Why I write

This week has been excruciating, to say the least.  After being buried over and over this winter in snow and ice as well as suffering through numerous polar vortexes (seems odd. . . shouldn’t it be vortici?), we had a massive warm-up and a nice downpour of rain.  The result?  I’m building an ark to navigate my basement.

I’ve sworn like a sailor as I’ve used 37 towels to mop up the mess.  My husband, being in construction, is always stressed this time of year due to lack of work.  The extra time to sit around the house and either stew or drive me bonkers has elevated the level of stress in my domicile 10 fold.  Don’t misunderstand, I love the big lug with all of my heart but if you’re in a committed relationship (married or not) you know what one person’s stress does to the other.  It’s like am amplifier.

Two normally jovial and sometimes even juvenile people turn into grumpy bears.

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Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange

There is something tremendously powerful about writing.  I can escape the reality of layoffs, the kids fighting, the dogs running in and out 189 times every 75 minutes… to a magical world that I created.  One with bad guys I can kill off, or struggling characters I can lift to extraordinary levels.  I can see, feel, smell and taste what my characters do… and in turn, they speak for me.

I find this to be true for my fellow writers as well.  Writing is a very introverted and isolating career… well, it can be.  But I never really feel alone.

As I mentioned in the last video post, I’m a member of a YouTube Collaboration channel.  Here’s another edition.  Stay tuned for a blooper at the end ;)

 

 

How your Facebook activity can kill your friendships

I’m tempted to cut and paste this blog as my status on Facecrack.

Due to the fact that I am an author and I constantly stay on top of social media, it is my business to know how things work.  Facebook’s newsfeed literally decides FOR YOU whose posts you see.  The more you “like” a post from a person, or fan page, the more of their stuff you’ll see.  The less interaction, the less those people/pages show up.

There’s a “game” on Facebook, and I’ve seen it before.  But people post something outrageous or absurd such as, “I just won $7k on a scratch off,” or “I just used my boobs to get out of a ticket.”  If you click “like” then your FB friend emails you something ridiculous you have to say as part of the game. Anyone who “likes” your post, you’re to inflict the same asshattery onto them.

One email said I was to post, “I cheated on my spouse.” W.T.F.??? That’s not F%^king funny at all.  And if you are my friend, why would you want me to post something so hurtful and disrespectful to my husband?  I don’t think I need to go into why this is damaging.

But what this sort of activity does, is make your friends leery to “like” your statuses.  So the less they click, the less of you they see.  Before you know it, you’re wondering why your buddy isn’t communicating with you anymore.  Why? Because you acted like an asshat. Because, you wasted their time and quite possibly offended them.

Very little offends me. The C WORD does not offend me. Nudity, vulgarity….nope, not offended. Telling me to post that I ripped out my husband’s heart and cheated on him??? That makes you NOT my friend. It makes you an asshat.

asshat-22713Don’t be an asshat. Don’t play games. There’s tons of apps for games and endless irritable notifications on those. There are jokes to post that are actually funny.  Infidelity… not so funny.

Make a difference! Stop the slaughter in Japan.

I am sickened and saddened by the senseless slaughter of the bottlenose dolphins in Japan.  If you haven’t seen the coverage, you can get a glimpse here: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/01/21/hundreds-dolphins-face-slaughter-japan

Dolphins are not fish, they’re mammals. They demonstrate empathy, rescue humans, are family oriented and dare I say majestic as well.  I’m reaching out to all of you to make a stand.  Here are ways to stop this disgusting behavior.

First, there’s a petition on the White House’s website to get the president involved. Go sign it. It only takes a second to set up an account and sign.  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/condemn-taiji-drive-hunt-and-ask-japan-close-it-down/RFl50vZY

Next, write your big box stores DEMANDING that they stop doing business with Japan until this violence ends.  Walmart, Target, KMart etc. Read labels and don’t buy ONE THING that comes from Japan.  

