Friday, April 21, 2006

Movies, TV, and writing

Okay. So, the movie I just recently watched, which is by no means new, is "Dear Frankie"

It was a sweet film, I'm glad I finally saw it, and I recommend it. There was nothing very surprising in it, and I have very little to relate about the plot (wouldn't want to spoil it) but I will mention the two principal adult actors...and then I'll segue into the TV stuff, and the writing... it's all intertwined today.

The heroine looks a lot like Miranda Otto , who I really like. Miranda is the heroine of a delightful little movie by the name of Danny Deckchair, if you haven't seen it, do. It's hilarious and romantic. What more could you ask for? Oh! It's set in Australia... there now, nothing more to ask for. ;) I'm sure I could take this all the way to Kevin Bacon, but we'll stop for now.

It's the hero of "Dear Frankie" I'm more interested in anyway. Gerard Butler is perfect. Oh. So. Perfect. Where have you been all my life Gerard? I've seen him in a few other films, but never has he looked quite so attractive to me as he did in this film. Maybe it's the mystery, maybe it's the facial hair, it's definitely the eyes, and good hands. Sigh. I'm sure he'll be the inspiration for my next hero. He's really quite perfect.

I always have an actor in mind when I create a hero. Interestingly, I never have an actress in mind for the heroine. Why is that? I suspect it's because I have me--an idealized me, of course--in mind as I write the heroine. Sad, huh? Anyway. For my Fantasy epic I wrote my hero with Oded Fehr in mind. And another related story is cooking in my head because of my passionate addiction to Naveen Andrews, of Lost fame. And now, I just have to think of the perfect character to go with Gerard... my new favorite.

Catch ya' later!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Movies, books, and music...

On second thought, how about just Movies. There's simply too much to discuss. Remind me later that I promised a books post and a music post.

So I've been having a proxy argument through my boss with my boss's wife. She recently became addicted--seriously--to Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightlely and Judy Dench. And some other people.

When my boss first told me how much she liked this movie, I recommended the BBC miniseries (somewhere between 5 and 6 hours of Jane Austen Heaven!) starring Colin Firth. Need I say more?

They watched it and she pronounced it a "sucky" movie. Bah. Clearly she misunderstands Austen.

So, aside from the perfection of Colin Firth, what didn't I like about the "new" P&P? Oh, I'll tell you.

First *Everything* was much too shabby. Excepting Judy Dench. Mr. Darcy would never be caught with stubble, especially at church! Come on. Elizabeth's hair was... oh, just deplorable! Ugh. The Bennet girls are supposed to be quite beautiful, and yet they all dressed like scullery maids. Mr. Bennet looked like some kind of back-woods creep. Seriously, I'm sure it had something to do with the casting... but razors are not a new invention!

Okay. So, done with the shabby. How about we examine Mr. Darcy more carefully. He simply went too quickly from pronouncing Elizabeth barely tolerable to asking her to dance, which is a thing we know he detests. A few hours! I know, there was so little time to cover everything as it should be covered, but really, this is important. Darcy's admiration of Elizabeth is slow-blooming. Additionally, you may recall, Darcy on first glance was quickly considered more handsome and well-groomed than Bingley (who was also disappointing, but we don't care quite so much about him), and could have been the favorite if it weren't for his manners. In this movie, he dresses like a vicar...his cravat is not impressive, all black is rather severe... his hair... well, I digress. Shabby. Anyway, rather than simply behaving like he's better than everyone, this Darcy appeared not bored, but angry and depressed. Like, who died, Mr. Darcy? Also, he became much too cheerful much too quickly. I felt he began to make it quite obvious to Elizabeth that he admired her from that first time they danced... which, of course, should not have preceded Jane's illness at Netherfield. Anyway... all too fast, all not quite in character. He was too proud to appear so eager so soon.

