Friday, November 20, 2020

FRIDAY FIVE for November 20: High voltage

I was all set to be annoyed with my next prompt from 500 Writing Prompts -- I'm trying to discipline myself into writing even when I don't feel like writing because I'll never get anything done if I only write when I feel balanced. Maybe some people can be productive when they create only when they feel balanced, but not me. So I need to push myself to write everyday and write about things I don't like because if I get into a tricky situation in a book, a dead end, a plot hole, what have you...and I stop...I tend to let it lie for days and weeks and sometimes never take it up again.

That is bad form...that is INEFFECTIVE. NON-PRODUCTIVE. AND OTHER SYNONYMS EQUIVALENT TO MEANING I'M NOT GETTING ANY DAMN WORK DONE AND YOU CAN'T PUBLISH WHAT YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN! ARE YOU FEELING ME?! 

But then...I remembered!!! It's Friday! TGIF, the Friday Five to the rescue! 

FRIDAY FIVE

"This week’s questions are lyrics from AC/DC songs. AC/DC put out a new album last week and I’m rather fond of it." [That is the list creator's opinion, I have not heard AC/DC's new album and probably won't. It's probably awesome, because AC/DC but I probably won't because me.]

1. Are you ready for a good time?

Oh, hell yeah! We're gonna watch Meatballs? I have seen that in ages! That's the first thing I thought of with that line, a line from a completely different song. The end credits song from Meatballs, the 1979 camp classic with Bill Murray and if you haven't seen this movie I pity your sad life. Wait...have I shown this to my kids? I don't remember! I have neglected my duties as a mother! MUST DO ASAP!

Meatballs - that's a mood.
Credit: movie -- Paramount Pictures
poster artist -- Morgan Kane


2. What do you do for money, honey?

Eh....live parasitically off my husband. Seriously, I feel like a parasite and the only real job I'm good for is writing (I have worked most of my life but as I get older and my bipolar disorder starts to cause more complications it's more and more difficult to work outside the home) but I haven't sold any of my writing because I can't even finish ONE story and ...I have issues as you can see. I'm working on it.

3. Who’s your friend and who’s your foe?

Um...I don't really have any foes. Well, I'm my own worst enemy. Addictive behaviors and lack of discipline are my foes. There.

And my friends? Well, what even is that line? Who's your friend? Is that like "Who loves you, baby?" That's a better line, in my opinion.

Oh, Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak, I love you.
Kojak- 1973 to 1978, Universal Television Productions


4. What do you do that’s guaranteed?

Do you mean a thing that CAN literally be guaranteed or what do I do that I say is guaranteed, but actually that's not possible because that's my opinion. 

Nothing, nothing, nothing in the world is guaranteed except death. So it's guaranteed I'll die someday but if I have my way it won't be for a few hundred years because there's just too many interesting things to do for an average life span.


5.Do you wanna journey?

Yes. The answer is yes. Because see above...I'm not missing out on the banquet of life and there's a whole big, fascinating world to feast on. I want to go so many places. I can't even list all the places. Maybe I should try that as a break from my writing prompt book, like on Tuesdays write about places I want to go...not just vague places like Japan, find out specific places with history and art that's off the beaten path. Yeah...maybe, maybe...

Like, did you ever think about the ENDS of the Great Wall of China? Oh, sure there's lots of pictures of the wall climbing and winding over hills and valleys...but it has two ends. Well, one start and one end, I suppose. 


Image credit: fuzheado/Flickr

"Jiayuguan Pass-- First and Greatest Pass under Heaven

The pass is a trapezoidal city wall 11 meters high and 733m around, covering an area over 33,500 square meters. There are 3 defensive lines: the inner city, the outer city and a moat. It is the most complete existing ancient military architecture among all of the passes of the Great Wall, which is also famous as the “First and Greatest Pass under Heaven
 
In addition of the most amazing defensive system used for prevent invaders at the border in ancient dynasties, the Pass is also an indispensable station on the way of the ancient silk road. The pass was the starting place for exile for the prisoners or ex-officials. 


And that's my Friday Five. None of them had anything to do with AC/DC, because if it's not Back in Black or You Shook Me All Night Long, I probably won't know what you're talking about.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

500 Writing Prompts: Could Dinosaurs and humans coexist today? What would make that possible or impossible?


TL;DR: We do. They're called birds.


