2014 Is Bringing Big Changes To Our Happy Home

Yesterday, the first day of a shiny new year, I sat down on the red couch you’ve all heard so much about and continued reading a book I had picked up earlier in the day.

The Peeshwank walked in and exclaimed, “What are you doing?”

“I’m reading.”

“But you read in the yellow chair.  You’re like Sheldon.  That’s your spot!”

“New year, new spot.  Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf.”

“But… that’s your spot.”  He points over at the empty yellow chair.  “This is where I nap.  Where am I supposed to nap if you’re reading in my spot?”

“Now who’s acting like Sheldon?”

Bazinga! Mug

I know I’ve been absent for a bit on ye olde website, but I promise to get back to making daily writing a priority.  The Peeshwank’s career and my volunteering at the theater started to take over our lives, so I’m working to take back some time to work on MY passion.  Yes, I’m learning to say “No, I don’t have time for that” in order to continue following my own dreams.  It hit me on New Year’s Eve that for the first year since 2009 I hadn’t released a new book.  I vow to never let that happen again.  As long as I am mentally and physically able to write, I will write.  No excuses.

And so, loyal readers, “The Last Girl” WILL be released this year come hell or high water.  If not, grab your torches and pitchforks and meet me in the front yard.

I’ve also got some other fun works that I started during NaNoWriMo that I can’t wait to finish and share with you.  Plus the YA series that Joe and I are writing together.  So many manuscripts!!!  I love looking through my computer and seeing all the work that I’ve been able to do thus far.  I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m up for the challenge.

Best wishes to you all!  Cheers!

Doctor Who, Minecraft, and a Donkey Named “Danger”

As you all know, we’re nerds.  Big ol’ sci-fi, video game, comic book loving nerds.  We’ve raised The Peeshwank to follow in our footsteps because, let’s face it, nerds are the best.

So this series of conversations made me laugh a lot more than it probably should have…

In the car:

P: Danger is dead!

Me: Excuse me?

P: Danger.  He’s my donkey in Minecraft. [He assured me it was NOT a reference to Anthony Weiner, although he giggled a lot when Joe asked him if the donkey's first name was Carlos.]

Me: Oh.  What happened?

P: Well, he was just standing there when Jerk McCrapface came up and murdered him.  Murdered him!  Right there in front of my house!

Me: I’m sorry.  Why did you let… um… Jerk McCrapface come to your house.

P: He told me he was a Doctor Who fan, so I let him teleport to me.  But I think he must’ve been lying.  A true Whovian would never kill another Whovian’s donkey, would he?

Me: No.  Absolutely not.

minecraftdonkey

Rest in peace, Danger.

Later in the library:

P: I still can’t believe that guy killed Danger.  I’m so mad.

Even later in the living room:

P: I’m gonna find the guy that killed Danger and raid his home.  He’ll be sorry he ever laid a finger on my donkey.

"Hello.  My name is P-dog Jenkins.  You killed my donkey.  Prepare to die."

“Hello. My name is P-dog Jenkins. You killed my donkey. Prepare to die.”

At dinner:

P: I’m still so mad.

Me: Well, how did he kill the donkey? I can’t imagine it’s very easy to kill a donkey.  They seem pretty resilient.

P: He punched him in the face until he was dead.

Joe: So, he was beating a dead horse?

Me: [giggle snorting laughter]

P: What?  I don’t get it.

The Peeshwank: Superhero or Crazed Villainous Overlord?

The Peeshwank turned 13 this year which is a cause for much excitement in our household.  Every nerd worth his mettle knows that the teen years are when your superpowers reveal themselves.  For The Peeshwank, this happened on our recent trip to Michigan…

The Peeshwank has participated in Odyssey of the Mind for a number of years now.  He comes from a long line of OMers – I having joined a team in ’84, and had it been around when my parents were in school my father would’ve been the king of Problems 1, 2, and 4, while my mother would’ve ruled over Problems 3 and 5.  This year The Peeshwank’s team won our state championship and made their way to World Finals at Michigan State University where they competed against teams from all over the world.  (And came in 25th in their division of almost 60 teams.  Top half!  Woohoo!)

