Monday, June 14, 2010

Dem's fightin' words...

One thing that's really important for writers is to "write what you know". It's hard enough as it is to describe something on the page with eloquence and style. It's even more difficult to do it if you are only imagining it inside your head. Watching movies and reading other people's books can only take you so far. 

There are several fight scenes in the book I am working on right now. I haven't got the first clue about fighting anyone. I've never even punched a person in real life before. Okay, except my cousin that one time he stole my Care Bear, but I was six. 

I was absolutely thrilled when my pal who does martial arts offered to let me come to the studio where she teaches and show me some moves. Oh, boy, did I learn some moves... 

First she showed me how to slice and dice with a toy knife (that I got to keep, yay!). She also informed me that if anyone ever comes at you holding a knife like this:

...You need to run away. Fast. Especially if the person is grinning like a fool, as I am in this picture. People who run at you holding a knife close to their arm know what they are doing and will hurt you. So, you better be able to run faster than them, or at least faster than your friend, unless you are alone. If you are alone in a place where there is the potential for someone to come at you like this with a knife, then you are just plain stupid and deserve to get cut up anyway. Most especially if they giggle while they head towards you.

I also learned how to put someone in several types of wrist locks and take them down. All the way to Chinatown.

That is me on the floor there. This looks super painful, doesn't it? I'd like to say that it hurt really bad, and I took it like a man, but again, I was just laughing the whole time. Mostly because it was SO cool and I was way excited. I am a dork like that. My main character, Sidney, would totally kick some ass.

This was an important learning experience. It showed me just how easily the body can be controlled in a situation like this. The whole point of hand-to-hand combat is to be the one who is exerting control over the other person... or werewolf... whatever you're fighting against. All she had to do was grab my wrist one way, twist it around the other way, and bang, I was on the floor. 

After I learned some of those moves, I put on some sparring gear and learned how to throw some punches and kicks.

Another really important bit of information that I learned is about kicking. Again, it's about manipulating your body to do exactly what you want it to do in order to inflict the most damage. When I first threw a kick, I was hitting with the wrong part of my foot. Then my friend showed me how to pivot on my left foot while I brought my right foot around for the kick and I totally landed it. It was awesome. The point of all this is to practice enough so that it all becomes second nature and you can do it without having to think about it. That way, when the zombies attack, you can kick the heads right off their rotting shoulders.

I'm ready. Are you?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Near Death Experience

People: There IS a reason Jamie and Adam tell you at the beginning of every episode of Mythbusters "Don't try this at home". Seriously.

This morning, I decided it would be a great idea to-- Personal Trainer, if you are reading this, stop now. Just, stop-- make a grilled cheese sandwich with --for real, D, don't read anymore-- real butter. Don't judge me, I've got PMS and it's been like months since I've even had a grilled cheese sandwich. This might have been the first grilled cheese sandwich I've eaten this entire year. It's a rare and delightful treat for me. It may also be the last I make at home for a very, very long time due to the most traumatic experience I had while making it.

Last time I was at the store, I figured if I had to buy butter I may as well buy the good stuff. I mean, how good can that fake junk with all the fortified omega whatever stuff be for you? What do they fortify it WITH anyway, huh? Does anybody really know? Isn't it better to have all natural real stuff, and use it sparingly? So, I got the fancy Irish butter all the way from the Emerald Isle itself. I'm pretty sure it's the same stuff the Leprechauns use on their grilled cheese sandwiches.

Let me tell you, I made this butter last for like a month. It's expensive, seeing as how it's imported from Ireland. It was on the last dregs, and I needed to get it soft, because as everyone who has made a grilled cheese sandwich the right way knows--you can't do it with cold butter because it makes the bread all flaky and crumbly and ruins the sandwich completely. I was hungry, so I couldn't just let it sit for awhile and soften at room temperature. I figured, hey, I'll just throw it in the microwave for five seconds. That should do it!

Only, this being fancy Leprechaun butter, it was wrapped in fancy paper. Shiny, fancy paper. Know what makes the paper shiny? I'll give you three guesses...

So, this genius right here decided it wouldn't be a big deal to throw shiny butter paper in the microwave for five seconds. They did it on Mythbusters and nobody died. Besides, the microwave didn't even blow up. It just got all sparky and lightningy. It looked SO cool! But that wasn't going to even happen, because I wasn't putting in REAL aluminum foil, or even a spoon like Jamie and Adam did. Ohh, no, no, no, no... I was just putting in some shiny Leprechaun paper, and ONLY for five seconds.

Um, yeah. I guess those sneaky little Leprechauns really know how to make shiny paper incredibly flammable. Not only did a spectacular lightning show erupt inside my microwave after only THREE seconds, but the paper also caught ON FIRE. Oh, yes.

After I put out the fire in my microwave, I sent out my application to MENSA. I know they will want me in their Smart People Club. I will tell them this story and we will laugh about it over glasses of Port Wine and our big fat Cuban cigars. Then we will discuss all the non-geniuses out there who are too afraid to perform mad scientist experiments with microwaves and Leprechaun paper.

I did end up finishing my grilled cheese sandwich. Fire softens butter quite well, actually. But, I was so shaken from my near death experience--death by microwave lightning-- that I burned the bread. It wasn't too bad after I scraped the charcoal off. I am now completely afraid to go near the kitchen right now. My hands are still shaking. I will definitely not be using the microwave any time soon. Maybe now is a good time to bring out that Slow Cooker Recipe book I got for Christmas....

Friday, June 4, 2010


Okay, let me amend that... this will be my Blog Every OTHER day in the Month of June mission.... as I am too lame to be blogging EVERY DAY apparently.  I suppose my goals were too lofty. It seems I should start at more of a power walk around the mall, rather than try to sprint a mile straight out.

