Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Got a song stuck in my head....

and it isn't Christmas music.

When I was a teen we had a satellite dish.....keep in mind that back in those days that owning a dish was a big thing (literally) in that it was a good 8' across! We couldn't get MTV, but we were able to tune in MuchMusic, which was the Canadian version of music videos 24/7. This turned out to not be a bad thing in that I was exposed to bands like Glass Tiger, The Pursuit of Happyness, Spoons, Breit Brothers (most of which you have probably never even heard of, except for Glass Tiger). I was also exposed to a band called The Northern Pikes who I soon grew to adore.....I still have all of their CDs, even the one that came out just a few years ago.

The Northern Pikes never really caught on south of the 49th parallel, but one song managed to snag a lot of airplay, and seemed to be requested a lot by guys with beer bellies who wanted to trash on their equally colorful ex-girlfriends. Still, its a silly, but rather catchy tune and the lyrics are absolutely hysterical. Not sure why I woke up this morning with it dancing in my head, but then my brain could have come up with a much worse song request, so I am not complaining.

Its called "She Ain't Pretty (She Just Looks That Way)"

In case you missed a few of the laughs, here's the lyrics:

I had two jobs, I had dishwater hands
And on the weekend in a rock & roll band
One Friday night in my hometown bar
In walked a girl who looked like a movie star
She stared at me and it was turning me on
She said she worked in a beauty salon
I heard a voice inside me say
She ain't pretty she just looks that way
We made a date to go for a drink
I wore my jeans and she wore a mink
There was this misconception all over town
That she ate lonely guy heart by the pound
She said "Take me home, there won't be no fuss"
I said "Sure you got some change for the bus"
Watching her leave I heard the bartender say
"She ain't pretty she just looks that way"
So, uh, I called her up, her father was home
Said "She's busy she can't come to the phone"
I held my breath, decided to wait
A guy like me doesn't get many dates
I fell in love with a model from hell
It took some time for my hormones to tell
That chasing her has been a grave mistake
She ain't pretty she just looks that way
Her ego wrote cheques incredibly fast
But her personality didn't have the cash
I laughed out loud to my total dismay
She ain't pretty she just looks that way
She ain't pretty she just looks that way
She ain't pretty
She ain't pretty
She ain't pretty
She ain't pretty she just looks that way

Just for fun, this is actually the first song I heard by TNP that made me fall in love with them. Its called "Hopes Go Astray" and it still makes me happy whenever I hear it for some reason.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life, The Universe.....and Richard

I think the Fates are trying to tell me something.

When I first thought of moving to Utah a few years ago, the Fates tossed a Richard into my path. I wasn't interested so he went and found himself someone new, and I went on my merry little harm, no foul.

Flash forward to two years ago and another dating opportunity arrives....named Richard. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but went on one date with him and the relationship went nowhere. Oh well.

Earlier this year my online dating network tossed yet another Richard into my path. Nice enough guy, but after a couple of emails and phone calls the words "Eternal" and "Companion" were being dropped into the conversation. Uh, thanks, but I am in no way desperate enough to jump back into the world of marriage based on just a couple of IM chats. I backed off for a month or so, but we are talking again now and taking it at a slower pace.

I'm still trucking on when I had another surprise this guessed it, yet another Richard. Luckily, this one is easy to ignore seeing as my online dating service is trying to match me up with a man who is into participating in sports and wants a like-minded girl (which we all know is soooooooooooooo not me....and besides, this guy lives halfway across the country!)

Hmmmmm.....think the Universe might be trying to tell me something?

disclaimer: if you are a Richard who happens to be reading this post, my most humblest of apologies, I hold nothing against your name. I happen to actually like it....I'm just a bit dumbfounded why it keeps popping up in my life.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tis the season for reminiscing

Let me tell you about an experience I had a long, long time long ago that I was still in the somewhat strange state of considering myself happily married, but I digress.

In order to tell this tale properly, lets go back a wee bit further:

When I was little pipsqueak, my mother would have us make homemade butter in a 1 gallon mason jar every Saturday morning. Whoever was sloshing the cream back and forth for that particular half-hour got to pick what cartoons we watched, then the jar was passed to the other sibling and it was their turn to choose and slosh the cream around.

Fast forward a few years ago to a grown-up me. I had an assignment in my college lit class to write about life in Medieval Europe and I decided to make some unleavened bread and homemade butter to share with the class.

I borrowed a gallon mason jar from a neighbor and sat in my living room for several hours just sloshing the cream back and forth. When I was done I called my mother because I wasn't sure what amount of salt to add to the mix. It was then that she asked what method did I use.

Method? I wondered. I explained I had sat there with the jar and sloshed until my arms about fell off.

There was a small silence before she quietly explained I could have made it in about 15 minutes using my blender!

My mother had decided that her kids were going to get at least some form of exercise instead of vegetating in front of the television! Hours and hours of wasted time just sloshing, sloshing, sloshing while my brain turned to mush!

Needless to say, I got an A on the report...and I garnered a skill that still is a conversation stopper in any conversation. "Hey, I know how to milk a cow and churn fresh butter by hand...wanna see?"

...oh yeah, you know you want to!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean 4

The first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 has been can find it here

Friday, December 10, 2010

Movie Review: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Sadly, I think this will probably be the last of the Narnia franchise, which is a shame because this film was beautifully done. While VotDT boasts a much brighter color pallet than "Prince Caspian", the storyline is a bit convoluted and dark for the younger kids to follow.

We open with Lucy and Edmund in England (Peter and Susan are conveniently in America with the parents). Our heroes are stuck staying with their "useless" cousin, Eustace (played to annoying perfection by Will Poulter) and feeling rather put upon. Lucy is struggling on the edge of becoming a woman, and with her feeling overshadowed by how lovely Susan is (a theme that pops up several times in the film)...and Edmund is still feeling like second fiddle to Peter. . . and Eustace is a spoiled brat who believes that he is far superior to everyone and everything around him.

A painting of a ship sailing at sea comes to life, pulling the children into it and they quickly find themselves struggling in a vast ocean with the ship bearing down on them. Being fished out of the sea, the children find that they are on the Dawn Treader, a Narnian ship, and they are reunited with their old friend, Caspian, who is now King of Narnia. They are in the middle of a quest to find locate seven Narnian Lords who had set sail to the far off Lone Islands and are now missing.

Through the course of the film we are re-introduced to Caspian (nicely played by a now-older and wiser Ben Barnes, who also, thankfully, lost a lot of his thick accent) and Reepicheep (who, while voiced admirably by Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead and the new Star Trek, left me more than once missing the adorable quality originally brought to the character by Eddie Izzard). There is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by CS Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, who plays the first of the Lone Island slave traders) and Tilda Swinson repeats her performance again as the White Witch. Even though she really wasn't a part of Prince Caspian or VotDT, I am enjoying how they still manage to sneak her in....if they do manage to keep filming the books up to "Magician's Nephew" she will be amazing as the Empress Jadis.

A lot more has been added to the story to try and give us a movie that flows, but most of the new scenes fits well with the storyline. I am not so sure about the "mist" but it fits by the end. The special effects are pretty amazing, considering budgets kept getting slashed. The Dawn Treader itself is lavishly rendered and I spent a lot of the sailing time all but drooling over how wonderful a job was done bringing it to life. Seriously, if I could find a model of the DT I would be thrilled.

