myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

2996 Victims of 9/11 Tribute Blog

2996 Blog Review

Blog dedicated to creating a fifth anniversary tribute to the victims of 9/11

Other bloggers should GET IN ON THE ACTION AND JOIN

Yes, normally, I would choose a blog to review based on its ability to make me chuckle. Not today, friends and neighbors. With the anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching, I would like to direct the attention of all bloggers to this site, home of the 2996 project, which I clicked on via the Beltway Bastard’s blog.

Head’s up! This is a worthy cause, an honoring of those lost on that horrible day. If you don’t want to take time to read the entire thing (you lazy bastards) then let me cap it down for you. Everyone who has a blog, and signs up, is “assigned” a victim from 9/11 to honor. This means you are asked to make a tribute to that person’s life on your blog site on September 11th, 2006. In the site’s own words...

“2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.”

I am one of those volunteers, and everyone reading this should be, too. I have been trying to track down info on my guy, and it’s not been easy, but I think it’s worth it, even if I don’t find out anything more about him than what was written on the 2996 page. If the words, “It’s the thought that counts” ever meant anything, this would be a case of it. I think about those people a lot, still, five years later. How ‘bout the rest of you?

On August 19, the dude in charge of all of this noise, D. Challener Roe, said this:

“Now we’ve got 23 days to get the last 996.”

Now I believe they are down to the last ten percent or less. And September 11th is getting close. The sooner you sign up, the more you can find out about your person.

Go. Go now. Sign up. Let’s do this thing.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Gene Simmons Family Jewels TV Review

Gene Simmons Family Jewels

Saturdays, check local times

30 mins.

I decided to review this television program in honor of Gene's birthday. Happy Birthday, Oh Great One!

I remember KISS. Oh my yes… I remember the first time I ever saw KISS. My brothers had been babbling about them for some time, but I hadn’t paid much attention, seeing as I was a little kid, maybe five years old. And then, one night, on tv, I saw them. Alien-looking, frightening and fascinating, towering men (due, no doubt to their stacked boots…those things were bitchin’, hey) dressed in black leather costumes adorned with chains and spikes and other unidentifiable things. They had streaming black hair. And they were painted. What, I ask you, was there not to like?

There’s a review about the movie here. A really good, funny review, although I could be biased by saying that.

I guess, according to the Internet Movie Database, it was bad. Not only bad, but bad, bad, bad, and one more…bad. Four bads. Even if you’re the greatest KISS fan of all time, you can’t just ignore four bads, can you? Well, since I’m not the greatest KISS fan of all time, I really can’t say if you can ignore it, but I certainly can’t. So I accept it, the movie was bad. Aside from the fakeness of the special affects, which can be blamed on the fact that this was the seventies, and even Star Wars looks fakey nowadays, well, the story had the band members possessing magic talismans that gave them super powers. Yeah, really. So the movie was bad.

But so were the members of KISS. And by “bad”, this time, I mean “bad” in the best possible way. I had never seen anything like them. I hadn’t even imagined anything like them. They were all undeniably cool, but you gotta hand it to Gene Simmons. He was the baddest, and arguably the coolest, of them all. I think he was supposed to be some kind of a demon. I didn’t care. I just thought he was really scary looking, but because of some vague memory I had of the movie, I knew he couldn’t really be evil. I was torn between him and the drummer, because, well, I was a little girl and the dude had cat whiskers painted on his face, and that, my friends, is about irresistible to a little girl (God I hope no pedophiles read that and get any ideas) but, in the end, Gene won out. I remained fascinated by him throughout my childhood and teen years. It wasn’t until I had children of my own and got pulled, kicking and screaming, into the Unspeakable Torture of Being an Adult, that KISS sort of faded into the background of my memories. Fond memories, however.

So it was with something very much like delight when I saw Gene Simmons on TV one night. Oh, I recognized him, alright, although time has been less than kind to his manly features. And he doesn't have paint on (at least, not all the time) and I haven't seen any fake blood pouring down his chin yet. BUT. He still thinks he is the king of hard rock, though, you can tell it by every movement of every atom in his body. He was born to Rock, you know, and that just doesn’t go away because he’s old enough to get a senior discount on his Whopper at Burger King. Oh no, this dude is going to rock until he clocks out. And, I believe, he'll party every day.

The show, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, is an unashamed rip-off of another popular “reality” series, a little show called, oh what was it? Ah yes, The Osbournes. You know, where all of us Ozzy fans were really, really disappointed to find out that our bat-biting hero is actually a stumbling, mumbling, absolutely un-understandable old man who probably pees in his shoe if Sharon doesn’t direct him to take a bathroom break? Don’t get me wrong- I love Ozzy. I’ve been to see him in concert several times and he is the Showman of Showmen. I practically fainted when he came out on stage for the first time, singing in that one-of-a-kind whiney-growl…”Miiiiister Crowleeeyy…” But offstage, well, if you’ve seen the show, you know what I mean. He’s a little embarrassing.

Now Gene is another story altogether. He is still fully functioning, proud as a peacock, and a (seemingly) genuinely intelligent and funny kind of guy. He lives with his long-time mate (but not wife) Shannon Tweed, she of Playboy Playmate fame, and their two children, Nick and Sophie. Their kids are not foully obnoxious like some rockstar’s children I could mention, but actually smart, likeable people. Sophie is into sports and literature and Nick is into creating his own rock band

(and is not adverse to a little help from his famous dad, although he does tell him in one part, where his dad whispers into some woman's ear right before she begins to gush over the wonderfulness of Nick... “Dad, don’t do that.” Gene: “Do what?” Nick: “Don’t tell her to pretend she likes me.” Gene: “Oh, ok, sorry.” Heehee).

