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My Favorite Movies of 2011

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Sorry, no Fiction Friday this week. With everything that happened this week my head hasn't been in the right place for any kind of real attempt at writing fiction. Besides, I wanted to get this list in before we all hang up our new calendars tomorrow night. It's a list of all the movies that came out this year that I gave four, four and a half, or five stars to; special thanks to Flixster (even though I hate their new design) for making this an easy list to compile. I had initially planned to write a little bit about all of them, but once I realized there were thirteen movies that I gave four or more stars to, I decided to just list the four star ones and write a little about the four and a half star ones as, interestingly enough, there were no five star ones. Also, just as a preface, this isn't exactly a complete list as I haven't seen every movie that came out this year, although it certainly felt like it sometimes. Now, without any further ado, the list!

4 Stars
The H…

Saying Goodbye

My grandfather passed away a little bit before six a.m. yesterday morning. Many people have heard me complain about my grandfather over the years... he was cranky, demanding, unforgiving, mean to my grandmother, selfish, etc... and for the most part, that was all true. He was all of those things, even more so over the last year, but it wasn't entirely his fault; for a man as proud and independent as he always was, it couldn't be easy to have his body fail on him the way he did to leave him completely dependent on other people for every living thing. So yes, I did complain often about his negative traits. But here are some of the things I didn't say often enough:

When things fell apart between my parents when I was a baby, he agreed to take me in with my grandmother and raise me during the week.

He used to buy toys for me and hide them for a day when I was really good or deserved a reward, and when I inevitably found the presents early he let me have them just because.

He u…

Fiction Friday - The Problem With Demons, Part 2

I'm back with another Fiction Friday post. This is the second installment of a story I started last week (found here) that was seemingly well-received, and more was requested, so here it is. We'll see if part two goes over as well and if there will be a part three or not next week!

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. Everyone knows demons are all about screwing people over and getting their souls in return, right? You’ve heard the story a million times: guy wants a promotion, or is maybe desperate to bang that one celebrity chick he’d give his left nut for, a demon shows up, waves a contract at him, and… wham! Poor schmuck gets his heart’s desire, and in a few years time he croaks and his soul spends eternity in hell. Or maybe he signs up with a particularly devilish demon and he gets hit by a car five minutes after the promotion, or the nut he busts with that celebrity triggers a fatal heart attack. Either way, it’s all about the deal and the soul.
    To me, …

My Movies Fave Five

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I started off the month talking about my five all-time favorite television shows in a post that can be found here, so I thought I'd follow that up with a list of my favorite movies. Before anyone reads the list and gets all up in arms about some of the picks, I want to be clear: I'm saying they're my favorite movies inasmuch that's how much I love them; I'm not saying they're the best movies ever made in terms of quality. I'm also totally cheating in a couple of the categories because I couldn't quite narrow it down to five. If you don't like it... well, tough, its my blog!

5.) The Breakfast Club/Ferris Bueller's Day Off

True story: the original version of this pic also had Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink on it but I took them off because, well, who cares? 
Call it the Shermer, Illinois connection, if you want. Were you alive in the 80's? If yes, I don't really need to explain why these are on the list, do I? And if you weren't alive…

Goodreads Book Review - Shadow Raiders

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Shadow Raiders: Book 1 of the Dragon Brigade by Margaret Weis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I've been a fan of Margaret Weis for almost twenty years and have read almost all of her novels, whether they've been ones she's written herself or with her frequent writing partner Tracy Hickman or other partners like Don Perrin and have, for the most part, enjoyed them thoroughly. So, having said that, I feel like I have to blame the fact that this book broke that streak on her partner this time around, Robert Krammes. Don't get me wrong, the book isn't all bad. There are likeable characters here and there, especially the Sherlock Holmes-style investigation team of Father Jacob, Sir Ander, and Brother Barnaby, and there are a couple of thrilling sequences peppered throughout the book. Those sequences, though are linked by scores and scores of dull pages cluttered with an over-reliance on clunky, repetitive exposition that took me out of the story by boring me to tears. I know ther…

Fiction Friday - The Problem With Demons

Batman vs. The Christmas Spirit Opossum

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Trust me, he looks worse than he is...
Ah, the opossum. The Frenchmen of the Animal Kingdom. While that surly-looking fellow seen above is just chilling on a fence or something, the opossum are famous for laying down and pretending to be dead as a way to escape predators. What they do when they come across a predator who has no problem eating something he didn't kill himself, I have no idea. Still, "playing possum" seems to work for these little guys. And right now, it seems to be working for my Christmas spirit as well.