As I said, the tone of this film is a bit convoluted, but I think it is really worth sticking to the end with. Having seen it tonight in standard 2D, I plan to see it again, however this time in 3D, just to see the ship in better detail....that, and I am sure the climatic battle at the end would be even more thrilling in 3D.

When all is said and done, VotDT is not as tight story-wise as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but we jump into the action a heck of a lot faster. There are a few new characters (Gail was completely unnecessary), however the special effects are the best used yet (the effect of the flood waters pouring out of the painting at the beginning and then receding back into the painting at the end is very well done, Lucy entering the Magician's mansion (and the spells cast there) are gorgeous, and the battle with the *** ******* is flat out freaky). Speaking of which, let me know after you've seen the film if you don't get a Ghostbusters "stay-puft marshmallow man" vibe for a moment at the end of the film (don't worry, you'll know what part of the movie I am talking about when you get there).

So, all-in-all I say this is definitely one to see, but you may want to keep your little ones at home.

Ineffective Marketing

We received a fax here at work that just floored me.....I will not name the company that sent it to us (though of the 5 or 6 readers I have probably haven't heard of them anyway!) in order to spare them the humiliation.

"Dear valued client:

You are receiving this fax message because at one time you utilized (our) services. Candidly, we have not been very good at communicating with our customers and feel like we've let you down....we promise to do a better job in the future, starting with the following offer.

Phase 1: Prices are going up."

I kid you not. These guys are saying how they were crap in the past but now they promise to do better if we will trust them again (they were completely a waste of time when we used them before)....but hey, that better service is going to cost more.


They then try to soften the blow by saying that if we jump on the bandwagon before January 1st, we can still retain them at their old pricing if we agree to take them on faith that they have straightened out their act.

Hmmmm....sign an extended contract in the hopes that they are going to be better this time around? Who are they kidding?

The effective way to do this would be to say, look, we've really screwed you in the past, we're sorry, let us offer you a discount to make it up to you...none of this, we were crap and our costs are going up so you'd better take advantage of it RIGHT THIS MINUTE BEFORE YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO REALLY THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Its all in the timing

Well I had to meet my obligation on my book club so I am taking a chance and ordered a book that had good reviews, but that I had never heard of. Its called "I am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore. According to my account, the book is even now making its way to me and should arrive early next week.

Funny then that I should come across a movie trailer this morning for the same book.....again, something I knew nothing about, but now that I've seen the trailer, I am really excited to get my hands on the book...not to mention see the film when it comes out in February.

See the trailer for yourself here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Okay, I think I have made a point before of stating how much it frustrates me that Christmas is horning in on other holidays....Thanksgiving in particular.
Seriously, having all-Christmas music stations popping up on my radio before we're even halfway through November is just annoying. How do I know they are out there? Because one of my co-workers had tuned in on one of these stations and I was subjected to an all-day Holly-Jolly music fest. She also admitted that she had completely decorated her house, had her tree out (with a few presents already tucked underneath). The exterior of her home is already covered in lights which she actually turns on at night!

I couldn't resist (well, I CHOSE not to resist) and told her of my theory that Christmas needs to stop being such a holiday hog. She then chose to ignore me and sing carols even louder.

Well she was entitled to her opinion, but I couldn't help feeling a bit Scrooge-ish as I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from work only to be accosted by a Salvation Army bell ringer! A BELL RINGER!!!! BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!! I just shook my head in dismay and walked past, muttering under my breath about the nerve of some holidays.

I grabbed a shopping cart and slowly made my way past the storefront displays only to be brought up short. Sitting on a table, clad in green, was a little guy destined to catch my eye.
He was small, sweet, and completely cramped in the tiny pot they had packaged him in. How could I not take such a sweet little tree home with me? I tucked his little green form into my cart, promising a better pot when I got him home. Never mind that he came with a tacky styrofoam penguin and a spray of styrofoam "snowballs" to simulate decorations...or the red plaid bow tied to his crown.

I happily paid for my new darling and brought him home....and then it hit me....

I had just broken my own self-imposed rules. No matter how quickly I pulled off that penguin, snowballs and ribbon (which I actually have yet to do), I brought home a Christmas Thanksgiving feast had just barely been pulled from the freezer to thaw and there is a living evergreen tree in my home. No matter that its only about a foot tall....or that its being re-potted and going to be considered a houseplant until he gets too big for such nonsense.

Sorry Thanksgiving....I never meant to stomp all over you so thoughtlessly....

I hope in time you will forgive me......

.....I am such a hypocrite!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Price

What price can be put on art?

Apparently 150K

There is a local filmmaker (well, local for me....he lives just a few miles away, not that I know him personally or anything) who is interested in making a short film. A short film of a short story by Neil Gaiman called "The Price" (for those who haven't read it, trust me, its worth heading to your library and spending a few minutes reading) and Christopher Salmon's video looks great. I really would like to see this project finished... apparently there are over 1000 of us who agree (and have pledged already) including Neil himself!

Here is a look at the project:
(by the way that is Neil reading the story, and thats an artistic styling of Neil in the animatic)

So what's this Kickstarter thing I linked to? Good question!

Kickstarter is an online forum where you can see what artistic projects are requesting funding and you can pledge money to the project of your choice. There are a lot of good projects out there lacking funding, including this one. There is, however, a catch. Funds pledged are not collected until the end of the funding campaign, and that is only if the full donation requested has been realized. If the artist does not receive enough pledges then he receives nothing (and your funds remain safely in your bank account). You are not giving anyone your account information as pledges can be paid via your Amazon account (how cool is that?)

So where do you come in? Well, we have 8 days left to fund this project and still have $78,218 to go. Just go to Kickstarter if you would like to make a donation...or if you would just like to look around at all of the artistic projects out there....or if you would like to try getting funding for a project of your own.

Want to know even more? Kitty at the neverwhere blog (very cool blog if you are a NG fan) has done an interview with Christopher, and Neil has posted about it here on his blog.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Truly Effective Advertising

Okay, this is not a game I would probably ever play, but the commercial is just about the best marketing scheme I've ever seen. The tagline at the end says it all......

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day.

Many of you haven't heard that I have been called to be a pianist in the Relief Society (our church women's group).

I haven't played piano for over a decade, and stunk even then. Seriously, I never mastered reading sheet music, and have no idea what a lot of those swoops and swirls written on the page even mean....and after 3 years of lessons, its fairly obvious that music is not one of the talents that was handed to me on my way to Earth. If I desperately needed to play something, and had enough time, I could write down the name of each note, and then play one fingered tunes, as playing more than one note at a time was definitely beyond my ability.

Now, I have been fine with my lack of musicality; I have been given other talents that I enjoy and I do not feel like I am lacking in any way for not being able to rip through a Beethoven sonata on a moment's notice. Until now.....

Well, lets be honest, I was called to be a Primary pianist about 20 years ago and that was much, much worse. Because the children were allowed sometimes to pick what songs they wanted to sing, and, with my being unprepared, they often were stuck singing A Capella. Playing in the Relief Society wouldn't be so bad, as I will know a week in advance what songs we will be playing and they aren't expecting brilliance.

