Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Since the movie, Leap Year, probably some of us know that there is a tradition that allows women to propose to men on Leap Year every four years... (Hey, men folk...any y'all wanna get hitched? Just figured I should take advantage...I mean, I can't ask again for four years. You can answer in the comments. No pressure.)
I mentioned in book two of my Odd Stuff series that it was considered really unlucky for a man to say no. Just a heads up. You have to pay me a penalty. (Back in the day, money or a gown. Since we are modern thinking folks, I will take Starbucks giftcards or cash. Thx.)
Back in the day, you also would have had to buy me 12 pairs of gloves to hide the embarrassment of me not having an engagement ring to sport. (Again, it is modern times so lets not be archaic. Gimme chocolate, boys.)
There used to be laws governing these traditions. (Now there is just the iron fist of blog pressure...)
It is considered unlucky to get married on Leap day. And Halloween. And Christmas. Really, they have a lot of weird luck stuff...I dunno what is up with all that.
All in all, unless someone plans on marrying me, I hope to be getting some money out of this blog post. And chocolates. And coffee.
Totally worth the time to type it out, dontcha think?
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
So, people are talking about the presidential election. I think y'all should vote for me. I don't have tons of money to travel around the world and visit everyone. Sorry. I am just a poor, single mom from a small town. You know... like the majority of the US right now.
I don't really know a whole lot about foreign policy but *shrug,* I am sure I could hire someone who does. Isn't that what you are s'posed to do when you don't know how to fix something? I mean, that is how I fix my toilet when it breaks because I don't know a thing about plumbing. Should work in office, I think.
There are a few changes that I would like to try to see once I got in office. It would be hard but my goals would be something like this:
A. Figure out why 74% of all of our manufacturing happens outside the US. Since we have all these empty factories and people unemployed, I think I would try to get them running again. Supposedly, a lot of the people out of work are management, too. So I would hire them to run the factories. And then I would hire everyone else to work in them. And then we could all just buy the shit we made rather than paying to import shit from other places. Sounds simple but I wouldn't mind giving it a shot for four years.
B. Install that oil pipeline thingy from Canada. Y'see, I know that four years ago, I paid $1.78 for gas. Now they are saying I am going to pay $5.00 soon. I don't want to. Put the damn line in, already. We want the gas as US citizens. It is sort of like this thing I learned about in history class... the French Revolution. The French wanted bread. The price of bread skyrocketed. The government refused to give them bread. They guillotined their government. I don't think we should guillotine anyone but if there is a pipeline...I say, install it. Cuz otherwise, the price of gas is gonna keep rising and eventually people are gonna get annoyed. And do you want to annoy a society that has access to things like lasers? (*mentally picturing sharks with freakin lasers...)
C. Our schools kind of suck. We have pay-to-play sports and college tuition costs have gone through the roof. If we use some of the money we make off the oil, we could probably improve that. I say we try.
D. Lots of good people can't afford medical insurance. Like my mom. My dad has insurance because he is older than dirt but my mom has been sick for a year but can't see a doc. I think we should take some taxes from the rich and fund something to fix that. And I think that the whole 'insurance company' thing needs looked at very closely. You see, if we have to pay as much as we do and get shitty care...something is kind of wrong. Again, I am not much with numbers, either. I am sure, though, with all those unemployed people, we can find someone who is good at numbers and I will hire them to help me work it out.
E. Speaking of taxes... Most of the business that are still here are here because we aren't taxing them. That shit has got to stop. So I really think that we should start taxing the heck out of everyone who makes lots of money. They probably won't like this and will take their companies to countries who have lower paid employees and will not tax them. Which is okay. Under section A of my plan, this is just more empty buildings that we can put new businesses in. See? Buh-bye mooches. We don't need leeches. If you aren't gonna contribute anyway, why the hell are we sucking up to you?
My plan isn't perfect. And probably it won't work.
Also, just to warn you voters, the people running against me will probably start a slur campaign. Ah, the mud that shall be flung! The thing is, I am telling you at the outset, it is all true. Well, except for the alien baby. I don't know how that rumor got started but I never really put much effort into squashing it. Honestly, I found it kinda funny. *shrug* So, yeah, I probably did everything that they say I did. Big whooopedyfreakingdoodie. You aren't voting in my personal life or my family! You are voting in my plan and the fact that I am NOT perfect... JUST LIKE YOU!! So I can represent YOU, not THEM!! See? It's perfect! We understand each other and are being honest from the outset. Isn't this nice?
