Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Congratulations



Congratulations to my best friends sister. She's getting married today. So, that's where I'll be for most of today. I actually need to be hitting the hay, I just wanted to pop in and say, yes, I'm alive. The holiday season is always really busy for me, ha ha. I plan to post something for the new year, but in case I don't, I wish you all the very best in the new year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Well, I have news

I knew back in high school and I started reading fantasy that I was teetering on a precipice. I could be just a normal guy that read fantasy, or I could be a nerd. I feared the nerd culture. I saw what they showed on TV -- the stuffy noses, the suspenders, the pocket protectors -- and I wanted to distance myself.

Despite my best efforts, the nerd culture enticed me. I noticed that everything they did was awesome. I began watching anime, another sign of becoming a nerd. I loved them all. I started pursuing the lesser known ones, to see if there were any hidden treasures. I knew I was starting to tumble down the edge and gain momentum, but I thought that I could stop at anytime. I didn't start wearing suspenders, but I started talking about video games, fantasy novels, anime, etc. I began smoozing with the leaders of the geek kingdom.

There was one boundry I refused to cross. It was for only the nerdiest of nerds. But eventually, I began to watch and realize it looked like fun. Well, I finally crumbled to the temptation Thursday. That's right...I played Dungeons and Dragons.

And I loved it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived. I am a nerd. I am proud.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Short Posts Are Annoying

I'm sorry for posting so many brief posts and such over the past several days. I've been extremely busy, and it doesn't look like things will be getting any better. I've been keeping careful track of my grades to make sure that I can keep my scholarship. Next semester is going to be a fun one though. If I can, I'm gonna try to take Fiction Workshop, and a class specializing on Edgar Allen Poe, both of which have me very excited.

Beyond that, I've also been working on my latest project. It's coming along pretty well, but every time I think I'm ready to write, I remember something that I need to have settled before hand. The plot is still very convoluted, and the idea is so complex I'm having trouble tackling them. I don't want to have the story too complex -- no one will understand what's going on, but I feel there's more the story than I originally thought. So, after a test scene, I think the story will work, but I need to work on it a bit more. On the plus side, I made quite a bit of progress on it, yesterday. Today is going to, at least partly, be devoted to catching up my homework. With the end of the year fast approaching, I'm feeling the noose tighten so I'm scrounging for every point I can whether I need it or not, ha ha.

On the other news front, I've been busy with more than just school work. I also got a part in my school's production of The Pirates of Penzance. I'm only a part of the chorus, but it's still fun. It's quite an adventure though, since I don't know how to read music. I'm having the others in my group teach me, or at least explain where I can follow along a bit better.

I've also been reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. I know that he's taking over The Wheel of Time series, and I was curious of his writing style. I really like the book so far, it has a very interesting magic system, and I might start dropping hints for the second one to my family for Christmas.

And finally, movies. I'm a huge movie buff. When I treated myself yesterday with a trip to Hastings, I found a movie that made my jaw drop. It's called Sinatra -- it's about the life of Frank Sinatra. More importantly, Frank helped with the movie some. I've been talking about how I'd like to see a Frank Sinatra movie for while. Little did I know there was already one made. So, I might be spending part of this evening reveling in the story of The Voice. I also rented Speed Racer, just out of curiosity. Some of my friends told me it was good, some told me it was horrible. I'm easily pleased, so I suspect I'll enjoy it, even if I don't love it.

Anyway, that's all for now. For those of you participating in NaNo, how are things going? Some of my quitter friends have already dropped out. I teased them about it, but I can't say too much since I didn't participate at all. To those of you still in, good luck, and I can't wait to see what comes of it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Who's Gonna Run This Bitch?"

It's election day over here in the states. I rarely talk politics with people. The two things I never talk about: Politics and religion. Both fascinate me, but both also cause way too many hard feelings. So who I'm supporting is under lock and key. However, I encourage all of you in the states to go out and vote. We live in a nation where we get to choose who leads us. There may be problems with the system, there may be things we're unhappy about, but we still get to choose. So go make the choice.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

NanoWeen!



Happy Belated Halloween, and Happy Nano Day 1!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo




Just reminding everyone that NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. If you're still on the fence, you should give it a try. It's worth it. If you still don't know what it is, then you can find more info here: www.nanowrimo.org

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holy Freakin' Crap!


I just realized, as of October 7th, Scribblings of a Madman has been running for 2 years. That's way longer than I thought I'd be blogging! I'd like to thank everyone that visits here, and all you guys who send on words of encouragement and stuff*. It means a lot. I never thought I'd have people read this thing, and it constantly amazes me that people actually give a rip about my random ramblings. (Ah...aliteration.)

Anyway, so Happy 2nd Birthday, Scribblings of a Madman!

*I wouldn't like to thank the nay-sayers and haters. You know who you are! As a matter of fact, I anti-thank you. That's right, I did it. Billy, who picked on me in lunch, and that old lady on the bus who gave me weird looks, I'm talking to you! What about you, crazy old man who talks to the birds? You said that the Earthling people wouldn't allow my alien race to take over this planet, well, what now old man?! What now!?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October Ovation

This is something that Barrie Summy talked about doing, and I signed on eagerly. We're supposed to write about someone we admire.

I thought a lot about who I admired. I mean, I admire a ton of different people for different reason. I admire Stephen King for struggling through his early years as a writer and not giving up to be where he is now, and also over coming a drug addiction and an alcohol problem in the mean time. I admire Holly Lisle for her pay it forward beliefs in sharing how and why she does certain things to help amateur writers become better at what they love to do. I admire Harriet Tubman for helping to free many slaves during the American Civil War, risking her life and freedom for the lives and freedoms of others.

There are a lot of people I admire. But, then I thought of someone who I've learned a lot about recently, and I'm fascinated by them.

While I would love to write, I also realize it will take many, many years -- more than likely -- for anything to develop in my writing career. They often call that the "10 Year overnight success." In the meantime, I'll be teaching high school kids about English and literature. I've had a lot of English teachers; some of them were great, some of them weren't so great. I've learned from things that I want to do in my class, and things that I hated that I need to remember to stay away from.

There is one teacher especially, who I admire and who I hope that I have the courage and ambition to stand up for what's right and do what she did. Her name is Erin Gruwell. You have heard of her. The movie Freedom Writers is about her experiences with a Woodrow Wilson High School class in 1994.

She had to work extremely hard to help her students overcome a plethora of problems. She dealt with racism, poor grades, illiteracy, gang violence, death, and so many other things. And through it all, sometimes at the sacrifice of her own happiness, she worked to make sure those kids had learned something before they left her class. While other teachers treated it as a job, she realized that she was responsible for these students lives and in turn spent a lot of her own time helping the kids with reading, but more importantly, helping them work through personal issues, whether they be gang problems, home problems, or race problems. She had the courage to look those kids in the eye and say "I'm gonna make you better whether you like it or not."

"You don't feel respected? Well, maybe you're not. But to get respect, you have to give it."

-- Erin Gruwell, in Freedom Writers
*sorry for this being posted late. I forgot to set this to auto-post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

End of the Week Writing Update

Well, this is kind of an end of the week wrap up. You might not hear much from me on into Tuesday because midterms are here and baring their ugly teeth. I've got a World Literature test, an American literature test, and a Intro to Film test. Yuck. Shouldn't be too bad though. My Psych test was last week, so I least I don't have to worry about that.

So, yeah, writing. My friends and I are trying to start a writer's club where we meet and critique and stuff. The last one was kind of a bust. Since it was just basically us friends who hang out all the time, nobody took it too seriously, and some people only came to make my roommate feel better. One girl stopped caring halfway through the meeting and complained if anybody wanted to read anything longer than 3 pages...and then she read the longest poem I'd ever seen a student write. It was, like, 14 pages. Another girl there just didn't care and talked during the readings and just didn't take anything too seriously. Most of what was accomplished was...well...nothing. We still don't even know when to set the usual meetings. We're setting them for Tuesdays at 6:30, but that's just a tentative schedule, and we still don't know whether we want to meet every week or every other week. Meanwhile, my friend has been trying to gather up some people other than just us friends so the meetings will be more formal and structured. This thing will probably collapse, but I think it's cool of them to try.

