Jul 27, 2016

Hold the Popcorn!

It's been a busy couple of weeks, I tell you what! ;-)

Sorry folks, I missed last week's review and it looks like I'm missing this week as well.

Last week I just didn't have time to watch a stupid movie, and this week I saw a couple but didn't have time to review them. I've been putting in a lot of overtime at work (which is ironic seeing as I work from home)

However ...

I'm going to make it up to you.

This weekend they're playing what is sure to be one of the most terrible movies of all time:

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens!

So join me here next Wednesday as I not only review this movie, but include a bit of a retrospective on the whole Sharknado phenomenon.

I can't wait!

Jul 25, 2016

Micropodal Monday

micropodal ~ having extremely small feet

It’s Monday again? Already?

Are you sure?

Last week was so busy it just flew by, and this week bodes to be much of the same. I didn’t even have time to watch a monster movie let alone review it, and got virtually no writing in (save for my other blog posts).

I finally gave myself a deadline to get the transcription project finished and I’ve been working full steam ahead to get it done on time. If I reach my goal it’s gonna be a squeaker.

And as a result of all that extra time I’ve been putting in at the computer in my office, I developed a painful crick in my neck. I finally realized it was two things: poor posture when sitting at my desk, and the monitor for the computer was too low.

So I began to pay better attention to my posture, and put a couple of books under the stand holding the monitor, and I seem to be on the mend.

In other news ... is it hot enough for you? Man that’s wicked out there! And I’m getting really ticked at the weather network. They keep promising us storms and we never get them. It’s like our town is protected by a magical bubble and the storms just slide off.

Speaking of magic ... I was up extra early one day last week and looked out the back window to see my old friend Daphne. She and 8 or 9 half-grown ducklings snuck under the fence at the back of the yard, meandered their way through the yard and under the side fence, meandered across my neighbor’s back yard, and ducked under her fence, presumably on their way to the creek.

And we have a tenant in our pond - a big, beautiful bullfrog. I’m kind of sorry I can’t hear him at night - even if the bedroom window wasn’t shut There’d still be too much noise from the fan an air conditioner.

I remember when I was a kid, there was a low spot in the very back of our yard and water used to collect there turning it into kind of a swamp in the summer and a skating rink in winter. I also remember the sound of the bull frog chorus and seeing the ropes of frogs eggs in the water.

And yes, like any other self-respecting bratty kid, I used to catch pollywogs so I could watch them turn into frogs. Hey! I live in a small town, that was exciting stuff in my books. LOL

Oh, the shades of summer.

Jul 18, 2016

Micrology Monday

micrology ~ study or discussion of trivialities

Anybody else out there keep a journal? Anyone?

I’ve kept a journal off and on for most of my life. Normally my journals are some form of hard covered note book with lined pages - sometimes plain, sometimes fancy covers. While I love the idea of those awesome journals with the moleskin covers, they’re a little bit out of my price range, so I usually pick from whatever the nearest Chapters bookstore has to offer.

However, when it comes to pens for my journal, I’m a little pickier. In the beginning I vaguely remember using a fountain pen, as much for the coloured ink you could get as for the feel of the pen. However, the ink was totally washable and tended to fade easily.

At that point I started keeping an electronic journal. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but after a while I missed the tactile sensation of writing by hand. Now I have four or five years worth of my life locked away in password protected WordPerfect files which I am unable to access. Not only have I long forgotten the password, I don’t even have a program capable of opening them.

So I shopped around for a new pen and found the Pentel Superb pen, black ink only please. It was a slender fine point pen that had just the perfect glide to it. But then, of course, they stopped making them. It seemed to take me forever to find a replacement pen.

It couldn’t be just any pen, it had to fit properly in my hand and it had to have the right glide to it. Too fine a point and my hand would start to cramp after only a few minutes. To easy a glide to it and my handwriting became illegible. Markers were a little too bold, ball points tended to leave a residue behind.

Then I was in Staples (an office supply store) and there in the discount bin was a package of three Jetstream Retractable pens. The colours were green, indigo, and purple, but the shade was so dark it was almost black. Perfect! I’d been toying with the idea of adding a little colour to my journals and these pens would make a nice transition.

