Life on the Fringe
Year Of Release: 1983
Starring: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Tagline: A Tribute to the Original, Traditional, One-Hundred-Percent, Red-Blooded, Two-Fisted, All-American Christmas…
Yasmine: MARC—I double dog dare you to stick your tongue to that icy pole over there!
Marc: ….. Um, Nope?
Yasmine: I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!!!
Marc: …. Pretty sure it’s still nope. Yasmine, I am able to resist a dare you know
Yasmine: Yeah, I know, which sucks since I’m not quite so capable. Anyway, we’re watching A Christmas Story today. I love this demented little Christmas movie. It’s my favorite holiday movie this time of year. I watch it every year, and every year, I crack up just as much.
While it is a demented (who can ever forget Ralphie in that horrendous pink bunny suit—“He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!” “He does not!” “He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare!”), it’s also good-hearted and a lot of fun. “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away of the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”
The cast is superb, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Darren McGavin in my heart. Also, Peter Billingsley gave the performance of a lifetime as far as child actors goes. I felt for the kid, and the movie reminded me of the angst and woes of childhood and just how important some things seem when you’re young. “No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”
All in all, the movie makes me thinks of the way holidays should be—a time for friends, family, and all the wonderful dysfunctions that make us human.
Marc: This is a bizarre little film, however having said that, I can relate to the main character, Ralphie, to a degree. I think we can all relate to wanting some untenable object at that age that just seems to be the entire center of the universe to us, the one thing that will make life complete in our eyes. Hmm… I guess that could apply to some adults too, not just kids.
This movie is also where the iconic stocking clad leg lamp came from, yes. It’s awful. Prior to seeing this movie I knew about the existence of that lamp, I knew exactly what it looked like regardless of never having seen the lamp in person or in the movie. Somehow this movie has had a lasting impact on modern culture, someone even suggested going out for Chinese food on Christmas Day to me recently. Now, if you get the chance, you should watch this film, just to see it for what it is. It’s fun, funny and as it was set in the 1940’s, it was intentionally dated to begin with. So give it a shot, you’ll probably enjoy it
Every year we buy a new ornament for our main Victorian tree, and also a new ornament for the woodland themed tree. For the woodland themed tree, I buy an new buri animal. This year I found a skunk–which fits considering the way Skunk has come into my life as a new totem this year. So now she sits on the tree.
Do you have themed trees? If so, what do you collect for them?
I’m one of the lucky ones. My OCD does flare, and it does cause me issues, but I can function with it, I know I have it, and I can control it without medication. Most of the time it doesn’t rear its head in extremely obvious ways, but now and then it flares up and I am caught by surprise. Usually, this is after a period of intense stress, where I feel that I’ve lost some semblance of control over a situation.
OCD can present in so many ways, but for me, it comes in an extreme need for order, clutter causes me anxiety (I could never swing into being a hoarder—I’d throw everything away whether I’d need it or not), and too many conflicting patterns on a visual level make it hard for me to think. During those times, I feel intense anxiety unless they are shifted around in a way that makes more sense to me. For instance—if books are one way on a shelf—all standing up, I’m fine. If they are all lying down, I’m fine. If they are mixed, it begins to bother me.
I also have trouble with change in certain situations. Traditions and rituals mean a lot to me, and while I can, at times, change things, there are some rituals that keep the ‘it’s not right’ voice in my head at bay. (There’s a little voice in my head that will whisper, “It’s not right, it’s not right, it’s not right…” and it can cause me extreme anxiety until I either take care of what doesn’t seem right or remove myself from the situation/environment). For example, in decorating our main Victorian tree. First the ornaments that we buy on a yearly basis go on. Then the unique, but not yearly, ornaments. Then the more ornate ones. Then the plainer ones. If I don’t do it in this order, something feels off and I feel anxious. I do spend hours moving and adjusting ornaments to get the right symmetry, but since I mark a couple of days to decorate, this is fine.
The silverware must be in its proper drawers—out of place and I go through and reorganize it. Everything in my home needs to have order—I get very irate when things are out of place. This is both OCD and good business sense, so it works together. When I walk through the house and it’s clean and ordered, I feel a sense of peace and calmness that helps me focus.
