Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Jumble of Nonsense

I was thinking. Yes, that's usually a sign that you need to duck and cover, but, sometimes, I just can't help myself. Usually, it happens on accident, and most of you are pretty far away, so you're probably safe. This time. These blog award things, theoretically, should spread geometrically and infect the whole blogging world. They don't seem to be doing that, so someone must have developed some sort  of anti-viral thing or something. I was also thinking that, for the first time in a really long time, I feel like one of those kids from The Cat in the Hat stuck inside staring out at the rain. I want to do something, but it's raining, still raining, raining to the point where they're beginning to wonder if it's going to have a negative impact on the grape harvest, this year. The house is all closed up (because of previously mentioned rain), 2/3 of the kids are gone, the one that's left is piddling around with Pokemon cards, I have no games on my computer, and I feel cooped up. Let me just say, that the feeling of being cooped up is not conducive to writing. Not even to writing blog posts. Unless, you know, you write about being cooped, which I'm  not going to do. Just thought I'd throw that out there.


In other news, I have some loose ends from this last week I need to tie up. Three loose ends to be precise. I suppose, with three of them, I should make a braid, but I never learned how to do that, much to my daughter's dismay. Not to mine, though. My daughter knows how to braid, but she's part of the 2/3 of the children that are presently missing, so I'm left to muddle through that on my own.

Thing Number 1:
I got tagged by Bess Weatherby to answer a bunch of questions. Part of this is to tag a bunch of other people, see what I was talking about? How is it that anyone escapes? Well, other than people getting re-tagged and stuff, but still! So here goes:

What do you think of when you the hear the word tag?
I think of TAG: The Assassination Game. I always wanted to play that. I mean really play that. I plotted about it with some of my friends when I was in high school, but we all went to different schools, so it just didn't work out very well.

Do you think you're hot?
Actually, no. I spend the vast majority of my time these days being cold. To the point of wearing a jacket in the house on a regular basis. Yes, I could turn the heat up and discomfort my kids, but it's just easier to wear the jacket and not deal with the whining. This is related to why I'm so tired of the rain.

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.
Um, I can't really do that. I used to have a Star Wars wallpaper on my computer, but a little over a year again, my computer got sick, and I had re-format it, and I've never put most of the stuff back on my computer. This is also the reason I have no games.

When was the last time you ate chicken?
Two nights ago.

The song(s) you listened to recently.
I am, at this very moment, listening to Phil Collins. I wanted to listen to Genesis, but, for reasons that remain unfathomable, wouldn't load the Genesis stuff.
I just want to add that I highly disapprove of all the anti-Phil sentiment that continues to run rampant these days. I realize that the market got over saturated with him back in the early 90s, but there was a reason for that. Because he was good.

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
Hmm... that I'd rather be playing Magic: The Gathering, at the moment. The fact that my younger son is sorting Pokemon cards isn't helping. Maybe even Risk, but he's right; it's just not fun with only two people.

Do you have nicknames? What are they?
Currently? No. Dad. I grew up Andy, not Andrew, which is me, now.

Tag 8 blogger friends:
Well, I'll do my best not to tag anyone else that's recently been tagged. And, I'm assuming, no tag backs.
1. Shannon Lawrence
2. Rusty Webb
3. Jennifer
4. Barbara Kloss
5. Alyssia Kirkhart
6. Marie Rearden
7. J R Pearse Nelson
and last but certainly not least, not by any means,
8. Michelle Davidson Argyle

Who's listed as No. 1?
Well, that's rather obvious to anyone that can read, which I'm assuming you can, since you're here. If not, well... Seriously, Shannon was the first person I thought of. I love her blog. I'm still waiting for her to let me read her book. I mean, she's read mine.

Say something about No. 5.
She lives down in my old stomping grounds. I empathize with the heat and humidity she's experiencing, at the moment, but I don't miss it. Well, maybe some of the heat, but certainly not the humidity.

How did you get to know No. 3?
Jennifer's blog is great. I love her sense of humor. And she always comments on my posts, so, really, how can I not like her? I strive to be included in her BBFs.

How about No. 4?
I stumbled across Barbara's blog post about Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkin and had to warn her away from the rest of that series before she got inescapably sucked into it.

Leave a message for No. 6.
Hey, how's it going? Thanks for letting me do that guest movie review. It was a lot of fun!

Leave a lovey dovey message for No. 2. [Hmm... maybe I should have planned out who would be where on the list a bit better than this.]
Rusty, I love the title of your blog. I've wanted to ask you this for a long time, but I've just been too shy, but how did you think of it? It's just sooo awesome!
[Seriously, I love your blog title.]

Do 7 and 8 have any similarities?
Now, see, I think 7 and 8 are getting the short end of the stick down here. They're both great ladies, and they both write, but this question doesn't leave any real room to talk about them. Individually. Everyone else gets a question all to themselves! Where's the fair in that?

At any rate, these are all great blogs. A few, well, 8, to be exact, of the handful of blogs I try to make sure I catch every post posted. Posting. Pasted? You should rush right over and check them out. And since I'm plugging their blogs, I'm also going to plug Michelle's book. Her book, Monarch, is due out in September. I'm looking forward to reading it. No, she didn't ask me to do that.

