Monday, March 26, 2012

Bucket List: Sing Karaoke

Last Saturday I went and celebrated my friends Cathryn and Thomas's 5 year wedding anniversary. The night was filled with tons of barbecue, music, drinks, loads of laughs, and definitely some great memories.

Oh, and karaoke.

As much as I love music, the Lord did not bless me with the voice to carry a tune. I've always wanted to do karaoke. I even put it on my bucket list I've been doing via Pinterest. I'd never in a million years have the guts to sing in front of a bar of strangers. Even Cathryn pointed that out to me during the night, but get a drink in me (I am such a light weight!) in a friend's backyard surrounded by people I've known most of my life, and I become this crazy singing fool. 

And it was a BLAST!

That'd be me in the Stones shirt. I think this was during "Jackson" and there was a whole lot of leg-slappin' going on.
I can't remember how many songs were sang. There was a lot because we went on for a couple hours. I know we did Jackson, the most horrific version of Bootylicious anyone has ever heard in their lives, Free Bird, I Feel Good, Friends In Low Places, and towards the end of the night Cathryn and I sang Her Eyes in memory of our friend Jamie who passed away a year ago this month. 

I may never have the guts to sing some karaoke again, and probably will be told never to do so once the videos of that night come out, but I am so glad I finally get to cross that one off my bucket list!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Talk: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Released: March 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Pages: 296

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

This book was freaking ridiculous.

Here you are opening a book knowing that this is about a death. It's been covered many times, but I can guarantee you that it has not been covered in the way Jesse Andrews covers it because this book about death is freaking riduciously HILARIOUS!

I know what you're thinking. How can a book about a girl who has cancer be funny? Well, because you have Greg who is this kid that doesn't really have friends. I mean he gets along with everyone and follows whatever crowd he's with. I take that back - he does have one friend. Earl, this pint size guy who cusses worse than a sailor and could make anyone turn red with his blunt mouth. I get it though. Being short sucks and sometimes you just have to have a tough exterior to deal with a tall-type of world. Greg's mom gets him to befriend Rachel, someone he hasn't been "friends" with forever, because she's dying.

Besides being a hilarious book, it's kind of weird. It bounces around here and there with scenes of Greg's life  that in some ways don't make sense to the plot, but since Greg is the one telling the story, he'll point out that he doesn't know what he's talking about. But yet, it was perfect for the plot because this isn't just a story about him becoming friends with Rachel again. This is his life. His odd life of having a very angry best friend who love to make movies together. Horrible movies, but yet I wish they existed because they sound genius. Especially since there are sock puppets involved. But back on track here: Greg doesn't really understand friendship or what to do with life. Sometimes it's hard to relate to him, but I still really liked him as a character and reading his story.

Going into the book even though Greg tells you flat out this isn't going to be a sappy kind of moments. There isn't going to be some big reveal of life or self discovery. Even towards the end I thought there could be, but it's not what the book was about. I'm glad that it never turned into some BIG MOMENT where all the characters finally realize what's so grand and important in life. Don't get me wrong - I like those stories, but not every story needs it because not every horrible experience in actual real life changes you as a person. And if it did, I think we'd all be saints by now. Sure you can learn from those horrible experiences and I think Greg, Earl, and Rachel did learn things about life in their own way whether they were moving or not, but it wasn't needed to fit the type of story I think Greg was trying to tell us.

There are a few authors who I can tell from reading a debut will stand out on their own. Jesse Andrews is one of those authors. His writing is blunt. He has the ability to touch on some dark times yet make you laugh about them too. It's crazy to say I laughed in every chapter when a big chunk of the story was about a girl dying of cancer. But that's how good his writing is. It's realistic, it's in your face, but this read definitely isn't for everyone. There is loads of language and some scenes where drugs are used. I won't lie - if Greg and Earl were real and I had went to school with them, I would have totally gotten stoned with them. Those boys were cracking me up in some scenes so much I about peed myself!

So basically to sum up this review that I have tried to write four times, and I still think doesn't sound the best and doesn't do it justice, but that's what happens when you wait too long to talk about a book you loved, I will say:  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was ridiculous in that really good, you must go out and buy it now, type of way.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Character Naming Habits.

I've been trying to get my office put together. (I've only lived here since the end of August.) While putting on the millionth coat of blue paint on the walls and listening to music (including tons of Pearl Jam - Eddie Vedder's voice = bliss), I started thinking about character names.

I like unique names and I like the plain names. It's weird how sometimes it can take FOREVER to name a character.  Like nothing fits them just right.  Other times a name just pops into my head and I know it's perfect. One thing I realized as I started thinking of all my past stories and the characters that popped up in them was my own character naming habits.

My first one: I love guy names for girls.  Like in my short lived Four Brothers fanfic, I had a girl named Danielle who went by Danny.  In a Death Sentence fanfic I wrote my craziest character whose real name was Charlotte, but she went by Charlie.  And of course the most recent and obvious one:  Gus Novel.  Her real name is Augustus, but all her family and friends call her Gus.  A confession:  I wish my parents would have given me a boy name. Don't ask me why I love them, but I do!  So much that if I ever have a kid and it's a girl, I plan on naming her Charlee. (Of course I may never mention to her that I decided on that future baby name while writing the Death Sentence fanfic since the character Charlie was a coked out stripper.)

Second habit:  A lot of my main character's names start with a "G".  It's something I noticed when I was writing Fairy Tale.  My MC's name for the longest time was Gabby.  Fairy Tale was the fourth "serious novel" (aka a novel idea that lived past 20 pages) that I had tackled. I already had the name Gus in one story, and Gracie in another.  Even though I knew all four novels wouldn't get published because hell they're still not actually done-done, I thought it was just too weird to have that many "G names".  So I decided to ax Gabby around the time I decided I sucked at writing fantasy.

