Thursday, August 31, 2006

Whoo hoo! I'm off to meet a friend in LA and go see the Foo Fighters at the Pantages!

I’ve got another confession to make
I’m your fool
Everyone’s got their chains to break
Holdin’ you

Were you born to resist or be abused?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

Are you gone and onto someone new?
I needed somewhere to hang my head
Without your noose
You gave me something that I didn’t have
But had no use
I was too weak to give in
Too strong to lose
My heart is under arrest again
But I break loose
My head is giving me life or death
But I can’t choose
I swear I’ll never give in
I refuse

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
You trust, you must
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?


Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
The life, the love
You die to heal
The hope that starts
The broken hearts
You trust, you must

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

I’ve got another confession my friend
I’m no fool
I’m getting tired of starting again
Somewhere new

Were you born to resist or be abused?
I swear I’ll never give in
I refuse

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?
Has someone taken your faith?
Its real, the pain you feel
You trust, you must
Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?

I am ready to officially declare my belief that the Angels have no chance to make the play-offs. I've been an Angels fan for more than 30 years, so I have had lots of practice in expecting the worse. The 2002 season changed all that. Now I'm faced with the cruel reality of expecting the team to do well each year, only to see our hopes crushed by the Red Sox, White Sox and A's. This season has been especially frustrating given the stretches where the team has played beautifully, interspersed with play by the Keystone Kops.

I'm just thankful that football season is a few days away, and I can try to build up by vacation cash stash with (hopefully) some wins in the local football pools. Oh and I'm looking forward to the free beer that will be owed to me by my Raider fan friends, when they lose twice this year (again) to the Bolts.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Maybe they should have obtained a DNA sample before the bailed him out of a Thai prison . . .

BOULDER, Colo. - Colorado prosecutors won't charge schoolteacher John Mark Karr with the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey after tests showed his DNA does not match DNA found in her underwear, two local TV stations reported on Monday. Denver's KUSA and KCBS both cited unnamed sources close to the investigation in the reports, which came just hours before Karr, 41, was due for his first Colorado court appearance.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My version of the "Ribbon Tank" from "Hip to Knit". The pattern incorporates shaping by changing needle sizes from 10 to 9 to 8 and then back again, rather than with increases and decreases. It's very stretchy, and has a pretty good fit to it. And now I can cross off "sew up sweater" from my weekend to do list . . .

The last few weeks I've enjoyed lounging around on Sunday morning watching great, old, classic movies on tv. This morning I was lucky enough to find Hitchcock's "Rebecca" with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, and then "The Great Escape" - one of my favorite all-time movies. Besides maybe Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke", I'm hard pressed to think of a cooler movie character than Steve McQueen as Stiltz in the Great Escape. The below reviewer is right - every time I watch this film, and I've seen it more than a dozen times, I keep hoping for a different ending . . .

E-file Movie Reviews nicely summarizes the Great Escape as:

After what seems an eternity of soul-searching, earnest, war-is-hell flicks (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers etc), it would seem insulting to war veterans to make a Boys Own adventure film that makes war out to be as thrilling as 'The Great Escape' does. But it manages to do what is seemingly the impossible: make a thrilling WW2 film that also brings home the horrible, futile cost of war.

'The Great Escape' is one of those movies that you've probably seen a hundred times, but can't stop watching every time it's on to watch all your favourite bits roll out again. And each time you foolishly hope against hope that everyone is going to make it out this time. They won't, but that magical last scene and the superb theme tune from Elmer Bernstein, is testament to their defiance and courage. And that's what 'The Great Escape' is all about.

The lengthy running time also gives plenty of space to characters and make no mistake, Steve McQueen is the Daddy here. From his very strut as he riles Von Luger into giving him 20 days solitary to his nonchalant way of banging his baseball off his cell wall to pass the time, he's the essence of stubborn resistance.James Garner runs him a close second as the charming, light fingered scrounger who forms a touching friendship with the hopelessly out of place Blythe. His defiant defence of his blindness to make sure he goes into the escape tunnel is a special moment.

