Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Friday, November 28, 2008

Once a LOTR Fan, Always a LOTR Fan

I first saw The Fellowship of the Ring in the theatre in January 2002, about a month after it came out. I hadn't read the books at that point, but I knew I'd probably like it since I was a big Harry Potter fan and this seemed similar in some respects. I had no idea, however, just how much I'd love not only the first movie, but the following two. Well cast, well acted, fairly true to the books (which I did read, btw), with some of the best fight scenes ever filmed and wonderfully quotable lines ("Don't talk to it; don't encourage it" has been our mantra about the elder daughter since seeing The Two Towers). Anyway, TNT is showing the trilogy this weekend, beginning tonight with Fellowship of the Ring (Jeff's favorite), followed by The Two Towers tomorrow night (Hannah's favorite), and concluding with Return of the King (mine and Katherin's favorite) on Sunday. And yes, I'll be watching all three again. And I'm sure once again I'll be amazed at Peter Jackson's vision and ability to bring to life a world I wish I could inhabit.

Monday, November 24, 2008

28 Reasons the Movie Twilight Is Better Than the Book

While we all know this isn't strictly true, it is funny. And any time I can gaze at pictures of Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, that's fine by me. (Yes, I'm a dirty old woman--so sue me).

28 Reasons That ‘Twilight’ the Movie Is Better Than ‘Twilight’ the BookThese are very funny and total spoilers. So if you have seen the movie, check it out. If not, avoid.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saw Twilight Last Night...

...and I loved it! I have to admit to being a little worried that it wouldn't live up to the book, and that fear was only heightened when two of Hannah's friends came out of the theatre as we were waiting to go in and said it was pretty cheesy. But once the film started to roll, I got caught up almost immediately.

The film is very well cast. Robert Pattinson is perfectly cast as Edward. He's got the intense stare that sends chills up your spine, and the scenes where he saves Bella keep you on the edge of your seat. In fact, all the characters are perfect---if only Bella didn't blink 5000 times a minute, I'd probably have no gripes whatsoever. The girls and I agreed that Emmett is our next favorite, with Jasper being almost hilarious with his new "vegetarianism". I found the scene where the Cullens are trying to cook in their kitchen for the first time just for Bella so touching as well as funny, and that can be laid at the feet of the terrific cast. Charlie, Bella's dad, is wonderful and believable. And, hot, hot. Evil, but hot. Not a bad combination, actually.

The scenery is gorgeous and the action is great. Our favorite scenes (the subject of much debate on the ride home) included the ones where Edward first saves Bella from the van, Edward saves Bella from the gang, and Edward and Bella arrive at school together for the first time. Oh, and the first kiss between Bella and Edward? Worth the price of admission alone.

There is some cheesy dialogue, though honestly it's mostly the dialogue that is lifted straight from the book. I personally dislike Carlisle's hair--it looks like a helmet--even if I loved Carlisle. The scene where Edward is sucking the venom from Bella's arm gives him a very weird facial expression--that certainly could've been done better. And the girls didn't like the initial reaction of Edward having to sit next to Bella in the lab--they felt that was done for too much comic effect. I liked it, though. And while Edward does indeed glitter, somehow it wasn't quite as I'd pictured it, though it's not bad.

The music adds quite a bit to the overall effect of the film, and the action and special effects are well done. We're set up for a sequel at the end, but of course we knew that going in.

My unbiased opinion, then? Go see it. In a theatre full of teenaged girls and their moms (and one truly heroic dad, who stood in line ahead of us for over an hour, holding places for his wife and daughter), you could've heard a pin drop 95% of the time. While of course Twilight had a built-in audience going in, I can easily say that it lives up to its potential and I was more than pleasantly surprised. I'm going to go again. That's a pretty big recommendation, in my book.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Celebrating Life

Koudelka, Robert Eugene “Bob”, age 43, of Mt. Juliet, TN, died November 11, 2008. Bob was a 1983 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School and an employee of Bridgestone for 20 years. He was an airplane pilot and was working on obtaining his helicopter pilot license.

He is survived by:
Parents - Charles and Carolyn Koudelka of Mt. Juliet, TN
Brother - James E. “Jim” (Diane) Koudelka of Mt. Juliet, TN
Nephew and niece - J.C. Koudelka and Nicole (Andrew) Cropsey
Uncle - Wes (DeVota) Koudelka of Cedar Rapids, IA
Aunts - Charlotte Loyd of Hermitage, TN and
Martha Koudelka of Mt. Juliet, TN
Cousins - Fred (Cathy) Koudelka,
Tammy (Jeff) McCann, Carol Wilson,
Kay (Tom) Oloff and Scarlett Kellar
His dogs - Xenia, Herra, Gus and Princess and
His friends from Nobel Air Aviation

Memorial services will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday, November 23, 2008 at the Cracker Barrel Corporate Hanger located at the Lebanon Municipal Airport, 760 Franklin Road, Lebanon, TN.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to New Leash on Life, P.O. Box 247, Lebanon, TN 37088-0247.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Manyof you know that my cousin Bob has been missing and presumed dead in a helicopter crash for over a week now. Today we received confirmation of his death when his body was found in the lake about two miles from where the copter was last seen. No sign yet of the helicopter itself, but our relief at the discovery of the body is tremendous.

