Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post of 2009

This week has not been normal at all. In the sense that it's not abnormal the way it's supposed to be abnormal.

In addition to being way busy when it's supposed to be quiet, I don't feel like it's The Change. At all. My kids keep reminding me that it's New Year's Eve and I go "oh, yeah" and promptly forget again.

I have no sense of anticipation for 2010, except that I like the number. It feels right and 2009 already feels wrong, which, again, is backwards. Though I posted something like that on Facebook and then read on Vicki Smith's blog that she keeps typing 1010, and then just now when I tried to type 2010 I typed 1010, then 2030, then 200 before I got it right. Heh.

I could talk about things I'm looking forward to in 2010 (writing retreats, Salute to Supernatural, books, movies) or things that went right or wrong in 2009, but...I just don't wanna. It doesn't feel necessary for me (though I do enjoy reading everyone else's, especially the book lists—I keep adding to my TBB list!).

So I'll just say this. Next Tuesday, go buy Kismet by Monica Burns and Breaking Daylight by M. J. Fredrick. I have it on good authority that they're awesome books, and I'll be buying them myself. Also, MJ is starting a great contest tomorrow, so click the link on her title and check it out.

If anyone else would like me to tout their imminent release, hit me up! I don't want to overlook anyone, but my brain is too distracted to remember if you don't remind me. :)

And hey. Have a great New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Start 2010 off right. I mean it, now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Side Effects of a Great Birthday/Christmas

1. Every time you hear a song, you think about how the notes would look in Band Hero.

2. Your back aches from hula-hooping Wii Fit.

3. You glare resentfully at your kids as they read all day long and you have to work, while all your new books mock you.

4. Your teeth hurt from all the peppermint (and non-peppermint!) candy and baked goods you’ve been nibbling for two weeks.

5. You spend long stretches of free time in fits of indecision, with games and books and gadgets and toys calling you.

6. Your living room/bedroom/workroom/storage room is overflowing with boxes you can’t throw away, just in case—and they’re sitting on top of five years’ accumulation of similar boxes.

7. If your kid admits they know the real Santa deal, you can consolidate all the Santa wrapping paper and the non-Santa wrapping paper, and discover the storage area would overflow with that…if it wasn’t already stuffed to the rafters with boxes.

8. Christmas is over, so you unconsciously stopped watering the tree, giving it permission to go to the light and leave all its needles behind.  On the floor.

9. At any given moment, you are dealing with a manic cat hopped up on the new catnip toys, followed by…

10. …desperately whining cats whose catnip toys have disappeared under the furniture.


Those are my side effects. What are yours?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winding Down 2009

Now's the time to look back on the year and reflect on its events or list the best of. I love reading that stuff on other blogs, but I don't feel like doing that this year.

Might be because it doesn't feel like a winding down. In the past, I've loved this week between Christmas and New Year's, as the quietest, calmest, most productive week of the year.


I'm sitting here staring at the pile of bills I have to pay, the datebook I have to switch over to the new pages tout de suite or suffer the chaotic consequences, the three big jobs I have to do for my best client, the editing I have to do for my other best client, the post I have to do for Supernatural Sisters, the reminders I have to send to 5 instructors for the PRO Bootcamp starting next week, the cards I have to send out, the stupid magazine contest I have to track down and call to make them pay me the difference between the $10.00 check I sent them and the $16.06 they processed it as, the fall school pictures I have to parcel out to my family (yeah, you'd think I'd have done that when I sent their Christmas gifts, but no), the eye doctor bill I have to submit to insurance, and the therapy bills I still haven't gone through.

Who the hell has time for reflection?!

I did a Christmas write-up at The Gabwagon yesterday, so I won't say much here. Except that we had a great Christmas, we are all very spoiled, and I'm grateful for the lack of stress, given everyone else's mishaps. We did have a bloody nose, dog diarrhea, and a cat coming through the ceiling over the course of four days, but we didn't have a backed-up sewage pipe in the basement or a sideboard on fire, nor stomach viruses or colds. So put this year in the win column.

My gifts focused heavily on books. Between birthday and Christmas, I had tons of money in gift cards for both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I have books coming from both. :) I also got...


I know! You can expect eaten words discussed here soon, I'm thinking. My wonderful husband wanted to get me a big gift, then decided to get the kids a big gift, too, since we all read tons. I love the navigation and balance of the Kindle. I haven't had a chance to read on it yet, so I'll have to let you know about that, but both kids love theirs and are under dire warnings of the consequences if they don't take care of them.

I bought a bunch of books already, from Shannon Stacey (no more waiting for Gallagher!) and M. J. Fredrick, and damn was that a pain to look up 'cause I never want to put in the periods and the space, and Jody Wallace/Ellie Marvel. I have to figure out who else I know whose books aren't all available in paperback, but the seven things I bought already will keep me busy. Problem is, I have two books from the library I have to read first! They'll go fast, though, then I'll do the Kindle.

I'm going to stop there because...well, see paragraph 4. If I don't get back here before Friday, everyone have a


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pure Indulgence

“They” say computers and the Internet are depersonalizing our society, keeping us from connecting with real people.  Once again, I call bullshit.

Today is my birthday.  The first person outside of my house to wish me a happy one?  A guy I knew in college.  The second?  A writer friend I met once, who lives hundreds if not thousands of miles away.  I got dozens of wishes via Facebook, text, and e-mail.

And not a damn one made me feel disconnected and alone.  Instead I felt warm and loved and part of a giant community of people who care about each other.  Imagine that.

So far, it’s been a great day.  My husband took the day off, so he got up at 6:15 with the kids and got them off to school (not that they need much) and did the morning chores (the very best part of having a birthday is not having to scoop litter boxes, stand outside with the dog while she does her business, or load the dishwasher).  I slept until 10.

I know!

Shortly after I woke up, he brought me flowers and tiramisu truffles. I do have a little bit of work I can’t avoid, but otherwise I’m going to write and read and relax.  Then I’ll open presents and go to Red Lobster for dinner and drag said totally awesome husband to the 3D version of Avatar, because I want to see it and because he’s made of awesomesauce (he hates 3D, but he hasn’t seen the new 3D yet).

I’ve opened one present so far.  My brother gave me Tom Brady.  Is that cool or what?  Of course, don’t worry, I’ll let him out for games. :)

Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate it!  May you all have as much joy and love around you as I have today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

So This Nook Thing

I’m a tech geek. Not, you know, insanely so, but I love my laptop, can’t live without my iPod, would make out with TiVo if it had lips.  But even more than gadgets, I love books. For a decade, I’ve been totally unable to convert to e-books.  I have books by authors I love that I’ve never read, because e-books don’t suit my reading style.  But I figured that would change.  I mean, I’ve only ever read on my computer (too stationary), my husband’s old Palm (too tiny and ugly), and an eBookman (also ugly, gave me eye strain, and drained batteries like it was sucking rum and Coke on Friday night).

So I’ve had lustful feelings for the Kindle and Nook, while looking at them askance, like you do the hot-yet-disreputable dude who just moved to your high school.  (I’ve never been attracted to the Sony eReader, as they don’t carry my books.)

So I was in Barnes and Noble today, and they had a Nook on display.  This was the first chance I’ve had to see one in person.  It was kind of cool, for about 30 seconds.  E-ink really looks like paper, amazingly so.  And at first, it was lighter and a little easier to hold than I expected.  I couldn’t grip it by the sides, as my hand isn’t big enough, but I braced the back against my fingers and held the edge with my thumb on top.  Then I tried to use it.

You’ve got to give a display model a little slack, but on the other hand, I’d expect to handle a Nook as much as the public does.  So it was super disappointing to try to turn the page.  Watch the screen flicker and go distorted, then flick back in focus.  It was anything but smooth.  In fact, it made my eyes go buggy, and I only did it twice!  And it was slower than turning a regular page is.  Combine that with the page containing about half the text (though I could probably change that), and I think I’d find it supremely annoying.

Finally, after my minute and a half of usage, my hand and fingers were starting to cramp, and I couldn’t navigate the menus one-handed.  Some of that would change as I learned how (I didn’t find it very obvious or intuitive, the arrows on the touch screen never did what I thought they would do), I’m sure.  But I read hardcovers one-handed, and they weight a helluva lot more than a Nook.  An e-reader shouldn’t be uncomfortable.

And while my experience should in no way impact anyone else—my anatomy and preferences don’t automatically translate—the $259 price tag is effective cold water on my attraction.

So I guess I’ll just keep buying my friends books and failing to ever read them!  Sorry, friends! :(

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Free Game Plus More Me!

Heartwild Solitaire - the game for romance readersRemember a while back I talked about this great game, Heartwild Solitaire? (Click the link to check it out!)

Well, now there's a FREE game using the same beautiful graphics. Treat yourself to this gorgeous classic solitaire game. Why? Because...

1. It has Klondike and DOUBLE Klondike.

2. You want to beat my high scores.

3. It's FREE.

4. The holidays are stressful, and you need this to relax.

5-154. It's got SEVEN short stories by ME and six other wonderful authors (Vicki Smith, Misty Simon, Megan Hart, Dee Tenorio, Sherry Thomas, and Kimber Chin)!

Every time you win, it unlocks a story!

And did I mention that it's FREE?!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I’m a Slacker

I was just catching up on blog reading, and now I feel like a slacker. I have a friend who has twice as many kids as me, her day job takes her outside the house, she has fifty family and school and extracurricular obligations a week, and she STILL manages to blog every day.

Obviously, I’m not that dedicated.

