Monday, September 29, 2008

Random Photo Monday: September Sunrise

Rise and shine!

I intended to put this up yesterday, as part of the Sunday Sunrise/Sunset meme, but just never managed to get around to it. So here it is on Monday. Our apartment faces east, so we get to see some spectacular sunrises, especially in the later fall and winter, after all the leaves are off the trees. This one was taken one morning about a week ago.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #91

These Fridays seem to be rolling around faster and faster. Time for another Friday Fill-Ins, so here goes:

1. Seeing family and friends in Texas for the first time in a couple of years (if all goes well); starting to clear out one of our several storage rooms; and getting rid of my summer allergies are some of the things I'm most looking forward to in October.

2. Sometimes I see a reflection in a shop window and wonder who that pathetic old broad is – and then I realize: hey – that’s ME!

3. Right now I’m wearing almost an exact duplicate of the outfit my mother-in-law was wearing the first time I met her over thirty years ago, and that's why there is a saying, “never say never”!

4. When I'm down, I usually pick myself up, dust myself off, and fall right back down again.

5. Most days, although I hate to admit it, right here at the computer is where you'll find me most often.

6. A rainy day is good for absolutely nothing!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to having a nice relaxing evening at home with M., tomorrow my plans include maybe going to the National Book Festival in DC if it doesn’t rain, and Sunday, I want to get all our errands and shopping done early, so I can get some reading done!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Attack of the Amazon Ants!

Well, Ziggy Stardust may have had his Spiders from Mars, but now the University of Texas has ants from Mars! According to the latest UT Newsletter:

A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve.

The new ant is named Martialis heureka, which translates roughly to “ant from Mars,” because the ant has a combination of characteristics never before recorded. It is adapted for dwelling in the soil, is two to three millimeters long, pale, and has no eyes and large mandibles, which Rabeling and colleagues suspect it uses to capture prey.
This is great news! Just what I was hoping for – even more bugs to contend with!

Image: C. Rabeling and M. Verhaagh. Copyright: University of Texas at Austin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Astronaut's Wife

(1999) Film
Written and Directed by: Rand Ravich
Starring: Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, Joe Morton, Clea DuVall, Donna Murphy, Blair Brown, Nick Cassavetes, Tom Noonan, Samantha Eggar

Astronauts Depp and Cassavetes are on a mission to repair a damaged satellite when NASA loses contact with them for two minutes while they're outside their ship. Returned to earth, they seem unharmed until Cassavetes dies of a massive stroke a short while later. After Depp and wife Theron move to NYC where he takes a job with an engineering firm, she begins to notice changes in his behavior. Things turn scary after she gets pregnant and starts having misgivings about the pregnancy. Then she’s contacted by a former NASA employee who says he has secret information about the “accident” in space and about the twin babies she’s carrying. After that, the real weirdness breaks out.

Rosemary’s Baby with space aliens instead of witches. So I guess it’s appropriate that Charlize Theron looked like a taller 1990s version of Mia Farrow in that movie. But I’m not sure why Johnny Depp was got up to resemble Val Kilmer in Top Gun – and the Mississippi farm-boy accent seemed to be a real on-again/off-again thing. Maybe the alien presence decided it didn’t want to sound so much like Elvis all the time.

This was a visually stunning film – the set decorators must have had a blast. I thought the two stars turned in mostly pretty wooden performances, but the supporting cast was very fine. Well, to give him his due, Johnny Depp really wasn’t on screen that much – it was definitely Theron’s film. I thought Blair Brown and Tom Noonan were excellent as the older couple – the Roman and Minnie Castavet roles, I guess. I know, I know – Rosemary’s Baby again. But it sort of fits. And with Nick Cassavetes (son of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands) in the cast, the comparison seems inevitable.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Photo Monday: Goodbye to Summer

Well, autumn is supposed to arrive at 11:44 AM today. Isn't meteorology a marvelous thing?

And I'm already getting nostalgic for summer 2008. The pool is closed now. They had the Doggy Swim yesterday afternoon for all the pet canines here in our condo community, but we forgot to go watch. Darn. I'd really like to have gotten a photo of that.

Instead, here's a shot taken on one of the last Sundays the pool was open to human traffic.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #90

Hard to believe it's already time for another Friday Fill-Ins! Time goes on its flight. And here we go:

1. There is no need to panic – I’ve already done that.

2. Where in the heck did the last ten years of my life go?

3. Make things worse is all I managed to do. This is pretty standard procedure for me.

4. Prospects for writing the great American novel are receding farther and farther into the realm of improbability (for me, at least).

5. Take me to Aruba is the message. (No matter what Marshall McLuhan said.)

6. Simplicity and tranquility are what I always strive for. Complication and chaos are what I almost always achieve.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to relaxing and watching a DVD of “Quiz Show” – I never saw it when it was originally out, tomorrow my plans include shopping and dinner out to celebrate my birthday (a few days late) and Sunday, I want to watch the Cowboys/Packers game, and get some reading done!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Star Trek: Insurrection

(1998; film)
Directed by: Jonathan Frakes; Written by: Rick Berman, Michael Piller
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, F. Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy, Anthony Zerbe

This was, I believe, the third feature-length film for the Next Generation crew. This time they head to a mysterious world where “metaphasic radiation” has halted the aging process of the inhabitants, called the Ba'ku.

