Sunday, January 27, 2008

True Confession Time

Okay, time to come clean.

I'm not much of a TV-watcher, really. The last time I watched something on network TV was when I played along to "Jeopardy" on the afternoon of Martin Luther King day, which I had off from work. I've never seen an episode of "American Idol." I think I've seen one episode of "Survivor" and that was only because my pals Beth and Barb were visiting and they didn't want to miss it.

About the only shows I insist upon watching regularly are "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Aside from those offerings, I'm more likely to surf the movie channels than anything else.

But, yeah... I've been hooked on my share of trashy cable TV offerings, including "Flavor of Love," "Celebrity Fit Club," and a short-lived show that featured b-list celebrities hunting ghosts in notoriously haunted buildings--a show that I don't even remember the name of (but it was pretty unintentionally funny).

Blame the writers' strike on my latest embarrassing TV addiction: MTV's weekend marathons of "America's Next Top Model."

I'm not proud of that--but they say the first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one. Here is the problem: Once I surf onto one of these shows in progress, I must stop there and watch. And watch. And watch. No matter that it is about the most shallow, vacuous show ever. No matter that almost all the aspiring models are dumb as posts. No matter that every cycle follows the same pattern, down to a regular viewer (which, I guess, is what I have become) knowing that only five girls get to go to the international fashion city of choice for that go-round, or that the infamous "go-see" episode always occurs when the field has been winnowed to four supermodel wannabes...

What is the attraction? After all, I'm about the least fashion-forward person ever... (although I will cop to the fact that I own a hell of a lot of shoes).

Well, where else on TV will you hear a pretty young thing admit that she didn't know how to react when the photo-shoot director told her she "looked regal" because she didn't know what regal meant? Where else can an apprentice fashionista confide in you with the utmost confidence that she's so jazzed to be posing with an elephant because it IS part of the dinosaur family? And the go-see episodes are singularly amusing for the way the challenge exposes the utter lack of common sense and basic map-reading skills these glamour gals possess.

But that's not the attraction. Well, not the main one.

It certainly isn't the cliquish, middle-school mentality that prevails in the posh digs where the contestants lodge during the weeks they are involved in the show. Really, how much of a revelation can it be that these pretty girls are catty and jealous and do bitchy things like pouring another contestant's energy drinks down the bathroom sink in retaliation for a couple of disappearing granola bars or writing "Clean Up Your Shit" in the surface of a pan of just-baked brownies (these sticks eat brownies?) because the girl who baked them leaves dirty dishes in the sink?

No, that's not the attraction either.

Nope. The attraction is the pictures. The photos by which each girl is judged at the end of each show. They are quirky and fascinating and (probably the biggest draw to a magpie such as I) very often involve lots of sequins and spangles and sparkles. Also, I rarely can fathom the criticisms leveled at the photos by the panel of "expert" judges--so often they will pick apart a photo that I think is stunning, only to laud one I think is lame in the extreme.

That, and I find that I'm a sucker for the elimination angle.

Suckered in, that's me.

I'm not proud of that.

But maybe now that I've confessed, I have a slender hope of recovery...

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Friday, January 18, 2008


109,207 words. 394 manuscript pages. The first draft of Half a Mountain is safely nestled on my thumb drive, just in case anything should happen to my trusty Mac.

It seems strange, knowing that I have finally written that last line, placed that last end mark.

Oh, I know the REAL work starts now--going back and reworking and puzzling over why in the world I thought this scene would work here or how I could have possibly thought that THAT scene belonged anywhere at all. But for right now, I'm going to pour a glass of wine and put my feet up and revel in the glow of this milestone.

Whoo hoo!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Quick Update

I know, I know. I've been neglecting the blog of late.

It's not that I don't have anything to say... it's that I'm trying to finish the novel and get that draft to Jeff by the first of next month. And to that end, I've been writing diligently.

In fact, this evening I passed the 100,000 word mark.

Now, with only slightly more than two chapters left to write, it stands at 361 manuscript pages and 100,125 words. And it's only taken about 14.5 years! (Well, not ALL, or even MOST of that time actually was devoted to writing. I'm not THAT pokey.)

Of course, once it is finished, I have to show it to people.

And that's scarier than writing it could ever be.

Don't worry--I'll let you know when it's done!


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Twelfth Night...

And Christmas is officially over. Time to take down the tree and the other decorations. Time to return the sunroom to its usual state as a place to sit and relax. And to work out on the Nordic Track. Sigh... it always makes me a bit blue, taking down the tree. It's so pretty. But it's also really depressing to keep the tree up too long after Christmas is over, so take it down we must and turn our attention to the new year.

So, Happy New Year!

This is what greeted us on New Year's morning, so my first official act of 2008 was shoveling snow. It wasn't all THAT deep or heavy, though, so I can't complain too much. It sure was pretty!

So, what has been occupying me this first week of the year? Writing, some. I have (as far as I can tell) four chapters left to write on the novel. I'm going to try to finish it in a week/week and a half. Then I'm going to read back through it and tweak. I'm reasonably sure I can get it to Jeff for his feedback as promised.

I've also been busy repopulating my iTunes library and iPod playlist (one only--so I can shuffle it to work out to). I finally figured out (with Jeff's help) why my iPod was full to the brim with less than 200 songs, when it is supposed to be able to hold at least three times that number. I had been uploading songs as huge files! Duh! So I got rid of those huge files, and I'm now uploading what I had again and more. It's exciting to know I'll have so many songs to work out to, but it's taking a while to replace and add.

I also bought us our own copy of Veganomicon. I bought Rachel a copy for Christmas and before I sent it to her, I browsed through it a bit. The recipes look fairly easy and they seem as if they would be tasty, but it was the breezy, engaging writing that made me want a copy for myself. We're going to try to make one of the recipes each week. Neither one of us can commit to veganism, or even to a constant vegetarian diet (go without bacon? I do not THINK so!), but we both think we could do with healthier dietary options.

So... that's about it for now. Although I have to recommend that if you have NOT seen Ratatouille yet, do yourself a favor and do. It is one of the best films I've seen in a long, long time.

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