After coming out of their Spontaneous competition we hosed the kids with silly string, bubbles and Hog calls then gave them Starbucks to refresh themselves.  Something in that combination must’ve set off something in The Peeshwank, because moments later this happened…005 (2)We knew a growth spurt would be coming soon, so we didn’t think much of it, until this happened…

004 (2) A Force Choke, Pdog?  Really?  Paul is your friend!

Then he turned his powers on his entire team and punched the ground.  The aftermath was too gruesome to show here.  Michigan State sent us packing after buildings started to crumble.  We’ve also been added to the “no-fly” list.  (These things may or may not be true.)

IMG_1904We’re a little concerned at this point.

In Which I Discover What Kind of Videos My Teen Boy is Watching…

Every night at bedtime lately The Peeshwank lovingly hugs me and sneaks the tablet out of my hands and trots off to bed.  When I ask him what he does, he just says, “Oh, watch videos or read on the kindle app.”  He’s always been a trustworthy kid and whenever I check on him, there aren’t any crazy online shenanigans going on. The other day I finally discovered what’s been keeping him so engrossed though.

It wasn’t what I expected…

P: I saw this awesome thing the other night.  It’s… (he begins describing some scientific concept my brain just couldn’t wrap itself around)

Me: Is that for real?

P: Yeah, I watched a video on it.  It’s so awesome.

Me: Where did you see this? (Thinking it would be some sci-fi youtuber or something.)

P: Oh, it was on yesterday’s TED video, but it was so cool.  They…

Me: Wait, you watch TED videos?

P: Yeah, every day.  They’re awesome.

Me: Carry on.

Whew.

tedtalks

What I Read: May

The Last Cato by Matilde Asense

This book is basically what would happen if Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code gave birth to a daughter. The main character is a nun who translates ancient works for the Vatican. She’s an intriguing character to say the least. She pairs up with the leader of the Swiss Guard and an Egyptian scholar to track down the people behind the disappearance of pieces of the cross Jesus was allegedly crucified upon.  It’s a fun story with a lot of history mixed in.  A lot of history. When I was in school, I never would’ve considered myself a history buff, but I guess I am. I loved reading about Constantine, St. Helen, and so many other stories the author worked into the novel.  The historical references were one of the best parts of the novel.  The “tests” the characters have to endure required a lot of suspension of disbelief.  The last chapter is a throwaway.  It’s like she ran out of steam and just quickly wrote the first thing that popped into her head.  Of course, it may have lost something in translation along the way.  A good editor could’ve corrected most of what’s wrong with the book.  Seriously, are proofreaders and editors a thing of the past?
On a side note, I noticed Dan Brown is coming out with a book that focuses on Dante’s Inferno.  Nice.  I guess he’s hoping we haven’t read The Last Cato…
Oh, and for the second month in a row, a book I read mentioned Briareus.  What an odd coincidence.

Naked Heat by Richard Castle

Yes, as a die-hard Browncoat, I am required by law to watch “Castle.”  Crime shows were never my thing, but I will follow my Captain wherever the ‘verse takes us.  And so, when I saw this at the used bookstore at my local library for a meager 50 cents, I couldn’t resist.  And… it’s not good.  It’s not even close to good.  It’s a poorly-written hour-long Castle episode spread out over 400 pages minus the wit, dialogue, and character growth.
One thing I did enjoy were the couple of Firefly references.  I read the first one and thought, “This was written by someone pretending to be Richard Castle, who is portrayed by Nathan Fillion, who played my beloved Captain… it’s like Inception: Browncoat-style.”  If you want to read it, you can have my copy.  I won’t revisit this one.

Nathan Fillion at Borders Northridge

Nathan Fillion kissing a baby.
Just because.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

My dear friend, Tina, gave me a copy of this book after falling in love with it herself.  It’s a series of letters between an author, her best friend, her publisher, and the people of the British Channel isle of Guernsey after WWII.  It’s funny and heartbreaking and easy to get swept up in.  As soon as I finished, I immediately began researching the Channel Islands with the hopes that someday I could go visit the charming little island that was so intriguing throughout the book.  It’s not a change-the-world type of book, but it mixes romance, intrigue and humor with the German occupation of the island during WWII in a beautiful way.  It’s a must-read for fans of the epistolary novel.  (A favorite style of mine and one that I hope to try my hand at writing in the near future.)

