Word Association

Clearly, I’ve been a bit AWOL– swept up in a few real-life issues and neglecting my poor little blog.

I’ve been singing all day about buying a Corolla. I have no actual intention of doing so. And, no, it’s not a jingle.

In the words of Adrian Monk, here’s what happened:

A couple of weeks ago, my family met at a restaurant to celebrate my mother’s birthday. A Mexicanesque place called “Uncle Julio’s”

Which led to a discussion between my mother’s first cousin and my own first cousin. My mother’s cousin had “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” stuck in her head, due to the restaurant name. My cousin, being a young thing, had never heard of the song.

Turns out, neither had my husband.

The conversation went on long enough that on our way home, my husband demanded I sing the song for him. He loves it. And ever since, he’s been asking me to sing it, he’s been humming it often, trying to sing it himself.

Here’s the problem with that… he doesn’t remember the words.

Unstymied, he makes up his own as he goes along.

Which is why, as the song lodges itself in my noggin, instead of
“Goodbye to Ro-o-o-o-osie-e-e, the Queen of Corona,”
I’m finding myself singing,
“Going to buy me-e-e-e-e-e, a brand-new Corolla.”

I love my goofy husband. null

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Deep Smit, Revisited

I haven’t done a Deep Smit posting in a good long time, but I am in love with– of all things– an Old Spice commercial.

Two tickets to that thing you love! null

Anyone else?

Yeah, That Looks About Right: Illinois Solutions for the State Budget Crisis

Looks like Illinois is finally coming up with creative solutions for the state budget crisis, but I’m not sure they’ll be successful.

I was driving my husband home from an appointment yesterday, and we passed one of those big old billboards announcing the lottery jackpot amount.

It looked a bit like this (*Note– this photo is just a women’s fiction author’s rendition. The AMA and Mr. Kiddoc both highly recommend against taking photos while driving at highway speeds.):

No kidding. The first placeholder (for the occasions where the jackpot amount reaches triple digits) was sporting what appeared to be a negative sign.

Now… if they can just get 20 or so “winners” to cough up 44 million dollars each over the next 10 months, we’ll just about break even for 2010.

What’s Mine is Yours

So the other night as we finish dinner, I pick up my empty tea mug and head to stove to put the kettle on.

“Can I have some tea, too?” my husband asks.

“Sure. Where’s your mug?”

He points to the one in my hand. “I think that one’s mine.”

“Nope. Yours is probably upstairs.”

“YOURS is upstairs.”

This is going nowhere fast. “Dude. No.”

Always a tower of jello, I go upstairs and retrieve it.

“See? Here’s your mug. It was right where you left it.”

He shakes his head. “I told you. That’s YOUR mug.”

“It’s my mug? I left MY mug on the table next to YOUR chair with YOUR brand of tea bag inside?”

A long pause.

He reaches for it and chokes back a smile. “What I meant was, this was your mug before we got married. And if we ever get divorced, you’ll retain full custody of this mug. I mean, come on… it has sunflowers all over the sides.”

I laugh. I can’t help it.

“Does that mean I still get tea?”

Stinker.

If You Believe in Love…

“I don’t know if you believe in Christmas…
Or if you have presents underneath a Christmas tree.
But if you believe in love,
That will be more than enough
For you to come and celebrate with me.”

~ Kermit the Frog, “The Christmas Wish”

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Can We Twalk?

I love a good pun as much as the next person (okay… that’s not actually true. I love them wildly more than most folks, but that’s neither here nor there) but this whole twitter-speak practice of adding a “TW” into pretty much any word is getting on my nerves.

Don’t get me wrong… some of them are quite clever. Many of them, however, simply sound like Elmer Fudd hijacked everyone’s twitter accounts. And even worse are those terms that bear no resemblance to the original word whatsoever.

So, can we all weigh in here and separate the wheat from the chaff?

