I got myself some new toys today! Since Pete got a new baby and all, I thought I should have something new as well, but I wanted something that didn't poop or cry. ;o)
I ended up at OfficeMax (drool, I looooooove office supplies) and I bought myself a nifty 250G external hard drive. My computer is about 5 years old... I know, that's like a billion in computer years, but there's not a darn thing wrong with it other than I'm running out of space. I've never had this one apart, so I didn't want to mess with internal stuff. I spent the better part of my evening backing up my photos and music, my two biggest spacehogs. I also burned all the photos to CD that hadn't already been done. But I just can't make myself delete the pictures off the computer yet.
I also bought myself a new camera. Since I'm going on a cruise in a few short days, I wanted a small camera that I can tote around all day, every day. I have a Canon PowerShot S2 IS, which I love, love, LOVE. But it's big and bulky and not good for carrying around for long periods of time. I also have a PowerShot A430 that I got dirt cheap for my kid to use.
I saw a nifty waterproof Pentax that caught my eye, so I went into three - THREE - different stores, and in EVERY store, the display model was inoperative. All three of them. So my thought was that A) There's a disgruntled Pentax ex-customer going around destroying all display models of that specific camera, or B) They don't handle actual usage well and I shouldn't buy one. I went with B) and didn't buy one.
I *did* however, buy a Canon PowerShot SD1000, which is tiny and freaking adorable. I decided on it because Canon has never done me wrong, even back to my 35mm days. It was also on sale, which helped sway my decision. It's no bigger than a deck of cards, and the screen on the back is a really nice 2.5". It's also got 7.1 MP and a 3x optical zoom. Not quite as much zoom as I like (the S2 IS has 12x), but it'll suffice for vacation and everyday stuff. It's also tiny enough that I can just keep it in my purse for whenever photo-taking opportunities arise. Yay.
Oh, and 2G memory cards were on sale Buy one, get one free. Double Yay. Now I can put one in my S2 and have one in the new one. Son will inherit my 1G, I guess.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I got myself some new toys today! Since Pete got a new baby and all, I thought I should have something new as well, but I wanted something that didn't poop or cry. ;o)
What the hell is "Pete's Shelf" and why is there no "Carrie's Shelf"???
Posted by Carrie at 3:20 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
In a press conference, held today, the Tzinski corporation was pleased to announce that on July 24th, at 11:07am, Tzinski 2.0 was released to the public. Weighing in at six pounds, nine ounces and with a head of hair, this new model -- named Zachary Thomas Tzinski -- is expected to have a long product run.
"We are pleased with the launch of this new generation in our exciting Tzinski product line," said president and CEO Renee Tzinski, "And we are looking forward to many years of support for our customer line."
Also announced at this same press conference was that continued support of Tzinski 1.0 (jokingly called "Pete," by consumers) will continue.
"Although Tzinski 2.0 is exciting and groundbreaking in ways that our original model could never manage, we do intend to continue promoting and supporting the talents and abilities of Tzinski 1.0, which we think will still have at least two more years of use and active service."
No patches have been released for for Zachary Thomas Tzinski software, and already the hardware has already produced several ouputs.
Posted by Pete at 10:27 AM
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Every night, without fail, when I click the Stumble button a few times and after I've cycled past the games and the cat pictures (honestly, how many of those do we need? I have four cats. I don't come online to look at MORE CATS), it brings me to some sort of writing page.
Most of these are harmless and I think little of them one way or the other. Some of them, though, are How To Write More Betterer pages. I don't understand them. I don't agree with them.
Tonight, I found The Snowflake Method.
I briefly considered going through the Snowflake Method bit by bit and taking it apart here, so you would have a long blog post to skip. But then I realized I really hate blogger who quote articles bit by bit just so they can snip at 'em.
So I'll snip at the whole thing. I am so manly.
Folks, you don't have to write a book like this. Your book doesn't have to be written step-by-mother'lovin' step. You don't need to write a one sentence followed by a paragraph followed by a page and so on. You can just meet a character and start writing. You can have a situation, a line of dialog, anything you want and just start writing! Do you like to outline? So just outline what you want to outline, in as garbled a mess as you need to, and then get on with it.
A query letter I got once, through BBT Magazine, had this line toward the bottom: My second novel is currently slated to enter production at the end of next month.
Neat! And I am currently slated to change my pants around the same time! It's not a damn movie. I realize that kid was just trying to sound highly impressive, but it just comes off as silly and lazy.
