Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I love the magic of Chrismas, the lights and the music and the excitement of the children. But for me, one of the things that can take the joy out of the holidays is the pressure to conform or perform - perfect gifts, lots of money spent, beautiful decorating, a pristine house, cookie baking, and the big meal around the perfect table surrounded by happy people. No wonder we're all exhausted just thinking about it.
Anyway, my Christmas is a lot more pleasant these days because I no longer conform. This year I bought what I could afford, for the most part. My lights aren't up yet, neither is the tree - it's been too cold but I'll get to it, maybe. The gifts aren't wrapped yet and when they are, they won't have perfectly creased corners or be perfectly adorned with just the right coordinated bows - but they will eventually be wrapped. And I think we'll eat out for Christmas or just do something simple. I might bake; I might not.
My moratoreum on Christmas perfection has reduced my performance anxiety enormously. Don't get me wrong, I know there are folks who LOVE preparing all the holiday trimmings - I wished they'd come to my house and do it all for me (please!).
And I'm glad they're out there doing the light shows in their yards and giving awesome parties for the rest of us who prefer the spectator sport aspect of the holidays.
I'll be with my family in all our beautiful messy imperfection, and we'll have a good day. I might even light a cozy fire - if I feel like it.
I'm a little like Hermey, the Misfit Elf, but I'm happy.
Happy Holidays to you all from Fran "The Hermey" Friel and her whole misfit clan.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
Paul Friel, the king of my jungle, has a perchant for film like no one else I've ever met. He writes impromptu reviews for friends and family (whether they want him to or not) and on many occasions he has been told, "You should go pro!" Although he shrugs off his pro status potential in a way only a Scotsman can do, I'm giving him his film critic debut right here on Yada Feast. If you like it, leave him a comment, and I'll be sure he comes back with more Paul Friel Film Blab, as we've taken to calling it. So, without anymore of my yacking, heeeerrrre's Paul!
PAUL FRIEL FILM BLAB
Directed by Peter Jackson
In theaters December 14 (US release)
Well, I saw the movie last night.
Afterwards standing in the lobby, I asked my wife what she thought. She said it was one of the greatest movies she had ever seen.
That about sums it up. I have seen better movies (Schinder's List, On the Waterfront, or even Spirited Away - Miyazaki's animated wonderland), but I have never seen a greater movie.
This film recreates the reason why we love movies and going to the cinema. Unashamed, unbounded, over the top, old-fashioned entertainment that casts a spell that takes you out of reality and into a magical place of nostalgic joy. I never thought Hollywood still had it in them after too many years of the graceless, constipated trash pretending to be movies but in fact are artless 'product' aimed at a fickle generation that no longer cares.
Well, they'll care about this one.
Go and see it. Go and see it at the cinema. Make the time. Do not wait to see it on DVD. If you do I hope the disk chews up and burns your Apex or whatever you are using.
Action - Simply jaw-dropping. Nothing has ever come close to how amazing this movie is in this area and one extended fight scene redefines the whole concept.
Romance - the year's oddest, most tragic love story. Scots don't cry but I came close a few times.
Special effects - Kong is the single greatest special effect yet created.
Acting - Kong is the year's finest leading man and Naomi Watts is simply luminescent. No one has stared into a blue screen more believably.
What doesn't work:
Setting the scene - It takes 45/50 minutes to get to Skull Island. I didn't mind it but it may be a bit much especially for younger kids.
Running time - Three hours and 7 mins is tough on the butt and bladder. Again, could be a problem for children.
Cheese - Some of the effects look unfinished. Also, there are two slowmo shots that make me wonder if Ed Wood possessed Peter Jackson for a few days - they are simply awful.
Casting - Jack Black is both great and completely miscast in this movie and alternates from both states like a manic spinning top.
Little Timmy - If you have kids younger than 5/6 this movie has parts that just might be a wee bit scary for them.
So there you have it, the debut of Paul Friel's Film Blab. I hope you liked it. If you did, maybe I can convince the old Scot to open his own blog and razzle-dazzle you with his love (and hate) of all things film.
I would just like to add my two cents for my love of Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings). He brought Kong to life and totally entertained me with his grizzly but good-hearted pirate of the seas character, Lumpy.
