Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ingmar Bergman 1918 - 2007

"Ingmar Bergman passed away Monday morning, leaving behind his wife, Theater, and mistress, Film, both of which he loved equally and fervently."
- Jeremy Smith, Cinematic Happenings Under Development( CHUD.com )

To say that Ingmar Bergman was an important figure in my life is to grossly misrepresent a towering presence in my development as an artist. Here are some thoughts on this great director and some images from some of his films that I love very deeply.

Woody Allen once called him "probably the greatest film artist since the invention of the motion-picture camera."

"Bergman changed the rules of engagement and got people to see cinema as a real force by relentlessly bringing people face to face with very intimate things and bringing existential drama to a state of crisis." - Facets Cinematheque film programmer Charles Coleman

"Over a 60-year career as either writer or director and usually as both, Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish filmmaker who died Monday, created a body of work that's unmistakable and unique in its depiction of the soul's inner struggle. Using a medium that records surfaces, he captured the private, the elemental, the unspoken longings and shattering terrors that define the real experience of life on this planet. And he did so with more raw intensity and uncluttered truth than any filmmaker before or since." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle Movie Critic

Cannes Film Festival director Gilles Jacob called Bergman the "last of the greats, because he proved that cinema can be as profound as literature."

The Seventh Seal

Smiles of a Summer Night


Cries and Whispers

Fanny and Alexander

"The theater is like a faithful wife," he once said. "The film is the great adventure - the costly, exacting mistress." - Ingmar Bergman

Monday, July 30, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 12 - Playground Politics Grade 1

This is the first part of a two-poem piece recounting significant events that happened to me in elementary school.

Playground Politics Grade 1

Even to my Third Eye
Turned me into a bad kid
In the space of a hundred yards

Upon waking that morning
My cells had replaced themselves
I remained the same girl whom
My daddy had kissed goodnight
My body fit my clothes
As Mommy helped me with the
Zipper at the back
My friends recognized me
And walked with me to school

On the playground
I crawled with the others
Through tunnels we carved
Through the bushes
Leaving the others to swing and slide
Preferring life at the edge of the concrete
Past which
Lay unknown terrain
The teacher on duty
Would have to send search parties
Decked out in space suits
To poke among the craters

The mutating gene
I looked down the path
Hearing the cries leaking through
From the other dimension
I checked for Mrs. Sturman
The wind screamed past my ears
The sound of my steps on the packed earth
Reverberating in my chest
I felt two others behind me
All it took was one step
And my rebels bolted
On the coattails of their liberator

We reached the edge of the trees
To my horror
We stood at the foot
Of a manicured lawn
Intruders in some backyard
The others fled
Frightened by the skull-socket windows
I dawdled
Turning my back
Hoping that the presence of
My comrades had played the trick
And the voices
Might yet beckon through the green

I emerged from the solace of my sylvan interlude
An angry hand gripped my arm -
Stand against the wall
Until the bell rings!
The universe as I had come to know it
Suddenly splintered

Slowing my vital signs

All I could do
Was stand there
As if I were a
Bad Kid

And suddenly
The ones playing hopscotch
Seemed like long lost sisters
Instead of the
Whining dullards
I had always known them to be

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another Glorious Day in the Garden

I am still learning how to use both the new computer and the digital camera my aunt & uncle got for my mom a few weeks ago. So sometime in the near future I will be able to download pictures of my very own garden when I have spent the whole day in it. Until then, here are borrowed internet pictures of some of the lovlies I hung out with today:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Two Things That Are Making Me Happy, Happy, Happy

Now, for those of you who have been counting down the days until "300" is released on DVD, there is only 4 - count 'em - 4 more days until you can toddle off to your nearest place of commerce and procure one of these babies.

For happy, happy me, my husband has brought it home a week early as he brings home all new releases early. I got to watch one of the battle sequences last night before I dropped off to sleep. Talk about sweet dreams!

And how did I watch the "300" highlight? On the media player option, in our new Windows Vista set up, on our new computer we bought on Wednesday! As you may have noted, I've been soldiering along on a wheezing, ancient triple hand-me-down computer. For which I have been grateful, believe me.

But things have been steadily improving for Brad and me, and when one of my Bus Buddies mentioned she'd just got herself a new computer at Staples, where they're selling off older models, I got the Indiana Jones/standing with the special pole/ beam of light moment. I told Brad, "It's now or never, honey."

We got a wonderful Xplio tower with a new keyboard and mouse thrown in. That alone is such a sigh of relief, as our mouse had a signature hit-and-miss style all its own.

