Monday, November 30, 2009

Black Friday Adventures

My post is up at The GabWagon. Wanna see what a badass I am?  Read what it was like to endure 10 hours waiting for a very special deal!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Adventures

I’m trying out Windows Live Writer to post this (at least to my Blogger blog—you might be reading this elsewhere).  WLW is on my new laptop.

What? My new laptop?! How on earth did that happen? I mean, over at GabWagon last Monday, I was saying how I wanted but didn’t need a new laptop.

It all boils down to insanity and frugality. I wanted to get the Best Buy Sony Vaio deal, so I went over at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday and got in line. Five hours later, in the rain, after chatting with some nice people, watching video and the “Serenity” episode of Firefly, and listening to podcasts, we all stood and gathered our stuff and consolidated the line.  At 3:41 a.m., they started handing out tickets. I got the last ticket for the Sony Vaio without the Geek Squad stuff (you know, they charge $40 to install the antivirus software that you can install yourself in 10 minutes).  By the time I got my ticket, it was after 4:00.  They said they’d open the doors early to stage the lines to pick up the merchandise, so I decided to hang around.  At 4:41 they opened up.  I went to the restroom (I eschewed the Port-a-Potty all night) and got in line.

Finally, just around 8:00, I reached the head of the line, after verbally assaulting a couple of forons (check out my GabWagon post on Monday for details).  I was home a little after 8:00 a.m., with my new baby, upon which I am now typing!

I got home a little dehydrated and with a horrible headache that didn’t go away with liquid and breakfast, so after doing some setup work on this lightning-fast puppy, I let my wonderful husband talk me into sleeping for two hours.  Then I got up and we started to paint!

Yes, after my all-nighter, I spent Black Friday painting half my living room.  Today we finished the living room and hallway painting, and we’re really pleased with the result (as long as no one looks too closely).  Tomorrow we have to get the new switchplates installed, sweep and mop the floor, rub away all the paint drips and footprints (Number One earned the new moniker Paint-on-Foot), reinstall the vertical blinds, and move all the furniture back in—all before the inlaws come over for football.

To top it off, Monday we need to rake the last of the leaves.  Which will probably ice me physically for a week.  I mean, five hours standing in line (the five before that were spent sitting), then uncounted hours crouching, bending, reaching, and climbing over two days, followed by an hour of raking…that’s an oy.

So, how did you spend your [holiday] weekend?

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Balance

Every individual has a driving force, a philosophy of life, a guide that shapes everything they do. Mine can be summed up in one word: balance.

I'm always striving to balance work and family and pleasure, nutritious food and yummy junk, things I want and things I need, exercise and activities, the checkbook, my friendships...everything! It stretches from big picture to day-to-day, and most of the time, I fail. I spend 17 hours a day on work and very little on family, or 17 hours on family and nothing on work. My ideal is to clean the house a bit each day, but I always end up doing it all at once, which means it's never done properly or fully.

Anyway. Today, I'm really satisfied with my balance.

Last night our 14-year-old dog (for her size, that's 88 in people years) launched into a panic attack over we could not tell what. We were thinking stroke or something, with the way she couldn't stand or walk and her head kept rocking from side to side and her eyes were twitching and stuff. Or we thought respiratory distress, her panting was so harsh and heavy. We had the kids say goodbye to her, just in case, and took her to the doggy ER at 11:30.

Turns out she has a simple disorder, vestibular disorder, that hits old animals in spells. Essentially, she's on her own personal tilt-a-whirl. She adjusted to it so she stopped panicking eventually, and Benadryl keeps her calm and not vomiting six times in three hours anymore (motion sickness!). But she can't eat, because she can't aim her nose in the dish and when she does manage it, she lists to the left and falls over. She keeps knocking into furniture and banging her head into the wall and floor. It's horrible!

So this morning, I spent at the dining room table, staying near her because she can't handle the stairs down to my office. I got 2400 words done with her at my feet. Then I did the dishes, caught up on all the e-mails from the weekend, and did a few tasks awaiting my attention.

