Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday at the Movies #85 - Ironically Oscar

It's Showtime!
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I say "Ironically Oscar" (different from "Ironically, Oscar," which would be an interesting opening line for something) becuase I opened this file at exactly the time the Oscars coverage started. Without, might I add, planning it that way, and with the exception of The King's Speech, which was eligible for last year's awards (oh, Colin Firth, you are excellent at everything in that movie)I don't remember the last Oscar-nominated film I've seen. Yep, still live a five minute walk from the multiplex and still very rarely go. In full disclosure, I must admit that I am watching last year's Puppy Bowl at this very moment, specifically Kitty Halftime.

The last week has seen sick hubby, recovering hubby, laptop that is either suicidal or showing its age, the final week of CORW's Book in Six Weeks program (my first time co-running the same) as well as judging the Golden Heart entries sent to me for this year (and looking forward to CORW's Golden Acorn, which will be landing on my desk soon)as well as crits for a long term critique partner, and that writing thing I've been told I do. Phew. Sounds like exactly the right time to sit in the dark with a tasty snack and have somebody tell me a story.

I don't watch the Oscars, and I'm not sure I can say why. I do get excited about the nominations (also the Emmys and People's Choice Awards) and envision which actors wait anxiously for the fateful phone call to announce their nomination, staring at the phone with a running chant of "ringringringringringringringringring,(expletive deleted)you (expletive deleted)" and which slumber peacefully on, because really, there are so many wonderful people doing so much amazing work that they themselves don't stand a snowball's chance in....huh? Who could be calling at this time of morning....OMGOMGOMG, this is THE phone call!

Ahem. Not that I've ever imagined which of the above I would be, should I somehow ever be eligible for the Academy's attention. Seeing as how I write romance novels, write about romance novels, and tell people who kissed on TV (the current way I describe my occupation when asked by new acquaintances)that is not likely to happen, but I have learned never to say never. Besides, who doesn't love a good period drama, especially one with a British setting? Nor have I ever mentally planned what I would wear to walk the red carpet...but if you're asking, I'm going to say vintage-inspired black lace over nude satin with patent leather ankle strap stilettoes, statement earrings and a fuschia clutch bag for a splash of color. Nothing the Fashion Police would pick to death or put in their worst dressed spotlight. Just to be sure, though, I would want to walk the carpet after Bjork and in front of whoever showed up in a sweatshirt and jeans. I call it the palate cleanser effect, and that would be heightened even further by my DH's classic tux. The man does know how to dress.

But I digress, and this is getting long, and yes, I do know that the image at the top is for last year's awards, but it's been that kind of week. Nobody's bleeding or on fire, so I'm calling it a good one...and keeping an eye out for the who-wore-whats of tonight's festivities. Okay, and who actually got to take home the statues. How about you, faithful readers? Do you watch the Oscars? Do you agree with this year's winners or nominees? Any predictions for next year?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Dance Friday #85 - Hey Girl Interactive Video

I know, I know, the title card usually means we're talking about a movie or TV show, but come on, Zooey Deschanel, an impromptu house party straight out of a wacky sixties comedy, spontaneous tap dancing, pajamas, Hawaiian kitsch, random ukeleles, tuxedo t-shirt-wearing gents in a kickline, bright colors, confetti, baloons everywhere, and all in a choose-your-own-adventure format. If that's not the very picture of a happy dance, then I don't know what is.

While Zooey's own choice is loads of fun:

As are the versions selected by cast members (click name for their personal director's cuts) Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, and Hannah Simone...

The real fun is that...get ready for get to make your own. Yep. Right here. I'm sure a more mathematically inclined reader than myself could figure out how many different combinations of clips are possible, but my official guess is...a lot.

Have you had a crack at finding your own way through the "Hey Girl" video? Which choices did you make? Any options you wish had been in there but weren't? Whatever way you choose to observe Happy Dance Friday, you're doing it right.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday at the Movies #84 - Awake

What if you could have the two things you love most in this world...but not at the same time?

That's the problem faced by our hero, Detective Michael Britten, when he's in a car accident along with his wife, Hannah, and their son, Rex. The first time waking up after a huge and unwanted life change is always a jolt, but what if that happened every day? For Det. Britten, that's exactly what it is. Every time he wakes, he wakes to one of two different realities. Either Hannah is alive and Rex is dead, or Rex is alive and Hannah is dead.

