Friday, December 27, 2013

What We Did On Our Winter Vacation: Treasure Island, Florida

Sorry, gang, I kept attempting to write this, but I had so many other things to avoid work on I got sidetracked.  Then yesterday I edited pics for my FB album.  I'd made a rough list before we left of what we had done, otherwise it was going to be all a sort of blur with palm trees.  Like a Jimmy Buffett concert.  And don't think we didn't have to listen to a lot of poor bastards singing "Margaritaville" in the ensuing days.

We flew out of Newark, NJ to Tampa airport on Thursday night, December 13th.  As always with planes, I was drugged out of my mind on xanax and some kind of anti-psychotic.  I react very badly to anti-psychotics.  This one caused "heavy sedation". BINGO!  I don't remember a damn thing, although I'm told that while waiting for the plane we ate pizza and cheesecake.  I actually bought a coat specifically to go to and from the airport! It was 50% off, dammit.  Long, cobalt blue, with a fake fur collar and cuffs.  I felt like Ginger Rogers until I took the pills.

We picked the Bilmor Resort and Hotel, specifically because of its cheesy 50s vibe.

(I didn't take this picture, as you can probably tell)

It's on Treasure Island, an island part of the city of St. Petersburg.  The area is mostly a long strip of hotels and bars.  We didn't care, because our main goal was to do lots of lovely nothing.  We achieved our goal. The hotel faced the Gulf of Mexico, and there was the biggest public beach I have seen in years.  It was about half a mile to the water!

(I didn't take this picture, either)

We got another handicapped room, which had a peephole at crotch height, presumably for folks in wheelchairs.  Remember, my crotch is higher than most peoples'.  It was on the first floor at the quiet end of the hotel, and had a back glass sliding door onto a little "porch."  Also a screen door, so we could open the door in the morning and let the breeze in.

Elisa bed
Me, the morning after we arrived.  At least I'm not drooling.


Jeff porch
Jeff on our "porch"

Every morning this guy had to rake the sand between our hotel walk and the slight rise to the palm trees.  Every single morning, he came out with a rake, raked the sand sideways, and then in perfect lines perpendicular to the walkway.  After five minutes people would come out of their rooms and wreck it.  One morning Jeff gave the raker $10.  The man was flabbergasted.

Honestly, we were both exhausted and emotionally spent.  The temperature was in the 70s, not as hot as Jeff wanted.  But back home it was 21 degrees and stormy, which made him feel better.  It was so wonderfully luxurious to lounge in those white sheets, no deadlines, no animals, no anything.  We'd agreed not to talk about anything.  And I do mean anything.  Just be in the moment and enjoy ourselves.  This worked beautifully.  The trip was more romantic than I could have dreamt, but if you think you're getting any details, don't worry. 

Jeff spent hours on the "porch", reading.  We didn't have a computer and our cellphones were packed away.  Bliss.

We had bought breakfast food to eat in the room, but Jeff had a craving for Waffle House.  It always hits him when we go anywhere near down South.  We walked through an uber-touristy area called Johns Pass.  Every other store had a name like Tiki Surf Shop, Seashell Jewels by Nyota, or Shore Clothtique (I kid you not).  The bars were often either tiki or mariner themed.  One nearby was named It's Five O' Clock Somewhere!. 

Most nights we ate at the hotel restaurant, Sloppy Joes, where we watched the other patrons get sloppy drunk.  The food was excellent.  Almost all of the fish was fresh.  I will never like fish tacos--they are a food abomination--but Jeff loved them and ordered them at almost every meal.  Sloppy Joe was represented by a picture of Ernest Hemingway, which I never understood.  The patrons were probably all too illiterate to know who Hemingway is. ("Is that the guy with a million cats around his house or something?")