Coburn and Bronson are also excellent (Bronson's last minute claustrophobia another one of those classic bits that everyone remembers), but it's a shame that the British actors get the more cliched roles. They're very much a public schoolboy set who stand around smoking pipes and tending gardens, while the Americans brew up illegal licqour and play baseball. It's a cliche that was prevalent in every war film up until then, and it's a shame it doesn't try to play against these stereotypes.

It re-inforces the Boys Own feel to the piece, but ultimately it doesn't detract from it.This of course all leads up to the bit that everyone remembers: Steve McQueens legendary motorbike jump as he makes his last desperate bid for freedom into Switzerland. Admittedly with CGI and legions of stunt teams, it may not seem so impressive now but with the story and the character behind it, it still rates as one my greatest ever movie moments. But for all this excitement and showboating, it's largely to unavail as the tragic end looms into view. It's a brave move to end what has been a terrifically entertaining yarn with a sobering end, but this is based on a true story and this is what happened. This is what happens in war.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Blog post to ffleur - thanks for the recomendation of the Fethering Mysteries. I just finished listening to Death on the Downs, Torso in the Town, Murder in the Museum and Hanging in the Hotel - not all at once. :-) (I had 4 credits I needed to use within 30 days!) I haven't yet been able to find the first one, Body on the Beach on, or at Barnes and Noble, but I see Amazon has it.

I like the books, and have enjoyed the development of the characters. I find elements of both Jude and Carole that I relate to, but overall, probably identify more with Jude. It's fun how the author, Simon Brett, reveals bits and pieces of both Jude's and Carole's character and history with each book. So, thanks for turning me on to Simon Brett - it's always fun to discover a new writer. I also downloaded one of his Charles Paris mysteries - have you read any of that series?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Great news to report! I was born and have lived within a few miles of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for most of my life. The battle over the Wetlands raged on for years pitting every major developer in Orange County against the environmentalists who wanted to preserve the Wetlands. The tide turned a few years back, and most of the Wetlands have been preserved and restored, and today another milestone was met - -

As reported by the AP: "HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - The ocean flowed into historic wetlands Thursday for the first time in more than a century after bulldozers peeled back the last layer of an earthen dam.
Environmentalists who worked for 30 years to restore the massive Bolsa Chica area cheered and sipped champagne as the salty water poured into the fragile ecosystem that had been tapped as an oil field for decades.
The event capped a two-year project that cost more than $100 million and shunted a portion of the scenic Pacific Coast Highway onto an overpass.
Officials said it would take at least six hours for the ocean water to fill the 387-acre basin. The area had been separated from the ocean for 107 years.
The eight state and federal agencies involved in the project call it the largest and most ambitious restoration of coastal wetlands in the history of California, where 95 percent of saltwater marshes have been given over to development.
The Bolsa Chica wetlands project is at the cutting edge of a new and evolving science, said Shirley Dettloff, a member of the conservation group Amigos de Bolsa Chica and a former member of the California Coastal Commission.
"Not many wetlands have been restored in the world, especially in an oil field," said Dettloff, who's been fighting for the wetlands for 30 years. "Even we locals sometimes forget that this was the second-largest functioning oil field in the state of California for years, since the 1930s."
The degraded wetlands are already home to 200 species of birds, including six on state or federal lists of endangered and threatened species, said Marc Stirdivant, executive director of Bolsa Chica Land Trust.
Tidal flows and ebbs will fill and drain the basin twice a day, restoring a natural rhythm that should replenish the fragile ecosystem and could attract more species.
The area was connected to the ocean until 1899, when a duck-hunting club diked ponds to make it easier to catch their prey.
At one time, as many as 4,884 homes were proposed on 1,100 acres of the wetlands. The plan was scaled back to 3,300 homes by 1996.
A year later, the state paid $25 million for 880 acres, and that parcel was added to 300 acres that Signal Landmark had given to the state for wetlands preservation in 1973.
Now, homebuilding is confined to the upper mesa area of Bolsa Chica, with a 356-home development under way.
The restoration of the wetlands was partly funded by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to make up for marine habitat that was destroyed during their expansion. The rest of the money came from voter-approved bonds.
The flooding of another 200-acre portion of the wetlands' original footprint is on hold for at least 30 days because an oil company, Aera Energy LLC, believes the work could create an oil spill. Another nearly 400 acres is still being leased from the state by oil companies."


