Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Monday, June 30, 2008

Becka's Moment of Zen

DH made a cool video for my kids' Karate belt test on Saturday. Enjoy!

Karate Belt Test from Jim Goings on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Becka's Impromptu Book/Movie Review Comparison



Well, doing something a little different here. I personally love the movie "Stardust". I can watch that movie over and over. Because of this, I found the book "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman in the library and borrowed it. I've only read one other book by Gaiman, "Neverwhere", and it was excellent. DH and I have seen the movie "Mirror Mask", which was very odd to say the least, but I've never read the book, which is also by Gaiman.

Anyhow, I thought I would give the book a try and see how it compared to the movie and which I liked best.

If you're not familiar with "Stardust" or just don't remember it, here's the movie poster:

Basically, the premise is this - a dying king of a magical land challenges his murderous sons that whoever finds the magical necklace will become the next ruler of Stormhold. So he tosses this necklace into the sky, where it hits a star, and "she" falls to earth. Elsewhere, in *our* mundane world, a young man and his "lady love", a girl who really doesn't like him, witnesses the star falling to earth, and he promises to prove his love by bringing this star back to her. So he crosses over to the "magical land of Faerie" and has all kinds of cool adventures.

First of all, I just want to say as a fellow author, Gaiman's prose is to die for. LOVED and enjoyed the way the man puts his words together.

Here's how the book differs from the movie. It opens telling the story of the main character's father, as it does in the movie. However, he doesn't go to some town, he goes to the "bazaar" that's held every 9 years in the meadow beyond the crumbled wall, where he meets the slave girl, has a good time, and nine months later, is presented with a baby boy.

Now, the movie makes it seem like the dad is a widower or has no wife. In fact, in the book, he was married and also had a daughter. Also, the boy's name is "Tristran", not "Tristan" as it is in the movie. I suppose he *could* have been "Tristran" in the movie - I'll have to watch it again, but I could have sworn they called him "Tristan". Hmm, why change that?

When Tristran goes into the land of Faerie, he meets a small, furry man who helps him on his journey and gives him the Babylon candle. In the movie, he was given the Babylon candle by his mother, as it was "included" in the cradle he'd been found in when baby Tristan was left on his father's porch step. Also, the book explains why it's called a Babylon candle - from a nursery rhyme - mentioning that mere "harmless" nursery rhymes in our world hold great power in Faerie.

One of the biggest changes the movie made was to have the crew of the flying ship "expect" their captain to beat up and throw Tristan overboard. Also in the movie, Robert DeNiro plays a - for lack of a better word - fruitcake. There was none of this in the book. They were accepted into the crew, and even healed of their wounds. There was no dancing love scene in the book as there was on the deck of the ship, but I suppose the movie wanted to flesh out the "love" between Yvaine the star and Tristan a bit more. I thought it odd, however, that this was such an obvious change. Perhaps the movie writers felt the movie needed some brevity? I dunno. I did love how the movie portrayed DeNiro's character, however, so it was a good change in my opinion.

Another of the big changes the movie made was that there is no Big Bad Fight With the Big Bad Witch in the book. In the movie, Yvaine is kidnapped and taken back to the witches' castle and Tristan and his true mother must rescue her while fighting the animated corpse of the last dead murderous prince of the dying sovereign at the beginning of the story.

This never happens in the book.

In the book, when Yvaine realizes she loves Tristran, she's given him her heart, rendering her heart "useless" to the old witch for the use of making her young and beautiful again. The witch admits the star is a good person, and I assume goes on her merry way, perhaps to finally die from old age. I liked the movie's climactic ending better. For all the evil the witch did in the book, I felt this ending was too trite to fit her character. Also, the sisters were only mentioned one time in the book and never revisited.

The ghost prince brothers do make an appearance in the book, just as in the movie. However, they aren't as funny as in the movie, they are merely watching over their brothers, to see who kills whom to become the next ruler of Stormhold. In the movie, they're great with their banter.

All in all, despite Gaiman's lovely prose, I have to say I like the movie better. Yvaine never confesses to Tristan she loves him when he's a mouse, and they never make love in the book. Of course, being a romance writer, that seemed oddly left out, seen as how there *was* a sex scene for Tristran's father in the beginning. I didn't believe their love in the book like I did in the movie. It was better executed in the movie. Also, Yvaine never "shone" when she was happy, like she did in the movie. Gaiman portrays that she does shine at times, but I never got the impression that she did when she was happy.

