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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts on Hurricane Irene, Timothy, & the East End

A tree was uprooted on our block.  We were thankful to find that as the largest catastrophe to greet us on Cambridge Drive when we arrived home from mandatory evacuation on Sunday afternoon.

Sure, there were branches to clean up around the house and a den to reassemble, but we didn't flood, which is quite a miracle, and we didn't have any trees in our house, which was beautiful.  Also, our cats don't hate us all that much for stuffing them in the traveling cage and hauling ass to Granny's in the city.  Which can only be an act of God.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thoughts on Riding the Bus, PAX 2011, and Chibi-Thulu

It certainly has been a few days since either myself or Katie posted some memoirs. With her being evacuated and me being in Seattle, we've definitely not had a lot of time on our hands. But fear not! While hanging in the press room waiting for it to close, I jotted some things down from Saturday. Hopefully I can read them and organise them into a post for you to enjoy!

For the weekend, I took the bus into Seattle in the morning and back home each night. It's fairly simple, as long as you know which stop you need to listen for. Thankfully I wasn't the only one on the bus that needed that stop - and this time I could actually hear the driver call out the stops too.

But for once, I was met with a strange happening. You see, I was waiting at the bus stop, about 20 minutes early because I wanted to be sure I was there on time. And this woman comes across the street and checks the schedule before inquiring about how much the bus fare is. I say $2.50, which was the amount I paid last summer. So I was pretty certain it hadn't changed. She shuffled through her wallet, trying to see if she had $2.50. When it didn't seem she did, she inquired about if I had change for a five. Unfortunately I only had enough for my fare for the morning and evening. But then an idea struck both of us. I give her my 2.50 and she uses her five for both of us. There, problem solved.

Well, since we were now fare buddies, we got to talking about the reason she was wanting to take the bus and what brought her to town. She explained that her company's headquarters were located here, and she was flying back to Brussels, Belgium in the afternoon. Her jaunt into Seattle was for a few hours to see the city. She'd been unable to since she was mostly working indoors or sleeping from her jetlag. We finally got to talking about places she could go in a few hours; which brought up Pike Place Market - the Space Needle was too far, and the bus couldn't get her there.

It's a great tourist location right near the water. It's an indoor farmers' market where the legendary Gum Wall, Market Street Theatre, the original Starbucks, and the Seattle Ghost tours are located. Definitely a great place to send her. Not to mention the Pike Place fish throwers. Yes. Fish throwing. You order fish, they throw it and get it wrapped up for you. Quite the sight to see.

We get on the bus - after a bit of trouble with the fare machine - and take our seats. Several other stops are made along the way, and it's not too long before we've hit our last stop and are taking the express the rest of the way into downtown. A family of three just got on the bus, and with it being busy, there's limited seating for three. With the dad carrying his daughter, he takes a seat next to a guy. His wife lugging the stroller goes to take a seat across from him after he gestures for her to sit there, that way they're close. The man by the window realises this and politely gets up and switches seats with the wife so that the family is all sitting together - daughter in their lap.

"Brussels" - as I've dubbed her since we didn't exchange names - smiled and whispered "That was sweet of him to do." And it's true. It was a very nice, polite gesture that sometimes you just don't see in this day and age. She and I talked for a time - as the main bridge was closed so we had to use an alternate route. But it wasn't long after the silence that we were both dozing from the gentle rocking of the bus.

I kept my ears peeled for our stop, and got out with her. Together, we walked to the street she would need to get her straight to Pike Place. She thanked me, which it truly was no problem, and we bid farewell. I wished her a safe flight to Brussels and she wished me good luck and that she hoped I could get into publishing.

Overall, it was a great bus trip. She was a cool woman to meet and talk to, while it was also nice to see that there is still some good in humanity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thoughts on Phone Replacements, Letters, and Barbeque Sauce

I wrote last week that I cracked the screen on my phone because it fell from my pocket.Well, now my replacement phone is here - thank you 22 month warranty coverage - and let's just say... it's larger then I expected.

I had a HTC Aria, which was on the smaller side of all touch screen phones. But see, that was perfect for me. I'm a person of short stature, so I also have small hands. The Aria was just the right fight for texting and holding my phone in one hand and doing virtually everything that way.

My new phone is ginormous. It's a Samsung Galaxy S, which is HUGE. Texting is certainly uncomfortable and the keyboard is set up a bit differently. So there's lots to get used to now.

But I seriously miss my old phone....

