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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions and hopes

Every year Echo and her best friend Alicia come up with resolutions (a goal you can meet) and hopes (a goal that is beyond your control).

My resolutions for this year are:

1. Lose X* amount of pounds; save X amount of money; run X number of miles every week.

2. Finish New Project.

3. Teach Spence two new tricks.

4. Keep my car clean all year.

5. Visit a different country.

My hopes are not for sharing in InternetLand.

What are some of your resolutions and (if you feel like sharing) hopes?




* (X is an integer known to Ru, and if Ru has 15 apples and is traveling to the market at a rate of 7 miles per hour going west, what time will she need to come home to let Spence out to pee?)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A new development in the world of Spencer

I am anti-dog clothing.

My sister and mother knew this, and still decided to give Spencer clothes for Christmas.  (A puffy vest and an argyle sweater, respectively.)

Strangely enough, Spence seems to be surprisingly into wearing clothes.

Even weirder? They calm him down, much like Charlie and his Thunder Shirt.  Spence took four naps yesterday.

I don't know how to resolve this dilemma.

Calm, happy Spence ... versus being that girl who dresses her dog.

It's a toughie for sure.

You wish you looked this good in argyle.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's your favorite google search term?

If you're like me, you love checking to see where your blog traffic comes from.

My favorite is discovering which words people google to find my blog.  Usually there are a lot of "and then she was like blah," which is understandable. But now and again, you find some real gems.

This week my search term results are as follows ...

49 people googled "Game of Thrones" and found me.

7 people googled "tiara."

3 people googled "modern family mitchell."

2 people googled "Merry Christmas puppies."

2 people googled "pattern for corn husk flower."

2 people googled "telestial kingdom."

And 1 person googled "Sex and the City sucks."

That's has kind of a "12 Days of Christmas" ring to it, don't you think?

What is the funniest thing someone has googled to find you?  Or if you don't know, do you know plan to obsessively check your google stats to find out?











Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I probably won't go see "Girl With A Dragon Tattoo"

I don't like unintentionally ironic movies.

Ever heard of or seen the movie Funny Games?  It's a movie about two psychos who invade a family's vacation home and proceed to torture and murder them.  It's also a "statement" film, which means the filmmakers were trying to teach all us bad viewers about violence in entertainment.  You see, the psychos in Funny Games aren't just torturing a family, they're teaching us lessons!  Ham-fisted lessons!

Unfortunately, aside from the hit-you-over-the-head-obvious technique employed by the filmmakers, they also didn't address the elephant in the beach house: If we're all so awful for watching this violent movie, what adjective do we apply to the people who made and profited from this violent movie?

Opportunistic?

Obtuse?

How about that good old Internet standby: AWKWARD.

And so we come to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a mildly entertaining book turned into an entertaining movie remade into what I can only assume will be a very entertaining movie, but which everyone will act is if it has Greater Meaning. It's about violence against women! Societal abuse of the underprivileged! Neo-Nazism! Freedom of the press! Hidden dangers of socialism! Financial sector corruption! (Ahh, Greater Meaning. It's such Oscar bait.)

Don't you all know that Lisbeth Salandar is a revolutionary character, a post-feminist icon?* Now watch her get brutally raped on screen to prove it! (Don't worry, in about twenty minutes she's going to do what all of us secretly wish we could do to rapists--rape him back.)

Stieg Larsson's Swedish title of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was Men Who Hate Women, which is an accurate, to-the-point descriptor of the book. Apparently in Sweden, you can't go to the grocery store without tripping over a half-dozen sociopath misogynists. (Lesson: Never visit Sweden.)

But while I can't find any fault with Larsson's goals--elimination of violence against women, children, the underprivileged, improved transparency in government and business--I must say it feels a bit icky to read a book about the condemnation of violence against women when it is chock full of excruciatingly detailed violence against women.**

Does this mean books and movies about BIG ISSUES shouldn't be written or made? Of course not.

But much like the "I know it when I see it" test for pornography,*** sometimes you just know when something has stayed on the right side of grim subject matter discussed respectfully and not crossed into exploitation territory

I suspect The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will not only cross into exploitation territory, but apply for a business license and open a bed and breakfast there. And I don't imagine I'd like my stay.








* (To reach this conclusion, you must ignore the fact that she's essentially the polar opposite of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Archetype. Have you done that? Excellent.

REVOLUTIONARY CHARACTER! POST-FEMINIST ICON!)

** Spoiler alert: The sequel is about sex-trafficking and shopping at IKEA. Because even when it comes to Lisbeth Salandar, women be shopping. You can't stop a woman from shopping. (Name the movie!)

Also, Lisbeth gets a boob job. Feminism.

*** Little-known lawyer fact: the rest of the quote is, "and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."  Fun, eh?

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's not creepy if it has an "LOL" after it

Oh Pinterest,

Why do you have to enable crazy women?

Oh women of Pinterest,

Don't you know there is no excuse to have a pinboard of 10,000 wedding pictures on it?  Do your creepin in the privacy of your own bedroom, preferably in the company of your cats. 

Don't you know that some of these things you are tagging as "To Do Before I Die" are not that impressive?  I want to be in Paris on New Years someday too, but I don't hold that aspiration on the same level as "Own Every Color of OPI Nail Polish." 

Finally, I'll be honest -- I have pinned some online workouts, since I am easily bored and can never remember where I saw that "10 Ways to Spice Up Your Abs Routine!" article.  So thanks for that. 

But please, could we all put a hiatus on pinning scary skinny-ripped girls as "thinspiration"?  Because I'm sorry, no female gets a six-pack without abandoning all other goals and hobbies in favor of the gym.  It's gross.  And shallow. 

And it really detracts from my admiration of various reading nooks I'd like to build in a house someday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Well, I'll prepare for this to be misinterpreted

I hate the word "Mom."

There's something about it that grosses me out.  Maybe it's the long O sound combined with that nasally M.  Maybe it's that it's so short -- I find "bob" pretty vile, too. It might even be the way it looks written -- "mom" just looks so abrupt and judgy, like something in German. Nein.

I hate the way people say it. Either whiny or sycophantically or smugly or condescendingly. There's pretty much no way to say the word "Mom" that doesn't disgust me, unless you are actually addressing or referring to your own mother.

"Oh hey Mom, just wanted to call and check in."  A-OK.

"I can't wait to be a Mom!" Shudder.

"I made the reservation for us and Mom." Acceptable.

"But Moooooooom."  Gag.

"Mom said it was the second left after the light." Informative.

"I have the best job ever, I'm a Mom."  Kill me now.

But doubly bad?  "Awww, he's so happy now that Mom's here!"  Said to me.  At the vet's.  About Spencer.

(I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Spence and I do not have a parent-child relationship.  We have a 10-4, good buddy relationship.)

I hate attorneys who can't be bothered to learn peoples' names.  Henceforth Mom will do her best to to create a positive atmosphere for the kids and not refer negatively to Dad in front of them.  Dad will do his best to maintain appropriate boundaries and discipline and drop kids off at Mom's on time.  It's so smarmy and familiar, yet so obvious that you can't be bothered to shuffle through your papers and find out whether it was Kim or Karen, Bill or Brandon.  (Ahh, screw it, just write "Mom" and "Dad.")  Seriously, "petitioner" and "respondent" would be better.

And I hate that you can't tell people that you hate the word "Mom" without people staring at you like you've just kicked a kitten.

