29 July, 2012

I'm...Sweet?? Must Be a Parallel Universe

What, me? Really?
That most famous of all Canadians Ken, known to most of you as Ken-inatractor has seen fit to bestow on me this new blog award:

That's a whole lotta sweet, dudes!
I would like to expound on how un-sweet I am, and explain that as a talented actress (and a P.K.*) I do a good job of playing the "sweet" part when that is the best persona to project. BUT...I realize Ken is not trying to imply that I am sweet, just that my blog is. Hmm...

*P.K., for those not in the know, means "Pastor's Kid". It means that I'm used to putting on my Sunday manners and showing my "good girl" side in random public.

How did this happen? This blog was meant to be a secret outlet for all my nerdiness! When I started waxing poetic in real life about Yoda and the Force, I could stop annoying those around me and come here to share with like-minded nerds. When I made random references to Warp Drives, Bones, Spock and the gang, and started saying things like "Beam me up", I could transfer it to this community. If I suddenly realized I had corrected someone's grammar one too many times, I could take that over here! This blog was going to have a lot of nerdification in the forms of Star Wars, Star Trek, books, and grammar deconstruction.

Where did I go wrong? How did this blog go all sweet on me? Is it over-ripe?

Oh wait, I know. I inadvertently fell in love with that wildly popular Transformed Non-Conformist, Brett. (Ken also bestowed this award to him. Coincidence? Nah. The Force.)

So I've gone sweet. It happens all the time.

Intentional or not, "Doesn't Speak Klingon" has been deemed an sweet Irresistibly Sweet  Blog, which means I have some important things to do here! The rules for this award are to list 7 random facts about yourself and pass it on to 10 other bloggers. Easy Peasey. (Please don't be offended if I call your blog sweet. Focus on the Irresistible.)

Since I'm positive the sweetest thing about this blog is my relationship with Brett, and because I don't post about us very often, I will post random facts about "us".

Seven Random Facts (For more random facts, see my 100th post):
1. We were both perfectly happy single people. Perfectly willing to remain so. TRUE FACT!
2. Brett claims to have "no game" and yet when we are out, he is by far the more socially adept of the two of us. TRUE FACT!
3. Two pictures of our wildlife hunt that I just couldn't fit into my post about our day in Indianapolis:
It's a Blue-shirted Cattail Hunter!

The elusive Rock-climbing Tree Monkey

4. I want to brag about him all the time. In the "nyanee-nyanee-boo-boo" way, showing off that I won first prize in the contest of life. ...Or is it bragging about myself to do that? (What a witty guy like Brett is doing with a dork like me I will never understand.)
5. On our first date, (read this one) the historical interpreter giving us the tour brought out a slate and a "slate pencil" and offered them to Brett to try writing on the slate. This was his message:

Didn't even stop and think. His is an instant wit.
6. No, Brett was not my reason for moving to the midwest. If he had been the cause, I wouldn't have stopped 150 miles short. TRUE FACT! ...but I consider him my Bonus for doing the right thing and moving closer to family.

7. I still have the card that came with the flowers. (If you haven't read that story on Brett's blog, you should. It's some great writing and a fun, "sweet" story.)

And now my Irresistibly Sweet bloggers:
(Some of us don't get out and explore the blogosphere enough to find new sweetness! I'll do my best.)
Lovely Simulacrum
Funny or Tragic
Sweety Darlin' (It's in her title!)
A Holly With Follies (always "irresistible", sometimes "sweet")
Jenny of The Internal Struggle - I just found her - or rather, she found me.
Thoughts Appear (Her posts are short and sweet. If I'm pressed for time, I can just stop here.)
Amanda at Tall Tales and Short Stories (She can be pretty random, which I love.) 
Life at 30 Feet (If you read nothing else, read how she wound up where she is.)
Josie Two Shoes

Ken, in thanks for this delicious award, I present to you this picture of genuine Indiana redneck lawn-art...

