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Thursday, December 22, 2005

*wibbles*

I'm trying to convince myself that I'm not sick.

I do not, for example, have a scratchy throat. I also was not kept up most of the night by said non-existant scratchy throat, and I did not finally manage to get to sleep by sticking a mentholated cough drop between my clenched teeth.

This means that I am most certainly not utterly exhausted today and flagging fast.

What did I do to deserve the Christmas Cold this year? I haven't even been *that* stressed out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

random afternoon off

Unexpectedly getting the afternoon off the week before Christmas and the day that a HUGE number of your Christmas gifts arrive (they were ordered Dec. 1, so don't be looking at me with that 'you procrastinated' face) has got to be one of the best things ever.

So far this afternoon I have wrapped half a dozen presents and baked three dozen cranberry white chocolate chip cookies (my own recipe and YAY! so good). I am feeling extremely accomplished.

However, I now also have a list about three miles long of errands to run and I have to brave the post office on the busiest mailing day of the year.

But I believe in taking things 15 minutes at a time, including 15 to sit down and take a breather and, apparently, blog.

blogs I read

I decided it was time to update the links list on the left hand side of the page with some new blogs that I read on a regular basis, because they all just rock and you've gotta share the love. Pay it forward. Whatever.

So here's a roundup of the new blogs:

Tales to Astonish!
Just a guy in New York writing a blog, but he's fun and interesting and kind of addicted to old movies.


Luxist
This is one of my FAVORITE guilty pleasure reads, which features everything and anything that could be considered a luxury good. From alcohol to real estate, from jewelry to art, from a $37,000 pen to a $175 Dean & DeLuca Bon Vivant Gift Package for that francophile on your Christmas list.

I'm just saying.


The Unofficial Apple Weblog
An excellent place for inside scoops for Mac people like me.


Go Fug Yourself
Oh SO funny. These girls take pictures of celebrities at functions and dissect their fashion mistakes -- and MAN are there a lot of them. These chicks say what we're all thinking, and it is GUARANTEED to make you feel better about your wardrobe decision of the day. Observe this snippet, in which you don't even NEED the photographic evidence posted with it:

Waist up: hot! Sexy! Sexy! Hot! Sure, I think that's a lariat around her neck, but let's all look the other way! La la la!

Waist down: ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH SWEET FANCY MOSES AND HEAVENLY GOD IN... HEAVEN! CROPPED! HAMMER PANTS! This outfit is 2 Legit 2 -- AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH, GOD, I CAN'T EVEN GET THROUGH AN ENTIRE HAMMER JOKE. WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE STOP THE BURNING?

I do have to admit that if my face hadn't been rendered unto ashes thanks to her cropped Hammer-panted jumpsuit (a phrase which I believe actually brings forth the End Times), I would note that her shoes are totally fierce and I need them.


Cute Overload
All this site does is cute. Some posts are about cute products like Hello Kitty Fender guitars and plush microbes, but mostly cute baby animals. Cute pictures of cute fuzzy baby animals in cute poses doing cute things. But the saccrine cutenicity is cut a little by the often amusing commentary and titles on the pictures. It's actually a lot more engaging (and less vomit-inducing) than it sounds.

Witness the hedgehog complete with Alice in Wonderland references and the OMG DOORMICE!!!!!! So cute.


Overheard in NY
A collection of "witicisms" overheard by various and sundry people in our fair city of New York. WARNING: some graphic language, but lots of "OMG people are stupid!" moments.

How did we live before there was internet?

This weekend, I shopped for a car by getting quotes over the internet from six different Honda dealers local to our house, and discovered that there isn't a 2006 Honda Civic LX with a five speed manual transmition in navy blue in the entire state of California.

*sigh*

The only good news is that the nice guy at the dealership with the best price said he would give us an even BETTER price if we decided to buy one in one of the colors he had.

I'm currently trying to decide if I can live with Galaxy Grey. For the price he's willing to give us, it's entirely possible.

So who knows? I could have a new car before the week is out. We shall see, we shall see...


* * *

In other news, the pot luck party last night was OK. Brandon and I decided that it's a little weird because we only know the host and hostess, and not any of their friends. And, as Brandon put it, we really don't have much in common with their friends because they're all "rich and stuck up." We're definitely not the former. ;)

But the spinach dip went over well and my friend the hostess only inadvertantly flashed her boobs once, so all in all it was a pretty good party.

And hot chocolate with Irish Cream in it is my new favorite thing ever. Yum.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fake it, don't make it

(Yes, I'm being spammy today. So sue me.)

So, this weekend we have our second pot-luck event of the season, and I'm planning on taking the same thing I took to the first: spinach artichoke dip. It's AWESOME. The recipe calls for baking it in the oven, but for the first party, I cooked it in our mini crock pot and it came out beautifully and stayed warm for the whole party.

So, for my mom who asked for the recipe:


Spinach-Artichoke Dip


From Real Simple


1 10-ounce box frozen cut or chopped spinach, thawed
1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pita chips, tortilla chips, or sliced French bread
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Heat oven to 400° F.

Squeeze the spinach between paper towels to remove excess moisture. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, and Cheddar. Season with the salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a small oven-safe baking dish. Bake until lightly golden and heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with the chips or bread and the lemon wedges, if desired.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


From Lacy: This is NOT low fat, but would probably be really easy to lighten up by using reduced fat dairy products -- cream cheese, sour cream, and cheddar -- and by using artichoke hearts packed in water instead of marinated in oil. Also, I doubled the recipe for the party and it was gone well before the end (about 35-40 people).

To make in the crock pot: assemble all the ingredients and put into the crock pot on low for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.

it's just common sense, people

Yesterday, I called for a courier to come pick up some boxes today. When I placed the call, I told the dispatcher that I had two large boxes and four small boxes.

This morning, the receptionist called to tell me my courier was here. I loaded up my dolly, hauled them out to the lobby...

...and greeted the man in the wheelchair who was my courier.

WHY would you dispatch a man in a wheelchair to pick up six boxes? Some documents, a single box? Sure! BUT NOT SIX BOXES, PEOPLE.

I took them down and loaded them into his car for him. Then I called our client who is receiving the boxes and told them that he might need some help unloading his car.

*facedesk*

Western wedding favors

For the longest time now, whenever I opened up Blogger to make a post, I would notice that our wedding blog was coming up at the top of my blog list to say that I'd made a post recently. Like, every day. Which is strange, because I haven't actually made a post in it since the end of July.

Today, I figured out why.

I had to turn on the "are you a real person? please type in these letters" feature on this blog because I was getting spam in the comments. Check out what happens if the spam goes unchecked (scroll down to read the comments).

I'm just flabbergasted by the complexity of the spambots. Here are some EXCELLENT quotes from my many "fans":

"Sad to say I just got back from a bowling tournament..."

"I am doing a paper on cherished wedding favors and have been downloading information for the last hour."

"All I can say is WOW Lacy. The other half and I just got back from our friends house (well her friends house) and I needed a huge break. I am working on a project right now that is based on wedding favors catalogs."

"I just got inside from washing and waxing my truck. It is my baby. Took me 2 hours though. So I settled down into my basement and started doing some web surfing. Anyways I am in the process of grabbing my masters degree and have spent the last 6 months researching wedding favors for kids." -- OK, really. WHAT THE HELL?

WHY DO KIDS NEED WEDDING FAVORS??? HOW DO YOU GRAB A MASTERS DEGREE? ANd WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH WEDDING FAVORS???

Thursday, December 15, 2005

another random thing about today

I'm sitting at my desk eating cold cereal for lunch.

Clearly this says something about my life. I'm not sure it's positive.

Some random things about today:

1. I had a dream this morning that was very long and complicated, but suffice to say that it ended up with my cat, Cleopatra, sitting next to somebody's severed head. There was also a great deal of mud. Really, it wasn't as nightmarish as it sounds.

2. Can somebody explain this to me?

Airmail to the UK is considerably less than either Global Priority Mail OR Slow Boat To China Mail. Go fig.

3. It was 46 degrees when I left for work this morning, and my office building still has the air conditioning on. I'm not asking for heat, people, just turn off the freaking AC!

4. I got most of my Christmas cards in the mail this morning, but I am perplexed by a turn of events I noticed this year. I don't get a lot of Christmas cards, as a general rule, but the ones I did get this year all came less than a week after Thanksgiving. Is this some unspoken rule I didn't know about? Did we somehow decide that since all the stores and malls and things have decided to move up Christmas, that the card mailing deadline has been moved up as well? Why didn't I get this memo?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not at all behind according to my own internal schedule, which maybe says something about me as a person...

