022 - TGIF!!!

It's Friday! It's Friday! It's Friday! I don't have big exciting plans, but it's Friday, and I can relax and unwind and that's all I care about!

I had intended to go to Shakespeare in the Park tomorrow evening, but I'm heading into town on Sunday and I don't want to drive it twice. I hate traffic. Hate it. So unless I get around to it next weekend, I'll probably miss out on SitP this year.

=( <--- That's me pouting.

So my plans for tomorrow probably revolve around cleaning and touching the house up. My house feels grimy. What with all the window installs, the A/C, the foundation repair and exterminations going on lately, the house feels like it's covered with sawdust and dirt and grime (even though it's not actually that dirty... it's all perception). I'm feeling a little ambitious, so I think I might rent a carpet cleaner to clean my rugs and my loveseat tomorrow, and maybe repaint the hallway (with paint I already have) and/or get started on the vinyl trim around my windows (had to buy paint for the leaf guards so I may as well use it up, and since the trim doesn't exactly match the house...). It's not completely out of the realm of possibility that I'll trim some of the hedges outside and plant a few flowers now that the gutter is fixed and plants will actually grow.... it was pretty brutal to watch them get pounded by Niagra Falls every time it rained. Also need to put covers over the soffit vents, but I'm not going to do that just yet. And my houseguest is moving into her own place (not that I want to get rid of her, it was fun having a roomie), so I'll move my stuff back into the other closet. That should kill a day.

If not, I can always test pack for Scotland... I have way too much to pack this time and I probably need to pare down. It's going to be cold, and since I have no idea what a real winter is like, I've got coats and scarves and hats and gloves and sweaters and raincoats and long socks and fuzzy sleep pants... Now I'm starting to put a Halloween costume together and that's going to take up space, too. I need to leave room for the things I know I'm bringing back with me--important things like whisky and soap... twelve more weeks...!!!

It's been over two weeks since I last got a rejection... which feels pret-ty awesome if you care to know. The first round of rejections came quickly, I think they saw the word 'vampire' and simply didn't want to represent it, but I like to think that the remainder of my queries are being considered based on my writing rather than solely on the subject matter and that takes longer. Yep... I like to think that...

I also submitted a poem to Poetry magazine. What the hell, right? Why not? I may as well blanket the market and see who bites. And they pay. Money.

Also started planning my next dinner party. With all the home repairs out of the way I feel like celebrating a little. I like to cook, and dinner parties give me the opportunity to make things I wouldn't normally make for myself. This time I'm probably going to break out the horseradish escalloped potatoes... after reading about them over and over again as I edit the book, I'm craving them big time. And this time I have a mandolin so I can slice the potatoes uniformly... much easier than eyeing it and using a knife. I used to stress myself out but I think I've got the formula down now... make something that can be tossed into the oven, then I can relax and not be running around like a rabid clown when my guests arrive. I don't worry so much if the house is spotless anymore, I do what I can ahead of time to prepare and realize that no one is as hard on me as I am on myself... this may not be a big deal to most people, but the way I grew up, company = stress,and I'm bucking the system here!

Gonna go head to the piano and play for a bit. I've been doing pretty good on Rachmaninov's Prelude in C-Minor... first half... second half is a bear... two treble clefs, two bass clefs and I only have two hands... it's just not possible... (for me). My fingers remember where the notes are supposed to be, but if I try to read the music I screw myself up, and I'm waaaaaay out of practice. I go for long periods of time without ever touching the keyboard and then sit down and play almost every day and wonder why the hell I wasn't doing that all along. It's so relaxing. I hated learning to play, but once I got the notes down I began to love it, and when I started writing my own music I think that changed everything. I'm definitely glad my parents pushed the lessons... hated the recitals, and still won't play in front of most people, but I enjoy playing for myself.

021 - Long Day.

I'm trying to blog every day, it's a little like a diary, except that there are certain things I can't or won't blog about... work... romance... where I live... because who knows who might read it, and those things are personal. Suffice it to say that it wasn't the best day and I worked out on the treadmill. Twice. I'm still a little upset, but I'm working on it.

Sorry this one was a bore. That'll happen sometimes.


020 - When is a day off not a day off?

A day off is not a day off when you're having your foundation repaired and you still have to be up and at 'em by 7:00 am, and you can't take a nap because of the jackhammers ripping apart your nice patio. Or the guy singing. The house is creaking... and it moves... it's scary... I keep watching the walls and windows, and I wonder about my a/c connections and pipes and ductwork...

