Friday, October 31, 2008

"Who is Gene Kelly?"

"Gene was among the wonders of the 20th century."-- Stanley Donen

"He could do anything... and did everything."-- Debbie Reynolds

"Gene was one of a kind. He revolutionized dancing in film...[he] was a disciplinarian and a perfectionist... I should know."-- Frank Sinatra

"Young and suave once upon a time, but then the gracefully aged and mature, Gene Kelly is the forever and timeless hero of Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) Studios --one of the greatest leading men in Hollywood and one of the *BEST* there will ever be."--From

In my Thursday Thirteen about my family (see below), I mentioned that when my husband sings, he sounds like Gene Kelly.

One of the comments came from Ganns: "Who is Gene Kelly?

Ganns, you can be forgiven for not knowing. You're young and you live in the Phillipines.

But let me educate you. Gene Kelly was one of the greatest entertainers of Hollywood's so-called Golden Era.

He wasn't really known for his singing...singing was something all MGM musical stars did in those days while they were dancing. But I happen to love his slightly raspy voice.

My husband's voice is one of the coolest things about him. He has a natural husky/raspy thing going that--well, let's just admit it--is sexy. And I've always thought so, even when I didn't know him very well at all.

When he was in high school and the Godfather movies were just coming out, people thought he sounded a little like Marlon Brando in that famous role.

As a teen-ager, I used to love sitting up to watch what was then called the "Late Show" on TV. Often it would be one of those spectacular MGM musicals, often starring Gene Kelly. I loved them!

So when I first heard my husband sing, I realized quickly--he sounded like Gene Kelly.

So Ganns, just for you...and everybody who remembers those days fondly...I give you Gene Kelly.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

13 Things about My Family!

My beautiful grandson, Payton

1. My husband Doug is a gifted teacher and school administrator.

2. My husband sounds like Gene Kelly when he sings.
3. My daughter Elizabeth plays the guitar beautifully.
4. My son Jonathan and his wife Daylyn are the parents of my adorable grandson, Payton, who will be two years old in January.

5. My daughter-in-law, Daylyn, plays the harp like an angel.
6. My son Justin loves to play golf, and I hear he's pretty good.

7. My daughter Elizabeth can do impressions--for example, she does a great Christopher Walken!

8. My husband Doug hates to fly. OK, make that he WON'T fly.
9. My son Jonathan has very naturally curly hair, just like me.

10. My husband and sons are huge Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears fans.
11. My son Justin has the cutest dimples.
12. My sons are both good in math--something they did NOT get from me.
13. My children, like me, all love music passionately and couldn't get through a day without it.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rachel's Secret--BJ Hoff in top form

The Amish meet the Irish in Hoff's new series

Rachel may have a secret, but it's no secret that B. J. Hoff is one of my favorite writers--and her latest novel doesn't disappoint.

In this first in the Riverhaven Years series,we meet Rachel--a lovely young Amish woman still grieving the loss of her husband in 1850's Ohio.

The arrival, literally on her doorstep, of a mysterious, wounded Irish river captain irrevocably shakes up Rachel's quiet, orderly world. Where did Jeremiah Gant and his black friend come from, and why is Gant suffering from a gunshot wound?

The answers aren't long in coming. And B.J. Hoff does a beautiful job of subtly capturing the growing tenderness and attraction between the handsome Irishman (no one depicts the Irish better than Hoff) and his quiet hostess. It's an attraction that seems doomed, thanks to the strict Amish rules against mingling with outsiders.

At the same time, Rachel's mother and a kindly English doctor are in much the same predicament.

Meantime, Rachel and her family must find a way to deal with growing anti-Amish hostility that threatens their very safety--and a subplot involving the Underground Railroad adds suspense.

But I must admit, the story involving Rachel and Gant was the most compelling to me. B. J. Hoff has a gift for drawing fully fleshed-out, nuanced characters that become very real to the reader--and I must admit, I fell a little in love with Jeremiah Gant myself.

I look forward to the next book in the series and revisiting these characters and their stories.

See the book trailer for Rachel's Secret below.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Melange of my favorite "Heroes"

A plethora of interesting links for you to check out...