I was also disappointed in the handling of the Wickham/Lydia affair. In the BBC version, when you all of a sudden see Darcy stand up at the wedding... knowing he forced it and financed it... your heart just melts! Oh, Darcy, what a hero! You have saved the family from utter ruin, and for so undeserving a couple, and a man who injured you most heinously. In this one, you hear about it from Lydia, but it has no where near the power. On the other hand, who needs that power... things are so far progressed by this point in the movie, it makes no sense that Elizabeth turned him down in the first place... or little sense, anyway. Additionally, I don't think the impression of how terrible this would be for the family was well conveyed. Yes, Elizabeth threw her fit (which seemed a little over the top), but it didn't really make it clear how real and serious the issue was.

Mr. Collins wasn't nearly as awful... and Mr. Collins must be awful.

What did I like? I really thought some of the cinematography was great... there were simply some beautiful scenes. The bit at the assembly when Darcy and Elizabeth are dancing and all of a sudden it's only the two of them, that's great! The morning fog scene, just before and when Darcy renews his offer. beautiful. There are others as well. If it weren't for the shabbiness, I would have to say that the production was better, if only slightly.

I thought the casting of Wickham was better. This guy never came across as creepy, which I think is important in making his past believable (that he hoodwinked the late Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy too). I could see how Lydia (and Elizabeth) could go for this guy. Oh! But paying for fripperies? Highly improper! Elizabeth would have been shocked.

Judy Dench was just fabulous. Nothing better. She far surpasses the casting in the BBC version. I also liked that her visit to Eliza Bennet occurred at night...unbelievable, but very striking.

No other casting struck me as improved, and Bingley, Darcy, and Mr. Bennet were decidedly worse.

As for the final scene, I liked it. Even though it's a bit of license, I like it indeed.

So, there you go. Now that that's out of the way.

If you like Pride and Prejudice, you will certainly LOVE the BBC version. If you are eternally attached to the new one, look at the BBC version as an expansion, it's very close to the book. Other P&P treatments: Bride and Prejudice, the delightful Bollywood musical, which Sayid from Lost playing the Bingley role. :) And Bridget Jones's Diary (the book is wonderful, and the movie very good too).

That's enough from me for now. I really should get some work done. Next time, I'll discuss another movie I finally saw.

Catch ya' later!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


So... yesterday, after my morning Latte' (which used to be a morning Mocha, with some shot or other to flavor about sugar!), I decided to go off caffeine. I thought that would be the end of it... but now I recall the 3/4 full bag of Dove Dark Chocolate promises in my desk, and I'm really struggling. I also intend to cut out sugar and grains. How am I going to do this? Ugh!

Heh. I can hear X hecklin' me about all this.

I have a friend who tries out every fad diet that comes along. Every diet works for her for a while, and then she slacks, gains, and tries the next fad diet.

The problem I've always seen with these diets, which are 90% embarked upon so she can lose weight, is that they are so restrictive there's just no way to stay on them. After getting the fever to follow her a time or two, I realized that the only good way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. Knowing I didn't really want to do either, I resolved myself to always being a little more fluffy than I'd like.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't think exercise is great... but who has the time? If I lived in a climate that would allow frequent after-dinner walks in the warmth of the evening, I'm sure I'd be closer to the skinny Minnie me that I was in high school. As it is, I'd have to get on a treadmill or go to a gym, or erect some other piece of expensive equipment on which to drape clothing--because that's what would happen--and I just can't bear the expense or the sacrifice of more enjoyable pastimes.

As for eating less, I don't know if you all have tried to diet while nursing, but my inability to eat less has very little to do with my will power, and much to do with the caloric needs of being a nursing mum. I suppose a quick fix to feeling less hungry would be to wean. However, life is nice the way it is... I really don't value the loss of 5 or 10 (or 3) lbs more highly than peace at home. I just can't imagine all the hullabaloo weaning Eve would cause... and don't even get me started on how it might effect my already strained sleep!

So... all that to say, I have quite given up the idea of losing weight.

Why then am I going to eschew sugars, starches, and most dairy--basically all that is good and wonderful to eat?