Every day, Det. Britten wakes to the opposite reality from the day before, and his life takes two different paths. Different partners at work, different therapists to help him deal with his losses. In one life, he and Hannah discuss having another child after losing Rex, and in another, our grieving widower hero begins to feel romantic stirrings for another woman. As disconcerting as that can be, he also finds he's able to make connections between his two lives, enabling him to solve previously impossible cases in both worlds. Which life is real and which the hallucination?

I have to admit, they had me right at the concept, but the cast drive it home Jason Isaacs (British actor playing American character alert)plays Det. Britten, while B.D. Wong, From Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, as one of his therapists makes me do a happy fangirl squee with flailing arms and everything. Then add Steve Harris, from The Practice, and Wilmer Valderrama, from That 70's Show, as our hero's partners, and this has the makings of appointment TV.

What do you think, faithful readers? Will you be staying awake for Awake?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Dance Friday #84 - Classics Revamped

funny pictures - Why, yes, I have been known to get jiggy with it from time to time.
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It's been one of those weeks. Sick me, sick husband, topsy turvy schedule, and computer with a death wish, but we've all made it to Friday, which calls for happy dances of classic porportions. Good thing, too, as I stumbled upon some very inventive remixes of the great Fred Astaire and friends, set to tunes that are somewhat different than the original.

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did...backwards and in high heels:

Fred and friend (comments to this video suggest Fred's partner may be Eleanor Powell rather than Ginger Rogers as the title states) dancing to Kraftwerk? Imagine Fred freestyling to modern hip hop - mind blown.

Considering that Fred and Ginger could wipe the floor with pretty much anybody else decades before Patrick Swayze's Johnny wiped the floor with, well, pretty much anybody else in Dirty Dancing, this proves that "Time of My Life" is a true classic:

"Hngry Eyes" strikes me as a wonderful choice for this mashup. What romance writer wouldn't want to create chemistry like this on her (or his) pages?

I know my time traveling ballroom dancer heroine would approve of this week's choices. How about you? What do you think today's entertainers -or writers- could learn from the greats of the past?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday at the Movies #83 - The Woman in Black.

Chances of me getting to the theater this week = zero, and I may have shared this trailer, or an earlier version of it before, but with a day that tanked this badly, this early (did not get the promised snow, did get hubby home from work with same cold he gave me, blinding sunlight assaulting my corneas, and my Sims2 installation borked, which means I get to go hunting for the disks for my basegame, which are not where they are supposed to be, and I am the only Simmer in the household,so this is most curious.)I believe I get reasonable margin of error in this regard.

A suitable metaphor for my morning, only this image is cuter:
Funny Animal Gifs - GOZLINGZ
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But this isn't about me. This is the weekly movie post, though if I had the opportunity to sit in a dark room and consume popcorn and gummi bears while somebody tells me a story, I would be all over that, and out of the current offerings at the local cinema, this would be the one. Historical English setting, actor whose work I've been wanting to see, mysterious cloaked woman character, gorgeous feel to the visuals...yep, I'm there. When I get the chance. Spooky historical movies definitely register on my radar.

I haven't read the novel by Susan Hill, but I do know that there is at least one big departure from the original story, which irks me on principle, but A) I have not seen or read either version, and B) I find it interesting that such choice was made with such a young actor in the lead, so we'll see what's what with that during the actual movie.

What about you, faithful readers? Will you be seeing The Woman In Black? For those who have seen his prior work (or like me, haven't) how do you think he rates as a grown-up actor? What sort of role would you like to see him tackle next?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Happy Dance Friday #83 - Allow Me to Explain Through Interpretive Dance

Humorous Pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

The cold still holds, snow is on the way (finally!) and there's a Walking Dead marathon this weekend, in anticipation of the season premiere. Oh, and it's Friday. This week's offerings actually come from my inability to remember who uploaded a Sims2 version of this t-shirt, which really does need to be in my wardrobe at some point.

It should be plain enough by now that there is no escaping the need for a happy dance:

That goes for day or night...

"Don't Turn Off The Lights" is very good advice. Nobody can see your awesome happy dance in the dark. Well, unless you have glow sticks.

