Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elementary: An Unnatural Arrangement

An intruder in a ski mask sits in Captain Tommy Gregson's house.  When his wife enters, the man demands to know where her husband is, pointing a gun her way.  A quick thinking woman, she hits the alarm on her car, startles him, runs upstairs locks her self in a bedroom, pulls a gun out of a drawer and shoots through the door at her assailant.

Once things settle, we find that she and the Captain are separated.  Bell and Joan and Sherlock all want to help solve the case but they all feel a bit awkward.

Somehow, this leads to a discussion back at home between Joan and Sherlock on marriage, an unnatural state of affairs for human beings, thinks Sherlock. Joan just looks at him as if he were an alien and continues going through files.

Soon after, things unravel a bit and Joan and Sherlock talk about the nature of their partnership, and how it ought to be.  In his mind, Sherlock appears to be sorting out for himself what makes a partnership a very useful and valuable thing, while a marriage is an outmoded sham.

Enter a third party with a relationship that is askew, an archaeologist is tied to the continued shootings of men who were working on a military detail of her dig site. It turns out the break in at the Gregson house was a mistake and his neighbor was the target.  Her gentle wouldn't hurt a fly ex-husband is now secretly her partner in crime stealing from dig sites.

Sherlock isn't comfortable discussing actual relationships, but he does tentatively impart to Gregson that marriage is foolish but a partnership has much merit.  He doesn't come out and say you should be your wife's partner but Gregson seems to take it to heart, going to talk with his wife and offering her more of a give and take and say in how things should go.

Interesting enough puzzle as Sherlock and Joan try to connect the killer and the victims. 

I like the Captain Gregson character, excellently acted by Aidan Quinn and it was nice to see a bit of his backstory and home life.

Sherlock and his views on human relationships are as always quite bizarre.  He does need a Watson to humanize him. 

DOA's Five Favorite Scary Books

I love ghost stories and horror novels and have been reading them for a very long time.  I thought in honor of Halloween and a few lists of scary novels I've seen out there that I should pick five that I loved and can recommend.  If you love scary books, I recommend you go beyond novels to short story collections of horror and ghost stories.  The short story form is perfect for that brilliant situational setup and then BANG!  Many writers who may surprise you have probably tried their hand at a scary story because don't we all love those thrills and chills?  Here are five novels that will haunt you. They are not in order of scariness, that I can't decide on.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I had been reading horror novels for some time and watching scary movies forever.  I decided one day to read Dracula.  Whatever we've seen on film cannot compare to the total immersion in a dark and dangerous vampire existence as written by Stoker.  I recall reading it in the middle of the day and jumping at every random sound.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

This first in a series really took me by surprise.  It starts off in a boys school in the English countryside where terrified students are trying to keep their teachers from breaking into their refuge and devouring them.  A virus or something has turned everyone over age 14 into murderous, ravenous zombies.  The claustrophobia of those kids, and their respect for the adults now trying to kill them really ratchets up the horror.  Throughout the series but here particularly is the sense of wanting adults to be their caretakers, to have answers, to heroically save them in some way.

Adding to the horror is the non-stop pace of things, kids run, they fight, they die.  All bets are off, anyone you like as a character may die, probably does die horribly as the novel goes along.  What redeems it from being just a munch fest is that most of the kids are incredibly decent and they do what they can to protect those younger and more vulnerable in the face of terrible odds.  Hope never dies with the very best of them, but it is carried forward by those who survive.

Salem's Lot by Stephen King

All of Stephen King's novels are scary, let's face it.  Going back to when I first read Salem's Lot, I really was awed at how scary this was.  That little boy, facing off against a monster.  Good and evil in a bare knuckled fist fight. That basement.  A new take on a vampire story, something written about a place that could be anywhere USA, and monsters could lurk.  I always wanted another of King's books to be as scary for me as this one was, and only The Shining came close (not that stoopid movie grrr).

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

This is one of the scariest books ever.  I have recommended it to customers over time who wanted something scary and I think every single one came back and said whoa.  Do you have more like that?
No, as a matter of fact I can think of nothing like it.   In a small town in the 1960s, five friends slowly discover the return of an ancient evil in their town.  The center of the horror is the Old Central School.  Like school isn't scary enough for a lot of kids, this one has evil seeping into staff and students.  That school is a rambling enormous old beast of a building, full of dark places and darker deeds.  Nerve wrackingly suspenseful.

Usher's Passing by Robert. R. McCammon

If you love Poe and even if you don't, this wonderful novel has descendants of the House of Usher (there was a brother) wrangling over the estate of their dying father, a billionaire munitions manufacturer.  The family home called  Usher Lodge is a remote mansion in North Carolina.  In a nearby town, children have been stolen by the Pumpkin Man over time.  Rix Usher, a horror novelist whose wife recently committed suicide, has a shaky disposition at best, but coming to the family home brings back unimaginable childhood terrors and threatens to unseat what sanity he has left.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Revolution: Dead Man Walking

Well played, Revolution.  The big event of the episode was the tease of a trial and execution for bad old Monroe. 

