Friday, May 31, 2013

Everyday in May: My Brother Was Nuts!!

Today's Every Day in May prompt is: "A vivid memory." The vivid memory I'm choosing to share involves my brother and the Space Needle in Seattle, WA. My family went went there when I was 12 years old, when we visited my aunt who lives near Seattle. My brother was 5 years old.

We went up to the top of the building, where you can walk out on the observation deck. I was surprised to look out and see that the only thing between me and the ground, far below, were a few bars that were spaced fairly far apart. The poles radiated out horizontally.

The deck was packed with people, and they all seemed to tower over us at the time. I was in charge of holding my brother's hand.

I was looking out at the sites for awhile, then realized that I hadn't been watching for my parents for a few moments. Right around the same time, my brother got away from me and ran through a small crowd of people so I couldn't see where he went.

The next thing I knew, he was climbing out on the bars! The bars separated more and more the farther out they went so as he crawled out with one hand on each of two bars, his hands got further apart. He looked as if he was about to lose his grip at any moment and plunge to his death. 

I wanted so badly to just reach out and grab him, but I was too small, my arms were too short, and I just wasn't strong enough yet. I felt that if I tried to grab him, I would end up causing him to fall. 

I immediately turned and looked above all the heads of the strangers until I spotted my dad, and ran over and grabbed him and pulled him over to where my brother was tempting fate. He reached out and grabbed my brother with one swift movement, planting his feet safely on the ground.

The one thing I remember more than anything else about the moment was my feeling of utter, raw terror. I felt as though I would drop dead of fear. My heart was beating out of my body to the point where I thought it was going to literally explode. Of course, it didn't, or I wouldn't be writing this blog post right now.

WIP It Good!!

I've joined the WIP It Good Blogfest, where I've decided to share my very first Work In Progress. Now, I'm always working on an article, because that's what I do for a living. But this is my very first novel. I've finally decided to go for it! Here are my answers to the blogfest questions:

WIP Title: No Time (although that is not set in stone)

Word Count (projected/actual so far): only about 4,000 so far, projected about 70K

Genre: Straight sci-fi (my favorite!)

How long have you been working on it?: I first came up with the idea about 20  years ago, before I became a writer. Now that I write articles for a living, I decided to go ahead and write a novel. I actually began the process of writing it last November, although I haven't written anything since. I'm just now getting back to it now that I have a large project from my old job off my plate, and will work on it a little each day.

Elevator Pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book):

A group of scientists discover a secret of time travel that destroys everything we know about time itself. Governments and individuals around the world race to use time travel for their own benefit, resulting in a worldwide Cold War.

Brief Synopsis (250 words or less):

A small group of scientists from a number of countries discover a fairly easy way to travel through time. But when three of them take a trip back through time, a horrible mistake reveals an important secret of time travel that changes their perception of how time works.

The science team decides to reveal their findings to the world when they realize how much good the technology can do. They are surprised when governments begin using the technology to compete for control of the world.

The scientists from the original discovery team break apart and begin working for the governments with which they agree, not necessarily for the governments residing in the countries from which they came. Dr. Sands, originally from the U.K., leads a team for three countries which have teamed up: the U.S., U.K., and Canada. The facility is located in the U.S.

The group works to prevent other countries from using the technology for nefarious reasons such as a dumping ground for criminals and the mining of minerals that can give them an advantage over other countries. In some cases, the members of the team must follow criminals back in time in order to prevent them from committing their evil deeds. In other cases, they must work to prevent the other teams from sending people back in time in the first place.

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?: Yes, as soon as I organize my thoughts and get a little more of the story down.

Are you looking for a Beta Reader?: Definitely, as soon as I get to that point.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Everyday in May: I Have Trouble Letting Go

Today's Every Day in May prompt is: "React to this term: Letting Go." This is going to be a very simple post. I've been very busy, but I really liked some of these prompts and didn't want to miss them, so I'm making them all up and backdating them. I'll have to catch up on comments over the weekend.

The first thing I think of when I hear the term "letting go" is that I can't. This is exactly what I have trouble with, and is one of the personality flaws I wrote about earlier. I tend to obsess when I make mistakes, and I have trouble letting go of them. My mother still has to remind me of this. She is always reminding me to "let go" of it. So, I continue to work on that. I'm actually better at it than I used to be, but I still find myself obsessing when I'm under stress.

There's also another way to take the term though: letting go of a loved one who dies or wants to leave. That's a really tough one, but sometimes there's just no choice, especially when someone dies. In the other case though, when someone wants to leave and you don't want them to go, I have found that it is best to turn off your brain as much as possible and let it happen.

You may cry for days and days, but it is always the best decision in the long run. The longer you hold on, the longer you suffer. If they want to leave you, then they aren't suffering. You are the only one in great pain. It just doesn't serve anyone to make that pain go on longer than it has to. In the end, you may find you're better off anyway.

When my first boyfriend moved away, I cried myself to sleep for about three months. Then one day I woke up and wondered why I had been so upset. I suddenly realized all the bad things in our relationship, and how much he had stifled my creativity. I was suddenly happy to be free!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Everyday in May: Songs that Bring Back Memories

I'm making up for a lot of Every Day in May posts today and backdating them, so they will all say "today's prompt," even though I didn't write them on the day for which they are posted. Once again, I got really busy, and will have to catch up on comments over the weekend. Today's prompt is: "Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories. Use Grooveshark or YouTube to include them in the post."

