Thursday, May 31, 2012

All Right, Now I REALLY Can't Wait!

Check it out, Mizzies! They just released the trailer for Les Miserables, and now I'm dying! Dying, I tell you! I can't post directly from YouTube for some reason, so you'll have to settle for a link.,shareembed-syndication&cpkey=aa88f4cc-9d41-43e4-8ad3-186317750e2b||||

Sorry about this, but I gotta let it out...AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Had to Share This 15

All right, I hadn't intended another music post so soon, but...oh my God, you just gotta hear this!

Robert Downey, Jr. and Sting - Every Breath You Take

Gah! Must...have...more...Seriously, though, they sound awesome together, and this somehow feels like less of a stalker song with the two of them. But wait, that could just be my major crush on Rob talking...*shrug*

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Who Did It Better? ("Roadhouse Blues")

A dream I recently had and a conversation with my mom prompted this one. Besides, I love the song and the contenders are legends!

The Doors original

In typical Doors fashion, they lyrics make little to no sense at some times, but they still have a habit of getting stuck in your head. I think my favorite thing about this one is the rockiness of it. The only way I can put it is, it slams. Really, it thumps and pounds and jumps and kapow! You're bobbing along before you can say "Lizard King." After "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" this is my favorite from the group. That's right, I'm about forty years younger than the generation that first heard this stuff, and I can't get enough of it!


Jeff Healey cover

Now, how do I describe this one? It's a little...cocky? Is that the word I'm looking for here? There's more swagger and a tad more swing to that groove. And more guitars! If there's one thing the original needed to be even better, it was more bendy guitar! But on the other hand, this is lacking in the down-and-dirty department, and that's a shame. It keeps me from choosing one over the other, which means I must have both and can't pick a winner! Curses!

It's up to you this time. Decide for me.

Your pal,

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Big 100!

So my master plan was in the cards after all! Post 100, and Ima celebratin' this dealie with...well...

See, here's where it gets awkward (for me, at least. What you think remains to be seen). I haz a YouTube account--God, I have to stop talking like that!--and I've posted a video of There's only one up worth seeing at the moment, and it's only part of the song (the camera battery died after the first chorus), but why not include it in my 100th post, right? Right?

The Change (Garth Brooks cover)

I must say, it feels reeeaaally weird to hear myself. Happy 100th Post!

Your pal,

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

This is Post #99 for you, and I'm trying to think of something good for Post #100. I have an idea, but we'll see how it pans out. So until that post (or the next scheduled one), I'll be taking a bit of a breather...never fear, though, I shall return!

Your pal,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Feeling Blue?

Down-in-the-mouth today? Me too. How about a shaved llama?

I don't know about you, but...I'm kinda smiling right now...

Your pal,

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Internet Is Great For...PONR!

Disclaimer: I ripped that title off of a captioned pic of the stage version of this particular number, and that is a warped lyric from Avenue Q. Just to let you know. know you want it. You know you love it. Try and tell me that this doesn't make your head explode. An entire post filled to bursting with "The Point of No Return"'s a phangirl blogger's dream come true!

Michael Crawford (with Dale Kristien)

Gerard Butler (with Emmy Rossum)

John Owen-Jones (with Celia Graham)

Hugh Panaro (with Rebecca Pitcher)

Juan Carlos Barona (with Julia Moller)

Ramin Karimloo (with Gina Beck)

 All right, that's enough raging fire (and raging hormones!) for the day. Enjoy your weekend!

Your pal,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Randomness 11

Yeah...still behind on I'm cheering myself up with some more highlights.

Cat Scream

Ah, priceless...

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

D-Day...Lord Help Us

Yep. It's here at last. Literally, It is here at last. I reserved it a week ago, and my copy is waiting for me at this very minute. Well, technically D-Day hasn't quite arrived yet, as this post is scheduled and as things stand right now it's still T minus 19...but by the time you get around to reading this, I'll have gotten the book out of the library.

So maybe I'm writing this post because I'm still just a teeny bit nervous. I mean, The Shining was pitiful as a horror story but this thing has messed with me for years. Maybe I'm writing this because it's been on my mind nonstop lately and everyone else at my place is sick and tired of hearing about it. Or maybe I'm writing this because I'm spreading myself too thin again and can't come up with a better post.

Either way, maybe aorta stop writing and get to reading. I got some clown tushie to kick!

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier)

At last! After the dreading the last two reviews off the BBC's list, I can look forward to this one!

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again",
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca. 


And now, allow me to expand my pitiful GoodReads review...

