Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chronicles of Sam, Redux

Sam had a girlfriend named Gracie. Sweet girl, very curly hair. So cute together. He recently announced to his mother that Gracyn (a different girl, also very cute, but younger . . . she just turned 3 ) was his girlfriend. She said, trying not to laugh, I thought Gracie was your girlfriend. He matter-of-factly said "I switched girls."

Yeah. He's gonna be a playa. He's got big dimples, gorgeous blue eyes, great hair, and his daddy's impish, charming and very funny personality. Look out girls.

A Plate of Crazy for Lunch

Okay, haven't blogged in a while and I've been piling up little chunks of things I want to blog about,so I am going to just jump all over the map here.

First of all, my blog title today is from a line I heard on Sex and the City that made me laugh out loud. I will proceed with the story as though you watch the show . . . Carrie was talking about getting Mr. Big (her old love) and Aidan (her current man) together so they could get to know each other and stop being jealous. Miranda looked at her and said "What, did you have a big plate of crazy for lunch?" Now THAT, my friends, is a very useful little line. Just think how you could say that to your friends and they will think you are clever and funny and won't be OF-FEND-ED while you are telling them they are about to do something STOOPID.

We went to hear the Dallas Symphony play Mahler's 9th Symphony the other night. I felt so cultured . . . so classy. It was very enjoyable, but I realized that I wish I knew more about classical music. The guest conductor had long, lion' mane hair like those conductor guys in the cartoons I watched as a kid, and he was wearing tails and was SOOOO animated he conducted with his whole body, jumping around and holding his left hand in a claw-like position, shaking and quivering, I kid you NOT, JUST like the cartoon conductors. He's very gifted I'm sure, but I just couldn't help making the comparison. But, the Meyerson is quite a sight to see, and there were moments in the music where I just closed my eyes and made an observation that I just think God created music as another way for Him to touch our souls in a way that transcends words. When you get those goosebumps and that lump in your throat that sometimes happens when you hear a particular passage of music, not just classical but any music that speaks to you, well I believe that is a little moment of God's spirit flowing through you, caressing your heart.

We have successfully introduced Sam to The Princess Bride. He protested watching it the other day, proclaiming NOOOOOO, I want to watch a SUPERHERO movie!!! But I persisted, and within 15 minutes he was captivated, as I knew he would be. He of course was "Weselly" as he says it. Andy used to be Westly when he was about Sam's age. Ah, the circle of life. Wonder how long it will be before he's quoting the lines with the rest of the family?

YAAAAHOOOOOOO, the new Fall TV season starts this WEEK!!!!! WHEEEEEEEE. Guess where I'LL be all WEEK. I'm so excited for new episodes of all my favorite shows (except, sniff, the ones that ended last year - RIP Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars). I am going to post my reviews periodically if a show is particularly good, just cuz I secretly want to be a TV or movie critic, so I can be on my own blog. So there. I don't really have time to add any new shows to my list. BUT. There are some really great-sounding shows that are new this year, so I MUST at least watch them once or twice to see if they are worth adding. I constantly feel the need to defend the large amount of time I spend watching TV, but I rarely watch just to surf and waste time. I almost always watch because there's something worth seeing. And believe me, there is some GREAT stuff on TV these days. High quality acting and writing and storytelling and production values. And it's so much FUN to dissect your favorite shows with friends who watch the same shows. Mike and Lindsay have been catching up on the first season of Heroes this summer and they are HOOKED, as I knew they would be. Andy and I were hooked after the first episode. Now I just have to get Lindsay watching Ugly Betty. I KNOW she will fall in love with it just like I did.

Oh, and when the heck is Brad Pitt's new movie, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (LOVE that title) going to open around here? I about squeed when I saw that it opened on Friday, only to discover that it's in "limited release" and apparently the DFW area is not hi-falutin enough to merit a showing yet. Anway. Brad Pitt. Western. What more could I want . . .

I want to post on my recent trip to Wyoming, but that's a whole post in itself. I know I have other things I wanted to blog about, but . . . well the ole brain can't remember them right now. We are doing something special for Andy's birthday; a great idea that has now become really complicated, and that will be another post for another day.

And finally, I want to learn to do this. Or at least I wish I could afford to buy this. This is the site if you want to see more of this most amazing art form. GAWD to have a gift like that. Sigh.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Comfort for My Ears and Soul

A couple of days ago I went to the library to turn in a recorded book I had just finished and hopefully find a new one. My new car does not have a tape player, so I am limited to the books on CD, which number many less than the selection on tape. Anyway, I was excited to find a new offering by Tony Hillerman, who writes a series of mysteries involving two Navajo tribal policemen.

I've listened to nearly all of them and really enjoy a good mystery. They are simple, no complicated metaphors or deep thoughts, just a good mystery involving recurring characters. But the main recurring character is the wonder that is the Four Corners area of the U.S., the area where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet. I have been in all four of those states, though never actually visited the Four Corners area, but if you know me, you know that New Mexico is one of my favorite places on earth. There is something mystical and spiritual about the high desert country around Santa Fe and Taos that just literally feeds my soul. I'd live there in a beautiful adobe house in a perfect world. But I digress.

