You can thank Jeffe Kennedy for inspiring (or perhaps I should say "instigating") what follows in this post. She's the one who double-dog dared me, during a twitter exchange, to write a blog post about the titular (I just love that word--it sounds so titillating (hey, there's another one!)) subject matter.
(Why, yes, I am feeling rather parenthetical this morning.)
Of course, it's equally Sierra Godfrey's fault. She's the one who, in an effort to cheer me up (as you may recall, I was having a rather peevish Monday), reminded me that at least I didn't have "a partially-formed conjoined-but-dead twin growing out of your neck. A plus!"
(I'm forced to agree with her point. That really is a plus.)
Kristina and Gretchen joined in the conversation, too, so I suppose they should get some of the blame credit. Thanks, ladies!
*ahem* Since I am not one to back away from a Double-Dog Dare, I give you the following:
Two Heads Are Better Than One
There once was a woman named Fred
Who'd an extra, much smaller, head.
With a scarf she did cover it,
Taking care not to smother it,
Even though it was already dead.
*bows* Thank you, thank you verra much... (Sorry. Channeling my inner Elvis there.)
Or, in keeping with the theme, if you prefer something from the animal kingdom:
And lest we forget it's HUMP DAY:
"It's your turn to wear the scarf!" "No, it's your turn!"
(Yeah, I know. This post was a little macabre. But we ARE coming up on Halloween, so it's kind of appropriate, right? RIGHT?)
It's not the big things. The big things you can dig your heels in and deal with.
It's the tiny, pesky things that, cumulatively, really start to frost you. (Well, by "you," I of course mean "me.")
Dental floss that breaks in the middle of flossing.
The garbage truck coming an hour earlier than it ever has before, so you miss it and have keep stinky garbage around until the next pick-up day, when the truck comes so late your embarrassingly overflowing can has to stay by the curb all...day...long.
The grocery store being out of the one thing you really need.
When you forget you're wearing your contact lenses and accidentally rub your eye, pushing the lens up God knows where under your eyelid.
When the brilliant idea for your WIP evaporates somewhere between your brain and your fingers as you type. (Heh. If only it were this easy...)
Out. Of. CHOCOLATE!! (Okay, that's really a major irritant.)
Those squirrelly two-second power outages--just long enough that you have to reset all the digital clocks in the house.
When the guy with the Harley across the street idles it for-freakin'-ever, early in the morning, on a day you (again, by "you," I mean "me") could be sleeping in.
Trigger-powered spray bottles that inexplicably stop working when there is still liquid in them.
Shoestrings that break at inopportune moments.
Care to add to the list? What are your minor irritants? Go ahead. Get it off your chest. You'll feel better.
TG and I had another one of our "special" dates Wednesday night.
Okay, sure, technically he was working. So, yeah, I had to drive myself to the theater, and drive myself back home afterward. And sit by myself during the show. (Well, not totally by myself--the Gloomiest Man in the World sat next to me. Seriously. Pure Eeyore. Eyes to the fore, did not crack a smile the whole evening. Hey, it's not my fault he was late buying his tickets, and his wife had to sit down on the front row with her friends. I would have offered to trade seats with her, so they could sit together, but frankly she looked like she was having fun where she was, and I didn't want to spoil her evening.)
TG was, of course, running all the technical stuff (hey, I told you he was "technically" working, right?), and so couldn't stay by my side and listen to my snide insightful remarks about other audience members.
But still. I consider it a date, because we were in the same building, watching the same performance.
And a fantastic performance it was, too! I got to go see my favorite comedy troupe/jugglers, The Flying Karamazov Brothers. You might remember them from this earlier post.
Sadly, the guys didn't come over for dinner this time, but the troupe is every bit as entertaining as they always are. I was delighted to find out they would be performing their famous trick, "The Terror." As I explained in the earlier post, this trick involves juggling a salt shaker, a meat cleaver, a flaming torch, an egg, a block of dry ice, a fish, a ukelele, a bottle of champagne (with the safety wire removed), and a skillet. By the end of the trick, they're frying the fish and egg in the skillet, and drinking the champagne. Really cool.
