Friday, October 28, 2011

When a Vegetarian Likes Hunting Season


You know the old adage, Opposites Attract?  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  A neat freak and a messy one, an introvert and a social butterfly, a country boy and a city girl – given enough time and fortitude surely you can influence each other and find common ground somewhere in the middle, right?  Now take all three of the previous and toss in, scientific vs. spiritual, planner vs. wind rider, logical vs. Glitter Globe, patient vs. NOT, even hunter vs. vegetarian – is there any hope for a lasting romance?  The Vegas odds probably aren’t good when the only thing you have in common with your true love is:  A) You’re both human (though, there were times I’ve suspected he was an android).
As it turns out those differences weren’t nearly as big as they sound. I’m going to go out on a limb many, many years into our marriage and say that they didn’t really matter. Maybe because deep down our core beliefs were similar (way, waaaay, deep down). God, family, and honor were commonalities despite our tastes and perceptions. Or maybe we’re deep into happily ever after because we take separate vacations. He went hunting, I went on retreat wherever the wind blew me. He went hunting, I threw a rave in the family room. He went hunting, I was all over NaNoWriMo.
The fact that I’ve celebrated more wedding anniversaries with my Maid of Honor (she rocks) than with my Groom is because I naively picked a wedding day during hunting season. (A fact, every member of his family pointed out to me at the wedding.) Does it bother me?  No. Would he give it up and stay home with me if I asked?  We’ll never know. Would I quit writing 70 hours a week if he asked?  Let’s pretend like we’ll never know that too, but he’s never asked and I’m willing to bet he never will.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Left to our Own Devices, We Probably Would...


What is your favorite gadget?  Somewhere, in a very short period of time, my favorite writing tool went from a sharp pencil and a notebook with good paper (preferably with gilded edges) to a laptop. Soon after, it became necessary to add a second computer – in order to research FASTER. It is also quite handy to have my cell phone right next to me, and my ipod (research apps). Can you relate?  Are you a gadget freak or are you a hold out?  You’re on a blog, so I’m guessing if you haven’t succumbed you’re on the slope. Welcome. We’ve been waiting for you.
Do you have a Nook/Kindle/ereader yet?  Was not a fan, at all. After a lifetime of paper books, I was carrying on like, “If man was meant to fly, he’d have wings!” Then I actually held one in my hands and realized that I HAD THE POWER to download and read anything RIGHT NOW. Yesssss. Really? Can it possibly get any better than that?  Books will always have my heart, just saying when it comes to instant literary gratification?  I’m in.  Microwaves didn’t replace stoves/ovens did they?  They supplemented and I think it will be the same with electronic books. And ebooks won’t make everyone gain a collective ten pounds like an entire generation did due to microwaves. What do you think about ebooks?  Technological wonder or underworld app?  Tell me in your own words, of course.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Freaked Out


In the great scheme of things are you, personally, aware of any purpose for spiders?  I know, I know, all God’s creatures – or are they?  I have my suspicions. Perhaps their purpose is simply a cosmic stress test?  You know, the instant heart rate acceleration that comes from their mere presence or from chasing them with a shoe?  Are they here simply to entertain cats?  Perhaps they're part of a cosmic joke gone awry, because face it, it is a bit amusing to watch someone walk into a web.
I have nothing against insects per se, quite the contrary, I have a thing for them. It’s the whole metamorphosis that I find fascinating. The caterpillar that drops his exoskeleton, forming a chrysalis to become a butterfly. Isn’t that amazing?  Larvae that morphs into a shimmery beetle. Beetles come in all the amazing colors of the rainbow, like art. Supposedly there are more types of beetles on earth than there are varieties of plants. Sleep on that. I visited an Insectarium once, think aquarium for bugs. I even ate a chocolate chirp cookie while I was there. Hey it was on my bucket list. #37 – Really freak hubby out. Check.

Spiders, however, are not insects. They are arachnids. Scientifically this means that they make a very satisfying crunching sound when stomped on. Still they cannot be trusted – they don’t even morph AND they have fur AND I’m allergic to them. AND they bite you way more than you might ever realize if you aren’t allergic to them. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but those mosquito bites you get in the dead of winter?  Not. Why am I sharing this?  Is it simply because of their latest assassination attempt?  Partly, but I’m a proactive person. I’m starting a grassroots movement right here, hoping to institute a recall. Please sign my petition electronically, below.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide!


