Saturday, June 30, 2007

Camp, dancing and dead things

A week of day camp is once more behind us. This was by far the BEST week of day camp ever. Yes, it was disgustingly hot on Monday and Tuesday and yes, the field trip was to the dump (not kidding!) but the fact remains. Why? Because this year, myself and my partner in crime were the business managers instead of unit leaders. This meant we got to run around and spend money that didn't belong to us and buy outrageous amounts of stuff. We're talking over-flowing, multiple carts. We could up and leave camp during the day (go out to lunch!) instead of broil in the sun while whiny girls sing the same song for the fiftieth time. Sure we had to oversee the making of the tie-dye shirts and I'm still a little green around the nails, but that's nothing compared to boo-boos, tattle-tales and constant bathroom trips. It was heaven!

I truly thought that posts about play practice would be a daily thing, but so far I haven't felt like it. Mostly because we don't get home until after 10 and I'm dead exhausted. Let's see... how to sum it all up... The average age of the actors in this show must be around 19, so I'm usually swinging between feeling young and being a part of them or feeling like I'm way too old for this shit. I'm holding my own with the singing, but it's the dancing that's kicking my ass. I'm come home some nights feeling like I'll never walk right again. By Thursday, my feet are just plain crippled! And it's so hot in the auditorium! You just stand there and sweat and then have to go stand way too close to other people who are just as sweaty. It's a charming society! All that said though, I am having the time of my life. This has been a terrific way to spend the summer. And the kids are loving it too. They have a much less physical job to do than I, but their part is much cuter than mine. This show is going to rock and EVERYBODY BETTER COME! July 26th - July 29th. No excuses!

I have an agreement with the man around here: I clean up all the body fluids (barf, etc.) and he cleans up things that are dead. Yesterday, when I went to change a load of laundry, beside the dryer was a chipmunk who had seen better days. I only took the briefest of looks before I ran out, but he was basically drawn and quartered. And the man is not here. I scurried across the street where I found the kids and three friends and explained (probably screaming) about the problem. The five of them bucked each other up, grabbed shovels and took off. About five minutes later, they all came out of the house screaming, but the job was done. Their descriptions of the poor creature were way more than I could handle, (especially the parts about the maggots!) The deceased was bagged and taken out and the boy didn't barf, but came very close. They even cleaned up the floor. My heroes! As a reward I built a fire and they all got s'mores.

The boy leaves for Boy Scout camp in the morning for the week. One week from today the man will be home. How will the girl and I survive this week with just the two of us? Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blogging and Me

67%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Addicted is such an overused word, but I think the percentage is about right...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The green mountains call

The man is off again to the land of cheese, syrup and higher education. This is his second to last trip! Hooray! I know he would appreciate any messages, if you were so inclined to send one. The lad gets a bit lonely up there. Of course, I would appreciate a message too. It's more than a bit lonely around here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Actual Worst Movie is...

The last post brought about such a reaction--- 3 comments! Anyway, many of your points were valid, but I'm not actually the expert in the world of comics, more like a tourist. So to elaborate and set to rest some of your concerns, I am bringing in a guest writer on the blog today. So let's have a warm welcome for his first appearance-- The one, the only.... the man!

Yes, I am the man, indeed, and while I am not an expert, I have spent more than a few hours of my exceedingly manly life reading comic books--or, as I like to call them, the Starter Drugs of the Reading World.

Of course, reading comics has put quite a strain on my life in a number of ways: pelted by insults from athletic children and other non-geeky kids? Check. Shelled out big bucks for assorted back issues I now can't allow myself to touch? Mmm-hmm. Forced to explain to my angry daughter why it's necessary to store my comic book collection in her closet? Suffice it to say, I've paid my dues.

Such is this love of all things super-heroish that I have willingly led my family into various shady comic shops, conventions reeking, quite frankly, of that insidious mix of moldering paper and B.O., and--alas--movie theaters to see sub par superhero movies. And all of which leads us, Dear Readers, to this discussion of the Worst Comic Book Movie of the Modern Era.

Why just the Modern Era? Well, friends, is there really any need for us to discuss the virtues of David Hasslehoff as Colonel Nick Fury? Or any of those awful Superman endeavors (I'm sorry, you fans of Christopher Reeve; there's no way to explain away Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, or Richard Pryor as a sidekick, or how, exactly, making the world spin backwards would reverse time. Whoever made those decisions--and you can quote me on this--was an idiot)?

No, readers, we shall remain safely in the realms of the comic movies as they've appeared post-X-Men 1, or as I like to call it, God's Payback for my Tortured Adolescence. This is the point where the technology of making movies finally--after years of clear-plastic Captain America shields and goggles--GOGGLES--on Spider-Man--caught up with everything superheroes are about: mainly, really cool superpowers. Eyeglass wearers or the world, now at last we are able to see Cyclops lift those symbolic shades of his and let loose those even more symbolic laser blasts....

