Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Picture Perfect

There are some bonuses to having friends that are photographers. These fancy pictures are thanks to our super friend Megan Smock. Here are a few of the ones I like even though they are all pretty darn cute.

Liz & John
October 11, 2010









Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie
by Maggie Stiefvater
 
The second book in the Books of Faerie series. I loved this more than the first book. Why? Because this one was all James all the time. I love him. I loved being in his head and on his side of the story for this one.
James and Dee have ... parted ways ... since the end of the last novel. There is a huge rift between them that neither one of them is ready to cross. Things were said and not said in the end of Lament that each would like to take back or fix, but they both believe it's not possible anymore.
James spends a good portion of the book lamenting (no pun intended) over his loss of friendship with Dee. And Dee keeps us posted on her life through a series of text messages that she never sends. It's quite heart breaking. They are starting their fist year at a Musical Prep School where a lot of crazy things happen. There are faeries about, and James hates them. However there is one faerie, named Nuala that he builds a bond with. There is a lot going on in this book there is the surface story of James and Nuala, the back ground stories of James and Dee and James and his roommate, and then there is the story about what's going on in the faerie world. They are all nicely intertwined and you find yourself really feeling for James and some of the choices he has to make. There were several places in this book where I cried. I wanted James to be happy, but some times he just sabotages himself (like we all do some times) and he is left with words unsaid. Dee is really frustrating in this one. On one hand you want to know more about what is going on with her and her cryptic messages, but on the other hand you just want to slap her for the words that come out of her mouth. And Nuala ... I don't even know what to say about her. I liked her, but I didn't. I wanted her to be happy, but not at the expense of Dee. I wanted the end to not be the way it was. But the end was good enough.
I'd love to read another novel about these characters, but according to Maggie there probably isn't going to be anymore novels in this series. That's oaky though. I guess what we got was good enough.
I don't think it would make a good stand alone read because there were a lot of references to things that happened in Lament. I recommend this book to those who loved Lament, those who wanted more for James.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished this book back at the beginning of October and an just getting around to reviewing it now.
 
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception
Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception (Books of Faerie, #1)
    by Maggie Stiefvater
 
This is the first of two books in The Books of Faerie series by Maggie Stiefvater. I bought this book sight unseen and description unread, simply because I loved reading Ms. Stiefvater's other two books. She has a great way of writing that first person perspective that just gets you wrapped up and involved in the story. In this book she uses a lot of Celtic Faerie lore that I just love. If I was more of a nerd than I am, I'd know all sorts of stuff regarding faeries and the worlds they inhabit, but since there is a limit to my nerdiness I only know little bits of faerie lore, but I always just suck it in when it's handed to me in any sort of novel form.
I really loved this book. This is the story of a teenage girl, who is a little strange, that dreamed of a boy and he appeared. This is the story of a thousand year-old boy who is a mortal faerie assassin who falls for his prey. This is the story of a best friend bagpiper who loves a girl who doesn't see him. The whole book is pretty great.
I loved Dee, she was smart and sassy and as a YA heroine she was pretty tough and had her head on straight. She fought for what she wanted and was willing to make sacrifices. Luke's character was okay. He was just the standard type of boy for these types of novels. The mysterious boy who wants to be with the girl but there is some insurmountable secret that makes it nearly impossible, but he's willing to try to be there for her no matter the consequences. Then there is James. I loved James from his first brief appearance and every time he appeared on the pages of this novel. I wanted him to get what he wanted. I wanted him to be the one she would choose. I wanted him to be more involved. I wanted James to win, I wanted Dee to get her head out of her butt, and I wanted Luke to be able to live the life he deserved.  But we don't always get what we want, and this book had that as an ongoing theme.
There were several parts that made me tear up a little or a lot. There were points in the book where I just wanted to smack all the characters for various reasons, but in the end I guess it worked out as much as it could. I liked that this book had a good ending, but not necessarily a happy ending. I mean, really, how happily could this have ended after all that happened to the characters.
There is some Kissing and some killing. There are some difficult choices and some broken hearts. This is your standard good vs. evil vs. not so evil YA novel. I recommend this book for those of us who love YA paranormal romances, for those who have a sappy teenage hearts, and for those of us who just love the naive love stories that these books offer to us.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Yesterday I finished reading a book:
 
Fallen (Fallen, #1)
        FALLEN
           by Lauren Kate
 
Okay, I'm not going to lie to you. This wasn't the best thought out novel ever. The main characters were weak and selfish and sometimes completely pathetic. There was no reason for them to fall in love and no build up to them being destined for each other...
But other than that, I enjoyed this book. There were several points in the novel where I paused and compared it to Twilight. The poor main male character always brooding and running away from the girl he is supposed to be in love with and all the "oooooo stay away from me" lines. Bleh. Haw pathetic.
However, for a quick weekend read it wasn't terrible. Sure, the book is like 459 pages long, but I finished it in one full day. It has a large type-set so there aren't as many words in it as the bulk of the book would suggest. So it's not a hard one to read. Overall, I did like the story, and it had a lot of potential to be a good book. I just wish that there had been more character development with Daniel and Luce, and that they would have acted the way their character descriptions made them sound.
There was some build up to the climactic face off, but not really enough, and then when it came down to describing things the author was very vague and she might as well just have said "And then something happened and then something else came along and some one said this."
I know that as an author you're supposed to trust your readers and leave a little to their imagination, but I don't think you're supposed to leave EVERYTHING to the readers imagination.
Listen to me, all I'm doing is boo-whooing this book when really I had a hard time putting it down. Even though it was vague, and the characters were hollow, it was an easy story to get into and enjoyable to read. Just don't go into it expecting it to be a super great book and you wont be too disappointed.
I may or may not read the sequels, that has yet to be decided.

