Friday, December 28, 2007

Gingerbread cookies

It's the end of the day on Friday after a crazy holiday week. Not only has it been Christmas, were Mr. H. and I scored big with a Wii and an Xbox, but the company I work for is going through a merger and Day 1 is January 2. So no rest for the weary in my office - well at least not for my boss. I have been getting plenty of rest. But I'm now starting to feel the strain. All these things that aren't done. Of course, transitions and change is never smooth, so I'm not expecting anything great. What makes matters worse is the gifts we were supposed to give each of our employees in our office are held up in customs. Seems they are unsure what the country of origin the hats are so we can't have them yet. I mean really. They're made in China. Where else would they be made? If customs worked this well all the time we wouldn't have tainted toothpaste. But no, it's holding up our hats and mugs. But no matter. Nothing we can do now. We'll just give the gifts out another day. In the meantime, I'm having another gingerbread cooking and going home to play my Wii.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fact or Fiction

The other day I was in Urban Outfitters doing some last minute Christmas shopping (I didn't buy anything there, just kinda looking around) and I happened upon some books. First, it's kinda weird that UO has books, like real books, not just funny coffee table books. They have a lot of Chuck Klosterman (who I've mentioned here before) and they had some funny sex books (which I didn't look at at all, Dad). But they also had this book called "Go Ask Alice." You've probably heard of it. It's written by that prolific writer Anonymous, about a teenage girl in the 60's who "accidentally" takes LSD and then gets hooked on drugs, runs away, has lots of casual sex, gets raped, goes back home, tries to kick the habit, gets tricked into doing drugs again, ends up in the psych ward and finally gets off the drugs and back home before she mysteriously dies at 17 (accidental overdose, suicide, we'll never know).

Anywhoo, I read this book back in jr. high (though, having gone to 6-8th grade in Chicago, didn't actually go to Jr. High, but whatever). I remember being fascinated with this true story. It's so interesting to see into someone's inner thoughts. Unfortunately, as I was flipping through it, I realized that there was no way this book was written by an actual teenager. The voice just didn't sound true. So this morning I looked it up (I love the Internet) and sure enough, while it's never been 100 percent confirmed, the story is made up. The psychologist/"editor" of the book, Beatrice Sparks may have used patient stories to weave this cautionary tale, but the more you learn about her (she's a Mormon) and the other books she's written (fascinating tales and pseudo journals such as "Jay's Journal," "It Happened to Nancy," and "Annie's Baby: The diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager," you start to see a trend.

So now I'm starting to feel jipped, in the same way Oprah and the rest of the reading public felt jipped by "A Million Little Pieces" and James Frey. We like to peep into people's hidden lives, but we don't like to be lied to. Of course, it doesn't help that Beatrice also seems to have a bit of an agenda. The article on Snopes outlines all the ways the book not only makes it clear that drugs are bad, but that any part of the 60's counter culture and broken homes spells doom for teenagers.

Regardless of her agenda, I do find it interesting why we like to know private stuff about each other. Is this a cultural thing? Mr. H. generally ignores gossip and tabloids. Maybe it's because he's English. Of course, some of the best tabloids are from England, so that can't be it. Maybe it's just human nature. We want to know what makes other people tick so we can figure out what makes us tick. When I read memoirs, I know that my life isn't that bad or that crazy or that I'm at least normal (whatever that means).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Barely Knitting

Before
After

I know, aren't they cute. I knit these bears for my nephews (Jack, George and Alexander - I realize that's three nephews and only two bears. One bear had just finished washing his fur and was in the middle of blowing it dry and so was not available for this picture). For my niece, Eva Kay, I'm kitting a rabbit. The brown bear is going to Jack, who lives in Cleveland. Notice he is Cleveland Browns colors. Mr. H. wrote this to go along with the bear:

