throwback thursday: posts from picky's archives... with a little something new thrown in

August 17, 2017

so i know i've talked a lot about my great uncle and the monastery at which he had resided for some sixty years. it closes in about two weeks. he is ninety years old. he is not doing well. my parents have property in colorado. they drove up there this past weekend, and then drove to utah to see him, to get him situated in an assisted living facility.

this isn't how i wanted it to be for him. for them. he is the last of my grandmother's siblings to leave us. i wanted just one of those remarkable, charismatic people to go peacefully, and of the eight of them, he is most deserving of that. he's spent his life serving god, serving others. and now his heart is failing him. i'm not ready for this chapter of my life to end just yet. i'm not ready for him to go.

i was reading posts by others who are celebrating their blogiversaries. it made me want to dig into my archives a bit. the oldest post i've kept is from june sixteenth. nine years ago.

taken near holy trinity abbey in huntsville, utah

i took this photo a long, long time ago during one of my family's winter visits with my great uncle. i was riding in the passenger seat, running errands with a relative. i snapped this shot of a box elder tree on a ranch as we made our way toward huntsville from the abbey. there were cattle under that tree, but the snow was so deep you could barely see them. i call it reach. i wish i could reach into heaven and hug the greats one more time. i wish they were here. i wish that his passing would come more quickly, more easily. he's hurting, and we're all helpless to stop it.

the help

August 15, 2017

why i wanted to read it: because erin sent it to me years ago... and because one of the categories for her challenge was a book that had a yellow cover.

what i liked: she rubs the cream in my hair with both hands. i can practically feel the hope in her fingers (page 128).

"minny, i don't car if celia never lifts another finger for the rest of her life... i don't care if she can cook. i just want her here --" he shrugs. "with me" (page 162).

i turn out all the lamps, the television, every electricity sucker downstairs save the refrigerator. i stand in front of the window and unbutton my blouse. carefully i turn the dial to three. because i long to feel nothing. i want to be frozen inside. i want the icy cold to blow directly on my heart.

the power blows out in about three seconds (page 325).

i sit down at my typewriter.

but i cannot type. i stare at the tiny gray squares of the back porch screen. i stare so hard, i slip through them. i feel something inside me crack open. i am vaporous. i am crazy. i am deaf to that stupid, silent phone. deaf to mother's retching in the house. her voice through the window. "i'm fine, carlton, it's passed." i hear it all, and yet i hear nothing. just a high buzzing in my ears (page 331).

"going from hilly to celia must've been quite the change, johnny."

johnny shakes his head. "like living in antarctica all my life and one day moving to hawaii" (page 386).

what sucked: nothing really. i'd seen the movie ages ago, so i'm more partial to certain scenes in the film than i am to their respective parts in the book, but... it's a pretty solid story.

having said that: i like all the characters, save for hilly and elizabeth. but even they are well-developed. it's rare that an author can evoke such animosity for a character in me, and yet... i can admire the author her ability to have fashioned these women. hilly is a vile human being for all her hate and elizabeth is equally so for all her cowardice. i listened to it on audio, which is why i don't have as many snippets to share with you of the things i liked, and every time the disc ended (i borrowed it from the library, yall), i was both annoyed by the interruption and sad because the story had stopped. also, if you do the audio, octavia spencer reads minny's parts, and the gal who reads the secret life of bees reads skeeter's. it's a damned fine story. i'm glad to have read it.

tuesday topics: five. things you love about your state

photo by erich schlegel / dallas morning news
one. the spirit of aggieland. so this is what we look like when we're at our best. sixteen years ago. september twenty-second. the aggies vs. oklahoma state. tens of thousands of shirts sold so kyle field could look like this. tens of thousands of dollars raised to support first responders in new york city and their families. sometimes i think we've forgotten just how good we can be. sometimes i wonder why it takes tragedy to bring out the best in us. more of this please, america. less preaching, more patriotism. please, god, more of this. anyway... some of my happiest days have been spent at kyle field. it's hard not feel good about the world and your place in it when you're standing in that stadium.

two. the diversity of geography. there's a beach to the south, forests to the north, hill country to the west, and beyond that desert then mountains. yes, mountains. guadalupe peak's nearly nine thousand feet above sea level, yall. it's not pikes peak, no, but it's not some rinky dink hill, either.

three. dr. pepper.

four. whataburger. in-n-out burger can suck it.

five. the come and take it flag. flown at the battle of gonzales, the first military engagement of the texas revolution. october second, eighteen thirty-five. mexico wanted their cannon back.

what things do you love about your state? share them with me!

what's up, weekend?

