Friday, February 4, 2011

Moved to Wordpress

Hi there,

I've made the switch to Wordpress. I have a couple of blogs over there and it's easier for me to keep them all in one spot. Plus I like the widgets :D See you on the flipside!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

List 3 - online profile dos and dont's

This post is the good, the bad, and the ugly from online (mostly dating) profiles. Okay, I'll be honest, it's mostly the bad and the ugly. I've been on a site to make some new friends - not eHarmony or, has a solid mix of singles and people in a relationship, looking to meet others with similar interests - and have come across some pretty ridiculous and hilarious things. So today's list will pay homage to those things. It's not fully writing-related, but if I ever write a character who does a lot of meeting people/online dating, I have done my research, ha!

Intros - I can't count how many profiles I've come across that start with something like "I really suck at filling these out..." or "I can't describe myself in a box like this..." Immediately I become more disinterested. Why are you on the site to meet people in this way if you don't like the format?

Cynical - I am probably not going to contact someone who keeps repeating in their profile "I don't think online dating works..." or "I don't know why I'm even here..." If you're not going to take it seriously, why should I take YOU seriously?

Punctuation - I don't mind using just lowercase, and misuse of periods and commas. I know, a writer who doesn't care? GASP. I am lazy in my casual speak because I have to be careful for work. But, the one thing I have a hard time with is every sentence ending with an exclamation mark (or no periods at all). Not all statements are worth excitement. "My ex stomped all over my heart!" That leads me to...

Baggage - It blows me away how many people talk about their exes, and how awful their exes are, or how they are on the site to get over an ex. WTF? I've mentioned that many people are on this site just to meet friends (I learned of it through a married person who meets people to play video games and RPGs with), but you want to bring the drama and baggage that early? To each their own I suppose.

Club photos - I imagine this happens everywhere, but in Portland there is a series of dance clubs with photographers who take pics of the people inside and they have the label "napkin nights" or something like that. As soon as I see one of those photos, I am immediately uninterested. There are no better photos of you goofing around, on vacation, doing an activity? Hell, I'd even prefer the obligatory "myspace photo" - you know, the holding the camera at arms range, from above your head, making a sassy face. I don't know why these "napkin night" photos bug me. Maybe it's because I have zero interest in clubbing. I'm sure those photos are appealing to many others.

Fist pumps - Have you seen the Jersey Shore? I imagine you've heard of the fist-pumping phenomena. I've seen a number of these on profiles lately. I even came across one last night that had fist pumping and a napkin nights photo. WOW! I FOUND THE HOLY GRAIL!

Chicks - There's a ton of guys out there who post pictures of themselves between women's breasts on a dance floor, or being licked by women on the face, or other things. Sometimes they are pretty funny, but for me, I'm usually not interested if it's clear that someone needs/has/wants a ton of attention from women. Post those on Facebook, not your dating profile (most of these dudes make it clear on their profile they are looking for relationships). Tip #1, don't put a ton of pictures with you and other chicks if you are looking for a girlfriend. Same goes for chicks. Don't rant about how you want to be taken seriously and want to be loved for who you are, not your body - then make your profile picture a massive cleavage shot. Common sense, people!

Abs of steel - I know 90% of you will disagree with me, but as soon as I see a photo (usually headless) of some dude's pecs and abs...NEXT. No thanks. I'd MUCH rather see a guy in a fedora wearing a funky print shirt or cool jacket, or even a damn polo shirt popped collar, than see a dude's torso. But I guess if a guy is showing off his body so readily, he probably isn't interested in a girl who is just looking to make friend, eh? ;)

Don't pay attention - My profile says I'm looking to make friends, not date. I don't want anyone to message me with different expectations, but every once in a while I get a message from someone interesting and they obviously didn't read my profile close enough to see what I'm looking for/interested in (it's in a callout box for crying out loud, you don't need to wade through paragraphs). They'll say something like "I'm just looking for a woman to come home to, someone to love, to care about..." yadda yadda. Dude, did you not see I'm just looking for friends? The first couple of times this happened, I thanked the person for their endearing message and replied that I'm just looking to make friends. And boy have I gotten chewed out. "Why are you on a dating site if you don't want to date?" Legitimate question, if this were eharmony. But there are a ton of married people and others in committed relationships who use this site to meet people with similar interests, and no, I'm not talking about swingers. For me personally, I am using it to make friends because I seemed to have lost most of my guy friends over the years. I used to have mostly male friends, I get along great with men as friends. But I have grown a circle of female friends. Love you all, but I miss some banter laced with testosterone ;)

Generic - I think a ton of people on these sites just send messages to a ton of people, hoping something sticks. If there's nothing that particularly addresses what I've said, or they have expressed something about them that constitutes something in common or a shared interest - pass.