So far no (apparent) damage from the fix (other than my patio). I keep watching the windows, because I have them opened a wee bit (to relieve the tension as suggested by the people who installed them) and I can see that the horizontal lines aren't quite parallel to each other. I'm assuming that will correct itself once the house is level. My already crappy floor still looks crappy. I keep thinking maybe I should just rip out the tile and put some of that concrete stain on it like I dreamt about one time... the glossy kind that gives it color but you can still see through it (like the black or cola versions on this page) - then I can see cracks in my foundation really easily. I think it'd be really pretty actually. Right now I have crappy white tile that has a veneer on it because the previous owners went all out to flip this baby... (not)... it chips off and looks tacky.

Watched a couple of movies... Zack and Miri Make a Porno, pretty good, but very raunchy (you kind of expect that from the title though), and My Best Friend's Girl, also pretty good and very raunchy (but you kind of expect that from the big UNRATED VERSION stamp across the cover, and the fact that Dane Cook is in it). Made a baked potato for lunch, garlic hasselback potato to be precise, where you cut almost all the way through and fan the potato out with garlic slivers in between each slice and pour bacon grease over the top of it before you toss it into the oven. Pretty yummy. More satisfying than the frozen dinner I would have had for lunch if I'd been at work.

Well... hopefully they'll be finishing up in the next couple of hours (I bet they're ready to be done too... it looks pretty hot out there) and I can relax. I'm all tensed up until it's done and there's no water gushing from under my foundation.

Update: They're done and the crack in the grout is now almost invisible. Even more astounding is that some of the joint tape has almost straightened itself out... back to what it looked like before anyway... which was still crinkled in spots, but my inspector told me that is normal for houses this age (I don't know that I believe him now). The beam running along my living room ceiling is back in place. There was really only one door that didn't close, and it closes now (thank you to Greg for telling me to check that all the doors and locks worked before they filled in the holes). No cracks in my wall either. I'm pretty impressed. Broke, but impressed. Hopefully the patches in the concrete will be nearly invisible too... They got here a little after 7 o'clock this morning and they're leaving now (5:40). Long day... glad I don't have their jobs.


019 - Like Bamboo Under My Fingernails

If you've ever wondered what it feels like to have bamboo shoved under your fingernails, I can now provide you with valuable information - it hurts like a motherfucker.

I have bamboo blinds in one of my rooms, and as I reached for the rope to raise them up, a piece of bamboo was sticking out just far enough that it was able to lodge itself under my fingernail. Imagine that. Through some weird twist of fate, my hand was at just the perfect angle to receive it. Another thing you should know about bamboo under your nails? Removal hurts almost as much as the insertion, and even after you remove it, it still stings.

Quite a bit.

For a while.

So I like to dress up for Halloween, and most years I attend a huge party that one of my friends throws, but this year I'll be in England (that's not disappointment you're sensing - don't get me wrong, I do look forward to the party and the Wooga... but party here... or party in England...). We'll be just under the Scottish border in Northumbria, at Chillingham Castle where we will spend the night... in a haunted castle... on Halloween... mm-hmm.

I was half-joking to my friends that we should dress up for the ghost tour. At this point it's gonna happen because now there's more than one of us who is excited at the prospect. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I will, probably, be dressed as a vampire... it's a pretty easy costume to don and I shouldn't scare too many people unless I get these contacts (which I'm seriously considering because they're cool... or maybe these). Anyway, I checked the Chillingham website because I was going to ask if people dress up, and I found out that they're having a bonfire and fireworks on Halloween night. AWESOME. So, a bonfire at a haunted castle on Halloween... how cool is that? It's pret-ty cool.

No... it's ridiculously cool.


018 - Lurv

This about sums it up: "Christian, you may see me only as a drunken, vice-ridden gnome whose friends are just pimps and girls from the brothels. But I know about art and love, if only because I long for it with every fiber of my being." (from Moulin Rouge)

We all want love. We do. It's elusive sometimes, but like donkeys, we chase that apple. Sometimes we catch it and we find a worm, other times it's perfect.

Me? I'm addicted to it... in the form of reality tv. I love to watch dating shows. Last night was the finale of Daisy of Love and tonight I'm watching The Bachelorette. I have a knack for knowing who will be chosen... tonight it will be Ed (I knew even when he left that he was the right guy for Jilian... and then he came back). Last night I knew it would be London (ditto... although I don't think he's the right guy... that guy was 12-Pack).

In my own life, not so easy. My recent choices haven't been so good. But I've learned something from each of them, and I no longer want the guy that I chose over and over again - because that's exactly what I did; I repeated the same mistake. So I have a few scars, some of which I won't even realize I have until a situation comes along that reveals them to me, others of which are very obvious. I should be so incredibly jaded at this point, and I have definitely lost hope along the way, but it's like a boomerang and it always comes back to find me.

