31 August 2010

Ninja Wannabe Down, but Not Out!

I just love conditioning drills. This is a picture of my shin . . . almost 2 weeks after one of our awesome black belts kicked me for a drill we were doing.

No, her shins didn't look nearly as bad as mine, even though I got to kick her too.

Bruising like a pear is certainly less effective in the Kempo world.

On the writing hand, I'm about to have a panic attack. More on that later.

30 August 2010

Express Lane

-a grocery store checkout for consumers buying only a few items.

Got that. I was in it. I had less than the allotted 15 items. There were only a few people in front of me, and they all had less than 15 items. The other lines had people with an entire cart full of stuff. So why did those lines move faster than the express lane?

I've already determined that it wasn't the patrons. This has to be considered, because sometimes people are stupid. Or they at least feign stupidity, which I believe is an act so relied upon that it has become an integral part of their psyche. There I go again on the digression.

No, the problem wasn't the patrons . . . it was the checker.

Logically, one would think that the Express Lane would be quick. Less items means less time checking out which means the entire process would be faster than the other lanes. This conclusion, however, is rendered useless when the checker is slow. And not just slow, I mean sssssllllllloooooowwwww . . .

Me drawing in CAD with lefty is faster than this checker was. Is. Whatever. It took me forever to get through the line. And when I finally got there the checker ran out of bags to put groceries in. REALLY?

29 August 2010

Why Do I Torture Myself?

Fist off, I gave to blog a face lift. I'm a big fan of orange. Hope it doesn't bug anyone. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

It's in my nature to do things the hard way. I'm not sure if my parents were naughty or if I was cursed for taking candy from an old woman's house without permission when I was young. Either way, if a task or a project can be complicated in any way, I can figure out just how to do it.

Revisions on my YA novel are supposed to start on Wednesday. I read my original manuscript last week and thought I would get started early. Today even. You know, get ahead and all that. Now that I think about it I wonder if I'm my own oxymoron. I make things more complicated than they need to be, but I also plan things so I generally end up ahead of schedule. Huh.

Back to my point. I've been thinking about how to improve my novel going into revisions, and I've had the idea that the story needs to be darker and a little more raw. So tonight I decided to try it out. I spent the last 3 hours re-writing the first chapter of the novel.

I think I hate it.

Someone kick me in the head . . . please.


Tonight I went out to Tooele to hang out with some good friends (It seems this week has been prone to random friend visiting). I kidnapped my friend from her husband and we went to dinner. Don't panic, we went back to the house, assuring that the husband wasn't abandoned and alone—crying himself to sleep on his huge pillow . . . but I digress. Again.

We went to a place called Sostanza. It claimed to be “fine dining”. In Tooele, Utah? I was skeptical. However, when we got inside I felt distinctly under dressed for the atmosphere. Not that that stopped me from sitting down, mind you.

The prices were a little more than I was expecting, but they averaged probably $17 a plate, and believe me, the food was worth it! I got the bacon wrapped pork medallions and my friend got the Alaskan Cod (pretty sure it was cod) special. Everything was great, including the atmosphere and the service. If you're ever out that way you should check this place out!

26 August 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

I heard about this book from an author at CONduit, earlier this year, and I'm not sure how to review it. The book was well written—compelling and dark. Mary's voice was haunting, leading me from page to page just to see how bad her life could get next. If I'd known there wasn't a happy ending going into it I may have enjoyed it more, but as it was the story left me wanting to throw the book across the room and slap Mary.

My sister told me once that she can't stand Scarlett from Gone with the Wind because she is so stinking selfish. I've never seen or read it, but if it is anything like this Mary was then I don't think I'm missing out. Mary was selfish and everyone loved her. Not that she wasn't likeable, she was for a while, but casting off everyone she knew and loved for a dream that might be (with a hoard of zombies between the two) and getting her brother killed in the process was too much for me.

I'll stop before I get redundant. The story was well told. I was hooked from the beginning, but instead of a lighter than air feeling it was more like picking at a scab to find a loose corner so you can rip it off, exposing what was underneath. I didn't love what I found, that's all . . .

24 August 2010

(Wo)man-ed Up and Did It

Yesterday I picked up my novel manuscript and started reading. I finished it just a few minutes ago. I'm glad to report that “it's not that bad . . .” and, “it could be worse.” Much worse.