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

If only I was younger, blonder, thinner and richer, I'm pretty sure that Chris Martin would leave Gwyneth for me . . . or at least this is what I like to tell myself. Chris Martin is just the perfect guy - - in a slightly geeky way. He's witty, handsome, tall, articulate, socially conscious, talented, and I love his music. Ok, so I don't have a shot, but I did really enjoy the Coldplay concert last fall at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The one new show I'm excited about on the coming fall schedules is "Smith", the cast is pictured here.

CBS describes the show as: "From the prolific producer John Wells ("ER," "The West Wing") comes the fast-paced drama SMITH, which tracks a diverse crew of career criminals as they plot and carry out high-stakes heists at prominent locations around the country. Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas") stars as the team's no-nonsense leader, looking for that one elusive big haul before going straight--or at least that's what he tells his wife ("Sideways" Oscar® nominee Virginia Madsen). He's walking a tightrope between his present life and the new one they hope is on the horizon. "

I have a huge crush on Simon Baker, (he played the handsome but doomed gay actor in L.A. Confidential and has a great Aussie accent) and I really liked Jonny Lee Miller in "Trainspotting". Even though I once saw Ray Liotta at a Clippers game wearing a mechanic's jumpsuit, I like him too. So my fingers are crossed that it will live up to my expectations.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Why do free things taste best? Today they are handing out free Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the lobby of the building in which I work. I was passing through on my way to buy a Diet Pepsi, and couldn't resist some free ice cream . . .

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hanna made a full recovery from her latest defeat at the hands of the evil, black kitty

I have written before about Hanna's failure to learn that it is a bad idea to try and chase a cat that is lying in wait under a large SUV. This morning she spotted a black kitty who has kicked her ass before, and stuck her head under the car before I realized what was going on - this is the result. This bothered me alot more than it bothered Hanna, who cheerfully returned home with me so that I could clean up her face and check the damage.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Voila! One sock down, one to go

Having recently knitted a couple of summer tank tops for myself, I decided it was time to finally knit some baby socks for a couple of friends at work who have new babies in their lives. Knitting socks is one of my favorite projects; it is almost instant gratification, and I get to make something snuggly for the little ones. The added bonus today was that knitting this (that is the cuff and beginning of the heel flap) kept me from yelling at the tv as the Angels gave up a 3 run lead to Texas. The extra good news is that the Halos came back to win.

Yay! It's tummy rubs for Nanners and Noodles!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Since I became a dog owner, not a day has passed where I haven't been up by 6 or so to walk the dogs. While I do dream of some rainy day staying in bed until 8, there is some advantage to being up early. This morning drinking coffee after our walk, I discovered an Alfred Hitchcock movie I've never seen on Encore - "A Shadow of a Doubt" - described by Netflix as: "Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock directed this tale about Charlie (Teresa Wright), a small-town girl consumed with finding out whether her unhinged Uncle (Joseph Cotton) is a serial killer. The arrival of detectives and a murder-infatuated neighbor (Hume Cronyn) only increase Charlie's paranoia. Tension builds as she draws closer to the truth, and in classic Hitchcock style, the film culminates in a nail-biting scene aboard a speeding train."

