Monday, 30 April 2012

Z Is For Zeitgeist And The People Who Topped The List

Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age." Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.
The term is a loanword from German Zeit – "time" and Geist – "spirit" (cognate with English "ghost").

Every year Google releases the top ten most searched terms on the internet in a compilation adequately named Google Zeitgeist. The top ten global queries were:


Rebecca Black

2. Goggle+

2. Google +      

3. Ryan Dunn

4. Casey Anthony 

5. Battle field 3. 

6. IPhone 5

7. Adele 

8. Tepco

9. Steve Jobs

10. IPad2

Honestly, I'm not surprised. Rebecca Black made a big splash on the Internet with the release of her 2011 pop single “Friday.” The music video catapulted the then 13-year-old to celebrity status after the video went viral, receiving over 167 million views on YouTube. Since then she's gone on to attend many Hollywood events and even released a followup single called, My Moment. Lover her or hate her (I still think she needs singing lessons) Rebecca Black was a bonafide Zeitgeist of 2011 and only time will tell if she can do it for many years to come.

And with that we've reached the end. Let me tell you, blogging everyday has been a big hassle for me, but regardless of the little time I have during the day, I wanted to challenge myself to see this thing through until the end. And I did it!  

Thanks to Arlee Bird, Alex, Matthew, Damyanti, and all the other amazing hosts for running the A to Z Challenge! It was a wonderful blogfest to be apart of and introduced me to so many talented bloggers.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Y Is For Young Adult Books

There are a lot of great books that I fancy but very few that I love. My most favorite Young Adult novel is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. There are many reasons for this, but the one that stands out is Professor Umbridge, the battle at the Ministry and Dumbeldore vs Voldemort. It doesn't get any better than that.

What's your favorite Young Adult novel?

Saturday, 28 April 2012

X Is For XNA

New research has brought us closer than ever to synthesizing entirely new forms of life. An international team of researchers has shown that artificial nucleic acids - called "XNAs" - can replicate and evolve, just like DNA and RNA.

XNA stands for Xenoribonucleic acid and it's a synthetic DNA that's stronger than the real thing. Every organism on Earth relies on the same genetic building blocks: the the information carried in DNA. But there is another class of genetic building block called "XNA" -- a synthetic polymer that can carry the same information as DNA, but with a different assemblage of molecules.

Scientists use the xeno prefix to indicate that one of the ingredients typically found in the building blocks that make up RNA and DNA has been replaced by something different from what we find in nature — something "alien," if you will.

You can think of a DNA strand like a classmate's lecture notes. DNA polymerase is the pen that lets you copy these notes directly to a new sheet of paper. But let's say your friend's notes are written in the "language" of XNA. Ideally, your XNA-based genetic system would have a pen that could copy these notes directly to a new sheet of paper. What scientists did was create two distinct classes of writing utensil — one pen that copies your friend's XNA-notes into DNA-notes, and a second pen that converts those DNA notes back into XNA-notes.

Of course, nothing would call the indispensability of DNA- or RNA-based life into question more than the generation of an entirely synthetic, alternative life form, built from the ground up entirely by XNA. Such an organism would require XNA capable of driving its own replication, without the aid of any biological molecules. Scientists think this is still a ways off. "Even in its simplest setup... it would be very challenging to develop an XNA system within a cell." Such a system would require XNA capable of self-replication, and capable of undergoing evolution in a self-sustained manner.

That said, their work represent a major step in the right direction. As the molecular machinery designed to manipulate XNAs grows, so, too, will the capacity for synthetic genetic systems to stand and operate on their own.

What are your thoughts on this?

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Oh My Hero Blogfest - William

I've been waiting for this all month and it's finally here! Today is the Oh My Hero Blogfest hosted by Jaycee DeLorenzo. If you don't know what this fiesta is about then gander no longer:

What's your hero like?  Is he the strong and silent type?  The wounded bad boy?  A man on a mission, not looking for love, but captivated by your heroine?  Whoever he is, we're sure he's swoonworthy, and we want to learn more about him!
On April 27th, post a picture of your hero with a character interview that has at least 5 questions. You can check out the sample questions provided, or come up with your own, since you know your hero best and what you'd like to reveal about him

And that's it. If you haven't signed up and would like to get in on the action then hop on over to Jaycee's blog and join.

