Thursday, December 20, 2012

If He Wears a Mask

When I was still a gothic teenager, I was visiting my grandmother and asked her about a movie I had seen clips of at her house when I was a child.  It was The Phantom of the Opera.  I was then informed that one of my older cousins had watched it so many times that she had ruined the VHS tape.  I expressed sadness over it, because I had already tried to get my hands on a copy and failed.  When I was 16, my grandma surprised me by bringing me a copy she had made from off the TV.  I was so moved.  Seriously – it was intensely thoughtful (just as a P.S. to everyone – always be mouthy about the things you want – someone might make your dreams come true).

Anyway, I watched it and discovered that I found the ending where the Phantom gets shot indescribably satisfying.  I wish I had been able to enjoy the film more since my grandma went to so much effort, but really … when he dies – I’m relieved.  What can I say?  I don’t really sympathize with murderers.  But even though the Phantom is not a great character to root for, he wears that gorgeous mask and sings with that gorgeous voice and all the female population is swept away.  If he’d left his mask on like V in V for Vendetta I’ll bet he would have got the girl.

The other day, a French film came out on Netflix called A Monster in Paris.  It’s a cute little G rated animated film and it made me so happy.  It’s like someone took The Phantom of the Opera and said to themselves, “I’m going to take all the stupid out of this.”  And they did!  Seriously, it was marvelous. 

But women who are enchanted by the idea having a lover who is kind of monstrous will be disappointed.  It’s obviously a pretty popular theme.  I’m the type who likes the story of Cupid and Psyche more than Beauty and the Beast even though one is based off the other.  It’s just that Cupid is not a monster even though Psyche and everyone else believe that he is.  Actually he has no horns, claws, tentacles, extra arms, fangs or bat wings.  Just being ridiculously good looking doesn’t seem to win many points these days.

And it’s not that I don’t like stories where guys turn into dragons (Spirited Away) or where men have to be highly mutilated in order to die (Highlander) or where men are dead throughout the whole love story (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir).  The Phantom’s haggard appearance was not what repelled me.  It’s not even that he has a tortured soul (women love men with tortured souls).  It’s that he kills people for basically no reason.  I just don’t have a soft spot for that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Romantic Christmas

Once upon a time someone asked me how they celebrate Christmas in Japan.  I kinda cocked my head.  If anime and manga are to be trusted, it’s a date night where you cuddle with your honey and eat cake.  Maybe you’ll look at the Christmas lights in the shopping district and have a secret wish that it will snow.

Well, here in Canada – no worries – it will snow.  And it’s not a date night.  It’s all about the children and it’s all about the parents and that weird old man looking for your chimney.  However, even with that mystique about the holiday – I have long since considered it the most romantic day of the year. 

Here’s the thing.  By eleven-thirty on Christmas Eve, I have just worked my tail off like I have never worked my tail off before.  Chances are I was hosting some event at my house with meat and cheese and cocktail sauce.  Even if I haven’t invited a lot of people, there are plates of cookies and chocolates and a million other yummies that represent a good deal of back-breaking labour.  Then there’s also the hassle of wrapping last minute gifts, stuffing stockings and cleaning up after the celebration, so that my kitchen won’t be a frightful mess when I prepare not one, but two, large meals the next day.  By eleven-thirty, I’m sacked out on the couch with a glass of icy egg nog in my hand.  My head is cradled by the shoulder of my beloved husband and the lights from the tree are reflecting in my hazy eyes.  He leans over and whispers, “Merry Christmas.”  I glance at the clock and realize he’s right.  It’s past midnight.  Then he slides a tiny velvet box in my lap and I’m completely charmed.

One would think I’d have that induced high on Valentine’s Day, but I really don’t.  When Valentine’s Day rolls around, I’m all partied out.  All the classy restaurants are full and the entryways are overflowing with people waiting for a table.  I don’t have twinkly lights set up in my house.  There’s no weeklong vacation and I don’t make goodies.  Finding a babysitter is rough because they’re all taken.  AND by that time of year, I’m serious – I’m all partied out.  January is my month for partying and I usually have at least four parties that month.  For Valentine’s Day, I usually just end up asking my honey to buy me a hamburger the size of my head and call it quits.  Burger joints aren’t full on Valentine’s Day … that’s an insider tip.

But Christmas – that’s a magical time of year.  Seriously, even if there isn’t any sparkly thing in a velvet box.  Last year my husband bought me a rug shampooer.  I haven’t been able to get him to stop using it.  Now that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I DON'T Want for Christmas

Strongbad did one of these a few years ago … and it still cracks me up.  The things he didn’t want were an ornament, one of those robotic plastic do-hickies that dance and sing, and something homemade.  Seriously, ‘these sea shells have office supplies hot glued to them for absolutely no reason’.  I love that dude.

So, what do I NOT want for Christmas?  I’m really onboard with Strongbad with the Christmas robots.  I can only listen to Jingle Bell Rock so many times before I want to jab out my eardrums (it’s twice.  I can only listen to it twice before eardrum jabbing starts to sound good).  Actually, I would prefer it if people didn’t buy me Christmas decorations, though I am a little friendlier towards ornaments (I mean ONE ornament).  It’s not like they have long lifespans at my house and ornaments have small enough price tags to negate my guilt.

