Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yay for Christmas!

I hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season!

We certainly did. It was a nice, quiet Christmas. On Christmas Eve Eve we went on our traditional dinner out to Denny's with the whole family, followed by a drive through the rich neighborhoods to look at their lights. My older brother noted that there were fewer lights this year, probably due to worry over global warming, and my dad shouted out the cracked open window, "Thanks for ruining Christmas, Al Gore!" The rest of the car ride consisted of my sister and I covering our noses while trapped in a car with my brothers' combined fart power. We also had a big burn pile during the day, and when I checked on it that night... there was an evil face looking back at me!

Christmas Eve was lovely! I finished Northern Lights faster than I can remember finishing any book in recent memory (read for fun, of course) and saw the movie The Golden Compass. Wow. I understand a lot of the sacrifices they made for the screen, but wow. If they were going to give it a PG-13 rating they should have actually shown some of the gory or more upsetting scenes, like, I don't know, the end. I was more upset by the studio (or whoever made the decision) not taking a stance on the religious content of the book/film. They hinted at it with a few split second scenes of Christian artwork, but that's all. By excluding the Christian elements, the filmmakers have excluded the pivotal element of the book. I mean, the title is appropriated from the epigraph from Paradise Lost. I understand that it's a business and they wanted to appeal to the masses (which often equates to the lowest common denominator) but if Pullman had the gall to write about it and the publishers had the balls to publish it, then you'd hope Hollywood would have the danglies to at least do the text justice. Maybe not. Hollywood may have no hangy dangies at all. I'm not about 50 pages into the second book, The Subtle Knife.

I let it all slide in the light of it being Christmas Eve. My sister and older brother and I went out on an evening ride to look at the lights on the houses in the valley below. Beautiful. Though Houdini, the horse my brother was riding, is still pretty green, which always makes riding with him interesting. And they were all a little extra tense... either because it was cold, dark, and near dinner time... or because they sensed Santa near! We watched the nearly-full moon rise from horseback. Things got exciting when we lined up for a picture and Houdini kicked Mickey and I. Luckily it was just a glancing blow that hit my boot (though my feet were so numb I hardly felt it) and didn't do much damage to Mickey.

I love Mickey. He's such a wolly mammoth in the winter!

Calming Mickey and Sparrow when they started to spook from Houdini.

Lights on the houses below.

Me and Mickey, the demon eye.

My brother and Houdini who doesn't like his bit.

Sparrow and the moon.

Sparrow and Mickey.

Christmas Eve I tried crab for the first time in ages. It was pretty good.

We left Santa a small feast!

Christmas morning was lovely and the sun shone. After opening gifts, we had a delicious meal of roll that my mom made.

That afternoon I gave gifts to the kids I babysit. The little boy's favorite present from me was a potato. It's a joke that goes back to when he was three or so.

That evening Alex and my bog bro went on another horseback ride. I'd been standing in the kitchen forever making homemade egg nog and needed some exercise, so I ran on ahead of them. It was a variation of how my sister and I once played "Runner." I ran and she hunted me down on horseback. It's great fun and scary. I have more respect for Ronon!

Houdini, the little green boy, before the ride.

Christmas sunset!

I was a bit smug after beating the horses and waiting for them to arrive for several minutes. Even Teyla the toot was a happy little angel on her second Christmas!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Shopping

So last Friday my sister and I went Christmas shopping downtown. I have a habit of attempting to encourage reading by buying everyone books (which has been working, as far as I know, with the kids I babysit) and as such resulted in me leaving Borders with such a heavy bag that, after hauling it around for about three hours, left me with sore trapezium. Good 'ole trapezium. They're very useful.

After hiding out in an expensive clothing store just because it was warm, accidentally ripping out my earrings while trying on a top (I got my ears pierced about two months back and no one ever tells you about the weeks and weeks of difficulties that follow the initial 4-6 week cleaning-leaving-the-earrings-in thing) and getting shouted at by a tarot card reader ("Hey - lady in the green with the long hair! Get back here!") who apparently really wanted to read my future, my sister and I slipped into Marini's - the lovely chocolate and candy shop to get fat. We went all out and even split a piece of chocolate cake.

And you'll never believe who we saw in the store. SANTA! He was sitting there in a green chair with a sign on it that read "reserved for Santa." I know that the Santas in department stores aren't the "real" Santa, but you never know where he might turn up, and I was curious if this could be the really real Santa. So I asked him if I could take his picture. He was so nice about it that I asked if I could be in it with him. He said of course. As I tried to crouch beside him he patted his knee, insisting that I sit on his lap. I should have seen it coming. But this was a thin old man and I'm about 135 lbs - I figured I'd snap his femur, but alas. My sister took the picture then he eagerly insisted that I take one of her next. Just when we thought we were getting away he said, "And now let's get some nice person to take on of BOTH of you!" We tried to explain that it was fine, but he leapt up and snagged some random bum-like man off the street and asked him to take our picture.

