Category Archives: movies I watched

Mini adventures & random thoughts

Went back out walking this a.m. on the beach. Did not take the dog. The weather was cloudy and windy, and a bit rain-spitty. But I wanted to walk on the beach, so I drove down, rather than spending so much time just walking up there and back. I climbed down the stairs at a place where one of the stair rails was broken off the concrete stairs and three-quarters buried in the sand. The part that wasn’t buried stuck out of the sand at an angle, like some drowned spar.

Anyway, where I climbed down, they hadn’t put any additional sand down. They’re replacing sand washed away by Hurricane Ike, but hadn’t done it yet in that area. However, they’d piled sand up on the other side of the next jetty, clear to the top of the jetty. I climbed up on the rocks, from “my” side, but I wanted to walk down by the water, where the sand would be harder packed, and–well, the sand is piled up so high, it makes a little cliff. Higher than I wanted to jump down with my wonky knees. So I walked down the jetty to where the tide had washed the sand down.

Except it had washed the sand underneath, between the rocks, and not on top of the rocks, and when I was standing on what I thought was sand over rock, turned out I wasn’t. I was standing on sand with a hole under it. And my entire left leg crashed through the sand into the hole between the two big jetty boulder/rocks. Next thing I knew, I was sitting sprawled on the sand-covered jetty, with my leg down a hole. Didn’t hurt me. Had on long pants and walking shoes and socks. The sand made a kind of cushion, so no bruises. Just a big surprise. And a lot of sand down my leg, in my sock & shoe.

But getting up and down those jetty rocks was a lot of work. So I hiked down to the next set of stairs –past the next jetty– and climbed up and walked back to the car on the seawall. And got rained on, a bit. It’s cloudy and windy, but not cold, today. Until the Gulf washes more of the sand down, and makes that edge not so cliff-y, I’ll probably stick to seawall walking for a while…I do need to go take a picture of it, though, so you can see what I’m talking about…

Now, we come to the random thoughts section:
I did see 15 pelicans flying out to fish. And did I mention that the seagulls have their black heads back? It will soon be the season for seagull love…

The boy and I watched “300” again last night. And there was a scene with a bird sitting on an abandoned spear (from one of the dead, I think). And when the bird flew away, it made a seagull cry. Except–seagulls can’t sit on spears. Their feet aren’t right. They’re webbed. So they can’t perch. They can sit on pilings and broad flat posts and roofs and stuff, but they can’t perch. It would be like a duck perching on a narrow branch. Ain’t gonna happen. So now, I’m criticizing the birds in movies. (sigh)

Took Dolly to the vet this a.m. after my walk. Turns out, she not only has allergies like the rest of the family (her “white” eye is really sensitive), but she has a wonky knee like her Gigi. That’s why she limps sometimes, because her kneecap keeps sliding out of position. Knees, not hips. We got ointment for the eye–it got infected from the allergy irritation–and shots, and she’s in great shape otherwise. She was SO excited at the vets. Wanted to sniff at all the smells and play and sniff and play and… I think she scared an elderly dachshund’s elderly owner, running up to sniff and play. The dog was a little affronted, but the owner looked alarmed. So we took her out the other way. Dolly, not the dachshund.

Went to see TWO (2!) movies this weekend. Taken and Push. Liked both. Becoming Jane and Hancock came in from Ntflx. Jane came in twice. I reported that it hadn’t come (they mailed it from Houston, and it didn’t get here in a WEEK. I can drive to the far side of Houston in 2 hours…)(Plus, we got the other movie, watched it and mailed it back before the 2nd Jane came.) so they sent another one. And now I have 2. I will mail it back. I have enough clothes to fold for a movie watching marathon tonight.

I have written 7 pages so far of HARRY & ELINOR FIGHT MONSTERS. I am going to attempt to write this on the computer. We will see how it goes. If I don’t get my page count up, I may go back to the longhand…except that I probably wrote a LOT more pages than I have left, since I started, and started over, and over again multiple times. When I write that in longhand, I still have the scratch-outs to show that I actually wrote more. I am saving some of the deleted bits–and have already used some over again–but it’s still not as much as the saved. Anyway, I’m getting to the more exciting stuff, so maybe it’s going okay…

Today’s count

Down to 586 pages at 9:04 p.m. CST.

Had Shrimp & Stuff dinners out and took time to watch Jumpers with the boy. Back at work. It’s going to be do-able!

Edited to add: 11:39 p.m. Reached the end. I’m at 581 pages.

The last hundred pages was a lot tighter. It gets that way.

