Friday, February 27, 2009

Teasing Day

A lot of people I know in other parts of the country are enduring snow and ice storms, or the aftermath, so I'm not complaining. But the weather today has been a big, noisy tease. Temps went up, sun came out...then it started spitting ice and the temp dropped again. Then the sun came out again. Now it feels bitter.

The revisions have been going well, but I was just about to tackle chapter 15 and it needs some bigger changes. Dinner hour is not conducive to that, so it's going to wait, probably for Monday, though if I can get some done on the weekend, I'll be much happier. My half of the tax stuff is done, and I did my weekly column update and submitted some editing/proofreading bids. Pretty productive day, all in all. Will spend the rest of the evening critiquing.

I've been spending a lot of my off hours watching Bones on DVD, and just finished season 3. I understand why the people I know who watch it love it. Boreanaz and Deschanel have as much chemistry (of a different sort) as Ackles and Padalecki, and they are surrounded by excellent secondary characters. The extreme forensics angle is cool, too.

Two small problems, though. First, of course, I'm just sick over Zack. How could they take him from us two seasons in a row? And I guess this time is pretty permanent. The other thing is regarding Bones and Seely. He's just about perfect. He does all this sweet stuff for her--the Christmas tree outside the prison, the Brainy Smurf, telling her she gave Zack a lot (a home, ref. the job offer letter, in the season 3 finale), even allowing her to use him to cast suspicion on her in her father's trial. But what does she do for him? I know she's very stuck in her own head, very bottled up emotionally, but she does nice things for other people. I'd like to see her think of him from time to time.

Now I have to find some way to catch up with this season. There are no repeats before the new eps start on March 12 (I have one recorded), but eps 11-14 are available online, for free. I hate to pay for all the rest at iTunes, but I'm not going to bitorrent (I can't decide how that's spelled) them, so I guess I'll have to. I saw that the Gravedigger is back--that was my favorite episode, I think. Except for the kiss one, under the mistletoe. Anyway, I do have other things to watch along the way. The little TV time I've had has been on the laptop waiting for the kids to go to bed, so tonight I shall catch up on some other stuff, like Lost and Terminator and maybe Leverage. If I can stay awake that long.

Everyone have a good weekend! That's an order!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Observations on Food

*I had a coupon today for Hostess. I realized that I'd never given my kids Twinkies. Obviously, there's a reason for that, but I figured one taste wouldn't kill them, and pop culture is full of Twinkie jokes, so they need to understand their origins. I also realized I hadn't had Twinkies in a really long time, either.

OMG they suck. I haven't eaten anything so horrible that was supposed to be good in, like, ever. I actually threw it away.

**I wanted to get some nuts today, too, and the store had Planter's cashew halves and pieces on sale. I'd recently decided I like the halves and pieces better than whole cashews, because they're crunchier and have more of a roasted flavor. Bonus: they're cheaper. So the ones I bought today have "Pure Sea Salt" on them. I didn't know what that would mean. The stuff I've eaten with sea salt before didn't have a regular-salt equivalent.

OMG, these are good! I have no idea if there's a health benefit to sea salt (i.e. lower sodium level?) but yuu-uum.

***Have you noticed the new trend in fundraising? Instead of spending way too much money on junky trinkets or teeny containers of nuts/candy/cheese or whatever, you go out for dinner. Ten or twenty percent of your bill is donated to the school, library, charity, organization, etc., sponsored that night. It's nice because no one is keeping a tally of who participated or not, you don't have to try to sell junk to friends/family, and you're getting something you like.

Only problem is, we can't afford to eat out often enough to support Number One's academic team, her school's PTO, Number Two's school's PTO, the soccer club, the local library, and Operation Wildcat (the organization collecting for needy local families).

****My cats are weird. They get the exact same amount of the exact same food in their bowls. About halfway through the meal, they switch. BG goes to the bathroom, so Maya starts eating out of her bowl, and Frisbee goes to check if the dog left anything in hers. BG comes back, but Maya's in her bowl, so she goes to Frisbee's, who, disappointed by the licked-clean dog dish, comes over to Maya's.