It just so happens today is also the continuation of the A to Z blogfest, and it just so happens my letter is W, the name of my MC William. How awesome is that? Now if you ladies like your guys blonde, muscular, sexy and passionate then William Lord, from my WIP The Perfect Adam, is the man of your dreams! But don't take my word for it, let Will tell you for himself.

1.  So, Mr. William nice to meet you sir. 

Nice to meet you too, Tyson.

I know you're a busy man, but I'd be honored if you could spare me a moment of your time to ask you a few questions.

Definitely. Anything for my bud.

Thanks bro. All right, I'll start things off with an easy question, okay?


How would you describe yourself in one word?


2.  How would you describe Seratonus Bladell aka just Sera?

When I first met "just Sera" my heart skipped a beat. Her face is like a rose petal, soft and pure; her body is curvy in all the right places, from her full sexy hips to her smooth little tummy; and the way she walks is like an angel on a cloud--I just love her.

3. Wow, I can feel the passion. 

There aren't enough words to describe her. 

I'm sure a lot of women would love to have a guy like you. And speaking of love, do you believe in love at first sight?

Always. I'm a romantic kinda guy, so I believe each of us has someone destined for us and us alone. I was lucky enough to have found my "special someone" in this lifetime. 

4. Absolutely beautiful. I'm happy you found your girl, I'm still looking for mine. 

Don't give up. She will find you. 

Thanks. So, Will, you have friends right?

Yes, I do. Not a lot, but the ones I have I can count on.

And how would they describe you in one word?


5.  What's your favorite thing to do when you and your friends are just kicking back? You know... your pastime?

Well, this might sound abrupt and frank, but my pastime doesn't include kicking it with the boys.

Really? What is it, then?

I have a lot of love to give and I aim to please. If you want it, I'll give it--morning, noon and night.


So that's why I can never get you over to watch Football?

Pretty much. *grin*

Well ain't you all that and a bag of skittles. Need to share some of that energy you got, bro, I need it.

I'm sure you're fine. You're young. 

Obviously not as young as you. LOL

With practice you'll be able to outlast and outshine.

Okay, now you're just bragging.

6.  Let's get back to the interview, shall we?. What's your idea of the perfect date?

A movie, dinner, a nice walk and a kiss goodnight.

Sounds boring as hell.

I'm not very complicated, Tyson, you know that. 

Well, I obviously know nothing about you, considering I had no idea you just stay home and make love all day long.

Is that jealousy I hear?

What? No dude. Not at all! I'm not jealous. Okay, maybe a little bit.


7.  Anyway, are you a morning or a night person and why? 

Night. I stock up on energy during the day so I could go all night long. 

SERIOUSLY? Now you're just being mean. Be serious.

All right, all right. I prefer the morning. The night has many wonderful things, but with daylight you can see the world, meet so many amazing people and get things done.  

I like the day too but for totally different reasons.

And what are those?

I'm not telling you.

Come on.



Fine. Monsters come out at night. 

8.  If you won a million dollars what would you do with it?

You're just gonna rush into it after that last one aren't you?

Shut up!

*grin* If I won a million bucks I'd put some away in savings, and for my kids' college fund when I get them, give some to my family and use the rest to make sure Sera gets anything she wants.

And what about me?

What about you?

Aren't you gonna give your boy a little somethin'?

Sure. But you're going to have to do some "things" to get it. You know...some dirty things. 

I'll pass. 


9.  If you had 24 hours to live what would you do/ where would you go?

I'll make amazing love to Sera one last time and then go to a cliff overlooking the sea and just watch the sun set. 

That's deep, Will.

It's who I am.

Can you write that for me on a post card?

Sure thing, buddy.


Wait. Are you being sar--?

10.  New question: What's your favorite comic book character and why?

Superman. I am fiercely protective of the people in my life and I never let them down.

WOW. You'll really take a bullet for me?

Any day. 

Thanks bro!

Don't mention it.

11.  If you had three wishes what would they be?

Long life, financial stability and a world free of poverty and pain.