Sloppy Joes
"Wasting away, today, in Margaritaville...thanks, remember to tip your servers"

We spent all of Saturday around the hotel.  This time there were two poor bastards singing Jimmy Buffett, one at Bazzie's, the breakfast restaurant at the other end of the hotel (and later in the evening, a sad deserted bar), and another guy at the next hotel
 down, the Thunderbird.


The only thing we had scheduled in advance was dinner at Berns, a storied steakhouse in Tampa. About which more later.

Bilmar back smaller
The Gulf side of the Bilmor. 

There had been a sand sculpture contest two weeks before.  Also about which more later.

Jeez, I can't believe I wrote something personal on this thing again!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

This Just In! Jensen Ackles's Inner Monologue During An Interview

This silly little piece was inspired by this interview, a promo interview in October, where Jensen keeps bobbing up and down in his chair, chewing gum, and looking distracted.  Quotes from the beginning slightly paraphrased.  The entire interview is posted below.  For those who don't know, this is a genre of fan fiction known as Real Person Fiction.  There is also Real Person Slash...glurk.

Jensen: "Dean is keeping a secret from Sam as he is wont to do."

Jared: "An angel embodies Sam, which is a fun, scary thing to do."


Jesus, here we go again. Jared's all excited about the “fun” he has playing multiple characters. I have to pretend to be excited about Dean. Dean’s doing bupkes. Yeah, yeah, on an island, nobody to help out—now he’s blabbing on about meeting Death, being ready to die—don’t worry about bro, I’ll be sitting over here. What? Someone’s asking me a question? Me and Cas?

We’re talking about Cas’s journey. Great. We start out with me, and then, boom, Cas. Cas Cas Cas. Back to Ezekiel. I wish this was over. I can’t even fake being interested right now. I'm tired. We've been shooting since 5 this morning.  I wish this was over and I could go back to the set. Dean is keeping a secret from Sam. Again. Dean is fucking up. Again. Dean throws punches. What season was it that I got to go to hell? That was something to get my teeth into.  

There goes Jared again with the multiple characters, the challenge... That Psych sticker is peeling off. Maybe I can peel it the rest of the way off. Nah, too far away.  Bugs me, peeling like that.  I'm hungry.  If my stomach rumbles during this interview, we're fucked and we'll have to do it all over again.

Jared plays angels, Lucifer, Soulless Sam, demon blood Sam, Meg Sam, Broken Brain that all the Sams? Dean feels like shit. Always with the feeling like shit. I’ve got crying and feeling like shit and freaking out and loving my brother down cold. Is it so much to ask to writers to give Dean something else to do? I’m a professional actor, goddamnit. Throw me a bone, guys! Man, I miss Purgatory. That was fun to play. And Benny. I miss Ty. But then, yeah, the trials, Sam does the trials, Sam gets sick, and I get trying to talk my brother out of doing yada yada yada. Jared got all the critics creaming themselves about the trials and what a great actor he is...oh, did someone ask me a question?

(Answers question about the set)

I’m acting now, that’s for damn sure. When it this going to be over? Can’t stand doing press. If only y’all knew what I was thinking right now.


Friday, December 6, 2013

OMG, You Killed Kevin! You Bastards! Supernatural Review, 9x09, "Holy Terror"

Let's see if I can get through this review without crying.  Even though there plot holes you could walk through and more destruction of canon (something you can always count on with the unholy duo of Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner, who wrote the egregious "Taxi Driver," which bent canon until it broke). All the same, this episode left me inconsolable.  Which was not helped by trying to explain what happened to my husband: "Kevin the prophet was killed, and Sammy is possessed by an evil angel and now there's going to be an all-out angel war--" That sentence more or less sums up the episode.  Although it left my husband baffled and annoyed he hadn't been able to watch football instead.

The teaser is a religious chorale group of women in white dresses slaughtering a biker group.  Each is from a different angel faction.  Yes, once again there are angel factions ala Lucifer/Michael and Castiel/Raphael.  This go-round it's Bartholomew vs. Malachi, corporate vs. crazy. 

