Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

True Life True Blood

Bill and Sookie



Well, this is an interesting exclusive interview from TV Guide via Popeater today:

True Blood's True Romance

True Blood stars Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin say it’s true love. The pair—who play romantically linked 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton and telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO series—have confirmed they are dating. “We are together,” Moyer told TV Guide Magazine exclusively on the True Blood set—right after finishing an intense scene where Bill and Sookie have a major lover’s quarrel.

Moyer and Paquin’s real-life romance first sparked at the True Blood audition, but the couple decided to wait to go public. “The reason it was dodged last year was very intentional on both our parts,” says Moyer. “It was very important to me that the cast and crew we were working with didn’t feel it was fickle, and didn’t feel it could possibly potentially encroach on their lives, you know, just like, ‘Oh the two stars are having a thing.’ We didn’t want to take anything away from the show. The show is the star, not the two people having a relationship.”

So where is this romance going? Well, it seems Moyer, 37, and Paquin, 26, are living together—at least on this side of the pond. Moyer, who is British, divides his time between Los Angeles and London where he has two young children from a previous relationship. “It’s just exciting and that was there from day one,” Moyer says. “We always take the piss out of each other and are silly with each other and it is great. We’re very, very happy. She’s the best.” —Kate Hahn


I imagine gettin' it on for the cameras every week let's you get to know someone fairly quick. I wish them all the luck in the world, but how many times have we seen serial monogamists in the acting community who find a new "true love" on each different project.

Having said that, I can't help but wonder if producer Ball will luck out and this real life romance will start hitting the skids, as Hollywood romances usually do, about the time that Bill and Sookie part company. Wouldn't THAT make for some genuine scenes! I know... my bad.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Laid Plans


"I am determined to not read another book until I've got my sidebars updated including writing QB's Commentaries and updating my index for all the books I've read in the past few months!"

‘memba that proclamation in the last post? Uh... I probably should have checked the calendar first. SOOOO can’t happen this time of year!

You see, once again I have the honor of being a first round judge for the Passionate Plumes, awarded by Passionate Ink, the erotic romance chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Results of the first round voting will be announced sometime in April, with the final results announced at RWA National Conference in Washington D.C. July 15-18, 2009.

I’ve been really lucky so far and have only received books in my #1 ranked genre, Paranormal. This year, however, I received NO paranormals. Instead I received two of my #2 ranked Historicals (in print), and THREE of my #4 ranked Contemporaries (1 ebook, 2 print, all appear to be menages). I don’t know if that means there was a dearth of Paranormals this year (say it ain’t so!), or there was an overabundance of Contemporaries and everyone got some, or if there is really any significance at all to the genre I received.

To be fair, I did select a preference for print if possible and that might have something to do with it. I figured anything to prevent more strain on my eyes, right? But then again, last year I selected “No Preference” and received paranormals in print. Maybe it’s just a spin of the wheel.

As big an honor as it is to be a first round Passionate Plumes judge, I still have to quibble with the way they categorize the books. I just don’t think the categories make sense:

_ Contemporary
_ Historical
_ Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi
_ Paranormal / Time Travel
_ Novella

It seems to me that “Futuristic/Sci-fi/Time Travel” should be together and “Paranormal/Fantasy” should be together. Actually, Paranormal and Fantasy might even be separate categories. But the real puzzler for me is that NOVELLA is a genre category. HUH? Doesn’t that just refer to the LENGTH? So how can I say whether I do or do not want novellas when it would depend on the genre/theme/subject matter/whatever?

Really, it’s almost impossible to rank my preferences, so this is what I ended up sending in:

4- Contemporary- (rank 1-2 if m/m)
2- Historical
3- Futuristic/Fantasy/Sci-fi (Fantasy rank= 1-2; Futuristic Sci-Fi rank=5)
1- Paranormal / Time Travel (TT rank= 3-4)
-- Novella- Yes, ranked within the above genre rankings

Yeah, I know, confusing. But then so are the PP categories.