Every time I see a tractor, I think of you, Ken!

21 July, 2012

What is This World Coming To?

The world awoke yesterday to the shocking news that a random gunman took out his angst on a crowd of movie-goers. My godmother lives in that town. (I assume she's not the kind to go to a midnight release of ANY movie, Batman least of all.) Sadly, my deep, dark, know-it-all cynic wasn't shocked.

Hm...okay, yeah, the thought that it happened? That gave me a "who DOES that?" eyebrow-raise. But when the girl they interviewed said, "He was wearing a gas-mask. He was totally covered up, so you couldn't tell his race or anything," I said, "White, nerd-boy." Sure enough, when the picture and description came on, I had him pegged.
Quiet. Check.
Kept to himself. Check.
Hardly seen in his own neighborhood. Sould like someone who spends too much time online or gaming? Check.

...I am a nerd. I recognize the type. Who else would target Batman, of all things?Am I disturbed? Yes. In the way that I have an icky taste in my mouth for the direction society is going. And it's no better anywhere else.

Central America: Drug cartel violence.
Middle East: Religious persecution and radical violence.
China (and other East Asian countries): Repression of all sorts.
Africa: Guerrila warfare.
Everywhere: Import/export of sex slaves.

Broad generalizations? Sure. But I mean it. As soon as I thought "I'm ready to get out of this uber-violent, screwed-up-in-so-many-ways country," I realized the lack of alternatives. There's trouble everywhere, and it's been that way for a long time.

Decades ago, when our family was returning to the States from Sri Lanka on furlough, all my friends from school were so worried about me coming to the violence of Chicago. And yet, for the 4 previous years, we received endless letters from Stateside friends and family expressing their concern for our well-being in the violent political upheaval of Sri Lanka! There is violence everywhere. No society is better at eradicating it, no religion is better at preaching peace (believe me, they all preach it, but the extremists of any religion breach it).

I guess this kind of thing has the deep shock value of being apparently totally random (or totally personal, if they find that like the Columbine kids this guy was just mad that he had no friends).

Religious attacks are their own kind of stupid, but there is a - MISGUIDED - ideology behind it. Identifying that seems to unify both the attacker and the attacked. But this one guy, James Holmes? ...the heck?

On September 11, 2001.
Was I shocked? Yes.
Did I cry? Yes.
And then some idiot came on TV and asked how it could happen... "How did they get through our security?" and I laughed a bitter, know-it-all laugh. Security? In the States? Hah!

Understand, by 2001 I had traveled around the world multiple times and gone through airport customs routines in all kinds of places, from small airports in India to major international hubs across Asia and Europe, and including the gamut of U.S. airports. Trust me. Before that sunny fall day in 2001, U.S. airport security was...negligible.

That's just to say, I guess I'm a bit jaded. I don't understand what makes an individual do something like that, but it no longer shocks me. It's just news. Even though I have a connection to the town in the form of family.
It's just. News.

Just random people I will never meet, in a community I haven't seen since I was a kid.
Just another random act of incomprehensible violence. Ho-hum.

My routine won't change. The Movie Whore in me won't second-guess going to the movies because of this. ...I'll probably wait for the DVD of this one, but that's just because I don't like the direction Christopher Nolan is taking my favorite superhero, not because there are crazy people on the loose.

What about you? Were you actually surprised? Am I alone here in just sitting and shaking my head in bewilderment about the stupidity of this, but not weeping over the loss of life? Not being surprised it could happen?

I tell you what will not surprise me. What will not surprise me is when we find out that James Holmes, in fact, spent more time online than in real life. That he had more "facebook friends" than real life friends. That his life revolved around himself. We already know he was not a visible presence in his community, so I won't be surprised to find he was not involved in any community organizations.

We need to connect. I love my blog, but have never used it as a substitute for interpersonal interaction. I enjoy facebook, but only as a way to keep up with actual people who I actually know. Get out there, people! Close facebook for a day or two and interact. Walk through your town and actually greet people with a smile. Make someone's day.

