Saturday, June 23, 2012

Six Scene Starters for Saturday

I know this is a little late in the day; it was a hectic one. Here are your six:

1. Rain beat against the window, the drops so large they sounded like pellets hitting the glass.

2. David downshifted and cut the wheel hard, one foot on the brake, the other on the gas.

3. The crisp scent of bacon wafted across the parking lot, a warm welcome on the cold morning.

4. Her blue eyes glittered with the force of her anger; he took a step back, afraid for his manhood and his life. In that order. 

5. The wind was a living thing, tearing at the shelter, clawing its way in around the cracks.

6. Sam’s lips trembled as he glared at the man before him.

If you do anything with them, let me know! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Word Count Widget

It took me a while, and hopefully, I won’t regret this, but I finally found a way to put a word count widget on my Blog. First, I clicked on the “Design” tab, then the “Layout” tab. You will see “Add a Gadget” in various places on your sidebars and the top and bottom bars. Click on the “Add a Gadget” tab and a window will pop up. Choose “Basics” and scroll down to the “HTML/Java Script” choice; click on it. Choose a title, cut and paste the following code into the box:

<div style="width: 120px; "><a title="Word Count Meter" href="" target="_blank"><div style="width:120px; height: 22px; background: url( no-repeat; border: 0; "><img src= style="height: 22px; border: 0; "><img src="" style="max-width:100px; width:0px; height:22px; border: 0;"><img src="" style="height: 22px; border: 0; "></div></a><div align="center" style="max-width: 120px; font-family: book antiqua; font-size: 15px; "><b>0</b> / 50000<br>(0%)</div></div>

Replace the 50000 (red text) with your own goal word count, the 0 between the Bold tags (highlighted in fuchsia) with your current word count, the 0% (highlighted in aqua) with your own percentage. You will have to calculate that for yourself (divide the current count by the goal count). For example, if your current word count is 10,000 and your goal count is 50,000, your percentage would be 10000÷50000, or 20%. Change the color of your counter by changing “red” to “blue” or “green” or whatever (see the yellow highlighted word above). If you want the bar to move, you will need to change the number in the green highlighted area from zero (hint: that's your percentage, so if you're at 70% done writing, insert a 70 for the zero).

Click on “Save arrangement” then “view blog” to see your new widget in action. In order to update, you must click on the edit tool on the bottom right of the widget and change your numbers.

Thanks to Svenja Liv for the help on her blog, located here. Under the “More Resources” section of her blog, check out her NaNoWriMo word trackers in spreadsheet form. Awesome way to track your words and the time you’ve spent each day on your writing.

The up side of the word count widget—you have a word count widget!
The down side of the word count widget—you have a word count widget! Now everyone can see how hard you’re working. Or not.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find one that automatically updates your percentages and all for you, but if you don't get frightened off by the fact that the widget's in HTML, you'll be fine. Believe me, I'm no techno geek; I'm all self-taught. If you have trouble with this, PM me and I'll try to help you as best as I can. Bear in mind, I may have to find help first in order to help you! :)

ETA: Just go to Svenja Liv's website and plug in the numbers...

ETA: Svenja Liv's site no longer available.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Six Scene Starters for Saturday

Another thing on my "try it and see" menu of a blog: Six Scene Starters for Saturday. A lot of people have story starters, but I don't always start at the beginning. Sometimes, a scene from my story reaches out and grabs me, shaking me until I write it. So, I thought, how about scene starters instead? Feel free to use these to help your muse if she's feeling lonely. 

1. Jim gazed at the sky, his jaw slack. Who would’ve thought all his crazy notions were true?

2. The ship’s controls jerked and shuddered under Kyla’s hands as she fought for control.

3. Blake glanced at his watch and picked up his pace. He was gonna be late again and this time, she might not let him talk his way out of it.

4. Horses had been her life for as long as she could remember. What would she do now?

5. Sex had always been just a job.

6. Adam licked his lips as he stared at his beautiful wife, standing there naked, the juices from the red fruit dripping down her chin and coursing between her firm breasts.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fanny Friday: Terms of Endearment

There are many terms used in fandoms that let people know immediately what they are looking at. In fact, fandom is a word that arose from people’s interest in certain television shows, movies, books, etc. It’s funny to watch how these words have morphed themselves into our language, much as techno terms have done over the years. 

From being a “fan” of Stargate Atlantis, for example, I've joined its “fandom” and become a “fangirl”; when I “squee” over Major Lorne, I’m “fangirling”. I write “fanfic” about him, with ratings from “E” (everyone) to “MA” (mature adult). I’ve written him “het”, “slash”, “non-con”, “dub-con”, with story length varying between a “drabble” (100 words exactly) to novel length. So, let’s look at some terms and their meanings, shall we? Odds are good, if you’re reading my blog, that you are familiar with fandoms and don’t need this, possibly probably that you know more than I do and can correct me if I’m wrong (please do!), but this is what I wanted to write today, so meh.

