Month: May 2009 (page 1 of 4)

UP

Okay – so we saw UP. I’m thinking it may be a five-star film. I need to see it again to be certain, though.

This film was made for 3D. Husband, the film guy, could tell you how the 3D was used as a cinematic something-something to express emotion when the action was feverish or whatever, but to me, it was just a lot of pretty pictures. Really pretty ones.
The back story was told in the most remarkably sensitive, beautiful way – without dialog to get in the way of “Image producing Feeling.” I managed to love a character whose voice I never heard (adult Ellie). She becomes a leading force in the film without being present. Art-film stuff, huh?
The characters are likeable, even lovable – and I wasn’t expecting that. The old man, voiced by Ed Asner, looked (in the previews) like a grumpy caricature. Not at all, it turns out. Flawed but redeemable characters, great dialog, prefect delivery, random surprises that I will not give away, and a few lines we’ll be saying around our house for weeks to get a laugh (“Squirrel!” “I have just met you and I love you.”) and gorgeous animation.
And don’t look away laughing when Russell gets hit in the face by the tent pole. The welt over his eye disappears by the next moment, and you might (if you’re a sicko like me who laughs when a kid – especially a cartoon kid, but maybe even my own kid – gets hurt) not want to miss that.
(Side note on the 3D glasses – they are much improved. By the last 20 minutes, they were sort of squeezing my head, but no carsickness from the 3D.)
Great summer film. GO SEE IT! VOTE TODAY! (and let those Hollywood types know what real families like in the theaters)
Over and out. And up, up and away.

Summer starts Now – Ready… Go!

Hooray for the last day of school! Everyone was up early, dressed and with hairs bee-utiful before 6.30. It’s like the first day of school, but better – because nobody has to go back tomorrow. Or next week.

We’re planning the summer of “stay-cations” this year. We are going to explore the wonders of our state – at least ten of them. We’ll start with a waterfall hike tomorrow (ease them into it and all that) and work our way into the state parks that we’ve never visited.
If I were a good mom (or even someone who tries a little harder) I’d plan theme days around the visits, like where you make papier-mache models of the sites you see. I am not remotely that kind of good, however, so we’ll just try not to whine more than 45% of the time we’re in the car, travelling here and there.
Today we’re going to see UP – I hope I love it. I generally adore the Pixar shows, but seriously, that WALL-E just about turned me off films forever. If I want an environmental message shoved down my throat, I can watch the nature channel from my bedroom. In my pajamas. (Okay, I really can’t, because I don’t have any of those cool pay channels – and that is because I don’t want environmental messages shoved down my throat, if you know what I mean.)
But Husband has been showing the kids these “Up-isodes” on his phone, which are really clever and funny – so I have high hopes (um, really no balloon-pun intended). And I’m hoping for a preview of the next Pixar release. (**Toy Story 3? Oh, goody! Please, please!**) Besides, I just love going to the theater to see a movie. And eat much popcorn.
* Side note * Husband bought the tickets, and the 3D glasses. Uh. The glasses. I have a long and here-to-fore undocumented history of getting carsick watching 3D movies. He bribed me into submission with many flattering words and the promise of a large bucket of hot buttered popcorn. (Get it while it’s hot! Get it while it’s buttered!) But we put the glasses on for a gorgeous family photo before the kids left for school, and they’re not too bad. Not as lame as the old plastic-filmed, red and green, paper glasses, and no as uncomfortable as the ones you wear in the “Bug’s Life” show at Disneyland. So I’m putting on my brave face and taking my popcorn with a Dramamine chaser. Stay tuned. Review tomorrow. Same time, same channel.

The music in my head

I woke up this morning with the Depeche Mode song “Somebody” in my head. I have not heard that song since maybe the last high school dance – but maybe, maybe some DJ played it at a dance in college (not that I hit the dance scene too much then).

It has been a very, very long time since then.

Strangely, I can hear every word in my head, and the 80s angsty-alternative thrum is crushing my brain. Not that it’s a bad song. I wouldn’t say that. It just has never been my style, and I can’t fathom why (why? WHY?) it came to me today.
I want somebody to share, share the rest of my life…

I don’t want to be tied to anyone’ s strings; I’ve carefully tried to steer clear of those things…

Share my innermost thoughts, know my intimate details…

I want somebody who cares for me passionately…

And when I’m asleep, I want somebody who will wrap their arms around me and kiss me tenderly. (Seriously? I much prefer to stay asleep.)

All those things I detest, I will almost like…

Really? These were the lyrics we swooned to during the last song at a dance? Sheesh. Come on. I’m driving to mee the sisters for a surprise birthday breakfast, and all I’m saying is, I better get a new song lodged in there.

Chocolate and Physics

I’m not really a chocolate person. I mean, I’ll eat it, and once in a great while I’ll crave it (but usually in connection with butter toffee). But for some reason, I had a few of those Andes mints in my purse. I think they were from the Olive Garden, which would mean they’ve been in my purse for many months (like maybe since November – ick). Because, you know, I don’t eat them.

