Sandmanjazz has shared a fun challenge! Want to join in? I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I’m still playing.
Last week at my daughter’s we watched Last Christmas, which I had wanted to see for a while. I adore Emilia Clarke (Daenerys in GOT) and also Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians). It also had Michelle Yeoh as the shop owner, and she was hilarious. The movie started out in an interesting way, but then became boring in the middle. However! It turned into a mystery with a fab twist. OMG. I was not expecting that at all, and the ending made the whole movie wonderful. It’s now my favorite Christmas movie! 🎄
We also watched 12 Dates of Christmas, which was cute, but predictable. Think Groundhog Day with eggnog and cookies. I enjoyed Four Christmases some years ago ~ Reese Witherspoon is always a treat. I know I’ve seen other holiday movies, but my mind is a blank right now.
I did this challenge in groups of 6 and this will be my last post in the series. It was a lot of fun!
25. A book villain I actually love would be Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. I mean, come on, the guy is a total creep, banging his sister, and throwing a little kid off a tower when he witnessed them. But except for those minor details…
26. I’m not big on “shoulds,” and I also can’t recall reading a biography–they were all autobiographies. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin was probably my favorite. I do recommend it for his fans. Papa John by John Phillips was also interesting.
27. I don’t reread books yearly, but Where I’m Calling From, a short story collection by Ray Carver, is a book I’ve read a few times.
28. Watership Down by Richard Adams is a classic on my to-be-read list.
29. I love the cover of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things and the stories inside as well.
30. The book I’m reading right now is Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’m about half done and it’s fantastic. Wish I had read it sooner because I’ve already learned a lot.
I was thinking about switching to the new SYW pic Melanie has up for this week’s post, but I love this old one too much to give it up. Let’s get to the questions, shall we? 😀
1. How comfortable are you speaking in front of large groups of people?
I’m not comfortable with large groups of people period. (This predates the virus.) Sometimes I don’t even want to be in small groups either! But I can speak if I have to. I did a couple rounds of open mic stand-up comedy in front of 50 folks or so to prove I could. I also gave a speech at my daughter’s wedding in front of around 75 people. But I’d rather not do those types of things ever again.😝
2. What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?
My common sense after peering in to tell me to turn right around and get the hell out of there. 🦇
3. What did you think was going to be amazing but turned out to be horrible?
My last romance (2016). 💔
4. What’s the silliest thing you’ve observed someone get upset about?
I observed the entire internet collectively freak out over an unsatisfactory ending to a TV show we’d all been watching for some time. People were very angry because the wrong character killed the bad guy and the beautiful queen destroyed a city and on and on. Folks are still complaining about it over a year later.🙄
Please feel free to share something that gave you an uplifted spirit during this past week. (Optional)
Well… I already shared how thrilled I was to see my family last Tuesday (yikes, was that a week ago already?)… just talking to them over FaceTime since then, I guess. I’m very grateful for that technology especially now with my little granddaughter so we can see each other. 😍 It’s great when my eldest can join in too.
No clue where this image is from, but it’s not mine.
Still not feeling bloggily creative, though I have been working on my novel, yay. Got through some tricky sections and can move on to a fun one now. Meanwhile, Dr. Tanya tagged me for some questions as part of an award thingie ~ thank you, Dr. Tanya! I no longer do awards/tagging here, but I enjoy the Q’s as time allows. 🙂
1. What’s the last movie that you watched?
Last Saturday I watched the first 3 episodes of Season 2 of Dead to Me. I loved S1, and S2 is starting out great as well. It’s basically about coming to terms with grief and loss, and the unlikely friendship that forms between two women as they navigate this process. It’s also very funny.
Usually I prefer movies to series however…
2. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Same thing as every other day ~ read and write!
3. What are you doing to beat the lockdown blues?
I have not been beating the lockdown blues. I accept that I will be sad during this time and am not in denial about it. Unlike many who keep saying that we “shouldn’t” feel this way or that, I am all alone here, not isolating with a husband or any family members. It helps to chat with my girls over FaceTime. Reconnecting with friends over Facebook has helped. Playing games over Zoom doesn’t help much. Mostly, I miss seeing my family a whole lot and that weighs on my heart daily.
