Saturday, September 29, 2012

Six Word Getaway

 

Branson

 

 

 

   Seeing the sights in Branson, Missouri

 



 

 

 

 

                               Linking up with Six Word Saturday over at Show My Face.

Starting Over with Five Questions

 

Well, it finally happened, and I’m not too thrilled about it.  Back on April 25 I made the determination that I wanted to post to this blog daily, and every day since then, I’ve been doing that.  Well, more precisely, there have been times when the calendar date has rolled over before I posted, but every day before I ended my day, I got it done.  But yesterday, I just didn’t have it in me.  As I mentioned, things have been a little bit hectic with Granny.  Thankfully, she seems to be on the mend now, but it’s still kept me busy.  Then I had to make a quick trip to the store, read thirty or so pages before class time, pack for my weekend away, go to class, then leave school and drive for a couple of hours to get to Kim’s house.  Then, finally, after reaching her place around 10:30 or so, and visiting for a while, I still had some homework to complete before I could go about the business of enjoying our vacation.  I actually contemplated putting together a short post before doing the homework, but that seemed irresponsible.  Around 3:30am, I fell asleep while typing a response for my online course discussion board. 

When I awoke about an hour later, I actually had the crazy thought that I should try to get something posted here, but thank goodness my sleep-addled brain actually had a coherent thought, and I realized this blog is supposed to be fun.  Killing myself to stick to my self-imposed daily posting schedule didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  I set the netbook aside, rolled over and went back to sleep.

So, there you have it, the end of the streak.  But I figure this post starts another streak, so I’m just moving on.  I still intend to post daily, but I’m glad I’ve remembered it’s about the fun.  If life gets in the way from time to time and prevents a post from going up, I’m pretty sure I’ll survive.

And, now, time to link up with Mama M for this week’s Five Question Friday.

five question friday

 

1. Do you prefer to drive to your vacation spot or fly?

If time was never a factor, I would probably prefer to drive, because you have the opportunity to see see and enjoy things along the way, not just your actual destination.  Plus, I’m really not fond of flying.  But it’s hard to beat the convenience of getting across the country in just a few hours.

2. If you could live any where in the world, where would you go and why?

I’m not sure there’s anywhere else I’d really want to live, at least not anyplace that I’ve ever visited.  Our little college town might not have anything too fancy, but it’s a nice place to live.  If I was obscenely wealthy and could have multiple residences to flit between, chasing the weather or just my fancy, there are a few places I might like to have a short-term home:  Sea Ranch, CA, because it’s one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever been;  San Diego, CA, because the weather is always just about perfect and for a big city, it’s really pretty; and Orlando, FL, because Disney World.

3. Should grown women wear leggings?

If they want to, go for it.  Every once in a while I’ll see someone is something I think looks “too young” for them, but very rarely.  For the most part, I say if you like it and can still fit into it, more power to you. 

4. If you could change your name to any other name, would you? And what would it be?

When I was a little girl, I always wished my name was Candy (or even Candi would’ve been okay), but now I’m perfectly content with my name as it is.

5. What magazines to you have subscriptions to?

I don’t really read a lot of magazines.  For long drawn out reasons, we’re currently subscribed to Time and Self magazine.  They still pile up and awful lot before I get around to flipping through them.  I used to really love Reader’s Digest, and I often wish I still got that one.

That’s it for today; thanks for checking in, and I hope you all have a great weekend.

 

 



Thursday, September 27, 2012

K is for Kimberly

 

It’s time for another round of ABC Wednesday, and I’ve been looking forward to this one, as the subject is near and dear to my heart.  In fact, I’ve had to take a short break from the frantic, all-night study session to make sure that I got this one written, because it’s the one I knew I simply could not miss.

“What K is so spectacular?”, you ask.  Karaoke? Kayaking? Captain Kangaroo?  No, no, and no.  (Well, technically, at least one of those is pretty spectacular in its own right, but not the subject at hand.)  No, tonight I want to tell you about my best friend, Kim.

  

   I’m quite certain she would prefer I not be posting this picture for all the world to see, but it’s got a story, and it’s a story of fun memories—just one of many that we share—so I think it makes it the perfect thing to share in a post dedicated to her.

   Actually, I’ve written about her before (and before), but I think a true BFF is worth more than one post, don’t you?  So, on with the story . . .

 

Back in our younger and more carefree days, we made several trips out to Las Vegas together, and this story is set in our Vegas hotel, the Riviera.  In case you’ve never been to Las Vegas, let me begin by saying that it’s hot out there.  I mean, it’s in the middle of a desert, right?  Sure, sure, it’s the dry heat everyone always talks about, but you can’t simply ignore the “heat” part of that phrase.  We’re talking scorch your lungs, melt your shoes, 120° in the shade heat.  When I say it’s hot, I mean it’s hot.

