Harlan

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The year was 1984, and there on a cold wintry morning I took my first breath of Harlan county USA air, thick with coal dust as it was.  You see, I come from that place they portray on the TV show Justified. It’s really real.

Harlan_Kentucky_Aerial_view

Picture from Wikipedia

I had an odd childhood, not unlike many kids of my generation I suppose. I really “came” from two places. I have two “homes”. One was mom’s house where I did most of my living. The other was dad’s – Harlan.

The funny thing about Harlan is, as much as I loathed the place growing up, it holds my go-to memories of childhood. Why is that? From the time I was 3 until I left for college at 18, I mostly lived with mom. Harlan to me was every other weekend and half the summer. There’s just something about Harlan that is hard to shake.

The town of Harlan is a small place, population 2,000, nestled in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky. It is very much cut off from the world. It’s at least an hour, if not a little more, away from the nearest interstate.

I honestly don’t know what it is about the place that holds me so deeply. I think back to my memories of growing up in Harlan probably 5 times for every 1 time I think about growing up at my mom’s – which in all fairness is where I did most of my growing up. Maybe it’s not the town itself that holds me so, but the powerful memories of my grandparents. I think about those two daily, and dream about them almost as often. I know everyone loves their grandparents, but those two were definitely special to me in ways that no one else ever will be. I can still hear my Granny say “Hey girl” as she did every time I called or walked through her door…and it kills me inside to know I’ll never hear her say that again.

Granny, Pap, and me -- sometime in the 80's.

Granny, Pap, and me — sometime in the 80’s.

I didn’t mean to get off on a tangent about my grandparents, this post began as a look at that odd, quirky, drug-laden, poor little community that almost holds an odd mystery to it for both people there and on the outside.

Maybe I’d be more willing to make a trek back to my homeland, if Timothy Olyphant were actually the US Marshall there…a girl can dream!

And no…. I never heard of anyone firing off rocket launchers…but I wouldn’t be surprised!

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The Curse

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Do you think there can be such a thing as a cursed novel?

I’m a big fan of Stephen King. When I was a Sophomore in high school I carried the brick that is The Stand around with me everywhere to snickers of my classmates, “You’re reading that…for fun?!?!?!?” like that was such a foreign concept. Yes, it is possible to read books that Mrs. Bishop hasn’t assigned, imagine that.

My love of Mr. King’s works stem back from when I was but a wee-tyke, seeing my mom and grandparents read his books. I had a sick fascination with horror that began around the age of 6, so by the time The Stand mini-series came out on TV when I was in the 4th grade, I had already been loving Carrie, IT, Pet Semetary, etc for many years.

All of this has led my husband to ask me just why haven’t I read any of The Dark Tower books if I love Stephen King so much? Well, I just didn’t have a good answer for that. Nothing other than I just haven’t gotten around to it. When I was a kid my grandparents didn’t own any of those books, and they were generally my source for all things Stephen King. That’s all fine and dandy, but there comes a certain point in a person’s life when they are master of their own book collection. It wasn’t as if I was avoiding the journey of the tower, it has been on my “to-do” list for years.

So it happened a couple of months ago, my husband thrust into my hands The Gunslinger, the first novel of The Dark Tower series. Read it, he tells me. And read it I did. As I neared the end I told him he had better find his copy of the second novel (The Drawing of the Three) so I could go straight into it. And through the second novel I told him to hunt down the third – The Waste Lands.

Then, I finished The Waste Lands, and my husband warned me about going into the fourth – Wizard and Glass. See, Wizard and Glass is a cursed novel in my husband’s eyes. One that took him several attempts to finish. The first time he was making his way through the book his parents lost their home (this was when he was younger and lived with them). They lost most of their possessions in one fell swoop.

The second time he attempted the novel, his father passed away.

He has since finished the book, and I think he did so without any further incident. But he did warn me when I began reading it, and I didn’t listen. Sure enough, the curse of Wizard and Glass passed down to me.

