Sunday, October 29, 2006

Spoiler-Free Movie Review: SAW III

Those of you who have been reading me for a while know that I am a big fan of the Saw movies. So naturally, the Hub and I had to hit the latest install, SAW III, on opening night this past Friday. Neither of us as a rule are fans of multi-sequels ... Almost always, the Hollywood movie machine will drive a concept so far into the ground that it's ruined beyond salvation - particularly with horror films. Once scary plots become predictable and stupid, and once terrifying monstermen become campy charicatures of their original selves while doling out gratuitous cheesy bloodbaths.

Allow me to say that Saw III is the best one yet.

Yes, it's gory. Extremely gory. Hub and I are both seasoned horror flick fans, and this chapter had both of us squirming and wincing. I even found myself looking away in a few parts. But I love the Saw movies because they are way more than sick graphic slash. The base stories and intricacies are deep, and Saw III took the cake. Layer upon layer of plot twist - darkly brilliant in its perfect factoring. And interestingly, an underlying moral.

Saw III is horror as horror should be done.

Now before all you guys who aren't into gory scary stuff poo-pooh me, I will say resoundingly, this is not a type of movie for everyone. If you don't like this genre, by all means, don't go see it. But if you like movies that make you think - evaluate - your life and your choices, while having the bejeebers creeped out of you, this is the movie for you. The Saw Trilogy, particularly Saw III, may be tasteless ;) but not mindless. You will think about its lessons for days.

You may even walk out with an epiphany.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

A very special tradition was started in my home this week. Hub, Incrediboy and I made our first jack-o-lantern as a family. It was an emotional journey at times … Hub picked out the huge, most perfectly perfect pumpkin out of a thousand last weekend and we brought it home. I scrubbed the crud off of it and set up our dining table with newspapers, spoons, knives, and a huge bowl. Incrediboy was very excited about all the commotion. But when I went to draw a face on it, he began putting together what was about to happen and got very upset. Cutting up his precious pumpkin was NOT on his itinerary.

Being that we didn’t want to traumatize the boy, we stopped - and thought it best to let the concept sink in. And the next day, just like that, Incrediboy had made his peace and was ready to proceed.

We couldn’t get to the project again until last night, but we did continue on. Hub cut a lid in the big gourd and Incrediboy was very interested in the stringy stuff inside. After we loosened up all the goop, scooping it out was about the coolest thing he’d ever heard of, and he really enjoyed helping us with that. Hub helped, and I helped, and we alternated taking pictures as good doting parents do. We all had a ball.

When the pumpkin was cleaned out, we set it aside to dry a little bit and I separated the seeds from the goop. Then we spread them out on a pizza pan and made toasted pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Tonight we carve the face, and Incrediboy couldn’t be more jazzed. He told Grandma all about it when I dropped him off this morning, and has informed us he wants to be a pumpkin for Halloween. (Too bad I already got his costume!)

This whole project has been exceptionally delicious to me. Not just because I love introducing new fun traditional things that we can all do together, but because this pumpkin project isn’t just Incrediboy’s first. We never carved pumpkins when I was a kid. I don’t really know why, but I can guess it was a variety of reasons. But the main reason, I figure, was because my folks were never really big on doing anything that would lead to a big mess. Long story short, this is my first jack-o-lantern too.

Hub is a wonderfully fun person. He’s pretty big on holiday traditions loves doing those kinds of things. He’s also fun to be around – very animated and funny and silly. I’m so glad he is a fan of pumpkin carving, or else I’d probably never bother. I didn’t know what I was missing, you know? But now I know. Why we hadn’t done one in the previous 10 Halloweens together I can’t tell you, but it doesn’t matter. I’m glad we didn’t, because it made this one the most special pumpkin in the world. Because best of all, Incrediboy and I got to share a “my-first-time” experience together, which I figure is something that won’t happen too often.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Give Me Some Tongue

My boss is from the old country, and still has family back there. On occasion, he'll call them from the office and have a nice chat with them. I love to listen in. I have no idea what they're talking about - He speaks in Italian to them, and I don't understand Italian any more than I do ancient Sumerian. But it doesn't matter. It's beautiful sounding, and I love to listen. His mediterranean dialect dances with ease and comfort, and without a moment's concentration on his part. He is in his element, his native tongue, and he wears it like a comfortable shirt.

