Movie Review- “The Thing”- What a dog.

Eh. That’s the only emotion I can evoke from the “The Thing”. Of course, I am not the only person to have said that about the film because those of us who experienced John Carpenter’s original masterpiece are spoiled by originality and man-made special effects. Remember those? I feel like I’m turning into a curmudgeon when it comes to remakes in general, but especially when it comes to horror film remakes. And by the way, the John Carpenter version was a remake. The original, original was released in 1951. I remember my dad telling me that he saw that film as a kid so when the 1982 version came out, it was an instant family tradition. Sick, huh? I don’t think he could have ever imagined that he was taking his twelve-year-old daughter to witness the spider-head.

Let’s start with the clear distinction between John Carpenter’s original and this Thing. John Carpenter’s was indeed, a horror film. It was disturbing, hopeless, terrifying, shocking, way the hell ahead of its time, and it still holds up.  If you want to be technical about it, it was a sci-fi horror film which gave Alien a run for its money. (Alien came out a few years prior but was the reigning shocker for this time period.) This prequel started out OK, then made the mistake that so many horror films make today. It turned into an action-adventure movie. I realize that we are now dealing with an audience that has a five second attention span so in an effort to expose a new audience to “the classics”, there is an ardent need to tweak an original story line and bring it into the future. I hate that! STOP IT! I’m finished with that. How about teaching this generation how to appreciate a well-told story with proper character build up so you at least give a rat’s ass about the people whose demise you are witnessing. The 1982 version started out a bit slow. It was an involved, intelligent story that required your attention, not to stay on track but to appreciate the elements, the surroundings, and the situation that these men were in.

For those who were never fortunate enough to experience the John Carpenter version starts with a helicopter chasing a beautiful husky, which sets the scene for dread from the get go. You wonder why they are chasing this beautiful creature only to find rather quickly that things are not as they appear. The American researches who join the scene, learn that the helicopter was the remaining Norwegian researches who were there before them, having succombed to a mutating alien they had discovered in the ice. That’s it.

So what did that Thing have that this Thing didn’t have? Well, I get that this current one is a sequel so the filmmakers are hoping that there won’t be any comparisons, only appreciation for both films separately. Sorry. The first had Kurt Russell, who was once an untouchable badass who could easily shame current day wannabe badasses. The other missing element is the patience the 1982 version had. It started out with a bang, but still maintained a pace that kept building without becoming a kitschy, action film. The action scenes were tension building, not adventurous. Big difference. The best part of the 2011 version for me? The ending credits. Not just because the film ended but because it salvaged it’s importance (if any) by tying in to the beginning of the 1982 version. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler. I’m just saying to stay for the credits if you do intend to see it. I didn’t hate this movie, I’m just guilty of trying to turn this into something that it’s not.


Dear Blog, I miss you.

Dear Blog,

God I hate when life gets in the way of my obsessions. Getting used to a new job and new schedule really creates a world of hurt to someone who thinks the word, “change” is a dirty word. I know it’s inevitable, yada, yada, yada, but to a creature of habit, it’s pure hell. I know, excuses, excuses. I have neglected you and I’ve missed you. You are my outlet, my cheap solution to therapy, and you never give me any lip service…..kind of like my cat. Now that I’m having to actually wake up at a decent hour like the rest of the world, my pea brain is suffering and all I can do is hope to stay awake long enough in the early evening hours so I don’t pass out too soon. I have officially become a disgrace to all nocturnal creatures and98.9% of the writing community. I have reignited my addiction to coffee so hopefully I will learn how to turn my late-night creativity into a day job. God. Is that possible? I know people do it but is that possible FOR ME? We’ll just have to stay tuned to find out. 

Oh, and then there’s the issue of having a travel blog and paying $4.19 a gallon for gas. Did I mention I have a small SUV?  I don’t see myself turning into Forrest Gump anytime soon, having the need to just run here, there and everywhere so we may just have to REALLY appreciate my own backyard for a while. No, seriously. I can’t afford to leave my backyard. SUV……San Francisco……$4.19/gallon, having to get up before 11:00a.m. You figure this out. Me loves a challenge. 🙂

See you soon blog,


Blogging taught me…..

When you think about it, you can learn how to do just about everything from reading blogs. The reason I even started my own is because I’ve been told that I am SO opinionated therefore should have an outlet of some kind. That was probably a subtle hint to bother somebody else with my big mouth.

I have sometimes found that I’m not always in the writing mood, rather more interested in picking the brains of others in order to maybe find some inspiration or just learn something new. You would be amazed at what you can learn just from grazing the blogosphere.  Blogging has taught me:

–  I’m not the only one starting a blog at 40 39 29.

