Tag Archives: crime

MP3: Ocean’s 8



Fantabulous! No, not the movie; we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about the voodle salad at Whole Foods.

Yesterday, Thursday, I arrived at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach early enough to grab a late lunch, meander around B&N, and see O8. My plan was to have a low-carb salad at Daphne’s Greek Café, but you know what they say about plans. BT was undergoing some remodeling, so I wandered around for a bit, trying to find Daphne’s. Finally, I spied a directory and OMG there was no Daphne’s! Yikes. Sadness. Now what? None of the other casual restaurants looked like they’d have something tasty and low-carb friendly (I don’t eat sushi anymore). So, I figured I’d walk over to Whole Foods, where there would have to be something acceptable among the trendy offerings. Right?

Usually at WF I get a slice of pizza or a dish of pasta or a cookie ~ you know the drill. Heavy on carbs, light on veggies/nutritional value. All that has now been nixed from my slate of choices. I poked around a bit. Not fond of salad bars where peeps are breathing and sneezing all day. The packaged stuffs were too carby ~ sandwiches, wraps, etc. I peeked at the deli counters. Lotta pasta and… ooh, what’s this? Mediterranean salad. I love! Why are they calling it Zucchini Voodles?

OIC. The curly things aren’t noodles ~ they’re zucchini curls. Cute! There must be some machine that voodlizes your foodles. And the rest of the ingredients were totally legit: tomatoes, artichokes, feta cheese, spinach, olives, dressing. I bought a cup of that and sparkling water and sat down. I assumed the salad would be good, but it was wonderful! I’d never have ordered this in my “past life.” I’d have passed it up for something yummy like pizza. But it was so delicious! The flavors worked so well together. I savored that for a while until realizing I hardly had any time left for B&N. Whoops.

Did a quick book browse, then checked into the movie. It was crowded for a weekday, but O8 has been pretty hyped up. There were some good previews I can’t remember and then the main feature began. First, let me say one thing. It’s really difficult to watch Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett now without remembering that article about their penis facials. I mean, obviously the facials work because their skin is super-glowing and beautiful. But still. This knowledge is distracting.

Second, the problem for a movie with 8 (or 11, etc.) main characters is that… it has 8 main characters. These Ocean movies are overcrowded with protagonists, or anti-heroes, to be precise, since we are (may I remind everyone) talking about criminals. I don’t know about you, but I can’t really root for characters committing crimes unless they’re setting to rights a miscarriage of justice, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that’s not what these Ocean movies are about, mainly. They’re about very good-looking people committing crimes, is what.

Third, putting that aside for a moment, I can still have fun with a movie like this if I can let go and jump into it, but that’s difficult when the set-up drags on and on and on. For gawd’s sake ladies just steal something already! Since I’m not a scriptwriter, I don’t know how you make it super-fun for an audience to sit through the minute details of hacking into a computer system or copying a diamond necklace or whatever, but geez they need to spice that stuff up! So boring. Yeah, there were a few funnies, but not enough. And I had the same criticisms about the male Oceans ~ in fact, I dozed off during each one (bought the set at the beginning of the year to prep for O8). Yawners, even with Clooney. I know!

Finally, the action happens and it’s good. Nicely paced (finally). I enjoyed the last third of the movie. James Corden was hilarious as the insurance detective. The ending was fun as well. But overall Ocean’s 8 was a disappointment after all the hype. Certainly not as bad as Life of the Party, but nowhere as good as Book Club.

I’m going to give Hotel Artemis a swerve after the terrible review in the Observer, and while the stellar reviews of Hereditary tempt me, I’m afraid it’ll give me nightmares for the rest of my life, if not heart failure on the spot. Definitely The Year of Spectacular Men next week and then The King! Elvis, baby.


Whoa. One thing before you go. While looking up the O8 cast to make sure I got Corden’s name right (I didn’t, lol, and fixed it), I noticed that there was a busboy named Michael Gandolfini. Yes, his son. BE STILL MY HEART.



I Wuz Framed!

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012 (or thereabouts), Murder Mystery Dinner in Garden Grove at a private home. This wasn’t a professional production, so we didn’t have the super-funny actors as we did at the 2015 MMD, but instead we played all the parts ourselves. Very fun. And, as I recall, the same friend won best something or other at both MMDs. Go Judene! (Sorry I can’t remember the prize titles.)

I used this photo for the “frame” prompt because I’m framed by the chair and also it gave me the chance to yell “I wuz framed!” as a gangster, presumably arrested for something I didn’t do after the dinner. They set me up! Isn’t that always the way?


Via The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

Bombs Away!

I finished The Slow Burn of Silence by Loreth Anne White the other day and have some things to say.

First, I’m more disappointed when a book I like annoys me than when I give up by page 10 or so. I stuck with TSBOS all the way through because I really dug the storyline and characters, but dammit why…

(Second) Why why WHY would White choose to write in “normal” third person past tense for most scenes yet inexplicably switch to first person present for the heroine’s POV? There was absolutely no reason for this. Rachel’s POV sections could easily have been written the same as the rest. It was maddening when the shifts occurred (despite being in separate scenes). Totally distracting.

(Third) Too many coinkydinks, especially those happening all at once. Just as the SHTF in one area, someone else’s wife just happens to stumble upon a pile of clues in his workshop though they’d been there for years. And the entire violent past incident/evidence/conviction that caused the whole mess was a series of flimsy coinkydinks piled atop a turtle and just… ugh. Yet, I suppose it illustrates how a person can be framed for a crime he didn’t commit if everyone involved manages to keep silent for years. Irritating regardless.