Dear Jack,
Once upon a time, after the Brown's utter decimation of The Cincinnati Bengals on September 16, 2007, when Derek Anderson threw for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns and Jamal Lewis ran for a staggering 216 yards and one TD, this bear was discovered inside the winning game ball. Fearing the wrath of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, as well of the possibility of incurring hefty fines from the league itself, Romeo Crennel hid the bear in an earthen basket and set it adrift on the Cuyahoga river. Several weeks later it washed ashore in Chicago, having somehow managed to switch waterways entirely, and was found by [Melly] one Sunday afternoon directly following the Browns thoroughly convincing 8 to 0 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Fearful of vengeful and jealous acts of cruelty by a city whose football team has abandoned them to defeat and despair, she thought it best to send the young bear to a safe and loving home, far, far away. Of course, she immediately thought of you. So please take care of this bear, Jack. He has been through so much already. Give him a name. Teach him to maul. Love him dearly.
Happy Christmas, and GO BROWNS!


Isn't that cute? So like everyone else who tries to leave Cleveland, little brown bear is just going back. He begged me to stay, but I could not let him. I know that Jack will give him a good home. Better than I could. Any little bears in my household must do the dishes. I suspect Jack will mostly have him storming castles, eating lions and tackling footballs.

The other two bears are Chicago Bears colors. The bunny will be white with blue and orange ears. As you can see, I was very taken by the football spirit this Christmas (the football spirit is the lesser known spirit of Christmas that comes and shows you games your favorite team would have won had you been a better person and cared more about your employees and neighbors. Most CEO's don't really care about this spirit that much because they just bet against their team when they're loosing, still finding a way to make money off of someone else's misfortune, so it usually gets cuts from those popular stories and movies about the Christmas spirits.)

Those are all the gifts I knit this year. I tried to knit Mr. H. an XBox 360, but the pattern for knitting a circuit board is a little beyond my skills, and I couldn't find a yarn I liked. Maybe next year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hanging with the fam

On Friday, the family and I started our festive holiday season by going to the annual "Welcome Yule" holiday concert. My sister started this tradition several years ago with her husband, and then, when they got tired of each other, started inviting the moms, sisters and brother. Then Mr. H. got roped into it a couple of years ago. And this year, my nephew, who is finally five, and therefor able to sit still for more than six minutes got to attend.

His assessment of the evening was "I think I stayed up to late" but he decided he'd sleep in the next day so no worries. He seemed to enjoy Santa and the Chicago police officer who was ticketing Santa and his sleigh for violating various city codes such as parking on a snow route, farm animals in city limits and causing a public disturbance. Mr. H. and my brother especially liked the wandering carolers and felt that wearing a cape was the way to go. However, they didn't buy Rudolf and couldn't see his motivation.

For my part, I thought last year's performance was better, but this may be because, unlike previous years, we were on the floor (third row) instead of the balcony. It was neat being able to see the dancers up close, but you don't get a really good view of the orchestra when you're on the floor. One of my favorite parts is watching the percussionists race around during Sleigh Ride, which has lots of sound effects - I love it when they make the sound of the snapping whip.

The best part, or one of the supposed best parts, is that they audience gets to sing along to certain carols. Mr. H. doesn't normally sing, however, this year he decided not only sing but do so in his best baritone voice (I think he was trying to impress the cape wearing caroler) much to the amusement of my sister and me (and I'm sure the people behind us). And while I have a lovely singing voice, I was a little shy this year being so close to the other carolers. Next year we'll be back in the balcony and I won't be afraid to belt it out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Blogoversary To Me!

That's right, today is the first anniversary of my blog. I'd like to thank all my faithful readers which I think has grown to an amazing six or seven. Dee and Sarah, you've been such constant faithfuls, if it wasn't for you, I'm sure I wouldn't have continued. Jackie, Dad, Jennifer, I know you like to check in from time to time, and again, it keeps me going. Mr. H. - even though we sometimes don't see eye-to-eye (mostly because you're taller than me) on the topics of my blog, or my blogging regularity, you are my source of inspiration and my blogging muse.

