TSS – Why Did I Go Into Labor Day?!

Today is one of those days all parents go through:  What the hell was I thinking when I said I wanted kids?  Yesterday was a humdinger with them, as well.  I figured it was because I was twenty pages from the end of Confessions of a Contractor that they wouldn’t let me have a moment of peace.  But today tells me they’re really just switched on in extreme fight mode right now.  Anything and everything to get each other to squeal. 

Gwen’s whining and crying because Maggie’s not happy with anything she does.  She tries to make “that little brat” (her words) happy, but she doesn’t like anything.  In Gwen’s defense, Maggie does have a problem with graciousness.  Try as I might to get her to understand tact and good manners, she prefers brutal honesty and refuses to even show gratitude for the other person’s effort.

HOWEVER… Gwen has a problem poking, teasing, irritating, and in general being an ass to as many people she can at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s a very loving and sweet child, but she has an obnoxious streak she likes to tap into, as well.  And, sadly… she comes by it honestly.  My mom loved singing a little nursery rhyme to me:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So why am I complaining that I’m getting paybacks?  We all know what paybacks are…  My mom reminds me of that, too.

Sammi, my oldest… She’s being descent… I guess.  She’s finally cleaning her room -I’ve only been telling her for a week now- and ran over something with the vacuum cleaner -the NEW vacuum cleaner- and now it’s smoking.  Thank God I chose the 3 year warranty.  She doesn’t want to take her meds (she’s possibly schizophrenic and too young to diagnose) , so that’s one battle.  She’s fifteen -I’m convince “teenager” is a mental illness- and very good at it.  If teenage-hood was an Olympic sport, she’d take the Gold for her signature Eye roll, tongue click, sigh, thigh slap, shocked face look with a whining “Oh My GOSH!”

Multiply the girl in the following video by three, then make them all actively irritating the hell out of each other, and you’ll have what my house has been like for the last couple days:

ANYWAY… that’s my venting rant…

I’m horrible at getting back into a habit… I know this and yet I let myself slip out of the habit of reading. I finally managed to finish Confessions of a Contractor, which I had started a couple weeks ago before my grandma died. My mom’s visit was a week without books… and gladly so. I didn’t want to miss a minute with her, and the books will be on the shelves and desk after she went home. But then the next week I drug my feet getting back into it. Contractor was a great book, and perfect for what was going on, it was just me being lazy. I need a personal assistant and planner… and maybe a task master to crack the whip when I get off task.

It doesn’t help that I signed up on Second Life. It’s an absolutely, stupidly, waste of time. And yet I go back. It’s addictive. The out-of-body sensation of exploring in other rooms and other floors is wicked! AND the avatar flies around in a 3-D world… admittedly, I can see how people get caught up in it. BUT I can quit whenever I want :-D

Last night I took the heathens to the movies. I finished and reviewed Contractor, and wanted to get away from the house. The choices are slim here in Loganland: Babylon AD and Step Brothers. I have a 9, 14, and 15 year old, so Step Brother wasn’t even a consideration… after watching Dewey Cox, I don’t think anything John C Reilly does is appropriate for my daughters. So… we trekked off to Babylon.

Here’s a trailer of the movie:

If you haven’t seen the movie, let me give you a quick summary. Toorop (Vin Diesel) is living in a post-nuclear Russia, unable to return to the US because he’s on a terrorist list. He’s hired by a Russian mob-type character named Gorsky (Gérard Depardieu) to pick up Aurora (Mélanie Thierry), who is not-quite-right in the head, and deliver her to Gorsky’s contact in New York City. Michelle Yeoh plays Sister Rebecca of the Noelites, who is Aurora’s guardian, joins them in the trip. Along the way, they are shot at, blown up, and Toorop dies… but it doesn’t end there.

To be honest, I wanted to see the movie for one and a half reasons: Vin Diesel is hot, and I like Michelle Yeoh’s acting and martial arts moves. Yes, the action was a BIG incentive, but the movie reminded me of this weeks Booking Through Thursday question: The story is the most important part of any tale, book or movie. Babylon A.D. was sooo weak on story. The first fifty minutes or so was really cool, and I was visually blown away by the action, the future-world concepts, the “What’ll happen next,” and the mystery of what’s up with Aurora. BUT… then it fell to crap. The story was weak and seriously lacking. All of us, except Sammi, walked away from the theater shaking our heads and trying to figure out WTF?! happened in the story.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Wait, she was grown in an artificial uterus with a computer as the momma? and where the hell did the twins come from? and WHY oh WHY? is one white and one black? HUH? If I’d have gotten up in the middle of the movie, I would have been convinced all my questions had been answered during those minutes.