Malachi tries to broker a truce so that they can all take on Metatron.  Bart's assistant blows him off, Malachi announces, "and so it begins," and they slaughter Bart's angels.  Guess what, gang, it's Angel War time! AGAIN!

Dean and Sam/Zeke arrive at the crime scene, only to find Cas, natty in blue suit and tie, already there. I adore human!Cas.  "Cas is back in town!" he announces, so delighted with himself.

SPN_909 Cas
"I can actually take this suit OFF, bitches!"

SPN_909 Guys drinking
Seriously, I need this scene in.every.episode.

They discuss Battle of Heaven 3.0, now with new location and new redshirts.  Zeke gets a bug up his ass and leaves.  Dean hurriedly explains that Sam is possessed and lies to Cas, saying they have to keep at arms' length.  Meanwhile, Zeke goes outside and meets--wait for it--Metatron!

SPN_909 Metatron
Would you buy a used car from this man?

Metatron gives us the big reveal, which really is a surprise!  Zeke is not Ezekiel! His real identity is Gadreel, and here I'm going to quote from the Bible, the Book of Enoch: And the name of the third is Gadreel; this is the one that showed all the deadly blows to the sons of men. And he led astray Eve. And he showed the weapons of death to the children of men, the shield and the breastplate, and the sword for slaughter, and all the weapons of death to the sons of men.

Metatron has gotten bored being alone in Heaven (presumably he forgot to bring his massive library) and has decided: “Plan B: Rebuild Heaven as the place God envisioned it, only with a hand-picked few. No more anemic functionaries like Bartholomew. And no more stupid angels. Maybe some funny ones.”

Gadreel has been imprisoned since before the dawn of time.  When the angels fell, even the imprisoned ones fell.*  Gadreel feels he's God's fall guy, and he wants to redeem himself.  Metatron knows he's dealing with a guilt-ridden dumbass who's been lying since he got here--no, not Dean--who has no experience with humans other than the Winchesters.  Which would be catastrophic for anyone.  Really, put a cageful of lab rats in the back seat and they would have committed suicide within six months.

Like Cas with Crowley, Gadreel is gullible as all get-out.  He's one of the "stupid" angels.  The major difference is that Crowley counted on Castiel's hubris, while Metatron is counting on Gadreel's utter lack of self-worth.  Metatron offers to make the angel his second in command.  Gadreel promises to think it over. (I wish his name wasn't so close to Gag Reel.) Meanwhile, Cas is in a hotel room.  He's only been prayed to, so he doesn't know how to pray.  This leads to a great montage of Cas trying different body
positions to pray in.

SPN_909 Cas praying
When did Cas learn yoga?  Has he been taking classes?

This images in this post are Cas-heavy, just because he gets the best shots.  Dean, Sam and Kevin (AAAAAH!  KEVINNN!) are mostly shown walking around.

One of Bart's church ladies shows up to recruit a prayer group.  She exhorts them to open themselves to the angels, as trails of white light swirl over their heads.  But before the poor redshirts can go to glory, Malachi's angels murder all of them.

SPN_909 Redshirts T
Too bad.  You should have been doing drugs and having sex like the other kids.

In answer to Cas's prayers, a neutral angel wearing a small blonde park ranger meatsuit shows up.  But before they can say more than exposition, Malachi busts in and grabs them back.  Back at the bunker--who gives a shit, it's TORTURE TIME!

SPN_909 Malachi
Malachi's the skeevy guy to the left. Not the skeevy guy in the back.

Malachi wants intel on Metatron.  Cas insists he knows nothing.  They kill the park ranger angel.  Malachi tells of all of the angels who died in the fall, including Ezekiel.  When Malachi leaves Cas alone with his torturer, the angel drops the menacing act and says he wants to join Castiel and Metatron in the New, Improved Heaven.  Cas pretends that he's in with Metatron after all, gets the angel blade, slices the angel's throat and takes his grace!  BAMF!

