I was all excited about Mooyah Burger... I made the arduous drive down the area's most congested street -- I even had to get my ass out of the car because there's no drivethru... It seemed so promising... line after line of catchphrases: "fresh-meat-never-frozen", "choose-your-own-toppings", "all-toppings-included-in-the-price", "real ice cream". I was salivating something fierce. The decor was cool... sort of retro with red floors, and an industrial-type ceiling where you see the ductwork. Fingers were crossed. Outlook good.

Got home and tore into the bag... The fries were tasty. The shake was tasty. The burger... not so much... I couldn't taste the beef or the bun, all I tasted was the mooyah sauce, the tomatoes and the pickles (and the lingering scent of lettuce, which I picked off, because I forgot to tell them that I don't like it on my burger). It probably sounds like a flavor explosion, but overall it was fairly bland. Disappointment set in. I have to work extra hard on the treadmill tonight and I didn't even enjoy my splurge... Suck-o-rama. Turns out that the best thing about Mooyah Burger is that it reminds me of Mooby's and that reminds me of Kevin Smith. Yea for Kevin Smith!

So last night I made it about 3/4 of the way through The Devil's Rejects before I gave up. I didn't even chicken out, I just got tired of watching impossible situation after impossible situation. The characters were so unlikeable that I didn't even flinch when the torture started... the kind of people they were... I just couldn't find it within myself to feel sorry for them. I have an evil side (that I supress) and it was pleased, because they deserved it. To summarize... huge fan of Zombie's music, but his movies? Not so much. I tried though, I really did.

Real world observation... it's amusing to watch a power struggle between polite people.

My trip to OK got delayed by a week. I did manage to find a discount on the hotel room... airfare is still the same. Pretty sure I'm still going to do it, but now it's looking a smidge less likely (more time to talk myself out of it). I'm a little like that girl in Serendipity... I look for signs, and when things start to get complicated... I start to wonder if that's not the universe's way of telling me to back off. Maybe that's silly, but I've already copped to being a silly girl.

So I'm fairly convinced that there's someone out there who has nothing better to do than follow me around and sabotage my chances of having a love life. Not literally, I hope, but I'm running out of explanations as to why things always look so promising and suddenly take a nose dive. Maybe that person is me? I am, after all, the common denominator. I dunno. Maybe things were never that promising, I just chose to wear the rose-colored glasses. This afternoon I imagined two characters having a conversation. One of them recognizes that she's alone, but says she's given up. The other person calls her out on it, says surely she hasn't given up. She asks what it matters -- whether she tries or whether she doesn't, the outcome is the same. That's kind of how I feel.

Refer back to the flowchart.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut. Was supposed to be today, but my stylist got sick. STRESS!!! And that means no happy hour, because I'm getting my hair cut instead... Maybe I'll try to put another HH together next Friday. Last one was fun... small and relaxed... the kind I like... no drama, just fun.
I warn you now -- I don't have much to blog about, so read on, but prepare to be fairly unimpressed. I also caution you that I'm feeling rambly today (those of you who know me are already cringing)...

I have been on a quest to find the perfect purple eyeshadow, and I think I may have found it... Goddess Minerals Plum Passion. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous color, and it's only $4. I'm loving the loose mineral eyeshadow, you can make it as dark or as light as you like. (I did mention that makeup is my latest obsession, right?) So far all of the samples I've gotten have been amazing, so sparkly and pretty and girly (Euphoric Dysphoria and Pink Quartz Minerals). While I'm gushing about makeup, Kat Von D's eyeshadow is awesome! I treated myself to it when a friend gave me an e-gift certificate to Sephora... it's the best.