Liberating Paris by Linda Bloodworth Thomason

I picked up this novel at our library’s used book sale mainly because Paris, France has become The Peeshwank’s latest vacation-spot obsession.  So, imagine my surprise when I realized that it wasn’t about Paris, France, but Paris, Arkansas.  It was written by one of my all-time favorite TV writers (“Designing Women” and “M*A*S*H”).  Then as I read the “thank yous” at the beginning, the author thanked someone I know personally.  It was like the gods were begging me to read this book and I’m so glad they did.  The story lines (of which there are several) touch on everything from young love to homosexuality, from the Wal-Marting of America to religious hypocrisy.  And they are told masterfully.  On one page I found myself laughing out loud and a page later fighting back tears.  I loved the characters and the setting.  It felt like any small town here in my neck of the woods.  This is one of the few books that I feel would make an excellent movie.  Or TV show (since Mrs. Thomason has already proven she has a knack for that.)

Cover of "Liberating Paris: A Novel"

The Peeshwank and The Lyrids: A Conversation

English: A meteor during the peak of the 2009 ...

Living in a science-loving home we are all about meteor showers, comets, eclipses and all sorts of other night sky phenomena.  The Peeshwank will drag the telescope out to the front yard to try to view all sorts of things.  (Usually this takes place on the coldest nights of the year.  Of course.)

This week, the Lyrid meteor shower promised to entertain us for a night.  So we bundled up and took our place in the driveway and waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.

P: You know, on nights like these we should really live out in the the country.

Me: Yeah, the lights in town make it hard to see anything.

P:  And if we’re out in the country watching for meteor showers that aren’t gonna show up, at least we wouldn’t have neighbors around wondering, “What are those idiots doing laying in the driveway again?”

Touche`, Peeshwank.

I won at Car Line this morning

What?  You didn’t know Car Line was a game?  Well, it is.  Mainly because I’m a nerd-girl living with two hard-core gamers.  And I won this morning.

We started our quest to deliver a sleepy-eyed Peeshwank to his blustery prison sentence (it’s in the 20s today with a 10-degree wind chill, because: Spring in Arkansas, yo).  We turned the corner to see a line of campers all the way from one end of the school property to the other.  After discussing our strategy, we made our way to the front of the line.  Even though The Peeshwank had lots of loot to carry (60lb backpack, lunchbox, OM supplies, and his bass) we decided to show these n00bs how it was done.

We quickly realized we had apparently leveled up over Spring Break and were approaching an epic boss battle.  This boss: icy school driveway.

The boss had victimized not one but two vehicles ahead of ours – both of the players had apparently spent all their XP to upgrade their chariots: 4WD monster SUVs, tires bigger than The Peeshwank, NRA life memberships, etc.  Their giant wheels were spinning in place though.  The boss had disabled their special abilities.

The Peeshwank looked at me, a fearful look in his eyes, as I yelled “LEEROY JENKINSSSSSS” and easily delivered him over the ice and to the front door.

He threw me a fist bump as he exited our little mid-size sedan and I could hear his cry of “GET PWNED N00BS!” as I pulled away.

That’s how you win Car Line, y’all.

Hummer on Ice

The Peeshwank Blogs About His Role in “Gordon Family Tree”

Sorry, I’ve become a less-than-daily blogger.  The Peeshwank’s been keeping me on my toes (and away from my computer) lately.  Here’s an entry he wrote for the Gordon Family Tree Movie blog.

Guest Blogger: Actor Brandon Dulaney – My First Feature!