Thing Number 2:
Recently, I entered the Made of Awesome contest over at Shelley Watters blog. This was an interesting experience in that I got almost no comments on my entry. I don't know what this means. In perusing the other entries and posting comments on the ones I had comments for, I noticed that the typical entry had 30+ comments attached to  it, even for people who had fewer than 10 followers on their blog. I didn't see a single entry with less than 15-20 comments. Except mine. I got 3. Anyway...

The comments I did get centered on my first paragraph. Now, I like  this paragraph. I read the comments, I read my paragraph, read the comments, read my paragraph, waited for more comments, none came, and left my paragraph unchanged. Like I said, I like this paragraph. I'll even tell you why I like it, but not right now. Before I tell you why I like it and why I wrote it the way I did, I'd like some more feedback on it. Before, you know, I go to press with it. So to speak. Just because I like it doesn't mean it's in a state that's understandable for the general reader, so I'd like to know what you guys think about it. Pick it apart if you need to, but let me know what you think. I'm attaching the second paragraph with it, just so you can see where it's going, although, if you click on the tabby thing up top entitled The House on the Corner, you can read the whole first chapter. In advance, thanks!

The last bell of the school year is like waking up on Christmas morning. The last day of school waiting breathlessly in the dark straining for some sign of life out in the world so that you know it's time to get up. The bell finally rings and dawn breaks through the window springing you out of bed and three months of days lay glittering before you, presents waiting to be opened.

Thinking about those days of summer is all consuming at the end of the school year just like obsessing over Christmas presents all through the month of December. Planning. Anticipating. Day dreaming.

Thing Number the Last:
Because no one asked for it, but because I feel like posting it, I'm giving you the expanded scene from the Power of Tension blogfest. No, I'm not one of the finalists, but, then, I didn't expect to be. I glanced over many of the entries for that one before I chose which scene I was going to use, and all of the ones I looked at were... well, they all had either a vampire, werewolf, or hellhound stalking someone. Needless to say, I wanted something different. Not just not a vampire, but not a fight with a monster. So I chose a low level tension scene. One that was just creepy. I was very glad to see that not all of the finalists had to do with fighting some kind of monster. And, since I'm on the subject, here's my pick from the 6 finalists: The Bird Hater.
I didn't get as many comments on my piece for this blogfest as everyone else did, either, but I did, at least, break 10. heh Anyway... the expanded scene:

From the middle of the ceiling, hanging down on chains, was a large bowl. It was sort of cream colored and covered with little vines that started at the center of the bottom of the bowl and crawled up to the top. They had little leaves and flowers that curved off of them periodically. I guessed that must be the light, but I had never seen anything like it before. It made me want to try the lights or wake someone up to ask questions, but I knew if I did that, I wouldn’t get to explore on my own.

I decided, instead of opening any new doors, I would just use the one that was open. The one that led to the stairs. I stepped into the hallway and around the open door, pushing it almost closed. I didn’t want it to make any noise, so I didn’t close it all the way.

As I turned toward the staircase, a chill washed over me, and goosebumps broke out all over my arms. To the right of the staircase going up was another going down. The stairs started out wooden, just like the stairs going up, but, then, they turned to stone. The stairs just kept going and going down into the earth. Why was there a tunnel going underground in our house? I could feel the cold, damp coming up out of the tunnel and what felt like a long sigh. Without wanting to, I stepped down the first step. And, then, the next.

There was a low moan from the dark, and my heart started beating faster. My skin chilled as I broke out in a sweat. I didn't want to go down there, but I took another step anyway. I could almost feel the darkness on my skin as I took another step down. And another. And...

And I stumbled forward into a door, because there were no more steps. I was standing on a little tiled floor at the bottom of a short staircase in front of a door leading out of the side of the house. I felt weird. Kind of dizzy. Like I wasn't all the way in my own head.

Well, there you have it. I suppose I've rambled enough, too much, for one post. I hope a few of you held on all the way to the bottom.


  1. Okay, first thing's first: "Yes, that's usually a sign that you need to duck and cover, but, sometimes, I just can't help myself."

    I can totally relate.

    Seriously, this entire post lit up my jam-packed day of writing, laundry, contest judging, and editing, so I definitely wanna thank you for that. And for the tag/shout-out! I am most honored! Yes, it is hotter than H-E-double hockey sticks here in Louisiana. Not ten minutes into sweeping the floors, my hairline, neck, and the entire line of my back was sweaty beyond belief. Yuck!

    Thirdly (is it thirdly yet? oh well...), I adore your writing style. You have a unique voice, and that's commendable in a market full of same old-same old. Don't let anybody tell you different, aight?

    Magic: The Gathering... The hubby and I are ex-Everquest fanatics. Still tinker with it from time to time, but nowhere near how we used to. RPG anything, I love.