So "Crank That" music up, find an open space and get your happy dance on. You made it to Friday!

For more happy dancing gents and friends, visit shoby2672's channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I have a cold, so if you have stock in Kleenex and/or any makers of cherry flavored cough drops, you're welcome for the sudden increase in value. DH has earned the title of Patient Zero, but he cooks and actually likes grocery shopping, so I can withstand a few germs. Good thing I like orange juice, especially when there's some pineapple mixed in.

One of my favorite parts of having a cold (yes, I have favorite parts of having a cold; quit looking at me like that or I'll breathe on you) is the ability to envelop myself in a big fluffy blankey and tackle the TBR bookcase without interruption. Only problem with that is that this particular cold seems to think that under a blankey = sleep. I beg to differ. Sure, sleep is good for the healing process, but so is reading. Plus I'm contrary.

I'm used to that label. I can't count the number of times I've been the only X in a room full of Ys. Fill in the gaps as you will. I love going to RWA chapter meetings because I need to breathe romance writer air. I've been in multigenre groups in the past and they don't have the same feel. I can tell when there are other romance writers in the room. Similarly, I've found I can tell when it's going to be a scouting trip to the bookstore rather than a buying one, and no, it's not always dictated by what's in the wallet.

On a recent bookstore jaunt, I came away with RT Book Reviews but no books. I'm okay with that. My TBR shelves are full, and there are several titles in my ereader that I have not yet devoured, and a light purchasing month is indeed easy on the expendable income, which Patient Zero appreciates. Not every writer -or publisher- can please every reader all of the time, and yes, there was at least one current release that I would have purchased if it had been on the shelves. Maybe it was snug in a box in the back room, and we'll find each other another time.

When CORW had a blind three page read at our most recent reading, the pages being read aloud without the author's name, there were still members who knew which entry was mine. I am glad that the reader, Zita Christian, did mention that this was from the prologue to a historical romance, because, well, it takes place in an orphanage in 1691 London, with a very shady business transaction. "Atmospheric" would be an accurate term to apply to this piece (quoting feedback here) and our young hero in the making is about to set off on a rather ah, arduous course...but things get better.

The villain of this particular book creeps me out, and I find that an essential facet in any villains I write. They are, after all, the heroes of their stories. I'm not talking about redeeming them and making them the hero in another book, but about their perspective on the world of the story. They don't think they're doing anything bad. They think they're the good guys, and it's that pesky hero and/or heroine who keeps interfering when they're trying to do what they have to do. Look through the bigbad's goggles for a minute, and it's the hero and/or heroine who's the villain.

I love getting inside the head of my bad guy (or girl) and, while I don't agree with their perspective, I do want to understand it. Who cares if they were the offspring of their father's mistress instead of his lawful wife? They were born first. The rebel leaders have it all wrong; Great Leader is going to keep everything under control, and there have to be some neccessary losses along the way. Even if they're an out and out sociopath (and those are some of my favorites to write) their view of the world has to make sense to them. Otherwise, it won't make sense to me as the writer, and it won't make sense to the reader.

Either that, or I'm a sicko in more ways than one. So what about you, faithful readers? What do you like best about writing your villains? Who was the most compelling villain you've ever read or written?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Saturday at the Movies #82 - The River and ramblings

First off, I can say with authority that opening a car door directly into one's face is exactly as fun as it sounds. Which would be exactly none. I came out of it relatively unscathed though, and one Puppy Bowl later, am back in the saddle. Well, keyboard, and it would be at the keyboard rather than in it, but in either event, it's February.

For TV lovers, this means February Sweeps, and that means the good stuff is coming. Which means favorite shows will overflow with big name guest stars, characters will break up, or make up (or both) secrets will be revealed and events transpire. It's time for the sensational, the scandalous, and the midseason replacement. Enter The River.

I am taking the cautiously optimistic stance on this one. We have a nature show host who disappears somewhere in the uncharted Amazon, leaving behind puzzled loved ones, including an estranged son, Lincoln. Six months later, Lincoln is finally ready to move on, but lo and behold, Dad's emergency beacon goes off, and a motley crew begins the search.

