Friday, July 29, 2011

So Many Babies!!

Everyone I know is having/just had babies!  Lol!  Here are a few born within the last month:

This is Zach, born to my husband's childhood best friend's little sister last week.

This is Julian, born to my childhood best friend Arianne about a month or so ago, posing for his parents' directing company (She played Nicholas Cage's daughter in "Drive Angry!"  I know her!  Lol.  Now Everyone go rent "The Other Side of Paradise" at iTunes!! ).

And this is Austin, born exactly 12 hours ago at 12:43 AM to my husband's childhood best friend Nathan, and of course Austin's Mommy, Charissa.  She wanted him for a very, very long time, so I'm very happy for them.

There are a few others, but I couldn't find their pictures.  I also know a few people who are pregnant.  There are little tiny people simply everywhere!

Does that make me want to have one, you ask?   HECK, NO!  

I know, I know, kids are miraculous and beautiful and they give your life purpose and love and joy and joyness.

Blah, blah, blah.  They’re also expensive and inconvenient. 

I can hear my Mom sighing now; she's been collecting toys for her future grandchildren since I was 17 years old.  And yes, it was a mixed message, and I told her so at the time (who tells their 17-year-old, "Don't have sex until you're married, but look at the toys I bought for your kids"?).  It's been 12 years since then, and not a single grandchild in sight.  I'm the oldest and the only one who's married, so her highest hopes rest on me.  Plus I'm not quite so crazy as my brother and sister.  (Don't like that, Paul? Maybe if you emailed your sister every once in awhile I wouldn't insult you quite so much. :P )

No, we have dogs and a goddaughter and furniture and liquor and fancy electronics, and that's just how we like it. 

But congrats to all the new & future Mommies out there anyway!

And this is just for fun, and apparently it's the best way to have 400 babies, were you so inclined:

Oh...and does anyone know why my posts won't show up in Dashboard for like 5 hours?  I've tried changing up the "Post Date & Time" settings, switching internet browsers, and everything else I could think of.  I posted this at 12:45PM, but I'm willing to bet you don't see it in your Dashboard until at least 3, maybe not even then.


Anyway, have a great weekend, everybody! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not-Good Betas?

Betas are one of the most helpful tools in a writer’s arsenal. They’re ‘in the biz,’ so to speak, and they’re not your spouse/mom/bestest friend, so they’re impartial. I know that I would never have learned what I was doing wrong without my beloved Betas to point out the plot holes, inconsistencies, and other assorted no-nos that were ruining my novel.

But what do you do if your Beta…well, sucks?

Yes, yes; I know it’s mean to say that, and believe me I’m cringing right along with you.

But you know what I mean.

You tuck into their sample chapters, eager to help the one who has helped you out so much. But as you go along, your smile begins to fade. You realize it’s only page 5 and you’ve blown through 30 of those little Windows ‘comments’ boxes, largely due to improper comma usage or other easy SPaG errors.

You shake it off. Typos, you assure yourself.  They'd catch these things in the next round of edits, anyway, surely…although there’s this niggling fear at the back of your mind that maybe you shouldn’t have taken their suggestions for your MS quite so seriously.

By page 15 or so, you’re beginning to feel like you’re taking crazy pills. The plot is confused, the characters one-dimensional, the writing choppy/passive/just plain bad, the dialogue cheesy/unbelievable…and you don’t know if you can power through the rest of it.  You feel like a terrible person.

From this place of guilt, you begin to wonder, “Is it me, perhaps? Am I the terrible writer? Because either this person is mangling the English language, or I am. One of us has no idea what in the blue blazes we’re doing, and needs to go back to the third grade and start over.” That thought strikes an icy lance of terror through your soul, and for a brief moment you question everything you’ve ever believed in, everything you thought you knew as a human being and a writer and an organism.