Considering I have the disposition of a Nomad and spent my formative years giving into the impulse to roam, I honestly never expected to see my in-laws much after the wedding. It was part of my Grand Plan. Otherwise why waste all that effort to appear normal for the wedding? You know perfectly well you either did or will put great effort into faking normalcy for your own wedding too. It’s tradition. The plan was to abscond with my new husband and send the in-laws really great Christmas cards every year. Maybe someone tipped them off, but as with most Grand Plans, it did not go at all as planned.
Are you familiar with the term ‘Fortnight’?  The definition is:  A two week visit from your in-laws that will feel much, much longer than fourteen days. If I would mention to my Father-in-law before an impending visit, that we were in the process of packing to move again, or that one of the kids had stomach flu he was always very easy going. “That won’t bother us!  Don’t even worry about it!”  In order to ensure maximum enjoyment, they always bunked with us too. It was chaos. It was a madhouse. It was THE BEST of times, it was the worst of times, and I wouldn’t change a second of it.
Looking back it seems like MIL & FIL were always there (mostly because they always were) they knew our neighbors, co-workers and friends. They knew our new towns, area attractions and supermarkets. If we were busy working they hit the tourist spots without us, often with our friends in tow. It was a perfect example of that really old song, are you familiar with it? “You can’t always get what you want... but if you’re lucky sometimes, you might find, you get what your Glitter Globe needs…”

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's all just Fun and Games 'til Somebody gets Bored...

When was the last time you had some serious fun?  We’re talking laugh until you almost cried, and your lungs make that same sound they make when you’re sick and coughing really hard?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about put this on your to-do list:  1) Play. Now having some like-minded friends to fly your freak flag with is optimal, but not necessary to play. Kids aren’t even necessary for an excuse to play, though they are excellent cover for you. Today I bought a big bag of tiny little containers of Play-Doh to hand out for Halloween. It was a ruse, I haven’t had a single Trick-or-Treater come to my door in three years. I just like Play-Doh, plus I had a coupon. One of the miniature containers is right here on my desk. I like the way it smells. I like to open it up and play with it while I’m thinking about how my Protagonist is going to get rid of a body, or when I’m researching weapons on-line. I sure hope that there is an exemption for writers with the NSA/FBI/et al as they watch for nut-job internet searches, otherwise one of these days a nice black SUV is going to drive up my hill.
Then again, maybe I’ll get a ride in one of those black helicopters, that might be fun, if they let me blog about it after. Now maybe Play-Doh isn’t your idea of fun, nor colored Sharpies, Smencils (OMg Smencils ROCK), or even a brand new box of Crayola Crayons. Maybe you don’t like to play a rousing game of Quelf, Apples to Apples, or even Dirty Minds with your Mother-in-Law. Maybe jumping on the bed with the music so loud that your teenagers get mad at you just isn’t your thing?  Perhaps you don’t like to go to Verizon Wireless and set the alarms on every cell phone on display and anonymously text all your friends with “Hey, are you available?” Mayhaps you would never even secretly acquire photographs of your neighbor’s dog and set up a Facebook page for it just so you could send a friend request to said dog’s owners. As a matter of fact, you can probably find far more amusing entertainment for your Glitter Globe. I’m just giving you hypothetical examples, as always, anyways. So unless you have some concrete proof, just keep walking. Or stop and ring the doorbell, because I have some really spectacular things to hand out for Halloween this year, and it is still weeks away so I’m just getting started, and I still have coupons. Just ring the bell repeatedly please, because I really can’t hear it over the music.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CHOCOLATE.



