Thursday, January 31, 2019

January Words of Wisdom

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making good things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something. --Neil Gaiman

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We've been conditioned to think that only politicians can solve our problems. But at some point, maybe we will wake up and recognize that it was politicians who created our problems. --Dr. Ben Carson

It's better to start over...than continue down a path you know is wrong for your soul. --Denise Linn

The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. --Ayn Rand

In the winter she curls up with a good book and dreams away the cold. --Ben Aaronovitch

Be silly. Be honest. Be kind. --Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you can find the peace and clarity to accept where your are, you will soon have the insight to get where you'd like to go. --Markus Almond

The ocean speaks to her mermaid soul even in the cold of winter. The thought of warm waves thaws the icy loneliness of her heart. --Unknown

If our bodies are temples, why do we treat them like landfills? --Dr. Partha Nandi

I have always loved the beach. The smell of the salty water, the wind in my face, the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm. --Unknown

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. --Charles Dickens

Whenever you do something that is not aligned with the yearnings of your soul, you create suffering. --Anais Nin

The people will believe what the media tells them they believe. --George Orwell

The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. --Ayn Rand

It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are holding a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance. --Thomas Sowell

Don't worry about the haters. They are just angry because the truth you speak contradicts the life they live. --Dr. Steve Maraboli

Schedule. It may be the least sexy word in the English dictionary...but it works. Even the world's most renowned writers agree: Schedules are key to serious writerdom. --P.S. Hoffman

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. --Robert Henri

Have your character make tough choices they would rather ignore. We don't know a character's true personality until the shit hits the fan. --Whitney Davis

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Magical to her

And by her I mean...

...magical to me.

I should never have moved away from the beach. Please excuse my personal drama.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Hit the ground running

I know from experience that it's so tempting to start a story by setting everything up for the reader, but I also know that it's not a good idea. But sometimes, as I've mentioned before, sometimes you just need a friendly reminder that you want to hit the ground running.

This column from Writer's Digest addresses this a lot more eloquently than I can: Begin From the Middle: How to Start Your Story In Medias Res.

From the article:
This is, of course, a simple literary technique, older even than Homer: in medias res. Starting "in the middle of things."

Gaining traction with a reader has a lot to do with arriving at the conflict quickly. It's difficult to stay engaged in a story, no matter how clever the writing, when there's nothing at stake from the get-go. Beginning a story (or novel, or chapter) in the middle of the action can generate the momentum a reader needs to stay engrossed. When we launch in medias res, the conflict can already be at a high pitch, so our reader has something to worry about right away.

There's also advice on how to fill in backstory, so you don't feel the need to start with a setup, while keeping your story moving forward. Do check it out.

Now you'll have to excuse me, I have to go check out the openings of everything I've ever written or have in progress.

Friday, January 25, 2019

"Hillbilly Elegy" the movie

I wrote about reading J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy last year and today comes news that Netflix and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment are going forward with the film version.

No casting news yet, but Howard will be directing and the script will be written by Oscar nominee Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water).

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how Hollywood treats Vance's autobiography of growing up poverty-stricken in the Rust Belt, and how he fought his way out, especially in the current political climate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Coolest town in California

Be sure to read the fine print at the bottom:

When I was growing up my Dad worked for a manufacturing company called Acme General. On top of that, I was always a fan of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons. So we always felt a familial tie to the legendary "Acme" that Wile E. Coyote got his supplies from.

And it's always heartening when a government entity actually has a sense of humor.

H/T to Del Rey Deli on FB for the link.

Monday, January 21, 2019

This is the most amazing thing, and you can help

Pearl's Memory Babies is an organization that helps donate realistic baby dolls to Alzheimer's and dementia patients. It was founded by Sandy Cambron, after she discovered that her mother-in-law, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's, responded favorably to and was soothed by the baby doll Sandy and her husband had brought her. They brought more and discovered that Pearl's reaction was not unique - other patients had similar responses.

After Pearl passed away, Sandy started the organization and along with Shannon Blair, whose mother also had Alzheimer's, delivers baby dolls (along with stuffed puppies) to senior and assisted living facilities in Kentucky.

It's such a great idea and I'm surprised I'd never heard anything about it sooner. When my Grandma Loomis was in a facility for the last month of her life, there was a wheelchair-bound Alzheimer's patient that I saw frequently. I once sat with him, held his hand, and hoped I was getting through to him, but it didn't feel like I made any sort of impression on him. The staff told me he had been there for three years and that his wife came to visit him every single day. I can't imagine what it must be like to have to face that, a loved one who no longer knows you, on a daily basis. This story makes me wonder what sort of reaction I might have gotten from him if I'd had a doll or a stuffed animal with me, something that I could have left with him.

If you'd like to help Pearl's Memory Babies, you can donate here.

Twist that knife

Oh, did I forget to share this from Instagram earlier this month?

Things to do in Marina del mean like live there and not fuck it up??? NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

And don't even get me started about my old apartment being available...

Saturday, January 19, 2019

It's a cat. On a catwalk. Taking a cat walk. Get it???

Be sure to watch all the way to the end, because it's hilarious. Also, it's a good thing the cat's cute, because those "fashions"? Eeeek.