I have two scenes I want to thin out considerably–they’re repetitious, padded, and boring. I’ll do that tomorrow. Then–maybe–do one more read through and ship this puppy off.

Post-Holiday Rush

Last weekend was a holiday weekend. After running like a crazy person all of last week, the weekend arrived and I had a chance to relax. Somewhat. I did a little bit of running to get downtown to the parade, because the fella was going to be in it. It was kind of a short parade, and I forgot to put on sunscreen ahead of time, and the shady places weren’t the best parade-watching places, but it was a nice parade. I saw him glide by in the Mustang convertible, but was too far away to wave. And then we wandered around the Railroad Museum and looked at the model trains and listened to a few of the speeches, and went home again.

The boy’s girlfriend came down for the weekend, which was fun. He’d asked for days off, but he had to go in and report before he could officially get off–though he did every time. And that was nice too. Friday the Fourth, we were very lazy. After the parade, we “rested” until time to go watch the fireworks off the 37th Street jetty. It’s nice that they can shoot fireworks over the water, because it really cuts back on the fire hazard worry. And they were some spectacular fireworks, about a 30 minute show. I enjoyed it a lot. Then we drove home and grilled steaks. Yum.

Saturday, we went to see “Get Smart.” I actually liked it better than the TV show, because Max had some smarts. The fella and the boy had already seen it, but the girlfriend and I hadn’t. So we made them take us. There are still a few movies I want to see. I’m hoping the grandboys haven’t seen Wall-E yet, since they’re coming for the weekend. It would be fun to take them.

This week hasn’t quite been as wild and woolly, but it has been busy. The boy’s vehicle isn’t repaired yet, so we’re having to take each other to work, depending on who has to work longer hours. I got the car today. He gets it tomorrow.

I’m trying to get a synopsis written so I can send a partial off before I go to San Francisco for the RWA National Conference. And once again, I know some things that will happen, but I don’t know exactly how or why they will happen. I’ll figure it out when I get there. I got most of the plot events figured out, right up to the finale, and then Pthfthffftttttpbthpt. Nothing.

I know that the hero and heroine will essentially rescue each other. Or team up to rescue themselves and beat the bad guy. But I have no clue exactly how they’ll do it. I’m not entirely sure just how far their teaming up will go. I don’t want it to happen like it does in New Blood, but … Hmm. Well, usually, if I leave it alone and let things bubble in the swamp where my stories come from, something will bubble up from the primordial goo. And I think the fermentation is already making wine…or something. So that’s where the writing is.

Oh. I walked yesterday. So I’m one more mile towards Rivendell. That makes–um–7? (Yeah, I didn’t walk far. But I walked.)

Blown Away

The wind has been blowing like crazy the past few days–knocking over the glider-swing in the back yard every night (as well as the big trashcan) and scaring the granddog into barking. There’s sand blowing across most of the streets in town and piling up in intersections or along curbs or the risers of the stairs up the seawall.

My hair, which needed cutting about 6 weeks ago, is at that awful length where, when the wind gets hold of it, it makes this Dutch-Girl-Paint-girl-hat curl over my ears and nothing I do can make it not stick out in that stupid Bozo-the-Clown curl. The wind is very damp, and has salt in it, and that combines with the hairspray (if I didn’t glue my hair down, it would hang straight down in my face and make me CRAZY) and makes the hair even more impossible. I really need a haircut. Bad. And can’t seem to remember to call anywhere or squeeze out time to go to a walk-in place. I’m either going to have to get used to looking like Bozo every time I set foot out in this wild wind, or manage to get this mess cut off.

I went out to walk this a.m. Right At High Tide. Usually I’m an hour ahead of the tide turning, or an hour behind, or sometimes smack in the middle. But today, I was on the beach for the only turning of the tide today, as high tide hit and then started back out. Not that I really noticed the turn of it, but I certainly did notice that it was high, especially since this wild wind–enough to make cars rock–is blowing straight onshore and pushing the water in more. I had to go almost to 39th street to find stairs that led to sand rather than water, and even then the water was almost knee deep a time or two. And since the tide was so high, the water was over sand that spends most of its time out of the water. Only the very top layer was wet. Immediately underneath, the sand was soft and squooshy, so I was sinking into the sand rather than pounding along the hard surface you usually get with wet sand, because it wasn’t wet enough. All that sinking in makes for quite a workout.

The wind is so strong, the birds were flying at an angle. I saw a few pelicans flying southwest, but pointed south (the direction the wind was coming from). Kind of like you have to drive your car in a strong wind, with the steering wheel pointed into the wind to keep the wind from shoving you off the road. The gulls were flying like crazy just to stand still. It’s been this way for days.