As for actual writing, I've started a new story. I've decided that free form is just not the structure for me. I can't do "seat of your pants" writing, I go off on irrelevant tangents, and I catch myself with a whole lot of scenes where the main character is just doing mundane tasks. I realize that in scene something should change to make it significant, even if it's a small change, and with that in mind, I've been trying to make sure all of my scenes involve a change or action of some kind. I also laid out the basic ideas that I wanted, which I've done before, but I've been using a technique I got from Holly Lisle's plot course where I can fill in the blank spaces between key scenes with relevant scenes instead of fluff and filler. So it's been going pretty well.

Interestingly enough, when I finished mapping out the basic concept of the story, I realized that it's very similar to a story I tried to write before, but with a slightly different take on it. It's more organized, more streamlined, and hopefully it'll flow better because of that.

Also, for you writers who are a bit more disciplined than I am, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. In case you don't know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. If you don't live in the US, that's fine. National doesn't really mean anything. Anyone can participate, and if you think you're up to the challenge, you can go here to register. I want to participate in one someday, but I never have the time. And by never have the time I mean that I don't want to risk my scholarship and my schoolwork. I'm not very good at balancing my daily tasks -- it's one of the things I'm trying to work on -- and I'm hoping I can work towards participating in one in the near future. If you have anymore questions about NaNo you can look here, and I hope you guys have fun.

That's all I've got right now. Have a good weekend guys. I'm going to hit the books.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Failure


I want to talk today about failure. It happens to all of us, and it sucks when it happens. Specifically, I'm talking about failing as a writer. I've gone through this feeling multiple times since I was in the first grade.

I've been writing short stories and the like since first grade. In the first grade, there was a series of books that was out about different animals. Usually the titles were alliteration like Bobby Bobcat, Sandy Skunk, Ricky Rabbit, etc. Those aren't actually the names of the books, but that was the gist of them. Anyway, I wrote some short stories for a contest where the winner would get his story published. It didn't win. That was my first failure. I tried and failed, however, being a kid, I quickly got over it. Kids have the amazing ability to bounce back from things like that. I continued to write, despite my rejection, but eventually, the bug seemed to die and I lost interest in writing.

In sixth grade, for some reason, the writing bug came back strong. I think we were doing something that had to do with creative writing in my reading class, and when she was explaining what a prompt was, she gave us an example of a kid finding a gigantic hole in the playground and investigating it. I was immediately seized with an idea, and I went home and started writing. The story actually turned into something way different from what I thought it would be, but I loved it. It was the first time I ever wrote a fantasy story. It was about some kid that was the decendent of a king and how he had to fight the evil wizard from back in the day in the modern world because he was up to no good. After that, I wrote constantly.

I didn't think about it at the time, but I never finished any of my other stories. I had some great ideas, and I would start them, but eventually I'd run out of steam and go on to something else. I did finish a few more stories, both of which were sequals to the first story I wrote in the sixth grade, but over the next several years, nothing else got finished.

By the time I got into high school, the writing bug had died again. Not for long. Eventually, I was talking to one of my friends who liked to write, and that got me started again. By then, I had discovered that writing was a career and I had chance to become one. A slim chance, but a chance nonetheless. So I started writing a "novel." I started with a map. I was just bored one day, and started doodling, and eventually, I had the idea for this great fantasy epic. This was just after I'd gotten into the Shannara books. That story, however, died. I wrote a lot -- probably 68 pages, which was a lot for me at the time -- but I just ran out of steam. Over the course of my high school career, I would restart on it every now and then, trying to rework it and make it better. Eventually the notes were long gone and I was just working on what I remembered, but I always fizzled before I really got started. Once again...fail.

Senior year, I got the idea to start fresh. If you guys have followed this blog far enough, you'll see where I planned stuff. I designed a really detailed culture, a pretty good religion that based itself off of Christianity, but also threw in some ideas from other religions that I had studied during World History. It was going to be even more epic. I had probably 40 pages of notes alone, with tons of notes on characters, notes on cultures, religions, customs, clothes, and a HUGE amount of back history that dated back probably 4000 years before the story took place. Eventually, I felt I was ready to start writing. However, same as with all the other times...EPIC FAIL. The story died a horrible writhing death. I tried desperately to save it, but there was no way to do it.

Of course after that, I began to wonder about myself as a writer. I mean, I kept losing interest, I kept quitting and moving on to something else, or leaving writing behind altogether to pursue other interests. Was I really cut out to be a writer if I was so undisciplined that I couldn't come home and write and stick with a story until it was finished?

With that in mind, I decided to start experimenting. I wrote one short story in the theme of stuff I used to do as a kid -- sort of dark, horror/thriller/paranormal stories. It came out okay. I posted that a while back. Then I wrote a murder mystery because I'd been reading a lot of them and wanted to give them a try. It came out okay, too. They were finished though, and that was a big victory for me. I decided to send them off to a magazine -- a first for me, and a huge step. They got rejected, though. ...FAIL. However, rereading them, I can obviously see why, now. Not my best work, in my opinion.

So, then I tried to write a science fiction short story. I decided it would run toward the long-ish spectrum of the short story section, and I wouldn't consider the story at all. I would write "by the seat of my pants", as some people say. Well, it fizzled and died, too.

What is my point from all this rambling? I seriously began to doubt myself as a writer. I mean, what kind of writer hasn't finished any but a handful of stories? What kind of writer starts huge projects and doesn't finish them? And more importantly, what kind of writer gives up writing, the thing that's supposed to bring them the most joy? Surely I just wasn't cut out to be a writer. I decided I didn't have talent, I needed to give up on my dream and settle on something else, something easier, that I wouldn't epically fail at all the time.

Well, I've learned something I didn't fully connect together until recently, but each one of those failures taught me a lesson about writing. My failed novel in high school? I had not planned anything at all about my story, just vague concepts of plot and characters. Because of that, I had a ton of random scenes that didn't further the plot at all. The second novel? I learned from the first time. I took a ton of notes for my worldbuilding, but still I had no real idea where anything was going. I basically had a setting. My short sci-fi story? Once again, with no idea where it was going, it fizzled and died.

So basically, I learned that I'm not a "seat of the pants" writer. I tried an "outline" for my first high school novel, but what I actually had was a list of what Holly Lisle calls "candy bar scenes." There were huge gaps where I had no idea what I wanted to do, and so I tended to ramble and pad my novel with filler scenes and fluff.

So what you could say I took away from this was that I learned that I need a general guidline to get me from start to finish, but I also learned, and I think this is the more important lesson, that just because I haven't finished many projects doesn't mean I'm not cut out to be a writer. I obviousy love writing, or I wouldn't keep coming back to it. From now on, whenever I fail to meet one of my writing goals, I'm going to step back and examine the failure from another perspective and see if I can't find the lesson in that "failure" and view them instead as "opportunities for growth."

So what about you? Have you learned from any failures?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Doing Something For Yourself

You know, reading in college is sometimes a chore. I love to read, but there are just times where the thought of reading makes you want to bash your head against the wall until the voices go away. It's often mind numbing to sit through pages and pages and pages of uninteresting drivel, usually written by some dude with a Ph.D and no memory of what it was like to be in college with a life and other classes. And, with all due respect, you have to wonder where they dig up some of those essays and stories for anthologies. I mean, I understand that they're broadening our horizons, but can't they do that with something interesting, like Mark Twain or Mary Shelley or C.S. Lewis?

Since almost every night you're subjected to dissecting some stuffy expert's overly complicated explanations about such-n-such course, or you're sifting through the horribly flowery language of the early 15, 16, and 1700's. Let's face it, the people of that time period were experts at saying nothing. There were pages and pages and pages of pointless rambling in one of the stories I read earlier in the year -- usually information that had nothing to do with the actual point at all. I think at one point they were describing cobblestones in the road.

Well today, I had my homework done early and I decided to crack open one of the books that I had been reading but put on hold for college. It felt so nice. I was immediately sucked in, and before I knew it, two hours had passed and I was gonna be late for class. I felt like a new person. The sky seemed bluer, and the grass seemed greener. Every now and then, you just gotta read for yourself.

