Monday, November 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

National Novel Writing Month. I'm taking a stab at it again! I am attempting to write a minimum of 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30.
I've only successfully done it once. But I figure this year I have a better chance than most because I've actually been writing a lot since the early spring, so my brain (and fingers) are sort of in the habit of working. My goal is between 1800 and 2500 words a day.

Would you believe that I'm already about 2,000 words behind schedule? Sigh...oh well...

This year I'm writing a novel based on a prompt that I got on Tumblr from a 20 yr young woman in Australia. I know that's sounds crazy as hell, but it's actually been a very cool experience. And it pushes me out of my comfort zone, which I like.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015


So, back in March, I won tickets off the radio to see Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, and Eric Hutchinson in concert. Well, the day of the show has finally arrived and I am beyond excited!

I've seen Kelly and Eric (they like touring together) in concert twice before and they consistently BRING IT in their live shows. Add to this mix the a cappella awesomeness of my beloved Pentatonix, and I am beyond psyched!

I seriously recommend that you all listen to each of these artists' latest albums, especially PTX's Volume III. You'll thank me later.

This will undeniably be me in about 10 hours -


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Random thoughts - One Direction LIVE - On The Road Again tour - Seattle, July 15, 2015

A collection of 41 observations and thoughts that I had during the One Direction concert (in chronological order):