That said, I am thankful to be working.
4. How long can you go without using your phone?
Only while I’m asleep. 💤
5. What do you most value in your friends?
6. Do you have a favourite fictional character? What makes her/him your favourite?
My favorite character is Archy McNally from Lawrence Sanders’ detective novels. He’s a smart guy with somewhat slippery ethics who got tossed from Yale law and now works for his father’s law firm (but he’s not a lawyer). He gets the icky cases and they’re fun. He overeats fancy food and drinks too much and cheats on his girlfriend… but he always feels bad about these things and vows to reform, soonish. He wears colorful silly clothing and uses ridiculous vocabulary. Love him!
7. Winter or Summer?
Summer! Love warm weather and long days of light. I used to like fall best, but it’s too dark now.
8. What is love, in your point of view?
Sexual attraction plus friendship plus commitment to stay together. If all three elements aren’t there, it’s not love. I’m not sure I’ve ever had real, sustained romantic love, which is sad, but it is what it is. I’ve had two out of the three combos at various times, which is better than nothing, I guess.
I’m talking about romantic love here, not any other kind. ❤️
9. What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Of shows, start to finish, I would have to say The Sopranos. There were a couple seasons that weren’t my favorite, notably the one with “the other Tony,” but overall it was stellar throughout and the ending didn’t let me down like Game of Thrones (which might have been my fave but for the ending, which I didn’t hate as much as some people did, but still it was rushed and meh). Breaking Bad is also up there with greatness as is Six Feet Under. As far as comedies, I love Seinfeld and Curb.
Regarding movies, my favorites are Dr. Zhivago, Young Frankenstein, Goodfellas, When Harry Met Sally, and Saturday Night Fever. I also love Chicago, Walk the Line, and You’ve Got Mail. Risky Business gets an honorable mention. I would watch any of them again at any time.
10. If you could time travel, where (when?) would you go?
Definitely the future! I would like to see what a horrible mess the world is in 300 years from now or if by some miracle things are better. Probably we’ll just be doing all the same dumb things… 🙄
So far in 2020 I have read 8 books. Here are my two latest reviews. Visit the links in the above paragraph if you’re interested in the previous reviews (they are brief).
Cappuccinos, Cupcakes, and a Corpse. I grabbed this book by Harper Lin only because of the cupcakes. I’m glad the bingo game is pushing me to read outside my usual genres, but if this is a typical cozy? Meh. The writing is lazy, tepid, and full of stereotypes.
Skip the italicized part if you plan to read this book!
I liked the budding romance between Francesca and Matty and the possibility that Matt killed his own father. That kept me going actually, that this whole nice guy routine was a total fraud, as it so often is, and the sweet boy Franny knew as a child had turned into a very bad man as they do. But no. After misdirecting us into thinking that an ex-con had done did the deed, Lin just flings a previously unknown character at us as the murderer. Well, poo! That’s no fun. I won’t read any more books by Harper Lin, no matter how much cake they contain.
Okay, you’re safe from the spoiler now! I’m moving on to a book written by an indie author, my friend JR Rasmussen. Unlike me, JR figured out how to focus on a genre and do the branding thing, gather a group of advance readers, and basically go about writing in a wholly professional way. She also has kick-ass covers on her books, not that we should judge by this, but… damn.
With that disclaimer, I also want to say that I wasn’t all that interested in reading her book A Dream Of Fire when it first came out. Dragons… meh. Magic… meh. Like I was happy for my friend and all, but I was sticking with romances. But then I got sucked into the whole Game of Thrones madness and was suddenly whoa dragons? Hell yes I wanna read a book with magical dragons!!! Gimme.
“Thoroughly enjoyed this witty and exciting story! I used to avoid this genre in general, but Game of Thrones got me hooked on dragons and magic in fiction. This was a superbly well written story with great dialogue and interesting characters. Loved the imaginative spells!”
So there you have it. Unfortunately, my loan expired for American Gods and in the meantime I’ve somehow accumulated a pile of other books to read. I’ll be working on those for my next update.
