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Summer 2024 Writing and Painting Adventures

Christmas Movie Review Vol. 4

It's Sunday and one hopes that means some good stuff, doesn't it? Especially for us here because we've got the predicted ice storm underway. I woke about 4:00 a.m. and it was 33 degrees and raining. By 7 or so, it had dropped a couple of degrees and ice began to form on the trees and deck. I'm leaving the outside lights on today to maybe make the ice look a little less threatening and a bit more festive. Late this afternoon the freezing rain is supposed to turn to all rain. Let's hope it does. It's time for the Ashe County Chorale Society Holiday concert and I really will miss singing tonight if it's a bust. Policy is that unless it's totally impassable or we've lost power at the Civic Center, the show will go on, even if it's just the singers with our spouses in the audience. It's probably not much more than a mile or two over there from my house, so I'm thinking I'll likely be a part of the hardy crew that makes it no matter what. Send good weather karma friends.

All of which means that I'll not see movies tonight, and if we lose power, maybe not today, either!

Here goes: ABC Fam has the vile Santa Baby bullshit on today… there's a sequel? Eww. Snowglobe is promising however and on at 10 this morning. I will miss the second new Cameron Mathison offering at 8, which I will definitely try and pick up when it's on later on. He's just borderline goofy enough for my taste, and not hideous to look at, either.  Read More 
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Christmas Movie Reviews Vol. 3

Here are the highlights! It's getting to be tough to track everything, so I'll try to hit the highlights here. "The Santa Clause" franchise gets started tonight on ABC Family channel. The first and third ones are on…what happened to the 2nd? I think these are pretty good stuff, I don't hate the kids, and I like the idea of Santa getting impressed into duty. ha ha ha ha "The Christmas Blessing" with Neil Patrick Harris is also on tonight. It's a sequel to the earlier story about the red shoes for dying mother. I like the realistic kids in this one. On Hallmark today/tonight there are several goodies which I've already reviewed: The Christmas Ornament, A Princess for Christmas and The Christmas Card are good. The rest is very bad schlock, including the stuff on the Hallmark Movie Channel.

Fair warning, though, to you Christmas movie fans -- one of the unfortunate side effects that accompanies the watching of Christmas movies is the commercials. Ugh. During the day it's all Medicare supplement plans and that jackass Fred Thompson hawking reverse mortgages all day. Towards evening it switches to a lot of Christian Mingle and you don't even want me to get started on that topic. Let's just say that Henry calls it "Christian Dingleberry" -- I think that is just the right amount of repugnant. I find myself in a troubling consumer target group. Oh dear.

Thank god "Christmas in Connecticut" was on this morning. A dose of finely acted black and white was a boon. Read More 
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Christmas Movie Reviews Vol. II

Well, not a stellar day in Christmas movie land but a few bright spots. Here in the mountains of North Carolina, we are being deluged with rain, which is somewhat worrying for us at the new/old house. All of the work on the outside (ripping down old aluminum siding on dormers, etc.) is done EXCEPT for the new gutters we need. Of course we're expecting a couple of inches of rain or more in the next 24 hours, so we'll be watching possible trouble spots. Oh well. That's progress, right?

Beginning tonight and into tomorrow things are supposed to get less wet and more fluffy though! Last predictions are for 1-3 inches of snow for us and we'll take it! I would love to go out for a tree on Friday with a little white stuff out there. Fingers crossed.

As for movies today in the wet downpour, you don't need to cross your fingers… you're screwed. There's a plethora of bad wedding/marriage dreich to be had and a couple of them include wedding/marriage Santa relatives shite which is way beyond even my tolerance level.

"The Christmas Song" is kind of fun though and you might give it a shot. It at least has some musical people in it, and features school choirs, which always gets my nostalgic attention. If you're brave and a Carrie Fisher fan, you might make it OK with "It's Christmas, Carol" although Carrie looks a little carved-scary if you know what I mean. "Christmas with Tucker" is a new dog movie this year that I haven't seen yet, so I will try to catch this one. Hat tip to Anne Lawing, the magnificent hair stylist, who has a dog named Tucker. I will check it out for her and let her know if she needs to watch it.

