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Bring Me Sunshine

26 Apr

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is Sunshine.  Here in Stockport we don’t get much sunshine, being the English equivalent of Twilight‘s town of Forks, minus the pretty vampires.  So, just rain, then.

We have to make our own sunshine, so here you go – some fake sunshine, courtesy of You Tube:

Now that you are as depressed as we Stopfordians usually feel, here’s something that actually works like sunshine is supposed to:

Have a great weekend, flowers!

Big Sunflower

Big Sunflower (Photo credit: eggheadsherpa)

How to have fun in spite of rain:

 

Cold Calling An Author Can Sometimes Pay Off

24 Apr

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I once acted out of character and it paid off.

Let me explain: I am quite shy.  No, really.

It is easy to be gregarious on (I was going to say ‘paper’ but I guess technically it’s) plastic; much harder in real life when the person you are talking to is not behind a monitor six thousand miles away going ‘Huh? Wazzsheonabout?’ but standing right in front of you, rictus grin plastered on face, thinking, ‘Huh? Wazzsheonabout?’

I’m rubbish at cold calling; at asking strangers for something.  I once had a job as a Carpet Cleaning Saleswoman (it was the early Eighties; I wasn’t a person then). I had to go door-to-door to tell people that they needed me because their carpets were dirty.  All for an alleged weekly wage of £75.

I was so bad at cold calling and made so few sales (ten-day total sales: zero), they put me on commission at the end of the first week (it was the early Eighties; I had no rights that I knew of, being eighteen and stupid).  In one month I earned a grand total of £9.

If they had only asked me to write to the customers, it might have been a different story.  As this one is turning out to be, because it’s about my writing group.  No, really.

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I saw an article in our local paper about a local writer who had just published her third book –  actually, it was her second book, although she has written her third book; the reporter got it wrong – may his rugs remain forever filthy – despite the author sending him the details in cold hard ether.  Fortunately, I didn’t know that at the time, or this might have been a different story (not really, but repetition is a good comedy device and I’m feeling facetious today, even a little lightheaded, not having blogged at you for five days).

I read in the Stockport Express that author Allie Cresswell had not only published her third book [not], but she lived in Stockport and had a website.  I moseyed on over to her website by way of dinner, dessert, crisps and a bar of chocolate, and thought she looked friendly enough, so I girded up my now ample loins and popped off an email.

That’s the bit that was out of character – I cold called an author.  Yo!  I said, I belong to Stockport Writers.  We have no money; will you come and talk to us for free?

Yes, she replied; I’d love to.  I’m pretty sure my charm and erudition won her over.

Emails were exchanged; details were organised (please run the whole session, however you like, but don’t arrive before eleven because the Art Gallery won’t let us in until then because of insurance issues, I think); cake purchased in honour of our guest.  The great day arrived…

DSCN1153All joking aside, it was a great day.   Warm and friendly, Allie told us a bit about herself (passing off the sloppy journalist’s carelessness as just one of those things…so magnanimous*), her writing background and her career. Then she read from one of her books – we enjoyed it so much, we asked for more.  After a break for tea and cake (these loins won’t amplify themselves, you know), Allie set us a writing exercise, which had everyone interested and animated.  To keep things fresh, we do rotate the chair each month, as in, a different person chairs each month’s meeting; we don’t sit in swivel chairs and circulate stationarily (the gallery staff keep those chairs to themselves; we can’t complain because they let us use the space for free).  To have someone entirely new set the prompt made us all a little giddy, and produced some wonderful freewriting.

*If I appear to be losing it a little here, it’s because I am.  Remember my magnum opus (I Went To London To Be On Telly And Get Free Stuff)?  It might have turned out all right in the end, but that sloppy – and somewhat vindictive – journalism has made me over-sensitive.  Besides, that Stockport Express journalist didn’t publicise our guest speaker like I asked him to in my second – and last – out of character cold calling email.  May his rugs remain forever filthy.