August 11, 2017

so the things for which i am most grateful this week is the conversation i had with one of the gals at pappadeaux's. i've spent a significant bit of time this week typing up the pages i'd written in the past six weeks or so. pages, by the way, that i'd been happy to have written then, but upon review proved to be thoroughly disheartening. i ended up deleting half the shit i'd typed. why? because when i told her how much i was hating having to type them, she told me not to type them, then. and we got to talking about why i hated them, and she said that what i had one of my characters doing didn't sound like the sort of thing he would do at all. and she's right. it's not at all the kind of thing he would do. it's what i would expect most guys to do, but he's not most guys. my girl's the bitch in this book, yall. my boy's a sweetheart. he would never react the way i had him reacting, and THAT is why the pages were so shitty. THAT is why i was hating typing them. of course, i have yet to figure out how he WOULD react to this particular circumstances, but... at least i know it's not that way. it's like i was given permission to go against the grain on this one. like it's okay that my guy do things differently. i love that she called me out on it, or whatever. 

after i'd typed the pages i decided were worthy enough, i yanked every one of them out and wadded them up (i'm sure the folks dining in the booths behind me were thrilled... i was making quite the show of this... it felt so good to trash those pages, yall). i walked a majority of them to the trash can. i tried to throw the last two like i was shooting hoops. one of the bartenders was cleaning up the service bar as i did this and observed. i missed. both times. i didn't like that she called me out on that. whatever.

so anyway, while i'm mulling over how to fix this particular chapter, i spent the day binging on ncis: new orleans. i'd not watched much television the past few months, unless it was movies, so there are LOT of episodes stored. i killed blue bloods, ncis and ncis: los angeles earlier this week.

this weekend i plan on doing nothing but writing and watching elementary and madam secretary. and GAME OF THRONES. last week, yall. DAMN.

check out the peaceful posse on facebook, yall.

belated booksgiving

August 10, 2017

so a few months ago the bloggess wrote this post and invited her readers to participate in what she calls booksgiving. someone sent me a copy of furiously happy, but i don't know who was kind enough to do so. i don't need to know. the who doesn't matter. i've been meaning to acknowledge the gift, but i'm a forgetful gal, and expressing gratitude isn't my forte. but it made me so happy to see that book in my mailbox. so you, whomever you are, your having sent that book was a big bright spot. thank you for putting some sunshine in my day.

the fall film challenge: my list

August 8, 2017

one. starring anthony hopkins. howard's end.
three. about charity. megan leavey.
four. starring robert downey, jr. spider-man: homecoming.
five. about envy. snow white and the huntsman.
six. about faith. war room.
seven. about greed. the wolf of wall street.
eight. about hope. creed.
nine. starring jeremy irons. their finest.
ten. about justice. the book of henry.
eleven. starring kevin bacon. footloose.
twelve. about lust. don jon.
thirteen. starring ian mckellen. mr. holmes.
fourteen. set in a castle. elizabeth.
fifteen. about fortitude. room.
sixteen. about pride. the founder.
seventeen. starring alan rickman. bottle shock.
eighteen. released last year and reviewed on jackie.
nineteen. about temperance. gifted.
twenty. about prudence. the case for christ.
twenty-one. starring val kilmer. kiss kiss bang bang.
twenty-two. about wrath. logan.
twenty-three. set in an exotic locale. pirates of the caribbean: dead men tell no tales.
twenty-four. about gluttony. chef.
twenty-five. set in space. the space between us.

tuesday topics: six. best country songs

i stayed up late last night going over the songs in my collection, trying to whittle it to the six. i was at it again this morning, scouring lists. waylon and willie should be on here. hank. randy or george or clint. tim and faith. dolly or patsy. reba. i should've picked one singer, like garth, and made yall choose six by that one artist. that would've been a shit ton easier. in the end, i went through my list of the best hundred songs and pulled six country ones i liked most off that.

wolves. garth brooks.

i'm gonna love you through it. martina mcbride.

fire away. chris stapleton.

pour me. trick pony.

here's a quarter. travis tritt.

