03 November 2020

What Crap I am Reading and Why I need to Write my own Books

It is November and that means NaNoWriMo! I have done this before, but never really stuck to it. This time I am working on a fantasy novel: young woman leaves a war torn land to go off in search of the man who is her father. Meets a dragon. Mayhem follows. (Bits will show up here.) 

Why do I want to write? I have these stories rolling around in my head. If I don't put them down on paper somewhere, they just keep me up at night. Also, I have read some crap books lately and I know I can do better. 

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So just yesterday I started and finished a book by Laurell K. Hamilton; her latest, Sucker Punchis a bit of departure from her usual vampire f**k-fests. After the last few disasters I swore I would never read another Anita Blake novel, then the library went and offered this with no wait time and I thought: what the hell. The problem I have had with most recent Blake novels was the sheer volume of excessive and gratuitous sex, coupled with limited plots. While there were no real sex scenes in this one Just fondling and inappropriate PDA), there was a plot. At first it looked like a pretty good mystery, too. But it got buried under repetitious whingeing and way too much discussion of everyone's sexual wants and needs. It is like Hamilton went through sex and relationship therapy herself and wanted to talk it all out in this book.

The Olaf/Otto character is just plain stupid. "Hi, I'm a psychopath who usually tortures women before sex, but for you, Anita, I will be a good boy. Let's give each other pet names." Laurell, honey, you can't spend all your time making him out to be a horror show creep in the other books to suddenly make him dating material in this one!

Then there are the cops who are overtly stereotyped. Fat dumb belligerent sheriff, 
crooked pretty boy murderous deputy, horny lesbian female cop. They get in their own way more than not. There was a start to a decent mystery here, but even in bum-f**k rural Michigan I can't buy it that the cops are this blind and stupid.

I think the Anita character description is pure personal wish fulfillment on the part of the author. But it doesn't hold up. If she is still 30 something and so sexy, so very beautiful, and so very very well trained, why does she have to keep reminding the audience how awesome she is? About 40% of this novel is Anita's angst juxtaposed with her smarmy over confidence. And about one quarter of the way through the book I was already bored with the constant explanations and descriptions of the who's-who of Anita's polyamory chain. This book spent more time telling us about Anita's "awesomeness" than actually demonstrating any of it. She doesn't solve the mystery even with multiple suspects right under her nose. Then she ends up killing the guy who was framed for the murder! And now she's lining up to have sex with the constantly returning serial killer!

But you know what bothered me the most? Anita can raise the dead! Why did she not just raise the body in the morgue and ask him who sliced him up???

I don't know that I would have read this one if my library hadn't shoved it in my face. I know I won't look for any more of them. Sad. I used to look forward to Hamilton's work.

14 October 2020

Today was Yoga day

I got one item on my To-Dos started today! 

I took a Virtual Yoga class with Magically Mae (Jennie Mae Casillas) of Mae U Be Wellness in Phoenix Arizona. This was a class offered through a program I signed up for: Womxn on Purpose!

Things I noticed: I am far stiffer than I was the last time I did yoga. My belly gets in the way of my forward bends! And I also noticed that I loved it. Breathing exercises, stretches, twists, meditation. 

I especially loved the breath meditation during savasana, which made me think of all the things I want to breathe out of my life (jealousy, pain, worry, fear) and all the things I want to breathe in to my life (creativity, beauty, love). I need to do this more! Maybe Wednesday will be Yoga day from now on. 

Magically Mae is awesome. She meets with you in Zoom. has two cameras on her at all times so you can see both front and side, and gives wonderful feedback about what and how you should be feeling! While you would have to be in the WoP group to take this particular 90 minute session, she also offers group and individual classes by the month. 

Here is a taste of Magically Mae in video from the Spirit of Yoga page in Facebook!

13 October 2020

My Task List and why I haven't written more, but need to!

 It has been four years since I posted here. In that time I:

  • traveled to France, twice, 
  • almost finished a master's degree in history (my fifth degree and my third master's degree) 
  • had my number of grandkids increase to 7 (three in Ohio, two in Arizona, and two in Australia!)
  • written twelve academic papers
  • written fewer poems (only 10), but started one novel (fantasy)
  • did a lot of gardening
  • put on weight
  • acquired some wrinkles
  • retired from teaching
  • dyed my hair red
  • and lived (so far) through a pandemic.
My summer has consisted of sitting on my porch reading, enjoying my gardens, and drinking coffee (in the morning) or wine (afternoon to evening). I think it is now time for me to get back to more creative writing. I have one Tumblr, three Twitter feeds, and two Facebook accounts; all of which have seen more writing from me than my academic or creative work. I have seven blogs: one personal, two professional, three themed: none of which has received much attention of late. 

Ironic that with all the at home time from the pandemic I have not done very much this year, besides gardening and reading books. Year to date I have read 146 books. Everything from ancient Greek literature to Regency murder mysteries to vampire romances. I can lose myself for hours in a good book. 

So here is my challenge to myself and my to do list for fall and winter: 
  1. Get rid of all the old paperwork: from classes, old handouts, exams, and household account stuff over 3 years old. Consolidate and eliminate some filing cabinets!
  2. Clean out the closets. If I haven't worn it in the last 3 years, it needs to go. 
  3. Clean out the kitchen cupboards. Why do I need 3 full sets of dinnerware and 2 full sets of silverware? 
  4. Start either selling books on Amazon, or give them to good homes. I am doing most if not all my reading on my Kindle. The only books I need in print are my reference or favorite ones. 
  5. Turn the 3rd floor library into a functional office. 
  6. Get the basement shower room fixed and functional again. 
  7. Get a plasterer in to fix the walls in the kitchen, upstairs bathroom, and staircase. (Oh, the joys of having a 100+ year old house!)
  8. Exercise more: Take a yoga class, walk 15 minutes per day!
I think that is it. Stay tuned for results.

