Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coming Attractions


So beginning on Saturday, October 1st, I will be participating in NaBloWriMo. (Yes, I know the pic on the left is from 2010 but the new buttons aren't ready yet.) This stands for National Blog Writing Month in which participants will attempt to write a blog entry every single day of the month in October. I view it as a warm up to NaNoWriMo in November.

I participated last year and did successfully post every single day. And since my blogging has fallen off in recent months, I thought NaBloWriMo might be just the thing to get me back on track because I do so hate to not complete a goal.

In order to help me with this task, I have decided to set a schedule for the month. I've never done this before so I don't really know how it'll work out but I guess we never really know anything until we try.


Here's my proposed schedule:

Silly Sundays: In which I will post things which make me laugh.

Music Mondays: In which I will post things, you know, music related. Playlists and the like.

Top Ten Tuesdays: In which I will post a list of my top ten somethings. Have something you'd like to see listed? Let me know. I am open to suggestions.

Writing Wednesdays: In which I will post about writing in some way, shape or form. Excerpts, updates, whatever.

Thursday Thoughts: In which I will post about whatever's on my mind. The true 'Anything Goes' day. Fear that.

Photo Fridays: In which I will post pictures. Pictures that inspire my writing, pictures I've taken around town, whatever.

Small Screen Saturdays: In which I will post my weekly television round up. Wanna know what I thought of Glee? Well, you'll find it here.


So that is what I'm aiming to do. It will be subject to change should something else come up. For example, the first Sunday post (October 2nd) will be my monthly book review post. Man, two days in and already I'll be deviating from the plan. Wonder what the rest of the month will bring...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wild Weekend


Who wants to hear about my weekend?

Well, I hope you do because that's what I'm blogging about today. The Man and I were on the road this weekend as The Heather was tying the knot and for some unknown reason, she asked me to serve as her maid of honor. I'm not an incredibly useful maid of honor but I suppose I am occasionally good for a laugh. The following retelling of my weekend will likely prove that. Oh, and don't worry. The wedding went off without a hitch. This is all about the keystone kop-ness that is me.

There are two sides to this story. 1) What was supposed to happen and 2) what actually did happen.

What was supposed to happen Friday:

6am-9am: Get out of bed, take care of animals and finish packing before leaving to take the dogs to the kennel.

10:15am: Arrive at kennel, check dogs in

10:30am: Leave kennel and head a couple of towns over to pick up the wedding cake. Yes, that's right. I was trusted with the wedding cake.

11:00am: Arrive at cake place.

11:30am: Arrive home. Repack car with wedding stuff. Do dishes and other last minute housekeeping stuff (this will come as a surprise but I hate leaving the house messy).

12:30pm: Leave for rehearsal

2:00pm: Arrive at rehearsal. And then rehearse. To be followed by dinner with the bride and groom and then a good night's sleep.

What Actually Happened Friday:

7:00am: Oh shit. I was supposed to be up an hour ago. Guess that wasn't the snooze button after all.

9:30am: Oh shit. I was supposed to be in the car with the dogs a half hour ago. Guess I'll finish packing when I get back.

10:45am: I arrive at the kennel. The Gator Girl promptly has massive anxiety attack that results in trembling so bad, it probably registered on a richter scale somewhere. Once I convince her to actually get out of the car, she wraps herself around me so hard and fast that she knocks my glasses right off my head. I don't notice.

11:15am: I leave the kennel. The Gator Girl is fine.

11:18am: Oh shit. Didn't I have my glasses on when I arrived at the kennel? Where did I leave those?

11:20am: Return to kennel. Glasses are nowhere to be found. This is a slight problem as technically I am not supposed to drive without them. I'd like to note that I strictly follow this rule at night. Or in inclement weather.

11:21am: Oh look. There they are. In the parking lot where I backed over them with my frakking car. They are now comically flat. If there's a near sighted stick figure in need of glasses, have I got a deal for him.

11:22am: I leave the kennel. There's a wedding cake still in need of picking up.

12:00pm: Arrive at cake place. Try not to seem rude as I grab the cake, safely store it and leave like a bat outta hell.

12:10pm: my iPod crashes. But of course it does. This pisses me off because I really like having my iPod for longer driving trips.

12:40pm: Return home. Finish packing suitcase in record time. Leave flattened glasses and iPod paperweight behind. Repack car, throw The Man in the driver's seat and leave like a bat outta hell.

12:50pm: Oh shit. We need gas.