When Number Two came home we read together. I did the dishes again, and talked with her and her sister before they brought their laundry downstairs. That's about halfway done now. The three of us spent a couple of hours playing Wii. I contributed to parental stereotypes by sucking hard. (They wouldn't let me play the things I'm good at!)

Now I'm blogging here and at Gab Wagon. I have a bio to write for one client, another to type for another's website, and a few other blogs to read. I'll finish just about the time Number One and her father leave for the health club, so I'll hang with Number Two until she gets in the shower (and finish the laundry, I hope!). Then I can relax and watch How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Castle before I go to bed for a decent night's sleep.

All the bases covered! Gosh, it would be nice if every day was like this!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caring Too Much

I've decided to trim my Supernatural fan exposure. This season it's driving me INSANE.

When I fell in love with the show, I couldn't get enough of it. I searched for places I could get more of it, short of fanfic, and found some. Much of it I've dropped away from already, but I've held on to some that I felt offered fun, insightful, interesting commentary. Most of that is now gone.

It's not that I love every episode unequivocally. And it's not that I want all of my "fan friends" to love it unequivocally. But far too often it's not a couple of complaints mixed with what they liked or loved, it's hyperbole.

Taking the complaints as a whole, not attributed to individuals, there's no winning. When the season opened, the show sucked because it was so unrelentingly depressing. Then it was too funny, how could they be so funny during an apocalypse? Where are the stand-alone episodes, the mytharc gets tedious. How can they fight ghosts, there's a freakin' apocalypse? There's not enough Sam, there's not enough Dean (okay, I see that one less often), and enough with the meta/fan-tweaking. The showrunners hate women and African-Americans, because they kill them all (though I'm absolutely positive more white men have died in 4.5 seasons), but before they kill them, they're always evil.

You know how in last week's episode, Becky yelled at Fritz to just not watch the show if he doesn't like it? I'm certainly not going to tell people not to feel the way they feel. But I've got to stop seeking the extension of joy that originally connected me to other fans, when it's just not there anymore. It's up to me to stop exposing myself to the negativity.

So, finally, I have. Just, of course, at the time when I need that connection most: nine-week hiatus.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Bunches of Stuff

I really don't want to repeat what's been said all over the I-world about Harlequin Horizons. Might be that the Harlequin response to RWA's stance hasn't hit many places yet (I haven't seen it much), so I'll talk about that.

RWA revoked Harlequin's eligibility in its entirety, which ONLY means, currently, that Harlequin cannot attend the national conference in an official capacity. Per a post at Pub Rants, Harlequin is saddened and dismayed by RWA's lack of foresight about the changing face of publishing today. Please excuse me while I projectile barf.

Interestingly, because their authors are so furious dismayed, they are taking steps to remove the Harlequin name from the venture. Okay, that's a great first step. The biggest concern has obviously been dilution of the brand, that readers will read a crappy vanity-published Horizons book and apply that crappiness to all Harlequin-branded books.

But what about the marketing propaganda on Harlequin's website? What about mentioning in rejection letters that we might want to consider Horizons as a viable option? If those things don't go away, minimum, RWA can't reverse its decision. MWA is fast on their way to the same conclusion, and SFWA has gone a step further and completely revoked the ability going forward of any Harlequin-published author to use that book to join SFWA, and they flat out stated a name change isn't good enough.

Kind of talking point is that Harlequin indicates, a few times, the possibility that books that do well through Horizons could receive a true publishing contract. Many people say "if it wasn't good enough for Harlequin proper in the first place, how is it going to become good enough?" That argument makes a lot of assumptions.

First, there's no rule that a Horizons book has to be rejected by Harlequin first. Some people might go straight to Horizons, thinking they'll prove to Harlequin that the book is good enough and boost their chances of selling it to them.

