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Elevators & Returns

This past weekend I watched five movies (it sounds far more impressive than it actually was). Saturday night we watched Gnome Alone, which was hilarious and a nice break from the serious stuff we’ve been watching/playing. Then later when I was doing my nails (around 2am or so), I watched The Holiday Calendar on Netflix, which was cute (and predictable, but holiday romance movies all are). Then Sunday while I was setting up the tree and decorating the front window, I watched three “love-in-an-elevator” themed movies. The first two weren’t too bad, the third should never have been made. And they all three made me wonder a couple of things:

– Did Aerosmith get royalties for the whole elevator meet-cute idea?
– Who hangs mistletoe in an elevator? Because I’ve never seen that in my entire life…but then again, I tend to use the stairs when I can.

Regardless, I have to say, if I were single, I might ride the elevator more during the holiday season. Just to see if there was mistletoe in there. And Jason Momoa. As you do.

I think I mentioned going on a virtual shopping spree last week. Well, the thing about “sprees” is, they’re unfocused, and shopping like that tends to lead to a lot of returns (I don’t do it often). I now have three packages that need to go to a post office just as soon as I can remember to pick up some packing tape to affix the return labels with, and one more package on the way that I’m certain I’ll have to exchange two items from (because in my Black Friday shopping haste, I ordered the wrong size…and realized it too late to get the orders changed). Dang it. I hate returning stuff, so this is a good reminder to shop more carefully next time.

One good thing from my “spree” – I found a pair of ankle boots that I absolutely adore. And they’re in European sizing, which means one size fits *both* of my feet! That’s exciting, because they’re expensive, and I couldn’t afford to buy two pair just to fit both feet like I often have to do. I’m going to budget for several more pair over the course of the next several months. This particular brand (L’Artiste) has a bunch of fun and funky styles and colors. They’re fun, and maybe if I have several I won’t feel compelled to keep wearing them with holes in the sole like my last pair (I discovered the holes when I tossed them after the new ones got here).

So what did we learn last week?

– Gnomes are always cute, and sometimes heroic
– Beware of mistletoe in elevators, unless you’re single and looking for mistletoe pretty much anywhere
– I should always buy UK shoe sizes
– Shop with purpose, rather than blindly
– That craving for butter cookies isn’t just going to go away. Just buy the tin, already. Do it! (I haven’t yet, but payday’s Friday.)

T-minus three and a half days until my December Week of Debauchery (or “vacation”, whatever) begins…

People & Thought-Provoking Entertainment

Last Friday we went to a ZZ Top concert, and while the music was good, I really wanted to hurt some of the older concert-goers there. The younger people were easy to be around – even when they were dancing they were cognizant of the people around them and polite when they bumped into someone on accident.

We weren’t even at the front of the crowd, but rather in the middle (standing room only – a street concert/festival), and half-way through the set, a crowd of older (probably in their 50’s) people pushed their way up and through and not only blocked the view (stopped right in front of me instead of pushing forward even more), but took up all available space, leaving zero room between me and anyone else. Understand that I *need* at least a couple inches of personal space. At all times. I’ve been to a lot of concerts (less so with standing room only like this one, but still, quite a few, and never had a problem before. I don’t mind the occasional brush-by or whatever, but being in a constant crush of people is not something I can really mentally handle.

It’s odd to me that these people would have been so incredibly rude at that age. People far younger are far more polite at concerts – even drunk young’uns. It really kind of ruined the experience for me, which sucks since it’s the one older band I’ve seen lately who still sounded just as good as they always have (most have been very disappointing, unfortunately).

I was also disappointed they weren’t selling swag. Because I’ve always wanted one of those keychains, and it just isn’t the same just buying one off the rack, so to speak. *sigh*

We’re going to a Godsmack/Shinedown concert in October, and I am so glad that our seats for that are in the lower arena, but the very top row, so no one can be behind us, and we’re not in standing room only. Whew!