2:40pm: We make it to the wedding site. Can't rehearse properly because we don't have the proper music. As we're also in need of other things, we leave the wedding site with The Heather to go out and procure these other things. But first, I get the cake out of my car before something happens to it.

3:40pm: Oh hey look. It's our hotel. We check in and I leave The Man there to entertain himself.

4:30pm: Return to wedding site and rehearse. Go to dinner.

11:00pm: Go to bed.

What was supposed to happen Friday night:

11:oopm-7:ooam: A good night's sleep.

What actually happened Friday night:

11:00pm: While trying to find my way from the bathroom to the bed in the dark, I manage to run into a wall and smash my face on the corner. My first thought after an extreme string of not-nice words is, "Gee, I hope the bruises match my dress!"

12:ooam: I am still awake. The hotel pillows suck.

12:30am: Still awake. My brain is running through the entire Black Keys song book.

1:00am: This is not funny.

1:30am: The last time I remember looking at the clock before...

2:30am: The hotel's fire alarm goes off, waking up both me and The Man. The Man's first sentence: "What is that?" My first sentence: "Are you kidding me? I just fell asleep!" But as there is smoke in the hallway, we evacuate. I prove that I am a writer first and foremost when I grab my notebook before shoes and a pair of pants. Other guests prove they're idiots when they lean out the window of their third story room and yell down to us, "What's going on?" I resist the urge to yell back, "We're having a party in the parking lot. At 2:30 in the morning. In the rain." Instead I explain about the smoke. The guy's response (word for word...not making this up) is "There's smoke? Grab the baby and let's go!" Jackwagon.

3:00am: After three fire trucks, two cop cars and one critical response unit show up, it is determined we can all return to our rooms. The lobby is still filled with smoke but not as badly as the room in which the hotel serves breakfast.

3:15am: The Man falls back to sleep. I don't.

4:00am: Still going. Repeating the Black Keys song book.

5:00am: This sucks.

6:00am: The last time I remember looking at the clock before...

7:00am: The alarm goes off.

What was supposed to happen Saturday:

7:ooam-11:00am: Wedding prep and travel to wedding site

11:30am-3:00pm:
The wedding and reception

What actually happened Saturday:

7:30am: I check the weather. The chance of rain has shrunk from 70% to 10%. There is much rejoicing. I roll out of bed and stumble to the bathroom to check the status of my head. My right eye is a little sore and puffy but the bruise hasn't shown up yet. Yipee!

8:30am: I go to breakfast in my pajamas. I get a lot of looks. I think about throwing my pancakes at them but I decide not to waste perfectly good pancakes.

9:00am: I discover we're out of tissues. I go to the front desk to get more because there's a bride on her way. Chances are we're going to need tissues. The front desk clerk is entirely too perky. But she gives me two boxes of tissues so I let the perkiness thing slide.

9:30am: The bride and her friend/hair dresser/make up artist/florist/photographer (AKA The Amazing Deb) arrive at the hotel to get ready as the groom and the best man are using The Heather's apartment. I'm still in my pajamas. At least The Man is dressed. He goes out to wait in the lobby.

10:30am: I put on my dress to discover I don't have quite enough up top to fill out the dress. Good thing I got that extra box of tissues.

10:45am: We're headed out. I put on the shoes I found in the very back of my closet.

10:48am: Walking out to the cars, I remember why those shoes were in the very back of my closet.

11:15am: We arrive at the wedding site. As I carry things from the car to the house, I chant "wrong shoes, wrong shoes." I already need band aids for my blisters. I only have one band aid in the bottom of my bag so I use it to cover the worse of the two blisters.

11:30am: The wedding!

12:30pm: The ceremony's over, the pictures are done and I am able to limp over to the car to find my far less stylish but far more comfortable sandals.

12:30pm-3pm: Wow. We've finally gotten back on track. It was bound to happen some time, right?

Congratulations to The Heather and The Husband (dear The Husband: if you're not crazy about your My Pet Blog nickname, we are open to suggestions...). May you have a long and happy life together...



Friday, September 23, 2011

TV Talk (Week Ending 9/23/11)


I love television and I watch entirely too much of it. That's right. I am a slave to the idiot box. In the past, some people have tried to make me feel bad about my viewing habits (you know who you are) and what's worse is that I let them.

But no more. (Well, probably not any more. We'll see.) For better or worse, the idiot box is part of what makes me me (probably shouldn't have gone with the 'idiot box' phrasing just then). I like good storytelling in any way, shape or form and if that form just so happens to resemble a soapy Ian Somerhalder climbing out of the bath, well then—

Sorry. I got distracted just then. What was I saying?