I don’t wash my hands over and over, or count things—not usually, though I have a tendency to work in either even numbers, or odd numbers, but I don’t mix the two (this does not apply to the checkbook, thank gods). But I check and recheck locks. Before we had a gas range, I would triple and quadruple check the stove before we went out (gas is easier, I can physically SEE the flame is not on or it is on). I often state things aloud as I do them because then it helps me remember that yes, I’ve attended to it, like “I am locking the door and turning on the alarm.” If I say it aloud as I do it, then I’m usually okay.
I tend to be a bit OCD about some personal habits—shaving my legs for one. I’ve been known to get up at 3 AM to shave my legs if they feel prickly at all. With all the makeup I have, I tend to wear one of three or four palettes I’ve created for months on end, and it may take me a good four-five weeks to get up the courage to change to something quite different. When I used to be able to eat M & M’s, I would divide the candy up by colors and eat the most plentiful color first, down to the ‘rarest’.
Overall, my OCD and bi-polar tendencies are manageable. But on a few days, I do find myself sitting here in tears, anxious, because things are a bit beyond my control and ‘not right’…and those days I thank my good friends who are there to talk me through it and help me sort out my mood.
So I’m off decorating as you read this—and will be the whole weekend. I’ll have pictures for you later, but right now I leave you with thoughts of apples. Yes—apples. When I was a kid we lived in apple country. We used to go down to the Treetop plant and we’d buy the culls, at 4 cents a pound.
Even then, we didn’t buy many of the Delicious brand—even back they, they were breeding them for looks rather than taste. But we ate a lot of Winesap and Macintosh and Romes, all of which were the mainstay for cooking back then.
Now, there are a lot more varieties available and as an apple connoisseur (I do love them and can eat a moderate amount on a low-carb diet), I have my favorites, as do most.
Our Elk spirit, Krikki, prefers Granny Smiths—so we buy him four or five every week to ten days. Nobody else touches those, and we can feel him nosing around them quite happily.
For cooking, I like to use Granny Smiths—in pumpkin soup or in stir fry. For baking—Winesap and Jonagolds are delicious. And for eating, I like Winesap, Jonagolds, Honeycrisp, and Fuji apples. Unfortunately, they sure aren’t four cents a pound now.
So, what kind of apples do you like? And what do you like them in?
Year of release: 2002
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn
Tagline: Back In Black
Yasmine: *Singing loudly, rather off key* “And now you’re back from outer space/I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face…”
Marc: *stomps in, looking confused* What the hell is that caterwauling…OH…I’ll take care of this right now.
Yasmine: *stops as Marc threateningly holds up a handful of cat fur*
OKAY, OKAY I’ll stop singing. *stares at Marc and pouts* I thought you LIKED to see me have fun! Anyway, so here we go with Men in Black 2. I love this movie just about as much as the original, to be honest. The MIB team is back in action, back in black, and ready to rumble. Again, the chemistry is great, and this time, the world was set up so they were able to move on with the story a little faster than the first time around. I’m not even going to go into the plot here, because for me, the fun with these movies are more in the characters and the extremely bizarre storylines. They aren’t meant to be serious science fiction, they aren’t meant to be treatise on the future, they’re pure entertainment, and for me, they work well.
Marc: Of course I like to see you having fun Yasmine…just some fun should come with a health warning. Is it too late to use one of those flashy things on me?
Yasmine: *stares* You realize what kind of suggestions I might be likely to make if I use a blue flashy thingy when I’m feeling insulted???
Marc: *coughs and breaks eye contact* Never mind. I like your singing. Yes, I really do. Sing away. Anyway, yes, well…Like the first, this is a great movie. Although some of the tentacle scenes, reminded me of an old windows screen saver…This film feels like it’s heavier CGI than the first one, I doubt it was but it definitely felt that way to me.
One of my favourite scenes is probably when they are viewing the Mysteries Of History : The Light of Zartha video, just because of the corny cheeseball effects. I know I’ve watched many such programs myself, admittedly with slightly higher production values. I can totally understand why they would use that as an inside joke almost.
This was of course Frank The Pug’s second appearance, but because of advancing age they had to use make up on him to hide the grey around his muzzle. He’s definitely one of my favourite secondary characters in these movies and he was sadly missed in the third one.
Okay, final words. This is a great movie, perhaps a hair more adult than the first one, but well worth watching. Time to move on to something else before I get sung at again.
Yasmine: *stares at Marc with an evil grin and starts singing again as she hangs another ornament on the tree* “…I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key/If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE….”
