Monday, December 29, 2014

An Observation About Alan Arkin

I watched "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" tonight. Steve Carrell does a wonderful combination of outrage and dumb so well, so I really enjoyed this movie.

However, Alan Arkin, like just about every movie he's in, absolutely stole the show for me. He's got such incredible comedic timing, and let's be honest...he does the cranky, old, sarcastic man routine SO WELL. He's absolutely hysterical and I'd love to meet him. That mans a treasure. Seriously...go watch "Grudge Match." He and Kevin Hart need to be in more movies together.

And here's the thing about Alan Arkin in this movie: he plays Steve Carrell's hero, magician Rance Holloway.

But who does he look like? Does he remind anyone else of anyone in particular, or is it just me? Click on the pictures, if you need to see Mr. Arkin bigger, if that helps your imagination any.

Give up? With that hair, that smirk, that crotchety face, that look of disdain and disgust...doesn't Alan Arkin look just like William Hartnell, the first man to play the Doctor on "Doctor Who?"

Alan Arkin is the man we need to portray the first Doctor the next time there's a need for the Doctor's incarnations to all get together to save the universe. Think Alan could do a prissy British accent? None of that CGI shit for us! :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Breakfast Casserole in the Crock Pot and Corn Casserole

We had our office Christmas brunch party today, and everyone brought something. In the planning of said party, the planner was worried there wouldn't be enough space in the kitchen for everyone that wanted to bring something hot. For the record, we have a full size kitchen at work, with a microwave, toaster oven, and residential-type stove and oven.

To try and make things easier for her, I told her I'd bring something in my Crock Pot, that way, I wouldn't need the oven or a burner to warm it up. She liked that idea and even forwarded a recipe she wanted to try, that she had seen on Facebook. Can't get much easier than that!

1 bag 26 oz. frozen hash browns
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 16 oz. roll sausage: maple, sage or regular sausage.
Salt and pepper
16 oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese

1. Spray crock pot and evenly spread hash browns at the bottom.
2. Crack 12 eggs in a large bowl.
3. Mix well (and slowly) using a whisk.
4. Add the milk.
5. Go ahead and sprinkle in the ground mustard. This might sound like a weird ingredient, but I've come to love (and use) this in most of my recipes. I didn't have any mustard, so I substituted some cilantro in there. I like mustard, and there have been times I've actually used a squirt of mustard right out of the container, but I was feeling anti-mustard this morning.
6. Add plenty of salt...and lots of fresh pepper. Mix well and set aside.
7. Cook the sausage on high heat, drain and set aside.
8. Add sausage on top of hash browns.
9. Is this enough cheese? Maybe? Probably. Throw the whole big bag in there.
10. Mix it up well. Or good, depending on where you're from.
11. Pour the egg mixture over everything in the crock pot. Using a wood spoon, even everything out so it's spread evenly.
12. Turn the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours. Something to keep in mind about the cooking time: how old is your Crock Pot? Today's slow cookers cook faster and hotter than those of several years ago, which is a shame. If you're like me and your slow cooker is at least five years old, you may only need to cook this casserole on low for 4-5 hours and shut 'er down. Based on the time of our brunch today, I had my husband wake me up at 5:10 AM when he was leaving for work so I could get this started. Minus the half hour the Crock was turned off while I drove to work, my total cook time was about 4 1/2 hours and that was just about right. The edges were browning up around the inside of the Crock. Cooking for six hours would have equaled a burned breakfast.

Some fun variations of this recipe. Before cooking (during prep), you can add: chunks of sourdough bread, diced chilies, salsa, or diced green onions.

Plus, I need to add this recipe here too: Corn Casserole. It's a recipe from one of my co-workers, Teresa. While I haven't made this one yet, I did have it this morning and it was pretty good.

1 small bag frozen sweet white corn – recommend Food Lion Super Sweet Cut (thaw and drain)
1 10 oz can green beans (drained) I'm not much of  a fan of cooked green beans (I like them raw) but I didn't even notice there were beans in this casserole!
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup minced onion
1 stick real butter melted

Thaw and drain the corn, then pour the hot melted butter over the corn and let it sit for 5-10 minutes- stirring occasionally. Add the green beans, chicken soup, cheddar cheese and onion- stir well.

One sleeve of ritz crackers crumble
One stick of real butter melted
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Mix cracker crumble and melted butter and pour over top of the casserole . During the last 5 minutes of baking, spread the ½ cup cheese over the top.

Cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes. You don’t want it to be runny.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Salsa Baked Chicken

In my infinite cooking wisdom earlier this evening, I found a recipe in a cookbook I wanted to try out. I thought I had cooking wine but it turns out I didn't, so that idea went out the window. I mean, who the hell would actually figure out if they had the ingredients for a recipe ahead of time, amiright? I figured it was time to improvise...WWBCD? What would Betty Crocker do?

I want to throw out right now that I don't know if this is already a real probably exists somewhere on the Internet, but I'm too lazy to look it up to find out for sure.

So here is Salsa Baked Chicken!

1 package of chicken breasts, thawed
2 packets of taco seasoning
1/2 jar of your favorite salsa
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. I cut the chicken breasts into chunk pieces so they would cook faster.
3. Spray a glass cooking dish with olive oil and throw your chicken in there.
4. Give them a good coating with the taco seasoning, flip them over and coat the other side.
5. Cover the top of the chicken with your salsa, and then throw the cheese over the top of that.
6. Bake for 40 minutes and then check them for doneness. I didn't cover them with foil, I just let the dish go topless. :)

Usually, I have a hard time getting chicken to cook through properly.  At the 40 minute mark for me, I was close. I gave them another 6 minutes, because I was cooking something in the microwave.