Really, I thought of most of this when my prof asked me today what one bill I would try to pass if I won a lottery to be president for a day. Being me... I thought bigger.
Don't panic--probably not enough people are going to write my name in on the ballot to swing the vote.
But I can say... I could piss a lot of people off given four whole years...
Hope I made ya giggle. What would you change if given the keys to the White House?
Monday, February 27, 2012
As many of you may have heard, my little neck of the woods is in the news right now. About 30 minutes from my home...in a sleepy little town known locally for the fact that when it snows and all of us get hit, they get buried... a boy who had been bullied took a gun to school. In the cafeteria, he shot five times. As of about 25 minutes before I wrote this post, one of the kids had passed away. Four others were injured and from what I understand on the news, a child lays fighting for their life tonight.
To say that this is tragic is an understatement. I hear a lot of people saying that this kind of thing doesn't happen around here. Our schools are good, quiet schools. Academic. Our kids are good kids.
It happens everywhere. Selena Gomez, super Disney star and singer, has dealt with bullying. I mention her because I have heard a lot of people saying that it would never happen with my child. Our kids are popular. Our kids would never do something like this. Our kids have friends/are in the right activities/are beautiful.
Are your children more successful than Selena? Cuz people regularly tell her to die, that she is a whore and other simply horrible things.
My son recently dealt with bullying in our school. I did a full blog post of it here on January 6th, but it didn't get the response I expected. People were surprised that I would worry about the kid that was bullied when this was going on. (It was pretty serious. "You're retarded and no one likes you. You should kill yourself. And if you are too stupid to figure out how, I can tell you.")
I was kind of surprised they were surprised, to be honest.
Because although I think that this community has to heal... has to get over this shattering blow... I also think that ignoring the roots of the problem is like someone saying, "Man, I can't believe that wearing seat belts saves lives."
How many other time bombs are ticking? How many other kids are being driven AS I TYPE THIS to feel that no one cares... I am alone, me against the world...since no one cares, who cares what I do?
How many times do we have to see innocent kids die in front of their peers before someone stands up and says, "This has to stop and I am going to do something"?
It has happened before. And, based on a sick facebook page I saw supporting the child accused of this crime, it will happen again.
A friend of mine who worked for a few years in the education system and who has children of her own posted on facebook something to the effect of we are spending time and money to help kids with testing. The kids that are gone today will never take another test. Instead we should focus on connecting with these kids in a real way and on safety. I agree. Schools should be safe... for some kids it is the only safe place they have. If it isn't safe either, where do they fit in?
And some of you are thinking, "Well, there isn't anything I can do."
"This has nothing to do with me."
"It's sad but it was the parents fault." or "He was a sick, unstable monster."
And I gotta say, none of you are right. Especially that last person. He is a kid. And more than his parents messed up. Everyone who dealt with him for even a moment had the chance to make a difference in his life. But, how?
Things you can do:
Wear red on 2/28. This is just about awareness what happened and in memory of those who were hit close to home by this devastating event.
Ask your school what their anti-bullying program is. How is it taught? DO they have one? I love the guest speaker featured in this video. She travels around. Hire her, if you can.
Sign the petition to get Bully the movie rated so kids can see it. Yeah, it is a graphic movie. I would bet it is a little less graphic than what those kids in that cafeteria have to live the rest of their lives remembering. Click here. It takes a minute of your time and can make a world of difference.
Talk to your kids. If you don't have kids, talk to your nieces and nephews. Your neighbors kids. Your grandkids. And not just about, "Hey, so it sure has been a warm winter." Actually sit them down and ask them if they have ever seen bullying. Do they know what it is? It can be as little as an eyeroll and as much as pushing a face into a brick wall. Have they seen it? And ask them if they understand that bullying isn't always the mean things you do...sometimes it's the nice things you don't do. You know...have one of THOSE conversations.
Raise hell. Get in your schools and make change happen. My school told me that they were sure my son wasn't getting bullied anymore. Then again, I gotta wonder because they also told me they had no idea this was going on or they would have stopped it. But they have started bullying classes. My son advises me that they are really having some good discussions, too. Why is my school doing this and yours isn't? BECAUSE I WAS A BITCH. No, really, I sent them an email that explained what was going on and that although I could pull my son out of their school that WOULDN'T FIX it as the bully would just find a new target. I asked tough questions and got solid answers after awhile. But if NO ONE is doing that, then NO ONE will change.