Hillerman weaves into these mysteries much detail about the culture and religion of the Navajo people, their history, their customs, their struggles. I have found it fascinating and have a tremendous respect for their dignity and their peaceful way of coexisting with the Earth. And though these books are not particularly world-changing and I don't have revelations about the meaning of life, I am transported to my favorite place and I have read so many I feel like I know these characters. And really, that's what reading is all about, you know? A way to feed your soul and mind, to entertain, and to escape for a little while.

I worked in Dallas for six years and listening to recorded books was my sanity-saver during all that time in traffic. I developed a preference for books by Recorded Books, Inc. and have my favorite narrators among their stable of performers. Well, my very, very favorite is George Guidall, who happens to narrate all the Hillerman books. I have not listened to one in quite a while. When I popped the first CD in, and his deep, warm voice came on, in the particular tone and speech pattern that he uses to evoke Lt. Joe Leaphorn (the main character of most of the books), I just felt like I had a warm, cozy blanket of comfort and familiarity wrapped around me. I actually smiled and sighed audibly, it was such a pleasure. Like coming home to a warm fire and a cup of hot coffee and a cozy couch.

That sort of feeling is the reason I got so hooked on recorded books. The added pleasure of a theatrically-trained, really talented narrator "acting" the book for you, while at the same time you still exercise your imagination on what the story "looks" like, is the best of both worlds for me between books and movies. I get totally lost in the story, much more than I do when I sit and read a book. I know many friends who don't enjoy recorded books, but for me, a well-acted recorded book is just a huge treat. Great narrators don't just read the book aloud, they inhabit the characters, creating different voices for each one, voices that you begin to recognize even when they are not immediately identified as to which character is speaking. It's like having a professional theater actor act out the story right in the privacy of your own mind.

I used to struggle with feeling like if I listened to a recorded book, I couldn't really say I "read" such and such book. But it really is my favorite way of digesting a novel, and I find that I remember the story much more clearly that way. I suspect it is because I am an auditory learner, but I am no longer apologetic for being a "lazy" reader. I just don't have as much time in the car to listen anymore, but I have begun listening while I walk. Great incentive to walk, as I get to hear more of the story, so it gets me out the door. See, I'm NOT lazy . . . I'm multitasking.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I am in love with ABC Online! They have an HD online player for their most popular TV shows, and I can watch on my computer in HD, which I don't have on my TV, with only about three commercials. It's awesome! There's something kind of intimate about watching on a little screen right in my lap, like I'm having my own personal little TV show just for me. I have watched some things online from other networks, but none of them have the high quality player that ABC has. Fortunately, most of my favorite shows are on that network. I can even plug in the headphones and watch on the couch while everyone else is watching something else on the big TV. So cool. I'm so easily amused by technology.

I am currently catching up on the unaired episodes of The Nine, which was a fantastic show that started last fall and ended up getting cancelled by the idiots at the network (hey I love their player but not always their programming choices). It's about nine people who were hostages in a bank robbery, and then they get out and the story slowly unfolds about each of their lives and about what really happened in there. The plot reminds me a bit of the movie Inside Man, though not exactly. It's really gripping and has a lot of great acting, including Tim (sigh) Daly, yummity yum yum (he will be on Private Practice, the Grey's Anatomy spinoff, this fall - reason enough to watch) and lots of others. ABC decided to burn off the unaired episodes this summer, and I forgot to watch at first, not used to having new stuff in the summer, so I missed two episodes, and then they decided NOT to show them but just put them online. So, online there are four episodes there, but the two I missed are NOT there, so I have a few plot holes. I have searched the Net trying to find them somewhere to no avail, dang it. I even emailed ABC about it, but just got a canned email response.

Online TV is great for things that you wanted to watch but missed or forgot, etc. I'm trying to also catch up on Saving Grace because I just keep missing it on TV. I REALLY want to watch Mad Men on AMC, but I no longer HAVE AMC due to a brilliant decision by my cable company to shift around what I get without digital cable (which I don't want to pay extra for), but AMC is not showing it online, so I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it. I have heard a ton about how good it is, and would seriously watch it, but, well . . .

I have noticed that the new trend is to have really high quality, short run series for the summer now. This is a great idea, but I have always breathed a sigh of relief in the summer that I could take a break from keeping up with my regular shows. I LOVE my shows, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to have a period of time where there is no Must See TV. Now, blast those TV writers, they have come up with all these really great-sounding new shows that just run in the summer. I've missed most of them this year because I've been busy and just didn't want to invest in more shows, but now I'm thinking I missed out on some really good stuff. If this is the pattern to come, I'm gonna have to start watching next summer, or hope they put them all online . . . love me some good TV writing! It's like a book only they act it out for you. I was watching Shakespeare in Love last night, and Violet was explaining why she loves plays so much and it was just how I feel about good TV. Ha. TV is not just for the uncultured, so there.

Now I'm going back to Episode 11 of The Nine.