My personal favorite line:
Between mountain peaks, hiding like (something cool) lay a beautiful, clear lake.
Apparently at the time I was struggling with metaphors. I call those blonde moments. I'm allowed as many as I need in a day.

So now I get to gear up and “fix” said not-so-bad novel. Right now my mind is blank on the subject. I suppose that means it's time for sleep.

22 August 2010

The Novel

It's staring at me. The novel, that is. I printed the rough draft out yesterday and put it into a binder tonight. Now all it's doing is staring at me from behind the purple binder cover. I think it wants me to read it, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to do that. No, I'm positive that I'm not ready to dive back into the world of writing. Not quite yet.

I did have a few good ideas about the story on the plane ride to Orlando last week. I suppose that means I should add planes to the places where I receive writing epiphanies. Still, the plan wasn't to begin editing until September—now I'm thinking I should start sooner.

There's just so much to fix. (whine, whine) Which will make it seem like I wasted all that time two months ago. (pout, pout) And what if it isn't even good then? (insecurities, insecurities)

Bah! I'm going to check e-mail.

20 August 2010

Ninja Wanna-be has a Small Triumph

Today for lunch, we went out to a Thai restaurant. I usually go for chopsticks, (having finally learned to eat with them when I went to China a few years ago) but I wasn't sure that I would be able to handle them with the double-wide finger I've got going on. Still, I thought it would be amusing to try.

The double-wide fingers had no luck—so I tried it with lefty. I'm happy to say that lefty performed swimmingly and I got about half way through my meal before I my hand cramped up and I had to break out the fork. One of the guys with me tried his left hand for a while, but gave up all to quickly. At least now I know lefty has some skills.

19 August 2010

Ninja Wannabe and Aspiring Author Suffer Setback

Typing with these two fingers taped together is quite like trying to keep pants up that are too big—the threat of bad things happening is always there and the problem won't be solved until you find a belt. Or in my case, get the fingers back.

Doing Kempo with these two fingers taped together is quite like fine dining with a snaggle tooth. It just shouldn't look like that, and it's very distracting. My hand feels like a walrus. Didn't know your hands had feelings? Inconvenience one of them sometime, then you'll be a believer.

18 August 2010


A few weeks ago I acquired a snap in my wrist. After some experimentation I figured out that it only happened when I curled my index finger down to my palm. I was hoping that almost two weeks away from work would make it stop. Nope—no such luck. In fact, it's worse. So I broke down and went to the doctor today.

My doctor likes to torment me. She looked my wrist, grinned and promptly wrapped my index finger to my middle finger. Apparently I am suffering from trigger finger . . . in my wrist. Huh, not sure how that works. All I know is that it hurts. And shouldn't trigger finger be caused by some action involving firing guns? Or at the very least rubber bands?

It's taken me ten minutes to type this. I have no idea how I'm going to work tomorrow. Did I mention that the doc told me to wrap it up every day for 4 weeks? Good thing I finished the rough draft of my novel and am taking the month off. Wait, that's only 2 weeks.


17 August 2010

A Few Parting Pictures

I'm back home-reality and all that. Yuck!

Here are a few last pictures from Celebration V. I already miss the geekdome.
Darth Maul talking to his wife. "Sure hon, I can get some eggs on the way home."
Found Lando!
No words for that last guy . . .

Oh, and I should mention that the Orlando Airport spawns idiots. Every other person in the security line either didn't take off their grommet studded belts or their shoes. What part of "Everyone take their shoes off and put them in a container" is unclear? And what part of metal detector is confusing?

There, I feel better.

13 August 2010

Epic Battle

This afternoon I finally put on my Visas Marr costume. One other guy put on his costume, which was a Shadow Guard from The Force Unleashed Video Game, as well. Our picture is above.

I won't lie, his costume was WAY more popular than mine. We couldn't go more than five steps without someone asking him to stop and take a picture. I got in the first hundred or so before I realized they might not want me in there too. Pshaw, fine . . . whatever.

At one point we had Mace Windu, Kit Fisto and one other Jedi that I couldn't see very well (blasted veil . . .I can't see a thing in this helmet!) come up to us and ask if we would fight. Duh of course! We took a few pictures and I had to complain that we were outnumbered. Then Boba Fett came up behind Mace (who thought for sure he was winning) and put a rifle to his head. Awesome! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the time—plus I was trying not to be skewered by Kit Fisto. I gave my e-mail to Mace, but I'm not sure I'll ever get pictures.

