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Today while I was sitting in the office (my fancy name for the spare bedroom) trying to decide what to blog about the toilet started up again. Today it was all “bwop, bwop, bwop, bwop, bwop”. At first I ignored it but it just kept going like a stuck record of a baritone scat singer (I am awesome at simile construction like a badger is awesome at burrowing holes!) so finally I ran for the bathroom to watch it bubble.

My life if full of excitement!

It goes on for another minute then the bubbles and the bwops get smaller and quieter but then I notice a few tiny bubbles floating on the surface. At first I think they are just regular air bubbles from the agitated water but when they don’t immediately go away I start to wonder. They continue to multiply and soon the toilet is half full of bubbles.

Despite my fascination/horror with this growing mound of suds I have been standing over my toilet for several minutes now and I am lazy and want to sit down.

I decide against bringing a kitchen chair into the bathroom so I can sit and watch my toilet produce bizarre noises and substances because my life cannot possibly hold that much excitement. I mean WOAH! Right?

So now I’m back in the office typing this blog post and I can hear it; the soft, stealthy bwop, bwop, bwop of my toilet and probably bathroom floor slowly filling with foam of unknown origin coming up out of my toilet (please let it be soap, even if it used soap).

My greatest paranoia is now that a rat will climb from my toilet. Does my building have rats? No. How do air bubbles and soap in the plumbing translate into rats that can breathe water and climb through pipes? I don’t know. Maybe they could use the air bubbles as a little life pod. (I think I just had the greatest children’s Saturday morning cartoon idea ever!)

I take it back. My greatest paranoia is not that a rat will climb from my toilet. It is that a rat climbing from my toilet while I am sitting on it. And also the air bubble it is traveling in splashes used toilet water on my butt. Then the rat bites my butt. And I die of the Plague. On the bright side I have the most effortlessly clean toilet ever.

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Infidelity

I am being tempted.

It has come. Curse of the writer mired by the tribulations of a difficult Work in Progress. I struggle and sweat to get through so many difficult little scenes and it is hard to keep going. I’ve done this twice before, I know I’ll get through. Probably.

Then tonight I was diligently slogging away, knowing intellectually that soon I would break past the wall and the story would flow for me again. I have my outline and I know soon I will love my novel effortlessly, like a mother at her child’s birth instead of the mother of a teenager who is argumentative, sullen and prone to shrieking profanities while slamming doors. You still love them but… you have to work at it a little.

And then this little idea sauntered past with a come hither gaze and a saucy wink.

Just a little idea, nothing to be afraid of. So I wrote it down. Surely there’s no harm in keeping a good idea for when I have the time? A moment later I knew my hook. From that came the easiest elevator pitch I’ve ever written. Then I couldn’t stop, I wrote a perfect back cover blurb in one go. Then I outlined a little and I knew how it would begin and how it would end. (So touching! So poignant! So heart breaking!) The two main characters told me their names and they provided me all the information I would need to breathe life into them. They came alive like a single brush stroke on crisp linen paper. Simple. Elegant. Perfect.

Then their world started nudging its way on to the page. A detail here, a factoid there. Just a bit of world building, no harm in it. I tried to tell myself that it was just enough to keep all the details fresh for when I come back to it.

“Come back? How can you leave me when I am so new and shiny?” asked the idea.

And so begin the seeds of infidelity. I love the novel I have but it is hard, so HARD! I work and I toil and it only demands more of me. I know deep down that the new idea will grow and live on my attention and love until it is just as demanding as my current work in progress but it’s still new and full of easy promise. Its characters are smooth as polished glass, it’s plot threads yet to be tangled.

I’ve been tempted before, even done a little outlining. Temptation will come again, sure as I’ll wake up tomorrow to a hungry/angry cat pawing at my head. Infidelity is a risk of being a writer. I’ll resist. I’ll save the file and leave the idea for another day.

It’s just harder than usual today.

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I have two To Do lists at any and all times. The first is a general list. For example:

  • unpack boxes
  • clean the cat litter before the cat stages a coup
  • dishes (for previously stated reasons this pretty much never gets crossed off as I tend to lap loads)
  • sort laundry
  • buy cat food, see above
  • write

That last item never really gets crossed off either, it recycles daily and is really only there to remind me that it is the most important item on any list (except the cats food and litter, she gets cranky).

My second list is dedicated to my creative goals. For example:

  • Edit latest flash fiction
  • Write ‘X’ number of words by ‘date’
  • Outline characters for WIP
  • Do Celtx tutorial in preparation for Scriptfrenzy
  • Learn flash
  • Make 10 second flash cartoon
  • Rough draft art for next webcomic installment (unpublished and on hiatus, like so many projects)

I like lists and I like tracking my progress and crossing things off. I have notebooks dedicated to my lists where items from yesterday can be brought to the next page and you can see the progress (or not) of my industriousness like layers in sedimentary rock. I have such a poor memory that I couldn’t really function without them. They keep me on track.