The black and white of cold, hard reality is just waiting to pounce from everywhere these days – have you noticed that you can’t escape it even if you:
A) Don’t watch TV  
B) Only read the comics in the Sunday Paper  
C) Spend the bulk of your time in an alternate universe
There are obviously still cracks in your defenses and reality just keeps oozing in from all over – this is just one more reason why you should always keep some chocolate on hand for emergencies – I find that a good healthy (have you heard the claims that chocolate is healthy, as addicts we’ll buy into anything won’t we?) hit of ultra dark chocolate is like pulling the emergency parachute, you are safe!  Now is this because you are now so hepped up at this point that you can no longer take in additional data?  Who cares!  Fact is it works. Reality is at bay, and you – my friend – are now in your Happy Place. Enjoy.
Now onto the important question, what is the BEST chocolate you’ve ever eaten?  I want to know, because I am currently conducting important scientific research into this very question. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that it’s all about Dark Chocolate. Perhaps you see things differently, not everyone is enlightened, I respect your journey wherever on the path you may be. I need details here, what kind of M&Ms?  What kind of Dark Chocolate?  Okay, fine, just to prove I am an equal opportunity kind of chocoholic I will say it – what kind of milk chocolate do you like?  (Is there a way to block those people?)  We, by we I mean said researchers, need to know exact brands and what proof chocolate are we talking about?  I prefer something over 86% proof, but I’ve been on the stuff for awhile. If you can give me a really good tip, and I mean something that will help The Glitter Globe stave off reality for another 40,000 words, I will share some of my chocolate with you. Now this is a good deal. REAL Dark Chocolate in exchange for information. Talk to me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Trick or Treat - The True Meaning of Halloween



Cut through the hype and Halloween is really about only one thing - free candy – HOW can that be a bad thing? Halloween also involves breaking out your tiara, feathers, green wig or whatever glam your freak flag hides behind. When I was a kid, living with the Bohemians it also involved waiting anxiously for dark, wrestling the pet monkey into his cage, and traveling with a pack of cousins through piles of crunchy leaves on a cold October night in pursuit of a plastic pumpkin full of Junk . That is what Babushka called the glorious haul we would later spread out on the living room floor. We shared, trying to appease the monkey, but Gomer raced back and forth, sugared up and throwing handfuls of treats in retribution for being cut out of the door to door action.
I just luv when you get a Trick or Treater dressed as a pirate and boasting an actual beard. You know the teens who are easily old enough to vote who knock on the door but refuse to shout the traditional greeting. They get extra candy at my house. That’s because there really shouldn’t be an age limit. It’s simply fun. Could not wait until my first born could toddle around the neighborhood with his friends, dressed in a sheep costume I actually sewed from a car seat-cover. Yes. I sewed something. *Insert Mama Credits Here* There are photographs to prove it, much to my son’s eternal horror. In the photo he’s with his sheep buddies (there were several faux sheepskin car seat-covers and it really was a brilliant idea) standing resolutely beside Little Bo Peep holding their bright orange plastic pumpkin pails. The expression on their two year old faces reflects the fact that they were already sensing this might come back to haunt them someday.
What is your absolute favorite Halloween candy?  Full size chocolate bars always rock in my opinion, I used to try to give those out. It was a fail, they never survived for the big night. My new rule is to hand out candy I don’t like –otherwise I’m stuck handing out change on the big night, dressed in my husband’s sweat pants because none of mine will fit. Oh, don’t pretend like you haven’t been there. I also like to give out glow necklaces, temporary tattoos, stickers and microwave popcorn. Swing on by if you’re out and about. My house is the one up on top of the spooky hill, with all the pumpkins on the front porch. I’m that woman draped in glow necklaces, sporting temporary tattoos with stickers stuck all over my hubby’s sweatpants and eating a big bowl of microwave popcorn.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shtuffed