Fan: Someone who enjoys a television show, movie, book, musical group or other form of entertainment; one who likes the work of the entertainer or likes the character. The last part may raise some eyebrows, but I believe it to be true. I am a fan of Stargate Atlantis and also of Kavan Smith, who plays Major Lorne; I am a fan of Lorne, but not of the smalltime crook Kavan Smith played in Smallville.

Fandom: All of the stuff surrounding a show, movie, book, etc. Cons, forums for discussions, sites for fiction, videos, songs, etc, are all part of the fandom. I’m getting tired of typing “show, movie, book, etc” so from here on out, since my fandom is a show, I’ll be typing just “show”.

Fangirl (or boy, but I’m a girl, so I use the feminine form): A girl who is involved in the fandom in any way, from just lurking about the threads to running a fan site.

Fan site: the website (official or not) of a show, actor, etc.

Fan fic: sometimes written fanfic. A story based on a show or character or actor.

Squee: what I did when I got my autographed pic of Kavan Smith from my friend who attended the con he was at. To be all excited and make those high-pitched sounds of excitement that make men stick their fingers in their ears and grimace in pain. Can be done virtually on forums, too.

Het: a story (can be in video form) in which the character is shown in a heterosexual relationship.

Slash: a story in which the character is shown in a homosexual relationship. Sometimes, for the female characters, this is called “fem slash”.

Non-con: “con” in this sense means consensual. Therefore, non-con is a warning that there is rape (non-consensual sex) in this story.

Dub-con: A warning that there is sex of a dubiously consensual nature in this story (the character may start out completely consensual and decide that they don’t want to anymore or they may be tied up and “forced” by someone that they really want to have sex with but didn’t want people to know, etc)

Con: in the sense above, this means consent. Also used for the gathering of the actors of various shows (usually related, though, so all science fiction, for example). People attend the Cons to meet the actors, to hear them speak and get autographed photos with them. My friend got the autographed pic for me at ChiCon (the Con in Chicago) when she was getting her own picture taken with Kavan.

Lurk: to hang around the forums, reading the posts, but not really participating.

I’ll be using these terms a lot on this blog, hence the entry. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave it in the comments. There are a LOT more terms, but I figured I’d bored you all enough. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fanny Friday and Fiction (You like my alliteration, you know you do!)

So I thought perhaps I might start posting some of my fan fiction here, just 'cause. One of my favorite shows for a long time was the BBC's Robin Hood. My favorite character was Allan A'Dale. I was very disappointed with how things ended on that show. This little flash fic sprang up as a reaction to that. It was first written and posted in March of 2010. I'm unsure if it was beta'd or not. It has not been touched up since then. I might try to edit it for re-posting at a future time, just to see the difference if I stretch it out a bit and add more of what I've learned these past couple of years. In the end, though (no pun intended) it's just a little flash fan fic. Look! More alliteration! Sorry, it's the simple things that give me joy. :)

Title: The End

Word Count: 224

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Mild language.

Characters: Allan

Disclaimer: Tiger Aspect and the BBC own the rights to Robin Hood 2006. No copyright infringement is intended. No money is being made.

Summary: An alternative to the BBC's S3/12 ending.

A/N: This was a second-place winner in the flash fic category from the "Treat Allan Right" community for the rh_intercomm writing challenge on Live Journal. I came into the challenge late and just wrote my fingers off in an attempt to ensure that Allan won for most fics written about him. I think he wound up with not only the most fics, but the most words overall, as well.


Allan A' Dale cut through the ropes that bound him to the tree. His movements were calm and focused; his thoughts and heart were anything but.

Damn Isabella for startin' them rumors.


Damn Robin for believin' 'er over me.


Damn Little John for jumpin' so quick all the time.


Damn Much for bein' a fair-weather friend.


Damn Will and Djaq for stayin' behind in the 'oly Land. They would've defended me. Well, Djaq would've. Maybe.


Damn Gisbourne. The end.

His thoughts scurried like mice in his head as the final bond was broken and his hands dropped to his sides. Angrily gathering his sword and his small sack of personal items, including his brother's meager possessions, he strode off into the forest, heading north.

He did not know where exactly he was going—just away, away from a past that clung to him like a dense fog. He did not see the small army that passed just south of him in the forest, led by a small balding man in black.

Days later, he heard of the demise of Robin Hood, and of Nottingham. Alone at night, he wept for the man who had been his savior, his friend, and his accuser; he shed no tears for the one who had been his tormentor.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Word Wednesday: Idiom, idiosyncrasy, idiot…the weirdness of English, part One of No Doubt Many Entries of the sort.

As promised, some of the discussion from my LiveJournal friends.

