31 July 2010

Girl's Night Out

Last night we had a small group of our married friends over for a Girl's Night Out (GNO). I've known all of these girls since we were 5 years old. A couple of them maybe even a bit longer, although my memory doesn't go back that far with any amount of clarity. You're shocked, I'm sure.

One girl (Hey Stacey) lives up in Idaho and we don't get to see her much. She happen to be in town and got to hang. It's awesome because we just get together and it seems like we've only been apart for a few weeks. We talk, we eat, we play games, we talk about old times, we talk about life now, we talk about their kids, we laugh . . .

A few months ago an author, Barbra Hambly, was at a convention I was attending. In her main address, she said that one of the best things about the last 20 years was making 30 year friendships into 50 year friendships. A lot of people in the world don't have that opportunity. I've been so lucky in my life to have friends that I already have a 30 year friendship with. Strange to think that by the time we're all old and having motorized wheelchair races at the Life Care Center there could be people I've known for 70 years.

That makes me smile.

30 July 2010

Oh my . . .

Attention All Star-Crossed Singles! Star Wars Speed Dating Has landed At Celebration V!

30 Dates in Less Than a Parsec!

Looking for love in all the wrong Cantinas? Come join us for Star Wars Speed Dating, filled with good music, great company, and the thrilling potential to meet your own Angel of Iego, or Han Solo! The blind dates last three minutes, but if sparks fly, you're set for a lifetime of love. Two sessions will be held, one on Thursday, August 12th and the other on Saturday, August 14th. Sessions are free for CV attendees, and attendees can register on-site, but to guarantee a place, please sign up online by August 1. At both sessions, host Gi-Ganakin and his intergalactic crew will take you through the easy process of finding your ideal mate at CV. Music will be spun by DJ MadKidJedi, with ice-breaking assistance from TB-2709, otherwise known as the Scout Trooper of Love

They have a call out for ladies . . . gosh, I wonder why
Should I do it? Might be fun. Help me out here people.

29 July 2010

Inspiration at the Bert Brothers

What is it about me sitting around in waiting rooms? I swear, I get the best ideas for writing at the doctor's office, car repair places, train stations (preferably foreign ones), airports, lounges . . . Not usually in the shower, like so many others, but that was probably too much information. Please go and cleanse your minds by watching something with lots of explosions in it. A bit of blood spatter might help too.

Seriously, though, I took my car for an oil change this afternoon (road trip next week) and sat down in the waiting area with two guys who looked suspicious. They reminded me of a couple who didn't want to sit to close in public because people might assume they're together. I think they were brothers. Maybe their family has the no touchy-touchy rule. My sister tries to smack my butt, and I scream and run away, so I understand that. Oh, sorry, TMI again. Back to the Bert Brother's waiting room.

I pulled out my handy, mini notebook that I have in my purse, just in case I have an awesome idea while I'm out and want to jot it down. When I fail to write them down I forget them, even when I'm “Sure I'll remember that—it's too great to forget!” Whatever. My brain is full of vacancies that are so haunted that no other memories will go near the place. Ooops, is that tangent #3? Waiting room.

Along with the notebook, I retrieved my pink pen (nobody panic) and started to think about Nanowrimo coming up in November. I want to write a frolicking tale of teamwork, kick a** fighting, intriguing bad guys and big explosions for Nanowrimo this year. (Last year's Sci-Fi thriller turned into a sappy romance that I haven't even re-read yet. Stupid story.) I started with what kind of team I wanted, what they would be doing and where they were from. Fifteen minutes later I actually had two full pages of fodder. Out of fifty or so, I combined three of them and came up with a story idea that will be great fun to write! I'm so excited. -)

28 July 2010

Nice Husbands

I just have to say thanks to all of our girlfriend's husbands who allow us to kidnap their wives once a month. Sometimes more. We try to have a Girl's Night Out (GNO) for all of the ladies each month. My roommate and I are single—she's got a fish, so our family responsibilities at the moment are minimal. I'm always glad to have the girls over, and glad their husbands allow them to escape for a few hours. Thanks boys. See you on Friday girls!

27 July 2010

I Lost My Voice!

Okay, it isn't my voice that's lost, it's Lys' (Lys is pronounced Liss) voice. She's the protagonist in the YA novel that I'm writing. One of the ladies in my critique group (thanks M) mentioned that Lys didn't have a distinctive voice until half way through chapter 2. Not good.

The problem is that she is very vanilla. Nothing wrong with vanilla, but most people would rather have a different flavor, or at least something yummy added to it—chocolate, nuts, caramel sauce, fruit . . . In writing vanilla is bad. In my book it's bad. Just trust me on that.

