Three Things I’d Like to Share Today

Still wondering if I even still have a job. Guess I’ll find out when the big boss comes back on Friday.

Oh, well, life must go on.

So, here are three things I’d like to share today.

First. I finally saw the movie The Great Gatsby. I resisted seeing this movie when it came out because The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels and I’m always a little suspicious when a book I really love is made into a movie. Plus it was directed by Baz Luhrmann. Now, I’ve got nothing against Mr. Luhrmann. I enjoyed Strictly Ballroom, his version of Romeo + Juliet (which also starred DiCaprio) and Moulin Rouge. But sometimes his movies are like a really big box of really rich chocolate which has been left to melt in the sun. A tasty, delicious but sometimes gooey mess.

The Great Gatsby

But I enjoyed The Great Gatsby. I thought Luhrmann did a fantastic job of capturing the giddy, chaotic, insane tenor of the roaring Twenties, and I think DiCaprio brought  just the right touch of charm, vulnerability and underlying tension and danger to the role of Gatsby. The other actors, which included Tobey Maguire as the narrator Nick Carraway and friend to Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy, the object of Gatsby’s infatuation, and Joel Edgerton as her bullish husband, Tom, were excellent also. The movie is gorgeous and I was drawn along with it from beginning to end. I’m sorry I missed it at the theater, but at least I still got a chance to see it. I’m giving it four popcorn boxes.

popcorn, movies, films, reviews, movie ratings

popcorn, movies, films, reviews, movie ratings

popcorn, movies, films, reviews, movie ratings

popcorn, movies, films, reviews, movie ratings




Secondly, I want to share a book on writing fiction that I think is one of the most interesting I’ve read in a long time. It’s called Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. I’ve read this book twice already and took copious notes. Here’s some quotes from her website about the book.

  • How – and why – story and the brain developed in tandem.

  • Why we use story, and not facts, to make sense of the world.

  • What it is that gives story it’s unparalleled power.

  • What the brain craves in every story it hears.

  • How to create stories that hook readers from the very first sentence.

  • How to create stories capable of moving people to action.

I highly recommend as it’s not only a treatise on why we as a species are so drawn to stories, but also on how you as an author can tell compelling stories.

Thirdly, and last but not least, I had a visit with my doc today and she told me that since I’ve started my low-carb nutrition plan and went back to walking (40 minutes a day, five days a week), in a month I’ve lost seven pounds! I’ve still got a LONG way to go, but it’s start.

Now, I’m doing low-carb because my blood glucose was starting to inch up and I needed to cut back on the carbs. Not everyone would probably like doing low-carb, but I’m not not eating certain foods. If I do eat something that’s a bit high in carbs, I just cut back on it. One slice of bread instead of two. Soy milk instead of regular milk. And light, non-flavored soy milk at that. I love mashed potatoes, but I only eat about a 1/2 cup or less of it.

Counting carbs is a lot easier than I thought it would be and I’ve found that I don’t even miss all those high-carb foods so much. I feel better physically and I’m definitely going to stick with the program.

Now, if only I could finally say goodbye to crap job, which I hope to be doing soon, I’ll definitely be on the right track. 🙂


Back to Walking!

WalkingOne of the things I learned from my walk today is NOT to let three months go by before I get back to walking. Ouch!

I was walking pretty regularly before winter came and slammed us so hard we’re all still reeling from it,

But today it was 50! 50! We haven’t had a temp of 50 since the first week of December! So I went for a walk. Or I should say I went for a swim!

The sun was out and it was warm and it was melting all those piles and mounds of snow. At one point I was walking alongside a small river. Water was everywhere. Dribbling off curbs, flowing down streets, gushing across sidewalks. There was a definite feeling of renewal in the air. Heck, I was even sweating and after shivering for three months, it felt good to do so

Of course, I should have known. We’re supposed to get an inch of snow tomorrow and then drop down to a high of 28 on Wednesday, But we’ll be back up in the 40s so I think I we’re starting to see a definite turn around in the weather. We should. The first day of spring isn’t far off. Thank goodness! This has been a winter for the record books with the relentless snowfall and the bone-chilling temps.