Of course, this was in front of the store window so several passerby were stopping to catch a glimpse of the pimping Santa, since it took ages for the random guy off the street to figure out how to take the picture. You'll note our pained smiles. At least mothers used us "big kids" taking our picture with Santa as encouragement for their children and all of the sudden Santa was inundated with kids.

Each step we took away from the store brought more laughter. We wound up so distracted by the weirdness of what had just happened that we started heading in the wrong direction and had to power-walk past the store window again, refusing to look in at the Big Man. "He wasn't the real Santa!" my sister noted. "He had these little fake black things covering his shoes to look like boots!" As if we didn't already know - he was an impostor!

I think the real Santa was the Santa I saw riding by on a bike in a Hawaiian shirt and Santa hat. He probably was taking a break at our seaside city before he had to get back to work.

When we got home and looked at the pictures Alex was being driven crazy trying to figure out who that "Santa" reminded her of... I thought he looked familiar, too... and then it hit her. It makes perfect sense. Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. The resemblance is uncanny.

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Solstice!

With the semester finally over and the solstice, here, I celebrated by baking an almond Yule Log and decorating my room (as I do every year) with moons and stars.

Now only a few more days till Christmas Eve and Santa comes! Yay!

I've finally gotten around to reading my copy of Northern Lights and am enjoying in so far. I hope to see the film soon.

I've yet to figure out how to properly use the "user friendly" mac, but I'll forcibly devote some time to it later. As it is, I'm happy to announce that my last-minute video "My Stargate Story" made it to the top ten finalists of the Amanda Tapping Stargate Atlantis Superfan Contest. That means Mrs. (or is it Ms. when you keep your maiden name? Assuming that is her maiden name...) Tapping will be forced to watch our video then pick a finalist. While I'm honored, I'm not holding my breath. That poor woman. Bless her. Here's our entry in case you missed it (sorry if it displays twice, I can't seem to fix that):

My Stargate Story

Hope you're all well! Next time - my Christmas shopping experience.

Melissa - thank you, darling! I think we've named it The Fat Man. And what movie-making software would that be? Final Cut Pro? I'm so new to the mac world. I'm used to sneering at it!

gods lil Tippy - Many thanks to you, as well, sweetie! And Merry Christmas to you, too!

tedrick - Thanks! I know - FINALLY. I have no idea. I'm hoping I don't get anything lower than a B+ but you never know. Next semester I'm taking the two American Lit courses and a screenwriting class that I don't actually have to show up to. How about you? And let me know how the gifts go over... some of them are in a picture I put up here somewhere.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Surprise


Over the past year I've strayed into becoming a night owl. Night classes don't help, either. Nor does being a bum. As such, I went to bed around 4:30 last night and woke up at noon. As such, noon was my morning, and as I drank my coffee I noticed a large brown box on the deck. My brother's always ordering essential car parts (like the Dixie horn and testicles for his truck) so I assumed it was his. A little bit later my mom announced that it was for me. I was surprised to find that it was from MGM.

My sister was home early so we opened it together, assuming it was a DVD set of the TV show Reno 911, which we've never seen, but entered a parody contest for a few months ago. Since we were the only entry MGM "killed" the contest and the guy running it was nice enough to say he'd try to get us some DVDs for our trouble. Though the box felt a little heavy for DVDs.

On the top was crumpled papers from the LA Times followed by the most exciting sight of tons of... wait for it... free FedEx envelopes! Imagine the joy. I squealed. When we cleared all of those out we stared in shock. At the bottom of the box was a white Apple bag. Inside it was a white Apple box. Inside that was a white Apple Macbook. We stared in shock. Who the hell would send us a free computer?

My only deduction is that it's a prize for winning the Reno Vs. Chapelle contest... or rather for entering, since as I said the contest died. I hope it wasn't sent to me by mistake. There was no "congratulations" letter or anything. It was like Santa came early! Though if a free laptop is the reward for stuffing my bra and and murdering a bear after getting farted on on-screen, then I'm saving my socks for just that from now on. Though it could just be that we were the only entrants. Here's the video I assume merited this:

I'm not a "Mac person" and hate feeling like I'm owned by the Man (meaning the pear-shaped Steve Wozniak who frequents the area) but am intrigued by this new machine. That is, when it's on. When it's off it's terrifying. It just sits there on my bed like a fat white man, blinking expectantly. My sister and I deduced that it frightens us because it cast a spell in the delivery truck. This is insight into my 4.0 GPA.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Alex making good use of the envelopes.

