Monday night I somehow ended up making dinner for Old Man Bobby and his mother Mary. Mary was trying to figure out what kind of chicken to make. I told her I had a recipe. Suddenly dinner was all me. Um, I don’t really cook. I cooked for OMB once, other than just heating stuff up, and he made a classic blunder.

Question: When someone makes you dinner do you?

a) Smile and say, “Thank you, for dinner.”

b) Shrug and say, “It’s good. Not the best, but it’s good.”

c) Pray you say a) because if you say b) you’re never going to live it down.

Anyway, <ahem> I warned OMB within an inch of his life. Mary thought it was hilarious that I was coaching him on what he could say. She thought it was even more hilarious when the first thing out of OMB’s mouth when we sat down to eat was, “I’ll avoid the onions.” That was not in the script.

Sorry, I got distracted by the bus I was throwing OMB under. The tile of this post is Chicken Paprikash and Miracles. Paprikash is obviously what I made for dinner, and it was a success (a miracle in itself). OMB even said I should make it again soon. The miracle happened when just before dinner was ready I started doing some dishes. OMB came right in and said, “Let me do that; you made dinner.” I still hear angels sing when I think about it.

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Check it out! Sketching in Stereo found my humble blog! I’ll have to figure out how to sell their post on eBay some day. ūüôā

I’m telling you, Old Man Bobby and I are enjoying the heck out of their CDs. Great stuff.

Old Man Bobby and I went to see Bedtime Stories tonight. Before the movie we saw the Face of Influenza PSA.

Now I don’t have anything against Kristi Yamguchi. I am a huge fan despite not watching Dancing with the Stars. I even went to the Fiesta Bowl parade years ago when she was Grand Marshall. Kristi, you’re lovely. All I’m saying is that if the American Lung Association really wants a turn out for their vaccine, they should use the real Face of Influenza.

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

The Face of Influenza 1918-present.

And by that I mean a mythical beast: a grown man reading New Moon in public.

Let me preface this story by saying that I may have had a break with reality or two yesterday. I was thirsty, tired from too much Guitar Hero the night before (I rock Linkin Park, BTW–99%!), my flight was delayed making me worry about making my connection, and our plane was taken out of service meaning we had to run to our new gate. That being said, I thought I saw Robert Pattinson at O’Hare, from a distance, until I reminded myself that my friends at Letters to Rob had informed me that Rob was in London for his holidays. Then when I¬† boarded my plane a man who looked remarkably like Peter Facinelli was sitting in First Class. No lie.

So anyway, I was flying from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas yesterday,¬†28Dec08, on AA1599, on my way home to Phoenix. I had just sat down when Mr. 24A¬†showed up. I was on the aisle. Being the nice girl I am, I let him get to his seat quickly, then sat back down to rummage through my backpack and get situated. As I reached for my copy of New Moon, anxious to get on with my fourth read-through, I noticed the back of a familiar book. It was a Twilight book. I waited to see which one, and then I saw the flower. We were reading the same book. I laughed and he looked at me as I pulled out my book and said, “Yeah, me too.” He nodded at me, and dove into his book. The man did not utter a word to me then, nor through the rest of the¬†4 hour flight. I believe the only times he looked up from his book were when the beverage service took his order, and when he suddenly gasped/sighed and leaned his head back, eyes closed. He was only distracted for a moment in both cases. He chugged his OJ, I assume so he could get back to his book.

I was so uncomfortable on the plane that I was fidgeting a bit, plus I really had to pee and was waiting for the pilot to turn off the Fasten Seatbelt sign. My mind wandered to the curious gentleman next to me, and why he did not speak to me at all. Common courtesy would dictate that we spend a moment discussing the books, and maybe how we liked the movie, before opening our books and returning to Forks. So why did he not do anything but nod?

Once I wondered if he’d taken some sort of instant dislike to me, or if I smelled. I even sniffed my hair at one point, and then laughed to myself when I realized that my mousse smells like lavender and my deodorant like freesia. Delusional as I was, I started imagining something along the lines of Edward and Bella in Biology. I of course shook that off. He just didn’t feel angry. I was still curious though so I checked him out.

Stocky Frat Boy type. Unkempt facial hair, but not completely wooly. American-style of dress. Under Armour shirt. He had two hats which was puzzling. He wore a knit cap (ironically there was a unicorn embroidered on it). He also had a fitted ball cap, which rested on his knee through the whole flight. It said Taylor U on it. I believe the knit hat was green and the cap was purple. He also had some strange green gloves, maybe motorcycle gloves. They certainly didn’t seem like they’d be warm. He mostly held his book in his left hand, so I could not tell if he wore a ring. He was about 100 pages behind me when we started. He was only 50 pages behind me when we landed. These are all things I noticed while I fidgeted. Mostly I just enjoyed my book.