I love music, but that was not always the case. During the time I was raised on the farm, we played very little music, and we had no TV. My parents had records, but I don't remember them ever playing anything. At least they never played anything I remembered until later on. The weird thing is that I love their musical taste, but I guess I just couldn't appreciate it until I got older. I just didn't care about music back then.

But then we moved to the city, and started watching TV. One evening, we were watching the Grammy Awards, and something amazing appeared. It was a group of three women dressed in shiny gold dresses. They jumped around, danced and sang their hearts out on a compilation of three different songs. I was an instant fan. It was The Pointer Sisters, and this was one of the songs they sang:

Ruth Pointer always reminded me of my mother because my mom has such a deep voice. Do you remember the song "Automatic," with that deeper than deep voice? I love that song. Anyway, my mom luckily had a cassette tape, and I listened to it over and over. I just loved it.

But then Duran Duran came along, and I found myself with a girly crush on Simon Le Bon. My mother also happened to have a Duran Duran tape, so that was another one I listened to over and over and over again. Here are clips from the first music video and song that hooked me in:

By the way, I have no idea what "The Reflex" means, or what the hell they are saying. I'm not sure it makes any sense to them either. I still love that song anyway, but it's more about the feeling it evokes rather than what it means.

After crushing for awhile, I got back to loving truly quality music when I saw a music video for "These Dreams" by Heart:

I quickly learned through my mother that Heart had been around for a long time. Again, she already had some of their music. I love "These Dreams," but after learning of their other music, I realized that it was just so-so compared to the rest of their musical selection. I could probably make this whole post just about Heart, but instead I'll just link to some of my favorites: "Crazy on You," "Magic Man," and "Barracuda." That's just a very small selection. They have so many awesome songs!

Then came my very first concert: Billy Idol. I've already written about this, but because that was one of my favorite concerts of all time, many Billy Idol songs are memorable to me. This is another one where I could make the entire post about just one musician, but I think this video and song probably sums up my memories best:

The last memorable song I'm choosing is one that hit me like a ton of bricks when I first saw it as a video on MTV (back when they still played music): "I Need You Tonight" by INXS. This song and video hurled me back into crush-dom (or should I say "crush-dumb"?). Both the song and Michael Hutchence was about the hottest thing I had heard or seen on TV. Needless to say, I was floored, and was addicted to INXS for about two years:

I'm just glad my crush on Michael Hutchence had long since died out by the time he committed suicide. It was still very sad news, but I would have been so crushed had it happened back then. I'd rather remember INXS in their successful days as in this video than in their later years. Ah, memories!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Everyday in May: A Letter to Fallen Heroes and My Readers

Today's prompt is: "A letter to your readers." This post was for Memorial Day, so I felt a little weird only writing to my readers when it's a day to remember fallen heroes. So I decided to do both:

A letter to fallen heroes:

I just want to say thank you for all you have done for us. Sacrificing yourself to protect us and our way of life is so far beyond anything that can be thanked with a mere "thank you," yet that is all I have within the confines of this blog post.

Outside of blogging, we honor your sacrifice by listening to your story and allowing the tears to fall. We donate to causes to help your family, and those heroes who suffer with injuries. But it somehow still does not seem like enough. All of these things come after the hurt and loss has already taken place, and there is no way to take it away. All we can do is remember and say thank you, again.

A letter to my readers:

Thank you so much for visiting, reading, commenting and giving me awards. When I started this blog, I thought I may have maybe three readers at most, if any.

I just feel so lucky to have cyber-met so many awesome people through this experience. And it's not just the comments and awards that I appreciate. It's the fact that those of you who are both readers and bloggers (whom I believe constitute most or all of my readership), give me so many hours of entertainment through your own awesome blogs.

In many ways, I enjoy the content you have given me to read more than knowing you have read my blog. So thank you, above all, for letting me find you.

And if you are not a blogger, then thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. I so appreciate it.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Everyday in May: Office Etiquette Article Reminds Me of My Old Job

Today's prompt is "Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like." I read this article by my fellow Yahoo! Contributor: Office Etiquette 101: How to Deal with Irritating, Loud, Sick and Clueless Coworkers.

I always love Rebecca Black's articles because she covers etiquette for every situation. This particular article is no longer as useful to me as it once would have been, but it reminds me of my old job. I had that coworker she talks about in her article. Several of them over the years, actually. Ah, memories.

The article really served to remind me of how happy I am to be back to my entrepreneurial roots, no longer having to work next to others in a cubical and do what others tell me to do. I love my life!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Everyday in May: My Friend Says I'm Accepting of Others

Today's prompt is "Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad)." Since I tend to dwell on negative things people tell me a bit too much, I'm going to focus on something positive.

I was sitting with my firend Nicole once when another friend of hers asked her why we were such good friends after so many years. Her answer was that it is because I don't judge her. She said that I'm one of the few people she feels truly comfortable with because she can just be herself. In fact, the weirder the better, because hey -- it's fun to be weird.

I was actually surprised to hear her say that because I always assumed that most people are like me in that way. Maybe it depends on where you live. Perhaps people in some areas are generally more accepting of others, including quirks.

Either way, it was one of the nicest things anyone -- besides my mother, who thinks I'm an angel -- has ever said to me. I love the fact that I can make someone feel comfortable and relaxed, and free to be themselves without any worries. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Everyday in May: My 3 Worste Traits

Again, for lack of time, I'm going to do a simple list for this post. I'm also going to catch up with comments over the weekend. I'm just too busy to be able to get to it during weekdays. Today's prompt is: "Your top 3 worst traits."

