"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Forgotten TV I Love

Somehow our family finds our way to random TV that we love, but that very few people seem to have heard of.

1. The Pretender.

This is one rare instance where everyone in our family loved a show. From my parents to me and my sisters to both of my brothers, this was the one show we could all watch together. I just started re-watching it and I love it still!

Michael Weiss plays a man who has been trapped inside "The Center" for the first thirty-something years of his life, running simulations to solve mysteries, crimes, problems, whatever. Now he's escaped and he can become anything and anybody that he wants to be. The show quickly develops an intriguing mystery as the background of Jarod and the relentless Miss Parker and their entanglement with The Center are slowly unveiled.

Weiss does a fantastic job of playing the innocence and joy of someone discovering the world for the first time. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty easy on the eyes as well ;)

It only lasted 4 seasons and then there were 3 movies to try to wrap up loose ends, which was fairly effective. Definitely a show I recommend!

2. Dave the Barbarian

This short-lived glory of randomness needs to be released on DVD. For serious. This cartoon is SO random it definitely isn't for everyone, but if you like stupid hilarity, you should watch the bits that are posted on YouTube. Here's one for your viewing enjoyment!

Any forgotten TV you love, that most people haven't heard of?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are you an architect or a gardener?

I found my notebook from Polaris! Yeah! Which means that I now have lots and lots of notes so I will spread this out over several weeks. But it also means that I don't have to worry about what I'm going to post as I get back into the swing of school!

Most of you have heard of the terms "plotting" and "pantsing" but at the panel on "Details, Filler, Plot" Brandon Sanderson referenced the terms "Gardener" and "Architect" - a gardener is a pantser. They kind of just let things happen organically, planting seeds as they go, but unsure exactly how the end product will look. The architect is the plotter. They have blueprints and plans and have a fairly good idea what the finished product is going to be, though of course there are always surprises along the way.

I really like those terms. I am a mixture of those two, so maybe I'm an architect of gardens?

One of the panelists also used a quote from Neil Gaiman saying that writing is like "Jumping out of an airplane and knitting a parachute before you hit the ground." Which made me laugh because it is SO true. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, an architect or a gardener, you are jumping out into the unknown and hoping everything makes sense in the end.

Brandon also said that the best way to learn how to plot a book is to write one that's a total disaster because you didn't plot it right. That will teach you more than going to a hundred panels on plotting or reading a bunch of books.

The one thing that was emphasized over and over (which I mentioned before) is you have to practice. You have to write. If you're in the middle of a story and realize you forgot something, don't let it slow you down. Make a note of it, go back if you can, but avoid the eternal rewrite if it's keeping you from actually finishing. MUST FINISH.

So, are you an architect? Or a gardener? Or a mixture of both?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Back to School

1. I am so excited for school to start. I get to see my school friends again and, because of my schedule, I actually get to see all 4 of the other senior TAs on a regular basis. Can't wait to try some of my new ideas for teaching. Excited about having Dr. G again. Can't wait to start some real work on my thesis.

2. I am so not ready for school to start. I was supposed to read a bunch of stuff over the summer. I did, but not for school. I read like 40 books this summer and only 5 of them were in any way related to school. I don't want to go back! I am scared about pulling my thesis together. I am nervous about the new professor I'm taking. I really don't want to know if I'm off the poo list of another professor, but I hope I am since they are one of my thesis advisers (and I know the "they" is technically not grammatically correct, but we have no other generic pronouns, so I like using they and you can't stop me). I'm scared about all the romantic poetry we have to read. I don't want to try to figure out what I'm going to do once I graduate.
funny pictures of cats with captions

So there you have it. Eek! What are your feelings about the start of the school year?

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Lost!


I know I promised last week that I would have more about the writing workshops from Polaris. So I set aside time on Sunday evening to write the post. But when I went to get the notebook in which I had taken all my notes, it wasn't where I was sure I had put it.

So that post is going to have to wait. Yet again. Until I find the notebook.

See, one of my goals this summer was to organize my room. Which included basically cleaning, moving, and throwing out tons of stuff. I bought some new cabinets and shelves and got rid of some old ones that weren't working in the space I have. I'm almost done, but I still have some things kind of everywhere and I'm guessing the notebook is one of those things.

One of the benefits I am finding is that I am being able to actually work in my room better with less clutter. And right now I have to work in my room because it is the only space that is mine since I'm still living at home right now.

How about you? Do you work better in an organized environment? Or does it not really matter? Will you forgive me for this lame post?

Also, I wanted to give y'all the heads up that this week I have meetings all week and next week school starts so my blog will probably suffer a bit because of it. I want to try to keep up some sort of schedule, but things can get crazy and there's the added insanity of my store closing, so we'll see what happens.