--My own problems with this season of "Heroes" are addressed in this article...along with suggestions to fix the problems

--Meantime, are you missing "Lost"? Here's a sneak preview of the 2009 season

--Is popular urban-legend/email hoax-debunker "in the tank" for Obama? An e-mail now circulating, as well as bloggers like this, says Snopes can't be trusted on Obama...but another fact-checking site, Truth or, is condemning the anti-Snopes rumor. What do you think?

--The Hallmark Channel will air a sequel to Angela Hunt's The Note (hat tip to Angela's A Life in Pages.) Unlike "The Note," Angela has nothing to do with the sequel, but she does say she read the script and liked it.

--Still not sure who you're going to vote for? This site tells you where candidates stand on the issues that are important to you.

--Very much enjoyed my phone interview Friday with Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight author Jeffrey Overstreet...I'll be blogging about it shortly.

--Taco Bell is giving away free tacos for a certain period of time tomorrow (Tuesday.)

--This tribute from a man to his grandmother touched my heart...and made me realize the huge impact a grandmother can have on a life.

--Better Homes and Gardens has launched 100 Days of Holidays--"packed with great holiday recipes, craft and decorating ideas and more." (Hat tip to Dena Dyer.)

--I didn't contribute to Fall into Flavor this week, but be sure and go check out the posts by people who did!

Go out and have a wonderful Monday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An evening with Andrew Peterson

The songwriting is terrific from start to finish, whether noting how resurrection in all of life is an ongoing transformative process in "All Things New" or offering flowing, poetic praise to our "Invisible God." ... Peterson may be a unique voice, but it's precisely why we need him to set an example in Christian music.--Russ Breimeir, Christianity Today

It's one of the marks of a good singer when he can capture your attention and touch your heart with just his voice and an instrument or two. Such was the case last night at the Andrew Peterson concert in Rockford, IL.

When I interviewed Andrew about his fiction book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, I was struck with his warm personality and sense of humor. Of course, I had heard several of his songs, but had never seen him in person.

The concert, aimed at promoting Andrew's new CD, Resurrection Letters Vol.II, was an intimate, low-key evening infused with Biblical insights as well as humor and whimsy.

As Andrew sang--accompanied by himself on the piano or guitar--a PowerPoint screen would flash Bible verses that inspired the song. Between songs, the screen was also used for fun, with humorous videos that were purportedly about the making of the album, but were really showcases for the quirky humor of Andrew and his friends and collaborators, Ben Shive and Andrew Gullahorn.

Andrew even entertained us with a song from his enchanting children's album, Slugs, Bugs and Lullabies (already a favorite of my toddler grandson!).

Audience laughter was frequent when Andrew related the stories behind the songs, but also frequent were the moments of genuine praise and emotion.

Andrew Peterson is one Christian artist who doesn't try to disguise Who he's singing about. The songs of Resurrection Letters Volume II all point to Christ and how he makes all things new. "He's in the business of fixing broken people," Andrew Peterson pointed out last night, and that message came through loud and clear.

--You can listen to my April 2008 interview with Andrew Peterson here.

--Check out my audio review of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness on my sidebar.

--Read more about Slugs, Bugs and Lullabies here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

13 Pumpkin-related Things

OK, so this is probably not a highly original Thursday Thirteen for October, but here we go:

1. Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.

2. Pumpkin flowers are edible.

3. The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.

4. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.

5. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

6. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.

7. The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.

8. Pumpkins are 90 percent water.

9. Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.

10. Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.

11. Native Americans called pumpkins "isqoutm squash."

12. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.

13. The "pumpkin capital" of the world is Morton, Illinois. This self proclaimed pumpkin capital is where you'll find the home of the Libby corporation's pumpkin industry.

--Hat tip to Pumpkin , where you can find a ton of info about pumpkins, including recipes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An open letter to NBC's "The Biggest Loser"

Dear producers of "The Biggest Loser":

Find some way to get rid of Vicky. ASAP.


Cindy Swanson

(OK, it was a short letter.)

As you know if you frequent this blog at all, I'm a big fan of "The Biggest Loser"... I think I've watched three or four seasons of the show. I love watching these people who start out very obese and unhealthy morph before my very eyes into slim, fit people. I've always loved make-overs of any kind, and "The Biggest Loser" is one major make-over!

However, I have to say that I have NEVER been as irritated, annoyed and repulsed by a reality show participant as I am by Vicky in particular, and her three-person "alliance" in general.