7. When these were done, the pan had a lot of good chicken juices in it. No dry chicken here!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Went to an Ugly Sweater Party

We got invited, almost at last minute, to an ugly sweater party tonight. My husband thought we could just go and not have ugly sweaters. I said no way. We have to at least try!

After work today (thank God it was a short day!), I ran over to Thrift Store USA. They didn't have any adult Christmas sweaters, but I was able to find two red sweaters, One is a Winnie the Pooh fleece pullover for me, and the other was from Denim and Co. Don't tell my husband, but he was wearing a woman's zip up sweater and didn't know it! :) That one already came with the white collar, so it was a must buy.

The decorations came from the Dollar Tree, the cupcake buttons on the cuffs of the pullover came from my mom's stash, and the cheapo gold snowflakes actually came from the thrift store bag I was going to donate.  They were part a larger set of Christmas ornaments we bought to keep Orion from destroying our good ornaments. My husband didn't want them because of...all...the...GLITTER!!! You should see the inside of my car! :)

I put garland and bows around the fleece hood and the kangaroo pocket; snowflakes on the front and back, and the cupcake buttons, of course.

My husband wanted the lights on his sweater, so I just whip stitched them to the front of the sweater. There were plastic candy ornaments on the collar, garland and round ornaments around his arms and shoulders, and just for fun, a pickle ornament became his zipper pull. Plus, there was the large star on his back. That star, like the snowflake ornaments, were stitched on and look a little wonky. Because it was an ugly sweater contest, I had to fight the urge to fix and center them all.

"A lot of families in Richmond and her surrounding Counties have known of the tradition for years and years. It is obviously a true Southern tradition and it indirectly started here in Richmond. It is the Legend of the Christmas Pickle.

"In the tradition, an adult hides a pickle-shaped ornament in the boughs of the tree after it is decorated. On Christmas morning, the children search the limbs of the tree, trying to be the first to find the pickle. The one that does find the ornament gets an extra present, or, as in years past, a healthy and happy year."

My husband was surprised that I was "going to all that trouble" and was so competitive. I just didn't want to go without suitably ugly sweaters. And I didn't expect there to be actual voting.

Only two other people at the party had homemade ugly sweaters. Well, it was one ugly sweater and one ugly long sleeved t-shirt. My husband's sweater was pretty popular but in the end, it was the host's ugly long sleeved sweater that won.

The prize of the night was actually a bottle of wine anyway, so I was glad I didn't win. I might have 2-3 drinks a year, because I don't care much for alcohol. It bums me out that alcohol is an appropriate gift or prize, especially around the holidays. I personally would have been happy with some cornball winner's certificate or some dollar store prize.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Did a Repaint on Santa

Last year, way back in December of 2013, I was at my local Walgreens, a place I shouldn't be allowed to go into by myself from Oct. 1-Dec. 31. The reason: I buy a lot of holiday shit when I'm left unattended.

Case in point, this indoor Santa statue with working streetlight.

I'd had my eye on this guy for about a week. I don't really know why I was drawn to him, other than I think I have a thing for Santa statues. Seriously, along with this guy, I bought a beach Santa statue and a light up Santa canvas print in one season. I need Santas Anonymous or something.

Anyway, as soon as I decided to buy him, because you know, no one else was decent enough to buy out my Walgreens' inventory of Santa statues for me, I knew I'd have to repaint him. Shit, he was even on sale for half price! I had to bring him home with me!

Once you start looking at him, he starts to look like he has a messy machine paint job, if that makes any sense. All that white trim, white hair and white beard just blobs together. His red suit is flat looking with a messy, dirty looking attempt to create depths in the shadows of the fabric.

After priming him really well, I tried to start out with some nice bright Testor's model car paints again.

No dice.

For some reason, those paints, even after having the containers shook vigorously, went on thin and watery. The color just wasn't there.

Luckily for me, my A.C, Moore was having a sale on the "My Studio" line of craft paints: 2 for $1.00!! It was time to stock up and try something else.

Here is Santa after his paint job. I kept him black, because to me, the white Santa statues just aren't that attractive. They are always PINK, like they've been boiled or something, with bright red noses and cheeks. White Santa's tend to look like they've been slapped.

It's a lot of paint layering here. I did about five coats of red for his suit, because it wasn't coming out even. I originally wanted him to have a burgundy suit with cream trim, but I couldn't find the right shade of paint. When only his suit was painted, it looked extremely RED. However, by making all of his trim cream, it toned down the red and seemed to give it a slight orange tone to it, which I ended up liking.
I am a little disappointed in his face. It seems fairly blank, but I did find out that his right eye has a slight dip to it that was less apparent with his original paint job. I did try at one point to give him rosy cheeks and a pink, chilly nose, but that was really bad looking. Santa looked like he had eczema or some other skin condition. I had to wipe his face clean and start all over again.

I especially like how his base turned out, and I wasn't trying for this effect. After painting two layers of white for the snow's base, I brushed on some white Elmer's glue and then shook on a good layer of glitter (left over from my TARDIS in the snow jar project). I gave it 24 hours to dry and then clear coated it. While the clear was still wet, I shook on more glitter, and then repeated it again in another 24 hours. Then, I gave it one last clear coat. This makes it look like Santa's walking through the ice packed snow.
My Santa is kind of heavy with the brown paint: boots, belt, satchel, teddy bear, hell, even his face. But I didn't want to give him black boots because that light pole is all black. I thought his boots would get lost next to the pole if they were all black. And I broke up the flatness of the belt by giving it bronze trim so it wouldn't get lost with his satchel's strap.

