Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Indies Unite for Joshua Challenge

 Indies Unite for Joshua +George Mark House = An Awesome Cause

Psst. You. Yeah You! Come over here. You heard of IndiesUnite 4 Joshua? What do you mean ‘No you haven’t’? Well are you a fan of helping at least one person kick cancer in the A**? Would you like to put up to fifteen dollars in the fund and best of all they wouldn’t even be your dollars?

Well have I got a deal for you. Because you can choose to do one of two things right now that could send fifteen bucks their way. Sound too good to be true? It ain’t. I can promise you that. So what is it that I’m asking you to do that will *magically* put fifteen bucks into the Indies Unite 4 Joshua campaign?

That’s easy:

  1. Send out some twitter love to George Mark House. (What? I can have layers, and ulterior motives. So sue me.)

    Let me explain:

    If you’ve been around my site for any length of time (although to be fair, who has? Heh) you know about my love of George Mark House.(Don’t know about them? Here’s their website. Want to know what they’ve done for my family? Start here or just click the tag George Mark House and see my archives on the subject.) They are a wonderful organization that helped me and also helps families like Josh’s, who are struggling to manage their own care of a life debilitating disease or disorder. They help pediatric patients with a variety of issues in a variety of ways, up to and including respite care, transitional care from hospital to home, and last but certainly not least, palliative care issues. But of course that’s not all they do. They aren’t just a pediatric hospice house, they are also; A place where a mini-horse can be in a patient’s room, a place where a camel makes house calls, a place where special needs teens can have their own prom and a place where families who have lost children can go to remember those they’ve lost and celebrate who they are, and that’s just to name a few things that they are.

    So what does this have to do with Indies Unite for Joshua? Well I’m all about spreading the love around. And based on the people I’ve met during the Indies Unite for Joshua campaign, I know you are too. You people have generous hearts and unbridled energy to match. So this is what I’m proposing. I want as many people as I can to know about what they do and who they are so that they get the notoriety and hopefully the funding they deserve and need to keep their doors open.

    So tweet the following:

    George Mark House helps children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Learn more about them: #GMCH @tyliag

    Get your friends to do the same. If I can get twenty+ individual unique people to tweet this and send it back to me by the end of day Friday, the deadline being right before the spreecast party, I’ll give Indies Unite for Joshua a five spot. If I can get fifty+ people, Indies Unite for Joshua will get a ten spot. All you have to do is show George Mark House some love and its money in the bank.
  2. Write a blog post about George Mark and send me a link. You can link one of my blog posts if you want, or you can link that awesome story from CNN about them, or better yet, send Ben Tuller and his awesome documentary about George Mark House called A New Way Home some much needed recognition. If I can get five people to shout out to George Mark House on their blogs by Friday’s spreecast party, Indies Unite for Joshua will get another five. Please note that since I don’t have Facebook, I won’t be counting Facebook links or mentions to the five+ total. I totally encourage you to put it on Facebook, and if you can, please do, but Facebook pages won’t count towards the total.

    So there you go. I know I’m only giving you less than two days to accomplish this but I’ve seen what you’re capable of en mass. I know you’ve got the ability, now go out and do it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: Tears of the Broken

When it comes to books, I rarely tee one high and swing for the fences because I’m a writer too and I know somebody somewhere could do the same to me and you know what? Writing is hard work and I should acknowledge that, even when I’m reading books I don’t particularly enjoy.

But sometimes a book so monumentally bad comes along that it leaves me no choice. So, without further ado, lets get into this:

So, stop me if you heard this one. I just read this book about a girl who is DIFFERENT and UNIQUE and just moved from her small town to another small town and who meets a boy, a MYSTERIOUS boy who she is ENEXPLICABLY drawn to and who is ENEXPLICABLY drawn to her in return, but this boy is MYSTERIOUSLY MYSTERIOUS and HAS A DEEP DARK SECRET! And that secret is that he happens to be… wait for it…. A VAMPIRE who is a hundred years old, but the girl still loves this weird teenage looking freak and has to reconcile those feelings to be WITH HIM! And she doesn’t care that he sneaks in her room at night because he likes to WATCH HER SLEEP. And they are IN LOVE and their HEARTS ARE ENTERTWINED FOREVER!

