Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Incredible clouds


I've been in love with clouds lately. We've had some magnificent skies this season, and I have snapped several pics. Here's one of my favs. This is in Seminole.
Friday, October 26, 2007

I Cried in Class Today...

Yes, it's true. In my Introduction to Literature class, I broke down and
nearly sobbed. I was teaching Wordsworth's poem "LINES COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. JULY 13, 1798." The picture is a view of Tintern Abbey and the countryside around it. Though the poem is long, I like to read aloud most of it, stopping at sections to ask them questions and point out imagery and meaning. I'm fine until I reach the last section of the poem. Then, as I read and get closer to the bottom, I can't help but tear up, my voice thickens with emotion, and eventually I have to stop completely and try to regain my composure. I usually cannot and have to finish out the poem with a voice warped with tears. I am so moved by his sentiments, expressed to his sister Dorothy. And the truth and beauty in what he says is incredibly potent: life is cruel, and we must protect ourselves from that which seeks to take us further from our true selves, the part of us closest to "god" (however you define him/her/it). This cruelty can be in fake friendship (you know - the person who is sweet as honey to your face but vicious as a wasp sting to your back), those who judge us unkindly or act superior to us, or just the weariness that accompanies the daily grind. And when he gets to the part that says even if she is lonely, or afraid, or sad, she can think of him - no matter how far he is (even if he is dead) and the remembrance of this moment they are sharing by the Wye River will sing in her soul and refresh her spirits, and all of the negativity around her will fall into place - she'll remember what is truly important in life, not the importance people place on petty issues. Well, I'll let you read it.

I've pasted them below. I could excuse my emotionalism on the stressful 2 weeks, but I have to confess that I usually tear up when I get to these lines. I warned the class to expect a similar, though less teary, reaction when we read "Ulysses" by Tennyson.

Of course, the benefit is that it shows them how moving great literature can, and should, be. I hope they see that I truly believe what I tell them about the power of literature. Just as I laugh at some poems, and I get righteously indignant or angry with the authors of other poems/stories, I guess it's okay to cry as well.

So here it is:

and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance--
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
Thursday, October 25, 2007

What's Her Name's Contest

A friend of my friend, Gena Showalter (esteemed novelist and sizzling hot chick), is having a contest on her blog - rewrite her bio! The prize is your choice of novel from the selection she's offering. You can read the rules by visiting her blog. The joke is that she has this massive inferiority complex and thinks that everyone only sees her as Gena's friend. She's so paranoid! What is her name again? Hmmm.....

Anyway, here's my entry. I posted it as a comment on her blog, but I noticed one typo and a line that was truncated, so I'm copying and pasting it here. Basically, we were to take 1 sentence from her bio and rewrite it so the bio is about us, not her. Here goes:

"Grandparents firmly believed their grandkids should experience the satisfaction of hard work…by harvesting potatoes in 100-degree weather. " As I, Kelli McBride, read this startling statistic, I flashed back to my own childhood, shackled to unfeeling grandparents who made me work the sod, even though I was allergic to dirt. As I dug for potatoes, my tears and snot mingling together to form a thick muddy paste, I swore, as God was my witness, I would never dig dirt again. Somehow, with that mantra, I connected to the part of the universe that revels in romance and tall, dark, handsome alpha males. Growing up, I studied Hollywood adventure romances set in Casbahs, Desert Tents, and Spanish Castles. I drew inspiration from the tragic loves of heroines, vowing to write stories where every disguised princess reunited with her long-lost love (a deposed Arabian prince).

My fight continues to rescue fiction from the clutches of literary prose that seeks to set high that which brings us low, that defies the boy-gets-girl ending and embraces the "boy-dies-in-tragic-fire-incident and girl-has-affair-with-his-best-friend (a gay cocaine-addicted alcoholic) who dumps her for his art" ending. I especially want to thank the girl for crying out at my class reunion "Yes!!" Though I don't remember what she looks like, her passionate affirmation of the affirmative reaffirmed my passion for writing and romance.

Thank you mumpy-looking girl with Diet-Cherry-Coke breath.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Great Band: black lab

This is a fantastic band. Here's a YouTube video of one of my fav songs by them: THIS NIGHT.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Look to the Rainbow

"Look to the Rainbow" is a song from the musical FINIAN'S RAINBOW. I love this song. Here's an audio of the song with a picture of a rainbow in Ireland.

video

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Joke!

I was watching a HeadOn commercial last night, and got my tongue twisted when making a comment. That lead to me creating the following joke. Read it at your own risk!

Have you heard about the new over-the-counter medicine for erectile dysfunction from the makers of HeadOn?

It's called HardOn - apply directly to foreskin.

Let the razzing begin.
Friday, July 27, 2007

My Brother is NUTS!

