Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goodreads: Nightlight, A Parody

Nightlight: A ParodyNightlight: A Parody by Harvard Lampoon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like a good parody, but the key word there is "good." Many movie parodies are just dumb, and it's rare that I find a book parody to read, much less one that I enjoy.

However, the "Twilight" series seems to have opened itself up to several parody novels, including this one. In "Nightlight," Belle Goose is in love with Edwart Mullen, a strange boy who she believes is a vampire and will turn her into one as well. Belle knows she's popular, knows that no one actually notices when she falls over everything, and rubs herself in grapefruit juice because she knows that the scent makes her blood smell good to vampires.

The book was silly and entertaining, but that's coming from a person who is not a "Twilight" fan. Fans may not appreciate the blatant teasing of the original characters. I can picture people reading the book and thinking that the descriptions and metaphors are horrible, and that the writing is really bad. I can also imagine that some people aren't going to get the point that bad writing was the point of this book. It's meant to poke fun at the originals, which fact...badly written.

If you're not a "Twilight fan" or a "Twilight" fan with a good sense of humor, I recommend this book as a fun, quick read. If, however, you love Bella and Edward and think "Twilight is the best thing since sliced bread, chances are, you're not going to appreciate this book.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Difference Between Day and Night

I wouldn't say I'm a customer service expert, but there are a few things one needs when working in the customer service industry. Friendliness, patience, a working knowledge of your job, the willingness to apologize and make things right, and the willpower needed to keep from saying certain things to "difficult" customers.

Good customer service was the norm in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, it's more of a side note here in Kansas. Banks and doctors' offices are usually pretty good, but the general service we get from stores and restaurants is mediocre. There was also the incident at Applebees where our waitress gave us her whole life story. Trust me when I say that good customer service does not mean telling your customers everything they didn't want to know about your personal life.

The observation that brought about this line of thinking happened this morning when I decided to stop by McDonald's for breakfast. It was already a stressful morning because I had to get the tags for my car, and I was hungry and wanted a breakfast burrito. Our closest McDs has a history of messed up orders and workers who seem less than thrilled with their job. When we make a dinner McNugget run, the workers, at best, are uninterested, and are usually just annoyed.

But the morning workers? They're a different story. Two separate workers asked me how my morning was going, wished me a good day, smiled, and asked if I needed anything else before leaving. Maybe they were still fresh from a good night's sleep. Maybe the smell of early morning cooking grease and processed eggs does something to the human mood receptors...something good. Maybe they'd added something to the coffee that can't be found in a drug store.

Whatever it was, it was a nice experience. Maybe the service workers in Kansas collectively got together and decided that good customer service would not be the norm, but the exception that would occassionally brighten the days of us lowly, whiny, complaining customers. To be fair, maybe it's not all of Kansas. Maybe it's just THIS town.

Either way, thank you to the happy morning guys who made my breakfast experience a good one!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Share the Love Sunday

Here's some more of the fun stuff I read, watch, follow, and enjoy.

Planescape: Metamorphosis - The artist for this webcomic is actually a friend of mine and a player in my Sunday night DnD game. He's a very cool guy with a cool webcomic. He also does web design, so if anyone's interested, I can put in a good word for you. Eventually, I think he's going to do a page for me!

The Purl Bee - When I got back into knitting, this was one of the first pages I found. They have cute patterns for knitting, sewing, and other types of crafts, and their page is bright and fun. Honestly, it always puts me in a good mood.

A Year of Slow Cooking - I know I've talked about this page on my blog before. A couple years ago, Stephanie O’Dea challenged herself to cook in her slow cooker every day for the whole year. She still updates the blog with recipes and you can find all the ones she did during her project. I've made a few of her recipes and they always come out great!

If you want a shout out or want to give me ideas for new things to look at, please let me know in the comments.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self Promotion Saturday

I’m still waiting on two recent articles to be approved through AC, but they’ll hopefully show up on my Associated Content page soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to leave you with these little gems.

A Walk in Spring – This was from the AC Assignment desk . It’s a short story about spring. Not sure how springy it feels, but I kind of had fun writing it.

Product Review: Dragon Chow Dice Bags – Fellow gamers, if you want a cool looking dice bag, then check out Dragon Chow. I met the owner through Twitter and decided to finally break down and buy a new dice bag for Jon and I.

Blogging: Exhibitionism for a New Generation - My first ever AC article. Some of the stuff is still relevant.