I don't send Christmas cards every year. I do it when the mood strikes me, and this year I was struck. See, I'm from the camp that it isn't worth it -- to me -- to just send a card with our names signed at the bottom, because then all my energy went into addressing the envelope rather than making or writing the card. I can see by the quality of some of the cards this year that a lot of my family and friends feel the same way. By far, the top two we've gotten this year were AWESOME photo montages by both my great Uncle Duncan and my friend Charlsa. I can get behind those kinds of cards. Those show a lot of creativity and effort.

But I'm not looking down my nose at non-card-senders either. As I said above, my card sending comes down to mood most years. Some years I'm in a really festive mood and want to spend hours decorating and making cards and wrapping presents. Some years I just want to cocoon until spring. This year I'm somewhere in between, but wherever you are on that spectrum: I'm with you. Solidarity in the holiday spirit (or lack thereof), yo.

Some people object to cards on a moral basis, either because they find them trite, or because they use up too much paper, or because they're trying to stick it to the corporate man (Hallmark? I'm looking at you.). And I say awesome. More power to ya.

Some people just don't have time. And I say awesome. More power to ya. Spend the time doing something you enjoy, rather than something you feel obligated to do.

So don't freak out if you get a card from me this year, and don't get one next year. It's only a phase. You're just as likely to get a hand-glittered monstrocity from me the year after that.

5. I posted a whole new batch of my dad's drawings on my livejournal and decided not to cross post them here, because the format would be harder to see. If you'd like to take a look, just click the link, or you can see the full sized images at Wayne's deviant art gallery.

Friday, December 09, 2005

office party blues

Here's what I like: mini quiches.

Here's what I don't like: awkward silences.


Our offices are housed in what's known as "Executive Suites" on the 11th floor of a large office building in Huntington Beach. The entire floor is made up of single offices which are rented out to people who only need one or two (or in our case, three) offices for their company, and we share a nice reception area, kitchen, copy room, and two conference rooms. The floor is managed by a company who also provides us with receptionists, so if you ever call me, the girl who answers the phone and says, "Good morning, thank you for calling L_____________ B_____________ Group," is not me, nor does she actually work for our company.

Anyway, today the management team threw us a very nice holiday brunch. Unfortunately, I'm the only one here today from my company, so that meant I had to go mingle. With perfect strangers.

So I go in, load up my plate with mini quiches, half of a ginormous breakfast burrito, and a quarter of an even bigger cinnamon roll, and I thought I had it made: I spotted one of the receptionists chatting with another young woman about our age. So I went and sat down, introduced myself to the girl I didn't know, and almost immediately, the receptionist got up to go answer phones, and the other girl got up to go back to her office.

What? Have I got quiche in my teeth?

I'm left alone, sitting by myslef, looking like a lonely wallflower. So then, a very nice lady whom I have exchanged plesantries with in the elevator and halls occasionally came and sat next to me with her husband in tow. We introduced ourselves and I tried to engage them in conversation to ask them about what they did, and then, suddenly, they had nothing to talk about.

This is something of a trend that I've noticed: until older people get to know me, they assume I will have nothing of interest to talk to them about, or, they assume that they have to know all the latest music/pop culture/hip slang to communicate effectively with me. Message to all those people: I'm a total dork. I'm a 45 year old hiding in a 24 year old's body. I probably know less about current music/pop culture/slang than you do (unless it involves Harry Potter).

So, the awkward silences ensued and eventually they started talking around me, so I got up and left. I did, however, learn this morning that this floor is made up of about 60% financial planners, 20% lawyers, and the other 20% oddballs like us.

Which explains quite a lot, actually.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

So, I did most of my Christmas shopping yesterday. Thankfully I didn't have much left to do, and believe me when I say that a Tuesday evening, still a good three weeks before Christmas is not at all a bad time to shop. I am pleased with my purchases, and just have to order a few more things that I couldn't find and then I'll be DONE!

I also managed to do some wrapping and boxing last night. Go me! I should have two boxes ready for the mail tonight. I just have to pick up some Oreos for my English friend. =)

Yay Christmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

there but for the grace of god...

I am so lucky, so fortunate, so blessed. I'm reminded of this today because two of my real life friends are going through hard times financially.

Everyone makes bad choices here and there. I've certainly made a few in my life. It's not because of any great master plan that I'm in the position I'm in today. I am in no way "better" than these friends; I'm not smarter, or thriftier, or a better money manager. A few hard knocks and I could be facing the same horrible choices, looking down the same black tunnel.

So I'm making this post as a sort of prayer to the universe: I don't say it often enough, but thank you. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, and there have been many. Thank you to whatever higher power there may be that has steered me away from disaster in the past. Thank you for those few terrifying moments when I teetered on the brink, but was able to pull myself back. Thank you for my husband, who -- though he drives me absolutely batshite with it sometimes -- has a definite plan for our financial future.

Out here in the Land of Fruits and Nuts(TM), it is all too easy to slip into that mindset that nothing is ever enough. We are constantly bombarded by it, day in and day out. In the scant two years I have been living here, I have noticed myself becoming more materialistic, more focused on money and wealth, more distracted by labels and brands. I see it too in my husband, born and raised in a small town, who suddenly wants to have the fastest car, the nicest house, the best job. There is nothing wrong with wanting those things on the surface, but I fear they are symptoms of a greater disease.

"It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got."

Today I'm also saying a little prayer that my friends will be able to come out on top. They are both smart women, and I'm certain they will be able to persevere -- but a little karmic push doesn't hurt anything!

Send your thoughts, prayers, good vibes, and karma to my friends today. Whatever you believe in, send a little of that mojo in their direction today, and then say thank you for what you've got.

Couldn't hurt.

Friday, December 02, 2005

an eloise moment

Know what I hate?

People who talk on their cell phones in public restrooms. I also have issues with people who want to talk to each other, while they do their business, but talking to somebody on the phone just takes the biscuit.

I've only done it once in my life, and it was for a good reason.

I was driving back from LA after a job interview, and I had to go to the bathroom SO BAD, so I stopped at a mall, and went to a department store bathroom. While in the stall, my cell phone rang, and the caller ID showed that it was the company I had just interviewed with.

I accepted a job offer in the ladies room of Robinson's May.

But I didn't like it.

a poem

Eulogy for the Walking Dead

There is triumphant change in human life;
The old begets the new in steady wheels.
And those who fight for stasis are as like
To bring down wounds that fester as that heal.
No good e'er came of silencing a man
Whose beauty, ripe for picking, shows itself
If truly it is beauty, it will stand
Though hell and heaven bar the way with death.
And though you think the dead may not go on
Yet bodies turn to dust and thus to earth;
The transmutation comes to everyone
Lives ending from the moment of our birth.
So any who draw breath, fine girls and boys
your choice lies here before you, in your hand:
Will you be soil for living human joy
Or will your only gift to this green land
Be when you lie beneath it feeding spring?
All things are changing and all things will change
And death, if meaningless, will yet still bring
Fresh fodder for the yearly-dying grain.
You may plant joy, reap love, and beauty give,
Or die alive and only dying, live.

Monday, November 28, 2005

mmm... squash...

I'm craving a really good pumpkin pie. Our friends Carol and Shawn provided the pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving extravaganza last week, but I've come to realize that the general public doesn't enjoy their pumpkin pie with quite as much kick as I'm used to. I'm craving a pumpkin pie ala ECB.

May have to make my own sometime soon... Won't hold a candle to an ECB original, of course, but it's better than nothing...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh My god

omgomgomgomgomgomgomg

There is ANOTHER LOST EPISODE OF BLAKE!

We are missing episode six! It's called "Seek -- Locate -- Destroy" and it's about TRAVIS and why the hell he's so fixated on Blake anyway. DUH! I always wondered if we weren't missing something, and lo and behold, we ARE!

Now my only problem is that I don't have any way of seeing it. *weeps*

Woe. But yay! But woe.

Jag-U-Are

Our photographer sent this photo to the people at Jaguar.



They liked it, and want to send it to their people in the UK who publish a Jaguar magazine.

Look at us! We're famous! ;)

Friday, November 18, 2005

HAPPY HP DAY!

T-minus five hours until I get to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

AKA: The Film the Hairdressers Forgot


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

So, not much going on in the land of Lacy. I sort of woke up today and realized that Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow. That was a shocker. Some of you may remember where I was last Thanksgiving and I'm glad to say that this year my house will be a little fuller. A couple we know from choir is going to celebrate with us. I am increasingly amused by the fact that Carol and I have planned exactly which board games we're going to break out, but haven't even begun to discuss food. Oh yeah. Balderdash and Scrabble. We've got our priorities straight...

In other news, the NaNo is still kicking my butt, but less so. I started writing a plot summary when I got stymied on the actual writing, and that seems to be helping a bit. Oh well. Can't force it, or I might actually break something. Believe me; I was getting shooting pains every time I looked at it last week. ;)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

woe

There's a forum on the NaNo website called "I Hate Myself and I Want to Die."

