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God of Tetris Screwed Me Over

I’m stuck. It’s not writer’s block in the traditional sense of the word. I can’t find a name.

Have you ever had a character that refused to tell you his name? I’ve chosen one for him, a working name, but I keep writing his father’s name instead. But when I try changing his name to match his father’s, or swap them, that doesn’t work either. I start using the villain’s name.

It’s becoming frustrating as heck. I’m tempted to start calling him Booger or something equally icky that I’ll have to change sooner or later. The only problem is – what if the gross nickname sticks? What if it becomes so natural to call him Booger that I can never change the name? He doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who’d be named Booger, but you never know. He might suddenly decide he likes it and never tell me his real name. It’s not like his father is giving the kid’s name up. Hell, that man barely wants to talk to me.

And don’t get me started on the heroine! So far she refuses to have any adventures. She’s just kind of there and I’m not sure what to do about her. Maybe I should make her fat for a while and see how she likes that.

The only character being anything resembling forthcoming and “hey, let’s do this!” is the damned villain. He’s swaggering all over my brain and demanding I write him. Yet he was oddly silent as I wrote his death. I mean, come on! Nobody wants to die, but he’s an evil warlord! Did he really think I’d just let him live to retirement?

The major problem I’m having is that I’m trying to get more organized in my writing. I’m hoping to avoid the “seven chapter burnout” I usually suffer from by creating a more organized outline. In an attempt to test this new style, though, I created an entirely new story. I’m trying not to daydream too much, creating scenes I’ll never commit to paper because they are so fantastical and unreal or I’m at work and they frown on you busting out your laptop at work. In the process, though, I’m making almost no progress and it’s starting to become disheartening.

I could always pull together my notes on an older project, but I’m just not sure what to do. I have so many half-finished projects clamoring for my attention. I want to just finish something but I’m not sure what or how.

Perhaps I need to post a brief synopsis of my top ten and let others choose for me.

On a side note, sweet and sour pork does not mix well with mushroom chicken. Go figure.

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An Elegant Turn of Phrase (If You Have a Head Injury)

There are certain phrases that people cling to. For some it’s a regional thing, such as “y’all” or “howdy.” For others it’s cultural/ social such as saying “like” like a valley girl or quoting a movie line whenever something triggers a memory. However, there are some phrases that are unique to certain individuals, almost a personal catchphrase requiring no sitcom. Personally, I use “holy crackers.” A lot. I also say “piddle” but that is the property of a woman I once worked with. At least I don’t have to pay royalties on it.

I get teased a lot for saying “y’all” and the occasional “boy howdy” that escapes me, as well as for saying words like “pie” or “hi” that come out sounding more like “pah” and “hah” but I get the most comments for “holy crackers.” I just like it. I see nothing wrong with using “holy crackers” as an exclamation, an expletive and whatever else I feel like in my quest to reduce the amount of swearing I indulge in – particularly in the workplace.  What surprises me is how many people treat it as an adorable part of being Texan rather than my own version of the cussing patch.

I think that if everyone just chose a phrase that could work as a catch all for multiple thoughts and emotions we’d all be better off. The cursing has become ridiculous and frankly crass.

That said, there are certain phrases I’d like to suggest.

– “Go to!”

– “Love a duck!” (Thank you Finding Nemo)

– “Holy crackers!” (obviously)

– “Elf needs food badly.” (I think if more people used gaming lingo they might realize the awesomeness of games other than first-person shooters. Not that there’s anything wrong with blowing zombies back to hell.)

– “Crazier than a shit fight in a monkey house.” I dare you not to find this phrase awesome.

There are also phrases I would like to strike from the popular lexicon.

– “That’s gay.” (“What in gay hell” can stay.)

– “Bitch please.” (Only acceptable on SNL Weekly Report)

– “That’s ghetto.” (If you aren’t pointing one out, shut up.)

– “Hot mess.” (Sounds like something went horribly wrong during sex.)

– “Word dawg.” (I’m guilty of this one, but what does it even mean?!)

– High waisted jeans. Not a phrase, but needing to stop, nonetheless.

If you can think of any phrase you’d like to add to either of these lists, comment and share your thoughts!

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I’m As Jumpy As a Puppet On a String

It’s spring. The weather is warming up, there is a ton of rain and trees are beginning to bud with small delicate flowers and leaves. My right shoulder and knees are creaking and popping like a wooden ship at sea and I have an almost irresistible urge to start running (damn Pavlovian sports training!). What does all this mean? In the long run, not a whole lot to be honest. In the short term, however, it means that my cranky ennui (yes, I realize that that’s a contradiction in terms) is coming to a close. While I don’t suffer from SAD – seasonal affective disorder – I suffer from something similar: CWS.

Cold Weather Sucks.

This year my hatred of the cold hit me harder than it ever has before because while Northern California gets colder than Texas, it doesn’t snow like Vermont. Which means I got stuck in this weird rainy funk of a mood that is only now starting to melt away. I hated my job, I hated all my clothes, I gained about ten pounds putting me solidly over the 115 mark – which was the most I’d ever weighed. To be honest, I don’t mind carrying a few pounds more than I’m used to, it’s just that I know it’s all pizza and tacos. I haven’t put on any muscle and that is what is driving me batty now.

So to combat this funk, I’ve decided to buy some bubbles. Hear me out, there’s a point to this.