Since before my pregnancy, and truthfully, possibly since my Central Asia trip, I have been struggling with an illness. I won't go into details with you, but this is something I've tried to fix by any and all means. In fact, it is out of sheer desperation, knowing I have no other options, no other viable course of action, that I intend to embark upon the diet from hell.

This Sunday is D-day. This Sunday is when I will go all out. For the time, I'm simply getting rid of sugar and caffeine... simple, ha!

Gone are evenings in front of a glowing TV, snuggled up with a bowl of ice cream covered in chocolate and peanuts... I don't think peanuts are even allowed on this diet... at least not the dry-roasted kind.


It's possible that many months from now, I will be able to reconsider adding peanuts... but sugar and caffeine are pretty much out for good... as long as I can stand it. Though I'm sure, like my girlfriend, when I begin to feel better, I will forget why I ever went on this silly diet and slowly slide back into my old ways. Hopefully the only consequence will be weight gain....

So, anyway... today, being my first day without caffeine of any kind... I've got a terrible headache... and I'm so tired! There... all that so I could whine at you.

Catch ya' later.

Friday, April 07, 2006

On a related note...

So... Anger.

Let's put aside why I've been getting angry more than usual. What I want to discuss for the moment is how I'm expressing and dealing with anger.

I scream, literally.

I throw stuff... usually small, and never at people. Sometimes chairs... lol.

V. occasionally I really really really feel like kicking that cat, but I know that I'd feel much worse after doing so, so I never have. I only feel this way when she's really been bad.

I sometimes kick things.

I never hit things. I do like slamming doors and cupboards though.

I like to make a lot of noise when I'm angry, I guess.

I am not convinced that I'm handling this right, but the only other model I've witnessed is stuffing it down and being bitter, which I know is wrong.

So... tell me your methods... and tell me what you think of mine.

Oh, and if you're a writer... what do your heroic (main) characters do when angry? Do you use different methods of dealing with anger to demonstrate growth in your character? Do your characters get angry, or do they just get hurt?

Thursday, April 06, 2006


So it had to happen. Eve grew. She grew from a sweet, endlessly happy baby, into... a typical toddler!

She's still sweet, most of the time, and usually happy. However, now that she's taller and stronger and quick as a mamba (as my dad would say), she tries my patience to no end. And it's not that I expect otherwise. No, I don't get angry because I expect her to be able to control herself. She's 17 months old, she doesn't have the self-control to deny any desire.

And honestly, I'm not angry at what she does. It's more how it sometimes ruins my plans.

For instance... (btw, this makes me feel like a terrible mom! I can't believe I did this), last week, on my day off, I thought Eve and I might enjoy making a fresh-fruit smoothie together, and then, of course, consuming it together. I try so hard to make sure she eats healthy... this is an attempt to combat the effects of the French fries that I cave in and give to her. Anyway... first things first, wash Eve's hands! She doesn't make it easy. Thanks to her perma-fascination with the dishwasher, I always have piles of dishes on the counter and in the sink. As soon as I get one hand soaped and move to the other, she's grabbin' at filthy dishes. Before I can stop her she grabs an empty glass and throws it. Miracle of miracles, it doesn't break. I'm relieved and annoyed. "Don't throw glasses on the floor Eve, they might break." LOL--no, I didn't expect her to understand, but I really hoped she'd stay on task long enough to get both hands genuinely clean. Then she grabs another glass... this one, of course, breaks.

I just stand there for a few moments. Trying to... compose myself. I pleasantly tell her, "That's what happens when you throw glass on the floor."

She'd been fussy and clingy all day, for whatever reason, and I'd gotten almost nothing done. I thought I was okay with that, but my tantrum proved me wrong.

