Hi all, I hope you've had a good week. It's been quite a week for me - but a good one! So far this week, I've celebrated an anniversary, finished a draft of a writing project, and had my brain blown three times. Here's a rundown of the week:
1. Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary yesterday! Yep, that's a picture of us on the big day. It's hard to believe it's been that long, or that we're old enough to have been married that long! But we have, and we've come a long way even if we don't have kids. We've built a home, built careers, are building our personal endeavors (his website design and my writing), have our 3 birds, and are lucky that both of our families are still alive and nearby. It's been a great journey and we look forward to many more years. And as part of celebrating our anniversary ...
2. We saw Star Trek Into Darkness
today. Wow. Completely unbelievable and definitely outdid the last movie. A must see. At the risk of being lambasted, I'll be bold enough to say it's better than Iron Man 3. I completely trust J.J. Abrams with Star Wars now. Mine = blow. I don't want to give anything away, but I'll give you this advice if you haven't seen it yet: see Star Trek II - The Wrath of Kahn if you haven't recently. Yea, there are "references." It's amazing how they can change the history of that franchise the way they did and things are the same, and yet not. It was beyond phenomenal. Go see it. On the big screen. Now.
3. I ask for your prayers. An opportunity has opened up to me, and I ask that you pray for the Lord to give me favor in achieving it. It would be a tremendous blessing for me and Rick. I can't say too much about it now, but if it works out then you'll hear all about it. It may be a while before we know, but hey, we can use all the prayer power we can get!
4. Time for my season finale roundup! The season finales of Arrow
ran Wednesday night and again, mind = blow. They were amazing. Here's a short recap of my impression of each season:Arrow
- If you aren't watching this show, you should be. They hit the ground running and never let up. No dull character development episodes in this season - it's all action, and the combat scenes are amazing. Then again, Oliver Queen better be able to throw it down, because it takes a lot of guts to go against people with guns (especially one with the nickname "Deadshot") with a bow and arrow - yet he does, and holds his own impressively. For all of you that thought The Green Arrow was a "minor" DC Character, I can assure you that he can hold his own and proves it well through this series. The finale was no exception, and in fact had it's share of surprises that shouldn't have been surprises, but they signs that these "red herrings" were planted were very subtle. Kudos to the writers, producers, cast, crew, and everybody involved for making this a "must see" show in my home and many others every week. I'll even go so far as to say that I like Arrow
better than I liked Smallville
. Yea, it's that good. Supernatural
- I was glad to see the Winchesters get back to angels and demons this season. That whole thing with the leviathans and monsters just - wasn't as good. They're okay in bits and pieces throughout the season, but I didn't care for it as a central focus. Thankfully, they got back to basics this season and it was good to see. They definitely upped the ante with the demon tablet and the whole "closing the gates of hell" theme. Then an angel tablet pops up and that adds a dimension that has this show back to what it's meant to be. I did miss Bobby this season, but I think they forged on in his absence quite well, all things considered (and I thought Garth taking Bobby's place was weirdly appropriate. I wish we had seen more of that. He's goofy, but I think his character is a good balance to Sam and Dean's kicking a** and taking names approach - I mean, somebody needs to take the brainiac approach to the whole demon hunting thing, right? Anyway, well done and glad to see them getting back to basics, although that cliffhanger - wow! OMG. What a mess. Can't wait to see how they get out of THIS one.
So now it's all about summer reruns. Good for folks that need to for catching up. And I guess I have plenty to keep me busy because ...
5. I finished the rough draft of Incursion
, my sci-fi novella-in-progress, Monday night. No joke, folks, I wrote 12 chapters plus a prologue and epilogue in 13 days. I accomplished this feat because I kept waking up in the middle of the night with ideas for it, and this progressed into insomnia. Yea, the fun of being a writer, especially one with a full time job. I wrote on lunch hours. I wrote at night. I wrote on weekends. And I got the draft done in record time because I do need to sleep occasionally. So this summer's project will be getting that novella shaped up and ready to self publish, hopefully this fall. I'll keep you updated on the progress.
6. We managed to get our satellite bill down and upgraded our Internet speed. Because we realized that we're online much more than we are behind the boob tube, so to speak, and how we spend our $$$ needs to reflect that.
7. I don't know now many of you are familiar with Disco the Parakeet, but he was on the Take Two segment on The Today Show this morning at 9 a.m. Go Disco! Bird to your mother! What an awesome keet. He's the same age as Ollie and we love him here. Look up Miss Jumpin Jude on You Tube
for his videos. You'll love it. He's one great avian talent!
8. And finally, we're gearing up for a birthday here. Chloe's birthday will be Monday, May 20th! Actually, we celebrate it then because that's the date we "adopted" her (or as our bird friends like to say on Twitter, it's her "Gotcha Day"). She's 10, but it'll be three years since we adopted her. What a sweet little hen! We love you, Chloe! Hen power!