When you’re in a funk and all grouchy, the last thing you want to do is clean or exercise or go for a walk on the beach. You want to sit in the dark and escape into a movie or a video game so you don’t have to actively DO anything. Conversely, when you feel energized you get pumped and want to clean and run and jump. Okay, I admit those last two might just be me, but I think my point stands. Spring cleaning fever has hit and I’m gonna do it. With bubbles.

Whenever I’m at work and I start craving those candy bars that I stare at all day because some jackass put electronics right in front of the candy aisle (bastards) so all I smell is chocolate all day… Wait. What was I saying? Bubbles! Yeah! I’m going to buy two bottles of bubbles. One for work and one for home, that way, when the candy smell or boredom from standing there for three hours straight listening to the foreign students and their wives argue over how many watches to buy for all the sisters, cousins and daughters back home gets to be to much, I’m gonna take my break and go blow some bubbles. When I start craving the candy, or a soda, or a slim jim, I’m gonna go blow some bubbles. When I need a break from cleaning and scrubbing on my day off – well, you know.

I think that if I just get some bubbles that will force me outside, which will get me some much needed sunlight and like a tree in the spring I will start to look and feel more alive. It’s a known fact (at least for the hubby and me) that if I feel okay about my situation I’m much more likely to want to improve myself and the situation. It sounds strange, but think about it for a second.

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Teehee. I had fun…

I had fun last night with my mac.

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Not Everything Is Like A Fiddler On the Roof

Certain things immediately take me home, and now and again I crave these items. Sometimes I medically need a Big Red (the soda, not the gum), or greasy Tex-Mex enchiladas with properly seasoned rice and beans. The one thing guaranteed to make me feel like I’m home, though, no matter where I might be, is a dinner of prosciutto, provolone and other assorted Italian deli meats, cheeses and olives. That’s really the only way for me to get into the Christmas spirit.

Every year for Christmas Eve I would help my Mom (okay, to be honest I usually complained the whole time) clean and set up the house, along with my sister, for the family to come over. Sometimes we had Christmas at Poppa’s or my aunt and uncle’s, but the food was always the same. A full selection of deli meats and cheeses, spiced olives, salty “dried” black olives, chips, tamales and rolls for those who wanted to make a sandwich were always laid out in a buffet. There weren’t a whole lot of sweets, though sometimes we would make fudge or there would be chocolate dipped butter toffees or baklava. We weren’t a big dessert family, which baffles my husband. The food was fantastic and everyone had to eat at least one full plate of food before presents could be handed out. My mom always had half a sandwich still on her plate when the rest of us were done and my aunt always seemed to be the one saying “Hurry up and eat, Liz Ann!” My mom has the innocent yet shifty eyes down pat.

Next, Santa would be chosen. One year it would be me, then the next my sister, then Quetha or Mom, or maybe even Harry. I don’t recall either Uncle Gino or Poppa ever playing Santa. I think Gino was excused because he usually had a million masses to say around Christmas, and as for Poppa, I can only assume that it was to keep him from peeking at his presents as he passed them all out. Poppa loves to poke and pick at his present to sneak a peek. Once all the cards and presents were passed out the feeding frenzy would begin. Everyone had a different method. I like to read all my cards first and thank everyone at the beginning for their kind thoughts before ripping into my presents, because I had  bad habit of not checking the tabs before opening stuff. It got to the point where I would open something and just hold it up with a generic “Thank you!” and then wait to see who said something. I’m better about it now, but I’ve also begun my Uncle Gino’s habit.

Gino loved to open the presents so he could save the paper. He would very carefully peel off the tape and unwrap the present then fold it up to take and use later. I never saw any of the paper again, but I never heard of a cache of wrapping paper found stuffed in a closet, so he must have done something with it. Personally, I just like to acknowledge the hard work that went into wrapping my gifts, so that’s my excuse. Now and then, though, I still just go for it.

I remember the first year my husband and my mom’s beau joined us for Christmas. Everything was normal and fun through dinner and mom finally finished her sandwich so Lisa could hand out presents (she really loves to be Santa). Everyone seemed to do cards first that year, and then the countdown happened. I won’t lie. There are strange animal noises at times as we open our gifts.  They aren’t all Lisa. I don’t think the men were ready for us. We had trained up my sister’s (now ex) husband, so he was never phased by a Christmas with the Bernasconi’s, but had forgotten to warn the doctor and Ryan. They just leaned back and sat wide-eyed for the first while. Ryan recovered faster, being younger and more resilient, but eventually the doc got into the spirit of things and opened his gifts as well.

The rest of the evening you can imagine. More gifts and food and a lot of conversation and reminiscing. The occasional argument was inevitable and the best year – as far as zany family moments go – was the year my mom and aunt had the bubble war while washing dishes. The worst was the year I made Mom cry because I wanted some dumb toy (can’t remember what it was now) and I threw a hissy. I still regret that year.

Next came Christmas Day! That’s a whole different post all about my dad, his awesome soup and Galaxy Quest.

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There Are No Words

I’m not going to wax poetic. Just click the link and watch.

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Once Again, I’m Swarley…

I swear, I know how to annunciate. I’ve done theatre, music, public speaking and a whole lot of arguing. I’ve worked in a coffee shop and know how hard it is for the people behind the bar to hear after hours of listening to the machines and blenders droning. So why the hell does this keep happening to me?

Yes. I look like a Jamel.

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