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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fuzzybutt and Fizzgig

This morning when I happened to look outside my window, I saw a squirrel jutting across the street. Because a car was approaching he (she) ran her little legs off with it's tail swirling to help the momentum.

I chuckled to myself and thought, "fuzzybutt"..

The instant that word came into my head I remembered another.. Fizzgig.

Anyone remember that name?

Fizzgig was a small creature from Jim Henson's mind, that popped up in a little movie called The Dark Crystal. For some reason, this little creature's name stuck in my head. (it seems that unimportant stuff sticks better then stuff I should remember!) I took the below information from IMDb.

The Dark Crystal is Jim Henson's crowning achievement. The movie was originally released in 1983, and was the first non-muppet movie produced by the puppeteering geniuses. It's about a wild and mystical world dominated by a race of powerful beings. Through their arrogance, they tried to purge themselves of all their bad intentions and evil desires. Instead of removing the darkness from their souls, the beings were split into two races. The evil and cruel Skeksis, and the gentle and kind Mystics. It was then that the Crystal cracked, and became dark. From that time a prophecy was foretold, that a gelfling would come and repair the damage that was made. The Skeksis seeing this as the end of their way of life, decided to kill all gelflings to prevent this from ever happening. Jen who is regarded as the final gelfling is sent to heal the Dark Crystal before the great conjunction. He meets many strange creatures, and people on his journey including Augra, the keeper of secrets. She gives Jen vital information about the Crystal, as well as the shard itself. While looking for the Skekies' castle Jen encounters Fizzgig, and his owner Kira, who is also a gelfling. Together, they go to end the turmoil of the world. It's a very epic film, but still close to the heart. As a side note, during the course of the entire movie, not a single human is ever seen.

And if you don't want to take my word for how great this movie is, Jim Henson is quoted by saying that this was his most prized creation ever. (Of course that was before he made the movie Labyrinth which may have topped it.)

The Dark Crystal was re-released in 1999 with the movie re-mastered, as well as a special section of the Making of the Dark Crystal, which contains plenty of information on the movie, as well special interviews, and behind the scenes filming. It's pretty darn cool.


(Fizzgig)

(Jen & Kira) (Aughra)

Then I remembered reading some time ago about a sequel to Dark Crystal was being made so I checked into it... and I'm glad I did. It will be a while before we see it but then, at least it does have a release date.

Plot summary for
The Power of the Dark Crystal (2008)
Set hundreds of years after the first movie, the sequel follows a mysterious girl made of fire who steals a shard of the crystal in hopes of re igniting the dying sun.
Release Date:May 2008 (USA)

At least that is something to look forward to.

I really have to stop looking in the web though. And especially Ebay! I have no idea why I even look there since I don't have Paypal, so I can't buy anything. But I do look... and I REALLY must stop!

The other day I mentioned trying to get hard back books to replace my old paperbacks that are turning brown. While in Ebay I came across some of those hard back books.. or course.. (I must do this to torture myself!)

One of the books just blew me away! Let me explain. The book "Belgarath the Sorcerer" by David Eddings (and Polgara.. by Eddings) were listed by a man in Australia. Nothing new right? The cover art was to die for! I couldn't take my eyes off of it! The price (so far) was only 8 dollars. For unexplained reasoning (remember I have no Paypal) I emailed him and asked how much the shipping to America would be. I received the response this morning and nearly dirtied my pants! 35.00 to ship the book!!! Hello?!..

Tearfully I emailed him back, he already knew that would be "out of the question", but I did ask him who the artist was. He kindly responded once again. His name is Geoff Taylor. If you like artwork on Fantasy Fiction books, click the link and have a look at this guys work.. it's really REALLY nice!

*sigh* so after my heart went back to normal I had to watch the same pair of books (with the American art work) get sold for only 26.00. What is is called when you self inflict pain on yourself?.. I really need to delete all my browsers!

Oh, and one last bit of information... they finally released a photo of the last Harry Potter book cover... thankfully, ... it's not all black!

So.. my day began with a simple squirrel running across the street! From "Fuzzybutt and Fizzgig" to "Deathly Hallows"... and to think... it's still only morning!

Oh!.. and I saw my first Robin today... guess that means Spring is officially here.

'Till next time....


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Andy Serkis.. one more time.

Yesterday in my comments Asara Dragon wrote that she thought of me when she watched a cartoon movie called, "Flushed Away". She noticed that Andy Serkis was the voice of Spike, in the cartoon. (Andy was also the voice of Stingray, in the cartoon of the same name) I guess that means I've mentioned Andy one too many times ..heh.. oh well, one more time can't hurt.

IMDb shows Andy busy working right now. He portraying King Bothan on 'Heavenly Sword', a Playstation 3 title (King Andy! That's a bit all right, eh?!)

Also coming in June (18th) to PBS Andy has Simon Schama's Power of Art" where he portrays Vincent Van Gogh (1 episode, 2006)

And then he has these movies coming out this year and next...

Inkheart (2008) (post-production) .... Capricorn
Sugarhouse Lane (2007) (post-production) .... Hoodwink
Rendition (2007/II) (post-production) .... The Interrogator

I am happy that he's a busy man. I still have to get my hands on a copy of Prestige, since he had a part in that movie.

I found the two photo's below on the web. They must have been taken at a convention. When I saw them I was reminded that someone at the convention I was just at had a similar casting of Gollum that they had their photo taken with Andy of. It's really a neat looking statue, but I think I'd rather not have it sitting in my home looking at me all the time lol.



