Monthly Archives: January 2010

Snowpocolypse 2010

So… it started snowing Friday at 11 a.m. and didn’t stop until sometime late last night.  I was at work, and we were all racing to finish the paper so we could get home. Got to leave about 1:30 and the roads were already covered. The idiot driving in front of me thought it was a good idea to stop on a steep hill in the ice and snow to have a bloody conversation with someone in an oncoming vehicle. Moron.

Friday night, the snow turned to freezing rain. I’d say we had about 4 inches of snow that compacted into 2 inches of ice. Our beautiful cherry tree split in two and now has my car trapped in the garage. Because that’s just what I need.

Snow blanketed the road within a couple of hours.

The garden fairies don't seem to feel the cold.

Our porch offered the birds shelter and an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Built a puny little snowman because the snow wouldn't compact.

A large part of the cherry tree has my car trapped in the garage.

Our poor little pine tree couldn't hold the weight of the ice.

The ice was pretty thick on the branches.

The ice is beautiful and scary at the same time.

Here in Tennessee, we don’t get many heavy snows, so when it happens, we don’t have any real way of dealing with it. Schools and businesses shut down because the country, mountain roads are just too hazardous to drive in. Two inches of snow will shut down schools. Two inches of snow plus ice will shut down the whole town.

Now I have to figure out how to get to work tomorrow because the cherry tree is frozen to the ground and I can’t get my car out.

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Will we reboot the reboots?

Until just recently, the term “reboot” was only associated with my computer. To “reboot” meant holding in the power button on my ancient PC to get rid of the Blue Screen of Death. But lately, the term has been given a new meaning — and been overused — by the entertainment industry.

Last week, it was announced that “Spider-Man 4” was essentially scrapped. Franchise director Sam Raimi and star Toby Maguire were dropped over “creative differences” and Sony Pictures has announced that the series will be “rebooted.”

Now, I have to ask, does “Spider-Man” really need rebooting?

Maguire secretly relieved; says costume "chafed"

It seems as though there are no new ideas in Hollywood these days. Movie-makers are scavenging my childhood in order to make big bucks at the box office. Along with last week’s announcement of the “Spider-Man” reboot came the Internet release of the trailer for the reboot of “The A-Team.” Starring Liam Neeson. And not starring Mr. T.

In what crazy, mixed-up world does that even make sense?

I watched the trailer. It looked OK. I think it might have been an all-right movie if it had been an original idea and not another tired remake of something I loved… as a kid.

Reboots are dubious at best. “Charlie’s Angels” brought in money at the box office, but served little purpose in reviving the classic series. Did anyone really think Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore could replace Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett, or even do justice to Charlie’s original angels?

“Superman Returns” might have looked good on paper, but the end result was not well received by fans. And does Lex Luthor have any nefarious plans that don’t involve a land swindle?

“The Incredible Hulk” was rebooted not once, but twice, in 2003 and again in 2008. Both contained CGI versions of the not-so-jolly green giant that looked… well, silly. Lou Ferrigno was much more believable as the Hulk than these two cartoonish ones.

The James Bond reboots made a lot of money, but frankly, I thought Daniel Craig’s Bond lost most the whimsy I had come to associate with the character and became simply another action hero.

“The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The Brady Bunch,” “Bewitched” — all shows I loved as a kid made terrible, terrible movies.

I can understand why Hollywood moguls like the idea of reboots. Creating new fans for a franchise while bringing in the old ones could equal box office bliss. And some have been quite successful. As a Batman fan, even I cringed at the thought of another Caped Crusader movie after the horrific farce that was “Batman and Robin.” But “Batman Begins” treated the source material with respect, giving it a new life, new look and a legion of new fans.

Five series and 10 movies later, J.J. Abrams not only rocked the screen with “Star Trek,” he also managed to completely change the entire history of the “Trek” ‘verse without die-hard Trekkies rioting in the streets. Which just proves the man is a genius.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” made a dismal movie, but when moved to the small screen gained a cult-like following that lasted seven seasons and produced a popular spin-off series (and a snappy musical soundtrack).

With franchise reboot successes being few and far between, I have to wonder just how long this trend will last. In 10 years’ time, will we be seeing a reboot of “Batman Begins”? Will George Lucas take a page from James Cameron’s book and reboot “Star Wars,” this time using using 3-D CGI? There certainly doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, what with series reboots of “Friday the 13th,” “The Fantastic Four,” “Tron” and “Ghostbusters” coming soon to a theater near you. I might have hope for the “Spider-Man” reboot if J.J. Abrams or Chris Nolan were in charge. But as I don’t foresee that happening, I think I’ll skip the reboot and wait for the new “Star Trek” sequel to hit the screens instead.