For now, I'm jealous of an entirely different kind of love... my cousin posted that she got tons of Eli kisses today... I haven't seen him in months... I'm not one of those people who loves all children, in general I'm not a kid person... I don't hate kids, I'm just don't go ga-ga over a kid because it's a kid. Eli though... he is super adorable. He's the kind of kid that makes me want to consider having one of my own someday... or maybe just taking a trip to see my family next year. Yeah... that's a much better idea!

And on that note... time to get ready for bed. I didn't get much sleep last night so I feel like a zombie... which means I'll stare up at the ceiling for several hours and wake up a zombie tomorrow, too!

P.S. They tried to throw me a curve ball, but I was right... it was Ed.


017 - Just Wondering...

Watched Inkheart this afternoon. Basically the premise of the movie was that certain people can read the words of a story out loud and the story would become reality. It wasn't a life-changing movie but it got me thinking... left field, as usual... or as I like to say, my train of thought often gets derailed.

There's a theory floating around that we can write the story of our own lives, that what we believe is what comes into being... some call it the power of positive thinking but it goes by many names (like self-actualization... think Stuart Smalley's 'I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggonit - people like me'). I have to admit that, being the pessimist (or maybe realist) that I am, I have a bit of a problem with it, even though I'd really like to believe it. The big flaw is, we can't all get what we want (green lights and no traffic), it's just not possible. Sometimes that's because it's at cross purposes to what other people want, other times... well, you just can't - but a person can dream.

Mostly I think things work out because, if we really desire something, we put effort into making it happen, we create the opportunity. Sometimes maybe we're picking up a vibe, something that tells us, if only subconsciously like a gut feeling, that we're on the right track. I've learned that even if I think it's crazy, my gut is more often right than wrong, especially in certain areas of my life.

On the other hand, If we ignore our opportunities, or don't put the effort into them, they will pass us by. Sometimes we set ourselves up to fail.

I tend to take life as it comes... hope for the best, then stick my head in the sand and believe the worst won't happen to me. I believe that whatever is meant to happen will happen, and if you try to force it, it will backfire on you. I look for signs that I'm on the right track, like serendipity or something, just little things to keep me motivated or let me know it's time to back down. Maybe that means I put too much stock into insignificant gestures, or read too much into nuance, but that's who I am and will probably always be. I could apologize for it, but that would be insincere.

All in all, my life is pretty good, with little hiccups here and there; I can't let myself get bogged down by it or it would pull me under. I think you have to have a sense of humor, or life will bitch-slap you into submission.

Oh, and one funny little story ... turning the lemon (my house) into lemonade... I called my insurance company, it was too early for my local office to be open so I was connected to the national number... which basically means I was routed to India. I told the lady that I needed to know if my foundation was covered by my insurance policy. She asked if my question would be in regards to a homeowner's policy, an auto policy, or life insurance. Then I was connected to someone in the licensing department and that representative asked if I was talking about a single-family residence, or a mobile home... they were both really nice though...


016 - So Many Interesting Things

Went on something of a tour today... I rode along with a friend who was house hunting (I don't know why, but I thought we were going to actually be going inside some of the houses... I figure I must be going daft because I also thought Shakespeare in the Park started this weekend, but it's next weekend... oy).

Saw some neat houses, saw some crappy houses, saw lots of overpriced homes. All in all I realize that I must have expensive tastes... the ones I liked were about $300-500k... It's all about location I suppose, because they were smaller than my current home, and they were much older (part of what I liked about them, the older bungalow style).

In front of some homes were petrified dogs, in front of one was a metal cow wearing a yellow tu-tu. I can't get over how it's all laid out, it's not like a series of nice houses, it's a really nice house, next to a piece of crap, next to something passable, next to a business, next to new construction, gigantic house, tiny house, duplex, four-plex, apartments, condos... No rhyme or reason. I can tell you one thing - no matter how much I like a house, if it's next door to a house that's falling down or has crap all over the porch, I'm not going to buy it. I guess that means I'm not a city girl, but I already knew that. If I had my way, I'd be living in the country, or at least in a neighborhood with more space between the houses. For now, I exist in the 'burbs.

There were several homes with screened-in porches, and that's definitely something I would like to have someday. It was on my to-do list at this house, once upon a time. My grandparents have a screened-in patio and it's always nice to sit outside without being bothered by mosquitos or wasps. During the spring and fall I'd probably be out there most of the time.All in all today put me in the mood to do something constructive, so I came home and finally touched up the couple of areas in my bathroom that I've been ignoring (changed the color in the bathroom and painted around a couple of things instead of removing them and doing it right... I was always going to get to it eventually, but now it's done).

