Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Ice Cream and Identity

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Right now, for me, just about anything with caramel in it – salted caramel is a big fat plus – works. I’m totally in love with Ben & Jerry’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch – butterscotch ice cream with a swirl of lovely, crunchy, butterscotch mixed through. I also love their Crème Brulee. And New York Super Fudge Chunk. Safeway has their own line of ice cream, and I totally dig their Salted Caramel Butter Pecan. Mmmmmmmmm. I also love that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream comes in those little 16oz containers. If I eat a whole one, I feel kinda bad, but not as bad as if I’d eaten a half gallon of Breyer’s, you know? And if I only eat a quarter of that fabulous B&J, then I feel superior to everyone on the planet for having that type of will power. Which only lasts until I go back and eat the rest of it.

There are a lot of seriously crazy flavors out there in the world – horsemeat anyone? (yep, not making that up). Here are a few I found on the Interwebs:
• Honey Jalapeno Pickle – Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver (No, thank you)
• Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel – Black Dog Gelato in Chicago (I would try this one)
• Wildberry Lavender – Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, OH (Hmmm…sounds kinda good to me)
• Creamed Cod – Georges’ Portobello Fish Bar in London (YUCK!)
• Crammed Jammin’ Cream Doughnut – Tip Top Ice Cream in New Zealand (Chunks of sugar donuts and sweet raspberry sauce mixed into vanilla and cinnamon ice cream? GET INTO MY MOUTH!)
• Basil Avocado – SoBou in New Orleans
• Whiskey Prune – Simmo’s Ice Creamery in Australia

Tell me your favorite and where you get it in the comments!

OK, today’s movie is: Identity. This is probably my most favorite movie ever on the planet. I have watched it numerous times, and my brother-in-law is so freaked out by it that he gets mad when I watch it. (Bonus!)

This awesome psychological and somewhat slasher/gory film stars the most awesome John Cusack, also awesome Ray Liotta, Alfred Molina, Amanda Peet, John C. McGinley, Jake Busey, Rebecca DeMornay, and a few others that are all very good in this movie. Ten strangers find themselves stranded at a run-down desert motel that would have given the Bates’ the heeby jeebies. One by one, they start to get picked off and the survivors are trying to figure out what the heck is going on before they are next. Meanwhile, a small group meets with the governor of an unnamed state to discuss staying the execution of a mass murderer. There is a twist thrown at you at about the halfway mark of the film that literally yanked me out of my seat. And be sure to watch all the way to the end for a second twist right before the credits roll. Did I mention this is my absolute favorite film on the planet? Just checking.

Yay! I did it! Caught up now, and join me again tomorrow please for the letter J.


H is for HECK! and Hitman

Arrggg…I was doing so well, keeping up every day and even blogging ahead. Well, that’s over for now! I missed yesterday because I am still fighting this confounded virus, and all I want to do is sleep. Sleep in the bathroom, sleep at my desk, sleep behind the wheel driving to/from work; you get the idea. So, I will try to catch up and hopefully will get two posts in today.

Today, H is for HECK! As in, Heck! I’m falling behind! Interestingly enough, heck stands for more than just a stand-in for hell when you are trying not to swear; it also stands for:
• A Cumberland dialect word for a partition separating a door from a fireplace when they share the same wall
• A chemical reaction that forms a substituted alkene
• A type of algebra, cattle, horse, and/or operator
• Parnall Heck, a 1930s British four-seater cabin monoplane
• NOAAS Heck (S 591), a survey ship in service with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1967-1970 and with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1970-1995.

But mostly I use it when I’m trying not to say hell. Like in front of my mother.

Today’s H movie is: “Hitman” because Timothy Olyphant. And also because Timothy Olyphant (are you sensing a theme here?). This is a movie based on a video game, so there are some questions you have about the characters that never really get explained. Also, if you are watching this movie expecting to see Oscar winning performances, you are destined for disappointment. However, if you are watching this movie because of Timothy Olyphant, or because you are in the mood for some great action and flying bullets and no love scenes, you will be quite satisfied. Tim plays Agent 47, an orphan that is trained to be a highly skilled, no-nonsense and unemotional assassin. He is suddenly abandoned by his mysterious employer and finds himself falling for a Russian prostitute while getting himself embroiled in a suspicious political assassination. Works for me! Oh, and TIMOTHY OLYPHANT!!