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Geeky, girly gab

There’s been several things happening this week that I didn’t really get a chance to elaborate on, or just couldn’t do so in 140 characters or less. This may become a regular thing… depending on whether or not I have stuff to say. Sometimes I’m boring that way. 😉

1. Fox readying U.S. version of  ‘Torchwood’

Captain Jack does not approve of these shinanigans.

I cannot even begin to express just how bad this idea is. First, if it doesn’t have Captain Jack Harkness, it’s not ‘Torchwood.’ Second, even if Fox does get John Barrowman on board… do you really think he’ll be allowed to hit on anything that breathes (and some things that don’t)? That’s what makes Captain Jack so great a character. He’s such a man!whore… and we like him that way.

I suppose they could go with the whole “Oh, look! We found Torchwood Four!” angle, but it still wouldn’t be ‘Torchwood.’ That’s not to say that I wouldn’t give the show a chance. I would. But it would lack the charm of the original if it weren’t set in Cardiff anymore. (Plus, with Fox’s track record for sci-fi shows, I doubt it would last long.)

But this is what really disturbs me:

Tranter might try to reboot “Doctor Who” for U.S. audiences while departing “Doctor Who” star David Tennant stars in NBC’s pilot “Rex Is Not Your Lawyer.”

WUT?

If it’s not British, it’s not ‘Doctor Who.’ But I really don’t see this happening.

2. ‘True Blood’ Shocker: An ‘Erotic Connection’ Will Transpire Between Sam and Bill

Two words: Hot. Damn.

I’ve been a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris for a long time, and even from the beginning, I’ve never really liked Bill. (And in the books, he’s a bit of an ass.) The HBO version is… a little better, if you can get past the accent. But I have been and will always be Team Eric.

According to Alan, the reasons for the newfound chemistry stem from Bill’s season two decision to heal Sam with a healthy dose of his own vampire blood. As a result, a connection between the two characters arises, one that is “not just any connection, but an erotic connection.”

Maybe it’s just me… but I can totally see this happening. We saw it happen with Sookie and Eric in season two. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere beyond this mystical connection, I will be a happy fangirl.

3. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey is named a Printz Honor Book

I was privileged enough to get to read and review The Monstrumologist a couple of months before it was released. It was a wonderful, scary ride and I’m really happy that the book was named one of the 2010 Printz Honor Books for young adult literature. Rick is married to my cousin Sandy and I hear he’s hard at work on a sequel. I can’t wait to read it!

4. GeekBits: Regular guys talkin’ geeky stuff

I discovered by accident that my brother and three of his friends have started a weekly podcast talking about all things geek. (And the little bugger didn’t tell me about it!) They’re trying to get on a regular schedule with the podcasts, but I’ve spent the last two weeks listening to old episodes and laughing my butt off. Matt, Tim, Dan and Opey have a good time talking comics, movies, tech and TV. They also have a good time heckling each other in the process. If you like talkin’ geek, give them a listen.

5. Geeks With Heart: Haiti Response Fundraiser

With the help and encouragement of many geek tweeps, Geek Girls Network™ & Geeky Clean decided to use their online presence to assist in the Haiti Relief Efforts.

I follow @geekgirls on Twitter and have recently become a fan of the Geek Girls Network™ Web site. They’re raising money for Haiti through Mercy Corps and are hoping to raise $2,500 (or more) to help the people of Haiti. If you can spare even a little, please do!

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Why I’ll never feng my shui

In the January 2010 edition of  “People Extra” (I’m not a subscriber. My mom is. It was just lying there. Honest.), there is an article titled “100 easy ways to change your life.” Since I’d love to have a different life, I picked it up out of curiosity… just to see how “easy” changing my life would be.

The article was divided into sections. “2 ways to save money.” “4 ways to relive stress instantly.” Stuff I already knew but I my life didn’t feel any different.

Then I got to “3 ways to create a soothing space.” All right. I’m stressed all the time. How can I create my own Zen environment?

1. Soften your lighting. Use accent lamps with bulbs 60 watts or lower; it’s more soothing. My bedside lamp is already at 60 watts because I ran out of 3-way bulbs last time it blew. And I can’t see a damn thing when it’s on.

2. Bring in flowers. Lavender and gardenia add calm. I’m sure I’ll feel less stressed when I’m sneezing my head off.

3. Make your bed. Coming home to crumpled sheets is so not relaxing! … You’re kidding, right?

I never make my bed. The only time it’s ever made is when I change my sheets. I don’t see the point in giving up a few precious moments of sleep in order to get up and tug the sheets back into place, making it smooth and perfect even though I won’t see it again until bed time.