Thank you all, and here's to a new year of blogging and blogging.

Melly

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hatton V Mayweather

What's that you say? You're watching boxing. But Melly, you don't like boxing. That's true. I don't. However, if you want to have fun on a Saturday night, what's better than watching two 150 pound guys beat the shit out of each other. What's even better is that tonight I'm doing my first attempt at live blogging. That's right, I'm watching the match right now (well, it hasn't started yet), and I'm going to give a play-by-play of this wonderful sport.

First off, the event is sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink which you can enjoy here and in the UK (in case you didn't know Hatton is from Manchester). Mr. H. is pulling for his copatriot. But then again, the Leedsians and the Manchesterites don't really get along, so I'm not sure why he'd be rooting for him. There are a lot of English people in Vegas. So many that they drowned out the singing of our national anthem - which was kinda rude. But then again, they had to listen to Tom Jones sing God Save the Queen, so I don't really blame them. 

OK, we're getting ready to RRRRRRUMBLE.  OK, now we're rumbling. The English, like they do at all sporting events, are singing. I don't know how they keep them from singing at Wimbledon. 

Mayweather's wearing some nice velour shorts and shoes with fringe. Hatton's got some weird sparkley shorts with the Union Jack on the butt. Very attractive. Now apparently, according to Mr. H. and Don, Mayweather is really fast. They all look fast to me. OK, end of 1st round. Hatton's kinda red, but then again he's English, he has no melanin. 

Second round. Watching real boxing isn't like watching Rocky. They keep hugging each other and putting their heads in to wards their chests. The ref, who has a weird over bite, just called time to remind the boxers how to hit each other. Oops, looks like Hatton got hit kinda hard there. Now Hatton landed a nice hit, and I can't understand a damned word this ref is saying. Oh, I get it. The ref has a mouthguard in. I guess that makes sense. Apparently Mayweather is holding Hatton and he's going to get points taken away from him. End of second round.

Third round. They're doing a lot of the dancing around again...oooh now they're doing some girly type fighting. Hatton's getting the better of Mayweather, but then again, what do I know. Don and Mr. H. are saying Mayweather is waiting until longer in the fight. Some lady in the fourth row is going crazy and now Hatton has a cut above his eye. End of round three. Apparently Hatton has some ex-London cab driver who is the only person who can stop his cuts from bleeding.

Round four - they're throwing punches left and right and one of the commentators is talking all over it. Who are these people who come to these fights? We got to see the parade of stars before the fight started, the Jolie/Pitts, Tiger, Jude, Becks, Slater. Mayweather just landed a couple of good punches but the white guy isn't giving up and now Hatton's eye is bleeding again, about time to call in the London cab driver and one of the commentators just said "this is definitely not Dancing with the Stars" in case you were wondering. End of round.

OK, now looking at these replays is just painful.

Round 5. These guys are just ripped. It's crazy. They need to eat some more. Hatton's got Mayweather in the corner, but I'm not sure it's doing him any good. There's so much hugging in this sport, if it weren't for all the hitting, you'd think these guys really like each other. OK, apparently that was a Ricky Hatton round. I guess he landed some good punches. And now we're looking at pictures of Hatton's parents. His mother doesn't look too happy - but she's wearing some nice bling, so she can't be too unhappy with her son's career choice.

Round 6 - and Hatton got Mayweather on the outside of the ropes and gets a point taken away for hitting Mayweather on the back of the head. So now, as with all angry Englishmen, he's going after his opponent with fury. Hatton likes to keep Mayweather on the ropes, and Mayweather just keeps letting him push him against the ropes. End of round.

Round 7 - just another reminder that this is fight (and my blog) is being brought to you by Rockstar Energy Drink. Right now they have Hatton up by one point. For some idiotic reason they are talking about what the cut guys in the UK use on their guys versus what the US cut guys use. Whatever. Like there's a fight going on, why are we talking about cuts? See, it's a boring, stupid sport...we're back to the cut solution now. Oh, now one of the other commentators is talking about the "cut tutorial" and let's get back to the action. End of round.

