Show Me the Romance

No cherubs. No doilies. No crap.

Archive for the category “Friday Frivolity”

Friday Frivolity: My “Maybe I Should” List

So, I know Bucket Lists are all the rage, including all the variations (before the baby lists, before graduation lists, etc). But what about those of us who would love to get involved in something/take up a particular hobby but know we won’t, and that it’s best that we don’t even try because we are hobbationally (I hereby dub that a legit adverb) tapped out?

Photo by Steven Depolo

In honor of my husband and his fondness for dreaming big, I’m going to call this my Maybe I Should List, or MISlist.

Maybe I Should…

1) Learn to knit.

Except I won’t because I’m tapped out on time, and it would take way too much practice to learn how to knit like my friend Katie, and really, I just want her pretty clothes.

2) Take a belly dance class.

See reason above, subbing “dance” for “knit”.

3) Learn how to use Photoshop.

It’s expensive and there are so many features to learn…besides, I’m already the Beastmaster of MS Paint. What, that isn’t a desirable skill?

4) Learn to play the guitar.

Because my track record with practicing musical instruments is so good.

5) Take up oil painting.

Tiny townhouse, you’re killing me here.

I figure there’s no harm in dreaming about these things as long as I’m realistic about my priorities and where I really want to devote my time. Who knows– maybe one day, one or two of these items will get moved onto a real list.

Until then, what’s on your MISlist?

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Friday Frivolity: My next YA contemporary will be about band

Events are conspiring to make me miss band.

  1. My friend Karen found her cassette tape from our 1996 festival performance (my freshman year) and posted a picture of it on Facebook.
  2. I just spent my lunch hour scouring the web for an orchestral rendition of composer Basil Poledouris’s masterpiece: the score for the original Conan the Barbarian movie.
  3. The reason I did that was because I’d been listening to the music in my car and decided I had to ask my poor sister (Director of Artistic Planning for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra) to get her symphony to play this music. At least she didn’t laugh at me.
  4. Finally, that lead to me wandering around the CSO website looking at the bios for all their musicians, wishing I was one of them.

Band was Extracurricular Activity Numero Uno for me in middle school and high school, so I spent who knows how many hours rehearsing and playing in our marching band, concert band, and jazz ensemble. I spent so much time with it that by the time I got to college, I was burnt out and ready to let my trumpet muscles go to seed.

I’ve tried to go back to the trumpet many times over the years, but the problem is I remember how I sounded at my “peak” (I had a good, mellow sound, but not a good range, and that’s a killer for trumpet players).

Now, I sound like a dying cow for the ten minutes I can manage to play before my lips cry uncle. I think I’ll just have to relive my glory days (ha! hahahaha) by writing a novel about band. Just not right now.

But I ask you…how can any former band or orchestra member watch this clip and NOT wish they were the ones forcing this groundswell of sound into existence?

Friday Frivolity: The Alignment Chart you never knew you needed.

I posted this to my facebook awhile back, but looking at it never gets old. It’s a classic example of what amounts to character archetypes, and a great starting off block if you’re playing around with creating a less-than-Boy-Scout hero, or devising a villain whose name makes Shenzi from The Lion King shiver and then ask to hear the name again. “Ooooh… do it again.”

I say starting off block, because you shouldn’t just put Captain Picard in your story and change his name. You’re better than that! (Not to mention some Trekkie will come after you in your sleep. Like my husband.)

For those of us who didn’t cut our teeth playing Dungeons & Dragons, this is an Alignment Chart. It had something to do with character creation in that game, and I think also played a role in how that character had to behave in certain situations. Also for non D&D people–it has translations (if you can’t read them, click the photo to see this larger).

Enjoy 🙂

For a larger version, click the photo.

 

Friday Frivolity: Spam Spam Spam Spam!

These days, I think I take Gmail’s exemplary spam filter for granted. Unlike my junk-riddled work email account, almost nothing spam-like gets past Google’s little electronic guards.

But that doesn’t mean those junk mail guards aren’t also blocking real emails.

For weeks, I’d been wondering why I was no longer receiving alerts for when it was my turn in an online game I joined. It didn’t occur to me to check spam.

Then yesterday, I noticed that I never heard back from a literary agent I queried on February 15th. So I requeried her (This agent seemed to recommend doing it in case the emails wound up in HER spam, but don’t assume that’s the case for all agents ).

She wrote back that she must have been caught in MY spam, because she remembered Veiled Iron vividly and had requested to see more of the manuscript!

Good news for me (and I sent her the MS right away), but also kind of a wake-up call (and indeed, those missing alerts for my online game were also in spam). So check your spam! Check it now.

And now for something completely different…

Friday Frivolity: Easter Goes to the Dogs

I grew up with German Shepherds, and since Easter is on the way, here’s a little Friday Frivolity for you:

You can find the original page for this photo here.