Moving (randomly) on... I can't remember the magic I worked when I did it, but I somehow set up a search on Google and it automatically scans the web for the words 'query shark.' Sometimes it means that the Query Shark has eviscerated another query letter (which is what I'm hoping for), sometimes it means she was mentioned in someone's blog, other times it's just a blog about a shark (it apparently searches for each word independently). Today I ran across an author who is in the same boat as I am, more or less. She posted her query letter, mentioned Query Shark, and asked for opinions. I commented on it... I hope she doesn't take offense at some random stranger offering suggestions. I didn't go into the meat of the letter because I'm not an expert on what agents want so I don't feel like I'd be doing her any favors, I just pointed out some things I do feel confident about.

I'm trying to reach out and meet people in the writing community...

A friend also put me in touch with Rachel Brady, a friend of hers who recently got published. I felt a little awkward emailing her, but I also didn't want to let the opportunity pass me by. I didn't expect her to get back to me for a while, if ever. She was soooooooooooo nice, she even suggested that we meet for lunch, so I'm looking forward to that. It's good to meet someone who knows what this process feels like. Here's her website: http://www.rachelbrady.net/, her book sounds really interesting, so next time I place an order I will add hers to the list.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut by a new stylist. I'm skeered. Hair makes such a difference in how you look and it's hard to trust someone new with it. This one comes with high recommendations, so my fingers are crossed -- but I'm still nervous. I want a reverse angle bob like I already have - BUT - I want to keep it long, and I want layers and I want long, angled bangs -- the kind where they hold your hair and let the scissors slide down it. That doesn't sound impossible, does it???

And oh gawd... The Devil's Rejects is on IFC in a few minutes... that means it won't cost me anything (except my sanity) so I know I'm going to try to watch it while the opportunity is available. I also know it's a bad, bad idea but oh how I love Rob Zombie... He's an amazing artist and his concerts are so much fun. At this point in my life there are very few bands I care to see live anymore: Static-X, Rob Zombie, Metallica, and Papa Roach. If Alice in Chains comes to town I'll probably go see them, too. I saw Jerry Cantrell once, but I missed out on the old Alice because Layne Staley o.d.'d when they were supposed to come through. I have to say, I'm loving the new songs.

So back to Rob... (I warned you about the rambling)

I attempted to watch House of 1,000 Corpses once. I made it 30-45 minutes in, right up until the axe came out. Problem is, I had seen some clips as he played the song in concert, so I had an idea what to expect. I never made it to the part where the guy had scissors sticking out of his face.

I had two nightmares about the movie before I ever saw it. In one, Viggo Mortensen and I were on a bus full of guys at a bachelor party (and in all weirdness, I was a guy). These strippers in American flag bikinis were coming down the aisle asking everyone to drop their car keys into a plastic bucket, telling them that they didn't want anyone to drive home drunk. But Viggo and I smelled a rat, so we stuck our hands into the bucket and moves some keys around, but kept ours because we knew that they were really collecting keys so that once the violence started, no one could get away.

Second dream was me at a Rob Zombie concert. Everyone else was oblivious, but I saw the strange looking people shutting and locking the doors. I saw the guy with the axe and the manacles. A few other people did, too, but they thought it was all part of the show... and it was, sort of... except that we were also a part of the 'show.' They were going to kill us all. I started to leave but couldn't get through the crowd and I don't remember all of it, but I think we ended up on some remote island somewhere and I did escape, or I woke up...

My dreams are always incredibly vivid. I feel things... like the sensation of my teeth as I spit out the pieces when they fall out. I smell things... unfortunately it's usually during the nasty bathroom dream -- but once it was lemon dish soap and that was a nice change. Everything is in color, I don't ever remember a black and white dream. I write songs sometimes, though I can't remember them very well when I wake up. If I could design the houses that I see in my dreams, I swear I'd be rich. A lot of my dreams are repetitive, and I can remember dreams I had years and years ago. Sometimes I seriously wonder if they're dreams at all, or if I have another life on some alternate plane of existence. I think that's why I wake up tired all the time.

