are kind of expensive to buy and juice enough for some of my recipes, I thought my lemon consumption would now be limited to the lemonade mix in my cabinet. However, a few months ago I came across a box of something called True Lime next to the Splenda in the sugar aisle. I like to put it in my water because after years of guzzling soda and ice tea (the diet kinds) I cannot handle flavorless beverages. I have not tried the lemon version, but I did add some of the lime to my Clam Digger this morning and it was okay. Not great, not revolutionary, but it will do in a pinch. So there's that at least.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Daily Crutch

I have gone many more days without posting than I would have liked. For that, I apologize for any faithful readers I may have. It has been a weird past few days.

I had thought I was feeling sick, or maybe even depressed. I had no energy to do anything or even care about anything. Then yesterday I was taking my son to the office supply mega-store to buy school supplies for the very first time (cue pride swelling music). About five minutes into the trip I felt pain in my sternum, and I didn't feel like I could catch my breath. I felt like I had to burp but when I did it made me nauseated. Honestly, I was worried I was having a heart attack, but I didn't want to panic too quickly. This had happened to me once before and it had turned out to be severe heartburn. I bailed out of shopping after only finding about four things, and went straight home. I took a Zantac with a massive glass of milk and I laid down on my bed with some coloring books and crayons so my kid could hang out with me until my husband came home. I did feel better after a while, although I do still have the remnants of the pain in my sternum. I thought about it and I figure it all comes down to soda. I love me some Diet Mountain Dew as my morning caffeinated beverage, but on occasion it can be hard to find. This summer especially so, although I tend to think my husband just doesn't look around enough. So I have been drinking a lot of iced coffee. Last week I was able to grab about three 12-packs and had been guzzling it like crazy since about Friday. I'm sure it was all that soda ripping my stomach lining apart that caused the pain, and I suspect it was the drop in amount of caffeine between coffee and DMD that cause my listlessness. So it was scary for me for a while, but at least that ended well.

Also in the "ending well" department, it's official: My doc has cleared me for Physical Therapy. I had no idea that I actually needed a prescription for that. He wrote out what he wanted them to do for me on a prescription pad. I thought that was kind of cool. I will be calling around tomorrow and will hopefully start next week. This will not mean the end of The Daily Crutch, though. I plan to have this be for all my general updates, because I have plenty of big changes I am planning.

The biggest change: I need to lose weight. Once I can walk again I don't intend to stop, and with my boy in school five days a week I am hoping to get a lot more of that in every day. In addition to the walking, I plan to go back to swimming laps three times a week and of course, that Wii Fit game won't be able to get rid of me. Last year I found a website called SparkPeople that is all about weight loss, and it helps a lot with accountability and goal-reaching. It has groups you can join for specific interests (I belong to groups for swimmers and Wii Fitters, of course) that give you a way to not feel alone in your goals, and can set group challenges that push you farther than you may have done on your own. I even made a walking buddy last summer. She lives nearby and we met up about two or three times a week before the pain in my foot became too much to take. Between this blog and SparkPeople I hope to see some success for a change. This is my page if anyone would like to join me.

I also need to organize myself if I am going to pull off getting the boy to school at the evil hour of 8 am, then go workout for hours and still have the house not be a total disaster and my family doomed to pizza nine meals a week. Any ideas?

Friday, August 15, 2008

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

**sobs**

Warner Brothers is pushing the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince to next year. It was slated to be released in November. When are they now releasing it? January? February? No. July. JULY! The studio says it has two reasons for the delay:

Our reasons for shifting 'Half-Blood Prince' to summer are twofold," Warner Bros. President and Chief Operating Officer Alan Horn said in a statement. "We know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent-pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film [released July 11, 2007], which is the second-highest-grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment.

The other reason is because the writer's strike:

Warner Bros. was still "feeling the repercussions of the writers' strike," which had affected scripts for other films, and changed "the competitive landscape for 2009.

The only thing that will make this any better -- and that would be only a tiny bit better -- would be if they still release the video game in November. **crosses fingers**

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Tropic Thunderous Review

I have just returned from seeing Tropic Thunder. I am so excited to be reviewing this movie for a variety of reasons. First of all, it will be the very first Related 2 Cayley movie review. This is taking some getting used to because I usually recap as well as review, and I have to be careful not to spoil the movie for anyone. Secondly, there has been a whole lotta advertising for this movie. And an almost equal amount of complaining as well.