By the way, if you want to see one of the worst movies ever made... Cabin by the Lake with Judd Nelson... I can't even explain why I watched it except that sometimes I need to see something incredibly mind numbingly stupid. He must have really needed that paycheck... When I lived in my last house, my roommate and I would sometimes stay home and watch what I called "bloody UPN Saturdays." The station was UPN, and all day long they seemed to play movies where people died. Fascinating stuff. And sometimes we had Saturday sundaes where we ate ice cream and piled on the syrups and sprinkles. It was cool, you should try it. Wednesday sundaes are even better.


015 - Fry-Day

I'm sure that most people are like, "Friday - woohoo! Time to hit the bars and have some fun!" And I'm all like, "Friday - woohoo! I can go home and take a nap! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...." I don't know when old age hit, but at some point I guess it did, because lately I'm completely wiped out by the time Friday gets here... hell, I'm lucky to make it to ten o'clock without falling asleep on most Fridays.

Last night I watched the 100th episode of SYTYCD... one of my favorite shows if you haven't figured that out - and whereas yesterday made me cry, last night made me go 'wow.' Ramalama Bang Bang is the coolest damn thing I've ever seen (well, maybe not ever, because I don't remember the first time they aired it, but very cool). I couldn't find the video from last night with Wade Robson dancing, but I posted a version that is just as cool. The song itself is pretty interesting, I like the... drums (?) in the background... sounds twisted.

I've always loved to watch dance shows. I think it started with Solid Gold, and then Girls Just Want to Have Fun (cheesy or not, it's my favorite movie - ever). When it comes to SYTYCD, I'm kinda like Sarah Jessica Parker's character when she talks about D-TV... a total dork, wide-eyed with wonder, practically drooling. One of the things I love about SYTYCD is that even though they're competing against one another, the contestants seem to be supportive of each other... sort of gives me back my faith in humanity.

Somehow I didn't catch the Dancing with the Stars bug... I think the fact that 'celebrities' are dancing turns me off because I'd rather see people who aren't already famous get their turn. People who are already famous? They don't really need the help... although some of them do... just not with publicity. Also don't really care for Dance Your Ass Off... I feel like the judges are being condescending to the 'fat people' because they watch them dance and they have these 'oh those poor people, they're trying so hard' smiles on their faces.

Lately I've noticed a 'fat person' tv show trend like they're doing 'fat people' a favor by showcasing them, like it's a disability or something. It's not that I don't think people who are overweight deserve tv shows, it's just the way the shows are being marketed that isn't sitting well with me. I don't know how to express it except to say they act like people who are overweight are also pathetic, and they're not, unless they allow themselves to be.And that More to Love show? They act like the guy is doing these women a favor. I'm sorry, but he's not exceptional, so stop acting like he's some kind of philanthropist. Even though they're large, some of those women are gorgeous. It's like they're telling people that they don't deserve to be loved unless they're a size 5 or something, and I know that they're trying to do the exact opposite, they're just going about it the wrong way.

That said - I love Ruby. Love her. I don't feel like she's being exploited like the other people are. I find her fascinating, and I think she's gorgeous. When she loses all the weight she's really going to be stunning, but it really doesn't matter, because her beauty comes from the inside. Anyway, I'm addicted to Ruby so I DVR it. (but don't trust my judgement, I also watch Daisy of Love - and I won't apologize for it, it's highly entertaining and there some nice male eye candy)

Well, time to sign off and watch The Lost Boys... Mmm... vampires... and Billy Wirth (if you don't recognize the name, he was the hot vampire with the long, dark hair who was always standing right next to Keifer Sutherland... the one who rarely said anything except for a couple of lines primarily consisting of 'dude')... even with bad 80's hair that boy is h-o-t, hot... but you should see him now... even better with age. Yum.


014 - So You Think You Can Dance

No... actually I don't... but sometimes I try anyway.

I seem to have turned into a big blubbery crybaby the older I've gotten... so many things (good and bad) can start up the waterworks that I almost hate to watch movies with people anymore. Which leads me to the subject of this post... last night's SYTYCD had this amazing number about breast cancer and it really got to me.

Cancer is something that has greatly impacted my family. I have said many times that unless I die in a freak accident, I will probably either die of cancer or heart problems. It's something that I try not to think about, knowing that I'll probably have to face it someday, if not in myself, in yet another member of my family, or a friend. Today I learned that a friend of mine may be dealing with a serious bout of cancer, so the video is especially timely. So I dedicate this to all the members of my family who have been taken down by the disease and anyone who has ever had to deal with it in their own lives, may you triumph over it and go on to live long and happy lives:

Note - They removed the video for copyright violations, so until I find another link... I can't post it... but it was beautiful...


013 - Google Analytics

I had intended on a happy post yesterday and that obviously didn't happen... ah well, can't be upbeat all the time... I realize today that having no money must be the final piece in the puzzle that is being 'an artist'... so I'm there. I've made it! Yipee!