The same thing can be said for your writing. Holly Lisle helped me remember this with a recent update I read. When you're writing something, whether you enjoy it or not, it sometimes becomes more of a job than for pleasure. Even if you really enjoy what you're doing, it sometimes becomes too much of the same and you have to shake things up. It's alright to give in to that little story and peek into windows of places that you might visit soon. It's always nice to get a little taste of somewhere else to break up the monotony.

Sometimes you just gotta do something for yourself.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Promised Explanation

Hello everyone. Long time no hear, eh? Yeah...sorry about that.

So how have things been going for me? Well, after the play finished, I went and visited my roommate at his house for a week. It turned out to be a fun but troublesome trip because when I tried to leave, my windshield wipers quit working, and I had to have them re wired to work temporarily until I could get them more permanently fixed. The plus side is after, they were fixed, they worked like they were supposed to. I can now proudly say I have the ability to delay my wipers, and even have washer fluid sprayed with the flick of a switch if my windshield needs to be cleaned.

After that I was back at school, and that has been what has kept me the most busy. I've been reading more than 50 pages a night, and it's not easy reading either. At first it was Columbus's letters to the queen, which sounds like it would be an intriguing read, but was about as interesting as having rusty needles pushed underneath my fingernails. And that was the trend that they stayed for a while. They're getting a little (a very little) bit easier, and are becoming a little more interesting with each assignment, but they're also getting longer. I just had to read Gulliver's Travels in one sitting, and The Coquette in one sitting the next night. It's been pretty rough.

On the writing front, I've had absolutely no time for my own personal writing. I've been writing about a paper a week. They aren't always necessarily long, but each one requires consideration and thought. I'm not just gonna churn out garbage and hand it in, I pride myself on working really hard on my essays. Speaking of, I've got one to write tonight I think.

My two favorite classes are Film Class and Psychology, with World Lit following close behind. Psychology is just extremely interesting in everyway. I love learning the inner workings of the mind, and hearing lots of myths debunked in the process. And Film is just great. My teacher is a real smartass, and she loves to poke fun of uptight people. She also points out symbolism in films I've never seen it before. I mean, I don't always agree with her. I mean, I sat through her lecture last year on Alien, and I'm pretty sure when they made it, they weren't going for sex. Who cares if the alien's head is shaped like a penis? So are cucumbers, but that doesn't mean that making a salad is a sexual ennuendo. Anyway, so far we've watched Hitchcock's Rebecca, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and this week we're watching Rear Window I believe, which I've seen before, but I love it all the same. I can't wait to see what she points out.

Speaking of writing, though, I've been trying to get back in the groove. It seems my writing always suffers from my rude re-introduction to school, so I'm trying to get back in the groove. However, it's harder than it seems. Balancing my life is what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to work out more, eat healthier, read and write more, watch less TV, and make more friends. That's a lot to cram in, though, and writing has been one of the things that has fallen to the wayside. However, there's something that might shake it up a little, and that's a writing club. The first meeting is on Tuesday, and I'm gonna check it out. I know writing clubs face lots of problems -- it could just be an hour long pat on the back section, or you could be diving into a swimming pool full of sharks and pirhannas. We're gonna try to make it clear up front that the critiques should be thorough, but also not rude. Explain your complaints without insulting the writing, and possibly offer suggestions that you think will improve it. There's not much known about how things will work, but it sounds promising nonetheless...if it gets organized.

Beyond that nothing really interesting has happened. This weekend, we had family day. All the parents came to see their kids and there was a concert and a football game. I was glad to see the concert. It was 38 Special, who I've never heard of before, but I enjoyed their performance quite a bit, actually. Then we went to the ball game so my brother -- who's in band -- could see my school's band in action. He had a blast. Of course, our team got stomped, so we wound up leaving early. The last I saw it was 45 - 24, and there was only 1:30 on the clock.

So, how have things been with you guys lately?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Long Time No Speak

I'll write a much longer post later with catch up news. I only have one thing to say right now. I just got back from seeing Wall-E for a second time. My college showed it as part of some special thing they do. You know a movie is really fantastic when an auditiorium of cynical, hard nosed, smart ass college students break out into applause at the end of the movie. That movie always leaves me with a smile on my face.

That's all for now. A real post later.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Finish Line

I finally made it to the finish line. It was fun, but tough, and I was sad and glad to see the play end. It ended on Sunday. The final three performances with the new cast was just as good as the weekend before, however, no performance ever goes smoothly.

On Sunday, my contact tore, and I had to do the play with one contact. It was awful, because the contact tearing hurt. I tried to wear it anyway, because I couldn't wear glasses in the play, and couldn't see without some kind of vision correction, but it didn't work. It hurt. So I threw it away and instead, I wore one contact and acted that way. I took it out as soon as the play was over, because I know doing that is horrible for your eyes, but it was only for a couple of hours.

The greatest thing about the play was that everytime I roared, or showed up at the very first of the play, little kids cried, but by the end, they loved me and were sad when I get "shot" with an arrow and "die." At the end of the show, they always wanted their picture taken with me. It was great.

This week we've been busy, and we're trying to scrape together some money for me to go visit my college roommate sometime next week. And then...it's back to school! Yes, college is right around the corner.

Anyway, that's my little update for now. How have things been for you guys?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mid-Week, Mid-Performance Updates

Hey, guess what? I've been swamped with play practice. I've been spending literally 8 hours a day working on that play.

Friday was our first performance. It was a totally awesome show. I got a ton of applause, and a lot of people were surprised that this was my first part in a play ever. I was very happy. Everyone did great, and so thrilled that we had a successful opening night. (Incidentally, everytime someone mentioned the words "opening night" I either sang that song from The Producers, or the song "It's bad luck to say good luck on opening night" -- I know...I'm a nerd.)

Saturday was another story, though. We met out back, which is theater tradition, to get eachother pumped for the show, and our supervisor told us to try to avoid the "Saturday Slump" -- which is where the cast gets comfortable after the first success and sucks it up totally the second night. So we were on our game, doing great, making sure to give it our all. But by scene 7, I saw the lights flicker and I knew something horrible was gonna happen. Then, we blew a fuse, and the lights went out. We had early intermission, but had to run on limited lighting after that. And then, to make things worse, we all got rattled from that first big disaster and started screwing up. And to make matters worse, Beauty's dress ripped and she had to wear a shawl to cover it up until we could get it fixed. After that horrible show, I went to go see The Dark Knight to make myself feel better (and it did, because it was awesome!).

Sunday made everything better. We made sure that everyone who came tonight got the best performance ever -- especially if they had come the night before. We blew them out of the water, and did excellent.

Now, however, I have to look forward to next weekend -- Beauty and the Beast...Cast 2! This weekend is with an entirely different set of girls, and it's going to be interesting. I think we'll do awesome though.

Anyway, just a quick update while I dive back into the play...again. I sure can't wait until it's done.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Dark Knight


This has taken it's place as my favorite movie of all time. If you have not seen this movie, go watch it. Even if you're not a fan of superhero movies, go watch this movie. It's plays almost like a normal crime drama. It's never over the top, it's never campy, it's never slow. The movie is fast paced, but never leaves you confused. It is Heath Ledger's best performance ever. Go watch this movie. If Heath Ledger doesn't win an Oscar for this movie, the entire awards assembly crew should have their heads examined.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Caturday Lolcats

This is how I feel after performing. I thought it would amuse you guys. I'll let you know how the performances went on Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Performance 16

1. Furiously read through the script because even though you've run this play at least 200 times, you seem to have forgotten the order of the scenes.

2. Constantly check yourself to make sure your fly is zipped, your shirt is buttoned, your wig is on straight and you are in fact, wearing your pants.

3. Avoid water 7 hours before your performance in fear that you will need to pee in the middle of the performance.

3 a) Despite your efforts, you have to pee anyway, and for some reason this is the time you decide to contemplate how Noah avoided sea sickness on the ark.

4. Scratch your legs until you bleed trying to keep from itching that spot in the middle of your face and screw up your make up.

5. Develop the habit of blinking frequently and rapidly because you're brand new contacts have chosen this moment to screw up and glaze over.

6. Frantically quadruple check that all the props are in their proper places, reorganize them, forget your "improved" organization order, and panic when you can't find one prop.

7. Sit in a corner, crying, and asking yourself why you chose to be in a stupid local play in the first place, you don't like talking in front of people anyway.