The next thing you need to know is that the vast majority of the things to see and do (especially back in the day) are located along one very long road—I’m sure you’ve seen it on TV.  Well, that might be convenient for the directionally challenged, but it also causes a disproportionate number of cars to be crammed into one relatively small space at the same time.  Consequently, it is almost always quicker and less frustrating to walk up and down the Strip than to drive.  But you’ve got that danged heat.  Part of me is fairly convinced that the town planners deliberately created the traffic jam scenario just so the pedestrians would be forced to stop in at random casinos and souvenir shops to breathe in some cool air for a while, and spend a little money while they’re there.  And let me tell you, there’s really not much better than stepping out of that desert sunshine into the dark recesses of an air conditioned money pit. 

In fact, the only thing better is when you finally make it back to your own hotel, and you can walk through the crisp air knowing that it’s okay not to spend any money in the casino right now, because you’re already shelling out for the wonderfully air conditioned room upstairs.  So imagine our frustration when we returned to our room only to find that the A/C was not running as we’d left it, and there was like a 25° difference between the hallway and the room.  I won’t get into specifics, but suffice it to say that our commentary on the housekeeping staff at that point was not overly kind.

But eventually we returned to a not-so-cold room that had not yet been made up, so apparently the housekeepers were not to blame.  Hmmm.  A little investigation revealed that there was a motion sensor tied into the air conditioner, no doubt designed to ensure that forgetful tourists wouldn’t leave a room empty all day, running the cooling system for nothing.  But what about the tourists who were not forgetful, but were simply willing to let the hotel foot the bill for some extra electricity for the sheer joy of returning to a delightfully cold room? Were they just out of luck?  Not if they’ve seen enough episodes of MacGyver to know the solution to just about any problem can be found in the random items in a typical bathroom.  So . . .

Since the A/C never shut off while we were sleeping, we deduced it didn’t take a whole lot of movement to keep it running.  We just needed to find something that could move about the room just a bit in our absence.  Thankfully, our bathroom included not only a standard box of tissues, but also a sewing kit.  A needle and thread through the tissue, then shove the needle into the ceiling, and voil√†!  That tissue danced in the air like our very own magical fairy, allowing us to return to a cold room every time we returned from our adventures on the Strip. 

I could never do justice to the thought processes that led us from blaming the housekeepers, to being totally annoyed with such a ridiculous system in the first place, and finally to the laughter as we cooked up schemes to circumvent the hotel’s carefully laid plans.  And, not only was our room cool every time we entered, but we also got to see our handiwork dangling there, a testament to what we could accomplish together, and we laughed every time.  In fact, it’s probably been close to twenty years since we waged war with the hotel conservationists, and we still laugh when we talk about it.  There’s nothing like the history that comes with a best friend.

And I’m exceptionally glad to be telling this story this week, because in just a couple of days, Kim and I are going to take another trip—this time to Branson, MO—and see if we can’t have another adventure that we’ll be talking about twenty years from now.  I can’t wait.

Who’s your BFF with all the crazy history?


Don’t forget to take a stroll through this week’s other entries; the writers all have a knack for sharing their knowledge, and I’m sure you’ll find posts keen and kooky.  Enjoy. 

ABCW11

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tube Day Tuesday—The Dramatic Emmys

 

TV Tuesday 9-19-12

 

  Things haven’t calmed down too much around here, so I’m operating on far too little sleep, and far too much caffeine and sugar.  That being the case, I’m going to say just a few things about this year’s Emmy awards, and then I’m going to call it a night.

  First, for the first time in . . . well, maybe ever, I actually forgot about the Emmys.  As a TV addict, seeing which of my favorite (or not so favorite) shows get to take home a trophy is a cherished annual tradition.

Image credit:  digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


But, this year, with all the excitement surrounding my granny, it completely slipped my mind.  By the time I got home Sunday night, I just sat down and sort of melted.  And by the time I realized the date, it was after nine, and I had missed most of the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.  Kind of a bummer.

Secondly, I just want to go on record that I believe The Big Bang Theory was robbed, and should have walked away with the Outstanding Comedy Series statuette. 

And, lastly, I worry about the decline of dramatic programming on network television, or at least the recognition of it.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my satellite dish, and all the additional programming options it provides.  But, with some notable exceptions (just about anything on USA Network), most of my absolute can’t-miss programs still show up on good old fashioned network television.  Yet, this year, not a single one of the nominees for Outstanding Drama Series aired on one of the major networks.  One was from PBS, so at least not all of them required a subscription to view, but the other nominations were from Showtime, HBO, and AMC.  And this is a trend that seems to have been increasing over time.  You have to go back to 2008 to find a year where even half the drama nominees came from network TV, to 2007 to find the majority, and 2006 before you find a winner. 

