Thursday, March 31, 2005

Nanny-nanny-boo-boo moments

1. I got to go see a free preview of Sin City at the Senator Theatre the other night, and you didn't.

It was hideously beautiful. Without the comic book stylization the violence probably would have bothered me. I was not a fan of Kill Bill Vol. 1, though I liked Vol. 2, since it at least made a half-hearted effort at characterization. I found the violence in Vol. 1 relentless and ultimately tedious.

With Sin City, I felt like I was watching a live comic book, as opposed to watching a movie about a comic book character, a la Spiderman, Batman, or--urp!--Daredevil. Yes, the visuals, dialogue, and acting were highly stylized and unnatural--that's what made it a profound moviegoing experience for me and Chris. Our friends hated it. You might hate it, too, but it's worth the risk.


2. Radical Love, or, my state is better than your country.

Last week the Maryland Senate passed a bill to give medical decision-making rights to all unmarried couples who sign onto a domestic registry. The House of Delegates passed a similar bill overwhelmingly last year, so it's as good as passed at this point.

The Maryland Catholic Conference (who should be condemned just for having the worst blinking text offense in website history--seriously, go look at it, but epileptics be warned) lobbied against the bill, saying it was "really about promoting the radical homosexual agenda."

This would be the first time someone would have the explicit right to visit his or her partner in the hospital, as there are no legal documents available to spell out that right.

Dan Furmansky of Equality Maryland said, "I guess if wanting to be in the hospital room with your loved one at a time of illness is part of the radical homosexual agenda, then we're guilty as charged."

I love my State. It's the only reason I haven't become Canadian yet. Deposing Governer Ehrlich gives me something to look forward to besides wars and deficits and the gradual dismemberment of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

My real job calls

Trying to catch up on my novel writing. Got more than one day behind due to a cold and holiday traveling (funny how even though a laptop is portable, my brain really isn't). So the German part of me insists I get some discipline and not blog until I'm caught up.

But I've been thinking 'boutcha and have all sorts of stuff to share that's come to my attention. Be back with a blogging bonanza probably by Thursday.

now Schnell, schnell!

Okay, okay...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Peep show

Easter's such fun due in large part to the prevalence of Peeps!
--product listing at fredflare.com
Gee, and I thought it was all a big Resurrection party.

My sistah-in-law Adrian alerted me to a new product: Peeps Marshmallow Maker.

Yes, you, in the sanctity of your own home or behavioral health institution, can make your own marshmallow Peeps. What you do with them afterwards is still protected by privacy laws in most states.

I was quite surprised to see this product on the market. I thought that all 7.5 trillion marshmallow Peeps had already been manufactured back in 1937 (by the same company that makes fruitcakes and circus peanuts), and that they've been selling off the overstock ever since. I figured the formula had been hurled into the mouth of an active volcano to prevent history from repeating itself. I assumed the Manhattan Project was involved somehow.

Anyway, if you choose to purchase this product, remember that bringing a Peep into the world entails a sacred responsibility. Studies have shown them to be susceptible to the same temptations that plague our human youth. Give your Peeps the emotional support they need to make the right choices.

Or, just eat them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Doin' the Deaky

So I'm heading into my fourth day with "Squeaky Deaky" stuck in my head (occasionally interrupted by the Russian number from Riverdance--it's amazing I sleep). I noticed yesterday as I went about my chores that the singer's mellow, harmless little voice had started crooning alternate lyrics, namely pop ballad couplets a la Roy Orbison.
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
Don't you understand
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
I wanna be your man
I swear that I actually hear the guy's voice singing these lyrics--it's not my own head voice doing it, and it happened totally unbidden.
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
Come on and stay the night
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
It's gonna be all right
(I should add here that I've grown to sort of love the "Squeaky Deaky" song, and highly recommend purchasing the CD, Songs to Make Dogs Happy, which on Monday was #48 on Amazon.com. The song "Scratch My Back" is really cute.)
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
I knew right from the start
Squeaky deaky (squeak squeak squeak)
That you would break my heart
I'm sure it won't be long before the lyrics start to turn dark and/or suggestive. Check back for updates on my descent into madness.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Vernal Equinox

Lord of the springtime, Father of flower, field and fruit, smile on us in these earnest days when the work is heavy and the toil wearisome, lift up our hearts, O God, to the things worthwhile--sunshine and night, the dripping rain, the song of the birds, books and music, and the voices of our friends. Lift up our hearts to these this night and grant us Thy peace. Amen.
--W.E.B. Dubois

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Kill. Me. Now.

Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
I love my squeaky toy
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
It makes me jump for joy
Someone on my greyhound listserv posted a link to this NPR bit about a hot new CD for dogs, called Songs to Make Dogs Happy. The above-quoted song, "Squeakey Deakey," is the #1 hit off this new CD. I wasn't aware there was a different Billboard chart for each species, but okay. I played this tune that's supposed to be all the rage with the Rovers to see what Meadow would do. Upon hearing the squeak toy sound effects scattered throughout the song, she immediately went to the back door. This could mean one of three things:

1) the song made her think of her rubber squeaky ball, which lives outside
2) the song made her think of other things that squeak when you bite them, like baby bunnies, which also live outside
3) she wanted to escape the clutches of this song before it devoured her sanity

While she isn't what I would call the world's most intelligent dog, I now credit her with possessing the survival instincts I so clearly lack, because all day this song has been jammed into a deep part of my brain where no neurosurgeon can safely venture.

I went to work and organized my boss's business expenses for tax season. Beneath the tapping of the spreadsheet-filling keyboard lurked
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
Roll it on the ground
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
I love that squeaky sound
I came home and over dinner discussed with my husband the political and philosophical ramifications of the Terry Schiavo case. Yet I felt detached from the conversation, because my mind couldn't grapple with the complex moral issues involved. It was too busy thinking
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
Always makes me laugh
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
Playing in the grass
And now I'm trying to write a particularly intense scene for my new book. The main character is alone in the forest on a vision quest-type experience. To give the scene the depth it deserves, I need to be in a state of spiritual awareness, a place of otherworldly serenity. But the Muzak player in the back corner of my head keeps churning out on infinite "Repeat,"
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
I love to play along
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
I love to squeak the song
Go ahead. Listen to it. I dare you. You'll think, "Oh, that's cute" or silly, or whatever, yet you'll be compelled to hum along and finish the entire two minutes and thirty-four seconds. Then you'll turn it off and give it no more thought.

But just wait until 3:45 a.m., when you wake to get a drink of water or pay a visit to the loo.

It will be there.

Waiting.

Perhaps in a minor key....

Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
Makes me jump for joy
Squeakey deakey (squeak squeak squeak)
I love my squeaky toy!

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Rabbit Rap

Before Holy Week starts and we get all carried away with the real meaning of Easter, let's get our bunny on.

Aw, yeah....

Thursday, March 17, 2005

End of a March too short

A vocation is a "yes" that requires a thousand "no's."
--Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley
In the last (I think) of my St. Patrick's Day-themed posts, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley announced Sunday that he's leaving the Irish rock band he's led since 1988, O'Malley's March. If you live in the area and get a chance to see them, I've heard they're fantastic. We plan to go tomorrow to their show at An Poitin Stil (though Chris doesn't know it yet--I'll tell him when he wakes up, or he can find out by reading this blog).

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Seven Bad Things About Being Irish:

1. Always make the bad lists first
2. Temper
3. Freckles
4. Never talk about our feelings when sober
5. Defensive
6. Blame others for our problems
7. Hate our bodies

Seven Good Things About Being Irish:

1. Not afraid to cry
2. Good hair
3. Age gracefully
4. Throw a brilliant party
5. Quick with a warm, dazzling smile
6. Make fantastic music
7. Love life in all its bittersweetness

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

They did it

In what has got to be the strongest temptation yet for me to break my no-profanity policy, the Senate has effectively approved oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, thus changing the definition of word "refuge" forever, from "a place of shelter or protection" to "a place where your babies will choke on the poisonous effluence of the robber barons and their political whores who don't realize how much God hates their everliving guts now."


Hmm, that was actually more satisfying than just saying f*** over and over again the way I wanted to. Someone should tell Chris Rock.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Worst Song Ever Written

"We Built This City" by Starship.

For this reason, I do not recommend sitting too long in the lobby of the Wyndham Hotel O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. When I was there for Windycon, I brought my laptop to the lobby to take advantage of their wireless network. Within one hour, I heard this song three times. I had to leave before my brains started leaking out my ears.

Apparently VH1 agreed with me about "We Built This City," but I take little comfort in validation from a network whose lineup is currently 97% countdown shows (Tonight: "The 100 Best Music Video Reptiles"--in conjunction with Animal Planet) and "Where Are They Now?" features (Tonight, on "Does Anyone Care?": NELSON!)

So what's your least favorite song?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

So much for that

I suddenly have lots of free time in March.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Remember Madrid

11 March 2004

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Requiem brags

I just finished my periodic self-Google (doctors recommend this procedure monthly) and discovered a couple of things that made me happy.

Award-winning paranormal romance author P.C. Cast has listed Requiem for the Devil on her favorite book list. It's under the list entitled: "These novels are close to my heart, brought me to tears, made me wish I'd written them" along with some truly amazing authors like Tanith Lee, Diana Gabaldon, Dean Koontz and Christopher Moore. Little Nobody Jeri Smith-Ready sits in the middle of all these luminaries, kinda like that one burnt potato chip in every bag.