8. Write out Post-Its with custom deadly threat and place each one in the seats your friends will sit in. Make sure they understand, if they laugh at you, they will suffer.

9. Tear down every flyer in the town and throw a bucket of paint over the giant sign advertising the play and hope nobody will show up because they don't know what time the play starts.

10. Fake a sign saying the play is canceled.

11. Dress in dark clothes and a white mask and, through the power of song and special effects, scare the audience away and close the show early.

12. Practice loosening your lips for 2 constant hours before the performance in fear of messing up a line during the play.

12 a) Work your lips too much and suffer a rare but painful face cramp in which your face locks down and you cannot move your lips to say your lines, and just so happen to look like you're sneezing through your nose as well.

13. Badger your fellow actors back stage every 5 minutes to ask if your make up still looks fine.

14. When someone mentions breaking a leg, stand and curse loudly for 10 minutes, accusing the director and the rest of the cast of trying to jinx you before your first big performance.

14 a) Insist a witch-doctor be brought in to rid the area of its "bad joo joo."

15. Write a blog post about your fears that will help you loosen up and then try to relax before your performance.

16. Call up the local government officials about being entered into the witness protection program to escape your humiliation if the performance goes bad anyway...just in cast.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sherlock Holmes

I love mysteries. When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Encyclopedia Brown books. The thought that a kid could be so smart, and he could help his friends, and even the police sometimes -- I thought it was awesome. Also, the EB books made you turn to the next page for the solution, so it gave you a chance to solve it yourself. I loved that, too.

When I got older, I read the Hardy Boys, and when I got older still, I read the Hardy Boys Casefiles, which was Hardy Boys for adults, with Frank and Joe, but they were grown.

When I got into middle school, I started reading the Sherlock Holmes books, and my love of mysteries grew to a whole new level. I had never encountered a character like Sherlock before. He was maladjusted, you didn't always like him, and he was rarely nice. Being so smart left him being somewhat of a social outcast, and his only friends was Dr. Watson, the only person who was patient enough to put up with his moodiness.

I started watching Sherlock Holmes movies -- a few of the ones with Basil Rathbone, the movie Young Sherlock Holmes, The Great Mouse Detective, the show Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, anything really. I was intrigued by the surely detective. I wasn't always happy with the TV and movie adaptions of Sherlock though -- many adaptions had reduced a lot of his character flaws down, thereby making him a friendly, happy, well-liked, but extremely smart guy. That's just not Holmes. A few good recommendations that were pretty good but weren't by Conan himself would be The Baker Street Irregulars, and the movie Young Sherlock Holmes.

Then, I saw the TV show House. I had avoided it, because I don't normally watch much TV -- a lot of them seem to be the same crime investigation shows with a different cast -- but after a few episodes I knew where'd I'd scene Dr. Gregory House before. He was Sherlock Holmes!! He walked with a cane, he had one really good friend who was patient enough to put up with his characer flaws, he was addicted to drugs, he was maladjusted and cynical, and he was extremely smart and solved cases most people were stumped by.

Now it seems they're gonna try to bring back Sherlock Holmes to the modern public. I saw on Yahoo news, where there's two new Sherlock Holmes movies in the works. One of them is a Columbia pictures comedy that is supposed to star Sacha Baron Cohen and Will Ferrel that I'm hoping will be as good as The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, and not totally stupid. The other one fills me with hope, though. It's a Warner Bros. film, and when I saw who they got to play Sherlock, I thought, Wow, if they couldn't get Hugh Laurie, that guy could definitely do the part justice. They got Robert Downey, Jr. His smart alleck, cynical personality is perfect for the crabby detective, and with what I've heard about Iron Man, this movie will be fantastic, and hopefully be a box office smash.

I'm daring to get my hopes up. Don't let me down Hollywood!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Muses and Inspiration Revisited

Remember my post about the muse? Well, Maureen Johnson had a post on the fifth that answers my question in a very interesting way, and I didn't even ask her. You can find it here. Go check it out. It's a good post.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lolcat "Caturdays"*

*Name credit goes to Beth. If you visit here on Saturdays, you'll remember that I'm starting a new tradition: Lolcats for a good weekend laugh. Below is this weeks.


Also, Burn Notice is back. Yaaaay!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Magnificent Memorable Movies Meme

I got this from Heather's Blethers, and from S.M.D's blog, The World in the Satin Bag, so I figured...why not? I haven't done a meme in a while.

This is Entertainment Weekly's list of 100 Classic Movies of the past 25 years. Anyone who wants to play, consider yourself tagged! The rules: Bold the movies you've seen, underline or *asterisk* the ones you plan to, strike out the ones you HATE and refuse to watch ever again.

... P.S... for those of you who, like me, didn't know how to strike out something, here's how: <> strike out < / s >

That might save you a Google search.

Here's the list:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
9. Die Hard (1988)
10. Moulin Rouge (2001)
11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
12. The Matrix (1999)
13. Goodfellas (1990)
14. Crumb (1995)
15. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
16. Boogie Nights (1997)
17. Jerry Maguire(1996)
18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
19. Casino Royale (2006)
20. The Lion King (1994)
21. Schindler's List (1993)
22. Rushmore (1998)
23. Memento (2001)
24. A Room With a View (1986)
25. Shrek (2001)
26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
27. Aliens (1986)
28. Wings of Desire (1987)
29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
31. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
32. Fight Club (1999)
33. The Breakfast Club (1985)
34. Fargo (1996)
35. The Incredibles (2004)
36. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
37. Pretty Woman (1990)
38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
39. The Sixth Sense (1999)
40. Speed (1994)
41. Dazed and Confused (1993)
42. Clueless (1995)
43. Gladiator (2000)
44. The Player (1992)
45. Rain Man (1988)
46. Children of Men (2006)
47. Men in Black (1997)
48. Scarface (1983)
49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
50. The Piano (1993)
51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53. The Truman Show (1998)
54. Fatal Attraction (1987)
55. Risky Business (1983)
56. The Lives of Others (2006)
57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
58. Ghostbusters (1984)
59. L.A. Confidential (1997)
60. Scream (1996)
61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
63. Big (1988)
64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
66. Natural Born Killers (1994)
67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
68. Witness (1985)
69. All About My Mother (1999)
70. Broadcast News (1987)
71. Unforgiven (1992)
72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
73. Office Space (1999)
74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
75. Out of Africa (1985)
76. The Departed (2006)
77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
80. Michael Clayton (2007)
81. Moonstruck (1987)
82. Lost in Translation (2003)
83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
84. Sideways (2004)
85. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
87. Swingers (1996)
88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
91. Back to the Future (1985)
92. Menace II Society (1993)
93. Ed Wood (1994)
94. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
96. Far From Heaven (2002)
97. Glory (1989)
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

Huh, I did better than I thought I would. But still, I feel like I let myself down. There's some movies on there I really should see, since they're classics. And I really have to question who made this list. South Park? The Blair Witch Project? I hated the Blair Witch Project, and while I can't say I hated South Park...one of the top 100 movies of the past 25 years? Really? Couldn't that spot have gone to something better...anything better?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Parallel Universes

One story idea that has always been a favorite of mine is parallel universes. Stories where the heroes travel to worlds are mirrors of eachother. I love to read stories where the worlds may resemble something close to what we know with minor differences, and stories where the alternate world has been wrecked because of some catastrophic event where Johnny McBoogernose was elected mayor in Hicksville, USA instead of Timmy Straightentrue.

When I was a freshmen in highschool, I discovered Stephen King's series The Dark Tower, and they remain some of my favorite books. I love how they explore alternate worlds and alternate time lines and the idea that the universe is like an onion in reverse -- there are layers of worlds stacked on layers of worlds and each one may only differ slighly, while some may be enormously different.

Well, oh denizens of the SoaM universe, I have invented a machine that will let you explore alternate dimensions. The diagram of my invention can be seen below, although it may be too technical for most of you unscientifical folk. Just trust me that I spent many hours perfecting this design.You may question the morality of this. "Jason," you may protest, "couldn't even glancing briefly at another world throw ours into chaos, much like messing with the time stream." "What is this, freakin' twenty questions?" I would reply with anger. Seriously, why in the world would you be questioning me anyway, I just invented a freakin' transdimensional portal generator. When my findings are reported to the International Scientists Organization and Recreational Center -- or I-Soars -- I'll be able to buy and sell you guys like goldfish anyway....