She also writes funny and fun posts, while I write about paper towels.  It’s a wonder anyone ever reads this thing at all.


My dog is mostly better now, I don’t remember if I’ve said that here.  Her head tilt is almost gone, and she can walk and eat and everything is fine.  Except for the residual effects that have nothing to do with the vestibular syndrome itself.

First, there’s the eating thing.  She doesn’t want dog food anymore.  We hand fed her real meat at the worst of the condition, and she’s gradually gotten back to eating dog food, but she clearly prefers not to eat it.  She’ll snarf around the kitchen looking for crumbs and she’ll eat the cat food, so I’ll put her dish back down, and she’ll turn away.  Too bad.  She can starve.  (Not really—we actually have plenty of crumbs on the floor.)

The other thing is that she can’t walk on non-carpeted floors anymore.  She avoids them, and when she can’t, she dashes across them.  Now, even when she was healthy, she wasn’t the most graceful dog.  You could call her, in fact, one of the least graceful.  So when she dashes down the hall or across the kitchen, she inevitably slips, her feet splay out, she crashes into the wall, and down she goes.

I haven’t been able to take her for grooming because of her balance issues, so I bought nail clippers.  Oh, yeah, you can see where this is going, can’t you?  I bought nail clippers with the plan to clip her nails, thinking if they weren’t so long, maybe she wouldn’t skid so much.  They didn’t have a styptic pencil, though.  So I just decided to be really, really careful.  And I was.  Despite her wiggliness, I was really careful, and didn’t cut down very far at all.  Of course, on the eleventh nail, the blood vessel must have come all the way down to the point, because…yeah, she bled.  All over the carpet, the tile…me.  I sat holding her down as she was desperate to get up and run from me (no pain, she just didn’t like me holding her foot!), trying to get it to stop.  I thought it had, but it hadn’t.  Then I used flour, and that worked.  Phew.  Kept a newspaper bag over her foot for an hour, though, just in case.

Guess who’s never using clippers again?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

NOW It’s Christmastime

I love this time of year.  When we can afford it, I love buying gifts for everyone I know (even when they are really hard to buy for).  I love the lights on the houses, I love the snow and, for a short time, even the cold.  I love the parties and school events and activities, and talking to family that I am disturbingly lax about talking to the rest of the year, and visiting with family that’s either usually far away or even that I see weekly.  I admit that I loooove getting presents, and I get to do it TWICE, with my birthday being two days before Christmas.  I just love the holiday season.

But I don’t love it early.

I didn’t do any shopping until a few days ago.  I have one person and one family covered, and some things ordered, but I have about 50 million other things to order, buy, wrap, and ship.  And I like it that way, even if it means I have to pay extra for faster shipping.  I haven’t done Christmas cards yet, or decorated my house (actually, that won’t happen anyway—not beyond the living room).

The earlier everyone else starts focusing on Christmas, the later I want to.  And it’s not just the stores stocking stuff in mid-November or the commercials or the radio stations filled with holiday songs.  It’s phone conversations where they list the few things they have left to do.  My Facebook news feed is full of “I finished shopping for Christmas today” the week before Thanksgiving.   A week later, everything is wrapped.  I understand it and applaud it—I just don’t want any part of it!

So I’ve had no holiday spirit so far this year.  But today we got our tree.  We went to the fire station, selected the first one we saw (looked at others, but this one was perfect), and let them tag it for delivery.  I had to run to the store, and while I was out, it came and J and the girls put it up.  So when I walked in the door, the whole house smelled like fir tree.

And NOW it’s Christmastime.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Stuff

Carina Press has made its first acquisitions! Congratulations to Shannon Stacey and Charlene Teglia! I'm especially excited about more Stacey books that aren't historicals. :)

Aside: When Carina announced itself, an author made mention of them and said they were going to publish erotica. When I commented that they say they're acquiring all kinds of books, she said she thought that was obfuscation. So I'm pretty smug that at least one of the launch titles isn't erotic. :) (Correct me if I'm wrong, Shannon! You didn't call it that, anyway.)

I'm so despondent that we have soooo many more weeks without Supernatural. I'm clinging hard to shows that are still on—Bones and Fringe tonight, and I think How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory are still new next week. But Glee is done (what an awesome show last night—Matthew Morrison is just incredible) until friggin' APRIL, and FlashForward and V until March...I just don't get the way the networks are handling television nowadays.

I'm not done with Full Fusion, the YA book I started for NaNo, but it's flowing very nicely, I know where I'm going with it, and I should finish it next week, as long as I don't let it get buried under the other obligations of December.

Nowadays, we have to take pleasure in small things. Our littlest cat, called BG most of the time because her official name is Baby Girl but Bad Girl suits her better, has a problem with cystitis. She's been on Cosequin for a while, but got inflamed again a few weeks ago, bad enough to bleed and be in the litter box every two minutes. I started mixing the meds with wet food as well as her dry food, and that worked for a little while—she was ingesting more of it—but it didn't last.

So I made some drastic changes, things I really should have done before, but for some reason it didn't occur to me to, and the doctor didn't mention them. I've tried using urinary health treats, but she didn't like them, and originally, I was more concerned with keeping the cats' weight down.

Well, that's not working, so I switched their dry food to a urinary health formula. I spotted "special diet" canned food for urinary health and am using that. I bought (on the advice of my friend Kim, animalloverextraordinaire) a pet fountain. She doesn't drink out of it. She still goes for the dog dish, but since the dog doesn't want to walk on the tile (still has a head tilt and falls all over the place when walking on anything but carpet) and the fountain is within reach of the carpet so she drinks out of the fountain...I'll get rid of the dog dish.

But the biggest change was the cat litter. I used to use Arm & Hammer fragrance-free, but they discontinued that, so I started using Tidy Cat Multi-Cat for Small Spaces. Frisbee has tolerance issues (as in, she won't tolerate something she doesn't like) so I've always been wary of changing cat litter. But I saw that Scoop Away now has a fragrance-free litter (or at least, my store is now carrying it) and I switched to that.

Not only is BG currently doing fine, urinarily, this Scoop Away is so much better than Tidy Cat! OMG, you guys! I can walk through my living room without having pieces of litter stuck to my socks! This stuff doesn't track! Or at least, not past the one-foot radius of the box, and even then, it's minimal. AND it actually does what it says it does, and the clumps stay together, which means I'll have to clean out the entire box less often, and I can't even explain how happy that makes me.

Okay, yes, my pathetic life is full of paper towel rants and cat litter raves. But like I said, it's the little things!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Frugality Sucks

Before I launch into my rant, LOL, take a moment to check out Monica's tribute to her Aunt Bev (video made me cry, in a good way), and Tanya's take on Dean's letter to Santa.

I grew up without a lot of money. I don't like to say "poor," because we never went without anything important, and my mother was very successful at her work even if it didn't bring in very much money. But we wore hand-me-downs and got government butter and cheese and lived in veteran's housing. And we bought generic for pretty much everything. If it wasn't generic, it was the cheapest brand there was. When my mother remarried, my stepfather eschewed generic. And though I'd been told my whole life that it's the same stuff, OMG, I never knew frozen corn could taste so good. (Experience has taught me that they may PACKAGE the generics in the same factories as the name brands, it's not always the same stuff.)

So as an adult, I strive to balance saving money with quality. I clip coupons, I price-shop, I look for sales, and when the quality is less important or is good enough, I buy cheap.

One of those cheap items was Scott tissue. You know the kind—sold in single rolls, touts its 1,000-sheet length even though it's only one-ply. I kept using it once I grew up, because it's super cheap! But then I gave birth, and no more. Cushiness became my buy-word. :) When my mother was dying of cancer and still using Scott tissue, my brother and I were appalled. We went out and bought her the good stuff. She deserved it!

Recently, I got coupons for Scott Naturals paper towels, and even though it took a really long time, I finally decided to set aside my snobbery and give them a try. I mean, nothing stays the same forever, right? Maybe in the face of all the competition they made some improvements. Plus, I don't paper towels on my skin, so it was worth the test. I bought a big package with my $2.00-off coupon.

What a mistake.

These towels are like notebook paper. They are stiff and rough and don't absorb worth sh**. I've reverted to my basic Bounty or cloth-like Viva towels (whichever the coupon/sale combo makes cost the least) because of time-tested success. Plus, they have pick-a-size, which also saves money. Or at least allows me to only use what I need, which isn't necessarily the same thing. I'll save pennies in other ways, thanks.

On a related and disturbing topic...

I did a survey recently about store brands, which is the new "generic," I guess, which used to be white boxes, black lettering, no brand of any kind. The questions were taking the temperature of people's tolerance for, desire for, and reaction to store brands.

Maybe there's no connection, but if there is, I'm pretty pissed at all the other people who did the survey, because when I was grocery shopping yesterday, I went to get some Eggo waffles. My favorites are the minis, which they have always had in the giant box, and Legos. Well, now my grocery store has only TWO kinds of Eggo-brand waffles--homestyle and buttermilk. That's IT. No Lego, no minis, no stuffed or flavored. Instead, they have case after case brand waffles. And none of THEM were minis or fake-Lego-style or anything good.

Maybe the store brand homestyle waffles are just as good as Eggo. But in defiance, I bought the Eggo kind. So there!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Another Successful NaNoWriMo in the Books

I haven’t updated my graphic yet—it’s on my other computer, so maybe I’ll remember tomorrow—but it’s December 1 so I have to comment on the experience.  Don’t worry, I’ll be brief. :)

I was aiming to finish the book, but got derailed by my solo trip to Massachusetts.  Kind of impossible to write when you’re driving in hurricane-spawned rain.  Or even when you’re driving under clear skies, actually. So I revised back to the 50,000 of the official NaNoWriMo goal.  Four years of participation, four wins, though they keep getting smaller and smaller.  The first two years were 89k months!  Can’t seem to get even close to that anymore.