Saturday night we watched a movie called Gamer (free with Amazon Prime, if you have it). Totally intense, and had a pretty freaky premise, really. It’s hard to even imagine doing some of the things those people did, and even harder imagining agreeing to what they did (intentionally vague to avoid spoilers). It’s a very thought-provoking (and bloody, fair warning) movie, and a potential warning, really. Because as far-fetched as it may seem, the technology isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility (though admittedly, probably not as it appears in the film). Definitely an interesting watch, if you’ve got a couple hours.

I watched another movie this weekend called Color Me You (also free with Prime), which was slow in spots, and some of the acting was decidedly mediocre (some was just plain bad, I’m afraid), but it was one of those “young artist at a crossroads deciding to follow her dream or a parent’s dream” type coming-of-age flicks. With romance, of course, because life is relationships (or lack thereof).

And I found myself wondering yet again what it would have been like to eschew my parent’s advice to pursue something other than writing as a profession. Honestly, if I’d studied writing (English) in college, my life could still have turned out exactly the same (not like I’m using my history degree for anything, and haven’t, ever). Or maybe I’d have learned the craft more quickly and taken a completely different path with writing at a more central place. I did take some English classes and worked toward a minor (later changed to philosophy), but I never really took it seriously, mostly because my parents insisted there was no money in writing, and I believed them (still do, honestly, but I wish I didn’t, and I do know professional writers, just not many).

Which probably would have meant a completely different life, and completely different people in it. A difficult thing to really conceptualize fully, honestly.

I caught up with one of my favorite TV shows – The 100 on Saturday as well, and man…the character development this season is just outstanding. I’ll be discussing that more on the writing blog later this week.

Since we’re talking entertainment today, I’m just about done reading Douglas Preston’s The Lost City of the Monkey God, and I can say with complete honesty that I don’t really ever want to actually visit the rainforest. National Geographic videos will be fine, thanks. It is quite fascinating, but I’ll take our rattlesnakes over a fer-de-lance any day, and no thank you to all the sand flies, rain and sleeping in the mud, too. *shudder*

And lastly, I’m starting to get caught up with my comic book “to be read” list by reading an issue every morning right when I get up (as opposed to scrolling FB/checking email, which is hard on the eyes and kind of ridiculous when I can’t even think yet). This week, it’s I Hate Fairyland, which is perfect, because it so matches my mood in the mornings…and murderous little Gertrude makes me smile. It’s good to start the morning with a smile (even if it’s a bloody, somewhat toothless one), right?

So…what all have you been watching/hearing/reading lately? Anything thought-provoking or shudder-worthy?

Resolution Check-In
Sleep 6 hrs: Missed it a couple days, but did okay the rest of the week. Progress!
1 push-up per day: Didn’t keep good enough track, but missed a few days. Really need to keep a daily tally.
Goals check-up: Completed Sunday night, adjusted for the week with a specific focus on financial and hobby-related goals.

Writer’s notes for this week


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Progress, Set-Backs, & Movies

Vacation is over, and it’s back to the office today. Last week was phenomenal as far as vacations go. I relaxed, but I also got a lot of stuff done (that in and of itself was relaxing to me – because it was all stuff I wanted to work on). I wrote nearly every day (only missed one), I got a draft edited up and ready to send to the formatters, I picked out some potential cover art images for that story, and printed out another story for a last read-through/edit before getting that ready to publish.

I also started the clean-up/restoration project for my antique sewing machine, which is still in progress, but it’s been a fun learning experience. I’m working on polishing the metal at the moment, which is proving more difficult than I thought it would be. One-hundred plus years of grime and etching aren’t all that easy to get off, and I started thinking I needed to make everything shine again before I put it back together, and then realized that really…I don’t. The marred spots and matte chrome are part of this machine’s particular story, and while the rust really did have to be removed to save the metal, the rest of it really is just fine like it is. It’s an antique. It shouldn’t look new. It should look well used and loved, and mine definitely does. I’ll replace the belt (already have a replacement ready to go on) and needle, but otherwise, everything else will be original, stained and faded though it might be.

I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t get it all put back together this past weekend, but I still don’t have a new needle, thread, or any fabric at all, so it’s not like I could use it anyways. Next weekend, I’m going shopping. And I’ll put everything back together and finally get to try it out.

