Friday, December 23, 2011

Movie Snob? That Would Be Me

I could go with Entertainment Snob, but we would be here for days and that is not fair when the holidays are have arrived. :) 

To be clear, I am not all high brow and no humor. Hardly. When it comes to movies I love the high end cheese along with the epics. Schindler's List moved me to tears and Old School moved me to laugh out loud. I could barely stay in my seat during South Park: The Movie or Jackass. The first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan had me crying and heaving in horror. Those are the experiences I want when I pay good money to be entertained and that is what bugs me about most movies and television now. Most of it is just pure unadulterated garbage. I loathe, loathe, loathe reality television. Except for Deadliest Catch. For some reason we are addicted in our house. Go figure. I hate all of our Houswives, the Kardashians, stars who dance, fame whores who try to "survive" or eat bugs and idiots who want to be idols. Harsh? Too bad. The world is bitter and mindless enough without that drivel to make those sitting on their couches at home feel somewhat superior. Plus, why get my ire up to want to pelt someone with tomatoes? Housewives of NJ, I am looking at you. We get aggravated in our daily lives, I do not want it in my entertainment.
As far as movies, how many remakes will Hollywood continue to do and lose money on? I am sure Fincher will deliver with his interpretation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I am too cheap to pay $10+ to see something I already have seen and read. I will wait for it on Netflix. This makes me Hollywood's ultimate nightmare. It takes A LOT to get me to a theater. I had to think long and hard about the last flick we saw in the theater and it was The Fighter. Worth every penny as far as I am concerned. The Dark Knight Rises will be next for me, though I cringed at Anne Hathaway's scenes in the trailer. Then there is The Raven with John Cusack and I might, just might, go to the theater for that one.
I have also noticed that Hollywood is banking on fairy tales for next years entertainment. Two Snow White films, one is a comedy the other dark, and Jack the Giant Killer. Well, those won't get me into the cineplex either. I do think Charlize Theron looks and sounds down right brilliant in the Snow White trailer, but I cannot stand an inch of Kristen Stewart. Most of you know that I have never and would never read or see the ick that is Twilight. God Bless if you enjoy it, but I would rather eat a side of medium rare beef, I am vegetarian, then subject myself to that so-called "art". Maybe she will blossom in this film. Maybe she can act or maybe it just does not matter to many. 

The thing is, I do want to be entertained and entertained well. 

Cable networks seem to be doing a stellar job of giving audiences what they want. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and my current love:  American Horror Story. How I just adore the somewhat campy, original, twisted, implausible story lines and good acting. Jessica Lange deserves that Golden Globe nod, yes she does. I also have to tip my hat off to FX Networks for putting the episodes up online. We have basic cable so the only way I have been able to watch the show has been on the computer. I am a week behind, but who cares? The fact that they have shared the goodness with me is appreciated. I have tried to email them to let them know, but their link was down. Technology can suck at times.

When it comes to fun, silly films like Pineapple Express, The Hangover, The Wedding Planner, I love them. I  really do. These pieces of celluloid have their place in the world because we all need and want to laugh and forget our woes for a wee bit. If I do want some intensity, that is where Dragon Tattoo, Downton Abbey, The Forsyte Saga, MI5, Schindler's List and others of that genre come in the door. What I am not looking for or want is rehashed trash. With all the books out there in the world is Hollywood really at a standstill for material? I know risk is not on their plates right now, but with the last two box office weekends being less then stellar perhaps they need to rethink their strategy.
To amuse myself I just did a quick check on IMDB and saw there is a sequel to the God awful remake of Clash of the Titans called, wait for it, Wrath of the Titans. Get ready for more bastardizing of Greek Mythology. The Three Stooges trailer gave me a small coronary and 21 Jump Street? Really? Can I recommend some novels that could make some good films or are we too cheap to pay an author for their work? I wish I understood  Hollywood better, but they do not seem to want to understand their consumers better. Then they publicly bitch and moan about those of us that rather stream via Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iTunes or go to Redbox. People want quality for the money and I do not believe that is too much to ask. 
Now excuse me while I go watch episodes of Arrested Development, again.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

House Envy Part Deux


Like kitchens, they can be an oasis, a place to linger or they can be a place you do your business and get the hell out!  If one has a place to soak, relax and spa then it is lovely. Then again, most of us do not have the space to accommodate a massive retreat so what does one do? The least you can do is make it somewhat enjoyable when taking a shower or brushing your teeth. So says the woman whose shower does not work in the upstairs bath and has the evil poorly grouted pink bathroom on the first floor. I know I gripe about this a lot, but it does amaze me when someone will do shoddy work and live with it. Grrrrr! We are aiming to get the second floor done in the spring. Fingers are crossed!