Right. I love TV and so I'm going to watch it. A lot of it. Thursday nights will pose a particular challenge. After I watch all my shows, I will then blog about them. I used to do this all the time. And now I'm going to do it again. My television thoughts will be posted once a week, probably on Saturdays, as Superatural airs on Friday nights. Feel free to share your opinions or just ignore this segment altogether. To each her own.

Here are my thoughts on this week's offerings:

Monday

How I Met Your Mother: A brilliant start to what I'm sure will be a brilliant season. I'm not really a fan of the Barney/Robin pairing so I'm hoping they don't go down that road. I like Nora just fine but I don't think there's any way Barney will be marrying her. The writers threw the audience a little bone at the end of the first half hour when Lily arrived, saying the bride wanted to talk to Ted. This has led a lot of people to think it's Robin because obviously the bride is really good friends with Ted because why else would she want to talk to him? Want to know who I think the bride is? Want to know my bold prediction? I think it's going to be Victoria. That's right. The cupcake girl from season one who reemerged at the end of the second half hour. In other HIMYM news, I saw the outcome of the Lenny Kravitz thing coming about five miles away. Loved Edward Forty Hands, Beercules and Martin Short's appearance.

Castle: Despite my eternal love for Nathan 'Captain Tightpants' Fillion, I've always been a little 'meh' about this show. Honestly, it doesn't always hold my interest. I did watch the last couple episodes of last season and thought they were pretty damn good so I tuned in to watch this season's premiere. And got bored again after the opening credits. Can't Nathan Fillion just make more episodes of Firefly?

Alphas: I'm three weeks behind on this show so I have no idea what went on this week but I still wanted to make mention of it because I really have been enjoying it. I don't know if you watch this one or not, but it's pretty damn awesome. Monday nights on the SyFy channel. It always amazes me that a network that can produce such crappy Saturday night movies can produce such an amazing scripted series. I thought the same about Battlestar Galactica and I think the same about Alphas. Gary, by the way, is my favorite. And did I mention that Summer Glau guested? Is there any way she can guest every week? Or (even better) get her own show as, you know, River Tam? Just asking...

Tuesday

Glee: Meh. Lots of thoughts in no particular order: I didn't particular care for most of the music this week. Rachel and Kurt's "Ding Dong (The Witch Is Dead)" number just didn't have anything to it. It was too slight. Blaine left his well funded private school to attend a crappy public school? Really? And his parents were cool with that? Lindsay from The Glee Project (of which I only watched a couple of episodes, I swear) put in an appearance as Rachel 2.0 and sang "Anything Goes"...that number was awesome. I want Quinn's hair. Will Scheuster continues to become a bigger (insert your favorite insult here) with every passing epsiode. "Guess who woke up just before I did..." Really, Mr. Shue? That's disgusting. I'm hanging in with you for now, Glee, but I have to say...you're on notice.

Ringer: Watched the premiere last week because of Sarah Michelle Gellar. And it wasn't (with the exception of a certain green screen boat scene ) that bad. Waaaay too much mirror symbolism. They're twins, we get it. I'm having a difficult time not thinking of SMG as Buffy. I mean, to the point where I'm watching the scene where she's hiding from the bad guy and I'm saying, "you're the slayer, for crying out loud! Just kick his ass!" This week SMG spent the entire episode trying to hide the body of the man she shot in the pilot. She ended up stuffing him in an antique trunk during her fake husband's party. I was disappointed. I'd been hoping she'd go the Weekend At Bernie's routine.

New Girl: I wanted to like this show but I couldn't get through this episode. And it was only thirty minutes long.

Wednesday

The Middle: This show never fails to make me laugh. Every episode I watch Axl, knowing I'm seeing a younger version of The Man and I watch Sue knowing I'm seeing a younger version of me. Brick is a riot and Mike is hysterical (although I still some times only think of him as the Janitor from Scrubs). This week the Hecks get in the car and go camping. The board game scene was hilarious. Mike's line "Do a charade...No." made The Man and I high five.

Modern Family: Another show that never fails to make me laugh. I thought Gloria was entirely too shrill in the first half hour. And the new Lily is kind of freaking me out a little. My favorite moment in the first half hour was probably Cam showing off the adoption album. My favorite line of the night came from the second half hour when Claire said, "I would love to be wrong. I just don't live with the right people for that."