(Gollum sang as he caught a fish to eat)


The rock and pool,
is nice and cool,
so juicy sweet.


Our only wish,
to catch a fish,
so juicy sweet!



Right now I am eating my heart out because there is an Author Book Fair coming up in Los Angeles the end of April and Cornelia Funke will be one of the attending. I'd love her signature on my copy of Inkheart. Then of course I would try to see Andy Serkis again sometime when he's in back in the states to autograph it too as "Capricorn", the character he will play in the movie... I think that would be neat.

For anyone who reads John Scalazi's journal, you might want to know ahead of time that he will be at that fair also. I know he will mention it but for some who might have to travel to get there it's always good to know ahead of time.

Sometimes it's not so nice being able to find these things out on the computer and then not be able to go to them! ARGH!

'Till next time...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Busy, busy..



Yesterday was extra busy for me. A school friend of my brothers is dropping by today, so I had extra cleaning to do, on top of my normal stuff. It really takes it out on my lower back that is in pain all the time anyway. So when I was all caught up and came back to my room my mind was not on writing.



Since his visit is today, the "work" hasn't come to a halt yet. My brother informed me that he's coming about 8 am. (who the heck visits at 8 am?!) So I got up and have already dressed my brother and gotten him into his wheelchair. After my cup of Vienna I have to go down and make his bed. Let me tell you, that's a real joy with my back! Then I guess it would be a good idea if I got dressed huh?!



I've never been a person to get up and go. So things like this or getting to the airport for my trip are horrid. Even when I worked I would get up an hour and a half before time to leave, because I know I have to sit with the coffee for at least 1/2 hr and my back begins to get to the tolerable state. Then I get dressed for the day.



But I'm sure that's more than you need to know.



I finally got so down that I ordered another book from Amazon. I bought it from the individual sellers (used).. but it states it's it's new and never read, so even with shipping it was under 10.00 for a hard back. It's another young adults book by Cornelia Funke called Dragon Rider.







When I checked her name in Amazon I had found that she has written a number of Under 10 yr. old books before she started writing for young adults. It seems as if she is making her way up to adult books lol.. well, I sure wouldn't mind it if she did because she is a really super author. She's the first writer I've found in years that I truly enjoy so much that I know one day I will reread her books. And since these floaters in my left eye don't seem to be going away like I was told they would, hard back books are easier for me to read.



Most likely I will do more rereading then reading of new books this summer. A few I had (old) in paperback are actually being released in hard back. That's a first, as far as I know, I have never heard of books that originally were released in paper back got turned into hard backs. In this case, it's the original 6 books in Dragonlance series. So I will send for them at one or two a month until I have them all. My paperback versions have been moved at least twice, from Fla to Ca and CA to NJ and are turning pretty brown on the pages. (just another reason for hard backs.. they hold up better and longer)



But, in July... July will be a good month. I pre ordered the last Harry Potter book which comes out in July and pre ordered Dragons of Highlord Skies by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.. the second in a trilogy. So that will be a good month!







I guess you could say I like Dragons huh? Well I do.. but mostly I like a really good character... or two or three.



Ok, enough of that...



Did anyone watch the first elimination on Dancing With The Stars last night? It's always so sad when someone is eliminated. You can tell that learning something so new and challenging is enjoyable to them, so it's a real downer to have to leave. But, I guess it's onward and upward.. I do enjoy watching them, there are a few really good dancers right off the bat, which is unusual. Tell me your favorite, if you have one yet.



'tell next time....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Forward..

I never forward jokes... but this cracked me up.

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

"House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa."

"Pencil," however, is masculine: "el lapiz."

A student asked,

"What gender is 'computer'?"

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups,

male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether
"computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computadora"), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


( THIS GETS BETTER !)


The women' s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computador"), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.


The women won

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just another day....






Your Movie Buff Quotient: 72%

You are a total movie buff. Classics, blockbusters, indie favorites... you've seen most of them. Your friends know to come to you whenever they need a few good DVD rental suggestions.



Only 72%?? sheesh.. I need to see more movies!


Meanwhile, I did finish reading Thief Lord, ... She (Cornelia Funke) is such a good writer! The book is for kids but it was enjoyable anyway.

So I went crazy all weekend without anything to read. When David is home and I "could" get out, say to a book store, I have no way to get there. I don't drive and David can't drive me because then my brother would be alone, and he can't be left alone. The closest Barnes and Noble is 20 minutes away, so to even be dropped off would mean a 40 minute round trip.. no can do. It frustrated me all weekend.

Oh yes, I did consider a taxi.. but that would be at least 25.00 each way. I could get 2 hard back books for that!.... sigh.

Maybe how I feel is also coming down from the trip. I just know I'm having a hard time even thinking of what to write about for this journal. I seem to be in automation mode. Just doing what I have to without thinking at all. Sure hope this passes soon.

I chatted in IM a bit with a man who read my stories that I wrote (as I wrote them.. poor fellow lol) a long time ago. He asked if I was ever going to write more. I had begun another "book" but never got past 2 chapters. A big part of what I wanted to write would have humor in it...and you have to feel humor to write humor. It's been gone for some time now. This is know, or I'd be writing!
It's been very strange for me for some time now. I really can't explain it even to myself, and can't seem to change it. It makes me wonder if this is how I will be from now on?? I hope not.
Well, there's always tomorrow right?...


