31 December 2012

New Year's Eve Party Goers

Last year I gave you the 5 Stupid New Year's Resolutions post. This year I decided to have a different list for you. I've compiled a list of different types of people you're likely to run into this New Year's Eve. That means tonight!

The Party Guy - There's always one of these at every New Year's Eve party. He does it all. He does the funnel. He does the Hulk Hogan flex. He does the random sucking of face with the drunk girl passing by. He does the belly flop into the pool. And, he does the face plant onto the floor after the dropping of the ball in Times Square. He'll be lucky if he doesn't drown in his own vomit before sunrise.

The Jocks - They come in a group of five. You won't get any free drinks from any of these guys. They're all married and too busy watching football or the Ultimate Fighting Championship. They're on a fixed allowance, it's the only night of the year they're given permission from their wives to hang out, and they're working on their Bromance.

The Loner - He's the guy all by himself at the bar, watching everyone. He's not sitting facing the bar either. He's facing the crowd...with his arms crossed. Think Jeffrey Dalmer scoping out his next victim. Creepy!

The Polite Charmer - He's the one sent over on a reconnaissance mission to a table full of women. He'll buy a round of drinks while conducting his research. Data bank indices: which ones are single, who is the hottest, who is the most DTF. Charming, ain't it?

Ok, enough picking on the guys. Here are the women you'll find. I'm staying in this year, so you won't find the grumpy old lady in this crowd! =)

The Eye Candy - All eyes are on her. The guys are appreciative, their dates, livid. She's typically wearing a skirt which doesn't fully cover her voluptuous ass cheeks. She's looking too cute bent over the pool table while trying to make a shot. There are ten guys trying to get to her to show her the correct stance and how to aim.

The Gaggle - A group of ladies who stick together no matter what. All have long, brown hair (more than likely extensions). All wear skin tight clothing, hoping to attract some idiot willing to buy them drinks for the evening so they can make rent at the end of the month.

The Drunk Dancer - You know, the one who climbs onto the bar or high top table to show off her pole dancing skills. For some reason it never really works out for her.

The Puker - She's the one who gets drunk an hour into the evening, thereby leaving her friends to take turns holding her hair back while she pukes away in the bathroom all night.

Happy New Year to all my friends in the Blogosphere! See you next year. ;)

30 December 2012

My First Photoshop Projects

We've been doing a lot of traveling lately, so I thought I'd share some of what I've been doing on my Christmas break. These are images I created in my online Photoshop class. Tim purchased the course for me as a Christmas gift.

I've always enjoyed working with photography and digital images, even though I don't get an opportunity to do so as much anymore. I'm more involved in my writing these days, so this bit of distraction has been a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed creating them. Remember though, I'm a newbie and have never used Photoshop in my life, so when I tell you this class is easy, I would know. You can register for any number of courses. They are all video based. What better way to teach than to show, right?

This is what I created in my first lesson. The lesson provides instruction on how to create shapes and move things around. I used a few different layers to create this image. The background was provided, I didn't do that part. This is a bit embarrassing to look at. It's like the equivalent of writing program code which prints out "hello world".

The second lesson on changing eye color was a little tricky, but this is where you start to duplicate some instructions and things start to sink in. I think I want to change my eyes to red! Mwahahaha.

I had to concentrate a little more in this third lesson, because more Photoshop features were introduced. The videos are perfect for this sort of learning, because if the video gets ahead of you, you can rewind it!

Transfixing a tattoo on a person was the easiest project so far. Doesn't it look real?

This project had me working with textures. I had no idea you could do these things in Photoshop. I'm so excited about learning Photoshop right now.

This project was a bit weird, but fun. My husband asked me why I created a winged elephant standing in nuclear waste. Okay, it wasn't my idea to put these elements together. It was part of the course materials.

Anyway, this has been part one in sharing my Photoshop projects with you. I'm looking forward to sharing more!

23 December 2012

Five Movies About Writers

I was reminiscing about older movies today. Not major mega hit movies, but the ones I can watch again today. I rediscovered these five movies. They are ones that make me smile when thinking about them.

What do they have in common? They have protagonists and/or supporting characters who happen to be writers. These writer characters carry, in a sense, some of my own spirit. If you haven't experienced these movies, please go out and buy them! I’d like to know your thoughts.

1. Funny Farm (1988), Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase) is a sportswriter. He and his wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) move to the country so he can write the next Great American Novel.

