Articles

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


Like this post? Support your author!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks

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 Quirky Tech, TV, & Lifestyle Check…

It’s been a little over a week since I got my new laptop, and I’m very nearly finished “moving in”. As with every piece of tech I’ve ever bought, this one’s not without it’s quirks, but I’m getting to know them and how to work with and/or around them (as we do). The backspace key still trips me up until I’ve been typing awhile, but I’m getting there. I finally found instructions on how to deal with the trackpad online, and turning off the “tap to click” function saves me from deleting paragraphs when my thumbs travel across the trackpad while I’m typing.

I did suffer a bit of confusion when I plugged in my external DVD drive and it wouldn’t autoplay the disc. Windows has included a media player by default since…well, since I was in college, I think. As it turns out, they stopped doing that with Windows 8 – apparently they expect everyone to just download all entertainment now? I still like to own media here and there, thank you very much. In any case, a quick search of the internet turned up several freeware options for DVD player software, and my problem was solved in about 5 minutes, thank goodness.

So, just one more thing to get installed/working, and I think I’ll be good to go. The only other thing I need to do is crochet a sleeve for the new laptop, as I’ve already scratched the aluminum case carrying it in my bag, and the top of my bag is open, so it needs a little extra protection from the elements. I’ll probably put a skin on it as well – at least on the wrist rests, because as much as I love the all metal chassis, it’s cold to rest my hands on. A polyvinyl skin will make it feel a bit warmer.

Speaking of new tech, we finally replaced our basement TV this weekend. We were still using an old analog square monstrosity down there, and the picture was getting quite fuzzy. We found a nice LED flatscreen to replace it with, and the digital tuner in the new TV is way better than the box we were using with the old TV (we don’t have cable – just a rooftop antenna). Needless to say, the picture is so much nicer…it’s really quite nice. And now I have one less excuse to get my butt downstairs in the evenings and do a half-hour workout.

Which brings us to a recent “lifestyle check” I’ve been doing. I need to pull things back into balance, as they’ve become a bit skewed – though oddly enough, it’s not the day job that’s the culprit this time. I’ve actually been incorporating bits of the day job into my personal life, not enough to be overwhelming, but enough that it just feels like any other part of my “whole” life, rather than a distinctly separate entity, and I have to say, it’s actually less stressful to have it that way than it was when I was very rigid about keeping them separate. I know it seems counterintuitive for a lot of us, but after reading several articles making the argument for letting the lines between personal and professional blur last year, I decided to give it a try. And I have to say, I’m happier and more satisfied with my job having done so. It’s weird, but whatever works, you know? Obviously that can be taken too far, but I think I’m keeping a healthy-enough boundary in place. For now, at least.

No, the two things I need to pull back into balance now is health, and hobbies. And the thing that has supplanted them isn’t even really a “thing” at all, but rather that insidious laziness that keeps me cemented to the couch after dinner at night, staring at both the TV and my computer screen, thinking I’m going to both relax (with TV) and get something done (either writing or marketing/pub stuff). In reality, I stare at the TV, ignore my computer for the most part, and pretty much do my best zombie impression until it’s finally time to get up and feed the dogs.

This sort of laziness isn’t really benign. I sit at a desk most of the day, and for the last month and a half or so, I haven’t even been taking a break and walking the stairs twice a day. I do still get a yoga workout in every morning, but that’s really not enough movement in general for the human body to stay in optimal condition. So it’s not just that I’m “doing nothing”, but that I’m actively sabotaging my own health. Not cool.

I have reminders for nightly workouts…I’ve just been ignoring them. I could get more creative with them, but really, it doesn’t matter. What matters is not ignoring them – getting up off the couch and actually working out. And not being lazy at work either – it only takes a few minutes to walk the stairs morning & afternoon.

I’ve been ignoring portion sizes too, so that’s another thing I need to pay more attention to. None of this is difficult at all, it just requires that I make the right choices. And I’m perfectly capable of that, honestly. I just…haven’t been. Getting back to making those right choices is at the top of my list for this week.

I have plenty of excuses, but none of them are valid at the moment, so…time to get back on the wagon, so to speak.

Anyone else gotten lazy with a healthy habit lately? Wanna join me? Brave enough to admit it?


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes

On Holiday Stuff, TV, & Stamps…

This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the states, though I don’t think it’s really sunk in just yet. We’re not doing much, just going to my brother-in-law’s for dinner. If all goes well, it’ll probably be boring, to be honest. But he’s a bachelor who doesn’t cook much, and hasn’t ever cooked a turkey, so there’s definite funny-story potential there.

My only real plans for the rest of that day are to sleep in, make a nice egg & sausage brunch for hubby and myself, and probably work on crocheted Christmas gifts most of the day. Should be very relaxing, I think. I have a bunch of comic books that need to be put in albums for storage too…

Speaking of Christmas, hubby and I were actually in the mood to shop this past Saturday, so we braved the weekend crowds and got nearly all of our Christmas shopping done. Now I just need to finish up the crocheted items I’m making, and we’ll make a trip to the wine store and the candy store a little closer to Christmas, and we’ll be all set. I’m hoping to get the crocheted gifts done this week, so I can make some gift bags as well, but we’ll see. I do tend to over-reach a bit in the goals department, but we have plenty of gift bags if I don’t get them done, so it’s not a do-or-die type thing.

Dang it, that reminds me. I forgot to tell Mom I’d love a small tin of butter cookies for Christmas. I love those things, and hardly ever get them. A small tin would last me a long time. Must put that on my list!