Sound Familiar? No, I didn’t read Twilight again. I’m not that desperate. Instead I read Tears of the Broken by A.M. Hudson, which is a cheap knock off of the Twilight series in just about every way imaginable. This book is what would happen if somebody took all the major conceits from Twilight and put it in a blender with pointless dialogue and half-baked plot points and hit pulse.

And the resulting glop is not palatable at all, not in the slightest. 

So here's the plot in a nutshell. A girl (Amara Rose) has to move halfway across the world after her mother and baby brother pass away in a car accident. She's forced to live with her dad and step family and go to another school. She meets a boy, David who is intriguing and who she falls for immediately but he has a secret he can't tell and has to go away. She falls apart because she's in love with him and can't bear losing her family and then him too and it goes all sideways with the teen angst and pointlessness from there.

And I mean POINTLESSNESS. Dialogue gets repeated almost per vatem in some places and certain plot points get totally overlooked or completely stalled so that they can be answered in other books, maybe? There’s the whole hullabaloo about Ara having her best friend (a boy) come stay with her family that gets started and then postponed. Then there’s this big masquerade ball that gets mentioned but also stalls. Yes I get that there needs to be some set up for other books in the series, but this book shouldn’t be all set up and no action. And that’s the really bothersome part. There is actually no pay off at all to be had in this book. There was no climax that I could find, no poignant message to be derived from the drivel, it was just aimlessness, and it was aimlessness that I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to its better counterpart, Twilight, and that’s not saying much, because Twilight, fine I’m just gonna come out and say it, ain’t that great to begin with. It’s good, it’s interesting, but it ain’t that great.

While reading, I didn’t check the publication date, so I tried giving this book the benefit of the doubt, like maybe it didn’t rip off the Twilight series wholesale in hopes of scalping some of its readers. Maybe it came before it and Meyers decided to perfect the idea, who knows right? Nope. No such luck that. Hudson even goes so far as to make a comparison to her version of a vampire and Meyer’s version, to wit:
“Well would you expect anything less than fear, David, You’re a dangerous creature. You’re not a Cullen.”
And the emphasis was even the author’s, like she was drawing us in all “see what I did there. And to top that all off there’s even more baiting:
“Great books, though.”
“You read them?”
“Of course.” He breathed out.
She even half-assed her compliment to the books she’s ripping off. Who does that? It’s all just cheaply wrought, which would really piss me off if I didn’t get it for free (Thanks Free Book Dude!). As it is, I feel like the author should’ve paid me to read it, because it felt like WORK that I really didn’t want to do at all. I powered through about 75% of it, and when I got to the last 25%, and I realized the pointlessness of it, it took all of my readerly discipline to finish it. There were several times where I sat the book down and gave it the most massive eye roll I could affect. Because it was eye roll worthy, and very cringe inducing to the point of distraction.

Now that I got all of that out of my system, and because my momma said if I can’t say something nice, I should say anything at all, I’ll attempt, in probably the same half-assed manner as the book was written (heh) to give this steaming turd pile a couple of compliments.

The one thing that I liked about this book is that the main character had the good sense to be disgusted by David (THE VAMPIRE) and repulsed by his feeding off of humans. That drove me nuts about Bella in Twilight, that she’d just accept it and him full-heartedly. That always struck me as odd. At least Ara was not into it, even though it didn’t last long, at least there was some well placed trepidation in play.

Also, the other part I liked was the scene underneath the auditorium stage. It was torrid and flirtatious and when I got there I was like “Finally! Something I can eat up with a spoon.” But it took forever to get there and it fell flat because of all the glop that was before it.

So, in summation, if you feel like you need a book that you could tee up high and send to the rafters on your pure hate fumes alone, this book should be right up your ally. Otherwise skip it. Final Grade: D! Minus! I’d give you an F but that would only mean having to see you in summer school!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Short Story: Pool Mishap

She knew she should unpack and start a load of laundry, but the Texas heat was unbearable. She’d unpack later in the evening when the heat subsided just a little. She hadn’t been home more than 12 hours but she was itching to get out. Not that there was much to get out to.  The ranch house was five miles away from anything resembling a town, and there was nothing to do in the town anyway.

There was one thing to do. The Country Club pool was open and chances were that she’d run into friends. Actually, chances were slim that she’d run into any friends, because she had only a handful in town and those that she had weren’t likely to be at the pool. But chances were pretty high that she’d run into people she’d just graduated high school with and small talk with them was as good as anything she was going to get.

