Saturday, December 30, 2017

CSI: Idiot

So some jackass just got arrested for - get this - rigging his estranged, pregnant wife's front door to electrocute her when she entered her home.

The good news is that she got suspicious and called the police, who were able to trip the booby trap. The woman and her unborn baby are fine. Her jerk husband has been arrested.

My favorite part of the article:

He had already changed his Facebook relationship status to "widowed".

For all the planning and work he put into this, you would think he would have thought to hold off on the Facebook thing. Nope.

Here's hoping they throw the book at this genius. And of course, wondering how I can use this in a story.

December Words of Wisdom

When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have.
--Winston Churchill

Go the extra mile. It's never crowded. --Unknown

Any problem that you have with me is your problem. --Adam Palmer

Our weirdness leads us to who we actually are. --JP Sears

Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great. --Mark Twain

Nothing in the world is as dangerous than sincere ignorance or conscientious stupidity. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

That's one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they'll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons. --Dave Grohl

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. --Eckhart Tolle

You can see what man made from the seat of an automobile, but the best way to see what God made is from the back of a horse. --Charles M. Russell

For as long as you play the victim, you will continue to be treated like one.
--Adam Palmer

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It's going to be a wonderful parade!

The Tournament of Roses just announced on their Facebook page that Grand Marshal Gary Sinise will be riding in the very same car driven by George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in It's a Wonderful Life.

It's a wonderful car!!!

The car is now privately owned but frequently loaned out for charitable events, particularly:

...fundraisers for veterans, allowing people to get their picture taken in the iconic movie car. "All Americans can have a wonderful life thanks to our veterans." says (owner) Mr. Smith.

Earlier today, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center posted a picture of the trailers that just brought the Budweiser Clydesdales to town for the parade. Horsies!!!

I don't think I've ever seen a bad Rose Parade, but this one is shaping up to be amazing. Looking forward to next Monday!

Pics snicked from the Tournament of Roses FB link.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas words of wisdom

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. --Norman Vincent Peale

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church, the Jews called it "Hanukkah" and went to synagogue, the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukkah" or (to the atheists) "Look out for the wall!" --Dave Barry

Christmas is a time to open our hearts to God and His gifts. Just like the rest of the year. --Unknown

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. --Roy L. Smith

Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year - and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority. --W. J. Cameron

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin. --Jay Leno

For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind. --Loring A. Schuler

Christmas, my child, is love in action. --Dale Evans

On of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don't clean it up too quickly. --Andy Rooney

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves. --Eric Sevareid

I wish we could put some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. --Harlan Miller

Wouldn't life be worth the living
Wouldn't dreams be coming true
If we kept the Christmas spirit
All the whole year through?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

And one more for the December 23rd hat trick!

This just came across my Twitter feed and I had to post it: a children's choir singing Do You Hear What I Hear. Just love them. God bless their precious hearts and their beautiful voices.

Shopping is done and the Honeybaked ham has been acquired. Tomorrow is cleaning and baking, and then Christmas. Have a blessed one everyone!

Sophie doesn't go for kitty treats, but this is still a GREAT ad

Temptations does it again. A cat's dream Christmas.

Almost there...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas with the Crawfords

"From tomorrow on they earn their gifts..."

Future best-selling author Christina sounded like she'd picked up her diction from Mommie Dearest.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas post: A Foamy the Squirrel rant

Foamy's hilarious and extremely R-rated take on the political correctness assault on Christmas:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas post: A Dog's Christmas

This one still gets me. It's just so sweet. Also, I thought I read somewhere that this is Uggie from The Artist. (RIP Uggie!)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017

NSFW language, but OMG this is so freaking funny

Someone dubbed Full Metal Jacket dialogue over a classic Christmas TV special and it's hilarious.

H/T to The Crippled Crusader Uncensored on FB.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas post: The Digital Story of the Nativity

I gotta admit, despite some design changes to some of the sites, this has held up really well. I hadn't looked at it the past couple of years, since I just figured that it would be out of date, especially given how quickly online technology advances from year to year. With, that is, the possible exception of Foursquare - does anyone still use that?


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Awful. Just so awful.

Horses burned to death in Sylmar Fire. Warning: the pictures are graphic.

Heartfelt condolences to their owners and god bless their lovely equine hearts and souls. I hate brushfires.

I find myself wondering how all these fires started. And I want anyone responsible strung up. So many innocent people and animals destroyed by these fires.

#ThomasFire #RyeFire #CreekFire #SkirballFire

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

An interesting source for short story inspiration

Advice columns!

To date, I have sold over 60 short stories to glossy magazines. Advice columns inspired me to write close to half of those stories. Whenever I am facing writer's block, I scroll through advice column letters, hunting for inspiration. For me, there is no better way to jumpstart a short story then to read bizarre letters from strangers seeking intimate advice from another total stranger.

