Month: October 2012

Updates

  • I’ve started watching Friday Night Lights. It really is as awesome as everyone says. YA + football + great television = Kristan’s dreams come true.
    • Also, Gaius Charles (aka Brian “Smash” Williams) is a Carnegie Mellon alum! Supposedly he landed a recurring role on this season of Grey’s Anatomy too.
  • Work-wise, I’m still editing my manuscript. I am really, really proud of the finished pages, but it’s taking me a long time to get them to that place. My feelings on that… (sigh) are a balancing act. On the one hand, I need want to be patient with myself, with my process. On the other hand, I need want to find a way to achieve the high quality at a faster pace.
    • I’m sure Andy and my parents would appreciate that too.
  • After several months of experimenting with various training techniques, things with Riley are going a lot better. We’re both exercising more, and his food aggression is way down.
    • In case anyone’s curious, the breakthrough came when I realized that if I held onto his food dish or kong, he didn’t get as possessive of them — probably because I literally had possession of them. So I’ve been using that as a springboard for testing his limits, and rewarding him when he doesn’t react to my taking the bowl/kong away.
  • I’m not going to put blogging on my to-do list anymore. If I have something to say, I will say it. If not… well then.

To end, a short story:

The E and K keys on my MacBook have been mildly broken for a couple years now. (My fault entirely.) Last week, the E key busted completely. Now, you can imagine what typing without an E is like. So I MacGuyver-ed a quick fix: I took the rubber nubbin out from under the Control key and gave it to the E. Then realized I might need the Control key, so I took the rubber nubbin out from under the Eject key and gave it to the Control key. That meant the K was still at 80%, the E was hovering around 65%, the Control was working near 100%, and the Eject was sadly at a 0. This would do for now, but obviously not for long.

The next day, I made an appointment at the Genius Bar, told them my sob story — which amused a couple of the Geniuses — and about 20 min later, they had all 4 keys working like new. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have a fully functioning keyboard. It’s so wonderful, in fact, that I’m going to pretend it doesn’t bother me that the replacement keys they gave me are matte while the rest of my keys have shiny spots from my clicking them so much.

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Stuff worth reading

“Loud, Ugly, Wild, Free” by Veronica Roth

For me, it doesn’t really help to decide to write a shitty first draft and let that be the end of it, because it goes completely against my nature and the core of my person— it’s too hard for me, in other words, to just say “oh well. It’s going to be bad.” That means traveling too far away from who I am.

I think, instead, that I should try to make it as BIG and as LOUD and as CRAZY as possible. Just like in voice lessons, when I was honking out those notes as loudly and as comically ugly as possible, like a goose with a throat infection, and somehow, I found my way to something more beautiful. The trick for those of us who are such strong perfectionists that we can’t even conceive of writing something deeply flawed on purpose is not embracing error but embracing something else: freedom.

 “Why Lady-On-Lady Hate Makes Me Sad” by S.E. Sinkhorn

I couldn’t see this for what it was when I was living it, but now that I’m more removed (and frankly way more involved in social issues and being a real live woman), I see this for what it is. It’s internalized misogyny, ladies. Not only that, it’s self-hatred. When you truly believe that ALL or MOST or even MANY other women are *insert all negative stereotypes about women here* and that you alone are unique because you are more “like a guy” and like more “guy” stuff, which is better and more interesting than “girl” stuff? You are hating your own sex/gender. You are divorcing yourself from anything that might be considered feminine and seeking approval from men in the context of maleness. You’re saying “even though I identify as a woman, I’m not like a WOMAN-woman. I’m like a *cool* woman who likes non-womanly things.”

“Things I’ve Learned” by MJ Levy (a college classmate & friend)

  • The fear of humiliation is a powerful motivator, but it can’t be the only motivator.
  • Your first idea is probably the wrong one, but even if it isn’t, you have to prove it.
  • Your uncertainties are just as valuable as your certainties.
  • Completely objective criticism is impossible, but try.
  • Finding the right problem to solve is harder than solving the problem itself.
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5 years

Dear Puppa,

It’s hard to believe you’ve gone from this…

riley in arms

To this…

riley 4 point 5

But I have photographic proof, so it must be true.

Sometimes I wish you could have stayed the adorable little fuzzball we brought home from the shelter forever — purely for the cuteness factor. But really, you’re a great grown-up dog (most of the time) and raising you has been a challenge, a journey, a joy. Thanks for licking my face when I’m sad, licking my face when I’m happy, and licking the floor when I drop food. Here’s to another year of kibbles and cuddles.