By far, my worst trait is that I obsess over mistakes I make. I've been working on this, but it's difficult to train your brain not to do something it has done for so long. I think the problem started in fifth grade, when I was bullied by a teacher and made into a class scapegoat. That really messed with my brain, and I still have trouble letting go after all this time. Whenever I make a mistake, I will replay it in my brain over and over and over again.

My second worst trait is that I tend to focus on something until it's finished, even if it's to the detriment of my health. This is especially a problem if it is an idea that I really care about. I just can't stop working on it, and I have trouble sleeping, exercising, and even eating when I'm really deeply focused on something.

Lastly, I'm way too emotional at times. I guess this could be though of as a good thing, but sometimes I really hate it. It's especially embarrassing when I start full-on sobbing about some sad thing on the news while I'm around other people who are apparently completely uncaring and heartless. And if it's really sad, it's impossible to turn it off. I just keep going with the waterworks while people look at me weird.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Everyday in May: Things I Never Learned in School

Today's prompt: "Things you've learned that school won't teach you." I'm going to make this a simple list of things.
  1. How to eat the right food for my own body. Sure, you learn the food groups, but those can change with research. And each body is different, has different quirks, and needs different proportions of food to be healthy. It would be impossible to learn something like that in school, because it is a group setting.
  2. How to write the types of entertainment articles I write for Yahoo. The "proper" type of writing you learn in school has nothing to do with specific writing requirements of various sites on the Internet. You also can't learn how to include the right kind of flair, and know how to break the rules in ways that make your writing more interesting for the general public.
  3. Problem solving and critical thinking. School can teach you a few problem solving skills, but it's possible to graduate at the top of your class with almost no problem solving ability. Some people are able to get by with a lot of memorization. But if they really want to do themselves a favor, they should do puzzles. I do puzzles every single day to exercise the problem solving centers of my brain. I also like to read about current events and just take the time to think about them and figure out how I feel about them with no input from others. You just don't get that in school.
  4. How to keep myself busy and entertain myself when nobody else is around. This is another thing you can't learn when you're surrounded by other people. Sometimes I like to be alone with my thoughts. It's good to have alone time without feeling a need to find somebody to talk to.
  5. Experience. If you want to become an expert at something, you have to just get in and do it. Practice makes perfect. That's where you learn all the nuances, special considerations and ways to work faster and smarter rather than harder to get the same job done in less time with improved quality.
  6. Lot's of other things I can't think of right now. :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Everyday in May: Rant About Schools

Today's prompt: "Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)." My rant is about the schools.

The schools are teaching children less and less of what they need to know to actually get by in life, all while spending more money per child. That is because the money goes to special interests and bureaucrats who would rather use the money for themselves, for getting reelected, and to ensure that children learn whatever propaganda they want them to learn rather than the things they actually need to know in order to survive and be successful in the world.

I'm afraid that the world is going to fall apart once these kids take it over. It is already happening. There are young adults graduating from high school, and even college, who have no idea how to wash their own cars, cook a meal, or even use a microwave. Don't even get me started on what they know about politics, the economy, or what their congresspeople are doing, what they believe in, or even who they are. Many of them don't even know who the vice president is. I just hope that some of these young people will wake up at some point once they actually find real jobs (if that ever happens).

This is not about either political party. Both parties are guilty of ruining schools. Perhaps the problem to begin with is political parties. If politics were about solving problems rather than towing party lines, maybe we could -- guess what?! -- solve some problems!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: My Favorite Links

Back to blogging, and the prompt today is: "A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives." My blog is fairly new, but I do have a few favorites, which I'll separate into sections:

Cute animals with photos:

I have to share ALL the posts about each of my eight animals, because they are all my favorites.
Monster Kitties!!: A little of each pet, but as little monsters. My fave pet post!
Mama MissKitty Madness: About the wonderful cat I rescued, who brought me her six kittens
Lovely Lady Lulu: About my sweet and intelligent dog
Fancy Furball Fascinates: One of my most stunning kittens
Cunning Cheetah Candids: The fastest kitty
Bad Boy Booty (Booty is My Cat): The biggest boy
Gorgeous Gracie Gets Gregarious: A beautiful little girl
Teensy 'Talks' to Tippy: The last two of the six kittens
Pico Prefers Peanuts: About my dad's parrot

Cute or funny life stories:

Kristenhead Keeps Kidding: The story of my nickname
Remembering Rugged Roads: What it was like living on a farm
A Sad and Funny Childhood Story: It was horrible at the time, and hilarious now
I was a Monster: Another thing that was pretty bad at the time, but funny looking back

Totally random favorites:

The Best Monster of All: The monster that will blow your mind
Jotting Junky Jabberwocky: Something weird that I do for fun

Interesting posts where I learned something through research:

Yellow Yarrow Yard: I knew my mom planted this, but didn't know much about it
Zany Zzyzx Zoning: I've always loved the sign, and researched a teeny bit back then. This time I did additional research, and learned even more about it.

Adding Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
They say to do a new post in order to add my blog, so here it is. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Everyday in May: Oklahoma Disaster One-Day Break

Today's Blog Every Day in May prompt was: "Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now." I'm skipping this one, although I suppose the reason for skipping it is fitting. I just can't write anything after the tragedy in Oklahoma. Here are the latest developments on the disaster. I hope my fellow bloggers are all safe.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Everyday in May: Three Awards from Eight People!