FYI

For the next 2 weeks on PBS "Masterpiece Mystery!" series they are showing Sherlock. this 21st Century view of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective. John had shown me an article about this series in his Wizard Magazine a few weeks ago, and I thought: "That's be fun to watch." but silly me, I assumed that it would just be on the Sy-Fy Channel or one of those other network stations that we don't have, so I just kind of forgot about it until last night when I was flipping channels trying to find something to watch before bed. I came to channel 7 and stopped to watch Martin Freeman (who has just been announced to be Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming Hobbit movie) for a moment when I realized I was watching Sherlock Holmes. Thankfully I had only missed the first 10 minutes of the show so I wasn't too lost.
Other than the fact that I pretty much have decided I hate the actor playing Holmes, I loved it. It was very entertaining. I liked Martin Freeman as Watson,  Inspector Lestrade was a great fit too. The show is co-written some of the writers of Doctor Who. I can't wait to watch the next two installments.
 
 
Here are the show times for the next two installments on PBS Channel 7 in Northern Utah:
 
Masterpiece Mystery!: Sherlock: The Blind Banker
Sunday, October 31, 8:00pm
"Sherlock: The Blind Banker," about a bank break-in.
Masterpiece Mystery!: Sherlock: The Great Game
Sunday, November 7, 8:00pm
A bomber challenges Holmes to solve a string of mysteries.

Halloween Movie Month Week 8

Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) - This is the second movie in the Lost Boys trilogy. It was as bad as the third. I see now how Corey Haim was supposed to fit into the story of the third movie. They had pretty much set up the plot in a little 5 minute ending in the middle of the credits, but it looks like they had to change every thing when he died. It looks like the movie still would have been cheesy, it just would have had a different plot. Anyway in the Tribe, it's a bunch of hoodlum Surfer Vampires and a boy who has to save his sister from becoming one of the undead before it's too late. Corey Feldman is such and cheese. he sounds like he had either smoked too much or has been drinking acid, so he really does sound like a frog. This was pretty much just a copy of the first movie which was a little disappointing. Oh well... we really weren't expecting it to be an Oscar winner.

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My Bloody Valentine (2009) - This movie was pretty good for a slasher flick. There was so many dead bodies in the first 10 minutes of the movie we were rather pleased. We only watched the 2D version, but we both admit that this would have been fun in 3D. As expected, there is a lot of killing and a few twists to the plot. John thought he had this one figured out, but in the end we were a little surprised. There is an entire scene with a naked lady in, and some sex. Other than that it's your typical F-word flinging, bloody mess murderer in a mine show. If you don't mind the naked this movie was a fun one to watch the murder's were all pretty predictable so you were cued on when to look the other way. We probably need to see the 1981 version now, just to see the differences.

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Drag Me To Hell (2009) - Poor girl is cursed by crazy old gypsy lady and has to find the way to stop it before her soul is doomed. This movie was pretty harmless. No naked, no sex, only a little gore... mostly it was a figure out if it's truly over kind of movie. There were some funny moments and some where you're like "duh!" but other than that it was pretty good. This is probably one of those movies that I wouldn't mind letting my teenagers watch for a Halloween movie night. And let me just state for the record, if I was faced with the same decision that was presented at the end of the movie, I have a few solutions and I'd have no qualms about it.

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Alien Apocalypse (2005) - Yes, this one is rated B for Bruce Campbell. In the future, evil Alien Termites come to earth and force all humans into slavery. Bruce Campbell and his three comrades return to earth from a 40 year space mission where they have been in stasis for the last 20 years. Right off the bat two of them are killed, and Dr. Hood (Bruce Campbell) must find the President of the United States and save the world for the Alien rule... Does he do it? Can Bruce Campbell save the world from these evil aliens that like to eat their slaves? Can the President help? Will Everyone die?? Those are some good questions, but only me, John and Sophie know the answers. You'd better watch the movie so you know the answers too. (and yes, Sophie watched this one with us. You know, 4 month-old babies are totally into Bruce Campbell too.)

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Angel: Season One: Disk 2 - Rm W/a Vu, Sense & Sensitivity, Bachelor Party, I Will Remember You - This disk finds Cordelia looking for a new apartment and with Doyle's help she finds the perfect one... only problem is, it is haunted. But Cordelia wants it bad enough that she fights for it. Then, thanks to Wolfram & Heart the LAPD have to take sensitivity training that causes the entire department to fall apart to aid the escape of a criminal and Angel has to swoop in and save the day. Then, Doyle's wife appears and is getting remarried. Cordelia is hurt that Doyle didn't tell her that he was married, but then the new husband wants to eat Doyle's brains. and finally Buffy comes to LA and her and Angel have a fantastic day together and then due to a problem Angel has to have the Powers That Be reverse time, and only he remembers that the day ever happened. Poor Angel.

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Angel: Season 1: Disk 3 - Hero, Parting Gifts, Somnambulist - Sadly, this is the end of Doyle. Very sad episode where he and Cordelia finally are okay with each other and then all goes wrong. With Doyle's death (Yes, I cried) he leaves Cordelia with his power of sight so she has a little of him with her and mayhem ensues. Also, Wesley arrives. Then, someone from Angel's past returns as a cereal killer and Angel has to stop him and he needs Kate's help. She kills the other vampire, but can never accept Angel as he is and this is the beginning of the end for her character in the series.