Let's show the world that the James Holmes' of this world can't bring us down.

13 July, 2012

Bridesmaid Dress O'Death, part II

I apologize again for the 2-part deal. If you missed yesterday, here it is.
Now that we're all caught up to the end of the day before the wedding, here's the rest:

I honestly don't recall how early we arose on the wedding morning. I had all girly-stuff scheduled starting at 8:30 a.m. ...For a 1pm wedding. In all my wedding experience, this has never been done. Four hours seemed like a long time for hair and makeup.

BWAHahahaha! ...what do I know...

OJ + bubbles = health drink!
 The four of us (bride, MOH, 2 bridesmaids) arrived at the salon on time and were greeted by two ladies ...and a sidebar full of strawberries, chocolate dip, sweet cream cheese dip, and the makings for Mimosas.

Best wedding-party I've ever been a part of!

(Love starting the party early!)

The next three hours are a glorious blur of getting hair done, make-up done, broken up with chatting, laughing, drinking Mimosas - made by yours truly because I have experience with these things - and taking pictures.

Remember how shocked I was at the expanse of time allowed? Well, the bride and MOH were having their hair "sewn" into a style. Time-consuming.

...you can't really see the giant plastic needle here...

...so I had her hold it up to get a better view.

The photographer was due at their hotel at 11:30 for candid photos of the "prep". We were late, but it didn't matter because there were photos of the flowers and of the guys to be had, too. Besides, we reasoned, if we really ran late, what would they do, start without the bride? I was in powerful company.

Oh, my Travel Companion? He went off to find some crazy adventure of his own that morning. I'd see him at the ceremony.
I think he saw this brewery from the ground,
that I was looking at through the salon window.

Back at their hotel, I was reunited with the dress that fit me well three weeks earlier.
Yes the dress fit, but only with assistance from the MOH, my new gal-pal, to get it zipped. It was tight. To put it nicely.

"Poured into it" would be another suitable phrase.
"Breathing room optional" also comes to mind.

After a wide variety of "casual" photos, we were on our way to the church.

I'm the one in the middle. Yes! For Real! It's me!

The ceremony.

In addition to being a bridesmaid, I was doing a reading. At the rehearsal the night before, the crazy coordinator told me I had to read slower, because the space was echo-ey. Well, during the ceremony I was forced to slow down because my dress was strangling me. I might have been wearing an anaconda. Believe me, it cracked me up (or would have, if I could breathe enough to laugh).

 That reading from Song of Solomon was so poignant! (Did I see tears in the groom's eyes?)
So heartfelt!
So expressive!
...because I couldn't breathe. Haha!

After the ceremony, my Travel Companion and I were separated again. I ran off with the wedding party for the "real" photos on the rocky New Hampshire coast. It was hilarious, actually. The day was gray and windy, and the New England rocky coast was, um, yeah... Try staying vertical and looking put together in ...what, 25-30 mile winds? And on 3" heels? A balancing act on the rocks.

We knew how much time we had, but again, the bride and groom were with us! Besides, the open bar and hors dourves started immediately after the ceremony, so the guests were happy at the country club. (And my Travel Companion was getting a head start on me.)

Shore photos done, and off towards the reception. Here, the bride and groom had more outdoor photos to take, so the rest of the party were escorted to a large board room where champagne and hors dourves awaited us. Nice.

Eventually, we were led to the reception hall, where the wise bride and groom did NOT do one of those obnoxious receiving lines, and let the wedding party actually dine with their dates. The band was great; the food was great...more pictures. My Travel Companion is forever immortalized in their wedding photos because the bride wanted a "Delaware photo". (The MOH was another friend of hers from her days in Delaware, and another friend or two were there.)

Before leaving the reception, I was told that "a group of us" were going out for drinks later. My Travel Companion and I were invited to join them, and agreed. Back at the hotel, the anaconda-dress released me from its grip. I changed into jeans as exhaustion hit.

