Friday, December 29, 2000

A final report (I think!?) on the Holiday Hooligans. Here are some more reported recipients and *exposed* "Holiday Hooligans":
  • Bob Muenchausen of Idaho, sent Jack Trotter also in ID, "How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci : Seven Steps to Genius Every Day". Sounds like a great book, eh?
  • Bob also sent Jim Weseman of Meridian, ID, "The Wisdom of Insecurity" by Alan Wilson Watts. Also sounds like a great book!!
  • Kim Hegge of Minnesota, sent a "Gypsy Kings of Music" CD to Esmeralda McCord in Blue Earth, MN. I hope that Esmeralda enjoys it!
  • Laura Lewis of Minnesota, sent "Courts of Love: Stories" by Ellen Gilchrist to Laura Weldon of Erie, Colorado. Sounds like a sweet book.
Thank you all for participating. You're all very giving people and as you probably know, I think that all good random acts of kindness and selfless deeds pay you back immeasurably. I hope that the coming year brings you health and happiness.

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

I was perusing my website's hit report for this month and what do ya know? The Holiday Hooligans were mentioned here: Click Here to read the comment. As I had hoped, one of the recipients was planning on buying another random person a gift. YAY! :-) It just makes me smile.
Oh, You Turkey! One of the local newspapers in town runs a coloring contest for kids. I'm awfully fond of the Duct Tape Turkey. hehehe. Just thought I'd share. I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season. Gobble, Gobble.

Friday, December 15, 2000

Thanks to a wonderful cash donation to the Holiday Hooligans from Ivan O. of South Jordan, Utah, the following *victims* were chosen today:
  • Colin Elliott of Midlothian, Virginia received a copy of "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlen.
  • Christina Nutter of Omaha, Nebraska wished for and received the "Geatest Irish Hits" CD. Hmmm...there seems to be an Irish theme running in the selections tonight...the CD and two Colins...
  • Colin Gallagher of Brookline, Mass requested and received the LEGO Star Wars Landspeeder. I know Star Wars. I know LEGO. I didn't know the two flavors could mesh into one.

Snow is falling here in the Twin Cities as it has been quite frequently this season. Each of the recent snows have had their own personality...fluffy wet snow, Wednesday's dry ultra shiny (and slippery!) snow and tonight's somewhat pellet-y snow. It actually looks like it's ventured into the fluffy variety now, but when I was driving in it earlier tonight it was definitely pellets. I'm fond of the first two varieties. Not wild 'bout the pellets though. The pellets are like quick frozen droplets...they're not *baked* long enough to have the intricacy of gorgeous flakes. Rumor, ok, the *forecast* is calling for blizzard conditions near to where I live. Wheeeee! It's been a while since I've experienced that. If ya don't *need* to be somewhere it's a great day to stay home, stoke the fire and bake some cookies. :-) Stay warm and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 14, 2000

Before I end up seeing another movie this weekend, I better put up a couple of two second reviews before I forget 'em!
  • Vertical Limit-- Lots of great *hold your breath* action in this one although the over all movie fell a wee bit flat. I loved some of the tense scenes, but found myself bored between them because of a lot of the predicability of the general plot lines. Don't get me wrong, there are a few surprises to be had. Overall, it was a decent $7.50 spent. I don't think I'd bother watching it again however. Oh, one thing that *really* bothered me at the theatre...during the opening sequence there's a seriously tense and horrible scene. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about. Anyway, a couple people in the theatre laughed right after that scene. Makes me kind of ill just thinking about it. Yuck, yuck, yuck. People seriously scare and disappoint me sometimes. Movie grade- B
  • Proof of Life - It's one of those movies that was ~~OK~~. Nothing really bad nor really good about the flick. Well, Russell Crowe -- definitely good. Yum! Especially yummy 'cuz he's not hiding his Australian accent. :-) The movie seemed to be very *safely* crafted. Not a lot of creative risks being taken...probably what kept it from being better. The low risks also meant that it turned out to be not horrible either. :-) How vague can I possibly be?! :-) B-