And here’s the physics part: If one places a foil-wrapped chocolate confection in a warm place, say a car, for several hours, one may find one’s foil-wrapped chocolates pressed into whatever solid object rested near them.
Such as my compulsive pile of pens.
In my purse are at least 6 pens, not counting the orange highlighter (with sticky flags – joy of my heart), pencil, and lipliner (Wet-n-Wild #666 – dont’ read anything into the number; it’s only the greatest 99-cent beauty product in the free world). You never know when you’ll need to write something down, or highlight something, or change the clock in the minivan, or rediscover your sexy lips. A girl needs to be prepared.
I went to a small, chummy meeting of writers today to discuss marketing strategy and a possible teen book club. When I went after my favorite green-inked pen, it took a tug to dislodge it from the side pocket in my purse. Hm, says I. How odd, and sort of gross. When I clicked it to get the inky part note-taking-ready, it was covered in a very yucky small blob of re-hardened once-Andes-mint. Sort of brownish-green and (okay, writer in me is being clubbed by mother in me, because no matter how many good descriptions there are for this yuckiness, none matches the simplicity of just laying it out like it is) looking like something that should be contained in a diaper.
Eww.
I’m a big girl and managed to wipe it off and laugh it off. Fellow author and mama Ally Condie surely noticed the resemblance to pooh, but managed to keep her disgust hidden.
Best part? The moment author friend Lisa Mangum (The Hourglass Door) borrowed the pen to jot down some brilliance and barely took a second glance at the smear of brown lodged there.
Note to self: Need to stop stockpiling food I’m not likely to ever, ever eat – especially the kind that melts.

High School Revisited, and General Transcendence

So once upon a time in high school and college, I had this best friend. He was a guy. He was sweet and talented and clever and smart (almost as smart as he thought he was). We were best friends for a couple of years, and then I got married and sort of got myself a new best friend, know what I mean?

Well, thanks to that inter-ma-net thingie, we’ve lately reconnected and it’s still fun. He’s still funny and probably still thinks he’s a little smarter than he is, but that’s totally okay with me. He’s happily married, and finding joy in his life, and taking his profession by storm and all that jazz.
So there’s this part of me that still wants him to be proud of me, and I’m somewhat tempted to send him (or his wife) a copy of BBM. But there’s this possibility that he may connect just a little too much with the boy-best-friend character. Can I actually send him a book and say these words: This is not about you?
I’ve already said it to my steptwin. I’ve already said it to my parents. I’ve already said it to my brother, and there aren’t even any brothers in the book. For heaven’s sake, are we all looking for ourselves, or what? Do I look for myself in the books I read? Even the ones written by people I’ve never met? Maybe. Sometimes. Maybe that’s why I get disappointed in the dumb things characters do and say. Maybe that’s why I cheer for underdoggies, or celebrate the girls who come to terms with their imperfections (specifically body-image ones).
Does everyone do that? Is that why we read? Are we looking for ourselves in these characters? Is it the same as having indirect adventures? Or is it more introspective (don’t you love that word?), about finding what needs fixing and changing?
Hm. What does that say about me if I pull for the villain on occasion? Or if I absolutely cannot care what happens to the sweet, innocent heroine?
Remember when you were a kid, watching a show on TV, or a movie, or whatever, and saying “I get to be ____.” – Like calling a character? Did you want to be the nice one, or the interesting one? When I was in High School and first heard Les Miserables (the musical) I wanted to be Eponine, the terrorized, ravaged, heartbroken child of the streets. Who wants to be the sweet little ingenue? (Not to mention that the writers clearly agreed with me, because Eponine’s songs are so much cooler than Cosette’s – but I digress.)
So finding yourself in a story and connecting with a character are not necessarily the same thing, right? Because I hope I’m not the only one who finds myself in one character, but wishes to be a different one…

Kid 2, to the Rescue

Kid 2 came with me on the 4.5 miler yesterday morning, just after my moaning post. She gave me ideas. Or talking to her and listening to her I thought of a couple, anyway.

Oh, so this is why I had kids. Now it’s all becoming clearer.
Not only that, but I discovered that she can almost keep up with my walking pace these days, and although she can jog faster, I can jog longer. (Not long, you understand, just longer.)
So hooray for writing, and ideas, and consistency, and girl-kids and holidays.
And long walks.

WIP semi-trauma Ramblings

Yeah! A thousand words before kids are up. I should do more, I know, but I have this tiny problem. At half-way through my first draft, I still don’t know exactly what my main character wants. Oops. It seems clear that she wants to be accepted, but that’s already fine. Because even though the people she wants to break in with are mean to her, yadda, yadda, she has a nice group of friends.

Shoot.
I need a hook.
She needs for some reason to be unacceptable. Or to want something else that’s too hard to get. What would a freshman at a prestigious boarding school want? An upperclassman boyfriend? (Yeah, she wants that.) Academic recognition? (Who doesn’t? They’re channeling into the Ivy League.) A magic wand? (Just kidding.) I know what she wants in her Sophomore year, and her Junior. Do I bag draft one (year one) and skip to the next? Here’s the problem with that. I get distracted so easily, I may dread coming back to first year.
Maybe I need to introduce a competition where she can either excel or sabotage her nemesis. Then I’ll just need to give her the skills to succeed (and a nemesis – we all need one of those). And here I sit, staring at the wall, wondering what the competition should be. I think I need to go for a walk. A long one. Without music, just to fill my brain with many, many fine ideas for intrigue and contest.
Or at least burn off last night’s popcorn indulgence.

Dead Muse Update

I know how you were all concerned. I won’t leave you wondering. The Muse returned this morning. Turns out she really likes to have me to herself – first thing in the morning, when all the house is quiet.

So I get a thousand words put in, and I even know what to write next (!) and all is well.
I’m off to plant my garden. This will bring me great joy in a couple of months, so I will put on my happy face for the not-so-fun parts today.