Until you remember the half-dozen other Betas whose chapters didn’t make you want to kill yourself, and who liked (or perhaps even loved) your MS. Your heart slows down a bit. No, it’s not you. You’re sure of it. There’s simply no way you suck that bad. Pity wells up within you, but it doesn’t make choking down their poorly-written literary abomination any easier.

And now that you know what kind of a writer he/she is, everything he/she said is suspect, even if their suggestions were good ones.  You panic at all the changes you made at his/her urging. Did you save a copy from before you started working with this Beta? NO???  Well, that's another three rounds of editing. 

So what do you do now? You can’t say, “I’m sorry, but your book sucks, and you need to take a writing class.” That’s just cruel, and they won’t listen to you anyway.  You want to help them, because everyone’s written something terrible, and how can we correct mistakes we don’t know we’re making? Yet often times, these are the people most resistant to helpful criticism. These are the ones who often turn nasty and defensive, sometimes sparking fights and spewing F-Bombs all over the internet. The ones who refuse to hear anything but glowing reviews of their work.

So what do you all do? Do you try to help them, or just hit the delete button and deal with feeling like a jerk for a couple of days?

(BTW, this is not in reference to anyone in particular.  I've been wanting to do a post about this for awhile now, so no one should take this personally!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not Dead, but Sleeping...

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I'm still alive.  I've just been ill since Saturday, so I've been at home in bed, dripping fluids and popping pills until I feel better.  I should be up to reading & posting things anon. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random picture day!

I don't have it in me to be witty today, so I'm going to post some random pictures.

This is me, on my wedding day almost 8 years ago.  I was really much more excited than I look; you just have no idea how many pictures I'd been subjected to that day, and I hate having my picture taken.

This is my car.

This is me, my brother Paul, my sister Jenny, and our cousins Shannon & Emily back when we lived in Wisconsin.  This was at my Grandma's house, and as you can see, we were all very adorable and witty.

It's hot outside, so this is my living room at Christmas.  Don't worry, there are more Christmas trees than that (I have 8).

This was sooo cool.  Our first Christmas in our house, and it snowed almost 12 inches on Christmas Eve!

Oh, look how cute I was.  Me, my Mom, my brother, and my sister, right after we moved to Texas (I'm the one on the far right; the oldest and therefore the tallest.  Oh, and the best).

This?  Well, this is just awesome.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Creativity Exercise #13

1. Have you ever smoked a cigarette?
I prefer them deep-fried or boiled

2. Have the police ever written you a ticket?
No, but they both sang and danced one at me.

3. Have you ever kissed someone you didn’t like?
Don't judge me.  You should see what I do to the people I hate.

4. What size is your bed?

5. Have you ever peed your pants laughing?
What’s a ‘pants laughing?’

6. Are you poor, middle class, or fancy?
Extra fancy, actually, because of my high salt content.

7. Are you fake or real?
Fake, totally. This blog doesn’t even exist, on account of how not real I am. This is all in your imagination. Didn’t know you had it in you, did you?

8. Do you chew gum?
No, I smoke it

9. Cod or halo?
Tilapia, actually

10. Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?
No, I put them through a complicated reverse digestion process. Long story short, I only vomit them out.

11. Are piercings attractive?
If they’re made of metal and there’s a large magnet nearby, then I suppose they would be.

12. Ever been held in jail?
First thing you learn in prison is to not let anyone hold you. Sets a bad precedent.

13. What are you wearing?
Tuna can lids strung together with baling twine and covered with glitter and lima beans. Also a hat.

14. What is one thing you refuse to eat?
Tuna can lids strung together with baling twine and covered with glitter and lima beans. Also a hat.

15. Have you ever been in a physical fight?
No, only psychic ones. In fact, I’m locked in a bitter struggle for the fate of the universe even now. Take that, and that, and that!

16. Would you rather drown or die by falling?
I’d rather drown by falling, just so I can see what that is, exactly.

17. What did you want to be when you were little?

18. If you saw a carrot on the floor, what would you do?
Sing to it for 45 minutes, then run screaming from the building to warn everyone that the Antichrist is among us in his long-prophesied carrot form which spells the doom of all mankind in its orange striations of terror.

