Friday, August 28, 2009

Hit and Run

I have a ton of stuff to fill the rest of my day (contest judging, website proofreading, text rewriting, novel revising) but I was just catching up on e-mail. I looked at the "33 of 44" on the bottom, all 11 of which came in as I was answering earlier ones, so I don't know what they are or who they're from. There's such a feeling of anticipation, because any of those could bring good news, something exciting, or a lovely compliment.

Of course, they could also be spam from "" asking if I'm looking for the Fountain of Youth.

Does anyone else feel that way when they're checking e-mail, or am I just weird?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Last year sometime, we bought a Wii, partly because it's cool and everyone has one, partly because it's more active than watching TV. We have a few games, but some of them are either too sedentary, or the family pretends they are. And Wii Sports can only go so far before you get bored, you know?

So this week we went and got Wii Sports Resort. And OMG.

1. I killed 2 hours today playing. What? Deadline? Yeah, I'm on track. Just have a little bit more to do today. What do you mean it's not today anymore?!

2. To use another definition of the verb, I kill at swordfighting. Not the platform. And not the speed slicing, though I love that. J just has faster reflexes than I do (but not faster than Number Two). No, I slice through my opponents on the swordmaster one like they're butter. My level is over 500 already, and I just started today.

3. While I suck rotten ostrich eggs at anything to do with frisbees and am only passable at basketball and archery, I am a MASTER at wakeboarding. Okay, not Master with a capital M. I'm 52 points behind Number Two. But it was gratifying to beat J at it after he slaughtered me on frisbee golf. It told me to give up. Srsly!

4. My right arm is going to fall off. It aches right now, shoulder to elbow, and it's that kind of crampy, deep-seated ache you know will mean when I get up in the morning it won't move. And if I force it, you'll hear the screams in Transylvania.

5. I wonder how good I am at left-handed swordfighting?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Dream Update:

Last night I was an intern working for editor Fred Kirsch of Patriots Football Weekly only his office wasn't in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, it was at the beach in South Carolina. He had three turtles in his jacuzzi bathtub.

But the horrible/weird part was that I was driving on a big bridge high over deep water and saw a school bus flip sideways off the bridge. Something else happened that sidetracked me before I could do anything, so later I guess my subconscious felt guilty because I saw two other kinds of buses deliberately drive off bridges, and it was apparently in solidarity for two drivers who had died the week before because of negligent maintenance or something.


The booksigning went really well yesterday. Because I'm not as good as some of my fellow authors (not the ones at the event) at total pushiness and forcing my books on people who clearly don't have an interest, I only sold one. We had fairly steady walk-through, though, and altogether they took in enough to donate $500 to the Lebanon Library, so that was worth it.

I barely got home alive, though, I was so tired (despite getting enough sleep all week, it's clearly not quality sleep). I dozed off on the couch for the 45 minutes before I had to take Number One and her friend to the movies, and while I did, Frisbee dozed with me.

After, of course, kneading my face along with the pillow and grooming my hairstyle into one more to her liking:

The Time-Traveler's Wife was pretty good. (Mild Spoilers)

I haven't read the book, but I bet it's better. The movie had weaknesses--part of it jumped from one unimportant travel to another, and even the "important" scenes felt short and episodic. There were allusions to things that made him travel, like alcohol and being in a TV store. These allusions were contradictory to the visual evidence that he was mostly passive in the whole thing. There were a lot of unanswered questions. He had a genetic anomaly that he could pass on to a child, but where did he get it?

There were strengths, too, mostly between Henry and Clare. When they first meet as adults, it's hot. I adore Rachel McAdams, and she did a great job. I loved that even when traveling caused big problems, Henry never apologized. It wasn't his fault, and he couldn't control it. Other than his frequent absences, though, there was a dearth of meat until the pregnancy issues started. I wanted more with Dr. Kendrick, more of the science of it, more showing of how he got to be the sophisticated, wordly man who first appeared to Clare when she was 6, instead of the helpless one she meets as an adult. It's hard to pack all that into a movie, and what they did pack in was good enough to make me cry.

Warning for those like me who hate to be blindsided:

This is not a feel-good movie. Though, at least, probably most of us guess that going in.