Smiles and positive posts are all well and good, but sometimes I need to vent a bit. How about you? That’s what The Monday Peeve is all about, a chance to blow off a little steam at the beginning of the week, so then we can go merrily on our way once again (hah). I’ll pick a topic that’s on my mind, but you can vent about whatever you please, here in comments or on your own blog. Grab the photo, use the #TMP tag, and link back to me (or not ~ I dgaf), and Bob’s yer uncle. I do reserve the right to delete any links that offend my delicate sensibilities. So far, none have, but it could happen! I have feelings!
I don’t even know where to start with this peeve… it’s not really a single peeve but more like a peeve cascade. Buckle up! 😮
First, I noticed that my Amazon Prime movies were doing an annoying thing: I’d click on one to watch but get a message it wasn’t available. Sometimes I’d have to click 5 times before the movie would start and it’s not like any of these flicks are masterpieces. I googled this issue and it said to restart my whole Roku dealio, so I did and nothing has changed. This was not and is not happening on Netflix, btw.
Second, a few days later I received an email from Roku telling me that my Roku was old and might quit working properly. Well, great news there. They had a special offer for me, natch. For a mere $15 (plus T&S), I could upgrade to Roku Express and stay in the loop with software updates and such.
Third, last night (Wednesday) I decided to order the stupid thing. I had to create a new Roku password because I forgot mine and also had to change my credit card because the one on file had expired. But the Roku website wouldn’t accept my new card. I entered it like 27 times and nope. It wouldn’t take it.
Fine. I figured I’d buy the damn thing on my phone. But this was one of those times, and there are many, when the new chained password failed to actually chain to my linked device. Okay, I decided to request a new NEW password on my phone and chain it back to my laptop (for whatever reason the chain always works in that direction). But Roku said no, you can’t. I logged out on my laptop. Still no. 😡
OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME SPEND SOME MONEY WOULD YOU PLEASE!!!!!
Then I had a brainflash. I turned on my TV, went to Roku settings, and changed my credit card info there.
I ran right back to the Roku website on my laptop, logged in, saw that my CC had been automagically updated, and bought the whatsit Express. Whoop de farkin’ doo!
Then, then my friends, Roku says to me…
“Hey girl. We see you don’t have a Roku TV. Would you like to buy some speakers for it? Remember, they only work with a Roku TV!” 🤯🤯🤯
I mean… I mean… I’m already out $22 for this Express nonsense, when I thought the original Roku would last the rest of my life. I don’t trust these peeps at all now, and I assume I’ll have to buy more dumbassery upgrades in the future to keep using my TV for streaming channels if I even want to… have I mentioned that most movies are crap? But then every once in a while there comes along a Sopranos or a Breaking Bad or a Game of Thrones… 💖
Anyway, sure, let me get right on that special speaker deal just as soon as I jump on this sail sale… I hear they only work with boats…
Wights were specific undead creatures in Game of Thrones, created and controlled by a White Walker. It took me a while to grok the difference ~ and this was not a slight difference. White Walkers possessed great power, while a wight, while frightening, was merely a pawn. A human could kill a wight in a fight, but he would have to burn its body to ensure it did not reanimate. A truly delightful sight occurred when our hero killed a White Walker. What do you think might happen then? All the wights he had turned would immediately collapse and disintegrate. All right!
I was super stoked for El Camino, the Breaking Bad movie. In fact, I rewatched BB in its entirety during the last few weeks, all 62 episodes, to prepare for the movie. God, that was one fantastic show, perhaps the best series ever written.
This review contains spoilers. Get out now! 👻
I watched El Camino last night and was disappointed, maybe because of all the Twitter hype. That happens. The actors were all great, of course, nothing against them, but you know what? Breaking Bad was Walter White (Bryan Cranston), not Jesse. Now, I love Aaron Paul. He could totally star in his own show, and I would watch it, but BB was Walt’s show. Without Walt, I was like, meh, who cares?
This is a different criticism from the one I have about Better Call Saul, which is that the slick, wisecracking, one-dimensional character of Saul Goodman was perfect for BB, and reimagining him as street punk “Slippin’ Jimmy” and then as an idealistic young lawyer who gets shafted by his own brother, was just all too JTS. The Goodman character was not made for this much baggage. I don’t think I made it through S2.