19. Have you ever fired a gun?
Had to. It was stealing office supplies.

20. What do you order at IHOP?
Fabric swatches and floor lamps

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Books to Movies/Miniseries I'm Super Excited About!!

The Harry Potter movie franchise has come to a close, and now folks are scrambling to find the next big book series to turn into a mega movie franchise. But there are a few out there that I’ve been excited about for some time, and maybe the time is ripe for them to get crackin.’

by Naomi Novik

The one I am most looking forward to is Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the Temeraire books by Naomi Novik. Can we say SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I about fainted when I heard that Mr. Lord of the Rings himself was going to do the Temeraire books; one of my favoritest book series around right now. SO!! EXCITED!!   If you haven’t read them, do it.  Do it now.  They're historical fantasy novels set during the Napoleonic wars, only there’s dragons. Intelligent, fire-breathing, acid-spitting, shockwave producing dragons, employed by all governments and pitted against one another in glorious battle.  It’s gonna be sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1)
Moviepage News
Temeraire movie news 

by Stephen King

Another one I’m super-duper excited about is the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, scheduled to be transformed into a movie trilogy AND miniseries by Ron Howard. I’m so, so, SO glad they’re not trying to cram everything into a few paltry movies, because I don’t think it can be done properly. No, this will be a mammoth undertaking, and with the quality of television shows on the rise (like Dexter, True Blood, the Walking Dead, etc.), this is definitely the way to go. Javier Bardem is set to play Roland, the Gunslinger.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)

Screen Rant Dark Tower movie news
Dark Tower Movies webpage
More Dark Tower movie news

by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

How about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith? That’s right. It’s everything you ever wished you loved about the classic novel, only there’s zombies, so you’ll actually want to read it. It’s being produced by and Natalie Portman (who will also star in it) and directed by Craig Gillespie. So watch out, 2013! Zombies coming atcha!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

PP&Z Movie news

AND...last but certainly not least...drumroll please....

by Anne McCaffery!!!

AAAHHH!!!  AAAAAAHHH!!!!  OMFG!!!  Tween girl screams of jubilation everywhere!!!  Anne McCaffrey is the reason why I love fantasy, why I love dragons.  Her Pern books were the first fantasy novels I ever read, and I re-read them all to this day. 

There have been several attempts to make her Dragonriders of Pern books into movies or miniseries over the years, but they've always fallen through.  But now I have hope!  Copperheart Entertainment signed with David Hayter and Dark Hero Studios to adapt Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey into a real-life, really-real-real movie!!!  Production begins next year!!  I may pass out from all the joy and joyness!!!!!

The Dragonriders of Pern

Movieline News!!!
SF-Fantasy Movie News

Ok, I've calmed down.  Barely.  How about you?   Which upcoming book-to-visual media projects are you most excited about?

Monday, July 18, 2011

How to Predict the Future

Is your current religion boring, stagnant, or just plain NOT telling you the future?   Are you sick and tired of just waiting around for things to happen?   Wouldn’t you like to know what’s going to happen tomorrow, TODAY?   Or is your current means of divining the future just not cutting the mustard?

Well, perhaps you should consider one of the following means of fortune-telling.   These are just my personal favorites/most unusual means of prophesizing, because you’ve likely already tried the more common ones.    By no means is this list comprehensive; check out this website: for a more complete list of all the things one can use to become the best darn oracle, seer, or prophet you can be.