However, so many obstacles keep him from completing his manuscript, including his struggles with the fact that his wife is also looking to publish a children’s book. I could sit down today and watch this movie in my PJs while having a cup of hot chocolate topped with those little mini marshmallows.

Andy Farmer (Chase): You don't know a thing about writing. You're a Goddamn schoolteacher.

2. Don’t Tell Her It’s Me (1990), Shelley Long plays a romance writer whose brother, a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease, crushes on a friend. Lizzie Potts (Long) transforms her brother into one of her stereotypical romance heroes in order that he wins over the woman he has fallen in love with from afar. Everything from his new name, Lobo, his tan skin, and new eye color, thanks to color contacts, conveniently disguises his former self. I won’t spoil it for you, but this movie is hilarious.

Lizzie Potts (Long): No! Annabelle! Don't play with the space heater coil. Piglet, if you breathe gas it will tie up all your available hemoglobin and there will be none left for oxygen transfer. Your lips and nail beds will turn cherry red and you'll die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Misery (1990), Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is a famous writer rescued by a fan and former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates). Annie kidnaps Paul (Caan) and holds him hostage so that he can write his next sequel to Misery, his famous series. This woman is psychotic, and when she discovers his latest manuscript involves killing off her favorite heroine, it is not good for Paul.

Annie Wilkes (Bates): [Right after smashing Paul’s ankles with a sledgehammer] God I love you.

4. Best Friends (1982), Richard Babson (Burt Reynolds) and Paula McCullen (Goldie Hawn) are screenwriters in a 5-year relationship. When they decide they should get married, plans are made to visit each other’s families, where they discover how different they are.

This is a perfect example of don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. Separate, they are perfect. Merge them and it doesn’t work. The same reason you shouldn’t mix genres, but everyone is doing it, right?

Breasts too large, Richard? Every female character you create has breasts too large.

Just an aside:

You can tell a dude wrote a female protagonist…

She stopped running to catch her breath, her breasts rising and falling against the soft cotton material of her blouse.

5. Seems Like Old Times (1980), Nick Gardenia (Chevy Chase) is a writer who rents a cabin in the woods in hopes to complete his novel. Forced at gunpoint, he commits a robbery and then seeks out his ex, Glenda Parks (Goldie Hawn), to represent him. In the meantime, he is being disruptive with her new life and ambitious husband, Ira Parks (Charles Grodin).

Note: Glenda Parks has a house full of dogs, large and small. She even has one that looks exactly like my Biscuit.

Glenda (Hawn): You are making me crazy!
Ira (Grodin): I’m not making you crazy…
Glenda (Hawn): Anyone who forces me to make chicken pepperoni is making me crazy. And YOU are making me crazy. (Exits)
Ira (Grodin): [to himself] I’m not making her crazy.

18 December 2012

10 Profound Mistakes Made by RPG Players

Unless you've played RPGs on a regular basis, you may not have experienced all of these or any similar form, but you might agree with me, these are pretty easy circumstances in which to fall victim. Some of these are text based and the rest are from PC games. One scenario would happen in a game I develop (which hasn't happened yet, but oh well). If you're the first to guess which one, I'll send you a free copy of Snow Leopard.

1. You fire your cross bow at a huge skeleton. The arrow flies through the air and darts between the two lower bones of his rib cage, missing the skeleton entirely, and striking the wall behind it. You have no other weapons.

2. You fall down a well. The only "obvious" exit is dragon

You exit dragon

3. You cast a 30-yard range fire storm at a goblin, killing him instantly, but wasting 20 seconds of fire damage on no apparent enemies within a 30-yard radius. After the spell dies out and while it recharges (which takes another 20 seconds), twenty Whiptail Devourers spring from the soil.

4. You stumble upon a trap door. After close inspection, something tells you, it doesn't REALLY look like a trap door, does it?

You open door

5. Before going inside to negotiate with the giant Cyclops, you say to your fighter friend, "Don't worry, I have a high charisma attribute."

6. Your new friend says, "Nothing bad is going to happen. I'm friends with the DM."

You follow new friend

7. You enter into combat with a giant crocodile. It is unusual this creature hasn't gone down yet and you're about to die. You look at your weapon. It is not wielded. You are fighting with your bare hands!

8. You didn't bother to read the room description when you entered the sewer, so you are unaware of the high concentration of methane gas all around you. It is dark.