Anyway, back to the books. I really am not too crazy about straight Contemporaries, yet here I am with THREE of the things to read. And not even just three Contemporaries, but apparently three M/F/M ménage Contemporaries, so there might not be much variety among them. RUH-OH! Ironically, the Contemporary ebook and the two Historicals are written by authors whose PARANORMAL stories I’ve enjoyed in the past; in fact I previously judged the ebook author’s Paranormal with a very high score in a previous PP year. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad omen.

But, because I take the honor of judging for the PP awards VERY seriously, I am determined to keep an open mind and judge each book on its own merits again this year. So to help facilitate that happening I plan to read a Contemporary, then a Historical, then Contemporary, Historical, Contemporary. Last year I received a book about Demons, Dragons, and Angels. Any ONE of those themes would have had me running the other way, but I kept an open mind and was surprised by a strong, enjoyable story.

TITLE Book CoverIf I start to feel overloaded on Contemporary ménages, I’m going to use that as a perfect excuse to take time out and read the ARC for Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo that I’ve been denying myself the pleasure of for far too long. Unfortunately, I’m about to start end of month work crunch again, so I don’t know how far I’ll get on any of these books until I’m done with that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Me!

Belated Blogiversary

Actually, it's a BELATED Blogiversary because I trusted my memory (BIG mistake) and thought I popped my blogger cherry (in a post aptly titled Virgin No More) on February 17th, 2007. Turns out it was February 10th. DOH!

Friends in low placesSo here I am two years later. I've made a lot of online friends, more than a few enemies, and a handful of frenemies. There's a few people that I no longer care to visit, some that have made it clear that I shouldn't visit, but even more that I follow in Google Reader and would definitely miss if they weren't around. I think there's probably a reason why certain people play a part in our lives (cyber or real) for a while, and then when they are no longer needed because they've fulfilled or failed to fulfill whatever our initial needs were, we drift away or something happens to take them out of our (cyber or real) lives and we move on.

A lot of days (actually it seems like MOST days lately) I'm sure that I have nothing more to say. But then something silly or impassioned or bawdy will set me off and I'm back to posting and commenting again. Hell, you guys would have to turn off your blog comments to get me to shut up and leave you alone. And in case you don't realize it, I really appreciate those of you that drop by this blog and make blogging so much fun!

The very first Sweet Beefcake Eye Candy pics I posted were oldies but nummies. I find it interesting that they illustrated how I saw certain characters in books (LKH's) and here I am two years later discussing how I envision characters in books again (Madelynne Ellis').

Butt KisserAnd OMG, I was bitchin' about Sunny and her Monere series back then, yet I'm STILL reading that damn deritive, yet addictive, sludge. It's a SICKNESS I tell you and I owe every single LKH "negative fan" a huge ass-kissin' apology for any and all thoughts I may or may not have expressed that involved words that in essence meant "If you don't like them, don't read them." It seems I've fallen on my own sword and I can't get up!

Whiney Ass Cry Baby OpinionSomehow, though, as I browse through some of those first few blog posts, it seems surreal that it's been two years since I wrote them. Sure seems like it's only been a month or two! Damn, I went off on a lot of F-bomb laden rants and nauseating whines. Either I've mellowed a bit since then or maybe it's just that I'm more cognizant of the fact that a few people actually READ what I rant/whine about and, when I realize later how asshatty I sounded, I also realize that I probably should have just STFU. Ah well. Live and learn that not every single thought in my head needs to appear on my blog.

Huh Whoa HuhTo honor this auspicious occasion, I've decided to dial down my over-the-top decorating theme and replace the cherry blossom strewn chocolate wedding cake background that I've had for two years (except for the Holiday snowflakes) with something more than a wee bit different. Let me know what you think or if it's displaying hinky. I couldn't decide between that matching header that you see or some chocolate books on a black background that I have. Who knows, I may change it again. We'll see.