...anyway, until the boys in white coats recognize my excellence, I will offer free rides to anyone who wants to visit a few alternate dimensions. Remember, these things may frighten you, but just remember that this is only a demonstration and a real ride will cost you your first born child -- so, basically, cheaper than a full tank of gas.

Without further ado, SoaM of the Other Worlds: SoaM Beta, SoaM Gamma, SoaM Delta, SoaM Epsilon -- (this world calls their site "The" Scribblings of a Madman. Everyone knows that my scribblings are "THE" scribblings, all others are imitators. I'm SoaM Alpha.)

I hope you all enjoyed your trip. Please watch your step and thank you for travelling.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Books and TV

I don't really have much to talk about today, but I do have some news that was pretty cool. My town is not a town that is known for its readers. The only bookstores we have are a used bookstore, and our Wal-Mart, and slowly but surely, our Wal-Mart has been reducing the book section down to Junie B. Jones, other kids books of that nature, and self help books. But it looks like our Wal-Mart is starting to exand their stock a little more. The other day, I am happy to report, I saw Twilight Fall in the flesh...er...page...along with the book that Lynn Viehl advertised a few days ago -- Death Angel. My only let down was that I couldn't find The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu. I frantically checked my money supply. I was going to buy them and have SoaM's first book give away, but sadly, I was broke. So, in a few months, I may have a book give away, if by then everyone doesn't already have those books, ha. We'll see, though -- money is looking tighter this semester.


And in other news, I saw the last episode of Death Note the other day -- God bless you, my lovely DVR -- and I have only this to say: HOLY COW!!! AMAZING!!!


That's really all. I'll try to have something cool to post later this week. I'm stewing ideas.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Inspiration


I've been thinking about this post for a while. It's something that I would like to talk about. At first I thought it was only me, but I've talked to several people and they all have this problem.

Inspiration, aka the muse. She's a fickle friend, and one that often leaves you. It's the fire that drives you to write, the passion that makes you love what you do and want to see the thing to the end. Every writer and wanna-be writer knows what I'm talking about. You get that idea and your pulse quickens and you feel your adrenaline surge and you just can't wait to get started.

But, what I've seen happen a lot is the inspiration goes away. Sometimes early on. For those who feel dedication and love and such, sometimes halfway through the book, but eventually it seems that writing becomes a chore...and everybody hates chores so why would you want to write? Let's go watch some Smallville and give the muse a rest. We'll write tomorrow.

Tomorrow you say, geez, man. I still don't want to write. Oh well, I'll go read this book I've been wanting to read and go wash some dishes and tomorrow I'll do a big writing day to make up for what I missed today.

And the next day you don't.

And the next day you don't...

...and eventually you stop writing entirely. That's happened to me more times than I can count. I have a whole ton of stories that I started, but never got around to finishing, some of them I didn't know what I wanted to do with them, some them I knew exactly, but all of them eventually became no fun to write.

I thought it was just me, but one of my college friends was talking to me the other day -- she's a creative writing major -- and she said that she gets like that too.

That's why I've been writing so many random genre stories lately: A Lover Scorned was a kinda noir-ish murder mystery, Silence and Darkness was a horror-ish story, and Detective Sheen is sci-fi, which I've never written before. I've been trying variety to give the muse other flavors and make her want to work, but I still lose interest.

So this is kind of a discussion question for those of you who want to participate, how do you finish things? How do you keep interested long enough to finish the whole project, whether it be a short story or a novel?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Lolcats

I've decided to add a new feature. The weekends around the blogosphere are somewhat dull. Everyone is spending time with their families, and that leaves the few survivors that are hanging around nothing to read. So for your pure entertainment, I'm going to post on Saturdays. I'm thinking Lolcat Saturdays? They're funny, and they leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Get it? 'Cause they're cats? Ha ha? ...anyway... >.>;


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!


To all of you with me in the US, Happy Independence Day! My family and I are having a barbeque and I'll be using some of those awesome recipes I found from the Recipe Round-up. No matter what you're doing, though, I hope you're with people you love.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pet Scare and Relief

We had a scare recently here at la casa de la Rayburn. Our poor mini-dachshund Jimi Hendrix got sick. (While he bears no actual resemblance to the rocker of the same name I can hug my Jimi Hendrix and roll him around on the floor and play with him. I couldn't have done that with the other one without causing some risque gossip...although my Jimi can't play the guitar as well as the other Jimi either.)

Anyway, we came home a few days ago and poor Jimi was laying on the floor shaking and whining. I was instantly worried, because I was instantly reminded of when my chihuahua Sugar got sick when I was 10. She had cancer and died, and before she died she laid around and shook and yelped.

Luckily, my mom, God bless her, has a clearer head than mine. She immediately knew what it was. She took him into the kitchen and gave Jimi some mineral oil and some medicine and said, "He's constipated. It sometimes happens to dachshunds. Don't worry. He'll be fine." I wasn't so sure.

My heart sank when, the next day, he still laid there yelping and whining. I was getting panicky, but my mom just gave him more medicine and said that he would be fine. Next day, he was perfectly fine. He's been bouncing around for the past couple days as happy as he can be. I'm so glad that he feels better.

Below is a picture of both Jimis. Try to guess which one is mine, :D

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chocolate Drop Cookies


I'm posting this because Barrie Summy is having a cool little Recipe Round-Up for July 4th -- Independence Day here in the US. Check out her blog for other awesome recipes as well. This should be a ton of fun.

This is my mom's fantastic recipe for her "No Bake Drop Cookies." They are so fantastic and rich and yummy...yeah. Enjoy!

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. cocoa

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups oatmeal (not cooked)

1 tsp vanilla

  1. Bring 1st four ingredients to a rolling boil.
  2. count 90 seconds SLOWLY
  3. take mixture off fire
  4. Add vanilla, stir
  5. add oatmeal, stir really well
  6. drop teaspoonfuls on buttered or waxed paper
  7. cool for 30 mins.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Book Plugging

I just realized how out of the loop I was today. I went and visited PBW's blog, and her post reminded me of several books I've been looking forward to reading. So today, to make up for that, I'm just gonna give you guys a little bump and some info about some books that have come out that you should check out.

First on the list is the one that reminded me of the others. Lynn Viehl has a new Darkyn book out -- Twilight Fall. It just came out today. This is the 6th novel of the Darkyn series chronicling the tribe of vampires. The last two Darkyn books released -- Evermore and Night Lost -- appeared at the 12 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. Lynn has announced that there will only be one more book in the series, and then it will be finished. From what I hear, these books keep getting better and better. If you're into dark fantasy/romance, go check these books out.

Next on the list is a new release by Holly Lisle -- The Ruby Key. This was released on May 1st, and it's the first in her new YA series Moon and Sun. I've been looking forward to this release for a long time. Snippets from her blog have made me foam at the mouth in anticipation, and as soon as I can get my hands on some money (which, sadly, may be a few months) I will buy this and revel in its awesomeness. Definitely pick this one up.

Third on the list is yet another release by Holly Lisle -- Hawkspar. This is the anticipated sequal to the amazing Talyn, and it is #2 in what will hopefully become a series following in the world of Korre. If you remember the splash that Talyn made, you know you can't miss out on this one. Another one that I will pick up as soon as I can, since I devoured Talyn.

And finally, Odd Thomas is back in his quircky, beautifully tragic adventures in two released -- Odd Hours and In Odd We Trust. If you haven't started reading the Odd Thomas series yet, I recommend that you go out and get them now. They are spectacular. Odd has such a sad/hilarious view on the world: to see the tragedy and the comedy in most situations. And he's up to his usual wise-cracking. For a while, the story seems unlike the other Odd books, but by the middle, Dean Koontz cracks open and you see the quick, hilarious, odd ball (ha ha) conversations that you expect from Odd. In Odd We Trust is trying something new. This one is a prequal to the amazing Odd Thomas, but that's not all it does differently. This book is done in a graphic novel manga style, which I can say only makes me want to read it more.