The kids are intelligent. They get good grades. There doesn’t seem to be evidence of substance abuse problems, again, unlike other….oh, you know where I‘m going with that. Shannon is the long-suffering wishes-she-were-wed girl, who stages a mock wedding just to freak the crap out of her non-hubby who apparently hates marriage. Lately, she’s been talking about another baby, and seeing a fertility doctor, and the part where she has to get a “sample” from her boytoy was genuinely hilarious.

It brings out a strange mixture of nostalgia and the feeling of being in on a secret- to get to see Mr. Twelve Inch Tongue in his element, kicked back with a sandwich, being vain about his hair, having a driving contest with his seventeen year old son. I like it. So if you’re a KISS fan, or even if you’re not, you might want to tune in and look at yet another show about the lives of the rich and famous- but one that’s actually kinda good.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

World Trade Center Movie Review

World Trade Center

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Michael Peña

Directed by Oliver Stone

Rated PG-13

129 minutes

Before I begin my review on World Trade Center, let me just point out this sometimes-missed fact- this is called the totally BIASED review blog because it is…OH, and will always be…. my point of view. So, in saying that, I dismiss anyone who wants to use this movie as a political soapbox to start talking about the war in Iraq and say to you, respectfully, I’m sure there are a lot of blogs out there discussing that sort of thing. I’m here to tell you how this movie was… as a movie, not as a political statement.

Oliver Stone, in fact, avoids any kind of politics entirely, which was surprising and pleasing to me. He focuses not on the horror, not on the conspiracies (you know, that these were planned detonations rather than planes – whatever, might as well be “blah blah blah” to me, about as prickly to my spine as the magical “20 dollar bill that proves the WTC was going down.” UGH. Shudder. Barf.) The fact is that thousands of innocent people died that day, and I believe that any film dealing with the subject matter, especially, as some have complained “so shortly after”, should be a tribute, respectful and as factually made as possible. So, no conspiracy theories here, hooray for Oliver. Not that conspiracy theories can’t be really fun to watch and/ or read about… but not now, not yet, not about this, and thankfully, Stone got that straight. Oh, and this one is based on a true story. Check out the real dudes, Will Jimeno and Sergeant John McLoughlin.

Although WTC focuses on the two survivors, only mentioning the thousands that weren’t so lucky at the end, I still think Stone did a good job on this one and you remember the rest of them every second of the film. It is extremely emotional... so if you don’t like to cry, don’t go see it. Really. My husband, Stone-Cold, and my absolutely too-cool-for-this-world teenage son went with me and both of them were gulping. This movie will hurt your heart, unless it’s made of a big lump of rock that says “the terrorists were just doing what they believed in” and in that case you can kiss my ass on your way right off this website. Wait, kiss it three times. And then stick a knife in your face while you’re at it.

It is a patriotic movie (Say what? Oliver Stone? Say yes- Patriotic, red, white and blue beautiful!), and a whisper to the patriot that probably lurks within us all. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only viewer who felt a lump in my throat at that badass former marine who pretty much epitomizes “patriotism” in this movie.

This dude, Dave Karnes, feels that he has a “mission” from God to leave his hometown and go to NY to help people. Despite what other people say, he puts on his old marine uniform, which gets him past the police check points, and starts climbing through the rubble on his own. Can you say balls? That was AWESOME! Yeah, I’m spoiling here, (if you don’t like it- stop reading!) but it’s obvious through the whole flick that this is the guy who is going to find those two buried men- this retired Jack Reacher type dude who is not going to be stopped by nothing. At one point, staring down through the rubble that covers the trapped duo, while they beg him not to leave, he dismisses the fear simply, matter of factly… “We’re marines, and you are our mission.” I’d like to have that guy at my back. I’d feel (probably as they did) that it was a damn fine thing to be this man’s mission, and everything was going to be ok after all. Marines? Hell yes- the marines are here! (one of the men is saying this happily, almost deliriously, to the other) That’s a good statement to be able to make in a crisis.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but 9/11 lives with me. I know some people who act like it never happened. I’m not one of them. Although my personal circle was barely affected by the events, (a friend’s father was killed, one of my friends was in the South Tower and did get out, though the stories he told later were enough to make me have nightmares) it rocked my world. I remember crying for days. I remember thinking that nothing would ever be the same. I remember wanting vengeance, blindly and bloodthirstily, in a way I don’t remember ever feeling before and not really knowing who our targets were supposed to be, something many people in this country are still struggling to figure out, I believe. I remember understanding, finally, what my Grandmother was trying to make me understand when she explained how she felt about Pearl Harbor.

Ok, Kaat, enough, get to the point of the MOVIE.

The main characters, Cage and Peña, Port Authority police officers, are trapped in an elevator shaft after Concourse five falls on top of them during the collapse of the first tower. Their comrades are dead, they are both pinned and, they concede, probably slowly dying of internal bleeding, and as time drags on and on and frickin ON, their hope of rescue is fading fast. Horrible, really awful shit happens. Like after the first tower falls, the third guy could maybe have gotten out, but he stays to help (as per orders by Cage) and then Tower Two goes down, and he goes down with it. That belts you in the gut. Unexplainable fireballs shoot through the trapped space, a gun goes off crazily, both men screaming and praying, and damn…. My palms had imprints of my fingernails on them. It is harrowing watching them, listening to them try to keep each other awake, as they decide that you have a better chance of not dying if you don’t sleep. They discuss everything from their wives and kids to the theme song to Starksy and Hutch, at times even pulling a smile from the movie-goer, despite the tears that might very well be falling down your face at the same time. They keep reminding each other, don’t sleep. They tell each other, If you die, I will die too, and you know they mean it. It is, like I said, heart-wrenchingly emotional. If I hadn’t known that Marine Man was out there, looking, I would have wanted to stop watching, but I knew he was, and I knew he’d find them. (My faith in Jack Reacher-types just doesn’t die) In one of the most intense scenes, to me, Peña, thinking his leg is the only thing between rescuers and Cage, tells them to cut it off, and you know that he’s completely sincere.