Thanks to everybody who has hung in here and read my ramblings over the past couple years. I <3 you all!

Here is some cuteness to thank you.
funny pictures - It's dangerous to go alone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rebecca and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Oy. I would like to submit that yesterday be stricken from the record and never actually have happened.

My day went a little something like this...

4:35am - Alarm goes off. Groan and hit snooze button
4:44am - Alarm goes off again. Hit snooze button.
4:53am - Hit snooze button. Just this ONCE more.
5:15am - Wake up and stare in horror at the clock, not wanting to acknowledge the fact that I have to leave in 15 minutes. Wonder what happened to snooze.
5:16am - Stumble down hall and see that Naomi isn't awake either. We have to leave at the same time.
5:17am - Force contacts into eyes that don't want to open.
5:32am - Grab lunch from fridge, breathing a prayer of thanks that I packed it the night before.
5:35am - Pull out of driveway with Naomi safely strapped in passenger seat.
5:37am - Realize that if I don't eat something I will be nauseous by the time I get to work.
5:40am - Buy bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit at McDonalds
5:42am - Get on highway.
5:57am - Take exit for mall. Stare in shock at time. We're actually not late.
6:05am - try to find hot cups for the pack of hot chocolate I brought. The entire sleeve has vanished in one day.
6:06am - decide to buy mug so I can have my stinkin hot chocolate.
6:08am - begin putting up new sale signs
6:10am - realize that previous crew threw out all the signs from the night before - signs that have to be reused. Dig them out of the garbage. Cringe.

6:55am - Cheer that all the signs are done
6:56am - Realize that all of the specific price points in the entire store (Regular price $19.99, now 30% off - You pay only $13.99!) haven't been changed. Pout.
9:59am - Wonder how on earth there were so many "you pays" everywhere. Frantically try to grab the last few signs before the locusts (aka customers) descend.
10:00am - Store opens. Bring a cart of bargain books out onto floor.
10:10am - Begin straightening stacks of books to make room for more.
10:11am - liquidator informs me that I have to remove all the books I just straightened so he can put tables in their place.
10:12am - Bang head on ground.
10:40 - liquidator has brilliant idea to condense all magazines to one side to make room for bargain. (not sarcastically brilliant)
11:00 - go on lunch break
12:15 - Ask coworker to help with magazines. Hear that cashier has called out. bang head on floor.

12:45 - Ring on register.
1:15 - straighten 5 magazines
1:17 - Ring on register.
1:26 - Customer flips out and screams that an item didn't ring up according to the You Pay prince.
1:28 - Take down signs until we can figure out what happened
1:30 - Straighten 2 magazines
1:32 - Ring on register
1:33 - Another customer flips out about same item. Insists sign is still up. Contradict her.
1:35 - Check where customer directs. Find 1 sign that had been missed
1:36 - Bang head on floor.
1:45 - straighten 8 magazines
1:48 - Ring on register
1:57 - Have rude customer insist on 2 bags for his 2 books. Even after I tell him we are running low. Refrain from throwing said bag over his head.

1:59 - hear that other cashier has called out. Scream internally.
2:30 - straighten 3 magazines
2:31 - Ring on register
2:45 - Straighten 10 magazines. Thank coworker for doing my project (sincerely)
2:47 - Ring on register
3:10 - Run screaming from the building

3:15 - Naomi and I decide we need a smoothie to make everything better.
3:40 - Smoothie works for a little while.
4:43 - Almost fall asleep while trying to order 5 books for classes that start in a week and a half.
6:02 - Eat dinner.
6:35 - Watch hilarious Brian Regan videos on YouTube with Dad and Mom
7:56 - Get excited that Wipeout is about to come on.
8:37 - Decide to make a milkshake for the first time in a year.
8:45 - Turn on blender. Hear horrible grinding noise. Turn off blender.
8:52 - Empty all contents out of blender. Discover that blender is broken. Die a little inside.
9:02 - Give up and whisk now melty ice cream and chocolate sauce into an iffy chocolate milk kind of thing with large Oreo cookie pieces.

9:07 - Disappointed, but okay with results.
WARNING - next part is not for the faint of heart. Seriously. If you don't want to be grossed out, don't highlight the next section. I will make it as invisible as I can. Just so you don't have to be grossed out if you don't want to be. I'll just say that I didn't get to finish my milkshake thing.
9:15 - Bite down on Oreo. Hear strange crunch in molars. Spit out on napkin and discover legs. Large ant had crawled into milkshake during blender catastrophe.
9:17 - Freak out and practically throw cup at Dad who discovers more ants in glass.
9:19 - Wash mouth out vigorously.
9:39 - Decide I need to go to sleep and make this day go away.

10:02 - Decide to write blog post to try to make myself laugh. It sorta works.