I just saw a commercial for a new Tim Burton movie, 9 it looks good...  It took me a while to get onboard with his movies, but I really like the sets he uses and it doesn't hurt that every single movie is scored by Danny Elfman. I heart Danny Elfman even more than I heart Rob Zombie. His music is so incredibly delicate... and then it's powerful... and evocative... and angelic... and twisted... Batman is still my favorite score, but I love them all. I'm still amazed as I watch the opening sequence to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, how he managed to capture a word: industrial.

Okay... enough blogging... I'm going to attempt to watch this movie... (funny how I had nothing to blog about and this is probably my longest blog ever... EEK!)

I'm sure my neighbors hate me. Ah well.

Dinner was a success, the Tyler Florence chicken enchilada recipe was really good, and much more authentic than the recipe I was originally going to make. The margaritas were tasty. Sue Beth's sopapilla cheesecake totally rocked. Most of all, the guests were awesome. Nothing like a quick game of Dirty Minds to get everyone acquainated. Although I think pass the plunger probably brought us even closer, lol. That was really fun. More fun to watch really; I seem to have a real talent for PTP so it was over much too quickly... it's much more entertaining to watch people struggle.

The night got even better when Mike sat down at the piano and Cade began to sing. They're both incredibly talented, I can't even put it into words. Seems like Mike can play damn near anything, and Cade has an amazing voice... not only that, but he puts everything he's got into the song. And they're hilarious... I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Didn't realize it, but Dawn can belt out a tune, too! Hell, I even sang a little (in the background).

So today I have to clean up the aftermath. That's the part I hate. Cheese is delicious, but it leaves a huge mess that's not so appealing.

And here I go again... SyFy... House of the Dead 2... not only gory, but rife with zombies - which I already know I can't watch. So far it seems to be okay, and I'm going to be cleaning up as I watch it, so my focus won't be completely on the television. Zombies and demons scare the crap out of me, I usually go out of my way to avoid watching movies if I know either of the two will be a central focus. I know it seems like zombies should be fairly benign... they (usually) move slowly, and don't have any real brain power... but there's something about the idea of a virtually unstoppable eating machine... one of your own kind who has turned against you... the idea of one bite quickly becoming a pandemic, because with zombies it's really a numbers game, one isn't really much of a threat unless it takes you by surprise... but an army of zombies? Baaaaaaaaad news. I dunno, it just really messes with my head. One of my friends has a theory that either zombies or SkyNet are going to take over the world... if it's SkyNet I'll stand and fight with him... if it's zombies... I'll probably just take the cyanide capsule!

See No Evil didn't last long. The guy threw a chain with a hook on the end of it, it got caught in the guy's leg, and he drug him off somewhere... I changed the channel. I didn't want to know what happened next. I think they put the most gruesome deaths at the very beginning of a movie, to get their point across, then the rest of the deaths are fairly quick... until the end, where there's an equally gruesome (but much more dramatic) death scene. That last death scene pretty much makes or breaks the movie... too long and dramatic and it becomes tiresome and unbelievable... too short and people feel gypped. It's a fine line.

I'm tired because I was up until almost 4 am... and I feel like being lazy, but there are things to be done, so I'm gonna get off my butt and go do them. Hope everyone had a great weekend, I'm going to go enjoy what's left of mine!
Nothing like the SyFy channel if you want to watch something mindless... rife with bad acting, lame special effects, and flimsy plot lines that are completely beyond the realm of possibility. I don't know why I watch them. And believe me - I really wish I could come up with an answer. Only thing I can think is that I'm testing my endurance like I did with The Haunting in Connecticut. How long can I watch before I chicken out? Usually not long, because the other thing about SyFy movies is that they are usually spectacularly gory, and I don't like gore.