'till next time....


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday...

We are finally getting some Spring like weather here in NJ.. but the cats haven't figured that out yet...

While the "kids" lay hogging my bed, I took a photo of something I received in the mail today, from my son, daughter in law and grandson..

It's a basket of fruit made to look like a flower arrangement.. sorry that we ate a few before I took the photo lol.. but we had to taste the strawberries! Yummmy!!!

Is that cool or what? I can't say I've ever seen anything like it before!

Now I am off to watch some tv... one of those movies I watch every time it comes on (which are many).. this one is Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Gawd, how I love Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham! lol

He can be sooooooo bad! lol


'till next time...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cornelia Funke...

If you noticed on my sidebar, "what I am reading", lists another book by Cornelia Funke. This book is also listed as "pre-teen". So why I picked it up, I have no idea! Well, ok.. I did have an idea... I knew I enjoyed her Inkheart and Inkspell books, although I'll admit they were listed as "young adults" and not "pre-teen".

I have to say that I enjoyed not just her other story but the ease and pleasure I had in reading it. So I picked this up when I found it on sale in hard back form. I am almost finished with the book, reading it very slowly because once again I will be out of hard back books for the moment.

I will agree this is a good book for pre-teens. No.. make that an excellent book for a pre-teen.

Generally speaking I read almost nothing but fantasy books, with an occasional biography tossed in. So this story of a group of kids (most runaways) living in Venice and surviving by stealing doesn't sound like my cup of tea at all.

I'm enjoying it.

Cornelia Funke has made it up there with young folks authors big time, as far as I am concerned. Not only that but this book "The Thief Lord" is already been made into a movie and out on DVD. Her book of Inkheart will follow next March, and since it is a trilogy I will assume we'll be hearing more of this very fine writer.

I looked up the DVD to see who was in it and I didn't know any of the names... but the story is so good I don't think it will matter much.

She's obviously made and impression to the movie makers since The Thief Lord, since the next movie from her books, Inkheart, will have some major actors and actresses, such as Brendon Frazier, (the Queen herself) Helen Mirren, and Andy Serkis. My guess would be that they expect Inkheart to have a good following. It should! The books are great!

Having said all of this, last night as I lay waiting to fall asleep, I was thinking of the Inkheart movie and realized it has been made by New Line Cinema. They also put out LOTR. That alone, gives kudos to the fact that they are jumping right in with both feet to the fact that although "Fantasy" doesn't much win Oscars (except for special effects).. that they DO make plenty of money!

So, I applaud New Line Cinema for taking a leap of faith.

It's a rainy day here in NJ today... so maybe I will go and read a bit more of Thief Lord.. I hope you enjoy your day.


'Till Next time....


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Just a few thoughts..

In case you can't see for yourself... I am having troubles "leaving California behind".

Being there again reminded me of when I lived there. I worked for an Insurance Company located in a bank building right on the corner of Ventura Blvd and Sepulveda in Sherman Oaks.

It was pretty much a focal point in Sherman Oaks as right at that corner was also an exit from the Freeway, so there was always a lot of traffic. It was also across from the Sherman Oaks Galleria (mall), where I went to eat now and then in the food court.

Anyway.. living in Sherman Oaks you never knew who you'd see going about their business. DeForest always did the food shopping for he and Carolyn and did the banking etc, so he was seen doing all his errands.

A few others I remember seeing were: Dan Haggerty, who I found sitting in our building court yard during lunch one day (I've always been in love with his beard!) and Mike Farrel was in our building once or twice. (gawd, talk about the greatest smile you could ever see! That's the one who I'd pick for the Oscar of greatest smile

Tristen Rogers (Scorpio/ General Hospital) I saw now and then going in and out of our building.. and Kirsty Kirstie?) Alley I ran into in a pet store. Though she looked a might different with no makeup ..heh. I guess we can all say the same thing (woman that is).

What was the nicest was that no one bothered the actors whenever they were out and about... you were just used to the idea that you never knew who you'd see or run in to. And anyone who was a celebrity, if they noticed that you noticed who they were, always responded with nice smiles to you... somehow it felt like seeing an old friend.

Going back to the area where i once lived sure pulled at my heart strings. I did so love it there, but feared it too... just because the quake I went thru was a nasty one and I thought I was about to die... so I have a healthy or unhealthy fear of them. Whatever, I still miss San Fernando Valley, the friends I made, the people I knew.

It would seem the return trip made me feel like it did when I had to leave the first time.

Ah well... eventually things will be normal inside me again.

On a last good note: my letter is mailed off to Andy Serkis. I expect no response, since I didn't ask for anything from him, like an autograph. I hope he reads it, but I know it's one of those things I will never know for sure.

As for today?.......... a leak under the sink kept me with a plummer for over 3 hours today. .. Just glad I'm not the one that will get the bill!

And how was your day?

' Till next time...


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Small Tribute..

Because I couldn't think today.... I dinked in PSP

Some of the many faces of Andy Serkis.



(I finally finished my letter .. it will be mailed tomorrow. 2 1/2 typed pages.. not so bad huh? heh.)


'till next time...


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tidbits...

I know I haven't posted in a few days.. I think for the most part I've fallen into a funk because I am back to my normal routine. I'm still not caught up on all the journals/ blogs I read either..sigh. And the letter I am writing to Andy Serkis isn't what I want it to be yet... seems like I'm really not with it yet.