Again, this is not meant to disparage cable programming in any way.  Homeland, this year’s drama winner, is an excellent program, and my DVR is already set to begin recording season two when it returns this weekend.  But I’d hate to see the industry and the audience become elitist and begin to think that it simply isn’t possible to have good drama on the networks.  It’s true that there are some financial differences at work—especially for programs from the premium channels—that might give an economic advantage to the cable shows, so maybe it’s slightly easier to churn out slightly better television.

But there seems to be this long-held belief that if something is highly popular, it can’t possibly be award-worthy, at least when it comes to network dramas.  You don’t see NCIS raking in any nominations, or Blue Bloods, or any of the Law and Order programs.  Even The Good Wife fell out of overall favor this year, though it did get some nomination love for some actors, and even scored an Outstanding Guest Actress for Martha Plimpton.  I’m just not sure why that is.  I’ve seen most of these highly touted dramas, but I don’t watch them regularly, because they just aren’t enough to pull me in week after week.  And while I understand viewership doesn’t necessarily equal quality (witness reality TV), you  might consider that there’s at least something good going on if people tune in year after year. 

So I guess this is really just an open plea to the Academy to keep in mind that outstanding drama has found a home on network television for many, many years, and to remember that it’s still going strong.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thoughts On Life, Death, and the Closing Gap Between Them

 

Lest there be any confusion from the title of today’s post, or anyone feel ultimately let down, let me say right up front that I don’t have profound thoughts on the subject at hand, and absolutely no answers.  Really, I’m not sure I have too many coherent thoughts, even; mostly what I have is just a bunch of confusion and frustration.  I just wanted to be sure the record was clear from the beginning.

IV in hand 9-24-12

As I mentioned yesterday, my grandmother (we call her Granny) had to make a trip to the ER.  Bottomed out blood sugar levels yesterday afternoon, and she was essentially unconscious by the time we knew there was a problem.  Thank goodness my uncle came by when he did.  So, the ER did their job—got her stabilized and sent her home.  Per their orders, we adjusted her medication a bit, stocked up on some slightly higher sugar foods than normal and thought she was good to go.  Her home nurse agreed after last night’s visit.

                                                                                                   Image courtesy:  olovedog / FreeDigitalPhotos.net  

Approximately twelve hours later, her blood sugar was again dangerously low, and I spent a frantic couple of hours trying to get enough sustenance into her to bring it back up, then the rest of the day trying to stabilize it through diet.  That was in between trying to get her to the bathroom when she needed to go, and then cleaning up afterward because we never quite got there in time.  My husband says, “I don’t know how you do it”, but I’m quite certain she wiped my butt a time or two in years past, so that’s okay.

What’s not okay, though, is the lack of options we have to do anything else.  And, like most people without options, it’s because we don’t have enough money to make those options available.  Today (and last night, really), Granny probably needed to be in a hospital.  In the long-term, she either needs to be in a nursing home or have a live-in caretaker.  But do you know how much that stuff costs?  She’s currently receiving hospice services, not for a “typical” life-ending disease, but for a diagnosis of “failure to thrive”.  I’d never even heard of such a thing, except in the context of babies, but apparently it can happen to adults, too, especially when they get older.  Granny’s 92, so she definitely falls into the “older” category.

Anyway, this care is paid for by her Medicare and supplemental insurance, which is great.  What isn’t so great is that she can’t go into the hospital for circumstances directly related to her hospice diagnosis unless she wants to A) discontinue the hospice service, or, B) pay for the hospitalization herself.  Neither of those are great options.

As for a nursing home, neither she nor I (nor the combination of the two) have an additional $3500 per month (minimum) to get her into a decent facility.  Her hospice people believe she would now qualify for Medicaid, which does have a nursing home option, but the approved facilities around here are not places I want my Granny to spend her final days, however many she may have left. 

And, like many families, bringing her into any of our homes has challenges we are not equipped to overcome, and would not solve the underlying problem, anyway, as none of us are at home 24/7 to care for her. 

The confusion for me comes first from the rather inexplicable physical symptoms Granny’s been having.  Given that we typically have to medicate her to keep her blood sugar low enough to be healthy, I have no clue why all of a sudden we can’t keep it high enough to keep her from slipping into a coma.  And, I’m pretty sure that’s not an answer I’m ever going to get, which is where the frustration begins.

You see, I’m pretty sure that I won’t get an answer because the one thing I’ve learned as Granny’s health has begun to decline in the past few years, is that the medical profession pretty much writes you off once you’re old.  Everything that goes wrong is simply attributed to age or “part of the disease process”.  And to a certain extent, I get that.  I mean, I understand that our bodies slow down as we get older; things wear out, and we simply don’t function as well as we did in our younger days.  But if there’s a body part breaking down and causing a symptom to present, someone ought to be able to explain which body part is failing, why we’re seeing what we’re seeing, and what we might expect next.  But I so rarely get any of that information.  If she were even 20 years younger, I bet they’d be running tests like crazy to figure out what was going on.  And if she were 50 years younger?  Her caregivers would be falling over themselves to find a reason—and then a treatment—for her symptoms. 