Dude. 4am Friday running until almost 11pm that night. Dressed, breakfasted and at the salon by 8:30 Saturday, and planning to leave the hotel at 4am Sunday morning! Oy vey.
Did I say exhaustion? I felt like a zombie (walking dead, you know).  

BUT...I wouldn't see the bride and groom for a long time, and may never see my other new friends again. So we napped briefly before hitting the town again at 10pm.

One drink. That was my promise. And I kept to it.
One drink... but now it was for the time factor, not the dress.
One drink, but it was the showing up that counted. I know if I hadn't gone I'd wish I had.

It had a zing to it.

That left us about 3 hours to crash before getting up and moving.
We crashed.
We got up and moving.
We made our flight. THIS TIME on Delta. Things couldn't have run more smoothly, and the staff couldn't have been nicer.

When I thanked the steward as we disembarked, the bemused man tilted his head and asked "For what? You slept through the flight!"

Sleep. Blessed sleep.
...I'm tired just reading this, aren't you?

As I re-read these two posts, I realize I've made myself out to be quite the lush.
Ah well, think what you like. I've lived with that reputation for a long time. Unfortunately, I just can't share everything that happened!

12 July, 2012

The Killer Bridesmaid Dress of Death (Or "How to Suffocate While Looking Gorgeous")

Some of you have been awaiting this. Sorry it took so long to write.
...And I'm equally sorry that it will be in two parts. I hate that. But it just got too long.

If you've been around here long enough, you may recall my anxiety over trying to fit into my bridesmaid dress. (If you haven't been here long enough, THIS post gives the backstory.)

On Friday June 15, I headed off toward the wedding site in New Hampshire. Normally I travel alone. It just works for me. This time, I had a Travel Companion. I wasn't really concerned about that change to my routine. However, my usual airline of choice, Southwest, does not currently fly to our destination. (They go as far as Boston, not close enough.)

I'll spare you the frustrating details of our trip to New Hampshire (details are at that "Travel Companion" link). In brief, we left my house for Indianapolis International Airport at 4 a.m. Yes, 4 a.m. Friday. Nice, yeah?

It had quite a zing. Yum.

Well, I owe it to Sweety Darlin' to compliment her recommendation of an airport bar in Newark. I wasn't sure we'd need it, but due to the agony which is United Airlines, we stopped at the Oyster Bar for breakfast. I had an AMAZING Bloody Mary, because what else can you drink at breakfast time? (I don't typically enjoy them. This was outstanding.) Eventually we arrived in Portland, Maine, 1 1/2 hours later than planned, dropped luggage at the hotel in New Hampshire, rapidly changed for rehearsal, and arrived at the church at 3:08pm... 8 minutes late.

After relating our travel woes to the bride, she was somewhat relieved: that would be the only crisis of the weekend, clearly. (Apparently no one is more superstitious than a bride.)

Okay, let me just say that, in all my experiences being part of weddings (5 times prior to this), I have never known the minister to NOT be present at the rehearsal.
Instead of the minister, there was a designated "wedding/event coordinator" and her assistant...whose name the scatterbrained coordinator could not remember. Then again, she was insane. ...And frankly, driving the bride insane. The assistant seemed to be the one who was on the ball.
At least they had a beautiful pipe organ!

Fortunately, the rehearsal wasn't outrageously long. After all, my Travel Companion didn't really need to be there. Afterward, we all caravaned to the site of the rehearsal dinner and were early together ...hangin' out
...looking like thugs (well-dressed thugs)
...waiting for them to unlock the doors.

By the end of dinner, I had a new friend in the MOH, and my Travel Companion had new friends in the form of the bride's two nieces and one nephew. Yep. Aged... 6 to 12? This meal was huge, and expensive, and drinks included. Mind you, I'd not seen my dress for three weeks. (I had shipped it to the bride after ensuring that it fit.)