Aside from that...

Did anyone see Dancing With the Stars last night? It's the only reality show I watch. I thought their 2 hrs starter show went pretty well. Some surprises and some not so ...

I was surprised at how well John Ratzenberger did! I think he'll be around for a few shows. No, I don't think he'll win... but he is good enough to last at least a few shows.

I think I've already picked the first few to leave the show lol.. I'll tell you my choices on those and then watch to see if I guessed right. I think Clyde Drexler, Billy Ray Cyrus (cutie but not such a good dancer) and Leeza Gibbons might be among the first to go.

Joey Fatone was very good.. and I think he'll improve as time goes by (and he looses a bit of weight). Of course I like Apolo Ohno too, but not sure he has the best instructor. I think he'll be there a while though. All in all.. it's a good group. So if you watched it let me know who you think will be the ones to go. (it's too hard to choose a winner yet... they all improve so much there's just no telling until near the end).

Oh, for anyone interested in Andy Serkis's career... On June 18th on PBS Andy has a segment where he plays Van Gogh. A non-villian! I hope I get to see this! I put that date on my aol calendar for an alert, since by June it will be no where in my memory! And the release date for Inkheart (movie) is next March.

...'till next time.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

This'n'that....

Ok.. now... tell me what's wrong with the pictures: This is Burbank CA..

... and this is Orange, New Jersey.

Do I need to show them again? I didn't think so. What's wrong is I'd rather be where the blue sky and 90 degree temps are! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

***************************************************

Since I'd rather not let go of my week in California, I thought I'd put up a few extra photo's that were taken while I was there...

The first two are from the dinner party. This is Sue (in red), who I stayed with in LA. She was also the President of DeForest's Fan Club that I came to know and enjoy so much. (more like: had a blast with!)

Jackie, I met through Sue from the beginning of our friendship and she quickly became someone I enjoyed being around. She became Patrick Stewarts personal assistant for nearly 20 years. It only ended when Patrick moved back to England.

Then there's Richard Arnold and a friend of his from England JC. Poor Richard, he treats us all to dinner and JC gives him horns for his effort! sheesh. I met Richard years ago at a Star Trek Convention. At that time he worked for Paramount and would go to conventions with slide shows and news concerning Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry. If there was something you needed to know... this is the guy you'd want to ask! The first I met him I asked about an actor in one of the Trek movies (Nick Ramus) his makeup and such was so neat I wanted to know about him. Before the day was over Richard had his name, his agents name and about anything else i could want to know about him for me!

Now he works for Creation, still gives talks about all the Treks and is still a super nice person to be around.

This next photo is a young 17 year old that was at the convention (accompanied by her parents who were super nice folks). She was very into Animi Art and I took this of her doing a drawing.. very talented young lady. I found out she also writes scripts for her characters. Could be she'll do something like this even when she gets older?!

I always go to the costume contest. The people all work really hard to make their costumes. Much time and money are put into them. This young man was the winner of this particular contest. He was Strider. (and a dang cute one at that!! heh..didn't even need my glasses to see that much!)

One of Akiko's friends took this photo of Akiko and myself. Lord of the Rings holds no age boundaries! Young and old together enjoying the same thing... sometimes that fact amazes me... then again... sometimes not.

This picture (gawd I hate being in pictures!! ) is Chris the official Photographer for those Photo Op's I mentioned in the other post...

I had given my little digital camera to someone in the front row... (not a good camera by any means) These last shots she took for me, so thought I'd share just one of each of the guests...

The eyecandy man .. David Wenhem. (I really need to go see the 300! heh)

Cutie Pie, Billy Boyd. This is a neat shot showing how there were screens on both sides so that those people that are seated in the back of the room might see the guests better.

The link to see a SLIDE SHOW of Billy's Band: Beefcake is here. (it's a "my space journal", the slide show is found to the right side of the opening page)

To HEAR his band click this link. It's another "my space" but you hear his band immediately. And right under the bar to hear music is a list of 4 of their songs that you can hear.

... and last: m'main man of the weekend (my preccciouuusss), Andy Serkis.

Of course, since he Impressed me, not just as a hard working actor, but also as such a pleasant human being, I feel the need to write to him and let him know. So I spent part of yesterday tracking down his agent information. Then I call the agency (in CA) and ask if they forward mail to him. I found out the man who is his agent, has left the agency that I had found the address for.

It wound up that I had to recall that agency and ask for a forwarding address to his agent. They gave me a phone number.... no address. Soooo, then I had to call that number (still in CA) and ask them if they forward mail. And for my 3rd call to California I was rewarded with a yes. (whew) They then gave me their address so I can write... which of course will probably take me a week to write the letter, but at least I can!

There are requirements now, that agencies didn't have long ago. (I've done this before) Now I must leave the envelope with Andy's name on it unsealed, so they can check it. This is all thanks to Terrorists.

It would seem our world really is getting smaller.. and more dangerous. Pretty sad ... no, ...make that very sad.

'till next time....


Friday, March 16, 2007

There and back again... (part 4)

By the time Beefcake finished playing I was more then ready for that soft bed and down pillows! Even though it was only 10 pm there my mind and body were saying "1 am!!"

I ran into another gal I had talked with earlier and she asked if I was going to the "dessert party". Only those with the "big ticket" could go... that was me... but i was feeling my age!