However, I started with the green one and I didn’t even get a whole page written before the ink began to sputter and faded right out. So I switched to the indigo one. That one lasted about three-quarters of the journal before giving up the ghost. So sad!

I tried looking for a replacement on-line and they just don’t make them anymore. I did see a bunch of pens that were insanely expensive though. They were nice and all, but not that nice.

I remember the office supply store Grand and Toy fondly. You could go into one and test various pens until you found the right one. Now they’re all sealed tightly in packages and you pretty much have to cross your fingers that it’ll be as good as it looks.

I did find three-packs of Jetstream Retractables, but not, of course in the colours I wanted. My choices were black, blue, red, or green. And the three colours looked a lot brighter than I was comfortable with. Basic black it is.

Just as soon as I can figure out how the darned things work. ;-)

Jul 13, 2016

Creature From the Haunted Sea

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

Billed as a horror/comedy, this movie was filmed over the course of five days. FIVE DAYS. That explains a lot. It was actually meant to be a parody of spy, gangster, and monster movies, which I guess accounts for the clich├ęd dialogue and cheesy monster.

The creature was described thusly by Beach Dickerson (one of the actors): the Creature was made from a wetsuit, some moss, lots of Brillo pads. [...] Tennis balls for the eyes, Ping-Pong balls for the pupils, and pipecleaners for the claws. Then we cover him with black oilcloth to make him slimy.

As the hubby says, you can’t go wrong with a cheesy monster!

Okay. So it stars with a spy named XK150 getting what I’m sure is his sneakers shined. The shoe shine guy slips a folded note into the spy’s sock, and as he leaves the shoe shine guy is shot. Naturally the spy runs and the shooters give chase. He finally loses them and after taking a moment to read the note, he puts on dark sunglasses and the phoniest looking moustache in creation. Oh, yeah, and he eats the note.

Entering the bar the note directed him to, he exchanges a really lame code about wine with a deadpan woman playing chess with herself, and we learn she’s his contact. Then we finally see the opening credits - cartoon opening credits with this really goofy looking, scaly monster, kind of like a wingless dragon.

The actual plot of the movie, such as it is, concerns a mobster named Renzo Capetto who meets with Cuban President Tostada who wishes to hire him to transport himself, a few of his men, and a chest full of gold to parts unknown. The loot is going to be used to finance a counterrevolution.

Once everyone is on board the mobster’s “yacht” (kind of small for a yacht if you ask me), the narrator introduces all the key players. These include the mobster, who’s also the captain and appears to be a Humphrey Bogart wannabe, his girlfriend, a former gun moll named Mary-Belle, her younger brother (Happy Jack), bumbling fool (Pete) who’s more comfortable making animal noises than actually talking, and our spy (who seems to be the sole deck hand, not really part of the gang) who’s under cover name is Sparks Moran.

The captain calls a meeting of his gang and the spy listens at the door. Surprise, surprise, the captain is trying to come up with a plan to ditch the Cubans and keep the gold for themselves. He comes up with the idea of creating a “Creature from the Haunted Sea” to dispose of them.

The gun moll seems to be making a lot of friends. First the Cuban general is hitting on her, although when she’s pretty adamant about telling him to get lost, the interpreter does not accurately translate. She no sooner gets rid of the general and his minion and the spy starts hitting on her. He tells her she’s too good for this life - he’ll save her, or die!

So the bad guys make it look like a monster came on board and killed an innocent Cuban using a plunger over his face, and then use it to leave tracks all over. But wait! there really is a monster! And he kills another Cuban!

The next day, the captain explains to the general that one of his men was killed by a strange creature from the deep. The interpreter outright laughs at him, but the general actually believes him. After they leave the captain scolds his men for getting carried away and killing two Cubans and his minions are just dumb enough to think they must have killed two by mistake.

The plan is to run the boat aground on a reef and Pete will take the chest of gold in a skiff and sink it in shallow water for them to pick up at a later date. So the yacht ends up smashing into the reef and taking on water and everybody abandons ship. The boat the Cubans are in sinks and the creature gets at least a couple of them. Hubby observes that it looks like the Cookie Monster, only with fins.