Monday, December 12, 2005
This one is on my list for sure! Check out this line-up:
"Prohibited" by Kealan Patrick Burke
"Last Exit For The Lost" by Tim Lebbon
"The Screamers at the Window" by T.M. Wright
"The Man in the Palace Theater" by Ray Garton
"Pumpkin-Witch" by Tim Curran
"LZ-116: Das Fliegenschloss" by Stephen Mark Rainey
"Something to Be Said For the Waiting" by Brian Freeman
"Jack-Knife" by Gemma Files
"The Spook" by Randy Chandler
"Ever After" by John R. Little
"The Bittersweet Deafening Sound of Nothing at All" by Robert Morrish
"Up in the Boneyard" by Keith Minnion
"Mom and Dad At Home" by Ed Gorman
"Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot" by Bill Walker
"In the Best Stories" by Norman Prentiss
"Poetic Justice" by William F. Nolan
"Dust" by Brian Keene
"The Deer of St. Bart's" by Bev Vincent
"The Man in the Other Car" by Al Sarrantonio
"Liturgical Music For Nihilists" a novella by Brian Hodge
Check it out at Shocklines.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Oh, my fine feathered fiends, I've left you another juicy morsel over at The Horror Library Blog-O-Rama. Don't miss my completely unscientific theory of why horror writers are such "nice guys!"
Take a Ride a ride on the darkside and explore a Cure for Our Jekyll and Hyde!
See you there!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
John Lennon - Born October 9, 1940
John was killed December 8, 1980
Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try,
No hell below us, above us only sky.
Imagine all the people living for today...
Imagine there's no countries, it isnt hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for, no religion too.
Imagine all the people living life in peace...
Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will live as one.
--John Lennon 1971
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
When you're in need of a little giggle to lighten the load, always turn to mindless entertainment - my specialty!
The Kitty Cat Dance by Steve Ibsen
Chocolate by VWFD
The Llama Song by Burton Earny
Penguin Calls by Drewmo
My Pie Hole by Norboto
A special thanks to my mindlessly entertained comrades at the Shocklines Forum for their priceless contributions to this glorious blog entry. David, Thora, Vince and Shannon, I bow to your greatness!
I stole this little tidbit from author, Douglas Clegg
Authors take solace from Wretched Reviews. You're in good company!
"...as unaquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics."
The London Critic review of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass
Want more solace, go to Wretched Reviews and bathe in the sweet revenge of successful writers. And hey, looks like they sell t-shirts, if you want a daily reminder that the critics are often WRONG.
PS - I promise I'm not selling this stuff. I just thought it was cool. But heck, you're welcome to send me money anytime you want.
Monday, December 05, 2005
"The Salt Lake County Library System and Biting Dog Press have teamed up to present nationally known authors in an online chat. Whether you like a little romance or humor or horror, there will be something for everyone."
From the horror series, J.A. Konrath, author of Bloody Mary, will be chatting tonight at 9PM Eastern US Time. Tamara Thorne is appearing next Monday, December 12th, same Bat time, same Bat channel. Check it! The rest of the horror author schedule can be found at Author Chats.
To access the chat tonight at 9PM, Click Here.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Click here for a quick ride to The Horror Library Blog-O-Rama!
Also, CHAT TONIGHT 9:00 Eastern at The Red Light District with Dave Dinsmore from Biting Dog Press. Go to The Red Light District and Click On, Join Live Chat in the top left corner. Dave's a great guy and can answer your questions about the small press publishing world and lots of other juicy topics. Be sure to drop by and get your chat on!
Saturday, December 03, 2005
A nice addition to The Million Dollar Experiement is Go Gratitude. It starts with a short flash presentation. If you're curious and choose to move past the flash stage, you'll be rewarded with this simply symbol to use as a reminder of how powerful gratitude is when seeking to manifest change or abundance in your life.
I was one of the curious ones, always game to learn something new about the power of intention, so I signed up for the daily email that would provide more insight into the symbol and into the process of living with Gratitude. I'm on day four of the messages and I haven't been disappointed. Nothing is being sold. No money is being requested, just a good idea and a suggestion to keep your mind and spirit open to something different and potentially life changing. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most profound and powerful.
Curious? Check out Go Gratitude and let me know what you think. Turn on your sound for the full effect.