It wouldn't be an issue except Maya keeps gaining weight (she's way beyond chunky now) and BG had glucosamine on her food now, and if she doesn't eat it, she's not getting the benefit. And if Frisbee manages to score dog food, she goes all demon-cat on us when we shoo her away.

Your turn. What food-oriented observations have YOU made recently?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, Yeah, And...

About Lost this week.

I haven't been inspired to talk about it much, until this ep. (Tracy, I totally forgot! We'll talk tomorrow!)

I've read a couple of media blogs and no one has said anything close to this:

When Ben said he had something to do, or a promise to keep, or whatever he said, did no one else scream "No!!! Not Pennyyyyyy!!!!" at the TV? Did he not promise Charles that he would punish him for taking his daughter, Alex? Which means killing Penny?

My hope is that Penny totally kicked his ass.

Enough of That

Let's talk about some happy stuff.

This makes me happy, even though it's still 17 days away:

So much to squee over. Something good? My favorite reaper? Evil Dean? Superhero Sammy? EEEEEEEEEEEEEE! March 12 can't come soon enough.

Let's see, what else?

My mammogram today was negative. My mother died of breast cancer, and first contracted it at age 37, so I've been getting them for the last five years. This year, they also provided a probability profile for me. I'm 0.9% likely to get breast cancer in the next five years. That's three times more likely than the general population, but as risks go, it's pretty low.

Despite the FB debacle and the mammogram and the other errands I ran while I was out (bagels from the place that makes them by hand, yum; library; gas), I had a pretty productive day. I got through one and a half chapters, and plan to finish the second one before tonight. I also sorted the receipts for the taxes. It's a much less overwhelming job if I break it into pieces. I'll be done by the end of the week.

Tomorrow Number Two has after-school club, and Wednesday she has after-school orchestra, giving me an extra half hour of work time both days.

I'm excited about seeing Race to Witch Mountain. I don't remember if I posted about this before. I read the first book again recently (Escape to Witch Mountain, and am about halfway through the second (Return from Witch Mountain) now.

Of course, when reading books this old, you have to allow for the decades that have passed. The first book was fine, but the majority of it had little happening, and the ending was sooo disappointing because suddenly we're not in the kids' POV anymore, so we don't actually see Witch Mountain or what it's like for them to be reunited with their family/people. The second book starts with an absolutely ridiculous scene, even for 1978. The uncle is rewarding the kids with a little vacation, so he drops them off at the Rose Bowl and leaves them for a week. WTF? Who does that with kids? There's absolutely no reason for him not to stay with them. They have to take a taxi to their hotel, but of course it all goes awry. Once again, despite the inherent action in the premise, it's a pretty passive story.

But I've been "matching" the bits from the trailer with the book, and I'm eager to see what they've changed. It looks like they've reversed Tia and Tony in terms of age/leadership, and given the cab driver a bigger role than the two pages he has in the book (maybe he shows up again in the book, I don't know yet).

Anyway, looking forward to that. Unfortunately, I'll be in New Jersey not seeing Jared Padalecki when it comes out, so we'll have to wait a week (assuming the family doesn't go see it without me!).

Okay, your turn! Tell me something positive.

Facebook F*****s

A while ago, tired of all the plants and vampires and pokes and quizzes on Facebook, and not seeing any real value in being there, I deactivated my account.

Recently, more and more authors have been doing Facebook and talking about Facebook. I wasn't interested in going back, but three weeks ago I was looking for someone and they appeared to have a Facebook page, which I couldn't see without membership, so I reactivated my account. It was supposed to be temporary--I had huge misgivings being there, because I had just read about the 419 hacking scam, and Facebook seems to be very vulnerable. But I got friended by friends, and my family has become active on FB, and FB has been all the rage in writing circles, so even though I still don't see the value, I stayed.

Big f****g mistake.

Yeah, I got hacked, and I am pissed. It happened last night but I wasn't online so I didn't find out until this morning. I deactivated my account, apparently still logged in (and the bastard reactivated it immediately). So I changed the password, sent a message to the affected people who got the spam from my account, and deleted the account permanently.

What a freakin' waste of time.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This is Why It's Called "Crushed"

Jared Padalecki canceled on the NJ Salute to Supernatural.