I'm not necessarily a fan of shiny paint jobs, like what Santa has going on here, but since I'm working with just craft paint, I want to protect the finished project as much as I can.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Card Fun

I am either a dork or an idiot. Either way, I'm doing this for Christmas this year:

I'm going to pick a random address from a phone book listing somewhere online, write out this same card, sign my card as being from Francine, and mailing it off tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Roasted Potatoes with Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic

We've been so busy lately, that several of our suppers lately have been on the run and I'm getting tired of it. My husband found this recipe online earlier this evening and decided he wanted us to make it with our grilled chicken tonight (I insisted on staying home for supper so we could cook).

  • 2 pounds of red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon  chopped fresh rosemary
  • At my husband's request...we added frozen corn to the mix and it turns out, this really needed the corn! :) I think we added half a bag.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a prepared baking dish, toss the potatoes, tomatoes, basil, garlic and corn with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the rosemary.

Bake 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender.

I have to say, even 45 minutes wasn't long enough to roast the potatoes until they were soft. This was really good recipe but the cooking time needs to be adjusted, and we don't have an old stove.

I think the next time, I'll cook the potatoes with the olive oil for about 35-40 minutes, and then add everything else, and then cook for another 20 minutes. Then I'll start checking for tenderness then. At 45 minutes, my potatoes were still just a touch firm but the corn was starting to get to the overcooked/mushy level.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Thought About "Adventure Time"

I'm watching the NBC version of "Peter Pan" on my DVR tonight. Doesn't Peter and the Lost Boys' tree house look just like Jake and Finn's house on "Adventure Time?"

Friday, December 12, 2014

I AM A JEDI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As of today, I am now truly a Jedi!!!!

The Rebel Legion has accepted my costume, and I am a Jedi Knight of the Old Republic. I am now a member of both the Rebel Legion and the Freedom Base (for the state I live in). I have even signed up to go to my first con with the Rebel Legion: the Ring of Fire Con in Virginia Beach, in February.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy sub, but my husband and I don't know anyone that works on board a sub.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy ship that most people will never get to go on. I got to go walk around under a ship while it was in dry dock, and then I walked up the scaffolding around the mast, almost to the very top!
  • I'd love to go for a ride in a fighter jet of some kind.
  • I want to go jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I want to go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  • I want to go to the top of the Washington Monument. 
  • I want to go to NYC, and see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and go to a show of some sort. We went there in 2000 and saw The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • I want to go to the Saint Louis Arch. We did this in 1999.
  • I want to go to Niagara Falls. We did this in 2000.
  • I want to go to Universal Studios Florida. We did this in 2001 and I'd love to do it again!
  • I want to go to the Poconos and stay in one of their themed suites. We did this in 2006 and stayed at Caesar's in the champagne glass suite.
  • I want to stay in a themed suit at the HoJo in Florence, KY.
  • I want to visit Santa Claus, IN, "American's Christmas Hometown."
  • I want to go to Metropolis, IL.
  • I want to get a memorial tattoo in honor of my mom and my mother-in-law.
  • I want to write a bad sci-fi horror script and present it to The Asylum to see if they'd be willing to make it into an actual movie for the Sy-Fy Channel. I'm actually writing a screenplay right now!
  • I want to finally order the "Hell's Admin Assistant" patch for my motorcycle jacket that I've been thinking about for years.--I figure it's a funny alternative to a Hell's Angel patch, which I'm clearly not a member of Hell's Angels. I ordered one from Star City Stitchery
  • I'd like to cuddle a baby gorilla. I really don't know where this one comes from, but aren't baby gorillas the cutest babies EVER??!
  • I want to take a painting class, a la Bob Ross. I did this in a restaurant in Virginia Beach with a bunch of motorcycle riders from an American Legion post, in 2014.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC. I did this over Memorial Day weekend with my husband.
  • I want to see the archaeological dig at the Jamestown Settlement.
  • I want to go charter boat fishing in the Atlantic Ocean: I tried doing this in 2012, but the water was really rough that day. I didn't catch anything but I sure made a lot of chum!
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up. 
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. I've actually done two pieces now.
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I can't drive a clutch and have no desire to learn, but I'd like to go for a ride in a 1957 Chevy BelAire and a mid-80's Lamborghini Countach.
  • I'd like to sit in any of the Batmobiles, ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, KITT from Knight Rider, and the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • I want to go to Rhode Island, Boston and Seattle, just for the sake of going.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day.--I've been to Hanoi and Hue, Vietnam, but it wasn't close enough.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California.  I had to cross this one off: On April 28, 2014, Ferguson announced that he will leave the show on December 19, 2014.
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion.  I was accepted in December 2014!
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA. Did this in July 2014.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's Been a Good Day

My goals for today were as follows:

  • Clean the fish tank (didn't get around to it, I'll do it tomorrow)
  • Clean up the dog's land mines from the front yard (got this much done)
  • Do some cooking
  • Don't leave the house (I only went as far as the front yard and back yard to take the garbage out)
I refused to leave the house today. For the last week, every night after work, we've had something social/holiday-related going on. I'm tired of it and want to stay home!

So my cooking projects were as follows:
  • Made banana bread from a mix
  • Ate and then made my own buffalo chicken dip for the first time and LOVED it. I think I was a little heavy handed on the extra cheese I put on top, but my husband said it was perfect.
  • Made some of my mother-in-law's fudge for the first time today. I'm not yet sure how it's setting up, but it looks good!
  • Made banana ice cream tonight. I've been hanging onto this recipe for about two years and I finally got around to making it tonight.

One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream

Makes 2 servings, about 1 cup

What You Need

1 large ripe banana--I actually used three bananas.
Cutting board
Airtight, freezer-safe container
Small food processor--I used my Magic Bullet blender.