We saw a preview for The Blind Side, I think it's called, where Sandra Bullock plays a real-life rich mom who takes in a very underprivileged boy. The damn TRAILER made me tear up! This one will undoubtedly be feel-good, at the end.

Two weeks left of summer. Two weeks left on my two deadlines. I'd better get to work.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Can't Help Myself...

I'm seeing a lot of mini-blogging about this.

Nutshell: A woman was raped in a hotel parking garage at gunpoint in front of her children, with the rapist threatening their lives. There is little more horrifying than that. Her rapist was captured, prosecuted, and sentenced. Though that's more justice than a lot of women get, I doubt it went very far toward her recovery.

The woman then filed a lawsuit against the Marriott, claiming they knew the rapist was hanging around and did nothing.

The gist of the Twitters and Facebook status outrage is that the Marriott defense, in part, says she failed to exercise due care, interpreted by the public as blaming her for her own rape.

That's unconscionable, but it's the LAWYERS who are doing that. The LAWYERS are the soulless, unfeeling freaks who would apply standard response language (according to other lawyers in the comments of the linked article). I say the lawyers are working for Marriott so the defendant should have a say in how the defense is mounted, but someone else said it's in the insurance company's hands, not the hotels, and if there is anyone more soulless and unfeeling than lawyers, it's insurance companies. I mean, we've all got to agree with that, right?

Another detail is that the woman is only suing for $15,000. I don't think this is true. The article says MORE THAN $15,000, and another attorney in the comments said this is also a standard factor in Connecticut law, that they have to prove the case is worth at least that much. Most companies are smart enough to settle a case that's going to make them look bad, so they either got really bad legal advice (by someone seeking a spotlight, maybe?), or they know the case could cost them millions, maybe billions, once it goes to court. It's also possible they are trying to avoid a precedent. If they settle this, how many people are going to come out of the woodwork trying to blame hotels for things that happened in them?

Part of the prosecution argument is that the man was hanging around for days before the rape, that hotel staff saw him, and no one did anything about it.

1. How do they know he was hanging around? If the woman saw him, why didn't she report it?

2. If two separate security people and a staff person all later admitted they saw him but none of them knew others saw him, how would they have known their one spotting was part of a pattern? One person has to see someone multiple times to recognize loitering.

3. Someone in the comments to the article said all security had to do was ask him if he's a guest and if not, kick him off the property.

3a. Yeah, 'cuz he's going to admit that he's not staying in the hotel (and hey, maybe he was--the article doesn't say).
3b. Do people realize how many thousands of people go through a hotel every day? The turnover of guests over a week probably numbers in five digits, PLUS you don't have to be a guest at the hotel to be on the premises--a conference could have hundreds of people attending it who aren't guests of the hotel. I was in the Waldman Park Marriott a few weeks ago for HOURS. I was in the same spot multiple times. I could have gone to my car in the parking garage two or three times during the day. They should have asked me if I was a guest and kicked me off the premises...oh, except I don't think any staff saw me, beyond the server in the restaurant and maybe the bartender in the bar, several hours later.

I am NOT blaming the victim here. What happened to her is horrifying and my heart breaks for her and her children. I totally understand the need to lash out and place blame as part of the healing process. Maybe there WERE things the Marriott staff could have done. I don't think the attorneys were wise in the way they laid out the defense, and I also think they should have just settled and kept it quiet (though if this was filed over a year ago, maybe they tried and she wouldn't).

But I'm not going to assume extreme negligence by the staff based on a few lines in a news story, nor do I think boycotting the company who licensed their name to the hotel will have any impact, though I wouldn't tell anyone not to do it--that's personal principle.

Mini-blogging and our short attention spans/lack of time have given us more opportunities for knee-jerk reactions to bits of information, and this post is my rebellion against that. Feel free to call me names in the comments; I'll feel free to delete them. :)

Disclaimer: The article I'm referencing seems to have its dates wrong. It says the woman filed suit against the hotel in May 2008 and that her rape occurred on October 10, 2008, which is obviously impossible. Therefore, many things in the article could also be wrong, invalidating anything I said.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Okay, that's not craziness. It's just an official "Up to Speed" recap reel. But look at the end! Looklooklook! It's the new title card, I think! And I LOVE it.