Sorry that the post isn't anything special, but I'm kinda out of it today, and I've got a lot to do to get prepared for the play. I hope you enjoy these recommendations and remember that none of the author's tell me to do this. This is on my own and because I like spreading the word of fellow writers. I remember some contraversy about that a while back and I just want to remind everyone.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wondrous Wall-E


I got to go see Wall-E yesterday. Fantastic movie. I really had my doubts about it, because none of the commericals really told me anything and I figured it would be very boring. Far from it, it was funny, sweet, heartwarming, and inspiring. I was amazed at the amount of emotion that came across with very little voice acting.

One of my friends had a small complaint that Disney seemed to be making a statement about our society and our environment. I did notice it, but since I can't say that I disagreed with what I noticed, I can't say I was offended. In fact, it's not all that new. We've used the same basic idea of "humans screw up Earth and go live in space" in movies and stories for a long, long time.

One of my friends thought that kids wouldn't enjoy it because there was hardly any talking, but I can say that there were probably 30 kids in the audience last night and all of them were laughing up a storm.

It was a great movie, and supposedly the last of the original ideas that the guys that started the Pixar movies came up with. If you've got kids, it's definitely a movie to take them to see.

...and if by the end of the movie, you want to see the movie that Wall-E watches throughout the movie and you haven't seen it, I suggest picking up Hello Dolly, as well. Great old musical starring Barbera Streisand and Walter Matthou.

________________

In other news, I have my other short story is up at Scribd. It's called Silence and Darkness. The same blah as before, if you read it, and happened to be moved to do so, any feedback would be nice. Most of all, though, enjoy it.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'd Like to See More

A little known fact about me, I really like musicals. It's something that I've loved ever since I was a kid. Disney had some of the greatest: Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Jungle Book. But it wasn't just animated movies, I loved Mary Poppins, The King and I, and on of my all time favorites to this day is Guys and Dolls, starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. To me musicals were like listening to a cd with a story attached. Eventually though, they faded out. I mean, even Disney has stopped putting out musicals in favor of 3D team ups with Pixar. (I could go into how I miss the 2D cartoons Disney used to put out, but that's a rant for another post.)

It's been many a year since Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and Grease, and it seemed musicals were a sort of dead art form. However, they seem to be trickling back into society, much to my joy. With the success of modern musicals like Chicago, Rent, Hairspray, The Phantom of the Opera, the ever amazing Sweeney Todd, and the awesomely hilarious but under appreciated The Producers, it seems Hollywood is trying to bring musicals back.

I hope that the trend continues. Mama Mia! is supposed to be a musical, and I don't know much about it, but I'm tempted to go see it. I'm hoping they'll eventually cave in and make a movie version of Wicked for us poor broke buggers who can't make it to New York to see it on Broadway.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share a little something about me that I don't usually like to admit. You'd be surprised how many weird looks you get for admitting to something like this.

What do you guys think? Do you like musicals? Got a favorite musical? Do you think that musicals should be brought back or left to be admired as a once glorious but now dead artform? Let us know in the comments.

P.S. In other news, I uploaded one of my stories to Scrib'd. A Lover Scorned. If you're reading it and feel the need to share something you liked, hated, felt I could improve on, or anything else, I'd appreciate it, but most of all I hope you enjoy it. This is the link to my page with both my new story and my 1st e-book on there.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Long time.

Hey, long time eh? I've been busy and will probably still be busy. I can't guarantee regular posts or anything, ha ha. But I wanted to give you guys some news. I got another couple of rejection letters. It's not big. But I think that's just about all of them, so I'll probably get them both on Scrib'd very soon. I'm totally not against some constructive criticism if you feel the need to spread the knowledge.

Anyway, in other news, I've been going to rehearsals. The local theater is putting Beauty and the Beast and I'm the Beast. It's been tons of fun. I've never acted in a play before, but I absolutely love acting. It's so much fun to do. If it weren't all but impossible to get into the biz I'd move to California right now and start.

Anyway, I'll try to post those stories soon, hope you guys still check here every once in a while, ha.

P.S. How have things been? Let me know in the comments, it'd be great to hear from you guys.

Friday, April 25, 2008

This post is rated R for Rejection.

Hey, still up to my neck in "end of the year" garbage. But, I thought I'd give you guys a little news, I got more word from two more magazines. I got word from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine about my murder/mystery story. A very polite rejection letter. I also got word from The New Yorker (yeah, it was a long shot, but I thought it was worth a try), and that was another shorter but still polite rejection letter. Oh well. If they don't get accepted, I'll post them on Scrib'd and you guys can read them there. If I do that, and if you do read them, and if you decide to give me some constructive criticism, that's awesome.

Anyway, Im exhausted. I'm gonna crash. Hope you guys are doing okay. I can't wait until life slows down a little. Then I can post an actual post. Anyway, good night all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quick Check In

Hey, just wanted to let you guys know that I'm alive. I've been swamped with end of the year essays, projects, and finals are coming up. Thank you all very much for your suggestions, you helped me a lot. I definitely have a good idea. Gotta go, I'm still very busy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lesson To Learn

In my teaching class, have to come up with a 20 minute lesson to teach on. For the life of me, I can't think of anything to come up with.

The first lesson I had to do was a 7 minute lecture. I chose "How to Write a Novel," and I covered the basics of brainstorming, outlining, and revising. Writing is my love, so I'd love to do another lecture on that, but I don't know what to do it on. If you guys have the team, please leave me some ideas in the comments. I'd really appreciate it. My lecture is on the 28th.

Thanks for any help you guys have.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best. Birthday. Present. EVER.


We got in the mail today. Best birthday present ever.
(P.S. Updated profile and pic.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Bates Motel

Gather round ye lads and lasses and I'll spin you a tale of misery and woe. For on this trip that was such a dreary occasion, the Rayburn family was expecting to have some fun. Unfortuantely, it was not in the cards. The family set out, soon to find that the tv that was expected to work in the van, did not. The movies brought along were useless, as were the video games, and time began to slow. Music can only occupy for so long, and with only one device to listen on, the children were soon sqwabbling over who would get it next, and for how long. Ye it was a long drive, and one taken with few bathroom breaks, as the highway department had apparently been studying our heroes trip, and new to remove all bathrooms, or directions to them.

After much whining and biting of heads, our troop did stop at a quant little inn. Ignoring the ominous skulls and spears and vultures skulking about the premises they went ahead and booked rooms for the whole week. Oh woe, for little they could guess the terror that awaited them. The young manager introduced himself as Norman, a kindly young man, if a bit on the odd side. It seemed odd that he sold weaponry as well as cars and rooms to stay in -- almost as if he were providing one with all they would need for a dastardly night on the town.

Once in the room, the fabulous family was greeted with a shocking sight, one that left them depressed and downtrodden. The walls were dirty, the lights were non-working or dim, the room did swelter, the bathroom was effing freezing, but bearing a forced grin the fam did drop bags and prepare for nighttime. The oldest boy Rayburn, Jason his name was, did learn another horrible truth. Apparently, back problems are a favorite for the fates to play games with, and Jason learned that his back would sing a glorious ode to pain, as the mattresses were built like square bowls, everything sloping toward the middle.

Ye while the beds were unfortunate enough for our heroes, the fates had more in store. For what did Jason find when he rose in the night for a Tums, why bugs invading the room. Much worse than the run-of-the-mill-bug, these bugs were decended from the Huns. They raced in carrying spears and daggers, swords flashing and knashing their teeth. Many a one had a moustache that reached to the floor, which they enjoyed to twirl while they sneered at our tasty looking family of the world. Having slept almost none and already awake, Jason's mother rose to help him find the antacid since he didn't pack the medicine and had no flipping clue where anything that he needed was, but ye, she was ready for the surprise onslaught. Armed with a can of bugspray and a swatter of flies, she beat the demons back to their hole, where they would tend their wounds and plot revenge.