My kids both did NaNo, too.  All three of us finished, validated, and won on Sunday, a day early.  Number One did 35,000 words on a very ambitious thriller she’s writing for an independent project at school.  I’m glad she has the project to keep her going, because she’s only added 10,000 words to last year’s NaNo book since then. :)  Number Two has decided she doesn’t really care for writing so much, but still had to do NaNo.  She met her goal of 10,000 words with a real-life-inspired journal format, and when she fell behind, she wrote play-by-play of the football games.  Shh.  Don’t tell anyone I told you that. :)

For us, NaNo isn’t only about the writing.  I’m thrilled to share the experience (though less thrilled to share my Alphasmart Neo) with both kids—the agony of writer’s block, the energy of brainstorming, the joy of creation.  But even more, I love how they’re learning stuff without realizing it.  Stuff about setting and meeting goals.  Breaking important projects up into small bites.  Working with other people, even on something solitary.  Relatively few people will have this experience with their kids.

And I think that’s very cool.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Black Friday Adventures

My post is up at The GabWagon. Wanna see what a badass I am?  Read what it was like to endure 10 hours waiting for a very special deal!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend Adventures

I’m trying out Windows Live Writer to post this (at least to my Blogger blog—you might be reading this elsewhere).  WLW is on my new laptop.

What? My new laptop?! How on earth did that happen? I mean, over at GabWagon last Monday, I was saying how I wanted but didn’t need a new laptop.

It all boils down to insanity and frugality. I wanted to get the Best Buy Sony Vaio deal, so I went over at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday and got in line. Five hours later, in the rain, after chatting with some nice people, watching video and the “Serenity” episode of Firefly, and listening to podcasts, we all stood and gathered our stuff and consolidated the line.  At 3:41 a.m., they started handing out tickets. I got the last ticket for the Sony Vaio without the Geek Squad stuff (you know, they charge $40 to install the antivirus software that you can install yourself in 10 minutes).  By the time I got my ticket, it was after 4:00.  They said they’d open the doors early to stage the lines to pick up the merchandise, so I decided to hang around.  At 4:41 they opened up.  I went to the restroom (I eschewed the Port-a-Potty all night) and got in line.

Finally, just around 8:00, I reached the head of the line, after verbally assaulting a couple of forons (check out my GabWagon post on Monday for details).  I was home a little after 8:00 a.m., with my new baby, upon which I am now typing!

I got home a little dehydrated and with a horrible headache that didn’t go away with liquid and breakfast, so after doing some setup work on this lightning-fast puppy, I let my wonderful husband talk me into sleeping for two hours.  Then I got up and we started to paint!

Yes, after my all-nighter, I spent Black Friday painting half my living room.  Today we finished the living room and hallway painting, and we’re really pleased with the result (as long as no one looks too closely).  Tomorrow we have to get the new switchplates installed, sweep and mop the floor, rub away all the paint drips and footprints (Number One earned the new moniker Paint-on-Foot), reinstall the vertical blinds, and move all the furniture back in—all before the inlaws come over for football.

To top it off, Monday we need to rake the last of the leaves.  Which will probably ice me physically for a week.  I mean, five hours standing in line (the five before that were spent sitting), then uncounted hours crouching, bending, reaching, and climbing over two days, followed by an hour of raking…that’s an oy.

So, how did you spend your [holiday] weekend?

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Balance

Every individual has a driving force, a philosophy of life, a guide that shapes everything they do. Mine can be summed up in one word: balance.

I'm always striving to balance work and family and pleasure, nutritious food and yummy junk, things I want and things I need, exercise and activities, the checkbook, my friendships...everything! It stretches from big picture to day-to-day, and most of the time, I fail. I spend 17 hours a day on work and very little on family, or 17 hours on family and nothing on work. My ideal is to clean the house a bit each day, but I always end up doing it all at once, which means it's never done properly or fully.

Anyway. Today, I'm really satisfied with my balance.

Last night our 14-year-old dog (for her size, that's 88 in people years) launched into a panic attack over we could not tell what. We were thinking stroke or something, with the way she couldn't stand or walk and her head kept rocking from side to side and her eyes were twitching and stuff. Or we thought respiratory distress, her panting was so harsh and heavy. We had the kids say goodbye to her, just in case, and took her to the doggy ER at 11:30.

Turns out she has a simple disorder, vestibular disorder, that hits old animals in spells. Essentially, she's on her own personal tilt-a-whirl. She adjusted to it so she stopped panicking eventually, and Benadryl keeps her calm and not vomiting six times in three hours anymore (motion sickness!). But she can't eat, because she can't aim her nose in the dish and when she does manage it, she lists to the left and falls over. She keeps knocking into furniture and banging her head into the wall and floor. It's horrible!

So this morning, I spent at the dining room table, staying near her because she can't handle the stairs down to my office. I got 2400 words done with her at my feet. Then I did the dishes, caught up on all the e-mails from the weekend, and did a few tasks awaiting my attention.

When Number Two came home we read together. I did the dishes again, and talked with her and her sister before they brought their laundry downstairs. That's about halfway done now. The three of us spent a couple of hours playing Wii. I contributed to parental stereotypes by sucking hard. (They wouldn't let me play the things I'm good at!)

Now I'm blogging here and at Gab Wagon. I have a bio to write for one client, another to type for another's website, and a few other blogs to read. I'll finish just about the time Number One and her father leave for the health club, so I'll hang with Number Two until she gets in the shower (and finish the laundry, I hope!). Then I can relax and watch How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Castle before I go to bed for a decent night's sleep.

All the bases covered! Gosh, it would be nice if every day was like this!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caring Too Much

I've decided to trim my Supernatural fan exposure. This season it's driving me INSANE.

When I fell in love with the show, I couldn't get enough of it. I searched for places I could get more of it, short of fanfic, and found some. Much of it I've dropped away from already, but I've held on to some that I felt offered fun, insightful, interesting commentary. Most of that is now gone.

It's not that I love every episode unequivocally. And it's not that I want all of my "fan friends" to love it unequivocally. But far too often it's not a couple of complaints mixed with what they liked or loved, it's hyperbole.

Taking the complaints as a whole, not attributed to individuals, there's no winning. When the season opened, the show sucked because it was so unrelentingly depressing. Then it was too funny, how could they be so funny during an apocalypse? Where are the stand-alone episodes, the mytharc gets tedious. How can they fight ghosts, there's a freakin' apocalypse? There's not enough Sam, there's not enough Dean (okay, I see that one less often), and enough with the meta/fan-tweaking. The showrunners hate women and African-Americans, because they kill them all (though I'm absolutely positive more white men have died in 4.5 seasons), but before they kill them, they're always evil.

You know how in last week's episode, Becky yelled at Fritz to just not watch the show if he doesn't like it? I'm certainly not going to tell people not to feel the way they feel. But I've got to stop seeking the extension of joy that originally connected me to other fans, when it's just not there anymore. It's up to me to stop exposing myself to the negativity.

So, finally, I have. Just, of course, at the time when I need that connection most: nine-week hiatus.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Bunches of Stuff

I really don't want to repeat what's been said all over the I-world about Harlequin Horizons. Might be that the Harlequin response to RWA's stance hasn't hit many places yet (I haven't seen it much), so I'll talk about that.

RWA revoked Harlequin's eligibility in its entirety, which ONLY means, currently, that Harlequin cannot attend the national conference in an official capacity. Per a post at Pub Rants, Harlequin is saddened and dismayed by RWA's lack of foresight about the changing face of publishing today. Please excuse me while I projectile barf.

Interestingly, because their authors are so furious dismayed, they are taking steps to remove the Harlequin name from the venture. Okay, that's a great first step. The biggest concern has obviously been dilution of the brand, that readers will read a crappy vanity-published Horizons book and apply that crappiness to all Harlequin-branded books.

But what about the marketing propaganda on Harlequin's website? What about mentioning in rejection letters that we might want to consider Horizons as a viable option? If those things don't go away, minimum, RWA can't reverse its decision. MWA is fast on their way to the same conclusion, and SFWA has gone a step further and completely revoked the ability going forward of any Harlequin-published author to use that book to join SFWA, and they flat out stated a name change isn't good enough.

Kind of talking point is that Harlequin indicates, a few times, the possibility that books that do well through Horizons could receive a true publishing contract. Many people say "if it wasn't good enough for Harlequin proper in the first place, how is it going to become good enough?" That argument makes a lot of assumptions.

First, there's no rule that a Horizons book has to be rejected by Harlequin first. Some people might go straight to Horizons, thinking they'll prove to Harlequin that the book is good enough and boost their chances of selling it to them.

Oh, as a side note--not all people who choose vanity press are being "taken in." I knew someone who claimed she turned down an Avon contract and went with Publish America instead because she kept control of everything from the cover to the content and kept all her rights, too.

Okay, back to the editorial thing. I just got a rejection from a Harlequin imprint that praised most everything about my book, but there was one element that just didn't work for the editor, and since it's a pretty big thread in the story, she passed. (I'm agented, so she didn't suggest Horizons. :) ) Not ALL rejections are about quality. Some are about fit, especially for the series romances. Some are made because even though the book is good, the editor just doesn't want to have to read it three more times, or whatever.

