Thursday, November 30, 2006
Six Words. But in What Order?
Novelist Chris Well points in his blog to a contest for the world's best six-word story. DBA Lehane, the contest's sponsor, is offering a bunch of goodies for the winner ("an original poster size print of an original piece of artwork created by me (under my windscreen fly alter ego!), the complete collection of Ernest Hemmingway’s Short Stories and a mystery prize (or two)").
Got a story? No one took me up on my offer to submit six words in exchange for the prospect of winning absolutely nothing, so maybe this is the wrong audience to pitch the contest to. Then again, maybe you're all super-savvy and were waiting for a better offer. I think this may just be about as good an offer as you're going to get.
Deadline: End of year, Greenwich Mean Time.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Celebrate the Season, Ralphie-Style
She does not like it, Sam I Am.
But from what I gather there's a boy, Ralphie, who wants a BB gun, but his folks are afraid he'll shoot his eye out. And there's some kind of mannequin leg lamp. I think there's a tongue-stuck-to-a-frozen-flagpole bit, too. Chevy Chase is not in the movie. (But we can't watch that film, either.)
Dina, as far as I know, would prefer that Ralphie get the gun and then shoot himself in the eye. Off-screen, of course, and not necessarily in the eye. A bang. The twang of a ricochet. A satisfying Ow! Which is why I think I'm safe in sending you to dontshootyoureyeout.com. A game where Ralphie-boy finds himself with a Red Wrangler Authentic Pump Action Saddle Carbine -- a knock-off of the Daisy Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle Ralphie (according to the IMDB) wanted. Only holds ten shots, but you can get more ammo for good shooting (1,000 points). Pump the gun (hit spacebar) up to three times. More power means greater likelihood of a high score, but also increases the possibility of shooting yourself in the eye. (No fair turning your back to the BB. Any "accidental contact" loses you the points for that shot.)
My high score is in the 24,000 range. Two "accidents." How well can you do? (presuming, of course, that your goal isn't that satisfying Ow!)
This blog post has been read and approved by Dina, who recognizes its exaggerated nature and comedic intent. Were I to watch the movie off-site no harm would come to me; Phil would be doing independent study in the library because 94 minutes of instruction time is too precious to fritter away on a movie. Yes, fritter. I can "Bah Humbug!" too.
[just got a 75-bouncer, cycled through the million-point scoreboard several times; full load of ammo]
I've never been much into chat before, but since Google added it to the Gmail service I've been warming to it. Last night there were seven of us conferencing on YM right before I had to leave the party and watch House (enough with Tritter already!). The cross-conversations with that many people can be headache inducing, but also a lot of fun -- for instance, when one conversation's comment is immediately followed by a response from another conversation to humorous effect.
C: Happy birthday, Zoe!
M: That's what my son said while I was doing laundry.
C: Your son wished the laundry a happy Zoe birthday?
-- end scene --
So let's chat. I check in several times a day to see if anyone I know is lurking; add me to your list and send me an invite and I might find you next time I'm on. And I'll try to keep the "taffy taffy taffy" comments to a minimum.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Advent(ures in) Candle Lighting
This afternoon I got three pix from my dad of Phil and Maggie lighting the advent candle in church yesterday (featuring Bill Stredde as the let's-not-burn-the-place-down-okay-kids? guardian).
- A picture of Me, Phil, and Dina at the restaurant during lunch
Sunday, November 26, 2006
A Cornucopia of Philpix
My folks have been in town since Thursday. A few years ago their arrival would have been met with a photo session even before the hugs and how-was-your-trip?s. Today the cameras came out in the final two, two-and-a-half hours. (Our camera at least; rumor has it there's a photo of Phil with the grandparents' dog on Day Two of the visit.) In a couple more years we better have chips in our heads that allow us to print off memories or there'll be no photo record of family get-togethers at all.
At church this morning Phil and his friend Maggie lit the first Advent candle. I'm hoping my folks got better pictures with their camera than we did with ours. This is the best of the bunch (and that only after fiddling with Photoshop settings). Santa, let's go camera shopping, huh?
After church it was off to lunch at the Mongolian Grill. And a mini-photoshoot:
Saturday, November 25, 2006
I think the links are self-explanatory, but feel free to click them and see where you end up. Unless you're already in Ohio you won't wind up there after clicking. Honest.