I know why it's there.

Friday, November 11, 2005

inspiration!

How much do I love my silly Blake's Seven? More and more each day, my friends.

I came home this afternoon after being dismissed by the boss lady, and decided I would watch a little Blake while eating my lunch, and suddenly... suddenly...

*cue heavenly choir*

I had a revelation about two of my St. Jude's characters inspired by good old Blake.

We bought a DVD recorder. Hopefully, very soon now, I will be able to transfer all of the episodes to DVD, and then I'll stop having these horrible nightmares about one of the tapes breaking and the episodes being lost forever...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Best. Horoscope. EVER.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In my astrological opinion, you really need to kiss the mist on the grass at dawn. For your life to be a complete success, you should also gaze at the tops of trees regularly, make a wish as you spit into a pond where the moon is reflected, and arrange for the sun to shine on the back of your neck as you sing an improvised ballad about your future. And if you'd like to earn some extra credit with the deities, making it impossible for them to resist sending you a bolt of brilliant cosmic juju, I advise you to eat a cookie while imagining it's the body of your favorite god or goddess.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

hidden treasure

So, in my writing life, I'm in the habit of putting thoughts and ideas I don't want to lose down on note cards, especially when they pertain to a particular project I'm working on.

Well, over the weekend, I grabbed a stack of notecards from the pile in my desk and was busily making notes, when I turned one over and discovered that I had already written on it. Turning over a few more, I found four notecards in all that had ideas on them -- but the thing is, I have NO IDEA what they were about.

Here they are, in order, exactly as they appear:

*

Doctor with a lisp

*

Collections of books, music, movies don't mean anything b/c they can't provide her with meaning -- search for meaning

*

"I make a point not to apologize for other peoples' ignorance."

*

-she meets a boy - a musician - in the bookstore.

Monday, November 07, 2005

nano first week update

So, a week into the nano process and I've hit the 10,000 word mark. So far I'm on the money in terms of hitting my word counts for the week and what have you. Unfortunately, not much has happened in the book yet. Well, I mean, a lot has happened: I've introduced all the characters, started laying the foundations for the plot (sort of) and built up a little suspense, but there hasn't been a whole lot of action.

I have this bad feeling I may be meandering. I guess that's allowed. This is supposed to be my crappy first draft, right? I mean, it's not supposed to be literary gold. I'm just not precisely sure where I'm going with all this, and I think it's starting to show.

Oh well! Onward and upward!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lux Aeterna

For those musically inclined persons out there, I wanted to tell you about this piece we are doing in choir for All Saints Sunday this weekend. It's Morten Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna and it's just... Wow. It's different than anything else I've ever sung before.

Now, my musical vocabulary is limited at best, so I will try to explain this the only way I know how. You know how when you hear a piece by Bach, or Mozart, you kind of know where they're going with it? You can, to some tiny extent, predict the way the chords will progress and how the piece will be structured and so on and so forth. It makes musical sense because we have heard that kind of music so often before.

Lauridsen's work is totally the opposite. He uses harmonies that just don't make any sense. Notes that shouldn't go together. Chords that aren't so much chords as random conglomerations of notes. And yet somehow it works. Again, I haven't got the musical vocabulary to tell you why it works, but it does. It's a very modern piece. Not a-tonal (is that the term I want?) but definitely not traditional or classical either.

The Latin is different too. With nine out of ten pieces we sing, the liturgical Latin is exactly the same. Agnus Dei, requiem aeternum, etc. With this, the guy apparently went in and wrote all these lyrics and then translated them into Latin, so it's like we're not only sight reading the notes, but the Latin as well. And I never took Latin. There's one line that says something about "in laboris refrigarium" which we unanimously decided must either be about refrigerator repairmen or the fact that the choir was laboring away and the air conditioning was turned on too high. One or the other.

This makes it an incredibly challenging piece to sing. David, our director, commented that it just isn't performed all that often. It was debuted here in LA several years ago, I take it, to very good reviews, but it's just so different and difficult that most choirs don't even attempt it.

I feel that this might be a good time to mention that we are a church choir of twelve. Thirteen on a good day. None of us are professional musicians. We have only five men in the choir: two first tenors, one second tenor, one baritone, and one bass. Our director sings bass while he conducts and he invites a friend of his to sing baritone when we do Big Important pieces like this.

Suffice to say, this would be a challenging piece for a full choir of professionally trained musicians. Parts of it are near to impossible for us.

And yet... We're making remarkable headway. I'm really terribly proud of us. But we really are an excellent group. We've been told many times, most notably by the professional musicians David brings in to play with us for big events, that people are astounded at the quality and quantity of sound we produce with such a small group. Frankly, so am I.

We've also been debating whether or not Lauridsen hates basses as we work on this song. Both the bass and the alto parts (not to mention the tenor and soprano parts) are painfully high. There has been much laughter and jokes about thongs in the bass section. In addition, sometimes the lines are just so incredibly random they lose any sort of musicality when taken separately from the rest of the choir and the accompaniment. Last night we, the sopranos, were trying to learn this section that jumped from a high c, down an octave, up to a high d (that's a ninth for anyone keeping track) and back down an octave again before moving on. Parts of it are almost like singing a vocalese!

And yet, when you get it, when all the parts come together and it actually works, David cuts us off and there's this collective feeling of oh. That's what it was supposed to sound like, eh? Well that's actually quite nice.

Who knew?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My horoscope

Pisces: That higher-up who's been giving you a hard time lately isn't going to ease up -- at least, not just yet -- so just keep your nose to the grindstone. They may not be deliberately giving you a hard time, though. They may simply be trying to get you to show them what you're capable of. Take the challenge and work even harder than you have been.


Well that's just swell...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

8:16 in the morning and I've already been at work for 45 minutes. I got up at 5 FREAKING thirty this morning so I could get ready and have time to go to the grocery store to get bagels, danishes, croissants, etc. for the big FREAKING meeting today.

The meeting starts at 9. Boss lady is not here yet. Quel suprise.

On the plus side, I look ten kinds of hot young professional with funky jewelery today.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

nanowrimo has begun!

So! It's started! I wrote and wrote this morning! Haven't got a word count yet because I was writing by hand, but I was writing hot, which felt really good.

Went to TWO NaNo real-life meet up events this weekend. Sunday was the kick off party which was tons of fun. We just sat around at this pizza place playing writing games and laughing and being very raucous. My kind of party. And yesterday was supposed to be a "planning" party, but only four people showed up, so it was kind of dull. I didn't stay for the whole thing. But it's pretty cool to meet some other insane writing people out there and they're going to continue having these meet ups every week during November, so maybe I'll go to a few more.

Anyway, feeling pretty good at the moment. I think we can pretty much expect that I will crash and burn at some point along the way, but that's OK. Pretty much par for the course.

I think from here on out I'll be doing NaNo updates on my St. Judes journal -- I mean, it's THERE, I may as well use it. I won't be posting the whole thing there, but I'm thinking of putting up daily dribbles if I write anything worth sharing. We shall see. There will, undoubtedly, be rants, however. ;)

Friday, October 28, 2005

thought for the day

It is only possible to
live happily ever after
on a day to day basis.

~Margaret Bonnano

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Unfair Boss Could Shorten Your Life

Third time's a charm?

My car was broken into over the weekend. That makes three times in as many years.

For those of you just joining us, the first two times happened inside of six months while I was living in Santa Fe and working at the De Vargas Mall. One time they jimmied the lock and stole my stereo; the second time they just threw a very large chunk of concrete through my window, denting the door horribly in the process, but didn't actually steal anything.

This time, my car was parked in my parking space at our apartment complex. The passenger side lock was popped out of the door, the stereo was stolen and the entire console ripped out. They also, apparently stole my opener for the apartment complex and my parking card for my work parking structure. There was really nothing else in the car worth taking.

The police officer who wrote the report for us said it sounded like we were being targeted because our bikes had been stolen two weeks earlier from the same space. Brandon thinks that's probably likely because I park next to a wall and it's very secluded. No one (like the "courtesy patrol"?) could see anything going on in my space if they just looked down the aisle.

Brandon went to the office and demanded a new parking space, which we now have. He's also going to try to get them to lower our rent when we renew our lease this week, because honestly? This is ridiculous.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Autumn Cookies


Autumn Cookies
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.
So, last night Brandon and I made and decorated cookies for our date night, and I promised Allison a picture since I couldn't send her any via email.

How much do I love having a digital camera??

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I am *not* good at complicated hairdos.

I put my hair in a pony tail this morning, and decided to pin back my bangs with a little poof in the front that is all the rage right now? It looked pretty good...