Once Jason had returned to his bed, he learned sleep would dance out of his grasp for the remainder of the night, for lo, did the bathroom grumble and hiss. It seemed the toilet never stopped flowing, and the mystery hidden in the walls threw a festival next to his ear. But surely, if that was enough, more still came to plague him. For while he tried to block out the noises of the room, he heard worse noises still. People in the next room did socialize, with their video boxes blaring loud and true, defiant of what decent people have dubbed "quiet time." What's more, they had kids, who delighted in stomping and screaming and yelling. When the neighbors weren't creating it, the traffic outside would unload noise at the most inopportune times. A fleet of diesels and an armada of motorcycles traveled the road that night, and Jason was awake to count every one.

By dawn the next morn, our heroes were ready to flee from the Bates Motel. They rallied each other from their uncomfortable sleep, and packing their bags in a manic frenzy, canceled the rest of the stay and ran for the hills, to a shining home-away-from-home on a hill, a blessed promise land known as Helluvalotbetter, where they would reside for the remainder of the trip.

Next time, lads and lasses, I shall spin ye more webs of the Rayburn woes, including the Tale of the Stingy Shed Ogre, and the Incredible Shifting Town of Nowhere.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Back

I'll post a real post soon, I just wanted to let you know that I'm back, and kinda strung out. I'm going to take the day to relax and rest, because tomorrow it's back to school!!! (*barf*) and I've got to be ready for that. I'm worried about my tests, it stormed all night, so I couldn't sleep . . . *sigh*. Mantra to repeat: Reeelaaaax.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Beat


Oh, I'm so exhausted. I haven't had a very good nights sleep all week, I've had heartburn every night, or felt like I've had to throw up, I had to be in court yesterday, and today I have all kinds of stuff to take care of. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Belated Easter

Hey guys, happy belated Easter. I'm on the road, out of state, on spring break, and trying to take care of somethings on the legal end of my dad's estate. I didn't think I'd be able to post, and I'll explain more later, but after the nightmare that was yesterday/this morning*, things seem to be working out for the better, at least for now.

*Trust me, it's a doozie of a story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Twisted Tales

This is a post I had planned a while back. I found it saved as a draft and thought I'd post it for you guys.

A while back I mentioned that I found an interesting book. It was called The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. It's the "true" story of Alice of Wonderland. In it, Princess Alyss Heart is from an alternate dimension called Wonderland, and she's next in line for the throne when her crazy aunt Redd kills her mother and takes the throne for herself. Then, Alyss and the kingdom's best mercenary, Hatter Maddigan, flee and accidentally wind up in our world. Recently I've noticed more and more books and exposing the “truth” behind many of the myths and stories we've come to know an love. The King Arthur movie, that Santa's Slay movie with Bill Goldberg, The Looking Glass Wars, all the way to The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, we love hearing a new twist on the old classics. I can't help but wonder what other stories will be re-examined, and who wind up writing them?


  • The story of a man who almost ruined everything. Rumors have spread that some scientists in England discovered a way to travel through time. The discovery was accidental, but shows to actually have many practical applications for the field of ancient history. Everything begins to fall apart, though, when one of the top minds who helped develop the time travel device goes missing – along with the device! Now it's a race against time – and through it – to discover where the missing man went, and get the device back. This summer's action packed read! It made number 3 on the New York Time's bestseller list, James Patterson's next thrilling novel, Where's Waldo?

  • Hansel and Gretel came to America expecting to make it big. Unfortunately, the biggest thing the 400 pound twins found were the costumes they have to wear everyday at The Gingerbread Mansion, a small, rundown local amusement park. They feel unfulfilled and homesick, but things look like they're turning around when they save a pro-wrestling agent from a mugger while he's on vacation. They're soon on the high rise to fame, but things take a turn for the worst when they get an invitation to go on a guided hike through the Colorodo Rocky Mountains. It seems a jealous and bitter amusement park manager is determined to get her best employees back . . . or else. “Cannibals, candy, and an astounding trapeze act, this book is fun for the whole family.” -- Charlie Chuckles, Radical Reads Magazine. “Judy Blume does it again . . . Hansel and Gretel: The Tales of Two Tubby Twins is a fantastic read for all ages.” -- New York Times

Last one, I swear, but these are so much fun to write.

  • Georgia Rogers just wanted to have a good baking party. It was December, and the semi-finals for the Sweetsville Cooking Contest were just around the corner. She really wanted to blow the judges away with a holiday treat. When she goes to the library to do some research on some of the more obscure holiday treats, she stumbled across an ancient and tattered cookbook. Intrigued, she took it home. She was unaware of the terror held between the pages of that decrepit, leatherbound book, for when she decides on a recipe to try, she unleashes the bloodiest, most horrifying thing the world has ever seen. “King reigns supreme!” -- Michael Mitchellson, Maniacal Mystery Magazine. “Stephen King's The Gingerbread Man gave me chills. I'll never look at my favorite holiday treat the same way again.” -- Martha Stewart.

What are some old stories that you want to see rewritten? Or what better yet, what would be your take on some of those old stories? Let us all know in the comments.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Update

I've tried writing this post several times. Every now and then I'd get the urge to post something on the blog, a little update, but halfway through, I'd give up and just close it out. I just didn't feel like posting. But I like the blog, it's my only journal and diary and I post things here to vent when I can't vent in real life. And all of you who read my ramblings and are, by some miracle, interested in what I have to say, grace me with comments and insights that I don't often see on my own. This place is my escape, and it's times like this when I need to get away from it all, the one place where I can be myself, through and through.

My dad's family is not making it easy on my family, but we're making due. I had hope that they might have changed, or at least put aside harsh feelings during this period, but they haven't. I should have expected it, it just wouldn't be them if they did. Towards the end of March we have to go to his hometown in another state and go to court so that all this stuff can be settled. This is probably going to be one of the last updates about my dad. I may update while I'm on the trip, I may not. My grandparents want me to look at it like a vacation, and maybe it should be. It'll give us some time away from it all to relax.

Anyway, I'm going to start writing again and posting, a couple of things I've really missed doing in all this, but not anymore about this. I hope you'll all be happy to see me back, and I can't wait to catch up on what's been going on while I was gone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Aftermath

Thank you all very much for all your condolences. My family and I have had a lot on our minds and a lot to deal with during all this. Now, unfortunately, comes the legal aspect of it all, which is going to be made complicated by the fact that the laws of our state and his state might be different.

Once again, thank you all very much for keeping me in your thoughts and I'll try to update again when I can.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Death

My father was one of the unfortunate souls to pass away from those storms that rampaged through the south on Tuesday and Wednesday. Things are going okay here, just thought I'd update everyone and let them know I'm doing okay and I'll be back when I can.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Busy

I've been swamped with college lately, and I've had a lot of other stuff to do besides. I'll try to post when everything clears up.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marvelous Meme Magic

Well, there's nothing going on around here, so I thought I'd do this meme that PJ Hoover, over at ROOTS IN MYTH, tagged me with.

The rules are:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

Well, I had two books stacked on top of eachother -- I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert and The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. I checked both of their pages and decided on The Looking Glass Wars getting the nod, mostly because I liked the three sentences better than the other one.

Here you go:

Anyone could see that she was going to grow into a beautiful woman. It was the thoought that her beauty might gain her entry into ranks of society rarely attained by orphans, which could bode well for Charing Cross, leading to donations from wealthy families on the hunt for unearthly beauties of their own. Whenever Alyss mentioned Wonderland, she was shushed more harshly than she would have been if the wardens hadn't taken an interest in her.

Intrigued? I know I was. It's a really good book, and just because I like books and like to recommend them, I recommend both I Am America (And So Can You!) and The Looking Glass Wars. Both are very good. If you like Colbert's show, I Am America is the same thing -- funny. And the other book puts a new spin on Alice in Wonderland that is very interesting.

As for tagging people, I hate to be a bother to anyone. Anyone who wants to do this meme is free to do so. Link to it in the comments and give us all something to read too, will you?

UPDATED WITH NEWEST NEWS: Actor Heath Ledger has died today. It's really too bad, I liked him. He was funny in 10 Things I Hate About You, and he looked like he was making a kick-ass Joker in the new Batman movie. I know my mom is going to miss him -- she loved his accent.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Response

I got word back from one of the magazines I sent my stories off to. It was a rejection. My first one. I've got a drawer in my file cabinet that I'm gonna put all my rejections in. Except this one. It's going on the wall.

