The Sunshine Award

I’ve been slacking on this blogging business lately, so I’m super thankful to A. G. Carpenter for tagging me for the Sunshine Award. 1.) I’m happy she thought of me and 2.) I have a built-in blog topic. Woot!

So, here are the rules of this meme:

  • include the Logo and a link to who nominated you
  • write 10 things about yourself
  • nominate and link to 10 more awesome people for the award

Okay, yeah that does sound pretty easy. Let’s get to it, shall we?

10 Interesting (Or Not-So-Interesting) Things About Me

1. One of the first stories I ever wrote was about a fire-breathing sand man that lived in a hot air balloon. Yeah, I don’t know either.

2. I love animals of all kinds and had pet rats up until last year. In the colder months, they’d sit in the hood on my sweatshirt or even in my sleeves as I sat at the computer.

3. I married my high school prom date.

4. I always said I never wanted kids because I was afraid of mirroring negative relationships in my life. But now that I’m pregnant, I couldn’t be happier. Part of me is irrationally terrified that I’ll make the same mistakes as others, but most of me knows I won’t. And that’s comforting.

5. I don’t think my mom has ever read a single one of my stories.

6. My sister-in-law is pregnant with a girl and due three weeks after me. Super cute they’ll be so close in age.

7. I’m fairly certain I’ve suffered from depression for over 10 years and anxiety even longer than that.

8. When I was in elementary school, I tried to stage a play about kids that found a haunted house with a dead person trapped in the walls.

9. One of my favorite authors is Stephen King. In fact, I’d go so far as to say his work is the reason I wanted to become a writer in the first place.

10. I don’t have a handle on this whole “being an adult” thing. It’s getting better but I still have no idea what I’m doing half the time. I don’t know if it reassures me or terrifies me that everyone else likely feels the same way.

Tag, You’re It!

What follows are the people I’m tagging for the Sunshine Award. I’ll try to link to their posts should they decide to make them. ūüôā

1. Matthew Barron¬†– My husband and father of our child. He’s awesome.

2. Michael Haynes – Fantastic writer and friend. Read his stuff!

3. Amy & Ken Noel – A twofer! Super cool people with a blog you should read.

4. Danni Menard – Always interesting and supportive.

5. Samuel Mae – Fellow writer and editor. Purveyor of pie-related temptation.

6. Brittany Marczak РFun Twitter friend and fellow writer.

7. Lauren Orbison РGreat writer and always offers words of encouragement.

8. Wendy Wagner РCan you say awesome?

9. Justine McGreevy РWriter and artist extraordinaire.

10. Anya Breton – Writer and always around to lend support on Twitter.

Baby Barron: Putting it to a Vote

Matt and I have been struggling with trying to name our little girl for a few months now. We’ve narrowed it down to two options. We felt like we were accomplishing something. We even took to referring to her by each name every other day to get a feel for them. We thought for sure one name would stand out.

Unfortunately, now we just alternate days and she’s both names and we’ve yet to make a decision. We love both names for different reasons.¬†So, we’re taking it to you, Internets! I’ve included both name options below along with where we got the name ideas from for your reference. Then, if you’d be so kind, vote for your favorite in the comments section.

1. Auri Рfrom The Name of the Wind. We love how the name sounds and looks.

2. September Рfrom The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. We love that the character is an accurate representation of a little girl.

Thank you for your input! Feel free to pass this along to your friends. The more votes the better. This has been driving us crazy and it’s decision time. ūüôā

A Few Thoughts on “Prometheus”

Matt and I had been seeing the trailers for¬†Prometheus¬†for quite some time and were really excited about the film. So excited that we actually went to see it in the theater. This is amazing. We hadn’t been to the movies in over a year, so you know this one had to really pique our interest to justify spending nearly $40 to see a film.

We both also love Alien, further driving home the excitement factor here. I want to make this absolutely clear because the movie was so hyped up and we had seriously high expectations.

Here’s my non-spoilery review: I loved it. Sure, it had some flaws (big ones) and certain aspects of it irritated me, but I still loved it. I loved its scope. I love what it attempted to do. I thought it was fantastic to see a sci-fi movie like this on the big screen.

There, with that out of the way, I can move onto the real reason I’m writing this post. I’m not ¬†good at reviewing things. I get all clunky and awkward but I felt I needed to write something about this because some of the criticism I’m seeing leveraged at the film just isn’t fair. Warning: from here on out, there be spoilers.

Let’s get what I found wrong with the film out of the way first, shall we? For starters, it lacked the slow build up that made¬†Alien so tense and riveting. There was so much plot that the movie took off right from the outset, leaving little time for tension or suspense. Where¬†Alien¬†scared the pants off of you because of the eerie quiet,¬†Prometheus doesn’t achieve it because it’s go, go, go the whole time.

The too much plot problem also led to very little time for character development. Now, I’m not talking about the vague statements made about people’s backstory or past like Shaw’s dead father and religious beliefs. That felt tacked on. In¬†Alien, we never really knew any of the crew’s backstory exactly, but because we had a good 30 minutes at the beginning of the movie of them interacting with one another, you felt like you knew them and where they were coming from before the alien starting bursting out of chests.

Also, the movie suffered from some inconsistencies. I call it the “too many aliens” problem. I thought I had a handle on how aliens in this world reproduced–weird wormy, facehugger thing goes down your throat, creature bursts out of your chest, it grows into a xenomorph. Pretty straightforward, right? But in¬†Prometheus, we’ve got a black oil-like goo that apparently can infect people (like Holloway). Since he had sex with Shaw, she was impregnated with a creature that looks like a giant facehugger? And then what about those two stupid dudes that got stranded in the temple during the silica storm? They look like full on mutants or something, even though one was infected by means of a facehugger creature. Color me confused. Is the black goo that David infects Holloway with the same goo we see the Engineer drinking at the beginning of the film before he breaks apart into DNA?

