Sunday, March 27, 2011


Who is your favorite movie villain? Is it a supernatural being? A crazy person with an insatiable appetite for destruction?

I think my favorite villains have always had a touch of class. Today is a homage to an actor who has played many different roles that I have enjoyed him in but of his villains, my ultimate favorite is Hans Gruber played by Alan Rickman in Die Hard.  A classic action/adventure movie circa 1988. What I like about Hans was that he was a suave, perfectly pressed, deadly, yet gentlemanly criminal mastermind.

Yes, Bruce Willis made a great action hero, but what is a great hero without an equally great villain? I was only 7 when the movie came out but when I was a bit older and was able to watch it, how could I not be riveted by the clean shaven, deep-voiced, articulate villain who politely asked for the code to the vault before informally dispatching of the useless Mr. Takagi without a second thought??! "I wanted this to be professional. Efficient, adult, cooperative, not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life."His calculated and calm demeanor remain throughout and he uses the authorities as pawns on the chessboard of his master plan. This makes him 48th on the American Film Institutes Greatest Villains of All Time list.

Since that first viewing, Alan Rickman has been one of my favorite actors. His lilting accent and his eloquent ability to present a character with even the most limited dialogue makes for enthralling performances that are always an adventure within themselves. I only wish he were in more movies! So here's to you Alan Rickman and to your Hans Gruber! Though Hans is but a blip in a varied and impressive career he would become the guide for wannabe villains in movies that followed, yet none would live up to his compelling personality.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Drake's Mom

I have been Drake's mom for exactly 2 years and three months and nearly everyday is an adventure. For all parents we must learn to expect the unexpected. One day everything can be fine and dandy, the next day your in the emergency room because they won't stop throwing up. It's only later that night, when they finally throw up the remains of tennis ball and look at you with that tail wagging that you realize your mistake. For those of you who don't know, Drake is our chocolate labrador.

When my husband first brought up the idea of getting a dog I was a little... strike that... very hesitant. Before this time, I had only limited experience as a dog owner. As a child we had a couple of puppies but circumstances limited there time as members of the family so I never had the bonding experience. Marc, on the other hand, had grown up with both dogs and cats so it was a normal part of his life. Seeing my apprehension Marc pointed out that because I got to go to school, he should be able to get a dog. Although his logic was somewhat flawed considering I was working and going to school, (I didn't see how was that a privilege)... but I relented. So on October 13, 2008 our litter was born... that is, the litter that contained Drake. From the moment we picked him up, I was hooked. Those little floppy ears and soft fuzzy fur. I should have known then...

When we got him home that night he pooped on the carpet. Since that time he's kept us on our toes. I tried to keep a diary of Drake events but as you will see from the first few months there were too many instances to count! His first year went something like this:

March 2009: Drake eats Marc's wedding ring, a latex glove, a tennis ball (previously mentioned), a portion of my wooden dish drying rack. All of which were later recovered successfully on the other side...
April 2009: Drake eats a $400 check left on the table by Marc. (not successfully recovered)
May/June 2009: One of my socks goes missing... sock later recovered by hunting trainer.
July-ish... Drake eats poisonous mushroom, is rushed to emergency and given charcoal and fluids. Makes recovery while overnight at the vet and decides to eat his I.V., needle and all.
Sometime that fall... Drake chews the siding on of the house... yum.
Some other time within the that first year... Drake crushes an unopened dog food can with his jaw to squeeze as much of the food out as possible through the holes made with his teeth.

Several scrapes to the ear, side and paw, along with bouts with almost every known protozoal gastrointestinal bacteria later... brings us swiftly to present day.

As with most first time parents Drake has taught me many things, chief among them, leave nothing within reach! Also, never underestimate what a dog might try to eat because you will surely pay. Finally, those little puppy dog eyes will get you every time!

Life with Drake is certainly an adventure and I wouldn't trade a minute of it... well, maybe a couple minutes here and there in order to prevent doggy sickness and hefty veterinary bills, but other than that I'd do it all again  in a heartbeat!

Monday, March 7, 2011

To the movies!

I love going to the movies, I always have. There's just something about letting a story unfold in front of you in an hour and a half or more to get outside of your own storyline into another world. There are the movies we get caught up rooting for one character or another. Of course, some movies are easier to loose yourself in then others. This movie was one of those that totally envelopes you and you can't wait to see what will happen next, The Adjustment Bureau. This movie is based on a short story written by science fiction author Philip K. Dick ( Unfortunately, there was something that kept us tethered to the realization that we were in a theater and not within the intriguing world of the "case officers"  akin to bureaucratic guardian angels. I say something, but I actually mean someone. 

We arrived at the theater fairly early and got our favorite seats in the front row of the stadium seating, near the center and where we can put our feet up on the railing. Waiting for the movie to start a woman sat on the end of the same row we were in. She sat with her legs on the rail and had a clipboard on her lap. Not unusual, maybe she's reviewing the movie. The usual background music was playing and that's when it started. She was clicking her pen along with the beat. I shall henceforth call her Ms. Clicky Pen. Well, have you ever been the person who doesn't even realize that you're clicking a pen until someone asks you to stop. Well I think she knew how annoying she was being because she clicked with the effort of someone pushing the button on the trigger end of an explosive. Luckily, Ms. Clicky Pen's poundings were limited to the music and I didn't hear it when the movie started. Although I may have been distracted by another movie going patron I shall refer to as Mr. Stinky Cheese Man.

Yes folks, right as the previews were ending, in walks a lone... gentleman. As the theater was pretty full he sat directly in front of our row in the very back row of the non stadium seats. Right when he removed his jacket I smelled it. I thought, no... it can't be. Marc didn't notice so I thought it just must have been a breeze from the air conditioner bringing in some odd smell from the concession stand. A few minutes into the movie Marc starts sniffing under his arms, he turns to me and says "what is that smell?!" I nodded in Mr. Stinky Cheese Man's direction and he couldn't believe that someone could smell that bad! Well, we had to endure the movie either with our jackets covering our noses or as Marc said "inhaling my hat". We still enjoyed the movie but the air movement was not favoring our position. So I end this tale with a plea, respect your fellow movie goers and just as you are asked not to text or chat during the movie, don't be a Ms. Clicky Pen or most importantly, don't be a Mr. Stinky Cheese Man!