Speaking of sprinting... I have BIG NEWS!  This morning I went to the gym and I ran a MILE on the treadmill. A whole mile. Without stopping. Seriously. This is quite a huge deal for me, because I have always been one of those people who just did NOT run. At all. Even if something was on fire, I would only go at a fast walk. If somebody told me my house was about to blow up, I'd opt to jump out a window before I'd run downstairs. I was the kid in high school gym class who kept a close eye on the gym teacher and only start up a slow jog when he looked in my direction. Mr. Taylor even had to get on my case because I "ran" a 20 minute mile. Well, guess what Mr. Taylor-- I did it in 12:35! WOOO!

Husband: You owe me a prize for this. I don't care what. Just something nice.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you about another exciting thing I did the other day, back when I was supposed to do another blog and did not. Sorry. I was tired when I got home. Tired from belly dancing class.

You read that correctly: Belly. Dancing.

It turns out I am just as uncoordinated as I originally imagined. But I had a blast. I don't know if any of you out there know anything at all about belly dancing, but it takes practice, let me tell ya... The key is to move your upper body completely independently from your lower body. It's kind of like the advanced version of rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time. Crazy. I do intend to practice though, and definitely intend to continue with the classes. My commitment is so high, in fact, that I purchased one of those coin wrap thingies to tie around my waist. It makes my booty jingle when I shimmy. It is purple with gold coins and completely fabulous. I even have a flowy silk skirt that I fully intend to wear next week despite the fact that my friend called me a "poseur" when I said I was going to wear it. It's really not my fault that belly dancing just looks cooler in a flowy silk skirt. Hehe, she's just jealous :)

Today--after I ran a mile and achieved TMF (total muscle failure) twice, yah, twice-- I came home to take a shower and change clothes, then went straight back out to go to a Garden Party that one of the families in our class was throwing for all the teachers the kids had this year. It was such a kind thing for them to invite us into their gorgeous home and give us such a special treat!

The kids made all the food! On the menu was chicken salad croissants, with fruit salad and potato chips. For dessert we had a spectacular yellow cake with mandarin oranges and pineapple icing. I thought I was going to pass out from delight. After we ate, my co-teacher and I ended up playing with our little friend in her room. She had a collection of My Little Ponies that I would have gladly handed over an arm and a leg for when I was her age. We took out every single one of them, did their hair, and got them dressed for the ball that they were all going to that evening...

I think they look fantastic, don't you?  

Once the ponies were all ready for their ball, we had to leave, but not before our dear friend showed us just how fast her "Fast Shoes" were. They are pink with sparkles and glitter, and they made her go so fast she ran up and down the street in front of her house while we watched. After all that, she must have gotten worn out, because her mom just sent me a message to let me know she's been asleep since we left. So cute. We plan on going out for a sushi date soon.

Tonight, I hope to get something written. Besides a blog. I have two things in mind, so... we'll see. But, it IS Friday.... sooo... keep your fingers crossed on that one....

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So much for my idea of Blogging Every Day in the Month of June.... what would that be, BEDITMOJ?  That's too long... hummm... JuneBlog. There we go. This will be my JuneBlog. And I will have to blog July First, in order to make up missing June First in a blog. Nevertheless, I shall fill you in on what I did YESTERDAY, June First, so that all of today will make sense!

Not all that much happened yesterday, so this won't take long at all...
I finished reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. YAY. It was quite satisfactory. What a great trilogy by Steig Larsson. I am so very sorry that he is no longer with us, except the spirit of his books lives on in all of us who have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I know loads of people who are reading them now (mostly thanks to me! Where's my check, Knopf? Don't I get a cut of sales for promoting these books to just about everybody I've met? I'll take that silence as a sign you're considering it...)

I know that in Sweden they have already made this series into a film. However, I have not seen it yet, as the town in which I live does not support foreign films. To that, I say: MURGH!  One thing I really miss about Knoxville is the fantastic art house theater known as Downtown West. Go Regal Cinemas!

The Hollywood version looks as though it is slated for 2012. This is good and bad. It is bad because I want it to be finished so I can see it NOW. However, it is good because it will give me something to look forward to after the Harry Potter Series comes to a close in 2011.

Yes. I am a nerd.
No. I have no life.

Other things I did yesterday... went out and bought Bullet the latest in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton

She is my hero.

I met her. 

You can read about it all right HERE.

Oh, after I bought Bullet I came home and read. Then went to aerobics class at the gym. Came home and made spaghetti for dinner. Read some more. Went to bed.  Oh, I also went to Target. Twice. Okay, three times.

It's a little bit strange, because I feel as though I am MORE busy now that school is out, than I was when school was going on. How can that be? Is it all those trips to Target?

Summer is supposed to be relaxing and slow and boring. My summer, so far, has been none of that. I have been running errands, cleaning house, going to the farmer's markets, and doing all sorts of things, none of which have been writing. Shame on me.

It is only 11:05 in the morning at this very moment, and I have already been to get my hair done (photos later) and am on my way back out the door to help a friend move.

One thing I did to advance my writing career was to join OneWord. It is a fun site that another writer friend showed me. You write about one word for sixty seconds. The End. 

This same pal 'o mine (who also happens to teach creative writing, BFF!) has decided that she and I will do all of the writing exercises assigned to her class for the Intro to Creative Writing course that she is teaching. It's going to be a blast. I think I already mentioned I am a nerd. As soon as I finish with my first assignment, I shall share it with you all. Promise! 

Look for it soon...  'till then, may you have a relaxing summer (or winter, for all of you living in the Southern Hemisphere. You are all upside down, you realize that, right? How do you hang on to the Earth? Do you walk on your hands all day?)

Ciao for now...