Thoughts on The End of the World, Unexpected Letters, & Billy Joel

The rainalypse, an East Coast earthquake, Hurricane Irene, thunderstorms, floods, tsunamis, snow, melting ice caps (that's still happening, right?).

I try not to dwell on these kinds of things, but...really?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thoughts on Walking the Town, Crawdads, and Age of The Geek

Walking around my home town is actually a lot of fun. There's tons of little bakeries, eateries, and shops of all kinds that my friends and I discover and rediscover every time we wander.

We grab a smoothie at Jamba, perhaps a snack at the nearby QFC, and then we're off to explore and see where random turns take us.

The only unpleasant time to walk the town... is when it's hot. There's very little breeze - as we are located in a valley - there's plenty of tall buildings, and we're not near a large body of water to ease the heat.

But walking down by the slough is always a nice refresher. Yeah, it's just a giant stream that floods a lot during the winter and gets super low during the summer. It's where I've taken a lot of my nature pictures on Facebook. Especially of the baby geese and ducks.

Thoughts on Harry Potter (again), Inspiration, & Profile Pictures

Yep.  Saw it again tonight.  Third time's the charm, right?  And I've been lucky enough to see it with completely different people each time.  First was opening night, in a packed theater; second, with my dad; tonight, with three friends.  It's just a different atmosphere each time, moving from excitement and the unknown, to a mix of knowing and resignation, to just sitting back, mouthing the lines along with the characters, and looking for whatever things you've read about online that were supposedly hidden in scenes.  If you're a fan of the book, you knew what was going to happen going into the movie, of course.  But it's always a shock to see what makes the cut and what gets ignored, what they leave in and what gets mere seconds of screen time.

I noticed one of the wizard's chess pieces (the queen) in the Room of Requirement this time.  What else have you found?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts on Fantasy, Cereal, & Why Can't I Ever Think of a Third?

The genre; not the daydreams.

I was obsessed with the fantasy genre for the majority of my childhood.  Aside from the usual dalliances into young adult drama and Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret to get all the "answers" to my burning questions, I devoted myself entirely to talking animals and people with wings and creatures that spoke made-up languages.  Ironically, I've never been able to finish a book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - I only read The Hobbit in sixth grade, for fun.  I remember doing some kind of kickass book jacket for it.  I drew a dragon.

Thoughts on Workshops, One Day, and Moving Furniture

It's tough to find free writing workshops. Cause honestly, half the ones I've looked at are between $200 - $500.

Writers already don't have a lot of spare change - our days of plotting previous to any publishing are not exactly times in which one makes large sums of money.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thoughts on Mosquito Bites, Wounded Phones, and CD Collection

I'm one of those people that is unfortunately what one might say is allergic to mosquito bites. They don't just itch after I get bit, but they also welt up rather large and are often times, painful.

Thankfully, I'm not as bad as my mom, but mosquitoes are one of those creatures that everyone hates. They really seem to have no purpose except be annoying on a vacation or camping trip, and to perhaps stupidly fly into a spider's web. Ah, the circle of life.

Thoughts on Mumford & Sons, Mousse, & Going Back to School

Have you ever fallen, instantly, in love?  With music?  You only know a song or two, but you're stared in the face with a half-remember melody and the CD cover, and you say, "What the hell?" and but the whole damn album, anyway.  Sometimes, you only recognize a title, a single line, but that's all it takes.  It isn't forced; you just know.  You want to listen to the song you only vaguely remember, but you start from the beginning, to be fair - no waiting, no whining, without a fight.  Wo cares about the money?  It's natural.

By day two, you know every line.  You have your favorites.  And that album is all you need.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thoughts on Forgetting, Self-Consciousness, & Europe

It's incredible how insanely easy it is just to...forget.

It's bad enough that you can lose the most important parts of your life in your prime.  But what happened to all those childhood memories, the ones that are fuzzy and stilted, saved only in photographs and home movies?  What about the things you only hear family members talk about?  How is it that you lived through those moments, too, but they really made no true impact on you?  Some things stand out, but the specifics are largely gone.

And what will happen when I get older?  What happens when I get busy, get overwhelmed, stop writing things down and taking pictures and committing them to memory?

I guess I just need to get on my game now.  And never let that happen.  Not again.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts on "Loud Music," Vlogging Idea, and The Wild Thornberries

Michelle Branch was and still is one of my favorite female vocal artists. She's always done things her own way and never followed the crazy crowd of those Pop Singers. Quite the role model to look up to - I can't sing, but following the beat of her own drum is what I look up to. I've been following her on Twitter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thoughts on The Help Part 2, and Nigel Thornberry

Yes, it's a two topic day, but probably because the first topic is going to be long. But don't worry. Endure and you'll be rewarded with a hilarious video.