Another sure sign of spring (besides all that Daylight Saving Time nonsense and the warmer temps) is the return of both Game of Thrones and Mad Men, two shows I never miss an episode of. And, of course, there’s March Madness, opening day for all you baseball fans, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter…oh yeah, spring is on it’s way. 🙂

Take Ten – A House Divided

Take Ten for WritersFeeling a bit under the weather. Migraines. But I did manage to do another Take Ten exercise today before I found myself pretty much confined to the couch, where I wound up watching Age of Innocence. My third viewing of it, I believe.

Anyway, here’s today’s Take Ten for Writers exercise, which was called “A House Divided.”

I had to write about a division within a group or between individuals, start with “Knowing that there is more than one way”  and use the following words:

narrow-minded, nitty-gritty, on-site, one-sided, passer-by 

Knowing that there is more than one way to skin a cat, Carla hurried by the solitary passer-by on the street that night and made her way up the winding path towards the top of the hill. She had been arguing with her sister witches as to what to do about the warlock who had just moved to the city. Her sister witches, who were all very narrow-minded, wanted to kill the warlock right out. They didn’t hold with a man practicing magic in what they saw as their city, their territory.

Warlocks had been driven out of the city decades ago, the last one having been hanged when it was discovered he had tried to corrupt one of the witches to his side and involve her in his shenanigans, which had included, among other things, putting spells on the members of the city council so that they would approve bills and appointments that served the needs of the warlock’s clients. One of the things the witches of this city had pledged to do was not involve themselves with city politics. Carla had thought this a foolish rule because if one had power as the witches possessed and yet did not use them to their benefit, then what was the point of having the power in the first place.

As for this new warlock who had dared to move to a city in which the last warlock had been hanged, Carla could not help wondering what he was about. No one had seen him yet, but the moment he crossed the city line, his magic had thrummed along the lines of power connecting each witch to her sister so strongly it had not been long before a meeting of the coven was called.

Carla had attended that meeting and had nearly laughed at the hysteria and raised voices that had thundered through the room. One would have thought a hundred warlocks had descended upon the city instead of just the one. It had not taken the coven long to determine that he must be dealt with and quickly. The vote had been decidedly one-sided with Carla’s the only dissenting vote. Death. She had thought it best to wait before killing the warlock and find out what he was about. But the coven had overruled her. Some had wanted the warlock brought before the coven and killed on-site. But when it came to who should go and fetch the warlock, the discussion had become quite heated as no one really wanted to do the actual nitty-gritty work of capturing the warlock alive and bringing him forth.

So when the coven decided to reconvene a week hence to decide how to deal with the warlock, Carla took it upon herself to find him and confront him. She didn’t know whether she wanted to save his life or not. Something told her, however, it was probably best that he die. But, before he did, she wanted to see for herself an actual, real-life warlock. If nothing than for curiosity’s sake. She’d decide what to do about him after that.

Much Ado About Nothing – Whedon Style

Movies3This is the next movie coming in from my Netflix DVD queue.

I’m really looking forward to watching it. Not only because Joss Whedon wrote and directed it, not only because Nathan Fillion is in it, along with a lot of other familiar and well-liked actors, but it’s also based on Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing.

It’ll be interesting to compare it to Kenneth Branagh’s version, which featured a very young Kate Beckinsale, and which is also one of my favorite movies. I may even have to watch them in tandem.

Once I’ve seen Whedon’s version, I’ll post a review.

How to Read Tarot in Ten Easy Steps

tarot, fortune telling, tarot spreads, crystal ball, reading tarot, telling fortunesHow to Read Tarot in Ten Easy Steps:

1. Choose a tarot deck. Try to find one that resonates with you. You can browse hundreds of decks at Aeclectic Tarot.  If you’re new to tarot I would suggest purchasing one that has pictures on all the cards. Some decks only have pips on what is known as the Minor Arcana.

2. Carefully study the deck. You can either choose to learn the meanings by heart (not recommended) or just trust your intuition when you read the deck. There are hundreds of books and/or websites that will help you with the meaning of the cards. Here’s a good place to start. The American Tarot Association

3. Select a spread. The spread is how you lay the cards out for a reading. You can lay out just one card, two, three or the entire deck. It’s important to choose a spread as that will help guide your reading. Interestingly, the website “How Stuff Works” has a great introduction as to how to lay cards out in a spread and how to read them.