Today at work I was telling Random about the strange experience. He theorized that 24A was gay and was eager to call it case closed. I tried to tell him that 24A didn’t ping on my gaydar at all. What ensued was sheer hilarity, as we came up with theory after theory about Mr. 24A’s silence. If he had only spoken to me this would never have happened. As Random said, I was stood up by a single serving friend and feeling rejected.

Theory 1: He’s gay – I don’t think so. He was much more Taylor U¬†Football than Rip Taylor Footloose.

Theory 2: He’s shy, in which case Denise is sad for him and¬†thinks I should have bought him a drink. I tried to make eye contact and initiate conversation, I swear!

Theory 3: He doesn’t speak English – This took some thought. I don’t remember seeing any words on his book, just the flowers. Then I remembered that he ordered his OJ with no problems and without any detectible foreign accent. Debunked.

Theory 4: He’s mute. Debunked by the memory of him ordering OJ.

Theory 5: He is a US Marshall, and New Moon was his cover. I guess I’ll never know.

Theory 6: His girlfriend/wife/SO made him read it. I couldn’t see a ring, so who knows?

Theory 7: Not only did he/she make him read it, but he/she won’t let him talk to girls on flights. That would be so sad.

Theory 8: Old Man Bobby paid him to sit next to me on the flight to test me. While I passed the test on the flight, I am now failing, as I am quasi-stalking him. Old Man Bobby laughed nervously when I told him this theory by the way.

Theory 9: He was a spy sent to the US to study teen reading habits. Terrifying.

Theory 10: He thought I was a tweeker because I couldn’t sit still and I went to the bathroom an inappropriate number of times just to have an excuse to walk around.

Theory 11: He was too embarrassed to have been caught reading a chick book to speak to me.

Well it’s my birthday too! The best birthday gift is that it’s cloudy today. Cloudy days in Phoenix are hard to come by, a rare treat. So it’s my birthday, and it’s cloudy, and still no Edward Cullen. I don’t think he’s coming. LOL! Yes, I joke.

What else did I get for my birthday? Well, my friend Greg bought me an improptu gift, not knowing it was my birthday, but I’ll call it a birthday gift all the same. It’s a bracelet made of these funky, spikey, latex beads. God-awful, but fun. The beads look like viruses, which he why he got it for me. He knows of my love of the game Pandemic, so he got me a Pandemic bracelet. So we played yesterday and won, thanks to the good luck of the Pandemic bracelet. Thanks, Greg, for the gift and the good game.

I made Old Man Bobby wait until today to give me my gift, or I would have nothing to look forward to on my birthday but laundry. Ugh. So I just opened my gift. He did well. His Mom said he’d been very observant to pick out such thoughtful gifts. I couldn’t resist teasing that stalkers are usually pretty observant. Yes, I joke about that, too. Yeah, yeah, yeah, so what did he get me? He got me Dead Until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel. He also got me some CDs: Sara Bareilles’s Little Voice and Paramore’s Riot! Well done, Old Man. And thanks again for taking me to see Twilight, for the fourth time, just because it was my birthday. Thank you.

Some things started seeping into my brain. I kept thinking about how the movie was given a low budget before the fan base exploded. While I don’t condone doing a movie with effects you can’t afford to do properly, I do understand financial woes and not being able to do what you really want to do. I thought that there had to have been things that were frustrating for Catherine Hardwicke. I still don’t think she and I see Twilight the same way, but does that mean it was a horrible movie? I started to doubt.

I also thought about the crappy theater I saw the movie in. I hold a grudge against this theater for ruining Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for me. OotP is my favorite of the HP books. When Arthur was getting attacked by the snake suddenly the film stopped and the house lights came up. No theater employee came in to explain. We sat there, stunned. The film came back and the light dimmed once again. When the DA were learning Patronuses the film stopped again. The house lights came back on again, and this time there was an employee waiting in the exit. He came in and said something lame like, “Sorry, we just have to do this. It’ll be a few minutes.” He never explained what This was, or why This had to be done. He certainly didn’t offer any compensation. And he certainly didn’t hang around to hear customer complaints. Nor did his co-workers. Nor did his boss. It was a ghost town when we walked out of the theater.