The fat man himself.

And here's footage of the momentous event - my sister doing the honors of opening it for the first time:

My reaction to it all:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Stargate Story

I finally entered the Amanda Tapping Stargate Atlantis Super Fan Contest. Here's my entry:

The original was about 20 mins long... so imagine how much more there actually is to "my Stargate story." Some of what was cut:

- The fact that my older brother would sprint outside during commercials to lift weights in the hopes of looking like Teal'c.

- I once read that Amanda Tapping answers all of her fan mail so I sent her a letter... in 2002... and am still waiting for a reply. I'll probably take a little while to send her a thank you note when I do get my response.

- My first exposure to Stargate was the film when, in sixth grade, I did all that was expected of me and got to go to an end of the year party. We were studying ancient Egypt at the time (which merited the film) and our parents had to sign permission slips to allow us to watch a PG-13 movie. Alas, the party ended before the film so I was left wondering what happened to Col. O'Neill and Dr. Jackson after they were captured until I begged my mom to rent the movie that summer.

- The TV series began when I was in jr. high and I wasn't always allowed to watch it. Probably because I was very impressionable... though as you can tell from our fan films, the damage was already done.

- I used the excuse that I had to get home early from high school dances to watch my show to get out of dancing with boys who were even bigger geeks than I was.

- I used to wish I had glasses so that I'd look more like a Dr. Jackson nerd and would get upset over my perfect vision and the fact that my friends laughed when I'd ask if I was a nerd, assuring me otherwise... much to my dismay.

- I like cheese.

- I was influenced by Daniel and Indiana Jones and wanted to be an archaeologist for ages until I realized that, as is the case with most sciences, much of one's time is spent teaching and grant writing. I then realized that I just like reading about what archaeologists have figured out rather than having to do the work myself.

- I wrote a journal entry my freshman year of high school about observing school from the POV of a traveler from the stargate and how terrible school was. I was depressed that summer was over. My teacher was disturbed by my emo-ness.

- Daniel and I had a falling out... after I read an article about why Michael Shanks left the show (allegedly because he wanted more Daniel-centric episodes) "Michael Shanks" became a swear word in our house. My sister even had an sign on her door that had his name with a cross over it. Imagine our horror when we were forced to see him naked when he came back onto the show. The roof nearly blew off as my sister and my best friend and I all shrieked and tried to close one eye.

- We then realized that Daniel had formed a nudist colony, hence all of the clothes that were constantly left behind after he'd help others "ascend." I will stop here lest my pervertedness rear its head.

- There is much more I can say about Michael Shanks, including the horrible fact that the two children (1 and 3 at the time) that I took care of would knock over block towers shouting "Osama bin Laden!" and "Michael SHANKS!" I even have it on film.

- David Hewlett's fans at the A Dog's Breakfast screening all-but terrified me. I won't go into the specifics of the reasons why lest I offend any readers.

- Martin Gero is my MySpace friend and helped me with a school project once. We're so BFFs. Except not.

- When I first heard about the spinoff Atlantis, I laughed. When I saw the cast photograph I laughed harder.

- I fell in love with Atlantis and would watch it while coloring in my Harry Potter coloring book after my wisdom teeth were pulled. I could blame the Vicodin but that would be a lie - I just liked coloring in it.

- My sister wasn't allowed to watch Atlantis at first because my mom thought it was too scary with the Wraith. I assured her that if she had seen the severed heads flying over the walls of Gondor in Return of the King, she could handle this. I won.

- When Ford left the show, I'd randomly collapse on the floor crying "Rainbooooow!" because I wanted Ford back and thought that Rainbow Sun was the coolest frickin' name ever. It still is. I also thought he was cute. I still do.

- When Ronon first came on the show I had no idea that he was a cast regular and kept waiting for him to leave. He didn't. Then I liked him. Teyla finally had a fellow-alien BFF.

- When we first saw a picture of Atlantis season 2 my mom thought that Ronon was Ford with plucked eyebrows and dreads. Suffice it to say that it was a very small picture. Though Ronon's plucked eyebrows, creating the perpetually-surprised look, still kinda creep me out.

- Sometimes Sheppard scares me.

- Weir has always scared me.

- Toes often scare me.

- Children's shows almost always scare me.

- I have nightmares about oompa loompas.

Okay, I've gotten rather side tracked. There's lots more I could say, but I'll spare you, whoever you are.