Saturday, May 30, 2015

Flash Fiction Brag

I am going to brag. Issue 78 of Doorknobs and Bodypaint is awesome. I am not going to be modest. My three stories are dang good.........I was happy when I submitted them.  Any writers out there should consider submitting to D and BP - just read the guidelines and follow instructions. It's fun.

I hope you click on the issue page, open, and enjoy the reads.

Let me know what you think.

Happy Weekend

Friday, May 29, 2015

and more Rain

Texas has had a LOT of rain. We've been fortunate in Bedford with plenty of inches and soggy yard, but no roof leaks or damage, no hail, no dire circumstances. It's been crazy, but we've embraced it. The yard is green, the flowers are glorious, and our water bill is down - no sprinklers running, no water added to the pool.
A new Faries has been added to the brood - Skylar Rayne was born on 5/2/15. Here she's with her mother Maria.  Kevin's the proud dad

 I suggested a name change since she's been born. Let's change Skylar Rayne to Skylar Sunshine......
I don't think they are going to follow my brilliant suggestion. I seem to be dismissed with an eye roll as that "crazy writer lady".   Here Skylar is in good hands with big sis, Makyla, age 6.

All are healthy.  Rein in the rain

Happy Friday, everybody

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Movie Madness: Mad Max -Fury Road

It’s been quite a while since George Miller directed the early Mad Max movies. They were original in regards to  post-apocalyptic conditions, and a view of mankind’s fate. Now he brings Mad Max: Fury Road to the screen and it’s a non-stop two hour car chase of horror.  My head hurts. I can’t say I hated the movie completely, but I cannot recommend it. The effects and filmmaking are terrific – conditions are bleak and the desert is compellingly stark. The key word is survival. That’s what people are doing, as they work at the Citadel for the man they worship – Joe. How this man got the power? Not sure. He’s harnessed the water. He controls crops. He has a special group of girls who are the breeders. Otherwise, the gas boys, et al are the grunts – practically part of the elaborate machinery, the cogs and wheels  - that run the place.  

Max (a brooding Tom Hardy) still has flashbacks to kids and people he couldn’t save before. Now independent, he’s captured by Joe’s gang, but manages to escape when that group chases Furiosa (Charlize Theron). She’s managed to help the breeder girls escape and she’s hoping to find a memory of green land – a safe haven. So Max is on board her war rig and they flee through the desert with non-stop war machines assaulting them. There is no break. There is no stop for reflection. There is no humor whatsoever in this film.  

I’ve read where this is a feminist manifesto, and yes plenty of girl power is shown, and yet I don’t see the point. Maybe if there’s another Mad Max flick, I’d like to see where the women have changed the war mentality, not joined it. I’m afraid I would not fare well in an apocalyptic future as demonstrated by Mad Max: Fury Road. My husband said the movie needed a narrator…it needed something. All we need now is some aspirin and silence.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: Blue Horses by Mary Oliver

Every so often I'll check a book of poems out of the library. You can't go wrong with Mary Oliver. Her latest collection, Blue Horses, is a treat and yes it makes me feel very inadequate when I re-read my own poetry. But that's okay.

cover blurb:  Mary Oliver returns to the stunning imagery that has defined her life's work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature.

Here are two stanzas from Stebbin's Gulch
              the water pours
              it pours
              it pours
              ever along the slant

              of downgrade
              dashing its silver thumbs
              against the rock
              or pausing to carve

Her poems seem simple, but they are rich with humor and observation. As the reader, you are on a stroll with her and she stops to point out something. Then you stand and discuss it a bit. When you move on, you are a better person for that moment in time.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Weekend

The drought is over in the DFW area. It's been raining, and raining, and raining. The poor flag has been sitting in the garage corner day by day by day eagerly waiting to be unfurled. However, it shall not wave proudly this Memorial Weekend due to rain and high winds.

And for the first time in a long time, I doubt I'll take a dunk in the pool for Memorial Weekend. No patio sit, no sunscreen, no friends with boats on the lake, and no shorts. Oh, I'll have fun, but it's a most peculiar Texas Memorial Weekend.

But we shall reflect and be grateful for our freedoms, the roof over our head, and the joy of rain.

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, and its stupidity - Dwight D. Eisenhower in a speech January 1946.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Movie Review Madness: Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect was a small summer movie that snuck into big buck success after word of mouth. Now Pitch Perfect 2 is bigger, but still has that “small” movie appeal. Music mashups, competition, graduation, and Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy. What more do you need in a movie? First there’s Muffgate – a shocking screwup when the Barden Bellas perform in front of the President and First Lady. The award winning acapella group are banned from further competition, cannot recruit new members, and are in shame at the college. But, a new girl does get in as a legacy (her mother belonged). Then the ladies figure out a loop hole to get into world’s. Oh the hijinks ensue.  