Third habit: My characters get named after cities.  There's Memphis Jack *sighs*.  (Technically I stole the idea from some friends about 4 years ago when they found out they were having a boy. I was so glad they chose the other name because the name Memphis Jack just seemed to be perfect for this character.)  Then there was my beloved Jackson in Always a Day Late and a Dollar Short.  In What Isn't Killing Us, I had a girl named Savannah.  And in Summer Story, I had a Sydney.  

When I was Tennesse last year, I squealed when I seen this sign because even though I wrote Always a Day Late and Dollar Short years ago Jackson and Memphis are probably my favorite guy characters:

Fourth and most notorious habit:  I nickname just about every single one of my main characters.  The worst story to get it is probably The Unexpected Clash of Strangers.  There's my MC Gracie, but you can only call her that if you're super close to her.  If you're not, you call her by her birth name Grace.  Then she has this fake boyfriend whose real name is Dean, but his fake name is Ethan, hence why she always refers to him as Ethan-Dean.  Then there's Ace whose real name is Bob.  And Gracie's best friend Vicki gets nicknamed anything Gracie can think of (Vicki-o-licious, V-Jay, you get the point). Of course Derk aka D-Man.  Hhmm maybe I should just blame the nicknaming on Gracie.  She gives everyone in her life a name, and you should hear the list of ones she comes  up with when she discusses her ex-husband.  

But seriously though there are only two stories I can think of where my main characters DIDN'T have nicknames. Those were Celes in my Death Sentence fanfic, What Isn't Killing Us and Serenity in Always a Day Late and a Dollar Short.  That's it.  Every other character I write have some sort of nickname. It's ridiculous, and I probably should put some sort of stop to it.

What about you lovely fellow writers?  Ever notice some weird habit in your writing when it comes to naming characters?  I'm thinking I may need to break some of mine.  Give the boy names and city names a break (even though there are like two boys names I'm DYING to use in a story at some point) and quit nicknaming all my characters.  Then again if it's anything like my old smoking habit, this may take a few (10) years.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weight Loss Sucks: The Truth About February.

I freaking hated February.

While I was debating about writing this or not, I decided to go for it. My main reason of hating Febraury is that I got put on Ortho-Cyclen. Yes, TMI, I know, but I've never done birth control before and now I know why. Not only did I want to EAT EVERY THING IN SIGHT! I also gained almost 7 pounds back in 13 days, had a bloated up belly, boob cramps, some other side effects I'll just keep to myself, and I just wanted to cry. Cry, cry, and cry. I couldn't tell if I was going into a depression or turning crazy.

So birth control, you are not for me. Peace the frak out.

After I decided that I was never putting a pill in my mouth again, I was at work and noticed one of the girls there had lost a lot of weight. (I work 6 am to 2 pm so I no longer see people who I normally see.) I asked her what she had been doing. She said she had been going to this doctor in town for her weight loss. I had some extra money and said screw it, I'm giving this a try. I have no energy for anything due to my new schedule and all I did all month was stuff my face with a zillion calories. If I didn't get those pounds back off, especially since I worked them off in January from the holidays, I was gonna...well, probably just cry again and eat a donut.

So I went to the doctor and he did the whole checking the thyroid, vitals, yadda-yadda-yadda, and gave me a prescription to Phentermine. A few of my friends and even a couple family members had used it a few years back and loved it. Everyone warned me the first couple days you may feel a bit weird. I was nervous because me and any type of prescription drug just doesn't see eye to eye anymore. And the fact when I was 18, I took that Anna Nicole TrimSpa (Baby!) crap and on the 3rd day I passed out while doing a perm in cosmetology school. No joke. It was ridiculous. My mom came to my apartment with food thinking I was starving myself or something. Another reason why I wasn't going to do any sort of pill unless I was seeing a doctor.

The first day of taking them, I was kind of hyped up. In a way it sucked because I also got a bit of the plague back so imagine trying to rest on your couch because you have a fever yet at the same time you just wanna get up and clean the entire place. (I still stayed on the couch and watched Veronica Mars, btw.)

The second day, I was still a bit anxious, but not too terribly bad. The third day I think I experienced what some call "phen rage" or maybe it was just PMS. I dunno. Verizon go an earful from me though. So then I went to the health food store and picked up some Passion Flower. I'm a naturally anxious type of person anyways, but I don't like prescribed mood stabilizers so all-natural with zero side effects is a-okay with me. After a couple weeks I plan on ditching those, but I think it was a wise choice for not only me but everyone who has to deal with me. As the days continued, I feel less and less anxious.

The only other side effect I have is dry mouth. The plus side is that I'm drinking way more water and getting rid of water weight FAST! By the fourth day I was already down 6 pounds. (I think my birth control was making me retain water because after a couple days of not taking it my bloating went down big time.)

So here is my weigh-ins for February

At the beginning of the month I weighed: 189.7
In the middle of the month I weighed: 197.5 
As of this afternoon on March first I'm at.....


Sooooooooo if you based it on last month, I've gained 2 ounces. If you've based it on my flip-flop, I've lost 7.6 pounds! As much as I would like to say I lost that in addition, I'll take being back to the same size and my pants not tearing into my gut.

Since I'm doing good on the tons of water, hardly any fried foods/take-out, I'm just going to keep that up and then add in my new goal:

Time to start walking! I want to do 10 miles a week. The weather has gotten really nice here so I'm ready to hit up the walking park!

Now that I've rambled on, how is your weight loss going?