Which sounds like I'm defending the whole refer-to-Horizons thing, which I'm NOT. I hate the idea. I hope they back out immediately. I can't see any benefit to anyone but corporate.

Which is one last thing I wanted to say, because even though some people have said similar things, it gets lost in the morass of commentary:

I believe this decision came from high levels in Harlequin Enterprises/Torstar, well above the editorial positions, as a money-grubbing an eager move for income to save the deep-in-the-red non-Harlequin divisions in the parent company. And maybe to support flagging sales in the nevertheless-profitable HE proper. As such, I feel terrible for the editors and hard-working people within Harlequin who truly believe in the product they create and the authors they work with, but are forced to defend this move cheerfully and passionately. I would have a very hard time believing the regular editors like this deal any better than the authors do.

Okay. Moving on.

Supernatural, why? Why NINE freakin' weeks? I can't survive without you until January 21st! And FIE on you people who posted it would return on January 14, giving false hope for a shorter hiatus!

There were a couple of things that jarred me about this episode. In the beginning, when they went after Crawley...come on, a wrinkle in the rug? You guys are NOT that sloppy. I was expecting a secondary trap. Of all times for the guys to lose their brilliance? And Sam pulling the trigger on him...again, he's not that stupid, and it made him look stupid, though Mark Sheppard is da bomb and made the whole thing smooth.

And then, at the end, when Lucifer said "Helll-o, Death" and then we went to the usual super-long commercial break and we come back and the boys are at Bobby's? But how? And okay, maybe Cas pulled them out, but if he did, where is he? Did I miss him in that too-short, too-abrupt, albeit touching final shot?

In between, though, in between...gah. They killed me.

Jo was so kick-ass! I loved it! The hellhounds? That action sequence was heart-pounding. And then, of course, what came after was heartbreaking. Number One and I sat on opposite couches and sobbed. I think I haven't sobbed so hard at TV since Laverne's firefighting boyfriend died. I called Number One over to cuddle with me, and she lay against me, head on my shoulder, in exactly the same position that Ellen cradled Jo. And I put my hand on her head exactly as Ellen had, and kissed her the same way, and we both sat there and sobbed. And she never left my side until it was over. And my heart still feels shredded from the power of Ellen's grief, OMG.

And Cas looked hot in that ring of fire.

And I totally buy Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer, the manipulative bastard.

And the red head-pops in the demons were cool.

And I loved Cas tossing Meg across the fire to break the circle.

Oh! And I was floored by Dean's ability to get so close to Lucifer without him knowing, to take him by surprise. Excellent foreshadowing and demonstrating his vulnerability, fallibility. Awesome.

I hated losing Ellen, and even Jo, but it didn't make me hate the writers. If they kill Van Pelt or Riggsby on The Mentalist, however, I'm totally not watching it anymore. Don't tell me if you've already watched it. Obviously, I haven't!

More Supernatural news:

I'm going to the Salute to Supernatural in New Jersey! WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!

Right now just AJ Buckley and Travis Wester (The Ghostfacers) are announced. That's cool, I haven't seen them before, but $329 is a little much for just them. I have a theory, which might be based on coincidence that I'm taking as evidence, but I'm thinking maybe the bigger names are more likely to commit if it sells out (i.e. more money for them!). So buy now!

I really hope Richard Speight Jr. will be there. He said he'd like to be, but mentioned he hoped they ask him sooner this time. ASK HIM NOW, CREATION! I wants him there! Richard is currently my very favorite celebrity of all time. Not only is he super-nice and super-smart and super-great to talk to, he did an interview with me! You'll see it up at Supernatural Sisters next Wednesday. In the meantime, head over there now to see Terri's recap of last night's episode! (Note: as of the time I wrote this, it wasn't up yet, but hopefully by the time you read this, it will be. If you're reading this at 2:15 a.m., you're more insane than I am.)

I have failed at my goals this week. I did revise Full Fusion, but I'm now 11,717 words behind my goal. Gah. If I only aim to win NaNo (50,000 words), I'm slightly ahead of goal. I might have to settle for that, and finish the last 20k in December. No reason not to, except personal accomplishment.

Which is sorely lacking this week. Back to the list: pulled EOBs but did not otherwise touch the PT bill; started to order contacts, but did not get a response, so must retry; haven't touched the website, though I did add two more things to the list of updates.

What the heck did I do this week? Grocery shopping. Bank/library/post office/Target/school errands. Boot squad meeting. Wayyyyy too much e-mailing and post-reading about the HH thing. Freelance bids and work. So, not nothing. Just all the wrong things. LOL

Okay, now this post is officially obnoxiously long. Would be nice if I blogged more frequently and less wordily, huh?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Blogging is the Last Thing I Should Be Doing

But come on! It's been...I don't even want to look to see how long it's been since I blogged. I'll spare you the apologies and excuses we all give when we go too long between posts. I know that's tedious, and honestly, you probably don't care.


What SHOULD I be doing instead of blogging?

1. Revising Full Fusion, my NaNoWriMo book, to fix the scene set at Gillette Stadium, where I stopped Saturday to do a little scene-setting research, and to fix the parts that are stupid, because her friends would really not accept the truth so easily, and stuff like that.

2. Continuing writing Full Fusion, adhering to NaNo rules (i.e. no editing), because after driving 839 miles in two days, I'm 7500 words behind my goal.

3. Laying out in a spreadsheet all therapy charges, insurance allowances, insurance payments, and our payments, because I think the PT office is screwing me (unintentionally, it's just super-complicated and this is not a very well organized bill).

4. Researching and ordering Number One's contacts.

5. Updating my website (soooooooooo far behind on that!).

So there, that's my goals for the week. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

SOOOO Embarrassing

Blogging is a great vehicle for revealing what a moron you are.

I wanted the song from the V trailer, and went searching, and found that someone had asked on Yahoo Answers and someone had answered.

At the top of the answer is this:

Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

So I went looking for the song Chosen by the band Asker.


In my defense, the answer had the name of the band, Muse, then the name of the song, Uprising, then the lyrics, all kind of run together with no spacing between lines, and I didn't read the lyrics because I skimmed to the chorus and knew it was what I was looking for.


Moving on.

I didn't have time to watch V Tuesday, which drove Number One nuts, because she wasn't waiting, and then she couldn't talk to me about it. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Also surprised at how quickly it moved, how much happened in the pilot. And two revelations near the end shocked me gasping, one not in a good way. But I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it, promise!

When the ships first moved in, the tension was palpable, and that's saying something since this was my favorite show when it was on, and so I know everything that happened in that one, at least. I knew what was coming, what their intentions were, what they are. Being held in suspense was great.

I wish Erica's name was Juliet. :(

I thought Morena Baccarin looks horribly, unhealthily skinny. We discussed it, and are hopeful she only did it for the content of the role. Not in a "you can't be lush and curvy" sense, but in a "she's a you-know-what" sense, and she really does look like a you-know-what, behind the pure beauty and the regal manner.

So yay, new show I like! Came at a good time, too, with all my Fox shows not on. :(

I finally caught up on FlashForward. I couldn't watch last week's until last night, but accidentally deleted it. Trying to watch it online totally funked up my computer for much of the day. Got it from iTunes and not all of it downloaded to my iPod. Finally watched the last 7 minutes right before tonight's episode.

Anyway, last week's ep gave us some answers about the whole Dylan/Charlie dilemma, but it irritated me. So okay, Dylan recognized Olivia from the picture on the fridge, which explains how he knew her yet he wasn't in her FF. And assuming D. Gibbons comes in at the end of the FF reconciles Charlie's statement that he's a bad man with her cheeriness in the snippet we see.

But what I can't figure out or reconcile is that Olivia and Lloyd were in bed together while Dylan and Charlie were walking around the house, fully dressed, at 10:00 at night? Did I see that right? It didn't look like they were in PJs. They were definitely wide awake. So that's got me all frowny. I did like that they're so comfortable with each other in the present, though, and casual. To them (the kids), the visions are reality.

This week's ep, though!!! I really didn't want proof that the future is changeable to manifest like this. Really, really didn't. Oh, Al. (And the name issue continues--we couldn't remember his name all season, right up until he... you know. Now we'll never forget it!)

Simon. Now there's an enigma. He's meant to be scary as he describes his FF, murdering someone. But then he was holding that little bracelet. I'm thinking he was exacting vengeance, and since it's fictional, I can be sympathetic to that. He is SO different from Charlie! Dominic Monaghan is doing a great job.

Speaking of great jobs...

The CW did a good one this week. I'm thinking they screened "Changing Channels," this week's ep of Supernatural, saw how great it was, and decided to use it to draw back lapsed viewers, or draw in new ones. I can't wait to see if it worked. All of the people I read who posted about their advanced viewing of the show praised it to the hilt.

My expectations were therefore very high, but I've got to say, while the funny parts were great, the deeper elements were even better. Richard Speight, Jr., got to show a greater range than he has before, and I have to say, I think he stole the show. He shares my utter devotion with Jeremy Carver, though, because this episode was brilliantly written. The character development of The Trickster and his connection to the greater mythology were just beautiful! Nothing felt extraneous or superfluous or out of place. And I really, really liked the skewering of the shows opposite SPN. :)

But KITT for the win!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Something's Wrong With Me

I have a pretty competitive nature. I first understood it in high school, though I can recognize that it goes back further. All the way to first grade, at least. My mother probably shouldn't have told me what Mrs. Nadeau said in my parent/teacher conference. But even way back then, I was driven to be the best, have the best grades. No one else had to know about it--only I had to know.