The last time such a call took place and I enjoyed the mere sound of it once again, I got to thinking how underratedly remarkable language is. These weren't just beautiful sounds I was listening to. Just random phonetic notes in a song. This was an intricate exchange, just as I had with my co-workers, friends and loved ones every day in English without a thought about what I'm doing or how it happens.

My boss came to America 50 years ago. He spoke little English and hung a lot with a circle of fellow immigrants. In time he learned the language, married and American woman, and ultimately bought the company which took him in. Throughout it all, he stayed tight with his immigrant Italian community, and his buddies have often stopped in the office for an impromptu visit. I have witnessed them all switch back and forth between Italian and English as if they were the same. It fascinates me.

I asked my boss once about a ponderable that had come across my strange thought processes. I asked if when he thinks things to himself, does his "thinking voice" use Italian or English. He told me he used to think in Italian, but now thinks in English. This, too, fascinated me to no end. Where is the point where your entire subconscious switches from one tongue, your native tongue, to another?

Imagine being plopped into a completely unfamiliar country which implements a language of which you have no experience. It would be difficult to interact ... but in time, chances are you could figure things out and even become quite proficient in speaking the language that is now the main communication in your world. I know you'll all call me a nerd, but man that is cool.

More astonishing yet, is watching it happen from square one. Not long ago, Incrediboy communicated only in cries. Then squeaks and grunts, then basic noises - mostly vowels - slightly resembling syllables, and on to rudimentary words. Suddenly he can hold entire conversations, exchange thoughts, absorb concepts.

Have you thought about how incredible it really is, that we can learn not just one language but two - or three - or even more? Is that amazing or what? That ANY one of us can do this?

I love the fact that humans have developed complicated patterns of language, and that they are used without effort. I love the way that even a language not learned until comparatively later in life can become second nature.

I know, I think too much about goofy stuff. But I can't help myself. Admit it, you missed it ;).

I'm feeling better, BTW. Many thanks to all of you who left get-well wishes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ugh and Argh

I'm sick, so I'm probably going to be short on words for a while.

Meanwhile, check out this cool book my guys got for me. Guess what I'll have my nose buried in as I recover. :)

Cool, huh? Aren't my guys GREAT to me?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Top 5 Things Learned at Blogarita

5. .... A woman who is immeasurably cheap when buying scrapbooking embellishments in her hometown will allow money to fly out of her wallet at the scrapbook store if in another city.

4. .... Playing Balderdash after killing a bottle of butter shots is about the funniest thing ever.

3. .... Stifling laughter can make some people fart.

2. .... Cowtipping is a farce - cows sleep laying down.

1. .... Cellophaning a garage door is harder than you think.

Hi Honeys, I'm home! I had so much fun with mah girls ... and I miss them all terribly! I have a picture of the four of us at my desk now. I don't know if it makes it better or worse. <:)

More later!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


After work today, I'm off to the Festiva! Don't wait up!

Until my return, I thought I'd present this old favorite delicacy for your upcoming Halloween siorees. This is for you, especially, Tracy. :)



1 (18 oz.) box German Chocolate Cake mix
1 (18 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1 pkg. white sandwich cookies
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
12 small Tootsie Rolls
1 litter box (a NEW one!)
1 plastic cat box scoop (a NEW one!)
green food coloring

Prepare cake mixes and bake according to directions (any size pans). Prepare pudding mix and chill until ready to assemble. Crumble white sandwich cookies in small batches in blender. (or just smash them up in a big baggie with a rolling pin). Set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, add a few drops green food coloring and mix using a fork or shake in a jar.

When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble into a large bowl. Toss with half the remaining white cookie crumbs and the chilled pudding. NOTE: You probably won't need all of the pudding, mix with the cake and 'feel' it, you don't want it soggy, just moist; gently combine. Put mixture into clean new litter box.

Put three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until soft and pliable. Shape ends so they are no longer blunt, curving slightly (I'll just say it - so they resemble poop). Repeat with 3 more Tootsie rolls and bury in mixture. Sprinkle the other half of cookie crumbs over top. Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly over the top, this is supposed to look like the chlorophyll in kitty litter. repeat with remaining Tootsie Rolls, place them on top of the cake and sprinkle with cookie crumbs. You might even want to drape an oops-poop over an edge of the pan for effect (see photo). Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around. Serve with a clean new pooper scooper.