Eventually they all end up on shore (well, except for the Cubans that got caught by the monster). The Cubans get busy building a hut and the captain wants to dive for the chest and hide it in the reef.

Our friendly neighbourhood spy wanders off down the beach and finds payphone. Say what?? He has the operator put him in touch with Cuba and has to have it charged to his home phone because he has no money.

OMG! Some random guy with a patently fake grin lines up to use the phone. He just stands there with this smarrmy grin on his face. The spy finishes his call and heads back, and passes a guy in a suit with a cane who carefully steps in every puddle along the way. What the hell???

Meanwhile, Pete is off making animal noises and hears answering noises - OMG, it’s a woman named Porcina and it’s love at first sight. They gather a pile of fruit to take back to everyone.

Uh, oh. There’s a hitch in the captains plans - the Cubans are all certified divers and the general is chomping at the bit to have them start diving for the gold. All the men except the general jump into the water to look for the gold. The bad guys kill another Cuban and since they had so much fun, the kill another one. When the general learns that he’s missing two men, the decides from now on they’ll dive with spear guns.

Meanwhile, Happy Jack was sent off somewhere and brings back a girl named Carmelita along with a bunch of diving equipment. He declares love for her but she starts swooning over the spy, who tells her in no uncertain terms that his heart belongs to Mary-Belle. She doesn’t seem to care.

Pete takes Jack off into the jungle and he’s introduced to Porcina’s daughter Mango. Once again we have love at first sight, at least on his part. The four of them just want to live happily ever after and decide they’ll have to kill the others to make it happen. That appears to be okay with them.

The creature starts randomly picking off people. Mango is the first to go missing and Jack is heart-broken. The divers with the spear guns find the gold but the creature is watching. Back on the boat, the captain and Mary-Belle get into a fight and somehow the spy and Mary-Belle end up in the water. The monster attacks! He’s even cheesier out of the water than he was in it.

The Cubans are all dead and one by one the gang members are killed off too. The only ones who escape are the spy and Carmelita, who’s still in love with him. So the spy gets the girl, but the monster gets the gold.

Not the worst movie we’ve seen lately, but certainly not the best.

Jul 11, 2016

Metensomatosis Monday

metensomatosis ~ movement of soul into new body before or after death

I feel like I’m starting over this week. I did not do either of my workouts even once last week. And furthermore, I’m kind of liking the extra time that gives me in the morning. But all good things must come to an end, and my slackerly ways are no exception. Today I must climb back on the wagon, however reluctant I might be.

Sometimes it really sucks, being a responsible adult. ;-)

And other than my blog posts, I didn’t get any writing done either. It was a busy week for me and by the time I actually had a minute to write, I was too tired to string words together.

But I rallied on Saturday when the daughter held a “Book Deconstruction Barbecue” at our house.

The daughter works as a law librarian and her predecessor acquired a vast number of somewhat out of date law books that some other law library was trying unload, dump off, find a new home for. I guess the woman saw the words “free books” and didn’t stop to wonder why they were free.

Anyway, the daughter needed to get rid of them to make room for books the clients frequenting her library would actually use, and after failing to find someone as gullible, foolish, naive as her predecessor, her last resort was to recycle them.

However, after contacting our local recycling plant, she was told they couldn’t be recycled because of their covers. The pages could be recycled, but not the whole book. But separating the pages from their covers seem like an awful lot of work. How was this feat to be accomplished?

The solution, of course, was to invite some friends to our house to use power saws to cut the covers off of the 600 + books. And as an added incentive, she’d even feed them. My daughter has some pretty good friends. ;-)

The initial use of power saws did not bode well for the endeavour. First the breakers kept tripping. But after unplugging the two fountains and the pool pump, things went much better, although it was slow work. Men being men, they were the ones manning the power saws and there were only four saws.