So, yeah, it’s frustrating to me that the medical profession has made the decision that my Granny isn’t really worth fighting for, simply because of her age.  I don’t like the idea that they get to decide that she’s lived long enough, and her best days are behind her anyway.  And I certainly don’t like the reality that if we had tons of money to spare, that decision could be made as it should be made: by Granny and our family. 

It’s true; she has had a long life, and though in many ways it’s been a hard life, it’s been a good one.  And you know what?  Maybe her best days are behind her.  But I feel like the system we’re working within is set up to guarantee the truth of that statement, to create circumstances where it simply isn’t possible to give her more good days.  It just doesn’t seem fair that life boils down to this.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #8

 

I have to admit, I was this close to just going to bed without posting tonight.  It’s been kind of a long day, and I haven’t gotten nearly everything done that needed to be done.  (Primarily, a boatload of reading that simply must be completed before I head off to class Thursday afternoon.) 

I spent a few hours this afternoon/evening dealing with my granny, another trip to the ER, and then getting her settled back at home again.  Thankfully, she is back home again, which means she’s much better than she was when the ambulance carted her off to the hospital, but it’s still pretty draining.

Still, I’ve been posting every day now for about four months or so, and likely going to participate in another challenge next month, so I sort of hate to break the streak now.  So, being the end of the weekend, let’s get the Snapshot Sunday started, shall we?


First, linking up with Chantelle, over at Fat Mum Slim for the Photo A Day challenge.  Incidentally, it will be a brand new month soon; if taking pictures every day sounds like fun to you, I’d encourage you to check out the challenge. 


16.  Strange

 

  Prompt:  Strange.   This little frog is clinging to the outside of my living room window.  They do it a lot.  Most people don’t think it’s as strange as I do, but it sort of creeps me out, seeing their slimy little underbellies, and their tiny fingers (or whatever they’re called) suctioned to my window.  Outside on my lawn, they’re cute; hanging on my window, they’re strange.

 

 

 

17.  In My Fridge

 

 

  Prompt:  In My Fridge.  Probably not a lot different than most folks’ fridges, eh?



18.  Price

 

 

  Prompt:  Price.  The price for the iced tea I grab on my way to class each day.


19.  Underneath

 

 

 

  Prompt:  Underneath.  The shade underneath my table umbrella.


20.  Man Made

 

 

  Prompt:  Man Made.  Man made, and now, apparently, man repaired. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


21.  Sometimes

 

 

   Prompt:  Sometimes.  Some “normal” pumpkins, and some ornamental ones.

 

 

 

 


22.  Up

 

 

 

   Prompt:  Up.  One of the rides at the fair, up in the air and upside down.  Brian thought it looked cool.  Me, I don’t ride rides, and certainly not ones that leave me hanging upside down a couple of stories in the air.  I did offer to wait patiently while he rode, but he declined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, just a couple of pics from the rest of the week . . .

As I mentioned Friday, my son celebrated his 21st birthday this week.  It’s been a long time since he enjoyed having his picture taken, but he let me snap a couple in honor of the occasion.  (Oh, and that’s his new birthday present he’s playing with there; he’s not just ignoring me!)

Billy 21                  IMG_1522                       Billy 21 cake

A few shots from the fair . . .

DSC03487            DSC03489

DSC03462

 

 

   These little piggies were only two days old. 

DSC03520

 

 

More unusual pumpkins.

 

 

 

 

 


And some beautiful Clydesdales. 


DSC03547DSC03534

 

 

 

 

 

 



DSC03568DSC03552

 

             

 

 

 

 

 


IMG_1529[1]

 

 

And, lastly, remember those cinnamon rolls I told you about last week?  And how I told you I’d have another this week?  I wasn’t lying!  Doesn’t it look yummy?



Now, I really must go to bed so that I may get up early tomorrow morning and hit the books.  Have a good week, everyone. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Six Word Tradition

 

State Fair

 

 

     Saturday afternoon at the

  State Fair.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                           Play along at Show My Face.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Questions, One Grown Baby

 

Happy Friday, everyone.  This time next week, I will be in Branson, MO, enjoying a long-awaited girls’ getaway with my BFF, Kim.  Right now, I’m watching football with hubby.  (Technically, he’s watching; I’m blogging.)

But, it is actually a big day in the household.  Today, our one and only baby, my sweet boy Billy, is officially grown up.  He celebrated his 21st birthday today.  It was pretty low-key.  Out to dinner with the three of us, then cake and ice cream back at home, and now he’s out with friends. (Being careful, I hope.)  Hard to believe, since it still seems like just yesterday when we were first bringing him home, worried about every little move we’d make and hoping we were doing things right.  Time really does fly. 