12.  Last three questions. What's your favorite movie?

Under the Tuscan Sun. 

As in the chick flick with Diane Lane?



It's an amazing story of love and starting over. You should watch it sometime. 

When I grow boobs and wear panties, maybe, but until then I--

Wait. Don't you have that movie on DVD?

13.  *Ahem* What's the first thing you notice about a woman that you find attractive?

Lips. I like sexy lips. You have sexy lips Tyson.

Stop that! 


14.  All right, last and final question: What do you hold value the most in a potential love interest?

Honesty. There is nothing more beautiful than a person who is 100% with you all the time. 

I agree and on that note, we're done. Thanks for taking the time to do this, bro, it was a real pleasure. 


Thanks to Jaycee for thinking up this amazing blogfest, I had fun doing this interview with Will. And I can't wait to see what you guys came up with, so here I come!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

V Is For Vacation

Wouldn't it be great to go somewhere and soak up the sun while enjoying Martinis on the beach? Or how about dancing the night away on a cruise ship to Puerto Rico? Either way, we all dream of visiting the perfect vacation spots.

Hotel Punta Cana

My destination getaway is Punta Cana in the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic. With world class beaches spreading as far as the eye can see, crystal clear water as clean as diamonds and hospitality unparalleled, this is the ultimate dream location. Just look at those beaches.

What's your perfect vacation destination?

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

U Is For Utopia

*Cool dark setting for today*

According to Wikipedia, Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.

Considering Dystopia is a hot (albeit dwindling trend at the moment) I believe the next fad will be either Angels (right up my alley) or Utopian societies with dark sides (or a combination of the two--hey there's an idea!).

In many cultures, societies, religions, and cosmogonies, there is some myth or memory of a distant past when humankind lived in a primitive and simple state, but at the same time one of perfect happiness and fulfillment. In those days, the various myths tell us, there was an instinctive harmony between man and nature. Men's needs were few and their desires limited. Both were easily satisfied by the abundance provided by nature. Accordingly, there were no motives whatsoever for war or oppression. Nor was there any need for hard and painful work. Humans were simple and pious, and felt themselves close to the gods. According to one anthropological theory, hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society.

This comes down to our own interpretation of what the perfect world will be. For me, it is a mixture of ancient Greek architecture and futuristic techno-like innovations and design, melded with alienesque flora and fauna, ultra modern apparel and devoid of any caste system. I suppose this will be my next project. I have yet to see a modern take on a Utopian society and I strongly believe this is the way to go. There isn't a shred of doubt in my mind that this will be the next big thing in books.

I personally would love to see a Utopian society merged with some sort of Angelic influence or people. But, like I aforementioned, this will most likely be my next project.

So what about you, what is your ideal world?  

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

T Is For Tactful Critiques

The first thing that you must remember is that the piece you’re critiquing was written by a human being with actual human emotions not some robot who churns out words. Telling them flat out that it sucks is not only rude, but dishonoring to your own abilities as a writer. If you truly feel that your writing is superior then it is your responsibility to offer insightful critique. You may be wondering, why this is the first thing that I mention. Tact is something that many people seem to lack when critiquing writing. Many people fail to see how very personal writing can be. It doesn’t matter if you write heartfelt poetry, works of nonfiction, or epic fantasy journeys, writing is emotional. Someone has put forth much effort and much time toward creating what they might consider a masterpiece and who are you to carelessly dash their dream? During my university studies I endured my fair share of writing workshops and there have been a few that involved rude peers telling me that my piece was no good without offering any sort of constructive criticism and it stung. I have never once told someone that their writing is flat out bad. I may have thought it and wished that I didn’t have to edit it, but I soldiered through and in the end felt good that I was able to help a fellow writer. Keep that in mind the next time you get the urge to scribble “this is terrible” or “this makes no sense” on someone’s piece.