...until I just raked my fingers through it to scratch an itch about a minute ago.

DAMMIT!

Monday, October 17, 2005

some random things

1. I'm having some work issues. It's come to the point where I'm wondering if I should quit or bear it out. I'm just not sure, but I'm also not really willing to go into it on such a public forum.

2. I had a dream last night about Poppy -- Hi Poppy! I want to call you soon. Whenever I have dreams about particular people, I feel like I should contact them.

3. It's raining. Quite a lot, actually, at least for Southern California, and there was hail and storm rotation up north.

4. I'm making Japanese garlic eggplant for dinner. Yum.

5. I bought my first Lord Peter Wimsey book at the church book sale on Sunday. Looking forward to it.

6. I think I've decided not to go for the $600 writer's conference in December. I just don't think I can be as well prepared for it as I should be, and I think I'll just make it a goal for 2006.

7. We bought a second hand VHS copy of Zoolander last night at Blockbuster for $5 and realized when we got home that it has Spanish subtitles. That you can't take off. But that's OK, cos it just makes it funnier.

8. We also bought a copy of Prince Caspian and the Dawn Treader, the old BBC version for $5. It was a good haul.

9. There's been a mudslide up north and it's closed part of the 5 freeway.

10. I got boss lady's COBRA insurance reinstated with my kick-*ss letter. BOO-YA!!!! I think I deserve a raise, don't you?

Friday, October 14, 2005

wmao, close cousin to nano

So, I've been remiss in my blogging, and I apologize for that. Only, not much of any note has been going on except craziness at work, which is really not the stuff of compelling bloggage.

Otherwise, my only exciting news is that I've declared this weekend WMAO (Write My *ss Off) Weekend.

See, I've finally found a true impetus for me to get a draft of my novel written: there is a writer's conference in Big Sur, California at the beginning of December that I would love to attend, but one has to have two full chapters to submit by November 16th.

(It also costs $600, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there...)

I had already planned to participate in NaNoWriMo this year to try to pound out a manuscript, but I would like to have the first few chapters polished a bit beyond a first draft before sending them out, so I'm going to sit my rapidly expanding booty into a chair this weekend and just WORK. That's my goal. Going grocery shopping tonight to stock up on the essentials: chocolate, wine, easy-to-prepare foods, and all the ingredients for baking cookies when I'm procrastinating.

So send me all your best positive writing vibes for the weekend! And I'll try to have something more interesting to say in the near future.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

too weird

Remember, a while back, I was having anxiety dreams and in one of them a guy was trying to sell me a lump of tie dye on a stick??



o_0

Who knew???

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wedding Photos -- The Ceremony

Our story so far...


So, Deacon Joan came and told us that it was time to go. She led all of us around to the front of the church where the mom's were ushered in by Brandon's brother-in-law Eric, and my uncle Steve.


Brandon, Poppy, and Father Dale walked into the church, which signaled that we were ready to go. Then it was time for the maids to go. We marched in to The Prince of Denmark March by Jeremiah Clarke.


Daddy and I came to the doorway, and everybody stood up. I don't remember very much except a)trying desperately not to cry, b)trying desperately not to trip, and c)trying desperately not to look at anybody.


The ceremony itself was fairly short and sweet. Brandon's sister Heather and my aunt Leslie gave our readings for us. My father DID remember to say "Her mother and I do," when asked who presents this woman. Other than that, all I clearly remember is realizing that Brandon kept looking over at me. I turned my head, our eyes met, and he squeezed my hand. It was all happy crying from then on out.


I think that photo was taken during the vows. I did manage, as you can see, to smile through my tears. =)


Though some people had a little more trouble... Everyone told me afterward what a beautiful and emotional wedding it was. In fact, our photographer told me he'd never seen a more emotional wedding. I took that as a compliment.


Father Dale was wonderful. He gave an excellent sermon, none of which I can remember, but I do remember that it set me off crying again. He was also very good about reminding us where to go and what to do. I can only imagine that he has had a lot of practice with couples barely even remembering their own names during their weddings.


And then, before it had barely begun, it was over. We were married! What a moment.




It's hard to explain what was going through our minds at that point. It's hard even to remember. It was a blur, a beautiful shifting slippery moment of joy that rushed by us so fast, even when we were trying desperately to catch hold. All we could do was smile, hold onto each other, and be swept away in it.


After taking our formal portraits in the church, Brandon and I got in the Jaguar he had rented for the occasion and headed out of town to the Inn at Sunrise Springs for our reception.


I'll leave the story here, for now, and pick up next time with the reception...

who needs a hat to sing?

Gacked from alleraller:

Here's what you do: enter your name into google followed by the word "needs," and record your top 5 funniest results.

In other words, enter "[your name] needs" If your name is John, enter "John needs" etc. You get it.

Post your top fives in the comments or on your own blog.


Here's what Google says I need:

The Lacy needs lots of attention and exercise, as most of your working
breeds do.

Lacy needs glasses and a brain...

THE TOWN OF LACY NEEDS SOME CORRECTIONS.

The last thing Lacy needs is trouble -- and handsome Mayor Drake Randolph has "danger" written all over him . . .

LACY Who needs a hat to sing?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

nanowrimo 2005

I have made a decision.

In the interests of butt kicking my Muse back into writing mode from her long (long, long, LONG) vacation, I have decided to join the countless thousands of other insane persons in what we affectionately call NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who weren't around when I was pimping Allison's valiant NaNo progress last year, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is a challenge to would-be novelists to sit down and pound out 50,000 words between midnight on November 1st and midnight on November 30th.

50,000 words is a LOT of words. Even in the glorious, heady heyday of "Sect" I was only churning out about 20,000 words a month (a chapter a week at about 5,000 words per chapter), so 50k is a LARGE goal.

But it is, nevertheless, a goal, and if there's one thing I've learned about myself and my writing so far, it's that I work best with a deadline.

What does this actually mean you may be asking? Well, it means this: I have registered with the official NaNoWriMo site where I will enter my daily word count. If, by the end of the month, I have achieved 50,000 words (whether or not the novel is actually finished), I will be listed as one of the "winners" on the site. You don't actually win anything other than the pride of being able to say that you did it. But that's OK.

This also means that I will be spending this month, October, planning my novel and next month AGONIZING over every word. Hopefully the INSANE deadline will keep me focused and keep me from freaking out about making every word a gem. That's what the next year and the editing process are for. ;)

I just think if I could get the thing WRITTEN, if I could get some sort of a draft started, I could really start to make some headway on this thingy.

Of course, for those of you worried about "Sect," I will also be trying desperately to finish the final chapter this month before the insanity kicks in next month. We'll see.

In any case, start praying for me now. Pray that my Muse will get off her lazy arse and come help me out. Pray that Brandon will not kill me during the month of November. Pray that I remember to do things like sleep and shower during the month of November.

We, who are about to write, salute you.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Wedding Photos -- Getting Ready

Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start.

(But don't make me sing, OK?)
That's me on the morning of the wedding. I was a little nervous. Even though I had gone to bed relatively early the night before, I didn't get very much sleep. So, after I'd showered and done everything I could reasonably do at that hour of the morning, I went out on our balcony and wrote a little in my journal. It wasn't very coherent, but it was a little bit relaxing.

For some reason, everybody (and by everybody, I mean Emily and Anne) thought it was really cute that I was sitting out there in my towel turban. I don't get it.

We had some breakfast in my mom and dad's hotel room. Everybody kept telling me to eat. I pretended like I cared.

Emily and I borrowed Allison's car and left to go get my hair done. Anne and Allison and the rest of the fam stayed behind to finish up the flowers and decorating the reception. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to everyone who helped. My cousins Cindy and Colette helped my Aunt Sharon make all the bouteniers and corsages while my mom handled the bouquets, and my cousin Olivia and my Aunt Leslie helped them gather greenery from the gardens outside our room to go with the flowers. No one could believe we had done the flowers ourselves, they looked so professional.


Em and I tried to relax in the bride's room at the church while waiting for everyone else to get there. Emily did my makeup and DAMN did she do a good job. I felt like a canvas, but in a good way. ;)

It seemed like FOREVER before everyone else showed up, but I know it was really like, twenty minutes or something. Mom and Allison and Anne arrived with the flowers and my dress, and then Leslie and Olivia came with lunch. Everyone tried to get me to eat. I pretended to care.

The photographer showed up at this point. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he had been with Brandon and Poppy (my granddad and Brandon's best man) for a while already, taking pictures.

When he had arrived, he presented Brandon with a print of a portrait he had made of me the day before. Brandon told me afterwards that he almost cried when he saw the picture.