SPN_909 Grace swallow
And Dean didn't know that Cas would swallow!

Ho-KAY, the snap you heard was another piece of canon being broken.  WTF?  If Cas can become an angel again simply by sucking down some other angel's grace, why didn't he do it before now?  Huh? And why has his human arc ended so abruptly?  Oh, right, they need the angel ex machina back again, never mind how great the arc was.  Kinda like Purgatory.  Remember Purgatory?  Dean's PTSD?  No, I don't either. Cas burns the now-human angel's
 eyes out.

SPN_909 Cas no fun
Castiel is officially no longer fun.

Back to his angel-grim face, Cas finds a phone booth and calls Dean.  He lets him know that Ezekiel is not Zeke, but Gadreel.  Then for someone reason, Cas says he's gotta go.  You think I keep track of all of this?

Metatron and Gadreel meet.  Gadreel wants to be second in command.  Oh, you poor dumb bastard. To prove his loyalty, Gadreel must "neutralize" the person whose name is written on a piece of paper.

SPN_909 Gadreel Metatron
There goes your redemption, buster.

Dean frantically wakes up Kevin and tells him they need a spell so that they can shut down the possessing angel and talk to the possessed.  When Kevin asks him why, Dean says, "Trust me."  Kevin responds, "I always trust you...and I always get screwed."  Okay, I'm choking up now.

Dean gets Sam in a storeroom where Dean has painted a sigil on the wall.  He smacks it, and Sam looks bewildered. “I’m gonna tell you some stuff fast. It’s gonna piss you off.”  There follows a beautifully intense scene where Dean tries to explain what he's done to a shocked, angry Sam.  Dean's trying to explain before Gadreel comes back.  Sam knocks him unconscious.  It's not Sam he's been talking to. When Gadreel walks out, Kevin starts to ask if Sam's noticed that Dean's acting strange lately and...and...oh crap I can't even describe it...

SPN_909 Gadreel kills Kevin

Dean becomes conscious and walks in on this.  Gadreel flings Dean against a pillar and forces him to watch.  Kevin drops to the ground, dead, his eyes burned out.  If you think I'm going to put a picture of that in here...I started crying looking at the damn screencaps. 

Gadreel explains that he overheard Dean and Kevin, and smudged the sigil.  "I think I played Sam quite convincingly."  With that, Gadreel picks up the tablets, puts them in a duffel bag, and heads out.

SPN_909 Sam no more
"Sam's no more." 

WHAT? Dean drops to the ground and looks at his dead friend.  Poor Kevin, his life as a prophet was the worst.  No friends, no girlfriend, forced to study and come up with spells for the Winchesters around the clock...and killed.  All of Dean's lies have come back to bite him in the ass.  Not, eat him alive. Staring at the body, Dean says softly, "Kevin? Kevin?" and breaks down in tears as we go to black.

  SPN_909 Dean crying

Supernatural will be back January 14th.  Until then, I'm going to watch reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" so I can keep from killing myself.

* Michael and Lucifer did not emerge, because they are trapped in the Cage in Hell, along with Adam.  Who?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dean Gets Laid, Sam's Still Screwed: Supernatural 9x08 Review, "Rock And A Hard Place"

Shit, I can't believe it's been a week since I saw the show!  First there was Thanksgiving, then doing stuff and things.  I rewatched it this morning so I could slap up a review in time before tomorrow night--WHEN I HAVE PLAY TICKETS.  But enough about my personal hell--let's do the show!