Two weeks ago today (which now feels more like two months ago) we got a call from our landlord, and without getting into gory details (there are several shows on TV about the subject) we were basically told that in a week we may lose our apartment. We spent a week frantic, terrified, nervous, sad, angry, frightened, distraught, worried, unsure…etc etc etc. The week went by and last Tuesday came and went without incident. With the help of several friends and my mother, we managed to do what our landlord asked, which secured our spot in our apartment.

This past couple of weeks has been a complete whirlwind. After all the drama with our apartment, we were scheduled to leave town the next day for a vacation with a bunch of friends. Which after all the stress was definitely well needed.

At any rate, Wizard and Glass now sits by my bed, around 100 pages from the end. And I’m terrified to pick it back up and finish. Will I just be tempting the universe to do something else to destroy our lives?

My husband has offered to just tell me what happens. I’ve also thought about reading the Wikipedia entry on it. I know this sounds weird, I mean really how superstitious can you get? But honestly, that is three times the book has been read by the two of us that something downright life altering has happened!

I’m still undecided on what to do. What would you do? Just laugh at the universe and pick it back up to finish? Get the synopsis from someone who’s already read it, like my husband? Would listening to the audio version be just as terrifying as reading it myself? I just don’t know…and until I figure out what I’m brave enough to do, I think Wizard and Glass is just going to have to sit there and wait.

Now that I think about it, this whole thing sounds like one crazy Stephen King novel…

This Month’s Round of Weirdness

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Last month I posted about the search terms that led people to my blog. I probably shot myself in the foot doing that, but I think it’s funny so that’s not going to stop me from doing it again!

So, since that last post I’ve had some more strange and similar search terms leading folks to read your’s truly. Some of these really do terrify and confuse me.

my husband is into pantyhose: My husband isn’t. If he is, he’s not letting me know about it. Wait, let me ask him.

Me: Hey, you into pantyhose?

Him: *Incredulous look* Am I into them? No why?

Me: Because people are searching “my husband is into pantyhose” to get to my blog.

Him: Weird…

Ok I think that means he’s not into pantyhose. Phew you heard it here first… my husband is not into pantyhose. Glad we cleared up that mystery.

naked painting sex man woman: Ohhh we are changing it up a bit, I see. Last month the search “paintings of man sex” led folks to my blog, this month we are adding a woman into the mix! Still confusing as to why google would send someone to my blog by searching for that, as I don’t talk about naked people often…let me ask my husband if he knows.

Me: Hey do you know why people are googleing naked painting sex man woman?

Him: No idea…

Well, this one is still a mystery to us all!

husband pantyhose: Really?!

reggae, my old kentucky home: I doubt that there are many folks in my old Kentucky hometown that are into reggae, though personally I do enjoy me some Bob Marley from time to time.

girl smoking spitting: Well she needs some damn manners, doesn’t she? My granny always told me if I ever felt like I needed to spit, to go into the bathroom and shut the door so no one could see me, because proper girls aren’t supposed to spit. I’ll ask my husband what he thinks.

Me: What do you think about a girl smoking spitting?

Him: Smoking spitting?

Me: A girl, smoking spitting?

Him: A girl smoking…it’s OK. Spitting, that’s gross. Why are you asking me such weird questions.

Me: Because I am.

Him: Are you interviewing me without my knowledge again? You are! How long have you been doing this? You’re still typing. UGH!

jared padalecki instagram: Always happy to oblige.

Yeah….brood for me.

 

Want one of Jensen Ackles too?

Oh sure why the heck not, I’ll throw one in of Misha Collins too.

Ahh feel better now with the pretty faces of Supernatural? Me too. Good, good.