I'm in the starry-eyed infatuation stage with our new set-up, and I hope this loving feeling stays warm and fuzzy for a nice long while.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 16 - 13 Excerpts from 3 Fabulous Ellora's Cave Books

For today's TT I'd like to share excerpts from three excellent
Ellora's Cave books I'm delighted to own. The first two were released
in March of this year, and the third one just came out last week. All
are available for purchase at Ellora's Cave.

I'll start with LOVE ME WILD by Renee Field. She's a member of Romance
Writers of Atlantic Canada, which is how I met her. I've been a member
for several years now and so enjoy my friendships with everyone there.
I was lucky enough to win a copy of her book, a shape-shifter story.
"Can two beings with different beliefs embrace the fact that myths can
become real when sizzling magic, searing heat and passion engulf
them?" Here's a few excerpts to entice you:

LOVE ME WILD - Renee Field

1 - "Rowena shivered as she placed the test tube into the cycle-tron,
hoping the results would be wrong. Deep down, she knew they wouldn't
be. Ten minutes later, the cycle was complete. The tube was bright
blue. The results were positive, she had the Maida curse - she was
fertile. Rowena cringed, knowing what was to come.

Even though she was Maida's top biologist, she couldn't halt years of
evolution. For the first time in her life, she wished to be like her
sister, Tyrana - sterile. Then my life would be my own. How she envied
her sister's freedom of choice."

2 - " 'What matters to you most?' she asked.

Stupid woman. What mattered to all of his kind - freedom.

His eyes narrowed in disgust. When he didn't immediately answer, she
had the audacity to quirk her neat little eyebrows at him, as if he
were brain-dead.

'What matters to you most, 7653?' she repeated, her voice brushing
like a warm summer's breeze deep into the recesses of his mind.

The use of that number as if it were a name made him want to snort in
frustration. 'Freedom,' he snapped, looking her straight in the eye,
willing her to understand.

A smile lit up his face when she retreated back a step. His senses
also told him her heart had accelerated. She, too, isn't immune to my
voice. For once, that gave him a smug sense of male satisfaction.

'Him,' she said, turning her face to a woman standing at her side.

Tulon knew she had to be of importance. She looked regal.

'Choose another,' the woman replied, trying to usher the fourth male forward."

3 - "Tulon knew he had to get them off Mount Atrophe and fast.
Worse, the only safe and quick way was to flash into a stallion.

Turning to look at Rowena, he stilled his heart. 'What you're about to
see is probably going to scare you, but it's the only thing I can
think of that will get us out of here. For once, do as I say,' he

Not waiting for her response, he walked a safe distance away from her.
Then, without thinking any more about his actions, he let the magic
fuel his cells and willed his body to flash into his true form - a

He held his breath, hoping that for once the magic had listened to
him. A toss of his mane told him it wasn't so. He was a blasted
stallion. He still couldn't control the strange pulse of magic that
hummed through his system. Hating what had become of him, he pranced
on all fours, all but stomping the lush meadow as anger surged through
the marrow of his bones.

'I thought sex was supposed to stop the hallucinations,' giggled
Rowena, still sitting on the grass."

4 - "She almost bolted up from the grass, so he used his magic to lock
her arms in place over her head.

'Tulon, what are you doing?'

'Pleasuring you well, my spitfire.' He grinned, sitting back on his
heels to look at her.

She was still arching her neck off the grass to warily watch him. What
he wanted to see in those sky-blue eyes of hers was blazing passion.

'Using your magic to hold me down isn't fair play. Ohh,' she said, breathlessly.

'So, you are a believer in magic now.' ...The secrets the magic was
revealing to him astonished him. Things were starting to make more
sense to him from the night he had undergone his thrush. However, he
forced himself to focus on the task at hand. ..Once again he used his
power to position her just the way he wanted."

Next up is an anthology called SEASONS OF SEDUCTION Volume I /
Ellora's Cavemen. I won this one too! I have a rather wonderful
history of winning books. While visiting Lillian Feisty's The Feisty
Blog, I realised an 8 Things About Meme was in fact a list of movie
lines. Lillian turned that meme into a contest. Whoever could name all
8 flicks won a copy of the anthology that showcases one of her
stories, DANCE OF THE PLAIN JANE. With my husband being the walking
movie encyclopedia, perhaps it wasn't a fair playing field. No matter!
I was thrilled to get my copy in the mail.

"Having Michael run out on her after she's revealed her deepest,
darkest desire reminds Jane that trust is a difficult issue." There
are six sizzling stories in this collection, but I'll tantalize you
with with Lillian's because she's the reason I invited the Cavemen


5 - "You gotta see this chick, man. She is so fucking hot!'