"Rock and A Hard Place" marked an epochal event: my husband sat through an episode with me.  You have to understand, this is a man who won't even call the show by its name.  Who expects me to know every baseball player in every team since the 1950s, but who can't be bothered to learn who Sam and Dean are.  Not only did he sit through it, he laughed his ass off.  Kudos to writer Jenny Klein and director Johnny MacCarthy. Two things that made me a  happy girl:

SPN_908 Jodi

SPN_908 Motel

This was another standalone episode (4 out of 8 so far), and another attempt to recreate the feeling of old-time Supernatural. There's a MOTW taking people, the guys go on a traditional hunt, the beast is vanquished, and Dean is left with his soul-devouring guilt at his brother's plight.  Was it only Season 3 that Dean wasn't suffering soul-devouring guilt about Sam? 

"Rock And A Hard Place" was funny as hell, and if the MOTW didn't turn out to be very frightening, who cares?  Dean finally got laid again!  (Somewhere, Cas is weeping quietly.)

The first thing that jumped out at me was that there were so many women in this episode!  Of course fandom: "stereotypes! One-dimensional! Non-con!"  Oh, shut up.  You want deep, watch "Breaking Bad."

First, they reintroduce the wonderful Sheriff Mills (Kim Rhodes--she's real and she's spectacular), who calls the guys when people in a small town in South Dakota go missing.  It's great to see her again!  Mills has gone back to the church to find "comfort", the way Sam and Dean do in each other.  As Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles said in this interview: "Comfort each other? They push each other, they lie to each other, they kill each other--[comfort],that's fanfiction." Heh.

Second, in a twist on the typical opener, a young woman closes a restaurant late at night and gets snatched by a being covered in blue fire...and doesn't die.  Or fade into the wallpaper. Honor is thrown into a hole and lands on a table, breaking her leg.  Nonetheless, she is brave enough to go through the tunnels of the underground cavern she wakes up in, only to find three other townspeople who'd gone missing.  Honor doesn't lose her cool, she doesn't whine, she keeps it together when the one man in the group freaks out.

SPN_908 Girl
"Get it together, you pussy."

The missing people are all part of a "purity group" at a local church.  After meeting with Bonnie (Lindy Booth), the perky leader of the purity group, Sam and Dean sign pledges that, in effect,re-hymenates them. “Congratulations, Sam and Dean Winchester. You are both virgins.” Much to Dean's glee. What a horndog.

SPN_908 Virgin
"God loves you.  And my panties are damp."

At the purity group meeting, one woman wants to read a poem, "God Is A Racquet And His Ball Is In Your Court," but is told to wait.  The "purity counselor," Suzy (Susie Abromeit), is a hot blonde who looks familiar to Dean.  Sam admits he has a...bad history...with women.  Dean starts out with a sappy story about one-night-stands, but can't help himself and goes into a lengthy description of hot sex.  The women in the group melt as one, including the poet crumpling her poem as Dean describes orgasm.

SPN_908 Dean Orgasm
Orgasm or bad gas?  You be the judge!

Much to Sam's horror,  he sees Dean offering to walk Suzy to her place.  He is going to hit that or die trying.  Dean and Suzy go back to her place.  He is happy happy happy.  Which is so much fun to see.  Horny, happy Dean!  How we've missed you.  Dean checks out her butt when he sits to pray with her, agrees to read a crapload of books on chastity, and when she's out of the room, finds out why he knows her: she's "Carmelita" starring in the Casa Erotica picture "Cabana Nights."

SPN_908 Casa Erotica
Check out those maracas!

Suzy left town and changed her name.  But keeping her porno DVDs? Mixed signals, anyone?  Some folks in the fandom went all cray-cray about "consent" "rape" because Suzy and Dean get it on, cabana style.  Dean has only praise for her work.  She's his "good dreams." She's an artiste.  The man has so few pleasures in life, and for once he's not confusing reality with porn.  Reality is porn!  “The things you can do. The scene with the tacos. It made want to join a mariachi band just to be near you.”  The entire scene is played as a bad porno, down to speaking Spanish and the cheesy background music.  When I mentioned to my (disclaimer: feminist, liberal) husband that some people had, er, issues about this scene, he stared at me in bafflement and said, "It was funny!"  Word.