Friday, November 24, 2006
I'm Getting Too Old For This
Got the stuff at Target I wanted, though. Hit WalMart afterward and got a little more. (Wally's is open 24 hours a day; according to the guy two behind me at Target they let you start grabbing Black Friday stuff at 5. It was pretty picked over by the time I got to it.) Found Dina at the mall eventually. Grabbed donuts and drive-thru at 9 and headed home.
Had a nice nap in the afternoon.
Think I'll check if it's Polka Nite on the RFD channel and then I'll call it a day.
Hope your day after Thanksgiving was good too.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I apologize for not remembering where I came across this link, but I really hope you've had a Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
DKA's First-Place Poem
Congratulations, John. Great poem.
Labels: DKA Magazine
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Cheaper (and Faster) Than Postage
So for two 39-cent stamps, plus the cost of envelopes, you've gotten bupkis. Might as well have flushed 80 cents down the toilet, except maybe the quarters would weigh too much and they'd stay in the bowl and then you'd be tempted to reach in and retrieve them and eeeeewww...
Anyhoo, what if the ad at the back of the magazine said: 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof [Manuscript] Submission. No postage. No envelopes. No month and a half, two month wait. Nothing photocopied onto periwinkle- or goldenrod-colored paper. And it's cheaper than the "free" way, which runs you 80-plus cents in materials.
If you're at all interested in the 18 Keys (not actual keys, more of a metaphoric thing), check out this offer on Terry Whalin's blog. Terry is an author and acquisitions editor, so he's not just floating theories. He knows what works -- and what doesn't. And it's priced at 49 cents.
I picked up the Amazon Short and am pleased with it. Most of the NO-NOs are not all that different from what you'll find in a good manuscript preparation book, but it's nice to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. (Terry Whalin is not a horse; again, metaphor. Work with me here, people.) Don't misspell the editor's name. Don't nag and/or stalk the editor. There are nine other DON'Ts, so you shouldn't feel like you've just gotten everything there is to be had. The half-dozen MUST DOs are things that will set your manuscript proposal apart from the herd. (Metaphor! Writing your proposal on the side of cattle or antelope is not recommended except in certain agrarian communities when proposing marriage, but that's another thing altogether.) Some of these tips have appeared as individual entries on Terry's blog, but having them collected in one place makes future referencing easier than searching for the right post in Terry's archives.
So for cheaper than "free" you get straight talk from the editor (also the title of Terry's short). In three formats (PDF, HTML, and Amazon will e-mail the text to you, too). Now (or soon thereafter depending on the speed of your modem). Feel free to print it out on mint green paper if you want, then fold, spindle, and mutilate for that back-of-the-magazine feel.
Side note: something similar to one of the examples Terry shares about slow response times just happened to author Tony Hines. Read his Nov. 21 post (direct link not working, scroll to 11/21 if it's no longer at the top).
Can It Last?
I was going for the 99-cent store brand when I noticed a newcomer on the shelf. Tahoma. (Sorry, can't find a webpage to link to.) Now the USDA/ORGANIC label doesn't mean a whole lot to me -- and it's water, so come on. But it comes in a ginger-lime flavor ... intriguing. So what if it's twenty-six cents more than generic?
Unless you're not a ginger fan (not talking about the Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate), I can't imagine anyone not liking this. Good stuff ... at least as long as the store keeps stocking it and the glacier on Mt. Hood doesn't melt away entirely. Shaky propositions, both.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Book Chat with Rene Gutteridge
To recap the novel: Scoop tells the tale of Hayden Hazard, former clown (who's also clownaphobic -- that disease has a real name; read the book to find out what it's actually called), who winds up as an intern at a low-rated nightly news show only to find herself thrust into the spotlight and behind the anchor desk when her boss, executive producer Hugo Talley, has the Worst Week Ever.
Written with wit and charm, Rene keeps the pace brisk and the ending happy. The cynical and jaded might call it Fairy Tale HappyTM, but if you remain cynical and jaded after reading Scoop then something's wrong with you, maybe two things (cynicism and jadedness, perhaps, hmmmm). It's a fun book and might just soften up your hardened heart.
But let's throw to the questions. Quizmaster, take it away.
- Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch gave the writing advice: Murder your darlings. Which darling was the most difficult for you to kill?
Clyde from Ghost Writer.
