Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dear Charlie:

While I usually try to keep my weekends low-key (especially lately, because I've been so swamped at work that I just kinda want to crash at home), it's definitely nice to have a productive weekend once in a while. I did all the dishes and put them away, vacuumed, went into town and gave Big Bad George a good, hot shower (poor thing hadn't had one all winter because this has been a particularly messy one), did two loads of laundry, and am currently baking cookies.

The whole place smells like warm vanilla and brown sugar. Nice.

I really ought to clean out my fridge. Over the winter, it tends to end up packed with the remains of casseroles and stews and crockpot meals. I make enough to eat on for a while, but there's usually a serving or two left that just gets shoved to the back in mismatched Tupperware. Talk about seeking out new life and new civilizations. Egad.

But that always creates an enormous amount of dishes, and I no longer have a garbage disposal in my sink, so it will also create some stinky, messy trash, so... yeah. I'll need a little more talking-into before boldly going.

Instead... movies! And maybe some more 7 Little Words on my Kindle. Or one of the two huge short story anthologies I bought. Of course, those are both horror anthologies, but hey.

See, I was on a sci fi kick there for a while, so I finally broke down and replaced my old VHS copies of the original six Star Trek movies by ordering a DVD box set, but they haven't arrived yet, so I've kinda meandered over into more of my horror/haunted house stock. Currently on a Stephen King kick. I watched Rose Red yesterday and am watching Storm of the Century today. After the cookies are done, I may make some Earl Grey, have a couple of fresh-baked cookies, and watch a few favorite Ghost Hunter episodes. Or I may watch IT for like the hundredth time. Not sure yet.

I miss football. It hasn't even been a full month. Oi. What did I used to do on Sundays??

Anyway, my writing kick seems to have slowed for the moment. I've been more reading than writing, but that's okay. Part of it is the new Kindle, which is awesome, but part of it is just that my mind was ready for a shift. My weird brain is a little more disciplined than a coked-out magpie, but not by much. It still jumps to investigate shiny things. And it's not like I'm getting no words at all - just not the "in the Zone" rush of like 5,000 a day.

I'm cool with that.

Plus, I need to do a little research for the next bit of this story, so I may employ my Kindle if I can find the relevant text in ebook form. I'm crossing my fingers. Of course, that means I need to get to a reliable wifi location so I can browse until I hopefully find what I need.

Hmmm... a handy excuse to go to Mythos! Nice! This blog post worked out way better than I thought!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dear Charlie:

I am just a blogging fool lately. Dunno what's got into me, but I'll take it. Better than the pitiful barely-one-post-a-month thing I was doing, right?

Anyway, I gotta blog about Star Trek: Into Darkness. Remember how much I swooned over the first JJ Abrams Star Trek? Yeah, well, I was again prepared to be let down by the sequel, but I was also again quite pleased to be wrong. Into Darkness is just as fan-servicey and awesome as the first.

And this time, they managed tribbles.

Can you tell I've been catching up on the summer blockbusters I missed over the summer? I guess I tend to do that this time of year. Not that I noticed this trend before. ANYWAY.

I dunno what all the fuss was about Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. He did an amazing job of showing both sophistication and rampaging brutality, as that role requires. Khan was always one of the most dangerous adversaries, not because he was so deadly (although he was), but because he was so brilliant that he was deadly in ways the peace-loving Federation couldn't dream of. Cumberbatch pulls that off with ruthless sincerity.

The rest of the principle cast are all in fine form. Karl Urban just is Bones. There's no other way to put it. He grumbles. He's pessimistic. He's a doctor, not a torpedo technician. I love it.

I'm also finally fully sold on Chris Pine's Kirk. I know, I know. But I usually try to reserve judgment. Retractions suck (although I'm fully willing to make them when I'm proven wrong, like in my Pacific Rim review about Charlie Hunnam). So while Pine definitely had Kirk's devil-may-care attitude, I just wasn't completely sold.

It's not that I didn't think Pine could play Kirk well. I thought he might play Kirk a little too well. Hell, maybe he does. Nothing will steal my affection for the original series or for the flamboyant and over-the-top way Shatner portrayed James Tiberius Kirk, but I gotta admit that Chris Pine adds a... sincerity... that makes Kirk very compelling. His evolving friendship with Spock is compelling -- in many ways, more so than in the original series, though that might be blasphemy coming from an acknowledged Trekkie.

And don't get me started on Simon Pegg as Scotty. He's just glorious. I love it. I love him. He's perfect. Although I think the '70s might want back the shirt he's wearing in the bar.

Anyway, I haven't watched The Wrath of Khan in longer than I'll admit to, but even so, it was fannish good fun to pick up on all the little fan-service bits thrown out for us. It was even more fun to watch how the events twisted to unfold another way so the same thing happened, but opposite (I figure it's still soon enough that these might be spoilers, so I'm trying to be vague, but I may just be being confusing). I can't wait to see how they continue on with this series. I said before that this alternate universe tactic is just the epinephrine this cardiac-arresting series needed, and I still think it is. This second flick manages to take the torch the first one lit and just go hogwild with it.

Forget running. Into Darkness took that torch and jumped off the edge of the world with it.

I do have one question, though. It's very important.

Can a lens flare be sarcastic? Because I think a couple of those lens flares might have been "ha, in your face!" lens flares, aimed directly at the folks who dared to suggest Abrams might have been a teensy bit too liberal with those eye-gouging flashes in his earlier outing.

Either way, I love this flick. It's a worthy successor in a long-loved series. As soon as there's a collector's edition with special features available, it will be joining its predecessor on my pride-of-place shelf.

