Sunday, September 30, 2007
Today's MOANday hunk is George Clooney. Now, I have to admit that George Clooney wasn't my choice, but he appeared on the request list several times. He's just never been a guy who floated my boat much, despite his superstar status.
But when I started looking for pictures, I found a few that did rev my engine a bit. Here he is looking casual:
Dressy ain't so bad either:
This is my fave... Great face! Enjoy!
PS. We're very lucky to have MOANday today. It took me hours to put this post together because my computer just wouldn't cooperate. Don't you hate it when computers decide they want a day off too?
Saturday, September 29, 2007
He looks great in a car.
He looks great in his racing suit.
He looks great in a polo shirt and sunglasses
But oh my heavens he looks absolutely scrumptious in tails.
It's not "Hello." It's Helio. Helio Castroneves, two-time Indy champion and my pick for this year's winner of Dancing with the Stars. He wowed the judges with his foxtrot and I can't wait to see this Brazilian tackle the latin dances -- especially the samba.
Friday, September 28, 2007
I've seen him in a couple movies - usually something dumb like Old School where he isn't exactly in a romantic lead. Royal Tenenbaums isn't exactly a romantic lead kind of movie either. To tell the truth, he spends most of the film with long hair and a wooly beard, always wearing the cotton headband from his tennis glory days. You can barely see him under all that. But then, later in the movie he has a breakdown and pulls a "Britney" and shaves his head and his beard off. Then he tries to kill himself. Then he confesses his love to his sister. Thank goodness she's adopted. Anyway, not exactly a romance novel come to life. But I was captivated by him. His raw emotion in those scenes. It made me wish someone had said something to me the way he did to Gwynneth Paltrow. (I don't have a brother, but even if I did, hopefully it would be someone not related to me by blood or marriage.) It wasn't Shakespeare. It was simple. The intensity of his words were carried in his expression.
So, once the movie ended, I decided not to delete it off the Tivo quite yet and started digging through my DVD collection for other Luke Wilson films. I watched about 45 minutes of Old School, but there was too much naked Will Ferrell to distract me from his yumminess and I turned it off. I forgot he was in Legally Blonde and Charlie's Angels, which I also have. I set my Tivo to tape Alex & Emma and some other movie he's in. (I just love that I can enter in "Luke Wilson" to my Tivo and it will tell me everything that he's in that's coming on in the next few weeks!) I'm planning a locker update with this yummy shot in it. I still love Johnny, of course, but there's enough room in my heart for Luke too. I've also decided he's going to be the hero of my old Hollywood book when I get around to it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This blog frequently features photos of movie stars and models -- MALE stars and models. Today I'm breaking from tradition to give our male viewers (assuming there are more than just the Playfriend husband's and boyfriends) a little look at beauty through the ages. Maybe our female readers will enjoy it too.
The 1920's was the flapper era and actress Clara Bow was one of the most famous stars of that decade.
Who do you behold as beautiful?
P.S. In case he's reading, Happy Birthday to the DH! Yeah, you remembered correctly that last Wednesday was #1 son's birthday. Wait til we get to April. #2 son and I celebrate birthdays two days apart.
P.P.S. Yes, there really is a Hollywood, Alabama -- but without the sign, which is just someone's Photoshop work.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Think about it. In the Great Game Show of Life, are you going to use your Phone-A-Friend Lifeline to call the one who will murmur sympathetically and try to make you feel better even though you don’t know? No! You’re going to phone the friend who has the knowledge or expertise or connections necessary to solve the problem. (You can call the sympathetic one after it’s all over.)
I have a great Justice League. The Playfriends, of course, are the support of all things writing-related. Yes, they can be counted on for the “Atta Girls” or the “Chin Ups,” but they also know a heck of a lot. Have plot problems? Need to know whether trailers are foreclosed on or repossessed? Wonder if a sentence is making sense or how to format query letters in email messages? Playfriends to the rescue! (And Marilyn can find anything on the web within minutes!)
My Justice League also includes a registered nurse who can be counted on for knowing what kinds of injuries are most likely in motorcycle accidents and what the recuperation time will be. She’s also the one to call when AC spikes a temp with vomiting and I need to know if it warrants a trip to the ER. There’s Counselor Shelley, who pulls multiple duties—does free therapy (for both me and my characters), knows all things art-related, and has a lawyer hubby. I have a friend who has the whole hardware department of Home Depot in his garage and will deliver the necessary tool to the house (and show me how to use it). There’s the friend with the encyclopedic knowledge of TV and film. The friend with the pickup truck. The friend with the great discount at Comp USA. The friend who can go into my closet and come out with a perfect outfit—and then do my hair and makeup as well. The friend who wears the same size clothes and shoes and will let you borrow them. The friend who can pull esoteric trivia out of her ass on a moment’s notice.
