Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hanging head in shame

What are you favorite movies?

OK, now that you've answered that question, what movies do you watch the most often?

Sometimes those categories overlap. (Shawshank Redemption.) Sometimes they do not. (Ahem. Mormon version of Pride and Prejudice.) And sometimes with movies I love, I can only watch when I am particularly in the mood for them. (The Godfather. Gone with the Wind. Fargo. Newsies. Dance Christian Bale, dance!)

But some movies I could just watch over ... and over ... and over again. Partly because they're dumb. Partly because they're comfortable. When I was studying for secured transactions my second year of law school, I probably watched Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds and Amy Adams four times a day. It was simply the perfect background distraction, and it always made me want ice cream at the end. (And wouldn't you know it? The freezer at my house is usually well stocked when it comes to times of high stress.)

So if I had to pick the movies I watch most frequently, they would be ....

1. 28 Days Later. This one is a favorite as well as a frequent. There is something oddly beautiful about this zombie movie, and it doesn't hurt that I know it all by heart, so I can totally cook dinner without missing a beat.

2. Dawn of the Dead (2004 Zack Snyder version). This is not a favorite of mine, and in fact it is not a great movie. Yet, I find myself re-watching it every few months. Bonus: you can watch Phil Dunphy behave in a particularly un-Phil-like manner.

3. Jane Eyre (2011). This is neither one of my favorite movies, nor a guilty pleasure. It's just kinda good and I find myself watching it oddly frequently for something I'm sort of dispassionate about. (I guess that's the emotion they might have been going for ...) The cinematography is beautiful, the music is lovely, and it sure doesn't hurt that you're going to look at a broody Michael Fassbender for a couple hours,* but at no point are you particularly moved by the plight of poor Jane and the tragic Mr. Rochester. It's all very romantic, and yet very self-contained, much like Jane herself.

4. Friends with Kids. Similar to Jane Eyre, I don't love this movie, and yet I'm not ashamed of secretly liking it, either. It's kinda funny. It has a kind of sappy and predictable ending. Netflix put it on streaming and since then I've watched it probably five times.

5. Shawshank Redemption. I can watch this movie over and over again and never get sick of it.

6. The Green Mile. Ditto to Shawshank.

7. The Just Friends/Mormon Pride and Prejudice conundrum. Would I admit to my friends that whenever I need to just get something done, I put on these terrible, terrible movies for background noise? Never. And yet they serve their duties so well, and I've gotten to the point where I really do find them funny again.

8. The Dark Knight. I love Christopher Nolan's entire Batman trilogy, including the much nerd-maligned Dark Knight Rises. And yet, of the three films, The Dark Knight is probably the only one I could watch on a loop.

9. Drop Dead Gorgeous. This movie is the best of both worlds. It's good and it's a guilty pleasure. I hated it the first time I saw it and then loved it progressively more over time. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. Preferably, try to watch it with someone who has already seen it and knows the best lines by heart. "Don't believe her, fellas, she lives two trailers down!" "This was made by one of my father's many Mehican workers. He lifts them from the poverty they knew in Mehico."

10. And perhaps the most shameful of all ... Where the Heart Is. Oh, how I loved this book. Oh, how I loved the country song that came out to accompany the film's release. Oh, how I can arbitrarily defend this terrible, terrible film. Natalie Portman, I commend you for rising above this nonsense. Tip of my hat to you, madam.

What about you all? Feel like sharing some guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures?

* Speaking of which, Michael Fassbender proves in Jane Eyre that he meets the Hotness Test my sister and I came up with in high school. Basically, lots of guys can be hot, but if a guy can be gross and still inspire the swoonies ... that's when you know he's really got it. (Think Daniel Day-Lewis at the end of The Crucible. So disgusting. So, so attractive.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Help with titles

I've mentioned before how terrible I am at naming manuscripts, right?

The first manuscript I ever queried I initially titled HERE TODAY because it was about a wedding. (Get it? Get it? Okay fine, no one loved that title but me, and I really kinda-only-liked it.) When I first started thinking about self-publishing it, I made Diego help me brainstorm titles.

Our best option was ROM-COM: THE BOOK!* Can't you just imagine that in Loony Toones font?

I love generic. I don't know what it is about bland, but I can't get enough of it. I hope that doesn't make me a hipster, but I am always choosing "BOWLER" as my bowling name.

Then I submitted manuscript number 2 to a handful of local publishers. Its title is JAIMA RODGERS GOES TO COLLEGE, because guess what happens in it? Yeah, exactly.

I also entered my pitch for JAIMA RODGERS during Write On Con's Luck O' The Irish, mostly for the feedback. The main feedback I got was it needed a snappier title.

So how about it, friends? Any thoughts on this title of mine?

Here's the query:

JAIMA RODGERS GOES TO COLLEGE is a new adult romantic comedy complete at 63,000 words. While many of the characters are LDS, the religious references are appropriate for a mainstream audience.

Three months ago, Jaima Rodgers graduated from high school with her best friend, boyfriend, and twin brother by her side. Now, her twin is halfway around the world serving an LDS mission, her former best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, and Jaima is stuck in a brand new city with broken heart and a pink-haired roommate named Lulu.

Jaima Rodgers figures the best way to get through her freshman year and her broken heart is to just tough it out: no dating, no parties, all studying. She knew college would be hard, but she had no idea she was going to flounder so badly. As if things couldn’t get any worse, she can't find a job, she is tanking her pre-med courses, and the only thing she has in common with Lulu is that they both like to ski—a fact which is not helpful when temperatures are still in the mid-90s. If it weren't for Charlie, the cute resident advisor who has taken it upon himself to make sure dorm residents don't turn into hermits, Jaima would spend her free time watching TV alone and every meal making Top Ramen in her microwave.