Hoo hoo hoo, was this a good one or what!The words that best describe it are "taut" and "unnerving." Right from the first page, I was struck by the atmosphere of menace and doom that permeates this story. Ms. du Maurier uses her settings well, believe you me. That "windswept Cornish coast" almost becomes a character in its own right, it colors everything else so completely and yet so subtly. And Manderley itself is stylish and elegant, but there's something infinitely creepy about the whole place. I get shivers just thinking of living in a house like that.

We never learn what the second Mrs. Maxim's name is, but that only adds to the mystery. She's faceless in the shadow of Rebecca...almost literally. She feels her presence in everything, from the way the servants run the household around her, to what the neighbors have to say about her predecessor as mistress of Manderley, to Mrs. Danvers's inexplicable hatred of her, even to Maxim's behavior toward her. She's very insecure in her new position, this second Mrs. Maxim, and I can't say I wouldn't feel the same way if I was in her shoes. The scene between her and Danvers at the window in particular made my blood run cold.

Maxim, aloof, seemingly invulnerable Maxim...what to say? At first he seemed like a jerk (to put it politely), only proposing to the second Mrs. just to have her around as a companion--indeed, it sounded more like a business proposition than anything! But the weird part about it was, the more I got to see of him the more he fascinated me. He was still aloof and had a nearly god-like status, not unlike Rebecca, but he was magnetic as well, either in spite of or because of his coldness. Then of course, things started getting hairy and I really developed a soft spot for him...which grew into another raging crush on another fictional character. Dang it, I have too many of those already! 

This was the most vivid, deceptive, hair-raising book I've read in a long time, and as I love a suspenseful yarn, that's saying something. Just when I'd been complaining about predictable plot twists, this one came around and threw me for a loop. My predictions were wrong at every turning, but each one was written so well I was more than happy to be proved wrong, and not a one of them felt like it was thrown in there for the sake of it. Everything stood up under its own weight. 

A word of advice, though--don't start reading it before bed. I couldn't walk away from it and was finally forced to put it aside at three in the morning. I borrowed this book from someone, and it left such an impression on me that I'll have to buy my own copy. And of course, now there's the matter of the movie...

Wait a second...could this be book number six? This means that every one here on out...means victory! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

Your humble book nerd,

Monday, May 21, 2012

So As It Turns Out...

You guys don't mind if I rant about the novel reboot every now and then, do you? Gee, thanks!

Yeesh, this is harder than I though it was going to be, and I haven't even started writing yet! I'm still in the brainstorming stage! On one hand, this is the first time I've ever interviewed one of my own villains, and it's pretty fun and fascinating. I never stopped to consider any of these details before, and I can already see where the character is developing more depth beyond "bad guy." On the other, adding just a little more to the villain looks like it will alter the entire trajectory of the story. By giving her more motive and more dimension, I'm having to reconsider several plot points. I would have had to do that anyway, but...all right, let me use an analogy. In construction, it's extremely important to keep 100% straight lines when building foundations and walls. Even angling something a fraction of an inch out of line makes a whopping huge difference in how the wall sits in relation to everything else. What could only start out as 1/8" off the mark could very well become several inches plus in another direction.

What in the name of all that is holy does this have to do with writing? Well, it's starting small, but that little detail could end up turning the story far far away from what I had originally intended. It's cool; it's part of the process and I love seeing how things take on a life of their own in the creation stage. My problem? It's overwhelming!

How wimpy does that sound? I'm still rounding up my thoughts, and I'm already overwhelmed? Ah, whatever. This thing has given me grief for years and I think I was bound to crack eventually. I haven't quite cracked entirely, though, not when I can dump all my thoughts out and sift through them for something vaguely useful.

Hence this stupid post...

Your pal,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eep! Can't Wait!

Ah, what the heck. I'm gonna tell you what movies I happen to be looking forward to! You don't mind, you say? Super! Of course, I still have to get off my keister and see Underworld: Awakening, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Dark Shadows, and The Raven, but that doesn't mean I can't be geared up for more, does it?

Snow White and the Huntsman

This looks to be a stylized return to the fairy tale's rather bleaker origins as opposed to a Disney confection. Mom's more interested in Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, but as a fantasy/action/adventure nerd, this one's what I'm keeping my eyes on...and keeping my fingers crossed for some Peter Jackson-esque epic battle sequences. Don't give me that look, I love that stuff! And you can't tell me that "lips red as blood/hair black as night" sounds a bit more intriguing than the classic "lips red as the rose/hair black as ebony," now can you?

The Hobbit

Now what was that about Peter Jackson? Finally! Ten years after LOTR we get Bilbo's story! I've mentioned this before, but I really think Martin Freeman will make a promising Bilbo. I may be biased, since I think he also makes an excellent Watson in Sherlock, but I'm still really excited about it. And can a two-part movie mean that there's little to no abridgement, so to speak? And if there was nothing else to be giddy about...Ian McKellen as Gandalf! Again! And Cate Blanchett as Galadriel! Again! And oodles more! All over again! Yippee!