But lest you think I've suddenly acquired good taste, let me assure you that the rest of the over-the-top confections theme WILL remain unless I someday grow tired of Eye Candy and Books. At which point, please shoot me and put me out of my misery, kthx.

Da Rules SezI've also decided that I need to remember the main reason I have this blog-- to keep track of books I've read and books I need to buy. With that in mind, I am determined to not read another book until I've got my sidebars updated including writing QB's Commentaries and updating my index for all the books I've read in the past few months! Will I be able to hold out that long? We'll see.

Speaking of my index, I did a quick fix over there simply by getting rid of the cherry blossom strewn chocolate wedding cake background and replacing it with a chocolate silk background. That's pretty much all I'll probably do over there for right now since it uses a standard Blogger template that I really don't want to bother messing with. We'll see.

And now, on to Cubies Confections, year 3! Anyone wanna come along for the ride?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

From the Jeff Files

Yes, it's another of my brother-in-law, Jeff's, endlessly forwarded emails:

All women should live so long as to be this kind of old lady!


Sweet Little Old Lady


During one Sunday's service, the Minister asked, 'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?'

80% held up their hands.

After a rousing sermon on forgiveness, the Minister then repeated his question, 'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?'

ALL responded this time, except for one small elderly lady.

'Mrs. Neely? Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?'

'I don't have any.' She replied, smiling sweetly.

'Mrs. Neely, that is very unusual. How old are you?'

'Ninety-eight.' she replied.

'Oh, Mrs. Neely, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?'

The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation, and said,












'I outlived the bitches.'
Old Lady Flip Off

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory!

Madelynne Ellis and I have a mini-discussion going on about what characters look like. The problem is that I really can't disagree with the creator of the characters in question, now can I? I mean, after all, SHE's the ONLY one that REALLY knows what they look like, right? Yeah, yeah, Madelynne and other writers say they like it when readers interpret books in their own way, but as far as I'm concerned, the writer is the ultimate authority on her creation. UPDATE: Madelynne picked up the gauntlet and ran with it on her own blog.

AGW Book CoverSo anyone who's been around here any length of time knows that Madelynne's A Gentleman's Wager is one of my all time favorite reads and re-reads, followed closely by its first sequel, Phantasmagoria. My recent gushing about The Tudors started this entire discussion since, at one point, Madelynne mentioned that Jonathan Rhys Myers (with long hair) reminded her of how she pictured Vaughan (from AGW, etc). Jonathan Rhys MeyersI remember that when she compared Vaughan to JRM, my jaw dropped because it was SOOOO different from how I had pictured him. Vaughan is as close as I will ever get to truly understanding what writers mean when they refer to their characters as if they were living breathing people, so it's very hard for me to let go of my OWN image of him and drop in Madelynne's instead.

But how does the writer let her readers know what those characters look like in her head? Here's the thing, no matter how detailed a writer describes the physical characteristics of one of her characters, the fact is that, unless she can point to a real life person and say "He looks EXACTLY like so-and-so", then each reader will have a different picture of that character in their head. And then to further complicate matters, none of us can directly beam our mental images onto a piece of paper so we therefore have to again turn to photos of real life people to convey what WE are envisioning and we can seldom find a photo that EXACTLY matches OUR interpretation either. Thus board wars have started. GAK!

Jonathan Rhys MeyersAnyway, Madelynne said she was curious to see how I envisioned Vaughan and Lucerne.

As I said before, Madelynne thinks Jonathon Rhys Meyers reminds her of Vaughan (or vice versa): "Not so much as I picture Vaughan as JRM, as JRM occasionally produces an expression that is entirely Vaughan. It's flashes of Vaughan rather than a totality."