Revenge: It was on after Modern Family and I was too lazy to change the channel. And although I got surprisingly choked up over the part with the dog, it mostly just made me want to buy a summer house on the beach. But not in the Hamptons because that's apparently just full of cheating backstabbers. Yikes.

Thursday

The Big Bang Theory: An all right first half hour followed by a much better second half hour. I loved Bernadette going to Raj's apartment to yell at him, especially at the end when he asked if she thought he had a chance with a girl like Penny and Bernadette screamed, "Of course you do! You're a cutie pie!" In the second half hour, I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheldon tried to get Penny to get rid of her dumpster chair, particular the part where she opened the door and greeted him with the chair's cushion. I also enjoyed Sheldon's line "when I come to power, those are the people who will be sterilized."

All right. So that's it for this week. I'm missing most of my Thursday schedule (Vampire Diaries, Community, Parks & Recreation) and Supernatural isn't on here anywhere but life is getting in the way and limiting my time in front of the small screen. Thanks to my DVR, I'll catch up eventually.

Things should be back to normal next week and you'll be able to sit back and wonder how it is that one person can manage to watch so much damn television and still retain the ability to construct a halfway decent sentence. Until then...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ren Faire Fun


This past Saturday, The Heather and I took our annual road trip to Carver, MA to engage in the frivolity and general silliness of the Ren Faire. For a while, The Heather wasn't sure she'd be able to make the trip. This, I will not lie, bummed me out a little. The Man selflessly volunteered to take her place should the need arise. He had only two conditions:




1. I buy him at least one yard o' beer upon our arrival.
2. He didn't have to wear any stupid tights.

And while I found his offer to be incredibly sweet, I told him that I would never make him go to the Ren Faire because, tights or no, it would be the absolute furthest thing away from his thing that one could possibly get.

(Quasi Related Side Note and Question: The Man asked me yesterday to go to a Queensrÿche concert with him at the end of October and I said no because me at a heavy metal concert would be like him at a ren faire. Not my thing. But am I obligated to go because he offered to go to the ren faire with me? What do you think?)

But the ren faire is my thing. And it is The Heather's thing. So we went. We arrived very early because I maybe drove a little too fast. Honestly, I didn't even realize my car was capable of doing ninety. I'm going to blame Joan. Joan is my new GPS unit. Yes, I know it's probably weird to have named one's GPS unit but there's a story behind that. Another much longer road trip involving me, The Heather and The Man and the somewhat bitchy GPS unit that came with our rental car. If my GPS's voice had been male, I would've named it Timmy. That last sentence is making The Heather laugh very hard somewhere. If The Man reads this, it'll make him roll his eyes and renew his vow to never take a road trip with The Heather and me ever again.

Oh hey look at that. I'm digressing again. Let's see if I can't get back on track, shall we?

However it happened (it certainly couldn't have had anything to do with my excessive speeding), we ended up arriving at the faire before the faire actually opened. This was a first for us because we're never there before the gates open. We stood outside with the diehards in costume. The Heather and I have never gone to the faire in costume. We've discussed it before but we've never actually done it. Last year, we went to the corset shop where the sales girl went out of her way to tell me what nice breasts I have. Then, when I refused to try any corsets on, she talked The Heather into it and then proceeded to stick her hand down The Heather's shirt to— you know what? I don't even know what. We decided this year that The Heather would demand a turkey leg and a yard o' beer before groping would be allowed.

We have standards, after all.

Our first stop this year was the first of the weaponry stalls because I have what is possibly an unhealthy obsession with medieval weaponry. I love swords and daggers and can't wait to have a double bladed battle axe to hang on my wall. We went to Sabersmith first because, as we discovered, one of the advantages of getting to the faire before it opens is that one can actually go into the Sabersmith shop and move around because there's no one else there. I love going there. They make such beautiful weapons. I want to buy a matching pair of short swords from them at some point. Maybe after I publish my first book I shall treat myself.

(But that, as we all know, is a long way off because I am, as ever, me and can't get out of my own way.)

So we touched the swords and axes and the war hammers because if you're over eighteen, you're encouraged to do that. Then we found the mace you see The Heather holding in the picture above and on the left. I thought about buying it and taking it to The Store with me. I could keep it on my work station. I bet the chicanery would come to a screeching halt then, wouldn't it?

After our first visit to Sabersmith, we decided to stalk Jacques Ze Whipper for a while. We first saw his show last year and his was the first show I looked for on the schedule this year. He's hot, good with whips and pretty damn funny to boot. A triple threat.