My brothers Robert and Ricky have always been gear heads. My earliest memories of them usually involve motorcycles, dune buggies, and hot rods. They are 12 and 9 years older than I, and when I was in 1st grade, they built a dune buggy. Robert went from refurbishing and rebuilding Corvettes and International trucks to Harley motorcycles. Last weekend he came up for a visit, and drove up in this:

Yep. It's a brand new Lotus. He spent $43K on a car barely bigger than a roller skate. I swear, his butt is only 1/2 a foot from the ground!

Man, if I had $43K to blow, I can think of a lot of better things to blow it on. A used Porsche perhaps!

What a view

Yesterday, I walked out of my office building and was confronted with one of the reasons why I love Oklahoma. I got out my camera and took several snapshots to share this incredible view with you.

A picture cannot begin to do credit to the sky. Sometimes the sky in Oklahoma makes you feel squashed - the thick, low-hanging clouds block out the sun and sky, leaving the landscape dismal. Sometimes, the sky makes you feel like you're in an alien setting - the colors get sharp, intense, and, well, just weird. Then, there are days like yesterday, when the sky makes you feel so very tiny and yet so very tall at the same time. You walk out and cannot help but feel the immensity of nature and your very small part of it when faced with these giant clouds that disappear into the horizon and the incredible, true blue sky. Still, because the sky seems so immense, you can't help but feel taller as well. It's a paradoxical and wonderful experience.

I hope wherever you live, nature reveals itself as wonderfully as it does in Oklahoma. Okay, I admit, nature is also a pain in the ass here as well. Here's a picture from 2 weeks ago in Seminole, after several days of rain. This is the park in Seminole, and there is usually NO WATER here. I'd say this "river" was probably 2-3 feet deep, and ran parallel to the road for about 1/2 a mile. And the current was quite swift. The grounds of the park were swamped, the whole thing turning into a shallow lake.


The next day, the water was gone. I would have never guessed that it would have drained that quickly.
Sunday, July 08, 2007

Youtube - Evolution of Dance

Here's a hilarious video that my sister, Sheri, shared with me. It's 6 minutes long but worth the time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Declaration of Independence

The 4th of July just isn't complete without reading the Declaration of Independence. Here's the intro and conclusion. Happy Birthday, America!

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
[SNIP]
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Sunday, July 01, 2007

I love Youtube!

Here's a really funny video on youtube that's a parody of THE 300 - the movie about the Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae:

World Lit Fun

I'm teaching World Lit I (ancient world lit) this summer, and this semester I decided to focus solely on the epic. It gave me a good reason to teach both the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY in the same semester. I am having so much fun. It's been a while since I read some of these works. This week we're studying Virgil's AENEID. We've already done GILGAMESH, Homer's ILIAD and ODYSSEY, and the BHAGAVAD GITA. We have Virgil, BEOWULF, and PARADISE LOST to go. I'm really excited because I've just bought a video of Benjamin Bagby performing BEOWULF in Old English with an Anglo-Saxon harp. It's as authentic as researchers can get to how the ancient Scops (Anglo-Saxon bards) really performed the epic for audiences in the 10th century. I'm going to make my students watch it. I know that many of them will not even give it a try, but some of them will truly get it - I hope. Here's a clip of Bagby performing:

I know - it's probably not your cup of tea, but I swear, I get goosebumps watching this. And it isn't the best clip because he doesn't sing or use the harp at all here. He performs in America, so I'm hoping he comes close to Oklahoma and I can see it live.

Anyway, the epic genre is one of my favorites - especially Ancient Greek and Roman stories. It's no wonder that I love fantasy/paranormal literature so much - it's all there in these ancient stories. Gods, mortals, fantastic battles, magic... What can I say. Achilles had me from "Son of Atreus, I fear we're being beaten back, forced home, if we aren't all going to be destroyed right here, with war and plague killing off Achaeans." ;-) Even Brad Pitt didn't ruin it for me in TROY.
Friday, June 15, 2007

A great Youtube video

Here's a really cool video on Youtube that explores western art. Take the time to watch it - you'll enjoy it. It's called "Women in Art." If you can't see it, go to:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUDIoN-_Hxs

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Check out the PROMOLADY


My sister, Kim, has just started a blog called PROMOLADY. You can see the link on my blog roll to the right. Kim works for the Greater Oklahoma City Area Chamber of Commerce, and she also has a business selling promotional items - basically anything you can slap a logo or name on. Her blog is about promoting your self or your company - ideas, trends, etc. Plus, she's witty and intelligent, just like her older sister. ;-) Her daughter, Lauren, took the picture on the left this January (Lauren was 4 at the time). Pretty good shot!

Please, welcome her to the blogiverse.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Books out in June!!