Today's Blog Every Day in May prompt is: "Five of your favorite blogs and what you love about them." Well, I have a lot more than that to mention. I feel a bit bad about this, but I've taken so long to get to all the awards, that I now have eight of them. I'm going to consolidate some of this, because it would be almost impossible to list the full number of random facts, questions, and other nominations for every single one, but I'm going to do as much as I can. I love giving other bloggers recognition! :)

Thanks for the nominations!

OK, so I've been nominated for the Liebster Award five new times (and thanks again to Rowena at Designs by Row for my very first award, which I've already blogged about). The people who nominated me are (in order of when they nominated me):
C Hill at CHill Thoughts 
My Rite of Passage 
STFU for a Better Relationship 
Beverly Fox at The Beveled Edge 
ViolaFury at Homeless Chronicles in Tampa.

I've been nominated by two people for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:
"Me" at Scribblings
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne at Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Last but not least, I was nominated for a Sunshine Award by:
Sania Heba at Embracing Dawn

Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me for each award!! OK, so here are the rules for each:

Liebster Rules
Very Inspiring Rules
Sunshine Rules
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose up to 11 up-and-coming blogs (with less than 200 followers) to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
1. Display award logo on blog
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award
3. State 7 things about yourself
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link back to them.
1. Post the Sunshine Award logo.
2. List 7 facts about yourself
3. Nominate 10 fellow bloggers worthy of this award.
4. Announce their nomination on their blog.
5. Link a pingback to the nominator’s blog.

Facts about myself:

The Liebster Award asks for the most facts, so I'll just go with that one.

1. I love chocolate but not sugar. I prefer my chocolate as dark as possible, even though I don't normally like really bitter food either.

2. Even though I've rescued and now have seven cats, I still consider myself a dog person. It's just that I got lucky with what I feel are the best kitties on the planet. I love seeing pets get spoiled, so I hope other pet owners would feel the same way about their own pets.

3. I eat an olive with each meal, even though I hate olives because I hate salt and bitter food. The olives are the one thing that have helped me to actually lose weight, besides cutting out all wheat, which only served to stop my slow weight gain.

4. I love to write SQL queries. I used to be the master of this at work, coming up with the most complex queries possible, all in my head. I haven't had to use that talent for awhile, so it's not much use to me.

5. I love to dance and sing even though I can't dance or sing. To avoid other people's embarrassment (people tend to hide their faces and get embarrassed if they see or hear me do either of these things), I indulge in my wild movements and pitchy screeching cat sounds in the privacy of my own home.

6. I used to love Pepsi, then Diet Pepsi, then Dr. Pepper. Now I hate all soda. It's so sweet, it makes my teeth scream.

7. I actually like the flavor of my two least favorite foods, grapefruit and olives, but hate the strength of that flavor. I like olive oil, and an itty bitty amount of olive that is cooked beyond recognition on my pizza. I also like sweetened grapefruit, such as in a grapefruit Izzy (although I can only drink a teeny bit at a time, because it's way too sweet).

8. I would love to make things that have secret compartments and pop-outs. I love to build things, and I love making pop-up cards. So I'd like to combine those and create secret areas of an object that will pop out a cute message or allow you to hide something. Just for fun. :)

9. When I was younger, I used to love watches. I wore one everywhere. Now I hate them. I never wear a watch now.

10. I love to do the puzzles in the newspaper. My favorite is the Cryptoquote, but I love the Jumble and Sudoku as well. I don't like playing them digitally (especially the Cryptoquote), because the computer tries to "help" you, and it's not as challenging.

11. I still do all of my initial note-taking and outlines on paper, even when I'm writing an article. I always write in pen. I hate writing with a pencil.

Nominators' questions answered:

Only the Liebster has questions, and I got 5 of them. So, I'll answer the ones that do not overlap:

C Hill's questions:
  1. What do you have on your feet right now? Nothing. I love going barefoot as much as possible.
  2. What color are your toenails? Natural.
  3. What’s your secret talent? I've always loved directing. I used to write and direct Star Trek spoofs for my family when I was younger, and got my little brother and cousin to act in them, even though they forgot all their lines. I had to whisper all of their lines to them from the side, and even created a soundtrack of Star Trek noises to act as cues.
  4. What is your favorite food? Thai and Indian. And Japanese (especially sushi). And Mexican. And Peruvian (I love potatoes). And everything else. :)
  5. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? I'd love to visit Italy sometime, but I kinda like being right where I am too. :)
  6. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Oh man. hmmm. I'm kinda curious about Nostradamus. I'd be happy to talk with anyone intelligent though. I think Einstein, actually.
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up? Haha! I'd love to be an inventor, or a movie or TV script writer or director. Maybe a little of each, like James Cameron.
  8. If you could own any vehicle in the world, what would you own? I love my Mustang. I don't really like the tiny cars, or the big luxury cars. I like the one I have.
  9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Right here, or San Diego (where I plan to move back soon).
  10. Do you have a nickname?  What is it? Hehe! I have so many! Everything from Krissy to Kris to Lamisten to Loddy (that one is a long story).
  11. Would you rather be rich or good looking?  Why? I have no idea. I guess if I cared about either one, I would logically have to say good looking, because it would be easier to become rich. :)
My Rite of Passage questions:
  1. Where would you live if you could choose? See C Hill 9.
  2. How would you live if money was no object? Much as I do now, but I would create a research facility for researching and inventing.
  3. What hobbies would you pursue in this situation? Inventing
  4. What new skills would you like to acquire in this situation? I would keep up and improve my technical skills.
  5. What do you value most in life? My family
  6. What does this thing that you value most in life really mean to you? Love
  7. What is your best quality? Honesty and loyalty
  8. What is your worst quality? I obsess with little mistakes I make.
  9. How do you see yourself? Genuine. I can't stand being fake, or hanging out with fake people.
  10. What do you think of the general state of the world? I worry more and more that people are being raised more and more helpless. Kids graduating from school don't know anything, and eat all their meals from fast food. I don't know how they survive at all. nd then they just buy in to whatever crap other people feed them. These people are really going to rule the world after us? The world may be doomed.
  11. If you could change one thing about your current circumstances what would it be? Part of me wishes I could become some sort of politician that could rid the world of politics so we could focus on actually solving problems and living in peace. That's not possible though, sadly.
 STFU for a Better Relationship questions:

1. What inspires you to write? All the ideas swirling in my head
2. Do you write strictly for fun or do you write professionally also? Both
3. What is your blog typically about? Random junk, as the title states. :)
4. What do you like to read? Sci-fi, nonfiction, fantasy, mystery and crime. Books that make me think. I'm not a big fan of romance.
5. What’s your favorite movie? The Matrix
6. What color makes you happy? Burgundy
7. What is your favorite smell? Roses
8. When you’re down or depressed, what cheers you up? My dog and cats, and talking to my mom, brother, or cousin.
9. What helps you come out of a writer’s block? Everything. My mind is always swirling. I guess I just don't get writer's block, or at least not in general. I always have something I can write, although I supposed I sometimes get a bit of blockage when I have to write an article about something specific. In that case, I just start writing, or I do some research (which I love).
10. Who is your favorite author? Many, but I guess I'll pick the first one that comes to mind: Neal Stephenson.
11. What is your favorite blog to share with others (can’t be your own blog)? Designs by Row and Haley's Comic.

Beverly Fox's questions:

1. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Southern California
2. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW? Southern California
4. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Star Trek: Into Darkness
5. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Bionomics: Economy As Ecosystem by Michael Rothschild
6. THE POWER GOES OUT.  IT WILL BE OUT FOR SEVERAL HOURS.  WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOURSELF? Sit and think or daydream, or talk if anyone is around (if it's nighttime). If it's day, I'd go out and enjoy some sun, and maybe play with my pets.
7. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The TV. I'm not really paying attention to it though.
8. GREATEST STRUGGLE AS A WRITER? To do the project I really want to do while I have a project from my old job still hanging over my head.
9. WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD READ? One?! I think A Course in Miracles is fantastic, because it teaches you to understand how your ego separates you from others, an from personal happiness.
10. IF YOU COULD BE ONE OF THE GREEK GODS WHO WOULD YOU BE AND WHY? Blech! I don't want to be a Greek God. This was my least favorite subject in school. It's like a big stupid soap opera. It's irrelevant to me.
11. WEIRDEST THING YOU'VE EVER BEEN TOLD BY A FORTUNE COOKIE? I'm so happy you asked that! McDonald's had a Chinese special once with fortune cookies. My fortune said. "The world is full of McBeauty." I not only thought it was hilarious, but it's a perfect metaphor for where our world is heading. It's so full of fake beauty now.

ViolaFury's questions:
  1. Describe which musical instrument your personality most closely resembles and why. I guess the bass guitar because I'm so deep. LOL!
  2. The last time you did anything idiotic in public (assuming you did; not everyone is me) were you embarrassed, or did you just shrug it off? Feel free to provide details. Or not. I obsseess about mistakes I make, so I got embarrassed and kept thinking about it. I need to stop doing that.
  3. Name one thing about yourself that would surprise people. I was raised for a few years on a 500 acre farm with up to 21 horses at one point, and crops of wheat (before it all became Frankenwheat in our country) and barley.
  4. Favorite genre of music? Hard rock. But I also like some of the Blues, which is my dad's favorite. I like some classic rock too, which is my mom's favorite. And lot's of other music too. Except country.
  5. Cinnamon or peppermint? Cinnamon
  6. What are you reading right now? See Beverly Fox 5.
  7. What was your favorite stuffed toy as a kid? What was his/her name? Probably a cute dog or cat or rabbit or some other cute critter. They didn't have names.
  8. Who is your favorite author? See STFU 10.
  9. Who is your muse? My dog and cats, haha!
  10. If you were to come back to life as an animal, which animal would you be? A dog. I used to pretend to be a dog when I was little, acting out scenes from 101 Dalmations.
  11. Who is your best friend and why? My friend Nicole, because we've been friends since high scool, barely ever see each other, yet everything is as if we saw each other yesterday whenever we meet up.

My nominations

You don't have to accept an award if you don't want it, but here are my nominations. I've nominated some bloggers under two categories, but if you wish to accept them, you can leave just one set of facts, and only answer the questions below if the Liebster is one of the awards. I basically assigned each blog to either a Very Inspiring or Sunshine Award, and if I hadn't already given the blog a Liebster, and it had less than 200 followers, then I gave it a Liebster as well, until I ran out of Liebsters.

