Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pine Creek and Refinancing vs. Library charges

And now for something completely fine. The twins and I go to the creek down the street from our house often, but I never think to bring a camera. We were doing a report for Jr. Rangers and needed a visual.
So, here are the girls slogging around. It's more of a stinky marsh than a creek this time of year. But we love it.
On another unrelated note: We just refinanced and I have a lower credit rating than my husband. The only credit card I've ever had was the one we've had together for the last ten years. (And we never carry a balance from month to month.) Peter looked into the factors used for credit scoring and one was library use. So, maybe I had too many late charges or just the fact that I check out books weekly, but that must the what put me below him. Strange. I'd never have thought of that in a million years. No problem, though. We were able to refinance.
Oh, and Bane read the last entry and he was almost flattered by my description of him. Oh goody. :/

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Novel Titles, Embarrassing Words, and Star Trek

We saw Star Trek last night. Yeah! It was even better than we expected and we're eager to see it again.
So, in honor of that, here's a Nerf Herder video called Mr. Spock.

I looked up a few of the title choices for my novel on the Lulu Titlescorer .
The best was The Whimsicality of Perception. It had a 69% chance of being a best seller. Take that oh you people who hated that title!
Syzygy was second.
Misperceptions came in third.
To Be Human came in last.

Lulu didn't take into account cover art, but I happen to know that teens browsing a bookstore take the cover into account when they're making their choices. They also take into account whether or not the title is embarrassing (at least the girls do) and Lulu didn't have a category for how embarrassing a particular word might be.

So, what are some embarrassing words? I'll have to guess, as my teenager isn't around at the moment:

I wonder if the difficulty some may find in pronouncing Syzygy would deter possible readers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It's been a Mr. Toad's-wild-ride of a week. Last weekend, the twins made their first communion. That was soooo wonderful.

Then I my heart dropped to my stomach when my 17 yr old sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night... twice! Sorry, I don't have pictures of that. :P I'll post pics when I hang two particular nameless people by the toes over a vat of ravenous sea monsters.

Then my 17 yr old passed her State Board esthetician exam. Yippee! She wouldn't let me take a picture of her holding the license, though. I was her model. I got one brow waxed, one tweezed, a dermal light facial, make-up, two kinds of false eyelashes, and booties on my feet. Not sure what that was for, but they were a nice touch.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jack Benny and Me

Today I turned thirty-nine, so instead of the mundane "Happy Birthday," my mom said, "You and Jack Benny." Now I've always been a Jack Benny fan. You young ones won't have heard of him. Heck, I shouldn't have, but I watched a LOT of old TV shows as a kid. Warner Brothers did a cartoon adaptation with mice. I didn't recall that he always claimed to be thirty-nine. Of course as a kid, thirty-nine may as well have been a hundred and thirty-nine. So, now this birthday has a sort of cool significance.

Some highlights of this birthday include: nifty motorcycle boots from my sister-in-law (guess word got out about my duct-taped rain boots), the ice cream shop and the comic book shop with my kids (I got "Hellboy: Strange Places." Did I mention my fantasy of Mike Mignola illustrating my novel?), my mom's pineapple upside-down cake (to die for), and tonight dear husband's taking me to Indian food. Yipee!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Your Favorite Moon Songs

I'm doing a little research for my novel and I thought it might be fun to bring anyone in on it who would like to participate. I need to know your favorite moon songs- that is, songs about the moon. One of the characters is making a mixed CD of moon songs and while I won't be naming every song in the actual novel, I enjoy a well developed backstory.

Here are a few to get us started:

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
Moon Dance - Van Morrison
Blue Moon of Kentucky - Bill Monroe
Bad Moon Rising - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Character Reaction Believability

Something on the light side for the blog today. Don't worry, I haven't forgot about God.

Fictitious characters in novels and movies run across creatures and situations that would cause ordinary people to wet their pants. Characters maintain enough composure to battle zombies, capture fairies, speak to ghosts, and kiss mermaids and it's typically believable.

The kids and I are currently watching Hellboy. When Agent Myers meets Hellboy for the first time, he doesn't run screaming from the room. He doesn't become petrified by fear. He greets him as politely as he's able.

Harry Potter and Hermoine run across ghosts for the first time at Hogwarts and don't turn white and flee the Great Hall and they grew up in the ordinary world like the rest of us.

In Labyrinth, Jereth, the goblin king, stands before a brave Sarah who juts out her chin and sasses him. She calmly walks into the maze and asks a worm for advice.

Alice falls unnaturally slow down the deepest rabbit hole ever burrowed lined with bookcases and wonders calmly where she'll end up.

So in my budding YA urban fantasy novel, why is it so hard for a couple of my critiquers to believe that a young woman doesn't absolutely freak out when the guy who stalked her and made a lame attempt to kidnap her buys her a sandwich? Is she under reacting? You betcha, if we were talking about a real person. She's going to face a lot weirder things before this novel's through. If she became hysterical every time something frightening happens, we won't have much of a story.

Maybe my problem is, I haven't billed it as a fairytale.

Any idea from fellow writers, readers, or avid movie watchers?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Goodness as an Argument for God

A love atheists. They're especially good on toast. ;) One of my favorite writers, Douglas Adams, was an atheist. I like to think he's changed his stance on that since his death. Atheists are so impassioned about their belief that God doesn't exist. They can be as fervent in their belief as many Bible-thumping Christians.
So, one of my favorite living atheist left me a comment:
Randy's comment
I followed with an email and then he was inspired to write a couple of interesting posts on his blog Sisyphus Sidestepped. I'll now discuss the idea of goodness as an argument in the favor of God's existence. I welcome any and all feedback.

Randy supposes we are purely selfish creatures seeking our own pleasure. He wrote that the number one driving force in life is the avoidance of pain. No doubt that is a huge driving force in many people's lives. But we are thinking humans and not animals so we can override that instinct. Humans risk death and injury to save another person. We donate to the poor when it would be much more fun to spend that money on ourselves. We refrain from boxing up our unruly teenagers and sending them to Timbuktu- (much to the relief of the Timbuktuvians). You can fill in your own examples, I'm sure.

The argument can be made that we do those things to keep ourselves from feeling pain. The pain of seeing another person starve, burned in a building etc. But think. A firefighter risks his/her life to protect people. Most they save, a few they can't. Wouldn't firefighters be happier avoiding fires altogether? Something drives us to think of others first. That leads me to my main question...

Why does human life have value?
Or does it?
Why should I care if somebody suffers or is killed? What's it to me? Why does it hurt me to see somebody suffer? Why should I care if people are starving halfway across the world? Why should I care that millions were killed by Nazis during WWII? If we have no souls and we're just a lump of flesh created randomly, why do we love other people? Do you believe in the existence of love? It's not tangible. You can't see it or touch it.

I believe human life has value because God loves us. I'm not the first to suppose this. The Declaration of Independence states that, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If anybody wants to deny this statement, go on and give up your rights now. After all, survival of the fittest should dictate that the strongest among us should get what we can without considering another person's rights and value. (It should be noted that I'm a heck of a lot weaker than Randy, so that could be part of my rejection to 'survival of the fittest.') ;)

So, I leave you with two questions:
Why does human life have value?
Do you believe in the existence of love?