I’m waxing so poetical (or maybe obsessively) because there’s not much else to report. The fella and I did go out to see PRINCE CASPIAN last night, finally. The boy had to work, or we might have gone to see Indiana Jones. That’s the one he wants to see. I forgot to take my sweater, but didn’t get too cold. The folks behind us in line had obviously been to the local theater before, because one had a huge fleece robe, and another had a big jacket. Man, they keep that place cold.

The writing, it also sucketh. No real excuse for it, except that I keep finding excuses. People visiting. Errands needing running. Granddogs needing to be played with. Nieces and nephews graduating. The nephew’s done. The niece is tomorrow. Have to/want to go. Get to leave early enough to go eat shishkebab at the sister’s.

I think I’ve written a grand total of 5 pages this week. That’s five more pages than I had last week, but they’re all…transition. Getting from the morgue to the murder scene kind of stuff. Bleah. I mean, we have to get from one place to the other, but it shouldn’t have to take 5 pages to do it. Of course, I’m disposing of an excess character (indisposition, not death) and switching POV in the process, but it doesn’t feel like anything’s happened. Suppose that’s because it hasn’t. And I’m still not sure where the villain will show up and cause trouble. I’d really like a bit of a frothing-at-the-mouth scene. Especially since I have two potential frothers. Maybe I can use the alternate frother here… Hmm.

Anyway–there’s the News Of The Week So Far. Enjoy, and watch out for that wind. :)

The Tuesday Blog

It’s Tuesday and I’m blogging again. I seem to post a lot of blogs on Tuesday. Mostly because Monday tends to be really crazy and I never manage to make it by here but I Really want to post at least one blog a week so y’all won’t think I’ve forgotten you, and Tuesday seems to be when I can make myself get over here and do it.

The problem is that many times, by the time Tuesday gets here, I can’t think of anything to blog about. I’ve forgotten whatever it was I did over the weekend. Maybe because the weekend seems so far behind me. Anyway, it’s Tuesday again, and I’m blogging.

About what? Um–we went to see Iron Man a week ago Sunday, and out to dinner for Mother’s Day. This past weekend, I overdid it a little on the flower beds and pretty much slept the rest of the weekend–though we did buy some “previously viewed” movies and watched American Gangster Sunday night. I want to go see Prince Caspian, but haven’t found the time yet, and since we’re moving into Graduation Season, I’m not sure when we will. Maybe we can go on a Wednesday, or something.

I did walk on the beach yesterday morning. Still haven’t looked up those silly plover birds, because I can’t find where I put my bird book. I think it’s in my office, but where??? No special observations yesterday–seagulls, shells, sand, water–the beach is always great, and before 8 a.m. on Monday, I pretty much have it to myself.

The writing is moving ahead. Only 3 pages yesterday, but I got 6 today, and now I need to think about my book’s theology before I can forge ahead. Since this book is about spirits, and demons have cropped up already, and ghosts and “ascending”–I have to think about that sort of thing. I know how it works–I just have to figure out how to explain it, and decide how much explaining I want to do at this point.

A fantasy novel requires a lot of explaining, and I’ve set it up so that the explaining makes sense–one of my characters doesn’t know much about the magic and has to be told. But I do sometimes feel as if the story’s getting bogged down in all the explanations. Today, though, it went well. I didn’t expect this particular scene at this point, but it works well, does what I need it to go and sets up one of the major complications that will come into play later. So yeah. I’m feeling good about the writing.

RWA chapter meeting today. I’m totally not interested in this program, but I’m going anyway, because hanging out with other writers and talking writing gets my writerly juices flowing, and I need as much flow as I can get. I also get to hang out at the book store. Yay!

Geeky Fan Girls

There is no age limit. On either end.

Hello, my name is Gail and I’m a geeky fan girl. Woman. Whatever.

So, yeah, I didn’t make it by last week. I tell ya, this dayjob is really eating into my time. Along with everything else in my life.

I did get 14 pages of Thunder in a Cloudless Sky written, enough to earn my charm this month. I think I’ve made it to the halfway point. This book may turn out to be 8oo pages. (sigh)

And I went to Austin over the weekend to try to help my parents get ready to move. They’re leaving the big city Austin traffic for a little house behind my sister’s in a little town about an hour away. I spent most of my time going through decades of pictures and sorting them into piles according to which sibling had the most kids in the picture. Then we bought photo boxes and put them in with divider cards, etc. Not hard work, in the least, though I did help carry a dining table down the steep driveway to a trailer. (That driveway is another reason for them to move–it’s hard to climb up and down that thing!)