She convinced me to go in just for a few minutes, and said how good their deserts were. Well, try as I may I wasn't sure I wanted sweet food that late at night. She dragged me down to the deserts and I took one, figuring I'd taste it.. push it around my dish.. and leave.

And I did just that.. well.. I tasted it (it was good).. I pushed it around my plate, and was ready to take my leave when someone got to a microphone and announced that in a few minutes there would be a big surprise. Oh ..lord help me. I wasn't even sure my legs would carry me back to my room!... so i waited.

About 10 or 15 minutes passed when the announcer was back on the microphone.. "ok, gang... for good or bad... nice or evil, let me introduce......... (long pause) Andy Serkis!"

OMG! He wasn't due at the con til tomorrow! How cool! And how nice he'd show up to say a special hi to some of the fans!

Then we are told he was going to each table. huh?..sure enough we watched as Andy went to the first table.. shook everyone's hand there and sat down with them. After a few minutes he did the same with the next table! So... i stayed. (duh)

It took him a while to get near our table. Before he got there I asked the others at the table if they had a question for him when he joined us. No one had anything specific in mind. Ok.. well... let me tell you all about Andy's latest movie, because I'd like to mention it to him!

I filled them in on Inkheart and his character Capricorn.

Eventually, Andy made it to our table... they gave him a seat right next to me. He shook everyone's hand, "Hi I'm Andy Serkis".. heh, did he think we didn't know? lol.

When he sat someone said something to him and he laughed. Then he looked at me..(well, I"m not shy so I went ahead..)

"Inkheart" I said.

"Capricorn"...

"He's a despicable character!"

Andy laughed again. "You know about Inkheart? wow. I just finished filming that movie." He then proceeded to fill the others in somewhat on the basics of the story... but he never told them of his character much.

As he talked I could tell he was very genuine. Very comfortable around the fans, with many great smiles. He was racking up points with this old lady left and right! When he got up to go to the next table it wasn't before a last great smile to us all.

Ok.. now I really was dead tired! It was 11:30 their time... 2:30 my time... and I still had to push the clock ahead yet another hour! Aggggggggggg! I went to my room and proceeded to die!


Sunday:

A day I was looking forward too.. and yet dreading... my final day in California.

Surprisingly, I woke at 7:30 (their time), washed up, made my Cafe Vienna and headed down to the benches outside for one last time. It was already warm out and headed to 92 degrees! I had barely sat down when Kirstie and friends all from Scotland showed up, and we had our morning chat.

After coffee, my morning was fairly quiet. I checked out of the hotel and had them lock up my luggage as I still had to spend the day there.

I checked the schedule, and about 1 pm was when the Photo Op with Andy Serkis was to happen. I had seen lines for the Photo Op's at this and the other convention and knew I should get there a little early so as to not be way back in the line. This was the first time I was doing one of these things, not ONLY because of the price, but also because I hate being in front of a camera!

I was about 10th in line as the time approached. The photo's were taken quickly. You had time to say hello, then smile.. then the flash went off and they were ushering in the next person. I watched as Andy greeted each person with a smile and a hand shake. He impressed me yet again, being so genuine. I never felt he was anything but enjoying himself.

My turn came and I approached Andy saying hello... the next thing I knew he had kissed me on the cheek and put his arm around me for the photo!.. I had the feeling he remembered that I was the person who asked him about Inkheart and not about LOTR or Gollum...the flash went off and I quickly thanked him and moved out of the way. I was told that the photo's would be here to pick up about 6 pm.

Next was the convention's no minimum bid auction. You will realize why I put that in italics as you read on.

I go to their actions to watch the frenzy! If you've ever been to an auction you already know how some get so caught up in the moment that they can get... well.. carried away. As this auction proceeded I did my usual smiling and occasionally muttered some Holy Cow's and Good Grief's. I shook my head many times.

I have known Creation and their cons for many years. Way back when I went to Star Trek Cons when DeForest would appear... so I knew what the auctions were like, and NEVER have I EVER bid on anything!

During all my searching in the dealers room I did not come across a Liv Tylor autograph, so when one suddenly appeared in the auction, I found my hand raised! (hello? me? bidding?) Luckily I kept my head and knew my cut off price of 50.00 ... which came and went. In fact it went for 95.00! Almost double what I could afford! Only moments later a second one showed up... well dang it! Up went my hand again! (I don't remember it going up.. but up it was!) Once again I managed to pull it down when the bidding went over 50.00.. sheesh, you'd think just once they'd let me get something after all these years! But it wasn't to be. (can everyone say : bummer).

Smartly, they saved the best for last. (at least I was smart enough to stay out of it!) It was a photo of Liv and Viggo, signed by both... kissing. Heh..I think 3/4th of the audience raised their hands! lol.. within one minute it was over 100.00 and the hand count was diminishing quickly.

150.00... more hands went down.

200.00.. now you could count what few remained.

250.00!.. it was down to two.

David who was doing the auction played the two bidders. He'd go to one side of the stage and talk to one bidder: She probably won't bid again he'd say.

The bid went to 260.00.

He'd walk to the other side of the audience and talk to the other bidder: That's probably her final bid. Going to let her have it?

275.00!

Back to the other side and the other bidder... he did this back and forth until one finally gave up... the photo went off at 320.00!!! (that was more then my airline ticket!!) I am sure the words, holy sh** passed my lips!