Year of release: 1997
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino
Tagline: Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe.
Yasmine: So we’re doing Thursday at the Movies on Friday this week, because of Thanksgiving.
Marc: What are we watching today Yasmine?
Yasmine: Lair Of The White Worm.
Marc: Noooooo…please! I thought Ed wood month would have sated you…
Yasmine: Hey Marc! Look! *holds up blue flashy thingy*
Marc: *Stands dazed for a few minutes* So what are we watching today Yasmine?
Yasmine: Men in Black, and it’s a great one.
Marc: I know, I’ve seen it plenty of times. Just one question before we get started.
Yasmine: Yes, dude?
Marc: Why are you wearing sunglasses inside the house?
Yasmine: *holds up blue flashy thingy* FLASH! *takes off shades* You will forget all thoughts of why I’m wearing shades inside the house. Also, you will forget ALL ABOUT our conversation last night about where we hid the bodies. HEY MARC!
Marc: *shaking head* Yes, Yasmine?
Yasmine: Ready to get to the review?
Marc: Huh? Oh, sure!
Yasmine: “I’m thinking, y’know, eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters, this time of night with quantum physics books? She’s about to start some shit, Zed.”
YEAH…Men in Black—where men are men, women are women, and little fuzzy green things from Alpha Centari are little fuzzy green things from Alpha Centari. Okay, so I paraphrased a quote from an entirely different story there, but it holds true for this movie.
So how many ways do I love this movie? Well, more than you can count. For one thing, every year when we decorate the Yule tree, I watch MIB and MIB2. The tradition got started many years ago when I turned on the television while decorating. We always decorate the tree itself the day after Thanksgiving. Well, Men in Black were on, so I watched it. Next year? Same thing happened. And a third year. By then, it just felt right so I bought the movies and now, every year, I watch them while decorating for the holidays.
But back to the movie. I love this movie. I love Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith and their chemistry in this movie. I know the woman who owned the dog who played Frank—he was a sweet little pug (though I never met him in person I heard all about his antics) and it gives me great pleasure to remember Pirate (his real name) whenever I watch the movie. As for the actual movie? Great effects, witty writing, hilarious concept, and good acting. How can you beat that? Insane premise but hey, look at what I write—I can get down with bizarre concepts. And the movie has so many great lines it’s hard for me to not want to spout a string of them out here.
So what can I say? Grab a glass of wine and a holiday ornament, and flip on the TV. It’s the time of year for Men In Black. And remember, “No, Elvis is not dead. He just went home.”
Marc: This is a great movie, so much fun. I think they cast Tommy Lee perfectly as the crusty old veteran that’s seen too much and is utterly weary of the world. I love the gadgets, who wouldn’t want one of those memory erasure gadgets?
This is a clever movie while retaining the fun, there are so many concepts at work here that it’s hard to nail them all. The worlds within worlds theory, the men in black, entire galaxies being so small we’d miss them because of preconceptions on size. All great stuff. However I think one of my favourite scenes is when Agent J was helping to birth the baby squid alien. That was brilliant.
For me, this was the film that brought Tommy Lee Jones’s name to recognition. He’d been an actor for a long time before this, but it was this movie that made his name to me.
There’s a nod in this movie to the late Douglass Adams’ Hitch Hikers Guide to the galaxy, I won’t spoil it, but I’ll say it involves taxi cabs
I will leave you with this, If you’ve seen this movie and you remember the joke that we only hear the punchline from in the diner, here’s a good guess at the rest of the joke. A farmer decided to go into town to see a movie along with his pet rooster. Noticing that no animals were allowed inside the cinema, he smuggled the rooster into the theater in his front overall pocket and unzipped it once the lights had dimmed and the movie had started so the rooster could see. The woman sitting next to him eventually noticed, and nudged her husband. “I think this man is a pervert. He’s got his thing out.” Her husband replies, “So? It’s nothing you haven’t seen before.” to which she says “But honey, this one’s eating my popcorn!”
So if you’ve seen it, go watch it again. If you haven’t? Well, the M.I.B might be knocking on your door any time now.
So I just got my hair done—mostly color and a trim, (it’s a bit below shoulder length in back—I’m growing it out a bit), and so I decided to play with new makeup for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m using some of my usual products, but changed out my eye-shadow and deepened my lip color.