Here’s my votes:

Keepers (These are cute and/or practical and do not force me to blush or roll my eyes.):

  • Tweetup (for meet-ups with your twitter friends)
  • Twitching (for tweet-sized pitches, coined by the ladies of BookEnds)
  • Tweeps (twitter + peeps)
  • Twinfomercial (Okay… this one cracks me up. Cuz there are a good deal of self-promotional tweets out there, and some of them can get downright obnoxious.)
  • Twitterverse (akin to blogosphere)

If You Must (These I find iffy– straddling the border between punny and ridiculous. But I can deal if you’re a fan.):

  • Twibe (for twitter groups– twitter + tribe. We’re getting dangerously Elmer Fuddy-Duddy here. This goes for you, too, Twoup.)
  • Tweeple (twitter + people. For some reason, this one seems sillier than the shortened “Tweeps” above)
  • Twondering (twitter + wondering. I’m not sure why we need this word in our vocab, but at least the fact that it makes use of the “w” makes its meaning clear.)

Wait, Seriously? (These bug me. Or confuse me. Or both. Can we ban these please?):

  • Twiend (twitter + friend. Never mind that it looks more like Twi-End. By the time I’ve figured this one out, I will no longer desire to be twiendly.)
  • Twirt (twitter + flirt. Ick. Please, no. And how can you tell this doesn’t mean “Squirt” or “Dirt” anyway?)
  • Twollower (twitter + follower. Really? Is this necessary? I mean… never mind how you get tangled up in the “two” before you realize… this feels a lot closer to “wallower” than “follower. And who wants that?)
  • Twammer (twitter + spammer. This is just silly. If you must use a kitchy title for unwanted follower folk, I suggest Twespasser.
  • Pretty much anything that replaces a letter other than “T” or “W”, as it becomes either beyond silly or completely unintelligible. Or both. Yes, I’m looking at you Tweighborhood, Twint (for twitter + hint), Twumor (twitter + rumor), Twink (twitter + link), and Tweed (twitter + feed). Be honest… if I didn’t include what the heck those are supposed to mean, would you have interpreted them easily?

So… what twitter terminology do you love or hate? Let’s get this thing nailed down in the comments.

If I Were Scripting the DVD Commentary for Half-Blood Prince…

So, I saw Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince shortly after it came out. I have mixed feelings about the film, as I found plenty to both love and hate about it.

I figure the movie has been out long enough now to safely post details, but if you haven’t seen it and are spoilerphobic, you might want to bugger off about now.

And for the rest of you, I present my own version of DVD film commentary… you know the sort. The film executives and cast talk through the whole movie while you watch it. These can be kind of cool or uber annoying. Or both. But then again, that’s how I felt about the movie in the first place. 😉

Producers: Hello and welcome to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We’d like you to pay special attention to this first scene where we blow our entire special effects budget exploding a bridge. Please bear that in mind for later.

Harry: I’ve always been a bit reckless, so I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m hanging at the local café, hitting on waitresses as I read my moving-picture, magical-headlined Daily Prophet in plain sight of a zillion muggles. And don’t ask where I got money for restaurant meals, either, cuz I haven’t got a clue.

Dumbledore: I’ve been working this gig for four movies now and I’m actually starting to understand my character a bit. Yay, me! Let’s get our new potions master and get back to Hogwarts.

Hermione: For all you book-obsessed detail-freaks, please notice that my hair has returned to its bushy state for potions class and potions class only. You’re welcome.

Draco: Finally… a chance to show all of y’all how awesome an actor I really am. Perhaps this will console me as toddlers burst into tears when they see me on the street.

Producers: We’re taking great pains here to represent the teen angst well, and we really think we did a bang-up job with it. Bear that in mind when you’re wondering what happened to most of the plot.

Voldemort: No fair! I got totally gypped! Half Blood Prince is supposed to be all about ME! The tragic family history that created the DARKEST MOST POWERFUL WIZARD EVER!!  And you give me two puny scenes that explain NOTHING? Don’t you realize who you’re messing with? I could kill you all right now, but that’s not really my style. So I’m off to formulate an elaborate plot where I exact my revenge against you sniveling imbeciles!