I still didn’t get six hours of sleep this past Saturday night – gel polish is no joke to remove! Unfortunately, the steamer appliance I bought really isn’t working well at all for this, and I don’t know if it’s the polish I’m using, or the steamer or what, but I think soaking the polish off in a more traditional manor might solve my problem. I’ll try again next weekend.

The UV-cured gel polish itself is awesome, and it’s so great to be able to just pick up and go straight to bed after the last cure time with completely dry nails. I hope I can find a way to make the polish removal quicker though, or it’s kind of pointless for getting to bed earlier.

While the nail polish steamer hasn’t worked all that well for me, I got another steamer that is just *excellent*. I found one of those tiny little egg cooker/steamers on sale on Amazon the other week, and it is just the handiest little kitchen appliance ever! Poke a hole in the eggs, put them on the tray, add water measured by the included cup, put the lid on and press the button. I’ve made soft and hard boiled eggs so far, and both are incredibly easy. No pan to clean up, no paying attention to when the water starts boiling and setting a timer, no real clean-up necessary. It’s wonderful, and I love it. It took very little effort to get ten hard-boiled eggs all cooked, peeled and ready for breakfasts this week.

The hubby took me to dinner and a movie for my birthday – we went to see the new Jumangi, and I tell you what…it was *hilarious*! It looks kind of cheesy from the trailers, but we laughed all the way through. So funny. Well worth the watch, IMO.

Then yesterday I got sucked into watching Sunset Boulevard on PBS, and it was mesmerizing on several levels. If you haven’t seen it and you get a chance to, it will especially appeal to us writerly and creative types. Worth the time, even though it did put me behind on housework for the rest of the day.

I had a great vacation, and I feel rested and ready to get back into the normal workday routine. There are a few things I need to work on, time-wise, but I think I can do better going forward. It was a good, much-needed break.

Oh…and if you ever consider reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Doomed…well…it’s weird. Interesting in an odd way and amusing, but weird. Just sayin’.

Vacation Report, Entertainment & Free Books

Back to “normal” life today, after a nice week of alternate reality. I didn’t completely stick to the schedule I’d hoped to, but considering I had a couple of wrenches thrown in the works, as it were, I think I did pretty well. No writing toward the end of the week, but I got a fair amount done the first couple of days. Had a nice visit with my grandma (and a nice drive out and back), finished a crochet project for a friend and started a gift project (it’s half-done), and fixed our leaking bathtub faucet. I visited the tattoo shop and made an appointment for my birthday next month, and I attended my husband’s annual work holiday get-together.

I should have gotten a few more Christmasy things done, like…say…cards. But, it’s all good. I’ll mail a few out this week and maybe do better next year. I can’t believe Christmas is one week away! How the heck did that happen?

The rest of this week is going to be busy catching up at work, and busy frantically finishing last-minute gifts and shopping (I get paid Friday, so…yeah). So I guess calling it “normal” is kind of an overstatement. But I’m looking forward to the whole Christmas family thing being over (because…way too social for my tastes, thanks), and I always look forward to a new year beginning.

So really, two more weeks before things really get back to normal, I guess. Hopefully they go by fast.

I watched a lot of cheesy Christmas romance movies last week, and while it really is all the same basic plot, it’s nuts how acting and writing can make all the difference in the world. I’ve seen *so very many* really bad movies lately where either the acting or scripting or both were just completely horrible…and only a couple that I really enjoyed. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the quality of Netflix’s original movies this year. Amazon’s…not so much. And God save me from yet another Ion (new broadcast TV channel to us) romantic tragedy. Wow.

We did go see Justice League (hubby’s work Christmas thing), which was better than I thought it would be. I like Christopher Nolan films though. I also like Jason Momoa and Henry Cavill without shirts. So there’s that. I still don’t like Ben Affleck as Batman, because…seriously? No. Just no. He doesn’t do the suit justice, so to speak. Can we have Christian Bale back, please?

We’ve also been watching Godless on Netflix, which is really quite good (intense), and have not had time to watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 yet. Dang it.

