Nov 29, 2007

courtesy of Canpnwacky


A list of the Pet-Peeves of Pirates

'Hook' always beats rock, scissors, and paper.

Those chicks who shop at Hot Topic who are all "oooh, I love pirates!" but then when a real pirate tries to pick them up at the pretzel shop they're, like, "ew, you smell like halibut!"

Peg-leg termites.

When someone snaps the strap on your eye patch.

Fourteen consecutive losing seasons, no pennants since 1979.

When certain other pirates say they're into "plundering and pillaging" and you try to explain that they're being redundant and then they stab you in the eye.

Not being able to wear those amazing new prosthetic hands because other pirates would make fun of you.

Pranksters teaching your parrot words like ‘fluffy’ and ‘rainbow’ and ‘I’m with stupid.’

Idiots actually trying to balance fifteen men on a dead man’s chest.

People who say "CaribBEan" instead of "CaRIBbean."

Accidentally scratching your crotch with the hook hand.

Boys who look like Mary Martin.


When someone forgets to mark which direction is north on a treasure map.

Low-flying woodpeckers.

Metal hook hand, electrical storm ­ you do the math.

Those hideous Captain Morgan commercials.

Having to stay below decks just to avoid killing everyone on ‘talk like a pirate day.’

Doubloons won’t fit the snack machines at most ports.

Finding pants that look good with one long and one short leg.

Having to share a name with geeks who, rather than murdering and pillaging, illegally download Ashlee Simpson songs.

Converting Pieces of Eight to decimal system is too much math.


Star-struck parrot won’t stop saying “AFLAC!”

Parchment always gets stuck in the photocopier.

Crate & Barrel doesn’t really have very many good crates or barrels.

Stepping into a knot hole with your peg leg.

Being expected to fight every Ninja you see makes Bridge night uncomfortable.

None of your people seeing a dime from those Long John Silver restaurants.

Those times when Doctor Doom kidnaps the Invisible Woman and then uses her as leverage to force the rest of the Fantastic Four to go back in time to steal a bunch of your treasure.

Stuck with parrots because pot-bellied pigs have poor sense of balance.


Nov 28, 2007

What about Huckabee?

Mike Huckabee. Arkansas Governor. Baptist preacher. A flawless record of pro-life, anti-gay-marriage stands. A moral leader; making his political decisions seemingly based on personal conviction.

So why have republicans/media been ignoring him? Because nobody thought he could win.

Well, now his poll numbers are soaring in Iowa. He's almost at the same level as Romney right now, who is far and above (or was) all other Republican nominees in his poll percentages. So I thought I'd dig around and say what I think about MIke.

I like him. In the republican debates, I find I agree with him more than I don't. Here's a basic summary of his stands and how I feel about them:

1) The war in Iraq is a necessary battle in the war on terror, and we have to win it even if it means staying in Iraq for another fifty years. (I strongly disagree... though I also disagree with people who want to immediately withdraw troops. I think we need to continue to give this surge a chance until it is actually apparent we're failing, which it is not, right now.)

2) We need a completely new plan for healthcare. Health savings accounts should be available to all americans. (I agree. This is a different take on universal access to healthcare than Barack and Hillary tout, and perhaps a better one? We don't know, because all new plans are experimental at this point, anyway.)

3) It is our moral duty to do all that we can to halt or reduce global warming. (I completely agree. What, a republican candidate that actually says he believes Global Warming exists? I'm speechless!)

4) In general, Abortion is morally wrong. There are a lot of moral dilemmas involved in this issue, and therefore states shouldn't legislate about it. You can't legislate morality. (I agree. I think.)

5)Illegal immigrants should be deported if they are caught, and they shouldn't recieve welfare or voting rights. But the children of illegal immigrants should have access to healthcare, public school, and be eligible to apply for college scholarships when they graduate from high school in the U.S. (I like his compassionate stance on immigration. However, I'd like to hear more about possible routes to legalize illegal immigrants, or at least, grant them a chance to legalize themselves through legitimate means.)

6)We must become independent of Saudi Oil. We will do so within ten years. This means also pursuing all forms of alternative energy (nuclear, solar, wind, etcetera).
(I agree).