Most of Sunday was spent on my butt in front of the TV catching up on some of the shows we missed last week, which would have been far more productive had I grabbed some yarn and a crochet hook. Instead, I decided to try to write this post, and considering I’ve deleted the whole thing twice and it’s now a quarter to one on Monday morning, you can guess how well that went. I don’t even know why I try…although now that I think about it, that’s not entirely true. I try because I think it’ll be more efficient, and give me more time later. But that never works – I need quiet and focus to think and write, and I can’t ever get that while I’m sitting in front of the TV.

TV and crochet (or knitting), however, go together like caramel vodka & apple cider. And I would have been that much closer to having my Christmas gifts done (and it would have been a nice break from the small screen, too). Ah well. We all make stupid decisions occasionally, eh?

We also went to a play this weekend – a local production called “Mauritius” that one of my co-workers was acting in. It was a lot of fun, and had a stamp collecting theme which is, of course, right up my alley. I’m not a terribly new collector, but aside from the inverted Jenny (which I’m slightly obsessed with finding one of the new upright errors), I wasn’t really “up” on the high-dollar/priceless stamp lore. So it was really interesting from that standpoint, as I learned about the Mauritius “Post Office” errors, and promptly looked them up online in Denny’s after the play when we stopped for dinner.

I haven’t had a lot of time to do anything with my stamp collection in the past couple of years, and I think it’s time I remedied that. I have a bunch of stamps to go through, catalog & put in albums, and it would be fun to set aside some time each week just to do that. Sunday nights might be perfect, now that I think about it.

So…lots going on lately, but in a good way. This week I’m working every day except Thursday, and I’m kind of looking forward to Weds & Fri being slow days at work so I can get caught up on a couple of projects I have going. The beauty of working around major holidays is that most everyone else takes vacation days. Quiet, uninterrupted work time is a rare and precious thing…

To all my US peeps, Happy Thanksgiving, and to the rest of you, have a great week!


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes


On TV, Billiards & Bedtime Fails…

Last week was the start of the fall TV season, and premieres for prime time TV have been trickling out ever since. I’m not as bad as a lot of people I know – I don’t like the TV on all the time (if no one’s watching, I don’t want it on just for noise), but when it comes to prime time in the evenings, and crime dramas especially, I’m all “shh!” and “don’t call me, I’ll call you when it’s over”. There’s often so much good stuff on in the fall that we’re recording one show while we watch another, which fills up our weekend evenings too (conveniently enough).

Not that we’re fiction junkies, or anything…(we totally are).

So what are we watching this season? Glad you asked. I’d link, but it’s late and I’m lazy. Google is your friend.

New shows for this year marked (N):

Once Upon a Time
Madam Secretary  (N)
The Big Bang Theory
Scorpion  (N)
Sleepy Hollow
Castle
NCIS: LA
The Blacklist
NCIS
Person of Interest
Forever  (N)
Criminal Minds

Stalker  (N)Not back yet, but coming eventually:

Elementary
Grimm
Arrow
The Flash  (N)
The 100

Selfie (saw the pilot & thought it looked interesting – modern day My Fair Lady).  (N)

Hubby doesn’t watch those last four with me – I catch up with those on Saturday nights while doing my nails.

So far, my favorite new show is Scorpion. The pilot wasn’t entirely plausible, but I really liked the cast, the interplay between characters, and the way the interpreter is set up. I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves over the next season.

As far as returning shows go, Sleepy Hollow gets best first show of the season so far from me.  And not just because I had to move mountains just to see it (no FOX signal in good weather and an 8 day wait to watch online that had to be circumvented). It was intense and chaotic and clarifying and completely freaky all at once, and I can’t wait to see the next one.

It is sort of interesting that my favorite new show and favorite premiere were on at the same time, same day just different channels. But so far, I haven’t been disappointed by any returning shows, and we’ve scratched a few off the list as well. Over all though, it looks like it’ll be a very good season. After the long summer dry spell, it’s nice to have some good fiction to watch after work again.

Wednesday nights we record of course, because hubby’s pool league plays October through March at local bars. This week is the first week of the season for that as well, so Weds night, we’ll be at Hooligans to start the pool year off. I used to go every Weds without fail to watch and cheer the guys on – I started going along to be the designated driver, and now no one drinks enough to need one (usually), but up until we adopted Mica a few years ago, I went along anyways just to watch and hang out.

Mica had issues with being left alone all day while we were at work, and then again in the evening. If we did that, we’d come home to a dog with way too much energy who refused to let us sleep until he was ready to, making for some awfully late nights. So to solve that problem, I’d drop Brent off at pool, go home to spend time with the dogs, and then go back to watch the last few games and bring Brent home again.

Over the last couple of years Mica has mellowed though, and now we can leave him occasionally when we need to go out on a work night without too much of a problem. So this year, I’ll be headed to watch the guys play pool for the whole evening again, and we’ll see how that goes. It’s fun to watch them play, and good to get out once a week…not to mention that the bar is a prime spot to watch people and be inspired. Many of my books started as overheard conversations or interesting characters spotted in a bar…

And now I’m officially past my “last good” bedtime yet again. I’d planned to get this post done early, and then…well, things happened, as they so often do. I plan my bedtimes around the 90 minute sleep cycle (because that works best for me – outside those cycles, I tend to feel groggy all day the next day), and since I have to be up by 6am on the weekdays, that means I need to be in bed either at midnight or 1:30am for the best possible rest.

I never make midnight, and while I’m better at hitting 1:30am, it’s usually close. Right now, it’s 1:45am, and I still have to schedule this.

Next weekend, I *will* be in bed by 1:30am Sunday.

I will! Stop laughing…


Enjoy this post? Support your author:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | All Romance eBooks | Smashwords
Audible | iTunes