Has anyone read the book, Babylon A. D. ? Can you answer these missing chunks of story? Even Vin Diesel wasn’t worth sitting through this movie. :-p

Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy

Title: Confessions of a Contractor
Author: Richard Murphy
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publish Date: August 14, 2008
ISBN-13: 9780399155079

The first thing a woman needs to know about renovating a house or apartment is simple: do not, under any circumstance, sleep with your contractor, no matter what your husband or boyfriend is doing to you, or not doing to you. Some people in the building trade will consider this statement a direct violation of the Man Code, and you won’t find additional information on this subject at Home Depot -even though it should be there, in its own department, right between electrical and plumbing, managed by a woman who has made this very mistake.

The first line of this book competes with Tan Lines in shock value, though the use of the word “clitoris” clearly gives Tan Lines the win. However, where Tan Lines was dirty and gritty, totally lacking in emotional value and real character, Confessions of a Contractor is Tan Lines opposite.

To steal borrow from Traci over at Traci’s Book Bag, if I were to give a one word review of Confessions of a Contractor, that one word would be: Pleasure. This book is fun and sexy, but without all the filth found in Tan Lines. Henry is a likable narrator, and Murphy writes him with a self-deprecating humor that most of us can appreciate. Confessions is more than the sexual romp it appears to be in the first few paragraphs (which was all Tan Lines ever was), it is much deeper -but still fun! It’s no Oprah book. It’s a story of a man trying to do right by his standards, bumbling it often, but still getting up and trying again, and it is a story of friendships. It’s about the sometimes misguided things do to help their friends, like threaten your friend’s fiance’ with a salad fork and promise to be his worst nightmare if he hurts your friend, or like taking a cordless drill and saw and going after the self-important ass who causes your friends and their families a great deal of grief and trouble.

As Henry is remodeling the homes of two women who used to be best friends, both withholding why they are no longer friends, he finds himself falling for them both. One of whom, Rebecca, is married to a turd with whom Henry had dealt with years before when he worked on a house owned by the husbands mistress. The second woman is a bit on the wild side, with whom he gets involved after she holds a “dark” dinner where everyone’s blindfolded. At this dinner, he finds himself in a human sandwich with the hostess and an unknown second woman. The search for the identity of the second woman leads him to take jobs for the other women who are at the party… more work he has no time for.

Also plaguing Henry’s life is Gia, his ex-girlfriend who’s engaged to the man she had an affair with and shows up on Henry’s front door step to demand ask him to go to couples therapy, even though they’re not a couple anymore, so that she can move on with her life and marry Mr. Terrific with a capital T.

Throw into the mix Bill, Henry’s friend who goes to dinner parties to eat everything and stuff what he can’t into his pant pockets, including deviled eggs. Bill is the opposite of a germ-a-phobe: he pursues germs in order to build up his immune system for the coming man-made Apocalypse. Bill is the guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s the right man for whatever less-than-legal thing you need to have or have done.

My only complaint about this book is that it ends. Thirty pages from the last page, I’m tearing up… not from the story, but from sorrow that my time with Henry and Bill, et al will soon end.

I give Confessions a 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to anyone wishing for a fun, breezy book that still has depth without the teary Oprah moments. :-D

Friday Fill-Ins – I Want My Mommy! but I’d settle for Murtagh

1. When I’m sick I’m torn between wanting to be babied and cared for and being the Mom who does the care taking (I want my mommy!).

2. When I take a walk, I think about the book I’m reading and what on earth is the main character thinking doing something so stupid! Idiot!.

3. Money can’t buy happiness but it can sure make misery a lot more comfortable ;-) .

4. Cotton makes me sweat and leather makes me erm… wet :-D.

5. The strangest person/character I’ve had lewd thoughts about was Eragon and Murtagh… at the same time.

6. My favorite color these days is a good, living-thing green because it represents life.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing Confessions of a Contractor… I haven’t finished a book in a week an a half, tomorrow my plans include getting a good chunk of Julius Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul read and Sunday, I want to finish Conquest of Gaul because I won’t allow myself to start my next Twilight book, Eclipse, until I finish Caesar off!