- At one point in the novel, a typographical error causes Hayden Hazard to suddenly become the Austrian composer [Franz Joseph/Papa] Haydn (1732-1809). What did he think of our modern world and what did he have on his iPod?
(Laughing) I have no idea. Don't know Haydn and don't own an iPod. Maybe I should brush up on my Austrian composers?? Or go hunt down my copy editor...
- Ray Duffey and the Underwear of Decency (great line, by the way): Boxers or Briefs?
- Hayden, like Mary Poppins, is "practically perfect in every way." But at one point in the story she quips that the audience loves her because "they don't know me yet." So which of these sins is lurking in the cobwebs of her soul: Wears white after Labor Day. Uses the wrong fork during the salad course. As a child, left the toilet seat down, greatly inconveniencing her brothers. Flosses in public.
These are sins??? Yikes. I'm toast. [Chris: Okay, they're not really sins -- wearing white after Labor Day, maybe.] Knowing Hayden, she could pull any of these off without a problem.
- Which Hazard sibling gets the occupational treatment next book in the series? And anything else you'd like to tell...
Next up is Mack, in Snitch.
The large something turned halfway across the highway and flew back the way it had come. I was close enough by then that it flew through my headlight beams. It was a dove. At a time, place, and season where no dove belonged.
No snarky "Roma Downey, is that you?" remarks. No flippant reference to the recent heavy rains and currently-receding floodwaters. Just a comment about a moment when I needed to feel peace and peace showed up.
Those of you who have been praying for me, thank you.
Friday, November 17, 2006
CFBA Friday: Scoop
The narrative and dialogue are witty and fast-paced, the characters varied, and the plot keeps you guessing. Christian themes abound, the most prevalent: trust God. I found Hayden a bit too good; though I didn't feel the need for her to have a dark side, a character flaw or two would have help her be more believable as well as give her character a chance to grow over the course of the novel. I found Ray Duffey, one of the reporters and the guy you hope Hayden ends up with, a more accessible Christian character. A few plot points didn't quite work, I thought, but the discussion of aliases for the "secret informant" blew me away.
If you're a fan Chris Well's Kansas City Blues series -- and you really should be -- the pacing and attitude of Scoop will be right up your street.
I was hoping to have a full-blown Book Chat today, but Rene hasn't gotten back to me yet. If/when she does, I'll put it up. Meanwhile, find out more about Rene, Scoop, and her other novels at renegutteridge.com. (And don't forget to hit other stops on the Scoop Blog Tour. See the CFBA scrolldown for links.)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Lemme Hear Those Snaps
- There's a new Wilbur Hucks post up (mine!) at Scenes & Beans: Longfellow of the Lake.
- And the Second Place poem in the DKA contest, Two Cathedrals, is up, too.
Enjoy. <snap, snap, snap, snap>
Jazz it up by hot-gluing CornNuts around the edge, then spear it on one of those card-holding pitchforks that come with floral arrangements. Plonk the other end into a cheese wheel and -- voila! -- you have a centerpiece that's as delicious to look at as it is to incorporate into leftovers later on.
The wind has been raging all afternoon. Coming home from church around 8:30 tonight there were a lot of branches on the road for our last ten miles -- one downed tree stretched across two highway lanes, making for a quick swerve over the double yellows and back (straight-away, no on-coming traffic).
Power cut out for about minute or so the other night (just long enough to set all the clocks a'flashing). Things are bright and shiny right now (well, incandescent at any rate -- it's 10:30p).
But will/can it last?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
McDonald's Monopoly: Final Thoughts
Did I ever land on a non-Chance or -CC prize? Once. Last Friday I had a run of three or four doubles (throw doubles and you get to roll again) that landed me halfway around the board on Free Parking. My sister and I are splitting a $150 Geek Squad (Best Buy) gift card. Seventy-five bucks is seventy-five bucks (add to it the $30+ in Best Buy Bucks from the premium chicken strips/sandwiches and it turns into a tidy sum indeed).
Anybody else experience good fortune? Want some Snapfish pix? Lemme know in the comments.
Get It on eBay
Most of the toys made it through safely, so we're clearing out some closet space (probably to make room for more shoes). Hence the eBay sale.
If you're at all interested, bid away. You'll be A++ in our books if you do.
(And, to get you in a high-bidding mood, enjoy this homebrew Weird Al/eBay video.)
The New Popular Picture
School bus and pumpkin picture hits have disappeared almost completely.