Writing gets way too high-handed at times. The writers do, I mean. The writing itself fails to care one way or the other. Writers are either plucking their mystical words out of the ether as their ethereal muse guides them along their paths to Byzantium, or else they are acting as though their books are movies, like above.
You can just write. Okay? Nothing more, nothing less, just write. That doesn't mean you have to write by the seat of your pants, because not everyone does that, but good lord. This is writing.
This is storytelling, when you get down to it. We are the descendants of the men who told stories around a campfire, handing them down from generation to generation, and of the women who told their own stories in their own languages that the young men did not know and the old men were too wise to learn. We owe it to each other to tell stories. Not tell each other how we're someday going to tell somebody a story.
It's like dieting by reading a ton of dieting books. You're still getting fatter. This is the same thing. You can outline and plan and prepare all you want, but if you don't get down to it sooner or later and just write, then you're not accomplishing anything. Sooner or later, it goes from planning to stalling. One is useful. The other is fear.
Posted by Pete at 10:50 PM
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I just finished it.
It was wonderful.
I loved it.
Friday, July 20, 2007
My plan for working was something along the lines of "get in, do a half decent job, get out" and eventually quit and go back to being a stay-at-home-mom.
So what happens? On Thursday, I got a freaking promotion. Yeah, seriously. The other girl in my department has been off for minor surgery, so I've been shouldering a massive load. And apparently I'm pretty damn efficient. LOL
My boss kept telling me what a good job I was doing and how much she appreciated my efforts. Then yesterday, she tells me I got a promotion (same job, different level & pay scale) and ... a RAISE.
Now the really funny part is that the policy is that you have to be there for 2 years to get a promotion, but they made a freaking exception in my case. WTF?!
So I try to be half-decent and end up making myself indispensable. Something's just not right, here! LOL!!
Fortunately, my coworkers are 98% smart-asses, (talk about a good work environment!) so I've been getting comments about my diabolical plan for world domination, and this is just the first step. MUWAHAHAHAHAHA Little do they know that it's actually the THIRD step!
Er... never mind. You didn't just read that.
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing wrong. Maybe I need to TRY to be indispensable...
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I don't have much to say tonight, because I'm reeeeeallly tired. The only reason I'm still upright + conscious is that I'm making a desperate effort to work on my Rome novel. It doesn't do me any good to know how it all goes from here to the very end if I don't work on it.
However, I have this link, and I just had to share it. Because what could be cooler than Jerry Springer Meets Philosophy? Honestly, Carrie and I should have written it. I'm ashamed we didn't.
Time to go see if I can do a thousand words or so, for the first time in two weeks. Wha-hey, I'm already at 700.
Posted by Pete at 11:02 PM
Monday, July 16, 2007
I dunno. A lot of the time, I just don't get the rest of the writing world. I realize this is my fault and not their's, but still...
I stumbled (I should say Stumbled, as in StumbleUpon, which is Lori's fault) across this web-site a little while ago and, since it was for writers, I usually pause a moment and give it a look.
I gave diagramming sentences about thirty seconds of my time, because I didn't enjoy it in school and now, years later, I still don't enjoy it. I like to think I'm a good writer, but I'm not a mechanically minded one. That is to say, I could use a gerund properly in my everyday writing...but I don't think I could define it properly for you. (Actually, I can: in English, a gerund is identical to a present participle. I just think of them as the -ing words.)
So then, I wandered deeper into the web-site. I looked at right brain writing prompts, and I looked at the six-traits program. All of it comes off as useful -- which is an improvement, normally Stumble gives me a hairbrained self-published author who is telling me How To Get Rich Quick And Be My Own Publisher!!! which is really the LAST thing I want to be.
But anyway, I don't know if I'm being closed-minded (I try not to be, I really do) or if I'm just built wrong, but I read stuff like this and wind up going why? Is it really necessary? It fascinates me more than anything. When I spent time on AbsoluteWrite, it always fascinated me that some people could ONLY write at certain times of the day, or ONLY write with a certain computer, or ONLY write with certain music going, or, or...
And yet, and still...
As I get older, as my life gets busier and more full, I find that limitations start imposing themselves on me, probably out of exhaustion more than anything else. Yesterday, I just couldn't write with rock music (so I put on the Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack, because it's such a good one). For most of the past week, probably a little longer, I've mostly not been able to write. If I've gone on the computer, I just stare at it while my brain randomly bounces around like an epileptic hamster. Eventually, I turn it off and go to bed. I have two articles that I need to type up. I have short stories to send out.