All I really need is a friend who understands stocks and IRAs and planning for retirement and a friend who can fix plumbing. I’d be set then.
So what part do you play in the Justice League? I’d so love to be the Comeback Kid—you know, the one who always has the perfect retort for every occasion and could telepathically send it to you within a second or two. Sadly, it usually takes me a little while to come up with something more eloquent than “Bite Me,” and you could probably come up with that yourself.
I’m a pretty good “Pot-Stirring Girl,” meaning not only will I listen to you bitch, I’ll keep the ire boiling so you’ll be ready to tell that butthead to bite you. I’m good at being righteously indignant on your behalf.
I think, though, I’m stuck with being the Geeky Grammar Girl, decked out in glasses and a plaid cape (that went out of style years ago), ready to help you cast out the extraneous commas and explain passive voice (again). Armed with my Harbrace and handy thesaurus, I’m the bearer of doom for those who dare to dangle modifiers.
Sigh. That’s just not as cool as Wonder Woman, is it? It’s not even as cool as the Wonder Twins.
So, what’s your super power (honestly, now)? When your friends phone-a-friend for help, what super strength do you provide?
Sunday, September 23, 2007
My husband must secretly hate me being a writer, because last night he sabotaged me—BIG TIME!
He installed a game called Bejewelled on our computer and showed us all how to play. UGH!!! Normally, I couldn't care less about computer games, but this one is close to one of the few I've liked in the past, Tetris.
The entire family spent hours last night fighting over the computer to battle for the highest score. I'm ashamed to say that at the time I wrote this blog, I had the leading score in the classic category with 45,000. *blush* Like there weren't a hundred other things I could have been doing with my time.
Yes, I see this as a major time suck in my future. I've heard of authors playing solitaire, but it never interested me (never even occurred to me, actually). But this game is going to be a BIG TEMPTATION!
I must repeat to myself over and over today: I will not play BJ until I get my synopsis written... I will not play BJ until I get my synopsis written...
What's your biggest distraction on the computer? Especially now that Timmy/Shimmy has been unveiled?
I had an upset tummy last night and watched "The Wedding Date" with Debra Messing and the hunk below. Where has he been all my life (or maybe the question should be "What hole have I had my head in)? Hubba hubba!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Film star Alice Brady was the daughter of William Brady, a big time movie mogul. She wanted very much to act, but was plagued with illness and would often have to back out of acting roles because of broken bones or other ailments. One day, William Brady saw a young actress perform that looked very much like his daughter and approached her about helping his daughter as a stand-in for roles when she didn't feel well. He went backstage to find the actress was in fact a female impersonator - Arthur Blake. As the story goes, Brady asked Arthur to spend time with his daughter and perfect his 'act' then assist her by taking over for her when she couldn't act. This started with with Gay Divorcee and continued on through her film career. As she grew sicker, Arthur had to take on larger parts of the films. He even started a secret relationship with Cesar Romero, who was his co-star in Metropolitan. Toward the end of filming In Old Chicago, Alice became very sick and could do almost none of the later scenes. When she was nominated for an Academy Award for the role, she broke her foot and was unable to attend. Its rumored that Arthur's lover attended in their place and accepted the award, although one was never found. When she died shortly after, Arthur returned to his career as a female impersonator.Read EL's blog for the full story.
Crazy. Of course, I doubt there’s much proof to back it up, but it would be interesting if it were true. Entertainment Lawyer threw in a bunch of red herrings to make it harder to figure out and even made it seem like this was a man who invented a female character and won an AA for it when it was in fact only a stand-in situation. I was a little disappointed, but it was a fun ride. I have to say its inspired me to write something about the days of old Hollywood. After I finish my current one, of course.
Now that its all over, I can return to my regularly scheduled life already in progress. Thank you for your time. Back to the writing challenge. I’m over the hump and on my way down. I hit page 300 yesterday. If only I wasn’t running out of scenes to write. I think the last 20 or 30 pages are going to be the result of revisions and edits. Boo.
So, did you get wrapped up in the Life and Times of Timmy? Do you believe the story is true? Are you going to log onto Netflix and get a copy of In Old Chicago? Have you heard any good Hollywood legends that you could share? I’m a little let down that its all over now.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The Five Qualities of a Writer
I'm always asked what one needs to be a writer. It took me 13 years to figure out that answer because there are actually five things one needs to be a writer. They don't include high concept ideas, an MFA from a prestigious writing program, a good agent or the perfect query letter. This might make you roll your eyes at me but I'll say it anyway. The five qualities that I've seen in authors are: generosity, discipline, patience, joy and writing.
