Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh, Indy!

Remember how Kate Capshaw's character, Willie Scott, was always saying, "Oh, Indy!" in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Sometimes the delivery was dreamy, be-my-baby. But other times it was frustration.

I was a lemming this weekend and went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Throughout the movie, I kept hearing Kate Capshaw's frustrated, "Oh, Indy!" in my head. As in, "Oh, Indy, what were you thinking?"

Granted, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas will probably make a financial killing. But did any of them really believe this script was worthy of committing to film? I read the reviews and went with low expectations, but not this low. Yee-gads. Ridiculous, ridiculous flick.

I'm going to try to wipe it from my brain so it doesn't negate the positives of the earlier movies.

In other movie news, I'm sad about the passing of Sydney Pollack, who directed my all-time fave movie, Out of Africa (among many, many other great films.) Pollack also acted in a number of movies, usually playing the aloof best friend or adviser. He always had a look of wry amusement on his face, like he'd figured out the punch line to a great joke and was waiting for everyone else to catch up to him. Or perhaps he was simply entertained by life.

Whatever it was that amused him, the guy made fantastic movies. Think I'll pop in my Pollack-directed Tootsie DVD tonight to black out the mental images of Indy 4.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hit By A Pitch

My Baseball Challenge team has been struggling of late. Like many managers, I can't seem to get a reliable pitching staff (made the mistake of picking the Mets for their doubleheader against the Braves. Ouch.) I finally had to let go of Rafael Furcal, even though I acquired him on the cheap and he's been earning me a ton of points, because he's simply been injured too long. Filled his SS slot with Yunel Escobar only to have Yunel get injured. Now I have Derek Jeter. (Yes, I have a Yankee in my lineup, despite being a member of Red Sox Nation./) What are the odds that Jeter will get injured tonight, simply because he's in my lineup? All the injuries compelled me to rename my team last week. I've gone from being "Nic's Basement Dwellers" to "Hit By A Pitch."

Maybe I'm pessimistic because I'm still stewing over Survivor. Going into the final episode, I was cheering for Cirie. I think she'd make smart choices with the money, and she strikes me as a nice person. When it got down to Amanda and Parvati, I figured it was a no-brainer for Amanda. But she whiffed with the jury, exactly the same way she did last season (check my earlier blog about that.) You just can't argue, "I stayed true to my alliance" and leave it at that. Parv made a case so strong that even Eliza ended up giving her a vote. So Parv got the big $$ (though Amanda did walk away with Ozzy.)

Guess I should stay away from Survivor Fantasy Leagues. Apparently I'm incapable of picking a winner!

In the meantime, good things are afoot on the book front. The just-released anthology Breaking Up (Is Hard To Do), which features my story, "Last Stand", alongside stories from Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins, and Lynda Sandoval, has gotten some fantastic reviews!

Publishers Weekly said: "these four stories about love gone wrong...are likely to go over big with teens in search of solace for their own romantic misadventures." And: "readers will enjoy the stylish scenarios, projecting themselves into situations they can only wish were true."

Anything that says "go over big with teens" makes me do a yippy-skippy dance.

Now, to see if my rock-steady third baseman, Chipper Jones, and the Red Sox pitchers can get me out of my Baseball Challenge jam tonight.

Oh, wait. Chipper got hurt last night. Hit by a pitch! Well...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

I have a not-so-secret secret: I am a huge George Michael fan. Most of my friends tease me about this, but whatever. I am who I am. So when I saw that George is coming to the U.S. for the first time in seventeen years, and that Boston would be one of the stops, I did a squealy-girly happy dance. The instant tix went on sale, I snagged two, even though I knew my husband would not go (he can't stand George Michael) and I'd have to take a friend. And, naturally, I did another squealy-girly happy dance.

That is, until I realized it's also the night I have tickets to the Red Sox/Yankee game. OUCH. (My husband laughed his head off.)

I'd relegated myself to having to sell off one set of tickets, boo-hooing all the while. But then as I was checking out the updated
Red Sox schedule, I noticed that the Sox/Yankee game was moved to 1:05PM (and George isn't on until 8!) Oh, Happy Day!