A messy bed is how I get my Zen on

To me, an unmade bed just invites you to hop back in and burrow under the covers. My pillows are in the perfect spot. The rumpled blankets feel more snuggly than neatly made-up ones. And since no one ever sees my bed but me (and occasionally the dog), I don’t feel an overwhelming urge to keep it tidy.

My bed also serves as a hidy hole for various things. My TV/DVD/cable box remotes are under one pillow. Whatever book I’m reading goes under another (unless it’s something massive like Twilight … and honestly, the idea of sleeping with the Twilight book makes me feel all skeevy inside). My 25-year-old Care Bear is in there too. Yes, I still sleep with it. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I always feel a bit uncomfortable for the first couple of nights after I’ve changed the sheets, because everything is so stiff. And not in the good way. Walking into my bedroom at bedtime, my unmade bed invites me in, letting me know my day is finally over.

So I’m sorry, Kahi Lee, design expert on the Style Network’s “What I Hate About Me,” who offered up the tips on how to create a soothing space. My bed, in all its rumpled glory, is my soothing space. However, if you would like to come over to help me feng shui the rest of my room, I’ll make my bed just for you.

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When bacon is fundamentally wrong

Since my mother wasn’t born or raised in the United States, she often gets a yearning for food stuffs from her homeland of Australia. In this day and age, many of her favorites are readily available on the Internet. However, seeing as how she doesn’t even know where the power button is on the computer, I am recruited to order her Aussie noms for her.

Wednesday I came to work, catalogue in hand, to order several packages of crumpets from The Vermont Country Store. I was in the middle of placing the order when I noticed an item on the same page that made me stop what I was doing and wonder about the strangeness of the universe.

Would you eat bacon from a can?

Bacon in a can.

I love bacon. Crispy, bubbly hot bacon makes nearly anything taste better. Salads. Baked potatoes. Pancakes. You can enjoy a tasty BLT without the B.

But… bacon in a can?

The world doesn’t make sense anymore.

Now, perhaps there are folks in different areas of the U.S. wondering why I find bacon in a can so strange. Maybe bacon in a can is a staple in New England or out West. I don’t know. All I know is that I get my bacon from the grocery store uncooked in plastic packaging.

Not fully cooked bacon in a can.

I’m also not knocking things that come in cans. Some of my favorite foods come in cans. Early peas. Beef and barley soup. Diet Mt. Dew. Beanie Weenies (don’t judge). But… not bacon.

According to the catalogue, the bacon in a can contains “48 slices of fully cooked, lightly smoked bacon (no bits or end pieces)—the equivalent of 3 lbs. of raw bacon. … Keep in the pantry for when a storm—or company—is on the horizon.” And you can purchase this 9 oz. can of 3 lbs. of bacon for only $19.95.

There are many fundamentally wrong things in this world. And I think bacon in a can is one of them.

What’s next? Aerosol bacon?

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Football is srs bsns

Tuesday is not my night for television. The only thing I am even remotely interested in is “NCIS,” but I’m a fair-weather fan. If I miss an episode it’s no big deal. Which is why Tuesday evenings are usually when I either play stupid games on Facebook for three hours online or watch Doctor Who for the upteenth time stuff on DVD.

Gibbs is not amused

Last night, however, I decided to have some family time with Mom and Dad and watch “NCIS.” Or, at least, that was the plan.

About twenty minutes into the show, the local CBS affiliate interrupted with earth-shattering news.

Lane Kiffin was leaving the University of Tennessee after only one season.

That’s right. The thousands dead in the earthquake in Haiti didn’t warrant a program interruption, but the sudden and unexpected decision of the Vols’ football coach to cut and run was important, breaking news.

The first interruption was brief, and “NCIS” returned to the air in short order. However, that should have clued us in that watching anything on the Knoxville networks that evening was shot. Just in case anyone in Vol country hadn’t heard the news (and I guarantee you, everyone did within 15 minutes), the Knoxville CBS and ABC affiliates interrupted programing every 20 minutes to let us know of the horror breaking out on the UT campus. (We do not watch anything on the NBC affiliate, but I’m sure they’re just as guilty.)

Shortly after 9 p.m. CST, the ABC affiliate gave up any pretense of trying to air prime time programming and decided to report on this shocking turn of events for 55 minutes, returning to “The Forgotten” (already in progress) three minutes before it ended.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Today, while the rest of the country watches the devastating images from Port-au-Prince, here in East Tennessee, more people are worried about who is going to replace “Lame” Kiffin and what will this do to the 2010 recruiting season (both of which are the front page news stories on www.tennessean.com as of this posting).