What's really interesting to me, though (writer that I am), is the build up to the trick. From the very beginning of the show they start to set it up. A sign (it says "TERROR," aptly enough) is placed stage right, and left there throughout the show. One by one, during small breaks between all their other truly awesome sets, the objects to be juggled in the TERROR are placed there.
The tension builds with each addition. All the while we're watching the guys (did I mention they were in kilts? Yeah. *happy sigh*) juggle pins, balls, and funny words, in the back of our mind is, Oh, my gosh--how will they ever be able to juggle all those weird--and dangerous!--things without disaster befalling them?
During the course of the show, the guys sometimes drop a pin, or a ball, or an egg. These things happen. They're great at covering the flubs with funny banter. My personal favorite? One guy saying to another, in a stage whisper, "I don't think they noticed." ("They" being the audience.)
The thing about these flubs--and I'm pretty sure the guys know this--is it builds the tension even more. If they went through the entire show without any mistakes, by the time they got to the TERROR, the audience would be too relaxed. Too certain they'd get through it just fine. It's so much more effective if they let a little doubt build in the minds of the audience members, the fear that the trick might...not...work. That it might fail.
That is tension.
It did eventually work. But not until the third try, and not before they dropped the torch and almost set the bench it rolled under on fire. (Which, TG assures me, was not rehearsed. When you're performing in a very old, wooden structure, with fire, you do not purposefully take chances. Plus, it's a really, really hard trick.)
The point is, by the time the Terror started, we audience members were hushed, holding our breath, trying to help keep those TERROR objects in the air by adding the force of our will (or so it felt to me) to the jugglers' combined skill. We were that involved. That invested in the outcome. The two times it failed were almost unbearable.
And when success finally came (!!!!)? Let's just say it was sweet.
First an foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LENNY! You are an absolute winner in my book. :)
If you don't know Lenny, you should. He's eleven years old today, and he has Very Cool blog. I met him over at Candyland's blog (another awesome place), and he really brightens up the blogosphere for me.
The next order of winner business:
Last week this blog had a visit from Darby, a very special guest blogger. Darby is the mc of kc dyer's latest novel, FACING FIRE (which is the sequel to A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW). Anyone who commented on that post was automatically entered in a drawing to win a copy of FACING FIRE.
The names in the "drawing" are: Kelly Breakey, Jeannie Moon, Tawna Fenske, demery bader-saye, Karla Nellenbach, Krystal, and Deniz Bevan.
Now, I suppose I could have put all the names in a hat, blind-folded myself, and then drawn one. But I thought it might be more fun to THROW DARTS at these guys!
So, I wrote all the names on pieces of paper and taped them to the dart board:
Then I took a red dart...
...and threw it. Sadly, I am lousy at darts, even the magnetic ones (aka, Darts for Dummies), and so it ended up here:
So, I decided to try left-handed, and with a yellow dart (in case red just wasn't my color):
AHA! This worked out much better. Especially for (drum roll, please):
Congratulations to Karla! Not only does Karla win FACING FIRE, but since she also tweeted about the contest last week, she also wins A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, the first Darcy book. Karla, if you'll email me your address at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send word to kc that you're the winner, and she'll send you copies of her books.
So anyhoo, a friend of mine was bitching and moaning to me recently about the *cough* rather extended stay of some house guests. Not that she didn't love these friends of hers, but she was kind of over loving them up close, if you know what I mean. She was ready to resume loving them from afar.
After talking it through (there may have been alcohol involved), we came up with some surefire tips to ensure her future house guests never wear out their welcome. Thought I'd share our list with you, purely in the interest of public service.
THE HAPPY HOSTESS GUIDE TO GETTING RID OF GUESTS GUILTLESSLY
1. The guest bed should not be so comfortable that the guests' own beds (in their own homes) compare unfavorably. Because that would be sad for them. A good hostess doesn't want her guests to be sad.