But can they find their sound again, their soul? Anna Kendrick keeps being psyched out by Das Sound Machine, the scary German group. In their first performance back the Bellas have too much going on to mask their insecurities. A country retreat has the girls at bare bones working together as  a team and they keep building their sound. Meanwhile Anna’s interning for a music producer. She’s demonstrating that there’s more to life than the Bellas – time to grow and move into the world. 

Onward to Copenhagen and the world championships. What will they sing? Did they find that creative spark? Maybe a new tune altogether? Pitch Perfect 2 is sheer joy and fun and good music. You’ll laugh out loud, your feet will want to dance, and you’ll enjoy the mash-up production numbers. I’m shaking my head now at the thought of Rebel Wilson – she is fearless in her comedic delivery and so perfect in pitch. Go support the ladies in this summer time testosterone fueled field (Avengers, Mad Max,etc). The music battlefield is tough.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Hodge Podge

decided to share some random pics from my selection. No theme, no hidden meaning,

Variety is the spice of life. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

If you are looking for a book that you can read and your young adult will enjoy, try Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Talk about clever and creative. Author Ransom Riggs brings a whole new world to life, along with some very strange pictures. Sixteen year-old Jacob Portman, after the horrific death of his beloved grandfather, journeys to a remote island off Wales. He seeks answers to clues his grandfather left him and stories that didn’t make sense at the time, but now open doors for Jacob. As he stumbles through the abandoned ruins of an old orphanage and leaves discouraged, he enters into a new time loop. There he meets Miss Peregrine, the headmistress, along with the peculiar children he’s seen in his grandfather’s photo albums.  

There’s the invisible boy, the girl who defies gravity, Emma who can create fire in her hands, and Bronwyn the strong. Jacob seems normal, but he is the grandson of Abe Portman, much beloved by the children. Turns out Abe left the island to fight in WWII, and then chose to go to America, age appropriately, and live a “normal” life. However, there’s trouble brewing in the peculiar world. For Miss Peregrine and other headmasters, there are attacks and kidnappings. Some peculiars went rogue in a horrible experiment and are now seeking to destroy the “good peculiars”. Jacob finds he has skills to help his new found friends. But he must decide which world to join, and then what happens if the loop is altered? 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a hoot. You will love the characters, enjoy the adventures, and then worry about their troubles. It’s a scary world, and you will turn the pages quickly as evil appears. You will root for the kids to use their peculiar talents and work together to overcome obstacles. This is an excellent book for you and your teen to read and discuss. Then you’ll fight over who gets to start the sequel first. Defy gravity, make yourself invisible, and be peculiar. It’s okay.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday: Workplace Bingo

I've heard that in large companies when people are stuck in meetings, they play a game of buzzword bingo. Score points for hearing "synergy" or "multi-task". 

I work for a very small company. It consists of the owner (gone most of the time) and three other guys (all in their thirties), plus me - the lone female sitting on the opposite side of the room. A huge majority of time, I tune out my co-workers' blather. After eight years, I know what they are going to say on what topic. Am I bored? Yes.

Last Friday, I mentally played BINGO and filled out my sheet as they hit the usual topics:

1. Car parts for projects. One guy has been re-working his rock crawler, the other his VW bus, and the other guy keeps looking at wheels. Long discussion on axles - snore city.

2. Super hero argument. The big quote "What's the point of Daredevil?"  Fifteen minute debate of pros and cons

3. Pause to watch, yet again, a new Star Wars trailer. This is a daily occurrence. I've stopped getting up from my chair.

4. Star Trek references and a reading of some Scottie quotes. That highlighted lunchtime

I had B-I-N-G and then nothing. They veered off on tangents -discussion of weekend activities, a cute kid story.

It was late in the day when I could mentally stamp O and shout BINGO

5. Guns and ammo.  All I can say is "please shoot me now" when they get on this discussion.

Fortunately I completed my last report, gathered mail, and waved goodbye to another week.

How's your workplace bingo? Do you hear the same thing week in and week out? Let me know your key topics - how quickly can you stamp the card in one day?

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What's In Your Queue?