But with all the crazy stuff that happened on BB, I never once went okay that’s it… the show has jumped the shark. Even with the Nazis. Nope. It was still solid. Start to finish. It left a few minor threads hanging, such as what was the deal that Gus had come out of Chile with a fake name? They mentioned that twice, but left the gun on the table.
Back to El Camino. There wasn’t much of a plot. There were some historical revisionist convos, a couple of which looked odd on screen because the actors appear their current age. Jesse is fine because he’s young anyway. Walt in the diner looked sick as he was supposed to, but I thought Jesse was talking to Mike’s ghost for a minute, lol. That was bizarre. And Todd looks older and heavier now than he did during the original filming, so when they shovel in this new scene, right after I just watched the old eps, um… Weird.
The writing was great. All the characters were in top form. Jesse natch, Badger, Skinny Pete, Jesse’s clueless parents, etc. But without Walt… I just didn’t care. I knew Jesse would end up escaping this time. You could just tell that the whole point of the movie was to give fans of Jesse a reason to cheer. Yay, he got to start a new life! He’ll meet a cute Alaskan girl in about 5 minutes after the credits roll as he does…
Anyway. This reinforces my idea not to watch either the prequel series to Game of Thrones or The Many Saints of Newark. The appeal of GOT to me hinged on the specific characters played by the specific actors and their relationships. I dgaf about Martin’s pretend world, except for the dragons. The dragons are cool. And The Sopranos was Tony Soprano. (RIP Jim G) That’s it. I’m not interested in his lookalike son playing a younger Tony. Why should I care what made Tony into Tony via not-Tony when I already hadall that real Tony?
Okay, so yeah… I’m behind on all the blogadoo things. Regular prompts, picture fiction, my continuing chapters with Lexi and Liana and whoever else (are there more?)… and now a new week relentlessly begins with Laura’s music and Fandango’s flashing and omg I’ve missed like a million days of the October challenge already… AUUGGGHHHH!!!
I’m not talking about the wind chill factor, but what gives me the creeps in books and film. Mostly, I avoid horror because I don’t find it interesting, nor do I need an extra surge of adrenaline after driving in SoCal traffic. Horror show in and of itself. 😱
But over the decades there have been some works that grabbed me. So to speak. I love Stephen King’s writing. He knows how to tell a story, create compelling characters, set the scene, and build suspense. The Shining is a perfect example. For a while, I enjoyed some of Dean Koontz’s novels too, but his writing became repetitive.
I prefer horror stories that focus on the madness of human beings, which is all too believable unfortunately, rather than layering on supernatural elements like vampires and demons. That said, I loved Frank Langella as Dracula in the 1979 film. I also adored Johnny Depp in 2012’s Dark Shadows. But those are exceptions; most vampire things are silly.
Recently, I watched a few supernatural romances on Prime (with witches) and they were terrible. I wouldn’t even classify them as romances since they didn’t have happy endings, but they were definitely in the horror genre. Campy horror. The witches were incredibly beautiful, natch, in order to seduce unsuspecting men to the Dark Side. Isn’t that always how it is? 😈
I did enjoy Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock though. That was different. But it wasn’t scary. (I’ve never disliked a movie starring Sandra Bullock.)
As a kid, the Candyman movie terrified me, maybe because I was told I was allergic to bees. I’m not even sure if that’s true. I was also told I was allergic to penicillin, and that turned out to be false. 🐝
I think a lot of what makes a movie scary is visual shock value. If there’s too much early on, it can dissipate, so it needs to be doled out carefully. Books are different, a psychological buildup that stays with the reader, in the best case. Hard to forget even after you turn the last page.
Game of Thrones could be classified in the horror genre. It had zombies, witches, and all sorts of gory, shocking deaths. I mainly thought of it as an adventure romance type of show though, since (to me) the focus was more on characters than action. I wouldn’t argue this point however, if you’d rather plunk it in the horror box.
Movies used to have more subtlety. Take Psycho, forex. Don’t you still think about the shower scene sometimes when you’re in a strange bathroom… 🔪