Well, that’s pretty much it for this month’s round of weirdness. Until next time…

 

What the World Wants to Know

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Sometimes I find strange search engine terms that have led people to my blog. My husband found it amusing that he wrote one blog post about Katherine Heigel in her bra, and now gets traffic daily from people searching that out.  So now he includes a picture of her in a bra with every post. Seriously, world? This is what motivates people … Katherine Heigel in a bra.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting things that people have done a google search on leading them to my blog (I’m copying and pasting these just as they are, I’m not correcting spelling or grammar):

limebirds band: Well, I am a part of the Limebird Writers, but I didn’t know we had a band! Can I join in on tambourine?

paintings of man sex: Oh yeah, paintings of man sex, I know how that led someone to my blog….wait, what? Paintings of man sex? No I don’t think I’ve ever written about or included paintings of man sex. Do you think now that I’ve said “Paintings of man sex”  5 times it will lead more people here? I hope they aren’t disappointed when they find 0 paintings of man sex. (Disturbingly enough, this brought 2 people to my blog…)

pitchers of supernatural: Well I wasn’t aware that one could drink the Winchester brothers (must….get….mind….out … of … gutter… nope too late!)… but I have posted pictures of Supernatural. Here’s one now!

cheap ways to cover walls: Been throwing one too many head through a wall and need to cover up the crime? Sorry to say I cannot help in that department.

sidegoggled: Now this I’m actually pleased to see. It confirms that I in fact did not make up the word side goggled. Take that husband! Neener needer boo boo!

how would i look like gails mother from hunger games: I don’t know how you would look like Gale’s mother, maybe because that is the way you were born? This question is giving me brain damage.

fat kid from harry potter: Well that’s just hurtful! How would you like it if I called you “skinny kid from the internet”? Yeah… doesn’t really have a sting to it, does it? Moving on.

cheesecake congress: Do we vote for cheesecakes to be in congress? Or is there a congress composed of only cheesecakes? I’m intrigued by this idea of cheesecake congress. More importantly, I really want some cheesecake now.

cheesecake deprivation: That is a sad SAD thought, to be sitting alone deprived of cheesecake. That should be illegal.

what is the first book in the uglies series: Uglies

“pantyhose” husband: Again, why did this search term lead someone to my blog? My husband doesn’t wear pantyhose, that I know of. (Well…there was this one Halloween…) If he did happen to wear pantyhose, I certainly wouldn’t blog about it for the world to see.

what is neville’s real name in real life?: IMDb.com is a great website.

last name woo: It’s a pretty fun last name to have, if I do say so myself. It really confuses people when they see me since I’m a super fair-skinned, light-haired and  blue-eyed woman, and they learn my last name. No, no one has asked me if I was Chinese on the phone (a receptionist asked me if I ever got that question). Oddly enough, my husband who is part Chinese doesn’t look a bit Chinese at all, but no one seems to question why his last name is Woo…

dax shepard sam rockwell: Oh, I hope my husband doesn’t see this.

“two lindsay lohans”: Dear God, no! Oh wait you probably mean The Parent Trap, don’t you?

are you a man or a muppet: I’m a muppet of a man.

that awkward moment when dean winchester: bursts into my room naked. Oh wait, no my head was still in the gutter from earlier, sorry about that.

These are the things that keep people up at night. Now, these are the things that keep me up at night.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

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Well, I did it. I managed to read 10 books this month! I had my doubts around mid-month, but somehow managed to make it.

(* I feel the need to preface this with the fact that this is getting ready to be a really long Gilmore Girl rant so um… if that sounds boring to you I’m not going to be offended if you want to just wait til next time… *)

It’s no secret, I’m obsessed with the Gilmore Girls. I’ve watched every season somewhere between 5 and 7 times, some episodes more if I catch them on TV. When an episode begins, I immediately know what the whole episode is about from memory. I can recite the lines, and will at every given moment relate real life events to something that happened on the Gilmore Girls. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found Like Mother, Like Daughter, a novelisation of 5 episodes from season 1 of the show from the first person point of view of Rory Gilmore (the daughter).

First, here is the synopsis from the back of the book:

Okay, let’s face it. My mom and I are never going to have a “normal” mother-daughter relationship because my mom isn’t just my mother, she’s my best friend. She would do anything for me, including asking her parents for the tuition money to send me to Chilton, this prestigious prep school that just accepted me. That was probably one of the toughest things she’s ever done, although agreeing to weekly dinners in exchange for the loan probably runs a close second. My mom’s just miserable at the mere thought of this. But the way I look at it? – I’d just say life is going to get a lot more interesting.

