Monday, December 24, 2012

When The Hairdresser Makes You Cry

Just in time for the holidays, I got the worst haircut EVER. One might think being a good tipper and a faithful client might mean this situation would be avoided, but no. Probably because "shorter" and "longer" are judgement calls.

I googled, "the bitch cut my hair too short," and hit over two million sites in three seconds.

Isn't that sad? So many unhappily coiffed folks.

Next I sought advice for what to do when ... sniff, sniff, sob.

Faster than a bald guy looking for hair plugs, I was directed to a multitude of helpful, sympathetic places with lists, LISTS, of remedies.

#1 was PRENATAL VITAMINS, the hot secret to growing hair. And babies, I suppose. Way back in the misty dim recesses of my mind, I seem to remember something about nice pregnant hair, but thought at the time it was nature's way of distracting me from events to come.

#2 was NIOXIN which apparently thickens and grows hair and is available in different combinations for whatever hair problem you sport.

#3 was HORSE SHAMPOO which makes equine manes and tails silky and humans extra hairy. Kind of like using Wolfman's shave cream. I remember when this was a fad, but I don't remember why.

#4 was an HERBAL PREP I'd never heard of, which the hairless individual in question was supposed to add to the horse shampoo and voila! a thick rich head of hair. I decided not to try chemistry.

#5 or last on every one's list was LIVE WITH IT. It's JUST HAIR. It will GROW BACK.

And to all those people I say,


And then, there are the loved ones who don't know what to do for the victim of a bad stylist.

My kiddo took one look and gave me a hug. Then the other night, out of the blue, she said, "it's a nice color."

Husband Dearest came in the bathroom the first day after I had fixed it myself, then walked out without saying anything. But he thought better about that, came back and said, "it fluffs up a little." Aces to him for jumping in over his head.

As for me, I now have good hat hair, which means, my hair looks good in a hat, which is where it is going to stay until spring.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


I'm currently reliving my horse-crazy phase.

Watch this Wonder Girl and Super Horse.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Survive the Zombie Apocalypse

I started watching AMC's The Walking Dead because I saw this poster and it cracked me up.

I don't like zombie movies. Shaun of The Dead and 28 Days Later aside, I think most of the genre is a bloody gross-out fest for those who don't enjoy good film.

I had heard this was a good show, but honestly, telling me that a zombie show is good, makes me doubt your ability to judge value.

That said, ahem, this show is great.

Since I'm playing catch-up, watching the DVDs, I have the benefit of hindsight. I tolerated the first episodes' arty factor as them getting their groove on. And the next thing I knew, I was hooked.

I just finished Season Two. I read the reviews first. They were criticized for too much talking, not enough action. Fair enough, but only half the story.

There is a lot of moralizing in this series. Morality, moral imperatives, moral decisions,* civilization, oy, when the characters pause, and the two shot is framed, brace yourself for moralizing that will make you wish for someone to jump in and gnaw their faces off.

But when they stop talking about it and the series shows them behaving within the new morality and you're right with them there, then turns that 180 degrees, they knock it out of the park.


When the little girl walks out of the barn. Holy crap.


Great writing is always instructive. 

The Sopranos was a delicious guide on how to make a villain sympathetic. I mean, sometimes, didn't you wish Tony could get a break. Carmella would drive anyone around the bend. But I digress.

The Walking Dead excels. You will invest in these people. You will be surprised.* If you're just there for the bloody gore fest, they have that too.

Which brings up another point. I'd rather be intrigued than grossed out. That's just me. 

One episode of The Walking Dead made me gag.

Something IMAGINARY evoked a real physical response.

I want my writing to do that.

Although gagging is not the response I'd prefer.

*Ha! Got it right in one.
*Ha! Did it again. The curse is lifted.

The Magic Factory

From the Los Angeles Review of Books,  A Three Act Journey in the Land of Screenwriting Gurus.

While I agree with most of his take on the gurus, he misses two points.

Screenwriting has long been considered the next "Gold Rush" and like the one 1849, the good money, the reliable money, the real money was made by the folks who sold stuff to the miners.

Levis, gold pans, treasure maps kept many a merchant, banker or con man afloat while the miners chased glistening pay dirt.