But, now, before I get all nostalgic and weepy, I suppose I ought to get down to the business of 5 Question Friday.  As always, linking up with Mama M; many thanks to her for hosting the fun.

five question friday



1. What is one grammar issue you cannot let go without correction?

Really, there aren’t any.  Not that there aren’t plenty of grammar issues that make me crazy on a fairly regular basis, because there are.  In fact, while I freely admit that I’m far from perfect, I’m still a tiny bit of a grammar snob.  Try as I might, it is one thing that still causes me to judge people quickly, especially if we’re talking about written communication.  I tend to be more forgiving of the spoken word, because I figure just about everybody is more lax about the things they say, even when they know it’s not quite right.  But, at any rate, the question is what do I have to correct, and the truth is that I correct people very rarely.  It isn’t my job to be the grammar police, and, honestly, it’s a good thing.  With the advent of communication avenues like email, texting, Twitter, and Facebook, I’d constantly be working overtime trying to keep up with all the offenders.  Easier just to grit my teeth and move on.

But what things make me grit my teeth really hard?  “I got my hair did.” comes readily to mind, as does the entire there/their/they’re confusion.  One of the things that really makes me crazy, though, is truly atrocious spelling.  In this day and age, there are spell check programs on just about any form of electronic communication you choose to use (including Facebook, which is where I see the most egregious infractions), so why wouldn’t you use them?  If your message is riddled with red squiggly underlines, for God’s sake, take a minute to figure out why.  I should not be forced to read your words aloud to try and figure out phonetically what you might have been trying to say.   </rant>

2. What's your favorite thing about fall?

I think I just did an entire post about this very topic.  In a nutshell: the new television season.  Cool fall weather is fine, but, really, we don’t get a lot of the in-between seasons here, moving pretty quickly from hot to cold and back again, so any really nice weather isn’t around long enough to really enjoy.  Football is is also fine, but I don’t go into withdrawal during the spring/summer like my husband.  And, while Thanksgiving is really spectacular and I love getting the family together, due to that weather situation I was just talking about, it often feels more like winter than fall by the time turkey day rolls around, so, for me, it’s a fall tradition in name only.  But fall always brings fresh new television shows and returning favorites, and I don’t think you can go wrong with that.

3. What's your favourite dish to take to a potluck?

If I can get away with it, anything I can pick up at the grocery store deli or bakery. If people are insistent I make something, I typically opt for ham and cheese pinwheels.  I don’t like them myself, but they’re easy-peasy, so there you go. 

4. When do you start Christmas (Holiday) shopping?

I’m not organized enough to have a consistent answer to this.  It’s whenever I see something I think someone would like, which might be October or might be March.  I start making dedicated gift-buying trips sometime early in December, and am often still shopping in the final few days.

5. Did you move homes a lot growing up?

Not really, at least not within my memory.  Realistically, I know that in my earliest days there were likely several homes that I don’t recall at all.  But from about age five or so (which means almost 45 years), I’ve lived in a total of 7 different places.  My mom, sister, and I lived in an apartment (I think; could’ve been a tiny house) before “we” married my (step)dad.  Then we moved into Daddy’s house and lived there for several years.  When I was in 4th grade, we moved to the home where I’d spend the rest of my childhood.  In my early 20s, I moved into an apartment with my BFF, but during those six months, her grandmother died and my dad; we both were ready to move back home and be with our families.  Then the next year Brian and I were married; we spent our first year together in my grandmother’s house (she was living with my mom), then bought our first home, where we stayed for about 10 years, and, finally, we’ve been in our current home for the past 14.  My instinct is that this is the last home I will have, barring a spectacular lottery win.

Don’t forget, I’d love to hear your answers, too.  So join the link up (be sure to let me know, please) or answer any/all in the comments.  And I hope you all have a great weekend. 


Video Therapy

 

You Tube

 

Yesterday, when I posted about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Miss Riki commented that one of the songs was a favorite pick-me-up for her. (BTW, have I mentioned how much I really appreciate comments?)  That comment got me to thinking.

Music has always been a go-to source of happiness for me, especially on down days, when I need a little help to get that old chipper feeling back.  Growing up, I had transistor radios, records, and tapes (8 track and cassette) to get the job done.  Then came CDs and iPods.  All of them were/are great at bringing me my favorite tunes, brightening even my darkest days. 

Then, several years ago ( in 2005, to be precise), a wonderful new website came into being.  YouTube.  You can find all sorts of things on YouTube: music, movies, television shows, commercials, weddings, proposals, animals . . . you name it, I bet someone has uploaded a video of it.  And the best part?  It’s a new tool for bringing sunshine into an otherwise dreary day.  You watch enough peppy song videos, cute kids, and fuzzy animals, and I guarantee you’ll get that pep back in your step and turn your frown upside down. 