These are the questions that I have about the film and I felt were weak spots.

But these aren’t really the things I’m seeing people complaining about. No, I’m seeing claims that the film is sexist and racist. I’m seeing that it fails because it asks big questions or it’s too vague. I’m left wondering if people saw the same movie I did.

Because the Engineer at the beginning of the film is male, or at the very least super masculine, some are saying that this movie writes women out of all of creation. Fair enough. But this was obviously playing on western mythological tropes from which humanity rises from the ruined body of a god. Besides, whose to say how the Engineers reproduce? We don’t know where they came from, what they live like–nothing. We don’t know what sex they are, even. All we know is they’re male gendered.

Also, because the Engineer is very pale, some are saying the film is racist, but I really don’t see it. If anything, that dude was translucent, and why would these Engineers even have the same races as humans? Yes, they share human DNA, but the are¬†obviously not the same as us. Besides, isn’t race something that evolved over millennia based upon numerous factors including environment and climate–extra melanin is helpful along the equator, etc? It’s a case of flawed logic.

Lastly, I’ve seen numerous articles online about how confusing the film is. Other than the inconsistencies I pointed out above, along with a lack of character motivation in some cases, I just don’t understand what was so confusing about it. Some didn’t realize that the Engineer at the beginning was seeding life on an earth like planet. Others were confused as to why David decided to infect Holloway with the mysterious black goo. Really? The awful things Holloway was saying about robots weren’t reason enough? Plus, for those who’ve seen¬†Alien, David is just as fascinated with the aliens as Ash was, if you recall. This movie is like a less suspenseful¬†Alien. Seriously. It’s not that complicated.

So, I’m sorry if this was ranty, but I’ve been getting annoyed by some criticism being leveraged at the film. It’s not a perfect movie. Far from it. But criticism based on false assumptions drives me batty. That is all.

Links and Things for May 18, 2012

I’ve slacked off on the blog this week, my apologies. But I did find some interesting things in the meantime that I wanted to share. Hope you enjoy!

Blog Posts of Note

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is by John Scalzi – An interesting post over at Whatever that pokes privilege with a pointy stick.

#The50 Things Every Creative Should Know by Jamie Wieck – Found this thanks to @freshnsteezy. Though it relates mostly to visual art, I found myself nodding at each point because creativity is creativity, regardless of your chosen medium.

When Publishing Goes Wrong…Starring Undead Press by Mandy DeGeit – Wow. Just wow. It’s hard to believe people can be this crazypants, but apparently they can. A reminder to us all: be careful about the markets you submit to.

Free Fiction

“The Tome of Tourmaline” by Ken Liu

“Ravages of Time” by Alex Shvartsman

Other Interesting Stuff

Interview with Chuck Wendig at The Contextual Life – I love his writing style on Terrible Minds and have added Blackbirds to my to-read list.

Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast: Episode 60: Brian Greene – Lovingly referred to as the “string theory guy” in our house, Greene delves into all sorts of mind blowing topics, like the notion that our universe and everything in it may be a hologram of sorts.

Did you find anything cool this week? Share it in the comments!

Links and Things for May 11, 2012

I’m afraid this is going to be a short one today. I’ve been busy this week and haven’t had as much time as I usually do to devote to reading blogs and engaging in media in general. But I did happen across a few cool things I wanted to share.

Blog Posts of Note

Too Smart for Kids: A Promise to the Readers of Fairyland by Catherynne Valente – Because books should be challenging and reading for kids is an act of discovery. Yes, yes, yes.

Vocabulary ¬†by Christie Yant – Discusses the joy of learning new vocabulary while reading. I’m lazy and often try to glean the meaning of a word I don’t know from context alone. Since a Kindle has been added to my life, I can look up words as I go. My desire to learn new words¬†and¬†my laziness are satisfied.

Using Index Cards to Plan Short Fiction Submissions by Michael Haynes – It’s exactly what it sounds like but I think I need to do something similar if I want to get all these languishing stories off my hard drive and back out into the world.

Free Fiction

“An Old Acquaintance” by K.G. Jewell

What I’m Reading

I finally finished Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane. It’s really a quick read, I was just reading slow, if that makes sense. Super fun and I recommend the whole series so far. I may read the next book in this series, City of Ghosts or maybe something else like Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig.¬†Not sure what I’ll dive into next. Anybody have suggestions?

What have you found this week? Leave it in the comments!

The Stories I Will Tell My Child

“We’ll eat you up, we love you so.”

So say the Wild Things in Where the Wild Things Are when Max is leaving the land of rumpuses and heading back home. Upon hearing the news that Maurice Sendak died, my first thought was about how I’d be reading this story to my daughter once she’s old enough. How important it is for both Matt and I to pass on the things we loved as children to our little girl. And I was filled with a sense of sadness at life and the ends of things and how happiness is only fleeting.

Yes, I waxed philosophical. I can’t help it. Everything makes me think about my soon-to-be-new role as a mom. And it terrifies me and excites me and makes me want to be better in every possible way. I wonder will I be good enough? Will she hate me? WIll she think back on her childhood when she’s an adult and think, “Hey, my parents did they best they could”?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I know one thing for certain. I’ll be reading Where the Wild Things Are, and A Wrinkle in Time, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Matt will read her The Hobbit, and The Stinky Cheese Man, and The Velveteen Rabbit. And our daughter will know and love books and stories and the imaginary worlds where the impossible, for just one moment, seems possible.

We’ll do that part right. I know it.

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.