Meanwhile, back in the bride's room, I was quietly freaking out. Luckily, my mom, my sister, and my dearest friends in all the world were there to keep me company. I was doing just fine until I put the dress on, then I started to lose it a little bit.
Emily was shushing me and trying to get me to laugh. She started singing, "Kumbaya my Lacy, Kumbaya!" I think because it was the only thing she could think of. It was great. Mom gave me an altoid to sober me up, and it worked pretty well.

Through all of this, the wedding coordinator at the church was absolutely fantastic. She kept checking on us, asking if we needed anything, pinning on corsages. She was calm and collected and really kept us going in the right direction.

And then she came to tell us it was time to go.

*gulp*

photo friday!

I plan to do the first of the wedding photo posts today, but just to get us started:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

fyi

So, just FYI, the proofs page is up at the photographer's website! Email me if you'd like to see it and I haven't already sent the link.

In other news, thank you to everyone who's signed up for flickr! The next step after uploading pictures to your account is to add them to the Renner Wedding group. It's easy to do: when you click on one of your pictures and see it in it's enlarged form, there are a series of buttons over the top of the photo, and one says add to group. Just click it and select "Renner Wedding" -- then everyone can see all the wedding pics in one spot!

More picspam soon, I promise.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Photos and Flickr!

Some of you will have received a message from me via flickr.com inviting you to join the group Renner Wedding. The idea behind this flickr group is that everyone who attended and took pictures can join and share their pictures with everyone else -- including those who were unable to attend or who forgot their cameras in the hotel room. ;)

It's easy to join. Drop me a line if I haven't already sent you an invite, and I will do so. The email tells you how to join, and registering with the site is free! Then you can upload some of your pictures, and see the pictures that other people have uploaded. Anyone can view the photos, even if you don't have any to share. And from flickr, you can download, print, or save whatever pictures float your boat. It's like a community photo album with unlimited reprints!

Speaking of photos, I am slowly but surely organizing all our pictures from France on my flickr page. Everyone is welcome to browse it now, just be aware that there will be more information -- titles (as in, "Which church was that again?"), descriptions, etc. soon to follow.

In addition, our photographer is working on a very special site where everyone will be able to view our proofs and order prints. For now, you can visit his website (click on "wedding portfolio) for a very nice preview!

More to come soon, I promise!

And, on an entirely more sobering note, please pray for all of Texas and Louisiana, but my baby sister and her friends in particular who have stubbornly bravely decided to ride out Rita in College Station.

=D I love you, babe. I know you think we're all overreacting, and I hope and pray that you're right.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Brandon's 29th birthday was yesterday. I took some pictures of him opening his presents, but they are best viewed as a slideshow.

Enjoy! =D

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bad juju

So, I'm guessing that because we had such a good wedding and honeymoon, we're due for a little bad mojo in our lives.

I just didn't think it would happen all at once.

It started Sunday morning when we got all ready to head to the beach with our bicycles. We put on sunscreen, donned our baseball caps, got change for the meters, and headed out to the garage, only to discover that our bicycles were gone. EFFING GONE.

They were there when we got back from our trip. I am sure of it. I am also sure that they are not there now. The only thing that remains is a severed bike chain still clinging to the post where it was locked.

The real pisser is that we KNOW that the apartment security people went by there Saturday night, because the car parked next to me had a parking citation on it. We did go to the apartment office to see if "security" (I use the term very loosely now) had reported anything. They hadn't. We told the people what had happened and they said, "That sucks."

What sucks even more is that we dug out our renter's insurance and discovered that we have a $250 deductible. The bikes together are only worth $200. But they were brand new and shiny and I liked mine a whole whole lot.

=(

Then, as if I weren't already pretty damned irritated with our apartment complex, we got a letter in the mail saying that they are raising our rent when our lease is up at the end of November.

Tossers.

That was all for Sunday, thankfully, but come Monday morning we were awoken by the telephone ringing at ten minutes of six. At the other end was some guy from the Georgia department of worker's compensation, calling to tell us that they had caught an illegal immigrant in Georgia trying to apply for work using Brandon's social security number. How scary is that??? The man gave us the guy's name and told Brandon to check his credit reports, etc., to make sure that the guy didn't try to apply for credit using his social as well.

THEN... (I know -- I thought these things were supposed to come in threes as well, but...) Monday night we went to Target to pick up the photos I had developed from our France trip. One of the rolls was BLANK, and another one had pictures of some handsome looking Mexican family having a party. Needless to say, I did not take any pictures of a handsome Mexican family on our trip to Paris.

Needless to say, I was hella pissed.

We went back and bullied the teenager in the photo department into looking through ALL of the photos for an order number close to ours, which turned up jack. Actually, he was pretty helpful for a spotty git.

In any case, about twenty minutes after we got home, he called to say that someone had brought back our pictures (I was smart enough to tell him that they were pictures from Paris, and he was smart enough to recognize the Eiffel Tower when he saw it). Unfortunately, they didn't make the digital CD of the prints -- which I paid for -- so we had to leave the negatives there so they could make it. I did, however, get the prints.

Sadly, it seems the last roll of the Louvre and Chartres and our assent of the Eiffel Tower is lost forever. Thank God we had a backup digital camera with us as well, or I would be SINGULARLY distressed.

We won't go into the talk I had to have with my boss lady yesterday (about the fact that, apparently, I mailed her insurance premium a day late and they cancelled her coverage while I was away) nor the fact that I accidentally sent the wrong (read: marked up, full of edits) version of a letter from our lawyer to one of our clients.

All in all? Not a great Monday.

(If you would like to see some of the infamous photos that we DID receive, you may do so here.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wedding Stories -- The Rehearsal

The Wedding Party at the Rehearsal


So, after being in Santa Fe for almost two days, Friday was the day that stuff finally started happening. I had a trial-run hair appointment at the salon, went and had portraits made (which is an entirely different story we may or may not ever tell) and finally, at 3 pm, we all headed to the church for the rehearsal.

Brandon and I got to go over the entire wedding ceremony with our priest here in California as a part of our pre-marriage counseling, so we knew what to expect, and we were ready. It was really very straightforward -- you stand here, you stand here, you say this, we move here, badda-bing badda-bang and you're married!

Rehearsal 1


What we weren't quite expecting was that Father Coleman would have us recite our vows then and there, to get used to saying them, I guess. He was great, having me recite that I was marrying Brandon "for richer or for poorer -- preferably richer..."

I was doing great until Brandon was reciting his vows and started to cry. There is nothing that will make me cry faster than seeing him cry, let me tell you. But we pulled it together and made it through the service.

Rehearsal, Lacy's Vows


We practiced the vows and such first, and then did the procession. Emily had been distinctly worried that they would make her do the whole step -- PAUSE -- step thing, but they told her to just walk slowly, much to her relief. My dad walked me down the aisle, and when Father Coleman asked, "Who presents this woman to be married?" he answered "I do."

There was an audible throat clearing from the audience and I heard my mother's voice saying, "Um, EXCUSE ME?"

Her MOTHER and I do...


He was SUPPOSED to say, "Her mother and I do," and we teased him relentlessly that if he forgot on the day he would be in some SERIOUS hot water.

At some point in here, Emily, Anne, and Allison decided to dub themselves "Team Lacy" and even came up with a secret handshake. There were Team Lacy tee shirts to follow. Oh yes. With sparkly gangsta letters on. Emily told Brandon that his team had better "Bring it!"

Ahh. There is nothing funnier than watching my incredibly white sister try to represent.

They even made me carry the paper plate and ribbon bouquet that Emily had made from the ribbons on all our gifts at the bridal shower! (For the record, I actually had TWO paper plate bouquets -- one from each shower -- but Emily was just a tad touchy about there being more than one, so we used hers which, I assured her, was far FAR superior! Notice the superior-nicity in the following picture of my mom, Team Lacy member Anne, and Team Lacy member Allison -- holding the bouquet for me.) =D

Wendy, Anne, and Allison at the Rehearsal


You like that? Here's one of my dad with the infamous -- I mean! Superior! Far superior! -- bouquet.

Lacy Wedding 001


Brandon and I signed the marriage certificate with Emily and my Poppy as our witnesses, and that was IT! We were OUTTA there!

Rehearsing the Kiss


All told, the rehearsal took 28 minutes. Father Coleman said it was a new record. He even mentioned it in his sermon during the ceremony: "The rehersal only took about thirty minutes -- I didn't know what to do with myself!" What can I say? We are just that good.

To see some more pictures of the wedding rehearsal, you can go to my flickr page. I'm slowly uploading and organizing pictures there, and I'll make a post whenever I have a new set to share! Up next: the rehearsal dinner. All I can say is pizza and beer, baby. Pizza and beer.

Friday, September 16, 2005

wedding ramblings part one

Weddings are weird. You spend, quite literally, months and months planning for a single day (18 months in my case) and it's all over in the space of less than 12 hours.