As the semester goes by, Jaima gets the hang of classes, befriends her roommate, and slowly regains her self-confidence as she spends more time with Charlie. But when she realizes that she likes Charlie as more than just-a-friend, she’s got to decide if she’s willing to risk her new-found stability for true love.

* It took a day or two, but we did eventually come up with something better. I'll tell you, if I ever do self-publish it. But whenever Diego and I talk about it, we automatically revert to ROM-COM: THE BOOK! because really, isn't that just amazing?

Monday, March 25, 2013

A little friendly advice from your neighborhood Lawyer Girl

Are you in a contentious marriage?

Do you sometimes feel groggy for no reason? Suffer from blackouts? Do you sometimes experience a hangover after just one or two cocktails?

FYI, your spouse is probably drugging you.

You might think I'm exaggerating, but after 6 months of having his own family law practice, Diego has now had multiple clients whose spouses drugged them for various reasons. MULTIPLE.

The longer I am a lawyer, the more times I hear about something that I would think would be a once-in-a-lifetime-bizarro occurrence, and then come to realize later that, actually, it is a thing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

30 by 30

Well, I've been pondering this post for awhile -- mostly because I can't think of 30 awesome things I want to accomplish in the next year. So if you all have any suggestions, I am all ears!

1. Publish a book

This one can include signing a contract to publish a book or self-publishing a book.

2. Plan a trip outside the country

Why does it say "plan" instead of "go on"? Because the best time for me to go on a grand vacation is probably next summer, at which point I'll already be 30, haha.

3. Get Spencer registered as a therapy dog.

This one will be tough, as I think Spencer will also have to learn some obedience ...

4. Run a 5K

5. Lose 15 pounds and keep it off

6. Learn to cook 15 new recipes successfully

7. Remodel my kitchen

8. Take a surfing lesson

9. Read 52 books

Already started! Silver Linings Playbook, Gone Girl, The Fault in Our Stars

10. Plant a garden. Keep it alive.

... and that's all I've got. I know, I'm pathetic! Does anyone have 20 more suggestions for me?

Monday, March 11, 2013


Do you ever think the writers of House of Cards were ever like, "Hey, what do we name this wacky show? I know, Game of Thrones! Crap, that's taken? Game of Cards! Too close? Hmmm ..."

We can agree, right, that Frank Underwood is the Cersei Lannister? Excellent.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book thoughts?

I got a Kindle gift card a few days ago, and I'm having a terrible time deciding what I want to buy.

Gone Girl?

Silver Linings Playbook?

Code Name Verity?

Help, friends!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Do you want to do a good deed?

Click HERE and find out how you can be charitable and get your read-on at the same time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013



You may recall that a few months ago I finished writing a book. Well, that book is out on submission now (which sounds so pretentious to say -- I sent it to some publishers that I like and that don't require an agent, look at me! -- but it is what it is. PRETENSION!). To celebrate that, and my upcoming opportunity to draft again (yay!), I wanted to share some music that feels like Jaima Rodgers music.

Enjoy :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

A light at the end of the tunnel

My busy season at work is, ever-so-slowly, wrapping up over the next few weeks, and I am looking forward to my next big project: 30 before 30.

I have a few goals that are tumbling around my brain (Get an agent/publishing contract/or self-publish by 30? Go out of the country? Redo my kitchen? Run a 10K? Ski a black diamond run without falling?) and I'd like to hear what some of you did/would do to commemorate your last year of your 20s. I need suggestions, friends, so lay them on me!

Friday, March 1, 2013

My beef with Ayn Rand

It's actually quite simple. I don't totally object to her bizarrely compelling, yet ultimately unworkable philosophies. I can't even hold her terrible prose against her (I'd consider myself lucky to get a book published in my native tongue, much less an adopted one).*

It's the way Rand, much like Stephenie Meyer, cleverly bootstraps her reader into the place of her main character.

The Twilight novels owe a great deal of their runaway success to the fact that anyone reading them can imagine herself (it's almost always "herself") in the shoes of Bella Swan. Who doesn't want to imagine that the reason a hot guy seemingly doesn't like you is because, in fact, he LOVES you? And would do anything for you? Has, in fact, waited his whole immortal life for you? And that despite your ordinariness, everyone is falling all over themselves to befriend and date you?

It's seductive, this vision of self-as-Bella. And as it has made Stephenie Meyer a bazillionaire, I won't throw any shade her way for recognizing that and capitalizing on it.

Which leads me to Ms. Rand.

With novels like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, you have the EXACT SAME PHENOMENON. Only instead of being able to fantasize about being the It Girl, you get to fantasize that you're the only one who Gets It. Everyone who reads Ayn Rand identifies with Howard Roark, the brilliant (brilliantly brilliant! the brilliantiest!) architect who is Up Against The World. Dagny Taggart and Hank Reardon, capitalists and scientists! They're Unique! They're Special!

Wouldn't you know it -- they're JUST LIKE THE READER!

Much like Twilight asks us to ignore the obvious (that a girl as supposedly mediocre as Bella would not, in fact, attract a guy like Edward, who also doesn't exist -- and that any girl casting herself in Bella's shoes is similarly destined for real-world disappointment), Ayn Rand asks all her readers to pretend that they are the Atlases who might Shrug, overlooking the fact that none of us know anyone like Roark, Taggart, or Reardon in real life, much less resemble them ourselves. Forget about that little detail -- YOU hold the world on your shoulders! Not all these losers and users. You know who John Galt would invite to his oh-so-exclusive retreat? Why you!



Not really, can we all admit?

* The exception to both of these is her novella Anthem, which is quite lovely, in my opinion, and expresses the most coherent, concise vision of Objectivism, which is still kind of nonsense.