Interestingly, the background looks very much like the sky in my dream last night (one of them), and that's kind of freaky. Or crazy.

It used to be that when I wasn't writing for long stretches, I'd have these heavy-duty, vivid dreams. Exhausting ones, where I didn't feel like I'd slept at all, like I was doing the stuff in my dreams instead of resting. Once I started writing regularly, though, they subsided back to normal vague random brain-firings.

Not anymore.

Though I've been writing, and very hard, my dreams just seem to be getting worse. This morning I had these two doozies:

First, Number One was trying to fix or change an outlet in her room, but it wasn't going right. She hadn't turned off the breaker for her room, so I went down to do it. When I tried, it caused an EMP above the house. A brilliant white-purple flash of light that coalesced and burst. I did it three times, then tried to turn off the main breaker, which seemed to do fine, except stuff in the house still worked (electrically speaking).

I went outside to see what was over the house, because authorities were showing up. There were swirling clouds and flashing lights (in the dark sky), like the government had sent a satellite over us, and at one point I thought I'd actually signaled aliens.

Then the dream abruptly changed. I was back at the beach, though it wasn't Myrtle but somewhere else. I'd gotten separated from J and the kids and was walking on the street just off the beach, talking to some friends. The tide was in, and suddenly a big wave soared in and broke against the sea wall. But it didn't recede, it just covered the beach.

I couldn't reach J by cell phone, he'd forwarded to his work phone, which had a recording that he was out of the office for a week. I kept calling and calling as I wandered the street, looking, terrified that they'd been on the sand. Then the waves kept flowing inland, until I was being pushed forward, like upright bodysurfing. A couple of kids near me said it was so cool, and I said "Yeah, except for the people who drowned." Then my subconscious reprimanded me, because I felt bad for pointing that horrible thing out to them.

I guess at some point J called me, because I was then in my former boss's house while I talked to him. I didn't ask about the kids! But after I got off the phone, I assumed he'd have said if they weren't with him and okay.

I don't remember why, maybe I was pushed under the house by the water and was kind of trapped, but I had to climb up inside the house. After I did, other people showed up, including John Locke, except the way he was acting, I figured it was that other guy from last season's finale (LOST, for those who don't watch it). I saw a guy in a mirror who wasn't really there, but who was, and I scowled and scolded him for being invisible.

Oh, and I'm not sure when it was, but at some point, I was on a residential city street and there was a cat in a tree, and a guy was acting like it was about to fall out, and I was gonna scoff and say it wasn't, because really, that doesn't happen. And then it did, but the woman I was with caught it. I didn't recognize her, but I think it was supposed to be Lori. So if anyone has a white and orange long-haired cat who is prone to treeing itself--it's okay. You can come pick it up during the next REM cycle.

The weird thing about that part (yeah, I know, like the whole thing isn't weird) is that there were food dishes hanging from strings tied to tree branches, and I was like, "do they entice the poor cat up there?" And there was a red plastic curvy slide-type thing, and I think the cat was supposed to slide down it. I realized it was attached to a special truck that looked like a fire truck but was just for rescuing cats. Except no one was manning it, they'd apparently gotten tired of trying and just left the poor cat to fall onto the sidewalk.

So there you have it. A peek inside the insanity of my subconscious.

What did you dream about last night?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Booksigning Saturday!

Waldenbooks Lebanon Valley Mall

10% of the proceeds to benefit the Lebanon Library.


10-11 a.m. discussion panel on how to become an author with a publishing contract with Megan Hart, Savannah Russe, Mindy Klasky, and Maria V. Snyder

11 a.m.-4 p.m. Author Signings

Angela Ginnetto

Vicky Burkholder

Victoria Smith

Misty Simon
Romance and Mystery

Arthur Ford
Local Interest

T.K. Marion
Civil War

Natalie Damschroder
Romance and Erotic Romance

Brian Keene

Savannah Russe
Paranormal Romance

Byron N. Morrison

Sandra Asher

Charlene Haines
Young Adult

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
Children’s History

Doris Washington

Robert Vogel

Dr. Dewey Shaak

Richard Curtin
Military fiction

Dr. Laszlo Geder

Mindy Klasky

Frank Bittinger

J.F. Gonzalez

Maria V. Snyder

Joan Landis
Self Help

Megan Hart
Erotic Romance

Lucy Finn

Andy Pete

List subject to change without notice

Prize drawings!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Let Me Be Random

I'm ba-ack! Yay.