So tonight I went over to the church building, downloaded sheet music in hand that has the notes scribbled all over them. I practiced, and then practiced some more (we are singing 2 songs tomorrow) but I still am a bit worried. Its my first Sunday playing, but I was having a hard enough time today playing the right notes, without having to worry about following our music conductor's lead. If I try singing along, forget it, I lose my place entirely. I found out today what works is mentally singing the notes "A, B, A flat, D" as I was playing them....

Who knows, given a few weeks or months, maybe I can get to where I can play more than one finger--maybe all the upper hand notes at the same time? Perhaps, if I continue a bit longer than that I can even someday figure out the bottom hand, or is that just wishing for too much?

Regardless, I will stay the course and play as best as I can......

I'm still nervous about tomorrow's first "performance" though.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Year of the Cat by Al Stewart

One of the most beautiful songs ever. Seriously, I would be thrilled to pieces if I could play this piece on the piano. I love the imagery, the music....the way this song takes me back to being a child in the 70's (yes I am old). There is something so wonderful about a song that actually spins out a story to you, rather than the bubblegum catchy hooks but empty phrases of so much of today's music. Stewart had several other hits including "Song on the Radio" and "Time Passages".

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came

In the year of the cat

She doesn't give you time for questions
As she locks up your arm in hers
And you follow till your sense of which direction
Completely disappears

By the blue tiled walls near the market stalls
There's a hidden door she leads you to
These days, she says, "I feel my life
Just like a river running through"

The year of the cat

Why she looks at you so coolly?
And her eyes shine like the moon in the sea
She comes in incense and patchouli
So you take her, to find what's waiting inside

The year of the cat

Well morning comes and you're still with her
And the bus and the tourists are gone
And you've thrown away your choice and lost your ticket
So you have to stay on

But the drumbeat strains of the night remain
In the rhythm of the new-born day
You know sometime you're bound to leave her
But for now you're going to stay

In the year of the cat
Year of the cat

This isn't the same as the Death Cab song I shared earlier (which not only told a story, but felt like poetry), however, it does kick my imagination into high gear. Bonus points if you recognized that this song was inspired by the movie "Casablanca".

"Play it again, Sam".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Always look on the bright side.....

My car battery is dead....deader than disco, and that's saying a lot.

I hear some people have the "good fortune" to have advance warning about their upcoming battery failures: not me. My car worked fine on Sunday and then refused to do anything on Monday morning. No lights, no automatic door, nothing, nada.

Hmmmm....what could have caused a parasitic battery drain? I figured it was the cigarette lighter, since I had been using a car charger that disintegrated in there, forcing me to adapt a plastic straw into a pair of tweezers to pull out the pieces (stupid me first tried with a ball point pen and got quite the spark for my effort!) Turns out that wasn't the case, since pulling the fuse proved that I had blown it when I had my in-auto fireworks display.

Regardless, my roommate came to the rescue and hauled my pathetic butt to work and then back again. My sweet home teacher came over, gave my car a jump start and we went for an impromptu drive down to the lake and back to be sure it wasn't an alternator issue. The car drove wonderfully (once it got a bit of a charge back into it) until I parked it back at the house, turned off the ignition and then tried to fire it back up again.

Nope. As the song says, it was really most sincerely dead.

So this morning found me making calls around town for a replacement battery. I have quotes (not cheap, but not so expensive that I am passing out). Sadly, the only place that has it currently in-stock is an auto dealership who, while not charging the most, are not the cheapest either. The best pricing (WallyWorld) should have them back in stock by Thursday...if not, I'll just go through the dealership.

So I am sitting here at the office today. The day has been fairly quiet and both bosses are out of town so there is no one available to run errands. I clear it with boss #1 to take the work truck to deliver a battery order to a customer and to drop a load of packages off at the post office. I turn the office over to our part-time gal and drive off in our big bruising diesel rig, happy to be behind the wheel again. Stop #1 is about 5 miles from the office. I deliver them to our customer, head back to the truck and turn the key.

A sick sounding choking comes from under the hood, followed by a "you have got to be kidding" from me.

I wait a moment and try again. Weaker choke this time.

I pull out my cell phone and call Boss #1 (Boss #2 was unavailable at a trade show in Texas).

Boss #1: Yes?

Me: I think the battery on Boss #2's truck is dead.

Boss #1: (silent pause)

Me: This is not a joke.

Boss #1: (sigh) Turn the key and hold out your phone.

Me: (turning key) Hear that? And all the dashboard lights are lit up and flickering like crazy.

Boss #1: (sighs again) Yeah, its dead. (pause). Do you know how long its going to take to charge that thing? (another pause). What is it with you and dead batteries this week?

Me: uh..............I didn't do it, its not my fault and you can't pin nothing on me copper! (okay, so that last line didn't happen, its just a flashback to some bad B-grade gangster film, but you get the idea).

I ended up having to call the part-time gal (thank goodness for cell phones!), get her to leave the office and come rescue me. Boss #2's truck is sitting abandoned until morning when Boss #1 can come into the office, get the keys and go jump start the monster. Apparently its too big of an engine for we girls to do with the part-timer's tiny car.

(Dear Santa, I need one of these!)

So where am I now? Sitting in the office after hours and waiting for my roommate to get off of work so I can go home. But my roomie/chauffeur did agree that tomorrow we could stop by Zuppas on the way home (hey teachinfourth...they just opened a Zuppas on my side of town!) If I ever had a night where I needed a bowl of restoring, soothing, comforting Chicken Enchilada Chili its tonight...but tomorrow will do just as well.

So, for the next day or so at least, I will have chauffeur service....which means I will be getting to work early and staying late. Oh well, I can catch up on my Photoshop edits. And at least it was just my battery and not the alternator or the starter. And I'll have a brand new, shiny, durable, rugged battery for this winter. And I had a funny story to post for you today. Oh, and Santa? Never mind on the Jump Starter; I can't wait so I'll just buy it for myself.

Sometimes all you can do is look on the bright side of sure beats crying about it. So, in that vein, I was going to give you Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" but thought that might be a tad blasphemous for some I give you this one instead:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And now for something completely different....

a.k.a. the poetry in music project.

I think I have mentioned before my great love of poetry. I have books of it on my bookshelf, in boxes (the bookshelf is massively overstocked right now with stuff), and, if memory serves, there is a very very stuffed binder also packed away with copies of poems I have stumbled across and treasured. That binder started its life back in the 1980's and just kept growing and growing to its now mammoth proportions.

I was singing along with my MP3 player in the car the other day. One of my favorite songs was playing and I was thinking, "I love the story this song tells". My next thought was "I need to write these down and put it in my poetry file on my computer (yes, I have upgraded my filing skills since the 80's). Its not a new old folder does contain some song lyrics.

Now, while I wouldn't be scribbling down the lyrics to Def Lepard's "Rock of Ages" or anything by Black-Eyed Peas, some lyricists really do deserve a chance for you to take a moment and pay attention to what's being said. Robert Smith of the Cure, for example....the first thing I do whenever I buy a CD of theirs is pull out the liner notes and devour his lyrics because he literally does set poetry to music (not that I am suggesting you all run out and start buying the Cure albums because they are a bit of an acquired taste).

