Friday, August 16, 2019

A Real Ball-Buster

Thought for the day: I love to break balls. You got a problem with that?

What can I say? I've enjoyed knocking balls around since I was a kid.

To play billiards well was a sign of an ill-spent youth. [Herbert Spencer]

It's not like I hung around in pool halls, though. We had an el cheapo table in our basement. Not the best place to learn, but it was more than enough to teach me the basics and get me hooked on the game. And when my parents dragged me to the bars with them, the owners let me play on the tables there, too. (Which often weren't much better than our home table.)

[Hmm, this shot looked a helluva lot better... and funnier... in my head than it does in reality. I was thinking along the lines of that iconic shot from The Graduate, where Dustin Hoffman is framed by Mrs. Robinson's legs... Oh well.] By the time I went away to college, I was a pretty good shot. Not great, but pretty darned good. When a couple of cocky jocks from our high school invited my roommate and me to the student union to show us how to shoot pool... what can I say? I couldn't resist.

This is a recent shot, but it shows exactly how I felt after beating those guys. I felt H-O-T! Like my pool cue was on FIRE.

Needless to say, those guys never asked us out again. I guess they'd never lost to girls before.

Smarticus says I once told him I'd never marry someone who couldn't beat me at pool, so he's always worked extra hard to whip my butt on the table. To tell the truth, I don't remember saying that, but in a way, I guess it makes sense. We all want to be challenged, right? Like, it isn't much fun playing Scrabble with someone who only makes three-letter words or bowling with someone who only rolls gutter balls. It's the same with pool. And although Smarticus and I are pretty evenly matched, my guy can still beat me. (On a regular basis!)

So the two of us still play regularly... and I was still feeling pretty good about myself. Like I still shot pretty darned good... for a girl. 

Then I saw THIS:

                                                                     And I mean...



I am NOT all that. 
Not even CLOSE.

But ya know what? That is perfectly okay, because I know exactly what I am. I still enjoy playing, and I love busting them balls. Winning gives me great pleasure, but as long as I shoot well, I'm okay with losing. In fact.... I am the

And I'm perfectly... okay... with that.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

When Characters Revolt

Thought for the day: You can't blame a writer for what the characters say. [Truman Capote]

As you can probably tell by that nifty badge on the left, it's that time again.Time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and
 thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Okay, so it'd be terrific if I could say I've churned out twenty thousand or so fantabulous heart-wrenching words on my WIP since last we met, but that'd be a big fat lie. I haven't. On the plus side, I'm still hard at work editing an excellent book for another writer, so at least my brain hasn't completely turned to mush. Yet.

Sure, editing does put some cash in the ol' account, but it really DOES make me happy, too. It's a thrill to help other writers improve their work. Is it also a sneaky way to procrastinate about finishing my own work? Maybe, but I don't care. (So THERE!)

The author whose work I'm currently abetting has a ton of sometimes chilling imagination, so her books are always entertaining. Being able to help make her diamond shine as brightly as possible is very satisfying... for both of us.

Edit... or regret it! That would be my advise for any writer. Shine your baby up as much as possible before sending it out into the world.

[NO... I'm not soliciting for more clients. I WILL return to my own book as soon as possible.]

Okay, enough of that. Let's check out this month's question:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission response to a submission you'd forgotten or an ending you never saw coming?

Oh heck, yeah.

Sometimes, I think writers are only kidding themselves when they think they're completely in charge of the stories they're creating. Changes from what we think is going to happen to what actually ends up happening are inevitable.

For me, anyway.

The changes were more subtle in my first book Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade. The bones remained pretty much the same, but I certainly never intended for Matt, a conservative young  Republican, to be gay. And I never meant for a lifelong friendship between a white lab tech and a black doctor to turn into something more, either. Those things just... happened. And they felt right.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be. [Douglas Adams]
                                                                                   WHAT JUST HAPPENED???
 [image courtesy of unsplash]
The changes that evolved in Explosive Beginnings were more... shall we say...explosive? At one point, I laughingly lamented that my ungrateful characters had staged an insurrection and were running away with the plot. I  mean, the ingrates wouldn't even have existed without me, so how dare they...??? But (sigh) I think they were right to insist on their plot twists and surprise ending. (Maybe one of them deserves the byline...)