Oh look, that girl hates moms. Let's shun her. Or better yet, send her a copy of emotionally manipulative books like "Love You Forever." Yes, that's an excellent idea. Weep, cold girl on the internet, weep!

Anyone else there have an irrational dislike an otherwise positive-to-neutral meaning word?  Anyone hate "puppy," for instance?  (You monster!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

While I was in San Fran, Spence was getting Biblical

Text from Charlie and Alpha to me while they were puppy sitting -- I hope you find it at least half as funny as I did:


How think ye? If a Charlie have an hundred Spencers, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?


And if it so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that Spencer, than of the ninety and nine which went astray.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My new most embarrassing moment story

Subhead: Settle in for a long haul, friendos.

Today at work, we had our office Christmas party.  About a week ago, a coworker popped into my office to let me know that at this office we give gifts to -- and I quote -- "members of our team." The gifts didn't have to be elaborate, he explained, just something little, like a bottle of Martinelli's with a bow.  Since he knew it was my first year at the office, he just wanted to give me the heads up.

My team consists of another attorney, an analyst, and a secretary. But I supposed I should probably also get something for my trainer and the other two people he is training.

Add with me, people.  That's 6.

So I asked my crafty sister Echo to make 10 presents, on the off-chance I was under-estimating.  She made some cute little Oreo Pops, which is basically an Oreo on a sucker stick, dipped in white and milk chocolate, then rolled in crushed peppermint pieces.  Darling, no?

I set off to work this morning with some cellophane-wrapped gifties, feeling mighty satisfied with myself.

And when I flipped on the light in my office, I found that I had already received five presents from people who weren't on my list.

Sidenote: You might be wondering why, at this point, I didn't run to the store to buy more presents.  The short answer is that I have a client I have been trying to talk to all summer long about his case.  
I periodically call or email him to see if it's a good time.  It never is.
Who decided to email me the morning of the Christmas party and say he'd "pop in sometime today to talk"?
You guessed it.

So for roughly twenty minutes, I sat and panicked in my office. More gifts arrived.

Every person who brought me a homemade jar of jam, banana bread, and gift box from Bath and Body Works received a bag of Oreo Pops.

And my anxiety ratcheted up-up-up, because how the hell am I supposed to multiply a finite number of Oreo Pops?  

That's when I remembered Echo's original plan.

"Why don't you just get people a package of Twizzlers and write 'Twiz the Season' on a sticker?"

Though it seemed cheesy to me at the time, I seized on Echo's idea and proceeded to text and IM every person I could think of who might be able to run to All-A-Dollar and buy 10 packages of Twizzlers and Christmas package stickers.

Finally I got in contact with Charlie, who agreed to head to All-A-Dollar after a meeting with his graduation counselor.  The only problem was that put his arrival at my workplace around 2pm.

Sidenote: Why is that a problem, you ask?  Well, because the Christmas party was scheduled for noon, with everyone leaving the office afterward as a gift from our boss.
Why is that not a problem?  Well, because I could just sneak the Twizzlers into offices and pretend that they arrived in the morning, like all the other, more thoughtful gifts had.  
Genius.

So I sat in my office, trying to work, trying to ignore the growing pile of presents on my desk, and waiting for the Mystery Client.

This is how things looked BEFORE NOON.  I didn't even have the heart to take a picture of the final haul.

Finally it was time for the Christmas party, and I trudged off to a sumptuous feast, all the while trying to avoid eye contact with the coworkers who had bestowed me with homemade fudge, only to be rewarded with a big, fat nada.

And then, in the middle of a musical number -- seriously, my coworker's children came and SANG -- Charlie texted me.

"Done early. Where do you want me to deliver this stuff?"

Now, the most important of my little plan was that no one realize (a) I came grossly underprepared to show my love for my coworkers the day of the Christmas party and (b) some people got Oreo Pops, and some people got cheap bags of Twizzlers.

So I texted Charlie back, "Leave the bag on the curb, I will come out and get it when I can get out of this party."

Sidenote: Why didn't I just stand up, walk out, and meet Charlie outside?
Answer: You try walking out of your boss's recitation of "Tilly's Christmas" by Louisa May Alcott.


And because I know Charlie, and I know he's never met a plan that he didn't think he could improve somehow, I texted him again.  "Seriously.  Leave them on the curb."

***

At this point, it's incumbent to switch to Charlie's point of view.  For fairness' sake.

Charlie arrived at my place of employ and stared at the curb nervously.  Do I really leave this bag on the curb? he wondered.  I mean, I know my sister who has worked here for a year told me to, but this is a [big secret, people] GOVERNMENT BUILDING.

According to Charlie, there were three squad cars of cops chilling in the parking lot.  And he just couldn't take the chance.

***

Here's where we switch back to my point of view, and I argue that "three squad cars" was most likely one pudgy member of Highway Patrol, and that even if dropping a plastic bag is suspicious, IT WAS A PLASTIC BAG OF FULL OF TWIZZLERS.  What's more, my government building doesn't even have metal detectors, because in New Denver, packing heat is strongly encouraged.

In short, I can say with total confidence that had Charlie dropped a bag of Twizzlers on the curb, not one damn thing would have happened.

But Charlie felt like he couldn't take that chance. So he popped into the building and left the bag with the front desk secretary. Who proceeded to come into the Christmas party and deliver them to me.

In the middle of a musical number.

In front of LITERALLY every single person I work with.

Who could all see that I had clearly forgotten to plan appropriately for gift giving.

And that I bought their presents at ALL A DOLLAR, as the plastic bag was so proudly emblazoned.

After the luncheon was (mercifully) over, I skulked off to my office to slap Santa stickers onto bags of Twizzlers, shove them into mail slots (since there was no point in being sneaky anymore), and make my escape before I had to talk to anyone.

To make things even more amazing? As I was leaving, I saw that the other attorney who started with me last January gave everyone CDs.

C-freaking-Ds.

And as I drove back to home my home, roughly twenty minutes after my escape, the Mystery Client (remember him?) called.  He had not received my email that I was leaving for the day at 2pm.  He was in my office. And he wanted to meet.

Sidenote: You would think that my most embarrassing story would now be over.  You would think that, and you would be wrong.


As I wallowed on the couch tonight, nursing a giant Diet Coke and holding a snuggly Spencer on my lap, Hannah came home and I proceeded to tell the tale.

"Wait," she said as I explained what Charlie had bought at All-A-Dollar, "why Twizzlers?"

"So I could write, 'Twiz the Season' on the sticker," I explained.

"Oh. So did you do that?"

Awkward pause.

No, my friends, I did not.  In the midst of my anxiety and frustration, I forgot to write the cheesy line that was the whole point of getting Twizzlers to begin with. I put the sticker on the Twizzlers, stuffed them into boxes, and ran for my life.

So tonight, all over the greater New Denver Valley area, my coworkers are looking at the presents they received from their colleagues and wondering, "Why the eff did that girl give me Twizzlers with a Santa sticker?"

And now my humiliation is complete.

For the record (hee)

Yes, people -- lawyers go to law school.

I'll say it again, in case someone googles it: lawyers go to law school.

So it's not necessary to ever ask a lawyer, "Oh, so did you go to grad school for that?"  The answer is yes, and that grad school was called "law school."

Dentists never get this, I suspect.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fantasy gift giving

Today we're playing a fun, nerdy little game called, "What would you get the following fictional characters for Christmas and/or other winter-based holiday?"