Meanwhile, we also follow the stories of the two men’s wives (Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal) as they struggle with the endless wait, not knowing if their husbands are dead or alive. These women are tough, no doubt about it, but the viewer can see their strong resolve slowly starting to crumble, and damnit if my own heart wasn’t crumbling along with them. Being female, and relating strongly with these characters, I just can’t write any more about them. I lose my ability to write coherently when I think about what it must have been like, not only for them, those lucky two, but for the thousands that didn’t get their loved ones back.

There are a lot of ouch moments in this movie…from the get-go. Stone captures, without exploiting, the many horrors of that day, from the dazed office workers covered in soot and dirt wandering around dazedly, to the paralyzing shock of a person plunging from the heights, presumably choosing to jump to death rather than burn in the flames of the wreckage. He demonstrates well the rumors that flew that day, as anyone can remember…no one knowing what was happening, a thousand stories and none of them true. I remember reading online that they rescued a hundred people from one little office that had miraculously stayed up…of course it wasn’t true, and it crushed me when I realized it, since the idea had buoyed my hopes so high. At one point, as the two men wonder what is happening above them, how long it will take before they are found, the camera pans back, and back, through the dirt and steel and tons of twisted shit, to a wide shot of the absolute destruction that was ground zero, showing us that the men are effectively two needles in a haystack that people are afraid to even start to look through. In reality, despite the many “amazing stories”, only twenty people were pulled from the wreckage after the collapse of the Towers. Only twenty. That number will keep me awake at night.

If you’re a cynic, don’t watch this show. Go watch Bill Maher’s movie or something.

If you sympathize with terrorists, don’t watch it either. Go kill yourself with a potato peeler.

If you’re emotional, prepare to bawl buckets. I sure did.

I give it five &s.

& it was real

& it was hopeful

& it was respectful

& it was a tribute

& it was really, really good acting that twisted my guts

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lee Child's The Hard Way Book Review

The Hard Way- A Jack Reacher Novel
by Lee Child
published by Bantam Dell, May 2006
371 pages

First thing's first, I have to admit, in the case of Lee Child's books about Jack Reacher (and I think all of his books are about Jack Reacher) I am going to be more totally biased than usual. Even if Child put out a book that was a leaking pile of crap stuffed between covers, I would probably love it, if it had Jack Reacher in it.
Reacher is my hero. I think anyone who reads a billion books a year like I do, many of them suspense/murder mystery/PWPATSBC....Police Working Practically Alone to Solve A Baffling Case books, should have a hero. Someone to look forward to, after reading about say, Cornwalls' moody Scarpetta and Iris Johansen's great, but almost always-the-same-tough-cookie woman heroines. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Johansen's books and read them faithfully. It's just that she has such a perfect pattern for success in her books that she doesn't vary it much. The reason I bring up her books is because although the female is the main kick-ass character, she always learns most/all of what she knows from the male character and they/he is as close to what I want in a hero as any writer's gotten. Johansen's heroes are always calm, cool and in control, deadly and able to kill without blinking, although they almost always have to have a great moralistic reason for why they are killing, and the guy has to be a really, really Bad bad guy. That's almost what I look for in my literary heroes, but these guys of hers have too much conscience, and they fall in love with these completely unlovable women for no apparent reason. Since Johansen's writing roots are in romance and a lot of her readers are women who followed her over into suspense genre, I totally understand. That's after all, what (most) women want.
Not me though. I want a hero who is all of those things, but also smart. practical. With his OWN ethics. And someone who doesn't fall in love with women who don't deserve it. That's just not my fantasy. If a hero- perfect man that he is, falls in love with someone, she better be pretty special. She better be worth it. should at least be nice to him. Otherwise, it ruins the whole thing for me and the whole time I'm reading the book, I'm imagining their future divorce proceedings and the division of property, including who gets the guns, who gets the grenades.
So you can imagine my glee when I first read a Reacher novel. Here he was! My hero come to life on the pages of Die Trying.
Jack Reacher, for those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting him, is ex-military police. He was good at his job, very, very good. He is an investigator, soldier, bodyguard, badass loner. He was in the military for basically his entire life, and when they began downsizing, he finds himself spit out in the world he knows very little about, but luckily he learns fast. Now a civilian, he drifts around, enjoying America, throwing away his clothes as they get old, carrying absolutely nothing with him except a toothbrush. Sometimes he digs swimming pools for cash. Sometimes he gets hired by the Secret Service to protect the Vice President. Many varied jobs this guy has. And of course, like any good hero, he does them all with style. He's six foot four and built like a brick shit house, too, another thing I like in a hero. It's all good and fine that a guy "looks harmless and is actually deadly", but that doesn't equal the imaginary thrill I get from Reacher standing up to an abusive husband and staring down, way, way down at him while the husband's bowels turn to jelly. He can kick anyone's ass in a fair fight and almost everyone's in an unfair one too. He knows his worth, he's not arrogant but realistic. He's addicted to coffee. In every book he usually gets it on with one female character and at the end of the book, he moves on. These women are nice, you can understand why he finds them attractive and they treat him well and he treats them well...none of the passion love disguised as tension hate that you get in other books. There are no promises of love ever after in the Reacher books. Just mutual respect and admiration. Well, with one very prominent exception, but that's the girl he actually does love, and it turns out that even for her, he can't live a "normal" life, so they go their separate ways.
Reacher is like an urban legend, an American Myth man. Roaming the streets of the world, dealing out justice with a heavy hand. Reacher doesn't wait and hold the bad guys until the cops get there. His finger doesn't tighten, and then release, on the trigger as he regains control and chooses not to take a life. Oh no, Reacher shoots the bad guy in the head unhesitatingly. Usually several times. He's not adverse to breaking a neck here and there, too.
I like that in a hero. Now I'm LOL'ing at myself because I criticized Johansen above for her stick-to-what-works guidelines, and Lee Child's does exactly that. A lot of people whine about his plotlines being too "coincidental" They can all bite me. Reacher's The Man. But I said I'd be biased. And although there is a formula in Reacher novels, it's always a very different adventure he's on. As mentioned above, hired to save the Vice president, but not in the usual way... Reacher is actually told to try to get through to him, and show the Secret Service where their weaknesses lie. Or perhaps he is accidentally kidnapped along with a very prominent general's daughter who is going to be held hostage by crazy white supremacists taking over the world. Haha, you think, they have no idea the shit they just scooped up and shoved in the back of that van! Perhaps it's a covert operation that needs him to infiltrate the bad guy's house by pretending to be bad himself. Not difficult, because he is bad, in all the right ways. It's different, each time, and although I know what's going to happen, basically, I LIKE THAT.
Child's latest novel, The Hard Way, is no exception to his usual rules. Reacher is in New York City, enjoying a cup of espresso, when he sees a man cross the street and get into a car. Start of new adventure. Turns out he was seeing the man who has kidnapped a rich guy's wife (and her daughter) pick up the ransom money, which was in the trunk of the car. First asked to the scene just to tell the dude what he saw, Reacher quickly becomes embroiled. He accurately calls what's going to happen next and rich and now seemingly crazy dude ends up hiring him. After several ransom drops and no return of mother and child, it is assumed the worst has happened. Rich crazy guy is suddenly much crazier. "Find them" he says to Reacher, and readers like me have no doubt that Reacher will, indeed, find them. From the second he picked up the photograph of mama and kid staring lovingly at each other, we knew Reacher was going to find the idiots who kidnapped them, and punish them mightily. He just doesn't like bullies.
He pairs up with an ex-special agent (enter female who Reacher will become romantically involved with for the duration of the novel) and their search is a whirlwind, in the usual Child style. Bouncing along, he leaves clues for us all along the trail and once you're accustomed to his writing style, it becomes fun to try to see them, to pick them up as you go along. I was extremely proud when I picked up the pieces of this one just as they were dropped, and figured out slightly before Reacher what was really going down.
If you don't like violence, you won't like these books.
If you don't like vigilantism type justice, you won't like these books.
If you don't like strong, silent type macho heroes who punch first and ask questions later, you won't like these books.
If you're a snobby critic who expects everything to be written in a flowery, yet unconventional, yet unique, yet familiar, blah blah blah won't like these books.
If you enjoyed movies like, oh, Charles Bronson's old flicks, or when Dirty Harry shoves his gun in some punk's nose, if you liked it when Bruce Lee finally got pissed off enough, tasted his own blood, and you shivered in glee as you KNEW all hell was gonna break loose with a banshee-like scream... well, you'll like these books.
I give it a blazing red on the Reader's Rainbow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Asian Heartthrobs 2006