I am shocked at the magnitude of my disappointment. I mean, I've been saying for months that I'm almost more excited to see Jason Manns and Misha Collins. Apparently, I've been lying.

I found out when M texted me last night, though I didn't see the text until this afternoon. It was exactly like someone had wrapped me in a bubble and started drawing the air out of it. I had to buy some dark chocolate toffee medication, and then I bought Cheetos. I let my kids drink Coke with lunch. Classic signs of depression.

The whole idea of being crushed at not getting to meet a celebrity feels ridiculous. I mean, I have friends who've lost loved ones recently. And jobs. And book contracts. There are so many far worse things going on even among the privileged, never mind the underprivileged and worse. And yet, I still feel...crushed.

Intellectually, and even somewhat emotionally, I get it. And I'm not even surprised. He was scheduled for three cons this month, and many people thought that would be too much. Maybe his "unforeseen personal commitment" is a serious or unavoidable thing. And from his perspective, we're just a bunch of nobodies. The faceless mass of interchangeable bodies aren't important, compared to, say, a nephew's birthday party or a meeting with a producer regarding a movie role to film this summer. But I'm not always a naive idealist, and I can't help imagining him partying with a couple of well-endowed twins in Malibu while we trudge through slush in Joisey to commiserate with each other.

Creation Entertainment auctioned off a private lunch with Jared, for $2,300 each. I found that kind of squicky, since the money wasn't going to charity. It's like...paying someone to be your friend, or something. I figured Creation was being greedy, because you could just set a flat fee and do a lottery of all those people willing to pay. And Creation is charging a $7.25 shipping and handling fee for tickets they are E-MAILING. That's EACH TICKET. So if you buy two photo ops, you pay $14.50 to get one e-mail. It still pisses me off to think about it. Anyway, now I find myself changing my opinion a little. If that lunch had been for charity, and the lunch is now canceled, either the people who paid wouldn't get what they paid for and are out the money, or the charity would lose thousands of dollars.

They've added four new attendees, all of whom I expect to be good speakers, and we are getting refunds for the photo ops so I'll probably use that money to get one with Jim Beaver, instead. It won't NOT be a fun time. It's just...

Now how am I going to tell Jared he's not allowed to be in any more horror movies?

Friday, February 20, 2009

TIH, FT13, and UTM

I could not wait. I wanted to gather a group of friends to have a movie night, but I can't see it happening soon enough. So I rented Ten Inch Hero this week.

(That link takes you to the Blockbuster Online page. Blockbuster has exclusive rental rights, so sorry, no Netflix. The stores should have it to rent--that's where I got it--and the clerk and other fans have all said it can be ordered to buy. The TIH people also just announced that it will soon be available to buy in other outlets, like Amazon, too.)

It was a far better movie than most of the romantic comedy crap that's been in the theaters lately. Sweet and funny and heartwarming. People make mistakes and do idiotic things but care about each other enough to both help and tell them when they're being idiots. The cast chemistry was excellent, and the best part of the film.

I know you'll think I'm biased, but out of a very talented ensemble, Jensen Ackles stood out. Okay, Clea Duvall made me cry, but Jensen Ackles made me fall in love, over and over again during the hour-and-a-half film. I really hope he gets copies of this to show to studios and stuff. He's so much better than so many actors getting big roles. I know that as a TV star, his schedule is limited, and both being on The CW and filming in Vancouver hide him even more, but man. One viewing of one of his scenes in TIH, and anyone should want to hire him.

I do have a few nitpicks with the film. (minor) SPOILER ALERT!!!! How can a sandwich shop with four paying customers a day afford a staff of five people? There was never anyone in there! :) I liked how all of the story threads played out, but I wished Tish was a little more developed so we could see more likable things about her, and I wished Jen had gotten courage herself, especially after Priestly called her out (and rightly so!). And as much as it made my heart swell, I was a little bothered by Priestly's ending. His willingness to do what he did was courageous and telling, but he shouldn't have had to do it. (Plus, where'd the holes go? LOL)

Those are small things, though. I can't wait to buy it and watch it again, and heartily encourage everyone who loves sweet, emotional movies to give it a try!

I went to see Friday the 13th this week, too. I would say "spoiler alert" again, but it's kind of hard to spoil something so predictable. I mean, we all know how many people are allowed to survive in a slasher flick, right?