During the entire season so far, Vicky has come across as doing just enough to keep herself on the show, and no more. Due to the fact that she has severe knee problems, she often lets her husband Brady carry their team in her stead.

Unlike the other contestants--who live for communication from home like a thirsty person in a desert--she never seems interested in winning a challenge when the prize is a phone call or other communication with her children. Such was the case last night, when she dismissed the challenge reward of a video from home as "lame."

And she pretty much came right out and said last night that her primary goal in the competition was to win the money. I guess the weight loss is just a side benefit?

Her machinations with Brady and their friend Heba really became obvious last night, and throughout, Vicky literally smirked, knowing who was going to be thrown under the bus and knowing she was safe from elimination.

I talked about it on the air this morning, and a listener named Traci e-mailed me with my thoughts exactly:

"...I loved Amy P [the one who was eliminated] and was hoping that she would pull off the biggest loser of the week so she wouldn't go home. I think that Vicky, Brady and Heba threw the weigh-in so that they could get rid of Amy and stick it to Phil. That smug look on Vicky's face just makes me sick. I think that she has lost sight of what brought her there in the first place and has become wrapped up in the game. I know from previous seasons that those who choose to be vindictive do not prevail... I still believe that the people who work hard and keep their hearts right will prevail in the end, I just want that alliance separated or dissolved so that each one has to stand on their own merit."

I couldn't agree more, Traci! If it comes down to any one of those three people--Vicky, Brady, or Heba--and a major change has not occurred in their attitudes, it might be enough to make me avoid the show altogether.

Maybe. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How about some good news for a change?

Perhaps not all warm and fuzzy, but at least positive

Check out some links that may make you feel better instead of worse about the world we're living in:

--Evangelist Tim Lee, who lost both legs as a Marine in Vietnam, is making a return trip, taking some fellow veterans with him. was 37 years ago that Mr. Lee stepped on that land mine in Vietnam – enough time, he said, to have healed not only physically but also spiritually.

His faith won't let him be bitter.

"If I could find the man who set the land mine, I'd tell him I love him," said the Rev. Tim Lee, 58, who lost his legs as a Marine in the Vietnam War. "If I could find the man who set the land mine, I'd tell him I love him," he said.

--Encouraging innocence: (From PluggedInOnline's Culture Clips):

QUOTE: "Hold onto that innocence because it is so beautiful, and cherish it because it's priceless—once it's gone, you can't get it back. I think it's important for all women, young girls as well as adults, to love what you see when you look in the mirror, to love your hearts." —fifth-season American Idol finalist Kellie Pickler, whose latest country single, "Don't You Know You're Beautiful," includes these lines: "Hey there little homecoming queen in that back seat/I bet his brown eyes are promising you everything/And I know you want to be just like your friends/ ... But if those girls were being honest that have been where you're at/I bet they'll tell you they wish they had their innocence back."

--Now this one is heartwarming: An Iraqi puppy is re-united with the American soldier who rescued him.

--And least this is always guaranteed to bring a smile to MY face...a picture of my grandson, Payton (taken while visiting his other grandparents in Idaho.):

Please add your links to happy, encouraging and/or positive stories in my comments section! I think we all could use some good news.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall into Flavor with the Best Banana Bars Ever

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee is encouraging all of us to "Fall into Flavor" by posting favorite autumn and/or "comfort recipes" on Mondays. Go here to add your link!


These amazing bars fly off the pan like hotcakes and get tons of compliments.

Credit where credit is due: I got this at, although it is exactly the recipe my friend Toni (one of the best cooks I know) has made for years. She tries to keep the ingredients on hand at all times, because she's often stuck with bananas that have ripened too much to eat.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 (16 ounce) container cream cheese frosting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting with the cream cheese frosting.

Happy Monday, everyone! If you have a moment, scroll down and look at the beautiful autumn pictures I took this weekend.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn Beauty

We're enjoying an incredibly gorgeous autumn here in Northern Illinois. I went on a long walk in my neighborhood yesterday and snapped some pictures, and thought I'd share a few here. All of these were taken within blocks of where I live.

Sometimes even the leaves on the ground are beautiful...

And lastly, my son Justin is visiting us for a few we are Saturday morning at what has become our favorite breakfast place, the Stockholm Inn (best Swedish pancakes ever!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

I missed my five-year blogiversary!!!!