So it's been a busy week, but all in a good way. I'll take it. I hope you've had a great week as well. Happy Friday to you, and I hope you have a great weekend.
I'm off work today for Confederate Memorial Day. Believe me, we got plenty of flack when they started giving us that day off as a holiday. It was actually part of the compromise for removing the Confederate Flag from the State House dome. As part of the deal, the flag was moved, and Martin Luther King, Jr., day and Confederate Memorial Day were added as official State Holidays (but I think State Employees are the only ones that actually close their offices on this day).
I know it's obscure, but before you start squawking tell me: Would you refuse a day off? I won't. Not even on principle. Plus, honestly, I think they're required to give us so many holidays a year and I think we just ran out of the major ones, so we had to move on to secondary ones to get the extra day in.
Well, a day off's a day off, and I plan to enjoy it. It gives me a chance to get some little things done that usually sit until they pile up to the point where I have to make time for them. That's good. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that efficient time management is a must for a busy lifestyle.
That's a good point to ponder on this extra day off. Somebody asked me recently how on earth I find time to write with a full time job. The short answer is efficient time management. I'm lucky that I was taught that in college, and it's one of the skills I've found most useful in my life. It isn't always easy, but the truth is that we make time for things that are important to us, whether we realize it or not. Writing nights and weekends is the obvious answer, but I have to admit that I make a fair amount of progress by taking my laptop to work and writing on lunch breaks too. It's only an hour, but if I do that two times a week then it's the equivalent to another weeknight of work. And another secret is that I don't watch much TV. I watch 3 shows during the fall season (Arrow, Supernatural, and The Americans - all come on the same night, so I can "block out" Wednesday nights for that), and 1 show during the summer (Breaking Bad). I look up news and weather online so I don't have to watch it on TV. And yes, occasionally I do forego recreation to get writing done. I've passed on watching football games, lunches out, and shopping or "hanging out" on days off like today to write. And I have to humbly admit that I even write on sick days, if possible. One reason I made good progress on my novella this week was because I was sick with a virus Monday, but I drug myself out of bed and wrote a chapter anyway. It isn't always easy, but with some planning you can make time for things.
I tell you, a busy life is a blessing. It's a life of abundance, but you have to manage it wisely to experience and enjoy it to the fullest.
Speaking of the novella, it has a name now - Incursion. It looks like it going to be 10 chapters with a prologue and epilogue. I know the pros recommend against prologues and epilogues, but I like it and that's my style. If people like the piece then they'll read it. Plus, I endeavor to keep them short. To me, they're the bookends of the story and I'm not going to abandon them just because it isn't popular. Platform shoes went out of style after the 70's, but darn if I don't see women wearing those atrocities again all the time. So there. Style is a poor reason to change something that works for you. Or to do something that doesn't work.
Anyway, I've written 5 chapters so far, which is excellent progress. More than I expected at this point, really. But alas, I did push myself to make this progress and my wrists are achey, so once I complete this entry then I do plan to take a break from the keyboard for the rest of today and tomorrow. You have to balance the planning and time management with common sense, and I won't make any progress at all if I push it too far with my wrist. So given my good progress this week, I'm using today to spend time with other people and things that I wish to nurture in my life. Like hanging out with the birds, tending my roses, and having lunch with Mom. A day off is a rare gift, and I want to enjoy it to the fullest.
That's all today. I hope you have a Happy Friday and that the mom's out there have a good Mother's Day.
Hi everybody, sorry to be away for a while. I spent a lot of last week catching up from being sick week before last - and before I knew it, it had been over a week since I blogged. Oops! I certainly didn't mean for that to happen.
Today, I'd like to carry on a tradition that I started with my last blog at Writing.com. In late May of every year, I'd do a "season finale roundup" of the television shows I had watched that season. My purpose was to give my overall impressions of how the season as a whole struck me as a fan. Not that I think the TV executives are ACTUALLY reading my humble blog, but it's a nice way to connect with other fans of the shows. Don't worry - this won't be excessively long. As a general rule, I can only keep up with 2 shows at a time. My 2 shows this season were Supernatural, which I've watched since it started in 2005, and The Secret Circle, which ran it's first and sadly only season on CW.
