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?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Homonym Walks Into A Bar


I miss the sound of a typewriter going BING at the end of every line.
Sorry, off topic-

This guy walks into a bar. "Ouch!" He rubs his head. "Who hung that bar there?"

Homonyms: words that sound alike but have different meanings

I posted a comment on an agent's blog this morning, then looked back at it and noticed I used "their" where I should have used "there." My fingers don't have ears, so I don't know why they typed it wrong. Well, now I look dumb. One day I'll send him a query letter and he'll delete it. "That's the lady who wrote 'their' instead of 'there.' Automatic rejection."

Tonight I'm getting a micro at my daughter's beauty school. That stands for microdermabrasion. My seven-year-olds keep hearing it as Mike Rowe. He's the host of the show "Dirty Jobs." Technically, that's not a homonym. It's a mondegreen. When I come home with all the skin on my face blasted off and no Dirty Jobs guy, they're going to be disappointed.

This just in- My 17 yr old used to think that the words to the Elton John song "Bennie and the Jets," were "She's got electric boobs" (instead of boots).

Anybody have a favorite homonym or mondegreen?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Writer's Life. Warning, not for the squeamish

My daughter said this little guy reminded her of me. :/
Okie dokie then.
Then I saw the video Struggling to Make it posted and I was reminded of the little writer at the keyboard.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Faith and A bike race blog

I was alone in church today (there was not mass at that time) saying prayers for my grandma who recently passed away, when I heard a swish-swish sound. I opened my eyes and there was a boy, rosary in hand, shuffling toward the alter on his knees. What an amazing outward sign of faith. I've sometimes felt I wanted to lay down right in front of the tabernacle. I don't. I worry about people looking at me askance. Maybe it comes from my teenager chiding me for kneeling or standing a split second before anyone else, or just a general deep-seated fear of people noticing I exist.

I think it was St. John of the Cross who said, it's not your business to worry about what others think of you, but what God thinks of you. I'm attempting to live by that motto. I think I can if I run away to the forest and become a hermit. I would have made a very happy hermit.

I've veered from the path I intended in this blog.

Faith- Deep enduring faith. In this ephemeral life we live, it's a huge comfort if you have it... unless you are among those who sadly avoid thinking of their own demise.

Blaise Pascal (mathematician, apologist, the dead French guy who ushered me back to the faith via a teacher's edition of a math text book) wrote:

"Nothing betrays more clearly an extreme weakness of intellect than not to recognise the unhappiness of a man without God."

I don't know about it being a weakness of intellect. It's sad, though.

He also wrote:

"There are only two kinds of person whom we can describe as reasonable: those who serve God with all their hearts because they have found him, and those who seek him with all their heart because they have not found him."

Sometimes I think I'm the first one, sometimes the second, and at times, neither -simply lukewarm. But, I've discovered that prayer is pretty darn neato at the lukewarm times. I got the idea to pray during those times from C.S. Lewis. (The Screwtape Letters is amazingly epiphanistic).

Sorry if this post seems disjointed. I got up several times to drive people places. It was going to be insightful- I know a big contrast to my last post. Oh well, I'm not a philosopher; I'm just a geeky mom.

And I am aware that epiphanistic isn't a real word.

Oh! And I put up some of the footage my husband and his brother took of the Tour of California bike race. They went up to Patterson Pass yesterday in the rain to watch. Here's a link to my YouTube page:

Here's a random picture of one of the twins with a goat that I didn't realize was still in the camera until I uploaded the stuff from the Tour of CA.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Geeky Escapism Quiz

The Geeky Escapism Quiz

In each segment give yourself 2 points if you can answer to the affirmative on the first question, 1 if you can answer yes to the second, but not the first, etc. (ie. Don't give yourself 3 if you can answer both- just take the 2 and be happy) Is that as clear as supernatural enchanted fog?

2 Pointed ears are a great investment because they can be for an Elf or Vulcan costume.
1 Pointed ears are so cool!
0 W.T.F.?

2 You named your child after a character from Star Trek, Dr. Who, or LotR.
1 You named your pet after one of the above.
0 What's LotR?

2 You've used ten sided dice.
1 You've used a compass for recreational purposes. (Either kind)
0 How many kinds are there?

D. A dangerous creature jumps out at you.
2 You fire your phaser.
1 You pull out your sword or wand.
0 Dude, it's just a cat.

2 You know what TARDIS stands for.
1 You know the name of Han Solo's spacecraft.
0 Wait, wasn't that Harrison Ford?

2 You currently play role playing games.
1 You used to play role playing games.
0 Is that something kinky?

2 You've read the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
1 You've seen the films.
0 They wrote books about that?

2 Your favorite number is 42.
1 You want to visit Platform 9 3/4
0 You still think the number 69 is funny.

2 You want a pet tribble.
1 You want a pet dragon.
0 Dragons aren't real, you moron, and what the heck's a tribble?

2 Elves are beautiful and have a great love for music.
1 Elves cook and clean at Hogwarts.
0 You mean, like Santa's elves?

Bonus Question
2 You can name the hologram character in the Red Dwarf series.
1 You have the theme from Quantum Leap on your cell phone.
0 You're thinking of going back to the Han Solo question.

Now Score Yourself

20 or above: You win a genuine time machine.
16-19 : You win an all expense paid trip on the spacecraft of your choice.
12-15 : You win a free membership on
8-11 : The Great Gazoo will visit you in your dreams.
3-7 : Voldemort will visit you in your dreams.
Below 3: You obviously have a life outside of geeky escapism and therefore need nothing I have to offer. I chase you off with my +2 Saber.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wasting Time

My blog's been neglected, but I got a nudge from my niece to post something, so here goes.

My daughter, (we'll call her N), left Blue Like Jazz (by Donald Miller) on the table next to me. I picked it up, but was forbidden from reading beyond her book mark. She's like that -very specific in her commands, but surprisingly vague about herself. For instance, she'll say, "You have to drive me to beauty school." I say, "When?" She answers, "I don't know." Then any length of time later (a few minutes, a couple of hours, the following day...) she suddenly says, "I have to go NOW. Come on, get in the car!"

Sorry, I've strayed from my original point. In this book Donald Miller writes ...(drat, I can't find the exact quote. N has this weird thing about not writing in books) anyway, it says something about the devil spending more energy on getting us to waste time rather than tempting us to do actual evil. I thought that was very poignant, very C.S.LewisScrewtapeLettersish. Sitting on my butt playing solitaire is a complete waste of time. I could be cleaning, praying, reading to the kids, writing my novel (Now some would say, and I won't give any names **my husband** that writing my novel was a waste of time. ).

But the point I'm unsuccessfully making is that if you suddenly realized this was your last moment alive, will you be glad you'd just spent the past four and a half minutes making Harry Potter icons for your LJ (ha ha, sorry N) or do you wish you'd made that phone call to the friend you've been neglecting, baked cookies with your little brother, or wrote a love note to your husband? ...just a thought.

Of course, insert your own examples if you don't have a husband and if your little brother is 68... not that 68 year olds don't enjoy baking cookies. I'm just saying...never mind.