Producers: *clearing throats nervously* You may have noticed by now that the movie is more than half over, and we haven’t actually shown much about Voldemort at all. Sorry about that. Please let us make it up to you with a random and gratuitous scene where a dozen Death Eaters show up at the Burrow and chase everybody around a cornfield for a while.

Harry: HA! Told you I was reckless. Watch me take off alone after the lot of them.

Ginny: Lucky for Harry, I’m such a badass witch that I keep my wand with me even in the shower, just in case I have to scamper off in my bathrobe to save my cutie patootie.

Greyback: Look! Look!! There I am! Right THERE!! No lines, of course, or anything to conclusively identify me at all… but I got a full 2 seconds of screen time, and that’s something.

Death Eaters: Having surrounded the majority of the Order of the Phoenix and Voldemort’s arch enemy, we’ll ignore our strategic advantage and go home now. But not before we accomplish the *much* more important task of setting fire to the Burrow!

OOP & Weasleys: Oh noes! Our house is on fire! If only we were witches and wizards who could DO something besides clutch each other and shake our heads sadly.

Harry: Hermione! I’m glad to be back at school. Some crazy weird stuff went down at the Burrow over the break.

Hermione: You’re lucky you weren’t killed. But I’m strangely disinterested. Probably cuz I’m still upset about Ron.

Ginny: Ron and Lavender stole my meet-cute, so I have to kiss Harry in a cluttered magical closet and then run away instead. That kind of sucks, but at least I get to kiss him.

Harry: And that’s not the only way I get lucky in this film. I’m about to do an amazing acting job right here as I collect the missing memory from Slughorn with the felix felicis potion.

Producers: Yes, everyone. Be sure you enjoy that scene, cuz you’re going to be furious with us in a few minutes.

Dumbledore: Excellent work, Harry! Now we have proof Voldemort was making Horcruxes. Of course, since we’ve eliminated all the other memories of  Voldemort’s past from the film, it will be practically impossible for anyone to find them, but I never said this was supposed to be easy. Now, Harry, if you’ll just follow me into this cave which we have neglected to explain is personally significant to Voldemort.

Harry: I’ll follow you anywhere with no questions asked, even though you haven’t explained a bit about why this necklace is important. Or how you know it’s a horcrux. Or how I might be able to find the others. Here’s that potion you asked for.

Dumbledore: I may be deathly ill from the poison here, because I desperately need water. But despite the fact Harry wasn’t actually able to get me any, I’m about to spontaneously recover enough to kick some serious ass.

Producers: Don’t the Inferi look cool? Everyone please remember that later on.

Dumbledore: Well, contrary to the oft-repeated unbreakable rule, we’re going to go ahead and just apparate right onto the Hogwarts grounds. And I somehow I know that Draco’s coming to bump me off any minute. You might expect me to paralyze Harry or something, but instead I’m going to just tell him to hang out a floor below. That will be extremely helpful.

Draco: I have acted my butt off all movie, and now it’s my big moment. Any last words, Dumbledore?

Dumbledore: Since I’m not busy casting silent spells on Harry, there’s really no reason I shouldn’t be able to disarm a naughty school boy, but for some reason I won’t bother to do that.

Harry: The Death Eaters have turned up. I can see everyone, but for some mysterious reason, none of them can see me. And I’ve completely changed character and  will stand here like a stump until Snape shows up and snuffs Dumbledore. How’s THAT for reckless?

Producers: Hey… remember how cool the bridge looked when it blew up? And those Inferi? Weren’t they awesome? Yeah… they were the best… So… anyway… no final battle scene. Sorry.

Death Eaters: Woot! We’ve killed Dumbledore! And we’ve met with no resistance whatsoever! Let’s smash things!

Harry: Pay no attention to the fact that, with no confusion of a big battle, it’s pretty hard to believe that no one bothers me as I chase after Snape all alone.

Snape: I’m uber emo, so I do sort of enjoy flipping my hair and shouting “I AM the Half Blood Prince!” But I still think I was better in the book.