the song remembers when. trisha yearwood.

what country songs do you like best? share them with me!

motion picture monday

August 6, 2017

released: 1992.
starring: kevin bacon, tom cruise, jack nicholson.
what makes it awesome: the story and jack.

released: 1995.
starring: kevin bacon, christian slater, gary oldman.
what makes it awesome: the story and this is probably kevin's best role.

released: 1995.
starring: kevin bacon, tom hanks, ed harris.
what makes it awesome: the story and the cast.

four. sleepers.
released: 1996.
starring: kevin bacon, dustin hoffman, robert de niro.
what makes it awesome: next to the count of monte cristo, this is the best example i know of karma kicking ass. and the cast is one of the best ever assembled.

released: 1997.
starring: kevin bacon, jennifer aniston, jay mohr.
what makes it awesome: it's kind of silly, and after sleepers, silly is a wonderful thing.

released: 2011.
starring: kevin bacon, emma stone, ryan gosling.
what makes it awesome: emma and ryan.

seven. patriots day.
released: 2016.
starring: kevin bacon, john goodman, mark wahlberg.
what makes it awesome: the story.

tuesday topics: seven. places you'd most like to visit

July 31, 2017

one. salzkammergut, austria. that region in particular looks especially lovely, like a fairytale. as proud as i am of my welsh roots, i'm fondest of that branch of the family tree. i'd really like to see that land.
two. monterey, california. in college i discovered nora roberts' novels. the one i favor most is a trilogy about three women -- margo, kate and laura -- raised like they were sisters near the cliffs of big sur. everything i've heard said it's ridiculously crowded and ungodly expensive, and i'd likely have a horrible anxiety attack and be queen bitch to everyone within a fifty mile radius because of it, but... i still want to see it.
three. athens, greeceathena's territory. and athena -- goddess of wisdom and war -- has always been my favorite.
four. aran islands, ireland. all of county galway, really. there's irish blood in me, too. lord knows the irish lot would be incensed that i'd bothered to tour wales, that i'd picked that country over theirs.
five. matamata, new zealand. also called hobbiton. because i'm more fascinated by the work that went into making this film set than any other.
six. aberdeen, scotland. and there's the scot branch of the tree. because god forbid i should neglect that bit of heritage and not see that countryside. 
seven. aldabra atoll, seychelles. glorious beaches. all i need's a hammock, a great book and some sunscreen for this pale celtic skin of mine, and then leave me be for a good while to appreciate the bliss.

where would you go? share your travel hopes with me!

motion picture monday

released: 1985.
starring: val kilmer, gabriel jarret, william atherton.
what makes it awesome: val.

two. top gun.
released: 1986.
starring: val kilmer, anthony edwards, tom cruise.
what makes it awesome: tom and anthony.

released: 1991.
starring: anthony hopkins, ted levine, jodie foster.
what makes it awesome: this is hands down the best film adaptation of a novel i have ever seen. and jodie and anthony are AMAZING.

four. tombstone.
released: 1993.
starring: val kilmer, michael biehn, sam elliott.
what makes it awesome: val.

five. heat.
released: 1995.
starring: val kilmer, al pacino, robert de niro.
what makes it awesome: al and robert.

six. proof.
released: 2005.
starring: anthony hopkins, gwyneth paltrow, jake gyllenhaal.
what makes it awesome: the story.

released: 2013.
starring: anthony hopkins, tom hiddleston, chris hemsworth.
what makes it awesome: tom and chris.

the fall film challenge

July 27, 2017

begins one minute past twelve a.m. september first / concludes midnight november thirtieth. you may NOT use a movie you have already seen, even in part (excluding trailers), for this challenge. all films MUST be new to you. each title chosen for the challenge may be used ONLY ONCE, i.e. a movie used for the starring robert downey, jr. category may not be used for the about pride category. all selections MUST have a page on the internet movie database and MUST have (had) a theatrical release. made for television movies are not allowed.

to be eligible for prizes, you must be a member of the fall film challenge facebook group. there are nine photo albums on the group's page. those galleries, arranged by decade, contain a collective eleven hundred film stills, many of which represent selections from previous challenges. once a challenger has seen a film, he or she leaves a comment on the photo saying when it was viewed and for what category so i can track progress.