They certainly have killed off main characters in the story so as Monroe was captured, jailed, summarily tried and led to execution, dang you couldn't help feel bad for him, guilty remorseless bad dog that he is.

They did a nice job with a few flashbacks showing just where Monroe went from good guy to bad.  They've been able to show that Miles and Monroe as a team still have that magic.
You had to feel a bit bad for Monroe knowing he had lost one child at birth and another has been hidden from him, and by Miles no less.  
Even Charlie came to appreciate him. Whoa.

Only Rachel and her father seemed immune.  It was a bit awful that the father/daughter worked as a team to set up Monroe's lethal injection.  I know they both had Danny's death as a motive for revenge, but being an executioner takes a special type of person, doesn't it?  A soulless sort?

Dr. Porter, Rachel's dad, does the dirty deed while Rachel is the person preparing the drugs.  I've suspected her dad of collaborating with the Patriots all along.  I don't know that I think he is one, but he is single minded in preserving his town and keeping it safe at any cost.  He said himself in a conversation with Rachel in an earlier episode that she gets her stubborn single-mindedness (not a direct quote) from him.  All of her ruthlessness comes right down from this seemingly gentle man.

In any case, Monroe is declared dead by Porter, we see the Rangers tossing his plain wooden coffin in a deeply dug grave. Voila.

I knew from watching Rachel's face she'd put something non-lethal but death mimicking in the vial.  The question is, why save him?  To keep Miles from turning down the dark path Monroe had set to keep the revolution going?  Best to have ol' Monroe doing the dirty work, eh? 

I don't think she was phased by being told off by Charlie.  I wonder sometimes, everyone in forums keeps saying Miles is Charlie's dad, but what if Rachel is not Charlie's mom?  It would explain her deep feelings for Danny and her disconnect from Charlie.  So, if that were the case, who is Charlie's mama?  Just tossing that out there. (update: someone on Revolution's Facebook page posited that Charlie is Monroe's baby and Miles took her to Rachel and her husband for safekeeping when she was a baby.  Now that makes sense.  Miles is attached to Charlie because he loved Emma and once loved Monroe.  Good thought eh?)

In any case, the Monroe death arc ends with Rachel, spade in hand, methodically digging up Monroe's coffin.  That should be an interesting awakening.

Tom Neville 

Tom's storyline has him frog marching a wounded Secretary Allenford across country to find Jason who is in a camp being brainwashed and drugged silly into becoming a mindless killing machine.  Wounded or not I don't trust Allenford.

Suddenly she's completely against the Patriots and is all weepy and blah blah.  Set up city, I'm calling it.

Jason actually has become a stone faced killing machine. He isn't mindless though as he recognizes (but still tries to kill) his father.  He also has the wit to say that dear old mom was having an affair with some general or some such.  Ouch.  Neville, one of the most complex villains to grace the screen, manages to not kill his son, and he tells him through grinding teeth that Jason is all he has left and he's bringing him back no matter what.  

He sent Allenford off for water.  Think she'll be back with a group of killing machine buds?  Poor Neville.  I'm always a fan of characters being redeemed and he, like Darth Vader, does have some good in him.

Next week, Dr. Creepy arrives in Willoughby.  Dr. Porter seems quite familiar with him and not repulsed as a good country doctor would be.  Aaron seems to recognize Dr. Creepy when he sees his buggy go by, the Doc doesn't seem to recognize Aaron though.

The DOA Scrapbook: Storyboards

I'm working on Family History scrapbooks and have been for awhile.  I was actually moving right along, had a plan and was making them sort of assembly line fashion so I had one and each of my siblings could have one too.

I was incorporating pictures, letters, and other significant documents within the pages, while using fun background papers, stickers, ribbons, stamps, all those things scrapbookers can't resist. 

I started with the oldest relative I had pictures of and just gave each a brief page.  When I got to my mother's father, I realized I had a wealth of information on him and my grandmother.  Because my sisters don't remember these folks at all, I really wanted to bring them to life.  I wanted the book to be fun and interesting as well as informative.  I wanted it to tell a story visually.  I stopped cold.

I started instead looking at (available at your library) and Find A Grave and other sites that would let me flesh out all of my folks.  So here I am, sitting on a ton of information.  I have miraculously time to devote to working on and finishing this project.


I lack somehow with my supposedly orderly librarian mind the ability to sort and make this information flow as a story which is what I want.  Lure them in, get them to ask questions while they can.  Add their own memories.

