Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Okay. I'm gonna have to have a talk with whoever's in charge of the spider situation. Yes, I know that's God, but still.

Used to be, I could murderize one big monster spider and have two months of relative peace. Sure, I might see one or two tiny little demons, but nothing worth losing sleep over.

Not so much anymore.

In the last month alone, I have killed SIX big monster spiders in my house -- two in my bedroom, four in my bathroom. SIX. And we're not talking itty-bitty critters that you'd hardly notice. We're talking silver-dollar-sized spiders when they're sprawled out on the wall.

This cannot continue. Sure, I don't panic and shriek and cower against the far wall every time a see a spider, but I still cannot stand the nasty little bastards. It's bad when I stop just inside my bedroom doorway and search the room before entering. It's bad when I do the same to my bathroom, even creeping across the floor to make sure one isn't hiding out in the bathtub.

It's bad when I have to check my towel before I even turn on the bath water, just to make sure no more spiders are hiding behind it against the wall.

*shudder*

So, yeah. Gonna have to talk to the Man In Charge. I check my covers every night before I dare to climb between them. Yick. I think I would have a heart attack and die if I woke up with a spider on me. Seriously. I'd kill it first, but I would die shortly thereafter.

Little bastards. I have dreams about waking up and seeing the alien-looking sonsabitches crawling around my pillow. Yeah.

I'm considering pricing some exterminators. I know they're all expensive as hell, but I'm afraid it may be worth my state of mind to just not have to worry about SPIDERS anymore!

Oh, and I finally went to the doctor about my neck after a week of trying to fix it myself. More about that later. For now, I just have to say that I have an amusing and good doctor. Bless his heart.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sidebar:

Last minute barbeque. Sirloin and mushroom kebabs and steam-baked potatoes.

*drools*

Good stuff, man. Now that's how ya spend Memorial Day!

I'm also having a Kung Fu Hustle/Kill Bill marathon. And playing a crapload of mahjong. And getting up to stretch every few minutes so my neck doesn't cramp up.

And I baked some shortbread cookies.

Geez!

Anyway, hope everyone had a good Memorial Day and got to do whatever they do to celebrate or to remember. Until next year, I can only salute and enjoy the barbeque.

Dear Charlie:

So I spent this lovely three-day weekend with a crick in my neck.

When I say "crick", I mean that something in there is wound up so tight that I can't turn my head to the left at all and can barely turn it to the right. Forget reading a book or writing one. My head is too heavy to hold up, but I can't lean it down or back because it pulls like a bitch.

I broke down and bought something a little more potent than ibuprofen Saturday, but it didn't really touch the ouch until I combined it with one of those "boil me" hot-packs. Now that felt good and loosened the muscle a bit. The effects were temporary, but it bought me a couple of hours of normal use at a stretch.

I've been urged to see a doctor, but I figure it's just a leftover from that bus accident when I was a kid. At the time, I couldn't turn my head to the left well, and I already knew I'd permanently lost full-range motion there. Now, it just...kinda tightens up once in a while. Oh, well.

In other news, I got to watch X-Men 3 this weekend, which was lots of fun. I was kinda iffy on Kelsey Grammer as Beast, but something about both his distinguished air and his physical movements while in suit really sold it. He did great, especially when he went ape-shit -- no pun intended -- during the big fight at the end. Excellent!

Hugh Jackman was spot-on as Wolverine, as usual. Need I say more? The man just channeled Logan's wild side. Heh, his wikipedia picture says it all -- he IS Wolverine, man!

And do I really need to say anything about Sir Ian McKellen? Or Patrick Stewart? I think not.

Although I will mention that there were several moments when Magneto's expressions were so damn intense that even I quit grinning ear to ear. Utter shock, crushing despair. Aching loss and dismay. The man is simply an amazing actor. I'm sure I could put that prettier, but there's no reason to. He doesn't need buttering up.

He's amazing.

In all, no matter what anyone thinks of the plot or the directing, which I could care less than a fart in the wind for, the movie was vastly entertaining. Nothing better than action, explosions, folks flying all over the place, and lots of murderous good fun. I had a great time, and isn't that what movies are really about at their heart? Entertainment? Fun?

Well, I like to think so, anyway.

So...Memorial Day. I don't go decorate graves -- not because I'm hateful or because I don't have any to decorate. I've lost friends and family, both, and have no real, concrete reason to not go other than distance. I decided a long time ago that if I were going to pay my respects to my fallen friends and family, and I have many times, it wouldn't be on a holiday almost as well known for car accident fatalities as for its actual purpose.

I drive to see my living friends and family all the time. It's easier for me to go because I have just me to up and leave with. Most of them have spouses, kids, pets, whatever that must be taken care of before they can so much as get into the car. I just pick up and go. So I go. I do the visiting. Doesn't bother me a bit, as I love to drive, once I get outside the city.

