Sunday, January 29, 2012

Double Vision

Lately, as I drive around town, wash dishes, sort laundry and grocery shop, I've been listening to the "Wheel of Time" books on my iPod. They are so well narrated that listening removes me from the mindless tasks at hand and transports me to one of my favorite imaginary places to visit. The transition from audio to book versions, however, is a struggle for me. I get mixed up and can't find where I am later if I have read a few pages and then return to the audio. So I've decided that in my non-audio time, I will read something completely different-- non-fantasy and brand new. I've read WOT so many times that I won't get confused about the story or the characters (any more than normal!), so I've been trying out other books on the side. I don't normally read two or more books at a time. When I wasn't working full time I could, and sometimes I did, but usually I just like to savor one at a time.

My list of to-reads is a long one, and grows every week, and I've been choosing my secondary reading material by my moods. This week, I've been feeling like reading something gritty, violent and a little scary. Don't ask me to explain this mood-- it isn't a reflection of my life, just what I feel like reading. Most of what I've been watching lately has been lighter fluff, and WOT is amazing, but is no longer surprising and not very scary, though intense. Maybe I'm just craving something in contrast to that?

I just LOVE Dan Wells' serial killer books, but I only just read them for the second time a few months ago, and I wanted something fresh and new. I'd love to read more of Phillip Depoy's Fever Devilin books, but the library doesn't have more than one, and I don't want to buy them without reading them first.

So I picked up "Darkly Dreaming Dexter", by Jeff Lindsay, at the library. Many of my fellow librarians love the TV show "Dexter", and it sounds similar in spirit to Wells' books, so I decided to give the first book a look. So far so good. I like it. It's darker than Wells' books, and has some foul language, but at about 45 pages in, nothing too bad. I doubt I'll be watching the show, though. From what I understand, it's quite sexual and the language is very... adult... and it's bloody and gory. I can handle some such material, but not Showtime channel standard, usually.  So I'll read the book for now.

It's interesting to be drawn in two very different directions at the same time by these books. If I added in a Louis L'Amour book and another by Nora Roberts, maybe my head would explode...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Makes You Think

I really enjoy the CBS show "The Big Bang Theory". Sometimes. Often it's too racy for me, which is sad, because I think the characters are great and the situations the nerdy geniuses get themselves into are often hilarious. One episode from this season, though, has stuck with me, and not because it was especially great, though the bit with Sheldon giving Amy a gift of jewelry was EXCELLENT.

It's called "The Shiny Trinket Maneuver" and the secondary story involves Howard, played by Simon Helberg and his fiance, Bernadette, played by Melissa Rauch. When the storyline isn't focused on sex, I actually really enjoy their relationship. She's adorable and he's awkward and usually does everything wrong with women, and it's nice to see them so happy together. In this episode, Bernadette tells Howard that she doesn't want children. She doesn't like them and can't see herself giving up her career to raise kids. I was going to quote her here, but I can't get the video to play again (my wifi is atrocious in the evenings). She makes quite a few comments about how horrible that would be-- giving up her career and her body for that. She really, really doesn't want to be a mother.

I recognize that there are probably a lot of real-life women out there who feel like this-- who think having babies and being a mommy is degrading and unclassy and even disgusting, but I think I speak for the majority of mothers when I say that Bernadette doesn't realize what she's saying!! My heart breaks for the future children of such a woman. To be seen as an inconvenience and something to be pushed off on to someone else (even Dad, who, sorry folks, can't quite take the place of Mom. Be he the best Dad on planet Earth, he will still never be Mommy, just as she could never replace him...) to raise them and to bandage scraped knees and kiss boo-boos and watch them take their first steps... sigh... it makes me so sad!