I personally don't find that blood and violence add much to the enjoyment of a movie, and Hitchcock is the finest director at creating tension and fear with neither. In "Shadow", Charlie imagines that her charming, but edgy, uncle, the always superb Joseph Cotton, is the "Merry Widow Murderer" preying on rich widows, a class of women he clearly scorns. (Hitchcock's male leads frequently have a streak of misogyny in them.) It suddenly seems to Charlie that her seemingly normal, middle class family is obsessed with killing, and she finds clues to murder at every turn. Charlie ends up in the middle, getting wooed by a detective into helping the police catch her uncle, and assisting the uncle to get out of town to avoid family embarassment - it would just "kill" her mother to find out her brother is a serial killer. Then another suspect is killed during the police pursuit - - but did he do it? Or did Charlie's uncle? And is he now trying to kill Charlie?

Oh, and Charlie's father is played by the actor who played Clarence the Angel in "It's a Wonderful Life".

Addendum - apparently it is Hitchcock's birthday, and Encore Mystery is showing a Hitchcock marathon.

Friday, August 11, 2006

HELP! I can't figure out why I can no longer upload photos. I go thru the process, click on "Done" and nothing happens! Any suggestions?????

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I left early from work for a dentist appointment, and stopped by Borders Books on the way there. It seemed that every where I looked, there was a new book by an author I like, and I went a little crazy . . . but now I have plenty of good books to keep me busy for the next couple of months. Now available on my book shelves:

"A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. I really, really enjoyed "In a Sunburned Country" and "A Short History of Nearly Everything."

"The Night Gardener" by George Pelecanos. Pelecanos' gritty crime dramas set in Baltimore never disappoint. He also is one of the screen writers for HBO's the Wire - one of my favorite shows (Season 3 starts in mid-September).

"End in Tears" by Ruth Rendell. I discovered Rendell last year and really enjoy her Inspector Wexford mysteries.

"Goodnight Nobody" by Jennifer Weiner, the author of "Good in Bed", which I liked alot.

"Happiness Sold Seperately" by Lolly Winston the author of "Good Grief", one of the only selections by the book club that I actually enjoyed.

Ok, ok, but even 5 books is cheaper than a new pair of shoes, and I can pass them along and share them with others.

I generally have two books going at once - one in print, and one audible book. la was kind enough to lend me Esperanza's Box of Saints, and I am really enjoying it. Like many Latin American authors (e.g., Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende) the author incorporates magic into the story of a woman who's daughter supposedly died during routine surgery. Never losing hope, the mother believes her beloved daughter has been spirited away and forced into a life of prostitution, and she takes off in search of her in the brothels of Tijuana - or so it goes so far . . . the writing is enjoyable, as are the characters, and I can't wait to find out if and where she finds Blanca.

I'm also listening to the third in the James Herriot series about his life as a veterinarian in rural Yorkshire in the late '30s, early '40s. I read the books 20 years ago, and enjoyed them immensely then. They are equally enchanting as audible books. They are wonderfully sentimental, and I find myself choking up during my daily commute to and from work with his varied stories about a simple life, a love for animals, and the ties that bind us all together.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I will pretty much watch any James Bond movie with Sean Connery any time it comes on TV. My favorite one is probably Dr. No, featuring the stunning Ursula Andress and the always cool Sean Connery wearing some of the worst '60s fashions ever seen. No one else could pull off wearing orange pants, belt, shirt and shoes. The movies also always remind me of being a young girl, and going to the drive-in with my family. The routine was always the same - load up the station wagon, and my brother and I would wear our pajamas and have sleeping bags and pillows in the back. On one particularly spectacular night of movie-going, my dad took my brother and me to see a James Bond triple feature - six plus hours of "Bond, James Bond".

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Im working all weekend, but this is where I'd rather be - snorkelling in tropical waters . . . (bottom photo - that's me and my niece's finger). And this is Fred the Squid (top photo). Since spending some time with Fred off the coast of Blackbird Caye, Belize, I can no longer bring myself to eat Calamari . . .

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

End of the day at work, and I'm listening to Green Day's American Idiot before I start the drive home down the 405. Having come of age in the late '70s, I have never quite overcome my fondness for punk rock music, despite my over 40 status, and it's nice to see some punks still rocking. Long live Green Day and Social D., and here's wishing more of the Ramones and the Clash were still alive.