I missed a very important milestone while I was away last 5th blogging anniversary!

On October 10th, 2003, I gingerly dipped my toe into the blogospheric ocean with these profound words:


I guess this is my introduction to the world of blogging....a modern technological wonder that appears to be tailor-made for people like me, who can't seem to stop putting their thoughts on paper (or cyber-paper, as the case may be!)

I think this is going to be fun!

For someone to whom writing is a necessary creative outlet, blogging has been fun. I think I'll keep going for now!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

13 things to tell you about...

Happy Thursday Thirteen! It's been a while since I just gave you 13 random thoughts and links. If you're busy surfing Thursday Thirteens, bookmark this one and come back later!

--I never thought I was much of a fantasy fiction fan (apart from the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings--but Jeffrey Overstreet is one of the authors who have changed my mind on that. I've now finished Overstreet's Cyndere's Midnight, the sequel to his wonderful Auralia's Colors. Wow. Overstreet's beautiful writing and masterful story-spinning kept me turning the pages. Who knew I could care so much about what happens to a beastman?

--Local author makes good: I was happy today to interview Chris Brauns, a local pastor whose book has just been published by Crossway Books. Unpacking Forgiveness is a reader-friendly, engaging and solidly biblical book that tackles a tough subject. Great job, Chris!

--Joe the Plumber--really Joe Wurzelbach of Ohio, mentioned repeatedly during last night's presidential debate--held a news conference today.

--This cremation scam perpetrated by a California family is just creepy...the stuff of horror movies.

--Haven't bought a flat-panel TV yet? That could be good news for you...prices are expected to fall.

--The Love Dare bookwas just a plot device in the box office hit Fireproof until early audiences repeatedly requested copies for themselves. Now, the book has hit #1 on the New York Times Paperback Advice Bestsellers list, and is number 4 on

--Probably my favorite TV show right now? The Biggest Loser.

--Scarcer than hen's teeth? La Shawn Barber blogs about right-leaning celebrities...and goes out on a limb with an election day prediction.

--Curious about the new Star Trek movie? Entertainment Weekly dishes in this article.

--Christian singer Sara Groves wants Christians to get serious about helping victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and violent oppression...and she hopes to spread the word through the Art Music Justice Tour that she's spearheading. Artists on the tour include Brandon Heath, Charlie Peacock, Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken.

Says Groves:

"[Social justice]has been commandeered to mean a political or liberal message. To me it is a Jesus message."

--Actress Janine Turner talks about faith, politics and surgery (hat tip to

--Author Randy Alcorn really wanted to support Obama, but finds he can't after all. He tells why here.

--I think I enjoyed "Wicked" in Chicago even more this time than the last time I saw it. Of course, Dee Roscioli is amazing as Elphaba...but Annaleigh Ashford as Glinda almost stole the show several times. Fantastic!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So much to tell you...

I've been AWOL from this blog for several days...for good reason! My mom and sister from Texas, and my sister and niece from Wyoming, have been visiting me. I just said good-bye to them this morning.

We had an amazing time...including going to Chicago, seeing "Wicked," spending the night there and shopping all the next day.

I'm going to post some pictures, hopefully tomorrow. Until then, I thought I'd better check in before I lost the few readers I still have! :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brandilyn Collins' "Dark Pursuit"--suspense at its most riveting

Where has Brandilyn Collins been all my life?

Actually, she's been writing for quite some time, but reading Dark Pursuit was my first experience with reading one of her books--and believe me, I'll be back for more.

Dark Pursuit takes you on a harrowing roller-coaster ride of suspense, but you won't want to get off the ride until you read the last page. All the while, Collins weaves themes of redemption and grace throughout this riveting tale.

It's the story of Darell Brooke, a wildly successful suspense writer who has been suffering a deadly case of writer's block since being in an accident. Brooke is often mentally confused and finds it hard to focus on his writing, which leaves him frustrated and angry.

Back into his life comes his granddaughter, Kaitlan, who he forcibly ejected from his home years earlier when, as a teen-aged druggie, she stole from him to support her habit.

Kaitlan has kicked drugs and is drawn to God, but she's in trouble...literally. She's pregnant by a man she suspects of being a serial killer.