Booking Through Thursday – Stories

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

Great writing is important, and figuring out the metaphors in a book is also something I really dig into some books for. But without a story that interests me I wouldn’t get far enough into the book to apprecialte those things. Great characters are a definite need, but if great characters do nothing but sit around and drink coffee then I’m not sure that’s enough to make even the best writing compelling.

No, it’s definitely the story that I read and even buy a book for. I’m not standing there in Walden’s, flipping books over and reading the back covers wondering, “Hmm.. I wonder what Pub Weekly said.” No, I’m wanting to know what the book is about. Why do I want to spend $12 (avg) to put this book on Mt. TBR, which is already overflowing onto my desk. The story has to be something I want to read. I’d sacrifice great writing for great story.

Of course, I want great writing, great characters, and great story, though you know ;-)

Viral Video Wednesday – Has Gone to the Dogs

I’m still kind of lagging behind in sleep and reading (and housekeeping, but that’s always lagging) since my mom’s visit, and THEN I finally checked out an internet thing my friend’s been doing for years and I’ve resisted since first hearing about it: 2nd Life. YEah… no. That’s some life sucking stuff right there. I got on at four in the afternoon, blinked, then it was four in the morning. I just don’t have time for that; if I was on there I’d never get anything read or do any blogging. I think a first life is more than enough.

So on to the VIDEOS!!

This week, v v W is focused on videos about our best friends: our pets. We love our kitties and puppies, and I know there are several bloggers who include their fur-children in their posting. *Waves at Emmy, and all the other bloggy kitties and doggies out there.*

To kick it off, let’s start which a little classic theatre. I found this video about a year or so ago, and emailed it to everyone I knew. It’s hilarious, whether you are a cat lover or not.
Cathead Theatre Presents: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act II, scene 2:

On October 3, 2008, Disney is releasing a new movie called Beverly Hills Chihauhau, which we will, of course, be seeing. However, I think I may have found the video that inspired Disney’s new movie. The poster has titled the video “Cutest Ever Music Video,” and while I’m not sure about cutest, it is pretty high on the AWWW meter.

Okay, check your glucose levels… I don’t want anyone going into a sugar coma with this next one. Gwen, my middle daughter is an animal lover and she’s always fetching videos with them in it. This one is from her personal favorites collection:

Another one from Gwen’s folder, the following video was found shortly after our Pug-dog Frank, who looked a LOT like the dog in this, died. It took me a while before I’d even look at the video, but I now love watching it… and singing it.

And in the interest of bi-specienship, here are kitties morphing and rocking: Kitty Said What?

And now for one of the most annoying songs, the kind that’s stuck in your brain for days and you find yourself walking around mumbling it unthinkingly, but definately a cute and fun video: Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!

The YouTube member who posted the following video wrote, “I made this video for my neice who is cat crazy she is only 2 and she loves this” in the vid’s info section. As near as I can tell, this is The original “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” video:

And finally, one of the original virals, and a vid that will cure you of the “Cat, I’m a Kitty Cat!” song stuck in your head…. because this song will be stuck there instead…. Is it a bird? Is it a dog, or a cat? No! It’s a hamster… and he’s dancing:

For a bit of Internet historical trivia, before there were viral videos to spread their way through the ethernet, there were viral emails. The original Hamsterdance email was created by a Canadian art student named “Deidre LaCarte, who was competing with her best friend and sister to see who could generate the most traffic, designed The Hampster Dance in August 1998 as a homage to her pet hamster, named Hampton Hamster. Using four simple animated GIFs of hamsters and other rodents, repeated dozens of times each, and a loop of background music embedded in the HTML, then a fairly new browser feature, she named the site Hampton’s Hampster House and had Hampton declare his intent to become a “web star”…. Until January 1999, only 800 visits were recorded (about 4 per day), but without warning, that jumped to 15,000 per day. The Web site spread by e-mail, early blogs, and bumper stickers, and was eventually even featured in a television commercial for Internet Service Provider Earthlink…. In 2005, CNET named The Hampster Dance the #1 web fad.” -From Wikepedia

Now it’s your turn to scrounge up some videos. Can you pack together a few viral vids with pride? Share some of your favorite animal vids in the comments, or post your own V V W on you blog :-D

Tuesday Thingers -LT Authors

Today’s topic: LibraryThing authors. Who are your LibraryThing authors? What books of theirs do you have? Do you ever comment on an author’s LT page? Have you received any comments from an author on your LT account?