Friday, October 22, 2010

And I was like, Hey Girl, can I get your number?

What's my CD for the week ... well, this has been playing in my car for the last few days, (well, this and all of the other NKOTB albums on an MP3 disk that I like to torture my husband with,) and I was surprised to see that I hadn't put this up yet since it is one of my recent favorites in the "CD's I Love" category. Are you ready for this?
The Block [Deluxe Edition]
    The New Kids on the Block


I LOVE this Band, and I don't care who knows it! There were times as a teenager that I tried to deny that I was a New Kids fan, and I refused to be a fan while they were popular, but even after all these years I have been a New Kids girl. From the first time I ever saw adorable Joey-Joe and listened to him sing "Please Don't Go Girl" he's had that giddy little girl part of my heart. The new Kids on the Block have been around since 1985 nut in 1995 they dropped off the face of the earth as a group for about 15 years but now they're back... And we're all grown up now.
I'll admit, when I first bought the album I didn't really like it, and it took a few times listening to it until it really grew on me, and now I can't imagine not loving it. I just love listening to my Joey belt out the songs. His voice makes me smile. The Block album was released in 2008 preceding their reunion tour. And yes, I did pre-order the Album, and Yes, I did attend the Concert when they came to Salt Lake.
The Block is full of some very mature songs. They've gone from 80's/90's Pop Band to Dirty Adult Band. I'm pretty sure that there is a sexual reference in every song on this album. I have listened and listened to this album several times trying to decide if there is any one song on it that is purely innocent, and though I keep telling myself that there is one, I can never seem to decide if that's true or not.
Maybe there are two that aren't so bad: "Stare At You" is the song I have picked as my song for John, because "I could just stare at you forever, if forever you were staring at me." I think it's probably the cheesiest song on this CD, but I don't care, I love it. "Don't Cry" talks about showing your love because I one of us might be gone tomorrow. These two songs choke me up a little. Sniffle sniffle. "I'll be trippin' can't wait 'til the next time,  but if there isn't a next time... Maybe just, don't cry, don't cry."
I love every song on this album. Musically the album is fantastic, lyrically it's just dirty. (I'm one of those people you hear about at church all the time who listens to inappropriate music.) You can tell just how inappropriate some of the songs are just by their titles "Grown Man", Sexify My Love" (is that a real word??), "Dirty Dancing" but other's are more subtly deceiving in their titles, but they're just as dirty: "Lights, Camera, Action", "Full Service", "Big Girl Now"... Sadly, these are some of the best songs to belt out while you're driving in the car. Just know that when you listen to this CD it's probably not one to listen to with impressionable children around.

This Album successfully covers all the basses of a relationship:
Meeting = "Single" "Put It On My Tab" "Twisted" "Full Service"
Falling in Love = "Summertime" "One Song"
Being in Love = "Click, Click, Click" "Stare At You" "Don't Cry"
Lust = "Big Girl Now" "Grown Man" "Sexify My Love" "Lights, Camera, Action"
Fighting = "2 In The Morning"
Being unfaithful = "Dirty Dancing" "Looking Like Danger"
Breaking up = "Officially Over"

On a side note: Donnie Wahlberg recently got divorced.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Apparently We're Foodies

John and I have tried a few new recipes last week for our dinners. We're trying to eat at home more and eat out less because we have realized that if we ever want to afford a house eating out is the most expensive item in our budget to cut. Below is a recipe that I decided I really like.

Warning:: It's Good For You.

It does contain a lot of veggies, but it's very good. I'd suggest that you probably have some bread to go with it to add a little more substance, but it really was pretty filling by it'self.

It's also pretty good as leftovers, (if you like leftovers) but the tortellini does get a little mushy. If you can't palate the mush than it's better that you eat all the tortellini's out of it and just keep the veggie's and broth.

You can find the original recipe HERE with nutritional information. I've put it below with some of the changes I made in blue. Enjoy!

 

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Tortellini & Zucchini Soup

servings, about 1 ½ cups each

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped   --  (I used pre-shredded carrots from the store about two hand full's chopped a little to make smaller pieces.)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic -- (I use freeze dried garlic, it works just as well)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary – (Mmmm! I'd never used rosemary before.)
  • 2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth  -- ( Used a 14.5 oz can and full can of water)
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 9 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh or frozen tortellini, preferably spinach-&-cheese  -- (I used a half a bag of frozen tortellini)
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar (not necessary, but it does add a little more flavor, I used it because I had some – if you don't use the vinegar salt and pepper would be good.)

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir in broth and zucchini; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tortellini and tomatoes and simmer until the tortellini are plump and the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir vinegar into the hot soup just before serving.

Halloween Movie Month Week 7

Disturbia (2009) - This movie was an okay thriller. You knew it wasn't going to be super scary because it was only rated PG-13, but that's okay. we don't need terrifying every day. What's it about? Boy has issues, stuck at home he watches his neighbors, something terrible happens, boy saves day. This was a good movie for what it was. I even jumped once, but that's about it. This is one of those movies that you could rent for your teenagers and be okay with the fact that it's not full of sex or blood or too much swearing.

 

Animals (2008) - Wow, this was a terrible movie. The CGI was bad, the acting was bad, the story was bad. We were hoping for some werewolf fun, or at least some sort of animal transformation, but this movie is just full of sex scene after sex scene after sex scene. This may fit into the "soft porn" category. I can't believe we watched it. There was no suspense, it took too long to get anywhere past the sex, and when the "monsters" finally did transform it was into these ghostly ethereal dog/beast forms that really sucked. I suggest that no one ever watch this movie. Ever. Interestingly enough, it was filmed in Utah.