Friday, January 18, 2019

With a name like that, no wonder she's a sex offender

But that's not the point of this post. Ahem:

Cletorious. Aretha. Fry.

The Virginia Department of Corrections is looking for Fry, a parolee, after she removed an ankle bracelet and bailed. But that's not what got the internet's attention. It was her name. You have to check out the whole article (and I dare you to read it without laughing like a hyena), but here are a few choice comments:

One woman questioned whether or not male officers should even attempt to look for Fry in the first place.

"Well, I'd say men will have a tough time finding her," she wrote.

"I mean if they do find her, will they even know what to do with her?" another woman asked.

One plausible suggestion was that she might be out "trying to find that guy that licked a doorbell for 3 hours."

"Can you believe the 8000 nerve endings of this woman?" a disgusted commenter said.

Other commenters suggested looking for her "in the bush" or "in a hood". Heh.

H/T to Blue Lives Matter on FB. Pic snicked from their article.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Interesting...after the debacle of the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot, Jason Reitman directing new film set in the original universe

I always laugh like a hyena when the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man shows up.

Hopefully this will get the bad taste left by the most recent incarnation out of our mouths for once and for all:

Entertainment Weekly has learned exclusively that Jason Reitman will direct and co-write an upcoming film set in the world that was saved decades previously by the proton pack-wearing working stiffs in the original 1984 movie, which was directed by his father, Ivan Reitman.

And it's making a lot of people very happy.

Reitman is playing coy as to the updated storyline and also said the obligatory nice things about the horrific Paul Feig directed version that crashed and burned a couple years ago. But he did make it clear that this Ghostbusters will not be a reboot.

You can read the full article, which includes Reitman reminiscing about growing up as a Ghostbusters fan, here.

Image snicked from imdb.

1/19/19 update: THERE'S A TEASER TRAILER!!!

1/21/19 update: Now a cast member of the 2016 Ghostbusters is pissed off that Reitman doesn't want to include the taint of their version in his version. Never mind that even the barely there teaser trailer is already generating more excitement than the infamous (and hideously unfunny) GB16 trailer. Plus, I have no idea what Trump has to do with any of this, but it is obviously meant as an insult to Jason Reitman. Reitman Jr. is a successful director/writer in his own right; add in his being the son of the original (successful) director and I don't know how you could deride his desire to reboot his dad's popular film, and it looks like he's going to do it without disrespecting the source material. Bitter, party of one, your table is ready.

Two things that this article totally whiffs on are the facts that 1) If the 2016 release had been a hit, there were plans in place to produce a boatload of Ghostbuster projects in multiple universes, not all of which would have included the all-female GB crew anyway, and 2) That despite what it might have earned, it wasn't anywhere near enough to warrant any additional films with that cast, in that universe. That's a big hole in the article.

There's a great post-mortem on the issues with that movie from Midnight's Edge on YouTube, and another vid addressing the financial failure of the film can be found here. They touch not only on Feig's version and how it came about, but how Sony screwed Ivan Reitman, the hacked Sony emails and what they reveal, diva behavior on the GB16 set, the reaction to that notoriously horrible trailer and the nasty treatment of fans who voiced their dislike of it, and how the movie was ultimately a financial failure and therefore not a candidate for any additional installments. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019

You had one job...

Kids are so screwed these days.

Common Core math?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A laughable, ridiculous, distant memory...or your go-to villain?

One of the many great things about being a writer is that there are no such things as useless information or useless experiences. Sooner or later, it's all story fodder.

Tip 'o the Hat to Mermaid Musings on FB.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Someone didn't love it like I did

Last night I was feeling a bit maudlin and made the mistake of looking at my Marina del Rey apartment's website and found this:

1B233 is internal code for my apartment #233 in Marina del Rey. I even checked it against my old tenant ID (which I can't bring myself to throw away) and confirmed that yep, it's my old place. It's my apartment. Mine. And it's available, and I can't imagine why.

It's only been six months since I fucked up and made this apartment available to someone else, and what happened? How was this beautiful home not enough for you? Who the hell moved in there and then left only six months later? Having left after six years still makes me want to slit my wrists. I should still be there. How was that not a home enough for you??? I'd give anything to still be there. Anything. I should never have left. What the fuck?

Also, it's not going for much more than they were going to charge me, but not anywhere near as much as I thought it would. Given the location, I thought they'd rent that place out for three grand.

I miss you Apartment 233. Desperately. I want to go home.
My loss.

I loved that place so much. I'm so homesick.

1/21/19 update: AAAAAAND it's still available and it's on Zillow.


2/10/19 update: A month later and it's still vacant!

I like to think it's waiting for me to come home. But I've always been delusional.

How crazy would it be if it was still empty months from now when my lease is up? Would that be a sign? How warped would I look if I moved not just back to the beach, but back to the same exact apartment? What would you do in my place if it was an option, even if it looked weird?

Is it uninhabitable because I'm haunting the place without knowing it so that no one else can live there in peace? I mean, I'm still there in spirit (but unfortunately, not in body).

And of course the obvious question: How can I use this in a story?