Also, at the very end of the book, Tristran eventually ages and dies, leaving the star behind to rule Stormhold, because she never ages. Does she die? Can she die? Who knows. I found this very sad, as I do so love my HEA, and the movie gave me that HEA at the end, alluding to the fact that both Tristan and Yvaine returned to the sky together as stars. I know, I'm a sap. But to me, I hate tragic endings.

I did enjoy the book immensely, however I think I'd rather watch the movie. But that's just me. :) This is one instance, for me anyway, where the movie is better than the book.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Becka's Random Twitters of the Day

  • 16:55 I've just renewed loudtwitter's domain (thanks to donations), which remind me that loudtwitter is now almost one year old! #
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Alegra Day Spa

For those of you who are local to the Hillsboro/Beaverton/Aloha area of the Portland suburbs, you might have heard of Alegra Day Spa. It's a foofy spa slash hair salon my DH booked me at for a Mother's Day present. I'd gotten my hair done at a salon only one other time in my life, and had reverted back to doing my own "box color". It wasn't working for me, clearly, so he made an appointment and away I went to get my hair done.

The coloring was a decent job. They got rid of the "orange" in my hair from my box attempts to get my frickin' hair blonde. :P I got blonde highlights and a light brownish color that can now be lightened at my next appointment if I so desire.

So, let me regale the rest of my experiences. Upon walking in to this day spa, located near the corner of Cornell Road and Cornelius Pass Rd., in the Winco/Joann's shopping center, you can tell it's a foofy place. They have comfortable chairs, wood accents and lovely lighting. While my coloring was great, I was very pleased with that, my haircut was not. I'd wanted layers, and the woman did cut layers into my hair, but you could barely see them. Perhaps she didn't go as "short" as I'd wanted on my layers, I don't know. All I know is, my hair doesn't look like my friend Val's. :P Maybe I should take Val with me when next I cut my hair.

Second of all, my husband was quoted a price over the phone and told they would honor that price, no matter the work. I didn't know of this conversation, and thus they charged me a different, higher price. When I told DH this, he became irritated, because he'd been promised this other price. But the deed was done and they'd been paid - why bitch? It sucked, but hey, I had no clue about this conversation, or else I would have haggled.

I then made another appointment for 6/28 and went on my merry way (this was a few weeks ago). Just recently, I'd remembered this appointment and lamented my own stupidity for scheduling it on my daughter's 8th birthday. Not only is she testing for a new belt in Karate that day, but it's her birthday party AND she wants to see the new movie Wall-E. Well, can't exactly squeeze in a 2 1/2 hour hair salon trip that day.

So I called them today to cancel, and the lady who answered the phone actually sighed heavily into the phone when I told her. Her once jovial voice faded into a monotone as she said, "What's your name?" I told her, and said I'd be calling again to reschedule for sometime in July, but I just didn't know when, as I should come in on a Saturday, and I want to make sure I have the money. She kind of grunted at me, then said, "Okay." Nothing else.

I had no clue whether or not she'd found my name in her book, so I said, "My appointment was for 10am." To this she replies with a very nasty, "OKAY!"

I was kind of taken aback, so I just said thanks and hung up.

Now, their website says something to the effect of if you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, they charge you 1/2 the fee of the job. Okay, I can see being pissy about canceling so soon. But 8 days out? I dunno, maybe that's too soon as well. But things happen. I mean, heck, I could have a family emergency and you're gonna give me shiat for canceling a dang hair appointment? Boo hoo for putting you out, man.

Your pedicurist doesn't even do cute little toe art. (Found that out from my friend who also had an appointment there.) LOL

Long story short, I will be finding a new salon to go to from now on. Life's entirely too short for someone to give me crap for canceling a hair appointment an entire week in advance.

Professionalism. You have none.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Road Construction is Killing My Inner Child

When I first heard the city of Hillsboro was building sidewalks up the streets by my house, I rejoiced. The street is constantly walked by many people and families with strollers, who either have to brave walking on the busy road, or brave walking on someone's lawn.

This is a good thing. Excitement and joy was felt all around. That is, until, the work got underway.

You really have no concept of what needs to be done to put in a simple sidewalk until you see it for yourself. Last year in the fall, crews came through and chopped down all the lovely ancient trees lining the road to make room for the sidewalk. It was a sad time, as those trees were very lovely, but sacrifices must be made if you want to walk to Safeway without getting hit by a car.

After they chopped the trees, they had to uproot the trunks.

Then winter came and not much was done. But in the spring, work resumed, which consisted of ripping up sections of road to lay down new water pipes. For what, you might ask? For the new fire hydrants that must be placed according to code. Oy.