 So I rambled on about the movie yesterday, mostly about how great it was - which it is, so go see it. Like, right NOW.

I would have talked about this yesterday, but then that post would have gone on forever. What better way then to break it up now that I've had more time to think about this movie? [Some Spoilers after the cut]

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts on The Help, Writing, and Procrastination At Its Finest

I saw The Help today. And it was a really cool movie. I need to read the book asap.

It's fascinating how strict the rules were for people, and the do's and don'ts that Mississippi had for it's citizens. I can't imagine living in such a time - although in some ways there are some pretty unaccepting people in the world today.

But it was fascinating how despite the risks of speaking about being a maid in the 1960s of America, that they were willing to do so after witnessing so many terrible things done to them. There were some families that were accepting and happy to do the right thing to help their maids, and to make sure they weren't treated poorly. It was funny, witty, and endearing. You cared about the maids, Skeeter, and Celia because they all changed things by speaking their minds; being honest with the world that didn't want to change.

If you get the chance, see it. It's quite the movie and worth seeing. Now time to go find the book.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thoughts on Mac n' Cheese, Workshops, and Nargles

It's tough to find some really fantastic Mac n' Cheese. The boxed kind isn't the same and definitely after said box has sat for a time, is a terrible experience. So I've been searching for some delicious Mac n' Cheese. And this certainly hasn't been an easy search.

So far, my top pick has been Costco. It's super delicious, and all I do is put it in the oven. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. One night, I ate one-third of the pan - and that's actually pretty dangerous considering all the butter and cheese in the dish. But then again... I was in pain - shoulder issue - and on some pain killers. So I was nomming for anything at that point. A third of a pan though. That's a lot of macaroni and cheese.

I've sampled a few frozen brands, and none come quite as close. The cheese mixture just doesn't taste right and reminds me too much of Kraft - who I'm not fond of.

Since I enjoy cooking, I tried my hand at a few recipes, but none turned out well. I was low on milk and cheese, so other items had to be mixed in to get the right consistency. Definitely a big mistake. So next time I need to make sure I have all the ingredients.

However, I think I've found the right kind for me. As a replacement to Costco until they start making it again - lately they've only been making other pasta dishes with lots of shrimp (gross!) - I've turned to Panera. Holy Hell, that stuff is delicious. It's way too easy to eat my fill of that. Way too easy. If I bought more then just a large bowl, I think I would die from consuming too much.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts on Roleplaying, Sea Fair, and Pottermore Revisited

I actually don't remember how I got started in to roleplaying. As far as roleplaying online, I've been doing that since I was about... 10-12, on Neopets. The guild I was/am in is a roleplaying guild for Spirited Away. And part of what we'd do besides basic contests, was roleplay on the message board.

But certainly, like every kid, I also played make-believe games in real life, running around pretending and using our imaginations. I did that for years - though high school too, because of all the baby sitting I did. It was a way for me to use my imagination and be in a far off land like Harry Potter, Teen Titans, The X-Men, and various other universes from my childhood (Boxcar Children being the major one in my primary school days).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thoughts on Alternate Realities, Self-Publishing, and Pottermore

I've always wondered... what would life be like if certain things didn't happen? I know I've talked about this before, but I recently started mulling over the idea further.

A friend and I had been trying to decide what to roleplay over instant messenger. For several years we've been using the same family/universe of characters, and slowly expanding on them. We have three generations of this family, and were running out of possible plot ideas. A thought had struck me the other day, about what would have happened to our characters had we not chosen the storylines we did.

For example, my character Casey almost loses his wife when she's giving birth. We originally planned it that his wife would survive. But thinking back, I wonder where he and his daughter would be if his wife didn't survive. Sure, he's my character, and I can write him a happy ending if I want; but that doesn't provide any amount of growth or depth. It just ties up loose ends. I'd rather like to see the struggles he goes through as a widowed father; how he copes with this sudden loss and sole responsibility; what he does when his daughter starts inquiring about her deceased mother. And what he does when he starts wading into the mess of dating when having a child.

There were other alternate universe/plot turns we came up with that gave us very interesting roads to eventually travel down. So, we've decided to go back and play these out, just to see where we would take them.