You light torch

9. In an angry tirade, you tell an Admin to go screw themselves. 

10. Every potion you'd ever had identified turned out to be a healing potion. You are bleeding, but you find yet another unidentified bottle of potion. Why pay a spell caster to identify it? It will still work without being identified.

You drink potion

*Note: Unidentified POISON will still work, too!

16 December 2012

A Bag of Tricks - Find Your Next Protagonist

I love this newest exercise from The Five Minute Writer:

Imagine you've found someone's bag, briefcase, purse, or other smallish container. You don't know who its owner is but you decide to find out by being nosey. You open the bag and pull out the contents. Without thinking too hard, list at least six items. Don't just go for the obvious mobile phone and tissues, although you can of course include these, too.

I only chose to list five items, but I figured the result would be the same!

  1. Business card of a National Geographic photographer named Linda Kizecheck
  2. Old Zippo lighter engraved with the initials CSA, the "S" most prominent
  3. Pack of Chicklets Peppermint gum
  4. Set of keys from which hangs a medallion depicting an eagle and swastika
  5. A handheld audio recorder

Now, write a short character sketch based on the items you've discovered. 

His name is Christoph Schreiber, a German writer who migrated to the United States in search of his mother, an English woman who had been deported at the height of the 2nd World War. 


I don't know that this exercise would have us agreeing about the character sketch, because we each associate different items with different stereotypical cultures. So, who do you imagine this person to be based on my five items?

I challenge you to complete this exercise, because I'd like to do a character sketch based on the items YOU retrieve!!

12 December 2012

10 Stupid Things To Do Before The Mayapocalypse

This month's prompt at Absolute Write:
The End (of the World)

Yes, since the predicted Mayapocalypse only fails to materialize once every 500 years or so we are piggybacking on it. Write what you will about the end of the world (those disinclined to eschatology can write about "the end" in a broader sense). Hopefully, after these ends of the world as we know it, we'll all feel fine.

Here is my month's contribution. I'm going to list for you the top 10 stupid things you can do when you realize the world is ending. It's up to you, though. I've been reading people's lists, and these seem to be top items for many, but you know what? No matter how popular they are, they're still stupid. Here's why!

10. Sell your house! You can't take it with you. Though, some non-believer will be happy to buy it from you "dirt cheap".

9. Sell your car! Why not? See #10!

8. Give all your money away to charities. It's what you should have been doing all along so the government wouldn't take it away and do it for you!

7. Go on a crime spree. If the world doesn't end, and since you've sold your house, you'll at least have a home at the local prison.

6. Join a church and start prayers. God already knows you're a non-believer, so if you do this because it's the end of the world, you're just going to piss Him off.

5. Go wing suit flying! Projectiling into the side of a mountain like a bug on a windshield can't be nearly as painful as being nuked and evaporating off the face of the earth.

4. Confess your love to your crush. There's nothing like the feeling that you never had a chance, only to be struck by the knowledge that you never had a chance when she tells you she's not interested.

3. Gorge yourself, hoard all that food! Then when the world doesn't end, you can (again) blame your weight gain on something other than yourself.

2. Run naked through the streets declaring God loves everyone. What a great way to alert all those folks on crime sprees that it's open season for rape and sodomy.

1. Invest in yellow contacts and tattoo your face red with two horns on your forehead. Whether you wind up in heaven or hell, it should make for an interesting conversation with your host!

Participants and posts:

orion_mk3  (link to post)
dolores haze  (link to post)
randi.lee  (link to post)
writingismypassion  (link to post)
bmadsen  (link to post)
Ralph Pines  (link to post)
AllieKat  (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes  (link to post)
katci13  (link to post)
Angyl78  (link to post)
pyrosama  (YOU ARE HERE)
Araenvo  (link to post)
CJ Michaels  (link to post)
SuzanneSeese  (link to post)
BBBurke  (link to post)
gell214  (link to post)

SRHowen  (link to post)
meowzbark  (link to post)
Aheïla  (link to post)

10 December 2012

Replacing Cliches - Celebrate Originality

How many times do you run across these every day clichés? We hear them all the time, but in writing fiction, we’re cautioned against using them. But how do you keep yourself from using what’s already been established as the ole famous way of saying what everyone wants to say? That’s why originality is so important in establishing your voice.