Okay, we understand that once you start building something new, you have to comply with city code. I get that, and in the long run, it will be better for the street, in case someone has a housefire.

After this fiasco, they then begin ripping up the road itself. Why? Well, in order to make a sidewalk, you must first make a curb. And this curb needs to be level with the road, and obviously that was not going to happen. Since they'd already ripped up sections of the road, it must therefore be better to tear it all up and repave from scratch than to go over the old road with a quick fix.

Problem is, they take their sweet time in doing things, and sections of the road have been ripped up for many days on end, making for many a wild ride through rock-infested potholes. Once they finally get the curbs in, however, they do level out the dirt and rocks and repave. YAY! But then, they move on and rip up the next section of road.

The problem is that we live on a cul-de-sac. So the construction they're doing on the other road makes me feel like I'm "trapped" on our little street. They have been making people take detours while they work, and I'm not sure I'd be able to get back home if I left! Even DH was accosted by the lady holding the "Stop" sign the other day when he had to come back home for his forgotten wallet. She kept telling him to take the detour and he said, "But I live down that street!" It didn't matter to her, and she kept pointing at the detour. He ignored her and drove on, to which she wasn't very pleased. But what are you going to do when you LIVE THERE and they won't LISTEN TO YOU?!?


They haven't even begun construction on the sidewalks yet, even though they've had the first curbs up for a couple of weeks at least. I have no idea when they're actually going to START the project they were commissioned to do. But you really have no concept of everything that has to be done first. Wow, what a PITA.

I hope they finish soon. Because seriously, I've recently been waiting until after 3:30 to leave my house (as they promptly finish up around 3:30), and that kinda sucks with errands to run. SIGH.

Seriously, I can't wait until they're finished. I just want to walk to Safeway. Is that so wrong?? **sobs**


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Letting the Bag out of the Cat. Wait... Strike That. Reverse it.

Well, y'all, I feel like the woman who cried "wolf." I can't believe this is happening to me again, and in fact, when I found out, I literally yelled, "ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!?"

You see, I'm pregnant. Again.

I'll give you a moment to wrap your head around that little nugget. Don't worry, I'll wait.
Yes, folks, you are not being punk'd, I'm seriously pregnant again. Almost 10 weeks. Friday will be my 10th week. I found out around the beginning of May, but delayed "going public", what with the dire outcome of a few months back. My friends and family will think this is old news, as DH and I decided to tell them. But I wanted to at least have my first doctor's appointment before I shout out to my publishers and readers.

I went yesterday, and was actually congratulated on all the weight I'd lost since January, which is around 43 pounds, give or take. In fact, I haven't gained any weight - yet. I'm managing to hold my weight so far, fluctuating up and down between a 5 pound window day by day. But it's perfectly acceptable to lose weight while pregnant, as long as you do it the right way, with diet and exercise. In fact, a pregnant woman needs no more than 300 extra calories a day. Perhaps that's why I'm maintaining my weight, as I'm eating normally, with perhaps an extra snack if I'm feeling rumbly. Maybe the baby is taking those extra 300 calories from my fat stores. Who knows.

I do know that if I can manage to maintain my weight throughout my pregnancy, then that means I *am* losing weight. When you get pregnant, you have the weight of the enlarged uterus, the weight of the baby, the weight of the amniotic fluid, the weight of the increased blood volume, not to mention the increase in your breasts (which DH is highly fond of, btw - just wish they didn't hurt so badly.)

Right now, I'm in nausea/sleepy land. I swear, I could sleep all day long if I could. I haven't puked yet, but I get nauseated all the time. Sometimes while I'm eating. I'll be hungry, then after 4 or 5 bites, I'll be like, "Ugh, take this away from me."

I have two more weeks before I'm out of the "miscarriage zone", as the first three months are when it's most likely to occur. In fact, on the very day of my 12th week, June 27th, I'm going to get an ultrasound to determine the correct size/weight of the baby and when it's due. We're probably looking at a January baby, which is funny, since my youngest son has a birthday in January. Maybe I'll have two January babies! A few of our friends are hoping it'll come in December, for the tax break. LOL Lord knows with the economy the way it is, maybe I'll ask them to induce! No, no, no... :P

What's funny about this is, two of my other real life friends are pregnant as well, both of them also due in January. Our three husbands are all best friends, so that's what makes it rather poignant. Musta been gettin' it on 'round the same time! Wacka chicka bow now! Heheh

So. Becka is Knocked Up Take Two. This is my do over - my reboot, if you will. I'm a firm believer that there are no coincedences. For whatever reason, the Good Lord wants me to have another one. Last time, I miscarried around 6 weeks, now I'm 10 weeks along. This one is looking good so far, aside from the fact I feel like I'm lugging around a small cantelope. LOL

I'll keep you updated as things progress, but I just wanted to let y'all know why I haven't been around much lately - because I've been asleep!! :P

Gah, here we go again...