 

Planet Terror (2007) - This movie... well, what do I say about it. This is a Quentin Tarantino movie, and it's meant to be campy. Bruce Willis is an army general who, with the help of some toxic gas starts a Zombie invasion. The players in the film are the Sheriff, a Stripper, a Restaurant Owner, a Nurse, a Bio-Chemist, and El Ray (not sure who he was.) This rag-tag band has to escape the Zombies and find a way to live happily ever after. Sadly, lots of people die, but the movie is very entertaining. There are so many inconsistencies in it, and periodically the film will burn up so you come back further in the film, but that's part of it's charm. If you don't mind a Tarantino film I suggest you rent this one for laughs.

 

Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010) - There are Three Lost Boys Movies?? This is the question I asked myself in the movie store not too long ago. And the answer is yes. I've seen the first, and now I've seen the last. Perhaps this week we'll rent the second if it's in at the video store. This is supposedly the last of the Frog Brother's adventures in Vampire slaying. They did an okay job of writing Corey Haim out of the movie since he died last year, and there is a lot in it that I'm sure would make more sense if I had seen the second movie. but this is the big battle to kill the Head Vampire and save the world from a gigantic vampire army that is being created.

 

Diary of the Dead ( 2007) - Zombies. This is another in the ongoing collection of "the Dead" movies. In this one it's a group of students from Penn State who are film makers/documentaries that film their journey home through the beginnings of the Zombie invasion. There is some death, there are zombies, there is some swearing. This is just the run of the mill Zombie movie with some eating of brains, shooting your friends, and the sad knowledge that no one will really survive this adventure. Zombie movies never really have happy endings.

 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure

- Help the Demon -
Your chest feels tight as you debate in your head what you are going to do, but you finally step forward reaching out with your empty hand you grasp the chain around the woman’s waist, yanking it free of her body. She kicks at you, the look of fear that had been on her face previously turned to anger.

Suddenly you feel as though you’re burning from the inside out you drop your dagger and start tearing at your clothes, trying to cool down. Dropping to your knees you start to scream, but through your screams you hear the gravelly voice of the demon.

“This is the end of your wicked ways.”

You look up. He’s shaking her like a rag doll. With a twitch of the demon’s wrist the shining sword fell from her hand skidding across the sand to disappear into the river of lava. With the threat gone the demon put his other hand to good use by grasping the woman’s side and twisting her into a contorted knot. You heard bones snapping, her eyes bulged, and her mouth gapped, and the demon cast the woman to a molten death just as her sword had done moments before.

As her body disappeared below the orange surface the burning within you suddenly ceases and you can breathe again. You’re light headed in the aftermath of the pain so you remain seated on the ground and watch as the demon squats down, gathering the chain in his hand before wrapping around his forearm, the broken ends melding into his skin, bonding with his flesh. The blisters on his skin began to fade away as he sat back on his heal and took a deep breath. Slowly he rose to his feet and approached you.

“My thanks, human.” He said, offering you a hand up. Though the blisters have disappeared he was still yellow and wore nothing but a loin cloth, and the chain around his arm. “One less witch in the world means one less threat.”

You can’t speak. Your throat is dry and you’re still unsure of what just happened.

“It’s better that we leave this place before her sister’s arrive. I can take on one, but I do not think that even with two of us we’ll be able to face nine.”

You nod and take his hand. He easily pulls you to your feet and opens his mouth as if he were about to say something but it just hangs open as he stares at your chest.

“It is you!” It says after a moment. Placing a hand on each of your shoulders he inclines his head towards you. “You have come, bearer of Thanaur!”

You recognize the name Thanaur from Citrine. The pendant against your chest seems to thrum with the acknowledgement of it.

“You…you know me?” You’re breathless, surprised, and a little afraid.

“Know you?” It came out almost as a laugh. “Know you? I have been waiting my entire life to find you.” He stared down at you; a sort of smile parted his lips showing his sharp teeth, his eyes glowing red in the shadows of his face “But what unfortunate luck you have to pass through the caverns of misery to come upon me.”

“Who are you?” the fear was wearing off, being replaced by curiosity. Looking up you see him now, not for the gruesome creature that was killing someone, but as someone that could possibly help you… or kill you. Your raven, Harry, cawed from his place on the floor before hopping on to the creatures shoulder.

“I am called Creason.”

You give your name in return and briefly explain to him that you don’t know what is going on and that you are to find a Captain Faelphrestad.

“Faelphrestad…” Creason growls, clenching his hands into fists. His stance shouting his loathing of the name.

“I was told…” You start to say.

“I’m sure Citrine means well.” Creason cut in, his voice cold and angry. “I will… take you to him.”

Turning away from Creason, you need to think about what is before you, you begin to gather your items from where you had dropped them, giving yourself a moment.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Accept Creason’s Help
Continue On Your Own

Friday, October 15, 2010

How's it gonna be, when you don't know me anymore?

Let's catch up on some of my life for a little bit. I compose blog posts while I drive or while I imagine myself to sleep, or in meetings at work, but nothing really ever gets typed up for distribution. I need to work on that.