As often happens while surfing the net, I was looking for something else and I came across the concept of storyboards and thought this is exactly what I need.  A guide that will allow a combination of text and visuals in an orderly way.

Two things look very promising:

The Beyond Bullet Points Story Template

Another on how to storyboard with Microsoft Word, grr won't open on my pc though it displayed easily on my iPod.  Search for it and hope for better luck.  It has nice step by step pictures for creating a Word Table and inserting the story and pictures.  Really it does.

Edit;  I downloaded the newest version of Adobe Acrobat reader and successfully downloaded the PDF on Storyboarding with Word.  I'm printing it out so I don't have to fool with reading it digitally. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Person of Interest: Mors Praematura

Tonight's episode has the vile and smug Root kidnapping Shaw who is becoming more likeable each episode.  Maybe they are trying to soften the harsh character of Shaw and being roughed up by Root will gain sympathy in a second.

In tandem with that we have Finch working with a guy who roots through dead people's things trying to find relatives who might claim their things and their estates.  The young man is quite appealing and I found myself thinking the team could use someone like him.  No no, too many people already, not enough Reese/Finch time.

Bizarrely Root's complex plot to be taken prisoner and rescue a man from shady government baddies dovetails with Finch's helping his young "death detective" evade death himself. 

I dislike Root so much that when she was in an adjoining cell with the guy she intended to rescue, and she was working off a bit of metal fencing, I just wanted him to move away from the wall because she's sooo creepy I thought she might pierce his neck or head with it.  You can't tell with her.

Satisfyingly that all ties up nicely with Root a prisoner at Finch's place, but not before Shaw gets to punch Root.

An interesting side story with Carter has her trying to use her traitorous rookie cop to bring down HR.  It turns out he is a Russian and the Russian mob is being used by HR to infiltrate NYPD ranks.  Nothing good is ahead for this kid, tsk.

In Search of a Soft Peanut Butter Cookie

I like the taste of the traditional peanut butter cookie, and I liked  making those cross hatches on top as a kid.  Now, as I become Ms DOA Cookiemeister, I want a nice soft cookie.  Those dry old cross hatched things...meh.

I have several recipes to try but started with  this one from the Everyday Home Cook site.  It had more moist ingredients, I reasoned, so maybe it would be softest.

Mine don't look quite like hers perhaps because I used a small ice cream scoop, the kind that lets you scoop then launch your cookie out onto the pan or into a small bowl of sugar.

They were really nice and soft as I'd hoped.  Mr. DOA really liked them but couldn't quite pronounce them to be "peanut buttery."  There's a whole cup of peanut butter in there and I thought they were nicely peanut buttery. (New word?)

I have two more recipes lined up, and welcome any suggestions for a nice soft peanut butter cookie.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I'll Never Forget You with Tyrone Power and Ann Blyth

Have you ever seen an old movie and could just remember one line from it, but not the name of the film or the actors?

The line, as I remember it was from the end of the film : "...not in my time or your time but in God's time."  I finally found it! Of all things the entire film seems to be on YouTube.  I watched about 20 minutes and don't recall anything of what I've seen so far.  Tyrone Power and Michael Rennie (always a favorite) seem awfully stiff so far, but the screen lights right up once Ann Blyth enters the picture.

Basically a nuclear scientist travels back to the 18th century and falls in love.  He can't resist using his scientific knowledge which I think ends up causing him trouble.  My first time travel romance film.  So romantic, as I recall. I'll have to watch the entire thing to see if I still think so.

Blogroll Adjustments

I look at my blog every day just to look at my blogroll. I don't know if other people do that, but I truly enjoy the mix of things I have and love to see what is new.  I took a few off that either were never updated, or I just don't read.  I added a few I've been meaning to add for awhile:

writerlywitterlings  by mystery author Michael Jecks.

The  it is supposed to be "girl geek culture" but they have lots of things I'm interested in so voila.

R. L. Lafevers hasn't updated her blog for a bit, but I just love her books so we shall see.

Sharon Creech is a fantastic YA author and she also writes charmingly about the everyday as well.

10/21/13   Added:
 Two Peas & Their Pod, a cooking baking blog
Kitchen Confidante a cooking/baking blog
SHOTS Crime and Thriller ezine
Letters of Note: correspondence deserving of a wider audience wonderful letters from famous and not so famous people that have lasting resonance and charm

No use mentioning what is gone because POOFED is poofed.

Putting the Garden to Bed Zzzzzzzz

I thought I would have time to do a really good job putting my garden to bed this year.  If the Big Snow holds off,  I might get there yet. Well, except for the September date which has passed me by big time.

Ideally I would have done these things:

Planted all those perennials I potted up in preparation for moving them to the east side of the yard.

Brought my houseplants into the house in early September.

Cut back perennials and toss any leaves which look spotty or diseased in any way.

