Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retro Summer Blogfest



Let me tell you the story of a girl. A girl who, back when she was much younger than she is now, apparently thought the word "cool" was synonymous with the word "lame." A girl who, when she labeled a certain cassette "Really Cool Mix of Music," obviously had no idea what the hell a really cool mix of music should be.

Because it is not this tape.

I do NOT want to post this playlist. It's pretty damn embarrassing.

I'd just like to say for the record that I listen to cool music now. Or, in the interest of hedging my bets, I listen to cooler music now.

Not everything I'm going to list here is awful. Some of these songs can be found on my iPod. But most of them aren't because a lot of this list is truly heinous and you have no idea how much I don't want to post this playlist.

That said, when I was listening to this tape out in The Man's car yesterday, I groaned when each song began, said "what the hell was I thinking?" and then proceeded to sing along with the song at the very top of my lungs. I apologize to the neighbors who had to listen to that.

So anyway, without any further ado, I hereby present to you the dark period in my musical lifetime (get ready to have a jolly good laugh):

Side A:

1. Could've Been- Tiffany

I told you it was bad.

2. Iko Iko- Madonna

Do you need any more proof that I was an 80's child? You do? Then how about this:

3. True Colors- Cyndi Lauper

All right, so I do like this song. Sue me.

4. I Sing The Body Electric- From the "Fame" soundtrack

I had to blame/thank my junior high music choir director for this one. We performed this song when I was in the seventh or eighth grade and I've been obsessed with it ever since.

5. Sooner Or Later- Madonna (from the "Dick Tracy" Soundtrack)

Yes, this is real.

6. So In Love- Boys II Men

Yep. But wait because it gets better...and by 'better', I mean 'worse.'

7. I Swear- All-4-One

There are no words.

8. I'll Be Your Everything- Tommy Page Featuring (wait for it!) New Kids On The Block

I was wrong. Now there are no words. If you'll excuse me, I have to go die of embarrassment now.

9. Foolish Beat- Debbie Gibson

I am going to travel back in time and kick my fifteen year old self's ass.

10. Can't Cry Hard Enough- The Williams Brothers

Anyone else remember the very special episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where this song was featured? Yeah. Neither do I.

11. Stay- Lisa Loeb

I recorded this song from the radio. Apparently it was a snowy night because the DJ talked over the first few bars about accumulations in feet. I've always liked this song. I find it good to sing to.

Side B:

1. Yesterday- The Beatles

What's this? A song that doesn't make me want to hang my head in shame?

2. What Can You Lose- Madonna (from the "Dick Tracy" soundtrack)

What can I say? This is a pretty awesome song.

3. Out Here On My Own- Irene Cara (from the "Fame" soundtrack)

Still one of my favorite shower songs to belt out. As to which I'm sure my neighbors can attest.

4. Vogue- Madonna

Strike a pose.

5. Under The Bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers

Yes! Yes! Proof that I wasn't completely lame. Just mostly. I remember hearing this song for the first time while I was sitting in my geometry class. Someone outside was playing it on the radio and I fell in love with it. I think that may be my only positive memory of geometry class.

6. La Isla Bonita- Madonna

Have I ever mentioned that I was a huge Madonna fan when I was a kid? I don't know if you knew that about me.

7. Swing The Mood- Jive Bunny and the Mix Masters

I'm definitely not going to tell you about the routine my siblings and I choreographed to this song. Because that would be embarrassing.

8. One Last Cry- Brian McKnight

Seriously?

9. Stand By Me- Ben E. King

This has got to be the strangest mix of music ever.

10. Dreams To Dream- from the "American Tail" soundtrack

Do you remember that movie? In addition to turning it into a drinking game (we were underage so we used root beer) where you did a shot every time they said the word "cat", there was this sweet little ballad sung by the little girl mouse that I really loved to sing.

Wow.

So there you have it. My so-called "Really Cool Mix of Music." Though, I suppose, all things considered, it could have been a lot worse. Still, a very fun (if embarrassing) blogfest. Thanks to Amy at The Ramblings of Amy for hosting. I will now go out and see what the rest of you listened to once upon a time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Epiphanies And Blogfests


So a funny thing happened this morning. I woke up in a good mood.