After having sex, Dean and Suzy are swept away--but not by each other, by blue fire.  By the way, did anyone else have a problem with the monster's fire looking like Sterno?

Meanwhile, back in Plaid Land, Sam and Jody have discovered that all of the people taken were people who had broken their "purity pledge."  Vesta, a Roman goddess who needs virgins to tend to her, kills them and eats their livers.  Boy, it's hard times for non-Christian deities on Supernatural.  They head to Suzy's place, where they find wreckage and the Casa Erotica CD.  "I think I know what Dean crossed off his bucket list," Sam says.

In the underground cavern, Mr. Girly-Pants has a hissy fit that they have to feed Honor to the monster.  Meanwhile, his fiancee is so thirsty she scratches the walls until her nails break and bleed.  Then she sucks on her bloody fingers!  YEEEEK!  I love you, Show, especially when you make me want to puke. Dean and Suzy are plunked down with the others.

Instead of an abandoned warehouse, this time Sheriff Mills and Sam find a deserted farm, which must have been owned by a psycho during the Cold War, because who else would have an underground bunker under his cattle? (Note: the sign Suzy brushes the dirt off is a Bomb Shelter sign from olden times so I'm actually right.)  Dean somehow gets a ladder and a pair of scissors and tries to screw Suzy a little screw on the top.  But before Jody and Sam get him out, they're attacked by Bonnie, who is VESTA!  She's a screechy girl with a blue finger.  The weapon of choice is a stake dipped in virgin's blood--but Vesta stabs Jody in the chest with the stake!  GACK! At this point, I was dreading Zeke popping out yet again.  Instead, Vesta sees that Sam is dead--as in physically dead--inside.  His liver is useless.  While her head is turned, Jody pulls the stake out of her chest and stabs Vesta!  Kick.  Ass.

Back in Plaid Land, Sam wonders if he's just fucked and that's how it is.  Somehow, nothing anyone has said to him  (should I get out the laundry list?) has made a dent in Pre-Law Boy's head.  Nor has his brother telling him whoppers and acting as guilty as a labrador with a bone pulled out of the garbage.  Dean decides to fess up, but sho' nuff, Zeke pop out and threatens to leave Sam.  At the end, we are once again treated to Dean being devoured by self-crushing guilt, topped with helplessness.

SPN_908 Dean
Don't worry, Dean, we are all done with this crap.

And now for your gratuitous angel nudity.


Here's my best guess for tomorrow's episode.  To no one's surprise, Ezekiel isn't healing Sam--he's killing him!  Because Sam is a vessel!  Didn't see that coming, did you?   Nah, you probably did.

I Spent All Day Doing What?

Writing an SPN review.  Re-watching the episode, looking up and watching an interview, taking a break by accidentally eating two lunches (now I know what I'm having for dinner...nothing).  Went to therapy, did about 10 minutes proofreading the paperback version of "The Abortionist's Daughter."  Jeff's reading it and likes the book!!  I took it with me to therapy so I could proofread on the bus back.  My therapist was a bit surprised at how thick it is.  How many pages it is.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  For those of you intimately familiar with my writing, you know I don't do short and sweet.

Recovering from last night's "Walking Dead."  I'm fine with waiting until February, but did they have to kill Herschel? I stayed up until 1 AM.

Thanksgiving was quiet.  The first everything that happens after a loved one dies is so difficult.  First Hanukkah, first Thanksgiving, first wedding anniversary.  So we skipped the family dinner and went to our favorite diner.  Yesterday we rented a car and went shopping.  Then we discovered the third S1 disc of "Breaking Bad" had only ONE episode on it!

Fletcher, Cleo and Rupert are all staring at me. Rupert, my big gray cat, is yowling.  So off to feed the animals and then watch a recorded episode of "Hoarding: Buried Alive."

 Feed me, or this toy is toast.

I've got work avoidance down to an art, I tell you.