I kind of understand the appeal of a child-free life, especially when mine are throwing up or throwing fits or bickering or otherwise frustrating me, but I would never, ever trade the years I had with them as babies for all the success, financial or otherwise. Ever! I adore my kids and when they were babies, I couldn't imagine anyone besides me having the mommy experiences I had. I read to them, potty trained them, I cleaned up after them, I hugged and kissed and snuggled and read to and ran with and held hands with all of them. I still get to do some of those activities! There's nothing more rewarding than having my 16- and 15-year old sons put their arms around me. They are silly sometimes, saying "I wuvoo!" and such, but it's sincere and I can't think of anything better.  So, while I understand her position, I can't image ever feeling like Bernadette. I can't imagine only seeing motherhood through the superior, self-centered lens that her character seems to have on. Sad, even if she is fictional, that she represents some real women out there. Ah, well... maybe not all women were meant to be mommies.

You can watch it HERE, and I would be curious about what you thought. It's a decent episode overall, it just made me sorry for Bernadette's character. I suppose I can accept that many women prefer their careers to motherhood, it just makes me a little sad for them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do ya follow me?

Blog readers generally, but not exclusively, fit into a few specific categories. First are fellow bloggers, who like to read what other people are doing. Second, there are avid readers, who love to see what other people write about, who follow dozens or hundreds of blogs and spend hours each day devouring the stories, opinions and general chatter in the blogosphere. Third are the lurkers. They skim from blog to blog, increasing readership but without clicking "follow". They want to see but not be seen. 

They're on Facebook, too. You might be friends with them. They poke around, looking at posts, but seldom clicking "like" or commenting on anything, even when it interests them. They want to sit in the back seat, listening but never making themselves known. I've found myself increasingly becoming a Facebook lurker. Most of the time it's because I don't have anything to say... but I understand.

I can be shy by nature, so I do get it, but I have to ask... if you are reading my blog, which I whole-heartedly appreciate, will you please consider following it? You can follow anonymously if you prefer not to be known. You can follow with a pseudonym-- who will ever know? This is an open invitation. If you happen to read my blog and think you might return another day, please become a fellow follower, nay, member, of my blog. I would truly appreciate it. 

In return, I will try to post items of interest and entertainment, commentary and observation. I will also send you good vibes which will increase your personal awesomeness. 

The above photo is from the website:

Co-starring Matt Damon

Occasionally, celebrities have supporting roles in my dreams. As is the way with dreams, of course, this seems perfectly natural and normal while I’m sleeping. Then I wake up and I'm struck by how odd it was that a stranger with a famous face walks my dreams. Thankfully, none of my dreams involve anything creepy or nasty. 

The most popular guest star is Matt Damon. I'm not sure why, but I've dreamed him more than any other celeb. Sometimes he’s my brother, sometimes he’s a boyfriend (but without any naughty fantasies, he's just... there), sometimes he’s good friend. My husband thinks it’s pretty odd, but I have heard of other people that have similar dreams.

I have had other celebs appear in my dreams as well, but right this moment I can’t remember whom or for what purpose. Usually they are just supporting players and part of the stories, just like my family members or friends. They walk on, say their lines and walk off. :)

So how about you? Has your subconscious every inserted a celebrity into your dreams? Do you see them repeatedly? Do the celebs take turns? If you could choose a celebrity to have randomly pop in and out of your dreams, who would it be? Personally, I enjoy Matt Damon very much in the waking world. He is a great actor and seems like a good man. I admire his devotion to his family and his ability to stay "normal" while being an A-list celebrity. Well, at least, that's my perception. Who knows the true story?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A little Library Diversion...

This is off the track from my normal postings, but that's just how I roll. :)

Tonight in the library someone was whistling. Not a soft, peaceful whistle, nor a melodic, musical whistle. No. This was a repetitive, toot-toot-toot-too-too-toooo. I was engrossed in various librarian labors and the sound was faintly itching the back of my attention for a long while. Finally, though, unbidden, it clawed its way to the front of my conscious brain and I was forced to seek the perpetrator. Just as I left my desk to find him, the sound cut off. I sought him out, but my search was in vain. He escaped the half-smiling, half-vicious shushing I had in store for him.

I tightened the bun in my hair, fingered my glasses back up my nose, and returned to my seat, opening a book for good measure.