1. Harry Potter

2. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice

3. Walter White from Breaking Bad

4. Primrose from Hunger Games

5. Sawyer from Lost

6. King Arthur


7. Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead

8. Sue Sylvester from Glee

9. Clifford the Big Red Dog


10. Ophelia from Hamlet

11. Or anyone else you'd suggest.

Funniest answer gets a million props.
Some nicely and not-so-nicely wrapped presents on my table. PS, I think I should do a series of pictures for the blog where Spencer's bum is somewhere in the background.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Well, this is a high class problem

Feel free to judge me.  It is the internet, after all.

Seeking to soothe some of my anxiety, I sought out a massage this weekend.  Between bad posture, stress, battling overgrown rose branches, and some trouble sleeping, I figured my poor back deserved it.

But unfortunately, I was scheduled with a massage therapist who took the "therapist" part of his job too seriously.

I know I have a lot of tension, inflammation, rigidity, etc. in my back, shoulders, and neck.  But what I want out of a massage is not someone who will fix me in an hour, but someone who will just make me feel better for an hour. 

Ramming an elbow into my glutes while manipulating my knee?  Not making me feel better.

"Wow!" he exclaimed at one point.  "The muscles in your neck are like piano wires, do you feel that?"

"Yes," I replied through gritted teeth, trying to ignore his index finger jammed into my neck.

Next time, I will make do with an ice-free Diet Coke and a puppy snuggle.

Friday, December 9, 2011

the things to do

Do you ever look at your life and think, "I know this is all manageable individually, and yet collectively, I still feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew"?

The Casa
  • Needs to be rewired, but according to the electrician I met with yesterday, will cost 50%-100% more than I originally budgeted.
  • Did you know I have a rose archway?  I do.  I also don't know anything about roses, much less climbing roses.  But I do know my archway is severely overgrown and it has come time to hack away at it arbitrarily.
 
We're going to take over! Just like in The Happening!
  • I need to get a door for my office.  And posts for my porch.  I'd explain this in greater depth, but basically now I walk through Diego's room to get to the office.  And my house is in danger of falling down in the next snowstorm.  No big.
  • I also need to get serious about cleaning my room and organizing my office.  Enough said about those topics.
  • (As a final note, does anyone else find formatting bullet points on blogger extremely difficult?)
Work 

So ... much ... needs ... to ... happen ...

Christmas

What is a girl with no money to do when it comes to Christmas shopping?  You might suggest something like thrift stores or homemade goods, but I have some really materialistic siblings, and that is not going to cut it. 

I can imagine Christmas morning, Echo offering me some DVDs, new earrings, and sweater ... and I give her the calendar I made on my iMac and printed off at work.  On the color printer. 

No, friends. Just no.


Writing

Remember what I just said about the office?  Well, back when I thought I'd only have to spend X on new wiring, I bought myself a lovely new computer for my office. As it turns out now, that was a poor choice.

But I digress.

When it comes to being creative, I need to have organized space.  (When it comes to being a lawyer, however ... well, let's just say my office does not reflect that personal ethic.)  But I am currently overwhelmed about the piles of books and electronics piled up in the office.  Am I the only one who has an extremely difficult time getting rid of wiring?  It's like hoarding for the electronics generation.  Who knows when I might need that Nokia phone charger again!?

And cleaning with Spencer running around is one of the greater banes of my existence.  I will be organizing a file cabinet ... he will be chewing on paperclips.  I will be trying to figure out why I have 15 ethernet cords.  He will be chewing the ethernet cords.

It's not a good combination.

But ... for all of you who were wondering when I'm going to get back to the subject heading of WRITING ... I do have a new sassy idea that I'm pretty stoked about.  So my writing to-do list looks like this:
  • Sass up first 10 pages of old project, send to final agent.  If said agent does not care for said project, investigate Kindle Direct Publishing.  (Yes, it's happening.)
  • Evaluate NaNo project.  (Official final word count?  21,000 words.  Yes, I'm terrible.  Suck it.)
  • Start new project.
  • CLEAN OFFICE.
 In no particular order.

Spencer

Yes, he gets his own to-do list.  You see, little Spence knows three tricks -- sit, down, and shake.  He's masterful when it comes to those tricks. An Olympian, if you will.

But does he come when called?  Only if you have cheese.  And can I get him to settle down when I want to eat dinner unimpeded?  Certainly not.  These are issues I must address if I want to be a good pet-owner.

And while I know it's frivolous, I also want him to learn to play dead if I point my gun fingers at him and say, "Bang!"  Because that is just damn adorable.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have made a grievous error in my pet training.  Namely, I believe that people and pets should maintain separate sleeping spaces.  It's fine if you believe otherwise, but I think my bed should be a HUMANS ONLY zone.

But when Spence was neutered, he came home really dopey and in pain, so I let him sleep on my bed.  And the next night, when I realized he couldn't fit his coned head into his kennel, I let him sleep on my bed.

And this went on, for two weeks, until the cone and his stitches were no more.

So now, even though I don't want my dog to sleep on my bed, much less a dog that is inclined to start pacing three or four times a night to sleep on my bed (and yes that happens), Spence knows that if he starts whining at 3am every morning, my sleep deprived brain will inevitably cave and let him sleep in my bed.

He had a taste of the good life, my friends.  And there's no going back.

Which means every morning l blearily wake up for work with paws and puppy breath in my face, and mentally (and verbally) berate myself for cracking again and perpetuating the whining = special treatment cycle of bad behavior.

But at 3 am, I can be convinced of pretty much anything.

I need to figure out a way to make this not happen any more.

So I guess this all boils down to me saying that CHANGE SPENCER'S BEHAVIOR PATTERNS may be Number 1 on the To Do List.  Perhaps even before "prevent house from falling down."

I told you, I'm serious about this sleeping space issue.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

(i totally forgot to give this a title the first time)

I don't know what it is about Pinterest, but it has really decreased my attention span. Not only do I waste a lot of time looking at adorable crafts, all the while knowing I will never actually try any of them, but I think it's also impacted my blogging.  I just want to upload pictures of Spence and have you guys gush over him. Effort!

I swear, I will be back on my game soon.  My brain is just a little scrambled due to my mass consumption of bite-sized bits of adorableness.  Tip of my hat to you, Neil Postman, it turns out you were right.  

But I still love Pinterest. In all your craftiness and your snarkiness, I love you.


 I'd like to think that I'd commit to making this.


But realistically, I'll just "like" this on facebook and call it good.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What is the very worst part of _________?

When I'm lawyering, the very worst part of my job is checking citations and cross references. So. Boring. And yet ... so necessary.

The worst part of trying to be a writer is querying. Hands down.

The worst part of owning a house is trying to figure out where I've gone wrong in my attempts to winterize.

The worst part of having Spencer pie around is scooping out his food in the morning.  (Seriously, you thought it was going to be picking up poop, am I right?  That is pretty bad, but those bags are easily disposed of. The smell of puppy chow lingers on your hands even after you've washed them.)

Indulge the grumpers with me, people -- what are the worst parts of the things you do?  Never fear, we can talk about the best parts of things another day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This is what happens when you get the janky gingerbread house at Michaels

Hannah and I gave into our baser instincts to create a strip club gingerbread house.



Note the little Tim Riggins outside.



And the fact that I misspelled "Panthers," but then decided the issue was really the subpar education strippers got at Dillon High.

i like to share my life lessons

Life lesson number 183:

Even though people will tell you aluminum is bad for you, and they are probably right, you shouldn't buy all-natural deodorant.