This is an interesting question on a topic I rarely think about. LT Authors have a wonderful opportunity to reach readers, though I don’t think they take advantage of it. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a message from the author him/herself, but I have gotten a comment from the publisher on the book Firefly Rain. It’s possible they might use the Author/fan thing more if it could be done in a bulletin-fashion like myspace; if they could write one message then click send all and have it post to all those LT’ers who have fav’d them. As to my commenting on the Author’s page, I think I may have once or twice but I’m not sure.

My LT Authors are:
Dave Boling and I have his book Guernica, which I have yet to read.

Richard Dansky and I read and enjoyed his book Firefly Rain, which has been mooched away.

Joe Hill and I have his book Heart-Shaped Box, which is deep in the bowels of Mt. TBR. Point of trivia on Joe Hill: he’s Stephen King’s son ;-)

Penelope Przekop and I have her book Aberrations, which I have yet to read.

Marisa de los Santos and I have her book Love Walked In. This book is located somewhere in Mt. TBR, and I didn’t recognize her name until I saw the book title.

C. Comfort Shields. This is an good example of how Mt. tbARC is kicking my butt. I have her book Surviving Ben’s Suicide, and want to read it, but it just keeps getting buried deeper and deeper. Last week didn’t help my fight against that pile which is entirely excusable, but all the same, I wish I could read faster!

Mort Zachter and I have read and loved his book Dough: a memoir, which has been mooched away. I have left a comment on his LT member page.

As I don’t remember adding a few of these as my authors, it would seem that when an author signs up for LT or when you input a book written by an LT member, they are automatically listed as an LT Author on members who have their books.

TSS – In memory of Hazel Burris Coy, 1913-2008

This week has been a blur. My mother did in fact stay with me, which made me super happy. It was the first time I had seen her in two years, and I loved that she stayed with me. We were able to visit late into the night, catching up on all the things that’s happened in the world at large and in each of our lives in general (as well as in my siblings’ lives). Stories were told and retold, the histories of our family were re-remembered, and of course we talked about my Grandma whose death was the reason for the trip.

I’ve made a memorial video about my grandma, and I would like to share it with you for this Sunday Salon. She was a good woman, a loving wife and farmer. She was a mother, a grandmother, great-grandmother, and even great-great-grandmother. She lived a long and full life, and she is loved and missed.

The video won’t work here on WordPress, but it does work at my Blogspot blog. Please swing over there and watch Hazel M Coy, 1913-2008, a long and full life of love and wisdom. She is missed.

AND THE WINNER IS!!!

Erisian has won the Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers book and $10 gift card. Email me your address, Erisian, so I can get that out to you in a few days ;-)

Viral Video Wednesday – The Evolution of Dance

I am really enjoying doing Viral Video Wednesday, and have enough vids bookmarked for the next month at least. My kids are helping as best they can, thought I’m not really interested in posting mash-ups with The Outsiders video and South Park audio. Call me crazy, but I’m not that geeked up for them.

This week’s featured Viral Video is The Evolution of Dance.

TEoD was part of last week’s featured video, Weezer’s Pork ‘n’ Beans music video. This week I want to tear this vid apart by posting the components of The Evolution of Dance. I had a LOT of fun looking up these dances.

First up, The Bee Gees have immortalized the 70′s with their music, and “Staying Alive” is one of the dances included in TEoD. What’s up with Andy’s teeth, by the way? I don’t remember them being so… veneer-like.

This song, in case you didn’t know, was featured in the 70′s movie “Saturday Night Fever”. This movie secured disco’s place in living memory, even those born after the seventies (like my children) recocnize this song and the movies moves… When I played the Bee Gees vid they were dancing around my room Travolta dance floor style. And speaking of the song and movie, what moments from the movie sticks in your head? Here’s one of mine:

Okay, I know… it’s actually from the second movie… AND in Italian, but I couldn’t find the strut scene from the first movie on YouTube. If you have better luck, post it and let me know ;-)

Okay… If you ever go shopping at the Wal-mart with me and the following song plays on the overhead, know this: I WILL stop whatever I’m doing and I WILL dance. Consider yourself warned. I can’t help but violently and uncontrollably laugh when I watch this video. The looks on the Cowboy’s and the Biker’s faces slay me! Was there actually a time when we thought this was cool? seriously?