Supernatural - Another gut punching ending for the Winchester Brothers! I felt that this season was better than last season. It seemed Sam and Dean has more purpose in hunting the levithan, and they were certainly not a cliched foe. It was nice to get a break from angels, demons, monsters, and things that go bump in the night. I felt, at least, that the show returned somewhat to it's original purpose this season. I did, naturally, have a couple of gripes. First and foremost - you killed Bobby! You bastards! Bobby was one of my favorite characters and I hated to see him die, twice actually since they purged his spirit in the finale. Now who's going to call them igits, help them pose as Feds, and drag them out of messes? I don't know because Frank had a very short run (I didn't like him at first, but saw that his character had potential. A shame it wasn't developed). My other gripe was that Castielle was largely absent this season, except for the very beginning, where he was screwed up, and the very end, where he was nuttier than Chinese Chicken Salad. I want out old Cass back and frankly, I think the Winchesters need him back because, as Elrond put it so eleoquently in "The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring," "our list of allies grows thin." They've killed off so many characters that it's going to be necessary for them to completely reconstruct the case to keep going. But then again, alive and dead are relative states on this show. This is, after all, urban fiction.
Personally, I'd like to see a return of angels and demons. They're our old standbys and frankly, they're more interesting. The levithan's, while a nice change, were largely predictable and just out to "help American's live longer and taste better" (I got a kick out of that line in the "There Will Be Blood" episode). Angels and demons are definitely NOT predictable and you never know what they'll pull - Crowly in the finale being an excellent example. They have their own agenda, you're never exactly sure of what it is, and THAT'S what keeps you comign back week after week. I'm hoping Season 8 will bring back some old favorites, with the old Cass being #1 on that list.
The Secret Circle - This show had potential but sadly, isn't being given a chance to work it out. I came into this one about mid season, so I had some catching up to do, and I'm still not sure if I'm 100% "caught up." It seemed to have a solid plot and a good bit of the complexities in relationships that kept you wondering who had what motives and will they stick with the plan - whatever that might be - or blow it to smithereens. It also had an interesting premise and I think, as I said, that this was a show that could have really fleshed out and become solid given one more season. The one major problem I had with this show, though, was flat characterization. I felt like the characters weren't real. They went on and on about their powers and binding the circle, but who were they besides being witches? Did they have an identity outside of that? It was like watching a puppet show, or winding up a music box with moving parts and watching the pieces move around one another without understanding how or why they're moving like that. Perhaps the show writers didn't realize that viewers really need to be able to connect with the characters to become hooked on the show. Take Supernatural, for example. We know that Dean likes pie, that Sam hates clowns, and that Bobby thought everybody was an igit. The little things do matter, and in fact it's those little things that connect viewers to the show. They need to feel like they're part of this world, but The Secret Circle offered no such invitation to it's viewers. Remember that the point of television, books, movies, video games, and other forms of media is to take the person out of their own life and reality and offer them an escape by bringing them into the world you created. The Secret Circle didn't do that. They opened the curtain and let you take a peek, but didn't really invite you in. You dove right into the plot and didn't really learn about the characters - nothing of their history or of where they came from to become who they are. Sure, there was a lot of talk about their parents and how they came to be born, but nothing of who the characters themselves were. And I think that two dimensional approach to characterization is what drove this series to extinction in it's first season.
As we go into the 2012 - 2013 season this fall, I can assure you that I will continue to watch Supernatural. I've been with them since the beginning and will stick through to the end. I just love this show. As for a second show, I saw a preview for a series called Arrow while watching the finale of Supernatural that caught my interest. It's about Oliver Queen, aka The Green Arrow. Not my favorite superhero but a superhero nonetheless, and it did get my attention. I'll definitely give it a try on Wednesdays this fall. Plus, we named our budgie, Ollie, after Oliver Queen on Smallville. So a show about his namesake is interesting. He's expecting great things from it I'm certainly willing to give it a chance. In fact, I was their 28th "like" on Facebook today.
So that's my season finale roundup for the 2011 - 2012 season. Fans of the shows, let me know what you think. I'd be interested to hear your take on Supernatural and The Secret Circle, and to know what you plan to check out this fall.
Take care all, and I hope you have a great week.
I've been saying for a while that insanity is running rampant, but boy has it sprouted wings and flown all over the place this week. I'm not just talking about the multiple incidents of pilots and flight attendants losing it, either. There's been plenty of examples of the world going mad right here at home, and you have to look no further than your local news. I don't know if it's a full moon or what, but tell me if you can explain things like:A woman is killed by her own car in North Augusta, SC.
She was attempting to park her vehicle to check her mail and it rolled down the driveway and hit her. Granted, she was 83 but still, she had sense enough to drive. So was the car a Transformer or what? Check out the story at http://www.wistv.com/story/17285560/woman-killed-by-own-car-as-she-checked-her-mail
.A pregnant woman robbed a Bi-Lo to steal 3 packs of cigarettes in Orangeburg, SC. with a knife.
She was arrested but the cigarettes were never recovered. Check out the story at http://orangeburg.wistv.com/news/crime/51916-pregnant-woman-robs-bi-lo-cigarettes
.Teen girl attacked at a soccar game in Chester County, SC - and it was caught on video!
