The Gray Age

I got my hair cut yesterday.  No big deal, I know.  But this was the first time in many years that I didn’t get it colored as well.

Several years ago I decided  would “go gray” when I turned 50.  An over-50 coworker told me that wouldn’t happen.  It didn’t.  I then decided I’d go gray when I retired.  Now that I am retired, perhaps it’s time to embrace my age.

In my lifetime I’ve had may hair colors, going from baby blond to toddler red, eventually growing into a mousy brown.  I started coloring my hair 30 years ago, at the urging of my best friend.  First it was just highlights but grew into something more, especially as the gray hair became more abundant.  Over the years, I’ve been many shades on the Goldwell color chart.  My hair stylist says I have a complexion that looks good in anything.  And now she says I’ll look good with silver hair.

I don’t know.  She cut the hair in a cute style, but now it’s much lighter.  (Not all the color has grown out or faded, so  it’s not a drastic change.  Yet.)  I left the salon not feeling ecstatic.  I like looking about 10 years younger than I really am.  The gray will likely age me, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

I know I shouldn’t complain about aging.  After all, consider the alternative.

Yes, it’s another blog

After three posts about DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk and wanting to write more, I decided to dust off the ol’ SciFi Chicks blog.  I figure it’s a more fitting place to discuss television shows of a scifi/fantasy/horror nature than here, where the subject gets mixed in with all sorts of other crap stuff.

What better way to stretch my writing muscles than to actually write something?  And since I have a few posts about sci fi shows running through my head (while a big long post sits in my draft box here), I’ll be heading over there shortly.  Hope to see you there!

A big ol’ “Awwww”

Remember my concern that the Cartoon Network series DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk highlight the dragon Toothless and not just Hiccup, Astrid and the other teens?  I was pleased to report that the first two episodes did a fine job of showing the adorableness of Toothless and stressing how important he is to Hiccup.

Well, the “premiere” (which was actually the third episode, but the first to air in its regularly scheduled time slot—Tuesdays at 7:30 pm ET) far exceeded any hopes I had for the series.  We had a couple scenes reminiscent of the movie, including an adorable Toothless moment; followed by a wonderfully touching sequence showing Toothless rallying the other dragons to save not only the humans, but also the other critters.  Yes, I teared up, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

Now, I don’t expect all episodes to be so Toothless-centric; but for the time-being, I’m content.

Color me surprised!

I noticed my DVR was recording last night.  Unsure of what I was recording, I checked it out, and to my delight,  Riders of Berk had a one-hour premiere.    And here I’d been wondering what to watch on a Sunday evening.

The show was basically two separate episodes, so I’m not sure if these will be repeated later this week, or if they were something extra.  The first episode dealt with the unruliness of  the dragons, eating all the crops and setting buildings on fire accidentally.  The second explored blacksmith Gobber’s attempts to cope in a world where metal weapons were no longer needed to slay dragons.

Both episodes were cute and I found myself laughing out loud several times.  Perhaps my favorite moment was Hiccup telling Toothless that, among other things, Gobber taught Hiccup what he needed to know to make Toothless’s tail.  I was quite pleased how they highlighted the Hiccup/Toothless relationship.  In fact, all the other teens have grown quite fond of their dragons.

I was curious about the voice talent.  I was confident Gerard Butler wasn’t available (or too costly) for Stoic.  But Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and Tuffnut were voiced by their movie counterparts (Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and TJ Miller respectively).  Notably absent were those who’ve hit the Big Time, Jonah Hill (Snotlout) and Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut).  I was surprised Craig Ferguson wasn’t voicing Gobber, but he does have a full-time gig with his talk show.

But they did get some great “new” talent:   Tim Conway plays a dim-witted, silly Viking, and Stephen Root voices Mildew, the village grump.  And I see from IMDB that Mark Hamill is set to play Alvin.  I hope Alvin remains the “poor-but-honest farmer” introduced in Cressida Cowell’s second book “How to Be a Pirate.”  Oh, this should be fun!

(Disclaimer:  Way too many actors mentioned in this post to tag them all.  Sorry if I skipped one of your favorites!)

Ready, Set, Record!

This coming Tuesday, Sep 4, Cartoon Network premieres DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk at 7:30 p.m. Eastern (6:30 Central).  The series is a spinoff of my favorite movie of all time, How to Train Your Dragon.  I’m so excited!

You may or may not know of my affintiy for dragons, and (Night Fury) Toothless is my most favorite cinematic critter ever.  I just hope the series is more like the actual movie than the short  “Legend of the BoneKnapper” (included in some DVD sets).  I attribute BoneKnapper’s mediocrity to minimal Toothless screentime, so as long as I get my fill of Toothless with the series, I’ll be happy.

If you’ve never seen How to Train Your Dragon, rent it it immediately!  Or better yet, buy the DVD.   You will not be disappointed.   It is the most delightful and poignant movie.  Everything about it is downright perfect.  Yes, it’s quite different from the books (which are also terrific), but it’s a wonderful story in its own right and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it (if not love it as much as I do).

The Write Stuff

The Writer’s Center‘s fall schedule of courses (and newsletter) arrived last week.  Every season I go through the schedule and indentify several courses I’d like to take.  This season is no different, except that I might actually take a course this time.  Now that I have some time, a-once-a-week trip to Bethesda, MD (approximately 60 miles round trip), is doable.

I took a Writer’s Center course a few years ago called “Writing from Life”  and  enjoyed it tremendously.  During the course we wrote several essays about various topics from our life, including favorite people, events, food, and more.  (I had planned to post the essays here, but never got past the first one, which was a bit too fan-girlie” and embarrassing.  Perhaps if I can get on a writing schedule, I’ll get the others posted.)