So, technically, this one has already been released, but it was more of a select-cities thing over here...which is annoying the dickens out of me. 'Scuse me, Mr. Fiennes, but can we PLEASE get a widespread US opening here? They got one in the UK, the lucky ducks! It got awesome reviews and was nominated for a few awards! What's the problem? I was going to re-read the play to get prepped for this! (Sidenote: isn't it amazing how versatile and timeless Shakespeare is, even centuries after his career?) PLEEEAAASE???

Les Miserables

All right, so here's the one I'm really really really really really excited about. I've read the book, I've fallen in love with the music, and now I hear that there's a movie still in production...I can wait however long is necessary, so long as I get to see this thing! I've been stalking the boards for a good long while for news on this, I've followed just about every casting rumor (and I'm REALLY excited about quite a few of the cast members), and...well...Hugh Jackman singing again! Woo-hoo! And another Woo-hoo! Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter...they're not messing around, are they? No trailers yet, but there's some tantalizing stuff rolling around if you know where to look. I really gotta put something up, though, as it's in my contract *snicker* so how about a poster?

Your pal,

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reviews From an MMB (The Phantom of the Opera - 1989)

There's quite a few versions floating around, you see...even a slasher version!

It's pretty much the same story with a few pointless changes... Modern-day singer Christine Day is in the middle of an audition when there's a freak incident with a sandbag and a mirror, and we are whisked back to Victorian London, where we learn that disfigured composer Erik Destler is obsessed/in creepy love with singer Christine Day and tutoring her as an angel--but this one doesn't go into that bit too much. He's also dubiously "employed" as the legendary Phantom of the Opera, but the only thing is, ghosts don't run around skinning people, do they?

Where to start? I deliberately kept my expectations low; it's an eighties slasher movie, after all. That being said, I was expecting more, well, slashing. There were a couple "ew, that's gross" parts, but they were few and far between for me. That's not to say someone else wouldn't be more grossed out than I was...I'm just sayin'... I expected a bit of cheese; it's an eighties slasher movie, after all. That being said, I wasn't prepared for Robert Englund's awesome portrayal of the Phantom. He was just so freakin' intense, it was unreal! Even when he was relatively calm, you just KNEW he could still go ballistic and take someone's head off. No, wait...oh well. Anyway, he instantly made it to my ever-growing list of favorite Phantoms in the span of ninety minutes, no second thoughts and no questions asked. I know he played Freddy Kreuger, who from my understanding is just straight-up evil, but he made Erik very human and very sympathetic...up until the last half of the movie, during which he goes off the charts with villainy. And the delivery of some of those awesome lines! The menace behind "I never forget a face!" The near-bashfulness of "Everyone dies. I simply choose the time and place for a few!" Holy crap! My only problem is the non-singing one. Who ever heard of a non-singing Erik?! (Unless you count the Dario Argento version...but I'd prefer not to...but Claude Rains didn't sing know what, forget I ever said anything...)

Also, the music was fantastic. I'd heard wonderful things about it, and was looking forward to wonderful things. Boy oh boy, was I ever excited to hear it wasn't just hype! The scene in the graveyard with Erik playing the violin for Christine--incidentally, the only film version to include this scene from the Leroux novel--was easily my favorite part. It was eerie and otherworldly, and sounded like something out of a dream, which is just how it should be. The use of Gounod's Faust was a salute to the book as well, and they took it even further and incorporated some of the elements into the plot. Jill Schoelen as Christine was beautifully dubbed, but it still couldn't touch Susanna Foster for me. Finally, I just can't get the aria "Your Eyes See But My Shadow" out of my head. It's just so haunting, and rather more so as you only ever hear the same verse repeated throughout the score.

Like every other Phantom movie I've seen thus far, this one was pretty to look at (minus the icky stuff, of course). The sets were great--again, I refer you to the graveyard. I also cite the Opera House itself, the alleys of London, and Erik's lair in the sewer. As for the cinematography, I know for a fact I'm not the first to say something about it, but all I'll add is that it's more consistently beautiful than what we get from Joel freakin' Schumacher...that of course, is another conversation altogether.