I set two goals this past. The first is to have 300 published articles on Associated Content by the end of 2011. The second is to have 100 subscribers on my Associated Content page. So to help me get going on the second one, I decided to have a small contest. Anyone willing to subscribe to my page will be entered in a drawing for a ten dollar Starbucks gift card. Now I know ten dollars isn’t a lot, but it is a coffee and a snack with a little bit leftover. I’d like to have future drawings as well, but I’m starting out small.

If you want to be entered into the drawing, here’s what to do:

1. Leave a comment saying you’ll subscribe.

2. Send a message to my personal email at Put SUBSCRIBE ME in the subject line. I’ll add the email you use to my mailing list and you’ll get a notification whenever I publish something.

3. If you’re already an AC user just go to my page and click Subscribe.
I’ll draw on March 30th for the gift card and send it via email to the winner.

Rock on!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Writing Event: Script Frenzy

We're about a week away from April, and some of my fellow writers may know that April is Script Frenzy month. If you're not familiar, you may know of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which takes place every November. If you're not familiar with either one, here's the scoop.

The goal in November is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. The event takes out the work of editing and worrying what sounds good and what doesn't. You just write your little heart out and work out the details later. I've done this in the past and I've won in the past, but I gave up in 2010 due to time factors and computer restraints (Jon and I were sharing, so it was harder to get sufficient laptop time).

Script Frenzy is NaNoWriMo's little sister event. The goal? Write a 100 page script in 30 days. This can be a script for a play, movie, or graphic novel. This year, I'm going to write a romantic comedy screenplay. This seems to be the genre that most of my fiction writing defaults to and so should give me the boost I need to complete the project.

It's hard to explain to people who loathe writing why this is fun, but it's all about creating. I love being the ruler of my own world for a little while. I engage myself with my characters, get emotional, and watch as they develop...because most writers will tell you that once you start writing, your characters tend to have plans you didn't anticipate. It's fun, and having a deadline adds a dose of excitement to it.

After the Frenzy is over, some people will edit and submit their work to be published. Others will hibernate the work and proudly display their winner's badge. I'm not sure yet what I'll do. Probably the latter, because I tend to be lazy when it comes to the final product of my work.

If there are any writer's out there who want to give it a shot, let me know so I can add you to my friends list.

Good luck and happy writing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Water

We are currently without water.

The pilot light of our hot water heater broke and and maintenance can't find a fix-it kit. Therefore, we are now going on our third night with no hot water.

I can't take a cold shower. It's painful to me, especially when the weather is not yet "summer" weather. So we're kicking it semi-pioneer style, heating water on the stove, then ladling it into another container to do the "bird bath" option of cleaning.

Followed up with deodorant and body spray, this isn't a horrible temporary way to bathe. But I want a shower. I really want a shower. I don't even like taking showers. Don't ask why. I like being clean, but I don't like the act of showering.

But when you take away my water and my ability to shower...suddenly, it's all I want to do.

Here's to hoping we have hot water again tomorrow. I feel like I should request some sort of discount on our rent, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Knitting in Public: At the Bowling Alley

Last week I blogged about the opportunity I took during the Big Brother/Big Sister's bowling event to get some knitting done. Let me say that a game of bowling is perfect for getting a few stitches in. Even if you don't bow out halfway through the second game like I did, when you're playing with several others, the time between your turn is great for getting a couple rows done and still pay attention to what's happening in the game.

My project for this event was a basket weave scarf. This is the first time I've done basket weave. It's a really pretty pattern. After getting part way through it, I wasn't sure if I liked the way the sides ruffled and thought maybe I should have done a garter stitch border. However, now that it's a little longer, I realize that that ruffled look is actually kind of charming.

That yarn is Lion Brand Cotton Ease from my stash. It knits up well and is nice and soft. This picture not only shows the project, but also some of the hazards one might face when knitting at a bowling alley: grease and beer. However, no projects were dirtied in the making of this KIP. Just proceed with caution if you're going to mix the elements.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Share the Love Sunday

Yesterday was all about promoting myself. Today, I want to share the blogs, writings, etc.  of other people I follow. I don't have a huge following, but I do follow some awesome people with fun blogs, so check them out!

Scraps of Life - Sarah makes me want to scrapbook. I have yet to try it, but the things she creates are adorable and I love looking at her pages. Not only is she talented and creative, but her daughter makes the cutest model for her creations.

