Jan 10

Wordless Wednesday – Jan 18 2016

Billie Holiday and Mister

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Jan 10

Wordless Wednesday – Jan 11 2016

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Jan 10

Terrific Tuesday – Best Book to Movie Adaptations

Greetings and salutations!

Today I’m going to talk about some of my favorite book to movie adaptations – just like it says on the tin.  I love books and I love movies, and when the two come together, it touches a chord in me that cannot be duplicated.  I won’t tarry on a long-winded introduction:  let’s get to the meat of the post, shall we?

 

What makes a book to movie adaptation terrific?  If the movie captures the essence of the book, the characters and offers the same or improved ending from the book.  Mind you, a terrific adaptation doesn’t necessarily mean the movie sticks as close to the book as white on rice, nor does it mean the movie leaves you with a terrific feeling. It just means that as a reader of the book, you’re satisfied with the spirit of the movie.

Here, in no particular order, are my top ten terrific movie adaptations.

We Need to Talk about Kevin – Tilda Swinton can make anything good.  If you haven’t read the book yet, watching the movie gives you a taste of the awful foreboding of the book.  You know something is going to happen, the question is just. when.  This movie will not make you comfortable.

Jurassic Park – Now this movie was a bundle of fun for me.  Yes, the book was a lot more techincal and dense to get through, but the screen writers managed to sprinkle in the genetics along side the breathtaking spectacle of the dinosaurs on scree.  An excellent film that I watch every time it comes on television.

The Godfather – The book was good, but it did include a few side stories that detracted from the main narrative. The movie slashed and burned enough of those side stories and emphasized the family saga.  It helped that the author, Mario Puzo, had a hand in writing the screenplay.

The Silence of the Lambs – What more can be said?  The movie made me read the book, and I wasn’t disappointed.

To Kill a Mockingbird – The actors (Robert Duvall’s first screen role as Boo Radley), made the book come alive.  The only person I missed in the movie was Calpurnia.  Her part in the book seemed to be larger and wittier.

No Country for Old Men – The Coen Brothers helped bring Cormac McCarthy’s story to life. Both movie and book complement each other.

The Remains of the Day – I went to see this in the movies and I did have tears.  Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson really bring Kazou Ishiguro’s story to life.

Wiseguy – I never met a gangster movie I didn’t like.  Re-titled “Goodfellas”, the movie actually improves on the newspaper style reporting of the book and brings the characters to life in blooming color.

The Shining – While I did not care for the character death in movie, I really felt that Kubrick’s adaptation captured the essence (yes, that word again) of the book and the frightening visuals and hidden clues are quite effective.

Requiem for a Dream – This is a film that I never wish to see ever again.  A gut-wrenching odyssey of three separate stories of drug addiction, Requiem for a Dream is a visceral experience that leaves the viewer stunned. The book is a little more “in your face” than the movie is, but both are effective.

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption – Renamed as The Shawshank Redemption….well, I’m pretty sure that you’ve all heard of the movie, yes?

Into the Wild – Written by Jon Jon Krakauer, who freaked me out with Into Thin Air, about folks climbing Mt. Everest, Into the Wild is the story of a young man who wanted to live off the land in the wilds of Alaska.

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Jan 09

Music Monday – Goth Classical Music

Hey! It’s Music Monday!

 

There’s nothing I like better on a cold winter’s evening (and sometimes in the summer too) is a cup of Irish coffee and some dark classical music.  Whether it be a mournful aria or a draggy dirge in a lovely minor key, the dulcet tones of a sorrowful violin or the lamenting mezzo-sorprano.

I thrive on that shit.

Forget about the dog dying in movies or some drama on television.  Youwant to bring a tear to my eye, play me a tune in a minor key.  Those gloomy chord progressions will get me every single time.

Here we go.

 

 

 

Dido’s Lament – Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell

In operas, someone always dies. Here, it’s Dido.  She’s taken poison because her great love, Aeneas, has abandoned her.  Grab the tissue and take a look at her first lines: (Belinda is her lady in waiting)

“Thy hand Belinda….darkness shades me….on thy bosom, let me rest…
More I would….but death invades me….Death is now a welcome guest….”

And the great, greatc Jessye Norman brings these lyrics right to your doorstep.

“Remember me….but ah!  Forget my fate…..”

Goosebumps!

Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven

One of the comments on this video (paraphrase):  “I listen to this in the dark with a cup of tea…like a psychopath”

 

Frederic Chopin – Waltz in A minor

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Prelude, Opus 2 #2 in C sharp minor

 

 

John Williams – Theme from Schindler’s List, Performed by Itzhak Perlman

 

Go ahead.  Get the tissues, sob, breathe, then touch up your black eyeliner and tighten the laces on your Doc Martens.  I hope you enjoyed my little gothy list of classical songs.

 

1Love

Peace, Love, Unity

Dahlia

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Jan 07

5 Fandom Friday – Goals for 2017

It’s been a while since I posted a 5 Fandom Friday, but this is as good time as any to get back into the swing of things.  Plus, if I type up these goals, I have something to refer back to as the year goes on.  While I love some sticky notes, nothing is more permanent than the Internet.

Here goes

New year, new start concept

My first goal for the year is to buckle down in the writing game.  Due to some bad health news in 2016, I’ve been very spotty with writing and submitting/publishing.  In 2017, I plan to:

  1. Complete and submit at least three short stories
  2. Complete and publish two novels that have been hanging around on my hard drive for at least three years
  3. Complete the third book/story in the Tea and Tomahawks series/universe
  4. Complete a novella that I started last year.

 

The second goal for the year is to keep my writing desk more organized, which means to set aside time once per week to clean and arrange the desk.  Although my dream desk would look like this:

Dream Desk

photo by desirechanteuse

that’s never going to happen. First of all, my desk is dark brown and I have a ton of stuff.

At this point, I will settle for a bucket of pre-sharpened pencils and working pens.

 

The third goal is to be more creative.  I used to really be heavy into trying different crafts.  I have a Silhouette Portrait machine that is sitting in the corner getting dusty.  This year, I plan to create at least five different projects using the Silhoutte and to knit or crochet five scarves or hats by the end of the  year.

This is what I have, only sad and dusty.

 

I used to be really crafty.  Now’s the time to get back to that. So many projects to do!

 

The fourth goal is more health oriented.  No, it’s not to lose weight or run a thirty minute mile.  This is something simple that anyone can do any time.

Drink more water.

 

Me, drinking water, in the dark…sexy!!

Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated – imagine that – but it also keeps those brain cells alert and working.  Also, improves the complexion.  During these dry winter months here in Northeast USA, keeping up water intake is sorely needed.

Last but not least, the fifth and final goal of the year is to drink more alcohol. No, I’m not kidding.  There are so many wines out there that I haven’t tried as well as that dusty bottle of apple-tini mix sitting at the top of the pantry, just begging for vodka and ice.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on being “that mom” that’s slushed out of her mind in the car pool line.  No and nope.  I just don’t want weeks to go by without a sip of the spirits. Sangria, Zinfandel, and once in a while some of the stronger stuff…I plan on imbibing them all.

Go ahead, say it. “Dahlia’s a lush”.  At least “lush” sounds so much better than “drunk”.

 

There you go, my goals for the New Year.  Surprised?

 

1Love
Peace, Love, and Unity.

 

 

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Oct 27

Blogtoberfest – Loving Among the Dead Playlist

loving-coverIt’s been a while since my first zombie novel, Loving Among the Dead was released through Loose Id. However, no matter how long ago I’ve written a book, the characters stay with me for quite a while. It takes a lot to get into a characters personality- how he or she walks, talks, behaves and reacts in certain situations, and this doesn’t go away very quickly.

With that in mind, I started looking through my Google playlists and found a list of songs I used to evoke moods with my two characters, Jude and Sky.

A little about the book: Jude is my female lead. When the zombie outbreak happened, she endured a scary journey from Philadelphia, where she was going to graduate school, back to Princeton (or thereabouts) where her parents’ lived. She’s a bit spoiled and a lot privileged, however, her parents were survivalists/hoarders, what have you, and they stocked their home with provisions and food, “just in case”. Though her parents are dead when she finally a makes it back home, she stays in her old boarded up home, the only person left alive in her neighborhood. It’s a lonely, scary existence, to be sure.

Then along comes Sky, traveling through solo on his way out of New Jersey to his home state of Tennessee. Before the apocalypse, he’d been a teacher in an urban district, having gone to college on a baseball scholarship.

The two meet in the stock room of a drugstore and Jude ends up allowing him to come stay with her. And as one would imagine, having been starved for human contact for many weeks, they cling together.

That’s the basic premise. The book continues with the push/pull of the relationship, where Sky wants to keep moving South, whereas Jude believes it’s safer to stay in one place.

All that being said, here’s a taste of their soundtrack. Some songs are hers, some are his, and some belong to them both. I’ve included a link to the playlist on YouTube, if you want a listen.

