Big List of Things I Like

Posted for no apparent reason, except that I needed a pick-me-up because it’s been a crappy week. Feel free to add your own list in the comments.

My Girlfriend

The Spikel Monster

Monkeys, especially:
– Curious George
– Hanuman
– King Kong

Board Games, especially:
Dave, the Computer Table
– from Ikea, this laptop table is awesome.
Big Things
Volkswagen Microbuses
Tinfoil Hats
Paper Craft
View-Master Viewers

Old Advertising Murals

Zoltar, and other Fortune Teller Machines

Victorian Houses
The Winchester Mystery House

Food and Drink

Diet Dr. Pepper
Bengal Spice tea
Caesar Salad from Bravo
Crab Rangoon from Mandarin House
Chicken Piccata/Chicken with lemon butter and capers
Crab Cakes from Oceanaire
Prime Rib from Colorado Steakhouse (its all about the perfect horseradish sauce)
My Mom’s Lasagna (which is really Better Homes and Gardens)

Words and Authors

Books in General
Jane Austen
P.G. Wodehouse
Georgette Heyer (a guilty pleasure)
Umberto Eco
Good Slash Fiction (oooooooooo la la)
Bad Fan Fiction (like watching a train wreck where nobody gets hurt, but there’s lots of noise and smashing)

Geek Things

Kinetic Sculptures
Old Clocks
Weather Vanes
Lightning Rods
Windmills and Wind Turbines

The Internets
Apple Macintosh
Think Geek
American Science and Surplus
Action Figures

Sports Stuff

Water Aerobics
Adult Tricycles (I have no idea why)


Auntie Mame
Fight Club
Alfred Hitchcock
Jimmy Stewart
Cary Grant
Audrey Hepburn
Kate Hepburn


Veronica Mars
Grey’s Anatomy


I hate to even get started, the list is too long

Continue ReadingBig List of Things I Like

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
Water for Elephants
21-year-old Jacob Jankowski is studying veterinary medicine in 1931, in the depths of the Great Depression, when his parents are killed in an auto accident. Jacob discovers they had mortgaged their lives to fund his schooling, and he is now penniless. Reeling from grief, he walks away from his final exams and drops out of school. While casting about for a job, he stumbles into a position as a vet for a third-rate traveling circus, and the wild adventure of his life begins. He soon falls in love with Marlena, the beautiful animal stunt rider, and at the same time must protect the animals in his care from the sadistic cruelty of Marlena’s circus boss husband.

My mom gave Water For Elephants to me for Christmas, so it was one of the first things I wanted to read this year. I loved it – Gruen’s writing is smooth and fluid, and her detailed research on circus life during the Depression immerses you in the scene, and Jacob’s fascinating life carries you along.

It’s on the New York Times bestseller list, and it’s not surprising why; it’s a great read.

Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

Continue ReadingWater for Elephants

Book Review – Rough Magicke

Rough Magicke
Rough Magicke
Author John Houghton sets his novel Rough Magicke in northwest Indiana, in the fictional county of Annandale originally created by classic Hoosier author Meredith Nicholson in the novel The House of a Thousand Candles – the locale corresponds pretty closely to the city of Culver, Indiana, a town nestled in around Lake Maxinkuckee, south of Valparaiso and South Bend.

Our protagonist is Father Jonathan Mears — the chaplain of the fictional Annandale Military Academy (modeled after real-life Culver Academy), an establishment he graduated from himself years before, along with his brother Dan. The Mears family are generations-old residents of Annandale, though their old family homestead burned down a few decades ago.

When Father Mears stumbles across a witches’ coven conducted by some of the students of his academy, his own family’s long dormant history of witchcraft and his own supernatural talents come to the surface. Because he’s a devout Anglican, he devotes his use of these magic talents to his religion, essentially acting as a “good witch” and servant of God. Joining forces with his brother, neice and a distant cousin who also have supernatural talents, Father Mears combats sinister magical forces at work against his family, his beloved Academy and against the community. He also faces some who have difficulty understanding his unique fusion of witchcraft and Christianity.

Father Mears is a funny, cheerful and self-confident guy who carries the story along with some twists and surprises, and Annadale Military Academy and it’s denizens have quite a life of their own as well, although the young male students seem to have a few more snappy comebacks and witty remarks than I’ve ever seen in real-life teenagers. One character that’s left too much in the shadows is the brother Daniel Mears, who seems only roughly sketched out considering his role in some of the plot.

Houghton makes great use of the Indiana landscape through the story; natives of northwest Indiana will feel at home driving around the countryside, and alumni of Culver Academy probably get quite a kick out of the large role their alma mater plays in the book.

In all Rough Magicke is a pleasant, nicely-spun set of tales – the novel has three well-rounded parts which could stand on their own, although to his credit Houghton didn’t follow the lead of other fantasy authors in creating a drawn-out trilogy when he could pack all the surprises into one book. On the other hand – be aware it is quite a long book, at that.