Each quality has helped me rise above judging myself too harshly, or getting tangled up in envying someone else's success, which only takes energy away from writing. Each quality helps the grown-up writer who obsesses over the market and if they have a good idea, to get back to the little kid inside us who loves making up stories. At the core, it's a child-like curiosity that makes us "special" compared to the average dude. One person might see two people kissing in the park; but a writer sees a story rich with conflict and emotional strife that has brought those two lovers together.
Generosity starts with you. When I write a really good line or chapter, I now take a moment to tell myself, "Good job, dude!" I used to think that praising myself was arrogant; that God would hear it and strike me down. But God hasn't struck me down and my writing hasn't gone down the tubes so I think it's okay to give yourself a thumbs-up when you've earned it. But generosity needs to go outward. When I read a book that moves me and lingers in my head long after I finish the last page, I love emailing the author to tell them. Being generous creates good vibes that can result in a pay off: by praising yourself, you build the confidence to keep writing even on those days when the work isn't so great. By praising a fellow writer, you spread the love and who knows, that author might return the favor.
A writing teacher once told me, "Discipline protects the talent." Every writer from the perennial bestsellers to the destined-to-be-published, share this quality. Discipline exercises the muscles, so to speak and prepares you for the inevitable tight spots we all get into. Discipline gives you the endurance to meet deadlines even though your house burned down, or in my case as I was writing Switchcraft, I had a newborn in the house and still finished the book. Although with the next one, I'll make sure to finish the book before he or she arrives!
Patience is truly a virtue. Not in that makes you better than everyone else. Patience saves your sanity. My friend Lynda Sandoval told me a story about her police officer training. She was taught that in a crisis, an officer can't get all caught up in the chaos. Instead, an officer has to wind down and focus. She applied that same principle when her publisher shut down her imprint. She patiently wrote a new book, waited for the right publisher to come along and then like that, she signed a six-figure deal with Harper Collins and then, a multi-book deal with Harlequin. Impatience is like that driver who cuts you off and then speeds down the street to arrive a red light two seconds before you do. Irritating, stressful and ultimately, dumb.
We all know how writing can be scary and difficult and sometimes, boring. But what keeps me going when writing becomes those things is joy … complete unfettered joy when my characters take over and it feels like I'm just the typist trying to keep up with the action. When that happens, I'm in the story. I'm not forcing it along. It's taken on a life and again, I'm a little kid dressed in my Wonder Woman costume chasing imaginary villains in my backyard.
Writing is self explanatory and ties into discipline and yet, whenever I tell people what I do they say, "Gee, I always wanted to write a book but never have the time." Someday I'll be brave enough to reply, "Gee I always wanted to do brain surgery but never had the time!" Anyway, the actual practice of writing is what gives a writer her street cred. No writing, no book. Period. Furthermore, if my publisher told me that they'd never publish another one of my books, I'd still write. I'd have to get a job and maybe change my name but I wouldn't stop. I don't think I'd know how.
Mary Castillo is the author of Switchcraft (coming out next week!), In Between Men and Hot Tamara. She profiles authors, artists and anyone who piques her interest at her blog, Chica Lit at http://www.marycastillo.com/.
One lucky reader will win a copy of Mary's In Between Men today. Just email her here with In Between Men contest in the subject line and she'll draw a name. Good Luck!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
1876 - Melville R. Bissell patented the carpet sweeper. (Oh joy! Another housecleaning device.)
1881 - James A. Garfield died of wounds from an assassin. The 20th U.S. president lived for 11 weeks after the wounds were inflicted.
1934 - Bruno Hauptman was arrested in New York and charged with the kidnapping and murder of the infant son of Charles and Anna Lindbergh.
1955 - Argentina President Juan Peron was ousted after a revolt by the army and navy. (Don't cry for me, Argentina, la la la la la.)
1957 - The U.S. conducted its first underground nuclear test. The test took place in the Nevada desert.
1959 - Nikita Khruschev was not allowed to visit Disneyland due to security reasons. Khrushchev reacted angrily. (Did he bang his Mickey Mouse flip flops on the table?)
1970 - "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" premiered on CBS-TV. (You're gonna make it after all!)
1982 - Scott Fahlman became the first person to use :-) in an online message. ( :-) )
1995 - The Unabomber's manifesto was published by The Washington Post and the New York Times.
