29 January 2007

Where Have All the Attractive, Slightly Unhinged Men Gone?

Let me just direct you to Romancing the Tome's wonderful post on the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Eyre that concluded last night. I heartily agree with all their sentiments. And I have to admit I did throw a small internal temper tantrum last night about not having my own Mr. Rochester.

22 January 2007

Add It To The Wishlist

Last night I watched the Masterpiece Theatre presentation of Jane Eyre on PBS. Even though there were differences from the book and it wasn't a strict interpretation, I highly recommend all you Bronte lovers check out the second installment next Sunday at 8pm on PBS. And I really have to try and NOT order the DVD until I have an actual paycheck.

18 January 2007

Hero Worship

I admit that when it comes to people -- especially people in politics -- I am a skeptic, if not a full-blown cynic. I have been burned before by those who showed promise but failed to follow through. I was the ten year-old who begged her parents to let her stay up to hear the 1988 presidential election results and danced in her pajamas in the kitchen when it was announced that George H.W. Bush had won. I don’t remember following the election closely, but I do remember hearing about it from my parents, so I think I was glad that “our” team had won. I did vote for George W. Bush in 2000, a decision that haunts me to this day. So my relationship with people in politics usually involves my being disappointed or becoming disillusioned. Perhaps this is because I expect too much, or see politics as a dirty business in which power more often than not corrupts those who have been given it. Either way, I don’t like to get my hopes up around election times.

Which brings me to Barack Obama. I was very impressed with his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and further articles I read about him did little change my initial impression. I haven’t followed his career in the Senate vote-by-vote, but I have kept track of him and his ideas and views. I liked what I heard. Finally, after seeing him on several shows promoting his book The Audacity of Hope, and with the persistent possibility of his candidacy for president, I decided to pick it up and read it. I wanted to see what he had to say for his time in the Senate and for his hopes for the United States. What I found was a lot of common sense. I find his writing to be very honest and polite. He registers dislike, sometimes hearty dislike, for the current Administration’s policies and for major tenets of the Republican platform without being rude or launching personal attacks against the major players. He is not above complimenting them on doing something right. He admits to problems in the Democratic Party’s platform and policies, as well. I don’t always agree with his prescriptions for issues, but I find his arguments well thought out and logical. And a majority of the time, I do agree with him.

What I like most is his ability to engender hope and possibility. Far too often, from either side of the U.S. political spectrum, we hear gloom and doom, either/or thinking that, for at least the past decade, has not helped this country in the slightest. Regardless of what side of the aisle you are on, what party (if any) you adhere to, or what direction you think the nation should go in, read his book The Audacity of Hope. I don’t care if you end up disliking the man more than when you started the book, but the odds of him being a presidential candidate are high and you, as a citizen, need to know what the candidates are saying. This is what Senator Obama is saying about himself and about where he thinks the country needs to be going. And I like what he is saying.

11 January 2007

Oddly Exciting

It was announced today that David Beckham is leaving Real Madrid and has signed a 5-year contract to play for the Major League Soccer team L.A. Galaxy. Generally such sports announcements don't really rate a reaction from me, but this news excited me. I like soccer, but really don't have the time, energy, or patience to follow anything but the World Cup. However, seven and a half years ago, I lived in London for four short, glorious months and he played for Manchester United and was just beginning his climb to the superstardom he enjoys today. So my memories about London are inextricably linked with the idea of David Beckham. Plus, I think he is an excellent player. Finally, the signing of such a star to an American soccer league kind of blew my mind. In my compartmentalized head, it is akin to Tony Blair accepting a seat in the U.S. Senate. Two worlds, although similar and connected, are colliding.

Sure, there are some downsides, like the fact that the Beckhams will now be a prime target for the U.S. paparazzi and tabloids, which means I will be sick of the sight of them in six months to a year. It also means that Beckham is getting older and his career is waning. He is still an excellent player, but I think most people would agree the best is probably behind him. It was a brilliant strategic move, career-wise, as he becomes the hero of a new, growing league rather than making way for new, younger up-and-comers in Europe. But even with all that cynical analysis, I'm still giddy. David Beckham is playing in the U.S.!

