Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Who's your audience?

After waiting my turn at my local redbox vending machine, I finally got a hold of Marley and Me. The kids had been wanting to see this one, so we settled in with our snacks and drinks for a nice family movie night. They're my favorite pastime, btw.

On a side note: I had asked one of my mommy friends what she thought of the movie, if it seemed okay for my kids' age (6 and 9). "It was good," she said. Then she lowered her voice. "But they do say 'crap' in it." I resisted the urge to laugh at this comment (we use bigger words than crap in my house--accidentally, I assure you), and made a note to rent the movie soon.

So we watched Marley and Me, expecting a nice family movie with a dog in it. And it was a really good movie. With a dog. Oh, and a few kids, as very minor characters. Because the main character, the one whose story we were watching, was a grown man (played by funny Owen Wilson), trying to figure out who he was.

THIS WAS NOT A CHILDREN'S MOVIE. And I'm not referring to the language, or the many sexual insinuations (and a miscarriage--really, 'crap' was the most inappropriate part of this movie to you?) in the story. I'm referring to the fact that this was a story only people over 30 could appreciate.

Now I'll admit, I never read the book (shame on me). But this movie was marketed as a kid's movie. And we all know why. It makes money that way. Very, very dishonest use of marketing.

Still, if you're over 30, enjoy this movie (with a big box of tissues, 'cause it's a whopper of a tearjerker). The dog is adorable.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Perfect Snack

I love to snack, especially when reading or writing. Usually they're M&Ms, or some other snack of the chocolate variety--but a few weeks ago, I accidentally made these really, really good oatmeal cookies. People loved me, or hated me ("Are you trying to make me fat?") for sharing them. But I thought I should give out the recipe, 'cause these cookies really rock.

Rockin' Oatmeal Cookies (this recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix 2 sticks of soft butter with 1 cup of regular sugar, and 1 cup of brown sugar
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 eggs (use a mixer, if you have one, or a fork)
  4. Slowly mix in 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 2 1/2 cups of self-rising flour (if you don't live at high altitude, make that 2 cups)
  5. Taste the dough. It's really good.
  6. Finally, add 3 cups of old-school oatmeal, and 2 cups of raisins. You can add nuts too, if you're into that--me, not so much.
  7. Bake for 16 minutes on a waxpaper-lined cookie sheet. While you wait, you can practice how you'll respond to all the praise you'll get ("It was nothing, really." Or: "I just whipped these up." Or, "Really, I should be a chef?")
  8. Eat cookies. Share if you must.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gentlemen

When I was still in my teens, I had a few boyfriends before I found my guy-for-life. And I still remember what my grandma used to say, after asking me about the latest. "As long as he's nice to you."

Truer words were never spoken. I was lucky enough to find my gentleman, and have been married to him for fifteen years.

But I still remember how blurry that dating time was. How difficult it was to define that "nice," and how blurry the line to "not nice."

On Alice's CWIM blog, guest-blogger Sarah Raasch has some incredibly smart things to say about Twilight, and what a bad example beloved Edward is: emotionally abusive, controlling, with stalker-qualities. Ugh. I know what my grandma would say about that guy.

Which brings me to this question: what responsibility does the writer have in the message of their books? Especially in YA...

Is it okay for girls to aspire to this Edward-type boyfriend?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bonechiller

Second books are always interesting. Sometimes, an author had lots (and lots and loooots) of time to work on their debut. The author polished. Revised. Had their critique group look at it once, twice--you get the idea. First books are honed. Second books... not so much.

So I loved Graham McNamee's Acceleration, which won an Edgar (read it if you haven't; it's good.) And I checked to see if he had other books out, which he didn't at the time, because that was his debut.

Anyway, I was very excited to get my hands on Bonechiller, his second book. But then I read a few pages, and it just didn't grab me like his debut. Dammit, I thought. There's another one of those sorry seconds.

But I kept reading. This was Graham McNamee, after all. Give it a chance. Plus the novel is set in a chilly, remote part of Canada, which reminded me of North Dakota (where I lived for two years.) So I read. And then I was hooked. Slowly...

Much like the monster that chases Danny one freezing night. First, he wonders if he made the whole thing up, but then he finds that more teens in the Harvest Cove area have been disappearing on cold winter nights. And when his friend Howie gets taken too, Danny, Howie, Pike, and Ash (who Danny has a thing for) decide to chase the monster instead of being chased.

Bonechiller is a bit of a slow start. But then you start to feel for Danny, whose mother died of cancer, and his friends, who completely come to life. The book has some folklore in it, a great setting, and lots of undercurrents--if you give it a chance.

And you should. This one's worth it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Home

I'm back from vacation, and I can't say I'm loving it. Lots of work, broken vacuum cleaner, clogged kitchen sink (tip: no noodles down the garbage disposal...), broken phone and a blizzard on the drive home.

Sigh. At least I got to smell some daffodils, eat good Dutch cheese, and enjoy my dad's cheffing talent. I miss Holland. But I also missed my home here in the States. My cats, dog and Tivo.

It ain't easy being a dual citizen.