I'm not much of a morning person. And by 'not much', I mean 'not at all.' The only time I ever really wake up well is...well, never, come to think of it. Even when I'm getting up to go the Ren Faire (opening September 3rd!) or to go wait in line for the latest Harry Potter novel, it takes me a while to work into my day. I'm zombie like in my movements. Actually, I'm zombie like in my speech too, offering nothing other than a variety of moans and groans. That is at least until I get into the kitchen and Fat Cat starts assaulting my ears with a never ending ear splitting series of meows that leads me to snap, "Meow at me all you want, Fat Cat. It won't make me get your breakfast any faster!"

Please don't tell the Fat Cat this but that statement is actually a lie. Her incessant meowing does make me get her breakfast faster because I want her to shut the hell up.

So yeah, a morning person I am not. I'm sure you're all shocked to hear that.

But today was pretty much the opposite. I woke up well. I woke up happy. I may have even done a little dance but you can't prove it. And the reason behind this sudden change in personality is not drugs nor alcohol. It's the very tiny, quite miniscule breakthough I had with the Problem Character and the Problem Scene.

Cue choirs of cherubim and seraphim.

Who knows if and how it'll play out. That almost doesn't really matter because what does matter is that I had a breakthrough. Even if it was only a teeny tiny crack in the very solid wall that has been my imagination for longer than I care to admit, I still had a breakthrough and there is still a crack in the wall. I'm preparing the jackhammer as I type (I'm very good at multi-tasking). And doing a happy dance.

But you can't prove it.

Also on the agenda today is my preparation for the latest blogfest that managed to snag my attention. Amy over at The Ramblings of Amy is hosting the Retro Summer Blogfest. The idea is to find an old mix CD or, if you're old like me, an old mix tape. Listen to it and write down the tracks (title and artist). Then write what the songs mean to you or why you like it or a little of both.

I went though my tapes this morning and found one labeled "Really Cool Mix Of Music" which can only mean one thing. 90 minutes of some truly spectacularly awful awesome music. Of course, in order to listen to this tape, I had to commandeer The Man's car since it's the only working tape player anywhere near my house.

I take my blogfests very seriously.

Want to play along? It's not too late to sign up. Head on over to Amy's blog to do just that! I'll even make it easier for you. Click HERE. Did I mention there are also prizes? So go sign up! Do it now!

One Thing More:

Check out Chuck Wendig's blog post today. It's called "25 Ways To Defeat The Dreaded Writer's Block." This man cracks me up. And if you haven't read his post called "No, Seriously, I'm Not Fucking Around, You Really Don't Want To Be A Writer", you should because it's a frakking riot.

Have a Happy Day, everyone.

(Did I really just write that? Quick— someone check to see if hell's frozen over.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter, Google+ and One Poor Neglected Blog



In my last blog, I said if you didn't hear from me again before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two, it probably meant I was already in line at the theater. And the truth is that although I have not blogged since last Tuesday, I didn't actually spend two days waiting in line for the Harry Potter midnight show. I did talk my sister into arriving five hours early and still we had to spend three hours waiting outside in a long ass line (the last two hours were spent in the theater itself) that eventually wrapped itself around the back of the theater before they started seating us. (The first person arrived at 12:45 Thursday afternoon and had spent her day enjoying the air conditioning and reading her copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.)

There were quite a few people in costume. We watched a number of Bellatrix Lestranges, a couple of house elves and a pair of Hagrids walk past. Two people dressed as dementors. One of them went all out and walked through the crowds on stilts (I kid you not), scaring the crap out of people. I thought it was kind of a jerky thing to do. It didn't bother me so much but there were a lot of people honestly freaked out by the guy who just didn't seem to care (the other dementor did not attempt to scare anyone). The mother of the group of girls behind us in line spent a good amount of time hiding behind me and my sister. My favorite reaction came from a tween boy who was busy waving at the local news cameras then turned around and saw the dementor guy and said "Holy Shit!" before running away.