If you truly love writing then you probably wouldn’t mind helping others hone their skills. You wouldn’t want them to fall flat on their faces (unless you have power issues, in which case, I don’t think this is the hub for you.) The best way to start a critique is to practice the art of the compliment. No matter how terrible the piece is, it is important to find something that you can give a bit of praise. Begin and end your advice with a compliment; I call this the sandwich method. By creating this sandwich and starting with a compliment you help set a positive tone for how the writer will receive your advice. Rather than being viewed as mean spirited, conceited jabs at their abilities, your criticisms and corrections will now be accepted as honest, thought provoking suggestions. Closing your critique with another compliment helps to soften any “blows” you may have dealt within the piece. Leaving them with a bit of praise, even if it is just a line that you found enjoyable, will do wonders for their self esteem and by pointing out what they are doing right, you are enhancing their abilities. You are encouraging good writing and with that knowledge they will be able to go back through the piece and edit with confidence.

And remember, always give examples with your critique. Merely telling someone to change a line for better comprehension doesn’t really do them much good.

Monday, 23 April 2012

S Is For Superhero

Of course, what else can "S" possibly stand for?

My favorite Superhero is The Green Lantern. The ability to create anything from my imagination is absolutely attractive, and I can never see myself getting bored with that power. Plus I can fly, so what's not to love? But you may like some other boring Superhero and that's fine. However, I want you guys to do two things for me today: I want to know who your favorite Superhero is and which Superhero you are most like.

You can take the Superhero personality test here. Turns out I'm like Superman. Go figure?

Your results:
You are Superman
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Green Lantern

You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Which Superhero are you like?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

R Is For Rejection

Haven't we all been there? I know the feeling quite well because just yesterday night I got turned down by a girl at a club. I think her exact words were: "I don't date little boys, sorry." Ouch. And here it is I thought this kid had game. LOL. Anyway, it's inevitable we'll be turned down at various points in our life. We may get rejected when applying for a job, making a marriage proposal or asking our boss for a pay raise. It's not a nice experience to have, but thankfully it's possible to learn how to handle rejection without letting it eat us alive.

Here are 7 ways to bounce back and still look "fly":

1. Don’t take it personally. There are times in our lives when we are rejected simply because of timing. If you ask someone out to lunch but they have already eaten lunch, well they are going to turn you down! If you apply for a part-time job at a department store during the Christmas holidays the week of Christmas, they are going to turn you down because they have enough staff. Some rejections have nothing to do with us. So if you got turned down, do not second guess that you are no good or that no one likes you. It may just be a question of timing!

2. Think positively. It can be hard to think positively when you have been rejected, but try to turn the tables on this. If someone declines your offer for a social event, think about all the times when you have said no to others as well. Also, sometimes, getting rejected is a blessing in disguise. It may provide you with the space for something bigger that is about to happen!

3. Listen to the rejection carefully. It is important to pay attention to the reason for the rejection. This will tell you if you have a second chance or not. If you apply for a job and the Human Resources Director says “Not now, but call me in three months,” you can choose to focus on the part about timing. Try asking a follow up question to understand why you are being rejected now and get creative in coming up with an alternative solution.

4. Be kind to yourself. Being rejected is a disappointment to say the least. It can be very frustrating to put yourself out there for either personal or professional reasons and then, be told “no.” So, be kind to yourself after getting rejected in some way. Engage in positive self talk and encourage yourself for the future. Do not be silly by drowning your sorrows in food, alcohol, cigarettes or overspending.

5. Have confidence in who you are. Learn to have confidence that people will like you just as you are and to make yourself the best “you” that you can be. Engage in hobbies and activities that you. Laugh and sparkle! People will respond in amazing ways and you will get to experience less rejection!

6. Know that everyone gets rejected. There are six billion people on this earth. We are all beautiful, unique and different. There are times we are in demand and times we may get rejected. Knowing that rejection is an emotion that many people go through is a reality check! So get over your victim mentality and move on!