So maybe I'm coming, the long way, to a medium-ground of writers where all sorts of prompts and games and tools, such as are found on that above site -- and countless other sites just like it -- are actually useful and necessary.
For the moment, it all still seems sort of alien to me and I'm cheerfully fascinated by it.
Happy News 1: Last night, I sat down and wrote five pages of notes, excited to the point of shaking. In the those five pages, I wrote down the scene I'm on right now in my Rome novel, and then mapped the story out, in detail, all the way through the very ending scene. I didn't change my ending like I thought I needed to, I just clarified it. I happily know my REAL ending scene now, and I like it. I could write it today, if I wanted.
Happy News 2: Myne wife...has NOT had the baby yet. Why is this happy news? Beats me. I was keeping with the motif. I wish the kid would just come OUT already. Honestly, what else has he got to do?
Okay. Rather than write (this is the most I've written in a few days) I'm going to gather up my wife and....go play Nintendo Wii. My baseball pro status awaits!
Posted by Pete at 9:14 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Whenever I go see a movie which I really enjoy I tend to, as a product of my childhood years, not talk about it. You can tell how much I like a movie by how much I Not Talk About It. When my wife and I saw Running With Scissors, for example, you could tell how much I liked it by the fact that I was incessantly telling people about it. (For the record: Everyone involved with that film should be hanged, drawn, quartered, and the film should be burned.)
When it comes to movies like Harry Potter, which I love as much as I loved Star Wars when I was a kid (before they made prequels and I realized it was all mostly garbage), I don't read reviews, I barely mention it. It just frustrates me when someone else disliked it -- especially when they can't explain why. Another thing that bugs me: Opinions without reasoning. If I like or dislike something, I have reasons. I don't always understand why the rest of the world sometimes doesn't.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the movie, is thus-far my favorite movie. I'm glad that the movies are getting progressively darker as the books do. I'm glad that we got Dudley at the beginning. I'm glad that in parts, the movie made me jump
Delores Umbredge was creepy. I mean, out of the Twlight Zone creepy. She was done wonderfully. And Emma Watson was absolutely psychotic as LaStrange. But then, Emma Watson's always fun. I was happily surprised when I saw her. I didn't realize she was in this film. I've been busy with what's technically called "life," so I didn't really keep up on pre-production gossip. (Mostly, I don't care. I don't need to know every time the actors change caterers for lunches. C'mon.)
I haven't read Book 5 since it first came out (or book 6, for that matter). I've read each once. I remember them well enough. That's enough for me. This means that I don't get into a frothy lather when they cut something, or add something. Mostly, I don't notice. Or care. A movie is not a book, nor can they ever match up exactly. The only way to faithfully adapt a book to film is a TV series or mini-series. So when it comes to movies, all I ask is that they care and they are sincere. Hence why Batman Begins, which was nothing like the comics, is my favorite super-hero movie.
Harry Potter 5 was dark and visceral and funny. They finally used Filch, who has wonderful comedic potential. I enjoyed Luna's character no end.
The ONLY question I was left with after the movie was, if Hagrid's brother is THAT BIG...how did Hagrid's dad (normal sized) and Hagrid's mum (presumably also THAT BIG) how did they...you know...you know? I don't know. And I don't want to know.
And....I think Dumbledore might be able to take on Gandalf at this point, in a fight. Yes I do. Although Albus Dumbledore isn't an angel, like Gandalf. (What? Oh, just go read The Silmarillion).
So, I loved it. I am desperate for the next movie. I may re-read book six, just for my fix.
Oh, a final good thing about this movie. IT HAD NO TIME-TURNERS IN IT.
Posted by Pete at 9:31 PM
I saw the movie last night! I think this is the first time I've gone to a movie on its release date. The theater was packed. *PACKED* We got there about 15 minutes before the start of the movie due to getting off work, and we were lucky to get decent seats.
There were two guys in front of us who were holding 3 seats. We thought they were *for* someone. Nope. They were just seathogs. Seriously. It was: Empty seat, guy, empty seat, guy, empty seat. They had their mega jumbo huge popcorn on the middle seat, and apparently just wanted the other two seats for their invisible friends.
The movie. It was a weird combination. They took sooooooooo much more out of the book than in any other movie, yet this one was the hardest to follow if you hadn't read the book. Weird indeed.