I had shoes on, thank goodness, so I intended to pick her up and put her in her highchair to keep her out of the way while I cleaned up. And then it hit me how much I DETEST cleaning up broken glass. I mean, who likes it, right? But, I would rather clean up muddy footprints on white carpet any day. Glass fills me with this irrational fear... or maybe perfectly rational. It's impossible to see the tiny shards, which are still perfectly capable of cutting and embedding into feet. It's impossible to get away without getting something stuck to your shoes and then tracked elsewhere, where a little shard will remain unnoticed until it injures someone. I feel powerless against broken glass. Not only that, but a 30 minute micro-clean was *not* on my list of things I wanted to do. In fact, I'd swept the kitchen just the night before... sweeping wasn't on my list! LOL... I could think of a million other things I'd rather do for 30 minutes, even folding laundry. The worst of it was that Eve was still clingy and fussy, so while I cleaned I knew I'd have to listen to her whine at me. I hate hearing her cry.

So, as all of this knowledge hits me, I pick her up and put her under one arm, intending to move the chair she was standing on to make my path to her highchair a little more direct and a little less glassy. As usual, there are a few heavy coats hanging on the back of the chair--with glass in them now--because we don't have an entry way, a coat rack, or a coat closet... gah! I'm getting mad just thinkin' about all this. All that to say, I can't lift the chair with my left hand. I'm ashamed at my behavior. All of this just kind of made me snap... so I picked the chair up as best I could (2 legs still on the floor) and threw all my weight into it so I could essentially throw it across the room (well...the 3 or 4 feet to the cabinets), at the same time, whatever monologue I was giving Eve (I am sure it was something along the lines of, "Now you're going to have to sit in your chair, which I know you'll be unhappy about, but you've got no choice, because the glass is dangerous and it's going to take Mama ages to clean up.") went up a few decibels and down a few notes, so I could yell and throw at the same time.

Then I tip-toed as fast as I could and gave her absolutely no sympathy as I deposited her into her chair.

I fumed and railed as I cleaned, until finally deciding things would be better if I just forgave Eve and myself for the debacle (which I was mainly responsible for anyway). I did feel better, but it didn't change the fact that it was now nearly time to begin making dinner.

This was the most spectacular example of my temper of late, but it's by no means the only time I've thrown a tantrum. It scares Eve and it makes me feel terrible... I'm angry that I'm angry... lol.

After talking with Tom about it, we came to the conclusion that I get angry when my expectations aren't met. I don't expect certain behaviors from Eve, normally, but I do become accustomed to the way things go, or way thing appear to be going on any given day.

Part of the reason I got angry on the glass-breaking day was because, as my second (and not usual) day off of the week, I'd expected to be able to do a little housework catching-up, and to have fun playing with Eve. Instead, I neither had fun nor got anything done, because Eve was in a mood. Some days I get angry she doesn't nap. Other days, I can tell she won't be napping, and so I don't expect it, and don't get angry about it.

Ever since Eve was born I've had to periodically readjust my expectations of myself. When she was new, I had to tell myself it was okay to let the house go, because she needed so much. Then when I started back to work, I had to tell myself it was okay to let the house go, because I couldn't be expected to do it all with such a young baby who still needed so much. When my hours were unexpectedly cut back (babysitter issues) I started getting the house in a bit better shape, because I had more time. Then, when I was able to work things out to get back to my normal hours, things fell apart again. And now I'm not sure what I should be telling myself. I mean, I feel like I can't claim I have a needy baby anymore... she's old enough now that I should be able to get stuff done... isn't she? On the other hand, if I set myself up with expectations, they are invariably unattainable, and then I get upset. So, it would be better to never expect to get the house clean, because then I wouldn't get mad about it.

For the moment, I am simply repeatedly reminding myself of a few things. First, that I don't want to resent Eve because she doesn't allow me to get housework done, because spending time with Eve is actually what I want to be doing... it's housework that's getting in the way of that, not vice versa. I also remind myself that even when I don't get around to laundry, dishes, or vacuuming, it doesn't mean I am not getting things done. The day doesn't just vanish. For instance, yesterday, as I was getting agitated because it took me all morning to get dinner in the crock pot, I made a list of things I'd done:

I changed 4 dirty diapers, and 6 diapers total.
I nursed and cuddled Eve to her little heart's content.
I prepared a rather labor-intensive meal from scratch. (this is another source of anger, as I seem to be incapable of cooking anything never tastes good to Tom... there's always something wrong with it, yesterday's meal was no exception.)
I showered and dressed.
Got Eve dressed (quite adorably, of course)
Emptied her diaper pail and the kitchen trash, even going so far as to put new bags in the bins.
I read 6 chapters of Jane Austen's Persuasion (while nursing).
Prepared and consumed two healthy meals for Eve and myself.
Read 2 books twice through to Eve.