So what's the new picture bringing people to the site? The lawnmower go-kart: 1, 2. Not a whole lot of hits from those (five or six daily). Still, it's nice to have people stop by.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Free AT&T Wireless Through Year's End
UPS & BN are the hotspots in my area. Your locations may vary (McDonald's locations exempted). No time/frequentness restrictions listed on the coupon, so live it up -- at least until the clerk at the UPS Store gives you the hairy eyeball for making an office/fort out of their shipping boxes.
People Get Ready
Back in a simpler age you had to wait until the big fat Thanksgiving Day newspaper to find out what was going to be on sale at the mall the next day. Now sites like gottadeal.com and bfads.com leak the information early. Info like what? Read on.
Aunt Merlene looking for a Strait-Line Laser Level with 30' Range for Christmas? $4.99 at Ace Hardware.
Great Uncle Hubie sweet on Amy Grant but for some reason doesn't own any of her albums? Pick up Amy's "My Best Christmas" CD for $3.97 at Radio Shack. Yes, Radio Shack. Grab a handful of diodes while you're there to finish that robot you've been working on. World domination by New Year's, baby.
I have no idea what a "Fjadrar Inner Cushion" is, but if it's on somebody-you-know's wish list Ikea is practically giving them away for $5.99.
And don't feel limited to getting Christmas gifts. Someone you know need deworming? Tractor Supply Co. has a 25 lb. box for just over a dollar a pound (limit fifteen boxes). 'Course you can always wait until Christmas to give it to him/her, but sometimes it's nice to surprise a person with a gift "just because."
Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and other stores you might really go a'shopping at on the day after Thanksgiving have ads posted, too. Wally's has an Easy Bake Oven for $10. (Mmmmm ... easily baked <drool>)
Saturday, November 11, 2006
CFBA Saturday: The Cubicle Next Door
For a couple good blog posts about Cubicle check out Katy Popa and Michelle Pendergrass's posts: Katy, Michelle.
For more from Siri on this and her other novels, visit her website.
If all goes to plan I'll have a book chat for next week's tour. Stay tuned.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Randy Ingermanson on iTunes
Instead, I've been listening to selections from his Fiction 201 course. It's deeply discounted through noon Monday ($35 instead of $65 for download; CD-preorder is $55 rather than $105), so if the linked page sounds at all up your creek get it now. Good stuff? Oh yeah.
In addition to being able to listen via iTunes (or any MP3-playing program), you can fire up a web browser and follow along with PowerPoint-esque pages. The package also includes PDF files to follow along with while listening to the Proposals section. (Learning the art of proposal writing is one of the things that separates fiction-writing "sophomores" from "freshmen.") I haven't explored Randy's "Snowflake" method, but I know people who swear by it; Snowflake goodies are also included with the CD/download.
If $35 is too much to swing right now, be sure to sign up for Randy's Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. Good stuff there, too.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
End of the Soccer Season
Phil's team all got gloves with soccer-ball buttons on the back from their coach. I got a nice card and a bag of soccer-ball foil-wrapped chocolates for helping flag the ball out from the sidelines during the games.
Of course dessert was the big attraction of the evening. Phil went home well sugared-up ... just in time to wind down before bed. Oh well, he's off from school tomorrow, so if he's up a little late he can sleep in (please sleep in, please sleep in) in the morning.
Nearly Everything to Chance
The online McDonald's Monopoly game has gone crazy. Every day you can play the codes from ten game pieces (no longer availble, but my sister sent away for a bunch in the mail so we're working through her stockpile); the past few weeks I've landed on Chance or Community Chest far more often than seems right. Today and yesterday I landed six times (winning a total of 150 digital prints from Snapfish each day). On Tuesday it was four out of ten. Last week, when I used up the last of my own gamepieces, I went two-for-three and two-for-two winning ringtones not compatible with our cellphone.
My sister has had similar results this week and last (when the ringtones weren't compatible with her cell either).
Got gamepieces laying around that you haven't played online? Now would be the time to use them.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
How's It Goin'?
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Originally the poem was subtitled "The Revelatory Love Song of Arthur J. MacArthur Prufrock," and while there's a subtle reference or two to T.S. Eliot's LSoAJP, the subtitle was ultimately jokey, so I let it go.
The theme for the contest was "Revelation" (how ever you want to define it), which the subtitle oversold (another reason to cut it).