(Assume that each definition is preceded by the words, “Divination by…”)

Acultomancy – Needles

Ailuromancy – Watching a cat’s movements

Alectormancy – Sacrificing a rooster

Alectryomancy – Watching a rooster gather corn kernels

Alveromancy – Sound

Ambulomancy – Taking a walk

Amniomancy – Examining afterbirth

Anthracomancy – Burning coals

Anthropomancy – Examining human entrails

Armomancy – Examining one’s shoulders

Batraquomancy – Frogs

Belomancy – Arrows

Bibliomancy – Opening a book at random

Brontomancy – Thunder

Capnomancy – Smoke

Catoptromancy – Examining a mirror placed underwater

Cephalomancy – Boiling an ass’s head

Ceraunoscopy – Lightning

Ceroscopy – Wax drippings

Chronomancy – Time

Cleidomancy – Keys

Cromnyomancy – Onions

Dactyliomancy – A finger

Dririmancy – Observing dripping blood

Floromancy – Belief that flowers have feelings

Gastromancy – Sounds from the belly

Geloscopy – Laughter

Gyromancy – Falling from dizziness

Kaphalonomancy – Baking an ass’s head (not to be confused with boiling an ass's head)

Logarithmancy – Algorithms

Odentomancy – Teeth

Oinomancy – Wine

Ololygmancy – Howling of dogs

Oomancy – Eggs

Pedomancy – Soles of the feet

Retromancy – Looking over one’s shoulder

Scatomancy – Excrement

Scyphomancy – A cup

Stolisomancy – Observing how one dresses oneself

Tiromancy – Cheese

Urimancy – Urine

Xenomancy – Strangers

Xylomancy – Wood

And so many more!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Got a Scholarship!

My college called me yesterday and said a last-minute scholarship had come available, and they'd like to award it to me if I was interested.

Was I interested?  Heck yeah, I was!  Thank goodness I hadn't already started paying my tuition or bought books yet, because this scholarship will cover all of my tuition, fees, books, and supplies for the next year.  HUZZAH!!!!  Such a relief!!!

All i have to do now is attend the mandatory awards reception.  I think I can handle that.  :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Creativity Exercise #12

1. What is the most overrated thing in your opinion?
Please.  If anything, all of my opinions are underrated.

2. What color is your comforter?
Well, my husband is white but of Hispanic descent, and my dogs are black and white and golden brown.

3. How long have you lived in your house?
I’ve never lived in my house. I live either on top of it or beneath it (and sometimes off to one side), but always outside.

4. Is this your hometown?
No, this is the internet.

5. How many times have you moved?
Several quadrillion, I imagine.  I'm probably moving right now.

6. What’s your mom’s name?
What her friends call her.

7. Do you have any half siblings?
No, they’re all in one piece. Surely I’d have heard about it if they were not.

8. Do you have a computer?
No, I’m just imposing my psychic will onto the internet. I actually have no idea if it’s working or what, if anything, is showing up. I hope it’s nothing too pornographic. That might be embarrassing.

9. What’s your favorite possession?
I can't actually possess anything, as I am not a demon.  But if I were, I think it would be birds. Then I could fly around and stuff, although I doubt I'd care for the eating bugs part.

10. Do you have any pictures of your friends in frames?
Yes, although it took some mighty fine kickboxing moves to get them to hold up those frames while I took their pictures.

11. Any stuffed animals?
I find taxidermy unsettling.

12. Do you like politics?
Only as a friend.

13. Are you using a laptop or desktop computer?
See answer to #8.

14. What are your hobbies?
Things I do to amuse myself.

15. Do you think you are a hypochondriac?
It’s not hypochondria if you really are sick . You’ll be sorry one day; you’ll walk in to find me lying in a pool of Lyme disease, ebola, prostate/testicular/ovarian cancer, that crazy rare Mothman Prophesy tumor thingy, and hysterical pregnancy. THEN we’ll see who’s faking, won’t we?

16. How do you use Febreeze?
I freebase it.

17. Is the sun shining?
No, it's quite dull.  Almost matte.  If anything, it's devouring light.

18. Would you ever smile at a stranger?
No, I just attack them.

19. Can you blow and tie up a balloon?
That’s disgusting. I mean, I’m sure I COULD, but that’s gotta be illegal.

20. Do you flush the toilet?
Never. I wait for the toilet fairy to come along and do it for me.

Send me your questions, and they just might become a part of my next 'Creativity Exercise!'