I was going over the first three chapters of my novel today and found that Lys doesn't stick with a distinctive voice. Not for long anyway. This has to be fixed. I can't believe I didn't realize this until now. Maybe I didn't want to face it. That's a possibility. I literally wrote the climax chapter for this novel yesterday. Today I was doing wrap-up and found that I couldn't finish it. Lys has to have a voice, which means I need to get to know her, and probably throw her through the ringer a few times to get some decent emotions out of her. Poor girl. I feel a little bad . . .

26 July 2010

Ninja Wannabe gets to Hurt Someone!

Aspiring Author was just typing the most emotional scene in her novel when someone from the back shop came and interrupted me. It's my lunch time, for crying out loud, leave me alone! Two paragraphs from the end of the scene (the climax I might add) and I get thrown out of my groove.

Ninja Wannabe-kill!

On the up-side . . . I'm close to the end!

25 July 2010

Ninja Wannabe gets Annihilated

Poor Ninja Wannabe got toasted this week due to my schedule blowing up. She didn't even get a chance to fight for dominance as I only visited the dojo once. Pretty hard to come out on top with a 1 to 6 ratio. I mean, Ninja Wannabe is tough, and maybe she could take the odds . . . but not this week. Aspiring Author not only got her time in this week, I think she's ahead of schedule! (But don't say that aloud. Don't curse me, please.)

I know I had some stress going on this week, because when I opened the file last night for my novel and read the last page I was like, “What the heck? Why did I put that in there?” It was a good chapter-ending cliff hangar, but I have no idea where I was going with it. I wrote it less than 48 hours before, for crying out loud! No memory whatsoever. I'd blame the blond, and perhaps the, er, monthly cycle, but I know it was my Swiss cheesed brain. Could someone please fill in the holes for me?

This afternoon I took some time to plan to the end of my novel, and I found a pleasant surprise—I'm only a few big scenes from the end! My deadline is next Wednesday night. Hopefully I can get it finished. Keep in mind that this is a rough, rough draft. Rough like large grit sand paper. Rough like a gravel road in a station wagon. Rough like non-morning people before 9am. But in just over a week it will be a completed rough draft! I can fix that. Right now I'm at almost 58,000 words. I thought I'd get closer to 70,000 words, but not this round. There is plenty to add during round 2, so maybe I'll end up pretty close to my original estimate.

Oh, sorry, I'm rambling excitedly. I'll stop. For now. Maybe I'll go do a dance of joy—don't imagine it. The mental scars are not worth the moment of fleeting hilarity.

24 July 2010

Pets, Fireworks, Parades and Allergies

I spent the last three days house/pet sitting for a good friend of mine. I've never had a pet. Not even a pet rock. My roommate has a fish, who hangs out in a tank in the bathroom threatening any guests who go in there, but she takes care of him. I just tease him. “Hey, fish, whatcha doin'? You want a piece of this? Hu? Come out here and get it!” Oh, sorry, back to my point. Pets are like kids. I play with them, get bored with them and then give them back to their owners.

My friend's half-dozen birds, two cats and the dog are adorable, but I was all too happy to pack up my stuff this morning and get back to my non-pet hair infested apartment. (The fish doesn't shed much) I get killer allergies with pet hair—I kinda forgot about it when I agreed to hang out with the pets—so after three nights my sinuses are so clogged that I may as well have a summer cold along with RSV. Not to mention the lack of sleep due to the fact that all non-caged animals have bells around their necks so you can hear them coming. And I heard them coming . . . all night long. Good thing she doesn't have any bunny rabbits. If I had to have a mortal enemy, it would be bunny hair. Don't tell anyone.

Last night was the Bountiful 24th of July parade. Our apartment is right along the route. I managed to sneak home to drop some stuff off and get back to the pets before they completely blocked us in for three hours. Last year I had to park my car two blocks away and then walk to it so I could get to Kempo class. Okay, if I was really cool I would have just walked to class, but I'm not all that. Not in the black outfit and bag full of Kempo gear. Now I'm whining again. I'll stop. Wait, nope, I forgot. The dog thought all of the fireworks last night were people knocking on the door. Took me opening the door and showing her to convince her it was safe to go to bed. Now I'm finished.

This morning I helped out with the Salt Lake City Day's of '47 parade. One girl, about eight years old, was looking at the volunteer shirts and asked if we were going to be doing this for 47 days. Good question. At 5:00am anything (except sleep) feels about 47 days long. I thought there might be a fight to the death (which I'm good with) over one of the float awards. Sadly it was resolved without violence. Maybe next year, for any tie breakers, two people will have to Indian leg wrestle for the win! I'll suggest that.