Thanks to my husband for sending this picture my way 🙂

Friday Frivolity: A Real-Life Batman

People say they don’t read the news because it’s depressing, and I get that–sometimes I feel the same way.

Photo by Jonathan Newton for The Washington Post

So imagine my delight when I opened my newspaper during breakfast (yes, I’m one of those people) and saw an article about a guy who goes all-in pretending to be Batman while visiting sick children at hospitals. You can find the whole story here.

I also love that he’s been doing this for years, and the only reason he’s getting any publicity now is because he got pulled over in his Batmobile–wearing his Batsuit–earlier this week. So he isn’t doing this for attention, just to spread a little joy and hope in the lives of children dealing with horrible illnesses.

How cool is that?

Friday Frivolity: Fiction is GOOD for you!

Recently, the New York Times published an article on the neuroscientific effects fiction has on the brain. The upshot is, fiction doesn’t rot your brain, it stimulates it.

Photo by Jayel Aheram

As a lifelong bookworm, I’m doing a little happy dance in my chair. Clever metaphors, evocative words, intense emotions felt vicariously through readers…it all has a positive effect on the brain, stimulating multiple areas at once and giving us the next best thing to living out these experiences in real life.

My husband is always giving me a hard time for binge-reading fiction while neglecting non-fiction. I do agree that whenever I make myself read non-fiction I enjoy it, but fiction is my passion—and now I can come back at him with proof that all my fiction reading (apart from being excellent research for writing) is worthwhile.

Happy Friday to fiction lovers everywhere 🙂

Friday Frivolity: Last Times at Childhood High

I have a bittersweet topic for today’s Friday Frivolity, so beware.

To write YA books, I have to do a lot of reflecting on my teenage years. That involves trying to remember all the feelings and experiences of growing into adulthood. Many of the memories are fun (I didn’t have an angsty adolescence) but a few make me kind of wistful.

This could have been my sister Tanya and I.

Have you ever thought about how many “last times” of our growing-up years have been lost to the ether? Most of us don’t keep doing the same things we did at 4, at 7, at 11 …  so, logically speaking, there had to have been a last time for lots of things—but they’re gone, never remarked because at every age, we sort of assume that life will continue to be the way we know it today.

For instance, I can’t remember:

  • The last time I played Dodge-the-Tree—i.e. sledded down the backyard of the house where I grew up. My parents moved the summer I was 26, so there’s definitely no going back.
  • The last time my two younger sisters and I packed little wooden Barbie trunks and pretended they were Conestoga wagons rolling over the great prairie (our green living room carpet).
  • Heck, the last time I played with my sisters. It must have been upsetting for them when the playmate they had all their lives suddenly didn’t feel like joining in their creative adventures any longer. I remember being 14 or 15 (I played a lot longer than most girls my age) and how my limbs just didn’t have the energy anymore. At least they made up for it by casting me as the mean old landlady in their new game, which could best be described as “Dickensian Orphans.”

Growing up is tough, and letting go is all part of the process. I guess my point is that even in adulthood you never know when will be the last time you do something you love. Instead of letting that be a depressing thought, turn it into an inspiring one.

Make new memories. Enjoy every second. They’re all worth it.

Friday Frivolity: Bring on the Pulp

I tweeted a couple of times today about John Carter—the new movie based on 19th/20th century author Edgar Rice Burroughs (of Tarzan fame)—and the decidedly mixed reviews.

The reviews range from pans verging on the eloquent:

John Carter is one of those films that is so stultifying, so oppressive and so mysteriously and interminably long that I felt as if someone had dragged me into the kitchen of my local Greggs, and was baking my head into the centre of a colossal cube of white bread.

To the rather glowing:

For me, this is the first movie of its kind in a very long time that I’d willingly sit through a second or even third time.

Knowing my rather pedestrian tastes (did anyone see me give a Bollywood rom-com 4 arrows?) and the fact that I’ve been fascinated by old pulp fiction ever since I stumbled upon a row of dusty Ian Fleming novels in my college library, I’m fairly certain I could be entertained by this movie. The only trick is convincing my husband to spend a few hours with a movie his favorite critic called mediocre.

Wish me luck!

If I’m successful, I may even post a Show Me the Romance review for John Carter–reviewing only the romance, of course :-).

Friday Frivolity: A Seusstastic Birthday

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Green eggs and ham, I like them not,

But your wise books I loved a lot.

Your “One Fish, Two Fish” gave to me

Proof of my own literacy

And though my rhymes are blech as snot,

 Your books are gems for old and tot.

Aren’t you glad I’m not a poet?

How many of us giggled with Sam I Am, learned important lessons from Horton and the Lorax, and received Oh, the Places You’ll Go! as a graduation gift?

To this day, I still laugh when I see this image of the Grinch at his most vile (from the 1966 animated Christmas special) , and I can hear the narrator’s voice repeating Seuss’s words:

“And then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch had a wonderful, awful idea.”

May all our ideas make us this happy. 

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