Then in high school, I had a friend junior year who had comparable grades to me and did a lot of the same extracurriculars. We were neck-and-neck for a while with the fundraiser, but she has a much bigger family, so she beat me. She also had an infant son. I didn't realize I was competing until my boyfriend complained that I had no time for him, and did I really need to be on the prom committee? I dropped off it, not because he wanted me to, but because his whining made me realize that no, I did not want to be on the prom committee, I joined it because she did!

Nowadays, my competitive streak mostly manifests in word counts. On our annual retreat, we sometimes do word wars. Except it's really just timed writing, and it's only me that has to write more in 10 minutes than anyone else. Again, it's not because I have to beat them; I just have to write more.

And so it goes with NaNo. Usually, if I see that one of my buddies has written a little more than I have, it spurs me to push through until I top them. I love being the person in the group who has the most words. I don't care if no one notices--in fact, if they lament that they can't keep up, I feel horrible!

But this year, after two days, half my Writing Buddies have a thousand or more words than I do. One even has three times as many! And I don't care!

What's wrong with me?

Being competitive can be a big negative, I know. But it can also be a very important tool for a writer. It can keep you going when you have the don'wannas. It helps build your writing muscles, giving you endurance and flexibility as well as productivity. And mine seems to have disappeared!

I wonder where it went.

ETA: The above was written Tuesday morning, but I forgot to upload and post it. The first three days of NaNo, I was writing late, handicapping myself with brain fry, and everyone was way ahead of me. Today I started writing early, and wrote a lot! I'm going to have to make that a habit again...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Freakin' DONE

I finished a book today.

Writing, not reading. Finishing a book I'm reading happens nearly a hundred times a year.

But finishing the first draft of a new novel hasn't happened in a freakin' long time. I started this one in July 2008, and I'd work on it for a while, then set it aside for revisions on something else. The book my agent is currently shopping, or a book I sold, or a book my agent gave me editorial advice on that needed (and still needs) additional work, etc.

It felt really, really good.

You know what else felt good? Those revisions on the book my agent felt needed additional work will be done tomorrow (I hope, unless I fall apart and can't fix it), and so will be my two current big freelance projects.

Viva October!

How is your month going out?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This is a very interesting article about young adult readers. Two things leapt out at me:

--Only 6% of survey respondents preferred e-books. 79% said paperbacks, 74% said hardcovers (obviously, they could choose more than one format).

Told ya so.


This has been a very packed week. I've been doing a fiction line edit for a client, and a nonfiction edit for another client, and pushing to get both done by this weekend, so I can start NaNo. I'll wrap them both up on Saturday. I also expect to be done with the draft of last year's NaNo book, which kept getting shoved aside for other projects, and the final polishing of an older book, which I will then send on to my agent. That will clear the field!

And guess what my NaNo book is gonna be? A YA! Still romantic adventure, and paranormal to boot, but this is a big departure for me. I didn't think like a teen when I was one, so I never felt I could do this genre. But I've been reading a lot of it, and I've always felt it was important, and wanted to be involved with it. So we'll see if I can. NaNo is awesome for doing this kind of thing--stepping outside your comfort zone, trying something new.

I keep forgetting that Supernatural is new tonight. My mind is preoccupied with trick-or-treating. Yes, it's tonight. Yes, I know Halloween isn't until Saturday. Tell Pennsylvania. They've missed that memo for over two decades. *sigh*

Okay, I have to get back to work. Must input the edits for both projects, work on the draft novel, order RAM for my computer, update the checkbook, order an oil delivery, and start a read-through I kind of promised at the beginning of the week. I hope to get that done while I wait for trick-or-treaters. The rest I need to do before 2:34, when Number Two gets home.

Yeah, that'll happen.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cheesy Remake Squee and Other Random Stuff

I just saw a picture of the four main characters in the upcoming film remake of The A-Team, and my heart clenched its fists and bounced up and down while making a high-pitched noise. Just like it did when V, a remake of an old TV series, was announced (and which is premiering in a couple of weeks).

Despite the failures of Knight Rider and The Bionic Woman, I'm excited about these remakes. Lots of people roll their eyes and wonder why remake such cheesy fare? I just shake my head, incredulous.

Maybe because of my age, maybe because of my geekiness, I never considered either V or The A-Team cheesy. If I watched them now? Oh, God, I have no doubt. But they weren't made now, and the remakes aren't being remade to 80s standards. They're based on today's culture, perspective, and production quality. So they might suck, but even non-remakes might suck. It's not a guarantee.

In a similar vein, I've been seeing a lot of talk again about a season 6 of Supernatural. It came up because The CW has been giving full-season pickups to new shows, and some fans have uproared without realizing SPN had a full season deal since last spring.

I'm one of the ones in favor of a season 6. Fans of The X-Files and Smallville say no way, they'll ruin it just like they ruined those two shows. But I don't get it. SV was never as good as SPN, and it started to suck in, like, season 3. I stopped watching completely when Lex had that blood cycling thing in the season premiere and it was never mentioned again. The writing on that show has been inconsistent and ridiculous for years. As for X, I can't comment much, because I couldn't watch past episode 4. I'm the Queen of Disbelief Suspension, but there was just too much I couldn't get over.

Anyway, my point is--I think--that we've been very lucky with the writing staff of SPN and have no reason to think we won't continue to be lucky. And just stop saying there'd better not be a season 6. If we get one and you don't want it, don't watch. Then both sides are happy. :)

On a completely UNrelated topic...

Number One had a massive wart on the inside of her right thumb. It got treated two weeks ago, with liquid nitrogen, and it was so big it got a bit overtreated. Most of her thumb blistered up. So on Monday, she tells me this awesome story about how the dead blister skin had gotten snagged with a cat claw, which left it hanging a bit, which was bugging her, so she started picking at it and ended up peeling all the blister skin and the big, black wart completely off her thumb.

Then she looked up and saw the grossed-out expressions on all her classmates. I love it! I was going to post a pic of it, but it's all shriveled and stuff, so it would be anticlimactic.

I had a dream this morning that I went back to work at my old job. The building was the same as the real one, except massive. The "library" had been turned into a bathroom with two toilets and a sink that were so connected that when one toilet started to overflow and I plunged it, the water that drained from it filled the other toilet or the sink, until I finally got out what had been plugging it. Nothing gross, it was a picture in a small gold frame that had fallen off the shelf above. At first I thought it was Ruth and Fran, an older couple from my childhood, but then I saw it was me and my mother, and when I took it apart to dry the photos, my college senior picture was under it. The house also had two or three massive rooms now filled with my coworker Amy's grandmother's furniture. It was lovely, and her kids were hanging out, one of them playing pool on the antique pool table. Cool grandmother.

That's the weird part. The strange part was that I'd worked a full day, despite planning to leave early for a haircut, but there was more work to be done. I realized I'd neglected to check the voice mail that morning, but the code for accessing it had been changed, and every time I tried to call it I either ended up reaching someone else, or answering a call that hadn't even rung yet. I couldn't figure out how to do anything, but the person I was filling in for had come in to catch up on filing and took the last call, at which point my subconscious said "this is unproductive," tossed up my dream-hands, and woke me up.

Back to TV:

...Anyone chewing over the President/Vice President thing from last night's FlashForward? The VP said she was President in her FF, and at the end of the ep, she'd been appointed VP to replace the one who died during the blackout. The natural thing that follows is that the President will die before April 29. But he had a FF, so the only other possibility is that he steps down for some reason. But that aide who was at his press conference opened his bedroom door in the FF, and didn't he call him Mr. President? So is that more evidence that the Evil Congresswoman is right, and not everyone's FFs will come true?

...Glee delights me. The music and dancing make me happy, and while some of the storylines are starting to bug, the dialogue is awesome, and the tension between Shupe and Emma is delicious.

...Modern Family is also delighting me. It's very funny, both over-the-top and understated at the same time.

...Fox and MLB infuriate me. No Bones or Fringe or Dollhouse, and I'm almost caught up on everything, which means nothing to watch this weekend. :(

Considering I have to get up before 6 for a soccer game tomorrow, that's probably a good thing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FTC Clarification We Knew Would Be Coming

Since I posted some thoughts on the FTC guidelines about product reviews, which would cover book reviewing, I thought it important to link to some news that should relieve everyone's minds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Soothing the Soul

I got lots and lots of bad news today. On a normal day, it would send me crashing to the floor in despair. But today, I'm riding on this:

(video courtesy Megan Hart)

So it only stings a little.

Megan wrote eloquently and beautifully about our trip, so I hesitate to write my own thoughts here. But I'm gonna try, with the caveat that she's just better than me. :)

I've said here many times that I'm a music moron. I've never been big into music, rarely ventured in my "younger" years beyond Top 40, and only attended three concerts in my entire life (Billy Joel in 1989 because a friend had tickets, Nickelback for Number One's birthday one year, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra 7 times, but it was essentially the same thing all 7, so it only counts as one :) ). I've never reacted to a musician the way I've reacted to Jason Manns.

Cynics might say it's because of his tenuous connection to Supernatural. It's true that's how he came to my attention, and I did first meet him at a Salute to Supernatural convention. But there are other musicians (like Steve Carlson) associated with the show about which I'm so obsessive passionate, and they haven't had the same effect. Carlson is fine, I have a couple of his songs, but that's it.

Jason Manns is totally different. The opening notes of his guitar set up my anticipation. His voice melts my bones, until he growls, and then it's shiver time. Motorcycles and honeyed clouds. It's like aural serotonin. Then there's what he sings about. I love his covers, because he takes familiar songs and makes them his own (I know, nothing unique about that, it's just that it's HIS voice). But I love his original stuff even more. "Journey" describes how I feel as a writer. "Perfect Spot" is how I try to see my life as a whole. And I'm a romance writer, so how can I not thrill to "Without You"?