The consensus, however, seems to be that it was one hell of a party.

I didn't end up actually having to do all that much. One of the first things Brandon said when we were planning this wedding was that he wanted us to be able to just sit back and relax -- to not be so stressed out that we couldn't enjoy our day. I think we accomplished that. We had planned everything well enough that when we actually got there, we just sort of sat back and let everyone else take over.

A great heaping mound of thanks has to go to my bridesmaids -- my sister Emily, and my two best friends Allison and Anne -- or "Team Lacy" as they took to calling themselves. They had tee shirts and a secret handshake and everything. It was awesome. But quite honestly, without their help, I simply couldn't have pulled this off. They took care of me when I got weepy (which involved mass quantities of chocolate and, for some reason, Emily singing Kumbaya at me a great deal), they decorated -- and un-decorated -- the reception site, they kept things moving, and they kept everybody in high spirits. I cannot even begin to imagine what would have happened if they hadn't been there to help me out.

I've got so many stories I want to tell from those few days, not to mention the stories I want to tell from the past week in Paris. I hardly even know where to begin, but I'll try to tell a bit here, a bit there until I get the whole story told over the next few days.

Pictures will be forthcoming. =) For now, all I can say is that I am happy. Deliriously happy. And everything seems to have worked out exactly the way it was meant to be.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I realize that I haven't been blogging a lot lately. It isn't that I don't have things to say, it's just that I don't have the mental wherewithal to string words together to form coherent sentences.

I mean, I used "wherewithal" in that sentence. Who says that?

Anyway, suffice to say this: I am tired. I am stressed. I have one month to the wedding, and suddenly everything -- even simple things like calling the hairdresser -- become massive acts of willpower. I want to pretend like it's not going to happen. I want to do things like watch TV and read books and chat online with friends and NOT plan a wedding any more.

Don't get me wrong. I'm totally psyched about getting married still. I'm just totally over this whole planning nonsense. It stopped being fun some time ago and I'm really just done with the whole idea.

Maybe I'll just give up on whatever else needs to happen and just show up on the third and whatever goes, goes.

Who am I kidding? That'll never happen. I don't have the guts. ;)

So anyway, don't think I'm ignoring you. I'm just crazy. And not that good, fun kind of crazy, either. Trust me, if I were writing on here, I would just be whining, and nobody really wants to read that.

Least of all me! =D

So never fear. I'm fine. I'm just not terribly coherent right now. I'm sure bloggage will pick up again post-nuptials -- I'll certainly have plenty to talk about!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

it takes tu tu tango

So, in celebration of our impending nuptuals, last night Brandon and I dined at the fabulous Cafe Tu Tu Tango.

You know how you sometimes go to a restaurant and say, "Oh! I could make a meal just of the appetizers!" Well, that's exactly what you do at Tu Tu Tango. All they serve is appetizers. Everything from dips and chips to soups and salads to potstickers, empanadas, stuffed mushrooms, fried calimari, and mini pizzas.

Brandon and I settled on the Spanish antipasto plate, the beef empanadas, and the chicken and shrimp potstickers -- all quite delightful. We thought about ordering a fourth, but decided to go with the raspberry creme bruler instead; it was a bit disappointing. Very soupy and with a grand total of four raspberries, but it did have a good flavor.

Anyway, the restaurant is very fun. It's decorated like an artist's loft with art covering every surface (and almost all of it for sale). They have a huge patio and even some couches for lounging while you munch.

I want to get a big BIG group of people together at this restuarant, get a pitcher of Sangria, and have everybody order something different. I bet a party would just naturally develop.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Dearly beloved...

Exactly one month from today I will be Mrs. Brandon Renner. Til death do us part.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

the film diva is back

Brandon and I bought a mini-dv handheld camcorder this weekend for our wedding and honeymoon. Meet the Panasonic PV-GS250.



It's one of the best consumer grade handheld mini-dv cameras and I cannot TELL you how excited I am to get my hot little hands on this baby and start shooting again.

i'm pretty sure that i ain't no hollaback girl

Two completely unrelated things.

1) Allison and I have been discussing the significance of the lyrics of the Gwen Stefani song, "Hollaback Girl." Neither of us is entirely sure what a Hollaback Girl is, but if Gwen doesn't want to be one, we're fairly certain that we don't want to be one either.

Thankfully, Charlsa's sister Aurora found this article which goes the distance to try to explain the song line by line.

[WARNING: this article contains many incidences of the "S" word -- because the song repeats it about twelve thousand times.]


2) I made the best damned chocolate chip cookies EVER yesterday. No. Seriously. EVER.

I have made my fair share of chocolate chip cookies in my life, but these are head and shoulders above any I have ever made before. I wish the technology existed for me to create an online repository to keep these cookies so that each and every one of you could partake of the blissful serendipity that is this particular batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Alas, it is not possible, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

In addition, I'm vaguely worried that I may have peaked. What if, being the best cookies I have ever made, they are, indeed, the best cookies I will ever make? Have I reached my cookie-making prime? Should I retire at the top of my game and always remember fondly the Best Cookies Ever (tm) while munching on the tasteless mediocrity of store-bought cookies?

Nah.

Who wants cookies?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Pimpin' Liek Woah

So, some of you may know this, and some of you may not, but my dad is an AWESOME artist. I just finished uploading 13 new drawings that he sent me to his online gallery at deviantart.com.

Here's a little preview:




The drawings in the gallery are illustrations for the novel-length fan fiction I've been writing over the last year. It's a family affair now, and honestly, I think his drawings might be the best part.

No need to have read the story to appreciate the art. It will friggin blow your mind, yo.

I'm going to stop talking like that and return you to your regularly scheduled bloggage now.

Peace out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Reviews

I've updated with a new review of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I've also gone through and tagged all the entries in that journal, and I can suddenly see how these little tag thingies could be really useful. Hmmm...
Our invites have arrived!

invite

Click the thumbnail to get a better look.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

La la la la la la...

Smurfs: the movie.

I couldn't make this stuff up, folks.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

no spoilers!

Some thoughts on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- WITHOUT SPOILERS!!!! (Except for one tiny one at the very very end.)

I liked this book much better than Order of the Phoenix. I felt it was a bit heavy on the explication, but for good reason I guess. There were more parts that I really liked than parts I really DIDN'T like, so that's all good.

I cried. This is the first time in all six books that I've cried -- and it wasn't necessarily at the point you might think. Only a very few books have ever made me cry. I've cried while writing things of my own, but again, it's rare. So that's a good point. =)

Reading this book was a very different experience for me because of my involvement in fandom. I eschewed reading my flist for the last three days because I was worried about being spoiled -- and a good thing, too -- Gun! I'm looking at you!! But I made it through without being spoiled.

The thing that was different, was that I kept thinking random thoughts as I read -- like, "Oh! This group will be happy about that!" or "I read a fic like that once!" Or "NO WAY! That's what I wrote!" (Ok, not too much, but certain small things I guessed correctly.)

Honestly, I've NEVER analyzed a book or series of books as much as these -- not even in school! And when I did finally hop on the internet when I had finished, I was bombarded by the craziness -- people are going NUTS! Either happy or disappointed, EVERYONE has an opinion. Within five minutes of signing on, I was chatting with FIVE different people at once while trying to scan my friends list on LiveJournal.

Craziness.

I have one friend whose first reaction was to decide to eschew fandom entirely -- "retire" as it were from writing and drawing Harry Potter fanfiction. I have a couple of other friends who are entirely re-energized and ready to go again.

As for me? I'm still digesting. I loved the book, and there is SO much fodder for fan fiction, so many stories left untold in this book alone.

However.

I don't think I will write another long fan fiction story. "Sect" has been fun, but so very draining. And it's a little silly now that it's all been made obsolete as it were. I don't think I'll be able to stay away from fan fiction all together. I'll have too many stories to tell, too many new friends to make, too many old friends to keep, and, frankly, WAY too much fun to be had. But I don't think I'll be writing the sequel to "Sect of the Serpent" that I had vaguely planned.

To tell the truth, I'm feeling that whole "kid scribbling with crayons" feeling again -- and I think that's a good thing. As I read, I realized that I'm REALLY (really really really) not as good at writing those wonderfully complicated multi-layered plots that JKR is so famous for. Then again, I also realized that the JKR that wrote "Sorcerer's Stone" wasn't as good as the JKR that wrote "Half-Blood Prince" either. What I mean is, I intend to improve, and when I've got five more novels under my belt, then we can compare apples to... well. Whatever. =)

The impulse that I really feel in these first few hours post HBP is actually to begin writing my OWN stories. I plan to finish my current projects, but I'm really ready to stop living in JKR's shadow and strike out on my own. She's been an excellent teacher, and I've learned a lot in my apprenticeship -- I've learned a lot of my strengths, and even strengthened some of my weaknesses. In fact, some of the nicest compliments I've received have been from the people who have told me how much I've improved since the beginning. Those are the compliments I cherish.