  1. Start with ripe bananas: They should be sweet and soft.
  2. Peel the bananas and cut them into coins: It doesn't matter what shape or size the pieces are in, as long as they are chopped up into evenly-sized and somewhat small pieces.
  3. Put the bananas in an airtight container: A freezer-safe glass bowl like this one is fine, or you can use a freezer bag.
  4. Freeze the banana pieces for at least 2 hours: Freeze for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight.
  5. Blend the frozen banana pieces in a small food processor or powerful blender: Pulse the frozen banana pieces. We've found that a small food processor or chopper works best. I added in a quick dollop of honey, for a little more sweetness.
  6. Keep blending — the banana will look crumbly: At first the banana pieces will look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the food processor. I realized here that I needed a couple of little shots of milk in with my banana. The Magic Bullet wasn't strong enough to pulse through frozen banana slices by itself.
  7. Keep blending — the banana will look gooey: Then it will look gooey, like banana mush. Scrape down the food processor.
  8. Keep blending — the banana will look like oatmeal: It will get smoother but still have chunks of banana in it. Scrape down the food processor.
  9. Watch the magic happen! Suddenly, as the last bits of banana smooth out, you'll see the mixture shift from blended banana to creamy, soft-serve ice cream texture. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream. (If adding any mix-ins, like peanut butter or chocolate chips, this is the moment to do it.)
  10. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid: You can eat the ice cream immediately, but it will be quite soft. You can also transfer it back into the airtight container and freeze it until solid, like traditional ice cream.
This was actually really good. It tasted just like homemade soft serve ice cream. I can't believe it took me this long to try this recipe! :)

DIY TARDIS in the Snow

How much of a geek am I when I have almost everything already in my stash to make a TARDIS in the snow?

This is actually a tutorial for Geek With Curves, from December 2013. I've had her page bookmarked for some time, and I decided the time was finally right for my own little snowy TARDIS scene.

My phone and/or the wifi signal here is being a pain in the ass, so I'm only able to get one picture of this little lovely tonight.

I should have gone with a smaller tree or have cut the tree down, but I really wanted that whole tree shoved into the jar.

I've got my tiny TARDIS jar sitting on my fish tank in the living room.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"How 'Star Wars' ruined sci-fi"

I just read this article, "How 'Star Wars' ruined sci-fi" by Lewis Beale at I felt the need to post a rebuttal here, not because of my love for "Star Wars," but as someone who loves movies, in general, and as a non-professional movie critic.

Lewis Beale is an American journalist, film critic and film lecturer whose articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, Interview, USA Today, Film Journal International, and other publications. He was also a senior writer at Us Weekly.

"Now that the trailer for the seventh "Star Wars" movie is out, you can imagine the anticipation among the millions of fans of the film franchise. And why not? The six "Star Wars" films have been enormous successes: they have grossed over $2 billion domestically at the box office, spawned scores of books, comic books and merchandise (how many kids have their own light saber?) and made household names of characters like Darth Vader, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker."

You can't deny any of that.

"They've also been the worst thing ever for the science fiction genre."

No, they are not. I'm guessing he's never seen any of the movies made by The Asylum for the Sy-Fy channel, which I'm not necessarily saying those movies are bad. They are bad, in a good way. I'm actually a fan of those movies, but this entry isn't about those.

"I say this as someone who has been a devoted sci-fi reader since childhood. I was so blown away by the first "Star Wars" film when I saw it in 1977, I went back two more times the same week to wallow in its space age fantasy. But here's the thing: George Lucas' creation, basically a blown-up Flash Gordon adventure with better special effects, has left all too many people thinking science fiction is some computer graphics-laden space opera/western filled with shootouts, territorial disputes, evil patriarchs and trusty mounts (like the Millennium Falcon)."

I don't remember how many times I saw Episodes 4 and 6 in the theaters, but I remember seeing episode 5 twice. Both times, the sight of Han Solo being dropped into the carbonite freezer freaked me out a little bit, for some reason. Chewie's sorrowful howl almost did me in.

The special effects were a little sketchy in places (sometimes you could see the outlines of the ships as they were pasted into dog fights in space), but this was movie making on a grand scale. There were huge sets, miniature sets and those beautiful painted backdrops....those were art forms in and of themselves!

John Williams? That man single-handedly made me start to listen to the movie scores. His music was a narration to those movies.

""Star Wars" has corrupted people's notion of a literary genre full of ideas, turning it into a Saturday afternoon serial. And that's more than a shame -- it's an obscenity."

Ummmm, I'm sorry, did Lewis see the same original trilogy as me? It never came across as a Saturday afternoon serial. "A New Hope" was 121 minutes long. Did he leave in the middle of it to make a bathroom run or to get popcorn?

As far as "Star Wars" goes, it was a wonderful fairy tale that anyone could appreciate. There was a princess that needed saving from a horrible villain in black, There was the sweet farm boy that felt out of place, who lost everything he had, to try and make a difference in his world. There was the scruffy looking nerf-herder/space pirate that only wanted to protect himself and not be a hero, and his gigantic furry best friend. It was a tale of travel, excitement, action and adventure, with just a touch of romance thrown in. And that was just Episode 4. I don't think George Lucas ever tried to hide that idea of it being a fairy tale. 

It was a smart move. Aside from being influenced by aerial dog fights in war, I always figured "A New Hope" was ultimately written as a fairy tale because it would attract so many more people: parents would take their kids to it; science fiction fans would go to it; action adventure fans would enjoy it.

The first movie, "A New Hope," left so much open to the viewers' imagination. What was the Clone Wars? How and why did Darth Vader kill Luke Skywalker's father? Why did the movie start out as being Episode 4? What happened in the first three episodes? 

And the waiting for another "Star Wars" movie...those were the days, before the internet, there were no spoilers.

"Science fiction is in fact one of the most creative literary genres around. The best of sci-fi is filled with meditations on what's "out there," what makes us human, how technology is used and how it is changing us. It takes up issues of race, sexuality and quite literally everything else under the sun. It is essentially about ideas, not action, and that's the problem, as far as Hollywood is concerned."