That’s it for the letter H. Let’s see if I can get the letter I posted as well!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Gospodor's Monument Park and Ghostie movies

On my daily work commute I pass by a strange little patch of land known as the Gospodor’s Monument Park, between the little towns of Toledo and Winlock in Washington State. It’s a very odd little memorial area, and hasn’t been without controversy. In a grassy, overgrown field stand three large and two smaller copper-plated monuments in honor of Mother Theresa, Holocaust victims, and the American Indian. When they were first erected in 2002, they were quite the oddity. The tallest monument – the one for Mother Theresa – is 108 feet high; the monument for the American Indian is 100 feet, and the monument for the Holocaust victims is 87 feet. All were fitted with lights that could be seen for miles at night. The first time I encountered them was on a visit from Montana; Sis had not said anything about them, and I thought I was looking at an alien landing site! The lights no longer shine down on them at night; I don’t know if the Dept. of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol decided it was just not safe since they are literally just yards off of the I-5 freeway, where the speed limit is 70mph, or if the money ran out to pay the electricity bill, or what. You can read more about the controversy about getting the park set up, about the monuments themselves, and the fight to make it bigger here. The linked website is also the source for this photo:

OK, now onto the movies. It has been commented on that my taste in movies seems to lean rather heavily towards the horror genre, and I guess it does. I never really thought about it, but these next two selections will seem to put a few more nails in the coffin (see what I did there?): Ghost Ship and Ghost Rig.
Sis and I have nearly identical taste in movies, books, and music. When one of us tells the other about a new movie, author, or musical group that has been discovered, the other of us just goes ahead and buys it, fully anticipating that we will enjoy it profusely because the other one did. Ghost Ship was kind of a miss on that. I loved it, but it took Sis nearly four years to watch it all the way through because it scared her to death! The opening scene was enough to send her scrambling to turn on every light in the house. It definitely is not the best movie ever made and was never in danger of winning any awards, but it has a good (if slightly predictable) plot, good acting with faces you recognize, and good special effects. One review I read said it is “more like a ‘Shining’ on the water”. In brief, a salvage crew gets a tip on an ocean liner that has been missing since the 1960’s. They manage to find it; as they are towing it back to harbor, things happen and the crew winds up trapped inside the liner only to discover a presence aboard the ship. Be sure to be pay attention at the very end for a great twist! Stars Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, and Ron Eldard.

The second pick today is Ghost Rig starring Jamie Bamber, Bryan Carney, Juliet Diamond, Kerry Norton and Noel Fitzpatrick. Fair warning: this movie is borderline terrible. It gets terrible reviews because the acting is pretty crappy, the script needs help, and the direction…well, it probably could have been better. At first I figured that they just replaced the ship in Ghost Ship with an oil rig. But this movie is definitely different. Basically, it’s about a group of environmental activists who get themselves airlifted onto an abandoned oil rig that the owners plan to blow up, letting the pieces fall to the ocean floor to make an artificial reef. The activists figure it can’t be blown up with them on it, and the owners will have to listen to their demands. The only weird thing is where is the maintenance crew that is supposed to be on board? It doesn’t take long for characters to start dying off, and it doesn’t really hurt your feelings any. There are lots of holes in the plot, but if you can ignore some of that, you can really enjoy the movie. This is another movie with a big plot twist at the end, and watching the whole movie is actually worth it just for that! Don’t hate me if you hate it. Please.

OK – that is it for today. Hope your week is going well so far, and I’ll see you here tomorrow for the letter H!


Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for FIRE! and Fallen

Well, I made it! Today's post is late in getting published, but it's still on the right day. I've done all my other posts a day ahead, but I didn't get my post done over the weekend.

OK - F is for fire. Well, the fire that almost was, but wasn't, so YAAAYYY!

On Saturday, I took Les out for breakfast at this great little French restaurant in town called "Jacques en le boîte" (or Jack in the Box for all you non-Frenchers), and then we went and got him a haircut.

We had been out and about for an hour and a half or so, when Les casually turns to me and says, "You know, I left a pot pie in the oven when we left. I'm sure the oven is still on. Do you think the house has burned down yet?"


"How long are those supposed to bake?" I asked, trying to remain calm while visions of the house fully engulfed in flames, little dogs barking their heads off, ravage my brain.

"Oh, only about 45 minutes."

"Ah. So only about 45 minutes longer than we have been away from home? Great. Let's get home, shall we?"