Odd how these things crop up. It all started when a friend from England posted this picture of Jonas Armstrong from his new series.

[pic of Jonas Armstrong in a wife beater shirt]

She called his shirt a vest, and away we went (yes, there is clothing covering that hot body, no matter what your imagination says and yes, I realize how weird we are to be discussing words in the face of such hotness).  Bear in mind, we are all fans of the 2006 BBC series, Robin Hood. We have all “spoken” with each other a lot over the past few years and have grown used to the different words we each use for different things. For example:
  1. Pissed=Angry
  2. Pissed=Drunk 

The first response came from another resident of England, who didn’t even blink. The next response came from an American, who did not want to say what many of us here call it—a wife-beater. Legend has it (aka: what I’ve heard about the etymology –see? I used one of my words!), that the shirt is called by this hideous name because, either:

A.   Many men who wear them beat their wives.
B.   Many men who beat their wives wear them.

Like the chicken and egg thing, who knows or cares which came first.

Other names (of a less colorful or incendiary nature) are tank top, sleeveless undershirt or muscle shirt.

Now, in the United States, a vest is a button-up or zip-up sleeveless over-shirt. There are many versions:

  1. Suit or tuxedo vests are worn over a nice button-up shirt and under a suit jacket.
  2. Sweater vests and down vests offer warmth with more freedom of movement.
  3. Tactical vests make me hot, er, um, carry the gear that law enforcement and military personnel need in dangerous situations.

There are likely other versions that I've forgotten, but it's the end of a long Wednesday and I'm beat pooped exhausted.

The discussion went on to non-clothing items, such as pop vs. soda vs. Coke, until it degenerated into trousers vs. pants (apparently in England, pants are the things found under your dungarees Wranglers blue jeans jeans, unless you’re going commando). You can just imagine where that part of the discussion went! Thank goodness we didn’t get into the whole, “fanny” thing…

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Meatless Month, Days 3-5

Day Three: No worries--leftover pizza and leftover seafood salad for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant we went to for the awards served pasta and pizza and bread sticks and salad. I took the sausage off the sausage pizza, ate a spoonful of pasta and some salad, half a bread stick and half a piece of cake. 

Day Four: OOPS! So, I was pretty tired and forgot that my usual "in a hurry" breakfast of a bacon, egg, and cheese McGriddle had bacon on it until the thing was nearly gone (two bites away, bacon already on the way to my tummy).

Lunch was some leftover tuna casserole, eaten on the fly before running to get the kids from school.

Supper was fettuccine alfredo, eaten while on the phone with the warranty company, since our A/C unit decided it needs to be fixed already. 

Today, Day Five, I had coffee and a quarter of a piece of white bread toast with butter, stolen from my 11 year-old. Don't tsk me! It was from his fourth piece! Once I had him off to school, I had scrambled eggs and oatmeal toast with cinnamon apple jelly.

Lunch was leftover fettuccine alfredo.

Supper was a family favorite—maple salmon.

Recipe: Taken from my favorite recipe website, Allrecipes.

¼ cup maple syrup (I use ½ regular and ½ no sugar to cut back)
2 Tbls soy sauce (I use the no salt added version)
1 clove garlic, minced or jarred minced garlic (1 tsp or to taste)
¼ tsp garlic salt (I use a dash)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper (I skip this or use white pepper)
1 lb salmon

1.     Pour the maple syrup into the measuring cup. Add the soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt and pepper. (Allrecipes says to mix all the ingredients in a bowl, but why make extra dirty dishes?)
2.     If you use frozen salmon, thaw it in a plastic bag soaked in lukewarm water. Simply add the sauce to the bag and squish it around to ensure every piece of the salmon is coated. Place the bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, although if you prep this early in the day, it will not hurt the salmon to stay in the fridge with the mixture all day. (Allrecipes says to place the salmon in a shallow baking dish and coat it with the sauce, turning once during the 30 minute marinating process. I find the plastic zipper bag works better, allowing all sides of the salmon to become coated without having to remember to flip it.)
3.     Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
4.     Place the coated salmon into a shallow baking dish. Pour the rest of the mixture over the salmon. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until the fish is easily flaked with a fork.

Nutrition information:
Servings: 4
Calories 265
Total Fat: 12.4 g
Cholesterol: 67 mg
Sodium: 633 mg
Total carbs: 14.1 g
Dietary fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 23.2 g

Again, remember that these numbers come from Allrecipes; I do not have a chem lab in my kitchen, no matter what my mother-in-law says. Changing things, like using no sugar syrup and low sodium soy sauce, will change the nutritional information.


Usually, I have a large, glass lasagna pan that I use to cook the entire batch (this is a double recipe, due to popular demand). Unfortunately, said lasagna pan is buried somewhere in a box marked "kitchen" in the bowels of my garage at the moment. 