So, probably about once a week I plan to introduce another piece of poetry/music to you. I thought I'd start with the one that got me thinking this week. You can play the song and read a melancholy tune, but so beautiful in how its phrased.

"Brothers On A Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I'm not who I used to be
No longer easy on the eyes but these wrinkles masterfully disguise
The youthful boy below who turned your way and saw
Something he was not looking for: both a beginning and an end
But now he lives inside someone he does not recognize
When he catches his reflection on accident

On the back of a motor bike
With your arms outstretched trying to take flight
Leaving everything behind
But even at our swiftest speed we couldn't break from the concrete
In the city where we still reside.
And I have learned that even landlocked lovers yearn for the sea like navy men
Cause now we say goodnight from our own separate sides
Like brothers on a hotel bed

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I'm not who I used to be

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shawna's Movie Review: Retraction

No, this is not for a movie called "Retraction", but rather I am going to retract an earlier movie review I posted this year.

The movie? Clash of the Titans.

Yeah, you read right...if you are interested, here is my original review.

That being said.....

Okay, I bought this one on bluray when it came out and then ended up waiting awhile before finally giving it that "second try".

Now that I am able to see it in 2D I really noticed a big difference right off the bat. Yes, Zeus still has the glare on his armour, but it isn't as bad as it originally fact, it actually comes off as somewhat "Greecian Godly". The special effects are now clear and wonderfully done. The Pegasus looks amazingly real...which, with the 3D rendering originally looked completely off. The final scenes of Perseus fighting the Kraken will keep you on the end of your seat and as for Medusa, she'll leave you shuddering, and I absolutely love it every time Hades pops in and out of his scenes.

I can't say if it was because this was my second watching, or if I was able to pay closer attention now that the 3D rendering wasn't distracting me, but the storyline made more sense this time. I was able to follow along and just enjoy the ride. Yes, Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia) still can't act her way out of a paper bag, but the rest of the cast makes up for her wooden acting.

Again, nod to Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) who does an admirable job in a small role that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Jason Flemyng still does a great job as Calibos, though I still wish he would have been given more to do, but then, with as many baddies as we have running around, we hardly have the time to give all of them a lot of screen time. Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films) as Hades steals every scene he's in, even when facing off against Zeus, played by the absolutely fabulous Liam Neeson. I even found myself loving Sam Worthington (Avatar/Terminator Salvation) as Perseus....

So what I am I telling you? If you haven't seen this, you really ought to give it a shot now that's available on video....if you failed to see this one due to my review, I apologize and owe you a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Shawna + Social Networking = FAIL

If I had a doghouse I'd be in it.

People wonder sometimes why I don't have more friends. Seriously, they do....I've been asked this to my face. I've never felt like really answering that question; honestly, how many people I am friends with is really no one's business but my own and my friends', right?


I hopped onto FaceBook yesterday onto my real account....the one that actually has friends, even if most of them are cousins I haven't seen in years and people I somewhat remember from high school (by having stated that I need to clarify that I have a "dummy" account that I use to play games on). I rarely sign into this actual account, and, in doing so, noticed several of my "friends" doing banter back and forth and a couple had sent me wall posts asking why I wasn't on more, etc etc.

I decided to start being a bit more social, sent out a few responses, left comments on a few posts.

It backfired big time.

Let me remind you gentle readers of my biggest flaw. I live with my foot perpetually crammed in my mouth....the trigger that most people have between their mouth and their brain just isn't wired the same over here. For me, what sounds lighthearted and teasing comes out absolutely abrasive sometimes.

I left a teasing comment on the account of a gal I used to love hanging out with when I lived in Spokane.....something I would have teased her about back in the day and I thought nothing of picking up right where we had left off. Something she would have teased right back about....I was thinking this would be a good opportunity to start a friendship again with her, especially now that she's halfway across the world in the Peace Corps, far from the people she knew.

The response in my inbox this morning left me in tears as she pointedly lashed out at how mean I was and how we hadn't spoken in years so why was I suddenly out of the blue being so cruel and mean-spirited. The point of her post being what an evil, hurtful, horrid person I was.

I immediately sent back an apology, explaining what I had really meant, but have no real hope that she will accept it...and goodness knows there is no way a friendship will ever flourish on those grounds again. They say there is no going back home, and I honestly believe that. Sometimes, what was in the past should just stay there.

So, downhearted, I remember why I am not this social butterfly that others seem to find so easy to pull off.

Anyone know how to get a better grip on not being me?

Later Post Update: I was totally forgiven! I don't have to have the horror of quietly finding out she removed me from her "friend" queue! Note to self: think before you never know just how someone might take it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My celebrity buddy

Got an extra $10 grand in your pocket? If so, rush over here to start bidding for your favorite celebrity to follow you on Twitter for a minimum of 90 days (anything after that is because you have somehow managed to hook them with your witty personality and tweets). They will personally respond to one of your tweets during that time-period and include your tweeting address in one of their tweets.

Actually, I think this is a great idea; proceeds from the auctions (and there are a bunch of celebs to pick from including author Neil Gaiman, actors Nathan Fillion, Rainn Wilson and Simon Pegg, even tween sensations Justin Beiber and some of the Jonas Brothers) are to help rebuild homes in Haiti. Auctions are actually starting low ($300) but some have already climbed past $10K.

Oh the things we will do to touch fame.

Which would I choose? Neil Gaiman or (be still my heart) Nathan Fillion.

Now if only I tweeted.......

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Only in Utah

Want to find yourself in Edward's eyes? How about getting lost in Jacob's hair? Well, if you live in Utah, apparently you can do just that. Black Island Farms of Syracuse, Utah, went a little crazy this year and designed all 4 "maizes" for hours of fun. Their website includes directions, pricing and information on all of the other "fun" they have available for you this Halloween season.

And for those who will ask: no, I will not be hopping into the car anytime soon....with my luck I'd get stuck in someone's nose and not be able to find my way back out again!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shawna's Autumn Movie Review - Resident Evil: Afterlife

First is not necessary to see this one in 3D, but it really adds to the thrill ride if you do. Shots were planned specially to take advantage of the 3D technology, and several of them seriously pay off.

Okay, with that out of the way, lets get to the movie review!

I am a bit up in the air about this one. The scriptwriter/director Paul W.S. Anderson, is trying far too hard to please both fans of the films and of the games. The result is scenes and situations that are tossed in whether they make sense or not, simply because they are in one of the video games (apparently we draw heavily from the nasties found in RE:5) Its like the opening sequence is for film buffs, and then the rest is stuffed full of video game scenarios, loosely tied together with a running storyline.

Anyone who has seen the movie trailer has seen that the Executioner is in this film, but there is no explanation of who or what it is and its presence is only used to heighten a certain "how are they going to get out of this?" scene. Seriously, something more should have been done about this character; a good storyline keeps you emotionally sucked in and a part of what is going on around you, but the Executioner pulls you from that mindset and you find yourself, once again, just a member of the audience. You wonder why he waits to show up until after Alice (our heroine, played once again by Milla Jovovich) arrives, when other characters have been on-scene for weeks or months (the movie isn't entirely clear on that issue). Sorry to say it for fans of the big guy, but its true. That being said, he certainly is one big scary piece of work that you certainly don't want to run into on a dark alley, or anywhere else for that matter!