The next thing I don’t want for Christmas is jewelry.  I know most people think I like jewelry because I do, but buying it for me becomes an extremely personal affair.  So unless you have been jewelry shopping with me on more than one occasion or have a strong reason to believe that you UNDERSTAND what I like and value – don’t do it!  Seriously, I’d rather you bought me a mug from the dollar store.

Any kind of fruitcake is off limits too.  I don’t know anybody who likes eating that stuff, yet I see it for sale in the stores months ahead of Christmas.  If somebody does like it, I’d like them to send me a detailed description of how it melts in your mouth or how the chewy bits make you happy.  Seriously, you could turn me right around.  I can hardly hear the word Heidi without thinking about toasted bread with cheese and having to make a trip to the kitchen.  Dang her grandpa for feeding it to her as soon as she got to the Alps!

Dolls are bad too.  I know.  I’m a grown woman.  Why is anyone even thinking about getting me a doll?  The truth is … they ALL are.  Everyone one or two generations ahead of me is thinking about getting me a doll.  I have two entire boxes (dishwasher sized boxes) in my basement full of dolls. I think the perfect home for dolls is a place where they will get drooled on, or drawn on, or undressed and left out in the sun.  Basically, I think they’re intended for children to play with and if they’re not getting played with then they’re garbage. 

So, there you have it.  What I don’t want for Christmas – the official list.  However I do welcome all baking supplies, woolly socks, pens, chocolates, and Christmassy yum-yums that you can spare.  Seriously, you don’t even have to melt the chocolate wafers.  They can come directly from Bulk Barn.  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's His Name?

Have you ever sat down and named the entire cast of characters for an entire book in one sitting?  It’s exhausting.  It’s worse than when you’re sitting down with a bunch of guys to play D&D and no one can decide on a friggin name for their character, so you waste three hours.  Besides, you have to have some idea of what kind of appearance, personality, and what role each character will play in the book.  This also means more often than not, even though you would like to name everyone in one sitting – you can’t do it.  So, even if you’re on a writing rampage, you have to stop, google baby names and come up with a new character on the fly.  Who can blame Stephenie Meyer for naming three quarters of her characters after her siblings?

Anyway, naming human beings is a completely different matter than naming a character.   For starters, when you’re naming a character, you can choose their last name.  First name and last name can exist harmoniously because they were both conjured out of thin air.  Not so when you’re naming a person.  The last name has already been decided and you have to work with it. 

Secondly, there is no taunting.  You can name your character something that would obviously result in teasing, alligator bites and wet willies without fear.  Those things will only happen to your character if you want them to happen.  If only we could obtain that much control in real life.

Thirdly, it doesn’t matter if someone else has the name you picked.  There can be 200 guys named Christian in the literary world and no one gets confused.  It’s not like all our imaginary guys go to the same school and the teacher can’t keep the names straight.

Naming real people is a serious headache.  You don’t know what they’re going to look like when they’re grown up, or what they’ll be like, or anything.  The only thing you know is that the little person contains some of your genetic material and some of its daddy’s.  That’s it.  So, you have to agonize about spelling.  Do you want the spelling to be something that everyone is going to understand easily or do you want to make the spelling unique?  Are you going to name it after someone?  Is that someone likely to annoy you in the future?  Name it after someone dead.  Do you know anyone else who coincidentally has the same name?  Is there likely to be confusion? 

There is a million ways to botch it really and once it’s done.  It’s pretty much done.  Yuck!  I seriously used to enjoy naming characters in books and thought that I would love naming a baby, but in the end, it just tires me out.  Scratch that.  Both those things tire me out.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sometime in November

Today is going to be a random, mixed up post where I talk about a variety of whatever.  What can I say?  It’s not October and it’s not December.  It’s a random month.

The other day I was watching a romance on Netflix.  I know – total contradiction of my blog last week – but it was hilarious.  I was watching The Decoy Bride and the hero of the story was the actor from Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire who couldn’t stop licking himself.  I sat there the whole time laughing wickedly wondering how I could take that guy seriously.

Next random item – I have been reposting my novel Dragon’s Moon on  If you’re at all interested in that sort of thing, go check it out, but please remember that I have posted the exact same novel (almost) on under the title Mark of the Dragon and the whole thing is there intact as I type.  So, if you want a really good read – go to fictionpress and read Mark of the Dragon by Sapphirefly.  You’ll love it.

I have been reading The Ring operas by Richard Wagner, getting all prepped up to go see The Hobbit next month.  And I gotta say; the world can’t possibly end on December 12th of 2012 because The Hobbit doesn’t open until the thirteenth.  I mean - really!  Anyhoo – I know y’all think I should be rereading The Hobbit and not reading ancient operas from the 1870s but I promise you – it’s way funner this way.  This way I get to read Mime and Wotan make each other answer riddles this month and next month, I’ll get Golem and Bilbo.  This way makes for a little more variety.

So, some authors have it marked on that they don’t want fanfiction written about their work.  One of them is Terry Goodkind, the author of The Sword of Truth series.  I read the first two books in that series when I was a teenager and just the other day I watched a couple episodes of the mini-series Legend of the Seeker on Netflix.  Did it seem really lame to me because I haven’t watched TV much in the last six or seven years?  Because that seemed really weak.  I’ve also decided that you can pretty much gauge how confident the writing is in a piece based on how much cleavage they allow the main woman to flash.  Somebody will watch it for the eye-candy even if the plot is thinner than nail polish remover. 

Anyhoo, I gave you something old, something new, something borrowed and something at least worth one giggle.  Now you can get married without toting around any bad luck.