Sometimes though, I use my lists to procrastinate. I especially use that first list to procrastinate on the second.

Which is crazy right? I look at that second list and there is not one thing listed which fails to get me excited. Just sometimes the steps are a little too large and I get daunted or more often I get everything ready and then my self-doubt kicks in. So I wander off and do something else and if that something lets me cross something else off of a list, any list, then I get to feel like I’ve accomplished something. It’s not the same high I would get from a submission-ready final draft of that flash fiction but it’s easier than facing all that fear and self-doubt.

In my defense I usually come back to the second list and get some work done but I’m certainly less productive artistically than I could be. Than I SHOULD be.

Today I procrastinated by making what I thought would be a time intensive fancy dinner that turned out to be quick easy and delicious. I was done and fed in no time and got a lot of little things crossed off my creative to do list. So to celebrate that quick return to my word processor I’d like to share another author recipe.

 

Vichyssoise (Leek Soup)

This soup is more delicious than you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • butter 2-3 tablespoons as desired
  • 3 cups chicken stock (veggie stock for the vegetarians)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream (10%)

Optional Extra Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon bits, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup of Mushrooms, thinly sliced, I like a blend of crimini and mini bellas (technically these are all the same mushroom at different ages)
  • Chives, chopped

Instructions
Steps involving bacon and mushrooms may be omitted.

  1. Saute chopped leaks and potatoes in a large saucepan (mine is 12 inches with high sides) for several minutes. Until it is nicely aromatic.
  2. Once the smell of leeks and butter are making your mouth water add the broth, salt and pepper, and optional bacon.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While simmering broth sauté mushrooms in butter until they develop a nice colour. Do not crowd.
  5. Remove both broth and mushrooms from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Add cream and half of mushrooms to broth and mix.
  7. Puree in blender (fills blender twice)
  8. Serve cold or reheat in pan.
  9. Garnish with chives and mushroom.

Serves 6.

Tips

  1. Don’t forget to reheat the garnish mushroom if serving the soup hot.
  2. Keep in mind if you use bacon bits they might be made with dye to achieve their bright colour. You could see this as a disaster or pretend to be Bridget Jones and serve pink soup!
  3. Omitting the mushrooms and bacon I think this would be a highly adaptable recipe. I intend to try several variations.
  • Add citrus and fruit with the broth (veggie), lemon and cranberries perhaps. Nothing too sweet, it should be light and summary. This could turn out horribly wrong. Either way you’ll probably hear about it.
  • Walnuts and almonds, blended into a paste and then blended into the soup. Definitely served cold. It would be so rich and decadent!
  • Stir in some cooked wild rice to the finished basic recipe to add flavour and texture to the creamy soup.
  • Use 35% cream and blend the soup until it stiffens.  Serve as savory mousse appetizer.  (I really want to try this!)

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I’ve been working on a full update of all of my creative goals but it’s actually a bit daunting to sort it all out. I have so many interests that at times I get bogged down and nothing gets done on any of them. So I’m going to use the goals update to really look at where I want to put my limited personal resources.

In the meantime here’s a shorter update of my most recent accomplishments:

  1. I’ve officially signed up for Scriptfrenzy on the website. I’m looking forward to spending a month just working on dialogue and by extension human interaction.
  2. I wrote and have half edited a flash fiction. The working title is Ape Dreams until I think of something clever. I have a strong belief that flash fictions must have clever titles.
  3. I wrote 5000 words on my Novel!! Woo! The dry spell is over! After two months of opening my novel and looking at it, pecking out a few words and trying to catch that thread I had lost, I’ve finally found my way back into it. Granted I started with a scene that was pretty easy and from the point of view of my favorite character to write at the moment but I’ve got the momentum now to keep going on those harder parts and trickier characters. Such a relief.
  4. I’ve written several synopses for short film scripts I want to write for Scriptfrenzy. Including a longer one that has really caught my attention.

After all the work I’ve put into the Monster-Post-of-My-Many-Goals it’s really good to be able to look at this list and see the things I’ve accomplished rather than all the things I’m not getting done.

The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The optimist says the glass is half full. The scientist says the glass is full, half with water and half with air. I don’t know who coined that last part but I like it. My glass is half full of the things I’ve accomplished and half-full of the things I’m going to do. It’s going to be great!

 

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Today during a conversation with PiscesMuse I noticed my new phone’s autotext automatically capitalizes the word bacon like it is a god or a country, or possibly a day of the week. In honour of this stupendous idea I have written this short as a warm up for Scriptfrenzy.

An empty stage save for a bistro table with three chairs.

Man One sits at the table eating bacon, enter Man Two stage right.

Man Two

Hey what day is it?

Man One

It’s Bacon.

Man Two

Right. I’m supposed to have breakfast with my mom today.