Love,
Your Momma

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TV Talk: Character

Spoiler level: Low. Highlight or hover over the white text to read spoilers.

Scandal
2.01 – “White Hat’s Off”

If you, like me, somehow found yourself rooting for the completely inappropriate romance between Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant, then First Lady Melinda Grant probably isn’t your favorite person. She definitely isn’t Fitz’s. But of course, they’re bound — by marriage, by kids, and most of all, by political ambition.

It would be easy to demonize Mellie, to write her off as a power-hungry, selfish bitch who’s purposely standing in the way of true love. But the truth is, she tried to let Fitz have his cake and eat it too; it was the cake (Olivia) who refused.

What’s really interesting to me is that Mellie and Olivia are so similar, and yet one is our heroine, the other (arguably) an antagonist. They are both clever, manipulative, self-sacrificing, and headstrong. They both want Fitz to succeed, because they both believe that’s what’s best for America. They both have softer sides that they don’t often show.

My two favorite scenes in the Season 2 premiere belonged to Mellie, and together they illustrate how wonderfully complex she can be. In the first, she declares her unborn child to be a political tool (“bless its heart”) and then asserts her opinion on a bit of foreign policy that Fitz is struggling with, verbally taking him down a peg. In a later scene, the tables are turned. Fitz lays into Mellie for forcing his hand on national TV, and though he is cruel, he’s also right. Tearful and contrite, she tells him that the baby is kicking and asks if he wants to feel it. He kneels beside her, and she places his hand on her belly. It’s a moment of genuine emotion and connection between them. It’s a truce.

The Mob Doctor
1.01 – Pilot

By contrast, Dr. Grace Devlin is virtually flawless. Even the “bad” stuff she does is all in the name of greater good. Lying to protect a young patient’s scholarship. Sewing up lowlifes to pay off her brother’s debt to the mob. And on top of all her technically-wrong-but-actually-right deeds, Grace is smart, beautiful, and successful — respected, envied, and desired. She is, in a word, perfect.

And perfect? Can be kinda boring.

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Let’s talk television

In addition to the gorgeous colors and amazing weather, autumn brings back two of my favorite things: football and television shows. All my must-watch series are back — and crazier than ever!

(Except for So You Think You Can Dance, which airs during the summer and is wonderfully low on crazy.)

Unfortunately, the networks have some misconceptions about their demographics, so they think it’s okay to show Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and Revenge at the same time as the football games. Wrong, networks. WRONG. I know at least 3 other females, ages 25-40, who love those shows AND love football, and you’re killing us with this Sophie’s Choice-style dilemma every week!

Thankfully we live in the era of DVR, Primetime on Demand, and the internet, so I can catch up on the latest episodes during my lunch breaks.

Now, lest you think I’m wasting my time being a couch potato all week, I’ll have you know that I learn a LOT about character and storytelling from these shows. (No, seriously.) And actually, I learn quite a bit about character and storytelling from football too — but that’s another post for another day.

Anyway, I don’t want to turn my blog into a television recap center, but I do love gushing trashing thoughtfully discussing my favorite shows with other fans. So be on the lookout for “TV Talk” posts in the future. As always, there will likely be a writerly focus to these posts, since that is inevitably the lens through which I view the world.

Currently I watch Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Revenge, and Nikita, but who knows what other randomness might show up. (Ex: I watched the pilot of the Mob Doctor the other day, and I have thoughts.) I also love How I Met Your Mother, but I’m a season behind and waiting on Netflix to help me catch up. And HBO’s Girls doesn’t come back till January, I think.

Because people tend to lose their shit over spoilers, I will do my best not to include any, or at least to preface/hide them in some fashion. But I’m not perfect and I make no guarantees — especially regarding the comments area.

(Tip: If you really don’t want to be spoiled, then watch live!)

Hopefully this is a fun idea and will turn into a forum for talking about great TV, regardless of whether we all watch the same shows or not. But if this turns out to be a bad idea and it peters out? Well, that’s not the end of the world. My one concern is that I’ll start thinking, “Oh, I have to come up with an angle to blog about,” instead of just watching and relaxing. If that does happen, be aware: this feature will disappear faster than the replacement refs after their controversial Monday night call.

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