Thursday, July 14, 2011

If you are (or want to be) an Evil Overlord...

Too good not to share!!

Being an Evil Overlord seems to be a good career choice. It pays well, there are all sorts of perks and you can set your own hours. However every Evil Overlord I've read about in books or seen in movies invariably gets overthrown and destroyed in the end. I've noticed that no matter whether they are barbarian lords, deranged wizards, mad scientists or alien invaders, they always seem to make the same basic mistakes every single time. With that in mind, allow me to present...

The Top 100 Things I'd Do
If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord

1.  My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

2.  My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

3.  My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

4.  Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

5.  The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.

6.  I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.

7.  When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

8.  After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.

9.  I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.

10.  I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.

11.  I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.

12.  One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.

13.  All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.

14.  The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.

15.  I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

16.  I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."

17.  When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.

18.  I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.

19.  I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.

20.  Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

21.  I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set.

22.  No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.

23.  I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.

24.  I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)

25.  No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.

26.  No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bedchamber.

27.  I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.

28.  My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.

29.  I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

30.  All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly thieves in the land will be preemptively put to death. My foes will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic relief.

31.  All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.

32.  I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.

33.  I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

34.  I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.

35.  I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X.

36.  I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.

37.  If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.

38.  If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.

39.  If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.

40.  I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.

41.  Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.

42.  When I capture the hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him around.

43.  I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.

44.  I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance.

45.  I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure," then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.

46.  If an advisor says to me "My liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will reply "This." and kill the advisor.

47.  If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.

48.  I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.

49.  If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.

50.  My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.

51.  If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position.

52.  I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.

53.  If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.

54.  I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.

55.  The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.

56.  My Legions of Terror will be trained in basic marksmanship. Any who cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at 10 meters will be used for target practice.

57.  Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.

58.  If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.

59.  I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.

60.  My five-year-old child advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note: this also applies to passwords.

61.  If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them.

62.  I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight.

63.  Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.

64.  I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.

65.  If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.

66.  My security keypad will actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.

67.  No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.

68.  I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.

69.  All midwives will be banned from the realm. All babies will be delivered at state-approved hospitals. Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild.

70.  When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner.

71.  If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.

72.  If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.

73.  I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win.

74.  When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.

75.  I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a time.

76.  If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)

77.  If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer.

78.  I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."

79.  If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.

80.  If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress.

81.  If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.

82.  I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.

83.  If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch with him.

84.  I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.

85.  I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."

86.  I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.

87.  My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.

88.  If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.

89.  After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.

90.  I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.

91.  I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.

92.  If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)

93.  If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is scheduled to go first.

94.  When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.

95.  My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.

96.  My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.

97.  My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.

98.  If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.

99.  Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.

100.  Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.

This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997 by Peter Anspach. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it anywhere, provided that (1) it is not altered in any way, and (2) this copyright notice is attached.  

Link:  Peter's Evil Overlord List

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Hoke, the Poke...and How to be an Evil Overlord

First of all, I want to thank Lexcade for bringing this awesome website to my attention:  Top 100 Evil Overlord Activities.  It's all about how to become (and, more importantly, how to REMAIN) a successful Evil Overlord, and it's just fantastic.  I remember seeing this years and years ago, but I'd almost forgotten about it.  I may actually just copy & paste the whole darn thing up on my blog tomorrow, because it's Just. That. Awesome.

Ok, I found this little gem online a while back, and I just had to share it with everyone.  I'm not sure who wrote it, but he or she is a genius:

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.

Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.

To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.

The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt!
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Odd Blog Traffic

I don't know about you guys, but I get a kick out of checking my stats and seeing which posts have gotten the most lookie-loos, how many people checked out my blog today, and where people link from.