The ladies playing Dolores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood were spot on, IMO. Bellatrix LeStrange was also excellent. Other stuff, not so much. The Order of the Phoenix which, um, is the whole freaking POINT, right???? is a bare mention. Nymphadora/Tonks was way underused, as was Kreacher.
There were a few slow parts, and a few edge-of-the-seat parts.
All in all, it was a good movie, and yeah, I'll buy it the day it comes out on DVD, but I won't be seeing it in the theater again, like I did with Goblet.
In spite of the amount of cleaned-up-freaking-hot Gary Oldman in this film, Prisoner of Azkaban is still my favorite.
Friday, July 6, 2007
As many of you are no doubt aware, my wife is pregnant (with a child). The kid's definitely going to be out by the end of next week, if not sooner, so sayeth my wife. I believe her. I believe her because people keep telling me all sorts of stories about The Power of Maternal Instinct And Also Its Accuracy, so I'm going to just go with it.
For women, pregnancy is a big deal. A lot of human beings on the planet are women and I bet they agree with me here. There are countless things that a woman has to worry about. For example, she is gaining weight and has to deal with her changing body image and how she feels about it, as well as how she will adapt to being a mother and whether she will be good at it, and how she feels about that. Also, she needs to come to terms with her own mother, with how she will bring values into her child's life, with what sort of decorations to have in the baby's room, what sort of clothes to buy for the baby, whether to breast feed or use formula (which, it is hammered into you in medical places, is the devil's preferred baby feed). She has a lot of feelings about all these things.
Guys, mostly, are trying to be quiet and nice because we're afraid, deep down, that someone will point out that this is all our fault.
Thankfully, nobody really points this out. Well, your pregnant partner will as she is trying to get a kid the size of an engine block through a space the size of indoor pipes, but no one else points it out. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean they've forgotten.
Pregnancy classes, which I have attended with my wife, are designed specifically to punish guys for their part in all of this. Of course, you are told by smiling people with name tags and worryingly large salaries that the classes are to prepare you for giving birth. Giving birth, they are quick to say, is an intricate and immensely complicated project. This is why men build space shuttles and telescopes, as opposed to give birth.
Well, I see through the clever charade. Pregnancy can't actually require all of the things they say it does, because most of them were only invented in the past twenty years to give me something to spend money on (I had so few choices before). My heart goes out to the Cro-Magnon woman who had to give birth in a cave before the invention of birthing balls or encouraging phrases to be repeated during meditation. It's a wonder the human race survived without the modern medical profession. (And when it comes to it, it's a wonder we survive with it).
Anyway, the classes are there to torture people. Men, certainly, but they aren't exactly blistering with excitement for pregnant women who mostly want to go home and not be upright anymore.
Our classes were begun with a very nice instructor, who was pregnant. She instructed us in what the classes would be about and what everyone's names were. In future classes, we did not see her again, because she went into labor. This is the sort of thing pregnant people are always doing.
For the remainder of the classes, we had another lady, who was also pregnant. Since she didn't normally run the class, her teaching method was to bring up a Powerpoint slide behind us, and then read what the big yellow letters said.
Mostly, they said things like "Pregnancy is a joyful experience." and "The discomfort is okay, because at the end you get a bundle of joy!" and so on. It didn't mention how the bundle of joy ends up in a position to be held, but never mind.
The bit I'm getting at is, they are very keen to tell the partners -- that would be the non-pregnant men who are trying to vanish into their seats -- that in the hip modern world of giving birth, we are very important. We are as important to the process as women. We have feelings and emotions and a role to play.
Unfortunately, we never find out what that is. This is because it doesn't exist. Mostly, as I listened to her talk and read the little book they gave us (which showed people who were clearly on many drugs not available in the U.S., and were therefore happy to be in labor) I realized that the role of the man is to be supportive and encouraging and not leave the room and find a television. Or go to sleep. These are probably grounds for divorce.
The book and teacher always faltered on this subject. Mostly, they give men lists of things they can do for the women (who is pregnant) while she is in labor. What we can do mostly includes the above mentioned two items, as well as repeating inspiring phrases to the women.
This sounds like a good way to get punched in the face. One of the phrases, and I am not making this up, was Surrender to the pain, which I am supposed to recite as a mantra whenever my wife -- who is pregnant and will be the one in labor -- feels pain. My wife, who is a sane woman, made fun of this phrase with me. I do intend to say it. I just plan to do it in my best Darth Vader voice. And maybe I'll only say it to the doctor.