This was going to take forever, so it was the women to the rescue. Someone started to just rip the pages out of a book - it went surprisingly fast. So someone else joined in. Soon everybody (except the hubby who stuck to his circular saw) was merrily ripping pages out of books.

So how long did it take to saw the covers off/rip the pages out of all those books? Two and a half hours. On the one hand it was kind of horrifying because, you know, books! But at the same time it was kind of fun.

Fun times indeed.

Jul 6, 2016

The Giant Claw

Some movies are so bad they’re good, and some movies are just ... bad. My husband and I enjoy watching them both and I thought it would be fun to share the best of the worst. So without further ado, here’s my bad movie review of the week. I leave it up to you to decide whether the movie is bad, or just the review. ;-)

Also known as Mark of the Claw, this was one of the better stupid movies we’ve seen in a while. This low-budget, black and white film was made in 1957 and features a cast of unknowns. We watched it using our TiVo to access YouTube and it was pretty good quality.

It begins at the North Pole where electronic engineer Mitch is flying around so the people in the military station below can test the radar equipment. He sees an unidentified flying object “as big as a battleship.” The guys in the station are not impressed - nothing else showed up on their radar.

It flies by again and Mitch chases after it. He insists there’s something out there. He doesn’t know what, but it’s big and it’s fast. The radar guy presses a big button that says “Hot Button” and the interceptors are launched into the air.

When Mitch returns to the station, he’s given a cool reception. Not only did the interceptors not see anything, one of them didn’t come back. As Mitch hangs his head in shame, the radar guy gets a phone call that an air force transporter plane is missing. The pilot said something about a UFO before the radio went dead, but nothing showed up on the radar.

So Mitch and Sally, a mathematician who was also at the station, fly back to New York in a small plane. The pilot keeps looking around nervously and spots a UFO. There’s some really heavy turbulence and not only is the pilot knocked unconscious, they lose and engine. Mitch takes over and they crash land, apparently in Canada.

A friendly French-Canadian moonshiner takes them to his house. The police take away the body of the pilot (he died when the plane exploded and they all hit the dirt). General Buskirk phones to ream Mitch out, claiming he put the pilot up to calling in to report a UFO. Even Sally doesn’t believe in the UFO, although something hit the plane.

It’s really stormy out there and Pierre goes out to calm the livestock. He screams like a little girl, and Mitch and Sally go rushing out and find him unconscious. They drag him back inside and when he wakes up he begins blubbering about la Carcagne, a winged creature that looks like a woman with a wolf’s head. Legend has it if you see this creature it’s a sign you’re going to die soon.

As the police drive Mitch and Sally to the nearest airport we’re given a camera shot of a really big bird footprint in Pierre’s field. There’s a lot of flirting going on during the plane ride and arguing about what the object could be. Something Sally says triggers a thought in Mitch. He maps out the sightings of the UFO and finds a widening spiral pattern. Sally’s still skeptical about it being a UFO and Mitch starts to pout. Then they start kissing.

A military plane flies towards where Sally and Mitch crashed and is attacked by a giant bird-like creature. How can I do the description justice? I can’t, so here’s a picture of it.

The military guys are forced to jump ship and the bird eats them one by one.

Mitch and Sally don’t know anything about this until some military guys come to get them from their hotel. Then they learn there’s been two more sightings and another plane was destroyed. This time there were reports of a giant bird, not a UFO. Mitch and Sally go with the general to a facility in Washington.

Their biggest concern seems to be why the radar can’t pick it up. The big wigs are getting pretty hot under the collar and everyone takes turns having hissy fits. One of the squadrons they have up in the air have spotted it and the general gives the order to shoot it down. Then he puts the radio on speaker so everyone can hear what’s going on.

First we hear the pilots cracking lame bird jokes, then the bird starts screeching at them. Their rockets don’t affect it and the bird munches on a plane. The pilot bails out and the bird eats him. The general notifies the joint chiefs and more arguing ensues: “It’s just a bird!”, “Ten million dollars worth of radar equipment can’t track it!”

The two generals, Mitch, and Sally go to a research lab where they’ve been looking at the plane wreckage (not sure which plane). The researcher explains about atoms, and matter and anti-matter. The bird somehow generates an anti-matter screen which causes the radar to just slide around it. But the bird can open the screen to use its beak and claws as weapons.