Can't wait to read the first- and second-place entries (and the honorable mentions). When they come online, I'll let you know.
Monday, November 06, 2006
In the sublime category (or about as sublime as we get around these parts), check out today's post over at Brandilyn Collins' Forensics & Faith blog: My Dear Gobdrip (an intercepted communique from Uncle Screwtape to Nevvy Gobbo). Good reminders (well, bad, actually, coming from Screwtape; good if you turn things around, though); thanks Brandilyn!
TechEBlog link via digg
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Making the Most of a Borders Coupon
The Standard Edition is priced at $30, and a year's membership to WM.com also runs $30; so you're saving $10 right off the bat.
Subtract 30% and you're at $35 for the set. Not too shabby. Either you're paying full price for the book and $5 for the online membership, or full price for the online deal and $5 for the book, or $17.50 for each, or ... you get the idea.
Of course, then you get home and find out Amazon has it for $33 (incl. free shipping).
Still, it was nice to spend a late lunch at Carl's Jr. browsing the pages. And I've got a head start on the rest of you while you wait an additional 3-5 days for the book to ship (not to mention the actual transit time).
Then again, two bucks is two bucks. <sigh>
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The 2007 Models
What am I looking forward to (based solely on their name)?
- Nitro Doorslammer
- Sky Knife
- '66 Batmobile
- Jet Threat 4.0
- Cloak and Dagger
- Desert Desperado
Labels: Hot Wheels
Friday, November 03, 2006
Borders Big-Money Coupon
Save at least $3* with this 30% off coupon at Borders. Minimum $10 purchase. Not valid on Seattle's Best Coffee products. Membership required. Watch your mouth kid, or you're gonna find yourself floating home. Void where prohibited by law.
Expires 5 Nov.
*or as little as $1 if used to purchase electronics/video games, because, yeah, that's why you went to Borders ... for the electronics and video games
It's Friday ... But Tuesday's Coming
Just got word that my poem "Transport" is slated to run this Tuesday (7 Nov) at DKA.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Feel Free to Laugh
Yes, I have some really bad music in my iTunes library. And since iTunes is shuffling nearly everything (audiobook-type things are deselected), it's all gonna come out sooner or later. Most likely sooner.
I've put a link below the widget linked to comments for this post. Feel free to rag on me (yesterday's ABBA and Enya -- how'd you like to introduce those two, Mr. Letterman? -- moments were prime opportunities to laugh at my expense).
Also, I take requests. Want me to listen to "Rainy Days and Mondays"? "I Started a Joke"? Waylon Jennings' "Dukes of Hazzard" theme song? Ask away. (The BeeGees will involve a donation to charity on your part beforehand, but I'll listen to it if I've got it.)
And if you've got/are getting a LastFM account, lemme know.
A Little Wilbur to Start Your November
So ... check it out, already.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I'm sure that's a question you're constantly wondering. Wonder no more ... or less ... or whatever. I've added a widget to my sidebar (right below the Google ads) which is supposed to show the most recent five songs I've listened to.
Supposed to, but the widget is a) frozen at the moment (clicking will open my LastFM profile, which is updating) and b) set to GMT (so subtract eight hours).
Anyone know how to solve either of those problems? I promise I'll do my best to not hit you in face with a pie should we ever find ourselves in the midst of a full-scale baked goods war.
And if WWLLT (What would Linda listen to) is another concern of yours, check out Linda Gilmore's page.
Read for Free ... Pay $5
She's already received two fan letters:
"I’m usually too lazy to tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter, but this time I just had to say thanks for the “Cruising with Dietary Restrictions” article." --K.S.Julia has also received at least one request to reprint the article in another newsletter.
"Thank you for the article "Dining with Dietary Restrictions on the Disney Cruise Line" written by Julie Mikesell. It was well written and informative. We have multiple severe food allergies in our family. ... Our family has always been wanting to take a Disney cruise, and this article has reassured me that we will be able to dine on the cruise with confidence that our needs will be met." --A.L.H.
In other news, The Wittenburg Door has announced the table of contents for its Nov/Dec '06 issue. My short's on the list:
2007 CCM Concert ForecastBut it's not available for a free read online, sorry. Gotta buy it to read it. From the selection of freebies this time around, it looks like everybody's ox is going to be gored multiple times.
Coming to a medium-sized venue near you: Reliant K.C. and the Sunshine Band!