A girl falls, gets up, and proceeds to beat the crap out of the nearest player from the opposing team. And nobody knows why. Check out the story and the video at http://www.wistv.com/story/17265736/caught-on-tape-teen-girl-attacked-by-player-during-soccer-game
.Burglers use a truck as a battering ram to steal 8 guns from a gun shop in West Columbia, SC.
Several other businesses in the complex were damaged when they used the truck to force open the back door. Check out the story and video at http://www.wistv.com/story/17295633/burglars-use-truck-as-battering-ram-steal-15-guns-from-business
And finally, the big winner for strangest news now just this week, but in a while. Tell me if you've heard of anything as crazy as this:A skull is stolen from a grave in Spartanburg, SC.
It sounds like the stuff of fiction, but someone actually dug up a grave and stole the skull. A woman walking through the cemetery yesterday morning found the crime scene in all it's (ahem) glory. Folks, this is so strange that I couldn't possibly make it up. Check out the story athttp://www.wistv.com/story/17277826/remains-stolen-from-spartanburg-gravesite .
And as an additional note on this story, Internet rumors claim the cemetery is haunted and warns people to stay away, especially after dark because of "satanic activity." Given this crime, I can see why, and the fact that real, living people are sick, disturbed, and crazy doesn't help. But folks around these parts do have a name for the "white mist" that's claimed to be there from time to time. We call it fog.
I tell you, this is the stuff of insanity or a doctoral thesis on degrading standards of sanity in modern society.
That's all for now. I hope things are more sane in your corner of the world. As is is, I think diligence, a CWP and perhaps a devil's trap are good things to have around these days!
Take care. Happy Friday to you and I hope you have a great weekend.
I can't believe it: I twisted my ankle on the treadmill again. The last time I did this was almost 2 years ago, and I wound out with a sprain. Darn if it isn't the same ankle, in the same place, again.
I must either be clumsy, a special kind of idiot, or a little bit of both!But on the bright side, at least it's not the wrist. I got tendinitis in my right wrist a year ago. The sprained ankle hurt more, but the tendinitis in the arm was a lot more inconveient. Between my day job in professional licensing and my writing, I type a lot. That arm injury put me to a lot more trouble than dragging around a bum ankle did.
Ok, truth is that any injury is inconvenient. I guess the wrist injury just threatened me more psychologically because so much of my life depends on typing. Anyway, I'll pray it's not sprained and will heal quickly and make do until it quits pinching/aching.
In other news, I typically do my big, super duper season finale round up in my blog this time each year, but this year it won't be so big because, well, I didn't watch much TV. I guess between the mind-blowing changes of a new jobs and the in-laws moving, writing a novel, researching publishing and then promotion once I got the contract for Anywhere But Here, and Rick working on the church website, we just didn't tune it to much this season. In fact, all we really watched were our normal shows: Smallville and Supernatural. So here goes with my take on those shows:
Smallville - the final season was a good one, although I feel they really should have played up the Justice Society a lot more than they did. Still, they squeezed a lot in, and there's no denying that the finale was epic. I'd go so far to say that's the best finale I've ever seen - so well done. This show had it's ups and downs over it's 10 year run, but overall I say well done. I'm going to miss it.
Supernatural - not as good as the previous 5 years. I can't say I was overly enthusiastic about the turn they took towards creatures this season. It would seem to me that averting the Apocolypse would have bigger ramifications on the sides of angels and demons than we saw. Indeed, they built up to that late in the season, but I believe that's a story line they could have played all season, if they wanted. I also can't help but wonder if they couldn't have done more with the whole purgatory thing. I knew all along that the wall in Sam's head would come crashing down, but they did surprise me in how it happened, and that finale did not end the way I expected at all. So overall I was not as impressed with this season, but I do see potential for development next season. I would say to them to use it wisely.
Now I ask the question I ask every year this time: What am I going to do now that everything is in reruns for the summer? I should be hearing from my publisher on Anywhere But Here in the next month, so I expect that ball will be rolling this summer. More reading, of course, and more researching on improving my writing and promoting it. Hopefully this writer's block will life and I'll be able to get back to writing short stories like I planned this summer. And, of course, we have Netflix - so between that and a summer of super hero movies, I imagine I will be well entertained in the coming months (if Thor is any indication, amazing stories and special effects will rule this summer!). I don't believe there's any chance of me being bored during this long, hot summer - which, by the way, has already started. It was 97 degrees today. No joke! And forecast to be more of the same through mid week. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, summer has hit the Southeast U.S. whether we're ready or not!
That's all for this time. I hope you have a great week and will try to check in again soon. Take care and stay cool!