We watched the jugglers from Bristol, CT (Juggle This!). They're very funny, very sarcastic performers. The Heather and I laughed so hard that we were attracting stares from people sitting near us. They were the same kind of stares we always get from The Man whenever we go see funny movies together.

(funny quasi related side note: on a dinner date with The Heather and her soon-to-be husband, The Heather and I were amusing ourselves per usual, resulting in some hysterical laughter. The Fiancé looked at The Man and asked, "Are they always like this?" and, without missing a beat, The Man responded, "sometimes they're drunk.")

We hit the tourney field after that and watched the knights of the kingdom engage in a totally not at all rigged joust. We sat in Sir Joseph's section and cheered our knight on without fail. Even when he took a dive after a non hit. Sir James, the resident evil knight, won. He won again when we came back for the second tourney show of the day. I guess it pays to be evil.

After lunch, we stalked the faire employees, looking for the kilt wearing Brad Pitt lookalike who works in the Gaming Glen. When we found him (Huzzah!), we did our best not to look like creepy stalker chicks while watching him work the children's rides. I like to think we were rather successful. So successful, in fact, that he didn't even notice our ogling when he went over to the scantily clad belly dancer girl trying to test of strength game where you use a mallet to try and get a thingamajig to hit a bell.

This did not make us feel inferior at all.

Which explains why the next stop was the second weapons place where we tried to pick up a war hammer that was so heavy, I could barely pick it up with both hands. Neither could The Heather. We amused the Japanese tourists standing nearby and then guffawed at the big strong man who came along right after us and picked up said war hammer with one hand.

This did not make us feel inferior at all.

We went back to Sabersmith after that where I did something I have never done at any of my previous ren faire visits. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or, hell, even Google+, you'll already know what I did.

I bought a dagger.

That's right. A super shiny, super sharp, battle ready dagger. It's so pretty. I know it wasn't a double bladed battle axe but the axe (the one I could actually lift) cost $350. The dagger cost less.

Of course, they were out of scabbards so my dagger's blade came specially wrapped in bubble wrap and I had to store it in my backpack instead of wearing it on my hip. Still, it was damn cool and made me incredibly (and probably pathetically so) giddy.

After that, we went back to stalking Jacques Ze Whipper. In the afternoon, he does a show with another performer called the Torture Vs. Whip show. It's one of the few shows that actually comes with a PG-13 rating. At the ren faire, you often hear a lot of bawdy things followed by the employees saying, "Parents, if the kids get the jokes, it's not our fault!" and then see parents herding their youngsters in the opposite direction. We heard it so much, The Heather asked the Sabersmith guys if it was in the employee handbook or something. It isn't. They just like to say it.

They said it a lot at the Torture Vs. Whip show. But the show was hysterical and involved the torture guy doing some fire eating and then some fire breathing (Kids, definitely don't try this at home. Go to the neighbor's house instead...). It was all very impressive. It makes you wonder how one discovers a talent for such things.

We left the faire shortly after that and went into Boston for our now annual pilgrimage to Mike's Pastry. If you're ever in Boston's north end, find your way to Hanover street and go to this bakery. Sure, there's always a line that goes out the door and to the end of the block, but it moves fast and the wait is well worth it. I'm partial to the black and white cookie. The Heather loves the cannolis.

We took the train back to the car along with everyone who had gone to Fenway that night to watch the Red Sox lose (again) to the Tampa Bay Rays (this irritates me more than I can tell you). This means we were packed in like sardines. Really, really crowded sardines. The Heather and I talked to a couple on vacation from Myrtle Beach. The wife told me she thought New England was too cold. I told her The Man would agree with her.

Eventually we made it back to the car and back to New Hampshire. I ended up getting home a little after 11pm and found The Man in bed, right where I had left him that morning. I told him all about my new dagger. It turns out he already knew because he saw it on Google+. I told him how awesome it was. How beautifully crafted and shiny and sharp.

"It's battle ready!" I said. "Like, actually, battle ready. I could actually stab someone with it."

(Important note: I will most definitely NOT be doing this.)

"Fantastic," The Man said.

I doubt the sincerity of the sentiment. Still, a very exciting day. And who knows...maybe next year, I'll bring this home with me:



Monday, September 19, 2011

I Haz A Week Off!




You'll have to pardon my bad grammar in the title there but I'm a little punch drunk with the realization that I don't have to go to The Store at all this week.

That's right. I received a week off. I don't know if it was some kind of oversight or something but I decided not to ask. When I saw my name and the total lack of hours next to it, I whooped and hollered and shrieked, "I don't have any hours next week?!?" And then did a little dance. It took the Second Assistant Manager (the unnaturally cheerful one) a moment to realize that (a) I wasn't having a seizure and (b) those were happy whooping, hollering and shrieking noises I was making.