"There are, for example, no light sabers, spaceships or Death Stars in the 1979 novel "Kindred," by Octavia Butler, who won the Hugo and Nebula, sci-fi's top awards, and was also awarded a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

"Butler's main themes are race and sex, and in "Kindred" she wrote about a modern black woman who travels back in time to the antebellum South, where she is enslaved. The novel is regularly taught in classrooms and has made at least one list of "Great Books By Women."

"But Hollywood has yet to adapt it for the screen. Maybe if the lead character had a Wookiee by her side...

"Many of the great works of sci-fi have not been made into films -- The Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov, Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War," William Gibson's "Neuromancer," among others -- partially because they are too smart, too dense and too thoughtful."

Lewis is correct here. How many wonderful sci-fi books are published every year? And how many of those would make incredible movies? But just because Lewis liked a handful of them and wishes for movies, doesn't mean that's a slam against the book because of "Star Wars." That's like saying I didn't get a job I wanted, so it must be Obama's fault. Makes about as much sense, doesn't it?

I think Laurel K. Hamilton is an awesome writer. Some of her books would make really interesting, visual movies. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein would be a killer movie! The fact that it hasn't been brought to the big screen is not George Lucas' fault. 

"Sure, some classics have made the transition, but the track record is spotty: David Lynch's "Dune" was a disaster, for example, and the recent "Ender's Game" was a mixed bag that was not successful at the box office. Francois Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451," although stylish and intellectual, was a bit too frigid for a mass audience."

So now, we are only talking about sci-fi books that are turned into movies? I thought we were just talking about sci-fi movies in general. This guy jumps around a lot!

And saying a movie was intellectual and a bit too frigid for a mass audience...well, that comes across as condescending. It is an insult to the average movie-goer to say they weren't smart enough to "get" a certain movie? While an excellent book, maybe the source material for Francois Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" just didn't translate well to the big screen. Maybe the screenplay adaptation wasn't well written.

"Which means that Hollywood studios, not known for thinking outside the box, opt for the "Star Wars" template -- lots of whiz bang, plenty of quirky alien characters, CGI to the max, plenty of explosions and little thought of any kind."

The powers-that-be at the major film studios probably have the final say on what movies will be made. Those powers don't agree with the average sci-fi book reader, at least, for right now. That doesn't mean they aren't thinking outside the box. 

If I think about sci-fi movies that are outside the box, "A.I." and "Her" come to mind. What about "The Fountain?" Those original, quirky kind of sci-fi movies are out there. Lewis Beale might not be opening his mind to them. It makes me wonder if he's ever been to an art movie house or used Netflix. He might find what he's looking for there.

Or, if we are still talking about mainstream sci-fi movies, how about "Dead Snow" or "Rammbock"? There was even a movie made from a German or Russian book about were-animals. It was called something like "Daywalkers," "Nightwalkers" or something along those lines. It was a good movie that I borrowed from Nicole the Knitter; I just don't remember the title.

"To be sure, the first "Star Wars" was a breath of fresh air, a fun flick for sci-fi geeks. But the series quickly ossified, a victim of its own success. Only two of the films -- "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" -- show any originality. The rest tread water, give the hardcore fans the same old, same old. I mean, how many light sabre duels can you sit through before you're bored out of your skull? How many outer space dogfights? How many seemingly profound Yoda-esque thoughts?"

How was "Return of the Jedi" unoriginal?

And when you think about the existing six movies, "The Clone Wars" movie, and the animated series...hell, just for fun, throw in "Star Wars Holiday Special" from 1978...the answer is: us hard core Star Wars fans will sit through every lightsaber duel, outer space dog fight, and Yoda-esque thought that is offered to us. No one is forcing us to see any of those movies. 

And we are also capable of knowing what we didn't like about the individual movies. Jar Jar Binks, anyone? The lack of chemistry between Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman. I personally would have preferred to see Anakin Skywalker as crazy and dangerous, instead of whiny and sad.

And if Lewis Beale hates them so much, then why is he still writing about them? Is he hoping to change people's minds? Or, why can't he move on and find out if there's a sci-fi movie out there that he would like?

"Me, I'm giving up on the whole thing. I don't care that J.J. Abrams, a director with talent, is helming the new flick. He's hemmed in by audience expectations -- like casting the stars of the original in this film -- and recycling stale material. I'll pass."

I love this: it takes him an entire article to state that he's not going to see the new Star Wars movie. How does he even know it includes "recycling stale material?" J.J. Abrams is notorious for having locked down sets and not letting anything get released until he says so. Sure, we've seen footage of the Falcon flying, and what looks to be X-wing fighters, plus even a few Storm Troopers. But you can't make a Star Wars movie with out that, just like you couldn't make a James Bond movie without a couple of beautiful women for Bond to bang, some vodka martinis to swill, and a Walther PPK pistol to shoot. There are mainstays of certain film genres that have to be included.

And yes, the stars of the original trilogy are going to be in this new movie. All you have to do is look at the IMDB page for "The Force Awakens" to know that. Look at it today, and you'll see a lot of blank spaces. Abrams et al are still building hype for this. A teaser trailer doesn't tell you everything you need to know about a movie, but we all become movie critics when we see a trailer, don't we?

"Instead, I'll queue up "The Matrix," and enjoy the most original sci-fi movie of the past 25 years. I recommend "Star Wars" fans do the same. They need to be reminded what real creativity is all about."

Yes, "The Matrix" was good and very original. The scene where the phone is ringing in the TV repair shop as the group tries to escape from the agents really stuck with me. But I notice that Lewis does't mention the somewhat dismal sequels that came after it.