Producers: So, er… we know you all were really looking forward to the emotional wallop of Dumbledore’s funeral. But… um… instead we’re just going to have everybody raise their lighted wands sort of like lighters at a rock concert. But, hey… the Inferi were way cool, right? KThxBai!

Well… That’s a Little Freaky, Frankly.

So, I had to coordinate a series of interviews today for a new doctor in my department. I offered to take her to lunch afterward, but she needed to leave for an afternoon shift. Which left me all ready to go to lunch, but completely on my own.

This doesn’t happen often. Due to the nature of my work schedule and home life, I am *never* left to my own devices but free to go out to lunch. So I decided to have sushi.

I heart sushi, but I rarely get to eat it as my husband has decided it’s a) overpriced and b) liable to give you worms. He will not listen to reason on either of these points. Never mind that I’m a doctor. He’s convinced. And he never sees any sense in giving up a good theory just because it isn’t true.

Since I was eating alone, I thought I’d bring a book in with me. Cuz, well… I like books. And cuz you never look pathetic eating alone if you have something to do.

As it happens, I was between books and ready to start something new. Next on the TBR deck? The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Yes, I know I’m a bit behind. 🙂

So I’m sitting, slurping miso soup and snarfing sushi, reading the opening of TTTW. And a thought pops into my head… I am channeling moonrat.

I finished the prologue and the first chapter between pieces of maki. Then I drained my green tea mug and made for the door.

I had only begun pulling out of the parking lot, when I was struck by a powerful urge for a Dairy Queen cone. And since I was already being decadent with the sushi-for-one, I decided to roll with that urge. I can’t remember the last time I had one.

I seriously considered tweeting moonrat to ask if she had a thing for soft serve, but I restrained myself.

A few hours later, while I waited for dinner to cook, I picked up the novel where I had left off… where Henry meets Clare for the first time (for her).

And I read this:

“Well, they have to eat each other; they can’t go to Dairy Queen and get a large vanilla cone with sprinkles, can they?” This is Clare’s favorite thing to eat in the whole wide world (as a child. As an adult Clare’s favorite food is sushi…)

Now, okay, fine… I went with a large chocolate cone, but it’s still a bit deja vu-ish, don’tcha think?

Who Doesn’t Enjoy a Makeover Once in a While?

I heart my wordpress blog. Seriously.

I love the post editor here. I love that I can have as many pages as I want and keep everything neat and organized. I love the threaded comments and the stat reports.

I love WordPress more than the other blog sites, and I can say that fairly objectively. You may not realize that I maintain blogs on both Blogger and Livejournal. And, if anything, I am generally biased in favor of Google products.

I happened to start blogging here mostly by pure fluke, and I’m glad I did… I’m not the least bit regretful I didn’t start out on blogger.

Well, maybe “the least bit.”

The only things I envy on Blogger are the ability to get all up in the code (so you can put your own widgety things in) and the Google followers concept, which is all kinds of cool.

Now Google’s no fool, so when I Follow folks on their blogger blogs, my profile and comments link back to my Blogger blog, instead of this one. And recently a few people who found me that way left comments for me there (or even “Followed” my Blogger blog, which takes some initiative on their part, as I have no follower widget since I rarely update there).

This inspired me to update my poor neglected Blogger site, which up until recently sported an ancient template and not-the-most-visually-appealing-color-scheme. So I did a makeover.

And, in case WordPress got jealous, I made this site over, too.

On Blogger, the change is hands-down an improvement. I am less certain about this one. What do y’all think?

Under Cover

Kate Schafer Testerman posted this little activity over on KT Literary. You can read the full rules on her site, but in a nutshell: the task was to design a book cover using a randomly generated author name, book title, and cover image.

So I decided to play along (It’s the least I can do after I made her the unwitting star in a Broadway-style musical.)

It should be quite obvious that my random name was “Tricia Forbes” and my random title was the verb “Fold”:

I think it turned out quite well. =)

A Zoological Discovery: Animal Kingdom Celebrations!