A lot of things we love can diminish under exposure or examination, but not this. First, I share this love with friends, and that always boosts it exponentially:

Picture stolen from Megan Hart because it's the best I've looked in years! LOL

Being with them made the trip, and the dinner, and being so close to the stage you can touch it (eat our foresight, bitches! :)) so much fun by itself, I never wanted it to end. Even without the music.

Meeting Jason, though, is the ultimate enhancement to his music. Some musicians are jerks, or divas, or full of themselves, or so shy/introverted they seem like one or all of the above. Jason's sincere, friendly, engaging, sweet to people who act like idiots (no, I don't mean us, though some other people might, it's all a matter of perspective! LOL), and patient when you're trying to take a picture and Smith closes her eyes three times in a row.

This was the third performance I got to see. The first was great, but in a well-lit room packed with people, which makes it harder to sink into the music. The second was slightly disappointing, because his awesomeness was obscured by (incredibly rude) loud talkers in the room, and the lateness/time hogginess of the performers before him (which I actually didn't mind until I discovered it meant Jason's set was limited to, like, four songs), and the poor quality of the sound system.

The Tin Angel was none of those things! Excellent venue, if you ever get an opportunity to see someone perform there, take it. And eat at Serrano first, so you can get a reserved table up front. And call for reservations as SOON as you know you want to go, and you'll be RIGHT in front.

Anyway, the sound was professional and clear, the crowd was all there specifically for Jason so any rudeness was only mildly annoying instead of infuriating, and he had the night to himself so we got two sets of I-lost-track-of-how-many songs. The only way it could have been more perfect was if he had his new CD ready. I wait with bated breath.

So thank you, Megan, Vicki, and Misty, for another wonderful night, and heartfelt thanks, Jason, for helping me forget that I'm supposed to be in a sucky mood today. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Missing in Action

Sorry, I've been busy. And kinda depressed. Might be partly weather related, because four days of ice-cold rain just SUCKS.

This goes a long way toward mood improvement. Even almost makes me wish I worked in an office again, though I never worked in an office this cool. :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Not All of the Problems are Obvious

For the last few days, discussion about the new FTC explanations of certain regulations has been rampant. You can Google it. I don't have any links handy and I'm kind of in a hurry. Today's post is a case of random collection of tidbits of info and opinion reaching critical mass, requiring me to offer my own thoughts on the matter.

Hey, that could actually describe most of my posts!

Anyway, the basics are that the Federal Trade Commission has stated, among other things, that any blogger who reviews a book or other product and received that book or other product for free must disclose such receipt for free or face a potential fine of $11,000.

Some people have talked about the difference between paid advertising (i.e. guaranteed endorsement/screen time) and reviewing, where even if the person got the item for free, doesn't guarantee you won't get a total thrashing. Some have mentioned how even though we think this is unenforceable on a grand scale, all we have to do is come to the attention of the FTC (be reported by an enemy, for example), and come under fire.

Some people have asked what the big deal is, just say "I received this book for free." It seems pretty simple, doesn't it? But it's not. It's far more complicated than that, especially when some of the regulations apparently will hold the author liable if the blogger doesn't disclose.

First, "free" doesn't automatically mean the publisher or author provided the book. Free could mean borrowed from a friend or the library, it could mean it was the fifth book in a buy-four-get-one-free promotion. It could mean a charitable person bought the book and donated it to a prize basket raffled off to attendees of an event, completely without the publisher's or author's knowledge. Then there's that book-in-the-wild program, where you leave a book on a train or in a restaurant and track its travels.

Second, the FTC doesn't seem to be defining what a "blogger" is. If, as has been asserted in a few places, the FTC is aiming to control certain types of commercial bloggers who are inundated with free stuff but act like they're just regular users or something, that's great. Say so. But the blanket use of "any blogger" includes hundreds of thousands of regular people, most of whom will have no freakin' idea of this regulation.

Plenty of "book reviewers" aren't official reviewers, but normal readers who enter contests or ask authors for review copies. I often provide free copies of my book to places like The Romance Studio. Sometimes I'm given the name of the winner and I send the copy directly to them; sometimes it's part of a package and I never even know. But if they say "Hey, I liked this book by Natalie J. Damschroder" and don't say how they got it, I could be reprimanded by the FTC as the party who most directly benefits from that endorsement.

My mind just boggles at the scope of this. I mean, my teenage daughter could blog about Rosemary Clement-Moore's newest book and get fined for it, based on the vague, broad application of this regulation.

Okay, let me throttle back out of the hysterical paranoia a bit. The people at the FTC have a job to do, and they have a pretty focused view of what that (important) job is. They are targeting a certain segment of business and industry, a certain segment of the Internet. They probably had no inkling of the fog-like effect of their explanation, where it seeps into vast areas they might not even know exist. And enforcement IS going to be impossible, if by enforcement we mean making sure everyone who possibly falls under this regulation complies with it. I mean, are they really going to pay someone to patrol the Internet, pounce on a blog that mentions a book someone read, then force them to prove they paid for the book? Hardly!

Which makes this entire post probably pointless.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Fun with Football Equipment

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (I know everyone knows that unless they live under a rock, and if you're reading this, you don't. Still, I couldn't help stating the obvious. Sorry.)

The NFL is participating in the campaign this week. The goalpost wrappings are pink. The helmets have pink BCAM decals on them. And the players are allowed to wear non-regulation gear (in other words, pink stuff). Most are wearing pink cleats, gloves, or armbands. The refs' jerseys also sport pink ribbons, and they're wearing pink wristbands, too. Many coaches and sideline staff have hats with pink brims or ribbons pinned to their collars. Very cool.

Even cooler, all of these pink items will be auctioned off for charity. People pay big bucks for items worn by their favorite players, and how much better for that money to be going to this cause? It makes me a little annoyed at the few players who aren't participating.

On the Cincinnati Bengals, receiver Chad Ochocinco (née Johnson) is taking it even further. He's known for being an attention hog, has probably paid a third of his salary over the years in fines for showboating and other violations. This time, he's making something good out of it. He has reportedly declared an intention to wear his pink gear all month (the NFL is only sanctioning it this weekend; after that, it would be considered an equipment violation and he'd be fined). He says he'll match his fines in donations to the campaign. He still gets the attention he craves, but for doing something good instead of something stupid.

If the NFL was smart, they'd donate his fines, too. :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

So Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is Trendy Now, Huh?

On FlashForward, nearly everyone on the planet saw their future. This was a malicious act, or so it seems, so they're trying to figure out why and how it happened. For Mark, the FBI agent, there's a lot he doesn't want to come true. But his vision provided clues that can help them, so he's investigating his vision. He saw a card that had a name, and assumes that name is important because it was on the board--but it was on the board because he saw the vision. It turns out to be very important, but how much of what he saw isn't? The friendship bracelet, for example, was more symbolic than vital. Then there was the Utah sheriff. She didn't see anything, and a short time later, she's dead. But she's dead because they're investigating the visions. If they hadn't had the visions, they wouldn't have been there, and she wouldn't have been killed.

Episode note: How freaky was that ending? Charlie's statement made me gasp. I'm definitely hooked on this show!

Okay, so that's one. Then we have Dollhouse. Spoilers here for "Epitaph One," only available on the DVD. A little less of the self-fulfilling part, because we know what happens in the future because of "Epitaph One," but the characters don't. Still, Joss has said they know what they're aiming for, so they can keep it in mind as they get there. I don't like the inevitability of that. It's nice to see Claire and Boyd displaying an attraction and knowing it will become much more, but horrible to know it turns Whiskey into a mindless doll again. I find a post-apocalyptic battle much more interesting than how we got to the apocalypse. But only for this show. :)

Supernatural is exploring the idea of destiny in a different way than FlashForward is. We know they can change the future even when it's foreseen, because they've done it. Mostly on a small scale, until last night, when Dean made the decision we all knew was coming.

Oh, wow. I just remembered something. I'm reading a book that's not due to come out until next year, and this destiny thing is an element in that. I almost stole one of the author's concepts to explore the whole "we always end up here" thing! Sorry, T!!!!

Anyway. Zachariah and Future!Dean told Now!Dean there was only one thing he could do to prevent the future--say yes to hosting Michael. But Lucifer believed that because of who Now!Dean is, he wouldn't do that, and he wouldn't kill Sam, which meant the outcome was inevitable. None of them recognized the real variable, but then, none of them are fans of this show. You only have to be a casual watcher to know the whole world hinges on Sam and Dean's partnership. So the bottom line is that even though we've seen a future, and even though Castiel told Dean at the end of "In the Beginning" that all roads lead to the same result, we don't believe it. Everything that happens next can surprise us, because that future, with the release of the Croatoan virus, is not inevitable.

Might as well talk about some other elements of last night's show, right?

How can Future!Dean seem hotter than Now!Dean? I was actually in the minority on the Buddy TV poll, but he totally was. Future!Dean was bigger (a matter of perspective due to the way they shot/spliced the scenes) and his Army jacket fit him more closely. He was the same color as the background, whereas Now!Dean was different, partly the blue jacket, I'm sure, but partly lighting and such to differentiate him from the future. Future!Dean was also more intense, which is inevitable given what he'd been through. I'm not saying I want Future!Dean to come to pass, but boy, he was yummy while he lasted. :)

Jensen was incredible doing the two roles and being SO different, in SUCH subtle ways. I know we all say this all the time, but man, he's an amazing actor. The poor guy, doing double duty for this ep when Jard got another free pass!