Picard and company must help save the gentle Ba'ku from a conspiracy to relocate their population and steal their planet’s power. And in the process, the Enterprise crew are affected by the youth-making radiation themselves. Riker and Deanna rekindle their long-abandoned romantic relationship, Geordi's optic nerves begin to regenerate, and Worf develops a gorch (Clingon for pimple) just like an adolescent. And Beverly Crusher and Deanna share some girl talk about how their “boobs have started to firm up.”

Very enjoyable. I think I was more impressed with the earlier Star Trek: First Contact, but this one certainly deserves high marks as well. Scores another A, if not quite an A+. And it has that wonderful bit where they ask Mr. Data what they should do as they're handing around the weapons. He tries to caution them not to be too rash:

Data: “I feel obliged to point out that the environmental anomalies may have stimulated certain rebellious instincts common to youth, which could affect everyone's judgment. . . Except mine, of course.”

So Dr. Crusher asks, “Okay, Data, what do you think we should do?

And Data grabs one of the weapons, and says with great authority, “Saddle up. Lock and load!

It’s worth watching the whole movie just for that one scene.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tagged: All About ME!

I’ve been tagged by Smiling Sally (who has a wonderful blog and always makes me smile – you should pay her a visit). I’m to list seven things about myself and then tag seven others to do the same.

I think I just did one of these “random things about yourself” memes not too long ago, but I’ll give it a shot. Even though I'm not all that interesting! I may not be able to come up with seven more tagees right away because I’m up to my ears in backed-up reviews. Hmmm – that sounds really painful, doesn’t it? Anyway, here goes:
  1. My favorite season is summer.
  2. I have 52 pairs of shoes.
  3. As a child, I wanted to be a trapeze artist in the circus.
  4. I have perfect pitch, but a really bad singing voice.
  5. I’ve never had a broken bone.
  6. I think of myself as a dog person, but if I had to be an animal, I’d be a cat.
  7. The sound of dripping water drives me absolutely nuts, and any body of water that I can’t see the bottom of makes me very nervous. And yet, I love the ocean. Strange.
Thanks, Sal, for thinking of me. I’ll do the tagging as soon as I bang out a few more reviews. (Ouch! That sounds pretty painful, too.)

Sunday's Sunrise-Sunset Photo Meme

Here's my contribution for this week. Like last week's this one is from Shenandoah National Park, but not the same year. The sunsets are always fabulous there, and this pic doesn't really do them justice.

Storm Clouds at Sunset
Shenandoah Valley
May 2006

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #89

Wow, this week has just ripped right by me. Already time for another Friday Fill-Ins.

1. I enjoy Friday Fill-Ins! Well, that was a set-up, if I ever saw one.

2. How did I get this incredibly ancient is something I wonder about often lately.

3. In your heart, you knew you were never gonna stay on that fresh fruit and yogurt diet.

4. Take a comfy chair in a sunny spot, add a little stack of books to read and you end up with my favorite way to pass the day.

5. Life has gifted me with absolutely exquisite taste and absolutely not enough money to indulge it.

6. A day without having to do the laundry is an instant vacation.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to probably watching our latest Netflix DVD – I think it’s Johnny Depp in “The Astronaut’s Wife” and I hear it’s pretty bad, but hey, it’s Johnny Depp (!), tomorrow my plans include lunch at the Olive Garden and lots of shopping and Sunday, I want to get some reading done!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Photo Monday: Beach Life

It's just the second week of September, and already I'm getting nostalgic for summer and the beach! These are a few shots from Rehoboth.

Welcome to Rehoboth
Crowded beach

Salt water taffy!

Hiding from the sun

Where'd everybody go?

Margarita time!

Amusing amusements

Che bella luna!

Closing after 30 years on the boardwalk

Where I get my Vera Bradley fix

Cross my palm with silver

Beach fortress

The boys are there, too!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Sunrise/Sunset

OK, I seriously don't need to get myself involved in yet another meme! But this one was irresistible. It's called the Sunday Sunrise-Sunset Photo Meme, and you can find all the rules and guidelines on the website here.

And here's my offering, from one of our summer treks to Shenandoah National Park.

Sunset, Skyland, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings (Week 293)

LunaNiƱa says … :: …and I think…

  1. House :: Hugh Laurie (And yet, I’ve never watched a single episode!)
  2. Think :: or thwim
  3. Clot :: -ted cream with scones and strawberry jam (yum!)
  4. Believe me :: political candidates
  5. Fumigation :: political candidates
  6. Bore :: political candidates
  7. Luck :: beginners… / …of the draw / down on my… / …of Roaring Camp / …of the Irish
  8. Patient :: The English… (And yet, I’ve never seen the movie or read the book!)
  9. Tremors :: spasms / shakes / earthquake / a very bad but fascinating Kevin Bacon movie
  10. Pickles :: Earl and Opal

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #88

For this week's Friday Fill-Ins, Janet says she’s using obscure song lyrics. Well, I don’t really recognize many of them, so I’ll just have to make up my own lines.

1. If I was to walk into your life, would you make me do your laundry?

2. Catch a bright star and place it in your Tardis.

3. And you can send me dead flowers? packing? over the rainbow? diamonds? cash? a classic 1955 T-Bird? on an all-expenses paid cruise to Santorini?

4. __________ but I'm dealing with a memory that never forgets. What am I – an elephant trainer? I have no idea on this one.

5. I'm the innocent bystander / Somehow I got stuck standing by you. I think I’m getting the hang of this.

6. What's keeping us apart isn't selfishness, it’s inertia.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching the Gerard Depardieu movie we just got from Netflix, tomorrow my plans include keeping an eye on Hurricane Hanna, and Sunday, I want to spend the day watching the US Open (and also get some reading done)!