7. Try and try again. A popular sales motto is that it takes twenty “nos” to get to one “yes.” Many successful authors like Robert Kiyosaki and Mark Victor Hansen got their manuscripts rejected several times by publishing houses before they hit big time! Learn from these authors. Do not therefore take rejection as a sign of failure. Instead, press on in your dreams!
A lot of rejection is not the actual rejection, but how you handle it. If you engage in positive self-talk and have a confident attitude, it is possible to attract a better outcome. Hence, keep picking yourself up when you fall. Do not feel daunted but rejoice because you have found one less way to being turned down. So, even if a new party says “no” to you, you will always be able to transform your negative state of mind to a more empowering one!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Q Is For Quidditch

Ever since reading the first Harry Potter book I've always wanted to try this game. It's an extremely rough but very popular semi-contact sport, played by wizards and witches around the world. Matches are played between two teams of seven players riding flying broomsticks, using four balls and six elevated ring-shaped goals three on each side of the Quidditch pitch (field). In the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch holds a fervent following similar to the position that association football holds as a globally popular sport.

There are seven players on a team: three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker.
The Chasers progress up and down the pitch passing the Quaffle by hand amongst themselves while keeping it away from the other team, in an attempt to score goals by throwing it through one of their opponent's three goal hoops which scoring 10 points. In this respect, the game is similar, as Harry suggests in the first book, to "basketball on broomsticks with six hoops".
The Keeper will protect the three goal hoops, in much the same way as a goalkeeper in association football.
The Beaters are armed with wooden clubs that are similar to, but shorter than, baseball bats. They are tasked with protecting their team-mates and the seeker (mainly) from the Bludgers by knocking these balls off course or towards opponents.
Finally, the Seeker, usually the lightest member of the team and equipped with the fastest broom, is tasked for searching for and capturing The Golden Snitch. Seekers are the only players permitted to touch the Snitch. The seekers, like Harry Potter, are usually small, agile, and stealthy.
Each team includes a captain, who may play any of the four roles. The captain helps the team practice and chooses the team players after the tryouts.

I would definitely be a Chaser because I play a forward in soccer and I generally like being the guy who scores all the goals. That's just my style. It's not modest but it's true.

I'm dying to know which position you guys would play and why?

Thursday, 19 April 2012

P Is For Publishing Era

It's been remarkable watching publishing evolve into what it is now. Five years ago self publishing was like a curse to writers; a doomed choice to those unlucky or talentless few to kill their dreams; now it's a thriving segment of publishing that has the potential to overcome the traditional route.

With the advent of ebooks and the various devices to read them (Kindle, Nook and IPad), writers have a wide range of choices to get their work out there. And now you can find success through fanfiction as well. Thanks to the acclaim of Fifty Shades of Grey.

It's a great time to be a writer.  Don't you agree?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

O Is For So Over Him

Miss Quanisha went on a date with a guy she met on facebook and they had the perfect evening: a nice dinner, lots of flirting and a kiss goodnight. So Miss Quanisha went bragging like a hen in a barn on Thanksgiving: "Gurrrl, he's like all that and a box of chocolates. We had the best time, like fo realz fo realz, and I do mean fo realz. We had lobster, some mashed potatoes, wine--he even paid for it all, honey. I'm telling you this cat don't play. Like, fo realz."   .

So Miss Quanisha is excited about the prospect of a second date. The thing is, he has to call first.

"We had a great time, okur, I know he's gonna call. Who can resist this fine piece of caramel right here?"

Three hours turn into six and soon three days have passed.

"He must've fell in a manhole or somethin', Imma give 'im a few days to recover."

Seven days later. Quanisha is crying to her girlfriends.

"Oh gawd! He didn't call, gurl, am I ugly? I know my face is jacked up but I got a big ass and a tongue ring. I bet it's mah knees, they too ashy, right? Oh lawd why I gotta have ashy knees? Why lawd--WHYYYYY!"

Truth be told, when you give a guy your number and he doesn't call, HE'S.NOT.INTERESTED. It's not you, it's not him--it just didn't work. Don't question yourself and replay the date in your mind, just put on your best dress and get back out there.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

N Is For Nearly There all aspects of life.

The reason for our existence is as vast as the stars in the night sky, but you can't deny that the most quintessential aspect of our experience is to accomplish and enjoy. As a young guy, barely old enough to legally drink alcohol, achieving stability and peace of mind is key. This is usually defined by the two "Fs", finances and family, but can extend to any other parameter we view as worthy; some folks think being one with nature is achieving peace of mind, while others will contest that such a thing can only be found in God.