Almost against his will, Brooke is drawn to Kaitlan and her plight. He's genuinely concerned about Kaitlan's safety, but in her intriguing real-life story, he sees a way to jump-start the plot of the book he can't seem to flesh out. He agrees to help her if she'll follow his directions implicitly.

But given his frequent confusion, can Kaitlan trust her grandfather to implement a plan to catch the killer, without severely endangering her life?

Rarely have I read a book that propelled me forward so intensely. Warning: make sure you pick this up book up when you have plenty of time, because you'll have a really hard time setting it aside for any reason!

Brandilyn Collins is a writer with a remarkable gift for building suspense. At least one plot twist literally made me gasp out loud. But scary and surprising twists and turns aren't her only forte--she also creates nuanced, real characters that you come to care about.

Dark Pursuit won't be released until December (I read a preview copy). If you love great suspense, I highly recommend it.

Right now? Excuse me while I go find everything else Brandilyn Collins has written.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The very best taco soup recipe ever

What would I do without Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee? Not only is she simpatico with me on so many levels, she always comes up with great memes when I need direction for a blog post!

This time, Linda is encouraging bloggers to share their favorite fall comfort foods in what she's calling Fall Into Flavor.

So here's my entry. If it looks familiar, it's because I've shared it more than once here. Not only is it tasty, the beans are very good for you (hey, pop some Bean-o before you eat if you anticipate a problem! :)), it was originally a Weight Watchers recipe. So it's points-friendly as well as healthy. Just don't tell your family that. I promise you, they will LOVE it...and they'll never guess it's not fattening!


1 pound very lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 large can Mexican-style Ro-Tel Tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can chili beans
1 can corn
1 packet Taco seasoning mix
1 packet Ranch style dressing mix

Brown the beef with the chopped onion; drain. Add other ingredients; DO NOT DRAIN beans and corn.

Cook and simmer until all the flavors are nicely mixed. You might want to serve with some shredded cheddar for sprinkling over the top.

You could also make this in the crockpot (brown the ground beef first, of course), and come home from work or church to a ready-made meal.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The book trailer I voiced is up!

On a Someday, by Roxanne Henke--from PulsePoint Design

How many movies have you wanted to watch just because the movie trailer was so compelling? Movie trailers have long been a strategic way of selling a film.

Well, now book publishers are realizing the potential, especially with so many people viewing videos online.

As a voice-over artist, I've wanted to get into voicing book trailers for quite some time. The first book trailers I noticed weren't that great, to be honest. They often came off as amateurish, with jarring music and poor production values. And most of them didn't include voice narration--you were just expected to read the words on the screen.

However, when I saw the trailer for BJ Hoff's Song of Erin, I was blown away by just how beautiful and effective a book trailer could be. The trailer--as well as the one for BJ Hoff's new book, Rachel's Secret--was put together by a wonderful company called PulsePoint Design.

Now I'm delighted to have voiced a trailer for PulsePoint. Check it out:

You can read more about Roxanne Henke here.

Books! I read books!!!

I sped through Brandilyn Collins' Dark Pursuit over the weekend. Unputdownable? Uh, yeah...I was up till 2:30 in the morning reading it! More on that book later...

And now I'm reading Jeffrey Overstreet's Cyndere's Midnight, the follow-up to his Auralia's Colors (I blogged about my interview with Jeffrey here.) More on that one later too.

So many books, so little time! Happy Monday, everyone...

Friday, October 03, 2008

My challenge to the makers of nasty comedies

1972's "What's Up, Doc?"--not a nasty comedy

Yes, you, Judd Apatow and all the other film makers of your ilk. Here's my challenge:

Make a comedy--just ONE comedy--that doesn't rely on vulgarity, sex, and profane language to get a laugh. Think you could do that?

Hmmm...I'm hearing crickets. Not only are Judd and the others not listening, but even if they were, there's zero chance they would ever take anyone up on that challenge. I honestly don't think there's any way they could make an entire movie like that, and furthermore, I don't think they would want to.

What brought all this up?

Well, several days ago the 1972 movie, "What's Up, Doc?" aired on cable. I taped it for later viewing with my 21-year-old daughter, who had never seen it.