Overall, I think I might like Mike better than Mitt, actually. I definitely like him better than Rudy. If it ended up being Mike vs Hillary, my vote would go to mike. If it were Mike vs Obama, I'd have a harder time deciding. If it were Mike, Obama, and Ron Paul as a third party candidate, I might have to pray a lot.

Woudln't it be fun to have a president Huckabee?

The light of my life, the Joy of my existence

I don't blog about my family much lately. I've noticed this. I think it's because my family doesn't stress me the way other stuff does. Not in a big way. I'm a good mom, and my kids are good kids. Skywalker is a good husband. And not in a boring way at all. My life is awesome, and it's because my family makes it that way.

So today I thought I'd write about them, or more specifically, about my oldest daughter, who doesn't get her fair share of the blogging space, usually.

Just the other day, we had parent-teacher conferences, and her kindergarten teacher told me that she's been rated at 172/200 for proficiency in all the skills that they teach in kindergarten. I have no idea what numbers mean (and to tell you the truth, I usually don't worry too much about them), but the teacher told me that on average, a kindergarten student scores around 70. I guess to emphasize to me what he means. It was one of those moments for me, this teacher looking at me across the table, realizing (once again) that Loli is a special kid with unique needs and abilities. All kids are, of course. But this is MY kid. My special, unique kid with amazing talents and skills, and endearing weaknesses and challenges, too. I get to help her. How blessed am I?

This doesn't mean Loli doesn't benefit from kindergarten. Holy cow, she's become so much more social, she loves going, she loves re-learning stuff and learning new stuff (she talks to me sometimes about rectangular prisms and I pretend I know what she's talking about). I guess I just have to say that I've always known she's a unique kid, I've always known (from the time of her birth) that she's an extremely intelligent person, with a completely unique personality.

She had to grow up fast. Because of some difficulties that happened to us as a family, she was put in childcare at 9 months, and it was full time by the time she was two. She switched caregivers every year or so, and this worried me, except I never left, so she had me. I think this is what saved us; we had each other. I had to be sane and functional and productive and responsible despite my youth and the huge blow of all that happened, and she had to trust me to take care of her; and also be a little more independant than most toddlers. Sad in a way, amazing in a way.

Today, she is an amazing blend of kid and little adult. She loves pretending, she does it without embarrassment. She loves art and making stuff. She loves her my little ponies and dress ups.

She talks very maturely with the kids on the playground when they say mean things or push each other. And then she plays a crazy game of pretend involving the slide and monkey bars.

She talks about rectangular prisms and then wants me to read her "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street."

Quite a kid. A wonderful companion, a champion friend, an amazing and (mostly) agreeable older sister, and an agreeable and (mostly) obedient little daughter. I can't imagine life without her, and I can't imagine being more grateful for someone in my life...

unless of course, I think of my other family members. I'm extremely grateful for ALL of them.

Nov 27, 2007

Danged if you do, danged if you don't

So you all know by now that I have a manuscript resting with Covenant. They're late getting back to me, and I'm trying to just be patient. But at the same time, it's getting on my nerves a little. Is this normal, I wonder, to be two and a half months outside of the time that was originally given to me as to when they'd be letting me know about my manuscript? Do all authors, with all publishing companies experience this?

Added to this, I have a certain set of extended family who has published with Covenant before and found their practices of royalty distribution less than ethical (if they discount the book, they take it purely out of the 15 percent due the author, not as a percentage out of all the royalties due everyone, they take lost/damaged/return books out of author royalties as well), and has warned me that they will want me to sign a contract (in the case that my manuscript is accepted) granting Covenant first refusal rights to any manuscript I ever send out to publishers in future.

Writers out there... tell me. Is this a normal demand? Are these practices of taking losses (marking down prices, lost and destroyed and returned books) out of only the author's percentage normal? And do most publishing companies expect first refusal rights?

I don't want to send them all my manuscripts first, particularly if first refusal rights means I have to accept any and all changes they may want to make to any manuscript I send them or else they'll sue me for looking somewhere else.

All these things have me thinking hard, have me worried. And at the same time, I desperately want Covenant to take my book so I can be published. Getting published by a publishing company is such a big break. It hardly happens to anyone who writes, or at least, it usually happens after a long string of refusals.

I'm just feeling so schizophrenic about this. It's affecting my writing... I get tired of it a lot quicker right now, I think because I'm associating stress with it. Argh.

Advice, people, please. Even if it's just, "snap out of it, surfgirl. The world is not coming to an end, the sky is not falling."