If hops and honeysuckle were enough to keep you from stinking up the joint, don't you think our forebears would have always used hops and honeysuckle, thereby negating the need for future scientists to invent bad-for-you-chock-full-of-aluminum-deodorant?  Exactly.

Love,

The girl who made the mistake of buying Tom's All Natural Deodorant this week

Thursday, December 1, 2011

These better be the best beef medallions EVER

I just registered. Have you?

Let me know and next May we can sneak off to J-Dawgs when the box lunches prove to be woefully subpar, as all box lunches do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So what book am I waiting on?

As the final installment of the Dark Young Adult Blogfest, we're supposed to write about what dark YA book we are most looking forward to.

Because of the book I read last night, this question is eas-ay to answer.

Eve by Anna Carey is the most interesting dystopian fiction I've read in awhile, so even though it only came out a few months ago, I'm already anxiously awaiting the sequel. 

In the twelve short years in which America became New America following an overwhelming plague, the society that we all know changed irrevocably -- and not because America now has a king.

Orphaned girls like Eve, Pip, Ruby, and Arden were born in a world just like ours and have vague memories of places like Oregon and Arizona, but they grew up in a School where they take classes like the Dangers of Men and Boys. They've been told that when they Graduate, they will go on to learn trades and then live in the mythical City of Sand, where they will have four-poster beds and sip lemonade under umbrellas. Unfortunately, the reality of what happens to girls after they graduate becomes readily apparent to Arden and Eve, and they escape into the wild.

The thing I loved most about this book was the overwhelming sense of horror Carey created without delving into melodrama.  The very near future setting made it even that more troubling -- Eve and her friends play with wrinkled Finding Nemo cards, listen to Vogue on cassette tapes, and are still assigned to read The Great Gatsby in School. After escaping, they hide in abandoned houses and look at the photographs of people just like us on refrigerators.

I would not especially recommend Eve to younger readers because of some disturbing content.  Despite raising orphaned girls to fear men and boys as manipulative rapists, New American society is more misogynistic than any band of marauders the girls might fear beyond the walls of School. That being said, Eve offers a hopeful view of humanity as well, as Eve and Arden encounter (gasp!) some men and boys that not only want to help and befriend them, but are in need of the girls' help and friendship as well.

Go.  Read it.  And then I won't be alone in looking forward to the sequel.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yes - THAT JUST HAPPENED

Ahoy there!

Back from Thanksgiving, attempting to finish NaNoWriMo with some semblance of respectability ("respectability" being 20,000 words. Question: Can I include legal writing in my count? Because if I can, I take it back, I finished ages ago. Although it is a very boring book.), and preparing for my pre-Christmas vacation this weekend.

Because I don't know about you all, but I need to get rejuvenatey before the holidays kick into high gear.

In short, not much to report.  I got some new books to read over the weekend (Eve, Shatter Me, Bad Taste in Boys, Domestic Violets, and Rage -- jealous? Maybe I'll share the love next month. 'Tis the season of giving and all that.) and made a new financial goal (no credit cards in aught-12!).

Meanwhile, something awesome happened.

Over at A Peek at Karen's World, my blog was nominated for something awesome! Along with some other awesome people!

So if you, like me, are having trouble focusing on this Any Given Day, head over there and explore the blog selection.  It's grand fun.

Now I'm off to see if I can sneak in an Angry Nap before heading off to get new tires. 

Sigh.  You really have to prepare mentally before dealing with sales people.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ahhh, a return to a season of ingratitude

Last night as I was walking Spence, a stray kitten leaped out at me.  Of course I screamed as if it were an axe-wielding fiend and called for Diego (as a cat person) to come assess the situation.

It was cold last night in New Denver, and the kitten kept trying to go in the house with us, so I suspect it knew inside > outside, despite not having a collar or anyone concerned it was out-and-about at 11:30 pm.  I did not want a strange animal in my house, however, so Diego and I decided we'd leave a box with one of Spencer's old beds outside with some leftover turkey, puppy chow, and milk.  Hopefully one of these three things would appeal to the kitten's palate.

Of course, when we returned with our goodies, the kitten was gone, so we left a porch light on for it.  I felt guilty over my refusal to let it come inside when I had the chance, but Diego was convinced it would return.

And boy, did it ever.

This morning I woke up to find that the kitten had returned, eaten all the turkey and some milk, which it promptly threw up on my porch. Then pooped on my steps for good measure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks-Winning

Today I am grateful for:

A cozy house

An interesting job

An apparently infinite supply of patience for blowhards

Library cards

Pub trivia

Good friends

Good family

Crunchy leaves

Flight vouchers

&

Spencer Pie




What are you grateful for?  PS, Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday, which puts me in a splendid mood -- so don't worry, if you're thankful for Etsy or bejeweled headbands or estate tax reform, I won't judge you for this week and this week only.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pins and needles

Things are rough in Ru Land these days.

1. Have I ever mentioned that my "busy season" is November through March?  No?  Well, it is.  I find myself increasingly overwhelmed with everything I have to do.  And that's all we have to say about that, given my office's strict social networking policies.

2. I'm roughly 10,000 words into my NaNo project.  In case you're wondering, that puts me roughly 15,000 words behind.  No, I'm not giving up yet.  I have every reason to believe that I am capable of writing a boatload this weekend, but I am dreading the thought because sometime last week, I started to hate everything. My plot.  My secondary characters.  Even poor little main character--and she hasn't done anything to me!

For further explanation, refer to point 1.

3. I'm waiting on some maybe-good, most-likely bad news.  And the waiting is putting me in a seriously bad mood.

4. When I'm in a bad mood, I don't really take it out on others.  Mostly I just start talking faster, ordering things on the Internet I can't afford (riding boots, you will soon be mine), and focusing on unrelated projects.  This week's unrelated project: THANKSGIVING! 

(Side note: How wacky is it when your parents get divorced, amiright? 

Don't worry, this isn't going to become the Adult Children of Divorce Chronicles.  Gah, "ACOD."  What a horrid acronym.)

So for obvious reasons, my dad no longer has things like serving dishes, cake platters, salad tongs, and tablecloths, so I've been ordering some online as well as picking out Thanksgiving Day recipes. That is actually really fun, does anyone have any recommendations?  Personally I never saw the point in a gravy boat, but I could be persuaded otherwise.  See above, re: ordering things on the Internet I can't afford.

5. I need some snow tires. Why didn't I buy any back in October, when snow flurries were not an oh-so-guaranteed part of my life? And when I wasn't saving up for a new computer?

Oh beautiful new iMac, our time together has once again been postponed.  I really need to be able to drive around New Denver this winter without creating mass chaos.  Maybe I will get you for my birthday instead of Christmas?

Also, why did I go to H&M this week when I need money in my iMac/snow tires/kitchen remodel fund?  Because in my anxiety I'm substituting financial stability for cozy sweaters, that's why.

PS, how weird is it that I have a healthy retirement fund, no credit card or student loan debt, and a house -- and yet I'm terrible at saving money for a rainy day fund?  Rainy days just happen so often, y'all. And when you look at it that way, THANK GOODNESS for the H&M sweaters, otherwise I'd be soaked and cold on top of broke.

6. On an up-note: The article I wrote last spring was finally published, hurray!  I'd link you to it, but (a) it's lawyerly and you'll most likely find it boring, and (b) it would lead right back to real me, which as previously mentioned is a problem for my future employment.