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this is the same town who, after Sept. 11, was more worried about whether or not the Vols would play that following weekend.

Football in Tennessee is serious business.

***

For those more interested in helping the people of Haiti, please visit www.redcross.org (or any other reputable charity) and donate what you can. From the Red Cross site, you can make a donation through your existing Amazon account, if you do not have a credit card handy.

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2010 Geeky New Year’s Resolutions

2010 is upon us and it’s time to make some New Year’s Resolutions. I know, it’s Jan. 6, but if you know me at all, I’m never on time for anything.

I generally make a resolution not to make resolutions, because I don’t keep them. I don’t even really try. But, this year, I decided to make some geeky resolutions, because I figured I’d be more likely to keep them, seeing as how they’d be fun (well, mostly) as opposed to being a chore. So without further ado, I present:

My 2010 Geeky New Year’s Resolutions

1. Watch at least one serial featuring every incarnation of the Doctor. I have become what you might describe as a rabid “Doctor Who” fan in the past year, and having just come off the airing on BBC America of “The End of Time,” featuring David Tennant in his last episodes of playing the Doctor, I thought it was time to broaden my “Doctor Who” horizons beyond Nine and Ten. I’m not going to go all crazy and try to watch every episode on DVD ever, but I do want to watch at least one storyline featuring Doctors One through Eight. And Eleven. Whom I am not going to like. (Of course, I said the same thing about Ten when Nine left.)

2. Give “Battlestar Galactica” a try. I have a confession. I’ve never seen one episode of BSG. Old or new. My geek friends can’t believe this. To be honest, as much as I love sci-fi TV, I don’t watch the Syfy channel much at all. In fact, the only show I watch on that channel is “Ghost Hunters.” So, I shall rent BSG and give it a shot. I make no promises that I’ll actually finish the show, however.

3. Buy and play a real game for my Wii. I own a Wii. I haven’t turned it on since last April when I had to unplug it during a lightning storm. The only “games” I own are Wii Sports and the Wii Fit (which belongs on a totally different resolution list). I vow to not only plug my Wii back up, but to also find a game to actually play on the thing. (Any recommendations?)

4. Update and use my iPod. I felt like I had finally joined the 21st century when I bought my iPod a couple of years ago. I thought finally, someplace I can keep all my music in one place at one time. I used it quite a bit when I first got it, to download and listen to Kevin Smith’s SModcasts while I walked. But then I got sick, and I stopped walking, and it’s mostly been gathering dust the last few months. I spent last weekend putting my CDs onto the computer, but I’ve got a long way to go. And hopefully it’ll motivate me to get walking again when the weather warms up (again, a different resolution list).

5. Read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Purely for mocking purposes. But I’m having a hard time getting motivated into finishing this tragedy of a “saga.”

6. Go see Iron Man 2 in the theater. I was never interested in Iron Man. Comic, cartoon or movie. I didn’t see the first one until almost a year after it was on DVD and only because my brother kept telling me how awesome it was. I didn’t believe him, but rented it anyway. And became a believer. And after seeing the trailer for the second one, I definitely want to see this one when it hits theaters.

7. Update Twitter and the blog more often. It’s January 6, so keeping this resolution isn’t looking too great. I get lazy. I admit it. And sometimes I just can’t think of anything to write about. And sometimes, I can’t even find time to write even if I wanted to (like this resolution list).

8. Catalogue my Barbie collection. I collect Barbie dolls. I consider this part of my geekiness. I have so many, scattered all around the house in doll cases, on shelves, in closets. If the house burned down, I would never be able to remember which ones I have and I have some rare ones. This year I will make a list, count them up and weep at how much I’ve spent on Barbie dolls over the years.

9. Teach my mother how to use email and Facebook. Considering that Mom doesn’t even know how to turn the computer on, this… may be difficult. But I shall endeavor to give it the ol’ college try. That is, if she can pull herself away from my nephew long enough to sit down and learn.

10. Try to work on my sci-fi story, “The Lonely Gods.” I had this amazing dream one night (thank you, Xanax) that when I woke up I really wanted to write it down and turn it into a story. My only problem is, of course, time, and the fact that I have this amazing idea, but no real plot. So this year, I’m going to roll the idea around in my head, try to find the “why this would happen” in the plot, and try to figure out how to write a sci-fi story when I don’t read any sci-fi novels (and I’m not much of a science geek). It may not ever come to anything, but I’m going to give it a shot.

These are my resolutions. Again, whether or not I’ll actually accomplish any of them is up in the air. It’ll be interesting to revisit this entry next year and see how many I managed or didn’t manage to fulfill.

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