Okay, that's about it for now. Time to get back to the editing... but one more thing. I think I may know why I've been dragging my feet a little bit with my current WIP.

I believe I may need to lose a couple pounds and tone up my gluteus maximus a bit before going through that again...

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Traffic SNAFU

Thought for the day: Some rights are worth dying for, but the right of way isn't one of them.

Unfortunately, road rage is a real thing, and some people aren't satisfied with merely offering a rather familiar and not-so-friendly hand gesture... which I prefer to interpret as You're number one. It takes a lot to get me riled, but I must admit, the lack of courtesy on our roads does kinda get my goat. Not that I resort to using the aforementioned gesture, but I do occasionally mutter some rather unladylike words. Under my breath, of course. (After all, the guy who forces me to hit the brakes because he just cut in front of me... even though there are abso-freaking-lutely no cars whatsoever BEHIND me... might not take too kindly to hearing some old lady's opinion about his driving skills or the legitimacy of his birth.)

I'm gonna ask you guys for your opinions about a particular driving situation, but before we get to that, let's just have a little fun with some road signs, shall we?

Now, I can't say that I've ever seen this sign myself, but if I did, you can be sure I'd have to stop the car and take a picture of it. It reminds me of a joke... Did you hear about the woman who tried to pull a Lorena Bobbitt on her philandering husband? In a blind rage, she ended up stabbing him multiple times in the leg. She was charged with a... ready for it?... a mis-da-weiner. 

I wonder if this sign is posted in a school district...?

I'd actually loooooooove to see signs like the one on the right. The one on the left? To tell the truth, around these parts, that isn't much of an exaggeration.

Now here's a sign some of those angry bird-flipping drivers might understand. It speaks their language.

HUH! Well, that's downright discriminatory! We old broads and geezers have just as much right to be on that road as the younguns.

You've all seen those signs warning drivers about various animal crossings. I say BRAVO to all of those smart animals who know where it's safe for them to cross.

(If the crossing's location is inconvenient for drivers, then the DOT could do what the dumb blonde suggested in a joke: For goodness sake, just move the sign!)

Now, I dunno what the heck this sign is trying to tell us. Has there been a spate of alien abductions in the area? (HMMMPH! I'd say that's a bunch of bull!)

A hand-made PSA posted by a concerned citizen.

This sign just makes me smile.

Okay, so it's time for me to STOP and get off of Procrastination Parkway and get to the gist of this post... getting your opinions about a particular traffic situation.

We've all seen those dreaded signs warning us of construction ahead. Grrrrreat, huh? Usually means delays, snarled traffic, and frayed nerves, not to mention an annoying kick in the seat to one's average rate of speed. (Particularly annoying on a long trip.)

But HERE'S the kind of sign I want to discuss with you. With the amount of roadwork and utility work going on around here, we see similar signs on every road from interstates to small roads within subdivisions. Often, they come with more specific information. Like, RIGHT LANE CLOSES IN ONE HALF MILE, usually followed by multiple distance count-down signs before the lane finally comes to an end.

Now here's the question: When you see a sign telling you that the lane you are in is going to close, when do you move over into the other lane? Smarticus and I have always moved over as soon as possible, and he certainly doesn't take too kindly to the folks who wait until the VERY LAST MOMENT to try to cut over in front of him. (i.e. We did the right thing, and they're inconsiderate a**holes.)

Kinda like the sentiments expressed on this sarcastic gem.

Or this one.

The thing is, I've seen some angry drivers at that actual point of lane-ending. Lots of honking horns and not-so-friendly hand signals.