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Lately I have been thinking about my hair. It's getting pretty long. Longer I think than I have ever had it, so I'm not really 100% sure of what to do with it. Thus creating the first problem with long hair. Secondly, I have a ton of split ends. And I mean TONS. It seems that I lose more hair every time I brush it than I may actually have on my head. I'm not sure I want to go bald. To try and stop the problem from taking over my head I have been doing some internet research on what I can do to help my hair. (I know, the internet is full of such helpful information. *that's sarcasm*) I found three basic hair treatment options in my searches, which are:

  1. Don't wash your hair with shampoo. Rinse it with just water and if needed use a mild shampoo once a week.
  2. Pay lots of $$$ for a product that probably doesn't work
  3. Cut it all off and start again

Well, I'm not really willing to do option 2 because I don't have money to spend on crap or 3 because I tried that once and my family started calling me "Jim"... In that case,  I decided to try option one for a few days. Let me just tell you... Yuck! One day with just a water rinse wasn't terrible, until it got closer to the end of the day and it just started feeling gross.. Day two using just water was less then appealing. by mid day my hair was just gross. (However, I did decide that this is probably how those women get their hair so big if you put enough product in your hair you probably can't tell how gross and greasy it is, but it also helps it stick up very well. But I don't think it's worth it.) Needless to say that that option didn't pan out for me. I've gone back to my daily washings and my hair being soft and pretty with the exception of all the split ends which make the bottom three inches of my hair frizz out like crazy. Other than using a leave-in conditioner and skipping the blow-drying I don’t know what to do with it.

Does anyone have any good solutions for damaged hair??

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I love Chocolate Crackle Cookies! I had to make some last week after I spent all night last Friday dreaming about them. Seriously, they were everywhere in my dream, so Saturday morning I called my mother and got the recipe. That's THE recipe for Grandma Mc's cookies. Umm num num! I spent a large majority of my childhood eating these cookies from my grandma's cookie jar. And let me just tell you, they are a little bit of work to make, but they are so worth it.

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Monday October 11th was Canadian Thanksgiving, because we all know that Canadians are a whole month more thankful than us Americans. We celebrated the holiday this year as usual, minus the maple flavoring and beer. However, instead of going to Marie Calendar's for their Thanksgiving platter we decided to celebrate with the Evans'. So we ate our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday the 10th instead. I got to do the turkey since it was our idea, and that was kind of fun, if you ignore the part where I sprained my wrist trying to defrost the thing, or the nasty steam burn when I was taking off the foil tent at the end of cooking... ouch! I've been paying for those little oopsies all week. But the meal was good and delicious once the family gathered with their offerings of food.

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This last Monday we went out with our adorable friend Megan Smock to have our pictures taken for this years Christmas card. (Because John and I are so cute.) Megan has decided to pursue her future in photography and we offered to be some subjects that she may or may not want to put in her portfolio. We're good at being portfolio subjects. We had a lot of fun we went out to Ogden and hit a park up on the benches, I think it was called Beus Park, and then we went over to Union Station and had some photos shot on the train engines there. We wanted to go inside, but it closes at 5 pm and we didn't get there until closer to 6 pm. After our fantastic photo-shoot we had dinner at the Union Grill right there at Union Station. The food was pretty good, but pricey, I wouldn't recommend it if you're on a budget. We had a grand old time hanging out together, it's been a while since we have been graced with Megan's presence, and we love it every time.  

If you're looking for a photographer in the Northern Utah Area give Megan a call. She also does some beautiful landscape photography that I wouldn't be ashamed to hang on my walls. (You can check out some of her photos on her BLOG or her Facebook page if your her friend there. Her website: MeganSmockPhotograpy.com isn't really functional yet, but it's getting there.)

I'll post a picture or two of her work with me and John when I get them back... I'm excited to see them, I hope I don't look as dorky or fat in them as I usually do. (and that's all me, and not the fault of the photographer.)

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On October 12th the was the yearly Relief Society "crafty/service" social with food. In my effort to try not to be such a recluse I signed up to bring crackers for the nursery a few weeks ago when the list went by in Relief Society. When the day finally arrived I really didn’t want to go, but I had to take the crackers. I took the box of fishies over to the church and got sucked in. First with a friendly little sister of a guy I went to school with, and then I got roped into organizing a table of school supplies (I can't pass up organization) and then... My weakness - Quilting - I got sucked into tying a baby quilt. My OCD said to just do a row and then you can go home... do another row because you have extra string.... do another row because you can't just leave that row unfinished... and so on, until I had personally tied half of the quilt myself. The other half was tied by four or five other sister's who wanted to help out. And everyone that walked up to me that night asked: "Liz, are you a quilter?" Well, I guess the answer is Yes. So I got stuck there for Two Hours. Ugh! I really dislike social situations.

 

** Speaking of Quilting **

 

-- Quilt Update -- If you may remember, I started this blog out when I started on a patchwork quilt that I was going to make all out of Halloween material. It was going to be awesome... Well, that was 2007. It is now 2010 and I think I have four squares cute out, and 10 yards of Halloween material in various patterns. I'm not doing so good at getting this quilt off the ground and into production, but the desire is still there. John said he'd help out... we'll see if that helps. It may take another three years, (or more,) but I will finish that darn quilt eventually.

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Also on a church related note. John and I have gone several times in the last two months, and even stayed for the entire three hours on most of those occasions. (Yay us.)  But with our reactivity come the demand that we join the choir.