4. Ask your question. It’s important when framing you question that you try to be as specific as possible, but also leave the question to interpretation. It’s not that you can’t ask questions that can only be answered yes or no, but you want to get as much advice from the tarot as you can. Here’s a website with advice on how to frame your question.

5. Thoroughly shuffle the deck. Make sure your tarot deck, especially if it’s brand new, has been thoroughly shuffled, I often just put the entire deck on a table and swirl the cards around like I was swirling my hands in water. Use whatever method works for you. You just want to be sure your deck is thoroughly shuffled.

6. Deal the cards into whatever spread you’ve chosen. Again, there are as many methods for doing this as there are tarot readers. You can concentrate on the question as you’re dealing the cards, you can turn over a card at a time or you can turn all the cards over at once. Do whatever works for you.

7. Relax and allow your mind to look over the images on the card. You can think about the meaning of the card, but I find it useful to pay more attention to (1) the question I asked, (2) where the card fell in the spread and (3) how the images on the card relate to (1) and (2).

8. Take notes. It’s not only helpful in recalling what insights you derived from the spread, but you will also be recording your individual interpretations of the cards. After a while, you’ll have written your own book on the cards’ meaning as they relate to you.

9. If some of the cards don’t seem very clear, don’t be afraid to lay down additional cards next to the cards already in the spread to get more clarification. There is no right way or wrong way to do a reading. Always keep that in mind.

10. Do another reading as soon as you can. The best way to become proficient at reading tarot is to practice it as you would any skill. The more comfortable you are with the cards and  the spreads, the easier it will be.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below. And feel free to share your techniques or experiences with the tarot.

Good luck!

Slippery When Iced

ice, winter, falling on ice, walk like a penguin, safety, being safe on iceI heard so much about the polar vortex this past week that I’m sure you did too. I finally decided to look it up over at Wikipedia, because besides sounding like the title of some Syfy Channel original apocalyptic disaster of the week movie, I had no idea what the heck it was.

According to Wikipedia, and I quote, a polar vortex is “a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near either of a planet’s geographical poles.”

So I’m assuming this one dipped down into the lower 48 states and that’s what was responsible for the incredibly cold temps we had earlier in the week.

I was going to look up more on the PV, but I just got overwhelmed by it all. TMIF. Far too much information.

All I need to do is look at this map from last Tuesday and that’s all I really need to know about the Polar Vortex. Whatever it was, it made it really, really COLD!

Today, in these parts at least, the current temp is 36, which is close to a 60 degree difference in the way it feels outside today compared to a week ago. The sun is even trying to peek through the clouds every now and then and it’s also melting some (mind you, some) of the ice and snow.

Only problem is my  driveway is a sheet of ice right now and if the ice melts, great, but if this slushy mess is still on the driveway (which it will be because it’s not going to stay warm enough long enough to melt it all) and the temps drop below freezing (which it will because it’s only January 12th), it’ll turn into another ice rink.

When I got to work last night, I was told there had been a lot of slips and falls around the building. I’ve fallen a few times during past winters. If I can help it, I don’t want to fall anymore

Most advice for walking on ice is to walk like a penguin, meaning keeping your center of gravity over your front foot.

Here’s a video with more advice on how to walk safely on ice.

A guy at work suggested I get some of these. I may do that so I can walk in the winter.

Slippery Saturday

I haven’t been outside yet, but from where I sit it looks dangerously slippery out there. It’s way warmer than it was earlier this week when we were dealing with -15 degrees temps and wind chills in the -40 to -50 degrees.

It’s 34 degrees currently, but judging from the ugly mix of rain, sleet, ice and snow we got over the past 24 hours, it doesn’t look all that great for waking or driving. And there’s no sun. Why does it get warmer (relatively speaking) but there’s no sunshine to go with it?

Ugh. January. Double ugh! Spring,  I can’t wait for spring! Well, I’ll just have to be extra careful when I leave for work this afternoon.

Anyway, I just finished writing so I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Picard dancing, dancing, Star Trek TNG, The Next Generation, celebrating, cool

Feeling very mellow.

Just hope it’s somewhat quiet at work tonight. When it’s quiet I can get some reading done. It’s one of those jobs where, essentially, they just need someone there to take care of whatever happens to come up between four and midnight on the weekends, so it’s a good idea  to bring some reading material just in case it is slow.