There are a lot of my favorite pick-me-up songs there, including this one, but those aren’t usually the ones I turn to for my YouTube fixes.  But there are a couple of videos that I go back to time and time again, because they never fail to make me smile.  I thought I’d share them with you, and hope that they make you feel as good as they do me.


Evolution of Dance:  A wordless comedy routine set to music.  This was probably the first YouTube video I ever really fell in love with, and I’ve been watching it for years.




JK Wedding Entrance Dance:  A processional filled with love and fun; a non-traditional way to begin a wedding ceremony, but the very best way to begin a life together.


 

And, lastly, if you’ll allow me a moment of shameless self-promotion, Hardcastle and McCormick—I’ll Be There for You.  For a long, long time, I wanted to learn how to make fanvids.  Originally, because I’d seen them at Star Trek conventions, and it just seemed like a lot of fun.  Eventually, though, they were popping up all over, in fandoms far and wide, and they still looked like a lot of fun.  Finally, I got myself some software and just sat down and did it.  It’s the only one I’ve ever done, and I think it turned out okay, so I go back and watch it once in a while, mostly when I need to remind myself that a little bit of perseverance and concentration can usually get you where you want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Do you have any special YouTube videos that you particularly enjoy?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

J is for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

 

I have to say that my tastes in entertainment—in most things, really—lean toward the secular, and it’s been that way most of my life.  Even so, I did grow up reading The Bible Story books and watching Davey and Goliath on TV.   I’ve never particularly liked being “preached” to, but I did like simple stories that taught basic spiritual lessons and showed that living a faithful life didn’t have to be a “church” thing, but was really just about the way you conducted yourself every day.

So, secular leaning or not, maybe it’s not so surprising that a stage musical based on a Bible story entertains me greatly.

Dreamcoat 9-19-12

                                                                      Image credit: The Really Useful Group

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tells the story of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers (when they chickened out of killing him), who are jealous because their father (Jacob) prefers Joseph over them.  How do they know?  Well, for one thing, Joseph’s the one who got the cool coat.  Besides, Joseph is a gifted man, able to find meaning in dreams; why wouldn’t he be the favorite?  As such, he’s a little bit stuck on himself, but that mild arrogance served him well, even as a slave.  He used his gifts to interpret dreams for the Pharaoh of Egypt, allowing them to prepare for—and survive—an impending famine, working himself into a position of power in the process.

Not to be too much of a spoiler (but you have had a couple thousand years to learn about the story!), but things ultimately work out for the family because even the jealous brothers aren’t all bad, and though Joseph may not be all good, he is the really forgiving type.  It’s a happy ending all around. 

Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice (the same guys that brought us Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita), Joseph was originally performed in various incarnations in London starting in 1968.  After some revisions, it finally became a full-length stage production, making it to the West End in 1973, and then finally to Broadway in 1982.  It’s been going strong ever since.  In fact, according to the official website, worldwide, there are almost 1,000 new productions every year. 

What makes it so popular?  I’ve got a few thoughts on that. 

  • It’s a timeless story, with a simple message.
  • Though it’s got some obviously serious storylines—including attempted fratricide and slavery—the story also has plenty of humorous interludes, and it’s all presented in a light, pop style that keeps things moving along.
  • It’s not only suitable for the whole family, but something all ages can actually enjoy—not always true of highly popular stage productions.
  • And, oh yeah, the music.

Oh, the music.  You’ve got a children’s choir, an Elvis-like Pharaoh, Joseph handling tunes from pop rock to ballads, and a narrator belting out exposition and tying it all together.  I think you’d have to work pretty hard to not be humming a tune when you walk out of the theatre. 

And, speaking of the theatre.  If you don’t happen to be near one of those thousand live productions, there was also a film version back in 1999 starring Donny Osmond.  Osmond played the role on Broadway for many years, and does a good job, though I have to admit, even as much as I love this show, it is definitely better suited for the stage.  Really, though, that’s probably true of most musicals, so don’t hold that against it.  Oh, and if you are one of those people who thinks of Donny Osmond as a teen heart-throb, only capable of churning out bubble gum pop, you’re missing out.  The man can sing.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph is brought to you today in a link up with the fine folks over at ABC Wednesday.  Jump on over there and enjoy even more alphabet fun.

ABCW11

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tube Day Tuesday—The Beginning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         TV Tuesday 9-19-12

You know, I’m sort of fond of blog theme days.  You might’ve guessed that, seeing as how I’ve dedicated a few days each week to recurring themes already.  In three cases, I link up with other host blogs—ABC Wednesday, Five Question Friday, and Six Word Saturday.  More recently, I started my own theme of Snapshot Sunday.  Some people might think these sorts of patterns can create boredom, but I think they add some structure, especially to a blog like mine that’s rather eclectic in subject matter.