 

                     Jude Sky Both
Counting Cars – Snow Patrol Faster – Matt Nathanson Don’t You Forget about Me – Simple Minds
Time after Time – Cyndi Lauper Don’t Dream It’s Over  – Crowded House Follow you, Follow Me – Genesis
Invincible – Pat Benatar Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones Perhaps Love – John Denver
Like a Prayer – Madonna Melt with You – Modern English Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
Nobody Does it Better – Carly Simon The Flame – Cheap Trick Never Surrender – Corey Hart
Head over Heels – Tears for Fears Sign Your Name – Terence Trent D’Arby Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
 A Matter of Trust – Billy Joel Hey, Jude – The Beatles Anthem for the Already Defeated – Rock Plaza Central

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Oct 27

Blogtoberfest – Stephen King’s Pet Sematary

Horror is different for everyone.  I don’t think the “experts” can agree on what horror is and thus there are tons of movies and books that represent the horror

Cover of "Pet Sematary (Special Collector...

Cover via Amazon

genre, as it should be.

I also believe that horror is different depending on where you are in your life.  What’s represents horror for a twenty-year-old might be old-hat to a forty year old. Books that resounded for me in my twenties are just “eh” now that I’m a lovely seasoned woman of a certain age.

But Stephen King’s Pet Semetary broke that mold.  It’s just as frightening now as when I first read it many years ago.

Here’s the blurb

“Sometimes dead is better….”When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.

But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

 

SPOILERS  SPOILERS   sort of SPOILERS sort of  SPOILERS  SPOILERS 

My goodness, what a story.  It runs the gamut from the “real-life” horror of the death of a child and the grief that follows, to the otherworldly horror that awaits when the family tries to alleviate the grief that follows the death of a family pet.

The first time I read the story the scene on the hill wasn’t so horrifying.  You know why?  Because I didn’t have children of my own.  I think I was more touched by the death of the pet than I was by the other.  However, when I read it now, that scene on the hill makes my gut twinge and jump.  After reading it, I had to go “check on the children”.  Having children of my own makes the following scenes more poignant and so much more touching.

Sympathy turning to empathy.

SPOILERS END (they were half-assed anyway)

My theory of horror if you’re “just watching” it makes it a lot less scary.  “This could never happen to me because blah blah”.  When an ordinary situation turns into a “horror” situation, something that could happen to anyone, something that is plausible (with a little “what if” thrown in)  that’s when the true terror begins.

Pet Sematary is about grief, loss and at its core, the horror of not letting go and where it can get you.

 

 

 

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Oct 16

Blogtoberfest – Urban Legends – The Clown Statue

urban-legends-the-clown-statueWe all know ’em, don’t we?  The friend of a friend of my cousin who….they all start out that way and always end badly for that sort-of person we kinda know. They even made a movie (or three) about it, then there was that television series that acted them out (badly) for you.

Let’s talk about a few of these, shall we?  And remember to leave the light on….

The Clown Statue Murderer: An Urban Legend

The story of the clown statue murderer is an urban legend. It is not a true story but can spark fear in anyone who reads it. It has been passed around as a chain letter online since 2004.

Here is the story:

“A girl in her teens is babysitting for a family in Newport Beach, Ca. The family is wealthy and has a very large house – you know the sort, with a ridiculous amount of rooms. Anyways, the parents are going out for a late dinner/movie. The father tells the babysitter that once the children are in bed she should go into this specific room (he doesn’t really want her wandering around the house) and watch TV there.

The parents take off and soon she gets the kids into bed and goes to the room to watch TV. She tries watching TV, but she is disturbed by a clown statue in the corner of the room. She tries to ignore it for as long as possible, but it starts freaking her out so much that she can’t handle it.

She resorts to calling the father and asks, “Hey, the kids are in bed, but is it okay if I switch rooms? This clown statue is really creeping me out.”

The father says seriously, “Get the kids, go next door and call 911.”

She asks, “What’s going on?”

He responds, “Just go next door and once you call the police, call me back.”

She gets the kids, goes next door, and calls the police. When the police are on the way, she calls the father back and asks, “So, really, what’s going on?”

He responds, “We don’t HAVE a clown statue.” He then further explains that the children have been complaining about a clown watching them as they sleep. He and his wife had just blown it off, assuming that they were having nightmares.

