the cutest blog on the block

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Modern Dilemma

This Sunday, on an act of impulse (which really seems to be my weakness when it comes to these things) I was looking at the LiveJournal website, trying to see if I could set up an account there. And as I was looking about the site, something occurred to me, as these things do.

Why was I looking at another social networking site when I already have this blog, Facebook, emailing, texting, and other assorted modern methods of communication? I mean, isn't it enough that I can automatically see most of my friends and family members whenever I log on Facebook? And I can text them whenever I please, since I have most of their cell phone numbers?  And the really the only reason I was looking at LiveJournal at all was because I liked the graphics and backgrounds on other people's LiveJournal pages?

I know. I like pretty things and shiny pictures and that alone is enough to get my attention. I'm shallow.

Also, LiveJournal actually makes you PAY for certain graphics or account features. Really. You need to pay money to use their site. And I don't think my mom and dad would appreciate it if I did sign up for LiveJournal after all. So I'll stick with Facebook, thanks.

So now I appeal to you, my loyal readers (all six of you), to halt the overexposure of the modern era. It's already enough to have Facebook or email or texting (or this blog). NOBODY needs all of those things, and a MySpace page and LiveJournal and Twitter or...anything else that people use nowadays. I'm not that hip and relevant. This is, of course, not bashing or vilifying any of those sites that I mentioned above. I am a devoted Facebooker, since as aforesaid, I have family members and friends on there that I can connect to easily when I don't see them that often. But I'm all for keeping some things private. No one needs to know every little thought that passes through your head. No one needs all of those things, because eventually, some of it is going to fall by the wayside. No one I know is that good of a multitasker (not even myself). 

Whatever happened to letters, for heaven's sake? To writing someone a nice note of interest with an inkwell pen and pretty stationary? And sealing wax! People used to denote special meaning and significance to the color of sealing wax! I mean, I've seen letters and envelopes and letterheads at Staples, Michael's, Borders, Barnes & Nobles, or whatever. So obviously somebody is still using them or they wouldn't be selling right now. Somebody is still using what used to be disdainfully termed "snail mail." Because if the day of the handwritten letter was truly dead, then Hallmark would be out of business right now. (Though they really sell novelties now that I think of it. And ornaments and other assorted holiday paraphernalia. But I digress.)

If you want to talk to someone, send a letter. Send a card. Or better yet, send yourself, for goodness' sake! Is our time really so valuable now that we can't be bothered to show up at a friend or relation's house and say, "Hello, I missed you! Care to have coffee? Look, I brought cupcakes!" (Because you will always be welcome to anyone's house if you bring good cupcakes.)  No one is really that busy that we can't take time out of our insane schedules to pay some good old-fashioned human attention to our loved ones? No, you aren't. Don't look at me all innocently over your Starbucks coffee and your Kindles and/or Nooks. Make someone's day brighter, would you?

And no one needs to point out the irony of using a blog to decry the over-use of the Web in people's daily lives. I'm already quite aware of it, thank you.

Over & Out,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As one might guess from the new font, template and background, I've been having a lot of fun playing around with my blog. Doesn't it look pretty??

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

There's a Sad Sort of Clanging from the Clock in the Hall

As you might expect from the title of this week's entry, I am very fond of the Sound of Music and of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer (they were absolutely adorable in that movie and Young!Christopher Plummer is all kinds of hot). I am also very fond of long blog titles, because they just sound more interesting. I'm odd like that.

Most of you who know me and read this blog (the few, the proud, the related...and one or two friends), know that my oldest brother Aaron, is a big factor in whatever I write, whether it's fiction, blog posts, or essays. He's one of the few people who can keep with me and I with him. If he's not borrowing half of my brain, I'm borrowing half of his. We're claustrophobic like that. If it's not Monty Python, it's the Princess Bride, and if it's not the Princess Bride, it's Winnie the Pooh, and if it's not Winnie the Pooh, it's Babar, and if it's not get the idea. Facebook only feeds our addiction.  Really, what I've discovered in the nineteen years of my existence, that the only thing to do when I have kids is to have them one after the other, like my mom had us. My kids will just have to band together for survival. With me as their mom, my brothers for uncles, my MOM for their grandmother... they'll have no choice. Just like me and my brothers did. So there. 