So without further adieu I will now regale you with the wonder that is Google Analytics. I just installed the tracking widget four days ago, so it'll wear off soon, but for now I am intrigued... blown away... astounded... by all the information that it provides. I can see how many unique visitors I get in a day (keeping in mind that you're all unique, seriously), how many are return visitors, which pages are accessed and for how long. I can see that you are in the US or abroad, who provides you with internet service, the operating system and web browser that was used, and if you found my website directly or were referred by another website (I like that I see that starting to happen). And... tsk tsk... some of you are logging on from work... =)

A disclaimer - I know what you just read could sound a tad bit worrisome, but keep in mind that with all the information I get - I can't see who you are... so please don't feel like I'm spying on anyone because that would be creepy and I wouldn't even want to do that. The only way I'll know if you access my website is if you tell me by commenting on my blog or contact me via the contact form... and while I'm dying to know who you are and what you think, I wouldn't want to find out by spying on you (I've shown a couple of people what I see and they can vouch, your privacy, for the most part, is as safe as it apparently ever is on the web... something to think about though).

Just so you can see what I'm talking about, I posted a pic on my website (albiet a very small pic... If you could read it, you could see that in four days I've had 54 visitors, 52 of whom are 'unique', one of whom was from Ireland (madainn mhath!), 52 hits were direct and 2 were from referring sites, and people accessed my blog (yea!), pics, and partial chapters. I just think it's neat. I'm gushing. I'll stop now.


012 - This blog may contain cursewords

Allow me to introduce myself, my name (formerly Kristy) is (now) Job. If it didn't cost money, I'd look into changing it.

Today I met with a foundation repair company (well... not the whole company, just one friendly representative). My foundation is cracked. I need 12 piers. Piers cost money. I know the cost is 'reasonable,' but what I'm going through right now is not...

You know what else costs money??? A/C units... they cost money. Gutters? Money. Windows cost money. Soffits also cost money. Dryers cost money. Car batteries cost money, as do tires. Fences - not free. Exterminators to kill carpenter ants - they cost money. And just so I have something else to look forward to, I'm sure that raccoon did some damage in the attic that I have yet to suffer for... probably something expensive and/or dangerous.Someone out there hates Kristy.

I'm ready to start selling my eggs because I'm out of fucking money. I'm juggling so many credit cards at the moment, that all I need is a kitten and a chainsaw to make it slightly more challenging (and so entertaining that people might be willing to pay to watch the ensuing madness).

So, I will probably never leave my house again. I can't afford to do anything but sit at home eating ramen noodles and drinking chicken broth (the kind made from bouillon cubes). Or can a person live on tap water?Things aren't quite that bad... but they're not good either. I keep thinking that if I had a nervous breakdown I could go to one of those nice mental health retreats where they let you ride horses and hang out by the pond, and feed you happy purple pills that look like smiling cyclops-es... (I'm doing that scales-of-justice thing with my hands as I consider this)

It's times like these that having ethics really annoys me; I could use a sugar daddy about now...

011 - Flowchart

I just developed a simple flowchart to explain what my day is like:


010 - No to the O

I think 'no' is a perfect word. One vowel, one consonant. Two letters. Two consecutive letters. However, I don't usually like being told 'no,' especially in the form of a rejection letter.

I haven't received enough of them to temper my enthusiasm, but I noticed that the couple that I have received are pretty vague. In fact, they remind me very much of the old adage, "It's not you... it's me." So I find myself laughing a little (when I should be crying).

The typical letter thanks you for submitting your work, and then politely tells you that they're passing on the opportunity to represent you. Then it usually says that opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one, and they're all different, so keep submitting your work, because someone else may be just the one to champion it. P.S. Keep writing.I suspect that I know the reasons behind the formula:

-- If you give specifics, you invite questions

-- If you say that you don't like it, it's personal

-- If you say that you don't like it, because it's personal, people may attempt to argue with you (because some people truly believe that's going to change things)

-- If you tell someone to keep writing, it a) keeps them occupied and b) gives them the impression that their writing doesn't suck, that maybe it is just a preference thing (which is probably pretty true).

Aside from all of that, this is a complete stranger who doesn't owe it to you to be specific, and they get tons of query letters. I'm not really dissing the agents, just poking fun at the rejection letter. And do I have a better idea? No. I don't.

The one thing that I don't appreciate are the websites that say, 'you won't hear back from us unless we're interested.' That's the kind of thing I did when I was in high school; if a guy was interested, and I wasn't, I ignored him and figured he'd eventually get the point. I'm sure on the other side of that equation it was pretty rude (so, my sincere apologes... I've grown a little since then). In the world of querying, it makes me wonder if my email ever arrived at its intended destination, because emails have been known to disappear. It would be nicer to send a form letter... and how much effort does it take... really...