Sometimes I hate going to family picnics, barbecues and what not, because my aunts and uncles always ask me, "Have you found a nice girl to marry yet, Tyson?"

"No, aunty, I haven't.'

"A guy?"

0_0 "What?"

"Hey, you never know..."

The truth is: I'm not there yet. And you know what? That's fine, 'cause it might take a while. Who says I have to be married before I'm 25? Who says being a writer isn't a real job? Who says I have to be rich and live in a nice house and drive a Mercedes? Well, that will be nice but still...these feats don't define me as a person, and they sure as hell aren't unattainable because I failed to achieve them by a certain age.

I am happy at this point in my life right now. Do I wish I had more? Yes. But I'm taking my time and simply living in the moment. Whether we're Not there, Nearly there or There,  I think we all need to take it easy and just enjoy what we have accomplished so far.

Monday, 16 April 2012

M Is For Moogikal Music

Darn, I need some of you to skip a day so I can catch up. (Don't do that I'm only kidding.)

This week will be all about our passions; what drives us, what scares us and anything in the middle.

Today is music.

I like all kinds of Moogikal genres: Rap, Country, Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, Rock and Gospel. As long as it speaks to me. Some folks like the artist (and that's fine) but I enjoy the song.

Here are some of the music I love, both old and new.

Justin Timberlake has some amazing music. This is My Love.

Some of the best voices in the biz, corsets and diamonds? What's not to love about Moulin Rouge.

You know you listen to this in your car. :D

Eminem's epic comeback with Rhianna. 

 It's a girly song but you can't deny her ability to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. 

Britany Spears at her hottest!

The sickest track you'll ever hear. EVA!

This is just 0.5% of the artist I listren to. I seriously like anything that sings to me.

So, what are your favorite Moogikal kinds of music?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

L Is For Longevifying Your Writing Career

So we've all heard that sometimes all we need is that one breakout novel. But did you also know you can have a very fruitful career writing in a specific genre? It isn't terribly far fetching when you think about it; I mean, it's only common sense to move on to where the grass is greener. And right now that pasture is Erotica.

Agent Kristen Nelson wrote a blog post about it yesterday and it got me thinking: are we, as writers, confined to one genre? To be more clear, I want to know if we're one trick ponies? Say, if I write MG Fantasy, is that all I'm good at?

To be honest, I've always considered myself a MG writer because I love the imagination of a child and I often dream like one too--so what the heck, why not write for them. If you asked me five years ago to write a Woman's Fiction or YA Romance novel I'll tell you, quite plain, "HELL NAW!"

But times have changed.

On Tuesday I was watching television, thinking about my YA novel, and out of the blue this idea fell into my head. It shocked me to my core because it arrived fully formed, like J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter fully formed! I was, and still am, amazed. It was an idea unlike any of my high fantasy, action adventure, kickass superhero stuff--this one was a Woman's Fiction, and not Coitus, the novel I told you about last week. This idea feels like THE ONE. You know, like that lucky lottery ticket that will make all your dreams come true. It's so insane and special I'm keeping it under wraps until I'm done. Yes, I've set aside my YA to write this one. That alone is saying something. And if that wasn't enough to convince you of it's awesomeness, I'm currently flying blind on this one. No outline, no summaries, no nothing. Just me, my computer screen and the voice of my MC, Seratonus Bladell as my guide.

I am not a panster. I am a die-hard outliner. But this novel is telling me to just let it be. And I'm listening.

So, here's what I know today: Writers can transcend all genres. A MG writer can pen Women's Fiction and vice versa. It all depends on the idea  That's it. No rituals or writing classes--just a wonderful idea and the vigor to actually write it.

And you know what else I learned? Writers are superheroes, man. There ain't a darn profession out there that allows us to be an assassin, housewife, president, maid, alien, prostitute, businessman and cat all in a day's work.

Friday, 13 April 2012

K Is For Keeping Up Appearances

It's British, it's funny and it's on PBS.

It has become sort of a ritual of mine to sit with my friends and, if I'm home, family to watch Keeping Up Appearances. I found this vintage gem five years ago while I was flipping through channels and I've been hooked ever since.

