A writer who loves fantasy, avoids reality, and who knows the value of hanging a death skull outside my door to ward off uninvited visitors.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

MY FIRST (and last) CANNIBALISTIC EXPERIENCE


I have a confession. I'm officially NOT into eating skin-like things.

See, I wanted to try making spring rolls, which are apparently made with rice paper; I'd never seen them in their pre-edible form before, so I was so excited to try them. I'd also never eaten one in cold form; usually, they're fried up to a heavenly crisp.


Luckily, there's an Asian market near my house, it turns out.

So I got my ingredients together, laid out nicely and in order and broke through the round plastic packaging of these very foreign rice paper wraps, only to find this plastic sheet on top of the contents. And, what do I find upon removing it? Another plastic sheet. It took me a second to realize, "Holy S**T! These ARE the wraps?!" I thought I was buying soft, pliable sheets of hopefully-yummy wraps. After all, I'm used to tortillas, and these are just a different version, right?

Wrong!

So I read the instructions and found that you have to dip them in warm water for a couple of seconds, and then you can stuff and roll them up. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen with regards to something edible. Here's the thing, though: they're so sticky, they're a little hard to work with. But I managed, and once rolled, I tried one.

Mind you, as I write this, I can feel my face twisting into various and clear-as-day reminders of my new experience, my unforgettable, no-it's-still-too-fresh-a-trauma.

I gave one to hubby to try first. He's always been the Mikey in this family. And my mother in law tried a bite of hubby's spring roll. She spit that sucker out so fast, claiming she didn't like the stickiness. Then she asked us, with the most expressive disgust you can imagine, if we actually like those things. We both said, "Of course. Absolutely! They're so good!"

And then I tried one, and I swear, I felt like someone had slipped me a Mickey. And I'm not taking about some dangerous you-won't-remember-a thing-tomorrow so or Mickey. No, I'm talking about an actual Mickey. Or at least part of him. See, the rice paper had this weird, fleshy, skin-like texture that left me feeling like an unwitting participant in some sick prank. After ew-ing and ugh-ing my way past the cannibalistic first bite, I went in for another, thinking it had to have been my imagination.

It wasn't.

So, with my mother in law eyeing me like a cop waiting for the proverbial canary to sing, I Jefferey Dahmer-ed my way through that first roll only because she was sitting in front of me, watching, waiting and watching some more.

Needless to say, when her back was turned, I threw out the spring roll and ran to the computer to find out how to make them in the oven.

So, anyone else try these things cold? Like, love, hate, or move on? Any thoughts?

Oh, and on a final note: the above picture is NOT, I repeat, NOT how my rolls looked. No. No. These are merely a picture I found on google to illustrate my point.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Hostage and The Frog

So here's an embarrassing tale to tell. One that involves something I truly never imagined myself asking a total stranger. But I'll get to that in a few minutes. First, let me start off by stating that I have no idea how one little creature managed to carry out such a calculated plan of attack on yours truly.

Here goes:

Earlier tonight, I decided to head out to my local market to buy a couple of things and drop my Netflix movies in the mailbox there. So about a minute after getting in the car, something caught my eye. A shadow of sorts on my left side. I glanced over and in a split second, my heart nearly jumped right out of my chest at finding myself staring at the underbelly of this two-inch frog; and in my defense, it seemed MUCH larger under my fear-lined microscope. That little bugger was just sticking to the outside of the driver's side window like it was on a mission with its little feet and hands.


Had I been outside my house when I saw it, I'd have called my hubby to come free me from certain ick. Sadly, however, I was well into my drive and wasn't about to turn back. Naturally, I did what any self-respecting anti-frog person would do: I banged on the window, ordering it to go away. It didn't even flinch, I tell you. Not even a little. So, I waved at it, shouting, "Hello?! Get off my window!"

Nothing. All that little amphibious hitchhiker did was start doing that gross throat thing with its throat where the sack swells and falls, like it was calling some friends over to share in what it clearly saw as a human monkey on the other side of the frog's current landing spot of choice.

I knew at that point that I was trapped with no form of escape from the slimy little warden, so I sped up in the hopes that the rushing wind would swipe the frog away. Keeping my eyes on the road, I looked over for a second when the coast was clear of cars and what did I see but the frog plastered against the glass like it was holding on for dear life. Yup, that little sucker was apparently enjoying the ride. Not knowing what else to do, I continued on to the market in the round-two of empty hopes that some good samaritan would free me.

I pulled into the parking lot asking myself over and over what the hell I was going to do. First off, I just couldn't seem to muster up the courage to drive up to a stranger and ask for such a ridiculous form of help as that of rescuing me from a frog. On the flip-side, there was no chance in hell I'd even consider going head-to-head with Kermit; I'd lose in the most shameful way. Weighing my lack of options, I drove around the parking lot for a good five minutes, mumbling to myself, further inviting the possibility of a new and highly unwelcome nickname, "Looney-Bin Cin", into my life. It wasn't until five (could be more) minutes later that I spotted the market's security guard on his golf cart just sitting in front of the store. As I approached, I had to keep reminding myself what was at stake as the battle of yes and no flooded my thoughts. And the yes won.

So I drove up to the guard, rolled down my passenger window and spoke the words I never thought I'd hear myself say to someone out of the blue, and here's what happened.

"Excuse me," I shouted out the window.

He looked over at me like I'd scared the hell out of him. "Hello."

"Hey, hi," I said with a half-smile. "Are you afraid of frogs?"

The guard's face kinda morphed into an am-I-being-punked sorta expression. I knew at the moment that I'd never get passed my hubby's jokes about this, and that the guard would certainly take home one helluva story about the crazy woman at Publix.

"I'm sorry, what?" he answered.

I took a deep breath and repeated, "Are you afraid of frogs," and I said this finally hearing it out loud and trying to imagine what he must think at that moment.

The guard looked left, then right, his mouth hanging open like he didn't have a clue how to answer me. "Am I afraid of what now?"