with regard to scoring, i've altered the deal this year. as in the past, each film is valued at ten points. however, new this year, if you choose a film selected AND viewed by another for a previous challenge -- see kathryn's comment in the above photo -- you'll get an additional two points. for every change you make to your list, you lose three points, so choose wisely. 

the first five people to complete the challenge prior to november thirtieth will each receive a redbox gift card valued at ten dollars. if you complete the original list, you will be eligible to compete in the bonus round, the details of which will be revealed october fifteenth. the person to accumulate the most points will receive an amazon gift card valued at fifty dollars. 

once you've joined the group and selected your films for the categories, post your list to the group's page or email it to criticalcrass at me dot com so i may add your selections to a master list and, if necessary, upload the correlating stills to the galleries. posting of the list is another requirement for prize eligibility.

the categories:

one. starring anthony hopkins.
three. about charity: an organization, an individual, a cause, an act... interpret this as you will.
four. starring robert downey, jr.
five. about envy: a character, a plot device... use your imagination.
six. about faith. 
seven. about greed.
eight. about hope.
nine. starring jeremy irons.
ten. about justice.
eleven. starring kevin bacon.
twelve. about lust.
thirteen. starring ian mckellen.
fourteen. set in a castle.
fifteen. about fortitude.
sixteen. about pride.
seventeen. starring alan rickman.
eighteen. released last year and reviewed on
nineteen. about temperance.
twenty. about prudence.
twenty-one. starring val kilmer.
twenty-two. about wrath.
twenty-three. set in an exotic locale.
twenty-four. about gluttony.
twenty-five. set in space.

in the past i've given yall helpful links. you're on your own this time. get to it.

tuesday topics: eight. characters you loathe

July 24, 2017

one. ray in a walk among the tombstones. portrayed by david harbour in the film based on the lawrence block novel. ray and his friend albert have taken it upon themselves to wreak havoc on the lives of drug dealers, kidnapping their wives and demanding ransoms, but when given the ransoms, the wives' dead bodies are delivered like a drug shipment, chopped up and packaged in bags. ray creeps me the fuck out. his friend albert's a worse person who should scare me more, but albert's kind of a quiet one. when ray speaks, my skin crawls. this movie is so gruesome and troubling that if i so much as see the text on the guide screen as i'm flipping through channels, i feel a shadow of the dread ray evoked. by the way... that photo, i'm pretty sure that's in a scene where he picks off a little girl because the drug dealer's wife is confined to a hospital bed. i'm not gonna watch it again to confirm that. but if i'm right... there's not much torture in killing someone near death. but happy, healthy innocence... there's a fine way to twist a knife.

two. trent in the way way back. played by steve carell in the film written by nat faxon and jim rush. here's a douchebag dating a gal who's led herself to believe he is the best she can do. because this asshat sees himself as a ten. he and his daughter and she and her son named duncan are on the way to his beach house for a summer vacation, where he'll ignore his daughter, cheat on his girlfriend with the wife of one of his good friends and do his damnedest to whittle his girlfriend's son's ego so it's next to nothing. the film opens with trent asking duncan to rate himself on a scale of one to ten. when duncan says that he's a six, trent says he's a three and that he should use the time at the beach house to raise his score.

three. loretta creswood in pump up the volume. portrayed by annie ross in the film written by allan moyle. she's the new (i think... it's been ages since i've watched this one) principal at hubert humphrey high school, and her priority is getting as much funding from the government as she can, which means getting rid of the students who don't test well... students she refers to as losers. when she discovers the existence of a pirated, nightly radio broadcast, one that encourages students to act out, the number of students she expels increases dramatically. the boy behind the broadcast becomes even bolder as he tries to uncover her scheme, and she, in turn, becomes even more desperate.

four. ted hendricks in the secret life of walter mitty. played by adam scott in the film based on the james thurber short story. because life magazine is ceasing print publication, a majority of the staff are (is? can't remember... probably is, but whatever) being let go, and hendricks leads the transition team. he is SO, SO full of himself. an immature asshole of the lowest order (that's not from the movie. that's a line from the cutting edge spoken by moira kelly's character, but it SO suits this guy). i find him so despicably pompous that whenever i see scott in another film, i've a hard time separating the character in that film from this one. (i know. he's in parks and rec. i don't watch that show, but i imagine his character on that program is just as pathetic.) 