And dang it, I can't find people to give me feedback on my manuscripts. My family takes them and then doesn't read them. I want real feedback! But it's not like I write short little poems that I can place on a professor's desk and ask for feedback, these are books. They take time to read. Who can I impose on other than friends and family? And friends and family just don't understand fully, either that or the fact that I write is somehow... I dunno. Threatening to them? I have a lot of friends/family writers. I think that, if i were in their place, I would be resistant to reading a friends/sisters/daughter's manuscript because I would feel jealous that I hadn't finished one myself. I can see it so clearly, because that's how I would feel, and what I would do. Dang my artistic hippy renaissance family, and my informed and literate friends!

Just kidding. Sorry. Small vent.

Creative frustration is a [not going to say that word.]

Nov 25, 2007

Brit's twins?

How weird.

I'm really not sure whether I can believe this is true. I mean, I cannot imagine a social worker approving Britney, given her current stressors, not to mention her custody battle with her husband and various traffic violations (still unresolved).

I can only conclude that our newsreporting has gone downhill as blogs pick up on cheap publicity by falsifying things, such as Zahara Jolie-Pitt's birthmom desiring to regain custody. (I was so mad when I read those articles. Dang it. I need to just stop reading this stuff.) But I guess we'll see what happens with the Brit.

Nov 23, 2007

Delicious Vegetarian Enchiladas

Here's a recipe I just discovered/tweaked into vegetarianism. It's really good. NOt really good FOR you in the sense that there's lots of fats, but better for you than normal enchiladas in the vegetable usage department. Here goes:

Vegetarian enchiladas

flour tortillas (at least 10, medium size)
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz package of fresh mushrooms, chopped
2/3 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of spinach, chopped
1/2 cup of mozzarella (or you could use cheddar, but it's not as yummy)

take the mushrooms and onions, saute them in olive or vegetable oil until they're soft. Toss in the chopped spinach, stir around, take off the heat only when it starts reducing a little, getting a little soft.

Put above ingredients in a bowl, add 1/2 of the can of enchilada sauce and 1/2 of the can of cream of mushroom. Mix.

Fill up the tortillas with this mixture, rolling them and lining them up tightly in a standard baking pan, if you're making less, use a smaller pan, if you're making more, use a bigger one. It's nice to be able to fill up the whole pan if possible.

Combine the rest of the green enchilada sauce and soup concentrate and pour over the top, getting all exposed parts of the enchiladas moist.

Scatter the mozzarella across the top.

Bake at 350 until the cheese is very melted and the insides have warmed up.

As a side: chop tomatoes, lettuce, and a little onion into small pieces, mix together. Goes very nicely with the enchiladas.

Yummy, family friendly... my kids love this one. If you serve with a side of salad, you'll probably get all the veggies you need for dinner. :)

Nov 22, 2007

Congressman Ron Paul and Deep Fried Turkeys

Do you know what they have in common?

Cult popularity. Seriously. There are people who take an entire Turkey, every thanksgiving, and immerse it in a 600-degree vat of oil. Apparently you have to be careful or you might set yourself on fire. But then, that's probably part of the appeal. To certain people. Certain segments of the population. (OK. I mean Men.)

Most people are not willing to risk their Thanksgiving turkey experience by trying something so new and, well, dangerous. But I've heard people describe deep-fried turkey in the most glowing of terms... the melting in the mouth, the delicious flavor, the crisp outer skin (OK, Dave, I know you're cringing right now. Just to let you know, my non-dark side is cringing right along with you.) Who would deep fry a turkey?

Ask yourself this question, and then ask yourself another...

Who would vote for Ron Paul? I mean, sure, he has a cult following. He is described in glowing terms, as well. Certain segments of the population (John Birchers, Hippies, Independents who are fed up with our current foreign policy and bloated beaureacracy) are attracted to him. But why take the risk? Why risk something so traditional, so important, so monumental as a primary caucus by voting for someone who 1) only has 2% of the official poll count, and 2)wants to do away with the UN, wants to immediately pull our troops, not only out of Iraq, but out of South Korea, out of everywhere, and instead have diplmomatic/trade relations with these (possibly nuclear-arms packing)countries?