This one, called See No Evil, is already making me edgy because the guy apparently gouges peoples eyes out. I got a taste of the aftermath before the credits rolled, which was bad enough, I just hope they don't show it happening because I don't want to watch that. But I tell myself that it's TV-14... how bad can it get? (I'm so naive)

I don't understand the name change from "SciFi" to "SyFy" except that it goes hand in hand with the dumbing down of our language to a bunch of acronyms that masquerade as conversation. This is what the people behind the magic had to say: "If you ask people their default perceptions of Sci Fi, they list space, aliens and the future,” he added. “That didn’t capture the full landscape of fantasy entertainment: the paranormal, the supernatural, action and adventure, superheroes.”

M'kay. First time I saw it on my channel guide I thought the system got hacked by an idiot, but whatever.

Today is one of those 'take it easy' days where I pamper myself while I wait for the fun to start. I'll take my time getting ready and then I'll crank up the happy tunes while I take care of putting the food together. I enjoy days like today and I know tonight will be a blast whether we actually play pass-the-plunger or not (yeah... a bunch of people running toward each other with plungers between their legs... I have visions of Anton Merriweather... and interesting sihlouettes like the ones from Austin Powers). All in all, it's shaping up to be a great weekend (except that my alleriges seem to be acting up). Hope yours is, too.
I used to watch Animaniacs and they had a segment called "Good Idea / Bad Idea" (see below) it was always pretty entertaining. One day I came up with my own suggestion:

Good idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine your audience in their underwear.

Bad idea: In order to relax yourself as you're giving a speech, imagine yourself in your underwear.

Well here's another bad idea - knowing you're a chickenshit, and attempting to watch The Haunting in Connecticut... alone... in the dark... because your cousin, who actually likes horror movies, said she's now afraid of monsters under the bed and had to sleep with the light on after she watched it (I'm paraphrasing), all because you've been watching Paranormal State with no problem and want to prove that you're a badass and can't be shaken when it comes to the ghosties. So here I am, writing this blog as I watch so that I don't flee the couch and go hide under the covers...

I'm going to share something morbid with you... my grandmother used to take pictures of people in their coffins. I never understood it. My mom eventually forbade it as being, not only embarassing, but taboo (was gonna say 'mortifying' but realized it was a poor choice of words). People have pretty strong feelings about that kind of photography. But... I think I get it. At least I get where it comes from. It was tradition, though not one I suspect my grandmother was involved in since we aren't British and she wasn't alive during the Victorian era.

My first introduction to this practice was during a screening of The Others.  I think they called it a Book of the Dead... pictures of corpses dressed up and posed like they were sleeping. The Haunting in Connecticut started the credits rolling with more pictures of the dead lying in state... not in a book, but in framed photographs. According to my brief foray onto the web, the practice was called memento mori. You can read about it here if you wish to.

I guess in my own way, I inherited that same morbid gene. I like old graveyards. I like them because they're peaceful, and the gravestones are usually pretty artistic. My favorite graveyard is in Metarie, Louisiana. There you can find all kinds of fascinating structures because they have to bury their dead above ground. I would like to go back again now that I have a digital camera and take better photos. I have a healthy respect for the dead, I try not to bother them, I hope they won't bother me. Guess I'll test that theory when I go to the Greyfriar's Cemetery in Scotland and face the MacKenzie poltergeist.

Crap, I'm out of things to talk about, and I'm only halfway through the movie... I guess it's alright, it looks like the ghost wants help of some kind, so maybe there will be a happy ending?

I'm so gullible.

So... um... The Others... One of my favorite movies. Very well done, suspenseful and poignant. Love the atmosphere that was created, and the twist at the end. Music was great, too... Very Alfred Hitchcock. (I get the 'monster under the bed' comment now... I'd like to say that I'm smart enough not to reach under there, but I would also like to say that when I hear unexpected noises, I don't investigate them)

I think if I lived in this house, I'd move already...