All this between 8 and 1:15 when I took her to her grandpa's so I could come to work for a few hours. This helped calm me when I began to feel a little on edge when it was time to change her diaper for the 4th time in 2 hours. With all the breaks she demanded of me, what should have taken about 30 minutes (cleaning and cutting veggies for potato-leek soup) took me about 2 hours to complete... but I managed to be okay with it... with effort.

So... I've learned how to forgive people. But I haven't yet figured out what to do "in the moment" when something makes me angry. Part of the problem is needing to not get angry in the first place over some things, but there will always be some things that are legitimate that make me angry... how do I deal with those?

Right now, I'm teaching my daughter by example that when we are upset and mad, we throw things and yell. I'm glad to teach her that sometimes we get angry and it's okay to be angry, but I don't like the message that fit-throwing is the way to vent that anger. I simply don't know what else to do, and I seem to be incapable of controlling myself to any great degree... I'm like a toddler myself in that respect.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Back in the saddle?

I deliberately left all my work at work for the weekend.

Blame it on my boss. He asked me what I wanted to do with my life when I decide I've had enough of him. I told him I want to be a writer. He challenged me right off the bat. Basically saying, if you want to be a writer, where's the writing? I went on to explain that a lot has changed for me since Eve was born, and had changed even before that. Basically, I told him I'd written, but not anymore.


This got me to thinkin'.

A few new ideas flitted around in my head, but when I told my mom about it all... she asked me about all my unfinished stuff.

So I went back to look at my most finished unfinished novel. Heh... it's pretty darn good. For only being about 25% done... It's a big story, so I have lots of pages done, and lots left.

I've had lots of thoughts lately.

First off, I'm not sure I can write what I actually like to read. Except my own words. Does that make sense? I *love* reading what I've written. Be it email, fiction, term papers...vanity, thy name is Jenne. I've caught myself re-reading things I find particularly brilliant. Am I the only one who thinks her own stuff just... rocks? Don't get me wrong, I don't go so far as to imagine other people think it rocks (the fools ;))

Anyway...back to what I can't write. I may love reading my own stuff, but will anyone else? Would I love my characters and plot, atmosphere and voice were they someone else's? For instance, my favorite romance novels are historical intrigues. That's why I *LOVE* Nita Abrams. Have I mentioned her before? Anyway... I'm not sure I can build and sustain mystery... and I know I can't write historical, I simply don't know enough about historical time periods to do so. I would hate to write a historical romance using only the information I've gleaned from other historical romances and other historical fiction, it just seems wrong. I think manners and norms would probably be something I could manage...but the atmosphere would be really hard to pull off.

I also love comedy, in pretty much any genre... but I don't pretend I've got a brilliant sense of humor (well, I know what's funny...and I don't include myself in the list, generally) and even if I did, I don't know if I could convey it on the page. When I've tried, it's been very... forced.

I love fantasy (from totally other-world, like LOTR, to contemporary paranormal) but I don't want anything too serious or... rather, I don't want anything that is going to bring me down. Can I pull that off? I am not yet sure. I know there are rules to world-building, but I couldn't tell you what they are.

Looking at my reading purchases over the years, it is these various kinds of books I spend my money on. It's these kinds of books I'd like to write. Am I a coward for thinking I can't?

In all that thinkin' I've been doing, I looked through my ms again. I told you that already, I also told you I think it's pretty darn good. What I didn't tell you is I'm seriously thinkin' of writing some more of it. If I wasn't spending so much time blogging, I might even be working on it now. :)

Catch you later.