My  goal is to write a memoir about my parents.  (In fact, the reason I started blogging was to tell my nephews and niece about their paternal grandparents, whom they never got to know very well.  But along the way, it turned into a hodge-podge of posts.)  I grew up with stories of the Great Depression and World War II.  At the time, I thought their experiences were the norm, but it turns out my parents’ stories, are as unique and interesting as they were.

Who moved my cheese, er, puzzles?

Thanks for nothing, Washington Post.

I’ve been doing the  Washington Post’s online daily crossword puzzle for a couple years now.  Eventually I also begain doing the Mini Sudoku (a 6×6 grid).  Once I conquered the mini, I graduated to the big boy Daily Sudoku.  At first I tried with the hints on and went row by row, columnn by column, grid by grid.  But as I became more familiar with how Sudoku works, I began looking at the grids in whole, and found it better to start with a clean canvas (i.e., hints off).  I even got to the point of finishing the Friday and Sunday puzzles (the 5-star difficulty ones).

Last week, the Post changed its puzzles page to WP Games.  Now it comes with a myriad of games, including most of those found on HSN’s Arcade.  Worse, the Post’s Sudoku has taken on a new format, of which I can’t even complete the easiest version (without cheating).  It’s depressing.  And Mini Sudoku?  Gone, along with many of my past favorites, including Kakuro and Play 4.  (Crickler is still there, but I haven’t been brave enough to try it out.)

Oh yeah, and now I have to sit through a 15- or 30-sec commercial before each puzzle.

I can’t really blame the Post.  Newpapers have been losing revenue from print media for awhile now, and this is simply a way for them to recoup some costs while attracting a younger buying crowd with fancier, glitzier puzzles.

I suppose I should be grateful.  Perhaps now I’ll waste less time in the morning and become more productive.  Then again, maybe I’ll just go to Yahoo, where I can find the old Daily Sudoku version.  It’s just not as user-friendly, there’s no mini Sudoku, and I still have to sit through commercials.

Bats in the Belfry

Tuesday night, I was sitting in the living room playing on my newish laptop (which I love, by the way!) when the cats started acting lively.  I looked up to see a bird flying through the room.  Upon (not so much) closer inspection, it wasn’t a bird, but a bat!  Now, I’m not a squeamish person per se, but there is a certain ick factor to bats, even though I know they’re somewhat maligned.  I have no idea how it got in.  I hadn’t had the doors or windows open and don’t have a chimney.  Perhaps it came through the  dryer vent?

I decided the best way to get it out of the house was to prop the door open and let it fly out.  But in the process of propping the door, I stepped over the threshold and the door slammed shut.  And yes, the spring lock was in the locked position.

One of my worst fears is getting locked out at night with no phone, money, or car keys.  I looked at my watch and it’s 10:30.  Around here, that’s bedtime for most folks.  I knocked on a couple neighbors’ doors, one of whom is retired and I thought might still be up.  But she didn’t answer her door.  However, I heard movement next door, so I knocked. The fabulous George was still up and was kind enough to invite me in and call a locksmith.  He stayed up, since the locksmith was going to call back, offered me some water, and we sat and chatted for awhile.  I know this was a huge inconvenience for him as he’s an early riser and I could tell he was getting more and more tired by the minute.  But he stayed up even after the locksmith left to make sure I got back in.  See why he’s so fabulous?

When I got back in, the cats were all calmed down and no bat in sight.  I figured hoped it might have gone out the way it came in (which was and still is a mystery).  That night, I had not one but two dreams about bats.  In one I’d captured it in a net but when I released it “in the wild,” it had a broken wing  (prompte,dI think, my affection for  the also all black Toothless the Night Fury from the How to Train Your Dragon movie).

No bat signs when I got up in the morning, a good omen.  But toward the evening there it was, flying around the living/dining room again. (No idea where it camped out.)   This time I made sure the door was unlocked when I propped it open.  Eventually it found it’s way outside, without broken wings.

It’s such a nice feeling being bat free.  I will baking browies for George tomorrow.  🙂

“Private” thoughts

Uh-oh.  I’ve begun watching Private Practice.  This may not seem like a big deal, but as a fan of Supernatural, it is.  I refused to watch Grey’s Anatomy on principle because it used to air at the same time as Supernatural.  (In fact, Supernatural itself made fun of Grey’s Anatomy, calling it  “Dr. Sexy, M.D.” on more than one occasion.)  And since Private Practice is a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, it was verboten by association.

Then Benjamin Bratt joined the cast.  I was so out of touch with these medical shows, I didn’t even realize it until the season was half over.

Is the show good?  Not particularly.  Is it realistic?  Hell, no!  But I was so glad to see Bratt back on tv, playing a likeable character (unlike William Banks of The Cleaner) I didn’t really care.   And making him romantically available (unlike Rey Curtis from Law & Order) doesn’t hurt.

I mention all this because the show has left me with a profound yearning to move to L.A.  What’s surprising is that it’s not that far fetched—I could do it!  I have a friend from college who lives in Long Beach.  And I’d actually be able to afford a modest place to live.  Granted, it wouldn’t be Addison’s beach-side place since since I don’t have $100 mil or so lying around.

But would I really want to live in the land of the perputally young and beautiful people?  I’m not a high-maintenance type of person, so I’d probably feel out of place.  Perhaps this intense desire for a body of water is my heart’s way of telling me to move to Clear Lake (Iowa).  I always considered it Iowa’s answer to L.A.,  perhaps it’d be a nice compromise, with the added bonus of Hawkeye football and changing seasons.  😉