Monday, August 28, 2006

Taller = Smarter

Today's self-serving post features a Reuters article that indicates...

Taller people are smarter: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality -- tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.

As a six foot tall woman who has endured much derision, romantic heartbreak, and far too many "weather up there" jokes due to my height, I can't help being tickled, if skeptical.

In a bar once, a man looked up at me, and said, "You're an Amazon. I could climb all over you."

What to say but, "No, you couldn't."

Overall I see height as a blessing, in spite of my fear of high heel shoes, low hanging branches, getting into a Miata, airplane seats, and twin beds in cheap hotels.

Read the whole delightful article at:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Your Inner Jackson Pollock

Think you got what it takes to be the next Jackson Pollock? Take a look at his masterpiece, Number 1, and then go to:

Whoosh your cursor over the blank screen and see splotches and lines of color appear. Click the mouse to randomly change colors as often as you like. Press ESC to see the credits.

Sadly, after a few attempts of my own, I have come to the conclusion that he was a genius, and that NOT just anyone can do this stuff. Maybe you'll do better!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Create and Motivate

Create your own motivational poster! (That's my first attempt above.)

Click here:

Here's another one. What a hoot!

Monday, August 21, 2006

About the Author

So I'm writing a book proposal. It's tough. I can't talk about the subject matter of the book, alas, but figuring out how to best write a proposal for a non-fiction book is just as much of an adventure as writing the book itself.

Okay, maybe it's less work than writing the entire book, but that's kind of the point. You describe the contents of the book, then why it simply must be published, then you show it to an agent who hopefully says, "Wow! I must represent you and sell this to a major publisher for lots of money." The publisher is also thrilled with it, and they give you money to finish the book for them. So the proposal is a sales tool, an extended pitch. I just finished a rough draft of the About the Authors section. Whew! Yes, there will be two authors -- I have a co-writer, who shall remain nameless for now. After I get the whole proposal together (including two sample chapters) I'll hand it over to him and let him tinker with it before we start submitting it to agents. It isn't easy to write laudatory malarkey about yourself, but it's all about selling in a book proposal, so I had to retire my native modesty for a little while and talk about all the wonderful things I bring to the plate.

And the subject? It's a corker. It's rip-snorting entertainment, with a touch of inspiration. Once the book is published (see? I'm just positive that it will be) I might post the proposal itself so that folks can see how it works.

Next up? The all important About the Book section. Oy. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Agent Insight

Get inside a literary agent's head with this blog:

The agent reps authors who do fantasy novels, but even if you write other sorts of books, this blog will give you an idea of what NOT to do. Funniest pieces involve her ripping apart various queries and manuscripts sent to her by clueless, hopeful writers.

Writing is hard. Not everyone can do it. Even those of us who can (cough cough) have a tough time doing it right. Tidbits like these are most helpful.

Cliche Central. Hey! Is that a cliche?

People are lazy. People talk, drive, write, and live without thinking.

Wake up! Pay attention to your life. Pay attention to what you say, write, and do. It affects others. And it affects you -- it makes you who you are.

As a writer, I'm always keeping my eyes peeled (that's one of my favorite idioms - "keeping your eyes peeled" -- it's just so gross and evocative) for cliches in writing. Cliches crop up constantly due to laziness. Came across a couple of interesting sites that list and debate what phrases and words have had just a tad too much use:

Reminds me of a bumper sticker my Dad saw once. It said: "Eschew Obfuscation."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Emmy Predictions

In my latest delightful column I fearlessly predict who will win an Emmy, then shamelessly offer my opinion on who actually should win.


'Cause it's just such an important topic.

Also, Monsters & Critics now has forums, where you can post your thoughts on movies, TV, news, reviews, columns, etc. The site has over 1 million unique viewers every month and over 150,000 a day!

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Rat's Head

I arrived at my backdoor last night to find this resting on my doormat.

Yes, it's a rat's head.