All in all, it's the 'why's in life that eat at me. If something wasn't working, I want to know why. I can't help it. I'm a fixer if things can be fixed (to a point), I like to learn from the situation so that I don't repeat my mistakes. In Kristy's World I get answers to all of my questions, but in the real world I don't (Kristy's World is a really, really cool place--I have this giant cartoon hammer that I bonk people over the head with when they're being idiots AND all the freeways are clear AND I don't have to work for a living).

All this because I ran across a cool blog called The Rejector... the subheading was "I don't hate you. I just hate your query letter." Zzzzt. Reeled in. So, no rejection letters today (yea!), just ramblings based on someone else's (really cool) website.

Final thought (question) for the day: Why do they call them carpenter ants when they don't actually build anything?...


009 - The Obsession with Butterbeer Continues

8-oz Gingerale + 3 Tbsp Butterscotch syrup + ReddiWhip = Tummyache

But it was delicious, and looked exactly like the drink Hermione and the boys were enjoying at The Three Broomsticks. I think maybe next time I should cut the recipe in half, because even though my tastebuds wanted more, my stomach definitely had its limits.

Ale + Egg Yolks + Sugar + Nutmeg + Butter = ???

It has sort of a before-taste rather than an aftertaste... when it first goes in your mouth it's definitely unpleasant, but only for a milisecond, and then it's sweet. It was confusing really. Tia said it wasn't disgusting, but it wasn't good either... I think that about sums it up. After a few sips, I decided I wasn't in the mood and poured it down the drain. It wasn't much different than the Egg Beaters version I made earlier except for the funky before-taste and a slightly more golden color.

So... my butterbeer experiment is done. We have a clear winner, and it's got gingerale in it. I'll take the remaining 2 cans of Blonde Bombshell ale to my dad and let him enjoy them.

I keep adding to my website (http://kristyhutchison.weebly.com). I wanted to add Google Friend Connect so I could get comments and people could 'join' and 'share' and do all sorts of neat things, but Weebly doesn't support it yet. Other than that though, Weebly has been fantastic. I know nothing about websites or indexing or web crawlers or robots.txt files or root directories, this is all new to me... and FRUSTRATING. Google pretends to make gadgets for the technologically retarded ("no programming required!"), but they're grossly overestimating my abilities. The most frustrating part of the whole thing is that when you go to look for useful help files... they don't exist. They figure they've told you all you need to know in the little video snippets. *laugh*

I still haven't found a search tool for my site that actually works (granted I'm bitching about free stuff), it always comes back telling me that nothing has been found, or it goes out onto the web to look. Not sure it matters right now, but I think I'm eventually going to clutter up my site with so much information that a search tool would be nice to have. Ah well.

Time to go have lunch, hope everyone had a great weekend!


008 - Gingery Goodness

Went to the store to get gingerale and butterscotch syrup for gingerbeer 2.0, and since I was getting ice cream topping, I wandered down the ice cream aisle... OMG, they had ginger ice cream! Haagen Daas ginger ice cream, some new-fangled marketing scheme, 5-ingredient ice cream and it's lovely... love... ly... Some ice cream tastes good for a couple of bites, until your tongue freezes, and then you may as well stop -- but this -- this was good until the last bite...

I also bought eggs, because I have 4 more cans of ale, and I'm going to try gingerbeer 1.0 with just yolks this time. Not expecting a significantly different outcome, but... I have 4 more cans of ale.

And it's raining! I went outside and twirled around in it just to make sure, and it was... water was falling from the sky... just like rain. I love rain.


007 - Punching the Clock

About a week ago, I bought the world's most awesome alarm clock... all I have to do is select my time zone and it does the rest; it even adjusts automatically for daylight savings time. I still say we should fall back 23 hours rather than spring forward one, but no one listens to me... Anyway, this wonder-clock has two alarms which I can set to play my iPod, radio, or my choice of two different ear-shattering buzzers. Best part of the alarm is that I can set it for weekdays, weekends or all seven days.

If that weren't enough, the absolute coolest thing about my clock is the snooze feature -- I don't even have to hit the snooze button -- I just wave my hand (or pillow) in front of the sensor and I get to snooze for nine more minutes. That's what sold me on it. I'm in love with the damn thing. It's like a little robot.

As I write this I'm watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I love old movies, and one of my favorite actors has always been Danny Kaye. He was incredibly talented and I love to watch him go (he's very energetic, that one). He can sing, he can dance, he can talk incredibly fast... he's hilarious. I wish more movies were like old movies and there were more Danny Kayes in the world.