Jared did well with the little bit he had, though. He was a little too smarmy, I think, but he channeled Mark Pellegrino's way of speaking enough to see Lucifer behind the shell. I'll be quite happy to have real!Sam back, though.

Then we have Misha. I think he's having a helluva lot of fun with his acting freedom. Cas is still deadpan and intense, but he's loosened up a little bit, and I loved his lines in the opening scene, his hint of panic that his time was running out, his implacability at having to wait. And, of course, an entirely new Cas in the future that still held hints of the old (when he recognized Dean wasn't Dean and why). I can't believe I thought the show was so good before he existed! He's total enhancement, and I'd miss him if he was gone too much.

Okay, that's enough rambling. I do have work to do today, much as I want to make it a long weekend. :(

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wandering Wednesday

Saw two movies recently, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Fame. Both, of course--following today's trends--based on old materials.

When we first found out Cloudy was being made into a movie, my kids were all excited.

Number One: I love that book!

Number Two: Me, too!

Mom/Dad: What's it about?

Number One: I forget.

Number Two: Me, too.

So we got the book from the library and all read it, and then a few weeks later we saw the movie, which had lots of funny parts (including Neil Patrick Harris voicing STEEEEVE!) and good casting but a pretty mediocre storyline. It just strayed too far sometimes, I thought, and instead of a hero who had good intentions but screwed things up through no fault of his own, we got a hero who was really an idiot. The "be yourself, even if you're a dork" subplot was incredibly sexist and kind of missed its own point.

Overall, fun movie, glad I paid matinee fees.

Fame was a little disappointing. Well casted, well acted, some tremendous production numbers, but no plot, no really strong character development/growth, too many things left hanging. It was a bunch of scenes just thrown together, albeit in chronological order. At one point I thought, "this would work great as a series." Heh. (For those of you too young to know, Fame was a movie that became a series, so I won't be surprised if they do that again.)

All of that makes it sound like it was terrible. It wasn't. There were some small messages that worked, even if they lacked substance because there wasn't anything supporting them. I did buy the soundtrack immediately, as well as the original theme song, and parts of the movie have stayed with me over the week.

Unfortunately, the part that has stuck hardest isn't a good one. MILD SPOILER ALERT. There's one character, a dancer, who for some reason is accepted into the school even though they don't meet the instructor's standards in the audition, and she even says to expect to go home sooner than expected. But this person does get a slot, and the only bits we see of them is demonstration that they aren't very good at what they do. Near the end, the dancer is told the instructor can't write a letter of recommendation for them, that they never met the potential they originally demonstrated, and maybe they can teach instead of perform.

That's been resonating a lot with me. Any creative performance-based industry has a tiny percentage who succeed. The vast majority don't. There's no formula, no way to tell who will make it and who won't, who will overcome a talent deficit through hard work or who will get the lucky break because circumstances align. So we all just keep plowing away, working hard, never giving up even though the obstacles are inches apart so you barely get over one before the next one is in your face.

You can't succeed if you don't assume that you won't be one of the ones who doesn't live up to their potential. But how long do you maintain that assumption? When do you realize that you can't learn enough, practice enough, produce enough to run out of obstacles? When you hit rock bottom, when you start to think that might be true of yourself, do you quit? Or do you stick a cushion on that rock to make yourself comfortable and just keep plugging away because that's what you do? Because you don't know any other way?

What's perseverance, and what's delusion?

Just some light thoughts for this wandering Wednesday.

Verdict's in already for my fall TV Schedule:

The old standbys, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, while not superb so far, do put a nice cap on the hardest day of the week. Castle, on the other hand, has been great. Much, much better writing this season--last week's episode was their best one yet.

I have nothing. The Forgotten is...god, I don't want to say it, but it's true!...unmemorable. It was okay. Not horrible by any means. But I have no interest in watching it again.

Talk about waffling. I decided to try Eastwick but didn't have high hopes. Almost deleted the premiere unwatched, but turned it on, saw hot and sweet Matt Dallas, and settled in. But I'm not going to watch any more. I hate Darryl Van Horn, and I think it's both the actor and the character (I'd like the actor in another role, probably). I don't like a character who really grabs my sympathies turning into an immoral, selfish thief in less than an hour. I love the actress who plays the put-upon, married-to-an-ass doormat, but I hate that storyline. So I'm deleting that show from my season pass.

Modern Family and Glee I'll keep, but I ended up not watching them last night even though I could have. I'm sad that I feel that way. I prefer to be driven excitedly to the TV. Which brings me to:

I've been catching up on Fringe on DVD, and I don't feel any differently about it than I did when I stopped watching last season. I'll continue watching because I love the characters, but if I had to stop, I wouldn't miss it. The Mentalist didn't leave me happily satisfied like it usually does, but I'll keep watching because it's better than The Forgotten. Bones I still love, and I'm hopeful the things I want to happen, will. Funny thing: Number Two's teacher is fresh from college and very tall and thin with a long neck. Every time she tells me about her day and I picture him, I'm picturing Sweets. :)

FlashForward was all it was hyped to be and I'll probably stick that one out for the duration. Even Number Two is dead curious about the answers, and made me promise to tell her every week what happened, since she's too young to watch it.

Vampire Diaries? Gone.

I don't think anything needs to be said about Supernatural. :)

Nothing new here. Numb3rs and Dollhouse, providing the same things they provided last year, giving me enjoyable TV. Actually, it's interesting to juxtapose these two. Numb3rs offers the same thing every week. I know exactly what to expect and always get it. (I often disdain that about TV shows I don't watch, but this one gives me stuff *I* like, so it's okay. LOL) Dollhouse, on the other hand, is the opposite. It makes me think, sets up surprises and excitement--I never know what I'm going to get, and I love it.

There. I just spent an amazing amount of time I don't have on stuff that probably is of no interest to anyone. But then, I suppose that's what this blog is all about. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Musical Circus

We just turned on home sharing in iTunes this weekend, and started snagging music and video and podcasts from each other. My husband wanted "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" from me, and ended up taking over 100 things. But he was making fun of my library. It's a bit eclectic. I kind of figure most people's are, but let me give you a sampling, and you tell me how weird I am:

From Shuffle:

"He's a Pirate (Tiesto Remix)", Hans Zimmer et al, Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack

"Big Bird in a Small Cage," Patrick Watson, Wooden Arms

"Burn it to the Ground," Nickelback, Dark Horse

"Generator Room," David Newman, Serenity soundtrack

"SOS," Tim Curry, The Best of Tim Curry

"Come Away With Me," Norah Jones, Come Away with Me

"Bullets," Creed, Weathered

"Leaving on a Jet Plane," John Denver, The Essential John Denver

"You Can't Take Me," Bryan Adams, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmeron soundtrack

"The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," Alvin and the Chipmunks, Greatest Hits: Still Squeaky After All These Years

"Nothing Compares 2 U," Sinead O'Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

So, what do you think? Normal? Or further evidence of my Weird Brain Status?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ups and Downs

First, I got a nice ego stroke when I got a comment that The Daily Reviewer selected this blog as one of the top 100 romance blogs. Sure, I gotta take it with a grain of salt. I mean, how likely is it that they really got nominations about me? They feed my content to their ad-supported site. But on the other hand, their links to my blog also feed my Google rankings, so that's a benefit to me. And I have a nice pretty badge to paste here.

Then, I got word that a book I edited is now available at Amazon. And Amazon lists me as editor! That was pretty cool. Most of the stuff I work on, I don't get public credit for, which is fine. But it's nice when I do, and I am happy to say I'm proud of our work on this book. It's got a pretty decent approach to dieting, too, IMO.

But then...

Then I got an e-mail that Kate Duffy had died. I never had the pleasure of meeting her personally. I have been rejected by her, dating all the way back to my second book. She was one of the powerhouses of romance publishing, someone known to be blunt and challenging, who really knew her stuff. If she liked your work, you could bask in the glow of that for a week. We will suffer for this loss.

Hitting a little less close to home, a little more in an "end of an era" kind of way, was news of William Safire's death. It's been a long time since I heard anything about him, or read anything by him, but when I was in high school and college and first starting out in my career, he was The Word on everything to do with words. If he said put the period inside the quotation marks always (and he did say that), by gum, I put the period inside the quotation marks. Always. So even though he has no current impact on my life...he'll be missed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Exploring "Free to Be You and Me"

I just read a bunch of snippets of recaps so I'm not inclined to address the whole episode of last week's Supernatural episode. Instead, My Ramble: Let Me Show You It.

(I can't decide if it's fun or sad that the whole world is speaking in LOLcat nowadays.)

So the biggest topic is, of course, Vesselism. Zachariah told Dean he's to be Michael's vessel, and Lucifer told Sam he's to be his. I love the symmetry of it. A couple of things I read expressed disappointment that Dean isn't God's vessel, because that would be epic, but they're missing the fact that Lucifer is not God's opposite. God created Lucifer, who was just an angel. Michael, being the current leader of the angels, is the counterpart. Anyway, symmetry: brothers hosting brothers to fight to the death. Pretty cool.

However, I can't see this coming to fruition. The show is successful because of who Sam and Dean are. Let Michael and Lucifer take over--something that in any other show or creative work would be amazing--and we lose Sam and Dean completely. And what's the point of that? (I reserve the right to change my mind after next week, when we presumably see Sam hosting Lucifer in the future [why else would Sam be wearing those horrible shoes?], but I don't think I will.)

