Month: February 2013

Some Axel, Some Writing and Some Frosty!

20130221-185000.jpg

Today I have a couple things for you.

First off this picture of Axel, he is such a monster.

Second a fun little exercise to get that pen moving!

In stories, many characters have something very particular about them, a signifier. It’s something that reminds the reader who they are or what they do. As I was reading some Stephen King I realized how often he uses these signifiers as character names. “The Yellow Card Man” from
11/22/63 never had a name, he was just always the yellow card man because of the yellow card on his hat. By naming him only with his signifier King accomplishes several things; the reader never has to try to remember who the yellow card man is, the reader gains a very distinct image of the character by one phrase and the author cuts out a lot of descriptive language otherwise used to tell the reader more about the character.

I’m not sure whether it’s the choice of names or the contents of the books, but I always get the “vibe” of the character, and usually it is not nice, but really adds a richness to the text. So, for tonight choose a character and replace their name with a solid signifier.

In my book right now I use the name “red hard hat” for a fireman. The character who sees him is a little boy and he does not initially realize that it is a fireman. Giving the term I add some liveliness to the word choice and still tell the reader what is going on in the story.

I’m excited to use this method as a way to continue bringing life to the characters without paragraphs of detail that would otherwise be lost within words.

Lastly, a tiny rant for the day!

I have yet to use a very awesome free Wendy’s frosty card! Glad it’s free frosties for a year and its only February!

Downton Abbey

I’m more of a British television fan than I give myself credit for. I like Doctor Who and will watch any Pride and Prejudice movie, always loving Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. However, Downton Abbey takes the cake. I can’t say how much fun I have watching this show. Not only is it a time piece (I’m a sucker for all those Marie Antoinette types, very excited to watch Anna Karina) but the characters are great and the quips are hilarious! Plus anything with Maggie Smith has to be nothing less than amazing.

Season 3 just aired the finale and it was a heart wrencher. Usually each episode has its ups and downs, but this was a huge down! But I won’t give anything away.

What’s great about this show is that it gives a great view of both the upstairs society and the downstairs society and how their statuses change and evolve through the early 1900’s. The first episode starts with the Abbey in a predicament after their next heir dies with the sinking of the Titanic.

The first two seasons are available on Hulu and PBS has the third. So catch up if you haven’t!

Meteorite!

By now I’m sure everyone has heard and seen videos of the meteorite that exploded over Russia. Watching the videos it is easy to understand the confusion or panic behind witnessing this atmospheric phenomena rarely beheld. One of the craziest parts of the video, for me at least, was how the lighting seemed normal at the start, then of course you see all the flashing, blinding light and when it stops it seems in contrast that it is way darker than it was before. I can only imagine how humbling it was to witness that intensity. The bright flashing lights, the force you can almost feel just through video footage, the stream of fire trailing behind, and that shocking darkness left after the flashes fade out are certainly images no one will soon forget.

Maybe it was the universe’s Valentines gift to the world but it arrived a little late.

So happy Sci-Friday Russia and world,
Love Universe.

Writing Fever!

Hey there! Goodness this week has flown by and I have skipped a weeks worth of blogs. I would apologize for this lack of presence here, but I am too excited because I finally have that writing fever back in my veins. I have spent the past lunch breaks and even my 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon working on fine tuning the first 12 chapters of Alphaeus. I also keep trying to get those dang graphs to work in Createspace… I changed my Word doc to a PDF like Dan Harris suggested. I think that was probably what I needed, however, it was not uploading. By this I mean that Createspace started uploading it, it said “working” the loading bar with blue and white stripes moving across letting me know its doing the job. Then half an hour to 45 minutes later it was still “working.” I figured, ” okay tech difficulties, I’ll try again.” So I tried again. And again. And tonight I will try again. I will get this to work. Graphs will not be my undoing! I am good at graphs. I love graphs! They will be in the zombie book…. They wiiiiiiilllll.

Slight hysteria aside, I am extremely happy to be moving along with my work now 🙂

Now to figure out the delicate balance of work, blog, books, boyfriend, family, friends and if so lucky a little me time. (How do people do it??)

Also, happy valentines!