Her best bikini was still packed though and finding it meant unpacking. She had last year’s suit tucked away in her room but she didn’t feel much like digging for it either. She decided she wasn’t going to swim and she’d go to pool  in her t-shirt and cut-off jean shorts instead. Plus, she still had the earrings she got on her trip, and she didn’t feel much like taking them off. She’d sit on the edge and dip her feet in instead. She grabbed the keys to the old truck left out in the drive way, wrote a note for her parents to find and left it on the kitchen counter.

The old truck was unbearable on the best days, and excruciating to get into on a hot day like the day she was currently experiencing. The air conditioner wasn’t in the best of shape and took forever to cool down the interior, but she took her chances anyway and plodded her way to pool.

Her friends, as expected, weren’t there, but some familiar faces were. Chad Henderson was manning the lifeguard tower. A few kids that Tara had spent considerable time babysitting and their parents happened to be hanging by the pool. She smiled and waved to a few. Christa Summers, a grade younger than her and someone who didn’t make her want to tear her hair out was lounging in a patio chair by the pool. She was as good a person as any.

“Oh my god Tara, you’re back.” She almost shrieked. Tara sheepishly waved and made her way. “When’d you get in?”

“Last night.” Tara smiled. “I should be unpacking but…”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Internet Intern Wanted

Alternate titles for this post include:

Internet Tutor Needed.


Hey you, nerdy teenager with impeccable computer skills and no social life! Yeah You! I have a job for you.

Here's the thing. When it comes to this internet thing, I could use some guidance, or more like a swift kick in the but in the right direction or directions I should be pursuing when it comes to this internet stuff. Because its not stuff I'm automatically going to seek out on my own. I mean, how long have I had this blog and how long did it take me to embed a freaking video?

And that? Was easy, but it was still something I was timid about doing for about a bajillion reasons, because what if I embedded and it broke, and how would I fix and .... blah-blah-blah-I'm-a-neurotic-techno-weenie cakes.

And of that one thing that I attempted, there's about a million things I have not attempted because I just don't know enough about it  and am timid enough not to seek these things out on my own. Here's a list of things that I want to know:
  • Uhm, how exactly do I set up an RSS feed, and should I really? I mean, the websites I read daily, well I just go there, but is RSS an easier way to keep up with it all? And how... do I do that... exactly?
  • Tweet Deck, Hoot Suite? Any of those things? Worth using and signing up for? And if so, how do I use them? What's the proper way to use them?
  • I've never used a photo-posting service on Twitter. How do I do that exactly and which one should I use? 
  • Edited to Add: Anybody know how to create lists in twitter so that my timeline isn't so crammed all the time? I thought I heard that you can customize lists into categories and put certain users in them so that they aren't automatically viewed in your timeline. This would be immensely helpful, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Any ideas on getting it done would be mightily appreciated.
  • Lockerz, what exactly is the point and should I sign up?
  • Spotify, better than Pandora? Should I look into it?
  • What the hell is Klout and should I sign up?
  • I still don't have a Facebook page? Should I bite the bullet already and sign up?
  • Is Pinterest worth my time or is the rage over and done and has everybody moved on to something else?
  • Is there really a point to Four-square that I should know about?
And these are just the questions off the top of my head. For every one I just came up with, there's probably another ten I can't recall. And these are questions that time has told me I'm not necessarily going to answer for myself on my own. I mean, embedding video took me how long???? Seriously.

So what I want is some enterprising young youth to lead me around the internet by the bullring and show me what's worth my time/what ain't and how to set up and run the stuff that is worth my time. Otherwise I'll probably stay in the self-inflicted dark ages.

Any answers to these questions? Care to shed a little light on my internet usage dilemma's? Have a son or daughter who needs an eager reference? Cause I could use the help. Beuller? Beuller? Frye????

Friday, May 11, 2012

Since When did Writing become Hard Work?

The internet kind of freaks me out ya’ll. And I’m not just talking about Chat Roulette and fetish sites either. I’m talking about the myriad of posts I’ve run across in the last few months about all the work I’m supposed to be doing as writer/blogger/producer or media/consumer of media that I’m just not doing.  