2. If you have any small children--or, better yet, teenagers--have your guests share a bathroom with them during their stay. This will make them feel like part of the family. It will also make them appreciate their own private bathroom--in their own home--that much more. They will be happy they have a private bathroom to go home to. A good hostess wants her guests to be happy.
3. Leave a tip jar on the kitchen counter. Salt it with a few bills. This will make your guests feel like they are at a resort, where tip jars abound. Who wouldn't want their vacay to feel like a resort?
4. Ask your guests to pick up your dry-cleaning on the way back from one of their sightseeing jaunts. They'll feel needed. Nothing gives people the warm fuzzies like feeling needed. And whatever you do, don't insult them by giving them the money to cover bill--they'll think you think they're cheap, and that would be rude.
5. Tell your guests you're a "green" household, and everyone showers together to conserve water. This is Mother Earth we're talking about--joining together for such a good cause will build a sense of camaraderie, a welcome addition to any vacation. Let's hear a kumbaya, people!
6. Have a "Lawrence Welk Sing-Along Party." Every night. Again, it's all about the camaraderie. To make the camaraderie even more festive, rent a bubble machine.
7. A middle-of-the-night fire drill will let your guests know you care about their safety. Schedule the first one for the fourth night; if they stay beyond a week, go for every night. Because, really, can you ever have too much safety?
My friend and I came up with more tips, but frankly, at this point, they just started getting silly (and perhaps a trifle inappropriate). How about y'all? Do you have any tips to add? I'm sure my friend would appreciate them.
When my oldest brother was fourteen or so, he came to breakfast one day with a big Band-Aid on his forehead. Our mother immediately dropped the frying pan and rushed to his side, exclaiming, "Oh, my goodness--what happened?"
"Nothing," Big Brother replied.
"But your head..." Mom said.
"There's nothing wrong," he insisted, grinning smugly.
"Well, for heaven's sake, why did you put a Band-Aid on?"
Well, at least he was honest. Mom just rolled her eyes and went back to making pancakes. (I probably would have hit him with the spatula.) But, see, I understand why my brother did that. There were four of us kids angling for our parents' eyes, the youngest being about a year old at that time. Guess who got the most face time?
(Yeah, yeah. Understandably so. Babies have to have more time. Doesn't mean the older kids in the family aren't going to resent it.)
My MIL's (that's mother-in-law, for those not down with internet acronyms) would concur. One of her favorite things to say, when confronted with bad behavior from either kids or adults, is, "They're just doing that for attention."
You know what? She's absolutely right. People love attention, and will apparently stop at nothing to get it. How else do you explain all those reality TV shows? Regular, everyday people vying for attention, competing for ratings with celebrities (who are, of course, professional attention-seekers).
Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears...all you have to do is turn on the news to see what they do for attention. Sex, drugs, internet indiscretions (usually involving sex and/or drugs)--whatever will get their face in front of the viewing public. Do they do it consciously? I can't say for sure, the cynic in me suspects so.
What is it about attention?
Well, I'm no psychologist, but I think it must be the connection. The tangible evidence that we are not alone. Humans are not genetically predisposed to be solitary creatures. (Barring the rare hermit, of course. There's always an exception, right?) Some people apparently require a lot more reassurance of their un-aloneness than others.
The difference is in how people go about collecting their requisite share of attention. You can divide it into some basic categories (though most people are probably hybrids):
SAINTS: Philanthropists, do-gooders, whatever you want to call them. The teacher's pets. Members of the clergy, and other altruistic professions, like teachers, medical professionals, police, firefighters, etc. I'm generalizing here. I realize all these professions have their bad apples. But I suspect even those bad apples would like to be perceived as unselfish. This is how they get their attention: "Hey, look at me! Aren't I good?"
SINNERS: These are the eff-you-ers of the world. To them it's just easier (or maybe more fun) to gain an audience by misbehaving. Most kids learn this one early on, and if their parents are silly enough to focus on them only when they are "being bad," well, a little monster is born. ;) I have a certain amount of patience for this kind of behavior...up until about age four. But if you're twenty-five and still practicing this tactic, then eff you.