I've already Facebooked and Tweeted about how much I loved the movie you already know there was no way in hell I was going to come out of that theater thinking anything else. I laughed, I got teary eyed (others in the theater were full out sobbing...had they not read the book?) and there were parts that made me literally vibrate with excitement. The movie ended at 2:30 in the morning and if they were offering a 3am show, I would've stayed for that one too. I thought they did a fantastic job and I can't wait to see it five hundred more times. Then I can't wait to get it on DVD so I can watch it another five hundred times.

My sister has pointed out that this is insane. She's not wrong.

But it's over now and so life can get back to normal. Or at least whatever passes for as 'normal' around here. Which means that maybe, just maybe, my poor neglected blog will become less poor and less neglected. And maybe, just maybe, the same could be said for my WIP.

But let's not get crazy, shall we?

One last thing before I go, I have some invitations to Google+ to send out to people. If you're interested in trying out Google's version of Facebook, let me know. This offer is good while supplies last.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Big. Week.


I'm back, kids. I'm so sorry for the extended absence. I know y'all have just been beside yourselves with despair and loneliness but it's over now. I had intended to write this post yesterday but some jackwagon somewhere in our internet service provider screwed something up big time and internet service was down for not only the entire state of New Hampshire but Maine and Vermont as well.

I think someone's getting fired.

As it is, not everything is back up today (The Man reports that his office is still living internet free, a problem for a tech company) but I have internet so that's what's really important, right?

Because as I said, it's been a while since I wrote last. If you follow my Tweets or are a Facebook friend, you'll know I had a serious case of Fight Face going on and didn't want to (and couldn't settle down long enough) to spill my bile all over the blogosphere. It was better contained in 140 character chunks. The reasons for this extended Anger Fest are not important to anyone who isn't me so I'm not going to waste time and space writing about it here (a first, I know).

I would, however, like to state here and now that although I wanted to and alluded to the fact that I just might, I did not punch my co-worker in the face. This sounds horrible but really you should understand that if Ghandi worked with this woman, he'd want to punch her in the face too. She just emits this face punching vibe that makes everyone with whom she comes into contact want to punch her in the face. Even customers. So really, the fact that I restrained myself should be celebrated because— let's face it— I'm not Ghandi.

True story.

But anyway, let's move on to the Big. Week. Because I am so freaking excited about this week, I can hardly stand to stand still.

First up, today, being Tuesday, is Book Release Day. And today, being July 12th means that the book so many fantasy fans have been waiting for is finally out:

That's right. After multiple Lucy Van Pelt with a football moments, Geroge R.R. Martin's book, A Dance With Dragons, is finally in stores. Of course, if you happened to order your copy from German Amazon, you might have gotten your book even earlier than the rest of us because someone there frakked up and sent out a few hundred copies early.

Sounds like someone's getting fired.

But I didn't order my book from German Amazon. I ordered mine from regular Amazon and now begins my ritual waiting for the book to arrive period. I didn't bother paying for the good shipping because back at the beginning of the year, I set a stupid ass goal (once again, white wine is an evil, evil thing) to read only books I hadn't read before (there was one exception to this goal, which I'll tell you about in a moment) and I really want to (and need to) re-read the first four books in the series before I read this one. This means I won't be re-reading any books until January which means it won't be until 2012 that I read A Dance With Dragons.

I hate white wine with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.

Also in stores today is Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. This is the third book (and possibly final) in her Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver and Linger are the first two). I love this author and I love these books. I'll admit, the first one did capture me right away. There were parts I thought dragged but it was still a good read. The second book, I thought, was very well done. Maggie Stiefvater is such a fantastic writer with a gorgeous style and I really can't wait to read what's going to happen next. Forever will be arriving in the same shipment as A Dance With Dragons. I will be one happy girl when that box shows up.

But really I have to hope that box does not show up until next week because until Friday July 15th has come and gone, I'll be experiencing a specialized kind of tunnel vision that doesn't register anything except for...