It’s stressing me out a little bit. Because here I am, having written a book that I’m trying publish (admittedly half-assedly) and I’m aware of all the stuff I should be doing to get it published but now I’m suddenly really aware of the nine-bajillion other things I should be doing and it kind of makes my brain want to explode. Not only do I need a great synopsis/pitch, and my first three chapters have to be awesome, and blah-blah-blah-get-your-crap-together-cakes. I got that, well not in the since of actually getting it, but in the sense like I’m supposed to get it.

But now there are other things, like making sure my marketing/public image is consistent, that I’m doing enough to be ‘out there’ and be known. Heck I’m not even doing enough to create posts on my own blog but now I’m being told that I should think about guest blogging on other people’s blogs to leverage my own name and you know that it’s a lot of work, even the idea of breaking out as a writer and making a name for myself.

Not that I didn’t know that already. I mean, I watched my mom’s book languish and I’ve seen the issues she’s had self-publishing and self-marketing, but thanks to all these other blogs (Bad Red Head Media and Rachelle Gardner’s blog to name but a few) I feel REALLY overwhelmed. Like Really, Really, Really Overwhelmed.

Since when did writing become such hard work? I always just thought if you wrote good things, and you enjoyed what you wrote, things would fall into place (although, the readership on my blog would beg to differ, heh!). And it’s not like I didn’t know being a writer/blogger/producer of media isn’t work, and that there aren’t pitfalls/issues inherent to this process. But now I’m acutely aware you know? Like REALLY aware, and that awareness ain't making things any easier.

I know I’m not doing enough. I know there’s several things I could be doing to maximize my readership as a blogger and I definitely know there’s things I could be doing to maximize my book’s exposure (but I haven’t edited it for the thirteenth billion time? It’s not ready yet!) And I am taking steps to try and do that. I bought a writer’s package at Indies Unite 4 Joshua, which is a step in the right direction and already Indies Unite 4 Joshua has put in contact with some amazing people, although I don’t know if they know I have a book yet, but hopefully soon they will. I’m dipping my toe into the pool at least, maybe kind of? No?!?! Fine Internet! I know I’m not doing enough! Pipe down so I can watch videos of cats playing piano instead!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Mother's Day Challenge

For the first time in about three years I’m not dreading Mother’s Day. In fact I’m kind of buoyant about the day, probably because I have so much to celebrate. I have beautiful 7 month old daughter, a husband who loves me, and although I have complaints (all small and tedious) they all fall away because I am so happy in this life.

A far cry from two years ago around this time, huh? The First Mother’s day I had to endure after Ukiah’s death was something else wasn’t it? My scars were so new back then, so fresh and aching from my son’s loss. If there’s anything I could go back and change about that day, it would be my answer to the bagel guy. He asked if I was a mother and because Ukiah was gone and technically I no longer had anything to quote/unquote “Mother” any more, I said no. I should’ve said yes. Just because my child was no longer there doesn’t mean I’m still not his mother, or that my mothering instincts, my ability to give motherly love is no longer there.

Just because my child was gone should not have kept me from stating I was a Mother, because I am a mother to all children who need love, especially to those who need extra love and that is never going to change.

I try to go to Yoga class once a week. Every week my teacher asks us to come up with an intention for our Yoga practice. My intention is always the same, that my love, my wonderful motherly love that I have in spades finds its way to child who needs it. I always picture the Children’s Hospital NICU when I think this, all the tiny premie babies struggling to maintain their breath, beautiful babies having to endure prodding and poking and all manner of challenges just live and I send them my love. I think about George Mark House and all manner of special needs children who might be in their halls and I send them my love, because I have it to give.

We all have it to give, stores of motherly, fatherly, grandmotherly, grandfatherly love. Even if you aren’t a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather yet, you do have the ability to tap unknown depths of love and compassion you never knew you had. And you should look at those limitless stores of love you have within you and do something with it. It doesn’t have to be profound and life-changing. Even the simplest acts of love and compassion can do something incredible.

And I guess that’s the challenge I’d like to offer this Mother’s Day. Yes we should all tell our mothers that we love and appreciate them, but we as mothers should also do something with those stores of love we usually reserve for our own children. Send it out into the universe, either silently or with direct action. Acknowledge that that love you have for your own child is so vast and beautiful and amazing that you can give it out freely, especially to children that need it.