Liebster Nominations
Very Inspiring Nominations
Sunshine Nominations
1. Lucy Ravitch at Kids Math Teacher. She's like the Danica McKellar of the blog world.
2. "Me" at Scribblings: She has a lot to say, says whatever she wants, and is always a point of sunshine. I thought about nominating her for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but she just got one (and nominated me).
3. J Kieth at Rogue Mission: She always has something interesting to say. Plus, she did a post about one of my favorite shows, Fringe.
4. Sunni at Surviving Life: She always posts in a different color each day, and decorates her blog with cats. Cats and color are always inspirational, at least to me.
5. Sandy at Oozing out my Ears: What's more inspirational than a creative brain that oozes with ideas?
6. Afshan at "The Pensive"!: I've have read so many interesting things on her blog. She's now doing a photo challenge that I've always loved. Awesome!
7. Naina Madan at C'est la vie!!!: This blog always makes me happy. Plus, it has lots of photos, now that she's doing the photo a day challenge in May. I love photos; especially happy ones!
8. Regina Gort at City Muse Country Muse: I love how this blog always has something different every day. I never get bored reading it. I also love its stylish design.
9. Suzanne McClendon at P.S. Annie!: Here is another blog that gives you a little something different each day. It also has an interesting design, and I like the nifty sharing tool.
10. Coffee Lady at My Morning Cup of Coffee: What's more inspiring than coffee? Just looking at this blog, with all the cute little cups of coffee lining the top, inspires me to get writing.
11. Ben Ellis at Design Du Jour: This is my first male blogger nomination. You have to see this thing. It's just so cool! It's artistic, creative, and you can stare at it for a long time, as in a trance. I find myself daydreaming as I stare at the design, moving the page up and down as the share buttons stay stationary.
1. Lucy Ravitch at Kids Math Teacher: She's like the Danica McKellar of the blog world.
2. Haley Wolfe at Haley's Comic: Just about the funniest blog I've ever seen. It always gets me in the mood to be funny. I already nominated her for a Liebster.
3. Rebeccah Giltrow at Rebeccah Writes: Rebeccah inspired me to write all sorts of things. During A to Z, she had these writing exercises each day, and I completed a short version of each and every one in the comments. It was like a puzzle, and I love puzzles! I already nominated her for a Liebster.
4. Gina Valley: Gina, like Haley, has another awesomely hilarious blog that always puts me in the mood to be funny. Her humor is much different than Haley's brand of humor, but just as funny.
5. J Kieth at Rogue Mission: She always has something interesting to say. Plus, she did a post about one of my favorite shows, Fringe.
6. Sunni at Surviving Life: She always posts in a different color each day, and decorates her blog with cats. Cats and color are always inspirational, at least to me.
7. Afshan at "The Pensive"!: I've have read so many interesting things on her blog. She's now doing a photo challenge that I've always loved. Awesome!
8. Regina Gort at City Muse Country Muse: I love how this blog always has something different every day. I never get bored reading it. I also love its stylish design.
9. Suzanne McClendon at P.S. Annie!: Here is another blog that gives you a little something different each day. It also has an interesting design, and I like the nifty sharing tool.
10. Coffee Lady at My Morning Cup of Coffee: What's more inspiring than coffee? Just looking at this blog, with all the cute little cups of coffee lining the top, inspires me to get writing.
11. Ben Ellis at Design Du Jour: This is my first male blogger nomination. You have to see this thing. It's just so cool! It's artistic, creative, and you can stare at it for a long time, as in a trance. I find myself daydreaming as I stare at the design, moving the page up and down as the share buttons stay stationary.
12. Rob-bear at Bears Noting: I'm nominating this sweet bear for two awards, but for two different blogs. They are both inspirational and sun-shiny, but I thought the poems fit the sunshine a little more.
13. Tracy Moore at Pull Up a Toadstool: Tracy is a very prolific writer, especially of fantastic poetry. I don't even know how she does it, but it's fantastic. I've already nominated her with a Liebster Award.
14. Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes: This is one of the most creative blogs I've ever seen, and so much fun to read. I love to visit whenever I can find the time. I've already nominated him with a Liebster Award.
15. Jolie du Pre at Precious Monsters: This blog always has something fun and interesting to say about ... monsters! And monsters are always fun to read about!
1. Rowena at Designs by Row: Her blog seems perfect for anything with "sunshine" in the title. I already nominated her for a Liebster.
2. "Me" at Scribblings: She has a lot to say, says whatever she wants, and is always a point of sunshine. I thought about nominating her for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, but she just got one (and nominated me).
3. Shail at Shots and Captures: I absolutely love the photos on this blog. They always brighten my day.
4. Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia: Even the look of her blog is bright, and evolving. She is just celebrating her first blogiversary. Congrats!
5.VikLit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author: This is another stylish, happy, and inspiring blog. This is my favorite blog to look at.
6. Laura Hyde at The Musings of Little Mrs. Sunshine: I love the fact that her blog is filled with cute photos. My favorites are of the tiny dog. Tiny dogs always put a smile on my face.
7. Naina Madan at C'est la vie!!!: This blog always makes me happy. Plus, it has lots of photos, now that she's doing the photo a day challenge in May. I love photos; especially happy ones!
8. Rob-bear at Life in the Urban Forest: This is my only "bear" blogger nomination. :) He usually posts in Bears Noting, but I love his poetic side as well.
9. Tracy Moore at Pull Up a Toadstool: Tracy is a very prolific writer, especially of fantastic poetry. I don't even know how she does it, but it's fantastic. I've already nominated her with a Liebster Award.
10. Al Diaz at Father Dragon Writes: This is one of the most creative blogs I've ever seen, and so much fun to read. I love to visit whenever I can find the time. I've already nominated him with a Liebster Award.

Questions for nominees:

The Sunshine and Most Inspiring Blogger Awards don't have questions, but you are welcome to answer the first 7 questions (or more) instead of listing 7 random facts about yourself if you wish.