Anyhoo, while a black bathroom will most likely not occur in our house, I do like the look of this one taken back in 2009 at a Brooklyn townhouse.

Now, while I do adore the color purple, I am not sure I could do this, but it is well executed. Here is link to full house tour.

This bathroom gives off a nice masculine vibe. Here is full house tour.

Not one of my favorites, but I believe in sharing all types of bathroom finds. The tiles sort of throw me off, but I am sure it is really nice in person. Full house tour.

Had we been blessed with black and white tile in the downstairs instead of hideous pink, this would have been an awesome color direction to go in for sure. Full House Tour.

And now, for over the top, how do you feel about a big, clear glass tub? Boston Home post.

Many people would say that what you do matters, especially when it comes to resale. I say it is better to do what you really want, especially if you have no intention of selling the house in the next ten years. Why live with bland or lack of character when you can do it up a little differently? 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

House Envy

Sometimes I like to peruse real estate for fun, especially the ridiculous over the top 10,000 square foot villa. Manicured lawns, marble baths, the kitchen that pretty much can house two hundred people comfortably. I understand why most folks dig the "staged home", but I prefer a more lived in look. That does not mean I cannot appreciate a stellar photo shoot.

Via the blog Lark & Linen I came across this gorgeous farm house. Isn't it just lovely? Bright and airy kitchens make me swoon and this one is divine. While white is not my first choice in a kitchen, you cannot deny how elegant it looks.

From The Right Bank has a list of beautiful gray kitchens. I do like the dark cabinets, I think it is a such an unexpected touch. Once again, I covet the Aga stove.

This Tobi Fairley kitchen and bath featured on House of Turquoise are just stunning. I like the shots of blue color used through out both rooms.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ahhhh Design

The old standard theme rooms for baby nurseries do not work for me. Disney is a no no and anything too genderized, boy means blue and girl means pink, is totally against my sensibilities. When we found out that we would be put to the ultimate life test and become parents one of my thoughts were, "How to decorate?'

Okay, not really, but it sounded good right?

Actually, my husband is a comic book geek. I can appreciate this to a point. Most of his collection sits in a box in the closet and this makes me twitch. Reason being that some of the cover artwork is stunning and deserves to be displayed. So using my genius I persuaded him that we should frame a few to put up in the nursery as artwork. No matter if it was a boy or a girl, the comic books were going up. X-Men, Batman and a few others were chosen and framed. I have to say it looks really awesome and this inspired him to pull out his Star Wars bobble heads and put them out on a shelf in the room as well.
I know that as parents were are not to be too influential using our taste to define our kid. If I was really going to push ourselves on the baby there would be music posters, a skateboard or two and a drum kit all set up already. This would then set up our child to be my version of a skateboarding, Dave Grohl. A mom can dream can't she? But instead we settled for the economical route and used what we had. Sometimes a collection can work to ones advantage, thank the Baby Jesus.
We also hung up the Bekvam spice racks from IKEA and used them to display the books we received at our baby shower. Me being a big reader and writer, I am hoping the little one becomes just as passionate about books. Okay, I need to get back on track here.
Since we are encouraging the DC/Marvel Comics characters, I was giddy with power to come across these unique Superhero prints by Liam Brazier. I love the abstract vibe and vivid colors. And if eventually he does not want them in his room, we will be more than happy to hang them in the hallway or even the living room. I like art that can be moved about the house. No reason to restrict something to only one room or area. When we were at IKEA not too long ago they had a picture of a hand slamming a phone down. It was totally done a la Roy Lichtenstein, another fave of hubby, and will also be going up in the nursery.

I am not a fan of every nursery showcased on Ohdeedoh, but I wanted to share a slew of rooms that have been done with flair. Most people want rooms that can be transitional to toddler to kid to even tween. What I really like is the choice of colors, even the overly girly and boy ones because they are done very well. You could even incorporate a lot of the elements into a kitchen, living room, etc. As the old saying goes, "You've come a long way baby!"


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What's In A Name?

