Politics Politics Politics

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Granted, most of my political know how comes only from Aaron Sorkin or my reactions to my Christian Conservative family rants, neither of which are really very informative. But on one point, I may have been kinda sorta right.

From the Pink Lady, who knows a heck of a lot more about politics than I do:

Brace yourselves. According to a new LA Times/Bloomberg poll, in the general election, McCain leads Clinton by six percentage points (46% to 40%) and Obama by two points (44% to 42%). McCain is viewed favorably by 61 percent of all registered voters, including Democrats. This all happened while we were screeching.

And on top of that, Ralph Nader has decided to run again. . . . Cause, you know what a help he has been in the past.

I have a big bottle of gin just waiting for November 4. Who's with me?

She Likes to Play for Double or Nothing

I imagine that going to Las Vegas is a lot like pregnancy and childbirth. It's grueling and painful and in the end, you feel awful. And six months to a year later, you've forgotten how terrible it was and want to do it again.

At least that's my theory. The last time Hubs and I went to Las Vegas, I told him that I thought I'd had quite enough Vegas for one lifetime. That was in October of 2006. And yet, a few months ago, over dinner with our friends J and F, the subject came up and somehow I found myself saying that we were long overdue for a Vegas trip. Note to self: the next time you start to say something like that, shut the f--- up.

It's nothing against Las Vegas, it's just that every time I leave there, I feel a little worse for the wear. And it's not just the gambling and the inevitable monetary loss, but the walking (my feet hate me), the smoke (God bless my beloved town that passed a smoking ordinance), the noise, the time adjusment, and the crowds.

But despite all that, I thought I'd make a list of the best Vegas experiences from this trip.

Best trip back through time: The Boneyard. The boneyard is were all the classic Vegas signs go to rust. The museum is trying to raise enough money to restore and preserve the signs and one way they do that is by offering group tours of the Boneyard. It's money well spent.

Best food: Bouchon. If I do cave and go back to Vegas, it will be for the sourdough waffles at Bouchon. That was the most amazing brunch ever and, by Vegas standards, it was reasonably priced.

Best sleeping spot: The Bellagio. Okay, so maybe I'd go back again if I could stay at the Bellagio. The room was wonderfully swank, had a shower and a ginormous bath, but even better: automated curtains. You have not lived until you have opened your drapes simply by rolling over and pushing a button.

Best trainwreck experience: The Rio. All I can say about The Rio is OMG. From the skanky waitress costumes to the horribly choreographed "Show in the Sky," the Rio is the best place to see Vegas kitch, and I don't mean that in the good way.

Best casino to remind you how old you are: The Hard Rock Casino. The people who can now legally go to Las Vegas are eleven years younger than me and they all congregate at the Hard Rock Casino. On the plus side, I realize that I don't miss my twenties at all.

Best reason not to go back to Vegas: Readjusting to real life. In Vegas, we were never in bed before two or three in the morning and most of the time I didn't even notice. Now that that has caught up with me, I am regretting it. Twelve hours of sleep did nothing for me yesterday. I can only hope I'll fall asleep soon, but unfortunately, it's only midnight on Vegas time.


Las Vegas: Before and After

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Again with the apologies. Hubs and I went off to Las Vegas this weekend to make our annual donation to the Casino Association of Nevada. Well, Hubs did anyway. My idea of gambling is to put $10 into a 25 cent blackjack machine, lose it, and call it a day. Although, this time I made an attempt at playing craps, but more about that later.

Anyway, it's been hectic here and that means no writing. Instead, I have a week filled with vets and pet sitter interviews. Before we left last week, I took White Cat to the vet for the third time in the last two months. He has feline IBD, but lately he's also been losing weight and acting funny. We did some blood work and he was diagnosed with feline diabetes. There is nothing that will make you feel worse than getting news like this, then hanging up the phone and getting on a plane to Las Vegas. So today we have an appointment to learn the ins and outs of feline diabetes, including how to give White Cat a daily (or maybe twice daily) shot of insulin. Good thoughts, prayers, and other vibeage directed toward White Cat will be much appreciated.

On top of that, we returned to find that Tabby Cat, our normally healthy, resilient cat had been ill while we were gone. I blame the food, but am also feeling like a terrible Cat Mom for leaving them in their hour of need. And on top of that, we're leaving them again in a couple of weeks so I have to quickly find a trustworthy pet sitter who can give insulin injections.