Unfortunately we’ve become overly possessive about love, but its not a possession so much as an element, and just like the elements of earth, wind, water, and fire being for all people and beings, love can be for all people, beings, and things.

Tell something you love it today, a bush you encounter on your walk, the hills and mountains that may be part of your every day scenery, one of your child’s students who may be going through a tough time at school, somebody who might be acting mean because they are having a tough day and feel the need to act out. Tell them you love them unreservedly. Motherly love is the freest, purest, most abundant version of love available. This Mother’s Day, instead of making the day about receiving love for who we are as mothers, we should give that Motherly Love as freely as we possibly can to as many as we possibly can.

Volunteer somewhere for the day, make a donation (To George Mark House perhaps? Or to Indies Unite for Joshua?) tell everyone you love them, even people you don’t know. Dig into those vast depths of love and send out as far as it can go. You’ll be surprised how fast it can be restored.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Shower Fart Obituary

No, before you ask, this is not one of my Made Up Band Names post, because as band names go, this one would be kind of weak, I have to say. (Like what genre of music would a band have to be in to pull this one off? Joke Gothic? Clown Metal Punk? I have no idea.) No, this is literally a thing people would’ve needed for me today. I would’ve needed an actual obituary that explained that my cause of death was a shower fart cause that almost totally happened. I can see this alternate reality in which this obituary would’ve been written.

“The Bloody Munchkin died on Friday, May 4th, of head trauma related injuries after she let out a fart in the shower that was so potent that it caused her to faint, fall in the shower, hit her head hard enough that she lost consciousness. She was found several hours later by her husband. The cause of death was immediately identified by the potent whiff of fart left lingering in the air. She is survived by….”

The Eulogy would be outstanding:

“I want to talk about The Bloody Munchkin, beloved wife, mother, shower farter….”

And the Epitaph. Oh the Epitaph! Can you imagine?

THE BLOODY MUNCHKIN May she RIP ones for all Eternity

This was almost a thing that actually happened today. I mean it was real touch and go there for a second. Let me explain how though. So I have this not fun at all cold that has left my sinuses in a ruined shambled. My sinuses have become the olfactory equivalent of Thunderdome. Two go in, but only yellow snot comes out. So the smells that come in my system are trapped there for the time being.

So I’m in the shower and I fart. This itself was touch and go. The gas hit me with such force and so abruptly that I wasn’t quite sure what might be coming out of me at that very moment. Caught off guard and with my sinuses left defenseless, I was unprepared for what did come out of me. Eu De “dead skunk stuffed inside a rotting zebra carcass” might be putting it mildly. Actually, a better description might be what my dog’s breath smells like after eating what ever’s been lying on the ground in the hot sun for three days followed by a grass burp chaser, but since you’ve never had the displeasure of knowing what that smells like (wish I could say the same, but I’m not that lucky) you’re just gonna have to trust me when I say it was pretty bad. So bad that my head spun for a bit and I had quite the hard time getting my bearings, so I swayed a little bit. It was that powerful. I had to lean on the shower wall and hack up a lung for a while. It was not pretty.

And somehow this alternate reality popped into my brain, and I thought how embarrassing it would be if I actually went out like that. I mean, it would be my luck to go out like that. I think I’m genetically wired to go out or at least get injured in the clumsiest way possible. My mom broke her wrist on her way to our porch because she was reading the paper and missed a step. She also recently bruised some ribs because she stumbled over a crack in some pavement because she was changing the song on her iPod. The less said about some of my more clumsy moments almost leading to my death the better. There’s something about my family tree that leads me to believe I won’t go out in a blaze of glory or even a romantic, consumptive way, but I’ll be doing something totally random like tying my shoe or trying to cut up some vegetables and then I stop paying attention for 3.2 seconds and boom! Curtains!

So I guess this my friendly reminder to live everyday to the fullest because you could be taken out by your own shower farts. You’re welcome. 

And in light of news that Adam Yauch, AKA Beastie Boys' MCA just passed away, I'd like to reiterate that life it incredibly too short. I feel like a piece of my childhood just died. In fact I haven't felt this bad about a celebrity since Pat Morita died. Cultural touchstone people! I almost thought about not posting this, but given MCA told me I had to fight for my right to party, I really don't think he'd mind much.