10 January 2007

Movie Rec

This past weekend Miss Parker and I went to see Dreamgirls and were blown away. We are both fans of the Motown sound and movie musicals, so we were pretty sure that we would like the film but it was above and beyond our expectations.

Everyone involved does excellent work. I never really cared one way or another about Beyonce, but she does an excellent job, which you don't really recognize until her solo near the end of the movie. However, the most amazing performances come from Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy.

I remember being impressed by Jennifer Hudson's voice when she was on American Idol a few years ago, but she so totally embodies her character and is such a vocal powerhouse that I felt like giving her a standing ovation at least twice during the film. And I don't give standing ovations freely.

Eddie Murphy is known for comedy so humorous moments in the film were expected. However, it is his portrayal of a man fighting against being a has-been, a man who is flawed and self-destructive but still hoping for a better future that surprised me. And I think the depths of his expressiveness will surprise you too.

So, if you enjoy great music and good storytelling, I would definitely recommend seeing this movie. Oh, and fans of The Office, keep an eye out for a cameo by John Krasinski!

08 January 2007

The New Year

I've never been very good at the New Year's resolution thing, and since this year's resolutions are pretty much the same as last year's, I won't bore you with them. Maybe I'll just give you an update on the progress I made last year and where I'm going.

-- Still haven't finished Jesus the Christ, although I did start. I checked it out from the library and renewed it as many times as they allowed but still didn't get past page 200. So here's to starting again!

-- I'm halfway to my weight-loss goal and now that I don't have to be in an office for 8 hours a day, I should really go the rest of the way. On the plus side, I did walk to the Gateway to do some shopping and spent 1/2 an hour on the treadmill today. Working out is a lot easier when you are watching Ellen. Plus, no one is in the gym at 4 in the afternoon.

-- The whole unemployment thing really put a halt to the whole Get Out of (Car) Debt thing, but at least I can still make the car payments.

-- Ditto on the financial savvy. Although I did manage to transfer the 401k to an IRA, so three cheers to me. And to Rusty the financial advisor at Washington Mutual.

-- I decided my bliss is to be a published author and I now have 7 pages and 3/4 of an outline for a novel. Plus, I picked up the 2007 edition of the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market today at Barnes & Noble. It is a handbook on how to get published and has lists of literary agents and publishers etc. Can't wait to dive in!

-- I actually made a couple new friends this year which is great and takes a lot of doing. I have also attended a few select church activities, which is really out of my comfort zone.

-- I have been learning some basic computer stuff, like the rudiments of HTML and Quickbooks, which has been interesting. Still haven't found the funds for community classes or the dedication to regularly attend Institute, but it will happen.

-- Still a horrific journal keeper, but I did write on the blog fairly regularly, also the previously mentioned embryonic novel.

-- I did go through my closet a couple of times this year, mostly to weed out things that just didn't fit anymore (yay!) but I still own 5 black skirts so I'm sure I could improve. I am facing a move in about 5 weeks, so maybe I'll work a little harder at this.

-- The unemployment issue, plus some other personal crises, did nothing to improve the Worst-Case Scenario habit, nor lower the stress levels, but I have, little by little, learned what is important and what is not and some things I have just stopped obsessing about. Maybe that is the whole point.

As I look back, not bad. A little progress in most areas is something to be proud about, right? So here's to 2007. May it be a better year than 2006.

03 January 2007


On the advice of family and friends, I have come to the painful decision not to post any more parts of my story/potential novel online. I've heard from several sources, simultaneously, that it is good enough for someone to steal, although I don't know if I believe that. Also, I would never accuse any of you dear readers of thinking so maliciously. However, I think those sources might be on to something. Those of you I know personally, I will be more than happy to share the story privately. Although since I will be making a bunch of life changing decisions, like where to live and what to do with my life, in the next six weeks, it might be a while before I get back to it. I hope you all understand.