Okay, I'm getting all wound up here. On to the movies, and boy have there been some bad ones. How bad, you ask? How about Daredevil?

Here we have Ben Affleck, who hasn't been good in a movie since his two minutes on screen in Shakespeare in Love, trying his best to pretend like he's a blind lawyer. Here we have the remarkably attractive Jennifer Garner doing a remarkable job of rendering Elektra, the comic world's hottest villain/hero, with all the sexiness of, say, one of those androgynous mannequins one sometimes sees discarded in a department store's dumpster (to see more of the same, check out Garner's continued performance in the Elektra movie. Or swing by Dillards). We have a convoluted plot, an opening sequence with a CGI-spawned rat scurrying around, and--god help us--a fight/dance sequence on a playground between a blind lawyer and a ninja-girl and not one of the people walking by on the sidewalk seem to think it's anything to get excited about. The whole movie, though, is nearly saved by Colin Farrel's great work as Bullseye, an assassin who's basically really good at throwing things.

Well, what about Ghost Rider, you ask? Here we have some talented actors--hey, I don't mind all of Nicolas Cage's work, and Eva Mandes is truly beautiful, and Sam Elliott...well, what's not to like about Sam Eliot?--once again under what must be the truly torturous direction of Mark Steven Johnson--you guessed it!--the lurking monster behind both the Daredevil and Elektra movies. Here, Johnson ups the ridiculous quotient and gives us a scene were Cage jumps a football field covered in running helicopters, lands on a ramp and drives out of the stadium to chase down Mendes, who's stuck in traffic on the highway. Ugh. And what's this movie saved by? Ahem. Umm...let me see. Hmm. Ghost Rider is really cool looking?

The first Fantastic Four movie? Don't get me started! The Punisher? Doesn't count; he's not a super hero. Superman Returns? He picks up an island, people, proving once again that if there really were a Superman, there would be no limit on the stupid things he'd try to do. Hulk?

Ahhhh, Hulk. The Incredible One. At long last, all of us who grew up under the yoke of Bill Bixby's portrayal the mistakenly-named David Banner would have our revenge. No more Lou Ferrigno covered in green body paint. Oh, I know; some people love this show. Some people--or so I'm told--also love cigarettes, heroin, and anything involving NASCAR. Those people, forgive me, aren't so bright. The Hulk does not go from town to town weeping and moaning because he just wants to live his life in peace; the Hulk goes from town to town smashing everything in his path.

And for those few minutes where the Hulk is smashing things, Ang Lee's film is very, very good. Unfortunately, I've actually timed those moments and they account for a grand total of .0076% of the movie's total running time of nineteen years and two days. Good God, in some parts of the undeveloped world, this movie is still running. But this is Ang Lee, my friends, Oscar winner both before and since the Hulk's release. And the cast? Eric Bana, a very cool guy and a good actor (he's even good in Troy, people, and that ain't easy). Sam Elliott? What's not to like about Sam Eliot? Jennifer Connelly...okay. I've never actually managed to stay awake for a whole Jennifer Connelly movie, but they keep putting her in films so she must be doing something right. And she's won an Oscar, as has Nick Nolte, who is usually pretty good but here, as Bana's father, he's in one of the worst scenes in movie history. The next time your children come to you and ask, "Mommy or Daddy, what does it mean to be a scenery-chewer?" show them the climactic scene between Nolte and Bana. And then smack them on their little hands and say, "Never, ever, ever make me show that to you again. Bad Child! Go to your room!"

Alas, my friends, there you have it. What should have been the best has become the worst of them all. All of the elements--a great director and a fantastic character and the ability to make the Hulk look omigod real--seemed perfectly aligned, but in the end all we're left with is a cure for insomnia.

I mean, really, did you honestly expect to have your life meaningfully illuminated by anything involving Mark Steven Johnson? Or Daredevil and Elektra? Or Ghost Rider? The best of the superheroes show us ways in which we both fail and aspire to be better human beings, just as the best movies offer us a glimpse into a world that manages in some way to mirror our own. In some ways, the Hulk is a quintessentially American character; despite all his promise and power, he somehow manages to wreak havoc despite his good intentions. Yet, somehow he also usually manages to save the day in the end. There's something to be said for that.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To Me, My Board!

We went to see the new Fantastic Four movie yesterday and here's the news: It's a pretty good movie. We really enjoyed it. It's surprising since the first movie was SO terrible. Most people won't give this movie a chance based on the first, but I say give it a try. It's certainly not the best comic book movie ever made (the first "X-Men"), but it's not the worst ("Ghost Rider"). I've read the reviews and they are not glowing, not in the least, but I'm sticking to my guns here.