I know, I've been an absentee blog-lord lately. My life has been super busy: Mom's going through chemotherapy, I'm desiging a web-class for the fall and redesigning my ENG 1113 class for the summer, I've been editing and laying-out the new edition of the Oklahoma English Journal with my friend Christian, I've been sitting through interviews for a new English teacher at SSC, and I've been winding down the semester. Whew! However, I had to take the time and blog about some new books coming out this month by some great people.

The first is STRAY by new author (and super cool person) Rachel Vincent:

STRAY (Mira Books) ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2421-8
Excerpt
Faythe Sanders likes to pretend she's a normal college co-ed, but that's only half the truth. It's the other half that matters when her former lover appears on campus, sent to pull her back into a life her classmates could never understand, or even imagine. He has come to take her home, to where hunting doesn’t involve guns, the night isn’t for sleeping, and fur is much more than just a fashion statement.Female werecats are disappearing from all over the south, and the Pride is helpless to find its missing members and stop the stray responsible. Confined to home for her own protection, Faythe must face everything she went to school to escape: the family she left behind, the love she turned her back on, and the destiny tradition says she's bound to fulfill. And when it all becomes too much to handle, an emotionally charged error in judgment leads her into the unsheathed claws of the stray himself. Now, armed with nothing but animal instinct and a serious attitude, Faythe must free herself and stop the kidnappers before their horrific plot robs her Pride of its most valuable asset: its own continued existence.


The next is by my dear, dear friend (and red-hot mama), Gena Showalter:
Red Handed (MTV Press) ISBN 13: 978-1416532248
Excerpt

There’s blood on her hands, but it isn’t human. . . .

Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother's trust after going into rehab and kicking Onadyn—the drug of choice for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she’s brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.

Except, what her mother doesn’t know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she’ll learn to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone—the drop-dead gorgeous, 19-year-old agent she met in the woods that night—doesn’t make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules. . . .

Gena also a second book out this month, CATCH A MATE. This is a contemporary romance in 3rd person with no paranormal elements:

CATCH A MATE (HQN) ISBN 13: 978-0373772353
Suspicious wives hire Jillian Greene to smile, flirt and prove that no man can be trusted around a pretty face. Enter Marcus Brody, who’s been hired to prove the same goes for women. And Jillian is no exception! She can’t help breaking her “never get physical” rule when the heart-stoppingly gorgeous Marcus walks into her life. But can she really overcome her cynicism about the opposite sex to trust in Marcus? And can he do the same?





Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who's the genius...

I was perusing the Homeland grocery circular today and noticed a product I've never seen before. It's Land O'Frost's "Taste Escapes." I sat there and thought about that title. Is that really the BEST title you could give a food item? Surely, you don't want something that is an escape from taste. I mean, taste is a big factor in eating. Right? Who was the genius that thought this would be a name to draw in the public? "Hmmm...I don't feel like tasting tonight, so let's buy this meat-like substance that has no taste." What is it made of, tofu?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Funny Video from YouTube

For those of us who love books, and those of us who know the frustrations of computers, this video is particularly funny. It's called "Introducing the Book."

My new Nissan and old car memories



A few weeks ago, I traded in my Buick for a 2006 Nissan Quest. I love it. It has so much room, even in the second row of seats. Plus, it handles like a car.




However, it is a minivan - hardly the sexiest or most youthful of vehicles. So far, though, everyone has been very impressed - even remarking on its looks. It is a very sporty, sleek minivan.




The other day, though, I couldn't help but reminisce about the other van that I've driven. It was a 1980-ish Dodge Van. Brown. With bronze pinstripes, and reflective sheeting on the back two windows - the sheeting had the image of an eagle in flight.


Dad bought the van and had it converted. He had a backseat put in that can fold out into a double bed. It had a brown velour-like cover, but that bed had a metal bar down the middle that made it very uncomfortable. The inside was carpeted with brown SHAG carpet. Even the walls and ceiling had shag. And up front, there was a float console which housed the speakers and an 8-track tape deck. The console floated above the dashboard area, suspended on hooks.


For family vacations, the van was great. However, there came a time when I had to drive it to high school. Oh, the mortification!! I wasn't a stoner or promiscuous - obvious reasons to actually want a van in high school. And my high school was very rich, so the majority of vehicles were sporty or snooty (snooty in a way only a BMW, Mercedes, or Volvo can be).


We probably drove that van 200K plus miles, quite a lot for a car made in the early 80s. Unfortunately, towards the end of the van's life, it started exhibiting strange behavior. One problem was the universal joint. Now, I have no idea what a U-Joint is for specifically. I do, though, know the symptoms of one about to go out. Whenever you're driving and hit a bump or pot-hole of signifcance, the entire van begins shimmying. Violently. The only cure is to pull over and come to a complete stop. Imagine how it felt being a 17-yr old and having a car that would start shaking uncontrollably. Cringe. Duck. Sigh.