But...not on this holiday. It's kinda become a thing. I don't even like going out on this holiday, even just for a quick trip to Wal-Mart or to the gas station for a fountain Coke or anything. I live pretty much down the street from a cemetery, and getting up that road while thousands of people stream in and out of those wrought-iron gates...oh, hell no.

I'm not signing up to be a statistic. Heh.

So, to everyone else, enjoy the holiday, spend it well, and get home safely. No sense becoming next Memorial Day's visit, ne? I don't want to be dragging my butt to your cemetery real estate sometime in October for my own, more quiet memorial, arright??

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Mowed my lawn this evening. Okay, mowed HALF my lawn. It took about an hour and a half, and I am pleasantly tired.

Yes, I have a big lawn. It had grown nearly knee-high in places, too. Guh.

But the most visible part is mowed, so that should pacify my neighbors [not that they've complained as yet] until I get the rest mowed. Dad has offered to come up with his lawn tractor, which can mow the whole yard [a good three hours on foot] in like half an hour. If he does, great. If not, no worries. I'll get it done eventually.

Heh.

It's ironic that I was in the mood to mow tonight. I got stuck at a different office today at work, doing stuff that is NOT in my job description (namely being a secretary/receptionist, which I hate). It's also a one-provider office, so I was very nearly bored out of my mind, though I strained my brain to keep coming up with things to do. My supervisor (the one who asked if I'd cover for the sick sec/rec) told me I could take a book for between clients, but I can't stand to be at work and...ya know...not work. Just isn't in me.

So my brain was a little fried anyway, and this provider stays an hour later than ours, so I had to stay an hour later. Again, it's kind of a wonder that I actually wanted to mow the lawn when I got home. Fried brain, long day...and I wanted to work.

*facepalm*

Yeah, I'm a glutton for punishment. As you can tell from this wandering narrative, I really am a bit fried! I think I'll quit while I'm ahead and hit the ol' sack a wee bit early tonight.

After all, I've already bathed and feel all fresh and squeaky clean. I can't stand to sit around sweaty and grassy!

And just to be random: "Yer off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dear Charlie:

So, Pride and Prejudice.

Before I even get started, I want to address all the weisenheimers out there who know me as The Heartless Wonder and will immediately proceed to teasing me mercilessly for this review. I am indeed The Heartless Wonder now, but in my youth, I did have something resembling the kinder emotions, and it was during that time that I made first acquaintance with Jane Austin's world.

Also, I was an English major, and don't think you get to be an English major in this day and age without having to read at least one Jane Austin novel. Heh.

At any rate, Pride and Prejudice has always been my favorite of her books, mainly because Miss Bennet was a bit like me at the time. I wasn't so set against romance then, hadn't developed my singular sense of humor about love yet. I saw a lot of myself in her practicality, in her logic.

I had to grow up a bit more to see that she was the most blind of them all, that her logic and sense were far more clouded -- thanks in part to wounded pride -- than her gentler, more naive sister's. Jane Bennet would never believe a bad thing about anyone, but she at least saw what was in her own heart, if not what was in anyone else's, even if she wouldn't share it with the world.

However, I hadn't watched any of the movies based on Ms. Austin's books, mostly because I held them up to such a high standard. Movies based on books have a terrible track record, and I simply wasn't interested in seeing a visual adaptation.

And then I changed my mind. Hey, it happens all the time. I'm not the only one.

So I watched the latest version of Pride and Prejudice the other night. Much to my pleasure, it captured all of my favorite parts of the book. Seriously. I was enchanted, and while I am often enthused or amused or excited by movies, I am rarely enchanted.

First off, congratulations to Keira Knightley for bringing a heart and fun to Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzie would probably be easy to portray as prematurely bitter, what with her snarking with Mr. Darcy, but Ms. Knightley delivers the snark as Ms. Austin intended -- as jesting flirtation, tinged with disappointment and even a tinge of regret on some occasions. There's something sweet about even her most severe put-downs. You just know that even she knows she doesn't mean them and didn't want to say them or even think them. Not about Mr. Darcy.

And speaking of, while my beloved sister will disagree heartily and cleave to Colin Firth as the definitive Mr. Darcy, I have to admit that I very much enjoy Matthew Macfadyen in the role. Like Ms. Knightley, he makes the role his own while still exhibiting Ms. Austin's heart and charm. He truly looks uncomfortable when he bursts in on Lizzie at Mr. Collins' house, then just stands there twisting his hands, trying fruitlessly to think of anything to say. He wants so badly to say something charming, something banter-ish, something witty. He wants to make conversation.

But he can't, and you see it on his face when he makes his hasty retreat. Just like you see how very much he wants to kiss Lizzie in the rain, though she has not only outright refused his proposal but completely smashed any hopes that she might, in future, consider him at all. There's a desperate, hopeless longing in his face, his eyes. An indication of exactly how caught he is, and how keenly aware of his plight he is.