I definitely had my mind set on looking for the controversial scenes and aspects of the movie. Earlier this year when the previews started coming out, it became quickly noted that Robert Downey, Jr. plays an African-American character. That, as you may recall, set off the first wave of criticism. Many were outraged that they would go through all the time and effort to make up this white actor, when they could have hired an actual black man. It was revealed that Downey was playing the role of an actor that was so into method acting, and so devoted to his role that he insisted on not only playing the role, but undergoing skin pigmentation procedures instead of relying on makeup. The actor-character is so devoted to his craft that he will not drop playing the character even after the scene is over. So, as it turns out, Hollywood was not forsaking it's African-American talent pool. Tropic Thunder was in fact making fun of Hollywood celebrities that go insanely "method" and can't see where boundaries lie, and the hubbub over this initial reaction died down.

Speaking of boundaries, the movie got into even more trouble for crossing a big one earlier this week when it was revealed that the movie features rampant use of an offensive word for the intellectually disabled. I personally hate the word myself. It is the word "retard" and I do agree that it needs to stop being used for so many reasons. From what I had heard it is "all over the movie" and that the movie is specifically making fun of the intellectually disabled. I was a bit shocked to hear this, and thought it might be an exaggeration by the typical reactionary types, but then the Special Olympics people issued a statement that they were calling for a boycott of the movie. That made me wonder if this movie was going to be over the top offensive and/or stupid; two ways a movie can go that are rarely mutually exclusive. My feelings about abandoning the showing until I had seen more reviews wavered during the week but in the end my curiosity prevailed.

To be frank, the movie most definitely is offensive. It does use the word "retard" often enough to be very noticeable. But thats not what makes the movie offensive. It offends everybody. One could say it offends the handicapped, rap artists, war veterans, those with gastrointestinal distress, Asians, children and substance abusers. It is not for the squeamish, sensitive or those prone to huffiness. If you tend to take umbrage at just about everything that can be remotely perceived as a slight? Avoid this movie. Stay away in droves. If you like action, tension, humor, slapstick and stuff getting blowed up, and can recognize irony when you see it, go right ahead and see this movie.

**This next paragraph might be considered a spoiler but I am really not trying to ruin it for anyone. If you want to see the movie but the issue of the recent controversy is bothering you, you may want to read on, as I don't give away too, too much.**
The background information on the "insulting" sections of the movie involve the actor, Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller). He is an aging action hero (with beautiful biceps I might add) that wanted to earn himself an Oscar by playing a serious role. In the hopes of achieving movie legend status like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, he takes on the titular role in the movie Simple Jack, and yes, Simple Jack is intellectually disabled. And yes, Tugg Speedman does refer to the type of person he was portraying as the "R" word. Repeatedly. Like, a lot. He is having a conversation about the movie with Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.) and he says many insensitive things about the people with whom he studied to learn how to behave as if he was, to use their word, simple. But what was painfully obvious to me is that Tugg Speedman is a moron. He doesn't get it. He's using the word because he is insensitive, self-centered and, I will repeat for emphasis, a moron. If anyone should be offended by this movie it should be morons. They would never get a protest going, though. They would probably end up picketing a supermarket because they were showing "Tropicana". But I digress. Lazarus even baits him into saying more moronic things by saying just about every offensive word that is a synonym for the "R" word. But this isn't to make fun of anyone with a disability, it is specifically to humiliate Tugg. It even acts as a cautionary example in that people will realize that when you talk like that, other people will consider you a moron. Therefore, I cannot see what all the fuss is about. You don't leave this movie thinking, "You know what? I actually hate retards now. I think I'll go taunt one." If you even need to give it a second thought, you think, "Wow, the guy who said all that was quite moronic. I'm glad I don't think like him." There was one small detail that did make me uncomfortable. In a scene featuring a discussion about adoption, Speedman's agent says he would be lucky to get to choose his kid, as he was "stuck with" his kid, and he holds up a photo. It is a split second thing and it is hard to make out if the kid is sad and broody or if they are trying to say he is developmentally delayed. If it is the latter than the idea that his dad is stuck with him is far more disturbing than any word that is bandied about. If it is the former then they did a poor job of conveying the idea. Either way we see the agent and his son at the end of the movie and they appear to be reconciled, but again, it is so fast it is hard to tell.