Real creativity in sci-fi about enjoying it while we wait for the next Star Wars movie to come out? I know I can come up with some good options, with something for everyone, in  no particular order. I can enjoy these over and over again, and I won't feel the need to boycott the next movie.
  • "Explorers" (1985) comes to mind, with River Phoenix
  • "Back to the Future: (1985)
  • "Ghostbusters" (1984)
  • "Beetlejuice: (1988)
  • "Tron" (1982)
  • "Modern Problems" (1981) with Chevy Chase
  • "Spaceballs" (1987)
  • "Iron Man" (2008)
  • "Spider-Man" (2002)
  • "The Avengers" (2012)
  • "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" (2003)
  • "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) 
  • "Starman" (1984)
  • "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" (1982)
  • "Firestarter" (1984) 
  • "Paul" (2011)
  • anything "Star Trek"
  • The "Army of Darkness/Evil Dead" movies
  • "Galaxy Quest" (1999)
  • "Avatar" (2009)
  • The "Terminator" series
  • The "Planet of the Apes" series
Sci-fi movies started in 1902, with Georges Melies' "La Voyage dans la Lune" ("Voyage to the Moon"). 

I think Christopher B. summed it up best: "The first outstanding science fiction film--outstanding in that it influenced later films--would probably be "Metropolis," in 1926. 

"King Kong" in 1933 was probably the first sci-fi movie that appealed to a mainstream audience.

"2001: A Space Odyssey," in 1968, is usually considered the first science fiction film that had a deep, philosophical level to it. It is usually considered one of the greatest films ever, and it used realistic special effects that are impressive even today."

Since 1902, there have been so many different types of sci-fi movies, that there are sub-genres within it, and you can have your favorite types. Me, I prefer sci-fi movies that are hopeful about the future. Apocalyptic movies don't really do it for me, with the exception of the Terminator series.

Lewis Beale comes across as petty and whiny in this opinion piece. He's right and if you don't agree with him, well, he's going to continue to tell you why he is right. I think he could have made a better argument for his view and come across as better educated about sci-fi movies in general. I'm no expert on sci-fi movies. I just know what I like and why, but I am open to suggestion.

On My Way...

...I'm on my way to trying to join the Rebel Legion and becoming a true Jedi Knight!

Wish me luck, and may the Force be with you.

By the way, was anyone else underwhelmed by the official "Star War: The Force Awakens" trailer? I don't agree with J.J. Abrams decision to NOT show any of our familiar characters in it. I don't have any kind of attachment to these new, yet unknown (to me) characters. However, seeing the Millennium Falcon in flight, along with what looked like X-wing fighters, was goose bump inducing.

I've got to post these photos for the Rebel Legion to consider my entry, and I can't seem to get Shutterfly to work with the Legion forum! :(

However, THIS "international (fan) teaser trailer" was pretty good, even with the obvious older clips mixed in. There were the characters I grew up with. It was familiar. This video made me cheer out loud, where I was silent for the official trailer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Finished Another Piece of Furniture

Earlier this year, I finished my very first piece of refinished furniture: a bench from Nicole the Knitter. Just tonight, I have finished my second piece of furniture: a Domestic Sewing Machine cabinet, from a former roommate of Nicole the Knitter.

I got it in late 2013, when her roommate dropped it off at my house. It lived in the garage until tonight. This is what it looked like when I got it. The roommate was getting rid of it because it took up a lot of space in the garage and he didn't have time to refinish it like he wanted to. He actually got this from someone who was going to throw it out.

As I said before, it's mahogany. Once the lid was opened, the polyurethane or clear varnish on it, was flaking off. There may have been water damage at one time, on the top and down the center of the back.

The machine inside was a Domestic Rotary machine, series 153. The piece originated in Cleveland, OH and was built sometime in the 1950's.  It had ALL of the attachments and even the owner's manual. I wasn't interested in the machine, though. I already have my own machine, and I knew I'd be getting my mom's machine at some point.

The plug end of the cord was frayed and it needed to be replaced before I even felt safe in plugging it in. I figured it wouldn't be worth the cost, to me, to get it repaired and tuned up. I had it up for sale on Craigslist and even at a yard sale, but after a month no nibbles, I gave the entire machine, plus the attachments, to a thrift store.

I knew as soon as I saw it, this piece needed to be painted, because I wanted to try something different from the bench, which was a case of re-staining.

I used Behr Marquee in an eggshell finish to paint it. The "outside" (lavender) is Composer's Magic (from the Opulence color line), and the "inside" is Prussian Plum (from the Dynasty color line). Behr advertises the Marquee paints cover in one coat, guaranteed. I didn't find that to be the case, as I needed two coats of each color. However, maybe that's the difference between coverage on drywall and on wood.
Because I wasn't going to keep the machine in place, I measured out the top opening and got some 3/4" thick plywood and a bunch of brackets. I flipped the cabinet upside down, cut the plywood to fit inside the opening (thankfully, this was completely square) and bracketed it in from the bottom. Now, it's solid all the way across. I'm pretty sure I could sit on that part of the cabinet and it would support me!

Yep, that's actually argyle printed Duck Tape on the cabinet. I picked up a couple rolls of it when I worked at AC Moore. I knew I was going to find a way to use it with this project...because really, who doesn't like argyle? It actually is on the top and bottom of the cabinet, on the front, back and sides. I didn't put any on the top front though, because I liked that expanse of lavender when the drawers are closed (see above photo). I actually put 2-3 coats of Minwax clear polyurethane over it, per some advice from my father-in-law. That tape isn't coming off anytime in the near future!

I bribed Nicole the Knitter with supper last night to help me lug this thing upstairs from the garage to my crafting room. I put the drawers in and the top pieces on after we got it up here. I decided to swap out the original drawer pulls with some new Art Deco inspired glass knobs. I did reuse the original hinges and screws on top though. I used spray primer and paint to redo those. For some reason, the handles didn't like that paint and dried very unevenly. I thought that was odd, because I did them all at the same time and at the same temperature.