Of course, having just dashed his hopes, Lizzie looks just as desperate for that kiss, though she thinks that she hates him. Deep down inside, she knows better, and she more hates herself in that moment, I think.

The interactions between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet are spot-on, I think, for all that they're shortened to keep the pacing going. But the side stories and supporting characters are equally spot-on in this adaptation. Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet is inspired, and I'm usually of the exact opposite opinion there.

While Mr. Sutherland is an excellent actor, he usually plays characters that just make me want to slap someone, heh. However, as Mr. Bennet, he gets to be both amusing as hell and touchingly doting on his daughters -- especially his favorite. At the end, when he is so relieved and pleased that his special Lizzie is truly in love with the man she intends to marry, his teary smiles just melted my...errr...non-existent heart. And his continuing to quip even through his joy is absolutely priceless. Masterfully done.

And, good God, but did they pick a perfectly pompous, obsequious little gnat to play Mr. Collins! I forget who plays him, but he certainly distinguishes himself, if that can be considered a compliment. Yeesh! I wanted to throttle the man myself, though poor Lizzie trying to keep a straight face through their dance had both me and my beloved sister laughing out loud.

Heh.

But at the end, the only thing I can truly say about this film is that it makes me think so fondly of reading the book the first time. It's like an in-depth summary of that beloved novel, giving all of the high points without sacrificing either the tone or the heart of the story. The characters are likeable. The story is entertaining and absorbing. The cinematography is outstanding -- from simple sweeping countryside shots to that favored rainy scene to two people feeling completely alone in a room full of dancing people.

It's simply an excellent movie. But, of course, I could be biased. Heh.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Well, it was my beloved sister's birthday today. Happy birthday, Sis! I love you!

So I went to her house for her birthday celebration. She cooked. A LOT. And she made her own cake. *facepalm* The woman doesn't understand being coddled, darn it!

Heh, at least she let me help A LITTLE this time. *snerk*

See, I understand her reluctance. I cook, too, and it weirds me out when someone "helps" me in my own kitchen. This...is Reason #437 why I'm glad I don't have kids.

Heh....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Dear Charlie:

First off, I'm sleeping like a baby.

Um...a baby that's sleeping well, not one that's up screaming every hour on the hour for a bottle, a diaper change, a cuddle, and then a bottle again. Yeah, a good-sleeping baby.

*grin*

Last two nights, I've dropped off relatively quickly and, more importantly, stayed asleep until the alarm rousts me. Ah, beautiful sleep. How I have missed thee! Thine comforting arms so soft about me....

Yeah, enough of that.

Second, I think I may have made a significant stride forward in the ol' DVD player department. Still don't have my old DVD/VHS player back, but I did exchange the crappy won't-even-play-REAL-DVDs one that was cheesing me off so badly for a slightly more expensive RCA model. At least one of the DVDs that wouldn't play on the crappy one is playing just fine on this new one.

*crosses fingers*

I was so entranced by such easy play that I didn't dare experiment further to see if DVD-Rs and DVD-ROMs and CD-RWs will play. Heh. *sheepish* I can't help it -- I don't want to find out how hosed I am! Gah!

And the itty bitty remote is so cool. The remote with the other player was small and pretty nifty, but this one RULES. It's...uber-cool. Like spy-chic tiny. Heheh.

Anyway....

Third...um...forgot what the third thing was. I'm still too entranced by a DVD player actually working as expected (though I dunno yet if it works as hoped) and the neato little clicker to really put my mind to it, so I'll just update later if I remember.

Probably not too important. Heh.

[Edit: Advent Children plays just fine, thank you, and I looooove what they've done with Sephiroth's voice in this English version! Dude, he's just...smoooooooth! And the HAIR....]

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Crazy-busy weekend. I'm pretty zonked, but I survived. Barely.

*sigh* The yard sale at my beloved sister's house was kind of a semi-success -- I sold enough to cover gas up there and a little extra, but Sis did SO well! -- but getting up at the buttcrack of dawn after basically just RESTING (instead of sleeping) was something else entirely. Whew.

However, I had something of a breakthrough in this long dry spell of insomnia at my mom's last night. She has this monster-huge thick mattress on her guest bed that just swallows you...*grin*...okay, and she doped me up with a potent antihistamine. Heh. I still did the sleepy-wakey thing, but I slept a lot more than I was awake, and that's a HUGE plus.

So hopefully, I'll just pass out cold tonight. Woot!

Sleeeeeeeeep.....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hilarious Sidebar:

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:
"I dunno, press the button and find out."


Ha! How true is that??

Dear Charlie:

Drunk. High. Armed robbery of a porn shop. Crashed while leading the police in a high speed chase from the scene of the crime.