Oh, as a side note--not all people who choose vanity press are being "taken in." I knew someone who claimed she turned down an Avon contract and went with Publish America instead because she kept control of everything from the cover to the content and kept all her rights, too.

Okay, back to the editorial thing. I just got a rejection from a Harlequin imprint that praised most everything about my book, but there was one element that just didn't work for the editor, and since it's a pretty big thread in the story, she passed. (I'm agented, so she didn't suggest Horizons. :) ) Not ALL rejections are about quality. Some are about fit, especially for the series romances. Some are made because even though the book is good, the editor just doesn't want to have to read it three more times, or whatever.

Which sounds like I'm defending the whole refer-to-Horizons thing, which I'm NOT. I hate the idea. I hope they back out immediately. I can't see any benefit to anyone but corporate.

Which is one last thing I wanted to say, because even though some people have said similar things, it gets lost in the morass of commentary:

I believe this decision came from high levels in Harlequin Enterprises/Torstar, well above the editorial positions, as a money-grubbing an eager move for income to save the deep-in-the-red non-Harlequin divisions in the parent company. And maybe to support flagging sales in the nevertheless-profitable HE proper. As such, I feel terrible for the editors and hard-working people within Harlequin who truly believe in the product they create and the authors they work with, but are forced to defend this move cheerfully and passionately. I would have a very hard time believing the regular editors like this deal any better than the authors do.

Okay. Moving on.

Supernatural, why? Why NINE freakin' weeks? I can't survive without you until January 21st! And FIE on you people who posted it would return on January 14, giving false hope for a shorter hiatus!

There were a couple of things that jarred me about this episode. In the beginning, when they went after Crawley...come on, a wrinkle in the rug? You guys are NOT that sloppy. I was expecting a secondary trap. Of all times for the guys to lose their brilliance? And Sam pulling the trigger on him...again, he's not that stupid, and it made him look stupid, though Mark Sheppard is da bomb and made the whole thing smooth.

And then, at the end, when Lucifer said "Helll-o, Death" and then we went to the usual super-long commercial break and we come back and the boys are at Bobby's? But how? And okay, maybe Cas pulled them out, but if he did, where is he? Did I miss him in that too-short, too-abrupt, albeit touching final shot?

In between, though, in between...gah. They killed me.

Jo was so kick-ass! I loved it! The hellhounds? That action sequence was heart-pounding. And then, of course, what came after was heartbreaking. Number One and I sat on opposite couches and sobbed. I think I haven't sobbed so hard at TV since Laverne's firefighting boyfriend died. I called Number One over to cuddle with me, and she lay against me, head on my shoulder, in exactly the same position that Ellen cradled Jo. And I put my hand on her head exactly as Ellen had, and kissed her the same way, and we both sat there and sobbed. And she never left my side until it was over. And my heart still feels shredded from the power of Ellen's grief, OMG.

And Cas looked hot in that ring of fire.

And I totally buy Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer, the manipulative bastard.

And the red head-pops in the demons were cool.

And I loved Cas tossing Meg across the fire to break the circle.

Oh! And I was floored by Dean's ability to get so close to Lucifer without him knowing, to take him by surprise. Excellent foreshadowing and demonstrating his vulnerability, fallibility. Awesome.

I hated losing Ellen, and even Jo, but it didn't make me hate the writers. If they kill Van Pelt or Riggsby on The Mentalist, however, I'm totally not watching it anymore. Don't tell me if you've already watched it. Obviously, I haven't!

More Supernatural news:

I'm going to the Salute to Supernatural in New Jersey! WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!

Right now just AJ Buckley and Travis Wester (The Ghostfacers) are announced. That's cool, I haven't seen them before, but $329 is a little much for just them. I have a theory, which might be based on coincidence that I'm taking as evidence, but I'm thinking maybe the bigger names are more likely to commit if it sells out (i.e. more money for them!). So buy now!