They found a feather from it and it defies analysis: “The bird comes from some godforsaken anti-matter galaxy billions of light years away." One of the generals suggests they all pray.

Meanwhile, the bird that’s supposed to be a closely guarded secret buzzes a beach, then London, then snacks on some people in a square and somehow sets fire to a road. Sally runs some figures for Mitch in her “calculating machine” and speculates on why the bird came here. Could it be looking for a place to nest?

For some reason they figure the most obvious place to look for a nest is back at Pierre’s farm, so off she and Mitch go. With Pierre’s help they actually do find a nest, but don’t spot the egg until the bird lands on it. Mitch shoots holes in it and mama bird ain’t too pleased. Pierre has run off and the bird gets him.

Mitch thinks he’s figured out how to get past the bird’s shield. There’s a lot sciencey talk about masic atoms - if they can get close enough to the bird to bombard it with masic atoms they can bring down the anti-matter shield, so they proceed to build a machine to do so.

Failure after failure after failure and they’re losing hope. Panic and terror have spread to all corners of the earth - the bird is shown flying away, a train trailing behind it like sausage links. Mitch finally figures out how to get the machine to work (blowing himself up in the process) and everyone does a happy dance.

While they get the plane ready, the bird perches on the empire state building (of course) and chews the top off of it. For some reason the falling pieces are exploding. The plane is on its way and they spot the bird on top of the UN building now. It seems pretty proud of the mess it’s making.

The bird chases the plane, people are running, oops! There goes another building. The bird is right on the tail of the plane and they start shooting the atoms at it, then they shoot the bird with rockets. They got it! The bird falls into the water belly up.

As THE END flashes across the screen we have one last glimpse of the bird - one clawed foot sticking up out of the water, like it’s giving us the finger.

Jul 4, 2016

Multicapitate Monday

multicapitate ~ many-headed

Happy Holidays everyone! We Canadians had our day off on Friday, while you Yankees are having your day off today. It’s win/win all around!

The hubby and I celebrated Canada Day (and incidentally our anniversary) by driving to the good Cineplex to see Independence Day: Resurgence on the big screen. Man, am I ever glad we didn’t see it in 3D. It was action packed enough as it was without adding things flying at you.

It was really good though. We got to see several familiar characters, a couple of characters all grown up, and we met a few new characters. And I must say, considering only twenty years were supposed to have passed, technology sure advanced fast. There was the usual mix of good people and dumb ass people, and lots of in the air fighting. And they set things up nicely to make a third movie, should they care to.

It was a good weekend for movies apparently because the daughter and I went to see Tarzan yesterday afternoon (the hubby didn’t care to get drooled on throughout an entire movie).

I am a big time Edgar Rice Burroughs fan (he’s the one who wrote the Tarzan books - all 24 of them), and I’ve been disappointed many times in the past over Tarzan movies, but this has got to be one of the best ones ever! Despite the fact that Alexander Skarsgard is blond, he made an excellent Tarzan. And not only was the casting for Jane perfect, I really enjoyed their portrayal of her as well.

And the best part of all about these two movies? Now the hubby knows what he can get me for Christmas. LOL

It was a busy week and a busier weekend, filled with trying to catch up on a project I’ve been neglecting, a little extra babysitting, and a lot of plans getting derailed. But one thing that did work out all right was last night’s desert:

It’s a strawberry cheese shortcake. Strawberries were on sale at one of the local grocery stores so it was pretty much a given that I’d come home with some. I thought the price of the in-store shortcakes was a little much, but I also didn’t want to have to bake a whole cake just to have some for the strawberries.

But cream cheese was also on sale so I thought I’d do a cheesecake and put the strawberries on that. And since I was using strawberries on top I figured why not throw some in as well. Which, in retrospect, I should have thought twice about. It wasn’t that the strawberries were bad in the cheesecake, it just made the cheesecake a little moister than I’d like.

But it tasted really good, and that’s what counts, right? ;-)