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Allie brought some of her books and I felt, having strong-armed her into coming along, that I ought to buy at least one of the novels, but I didn’t have enough money on me.   Fortunately, she sells them for Kindle, and I was able to buy two for less than the price of one hard copy.   Even more of a bargain, the Amazon account is hooked up to the Hub’s credit card and not mine so, technically, I got them for nothing.  And I had cake!  What a great day.  Our guest also got a booking, from one of our writers who attends another group, so it was a win-win situation.

Now I come to the reason why I haven’t blogged for five days: I started one of the books, Relative Strangers.  As a pretty woman might say, big mistake; huge. You should see the state of my house – I’ve done no housework because all I wanted to do was read; and the dogs aren’t talking to me.

relative strangers book cover small

The book explores the dynamics of family life by gathering together one extended family in a large house for one week.

At first, I was confused by the sheer number of characters but I soon worked out who was married to whom and had which children and which in-laws and which rooms and cars and grievances and grudges.  The book is packed with incident and was a really interesting and fun read, but not fun in the way – I hope – this post is fun.  It was a fascinating exploration of relationships: the characters, for the most part, were neither good nor bad, but human, with foibles and faults like we all have.

The ending surprised me.  And that’s all I’ll say, because I don’t want to give anything away.  If you like surprises, don’t read the blurb on the website because it tells you in which direction the ending heads.

There were more typos than I usually approve of but I let them pass because I enjoyed the book so much.  I only mention them because I want this to be a balanced critique.  Definitely recommended.  You can trust me; it’s not like I’m a journalist (sorry, Kateshreswdaytheexception).

You can find Allie’s website here; and her books on Amazon here; and here. They are available on Amazon.com as well as the UK site.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post because you may not get another for at least the next five days: I have her other book to read.

 

Your Help Wanted

4 Apr
Help wanted sign

Help wanted sign (Photo credit: andjohan)

Do you remember last year when you looked at our church website and told me what was wrong with it?

At last, and only six months behind schedule, I have the new website for you to critique.

It is up and running but not live, so you can’t use the links and things yet, but otherwise, it is pretty much as it will be.

Would you mind taking a look and telling me what you think?  Be as frank as you were last year; I’m sure I won’t cry this time.  I am no usageaster, but I think the language is simpler and clearer.

We took lots of your advice so I hope you like what we’ve done.  As requested, I will include a link to the old website, for you to compare.

New website:  http://edgeleycheadleheath.try.churchedit.co.uk/

Old website:  http://www.edgeleyandcheadleheath.org.uk/

Thank you!

Free, Tree And Dead Again Me

21 Feb

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like?

M (James Bond)

M (James Bond) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like I was a successful actress.

Does it look like that?

No.

Is that a good thing?

It is what it is.  I never had the courage to pursue it so I have nobody to blame but myself.  Regrets are useless so I don’t have any.  What I do have is a happy marriage and two gorgeous sons.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

Cooking, so I could hang on to this perfect family I am slowly poisoning.

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“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Well, dear WordPress prompter, I’d rather not say because I don’t really know you.

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Write your own eulogy.

Tilly’s death at the hands of irritated WordPress prompters was sudden but inevitable.  She never knew when to quit and they didn’t like her pointing out that she had recently had to write her own obituary and was it personal on their part or had they become FreudPress prompters?

Also, she knew her way around a box of Maltesers, but not a kitchen.

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Blue Bee

Blue Bee (Photo credit: bob in swamp)

Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?

The internet.  How else would I have discovered a bunch of people around the world willing to send me stuff out of the blue?

Speaking of which, thank you for the book, Bee Blue.  I’d kiss you but I know how you feel about that.

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Go to the nearest window. Look out for a full minute. Write about what you saw.

A tree.

That’s it.  It’s bigger than our house and blocks the view to everything…no, wait: something’s behind it.  Is that a WordPress prompter with a stick of dynamite in her mask…?

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Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your lifeline, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?

I’m sure that once I discover how to turn it on, we’ll be the best of friends.

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A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?

Actor portraying blue Genie character in Disne...

Actor portraying blue Genie character in Disney’s Aladdin stage show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s like Robin Williams. Since Aladdin, they all are.

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You have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?

Why do I need to learn a new skill?  I have my own personal genie.

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Write about anything you’d like. Somewhere in your post, include the sentence, “I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked a the clock.”