Hey - This site also has an instant message feature. I turn it on once in a while to chat with friends who don't use other instant messengers (like AIM or yahoo). I'm bound to get contacts from people who do nothing but do a search for who is listed as "online now" and send them messages. About 90% of them just say "hey." Most of the time I don't reply, can't even add a "how are you" to that? Sometimes I just reply with "hey" to see what they do. If you're going to initiate contact, start a freaking conversation. I've even got a few messages (not IMs) that say "hey" with no subject line. Wow. That grabs my attention.

Not a match, but - I even got one message where I guy went on and on about how my profile kept popping up on his searches, but he didn't think we were a match. Umm...then why send a message?

Okay, let's talk about some of the good.
Animals - I love, love, love to see photos of people with their animals. Particularly dogs because I'm a dog person. I came across a profile a few months ago of a guy who had posted a pic of him and his cat that he had previously turned into a Christmas card, and included a comment bubble above the cat's head. It was hilarious. Showed a sense of humor, love of animals, and the fact that he took the time to make a Christmas card may mean he really likes holidays (turns out he does, and it's awesome).

Hilarity - I love funny profiles. They please me to no end. I take my sense of humor very seriously and it's the quality I look for first in a person. Those of you who know me well know how much I love to laugh. I often have to censor my sense of humor because it's too juvenile or weird. But to see through a profile, before having talked to a person, that you share a sense of humor is a great thing. I have come across a couple of people who seem to have an amazing sense of humor. I get so excited to message them. It sucks when you don't hear back, but when you do and if they are super funny (and think you're funny too), it's awesome. I love making funny friends.

Shared interests - I've come across a few people who share more obscure interests, either random TV shows or a love of something. Most people who know me know how much I adore Greek and Roman history and mythology. I love it enough that it's on my profile, and I get excited to see when others love it enough to put on theirs. I came across one person who said they wanted to live in a home in the English Countryside. Let's see, how fast can I type a message to say hello? ;)

Straight-up - I am instantly interested in profiles of people who admit their nerdiness or geekitude right off the bat. I appreciate those people. I don't like it when people are coy about it and who try to hide their inner-dork. EMBRACE IT, FOLKS!

And, after all these things, I'm not even going to look at my profile because I know I do a lot of dumb stuff ;) I'm especially wordy in my profile and my messages, well, the messages to people who look really interesting.

Wow this was long and ranty! Hopefully someone may get some use out of it ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

List 2 - iPod Touch/iPhone apps

A few weeks ago I found a great deal on an iPod touch so I bought it. Had my previous iPod for a couple of years and had double the music that would fit on it. I considered getting a classic iPod with a ton of space...but I wanted apps, baby! Holy cow am I glad I made that choice.

Since then, I've gone a little crazy with apps. I've googled lists of the best free apps and found some I was willing to pay for. So far, I absolutely and completely adore the device and what the apps allow me to do.

In case you have one, or are thinking of getting one, here are my favorite apps (so far).

AlienVSStick - both a free and paid version. You snap dripping snot to kill approaching enemies. It's surprisingly addicting, I swear.
Colosseum - this is my new favorite game. Sort of reminds me of some old school NES action. You kill monsters and use the money you earn from killings to buy weapons upgrades. The monsters get harder so you need the upgrades. Takes place in a Colosseum setting. Both free and paid versions.
CtC - this one really grew on me. You are launching a trebuchet to knock over structures. Really is addicting. Free and paid versions also.
DeerHunter - this is fun. You hunt and the scope is jumpy so it makes it tricky. I love it, pick it up every few days. Both free and paid versions.
Fat-a-pult - sooo addicting. Basically a character jumps on one end of a see-saw, shooting another person in the air. You tilt the device to try and eat the cans of beans to make the character fart so he flies higher.
Family Guy - a good level-based game based on Family Guy. I'm still using the free version, not sure what the paid is like.
FS5 Hockey - the ultimate air hockey game! It's so much fun, I swear.
iGraveDigger - this is super addicting. It's all about fast finger movements to dig graves, recover them, and redig to kill the creatures.
Lemonade Tycoon - run your own lemonade stand, it's fun.
LineUp - spent the most time on this game. A block clearing game, but the trick is that you get a limited number of taps per level, so you have to be strategic.
Moron Test - a game that will make you simultaneously want to throw your device, bang your head against the wall, and fist pump in total awesomeness.
Oregon Trail - splurge for the full version, it's so much fun. I've played it many times, and a full game can take an hour or so. It's super fun and lots of things to keep you entertained. Pricey as far as apps go, but it's worth it.
Solitare - self explanatory.
Twilight Golf - sometimes tricky to figure out, but it's a pretty incredible app. Definitely shows you what these devices can do.
Uno - who doesn't love Uno? Crazy people.
Urinal test - takes you through a series of urinal layouts, and you have to choose the most appropriate place to stand. It's hilarious.
Waterslide - this is a device-tilting game, really addicting.
Whac-a-mole - careful, if you buy the full version, you can spend quite a while on a game.
Zen bound - this game is incredible. It's so relaxing. You tilt the device to wrap a rope around objects. Trust me, it's better than it sounds. It's worth the download.