Tonight is one of my favorites, "November Christmas" which while sappy, has two of my favorite actors -- Sam Elliot and Northern Exposure's John Corbett. Both are heartthrobs for grownups, if you ask me. :) It's at 8 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel, so you basic cable folks will probably be able to get it.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve, friends! As always, your comments and alternative reviews are gratefully welcomed. Read More 
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By Popular Demand - Chris' Christmas Movie Reviews - Volume 1

I've been posting Christmas movie reviews on Facebook the last week or so, and they seem to be quite popular. So, at Henry's suggestion, I am moving the process over to my blog and will link it up with Facebook. Holiday cheer to my blog and my Facebook friends.

Vol. 1

Here's how the weekend is shaping up for Christmas movies, I'll do some organization by theme. And boy, are there some icky trite themes going on…

An Accidental Christmas, Under the Mistletoe, A Bride for Christmas, All I Want for Christmas: all of these are in the getting-divorced-parents-back together, or, finding a spouse for widows genre. Who knew there were so many widowed young parents out there -- especially uber attractive young mothers with odd or quirky-looking children? The message here has nothing to do with Christmas and everything to do with the idea that there's no way to be single and happy…You MUST MUST get married! No other life will be fulfilling. Bleh.

Help for the Holidays, All About Christmas Eve - here we have the evil corporations/workaholics vs. blindly and sappily naive Christmas celebrants clashing to predictable and oh-so-stereotypical result. Not thought-provoking; more like barf-provoking.

Mistletoe over Manhatten is another entry in the bad Santa's children theme I've mentioned before. This one is a barf-worthy combination of the workaholic/divorce-ridden themes as well. Just eww.

And, of course we have the usual and customary Christmas Carol rip-offs or updates in the form of Kristen's Christmas Past starring nobody I'm interested in getting to know.

Moonlight & Mistletoe - stars Tom Arnold. I need say nothing more.

New ones (at least to me): Window Wonderland and Fir Crazy- I will give these a chance. There's also a Dolly Parton feature I haven't seen before called A Country Christmas, which has possibilities as long as it's not too cornpone and I am not forced to listen to a lot of what passes for country music these days.

Good ones to catch: Trading Christmas is kind of fun and features a hilarious couple of scenes involving a clothes dryer in the basement. Lucky Christmas is not bad either. Both of these feature a bit more realistic characters who are "regular" people, which is probably why I like them.

Naughty or Nice is not a bad premise, but really is probably too long to be good - a mall elf finds Santa's Naughty or Nice list with predictably mixed results. On Strike for Christmas is interesting; I would watch but not be sad if I missed it this year. In this movie Daphne Zugnia plays a harried mom who is sick of doing everything for Christmas while her lazy-ass family sits around expecting it all to be just the way they like it. For some, this will of course resonate. If you're feeling put upon by your family watching this movie might make you feel better. :)

Home for Christmas is about about a newly-homeless woman and it would be good if she didn't get rescued by a man. Boo on the writers here; it could have been an interesting story.

I like Love at the Christmas Table with Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years and West Wing). It is a romance, but a small story surrounded with lots of typical family shenanigans, which are pretty fun.

OK - that will get you guys through the next few days. Opinions and counter-reviews welcome. Read More 
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Tree Spirit

The house we live in is a local treasure. It was architect-built in 1960 in the Frank Lloyd Wright genre, so, there are lots of cool things about it and in it. We have many large windows in the public spaces, gorgeous ceilings of Douglas Fir, sleek modern trim features and mahogany bookcases.

It is very modern. So, it needed, cried for, was desperate to have what? An aluminum Christmas tree -- one with a color wheel of course.

Truth is, I'd been thinking about it since I saw Dee Ann's on Facebook. She's a bona fide Christmas decorating freak and she posted a picture of her silver beauty on her page last year. By the beginning of November this year, I was thinking about Dee Ann's tree and lusting over one.

I remembered my brother and his wife at the time, Donna, had one when I was a kid. It was all sparkly and gorgeous and it had a pink light on it. I thought it was the coolest. I have even verified with Donna's sister Francine that it was, in fact, a pink colored light. I can't believe I remembered that.

I talked with the former owners who built this house and they confirmed, yes indeed, they had one of these trees displayed in the early 60s. So, see? It is destiny, fated, intended that I have one of these trees!

I ordered one up. Yes, the miracle of internet shopping. You can, indeed, find just about anything online.  Read More 
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What ho. Or maybe what "ho ho ho." We're looking at major snows, starting tomorrow, and running right up through Christmas Eve day.

I know, I should be worried about that fundraiser tomorrow night, the press releases, the maybe last-minute trip to WV for work, the family coming into town (probably not now). But  Read More 
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