I'm thinking they probably don't mean that, though. They want the big ones, the mean ones. The ancient assholes. 

Intellectual property of The Oatmeal -- You know, Matthew Inman.

There is so much scientifically complicated and just wrong with this question that I'm annoyed just considering it. Which dinosaurs? There were a lot of them. The Mesozoic Era was comprised of three periods: Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous, a span of approximately 200 million years. That's a lot of years, people. Modern humans only evolved in the past 200,000 years. I think they might have the upper hand on us. Or...claw...no, foot, I think it's foot.

The climate of these three periods varied widely but it was, in general, a lot nastier than ours, even with the wide range we have in our modern world. Would the dinosaurs survive in our climate? Some of them could, I guess, but probably only in the hot and dry or hot and wet areas of the world. Well, not the polar regions. Russia, the Scandinavian countries, large portions of Canada would probably be dinosaur free.

And which dinosaurs are we talking? You know they were mostly BIG, right? 

 I think some of this data is off.
Go measure your neighbor's velociraptor for verification. I'll wait.

Dinosaurs were hungry fuckers, and while WE may be able to avoid them, what with our big brains and all, I think they'd be eating up our food supply. Do you know what just a couple of lions can do to a herd of cattle? Or a village of people? Did you not see The Ghost and the Darkness? THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!! 

And not just our herds of cattle and flocks of chickens are in danger, there's veggie-sauruses out there too. See that brachiosaurus in the above picture? How are you going to keep that out of your corn fields? 

There's a lot of corn fields here where I live, in fact my town is surrounded by them (on three sides) and just imagining a brachiosaurus standing in a cornfield makes me giggle.

And yeah, we have machine guns and rocket launchers and tanks and stuff (can you imagine how many farms would go under if they had to pay for dinosaur insurance and assault weapons?) but if you have to set up razor wire perimeter fences are you really "coexisting"? A separate and independent but peaceable existence? I'm going to call that a NO.

But...if the dinosaurs...shrank, grew feathers, learned to sing (or at least croak endearingly), and generally be interesting in a way that (mostly kind of) did not threaten the habitat and life of humans, then yes. 

Birdie want a cracker?



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

500 Writing Prompts: Outline a "Mission Statement" for your life. Sigh. At least it's not a plan.

Church: Well don't worry because I have a great plan for how we're gonna rescue Tex.

Tucker: A plan? Oh, man, I hate plans. That means we're gonna have to do stuff. Can't we just have a strategy or a ...mission statement?

                        --- Red vs. Blue, Season 1/ Episode 13: Human Peer Bonding 

Halo property of Bungee, et al.
Red vs. Blue property of Rooster Teeth

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Outline a mission statement for your life, hm? 

I have a visceral reaction to the idea of creating a mission statement for anything. Seriously, my hackles raised when I read this, for no damn good reason.

So, let's start out with a definition. What the fuck is a mission statement, really?

Google Dictionary sez: 

mis·sion state·ment
/ˈmiSHən ˈstātmənt/
noun
  1. a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.
    "a mission statement to which all employees can subscribe"

I figure Google Dictionary is emotionally invested in getting stuff correct, so I'll trust them on this. 

And my mission, if I choose to accept it, is...a mission statement. Mission impossible? Maybe.

But according to Patrick Hull this is totally doable. He writes for Forbes, so he must know something. Of course the article is almost eight years old, he could be dead by now. He could still be correct while being dead, they're not mutually exclusive. I'm not in Forbes target audience, but let's find out if we can sort of follow along with Mr. Hull. His article is for a New Year's resolution mission statement and mine is supposed to be for my whole fucking life but NO PRESSURE!!!! I'm sure we can adjust it to our needs. It's really pretty simple (snort): "Include specific and attainable goals, outline how you plan to achieve those goals".

Your not helping, Patrick. You can go now.

Okay, let's try a different article. Here's on one from Indeed Career Guide for writing personal mission statements to include in resumes. That seems really affected to me, but what do I know. I don't have a regular job. And I was only really happy at one of them in thirty-three years of working. So maybe I shouldn't be such a snob, hm?