1. What is your favorite video game (if any)? This can include mobile games and Facebook games.
2. Do you like to sleep on a very soft surface, or a harder surface?
3. What is the most unusual food you have tried?
4. What is your favorite odd food or meal (if you have one)?
5. What is the first sense you turn to when describing something in your writing (taste, smell, touch, sight, etc)?
6. What is one of the cutest things you have ever seen in your life?
7. What is the ugliest thing you have ever seen or experienced (this can have to do with feelings, or inner ugliness, etc)?
8. Do you prefer typing or writing with a pen or pencil and paper?
9. What is your favorite thing to drink?
10. Do you prefer road trips, airline travel, train travel, or other (when going long distances)?
11. What is your favorite way to watch TV, movies, and videos? For example, do you watch everything on your computer or sling it to a big TV? Do you use a Tivo, a DVR, or Netflix? What is your set-up?

Edit: I meant to nominate Sandy at Oozing out my Ears for both a Liebster and Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I only put her on the Liebster list. So, I'm doing a 16th nomination, and adding her now. Congrats on the second award, Sandy! :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: A Sad and Funny Childhood Story

Today's Blog Every Day in May prompt is: "Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt." I've decided to tell a story that was very painful for me when it happened, but has become hilarious. It has a bit of everything: tears; fears; anger; death; violence; and it all comes to a happy, funny conclusion.

My dad was snaking my grandmother's toilet. I was about 5 years old. Apparently, he did not take safety seriously back then, because he didn't realize that he was standing in a small puddle of water. Water and electricity are not a good match. 

So I was standing there in the bathroom, watching him do this fascinating repair work. All of a sudden, as I'm watching, he flies across the room, through the bathroom door, and slams violently against the hallway wall. I watched as he slid slowly down the wall, finally resting lifelessly, with only his head perched up against the wall.

I stood for just a moment before screaming for my mother and grandmother at the top of my lungs, over and over: "DADDY'S DEAD!! DADDY'S DEAD!! DADDY'S DEAD!! DADDY'S ... " You get the idea. 

My mother and grandmother ran into the hallway, and we all stood there for a few moments staring, mouths agape. My mother finally spoke up and said plainly, " My God, he's actually dead." We still stood for a few moments until an amazing thing happened: he came to, and looked around groggily. 

We all sighed, and I began crying with relief as my mother told him that we thought he was dead. He started laughing. I asked him, "Why are you laughing? We thought you were dead!!"

I didn't understand at the time, but my dad is one of those people who laughs when he's nervous. I screamed this time, "Stop laughing! I thought you were dead!!" Of course, he laughed even more, causing me to scream at the top of my lungs again, this time repeating, "I HATE YOU!! I HATE YOU!! I HATE YOU!! I HATE ... " You get the idea. I was still screaming when I stormed off.

Needless to say, I got over it after a short while. I was just happy he was still alive. My dad is still around, doing well. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blog Every Day in May: An Old Photo of Me

My Blog Every Day in May prompt for today is: "A favorite photo of yourself and why." I chose the following photo because it's from the longest road trip I ever took with my family, and it shows how close I am with my little brother. Our road trip was from Southern California all the way to Vancouver for Expo 86 and back. The whole trip was wonderful, and one of the highlights of my life.
My little brother and I, wearing our Expo 86 shirts

MMM Day 7: The Best Monster of All

As many of you may know, I am an absolute sci-fi fanatic. I also love many fantasy shows, but sci-fi is my first love. I get that love from my mother. She passed it down to me by raising me in a sci-fi household: lots of Six Million Dollar Man; Star Trek; and of course, The Twilight Zone. The first movie she ever took me to see in a theater when I was little was Star Wars.

So naturally, my favorite types of monsters are of the sci-fi persuasion. And of those, my favorite monster is the one that first blew my mind. By mind-blowing, I mean surprising, not great special effects. It's the monster that first made me think, and is one of the reasons I love sci-fi.

Yes, it is the horrible, terrifying "monster" from The Twilight Zone episode "Eye of the Beholder." For anyone who loves that show as I did, you know exactly what I am talking about. Beauty for them was a pig face, and the monster was a blond woman whom most humans would call beautiful. So yeah, what makes a "monster" can depend on perspective.

By the way, I've always believed that The Twilight Zone should be required viewing in high schools across America, and especially that episode. All kids, especially the bullies and bullied, should watch that show. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

MMM Day 6: Monster Kitties!!

Today's May Monster Madness post is all about monster kitties. They exist! They are all around us. You'd better sleep with one eye open, because they are out to get you. Be afraid. Be very afraid. They lurk around corners, and jump out of trees when you least expect it. They hiss and swat the air as they complete their evil chants. When the claws come out, you're a goner. There's no way to escape these terrifying monsters. Here they come! I've been able to catch a few photos. When you see the following behavior, run quickly, before it's too late!

Furball gives himself over to evil

Furball does a Linda Blair
Cheetah "possesses" her domain

Furball is terrified by the horror of it all

Booty has grown a large Tippy growth, becoming Hunchback Booty

Lulu is horrified by what she sees

Miss Kitty makes her transformation to Vampire Kitty

Gracie protects her old tree trunk using her trusty old evil eye

Furball reaches for help before falling into the depths of the couch

Furball also believes in the evil eye when it comes to protecting his domain

Teensy screams for help from Tippy's dungeon

OMG! Tippy has been cut in half!

Mama Miss Kitty teaches her babies the intricacies of the "drunken evil eye"

Blog Every Day in May: Life is Cake from Here

Today's Blog Every Day in May prompt is: "Something difficult about your "lot in life" and how you're working to overcome it." I didn't have time to write this one yesterday, but I thought it was worth making up, so I'm just going to backdate it.