John seems to be the most obvious vessel for God, as the father of the vessels for God's most powerful sons. Of course, John got salted and burned at the beginning of season 2. On the other hand, Anna was vaporized and Castiel exploded into chunks, and both of them "pulled some strings" to get their bodies back, so lack of actual matter doesn't seem like a true obstacle. On the other other hand (other foot?), bringing John back hinges on Jeffrey Dean Morgan's schedule, and he can't even show up for 30-second shot driving the Impala in a flashback. So that doesn't seem likely.

BTW, I hate how everyone keeps saying "because it always had to be you" when Sam asks why him. THAT'S NOT AN ANSWER. It's like saying, "Why is that a carrot?" and getting "Because it always had to be a carrot." It's driving me insane. Okay, maybe it takes too long to say "Because finally some kid was strong enough to 'win' Azazel's crazy game and open the Devil's Gate so Lilith could get out, and you happened to be there and kill that kid so he couldn't do it, and you just happened to have a brother who was codependent enough to bring you back from the dead AND do that by making a deal that would put him in hell AND be righteous enough to break the first seal, which of course had to happen in your lifetime in order for you to be a suitable vessel for me, and oh, yeah, it had to be you because Ruby and Lilith decided no one else would be strong enough so they set it all up for it to be you, and made sure you did all the stuff that had to happen to line up the cards and stuff so I'd get free."

Of course, he could just say, "You're wicked big, man. And I'm vain enough to want someone hot."

Anyway. What else?

I'm loving Castiel. Misha Collins is playing him brilliantly. He's got so many extremes, but everything is played subtly enough that it doesn't seem impossible for him to be so scared at the brothel, but so intense with Raphael.

Speaking of Raphael, how good was he? There was heartbreak in his voice when he said they just wanted paradise. I find it difficult to condemn him, where I found it less so to condemn Zachariah. It's like corporate management, in a way. Those closer to the main/regular work force have more connection to and empathy for them, and have a harder time making changes that negatively affect those people, and when they don't, shame on them. Executives don't have contact with the masses, so they can make more dispassionate decisions. That metaphor only stretches so far, though, because the angels have been working for humanity, trying to save our sorry asses (or whatever) and fighting a losing battle. No reward, no success? No fatherly thanks or praise? Who wouldn't want rest?

It makes me think a tide will turn somewhere down the line, that Cas and Dean will get more angels back on their side. They're all walking among the humans now, so surely they'll see some of the redemptive elements of humanity, those quiet things that make us special but rarely get fanfare and wouldn't be apparent to someone watching from afar. I guess that's one thing we'll have to watch for.

In the meantime, I'm banking on one more painful episode before the brothers join up and we get some true hilarity with the Paris Hilton episode. Then they can start showing signs of rebuilding. Last season, with the brothers falling apart and Sam's horrible spiral, it dragged me along reluctantly because it was so well done, but where it was going was a place I didn't want to see. This season is the opposite--as dark as everything is, we can only go up, climb to a much better place than they've ever been. As long as it doesn't take 18 episodes to get there, I'm a much less reluctant passenger this time around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Waay-ay-ting is the Hardest Part

So, as previously mentioned, I can't watch Supernatural tonight. It's pushed back for baseball. I had to close Facebook to avoid the reactions.

In the meantime, I'm sitting here listing left and right because of vertigo I started suffering at 6:30 tonight. It was weird. I wrote for half of practice, then took a nap, and when I woke up everything swam around me. The kids both had very brief bouts with a cold, and I'm thinking I caught it, but in the ears instead of the sinuses. I'm feeling clogged.

I watched FlashForward tonight, and it was as good as I expected. The acting is superb, and the mystery has me totally hooked. I'm so tempted to go around saying "What did you see?" to everyone tomorrow. :)

There are obvious parallels to LOST. The show opens with the central character coming away from an accident, disoriented and surrounded by screaming, terrified people. Instead of a polar bear, there's a kangaroo. And there's a very strange, overarching mystery with lots of questions and bound to generate tons of debate. The central question of destiny and free will is an old one, of course, but that doesn't make it any less compelling. So far, this is my favorite new drama of the season! (Modern Family is my favorite new comedy, so far).

I'm going to go lie down and watch Bones now, see if I can manage to stay up late enough to watch Supernatural. I can't stand that the rest of the world knows what happened and I don't! :(

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Too Much Sleep?

I've been trying to be responsible lately, with the whole sleeping thing. So the last two nights I've gone to bed early. Today I even slept until almost 6:30 because Number One needs nothing from me, Number Two only needs my presence most mornings, and even that's not until we're ready to go to the bus stop. But I've still been tired mid-afternoon, and there have been other odd effects:

Like, this morning, I conditioned my hair twice.

And then, after I returned the dog to the house, I went out to do my morning exercise walk--in flip-flops.

Actually, those could be explained by a busy brain as much as a tired one. In the shower, I was deep in thought about a client's manuscript. I rinsed my hair, and somehow that was triggered as "shampoo out, conditioner in" even though I was actually ready to get out of the shower.

The flip-flop thing was just unthinkingness. I realized it on the second hill. I was working way too hard to keep my shoes on. LOL I have these Adidas flip-flops that have cushioned insoles and silky fabric, so when I've had them on for a little while, the cushion compresses and they're roomier and also therefore slippery. It actually made for a decent walk, though, because I used all the muscles in my legs more. But I had to come down the last hill barefoot--it's so steep, I was afraid I'd break the thong of the flip-flops, and they're new.

Anyway. My brain doesn't feel like it's working right today.

I also had this weird dream last night. It was a "back in school" dream, though not one of the typical anxiety ones. I was in a big room stuffed with stuff. Kind of like on Fringe, where the lab they're given is a storage room for old furniture and equipment? One of the things was a big unit of old-fashioned mailboxes. They took a key but also had a combination--you put in the key, then turned to the proper numbers. I had three mailboxes and opened two of them (my mother had sent me some weird stuff) but for the life of me, I couldn't open the third one. It had something important in it, I knew it...or hoped it, though I always have hope there's something important and there never is. So I think I understand the metaphor. *sigh*

So I guess we can come to the conclusion that it's not "too much sleep" so much as my brain is weird. And I'm sure no one is surprised by that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Premiere Week

Fall TV actually premiered two weeks ago, but the majority of shows are coming back this week. Here's what I'm watching and how I feel about it so far.

I know, Duh. And you know how I feel about it. Though I do have one thing to say: This summer, when I was watching all four seasons over again, I discovered that as much as I loved season 4 while it was airing, and as a whole it's awesomely done, it's not my favorite season. The episodes I get excited about when they come up on the next DVD are all in seasons 2 and 3. And so far, while I still consider "Sympathy for the Devil" possibly the best ep ever, I don't think it will hit that Favorites list.

It's a damned good thing I'm not the one writing the recap at Supernatural Sisters this week. For the first time in four years, The CW is airing a Phillies game and pushing the show to midnight. Which of course means it COULD air at 11, or at 1, so recording it will be tricky. I know this has happened to others, sometimes often, and we've been lucky so far. Doesn't make me feel better. :(

Still loving it, though the musical numbers always bug me. Even though I dig them, they're so slickly produced and obviously overdubbed, it takes something away from the show overall. I do hate the wife a little less, which is good. In the pilot, she came across as a selfish, conniving, manipulative bitch, which makes you think the hero is stupid for staying with her and not seeing through her. But now she's just a self-centered moron who does seem to love her husband, at least. I still don't like her, but it harms how I feel about him less. My eyebrows went up last week at the implication that Quinn might be shifting from cliché bad-girl cheerleader to someone worthy of Finn.

Vampire Diaries
I liked it much better than I expected to, though I swear Nina Dobrev is a clone of that girl on Roswell and now that they've kissed (not that I didn't want them to), I'm less excited about where it's going. I mean, is Damon just going to tear through Elena's friends? A murder or attempted murder each week? *yawn* The obvious conflict when Elena finds out what Stefan is and why he came to find her isn't something I'm looking forward to, either. But I'm not dropping it yet.

Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly had a blind item last week about a show with a will-they-or-won't-they couple, and how the network is making the showrunners hold off on bringing them together for two more seasons. Everyone in the comments assumed it was Bones, but he said it's not. Still, after last week's premiere, it's clear they're not paying that off immediately. I didn't really take issue with all the people cautioning him to make sure of his feelings before pursuing them. Most of them were right about Brennan's vulnerability and protection of it. But Sweets, I wanted to slap silly. He's such an idiot! Everyone around Booth and Brennan know they're in love with each other and have been for a long time. I love Sweets, but his idiocy was eye-rolling.

Returning Shows
How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory came back last night, and were okay. Castle was a nice surprise. The writing has gotten better, and the cast chemistry is more natural. The rest of the week brings Dollhouse and Numb3rs and Fringe, though the latter I have to catch up on DVD because I got bored last spring, apparently just as it was getting good.

New Shows
Replacing all my mourned cancellations, I'm adding Modern Family (I got to watch the pilot a couple of months ago and it was great!), The Forgotten (meh, but Christian Slater), and FlashForward, which has things in common with LOST but not the things you think. Well, okay, Penny is probably one of the things you think. :) I started watching LOST because Dominic Monaghan was going to be on it, and that's part of my reason for picking up FF. The rest of the cast seems fabulous, too, though that's not always enough (ref. The Nine and Daybreak). The little bits I've seen also make it look like it will be an intriguing show. Then will come V in November, but geez, why are they waiting so long?

So that's it. Did I miss anything worthwhile?