Round 8 - Hatton seems to do a lot of chasing Mayweather around - which leads me to believe that maybe Mr. H. and Don are right and Mayweather is waiting until the end to really put Hatton away. Mayweather is landing some good punches now and if these keeps up there's going to be a bunch of disappointed Limey's. Oh, now the American's are getting back at the Brits booing over the national anthem with chants of USA. And now Hatton is getting the shit beat out of him and it really might be over this round. There's 16 seconds left and Hatton's coming back, a little.  End of round. The replays for that are going to be good.

Round 9 - In between the round, the ref is over at Hatton's  corner making sure he's OK. His trainer seems to think so, but I'm not so sure. Mayweather seems to be landing some good punches and he doesn't seem to be hurting at all. Of course, that hasn't stopped the singing from the English. In the meantime, I think Mayweather is dancing to the music they're providing, because he doesn't seem tired at all. I have no idea what they're singing, but it's to the tune of "Winter Wonderland." End of round.

Hatton's not looking good, and his mother doesn't look happy, but she's got some nice cleavage (it's not my fault - the camera angle is right down her dress). Round 10 - Only three rounds left. Mayweather's pulled ahead a couple of points. Hatton's down. He got hit with a left hook and propelled himself right into the corner post.  Oh, it's not looking good. He's down and he just got knocked out. 

Well, props to the English fans, they're still singing. Now the fighters are kissing and making up, and all's well that end's well. 

Maybe not the best play-by-play ever, but you can't say I didn't try. 

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Black Sheep and other Zombies

Last night Mr. H. and I watched Black Sheep a lovely little film about a New Zealand farm boy who returns to the farm 15 years after his father dies to deal with his fear of sheep and collect his half of the money his brother is making by selling the farm to bioengineers.

Have I mentioned Mr. H.'s love of all things zombie? I'm not sure what the deal is, some traumatic childhood experience possibly, that has led to this obsession. Maybe it's because he hails from a country that eats things like black pudding and haggis. Who knows. Anyway, he loves himself some zombie movies. Of course he's a fan of the father of all zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead, and all of the Living Dead series - but hey, who isn't? But he literally eats up any movie with a zombie in it - Pet Sematary, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Resident Evil, Slither. These are all pretty main stream variations on a theme zombie movies. Something happens, either man induced or extra terrestrial and people start to rise from the dead and start eating people. Not the best after dinner movie, but whatever.

Lately, however, he's been branching out into other zombie themes. Most notably animals as zombies. The sheep in Black Sheep become zombies because humans can not just leave well enough alone and must play around with sheep DNA, even going so far as to cross our own with theirs. This leads to rabid zombie sheep who when they bite you (and they do bite) turn you into one of them, hooves and all. This makes Black Sheep more of a zombie/weresheep movie. Fun for the whole family. Another recent zombie flick I've been force.. er enjoyed is Fido. Zombies in this movie have been tamed and now do all the jobs that only illegal immigrants currently do - housekeepers and yard workers. A boy takes his zombie and turns him into a pet, Fido, and, well as with all zombie movies, it just doesn't turn out well.

Anyway, I can't blame the zombie movies all on Mr. H., I mean, I do encourage him. A few Christmases ago I bought him the complete Living Dead series (even the remake of Dawn of the Dead - which is a personal favorite). This year for his birthday, I bought him glow in the dark zombie figurines. I only really complain about his zombie obsession when I wake up and find him gnawing on my leg.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Good Night, and Good Luck

Mr. H. and I watched Good Night, and Good Luck last night. I know what you're saying. Your saying "boy, you and Mr. H. sure do watch a lot of movies." It's true. We do. We have a Netflix account and HBO and other cable channels. I really like movies. I like writing about them (this one made me kinda sad but also glad that there are people in the world ready to stand up for the right thing). I probably do spend too much time in front of the television. I'll never watch all the movies I want to. I mean, right now, our Netflix cue has 165 movies on it. Even watching three movies a week, that's a year's worth of movie watching. And that doesn't count the hundreds of new movies that come out each year. Plus, we mainly watch American movies (though we do branch out into the foreign films from time to time). There are just so many movies out there, I could literally just watch them all the time. If someone paid me to watch movies all the time, I would. I'd even take a pay cut because I would save money by (a) not having to commute (b) not buying clothes cause I'd just wear my pj's (c) cancelling my Netflix and HBO or at least claiming them as tax write offs. However, my popcorn bill might go up.