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

I have my list of Holiday Hooligans complete. Some of the orders have already been sent. Yay! Here are my "victims" and what they received. Happy Holidays to each and everyone of them...oh and to you too! I hope you consider joining me in this Holiday Hooligan effort. See my photo of the week for details.
  • Gee Gee Vanvig-Reiter of Howard Beach, New York received a Teletubbies Collectible figures 4 pack. I think Gee Gee was ordering for her kids.
  • Joan Kiley of Waltham, Massachusetts received a Arc Angels audio cassette. One of my search terms was "Joan". Just try to keep up with the Joan'ses. hehehe.
  • Marlene Allen of Girard, Ohio received the Baby!Talk! book. I think, I could be wrong, I think that Marlene was ordering books for her grand children, of which she has two. I picked Marlene from a search on "Marlenes". She just happens to be married to Ernie. Yes, this coincidence was too great...my mom was Marlene and my dad is Ernie. Go figure. How could I pass her up??
  • Stacy Lear of Vienna, Virginia is getting the book entitled, "Harold and the Purple Crayon". I couldn't pass up a book like that. I can't recall how Stacy's list came up in my search criteria. It must be a nickname that she has that I hit upon. Oh, now I remember. It was Kit. A pseudonym apparently. She's got a web site like me! Well, not like mine, but a vanity site to be sure. :-) http://www.forevervain.com/ -- I kid you not. :-) She actually is a lovely woman with a healthy sense of self.
  • Joan Wendland (yes, another of the joanses) of Sterling, VA received a novel entitled, "Men at Arms : A Novel of Discworld". She had a lot of the Discworld titles in her listing. I don't know the series, so I cannot comment.
  • Sherie Poulson-Cook of Grand Island, New York received "Because it's Christmas" by Barry Manilow. I don't question the music quality...I just grant the wishes. :-)
  • Constance Brunner of NY, NY (Yes, there appears to be a lot of New Yorkers on the list...and even more east coasters. This wasn't intentional...purely the luck of the draw.) received a two quart stainless steel colander. I hope she enjoys the meals that are drained with it!
  • Ernest Bornheimer of San Diego, CA wished for and received the "Tremolo" CD by My Bloody Valentine. Sounds like interesting tunes. I hope he enjoys it. Oh, by the way, the search term was Ernest and hey, the West Coast is finally heard from!
  • Kitty Fitzsimmons of Warwick, NY wished for the "50 Below Zero" paperback. It was about that cold her today with the windchill factor. Again, how could I resist?!
  • Kid Peevey of Bryan Texas requested the "How to Draw Pokemon, How to Catch 'em All" book. I don't think that "Kid" is the real name of the person getting the package, in fact I think it was a grandmom surfing for her grandkids. Well, this ought to help flesh out the gifts for them!
  • Shizuka Gannon of Hayward, California wanted "Halloween ABC". Sure, Halloween is over, but Halloween is good all year long!
  • Cassandra Wallace of Huntington Beach, CA received the classic, "A Tale of Two Cities." It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Not much more needed than that!
  • Constance Dehais of Cumberland, Maine received the novel, "The Body in the Bog." I don't know the book nor the author, but ya gotta love a spooky title like that. It's probably about migrant workers in the cranberry bogs for all I know. :-)
That wraps up my Holiday Hooligans for this year. I hope all of the secret Santa gifts are received in good spirits. I can imagine the surprise and confusion that some recipients will probably go through, but hey, then they might realize that's it's not a BAD thing to be a Holiday Hooligan's "victim".

Monday, December 11, 2000

We've been having some beautiful snow the past couple of days. A few days of big fluffy flakes....you know, the kind where you can actually see individually fabulous snowflakes? Well, the other day when I was out I was looking at the flakes that fell upon my sleeve, I actually found two that looked identical. I was so excited!! I know that some lab found a couple that disproved the theory that all snowflakes are unique. So very excited...I breathed in and then out...well, lets just say the water droplets looked pretty much the same too. ;-)

Saturday, December 02, 2000

Breaking away from movies for a minute...here's a fabulous recipe that I wholeheartedly recommend for those of you doing some holiday cooking...especially for those of you giving baked goods/candies as a gift. These keep well, taste nummy and are easy to make:

Soft Caramels

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
In a 4-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients except for the vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until butter is melted and the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees F or a small amount of the liquid dropped into water forms a firm ball. This could take a while...up to an hour!
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered 9x13in pan. Cool. Cut into small 1x1.5 inch pieces and wrap with plastic wrap. Makes about 6 dozen!

I made these tonight...I don't know yet if they came out...the first pint of whipping cream I used was a bit curdled. I had to guess as to how much cream actually went into the recipe and replace the remainder with fresh cream. The curdled cream was two days past the expiration...surely not enough to curdle the whole damn thing. Oh, well, good thing I made 'em early enough to have a failed batch, eh? I hope you're all well!

Three quick 2 second movie reviews
  • Unbreakable -- A look at extremes of the human condition and one man's obsession with another's being seemingly "unbreakable" in contrast to his own frailty. Comic book hero/villain qualities or simply being born lucky and/or unlucky? It's a film with excellent casting...Bruce Willis as the "unbreakable" one and Samuel Jackson as the man who would be glass. The movie's major failure --tries to hard to be "arty" at times to where the direction interferes with the telling of the story. Overall a thought provoking film with a fairly shocking twist near the end. B+
  • Bounce -- I liked this one A LOT. An emotionally charged piece with Ben Affleck and Gwenyth Paltrow falling in love as they come to terms with their roles in Ms. Paltrow's husband's death in a plane crash. Ms. Paltrow pleaded with her hubby to make it home for a holiday outing and Mr. Affleck gave his ticket to the hubby so that he could score with a chick at the bar and so that the hubby could make it home for the holiday outing. All of the characters realistically flawed and genuinely likeable in their failings. The survivors meet and lie to each other about their circumstances and then end up falling in love. Of course the reality of the situation needs to come to the surface at some point, right? Well, it does and that's where things get sticky. What is right to say and what is wrong. How much should one sacrifice for love? etc, etc. Bottom line -- a faboo chick flick that guys will enjoy too. A-
  • Tao of Steve -- A wee art house film that for me, fell a wee bit flat. It was an enjoyable one and a half hours, but was it the popcorn or the movie? The Steve Tao is a phillosophy that the main character lives by...basically it's an ultimate plan to get laid by being cool. Like Steve McQueen, or Steve McGarrett or Steve Austin. I did enjoy the transformation of the main character from thoughtless "steve" to a pained emotional human...that alone was worth the price of admission. B-

Friday, December 01, 2000

Only in Minnesota can you find so many men proud to wear royal purple...