CLASS CLOWNS: Okay, I have to admit, this is probably my favorite category. It can be taken to obnoxious extremes, of course (can't anything?), but at least it's usually entertaining. To the rest of the class, if not the teacher. Though even when I was a teacher, I secretly loved the clowns best. (Not that I ever showed favoritism. That would be wrong. Wait...is applause "favoritism"? Oops...)
BLOGGERS: Er, what can I say? Me, ME, ME!!!! *ahem* Now that I've gotten that out of my system...well, this one is pretty self-explanatory. And, really, it may just be a subset of the first three, because bloggers tend fall into one of those categories, don't they?
You've got your helpful, altruistic blogs, always offering great advice on one thing or another. Your ranting & raving blogs, sparking controversy any way they can manage. And, of course, your clownish blogs, always out for a cheap laugh. (Guilty.)
Oh, and let's not forget the Frankenstein blogs--they patch all three types together, in varying amounts, to come up their own distinct personality.
So, where do you put your Band-Aid? IOW, what's the wackiest thing you've ever done just to get some attention?
Last week I held a little contest to celebrate surpassing the 100-follower milestone on this blog. Frankly, I find it hard to believe so many people peek into my reality on a regular basis. Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful you do. I'd hate to feel like I'm talking to myself. But I can't help wondering--don't you guys have toenails to clip or bathrooms to clean?
Wait...I rate above toenail clipping and bathroom cleaning? Awwww. Now I'm really feeling special. :)
Anyway, without further ado...
(Okay, maybe that was a little further ado. Can you really ever have too much ado?)
*ahem* The winner, and Queen Camel of this Happy Hump Day...
Crystal's Halloween story almost made me wet my pants. (Yes, my sense of humor is just that warped.) It appealed to the Melodramatic actress in me. Crystal, if you'll email me your address at linda(dot)grimes(at)gmail(dot)com, I'll send you your handy-dandy electronic dictionary/bookmark.
To all the other wonderful entrants: it was so close! I wish I had an cheesy electronic gadget to give each and every one of you. But you all amused me greatly, and really, isn't just knowing that prize enough?
My name is Darby Christopher, and thanks to the magic of the internet, I have flown in pixellated form to land here in Linda's lap for the day. This lets me get between her nose and the grindstone, and give her a break for the day. While she's got her feet up, I'll step in to celebrate the launch of my new book FACING FIRE -- and to declare war.
Okay -- it's not technically my war, and not Linda's either. But in 1812, the country that would one day produce the erudite and amazing Linda Grimes was at war with my country, Canada. Like today, it was a time when ties between our countries were tight and families who lived on either side of the border were torn to pieces by the conflict. And if you're into travelling through time -- especially via the pages of a book -- you can share the story with me.
FACING FIRE picks up the story of what happened to me after the magical summer that began in A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. Now, I may be too young to sip martinis with Linda, but I have somehow managed to have acquired a talent for slip-sliding-through-time…
So if you didn't know that we Canucks once picked up arms and aimed them across the border at our American bretheren, you may want to pick up a copy of my new book. You can find out more about it – and the author – at www.kcdyer.com
Or better still, would you like to win a copy as a prize? If you leave comment on this post, Linda will put your name into a draw to win a free copy of the new book – FACING FIRE. And if you actually link to this post somewhere else [like in another blog, or facebook post or even a tweet] we’ll put your name in for the draw for BOTH of my books. Go for it!
And now we return Linda's nose to the previously described grindstone...
Thanks for having me, Linda!
From Linda: Thanks for stopping by and giving me a blog break, Darby! Since I'm such an understanding and forgiving sort, I won't hold that whole taking up arms against my country thing against you. But seriously, dude. Aren't Canucks supposed to be nice?
To you guys reading this--I first met Darby in A Walk Through A Window. It's a fantastic YA novel, but you absolutely don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. I'm so looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with Darby in Facing Fire. kc is also the author of The Eagle Glen Trilogy (Seeds of Time, Secret of Light, Shades of Red) and Ms Zephyr's Notebook. She's a great writer, and a fantastically funny and entertaining person, too.