But a couple of days ago, I started noticing some...odd...referring URLs.  Porno URLs, to be specific.  I saw all the X-es and was like, "WTF????"  I didn't believe it at first.  I thought, surely I'm mistaken, and these aren't REALLY porn sites.  So, yes, I actually clicked on the URL and...yep, that's some porn, alright. 

Apparently I've been getting 7-8 hits per day from at least two different pornographic websites.  I glanced through my previous posts to see if there are any words or phrases that might have triggered such a thing.  The only thing that jumped out at me was from my previous Creativity Exercise:  "Q:  Do you like happy endings?   A:  I don't frequent massage parlors, thank you."  Ok, so maybe Google might mistake that for a triple-x keyword.  Whopsie-doodle!

But while I didn't exactly stick around to explore the inner workings of said porn site, I don't remember seeing a 'google search' bar there, either.  So why would a porno site refer its clientele to a writing blog?  Or anywhere else, for that matter...don't they want them to stay there?  Is it some weird advertising mix-up?

I'm not even mad; I'm just curious.

Any ideas why this might be happening?  Have any of you notice odd referring URLs or websites in your blogger statistics?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a good epic fantasy. The operative word being “enjoyed.” 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson may have been over 1,000 pages long, but it didn’t read like it. He’s one of my favorite authors – I’ve read Elantris 7 or 8 times by itself – and I’d been looking forward to this book for some time. 

The main storyline revolves around the war sparked when the black-and-red-skinned Parshendi assassinated the Alethi King. Ten years after the war began, it has devolved into a competition between the Alethi princes for the gemstone hearts of the giant crustacean-like monsters who inhabit the battlefield. Only one of the princes, the Brightlord Dalinar Kholin, sees a problem with this, but his nightmarish visions of the end of the world have alienated him from his peers and made his judgment suspect.

The plot was incredible complex, mostly following the stories of several main characters: a former soldier turned slave, forced to labor under the infamous “bridge crews” who are essentially human shields to protect the real warriors from enemy arrows. A thief masquerading as a scholar to steal a priceless magical artifact and save her family. A paranoid young king who sees assassination plots in even his most trusted of advisors. An enslaved assassin with the ability to manipulate the forces of gravity who despises the murderous acts his masters force him to commit. A spren – largely unintelligent, fairy-like creatures attuned to very specific elements like pain, wind, or glory – who is becoming sentient as the human she is fixated with grows back his soul.

All the worldbuilding is detailed and very well done, but it does make for a somewhat slow start. So if you mean to dive into it, bring your patience.There was a good amount of repetition throughout the book; for example, I lost count of how many times Sanderson repeated that the Parshendi were not the same creatures as the enslaved parshmen, even though they looked exactly alike. I kept waiting for that to become relevant, but it didn’t – at least in this book. There isn’t much action for it being 1,000 pages long, and, as it is apparently the first novel in an anticipated 10-novel-long series, nothing is really wrapped up by the end. It’s a thousand pages long, but at the end you feel like nothing’s happened yet. 

That being said, it was brilliantly written and engaging, I cared about all of the characters, and it read very quickly despite its length. I’m definitely going to read the next one even if it’s 2,000 pages. The world itself was staggering in scope but not so unfamiliar that it alienated the reader; humans are humans and dogs are dogs, although most other life forms seem to be giant crustaceans (which is actually kinda cool; the last time I encountered any kind of giant crustacean was in Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three).  Each nation was well-crafted and explored, and each vastly different that the last.  One nation is plagued by 'Highstorms' so powerful that they whip building-sized boulders through the air likfe confetti and the plants themselves have learned how to move out of the way.  Another is filled with creatures who consider all forms of stone holy.

I could go on for a long, long time about this book.   But if you enjoy epic fantasy, you’ll enjoy this.  I really liked it, and I'll probably read it again just before the next book comes out.