Keeping Up Appearances is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke for the BBC. Centred on the life of eccentric, social-climbing snob Hyacinth Bucket (who insists that her surname is pronounced Bouquet), the sitcom portrays a social hierarchy-ruled British society. It jokes about a small obsessive world where a determined snobbish middle class woman desperately and continually looks for opportunities to climb the social ladder, despite being wedged between a working class background and upper class aspirations.
The show stars Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket, the pompous and self-serving central woman obsessed by perfection, image and etiquette, and also includes performances from Clive Swift as her calm, tolerant and long-suffering husband, Richard Bucket, and Josephine Tewson as a friendly pushover neighbour who lives with her brother, played by David Griffin, who is continually fearful of Hyacinth's presence. Judy Cornwell, Geoffrey Hughes and Mary Millar play Hyacinth's relatives, Daisy, Onslow her husband, and Rose, whose working-class presence she is continually fearful of. Her dotty father lives with Daisy, and appears to be Hyacinth's sole reason for visiting such a declasse neighbourhood. On the other hand, she loses no opportunity to brag about her sister, Violet ("It's my sister, Violet! The one with the Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony!"), who has lots of money and a shaky marriage. There is also her never-seen son, Sheridan, a perpetual student at University, about whom Hyacinth constantly brags. Everyone except Hyacinth realizes that Sheridan is gay.

Now you see why I'm addicted. This is an absolute riot to watch and, coupled with Are You Being Served, a downright fantastic Saturday night to spend at home if you have nothing to do. I must be clear, though, I'm not a fan of old comedies (or PBS for that matter), but this one is just incredible. Hyacinth reminds of me Mrs. Dursley from Harry Potter, so if you liked her antics then you'll definitely like this show.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

J is For J.K. Rowling

And her new book!

The Casual Vacancy will be J.K. Rowling's first foray into the adult genre. Dubbed a "black comedy" the novel opens with the sudden death of a popular man whose unexpected demise shocks the town. The battle for his seat on the local council sets off "the biggest war the town has yet seen," with rich people fighting poor, parents battling their teenagers, and wives in conflict with their husbands.

I loved Harry Potter but I'm not sure I'll love this one too. Only time will tell. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for her to know that Harry Potter was such a success and now the world is waiting to see if she can pull it off again. Talk about anxiety. Though J. might never allude to her fears, she is probably just as nervous as the rest of us.

Nonetheless, I'm excited for its September 27th release because it will be a blast to read a story all about Muggles. And wouldn't it be cool if some magical things happen that no one else in the book can explain except for we, the readers? I'll have a fanboy freakout! LOL.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

I Is For Inspiration

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

--Louisa May Alcott

The imagination is a powerful thing and it it the theme for my YA, Portrayer. I can write a lengthy post on what it truly means to me, but that's not what I want to know. Today I want to delve into your soul and discover where you get your inspiration to write and what inspires you?

My ideas come from the drama called life. The concept for my MG came from a tragic loss in my family and the fact that I wasn't there to do something; whereas my drive for the craft is a tad selfish, because writing is about the only thing I can do--I suck at math. I call it selfish because I never truly wanted to do anything else as a boy, except maybe draw, and that is not fair to the overall development of my intellectual thought processes.

I blame the Bible. Those stories were so out-of-this-word-crazy, it just got my little mind going and from that moment on, I was hooked. Damn you Jesus! :D  

But each and everyone of us are unique. What inspires me might deter you. So, what inspires you to write?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

H Is For Hope

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

I've heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Monday, 9 April 2012

G Is For Goodreads And Bad Behavior

This post will be a little long but it's worth it.

You are all aware of the flame wars that sometimes occur at Amazon for a product review--namely books. Well, this same type of behavior has arrived at Goodreads. In the past few months it has become so volatile over there. And not because of an author leaving a condescending comment on a review or a reviewer going into great detail about why the book didn't work for them with a nice side of snark. Authors should be astute and not pop up and say, “But you don’t understand my muse, the real meaning behind my masterpiece! How dare you say such horrible things when I put my heart and soul into this book!” Sorry to say authors, the person who reviewed your book doesn't care how hard you slaved over your computer or how much of your life you gave up to write a book they think is horrible.