So I've traveled a lot this summer. Tennessee for a week, Maryland for a soccer game, DC two days in a row for a booksigning and then professional meetings, New York and back, and then Myrtle Beach. The longer trips put us through West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. That's a lot of states in 7 weeks.

What I've found really interesting is that gas prices have been essentially the same everywhere I went, even New York City. I've been amazed by that. Of course, I made that observation, then got home and gas here in Podunkville, PA, is 20 cents a gallon higher than it was yesterday in Myrtle Beach, Ultra-Commercial Vacationville. That's, like, opposite how things usually are.

Most of you probably don't pay attention, but if you look, you'll see this post was put up around 2:30 a.m.-ish. I got up this morning, did some chores, and spent several hours working (both household and professional stuff). I didn't do the four most important things on my list before the family talked me into a movie, and I had to do grocery shopping (yes, I live in the freakin' grocery store!!!). Then I made dinner. I came back and did two of the important things, but it was 10:30 and my brain was fogged, so doing the other two important things would be stupid. They need a sharp brain. So I brainstormed with a friend who's writing proposals for her publisher, and started catching up on blog reading. Which I've just completed (almost), and it inspired me to blog.

But now I feel I wasted four hours of what could have been productive time. It wouldn't have been. Revisions and critiques are a lot harder than reading blogs. Especially when I don't comment.

Then I felt guilty, because Jessica/jade_kadir did a meme that said I was one of the three people she talks to most online, and with vacation and busyness that led to late reading, I've been very silent lately. And Gail/un_conscience said no one seemed interested in her SPN recaps, and I totally am, but never commented on them...ref. vacation and busyness and reading several days after the post went up.

But even when I'm not busy, I don't comment much, on any of the blogs I read. Sometimes it's because I tend to read them late at night, like I did tonight, and that generally means tired brain = can't think of pithy comments. Sometimes I don't even need that excuse, I just don't have anything to contribute. But it doesn't mean the people I'm reading are shouting into the wilderness. I'm always entertained and they are always making a connection, even if they don't know it.

I need to become better about telling them.

I saw two movies this weekend. Friday, while J and Number One saw GI Joe, Number Two and I saw Aliens in the Attic. I was pleasantly surprised. It was funny, and decently acted, and far, far better than, say, the Hannah Montana movie. Today Number Two talked Daddy into seeing that with her, and Number One and I went to (500) Days of Summer. I knew it was one of those typically downer-topiced indies, but I've loved Joseph Gordon-Levitt since Third Rock from the Sun and Zooey Deschanel is decent. I found the movie delightful, because it did three things:

1. Used a non-linear timeline to break up the downer stuff with happy stuff.

2. Made the downer stuff funny, even while it was tragic.

3. Ended on a high note.

So definitely worth the price of a ticket.

The downside to taking vacation at the beginning of August is that when you get back, the month is nearly half gone. I know, the math doesn't compute, we were only gone 8 days, but yeah. I have 22 days to my deadline, and must finish the paid critique before then, too, and the schedule is full of soccer and back-to-school stuff, and if I have time to blog at all, it will probably be at 2:42 a.m. every time.

I know. I can see you wincing. Me, too.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Winding Down

The rest of the week has become a blur. We did the beach the last two days, and it didn't storm, but we all did get a little roasted. I keep lamenting my inability to stay at the beach for an entire day, like we always did when we were kids, but MAN, the sun is so much stronger now. I blame Tiffany Amber-Thiessen and her can of hairspray per episode.

I've changed in other ways, too. When we first got here, I kept scoffing at the beach club pool. I mean, we had the whole friggin' ocean at our feet! But then Wednesday, we rinsed off and swam in the pool before driving back to the resort, and that was actually kind of nice. Soothing, after the action of the waves and the stickiness of the salt and graininess of the sand.

One thing that hasn't changed is my preference for northern beaches. When the water temperature is only five degrees cooler than the air, there's nothing refreshing about it. I don't want to take a bath, I want to cool off from the deadly heat and humidity.