Been awhile since we’ve explored Netflix. Let’s take a look at a few selections
I binged on Orange is the New Black. Initially I wasn’t keen and stepped away. Then after encouragement from my sister and others I revisited the show and was hooked. It’s way more than just ladies in prison. This is a full character exploration, along with scheming, conniving, underground dealings, and more. Lorraine Toussant as V deserves an Emmy award – she was evil.  I am ready for season 3 to start in June.

Also started Season 3 of House of Cards. Oh, if even half of what goes on in this Washington is true, then we are in trouble. Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood is a gooey slimy snake. His wife Claire, Robin Wright, is a Lady Macbeth. Oh the games. 

Whiplash – Miles Teller is the student. JK Simmons (Oscar winner for this) is the teacher. He’s foul mouthed and brutal, as kids try to achieve perfection in music. Banging those drums until the hands bleed. Excellent movie. 

The November Man – Pierce Brosnan is pulled from retirement to deal with a Russian mess. But there’s more to this spy game. Good action and plenty of intrigue. It’s a cheap James Bond.  

The Maze Runner – kids wake up and are stuck in a world where the maze seems to thrive on killing. What’s on the other side? Strong YA movie with survival themes. But Hunger Games is a better series.  

Life Itself – This is a fascinating documentary about the late Roger Ebert. He gave us the thumbs up on movies and changed the world of movie criticism. This doc explores his life and watches him fight throat cancer. It silenced his voice, but not his heart and love of movies.  

Laggies – Keira Knightly doesn’t want to face grownup decisions.  She hides out with teens (Chloe Grace Moretz) and generally is a joke. I expected better from this film. Don’t waste your time 

Force Majeure – Swedish film with some subtitles. But really good. Family is on a ski vacation when there’s an avalanche. The father basically flees the scene to take care of himself. No one is hurt but it creates a lot of tension as far as family trust and his failure to be The Man.  

Draft Day – Kevin Costner is perfect in this role as the man who has to make the right choice for the draft pick. It’s Moneyball with football – go with the money, go with the reliable, go with the gut, or cave to pressure. You can count on Costner to make the right choice and get the right kid for the job.  

The Equalizer – I was set for a tight movie with lots of action starring Denzel Washington. Instead it was a tad boring.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dallas Theater Center: Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility as adapted by Kate Hamill for the Dallas Theater Center, proved to be an outstanding production. We first hear and see the town gossips - such a shame about the Dashwoods. Poor Mr. Dashwood died so suddenly and now his widow and her girls must move.

1790s in Devonshire, England is not so different today. Jane Austen, beloved author, wrote of timeless subjects. We see Elinor Dashwood, the eldest sister, try to maintain proper decorum while falling in love with Edward Ferrars.

Elinor has to rein in her sister Marianne, the impetuous soul who fights the social mores of the day. She falls for the dashing John Willoughby, while the stolid Colonel Brandon courts her. But Willoughby is a playboy and scoundrel. Edward is engaged to another. The Dashwood girls have no money to bring to the table. Oh, it's all so difficult. Thank goodness they did not have Facebook and other social media to exacerbate the muddle.

The Dallas Theater Center's simple staging and strong acting carried the day. This was a rich well done play, and Jane Austen ruled over it with her words.

It is not what we think or feel that makes us who we are. It is what we do. Or fail to do....
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Monday, May 11, 2015

Elusive Mom

 This is a day late, but it can count for everyday.  My mother was very elusive - she dodged photography like crazy. I truly have very few pics of her and she's been gone over twenty years. But her common sense echoes in my brain.  This is her birthplace in Greentown, IN.  Humble beginnings and she stayed humble her whole life.
Somber young girl who never belonged on a farm.

She was ahead of her time. I remember her always urging me to travel, go to school, don't marry (too soon). She was a feminist before Gloria  and Betty fought the good fight.

I could use her advice today.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Book Review: Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson

From the back cover blurb - The Epic Made Simple, The Miracle in the Mundane.
Author Tyler Knott Gregson bought a vintage Remington typewriter and began to knock out poems on scraps of paper, grocery receipts, and no editing. These poems illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.

I really enjoyed reading the poems in this book - Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series.  They are rich and yet simplistic, and totally heartfelt. After reading them, I sighed - just content in the feelings.