Ayden and her six brothers, Arkady, Josef, Silas, the twins Dante and Matteo and the youngest boy Finn, are for the most part, inspired by my brothers and my numerous male cousins. Any lampooning I do of them is meant with the utmost respect and affection. Ayden  is me of course, but me if my brothers and cousins actually listen to what I say, which only happens once in blue moon (never, in other words).  They love each other, but they can also bring out the worst in each other, too. You can't kill 'em and you can't live with 'em. But they are also the source of some of the greatest joys and deepest pains that anyone can ever experience. Ayden had kind of lost sight of that, and it's up to me (and Sydney too, of course) to help her regain it. Even Liam wants to get in on that action and he's proven surprisingly spry for a dead guy! I'll have to host him a dead man's party and find out what he has to say about these shenanigans.

Speaking of Liam, thanks to my friend and fellow aspiring writer Nicole, I'm beginning to hammer out some of Liam's backstory. Like, why he left Halcyon House to begin with and why he never talked of his past. Near  as I can figure it, Liam's father Eamon had no soul and crooked family history. I'm thinking about inserting a brother for Liam in there, but the jury's still out. Nicole also suggested putting in a sister for Gregor (Ayden's father) but I'm thinking of having her die an early death, as so to add some depth to Gregor's character. This chapter of Halcyon House requires ACTUAL RESEARCH (gasp!) and some low-level snooping around in history. Which means Aaron better hurry up and come home so he can lend some of his newly-acquired college research skills.

"This is madness, yet this be the method in it"~
paraphrased Shakespeare, Hamlet.
Over & Out,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We're Off to See...not the Wizard, actually

The voices in my head known as the characters of Halcyon House are feeling very chatty lately. Which means progress on the story. Which means it might get done sooner. Which means...I might actually finish something.

Before I get too carried away with my authorial dreams (and not get anything done because of said daydreaming), I'm going to just talk about something else that interests me at the moment. Because I'm not going to jinx this new flow of inspiration.

To be precises, location. One of my newest dreams is take a trip to the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Ashland, etc.) to take a gander, as it were, up there. My family went up to Albany, Oregon last June for a cousin's wedding, which was the first out-of-state trip we've taken for any events in matrimony. I was prepared for overcast, cloudy days constantly, but what I was not prepared for was the overwhelming... green-ness of the place. I've always loved trees. I've always loved rolling hills and meadows. Oregon has these attributes in abundance. I felt like I had just found a second home. I mean, I really loved the place, even just by driving through it and looking at the scenery. It was gorgeous and beautiful and... well, perfect. For a unabashed nature addict like me, anyway.

We got to stop (all-too briefly) in Ashland, Oregon, where the famous Shakespeare Festival takes place every summer and now my new goal is to see a play there...Much Ado About Nothing (or anything by Shakespeare, really...except a tragedy) would be awesomesauce icing on a very sweet cake. My best friend Jamie, who shares my love and appreciation of theatre and is also an accomplished stage manager and make-up artist in her own right, got to see a production of Pride and Prejudice there last summer with her mother. I have already sworn to go see it again with her and our friend Kirsten, because if there's one thing we all love, it's Pride and Prejudice and some gorgeous costumes. 

And on top of that, Ashland had vintage bookstores all over the place. Seriously! It seemed like every time we turned a corner, there was some quaint old shop with a glass-plate window that said Books in curlicue writing. In other words, absolute heaven for me. My poor father, though, threatened to go mad after wandering around for only an hour. So you see why I must go either by myself, or with fellow bibliophiles.