I was reading this post when I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.  I knew it was the Grammar Police, come to take away the WordPress prompter who had one too few ‘t’s in his at.

Shower Power

6 Feb

The question was once asked, How long do you think you could go without a shower?

I would answer, It depends on the shower.

En la ducha xD

En la ducha xD (Photo credit: Little Phoenix ♥)

  • Bathroom Shower: I went for weeks without a shower while the bathroom was re-fitted.  I can go at least every other day now it’s back; it’s not like I ever get dirty cleaning the house, is it?  I could move to Antarctica: on base there, you are only allowed to take two, two-minute showers a week.
  • April showers: I can manage from May to March without breaking a sweat.
  • Meteor showers: I’d like to see one, but from a distance; so I would have to say ‘indefinitely’.
  • Showers of blessings: I’d like them all the time.
  • Cold showers: Too tired to ever need one.
  • My family (usually referred to scornfully by me as ‘that shower!’): Not at all; somebody has to go out for the Maltesers.

Napoleon once wrote to Mrs Napoleon, ‘I’ll be home in a week – don’t bathe till I get there.’  That’s my kind of man.

Some more bathing quotes:

  • People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.   Erma Bombeck
  • Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.  Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
  • I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio.   Joan Rivers and/or Rodney Dangerfield
  • Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.  Woody Allen
  • Last Wednesday, I stupidly dropped my iPhone in the bath, and my life has sort of spiraled almost out of control.  Patrick Stewart

Read more at brainyquote.com

And finally, here’s a little something I came across that I think most of you will enjoy.  It has nothing to do with our theme, except that the purists among you might feel the need to take a shower when it’s done.

Part of this post first appeared two years ago.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

3 Feb
Korea and a World Population of 7 Billion

Korea and a World Population of 7 Billion (Photo credit: United Nations Photo)

I didn’t take this photo, but it occurred to me that, though there are seven billion people in the world, we are all unique.  Which is directly opposite to the claim that we are all the same, which I also believe.  

We are unique in our alikeness and alike in our uniqueness.  Some of us are weird (according to my husband); some of us are allegedly normal.  Some of us have an over-developed sense of humour; others have an over-developed pituitary gland.  Some of us consider chocolate to be the missing food group; some of us will live longer than those of us who consider chocolate to be the missing food group; some of us will enjoy life more than those of us who don’t have a missing food group.

My point is: hello friend; you are different to me.  I love that.  

You love it, too?  We are so alike!    How weird is that?

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My Top Ten Movies

19 Nov

I had a toss and turn sort of night and if I got three hours of sleep, it was a miracle.  Consequently, I have an excuse for reposting this from two years ago.   

Be warned: the colour-coded asterisks are back.  Forgive mezzzzzzzzzz………

Insomnia smiley

Insomnia smiley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, I’d better start by admitting that there are actually fifteen films on the list.  I did manage to rate them but I couldn’t leave out the last four; I can’t hurt their feelings, I’m afraid.  And yes, I know celluloid/digital things don’t have feelings…I suppose my anthropomorphism* of them comes from the same logic that led me to never say in my mind the code of the padlock to the outside bin cupboard in case identity thieves or secret government agencies read my mind** and accessed my shredded documents and potato peelings.  I only stopped doing it when it occurred to me that if the government has the power to read minds then they could probably get past a three-for-a-pound padlock without too much difficulty.  It was about that time I also decided to stop wearing the foil hat.

The List:

  • Terminator & Terminator 2 - T1 because it’s the greatest love story ever told and T2 because it’s the story of a mother’s love and redemption.  The fact that there’s loads of violence is simply a fortunate coincidence.  I never watched a violent movie until I saw T1: we were newlyweds living in a flat in Jo’burg and my brother and his girlfriend came to stay, bringing movies that had blood and guts but no romance, I thought, including Mad Max (if ever there was a prescient name for Mr Gibson, that’s it) and The Terminator.  I didn’t want to watch any of them but I was a new hostess and soppy in love with the Hub back then, and allowed myself to be persuaded.  I’m so glad I did.  I was glued to the screen (my brother’s a great practical joker) and I have loved T1 ever since.
  • Love Actually - what’s not to love, actually?  Great ensemble cast, interwoven characters, humour, pathos, the best wedding scene in the history of film, and Hugh Grant calling Margaret Thatcher ‘a saucy minx’.
  • It’s A Wonderful Life - the best Christmas film ever made.  We made the boys watch it with us one Christmas Day.  Tory Boy protested loudly right up to the first five minutes in (particularly that it was in black & white), and then became engrossed in the film and outraged at George Bailey’s rotten luck and unfair shake at the world.  I’ve only ever seen him that indignant over a scratched dvd, so it was quite a conversion.
  • Forrest Gump Field Of Dreams - I’ve read both of the books on which the films were based and much prefer the movies.  Forrest, Forrest Gump is an ‘idiot savant’*** and gets to hump a lot and Shoeless Joe Jackson is no Ray Liotta.  Mind you, neither is Ray Liotta these days: have you seen his face?  Euggh.  Why people have plastic surgery thinking it will fix growing old is beyond me.   
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol - the best Christmas film ever made: ‘Light the lamp, not the rat!  Light the lamp, not the rat!’  Brilliant!
  • Signs - M. Night Shyamalammmmm is a genius and I hope one day to be able to shake his hand and ask him, ‘How do you pronounce your surname?’  This film is the most scared I like to be, and it terrifies me every time I watch it even though I know the ending.  Which makes me about as bright as a dog who attacks his own leg.
  • The Last of the Mohicans - the one with Daniel Day Lewis.  It’s the only film in which I ever thought he was attractive; I guess I must like my men with long hair and wearing smelly moccasins.  We drove 100kms to watch this on our tenth wedding anniversary.  Mum babysat Tory Boy and we went for a meal and a movie.  I didn’t want to see it but the Hub was desperate, it was on its last week in cinemas, and I was still somewhat in love.  Of course, it was Terminator 1 all over again, but without the annoying sibling.  I once watched it on M-Net three times in one week.
  • You’ve Got Mail - the best three little words ever (I’ve been married a long time).  Although, here in Britain it is, ‘You have mail, sir,’ from our butler.  We Brits tend to be more formal.
  • The Sound of Music - singing nuns and singing Nazis?  You’d have to be daft not to love it.
  • Moulin Rouge - any film that contains an Elephant Love Medley and an unconscious Argentinian gets my vote.
  • The Santa Clause - the best Christmas film ever made.  I love it.  Are you sensing a pattern?  All of these Christmas movies bang on about the spirit of Christmas and the true meaning of Christmas without once mentioning the story of Christmas.  But hey, that’s Christmas for you.
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat - Donny Osmond.  Sigh.
  • The Untouchables - Kevin Costner in a mac and Sean Connery in the worst Irish accent ever, plus a fabulous soundtrack.  I love it.

And there you have it.**** 

Now, what does my list say about me? 

It says that I have an obsession with Christmas, I love musicals and violence is fun.  It says I like Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rizzo the Rat i.e. I don’t have a type.  Therefore, my favourite all-time film would be a violent musical about Christmas, starring the thinking woman’s beefcake rodent.

*A word used deliberately to dispel the scurrilous rumour that my readers are all better read than I am.

**Not as nutty as it sounds; there’s not much in there.

***I use inverted commas because I’m quoting from the book.  I’m not sure in this pc world of ours if this term is still in use; though I have to say this is one time I’m in favour of political correctness because it’s a horrible way to describe someone.  If anyone knows another term, I’d appreciate you leaving a comment letting me know, and I’ll change it.

****Not quite: I desperately wanted to include Scrooged but a Top Ten stretched to sixteen and starring four Christmas films was a step too far, I’m afraid.  Carol Kane’s kicking fairy will have to go on another list: Mythical Film Creatures or, Why I Don’t Have Any Friends.

Now tell me about your favourite movies, please.  I’d love to know, in case I missed a good ‘un.  And what do you think your list says about you?

Review: Breaking Dawn Part 2

16 Nov

There are no spoilers in this post.  If you want spoilers, read somebody meaner.

A bit of history for new followers:

Old followers, please bear with me: you’ve read enough about KStew’s and RPatz’s hair here to know that if a superhero needs to kill me, Twilight is my weakness.