Sounds like a cry for help, yes?

Oh, and last year, broke into a house, burglarized it, then burned it down. That about covers all the vices, don't you think?

*sigh*

Don't get me wrong -- I know some people have had lives that make further living seem insupportable, but to court this kind of cop-assisted suicide is...well...suicide. This person really, truly wants to die but cannot do it him/herself.

God, don't you just love reading the paper. *facepalm* It's such a joy to be well-informed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dear Charlie:

Insomnia.

For the last two weeks or so, I've caught maybe an hour of sleep at a stretch. I've rested or so I tell myself, but I haven't really slept. Usually, I try to laugh off my insomnia, as I can get pretty loopy at the lowest moments, but it's just not as funny this time around.

Maybe next time.

Hopefully, I'll catch some real Zs before this weekend, 'cause it's gonna be a doozy! At the butt-crack of dawn on Saturday, my beloved sister and I are having a yard sale at her house.

*eyes many totes of clothing/crap to sort/tag with mistrust and dismay*

And Sunday is, of course, Mother's Day. As far as I know, I'm going from my sister's on Saturday to my Mom's, spending the night there, and celebrating Mom Sunday before coming home and falling exhausted in my poor, abused bed. All that tossing and turning has to be hard on it, heh.

Anyway....

Watching Constantine again. You know, some people loathe Keanu Reeves, call him a hack, can't understand why he's had such a lengthy career. Others adore him beyond reason and call Neo the best piece of acting they've ever seen.

But for me, he is Constantine. Sure, I enjoy most his movies. Sure, he can be a hack.

But, oh, Constantine....

I love the movie. I love the character. I love the side characters. Who knew Gavin Rossdale could act?? I love the snarky banter between Constantine and Lucifer. I love it all.

And I simply buy Keanu Reeves as Constantine. For me, he is the only actor who could have done that part. Had I seen the comic book before, I might think otherwise, but for me, it's solid. There is no Constantine but Reeves' Constantine.

Good times. And now I'm gonna go take a bath and lay in bed until about 3:30 AM, at which point I might actually fall asleep for a couple of hours. Woot!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sidebar:

Bad scenario: I had to shop today.

Worse scenario: I had to shoe shop today. Gah!

Worst case scenario EVER: I had to shoe shop today...at the MALL!

I nearly died. I swear. But I did get a kickin' pair of Doc Martins to replace my loooong worn-out Sketchers. They were a little more than I'd planned to spend, but they'll last half of forever. And they're comfortable.

Dad thought they were heavy, but they feel just right on my feet. Heh, I guess I've gotten used to weighted shoes, ne? But they're like walking on air, I swear. Good stuff.

So, I rewarded myself for shoe shopping at the mall with a minimum of fuss by agreeing when a friend asked me to chill with him at Champs. Yup, the old bar.

I'd quit going for a long time -- about a year and a half -- because only one of my friends on the staff still worked there. It was kind of a bummer parting because some of those guys were like family to me. But I heard a few weeks back about the new place opening on the restaurant side of the Champs building and thought I'd stop in. Couldn't hurt. I still knew the owner, after all.

As it turned out, that was one of my best stops of the year, because most of my old friends are working there again! Yay! It was like picking up just where we left off -- movie quotes, bad jokes, free beer, and all-out good times.

I've been back three times since then, twice with newer friends and that first time by myself. All three times, I've been hit up for goodies. Heh. My boys are spoiled, you see. I used to bring them cookies and bon-bons and other goodies all the time.

Once, I even brought pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Spoiled rotten, I tell ya.

So anyway, I went there tonight, and it's just such fun. My friend isn't quite as...I dunno...free with strangers as I am, so he was surprised when, after a five minute conversation with another guy, I finally answered the "Who's that?" with the truth: that I'd never met the guy before. Heh.

What can I say? It's my one gift!

Dear Charlie:

Vegging. I am seriously just vegging this weekend.

Watching DBZ. Loving Kakarot at Super Saiyan 3...or at Super Saiyan...or just kicking the crap out of whoever at his normal level. He's lots of fun. And stuff blows up, which is always good.

Also watching Justice League: Unlimited. Again, fighting and explosions. Always good.

Seeing a pattern here? Heheh.

Also diggin' on Fate. Is he not just the most enigmatic, nifty, and kick-ass player in the Justice League?? Fate RULES.

Anyway....

Weird week. By Thursday, I'd already put in 38 hours at work. Had another 100% audit at work that took all of my concentration for a day. It probably should have taken a week, but I don't play like that. I want stuff DONE.

So I stayed late Tuesday night, even though I'd stayed late Monday night. I got to go in late Friday, though, which meant I got to sleep in. Woot!

Sleep. Is. GOOD.

But watching cartoons all day Saturday is GREAT! Woo-hoo!