I'm especially flattered because I read Goddess of Spring by Ms. Cast a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. The main character, a woman who runs an Italian bakery, switches places with the goddess Persephone and gets sent to the underworld to put a little life into the brooding god Hades. It's funny, beautiful and has quite the stallion of a leading man. A poignant twist on the Orpheus/Eurydice myth was particularly moving.

Hmmm...Hades, Lucifer. I guess we have similar tastes?

I don't know why, but it freaks me out in the loveliest way when people I've never met tell the world that I entertained them. God bless Google.

In other Requiem news, it's still in the top 25 best-selling Dark Fantasies on Fictionwise.com after nearly four years, up there with Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, and some guy named Stephen King. It's also the 17th highest rated on that site, if you eliminate the ones with fewer than five ratings (which is how Fictionwise ranks them). People are continuing to buy it after all these years, and in steadily increasing numbers.

Apparently some people fancy those burnt potato chips.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gwen, Part Five: Countdown to Adoption

Only 43 hours left until Gwen's new parents come to pick her up, although some of those hours (not as many as I would like) will be spent sleeping.

A few final thoughts:

1. For future fosters, I'd like to get one of those factory floor signs where you flip the numbers to indicate "X Accident-Free Days." Ours would say 4.
2. I wish most electronic products and automobiles were as indestructible as Meadow's talking bunny. Gwen has made it a personal goal to tear the butt-fur off of this thing for a week now, with no luck.
3. Even the most mundane occurrences, like the phone ringing or a cat having a hairball, are magic when viewed through a puppy's eyes.

Hang on, she's asleep--I better get back to writing.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

10x10 - A Marriage of Art & Technology

Here's a very cool website I read about in the Baltimore Sun. Called 10x10, it manages to capture a single moment in world history, over and over and over again.

How it works: every hour, the site scans news feeds and does a weighted linguistic analysis of the text in the top stories, enabling it to judge the hour's most important words. Each word is then associated with a photo image, all hundred of which form a collage on the web site. If you drag your mouse over the image, the corresponding word is enlarged.

Well, you just have to see it. You need the Flash 6 plug-in to view it. If you don't have it, click here to get the free download from Macromedia.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Music Trivia Hour!

Name a rock song written in 7/4 time. I know of at least two correct answers, but there are probably many more.

As a prize, the winner gets to explain what 7/4 time means.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Gwen, Part Four

You should use your brain
but you don't have one.
And when it comes to sense
you don't have none.
Yo, yo, you should know where I'm coming from
But you're just dumb, [diddy] dumb [diddy diddy] dumb dumb
Dumb girl.
Dumb-dumb, dumb dumb-dumb, dumb, d-dumb
--Run DMC, "Dumb Girl"

Gwen has spent the last two minutes barking at the puppy on the other side of the glass sliding door. You know the one--the puppy who wags her tail whenever Gwen wags her tail, and play-bows whenever Gwen play-bows.

It's the same puppy who lives on the other side of the mirror.

Sigh....

UPDATE 3/6/05: Gwen has begun herding birds. Not the ones on the ground, but the ones flying through the air. They are not impressed.

UPDATE 3/7/05: Gwen was dismayed to discover this morning that in addition to the Looking Glass and Sliding Door Pups, there is also a puppy inside the oven.

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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hedging my bets

It's not a black and white world
To be alive I say the colors must be swirled
And I believe that maybe today
We will all get to appreciate
The beauty of gray.
---Live, "The Beauty of Gray"

You always knew I was the indecisive type, right? A over-deliberative fence-sitter who can't even pick between Coke and Pepsi (though I can tell them apart in a blind taste-test, I can't decide which one I like better).


When I take online tests to determine whether I'm a pessimist or optimist, introverted or extroverted, right- or left-brained, I always come out smack dab in the middle (I definitely like the phrase "smack dab"--no deliberation needed). I'm probably that one woman capable of being "sorta pregnant."

Even my home page is a sideliner in the battle between the forces of light and darkness. According to the analysis of the Gematriculator, my web site is 50% Good and 50% Evil. I even got little buttons to prove it:

This site is certified 50% EVIL by the Gematriculator

This site is certified 50% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Note: if you click on them, it will analyze this blog page, not my home page. As the blog is updated, the good/evil ratio will change. Fun!!

You can analyze any page on the web (Sorry, Rob,
your blog came up 60% good--that's going to hurt your street cred) or even a passage from your favorite book. For example, when I plugged in the text of Leviticus 18:22 (those 15 little words, a few pages after the exhortations against mildew, that justify conservative wingnuts' homophobia), it came out 94% evil. By contrast, this passage from Mark 12:30-31:
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. (New International Version)

received a 75% Good rating. The first paragraph of the front book flap of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix rated a 73% Good.

And my name? According to the Gematriculator, "Jeri Lynn Smith-Ready" is 99% Good.

All together now: Awwwww...

NEW RELEASE!

This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**

More about THIS SIDE OF SALVATION

Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.com.

NOW AVAILABLE!

Shattered

"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

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