And now, something I watched with the committed obsession of a religious zealot… The Brady Bunch:

AND now… OMG! Like this is so totally rad! Like, this video was like one of my favorites! Like it’s totally gnarly, you know? Like, I actually got to like watch this before my dad like totally turned mideval and like totally banned MTV from our house. Like, whatever!

Oh gawd… I hated the Lawrence Welk show with an absolute passion! It would send me into a rage faster than a rabid cat being held over a bathtub full of hot sudsy water. And this clip gives you the directions to a dance I don’t think anyone NOT comotosed is ignorant of. Seriously, if you don’t know the following dance leave a comment to say so, because I can’t believe there’s a person alive, conscious and under the age of 80 who doesn’t know it.

Oookay… so, I could actually put Vanilla Ice’s actual “Ice Ice Baby” video in here, but why? I loved watching “In Living Color” and now that they have the full seasons on DVD at Family Video, I still watch it. Jim Carrey, Damon, Shawn, and Marlon Wayons, Jamie Foxx, all got their boosts from this show. It was (and still is, IMHO) some of the best sketch comedy in the history of television, and the only thing that can truly compete with SNL’s early years (SNL is a crap shoot nowadays… and mostly it’s just crap).

Now, originally… The song “Apache” was done by Tommy Seebach, then The Sugar Hill Gang had their Apache, as did Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Missy Elliot (Missy Miss Demeanor, to show my age) sampled it in “We Run This” for the movie “Stick It” (great gymnastics movie, BTW). However, as far as I can tell, the only time it’s been danced like the dude does in TEoD is here:

I love watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and I still remember the first time this particular episode aired… yeah, now I am dating myself ;-)

Even though he really refused to dance it, I wanna put it in here anyway. It’s another one of those dances you’ve had to live in a cave not to have caught. Like the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance, this dance is played at every party, dance and skating rink I’ve ever been to.

And I wanted to save the best for last, even though it’s out of order from the song. Doug and Steve Butabi are two of the most absurd and endearing characters in SNL history. They only ask one question: What is love?

Now it’s your turn. There’s tons of dances left in The Evolution of Dance video. Which one’s are your favorite? Leave them in the comments, or EVEN BETTER! Blog your own V V W and leave the link! I’d love to share yours as well as mine!

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Boogers – Factoid #8

Inside everybody’s nose
There lives a sharp-toothed snail.
So if you stick your finger in,
He may bite off your nail.
Stick it farther up inside,
And he may bite your ring off.
Stick it all the way, and he
May bite the whole darn thing off.

by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends


If you stuck your finger far enough up your nose, could you reach your brain?

No, because an average-shaped human finger would not be able to pass beyond the nasal passages. If a finger (and it would have to be unfeasible small to do so) could make its way through the nasal passages, it would then reach the sinuses. Sunuses are air-filled spaces found behind the nose and cheeks and in the forhead. However, our imaginary finger would then find its route blocked by the cribriform plate, which makes up part of the ethmoid bone in the skull and forms the “ceiling” of your nose.

Clark would benefit from reading today’s factoid:

This post is part of the Boogers and Book Bucks Giveaway. Don’t forget to enter at the original post for your official entry. Comments here count as a bonus entry :-D

Tuesday Thingers – You Got to Have Friends

Today’s question: LT and RL (real life)- do you have friends in real life that you met through LibraryThing? Have you attended any LT meet-ups in your area? Would you be open to attending meet-ups or is LT strictly an online thing for you?

I neither have RL friends who are on LT (it seems I have very few book-reading friends, and those who are bibliophiles don’t have any desire to join, try as I might), not do I have RL friends whom I met on LT (I don’t think there’s anyone within a 50 mile radius who’s on LT).  It would be really great if there were people who lived close so that we could meet up regularly and have a book club. 

I’d write longer but I have company, see my last Sunday Salon.

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