                                                                                                                                Image credit:  digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net



With that in mind, I’ve decided to add another regular feature here to Idle Chatter, Tube Day Tuesday.  I hope that the reference doesn’t date me too much, as I preferred this title to my second choice—the less anachronistic but more mundane, TV Tuesday

I know I’ve mentioned many times before my love for the medium.  In fact, a couple of years ago, I started a separate blog to dedicate solely to the small screen and all its glory.  I just popped over and checked, and see that it lasted a total of eight posts.  But that’s more a reflection on my organizational/follow-through skills than it is on my fascination with the world of television.

Anyway, like most of my ramblings here, even on a theme day, there won’t be a lot of rules.  Oh, the starting point will be TV, but it might be a current episode recap/review, news about a DVD release, discourse on character motivation, or idle commentary on whether I care for the soundtrack to a particular series.  You just never know. 

Also, just as a passing thought, I’ll mention that another blogger, Donald, over at Rebooting This Crazy Life, mentioned recently that he was going to be joining a 31 day blog challenge in October, with the idea being to write about the same umbrella topic for the entire month.  In my comment to him, I laughingly said TV was probably the only topic I’d be able to use successfully.  Even though it was a flippant remark, as the days have passed, I’ve actually been thinking about whether I might truly want to give that a try.   I figure there’s one more Tuesday left in September to help me figure out if that’s something I would really want to write about for a month straight, as well as whether you, Dear Reader, would want to read about it for a month straight.  Feel free to chime in with your opinions on the matter.

And, finally, I thought I’d leave you with the (slightly edited) text from one of my earliest posts over at the now-defunct TV blog, as a primer for what I enjoy—and don’t—about TV . . .

What makes good TV?  For a blog dedicated to sharing my views on that very topic, you’d think I should have a ready answer to that question.  Unfortunately, the problem is, it’s not as simple as it sounds.  See, good TV—like beauty—is very dependent on the viewer.  Everyone has their preferences, their biases.  So, if I’m going to be giving out my thoughts on what’s on the tube, it might be fair to start with some of the basics about what I like (and maybe a little bit about what I don't).

First, I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned buddy show.  One of my favorites of all time is Hardcastle and McCormick.  Then there’s Starsky and Hutch, Alias Smith and Jones, Wild Wild West,Simon and Simon . . . the list could go on and on.  On a bit of a side-note, it makes me a little sad that this list is made up of old shows; true buddy shows are pretty rare these days.  High on my list of current shows is White Collar, one of the few modern-day buddy shows—and one that will almost certainly show up here regularly.

The next thing that’s always a plus in my book is smart dialogue.  Snappy repartee, impassioned orations, casual literary or historical references—these are the sorts of things that score high with me.

And the last thing that comes to mind tonight (though I don’t intend this list to be all-inclusive) is believability.  Now, this shouldn’t be confused with realism; I’m not expecting—or even wanting—complete veracity in the programs I watch.  I enjoy any number of programs that start with some pretty unlikely foundations (see some of those buddy shows mentioned earlier), but they are always constructed in such a way that the suspension of disbelief is easy.  That’s a pretty fine balancing act sometimes, and the primary credit is split between the writers and the actors, but every little bit of the production plays a part, as well.  When everything comes together like it should, the viewer is lost in a world that only exists in that 30 or 60 minute block of time.

So, if that’s a brief look at things I’m biased toward, are there things I’m biased against?  Absolutely.  The most obvious would be the opposite sides of the listed virtues.  I don’t like insipid dialogue, or characters that sound stilted, or clich√©, or just plain stupid.  I also can’t abide watching any program that continually reminds me that it’s not real. 

Beyond that, there’s only one really huge deal-breaker for me, and it’s a fairly new invention in the grand scheme of things:  reality television.  Anyone browsing these postings hoping for the latest updates on Big Brother or Survivor has come to the wrong place. American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are likewise not on my viewing list.  Call me old fashioned, but I like my television to be scripted and staged (and admit as much).

With these basic guidelines in place, though, it then becomes a matter watching a show and simply seeing if it “clicks”.  Sometimes—not often, but sometimes—that click is instant, and I know immediately I’ve found a new favorite (White Collar), but more often, it takes a while for a show to really grow on me.  These days I love to stumble across reruns of old Friends episodes, but I’m not too proud to admit I wasn’t sold from the start.  On the other hand, it also usually takes at least a few episodes before I’ll completely write something off; the programs that completely turn me off with the first viewing are almost as rare as the ones that win me over that quickly.

So, that’s a peek at my criteria for “good TV”.  Your list is probably at least a little bit different, but I still bet we end up in the same place every now and again.

 

Thanks for hanging in with me on my first outing of this new theme; I’ll be interested to see where Tube Day Tuesday takes us.

What’s the best thing about TV for you?

Monday, September 17, 2012

225 Candles

 

The Com Library photostream

 

 

   The problem—if there is one—with being in school regularly, is that it makes you think about a lot of things you haven’t thought about in a long while.  For instance, when’s the last time you gave any serious thought to the US Constitution? 