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

PS - I got all the GIFS from tumblr and I don't mean any disrespect or anything for using them. I think they're so cool and they are not mine.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cover Love Thursday: The Year We Were Famous

I came across this when browsing, and I love the cover - also quite intrigued by the description! I read a lot of fantasy, but I'm a historical fiction lover too and this is based on a TRUE story!

I love the detail around the edges and the font is perfect for the book. It looks like a cross between a stitched sampler and an old news notice.

Here's the description from Goodreads:

With their family home facing foreclosure, seventeen-year-old Clara Estby and her mother, Helga, need to raise a lot of money fast—no easy feat for two women in 1896. Helga wants to tackle the problem with her usual loud and flashy style, while Clara favors a less showy approach. Together they come up with a plan to walk the 4,600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington, to New York City—and if they can do it in only seven months, a publisher has agreed to give them $10,000. Based on the true story of the author’s great-aunt and great-grandmother, this is a fast-paced historical adventure that sets the drama of Around the World in Eighty Days against an American backdrop during the time of the suffragist movement, the 1896 presidential campaign, and the changing perception of “a woman’s place” in society.

One more book on my ever-expanding to-read pile!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

Oh, the things I will do not to write anything with real content, but still consider it a blog post.

Hey, wait. I think that's truth #1 for today.

2- I am passive agressive. I am just coming to this realization. The customers coming into our store during this period of liquidation are BRINGING IT OUT IN ME.

3- I am also becoming more violent. In the past 2 weeks I have had intensely strong urges to: a) throw a book at a customer's head, b) dropkick a customer, c) stab a pen into a customer, d) use my words to wound

4- my new motto is: People are Stupid. This applies to an alarmingly large part of the populace

5- This blogpost is getting a little too honest

6- I am hoping some of the customers read this and feel terrible.

7- I should be ashamed of 1-6 BUT I'M NOT

8- I really am.

9- dear heavens someone please stop this diarrhea of the fingers

10- I have to have an even number for my list.


So what is your truth for this Tuesday? Do tell!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finish It

I swear I AM going to do a real post on the writing workshops at Polaris with Brandon Sanderson and the other authors. They were amazing and I have a lot I want to say. I will do it within the next week. There, now I've put it out there, so there's pressure to deliver.

Today I want to offer the one piece of advice that Brandon emphasized over and over again.


It doesn't matter how good/bad/unique/original/terrible/cliche/whatever your book is if you never finish it. You can't edit it or do anything real with it if you never finish it.

He said, if you aren't being able to finish, you need to find out what it is that is keeping you from finishing it and get rid of it. FINISH.

This is the thing I am terrible at. I start a bunch of projects and then I get lost halfway through them and feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do. So I go back the beginning and try to rework it, but then I never get past where I've already written. Okay, not never, but it's a consistent problem in my writing life.

One of the panelists (I have this written down somewhere, but I'm too lazy to look it up now) told of a person in their critique group that turned in their first chapter something like 30 times. They'd take the feedback and rework and resubmit it. Over and over. But at the end of the day, they didn't actually have anything real to work with. One chapter and an idea in their head, which, I imagine, became so twisted from trying to incorporate everyone else's ideas, that it wasn't really their idea anymore.

Critique groups are fantastic. Reading partners are the bomb (waves at Lindsey). But if you allow that to keep you from finishing what you've started, you will never write a novel. If you keep rereading and trying to fix the beginning before you have an end, you will never write a novel. If you sit and blog and tweeter and play on Facebook and ignore your WIP, you will never write a novel.
funny pictures - Doing  nothing  is  very  hard  work. You  never  know  when  you're  finished.
Sheesh. Talk about convicting. Um, I'm just gonna go work on my book now. I'll catch you guys later.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cover Love Thursday: Emily of New Moon

This series is one of my favorites of all time. It is by one of my favorite authors and it's been on my mind a lot recently. First, because I just re-read them. Second, the reason I re-read them is because I am doing my thesis on the trilogy.

I am SO. Excited.

I love this cover. I really do. But as I was doing this post, I began to wonder. What would this cover look like if it were being published today? As I was browsing for the cover picture, I came across this version that was just published this year.
I'm sorry, but no. no. and more no. This cover misses the charm and childlike simplicity and wonder of the character that is Emily. She looks like some sort of tragic heroine, not an eleven year old girl with slightly pointed ears, a massive imagination, and a heart of delight in the world around her.

So what do you think? Which cover would make you pick up the book? Have you read these books? WHY NOT?! :) Do you completely disagree with me and think that I'm rude for being so emphatic? :P

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Borders Means to Me: An Open Letter

Dear Borders Customers,

To me, Borders was more than a job. It was more than a paycheck. It was more than thinly veiled slavery in helping you find that book you wanted. It was more than clocking in and clocking out. It was more than putting books on the shelves and straightening the aisles.