Gah. I sound like such a complainer! I'm at the beach. On vacation. And really, I'm loving it. I just spent so much time at the beach when I was a kid, my brain won't stop making comparisons.

Yesterday we did a banana boat ride. O. M. G. My arms ache like crazy. The ad on the website says all you have to do is hold on! HA. That's all. We were waiting by the water, watching the previous group coming in, and they capsized twice. That freaked out Number Two, and I tried to give her an out, but the boat was there and she said it was too late, so we got on, and she fretted the whole time about getting dumped in the ocean, a mile from shore, and I fretted about her fretting. Other than that, it was FUN. We had one near mishap when we tilted a little too far right and Number One, who was in the front and the most difficult position to hold on to (not to mention, facing the spray), nearly got dumped off. She wound up sprawled across the boat on her stomach. The guy running the Jet Ski pulling the boat was very good, though. He stopped immediately so we could right ourselves, and most of the ride, he hit the waves in the easiest possible way to stay on.

So we're aiming in to shore. I'd told Number Two we wouldn't capsize. Then we're almost there, and a wave tilts us, and Number One tilts left, and so do I, and then she overcompensates and flips us all off to the right. I kicked J pretty hard--couln't help it, he fell on top of me--but thought it was Number Two. I'm searching frantically for her, say, "Where is she?!" to J, and he chuckles.

"She's on the boat."

She was the only one who didn't fall off!

So that was quite an adventure. After hiking in the Myrtle Beach State Park in the morning, doing the boat ride, and battling the choppiest surf yet for a little while, we were pretty beat.

And Number Two STILL wanted to go to the pool last night! She's lucky she has such a game Daddy. Lame-o Mommy would have just sat poolside and read (which I did) and made her swim on her own.

I like dunking in the pool and cooling off (or whatever), but I'm not much into swimming in the pool for very long. The exception is the lazy river, which seems to be all the rage now. They have them everywhere we go. It's totally aimless floating, but since you're going somewhere, it feels like a purpose? I don't know. I just like it. And after Number Two got scolded for floating under her innertube, the guy telling her she was going to get her feet tore up, I had an idea. And guess what? The bottom of a lazy river is an AWESOME exfoliator for heel calluses.

Today's our last day, and we're all sad. We'll do the beach one more time (with the accompanying two more loads of laundry) and Number One talked J into taking her to see GI Joe, so I get to take Number Two to see Aliens in the Attic (yay). We also might go get a picture taken with baby tigers and apes. That one's up in the air.

Then it's the long drive back tomorrow. I won't sigh. Saving up all our points for two years (plus borrowing from next year) allowed us to have two vacations this summer, and I know a lot of people don't even get to do one. We're lucky.

Still...I've got doctor's appointments and soccer practices and meetings and a looming deadline waiting for me when I get home, and I'm just not ready to face that yet.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Deja Vacation

Day 1: 13.5 hours of driving instead of the 9 it should be, mainly because of congested traffic. J is a trouper, for sure, for doing most of the driving.

Day 2: Got about an hour and a half at the beach before it started to storm. The beach club that gives us access to the beach had water damage so the lockers, showers, changing rooms, and snack bar are all closed. No one bothered to tell us, even when we called the front desk about using the beach club.

Spent most of the day running all over town trying to find a second bathing suit for Number One (found one, as well as replacements for my broken flip-flops). Did grocery shopping (twice), three loads of laundry and the dishes.

This is vacation?

Didn't get a chance to post...

Day 3: Repeat of day 2--just under two hours at the beach, rain started. Didn't storm as badly, but we didn't go out again. Except, oh, wait, to the grocery store. *sigh* We did get to Rioz for dinner--awesome Brazilian steakhouse--and then played mini golf and swam in the pool.

Day 4: Lazy day, letting injuries heal (not me this time!) and taking a break from the beach. Of course, it didn't rain. *sigh* Went to Magiquest, the fastest hour and a half in history, and narrowly defeated Number Two at a duel. Then we went in search of a bookstore and spent lots of money on books! Best part of the vacation so far! LOL

Now the kids are all over me to go pick up Sonic for dinner. We don't have Sonic at home, so it's a treat. A cheap one, luckily, since Rioz cost us two bills. Ouch.

Luckily, the beach is free. Hey, honey, how's your leg...?