You will notice that none of the changes I advised involve you spending a dime. You don't have to be rich to BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD.
You just have to be willing to stand up and say, "It needs to stop."
Someone will hear you. Sadly, today I am wearing red. Because in Chardon...no one heard one kid. And the nightmare happened. Let's not let it happen again.
My heart goes out to the families impacted by these events. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain of losing one of my babies or having to deal with what is going on.
I just wanted to write this blog to give people some ideas on how they could help stop it from happening again.
Will bullying ever be a thing of the past? Will horrible things like this stop happening? I don't know that. But I know that this could have been avoided. There were signs. There are always signs.
Sadly, no one felt the need to stand up and stop it in time. Probably they figured someone else would.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Each and every stinkin round of edits ever to cross my desk has mention of my utter inability to tell a story and include contractions.
Sadly, I don't think in contractions. (I just used one...to prove I CAN use them. I don't like to but I CAN.)
The point? Every writer has a weakness.
Overuse of 'that word'
In my edits, crits, editing other peoples work and in chatting with author friends, I have found that we all tend to find one word that for some reason in our heads just sums up the story wonderfully. It might be juicy. Or smooth. Or slide. Or lubricious.
And for whatever reason, we say it twenty gazillion times.
I don't know why the writerly mind does this. But we do it. And NONE of us realizes we do this. There we are, happily clickity clacking away and overusing the shit out of lubricious and don't realize we have said it twenty times on THIS PAGE ALONE.
Why? Why do we do it?
I don't know. All I can say is thank the gods above for editors, crit partners and the occasional friend who is kind enough to ask both, "Uh, what the hell does lubricious mean?" and "Why the hell do you keep saying it?"
We also may overuse a technique...be it a sentence structure, a dialogue tag or something else. If you get dinged either in crits or in edits for this...author friends, do not shed a tear because I can tell you from my VAST (okay, not vast but pretty damned extensive) research that we all do it.
The same mistake...every effin time
Like my contraction issue. Yeah, some of us are smart enough to correct their mistakes over time.
Some of us just keep doing the same damn thing over and over again. The best I can tell you there is PRAY that your crit readers know your weakness and SEE your weakness and CATCH it before it gets contracted. Otherwise...your editor will and...well, yeah. Then you are me and you just get to beat your head off your desk wondering what the hell is so hard about writing a damn CONTRACTION now and again???
Or whatever your personal weakness is...
Not that contractions would be something that ANYone with a sane and rational mind would NOT use...
Freakin frakking stupid contractions...
I guess my point in this rant is that... we all make mistakes. And when we get our edits back we all beat our heads against our desks... or the handy brick wall...and wonder how in the hell we could have done something so amazingly STUPID.
But, uh, neat point, folks?
If you are doing edits...
You are doing something lots of people NEVER do. Lots of people talk about writing a book. Lots of other people actually go so far as to sit down and write PART of a book.
A few actually get determined enough to finish one.
Out of those few, a few will get the balls to submit it.
And out of those few, only a handful ever get a contract.
So if you are editing and feeling sort of lamers because you made a really stupid mistake...
Uh, you are pretty fucking cool to even have gotten to that point. Go get you some chocolate. Do a little dance. Then get your damn edits done. Cuz you rock, cupcake.
Happy writing. Or in this case, editing.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Everyone has heard about Cleopatra.
Not everyone has heard of Theodora which is sort of a bummer.
I recently learned about her in my art history class and I want you to hear about her, too, insofar as I understand.
Theodora was the daughter of a bear trainer in Byzantine Constantinople. Bear trainer as in her dad trained the bears for the Colosseum. Her mom had an equally scandalous job--she was an actress which meant, at the time, that she entertained not just on the stage but also between the sheets.
Theodora followed in her footsteps.
So, Justinian wanted to marry her. The thing was that Justinian was going to be an emperor. Emperors marrying prostitutes was frowned upon for some reason. (Picture the Pres of the US marrying a prostitute...Prolly wouldn't win him many votes.) So he talked his uncle into changing the law so that emperors could marry former prostitutes.
So, they got hitched and Justinian claimed the daughter which may or may not have even been his.
Together, Justinian and Theodora began to rebuild aquaducts, build the Hagia Sophia and otherwise fix up shit that was broken. Which was great for the Roman Empire in the long run but in the short run, this was expensive shit. So he raised taxes.
