Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just don't ask me to... 10 amazing high crimes
Sorry except for blogging at BlameItOnTheMuse I haven't blogged in a couple weeks due to slow satellite which I've blogged about ad nauseam. Quick update: after nine months of trying to convince the tech support people there was something wrong with my modem, they changed it out. All it cost me is $115 and reupping for another year on my contract. 'Nuff said.

With the Atlanta conference coming up in a month, there's a lot to be done. Besides preparing pitches I have to make sure my car is serviced.

ON THAT NOTE: I have fairly new tires but last week I was driving through a small town nearby that's had a nightmare of road construction for five years. I came back with a flat tire. On the way home yesterday, I had another and another tire was very low.

At first the car felt like it was being buffeted by heavy wind but I didn't see the tree limbs moving, and it's not a great place to pull over - four lane with small shoulders - so I kept driving. Then I heard that familiar roaring sound and decided to pull into a closed car dealership where the surface was clean, level and concrete. I knew before I popped the trunk but verified that it was indeed a flat. No sooner had I popped the truck and picked up my phone than an SUV pulled in and a couple asked if I needed help.

I gratefully accepted after he informed me changing tires was what he does for a living. His wife got out and introduced herself and said that they had driven from a town approximately 45 miles away on the way to Natchez for a night out. The reason he pulled into this dealership was not because he saw my trunk up, but because he'd received a flyer in the mail about a sale on cars and they thought they'd just walk the closed lot without the hassle of a salesman around. His words to his wife, "Let's just get out of town and go spend time together and hope we don't see anyone with a flat!" We all laughed. She said, "So you're our blessing." Certainly it was the other way around. He even had his portable air gun in the trunk. How much more serendipitous could a flat be?

It reminded me of what Michael Hauge says in his workshop (which he's presenting in Atlanta). What does your character give lip service to? What does he SAY he wants and what is he willing to do to get it? To get your character's conflict right, fill in the blank. "I'll do anything you want me to, but just don't ask me to _____."

My man, George, may have wished NOT to change a flat on his night off, but he obviously enjoyed doing a good deed for someone who appreciated his kindness.  He could have kept driving or ignored me. Good good people. They are everywhere regardless of the negativity we hear on the media.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's Play results

Well, I thought some of you might like to see what two of our bloggers came up with given those varied story parts. Time travel, two protags - one a female trucker, the other an eleven year old boy, A exmoonshiner g-man, a villainous old lady, and some bizarre key words. The first line was "I place the baby shoes on the table with a sign, "never used". We figured it was a time travel since one of the settings was 1920's.  Title Love Finds a Way or whatever.

This was Hope's story.

Leo Brown, the bastard son of a bipolar Merry-maid, dreams of one day becoming a theoretical physicist. But when he and his best friend, Lola, mistake Stephen Hawkin’s A Brief History of Time, as a cookbook, their recipe sends them careening back in time. . .
. . .To a deserted road in the middle of nowhere, where they are picked up by Dove, a no-account, transgender, truck driver who runs hootch for the mysterious and nearsighted Granny Okie–the main bootlegger in East Bumdaddy, Oklahoma. Dove doesn’t love nothing, ‘cept her(his?) Tommy Gun. And she’s been slugged so many times by the men (women?) in her life that she’s slap-happy.
Soon the intrepid time travelers find themselves caught up in a dust bowl range war between Granny and the broad-shouldered, blue-eyed, holier than thou ex g-man, Meeker, who has taken up the cause of temperance.
Will Love Find A Way to help Meeker reform Dove and show her how good it is to be a woman? Will Love Find a Way to help Leo and Lola get back to the future, or will they miss the Love Boat and end up distressed and alone on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific during World War II? Will Love Find a Way to help Granny quit running hootch and go back to frying up chicken at the local diner?
Love Finds a Way is a yarn about booze, gals who are really guys, and a couple of good for nuthin’ kids. It’s sure to keep you turning pages.

and Cadence's
Dove Bartlett, long distance trucker and time traveler, has searched unsuccessfully through the threads of time and alternate worlds for the baby girl stolen from her fifteen years ago. She’s found no sign of heer daughter, Lola, and only knows that the baby had been kidnapped by an old lady in a black cardigan sweater.
In the 1920’s dust bowl of Oklahoma Dove places the last vestige of Lola – her baby shoes – on the yard sale table along with the hastily written sign: ‘Never used’. Dove was finally conceeding defeat, finally ready to move on with her life when fate stepped in in the guice of an eleven year old boy with an armload of Stephen Hawkings books.
Dove is stunned when the boy claims to know Lola and can find her, but first she must help him escape the G-man, an ex-moonshiner named Meeker Brown, who is chasing him.
There’s more to this story than the boy will tell, but Dove can’t stop now. Not when there’s the best chance she’s had for finding her lost daughter. But will she live to find her?