I have a week off! I have a week off! I have a week off!

And to make sure it stays that way, I'd like to announce to one and all that I will not— will not— be answering my phone this week. I don't care if the caller i.d. says The Man is on the other end, I Will. Not. Answer. I will not take the chance that The Store has somehow gotten ahold of The Man's phone and is using it for their own nefarious purposes. So if you're calling me this week, leave a message and if your voice passes my voice analysis software (seriously not taking any chances), I'll call you back.

So you might be asking yourself what exactly I shall be doing with myself now that I have a week off (I have a week off. Did I mention that? Like an entire week.). Or you might have already moved on to the next blog and that's all right too because I won't know the difference. But in case you were curious, here's what's on the agenda:

Write the new chapter I decided last week that Effigy just had to have.

I am so pissed about this. I mean, I really am. I was supposed to be doing some housekeeping type edits this week. Just cleaning up typos and some passive voice issues before I handed off the manuscript to a new potential beta reader (one who— with luck— might actually pan out. Unlike pretty much everyone else.). Effigy was supposed to be done. I wasn't supposed to be creating more frakking story but it happened anyway. And while I do ultimately think it's best for the overall story, I'm currently irritated with myself for taking two giant steps backward when I mean to be moving forward.

But hey— at least I still have a week off.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Go-To Girl




Things at The Store have become very interesting.

What's that? You'd like me to define interesting?

Sure. But in order to do so properly, I'll have to turn the floor over to my laconic flight school buddy (yes, I was there that day), Hoban "Wash" Washburne.

(I know you know what's coming next...)







Yes, that's right. The Store is experiencing some turbulence and then we all may explode. But I don't wanna explode because if I die in The Store, I really will be pissed.

But that's neither here not there because the real reason things have become so gorram (sorry, I really on a Firefly kick today. More than usual even) interesting is that I have suddenly become the Go-To Girl.

(Pause for laughter)

Why have I become the Go-To Girl? Well, I'll tell you.

The AssMan is in the throes of some sort of nervous breakdown. I'd do another 'pause for laughter' thing here but that just seems mean because although I am not very fond of her, I suppose there is the possibility that she's legitimately experiencing some sort of mental health crisis. Not everyone on staff, however, is willing to grant her the benefit of the doubt. The general consensus among the rest of the staff is that AssMan may not be suffering from a nervous breakdown so much as she's just looking to enjoy a nice paid month off from work.

I was just looking to enjoy a nice unpaid week off from work but because she's on the injured reserve list (gee, I wonder how many more metaphors I can mix into this thing), the rest of us are stuck picking up the slack. And by 'the rest of us', I mostly mean me because I was tapped to come in and keep The Store afloat.

I was supposed to work a grand total of three hours last week before enjoying my own vacation (well, vacation is relative. I'd planning to spend the time playing with the dogs and working on a massive Effigy edit) but before I could get out and get away, I was cornered by the SM (store manager) and fed a sob story about how badly she needed me this week because the AssMan was out (perhaps indefinitely...her words) and the fall line was coming in and she herself was supposed to be going on vacation (to Vegas) and a giant meteor was hurdling through space, headed right for us and— Oh wait. Maybe not that last one but the rest of them were true enough.

And so instead of having a week off, I worked all last week. And I do mean all last week. The good news is that I will have a happy, shiny paycheck to take with me to the Ren Faire this coming weekend. It still won't be enough to score me a sweet double bladed battle axe (my kingdom for a sweet double bladed battle axe) but it'll certainly buy me a yard or two of beer (Huzzah!).

And I suppose the even better news is that with the AssMan's absence, the staff isn't as cranky or as on the defensive as they normally are. There's actual communication happening between people that doesn't involve rude hand gestures or under the breath muttering. Of course, I've spent the majority of my shifts alone in the stockroom wading my way through a sea of cardboard and ruffle henley shirts (the fall line is apparently all about the ruffle henley) but I haven't had to listen to a endless monologue of misery from every passing employee.

That in itself is cause for celebration.

I did tell the SM that in exchange for my sacrifice, I would require the rest of the year off. Once she finished laughing (it took a while) and said no (or was it 'Hell No'?), she told me she'd go to the Venetian hotel in Vegas and steal me some pens. The thought made me sit and beg like a puppy looking for a cookie.

I am perhaps too easy.

