Chasing Inspiration

Friday, August 21, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

Felicia Day is my hero. She doesn't know that, mainly because I haven't gone all fangirl on her and stalked her online or at all the various Cons she attends.

I love her because she's inventive, positive, and she starred in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. If you don't know what that is, where have you been hiding for the last year or so? You're missing out on something innovative. But I digress.

Felicia Day is the brains and beauty behind the webseries The Guild, a hilarious tongue-in-cheek look at the world of Massively Multi Player Online games. MMOs for those in the know. I'm not in the know. I actually had to look that up. Think Zelda or Everquest but with an online subscription. Anyway, there is a lot of geekery that warms my heart in The Guild. Under my intellectual and savvy exterior beats the heart of a geek. And The Guild just makes me smile.

To warm up fans to season 3 of The Guild, the cast developed a music video based on a song written by two of the cast members and Whedon brother Jed. I believe his lovely wife also helped to write the music.

In just a few days Do You Wanna Date My Avatar has reached #1 for Amazon MP3 downloads and iTunes video downloads. The video on You Tube has over a millions hits. It's a cult sensation! And it also happens to be today's Soundtrack Friday's offering for you. So, if you haven't heard the song or seen the video, sit back and enjoy the cheeky and sexy geekery that is Felicia Day and the cast of The Guild and answer the perennial question, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Books, Glorious Books!

Books, books, surrounded by books…

I was perusing the blog of one of my favorite authors and read her post about a meme where you list the 10 books that are within arms reach—or scattered closest to you. My husband snorted when he read the post over my shoulder. Why? Because there probably isn't a room in my house that doesn't have 10 or some other astronomically large number of books piled or strewn about in some fashion. I mean, really. To quote Marjorie M. Liu, "a home isn’t complete without stacks and piles of [books] at every corner."

Amen, Marjorie, amen.

Currently, in the loft where I have been sitting with my leg elevated, watching a rerun of Supernatural and playing on the laptop, I have within reach:

  1. MINION by L. A. Banks
  2. COVERT PROCESSES AT WORK by Robert J. Marshak
  3. RT Book Club - a magazine
  4. THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie Omartian
  5. KEEPSAKE by Tess Gerritsen
  6. THE FIRE KING by Marjorie M. Liu
  8. THE POWER OF LESS by Leo Babauta
  9. PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Geraldine Brooks
  10. ANGELS & DEMONS by Peter Kreeft

There are many more on an end table and on the bookshelves behind the sofa. I'm too lazy to reach further than I have to. A couple of the books are research for a book I'm writing. Some for professional development for the day job (which I do enjoy, lest anyone say otherwise), and others are books I have recently read, am reading or with to read/reread, purely for entertainment purposes.

What books or magazines are near you at the moment? And what about them strikes your fancy?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life with a Vacuum

Yeah, you read that right. Life with a vacuum. I don't live in a vacuum. No one can, really. Unless they cut themselves off from everyone and everything and huddle in a cave somewhere. But life in a cave still isn't life in a vacuum because the weather, the wildlife, the cave itself is ever changing.

But that's not my point. My point is that I feel like I live my life with a vacuum cleaner. All I'm doing these days at home are cleaning, keeping the books, and cleaning some more. And I'm ready to kick Dyson back to the stone age. Yet every time I decide I'm done and will clean no more this week, I step on grit the dog dragged in from our poorly manicured yard. Or I find clumps of fur sticking up from the carpet. Or sawdust or cobwebs or...the list goes on. When I think the house is clean, well, then it isn't.

This is life. Messy. Ever changing. And not always working out to plan.

I learned something this week. Yes, I'm vacuuming and cleaning. A lot. If I focus on that I get tired and grumpy and never want to see a cleaning tool again. But, if I focus on the reasons why I'm cleaning, my attitude changes and I'm not as caught up in my personal dramas. There is fur and grit on the floor because we rescued a smart and loving dog who adds a layer of joy to our lives that wasn't quite there before. There is sawdust everywhere because we are in the last phase of renovations and inching closer to a new front door and hardwood floors. There are cobweb remnants scattered hither and yon because we were finally able to remove the old stairs to the basement to make way for the new kitchen.

No, my house isn't Martha Stewart neat and polish by any stretch of the imagination. It is what it is - an ever changing environment of becoming. That takes work. And with work comes a mess. Sometimes a lot of mess.

When life's messes appear I pull out my existential vacuum cleaners and get to work sorting things out and reflecting on just how I got here. Sure, the process of arriving at this point in my life hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows. But without the storms that stir the ocean of my life and blow detritus upon my shore I wouldn't be me.

Today when I started to vacuum I reminded myself that my life is an ever changing environment of becoming. And I smiled. Life with a vacuum isn't so bad after all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

It's summer and I've hardly done any summer activities this year. No heading out to the beach with friends on a lazy afternoon. No bonfires or picnics. No trips to the cabin. No camping. I blame it on the humongous-renovation-project-that-will-not-end. Weekends are taken up with work days. Evenings are for planning, shopping, decision making. We think this will be the last summer we have to sacrifice on the alter of home improvement. It better be, after all, this is our 5th summer in a row of being slaves to the house.

All of this got me thinking about what I used to dream about summer. When I was back in college, summers were for working hard and playing hard. When I was working in K-12 special education summers were for relaxing and rejuvenating. Now summer is a time when it's hot and humid and the air conditioning runs all the time. It's just another season. Nothing special. Except for the rush to finish house projects before fall madness kicks in.