(Fourth) I was gonna say that the sex scenes were totally unrealistic, but I have been schooled on Facebook that some men are indeed capable of performing after getting beaten with a tire iron and left to burn in a fire, so nevermind.

(Fifth) BOMBING. Omg. Bombing. Early on, White uses the phrase “bombing down the mountain” to describe fast, reckless driving and I liked it. A cool, fresh usage. Wonderful! But then she used it again. And again. And again. For driving and bike riding and rain and whatever. It drove me insane. I would have given TSBOS four stars on Goodreads, but this knocked it down to three.

So here’s my rule: when you create a clever new turn of phrase, you get to use it once per story. ONCE. No exceptions. One bomb per book. That’s it.


My New Gig [fiction]

It was 1987 and I was flying high. January first I went to a potluck and a dude there offered me a gig for fifty gees. His name was Tumbleweed and I didn’t ask why. Over a plateful of macaroni salad and Swedish meatballs, he said he needed a driver for a couple months, and I told him I was free. Jimmy Bluenose whispered a word in his ear, and that was that. No, I didn’t have a résumé with me. As if.

Tumbleweed went out of the country for a week (I did not ask where), and gave me a jingle on the tenth.

“Be at Magnolia and PCH five ayem.”

OK, the dude wasn’t much for small talk, but I wasn’t about to complain when he was paying me fifty big ones just to drive people around. I put on my monkey suit, slicked my hair into a neat ponytail, and off I went.

I picked up a man with two blonde girls and drove them to LAX. They were silent the entire drive, so I played an Abba tape. If they wanted something other than Dancing Queen, they only had to speak up, but the trio stared straight ahead.

We made LAX in good time. Finally, the last blonde out of the car said, “I liked that Waterloo song.”

“I’m glad,” I said. “Have a nice trip.”

She just rolled her eyes like I was an idiot.

The second she shut the door, Tumbleweed buzzed me. “Wait there. Black guy in a green suit needs a ride at noon.”

Noon? I had almost seven hours to kill. I went to a coffee shop nearby and sat next to a redhead in black spandex. She was eating French toast with bacon.

“That looks good,” I said, motioning for the waitress to fill ‘er up.

“Fifty bucks,” the redhead replied.

I glanced at her plate again. “For French toast?”

“Yeah,” she smirked. “For French toast.”

Oh. I guess I’m a little slow. I had scrambled eggs and coffee, and then “French toast” in my car.

“Look,” the redhead said. “I like you and all. But next time, please… no Mamma Mia.”

“Gotcha,” I said, ejecting Abba and slipping in Bruce Springsteen.

“Much better,” she said. “But I have to get going.”

I still had some time, so I went to a bookstore and picked up a couple Mickey’s I hadn’t yet read. Sat on a sofa there and read half of one before it was time to get the black guy in the green suit.

He opened my door at one minute after twelve. I was already loving this gig and the prompt, considerate customers. Or whatever they were.

In the back, Green Suit opened a briefcase and began rummaging through it. I couldn’t see what he was doing because the lid obscured my view.

Finally after ten minutes I asked, “What’s our destination?”

He peered over the lid, looking irritated. “Las Vegas. The Flamingo. And we need to get there by four sharp, so I suggest you move along.”

Jesus! I floored it to Vegas, praying I wouldn’t get stopped for a ticket since there was still that little matter of my probation, and the road gods listened because we made it there at four twenty-five.

Green Suit exited my car without a word. Immediately my phone buzzed. “Pick up the brunette in the yellow dress outside the Embassy Suites and take her to Newark.”

“Newark… New Jersey?”


Well, shit. I guess he meant New Jersey, since I didn’t know of any other Newarks. I drove over to the Embassy Suites and sure enough Yellow Dress stood under the canopy.

“You’re late,” she announced, showing a lot of leg as she slid into the front seat next to me.

“Sorry honey.” I grinned at her. “I had to pick up milk for the kids.”

She lit a cigarette. “You’re hilarious.”

“Thank you, my dear.” I pulled onto the main drag.

“My pimp’s after me,” she replied. “He’s armed and dangerous.”

It was 1987. I was on cruise control and headed for a wall.


[written during my Saturday prompts meetup and slightly edited]

Werewolf Erotica

It’s a thing.

And California prisoners are now free to read as much of it as they want. A Pelican Bay prisoner had his werewolf-human erotica novel, The Silver Crown, confiscated by prison officials because they thought it was obscene (sexually explicit, advocates violence), and our prisoners aren’t allowed to read obscene things because … bad.

Anyway, Justice James Richman disagreed.

“Personally, we would be hard-pressed to say The Silver Crown has ‘significant’ literary value and is a work ‘of great import,'” Richman wrote. But, he concluded, “we cannot simply dismiss the work as nonserious literature because it deals with werewolves and other paranormal creatures and activities. For better or worse, some segment of the population is fascinated by werewolves and other mythical beings. … Werewolves, in fact, have played a role in popular fiction for centuries.”

Exactly so. Can’t discriminate against kooks. Richman also states that the sex is OK because it’s all between consenting adults, and the violence is OK because it’s mostly against mythical creatures. He really got into this novel. You guys should read the law.com article ~ it’s great fun. 🙂

But I didn’t realize our prisoners were such avid readers. Whatever happened to…