When that was over I was out and about again until it was time for Andy Serkis to take the stage.

The time came, and Andy walked out to a tremendous standing ovation.

The man was so sincere, so gracious and so willing to entertain during questions and answers, that you totally broke up laughing when every so often someone found theirself receiving their answer from Gollum! He even uttered the immortal words: My Precious in Gollums voice more then once.

Before I ever went to this convention I appreciated Andy Serkis. Due to his hard work on LOTR and KING KONG I knew he was the hardest working actor I knew of.

After meeting him... I was certain of it. And as big of a fan as I was, I came away an even bigger fan.

When his time on stage was over, it was time for the autographs.

For Andy, I had 3 books for him to sign. Two were LOTR .... (showing only one)

And the third was this gorgeous picture in "the making of: King Kong"

I was the only one that had anything other then LOTR for him to sign and I think he appreciated seeing this picture. I also had a brief moment to ask him if he had to come up with a special voice for this character in Inkheart, which he said was nothing like coming up with the voice for Gollum.

There was a huge line after me and Andy would remain there for more then another hour. Meanwhile when I was out in the dealers room again that book taunted me! I was actually glad to see Andy leave!

But that also meant the con was over... and all I had left, before returning to duty in new jersey, was one more evening with Sue. And then it was back to the airport.

We had to wait around for nearly and hour before the Photo Op pictures arrived...

Another sad moment... would I ever get to see this very nice man again?

It's doubtful.. but I am glad I got to meet him and the others. They may never remember me... but I will always remember them.

Sue came and picked me up...we stopped and purchased some Boston Market chicken on our way.. ate our dinner and watched a little television. We were both on the quiet side... I hate goodbyes.

... 'till next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There and back again .. (part 3)

Saturday:


Always the biggest day of a convention or autograph show.

I woke early (still partially on east coast time.. only partially mind you). Bathed and dressed and made my Cafe Vienna and went outside to the benches to soak in the weather. Oh, did I mention it was going to be 90 degrees this day? heh. (did I hear a few awwww's as to my roughing it? !)

As I sat, sipping my vienna, two ladies and a man appeared and sat opposite me to have a smoke. They were close enough that I couldn't help but hear them chatting. They had this wonderful accent that was bringing a smile to my fact (i love accents!) Finally, I saw an opportunity to ask where they were from and to tell them I was enjoying their wonderful voices. While we conversed I discovered that they were at the convention to see Billy Boyd, and that they, also, were from Scotland.

My mind reeled momentarily. First there were the girls from Japan and now others from Scotland! It would seem Fandom really knows no bounds! Although I had flown coast to coast a number of times in my heyday to follow DeForest, I never flew to another country to see him! We had a nice chat before going our ways, but it was destined that I meet them time and again before the convention was over.

I tried to strengthen my resolve to once again go into the dealers room and see what I may have missed. I did find a nice autographed photo (reasonably priced) of Miranda Otto who played Eowyn, and grabbed it up since there were only 2 left on the table.

I had to walk around and drool all over again at the same things I did the day before, still knowing there was no way I could afford them! I blew a kiss to Peter Jackson, smiled at Hugo Weaving (Elrond) and my hands shook as I, once again, handled the book Inkheart. I have to say I may have gotten it but it was a trade paperback/ proof/ signed edition. I don't collect expensive books so don't know the value of a proof/ trade back... all I knew was I had a hard back at home that only cost 12.99!

1 p.m. came quickly and it was time for the first guest to appear on stage.

"Pippen" walked out to a standing ovation of applause and screams. All of which he deserves because he's so entertaining. But the young gals doing the screaming weren't doing it because he was entertaining! lol. They were doing it because he's such a cutie pie!

But once again Billy did his comical antics and had me laughing...

I managed to crawl up closer for a few shots with my Canon T50 with the zoom lens to get these photos.

Look how animated he is! He can make you laugh with actions or with facial expressions! His hour on stage passed all to quickly and I found myself wandering around while waiting for the time that David Wenhem (Faramir) would be appearing.

I ran into Akiko and her group and then Kirsty and the others from Scotland. Kirsty told me about following Billy Boyd's band in Scotland and that they were mainly here to see how well they did in America. His band was to play later in the evening.

I also ran into Chris, who is the official photographer for Creation. I had met him at the New Jersey con and we struck up yet another conversation. After a bit he asked if I was going to do any of the Photo Op's (that's where you pay to have a photo taken by Chris with any of the guests). I said no.. I just had so much money to spend and I wouldn't be able to do any Photo Op's (at about 50.00 each). He reached into his pocket and gave me a card.

"What's this?" I asked.

"oh.. your last photo op was blurred,... you're now entitled to another."

I laughed, but he was serious! I now held in my hand a Photo Op I would use with Andy Serkis!!

Chris is very young, and I don't know if he appreciated it, but I hugged him anyway lol.

Now, it was time to go back to the room to see David Wenhem appear... I had seen him on the news show the day before and was saddened that his hair was not long like it was in LOTR. But from the time he walked on to the stage I knew I was in for a real eye candy treat! More so then on film, this was one handsome Aussie! (sheesh, not fair! I never met anyone that cute with an Aussie accent when I was young!) I mean reeeaaahhllly! It was like: hello! where have YOU been all my life?.. and do you like older women?? heh. Needless to say it was a vividly enjoyable hour!

Trust me... the photo's don't come NEAR showing how cute he is!