Right, so, what didn't I like? The time-travel, flashback stuff. Like so many things, it only made sense so long as you didn't think too carefully about it. It mostly had to do with past and present Christine's memories, but I'm afraid of boggling you with the details if I get too far into it. God knows even after watching the movie, they still boggle me. What else? Loose ends! I understand from the well-informed Phantom Reviewer that there was a sequel planned, but this one did so bad at the box office they dropped the idea. What does this have to do with anything? Well, without giving too much away, the modern-day crap at the beginning and the end was only included to tie into this projected sequel-that-never-was. Yet, without it, the ending of this one was pitiful and made no sense whatsoever (is he dead, or isn't he!?). And what in the name of Gaston Leroux happened to Inspector Hawking back in the day?! He was just there, right in the middle of the action, then we never found out what happened to him! Did Erik flay him alive, or did he survive the whole thing? Alas, they don't tell us this...drat.

Now onto the big important detail...Erik's horrible disfigurement. To be honest, Freddy looked a lot worse. What the hey is it with these filmmakers all downplaying the deformity? We're supposed to believe that this man's face has led him to live his entire life unloved because no one could stand the sight of him! Maybe looking through the eyes of a modern viewer doesn't help, thanks to being so "enlightened" and exposed to so much worse, but still...can we up the ante just a tad?

Oh, wait! Almost forgot! What I didn't like was how Erik's character was handled. I'm not whining about Englund's performance, but Erik's backstory. I like the Faustian subplot a lot, but again, it detracts from the tragedy of his life story. And giving him (in a gruesome, roundabout way) a seemingly normal mask was at once a good thing and a bad thing in my book. Good thing: he gets to stalk the city streets after dark and tango with thugs and prostitutes. Bad thing: I dunno, he just feels less like Erik. This is supposed to be the man so gruesome to look at his own mother wouldn't let him kiss her! What in the world is he doing picking up hookers? That scene was a little more heart-wrenching than it sounds, but still!

From what I hear, this version is the most faithful to Leroux since the Lon Chaney version, and I can see where that comes from, but in other places they've completely twisted it around. Big step away from the book--OMG WHERE IS THE FALLING CHANDELIER?!?! It's weird that for being the only version to include the graveyard scene, they leave out the iconic one...peculiar...Overall, though, I liked it a lot more than I expected to. I might even (wait for it)...

...have to add it to my collection. It's cheesy in places and ridiculous in others, and yet there were some really good points to it. Also on my list: that soundtrack! Here, have a listen!

Your Eyes See But My Shadow
Cemetery Violin

That's all for now, peeps!

Your modest movie buff,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who Did It Better? ("Billie Jean")

I've been meaning to do this one for ages, and I can't think of anything else to do at the moment, so here we go! One classic pop tune turned rock ballad coming right up!

Michael Jackson original

Is that dance music or what? I can't resist that beat, which is a darn shame as I can't really dance...It's rollicking and a lot of fun, and paints the picture of poor, poor judgement rather nicely, don't you think? And of course, it always gets stuck in my head!

David Cook cover

 This was the moment I knew David C. was going to win his season of American Idol (I don't generally approve of Idol as a rule, but that season actually...didn't suck, for the record...). Holy crap! It's the same song, but it feels entirely different! Michael's version has the atmosphere of a shucks-won't-make-that-mistake-again one night stand, but here it's more like dude-what-the-&#*%-were-you-thinking?! It's got soul! And it's super bad! (Sorry, another bad joke...) I cast my vote for this one!

Now what about you?

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Randomness 10

All right, so I'm a little strung out for posts today...ah, I've got it! One of my favorites of all time!

The Hula Song

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's War, Now, B**ches!

Yeah, sorry, there's some pumped-up profanity coming in this post...

I finally made my decision regarding which cliche I'm going for in regards to that certain Stephen King book. I'm breaking the posting pattern here to announce that I'm getting back on the horse! I'm throwing down the gauntlet! I'm bringing out the big guns and calling in the A Team!


How do I feel about all of this? I'll put it this way:

That's right, my friends, I've got my war face! I got myself a new library card today and I put a hold on a copy of It and I'm gonna kick this thing in the ass! You hear me, you sharp-taloned, balloon-carrying em-effer? It is ON! You'll be running for cover by the time I'm done with you! You're gonna wish there was enough helium in those damn balloons to float your backside to kingdom come before I beat the snot out of you! And you can't hide in the bleeping sewers anymore, 'cause Erik's down there with you and I put out an APB on you, you sorry S.O.B.! There's a Punjab-to-kill order out on you, you get me? You've been screwing with me for ten years, and it stops RIGHT NOW! POWER TO THE PEOPLE! BEHOLD THE MIGHTY ANGELS! FEARLESS WARRIOR! TO HELL WITH STEPHEN KING AND HIS PULP HORROR AND HIS STUPID BULLSH*T CLOWN!

*deep breath* Okay, calming down, now...