Article from EW

I read an article today in Entertainment Weekly, titled Under the Gun, about gun violence and its relation with movies, television, and video games. I was impressed that the writer was able to put the article out while maintaining a solid voice that took a stand against the violence, but did not divert the anger in different directions.

Often times, arguments regarding highly emotional issues tend to become saturated with those emotions to the point that the argument is lost. For example, someone who feels so passionately about an issue often tries so hard to persuade others to see their side that they do not balance what they say. Others who hear this passionate argument take offense and drive fast the other way. So what happens is you end up with two extreme views while most people sit somewhere in the middle.

I think some of the actors and other Hollywood industry people had some very intelligent comments on the issue. Whether they thought that violence in entertainment was a valid blame for violence in real life or not, their comments made sense and were well thought out.

My big disappointment with the article was the section devoted to video games.

I love video games, I grew up with video games, and video games have always been a thing to blame acts of violence on. So when the article was able to only gather 2 video game industry people (not for a lack of trying) to comment, I was disappointed.

I understand that the video game industry is a very secretive one because of how their products are made and sold and maybe it is a good thing for them to keep their mouths shut, because the industry is known for being the punching bag of many parents, educators, and others looking to place blame on anything but the individual, but it is highly disappointing to have people from the other corners of entertainment stand up and start intelligent conversations about the connection of violence and entertainment, while another corner, one that so many people are involved with, who have very strong fan bases, sits out.

(I know very long sentence, breathe)

Anyways, like the writer of this article noted, many games actually show the consequences of violence, are saying very “interesting things.”

It’s a shame that those creators are not giving their say as well.

Createspace and the Non-Existent Graphs

Alright people, I need help. I have been working on my Zombie Guide and I decided to do a test upload in Createspace. I figured I could see, realistically, how many pages I am looking at thus far and see how my graphs turned out.

Well, when I uploaded the file none of my graphs were visible and I do not understand why.

Now, I’ve put up a question on the Createspace community board to see if anyone will direct me to the best guide or give me a step by step, so if I get any answers there I will make sure to supply them here as well.

Here was my process.

I created my graphs using Excel. Once they were how I liked them, I copy and pasted them to my MS Word main book document. I inserted them into the sections I wanted them to be viewed, breaking up the text in several chapters.

I was reading about several people using Photoshop or saving their graphs as .jpegs (and other various image document file types). I work using Gimp, which is basically the same as Photoshop, but free. I don’t suspect the program will make a difference as long as I can save it to the appropriate file type.

Others talked about how they did use Excel to create the graphs, but maybe I’m missing a step when I export them to my Word doc.

My next attempt will be to save the excel graph as an image file and then insert it in my Word document.

I will let you know how that turns out.

If anyone has any experience with graphs in their self-published works and can offer tips – I am completely open to ideas. 🙂

The MLP Story

I love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Want to know the story? Of course you do, because it’s hilarious.

I never watched MLP growing up. So, when my boyfriend admitted he had watched it and said it was actually a pretty good show I decided, “Alright, I’ll find an episode and watch.” (Also, he grew up with mostly girls; a sister, girl cousins, so I excused this girly show watching. Plus, he balanced it out pretty well with more “boy” cartoons -laughs)

Anyways, I watched an episode. However, I didn’t realize I had actually chose to watch the new, updated version of MLP, MLP: Friendship is Magic. I immediatly called him back and said, “That show is pretty good, it’s great. I’m watching more.” And he was all, “Uuuhhh, ookay…”

Then I made him watch an episode with me and he obviously realized it was a different one than he had watched growing up. He sat through one episode and came to the same conclusion. This show is great.

I am not ashamed to admit that when Saturday mornings come around, we both look forward to watching MLP – said the 26 year old whose only child is her inner one.

But how can you argue with a show that casts John de Lancie as the villian, Discord? At least that’s Justin’s logic.

Here is my logic:

And I really do.

The Silver Linings Playbook, a Review

Last night I watched The Silver Linings Playbook. I had been wanting to see this movie since I first saw the trailer but I never got around to it. I was interested because it seemed that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both played pretty messed up characters and I wanted to see how they did with roles like that.

I didn’t expect the story to be so good. Nor did I expect their roles to be characters I enjoyed so much.