If you know me, you know I like to sing. I used to be pretty good and I was a fairly good Mezzo-Soprano (second soprano for those who don't speak Italian) if I do say so myself. However, over the years, my anti-sociality combined with depression, asthma, allergies and a general dislike for the world population, my voice has gone unused and is no longer what it used to be. - There's a lesson in there about hiding your talents under a bushel - blah blah blah -

If you know John, you know that he doesn't sing. It's not that he doesn't like singing, or that he's terribly bad at it, he's just not a musically inclined fellow. Most of the songs he has in his head include the lyrics "Something, Something, Something" in place of the real words. Which I find adorable. (Except for the fact that I always find myself singing those lyrics now days because I have decided that he makes me forget words to songs.) John has no understanding of technical musical terms or of counting measures or names of notes. Music is music and we just sing along... I think that's pretty much his philosophy. Never-the-less, and not withstanding he does try his best and I love that about him.

Well... We both usually get wrangled into the ward choir because our neighbor, and friend, is the choir director. Through this round of choir practices we are singing an arrangement of... Wait for it ... Joseph Smith's First Prayer to the tune of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, but it's a special arrangement so the tune is not quite right... It's going to be beautiful, it's just a challenge. It seems that the large majority of the men in the ward choir are musically talented. So in choir practice we get statements thrown around like: "Pick up to measure 38." or "Sing that B note" or "your in the wrong key" or "In measure 19 on the third count..." -- Needless to say this is annoying to one who does not know what's going on.

Anyway, long story short (too late) John is not having fun in choir practice, but he's there with me and it's something I love that we can do together. Lets just hope that the conductor doesn't expect perfection  and John doesn't get run out of town on a rail.

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I haven't updated the Choose Your Own Adventure story this week. (I'm sure some of you have noticed.) I haven't forgotten it, I have just been really involved in reading two books by Maggie Stiefvater. Lament and Ballad. Both were very good. I'll write a more detailed review of them in another post. Both were pretty fast reads and I really liked both of them, but I loved Ballad more than I liked Lament.

I'll get the Choose Your Own Adventure back on track at some point this weekend so we're not all hanging on the edges of our seats wondering what's happening to You, the demon, and the dying woman. I really have no idea where this thing is going, I'm just making it up as I go along, and that's pretty fun. Most of the time in my writing I skip ahead because I think something would be cool later in the story and then I have a huge gap I have to fill, and that is harder that one might think. I have several writing assignments that I have to work on this weekend so this should be fun spending my time away from work in some of my imaginary worlds.

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This post has ended up longer than I thought it would. Apparently I have diarrhea of the brain and it's all spilling out of my fingers today. I'll stop now before I have more words in this blog post then I have in my novel.

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And on a final note, something smells like onions today, or maybe sweat, and I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween Movie Month Weeks 5 & 6

Enter October .....
It's finally October so this makes our Movie watching more serious and gruesome. Lets see what we have watched since the beginning of this month:
 
Land of the DeadLand of the Dead (2005) - This movie starred some great people. Dennis Hopper, who passed away earlier this year, was the corrupt business man/"villain" in this flick. Simon Baker, who you may know better from his role as "Patrick Jane" on the Mentalist, was the moral compass, and John Leguizamo was the rebel with a cause for revenge.
All in all the movie was pretty good for a Zombie movie.
In this one, the Zombies have evolved to be smarter and they know they're being wronged. The humans on the other hand, at least the wealthy ones, have locked themselves in a skyscraper where they are still living the good life, and the not so wealthy ones are on the streets fighting to survive. Havoc ensues when the Zombie breach the perimeter and we get to see who will survive.
What I find great about Zombie movies that since the Zombies move so slow, it gives you the opportunity to get up and do something while the movie is running and when you get back you really haven't missed much.
I loved watching Simon Baker in this movie. I had no idea who he was until we started watching the Mentalist this year. His character in this movie had much of the same mannerisms of Patrick Jane so I kept waiting for him to solve everything and make the world happy again.
I'll recommend this one to those who are looking for a decent Zombie movie to watch.  It's probably one of the better one's we've seen, but we really don't hold that high of a standard for Zombie movies. There is some naked, zombie killing, and some swearing.
 
 
Blood: The Last VampireBlood: The Last Vampire (2009) - We rented this one expecting it to be pretty cheesy as a live action movie from an Anime... We were pleasantly surprised. We really enjoyed this one. This is the story of Saya she is a vampire hunter and has sworn to kill the worst vampire of them all Onigon. The girl who plays Saya is very good. 
There is a running theme of revenge, trust, anger, friendship... also there is lots and lots of killing. Tons of ninja action, and lots of blood, but that was to be expected. (demon ninja's even) And really it was hard to decide, was this a movie about vampires, or about demons? It was a little vague.
In the end, I decided that I really enjoyed the movie. Not like "really enjoyed" as in watching like Star Wars or something, but"Really enjoyed" in the sense that it was a lot better than some Vampire Movies we have watched. No nudity, no swearing that I can remember, but incredibly violent.
 
 
DaybreakersDaybreakers (2009) - This movie was... pretty good. I really didn't remember much about this movie when I picked it up off the shelf at Blockbuster, other than it was about the world being taken over by vampires. And that's pretty much the jist of it.
The vampires are running out of human blood and they're trying to create a synthetic replacement. Humans are on the run and evil abound.
This movie has a pretty straight forward story/plot and that makes it hard to describe it without giving the entire thing away. 
It was nice seeing Ethan Hawke in a movie. I know he's around, but it seems like forever since I have seen him in anything.
This movie is big on the "trying to improve yourself" theme, also money talks, and you can't even trust your friends. This movie wasn't terrible, I give it about a 3.5 out of 5 for it's effort. It might be worth watching again some Halloween month, but probably not for a while. No nudity, some swearing, lots of blood.
 