Ok, ok, I have to go to work and I am procrastinating in a terrible way. I don't WANT to go to work. I should review my job sometime on here, but that would be too damn depressing. Who wants to read about eight hours in the level of Hell known as Flower Land? Oh, I know, you'd think it was heavenly, but you'd be SO wrong.
I am going to be reviewing "Waiting" shortly, as requested via email very shortly. I just have a lot to say about it and haven't gotten to sit down here on my lovely rolling chair with the squeak much in the last couple of days.
I am also reading "Atlas Shrugged" as per request, although that was just suggested reading, not necessarily asking for a review. But you'll probably get one anyway.
How's my cold? Oh thanks very much for asking! It has evolved into a deep, lung-busting cough that keeps me awake a good portion of the night and sends interesting phlegm chunks flying into space if I don't cover my mouth. Oh gross, you thought I was serious. I always cover my mouth. I don't even know what phlegm chunks are... or what they would look like... or ... anything.
I really don't.
So the reason I sat down here this morning is to bring to your attention an interesting site I found while browsing through the hallways of John Pallson's top blogspots which I was cordially invited to join by email. I wanted to see who I would be rubbing shoulders with in the blog universe, so to speak.
Here is my answer. Asian heartthrobs 2006. Tagline? "There are many Asian hunks... but only a few of them can make your heart throb." Aint that the truth. I have said so myself many times. I had to check this out, because I wanted to see what the Asian heart throb finalists looked like...who doesn't? They're all adorable Asian, heart-throbby looking boys, but the part I LOL'd at (see previous post) and wanted to show the world was the description of Edison's film career ... damn it, it's right-click protected, probably just to prevent people like me from stealing words to the effect of...
"Edison's first movie, Gen-Y Cops, received terrible reviews from the Hong Kong media. As he has gained more experience he has improved somewhat since those early days. He recently starred in the film Jiang Hu in which his character had to rape a dog as punishment. This scene however, did not bring praise from the critics as Edison remains, as some critics say, 'talentless'."
What what what????
He raped a dog and still did not receive the adoration of the critics as (obviously) expected? What does a guy have to do around Hong Kong to get some frigging respect?
My vote for Asian hunk better count, because this guy has had to suffer some hard knocks in his brief film career.
Honestly. Still "talentless". Humph.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Is This REALLY My Life?/Co-Worker Hate Blog Review

Is This REALLY My Life?/Co-Worker Hate Blog
Blog about her life (mostly work life)and what she hates in it.
Good laughs.