Sorry. I know it's gross. You can imagine how I felt upon finding it resting in front my back door. I picked up the doormat and shook it. The rat's head flashed its bloody neck stump as it rolled onto the pavement of my porch. I haven't had the stomach to get a broom and sweep it into the vegetation nearby.

Here is the elusive Miss Kitty, aka Killer. She's the feral mother of my cat Lucy, and I feed her evening and mornng on my back porch. I have no proof, but I believe the rat's head is a gift from her. Several years ago, before Miss Kitty was born, I fed her mother, Zoe, on a regular basis. I never managed to get Zoe spayed; she was too wild to tame, and I had yet to rent a cat trap. One day she brought her nearly weaned kittens, one of whom was Miss Kitty, to me, presenting them as if to say - now what? I responded by putting out more food. The kittens ate hungrily as their mother watched.

After work the following day, I came home to find the head of a snake on my doormat. It was a good two inches long, still silvery and scaly.

So you see, this gory gift giving runs in the family. My Lucy comes from a line of fearsome female hunters. Rodents, birds, and their ilk should be grateful that I keep her safely indoors. If this keeps up, who knows what sort of head will show up on my doormat next? Coyotes beware.

Hit and Run

I was rear-ended on my way to work this past Wednesday. I had stopped at a huge intersection so as not to block traffic, and this young woman in a black American coupe smashed into me going about 25 miles per hour.

(No, this is not a photo of any of the cars involved in this accident, but it is a close approximation of how I feel after this whole brouhaha.)

What the hell was she thinking? It's a busy city street, morning rush hour, signs indicating construction up ahead -- PAY ATTENTION, WOMAN!

But it gets worse. As I sat there dazed after the impact, she got out of her car and walked up to my window. She was in her mid-twenties, brown hair, white, maybe 5' 6" (make a note of that in case you ever see her...) and said "Are you okay? Why don't you pull over there (here she motioned to a side street, away from all the heavy traffic we were now blocking) and I'll meet you." "Okay," I said, trying to focus. When the light turned green, I made my way to the side street...only to see her take off in her smashed coupe in a completely different direction.

I saw red. "You BITCH!" I screamed, pulling a U-Turn at top speed and racing after her. Only to be blocked by a truck in the small turning lane. I tried to squeeze by, determined to get her license plate -- and scraped the fender of the truck. Damn! But I did get the first three letters of her plate: 4TL. So if you see that woman in her smashed up car, get the rest of the plate for me, will ya?

I was a surprised at my own fury. I hadn't cared about the consequences; I just wanted revenge. I'm not an angry person, but this and other recent experiences have taught me a bit about myself. It takes a lot for me to feel put upon. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, perhaps too much. But once I realize that you have fucked me over, that's it. I get mad. Ram my car, then you run? I will hunt you down until a truck interferes. I will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

I gave the driver of the truck my insurance info and called the cops. One showed up not too much later, after I'd had a good cry and a very nice tow truck man checked in on me. So now my car's in the shop for the next month or so, insurance should cover the rental and most of the repairs, and I'm booking a luxurious massage for myself to take care of the whiplash. Everyone the whole rest of the day was very nice to me, and I felt a lot of gratitude toward my seatbelt, grateful to just be alive. After all, it's just a car. It's just money. I'm alive and can move all my parts with only a bit of pain. And that'll improve.

I love living in LA, but if this had happened in a smaller town, the cops would've shown more interest in tracking this idiot down and arresting her. The LAPD cop I spoke to was courteous but doubtful she'd be caught. Seems to me there can't be many black American-make coupes with a license plate that begins 4TL. Surely half an hour spent in a database search could turn up a few likely suspects. But my guess is that there are too many more serious crimes to spend their manpower on. I'd be happy to ID her in a line-up, but I don't think I'll get the chance.

Sof anyone ever hits you - don't pull over and let them be free of traffic until you get their information, or at least a license plate number. And wear your seatbelt!