In any case, I think I'm ready to move on. "Sect" has improved my self-confidence in my writing and teased my muse back into helping me out.

My only problem is that now I have to wait TWO MORE YEARS to find out what happens next! *squirms and twitches* Oh well. I'll just have to read HBP a bunch more times and then -- back to fanfiction!

And? Zombies are now canon.

Does it get any better than that??

Friday, July 15, 2005

12:01

Ever since I started a separate journal on LiveJournal for my Harry Potter discussions hobby obsession, I haven't posted very much about it on this journal. This is more my personal forum for friends and family (and, I suppose, perfect strangers) to keep up with the goings on in my life.

However. This weekend is a very big weekend for me, and so I feel I would be remiss if I didn't include some of my feelings about it in this journal -- even though it is DISTINCTLY Harry Potter centric.

At 12:01 tomorrow morning, the newest book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be released. The only way you could possibly not know about this is if you have been living under a rock for the past several weeks, and if that is the case, what are you doing reading my blog? Get out and get some sunshine for God's sake!

This is a major event for Potter-heads like myself. In fanfiction terms, we call it "new canon" -- in other words, an addition to the cadre of Harry Potter events which are "true."

This is the first time one of these books has been released that I have been a part of the organized fandom. (I like to clarify by saying "organized" fandom, because I don't believe that one has to be a part of said fandom to be a fan.) In fact, the last time a Harry Potter book was released was the first time I made any kind of a fuss over it. Last time (about two years ago) Brandon and I were unemployed, so we went to the midnight release party and received our copy along with thousands of other screaming fans just after midnight -- and promptly went home and went to bed.

This time is a bit different. We aren't planning to go to one of the parties, but I have already researched which 24 hour groceries in our neighborhood plan to carry the book, just in case I can't sleep, or wake up at some ungodly hour of the morning and NEED to go out and get it.

It could happen.

In all honesty, this is a bit of a surreal experience for me. I have never been a part of a fandom the way I am now. I've never been one of the thronging masses waiting desperately for the next... whatever. I went to see the first new Star Wars movie the day it was released, but I didn't go at midnight, and I only went because a bunch of friends were going and they got me a ticket. I've never participated in discussion groups or chat groups about anything before. The closest I've ever gotten was to chat once with a group of Blake's Seven fans -- but only once. They scared me a little bit.

And I'm sure that the Harry Potter fandom would scare anyone looking at it from the outside. On LiveJournal, you only have to click on my "friends" page (to see entries of other people I've marked as friends) to feel the hysteria that's quietly bubbling under the surface. Many of my friends have voluntarily "signed off" of livejournal -- and thereby the fandom at large -- in order to remain spoiler free for the reading of the book.

That's right. The spoilers are apparently flying thick and fast if you know where to look. The only pseudo-spoiler I've succumbed to was to read the blurb on the back cover of the UK edition, a photo of which was released a few days ago. (I would have read the American version too -- except that the American hardbound copies don't have blurbs on the back. I have, however, seen pictures of the front and back of the American copy.)

Every other minute I see something on the news or in a newspaper or online about Harry. The DFW Star Telegram had a cute article about how Harry would read, written by other famous authors like Dickens or Shakespeare. How do I know that, you may ask, as I live in California? Why, I subscribe to The Daily Snitch on LiveJournal which linked me to an article about it at The Leaky Cauldron.

I realize that it's all a bit silly. I understand that we're all slightly manic and weird and obsessive. I realize that my children will probably laugh at me and tell me that the Harry Potter books are OK, but really not nearly as brilliant as whatever the latest thing for them is.

But, when it's all said and done, I feel like I am a part of something. It isn't the Berlin Wall coming down, or the end of a war, or the first moving picture show, but it's still history. Where were you when we landed on the moon? Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you on 9/11?

Where were you when the Harry Potter books were released?

I know it's not the same. It's not earth shattering, certainly not life altering, but it is one of those moments. It's one of those pop culture events, one of those once in a lifetime -- once in anybody's lifetime -- moments that stick out amid a million other moments.

And more than that, it's a moment to be happy about. How many of those do we get collectively as a community, as a nation, as a world? How often do these marker events revolve around hate, war, sadness, or strife?

It seems to me as good a reason as any to go out and celebrate with the rest of the world that a book -- not a movie, not a video game, not a drug or a vice or a sin -- can bring us together.

I used to be a little bit embarrassed to tell people that I was a Harry Potter fan. I mean, it's a kid's book, right? It's a guilty little secret so big that the European presses have started printing "adult" copies of the book with less obvious covers so that adults won't be embarrassed to be seen reading it on the train.

Personally, I'm not embarrassed any more. I read Harry Potter books. I rediscovered my muse writing Harry Potter fan fiction. I participate in the fandom, and I've made friends from all over the world. Hell, I have even been interviewed by a perfect stranger in Bombay, India who read my fanfiction and was moved by it enough to want to write an article about it for his newspaper.

I'm proud of that. I'm proud that after a four year dry spell I've finally rediscovered my passion for writing.

And I'm proud to say that I will be one of the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people, young and old, in dozens of languages, in every industrialized nation of the world, who will be eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight tonight.

And I'll be proud to say, "I was there."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

random post

I had the strangest dream this morning...

We were watching that show Brat Camp last night, and I think I dreamed I was at Brat Camp -- or something similar. Anyway, I was eating something (that I wasn't supposed to be eating?) and one of the brackets on my braces on my lower teeth broke off. So I went to tell the counselor person, but as I was talking, the other brackets started falling off and pretty soon I was coughing them up and spitting them out until all of my lower braces had fallen off. And there was something about we were in this oriental silk shop and we kept going to parts of it where we weren't supposed to go.

Weird.

Oddly enough, the part about the braces kind of happened in real life. We were on vacation at the Grand Canyon and I took a big bite of a piece of apple and the wire connecting my top braces popped right out of its little socket in the back. We had to go to Flagstaff or somewhere and find an orthodontist open like three days after Christmas for them to put it back in, because my whole mouth hurt; the wire popping out had released all the tension on my top teeth, causing them to ache, and the loose wire also cut up the inside of my cheek pretty badly. No amount of dental wax could prevent that.

God, I hated having braces. But I like having nice, straight teeth.

[end random post]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

so it is a small world after all...

I just got interviewed via email by a reporter in Bombay, India for an article in her newspaper about fan fiction and "Sect of the Serpent."

I am freaking blown away by this.

I already knew that "Sect" has an international readership, but this is just beyond cool. I feel all famous and junk. =D

Monday, July 11, 2005

I don't think we're in Newport any more, toto...

Well, I have survived my very first Monday at my new job. Barely. I have a headache the size of Montana to show for it.

On Friday, we got kicked out of our lease at the building in Newport Coast. We packed everything in the office in a matter of hours, loaded it into all of our cars, and moved it to the new building. Unfortunately, the new building wouldn't let us move in until after 5:00, so we weren't done until almost 7. I got to work on Friday at 8.

Thankfully, with the four of us and one of A.'s friends, we managed to move almost everything in one trip. Frank had to go back for a few things on Saturday, but nothing major. We moved everything into our new offices in Huntington Beach in just a few trips. Not nearly as cool as the ones on the water, but they'll do.

Today, I got to work at 8:30 and found, happily, that they had just finished moving in our furniture. F. and I rearranged a few things and got down to the nitty gritty of unpacking. We didn't have internet until after noon because there were issues with the ethernet jacks not being wired correctly. Also, our fax machine doesn't work. I spent two hours trying to figure that one out, to no avail.

Around 1pm, I finally got on my computer to check my email, and there was a message from L. (who is in New York this week) with a list of errands for me to run. Today. This morning if possible.

Yeah right.

Suffice to say, they didn't get done until this afternoon. And by the time I finished, traffic on the 405 was a mess, so I came home. I just couldn't see the point of sitting in traffic for an hour to try to get back to work...

So. So far so... crazy. I think I've said this before, but it's a little bit difficult to form an opinion about this job when I KNOW that this first week or so is completely atypical. Then again, I think I can already say that I think I'm going to like being an Accounts Coordinator, but not like being a Personal Assistant quite so much.

Um...

I just realized something horrible:

I don't know where the bathrooms are in my new office building.

More about the move to come. Right now, I have to go search for the little girl's room...

Friday, July 08, 2005

quote for the day

Undershaft. But, Mr Cusins, this is a serious matter of business. You are not bringing any capital into the concern.