My supervisor, Orion, approved of the new knobs. She checked them over for me, as I was installing them. In this picture, you almost can't even see the plywood I fit into the opening. I had painted the top  with 1 coat of the Plum, put in the raw plywood, and painted it 2 more times.

Inside the drawers, after they were painted, I sprayed in about 5-6 thin coats of Minwax aerosol clear polyurethane. This was leftover from a previous project (which was also the case of the silver spray paint I used for the hinges). Then they each got an additional two more coats of poly brushed on. I wanted to make sure the inside of the drawers were very well protected.

I realized as I worked on this piece, that with the plywood insert on top, this would make a great little desk for a kid, or even a simple desk for an adult. Or if you worked a little longer with it, you could fit a mirror to it, change the top pieces around, and turn it into a vanity for a girl's bedroom. It's definitely a versatile piece of furniture.

I took my time with this refinishing and I'd wildly proud of how it turned out. There were places I should have gone a little more lightly with the poly, and you can see them if you look closely. But this is a solid piece of furniture that I'll have for a long time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tegucigalpa Tuesday

For some reason, I've been thinking about this photo I took, the more I hear about the missing beauty pageant contestant and her sister, from Honduras.

I took this photo in August 2007 when I went to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, for work. We were only there for a few days, and at the time, I was working for a children's medical charity.

This little girl was waiting for an appointment with a doctor at the clinic. She had been born with a cleft lip and I think a cleft palate.

I loved this photo. She's just standing there, resting her head on her mother's pregnant tummy. Her mother didn't even notice me standing there, or at the very least, she didn't care about the weird white chick taking their photo.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Visitor To My Backyard Today

I was in our backyard this afternoon. I threw a bunch of stuff into our garbage can and started to mow. I looked over at the garbage can about 10 minutes later and saw this chubby thing climbing out of the garbage can, glaring at me. He hopped up the neighbor's fence and climbed the utility pole. He was panting and weak, and almost fell a couple of times. Shane thinks he was dying.

All I know is that it scared the hell out of me when he came out of the garbage can. I've always heard to not trust a raccoon when it comes out during the day. He finally came down and went into the neighbor's yard a couple hours later, but he didn't look a whole lot better than before. He had his tongue sticking out for a while when he was up there.

Lesson learned: I moved the garbage and recycling cans, and secured both of them with bungee cords. I am thankful that it didn't come popping up out of the garbage can at me when I was right there, throwing stuff in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Year Later

Today marks one year of my mom passing away. The last several days have been really rough, leading up to today; leading up to this morning, actually. My husband hasn't said anything, but I’m sure he’s realized what an absolute DELIGHT I've been over the last week or so. But I know he wouldn't say anything rude himself, since his own mother is gone too.

But the actual time of her death has come and gone, and for some bizarre reason, I feel a little lighter now, in this instance, than I have lately. I don’t know why, other than the weight of the day hanging over my head the way it has. In a way, it’s much like once we got home from our visit post-Mom visit home when we spread her remains. I came home with bronchitis, and sick as a dog, but I survived that trip. I have survived today, as well.

I can’t call it an anniversary, because to me, an anniversary invokes celebrating something good, not marking the worst day of your life. I try to remind myself of something Mom used to say, when we found out the cancer was terminal: the cancer was winning, but once she died, she would be the winner. When she died, it meant the cancer wouldn't be able to continue to try to take over her body.

I still don’t know if I believe that. The last time she said that to me, we were in the living room back home. I was sitting on the floor. She was laying on the couch. I told her that was a pretty shitty way to win. She agreed and then said, “It is what it is.”

Jesus Christ, I will forever fucking HATE that phrase: “It is what it is.” I know she said it because she was helpless with her health and she did accept everything that was happening to her, but I will forever hate that phrase.

My smile for today, and I’ll probably cry as I write this, is the story of my mom trying to take care of my father’s old computer. This story makes my friends scream with laughter when I tell it to them for the first time.

Several years ago, maybe 6-7 years, my father decided it was time to replace his first computer with a newer model. Keep in mind, he had his first computer for 4-5 years and knows NOTHING about how to really use it. If there was a computer that would take you only to YouTube and Gmail, I think that’s the kind of computer he’d need. So, he brings the new computer home, moves the old one into the laundry room and sets it on the floor (with it’s great big ol’CRT monitor), sets up the new one on his desk, and goes to work. That evening, my mom calls me.

“I want to know what to do with the old computer,” Mom says. “How do I take care of it?”

“What do you mean, Mom? Take care of it how?” I ask her. It’s a weird request, coming from her. Over the years, she sent me exactly ONE email from my father’s account. She just didn’t enjoy it. She’d rather talk on the phone.

“He doesn't need the old computer anymore, so I want to know what to do with it so I can toss it out in the garbage and no one can get any info off of it.” Ah ha! Now she’s making sense. Never mind the fact my father has NOTHING personal on his hard drive: no financial stuff, no banking or bill info. Only his email address book.

“Oh, that’s easy Mom. Just call Josh and tell him the next time he’s there, to remove the hard drive from the tower. He can either keep it as a back up, or Shane will take it.” Josh is my brother-in-law and my father’s go-to local computer repair guy.

“So I don’t have to break it?”

“What? Break what, Mom?” This is getting weird again.

“The monitor. That’s where all the information and stuff lives, right?” When she said this, I had a vision all of a sudden: my mother had the monitor downstairs in the laundry room, sitting on top of spread out newspapers. The screen would be facing up, and she’s kneeled in front of it, a hammer in her cocked back arm, getting ready to swing down and break the screen into a million little pieces, so no one can access the information that doesn't exist and wouldn't live in there, even if it did exist.