Once the opening sequence is past (and it opens with a bang), everything you understood from the previous films comes to an abrupt halt, and then there is about 15 minutes worth of blah blah blah before we get back into anything seriously relevant. Its a bit disjointed in how the segments fit together for this portion of the film; I know why its here, but it doesn't sit well with the flow of the rest of the film. Alice has to do this one thing in order to introduce another thing, but its really...well....boring. Actually, come to think of it, even the opener is a bit of a mess. I am not a fan of movies that start off, then flash the words "6 Months Later" at you, then starting back up only to throw another time jump at you five minutes later....its too jarring and makes for poor storytelling.

For being a movie about the walking undead, there really isn't any undead in the first half of the film....and then suddenly you are dumped into nothing BUT the undead....a little strange, but their sudden appearance makes for quite the "oh, crap!" moment. The opener is full of thrills and turns and the middle of the movie to the end will keep you hanging on to see just how in the world anyone is going to survive all that is thrown at them.

Yes, the Alice clones are in the film.... though, I find it disturbing that since Alice's hair is no longer red, but dark brown that somehow the clones all decided to dye their hair to match. Oh, and every woman (well, the living ones anyway), no matter where you find her and in what nasty conditions she's been living in, somehow managed to pack along her makeup kit because everyone is flawlessly made up. Apparently one must look completely hot just in case they run into a guy. That is soooooooo not reality, but rather an attempt to make sure there is plenty of eye candy throughout the film to offset the super-uglies. Don't get me wrong boys and girls, for a film about rotting zombies and some seriously disturbing other creatures running about, there is certainly enough eye candy running around to keep you happily invested in seeing more...and even I let out an inner sigh or two at some of the hotties trotting around on screen.

Albert Wesker (played by Shawn Roberts) is seriously channeling his inner Agent Smith....except while Hugo Weaving played the part brilliantly, Roberts just sounds like a pompous jerk. I guess is what Wesker is supposed to be like, so to fans of the game it probably works. Myself, I kept waiting for Hugo to walk onscreen and kick Roberts' bad imitation in the butt (sadly, he doesn't, but what a showdown that would have made!)

Claire Redfield (Ali Larter of Heroes) is back and we are introduced to her brother Chris (played deliciously well by Wentworth Miller whom I loved in Law and Order: SVU), along with a new cast of characters. Stay tuned into the credits as there is a scene that reintroduces another past character, though it took me a moment to recognize Jill Valentine as she's now a blonde. It's a nice cameo that promises at least one more movie should RE:A do well in the theaters. Oh, and the word is out that if the next film is made, that Leon will make an appearance as a flashback character and (fingers crossed girls) the director wants Jenson Ackles (Supernatural) for the role.

As said above, Milla Jovovich reprises her role of Alice (and the clones) and, while she's looking a bit older, still shows that she has what it takes. Surprisingly, her clothes stay on for this film (for awhile I was wondering if she had a clause written into her contracts stating she gets to go nude onscreen) but its nice to see her still kick @$$ with her usual sense of flair, and with her clothes on this time.

The special effects. Mostly they are fabulous, and the 3D technology borrowed from James Cameron's studios is certainly top notch...creative use is made of peering down hallways and tunnels and of weaponry and, uh, body parts, flying past your head. Certain effects fall flat though....our undead Dobermans are back, but poorly done considering the original film (which came out in 2002) had them looking a lot more believable. The Executioner looks downright freaky and that axe...damn! The 3D gore is nasty enough that parts of the audience were groaning "ewwwwwwwww" several times over...myself included. Several Alice stunts are so over-the-top impossible that you really want to believe them....if only the CGI had been up to par (namely her kicking a plane of glass...lame!) while others have you cheering her on, even though you know how impossible it is that she'd really survive said stunt in "real life", super-genetic human or not.

All-in-all....quite the joyride. Rated R for strong violence and some language.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And now for something a little different....

I don't post music videos, but this one had me grinning. Thanks to Kitten for directing me to this, and I totally spotted B in the crowd. Shot at BYU during the World's Largest Water Balloon Fight (don't worry, apparently they used biodegradeable balloons). Anyway, hope you enjoy...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Odd Thomas

Here's something I stumbled across while playing around on the internet....for those of us who know of Odd Thomas and his journey, I found a 4-part webisode that takes place between "Brother Odd" and "Odd Hours". Its actually done pretty well and if you haven't seen it, I recommend watching them...each webisode is approximately 5 minutes. Sorry, but I thought I loaded them in order, but #4 is showing up first in line.


Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 4

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 1

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 2

Dean Koontz's "Odd Passenger" Webisode 3

Friday, August 20, 2010

Begging for Birthday Prezzies

Okay, totally selfish blog post here.

I have a birthday coming up and, while I am open to whatever you want to give (or not give as is your choice), I would like to put forth a few suggestions for those who are completely stumped.

Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love movies, movies, movies....and, sadly enough, a lot of TV shows that I collect all decided to gang up on me for the months of August and September.

Let's see....Heroes final season came out earlier this month, and the final season of Lost comes out next week. House season 6 comes out the week of the 30th, followed the next week by Smallville season 9 and Supernatural season 6. Prince of Persia comes out on the 14th, followed by Castle season 2 on the 21st.

Seeing a pattern here? I haven't purchased any of these that have come out or pre-ordered any that are soon to be released....but all are on my "I WANT" list.

Sigh....oh to be rich....or just not addicted to the wonderful world of "moving pictures".

I shudder at the thought of being crass, but I really could use some gift certificates for WalMart or BestBuy (though WalMart is probably the better bet price-wise for these). Or Amazon, should you decide to ship it directly. Oh, and for someone who wants to buy something specific rather than a gift certificate, I have collected these on DVD up until now, so no one feel as if they have to spring for Blu Ray editions.

Of course, for those who don't want to help me rot out my brains, there are always tools. Now that I have a huge-mungeous tool box, I am hoping to add a dremel rotary tool, heat gun and a "mouse" sander (yup, it looks a bit like a mouse with its small size and pointed head) to my tool collection.

For those who want to continue to support the arts, anything to do with encaustic mixed media would be greatly appreciated...including encaustic medium (resin and beeswax beads), heat gun, encaustic iron or books on encaustic method would be fantabulous. Here's a link to a few ideas for encaustics.

Please please please do not feel as if you need to get me anything....these are simply some suggestions for anyone who planned to do something but may be stuck for ideas.

Thanks love to you all!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Changes and Apologies

Not only is there is a new look to my blog, comment moderation is now in effect....I finally figured out how to update the site so the spam will stop!

Okay, as for apologies....I am sure you have all received some nasty spam from my hotmail account. Sorry! I am not sure where the spam was picked up, but I feel good about my gmail account not being spammed as I don't use it for anything other than emails. Please delete my hotmail addresses (springvilleshawna and shoezimm) from your accounts....I have already removed everyone's addresses from my hotmail accounts so that, should anyone get into the account again, there are no addresses left for them to spam to. Any emails received from my hotmail accounts are NOT FROM ME AND SHOULD NOT BE OPENED! Any and all emails sent out from me will come from my gmail account. If you do not know my gmail address, post a comment saying so and I will email you from it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Yard Sale Steals and Crazy Looks

I love to yard sale....oh yeah, big time.