Welcome to another addition of Blog Review Sunday. First of all, I have to ask, who the hell gets a cold in August? The kind that keeps you up half the night hacking away and leaves your head feeling stuffed full of cotton ... err, no, that'd be snot, actually.... makes your bones ache, causes you to sneeze on your keyboard and then go, "ewww...", wipe it off, and promptly sneeze again? Well, the answer is ME. I do.
So I'm grumpy and sick and I have to keep sniffing and sniffing to keep the annoying little stream of moisture from running out of my left nostril (the right one is plugged). Too much information? Sorry, but I believe in being open with my readers. So I sound like a coke head, SNIFF sniff SNIFF, I look like an alien with my swollen eyes and red nose, no actually, make that Santa after a bender, and I cough like a lung cancer patient standing on the fire escape of the hospital, sneaking a camel. Hackety-hack-hack.
When I'm feeling grumpy and out-of-sorts, there are a few special blogs that I keep in reserve, that make me laugh out frickin loud. You might be aware of the LOL I'm referring to. "LOL" is used far too often in our little Internet world, (like "I love you" in the real world, but that's another rant) because how often do you think the person typing in "LOL" or the appropriate "laughy" face icon is really laughing OUT LOUD? I'd bet my ugly old monitor (because I need a new one anyway and if you win the bet, there's not going to be any regret in my household) that the answer is not very often. Laughing out loud is rare. I might smile broadly or even chuckle within the confines of my own head. Occasionally a snort of mirth will escape. But LOLing is pretty rare, namely because it brings people swarming from all areas of the house/office/internetfrickincafe for god's sake... to my desk, going, "What are you laughing at? What's so funny? What what what WHAT?" and I immediately scream and open fire with the Uzi I keep beneath my chair, killing them all, but not without a lot of regret because I'm not normally a violent person.
Ok, so that's in my imagination, but you get the point.
I don't usually LAUGH out LOUD. But these blogs I mentioned way up there before I went off on another of my strange tangents, actually make me laugh out loud. I try to read them when I'm alone or have a cold like the one I have today because then people are afraid to approach me for fear of 1. Getting the cold themselves, or 2. Being sprayed with mucus, neither a fun prospect. So here's the next question... why do I laugh out loud? Not at their funny, funny jokes (although they might have those) and not at their cute little sayings (although they have those occasionally too) or the foibles of their daily existence (though those are sometimes damn hilarious)... but at their full-on, in-your-face, angry, sarcastic, rage. Maybe rage seems a little too harsh of a word to use, but in the case of the blog I'm telling you about today, Is This REALLY MyLife/Co-Worker Hate Blog I'd say that rage is an appropriate word. Of course, her rage is always tempered with humor, but it's there all the same, bubbling away like some noxious stew she's mixing inside her head as she gazes around at the people she despises in her workplace.
Linka72, the blog's author, has only been blogging since June, but I am hoping quite fervently that she keeps it up. Her prose is witty, quick, and sharp as a Ginsu knife, you know, the kind that can slice through a tomato and a can? If you don't know what I'm talking about, again, I am old and have proven the gap between generations simply by using a television commercial as a metaphor. But I'm going to let explain ginsu knives, if you care to go so far as to check it.
BACK to ... I can't type all of that title out, so I'm shortening it right now to "Really My Life", the better to make the author scream if she reads this review. I'm not trying to depress her, or increase her rage (well, maybe that a little, because rage means good writing in her case) just trying to shorten the time I spend typing, really. This blog is FREAKING HILARIOUS. Her descriptions of various co-workers who make her life a living hell are great. Since she has only been blogging since June, it takes no time at all to dash through the archives and familiarize yourself with such folks as:
  • the Bitch who always disagrees with everything Linka72 says (I have KNOWN people like that and I hate them with a red fire ant hatred, I know them... I know them!!!!) Example: "I expressed how stupid it was that people did not turn their lights on when it was raining and overcast or dreary outside, especially people with grey cars who are in my blind spot. She proceeded to yell: IF YOU CAN"T SEE A CAR COMING, YOU REALLY NEED TO GET YOUR DIABETES CHECKED!!" Hahahaaaa... yes, what DOES that have to do with diabetes? Proof that she's going blind because she doesn't manage her disease "correctly"?
  • "Belly", my personal favorite, who actually has a list of annoyingness early on in the blog, including his fat stomach and his derogatory remarks about plus size women, a constant nose whistle and giggling. Plus he has stalker tendencies.
  • Her idiotic customers, who are so stupid, they probably need a how-to manual to dial for help from people like Linka72 and she would then need to come to their house and explain how to use it to them.
  • The co-worker who wears "retro" but uncool clothing from the eighties and is rather large in physique. I believe Linka72 describes her as looking like a muffin top with her tucked-in shirt.
  • The podmate who repeats everything that is said, loudly. He is described by linka72 as having "some sort of "Parroting/Tourette's Syndrome-Disorder". You gotta love that shit! heeeheee! He also sings old songs from the nineties... she had dubbed the dude "Annoying Old Song Guy" but shortened it recently to "Shorty".
Interspersed with her anecdotal stories of the frigging freaks she has to work with (and for), she gives up the goods on her home life with Other Half, who it sounds like she is going to marry, and they are a seriously cute couple. As in, it makes me do the LOL when I read about some of the shit they argue about. Still, don't you think it's rare when people love each other just for who they are, none of the extraneous bullshit needed? I do, which is why I like reading about her and her boytoy. I also like it when she blogs about the Pregnant Friend Who Can Eat Everything In A Room. My hopes are that she keeps this rage-full shit up, starts talking abut the rest of her annoying co-workers, because I KNOW they're there, and that she gains the readership she deserves to have, everyone out here with a snotty nose and an attitude. Linka72's Place, check it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Faye Kellerman's Street Dreams Book Review

Street Dreams

Faye Kellerman

Published by Warner Books, 2003

420 pages

Faye Kellerman is one of my favorite authors. Her husband John ranks right up there, too. It’s not because her writing is so exceptional, although it is well-done and easy to flow into, usually an enormously satisfying who-done-it that leads you a merry race. I confess that sometimes, at least in the case of these types of books…what should I call them? Maybe PWPATSBC.’s… “Police Working Practically Alone to Solve A Baffling Case” books… anyway, sometimes, the reason I stick with an author faithfully is because I like his or her characters. For instance, if you’ve read my review on Patricia Cornwall’s book, you know I can’t stand her characters. Whiney little baby-pants, all of them. So I read Cornwall’s books despite Supreme Scarpetta and Lucy the Great, battling injustice with Pete the Slob at their heels. (You can tell I really don’t like them) because she’s an interesting writer. In the case of Mrs. Kellerman, I read her books because of the characters.(In addition to her interesting writing.)