The modern library is a much noisier place than the one I remember enjoying as a child. I frequented the library, as my devotion to books began at a young age, and I remember them as places of peace, quiet and nap-inducing air conditioning. I am learning to tolerate the modern, clamorous library. I want children and teens, especially, to learn to love the library as I do. I feel it is one of my callings in life to encourage literacy, and one way is through frequent visits to the library to borrow books.

However, the incessant whistler or full-voice cell-phone talker is a distraction to all library patrons (or “users” in today’s lingo), as is the child who races, screaming, through the stacks. I appreciate and enjoy the happy squeals of a joyous toddler, but I still think children should be taught by their parents to respect the rights of others to study, read, research and relax in a quiet, albeit a moderately quiet, library.

I never found the whistler. Perhaps one of the other librarians beat me to the search and quieted him. I suspect it was one of the lanky teenage boys lurking near the entrance as I walked around hunting. They didn’t look suspicious, and I suppose whistling can be said to be a happy sound, but there is a time and place for even the most joyous of noise.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

CGI Planet...

For New Year's Eve, we had a blu-ray double feature, starting with the amazing "Captain America", which we've seen before but loved and wanted to watch in blu-ray. The second movie was "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".

I hesitated to watch this movie at all. For one thing, having grown up with my father, I've seen the classic original film a couple of times, and I wondered how they would tell the back story for that movie with all the modern CGI bells and whistles without ruining the story, and to be honest, I anticipated it being quite scary. I don't like the idea of human subjugation whether to superior aliens or to apes, so I was really nervous. It has been many years since I saw the original "Planet of the Apes", though, so I didn't remember all the details.

This movie starts out with a bunch of science-y stuff setting up the story of one chimpanzee, Caesar, and the human who raises him, who is a scientist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's (which his father is in the later stages of), testing a viral concoction on chimps. Caesar has had the virus passed to him by his mother, in vitro, and as such has superior intelligence and cognitive skills. The CGI Caesar is pretty dang good, though he strikes me as being very tall: nearly as tall as James Franco by the end, which I suppose could be possible, because Franco is only about 5'10" and chimps can get as tall as 5'5". Still... it was distracting... and I'm not a huge fan of movies that are 90% CGI...

There were more than a few laughably stupid things, such as the sudden, unexplained explosion in numbers of the chimpanzees. Inside the chimp rescue facility, they show what looks like about 50 chimps, one gorilla and one orangutan, but when they escape, suddenly the hillsides are crawling with hundreds of chimps, multiple gorillas and at least two orangutans. This was before they had visited the zoo and the research facility to free the rest of their buddies. After that it looked like many more, maybe a thousand! Kind of made me wonder how many chimps live in that city in the real world?? 

Another silly thing was having Tom Felton (suppressing his English accent fairly well; there was really only one slip that I caught) actually say the famous Charlton Heston line from the original film: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" It was laughably bad and completely inappropriate for his character. 

There were a lot of campy "money shot" moments, as well, such as when Caesar speaks for the first time (in the scene above), or when Caesar, a gorilla, an orangutan and another chimp are all standing on a car on the highway and the camera pans back and stops as though they've posed just for us... and I doubt that apes could repeatedly leap through plate glass windows and emerge without any injuries.

I don't mean to be heartless, but I really had a hard time rooting for the apes in the movie. I had little sympathy for them. The abusive "rescue" facility was so contrived and obvious as to be almost cartoonish, and the animals were so violent to so many innocent people that I had no sympathy for them at all. In the battle for supremacy, I will always root for the humans...

My husband pointed out that had they started the movie about 2/3 through and told the story of the actual rise of the apes, it would have been a better story. The actual back story that sets up the classic movie was the only interesting thing, and it happened during the closing credits, rather than during the movie... I would have liked that a little more, as well.

All in all, it was a so-so movie. The plot moved slowly, the acting was just okay, and while the special effects were excellent, the script didn't really hold up to the standard of the effects.

One other note, I realized my son who watched this movie with us will never have that moment of shock and surprise at the end of the original movie when Heston realizes he's been on Earth all along... this movie kind of ruins that twist for new viewers of the classic film... kind of too bad.