Here are their recommended steps:

1. What's most important to you? What are you passionate about?

    Okay, so that's easy. Writing, making art, growing things, and cats. And my kids too, but they're grown. If they were still kids they would be first. But hey, it's ME TIME NOW!!! Martial arts too, but that other stuff comes first.

2. What does the "best" version of your life look like? Including relationships, achievements, and career.

It looks like writing, art, growing things, cats, kids, and martial arts. Somehow I think I'm supposed to put more effort into this. Is this like, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Because I've always hated those questions. Five years ago I definitely was in much better shape mentally, physically, and emotionally than I am now and I sure as heck didn't see myself having a nervous breakdown and living through a global pandemic.

Focus! The best version of my life is...not living in this house in this town for one thing. My best life is writing books, making a living writing books. Selling my art. Getting back in fighting shape. Cats. Cats don't need an explanation. And spending time with my family. 

I want to write the stories in my head and sell books. I don't want to be FAMOUS because ain't nobody got patience for that, but I want to make a living of writing and be able to give money away when I want to: NPR and PBS, homeless and low-income assistance shelters, animal shelters. I want to be able to set all my bills on automatic payment. Take a vacation, to the ocean. I haven't been to the ocean in...nearly thirty years? Has it really been that long? 

I know this is supposed to be helping, but it's not helping.

This is Brad. He's living his "extra" life! Be like Brad!!!!


3.Talk to your peers and mentors and ask what they consider to be your greatest strengths.

Peers and mentors? Do I have those? Do they mean friends? Checking definition of peer..."a member of the nobility...comprising the ranks of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron." Oh, okay! I totally have some of those. They're kind of busy though, running a barony ain't all sunshine and roses, you know. And I don't have any mentors. I need to go back to school and get some mentors. But history is happening right now (it was supposed to be space travel, goddamnit!) so that's an idea whose time will have to come later.

I do actually know what they meant by peers, just so you know. That's just a whole lot of awkward anxiety waiting to happen though. I mean, I know how awkward I would feel if someone asked me to tell them their greatest strengths. And what do you do if someone tells you your greatest strength is something you think is really boring? Best not.

4. Identify the legacy you want to leave. What do you consider to be your purpose?

There's your trouble, right there. I don't really care about leaving a legacy. And I don't really feel like I have a purpose. Too many "good ideas", no purpose. Too many directions and can't pick goal because goddamn it, what if it's the wrong one? There's your trouble, friend. 

There's your trouble.


5. A simple template to follow when crafting your personal mission statement is by combining the following elements:

“I will /action/ for /audience/ by /skills/ to /desired result/.”

Why didn't they just say this first! God damn it!! Oh...okay, I'm looking at it more closely and it kind of doesn't make any sense. Really, it just seems like a meaningless platitude. Fine, whatever, I'll do it.

"I will write stories for people who read by using words to sell books."

Sigh.

At least I got my blog entry written. Because I only lasted two days at NANO this year. Yeah, there's still thirteen days left. I could jump back in.

Maybe if I didn't spend three hours making one blog post, that would help.









Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Talk about your favourite pair of shoes and why you love them so much

My favorite pair of shoes are a cheap pair of boots I bought at Target. They're a sort of faux combat boot look, with laces up the front and zippers on the inside. Why do I love them so much? Well, they look like combat boots, first of all. That's so basic, hm? But really if I could afford to have several pairs of real old school leather combat boots I would, but proper military grade combat boots cost more than I can afford to plunk down on shoes I'd only wear three or four months out of the year.  Black or brown leather, proper laces. I just like the way they look. 

Women's Corcoran 10" Original Jump Boots


These are the classic jump boot, the regular issue combat boot doesn't have the cap toe. I know this because first husband (ex) was in the 82nd Airborne when I married him. 

Don't they just look soooo classic? Yes, yes they do. And the boots you can find in regular shoe stores that are called combat boots, they are just not this awesome.

So, I don't have $164 plus shipping and handling to shell out those sweet boots.



Instead, I paid about thirty-five dollars for these at Target, three or four years ago. They had them in brown too and I wish I'd gotten those too. I don't like the zip up but it's nearly impossible to find boots that don't have a zip on the inside nowadays. 