Here's one example by Tyler Knott Gregson  (picture it in old typewriter print)

I kiss you
on your lips
I taste the sea
and the
has always been
to me

I truly recommend this book of poems, and have no doubt I'll be re-reading much of his work.
There are many I wish I'd written myself.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Movie Review Madness: Furious Seven

It’s Furious Seven for the franchise series – bigger bolder and crazier than ever. Can cars fly? Heck yeah. Can cars zoom through three buildings? Heck yeah. Is our team back together? Well, sadly we lose a few thanks early on to the evil Jason Straitham, who’s bent on revenge for his brother. This guy is rogue top skills former British service, and he’s unstoppable – or is he? We also have another terrorist faction in cahoots who’s out to get the mega chip/software program created by the elusive Ramsey.  And who’s managed to find and protect Ramsey? Our team. Does all of this sound incoherent? Sure – you have to see it to believe it.  

Vin Diesel is Dom – our strap shirt muscle bound leader with the voice growl as hot as the cars he uses. Paul Walker’s baby blues are still in the majority of the movie. He’s a family man now, married to Dom’s sister Mia, and he vows to come back to her after this mission. Michelle Rodriquez, our hot girl fighter/driver/Dom’s girlfriend, still has amnesia but maybe her memory will return. Tyrese and Ludacris still banter and use their mad skills. And then Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) survives the Jason beating, but organizes the Furious crew and roots from his hospital bed until he literally busts out of his casts to provide backup with one huge machine gun.  

The key to this movie is the cast chemistry – they truly look like they are having fun. The car chases, the fights, the destruction is over the top. This is nonstop action at movie making cinematic greatness. Furious Seven runs too long – I would have edited away at least forty minutes. Otherwise this is a mega popcorn treat. The final salute to the late Paul Walker at the end of the movie is well done and touching. Strap in for a crazy ride and yes, cars can fly.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A to Z Reflection

I have read so many great A to Z Reflections, I decided to do a very short comment. 

The creativity of so many people is astounding. I was remiss in reading lots of new blogs from the linky list. Work interferes with fun, and I'll be honest - I am lazy. When I get home from a day on the computer, I'm done with a keyboard. But I kept up with all of my faves (Annalisa, Robyn, Julie, Delores, Barbara, Al, Alex, and Hillary, and more) and enjoyed the variety of styles, characters, humor, and writing.

I am giving a special shout out to Sue McPeak for her hard work and energy.

Thanks to the whole A-to-Z coordinating team. They unite a huge blog world into an April fun frenzy. With all of the crazy in this world, this effort shows the power of the written word for good.

Special thanks to everyone for visiting Texas with me in Eye on Texas A to Z. We certainly poked into a lot of corners of this vast state.

Y'all come back now.   All the best!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K.Rowling) is an exciting crime novel with plenty of twists and turns, and another visit with private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin.  I like Rowling writing as Galbraith. I truly believe she shifts into another mode, goes tough and gritty with the best of ‘em.  I’ve already reviewed the first book The Cuckoo’s Calling in this blog.  Now a tad famous and on the police radar (he basically showed them up on the Lulu Landry case). Strike is hired by the wife of novelist Owen Quine to find him. Of course, it’s more than a missing person case. It involves a volatile finished manuscript that paints portraits and can ruin key players in the publishing business. And ultimately there’s a brutal murder with bizarre circumstances. Strike and Robin have to work around the police blocking their way, go with their instincts, and overturn initial conclusions. (It’s way too obvious to arrest the wife) 

Meanwhile, Strike is not in fine form. His prosthesis is bothering him (he lost a leg in Iraq) and that slows his mobility. Poor Robin is newly engaged and fighting with her fiancé, Matthew, who distrusts Strike and the whole investigative job. I enjoy these flawed characters and how life influences their work. The Silkworm keeps you guessing and the writing is solid. Here’s an example p.281: 

Preoccupied with his own comfort, a mixture of football and murder on his mind, it did not occur to Strike to glance down into the snowy street….Had he done so, he might have seen the willowy hooded figure in the black coat leaning against the wall, staring up at his flat. Good though his eyesight was, however, he would have been unlikely to spot the Stanley knife being turned rhythmically between long fine fingers.
Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm spins a tale of deception, cunning, egos, and jealousy. Power and money can make people do horrible things. Cormoran Strike has seen the worst in people and can dig deeper to solve the case, unravel the lies, and gain justice. Wrap yourself in a blanket cocoon and enjoy a darn good mystery.

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Day

Happy Post A to Z Challenge

Bought this little outdoor metal crab creation at the Southlake Center Art Show last week. The sharp red brightens my day.

We shall have a glorious weather weekend in Bedford, Texas. . I expect to be outdoors, not hanging at the computer. I assume my blog friends - old and new - are all shaking off the alphabet, resting, and recharging for May and beyond.

Be well and enjoy the weekend. I shall be back with movie and book reviews and more....

Don't be crabby