So here are my thoughts on FT13 summed up in 4 points:

1. Jared Padalecki is hot, and so big no one makes a motorcycle big enough for him.

2. A movie that keeps showing potential gory weapons but fails to use them adequately, if at all, is lame.

3. A movie with absolutely no plot (the story line was "kill the a**hole, kill the sl**, kill the sweet guy, kill the stoner, kill the nice girl, kill the di**" [listed in no particular order]) and no logic (why did no one get killed in 20 years?) isn't worth the price of admission, unless it's a matinee. Or stars Jared Padalecki.

4. Why can't a hero just be a nice guy doing the right thing? Why does he have to have a jerky backstory for which he is trying to atone?

We screamed a lot, which was fun, even for the three people in the theater who weren't part of our group. At one point I was trying to stop myself from hiding my eyes, but then I thought, "Jared's not in this scene, you don't have to look." I appreciated that permission. And I'm totally telling Jared he's not allowed to do any more horror movies. I can't take it. (If the miraculous happens, and Jensen shows up because, like, he's lonely or something, I'll tell him that, too.)

All in all, My Bloody Valentine was better; our opinions were unanimous, of those of us who'd seen both. It had more story, more characterization, more tension, more motivation, and much more Jensen than we got of Jared. Plus, the 3D rocked.

Things are going really, really well on Under the Moon. After the struggle to get chapter one right, I'm in love with the book and characters again. And what I learned from chapter one is really helping add depth and emotion to the rest of the book. I'm almost halfway through and expect to finish by the end of the month, barring any unexpected work uprising.

So that's all tonight! Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bloggin' Around

I'm not blogging around, not right now. But here are some interesting things to visit:

Vicki Smith has some sage advice about not just dreaming, but working hard to make them happen.

Tracy Madison, whose book comes out next week, has been hosting guest bloggers. This week's guest is Denise Lynn, and she's giving away 3 copies of her latest book. There's still time to comment and get a chance to win one!

Jody Wallace has the latest interview of an author and her cat dog (the horror!).

And finally, so far this week at The Gab Wagon we've talked about brightening days, contest burnout, and reader giveaways.

Toss a link into the comments if you've seen something interesting lately!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Quick Hit

Wow. I didn't realize it had been a whole week! Sorry about that. Dead air is stupid.

Check out my word meter for Under the Moon! After being stagnant for a really, really long time, it's finally moving. Notice (yeah, like you pay any attention at all to that) that the total number is about 4k larger than it was before. The first number didn't move for so long because I was struggling to get chapter one right. I finally did ("so, so, so much better" and wasn't that music to my ears!) so now things are progressing much more easily.

I did start a post on Friday, when my kids were off school. This is what I got:

I prefer yellow over any other highlighter color. No idea why I have 18 highlighters here in my pencil holders, none of them yellow.


I suck at DDRE. Actually, I'm brilliant, but only on the "beginner" setting. The kids and I were doing it today, and I did "Pump Up the Volume" (I think) on Light and nailed a "complicated" step, cheered, and promptly missed a couple of simple ones. Number Two says, "I think you got a little overexcited, Mom."


Yeah, dull stuff. Again, sorry.

So, last week's goals. I got them about half done. Didn't exercise every day, didn't get as much of my own work done as I intended, but did get more critique done as well as the entire editing project, which included creating a bibliography (easy) and an index (God, don't let me have to do one of those again!).

This week is so far much quieter, so hopefully the progress bar will keep moving. I'd like to be done by the end of the month so we can get this puppy submitted!

How's your week look from here?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Day One! Oh, Never Mind

Here's how I did on today's portion of the goals I set yesterday:

Exercise: Done!
Cleaning: Done!
Edit Chapter: Um...
Pro. Editing Job: Done!
Three additional editing jobs today: Done!

Not listed yesterday (oversight!):
Critique: Maybe later?