“Holy shit, NO! Don’t break the monitor, Mom! You’ll just make a mess! Nothing lives in the monitor. It’s like a TV.”

“So what do I need to do then?”

“Leave it alone and let Josh take care of it. He’ll know what to do.”

Then things start getting even more hysterical, but she’s dead ass serious. “So I don’t have to break the monitor?”

“No. Put the hammer away.”

“What about the speakers? Do I need to break them?”

“No, the speakers can go straight into the garbage, and so can the keyboard and the mouse.” I remember I’ve got to break this down simple for her, because when it comes to computers, I look like a genius compared to my mom. And compared to my husband when it comes to computers, I look like a moron.

“So where does the information live then?” She sounds like she doesn't believe me.

“Okay, you see the tall beige/grey thing that used to sit on his desk next to the monitor? That’s called the tower. THAT’S where everything lives. Let Josh open that up and take out the hard drive. He’ll know what to do with it.”

“I don’t need to break that?” I swear, I think she just wanted to break something that night.

“No, and don’t even try to open it. There are a bunch of little parts inside of it and Josh only needs to remove one of them. I wouldn't even be able to describe it to you well enough for you to be able to find it anyway.”

“Okay, I’ll just leave it alone until Josh comes home with your sister next.” She actually sounded a little bummed out at this point.

So that was the story of my mom trying to prep an old computer to be tossed out for the garbage men to pick up. It makes me smile every time I think about it. I’m sure that right now, if she’s able, she knows I’m writing about that night and she’s all put out and little offended that I would find that conversation funny. She’d say something like, “Hey now, don’t make fun of me! I didn't know any better!” And then she’d probably try to go for the sympathy/pity effect: “You should be ashamed of yourself, making fun of your poor old mother with cancer!” We heard that a few times over the years. It’s weird that we (me, my sister and Mom) could actually make cancer jokes and she’d be the target. I don’t think me and my sister would be able to do those jokes anymore, because they just wouldn't be funny.

One year down. It just can’t be. Didn't I just talk to her on the phone last week? Didn't I just see her the week before that?

I still miss you Mom, just as much as I did when it happened. I don’t know that this year has made it any easier to deal with a life in which you’re not a part of anymore.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Tennessee Titans Blanket

The blanket continues again! It's kind of a shitty picture tonight because off to the left side is Cujo, and he's making me share the couch with him. Working up towards the ear holes in the helmet and the on-going face mask. I haven't taken any measurements of it just yet.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Weird Song Idea Ran Through My Head

The days of the 11-12 hour workday have ended, now that Homerama is over, thankfully. In one of my days off, I managed to get in a little bit of Hotel Transylvania, a terribly cute/sweet/good movie that came out in 2012.

I've seen it before, but I had forgotten who did the voice of Wayne the Wolf until I saw the end credits: Steve Buscemi. I was surprised that the animators didn't give Wayne those same baggy blue eyes that Steve has in real life. And since then, this song parody has been running through my head, and I figured I better get it written down and out of my brain to make some room for new, weirder shit.

Imagine it being sung to the tune of "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes...that's right...we're going old school 80's parody today!!! And I just want to officially state...I am not bashing Steve Buscemi or his appearance. He is a great actor, and his eyes just happen to be his most distinct feature. His eyes are as prominent as Sylvester Stallone's mouth, or Clint Eastwood's grimace.

His hair is Brooklyn brown, his teeth a dental surprise
His hands are never cold, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes
He'll turn to sleaze on you, you won't have to think twice
He's pure as the Fargo snow, he got Steve Buscemi eyes

And he'll tease you, he'll unease you
All the better just to creep you
He's ferocious
And he knows what it takes to make a movie crush
He gets Quentin Tarantino sighs, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes

He'll let you take him work, it whets his appetite
He'll play the biggest jerk, he got Steve Buscemi eyes
He'll never take a fall for you, roll over like he's got a price
Until Oscar's in his queue, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes

He'll direct you, when he needs you
Hope you'll feed with the crumbs he leaves you
He's anything but atrocious
And he knows what it takes to make a movie crush
He's not John Waters in disguise, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes

And he'll tease you, he'll unease you
All the better just to creep you
He's ferocious
And he knows what it takes to make a movie crush
The Coen Brothers think he's a prize, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes

And he'll tease you, he'll unease you
And he can even please you, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes
He'll expose you when he knows you
He knows you, he's got Steve Buscemi eyes

Monday, October 27, 2014

I"m Still Around

I am still here. I've just been working 10-12 hour days lately, which is a temporary thing, but it's been pretty draining. I've barely done anything around the house, or even picked up a crochet hook. I hope to do some hookin' tomorrow,

My sad thought for the night, now that I'm done with work for the day: today is the one year anniversary of the last night I saw my mom.

I miss her loads. Crying while driving in the dark on the interstate is not a good idea, but I didn't plan for that to happen, but I did make it home safely.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gene Simmons Garden Gnome

And finished as of tonight...the Gene Simmons/The Demon garden gnome!

This guy was actually bought on my birthday this year, with money from my father, from an antiques store in Virginia Beach. He's actually a larger version of a gnome I repainted earlier this year. He's just shy of 16" tall, and was a little sunbaked when I found him,

This gnome actually gave me the biggest fits, when it came to getting the paint to dry, because he's made out of some kind of vinyl. Note to self: never use enamel Testor's paint ever again!

For him, I used the Super Sculpey to smooth out where his vest and shirt ended, because he was going to have a pretty significant belt. All of this made him very front heavy. I wanted to use the tool handle he still had in his hand to make him a bass guitar to hold, but because of his front weight, he would have just tipped over with a bass attached to his little gnome body.

Without the spikes or sequins yet. 
Have you ever seen a garden gnome's codpiece before? :)

The little spikes are flat topped beads from Michael's that I Super Glued on the costume.