So, y'all just leave a comment, and you might win a great book. It's not complicated--you'll be entered for the drawing even if you just say Hi. Easy-peasy. :) Not sure when the drawing will be, but I'll let you know.
[Oh, and while you're at it, go here to enter my freakin' caption contest already. Tomorrow's the deadline on that one.]
Because of y'all, I am officially over 100 followers on this blog now.
Okay. 101 at last count. That's "over." Not by much, but it still makes me feel like doing something crazy to celebrate.
HOOLA-HOOPING! That's me, with my dad, when I was...well, a lot younger than I am now. It's kind of blurry, because it was a small print. I look like I don't quite understand the concept, don't I?
Anyway, to celebrate this amazing foot...
...er, feat. *cough* To celebrate this amazing feat (truly amazing, when you consider how many previous blogs I tried--and failed miserably--to keep up with) I am going to have a little Thank-You-For-Reading-My-Blog Contest.
All you have to do is provide me with a caption to either the hoola-hoop photo or the foot photo. Or, if you'd prefer something more seasonal, this one:
That's "Headless TG," one of our Halloween decorations from a few years back. Those are earlier versions of my kiddos with him.
Leave your entry in the comments. You may enter as often as you'd like, with just one of the photos or, if you're an over-achiever, all three.
That's it. Really. No catches. Simple huh?
The winner will be chosen on a purely subjective basis: whoever makes me laugh the hardest. (Extra credit for anyone who makes me spew a beverage out of my nose or wet my pants.) If there happens to be a tie, I will let my live-in tie-breaker, TG, decide.
The prize? This nifty little electronic gadget:
I'm pretty sure it doesn't vibrate (sorry, Tawna), but it could still come in handy when you're reading books with Really Big Words, right? AmIright?
Contest will close in half an hour. Better hurry!
Okay, not really. I just said that to get you to leave your comments faster. The contest will actually close Tuesday, Oct. 12th, at midnight. That way you have the whole three-day weekend (plus a whole extra day!) to enter.
(If you're lucky enough to have Columbus Day off, that is. If not...well, you'll have to squeeze it in* somehow. Surely you have a few minutes here or there. I'm not looking for deathless prose. Only a few chuckles.)
*I know what you're thinking. But they don't all have to be double-entendres, you know.
You know what I'm wondering this fine Wednesday? I'm wondering why, in so many Network TV shows and not-quite-R-rated movies, whenever a man and woman are getting busy in bed, the woman keeps her bra on.*
(What? When's a better time than Hump Day to wonder about sex?)
So, does this strike anyone else as odd? A garment that's a little...I dunnoh, out of place?
Sure, it's fascinating in its own way, but it's not realistic, is it? It kind of tears down that fourth wall for me. Knocks me out of the story. Reminds me too much that I'm watching a TV show or movie, instead of letting me get truly caught up in the story.
And while I'm bitching about breaching the fourth wall, here a few other things that make it impossible for me to suspend my disbelief:
over-whitened teeth (Especially in period pieces.)
special effects that don't pay attention to real physics (Like in the movie Pearl Harbor, when the planes did things real planes can't do, or that Hulk movie where the CGI Hulk seems to be as light as a parade balloon. It didn't bother me that he was big and green--I was more than willing to suspend my disbelief there--only that he didn't seem to have enough weight for his apparent bulk.)
computers that work too well--that are lightning fast and never crash, or searches that take people to exactly the information they're looking for in about two two clicks, no matter how obscure the subject matter.
costume dramas that are too clean (Shakespeare in Love and the BBC series Rome are examples of doing it right--they each had a believable amount of grubbiness for me.)
[Oddly, it doesn't bother me when an actor purposely breaks through the fourth wall by addressing the audience. It's an accepted convention, and quite entertaining when employed well. It's the stuff you know wasn't intended that bugs me.]
How about y'all? What throws you out of the story when you're watching TV or a movie? (I'm saving books for another post.)