Oh, and for fun, I imagined what some of my favorite fictional characters would do if they met dear Pennywise:

Erik (The Phantom of the Opera) -  lock him in the torture chamber and watch the balloons explode in the heat

Lisbeth Salander (Millennium trilogy) - go crazy on him with a golf club/baseball bat

Wolverine (X-Men) - make a sarcastic comment about whose claws are more bad ass, then gut him spectacularly

Sherlock Holmes - identify exactly what sewer he's been hiding in by the mud on his shoes and how recently the balloons were inflated by how much they're tugging on the strings, then whack him with a hunting crop

Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) - get up in his grill, poke him a bit, then blow him off entirely

Now I just hope the cover isn't too creepy...there's no way I'm backing down from this now, but it would save me the trouble of covering the cover with newspaper...and if it does get too bad, I won't forget to put it in the freezer for safekeeping! (Get it? Get it?)

(Didn't watch Friends?)

(Never mind, then.)

Wish me luck--nah, who needs luck? I'm going to battle, here! Ooh-rah!

Your pal,

Had to Share This 14

Got in the mood for Rod Stewart.

Hot Legs

Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Your pal,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Randomness 9

Random fact: I troll my FB updates for goofy pictures. Thought I'd pass some onto you.

For dog lovers:

For cat lovers:

This one's my favorite:

Unless it's this one:

All right, lame-o post over.

Your pal,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

After some thought, I decided I'd celebrate today by dedicating this post to (just guess) Mom! And I'm going to suck it up and post some of her music...that means the Carpenters...and I'm not such a fan of the this one's for you, Mom!

The Carpenters -  (They Long to Be) Close to You

Carly Simon - You're So Vain

Carole King - I Feel the Earth Move


Hey, every one of those starts with C-A-R...*shrug* Happy Mother's Day!

Your pal,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don't Panic! Tips on Getting Started

Latest writing post will deal with a crisis I myself am facing at the moment: rewriting.

Here's the story...when I was thirteen and had no clue what the heck I was doing, I wrote a novel. A full-length, three-hundred page novel that ate up a year of my time on the first draft, and now I've seen the light and realized needs work. Like, a lot of work. As in, start over at the beginning and do the whole thing differently. What was my first thought upon this realization?

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

This means I've got to re-imagine the characters, re-evaluate their motives, re-structure the plot, pretty much re-do every last thing as if the first draft never even existed to begin with, all while avoiding the same traps I fell into the last time. Get why I'm nervous?

Let's pretend draft one never happened. Let's pretend this is a brand-new story that only just fell into my head. This will give us a chance to discuss prep work and help me calm down before actually working. This at least is how I start off, and as I've said before, the time you spend thinking the book over before you write it is just as important--if not more important--than the book-writing itself. Don't flip, though. This just means that if you take your time preparing, you won't lose your cool later on, and you won't find yourself doing a Macaulay up there. :)

Where do I start? With the characters! I dream up and concoct who is going to be waltzing around this brand-new universe of mine, spending plenty of time on names in particular. I'll probably do a post on that in the future, so I won't go into it at the moment. The advantage of a redo is that I already know who I'll be spending my time with, I just have to get to know them better. That means interviews, peeps! Protagonist, antagonist, supporting cast, all of them! At the moment, I'm in the middle of Interview #6 out of twelve. Why so many? See my post on character interviews. These guys are going to be my constant companions for a good while, after all, and I don't work so well with strangers.

Once the interviews are covered, I stop to pay special attention to my main character. He or she is going to need a character arc for the story to be any kind of interesting, which is why I really have to be careful with him or her. This is also where the theme of the book starts to emerge. Here's the questions to consider, as cut-and-pasted from one of my writing groups on GoodReads:

• What’s the main character’s internal conflict? (For most novels, this is a question that gets answered very early, since it will drive the entirety of the story.)
• Which of the main character’s views will change as a result of the story’s events? How and why? (This is where you’ll find the underlying force of your theme. Your character’s views will define his actions, and his actions will define the story.)
• How will the main character demonstrate his respective views and attitudes at the beginning and the end of the story? (This is an extension of the previous question, but it is vital because its answer will demonstrate the changes to the reader.)
• Is there any particular symbology that can reinforce the theme and the character’s attitude toward it? (Like theme itself, symbology is often overstated and therefore generally better when culled organically from your own unconscious mind. For example, sometimes you’ll find yourself using a particular color or image to represent something; if the symbol proves effective, you can later go back and strengthen it throughout the story.)
• How can I use the subtext (the unstated) to exemplify the theme, so that I won’t have to spell it out for the reader in so many words? (When it comes to theme, the unstated is almost always more powerful than the direct. Often, in real life, when we find ourselves learning lessons and changing views, we can’t immediately define the changes in precise language. And neither should your character.)