Last Monday, I posted a blog kicking off the Christmas season for me, a season I very much look forward to every year. Twenty-four hours after that, life sort of went to hell in a handcart, and my Christmas spirit was tied to the bumper of the handcart like tin cans to a wedding limo. A few days ago, though, I was catching up on some of the comic books I had missed over the last two weeks ago, and came across a graphic novel that maybe... just maybe... s…

'Tis the Season...

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We're just under three weeks to Christmas... or an even three weeks to Festivus if that is more your cup of tea... so I thought it would be a good time to let you all in on the things I watch pretty much every year to get into the Christmas spirit. Despite what a cranky, cantankerous bastard I am all year long, I do love Christmas and celebrating it with my family and friends. This is going to be another picture-heavy affair, I hope you enjoy these. No, I don't, I don't care, I enjoy them, that's all that matters. How's that for Christmas spirit! Now here, in no particular order, are the TV shows and movies that help me do that!

The Family Man


Yeah, I know. Nic Cage. It's incredibly hokey. And did I mention Nic Cage? But it's sweet and sentimental and funny sometimes too and I like it so shut up!

Bad Santa


Specifically the "Badder Santa" version. Absolutely hysterical.

Roswell Christmas Episodes


The very underrated Roswell had Christmas episodes in i…

My TV Fave Five

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Yeah, I know it's Friday, and technically I should be posting a Fiction Friday installment. I might still do that later, there's an idea I'm kicking around in my head but it has to take shape a little bit more before I can do anything with it. While I ruminate on that, I thought since I spend so much time talking about television, I should let me faithful readers in on my favorite TV shows of all time, especially since I just realized this list has changed dramatically in the last few years from what i always thought it was. I've always said my favorite shows were Quantum Leap, Babylon 5, Saved by the Bell, Boy Meets World, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel (I count them as one show, for obvious reasons). Now that I'm almost thirty-one, the level of amazing television I've been exposed to over the last decade or so has changed this list dramatically. So, here we go! And yes, this is going to be a photo/video-heavy blog.

5.) How I Met Your Mother


The fact that I…

The Thankful Stormtrooper

I had intended to write this list of things I'm thankful for on Thursday, but I woke up that morning feeling like a hot bag of ass and have just today begun to feel better, if only marginally. It's still Thanksgiving weekend, though, so it still counts, right?

I'm thankful for my new phone. After almost four years, half with a crappy Samsung and half with an only-slightly-less-crappy HTC, to finally be back in the LG family, with a Droid, no less, is just nice.

I'm thankful for writing. Between the wonderfully brilliant writers behind the novels, comics, TV shows, and movies I love so much and the ability to write and the way it lets me vent my feelings and frustrations and ideas... yeah. Writing rocks. I always say this, but I really do need to keep up with the idea of doing it more often.

I'm incredibly thankful to John Jameson.

I'm thankful for my family, especially my grandparents. Enormous pains in my ass, but I love them anyway.

I'm thankful for perse…

Fiction Friday - Two Goodreads Quotes For You.

No new fiction to share this week. Instead, I'm just posting two quote I came across on goodreads.com (Like to read? Go there! Sign up! Friend me! Or, you know, don't. Whichever.) that I really like from one of my favorite authors. The first is just an awesome quote. The second does a good job of explaining why there's nothing new to share this week.



quotes Jim likes
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."— Neil Gaiman
Goodreads Quotes
quotes Jim likes
"Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it's always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins."— Neil Gaiman
Goodreads Quotes
Because blogger is being really weird with the html for the quotes tonight, you might need to refresh the page a few times to see both quotes instead of one of them repeated twice. Smart html, my ass...

The Job Search Tango

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Have you ever danced with someone you were really attracted to and all you wanted to do was kiss them in the middle of the dance, like some big romantic scene right out of a movie that probably starred Katherine Heigl or someone equally ridiculous? There's a problem, though; everytime you go to kiss them, something in the dance itself gets in your way. There's a spin, or a twirl... or in some cases a dip that ends in someone getting dropped on their ass. Sounds fun, right? I mean, if you're a masochist. Otherwise, it sounds like hell.

And that is exactly what job-hunting in today's world is like: an unending, nightmarish job search tango. Think about it for a second.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I just love Brittany S. Pierce.
You start off by finding someone you want to dance with and then ask them to dance; you submit your resume. If they like what they read, you come in for an interview, and the dance begins. You're dressed to impress. You alr…