Following his appearance, it was time for getting the autographs. Row by Row. (I was in row 5) I began to feel relieved that soon I could put the two books back in my room that I had to lug around to get the signatures in! (I'm only posting one each but I had both books signed that they appeared in... I already had one of Billy in book one since Pippen was in all 3 movies.)

The day wasn't over yet........

Billy's band, called Beefcake, was to play later in the evening. I had gotten a cheaper "general admission" so I was too far back for photo's.. but not too far back to hear them lol..

I wasn't really surprised that they were pretty darn good! And Billy has a good voice, though most of the time the music was louder then he was. But then again this was a convention and I'm sure the sound system was not what it is like when they are using their own instruments and woofers and tweeters of their own.

If you'd like to see and hear the band I found Kirsty's web site on which you can find a really nice slide show of the band and then a video and hear them playing and singing.. just use this link!

Being a once upon a time drummer myself, I did go up to the stage after they left and just had to get a photo of this drumset ... gads! even at my age it still looks gorgeous!

.... to be continued: the last day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

There and back again (part II)

Thursday was a quiet day. Sue was finally off of work for the rest of the week so after we spent hours recalling so many special times with the Kelley's that brought smiles to our faces and remembering conventions and the fun things we did back then, until we were in fits of laughter, we decided to watch some of her DVD collection. (which I also did when she was at work)

The first thing I watched was the extra dvd she had with King Kong, because I like that sort of thing and it would be more for me to see of what Andy Serkis did. After that I managed to watch Pirates of the Caribbean (the second one), Divinci Code, National Treasure and The Illusionist. (no, not all in one day)

Friday: After we did laundry and some other mundane things, we headed off to Burbank and to the Convention. Traffic being what it is in and around LA made us get off of the Freeway... right on to Coldwater Canyon Ave... and what before my eyes did appear... but the Apartment complex I lived in! (I came close to a full blown cry fest.. but I sucked it up and went on)

Although we arrived earlier then I was told I could check in I went to the hotel desk to let them know I was there. Low and behold my room was ready! (that works!) We got the keys and went right up to drop off my luggage and to read up what the hotel offered. After that we headed down to check in on the convention. I already had my ticket but Sue needed to get a daily pass.

Where we got the tickets led right into the dealers room so we thought we'd look around. We didn't get but a few feet when someone had their arms around me and was squealing with delight. Huh? When they leaned back I found the cute Japanese girl that I had met at the Jersey LOTR convention. I didn't even know her name but there she was all excited like when we had our one and only talk about Gandalf while waiting for our taxi's.

She's the one in purple. Her name is Akiko. (She's so cute both in looks and actions that every time I see her I have to smile) After the hugs I wanted to introduce her to Sue but had to ask her name. Thankfully, just from working for Japan Airline for 35 years Sue knew a few words in Japanese so things worked out better then I could have hoped.

Akiko and her friends (there were 5 others) had come from Japan to the convention.. which they had also done for the Jersey one... Later I was to find out they also went to New Zealand to see the tour that showed area's where the film was actually made!! I was floored to find out they went to New Zealand! Now that's a Fan!

Later we parted and Sue and I continued to look around the dealers room. There were a number of things that I would have loved, but they were out of my price range. heh. The biggest one was a framed autographed picture of Peter Jackson (oh yeah! now that I would love, love,l ove!) But it was ..250.00! So, I just waved at Peter and let him remain hanging at the dealers table. The same thing happened with a signed "Elrond" (Hugo Weaving), they wanted 90.00 for that... by then I decided I needed to look for a rather large drool bucket! I could tell it was going to be one of those days!

Unfortunately, I never found that bucket, and so I had to settle for wiping the excess saliva from the corners of my mouth with my sleeve when a bit later, I came across an autographed copy of the book Inkheart. Autographed by the author. (75.00) The book (although I had one here at home) tempted me All Weekend Long, for three reasons: one: was the authors signature. Second: was that if I owned that copy, for another 40.00 I could have Andy Serkis sign it, since he just finished filming the movie version of it. And thirdly: the dang book didn't sell and taunted me the whole time I was there!

Ok, so I had enough drooling and decided to get out of the dealers room. Before Sue and I were to go to dinner with some friends we went to check out the bar and "happy hour" (we still had a few hours before dinner time). We ordered one of the happy hour treats of pulled pork with a bbq sauce of some sort on buns.. two small ones came to us for 3.00. They were scrumptious! And just enough not to overfeed us. So of course we ordered a drink. Sue had wine, I had to have my golden margarita on the rocks. (I have about 2 a year if that lol). After we got the bill I knew at once I would not ever get drunk at this bar! One Margarita was 10.00!! Hello?.. I guess I should get out more huh?.. well, that and this hotel was the major hotel next to the Burbank airport, so they knew they had many businessmen to belly up to the bar.

Oh.. did i forget to mention our waiter?..heh.. let's just say we were both looking for drool buckets!!

After that we went to clean up and rest in my room until it was time to go to dinner.

Our mutual friend (and worker for Creation Cons, but who was not working this one) Richard Arnold, picked us up for dinner (with a friend of his) and took us to a Sizzler where we met up with our Friend Jackie. (but not before I could whip off a shot of the mountains around Burbank...http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp180/deslilypics/deslilypics2/deslilypics3/valleymts.jpg.)

Then it was off to the Sizzler...