My father in law called this evening and I told him about finding Bob. His immediate reaction was one of sadness and sympathy. I may have shocked him a bit because my reaction is one of pure relief and yes, even some happiness. Unless you've had a close relative missing for an extended period, I don't think you can understand. It's the not knowing that drives you bonkers. You may realize in your heart that he's gone but unless you have a body, you just don't know. There's something about the material presence of the empty shell that gives a certain comfort--and dare I say it?--closure. It doesn't really matter how it happened at this point, but now we can go forward and grieve. Before we were hanging, unsure, always on edge.

A friend questioned me on the word "closure". She doesn't think it's an apt description and maybe it's not. But for lack of a better term, it does fit. When you don't know where your loved one is, your imagination continually plays scenarios. You imagine awful things (yes, there are things worse than death). When you know, really truly know, where your loved one is, there is some sense of closure. The life itself may be over, but you have a place you can go to grieve, and a sense that it really is only a body, and your loved one is now hopefully far beyond such trivialities we all face on a daily basis. It's hell, not knowing. Really, truly hell.

My cousin was almost exactly a year younger than me; his older brother is almost exactly one year older. The three of us often celebrated our birthdays together growing up (the November babies!) and while we had our disagreements (most notably his strong dislike of Obama), we stayed in touch via email and IM. From the annoying cousin I remembered as a teen, Bob and I developed a relatively close relationship in the past few years as we chatted frequently online. Sometimes he sent me truly idiotic emails and sometimes he'd surprise me with the depth of his feelings. I looked forward to his personal emails on every holiday wishing us all well, telling us to be safe, reminding us that he loved us. And whenever he IM'd me, I was "hey, cuzzo". I'm so sad I won't see that salutation on my screen from my favorite redneck cousin, sillyhillbillybob. Should I delete that email address? Or do I need to keep it so I can smile at the thought of my cuzzo who loved his very different cousin?

I'm sad but I'm relieved, and I hope his parents can receive some closure to these desperate hours. I hope his older brother, who walked the shores of the lake daily while Bob was missing, can fondly remember his goofy younger brother's laugh instead of the fear of the unknown he felt. I hope my brother who felt like Bob was a brother he didn't have can repeat the dumb jokes Bob told and remember with a smile how anal Bob was. I hope those who had issues with Bob can put those aside and realize that that redneck harbored a heart of gold which loved all of his family. I hope he's surrounded now by all his dear animal friends. And I hope I will get to see him again someday.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Blackstone Key

The Blackstone Key by Rose Melikan is my latest review book, and I wish I had a glowing review for it. It's not that it's a bad book by any means; there are parts of it that move quickly and kept me interested. But overall the book was just so unfocused! At times it read like an Austen novel, complete with romantic innuendo and intrigue, and then it would switch over to mystery mode, which I found at times confusing and at times just plain boring. A more focused approach might have given the story a fluid storyline; instead I was bounced between romance and mystery without either being woven well into the other. Among my other gripes is that just when the "Austen-ish" feel would take over, the gentlemen would begin cursing in front of the lady, something so out of the time customs that it would just jerk me out of the story. Plus I kept feeling as though it was set in the wrong time period; the Austen-ish (I hate to keep using that word, but that's how it seemed) feel made it seem as though it should have been fifteen-twenty years later than 1795, but the necessity of the war between France and Britain kept it from that setting. Does that make sense? Probably about as much sense to you as reading it did to me....

It's not a bad book. I need to keep reiterating that. It's just that it's not what I was expecting, and beyond that, it didn't live up to its potential. I can accept historial mystery, and I can accept historical romance, but when they should be woven seamlessly and they aren't, it just drags the book down.

I have a much fuller review available on amazon at


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ah, the Black Dagger Brotherhood....

Gotta love the old brain candy! J.R. Ward's Lover Awakened is book number 3 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and it focuses on the tortured vampire Zsadist, and his turburlent past which, naturally, affects his future. Lots of violence, lots of sex, lots of making peace with yourself...Z must find that is all right for him to love others and to rely on them. Standard stuff, and yet Ward manages to give us surprises along the way.
I won't rehash my entire amazon review here, but I will say that sometimes, brain candy is the best thing you can have, especially when your life in general sucks. Visit to see a fuller review...and prepare to be bitten by the vamps' powerful stories.