So WHY do I like these boots so much? Hm...well, they put a couple inches on me, first of all. I'm five foot four. A lot of my pants are too long and I have to roll them up, but when I wear these I'm just tall enough that I don't have too. And they just feel strong. Yeah, even though they're cheap vinyl, I feel strong wearing them. Not tough, precisely...but...like I can get the job done. Whatever job that is. Most of the time the job is just having to go out someplace. I really don't like having to go out places.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

If you found yourself in Oz, what would you do different than Dorothy?

 Well, let's start with the fact that I'm a grown ass woman with few qualms about hurting some fools that attack me with lethal intent. I would be strapping that Tin Man's axe onto my belt. If we're talking the real me, like the right now today me...I wouldn't have a dog.

Because I don't have a dog. And Dorothy had a dog, what did that dog eat, anyway? If I had a dog it would be a proper sized dog, not some ball of fluff that constantly needs carrying. But I don't have a dog, so....

So. Here I am in Oz. I...would want to get straight to the point. I'd want a map and to know where all the important landmarks are and can I have a water canteen and a backpack and what kind of wild animals will I find and bugs and ....

I think I would be better equipped than Dorothy, you know her being a little girl and all. I probably would not have made any friends because I'd be all business and trying to get my ass out of there. But...honestly, if I lived in Kansas and was transported to Oz...I might just want to stay in Oz. After all, Dorothy was a little girl. I'm a grown woman. But I have kids, I'd want to get back to my kids. They're grown so they don't need constant looking after but...hm...

What about a story about Dorothy's grown kids coming to look for her. Like, she wandered off again and they went out and looked for her.

Like...she has a mood disorder. And her kids have to come find her. And ...

Hm.



Thursday, October 22, 2020

Even when you don't feel like writing, write anyway...Design a cocktail or drink after yourself.

 From "500 Writing Prompts" :

You have to design a cocktail or drink after yourself (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). What ingredients are in it and what will you name it?

Honestly, some of these prompts...Design and name a drink after myself? This sounds more like a ridiculous party game, not a writing prompt. Okay, my goal is to do the prompt no matter how terrible or inane, to teach  to write even when we don't feel like writing.

Not sure how I want to approach this. Do I mess about with things I actually really enjoy drinking, like tea and coconut and vodka (not all together...I don't drink those all together) or do I attempt to choose things that represent me, or my perspective of myself, that I may not like but I feel represent me?

My first thought is coconut and ginger. I really like coconut and ginger right now, but really is that something that represents me? How about coconut ginger chai. Well, do you need to put ginger on there if it's chai? Chai has ginger in it already, doesn't it? And I don't mean the super sweet chai you get at coffee shops and such, I don't like that. I like chai tea bags and milk. Chai doesn't come with coconut flavoring but I could add coconut milk. And...what's the yellow stuff, not saffron...turmeric.

Tumeric-it's related to ginger!

I'm not a yellow kind of person, though, except as an accent color. Yellow is an excellent accent to purple, which is my favorite color. But I don't want to make a purple drink.

PURPLE!!!
Photo by 
Jonny Lew from Pexels

Okay, enough fooling around with photos. I really like adding photos to my posts. I don't a wall of text, it's boring. But sometimes I go a bit overboard with the photos.

Back to the drink. I choose lime juice, raw honey, and cayenne pepper. This past April (of 2020) I was at my sister's house (well, her apartment) in San Antonio, Texas. I was staying for a month because she was out of the country. I couldn't leave, I was taking care of her cats, but I had a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE allergy attack. It was a combination of my seasonal allergies being in overdrive because of the Texas yellow pines which, because I've never had exposure to them, hit me extra hard, and my sister's cats. I have my own cats but I've developed immunity to them. But sister's cats, not so much. The two combined really hit me hard, I was wheezing and sneezing and coughing and spent many days in bed doped up on several kinds of antihistamines. One thing that helped calm things down a bit was a combination of fresh squeezed lime juice which I heated in the microwave, raw honey, and cayenne pepper.

Even native Texans fall to Cedar Fever,
 so me being from Illinois...


Not a miracle cure, but it sure helped for a few days. That and sleeping in the bathtub. Because it was the easiest place to wipe down completely and the shower curtain kept out a lot of the animal dander and pollen and it was the furthest place in the apartment away from the doors. You know, furthest from where pollen could get in.