But at least I'll have some new pens.

Right?

Oh, and one last thing—

Thanks to everyone who came out and commented on my first Insecure Writer post. It was incredibly kind of you to take the time to do so. I am really very sorry I didn't make it out to more of your blogs or get to respond to more the comments left on this blog. I hope to do better by you and for you the next time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Insecure Writers Wednesday


Today is the first day of a new monthly blogging series, the Insecure Writer's Support Group (follow the link for information and a list of participants). You may be wondering why I'm doing this because obviously, I am not insecure at all. All right, I'm totally and completely insecure and I'm looking forward to sharing my fears and concerns and maybe, just maybe, being able to help alleviate the fears and concerns of others. Hmmm...alleviating fears and concerns may be too much to ask from my poor addled mind. Maybe I should just shoot for letting people know they're not necessarily alone.

I guess we'll find out.

Anyway, I don't know really what I should talk about in this very first post. A lot of people (well, okay. Maybe not a lot of people. Maybe just two people. I haven't made it to very many blogs today. You can blame my day job. I do.) seem to be talking about their fears so, for a lack of any better ideas (again, blame the day job. It just sucks the creativity out of you), here are a couple of mine:

1. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid that I'll write this book, publish this book, put it out in the world and absolutely nobody will read it or buy it or acknowledge it in any way, shape or form. Like, not even my friends and family. Maybe I could just market it as a doorstop. Do people still buy doorstops? You could crochet a cover for it like people do with bricks. It'll be the best doorstop ever. Just don't, you know, get it wet.

2. I am afraid of success. Go figure, right? I suppose being afraid of success is a little like trying to run before you can walk but I think about these things sometimes, life after publication (I hear there is such a thing and it is occasionally nice) things, I mean and I worry that I will one day run out of ideas or words or talent (provided I have any with which to begin, of course). Running out of any of these would not be conducive to a successful writing career. That's probably the good thing about my day job. It does not require talent to fold shirts. Alcohol, maybe. But talent? Not so much.

3. It's probably hard to tell, given my occasional bouts of holier-than-thou grammar lecturing, but I have a sometimes crippling lack of self confidence. I am honestly my own worst enemy when it comes to writing and don't really know how to get out of my own way.

Since three is a magic number (Name! That! Reference!), I'll stop there. I do, however, want to give a shout out to a few people and one group of people who are awesomely supportive. And don't be offended, Blogger friends of mine, because while I do find you delightfully wonderful, this is a (not all inclusive) list of people with whom I have actually stood in the same room.

1. Code Monkey (aka The Man). I give him a lot of crap and maybe pick on him a lot in blog and, you know, in life in general, but he really is a good guy who puts up with all my writer idiosyncrasies and never (outwardly) complains about them. He's also actively researching self publishing opportunities for me because, unlike me, he thinks it will be awesome. And we're all about the awesome. Hmmm...maybe I should start calling him Captain Awesome (Name! That! Reference!)

2. My Bro. He's really awesome too. He'll listen to me drone on and on (well, he reads my long rambling emails) about the same thing over and over again. He never (outwardly) complains about my repetitive problems and then always gives me good advice. He told me recently that, "As long as you do what you want to do, you won’t make the wrong decision." Awesome advice, right? So now I just need him to tell me what is it I want to do...

3. My friend Mike (aka the Best Beta Reader in the World). If you read his name, you should already know why I want to celebrate this guy. He's read every draft of everything and has never (outwardly) complained about it. Plus, he's never had me committed or told me I can't hang out with his kids after receiving an email from me asking some random throat slitting question. Why I keep thinking Mike's some kind of throat slitting expert, I do not know (he probably doesn't know either) but he always comes up with something. Mike also gets points for recently telling me that should I ever even consider quitting this whole writing thing (I won't.), that he will be worse than a nest of angry yellow jackets until I get back to it or whatever. And as someone who recently stepped on a nest of angry yellow jackets for the second time in her life, I know how much I don't want to have that happen.

4. My writers group. This is a group I joined a few months ago after seeing an ad for it in the local paper. Every other time I've attempted to join a writers group in the Mount Washington Valley, it's been a group of little old ladies writing their memoirs. This new group is kind of like that (we seem to talk about quilting a lot) but it's been fun and I find myself coming up at the end of each meeting feeling energized and ready to do some serious writing. I almost never do that serious writing (again, we're blaming the day job for that) but still, I want to.

That's going to do it for me today. Thanks for tuning in and we'll see you next time on My Pet Blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fights and Bites


Welcome to the Dog House.