Anyone else want to share a piece of their own crazy?  Just remember, things get bad for all of us sometimes, but we should count our many blessings: at least we're not pregnant with vampire babies.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The tragedy of high expectations

Do you all ever hear about a really hyped up book, get super stoked to read it, and then find yourself underwhelmed?

("I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever be just 'whelmed'?"/"I think you can in Europe."  NAME THAT MOVIE.)

That happened awhile ago, and thanks to the Blog Rule that you never, ever rip on a book on the blogosphere (unless it's like The Grapes of Wrath or something and Steinbeck is too old, dead, rich, and not on the Internet enough to get his feelings hurt) if you want to someday exchange your mere Writey Pants for a Ballgown or Tuxedo of Author Awesome, I'm not going to say which one.  (Thanks, Paranoia Penguins!)

But, gosh, that book had such promise.  I tore through the first half, completely engrossed, and then somewhere in the middle I started thinking ...

Is this really happening?  

Did ____________  (character name) really just ___________ (action) with ___________ (character name) without so much as ________________  (action) first?  Son of a ______________ (expletive).

I can see the ending coming from a mile away.  Is it really ...?  Yup, it is.


There's going to be a sequel, right?  Because this is a lot of back story.  And I mean A LOT.  We're setting up the sequel here, right?


Why did so many people recommend this to me?  Did they not finish it?


Am I off-base? Am I the only one who thinks this went off the rails at the 2/3 mark?

IF EVERYONE LOVES IT, WHO WILL COMPLAIN ABOUT IT WITH ME??

Am I being too harsh?  I mean, I did absolutely love the beginning.  Am I really moderately satisfied, but just disappointed that the level of awesome was not maintained, and mistaking that feeling for irritation? 


Was the bar just set too high from the get-go?

The problem is, now that I'm looking back on it, a lot of those things don't bother me anymore.  I mostly just remember how awesome the first half was and that, yes I didn't love the ending--but I don't think I actually hated the ending.  I just didn't like it.  And with a book that hyped, I expected total  adoration from cover-to-cover. 

This happens to me all the time with movies, but rarely with a book--probably because books don't get as much hype as movies period, unless their titles kind of sound like Larry Cotter or Shirl with the Wagon Igloo.  (For the record, Shirl also disappointed me.)

Anyone else in the same boat (with a book they may or may not choose to name specifically)?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fun times with iTunes

It's Week 3 of the Dark Young Adult Blogfest: pick a soundtrack for a young adult book as if it were being made into a film.

The book: REMEMBER ME by Christopher Pike.

The synopsis:

When Shari Cooper awoke at home after being at her girlfriend's birthday party, her family acted like she wasn't there. They didn't hear a thing she said. They wouldn't even look at her. Then the call came from the hospital. Her father and brother paled. Her mother started to cry. Shari didn't know what was wrong. Not until she followed them to the hospital. There she found herself lying on a cold slab in the morgue. The police said that it was suicide. 

Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari embarks on the strangest of all criminal investigations: one in which she spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams -- where she comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. The Shadow -- a thing more horrible than death itself -- is the key to Shari's death, and the only thing that can stop her murderer from murdering again.

This was one of my favorite books in high school  and I strongly recommend reading it (and skipping the sequels).

So here we go.

Playlist:
"Cameo Lover," Kimbra
(Shari is getting ready for Beth's birthday party, on in the background as she gets ready)

"Paper Planes," MIA / "Pumped Up Kicks," Foster the People
(Beth's birthday party, prior to the seance) 

"Lost Cause," Beck
(Shari accompanies her family to the morgue)

"Jar of Hearts," Christina Perri
(Shari's funeral)

"West Coast," Coconut Records /"The One That Got Away," Katy Perry / "Thunderstruck," ACDC
(When Peter finds Shari at her grave site--flashback to Peter, alive in high school and then killed in the motorcycle accident--Peter explaining that his new ghost calling is to help other ghosts to cross over)

"The Underdog," Spoon
(To be used when Peter is trying to teach Shari about all her new ghost skills when she refuses to cross over until the murder is solved)

"Lost," Coldplay
 (When Shari is spying on Det. Garrett as he is investigating her friends and family and finds out that his daughter is a drug addict)

"Haunted," Taylor Swift
(When Shari decides to spy on her friends and family on her own)

"Moon River"
(When Shari spies on her brother Jimmy's black-and-white dream)

"Sexy and I Know It," LMFAO / "I Like the Way You Move" Body Rockers
(When Shari spies on her boyfriend Dan's dream and realizes he's having a sex fantasy about her and Beth)

"Renegade," Styx
(When Shari spies on Jo's dream and sees Jo as an old fortune teller)

"What Do You Want," Jerrod Niemann
(When Peter asks Shari to give up her investigation and cross over to the other side)

"Amen Omen," Ben Harper
(When the Shadow shows Shari a flashback of her entire life, from her birth to her murder.) 

"I Shall Not Walk Alone," Blind Boys of Alabama
(When Shari convinces her brother Jimmy to forgive her murderer so he can pop the air bubble in his heart/When Shari watches Jimmy get loaded into the ambulance/Peter returns to help Shari) 
 
"Bohemian Rhapsody," Queen / "Faithfully," Journey
(When Peter and Shari transform themselves into a devil and angel to scare Det. Garrett's daughter into giving up drugs to thank him for solving Shari's murder and saving Jimmy)

Now, obviously, there should probably be some instrumental sad/scary music in there.  I mean, I'm not really suggesting that Shari get thrown off a balcony to Foster the People, solve her own murder to a country song, or that the Shadow should chase her to Katy Perry.  But you get the basic drift.

And yes, I know there's some cheesy music on the list, but jeez.  It's already a movie about a seventeen-year-old ghost suspecting her friends of murdering her at a birthday party and covering it up--you need some levity or it will be a total downer.


***
I tend to find blog posts that are nothing but a string of embedded songs fairly annoying, but I also know it's kind of lame to just list some songs, knowing that most of us (me, at least) can't remember what a song sounds like just from it's name even if we do know it.

So here's some videos.

Kimbra:


MIA:


Foster the People:


Beck:


Christina Perri:


Coconut Records:


Katy Perry:


ACDC:


Spoon:


Taylor Swift (not the official video, of course, since there were a million teen girl posted ones that I didn't want to sort through):


Coldplay:


Moon River, Louis Armstrong version:


LMFAO:


Body Rockers (with some seriously terrible video quality):


Styx:


Jarrod Niemann:


Ben Harper:


Blind Boys of Alabama (shockingly, they don't seem to have an official music video. Please enjoy this awkward mash-up of images of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tiananmen Square):

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why mean trumps stupid - every time

A professor in law school once told us, "Ideally, you're only going to have cases where the opposing counsel is competent, reasonable, and accommodating, but when you don't, hope for vindictive over crazy and crazy over stupid. Stupid is the worst."

At the time, that seemed a little counter-intuitive. Wouldn't it be better to go up against someone dumb and slam dunk your case against them?

You might think so, until you've spent a little time in the lawyer trenches.  And then the rationale behind the formula

vindictive > crazy > stupid

becomes very clear.

A petty lawyer might at least be smart, and you can argue against smart.  More importantly, vindictiveness implies a measure of self-interestedness.  No matter how mean someone is, if you can show someone where their own best interest lies, you can negotiate with them.