I blame my grandmother. Every Saturday during the summer she'd be armed with yard sale ads in which she carefully circled the sales she especially wanted to hit. I would arrive early in the morning, load up the 'ol lady and we'd hit the circuit. Nothing was safe from being picked up, pondered and then bargained over.

The thrill of the hunt......of finding that one deal you just can't pass up.

This happened to me again this past weekend.

My roommate and I got up early (seriously, yard sales in Utah start at around 7 am!) and hit the streets. Our game plan wasn't as exact as my grandmothers...essentially we just hop in the car and drive around until something catches our eye.

Such as the beauty I got for a total steal.....

Let me explain.

We parked on the street for one such sale that was taking place down a long driveway. Unable to see if anything good was being offered, we decided to give it a shot anyway and walked down the driveway to where we figured the sale was being held. As we came around a tall hedge lo and behold there it was. My treasure.

Oh yeah, it was love at first site. Laugh it up if you want, but I have been dreaming of owning one of these babies since the early 1990's....they are just way to freaking expensive to justify the purchase.

It figures there would be a couple of guys standing next to it, pulling out the drawers and all but kicking the tires as they examined just what condition the tool cabinet was in. I waited off to one side, pretending to examine pieces of flotsam and jetsam, but really waiting for the guys to move off so I could inquire as to pricing. Not realizing that one of the sellers was listening, I sighed aloud an "isn't it beautiful" to my roommate. Immediately the sales gal pounced, "isn't what beautiful honey?" Embarrased, I pointed to the tool cabinet and stupidly repeated, "its so beautiful".

I knew I shouldn't have looked up after this statement....I completely caught the look of, "are you insane?" that she threw my way.

My roommate was kind enough to tell the gal I would use it for craft storage (which isn't entirely true) The gal nodded her head and mumbled "oh, that makes sense", but you could still see the consternation on her face. It was a look that said, "well THIS ONE is certainly a tomboy....imagine, falling for some dirty tool thing".


I asked about the price and about fell over when they asked for $75. Sweet! Even better was bartering them down to $60! I am not entirely sure what they thought when I immediately agreed, and also purchased a cordless drill kit and a pair of needle-nose pliers (for an amazingly low $10 considering the drill looks to be in amazing shape), but they were nice enough to also toss in a set of canning jars for free that I was considering.

We immediately scampered off to borrow my bosses' truck (conveniently parked at work) and struggled to get that bad boy home.

Of course, its not a Craftsman, but rather Husky brand....but one of these tool cabinets easily sells for anywhere between $600-$1500, depending on where you are looking, and this one looks pretty stinking brand new. Apparently their dad bought it to store his stuff, but either kept his stuff in great condition, or he rarely touched it.

Oh yeah, deal of the freaking century.

Turns out it weighs a ton, so I needed help getting it downstairs (its too big to store upstairs and there is no way it was hanging around out in the elements). Luckily the roommate's son was willing to come over after work and help me lug it down the stairs. I started looking in the drawers and there is actually a couple of tools tucked in the drawers that no one bothered to clean out. Nothing amazing, but this girl can't have enough screwdrivers at her disposal.

I am so thrilled to own this tool box is completely jam packed and I have various other items tucked about the house here and there. Finally, I can keep all of my stuff in one handy space.

What's next on the agenda? Well, I've been wanting a heat gun for ages so here's the perfect opportunity, seeing as I now not only have somewhere to keep it, but I have the current excuse of calling it a "present to myself", seeing as we are mere weeks away from my birthday.

Ah, life is good......

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shawna's Summer Movie Review


Who didn't think I would go see this on opening day? I am not desperate enough that I have to go to a midnight showing, but I did manage to get off of work half an hour early so I could see the 3:40 showing. Why get off of work early? My friend's daughter had to be at work at 6 and my class started at 6 as well, so we had to play with our schedules a little to make it work. Luckily, Brooke works across the parking lot from the theater and my class was taking place about 5 minutes away....but I digress.

In 3 short words: Go See It!

This is by far the best of the trilogy. I was all but dancing a jig when I found out the director was none other than David Slade who directed one of my favorite vampire films, "30 Days of Night" (yes, snicker if you will but I happen to love that film). There is real acting in this film from the majority of the cast (we'll get to that in a moment) and the director of photography framed some seriously amazing shots.

The entire original cast is here again with the exception of Rachelle LeFevre who was replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard due to scheduling conflicts. Bryce's role is small, but pivotal....she's good, but I think I still prefer Rachelle's smoldering anger to Bryce's. Kristin Steward once again reprises her role as Bella and still can't act her way out of a paper bag. I know everyone still roots for Teams Edward and Jacob (go Team Jasper!) but I am spending more and more time in the camp of Team Why-Is-Everyone-Hot-For-Bella. She spends the movie once again whining and being about as emotionally complex as a stick of wood. But enough already, I have covered this in other Twilight reviews.

The storyline of the movie has expanded a bit from the book in that we actually get to see Bree Tanner's vampire conversion, and everytime the Vampire Army is tromping around onscreen, the cameraman makes sure that Bree is in the shot....which is a shameful tie-in to get twi-hards to read that crappy novella (seriously, it stinks...thank goodness its posted online and I didn't have to plunk any money down on it). Oops.....digressing again. Sorry about that.

Jasper and Rosalee's characters actually have a presence in this movie, rather than the background characters they have been up until now. Their flashback scenes are very well done and aren't a distraction from the present-day storyline. I didn't realize how much more "Jasper Screen Time" I was going to get, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Jackson Rathbone popping up all over this film. His "mock battle" scene with Alice is fun to watch and his backstory is heartbreaking....I am glad that they fit these into the film. I'm also glad they replaced his crap wig from before with something a little more realistic. As my favorite character in the books, its about time that Jasper is established decently.

Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner are both comfortable in their roles and have come to truly be the embodiment of Edward and Jacob. . .you really do believe they are both desperate for Bella to choose them over the other. Plenty of eye candy for tweens (and some adults I know who should know better, right L & C?) who want an eyeful of Jacob's abs. Seriously, he has his shirt off in this movie so much that the writers decided to play with it and have Edward mutter at one point, "Does this guy even own a shirt?" Yes, the girls in the audience squealed over that. Ugh. I still fail to see the appeal of beefcake, but oh well.

The battle scene at the end is actually fairly graphic, considering the only blood that flows will be Bella's. Turns out the vampires are diamond hard and aren't that easy to break. It actually took me a few minutes before I understood why the attacks on vampires were accompanied by the sound of breaking glass and tearing steel. This movie certainly earns its PG13 rating between the intense battle, the Vampire Army munching its way through Seattle and a bit of steam between Bella and Edward (don't worry, nothing comes off....)

Bella's friends are still around, and Anna Kendrick's role seems to have been given more lines now that she's branched into other movies ("Up In the Air"). Best of the supporting cast still has to go to Billy Burke as Bella's father, our gun-toting, sheriff of Forks, Charlie Swan. As always, he steals pretty much every scene he's in (and looks fabulous doing it, if I do say so myself).