21 July 2010

Danger at the Parade!

Who knew that parade floats could be so sinister? There were:
Hoards of crickets
Snapping Turtles
Kissing Frogs (very scary)
Seagulls ('nough said)
Sling Shots
The poor guy who foolishly stepped in front of a band of rampaging kids with balloon swords
Next year you should all come to the Days of '47 Parade Preview Party and check out the floats. You never know what you'll see.

19 July 2010

Middle Earth's Youngest Tour Guide

Here is a picture of my friend's little girl. She was helping us identify all of the animals in LOTR. This is a dragon, in case you were wondering. It is very serious business.

18 July 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

We saw this movie last week on a total impulse. It was either this or The A-Team (which I secretly still desire to see). I wasn't expecting much, which is probably a good thing.

Of course, as I sit here I can't think of a thing to say about the movie. The effects were cool. We went through a whole tub of popcorn, which officially makes this a good popcorn movie. I enjoyed it. I laughed a few times and flinched a couple of times. I thought the character moments were a little rushed. I never got to caring about the main character and his romance with blondie. They never really explained how the magic worked, which I was curious about. I did think the main character was believable, which is always good.

Sorry, my mind is blank. Probably from watching 16 hours of LOTR this weekend. Worth every minute, by the way. It's been a long time since I've watched those movies. And sorry to whoever was at my house, because I kept pointing and saying, “I was there!”. I can't help it . . .

16 July 2010

Serious Credit Due

Apparently there is serious credit due to the thousands of people who worked on the Lord of the Rings films. A few friends and I watched Fellowship of the Ring tonight—I had no idea credits could go on for more then 20 minutes.

Speaking of LOTR, I was reading Orson Scott Card's Characters and Viewpoints book earlier this week and came across an interesting section. He talks about the four kinds of stories there are. One of them is the milieu story. He then goes on to explain that LOTR is a milieu story. The point of a milieu, as stated by Mr. Card, is thus:

Get a character to a setting that the story is about, and then devise reasons for her to move through the world of the story, showing the reader all of the interesting physical and social details of the milieu. When you show the reader everything you want them to see, bring the character home.

So LOTR is not about the characters? No, at least not entirely. I think that might be the reason I have a hard time reading the books. I like more depth to my characters and events. Pretty places are okay, but give me some action and I'm a much happier girl! Anyway, I thought it was interesting. Maybe the rest of the world knew this already. I do get behind a lot.

15 July 2010

Check it out!

"It is all happening as I have foreseen . . ."
Soon the universe will be MINE!!!

14 July 2010

Biggest Straw Ever!

Tonight, after work, a couple of friends and I decided to go and see a movie. Not normal for us on a “work night”, but we did it anyway. We went and saw The Sorcerers Apprentice, which wasn't nearly as bad as The Last Airbender but not quite as fun as Prince of Persia. I still have yet to see a movie I really love this summer. However, that's not what this post is about. More on the movie later.

After the movie we were thirsty. A few blocks down from the theater there was a Burger King. It was on our side of the road, so we pulled in. There were a few tantalizing items on the menu, but we both ended up with Oreo shakes. Good shakes for a fast food place, by the way, but my point was the straw . . .

This thing was HUGE! Normal straws are what, the size that you can suck a small pea through? In addition to being blue, these straws could easily move small grapes through them. I swear I got half a cookie stuck in it at one point. Blockage took on a whole new meaning as I was trying to get it out. At least the reward was worth the fight!

13 July 2010

Methods and Madness

Who would make a metal template/stencil for a costume for Star Wars Celebration V?
Who would spend 2 hours down on my (er, I mean their) hands and knees, moving said template around and spray painting pleather material for a costume?
Who would then take pictures of the finished product and put them on their blog?

Only the crazies . . . of which I am one!

12 July 2010

Got Sleeves?

My totally awesome sister (the older one-they're both great but M ended up with most of the sewing talent) has made most of my costume for Star Wars Celebration V! These are the sleeves. I had to paint the design on them. Hard work, let me tell you, but nothing compared to sewing. Sewing and I do not get along.

Tomorrow come painting the pinwheel pattern on the leather dress. Hey dad, is it okay if I get some paint on the grass in your back yard?

11 July 2010

Aspiring Author Pulls Ahead

Everyone will be relieved to know that the novel writing is back on track. I'd like to say it was through a Herculean effort on my part, but . . . no wait, that's pretty much true. Although there were no demi-gods involved-at least none that I saw, smelled or heard-just some focus and the motivation of a self-imposed deadline looming over my head like an axe, ready to chop, chop, chop.