    Great post, Andy, Andy, Bo-Bandy, Banana Fana... Ah, well. You know. :)

  2. And omigosh, you are not gonna believe this, but In the Air Tonight just came up on the iPod.

  3. Hey Andrew! First, thanks for the plug on my Power of Tension entry!

    Second - did you say "on accident" in that second blog line? Hold on, let me check...yes, you did! Why am I delighted by this? My husband swears I'm the only one in the world that says "on accident" instead of "by accident". I never thought it was weird, and told him maybe it was a Louisiana thing.

    Third: I went back and read your Made of Awesome blog entry and the comments. I too was a bit confused by the bell and the transitions in the first paragraph. I love the first sentence. Immediately, I remembered sitting in class, no real work to do, waiting for the last five minutes of the last school day to be over. And when the bell rings, being set free.

    But when the description started taking about waiting in darkness, etc. I became confused. I went from thinking, "Oh, yeah. I totally remember feeling like that" to "Wait, what's going on? Did I read that first part wrong?". It took until "springing out of bed" to get me back into the story.

    I love the line about the Grinch. The part where you start talking about how they are moving is where I started to become involved in the story. Perhaps consider dropping the "moving" thing first, then bringing in the metaphor about it being like ruining Christmas.

    All that being said - these are just my opinions, and the story is yours to tell :)

  4. Hey, Andrew! I feel tagged, but not in the fourth grade recess way where the held-back-for-football jocks slap you so hard between the shoulder blades, you think your lungs are living in your feet. :)


    I'll run through these items on Monday after my Hangover 2 review. Thanks again for your take on Thor!

    Marie at the Cheetah

  5. Hi there Andy (do you feel 20 years younger now?) I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your entry into the Power of Tension Blogfest and thought it successfully created tension without being over the top. My guess as to why you didn't get many comments is that your entry was second last on the list and most people ran out of commenting steam by that time. But as I said, I really enjoyed your excerpt. Thanks for entering. :-)

  6. Okay so awesome those are some pretty random questions but I love to answer random questions. Thanks for tagging me:) Let me know when you're doing these blog fest things and we can all go over and comment the hell out of your posts!

  7. Alyssia: I'm glad I brought some light into your day :) And I commiserate with you over the heat. We always used to call my car "the oven" because it had no air conditioning. You's look like someone sprayed water on you from behind when you got out. Of course, there were days when it would be like that in anyone's car, air conditioning or not.

    I'm glad you like my writing. :) I'm still waiting to see yours!

    I used to play Everquest II, but that sort of ended in tragedy. That's a story for another time, though. We'll have to talk gaming sometime! :)

    "Tonight, tonight, tonight..."

    Sarah: Evidently we pronounce the word "insurance" incorrectly, too. My wife is always on me about that one. It's the only bit of accent I seem to have, though, so I'm trying to learn to say it CA-style.

    Thank you for your comments about that paragraph. I'm hearing them. I just don't have enough back, yet, to make a decision about it.

    Marie: Well, I wasn't ever much into tag. I was more of a kickball guy myself.
    And no problem on the review :)

    Cally: I enjoyed being in it. And I didn't really feel neglected for comments on your blogfest. After all, I did wait till the last day to post it. Thanks for hosting it!

    Jennifer: You're quite welcome. :) I'm looking forward to reading your answers!

  8. Thank you for the tag, Andrew! I am currently pondering a gutting of my book, but I'm letting it sit until the end of summer(ish--we'll see if I can go that long) so I can read it again and determine if I need to. Sigh. Once I've figured all this out, I'd love to have you read it!

    One of my childhood friends was called Andy, but he goes by Andrew only now. Even his twin sister (my childhood best friend) has to call him Andrew. I never had a nickname problem, as my name isn't really conducive, but I hate when people call my son Gabe (full name Gabriel). Bleah. I knew it would be an issue beforehand, though. I just liked the name too much not to deal with it.

    I must say it is a relief to be in Colorado right now. Even though we're hitting upper 80's, lower 90's, it feels so much better than Florida did last week! I'm not used to humidity anymore, despite having grown up in humid places.

    I have to agree with Alyssia ~waves~ that you should post when you participate in these things so we can go comment. Sounds like it was just the timing of your post, though.

    I forgot what else I was going to say, but it's [past]time for me to go make a Tuesday post.

  9. Woohoo! Tagged! Thank you! And thank you for the wonderful mention and plug for my book and blog. I'm blushing. :)

    I usually don't play along with tags, so forgive me if I don't do this one. If I have time, though, I'll put one up. :)

    I have a strange desire to now read The Cat in the Hat...!

  10. Shannon: My wife actually re-branded me Andrew. She had known this completely immature guy named Andy, and she didn't want the association in her head.

    And I know what you mean about nicknames for your kids. But, ultimately, it's up to them. My middle kid doesn't like nicknames, and he makes everyone call him by his given name. My daughter, though, loves nicknames, and her and her friends are always coming up with things to call each other. So much so that I can't keep up with them all.

    Michelle: Yeah, I kind of figured that you didn't go in for these kinds of things, but I wanted to plug your book and figured that was a good way to do it :)
    And you're the only person to mention The Cat in the Hat! I was beginning to think no one got it!

  11. So, I'm a little behind ;D

    And I DO appreciate the warning. You saved me DAYS of reading while simultaneously promoting all the other books on my list!