I really hope Richard Speight Jr. will be there. He said he'd like to be, but mentioned he hoped they ask him sooner this time. ASK HIM NOW, CREATION! I wants him there! Richard is currently my very favorite celebrity of all time. Not only is he super-nice and super-smart and super-great to talk to, he did an interview with me! You'll see it up at Supernatural Sisters next Wednesday. In the meantime, head over there now to see Terri's recap of last night's episode! (Note: as of the time I wrote this, it wasn't up yet, but hopefully by the time you read this, it will be. If you're reading this at 2:15 a.m., you're more insane than I am.)

I have failed at my goals this week. I did revise Full Fusion, but I'm now 11,717 words behind my goal. Gah. If I only aim to win NaNo (50,000 words), I'm slightly ahead of goal. I might have to settle for that, and finish the last 20k in December. No reason not to, except personal accomplishment.

Which is sorely lacking this week. Back to the list: pulled EOBs but did not otherwise touch the PT bill; started to order contacts, but did not get a response, so must retry; haven't touched the website, though I did add two more things to the list of updates.

What the heck did I do this week? Grocery shopping. Bank/library/post office/Target/school errands. Boot squad meeting. Wayyyyy too much e-mailing and post-reading about the HH thing. Freelance bids and work. So, not nothing. Just all the wrong things. LOL

Okay, now this post is officially obnoxiously long. Would be nice if I blogged more frequently and less wordily, huh?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Blogging is the Last Thing I Should Be Doing

But come on! It's been...I don't even want to look to see how long it's been since I blogged. I'll spare you the apologies and excuses we all give when we go too long between posts. I know that's tedious, and honestly, you probably don't care.


What SHOULD I be doing instead of blogging?

1. Revising Full Fusion, my NaNoWriMo book, to fix the scene set at Gillette Stadium, where I stopped Saturday to do a little scene-setting research, and to fix the parts that are stupid, because her friends would really not accept the truth so easily, and stuff like that.

2. Continuing writing Full Fusion, adhering to NaNo rules (i.e. no editing), because after driving 839 miles in two days, I'm 7500 words behind my goal.

3. Laying out in a spreadsheet all therapy charges, insurance allowances, insurance payments, and our payments, because I think the PT office is screwing me (unintentionally, it's just super-complicated and this is not a very well organized bill).

4. Researching and ordering Number One's contacts.

5. Updating my website (soooooooooo far behind on that!).

So there, that's my goals for the week. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

SOOOO Embarrassing

Blogging is a great vehicle for revealing what a moron you are.

I wanted the song from the V trailer, and went searching, and found that someone had asked on Yahoo Answers and someone had answered.

At the top of the answer is this:

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

So I went looking for the song Chosen by the band Asker.


In my defense, the answer had the name of the band, Muse, then the name of the song, Uprising, then the lyrics, all kind of run together with no spacing between lines, and I didn't read the lyrics because I skimmed to the chorus and knew it was what I was looking for.


Moving on.

I didn't have time to watch V Tuesday, which drove Number One nuts, because she wasn't waiting, and then she couldn't talk to me about it. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Also surprised at how quickly it moved, how much happened in the pilot. And two revelations near the end shocked me gasping, one not in a good way. But I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it, promise!

When the ships first moved in, the tension was palpable, and that's saying something since this was my favorite show when it was on, and so I know everything that happened in that one, at least. I knew what was coming, what their intentions were, what they are. Being held in suspense was great.

I wish Erica's name was Juliet. :(

I thought Morena Baccarin looks horribly, unhealthily skinny. We discussed it, and are hopeful she only did it for the content of the role. Not in a "you can't be lush and curvy" sense, but in a "she's a you-know-what" sense, and she really does look like a you-know-what, behind the pure beauty and the regal manner.

So yay, new show I like! Came at a good time, too, with all my Fox shows not on. :(

I finally caught up on FlashForward. I couldn't watch last week's until last night, but accidentally deleted it. Trying to watch it online totally funked up my computer for much of the day. Got it from iTunes and not all of it downloaded to my iPod. Finally watched the last 7 minutes right before tonight's episode.