Here's another writing exercise I read about in The Five-Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty. This fun exercise helped improve my confidence in stepping outside the box and being a bit more original. Maybe in doing so, I’ve missed the mark at some point, but it was still fun.

Try to rewrite these clichés by replacing the italicized word(s) below. I will never get bored with writing exercises. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Flat as a pancake

Flat as a girl who pads her triple A bra

Good as gold

Good as knowing you're wearing fresh underwear just before you wreck your car

Faster than a bat out of hell

Faster than Susan Rice making network rounds in order to blame a video for what happened in Ben Ghazi

Charging around like a bull in a china shop

Charging around like Napolean on a basketball court

Pretty as a picture

Pretty as Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway vent

Slow as a snail

Slow as Obama proclaiming Israel is our friend

Hard as nails

Hard as finding government employees in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy

Meek as a lamb

Meek as an English teacher from Great Britain teaching at a high school in South Compton, L.A.

White as a sheet

White as Michael Jackson at a rap concert

Silent as the grave

Silent as a crowded elevator when a midget steps in

Cold as ice

Cold as the first splash from a bidet on a flaming hemorrhoid

Go ahead, try them! This was so much fun my day has gone by faster than a speeding bullet (I had to).

07 December 2012

Life Metaphors - An Exercise

Here's a writing exercise I read about in The Five-Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty, which I absolutely loved! I can't tell you enough how much this exercise will get your creative minds turning out some really great ideas for metaphors. You’ll have to try it out yourself.

Step 1 - Ms. Geraghty asks that you make a list of five concrete nouns. Mine are: tire, snake, shoe, dinner plate, and penis (just for giggles).

Just so you know, I chose my nouns prior to reading step two.

Step 2 - Ms. Geraghty asks that you make your metaphors starting out with the following three words:

Life is like...

Here are my creative metaphors. I hope you try the exercise for yourself.

Life is like a tire: It is resilient, made to bounce back from rugged terrain. It comes full circle and guides us along a path of ups and downs, all the way to our final destination.

Life is like a snake: Left alone in its own path, it is graceful and self-sufficient. But if you mess with it, the unexpected viciousness with which it may strike back could leave behind dire consequences.

Life is like a shoe: There are many different kinds, but in the end, they all wind up in the same place.

Life is like a dinner plate: It presents to you opportunities at regular intervals, but be careful what you accept and be wary of the chef.

Life is like a penis: It grows and stretches the limits of existence until it reaches a peak, then it slowly declines until we're left with a wrinkled, old vessel.

Feel free to share yours in the comments! I’d love to read what you’ve come up with.

05 December 2012

A Kitten Makes Her Escape (video)

In the name of making progress, my daughter brought home this poor kitten who'd been abandoned. The little critter had such a spirit about her, I couldn't give up this opportunity to share my video. Oblivious to her surroundings, she finished off her food and planned for an escape.

Granted, my video production skills suck, but you get the idea. Hopefully, you will agree that this is indeed making progress. Next time, this will not be the mission impossible. It will be the mission accomplished as so eloquently stated by our beloved President George W. Bush.


P.S. No animal was hurt in the production of this video (maybe a few increased patterns of heart palpitations, but that's okay).

02 December 2012

J is For JESUS Help Me, I Have a Toothache!

Honestly, I'd rather be giving birth right now. This is why I save the pain medications prescribed after major surgery such as tummy tucks or painful procedures like breast biopsies. You never know when you'll really need them for something like a cracked molar.

I'd welcome a bone-crushing blow to the jaw, because that would drown out the last bit of niggling pain which pierces the ends of each swollen root of my bottom, right molar. There's always that constant annoyance which remains no matter how many milligrams of Hydrocodone you ingest.

I feel like there's a cancer growing in my gland, or maybe just some gremlin waiting at the end of the infected nodule with a pair of fingernail clippers, and every three seconds it snips a piece of infected meat off the pulsating nerve. My poor tooth screams out for some relief and the generic Oxycodone yells back, "Shut it! I'm doing the best I can."

Meanwhile, I watch the clock because if I don't take another pill exactly thirty minutes before my next scheduled dosage, I will be crying like a baby, curled in the fetal position, while attempting the shallow breathing technique I learned in yoga class, all this while waiting for my medication to kick in.

I will finally get some relief tomorrow morning when I undergo the much welcomed root canal. It can't happen soon enough and it will definitely be making progress.

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