After I've got the characters sorted out, it's time to think about the plot. I don't follow specific, exacting outlines anymore (that's what led to trouble with draft one!), but I keep the big picture in my head at all times so I know where I'm headed and don't just fumble around in the dark. That's not good, either. I might get some ideas for specific scenes I want to work in there, and the most I do then is jot down a few notes and maybe a snippet or two of dialogue. I don't do much more than that, because seven times out of ten the scene never makes it into the book and it absolutely never gets in there exactly as I first imagined it. By the time I get to it, the story has already moved in another direction and for the sake of coherency, it's necessary to fiddle with the details so it won't stick out like a sore thumb.

Next up on the to-do list: make a playlist. With the general plot and maybe a few scenes in mind, I look for a handful of songs that evoke the moods I might need to tap into down the road. As the plot changes, the playlist will change too. Maybe I need to drop a song that's tied to a mood I won't need. Maybe I need a new song to reflect a new mood. Sticking to a specific soundtrack is just like sticking to a specific outline: the story comes out forced and unnatural...which leads to a huge overhaul years later.

Finally, it's time to write the first chapter. I consider this a prep step as well, because the first chapter sets the tone for everything to follow. It's a nerve-wracking process, but it can also be the most enjoyable. Just think--this is the first step on the journey, and you have no idea where the road will take you! How exciting! An easy way to look at it is to consider the first chapter as a stand-alone story in itself. It should be able to work on its own, but fold neatly into the rest of the book. It's a great way to hook a reader, trust me!

Well, I think that's enough B.S. out of me for today. If you happen to start writing anything in the future, maybe this will help you out a bit! T.T.F.N.! Ta-Ta For Now!

Your pal,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Phan Art

What do you think of Phantom Fridays? We can see how it works, or at least how long it will last...

Anyway, I've got three faves from DA to share with you.

A Beautiful Thing - muirin007

The Phantom Strikes Back - DarthxErik

Pity Comes Too Late - bananaboo2

Hope they don't mind my sharing their's amazing stuff, and they get all the credit. Ain't it something, though?

Your pal,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson)

Hoo boy, was this one a blast!

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government.

But he has no idea just how explosive the story will be until, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are murdered. And even more shocking for Blomkvist: the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to Lisbeth Salander—the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker who came to his aid in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and who now becomes the focus and fierce heart of The Girl Who Played with Fire.

As Blomkvist, alone in his belief in Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation of the slayings, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous hunt in which she is the prey, and which compels her to revisit her dark past in an effort to settle with it once and for all.


My review as posted on GoodReads: 

Well, I'm in the same predicament with this one as I was with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. How do I describe it when the only words that really fit are unprintable and impolite? Let me put it this way: two chapters in, and I was already yelling things like "What the f*** is going on?!" and "Oh holy s***!" and just plain "Oh my God!" I got a few funny looks for a few of my outbursts, if you can believe it. *wink*

Long story short, two people are murdered, and it's Lisbeth Salander's prints on the murder weapon. What has dear Sally gotten herself into now? Old friend Mikael Blomkvist is convinced of her innocence, and sets out to prove it, while Salander herself becomes absorbed with cleaning out those skeletons in her closet.

I find my love for Salander growing along with my respect for Mr. Larsson. (Incidentally, I also rescind my former assertion that Salander is amoral...she really isn't, but her morals don't exactly coincide with everyone else's.) She's a little more accessible this time around, and it didn't matter what she was doing--even if it wasn't exactly scrupulous or "right"--I was cheering her on like a maniac. I think what I loved best about her was that she absolutely refuses to back down from a fight, no matter what the consequences. When she's backed into a corner, there's no middle road with her. It's do or die. She's difficult and infuriating as ever, but she's one of the most intriguing characters I've ever run across.

Blomkvist, the poor guy, really has no clue what he's gotten involved in now. On the surface, it's just a simple expose on sex trafficking in Sweden. What's under the surface, however..well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? His loyalty to Salander is what drives his actions here, and as usual he's driven into some messed-up crud.

(Gah! So hard to discuss this without giving anything away!)

As I read, I kept wondering "How is this supposed to tie into the story?" If I hadn't already been so involved, I would have given up in annoyance, but just as in Dragon Tattoo Mr. Larsson ties up his loose ends and you feel stupid for doubting him. The only thing that happened that didn't turn out to be absolutely vital to the plot was Salander's travels through the Caribbean in the beginning. Everything else, you'd better keep in mind, as it's important later on. That's really the most impressive thing about this book. It's mind-boggling as you read, but slowly the pieces start to come together and you gradually get an idea of what exactly is going on--but I guarantee, any predictions you might make about what will happen will be off the mark. It's best just to sit back and hang on.