A crazy lawyer will eventually reveal him or herself to be crazy.  More importantly, crazy can eventually be manipulated in turn because everyone wants something. 

But stupid is hard to nail down.

Any lawyer who opens a brief and thinks, "This? What is this? How do I argue against this?  Can I just write, 'Seriously?' in response?" knows what I'm talking about. My old professor was absolutely right.

Take The Walking Dead for example.*  If you've been watching it on AMC, you will probably be familiar with the following faces.



On the top you have Andrea, who is college-educated and depressed about the death of her sister.  On the bottom you have Merle, who is a hot-tempered racist drug addict and probably not completely right in the head.

And yet, anyone who is watching this show knows that as distasteful as he may be, Merle is the lesser of these two evils when it comes to Zombie Apocalypse.  Because Andrea may be moral and gutsy, and Merle a psychopath, but Andrea is dumb as a box of rocks.

Would Merle have insisted on wasting an arrow to mercy kill a zombie? No. Would Merle be alienating all his allies in the camp? No. Would Merle have shot at someone from a distance without knowing whether that someone was a zombie or a human? No.

But Andrea would.  Because you can't argue with fundamentally stupid. 

Five different people warned Andrea not to fire in the most recent episode of The Walking Dead, but she thought she knew better than them and did it anyway.

A smarter person would have thought, "Hey, some of our people are still out in the woods, I should wait and be sure" or, "All the guys are running up to him/it anyway, I shouldn't waste our finite bullet supply," or "Experience in Zombie Apocalypse has taught me that loud noises attract more zombies, perhaps a baseball bat attack would be preferable in this situation," or "Aren't four of my friends currently in the line of fire, and hasn't there already been one near-fatality because someone pulled a trigger without checking to see if the field is clear, and damnit, didn't I just learn to shoot YESTERDAY?"

But Andrea thought none of those things, and nearly killed the most valuable member of the camp. 

I'm not saying that one would want crazy, violent, racist Merle Dixon on your team. But I am saying he'd be easier to deal with than Andrea. Because even Merle would not have pulled that trigger.

Do you have any examples in film, TV or literature of a dumb character ultimately being a worse antagonist than a clever, evil one?




* Uh, yeah I fixate on particular books, movies, and TV shows for weeks at a time, why do you ask?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Conversation: Blasphemy Edition

I went to breakfast awhile back with Diego and Echo in honor of getting the day off work (hurray!).  For some reason, the crucifixion came up.

Echo: And, you know, the crucifixion was obviously the worst part of His life.

Diego: Really? You think so? 

Ru: What if He had a really bad breakup that's not mentioned in The Bible?

Diego: What if Mary Magdalene gave Him the old, "You're sooo nice. Too nice, really" and hooked up with Judas?

Echo: You guys suck.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tricky tricky

One of the many problems with home ownership is that a lot of people set out to screw you over, either deliberately or through their own negligence.

When I bought the Casa, my real estate agent recommended that we ask the sellers to include this Magical Insurance in their closing costs -- that way, if any major appliance or utility breaks down in the first year of home ownership, I can get it repaired or replaced for $60.

Well, a little while back my furnace stopped working.  The effort I went to in attempting "self help" shall not be recounted here -- way too long. 

The short story goes like this -- after awhile, I called my sorority sister Chrissy, who has a brother who does HVAC and recently located to New Denver.  Chrissy's bro spent a couple hours cleaning my furnace before letting me know that without the rest of his HVAC guy equipment, there was no more he could do.

But he told me to call my Magical Insurance provider and have them come out and fix it for a $60 fee -- and he told me there were two things that needed to be fixed and/or replaced.  But whatever I did, I wasn't supposed to tell the insurance company I already had an HVAC guy come out to look at it because they might try to invalidate my insurance.

So here's how the conversation went.

Insurance HVAC guy: Yup, looks like there isn't anything wrong.

Me: Oh ... really?  Because it turns on for a little while, and then turns off before it ever gets up to the right temperature.

Insurance HVAC guy: Are you sure?  It looks like it's going pretty well.  (At this point, he had been looking at it for roughly one minute.)

Me: Um, yeah, pretty sure. 

Insurance HVAC guy: Well, everything looks fine.

Me: Really?  There's not something wrong with that blower-motor thingy?

Him: Hmm.  I guess it is a bit dirty.  I could clean it, if you want.

Me: That would be super.  (And for $60, kind of the least you could do.)

Twenty minutes and a giant pile of dirt and cat hair later ...

Him: Wow, that was really dirty.  Well, everything should be in tip-top condition now.

Me: Oh.  So everything else is fine?  It's all clean and ... that temperature gauge isn't broken?  Because ... I googled it.

Him: (getting suspicious)



It's a fun game we played.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good thing I work well under pressure ...

NaNo Update?

Not doing well.

I'm not giving up, but I am becoming more and more concerned about my lack of forward momentum. 

Luckily for me, I'm still the girl who wrote a 10 page paper on genetic drift theory in an afternoon!  When things get down to the wire, I get geniusy.

(I hope, anyway.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

thoughts on dog surgery

1. When I got Spence home, I thought about taking a picture of his undercarriage so I'd be able to compare levels of swelling and redness from day-to-day. But I have a work phone, and I don't want anyone to ever ask me why I have a picture of cauterized dog balls on it.

2. I kind of thought the Elizabethan collar would be cute.  It's not.  It's kind of mean and pathetic.

3. I suspect that Spence will someday forgive me for this -- in heaven.  I picture us up there on the clouds, him bounding around some giant column, and there will be lots of snuggling time.  And then he'll tell me, "You know that was a dick move, right? I mean, we're in heaven and now I'm over it, but I feel like it needs to be said."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nice moves there, Clint Eastwood

Last night around 2 AM, I woke up to the sounds of a woman screaming.

I sat up in bed, panicked and confused.  The screams sounded like they had maybe come from the basement ... or possibly outside.  And really, those two are very different places.

For a second, I was frozen, but then I was spurred to action when I heard a creaky floorboard and had an amorphous thought along the lines of, "What would Daryl Dixon do?"  I know that's a nerdy admission, but seriously.  How am I supposed to believe that I could survive zombie apocalypse if I can't even search my own perimeter?

I grabbed my cell phone to light my way as I investigated my house and potentially call 911.  Actually, mostly the 911 thing. I'll be honest, I actually did the pause-with-your-hand-hovering-over-the-doorknob thing while I tried to listen for the sounds of footsteps out in the hall.

(Memo to self: Bring baseball bat in from car trunk.)

I checked to make sure the doors were locked and the windows were secure.  They were.

I peeked outside to the street to make sure an assault wasn't going on in my sleepy little neighborhood.  Nope.

Then I checked my room, to make sure that the murder hadn't slipped past me in the dark to hide in my closet, which is what I would if I were murderously inclined.  But there were only my clothes and shoes.

I started to feel foolish and wonder if I'd dreamed everything up.

And then I remembered what the screams had sounded like -- shockingly realistic -- and wondered if I should grab Spence and lock myself in the bathroom (which, memo to future murderers, is the only room on the first floor of my house that locks).

I thought about waking Diego and Hannah to help me search, and then realized if I did, I would no longer be heroic Zombie Fighter, but the Shrill Stupid Female who mistakes a neighbor's cat for an intruder.