Reminds me of a weird news story I wrote about in one of my posts in February of 2012:

***  An impatient Porsche driver in San Francisco wasn't happy about being stuck in traffic, so he set out to do something about it. You've seen this sort of driver before; we all have. They're usually behind the wheel of a high-dollar car, and I suppose they figure they're above the mundane laws of the road governing the rest of us peons. Anyway, they generally have no problem making their own lanes. Like the privileged characters they are, they'll whip down the shoulder or emergency lane to get past the traffic jam, and then count on the kindness of strangers to let them back on the road. That's exactly what the Porsche driver tried to do, only the empty lane he claimed was empty for a very good reason. A nice, wet, freshly-poured concrete reason. The guy went from being merely stuck in traffic to really stuck. Workers had to dig the car out, and though the incident may have ruined that Porsche dude's day, I have a feeling the other snickering drivers and pointing passersby considered it a delightful case of poetic justice.

I think the same kind of resentment over entitled drivers may be what's behind the less-than-friendly behavior when a lane closes. Ergo, we move over as soon as possible.

                                                                And that's certainly

                                  to respond to the situation. But as it turns out,  it may be the

According to Marilyn vos Savant, the super duper high IQ gal who writes a column for the Sunday newspaper, the right way to handle those approaching lane closures is to utilize both lanes for as long as possible. She says it's more efficient that way, and keeps traffic moving. Then at the closure point, cars are to take turns: proceed first from one lane, and then the other. I checked it out, and the DOT agrees with her. They even have a name for it; they call it the zipper method. After I read her article, I thought it did, indeed, make sense to do it that way, but Smarticus still says he's gonna move over well before the lane closes. A couple of other friends agreed with him, and they say that in a Utopian world, it'd be a great way to handle the situation, but it ain't a Utopian world, and people are gonna act like jerks at the convergence point. It might be a logical approach... but it isn't practical.
                                                         What do YOU think?

                                             I think... I'm gonna have a cuppa tea.

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Power of Three

Thought for the day: To thrive in life, you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone. [Reba McEntire]

[courtesy of unsplash]
Have you ever given any thought to the alleged power of the number three? Fans of the TV show Charmed know that the three witch sisters' powers were greatly magnified when they worked as a unit, but in general, threesomes kinda permeate our lives, if you think about it.

Maybe the original notion about the strength of the number three stems from the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but I don't know that for a fact. We had the three wise men, of course. And how about that much-beloved prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr that says: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 

In the writing world, it's pretty much accepted that things that come in threes are somehow funnier or more effective and satisfying than other groupings. For example, there's the three little pigs, the three musketeers, the three blind mice, and Goldilocks and the three bears. Also, the majority of plays are written in three acts, and the recommended guideline for the storytelling arc is comprised of  a three-act structure.(Are you sensing a trend?)

Then there's comedy.

Think about all the jokes you've heard that begin with a grouping of three whatevers walking into a bar.

And many jokes rely on a three-part punch line, too. Like this one: I can't think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they're dead. [Laura Knightlinger]

[courtesy of wikipedia]

How about the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeys? (I wonder why there's no DO no evil...)

Many well-known phrases are more memorable because of the effective use of threesomes:
  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Of the people, by the people, and for the people
  • Friends, Romans, and countrymen
  • Veni, vidi, vici
  • Faith, hope, and charity
  • Blood, sweat, and tears
  • Location, location, location
And I bet you can name a bunch more of them.

But did you know that the power of three even extends into the animal kingdom? No? Well then, consider the following:

I wish I could acknowledge where those five photos came from, because they're what prompted me to write this post in the first place. A friend sent them to me many years ago, and I liked 'em, so I kept 'em. The following pics came courtesy of unsplash:

Okay, so technically, those last three aren't exactly animals... but they sure are cute, aren't they?

Sheesh. This turned into a kinda long post, considering I wrote it just so I could post those five pictures a friend... and I don't even remember which friend... sent me years ago. Still, I kinda like it.

                               I think maybe it may even deserve an award of some kind...

                                  Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

                                        Save water... take a shower with two friends...