Not all the Romans were crazy about paying high taxes.
I mentioned the Colosseum, right? Well, back in the day there were four big teams: The Reds, The Blues, The Greens and the Yellows. People loved and supported one team, even wearing togas and such colored to match their favorite teams. (Think modern people wearing Ohio State hoodies or Steelers jackets.)
The Blues and the Greens started a revolt against Justinian called the Nika riots. They were out for blood and Justinians advisers said, "Dude, get the hell out of Rome. They are gonna kill you."
Theodora said, "Uh-uh, cupcake. Get some balls about you. I am not going back to hooking just cuz you are being a bitch." Or, more accurately, "Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress."
So, Justinian listened to her, not his advisers. He called the leaders of the Blues and Greens into his palace after days of siege.
"I just wanted to mention what a huge supporter I have always been of the Blues. Y'all rock. So here, I got you some gold, " Justinian said (paraphrased a lot.)
"We're good," said the Blues. And they packed up their chariots and such and went home.
The Greens were still pissed and told them so.
And Justinian shrugged and said, "See, I had a feeling you would say that." He then had all of them killed.
And Justinian and Theodora stayed the ruling power in Europe. Theodora passed laws to help women like, "No, you aren't going to kill a woman for cheating on her husband. That punishment does NOT fit the crime." And, "Rape is illegal. That shit has got to stop." And, "Dude, just because you have a penis, you shouldn't be able to take a woman's baby away. Women get some guardianship rights over the kids they carry for 9mos and give birth to."
She is hailed as a great feminist and altogether a kick ass woman.
But she got cancer and died before she turned 50. Justinian is recorded as weeping openly at her funeral and continued to enact laws that Theodora passed/had gotten the ball rolling on.
He died 15yrs later.
And the thing was, before this class, I knew NONE of that. I knew lots about Cleopatra (power hungry and willing to kill her own siblings for the throne) but nothing about awesome Theodora.
Which is just sad.
Okay, hope you enjoyed your history-as-told-by-Virg lesson for the day.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
So, Damon Salvatore and I had been fighting bad guys. Through amazing skillfulness and luck, we managed to beat the bad guys. Then, he showed me to a shower like none I had ever seen before. It had jets of water coming from every direction and I was washed in steam the moment I stepped in.
So, I came out, still damp from the shower and Damon was sprawled, naked of course, across the most gorgeous bed that I had ever seen. With a cockeyed grin, he gestured for me to join him. Before I could, a wet, cold nose jabbed me in the chin followed by a canine whine.
Tank isn't really the dogs name. But we met in a very unusual way. When I moved to my current home, I was still working in an office about an hour away and I had to get up crazy early (4am) to get to work.
One morning, my kids headed out the door ahead of me and immediately started squealing. "Oh, look at the cute little puppy!"
And then a St. Bernard plowed out of the darkness and into my living room.
SIT! I remember howling. And, obediently, the enormous animal plopped on his haunches.
Since that long ago morning, I learned that Tank (as we called her...not her real name) lived on the next farm over. Tank had an invisible fence.
Sometimes Tank decides she is going to come see us...check how we are doing... collect some love from my kids and she doesn't give a rats ass about the invisible fence when she decides any of this.
Now Tank occasionally comes down. We call her owner to let them know she has come down. She visits for a bit and he comes to collect her.
So, probably I should have expected that she was about due for a visit.
Still...uh, DAMON, people.
And ohmahlord that shower...
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Figured I would share a little something from one of my latest works in progress today for Six Sentence Sunday.
When she got voted off Find Your Hubby, a reality tv gameshow, Mellie gave up on finding love. Everyone knows that you are more likely to get hit by lightning than find a husband once you're 40. Using the last of her winnings in a spur of the moment fling, she pays for a matchmaking service that offers you the perfect person--for one night only.
When the 'perfect person' they find her is a woman, she first questions their selection service...Then her own desires.
The Bachelor meets snark meets erotic on an island with chocolate. What more could you want?
“Would you like to dance?”
Again, bright color flooded her dates cheeks. “I can’t dance to this kind of music, to be honest.”
The thumping tempo of the music called to Alex. “Dancing to this kind of music is easy. It is like having sex with your clothes on in a room full of people. Simple.”
Look for it coming soon...
Oh and if you liked the picture... It is from an article on CBS News about being allergic to sex and other strange allergies. Click on the pic for more info...
Until then, happy writing!