 

Metamorphosis (2007) - First off, this movie starred a bunch of unknowns who I have never seen in anything else, and Christopher Lambert. Ugh! I know there are people out there who find Christopher Lambert to be a great actor... but I'm not one of them. His horrible accent and ugly looks just makes anything he is in laughable. (I hated the Highlander movie because I just couldn't stand him.) And now, here he is in this third rate piece of crud that we watched.

Looking at the cover (not reading the back) of this movie it's hard to decide if it's a vampire movie, or if it is a werewolf movie. Answer is: A stupid move - but it is about vampires. In fact, it's about (in a round about way) Elizabeth Bathory, a famous Hungarian duchess who would bathe in the blood of virgins because it would keep her young. This story involves her daughter Elizabeth (the vampire) and a guy who's name I can't remember and his dumb friends.

This movie was just campy for a while and John figured it out pretty quick. After the vampire battles and the deaths of all his friends the one guy was turned into a vampire because Elizabeth had fallen in love with him.... and then suddenly it turned into a "god" movie leading the viewer to believe that we all have a preordained destiny and nothing we do can ever change it, even if we can move between dimensions and time. This poor guy was preordained to become a vampire and live out the rest of his immortal existence with young Miss Elizabeth. Wow, really? After the final battle, where it would have been a good place to end the movie it still just kept going and going and going. We thought it would never end. I do not recommend this move to anyone unless you need a good laugh. There is some nudity, some sex, car accidents, human and vampire killing, cheesy vampire teeth and creepy priests.

 

 

NeowolfNeowolf (2010) - Straight to DVD Movie. That should tell you just how good it is right there. This movie is terrible from beginning to end. The acting is bad, the plot is stupid. The makeup and CGI is terrible. The continuity is terrible: it day one moment and night the next along with plush green grass one minute and desert the next. Here's the story. a young "rocker" wannabe is trying to get his girlfriend back, but she doesn't want him, and then she does and then she doesn't and then she does. There is this rock band "Neowolf" who leave a trail of death behind their tour and no one ever gets suspicious except this girlfriend who thinks her loser is acting strange and she suddenly makes this jump to "Oh No! They're Werewolves!" Well, she doesn't do anything about it until her friend is eaten and she gets some crazy pre-werewolf sex from said loser boyfriend (after he's blown her off several times, treated her like crap and had sex with and was bitten by the female member of the band... really? I'd have dropped that guy so fast.) Anyway, with the help of the crazy local Nursery Owner, who is the only person who believes her, she gets some wolfsbane and some silver buck shot and she sets out to take back the boy she loves, or doesn't love, or loves... whatever. Eventually she kills all of them, including her boyfriend, but not before he has time to sing the same song like forty different times during the movie and the crappie other "bands" that they tried to feature in this. Personally, I would have started shooting long before it got to the stupid werewolf parts.

DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE. Pretty much that's the conclusion I came to. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. I just can't stress that enough. Just let this crawl back under a rock and die there. Lots of "adult situations", naked, blood, stupid, stupid and more stupid.

 

 

SpliceSplice (2009) - This movie wasn't so bad. It wasn't so great either. It took FOREVER to get to the point and there was no really scary moments in it.

The entire story all seems stupid to me. I know I don't know how the rest of the world lives, but some of the situations in this movie were questionable beyond belief. The end was as hokey as the rest of it.

Very predictable.

There is some violence, a little blood, sex, crazy hybrid mayhem.

I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone else simply because it was so ... long... stupid... pointless... lots and lots of reasons.  This movie gets my old stand by statement of "MORE KILLING LESS STUPID!" and that's all I have to say about this one.

 

 

The MistThe Mist (2007) - This is a Stephen King story. Does anything this man creates have a happy ending. No, I doubt it. This movie was good. It made me jump several times throughout the length of the film.

A group of people are trapped in the local grocery store when a strange mist descends upon them from the mountain. There are... things... in the Mist and they have to defend themselves and try to get along. This is your standard "Lord of the Flies" situation. Strand some people together and see what you get. I rooted for the old lady most of the film, I liked her.

The ending is a little predictable once you get into it, but it didn't end exactly how we had thought, but very close. This is one of the better suspense builders I have seen in a while. I did like the movie, it may be a watcher again in a few years.

 

 

An American Werewolf in LondonAn American Werewolf in London (1981) -  This is a classic movie that was added to our collection this year. We have enjoyed watching this several times in the last few years and finally decided that it was worth having for our own.

Two American boys on a back packing trip through England are attacked by a werewolf. One is killed, the other is left... changed. This is the story of the changed boy. The special effects/make-up in this movie was excellent for it's time, and it's still one of the best werewolf transformation scenes in the movies. There is quite a bit of language, sex and violence in this movie. Less than some, more than others. There is one scene played out in a "Adult" theater but it's not terrible. The scene itself is classic, minus the background soundtrack. If you don't mind the abovementioned faults of the movie we suggest you watch it. It's a great mix of Horror and Comedy that makes you laugh and jump and makes the film most enjoyable.

 

 

Garfield in DisguiseGarfield's Halloween Adventure (1985) - How can you not love this? I remember watching this on TV countless times as a kid. I'm sure it helped to fuel my love of pirates somewhere along the line.