You may now feel free to mock me for being a George fan. I won't care. I'll be busy singing Freedom '90 while I celebrate another Sox victory.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

No One Consulted Me

...or one of my fave shows of the fall, Journeyman, would not have been cancelled. I wish this show had been given a chance. The writing was great, the characters wonderfully flawed and multi-layered, the acting superb. (Plus, I cannot possibly get a Kevin McKidd fix from watching him in Made of Honor. That movie does not look good.) I sure hope NBC brings Journeyman back.

...or grocery stores would not make Boca Breakfast Wraps nearly impossible to find. These things are DELISH. Two minutes in the microwave for one of these--easy to zap while I'm making my morning coffee--and I'm a happy girl. I hoard these when I can find them.

...or the marketing gurus at Pfizer would never have put this lady in their commercial for Lyrica. Something about her gives me the creeps every time I see the ad. (Probably why a new Lyrica lady has popped up in recent days and on the Lyrica website.)

...or the Angels wouldn't have had such dismal pitching against the Oakland A's earlier this week. My Baseball Challenge team started the week by giving me a negative twenty points. (The Angels pitchers actually got a negative thirty...I only finished with a negative twenty because my position players pulled me partway out of the gutter.) Here's hoping the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff does well tonight, now that I've traded away the Angels. I need the help.

On the bright side, wasn't last night's Survivor the best? While I did like Alexis, (and believe she's watching these episodes at home shocked by how evil and nasty her "buddy" Natalie is), and I'm really bummed about James (my fave!) having to leave for medical reasons, the episode was one of the most entertaining in a while. We got to see James's dad, we saw the look of horror on evil Natalie's face when Alexis was ousted (because Nat knows she's next on the chopping block. And hallelujah!), and Erik winning immunity was priceless. (I think now that James is out, I'm rooting for Erik. What about you?)

They're Out There

Happy May Day! Huge celebration at my house. Not because it's finally spring (though that's certainly reason enough!) but because TWO new Niki books are now available everywhere.

First, check out Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, which includes four stories (one each from me, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins, and Lynda Sandoval) about--shocker!--breaking up. Some bookstores are displaying the book on tables, while in others it's shelved--usually under "Burnham" but sometimes under one of the other contributor's names or with other anthologies--so if you can't find it, ask!

If you want a preview of my story, just click here to read an excerpt. "Last Stand" tells the story of Toby Maitland, an average guy who's scored an amazing girlfriend (as in, she's cute, funny, and stacked.) But when Amber goes ballistic in the middle of a makeout session, Toby has to decide what it is he really wants from the relationship.

And...drumroll, please...the paperback edition of Goddess Games has been officially released! I'd heard reports of it popping up in a few stores last week, but this week it's in stores all over the U.S. and Canada. I've been getting e-mail from readers for months asking when the paperback would be available. To all of you who've written, huge thanks for your patience. (Seneca, one of the main characters, would give you an air-kiss and tell you that you're "just the best!" Then she'd probably ask why you wear your hair that way. She's whacked like that.)

For an excerpt and behind-the-scenes info on Goddess Games, just go here.

In the meantime, I'll be watching tonight's episode of Survivor. I'm worried about my man James. I was dying for him to approach Jason ahead of the vote last week to let him know that the girls were going to blindside him. James could've said something like, "Look, Jason, I know you think the girls are supporting you and they're telling you they want to get rid of me. The thing is, they want to get rid of ALL of the guys. You first, which is why they have Natalie telling you you're safe and trying to convince you not to play the idol. They want to get you the same way they got Ozzy. Then they're getting rid of me and Erik. I'm voting for Parvati tonight, 'cause if you play the idol, then the second-highest vote getter is out. If it's Parv, we can break up the girls' alliance. If you play the idol and it turns out I'm wrong, what's the harm? But if you play the idol and if I'm right, I just saved your bacon. And you'll know exactly who your allies are. Think about it."

But if he said anything like that, they sure didn't show it. Naive Jason went down without playing the idol, and now James and Erik are on the chopping block. I'm afraid they missed their chance. I'd have thought by now that James--of all people--would know what happens when you don't play the idol at the right time. He needed to convince Jason that last week was the right time. AND that it was the best possible time to break up the girls' alliance. I'll cross my fingers that he redeems himself tonight. I hope he and Erik both somehow manage to have immunity.

(BTW...did you realize that Parvati's last name is Shallow? I find that so funny.)