So will I see it again? Oh yeah. Probably not this weekend, since I am sure it will be swamped, but I am considering driving to SLC to see it in the IMAX format. I'll give it a week or two and then decide if its worth the time and extra money, but its definately worth the money to see one more time before waiting for the Blu Ray.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Self Doubt

Last week I watched a show where time travellers met Vincent Van Gogh about a year prior to his suicide.

Major plotlines aside, they spend time literally bumping into wet canvases all over his flat, while listening to Vincent muttering how his art was rubbish and trying to assure him that it really is excellent art....not that Vincent puts any stock into what they say.

I am not sure what Vincent thought of his art in real life....for a man so emotionally up-and-down, the world still doesn't really know a lot about what he felt. Was he suffering from mental illness? Was it something physical like metal poisoning from the paints he used or alcoholic poisoning from the Absinthe he drank? No one really knows.

I admit I've enjoyed a lot of Vincent's work (I am not a huge fan of it all, since some of it is very dark and sombre, but I love his brighter periods). I have avoided watching a movie that my mother has suggested to me time and again "Vincent and Theo"....mostly because I can't muster up the enthusiasm to watch something so incredibly depressing. Mom has told me several times how hard it is in the opening scene as one of his paintings auctions off for millions of dollars, and then the scene cuts to one of Van Gogh living in poverty as his paintings fail to sell.

As I said....depressing.

Watching this program though had me wondering, would we change our self destructive thinking if we had our own personal cheerleaders in our corner....telling us how marvelous we really are if we could just see it.

In this show the time travellers take Vincent into their time machine and tell him that "as a treat" they are going to show him something really special. They zip to modern times to a museum in Paris and drag Vincent past masterpiece after masterpiece as they urge him to hurry up and see this one particularly busy exhibit.

Vincent stands in amazement as he finds himself in a wing of the museum filled with nothing but his works of art.

One of our intrepid time travellers turns to the museum curator and asks him to answer truthfully, where does he think Vincent stands in the rank of artists. Our curator pauses for a moment and then launches into how Van Gogh leaves all other artists behind. He speaks of the awe he feels for a man who can look beyond the pain and grief of his own life and still paint the beauty of the world around him. "Anyone can paint pain" the curator states. "It is the greater man who can see through all of that and still paint the joys that can be found in life." (okay, its a paraphrase, but you get the point).

By this point Vincent is in tears as he listens to this total stranger's glowing assessment of Vincent's place in life. To be honest, I was in tears as well.

Renewed, Vincent vows to soldier on and to not let his demons get the better of him again.
Our time travellers take Vincent back home and then rush back to modern times to see all of the new art that came from Vincent's new, extended lease on life. Sadly, there is none. Vincent still commits suicide and the world moves on without him.

So what is the point of this? I am not entirely sure. Ever since I saw this last weekend its been zipping around in my brain and not really leaving me be.

I used to think how wonderful it would be if I could just go back in time and tell the sad child I once was that everything is going to be okay. Things will work themselves out. Life isn't as bad as you think it is...but would I have even listened? Would I still be the person that I am today (the good, the bad and the ugly) if I hadn't made the journey that I did? Would I still look at the world around me and see so much beauty if I hadn't gone through so much pain and darkness?

Self doubt is a demon that only we can kill; no one can do it for us. As wonderful as it would be to have a knight in shining armor come along and slay our dragons for us; we have to be willing to pick that sword up and fight for ourselves. I may do battle often with my demons, but there are days when the clouds part and the sun shines all the more brilliantly because I have chosen to defend my little place in this world.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

First movie trailer can be found here. Am looking forward to seeing this one in December. Hopefully it will make enough money that additional films will follow...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shawna's Movie Review

The A-Team

Mixed reviews on this one....

Opening night...packed theater. According to the ticket booth reader board 3 showings in a row were completely sold out. I showed up early, got my center seat and happily waited for the movie to start.

The new A-Team movie has been reset in modern times; instead of the Team being Vietnam vets they are now in the Afghan war. Its also a bit of a prequel in the fact that as the movie opens they have not been framed for "a crime they didn't commit". In fact, the first 20 minutes or so sets the whole "framed caper" up.

That being said, the first 20 minutes I sat in the audience wondering just what I had gotten myself into. Humorous, yes. Action packed, yes. Over-the-top, heck yeah...but not what I was thinking. We are introduced to the characters one-at-a-time, and are dropped in the middle of a mission that takes a few minutes to fathom just what is going on. Turns out this is the first time most of the team are meeting one another, in totally unbelievable fashion. We then jump forward a few years and the Team has been working together for awhile now when they are framed, stripped of rank and thrown into prison.

This is where the movie gets good.

Jailbreak. Plans of revenge. Crazy heists that keep you guessing. Tons of action with huge explosions. One-liners that leave you laughing. An ending fight that you have to see to believe....this is the A-Team at its certifiably craziest best.

Liam Neeson is great as Hannibal Smith...amazing piece of casting, and the one that made me truly excited to see this movie. Bradley Cooper plays Templeton "Face" Peck...and a lot of reviews from female fans are just gushing over how ripped he got himself for the role. Yes, he has his shirt off quite often, but seeing as how I am not into muscles, I wasn't really focused on any sort of drool factor. He is, however, great in the role and a good choice to take over from Dirk Benedict (who I admit I did have a major crush on at the time). Mr T's role of B.A. "Bad Attitude" Baracus is played by movie newcomer (and pro wrestler) Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. A bit cheesy at times (but then Mr T had the cheese market cornered when he played the role) I found myself liking the character when I really had a hard time tolerating him in the series. Best of all is Howling Mad Murdoch...his opening scene, swinging on helicopter rotors singing Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" is downright fact, Sharlto Copley steals every scene he's in and has me searching for other films he's been in.

Jessica Beal, Gerald McRaney and Patrick Wilson (funny, he's not listed on as being a part of the cast) round out the major characters.

Ending impression....worth seeing. If you are not a fan of the show you might want to wait for the DVD though and watch it on a smaller screen...somehow, seeing as this is a remake of a television show, makes me think that watching it on tv would feel right at home. Stay through the end credits as there is a fun cameo from 2 of the original cast members that's worth watching.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mini Vacation

Hey everyone...just a note to let you know that I have decided to extend my visit here in Moscow for another day, therefore I am not on the road today heading home, but am sitting here, comfy, in my sister's living room. As some of you may have noticed, I have no cell reception here, but should be back in decent coverage range by noon (about the time I hit Boise).

Hope you are having a wonderful day wherever you are, and I will blog to you again on Thursday.

Shawna's Summer Movie Review - Prince of Persia

Four little words: Go See This Film

Oh yeah, 2 definite thumbs up

Since I am only partway into the first game (thanks to my sister for letting me play it on her X-Box 360!) I am taking her word on the fact that a lot of this movie has NOTHING to do with the game....but don't let that stop you.