Pat (Cooper) just got released from a mental hospital, under the conditions of continuing to take his medication and attending his therapy sessions. The trigger for his mental breakdown and continued struggles with flashes of rage was walking in on his wife cheating on him and consequentially beating the man she was with near death. While he tries to deal with his wife’s abscence, trying to win her back, a father with similar anger issues and family and friends who treat him like he is crazy he finds a friend in Tiffany (Lawrence). Tiffany expierences similar moments of fury and has her own struggles after the death of her husband.

Though the center of the story is Pat and Tiffany helping each other and coping together, all of the other people around them are well defined, interesting and deep enough to see that they are struggling with their own issues as well.

I knew there was a lot of hype surrounding this movie, but it is well deserved, the movie is funny, emotional and smart.

The movie dealt a lot with judgement and acceptance and I think just seeing it for that message is worth it; People judging others, judging themselves, learning to accept others and certainly learning to accept yourself. It’s a very realistic display of reactions of people in situations or people around others in situations that require a lot of healing, time and patience.

Business Plan, the Uncommon Sections

So my mission for Saturday was moved to Sunday. Yesterday I spent at Red Rock taking a hike through the mountains. It was fun. There was a man who set up a whole dinner up at the waterfall to propose to his girlfriend. He set up the whole thing, had a guy playing Part of Your World and Can You Feel the Love Tonight and other Disney inspired music on a cello. Very sweet, not particularly my style, but sweet indeed.

Anyways, today I have a few pictures of my business plans. Some are the old drafts but I thought it was important to show them. I think the important things to note are (though you may not be able to decipher them in the photos) the measurement of success, expected outcome, and resources. These are a few categories that are not as common as listing the task, the actions involved, and the date they are to be done so are therefore often overlooked. However, the are just as important.

In the measurement of success section, make sure to log how you find the particular action successful. An example maybe, if your task is to update your twitter with daily posts, you may find that the success is in the amount of followers increasing regularly. The more followers in the shorter amount of time equals a greater success.

The expected outcome section is similar to the measurement of success but not the same. In this area you will want to include what you want the finished task to produce, not taking into account exactly what makes it successful. For instance, if your task is to design a cover and your expected outcome is to have a cohesive, interesting design that will draw attention, then your measurement of success would be your audience having a positive reaction to the design.

Almost the same but not quite.

The last, often overlooked section of a business plan is the resources section. In this section you list the tools you will need for any particular task. Will you need the Internet, good sleep, specific programs, images, or other people? All of these things may seem obvious, but sometimes listing them just insures you do not forget to keep those tools at hand when you sit done to work.

20130203-140935.jpg

20130203-140944.jpg

20130203-141404.jpg

20130203-141412.jpg

Also, I know these pictures are not great, sorry.

PS4 What? And Poetry for Valentines

Sci-Friday everyone! And what does that mean? I bring you a small piece of relatively related to science news, info, picture, video whatever I decide and my decision is this video!

Isn’t it interesting? Sony gives us a date and that’s it. It’s a 45 second video of a date. I assume the date means that Sony will announce something on Febuary 20th. What could it be? Oh how about the next gen console?? Thats right, gear up for PS4.

Sony is jumping ahead this year to beat Microsoft to the punch. Microsoft will also be unveiling their next console fairly soon and both should be ready to be at the tip top of your Christmas list this year!

So start saving!

Also, on another note. As Valentines Day is right around the corner, I would like to ask, what’s more special than a poem to read to your special someone? Check out A Sense of Light or Darkness and say ” I love you” in one of the most romantic ways.

“I heard, you spoke like petals
With your iridescent grin
Just like before
Tonight
Tonight
I follow my shadow
And fall for you again.”
Tonight

“-bittersweetness resting with it’s subtle changes
Like orange scattered leaves
Waiting for a wind.”
Reisling

Or maybe your relationship is not all candied hearts and you would like to read something more sober.

“It’s broken frame
(An illusion of wholeness)
While jagged edges bursting light off
In different directions
Remind the air
Of its partial existence.”
Broken Vase

Whether your in love, in hate, or happily enjoying your single freedom, this collection offers both light and dark sides of many types of relationships.