Posted by: sialater | September 21, 2009

Wizards Of The Third Coast

I think that I live with Wizards. Or possibly, I am one myself. Nothing else can explain the extreme run of electronic bad luck we’ve had this month.

First, two weeks ago, the screen to the laptop died. Not the laptop itself. THAT is fine, but the screen. So in order to use it, we have to treat it like a CPU and attach a monitor and a keyboard and mouse. At least until we can afford a new one.

Then, while Tim was out of town, the graphics card in our massive CPU dies. It was a $3000 paperweight for about a week till we found one on sale at Best Buy.

Then, on Friday, we’re getting ready for Nerd Night. There was pizza and beer a plenty. The Lizard was actually in a good mood, as was Tim, and The Queen was drinking a lot of beer to get over wanting to murder her physics professor. Replete with beer and pizza, we settled down for a nice friendly night of Guitar Hero (and listening to The Lizard bitch about Emo Music), when the graphics go all wonky and turn photonegative in spots. Optimistic, we reboot the XBOX 360.

The screen won’t turn on. At all.

Uh oh.

You see, this XBOX360 was the SECOND one we’d bought. We bought our first one back when it first came out. That one had the Dreaded Red Ring Of Death. We’d gotten the replacement policy with Best Buy back then and the thing died two weeks before the policy expired. We got the Halo Edition in exchange, AND bought a new replacement policy. Friday, when the 360 died, we packed it up, found the old receipt and discovered we had one MONTH left on the replacement policy and took it back to Best Buy. They’d apparently not had it returned in a while and were unsure of what to do to compensate us. So, they refunded us the whole amount of the Halo Edition and we got an Elite in exchange.

Now, we just have to replay all the games to get our achievements back.

The Queen is required to stay 50’ away from all electronics.

Also, I hope there’s no more hurricanes in the near future till they fix our power grid beyond the gerry-rigged piece of shite they’re passing it off as.

Posted by: sialater | September 18, 2009

Ugh, and Double Ugh.

Tim was looking for his shoes last night while we were getting ready to go find a new graphics card.  I found them and pointed them out.  Unfortunately, I was standing near the staircase when I said, “There they are.”  I turned to go get my own shoes and instead of turning away from the staircase, I turned in to it.

You guessed it, I clocked my knee.  It hurt so much for a few minutes, I thought I was going to throw up.

I am officially the clumsiest person I know, and that includes an ex-dancer who forgets where her feet end.

My knee hasn’t yet turned purple, so it’s gonna be a bad one.

Posted by: sialater | September 14, 2009

Twilight Sucks

If you’re a fan of Twilight in any capacity, stop reading NOW.

You’ve been warned.

Stop reading.

OK, last chance…..

I have never watched nor read anything that would have every single Suffragist and Women’s Rights Activist spinning in her grave as much as this book/movie. But, the ideological issues are not the biggest problem I have with this novel & movie. There are plenty of reasons to hate it on technical merits.

1) The Lack of Plot: Yes, the romance can be the plot in and of itself; but only if there are OBSTACLES to said romance. Even Romeo and Juliet had to deal with their parents. There was a bad-guy vampire. I do not know why he wasn’t used more, other than Meyers’ lack of experience or squeamishness. Using him wouldn’t have taken away from the romance; it would have added to it and perhaps shown why Edward was worth Bella’s longing and pain. If I’d written it, James would have been stalking Bella from the first. Maybe because she smelled good to him, too. Maybe because he really wanted to piss off the Cullens. Maybe because he’s just an asshole. The reasons are myriad. Edward would have been a bit too late occasionally to rescue our useless heroine, making her use her brain, perhaps? Maybe Jacob could have done something like grown a backbone a bit earlier and also rescued her at least once. Because stopping a sliding car one-handed while cool, is really rather tame by today’s vampire stories standards. Either way, the villain would have been a part of the story from the beginning, not put in as an afterthought because Meyer’s couldn’t figure out how to end the story without some sort of fight scene. Which Edward nearly lost.