WalMart: https://corporate.walmart.com/_submit/feedback

Target: https://www-secure.target.com/HelpFormLinkPageView?catalogId=10051&langId=-1&storeId=10151&krypto=cQcHDksCxhgmutHxyjlq48%2BIHqzAFPvRjj%2BCK5QVyor4h0nGk1rMzeFOGnDn4aO%2F5j5F%2FWeHnQn5%0AYKCkxU%2BisHY1848%2FvacW2oxdPaaln2AgEzeb4KFkIw%3D%3D&ddkey=http:HelpFormLinkPageView

KMart: https://www.facebook.com/kmart, @kmartdeals

Step up. Save Lives. DO SOMETHING.

The Hunger Games: My Love/Hate Relationship

I just finished reading the trilogy.  I realize I’m probably behind the eight ball here as far as popularity is concerned but after seeing the first movie, I was inspired to read the books.  This, for me, is backward.  I generally love a book and can’t wait for the movie.

I digress.  I spent the last week reading the entire trilogy thanks to my new Kindle.  I have mixed feelings about these books, the message and mostly, the main character.

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The first book, HUNGER GAMES, was gut wrenching.  The world is an ugly place after years of war.  The story takes place in a world with 13 districts, though the 13th is thought to be destroyed.  The capitol is full of wealth, greed and gluttony, led by Snow, the main villain, per se.  I could really feel the main character’s (Katniss,) pain and confusion.  She’s forced into an unimaginable situation, taking the place of her little sister, who was pulled to be in the Hunger Games.  Katniss is from District 12, a poor coal mining district.  She has a close relationship with a boy named Gale, though it’s not very romantic.  No one expects her to win, least of all, herself.  Her male counterpart, Peeta, is in love with her, a fact Katniss is mostly oblivious to most of the time.  After a bloody game, it’s down to Katniss and Peeta.  In a moment of defiance, Katniss offers Peeta a suicide pact with poison berries and boom – game over.

Book two, Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta go on the victory tour.  The now painful love triangle pulls at Katniss, though she doesn’t seem to feel particularly strong one way or the other.  In an unexpected turn, Katniss and Peeta have been thrown into the Quarter Quell – another Hunger Game.  The games are interrupted as a civil war breaks out and Katniss spends most of the book either oblivious to her situation, or worried about Peeta.

Book three – the Mockingjay. Ugh. What a horrid last book.  Katniss spends a large amount of the book in a drugged stupor, still oblivious to the world around her, torn between Peeta and Gale or pissed at them.  The world is depending on her to be a strong leader and instead, she’s defiant and petty a lot of the time.  She has her moments of strength, but most of her strength is her image and the hope she brings.  Other than that, she’s useless to the cause and pretty much the worst female lead I’ve read in a long time.  I realize she’s only supposed to be 17 but …I think my 17 year old daughter has more moxie.  She’s already stood up to a tyrant and she did it with gusto, not drugged and whimpering, making irrational demands.  Even the end of the war has little to do with her.  The president dies, another villain dies, a lot of pointless death (as with any war, not a criticism of the book.)

What I liked: The writing was good, even though it was YA and a bit too staccato for my taste.  But it’s not made for middle aged mommies. The deeper message is one that every needs to grasp.  It is up to us to obliterate tyrannical doucheweeds who stuff their guts to the brim while others work their fingers to the bone and beg for scraps.  The “Power of One” message is pretty strong throughout the books, which is also of value.  I liked how chivalrous some of the men would be, a glance into the finer times in our own world.  The oppression is so transparent that it’s easy for someone who may have never felt it, certainly understands the concept by the end.  Peeta and Katniss’s disgust with the wastefulness in the capitol while their families do the best they can with illegally caught rodents from the woods, send a strong moral message as well.  Though I found Katniss’s character to be lacking, the greater message was there and worth the read.

What I disliked: At the risk of being redundant, Katniss.  Leaders can be vulnerable, but she’s flat out weak.  I’m annoyed to have a female lead who “settles” in the end.  Not a great message for our daughters.  She’s oblivious, spends a lot of time drugged and she’s a whiny brat.

