Friday, February 29, 2008


In honor of Leap Day, I just want to take a moment to celebrate every one of you who've taken a leap of faith this past year...taken a chance on something you didn't think you could do...taken on the hope of achieving a goal you'd dreamed about without any guarantees.

Yay to you! Believing in yourself and your "vision" may not be enough to see it realized, but I think it's the first and most important step. (Then, of course, there's all the hard work that follows. :-)

Along those lines of believing and taking chances, I want to congratulate L.A. Mitchell on her first big story release: Love, Texas Style, a wonderful anthology by authors of The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com/), just came out in e-book form today and will be available in print on March 28, 2008. L.A.'s short story, "The Lost Highway," is one of twelve captivating tales in this book, and I'm so excited I'll now get to read it!

P.S. You'll want to stop by her blog (http://www.la-mitchell.blogspot.com/) for her contest, too. Every Thursday in March she'll be drawing a name, and the lucky winner will take home some terrific prizes--from gift certificates to a Texas-themed basket to an Elvis CD!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Because It's About Austen...

...I'd consider it neglectful of me if I failed to mention that I finally saw the DVD of The Jane Austen Book Club this weekend. Quite enjoyable!

Yes, I should've seen the film in the theaters back in the fall. In fact, I'd fully intended to. But life happens and, by the time I could swing a free weekend afternoon, I'd missed my chance.

I'd read the Karen Joy Fowler novel it was based up some years back and found it, well...an interesting, if not wholly enjoyable, experience. I immediately loved the premise: 5 women and 1 man get together once a month to discuss each of Jane's 6 published books, but the real drama enfolds when the characters aren't at their book club, and certain Austen-centric issues appear in these characters' lives and relationships. However, Fowler presented to readers a few characters whose attitudes and personal journeys somehow depressed me, despite a terrific setup and the cleverness of the narrative. The film succeeded in softening these aspects of the story (in 2 out of 3 cases, anyway) and, as a result, the ironic/comedic elements were able to bloom onscreen for me a bit better than in the novel.

I'm a fan enough of drama when the author's intent is to craft a serious work. But, if someone's going to bill a production as a comedy, hadn't it best come across as funny and have the requisite happy ending? Well, that's my bias. So, to her credit, I thought the film's screenwriter and director (Robin Swicord) managed this task rather well and--for me--she improved upon the book. Watching the adorable Hugh Dancy onscreen didn't hurt one bit, either.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Taking Deep (and Normal) Breaths

Despite my longstanding love for my husband and my newfound infatuation with YouTube, I'll confess to not feeling especially romantic this week--Valentine's Day or no. I attribute my marked lack of enthusiasm for the heart-filled holiday to the Cold Virus From Hell that's plagued me for seven straight days and held me hostage to my Kleenex box and my teapot. And I'm still not over the damn thing.

Once upon a time, a guy I knew informed me that the sucky things in life made sense to him once he finally started approaching each day with the belief that "good health and happiness are meant to be the exceptions, not the rule. That illness and discontent are, actually, the normal state for your average human, and when we feel good physically and emotionally, that's life at its most abnormal..." (Yeah, he was an upbeat guy.)

During this week filled with cough medicine and restless nights, the thought of good health as the anomaly crossed my mind. Several times. Indeed, I contemplated a great many philosophical questions (I was up for hours, after all) including: Is life really just one long, depressing road pockmarked with hazards and with only the occasional smooth patch to give relief?

My conclusion? Not in my universe.

True, I may have been a little high on Sudafed when I made this decision, but I was willing to tolerate this cold, not embrace it as normal. And, while I realize I'm most at home in the realm of "fiction" and that the real world doesn't owe me either good health OR happiness, I'm convinced if I live my life with the optimistic expectation of both--and express my gratitude when they cross my path--I just have to have faith I'll come closer to actually achieving them than if I deem them rarities.

Regardless, breathing freely again makes me happy. Even happier than all the Valentine's Day chocolate I got yesterday...and that's saying something.

Friday, February 8, 2008

More Tubing!

Truly, I can't get enough of this stuff. They've got Jean-Jacques, for goodness sake! I haven't heard him on the radio since I was on a bus trip to Bordeaux in 1987. Did you French speakers out there know about this? If so, why didn't you tell me??!! '80s music...in FRENCH! I bow to the gods of YouTube.

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=955y1fmm1lg&feature=related

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Tube, YouTube

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not exactly a "techie" type. (See previous post.) The lack of high-speed processors and the like, however, have kept me from fully exploring a paradise that is now--thanks to the new computer--finally at my fingertips. And, for the record, let me just say, I'll put up with Windows Vista, Core 2 Mumbo-Jumbo and every needed and unneeded Driver Installation Download out there because of YouTube.

I love YouTube (www.youtube.com, for those few remaining individuals unacquainted with the phenomenon). LOVE it!

In the course of 24 hours, I've become an unapologetic music-video junkie. I stayed up until 2am last night watching old '80s videos. Huey Lewis and the News! The Cars! Michael Jackson before he got too creepy! And then I shifted into Live Performances I Never Saw But Always Wanted To. They actually had concert footage of The Alarm... Jackson Browne onstage in 1976... Scenes from my favorite Broadway musicals... And then there were videos of songs I love from today's Top 40, Country Radio, Alternative Rock that I'd missed on TV. I watched some Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, The Fray, just about everything by the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty.

I was glued to my 19-inch, widescreen, high-def monitor for a full five hours. And I know I've only just scratched the surface of the musical treasures out there.

Which makes me glad today's a new day...

P.S. I'm totally open to YouTube recommendations. Got something I should watch (musically or otherwise)? Eliza??