So I decided I must have just had a really vivid dream, given that I couldn't find evidence of any ne'er-do-welling, and got back in bed. After, of course, letting Spence out of his cage to sleep in my bed so his finely tuned canine senses could alert me to any intruders, and briefly picturing the Rubber Man from American Horror Story watching me from a shadowy corner when he refused to lie down and stared at the door all night.

(I officially watch too much TV.)

...

...

...


And then this morning, as I puttered around the kitchen making breakfast for myself and Spence, Hannah came up to start the coffee maker and announced, "I had a night terror last night."

I stopped pouring yogurt over my cereal.  "A what?"

"You know, a night terror.  A nightmare so bad you wake up screaming.  I get them from time-to-time."

My jaw dropped.  "I knew it!  I heard screaming so I searched the house to investigate but I couldn't find anything!"

Hannah laughed, embarrassed.  "Oh yeah, sorry dude.  That was me.  I've done it a few times before.  Awkward that it was loud enough to wake you up, though."

The very best part of this story?

According to Hannah, after she sat up in bed screaming, Charlie looked over at her from his dog crate, huffed a little, and laid back down.

So in the event any of us are really being murdered, our first and last line of defense is apparently me with a bat -- because the pit bull is so over it.

SOUP!

I'm not much of a cook, so when things turn out right, I have to share.  If you're looking for some tasty, probably unhealthy, fairly easy to prepare sustenance in these chilly autumn months, let me recommend the following BEER CHEESE SOUP!  Mmmmmm.  I made it for the dad and bros and they loved it.

Well, my dad and I loved it.  The brothers grunted, which I interpreted as love.

(Now, if only I had some really arty pictures so someone would Pinterest the shenanigans out of my blog ...


Just kidding.)

I got this recipe online and then tweaked it a little (due to some previous mishaps with soup, and also some failure on my part to plan ahead for the correct ingredients).  Here's the altered version, since that's what I made, with instructions:

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (And perhaps some more, depending on your preference -- I threw in some more Franks Red Hot at the end.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a dash of black pepper (In my book, a "dash" is three cranks on the pepper shaker.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bottle of beer (I used Diego's last Corona -- sorry Diego -- but I think any beer should do.)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 6 heaping cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (WARNING: Do not buy pre-shredded cheese. Buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. Pre-shedded cheese is usually coated with something so it won't clump together in the bag, which means getting it to melt into the soup is a nightmare.)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Directions:
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together chopped carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Pour in chicken broth and beer, add  hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Simmer until vegetables are tender but still a little crunchy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk for about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in milk, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened. (Mine never looked all that thick, but I think that's OK.) 
  3. Turn heat down to low and gradually stir in shredded cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted into the milk mixture.
  4. Stir veggie mixture into cheese mixture. Stir in spicy brown mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Adjust for hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
  5. Serves 8. Buy some bread bowls if you feel all fancypants, which I did.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The creeper has been creeped out

Here's an embarrassing confession: Sometimes I decide that I would be friends with someone before I've ever met them. Knowing that it is extremely unlikely I will ever meet them.

For the sake of clarity, I'll just admit that I've got one person in mind as I make this weird revelation, and yes, this person is kinda-sorta a celebrity.  Which, yes, I know makes me a major weirdo.

(Does it help knowing that even if I told you who this person was, you would most likely not recognize her name and be forced to google for her identity, which is seriously like K-list it's so low?  I'd like to think it would.

Of course, I would then lose all the ground I had just gained by promptly admitting that I'd like to marry this person's brother, since then we'd be sisters-in-law.  CREEPY.)

Anyway, this person popped back in my radar recently in the most random way imaginable, and of course I took the opportunity to wonder if she (or her ridiculously attractive brother) were on Facebook.  And like everyone else on the planet, THEY WERE.

And that's when I found out she has a little pup.

And that pup is a SPENCER CLONE.

Seriously.  I stared at a few pictures of this girl (who I'm sure I'd be friends with if we were to ever meet) and her dog, which looks like a skinnier version of my dog.  Down to the freckles.

I gotta be honest ... part of me wondered if in an alternate universe, she secretly thinks I would be friends with her.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Warm Fuzzies and NaNo updates

For week 2 of the Warm Fuzzies blogfest, we're sharing some pictures and songs that go along with our current WIP.

Since mine is currently a mishmash of ideas, this challenge is a bit of a toughie,  but I'll give it my best shot.




And a NaNoWriMo update ...

My name is FakeNameJane if you want to "friend" me or whatever, I'd like to know what everyone's up to.  My story genre is young adult contemporary, but it sadly won't include any country-rapping (despite any ideas that video may have given you).  And while I'm normally not an outliner, I am giving that a shot for the first time ever since I think it will be fun to try to do things in a new way.  (Ahem, "fun.")

Last but not least - I haven't entirely figured out the word count widget on the NaNoWriMo page, but see that little blue bar down there?  Waaaaay down there and over on the right side of your screen?  That one will hopefully be pretty accurate at all times this month.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

the fabulous world of online dating

Tell me if any variation of the following sounds familiar:

I like to stay in shape and have a lot of respect for people that also have the discipline to make that a priority in their lives.

Because I see it constantly on guys' profiles out in online dating world. 

Tell me if you think it would be ok for me to write the following:

"I like to make a lot of money and I have a lot of respect for people that also have the discipline to make the dolla-dolla bills a priority in their lives." 

Probably not, am I right?

Gentlemen, just a few thoughts.


1. If you want to write "No fatties," just write "no fatties."  You're not sounding less shallow because you fancied it up; in fact, you kind of sound worse.  Refer to Point 2 for an explanation.

2. A "priority"?  Seriously, a priority?  When I think of my "priorities," they include family, friends, Spence, my job, keeping up my house, saving money, reading, writing, traveling, volunteer work, cultural experiences ... the list goes on.  Nowhere on that list will you find GOING TO THE GYM.  But neither will you find NAPPING or WASHING MY HAIR or IRONING or OIL CHANGES.  Why?  

Because those things aren't priorities for anyone normal--they are things you just do.  If you're confused about this, please google the word "priority."  Or go watch Keeping the Faith and focus on the scene where Ben Stiller and Edward Norton explain that "jogging is not a skill."


I could go on and on about other funny things I've seen on profiles (like the guy with immaculately sculpted facial hair who declared he was looking for a woman who was "exceptionally intelligent and physically stunning" -- enough said), but I should probably work on this "NaNoWriMo" thing I signed up for.


Because I start a lot of projects and I have a lot of respect for people who have the discipline to make starting projects a priority in their lives.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Stuck in Neutral"

As part of the Dark YA Blogfest, I am recommending all of you run out and get a copy of Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman.

Why? Charming main character, check. Terrifying conflict, check.

Shawn McDaniel suffers from a severe form of cerebral palsy.  He can't speak or control any of his muscles, but despite that, he has a fully functioning brain and is aware of the world around him.  He loves his siblings and parents, even though he can't hug them or let them know he understands them. He suffers from seizures that look terrifyingly painful, but to Shawn are actually kind of like being high. So even though his life is extremely limited, he enjoys it.

But when he's fourteen years old, Shawn begins to suspect that his father is thinking of mercy-killing him.

Go. Read it. You won't regret it..

A day late and a dollar short

As usual,  I've come up with my best ideas for Halloween costumes on November 1st. But these I think are pure gold.

Now, part of my paranoid brain worries that some of you out there might steal them 363 days from now, but so long as (1) you acknowledge that witty girl on the Internet who gave you the idea and (2) none of us go to the same parties next year, I don't mind one little bit.  Enjoy!