Oh - and Badoo was a Ba-Don't (ba-dum-dum). After 23 instances of the same conversation (he says, "hello," I say "hello" and then I wait for intelligent conversation to ensue... and I wait... and I wait... and it's like that scene in The Sweetest Thing where Christina Applegate is flirting with a guy and all they say to each other is "What's up?"...[insert smile]..."What's up with you?"...[insert coquettish look]..."What's up with you?"...[twirl hair]...); I simply gave up. The true epiphany came after I accidentally clicked on someone's profile and suddenly noticed that everyone had a tag line. One of the taglines was "wants to practice kissing on a girl," and that was actually one of the better ones.

In hindsight I probably should have kept my profile up because it was sure to give me something to write about if I ever get stuck for ideas...
Went to happy hour last night, only intending to stay for an hour or two and once again staying out all night. I should have stuck with the cider. But I had a great time. And everyone has made me believe that I look like Kirsten Dunst, more or less, lol. I was out shopping a couple of years ago and this guy rounded a corner, coming toward me with eyes big as saucers and said, "Oh my god... you look just like that girl... what's her name... she had red hair in that movie... she was in Spiderman..." I said, "Kirsten Dunst?" and I was puzzled. "Yeah! You look just like her." I was flattered but still puzzled. A few aisles later we ran into each other again and he says, "Just like her!" So last night, out of the blue, a friend said the same thing (albeit less dramatically) and it brought the memory back. I'm totally flattered, I still don't see it, but I think she's gorgeous, so I'll accept it as a compliment and smile.

Woke up this morning with a pounding headache and pretty much slept the day away. Only got up to eat, work on my bucket list, update my budget and try on the clothes I intend to take to Scotland, just to make sure I don't need to rethink the wardrobe. Some of the tops were a little snug, but I'm happy to say that most of them fit now, and the ones that don't have been replaced. All in all I wasted a day, when I should have gone out and done something, but I think I needed it... there's been too much going on lately that I was just constantly exhausted. I feel reenergized now, so maybe I will feel like getting out more... sigh... I remember what it was like to have a life...

I'm watching Underworld: Evolution on FX, and as they come off the commercial breaks they're showing how they created the special effects in the movie. I always find that fascinating. I can't think that wire work is easy to do, but they make it look effortless and the ingenuity of what they create is just magic. I used to want to be a film editor until I saw how little money they make (in comparison to the cost of living in California), and then I gave up that dream. I still think working in the film industry would be a really cool job, something a little different every day.

Rearranged some of the pages on this site, there were too many... there are still too many, and I still want to add more and more information. I just added a Random Stuff page. As I was looking for a peasanty top for my Halloween costume I ran across Etsy.com and thought it was incredibly cool because it's an online marketplace for people to sell handmade stuff. They really have some nice things on there, and I did find a blouse (as well as a billion other things I want if I had the money), and some makeup. I thought it would be neat to have a page with some lesser known websites, if nothing else, for my own records.

I like the idea of going back to basics, and I think that's why a site like Etsy is so appealing to me. There's too much mass merchandising and not enough passion, everything looks the same, quality is low. I like to think that people who are trying to build a business based on their own handiwork put more heart into it. I think part of the problem we have in this country is that we've been trying to produce more and not better, we replace people with machines, and expect people to work for the lowest wages we can get away with paying them but there's no sense of community anymore, no sense of pride. I know it's not the case all the way around, but it's pretty widespread and it frustrates me. I like going to the local farmer's market, I like to find rare gems, my house is mostly furnished with stuff from antique stores because it's unique, the craftsmanship is superior, and it's actually cheaper if you go to the right stores. Stepping down from the soap box...

I'm still working on the makeup for my Halloween costume, I think that my eyes need to be rimmed in red, but I don't know what to do with my lips, black is too jarring, and red battles with my eyes. Good news is that I can play around with it for a while until I find something I like. That's part of the fun of being a girl and getting to play dress up.
A day off is not a day off when you're having your foundation repaired and you still have to be up and at 'em by 7:00 am, and you can't take a nap because of the jackhammers ripping apart your nice patio. Or the guy singing. The house is creaking... and it moves... it's scary... I keep watching the walls and windows, and I wonder about my a/c connections and pipes and ductwork...