It just so happened that this weekend in Austin was the opening weekend of the South by Southwest film festival. SXSW is more famous for the music festival part of it, but the film festival is becoming more important. I think “Knocked Up” had one of its early screenings there last year–maybe its premiere. And this Saturday night, the midnight movie was the world premiere of a film with a villain played by an actor whose career I’ve been following for a lot of years. And since I was there…

So I trekked downtown to see if I could get in to see the movie. And maybe, just in case, some of the people who worked on the film might possibly, maybe show up. Hadn’t seen anything anywhere saying that anybody would, or even might, but what the heck. I was there…

Met up with a friend who’s also a fan. Hung out on Sixth Street, listening to music and watching all the wannabes and gonnabes and already-ares mingling. And the guy showed up. And I got to chat with him a bit. And take a picture of us together, just to prove that, yes, I met Tony Curran. I don’t care that you don’t know who he is. I do. And I was such a totally geeky fan girl, I forgot 3/4 of the things I wanted to ask him. But I was there.

Try to guess what movies he’s been in before you go off to look him up on the Internet Movie Database

I didn’t get in to see the movie. They let in people with badges before they let in the peons who only want to see one thing, and there were too many with badges who wanted to see it. At one point, someone came out asking whether there was any more press, and I almost claimed to be a stringer for the paper I work for… And I found out today that I should have, and that the paper would probably have published any story I wrote about it.

I have to go back this weekend to meet the folks at the house they’re moving to, so I can help them unpack and get organized. The movie is playing again this coming Saturday night. I could go again, and get in to see it this time, and write an article next week… I’ll let you know what happens. I may be too tired. I may go back home to my island.

I saw bluebonnets today, blooming on the island! Spring Is Officially Here. YAYYYYY!!!

Wild Weekend

The harbor cruise was fun. We took the motor-powered cruise. Big ol’ boat that A&M uses for marine research of various kinds. Just six of us on the boat with “Captain Jim. ” Basically, we went down the harbor to the ship channel and back, didn’t go out in the bay at all. Lots of interesting stuff to look at. (This is the “other” boat, very much like the one we’re on. Took the picture while we were pulling out.)

We saw lots of cool stuff. The local cruise ship, getting loaded up for another Caribbean cruise… We saw the “tall ship Elissa,” from the water. Elissa is a museum herself, and also a working sailing merchant ship. Locals volunteer to sail her and keep her ship-shape.

There were also cargo ships unloading tractors and shipyards that didn’t look like they had any ships to work on. I think one of the shipyard things was still under construction. Besides all the big ships (including Coast Guard cutters and ferries and barges), there were people out fishing. Apparently it’s about time for the flounder run to begin and folks were everywhere, on the bank and in boats, catching fish while all these huge ships were pulled up to dock right across the water from them.

But the absolute coolest thing we saw while we were out cruising down the harbor was the bottle-nosed dolphins. A whole pod surfaced right in front of the boat–six or seven of them. I couldn’t get but three in the same picture–they were pretty far ahead when the big bunch surfaced, and not all of them came back up close enough for me to take their picture. But they were right there in the harbor along with everything else, swimming around like there were no ships or fishermen. Cool, huh?

And then we went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age, because I’d been wanting to see it, and it was totally worth going to see. Loved the clothes…

Sunday, we got tickets to the Grand Opera House to a concert, and decided to go to that, since Moody Gardens–which was having “Free Day for locals” will be there next year (or whenever) and the pianist won’t be. The music was great, but Sunday afternoon is not a good concert time for this girl. Sunday afternoon is Nap Time, and I kept falling asleep in that dark theater, at least through the Brahms. I did stay awake for the Mussorgsky Pictures in an Exhibition–just because I like that music a lot.

There were a whole bunch of other things going on over the weekend…a bicycle “ride around the bay” benefit thing, I think a breast cancer walk, an art festival, I think there was also a jazz festival…and we just couldn’t get to all of it. (A couple of the cyclists got hit crossing the causeway, even though they had two lanes blocked off just for the bicyclists…)

So now, it’s Monday. Worked on White Elk this a.m., got the latest version of chapter 1 in the computer and sent off for critiquing. Hopefully I’ve added in enough emotion that it will work. Hopefully.

Beach Report: Went back out to walk this morning. They’ve been predicting a cold front for today since last week, but you couldn’t tell it by my walk. It was 81F (27C) when I got to the seawall at 8:30 a.m. And there wasn’t a lick of breeze anywhere. I have NEVER been on the beach when the air was so absolutely still. It was hot, walking this a.m.

