Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ultron: The World's Worst-Kept Secret!

Avengers: Age of Ultron. I've been waiting for this. I'm looking at "ready" in the rear-view mirror and crossing the border into the Great State of Impatient!

And it's still just over six months away!

The trailer was to be included with showings of Interstellar at theaters. Interstellar opens on November 7th, I believe. Collin and I were planning to go. Even if we didn't want to see the movie (we do, just for the record), we would have gone anyway, to see the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.

Then it was announced on Tuesday night that the trailer would be aired during next Tuesday's episode of Agents of SHIELD.

Then, the trailer was "leaked" yesterday. Today, it's all over the internet. And I still can't wait to see the movie!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Would You Buy a Toy/Game Based on this Movie/TV Show?

Protest effects change. Sometimes. Sometimes, it just pisses people off.

If I were going to protest anything, it would be political correctness. Sorry, but it's gotten to be a real PITA (Pain In The A**). These days, no matter what you say, it's bound to offend someone. When I was growing up, we said "Merry Christmas" when we met friends on the street or interacted with salespeople while shopping for gifts. Now, we're not supposed to do that. It's been replaced by "Happy Holidays" (officially--I still say "Merry Christmas.").

It's a no-win. I never did have a good internal censor, so I do my communicating in writing, where I can edit before I hit Send--and even that doesn't always work.

Currently, a Florida mother is protesting the sale of Breaking Bad action figures at Toys R Us. I had to do a double-take on that one. Seriously? They're making toys--okay, action figures--based on Breaking Bad? Isn't that akin to adding a gag reel to the Schindler's List DVD? Some movies and TV series are made for merchandising--like Disney movies, the Despicable Me Minions, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Superman, The X-Men, Indiana Jones and Godzilla. In Spaceballs, Mel Brooks pokes fun at the movie merchandising frenzy. When asked by Lone Star, Mog and Princess Vespa if they'll ever see him again, his character, Yogurt, replies, " Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money!"  

But...Breaking Bad? Seriously? In a toy store?

I confess, I have never seen Breaking Bad--but I know what it's about, and I just can't picture a high demand for Breaking Toys R Us says, in their own defense, they're sold in the "Adult Toys" section. I didn't even know Toys R Us had an "adult" section. I always thought adult toys were those items sold at sleazy little establishments that also sell porn videos and dominatrix costumes.

But if it's a success, what next? The Sopranos hitman starter kits? Or maybe The Bold and the Beautiful musical beds game? Though the soap is set in the world of high fashion, these characters spend a lot of time naked, so there wouldn't be much of an expense for extra clothing--just a bunch of naked characters and a row of appropriately-sized doll beds. When the music stops, they all fall into bed with whoever happens to be standing next to them at the time. The odd doll left standing is instantly killed by the Psycho Babe Quinn doll.

How about a Dr. Oz Guts du Jour game? Spin the wheel and find out which internal organs the good doctor will display for you. A word of caution: don't play this one right before or immediately after mealtimes. His TV show has been the most effective appetite suppressant I've ever found.

Would anybody buy a Gravity game? Players would draw cards to determine the moves of the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney characters. Once the Clooney action figure floats too far away from Bullock's, he explodes--and the player responsible is eliminated from the play.

I'd buy a game based on The Blacklist. Each player would draw a number from Red's Blacklist. They would then be given a packet of clues to help them determine what that Blacklister's next move would be. Failure to beat the target to his or her criminal act means expulsion from the game. Get it right, and you're given one clue to the real connection between Red Reddington and Elizabeth Keen.

What do you think? What movies or TV shows do you think would make good toys or games, and which do you feel would be totally inappropriate?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Riding Out The Storm

I finally have a cover for my first nonfiction book, a memoir of the darkest period in my life. Collin--who also did the photography--finished the cover last night, after much nagging on my part. I had been posting excerpts from the memoir, as well as Sam's Story, on my Wordpress blogs, but I now post them to a much larger audience at Wattpad.

Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Vote for the Hometown Boy (or Girl)....

I posted a question on my Facebook page this morning: would you be more likely to buy a book if the author happened to be from your hometown/state/country? Would you be more likely to spend your money on tickets to a movie if any of the actors/writers/directors were from your city? And for those of you who are fans of TV talent competitions like The Voice and American Idol--would you be inclined to cast your vote for a contestant from your area, even if they weren't the most talented participant in the competition?

This is something I've given thought to, off and on, for years now. During my years in conventional publishing, I knew several authors who spent a great deal of time and effort going to local distribution centers to put a "Local Author" sticker on the covers of every book before they were sent out to retail outlets. I never did it myself--none of my favorite authors are from St. Louis, and I don't believe it matters much. 

But maybe I'm wrong.

Last season on The Voice, there was a contestant from St. Louis. Our local NBC affiliate urged viewers to throw their support behind her. I don't watch reality shows (except for Total Divas), so I don't know if she deserved to win--she didn't win, in the end--but I can't say I would ever vote for a contestant from my neck of the woods if I thought another contestant was more deserving of the win.

Yesterday, I heard a local TV reporter make a reference to Gone Girl--part of which was filmed here in Missouri--as "the biggest movie of the year." Seriously? In a year that included movies like the latest Transformers movie, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, I know director James Gunn is from St. Louis, but I'm fairly certain his talent didn't come from having been born here)?

Gone Girl is adapted from a bestselling novel, so it's likely going to be a hugely successful movie as well--but the biggest movie of the year? Not likely.

So...what do you all think? Are you more likely to buy a book or see a movie or support a performer who happens to be from your area?

PS I have a new excerpt up at Sam's Story and will have a new one from my memoir early next week....