Ultimately, although there is a huge influence from this Simple Jack movie on the plot line and on the character of Tugg Speedman, it is not the central theme of the movie, and you will not be assaulted left and right with the "R" word. You will however hear every other filthy, crude and disgusting word ever meant to offend in the history of offensive words. I'm not kidding, they swear a lot. If they ever show this on network it will be cut down to 22 minutes and sound like one long dial tone. And it's worth every cringe-inducing utterance.

The movie has some breathtaking cinematography, and spectacular stunts and explosions. This is one of those movies that needs to be seen in the theater. If you go, make sure you get there early, you don't want to miss anything, she emphasizes because she doesn't want to give away the very beginning of the movie which, once she realized was a gag she found hilarious. The press made a big deal about the realistic way Downey was made up, but I found the most fascinating special effect was the character played by Tom Cruise. It took me a while to recognize who he was. I figured it out through his voice and his nose, which were his only features left unaltered. I didn't even know Cruise was in this movie, with all the hype about it being a Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. movie. In fact it also features Matthew McConaughey and Nick Nolte. There are also lots of those "Oh, I've seen him before, he was in that movie. That's whatsisname" actors like Jay Baruchel and Steve Coogan. The characters that these and so many other great actors portray are all very multifaceted for a comedy. They all reveal secrets and vulnerabilities, and by the end of the movie they are all in some way redeemed. Well, all except a dead guy and the guy that personifies Hollywood, which will always remain unredeemable.

I was given a survey before entering the theater and on it were such questions as when did I decide to see this movie, where did I hear about it and would I recommend it to a friend. The answer to the last one is yes. I won't say you shouldn't see it unless you have a sense of humor because comedy is subjective and you should be allowed to laugh at whichever type of humor you choose. There is nothing wrong with not finding some things funny. I am one of the apparently miniscule percent of the population who thought There's Something About Mary was incredibly stupid. However, Tropic Thunder does seem to require a sense of perspective. If you go in looking to be offended you will not be disappointed. If you go in looking for a lot of laughs, gross-out humor, action and surprises, you will have a blast. So, go. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Demotivation

I love "demotivation" posters. You know, the ones that parody the type of poster you might see in an office to motivate the employees to achieve greatness, or reach for the stars, or to be good at teamwork? I found a site where I could make my own, and this is my first attempt. Of course, it helps if you watch Lost...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

And Now One For The Ladies...

Thank heaven... for little boys,
For little boys get bigger every day...
Thank heaven for little boys,
They grow up in the most delightful way!

Wait a minute, I'm starting to gross myself out. That was completely inappropriate... OK, lets try it this way:

Matthew Lewis
is the actor who has been playing Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies. Who would have known that this cute kid:


Would grow up to be so babetastic!**


**It's ok to drool, he's 19 now. He's legal.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Last Comic Standing: Finale

Well, I partially got last week's wish: Tonights episode is only an hour and a half. Still, thats a lot of filler. The show opens with a spectacular major award show style "Last-Comic-Standing-And-By-The-Way- Did-We-Mention-We-Have-The-Olympics-Here-On-NBC?" production number that includes God's Pottery in the beginning, and at the end supposedly the rest of the top 12 comics. They are gestured towards but are never actually shown.

They had each comic do an Olympic moment type segment. They weren't entirely as bad as they sound. They weren't laugh out loud funny, but kind of cute. I wonder if they will show them during the Olympics?

Joel McHale from The Soup had one of my favorite segments tonight. He did a recap of the highlights of the season. It worked exactly like an actual episode of his show, which made it all the more hilarious. He featured a small montage of Iliza scantily clad in and around the Casa de Comedy. It was a little disturbing – ok, a lot disturbing – when they cut straight to her Dad, cheering for his daughter's ass louder than anybody. There was some more disturbing clips as we revisted Marcus dressed up like a beaten up Wonder Woman for the calendar shoot and Paul Foot getting turned on as he washed the LCS Short Bus. Then he played a montage of Esther Ku laughing. Wait, why was this a favorite segment of mine? It sounds so gross and annoying. Of course it's because McHale made it all funny.

