Sunday, May 31, 2009

I have a new fiction idea about a high school outcast who acts out publicly without anyone ever knowing it was him . . .

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I won, I won!

My haiku response on The One Minute Writer the other day was chosen as the writing of the day! I'm proud and honored to add the winner button to my sidebar.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Haiku Day!

I'm not sure just why,
but today is haiku day.
But only for me . . .

Emails to Jimmy,
One-Minute Writer response,
All written this way.

One-Minute Writer
Asked for a homework excuse
This is what I wrote:

"I wrote a haiku.
That wasn't the assignment?
Better luck next time."

I thought it was cute.
Now it's your turn to share one.
Please post a comment.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

High school cafeteria politics. discuss.

New Garden = win!

It's all done! I managed (with some help) to get it all done yesterday before the rain started for the rest of the week! There's two place-holder pots there right now, where I'm going to put a balloon flower from Gina and another peony bush, but I don't even have those yet, so I can still say I'm done. I need to take pictures with something other than my phone so that I can post them. While I sometimes feel slightly technologically advanced, I have yet to reach the point where I know how to get the pictures from my phone to the computer. I still have some other planting to do, but not there, that garden is DONE!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gardening update

Despite the on and off rain on Saturday and Sunday, we managed to get a fairly significant amount done on my new garden this weekend. If we hadn't both been hung-over messes today, maybe we could've finished it, since it was so beautiful out today. But alas, I was a bum all day. Anyway, we got everything out of the old bed and delivered the two holly bushes to Bill's house around the corner. I have a ton of lilies that are sitting in a bucket waiting to be re-planted, and the ugly bush is out at the curb, waiting for me to tie it up properly for the trash men. God, that thing was awful. We also managed to put scalloped brick edgers in around the border, which was a surprise add-on project because J wanted a nice neat edge, since the garden is likely going to be a bit unruly. I also started raking through the dirt that's there, getting out the huge rocks and the roots, but I haven't finished that job yet. Once that's done, I just need to mix in the new soil and then I'm ready to plant! Hopefully I can at least have it ready to plant - if not partly planted - by this time tomorrow. We'll see.

In other gardening news - I did manage to get the four tomato plants (2 grape, 2 cherry) and all the basil into pots on the deck. I think I'm going to have to split the basil, though - it's too much in the two pots it's in right now - I know it's going to be too big. I also got all of the impatiens into the big buckets under the deck - they're going to look great when they fill in. And I put snapdragons in the milk cans on the front steps and behind the mailbox, but they're so not working in either place, so I'm going to move them and replace them with impatiens too. Other than my new garden, then, I still need to move the snapdragons and plant impatiens in their place, and I need to plant the dahlias around the light post and the mailbox. Good times!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I went plant shopping yesterday. I bought a bunch of flowers for my new "English country garden,"and some tomatoes and basil and a few annuals for the front yard. Today, I was planning to hang a load of laundry outside in the sunshine before running out to get a few more pots for the tomatoes, some fresh, fertilized soil, and a peony bush holder, and then I was going to remove holly bushes and start planting my new garden. Except I woke up today to everything grey - it's pouring out!! I guess it's inside project day instead of outside project day. Bummer.

Now playing: Guster - What You Wish For
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It might really be done . . . I may have really just finished writing a novel. And I have no idea how to handle that.

Oh. Emm. Gee.

I mean, I know that's an absurd title for a post, but I have no words.

My personal "you, yes, you" just received her very own first draft . . .

I have now officially sent 80-ish pages to one soul. Yup - one person, other than me, has permission to look at it. . . The novel is 250+, and I sent the first 80-ish out, but I'm now terrified . . .

And truly, I hope that no one else reads this and feel slighted for not being "you, yes, you" for the first installment - I can't explain the decision, it only made sense to me . . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The One Minute Writer

I'm such a fan of this blog. Every day, it provides a quick prompt to get you to write something, and asks that you spend a minute responding. Literally, one minute. It even has a 60 second timer for you. I've never left my responses in the comments there, but I do write the responses sometimes - not every day like I should, but sometimes. It's a nice little way to get you to be creative and thoughtful for at least a minute a day. I added a button link in my sidebar, so it will always be accessible from here.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Netflix just gave me a category of recommendations that I've never seen before. The category was "Violent," and was based on my interest in "visually-striking violent crime movies." Really? Is this something people should be concerned about, do you think? Hmmmm . . .