Kids LOVE this grossout dessert, and if you can actually get people to try it, it tastes good. Either way though, it's sure to be a hit and talked about for ages to come.

Enjoy the cake! Hasta luigi!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When it absolutely positively has to get LOST

I try not to bad mouth directly here. But I’m mad at a certain shipping company and I need to gripe. So we’ll give them a pseudo name. We’ll call them Fad Ax.

I hate Fad Ax.

I was going to explain in maddening detail but I think I’ll spare you. Let’s just say I ordered a really neat gift for a certain someonaive that I won’t name, because it’s her birthday in like a week and a half. I wanted to take it with me to Blogarita Festiva and time is running out. So I tracked it and lo & behold Fad Ax says it was delivered to me on September 29th.

They lie.

Hm? Oh, I know, I already thought of that. But we live on a back road, and the package was supposedly delivered at dusk. Hub was working outside first thing the next morning and didn’t see it. It’s highly unlikely someone swiped it in the pitch black of BFE.

Yeah, I thought of that, too. But if they’d left it with a neighbor, a.) our neighbors would have let us know, 2.) Fad Ax would SHOULD have left a sticker, and c.) they shouldn’t have said they left it on my porch. So as I see it, it’s their problem, not mine. SO. I have made it my mission du jour to call and harass everyone I can get ahold of and I practically have the freaking national guard looking for this package. I called the vendor and told on them, too.

Fad Ax hates me. I don’t care. I hate them back right now. They’re the ones who hang their hat on being so reliable and dependable. I’m probably only one in a scrillion cases who got the shaft. But to me, that’s the one that counts. Buttholes.

In case I don’t have a chance to post again, y’all know where I’ll be this weekend. WOOT! I can’t wait.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Night Vision

MBDog likes to cruise the property when the weather is nice, which is great unless you’re in a hurry. Therefore, we take him out on a leash in the mornings before work. This little routine often affords me a few minutes of peace and reflection as I stand in the clean early air. Often it’s the only quiet time of my day. But lately I rush through these moments just like all the others, barely noticing their passing.

I took MBDog out the other morning and looked up at the sky, more than anything to see if it was cloudy and try to gauge the day’s weather. There was indeed a cover of clouds across the sky … all except one spot. A perfect window right around the constellation of Orion. The edges of the window even followed the lines of the constellation in perfect increment – and I was there to see it at just the ideal time. It was as if God were reminding me of this night, when I took the time to absorb the experience. I used to take notice of so many things like that … I smiled wistfully, wondering why I didn’t do so anymore.

The following morning, I took MBDog out and looked up again. The sky was clear, without so much as a wisp of a cloud, and the stars stabbed through the black velvet night. So many stars. I’d somehow halfway forgotten how many stars there are above our country home, far from city lights, and I wondered how they’d been hiding from me.

Part of it had to do with that sun rising earlier in the summertime – for a good part of the fair seasons, dawn is breaking as we get ready for our days. But we often take MBDog out on his leash right before bed, at which time it is always night.

Then I realized, we usually have the flood lights on. Part of our security system for the back of the property and around the barn consists of flood lights. They are bright enough to light the whole area around our house, and in turn, bright enough to obscure the eyes from picking up subtle starlight. Stargazing on our deck with the floods on is akin to stargazing in the city – the views gets lost in the noise of artificial light.

That morning, the floods were off. I had not turned any lights on at all, and my eyes were perfectly adjusted to the darkness. It was then that the canopy of stars sang down to me, and I could see their music. For the first time in quite a while.

I’ve been feeling down for a long time, for no good reason. The summer has passed in a busy yet nondescript blur – I have few memories of the season at all. My quiet moment in the pre-dawn darkness under the stars the other morning got me thinking that maybe it’s the blinding wash of routine and hustle that is fading out the dainty sparkle of each day's joy.

The stars aren't hiding from me, I just can't see them. The flood lights stewing in my head are too bright, and are giving me life blindness.

I don’t know where the switch is, but I need to seek it out, find it, and turn it off for a period of time each day. Then just settle myself, allowing my heart and mind’s eyes to adjust – away from the brightness, so I can again relish the blessings of my wonderful family, my dear friends, my great job and rewarding hobbies. So I can again see the subtle beauty of each moment.

So I can reconnect with God as He tries to reconnect with me.