Now, I don't think I had seen the movie since the seventies, so I was curious as to how it would hold up. Actually, it holds up VERY well. The humor is still fresh and clever, the actors truly fun to watch, the dialogue snappy, the slapstick really funny (and I'm not usually a big fan of slapstick, but this is done very well).

The bottom line, it makes you laugh...and without resorting to filth.

After we watched it, my daughter bemoaned the fact that there are so few movies like that anymore. Even the milder, less offensive ones tend to fall back on sexual situations and bad language. What happened to good, clean, classy, LAUGH OUT LOUD comedies?

Watch "What's Up, Doc?" and tell me if you miss the degrading, cesspool humor. Tell me if you thought, "Drat it, I sure could have used a way-too-much information sex scene or a million F-words. It would have made the movie SO much funnier..."

Am I the only one who feels this way? If you're with me on this, movie-maker Kevin Smith thinks you and I are in the minority. Smith recently said: "[Profanity] turns some people off, but that's how mostly everybody I know speaks. It's kind of strange. Whenever somebody goes, 'That offends me,' I'm like, wow, what kind of weird, opposite, bizarro frame of mind do you live in? Cursing is just so second nature, you don't even think of it as cursing anymore. It's just your lexicon."

Smith, by the way, is the producer of an upcoming new movie about two friends who kill some time by making a porn movie.

So, any suggestions?

Got any recommendations for movies that are funny AND relatively clean? Even if they're old ones, let me know in my comments section!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

13 Things about "I See What You're Saying"

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!"

On Tuesday, I took part in a video blogging meme called "I See What You're Saying." The idea: videotape yourself for your blog, so that others can actually see you in action and thus get to know you a little better.

You can scroll down to see my video, if you like.

The meme was a lot of fun. After visiting most of the sites that took part, I came up with some observations and even learned some things. Here are 13 things about "I See What You're Saying":

1. Most of us were WAY too hard on ourselves. I can't count the number of participants who said derogatory things about themselves either in the actual video or in their related post: "Are my nostrils really that big?" "I look like a dork!" "I need to go on a diet..."

Believe me, I noticed some things about myself that I had never noticed in a mirror...but I kept them to myself. No need pointing out and thus further emphasizing it! (However, I have to say that some of the participants made their self-criticisms truly funny.)

2. Some of the participants were obvious "naturals." --Apparently, behaving comfortably, naturally and photogenically is an innate gift for some people. Like Gayle of The Westie Crew. Her video was charmingly unaffected and fun.

3. Why was I so uncomfortable on camera, given the fact that I'm used to being recorded? Linda of 2nd Cup of Coffee, who sponsored the meme, commented: "I'm surprised you felt the awkwardness that the rest of us felt because you're used to being taped, per se, right?"

Well Linda, yes, I'm used to having my VOICE recorded. I've heard the sound of my own voice more times than I could ever begin to count. But SEEING yourself on tape is a whole different animal. I felt extraordinarily self-conscious, more than I ever would working with audio.

4. I loved the wide array of accents. And the kids and pets were funny and cute additions.

5. By and large, the younger women seemed more comfortable on camera than did the older women. Could it be because they've been raised with video-cameras in a way we older women never were?

6. One of my favorite videos was this one from "His Girl," who took the problem of failed takes and made it funny and charming.

7. If there were prizes for creativity, one of them would have to go to this one from Chatty Kelly.

8. And another would have to go to this one by Sue J.

9. A frustrating aspect of this meme? Discovering a host of wonderful blogs that I will now have to check out regularly--where will I find the time?! On the flip side? It makes me happy to know there are so many wonderful people out there...restores my faith in human nature a bit.

10. Kelly's background as a TV producer no doubt helped make her video really good--enjoyable and professional, like a mini-travelogue.

11. Things I learned:--a)Pay attention to really makes a difference. My first take was in my basement study, and--eeesh, we won't talk about it. b) A little extra make-up is probably a good idea. c)SMILE! I wish I had smiled more on my own video...and I will next time!

12. Most of the best ones were relatively short...we have short attention spans!

13. The exception to number 12? The video of the hostess herself, Linda, whose video was a tour de force! It really let us get to know this lovely and funny lady. By the way, Linda's post today is a "de-briefing" of the meme. I took a peek at it before I finished my own, and (great minds, etc) we cover some of the same points!

Anyway, thanks, Linda, for hosting such a fun bloggy event.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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