Once in a while, some intrepid soul would survive the elements, the work and his fellows to strike it rich, fueling not only his life, but dreams for the rest of the mob. Who then, clad in dusty, worn Levis, clutching dented pans and wrinkled maps, doubled down.

Hope is a richer intoxicant than gold.

So the gurus market while the wannabes shop. That's human nature. The cycle will reset when the shoppers wise up.

Point #2.

I've lived through the fever dream of this book, that article, some blog post will slot the miraculous last piece of the puzzle into place so, voila, success arrives at last bearing Hollywood's Standard Rich and Famous Contract. Alas. It is not so.

I smiled when I read Zimmerman's lament that having read 25 screenwriting books and written three scripts, he feels no closer to success.

I suggest he read less and write more.

-- UPDATE --

Mr. Zimmerman read this post and tried to comment. Blogger is misbehaving today, so I add his comment here, and thank him for his good humor and graciousness.

"I agree entirely with your thoughtful response, but I felt the uncontrollable urge to point out that I have only written only three "features". I've written dozens of "scripts": tv specs, pilots, plays, etc. Actually, the only thing I do more than reading is writing. And napping. And, clearly, googling myself. Thanks!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

Surprise Decision

... are two words I can't spell.

I have looked up decision at least 500 times thinking it needs two Es instead of two Is. Decesion is how I think decision should be spelled. Mr. Webster and every spell checker I have disagree.

Last weekend when I was posting elsewhere, I looked at that word and thought, is that right? Looked it up for the 501st time and also thought, why don't you learn to spell this already?

Don't you think SURPRISE would look good with a Z in it? I do. For years, I have. SurpriZe. Wouldn't that be surprising? Surprise just doesn't look right with two Ss. It obviously needs a Z. No one else agrees.

I noticed this when, in something I was writing, I managed to correctly spell everything except decision and surprise.

Which, I decided, was weird.

Something, I decided, must be done.

Solutions being considered:
1. Put brain in gear and learn to spell SURPRISE and DECISION.
2. Stop writing stories that include SURPRISES and DECISIONS.
 Guess which is more likely.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rocky Hates the iPad

Why is this thing always in my way?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Dorothy Said

I'm home after nearly a month gone. First to the rockin' Retreat in Whitefish, then two weeks in England visiting the kiddo, seeing the sights.

And sights were seen.

Stonehenge is awesome. Truly.

Compared to a famous nearby cathedral, Stonehenge felt full of power and spirit, where the cathedral seemed a monument to dead, dry excess.

I walked barefoot on the Salisbury Plain and wanted to know more.

But then we were off to London to see the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone and the British Marbles.

Dropped by Buckingham Palace. The Queen was home, but didn't come to the door.

We had a chance to see pastoral England too.

The natives stared at us as often as we stared at them.

In between there was plenty of this.

FYI: Don't eat anything a Brit calls "pudding" because it isn't.

It might be a sausage or a pancake, but pudding, it ain't.

Even saw one of these.

Built by the son of William the Conqueror. Imagine the pressure being the son of The Conqueror. Ending up being Peveril, builder of hard to reach sheep corrals.

And then it was time to come home.


KLM managed to derail us again. Overbooked, stranded us in Chicago while our luggage made it home, on time and safely.

Having previously dealt with the Dutch, I was more philosophical this time. I had never been to Chicago.

New rule of the road -- any vacation you return from not wearing your underwear inside out, is a good vacation, or you haven't flown KLM.

Montana smells different than other places. The air here is cool and light.

Walking through the jetway, I took a conscious breath.

I love to travel.

I love to come home.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Norman Fort

- - Posted via iPad - -

More Fine English Cuisine

Here's a flavor you don't often see in a homemade pie.

- - Posted on the run - -

Friday, October 05, 2012

Fine English Cuisine

Right now I'd kill for a Starbucks Double Shot.

FYI: Don't eat anything a Brit calls pudding because it isn't.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Over There

Visiting the kiddo and taking a break from the homefront, we are in England.

Actually made it through Amsterdam this time.

- - Posted on the run - -

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Home Again, Home Again.