2) The Weak Characterization of Bella: In the novel, this girl is a Mary Sue. And arrogant about it. She mothers her mother, she mothers and bosses around her father, who seems slavishly content to let her because omgmydaughtercamebacktome! Instead of, you know, parenting. I dunno if any of you know any cops in person, but being bullied by their kids doesn’t happen all that often. She bullies and bosses around her friends.  But, this seemingly strong-willed girl turns into a hormonal mush at the very sight of a boy who, for all intents and purposes HATES her. He sneers at her, he avoids her, he looks at her like he’s going to throw up. So why didn’t she just tell him to take a flying leap when he starts being nice to her. She’s got half the school boys throwing themselves at her, but she’s not interested. She’d rather have the overly pale guy who hates her take her to the prom than one of the many cute boys any other girl would be glad of. Instead she plays match maker to get them off her back so she can moon over The Boy Who Hates Her. Instead, of you know, telling him off. Elizabeth Bennett didn’t tolerate such nonsense from Mr. Darcy without telling him what she thought of him. Why couldn’t Bella tell Edward to stop being a dick? Or JUST STOP TALKING TO HIM, period until he had to rescue her from the big bad vampire stalker James? (And yes, feminism aside, most romances require the hero to rescue the heroine at least once.)

3) The Weak Characterization of Edward: First off, why sentence the poor boy to be perpetually 17? Couldn’t he be 21? Second, why have the younger vampires reenroll in high school umpteen million times? Why not let them be “homeschooled?” It’s not like they did a lot of socialization while attending high school. And now, the actual character flaws. Why would someone as old as Edward be interested in Bella? At least Spike and Angel lusted after Buffy because she was The Slayer, not because she smelled nice and was 16. I’m the last one to object to age differences, sometimes you just click. But usually, there’s something unusual about the parties in question, like the aforementioned Slayer. There was nothing special about either Bella or Edward. There weren’t even any important events surrounding their meeting, like the signing of the treaty with the werewolves, or the arrival of the Cullens. Actually, I can’t really complain about Edward’s characterization because we’re not given any. He’s defined entirely through a 16 year old’s eyes. And frankly, 16 year olds are rather shallow. He’s pretty, he’s cold, he’s rescued her, he’s mysterious. He calls her spider-monkey (seriously, wtf?), he glowers lovingly out from under his brows…. Oh, and he glitters in sunlight and likes music. Oh, and as he keeps telling Bella, while still stalking her, “Stay away from me, I’m dangerous.” Just ONCE, I wanted her to tell him, “Hey, dumbass, who just walked up to whom, here? Why don’t you leave ME alone, since you’re so dangerous?”

The cultural implications of Twilight should be fairly minor, I hope. I doubt there are bevies of teenaged girls who now think stalking or being stalked is cool in real life. However, I do worry that this novel, along with the Disney Princesses crap, our daughters are going to grow up believing that Prince Charming really will rescue them from their dreary, rainy existence.

Because frankly, girls, ain’t no one gonna rescue you from a car sliding out of control across an icy parking lot, try moving the fuck out of the way.

After all, when Anakin and Padme Skywalker make more sense than your romance, you’ve got some problems.

Posted by: sialater | September 8, 2009

Austin, Texas

I didn’t get to cut off my hair, darnit. But we still went to Austin for Tim’s friend J’s birthday. A two-and-a-half-hour drive took four hours due to some jackasses who had to rubber-neck some guy getting his tire changed on the side of the road on a four-lane highway. It was J’s 30th birthday, so he invited us and all their high school friends over for a party. It wasn’t a wild thing, by any means.

After a rousing game of Battle of the Sexes, which the girls won, naturally, there were tequila and vodka shots. And because my stomach lining has stopped speaking to me long ago, I had one of each. I lost count of the beers, though. Met J’s girlfriend, who is the same age I am, coincidentally. I dunno what it is, but Tim goes and gets an older woman, all his buddies follow suit. (hehe) (PJ’s dating a woman 16 years HIS senior. One-upper. 😉 )

I got along well with both women, so it was good to talk to at least two others who don’t think I’m odd for marrying/dating a man 6 years my junior (or more).