Ta-Da! Cooked maple salmon with white rice and asparagus. YUM!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A cockroach, by any other name...

...would still be as gross. So, on a couple of other websites that I frequent, there are discussions that I've become involved in where the naming of things is being bandied about.

First, on the Team Flyboy thread on the forums on Gateworld, we're talking about bugs. Mainly, one of the girls found a spider lurking about when she moved her old stove out to clean the area in preparation for a new stove. I mentioned that not only do I hate spiders, but I hate all bugs in general. We've just moved, as I'll be discussing more in future posts, and have found that the bug-man needs to come to my house. I am not talking about the disgusting alien guy from Men In Black, but rather the super-hero who makes all the nasty, crawly critters go away.

Last Sunday night, our second night in our new home, I sat down in the throne room and prepared to take care of some business with Mother Nature. When I glanced up at the doorway (the throne room is one of those that is occupied by only the throne, the royal parchment and a small closet), I noticed that one of Mother's more disgusting, and larger, specimens had decided to share the throne room with me. I'm not into sharing. Cautiously, I used the parchment and dressed once more, keeping a steady eye on my room-mate. I slowly reached for the door knob and turned it, painstakingly opening the doorway. Yon critter moved. I screamed and made a run for the outer sanctum. My teen-aged boy came darting in, an Alaskan ulu knife in hand, to confront my attacker.

This is what he brought:

This is what he should have brought:

He found a sneaker and after a couple of whacks, dispatched of my foe, whose picture will not be posted for reasons of ickiness. Suffice to say, it was a big black cockroach, the size of a short bus. All right, it was more like a little bigger than my thumb. Either way, it was too big and too gross to be allowed inside my house. 

There's the (rather long-winded--surprise! not) story behind the title of my post. One of the other girls remembered living in Florida, as well, and said she had not been a fan of the Palmetto bugs that lurked lived in the tropical climate. She said that was the name she knew those cockroaches by. Personally, I don't care what you call 'em, long as you call 'em "not in my house". 

On the other website, LiveJournal, a discussion has begun on how things are called based on where you live. More on that tomorrow. I've got to go peek into the throne room before another visit, get some laundry together so I have something decent to wear to the teen's special dinner tonight (in honor of the Naval Sea Cadets, where he has risen through the ranks to become a leader and will be an E3 by the end of the summer), then off to empty another box or two in the epic drama that is moving and unpacking. 

So how do y'all feel about cockroaches? Good, bad, indifferent, terrified, disgusted? 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Meatless Month, Day Two

Day Two of our meatless month project.

Breakfast was unmemorable. I think I nibbled on some imitation crabmeat. Maybe.

Lunch: Seafood salad. Small seashell-shaped noodles cooked and mixed with imitation crabmeat, hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise.

Supper: Mushroom and pepper pizza with bread sticks.

Tomorrow we are at a banquet for the teen. Don't know what's being served. Hope we can get something that's on our okay list. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meatless Month, Day One

Don’t know why, but hubby & I decided to go meatless this month. Actually, that's a lie--one of my buddies on Live Journal is a vegetarian and posts about she and her boyfriend's Sunday dinners. I mentioned this to hubby and he decided that it sounded like an interesting idea to try to go for a month without meat. I went along with it, wondering if we'd feel any healthier or lose any weight (dubious, since we'll likely be eating a lot of pasta and bread). I will blog as often as I can, catching you all up, posting pictures as possible and letting you know how hubby, teen boy, pre-teen boy and I are reacting. Bear in mind, we've just moved and things are in chaos at the moment.

The Rules:

No chicken

No turkey

No beef

No pork (or pork products--so no ham or bacon)

We can eat fish, eggs, beans and cheese, as well as, of course, pasta, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. Chicken and beef broth are okay, just not the solid stuff.

We do not like tofu when it's being passed off as something other than what it is or any other fake meat.

Day 1

Today, I actually ate breakfast. Unusual for me, as if I eat too early, I get sick and by the time I can eat, I usually have clients or staff needing my help. I had scrambled eggs and an English muffin with butter and grape jelly.

Lunch was a bowl of tuna casserole.

Dinner was tuna melts on English muffins with cheese (I had one with white American cheese and one with shredded cheddar blend, hubby had both with white American cheese). Hubby had Lipton chicken soup without meat. Sorry, no pics today--I have to find my camera. LOL! The teen is at his girlfriend’s house. He whimpered his GF’s mom into making him a roast beef dinner. Already. **rolls eyes** The pre-teen wanted to eat hot dogs—not on the “approved” list, but we have two packets in the fridge that will go bad if no one eats them, so we’re letting the kids finish off the “no-no” items.

The plan for tomorrow is to have pizza for dinner. Breakfast and lunch will be played by ear. I may ignore hubby's complaints about the smell and hard boil some eggs for a nice egg salad sandwich. :)