–  I’m not the crankiest person on the planet.

–  I’m not the only one who photographs their food.

–  You can make a cake out of egg nog.

–  There are others who feel that their writing isn’t as good as the next guy’s.

–  I haven’t even made a dent in what there is to see in the world. I have added many destinations to my list after reading posts from travelers in just about every part of the world.

–  Many grandparents know more about blogging and technology than I do. There are some seriously tech saavy seniors out there who are rockin’ the blogosphere!

–  I thought my love for my cat was crazy. It appears that there are many of us out there who go off the deep-end for our furry babies.

–  Anonymous women scorned with a blog should be feared.

–  I’m not the only one who needs inspiration some days to get going.

–  I’ve been left totally speechless by some photo blogs.

–  A blog can be indicative of a hoarding issue. I had to stop myself from adding any more widgets.

–  I too can cook like an Italian mama from Purugia just by following recipes found on blogs.

–  Thanks to others, I actually rediscovered my interest in…dare I say, sports. Aack! Did I say that? I’m not too interested in sports but I LOVE the World Cup and actually had the nerve to produce a couple of posts. On sports. Go figure.

–  There are so many of us Generation X-ers who blog and know in our hearts that we are still and will always remain totally cool. The fact that we’re still listening to 80’s music, watching VH1 Classic, and still going to Bon Jovi concerts proves this.

–  This is the best and cheapest form of therapy I’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering. I actually love my little outlet and find it to be a much healthier addiction than so many alternatives!

Happy reading and writing y’all!

Favorite Travel Shows

Samantha Brown

Image via Wikipedia

It may come as a shock but I watch travel shows the way a lot of sports fanatics watch golf, baseball, or football. Even the so-so shows piqué my interest because I might find a destination that I just have to hit someday, perhaps if only in a book or magazine. Almost from the beginning, shows like Wild Kingdom and the old Jacques Cousteau specials caught my attention and made me want to visit every part of the world, or at least learn about what else is out there.

These days, since I don’t see myself hitting the jungle anytime soon, I rely heavily on the Travel Channel for at least mental escapism. For one thing, my Direct TV bill is a lot cheaper than an airline ticket so, I’ll take it. But I also love to see HOW other people travel. There’s more to it than just packing your bags and getting to where you’re going.

These are the travel shows I obsess over:

Rick Steves-I still live for those PBS marathons even though I’ve seen them over and over. He’s an expert. He’s a travel God. The way he travels, he could have won Survivor many times over. He could sleep on a bed of nails and call it immersion travel, and you would believe it. He not only sparked the interest in youths to travel, he took notes on travel mistakes he made over the years so he could guide them, making their experiences easier. He has given the youth market the courage to get out there and discover, and continues to improve upon this year after year. His awe shucks demeanor makes everybody feel like they could do exactly what he is doing, in spite of language barriers and looking like you eat apple pie every day. Not just for kids anymore, Rick Steves’s guide books have become a travelers’ bible for travelers of every age.

Samantha Brown– Damn she travels well, doesn’t she? I haven’t always been a big fan of Samantha Brown, finding her to be a little too perky for my taste but her show is really growing on me. The destinations they’ve been sending her to have been really fantastic and I like that she will try almost anything. A girl after my own heart. Her recent episode of Eze, France still has me dreaming in French.

Current TVUnseen, hosted by two guys named Max and Jason show the unseen side of a destination you may not see on the mainstream travel shows. They recently had Unseen Italy, Australia, and China just to name a few. It’s in depth travel, and great for adventure and thrill seeking travelers.

Anthony Bourdain-No Reservations-And then there’s the king. Love him or hate him, he’s a gentleman when he travels. He is the most hateful cuss on Top Chef when he is critiquing food, but everyone should take notes from him on how to act when traveling to exotic locations. His commentaries are simultaneously insightful and witty, always revealing more than just a locale. He has a talent for extracting personal stories from the most common people, giving the viewer insight on how life really is in their part of the world.

I could go on for days about the various travel shows I love to watch. But that’s also subjective. I consider Diners Drive-Ins and Dives and Ghost Adventures to be travel shows. I would love to hear about what your t.v. escape is. Is it an American Express commercial or that guy who eats live grubs?!


Taken at the Historical Museum


The National Shrine and Basilica of  Our Lady of Ta’Pinu or The Ta’Pinu Sanctuary. This building has faced demolition many times but has been saved by those who cherish it and believe it to be a place of miracles.

~Gozo, Malta

~Taken from the ferry from Malta on the way to Gozo.

Marble statue/lamp post thing. I don’t really know what this was but thought it was beautiful.

~Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, Malta