Read the whole thing here. H/T to Freedom With Writing on FB for the link.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pretty much anything involving kids playing hockey is going to be ridiculously adorable or your feel good story of the day. This is one of them.

This is your feel good story of the day.

H/T to Mayor McSnark for seeing to it that this story popped up on my Twitter feed this morning. Great way to start the day!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Flattery will get you almost anywhere

In this case it got me to the second round.

I've submitted my Better Call Saul spec that I wrote in the UCLA Extension classes earlier this year to a number of competitions and workshops, and today I got some great feedback from one of them.

The script made it to the second round of the TV writing competition at the Austin Film Festival, but didn't advance beyond that. I'd been notified of that some time ago, but I just received the feedback from both first and second round judges and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with it.

Initial reader

Concept: Fabulous idea for this show. Better Call Saul has such a profound vision that I believe writing a spec for it is a really big undertaking. This episode feels like it would fit in nicely with others in the series.

Plot: This was such a captivating narrative. The writer really handles all of the moving parts with expertise. This felt like I was reading an actual episode of Better Call Saul. I particularly loved the twist with Mike and the hit job.

Structure: The structure is great. The teaser is done really well and mimics the structure of Better Call Saul beautifully. The pacing was great--this didn't feel like it dragged on. The story was told clearly. This spec turned out to be a wonderful reading experience.

Characters: The characters act as they would within the series. Jimmy does what he does best--run a scam-- to get out of a bad situation. The original character, Chelsea, is developed nicely. She doesn't feel one note and interacts well in the universe of Better Call Saul.

Dialogue: This exhibits some really, really tight dialogue. None of the lines drag on or feel indulgent. I particularly liked the story Chuck told about the girl who picked up the snake. That was a great, totally Chuck bit that enhanced the story nicely. The dialogue feels authentic overall and is done very well.

Overall: Overall, this is a great spec script. The writer really understands all aspects of Better Call Saul--the characters, the dialogue, the pacing, the structure, the complicated relationships, etc. I really enjoyed reading this. This was a really well done self-contained episode full of the writer’s smart choices. This episode is written concisely yet thoroughly. I thought the teaser was a great addition that had more and more meaning as the episode progressed. The writer really understood and exhibited Jimmy and Chuck’s complicated relationship in only one episode. It was also a clever idea to pit Jimmy against a character like Chelsea, and to see Chelsea get taken down in true Jimmy fashion. My only note, and it’s just a brief technical one, is that “Sphinx” is misspelled in the middle of page 35. This was a great reading experience.

Second Round reader

Concept: Conceptually, this spec fits Better Call Saul very well. Jimmy scams his way out of scam. I could see this story playing out very nicely on the show without interrupting the overall story/character arcs in place.

Plot: Jimmy is hired to help a woman get what she sees has her rightful share of an inheritance. This same woman hires Mike to kill her family who has already hired Mike to protect them from her. Overall, great tie-ins within the story. My only issue would be how the teaser relates to the rest of the script. Is it just to show Saul was a screw up and a scammer. It might be better to show something relating to his family in the past instead.

Structure: Jimmy is hired to help a woman get what she sees has her rightful share of an inheritance. This same woman hires Mike to kill her family who has already hired Mike to protect them from her. Overall, great tie-ins within the story. My only issue would be how the teaser relates to the rest of the script. Is it just to show Saul was a screw up and a scammer. It might be better to show something relating to his family in the past instead.

Characters: The characters also fit the show nicely especially Mike. Series regulars are spot on. The major introduced character, Chelsea, is developed well enough to hold her own in the story, but perhaps more could be done to give her layers and add to her crazy.

Dialogue: The dialogue is very good and would fit the BCS world. Some interactions between Jimmy and Chelsea are repetitive. More could be done to vary these interactions and even further build on the story and characters.

Overall: Overall, this is a great spec for a Better Call Saul episode and a solid second round script. (Also nice title. ) A believable story is presented using all the regular players and introducing a crafty character that ties to Jimmy’s practice, Mike’s side business, and even to HHM. Though the teaser does demonstrate that Jimmy has a history as a scammer, we already know that. It might make more sense to show something that relates to his commiserating with Chelsea as the family black sheep. Chuck’s message that Jimmy can only work an angle to solve a problem instead of using sound judgment and legal means is hard hitting. The script could also use some proofreading. Otherwise, this spec was an enjoyable read and a story that I’d love to see on the show.

Not too shabby, eh?

This spec is still out to a couple other contests. I hope they're liking it as much as these guys did.

I also submitted a short story this week to an anthology from Mystery Writers of America. They will announce which stories were accepted early to mid 2018.

And that's it for 2017 submissions. I'm working on a master list of markets for next year and my plan is to submit as much as possible.

Happy writing, everyone!