  Well, it turns out that today is Constitution Day (technically, Constitution and Citizenship Day, but it usually gets abbreviated), a day to recognize both the adoption of our founding principles and those who have become citizens of this great land. 

  I’ll admit that I don’t really give the Constitution too much thought on a regular basis.  I mean, sure, it’s the very foundation of our basic society, but what’s that to me, right?  Is my world going to come screeching to a halt if I don’t recognize and appreciate the hard work and foresight that our Founding Fathers poured into building this country from nothing?  Probably not.  Things will likely roll along just fine even if I take it all for granted.  But, even if we don’t spiral down into anarchy born of apathy, I think it might be worth taking a minute to give it a passing thought.

With that in mind, today I spent some time on campus listening to one of our state Supreme Court justices talking about the judiciary and its constitutional beginnings.  Other than a couple of interesting trivial bits of information (did you know the US Constitution is the shortest in the world?), she didn’t talk about anything that hasn’t been covered in my political science text book, but it was still interesting, and a worthwhile way to spend an hour or so.  Her general message concerning her profession?  Judges are humans, doing an important job every day and doing the very best they can.  In general, I think I agree with that assessment. 

In terms of the Constitution itself, I think my feelings about the document are pretty similar.  It has served us well for a couple of centuries now.  By it’s very design, it’s meant to be interpreted by the people who serve our nation, so it’s not always as black and white as we might sometimes prefer, but it’s doing the best that it can.  I would never try to say that America is anywhere close to perfect, or that our leaders—past or present—are incapable of mistakes.  But I will go so far as to say our country is more right than wrong, and I think the framers of the Constitution are a very large part of why.  So why not take a second or two to think about our humble beginnings, and say a quick happy birthday to the framework built 225 years ago that got us to where we are today?

Snapshot Sunday #7

 

Happy Sunday (actually, most certainly Monday by the time I hit publish) to you all.  It’s been kind of a busy week, starting with football last weekend.  Then the week days were filled with quite a bit of school work and chores/errands, followed by a brief trip to the state fair on Friday night to see Air Supply in concert, and then yesterday, a trip to a local casino with my sister, Tanya, to see a Hall & Oates show.  Fun times all around.

But, Sunday means it’s time for another photo roundup, so let’s get started on that, shall we?  As always, I’ll start with the daily photo challenge pictures, with prompts provided by Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim.


9.  Something You Do Most Weekends

 

  Prompt: Something you do most weekends.  Every weekend of late—and almost certainly every weekend for quite a while to come—involves homework.

 

 



10.  Black & White

 

  Prompt:  Black and white.  Not much to say about this one; it’s my yard, and I liked the ray of sun peeking through the trees.

 

 



11.  Hero

 

 

  Prompt:  Hero.  A bit of a cheat, since I don’t think I even took this picture, and certainly not recently.  But, my mom was my hero my whole life, so who else was I going to use?

 

 

 

 

 

 




12.  Together

 

 

  Prompt:  Together.  I roll my socks together; how about you?

 

 

 



13.  Table

 

 

  Prompt:  Table.  Looking at the table in front of mine at school.  Truth be told, I don’t like this picture.  My plan had been to use the library table while we were working together on a group project, but the work wasn’t going exactly according to plan, which made the photo completely slip my mind.  So, next class was the next best thing.

 

 

 

 


14.  Favorite

 

 

   Prompt:  Favorite.  These cinnamon rolls are my very favorite fair food.  They are big, gooey, and absolutely delicious.  And, you can watch them make them in that window right up front. (But don’t do that if you’re trying to kid yourself about the calories in the things; hard to ignore the multiple sticks of butter and immeasurable sugar in each batch!)



15.  First Thing You See

 

 

  Prompt:  First thing you see.  Maybe this was supposed to be the first thing you see in the morning, but it didn’t say so.  And, besides, I didn’t look at the prompt list until later in the day.  But this is the first thing you see when you sit down to wait for Hall & Oates to perform. 


And, now, for a few random pics, though mostly from the concerts . . .

Air Supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

Air Supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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   My standard fair meal.  (The cinnamon roll is dessert!)  Please forgive my crazy, frizzy hair!

 

 

 



IMG_1411

 

 

 

 

 

                       My sister, Tanya, as we were waiting in line for H&O.

 

 

 

 

 



Hall and OatesHall and Oates, with my crappy phone pictures.  (Stupid casino wouldn’t let me use my real camera, as apparently anything with interchangeable lenses is considered  “professional”, and not allowed in. Boo.)

Black and white catsAnd, just playing around some more on B&W day, and snapped some pics of cats.  They’re all shades of gray, anyway, so they fit right in with the theme.  Left to right, they are:  Tiny, Sable, Sable & Tiny, Mel. 


That’s what my week looked like; what about yours?