I allowed myself just one drink.

...something like this.
See? Waves!

Next on the agenda? A harbor cruise.

That's right. This couple is very New England, very outdoorsy, and he proposed on a nearby island. The cruise was their way of giving family and friends a chance to get to know each other, and to show off an important area of their history as a couple.
The island of their engagement.

The chartered boat hosted 50+ people, and the bride and groom had set up a wide variety of snacks and beverages, plus open bar. The MOH and bride both conspired to convince me that any alcohol consumption the night before wouldn't really hurt my chances of fitting the dress.

I had two or three drinks.

The cruise ended at 10 pm, and we made our exhausted way to the hotel. It had been one long day and there was an early morning to come.

I really hate to do this, but this is getting long. I will have to continue it. SO SORRY! But the second half will be up soon... I promise.


07 July, 2012

The Moonrise Kingdom of the Movie Whore

That's right...she's back.

My inner Movie Whore is oddly insistent this time. I was working on a post about the wedding weekend and the bridesmad dress (from this post), but so much happened that weekend, it still needs extensive editing. Meanwhile, my mom and I saw the movie Moonrise Kingdom during an afternoon out shopping, and the Movie Whore can't shut up about it. She keeps popping into my subconscious with observations about it and really thinks I need to share it with the rest of you.

I think it came out recently enough that most of you will still have the opportunity to see it if you decide to. I had seen a preview for it months ago, and it intrigued me... not least because part of the trailer shows Bill Murray wielding an axe.

The main thing that the Movie Whore keeps whispering to me is that I should see it again. I'm sure I missed stuff. It's one of "those" movies. It is classified as "comedy" and "drama" - not a surprising combination - and also "indie". It plays like an indie film. (I don't think that impressed my mom so much.) In fact, the story is almost incidental to the style.

It is, in the Movie Whore's not-so-humble-opinion, a very cool film.

The cast, of course, is outstanding. Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton... even Harvey Keitel got on board! Most of the action centers on the kids, though.

The adult characters are ... not at all stereotype, actually. Mom (Frances McDormand) calls her kids with a megaphone, Dad (Bill Murray) hardly notices anything at all. The local cop (Bruce Willis) is a bit of a sad-sack, and the anal-retentive scoutmaster (Edward Norton) feels his failures deeply.

The Movie Whore was impressed with how much was demonstrated without words. Scant on dialogue, Moonrise Kingdom expresses the world through what's not said. Vague actions on the part of the parents, hints as to misunderstandings between generations. It's a very full film. The way the kids relate to each other is understandable to anyone who's been that age. Well, you might argue that Sam is a little more mature than most boys his age.

Still, it doesn't play like your standard cinema-fare. The opening has so little dialogue...it simply shows Suzy's impression of her world through her binoculars. And all those popular actors in the cast? They are like secondary characters - a secondary ensemble - after the unknown actors playing the Suzy and Sam.

But each of those great actors is outstanding in their role, in their own way. Edward Norton is so different from the usual things I've seen him in. And Bill Murray - probably on screen least of all the big stars - is a HOOT! What else would you expect, right? (I might be wrong about his screen-time. Another reason to see it again.)

Well, in short, the Movie Whore will insist that I get this DVD, and we might even hit it once more in theaters. But people who prefer mainstream films and don't really care for artsy-fartsy cinematography might not love it. The story is sweet, but there's so much more to this movie than the story, don't just see it for that.

Bill Murray, the clueless dad.
If it helps, my mom - who seemed very "meh" about it - said that if she saw the DVD in the $5 bin at Walmart, she would pick it up. So there you have it: mainstream movie-lovers will possibly feel that Moonrise Kingdom is not worth the ticket price. People who  like things that stretch the boundaries of normal may want to see it more than once.

Oh, and people who like to know the movies that are being discussed when Oscar season rolls around? See it now. It will be much talked-of.