Her main character for years has been homicide detective Peter Decker, married to the gorgeous and extremely religious Rina Lazarus. They met and married early in the series, they are a great couple, the kind of couple that maybe Kaye and her hubby John are, because she has to get her material somewhere, and his main characters, by the way, are a great couple, too. (Although…to get sidetracked, as I often do, Jonathan Kellerman’s Super Couple, Alex and Robin, who were together in his series for years…even sharing a dog… have met with a troubling end in recent books and now he’s dating a totally different piece of yumminess… if I were Kaye, I guess I’d be watching him closely).

On with my story, sorry. But not yet to the story about the story I'm reviewing...I'm getting there. Ok…Decker became Orthodox Jewish to marry his babe-a-licious Rina, and when I say Orthodox, I mean it. These folks follow every little rule and regulation, including not doing anything on the Sabbath, like say, driving or turning on lights. If there was no other reason to read this series, I’d do it because I’m fascinated by the way they live. I’m amazed at the idea that millions of people are still living this way now, in 2006. What to eat, what dishes to use, what to wear, when to have sex…you name it, they’ve got guidelines to follow, and they do follow them faithfully, right down to strapping little boxes to their bodies in some kind of ritualistic prayer- I’m not kidding. Isn’t that cool? Ok, maybe not to everyone, but to me, lover of weird and exotic prayer rituals, it’s beetcheen. So, Decker started out a little grudgingly with the religious stuff at the beginning of their story (and by that, I mean the long-ago beginning of the series), but now he’s into it for himself, not just for her. Their religion gives them peace, harmony, a sense of fulfillment, and I admire that, and envy it, so of course I like reading about it.

Religion aside, Decker’s an awesome cop, and great at sniffing out the bad guys. He gradually rose through the ranks and by the time we come to Street Dreams, he is a Lieutenant, and he is wanting to tear out his hair frequently because of the other main cop character in the book, his daughter Cindy Decker.

Cindy joined the force several books ago, completely against her father’s wishes, got into a whole mess of shit, see Stalker, and let’s say her baptism into the police force was definitely by fire. She was pushy, arrogant, too quick to leap when she should have thought, and she had a fling with the other cop working the case…all of those things label her as Dumb Rookie in my book. Now, in Street Dreams, Cindy has slowed down. She is less impetuous, more likely to follow the rules, and slowly overcoming the trauma of her earlier bad experiences. I liked Cindy a lot better in this book, where she starts everything off with a hero-type rescue of a baby from a dumpster. After the rescue and holding the little bundle of somebody’s not-joy, she’s hooked, and wants to track down the mother. Just like the old Cindy, but this time, for perhaps more altruistic reasons (she worries about the mother needing medical care) and this time she pretty much goes by the book, following superiors’ orders and all that. Well of course it wouldn’t be a Kellerman novel without a little coloring outside the lines, but in this one, it was the Loo who crossed the line, several times, after during the course of her investigation, Cindy finds some troubling paths leading to assholes raping retarded girls, and she witnesses a vicious hit-and-run of another mentally disabled lady, and finds herself a target of not so subtle threats. Enter Pissed Off Papa on Rampage. Peter Decker does not f*ck around when it comes to his kids, nosir.

The funnest part of Street Dreams to me was the addition of a delightful male party in Cindy’s otherwise penis-free existence. Koby is black, first of all, and the time and word count spent on that fact was actually surprising to me. I might be naïve, but is there really that big of a reaction to a “mixed race” couple nowadays? When my sister married a black man, I don’t think any of us cared about the color of his skin except to wonder what pretty shade of babies they’d make. But maybe that’s just my family, and in reality, people really do freak when their lily white child gets funky with a brother. (Or when their chocolate darling starts messing with a cracker.) Cindy and Koby have some ups and downs and some serious ins and outs (my only jokey nastiness in this post, I promise ) in their relationship. He has moods, she gets her feelings hurt, they have make-up sex, they talk to each other about how great each other are, gazing lovingly into eyes and whatnot… pretty typical barf-inducing romance, in my opinion, but it doesn’t bother me to read about it, only to witness it in person I guess, because this was kinda... I dunno, cute. Ok, so besides Kobe being black, Ethiopian by birth, he is also an Israeli, and wait for it… a Jew. Gorgeous, charming, gainfully employed, and a practicing (as in, celebrates the Shabbat like the rest of Cindy’s family) Jew. This, in Rina’s eyes, makes him Mr. Perfect. I loved the part where Peter tells Rina they’re back together…

Rina’s eyes brightened.“So they’re back together?”

“For the time being, yes.”

“I like him.”

“You like his circumcision,” Decker remarked.

Decker and Cindy end up working the retarded raper and the hit and run case. The question is, could they be connected, the answer is, of course they are! This is a PWPATSBC book remember, everything is connected, and the cop has to figure it out despite boneheaded superiors and evil members of the press, usually with just one other buddy to help solve the crime. In Faye’s books, the Other happens to be a cop, but often it’s not, rather a journalist, a medical examiner, a therapist, you know, someone totally ill-suited to police work, but who has a knack for it just the same. That’s unrealistic, yes, but that’s the formula, and the point is, as I’ve mentioned…escape. I give Street Dreams an orange on the Reader's Really Righteous Rainbow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Clerks II Movie Review

Clerks II

starring: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson

directed by: Kevin Smith

97 minutes

Rated R :for pervasive sexual and crude content including aberrant sexuality, strong language and some drug material.