This works for me because I like the adventure aspect, the scenery promises to be lush and exotic, and the big question of whether Lincoln's dad (and the fact that I keep having to refer to the Wikipedia entry to remember his name -Emmett- should indicate who looks like the central character to me at this point. I could be wrong.) of what really happened to Emmett could go in a multitude of directions. Is Emmett alive? Is he dead? Is he the one activating his emergency beacon or did a random alligator lay an egg on the panic button? Since the show is touted as paranormal/adventure/horror, things may not be as they seem and I'm sure somebody is going to learn a valuable lesson somewhere.

That's the optimistic part. The cautious part comes from the fact that I am still not over other shows with equally engaging premises. Reunion, for one. The Jury. The Nine. All of which had me eager for the next episodes, all with complex characters with complex relationships -six high school friends over the course of twenty years, one of them the eventual murderer of another; a random selection of the populace selected to sit on the same jury; or complete strangers bound together forever by being in the same place at the same time when a crime occurs - and all of which vanished after a few episodes.

Hopefully Emmett will be the only thing that vanishes quickly in The River, and we won't be left with dangling threads to haunt us years later. What do you think, faithful readers? Will you be tuning in? What shows ended too soon for you and still demand some answers?

Friday, February 03, 2012

Happy Dance Friday #82 - Happy Dance Smorgasboard

Funny Animal Gifs - I LOVE THIS SONG
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Okay, this is way too cool not to mention first, and it's for a good cause, so I had to pass this along. Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Val Chmerkovskiy are auctioning themselves off for a private dance lesson (only one of the guys, depending on who's available at the time) at one of their studios in NY or NJ. Details here. Minimum bid is already out of my price range, but what a neat experience for whoever does win, and proceeds go to the Viennese Opera Ball for the Feed Foundation.

Preston Leatherman takes to the mall once more for a Valentine's edition of his Dancing With an iPod in Public videos:

Not technically dancing, but here's the iconic "Circle of Life" done with dogs and cats. Is it only me, or do the cats look like they're plotting revenge?

Those of us who are historically inclined should appreciate some traditional Morris dancing:

While Snoopy and friends are always in season:

And for a grand finale, we have Muppets on DWTS:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Different Drum

I'm blogging today at Heroes and Heartbreakers, on gritty western romances that might appeal to fans of Hell on Wheels, I've already blogged about the show itself here.

The western US isn't my favorite settting, nor is the nineteenth century as a whole. The Regency era dominates the market, but that's not my favorite, either. Not saying I haven't read books in those settings that haven't resonated with me, because I read for the story first, but plop me down anywhere between the end of the Wars of the Roses and the end of the American Revolution, and I'm a happy camper. Paranormals are huge, but not my cuppa as a whole, though this past summer, I delved deep into Anne Rice's Interview With a Vampire...but the sequel, The Vampire Lestat, starring the author's own favorite character, didn't hold my interest as much, and I have no plans to read the rest of the books in the series. I wouldn't call myself an overall zombie fan, but I've already blogged about my deep and abiding love for The Walking Dead in both televised and graphic novel formats.

Former Monkee, former politician and perpetually independent entertainer Michael Nesmith's signature song, above, seems to fit the bill for today's entry. I can't count how many times I've been the only X in a group of Ys, and I'm okay with that. I like being unique. Right here, my brain flashes back to when a friend I will call L and I were on one of our customary mall excursions. It happened to be October, and I noticed the Halloween store. I can still hear L's voice as I veered in that direction. "Your'e going in there to look for regular clothes, aren't you?" She was right. Hey, I like black. For years, I kept polish on my toes every day but never my fingers, but after figuring out why I had a hard time keeping polish on my fingers, I changed the way I did things and now I get to polish all the nails. It feels more "me."

This carries over to writing as well. Recently, I've found the best way to climb out of a slump is to remember what it it I love about writing. The feeling of picking out the right notebook - mine have to be pretty- and the right pen and leaving myself open to the characters that wanted to come out and play. When I pick up that notebook, my head is in that story and nowhere else. It's a good place, and a place where I need to spend more time. Ditto with my home office, which currently serves more of a storage function. Not stressing; process can be an organic thing, shaping around circumstance and the demands of daily life, but as long as the stories get told, as long as the movement continues from 'once upon a time' to 'happily ever after' I call it good.

How about you? What writing habit may seem odd to others but works for you?