So, after leisurely perusing Ashland, I'd like to saunter on up to Portland, where there happens to be a college that I'd like to check out while we're there, so to prove that I actually have a purpose for this jaunt of mine, and I'm not just being frivolous.  After checking out Portland, Seattle. I've heard some very nice things about how green and pretty it is, as it's called the Emerald City (hence the current post title). It's also the farthest thing from everywhere else my family has ever visited, meaning either Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or Mexico itself.  (And once, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming.) And to those of us who have regularly visited all those places, we all know--it's flat. It's scrubby, with the occasional cliff or plateau to punctuate the dreariness. It can be as hot as Hades in the early spring. So the Pacific Northwest seems like a nice change of pace after driving through all those places for nineteen years of your life.

There you have it. My newest ambition for travel plans. And next blog entry, I may actually put something down that has to do with my writing!

Over & Out,

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I Would Like To Have Right Now

A) Coffee.  Not this nice looking, but coffee would be good.
B) Cinnamon roll.

C) And then, afterward, a full-sized helping of Inspiraton!
Only, I would have to actually be here for it to work.
Oh well. You can't have everything in life.
Over & Out,

Friday, February 4, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different

After the last schizophrenic blog entry (this is what happens when you are your imaginary friend), I've decided to lift everyone's spirits with a light, breezy, inconsquential entry about my first week of college after being off for six weeks.
This is not going to be my topic for the moment. Not that going to a community college isn't fraught with excitement and peril (depending on who you're talking to), but something just occured to me as I was trolling around on the Web today, reading other writer's blogs, seeing their reader reccomendations. It has to do with the books I've been reading over winter vacation.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is now in my top ten books to take to a desert island, should I ever crash land there with some twenty-odd people where we deal with polar bears, time travel, hidden bunkers and utopian societies (not necessarily in that order). Much to my shame, I had never read To Kill A Mockingbird before picking it up at the library a few weeks ago. I saw in the teen section and thought, "Hey, classic book. Why not?" and I read it.
It is an awesome book, and I am seriously questioning my intelligence for not picking it up sooner. Apologies to all the moms who might read this (specifically, my own) but Atticus Finch is what some might call a Badass Bookworm and walking Crowning Moment of Awesome for Humanity (it does help that he's a fictional character). He's the kind of guy you want to defend you if you are wrongly accused of raping a white woman in 1930's South (even if you don't win). Scout's narration of the story is both clear-sighted and uncluttered, which I think is the truth of how children's minds work. There's no desperate drama or unnecessary emoting. It's just the facts, ma'am, peppered with the insight of a child and how they see the world.
After reading the book, I ordered the movie off of Netflix (which is the most awesome thing this family's ever done for itself) and watched it.   
A) Gregory Peck is stone-cold brilliant as Atticus Finch, and his speech to the jury at the end will reduce you to tears.
B) This is quite possibly one of the best book-to-movie translations I've ever watched. There's no detracting from the original plot, no unneeded additions to the story line. True, there are some incidents that are removed from the story, such as the introduction of Atticus's brother and sister, but that's not exactly a bad thing. It's a wonderful movie and deserves to be called a classic.
Now what occured to me today, as I was trolling about, was something that made me think back to high school, which seems like a lifetime ago (but it really wasn't). 
Why didn't they have us read this book?  
My tiny Christian high school prided itself on the criteria of our classes and reading material. We read things like the Odyssey or the Aeneid or Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain (no, I'm not kidding) and Saint Augustine's Confessions.  We read Huckleberry Finn and Billy Budd and For Whom the Bell Tolls, but not To Kill a Mockingbird.
Why is this? I don't know. There was probably not enough time in the semester to add it to the list and most likely too many books to choose from when picking them. But I really think that this the was an oversight on the part of whoever picked the books. Because it's a great book. It teaches Christian values. It has an honorable and upright main character. It teaches a junior high/high school audience how the court system and juries work. Though the case is a rape one, there's no explicit material or content. There is some swearing and use of the n-word, but that's kind of par the course for a story set in the 1930's South. 
I suppose I should make it clear that I'm not angry at my high school for being able to pick one book out of a ton of American classics. I just think that I should've read this book earlier on in my lifetime. I missed out on something really good. But at least now that I've read it, I can read it again! *smiles*
Over & Out,