What I did today that wasn't on the original list:

* Waited for computer to run the chkdsk it decided to do without asking (enabling me to get the editing done, on paper, anyway, as well as the cleaning, but not so much the chapter or critiquing)
* Got adjustment at the chiropractor (ahhhh--I needed it. I was waking up 18 times a night with my arms asleep)
* Bought stamps at the PO to replace the ones the cats apparently sent into Limbo
* Blogged at GabWagon
* Prepped tomorrow's post for Supernatural Sisters
* Did Chuck review for Sci Fi Chicks
* Did laundry (two and a half loads, one being too small and unbalanced and folded into load three)
* Cleaned up dog diarrhea in living room for second time in two days
* Took Number Two back to school to pick up homework she forgot
* Supervised homework of Number Two
* Prepared dinner
* Fed the animals
* Sent some e-mails

I know, that's all terribly fascinating stuff, but tell us, Natalie, what you thought of the episodes of Leverage you caught up on last night!

Yes, I'm all caught up, and I really like the show. I love Elliot and Hardison and Parker. I love Nate's mind, but am quite dismayed by the sudden descent into overwhelming alcoholism, and Sophie doesn't do much for me. It's another on my list of really enjoyable shows that I will record and watch every week, but if it stops, I won't miss it that much. (Of course, I won't have to, since it got a season 2 pickup recently.)

Okay, so, goals for the week, let's try again tomorrow. Chapter 3 will take priority over everything else, I swear it!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Write 'Em Down...

One of my friends blogs her goals every week. I'm finding myself having a little difficulty sticking to certain ones, so I'm going to give it a try. Writing them down always seems to make them more concrete. Revealing them to the world at large adds the embarrassment factor. I'll report on Friday. :)

* Exercise every day
* Follow summer cleaning schedule (basically, one room per day)
* Edit minimum one chapter per day
* Finish professional editing job
* Complete any additional editing jobs that come in from ongoing clients

There, that's the basics.

I saw two movies this weekend. One was expected to be mediocre, but was surprisingly excellent. The other was expected to be mediocre, and fell a little short.

I rented Wedding Wars because Sean Maher (Simon from Firefly was in it, and the premise didn't sound horrible. But what a movie! It was a TV movie originally, and it faded to black at odd places. Number One watched it with me, and she was indignant it never got the attention she feels it deserved.

The whole cast was good, from John Stamos (in the best role I've ever seen him in) and Eric Bana to James Brolin and Bonnie Somerville. And, of course, Sean Maher, in a slightly looser role than Simon was.

Even better was the writing. It acknowledged stereotypes while expanding on them and then mixing it up a little... Oh. I should explain that the core of the story was gay marriage, with John Stamos playing the gay brother of a man who works for the governor and is about to marry his daughter, shortly before re-election. When the governor (and brother) announce support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the gay brother (and wedding planner) goes on strike.

The story is a self-professed fable, with things that would never happen in real life (people really going on strike). And it mostly avoids preachiness, making entertainment come first, and letting the issue serve the growth of the main character and the relationships involved rather than vice versa.

The thing I liked best was that there were no villains, only people. Some of them did stupid things, and some of them were wrong, but they were all sympathetic characters and none of their actions seemed unbelievable or over-the-top. At the end, there is no grand resolution, only a better understanding of each other and plans to move the battle forward.

Can I just tell you how much I love my daughter? Absent any level of brainwashing or forced opinions, she voices extreme disgust that there is even a debate about same-sex marriage. Love is love, she says, and that's all anyone needs to know.

The other movie we saw is He's Just Not that Into You. I've seen worse. The acting was mostly fine, the cast many of my favorites. It was cool seeing a totally unglam Drew Barrymore, and a laid-back Ben Affleck. Sometimes I really liked Ginnifer Goodwin, sometimes I really wanted to slap her hard (I blame the writing and direction). All in all, I didn't feel my money (matinee rates) was wasted.

There was a trailer for an upcoming movie with Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper. A dream cast! It also has Thomas Haden Church. I'll see it, because I love all of them and the producers did two other very good romantic comedies (Miss Congeniality and Two Weeks Notice), but Sandra Bullock appears to be sporting a horrible wig or haircut while offering up a very slapstick, silly performance. I'm bracing myself for disappointment.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Sex and Violence

I spent a lot of time today chatting about last night's Supernatural episode at Supernatural Sisters, and it was great fun.

Then I ventured out into the greater fandom world (not far, I never go far), and much of the talk is about how the siren appeared to Dean. And it left me feeling queasy.