But most importantly, on September 19, 1978, at 6:30 a.m. Central European Time at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany (then West Germany), #1 son made his entrance into the world six weeks early. He weighed in at 5 pounds, 1 ounce and was 18 1/2 inches long.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Judge One had some good criticism and gave me a couple of things to think about. Judge Two…well, let’s just say she didn’t like it much at all.
She called my writing “stiff” and “mechanical” and told me I needed to get a good critique partner (if my CP were a cat, she’d be arched and hissing right now). She advised me to join an RWA chapter. She insinuated I needed a thesaurus. She also didn’t like my hero’s name.
But a good portion of Judge Two’s comments revolved around the fact that I am obviously prejudiced against an entire geographical region of which I knew next to nothing about. If I knew anything about the region and its people, I’d know these people were not “low lifes” who “swung from tree to tree” (her words, not mine).
Talk about your low blows. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but never a racist. And, just for the record, I do know a bit about that particular region (gee, I’ve even been there), and looking over my entry, I’m not quite sure what fueled her statements.
Yes, a couple of the characters may look down their noses at these people, but the views of the characters do not necessarily reflect the views of the author. (Heck, those characters would think I was a backwater barbarian who swung from a tree, and I’m not even from that same part of the world!)
Now, this same chapter the judge took so much offense to has been read by at least four people I don’t know (another contest), most of the Playfriends, my CP, a published author, and an editor (who requested the full). Surely one of those people would have mentioned if it sounded racist, right? Maybe at least the other judge in this contest would have said something?
The Playfriends are convinced the judge is simply off her meds at the moment. Counselor Shelley reminds me there are folks who will take offense at pretty much anything. The Darling Geek insists I’m a good person, and my CP is righteously indignant on my behalf (and pretty insulted herself). They all say I need to just ignore this judge and shake it off.
But I’m having a hard time shaking it off. I lost almost a whole day of my writing challenge (which I needed to catch up with SP since she’s leaving me in the dust) worrying about this. I found myself re-reading the first chapter (again, after promising myself I’d leave the first 50 pages alone and quit futzing with them until the book was finished), looking for whatever I may have said that made this judge think I’m some kind of racist. After all, if she took offense, there’s a chance someone else will. Is everyone who read this chapter secretly thinking I’m a racist and just didn’t bother to call me on it?
Yikes. Scary thought.
I’ve got to let this go. Chalk it up to… I don’t know…something and get one with my WIP. I like this story. I like the characters. And I like my hero’s name just fine.
People say you should always write thank you notes to contest judges. I’m big on the writing of thank you notes (just ask the Playfriends), but I don’t think I could quite bring myself to write one to this judge. She probably wouldn’t want to be subjected to my stiff and mechanical writing again anyway. And I’d be hard-pressed not to mention how if she wants to pick apart my writing, she should watch her own spelling and grammatical errors while doing so. (Meow.) Since my grandmother would insist the phrase “Bite me” would not be appropriate in a thank you note, I’m honestly at a loss for words.
Hey, there’s a first time for everything.
Off to write more of my offensive manuscript. I at least want to put in a good showing in this challenge…
Sunday, September 16, 2007
There's been a lot of diet discussion going on in my life. First several Playfriends decided to go back on Weight Watchers, while I buried my head in the sand and pretended to be too busy to notice. Then my sister and I talked quite a bit about some weight (and attitude) issues we've both been experiencing. Oddly enough for identical twins, they were exactly the same. Imagine that!
During this discussion, I bemoaned a perplexing dilemma. In order to reach my weight loss destination, I have to do the work. But some two year old living inside of me keeps stomping her foot and saying, "I don't want to do the work. I just want the reward." Sad, isn't it? And while I'm procrastinating, my weight is slowly inching up the scale.
I hate it. I hate that I have to do something about this. It's not fair that I've been dealing with my weight since I was 15. Shouldn't I deserve a break by now? I should be able to continue hiding my head in the sand and the weight will just magically melt off.
This rant could continue ad nauseum, but I'll spare you the details....
Well, I'm learning that I have to counteract these little land mines in my mind with more positive thoughts. That's the only thing that will motivate me to move forward (and stop sabotaging the Playfriends with bits of baklava). But even there, I still have to do the work. Talking about it won't make it happen, I have to put in the effort.
Kind of like writing. Thinking about writing and talking about writing are nice. But I'll never write a book if I don't actually write something. I can't submit a blank page. Can't produce anything if I don't put my butt in the chair, put my fingers on the keyboard, and work.
Why does everything have to be so hard? When can I get around to the easy stuff? :)
What do you need to work on today? Mondays are always a good starting day... for diets or whatever else needs that first step. Then another, and another...