Health & wellness:
Andrew Johnson apps - I randomly came across his apps in the iTunes store. He offers apps for deep sleep, relaxation, even losing weight. It reminds me of being hypnotized. He uses his soothing, Scottish voice (yes, has has a SCOTTISH ACCENT) to help you relax and sleep, or avoid junk food cravings. Well worth the money. But I do recommend you get comfortable earphones or iPod speakers (I don't like to sleep with earphones on, toss and turn too much and I feel less safe blocking out my hearing).
WhiteNoise - Buy the full version, you get about 40 sounds of white noise. You can even set a timer if you're using it to fall asleep to, without it playing all night.

This is my favorite category. By far. There are programs that let you do goofy things to photos.
'stachetastic - lets you add mustaches and other facial hair, not to mention awesome shades.
Devolve Me - as a budding anthropologist, this one caught my eye. It turns a photo into hominins such as Homo erectus. It's hilarious. if you ever wanted to see yourself (or a loved one) as a primate, get this app.
Mulletizer - like 'stachetastic? You'll love the Mulletizer. Add mullets, yellow teeth, trucker hats and beer cans to your favorite photos.
Younicorn - stop reading this description, just download it. Still here? Fine, I'll tell you about it. You can put a photo on magical backgrounds and add a unicorn horn. See? Told you to hurry and download it.

Web site apps:
These are some Web sites that have corresponding apps for ease of navigation within their sites.
Google Earth
Southwest Airlines

Anthropology - not a broad interest base, but for me, it's awesome. Basically a huge list of vocab for anthropology.
Bro2Go - fans of How I Met Your Mother need this comprehensive bro code database. You shouldn't go out without it.
DoodleBuddy - this is a fun, free app that lets you take advantage of the awesome touch screen technology and draw silly things.
Expressions - a database of about 1,400 Latin phrases and their English translations. Been planning on getting a Latin phrase tattooed below my hairline and this app helped me find one!
iBeer - ever seen a commercial where someone tilts their device and it looks like they are drinking a draft of beer? This one is it! It's fun :D
iFart - My. Absolute. Favorite. App. First one I downloaded. Don't judge me. Not only is there a long list of farts with the funniest names ever and even funnier sounds, there is a security fart option. You set this, put your device down, and when someone picks it up, it farts. HAHAHAHAHAHA! I've played that trick a few times on folks already. And you can set up fart buddies if another person you know downloads the program. Send farts to their device to go off! HAHAHAHAAHAHA! Need to make friends download the app so I can do this...
iHandy Level - Already used this to hang a painting!
iM+ - one-stop shop for various instant message programs
iMario - fun soundboard for classic Nintento Mario
IndyJonesFX - soundboard from the Indiana Jones movies, all that's missing is the sound of a whip cracking. But, I checked, there are apps for that.
iSamJackson - yes, I paid for an app that is nothing but soundbytes of Samuel L. Jackson. It's amazing. Buy it. Do it now.
iZen - Free and paid versions to keep your own Japanese garden. It's relaxing.
Remote - sync your computer's iTunes library to your device so you can control the computer's library from the device.
Shazam - haven't actually used it yet, but I've heard good things. It identifies songs for you, just hold it up to the radio or tv, wherever you hear the song.
TankBuddy - If you have fish tanks, you'll want this app to help you keep track of when the water needs to be changed, pH levels, feeding and much, much more. This company, Bravobug, is also coming out with a game soon. And there's TankBuddy for your Mac. Really great stuff.
TWSS - a "That's what she said" button. You can't top that.
Zippo - a zippo lighter. For when a real lighter is too dangerous at a concert. Lighters of the 21st century, folks.

I hope you enjoyed this list! Do you have any recommendations? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 18, 2010

List 1 - 2010 goals

I'm in a list making mood, so I'm going to blog a few lists this week. I'm going to start with some goals for 2010, putting them online makes me feel more accountable. I'm also planning to do a list of my favorite apps for the iphone/ipod touch. Just got the ipod a couple weeks ago and I've come across some apps that I absolutely adore! I haven't thought of the other lists I'm going to do yet. But I'm sure ideas will come to me, probably at the most inopportune moments.