VaughanI envision Vaughan as fitting the descriptions of beautiful and intensely sensual, but with no androgyny because there's something still very masculine about his beauty. The pic at right is pretty damn close to how I see him, but Vaughan's a bit less "hard" looking with a touch more of the TYPE of beauty portrayed in this next pic (although the pic on the right definitely captures the brooding/plotting Vaughan):

Young Donovan Lewis

But his build is closer to this pic, although his muscles don't bulge quite as much. Definitely not as slim as JRM, but still a bit on the wiry side:

Manuel Casella


Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that Vaughan is VERY close to the same vision I have of Jean-Claude from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. They are close enough that they're pretty much interchangeable in my head, no matter how hard I fight it. So here's Jean-Claude/Vaughan on the right in the comic adaptation of the ABVH series:
ABVH


Yeah, I know, I've spent WAAAAYYY too much time thinking about this.wacko

Okay, so that's as close as I can get to how I envision Vaughan. Now Lucerne is MUCH easier because Jason Lewis is about as close as a guy can get to how I envision him:
Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis
Jason Lewis


So, whether you agree with me or not (and please do let me know), at least we've had a nice bit of eye candy today, haven't we?In the mood

2009 Audie Nominees Announced

From The Audio Publishers Association (APA):

2009 AUDIES® COMPETITION BRINGS IN MOST ENTRIES TO DATE!

Nominations Are Announced in 29 Categories

Princeton Junction, NJ – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced nominations for the 2009 Audies competition. Winners will be announced at The Audies gala on May 29, 2009 at the New-York Historical Society in New York City.

The only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to honoring spoken word entertainment drew in a record 1,000 entries from audio publishers this year, reflecting the health of the audio industry. New this year, the category Distinguished Achievement in Production joins Audiobook of the Year as one of the most prestigious audiobook honors. Nominations for these two juried categories will be announced this spring. The Distinguished Achievement in Production Award goes to an audiobook that demonstrates excellence in all areas of production, while the Audiobook of the Year recognizes the audiobook that, through quality, innovation, marketing and sales, has had the most significant impact on the industry.

“Not only did we receive a record number of submissions this year, our judges commented that the quality of the entries was better than it’s ever been,” said APA President Anthony Goff. “Our industry has worked hard to raise the bar and we look forward to recognizing everyone for their accomplishments.”

The Audies gala brings together narrators, authors, producers, publishers and media to celebrate the best audiobooks published in 2008. Categories for judges’ consideration included Fiction, Non-Fiction, Inspirational/Faith-Based Fiction, Multi-Voiced Performance, Romance, Science Fiction, Spanish Language, a special Judges Award in the Politics category and many more.

Winners in all 31 categories including Distinguished Achievement in Production and Audiobook of the Year will be announced at the New-York Historical Society, located in the heart of Manhattan, overlooking Central Park. All gala attendees will have the unique opportunity to tour the Society’s docent-staffed archives.

Finalists in this year’s competition include the following titles [for the complete list, go to the APA site]:


CHILDREN’S TITLES FOR AGES 8-12
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden, Narrated by Tony Shalhoub, Macmillan Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
One-Handed Catch, by M.J. Auch, Narrated by Ryan Sparkes and a full cast, Full Cast Audio
Nation, by Terry Pratchett, Narrated by Stephen Briggs, HarperAudio

CLASSIC
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio,Inc.
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, Narrated by John Lee, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Audible, Inc.
Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, Narrated by Simon Vance, Tantor Media
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Narrated by Simon Vance, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

HISTORY
The Bloody Shirt, by Stephen Budiansky, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
Gandhi and Churchill, by Arthur Herman, Narrated by John Curless, Recorded Books
The Ghost Mountain Boys: Their Epic March and the Terrifying Battle for New Guinea – The Forgotten War of the South Pacific, by James Campbell, Narrated by Stephen Hoye, Tantor Media
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed, Narrated by Karen White, Tantor Media
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, by Mark Harris, Narrated by Lloyd James, Tantor Media