I also take issue with the level of violence in what is targeted to young adults.  It can be argued it’s meant as a New Adult novel, but it’s tagged as young adult which can be as young as 12.

It’s not hard to see why this continues to be a best seller and box office smash hit, but I am disappointed in the way it all ends.  I wasn’t left feeling satisfied, or wanting more.  But I was left with a bit WTF on my face.

Making my last words count. Happy 2014!

I could recount the year, mentioning all of the things I’ve been through this year.  Those things probably matter more to me than you so, we’ll skip that.  I could make it funny and I could make it witty.  Instead, I’ll make it count.

Many people fear the number 13 and after this past year, I can see why.  But we’re headed into a new year and I think it is important to think about things that matter.  Go ahead and make your resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, swear less etc.  We all do it every year.

But this year, I challenge you to do one thing to make the world suck less.  I got involved with Project for Awesome.  I went ahead and added the link for you because you can learn more by going there but all in all, it’s a bunch of YouTubers making small infomercials for various charities.  Meanwhile, people can donate funds.  This year, almost $870k was raised.  Money will be disbursed among the charities.  It is just a bunch of people called “NerdFighters” doing what they can to reduce WorldSuck.  It is the brainchild of Author John Green and his brother Hank – who does so much it matters not to put his job title in this sentence.

I digress, some of these charities actually use the YouTube video as a commercial for themselves.  (Cool Right?)  It really is a great project.  I couldn’t settle on ONE issue to promote so I ended up just spreading the word and donating my time the best way I could.  Next year, I’ll have this done ahead of time…

Since I’m on this topic of passion, I’m friends with a few animal rescuers on Facebook.  The pictures they post just yank my heart out and stomp on it.  So I’m going to take this time to reach out.  Animals become your family.  They depend on you and when you hurt them, fail to meet their base needs and don’t love them back… it breaks them.  Dumping your dog off at the shelter because he or she isn’t convenient for you is almost as close as throwing your child out of the house.  It hurts just as bad.  You may not think so, but I swear your dog does.  They are pack animals and without the pack, they are destroyed.

I have a mastiff.  This means bruised thighs from his tail, cleaning slobber off of nearly ever surface, feeding him a raw meat diet which is HOLY NASTY BATMAN, washing his blood off the walls (he has happy tail – he gets so excited, he breaks the tip.)  He is about as inconvenient as it gets.  But, like having a child, we don’t do it out of convenience.  He was just MORE than we expected, even after researching them online before accepting him as a gift.  But I became his mom, his pack leader and he guards me with his life.  His entire mental and emotional well-being depends on a firm hand (which for him is a firm “No!” and he cowers like, you beat him,)  and my love.

I offer the following evidence:

Without makeup and with the 10 holiday pounds, he still thinks I'm awesome!

Without makeup and with the 10 holiday pounds, he still thinks I’m awesome!

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Be good to your fellow humans and be sure to take care of your furry family too.  Their lives are already relatively short, so let’s make them count!

Happy 2014!  Let’s make this year count and do at least ONE THING to make the world suck less.

Does Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder?

Well, we’re about to find out.  With the holiday season upon us and edits coming in from the editor, I’m taking a short break from blogging / vlogging to enjoy what matters most.

I invite you to come back after the new year.  I’ll have some posts, some funnies and maybe even a little eye candy.

Until then, I leave you with this…

 

Deck The Halls
(Politically Correct Version)

Deck the halls with boughs of non-endangered plant species
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
‘Tis the season to be self-actualizing,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Don we now our alternate-lifestyle apparel
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Toll the ancient non-denominational-winter-solstice-holiday carol
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

See the blazing log of
non-denominational-winter-solstice-holiday-non-endangered wood before us,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Play the harp without unnecessary brutality and join the chorus
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Sing we emotionally stable in a collective group effort,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Heedless of the weather patterns despite the effects of global warming,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Fast away the mature year passes
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Hail the new year without any implicit ageism, ye persons
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Dance in a non-hierarchical manner in merry measure,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
While I tell of non-materialistic,
non-denominational-winter-solstice-holiday treasure,
Fa la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la —