Like the first book, this one takes awhile to take off (the murders actually don't occur until about halfway through), but once it does holy moly it doesn't stop. Unlike the first book, it doesn't take a large amount of patience to get absorbed in it. If you recognize any of the names from the first book, you'll be snared by what's going around, I promise. And to cap the whole kit and kaboodle, it goes out with what I'm forced to call a tidy little cliff-hanger. Someone get me the next book, quick!

I think the best way to sum up this trilogy so far is that it's one you have to discuss with someone else who has read it. I'm finding it very hard to review, and forget trying to talk about it without spoiling it for someone else! It was a wild ride, and I can't wait to read the last installment!

Seriously! Someone get me the next book! I'm dying over here!

Your humble book nerd,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Salute to Fiddlers

Music time! Even better than that...fiddling time! I'm ol' passion-for-violins Angels, here, after all. I see a beautiful, shiny, well-rosined work of art in a display case or hanging on the wall, and I start drooling. I hear that lovely, lively, mournful, soaring sound, and my heart stops beating. So I couldn't resist doing an entire post dedicated to some of my heroes. Away we go!

Charlie Daniels - The Devil Went Down the Georgia

Mairead Nesbitt - Shenandoah

Joshua Bell - The Girl With the Flaxen Hair

Adam deGraff - Sweet Child o' Mine

 David Garrett -Csardas Hungarian Dance

Ah...sounds like heaven to me...

Your pal,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Randomness 8

Back to being goofy!

Sloth Crosses Street ("I Believe I Can Fly")

Well, I thought it was cute, at least...

Your pal,

Monday, May 7, 2012

Character of the Month - May 2012

How does this sound for a monthly feature, my friends? Now you can be sure of TWO posts every month! For the time being, I'll stick to books, but I may branch out into movies later. You just never know. By the way, spoilers may be included in these posts, so look out. First up...

*drum roll*

Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility

 Elinor has been on my mind a lot since I finished reading the book last month. She's the eldest of the Dashwood sisters, and the most sensible of the lot (get it? She's the "sense" of the equation! probably already knew that). She was unfortunate enough to fall in love with lovable but terribly shy Edward Ferrars, a relative by marriage. Turns out that sister-in-law Fanny doesn't take kindly to her brother getting friendly with the dirt-poor Dashwood girls, and Elinor in particular. As if that wasn't enough--quick! If you haven't read the book, stop reading this post!

Edward is already engaged! Lucy Steele is an unpleasant, simpering, empty-headed, insincere, social-climbing strumpet who only happens to be mildly pretty. It doesn't say much for the young Edward that he's been tied to her for four years, but his heart belongs to Elinor, and his character won't allow him to break his promise to Lucy. And to top it off, Lucy just has to rub it in Elinor's face whenever they meet. (Grrr....)

Elinor, however, never loses her cool. She's probably the strongest and steadiest of Jane Austen's heroines. Her self-control is darn near unshakable, and she can not only endure Lucy's needling, but her in-laws' snubs for being a suspected favorite of Edward's, all while trying to keep the younger Marianne from killing herself with her own sorrow at her own spoiled love affair. She's the rock of the Dashwood girls, and an invaluable friend. Her sense of decency and decorum are rare even in books...most other characters like her tend to come off as Mary Sues. She has her faults, though. She puts more value on reason than feelings, and comes across as a trifle masochistic for putting up with everyone else's baloney when she ought to have told them to stuff it. Then again, you could also turn that around as being to her credit...

Elinor is one of the more deserving of Ms. Austen's characters, in my opinion, and she more than earns her happy ending. I can't say I always agree with her actions, but her moral compass never falters and she never breaks under all the pressure. Let's hear it for her! *applauds*

Your pal,

P.S. How do you think this will work as a monthly thing? Good? Bad? Ugly? Either way, I'll probably end up doing it again...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Had to Share This 13

Try to tell me that you can resist the urge to scream along with this one. Just try. If you're insistent I guess I'll believe you, but...

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - I Hate Myself For Loving You

Your pal,

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Oops! Did It Again!

How do I manage to get myself swamped at the most inopportune times? How? The worst part is, I've swamped myself with (what other people might consider) trivial, unimportant baloney! Who really cares if I get all that editing done? Who cares if I check my inbox and filter out all the junk? Who cares if I work on those character interviews, bash out that next chapter, or even post some gobbledegook on this blog?