Adventures of a Silly, Silly Girl aka Sassypants Knitter - I heard Fru's podcast before I read her blog, whether she's talking or writing, this girl is so cute! She's a fellow knitter who also crochets, games, and motivates with her fitness journey. I recommend both her blog and her podcast.

Domestic Chaos - Ashley is a mother of a two year old who embraces her duties and attitudes towards parenting to the fullest. She's a strong advocate for breastfeeding, and her honesty is striking. She's also a freelance writer who's working on becoming a novelist. I have first hand knowledge of her fiction and she's an amazing writer.

I'll be doing more of these in the future, so if you'd like me to check out your blog (if I'm not already reading it) and give you a shout out, give me the link in the comments, or email me at I'd love other suggestions as well, and don't be afraid to just say "Hey! I want to be promoted!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Self Promotion Saturday

Saturday seems like a good day to share some of my other writings with anyone who reads this blog. Most of what I'm going to share will be articles I've written for Associated Content. However, during writing events, like Script Frenzy or National Novel Writing Month, I might share some fiction for feedback and/or calls for beta readers should I move forward with anything I write.

Feedback is good, and even if you just want to skim the article, page hits are awesome!

Lords of Acid and Angelspit come to Kansas City - This article was just published this week and was from the concert I attended with a friend of mine last week. The concert was alot of fun. I was introduced to Lords of Acid in college, so I was familiar with their music. Angelspit and their opening act, Radical G, were both new to me, and I found that I really liked their music.

The Lunar Eclipse - I remember writing this on a whim when I lived in Oklahoma City right before the occurrence of a lunar eclipse. It involved a little bit of research and finding out some interesting factoids about the phenomenon.

Sault Ste. Marie, MI - Sault Ste. Marie will always be a place I think of with love. I went to college there and stayed for several years after, and I still miss the summers. This was one of my first articles written for AC.

I'm always looking for new subscribers at my content page as well. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Goodreads: Feed

Feed (Newsflesh, #1)Feed by Mira Grant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a little late to the zombie bandwagon, and to tell the truth, I'm still not fully in fan with. I like the random zombie movie and book, and if there's a "Tweet like it's the Zombie Apocalypse Day" on Twitter, I'll join in. But unlike my husband, I am not a zombie enthusiast and have never appreciated them as anything that could be multi-faceted.

"Feed" takes the concept to a different level. This isn't your standard story about zombies walking around eating people's brains. In the post-Rising world that Shaun and Georgia Mason live in, George Romero is hailed as a survivalist hero and bloggers are celebrities of the media world. When the Mason's blogging team is chosen to follow a presidential hopeful on the road, they're thrilled at the opportunity of a lifetime.

Things on the road get dangerous, however, when someone starts targeting the candidate's family and the blogging team for assassination, using the same virus that has spread over the world and turned so many people into zombies. The blog team finds their ratings going higher while their assignment tests their ultimate survival skills.

This book is not a simple story. The future setting is a detailed one that the author developed well. The idea of blogging becoming a main source of news isn't far fetched as even now, blogs play an important roll in how information is distributed. Even the Kellis-Amberlee virus is believable, and so this book goes from being a fun zombie read to an account that makes the reader go, "Wow, I can see how this would happen."

I don't like to give spoilers, but I will say that this book brought out all kinds of emotions in me. I definitely recommend it as a good read, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Newsflesh series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Special St. Patty's Day Edition

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I wore green today. I enjoyed a work potluck. I will not be drinking green beer or attending a parade, but I had a good day and I'm ready to relax.

Who's feeling lucky today? This girl!

I'm lucky to have a wonderful husband who does more for me than I'd ever be able to ask for.

I'm lucky to have the family I have. For better or worse, they've shaped my life, they've taught me important lessons, and they've given me alot of great memories. I love them all.

I'm lucky to have great friends.
I'm lucky to be gainfully employed.
I'm lucky to be able to knit.
I'm lucky that I have a love of reading and writing.
I'm lucky that I have an ability to write well when I put my mind to it.

I'm lucky to have had all the experiences I've had in the past and to be able to look forward to all the ones in the future. I'm lucky that I am 90% happy with who I am in general and 100% happy with who I am on the inside.

I joked with Jon the other night that the reason we were destined to be together is because we're polar opposites on the luck scale. He finds money on the street, always seems to win something with instant scratch off tickets, and always wins something on our rare casino trips. I tend to lose money doing all three.