  1. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many teenage girls gathered in one place in my life. It's sort of a nightmare. CenturyLink stadium is sold out. How many people does that hold? Anyway, the atmosphere has the strangest energy; it's hormones, and lip gloss and braces, and ponytails and the amalgamation of thousands of different perfumes. And screaming. So much screaming.
  2. Most of the moms/chaperones that have been dragged to this event are acting appropriately. But there is a large contigent of "cool moms" - you know Amy Poehler's character from Mean Girls? Yeah, that kind of horror. It's all too tight and too blushed. And lots of glitter.
  3. There are way more straight dudes (not dads) here than I expected. Dragged along by their girlfriends I suspect. And in fact seem to be making out with said girlfriends way more than is necessary - to prove something? Later during the concert, Harry Styles actually calls out a couple for making out the entire show. Guys, if a pop star from 30 feet away notices you're kissing, maybe tone it down a bit?
  4. There are 4 gay men in their 50s (2 couples?) sitting in the 4th row sans children. They're worse than me, right?
  5. Something called an "Icona Pop" is opening up for 1D. They are a duo. From the UK? Australia maybe? These two women seriously look like they are doing bad Spice Girls cosplay. One is like Scary Spice, and the other is like a Ginger/Sporty Spice combo. They are actually singing and not lyp-syncing so that's something in their favor. But as with a lot of EDM stuff, they're singing to music tracks. They keep slipping behind a weird DJ booth to change outfits?
  6. This is how you can tell the parents/chaperones in the audience - they're all sitting. Hee! You guys, we're old okay? The show is just starting and we have 3 1/2 more hours ahead of us to get through.
  7. I lucked out with the perfect seat. Far right section on the floor; Row 15, which is just far enough back that I can see everything; and on the aisle so no one's blocking me. This sweet tween girl behind me whispered to her sister/friend that she wouldn't be able to see over me and wondered if she should ask me to switch seats - her friend wisely responded that she didn't think I would do it. Ha! My resting-bitch-face works in my favor again!
  8. Oh! Icona Pop are the ones that sing that "I Don't Care. I Love It!" song. They saved the best for last.
  9. In the interim before 1D comes out, they're showing music videos and movie trailers. And Honda ads, because I guess they're a big sponsor of this tour.
  10. A lot of the videos are for that other boy band from the UK (?), 500 Summers or something? (That's not the name. But I'm too lazy to look it up and I DON'T CARE.) Are these guys also on Simon Cowell's label or something? Otherwise it seems weird to promote another boy band at a One Direction concert. 
  11. In true Seattle fashion, I've noticed an inordinate amount of Birkenstocks and Tevas on these otherwise tarted up teen girls.
  12. Girls are retouching their makeup before 1D comes out. Why? It's not like Niall is going to see you, much less give a thought to how much lip gloss or mascara you're wearing.
  13. I am truly impressed with the amount of signage here! It's nice to know that teen girls still make signs to take to concerts of their favorite bands. Gotta keep those poster board companies in business somehow!
  14. So far I've seen only one "congrats on the baby" poster for Louis.
  15. Boy, "Uptown Funk" is still an undeniable hit. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was up out of their seats and dancing around when the song was played over the loud speakers. Infectious indeed.
  16. As we get closer to the main event, the audience is getting hyper and ratcheting up the screaming. The screaming over NOTHING. 10 minutes before show time and the girls are screaming for anything at this point - roadies/crew coming out on stage to set things up; 1D ads for perfume; some of the backing band members walking through the tunnels on the side to get to the understage area.
  17. 4 min before show time: A PSA comes on with One Direction talking about their charity. I guess you buy gold stars at the show that raises money. Girls screamed throughout the entire PSA; the screams amping up each time a different one of the 4 guys did their part of the speel. I guess if this gets teens to give a shit about poverty and the environment I'm all for it. I just would rather also have my eardrums.
  18. The long runway that they have coming out into the audience from the mainstage is fairly low to the ground. Lower than I expected. (It would be at boob-level if I was standing next to it). I don't trust any of these chicks not to clock a security guard to get to Harry Styles. They are taking a risk.
  19. Honda is giving away a custom 1D Civic, complete with wacky paint job and the 4 lads' signatures on the hood. I'm not saying I didn't enter the contest to win it...umm
  20. Yikes. There are seriously A LOT of freaking people here! They don't have that much of the stadium blocked off. I think there must be 30,000 folks here. Does the "Clink" even have that many seats. I'm bad at math.
  21. Oh! Here they come! Oh no, the screaming has increased to a face melting squeal pitch. A deafening wall of screaming as each of the guys comes out in the following order: Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis.
  22. SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  23. Liam took over the Zayn Malik vocals in the first couple of songs, but surprisingly Niall is the one that steps up and does the Zayn parts of the majority of their set. And Niall is killing it vocally!
  24. They have a toilet on stage!! Behind this elaborate curtain. Louis used it between songs and kept his mic on! I mean, we couldn't hear him peeing or anything, but Liam had to work the crowd to cover the time and asked if Louis was done yet. All of a sudden we heard Louis over the loud speakers - "I had to use the loo. Sorry - too much tea before the show. Went right through." Louis can even make taking a piss adorable.
  25. Eleven songs into the set the guys sang "Little Things". The girls around me lost their ever-loving minds! They were floored that they were performing the song without Zayn, because he has such a major solo in it. Harry took over the Zayn parts on this one. These girls were so excited. Something so unexpected made them so happy. It was a nice moment, even for this hard-hearted old woman. 
  26. Oh, and the harmonies on "Little Things" were out of this world. These guys can really sing.
  27. I had studied the set lists for San Diego and San Francisco and I was hoping for something new, but they are following the established set to a tee. That's okay. I guess.
  28. Louis acknowledged one of the "Congrats on baby" signs that was held up, with a sweet smile and a thank you. Aww
  29. Naill is raunchier/sexier on stage than I expected. I've always imagined him as the sweet, virginal one.
  30. Harry is way goofier. And sexy AF. I get it now. 
  31. Harry is wearing very cool brown suede boots that I covet.
  32. During the performance of "Night Changes", all of the teens in the audience whipped out their old charity stars and held them over their heads, swaying back and forth. It was all very choreographed and well done. I don't know guys, this audience is operating on a different level from me.
  34. The guys' voices blend really well together. Louis is definitely the weakest link vocally, but he writes most of their songs, so I forgive him. Also that face!
  35. Liam keeps taking phones from the audience and taking selfies with them. It's sweet. 
  36. In fact, the entire evening One Direction has been incredibly gracious and thankful for their fans. Well done, lads.
  37. Girls are throwing the most random things onto the stage - sunglasses; plastic leis; toe shoes?; and a lot of bras. C'mon young ladies, keep it classy.
  38. 4 encores! FOUR.
  39. When all was said and done, the guys performed for 3 hours straight! Do you think they're able to do that because they're so young? That kind of stamina is beyond me. The stage loo probably helps too.
  40. They played only one of my favorite songs of theirs. But that's okay. If they had sung "Fool's Gold" or "Same Mistakes" I may have burst into tears and embarrassed myself in front of hundreds of 15 yr olds.
  41. Thank god for earplugs. I wore them all the way back to my car that I had parked about 20 blocks away. And when I removed them, my ears felt great.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