Let’s be honest here, there’s no written rule on how reviews should be written. Reviewing is not an art. No one can get a degree in reviewing or be an expert in the field. Of course, there are some who write reviews amazingly well and then there are those who write filth. But the bottom line is, if someone is going to pay cold hard cash for your work, they have a right to criticize any way they see fit. Even if they said the book they read is the worst piece of crap ever published and lit it on fire, it’s their right. Is it fair? No. But life isn’t fair. The moment you put something out there for the public, it’s open season. And if you can’t take the criticism, no matter how mean, snarky or cruel it may be, you’re in the wrong line of work. However, it’s an unwritten rule and a strong belief from both sides that a reviewer SHOULD NEVER criticize an author based on looks or their personality.

This occurred a few months ago at Goodreads where comments were left on a review where the reviewer gave her very honest and brutal opinion. The author’s weight and style of clothing was soon mentioned and made fun of. Someone went as far to say they wouldn’t buy the author’s books because of how horrible she looked. Eventually, these very immature comments were deleted by the initial reviewer because the public were very vocal against such derogatory comments about the author.

Goodreads has also become a place where people will go after reviewers on a very personal level. I’ve noticed this behavior is especially strong for reviews left for Young Adult books. Every time I see someone leave a scathing review or give a 1 star to a much beloved YA book, those people who loved it come back with claws bared--calling others “assholes” and far worse things.

And these aren't kids, folks, they're adults with wives, husbands and children.

What do you think? Have you seen cruel and embarrassing behavior on Goodreads?

Friday, 6 April 2012

F is For Funny

It's Good Friday and that means it's time for a good laugh. I have a few videos that will put a smile on your face. One video in particular is one of the most watched Youbube videos of all time.

This first video is of Charlize Theron for spoofing a very popular Youtube video. She is the only one I know who can make sitting on a toilet look so good. I particularly liked this one because it's Charlize out of her element. Need I say more?

This second video is one of the most watched non-celebrity, non-Youtube sensation, non-business based video of all time. Three words, people: Charlie the Unicorn. All grumpy Charlie wants to do is sleep in the meadow all day, but two very enthusiastic youngsters always rain on his parade in the cutest way possible. Upon doing so, they coax Charlie on an adventure under the impression that there is much to be had; however, it's always the contrary and Charlie is often left in a rut while the young ones escape scotch free. It's absolutely hilarious! 

Our third video comes from Youtube sensation Shane Dawson. In this video, one of his many alteregos, Lupe, discusses the never ending debate that has swept the nation: Team Yacob or Team Yeward? Be warned, it has some crude language but nothing you've never heard before. 

And our last video is from another Youtuber EVERYONE knows. And I do mean everyone. Ryan Higa (aka Nigahiga) has the record for the most subscribers ever (about 5 million) and there seems to be no end in sight. Though he has a lot of funny videos, I chose this one because it's a song, all his friends are in it and it's absolutely funny. Did I mention it's also really, really catchy?

He has another song, Bromance, that's just as funny (if not funnier) than Nice Guys. I especially liked when he interrupted his friend doing number two on the toilet. LOL. Check it out.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

E Is For Enamored

Adj.1.enamored - marked by foolish or unreasoning fondness; "gaga over the rock group's new album"; "he was infatuated with her"

There are a lot of things I love but very few that I go gaga for. Huskies are one of them.

I'm sexy and I know it!

They are among the prettiest and regal of all dogs, not to mention as strong as a pony. But Huskies are, by nature, workers and they need something to do. Or else. If left to their own devices, Huskies will develop compulsive ticks like chasing light, peeing on rugs and even chewing through walls. A simple jog is not enough, to avoid such behavior from this breed, you need to give it lots of attention and a work schedule just as grueling as your own.

Another die hard love of mine are Diamond Rolex watches and Air Jordans.


And lastly, are books. There is nothing else out there like a good read. Especially if it sings to my heart and soul like Harry Potter did. Sadly, there aren't many novels that captivate me, so I often have to substitute a good book for a good movie or video game.

Enter Wrath of the Titans and Guild Wars II.


I'm enamored just writing this. Isn't it good to be alive? LOL.

What enamors you?

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