My head fell for a second, then I looked at him again. "Frogs."

Again his eyes shifted left then right. "Why?" he asked slowly, and I could hear the hesitation in his voice.

"I have a frog situation here," I admitted.

"What?"

"I have a frog."

"You have a frog?" he asked in an obvious state of confused disbelief.

"Yeah. On my car. Outside my window." I pointed at the driver's side glass. "It's right there."

"A frog? How-how big is it?" he asked, inching back from his own door.

With my fingers, I indicated it was about 2-inches long.

All of a sudden, the guard drove off, heading to the entrance of one of the parking rows. Then he stopped and looked back at me as he pointed towards the cars and mouthed the words, "Is it here?".

Come back! I shouted in my head while wondering why he was over there. I shook my head frantically and pointed at my window.

Finally, he turned back around and drove to my side of the car. I cracked the window open a hair and explained that the frog was on my window, and that I couldn't get out of the car. I swear the guard looked at me like I was on drugs or something, but then he apparently saw the frog and backed away. He grabbed a magazine from his golf cart and cautiously approached King Ribbit and flicked it away.

As my amphibious captor flew off, I breathed a sigh of relief. I thanked the guard, but he just nodded and laughed. Needless to say, when I got home and told hubby about it, he practically fell to the floor with laughter and asked why I hadn't just come back and called him to rescue me from the great and powerful frog warrior.

It goes without saying that the sarcasm in his voice was abundant clear.

"Think of it this way, at least Godzilla wasn't there, too," hubby said through a forced straight-faced grin.

For those of you late to the this-is-what-icks-me-out party, Godzilla is what I call lizards, regardless their size and intent.

So there it is. The woeful and embarrassing tale of my capture and stint as a hostage to the slimy underground king.

Totally true story!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The buffet of tetanus and the cornucopia of curses

So, this remodeling project has finally gotten on my last nerve. For the last three days (don't laugh), hubby and I have been trying to re-install our toilet. We didn't want to call a plumber because that would've been, well, stupid, seeing as how we're gutting and remodeling our master bath in a couple of months. (the current project is more focused on our room and office, while the bath is merely getting a facelift (i.e. paint, and spring cleaning of sorts).

Well,several days ago, the, ahem, "facelift" somehow morphed into a full-on rage-fueled sprint to insanity, perpetrated by a fill valve that broke when I snapped it in half in anger over another piece that would not budge. So, after the valve broke, I had to replace it, naturally...only the original nut was so shredded, it took many many curses and rants to remove it, which we could only do by removing the toilet. Hence the blackout rage that found this toilet laying helplessly on its side in our shower. Yup, I tore the toilet off the floor in a who-decided-to-leave-such-a-small-gap rage blackout. See, the toilet is so close to the wall that it's impossible to reach, much less see, under the damn thing to remove the nut thingy that holds the fill valve in place. So, with the toilet off, I stared down into this dark, deep, fume-infested hole in the floor, and all I could think was, "WHAT IN THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?"

Thanks to YouTube, I found out it was the sewer pipe that, well, you know, never makes anyone smile.

So I go to our storage shed to find the right wrench, because heaven forbid the right one would be in the toolbox that I'd already tossed around numerous times in yet another fit of rage looking for the right tool. Low and behold, as I stepped into the shed, I was greeted by creepy-as-hell array of godzilla eyes, all of which were staring back at me, letting me know I was now invading their dank home. I could just feel them there, conspiring...yes waiting to pounce (another story about my lizard phobia, for another time). So, after begging them to allow me two lizard-free minutes in the shed, I open the cabinet and stood there, absolutely marveling at the cornucopia, dare I say it, the buffet of tetanus that was just itching to fill my life with memorable amounts of pain and metallic suffering.

**Yes, I'd love a finger-sliced off by the ever-popular and super-fun ancient hacksaw sitting there with the old utility knife, and I'd also like a side of rusty nails just for sh*ts and giggles. You know, in case the first two options don't do me in.**

So, tools in hand, I headed back to the house, where we spent the rest of the day (and most of today, mind you) trying to put that damnable toilet back in place. End-result, the toilet refused to stop rocking back and forth with every attempt we made to secure it in place with the "sure-fire-fix" items I was sold at Home Depot during my five visits there in the last two days. It all came to a screeching halt when we both threw up our hands to the porcelain devil. Yes, Hubby screamed at the toilet for its mere existence. I screamed at the ceiling as I mentally targeted the abomination that originally installed this god-forsaken torture device that will forever be known as the devil of toilet-gate.

Needless to say, we've decided to extend this remodeling non-party to the bathroom, which will officially be gutted and remodeled NOW, not in a couple of months. Until then, we're forced to use any of the other three bathrooms in the house, none of which are close to our bedroom.

Oh, will this hell ever end????!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hi, I'm Petrebulah...Thanks, Mom

So, it seems like the new Kardashian/West baby has been named.....NORTH. Yes, they gave their little bundle of girly joy a name everyone in the world will be using every time they use their GPS or other such tool that leads them to their destination.

You know, I'm the ultimate advocate of "Do what you will, but hurt no one", but honestly, giving a child a name THEY will have to live with is something of a heavy responsibility that I feel countless new parents don't take seriously enough.

Instead, they think only of others, like say, people they want to pay tribute to. And for that tribute, that child will spend his/her life secretly muttering, "Thanks, Uncle Barthalamew, Igor, or (the-always-wrong "girl's name on a guy, like Stacy, Lindsay, etc...)". Or, in the case of a girl, I can assure you, no girl wants to go around saying, "Hi, I'm Petrebulah."

Another misstep taken is by people who idolize a celeb and pay homage to them by passing on their idol's name. Do they really think their child wants to have to go through life say, "Hi, I'm Katie Holmes...no, not that one." Or hearing how much they pale in comparison to their name's origin.

Here's a little tidbit some don't know: Anne Rice's birth name was Howard, and the only reason she now goes by Anne is because on her first day of Kindergarten, "Howard's" teacher asked her her name, and little Howard said, "It's Anne".