So now I'm 75 pages into the story. I estimate it will probably end up around 130 pages, or 70,000(ish) words. My characters are lacking some emotional depth, and they're not bonding like they're supposed to, so I guess it's time to put them through the ringer and see what comes out the other end. Strange how they took control of the story without me realizing it. I can't look weak in front of my other stories (who knows what might happen!) so they'll have to be put in their place. That's this week's goal. Wish me luck, I'm probably going to need it.

Subtle Differences

Tonight I went to a summer Halloween party. I love Halloween. I love dressing up in costumes. Although when I went to put on my chosen costume I had to discard wearing it because I was sweltering, and I don't mean I was a hottie. Had to go with the tourist “costume”. Very sad.

Anyway, this was my favorite part of the party.

Necromancer vs. Neck Romancing
Discuss . . .

09 July 2010

Too Old

Have you ever been on a sports team? When I was in High School I was on the swim team. I remember the first week of practice was the worst. In order to weed out the faint at heart our coach would always try to kill us that first week. *Jog to the pool, then do a 2 hour work-out in the pool (which usually was “great fun”), get back to the school and then go home. Ah, the memories.

This week I've done a really good work-out every day . . . and now I'm so sore I can hardly hobble around my apartment. I cringe at the thought of going out because then I'll have to not only go down the 15 stairs to get to my car, but come back up them again later. Maybe I can sleep downstairs with the neighbors. Grumble, grumble, whine, whine. (I hope neither my swim team coach or Sensei is reading this—I'd be in big trouble for whining.)

I guess this means no more weeks off for me. Too much physical pain involved. Good thing I don't have any ninja appointments today.

*Note: I didn't jog then and I don't jog now. I always get in trouble for that.

08 July 2010

The Dark Divine

Book blurb:
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.

Yes, it's teenage, paranormal romance. No, I don't normally get into this sort of thing. I met the author of this book at a conference a few months ago and I was so taken with the way she described The Dark Divine that I bought it. Honestly, I put it at the bottom of the pile of stuff to read. Mostly because of the teen romance angle. I need no reminders that some teenage girl can get a date with a supernatural creature and I can't. But let's not talk about my non-dating life.

In a nutshell, this book was the Prodigal Son and paranormal creatures. Huh. I picked it off my shelf yesterday afternoon and had 40 pages read before I knew it. The book was good! I actually read it in less than 24 hours, which I hardly ever do.

The main character, Grace, is believable and I felt sympathy for her right away. I liked the fact that there was religion in the book, but it all came from the characters, so it wasn't in-your-face. The Prodigal Son is one of those parables from the Bible that I think I fail to understand. I sympathize with the wayward son, sure, but the steady, loyal son has a good point. Yes, yes, I'll probably go somewhere besides heaven unless I figure it out before I die. It was the Prodigal Son angle that made me want to read this book, and it didn't disappoint. I got sucked in and stayed there until I finished it just a few minutes ago. Good job goes to Bree Despain for her first novel! Number 2 is supposed to be out this winter.

07 July 2010

Not Nearly as Bad as I Imagined

Of course, my imagination is pretty good, so it can take quite a lot to out-do it.

This month my driver's license expires. I haven't been into the DMV since the last time my license expired, something like 10 years go. A guy at my work got his license renewed a few months ago and had nothing but horror stories of 2 hour long lines and very cranky people. A few weeks ago I caught an episode of the Simpsons that featured Marge's sisters and the way they run the DMV in Springfield—taunting the line with movement and then not actually helping anyone.

So, to say I was a little anxious would be an understatement. Being a controlling, OCD freak I planned my strategy and got on-line to make an appointment. (The appointment was recommended my the guy at my work, who only stood in line for 40 minutes instead of 2+ hours.) Their first appointment of the day was at 7:30am. I have this week off, so I decided to go as early as possible.

When I went over the list of things I had to take with me for proof of identification, I wondered briefly if I shouldn't take my mother, who could testify that I was who I claimed to be and that she had birthed me. Lucky for me, I've got a recent passport, I had some idea of where my social security card was and enough bills to throw at the DMV folks so they could pick which ones they wanted.

As I drove up to the building there were already quite a few cars in the parking lot. (I was 15 minutes early . . . just in case) I imagined a stinky room, loads of chairs, crying babies, people complaining on Facebook via their cell phones, cranky businessmen and much, much more.

To my surprise there were only three people in front of me. I threw my assortment of papers, passports and cards at the man who asked to see them, he gave me a number, I sat down for less than 2 minutes and then a lovely voice called my number to window #3. I was literally out of my house, to the DMV, finished renewing my license and back home in under an hour. My picture isn't even that bad.