My other favorite segment was with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. He was just as brutal and insulting as always. Even Triumph noticed Iliza's boobs grew as the show went on, so I now know I haven't been imagining it. He insulted the rest of them in turn, and was very funny, but I think he should have tried to get Jim Tavaré's name right. Triumph compared Tavaré to the Hunchback, compared Jeff to an America's Top Model (who sucks) and pointed out Marcus' future as a clerk at Virgin Records. My favorite line was when he asked Louis Ramey, "Did you say you eat and drink comedy? Eating and drinking comedy is how you turn it into crap."

There was some actual stand-up filler segments. Season 5 LCS winner Jon Reep did a set. He did a lot of his same subject matter (read: Hickory!) It was funny, as was the set by Jon Lovitz. He had some good political material. Speaking of which, they bizarrely had some short, humorous-ish statements by John McCain and Barack Obama. McCain pointed out that funny presidents get elected to two terms, and unfunny ones only serve one term. He then said he was the funniest candidate running, at which point you hear a voice off camera say, "Yeah, funny looking." Obama wanted us to know that if we didn't think he was funny, we obviously hadn't seen him bowl. I give both candidates a C-.

According to my satellite TV service's guide to the program, there was supposed to be appearances by Gilbert Gottfried and Penn and Teller. Either DirecTV lied, or they got left on the cutting room floor. The rest of the show was actual LCS elimination business, but don't worry, they kept that to a minimum and got back to the filler as soon as possible.

The comics get eliminated in this order:
Louis Ramey. That one hurt. And they axed him first. He was my favorite. He was original, brilliant and just so funny. I was really pulling for him to win. Even he looked shocked at the news. Sorry, Louis. You've made a fan in me and I look forward to seeing more from you.

Jim Tavaré. A one-two punch for me because I also liked Jim a lot. Kudos to NBC for putting through an intelligent and quirky act that doesn't look or sound like a "typical" comedian. The man played for the Queen, so it's not like he's languishing in obscurity without American recognition, but still: I think a lot of people wrote him off early on. I'm glad he made it to the finale. Jim, if you're out there, I consider myself also to be fan of yours, and as such a supporter, would you consider telling me why you were on crutches that second week? I am just concerned, you understand.

Jeff Dye. I must admit I found him unremarkable the first time I saw him. I mean that literally: I made no notes about his act. I was even a little sour that he got through when I thought there were much funnier comedians left behind. But the man grew on me, and and he did turn out to be much funnier than I originally gave him credit for. Congratulations, Jeff.

Marcus. Here is another guy I was totally blindsided by. The first time we met Marcus it was to tell us he was an ex pro-wrestler turned comic and he could do voices. I rolled my eyes and assumed we'd be seeing a macho poseur who could do Jim Ignatowski at parties and thought he had an act. Well, he was none of those things except the part where he had an act. He did not rely solely on the impersonations, he used them to accentuate his funny and original material. He also had many objective and informative points to make in the interviews. I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions, bro. You have a whole mess of talent. I look forward to see where you go in the business.

Which leaves our first female winner of LCS, Iliza Shlesinger. She battled some huge talents and a bit of chauvinism to beat comics with a lot more experience than she had. While at times I felt like she herself was doing her impression of Dane Cook, she did have excellent material and was a real hit with the crowd. I think she is a fine comedian and a bad ass chick to boot, considering the target she had painted on her back. It is nice to see a female win this competition for a change, but my heart isn't totally in this win. Again, I think she won it fair and square but I still wonder what would have happened if Jackie Kashian or Mary Mack had made it through. They were also strong acts. I really shouldn't rain on her parade, because I am really happy with the win. And Iliza, my mom is a huge fan of yours as well! Congratulations on the win, but more importantly, thank you for spanking Papa CJ.