But where it really counts, I'm truly blessed in what I have.

Hope you all have a great St. Patrick's Day and may the "luck" continue for the rest of the year!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good Causes: Bowling for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

This post is coming a week late, but better late than never.

Last week, Jon and I joined our friend E and her husband in the local Big Brother/Big Sister bowl-a-thon fundraiser. Though it's been years since I've bowled, this was reminiscent of the fundraisers I did with my sorority for our philanthropy.

E did all of the fundraising. Our part was volunteering to be on her team, though we did pledge some money for the cause. The deal was two hours of bowling or two games, whichever came first. The organizers fed us chips and salsa and pizza and I managed to win a door prize. I opted for a free drink from Bluestem Bistro which I will use when I finally get my butt there for Manhattan SnB night.

I actually won the first game, but my game went downhill in the second game for a few reasons. My arm was fatigued by that time, so I wasn't throwing well at all. If you think bowling isn't a really physical activity, try doing it when you're out of shape. Besides the arm thing, I ended up hurting my knees. Awesome. Instead of finishing my second game, which was turning out to be a gutter game, I let Little D finish it out for me.

All in all, we had a fun time and I was able to get some knitting done between frames and I felt good helping out a good cause.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

It's been awhile since I've done this, but I figured I'd try it again. It's mostly an effort to keep myself on track when it comes to writing and getting myself out there. It might reek of spammy spam, but please don't feel like you have to click on anything I share. 

For a little background, I've been writing articles for a few years now through Associated Content. I dabbled in Triond but kind of put that to the wayside and started with Demand Studios (submitted my first article for editor review tonight, in fact). Most of my AC income comes from page views, so the more people who read my stuff, the higher that amount is. Also, even though I don't usually like to draw attention to myself, writing is one of those areas where I kind of like showing off. This doesn't mean all my stuff is good, but I appreciate readers and feedback. 

When I self promote, it'll probably be with old articles and stories I feel I want to share, but I'll also post new things I publish on AC as well. I hope this doesn't come across as annoying, and if it does, I just ask that you bypass the post. However, if anything strikes you as interesting, please feel free to click the link and check out the article. 

Five Basic Steps for Buying an Airplane

Dream House - A Short Story

Slow Cooker Recipe: Nacho Cheese Chicken

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Word on Napping

Inspiration for this post came from two sources: this blog with the actual article, and that blog from my Google Reader which lead me there. Go read them, check out the blogs, then read my own take on napping.

I love naps, but I think they take some practice. The quick energizing nap? It never happens for me, at least not these days. In college and while I was working at Glens, I would sneak out to my car on lunch and take a nap. I don't recall too many instances where I overslept past the alarm, and I had awesome co-workers who were nice enough to come out and wake me up if I didn't show back up when lunch hour was over.

At that time, the need for those naps came from really late nights of partying. In general, I could stay up late, sometimes all night, and go work an eight hour day at the store without thinking too much about it. Yeah, it was uncomfortable, but I didn't have the headaches and nausea I have now when I don't get enough sleep. Those hour long naps, while not used after every late night, were extremely helpful in getting me through the rest of a day.

The other naps I took and take are those that happen in the afternoon when the urge to sleep comes out of nowhere. When I'm at home, I can give in to that urge. I always tell myself that I'm only going to lay down for 20 minutes, but it never happens that way. I end up sleeping for a minimum of three hours. While those three hours feel great, and I wake up feeling pretty good, it always leads to not being able to sleep later that night.

Reading this article has made me re-think the concept of the nap. Would I be able to get it right if I just practiced? Would it really be beneficial if I could slip out to my car on lunch and take a nap before finishing out the work day? I go through phases of exhaustion, and lately I've been feeling pretty run down. I would love if a little extra sleep could give me a pick-me-up.

I'd also love it if I could perfect the nap to help me focus on my writing and the courses I'm taking through my job. I have to take my test soon, and I'd prefer to do well instead of having to retake it. Maybe that miracle nap will help me retain and remember the ins and outs of food defense.

I'll be thinking about a plan of action for nap time to see if this really works. Mid-day car nap could be good, though it's kind of dependent on weather. I also wonder how an after work nap would fit in and if it would still let me get to bed at night if I really and truly limited it. If I can get this to work and become a professional napper, I'll be sure to share the results.