Maybe it happens when you have a house full of stuff that things begin to lose their appeal. Maybe it happens when you have far more fun with a pencil and paper than anything else or maybe it is just me, but most shtuff doesn’t interest me anymore. I’m not referring to the basic necessities of life: food, water, shelter and chocolate. I’m speaking of things, jewelry, knick-knacks, decorative touches. If I could have any one selfish thing for myself, it would be perfect health and maybe a side of superpowers thrown in. Flying would really rock, or apparating. I dream that I’m flying, so I suppose that’ll have to suffice. Apparating would simply be so CONVENIENT. No more waiting for cancelled flights, Terminal F, or long car trips…  sigh….  At any rate if I am completely frank, my wish list of things that would thrill me would look exactly like this (in no particular order):
Stuffed armadillo in perfect condition. (Preferably one who died a natural death, of course.)
A very large hour glass (the kind with sand) made of glass, with white sand and in a wooden container or something as pleasant. That one from the The Wizard of Oz would do.
A huge slice of quartz crystal – like two feet tall – if it was an awesome shade of aquamarine blue that would make it even better, seafoam green would be hard to beat too.
A House Elf
A Food Replicator
A Stalagmite (I think that’s illegal, and if Hermione Granger got her way after the seventh Harry Potter book I think that the House Elf might be too – but, let me just say, I would give my House Elf socks. And chocolate.)
Leopard print fashion boots with insane heels and the legs that you need to wear them. (Oh, and the coordination too.)
A Mary Poppins Carpetbag (The one that holds a coat-rack, plant, mirror and lamp, remember that one?)
A hover suitcase (since I can’t apparate)
Please feel free to add to the wish list with ideas of your own. What kind of shtuff would thrill you?  The Glitter Globes wants to know.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Speculative-Fiction Misnomer. A Rose by Any Other Name...

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. It surely would, but would it be as popular?  Names matter. Ask Bus Shelter from New Zealand or Ben Dover from Indiana, and have you heard of Urban Shocker, the ballplayer from the 1920’s?  If he was around now he’d rule the school and then have no choice but to become a rock star. When I first heard the term Speculative Fiction it sounded like a bit of an oxymoron to me. Doesn’t all Fiction involve speculation?  Speculative Fiction is the current all-encompassing term used for the more unusual types of Fiction. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural Fiction, I could go on and on but you have Wikipedia too, right?  There can be no doubt though, that the genre I write in is a direct result of the verbal radiation shot through The Glitter Globe while working in the High Tech field for many years.
Being around Scientists as they speculate on weather control systems, or the physics of solar sails as a means of transportation in space, is interesting even for the technically illiterate such as myself. When such concepts bounce through my vicinity, The Glitter Globe sucks them in and there is no telling what will come out. Speculating on just how wrong (or right) these or similar concepts might go if put into action has entertained me for years.
One of my all time favorite paying jobs has been working at Engineering/Technical conferences. The Optical Fiber Conference – sounds dull?  You have NO idea, it rocks. The SPIE Defense Symposium – which has nothing to do with spies (so don’t let the cool name mislead) but involves the Society for Photonics, Imaging, and Engineering. There were many other conferences too, involving electronics, robotics and lasers. And not once did anyone ever point at me and shout “There’s an English Major on Aisle CJ49087b! Shun the Non-Believer!”  They might have, but I have chameleon-like blending skills (an intrinsic writer survival tool).
Sentenced to a week sitting at a booth in a football sized convention center surrounded by the minions of the scientific community is fodder for the spec fic (not a bad word, really) writer’s soul. Not to mention the limitless inspiration for building your novel's characters, but we will not go there. We will abstain from commenting on the world of pocket protector engineering types who invent the spectacular technology that surrounds us in the 21st Century. NOT because my husband or son is one, but because that is a whole other blog. Or possibly a book.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail


Are you a Plotter and a Planner?  Do you map out your day, your weeks, set goals for your life?  Show-off. That is how many people write. They plot and plan extensively, I’d give you all the details on how to do it except that I have no idea myself. I’ve taken workshops on how to do it. In a class of perhaps a hundred or hundreds (who knows, math is not my thing anymore than planning) I’m always the one frozen in the second row. “Wait?  What?  We were supposed to plot it out?”   