Here's what it says:

Dear Contributor,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript. The volume of mail I receive keeps me from responding personally to each submission. And unfortunately I must often turn down good work due to space limitations and other considerations. I am very sorry that I will not be able to publish your piece at this time. I appreciate your interest in Weird Tales and hope that you will keep me in mind for future submissions.

Sincerely,

Ann VanderMeer
Fiction Editor
WEIRD TALES

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Revelation

I'm going to college right now to be an English teacher. It's not what I want to do with my life, I want to become a writer, but I realize that the chances of that are slim, and, at the least, I need to have something to do until I get published. Besides, Stephen King and Dean Koontz were both English teachers before they made it big.

My choice to pursue English education wasn't really passion, it just seemed to be the most logical choice. After all, I was good at English, so the choices of field seemed limited. Journalism wasn't my cup of tea when I had it in high school (then again, that might have been because I was never given any of the good stories. Only headlines like “Math Club Wins State Competition”...whoo...) and I didn't see any other jobs except writing and being an English teacher.

Being a teacher was never a calling. I never watched my teachers and thought, man, I wish I were doing that. But I thought it was the best career for my talents.

The ironic thing is, I hate public speaking, and just trying to do my Biology final presentation almost made me have an asthma attack. I got all panicky, I felt hot and cold at the same time, and when I started speaking, my face turned bright red. It always does. When I thought about that the other day, I wondered, Why am I even doing this? This job is public speaking everyday! I tried not to think about it, I tried not to dwell on the fact that I might be totally ruining my chance to get a good job after this. I feared I was wasting my time and money.

Today I had my second class of Classroom Communications and Public Speaking for Teachers.

I think I'll be okay, now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Kind Of People Do I Attract?*

* Everything I'm about to tell you is 100% true. I didn't make any of these stories up.

______________

One of my friends recently sent me a quiz: "What Kind of People Do You Attract?" I took it two different times and got two different answers. Apparently I attract Geeks and Yuppies, depending on my mood. I'm fine with attracting Geeks. Geeks are awesome. Yuppies . . . I don't know. Well, from what I've seen today, I'm starting to wonder if I don't attract nutjobs as well.

At lunch today, I had a choice of cheese covered mush, hamburgers floating a yellowish, bubbly liquid, a hot dog shaped something, or pizza. So, fearing for my stomach, I went into the pizza line.

Because my friends and I were there earlier than usual, the lunchroom was more crowded than we were used to. I sighed inwardly when some muscle bound shmuck in a backwards cap and a striped shirt took the last piece of any of the pizza. That meant I'd have to wait in line for more, but, considering the alternative, it wasn't that bad.

While I was standing there with my hands in my pockets, waiting on the people to bring out some pizza, I had a total stranger walk up to me. He looked at me and frowned with concern. I was concerned too -- when someone you don't know is concerned about you, you should probably be concerned too. Then, he told me, "I hate to tell you this, but I'm afraid Buddha wants to steal your soul."

My first reaction was WTF?, but I've had experience with crazy people before** and I didn't want to offend the looney, so I responded with, "Thanks for the warning."

Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. I had encouraged him. He moved out of his line (the sandwich/hamburger line) and stood next to me and replied, "I only warn you because...he's Buddha! You don't know what he can do!"

Fearing that this person might take my polite response as an invitation for friendship, I replied "Yeah, man. Thanks. I'll keep my eye out."

Thankfully, that's all he needed to hear, because he nodded and wandered back into his own line talking to someone he knew -- or maybe some other poor chap -- saying, "Yeah, it's all a big conspiracy theory."

That was really the only eventful thing that happened today, but it was enough to make me wonder.

________

** A guy I used to work with at my old job told me all kinds of stories -- he had buried treasure, his house being built on an indian burial ground (and that meant his house was haunted by the angered souls), he had fought demons, etc. One of his most memorable stories was when he told me his hand was possesed by a demon, and the only way he could exorcise it was to slice it open . . . luckily an angel healed it or he would have bled to death. On a side note, I was very happy to quit that job.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

College: Episode One, Part Deux

Unfortunately, I'm back at college again. *sigh * That means more homework, less writing time, and a crappy internet connection besides. But, on the plus side . . . I have a new book to read. The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

I am hoping, due to a nice new schedule with more free time than last semester, that I will be writing more and reading more than I was last semester. However, I'm really worried about a few of my classes – American Government. On the one hand, I get a better look into what makes our country tick . . . on the other hand, the teacher is supposed to be really hard.

My posting will drop some, but I'll try to post at least three times a week, not counting weekends, which I will try to post on, too.

Welcome to college, boys. Now bend over for the shaft.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cinematic Magic

Movies. Some are good, some are bad, some are just okay. We watch movies, like we read books, so that we can be entertained. Sometimes, but not as often as we'd like, a movie sucks us in and we find ourselves watching it again and again.

I watched a movie recently that left me absolutely speechless. It's called Mirrormask. It's about a very artistic girl who isn't happy with her life and her circus performer parents. She wants to "run away and join real life," oddly enough. After she gets in a fight with her mother, her mother gets sick and slips into a coma. Then, the girl finds herself in a parallel universe that apparently she created -- the universe of her drawings.

The storyline is really good, very original, but what really got me were the visuals. The Jim Henson company apparently did the CGI that is through most movies and it is absolutely . . . the word that came to my mind while I was watching it is whimsical. The visuals are just out of this world.

I could rave on and on about how good the visuals are, but I, personally, think that it's a very inspiring movie. It left me craving to write, eager to create something as good as they did.

If you haven't seen this and want to, if you have satellite, they've been playing it on one of the Encore channels I belive, or you can buy it here, for a surprisingly cheap price.

Anyway, sorry about the random movie plug, but I've just found one of my all-time favorite movies.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Idea Well

Everyone writer has one. We go to it whenever we need ideas -- whether it be for stories, or characters, or for chapters for novels or whatever. It's the place where all creativity is stored. Sometimes it's called our muse. That's probably a better description when the muse is being bitchy, but for the purpose of this illustration, it's a well.

After I sent my stories off, I was reluctant to get back to the keyboard. I wasn't the first couple days, but the longer I wait for responses, the less eager I am to get back to writing. I don't feel excited, and actually getting the words to flow takes longer and longer to do. I wasn't sure what was locking me up, but I've had trouble sleeping because I keep dwelling on it, and I finally figured it out. It came to me when I was clearing out old files on my computer.

Everynow and then I go through the computer and look at what I've got saved that's been building up and stuff. Obviously, since the virus fiasco, I don't have as much built up, but I'd like to think that deleting some of the crap time to time helps the computer run faster.

Well, I looked through my story folder at stuff that might be a candidate for deletion, when I realized something. I almost never delete anything I write, ever. Everything I've written (with the exception of some one page starts that fizzled before they got going) is still saved on there. I browsed through the files and found stories I started in the sixth grade that are still on there.

I finally got it, what I was afraid of. When I go back to my story, it's the first original idea I've had in a while, something that I just came up with when I was sitting around one day. I was inspired by the movie 12 Monkeys starring Bruce Willis, but it actually has almost nothing to do with 12 Monkeys, but I'm getting off track. The reason I'm afraid of going back to the keyboard and the reason I never delete anything, is because I'm petrified of running out of ideas.

I think part of the reason that I finished only one or two stories in my life and then left the rest to gather dust on the hard drive is so I could come back to them, write on them, improve them, make them pretty, and then leave them. I was always guaranteed to have something to write as long as all those stories were left unfinished, or the ones that were finished could be rewritten every few years as I improved in my writing.

When I sent off my stories, it was the first two I'd completed in a long time, and my mind went through shock. I just sent two ideas off. I can't go back and rewrite those, I can't improve them. They're gone.

The reason I never finished a novel idea was because I was afraid that if by some astronomical chance I got published, I was afraid I would be a one hit wonder. I was, and still am, afraid that if I get anything published, it's dwindling the number of ideas I'll have. I haven't settled into one genre very easily, I don't have ideas off the wazoo, I haven't, until a few years ago, written very much very consistently, and I don't dream that often to get ideas.

I'm absolutely terrified that I've already drawn the good stuff out of the idea well, and that eventually I'm going to draw stuff that either sucks, or that has been done over and over and over.

So . . . now that I've figured out the problem, I have to figure out how I can fix it.