Jake Gyllenhaal certainly has fun in the lead role....not an actor I would have thought of for the part, but very well done. Don't let the hype about "oh, the Prince should have been played by an actual Persian" controversy daunt you...he was well chosen. His Prince Dastan is a rough and tumble rogue that you actually care to see come out ahead and a wonderful surprise to see Alfred Molina who steals every scene he's in. The only downer I found was Gemma Arterton as Princess Tamina, who frankly was an annoying pain in the butt...she's pretty, but you really feel Dastan could have fallen for someone a little less (dare I say it?) bitchy. Somehow I think another actress could have pulled it off and made Tamina at least a little bit likeable, but then I have yet to find a role Gemma has played that I have enjoyed her in.

The role of Tus totally had me guessing where I'd seen that actor wasn't until after the movie that my sister Miya informed me she'd finally pegged the actor as Richard Coyle, who played Jeff in the Brit series "Coupling" (Oh, Jeff!) Nice to see him in such a strong, manly role. Ben Kingsley is his usual fantastical self and for total movie geeks (like myself) the actor playing King Sharaman is Ronald Pickup who was the voice of Aslan for the BBC versions of the "Chronicles of Narnia" (no, I didn't know it until I looked it up on IMDB; I just knew his voice sounded familiar).

It seems Prince Dastan has to save the world from the Sands of Time being unleashed (which would destroy mankind) while also trying to clear his name from a crime he did not commit. Add one snooty little Princess who has dedicated her life to keeping the Sands hidden and safe, and you have the premise for our movie...expect a lot of banter and verbal sparring between the two. There is an overabundance of amazing action shots (many of the moves from the game are recreated here) and you just have to love a film that allows actors to just let go and have fun with it. Smaller characters are given room to branch out as well (as in the above-mentioned Alfred Molina who will keep you chuckling); amazingly, for a cast of so many different characters, it manages to keep you following the plotline without getting too bogged down into everyone's personal story, yet you still find yourself becoming concerned for their fates. Our "baddies" (the Hassansin assassins) are uber creepy...perhaps a bit over the top, but they are definately not guys you'd want to run into anytime soon. The set-up takes a little longer than you'd like, but its worth it to get to the action of the film, and gives you necessary background information for later.

Don't bother sitting through the credits....after all of the Persian themed music, having Alanis Morrissette singing the end title song is a strange choice, and there is no Easter Egg after the credits stop rolling.

All-in-all....not a movie that will win any awards, but one I will be purchasing when it comes out on Blu Ray...and probably will see again before it leaves the theaters.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not sure what to think about this one...

An ad for JuicyFruit gum where you can send a serenading unicorn to anyone with an email address.

Very strange ad...I have no idea what a singing unicorn has to do with chewing gum, but its good for a chuckle or two.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Feed the World.....

Here is a good cause and a good way to improve your mental skills and give to charity at the same time. Go to and take any of the challenges. The first one to pop up is vocabulary, but even though some of the words are hard, they give you the right answer and then ask it again a few questions down the line. Other subjects you can play are on Art, Chemistry, English, Geography, Language and Math (pre Algebra and Multiplication Tables). For each question that you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice will be donated to the World Food Programme to help end hunger, and the best part is there is no sign-ins or email addresses you need to use that will be spammed later. Just click on the website and start playing......

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog....the sequel?

I was thrilled to stumble across an article yesterday hinting that Joss Whedon and the cast of Dr Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog just might be filming a sequel next year!

Of course, that leaves me with a year to wait...but then some things are worth waiting for.

For anyone who hasn't seen Dr Horrible, there are 3 parts that are all under 15 minutes. If you love Joss Whedon's humor, you will have great fun watching this. Warning: there are a couple of inappropriate jokes, but they are over with pretty quick and are few in number.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Tell us about it Gene......

Not only do I love "Singing in the Rain" the movie, but watching the rain come down (and playing in it!) are such a soothing balm to me. Not that I particularly needed soothing today, but rain can be such a blessing. After all, it helps our gardens to grow and it makes the air clean and fresh (especially handy when you live in the city!)

Somehow, watching the rain come down makes me feel renewed, in a sense. I have always loved cool spring and fall days of misting rain, gusting downpours and pearly gray skies. Don't get me wrong, I love a good blue sky as much as the next gal, but it doesn't thrill me as much as the cloudy ones do.

The cars and trucks rushing past my window (I work on a fairly busy street) kick up fine sheets of water and the sound of wheels seemed muted and hushed....certainly a lot more peaceful and quiet than usual. Its sort of like entering the library after being stuck in honking, frustrated traffic jams....the peace and calm just enfolds you like a sheltering blanket.

Maybe its because I feel a little more isolated on days like today....the rain harbors us each in our own little encapsulating island....our own private Fortress of Solitude. You know the rest of the world is out there, it just seems a little more removed. I am certain I have mentioned this numerous times before, but I prefer a bit of solitude in my life...I'm just not getting it lately.

Regardless of what it is, I certainly feel cleansed and refreshed......

Oh what a feeling!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The pen is mightier than the sword

Or, in this case, the keyboard.

Pens are wonderful things....they seem to draw something out of us in ways that keyboards and computers cannot.

Pens have written some of the most touching lines of poetry, they have inked their way across the pages of time to bring us Shakespeare, Beethoven and the Bible.

Pens, I believe, are something that has been lost in today's world of instant messages, e-mails and video chats.

What I miss about pens is the wonderful letters you can write.

Who can forget the delicious decadence of opening your mailbox and finding a letter inside?

A letter is a special treat. You find yourself curling up in your favorite chair; a smile crossing your lips as you slowly tear the envelope and you thrill at the rustle of the papers folded within.

A letter is an experience to be savored by all of the senses.

A letter is something that you can touch and smell (especially if it has been lightly misted with a favorite perfume). It brings you closer to the person who writes it in the scratches of the pen as it moves across the page and in the lipstick kisses your mother sends along with every cherished note.

A letter is a lost art form in today's society, something I would like to change.

I was straightening up my desk space the other day and found my stationery box....a box that has sat beneath my desk through my last several moves. The one I have filled with blank note cards, handmade paper, seals and sealing wax along with a veritable rainbow of gel pens. Further digging in a cubbyhole dug up a book-and-a-half of stamps....

Hmmmmm, what to do, what to do?

I decided I would write a letter....not just any letter but your letter.

A letter that will find it's way to you to be discovered, tucked amongst the bills and junk mail that will (one hopes) brighten your day.

Just comment at the end of this post and I will send you a handwritten letter, card or postcard. I will write to anyone who posts, whether I know you or not. If you think I may not have your address, feel free to email it to me at

After all, I wouldn't want any hiccups on the road to penning my new pal...

My pen is ready.....are you?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Yummy Giveaway

There is a fun giveaway from on eof the blogs I follow....The Dress-Up Drawer is offering a free item from this Etsy shop. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday is a special day

Well, it was this week.

You see, the sun was shining and it was warm enough that I could throw open the windows and breathe in the delicious scent of lawns being mown for the first time this season.

I washed my car the old-fashioned way (car washes are fine and all but not as much fun as doing it yourself with a hose and bucket in the driveway). I then buffed and shined my car and armor-alled pretty much anything that could have armor-all used on it.

The roomie baked homemade bread (yum!) and then I watched a new set of webisodes I discovered called Playing Death that had me laughing like crazy and got some laundry done.

I even managed to clean up several piles of papers that had accumulated on my desk and get it organized again.

It was a very good day.