The final piece of foolishness from the classes which I'll discuss (because I'm tactfully not bringing up the bag of random baby junk, such as a hotel-shampoo sized bottle of baby shampoo, which they foisted on everybody at the start of every class) is the relaxing meditation.
We are supposed to sit on the ground. Who thinks of this? While it is funny to watch a lot of pregnant women try to sit on the ground, you wouldn't dare laugh, else you find out how fast they can get up.
Then, while relaxing music is playing, we close our eyes and recite the following, which I am not making up.
"You are feeling a gentle breeze..." (here, the man rubs the woman's shoulders lightly, to simulate a gentle breeze with fingers)
"Now, stormclouds approach and a light rain begins to fall..." (here, you drum your fingertips on the woman's shoulders, who is probably ticklish and is now completely tense trying not to guffaw in class)
"The rain gets heavier..." (more of the same, but harder, and now your tense woman wants to make you dead, and would, except she needs you to tell her to surrender to the mind-blowing agony of labor, later on)
"A breeze comes and blows the storm away..." (back to breeze. How relaxing.)
This was the silliest thing. The second time she did this, she said it was optional. Amusingly, everyone busied themselves with getting up and getting ready and then, not wanting to abandon her, we all filed out and hoped someone else would stay. No one did.
This is probably why, next time, they will implement chaining the men to the tables, to help them surrender to the pain better.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
We had a small cookout and then I had to run to Walmart for essentials. I've also done two loads of laundry and a load of dishes. We're a wild and crazy bunch, let me tell ya!
Right now it's pouring down rain, which is good because we desperately need the rain, but not so good for the fireworks.
Not that I care, because our version of fireworks is to give Son and handful of sparklers and let him run through the yard. Wheeeee.
I'm psyched over the trailer Pete posted. I had seen it before, but now I'm re-psyched. (psychotic?) I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am also excited about the book, but the book won't heavily feature Gary Oldman. :oD
Did I mention that I can't wait for the movie?!
I think I'm going to go read. I'm midway through the 7th Stephanie Plum book, and it's pretty darn good. My last trip to Borders, I picked up 9 through 12. Which was handy, because it was buy 3, get the 4th one free. Yay! I love free stuff. I'm resisting the 13th book, because it's just come out in hardcover, and I would rather wait and get the paperback. Because I'm cheap. But I love the series, so I'll probably end up buying the hardcover... and the following week it will be out in paperback. *sigh*
Anyway! Happy Fourth!
Monday, July 2, 2007
$4575.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth
Now I want everyone to stay away from me. I know what you're all thinking: You could get a Playstation 3 and one game with that money.
I see you with that candlestick, Colonel Mustard. Back off. I am not going in the library with you.
I should point out too that Carrie and I have something in common: we share a love of Gary Oldman. Except mine is probably much less creepy than hers. God only knows what sort of stories she writers. Shudder.
In my case, though, I adored him in two other roles.
That one dude from Fifth Element, one of the finest science fiction films ever made (for a lot of reasons, one of them being Michael Bay was nowhere near it.)
And then as James Gordon, in Batman Begins, where amidst one of the bestest movies EVER, he delivered a wonderful performance. I look forward to him in the upcoming sequel The Dark Knight. His best piece in Batman Begins was when he comforted a young Bruce Wayne. He's a very, very good actor who doesn't make a big deal out of it.
And then, of course, there's Sirius Black. While the character was something of a wash for me in Prisoner of Azkaban (the book; not the movie), probably because Harry starts seeing a big black dog at the same time as SIRIUS BLACK escapes from prison. Here I am, knowing that Sirius means dog, and his last name is black. Duh.
I like the character anyway. And although we didn't really see him in Goblet of Fire, he was really good at being completely unhinged in Azkaban.
The reason I don't immediately equate him with that role was that it wasn't until I watched the movie on DVD, a little while ago, and suddenly went "Holy shit, that's Gary Oldman!"
I hadn't connected it.
Okay, this was a longer post that I meant. I was just coming to tell you how valuable my body is and that I'll be raising my rates.
ADDENDENDENDENDUM: I can't believe I made a post about Prisoner of Azkaban without pointing out HOW INCREDIBLY STUPID THE TIME-TURNER BUSINESS WAS.
Posted by Pete at 5:42 PM