23 December 2016

Pre-Christmas Crazy

Yesterday was a DAY.

Ran around and did errands. That whole you-waited-until-the-last-minute-to-shop thing that I do every year (even when I tell myself I won't). Someday I need to write a post about my procrastination habits. Like how today is December 23rd and I am just now addressing my Holiday Cards.

Hour long workout at the gym after errands. I love my trainer. I do. But I hadn't had a full workout since before the last week of school. And for the last two weeks I've been madly grading. While sitting on the couch. And it is the cookie time of the year. So yesterday I squatted and jumped and pulled up and slammed balls and lifted weights and at the end of an hour I was toast.

Then I went off to the Red Cross to donate platelets. Now, I donate blood all the time, but have never done the platelet thing before. How hard could it be? Sit in a comfy chair for two hours and don't move your arms. Blood out one arm into machine to be separated and red blood put back into other arm--easy, right? Apparently I do not sit still well. I kept setting off the machine's alarm. Sigh.

After 3 1/2 hours, exhausted, I go home to Best Beloved who (bless him!) made me dinner (new panini grill to play with!). Then I veg on the couch a bit, craving Bailey's but drinking eggnog (calcium and fluid, but no alcohol). Sore all over and, by the way don't lift anything heavy for 72 hours. But then Daughter and Granddaughter stopped by and who can resist lifting and hugging an adorable two-year-old? I did go early to bed. Today, however, I still feel like I've been beaten with a rubber hose. Arms sore as all heck, but is that from the donation or from the workout? (My trainer is a slave driver and he made me lift a lot!) 

Today more errands. Make cookies. Make pies. Precook dinner for Saturday. And then maybe to the zoo with Best Beloved for the lights at night.

Good news? I can now drink again.

23 July 2016

At the Chinese Night Market

Crowds are thick at the Night Market.

13 October 2015

Why I should not be allowed to Play with my Food

I got a connection request in LinkedIn today. I tend to connect with a lot of people in linked in; half of them are students I once had so even though I did not expect to be contacted by an engineer, it did not throw me off. After he messaged me, however, I looked closer and was amused at his profile.

Picture is of a thirty-something man in a nice suit standing in front of a a table loaded with lit candles (romantic moment?). The guy says he is a petroleum engineer in Houston, One degree (a BD!) in petroleum engineering (really? a Bachelor of Divinity in petroleum? wow!), which he received in 2003. But his work record starts as a "senior well control instructor" for Halliburton in 2000 (so he had an internship in a senior position?). For the last year he has been "self-employed" (warning bells get louder).

It has been happening for some time now, the false profile to pick up women. It is almost de rigueur on dating sites, and we ignore it as a matter of course in Facebook. But I never expected the fake profile move in LinkedIn. Here's what happened [name redacted to protect the guilty]:

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GD: It's a wonderful moment for me coming across your profile on here and i feel honored connected to you here while searching for my colleagues and believe me I've been caught up by your perfect smile and beauty and can't leave without sending my compliments across, believe me you look so beautiful and gorgeous and I would love to get to know more about you...What exactly keeps you this happy and beautiful? I do hope you would have a great and wonderful day as I do hope to hear from you soon. 

 Great Smile... G.

Me: Did you just hit on me in Linked In? WTW?

GD: Hello dear, Thanks so much for your responses regarding towards my message i really appreciate, i deeply apologize for writing this on your professional page as this is not a dating site. Well I think it was a great privilege to have met with such a wonderful woman like you,i have not come here to search for a woman but your smile and beauty has made me thought so many things.Am a single father, I've been caught up by your perfect smile and beauty,I just couldn't help but notice your charming, beauty and you look so gorgeous and amazingly sweet.with your beauty you have my complete and undivided attention,i like you JANA,and am so glad and proud to meet you,you are the kind of woman i want to spend the rest of my life with.if only you will give me your time and attentions,to get to know me more.you sounds so interesting and i will like to continue this conversation with you and see how it goes,pls feel free and ask me anything you need to know about me. 

 have a blissful day, G.

Me: You are right this is not a dating site. And people do not behave like that here. 

 I do have a question for you. Is this even a real profile? You have a poor grasp of the lexicon, as well as capitalization and punctuation issues--not what I would suspect of a professional person looking for contacts on LinkedIn.  

After a bit of close scrutiny I see that your degree comes from an Iranian university. You are "self-employed" (which is often code for either retired and consulting, or unemployed). A brief search tells me there is a G-- D-- in Houston who works in the petroleum industry, but he is 65+, married, and has a law degree as his first degree. If your picture is even close to accurate you are much younger than that. 

The speech patterns in your message are of someone to whom English is a second language but, although you list an Iranian university for your "BD," you do not list Farsi, Turkic, Arabic or any other languages besides English. This tells me you are being disingenuous (look the word up). 

Do you really think women are dumb enough to fall for the "you have a beautiful smile line" when you haven't met them and have only seen one picture? You come across as a scam. Get real, Dude.

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There may be desperate women out there, but for heaven's sake, even if you are desperate, do your research before falling for bullshit! And gentlemen (and I use the term loosely) you have to do better than this. Get the hell out of LinkedIn. 

26 March 2015

Con Man

Just signed on to the Indiegogo Fundraiser for Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion's latest venture. Let's pray it lasts more than one season!