Amazon page for The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Publisher’s Info for The Way of Kings:

· Hardcover: 1008 pages
· Publisher: Tor Books (August 31, 2010) 
· ISBN-10: 0765326353
· ISBN-13: 978-0765326355

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creativity Exercise #11

1. Has your heart ever pounded in your chest?
No, it usually pounds in my lower back.

2. What is your favorite band?
The band I prefer above all others

3. Do you like happy endings?
I don’t frequent massage parlors, thank you

4. Do you believe Alaska is covered in snow?
Of course not. That’s cocaine.

5. Are you ever purposely irritating?
If you’re allergic to my awesomeness, that’s not my fault

6. What’s your darkest secret?
The one that could send me to either prison or Hell. Likely both.

7. If a blind guy/girl started hitting on you, what would you do?
“I’m flattered, but no thank you. And it’s not because you’re blind. It’s because I’m not into guy/girls. I’m a hardline heterosexual. Good luck to you.”

8. Do you speak your mind?
No, but I do listen my foot and run my hair.

9. Ever been caught naked?
No, I’m quite slippery when naked. I squirt through your fingers like the greased-up deaf guy from Family Guy.

10. Name the stupidest thing you’ve ever done
Ok. I’ll call it ‘Hank.’ 

11. You ever lied to your parents?
No. Never. Not once. Who needs to lie to their parents? Certainly not while I was a teenager or a toddler or anything. I can’t think of a single solitary child who has ever had occasion to lie to their parents. Ever.

12. Can you outrun a bus?
I can outrun anything as long as it’s going slow enough

13. Have your feelings changed throughout your life?
No, I’ve always felt exactly like this, in every situation, at every age, no matter what. My wedding day was the exact same as the day my timing belt broke and the day I played sick from work.

14. Why do you think bad things happen to good people?
Probably because they did something to anger God

15. What’s in your underwear drawer?
Old McRib wrappers and flea & tick shampoo

16. What’s in the trunk of your car?
3,245 copies of Game Boy's ‘Zelda’ and some aluminum foil

17. Have you ever been on drugs and not known why?

18. Have you ever been beaten up because you weren’t cool enough?
No, I only got beaten up for being too cool. Too popular, they say. Too talented and awesome.

19. Have you ever not had a roof above your head?
No, I carry one with me wherever I go. The pool, the mailbox, yard sales, the grocery store…

20. Did you ever have to live without seeing one of your birth parents?
Never. One (if not both) is within my line of sight at all times, even when I am asleep.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

I finished this up a few weeks ago, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to write a review of it until now.

Full Dark, No Stars is Stephen King’s latest collection of novellas. And boy, is it dark. Not quite as much of the supernatural as I’d like, but then, I tend to prefer the fantasy & sci-fi stuff. Still, it was a really enjoyable book, just like Under the Dome and Duma Key before it, so I think it’s safe to say that Mr. King is out of his writing funk (thank you, dear Lord in Heaven!).

1922 is the story of a pre-depression farmer who talks his son into helping him kill his wife to prevent her from selling their farmland to a hog farm. The business is messier than anticipated, and the son has second thoughts almost immediately. Then things begin to go wrong. You’re never quite sure if the murderous duo are being haunted or have simply gone mad. The end was a little slow, and the story has definitely been told before, but it was dark and gruesome and chock full of rats.

Big Driver was straight horror, nothing supernatural about it, although it did inspire me to write my little rant a few weeks ago about how everyone should know how to change a tire. When Tess, a cozy mystery writer coming back from a speaking engagement, takes a shortcut through a small town, she finds a trap laid in the form of nail-riddled boards scattered all over the road. Unable to change her own dang tire, she waits helplessly until a seven-foot-tall psychopath comes along. He taunts her, rapes her, and leaves her for dead in a culvert alongside his other victims. But Tess survives, and she emerges from the ditch a different woman with revenge on her mind.

Fair Extension is a tale we’ve all heard before; Dave is dying of cancer and makes a deal with the devil for a little more time on Earth. But the price for this ‘fair extension’ is much different this time. Dave must trade his place with someone else, so he chooses to sacrifice his best friend, who’s always had better luck than Dave. The rest of the story chronicles Dave’s advancement and his friend’s slow spiral into hell on Earth. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this tale is Dave’s satisfaction at the deal he struck.