Of course, to Wincesters, the episode is canon that Dean lusts after Sam, because of the way the siren manifested. I disputed this, because during the "seduction" phase, where the siren got its victim close enough to poison it, the siren appeared like Dean, not like Sam. He loved classic cars and classic music. It was only after Dean was under its influence that it brought up the brother connection, and at that point, it didn't matter what it said, the victim will do whatever is asked of it because of the poison, not because of the seduction.

Someone said siren=sex, but I'm not convinced. First, siren also = female so once they twist that, anything can be changed. Now, I haven't read Homer or any other ancient mythology for a long time, and I'm not inclined to spend hours doing the research, but Sam's description of the sirens didn't mention sex at all, if I'm remembering right. They lured the men to their deaths with their appeal, and of course most men are led around by their you-know-whats. The stories were written by men, about seafaring vessels that were rarely controlled by women, so of course the original myths are tightly contained.

But Dean and Sam are not most men. The circumstance was unique. The siren was portrayed as clever and adaptable, not a mindless predator doing what it does. It was bored, it knew the boys were hunting it, and it took on the challenge of defeating them.

So yeah, at the moment, what Dean wants most is the brother he loved and trusted and protected. And anyone is free to interpret it in any way they want; that's the nature of entertainment. But I seriously doubt the writers intended anything sexual between the brothers, and I don't see anything there.

Sex aside...

There was one thing I didn't like about the show. When we clued in that the FBI agent was the siren, I was hoping there were two, and the doc was one, because otherwise the clues pointing to her were too heavy-handed and manipulative.

Otherwise, I thought it was a great episode. They held to our expected framework, but they mixed it up a little. They were lawyers! And I loved the FBI stuff, because we tend to see them only with quick hits; they get out fast when other authorities show up or they get questioned. It was nice to see them acting with such confidence in both roles.

The guest actors were also great. I wasn't impressed with the husband in the opening, but then when he was in jail, I got totally sucked in to his story and stopped thinking about the episode. I loved Cara, the doctor, who reminded me of Sarah but more mature, more seasoned, just like Sam.

Bobby, as always, was awesomeness. The phones! The cooking! And yes, the rescue. I know some would have liked the boys to get out of it themselves, and part of me wanted that, too, but I think it made more sense for Bobby to figure it out and rush in. I think, for example, Sam being immune to the venom the way he's immune to demon stuff would have been too pat.

The fight meant a lot to me. First, because I got hooked on the show during the pilot episode, when Dean snuck into the apartment and they fought. What a difference with this fight! It was very well blocked and shot, and very believable.

On the other hand, the verbal fight was heartbreaking. What Dean said came from pain and loss, and truth. Sam's been hiding from him and lying to him in ways he never did before. He's fracturing their trust, and for cripe's sake, Sam, Dean DIED for you! But Sam's words came from an ickier place. He said mean, hurtful things, things that if he really did mean them, make him no longer the man we love. I actually cheered Dean when he threw the knife at Sam.

So it seems (with or without spoilers) that we're heading for a Sam and Dean showdown, with Sam becoming the bad guy we've dreaded for three seasons. I adamantly disbelieved the possibility that he could really become wrong, but now I'm not so sure, and I both love and hate the writers for making me feel this way.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sending You Elsewhere

First off, we have a GREAT deal at Echelon Press:

TODAY ONLY: Buy ANY book/download for $3 or more from and receive a FREE download of your choice.

Just for fun:

This week so far at Supernatural Sisters, Tanya has a very funny post about why she watches Supernatural through her fingers, and Mary talks about living in the hometown of one of the show's heroes. Tomorrow I'll be babbling about Dean's Hell. Thursday Terri examines the five-year-plan, and Friday will be Trish's review of "Sex and Violence."

Guest Bloggers and Inkheart:

Tracy Madison has guest blogger Jessica Andersen, my favorite Harlequin Intrigue author, and Jody Wallace has Jess Granger's cats, among other things.

I posted my thoughts on the movie Inkheart over at The Gabwagon this week. Did you see it? Read the book? Head over there and give us your thoughts!

And if you have a link to a cool site or blog post or whatever, feel free to stick it in the comments!