I'm exhausted and drained again this past week. It occurred to me at some point last week that June 1 is right around the corner. The once far-distant deadline for redeeming my "prize" of a free paperback proof of my novel is now looming under two weeks away, and alas, the book remains incomplete. My plan was to have something completed and at least semi-edited done by May 31 so that I could at least say I did it, and after again looking over the now 250 page, 111,000 word document, it's already semi-edited, cause I've been doing that all along. I realized then, last week, that I just need to bang out another 2 or 3 chapters, and I can call it done and redeem my prize. So I'm back to staying up late and not doing much around my house and being scatterbrained whenever I'm not sitting at my laptop, thinking/daydreaming about Jason and Sarah and Brady (who is now on his 4th name, btw), and it's exhausting. I do think I added some depth to the story yesterday, though, which is really sort of a breakthrough for me and my shallow smut. And this is saying nothing of the fact that I remain title-less and cover graphic-less at this point, with no real intention of thinking of something before I send this off to print (if something comes to me, great, otherwise, the cover will resemble Catcher in the Rye, only with something like [TITLE] written in the center). So please pardon my temporary ADD until after June 1. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Put it in your blog

This is like one of those silly FB games where you fill out the survey and post it and then everyone else does it too. But this one is for blogs. Just change the things you're already done to bold. It doesn't get much more random than this, folks.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you're not sick.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to truly be satisfied.
38. Seen the leaning tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served in a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Been to the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the paper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had Chicken pox.
89. Saved someone's life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a lawsuit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Good times.

A Clockwork Orange: The Book

Spoilers ahead.

I'm going try really hard to keep this post about only the book. I'll do a separate one about the movie and comparing the two after I watch it again later this week. It's been years.

So, this book nearly jumped off the shelf at the library last week. I had never read it, despite being a HUGE fan of the movie when I was younger. So I picked it up. It's considered a classic, which may come as a surprise if you've seen Kubrick's movie, but after reading it, I can completely understand why. It's the story of a teenager, Alex, and his band of droogs, who spend their nights wreaking havoc on the streets, drinking, smoking, beatings, rape, murder, all just for fun. A bit of the ultraviolence, if you will. Eventually he gets arrested and goes to prison after he pisses off his friends and they leave him behind to get caught at the scene of a breaking and entering where Alex has just beat an old woman to death.

While in prison he is enrolled in an experimental procedure to attempt to "cure" him of this ultraviolence using a Pavlovian technique that leaves him ill at the mere thought of perpetrating violence, or hearing his beloved Beethoven, or any other classical music, which he so enjoys prior to the experiment. After being "cured" and released, he stumbles into the hands of a political coup, who attempt to use him as an example to overthrow the current government. After a failed suicide attempt (jumping out the window to escape the classical that's being pumped into the room he's otherwise locked into) lands him in the hospital, he is then treated for the after effects of the Ludovico treatment, returning him back to his ultraviolent state of mind.

Whereupon the original American version of this book ends, leaving the reader with the slightly conflicting emotions that oh good, Alex is no longer behaving as a "clockwork orange," his free will has been restored, the poor dear child has been set to right, and oh shit, but Alex's free will and sound mind leaves him in search of the ultraviolence, and now he's being put back on the street to commit more rape, murder and mayhem. In the original Original version, there is another chapter, wherein we find that while Alex has been set back to his right mind, that being with a tendency toward ultraviolence, his heart is no longer in it. He's very much in charge of his new group of droogs, him now being the oldest and wisest, but he tends to just give orders ad watch them being carried out, no longer feeling the need to participate. After running into one of his old droogs in a cafe, sharing coffee with his new wife, Alex realizes that maybe it is time to grow up after all, and maybe this ultraviolence is for the kids, and was just a phase that he is now over. Growing up and looking to settle down with a wife and children, Alex heads home to bed, sworn off the ultraviolence for good. All he really needed in terms of "treatment" was some time to grow up and make the decision for himself.

This last chapter changes everything, does it not? So why was the 21st chapter originally left off in the American version? Because the American publisher felt that Americans would relate more and appreciate the story more if it left you with the sense that more mayhem was to come. Believed that Americans wouldn't enjoy the story with the ending that the Author wrote, the ending that leans toward hope and gives a feeling of growing up and coming of age, if you'll pardon the use of that term. WTF? I fully understand why Kubrick chose to make his film using the 20 chapter version instead of the 21 chapter version, but more on that in another post, as I said. But I don't think the book is a classic without that last chapter. In fact, I'll say it here, and probably again in the movie post, but I don't think the film would have received the critical acclaim and award nominations that it did if it had included the last chapter, and at the same time, I don't think the book would be the literary success that it is if that last chapter had never been written.

Burgess developed his own slang for this book. It's mostly a cross between Russian and British cockney rhyming slang, often spelled phonetically, with a little bit of school-boy talk thrown in. It takes some getting used to the language, but once you get used to it, the book really is so very good. It's funny how the book involves some level of brainwashing, and by writing this way, the reader is brainwashed into learning this Nadsat language he's created. I've even found myself using words here and there for the past few days. And I've talked to other people who've had the same experience. It's brilliant. This book is brilliantly written, perfectly put together and a fantastic read. One of the absolute best I've read in a very, very long time. I've been thinking about it for days. A book that can make me think for days goes on a very special list for me. I have favorites and I have favorites, and this has just landed among the latter. Read it, if you haven't already.

Stay tuned for another post about the film later this week.