So, that's the end of Season 6. NBC hasn't really come up with the perfect formula for this show. If there is a Programming Fairy (I'll have to ask Elimination Fairy about that) I would really like to see the best parts of all the seasons next year. I want two hour episodes definitely, but I would like fewer weeks of auditions. I know you show us people lining up supposedly overnight by the thousands to get their big break, but never have I seen a final 10 contestant saying, "I dunno, the guys at the office said I was pretty funny so I gave it a shot and I can't believe I made it this far!" You take professional comics, we get that. Those wacky off-the-streets auditionees that scare the scouts don't need to take up that much time. I like the idea of shipping in the "international" comics, and was happy to see so many make it through to the house. So you may keep that. You're welcome. And for the love of God, don't short change us on the head-to-head challenges. I guess there is some tension involved in having a three way competition, but the old formula of "I know I am funnier than..." where the person named most often gets to pick their challenger from the ones that said his/her name was golden. It made it personal. This season where one person chooses two people, whether they challenged them directly or not made people collateral damage. And make the head-to-head battles a regular thing. Doing just two episodes that way? That blew, NBC. Seriously, what a disappointment. Knocking out seven comics in two weeks is insane. You could have had at least two more weeks of head-to-heads and narrowed it down to the final four, and then had three "American Idol-esque" eliminations. I think that would have made a lot of us fans really happy. I'll be tuning in next season to see if you listened.

If you have read this article, I would love to hear what you thought of anything I discussed. Please feel free to comment. Thanks!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Daily Crutch

Wow. I am really, truly dumb. I have been in this ridiculous Aircast now for about seven weeks and I finally just now realized how it works.

There are four little hoses that you can fill with air to support the leg, one for each side. Or so I thought. The front of the cast comes off so the hose on that goes obviously enough to the front inflatable tube. When you inflate the remaining three and look inside you see 3 gray tubes that line the back and sides. I thought each of these inflated separately. Here is my first major error: I kept thinking the back inflates under my foot, so when I felt pain in my heel I would pump it up. Nope. Why did I think that? I have no idea. I guess the padding the doc put in there has now compressed and it no longer feels cushy, whereas before it felt so soft I assumed it was air? Maybe. Anyway, sometimes after pumping up the back I would find that my leg was being pushed forward, and my toes were dragging on the ground. So I would take my little deflater pump and try to suck the air out of the side tubes, but no air would come out. The pump would even stay collapsed after I squeezed it, like it was attached to a vacuum, and yet I could see the air pockets were still inflated. I couldn't even fit my hand and arm in there, and yet it wouldn't deflate. Well, it turns out the gray inflatable area was one big U-shaped piece and was filled and unfilled with the back hose. Then, there were 2 little green air bags under the gray that I couldn't see. Those were the ones that went to the side tubes. They were already empty, so the deflater couldn't suck anything out of them no matter how much I tried. I needed to deflate through the back tube to deflate all the gray area.

I'm such a dope, and I'm sure none of that made sense. When Blogger lets me upload a photo again I will post pictures of the inside of my cast.

In the meantime I am still on hold. Ten weeks after my surgery I still have an incision that isn't quite healed. It does look much better, however, and everything inside feels fantastic. It can get tight and sometimes does something my doc told me was "wound contraction" which is disquieting. Up until last week I was ok with everything but now I am getting impatient. Sigh.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mii, Myself and Wii

It's been an exciting week for our now Wii addicted family. For one thing we found out that we all love the tennis game. Even my 4 year old plays better than us sometimes. He waves the controller around frantically for the most part, but it works for him. He's even beaten us more than a few times. And between my foot still not being right and the weather being alternately stupid hot and down-pouring lightening storms, seeing him jump around and get at least a little exercise has been great.

Also, my son and I went to GameStop and bought our first gamey type Wii games. Not games that smell, but the games with story lines and tasks, as opposed to those "regular" Wii sports games where it's all about the score. Does that make sense?

I got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I already had it for PlayStation2, so I was already familiar with everything I needed to achieve and pretty much where to go. I had heard that the Wii graphics were nothing compared to the newer game systems, but I am used to the PS2. Both versions of this game looked pretty much the same on each system. The reason I bought a game I had already "mastered" was because in the Wii version you handle the controller like a wand. How cool is that? I'm hoping they come out with an attachment that makes it look and feel like a wand as well! When the next Harry Potter movie comes out in November, I'll get the Wii version of that game. But since I am impatient, I got this one to play with until then. Besides, there were some tasks on the PS2 version I never got the hang of, but Wii-wise were a snap, so maybe I can finally complete it all the way. That's right. I can justify anything.