MULTI–VOICED PERFORMANCE
Family Audio Bible, Narrated by Dick Cavett, Marsha Mason, Andrew McCarthy, Martha Plimpton and Tom Wopat, HarperAudio
Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, Narrated by Joey Collins, Peter Jay Fernandez, Kate Forbes, Ezra Knight, Brenday Pressley and Tom Stechschulte, Recorded Books
The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, Narrated by Peter Francis James and Kathleen McInerney, HarperAudio
The Word of Promise®: Next Generation-New Testament, by Various Authors, Narrated by Sean Astin and a full cast including Codey Linley, AnnaSophia Robb and Jordin Sparks, Thomas Nelson, Inc

MYSTERY
A Killing Frost, by R. D. Wingfield, Narrated by Stephen Thorne, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
Cross, by Ken Bruen, Narrated by Gerry O'Brien, Ulverscroft Group Ltd
The Silver Swan, by Benjamin Black, Narrated by Timothy Dalton, Macmillan Audio
Swan Peak, by James Lee Burke, Narrated by Will Patton, Simon & Schuster Audio
Voice of the Violin, by Andrea Camilleri, Narrated by Grover Gardner, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR or AUTHORS
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter, Random House Audio
Joshilyn Jackson, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Hachette Audio
Cokie Roberts, Ladies of Liberty, HarperAudio
David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Hachette Audio
Maria Shriver, Just Who Will You Be? HyperionAudio

POLITICS — JUDGES AWARD
Descent into Chaos, by Ahmed Rashid, Narrated by Arthur Morey, Brilliance Audio
Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, Narrated by Oliver Wyman, Macmillan Audio
Mike's Election Guide, by Michael Moore, Narrated by Michael Moore, Hachette Audio
The War Within, by Bob Woodward, Narrated by Boyd Gaines, Simon & Schuster Audio
The Way of the World, by Ron Suskind, Narrated by Alan Sklar, HarperAudio

ROMANCE
The Dark Highlander, by Karen Marie Moning, Narrated by Phil Gigante, Brilliance Audio
Fire Me Up, by Katie MacAlister, Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, Recorded Books
Forbidden, by Suzanne Brockmann, Narrated by Traci Svensgaard, Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Mismatch, by Tami Hoag, Narrated by Jen Taylor, BBC Audiobooks America
Tribute, by Nora Roberts, Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyck, Brilliance Audio

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY
Calculating God, by Robert J. Sawyer, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, Audible, Inc.
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke, Narrated by Eric Michael Summerer, Audible, Inc.
Ghost Radio, by Leopoldo Gout, Narrated by Pedro Pascal, HarperAudio
Skybreaker, by Kenneth Oppel, Narrated by David Kelly, Full Cast Audio
Sunrise Alley, by Catherine Asaro, Narrated by Hillary Huber, Blackstone Audio, Inc.

TEENS
Burn Journals, by Brent Runyon, Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch, Recorded Books
The Compound, by S. A. Bodeen, Narrated by Christopher Lane, Brilliance Audio
Curse of the Blue Tattoo, by L.A. Meyer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren, Listen & Live Audio
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine, Narrated by Sarah Naughton, Full Cast Audio
Paper Towns, by John Green, Narrated by Dan John Miller, Brilliance Audio
The Uprising, by Margaret P. Haddix, Narrated by Suzanne Toren, Recorded Books

THRILLER/SUSPENSE
Blue Heaven, by C.J. Box, Narrated by John Bedford Lloyd, Macmillan Audio
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith, Narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris, Hachette Audio
Executive Privilege, by Phillip Margolin, Narrated by Jonathan Davis, HarperAudio
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated by Neil Gaiman, HarperAudio
Sweetheart, by Chelsea Cain, Narrated by Carolyn McCormick, Macmillan Audio

About Audio Publishers Association (APA)
The Audio Publishers Association (APA) is a not-for-profit trade organization whose primary goals are to promote awareness of the audiobook industry, gather and disseminate industry statistics, encourage high production standards and represent the interests of audiobook publishers. Since 1986, the APA has worked to bring audio publishers together to increase interest in audiobooks. Please visit www.audiopub.org for more information.