However, my thought at the time is always WHY?  Why would I spend weeks or months plotting and planning when all I have to do is click on “New Document” and start typing. I don’t WANT to know what happens next. Where is the fun in that?  I want to be every bit as surprised as the reader when we get to The End, and if I see it coming, I rewrite the whole thing. That is the rule. Surprise or revise.
I do find useful information from plotting and planning classes and workshops. Sometimes it is simply that there are some shiny streamers stuck to the air-conditioning vent on the ceiling and sometimes it is new eye-opening thoughts on story arcs and timing. Don’t get the wrong idea, I actually research extensively. It takes far longer to research a story than it ever does to write it. After that research is done, then I just jam, shove and push all that data – including the classes and workshops – through the whirring process of The Glitter Globe and let the muse rule.
Apparently when you write by the seat of your pants you are called a “Pantser”. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. The price for getting to skip all the plotting and planning?  Rewrites. Youch. Another cost is those detours down what are known as “rabbit trails”. That term needed no explanation for me. I adore hopping down a bunny trail that I spot while I’m barreling towards my goal - SLAM on those brakes, back up and we’re off - just gotta see what is down there. Sometimes there is a shortcut, or treasure, and sometimes it is a dead end that requires some serious backing up and covering your tracks, but – oh – what a ride! 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Conspiracy Theory #1 - You Can Check Out Anytime You Like, But You Can Never Leave...

It is the beautiful ones you have to watch out for. The ones who look so pure and good and innocent, but we both know they’re not. If you fall for their charms there is no intervention that can possibly stop you from sliding down that slippery slope. They’ve lured you to the edge and you, my friend, are plummeting right into their clutches. Even the most wholesome among them cannot be trusted. The ones that pretend to be nutritious, promising to provide fuel for The Glitter Globe with oats and raisins unlike their completely fallen cousins who boast chocolate chips or *gasp* sprinkles – but they’re probably the worst of the lot. Liars. Cookies wear many disguises, but when they start spouting healthy claims you can rest assured you are looking at posers.
It starts when you’re too young to fight back. A childhood injury is iced over with the little treat, likely slathered with irresistible frosting to be certain you cannot resist. It was possibly given to you by some well-meaning adult who is already so deep in the clutches of the wicked hordes of homemade minions that they know not what they do. Then it gets downright ugly. That giant fuzzy blue Pusher from Sesame Street urges you on. “Me want cookie.” “Om nom nom nom.”  You are indoctrinated into the cult now. And all the apples and celery sticks in the world can’t help you escape once they get inside you. They’re in your blood. Yes. You have become part of the worldwide pandemic. The Family now owns you.

Make no mistake, they are all part of the same family. The scientific evidence is everywhere. I apologize for any racist stereotyping in advance but if we can please be frank for a moment, they all look the same. They might come in different colors and flavors and from many parts of the globe but there is no mistaking what last name they carry. Chocolate Chip COOKIE. Orange COOKIE. Oatmeal COOKIE. They flaunt it shamelessly. They use that against you too, the whole family thing. That often starts in childhood too – it is a brilliant marketing campaign – even your Grandmother is in on it. She bakes you gingerbread COOKIES. Look at that, a FAMILY of cookies. They even have raisin eyes, or if your Babushka is very much into the cult they might have chocolate chip eyes.
Perched on a plastic kitchen chair the entire family is flashed before your eyes. You try not to think about the fact that they are naked. “Which one do you want?”  Well, it seems wrong to eat the children doesn’t it?  So you probably opted for the mother. You start with her leg, for some reason as a child that seems like the humane thing to do. If she has raisin eyes you toss those towards your pet monkey who jams them into his ears, but the only one who will ever know about that is the Vet and that won’t be for another week so you’re good. Then you take another look at that plate and the children look so – abandoned. They really should be with their mother. So you’re just helping them out, right? 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Run Along


While freestyle writing is one secret to my joyful existence within The Glitter Globe, there are other thrills that I’d like to impart to both readers and writers alike. I’m tossing these discoveries into cyberspace like handfuls of happy tidbits because I’m compelled to share. Some mornings when I bounce out of bed I’m tempted to peek under, to check for pods, because as the glimmer of first thoughts sparkle through The Glitter Globe one of the foremost is – running – this is where my enthusiasm meets sheer disbelief even in my own mind. I am a woman who once spent almost a year sick and barely moving, yet I now spend every night before falling asleep plotting not just my story but how I’m going to get my daily run in.