The palette I used consists of:
Skin: Foundation primer (Nars), Foundation (MAC Studio Fix Fluid NC-15), Nars Light2 Mont Blanc Powder, and Nars Super Orgasm Illuminator for blush.
Eyes: Base shadow: Urban Decay—Laced, Lid Shadow: Nars—Lulu. Crease Contour: Urban Decay—Crash Liner. Eye Liner: Urban Decay—24/7 liquid. Mascara: Urban Decay—Big Fatty. Eyebrows: Urban Decay—Crash Liner and MAC—Clear Brow Finisher.
Lips: Make Up Forever Aqua Rouge #13 (Purple)
Yes, I do full-face makeup almost every day. I choose to make that time for myself because it makes me feel better, it’s relaxing for me, and I enjoy it. And I’m a makeup slut, let’s face it. ~grins~ I love makeup and I love the feeling of changing my look with it.
So do you have any plans for new makeup or clothes for the holidays? Do you prefer to go casual or do you like dressing up? I imagine you can guess which I prefer.
This has been an odd year—a lot of ups and downs. I have a great deal to be thankful for, while still wanting to expand other aspects of my life.
It’s been one of those years where I’m extraordinarily grateful for good friends. I have a number of wonderful people in my life and I’m thankful for my relationships with all of them. And yet—this year, I’ve had to let a few people go out of my life. Gently, not with any rancor, but I’ve realized that I simply have outgrown some relationships. And yet others? Have grown and blossomed. I am grateful for all of my friends—both those still in my life, and those who had a place in my life at one time.
My lovely home has gone through some changes—some voluntary and yet, others were forced. We had to install a new septic system and it’s been a bit of a nightmare coping with the process, but it’s finally done in time for Thanksgiving and for that I am grateful. It has been terribly expensive and stressful, but on the flip side, I’m just grateful we had the savings to pay for it.
My health has been good, with a few issues, but it still holds well and other than one minor bout of stomach flu, I’ve once again avoided any major sicknesses. Sam is doing fine, and the cats are well. Meerclar turned twenty years old this year and though she’s our old blind girl, she’s happy and healthy. Family is important, and we hold our fuzzy kits close and dear.
My career is going strong—yes, I want to grow it to the next level, which means a lot of work and planning, but I’m grateful that I am able to make a living off what I love to do. It’s not luck—I always bristle when people ascribe success to luck—but I’m grateful I have the perseverance and ability to keep myself focused and to write books that people love to read.
So I’m grateful for many things in my life. As always, life has had its ups and downs, but you know? In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty good run so far.
What are your thoughts this Thanksgiving week?
So earlier this autumn, I had to miss a convention because our septic system looked like it was failing. After about a week, it looked like we might have a simple fix on our hands. Yah, that lasted about three weeks and then…it acted up again. And again. And ended up with us finding out that yes, our drain field needed replacing. Which led to a flurry of contractors and estimates and paying to have the tank pumped every couple weeks which was a nasty cost. And then they had to come out and inspect the yard and bring out the designers, and then file the designs for the new field with the county…then…wait wait wait till the plans were approved. Which leads us to this week.
The plans were approved on Monday (after yet another random night spent in the hotel because yes, once again, the tank had filled up), and they came to pump the tank, and then Wednesday and Thursday—the contractors came, tore up our entire front lawn (sigh) and now, after massive cost and headaches, we have a new septic system. The work was finished off Friday by noon, and now we just have to wait for the county to approve it. We have a working septic system again, which we’re told will outlive us, and once the county approves the work (no doubt the week after Thanksgiving), the contractor will level out the yard again and fill the massive trenches. Until then we have a backhoe hanging out in our yard—see picture. I’ve threatened to decorate it with lights if they leave it here long. ~grins~
The upshot of all this chaos—because in among this period I had a deadline for the last Indigo Court book, and I ended up with stomach flu and…well..it’s just been a rough autumn. So this year I’m breaking tradition…a little bit. I usually decorate starting the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I need a bit of sparkle early and so yes—I AM decorating early. Some. The big tree and family room tree will go up as usual, the day after Thanksgiving, but I’m decorating my office early and putting up some of the lights and garlands early. Enough to make me feel like there’s something a little bright and sparkly around me. So here’s a couple pictures of Kitteh M. (like Agent K), examining the office tree.