Note that Phil Gigante received two nominations again this year. WOOT! However, I personally think they should create a whole new award category just for his brilliant narration of Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series. In addition to our Phil, I'd like to see Johanna Parker nominated for her narration of Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series.

Really, why not have a Series Narration category? Maybe it's because series are more common to genre fiction instead of the [finger quote]serious[/finger quote] oh-so-intellectual books?

Monday, February 9, 2009

QB's Video Quickies

QB's Quickie icon"So, WATCHED any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

These are the DVDs and On-Demand movies I've been watching during my previously mentioned recent anti-social crabby(ier) bitch(ier) weeks.


Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)

The Age of InnocenceThe Age of Innocence: A love triangle set in New York Society during the Victorian Era. Beautiful to watch, seems to be fairly true to the period, but it's really rather sad, depressing, and kind of pointless. Worth watching once through On-Demand, but I doubt if I'll bother watching it again.


The Duchess Movie CoverThe Duchess: One major flaw marred what should have been a great movie- We’re not shown how Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire went from a silly, naïve 17 year old to become a politically savvy, sought after trendsetter with Princess Diana like popularity. Otherwise this movie is worth watching for the not quite accurate, but truly STUNNING, period costumes, 18th century British setting, and the vivid portrayal of the inequality between women and men and how little personal freedom women had.


The Other Boleyn GirlMovie CoverThe Other Boleyn Girl: This was lovely to look at, but once I got curious about its authenticity, it lost some of its glitter. All in all it was still watchable because of the lush costumes and scenery. But they can't quite make up for some awkward scenes, particularly the ones that portray Henry as pussy-whipped and gullible rather than a self-centered ruler who presumed his own deification.


Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)

Across the Universe Movie CoverAcross the Universe: Set in the mercurial 60's and early 70's, this musical uses Beatles songs as much as dialogue to tell the story. It could have been hokey, but it was thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing. It’s amazing how universal and timeless those songs are. I watched this one on On-Demand but I might just buy it since it's worth repeated viewings.


Wall-E Movie CoverWall-E: Very cute and certainly entertaining, fantastic animation, but I’m a bit mystified why it landed on so many “Best.Movie.Ever.” lists.


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Movie CoverThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I enjoyed this one even more than the first one mainly because the Pevensie kids were older, which made the fight scenes a bit more plausible. Although I feel guilty for pervin’ on the guy who played Prince Caspian, Ben Barnes. He’s a flat out nomnomnom, but the mushy scenes between him and Susan (Anna Popplewell) can, at best, be described as awkward and forced. Glad to hear there’s going to be another Narnia movie after all, especially since Ben Barnes is set to play Prince Caspian in that one too.

North & South Movie CoverNorth & South: No, not the American mini-series with Patrick Swayze, this is a 2004 BBC production set during the early Victorian era. Thanks to KristieJ and Marta Acosta (who is a fan of his Robin Hood), Richard Armitage became a must-see. N&S offers an absolutely outstanding immersion into the time period- our first look inside the mill was both beautiful and horrifying.

I was a bit disappointed with the development of the relationship between Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and John (Richard Armitage) though. It seemed they went from curious then longing glances to the proposal with nothing in between. His sudden declaration of love and her angry reaction to it came out of the blue and the entire proposal scene lacked credibility, although the deleted proposal scene adds a bit more explanation. Nonetheless, that’s the only major misstep in this lush BBC mini-series and their relationship from that point on will have you biting your fist.

Of particular note is the relationship between John and his mother (unforgettably played by Sinead Cusack), the unlikely relationship between John and one of his workers, Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle), and the contrast between the lives of those in the tiers of the upper classes versus the lower working class. I highly recommend this one. But, what was up with those butt-ugly hats that Margaret wore, even after she could afford better?


Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)

The Tudors, Season 1 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 1: Oh.My.God. Every episode is like an Oscar-worthy film. I missed the first couple when they first aired on Showtime and gave up. Man, do I regret that! The only trouble is that I don’t know British history well enough to reliably recognize which characters will and will not prove to be significant. So it bugs the hell outta me whenever certain characters are on screen unless I stop and go look them up in Wikipedia.

Oh, and I’ve had to take the series' historical accuracy with a few grains of salt since Henry Fitzroy dies as a child in this story, unlike the real Henry Fitzroy who died at 17 (although, according to Tanya Huff, he was actually turned into a nummy vampire at 17). In addition, one of my favorite storylines involved Henry's sister Princess Margaret and his close friend Charles, Duke of Suffolk. Not only was it short lived (literally), but it turns out that the Margaret portrayed here didn't really exist and some bits and pieces of the REAL Margaret and her sister Mary's lives were incorporated into the fictional Margaret.

Ah well, it's still an absolutely amazing and addictive production. I'm ashamed of myself for ever thinking that shows like Dallas and Dynasty were addictive entertainment, particularly when you take into account that, for the most part, the events of The Tudors really happened. BTW, the cover for season 1 cracks me up- note the headless women.


Still to come: I've slowed down now that American Idol and Lost are back on. Although I've found myself parked in front of the TV on Thursday nights now too. CSI has become must-see again, and I find Rufus Sewell in Eleventh Hour completely captivating, almost mesmerizing. However the show would be seriously "meh" without him.

The Tudors, Season 2 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 2: I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but season 2 looks like it will be just as absorbing as season 1.


Movie CoverElizabeth: I saw this a long time ago, but I think I'll appreciate it more now that I'm older, and watching The Tudors has helped me become more familiar with the events prior to this story. The only thing I remember about it is that The Virgin Queen was misnamed and I remember her funky transformation at the end of the movie. Plus I'm hoping it will help clear up some historical events that I'm curious and/or confused about. Those peeps had some verra complicated relationships!


Elizabeth: The Golden Age Movie CoverElizabeth: The Golden Age: I'm curious to see how this compares to Elizabeth's portrayal as a character in Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley series. Yes, that's right, I've said it before and I'll say it again... Everything I know about British history I've learned through Romance novels (and now DVDs).


HAH! Looking over that list, it seems that I have a definite preference for period films, doesn't it?

It's All Good Now

Hula DancerWOO to the freakin HOO!!!

YESSSI just scored 4 Pavilion seats to see Jimmy Buffett in (near) Pittsburgh on June 23!! WOOT!

Not front row or even front sections but Row Q in section 5 so still under the pavilion which is the important part. But Holy Scalpers-- those puppies were $136 buckos EACH and when you add in all the fees, and even selecting the email option for tickets, it totals out to $155.58 per seat plus parking when we get there! OUCH, but it's not something we do every year. We have friends that go every year by buying the cheaper lawn seats but I can't see these old bones parked on the ground for a few hours. They'd need the jaws of life to unfold my legs. Not to mention all the joys of weather related issues.

Anyway, here he is at the same venue last year. Of course, I couldn't get tickets to that one. Or the year before, or the year before that, and so on and so on and so on. This ticket score bodes well for a faaab-ewe-lus summer ahead of us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Enough Already!

Crabby BitchYes, I’m still among the living, to the disappointed chagrin of some and morbid curiosity of others. So what have I been up to? Besides the holidays, followed by end of calendar year work, followed by end of fiscal year work, mixed in with preparing for taxes, mostly I’ve been feeling rather anti-social. I love blog hopping, I really do, or at least I USUALLY do, but reading and commenting on blogs pretty much seemed like more than my grouchy old self could handle— I hadn’t even been visiting icanhascheezeburger.com until last night because I didn't FEEL like smiling, dammit!