*Not literally. I mean, I know why--you can't show the boobies. No nipples allowed. The sweater puppies must remain in the kennel, or the censors will pounce. What I mean is, if these were real women, in actual passionate situations, why on earth would they keep those puppies penned?
No, that is not me in the above pic. You can tell by the shorts. I would never wear shorts on a day chilly enough to wear a hoodie. I would get goosebumps, which, on me, tend to evoke images of plucked chickens. Trust me, not a good look for me.
Another key difference: Hello? This is a guy. (My legs are about that white, though. Which is another reason I don't wear shorts much.)
I'm guessing you'll have no trouble deciphering this post. See ya Wednesday! :)
P.S. Please do say hi, though! And maybe follow my blog, if you aren't already. I'm not big on counting followers, but I'm one shy of 100, and that does seem kind of special somehow. Won't you be my 100?
Geez, I hate handwriting. It was the bane of my elementary school existence, ruining my shot at the Straight A Honor Roll time after time. The thing that really broke me, though, was the reading journal I had to keep for one of my English classes in college. I kept up with the reading, no problem, but the journal wasn't due until the end of the semester, and I was kind of busy with shows. And possibly a *cough* fairly active social life. You know how it is.
But I had a good memory, so I was sure I'd have no trouble filling in daily entries ... eventually ... even if I waited to do them weeks, or even months, after I read the material.
Yeah. You try writing 4 months worth of journal entries in two days. OUCH.
(Yes, this was in the Dark Ages, when nobody had a personal computer. Assignments like this were expected to be written out in the dreaded longhand.)
I wrote for hours and hours over those two days, switching back and forth from blue to black ink (and even throwing in some purple and green, just to make it look like I was writing on different days.
Before this experience, I always thought that writer's cramp was just a myth. Trust me, it's not.
I did finish it. A lot of the stuff in the middle was total BS, because I figured the teacher wasn't really going to sit there and read every entry in every journal. And apparently I was right, because I got an A-. But it was the hardest I ever worked (physically) for an A-, and I don't recommend anyone try same tactic, no matter how much of a procrastinator you are. It's SO not worth it.
Anyway, the reason behind this rambling discourse on my poor time management skills in college is, Cynthia Reese tagged me for a blog handwriting game. Or challenge. Or double-dog-dare--whatever you want to call it. Thanks bunches, Cynthia! I love you too. (And I will think of a way to get back at you return the favor.)
Write down (by hand!) on a piece of paper the following:
1. Name, Blog Name
2. Right handed, left handed, or both?
3. Favorite letters to write
4. Least favorite letters to write
5. Write out "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"
6. Write in CAPS: BABOON, SPLENDOR, ONOMATOPOEIA, FLIP-FLOPS, HUZZAH!
7. Favorite song lyrics
8. Tag 7 people
9. Whatever else strikes your fancy. (Nothing much strikes my fancy when it comes to longhand, so I'm skipping this step.)
Let me say upfront, this assignment was incredibly difficult for me. I hardly ever write anything longhand anymore--I'm a keyboard kiddo all the way. A few stray notes, a shopping list...maybe. But that's it.
As a result, I lack practice. And skill. And legibility.
Also, I tend to randomly print in the middle of cursive, and vice-versa. I find this lack of consistency somewhat disturbing. Unless...yes, I'll just call it "quirky."
Here's my sample:
What's that you say? You can't read it? Well, duh. I just told you it was illegible. But, anyway, if you're interested, the song lyrics are Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," which I chose for no other reason than that it always makes me laugh.* (Yes, that's rather mean-spirited of me. What can I say? If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I have a warped sense of humor.)
Also, who doesn't appreciate a good Take No Crap attitude?
Here's the whole song, if wanna hear it:
Now, I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but you know what? I'm not going to name names. If y'all want to expose yourself--I mean, your handwriting--on your own blog, go right ahead. Just tell me if you do, so I can go laugh...er, I mean, commiserate with you.
*No, it's not true that I was thinking about Cynthia's car as I watched this video. Much.