five. hilly holbrook in the help. portrayed by bryce dallas howard in the film based on the kathryn stockett novel. there is so much hate in this woman. so much. she is utterly, maddeningly vile. it's not enough that she hates, she has to force her friends to hate all the things she hates, too, and if they don't submit to her wishes, she'll unleash her hatred on them... she'll have the whole community hating those whom she determines to be hateful. she is, as aibileen says, a godless woman, and hell can't claim her kind soon enough.

six. fernand mondego in the count of monte cristo. played by guy pearce in the film based on the alexandre dumas novel. here's a guy who's envious of his best friend, so much so that he frames edmond, has him imprisoned and marries his fiancee. moments before edmond is arrested, he asks fernando the reason for his betrayal. because you're the son of a clerk, fernando says, and i am not supposed to want to be you. how ironic that his efforts to have all the things edmond had lead to his demise.

seven. mr. nolan in dead poets society. portrayed by norman lloyd in the film written by tom schulman. one of the world's worst teachers, and somehow he'd managed to become the headmaster of the place. he's so weak that when the father of a boy who'd taken his life rather than die the slow death in the life his parents had planned for him, when that father chooses to lay the blame on the feet of robin william's john keating and demand his termination, the headmaster sides with the father. he is a weak, pathetic, bully of a man, too eager to cling to the way things have always been done, too heavily immersed in his own opinions that he can't see the merit of others. too greedy for power. and in the end my heart is pleased that a group of youngsters, inspired by all they have learned from keating, take control of the classroom, and it takes that pompous weasel nolan quite some time to reclaim it.

eight. sean nokes in sleepers. played by kevin bacon in the film based on the lorenzo carcaterra novel. nokes is a guard at a juvenile detention facility. he beats and rapes the boys there. he encourages other guards to do so, as well. and when karma comes for him, i'm glad to see it happen. really, really glad.

what characters make you cringe? share them with me!

motion picture monday

July 23, 2017

one. less than zero.
released: 1987.
starring: robert downey, jr., andrew mccarthy, james spader.
what makes it awesome: rdj's performance is haunting.
two. heart and souls.
released: 1993.
starring: rdj, tom sizemore, kyra sedgwick.
what makes it awesome: it's kind of silly. and every now and then you need a silly, and sweet, movie in your life.
three. only you.
released: 1994.
starring: rdj, marisa tomei, bonnie hunt.
what makes it awesome: also silly and sweet. and he's especially adorable here.
four. iron man.
released: 2008.
starring: rdj, jeff bridges, terrence howard.
what makes it awesome: rdj. no one could do tony stark better than this dude.
five. sherlock holmes.
released: 2009.
starring: rdj, jude law, rachel mcadams.
what makes it awesome: rdj as sherlock and law as watson.
six. the avengers.
released: 2012.
starring: rdj, chris hemsworth, jeremy renner.
what makes it awesome: the a handful of hot men with mad, mad skills.
seven. the judge.
released: 2014.
starring: rdj, robert duvall, billy bob thornton.
what makes it awesome: the story. and rdj, of course.

tuesday topics: nine. games you love to play

July 17, 2017

one. asshole. so i'm not one for drinking games, but this one, also called president, is pretty cool. the first person to get rid of his or her cards is the president, the next is vice president, and the last is the asshole, who for the duration of the next round has to do everything everybody else says. i'm almost always the asshole.

two. heads up. i'd only learned of this game when we were in colorado last month. my sister-in-law introduced me to it. it's pretty fun, minus the holding a phone to your face bit.

three. hearts. all or nothing. my kind of game.

four. phase ten. this card game takes a LONG time to play, which is probably why i love it. that, and i usually win. :]

five. pokeno. a friend introduced me to this one a few months ago. SO much fun. it's kind of like bingo. my friends pair it with a white elephant gift exchange. good times.

six. scrabble. i hardly ever lose at this. also my kind of game.

seven. sequence. a game that combines cards and a board? count me in.

eight. spades. i learned of this game as a child at my great uncle's monastery. the folks would put us down for bed, and then my grandmother and her sons and daughters would gather round a table and she'd kick all their asses. it sounded like so much fun. they'd never let us play. and of course, by the time i was old enough, they'd grown tired of it. LOVE this game, though.

nine. splendor. this one's my favorite. i SUCK at this game, yall, but i never get tired of playing it.

what are your favorites? share them with me!