Michael grunted and took a bite of his Tandoori Chicken. He hardly
tasted it. Indian wasn't his favorite type of food, but when his Navy
pals dragged him to the Bombay Cafe after a ten-mile swim in a very
choppy San Diego Bay, he had been too tired to argue. Now he simply
needed to put something in his grumbling gut and he didn't much care
what it was.

'You ain't kidding. If her hips don't lie then I want the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the fucking truth!'

His friends weren't here for the food, either, it seemed. They kept
talking about some belly dancer who'd given them all hard-ons for the
entire weekend following the previous Friday night's performance.

'Why do they have a belly dancer in an Indian restaurant, anyway?' "

6 - "She had seen him so many times and not once had he noticed her.
He lived in her neighborhood. She didn't know exactly where, but
somewhere close. She occasionally saw him running, his long, strong
legs sure and steady as they carried him away from her. He never
caught her watching him...

They'd had coffee together several times. Well, not actually together,
but in the same local coffee shop, at the same time. She'd spent many
hours formulating exactly what to say to him the next time she saw him
there. Then he'd disappear for weeks on end and she'd lose her nerve.

But now she was in her element, and she wasn't going to chicken out tonight."

7 - " 'Oh, sweetie, what happened?'

Jane's eyes began to burn.

'Another obnoxious jerk at the restaurant?'

She sniffed. 'Yes.'

Abby put an arm around her shoulder. 'Come upstairs, tell me what
happened and I'll fix you a drink. Have you eaten?'

Jane smiled. For all Abby's bombshell looks she was really an Italian
mama at heart, and twenty minutes later Jane was seated at Abby's pink
kitchen table, drinking Cosmopolitans and eating leftover lasagna.

'Can you please tell me what's wrong with me?' Jane whined after she
had relayed the story to Abby. Well, most of it, anyway.

She refilled Jane's glass. 'Nothing is wrong with you.'

'We were just about to have sex and then he takes a phone call!'

'That is slightly strange.'

'Oh my God!' Jane slammed her glass onto the table. 'I know!'

'You know what?'

'I know why he took off.'

'You do?'

'It was my ass!' "

8 - " 'I always thought you were cute.'

'What do you mean, always?'

'At the coffee shop. I always tried to get a look at your face, but
you were constantly bent over some book, with you hair in your eyes.'

'You knew that was me?'

'I figured it out after I left the other night.'

The reminder of what happened snapped Jane back to reality. She tried
to push away, but his grip was tight on her hips. 'Let me go.'

'Not yet.' He raised her dress, the air cool against her naked thighs.
'From the moment I saw you dancing in that restaurant I haven't been
the same. Can't stop thinking about you.'

'Stop. Someone might see.' She looked around the alleyway but there
was no sign of life.

'Don't care,' he said."

Christine d'Abo is another friend I've met through Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada. We had a great time at the writers' retreat this past May (Renee, too) and she's a very good blogging buddy. Her book is a futuristic: "When the colony comes under attack by a brutal alien force, can Haylie and Kamran keep their bond a secret and stop the invasion in time to save everyone?"

THE BOND THAT TIES US - Christine d'Abo

9 - "Thank god, she was finally here. With a shiver of anticipation, Haylie Bond stepped off the shuttlecraft into the bright hangar bay of the Eurus colony. Casting a glance around she was pleased to see the large windows on the far side of where the shuttle had set down. They'd landed on the planet midafternoon but the winds were so strong the bright red sand of the planet was whipping around the colony like traveling tornadoes. Still, the alien sight reassured her she really had made it. If someone had told her a year ago she'd be taking up residency on Earth's newest colony, twenty light years from home, she would have laughed.

She hadn't been this excited about anything since, well, ever. Haylie took a deep breath, held it for a moment and released it. Calm. Stay focused on the situation, take in what you need and get down to the business of being the best damn security chief this colony ever had."

10 - "The winds had picked up again, pelting sand and small rocks against the glass in a mad frenzy. Kamran felt a kinship with the planet tonight.

'Do you think it's a trick? A chemical or toxin perhaps, used to confuse your body into thinking it has found a mate?'

'I thought of that. I had the computer scan me for any foreign substances. Nothing. Had you seen her you wouldn't question her reaction either. It was genuine. Besides, what would she gain by doing so?'

'The Ecada have lots to gain.'

He'd thought of that too. 'I cannot imagine a human conspiring with them. The Ecada see the humans as little more than a food source. It would be suicide.'

'There has to be another explanation.'

He straightened. His chest tightened and he had to fight the urge to hit Taber. Who the hell was he to question whether or not Kamran had actually found his mate?

'Why?' The word sounded clipped to Kamran, but he didn't care.


