A Disneyland Realization

Okay, it wasn’t really a realization; rather, something about the day jogged my memory. Matt and I went to Disneyland for my birthday. His dad used to work there and we had a pair of free tickets, which is awesome because oh my lord how can anyone afford $90-something a ticket?!

Ahh! People!

The sun beat down, burning our scalps. The line for the Dole Pineapple Whip Floats was longer than some rides. And still, these are not the things that brought me the greatest unease. Rather, it’s how much I despise people.

By the way, Matt agrees. He was totally with me on this and we plotted the murder of many park attendant on Saturday.*

Don’t get me wrong. I love certain people. Certain people are awesome. But people en mass? No thank you. I’ll take a raincheck. I’d rather stay inside and commune with the peoples via the Internets.

And people in crowds are even worse. They bunch up. They don’t keep to the right on walkways. They roll over your toes with strollers. They stop in the middle of a path so you nearly run into their backs. They’re oblivious and clueless and completely obnoxious.

Matt and I at a non-annoying part of the day.

Now, I realize this makes me sound like a terrible person, but if you only knew how many conversations we overheard that were so wrought with douchebaggery, the participants would have won awards for their stellar performances. Hipsters everywhere. Dudes wearing shorts with loafers. I’m telling you, the world was out to get us this weekend by sending minions of the Dark Lord Obnoxious.

Am I ornery? Perhaps. Generally irritable? Could be. But tell me, how would you feel if you overheard some girl saying, “I like how my hair feels,” while running her fingers through it or  if you heard the same girl say, “God, I hate everybody wearing shorts right now,” in the most stereotypically valley girl voice ever. Or the group of hipsters behind us in a line that loved the sound of their own voices so much they should just marry them already.

Did I mention the dude wearing shorts and loafers?

I’m not bitter or anything. But damn. People are annoying.

*Not really. We’re not the murdery type. That would require entirely too much effort.

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Links and Things for Friday April 27, 2012

It’s that time again. Where I go back through what I’ve retweeted or generally enjoyed in the previous week and share some linkage with you all.

Blog Posts of Note

“The Greatest Writing Advice You Will Ever Receive Anywhere Ever” at After Ever After

Hilarious and true. I don’t want to spoil it, so just read it.

“How I Get Back Up When I Fall Down” by Carrie Cuinn

An insightful and inspiring look at how to keep going, even when life gets in the way of your goals. In short: just keep writing.

“The Big Idea: Chuck Wendig” by uhh Chuck Wendig

About the inspiration behind his novel, Blackbirds. It’s much more interesting than my description of it. Really. I promise.

“DIY: Creating My Own eBook, Part One” by Michael Haynes

Have you ever thought about self-publishing a short story, novella, novel, poetry collection, whatever? This post offers a step-by-step look and building an eBook for Kindle Direct Publishing. Straightforward and useful.

Free Fiction

“A Special Day” by Shannon Fay

“Machine Washable” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli

What I’m Reading

Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane. I put Shadows Linger off to the side for a bit and now I’m enjoying book 2 of the Downside series. I don’t normally read urban fantasy, but this series is hard not to love. It’s fast-paced and suspenseful as hell. A fine example of tight, polished writing.

And another week draws to a close. Going to Disneyland tomorrow because it’s my birthday today! I’m twenty…*mumbles* and very much looking forward to another day in the sun. It’s good to get away from the computer once in a while. 🙂

“Knit” published at Drabblecast

Wow, I’m oblivious! A short story of mine went up on April 20 and I had no idea!

The story is called “Knit” and it’s in issue 240 of Drabblecast. It’s a part of a Trifecta. The theme is “Family Unties.” Go and listen! It’s read by Ray Sizemore, who did an excellent job. Here’s the quote from the story on the site:

We bought our first yarn baby at a garage sale. The ends of its arms were frayed and its eye buttons dangled loose on bare threads.

This is my first podcast, so as you can tell, I’m SUPER excited. Yes, I’m so excited I’m resorting to using all caps. And look at the awesome illustration by Gino Moretto!