Napoleon Blownapart
(due credit to Diego)

Take a regular Napoleon costume -- rip out one side, insert fake guts.

Genghis Khanman

Take regular Genghis Khan costume -- add cheesy plaid sports coat and pornstache.

Mary Queen of Skanks
(due credit to Diego) 
It's going to take some doing to make sure you're not lumped in with the "slutty princess" crowd.  Therefore, you need as an authentic-as-possible Mary Queen of Scots costume BEFORE you slut-it-up.

Felon of Troy
This requires more sewing - get white-and-black stripe (or bright orange) fabric, make a Grecian gown. Add handcuffs for full effect. 

George Washington Redskins Fan
Add Redskins jersey and foam finger. At this point, isn't it getting a bit self-explanatory?


Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

reevaluating childhood memories

Last night was Halloween, as you all know, and my first as a "grown up."

See, I don't think you experience adult Halloween until you're the person giving away your own candy.  And I have to say ... it didn't go well.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work only to find the shelves stripped bare.  I clutched the remaining six bags I could find (two packages of Laffy Taffy, one package each of Butterfingers, Reeses, Baby Ruths, and tropical Starburst.  And not the Starbursts that come two-to-an-individualized wrapper.  Regular Starburst.  I was desperate.) 

Of course, this grossly underestimated the amount of children my house would receive, and around 7:45, I found myself running to a different grocery store to replenish my stash.  (And this was after dumping a box of granola bars and Fruit Roll Ups I found in our cupboards into the bowl.)

This grocery store wasn't much better off, but I got two bag of Crunch bars, a fistful of Airheads, and ... wait for it ...

A bag each of York Peppermint Patties and Werther's Originals. 

Old lady candy. 

Suddenly I find myself very sympathetic to those jerks who handed me a single tiny Tootsie roll as a child. Literally, at one point I considered, "Should I start handing out warm cans of Diet Coke?"

So all around, a very illuminating Halloween.

PS, the best costume I saw?  Four-year-old girl as Steve Jobs.  Black turtleneck, round glasses, and an iPhone was all it took.

Tune back in tomorrow for Round Two of Halloween Wrap Up ... ALL THE COSTUMES I SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF LAST WEEK!

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's happening

So's you know, whenever I hear the words, "It's happening," I picture this:


But this time, what is happening is this:


Which, incidentally, is quite similar to this:

Somtimes I fail

I like to keep my personal complaining to minimum on this blog, so here's another MAD LIBS for you all to enjoy!

Beware, this one is extra twisty.  You might want to grab something bigger than a Post-It and write down your answers.

_____________ (title), I can't __________ (state of mind) that you were ___________ (adjective) unprepared to ___________ (verb) on __________ (date).  I know it's totally ________ (adjective) with your _________-____________-___________-__________ (adverb-past tense verb-preposition-noun) personality, but still.  Please stop ____________ (progressive tense verb) people in _________ (location) what an __________ (legal term) "________" (pejorative) __________ (title) is.  If you're not __________ (adjective), we're going to ______ (verb) ___________ (noun) of the ______ (noun) you left and let your __________ (adjective) ____________ (gerund verb) secret ____________ (colloquialism - entire phrase OK).  While we're at it, pick up a ___________ (swear, any tense) __________ (noun) and stop _____________ (progressive tense verb) as your _______ (number) __________ (adjective) _________ (plural noun) do all the heavy lifting.

______ (feeling) you ________ (plural noun).  Please ______ (verb) some _________ (noun).

PS, thanks for the most ____________ (adjective) ___________ (adjective) moment of the day: When ____________ (title) caught you ____________ (progressive tense verb), which ________ (adverb) was the __________ (adjective) opportunity _________ (adverb) for someone to yell, "_______-_________-___________-_____-_________!" (adjective-adjective-preposition-pronoun-adjective).



***

I missed the final day of the Killer Characters Blogfest last week, but for the record, I was going to pick Colonel Kurtz from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  Because yes, I was that nerd in high school who actually liked it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WARM FUZZIES!

I don't know what it is about the words "warm fuzzies," but I feel like they're more appropriately written in ALL CAPS.

So Juliana Brandt has posed the question -- if you have writerly ambitions, do you tell people? If so, how do they react?

Well, for me the answer to the first question is generally "no." For some reason I feel like telling people you want to be a published author is kind of like telling people you want to be a movie star or play for the San Francisco '49ers. Why don't you throw "fairy princess" in there while you're at it?

I've told some friends, and told all you folks out in InternetLand (which is a slightly different crumb cake altogether, wouldn't you agree?), but I tend to keep to myself. Proclaiming a love of reading and/or naps is fine. Proclaiming a love of writing puts you on par with those goth kids from junior high, scribbling away in their spiral notebooks about their secret pain.

But on the rare occasion I have told people, I've received mixed reactions:

Parents, Circa 2005:

Pops: Of course! You know, I can't really see you as a lawyer for the rest of your life.

Mom: But you're still going to law school, right?

Friends, Circa 2006 -- upon reading my second book:

Pauly & Lulu, Anna and Ricky: This is really good! It should be really easy to get published.

(We were so young.)

Siblings, Circa 2007:

Echo: I think you should write more serious stuff.  You're not even the funny one in the family.

Charlie: It makes sense. Books are your best friends.

And ... that kind of sums up the revelation tour.

So tell me, folks--what is it about an adult revealing a lofty ambition (screen writing, novelist, poet, actor, model) that makes other adults (even ones who harbor similar ambitions) mentally roll their eyes?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I can only assume Edward's shoes are as sculpted and angelic as he is

A minor rant:

Bella (Kristen Stewart) looks down constantly in the Twilight movies.

Every. Single. Scene.

If the girl isn't busy mumbling, she's looking at her shoes. Or Edward's belt. Or a fascinating cluster of pebbles on the ground.

For the record, I don't have a particular problem with Kristen Stewart or the movies.  I actually think there's a hilarious campiness quality to the final Twilight book.  (Blackout sex! Vampire babies! Incisor c-sections! Man-on-newborn love! Magic powers! A climax where an American revolutionary-era vampire lectures an evil European vampire about individual liberty! Total fake out on the final battle! More blackout sex!)  In essence, you need to read it as if Leslie Nielsen is playing Edward and Anna Faris is playing Bella.

In fact, you kind of just have to re-imagine the entire cast.

I'm pregnant with a WHAT?!

Esme: Yup, you've caught a case of the vampire babies.
I'll do whatever it takes to protect you, Bella!   

Rosalie: My last chance to be a mommy! GIMME BABY NOW!  Alice: Things are getting awkward. Come to think of it, I need to go to Brazil for the rest of this novel...
Rosalie, Emmett, Jasper, Carlisle: GROSSEST! DELIVERY! EVER!



If a teenage boy in love with a newborn is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
And so forth.

The issue is really just that I have certain OCD-esque qualities, and once I notice something that bugs me I can't stop noticing.

Entertainment Weekly posted a video of Bella and Edward's honeymoon scene. Edward is looking lustily (or constipatedly) at Bella.  Where is Bella looking?  THE DAMN SHEETS.

I would suggest a drinking game for the imbibers where you take a sip every time Bella's gaze drops below the horizon level, but I'm fairly sure you'd get alcohol poisoning before the final credits rolled.

Whatchu lookin' at, Bella?

No, seriously. What the eff are you looking at?