Because it was Monday, and the beaches got groomed for the weekend, most of the seaweed was gone, unless it got washed up right next to the seawall. I saw a couple of chunks of floaty, crinkly kind. (Guess I ought to take a picture of that, too.) A few shells, more rocks, and a whole lot of rocks right next to the fishing pier.

But I saw something I’d never seen before, completely new for me, and totally cool. I guess it washed ashore because it had broken off something else. It was a chunk of hard, clear plastic pipe about 2 inches in diameter, with a metal plug on one end that had been completely covered three-quarters of the way around, and over the end with some kind of little mussels or clams. Each shell was about thumbnail sized, and attached to the pipe by some kind of…neck, or stem. Kind of an icky, fleshy, ribbed, dark brown stem. The shells looked thin, and they were triangular shaped, with rounded points, white with dark orange edges. Looked sorta like mouths with lipstick on, because the shells were all open, some with little critters sticking out.

I thought about bringing it home to take a picture of here, but the critters were still alive, and when they died, they would sure stink. So I tossed them back into the water (they washed back out again) for the seagulls to eat, if they ever figured out they were edible. (Maybe they aren’t. I don’t know.) The seagulls weren’t messing with them when I first saw it. It looked sort of like a rhythm-band instrument–a stick with little castanets stuck all over the outside to rattle together. It did rattle when I picked it up, as the shells clacked into each other…

So, anyway, that was the cool stuff I saw this morning.

Then, sometime later this morning, the wind swooped in out of the north, blew over the rubber tree and the purple ginger (I did pick them back up), and brought in the cold weather. By 2:30 p.m., it was 63F (17C), and blowing like crazy.

I may have to go out and check the beach at low tide tomorrow, see if anything cool can be found. We are told that this is the time to go beach-combing, because the wind pushes the water way out, and all sorts of things turn up on the sand…

Slow weekend

It’s been a really slow weekend. We talked about getting tickets for the Sousa concert at the Amarillo Symphony, but when the fella had trouble getting home from Austin, it’s just as well we didn’t. Amarillo was socked in with fog and freezing drizzle most of the morning and early afternoon. He’s been spending a lot of time in Austin, because the Texas legislature is meeting. They only meet for a few months every other year and all the business has to be done very quickly–the theory was that if they didn’t meet too often, they couldn’t cause too much trouble–and being in the junior college business, the fella feels the need to be present to make sure the gummint doesn’t forget to fund the colleges. (They only pay for about 1/3 of the cost of running them, right now…but this isn’t a government or educational blog).) Anyway, it means that for the next several months, he’ll be in Austin almost as much as he’s at home. And it’s nice when he comes home again. :)

We spent the weekend just hanging out. We watched a couple of the movies I rented to watch while he was gone, and didn’t watch at all. I read a book. We changed lightbulbs–this is a complicated process that involves getting out a ladder (high ceilings) and lots of cussing, so we tend to let a lot of lightbulbs burn out before we go round changing them. And okay, he does most of the work. I stand by ready to catch him in case the ladder wobbles, and throw away the old lightbulbs. But we replaced three of the four bulbs in the den, two of the three lights in the spare room, the light in the laundry room, one of the bathroom lights and… surely there was another one–oh yeah, one of the 4 bulbs on the ceiling fan fixture in our bedroom. (Told ya we wait till we’re fumbling in the dark.) We can see again! (I really like the fluorescent fixtures in the bathrooms…)

I’m going to have to start going to basketball games with him again soon–except this week, it’s on Thursday, which is choir night–okay, I completely forgot to go to the community choir this past week, but the fella was out of town, and it’s harder to remember stuff when I don’t have any schedule at all to keep… Anyway, I can go to the ball game, then sneak out for choir practice, then sneak back for the rest of the guys’ game.

I’ve made an emergency hair cut appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I need to make myself a big sign to put on my desk so I don’t forget to go. We’re getting a family picture made early Tuesday morning, and my hair has reached that icky in-between too-long-to-be-short and too-short-to-be-long stage, where some of it wants to flip out, some of it wants to flip under, and some of it sorta wants to go sideways…(No I do not have photos!) and no way am I having my picture made with in-between hair…

I need to write a “alumnus success story” article for Gwen Shuster-Haynes’ marketing workshop. I’m not sure it got me to doing more things that what I was already doing, but I feel better about the things I’m accomplishing, and I think I’m focused better.

Okay. This weekend, I watched Sixteen Blocks with Bruce Willis (liked it), and Mrs. Henderson Presents with Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. I also read Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd. (Dodd’s title doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the story, but it’s cute, and I liked the book. I liked both books, actually.)

Back to work in the a.m.