Ah well... my awesome clock is telling me that it's time to have some fun! Have a great weekend! (I hear thunder... sounds like we might get some -- gasp! -- rain) *dance of joy* -- CORRECTION -- *RAIN dance of joy*


006 - Butterbeer

So... butterbeer... not the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted... The guy who magically appeared by the beer cooler at Spec's said this Blonde Bombshell was really good... and the guy at the counter independently verified it, so I'm guessing I started with a good base.

Brought the ale to boil and realized I had Egg Beaters in the fridge... so that's egg white and yolk, so I have a feeling this was supposed to be thicker, but... it's okay--I can drink it. It still tastes a lot like ale, just a little sweeter, and it's warm, so it kind of tingles a little as the carbonation hits my tongue. You have to keep in mind that I don't like the taste of beer or, in this case, ale, so I'm probably not the best judge, but it tasted alright, the eggs aren't as bad as you might think.

I think where I went wrong, is that I assumed a butterbeer was a butterbeer was a butterbeer, and apparently the consensus on butterbeer in the HP universe is that it's more of a cream soda + butterscotch syrup concoction, or sometimes it has milk in it. In fact, there are ten different recipes listed on this website alone.

So I can say I tried it out, and it wasn't half bad. Other people might actually like it. And tomorrow I'll try the frou frou version, which is what I think Hermione might have been drinking... and ironically probably has fewer calories even though it looks more decadent...


005 - Skipper

Played hookey from work today so that I could watch the new Harry Potter movie... so worth it. It was the best one yet... but also the saddest (yes, I cried). It's amazing to see the words of the book translated onto the screen... it's a testament to JK Rowling's descriptive abilities that watching some of it was like deja vu; my imagination and the film were pretty close.

Butterbeer looked so good that I found a recipe online and will add it to my recipe page as soon as I finish writing this. Looks almost like egg nog with beer instead of rum... or maybe hot buttered rum, but with beer and eggs... I don't normally like beer, but I'm willing to try it out. Hopefully I won't like this either, I'm sure it has about a zillion calories... but something about the way it looks just calls to me...

Looks like there are some good movies on the horizon, another tween novel, The Lightning Thief, as well as Robert Downey, Jr in Sherlock Holmes (and though I never would have imagined it, the trailer was really interesting... besides, I love Sherlock Holmes). I feel like there's been a drought of good movies lately, so it's nice to see that there are a few to get excited about.

I always enjoy taking a day off from work. I feel like I get a lot done. If I didn't have to work for a living I could accomplish so much more. There are some people who continue to work well past retirement age because they claim that they have nothing else to do--I don't intend to be one of them. There are about a million things that I could think of to fill my time instead: travel, gardening, writing, reading, learning new things (languages, cooking classes, knitting, brewing mead, etc), hiking, fixing up the house, relaxing (and of course, spending time with friends and family, but that kinda goes without saying).

All in all, I wish I had more time to spend on personal pursuits (and more money, because some of those pursuits require it), but alas, don't we all? It's the human condition.


004 - Getting Rid of the Clutter

This weekend I cleaned out a couple of my closets. It's something I've needed to do for a while because I hold onto things that I don't need, want or use, on the off chance that I'll need, want or use them in the future. I'm embarassed to admit that up until about a year ago I still had a couple of shirts I'd worn in high school (and I shudder to add that high school was almost 20 years ago now). I even had my prom dress hanging in a closet until I finally got sick of having to deal with it.

The best way I've found to get rid of clutter is to move... the thought of packing things up and lugging them to another house really puts it all into perspective. It's amazing what becomes expendable. But... I'm not moving this time, so I had to toughen my resolve and just let go of my pack rat tendencies. I made a pretty good dent in things, but I could still do more.

I might try something I saw on How Clean is Your House once: face all your hangers the wrong way, after you wear something, wash it and rehang it, face the hangers the right way. In a few months you can probably toss the stuff on the hangers that were never turned. Pretty cool. But I haven't done it yet...Baby steps.

So tomorrow is HP and the Half-Blood Prince! Getting excited! Just re-watched HP and the Order of the Phoenix... it was good... but sad...Ah well... gotta go --having drinks and catching up with a friend and I need to make sure the wine glasses are clean! That reminds me, I added whisky tasting info on the Scotland page this afternoon (http://kristyhutchison.weebly.com/), notes I found on the whisky I brought back from Scotland last time; if whisky's your thing, check it out!


003 - Harry Potter Gives Me Goosebumps

Every time the commercial for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes on, I freeze, eyes riveted to the television screen... I swear someone could break into my house and I wouldn't bat an eye (okay, that's an exaggeration... I'm a fan, but I'm not crazy). It's really bad if I'm in a theater and I see it on the big screen... I get chills.

I know I'm a dork, and I'm okay with that, because I also know that I'm not alone.