I don’t like vampires or vampire movies.  I refused to watch the Twilight films when they came out.  The Hub liked them, enough that our boys had great fun offering to buy him Robert Pattinson posters and bobby socks (something teenage girls wore in the Fifties and with no link to the films, but the boys didn’t seem to care).

Last Christmas, I bought him the Twilight films trilogy box set.   He insisted I try to watch the first one with him, further insisting that they were neither scary nor gory.  He was right.  After the first one I insisted he was horrible for not insisting that I watch these films the minute they came out and I had to have the books immediately or he was going to suffer a long and terrible moan on my part.

I’m not ashamed to admit I loved the films and devoured the books.  I didn’t get to see Breaking Dawn Part 1 in the cinema, even though it was showing last Christmas.  You can read all about how that nearly killed our marriage and what the Hub had to do to save it here.

I was a little disappointed in Part 1 because I read the book before seeing the film and I didn’t like the changes that were made, though I understood why they were necessary.

I read the first three books after seeing the films and was pleased that they more or less stuck to the story.  I liked Part 1 better on second, third, eighth viewing, so I expected to feel the same way about Part 2.

The Review:

I really enjoyed it.  Some changes were made from the original story but it did stick to the spirit of the book.  The main change in particular caught me by surprise and, while I mourned the loss of an element I love in the novel, I believe the change worked really well, and was necessary for the film to work for a wider audience.

As with the other films, a lot of detail had to be omitted but there was enough to satisfy this  - alas, I cannot deny it – Twihard.

The Hub thought it was the best one of the series.  I wouldn’t go that far (Twilight will always my favourite film; Breaking Dawn is my favourite book) but as I didn’t need to fill up on any of the snacks I had sneaked into the cinema in my handbag, I acknowledge that it kept me gripped throughout.

Everyone is gorgeous.  The Hub thought young Renesmee was funny-looking (quote-that’s the ugliest kid I’ve ever seen-unquote) but I couldn’t take my eyes off Jasper’s peculiar hair long enough to notice – what was that all about?

The acting, as usual, was as usual (see here for my review of Kristen Stewart’s facial expressions) but good enough, and I enjoyed the nice touch in the end credits, where all of the main actors from the earlier films were acknowledged.

I would definitely watch it again.

But you knew that: I already have the DVD on order.

One more thing:

It cost us nothing to go: Tesco have an offer until the end of November – you can exchange your vouchers for cinema tickets at the rate of £3 in vouchers for one adult ticket.  As the going rate for an adult cinema ticket before five p.m. is £7.60, it’s an excellent deal.

The film opened today and, as it was my first time going to the cinema on a film’s opening day, I think it counts as a new experience for my 101/1001 challenge. However, I was disappointed to find there was no red carpet.  I felt a little overdressed in my floor length frock.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

31 Oct
English: NHS logo

English: NHS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last two non-joke posts provoked some interesting comments, to my surprise. The surprise is not that they were interesting (do I not have the best, most intelligent readers in the world?  I do; and I do not want to end up needing the NHS in an urgent manner by accidentally suggesting otherwise).

My surprise came from the idea that the NHS is not necessarily a good thing. The NHS is a more than a good thing: it is a great thing.  But it is not a perfect thing.  It may have appeared that I was criticising the system and not the system practitioners; I wasn’t.  I understand that there is a finite pot of money and tough decisions have to be made.  It’s just easier if the tough decisions affect other people’s husbands.

I’ve paid for medical care (fourteen years in South Africa) and I’ve had it for nothing.  Trust me – free medical care is better.  You still have the two-hour wait in the doctor’s waiting room, but there’ll be some pennies left in your purse at the end of it.

I exaggerate: since my local surgery introduced an electronic reception board, the wait is usually brief.  And the greeting is friendlier.

The NHS may not be a perfect system and it may mean unpleasant people man the phones, but it is disinterested medical care.  Not disinterested in its patients, despite my moaning; but disinterested in its willingness to help as many people as possible, no matter what their financial circumstances.