And we did not get to go watch a late night showing of Die Hard at the Art House Cinema downtown this weekend, which I really wanted to do. *sigh* Next year, hopefully.

If you’re looking for a little reading respite for your holiday interlude, three of my holiday-themed short stories are free for the next couple of weeks over on the BSB site. One romance, one horror, and one erotica, so you can either download whichever alter-ego you’re most interested in, or the whole collection if you’re feeling a bit adventurous. Good for those short “disappearances” that are necessary to survive family functions.

No post next week, for obvious reasons, but resolutions posts will go up on Friday the 29th and Monday the 1st. I hope you’ll join me!

Happy Holidays!

On Fishkeeping, Movies & Community…

New26gal

This post brought to you by the letter “W”, which for some reason, I keep typing right after the word “movies”. I don’t know why. It doesn’t fit there. There’s nothing with a “w” that I need to type at the end. And yet, it persists. Annoyingly, I might add.

Anyways…to the topics at hand! If you read last week’s post, you know that I decided, against better standard fishkeeping practices, to get a second fancy goldfish to keep mine company. Because goldies are social creatures, and mine has been a bit depressed/lethargic lately, despite my best efforts to perk the little thing up.

My conscience still prickled though for not providing at least a minimum standard environment for them. Goldfish are big and messy, and thus require a more generous environment than a lot of other fish just to stay healthy and happy. My tank was 20 gallons, the recommended minimum for one goldfish. Each goldie after that should have another 10 gallons – so 30 gallons for two goldfish.

Yes, I know that people keep goldfish in small tanks all the time. That doesn’t make it right.

In any case, long-story slightly shorter, I did my research, found out that a 30 gal. high tank has the same width/depth as my 20 gal., went to Petsmart and couldn’t find a 30 high, but bought a 26 gal. bowfront aquarium instead. It’s still not ideal, but it’s got quite a lot more swimming space especially with the bowed-out front, and it came with a filter too, which gave me a second filter to run on the same tank and provide a bigger bio-system to deal with the extra waste.

So I spent a good couple hours on Sunday taking all the stuff out of the 20 gal. tank (including the goldies) and setting up the new 26 gallon tank, which is shown above. I’m happy to say that the goldies seem to like it (and each other), and I think they have plenty of room now to cohabitat successfully, even though it’s still a bit shy of the standard. I even saw them napping on the bottom together tonight, side-by-side like they’d always been friends. Which makes me feel good about my decision to get the second one.

Unfortunately, I was also reminded that the universe is kind of a stickler about balance when my betta died this past Sunday (I believe it was a blocked intestine). I didn’t notice quickly enough that he was ill, and he was dead pretty soon after. My bad in two ways – one, not noticing in time to do something about it, and two, not feeding him the varied diet he (and all animals, really) needed to lower the odds of it happening at all.

This made me take a good hard look at my feeding practices, of course, and after a few hours spent scouring the internet, I’ve about come up with new feeding schedules and menus for all of my fish, plus the new betta I’ll bring home next weekend. Perhaps the next time I have a little extra time, I’ll put a page on my site about them…

In other news, Saturday night I was trying to get caught up on some writing (was horribly behind last week), and Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone was on TV. I watched, writing on commercials. Sunday I was just beat from swapping the aquariums out, and The Hunger Games was on – all about needing others just to survive. Somewhere along the way it hit me – in the children’s draft I’m working on, there’s not enough community. By which I mean, my heroine is doing too much on her own, and she needs to learn that she can rely on her friends to help. That’s part of coming-of-age for most kids…I just forget, because I sort of skipped that part of being a kid.

So…good insight into my story, and my weekend has really had an all-pervasive theme of “community”, when you think about it. My goldie got a new BFF, and he seems happier about it. Harry Potter & Catniss Everdeen (?) both gave me insight into my own stories. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Now, for sleep. It’s been one of those weekends where I got everything done except for the stuff I need to do, which kind of sucks, but when it’s all you can manage, nothing to be done about it.

In any case…have a great week! Anyone got any fun Valentine’s plans you’d like to share?


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