And here’s a trailer for “Lasting the After,” a post-apocalyptic film he acted in recently.  (He’s the kid getting manhandled by the SWAT guys.  As a somewhat protective mom, it was not easy to watch during filming, but he was having a blast and would start giggling as soon as they called “cut,” so that helped ease my mind.)

http://vimeo.com/50262282

Watching P work has made me proud of the young man he’s become.  He listens to his director and fellow actors and does what they need him to do.  If only I could get a movie director to come in and tell him to clean his room, pick up his laundry, and get off Minecraft for a little while each night…

My sweet boy

NBC’s Revolution: A Conversation with the Better Half

The Peeshwank and I settled in for a night of mindless entertainment, otherwise known as watching television.  We had seen promos for NBC’s “Revolution” and thought it would be right up our alley as it may have some valuable insight that maybe we hadn’t gleaned in our never-ending zombie apocalypse preparations.

Several minutes into the show, Joe entered the room and the following exchange happened:

Joe: Is this the show with no power?

Me: Yeah.

Joe: So it all just went out?

Me: Yeah.  No electricity.  No batteries.

Joe: They could use steam engines.

Me: Not that I’ve seen.

Joe: So, their premise is that electricity and chemical reactions ceased to function.

Me: Yep.

Joe: Yet they’re all alive.  Clearly the electricity and chemical reactions that run the human body still work.  Oh, and look, fire!

Me: Yep.  They’re thinking, “oh we’re just showing this to Americans, they won’t question our science.”

Joe: Well, at least they don’t have to worry about getting shot.

Me: Oh no, their guns work just fine.

Joe: Wait, if the guns work, then…

Me: Internal combustion engines work too.  Yeah.  They didn’t think of that either.  I guess they’re REALLY hoping America will willingly suspend their disbelief enough to buy it all.

We watch in silent disbelief for a few more minutes.

Joe: (gets up to leave) I can’t with this anymore…

He comes back in when it’s over and asks how the rest of the hour went.

Me: Well, this chick went into a closet with a bunch of old machinery and turned on a necklace gave her electricity and internet access.  I guess it’s a wi-fi hotspot necklace or something.  I should probably get one of those for when P-dog and I are out and about.

He shook his head in disbelief.

Me: No worries.  “Castle” is back on next Monday and I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled swooning over Captain Mal.

One necklace to power them all…

The Peeshwank’s Thoughts on Episode 1

A long time ago in a galaxy pretty close by…

A small child, The Peeshwank, fell in love with the Star Wars universe.  He started out with Episode IV (because I’m good at parenting like that) and made his way through the original trilogy.  When he was 4, Episode III came out and I agreed to allow him to come to the midnight premiere with me.  (He always did really well at the theater, so I knew he’d either fall asleep, or sit quietly in awe of the movie.  He’s been a film junkie from a very young age.)

When I was ready to head out to the theater, I called for him to hurry up so we wouldn’t be late.  He came out of his room in his Darth Vader costume.  Of course.  At the showing there were lots of Star Wars geeks in costume, but the best were the Stormtroopers who actually stopped what they were doing and stood at full attention as Darth P-Dog sauntered by them.  He’s 12 now and still remembers this fondly.

Not long ago one of the geeky channels that our tv is typically tuned to was airing a Star Wars marathon.  He hadn’t watched the new trilogy in awhile, so he sat down with his giant box of goldfish, prepared to be entertained for the day.

All was well until this happened…

That’s when the proverbial shit hit the fan.

“This kid is like the worst actor ever.”

“You know, George Lucas keeps remaking these, maybe he just needs to start over.  I could be a better Anakin than this guy.”

“I can’t watch this anymore.  Let me know when the other ones come on.  P-dog, out.”

There were lots of other… er… comments that were yelled at the screen in answer to pretty much anything poor little Ani said.  Maybe I’ll have to video him watching it sometime.  If I can convince him to watch it again.  But I almost doubt it after this conversation:

Me: “You know, you loved Episode I as a kid.”

P: “Well, I was a kid.  I had crappy taste.  Meesa thinks this is terrible now.”

Me: “You’re talking like Jar-Jar.”

P: “Oh, don’t even get me started on that idiot.”

I guess that settles that.

I do have to agree with him that he’d made a pretty excellent Anakin should George decide to remake it…

Sleepy little Anakin…