'Why does there have to be another explanation?' Kamran placed his glass on the table, afraid it would shatter in his hand.

'It's simply not possible.' "

11 - "She lifted her hand to trigger the computer sensor when his door suddenly whooshed open. Kamran stood there, his tunic half buttoned, looking concerned.

'Are you well?' His voice sounded as grave as hers had a short time earlier. His eyes were wide, checking her over, looking for some invisible mark.

'Yes. Are you?'

His hair looked as if he'd been running his hands through it repeatedly. His tunic, which looked vaguely like the one in her dream, did little to conceal his body. Her heart began to pound as bits of her dream came rushing back. Her mouth watered at the thought of seeing him naked. She felt her body sway closer to his, the invisible push-pull between them more powerful than ever.

Kamran didn't immediately respond, but instead checked the hallway and pulled her quickly inside. The room remained a mystery to Haylie, as his large frame blocked everything from sight.

'What are you doing here?' His fingers tightened around her biceps.

'Kamran, stop that. I'm here because you asked me to be.'

'I did no such thing. Having you here is the worst thing we could do right now. I have to get ready for a meeting first thing in the morning.'

'Well, Taber brought me here at your request. Something about not trusting the vid screens, but needing information.'

She looked down at where his fingers gripped her arm. His grip was firm, but not painful. It only took a single look from her and he released her.

'Sorry,' he muttered and ran his hand through his hair."

12 - "For once in his life, he wasn't alone. He had someone who was bound to him and he to her. If they were discovered, he would lose everything he'd worked a lifetime to achieve. A part of him, a very selfish but small part, didn't want to give up his ambassadorship. Not now. Not with things in such a critical state.

The larger part of him missed her. Terribly.

He shifted over to his side and closed his eyes. Haylie's face drifted to the surface of his mind. She smiled at him and wrapped her arms around his neck. She looked so happy, every trace of worry erased from her face. Arousal nipped at him. He leaned forward to kiss her and her face dissolved before him into nothing."

For the last excerpt, I'm going to leave you with a melange of spicy
moments from all three stories. Enjoy!

13 - LOVE ME WILD - "The feel of her warm skin on his was an
aphrodisiac. The air around them all but crackled as his magic raced
to the surface. Gritting his teeth, Tulon knew he had no choice. He
had to have her. He wouldn't be denied."

DANCE OF THE PLAIN JANE - "And he kissed her. Kissed her with a
surprising tenderness that melted her heart.

Her wrists strained against the silk as she kissed him back. The
bondage heightened her sensitivity and frustrated her at the same time
- she had no control over her pleasure."

THE BOND THAT TIES US - "In the next instant, Kamran felt her lips
upon his, shocked by the texture, the smoothness of her skin. His eyes
refused to work, but he didn't need them to know who this woman was.

'It's you.' "

Wordless Wednesday - 10

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tagged - The Moaning Meme

Karina tagged me for this meme, which originated at The Freelance Cynic.

This is my free ticket to get a few things off my chest - how liberating!

4 things that should go into Room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth:

* Febreeze!!! This was quite obviously invented by the Devil.
* Glade plug-ins, especially the wafting ones with little built-in fans!!!
* Scented hand lotion (which is basically every hand lotion - trust me, it's very hard to find fragrance-free lotion.) The fragrance really becomes set into your skin this way, which means my life as I knew it is over whenever someone puts some on around me. Can you tell I have a fragrance allergy?
* Automated phone machines that dial your house so you can tell the harassed employees on the other end to go screw themselves.

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently:

* Placing the logo "Canada's New Government" on federal paperwork as if it's a corporation and they had a lame-ass marketting meeting about it. The current Conservative government actually tried replacing official Canadian logos like

with this bit of ridiculous effrontery:

Of course, not with that annoying smug face of Stephen Harper on it, but the text part. Imagine.
* Complaining about jobs moving out of the country while heading out to buy cheap stuff at WalMart.
* Parking on both sides of the road, even on a curvy road, one where buses have to do the slalom. Why doesn't city council establish one-side-of-the-road parking? I'll never know.

2 things you find yourself moaning about:

* Sound mixes on DVDs. WAY TOO LOUD!
* When 'new and improved' appears on a favorite product. Generally they've wrecked it. When you have extreme allergies like me, you live in fear of 'new and improved'.

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself:

I hate fragrance. And hypocracy.

Now, whom to tag... How about Samantha Lucas, Red Garnier, Kelly, Christine and Rebecca.


Link to the original meme at freelancecynic.com so people know what it's all about!
Be as honest as possible, This is about letting people get to know the real you!
Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!
Post these rules at the end of every meme!