So far no (apparent) damage from the fix (other than my patio). I keep watching the windows, because I have them opened a wee bit (to relieve the tension as suggested by the people who installed them) and I can see that the horizontal lines aren't quite parallel to each other. I'm assuming that will correct itself once the house is level. My already crappy floor still looks crappy. I keep thinking maybe I should just rip out the tile and put some of that concrete stain on it like I dreamt about one time... the glossy kind that gives it color but you can still see through it (like the black or cola versions on this page)  - then I can see cracks in my foundation really easily. I think it'd be really pretty actually. Right now I have crappy white tile that has a veneer on it because the previous owners went all out to flip this baby... (not)... it chips off and looks tacky.

Watched a couple of movies... Zack and Miri Make a Porno, pretty good, but very raunchy (you kind of expect that from the title though), and My Best Friend's Girl, also pretty good and very raunchy (but you kind of expect that from the big UNRATED VERSION stamp across the cover, and the fact that Dane Cook is in it). Made a baked potato for lunch, garlic hasselback potato to be precise, where you cut almost all the way through and fan the potato out with garlic slivers in between each slice and pour bacon grease over the top of it before you toss it into the oven. Pretty yummy. More satisfying than the frozen dinner I would have had for lunch if I'd been at work.

Well... hopefully they'll be finishing up in the next couple of hours (I bet they're ready to be done too... it looks pretty hot out there) and I can relax. I'm all tensed up until it's done and there's no water gushing from under my foundation.

Update: They're done and the crack in the grout is now almost invisible. Even more astounding is that some of the joint tape has almost straightened itself out... back to what it looked like before anyway... which was still crinkled in spots, but my inspector told me that is normal for houses this age (I don't know that I believe him now). The beam running along my living room ceiling is back in place. There was really only one door that didn't close, and it closes now (thank you to Greg for telling me to check that all the doors and locks worked before they filled in the holes). No cracks in my wall either. I'm pretty impressed. Broke, but impressed. Hopefully the patches in the concrete will be nearly invisible too... They got here a little after 7 o'clock this morning and they're leaving now (5:40). Long day... glad I don't have their jobs.

Played hookey from work today so that I could watch the new Harry Potter movie... so worth it. It was the best one yet... but also the saddest (yes, I cried). It's amazing to see the words of the book translated onto the screen... it's a testament to JK Rowling's descriptive abilities that watching some of it was like deja vu; my imagination and the film were pretty close.

Butterbeer looked so good that I found a recipe online and will add it to my recipe page as soon as I finish writing this. Looks almost like egg nog with beer instead of rum... or maybe hot buttered rum, but with beer and eggs... I don't normally like beer, but I'm willing to try it out. Hopefully I won't like this either, I'm sure it has about a zillion calories... but something about the way it looks just calls to me...

Looks like there are some good movies on the horizon, another tween novel, The Lightning Thief, as well as Robert Downey, Jr in Sherlock Holmes (and though I never would have imagined it, the trailer was really interesting... besides, I love Sherlock Holmes). I feel like there's been a drought of good movies lately, so it's nice to see that there are a few to get excited about.

I always enjoy taking a day off from work. I feel like I get a lot done. If I didn't have to work for a living I could accomplish so much more. There are some people who continue to work well past retirement age because they claim that they have nothing else to do--I don't intend to be one of them. There are about a million things that I could think of to fill my time instead: travel, gardening, writing, reading, learning new things (languages, cooking classes, knitting, brewing mead, etc), hiking, fixing up the house, relaxing (and of course, spending time with friends and family, but that kinda goes without saying).

All in all, I wish I had more time to spend on personal pursuits (and more money, because some of those pursuits require it), but alas, don't we all? It's the human condition.