Our financial circumstances are not great.  The NHS doesn’t mind that.  In the last few months I have had free emergency dental treatment, free doctor visits, a free mammogram and free antibiotics.  

Take a look at this:

This is the Hub’s daily tablet intake.  Fourteen tablets for his various conditions. Tablets are not cheap.  That’s what I’m told – we don’t pay for them.

The concept of free medical care is a foreign one to many of my readers but, believe me, I’m grateful.  We are grateful.  We were grateful when Spud had an emergency appendectomy.  When Tory Boy had his adenoids and tonsils removed.  When the Hub was given every test possible to diagnose his health issues.

Pound for pound, we have the best medical care in the world.  I find it incomprehensible that there is opposition to the idea elsewhere. Without free medical care, I could have died from blood poisoning brought on by oral infections which would have gone untreated because I could not afford to visit a dentist.

The NHS asks nothing of me except a portion of my taxes once I’m in a position to be taxed, and to tolerate the occasional moody receptionist.  I would tolerate a thousand moody receptionists.  It’s a small price to pay.

Review: Skyfall

27 Oct

Skyfall 007 Movie (click to view)

I haven’t seen it yet, but Spud has.  He is sixteen and unimpressable, so consider the value of this Six Word Saturday:

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Spud says:

Best Bond film ever.

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For more 6WS go here.

Book Review: The Host

29 Sep

 

The Host (novel)

The Host (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m four years late with this book review.  I don’t care.

Stephenie Meyer – the Twilight author – is not a great writer: stilted prose, dated language, and there is not one character in any of her books that hasn’t rolled their eyes at some point.  I find it incredible that she has an English degree.

Which brings me to my Six Word Saturday:

I have come to a conclusion:

You don’t have to be a good writer to be a great storyteller.

I had no internet for much of yesterday so I leafed through my Kindle and found The Host by Stephenie Meyer.  I started it because nothing else tempted me; I could not put it down.  Just like the Twilight books, which I love; but I think I love The Host more.

The most peaceful alien invasion known to sci-fi-kind; an impossible love story; a heroine sweet, adorable but not at all cloying – what’s not to love?  Unlike Bella Swan, who, much as I like her, has my palms itching to slap her and my teeth gritting get a grip every time she bursts into tears, which is often, I want to hug away her grief when Wanda cries.

Meyer’s themes of identity and self-image are pertinent; she is gifted at the unexpected; her characters are likeable.  What a shame her writing is so poor.  

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter: when a book keeps me up until two a.m. because I have to finish it, I say, if the author, publishers and editor don’t worry about the writing, then why should I?

The book is science fiction with barely any science; a love story with no sex; much of the action – if it can be called action – takes place in one dark location.  

Read it.

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To read more Six Word Saturdays, go here.

 

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few Of My Favourite Things

4 Sep
The Sound of Music LP cover (UK edition).

The Sound of Music LP cover (UK edition). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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I am not a photographer but I participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge.

I am a writer but I have not yet accepted any of the WordPress writing challenges.

Being awkward with authority is one of my favourite things to do.

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Other favourite things (I think you’ll know some of these):

  • Laughing
  • Maltesers
  • Eating
  • Eating Maltesers
  • Eating Maltesers and laughing to myself that they are mine, just mine

The Sound of Music immediately came to mind when reading this challenge, of course.  It is in my Top Thirteen Films list so it is sort of a favourite but doesn’t compare with my favourite love story, The Terminator (Top One).  Though I wouldn’t mind seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger twirling in a nun’s habit and singing around a mountain top.

It could happen – he is Austrian, after all.  And after what Baz Luhrmann did to TSoM in Moulin Rouge (Top Seven), I realise anything is possible.  When an unconscious Argentinian makes Roxanne sexier than it ever was when performed by the worthy Sting in his Police days, I know that Baz is now my new favourite director.

Maybe I should look at some of my un-favourite things:

I’m not a fan of raindrops on roses (too wet) and whiskers on kittens (too tickley), bright copper kettles (nobody better expect me to clean them) and warm woollen mittens (can’t open a Malteser packet with a thumb and one massive finger), or brown paper packages tied up with strings (sellotape, people, sellotape!  How else do you keep thieving post office workers out?).