Rough Magicke
by John William Houghton

Continue ReadingBook Review – Rough Magicke

10 Dating Tips By Way of Hollywood

author unknown

1. People Who Hate Each Other on Sight Usually End Up Falling in Love ("The Way We Were," "Titanic," most Astaire/Rogers movies). Actually, people who hate each other when they first meet usually work very hard to avoid each other in the future. And if you ever really tried the sort of things Hollywood calls "meeting cute" – mixed-up luggage, mistaken identities, fender-benders – you wouldn’t end up at a table for two, but in court.

2. If the Person Isn’t Interested – Or Loses Interest – Pursue Them Twice as Hard (see above). Screenwriters must love this one – scenes of rejected suitors (chiefly men) showing up with picket signs, camping outside suburban homes with boomboxes or lying in wait by office buildings are in everything from silent comedies to "Say Anything." In Hollywood, this dedication marks you as a sensitive soul and often results in true love. In real life, of course, it marks you as a stalker and usually results in a restraining order.

3. If You’re a Man, Try Pretending You’re Gay – Women Will Become Instantly Intrigued ("A Very Special Favor," "Three to Tango"). No, not really. They may, however, quiz you on the latest Hollywood gossip, beg for exfoliating tips or ask if those tangerine capris make their butts look big. No, tell the truth. Do they, really?

4. If You’re Gay, Don’t Worry About Approaching That Straight Person -He/She Is Latently Gay Anyway, and Will End Up Thanking You ("Bedrooms and Hallways," "Claire of the Moon," almost any other indie movie). No, not really. They may, however, end up turning red, pouring their drink in your lap or punching you in the nose.

5. Looks Are Unimportant to Most Women, As Long as You’re Funny ("The Graduate," "The Tao of Steve"). A firmly cherished belief, particularly among lumpy studio executives who think they get all those dates because they’re charming. Somewhat true in real life, although it should be pointed out that Woody Allen is not just funny, but very funny – and also, conveniently, rich.

6. Looks Are Unimportant to Most Men, as Long as You’ve Got a Good Personality ("Frankie and Johnny," "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"). Actually, even Hollywood doesn’t really believe this – they know they’re shallow. Which is why, although the homely guys in their movies are always played by homely guys, the plain gals are always played by really attractive women in sloppy clothes. And a polyester waitress uniform still didn’t make Michelle Phiffer any less gorgeous.

7. Upper-class Gentlemen Are Secretly Attracted to Real, Working-Class Gals Who Show Them How to Have Fun ("Pretty Woman," "Working Girl"). Undoubtedly true if that gentleman is 103 and the real, working-class gal is Anna Nicole Smith. But, unfortunately, nothing to count on – unless you look the way Anna Nicole Smith used to and really want to date 103-year-old men.

8. Upper-class Ladies Are Secretly Attracted to Real, Working-Class Guys Who Show Them "What It Means to Be a Woman" ("Woman of the Year," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"). Possibly true for brief periods of time, particularly if it’s the last night of her Jamaican getaway, and you’re a tight young hardbody. But just because it worked for Taye Diggs doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.

9. Breakups Are Inevitable But Can Usually Be Resolved by Chasing the Other Person Down the Street or Embarrassing Them at Work ("Love With the Proper Stranger," "An Officer and a Gentleman," "love jones"). Actually, that’s more likely to result in another one of those restraining orders. See Lie No. 2.

10. On the Rare Chance You Really Break Up, When You Finally Part for Good – Or Meet Again Later – You’ll Share a Significant, Bittersweet Moment ("The Way We Were," "Now, Voyager," "Casablanca"). Extremely doubtful, really, compared to the chance that you’ll share a few flung insults, or dishes. As a highly impressionable film fan, though, there’s an excellent chance you will trudge home in a foul mood, open up a pint of ale or ice cream and watch more movies – and wonder, once again, why your love life can’t match them quite so neatly.

Continue Reading10 Dating Tips By Way of Hollywood

Movie Quotes Meme

Grabbed this meme from a variety of places, including X-Tra Rant, Torpor Indy, Radical Druid, Legal Quandary, etc.
Here are the rules:
A. Pick 11 of your favorite movies.
B. Then pick one of your favorite quotes from each movie.
C. Post the quotes in your journal.
D. Have those on your friends list guess what the movie is.
E. Either strike out the quote once it has been correctly identified or place the guesser’s user name directly after the quote.
F. Extra points for knowing the actor or character’s name.