Start of a bad dayAnd I’ve been grouchier than usual. Not just in the blogosphere, but even here at home there has been more than the usual snapping going on between all of us. It’s all the damn snow and cold... we’re sick of it. Living in northeastern Ohio, we’re no strangers to winter hassles, but this winter has been particularly brutal and enough is enough already! Unfortunately it’s only February. A few years ago we had another bad winter, not because it was brutal, but because it lasted from the end of October to the middle of May. I sure hope this brutal winter doesn’t last that long, but realistically we won’t see much relief until sometime in April. Whatever happened to global warming anyhow?

I might be unstableEven worse, I haven’t read a book in... Holy Crap, over a month, maybe even six weeks! At first it was because I didn’t have time to read a whole book and I knew if I picked one up I wouldn’t put it down until I was finished. I just couldn’t take the time away from work. But as time went on, I realized that I had deprived myself too long and to pick up a book now would set off a reading binge that would bring everything else going on to a complete halt. Now I’m starting to get the uncontrollable yearning to escape into the pages of a good story and I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. I'm still working on the most excellent anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, that I keep in the MomMobile to read when I'm waiting at the dentist, doctor, etc. Lately it's all I can do not to snarl like a rabid beast when it's our turn and we get called in.

A few non-work related things I HAVE been doing though is watching DVDs, listening to CDs, and listening to audio books. My family hates trying to figure out gift ideas for me because when I want something I just buy it for myself. So this past holiday season I came up with a list of DVDs and CDs that I wanted, and between Christmas and my birthday they came through for me (although I used Amazon’s holiday DVD sale to buy a few for myself too). Bugging outNew CDs from Blake Shelton, Sugarland, and David Cook are all loaded in the MomMobile and I’ve been listening to them while plowing through the snowdrifts and careening across the ice packs. Audible.com offered up the first Southern Vampire audio book, Dead Until Dark, at $4.95 so my collection is now completely up to date and I've been happily listening to the earlier audio books in the series while working. I swear that some days audio books are the only thing standing between me and a complete freak-out.

good receptionsNow, here’s the thing with the DVDs—I seldom sit down to watch movies because I just don’t have the patience. I’d rather create the movie in my head while engrossed in a book. Movie Theaters? Yeah, I’ll enjoy them when they stop the movie for me to get up and go pee, or grab a snack, or give me a lamp so I can read a book during the boring parts. People don’t seem to appreciate my PDA light either. Go figure. Yet during my anti-social grouch time, I’ve been not only watching the DVDs I received as presents, but I’ve been surfing through the HBO, Starz, and Showtime On-Demand channels. And I’ve ENJOYED them! In fact, coming up next is a QB's Commentary post about some of them.

I've got a few non-work related projects I've got to take care of too and I've put them off long enough. Computer BashI need to finish clearing out my HP TX1000 laptop so I can send it in for repairs before my extended warranty is up. Remind me to never, ever be an early adopter again, okay? Reading through the book pileI've got to finish weeding out our bedroom closet, and then I need to finish physically organizing all my books, although with the Need-To-Read Beast trying to take control, the latter may prove to be a real time suck since I won't be able to resist reading as I sort. After I've tamed the book piles, maybe I can actually start loading them into LibraryThing. Oh, and I've yet to get around to calling Time Warner about supplying me with a different cable modem so I can install the new router that I bought over the holidays. My youngest demon spawn is chomping at the bit to get on XBox Live and I won't let him suck up all the bandwidth from our current ancient modem/router combo unit.

Not WorthyHave I mentioned how in awe I am of all of you that seem to effortlessly do everything? I mean, I have it relatively easy and I'm whining about not having enough time. I cannot imagine how those of you who truly seem to have a bazillion things to do manage to accomplish ANYTHING, yet you somehow GET IT ALL DONE! I particularly don't understand how you can do it all and still be prolific bloggers. Seriously, this post and the next one, which is a video review, took me ALL day yesterday and half of today to write and pop in the links and pics. I have got to be the slowest blogger ever.