For me, it's all about the pendulum swing, my friends. I'm not one of those outrageous Ron Paul supporters who spams every mitt romney ad with negative comments and who gets flustered when someone makes fun of him or flings 911 in his direction. But dang it...

I like him. He's honest. And you know what else? He's a Chance at Breaking Free of this Increasingly Ugly Battle Between Two Political Sectors Who are Pretty Much Just A Reification Of Themselves, And In No Way Represenative of What America Wants.

(How's that for an acronym? CBFIUBBTPSWPMJROT, AINWRWAW.)

So, if you're even slightly interested, you really ought to try some deep friend turkey this Thanksgiving. After all, if one risks nothing... yeah.

Nov 17, 2007

It's just a needle...

I have to give myself shots every day when I'm pregnant. I've done it with the last two, I've been doing it with this one for the past 6 1/2 months.

People have asked me, "how do you do that to yourself? How can you stick a needle in your own skin?"

I asked myself the same question, the first few times I had to do it. I stared at the packaging, stared at the needle with it's little cap, stared at the bubbly medication inside the tube of the syringe. I stared for a good ten minutes, then brought the needle to my skin a few different times before I had the courage to actually stick myself. I'm no herculean sort of person when it comes to needles... I'm actually a lot more queasy than most people.

How do you do it? You think to yourself, this hurts a lot less than a blood clot would. It hurts a lot less than an IV pump. It hurts a lot less than a pulmonary embolism, and in a much more close-to-home sort of way, it hurts a heckuva lot less than labor.

I do my breathing exercizes, practicing ignoring the pain. It really does work. But you know what I have discovered, this pregnancy, works better?

*read ahead only if you're not going to be offended*

"It's just a needle, dammit."

I don't swear. Not a swearing kind of girl. It makes me blush to be writing this on my blog. But for some reason, one of my first injections this go-round was taking a few times to work out, and I just thought at myself (maybe even said it aloud,) "It's just a needle, dammit!" And for some reason, it was just fine. Ever since then, this is the mantra I repeat in my head as I look at that teeny, tiny tube of metal that I have to stick in myself. It works. I've tried dang it, and dang it just doesn't cut it the way dammit does. Why? I don't know.

It also works for blood draws. Just the other day, I had to get my platelet levels checked, and they brought that huge ol' needle up to my vein and I thought, "It's just a needle, dammit," and dang. It hardly even hurt much. Seriously.

So, I'm not saying you should swear as a rule, or as a habit. I think, really, this is about perspective, about not taking yourself and your nerve endings too seriously. SO the next time you come upon an unbearable task of some sort... maybe you could try it. If you're not too offended by the idea, that is. :)

Nov 13, 2007

A great piece of advice

"For all who would write good poetry, three simple yet fundamental things are needed: first is a concern for artistry of language and form; second is some significance in the content; and third is a controlled harmony between language and content—the synthesis that makes art. Inexperienced writers tend either to concentrate too much on diction, neglecting thought, or to concentrate too much on thought, ignoring style. The better way, of course, is to be equally concerned about matter and manner, substance and style, what is said and how it is said. The danger of thinking only about what is said is that everything may come out trite and obvious, and the danger of concentrating too much on stylistics is that sincerity may be lost and self-conscious artiness may take over. Balance in writing, as in most things, is the key, and the successful poet will equally control words, ideas, and emotions—in fact, will recognize their inseparableness."

--Bruce B. Clark

Nov 12, 2007

Black & White & Shades of Grey

If you follow personality theories, you find that it's sort of fun to compartmentalize people. That sounds bad. What I mean is, sometimes it's interesting to view yourself and your interactions with others through the lens of someone's view of people and the world.

The color code, for instance. According to this test, I'm Blue and white, about equally divided, with a bright streak of yellow and a nice little smudge of red.

According to another, I'm an INFP.

What do these things mean? Really, unless I give them credence, absolutely nothing.

But things like this can really be informative to a point. For instance, my "blueness" as percieved by the color code author would clash with someone else's "redness," and in fact, I do tend to clash with people who have the described "red" traits.

I also clash with people who tend to think in black-and-white. OK, this is my real point. If I were to compartmentalize people at all, and I only do this for my own convenience: to make me feel better about negative feelings I have sometimes and to help me know how to better interact with someone I just ain't clicking with--

I'm pretty sure I'm a grey thinker. I really can't believe that someone is a bad person, or that someone is a good person. I can't make myself believe that there are decisions that are inherrently right, or inherrently wrong. I believe in a few absolutes, but I have a hard time even with those. This can interfere with my faith sometimes. I really have to humble myself, to realize I don't know everything, in order to accept absolutes.