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART TWO

I bought my tickets for the midnight show a good month ago and right now I am in the process of re-reading the final Harry Potter book (the one exception to my new books rule). I've also been (much to The Man's delight) re-watching all the movies. ABC Family had a Harry Potter weekend where they aired versions reedited to include deleted scenes (I love the one in the first movie where Petunia is cracking eggs and finding only Hogwarts letters) as well as sneak previews of the new movie as well. They did not show all the movies, however, and so I will be watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One at some point during the next two days.

Of course, I really kind of want to go to the theater now and get in line for a good seat. Well, if you don't hear from me again before the movie comes out, you'll know where to find me...

Today's Harry Potter themed question (should you be brave enough to answer): What would the Mirror of Erised show you?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Trials


In my last post, I mentioned how my crazy little Gator Girl was sick. Well, it didn't go away. It stuck around all weekend long so my weekend was spent making rice and boiling chicken and getting out of bed every two hours during the night to take her outside so I didn't have to spend my days scrubbing my rugs. So this morning I called the Best Vet In The World and left a message on his voicemail begging him to see and cure my dog because obviously, something unusual was happening here.

He called me back about an hour later and I explained all the no fun we'd been having. He told me to bring her in and, if possible, bring along a stool sample. This made me laugh. My dog had done little else other than produce stool samples the whole damn weekend long so of course I could bring a stool sample. Hope you like orange.


So I sent the Gator Girl outside and stood at the ready with my sacrificial tupperware container. She ran, she frolicked, she played, she jumped on me. But she did not go to the bathroom. I kept her out there until it was time to leave and still she did not go to the bathroom.


Who knew it would be so damn hard to get a stool sample from a dog with the frakking runs.


When I ran out of time, I put the Gator Girl in the car and went back to the house to give Big some cookies before I left. Big has been living cookie free since the Gator Girl got sick. It's just easier that way. Of course, it probably leads to Big planning to run away to his Mimi's house where the cookies run free. So I thought a Kong full of cookies would soften the blow of having to stay home.

It didn't.

I got up to the screen door and pulled on the handle. Nothing happened. Again and again I tried to open the door and still, nothing happened. The door would not open. On the other side of the door, prancing and whining was my Big Brave German Shepherd who had somehow managed to do the next-to-impossible.

He had locked me out of the house.

I called The Man.

Me: Big locked me out.
Him: Big did what?
Me: Locked me out.
Him: Of what?
Me: The house.
Him: What?
Me: I took the Gator Girl outside to put her in the car and Big was apparently upset that he wasn't going to the vet so he jumped up on the door and hit it just right and locked the damn thing so now I can't get back in the house.
Him: Uh....okay?
Me: And now I need to leave.
Him: You need my keys?
Me: No, I need to leave to get to the vet but I can't close the front door. I really think I should close the front door before I leave.
Him: (pause) So you need me to come home?
Me: Yes, please.

Fortunately, The Man's office is just slightly over a half mile away so it didn't take him long to arrive. As he got out of the car, he played with his keyring to find the house key. It was then I realized The Man hadn't heard a damn word I had said. When he got to the door, he looked confused as the front door was obviously opened.

Him: You got it open?
Me: Big locked the screen door. Not the front door.

The Man then tried to open the screen door. It still did not open.

Him: How'd he lock the door? I can't even lock that door.
Me: I don't know. He should probably go and buy a lottery ticket after we get back inside.
Him: I thought you needed my keys.
Me: Not so much, no.
Him: How are we going to get in?
Me: Considering every other entrance to the house is closed and locked, I'm guessing we're going to have to sacrifice the screen.
Him: Really?
Me: And since I'm late for a very vital vet appointment, when I say 'we', I mean 'you.' Have fun!

So while The Man was trying to break in to our own house, I took the Gator Girl to the vet where I was met by looks of utter disbelief by both the vet and the vet tech when I said I did not have a stool sample to offer. We still came away with a diagnosis (speculative in the absence of a stool sample to confirm) of 'Clostridia Perfringens.' It also came with a seven day allotment of antibiotics with some super fun side effects.

Him: It can cause disorientation.
Me: (glancing at my dog running in small crazy circles in the examination room) Not sure I'd notice.
Him: Also if those meds are mixed with alcohol, it causes projectile vomiting.
Me: Gee, I wonder what it would be like to have a projectile vomiting dog.
Him: It'll cause more projectile vomiting.
Me: (glance at Gator Girl) Did you hear that? No beer for you for a week.