Saturday, we go to PJ’s dojang to watch him teach a class. He’s a black belt in Tukong Musool (sp?), a Korean style of martial arts. Tim and J got to be practice dummies. They spent the rest of the weekend whining about their sore hands. (OK, not really, but it’s funnier that way.) Good news is, they both want to go back to martial arts. Bad news is, while J can drop in on PJ’s classes, Tim cannot. So, gotta find someplace where Tim feels comfortable and that will help him with his leg.

We reluctantly cut our trip short by a day, but only because Tim has to go out of town for training for a week.

Posted by: sialater | September 3, 2009

Going, Going, GONE!

So, I’m going to cut off my hair tomorrow.  It won’t be too short, since I have a tendency to ‘fro (without a LOT more work than I’m willing to put in) when it’s anywhere between a pixie and a bob.  So, it’ll probably end up about mid neck in length.  Right now, it’s down past my shoulder blades.  I can tell from the texture, though, that a shorter cut is necessary ASAP.  My hair is fried from dying it blonde for a few years.  OK, 5 years.  Without a break.

Cutting it short would do two things.  It would get rid of the fried stuff.  It would also allow me to grow out the dye.  I have two reasons for wanting to do that.  It’s apparently bad for a pregnancy to dye your hair during it.  The chemicals can apparently travel through your blood stream and through the placental wall.  I don’t know how accurate this theory is, but I think when I finally do get pregnant, the kid’s going to have enough trouble without my adding challenges to his existence.

Also, I went gray at 25-26.  I am curious as to how far the gray has gone.  It’s also gotten quite dye resistant.  Which is one of the reasons I went blonde.  In the blonde hair, it looks like highlights.  When I’m my normal ash blonde/auburn, it stands out for what it is. Gray.  I do not look old enough to be gray yet.  Tim doesn’t look old enough to have a wife with gray hair yet, either.

I haven’t had short hair in quite some time.  Since Middle School, I think.  It’ll be interesting to care for, that’s for sure.  I’d like to try to find a dye close to my natural color till all the dye grows out, but I haven’t yet found anything remotely  resembling my normal calico hair color.

I’m nervous about cutting off that much, though.  I like my long hair.  I like the weight of it, the way it feels when it touches my arms.  I’ll miss it, until I grow it back out, that is.  My hair does grow quickly.  Almost abnormally so.  But still, it almost feels like I’ll be having a major organ removed.   One that’s a bit rusty and overused, but still a major part of me.  But unlike an organ, my mane will grow back.

Maybe if I keep saying that, I’ll believe it.

Posted by: sialater | September 1, 2009

Update

I had to take a couple days off from the new novel. Our laptop broke. So, Tim’s been using the big computer to play Guild Wars and I’ve been doing a lot of chores around the house. The inspiration is still sticking with me, however, and I’m trying to arrange things so that I can concentrate tonight.

In the meantime, I’m working on a longer post that will let my geek flag fly a little higher. You’ll see. Maybe it’ll make you groan; maybe you’ll laugh or call me stupid. Or all of the above.

In the meantime, I’ve worked at my company for 10 years and they still can’t spell my name right.  Ah, well, as long as it’s spelled right on my paychecks!

Posted by: sialater | August 28, 2009

Writing and Other Fun Stuff

I feel like I should apologize for not blogging more. But then, I’m plugging away at the new novel idea. It’s slow, but it’s faster than the previous attempt. I have the first full weekend to write on it coming up, let’s see how well I do in letting it stick with me. The only plans I have for this weekend are writing and cleaning my kitchen.

Hopefully, I can convince Tim to set aside money so we can get the microwave fixed and stop using his icky college one.

I couldn’t get my TSH levels tested this morning.  I forgot and took my meds.  Can’t do that for thyroid testing.  So, I rescheduled it for Monday.  Hopefully, I can remember not to take them.

Posted by: sialater | August 26, 2009

Me Vs. The Tyrannosaurus Rex

I tried to go to bed early last night, and somewhat succeeded.  I fell into a deep sleep.  At around 2AM, my body decided to reward my efforts at a little more sleep with a heart-pounding nightmare.

It started rather quietly, so quietly, I can’t remember what the opening scene was.  But the parts I remembered clearly were terrifying.

I was with my dad and my dog Missy in an extensive cavern system (have I mentioned caves freak me out, BADLY).  A Tyrannosaurus Rex was chasing us.  Tim was with the rest of my family, defending them from other dinosaurs.  My dad had taken off after something.