Dinner proceeded after many hugs and shared memories. And I was really glad to see Jackie and Richard, since they weren't going to be at the convention.

When our reunion/ dinner was over we parted with our friends. Sue went home to take care of her pooch, Penny, and I went to my room and got into my jammies and sprawled out on the oversized bed with 4 feather pillows. (ahhhhhh!) I relished the quiet that I knew would end soon enough when I came home again, and tomorrow would be a fast paced day with Billy Boyd and David Wenhem both appearing on stage. It didn't take me long to fall off to sleep.

... to be continued.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There and back again (part 1)

So.. here I sit broken hearted.. paid a dime and only far---, no no, never mind!

Needless to say I've arrived back from California, wondering if I ever went. Why does time fly? Ah well, guess I can't stop it.

Anyway, for what it's worth I will begin my tale...

Let me begin (way back when) the day before I actually left for the West Coast.

The sewer backed up... nuff said? Well.. no, there's more. After all, this was something I didn't want to deal with! I needed to wash my hair before my flight and now we couldn't fill a tub or flush the toilet! ARGH!

When I was informed of the situation I asked David if he called the water company. He said he had not because it was a weekend and no one would come anyway... I picked up the phone and called. Yes I received an "automated voice" (I hate those!) but one option was "emergency".. I pressed that button!

After getting an "answering machine" they finally sent someone out, but by then I was out with the neighbor doing last minute things for my trip (but David was home). I came home and David said the water man stopped by and said the sewer was fine, it must be a house problem.

(note: this same thing happens at least once a year)

I asked David which man hole he went to.. he didn't know. But I did! Because only one manhole gives us this problem so it was obvious they went to the WRONG manhole!

I called the water company (again). I told them this happens each year, and each year someone checks "the wrong manhole". He said someone would come back out.

When they showed up, it was just luck that i saw them out my window.. and guess what? The fact that I could see them checking a manhole meant : it was the wrong one!

I went outside and walked him to the correct manhole. He opened it and said "this is a dead end" I told him "this is the manhole that gives us and others on the block the problem". He looked at me like i didn't know what i was talking about, then said he would check a map and get back to us.

Five hours later, after I had to ask another neighbor if i could bath and wash my hair at their house (humiliating!) he returned and asks if things work now. Well, duh.. I will check.... it worked. I asked what he did, he said he flushed out the manhole. (the same one he thought I was nuts showing him).

So.. something always needs to go wrong, right? Hopefully.. that was it!

Monday morning I was up by 5 am, had my Cafe Vienna, got dressed and called for the taxi and was out the door as fast as I could go! CALIFORNIA OR BUST!

Newark Airport was bustling when I arrived. I had printed out my ticket from my computer so I didn't have to get into the first very long line. I went right to Terminal C where I had to have my luggage scanned.... which was yet another long line. But I will say that it moved right along.

And.. the plane was on schedule!! woohoo!

By the time I arrived at LAX (Los Angeles) I had a whopping headache. I had forgotten how loud it is in a plane, especially right over the wings... and for 6 hours!

Now, take note of the first photo I took when I arrived in LA... it's a restaurant called Encounter, almost as well known to tourists as the Hollywood sign.

I want you to see this because 2 days after I arrived a one thousand pound piece of stucco from the arch fell off and closed the restaurant.

Although my friend Sue had to work the day I arrived, she picked me up and brought me to her apartment, where I settled in and took some advil for that headache. When she came home at 3 we went food shopping and grabbed a pizza for dinner. By the time I retired that night, due to the time difference, I had been up for 22 hours. Let me state this for the record... after a certain age, staying up for 22 hours is not advised! I was ready to die! And die I did until the next morning... when I woke at 4 (California time)... 7 east coast time.

Since Sue didn't have to get up until 6 for work, I tiptoed around and made my cafe vienna and went back to my room and proceeded to put posted notes on the pages of my books that I would have autographed at the convention.

When Sue finally woke I put on the news only to hear something I didn't want to hear!... they had closed one of the terminals at LAX from a bomb scare! Hello?! Did I need to hear this?

On the other hand, the weather man made me happier. When I left New Jersey it was 20 some degrees, but today in LA it was going to be 76! Now, that's more like it!! heh. Well.. sorta. I had watched Weather.com to see how to pack for my trip. They had said mid 60's so sweatshirts would be all I needed... now 76 was getting a tad warm for sweatshirts. I was smart enough to toss in a few t-shirts though so, it was ok... I'd suffer such temperatures *grin*

It was Wednesday when my friend Carole came to get me to visit. We went to her house which wasn't too far away. The temps were in the mid 70's and so we went out on her patio for a bit. She had some wonderful plants out there! One was this huge Staghorn Fern! I had to take a picture, it was so beautiful!

While we sat gabbing a bluejay came into a bush near me making a lot of noise. I turned and admired him, he was so close. Before I knew it Carole said that she fed them, but until I saw what she was doing I didn't realize she fed them by hand! All she had to do was to hold up a peanut .. she made some bird noises and sure 'n' heck the blue jay went right to her. This may not be the best photo but I didn't have lighting choices or much of any other choice! I had to snap it fast in order to catch the bird on her hand!

She also had some fantastic other plants including this "cactus" which she can't remember the name of. (Naomi:... I'm sure you can come up with the name!) Carole took a photo of me next to it so that you could see just how big it is! I'm 5'4" and it's bigger then I am.

..to be continued.....