So, yeah. Not writing today. In the meantime, I'll have some pictures from Vegas and some highlights from our trip up on the blog shortly.

Wake Me When It's January

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This is how voter apathy is born.

As a Democrat who, for the first time in her voting career may vote in a primary that may actually matter, I've been trying to weigh the options between both candidates by visiting web sites, blogs, forums, and otherwise gathering information. I've found about 20% of the material is really good stick-to-the-issues debate that really makes me think about what each candidate has to offer. The remaining 80% of material is pathetic name calling, personal attacks, and general snarkiness about "the other side."

I may be done with the Democrats. It's nothing personal. Love the social policy, will agree to disagree on some of the fiscal policy, but for the love of all things holy, I cannot take another minute of political sniping among the party. The division seems so heated, that I'm concerned one side or the other will defect. McCain is moderate enough (a "damn Liberal" if you ask my father) that some Democrats might vote for him rather than their party.

I'd like to be wrong on that. I'd like to think that in a couple of months both Clinton and Obama supporters can sit peacefully at fundraisers for whomever wins the nomination. Maybe when all the dust clears they can, but until then, I'm going to worry. . . and research McCain.

Writerly Report Card

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It occurs to me that I haven't really checked in on any of the goals that I set back in November. Since December got really messy and unproductive, I'm going to cheat and only hold myself accountable for January.

I got an excellent rejection letter from one of the lit mags that I queried back in November. Excellent in that I actually got a personal note that encouraged me to send more stuff (even though they didn't take this particular story). It's a bit confusing to explain how a rejection letter can be a good thing, but it is. Really.

On the other hand, I need to step up on my submissions. December and January passed without sending anything out.

I've been doing really well on my writing goals. I completed a two first drafts last month and am on my way to completing one this month. Now I need to turn at least one of those first drafts into second draft. I'd hoped to do so for next week's writing group, but I've failed. Instead they're reviewing two stories that I hope to be sending out to lit mags next month.

The freewriting wasn't as helpful as I thought. While I was in the midst of writing stories, I did some freewriting, but I actually found it distracting. I'll give it another month before I decide whether or not to remove it from my goals.

Reading / Study:
This is going well, though I tend to spend more time on book group selections or research than in going through any particular canon. In any case, being a part of the short story reading challenge will keep me reading authors that I don't have much experience with. Still, I could probably step this up a little bit.

Overall, I'd say things are going along swimmingly. There's still plenty of room for improvement, of course, but I am really happy to be producing new work again. Right now, I want to focus on making that the rule rather than the exception and getting my productivity back to what it was during the MFA years.

So far, so good.

Well Now I *Really* Love the Frog

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gah... 6:30 on a Sunday morning is a ghastly time to be awake. Someone needs to tell my cats that breakfast is not due for another two hours at least.

But since I'm up, I'll brag on my friend Laura of A Life in Scribbles. She's an extremely talented artist an has a real gift for comics. She took a blog post that I wrote last month (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Frog) and turned it into an amazing comic! I'm so honored that she chose my piece to illustrate. Please check it out. It's very, very cool. Click on the illustration a couple of times to get it larger.


Desert Island Top Five Fridays

Friday, February 8, 2008

I have a new blog feature to announce. In the tradition of Nick Hornby and High Fidelity, I am pleased to bring you Desert Island Top Five Fridays. Have you read High Fidelity? Have you at least seen the movie? If so, then you're probably already familiar with the concept of the Desert Island Top Five lists. If not, well, it's simply a list of your top five, all-time, bestest ever, most favoritist _________. The _________ being the thing that will change every other Friday. Got that? Great. Then please play along at home or in the comments. Or you can repost on your own blog and leave a link to it in the comments so that I'll know you did a Top Five Friday and go read up.

So for the first installation of Desert Island Top Five Fridays we have . . . (drum roll, please) . . .

Top Five Junior High Slow Dance Songs

(Warning: Clicking the following links will take you to the videos in all their hairbandy glory.)

5. "Patience" - Guns and Roses
Frankly, this one only makes the list because it was my first slow dance ever. With my first boyfriend ever. I'm not sure if we were even boyfriend and girlfriend at that point. The "do you like me/check yes or no" note may have come later. But if I recall correctly the slow dance was a Big Deal. So big, that it took us the entire dance to get around to it and we only got one slow dance in. Ah, the seventh grade dating rituals. . .