Wow, who woulda thought Smith would ever come home to this place? I mean...Clerks II? What on EARTH are they going to do in the sequel? But still, I's Clerks II. I better go. Let me tell you, it’s probably a waste of your time to read this review if you aren’t familiar with the legendary movie 1994’s “Clerks”. I’m going to be talking about peeps you aint never heard of and I aint gonna explain who they is. Cuz they legendary. Like Zorro, man. Or. Like someone else who is legendary. Like, if you are of the generation that loved Clerks, are remembering that movie fondly, with a slightly stoned smile, then you don’t need no explaining. And if you are a Clerks fan and you don’t want to read spoilers, then you probably shouldn’t read this either, because I can never decide what constitutes an actual spoiler. So, to read the review, I guess that leaves… maybe a couple of people. Enjoy it, you two.

Dante and Randal are at it again. Twelve years later and not a whole lot has changed. This time, instead of “working” at the Quick Stop, which burns down in the first ten seconds of the film, they have moved on to greener uh...pastures… in the form of Mooby’s, a fast-food restaurant where the employees wear cow hats and worship transformers. Well, one employee does anyway, the very white, very Christian, very geeky, going-to-always-be-a-virgin Elias (his confession to Randal about the reason for his perpetual virginity, his girlfriend’s “pussy troll” who will “bite it off” if they actually do it, made me laugh until I snorted like a pig.)

(That I was the only theater-goer laughing that loudly did not stop me.)

Most of the movie takes place on Dante’s last day at work. Why last day? Because he has an incredibly hot, incredibly wealthy girlfriend who wants to marry him and move to Florida where he will operate one of her father’s carwashes. Oh, and his hot boss at Mooby’s, Becky, wants his ass too, and apparently has had it too, at least once, late at night on the prep counter, when they were overcome by passion. I thought it was nice that it was actually mentioned in the movie how weird it is that Dante, chubby, dorky, not exactly hunk-material Dante, always has hot chicks fighting over him. I think so, too.

It’s obvious to the movie watcher that Dante belongs with Becky, and we just sit back for the ride, waiting for him to figure it out too. In the meantime, Randal is busy being crude, rude and repulsive as usual, planning a NAS-ty going-away party for his best friend and arguing with Elias about which is The Trilogy… Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Hint for those of you with a squeamish stomach- the party involves Kinky Kelly and an animal friend, doing uh, erotic interspecies something or another. I heard a rumor that a reviewer actually got up and walked out of the theater because he found this part of the movie so offensive… if that was the case, the guy’s imagination is too vivid for his own good, because although I braced for it, there was nothing shown- only implied. Heavily implied.

Yes, Jay and Silent Bob are there, holding up the wall, selling the drugs, listening to the big boom box as before, only this time they are fresh out of rehab and owing their sobriety to the Big J… that’s right. Imagine Jay and Silent Bob as sober and Christian. Don’t worry, there’s little evidence that this is true, other than a medallion Jay shows off representing his sixty days clean. There are also a couple of rather obvious cameos by friends of the director, ala Ben Affleck, but they don’t last long and we can quickly forget seeing them.

So… is it as good as Clerks? No… HAYELL no. And I think a lot of people knocked it for that reason. But c’mon people, how often is a sequel equal to, or better than, an original? Not often, that’s right, unless we are actually talking Star Wars or TLOR. Clerks 2 was funny, the same kind of stupid funny that made us like Clerks in the first place. It was nice to revisit the old neighborhood and the folks that live there. It was nice to leave a theater without wondering exactly how many minutes of my life have been wasted. It was nice to shock my mother, revealing that I brought my son to the movie. (Sorry Mom, LOL). I give it 4out of 5 &s.

& it was funny
& it was familiar
& it was naughty
& it was nice

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hollywood Machine Blog Review

Blog Review-Hollywood Machine
hilarious blogger talks about things like Thailand, turtles, and Fridays

It’s obvious to those who know me that I am seeking escape. I mean, “real life” often leaves a lot to be desired, and I seek escape in “not-real life” as often as possible in as many forms as I can…i.e. books, movies, television, an extensive fantasy life, drugs, the internet… some of you are picking up what I’m putting down, you know the score, you got the idea, you are cognizant of the mind event I am inviting you to attend.


In the spirit of escape, I seek out blogs that

  1. make me forget where I am and the completely suck-ass life I lead
  2. make me become immersed in someone else’s problems instead of my own and thus relieve me, for a short time, from the burden of my incredible self-pity
  3. make me laugh until I pee.

It is in the spirit of Number Three that I introduce my Blog of the Day, The Hollywood Machine. I haven’t been reading this blog for long, admittedly. I don’t know all of the intimate details of this blogger’s life, just his initials, THM, and I don't know what he wants to be when he grows up. Or if he already considers himself grown up. Though I doubt that. He's pretty self-aware in a very amusing way. What I do know is that this blogs makes me laugh, every goddamn time.

Takes place in Hollywood, that land of golden opportunity and a million miles of cocaine trails to ski on. Author is crack-you-up funny, speaks many anecdotal things that will bring forth the afore mentioned peeing, doesn’t accept comments, which gives the impression that he writes for the sheer pleasure of it and doesn’t care who/how many visits his little home in the blogspot universe. Or maybe he was plagued with comments from assholes and or spammers and figured he’d never have a real audience so why not take away the expectation and relieve himself of the burden… doubtful, that, because this guy is funny, and most funny people are aware of it. Might deny it, but know it.

Example of funniness: on his sidebar….

About Me and Others Like Me.

· 1) Move to LA.

· 2) Work at CAA, ICM.

· 3) Whiskey Bar, Skybar, models.

· 4) Snort a powdery Everest.

· 5) Go quietly insane.

· 6) 12 step your way to success.

· 7) Become Producer.

· 8) Wonder if there's more to life.

· 9) Discover answer is "no".

· 10) Ah, blissful acceptance.

Totally worth the time- scrolling down to the

Flashback: Southern Thailand: First 4 Parts.