Then there are the parents who simply want to "stand out", as many celebs do when it comes to their child's name(s). Gweneth Paltrow, for instance, called her baby Apple; maybe Paltrow was trying to channel her inner Gump, by investing in some fruit company back in the day without knowing where it would lead. Who knows?

But come on, folks!

Naming your child is so much more important that many realize. So, step #1 in baby naming should ALWAYS be this: Before spitting out a name to the nurse who fills in that little line that will forever affect your child's life, stop for a moment and imagine having to go through school and adult life introducing yourself as (fill in name here), and, if you can honestly say it works, and you can say it without cringing, then go for it. But, if even for one second, you find your shoulder taking on a mind of its own and shrugging, then choose another name.

General rule of thumb: Namesakes to avoid:
>Fruit-related names.
>Bodies of water (i.e. River).
>Natural occurrences, (i.e. Rainbow, Thunder (especially if the child comes from a gassy family)
>Celeb-homage names (i.e. Katie Holmes, Elvis, etc...)
>Misplaced gender names (i.e. Howard on a girl, and Lindsay on a guy)
>And, thanks to the Kardashian/West clan, I MUST add "Directional" names.

Things to consider when choosing a baby name:
>Bullies with cruel jokes and violent sides.
>Future career endeavors.
>Life-long self esteem levels, and the inevitable desire to find the nearest judge when the clock strikes twelve on said child's 18th birthday.

Monday, April 29, 2013

AGE MEANS NOTHING

WE ARE NOT OLD!

So tomorrow's my dad's birthday, and it's been one helluva year, let you me tell you. I decided to click on over to egreetings.com, where you can send someone a free ecard. Well, I found one that absolutely offended me, and if you can relate to the card, you should be offended too. In a funny way, that is. It talks about how "You know you're old when: You forget why you went into a room. You buy a nice comfy pair of slippers. You accept that you'll never fit into your old pants. And finally, if you think music was better when you were a kid.

Now, I'm not saying I'm old. I'm not. I'm like 15 inside. So what if I like comfy slippers? Who doesn't? Do people prefer uncomfy slippers? That's just stupid. And of course WE ALL think music was better when we were growing up; that's when we listened to it and developed a preference to particular styles, and now they "take us back to those times". And forgetting what you went into a room for? Who doesn't at some point. It just means you're distracted.....especially if you're a writer whose thoughts are perpetually somewhere else.

So no! WE ARE NOT OLD. We are creative. We are nostalgic. We are forever young, with a more interesting twist! Now, as for the creaks and cracks that mysteriously pop up now and then....well, that just means the bed's old and it's telling you IT'S old. Not you, and certainly not ME!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

HOME DEPOT: The One-Stop Shop for those who want to get screwed out of their money

Okay so as you all know, we just bought a washer and dryer set from Home Depot. Well, from the day we bought them, two things had been bothering me to no end:


#1: The fact that there was basically NO RETURN POLICY. You believe that? The girl told me that customers had a whopping 48 hrs after delivery to decide if they wanted to return such a purchase. I was floored. Turns out (and this is such a peachy nugget, folks), if after 48 hrs, we find that we don't like the item(s) in question, in this case, the washer and dryer, we'd have to call LG and "convince them" to take them back. And, if LG, in all their glorious generosity and consideration towards customers, decides NOT to take them back, we're stuck with these things anyway. I guess the company figures that 48 hrs is more than enough time to decide if we like them or not. Yeah, because that's how I want to spend the next 48 hrs. No sleep. Just using the washer and dry and really getting to try out and discover all the intricacies of machines that take at least a week of exploration and kill-me-now laundry in order to decide we like them or not.

#2: The second thing on my kiss-my-ass list was the warranty matter. I'm the iconic warranty girl who lives by the mantra that if it costs more than $100 and there's a warranty available, I'm in. Well, according to the salesgirl, Home Depot doesn't allow you to extend the warranty after the five-year run you purchase at day one.

That being said, at the price we got them, despite being bothered and bringing these issues up with the salesgirl, we went ahead and made the deal. Now, they haven't been delivered yet, and we've decided to buy them at SEARS instead, so I called Home Depot, and the girl on the phone tells me that I can't cancel the order because it's already left the warehouse.

Apparently, I need to refuse the delivery come tomorrow when they show up, and THEN, I can get my refund. Is that not the most ridiculous policy? I could give a rat's hairy butt if they've left the warehouse. If I haven't gotten these things yet, I should have every right to cancel any time, which, btw, is what the salesgirl told me I could do; apparently, she was "wrong" in telling me that. Well, I've never been one to back down from a consumer-related problem, especially when I'm the consumer in question, so Home Depot better watch out, because I don't care who I have to go to war with. I AM NOT GOING TO BE STIFFED HERE! And make no mistake: I WILL NOT BE DEALING WITH HOME DEPOT EVER AGAIN!!!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Twilight's last flight of fangless fancy

So I've had the second half of the last Twilight flick sitting on my printer for a month now. Meanwhile, the two sides of my conscious loitering on my shoulders are stuck in a perpetual Just-Watch-it / Don't-Listen-to-her....Go-Watch the Grass Instead conflict or sorts.

Sorry Netflix members with no taste (and before anyone implicates me in that bad-taste crime, it wound up on my list by mistake and arrived without my knowledge). I've just been so busy.


I wanna see it, sort of, just to see how it ends, but honestly, the first half was so painful to get through. It's like the movie makers wanted to drain every last drop of sparkly milk from this cow, with a ten-minute movie that was drawn out for the sole purpose of beating a long-dead horse with its own heel. It's like the entire first part of this two-part deal was all about her finding out she's preggers, and us being forced to suffer her pain in real time.

So again, busyness aside, I'm trying to psych myself up to watch this longer-than-it-needed-to-be movie about things that have historically gone bump in the night but that instead, apparently sparkle in the day, have no fangs and play softball as they giggle away their bloodless hunger for all things Bella. God, it's like watching Leave It To Beaver Bling.