Other stories from the issue include “Divorce in the House of Flies”  by  Dustin Reade, “Wendigo Bake Sale”  by  Leslianne Wilder, and a drabble called “How to Deal”  by  Chris Schryer

I’m off to go squee some more. And please let me know what you think.

The TARDIS Fetus – A Conversation

I had a midwife appointment yesterday, which I know sounds terribly exciting to you all. But that’s not the purpose of this post. Rather, it helps set the scene, the mood, if you will.

After learning all sorts of things about breaking waters, baby poop, and funduses (fundi?) we ate dinner at an awesome burger place because it was free burger night and seriously, who can pass up a freakin’ free burger?

So we’re eating and discussing our ultrasound appointment next week and how excited we are to find out if it’s a boy or girl. Of course the “anatomy scan” is done to make sure the baby is healthy, that it’s heart is doing okay, etc. The following conversation is what transpired:

Me: The scan will show how the baby’s heart is doing and stuff.

Matt: What if it has two hearts? OMG, what if it’s a Timelord?!

Me: That would be awesome.

Matt: I don’t know, it might be bad. Do you really want a Timelord in there?

Me: Yeah, you don’t want it regenerating. I mean, ouch.

Matt: Why would it need to regenerate in the womb?

Me: I don’t know. It might! Still, River Song was sort of a Timelord and she was birthed normally.

Matt: That’s true.

Me: So, it’d still be awesome.

Matt: Are we actually having this conversation?

As if there were every any doubt, we are such nerds.

L.A. Times Festival of Books 2012

My back aches, my hips hurt, and my scalp is sunburnt. That can mean only one thing: I spent Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books 2012 with Matt and I’ve got to say, it was pretty great. Actually, I have a confession to make: I’ve never been to a book festival or any other event that had panels with writers. Still never been to a convention, but this was like a Con sampler platter. The verdict? It’s awesome being surrounded by people that like books, science fiction, fantasy, and being geeky as much as you do.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We woke up bright and early with a schedule in mind and drove off to USC. Wow it’s huge. I got edumacated at Cal State Long Beach and I thought that was a big campus. But dude, there are streets in the middle of the campus and giant buildings that are so tall they look crooked and magnificent architecture that reeks of history and…

Oh dear. I’m geeking out over the hugeness of the campus. This isn’t a good sign. Once we arrived, we walked around for a bit and spotted The Mystery Machine before I grabbed a cup of The Nastiest Coffee I’ve Ever Had. After that, we headed over to our first panel of the day, “Worldbuilding.” On the panel were John Scalzi, Lev Grossman, and Frank Beddor with Charles Yu moderating. All in all, a great way to start the day with lots of back and forth about the role of fan fiction in modern literary culture in terms of fan vs. author propriety over a created world. The whole thing was interesting. Of particular interest was the point when Lev noted that worldbuilding is like creating a DnD campaign–you create the world in which an adventure occurs. John then offered an interesting example of creating a world from without vs. creating one from within by using intelligent design and evolution as examples. That is, you can either create a world and manipulate every little characteristic of it before setting your characters into it to play; or, you can establish characters and let them and what they do dictate what the world needs to be. He used Middle Earth and Narnia as examples of this.

Other things discussed: authorial intent, Dumbledore’s sexuality, and how in Tolkien’s world, everyone is always rolling for initiative. Have I mentioned how awesome it was to be surrounded by nerds?

Booths! So many booths!

Following the panel, we stretched our legs a bit and hurried over to the food court area and inhaled some pizza before deciding on what to do next. See, I had panel tickets to see Anne Rice interviewed. I love Anne Rice and would have loved to hear her speak. But at the exact same time, Betty White was scheduled to be interviewed.

Betty White's Official Security Guard looking official

So yes, we stood around outside after failing to get seats and watched Betty White be interviewed about her love of animals. I just love her. Who doesn’t love her? I mean, really. Doesn’t she sort of remind everyone of their grandmother?

Next up, we walked around some more, tried to look at some books and failed because the crowds had gotten so massive. If I’m going to buy books, I need to know exactly what I’m getting ahead of time. Or, I need to have the time to browse at a leisurely pace. That just wasn’t going to happen. Though I did spot some amazing handmade leather journals and satchels that I wanted, nay, coveted!