Eventually I went to the ER, but that's a long(er) story, this ain't supposed to be about that. I felt like I needed to explain the backstory. I don't know why, I only really need to explain the ingredients.

Honestly, I don't know why I put those three things together. Lime has vitamin C and my sister happened to have some limes on the counter. I really like limes, so I squeezed those into a little bowl and heated it in the microwave, because the heat would feel really good for my raw throat. I think I add the limes because they juice helps thicken the mucus so I could cough it up. Then I stirred in a spoonful of crystallized raw honey. I love crystallized honey, I like feeling the crystals on my tongue. Yeah, that's weird. And I also don't know why I chose to add cayenne pepper. I was going to put in regular pepper, but I saw some cayenne pepper in the cabinet so I grabbed that, works better. I put a lot in, but I didn't measure it. Just...a lot. Maybe a teaspoon? I think I add it because it can help clear your sinuses and open up your breathing passages. My throat felt like it was closing up.

It really helped for a while, enough to allow me to breath for a couple of hours. At that point my entire world had shrunk to just trying to breathe freely, so finally being able to for a couple of hours was such a relief. I had to sip it of course, can't knock back that amount of cayenne pepper without choking.

So, that's my drink. Fresh squeezed lime juice heated, crystallized raw honey, and cayenne pepper. Heat the lime juice first, by itself, before you add the honey and cayenne pepper.

Why would I choose this drink? Because it made me feel smart, figuring out this combination. And because I am acidic but interesting, like lime. I'm hot-tempered and spicy, like cayenne pepper, and....crystalline? Like raw honey? Three slightly unusual things combined for an unusual taste and also it helps you breathe.

What would I name it? Just Breathe. That's what I'll name it. Just Breathe.

And....add vodka sometimes. Sometimes.



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

If you could indulge in anything without consequence, what would it be?

 So little time left in the day. Serves me right for dawdling. In just (checking...) three hours and forty minutes I need to be leaving for my MA class.  We were masks in class and our contact is minimized, if you're wondering.

Here is a writing prompt from my "500 Writing Prompts" workbook. It doesn't have an author listed, just the website, on the bar code sticker on the back, Picadilly Inc. I bought it at...Half-Price Books? Or maybe Five and Below. I want to give the proper credit, but it doesn't have an author listed. 


500 Writing Prompts...using the numeral instead of writing out the number..."Five Hundred"...grinds my gears.

Prompt: If you could indulge in anything without consequence, what would it be?

Well, I'd like to be edgy and say something awful, like murder, or theft, or vandalism...but I don't usually want to do those things.

Usually.

No, it would be something I want to do on a daily basis and struggle with all the time I would really love to eat whatever the hell I wanted and not gain weight or get sick. I have issues with food (what a surprise) and comfort eating and now that I'm in menopause my metabolism is slowing down even more. So if I could avoid the consequences of weight gain and high cholesterol... I would eat so much cheesecake. Cherry cheesecake, Oreo cheesecake, lemon cheesecake, key lime cheesecake. Turtle cheesecake. And cake. German chocolate cake, red velvet cake, Devil's Food Chocolate cake, carrot cake with with walnuts, molasses spice cake, lemon cake.

I fucking love me some cake.

I would... Eat fried chicken. Battered fish and chips. Smoked salmon...lots of smoked salmon.

I would... use real cream in my coffee and real sugar in my tea. I would...I would...INDULGE.

But this is the real world, and such indulgences do have consequences and they are not small. I must accept the fact that I have a lot of difficulty moderating indulgences. So it's better to go without them. If I want to get down to fight weight I need to be firm with myself. Remind myself the long term goal is so much sweeter than the momentary pleasure of indulgence.

And then I can indulge in some sexy clothes. And by sexy I mean tough sexy, like leather and buckles and maybe a little lace thrown in...steampunk like, but not too overdone. I don't want gears for the sake of having gears, if I have gears on my outfit they'd better have a function.

So...the delayed reward is some sexy clothes, which are more fun than food, actually. I can look for clothes now even, and buy them as the End Boss reward chest.

That is...if the world hasn't go apocalyptic by then. We'll find out in (checking...) twenty days. 


Google your first name + apocalypse outfit: works for me.
found on Pinterest


Motivation...the promise of a real fight and sexy clothes is MOTIVATION. Whatever works, hm?