And don't get me started on the book. Or should I say the first book. I swear, I couldn't get through the first fifty pages of it. It was like a torturous lesson on how to write the worst characters and dialogue imaginable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gossip Girl Here.....A Little Late To The Party, But Oh Well, It Had To Be Someone

A few years back, I learned that a new T.V. show would soon make its way into homes across America. The show, based on a popular books series of the same name, was called Gossip Girl, centered around the "scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite". Being an avid fan of YA anything, I was anxious to dive right in.

And so, when it began to air, I watched, and continued to do so for the first three seasons. But then something happened. I'd noticed that in the last few weeks leading up to the S3 finale, the show had taken on such a jump-the-shark angle, I found myself less and less excited to see what would happen next. So, when the new season began, I dropped it and never looked back. In fact, each week, I'd roll my eyes at the upcoming episode previews that aired during and after the shows I still watched.

Well, near the end of last year, I'd heard that the GG series finale would be airing, and that the identity of GG herself would be revealed. So I caught it, basically to avoid having to read about it, plus I wanted to see for myself who it was after all. Turns out it was Dan Humphrey, the most logical choice....well, at least to anyone who actually thought about it; clearly I'm not including the creators, writers or producers of Gossip Girl, all of whom obviously had their heads firmly planted up their toot-shooters.

You see, any writer worth the weight of his/her pen would have done one of two things with this show right from the start. Two options that would have saved those involved from stumbling along the halls of B*llsh*t High, where writers' skills are not only lost, but outright slaughtered.

Option 1: DON'T REVEAL GG's IDENTITY. This is a decision that SHOULD have be settled from the get-go, because by all writer's logic, it's a decision that would ultimately shape the entire series.

OPTION 2: If the goal was to reveal her identity at some point, the matter of WHO it would be should have been settled and set in stone from the moment the first line of the first script was written. Not five minutes into writing the finale episode.

And so, as I watched that last episode, breathless with anticipation, when the moment finally arrived and it was revealed that Dan was GG herself, I could literally feel my dinner threatening to make another appearance.

WHAT? It was WHO?

Perplexed, annoyed, you name it, I felt it. It was like those involved had just taken the five-year question and half-ass-answered it with a feeble whatever-just-make-it-him, throwing it out into the universe in the hopes that no one would notice how profoundly devoid of talent the writers were in their lack of forethought.

But, to be fair, it had been so long since I'd seen the show, I decided to hold my tongue until the near two-year blank could be filled in.

Enter Netflix...the T.V. show addict's very dear friend. I had known for some time that Gossip Girl was available for streaming, so, I decided to watch the show from the beginning partly for sh*ts and giggles, but mainly to see if any clues as to GG being Dan Humphrey had been planted from the start; although thinking back, I couldn't recall a single clue. Sadly, Netflix only had all episodes up to the end of season 5, so I have to wait for 6 to become available to finish it.

Now, as I began watching from the beginning, I paid close attention, and each time it was clear that Dan Humphrey WAS NOT Gossip Girl, I actually had to pause to comment to my hubby about it. He's also into writing, so you can imagine how many fascinating writing convos we've had about this show, as well as about other facets of writing.

What I don't get....what I absolutely DO NOT understand, is how the creators and writers could have so obviously missed the mark here.

End result, writers have the freedom to create as they go. This, though not my particular style of writing, is a completely valid method of story creation. BUT, that DOES NOT apply when it comes to television, seeing as how once the show airs, there's rarely room to turn back. The fact is, television writers SHOULD and MUST consider all angles ahead of time in order to avoid looking like unscrupulous, talentless hacks.

There, I feel a little better now. Well, at least until I go back to the show to see all the clues that were NOT planted in the show to indicate who exactly was spilling all the details about the scandalous lives of Manhattan's Elite. From what I understand, the book series has come to an end. An end that makes no mention of Gossip Girl being Dan Humphrey. As a writer who takes her craft seriously, I can only hope Cecily Von Ziegesar, author of the book series, is able to turn a blind eye at how the creators of the show toyed with and warped all her hard work.

XOXO

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Not-So-Marvelous Avengers Flick

Okay so, here's something people may not know about me: I'm a HUGE movie buff. It's one of the things my hubby and I love to do together so very much. We talk about the movies after they're over, read reviews and very few times agree with them (usually though, we gawk and "WHAT" at movie reviewers' views about certain films). One of the things we do a lot is read a few of these often-misguided reviews before we see a movie, just to get an idea of what to expect; historically speaking, when reviewers hate movies, we tend to go in knowing it's a great film, and vice versa. We never read spoilers, because, let's face it, where's the fun in that? But, with The Avengers, it was hard not to get swept up in the hype surrounding this flick, what with all the marketing (apparently Marvel allotted approx. $100 mil just to get us to believe it was an amazing experience we just couldn't live without seeing). They were wrong. So very very wrong. To show you just how wrong they were, I'll break some parts of this review up into two sections: "What we read", and "What we saw".

Now, before we get started, for those who might think this movie in particular just wasn't our cup of gamma, not only do we love movies, we especially love super-hero movies. In fact, we LOVED Ironman 1 and 2, Thor, Captain America, etc... We loved all the actors in those movies as well, just so you know.

Here goes: My review of Marvel's: The Avengers.



WHAT WE READ:
It was a fun film, right from the get-go. Full of action. Funny as hell. Great dialogue. Great banter among the cast. The best super-hero movie of all time. AND, the piece de' resistance: The BEST rendition of The Hulk (and Banner) ever, which was masterfully-played by Mark Ruffalo.

NOW...SPOILER ALERT (if you haven't seen the film and want to judge it on your own first, come back here later...