This is my ritual, my obsession, my journey to where the mojo lives. There is a secret to loving running and I’m willing to bet it works for any exercise and that is MUSIC – the kind that makes you want to, well, run in the morning, dance in the morning, jump on the bed like it’s a trampoline. For me that is angry screamo music, go figure – I never was a fan of it until I started running and I became a fan because I discovered this magical thing…  The kind of music you can feel in your internal organs makes you faster, stronger, it carries you and before you know it an hour has passed and you have to stop running and get back to your novel.
Now I did not bounce up from my practically bedridden existence and start running one day. First I walked, very slowly, on an old Stairmaster – you know that old bit of exercise equipment you probably have covered in dust or folded laundry somewhere in your house?  I unearthed mine like an archaeologist and heaved my unwilling body onto it at Level One. Yes, Level One for twenty minutes. Afterwards I took a nap. Eventually I worked my way up, level after level and after some time, my body and enthusiasm were also discovered beneath many layers where they’d hidden for years. Perhaps running is not your thing, believe me neither I nor those who knew me would have thought it was mine either, I encourage you to search for your thing. Stretch your bones, turn on some music that moves you and let it do its job. Either that or hit the dark chocolate and take a nap, only you can find where your mojo hides.  


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Doing Time in Terminal F

Living here in Iceland gives me little leeway in flying options. It takes two days travel coming or going. One day of actual flying time, one day in which to be stranded in some city due to canceled flights. I’ve seen flights cancelled because a bird almost hit the plane, the toilets quit working, an elderly early boarder threatened someone’s well being (and the TSA has to take all threats seriously even if it is a 174 year old woman yelling ‘The Yankees are Coming’) and of course the inexplicable clear sunny day cancellation where the dreaded word CANCELLED simply pops up on the monitor for no apparent reason.
I plan for the inevitable delays, keeping my laptop and a change of clothing on hand. In winter I dress in layers (Siberian work camp style) in order to have some extra clothes with me in addition to what can be jammed into my bag and carried on and slammed, shoved and forced into the overhead bin. Fruit and water are always on my person for those hours spent sitting on the runway awaiting the elusive gate. Least this sound like a complaint let me be clear, getting stuck mid-route is a bit of a writer’s dream. The material that can be garnered sitting in an airport pub is priceless. People talk. I have one of those faces. “You can trust me with your most intimate secrets. I will put you in a novel, but I will guard your identity so closely even you will not recognize yourself.”  At least that is what I think I’m generating. Perhaps it is simply that I dare to make eye contact.

Still, no amount of advance planning or prayer can completely prepare one for a stint in Terminal F. You can try to avoid it, but eventually the gravitational pull will suck you in and once you are there you must defy physics to escape. Forget about your luggage too. I’d long suspected that it was tossed into an incinerator out back, but realized I might be wrong when I saw an employee wearing what looked suspiciously like my favorite sweater on a later trip. Well, perhaps her Grandmother knitted her an exact replica – it is, after all, a great big universe full of possibility and cosmic coincidence.
Terminal F is not part of the actual airport – you have to take a shuttle to either escape or be sentenced to it. Said shuttle literally drives over runways and around moving aircraft at impressive speeds, I have reason to believe it inspired The Knight Bus in the whole Harry Potter series. Same driver. There is no Wi-Fi in Terminal F and you are not allowed to leave your gate no matter how many times your plane is cancelled, including if it is postponed overnight. If you do, they will secretly sneak the cancelled plane to the gate, while you are off chatting it up with some Rock Star in a pub in the main terminal, and they will leave without you – and refuse to rebook you unless you purchase another ticket.
My heart always goes out to the poor condemned souls sentenced to work the Gates in Terminal F. Once a young woman took the phone call that those of us waiting knew would be the next cancellation and instead of announcing it bravely to the sea of hostile faces, she grabbed her pocketbook and literally ran away. Sometimes a passenger will revolt and rent a vehicle from their cell phone and then invite fellow inmates to escape with them by car. They go skipping off happily, knowing they’ll never see their luggage again but we all know freedom has a price. Those of us who are well versed in geography also know you cannot drive a car to Iceland from Terminal F, because the one-way rates on rental cars are astronomical, so we continue to sit at the gate and exist on lifesavers and fruit roll-ups praying for the governor to call with a pardon.

(In celebration of the fact that I did escape Terminal F once more, I have a delicious bar of dark chocolate that I would like to share.  Post your own Terminal F story in my comments and if it moves me, it is yours.)