12 August 2010

Day 1

Today was . . . epic.
We stood in lines. We saw lots of awesome things. We saw loads of interesting people. I went Star Wars Speed Dating (More on that later. Although I will say that the girls were way more "interesting" than the boys were.) Found out that service on Orlando is SLOW. R e a l l y S L O W .
I've attached a few pictures. Princess Leia, General Grievous and me, geeking out!
Now for some much deserved sleep.

11 August 2010

Getting to the Con

Today's happenings—honorable mentions:
Spotting the Celebration V goers on the plane and in the airport. (There's a geek! There's another one!)
Star Wars T-Shirts come with a wide variety of pictures on them . . . and geeks love to show them off!
The pilot of our plane said we had to buckle our safety belts as we went over Mississippi. No one could explain exactly why.
There is a difference between Baggage Claim A and Baggage Claim B at the Orlando airport.
While eating dinner with some of the people from the Alpine (Utah) garrison of the 501st we beset upon one side by the Mexican Garrison and the other by a Canadian Garrison. Coincidence?
My costume got to the con without incident—others were not so fortunate.
I'm in a room (and hotel) all by myself. Kind of lonely, but better, I think, than smelly boys. -)

The real fun begins tomorrow. There will be pictures.

10 August 2010

Hi-Ho, hi-ho, Off to Con I Go!

Here it is, my final costume (except the boots. I wasn't wearing the boots)
Expect some real entertainment in the next few days. I do!

09 August 2010

A Good Day

Today is 8-9-10. Things that go in a recognizable order make me happy, which makes this a good day!

Picts of the Star Wars Costume tomorrow. I know you're all really excited . . .

08 August 2010

Standing Ovation

I don't usually give standing ovations at performances, but last night we saw Macbeth at the Shakespearean Festival and I couldn't help myself. I have to like the performance as well as the play before I will get to my feet.

Macbeth is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, but I haven't seen it in years. There were bits of the story that I had completely forgotten. Last night they all came back to me in vivid imagination and reality. The setting was wonderful and the special effects were subtle but very effective. I was convinced that Macbeth, along with his wife, was crazy and the weird sisters had me totally creeped out. The acting was superb—not just the two leads, but everyone. When McDuff got the news that his family had been slaughtered I almost cried. By far the best performance we saw this year, and probably my favorite ever at the festival.

I think the crowning moment was when I was walking out—there was a girl, about 12 years old, who looked up at her dad and said, “That was awesome!” Enough said.

07 August 2010


Eating is a very important, especially on vacation. You can never tell what you're going to get. We've been to six different places here in Cedar City to eat, so I thought I would give you the low-down on each of them.

Wendy's (right off the freeway)
Okay, so we were desperate and hungry and couldn't check-in to our hotel right away, so we went to the Wendy's. They were slow. So slow I almost had to complain out loud about it. The food was fine. The other patrons were a little dim, but then again, I'd just finished a 4 hour car drive . . .

Sweet Basil Thai
My sister recommended this place, and it did not disappoint. It's cute, small, the service was friendly and the food was good. Most prominent was the curry (all kinds) but there was also some teriyaki. They were quick, prices were reasonable and I left very happy.

Garden House of Cedar City
This place was so cute! It's in a little house along one of the roads just a few blocks down from the festival (and less than 2 blocks from our hotel). They had a couple of big groups there for lunch, so service was a little slow, but they were friendly and my food was great. Prices were a little high, but not unreasonable. All in all, I was happy with this one as well.

Rusty's Ranch House
We go here every year. They've got tacky, antler lights and an excessive amount of animal heads on the walls, but the service is always friendly and the food is great. I had ribs and ended up with some on my face. If that's not a compliment to the cook I don't know what is. It gets crowded, so we made reservations. There was no waiting when we got there and they had us out in plenty of time for our evening play.

Bard's Food and Drink Establishment/Oddfellow's Pub
Skip it.
Perhaps if you visit the pub first and then go to the restaurant things would seem better. They were slow, prices were high, the food was mediocre (at best), the salad bar was unimpressive and my fish and chips was, well, I've had worse, but I didn't finish it. Perhaps we should have noted the lack of cars in the parking lot.