A Good Marriage felt a lot like a certain television show I enjoy quite a bit. I won’t say which one, since that would be giving a little too much away. It’s the tale of an average housewife with an average marriage who suddenly finds something terrible about her husband of 27 years. This dark and horrifying secret haunts her as she considers what will happen to her and her family if this information were to get out, and in the end she makes a somewhat surprising decision.

As I said, this was a dark book. At the end Stephen King even quasi-apologizes for how bleak the tales are, and promises something a little brighter next time. I, however, really enjoy a good dark tale every once in awhile. If you like horror, if you’re in the mood for something a little dreary and twisted, by all means pick up Full Dark, No Stars. It’s nice to see him writing good stuff again after spitting out literary abominations like Lisey’s Story and Cell

Publisher's Information:

· Hardcover: 384 pages
· Publisher: Scribner; First Edition (November 9, 2010)
· ISBN-10: 1439192561
· ISBN-13: 978-1439192566

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 235th Birthday, America!

It's the best country in the world! 

We had a great time last night.  Lots of neighbors came out to wave and give us a thumbs-up for all our fireworks.  One group of people shouted "WE LOVE YOU!!" and cheered at our big fancy mortar shells.  Lots of food, lots of friends and family, and, most important, lots and lots of fireworks.

We had two downers at the end of the night, however.  One neighbor from two streets over came by as we were wrapping up our fireworks show and just screamed at us about how late it was (really, dude?  10:30 PM on a holiday when nobody has to get up tomorrow?  Pansy.), and an EXTREMELY rude woman in a minivan who was driving around the neighborhood cursing out everyone who was shooting off fireworks (there were at least 5 or 6 other people we could see from our front lawn shooting them off).  We were actually done when she came by.  We were sweeping up the street (we ALWAYS clean up after ourselves) and she rolled up and let loose a bunch of F-bombs in front of the kids and God and everyone.  Unnecessary.  I'm sorry that your marriage is bad and you hate your life, lady, but don't take your misery out on us.  We're just trying to have a good time.

It brought the whole night down, of course.  And since she's probably a busybody soccer mom with no job and nothing better to do with her unhappiness but spread it to others, I'm sure she'll spend her 24 hours of free time per day writing angry letters to the HOA until they ban fireworks next year.  It only takes one nasty, determined a-hole who hates her life to spoil everything for everyone else.

But other than those two sad, sad people, we had a blast. 

I hope everyone has a safe and awesome 4th of July!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let the preparations commence!

Made 3 batches of cupcakes last night (a grand total of 72, sans a few that my husband snuck while I wasn't looking.  The house is clean, the laundry is done, the dogs have been all that's left to do is the veggie tray, fruit tray, cheese & sausage tray, potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken, bratwurst, and entertaining the 1-2 dozen people that will be here in a few hours.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Decorations are up!


Ugh, I hate my camera.  It does ok with the daytime pictures, but at night...ah, well.  As you can see, the house is all decked out in her patriotic best, complete with red, white, & blue lights and paper lanterns with LED lights, and we're all ready for the fire department.  We bought about $20 worth of more fireworks (and if I had $200, we'd ave spent that too), the food is ready to go, and my fingers are itchin' to strike a match.

We're working on our fireworks playlist now.  We have all the military marches and your usual patriotic stuff like "God Bless America," "Coming to America," the National Anthem, "Only in America," etc., as well as some rockin songs that aren't necessarily specific to the 4th of July but do go well with blowing things up, like AC/DC's "TNT" and "Ride of the Valkyries."  Also "R.O.C.K. in the USA and "Pink Houses," etc.  Altogether we have 33 songs on deck.


Anyone have any other ideas for some good fireworks music?  Patriotic is preferred, of course, but "Light my Fire" and "Dynamite"-esque songs are also acceptable.