Garfield learns about Halloween and wrangles Odie into going Trick or Treating with him. They dress as pirates and set out. After gathering candy from all the houses on this side of the river Garfield decides that they need to cross over and get the other side.

they hop in a row boat but lose the oars and a swept across the river to a creepy island where a creepy man tells them a creepy pirate story. Creepy old man steals their boat and Garfield and Odie are trapped with ghoooooost piiiiirates and they have to escape.... Will they make it home? Will the pirates kill them? What happened to their candy?  .... If you don't know the answers to these questions you need to watch this. It's short and fun and totally kid friendly.

 

 

A Claymation Christmas CelebrationWill Vinton's: Claymation Halloween Special (1987) - Yes, I know the picture shown here for this is the Claymation Christmas Celebration, but the Halloween Special is on the same disk. This collection has the California Raisins Christmas Special, A Collimation Easter Special, and the Claymation Halloween Special. We only watched the Halloween one on this go around.

I have vague memories of seeing this as a kid, but it must not have been one of the regulars. In the Halloween special a greedy Pig finds out about Dr. Frankenstein's lab and the monster that is hidden there. He has to go though all sorts of hijinks in order to find the lab but he discovers it's not quite what he thought.

Kinda funny. Kinda enjoyable. Very kid friendly. Maybe it was funnier when I was a kid, but it was a good little time filler for our Halloween fun.

 

 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tribal Spaceman and all that's in between

Spiceworld
SpiceWorld
 
     Spice Girls
 

 1. Spice Up Your Life

 2. Stop

 3. Too Much

 4. Saturday Night Divas

 5. Never Give Up On The Good Times

 6. Move Over

 7. Do It

 8. Denying

 9. Viva Forever

10. The Lady Is A Vamp

 
 
Release date: November 1997
John and I get a lot f flak for loving the Spice Girls, but really how can you not love them. This isn't even a "guilty pleasure" there is no guilt about loving this. This album was released following the movie with the same title. (Which is completely fabulous! It's the best band movie since The Beatles HELP! I thoroughly suggest you watch it at least once.) Scary, Posh, Baby, Ginger, and Sporty were some of the most entertaining pop artists that were around back in the 90's.
I remember "TheBox" channel on TV, that played requested music videos 24/7, would always play "Wannabe" (from their 1996 album Spice which is also great to listen too) over and over and over again (between music videos of Bone Thugs in Harmony and The Blood Hound Gang) and I loved them from the first "Tell me what you want!"
This CD is full of so many great songs: Spice Up Your Lives, Stop, Saturday Night Diva, Never Give Up On The Good Times, Move Over, The Lady Is A Vamp... I pretty much love all of them. I can live without hearing Viva Forever: it's not a favorite of mine.
 
My favorite spice was Scary. (She's just awesome.) John's favorite was Ginger. And my oldest brother liked Posh.
 
Who's your favorite Spice Girl?
 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh, Thursday doesn't even start

It has been a few weeks since I last wrote something personal for my blog.. I keep coming up with little tidbits to blog about, but I haven't gotten the chance to write it down because I've been distracted.

Another reason why I'm so off is that John had to work last Sunday for General Conference so he had an additional day of work this week, so not only is he thrown off, but so am I. It has felt like we should be a day a head of where we really are. Like today, being Thursday, should really be Friday, but it's not. It'll really be a killer when we have to wake up and go to work tomorrow, because it should really be Saturday and not Friday.
So I have been thinking about things like : Why is it that I don't know anyone else who has crossed eyes, or people who have to wear glasses and contacts are not an option... like me. Perhaps I just don't ask enough questions of people who where glasses. Should I question everyone I meet. "Excuse me, but why do you wear glasses?" or maybe... "Do you have a crazy eye like me?" and then take off my glasses and show them my stigmatism. I don't know. I was just finding that rather odd this week that I never really know if any one I know is cross-eyed, but I guess they're guilty of the same thing too since no one has asked me why I wear glasses for quite a long time... Perhaps that part of curiosity died with our youth.
Also, I wanted to point out that the moon was beautiful last week. Here is a crappie picture I took with my phone on 9/23/10 at 6:45 AM. It was huge and beautiful, and a little yellow from all of the wildfires lately. I love the moon, it is always so beautiful, no matter it's size of fullness. I would love to have a telescope so I could look at it more closely and enjoy it's lunar landscapes. But until then, I will just have to look at it from afar like the rest of us non-telescopic people.
However, John and I have discussed that fact that we can't see a "Man In The Moon." We think that people who say they see it are just lying. but according to Wikipedia (because we all know that everything on that website is honest truth...) There are several faces/pictures on the moon. Maybe we just don't have any imagination. That's not something I have ever been accused of before.
Along with the moon, we have been fascinated with the night sky in general. You may or may not know that Jupiter has been visible for the last month. It was following the moon along the sky for a while, but now it is catching up with the sun to disappear from sight again. Another reason why I'd love to have a telescope. Did you know that one of the belts of Jupiter has disappeared recently? You can go HERE to look at some pictures and read about it. I'd love to see that. Don't worry though, apparently it happens periodically, but it always comes back... or at least it has in the past.
It looks like coming up this October 20th the Heartly 2 comet will be coming close enough to earth to see with a telescope, binoculars, or in some places where it's dark you may actually be able to see it with only your eyes. It is not dark here. We'd have to go somewhere else to look. Why is it that all of the neat things I can see with my bare eyes happen in the middle of the work week so we can't go to the mountains to see them. Note to self: Save up time off. by the way, I adore Space.com it's where I find a lot of my information.
Okay, this is all for now, it's time to quite writing for the day. I'll pop by again some time soon.
TTFN!

And... by the way, isn't this a fantastic wedding cake?
Don't you just love the little groom on top that has his little cricket bat?