But there were two things that I didn't like. First, they gave you almost the entire movie in the ads and previews. Almost every cool shot or snappy line in the movie was played out before the movie ever hit the screen. They gave too much away. The second thing is that NOT ONCE did the Surfer say "To me, my board!" and that really irks me, because I love that about him. There were two times when it would have fit in perfectly and I sat there holding my breath waiting...waiting... no. Very disappointing.

You've got to understand the the Silver Surfer is my favorite comic book character. I didn't know squat about comics until I started dating the man and we started our weekly trek to Parma to buy comic books. Parma. That was the closest comic store around. We went there every Wednesday; that's when new books come out. Spending all that time around comics and traveling to acquire more, I got a good education in DC versus Marvel, who the writers were, the artists, the best story lines. Comic books are everywhere in this house. Barely a surface exists without one on it. You know the little fact that you are never more than 3 feet from a spider at any moment in your life? In this house, it's spiders and comic books. Okay, you get the idea. Anyway, with all the this reading material around, you can't help but pick them up. And consistently, it's always been the Surfer that I enjoy reading the most. How can you not like a guy with the Power Cosmic and who looks so cool?

I was really worried that this movie would blow it by him in some way: Give him a squeaky voice or a terrible temper, maybe not make him shiny enough. But he is perfect in this movie (except for lack of the catch-phrase.) But I promise, it's not just the Surfer that makes this a watchable movie. It's an all around better piece of work than the first.

In other news, I won $2 on a scratch card yesterday and then I won a BINGO on "National Bingo Night" winning a $5 Quiznos gift card. I'm surprised the man hasn't skirted me off to Detroit yet with this hot streak!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

For Love of Donny

I suppose it way past time to mention that the kids and I are doing summer theater this year. We've already had a week of rehearsal and it's going extremely well. Being that it's the biggest thing happening this summer, I'll fore go talking about the show just now and go into a related story about this guy:

Opps! Too grown up. Hang on, I guess it should actually be this guy:

No, no, no. Too young. Must be this guy:

Oh yes! There he is- My Donny Osmond! "The Donny and Marie" show Donny. The guy who made my little schoolgirl heart go thump thump thump! Singing, dancing and wearing purple socks. And how many pairs of purple socks did I have? You'll have to ask my mom, but I think all of my socks were purple at one point. I didn't embed the video (out of courtesy to you who may not have lovely childhood memories of Donny Osmond) but if you'd like to see some of the show, this was the best clip I found. There's even ice skating! I loved when they would skate on the show!

I had this album and played it until it was worn out. I'm so pleased that I found this shot of the front and the back of the album. I remember staring at all those little pictures on the front!

I had this one too. *sigh* It's just too much!

All of this does relate to summer theater, because we are doing "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" which once starred the aforementioned Donny. * Big sigh* But I didn't know that when I heard that was the show that summer theater was putting on. We rented it so we could see what it was like and if we wanted to try out. The movie starts, these smoky doors open and out he walks and I scream (or pretty close to a scream) "That's Donny Osmond!". I scared the kids with this outburst and then I was pretty much jelly for the whole rest of the movie. The man has aged ever, ever so well.

Okay, that's not the best picture, so instead you should watch this and see him looking quite yummy. I should mention that I had the same reaction when Donny was in Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" video, the screaming reaction that is. Those first loves are hard to get over I guess!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Last Day of Sixth Grade

This is the end. The last day of 6th grade. The last day of elementary school. The last day at Ely. The tradition is to have the whole school line up on the walk and clap the sixth graders out as they leave. Here's the beginning of the line.

And here's the girl going by. I missed the boy because instead of taking a picture, I turned off the camera! Way to miss a moment!

Here's the kids with Mrs. Russell...

And Mr. Hamker. They were the most fantastic teachers anyone could ask for!

The awards ceremony was this morning and the kids got a ton of stuff. The girl got recognized for being in the spelling bee, being on safety patrol, National Physical Fitness Award and being on the honor roll every quarter since 3rd grade. That's 16 quarters people and only eight 6th graders did it.

The boy got recognized for perfect attendance, safety patrol captain, spelling bee and also being on the honor roll 16 times in a row! I'm one proud Mama! They both got a very impressive calculator and they each gave me a flower up on stage.

Junior High, here we come!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dance Recital '07

Put another year of dances classes in the books! This year's recital was a lovely affair, with "A Night at the Movies" as the theme. Saturday the girl had to perform in the afternoon show, which is short and showcases the older girls and then the evening show which is everybody and her cousin. Our girl was fantastic! Here's some pics!
Check out these Ely girls hanging out at dress rehearsal Friday night. It ended up being a VERY long night!

Dancing in the aisles waiting for their turn.
It's recital night! This is her jazz costume. Check out those plastic-y pants! They were too long, so I just cut them off with scissors. Time to go!
Home from recital with her flowers. This, of course, is her ballet costume. Very pretty! Congratulations sweetheart. We're all so proud of you!