Tag Archives: crime

So Much Extra

Lotta questions from a new blog I’m following, so much extra you don’t need to know about me, but you will read to the end, yes? I lazily stole the intro para and links from Fandango:

“Blogger Melanie, over at Sparks from a Combustible Mind, posted a series of questions (along with her answers) on the philosophy of living life that she got from A Guy Called Bloke. As one of the great life philosophers in the blogosphere, I felt compelled to respond. So here goes.”

Q1] What is your take on ‘free will?’

Mythical, like a unicorn.

Q2] We all ask ourselves at one time or another what is the point? So what is the point to our existence?

There is no point. It’s all meaningless. Might as well have another donut. You know you will anyway (see Q1).

Q3] What is your belief on fate and Karma?

Good concepts for poetry and fiction.

Q4] As a species, how do you think humans will become extinct or do you believe that we will not?

Whoops, forgot to answer this one first time around. Sorry. I’m operating on four hours of sleep. I think there will be a mass extinction event, such as a meteor strike or an incurable fatal plague epidemic. Or maybe we will end up in a nuclear WW3.

Q5] What is your belief with regards the meaning of life?

See Q2.

Q6] Ok, fess up, do you believe in aliens from outer space – is there really other life out there in the far reaching galaxies beyond our own?

Likely.

Q7] What is your best quote for ‘living life?’

“Life is short; eat dessert first.”

Q8] What doesn’t kill us – makes us stronger – yes or no? Explain.

Depends what it is. Divorce? Alligator? Nuclear bomb?

Q9] What would you say have been your biggest successes in life?

Raising children to be good people.

Q10] If you could find out the exact time and cause of your death – would you want to know?

Sure.

Q11] Is it more important to help yourself, help your family, help your society, or help the world?

Each of these doesn’t have to exclude the others.

Q12] If humanity was put on trial by an advanced race of aliens, how would you defend humanity and argue for its continued existence?

It would be difficult right now.

Q13] What is the biggest waste of human potential?

All the technology used to destroy and divide instead of help, build, save, feed, clothe, house, etc.

Q14] We often see those that write ‘what would you say to a younger you?’ However, what would you say today to a future you?

Your bangs are crooked.

Q15] Why do you think that as a species, humans need to believe in something? Be this religion, fate, karma, magical, mystique, and so on.

I don’t, but I get that it’s too hard for some people to cope with falling into the abyss of nothingness. It’s not scary though ~ it’s just like before you were born. Nothing.

Q16] If we could not retain any of our memories – who would we be?

Nobody, like one music note at a time by itself, having no relationship to other notes.

Q17] Time is such an important part of our world, but do you think you would notice if time was altered in any way?

It already is going faster, as I perceive it.

Q18] How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?

I play a lot of games.

Q19] With no laws or rules to influence your behavior, how do you think you would behave?

I’d be even more terrified of other people, since so many of them disobey the laws and rules we have now. I’d probably have to buy a gun and kill lots of them. /shrug

Q20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

Nope.

Q21] Should euthanasia be legal? Why or why not?

Yes. There should be safeguards of course, but if an adult who is terminally ill or has a horribly painful or debilitating condition wants to end their suffering sooner than later, that’s their biz. Remember that life is terminal regardless ~ it’s just a matter of when. There’s no getting around this fact.

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Monk(ey) Business [SOSC]

The otter week a couple friends and I began talking about how much we like the show Mrs. Maisel, and specifically we mentioned the father’s character, played by Tony Shalhoub. That reminded me I’d never seen Monk, which he stars in. I always meant to, and Prime has it, but you know… busy organizing socks. Anyway, I started it and am now almost done with S3. I plan to watch all of it (why not?), five seasons or so, except I will take a break soon for a Mission Impossible marathon, since I just bought the first five DVDs, and I’ve never seen any of those movies.

I love the character of Adrian Monk, and some of the supporting side chars are great too (the cops), but I don’t love the show. Does that make sense? Well, it doesn’t have to, pffft. This is stream of consciousness Saturday, and my stream has a lotta meanders in it. Not to mention rocks. And slimy toads on lilypads. Rebbit! God, my phone’s spellcheck is so annoying! What’s wrong with lilypad and rebbit? What was I even talking about anyway? Oh, Monk.

People think I’ll relate to him because of certain OCD tendencies I have, but really mine are nothing compared to real OCD. I do notice things being crooked, out of place, off-center, etc. and that bothers me somewhat, but whatever. In my own personal environment, I strive to keep things neat and clean, matched, aligned, organized, etc., but I’m not a maniac about it. My apartment right now has zillions of imperfect areas. And I don’t bother fixing them. Because eh. Endless. I never touch other people’s stuff, a la Monk, to align it. I’m also not a huge germaphobe like he is. I mean, I’m aware of ucky stuff everywhere, but yet I live a normal life and even have a pet. I touch public bathroom doors without using a paper towel. Yikes.

I could never be a cop ~ I don’t notice details about people, not relevant ones anyway. I might notice something like a woman’s part was really crooked, and the color of her hair, but I’ll fail to remember what she was wearing or anything she said. Or I might remember something really witty a man said but nothing about how he looked. It varies hugely. And I never notice people’s cars, unless they’re BMWs, at which point I will make all sorts of negative assumptions about their character even though I know some BMW drivers are good people. Well, I know of one.

One thing I enjoy about Monk, the show, is that it does progress, albeit glacially. After almost three seasons, Monk has cleaned out the office that belonged to his wife who died like 10 years ago. I’m happy to see that there is hope for him to be “normal” once again. He always had the eidetic memory apparently, but he seemed to be able to enjoy a loving relationship with his wife and a successful career as a detective. One thing I could relate to was his inability to retake the test to get his old job back a few shows ago. He kept erasing the first answer to fill in the box more perfectly and ran out of time. I can imagine doing something like this under extreme stress/anxiety. Which is a weird thing for me to say because test-taking is (was) my forte, but as I age I find it is not true so much and I get freaked out at the idea of tests or anything timed. Even timed games can upset me, especially if there are sounds.

My hypothesis is that when I was younger all these things like tests and dating and rollercoasters etc. which gave me an adrenaline rush were “fun” simply due to some physical chemical reaction, but that reaction occurs differently now because my aging brain processes the chemicals differently, and what was once perceived as yay-stress is now interpreted as boo-stress. (Sorry to get so technical with scientific jargon like yay and boo.)

One of the things I dislike about Monk, the show, is the samey sameness of the plots. They’re ridiculous. And as Monk’s new assistant points out: he’s like the Prince of Darkness. He witnesses a murder, so they have to be sequestered at a cabin in the woods until the trial, which led to some funnies with his OCD, but then naturally there’s yet another murder at the next cabin over. There’s always something like this every time. But since I like Monk, the character, I keep the show on at home in the background… whenever I pay attention again, I don’t feel I’ve missed much. So, in a way, the bug has turned into a feature.

I am starting to like background noise again. My own thoughts are too loud and that was the problem with writing in dead silence night after night weekend after weekend… Paula’s Yelly Brain. I’ll need a new show once Monk is done though. I’m starting to have slight anxiety about what to replace it with ~ it needs to be like Monk, engrossing but not too heavy. I have to be able to fall asleep in the middle of one ep and begin the next one later without a loss of anything important. It can’t be a show full of loads of character development or anything like that. A crime show would be good, I guess, where the crimes don’t really matter because you’re tuning in to see the same main characters behave the same ways every time. Or a comedy, if it’s not too stupid.

Ideas?

MP3: Ocean’s 8

O8

 

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.

Bombs

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?”

Click.

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…