I once read that sellotape (sticky tape for non-Brits) in Australia is the brand name of a product designed to keep millions of critters out…  

Are there any Australian readers who can confirm or deny that?  (Asking my readers for help is one of my favourite things to do).

Cream colored ponies are okay, I suppose, but think of the mucking out; crisp apple strudels don’t do it for me the way Maltesers do, so why bother? Doorbells: not if they are anything like mine – it kills batteries and whenever it is pressed, you can hear the murder taking place, long after the visitor has departed.  Sleigh bells are okay if they come with gifts.  Schnitzel with noodles – more foreign food that I won’t eat in place of my favourite food.

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings: sounds so romantic, until you hear them honk! honk! honk! overhead, look up, and narrowly miss being splattered with what you don’t like about cream coloured ponies.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes – Maria obviously didn’t do the laundry Chez Von Trapp.  Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes…frostbite, anyone?  Silver white winters that melt into springs, with its accompanying slush – grey, dirty, ugly?  Pass.

That Maria – you can tell she never lived in the real world.  I think The Sound of Music just got relegated to my Top 100 Films.  

I like to be positive so I’ll leave you with my favourite-ever thing to do: write a stream of consciousness post like this one, and giggle to myself as I wonder what readers will make of the sound of musings.

I Need A Favour

14 May

Dear readers, will you please do me a favour?  At my church, we are updating our website.   We need some input.  Half of our congregation were born before electricity was invented - Church of England; did you guess? – and wouldn’t know the internet or computers if they jumped up to byte them on the butt, so it’s no good asking them.  The other half is me.

Would you mind answering a few questions?

  • Would you ever look at a church website?
  • If so, why?
  • What would you expect to find on a church website?
  • What would you like to find on a church website?

To add to your goodness, would you mind taking a quick look at the website as it is, and telling me what’s wrong with it?  And what, if anything, is right with it?

Also, if you have links to other church websites, please share.

Please leave all comments below, and don’t worry about hurting my feelings: if ever a website needed an overhaul, it’s ours.  That much I do know.

Thanks :)

The Hunger Games: Another Review

19 Apr

Of the movie, this time.  Go here for the book review.

Please note:

NO PLOTS ARE SPOILED IN THE MAKING OF THIS REVIEW.

I took time out from my little project to go and see The Hunger Games last night.

It wasn’t the worst film I’ve seen.

The casting:

  • Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen…yeah, why not?  Can’t see what the fuss is about her, but she was okay.
  • Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark.  Not bad.  He grew on me, just like Peeta in the book.
  • Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne.  All he had to do was look gorgeous.  What great acting.
  • Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman.  Excellent; but when is he not?
  • Alexander Ludwig as Cato.  Good.  Gave his character a little dimension.
  • Amandla Stenberg as Rue.  Adorable.

I enjoyed the film.  I did.  It stuck to the book – it helped that the author was involved in the script – but…there was something missing.

The certificate meant that the violence was muted.  Fair enough.  But a better director could have shown us the horror of children [tributes] fighting to the death in another way – even a cutaway to the Capitol audience’s gleeful reaction would have helped.  What we were given was hide-and-seek.

The scene with Peeta, Katniss and the bread was mawkish – obligatory rain, anyone? – and failed to show Peeta as he truly is.  0/10 for that one.

Another problem: the tributes are on television the whole time – where was the Capitol audience?  We never saw them.  In the book, they matter; they and the sponsors affect who survives.

The best I can say of it is that it was a faithful rendition of the story, but lacked its tone, its themes, and its heart.

I wouldn’t say don’t watch it: if you haven’t read the book, you’ll probably enjoy it (may the odds be ever in your favour). 

It just didn’t have the energy of the novel.  Not so much The Hunger Games; more The Slightly Peckish Games.

The Hunger Games: A Review

14 Apr

Of the book, that is.  I’m only four years late.   Go here for the film review.

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

*

Borrowed it.  Devoured it. 

Loved it.

*

Must access the sequels at once.

*

So glad I’ve got a Kindle!

*

I’m unavailable for the next week.

*

Read more Six Word Saturdays here.   

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