WHAT WE SAW:
The movie had a s..l..o..w start, in terms of giving us what we went there for: THE super-heroes. Of course being a writer myself, I know that sometimes fiction (regardless the medium) requires a slow start in order to set-up what should prove to be well worth the wait. But, that's not what this was. This movie's slow start was toooo slow-going in its attempt to gather the heroes to battle Loki, who's stolen the tesseract, an important artifact that could potentially provide the world with unlimited clean energy.

But, see, Loki had more lofty aspirations, feeling it was too important for us to simply use it as a way to shoot Big Oil the proverbial "finger". No, Loki wanted to use the tesseract to open a gateway in order to bring in an army so he could take over Earth and rule without mercy, because (boo-hoo) he couldn't rule in his own world. **insert evil laugh here**

Then there's the FACT that most of the movie made no sense. Here you have this "God" and he wants to rule our planet. Okay, lame, but I'll bite. But why force the Hulk out? There was mention of that being one of his intentions, but nothing came of it....well, nothing but the one of the ONLY mildly chuckle-worthy seconds of the movie, when, at the end of the film, the Hulk thrashes Loki around repeatedly, then throws out his one line of dialogue, which I cover in the next section, BTW.

DIALOGUE:
WHAT WE READ:
This movie had some of the best dialogue and banter ever found in any super-hero movie (or any movie, period). Also, this movie had, without question, some of the funniest and best humor in any film. Especially an action film.

WHAT WE FOUND
FACT: Much (if not most) of the dialogue was lame, petty, insignificant, artificial, forced, unnatural, and down-right awkward, all of which completely defied the abundance of rumors that claimed the banter and dialogue was AMAZING. It wasn't. Believe me. Any writer worth his goods should be able to spot this, even with the most advanced ear plugs available firmly in place. Now, we both know and love the writer/director of this flick, Joss Whedon (creator and master behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly). An artist, in terms of comedy and witty dialogue known as Whedon-speak. But, as Whedon-speak has no place in ANY adult-riddled action film that wants to be taken seriously, sadly, to our surprise, Whedon's ability to write comedy fell short.

THE HULK:
WHAT WE READ:
This movie had, without question, the best Bruce Banner and Hulk ever portrayed throughout Marvel's history of trying to bring them to life for our viewing pleasure.

WHAT WE FOUND
This was one of the things my hubby and I were both anticipating more than the movie itself. We both loved Edward Norton's portrayal of the Hulk and Banner in the reboot of The Hulk movie, a few years ago. So, hearing all this hype about the new Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo (an actor I like very much), we couldn't wait to see Mark's version of this tormented character that we love so much. We'd read that Ruffalo brought a unique and often-missed humanity to the character. When we read this, we agreed that we could see it, only because Ruffalo has that sensitive appeal to him. Boy, did EVERYONE miss the mark (no pun intended) on this one. So, if you're like us, and you LOVE the Hulk, don't go in expecting to get a gree-eye full of this entertaining rage monster. No sir. In total, this movie features him for a whopping fifteen minutes (give or take), at best, and he comes in waaayyy into the film. We'd also read that he finally speaks. *underwhelming finger-twirl*. He has one line. It was funny. But, it was one line, just the same. So pray someone doesn't fart loudly in the theater or you'll miss his astounding one-liner, believe me.

THE ACTION:
WHAT WE READ:
Some of the best action ever found in an action flick. A FUN movie.

WHAT WE FOUND


The action was typical. Fast-moving. Short shots. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing exciting or even note-worthy here. Nothing new. Nothing worth remembering in great detail to one day look back on with that lingering sense of, "WWWWOOOOOWWWW! That was incredible. Now, I wanna see it again."

THE 3D:
WHAT WE READ:
One of the best 3D flicks ever made.

WHAT WE FOUND
God, where do I start? I'm a HUGE advocate of this format. I own a 3D T.V. and Blu-Ray player, and I love watching 3D at home. But, in theaters, particularly in IMAX, I love how it brings you into the film; and for $17 a pop, it better! I love how it really puts you there. Consumes you like 2D never will. But this time....*head shake* it SUCKED, simply because The Avengers wasn't filmed in 3D. It was converted after the fact, and it shows. So much so, it left me wondering if the 3D aspect had slipped away, forcing me to lift my glasses several times throughout the film. Frankly, I feel like the theater ripped us off, stealing our $17 a head with a lie that it would be an IMAX experience, when in reality, it was an, "I spent what on THAT?" experience.

So, to recap: Save your money. Don't buy into the hype. Wait for it to come to Blu-Ray, and hell, if you wanna see it in 3D, buy it when it hits the bargain bin. Trust me, it'll look better at home anyway, and you won't feel like hunting down all those reviewers who made you lose over two hours of your life that will NEVER be worth remembering.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Shameful Day Indeed!

My friends, it is truly a sad sad day. A day I honestly never saw coming. Today, I actually got excited about finding hangers in one of our guest bedrooms. Yes, hangers. **head hangs in domesticated shame** See, in preparation for this trip to Pittsburgh with my Dad, I've been busy doing laundry, which I never throw into a dryer when there are shirts involved (not all that interested in walking around in clothing that shrinks to doll-sized proportions). So, I hang the shirts to dry...only I've run out of hangers. So, there's one load I couldn't do. But, as I went into one of the guestrooms, there they were, sitting on the bed, as though mocking me to all laundry hell. And the worst part is.....I actually squealed, "OMG, Hangers! Yay!" I can't believe it's come to this point in my life that finding hangers excited me. **for shame**


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nightmare on my street....

Okay so, this is truly terrifying. Last night, as like 1 a.m., we had a break-in. My hubby and I were in our room watching "GRIM", and we heard this weird long beeping sound. My hubby muted the T.V. and sure enough, we heard it in the living room. We raced out there and just as we got to the living room, the alarm went off. Before we could reach the alarm pad, the alarm company called. I answered the call just as my hubby's mother turned off the alarm. The alarm company told me (after I gave him my password) that the alert was coming from the front door. I went over and almost fell over.

OUR FRONT DOOR WAS OPEN!