Not only would it shimmy, but for some reason, every once in awhile, the floating console would come unhooked. We'd be driving and suddenly the thing would crash down, and we'd have to hold it up while trying to find a place to pull over. At this point, I would like the ask the obvious question: Why would you want a floating console? Did I mention that it, too, was covered in brown shag carpet?


So, the last few months of driving that van were quite exciting. A sudden pothole, and the van starts shaking with the palsy. Sometimes, the violence of the shaking would cause the floating console to crash down. I was battling motion sickness and the fear of concussion.

So this minivan is quite a different experience. Not only is there not a shred of shag carpeting, but it is painted a beautiful mother-of-pearl.


Old car memories are fun. It's amazing how much importance we place of the looks of a car. Someday, I'll have to share with you the time I owned a Triumph TR-7, a British sports car.

Hmm. That car was brown, too. I wonder if there's a theme?


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Great TV

I'm enjoying my TV lately. ROME began its 2nd season this month - and it is soooooo wonderful. James Purefoy as Marc Antony is fantastic - so indulgent, at time crass, a man of action, and funny. There is no weak link in this cast.

PRISON BREAK is also showing new episodes. The show consistently puts out high octane episodes that ratchet up the tension. Finally Sara and Michael will be reunited next week. I really love trying to figure out the twists and turns in this series. I never know what to expect.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - whoo-hoo! Baltar is now a prisoner on the ship, one of the Caprica models is also in the brig, Boomer and Helo have their baby back, Starbuck and Apollo are dealing with unrequited lust/love/dog in the manger - I'm not sure what. It's excellent.

STARGATE SG-1 - it's not back on yet, but I did hear that this will be the final season for the show. It's time. Since Jack left, the series just hasn't gelled. I hope we will see resolution between Jack and Sam. I'm also wondering if any of the cast will crossover to ATLANTIS.

THE DRESDEN FILES - I've not read any of Jim Butcher's books, but the first two episodes of this new X-Files-like series have me ordering online. I've heard there are some differences in the series and the books, but I love it. I've longed for a new X-FILES - a show that makes me think, fear, laugh, cry, angry...a show with a great cast, innovative writers and directors, and the nerve to push the limits. I have no idea if this show will be all of those things, but so far it has great potential. Another show that looks intriguing is BLOOD TIES on Lifetime based on Tanya Huff's Blood series about Vicky Nelson.

Angels Fall Movie

I watched the Lifetime Movie version of Nora Robert's novel, ANGELS FALL. It was good. I have not had a chance to read this book yet, so my review must be tempered by that. However, the movie did manage to escape the uncomfortable and awkward dialogue that plagues so many screenplays adopted from romance novels.

I won't say the movie was great, but it was definitely worth the time to watch. Next week, MONTANA SKY will premiere. Then, BLUE SMOKE and CAROLINA MOON. I hope they all meet or exceed ANGELS FALL.

Update

Well, my mom is in the hospital. She had colon cancer surgery on 1/10/07, was in the hospital a week, and then came home. She was home for 5 days when we had to take her to the emergency room because she had severe nausea and indigestion. 2 days later, she was back in the emergency room and they finally admitted her to the hospital with a urinary tract infection and blocked bowels. She's had x-rays every day since Friday to see what's going on inside, and as of today, they still don't seem to know much. Tomorrow, the dr. will take more x-rays and if she's not better, they will perform surgery. The poor thing hasn't eaten since last Tuesday, and she's so hungry.

My niece started day care/pre-K yesterday. Today is her first full day, and so far she's loving it. She was so excited about getting to stay with the kids and going to school. I cried this morning thinking of how much she's growing. I'm selfish and want her all to myself. ;-)

That's pretty much it for me lately.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

December's Winter Storm

I took this picture during our unseasonable blizzard last month. I think it is so pretty - the tree is still in its fall colors but the ground is thick with white snow.

The oak tree that dominates the picture was planted about 80 years ago. There is a picture of our house taken in 1927 and this tree is only a sapling. Now it towers over the house, reaching to the second story, and is so huge that grass will hardly grow on that side of the sidewalk.

If you click on the photo, a much larger version will load, and you can see the beautiful variations of leaves and colors.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A New Look

Welcome to the new design! I call it "save the frogs." If you watch the show HEROES, you'll get the pairing of the save the frogs with "save the world." Why does saving frogs save the world? Well, frogs have very sensitive skin that absorbs things in the environment. This makes them susceptible to death by pollution. Scientists have been tracking the strange decrease in frog populations all over the world for many years now. Some theorize that the frogs are dying because of the dramatic increase in pollution. If true, then the demise of frogs is a foreshadowing of our own demise. If we can reverse this trend and save the frogs, then we save ourselves and the world.

At least from death by pollution.