Maggie Moo's Ice Cream Something or other
After the trauma of Bard's, I decided I needed ice cream. It reminded me of a Cold Stone, and I was very happy with my S'mores Chocolate yummy-ness.

The Pizza Factory
I haven't been to a Pizza Factory in years. My memories of them are good, and this one lived up to my imagination. Pizza was great, the twisty bread sticks were delicious, the service was friendly, the prices were reasonable and we had a great time. We met some friends and their two kids there and I think everyone enjoyed it.

Too bad we'll have to go back to cooking tomorrow.

06 August 2010

This Week's Boyfriend

What is it About the Theater?

I'm blogging live from the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City. We saw Much Ado About Nothing last night and Alfred Hitchcock's 39 Steps this afternoon. Both were excellent. Both were funny. I find I prefer funny to the dramatic—in general at least. This is true of pretty much any form of entertainment, from music to books to plays to movies. Deep is good, but funny is happy, which makes me smile.

So what is it about the theater that I love so much? When I was a kid, and we got the occasional chance to see a play live on stage, I admit that I had the dream of being an actress. This would last for about an hour after the play was over, when I would then go back to dreaming of being an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a super hero or a secret agent. The theater appeals to me, but only to watch it. Participating was never in my blood. I was in the pit one year for the musical at my high school, but that was as close as I ever got to the stage. Probably best for everyone. I can't lie to save my life—acting is out of the question.

Still, I love the stage. I love seeing the actors faces and the emotions that play across the scenes. I love to see how the stage is constructed and used to fire the audience's imagination. I love it when the leading man and the leading lady find love and live happily ever after. I even love a good drama, but I hate going away from the end of a story sad. I'll do it, but I'd rather have something funny to share when I get back home.

It's been a while since I've been here to the Shakespearean Festival, and I'm glad we're here.

04 August 2010

Hair Seeking Raindrops

This afternoon, while I was diligently drawing lights (so very focused . . .) I was suddenly pulled out of my drafting world by the rumble of thunder. It took me a second to get my bearings, but once I did I realized that I had been sitting at my desk for a few hours and had no idea what the weather was doing outside.

I crossed the hall/space between open areas so I could look out the window. Sure enough, it was raining. Not a nice sprinkle, no no, it was the beginning of a downpour. Naturally, three of the four windows of my car were down about an inch.

I hesitated. Was it worth it? The storm (insert another clap of thunder here) was obviously working up to a frenzy, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to make a run for it. Then I realized that making a run for it would get me out of the building for at least 20 seconds. Done.

The moment I stepped outside the raindrops turned into mutant raindrops and quadrupled in size. Then they all decided to aim for my head. I know, I know, it's the most elevated part of my body, I get that, but did they all have to hit my hair? I even had curly hair (anticipating humidity again today), but somehow the augmented raindrops managed to hit all of the cute curls I laboriously put in this morning. I got my windows up, which was probably a good thing considering a few minutes after I made it back inside the storm really got serious, but I condemned myself to an afternoon of annoying, flat/fuzzy hair.

At least I hadn't bothered to wash my car yet this week.

02 August 2010

Skulking at the Lowes

This afternoon I took my purchased lightsaber into my local Lowes store to see if they had anything I could pimp it out with. Unfortunately I went in without a plan, so I just stood around in the PVC pipe and plumbing section looking lost. I was glad that no one asked if I needed help (usually I get upset when no one helps the poor, lost, blond girl in the hardware store) because I didn't really want to explain that I wasn't there for a plumbing issue.

“No, sir, I'm here to see if I can make this,” Jo holds out her lightsaber hilt, temporarily blinding the poor man with the red LED light, “into this.” Jo waves the picture she printed off the web around in front of the Lowe's employee's face. “Can you help me with that?”

Somehow I can't see that going well. At least not with the older gentlemen who were perusing the plumbing section. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some progress made on it. So close to Celebration V!

01 August 2010

Aspiring Author Takes July!

I'd like to announce the birth of my first YA novel. It weighed in today at:
113 Pages
62,164 words
Modern Fantasy

Lots of work to do on it still, but I got round 1 finished three days early. I'm taking the next few weeks off. Shakespeare and Star Wars will take center stage until mid-August. More on that soon.