My heart almost stopped. I quickly closed and locked the door. My hubby grabbed some knives and checked the house while the company stayed on the phone with me. Everything was clear, but still, when I hung up with the company, I called the cops. The cop that came found no sign of someone having tampered with the dead bolt on our door. He suggested that perhaps we didn't lock up completely or something and that the wind might have blown the door open. This door is solid mahogany, three inches thick and weighs a ton. There is NO way an ordinary wind blew it open thing. Besides, my hubby and I are compulsive about turning the knob and checking that the door is completely locked. And we do this several times each time we lock it, just to be sure, and all that.

Anyway, the cop said he and the other cops who were currently at a party a couple of blocks away would canvas the neighborhood. You know, the idea of having some stranger in my house is one of my worst nightmares. I literally had chills all last night. Oh god....to think of what could have happened. And worst still....what if they come back?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Toddlers and Trouble In The Making

The other day, I was watching Say Yes to the Dress; seeing as how I've always loved wedding gowns, it's one of my favorite reality shows. in fact, I've always said that if I had chosen to become a fashion designer, it'd be designing wedding gowns. But, that's not the point of this blog. No, this post is abotu one thing, and one thing only:

Child Beauty Pageants.

Anyway, during my show, I saw this commercial for Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't believe what I saw. For those of you who used to read my blog over on Myspace, you all know that I once blogged about this issue before. Now, I'm not one for repeating myself all that much, but on this topic, I can not hold my blogging at bay. The idea that child pageants even exist is absolutely abominable. And that show, Toddlers and Tiaras is (no pun intended) the reigning example of how utterly criminal the practice of child pageants is. Little girls verbally battling it out backstage to win a stupid crown and maybe some money? And some of these girls are talking about "kicking so-and-so's butt". WHAT? Come on! These are little girls who'd rather be playing with their dolls and sipping imaginary tea, rather than being forced to practice sexy dance moves sure to entice the sickest individuals on the planet, sporting layers upon layers of makeup and dressing like mini-hookers, and overall, being trained to believe that beauty is the cornerstone to a happy life. Hell, there was even a major scandal about a woman who had her five-year-old daughter injected with Botox and had her teeth whitened. It was in the news a while back and when I heard it, I almost fell over for horror! That woman should have been jailed for life and prevented from ever seeing her kids again!

The truth is, most of the mothers of these girls are nothing more than selfish, narcissistic people living vicariously through their kids, making them take in candy-coasted doses of the very poison that comes with competing to see who's more beautiful, when in fact, they're just indoctrinating them into a way of thinking that beauty is everything? I mean, these little girls don't know the value of beauty yet. They don't know what money really is. Let's face it, they're not competing with the hopes of winning enough money to one day go to college in order to avoid the ultra-pleasant experience of taking on so much loan debt that the gift of graduating is the honor of moving into their parents' basement. These girls are forced to compete. Period! I once saw the show, more out of horror-driven curiosity than anything else, and boy did the show fall short of my expectations. There they are....little girls telling their parents they don't want to go here or do this, and they're parents demand they fall in line, suck it up and do as they're told.

Meanwhile, the mothers are living it up, no doubt do it on the money the girls win (if any money is involved, I mean). But even if there's no money, so what? The mothers are still coasting through the pageant life on the wings of the pressure they put on their daughters to win at all cost, just so the mothers have the privilege of being "the mother of the beauty queen". Like it validates their own existence or something. In their minds, it makes these mothers special. Yeah? Does it? It makes you special to be able to take credit for treating your child like a sudo sex slave. Because that's what they're doing. They're not dressing them in sweet little outfits and teaching them the value of being a good person. No. They're teaching them that beauty is key in life...that losers are ugly....that unless they win, they're useless in life....and it's all based on their looks. THEIR LOOKS? They're little girls!!!!!!!!!!

Wake up, you selfish, self-serving, self-absorbed child abusers.....PEDOPHILES ARE YOUR AUDIENCE AND THEY LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!! Think about that the next time you put your daughter into a getup straight off the latest "Here it is, come get some" runway! Let your kids be kids! Give them the gift of being able to look back on their childhood with fond memories, not memories of torturous practice sessions on how to walk sexy! They have their entire lives (after 18 yrs old) to make choices like that for themselves. They don't need mothers who dictate how to win some stupid crown just to make said mothers proud enough to walk down the street with the ability to say "Yup, my daughter won the crown. Aren't I fabulous?" They need mothers who'll hold and hug them, and show them that they're loved no matter what they win or lose in life.

Well, there it is. I can't begin to tell you how infuriated I am about this. But, I guess, for now, this blog should at least scratch the surface of a topic that needs severe investigation and resolution!!!!

Any thoughts? Where do you stand on these pageants and practices involving children?

When you're done here, check out this eye-opening article. Parents of Children on TLC's 'Toddlers in Tiaras' Hurting Their Kids, Critics Say

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thorne is Coming!

Okay so, after much debate, I've decided to publish the Thorne book myself. You know, I've been tossing this idea around for a long time now. Held back only by the stigma that goes with being a self-published author. Well, my mind was officially made up when I came across J.A. Konrath's blog one day. Do Legacy Publishers Treat Authors Badly? is the title of the actual post that changed my view on this matter. It was so unbelievably enlightening. And, FYI, to those who might read this and say, "What else would you expect from someone who self-publishes?" J. A. Konrath has been published by some of the biggest houses, and because of his experience, he's taken his career into his own hands. And he's not the only one, btw, though I don't really want to sit here and spew off names like I'm going down a checklist.

Now, even though I don't have any first-hand experience in the industry, based on my research and findings, I truly couldn't agree more with Konrath's assessment. So, my mind is made up. Screw the stigma of self-publishing...which, by the way, was obesified (yes, I'm creating a new word here....live with it) by an antiquated and extremely elitist opinion that ALL self published authors are hacks. Yes, there was a time when anyone and everyone with a particular thought that they felt the entire world needed to read about, without the remotest consideration to things like quality, editing or correct spelling; hell, there still are some out there. But, things have changed. Authors have grown. Not to mention...technology has changed. Thank the stars for ebooks, huh?