Yes, you read that right, a T-Rex in a cave was chasing us.

(And no, I don’t think it’s some sort of allegory for my brother-in-law, considering the nickname I’ve given him.)

My dad must’ve been having a bad day, because in my dream he was barely coherent, grinning madly, and capering.  We ran from cavern to cavern off the main cave (ok, Missy and I ran, he capered), dodging the T-Rex’s giant teeth.   My dad kept trying to go in one certain cavern for something my mother apparently needed.  I kept trying to keep him out of it since the opening was big enough for the T-Rex to reach in there and it was a dead end.

Capering wildly (I swear, in this dream, my father capered, he didn’t walk or run), he entered the cavern and scooped up whatever it was.  I think it was a sweater, not sure why my mother couldn’t live without it, or why my dad insisted he get it for her. Missy was being a useful dog and was keeping an eye out for the T-Rex.   When she started wildly barking and threw herself at me, knocking me over.  The T-Rex managed to grab my dad.  I woke up just before it ate him.

My heart was pounding so badly, I couldn’t go back to sleep right away.

Usually, I can become aware of my nightmares and change them in the middle.  If I’m being chased by Zombies, I get an escape hatch, or a weapon to defeat them.  This nightmare came on so suddenly, I didn’t get a chance to hand myself a surface-to-air missile launcher to defeat this T-Rex.  I really hope these vivid nightmares are a sign my creativity is coming back, and not a sign of my thyroid being screwed up, still.

Posted by: sialater | August 25, 2009

Inspiration vs. Perspiration

Butt glue doesn’t always work.  I would sit down in front of my novel, staring at the cursor, my mind racing.  Not a single good idea would float to the surface.  I’d end up spinning my wheels in filler dialogue that I knew I’d have to condense or extract later on trying to get my mind to give me the next scene.  Nothing.  Sometimes, I’d be rewarded with the urge to revise something that happened earlier, but nothing to finish the last 100 pages or so that I knew I had.  I knew what the fight was going to be, maybe, but not how to get there.

On Saturday, as I got ready to take a shower after cleaning my house, an idea hit me.  Hard.  I’d been mulling the idea of an urban fantasy around in my head for a few years, now, but nothing had gelled at all.  Until, suddenly, the idea hit me for the world in between heartbeats.

Yes, that’s what it felt like.  By the end of my 30 minute shower (hey, it’s Saturday, I shave my legs then), I had the outline for the novel and the background for the world fully formed in my head.

My muse is weird. I’m grateful to him, but he’s weird.

Posted by: sialater | August 24, 2009

G4m3r Gur1

Yes, I do play video games.  I am over 30 and married and play on a MMORPG.

Yes, I know I’m weird.  I don’t really care.

The ones I really loved playing were the two Knights of the Old Republic games, Bioware’s Jade Empire and Mass Effect and Resident Evil 4 & 5.  The MMORPG I play is Guild Wars.

OK, now that I’ve admitted how geeky I am, I’ll explain why.

1)      It’s fun to accessorize your sword with your armor.

2)      You can imagine every last monster and bad guy you kill is your boss or that annoying coworker.

3)      It helps with my writing in that it takes me out of myself for a while.

4)      You don’t have to do anything except make bad guys go “boom.”

5)      A really well written video game is like playing through a novel.

6)      You get to wish your bank account in game was your real life bank account.

7)      It’s something I can do with my husband that doesn’t really cost a lot of money.

8)      It teaches crisis management.  If you’re surrounded by enemies and your monk just went down or you’re out of medpacks, you can still wipe them out, I promise.  Just don’t panic. And don’t screw up.

9)      It teaches time management.  You have ten minutes before your dinner will be burned, do you get involved with the 20-enemy-gang, or just beat up the little one over there?

10)   It teaches persistence.  If you die, get back up and go kill the sucker that made you dead.

There are plenty more reasons, but I think 10 is enough to establish my geekiness at the moment.  I didn’t always like playing video games, other than a rousing game of solitaire or freecell, but thanks to Tim’s influence, I like playing them now.

I also prefer games where I can play a girl and rescue others.  But that’s a different blog.

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