My son got The Bee Movie game. This is definitely designed for younger players, but probably older than my boy (4). He likes to drive the little car around the hive but you have to unlock pretty much most of the games one by one. Which of course means I have to unlock the games one by one. This shouldn't be a tough job, seeing as how it is supposed to be for kids, right? Nuh-uh. There is almost no instruction on what they want from you. I am currently stuck on an early level where I think I am supposed to be flying through the rain and pollinating flowers as I try to find an apartment. There is this flow of air that zips me along, but always ends up "killing" me and making me start over again, so maybe I'm supposed to avoid it? But it is filled with all the little doohickeys that you want to collect, so maybe I'm supposed to go in it. Either way I get to a point where the air stream ends and I don't know what they want me to do next. That's when I get hit with rain, "collapse" and go back to the beginning. Usually when I get stuck on a game (I am terrible at figuring things out) I can go online and find a "walkthrough" guide or a forum where I can get the answer I need, but nobody out there has done any thing like that for this game. So I remain stuck, and my son just tools around the hive, occasionally being a taxi for a little variety. I can't even figure out how to get into the buildings that say they are an arcade or a delivery van mini-game. So I don't care for this game all that much.

The most exciting news of all is that we were able to buy a Wii Fit today. I have been thinking that after I finished physical therapy, since I have a Wii and all, that using a Wii Fit would be really useful for getting my strength back. Plus I think I'm on a gadget bender. Some women can't get enough shoes, I just want more expensive gizmos! I started looking around just to get an idea of how much they go for. Amazon had them for $170! A friend said she got one for about a hundred bucks. All my regular stores (Target, Walmart, Toys 'R Us) had them going for $89.99 but they were sold out with no idea of when they would have them back in. Even their on-line stores were sold out, with no one taking pre-orders. I was beginning to realize this was not an easy device to locate. I am not ready to do more than a quarter of the exercises, but I figured if we see one, we should grab it now anyway, and the exact scenario I envisioned happened today. My husband was in Target for something else and as he walked by a shelf, one lone Wii Fit box caught his eye. So he grabbed it. He's a good man. Just goofing around with it today, I love it. So does my son. There is a balance game called Ski Jump where he has to squat down as the guy goes down the jump, and when he gets to the end of the ramp he stands up straight to make the guy jump. If he doesn't stand up, my son realized that the guy will tumble off the end of the ramp and roll down the hill in a big snowball. He thinks that's the greatest thing ever. I liked how the Wii Fit fitness age assessor had me five years younger than my actual age but the Wii Sports fitness age assessor had me fourteen years older than I really am. Wii Fit totally knows how to flatter a gal better.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last Comic Standing: Fourth Elimination Episode

The show opens with a musical number that is both very funny and oddly contrived. The Dan Band sings a song that I believe is called "Last Comic Standing". It has some funny lines, but the best part about it are the two guys dancing in suits Britney-style behind the singer. They did a great job. What was just downright painful to watch was the comics coming out to introduce themselves and say why they will be the Last Comic Standing. It's just so... Miss America contesty. I don't know why they didn't just slap some feathered headdresses on the comics and make them do a dance number. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Hopefully they enjoyed it, they acted like they did, at any rate.

They keep saying that we will find out who was voted off from the previous week but it's not apparently obvious how they will do that. I would have thought they would tell us who didn't make it through, then the final 5 would perform, but they launched into Marcus and Ron G's sets without any indication of when we will find out the eliminated players. All I can do to get my question answered is to watch and wait. Before each comic performs they do a background interview/bio story that includes family members and photos from their childhoods. It was a really nice touch.

Marcus comes up first and does a fantastic job. He is safe because he won the immunity the week before. He talks about airport security, lead singers who are unintelligible and rap lyrics. This gives him an opportunity to do a wee bit of his impressions without it being an act by an impressionist. I'm sure I've said it before, but I love that he can tell funny jokes without always falling back on an impression just because he can, like many impressionists do.

Next up is Ron G. I think I finally figured out why I don't care for Ron's humor. It's a totally personal thing, and I'm sure many people think he's perfectly funny, but I think he has a mean streak. He relies entirely too much on making fun of other people. The subjects of tonights act are all people he thinks talk in an annoying manner; either too slowly, due to retainers or because of poor acting skills. I have a pet peeve about acts where putting other people down equaling comedy. Oh, and this is where we find out who has been eliminated. After they do their set, Bellamy then announces whether they make it through. Ron G. does not make the cut and he says goodbye. Thank you, Elimination Fairy!