Today, there are countless great authors who've decided to take matters into their own hands, simply because, when it comes to authors (the bread and butter of all pub houses), generally, the industry can be...oh, how do I put this...unfair with regards to authors. I don't want someone to come in and dictate what THEY believe is the best treatment for my years of blood, sweat and tears. I don't want THEM to tell me how to write MY book, when, after waiting close to 18 months in some cases, THEY'LL give it a whopping few months to take off or fail. I don't want ANYONE to tell me I can't do things MY way! No author wants that.

So, there it is. I've decided to put THORNE out there myself. My hubby and I will design the cover (as we did with the original cover that everyone loved), and come up with another amazing cover. And when it's done, Thorne will be released. I'll let everyone know. I really want to thank everyone who's supported me through the years here. And I want to thank Konrath for his insight.

Peace! Can't wait to get it out there.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cleaning is for Schmucks!

Gotta clean today. God, I hate cleaning. Spend all day dusting, wiping, sweeping, mopping, and basically running around in a desperate attempt to get a leg up on the dust that, it seems, is just hanging around waiting for you to blink before it falls back down on the very furniture you just finished cleaning. HMPH! What a monumental waste of time. Time that could be better spent on...oh, I don't know, watching grass grow, or paint dry, or even counting the patterns on a textured wall.

I swear the universe is laughing at me at this very moment. Watching me. Just laughing its proverbial ass off!



So you know what. I'm not gonna clean today.



I'm going shopping, then taking in a flick or something. Ah, submission. It's a beautiful thing when done right.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To Outline, or Fly Free (As some say)

Okay so, today I was on Facebook, and saw a post involving a good friend of mine, Garrett and a friend of his. They were talking about outlines...something I have developed an opinion about, so I weighed in. So it got me thinking about outlines in general.

You know, clearly every author works differently. We all have our own ways of bringing our stories to life. Some like to wing it. Let the story direct itself, with the author being the vehicle. Way back when, during my first attempt to write a novel, I took that path of winging it, and about eight chapters in, found myself absolutely lost. I literally hit the proverbial brick wall, and eventually realized there was no story there. So I abandoned the whole project, set aside my computer, and decided to really get to know the writing life; being a writer since I was a kid, with poems and short stories, I'd never delved into writing an entire book before.

My hubby and I (he's also a writer) often talk about writing, stories, characters; we can literally talk about it for hours on end. He's the one who showed me the value in that little thing called an outline. I'd never considered doing one before. So, when I sat down to write that story that went nowhere, I did it without a plan. How could this happen, I asked myself. I mean, I had started this because I'd heard the voices of my characters in my head, and not in the "Yum, tasty Checkers," sort of way. I was absolutely stumped, and beyond frustrated.



My big mistake was thinking that wanting to write was enough. See, for me, what I learned in an utterly frustrating and most Rogaine-inspired way was that without a plan, there's little to no follow through, and if the end does come, it'll be through a crap load of blood, sweat, tears, broken plates, many collectibles lost in the battle to break through that brick wall I'd hit, and a sudden need to find a hat big enough to cover the bald spots born during this so-called creative process.



Well, when I started working on the Thorne series, I fell so deeply in love with the story and the characters. I mean, I really wanted to do it (and them) justice. So, I took the time (a year, to be precise) to plan everything from the entire series, the characters (and their arcs), to the city, the world, the magic, the history. Hell, I even created stores, shops, shop owners, employees, and all their back-stories, just to really and truly bring this world to life. Then I plotted out all the books, so when I was ready to start writing the first book, I wouldn't fall into that same pit of "give me something to break". When I was done with the outline, the story pretty much wrote itself.

And therein lies the problem some authors see with outlines. Personally, I prefer this method, but like I said, we all need to find our own way of doing things. There are authors who say outlines ruin the process because it deprives them of surprises during the writing process. But, from what I've seen, those authors can sometimes find themselves stuck. Those are the authors who sometimes say they don't know how the story will end, what will happen in the book, or where they're taking it. And that's fine, if it works for them. I personally don't like staring at a blank screen, begging for something to strike. I love sitting around, thinking about the story, picturing it in my head like a movie, hearing the characters talk to each other, and especially those major epiphany-laden "AHA" moments when I unravel a plot point that I'm trying to make as powerful as possible. Authors who plan things out are the ones who can sit down with someone and talk about their work-in-progress.....simply because they know what they're doing with it.

Again, I'm not remotely saying one way is better than another for everyone. It's just the way it works best for me. So, what's your favorite method of writing? Are you a planner or a winger?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TOR Update.

So they said no in a form rejection that, frankly, surprised me. I was sure my book would fit in nicely there. Oh well. Life goes on. My book WILL be out there someday. Someday I'll look back on these blogs about yesteryear and laugh. But for now, I'm pushing on, determined to get this out to the world one way or another. It's taken every ounce of my heart and soul to put write, and I refuse to let anyone in this industry tell me I can't do it!

Magic in a New World

Okay so, I've been hard at work on my new series. Well, the first book in the series, anyway. Actually, what I've been working on is putting the magical world together; you know, creating the magic system, the beings, the rules, and all that. It's so much fun, I gotta say. I really do love writing. It's so much a part of me that I actually think about it 24/7; I could be watching T.V. and in the privacy of my thoughts (and outwardly too, since my hubby's a writer as well), I'm rewriting the show or movie I'm/we're watching. And when I read, sometimes I rewrite parts in my head. Even as a kid, I used to spend a lot of time saying things like, "Imagine if...". I guess I just can't seem to turn that part of me off, even for a minute. Not even growing up. But hey, I don't want to. It makes me who I am.


Maybe it's just a writer thing, you know? I love that. I love writers, you see. I find them to be among the most creative bunch of people in the world. People with endless imaginations, generally expansive vocabs, and extremely out-there ways of thinking.