1D or BUST! (or how I stopped being embarrassed and embraced my love of boy bands) - PREVIEW

So, tonight's the night. I'm finally seeing One Direction live in concert. I have a floor seat and I'm riding solo, so I'm sure to stand out in a sea of teens and tweens.
Full disclosure - just yesterday I was given the opportunity to write a piece for a small women's issues blog. It may or may not get published there, but it does sort of give me a ready excuse to use if questioned as to why a woman in her mid-40s is attending a 1D concert alone.
Never mind the fact that I'm a super-fan that bought my ticket months ago. I will be reporting back on my experience in detail tomorrow or Friday.

Some things I'm looking forward to -

  1. This will be Louis Tomlinson's first public appearance since his baby-daddy news came out, so I'll be curious if it's addressed.
  2. I'm excited to see how they've reworked their songs, with the loss of Zayn Malik's beautiful tenor voice.
  3. So far they've kept the same set list for the U.S. tour dates; will Seattle be the city that gets a new set?!
  4. Will they sing any of my favorite songs?! Actually I'm sort of hoping that they won't. Because I  don't want to cry in front of 13 yr olds.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

But I'm hoping to get a little less "Plushious" in the next several months. Wish me luck!

Things I'm looking forward to in March

March is a tricky month for me. On the one hand, the anniversary of my mother's death is March 1 and for the past 8 years that date has just laid waiting to ambush and depress me at the beginning of the month.  But March is also my birth month (seriously the BEST month to have been born), and it was my mother's favorite time of the year, what with the change in weather and the cherry blossoms etc. so I also can find room for happy memories. And this year especially, I've got a bunch of things to look forward to.

First off, I'm not the only person I care about having a birthday this month. Several close friends and family also share March as the best birth month. So I have a bunch of great parties and celebrations to look forward to in March.

  • Kyle Chandler finally back on my television? And with Ben Mendelsohn? YES, PLEASE.


Is it March 20th yet?

  • I've quit caffeine and I'm really making a commitment to start swimming on a regular basis in an effort to cure the insomnia that's been plagueing me for months. It's been really bad lately, and so I'm making March the month that I conquer this! Or at least get at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Yeah, that's right, I don't even get SIX hours of sleep on a typical night. It's pathetic.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Nominations - For 2014's year

One of my weird pet-peeves about awards season each year is that I get very touchy and pedantic about people saying things like "the 2015 Oscar nominations". In truth, the Academy Award nominations that were annouced this morning are for 2014. But it's exhausting and annoying to correct people (and I'm sure to be corrected) on this relatively minor issue.

Moving on! Early early this morning I dragged my ass out of bed to go down and turn my tv on to watch this year's nominations be announced live. I know most of my friends and loved ones think this is beyond weird; especially since I do it for pleasure and not for like my job or anything that is paying me money. It's a tradition and I sincerely do look forward to this time of year.

In many ways, the nominations for 2014 aren't that shocking, but there are some very weird and seemingly dumb omissions in various categories.