I tried to fit a 25-minute drive into 15 seconds, and as we came over the top of a hill that leads down to where our home is, I felt better when I could not see smoke.

The house wasn't filled with smoke, but we did have to open all the doors and windows for a while. The pot pie, I'm sad to say, was a total loss: blackened beyond all recognition, all it's gravy evaporated away. Now when we leave the house, I will have to make sure there isn't anything cooking in the oven as well as checking to be sure none of the burners have been left on. Jeezy creezy.

OK, now for movies. It's hard to just pick one "F" movie, so I have three for you. I would classify the first as Thriller, the second as Drama/Dark Comedy, and the third as Science Fiction/Action/Comedy.

The first is "Fallen" starring Denzel Washington, Reno Wilson, Donald Sutherland, James Gandolfini, and John Goodman, released in 1998. Following the execution of a demonic serial killer, a homicide detective finds himself on the trail of another serial killer whose methods are strikingly similar to the executed killer. Great acting + unexpected plot twists = awesome movie.

The second movie is "Fargo" starring William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, and Frances McDormand (who won an Oscar for this role). Oh my god I love this movie. Sometimes I just like to watch it so I can hear them talk! And for those of you not familiar with the Northern United States - Minnesota, North Dakota, etc. - they really do talk like that. I used to say, "Ya, sure, you betcha" all the time; when I lived in Montana, people always used to ask me if I was from Fargo! Anyhoo, here's the synopsis: Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of pregnant Marge Gunderson. There is gore and one short but slightly bizarre sex scene. One of my all time favs.

The third and final selection is "The Fifth Element". I love this movie so much. It stars Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, and Gary Oldman. A burnt-out ex-cop has the savior of the universe literally fall into his lap. With the aid of a priest, a radio DJ, and an all expense paid trip on a luxury cruise spaceship, he trys to save the planet from a greedy war lord and his bosses. Love it. Love, love love love love it. I have seen it so many times I can talk along with the script! Milla is wonderful in it, and Bruce shows off his many acting talents in this film.

Well, that's it for today! Once again, thank you all for your lovely comments. I love reading them so much (I'm kinda needy that way).


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for…well, you’ll see

Since several readers enjoyed my post for the letter C with the lake name that was longer than anyone thought the name of a lake could be, I’ve decided to go with something similar for the letter E. Are ya ready?

E is for eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious. (HA! Spellchecker just lit up like a Christmas tree!) According to the website Glossographia, this is what is known as a “nonce-word”, or a word “created to solve a one-time need in communication, without any expectation that it will become standardized or widely accepted.” Nonce-words can become widely used, and sometimes will wind up in a dictionary, but most are never written down or never repeated. However, this word does turn up in a 1934 copy of Weseen’s dictionary. What does it mean? Very good or very fine. Wow – all those letter for that? I think I’ll stick with just plain ol’ good.

Check out Glossographia – this person knows lots of words and a lot about them as well. A very interesting website.

You know what else E is for? E is for extremely exhausted. And that is me today. I actually spent my lunch hour sound asleep in my Rodeo out in the parking lot at work. This morning, I fell asleep at my desk numerous times while working on an Excel spreadsheet. One moment I was highlighting cells to be copied, and three moments later I would jerk my head up with a start, hand still on the mouse, cells partially highlighted and ready for my next command. I’ve been fighting this stupid virus all week; I seem to be sleeping OK, but my head lolls around like a bladder on a stick during my entire commute to work (and that is NOT eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious). I drink a ton of water throughout the day because my throat is swollen and dry, and I fall asleep on the toilet. It’s making me crazy, and it’s making me fear for my job if the wrong person catches me snoozing at my desk! Oy.

Today’s E movie choice is a flash from the past: Earthquake. This movie was released in 1974 and scared the crap out of me as a kid. I suppose that is because our family was living in the small ski resort town of Wrightwood when a 6.6 quake hit the Los Angeles area in 1971. Even though it wasn’t a high-on-the-richter-scale number, it did over $500 million in damage, injured more than 2,000 people, and took 65 lives. You can read more about it here. Anyway, this movie stars Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, George Kennedy, Lorne Greene, and Genevieve Bujold, and title tells you all you need to know about the plot. Made before state of the art computer graphics were used for special effects, it still gets the job done. It may be a little cheesy, but it still rocks! Back in the ‘80’s they used to pair this movie with The Towering Inferno on TV, showing them back to back in the same night, and would call it Shake ‘N Bake. It will probably be hard to find, but if you find it, it’s worth checking out.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks to everyone for the really nice comments – they mean a lot to me!


Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Dogs and Dan In Real Life

For me, D was always going to be about dogs. I love dogs, all shapes and sizes, although I do prefer large dogs when given a choice. I have always had a dog for a pet since birth, except for the 10 years I lived in Montana. I hated not being able to have a pet! Coming home to an empty house sucked, and I don’t care how freaking big the goldfish is, it’s just not the same.

D is also for dachshund. We had Queenie and Alexander when I was growing up; I don’t know how old Queenie got, but Alexander was 22 years old. Yup. He was older than dirt. He always put on this show – Oh, I’m so frail and blind and deaf – but drop a piece of bacon on the floor and he was on it from three rooms away before you could bend down to retrieve it. We currently have four doxies at our house (you can see their pics in the roll call down the right side of my blog): Bruiser, Snoopy, Mrs. Weenie, and Sam. Sam was a rescue; when we first got him he was so shut down that he just sat. He didn’t wag his tail for almost a month – when he did, I called my sister and we both cried. He didn’t know how to play with toys, let alone other dogs. Now he runs around playing with anyone who has the energy to keep up with him, and he is just so happy all the time. Mrs. Weenie is a favorite wrestling partner, and Gigi – our Pomchi (Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix) – is his girlfriend.

Other dogs we had in the past were a Bluetick Coonhound named Emma that we rescued from the desert around Edwards Air Force Base in California; the world’s most awesome apricot German Shepherd named Barney; Great Danes, Harvey (blonde) and Samantha (black brindle); a red Cocker Spaniel named Cocoa that grew up with Alexander; a fabulous Boxer named Caesar; a black Lab named Ebony; a poodle mix of some sort named Surf; and a humongous Rottweiler named Trooper (but was affectionately called Poopy). When Sis married Les, he had a gorgeous Chow Chow named Bear. Unfortunately, Bear was an asshat and killed two of my sister’s cats. Eventually, Sis and Bear came to the understanding that he would not steal her sandwiches anymore, and she wouldn’t try to smack him with a rolled up newspaper. One time he went across the road and rolled in fresh farm animal poop. He was completely black and dripping with liquid poop. Les’s idiot brother let him in the house, where Bear proceeded to – yes – shake that muck all. Over. The livingroom. Including the ceiling. While my sister had pneumonia. Coughasshatcough.

As far as movies go, today D is for Dan In Real Life. This isn’t normally the type of movie I like, but I luuurve Steve Carell. Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook also star in this comedy/drama/romance. I don’t usually do romance movies, but there are a few that I enjoy. This is about a single father headed up to the family home where he grew up for a family reunion. He has dedicated his life to his children, but the family would love to see him fall in love and get married again. He hits a local bookstore and meets the perfect woman. They spend the day getting to know each other, but each has an engagement to get to and they go their separate ways. That evening, Dave’s brother Mitch shows up with his girlfriend. Guess who it is? I loved it. This is a very talented cast, and the movie is funny, touching, and heartwarming without being smarmy or sickeningly sweet. I hope you enjoy it.

Well, I guess that is it for today! I'll see you tomorrow for the letter E.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for "What the heck is the name of that lake?" and Cloverfield

I’m really kind of stretching it for the letter “C” today, but I did say that stuff was going to be random, right? I was going to talk a bit about our cat, Cheddar, but that is a bit predictable and I don’t have any current pictures of him because he is a scaredy-cat! Prepare yourselves for the randomness:

Which of the following letters - R, B, M or C - appears the most times in the word CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG? Yes, it’s a real word. Would the Internet lie? Anyhoo, the answer is: the letter C. The letter R and B appear only once; the letter M appears twice; but the letter C appears a whopping three times! Anyway, this massively long word would appear to be Welsh (seriously, have you seen some of the names of the towns in Wales? Some appear to be all vowels, and some don’t seem to have any vowels at all. Some of them just sound like you’re clearing your throat. No offense to anyone from Wales! You guys rock with your bad-ass names!), but it is actually Native American Nimpuc language for the name of a lake near Webster, Massachusetts, USA. It is commonly known as Lake Webster (gee, I wonder why…). According to the Interwebs, the lake’s name means “You fish on your side; I fish on my side; nobody fishes in the middle.” So…there you have it. You are Jeopardy ready now. Here is a picture of it to prove I'm not making it up:

OK, now for the movie portion of today’s post. Today’s movie beginning with the letter C is Cloverfield. Now, I know there are some of you groaning just reading the name of my choice, but I totally love this movie. When the Blair Witch Project came out, I didn’t really like it. It kept building up and up, and it was making me very anxious, and then the ending was just weird and I didn’t get it. I watched it again a few years later, and I still didn’t get it. But I loved the idea of filming the movie in the style of a home movie camera. It seemed to make it more believable. Cloverfield is filmed in this style. It takes a bit to get going, but when it finally does, it takes off like a fighter jet and you can’t unclench until about a half hour after it’s over. I love that. And it all takes place at night, which always makes things 100 times creepier; you never really get a look at the monster until almost the very end but you can hear it making ungodly noises and see the destruction it’s causing. Which adds to the psychological thrill. If you like Godzilla movies, you will like this one. ‘Coz it’s better.

See you tomorrow for the letter "D".


(Sources: and

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for BBBb tuba and Below

I love music. Big time. I think the only form of music I don’t really care for is Rap; I still believe it is music – although many think it’s just swearing, noise, and references to…erm…human body parts – I still believe it is a firmly set, cultural part of music history. I just don’t happen to care for it.

I started playing music when I was in the 6th grade, around 12 years old. I started playing the flute. When I was 13, my father bought me a piano! Oh, it is so beautiful. It is considered an upright studio baby grand and is made from rosewood. It was the most unique area of the shop where my father said I could choose from. I’ve never seen another like it. Anyhoo, when I started high school, I joined the marching band. I played my flute and marched my butt off the first year, then the other three years I was honored to be the Drum Major. So many wonderful memories…

But, I digress. Today’s random thought starting with the letter B is the BBBb tuba, better known as the subcontrabass tuba. The first tuba tuned to BBBb was designed by the inventor of the saxophone of all things, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894). The first two modern versions were built on the suggestion of John Philip Sousa – and if you know about marching bands, then you know all about him.

A tuba pitched to FFF was made around 1910, but two persons were needed to play it; one to operate the valves and one to blow into the mouthpiece. That guy probably needed a good set of lungs!

One big ass tuba yo
As for my movie selection, I choose Below. This is a great movie, and I had never heard of it when I bought it. It was released in 2002, was directed by David Twohy and stars Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, and Olivia Williams. There is even a small part played brilliantly by Zach Galifianakis.

Here is a summary: After they rescue a trio of survivors that includes a nurse, Claire Page (Olivia Williams), from a British hospital ship sunk by the Nazis, the crew of the American submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark comes to believe that their vessel is haunted. The unexpected death of their commander forces first officer Lt. Brice (Bruce Greenwood) to take command, trying to avoid a German destroyer on the hunt for his ship, while investigating the series of mysterious incidents that are terrifying his crew.

For some reason it doesn’t get super fabulous reviews, but I thought it was great. Submarines give me the heeby-jeebies anyway, and combine that with the fact that warships are after you and weird stuff is happening all around but you can't get off the sub...I can watch this movie again and again.

Well, that’s all for B!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Aardvark and Auntie Mame

This is my first time participating in the A to Z blog challenge – oh, thank you, no need for applause, you are too kind.

I didn’t really have any theme picked out because I just kind of leaped into this challenge without really knowing much about it; but after contemplating it for a while I think my theme will be random thoughts and movie selections. Kind of jumbled and unrelated, just like my brain.

For some weird reason, the first thing that popped into my head when I thought, “A is for…”, was the scene from Blackadder The Third where Blackadder is trying to re-write the dictionary because Baldrick has burnt the only copy. You can enjoy a bit of it here.

A is also for one of my all-time favorite movies: Auntie Mame (Rosalind Russell version). I want to be Auntie Mame. This move makes me feel better when I am down, and I often watch it when I’m sick – it gives me the “all betters”. Other favorite movies that start with A? Alien, Aliens, America’s Sweethearts (another favorite when I’m down or sick).

Well, speaking of sick, I’m off to the doctor this afternoon. I cannot kick this stupid virus, and I need to follow up with her from that time when my blood sugar was over 500. I smell more pills a-comin’!