For the most part, I had a fairly easy life growing up. That was due to having extraordinarily awesome parents. Even when we had very little money, my brother and I always felt like the richest kids on the planet. It was only very early on that I had problems, and I overcame most of them at a time before I can remember because of my parents. Any issues I still have lingering seem easy to overcome, knowing what I know from my childhood.

My biggest problem occurred when I was born. The doctors didn't think I would survive, and pumped me full of antibiotics. When that only served to make my condition worse, my mother took me home and nursed me back to health. My first three years of life were a challenge. I was very weak and fragile, and would vomit most food. A few times, I was so weak, I could not lift my head. At one point, I even stopped breathing, and my mother had to shake me to get me to breath again.

But I never would have known any of that had happened unless my mother had told me. She was always so amazed by my perseverance, always pushing myself to get to the next level, and it all started the day she brought me home.

These days, I get through any hardship by simply recognizing that it's not all that hard. After my dad got sick with a rare disease, suffering through great pain for two years, and was only the second person ever to survive the disease, I know that anything I may go through is easy in comparison. And I already went through my toughest moments in life in my first three years of life. Everything else has been a piece of cake.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MMM Day 5 and Everyday in May: My Day Involved Monsters!

I'm combining MMM with Blog Every Day in May again. Today's Every Day prompt is: "A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)." Luckily, my day included some MONSTERS, and I have bolded items that include them. One of the MONSTER items actually includes an excerpt from a story I wrote awhile ago.

* The first thing I did when I woke up at around 5 am was to feed the kitties their favorite slop-looking food.

*  I had very little sleep, so it was painful to write my first article for the day. It was a recap of last night's Grimm episode, which included MONSTERS in the form of ZOMBIES!!! Read it here

* I noticed a link to an interview with Matthew Perry about the cancellation of his show. I can't believe what a jerk that interviewer was! I had been upset to learn of the cancellation of "Go On," especially since that is one of the shows for which I write recaps. All the others I write about were renewed though, and I have two new shows to write about starting this month.

* I learned about the site Sulia, got their bookmarklet and posted one of my articles to the site. Two people "trusted" me. I still don't get it. I'll test it out a bit and see if it improves my views or anything. I suppose the idea of trusting someone's content is good, but I think this could be messed with just like everything else.

* I wrote my MMM Day 2 makeup post. I am now caught up with MMM.

* I played a bit with my dog and kitties. Booty went crazy and scratched me. He has never acted that way with me. He's ok now though. Cheetah (below) is always a sweetie:

* I played a quick game of Fairway Solitaire on my iPhone.

* I completed my morning puzzles. My favorite is the Cryptoquote, but I also like the Jumble and Sudoku. I don't know what it is about doing the puzzles from the newspaper, but I suppose it's more challenging. The Cryptoquote is especially more challenging on paper, because the digital version tries to "help" you. Yeah, it helps you have less fun.

* I ate yogurt with frozen blueberries, three types of crunchy cereal, and pecans. It was all organic and wheat-free. Oh yeah, I also had my olive, which I have with each meal.

* My new shoes were delivered.

* I cut off a hangnail.

* I checked MTurk for article assignments, but they didn't have any. When they do, it is the best paying, but not very fun anyway.

* I reviewed info on the Google I/O event today. They had enough announcements to cover all three of my tech news articles for the week.

* I started on the tech articles, but my computer gave me some problems. I had to update it and restart.

* My highest paying weekly article published and paid out, removing the need to finish the tech articles right away (I can even finish them tonight or tomorrow morning). The article is a preview of next week's Defiance, which has MONSTER-like aliens. You can view it here.

* I promoted my content for the day on the various social networks, and noticed that the G+ update won't allow me to share my new Yahoo! TV content with a photo. I now have to share a plain link, which SUCKS!!

* I had some lunch, but forgot to take a photo of it. It was an organic frozen cheese enchilada with homemade salad and blue cheese dressing. The salad included various types of lettuce, home-roasted beets (my favorite!), and cucumbers. The entire meal was organic and wheat-free.

* I found that my old children's story is featured again on Yahoo! Voices, under Short Stories. It has the second slot this time, but has been shared in the first slot there, and on the Creative Writing main page several times. I think it must be one of their favorites, which makes me very happy:
One of the best things about it is that it fits the MONSTER theme, because it is about a witch! The assignment was to write a story based on a photo. I had taken this photo of a tree and thought it looked like an old witch's fingers. The story shaped itself from there. Here is a short excerpt, with a link to the full short story:

The long, gnarled nose appeared first. Then the hands reached up to grab the next rung of the ladder, as the witch climbed from the basement of her little shack. Her long, crooked fingers wrapped around the ladder several times, like a python wringing life from its victim. The boy wondered what could be in the basement of such a small shack. It was probably filled with worms and spiders, and other slithery, crawly things.

The witch finally emerged, and held the smooth pebbles out for the boy to grab. He recoiled for a moment, then realized he was showing her his fear. He thought for a moment, then pulled his bag over, and held it out beneath her twisty, craggy hand. She gruffed and squinched up her face, then relented and dropped the pebbles in the bag.


* I did some cleaning up, organizing, and grocery shopping for the week.

* I took a nap, and ended up sleeping a long time. When I woke up, I had a crazy sneezing fit. I was around my dad, and he had a bad cold, so I'm hoping I'm not sick. I don't feel so great. I took some supplements, but I need to take it easy because I'm getting a headache. It's a good thing my highest paying article paid out today. I do not feel productive today.