Borders was my life. Borders was coworkers that drove me crazy and made me love them all at the same time. Borders was sharing crazy stories and passing down epic hilarity. ("The man with the gun is here for the money.") Borders was making friendships. Borders was discovering things in common.

Borders was wearing reindeer antlers the week before Christmas and having someone laugh and say they couldn't get mad at Rudolph. Borders was re-reading the Twilight books to come up with trivia for the release of Breaking Dawn. Borders was dressing up as a Witch and making potions with little kids in the hall for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Borders was wearing a Dorothy costume to work on Halloween.

Borders was storytime every Wednesday with Miss Alicia. Borders was laughing at the juggling baristas in the cafe. Borders was dueling cashiers on the Saturday before Christmas. Borders was satisfaction over a newly straightened section. Borders was giggling over the cycloptic elephants. Borders was three people pushing a bargain cart piled so high it weighed a ton. Borders was getting to know the NEMF guy on a first name basis. Borders was cafe samples on the information desk.

Borders was meeting local authors that really cared and loved to come in and talk (We Love you Michelle Zink! You too Owen Palmiotti!). Borders was events that fell in our lap (Brandon Mull!) Borders was obnoxious local authors that we hid from (no names here, but true story). Borders was going to BEA with coworkers and geeking out that we got something signed by one of our favorite authors.

Borders was exchanging book titles and sharing new authors, both with customers and with coworkers. Borders was dancing with glee when a favorite author's latest book arrived. Borders was gawking over a gorgeous cover and reading a new author we never would have discovered otherwise. Borders was reading.

Borders was asking a little kid what kind of book they liked to read and handing them an old favorite. Borders was helping grandma find the perfect gift for her grandson. Borders was directing a woman to other historical fiction she might like. Borders was a fifteen minute conversation with a man about science fiction books. Borders was a middle school girl saying, "you helped me last time and gave me really good books. What should I get now?" Borders was passing on the love of books and authors and reading to anyone and everyone who was willing to listen.

Borders was more than a store. Borders was a home. A home for learning and sharing. For friendships and fun. For the regular shopper and the once a year visitor. For the browser and the hunter.

These are the things I worked for. These are the things I will miss.

So, to those of you just looking for a deal? To those annoyed that the books aren't cheap enough? Those angry that we can't find your specific book? Those smirking over the fact that we "deserve to lose our jobs"? To you? We didn't do this for you. We never did.

Borders was the people. The people that loved reading, that loved books, that loved the atmosphere you can only find in a bookstore. And it's those people that I will miss the most.

It was a great five years and I know I will never have another experience like this.

Goodbye Borders. It was fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Lovely Books

I'm ba-ack.

Pete's sake. I didn't mean to be gone so long, but I feel much better after that break. Now I need to find time to visit all y'all.

I have been on a major reading binge - whipping through novels and audiobooks like nobody's business, so I thought I would share a couple of my favorites with you :)

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. I've kind of fallen in love with Julie's writing. I started Secondhand Charm yesterday and I'm already half way through.
The Amaranth Enchantment is kind of a Cinderella twist, but so different it isn't really. If that makes any sense. Anyhoo - those of you that have been around for a while know my love for/fascination with good fairy tale-esque stories or retellings. Julie's characters are fun, resourceful, witty, and engaging.

A quick non-spoilery review. Poor Lucinda lost everything when her parents were killed in a terrible carriage accident. Sent to live with her uncle and his abrasive wife, Lucinda not only has to deal with the harsh words and blows of Aunt, but with the faint air of scandal that overhangs her parents and their death. When a ragged thief breaks into her room, a rumored witch visits the shop and leaves an unusual stone, and she has a chance encounter with the prince, who is certain they've met before, Lucinda's life takes a turn for the worse, but all of these events may just lead her back to where she belongs, if she can figure out where that is.

My favorite character in the book? Dog, Lucinda's self-appointed pet goat. How frawesome is that?!

The other book I just finished is The Fledgling by Jane Langton. Such a sweet, poignant, lyrical book. I got it on audio and it kept me enchanted all through my commute over the past week.
Georgie knows she can fly. She's sure she's done it before - or was that a dream? No. She's sure she can. Unfortunately, every time she tries she merely tumbles down the stairs until her entire family is worried that she will really hurt herself. The call of the flock of Canadian geese inspires her, and it seems like one of the geese - the most majestic and largest of all, has taken a personal interest. Set in Concord, with a background of Walden pond, and a family entrenched in the study of Henry Thoreau, Langton paints a beautiful picture of a dream that just might come true.

So how about you? Read any good books lately? Do tell!