06 July 2010

Please, Refrain from Shaking

I've got the week off of work. For whatever reason, this fact makes me believe that I have to do more than is humanly possible over the next five days, or my week off will be a complete and utter failure. Yes, I'm an overachiever.

One of my many goals is to check out the fitness classes at the local Rec. Center. This morning I decided to go with the Zumba class. The description said something about Latin dancing and fun. Sure, fine, why not?

Okay, the class was fun. My achilles tendon is killing me after all of the toe-hopping and jumping, and will probably require days of R.I.C.E before it decides to forgive me. The instructor, a very fit, extremely energetic young woman, encouraged us to shake whatever we could, whenever we could.

Said instructor could shake it all day long and hardly move anything. I, on the other hand, shake way to much with the simple act of walking. Any additional shaking due to fitness class is no advised-especially if anyone is standing within a 4 foot radius. Lucky for me, there were plenty of other Latin-dancing-impaired, extra jiggly ladies in the class.

I think the kids having swimming lessons down in the pool were mocking us. Or maybe it was just me.

05 July 2010

A Word From Lefty

Hi! Like, I'm Jo's left hand and, like, I just love petting puppies. And I like holding things while righty does all the work. I've totally made it my life's ambition to do as little as possible.

Jo has, like, 2 hands, and righty is completely controlling. She took over everything while we were still in the womb, so I like said, “Woah, fine, do whatever you want.” And righty was like, “Good, I will.” And I said, “Whatever.” Only it's hard to do the whatever sign with righty so distracted and productive all the time. Sheesh.

So like tonight, at the dojo, that cruel Sensei of Jo's decided it would be “fun” to do everything left-handed. I was like “What?”, but he just smiled. Seriously, what did I do? I've been totally good. Besides, righty LOVES this stuff—Karate chop, and all that. Me? No way, I'm not into it. My Karate chop totally looks like a spasming, drunken snake.

Aspiring Author wins today.

04 July 2010

Independence Day

Considering I cry every time I hear the national anthem, I'll spare you a sappy post on the 4th of July. Go to this guy's blog and read about a real patriot and then remember that we're here because others died for us.

There I go again with the tears. I'm pathetic.
Happy 4th of July, America.

03 July 2010

The Last Airbender

This evening I drug five of my unsuspecting friends to see this movie. Yes, I do have five friends. Or did, before I put them through 2 hours of mind numbing bad acting, over-the-top music and cheesy dialog. Here is what they had to say.

“The only thing this movie bends is crap.” -D-

“The only thing this movie bent was my self-esteem.” -A-

“ . . . I wanted to like it . . .” -K-

“This movie had the same problem as Harry Potter.” -PD- She was referring to too much going on and not nearly enough quirkiness.

“The Last Airbender, bending my heart to the last (air quotes) I loved it!” -Tim- He hasn't seen the cartoon.

“This movie fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” -A-

There was also a general murmuring about the promotion of tattoos on youth and some other stuff that I've forgotten.

My quote? It wasn't as bad as Clash of the Titans. Now I want to watch the cartoons again. Er, I mean, I don't watch cartoons! Much.

02 July 2010

Bratwurst and Green Lantern

What do these two things have in common? Nothing. Nothing except that they both had representation in my day today. No the real Green Lantern (how cool would that be?), but he was mentioned.

Green Lantern was brought up by a guy at my work. We have a big, open area for our office, so everyone hears everything you say over a whisper. This guy doesn't even know what an inside voice is, so we hear everything he says. I'm pretty good at tuning him out, but when I hear Superman and Spider Man, my geek kicks in and my ears perk up.

Apparently this guy thinks Spider Man is better than Superman, and Superman is #1 on some superhero list on the web. He read the whole list, and when he got to Green Lantern he was like, “who the h#*! is Green Lantern?”

Excuse me? I'm not that into comics, but even I know who Green Lantern is—power ring, green costume, Justice League . . . Hello! My inner ninja almost jumped up, ran over to the guy and slapped him up side the head. Don't talk about it if you have no idea what you're talking about.

I can ramble about all sorts of things I know nothing about because I'm blond. Most people can't get away with it.

Oh, the bratwurst? I BBQ-ed some for the first time tonight. A different guy at work told me to steam them in beer first. Uh, no. He also told me I should have some sauerkraut. Smells like vomit—no thank you. They were warm and had grill marks on them. I only bust one of them out of its skin. You live and you learn, right?

01 July 2010


Tonight at Kempo class we did a technique that requires you to be relaxed to pull it off properly. Ha! I pride myself on being tense 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year. Do you have any idea what kind of stamina that takes?

Relax? Maybe I'll have to try it sometime.