4. "Faithfully" - Journey
I'm cheating here (see how that works, I make the rules and promptly break them) because my most poignant memory featuring "Faithfully" actually comes from my junior year prom. I went with a guy friend, as I did for so many proms and homecomings, but off and on throughout the year I'd had a crush on a senior named Jorge. Jorge was my pal. My bud. And anytime one of us was interested in the other, the other was, of course, not interested. But somehow we managed to end up dancing this one song together. And everything clicked. Just in time for him to leave for California a month later. Suck.

3. "I'll Be There For You" - Bon Jovi
While it was a favorite among my junior high school peers and a staple at school dances, I will forever remember this song for the number of times I played it on repeat during my breakup with my first ever boyfriend (see Number 5, "Patience" - Guns and Roses).

2. "Purple Rain" - Prince
Purple Rain was the most coveted slow dance song if only because it was nine minutes long. Nine minutes! Even playing seven minutes in heaven got you a mere seven minutes of cuddling with your sweetie. There was a lot of strategic shuffling going around in the final moments of junior high school dances so that you could be standing near the exactly right person to dance that song with. Getting the right person could make or break a dance. Getting asked by the wrong person made it the longest, most terrible slow dance song ever.

1. "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" - Bryan Adams
I'm pretty sure I'm giving up all pretense of coolness to admit that this is my all-time number one junior high school slow dance song. But it is. It was the song that ended every prom, every homecoming, every winter formal from the time I was 13 on. And. . . I loved it. I still love it. I hear it in the car and it takes me back to that dimly lit junior high cafeteria where I'd wait in my denim skirt and jangle bracelets, hoping that my homeroom crush would leave his group of guys and come ask me to dance. Sigh. . .

Anyway, that's it for my trip down memory lane. What's in your top five?

Scenes From the Coffee Shop

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We interrupt this (surprisingly productive) writing time to bring you breaking news. Virgin Galactic's second space port is being built right outside my adopted hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is! Really! I looked on the internets.

I'm sure this is old news to everyone but me. I was just sitting here at my little coffeeshop table, minding my own business when I heard the guy at the table next to me say something about Las Cruces. Now, I always tune in a little more closely when I hear Texans talking about Las Cruces or New Mexico. There are some pretty wild ideas floating around about my dear state. Most notable is the idea that the Organ Mountains are hollow and home to super-secret military underground bases. I once went on a blind date with a Dallas boy who had the inside scoop on these bases. Apparently they were infiltrated years ago and the military is keeping it all hush hush for fear of causing world-wide panic. Who were they infiltrated by you might ask? Spies? Terrorists? Nope, aliens. Snake aliens!

How happy am I to be married now?

But anyway, at least half the time I hear someone mention Las Cruces it's usually to repeat a conspiracy theory about the government covering up aliens or nuclear waste or lizard people or whatever. After all, my fine state is home to Roswell and people get confused, you know? And while I don't fault anyone their beliefs, I am a little more Scully than Mulder. So when I heard him mention Las Cruces and spaceship in the same breath, I had a moment of discreet eyerolling. But then I googled. And it's true, New Mexico is getting its very own space port.

The whole thing makes me kind of proud, but also I kind of wonder what this does to nostalgic view of the desert southwest and, weirdly, what it does to the stories that I have set in New Mexico. If there's a friggin' spaceport being built 45 minutes from where your protagonist resides, you can't just ignore that. This could lead to some pretty cool opportunities.

Or some big headaches. We shall see.

Super Tuesday

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My browser crashed not once, but twice after I'd completed the Select a Candidate quiz from WREG-TV. Hmm, do you think it's trying to tell me something?

I'm not feeling the excitement of this election year like (apparently) the rest of the country is. I think I'm still worn out from all the madness and disappointment over the 2004 elections. And from the 2000 elections before that. Needless to say, the last eight years have not been good years to be a Democrat.

But the good news is that I've been hearing more election buzz this year over any other. Talk of the primaries and the national election has spilled over to the few knitting and lifestyle message boards I read and to other (usually) nonpartisan blogs. I don't recall this happening as much last election, but I'd like to be wrong about that.

Politico junkie that he is, Hubs is reloading CNN.com. I'm. . . well, I'm probably going to skip the returns and retire to the sofa with an O.Henry collection of short stories. I can't see any definite winners coming out of tonight, can you?

Quiz update: Finally got it to work! According to this quiz, it's a 50-50 split between Clinton and Obama. However, this somewhat similar quiz suggests that I'm much more in line with Clinton's platform. Interesting. . .