I don't remember the first movie I watched. The first movie experience I do remember is seeing Star Wars at a drive in when I was five or six, which is probably one of the reasons I am such a movie fan. Can you imagine sitting in a car with a huge screen blasting the images of star ships at a six year old? I wish I can remember more about the experience, but all I remember is I was there and pretty much since that day forward I have loved movies. I like going to movies, but I also like just staying at home watching them. I like analyzing how this movie is similar to that writer's or director's other movies. I like picking apart the actors' performances. But most of all, I like just letting go of myself and watching someone else's life. This is probably why I am such a terrible (read do it all the time) eavesdropper. I like learning about other people's lives (even if those people are made up). That's why I'll watch the bad movies, the stupid movies, the sappy movies. They all allow me to get a glimpse of someone else's life.

Tonight Mr. H. and I aren't going to watch a movie but some episodes of Angel. This is another thing NetFlix is great for. Watching TV shows without the commercials. But don't worry. We have plans for Thursday night that do not involve a television set.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

Last night Mr. H. and I watched Live Free or Die Hard. What can I say. John McClane is back and he still won't die. Mac is there, which leaves me wondering why PC isn't getting these kinds of movie deals. A lot of stuff blows up and there's a lot of swearing. It's a fun romp in classic Die Hard style and really makes you wonder what would happen if the computer hackers actually tried to take over the world. How would you read Melly's Musings? **shudder** let's not think about it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Superbad

Last night Mr. H and I went to see Superbad. I'm tempted to make a joke about the movie not being bad but good, but I'll spare you. I'll just get straight to the it was good part. First, we went to see it at the Brew and View at the Vic. If you've never been there to see a movie, you should totally go. It's lots of fun. It's always a good thing when you can drink and watch a movie at the same time. Plus it's only 5 bucks for a double (sometimes triple) feature. Anyway, I had heard that Superbad was pretty funny so I was expecting to be entertained. While it definitely took from lots of teenage comedies (American Pie jumps to mind), I still thought it was a fresh take on the teenage angst that the end of high school and beginning of adulthood brings on. The films protagonists, Seth and Evan, played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera respectively (and cutely named after the movies writers) find themselves at the end of their high school career (though boy, they sure looked too young to be seniors in high school - which of course is a sign of aging on my part) being geeks, facing separation from each other and without girlfriends. With the intentions of supplying the liquor to a pregraduation party and getting a couple of possibly interested girls soused, the boys hope to move on with their lives (and have something else to ease the pain of their imminent separation from each other).

There were many knee slapping moments in this movie (and I actually slapped my knee at one point). When Seth and Evan realize that they truly love each other and that it's OK, when Evan's would-be girlfriend tries to seduce him but ends up throwing up on him (ah teenage love) and when Seth ends up dancing with an older (read my age) woman at a party who ends up staining his jeans with blood (I'll let you guess how) - all of those moments were great. But, as happens in so many of these movies, the real talent and hilarity come in the secondary friend character. In this case it's the friend with the fake ID, Fogell. Played wonderfully nerdy by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Fogell changes his name to McLovin (one name) on his fake ID and well, pretty much from there the hilarity ensues. Fogell's genius nerd is on par with such nerd greats as Urkel and well, the entire cast of Revenge of the Nerds.

If you haven't seen Superbad, the DVD comes out on December 4. Get ready to curl up and relive your awkward phase.

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