Saturday, December 25, 2004


Well, we're back from Christmas at my cousins'. It was fun, and the dinner (prime rib!) was very yummy. We made creamed corn using Alton Brown's recipe, and it was really, really good, too. :-)

I got lots of books, and a few DVDs, including Flight of the Navigator, an 80s Disney sci-fi film, The Princess Bride, The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat, and the first season of Punky Brewster.

Patrick really liked his gifts, especially the monorail poster. After we went to my cousins', we went to visit my grandma and grandpa -- grandma was doing pretty well today, though grandpa wasn't in the best of moods.

So, Patrick and I are back at my place for a DVD night, and maybe some after Christmas shopping (we both got money from our grandparents) tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Raven, et. al.

Who would have though that Homer Simpson would work so well as the main character in Poe's "The Raven."

But honestly -- Homer's perfect to play the mood-swinginess of the main character. And only Homer could truly shriek when the poem says:

'Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
'Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'

Personally, my favorite is how he delivers that last line -- "Take thy beak from out my heart, and take the form from off my DOOR!"

By the way -- speaking of popular poems -- Alfred Noyes's "The Highwayman" (Loreena McKennitt does a beautiful-but-missing-three-key-stanzas rendition of it on her album The Book of Secrets) would make a great story....

She also does a great (okay, gorgeous) rendition of Tennyson's "The Lady of Shallott" (summarized brilliantly by a high school English teacher of mine thusly: "This girl was cursed and could never look outside her tower directly. Then she saw Sir Lancelot in her mirror and fell in love with him, and wanted to look at him, even though it would kill her. So she did. When he saw her, he said, "Well, she's pretty. Hope she rests in peace," and goes about his life.")

Now if only she would, you know, release a new CD someday....

Oh -- and more trivia...Anne Shirley reads from and/or performs both poems through the course of the first two Canadian-produced movies Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea.

Finally...I try to avoid being political on this blog, though I have strong political feelings. But if you have 99c, please consider downloading "Lullabye for a Weary World" on Julia Ecklar's CD Divine Intervention. I can't figure out how to make iTunes Music Store links work (okay, I probably could, but it's late, I'm tired, and I'm lazy), but just search "Divine Intervention" and you'll find it. Or, you can buy the CD here.

In an odd way, I view it as a holiday song, particularly in troubled times. In a hopefully less-than-odd way, think of it as a New Year's wish.

She's very protective of her lyrics being posted, but here's a brief excerpt:

"I wonder how my world can live with all the hate she harbors
Sleep, my weary world
. . .
I wish the power to stop it all could rest within my hands
I've seen her people dying for such bold and bloody causes
. . .
While the rising tide of history just ebbs and flows again
Make me a cradle to rock my weary world
Make me a gentle voice to soothe her when she weeps
. . .
I wish that I could soothe away her jagged shards of hatred
. . .
If her fighting will not stop, then I'll hold her that much closer
And sing my lullabye above the noise and pain of war
. . .
Make me a lullabye so sweet and fine
That I can sing my weary world to sleep."

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, belated Happy Hannukah and Peaceful Ramadan to all, in case I can't post before the 25th.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Writing Blues

So...I really want to write a monologue for a character following an episode of a certain TV show. (I am not saying specifics 'cause (a) most of my friends who read this don't read fan fiction anyway and (b) I'll jinx it, I'm sure.)

The problem is, I can't get the character's voice right. Usually, I can -- but here, it's just not working. I worked out the psychology, what's going on -- and I can't even get the tone of pained bewilderment right....

Aah well....

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Return of the King

In case I haven't said it before, Sam is the true hero of the story.

So there. ;-p

Too Much Private School

So, they played this on The West Wing tonight ("Hallelujah").

I had the same problem when it was in Shrek.

Maybe it's too much private school -- or, rather, too many religion classes while in private school -- but I just have to point out that while much of the story fits David (seeing "her" bathing on the roof, etc.), the part about cutting hair was Samson and Delilah.

That shouldn't bug me that much.

But it does.

Go figure.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Happy Nerd

My Return of the King Extended Edition (finally) came today!

I caved and ordered the gift set (complete with Minas Tirith statue) because it included an extra DVD of the Lord of the Rings symphony that Howard Shore arranged with music from all of the movies. :-) My only complaint is that the footage didn't show nearly enough of the movement that includes the Rohan music, my personal favorite part of the score.