My favorite characters are probably not everyone else's favorites... I like Ron and Snape. I mean, I love them all, but Ron's fun, and Snape is... I don't know what it is that I like about him except that he's an underdog, and there's something about an underdog that I root for... I had faith in him all along even though it always looked like he was the bad guy. I liked him in the books, but it got worse when the movies came along... there's something sexy about Alan Rickman with longish dark hair... I know... I don't understand it either...

Harry Potter opened up a whole new world for me. I stubbornly refused to read any of the books for a couple of years when the craze first started, but I finally broke down and did it. To my surprise, I sat up all night reading the first two. The first book is still my favorite because of the world it created, it was brilliant and new and fascinating. Even the first movie is the one I watch most often... my favorite scene is that cigarette lighter that snuffs out the street lamps (I'm really going to get it for not knowing the name of that doohickey)... it's bloody brilliant, as Ron would say.

When all of the books have been made into movies and there's no more of them to look forward to, that's going to be a sad day for me.

I had mixed emotions about the last book. I waited for it all day, I was so pissed at UPS because I live 5 minutes from the distribution center, but they had to turn it over to the post office for some reason and my mailperson always comes late... I'd pre-ordered it months ahead of time, and I didn't get my copy until 6 pm. And yet... when it finally arrived I didn't want to crack it open, because opening it meant the end was that much closer. Then I stayed up all night reading it. There's was a passage where Harry looked at the clock and it was 4 am (or whatever time it was), and when I glanced at my clock... it was 4 am... now that's magic.


002 - Dinner Party

Life imitates art.

Just like in the book, woman throws dinner party, but the guests don't necessarily cooperate... Started with six guests and now there are four + me... I think... I haven't heard from two of them and that makes me nervous... My situation is entirely different than Grace's of course, because this was never meant to be a romantic dinner for two... but I am roasting a chicken.

See, when I went to Vegas about 5 years ago, I had this kick ass roast chicken at a "French" restaurant in one of the hotels, and I've been on a quest to duplicate it ever since -- just like the horseradish escalloped potatoes on my recipe page, except that in that case, I succeeded (I hate to fail, it chafes me). The chicken in the oven right now will be tasty, it's juicy and garlicky and... rosemary-y, but it's not going to be the chicken I had oh so many years ago. Geez, I feel like I'm obsessing over chicken... moving on...

It almost makes me sad when I get something that good because I know that (probably) nothing will ever compare to that experience (I'm not just talking about chicken anymore... just so you know...). Still, I guess it gives me something to shoot for, and I've decided that's the meaning of life -- having something to look forward to. I mean, imagine if you had everything you ever wanted -- do you think you would be happy? I don't. I'd still want something to look forward to, or else I'd stall out.


001 - Welcome to my Underworld

The hardest part of doing anything (for me at least) is getting started. Once I do that, I'm a beast. I have no experience building websites, so this has been kind of fun, and a little frustrating... took me way too long to figure out how to publish this site once I had it built; I'm not a techie.

I hope there's enough here to keep people interested. I tried to think of things I'd like to see on a website... more than just, 'here's my book, here's where to buy it... and... GO!'... especially since I'm not published yet. Gotta remain optimistic, there's no point in trying if you don't believe in yourself.

I've sent my query letter out to 12 agents. So far I've received three rejections. I expected two of them, one agent had already blogged about vampires being 'out,' and the other is also an author (who writes vampire novels). The third was an agency who only allowed query letters. I like to submit to agencies who want pages as well. I feel like it gives them a better idea of my writing style. It's really hard to boil 85,000 words down into a couple of paragraphs... try it sometime (and if you think it's easy, we'll talk -- I need you!).

So the elephant in the room is, of course, Twilight. Everyone apparently started writing vampire novels when Twilight hit. Some of them probably didn't give a fig about vampires, but I'm sure a lot of others had been waiting for their opporunity and just have better timing than I do! This increased interest in vampires is great, but it's a double-edged sword because agents are sick of reading about them, and you really have to stand out to get noticed. And while we're talking Twilight, let me go on record as saying that I loved the series. I devoured them like everyone else and even passed my addiction on to a few others. There's something about Stephenie Meyer's writing that sucks you in (I just finished reading The Host.... really hard to put it down).

My two greatest fears at the moment --->

1. I'm deluding myself

2. I'm not deluding myself, but no agent is going to take a chance on meHopefully neither of those scenarios are true.

So next I have to sit down and crank out a synopsis in order to submit to more agents on my list. Some of them want a query letter, a two page synopsis, and pages. As difficult as the query letter was, the synopsis seems infinitely more difficult, and I don't know why... I get to put in more detail so it should be a breeze...

Ah well, gotta go get ready to meet a friend for lunch. Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by!