I'm back from a three day writing retreat in Whitefish, Montana, led by super-cool Laura Munson, she of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is.

Laura's work changing the Suffering Artist paradigm into Empowered Artist is going to reshape the world. If she has to do it one writer at a time, she will.

The Retreat was held at Walking Lightly Ranch, a project of good-hearted souls who walk lightly on the earth and teach others by example. The food served there is vegan, prepared by two sweet vegan chefs.

The first night during the general instructions part of the welcome, there was a whole section about recycling and garbage and food processing. I started hearing voices in my head.

One part of me was saying,
Listen sister, when I was your age, real men had long hair, women didn't wear bras and everybody was an environmentalist. I went to the FIRST Earth Day for Christ's sake, so do not lecture me, honey.
We'll call that part, Ms Snark.

And another part of me whispered,
 If you'd come down off that cross for a minute, you might learn something new.
 We'll call her, Miss Know Better.

Ms Snark was just about to slap the snot out of Miss Know Better when the sweet looking woman sitting next to me leaned over and whispered, "Maybe we should join hands and sing Kumbaya."

That's when I knew, this weekend, with these women, I wouldn't have to live in my head.

The view out our classroom window.
Every morning, Laura led us with writing prompts and safe baring of our hearts.

Each afternoon we were freed to engage in aligned empowering activities, personal writing time or whatever we could think up to get into on our own. In between, we were served and surprised by vegan meals. In the evening happy hour, we drank wine and told stories.

Although, I kept saying I was going to make a break for McDonalds, I never did.

Over the course of the weekend, somehow, I don't know how, let's just call it magic, somehow, we connected, reconnected or discovered our empowered writer selves.

By the third day, we were separating our recyclables and over-sharing about intestinal disturbances.
FYI: If you're going vegan, cold turkey, so to speak, expect some intestinal surprises. But on the plus side, when is a fart joke not funny?

I don't like good-byes, because they're aren't any, really, are there? They're not good. They're never good. They may be sweet, or melancholy, too short or too long, but they are never good.

I don't like good-byes, so I usually just leave.

But this time I couldn't. Ms. Snark and Miss Know Better both agreed, that would just be rude.

So, I had one more breakfast with the Vegan 9 + 1. One more full heart sharing with laughter and love, best wishes and lofty potentials within reach.

Later that afternoon when I arrived home, my husband said I looked different. I don't think it's because I lost two pounds and my poop turned green.

So, I won't say goodbye, au revoir or even, until next time.

Rock on, ladies.

Rock on.

Click the link. Go ahead. You want to. I know you do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Around The World. One Page At A Time.

Blogger stats show me, I'm popular in Russia.

Why I wonder?

Sitemeter sees it a little differently.

I've always been intrigued by what drives readers to the blog.

A person in France landed here to look at the squirrel.

A person in Finland arrived here after googling - gothic sky.

Someone from Dubai found me while looking for the perfect notebook.

I don't know what is up with the Russians.

Continuing Saga of the Montana Tree Rat

Lest you think I am a cold, heartless harridan, I'll have you know . . .

... we're feeding the little beggar.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Further Adventures of the Tree Rat

Everybody here has a crick in their neck.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


Not that I mind when neighbors come over, but I usually don't let them tease our dogs.

Can you see me now?
 It's a red squirrel, and the problem is ...

Come down and play.

heh, heh, heh. no.

Just a little closer . . .

Before you're tempted to say, "aaahh, he's so cute."  

Did I catch you in time?

Consider this critter is just a tree rat.

Rat in a tree. Terrier on the ground. Weiner hound howling in the background.

Ah, the quiet life of country living.

Kayaking the Missouri - Part Two

We kayaked another section of the Missouri River over Labor Day weekend.

I always get a lot of pictures like this because, it never fails,  I am the slowest mover.

Early on, the water was beautiful.

Later, the current, motor boaters and the wind turned it into something else. It was a bit of a challenge to get back to our beginning. Even traveling downstream. Note to self: pay attention to the information about how well the boat tracks before buying another kayak.

We're surrounded by forest fires so for the first half of the trip, we had a smoky sky and horizon.

But later we caught sight of clear blue.

Blue sky, smooth water - new definition of heaven.