We have a couple of new additions to the group. My brother and sister-in-law have gone on vacation (they swear they're coming back) and left their very own dynamic duo (Bru the Bruiser and Maximus the Mini) with us at Camp MWV. This is not the first time they've come to stay with us and usually with their visits comes an assorted collection of hijinks and chaos. I've written more than one blog on the subject.

But they haven't been here for a while. In fact, it's been probably about a year since the Fantastic Four have all been together in the same room. Or the same house. They get along reasonably well. Most of the time. Some of the time. Well, there was that once...

Anyway. They arrived on Saturday and our first couple days went very well. The most commonly heard phrases around the house were "Max, stop humping your sister" and "Bru, that's a door."

The biggest trouble we had was with the cats. My cats are reluctantly used to my dogs. They have learned to co-exist although Vader would be much happier if all dogs would simply cease to exist. Needless to say, neither Fat Cat nor Vader reacted well to the sudden appearance of a miniature schnauzer and a saint bernard. Max especially wouldn't leave them alone so Sunday morning I was forced to relocate the cats to the Code Monkey's (the guy formally known as The Man) office. They are much happier now. The Code Monkey, not so much.

But apart from that, things were going well. I was even able to leave a fairly confident Code Monkey home with the entire group while I went to work on Sunday and again on Monday. Things were going so well I was starting to worry that I wouldn't have anything about which to blog.

Then came Monday afternoon. We had just had two separate play sessions and had merged all four dogs together. This same routine worked great on Saturday and again on Sunday so I don't know what happened exactly on Monday but the girls (Bru and the Gator Girl) Got. Into. It. One moment we were all friends and the next, there was a full fledged brawl in my kitchen.

So I waded into the middle of It and broke It up because that's what I do. I had successfully parted the two— or at least I thought I had. They were separated but decided they weren't quite finished with each other yet and wanted to go back for more. Since I was between them, this meant that they ended up tagging me. The Gator Girl bit my wrist while Bru ended up biting the same arm a little further up, just below my elbow.

It hurt. It hurt a lot (truth be told, it still really hurts a lot). So I shrieked. I shrieked a lot. Then I ended the fight. Then I said some not nice words. A lot of nice not words.

I'm not afraid of being bitten by dogs. I've said that before. I've been the person in this picture:



So being bitten is not a big deal to me. But the big difference between that picture and what happened in my kitchen on Monday is the padding. And, you know, the number of dogs attacking me. When I do bite work with my Malinois, it's only the one dog doing the attacking and I have some very nice padding to help cushion the blow. I was not wearing my bite sleeve on Monday afternoon so now I have some very nice bruises forming. And a slight loss of feeling in my pinky finger but really, what good are pinkies anyway?

The really good news is that neither Max nor Big felt the need to get involved. Also, the girls have decided to call a truce. I suspect my use of not so nice words followed by the Code Monkey's use of not so nice words had a lot to do with this. But whatever the reason, let's just hope it lasts the rest of the week.

And I thought I wouldn't have anything to blog about.

Friday, September 2, 2011

August 2011 Book Review


Well, you already know I slacked off as far as reading (and, all right, everything else) went last month so I don't have a whole lot to post here. I even slacked off more than usual on the "what I thought" portion. But I did read three books this month. I did start a fourth book, a self pubbed effort for the Kindle, but had to stop after the second page because the grammar issues just made me so sad.

Dear Self Pubbed Authors: I applaud your initiative. I applaud your confidence but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE EDIT YOUR NOVELS. If grammar isn't your thing, then please find someone whose thing it is to help you with this task because really, no published work should have their/they're and your/you're problems. So please, edit your manuscripts. Hell, I'll even do it for you.

Moving on...

Here's what I read last month:

Boy Toy- Barry Lyga- Recommended to me by Christa over at Christa Writes. She described it as ‘dark, but very good’ and I have to agree. Parts of this book are absolutely heartbreaking but it's a fantastically written story.

An Abundance of Katherines- John Green- This was my least favorite of all John Green’s books. Of course, that’s a little like saying “Bushwacked” is my least favorite Firefly episode. I really love how he creates characters. I always end up loving them. I am very much looking forward to his new book next year.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter- Jeff Lindsay- The book upon which the first season of Showtime's awesome series Dexter is based. It's a lot different from the television show. Maybe it’s because I saw the show first (and am now watching the fifth season) but I think I (and I know this is sacrilege) prefer the show’s version.

Well, that does it for me today. I'll try to do better next time!