Seriously, it would cost me a lot more than what's listed. When I lived there, the rent included gas, internet and cable. Now it just includes internet and cable, and since I ran that fireplace non-stop from autumn until summer arrived, and I like to take long hot showers, I'm guessing I ran up a gas bill that must have been astronomical. No wonder they don't include it in the rent anymore.

But as I've always been fond of telling other people, you get what you pay for. Too bad I didn't take my own advice. If I had, I might not be up in the middle of the night stalking my old apartment and pining for it and the beach and whining about it online.

I bet Sophie wouldn't mind having her sunny spot back. That she would love to live in front of the fireplace again goes without saying.

I miss the fireplace too, bebe.

You so pretty, Marina del Rey. Smooches.

And now I'm way too excited about this being a possibility. Because seriously, I'd do it. Seriously, if that apartment is still available...

3/5/19 update: Per the website, it's gone :(((((((((

Oh my soul...

I guess I'll just have to wait another six months for it to become available again. Because nobody loved it like I do. Until then, love you MdR!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Somebody send me...

Today would have been David Bowie's 72nd birthday (and two days from now will be the third anniversary of his death). I was just thinking recently how odd it feels to live in a world in which David Bowie, Prince, and Tom Petty no longer exist. Yeah, it makes me nostalgic. I don't care if it makes me sound like a cranky old broad yelling at the kids to get off my lawn, the 80's were so much better for so many reasons, and chief among them was how much better music was back then.

I remember watching this one on MTV constantly. Loved the song, loved the visuals, loved the effortless performance.

Somebody send me...

Raise your hand if you've had one guy OD in your home in the last year and a half

Much less...TWO???

Second body found in West Hollywood home of Democratic donor Ed Buck.

Two. Within a one and a half year period.

What. The. Hell.

One is unfortunate. Two is a pattern. Three, dude is a serial killer.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially given the politics involved.

Also, talk about story fodder.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Just look at the time

This popped up on my Instagram feed, and I can't stop laughing:

I'm going to hell.

H/T to mericasupplyco on Instagram.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Voice of immortality

This popped up on the Secretariat Facebook page:

...a tremendous machine...

It's a well-deserved award. You can read the entire article, originally published last June, here. Not only is it beautifully written, but it serves as a reminder of a something that is so intertwined with Secretariat's astounding Belmont run, but often overlooked in terms of giving credit to a guy who found himself in what turned out to be a legendary moment in sports, one that, as the article emphasizes, he could never have seen coming and therefore could not possibly be prepared for...and yet rose to the occasion while maintaining a boggling level of poise and professionalism.

You can also watch and listen to the immortal race and call at the link. I watched it live as a child, have rewatched it countless times since, and it still gives me goosebumps.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Some great writing advice here

Of course we know we could all learn something from The Bard, but it doesn't hurt to have the occasional reminder: 10 Things Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Writing Thrillers.

Some gems:
Get right to it: Shakespeare doesn't waste time getting things moving. Any book should do the same.

Story is character: In the bard's world, the props and costumes are kept to a minimum. The plays can be performed on a bare stage. It's ll about the interaction between characters and how the characters speak.

Begin scenes late and end them early.

All scenes must have external and internal conflict: It's not enough for the door to be locked. The character has to have a reason to not want to open it.

Shakespeare was all about output: You want to learn from Shakespeare? Write a ton of stuff. (The article mentions this and I've heard it pointed out elsewhere - the entire Shakespearean era was only twenty years.)

Do check it out - it's a short read, but has lots of valuable writing advice.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Crazy Coke Campaign

Am I the only one who thinks the new Diet Coke campaign ("Because I can") is really weird? It's like they're all but saying, "We know our product isn't healthy and if you cared about your health you wouldn't drink it, but hey, drink it anyway because it's yummy and because you can!" So strange.

So have a Diet Coke. Because you can! It's so much easier than doing something healthy, like training for a marathon. Life is short, might as well trash your body. You're going to die anyway.

And this is coming from someone who drinks way more diet soft drinks than I should. But I don't try to justify them. I know they're not healthy and I should cut down on them. But this approach...I just don't get it. On the other hand, maybe I should give them props for almost being honest, but I just don't understand how advertising professionals thought this was a good idea. And judging from the comments on YouTube, I'm not alone.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my Mom's 77th birthday. My brother suggested we "celebrate" by going to lunch at one of her favorite restaurants, and I agreed with him that she would have loved that idea. What could have been a tough day ended up with us watching a car chase and having a really nice lunch (because let's face it - you can't go wrong with North Woods).

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

No words, but lots of laughs

Gotta hand it to the Lexington, Kentucky PD - they have a sense of humor about themselves.

A Krispy Kreme trucker escaped without injury when his rig caught fire, but the donuts weren't so lucky, prompting the local PD to take to social media to share their grief over the loss.

Hang in there, fellas.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

It's a new year...

...and a new start if we want it.

Every man should be born again on the first of January. Start with a fresh page. (Henry Ward Beecher)

A few inspirational pics snicked from the internets for good measure:

Let me know if any of these are yours so I can give credit where credit is due. And thank you for sharing your creative genius!

Happy New Year, everyone!