The police arrive and apprehend the “clown,” who turns out to be a midget. A midget clown! I guess he was some homeless person dressed as a clown, who somehow got into the house and had been living there for several weeks. He would come into the kids’ rooms at nights and watch them while they slept. As the house was so large, he was able to avoid detection, surviving off their food, etc. He had been in the TV room right before the babysitter right came in there. When she entered he didn’t have enough time to hide, so he just froze in place and pretended to be a statue.

Yeah.  As I said earlier on a discussion group, between IT and John Wayne Gacy, I don’t have any time for clowns.

And another to make your hair stand on end.  This is an oldie but a still a goodie:

The Killer in the Backseat….

One night a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. After a few minutes she noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on — the car was going to pass — when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and the brights flashed.

Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.

Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her — and he screamed, “Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!”

When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the silhouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down.

The moral of the story: Always check the back seat!

Yes, they’re (mostly) not true, but don’t they give you a shiver?

Pleasant Dreams!

 

Dahlia

 

 

 

 

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Oct 10

Blogtoberfest – Dark Country Songs

dark-country-songsThere’s no song like a country song.  Whether you’re into Charley Pride, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline or the “new school” of Garth Brooks, Trace Adkins, Miko Marks and a score of others, there’s not a doubt in my mind that country’s roots are entwined with the blues both musically and lyrically.  Some of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard were from either of these genres, usually by men, who’ve acted up so bad that they drove their woman, and sometimes their dog, away.

Today we’re going to look at and listen to some dark country songs that go even deeper into the human psyche, past crying into your beer or sittin on the porch weeping, into murder, mayhem and ghosts.

 

The first one is by a musician who performs one of my all time favorite country songs.  The Charlie Daniels Band is perhaps best known for its rollicking fiddle-fest “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, but they also did a mysterious song that tells of a swamp, an old man and a treasure.

It’s a song that tells a story and it starts off like this:

 

Well, if you ever go back into Wooley Swamp
Well, you better not go at night
There’s things out there in the middle of them woods
That make a strong man die from fright
Things that crawl and things that fly
And things that creep around on the ground
And they say the ghost of Lucius Clay
Gets up and he walks around

To say anything further would ruin the scarily told/sung story, so click here to listen for yourself:

 

As a child, Johnny Cash’s rumbling bass always used to scare me. It also didn’t help that he was called “The Man in Black” which rendered him as some sort of evil being floating around, scaring kids with his guitar and flashy country shirts.  As I grew older, however, I was more able to appreciate the music and I give you “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.  Can’t get much scarier than that.

Rachel Brooke – The Black Bird

This sparse arrangement leaves room for Rachel Brooke’s hauntingly innocent sounding voice to a story of illicit love…and that black bird always watching. Also, the video is pretty creepy too!

 

 

Comment below with your dark country artists!

 

Dahlia

 

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Oct 08

Blogtoberfest – Clinton Road, New Jersey

courtesy of Wikipedia

courtesy of Wikipedia

There is a great magazine out there called Weird NJ, wherein the authors note and describe weird/haunted places in New Jersey.  It’s a fun read, but especially around this time of year.  One of the most enduring legends is Clinton Road, located in West MIlford, New Jersey.
Snippets from the New York Daily News:

“It’s like a dark highway into people’s innermost fears.” That’s how Mark Moran, publisher and co-creator of the Weird NJ magazine and website, sums up Clinton Road, a quiet and twisty stretch of road roughly 55 miles northwest of New York City.

“People definitely play on the legend [of Clinton Road],” said Mark Moran. He mentions the menacing black truck that lurks on the road.  Appearing out of nowhere, the truck gets extremely close to your rear bumper, flashes its lights, and then suddenly disappears into the night.

From WeirdNJ.com

This rugged ten mile stretch of deserted road is so rich in lore that it has been attracting late night visitors for generations.  The stories that these sightseeing sojourners have brought back with them of their adventures are sometimes harrowing, often terrifying, and almost always intriguing.  Many of these tales of midnight joyrides may seem unbelievable, while others leave one wondering just where truth ends, and an overactive imagination begins.

If you ever decide to travel down Clinton Road at midnight, stop at the bridge by dead man’s curve.  As the story goes if you sit on that bridge and throw pennies into the river, the ghost of a young boy will throw them back to you.  –Anonymous

My friends and I decided to find out for ourselves what is true and what is not.  We went to the bridge and threw a quarter off.  Not but a minute later you hear the bloop, as if you dropped the quarter in again. The water filled with ripples and a child’s reflection appeared.  I flew back to the car.  That scared all of us.  –Dina, West Milford

 

You can read more here.

 

Pleasant dreams!

Dahlia

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