Friday, September 26, 2014

FRIDAY PHOTOBLOG: The Best Time of the Year

I haven't done one of these in a while. Not being a photographer, I don't have as many to post as my photoblogger friends, nor are mine as good as theirs (not even close). But since autumn is my favorite season and it's just begin, I thought I'd share photos from last autumn, some taken by me, some by Collin....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Minion Mayhem!

Those of you who know me well--or have seen my Facebook page--know of my special fondness for all things Minion. So, since it's been a rough couple of weeks, I'm turning my blog over to my favorite little yellow guys for today with some images from their Facebook page. 

Take it away, Minions!

 Oops! Kevin!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"I'm Going to be Late...There's a Moose at My Door...."

Yesterday was The Big Day. For those of you who didn't think I had a brain in my head, I give you, in living brain!

Pretty cool, huh?

After I endured twenty hours without sleep, Carolyn and I were off to St. Louis University Hospital for my tests. I was prepared. I hate hospital gowns, so I chose clothing that was comfortable and without snaps, buttons, zippers or anything else that might be problematic for a test that's done with magnets. 

I took along a towel and a small bottle of shampoo to wash my hair after the EEG, which uses a gooey substance to attach the electrodes to the scalp. I'd just gotten my hair cut and figured that would make the electrode attachment easier. I wanted the tests to be done as quickly as possible--Carolyn and I were going to the IHOP where Collin works for lunch afterward.

Upon arrival, they took one look at my cane and put this cute little yellow band on my wrist:

Then they brought me a wheelchair.

My EEG was done by a very entertaining technician named Charles, who told me about his experiences moving around the country. He'd lived in Alaska for a time and said it was not at all unusual to see moose walking down the streets. (Anyone who saw William's photoblog yesterday saw how majestic a full-grown male moose looks.) Well, the hospital where Charles worked had a large atrium full of greenery at the entrance. One day, a hungry moose entered the hospital through the electronic doors, had lunch in the atrium, then left!

He said he once had to call in to inform his employers he would be late--because there was a moose at his door who refused to leave! He said a 150-pound man versus a 1500-moose just wasn't going to happen!

Carolyn, in a waiting room next to the lab, was trying to figure out why I was laughing. I do enjoy a good moose tale.

After my EEG was done, I went into the bathroom, washed my hair, and was immediately taken to the MRI department. I assured the young woman from patient transport that my hair would be dry before the next test even got started--and it was. It's short, it's baby-fine--and it dries fast. No blow dryer needed.

There's a huge sign on the door to the MRI lab: red and white, reading "DANGER." That's comforting. The machine itself is called Oasis. It's anything but an oasis.

I was told I wouldn't be able to see the images while it was in progress, but I could have a CD to take home once it was done. I didn't get a copy of my EEG. Charles said it would be about 150 pages. I never thought to ask for a computer file...maybe my doctor will give me one.

I'm extremely claustrophobic, so rather than knock me out, Dr. Yi Pan, my neurologist, ordered an open MRI. I was in the hands of the skilled (and extremely patient) Lisa and Kim, who got me positioned on the table, made sure I was comfortable, and explained the procedure to me. It would take about twenty-five minutes and would be very, very, very, VERY noisy. If I moved or stopped the procedure for any reason, they would have to start all over again. I was determined that wasn't going to happen. Once would be quite enough, thank you very much!

A mask-like device was placed over my face and earplugs in my ears. The mask, I was told, would take the pictures of my brain. Then, they placed something in my hand that felt like a joystick. It was a call button. I was to press it if I needed help. 


And the procedure began, alternately sounding like a jackhammer, a siren and a tornado. I lost track of how many times I came close to pushing the call button, either deliberately or by accident due to the tremor in my right hand. I went from frantic prayers to recalling the plots of every Robin Cook novel I've ever read and every B-horror movie with a hospital setting I've ever seen. The curse of an active imagination is that worst-case scenarios abound. A feeling of pressure in my abdomen had me thinking my internal organs were about to be ripped from my body....

I'm too young to die...oh, wait a minute. Too late to use that excuse.

What's that brushing against my cheek? Can I scratch it?

Don't fall asleep.

A nap might make this go faster. Go to sleep.

God, get me out of this and I promise to always behave myself. Yes, I know You've heard that one before. But this time I really mean it. Oh, that's right--You've heard THAT before, too.

Push the button...don't push the button...don't want to have to do this twice. It would really suck to push the button and find out I was only two minutes away from being finished....

Think about something else. Anything else.

If I don't finish, I won't get the CD. No photos of my brain for our Christmas cards this year. I really want that CD.

At least this is more interesting that the dumb soap opera I'd be watching if I were at home. 

Start plotting the next novel...and hope you can remember what you come up with by the time you can write it all down.

Push the freakin' button!!!

Just as I was about to give in to panic and push the button,the machine stopped. Lisa and Kim came back into the room and rescued me. I was wobbly when I first stood up, so getting back into the wheelchair was, in my opinion, a great idea. A few more minutes to wait for my CD, and I was done. Yay!

I haven't touched alcohol in years, but I felt like I was drunk. I still do. I got some rest, got some sleep last night (though not enough), but I'm still not back to normal. It may take a few days, I don't know. I hope it only takes a few days. 

Last night, Collin opened the files on the CD and we got a look at my brain for the first time. In spite of having spent a lot of time looking at "abnormal" MRI brain scans online, I still don't have a clue what to watch for on my own. It looks pretty normal, actually. Since we still haven't figured out how to save individual images, I had to settle to photographing a few with my phone for use here.

I haven't heard from my doctor yet. I got a message in My Chart (SLU's online medical chart) this morning. Excited, thinking it was my test results, I couldn't wait to open it.

It was a flu vaccine reminder. Rats!