1. “I just love books. They’re so decorative.”
(Auntie Mame. Rachel got the movie, but no extra points.)
2. It’s just, when you buy furniture, you tell yourself, that’s it. That’s the last sofa I’m gonna need. Whatever else happens, I’ve got that sofa problem handled.
(Fight Club, Narrator/Edward Norton. Dustin, +1)
3. It should take you exactly four seconds to cross from here to that door. I’ll give you two.
(Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly/Audrey Hepburn. Torpor Indy, +1)
4. You know how someone’s appearance can change the longer you know them? How a really attractive person, if you don’t like them, can become more and more ugly; whereas someone you might not have even have noticed… that you wouldn’t look at more than once, if you love them, can become the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. All you want to do is be near them.
(The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Brian/Ben Chaplin. Lori, +1. )
5. We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their own house and look in for a change. Yes sir. How’s that for a bit of homespun philosophy?
(Rear Window, Stella/Thelma Ritter. No one got this.)
6. I don’t like Visigoths. Tomorrow, we’ll get sign: “No Spiders or Visigoths Allowed.”
(Life is Beautiful, Guido Orefice/Roberto Benigni. No one got this.)
7. When a woman’s got a husband, and you’ve got none, why should she take advice from you? Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare and all them other high-falutin’ Greeks.
(The Music Man, Mrs. Paroo/Pert Kelton. Kellie, +1)
8. Up until now everything around here has been, well, pleasant. Recently certain things have become unpleasant. Now, it seems to me that the first thing we have to do is to separate out the things that are pleasant from the things that are unpleasant.
(Pleasantville, Big Bob/J.T. Walsh. Jason +1.)
9. I have reached the end of your book and… there are so many things that I need to ask you. Sometimes I’m afraid of what you might tell me. Sometimes I’m afraid that you’ll tell me that this is not a work of fiction. I can only hope that the answers will come to me in my sleep. I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.
(Donnie Darko, Donnie/Jake Gyllenhaal. Stallio!, +1)
10. All these neat, little houses and all these nice, little streets… It’s hard to believe that something’s wrong with some of those little houses.
(All the President’s Men, Carl Bernstein, Dustin Hoffman. Dustin, +1)
11. I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! (This ones a gimme, because I’m nice like that.)
(The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy/Judy Garland. Rachel +1)

Continue ReadingMovie Quotes Meme

Books to Read Before You Die

The British librarian’s organization — “Museum, Libraries and Archives Council” — has put together a List of Books to Read Before You Die.

I have a pretty good start on the list. Of the ones I haven’t read yet, I have four on my bookshelves at home, so I’ll probably get to them someday.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. The Bible
  3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  8. All Quite on the Western Front by E M Remarque
  9. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
  10. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
  11. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  12. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  13. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  14. Tess of the D’urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
  15. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
  16. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  17. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
  18. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  19. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  20. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  22. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
  23. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  24. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  25. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  26. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  27. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  28. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  29. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  30. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzenhitsyn
Continue ReadingBooks to Read Before You Die

Star Wars… Pants?

Lines from Star Wars that can be improved if you substitute the word "Pants" for key words.

We’ve got to be able to get some reading on those pants, up or down.

The pants may not look like much, kid, but they’ve got it where it counts.

I find your lack of pants disturbing.

Many Bobans died to bring us these pants.

These pants contain the ultimate power in the Universe. I suggest we use it.

Storm Trooper Bio-break
Storm Trooper Bio-break

Han will have those pants down. We’ve got to give him more time!

General Veers, prepare your pants for a ground assault.

I used to bulls-eye womp rats in my pants back home.

TK-421… Why aren’t you in your pants?

Lock the door. And hope they don’t have pants.

You are unwise to lower your pants.

She must have hidden the plans in her pants. Send a detachment down to retrieve them. See to it personally Commander.

Governor Tarkin. I recognized your foul pants when I was brought on board.

You look strong enough to pull the pants off a Gundark.

Luke… Help me remove these pants.

Great, Chewie, great. Always thinking with your pants.

That blast came from those pants. That thing’s operational!

Luke…..I am your pants.

A tremor in the pants. The last time I felt this was in the presence of my old master.

Don’t worry. Chewie and I have gotten into a lot of pants more heavily guarded than this.

Maybe you’d like it back in your pants, your highness.

Luke, search your pants. You know it is true.

Your pants betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially one… Your sister!

Jabba doesn’t have time for smugglers who drop their pants at the first sign of an Imperial Cruiser.

Short pants is better than no pants at all.

Continue ReadingStar Wars… Pants?

More Things I Learned From The Movies


If a tapping sound or flashing light represents morse code, there’s always someone around that can interpret the message. When Morse Code is used, the interpreter will call out words as they are being sent, rather than letters. Furthermore, a single word is represented by a few "beeps", and all words are sent at the same rate, no matter how long the word is. Example:

beep-beep-be-beep… "Help…"
be-be-beep beep… "Us…."
beep-be-be-beep beep… "We’re…"
beep beep-be-beep… "Surrounded…"
be-beep beep beep… "Send…"
be-be-be-beep beep… "Reinforcements…"
beep be-beep beep… "Hurry…" etc.

A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.

Continue ReadingMore Things I Learned From The Movies

Things I Learned From Movies

When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of year.

All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets which reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to the waist level on the man lying beside her.

The Chief of Police will almost always suspend his star detective – or give him 48 hours to finish the job.

All grocery bags contain at least one stick of French Bread.

Continue ReadingThings I Learned From Movies