Anyway, the point is, the new series is coming out great. Like I said, I'm working on the magic system, and honestly, I can't wait to get back to the writing part of it. I actually started the book, and got about 232 pages in. But I took a break to iron out some details and get a better feel for the world I'm creating for this series. Like the THORNE series, it takes place in a city, of course. But this one takes place in our world. And I made a really cool, amazing decision, which will be revealed later. Like when the book's ready to go, I mean. I think people who read both this book and the David books are really going to be like, "Ohhhh." At least I hope so.


Anyhoo, just wanted to update everyone on what's going on with the new series. So, a quick recap. It's a first-person, YA urban fantasy. I can't wait to post part of it. I posted the original first chapter here a while back, but I've rewritten it, so it's really different now. Better.

Have a good one:)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Agent update

Okay so, you all know I submitted to the Ethan Ellenberg Agency a few weeks ago. According to their guidelines, if an author hasn't heard back from them within two weeks, they're to assume it's a "NO". So, as it goes, it's clearly a no. Oh well. As I mentioned before, I'm a silver-lining kinda gal. So, if an agent isn't interested, then it's obviously not a good fit for either side. If they were, they sign the book.

Well, no time to cry over another rejection. Countless authors have walked the same long road, and many of come to that point where someone says yes. And it only takes one, as they say. I'm still hoping to find that yes. For now, I'm keeping my hopes high and my fingers crossed for something better. TOR. Yup, I did it. After a long inner debate as to whether or not I should hit up this publisher myself, I took the lunge. TOR is where my book belongs. They have such an amazing reputation, and frankly, it would be an honor to be part of the TOR family of authors.

So, the other day, I put together the submission package, which included the first three chapters (up to 10k words) along with a synopsis. My fear is that they'll reject it for my own stupidity. See, it wasn't until after I sent it off that I realized that I had forgotten to include my email addy and phone number. Even though I did enclose a SASE. Hopefully they won't flat out reject it for something like that. Oh, and another line of stupid just hit a second ago, when I went back to the letter I sent that and found that it mentions how I'm including the first three chapters, when in reality, since they allow you 10k words, I actually included the first four chapters. Oh god. Please don't let them turn it down because of that....

Here's hoping.....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The River, The Dolls, and The Chills That Kept Coming

Okay so, the hubby and I finally found time to watch a new show, which aired this past Tuesday, Feb 7.

**huge thanks and a major shout out to the inventors of the DVR.

Anyway, so ABC ran the pilot of The River, a new paranormal drama from Oren Peli, the genius behind the Paranormal Activity, which were, without question my favorite (and in my opinion the scariest) ghost movies ever. I honestly can't thank Oren enough for the chills that run up my spine each time I think about his "P.A." movies, or whenever I hear the slightest sound in my house at night, or when I feel like someone's watching me. Yeah, I'm not scarred at all.

Enter, "The River", a haunting show about a famous explorer/adventure/tv star who went missing in the Amazon. The show (which we're told is the footage from his wife's attempt to find him) opens six months later, when, after learning that her husband's private beacon was picked up, his wife leads an expedition into the Amazon in search of her husband, Dr. Emmett Cole. At every turn, it seemed, the closer they got to the signal, the creepier the show became; sounds, voices, and frightening discoveries that I won't give away here, as I'm not a walking spoiler.

One thing I will tell you all is this: there was this one part, where they entered an area of the jungle. In the center of this area was the most horrible thing they could have stumbled upon. It was this enormous tree full of old, beat up, broken, dirty, and terrifying dolls, all of them either hanging from the branches, or simply tied to the tree in one way or another. One of the creepiest moments in that scene was when one of the dolls' head turned on it own.

**gotta go to a happy place**

Now, I have to say....there are several things in this world that absolutely terrify me to no end: listed in no particular order, mind you...although the last two are easily the top ones.

#1 Zombies: A fear that keeps me at the ready in the event that the zombie apocalypse ever breaks out.

#2 The Dark: A fear that ensures I'll never loose my eye sight due to eye strain (that's my rationalization and I'm sticking to it).

#3 And the worst one of all: DOLLS! I hate them. Even as a kid, I hated them. And I know why. When I was little, I went to my friend's house (she was three years older than me. There, I discovered her and her older brother, along with some friends of his watching some movie. Of course, I happened to walk in at the worst possible moment: there was this woman trapped in a small room, and these bald, pale-faced dolls with black eyes were tearing into the walls to get to the woman. It scared the hell out of me, and I've never forgotten it; I also have forgotten how I ran from the house so fast, I almost got hit by a car charging across the street to my house. And let me tell you, for a long while, I tried to get over that fear of dolls, but it seems Hollywood was adamant that my fear stay right where it was; a fact I came to realize after watching Poltergeist for the first time, long after that incident with the dolls. And what did it get me, but another fear I stand by, even today: my next biggie. #4 Clowns....nuff said.

Anyway, there it is. The River is a great show that might have sat better with me had it come with a personalized warning about the doll scene.

So, what are some of your fears?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gender Wars

You know, my hubby and I were talking today about relationships and the general gender differences. In this day and age, why is that men and women still feel the need to feed into stereotypical gender wars?

We see it everyday.



Men: "Come on, Dude. You can't let a girl beat you."

Women: "Yeah. Girl Power."

Women who don't like sports go for guys who do, and then they complain about how the guy's obsessed with the very thing she knew about from the get-go. And men; they like women who take care of themselves, and yet, when their girlfriend or wife gets her hair done or goes shopping, the men complain, claiming the woman's obsessed with her to-do's. I can go on and on about the various ways men and women can nip at each other, but right now, I'm more interested in what you think about the whole thing.

1. So, where do you stand on the Gender Games?
2. What do you think is the biggest difference between men and women?
3. What would you change about either, if you could?
4. In terms of individual aspects, what do like most (or don't like) about the opposite sex?

I'm dying to see how people answer this.