So today seemed to be a fairly ordinary day until I left my house.

Then things got a little weird. I couldn’t explain them at first, but I think I’ve finally hit upon the reason.

Today is a day of celebration in the animal kingdom. Today the fauna are honoring… The Chicken.

And how DO you honor the chicken? Well, by PLAYING chicken, naturally.

During my commute to work this morning, I slammed on brakes, swerved violently into other lanes of traffic to avoid:

  • One bunny
  • One black squirrel
  • One regular squirrel
  • One groundhog
  • Three individual small black birds
  • One group small black birds
  • One seagull
  • One large butterfly
  • One larger butterfly that, okay, turned out to be a cellophane wrapper.

Every one of these animals ran and/or flew directly into the path of my car. Many of them then froze and stared at me as I approached.  Every single one of these animals played Chicken.  And it wasn’t just me, either, lest you think I’m some sort of unwitting Disney princess.  I also was forced to swerve on several occasions in reaction to other drivers avoiding collision with partying animals.

You may notice that, although various woodland creatures celebrate this holiday, it is far more important to birds, which seems natural, given the background of the celebrant.

So, if you’re headed onto the roads, keep an eye out for animal celebrators who might just try to play Chicken with YOU!

An Offer I Can’t Refuse

On Monday night, my husband purchased a drink for a newly agented author at a bar near our house. Furthermore, Mr. Kiddoc informed me this author was “a cute redhead.”

But I am not the least bit jealous.

Because I am that newly agented author.

I am delighted to announce that I’ve accepted an offer of representation from Katie Boyle at Veritas Literary.

H. L. Dyer: Now With Agency Contract!

I’m so excited to be working with Katie, and can’t wait to get The Edge of Memory out on submission!

I’ll be working hard to make that happen, so if I seem uncharacteristically quiet here on Trying to Do the Write Thing, you’ll know why.

Happy 4th of July!

Here in the good ol’ US of A, we’re celebrating Independence Day. But for my international readers (allowing for time zone differences), it’s still the fourth of July, right?

So Happy 4th!

On the Inside…

Parts of the last few days have given me the urge to raise my hands over my head and whoop as I fly down the highway with the top down.

And, although I do have long hair appropriate for flying in the breeze, you will not find me engaging in such activity for a number of reasons:

  1. I am the designated driver and a big fan of at least one hand on the wheel.
  2. Putting the top down on my Hyundai Sonata can only be achieved by violent and permanent methods.
  3. It’s 97 freaking degrees today and humid beyond belief.

So, you will not see me out there. But, on the inside, I’ll be whooping it up in the wind. 😉

Another Mystery Solved!

My husband, affectionately known around these parts as “Mr. Kiddoc,” has baffled me for years.

He can make things disappear without a trace. Give him a set of keys or a remote control or a scrap of paper with a phone number on it and– in under a minute– it will be gone. He won’t even need to leave his chair.

Many times I’ve marveled at his ability to lose things. He can be holding his wallet one minute and asking for help finding it the next. And he has a bad leg… it’s not like he can speed in and out of my line of sight.

I’ve often told him the CIA should hire him to make things disappear.

Well, recently it happened again. He was sitting in the family room. I handed him the phone and a refrigerator magnet with the phone number of our local pizza joint so he could order our dinner. I then returned to the kitchen. Mr. Kiddoc never moved from the sofa. I could see the top of his head through our pass through.

And yet, by the time he hung up the phone, the magnet was missing.

We dug deep into the sofa cushions, but no dice. The magnet was gone.

A few hours later, I stumbled across it. About 15 feet away from where he was sitting, on the hearth of our fireplace.

I should add that the magnet is shaped like a slice of pizza and therefore disinclined to roll.

My BFF and I finally put it together. There is only one possible explanation.

My husband can create wormholes.

They are, evidently, quite weak, allowing only the transfer of small objects a few feet in any direction. But perhaps now that he knows, he’ll be able to hone his skills.

We can only hope he will use his powers for good. *snort*