(for those of you keeping a tally, this will be baby #5 for the Goings clan.) :D

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Sweet Camping Trip

Well, I've been back for awhile now, but I have neglected to blog about my sweet, sweet camping trip. Last week, last Thursday, to be exact, the Goingses, the in-laws, the Howlands, and the Siglers went camping, along with two other couples to Cape Lookout on the beautimous Oregon Coast.

T'was chilly, but that is to be expected when rain is predicted off the ocean. It only rained on our last day there (Sunday), but it threatened a couple of times. But we lucked out more often than not. We were able to get a group campsite, which held up to 25 people. At the height of camping, we had 23. :) Much fun was had around the campfire, making s'mores with chocolate marshmallows. Let me tell ya, peeps, the chocy marshmallows are NOT a nasty gimmick, they're FRIGGIN' GOOD... So if you see them in the store, swipe a bag and make yourself some kick-ass krispie treats!

Here's a pic of me, all snuggly in my blankie. Hey man, it was cold, even by the fire! But that blankie kept me toasty for the most part. Aren't I like, totally cool in my "Chopper" sunglasses? (Borrowed from my super-cool DH, no less. Those glasses squeezed my head, tho. I couldn't wear them all day.)

One of the cool events on the trip was the sea lion who hopped out of the ocean and chilled on the rocks by the beach for a bit. The park rangers were swarming the place, setting up signs - "Don't Feed the Sea Lion!" and "Don't Touch the Sea Lion!" LOL Guess people are, in general, pretty stoopid and need a sign to keep away. Regardless, DH was able to get this shot with his paparrazzi lens. (Actually, he wishes he had a paparrazzi lens. This was taken with just his run-o-the-mill wide angle lens).

The kids had fun, we explored the beach and brought back loads of shells and sand dollars. Everyone got dirty, regardless of the showers that weren't too far away. But hey, that's par for the course when you're camping. Taking a shower during the experience is almost sacrelige. lol You haven't been camping unless you smell like the campfire!

You see those rocks the sea lion is basking on? Well, they were a ways up the beach, and in fact, you had to traverse them in order to get to the beach. I happened to twist my ankle on one of them **grumble grumble** but anyway, the cool thing is the tide would come in around sunset and the surf would wash up on the rocks. Then it would lift all the rocks off the ground and pull them out a bit then push them back on the beach. The resulting noise of this phenomena was a sound I had never heard in my life. Almost like... Rice Krispies when they crackle in your milk, but with ocean water and smooth stones--and much, much louder. Nature's rock tumbler, I guess!

All in all, we had a great trip. We headed out to Cape Meares, saw the lighthouse that is no longer in use, then proceeded to the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook (about 10 miles from our campsite). Of course, here in Oregon, you can get Tillamook cheese and ice cream in every store you go to, so it wasn't *that* exciting. But the cool thing about it is watching them make cheese. If you go on a weekend, it's boring, because no one is working. If you ever go to Tillamook, go on a weekday so you can watch them package the cheese with their cool mechanical doo-dads. We were able to get some cheese you can't get in the normal grocery store, such as Cracked Pepper White Cheddar and Garlic and Chili Pepper Smoked Cheddar, along with what we call "Squeaky Cheese", the cheese curd they sell. Totally bad for you (as it's the stuff they scrape off the top of the cheese when they make it, but o-so-good...) If you're freaky about food textures, tho, you prolly won't like it, because like I said, it's squeaky when you eat it. LOL

The cool thing about our campsite was that it was literally ON the beach. Well, there was a dune "burm" (sp?) that kept most of the wind off us, but for the most part, all you had to do was walk past the cars, traverse the rocks, and you're there on the beach. Too cool. Waking up to the sound of the ocean crashing is pretty awesome, I must say.

If you ever go camping on the Oregon coast, I highly recommend Cape Lookout 10 miles south of Tillamook. It's sooo much fun! I'm glad to be home, but seriously, it's *just* now that I've finally caught up with all the laundry I've had to do... With four kids, a dog, and tons of clothing, towels and blankets that all smelled of campfire... That part I didn't enjoy so much. :P


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Becka's Random Twitters of the Day

  • 15:32 @puuikibeach business model is donations. So far it's working well: $5 which means that loudtwitter has less debt than most web2.0 companies #
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