Some names are passed down from generation to generation. Others are chosen out of respect for the dead and to carry on their memory. Then are those chosen simply because of their meaning or because after much searching, the parents found something they really like.
My own name is very unusual and I happen to love it. I also went to grammar Catholic school with many children of various backgrounds, Hispanic, Italian and Black, all who had wonderful ethnic names. No one was made fun of, and this was the seventies and early eighties.
There are names I have loved and would have used on our forthcoming bundle of joy if, and only if, DH's last name was not quite so hard. It is German in origin and not an easy one to match things too. So choosing a name has been quite the task. Once we found it we were happy, but also reluctant to share. Why is this you ask? Because everyone has an opinion on what you name your child. And the most aggressive opinion comes from my in-laws.
Imagine my amazement when they were told the name and then proceeded to tell their lovely son all the things wrong with our choice and why we should not do it. My immediate reaction was true to my nature. "Go F Yourself."
My mother would be so proud.
Where anyone gets off telling you to change a name that you and their son/daughter thought long and hard about is rude, insensitive and disrespectful. If one dislikes the name, why not just say, "Great. We cannot wait to meet him and hope he is happy and healthy." But that is not my in-laws style. They are more concerned about others opinions and how people perceive their lives. Dysfunction is in every family folks. We all have it and experience it, but sometimes we get a glimpse into how others got that way and it is not pretty at all. Their insecurities alone could fill a novel with various plot twists and scenes of martyrdom.
To make the matter more entertaining, my MIL felt the need to voice her concern of the name sounding "too Spanish" or that it will be "mispronounced" and how it "does not go with the last name" and shouldn't we "switch the middle and first names"? She told my hubby that she just"had to tell him and get it off her chest". Really now? Why not just be pleased to have a grandchild on the way? Instead they have insulted me, my spouse and our unborn bouncing bundle of joy.
I was chagrined when I found forum after forum online of mothers to be venting about the exact same situation. In-laws calling kids a name different then the one chosen and even refusing to use the name given. There were stories where relationships became overly strained because the MIL was making the DH bend to her rules still instead of him supporting his spouse. Note to self: This is the type of mother one does NOT want to be. It is simply appalling that people are willing to cause such discord because of a name. These people had their chance to name their children and for some reason think they have the same right with grandchildren. Boggles the mind.
Of course I do not expect an apology and am certain they will continue to try and change our minds. Pity that their instance that they know best and must be right has already tainted their visit when they come. Perhaps that will have to be postponed until they get their crap together then eh?


Monday, December 12, 2011

Self Publishing Trudges Ahead

A darling friend sent me an article about an author who after numerous rejections, took it upon herself to self publish. A lot of us who toil away at this solitary career also squirm and toil away writing query letters and various forms of a synopsis. Those are not the only things I dread from time to time. With any sort of publishing comes the anonymous reviewers that can tear apart your book. Sure i have thick skin thanks to numerous rejection letters, but one does worry about sending out an imperfect product. Then again, I can just go over it once more, and roll with the punches. The point would be to get it out there, push for it to sell, even at a mere 99 cents, and hope it generates buzz like Darcie Chan's debut novel discussed in the article at Yahoo.

One of my favorite things about the article is Ms. Chan's description of her novel. "It didn't really fit any genre," Ms. Chan says. "It has elements of romance, suspense, mystery, but it falls into the catch-all category of literary fiction, and of course that's the most difficult to sell."

That has been the bane of my existence. My novel, while set in a dystopian world, has various elements which has made me struggle with pin pointing its genre. For my main characters there are key pieces at play such as troubled and sorrowful pasts and law enforcement jobs that require a cool detachment and a romance that brings about pivotal plot points. Literary Fiction or Fantasy Romance? This is my conundrum, but now that I read this article, I suddenly feel encouraged to throw myself to the lions.

And why not?

Take the chance and see what happens. Worse thing that can happen is no one buys the darn thing. As for poor write ups, well, I will have to take them with a grain of salt now won't I? Great write ups will make me giddy. And if this book does not go, well, I do have the other one in the hole don't I?

Off to the grind I go.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cost of E Books

Are eBooks too expensive?

This question is asked by the SmartMoney blog and I must agree. I constantly question paying $12 for an eBook when the paperback is $6.99. Heck, the library is free.
Publishers seem to be just as baffled as the music industry was back in the days of Napster and files sharing. They are not sure what to do with those of us who want physical books in our hands as well as an eBook. We want to pay money and support the authors, but not be overcharged.
Will this ever get worked out? I hope so. Though we do have a current round of publishers being jerky about the Kindle Lending Library and limiting the amount of times and eBook can go out. Read about that here.