Jim Tavaré takes the stage. I still really enjoy his act. He always has a tuxedo on, and that might make one think he's going to be over-the-top sophisticated, with a snooty aftertaste. But his jokes are innocently silly and off the beaten path, especially his tribute to Jimmy Hendrix and his example of the repertoire of the Double Bass. I am rooting for him in my top three, but I am resigned to the idea that he won't make it. He is up against some really intense rapid-fire comics, and I think the audience will vote them in before him. But for this week he is in and was not eliminated. So I am still happy.

Then it's Bill Bellamy! Wait, what? Kinda strange to sandwich him in at that particular juncture. Was it because it was the end of the first hour?

They also fill in time with a sneak peek at the new reality show NBC Will Not Rest Until We Kill Someone where contestants will do have to do all those jobs that we see on Ax Men, Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch. It may also end up being called America's Toughest Jobs, but that seems like an understatement.

After all the shameless plugging we get to another of my top three comics on this show, Louis Ramey. I learn from the intro that he's been doing comedy for 20 years, and it shows. His delivery is so patient. Tonight's set touches on the Amish a little, then settles on a story about talking to small town citizens about what America would do if ever there was an attempted invasion by terrorists. I don't want to (and don't think I can) write out his jokes verbatim here but lets just say that as an African-American trying to get Americans to vote for him, he has definitely pulled in the redneck and patriot demographic tonight. There may be a person or two out there in this nation that might want to make a note of how he did that. Oh, and of course he made it through to the finals.

Adam Hunter. Adam is another comic I have not enjoyed in this competition. He has some funny jokes and he is a good looking fella, but his jokes seem incomplete, like he went with the first punchline he could think of for every premise, instead of looking for something more funny. His mini-bio piece talks about his love of wrestling, and then his first joke was about the Olympics. Did he tell us funny personalized wrestling related jokes and stories of which one might imagine he has plenty? No. He went for a crack about flames in San Francisco. A second later he's onto a new premise. Not surprisingly, my Elimination Fairy pulls off another request for me and he gets the boot.

I joked about it in an earlier post, so I wanted to clarify that I am not a fan of Jeff Dye because he's cute. I really enjoyed the set he did last week and this week especially. He talks in his bio about how he announced to his folks he wanted to be a comedian, and they were completely supportive of him. He pointed out his parents in the audience as he started his set, and I almost got the impression that his set was in their honor as he poked fun at them in a very loving way. I thought that was nice. He also did a great bit on the board game "Guess Who". As they drag out the announcement about the good news that he has not been eliminated they give us a really long extreme close up of his face. And, um, wow, is he cute!

Ahem, anyway, the last two comics are Iliza Shlesinger and Sean Cullen and this time they have them both perform and then gather them together to announce the last comic moving on to the Final Five.

Sean Cullen has a really funny bio piece. I do like Sean, and I was happy to see he did an actual set this week instead of just a couple jokes and a song. He had a great premise based on James Bond movies. He did great bits on the villains, Sean Connery's acting, and the musicians that have not done Bond theme songs. It was definitely the funniest he's been on the show. I really wish this had been the set he chose to do last week.

Before she starts her set, is it me or are Iliza Shlesinger's boobs getting bigger every week? Did anyone do a re-count to make sure they got back all those rubber falsies from last week? Anyway, and in the interest of total fairness she is also very attractive, even though that is not the direction in which I roll. But I hate to be unfair and focus entirely on the male's physical attributes. Did I mention her boobs? She does yet another great set full of drinking and stories from old jobs. I love her energy and her originality, even though it does occur to me that she mostly insults people throughout the set not unlike the way I criticized Ron G. for doing. I don't know what she does differently; perhaps she makes it so colorful and specific that it seems less negative and more "I know someone like that!" relatable.

They do the expected dragging out of the results, but Iliza makes it three in a row and Sean goes home. Sorry, Sean, you can blame me for mentioning you to the Elimination Fairy. As for who I will be submitting to EF this week? It may not be necessary. It would appear that they are going right for the throat next week and axing four out of five comics and giving us the winner. It doesn't even appear that there will be any performances since they said over and over tonight that these were the final performances. I hope it's only an hour long episode because sweet Mother of God, that would be far too much filler comedy driving me crazy to get to 120 minutes of air time.