– Catherine Clarke – Like Mother, Like Daughter

Ok,  seriously I’m a mega insane fan of the show, I need to go to Gilmore Girls anonymous for crying out loud… and even my eyes begin to gloss over at that synopsis. Maybe it’s because I’m not a young pre-teen/teen which surely this book is aimed at? I’m not sure, I mean, if I’m not elbow deep in a good Stephen King or a good Chuck Palahniuk novel, I’m usually devouring the latest YA novel I’ve unearthed at the book store (yeah my tastes are insanely varied…) So I like to think I can deal with reading a story aimed at a younger audience, but this book just had me literally exclaiming “You have got to be kidding me!?!?!!!” to my husband about every 5 seconds.

The first thing that bothered me about this novel is that as it’s first person narration from Rory’s point of view, you get all this Rory internal monologue that isn’t present in the show. The dialogue of the novel is directly word for word from the episodes, so that is the only redeeming factor. But the things that Rory thought, just didn’t sound like Rory to me. I suppose maybe non-fans of the show wouldn’t mind or notice, but at the same time I don’t see a non-fan of the show even trying to read this book.

Anyway, here are a few sections that had me sighing loudly:

First, Rory and Dean’s first meeting –

I gazed up the legs. They were connected to a very good-looking boy’s face. He was tall, at least six feet, and had brown hair that flopped nicely. He was wearing a leather jacket and was really, really handsome.

Oh Dean, if you didn't have such nice floppy hair you'd be a dog!

So his hair flops nicely, he’s very good-looking and really, really handsome…isn’t there a better way to convey “hey, this guy isn’t hard on the eyes!”? In the show, what we get is Rory on the ground, slowly panning up from his legs to his face, and then stammering like an idiot. Is this just the reverse effect of “the book’s better”? This time it’s the show that’s better….

Ok moving on…here is a section where Lorelai, the mother, has just informed Rory that they are going to the grandparent’s house for dinner on Friday:

“We are?” I asked, surprised. My grandparents. Emily and Richard Gilmore. Even though they only live half an hour away in Hartford, we don’t see them often. I was surprised by my mom’s statement.

“Mm hmm,” Mom said.

“But it’s September,” I said.

“So?” she asked.

“So what holiday’s in September?” I asked. We usually only went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for holidays. Major holidays.

First, this bothered me because she felt the need to convey she was surprised by her mom twice in about 3 seconds. Second, her asking her mom what holiday in September to me conveys they only visit on holidays, no need to then go ahead and restate that.

Am I just  nit-picking here? I honestly don’t like being harsh, and I especially don’t like being harsh to something Gilmore related, but this writing just seems bad! Again, the dialogue is good, and reading the script would probably be amazing, but this novelization just isn’t working for me.

Finally one last section that bothered me – Rory describing her grandmother Emily:

My grandmother looked perfect. She’s always wearing an actual outfit, like a suit, and her hair is done, and she has on pumps with heels, and pantyhose.

I’m sorry but Emily Gilmore surely commands a better description than that! “An actual outfit, like a suit”….really?

Emily Gimore played by Kelly Bishop

 

 

I’m going to be honest, I’m really conflicted by this whole thing. I love the Gilmore Girls show so much, that disliking anything to do with them is hurting me physically and mentally. I don’t even want to leave the house or speak to friends after having such a mental conflict. The book did get a little better, after all the new character’s descriptions were out of the way. It sort of just went along to mostly being dialogue, and since the dialogue was word for word from the show I really enjoyed that part. I do have more of these books, and I’m not sure if I will try to read them or not. Hopefully she won’t have to describe her grandmother anymore, so it might be halfway decent.

Phew Ok, sorry about that guys, major Gilmore rant is officially over.

 

Matthew’s Day Off

2

Honda has released a new commercial featuring Matthew Broderick spoofing his most famous role as Ferris Bueller, and it has people all in a tizzy.