Anyway, last week's ep gave us some answers about the whole Dylan/Charlie dilemma, but it irritated me. So okay, Dylan recognized Olivia from the picture on the fridge, which explains how he knew her yet he wasn't in her FF. And assuming D. Gibbons comes in at the end of the FF reconciles Charlie's statement that he's a bad man with her cheeriness in the snippet we see.

But what I can't figure out or reconcile is that Olivia and Lloyd were in bed together while Dylan and Charlie were walking around the house, fully dressed, at 10:00 at night? Did I see that right? It didn't look like they were in PJs. They were definitely wide awake. So that's got me all frowny. I did like that they're so comfortable with each other in the present, though, and casual. To them (the kids), the visions are reality.

This week's ep, though!!! I really didn't want proof that the future is changeable to manifest like this. Really, really didn't. Oh, Al. (And the name issue continues--we couldn't remember his name all season, right up until he... you know. Now we'll never forget it!)

Simon. Now there's an enigma. He's meant to be scary as he describes his FF, murdering someone. But then he was holding that little bracelet. I'm thinking he was exacting vengeance, and since it's fictional, I can be sympathetic to that. He is SO different from Charlie! Dominic Monaghan is doing a great job.

Speaking of great jobs...

The CW did a good one this week. I'm thinking they screened "Changing Channels," this week's ep of Supernatural, saw how great it was, and decided to use it to draw back lapsed viewers, or draw in new ones. I can't wait to see if it worked. All of the people I read who posted about their advanced viewing of the show praised it to the hilt.

My expectations were therefore very high, but I've got to say, while the funny parts were great, the deeper elements were even better. Richard Speight, Jr., got to show a greater range than he has before, and I have to say, I think he stole the show. He shares my utter devotion with Jeremy Carver, though, because this episode was brilliantly written. The character development of The Trickster and his connection to the greater mythology were just beautiful! Nothing felt extraneous or superfluous or out of place. And I really, really liked the skewering of the shows opposite SPN. :)

But KITT for the win!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Something's Wrong With Me

I have a pretty competitive nature. I first understood it in high school, though I can recognize that it goes back further. All the way to first grade, at least. My mother probably shouldn't have told me what Mrs. Nadeau said in my parent/teacher conference. But even way back then, I was driven to be the best, have the best grades. No one else had to know about it--only I had to know.

Then in high school, I had a friend junior year who had comparable grades to me and did a lot of the same extracurriculars. We were neck-and-neck for a while with the fundraiser, but she has a much bigger family, so she beat me. She also had an infant son. I didn't realize I was competing until my boyfriend complained that I had no time for him, and did I really need to be on the prom committee? I dropped off it, not because he wanted me to, but because his whining made me realize that no, I did not want to be on the prom committee, I joined it because she did!

Nowadays, my competitive streak mostly manifests in word counts. On our annual retreat, we sometimes do word wars. Except it's really just timed writing, and it's only me that has to write more in 10 minutes than anyone else. Again, it's not because I have to beat them; I just have to write more.

And so it goes with NaNo. Usually, if I see that one of my buddies has written a little more than I have, it spurs me to push through until I top them. I love being the person in the group who has the most words. I don't care if no one notices--in fact, if they lament that they can't keep up, I feel horrible!

But this year, after two days, half my Writing Buddies have a thousand or more words than I do. One even has three times as many! And I don't care!

What's wrong with me?

Being competitive can be a big negative, I know. But it can also be a very important tool for a writer. It can keep you going when you have the don'wannas. It helps build your writing muscles, giving you endurance and flexibility as well as productivity. And mine seems to have disappeared!

I wonder where it went.

ETA: The above was written Tuesday morning, but I forgot to upload and post it. The first three days of NaNo, I was writing late, handicapping myself with brain fry, and everyone was way ahead of me. Today I started writing early, and wrote a lot! I'm going to have to make that a habit again...