Some people like absolutes. They see right and wrong as divided along a firm line. Cross the line, you're wrong. This decision is on this side, this decision is on that side. Period.

We need both of these kinds of people in the world. Well, any personality theory will say that it doesn't favor one kind of personality, actually. And yet you can tell, the guy who wrote the color code really didn't like reds. I'm explaining this whole black-white-grey thing to you, and obviously I don't really favor black-white thinking. So you're going to have to take my interpretation of it with a grain of salt.

At any rate, there are both types of personality on both sides of my extended family, and I have to grit my teeth a lot to keep from saying things I'd regret. I get more angry than I like to get. But only at my family members. Isn't it wierd how that works? A stranger, a coworker, even your best freind can say things and you push them aside and forgive and don't really feel too bothered by it, but if it's someone in your family, it's huge. Why is that? Shouldn't we be more forgiving of our family? I think for me, it's hardest when a family member dissappoints me. I love them all so much, I expect them to be perfect.

Sigh. I'm betting I'll be able to dispell that piece of black-and-white thinking with the wisdom of age and experience.

So, on a lighter note, I have thought long and hard about truth for most of my life. I want to know what is true, and what is not. I really WANT the black and white, but I can't ever believe that it exists. It's a strange fight, in my mind.

Ulimately, the only absolutes I have ever found peace in believing are these (and excuse the religious references if it offends you):

1) God lives.
2) The Holy Spirit is real.
3) Absolute truth comes only by means of the Holy Spirit.
4) Right, Wrong, Good and Evil are decided by God (not us)

5) God has a plan for me.

Does this make me a bad Mormon? I don't think so. Because the Holy Spirit has brought a lot of truth into my life. I'm constantly second guessing myself, but God knows this and helps me by constantly reaffirming truth to me, through this means.

Thank God I have a long time left to live and wise up. And that I have a long time left to learn how to relate to people who see the world differently from the way I do. Especially those within the circle of my own family, because forever is a long time.

I'm curious, what are your absolutes? If you have the time, list up to ten in a comment here. I'd love to read and think about them.

Nov 8, 2007

Ugly but useful.

I take voice lessons from a teacher I've had for four years now.

It has been a long, painful road, rediscovering my singing and loving my voice. I had a bad experience in college which left me completely in doubt of my ability and even enjoyment of singing. This teacher that I have now is... what can I say. An amazing teacher. Skilled, capable, and loves singing and performing and helping people to get better, even if they have absolutely no ability to carry a tune. In his mind, singing is a whole package: voice, performance, feeling, execution. He has this theory:

there are two kinds of voices in the world. Oops voices and Ubu voices.

Oops: the One and Only Opulent Sound.

Ubu: Ugly but useful.

He describes it as a continuum; a famous opera star like Placido Domingo or Pavorotti would be close to the Ooops side, and someone like Bernadette Peters would be very much on the Ubu side.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I will never be an opera star, or even a noticeably skilled classical singer. My field is belt, and I do it well. And I love it, and people like to listen to me. It's a different skill set, not one usually appreciated by a college voice teacher, especially if you're trying to get into a classical major.

Anyway, lately we've been singing Christmas songs. It's magical, that music. Hearing it, sitting around at about 7pm after the sky has become black outside. Everyone's faces are lit by the lamp over the piano. Somewhere, a pine-scented candle is burning. The familiarity of carols and other songs: Lo How A Rose E'er blooming. Jesu bamino. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella.

My sister has a beautiful, sparkling soprano voice. I listen to her sing and a piece of me is jealous and a piece of me isn't.
The largest piece of me just loves to listen to her.

Nov 3, 2007

As soon as you say you've seen a UFO...

People probably aren't going to take you seriously ever again.

Dennis, I respect your honesty. Really, I do. The public can be brutal about certain things. But then, I guess it wasn't the greatest chance that you were going to get the nomination, anyway, so, nothing lost.

I just hope that, should I ever have a similar experience, I won't be called upon to admit to the experience on national television.

Mormonism, UFO's, Cleavage... this election is really spiraling downward, IMO.