We wandered over to the auditorium where the next panel was going to be and took an obligatory picture of Tommy the Trojan. Of course, I found him to be a bit disappointing. Seriously, look at how the statue is rendered on the festival map:

And look at it’s actual size:

The Unimpressive Trojan

Now, yes, it’s a very nice statue. But dude. I was picturing a ginormous piece of stonework. Something towering and imposing that would make me believe in an all-knowing deity. All I’m saying is I was a little disappointed.

And here we are in front of the statue. Aren’t we cute? Or, er, something like that. And hey, even though I missed the Anne Rice panel, Matt still got a photo of her. Yay!

After all of this excitement, it was time to settle in for our last engagement of the day: the nerd panel. Officially titled, “The Nerds Shall Inherit the Earth,” the panel included Maureen Johnson, John Scalzi, Pamela Ribon, and Amber Benson interviewing. It. Kicked. Ass.

They talked about a variety of nerdy subjects including the rise of the nerd in modern culture, bullying, how nerds are unapologetically enthusiastic, and more. But mostly, they flew off topic in a myriad of directions and I laughed so hard I hurt. It’s hard to describe the panel unless you were there. So I may just have to word salad this business:

Sports nerds, trapeze, Maureen’s stare, flipper Scalzi, stranger cookies, and girl-horse breakup videos.

In short: it was a good time.

And that concludes this wrap-up post. If you went to the festival, be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you liked the event. And what the holy crap was the “suspicious package” business about? Somebody left a taped up backpack in the $5 bookstore booth and the police were called. By the time we were leaving USC, it seemed like all the police showed up. Thankfully, the bag was only filled with newspapers. Crazy pants!

I may have one more post about the Festival of Books up my sleeve. It’s not about anything important, but I overhear people say funny things and they may warrant a post of their own.

19 Weeks and Counting

I know this is a bit off-topic, but since I rant and rave about all sorts of things here that may or may not have anything to do with writing, why not share a little of my personal happiness?

Here I am at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday sporting a bump. It has sprung up out of nowhere. I’m 19 weeks, almost halfway, and quite convinced my belly may very well explode before all of this is over. Still, it’s hard to believe there’s a life-form in there. Speaking of which, it gave me its first solid kick yesterday. There have been many wiggles before this, but that was a kick I could see and feel. Also of note, the most wiggles were felt yesterday during both fiction panels. Coincidence? I think not!

And yes, I know I’m squinting. It was sunny.

Edited to add: I accidentally deleted this whole post and had to rewrite it from memory. Blah!

Links and Things for Friday April 20, 2012

So I’m thinking about starting a new feature on this here blog. Every Friday, I’ll go into some detail about things I’ve found interesting/enjoyable/thought-provoking for the week. They might be other blog posts. They might be short stories. They might even be movies I’ve watched. It will all depend on the week and what I came across during the previous seven days. Sound good?

For the first installment of Links and Things, I offer a truly mixed bag of treats, originating online and off.

Blog Posts of Note

“Dear Daughter” by Mur Lafferty
As someone who’s popping out a kid in a few months, this touched me. If I have a little girl, I’m already thinking of ways to combat the culture of girl=bad.

“Let Me Tell You About the Birds and the Bees: Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest” by Catherynne Valente
So technically, this was posted last week, but it resonated with me so I’m linking to it anyway. Essentially, Cat argues that women experience much harsher criticism for daring to state their opinions. And read the comments. They prove her point.

Free Fiction

Here are a few short stories I enjoyed this week:

“Far From Shore” by Lydia S. Gray

“A Shard Glows in Brooklyn” by Alex Shvartsman

“Older, Wiser, Time Traveler” by M. Bennardo

Film Recommendation

Drive. Awesome film. From the very first scene, I was tensed up and holding my breath. Stylized, surreal, and foreboding are words that come to mind when trying to describe it. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

What I’m Reading

Shadows Linger by Glen Cook. I recently finished The Black Company, so I’m delving into book 2 of the series. Luckily,  I have the edition with the first three books in one volume, so I’m set on reading material for a bit.

That’s it for now. Care to share anything you found interesting this week? Leave a note in the comments!