Well...I do. Yet it appears I'm strapped for time to do all of these things, which is why I can be found late at night sitting up in bed with a flashlight scribbling furiously on a few sheets of notebook paper, or early in the morning at the computer trying to get that email sorted down to a reasonable mess, or right now at the Internet station at the library feeling like the entire room is reading all of this over my shoulder...

Someone help me hijack the TARDIS so I can go back in time, be in several places at once, and get more done! No, wait, the TARDIS doesn't work like that. Gonna have to break out the ol' Time Turner!

Your pal,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reviews From a Modest Movie Buff (Due Date)

So as I recall, I said I was going to do this clear back in January, and it's now May...*shakes head* Well, here it is anyway.

Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) is an uptight businessman, and he's particularly uptight since his wife is about to have their first child. On a flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, he meets Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis), an well-meaning but disaster-prone aspiring actor. Suffice it to say, it's all downhill from there.

Watching the previews, I kept thinking to myself, "There's no way this will be as great as it looks." As far as I'm concerned, it was. In fact, I rate it as the second funniest movie I've ever seen.

I've been a fan of Robert Downey, Jr. for some time (he's a favorite from Gothika, I freaking loved him in Sherlock Holmes, and I'd better not get started on Iron Man), but I've never seen him this crazy before. He starts off as a rude, rude guy, but you grow to love him...and sympathize with him for having to put up with a clown like Ethan. He's like an onion--no, I can't pull out the cliches! Think of something original! ... All right, he's like an onion--he's got a very sharp taste and quite a bit of a bite to him and he makes your eyes water, though not necessarily in a good way, but you still have to appreciate his flavor. For my part, I loved his swearing the best. I know, cussing is rude and vulgar, but the delivery is comically explosive (especially in that incident on the border!).

I'd only seen Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover where, surprise surprise, he played another inept dolt. (On a side note, that one was one of the most shameless movies I've seen, yet it was so ridiculous I had to laugh.) I've gotta hand it to him, though, he carries this dolt rather well. If you've seen the previews, you might recall this bit at the Grand Canyon:

E: I could have sworn it was man-made!

P: No, it's not man-made. It's formed by nature over millions of years. It's not the Hoover Dam.

E: I know it's not; that was built by the Pilgrims.

P: ...Also incorrect.

That's pretty much a standard for Ethan, and there was that tiny bit where he carried his father's ashes in a coffee can and Jamie Foxx accidentally drank dear Daddy Tremblay... Again, Ethan grows on you. He's like, really, he's like mildew. You can't get rid of him, no matter how hard you try, so eventually you just get used to him.

All right, that's for the stars, now onto everything else...this is R-rated, so there's some language including a few explosive F-bombs, drug use that leads to mayhem in Mexico, sexual humor here and there, and a scene at a rest stop in Shreveport that's so tasteless it's uncalled for but handled with a twist that it's still funny. So it's not for the easily-offended. It really depends on what you'd call funny, but then my own sense of humor is a little schizophrenic and I thought it was hilarious. It got muddled reviews, but who cares what the critics think, right? They're paid to be picky.

I guess the best way to put it is this: It's a more off-color version of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Does that work?

Your pal,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Randomness 7

Well, it's that time of day when I have to post something, for crying out loud. All right, how about another joke?

A blind guy walks into a bar.

Nah, just kidding.

A young Scotsman moves out of his parents' house and into his own flat (apartment, for my fellow Americans). His mother calls him a week later and asks how he likes the place. "I've got some strange neighbors," he tells her. "The woman on the left cries all the time, and the man on the right keeps banging his head against the wall." His mother, worried, tells him, "Then you'd better not have too much to do with them." "Oh, I don't," he replies. "I just sit in my room playing my bagpipes all day."


Your pal,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Artist of the Month - May 2012

I'm really excited about this one, not the least because I not only got it posted on time, but early! (Scheduled beautiful...)

Anyhoodles, onto the announcing, and can I get a drum roll, please?

*drum roll*

John Owen-Jones

Yippee! Told you it was a good one! Technically, he's a musical-theater actor, but with two albums already out...and a THIRD one freshly released...he counts as a recording artist in my book. So there. He's best known for playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, and actually played Valjean in the 25th anniversary tour of Les Mis. Yeah, that one passed through town, and I'm still P.O.'d that I missed it! Grrr! And do my eyes deceive me? Does Wikipedia tell me he was in productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Sound of Music? Awesome! At the moment, he's part of the new Phantom tour in the UK, the lucky devils, and I'm left sticking a couple videos on a stupid little blog...ain't life something?


I don't speak all...but I can still drown in that voice. Indeed, I already do! 

The Music of the Night
Bring Him Home
Someone to Fall Back On
Last Night of the World

Happy listening, 'cause it's for darn sure that I'm loving every second of this!

Your pal,