Cover everything with a nice blanket of leaves.

Brought in all garden ornaments including the smaller birdbaths.

I finally finished up on number one today, just beating forecasts of snow which luckily have not fallen yet.   I'm out shopping for potting soil which hasn't been sitting outside all summer because I'm pretty sure that is how I brought in so many annoying little bugs last year. Grr pesky things.  My houseplants including two trees await their fate in the garage.  They look happy enough.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On the Road with D.O.A.: London

We had several days in London.  Our first day started after 3 pm given travel time, arrival and packing away of our things at the hotel. 

We tried to cram as much as possible into our days in each place. Since we had been in London in 2000, we had a few places we wanted to see again.

One of mine was Kensington Gardens, and specifically the statue of Peter Pan.

I didn't remember from our previous trip the base of the statue being so elaborate.  It really is a beautiful statue in a lovely setting.  Our hotel was near Hyde park and we spent quite a bit of time on foot traversing Hyde Park to get to this spot.  Good exercise and since I usually suffer jet lag like crazy, I was determined to follow the tip that you should get outside in the sunshine (or a cloudy approximation thereof) in order to fight it.

Viewed through the fence: the Princess Diana memorial playground for children in Hyde Park.

Kensington Palace and the Queen Victoria Statue

It never occurred to me before, but my spouse who is always drawn to any body of water could be of Selkie ancestry!  See him here with his mysterious cohort the "Swanky Swan".

Signs kept pointing to the Diana Memorial Fountains.  We never located them.  We did come upon these lovely fountains near Pan.

On the way back to the hotel we were looking for potential places to eat.  After our notorious KFC every single day in 2000, I determined that this time we would try to find some traditional English foods that we might like.

A small bakery provided a bit of the sweets I was looking for.  I love all the little cakes that are small works of art.
Larger intriguing cakes, oh, doesn't anything with strawberries seem appealing?

And meringues!  I never did try these but they live in my imagination.

Also, I thought that we should explore the "English Pub Experience" the travel guides write about.  Somewhat inspired by a coworker who has been touring local MN breweries, I thought I could try a local brew in each place we visited. 

We found that London and England generally are very much in love with foods from foreign lands and you find every cuisine from the near and far east up and down every street.  No traditional English food.  NOT going to allow that Burger King!

In the evening, we met Mr. D.O.A.'s longtime online Bridge partner, the wonderfully named Utensil at a local pub.  Our First pub! I had cleverly brought along the Snoopy deck of playing cards from my last year's Christmas stocking, thinking we might actually play a hand or two.  I haven't played in say 15 years.  That I could play at all was miraculous.  Under the circumstances nobody cared, as you may surmise.

Our brew du jour was Fullers, recommended by our local host.  I chose a dark brew in every case because if you are only going to drink one, maybe two tops, you don't want some puny weak stuff, right?
I had also teased that I would "interview" Utensil regarding the origin of his name.  He graciously allowed me to use my beloved iPod for a few words of wisdom and after viewing it, said I could post it here.   He and my husband are really a fine match for each other I must say, and now I know why my husband is always calling out to me for spellings of fancy words and the names of obscure songs while he is playing and laughing uproariously all the while.
We told Utensil of my plan to try interesting local brews everywhere we went, and it was his long ago trip to Belgium (in the 80s) which led us to seek out Kwak, the topic of another post.   I have no clue how to turn the clip upright.  Just turn your head and enjoy.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

DOA on the Road

Before I left home I thought adding pictures and a travelogue here would be the easiest thing to do. Ha! Nothing but problems logging in, changing information, verifying and reverifying. Gack! Slow Internet connections, photos don't upload here. Sheesh. I can only write in HTML mode. Maybe it is this cursed Mac. Shouldn't whine since it is doing the job. Lots of pictures to post when I return, with speedy Internet. We flew Iceland Air for the first time. Nice flight, tv screens on the back of each seat so you can watch a movie from a wide selection. No food or drink served that wasn't pay on the spot. Fair enough though I always appreciate when they give you a nice cool can of 7 UP. The staff really speak all in Icelandic with a few tidbits of English tossed in, the very briefest information. Off to London. We had a list of must see places and got those in then went to a few others. Only 3 days here so it was packed. We met my spouse's longtime Online Bridge Partner and he was really nice, lots of fun and a good sport when I pulled out my new Snoopy playing cards so we could play a few hands. We were unable to find a fourth. Free looow speed Internet in the lobby and suddenly some wierdo popped up next to me trying to make conversation and get a gander at my iPod screen. You know how they say in the movies don't sit with your back to the door? Don't cruise the net in front of a big window, either. We rented a car out of London and drove to Bath. Really a lovely lovely city, very relaxed but bustling. All for now. I'll have to solve the problem of the photos.