We went home after that. It's an hour drive that ended with the Gator Girl finally getting around to giving me that stool sample. All over the backseat of my car.

I love my pets.

Right?

Friday, July 1, 2011

June 2010 Book Review




My horoscope (oh hey, kids! A detour! Let's see where it leads!) today says that I should assume Fortune is smiling down upon me. Well, I'm here to tell you that I don't assume Fortune is smiling down upon me, I know she is. I also know that she must be pointing and laughing her ass off at the same time because the Gator Girl is in the midst of a six hour long vomitpalooza. It started at 3am when she threw up all over her bed, her crate and the bedroom floor (three times) and hasn't stopped yet. Most recently, she literally threw up from one end of the upstairs hallway to the other other. Literally. At some point, really, you have to figure that she'll eventually run out of stuff to vomit but that has not happened yet. So yeah. We're feeling real fortunate (and a little queasy) at Casa Crazy this morning. And we're also low on paper towels.


But anyway, let's talk books. Here's what I read last month:


Awake
- Elizabeth Graver- Not too long ago, I read a blog that asked if you had to like the main character in order to like the book. I didn’t really think so. Sure, it helps to like the character but it wasn’t a necessity. This book is an example of that. At times, this book reminded me of a Jodi Picoult novel, without the courtroom drama. There’s some very lovely writing but I really just didn’t like the main character. Still, Elizabeth Graver writes some very nice fiction. If you haven't already, you really should check out her books.


Akarion Book One Uliin Daar
- Bruce Trimpop- I may have already ranted about discussed this book on this blog. Make sure you edit your manuscripts, kids! Hell, I’ll even do it for you!


Black Out
- Lisa Unger- I really enjoyed this novel. I found it to be a very well written example of psychological suspense. There are a lot of twists and turns and you can never be sure what’s truth and what’s not. A lot of other reviews I’ve read on this book complain that they didn’t care for that but I liked the way the story was crafted. It's really the first example of psychological suspense that I've consider to be an actual example of psychological suspense. I loved Unger’s manipulation of language in this story. This is the third Unger book I’ve read and I think it’s her the best written (so far).


Smokin’ Seventeen
- Janet Evanovich- The latest Stephanie Plum novel. In many ways, it’s better than some of the most recent books have been. I figured out the mystery rather early on. And (spoiler alert!) Stephanie’s car blows up and I always get a kick out that. But I hate the love triangle between Stephanie and Morelli and Ranger. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It’s gone on entirely too long and while I consider myself to be far from a prude, Stephanie is really a freaking slut in this book. Dear Morelli: you can do better. Much better.


Sisterhood Everlasting
- Ann Brashares- A Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novel. I really enjoyed the first four so picking up this book was a no brainer for me. The girls are now twenty nine. Something big happens. Something freaking tragic happens around page 85 that prompted me to send to my sister the following text: “WTF?” I was then sent into a deep depression that could only be cured by devouring a giant vat of Ben and Jerry’s along with the rest of the story. There’s some really beautiful writing to be found here.


Passion
- Lauren Kate- The third book in the Fallen series. I had thought it was the last and since I was, well, less than enamored by the first two installments, I was very dismayed when I first saw the back page saying that the fourth (and final) book of this series would be out next spring. Groaning ensued. But anyway, I ended up liking this book more than the other two. It’s more interesting although I didn’t care much for the end. There’s a serious amount of bad guy monolog-ing going on that I didn’t enjoy but I will say that overall this book is an improvement over the other two. Except for the cover. The first two books had beautiful covers. This one, not so much.


The Arrival
- Nicole MacDonald- This story didn’t do much for me. It’s definitely not my type of fantasy. Plus, there are too many grammatical issues (particularly with apostrophes, pronoun references and verb tense switches) as well as confusing POV shifts from 1st to 3rd person and back again. It made it a more difficult and irritating read.


All right, go ahead and insert some creative book related thing here. In reality, I'm off. There's another clean up on aisle nine. Enjoy your holiday weekend, all!