Is “tizzy” a real word? WordPress isn’t underlining it for me letting me know it’s wrong. It is underlining “WordPress” though… anyway I’m getting sidetracked here.

A few days ago there was a teaser spreading like wildfire around the internet, simply featuring Broderick opening the curtains and saying “How could I handle work on a day like today?” which led to speculation of a possible sequel to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  in the works. I’ll admit, that would be pretty freaking exciting.

But as it turns out the whole thing was just a teaser to the commercial I have posted above. Ignoring the fact that the whole thing is just a Honda ad, I think it’s pretty awesome. I love it, the whole thing is an homage to one of my favorite movies of all time. People on YouTube just seem angry about it though, and I can understand that to an extent because I’d be first in line to see a Ferris Bueller 2.

But then I started thinking – John Hughes, the mastermind behind Ferris is unfortunately no longer with us. Is there anyone out there worthy enough to try to recreate the awesome that was that original movie? Even if Hughes was still with us to make a sequel, would it even be good? Or would it be sad – watching a middle-aged man reprise a role that hasn’t been revisited since 1986?

I love Matthew Broderick, and I love Ferris Bueller, and if someone someday does make a sequel I’d be there with open arms to embrace it (and I’d probably be too blinded by bias to tell anyone it’s bad if that is what it happens to be). For now though, I get a grin out of watching this commercial and will just be happy with that.

What do you think, angry there’s not a real sequel, or just glad to see a funny homage Ferris Bueller?

Seriously…I’m Kidding

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Sunday I finished reading Seriously…I’m Kidding by my BFF Ellen DeGeneres. That leaves me today and tomorrow to read one more book in order to have read 10 books this month! *Runs off to find a Dick and Jane book* Phew, I’m back.  I got this guys, I got this.

I love Ellen, so much. I watch her show like it’s a religion. I own box sets of her sitcoms, I own her books, and every day when I step out of my shower I wipe my feet on her face! (Well, my shower mat is Nemo and Dory from Finding Nemo). She’s so funny! I love reading her books too, because it sounds like what the inside of my head sounds like.

Here’s the description from Amazon.com:

I’ve experienced a lot the last few years and I have a lot to share. So I hope that you’ll take a moment to sit back, relax and enjoy the words I’ve put together for you in this book. I think you’ll find I’ve left no stone unturned, no door unopened, no window unbroken, no rug unvacuumed, no ivories untickled. What I’m saying is, let us begin, shall we?
– Ellen DeGeneres
Mostly, it’s like 241 pages of delicious creamy monologue from her show. Well, maybe creamy isn’t the right word, that makes it sound kind of gross. Anyway, you get the point.
Here are a couple of my favorite excerpts:
Way, way back in the day, like in the 1990’s, if you wanted to tell everyone that you ate waffles for breakfast, you couldn’t just go on the Internet and tweet it out. There was only one way to do it. You had to go outside and scream at the top of your lungs, “I ate waffles for breakfast!” That’s why so many people ended up in institutions. They seemed crazy, but when you think about it, they were just ahead of their time.
And:
There’s a very easy way to save water. Take group showers. It’s fun. It’s friendly. At first, my house-keepers were resistant to this idea. But luckily my landscaper talked them into it.
– Ellen DeGeneres
Oh that Ellen, she does go on, and on, and on… she’s so funny! I mean, it’s no wonder she’s my BFF for life! If only we could meet, so I could let her know about us being BFF. I’m sure she’d see it too, that we were separated at birth or something. Nevermind she’s older than my mom, that doesn’t matter. Pfft. Logistics and stuff, I ain’t about being logical!
…Maybe I shouldn’t have tried writing when I’m sick and surely under the influence of NyQuil. That stuff will whack a girl up – yo. Oh yeah I was talking about Ellen. This book is full of useful stuff, like how to save water, short short stories, haiku, practically anything you’d want to read while imagining Ellen’s voice the whole time. And if you get tired of reading, you can just turn to the front cover and get lost in her Cover Girl blue eyes. Such….pretty………eyes.
Ok I’m going to bed. Read Ellen’s book!