So as I was thinking about the theater, I thought about how during the battle of the ballet studio in Twilight the sound system made a really annoying buzzing¬†sound that drown out all other sound for a few seconds about 4 times. I thought couldn’t it be possible that this theater sucks in much more subtle ways? Say maybe the picture is ever so slightly out of focus. You might not notice it, but maybe it makes a certain sparkly special effect look worse than it really is. Like I said, I started to doubt my original assessment of the film. Regardless, I think I’ll push for a different venue next time I’m in town for a midnight movie.

I also considered the emotional climate of the theater. I know, that sounds very Jasper of me, but I felt disappointment and anger all around me, most notably from my cousin sitting to my right. I thought the movie was a little weird to begin with, sure, but I was enjoying myself. I thought that the scene when Edward first catches Bella’s scent was well done, until I started hearing groans all around. Sure I thought the fan blowing Bella’s hair was a little over-done, but Edward’s reaction was pretty much as I pictured. Feeling and hearing the crowd’s reaction, though, I started to pick things apart. Suddenly I noticed the music was annoying, and it was downhill from there.

So, when Old Man Bobby asked me what I wanted to do when we were done gaming on Saturday I said, “See Twilight?” He’s a good man for taking me after I made him read my blog. He’s glad I insisted. He enjoyed the movie. It’s not the best movie he’s ever seen, and he does see what I mean about a lot of my complaints, but he liked it. I liked it better a second time, I must admit. Today I read an article that said many people are seeing it again and deciding it’s better than they thought.

Knowing what I already didn’t like about the film, I could focus on more positive things, like the chemistry between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. They didn’t make as much use of it as they might have, but there was more there than I originally thought. I still wish that there was more conversation between Edward and Bella, but there were a few more scenes in which you knew they were talking and getting to know each other than I originally thought.

There’s lots I still don’t like. I could go on and on, but I won’t. The point of this post is that I really did enjoy it more the second time. Catherine Hardwicke and I just see Twilight differently I suppose. I would have grounded it more in reality. I would have used real light. I would have spent the money on clothes befitting Cullens and the right Volvo (I’m assuming that’s not just a loaner anyway). I would have demanded dialog closer to what was written (or that certain lines not be ad-libbed, whatever the case may be). For example, I would have left the line, “I hear voices in my head, and you think you’re the freak,” instead of changing it to, “I can hear people’s thoughts and you think there’s something wrong with your brain,” or whatever Edward ended up saying. I would have also demanded more Cullen time, made those characters more real. The added scenes showing the bad guys killing around Forks was necessary to show the real danger, but the cooking for Bella scene, the¬†flying through the trees,¬†and the field trip scene were not necessary–not at the expense of important scenes from the book which were left out like the blood lab scene, and a real Bella’s Lullaby scene.

Apparently I do want to go on and on, but it’s bed time. What I really want to say is that Catherine Hardwicke might be able to do New Moon, but I’m skeptical. She won’t be able to rely on a certain character to make it all work. It’s going to be a much harder movie. I think a new director might still be in order, but I’m kind of curious about how she would do it.

The Macy’s Parade is over. The cheeseball is chilling in the fridge. The turkey is in the oven. The Holidays are officially upon us.¬†Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I for one have much to be thankful for. Highest on the list is my Uncle J. He¬†made it through his surgery beautifully yesterday and is on the mend. They will have him up and walking around today–amazing!

I am thankful for my friends and family. They are fun, loving, and best of all supportive. I know I can count on you, and I hope you know you can count on me. I love you all.

I am thankful for my job. Sure, I complain a lot about it, but it’s hard work, so I suppose that is to be expected. I really am thankful to have a job, especially with today’s economy being what it is.

I am thankful for my hobbies. Gaming, writing, reading, and movies, have done their best to keep me sane, especially the last couple of years. That leads me to thank a few authors in particular, who have given me the means to escape when needed in the last few years: JK Rowling, the writers of such recent Star Wars novel series as the New Jedi Order Era and the Legacy of the Force Era, Andrew Davidson, and of course Stephenie Meyer. A special Thank You to the folks at The Game Depot, Arizona, my FLGS. If anyone has kept me sane (Yes, I know. I use the term lightly.) these last few years, it has been you. Thanks for keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied.

I know I have a lot more to be thankful for, but time is running short. There is dinner to be made. I’ll close with Old Man Bobby. I cannot say Thank You enough, for everything. For more Date Nights than I can count. For dealing with my many neuroses and putting up with my crap in general. For backrubs I never have to ask for. For endless games of Ask Me About My Book. For doing my bidding. And of course for all the stuff I shouldn’t mention in polite company. Thank you. I’m a lucky woman to have a “boyfiend” like you. Don’t tell anyone I said that though.