Man One

Oh yeah? What are you having?

Man Two

Duh, Waffles. What else would you eat on Bacon?

Man One

Oh right, waffles are the holy food of God Emperor Bacon, after whom this day is named. All hail him.

Man Two

All hail him indeed. Man, that guy sure loves waffles.

Man One

Who doesn’t!

Man Two sits down at the table and they proceed to eat bacon together. Pig enters stage right.

Pig

Hey guys, what’s shakin’?

Man One

Hey Pig, it’s great how we call the meat of your belly by the name of waffles.

Man Two

Yeah anything else would be so weird!

Pig

It sure would! Hey is that waffles?

The pig sits down and proceeds to join Man One and Man Two in a tasty snack of bacon.


Eventually I think I’m going to turn this into a flash cartoon, time permitting.

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Fair warning: I will talk about my toilet in this blog post. Your are warned.

I have moved five times in the last 5 years and lived in 15 different homes in my 30 years on this planet. In fact I moved into home #15 on my 30th birthday about a month ago. Aside from becoming a master packer I have also learned a thing or two about apartments and I love my latest apartment which is good because the plan is for me and boyfriend to be here for a long time. It’s large enough to accommodate our crap without leaving us crammed into the remaining space. It has reasonably decent natural light. It has good water pressure, hard wood floors and a balcony, which will be surrounded by lovely trees come summer. For the first time we have an apartment shared with no one but ourselves and our cat.

My nomadic living has left me with an appreciation for a place that meets so many of my needs with extra perks like wooden floors and a balcony. So I can forgive little things like when the toilet makes strange noises and emits odd substances. At least I was forewarned. Here is a recap of my first week living with a new toilet.

Day 1: Boyfriend and I move in. When we meet in the hall neighbour makes lighthearted joke about plumbing birthing Cthulu. It is my 30th birthday so we invite some friends over to enjoy our piles of boxes and bizarre wall colours and get drunk. If toilet attempts to bring about the end times we fail to notice.

Day 2: Late in the night the toilet emits… gurgles. Loud ones. They last a few seconds and then quiet down to small burbles before going silent. We knew it might do something like this and despite the eerie nature of the noise I roll over and go back to sleep.

Day 3: Boyfriend is out-of-town for the next five days and the late night burbles are louder and more unsettling. Possibly because I am alone and having vivid memories of the short film The Blob from one of the crypt keeper movies I saw as a child and it scarred me for life. Seriously, I still can’t swim in water over my head unless I am with someone else who will get eaten first while I get away. I am a bad friend to swim with. Anyway I am a grownup now and a few plumbing noises aren’t going to make me hide under the covers (much).

Day 4: I am invited over to a friend’s house for dinner. I return very late to find the toilet seat has been put down, something I do not normally do. I may have done so in my rush to get out the door and forgotten but this unnatural toilet lid position contributes to my general feeling of unease. When I lift the lid I see that water is all over the bottom of the lid and on the seat. Not small drops either, big splashy ones. I check their colour to ensure they are in fact just water. It is at this point that I realize how violent the burbling must be and that if I ever have the misfortune to be using said facility during an episode I might get to have my first ‘bidet’ experience. Ew. I can live with this though since the violent gurgles seem to mostly occur between 4am and 6am.

Day’s 5 and 6: I continue to hear the toilet in the wee hours due to insomnia. It does not get less eerie. Attempts to see burbles in action prove fruitless as it never lasts long.

Day 7: I am getting used to the night-time burbles and have yet to be treated to a splashed behind. I return home from class in the afternoon and rush to use the facilities. I sit down without looking in the toilet first because I am an adult and don’t believe rumours of rats coming up through the plumbing. Surely there could be nothing ominous mere inches from my butt.

As I am finishing the phone rings and I rush from the bathroom without bothering to flush. The lever needs to be held down for several seconds and I don’t have time because SOMEONE WANTS TO TALK TO ME! (I am lonely because boyfriend is out-of-town) After I am done on the phone I return to the bathroom because the not-flushed toilet will bother me. I look down and discover that the bowl had been pretty fully when I sat down.

Not actual event. Picture depicts a later foam incident for "not gross" purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is full of soapy foam more than halfway up the bowl. This creeps the hell out of me. Much as I believe in and try to practice water conservation I am not one of those people who can pee without flushing just to save water. It’s just creepy to me out to sit over it later. Also gross, what if it splashes?

So now there is this mystery foam in my toilet and it was mere centimeters from my bottom.

Aw, it looks like a heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I choose to assume it is soap and not some weird chemical, this helps. But the real question is where did it come from? I chalked up all the burbling to water in the pipes. Now comes this unknown foamy white substance.

How does plumbing work exactly?

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Sweet swag!!

I haven’t read any of these yet but they sound fantastic! Check out the contest but don’t count on winning those books ’cause I’m so getting there first!

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