I'd love to know what Bill would have come up with had he not been on vacation.
We'll do it again. It was too fun not to.

Go Saints! (Yeah, it's that time again. I know we didn't win last night, but we didn't do too badly for preseason against the 'Patriots'.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's Play, Part 2

Blogging over at Blame It On the Muse today, part 2 of our improv blog from last Monday. Come join us and show off your story-builidng talent.

The elements we came up with last week were:

A time travel by necessity.

Our first line is: “I placed the baby shoes on the table and propped up the sign: ‘Never used.’

Our first protagonist is a long distance trucker who desires freedom from all ties – emotional and physical.

The second protag is an eleven year old boy who carries around books by Stephen Hawking. He can’t understand them yet, but some day… His uncle was recently killed in Afghanistan and his Mom is pretty dislocated by her brother’s death. This leaves Leonard (he prefers Leo, more reminiscent of the Lion) at loose ends for most of the summer day. His best friend is thirteen year old girl cursed with the name Lola, whose Dad is a geologist, often on assignment…

The villain is a short-sighted old lady who always wears thick cardigans, summer and winter, indoors and out.
Antagonist is Meeker Brown, an ex-moonshiner, now G-man.

One setting: 1920’s dust bowl Oklahoma. Farms being blown away, dust getting into everything. Hobos riding the rails and bank robbers like Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde run wild.

Keywords: slug, fried chicken, blue-eyed, distress, aircraft carrier, transgender, hootch, broad shouldered, Merry Maids, g-men, Tommy-gun, good for nuthin no account, bastard
And an additional  first line  – Dove leveled the shotgun at Ruben’s chest.

Create a title, a back cover blurb, or mini synopsis and share it. There are so many options.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blatant Internet Rant

Wildblue, er, stinks! 

So, I'm on the internet trying to do a quick blog because I've been blogging over at Blame it on the Muse with our other bloggers away at Nationals and have been ignoring my many fans here at the Marley Delarose blog. It takes so long to load the page I nearly fall asleep which reminds me that I never installed the little diagnostic program the representative told me about.

I'd called because as usual I went to a speedtest site to see why it was taking 30 seconds or more to load pages. It reported my download speed as 700 kbps and upload at DRUMROLLLLLL please, .03 kbps. Yes, you're reading that correctly. Now, according to them everything looks just peachy.  .03 is standard but I'm not using a recognized diagnostic.

In her very sweet, very trained - have I handled everything to your satisfaction today (obviously not) - kind of voice, she says, "What you need is the Wildblue Pulse diagnostic tool. Along with the optimizer."

Me: I have the optimizer on my Macs.

Her: And we recommend the latest version of Firefox as a browser.

Me: Okay, I can do that, it's already installed, just to see if it makes any difference (I say with my best I don't believe this for a second sarcasm.) Is Pulse available for Mac?

Her: Oh, of course. (NOT, I got to the site with her on the other end of the line and we see together that it is only available for Windows.

Me: No problem. I'll install it on my PC and run the diagnostic on the internet.

So today, I boot up the stupid PC and:
Make sure I have the Optimizer installed on the computer - check.
I have the latest version of Firefox - check.
I open Firefox and go to the Wildblue site and look for the Pulse program which I'd previously installed.

It won't run. So I look at the installation instructions.
"You must run FFClickonce for Firefox to use Pulse."
So, I download FFClickonce but the message next to the download button says, "This program is not updated to run with the newest version of Firefox." Click here to see a workaround which just tells me to make IE the default, install Pulse and then make Firefox the default.

This done, I run the Pulse program with my PC on wireless internet. After the program tests ten sites and the diagnostics report comes up I notice it says there is no internet service - uh-huh. Then there's a page where there are green check marks next to items no one including WB can identify. So I click on recommendations. 

Now, this is entertaining. First of all it tells me I'm not using an approved OS. 'click' here to see approved ones. Windows 7 is listed. Then it says my system isn't optimized. Right. Then it says no virus scan is installed. Un-freakin' believable. I teach computers in a world where no computer should be without virus software.

This is the service we get for $70 a month. They should just have a telephone dialog when you call tech support that says, you're screwed. There is no other internet available so either pay or go away.

What's the opposite of Joie de vive?  This is driving me to drink?