The theme for this year is: do a little everyday. This goes for cleaning, doing dishes as they are dirty each day, picking up after myself each day - will keep my apartment from becoming a daunting task to clean. This also goes for my writing and goals for work (and my thesis!). Plus, the fun stuff too. I'll never learn the guitar if I don't do a little practicing each day. Same goes for learning Latin and trying to get decent at skating.

On to goals!

Let's start with writing because that's the primary purpose of this blog.
1) Finish my derby book by the end of July. I expect the first draft to be about 70,000, I tend to underwrite on my first drafts (need to go back in and layer more detail and description). That's 10k a month, 2.5k a week or so. I already have a bit of make-up to do on that goal...

If I finish by the end of July, I can take a break from the manuscript (MS) for the few weeks I'm in Scotland (omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgSCOTLANDomgomgomgomgomg) then come back with a fresh eye.

2) Revise the MS so it's all nice and polished in September. Also revisit my list of agents and editors to submit to - been a couple of years since that list was current.

3) Submit to agents and editors in October. Woot woot! Will finally get my PRO status for RWA (Romance Writers of America for y'all non-romance writers out there).

4) Enter the Golden Heart contest. This is the premier contest for unpublished romance writers.

5) Begin working on a new book in December and let the process start all over again :)

It'g going to be a busy year, but I think it's totally doable. I typically make the length of time I allow myself to complete writing goals way too short. This feels good.

Now let's do some work-related goals.

1) Get in a better habit of daily tasks. I need to get into a system of doing a few things each morning, first thing. Will make the rest of my job so much easier!

2) Read more news. I get so caught up in trying to promote news for my job, I need to take more time to just be more up on all news, know more about local reporters.

3) Be more proactive. I think that works in all aspects of life though :) And less procrastination.

Last, but not least, a few personal goals.

1) Let's carry that procrastination thing over to this section too, k? K.

2) Continue eating healthier and broaden my food horizons. Maybe this is the year I will rekindle my tolerance for seafood. No one thought I'd become a wine drinker and 2009 was the year for that. Let alone 2008 was the year of beer. I'm finally all growed up. Well almost...

3) Maybe *maybe* I'll open myself up to date. *looks around nervously* Okay, maybe not. That one could be saved for 2011 ;)

I think it's going to be a great year! Do you have any big goals? Anything you want to carry over from 2009?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great contest!

stolen seduction
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The Homeland

Well, NaNoWriMo was a bust. But that's okay, I'm going to keep trucking. This was quite a big week though - I found out I get to go to Scotland for an archaeology dig this summer. I can't wait! I've been wanting to go to Scotland for, well, as long as I've known what Scotland was.

My great-grandparents came to the United States from Scotland. I've always been interested in British history. I'm most interested in the Classical World, but I just feel more of a connection to the UK since that's where much of my family came from. My last name is Scottish and there's a whiskey company with the name. I've been collecting memorabilia from the company since I first learned how to use ebay.

Back in college I worked at DisneyWorld for half a year. We often got guests from around the world, and folks from Britain were consistently the most friendly people. It made my desire to visit even stronger. Fast forward to 2008 when I participated in an archaeology dig in southern Italy. One of the crews I worked with was from Britain. They were wonderful. I couldn't help but notice that, generally speaking, they were more laid back, less drama, tended to talk more openly about things. Whereas many of the American crew members seemed to be more catty and thrive on drama. And the more I talked to them and learned about where they lived, the more I wanted to go.

I've been looking for a reason to go (as if just going isn't reason enough) for ages. It's tough to find travel buddies who are willing to commit the time and money to go with you, and people you could stand being with for that much time ;) I kept looking for tours, short-term school programs, archaeology digs, etc, that I could participate in.

Lo and behold I found the perfect dig! It's only two weeks long and quite affordable. It's 25 miles outside of Edinburgh (where most of my British friends live) so I plan to stay an extra week after the dig and visit friends while sight-seeing. It's going to be fantastic and I just can't wait! August will be a great month indeed. As a couple of my friends over there have said, "we're finally getting you to the homeland!" Indeed! :D

Friday, November 13, 2009

I love my friends

I have talked a bit about already hitting a wall of sorts with this manuscript. The alarming bit has been how early in my normal process this wall arrived. But, thank goodness for fabulous friends! One of my dear friends, the amazing and fabulous Elisabeth Naughton, grabbed a battering ram and broke down that wall. I <3 her!

She just asked a simple question: "what if..." and BAM! My wheels began turning again and she thought of a whole different angle I could take with the story that ups and adds to the conflict. Thinking of the conflict to push each scene forward and develop the story was where I hit a wall - trying to be more character focused with it. I think this idea will help, I still have the struggle of trying to drive each scene (and think of them), but overall the basis of the conflict will be much stronger.

Thank you, Eli!!!!! <3