It’s not necessarily a “funny” story, though it does have its moments, see

…“You want to see me devoured by Barracudas, right?” Sabine asked sarcastically.
No, not Barracudas, I thought to myself, and the Heart song started in my head with its steady, signature guitar riff. Da, di-DI da, di-DI da, di-DI da, di-DI da, DA NUH-NUH! Ohhhhhhhh.....BARR-A-CU-DA!!!”

…. Hehehehe… I’m still chuckling about that….but for the “Escape” value, it scores high. A trip to Thailand…hmmm… wouldn’t that be cool, especially the Thailand he describes. I cannot wait for the final installments to his story, because he really leaves you hanging. Worth checking out the sidebar adventures he has to offer as well. He seems to hang with funny people as well as being one himself. Hollywood Machine. Checkit.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Review of my Migraine

...Ok, so it's lame. I never claimed to be un...or would that be non...lame. I'm a lameass lame-o. But I figure, if the thing that's been taking up all of my time and attention in the past couple of days has been not a book, a movie, a TV show or even a fascinating blogwar... but a headache, well, might as well review it. I have plenty of experience.
When I was toddler, my mother was understandably freaked out a little when every couple of weeks I would get these strange spells of illness. I would vomit repeatedly, at fifteen to twenty minute intervals, unable to keep anything down. Light seemed to hurt me. I would lie like a limp dishcloth across whatever surface she arranged me on, unable to move. I would be like this for a day or two, and then wake up refreshed an ravenous. Until the next time. Finally she took me to a specialist who diagnosed "Intestinal Migraines". Later, the traditional migraine headache joined ranks with the vomiting and they still live with me today, those crazy kids. "Puke and Pound" is what I like to call them. I think it might have affected my childhood, being sick so often. I believe that this is why I'm such a lazy adult. I am accustomed to taking a break a couple times a month, kicking back, drinking some gingerale, watching Jerry Springer. It also helps me keep a trim waistline because there's nothing like a good weekend purge to get rid of the evidence of bad eating habits. Haha. Just kidding. Don't write to me and tell me how awful it is to joke about puking after eating. I know alllll about it. I'm going to play that bulumia card down the road here, you'll see.
Ok, so it wasn't pleasant, still isn't, but there is one advantage- I'm totally used to puking. I can silently, quickly, very efficiently throw up and roll over to go back to sleep in a swift, economical move, wasting little effort or time. Other people just freak out about throwing up and it's amazing to me. I'm firmly in the camp of, Get it over with and you'll immediately feel better. And yet, ill people will grimly lie in bed, swallowing like maniacs, for hours, rather than retching up their egg Mcmuffin and getting on with the business of sleeping until the next bout of nausea hits.
"I hate puking!" They all say, like it's a strange, unusual condition, born of rebellion deep within. Hel-lo... no one likes puking. Not even someone like me, who has done it so often that in highschool, my dentist went to my mother behind my back and told her I was probably bulumic because the enamel on my teeth was worn away, either from drinking a six pack of coke every day, or from repeated vomiting. Stupid dentist. Giving me up like that. Because it was true. Shock? I don't see why. I was a vain, nervous, angst-filled teenage girl who could easily vomit with little noise or loss of control. It would have been a miracle if I hadn't become bulimic with a resume like that.
Onward- the bulumia was gotten under control, I am still alive, and with cellulite on my thighs to prove it's disappearance, but the migraines stayed, like a faithful old dog that falls asleep in front of your chair and farts silently during your favorite television program. I have tried every kind of medicine invented for this shit. Some of it works. Sometimes. If I can catch the little bugger while it's young, when it is little more than a flashing light at my peripheral vision, or a strange flickering pain that dances across the backs of my eyelids, if I can jump on it then and pound it with some relpax or imitrex, or my personal favorite, a big ol' syringe of morphine...Hehehe... and then go to sleep for a few hours, sometimes it'll go away, like a friendly ghost that just disappears into nowhere. Other times, if I ignore, or don't think about the preceding signs, or if I smoke despite feeling that thumping drum behind my ear, or if I eat the wrong thing at the wrong time, then Ta-DAH! Mr. Migraine is a poltergeist turned loose in my head, to rip everything apart and throw stuff against the walls. Gross stuff.
I've tried every kind of medication and treatment, from holistic therapy to biofeedback to straight-on big time drugs. Same with all of them- sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. So migraines are just a fact of life that I live with. I can get them twice a week, or go for a month without the whisper of one. There seems to be little evidence of a pattern and generally, I'm at the mercy of the fickle things. My best option, always, is to go to sleep as soon as I feel one coming. Maybe the migraine gets bored waiting for me to wake up, I dunno, but quite often, it is gone when I wake up.
So from time to time, when my blog gathers dust, that's probably the reason why. That, or I have been struck down with a rare, mutated strain of the dreaded bird flu, the first case in America, and sure to die young, but famous. So bear with me, and I 'll come back, as soon as the bastard has gotten its fingers out of my skull.
This migraine was a pretty bad one. I'd say a seven on a scale of one to ten, one being that nagging little headache you get from reading without enough light, to ten being I am prone on my vomit and sweat-soaked sheets and trying to remember the number for 911, so I can call them and have them come put an I.V. with an air bubble in it up my ass, or wherever it will kill me first.
My migraines last anywhere from an hour to four days, and this one stayed a little longer than it was welcome. You know what they say about guests after three days. Happily, however, last night it was fading and this morning it looks like I will be able to attend to the real world, and by that I mean blog world, once again.
It started out mildly enough, just sort of a tease, and it's my own fault that I didn't take it seriously, thought it was just a big flirt when it made little squiggles jump into my vision and started a long, slow crawl around the back of my head. I ignored it. Didn't give it the time of day, or any kind of medicine for it to snack on, either, so of course, as always happens, it started chewing on me instead. My brain, actually.Really, my own fault. I should have known it was hungry.
The good news? It's over and I've lost five pounds, without the help of Trim Spa!
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