Cusins. What! no capital! Is my mastery of Greek no capital? Is my access to the subtlest thought, the loftiest poetry yet attained by humanity, no capital? my character! my intellect! my life! my career! what Barbara calls my soul! are these no capital? Say another word; and I double my salary.


From "Major Barbara" by Bernard Shaw. Sums up my working life pretty well, I think. (Though, I haven't actually mastered Greek. But then, it's *all* Greek to me.) =D

just trying things out


Just trying out the new photoblogging feature that Blogger has installed. Pretty cool, no?

For those of you who haven't seen this picture, this was taken at Crystal Cove State Beach by a bored and friendly lifeguard. From the left, my uncle Lee, Brandon, me, my aunt Leslie, and my cousins Olivia and Eliott.

Niriders, you were asking for advice on how to share pictures on the web? This is pretty darned easy. But if you don't want to start a blog, I would suggest Flickr. It's a free photo hosting and sharing service. You can view my flickr page (which I'm still learning how to use) here.

gentlemen, start your crazy...

Just a quick update before the insanity starts.

I spent nine and a half hours at work yesterday. Three and a half of those hours were spent doing the following:
  • Buying tape and boxes at Staples
  • Dropping off movies (not mine) at Blockbuster
  • Picking up clothes at Forever 21 (again, not mine)
  • Picking up and dropping of dry cleaning (again... you get the picture)
  • Picking up the mail
  • Picking up the lease at the cool PCH offices that we're probably not going to take


I was also supposed to deposit a check, but I forgot to take it with me. *facepalm*

The rest of yesterday was spent looking for things that I didn't know existed, and packing. Lots and lots of packing. Today will consist of more packing, moving, and then lots and lots of unpacking (though, the unpacking probably won't happen until Monday when all the furniture gets to the new office).

We (and by we, I mean L. and F.) decided to take a temporary office space in Huntington Beach. Not ON Huntington Beach, though that would be awesome, but in the city. This is good because it means that I won't have to work out of L.'s house for two weeks while we wait to move into the PCH office space. It is less good because it is hella far from all those errands I listed above. Since L. is going to be out of town for most of the month, I probably won't have to do a lot of those, but I will have to pick up the mail.

Other than that... I don't know. Things are too crazy to really form a coherent opinion at this point. I can already tell that there are things that are going to be challenging (and really, that's the nicest word I could think of to put there -- so not challenging in a good personal growth sort of way). On the other hand, I'm so busy that I barely notice the time passing, there's always something to do, and I'm never bored.

Never a dull moment, as they say.

Also, L. insists on keeping her stash of cookies and chocolate in MY office. (She is TINY, by the way.) This does not bode well.

;c)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

If I were going to move...

I think I'd move to Buhtan.

They have just drafted their very first constitution, including many tenets of their national faith, Buhdism. One of the provisions of the provisional constitution is that it is a duty of the government to work towards its people's overall happiness.

That's right. The government is making it a constitutional responsibility to do everything it can to help its citizens lead happy lives.

Anybody know what language they speak in Buhtan? I may need to get me some Berlitz tapes...

yay for employment

New job is teh cool (at least, as compared with old job; still involves *work*, but what are you going to do?). We are getting kicked out of our current offices, and the new ones that they're looking at are RIGHT on the water in Newport Beach off PCH. Apparently, mine is the only office with a view of the water. *happy dances*

Also, small company = no more internet filters. Hurrah! I have access to email again. I cannot BELIEVE how much I missed it. *kisses email* Also? The USB ports on my computer actually work, hence my very cool flash drive actually works again. TRIPLE YAY!

(Not that I'm going to have as much down time here, but hey, it's the thought that counts.)

I'm hired here as an independant contractor. While this is bad for things like getting paid overtime and having to save to pay my own taxes, it is good because I ONLY work the hours I want to work, and I can up and leave to run errands or whatever whenever I want. Other cool thing is that one of my bosses has me running errands to Fashion Island for her ALL THE TIME. Fashion Island is cool. =D

Next week may be crazy as we are getting kicked out of our current offices and cannot move in to the future offices until the fifteenth. May be working from home.

Loving this job.

=D

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Also...

Sorry for the spam. Can you tell I don't have a lot to occupy my time today? =)

But, in happier news, we bought my wedding band last night. =D
It's my last day in the cube. It feels a little odd, to tell you the truth. Very few people here actually know I'm leaving, most of my friends have already left, and the one that is left already had lunch plans. So, my coworker E. and I are going to go have Thai food for lunch. He's a really nice guy and I feel bad for saddling him with the full IT load now. Oh well. I think he should take a page from my book and start looking for a job where he'll be appreciated.

I think I'm going to take off from here around two or three this afternoon and head on over to the PRG for some more training. Hopefully I won't have to stay until 8:30pm like last time. Tomorrow I do a full day there, as it is A.'s last day, and she will be able to walk me through a typical day.

Though, considering they will be moving next week, I doubt very seriously that I will have anything even vaguely ressembling a typical day for a while yet.

*snark snark snark*

Mom, remember that shirt that you bought me that said, "Plays well with others,"?

It lied.

I do NOT play well with others. I do NOT like to share my toys, and I most certainly do NOT like to be told what to do.

When writing the fan fiction The Prankster's Guide to Life, each chapter is written, in sections, by four different authors. We then combine the sections and we pass the combined document between the four of us, each of us editing and providing our own constructive criticisms to the others.

Only some are less constructive and more criticism.

I am not the only one who feels this way. After the first chapter was sent around for editing, I found myself in tears reading some of the comments, and I found out not long after that one of the other Pranklettes felt the same way. We tried to address the problem, but to very little avail.

The problem is that the girl who is making the comments that cut us to the quick doesn't see the problem with them. She thinks they are all in the name of a better product, and what's a little bloodletting among friends? I see them as insensitive, mean-spirited ways of addressing my shortcomings that could just as easily be addressed with a different tone. In fact, the majority of her comments are valid, she just makes them in such a way as to sound like she is completely right, I am completely wrong, and I should be ashamed of myself for wasting her time. She makes me feel like some kind of no-talent hack who only occasionally writes something decent -- and then probably entirely by accident.

(For example, I used the word "inherent" and her comment was, "That word doesn't mean what you think it means. How about automatically or no adverb at all?" I looked it up. It means *exactly* what I thought it meant: basic, intrinsic, etc. If she didn't like the qualifier, that's one thing; but telling me that I DON'T KNOW what I'm trying to say is a little like a kick in the shins. And that's not even the worst of them. She ended one with "for crying out loud" -- 'cos yeah, that's going to make me want to take her advice.)

It's taken me a WEEK to get through the current chapter -- not because it's upwards of thirty pages long, but because every time I sit down to address some of the comments on my sections, I get irritated and upset and have to take a break before I send myself into a funk and start to cry.

Why can't I be a big girl about this and just buck up and take it? Probably because I respect the girl who's saying all the snarky things to me. She's a good writer. I generally respect her opinions. When she insinuates that I'm stupid, it hurts.

I KNOW that I am a good writer. Better than most, at any rate. I think that's why I get so defensive when she acts as though I am not. It's just hard to draw the line between standing up for myself and inciting another "come to Jesus" meeting which nearly tore the project apart the first time.

I would quit this nonsense and spare myself the turmoil, but I really like the end product. I like what we're producing. I like what *I* am contributing to it. It's very well written and entertaining.

I just happen to think it could be equally well written and entertaining WITHOUT the vituperative comments.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Emily, you would love my new job.

Went to my first training session for my new job last night, and it went really well. (In the interests of keeping things relatively anonymous, I'm going to call the company PRG for PR Group from here on out.) I met with A., the girl I'm replacing, and she is very nice, very organized, and very eager to get out of there and on to her new job. Nothing about the job itself seems too difficult; it encompasses a lot of administrative duties like accounts payable and receivable, correspondence, filing, assembling press kits, mailings, and things like that. But, we also worked on one of L.'s articles for The Jewelry Book (a quarterly trade magazine), which was kind of fun. L. is very open to suggestions and several times said, "Just put something about..." meaning we got to make up what the paragraph actually said.

I'm really confident that I can do well in this job. They are so new that they haven't got many of their systems worked out yet. A. was still doing all of the invoices and such in Word instead of using accounting software, and their idea of a customer "database" is a list in an Excel document. Those aren't bad things; it just means that they're going to love me because I know how to do it better. =D

Also found out some of the perks. A. said that she has bought jewelry from some of the companies they represent for cost, and they have a huge box of swag from their recent trip to the Las Vegas trade show -- perfume for the women, leather wallets for the men, poker chips and cards (they represent the World Poker Tour or something), fancy catalogues and brag books... Cool stuff.

I'm really looking forward to the change in scenery. =)