First, let's just get elephant in the room out of the way - 2, just TWO, nominations for Selma. And one of those is for dumb "Best Song", ironically the only award that the film has a chance of winning. You guys? Oprah is PISSED. But seriously, it's almost more insulting that the Academy threw Selma a bone by giving them the Best Picture nod. To not honor David Oyelowo's brilliant portrayal of MLK with a nomination seems bonkers. Sorry (not sorry) Bradley Cooper, you didn't deserve your Best Actor nomination this year, Oyelowo should be in your place.
And don't get me started about the travesty of Ava DuVernay not getting a nomination for Best Director. This I blame completely on the strangle-hold that "white dudes" have on directing award nominations. This year as in past years the field of directors to choose from is strong, but when I look at the eight Best Picture nominations, Foxcatcher isn't there - so does Bennet Miller deserve a directing nom? Eh, maybe. I actually would have replaced Morten Tyldum with DuVernay; the best part of The Imitation Game is Cumberbatch. I think Tyldum's direction was the weak link. Critic David Edelstein wrote a great piece for Vulture about this.

The other completely bizarre, "what were they thinking" omission from these nominations is that The LEGO Movie wasn't nominated for Best Animated Film. C'mon guys, that's just fucking stupid.

I won't be doing the Oscar Death Race this year. But I will be doing my usual routine; I will see every film nominated in the major categories. That means that I still have the following left to see before February 22 - American Sniper; Still Alice; Two Days, One Night; [caveat - there's no way I'm seeing that turd of a movie "The Judge" so I will be seeing Inherent Vice instead.]

So anyway, here's the full list for you to ruminate over:

Best Picture
The Imitation Game 
The Theory of Everything
The Grand Budapest Hotel
American Sniper

Best Actress
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Best Actor
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Best Supporting Actor
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild

Best Director
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

 Best Original Screenplay
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo,Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, Foxcatcher

Best Foreign Film
Wild Tales 

Best Documentary Feature
Last Days in Vietnam
Finding Vivian Maier
The Salt of the Earth

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Boxtrolls
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Film Editing
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Best Song
Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois, Nick Lashley, and Nick Southwood, "Lost Stars" (Begin Again)
John Legend and Common, "Glory" (Selma)
Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, and The Lonely Island, "Everything Is Awesome" (The Lego Movie)
Diane Warren, "Grateful" (Beyond the Lights)
Glen Campbell, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" (Glen Campbell ... I'll Be Me)

Best Original Score
Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
Gary Yershon, Mr. Turner

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Robert D. Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ryszard Lenczewski and Łukasz Żal, Ida
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Costume Design
Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods
Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent
Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Makeup and Hairstyling
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, 
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Production Design
Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Suzie Davies and Charlotte Watts, Mr. Turner
Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock, Into the Woods
Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis, and Paul Healy, Interstellar
Maria Djurkovic and Tatiana Macdonald, The Imitation Game

Sound Editing
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, American Sniper
Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock, Birdman
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Richard King, Interstellar
Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro, Unbroken

Sound Mixing
American Sniper

Visual Effects
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X Men: Days of Future Past
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Short Film, Live Action
Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis, Aya (Chasis Films)
Michael Lennox, director, and Ronan Blaney, Boogaloo and Graham (Out of Orbit)
Hu Wei and Julien Féret, Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak) (AMA Productions)
Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger, Parvaneh (Zurich University of Arts)
Mat Kirkby, director and James Lucas, The Phone Call (RSA Films)

Short Film, Animated
Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees, The Bigger Picture (National Film and Television School)
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, The Dam Keeper (Tonko House)
Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed, Feast (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
Torill Kove, Me and My Moulton (Mikrofilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada)
Joris Oprins, A Single Life (Job, Joris & Marieke)

Documentary Short Subject
Perry Films, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Wajda Studio, Joanna
Warsaw Film School, Our Curse
Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, The Reaper (La Parka)
Weary Traveler, White Earth