Okay, so it's tied with the music from the prologue of Fellowship, especially the bit that plays right as "The Lord of the Rings" comes up on the screen, but still.

Other than that -- yay! :-)

Time Stamps and Stuff

It really was "way late" when I posted the previous, but because I started it at whatever it says, it kept the original time stamp.

Anyway, the funny story for today. About a week and a half ago, my trusty blue fan I've had since my senior year of college broke. The post snapped right clean off at the base. I was able to duct tape it together, mostly, and can coax it upright, mostly, as long as I don't so much as breathe on it.

So I looked around froogle and found a nifty fan that's height-adjustable (one of the drawbacks of trusty ol' blue) and has two sets of blades -- large ones for when it's hot and I need to move air around, and a smaller one to direct air flow, for when I sleep at night ('cause y'all know that I can't sleep without a fan to provide white noise -- that started my freshman year of college when I tried to drown out the what's-her-name's morning hour-long shower, complete with "If It Makes You Happy" on repeat).

It was supposed to show up within 3 days. That was about 10 days ago.

I was willing to cut them some slack because of holiday mail, but I finally emailed their customer service over the weekend.

It was accidentally shipped to the billing address (here) rather than to my mom's, where they could have just left it on the porch. But because I wasn't expecting a package, I haven't gotten my mail every day, so I missed the "you have a package" notice. The poor people in the office....

But the good news is...I have a fan. :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Mucho drama

I know, I know...another extended absence. I'm a horrible blogger....

Actually, no -- it's just that I tend to go into hibernate mode when stressed, and the class I've got this year is going to give me gray hair. (Well, just R., mostly, but when you add to that the fact that my grandmother's emphysema is getting way worse, the fact that I've managed to get all the normal first-year-teacher illnesses in this, my second year, the fact that...oh, whatever -- it's not important, and I don't want to go into POK mobile mode.)

A brief summary of where we stand now, though. Grandma has pneumonia (not a good thing with very bad emphysema) but an excellent heart, which is the usual cause of death associated with emphysema -- so the chances are she'll be around but miserable for quite some time. Meanwhile, I have laryngitis and possible walking pneumonia myself, so I'm not allowed within 5 miles of grandma. And other stuff I can't think of right now.

Again, to avoid POK mobile mode...some cool stuff has happened the last few months:

* Thanks to Leo, I found Weak Knees and added a hard drive to my TiVo, which now has 248 hours of storage. I love it.

* I got fed up with Earthlink DSL being down more than it was up, and signed up for DSL Extreme, also thanks to Leo.

* I bought the original Star Wars DVDs, and Harry Potter 3 (neither of which I've watched yet, but that's what Christmas vacation is for).

* I forced myself to make time to read every day, and discovered two new "hard" sci-fi (meaning more science than fantasy, like Arthur C. Clarke -- and, yes, for those of you about to make comments, I know that's a simplistic way to describe it) authors I like a lot: Stephen Baxter and Greg Bear. Greg Bear's book Eon is a lot like Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. Not long after I read it, I was going through an old box of my dad's books -- and what do you think was at the top? His obviously well-read copy of Eon. And then, tonight, I discovered that Greg Bear wrote Corona, the first Star Trek book I ever read, at the ripe old age of 7. Cool, huh?

* I found an ankle brace that enables me to actually walk for more than about an hour at a time. I still have a long way to go to get it back to pre-bad-sprain stage (don't worry, I., I still love you, even if you did trip me). I don't think I'll be able to do Disney World if we really go this summer without renting a scooter every other day or so (it's much more spread out there, with much more walking) but for every day stuff around town I only have problems if I have to stand still for a long time.

* Thanks to Kevin Rose from the old The Screensavers, I discovered BitTorrent, a unique file-sharing thing. Instead of d/ling a file from beginning to end, you grab whatever pieces are available and it puts them back together in order, which makes things much faster. I was able to d/l this season's episodes of Enterprise and thanks to several freeware intermediary steps was able to get them into iMovie and iDVD -- so even though Dish Network no longer gets UPN, I can still see Enterprise, which is finally redeeming itself a little, no doubt thanks in large part to people like Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, who have been writing ST books for a long time and actually know what they're talking about.

So, there's more cool things, but it's way late and even though I have nothing in particular to do tomorrow, I should go to bed. Hasta.