There is one song I hear on the radio that always makes me pause and enjoy the moments of summer. It's a song of lost love and desperation. And to some degree obsession. But it's got a nice rhythm and the melody is pure lazy summerness to me. And if I can find a way to use this song in a soundtrack for one of the stories I'm writing, you know I will!

For today's Soundtrack Friday I hope you enjoy Don Henley and The Boys Of Summer

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Testing My Mettle

Remember waaaaay back when I started a goal process for decluttering the home office? My goal was to have surfaces decluttered by August 2nd. And I had promised publicly that I was going to have weekly updates. Including pictures.

That was on July 15th. And then nothing was heard from me about this topic again. There have been a few blog posts posted since then but I'll tell you a secret - I post the "Soundtrack Friday" and "Books Read In" posts way ahead of time. This way I know I'll have something on my blog every week. I don't do that with my other posts. Those are created more on the fly.

So, what's up with my internet silence? On July 21st I fell down a flight of stairs in the building where I work. I was on my way home and something threw me off balance and BAM! Next things I knew I was at the bottom of the stairs, my bags in a pile around me, my cell phone in two pieces and my body hurting so bad I was sure I had broken my legs. Much embarrassment, pain and drama later, I was assured all I had done was bruise muscle, bones and twisted my knee and two ankles. Not sprained, mind you. No breaks or fractures, Not even a concussion. Yes, I was in an ocean of hurt, but things could have been much, much worse.

I spent the better part of a week just healing. Worked from home, slept a lot. Then two weeks were spent gaining mobility. This week I can walk with just a little limp but I still can't put any pressure on my shins. It hurts like the blazes! So no kneeling. Even bending down and crouching hurts. And the office, well, it's still a mess.

This life event has really tested me and my flexibility. I'm good at making goals. I'm good at working toward keeping and meeting those goals. What this tumble down the stairs has reminded me is that I'm not so great with adapting when life tests my goals. Sometimes we need to stick to our guns and push on through so we can attain our objectives. Other times, like these past few weeks, you need to reassess and create new goals based on new information or new life circumstances.

Adapting our goals doesn't mean we have failed. It means the goals no longer fit the situation. Life isn't static. It stretches and grows and expands and contracts in all directions while we plod along. The wise person takes the changes in life into account and is nimble and flexible. I'm not that wise yet, but I'm getting there.

Later this week I'll post my revised goals. I don't know about pictures yet. I'm still trying to find the cord to my camera. It's likely under one of the piles of paper on my desk. *sigh*

Friday, August 07, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

I was by no means a rocker back in high school. I enjoyed pop and folk rock and what is now considered classic rock. I stayed away from metal, but enjoyed a few of the hair bands and don't regret admitting that. There was one band that I loved that didn't fit in with the other groups/artists I listened to on a regular basis. When people discovered I was a fan they would look at me differently, like I was an oddity or a conundrum. Which was fine with me. I was a girl at odds with herself much of the time.

The band is Aerosmith. I'm not and never will be a groupie. I've never seen them in concert. I have owned their albums on sweet old fashioned vinyl and CD. I love their music. There have been points in my life where a song by Aerosmith has spoken to me in ways no other song could. As I drove in to work, I was thinking about some life events and how to translate my own inner angst to Mallory to give her a believable reaction to a certain situation in the story. When Dream On played on the radio I found my answer! I do love a music induced epiphany. *g*

Dream On is such a melencholy song with a sense of hopelessness and hope. A dichotomy that is mirrored in our lives. And for a song written when I was but a pup, the lyrics and emotion in the song are just as valid in today's world as they were in 1973. For Mallery, and for myself, the tone fits the life events. And the chorus punches home:
Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, if its just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away
On this rainy and melencholy Friday I give you Aerosmith and their first hit single Dream On

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Books Read In July

Marrying The Captain by Carla Kelly -- Historical set in Plymouth during Napolionic wars. A great love story that centers around the resiliancey of the human spirit and just what can happen when you take fate into your own hands.

Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu -- Book two of her Hunter Kiss series, this Urban Fantasy delivers lyrical angst, tragic hope and an aching look at what it means to truly be connected to another.

Covert Processes at Work by Robert Marshak --a great book on organizational change and the processes that get in the way.

Black Hills by Nora Roberts -- While some reviewers out there had a few harsh things to say about the book and the romance genre in general, I found the book to be well written and highly entertaining.

Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl -- A fun romp and a story that focuses on finding a future while letting go of what could have been.

Kuchiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey -- Wonderful world building, excellent premise, sympathetic characters and plot lines that keep you wanting more. Just an amazing book.

Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney -- A lovely return to MJP's historical roots. Not as angsty as some of her previous series, this book is a great story of finding one's self and discovering what you want is a lot simpler than you've made it out to be. Amnesia, suspence and the mixing of cultures make this story one not to miss.

The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie by Jennifer Ashley -- A wonderful story of a man who is thought to be mad, but who has what I would call Aspberger's syndrome. We get some amazing insight into the mind of Lord Ian and begin to understand what is his "madness" and what are secrets he's holding to save his family. Another historical that is not to miss.

A Kid to the Rescue by Susan Gable -- A SuperRomance with a heart wrenching tale of healing. I haven't been too enthused about Harlequin's SuperRomance line as of late, but if this book is any indication, Susan Gable is an author to watch!