Good times.

Oh! Also, one more thing: Robocop is in it. Robocop is in a Star Trek movie. I just... thank you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dear Charlie:

I got a Kindle for my birthday. I've wanted one for a while, but... well... money.

Plus, I love my print books. I love the feel of the paper, the weight of it in my hand, the manual flipping of the pages.

But that doesn't mean I don't understand the benefits of having an entire library at the push of a button instead of in the six or so giant plastic totes I have tucked away in my spare bedroom. Heh.

So I'm ecstatic, and I'm reading an e-book my sister gifted me a long time ago that had just been gathering cyber dust on my laptop. It's not that I can't read it on my laptop. Far from it. But it kinda defeats the purpose. Plus, if I'm on my laptop, I'm usually doing something. Multiple somethings, actually.

I can't not multitask. I think I've said this before.

But now I have a Kindle, and it's a very interesting book, and I have hit upon the Kindle's fatal flaw. It's elementary, my dear Watson. It doesn't have a frickin' clock on the reading panel, and since you're not manually turning pages and having a tactile sense of time passing as one side of the book thins and the other thickens, you  have no idea that you're still up and reading at 1:30 in the morning when your alarm will start braying at 6:30.

Curses! I still have to take a shower, dammit!

This... will take some getting used to. Luckily, I'm pretty adaptive. Just... don't ask me tomorrow, because my answer will be grumble-grumble-don't-ask.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Dear Charlie:

Sometimes, having a friendly face results in wacky shenanigans.

So I got up kinda late today. I've been under the weather with the Creeping Crud, which just wears you out, so I let myself sleep in and woke up with a "slept too long" headache. A can of Coke and three ibuprofen took care of most of it, so after a couple of hours, I decided I was hungry and should probably eat something.

But since I still feel pretty cruddy, I didn't really want to fix anything, so I decided that it's been far too long since I went to HuHot. Still achy down the back of my neck (I seriously slept hard last night, which I apparently needed), I picked up an Agatha Christie novel, put on my old Chiefs hat to keep my hair out of my face, and made sure I had some singles to tuck into the fishbowl (no, I don't ring the gong - those poor guys have to chant often enough), then headed out...

...only to have to scrape a nice coat of ice off my car. Oh, well. Didn't take but a few minutes to get on my way, and, thanks to that light scrim of ice, HuHot wasn't as busy as it probably would have been. Heh, the odd time of day probably helped, too. Plus, I got potstickers. Always tasty.

Anyway, since I was out and about and still achy down the neck, I figured I'd treat myself to a venti Earl Grey tea latte on the way home. The guy behind me got a little huffy with the drive-thru order-taker, so I decided I'd give the poor barista a little bigger tip than I normally would to make up for it. Definitely worth it for the smile I got to go along with my favorite beverage.

So, feeling full and all smiley now and with that heavenly bergamot scent permeating my car, I thought, "Hey, I haven't rented a movie in a dog's years. I'll stop by Family Video and see what's available. I may be stuck at home if there's more ice on the way and yeah, it's SuperBowl Sunday tomorrow and all, but...."

And there was my first mistake of the day. Heh.

Apparently, everyone who was already out had a similar idea, because Family Video was packed. I managed to pick out two movies to keep for five nights, but man, it was like dancing a particularly intricate tango with a bunch of strangers. Like the most awkward musical ever, sans music.

But finally, I stood in line with my two movies. The guy next to me (just ahead of me, but such niceties are kinda lost in such a crowd) had a little Yorkie-ish puppy in a t-shirt on one arm and his movies in the other hand, and the poor puppy was clearly overwhelmed by the crowd - kinda caught between trembling and squirming to get down to investigate.

It was a long wait. At some point, the guy started looking around at people close to him, and as I watched, he settled on me and stepped closer.

"I hate to ask, but... could you hold her for just a second? I can't get to my wallet."

Now, most people who know me know that I'm not much for small dogs, but the poor guy needed a hand, and I guess I have that friendly face thing going, so I shrugged, shifted my movies to under my arm, and took the puppy. You never know how a dog (or a child, for that matter) will react to a stranger, but apparently this one smelled the Feed the Huns Hoisin on my breath, because it just went lick-crazy. I haven't been so thoroughly puppy-licked since I was a kid.

The guy kept apologizing as he's trying to dig his wallet out and his coat keeps getting in the way, but I was basically okay with it. It was harder to keep from dropping my movies than anything else, and I chuckled pretty much the whole time. Don't get me wrong: it's a little gross to know that you're getting shellacked by the same tongue that licks its butt, but still. A thorough puppy-licking isn't all bad. Especially when the puppy in question so obviously enjoys itself.

Soon enough, the guy took the little wiggler back, apologizing all the while, but I just laughed and swiped at my face with my coat sleeves. She'd even licked my hat in her power-licking frenzy. The puppy kept trying to wiggle out of his arms and get back at me, which was amusing. Note to self: no more Feed the Huns Hoisin when dogs are in the near future.

Anyway, the guy finally just grinned and said, "She likes you. Thanks for the help."

No problem, guy. No problem.

It was still a bit of a wait, but when I did finally get up to the front of the line, the poor, harried lady apologized for the wait, to which I replied, "No worries. I got a puppy-licking, so I'm okay."

She chuckled, obviously relieved, and said, "Thanks for that. It's the first laugh I've had all day."

There were still plenty of people behind me in line, so I'm sure someone got fussy at some point, but at least she got a bit of a laugh on such a crazy day. That makes me feel good.

A good puppy-licking probably helped, too.

So yeah. Sometimes, having a friendly face is a good thing.