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Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Oldies But Goodies

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I went to town. Of course, I couldn’t resist visiting Whitcoulls. (the store I mentioned here)

While I was there, I purchased season two and three of Deadwood (my love of Deadwood and several photos of the town are here).

The shop assistant and I started talking about the Deadwood series and I told her how Mr. Munro and I had originally watched the first program of series one and were horrified by the swearing. I said how we’d visited Deadwood and decided we’d try to watch the series again. Obviously she didn’t need to know we’d fallen in love with the series this time – she could work that out for herself! But we started talking about all the old Western shows that are starting to come out on DVD. Shows like Bonanza, Petticoat Junction and Daniel Boone.

My father loved Westerns. He still does, and if Daniel Boone was on we had an early dinner then all sat down to watch it as a family. Another assistant joined the conversation and we started talking about Fess Parker who starred in Daniel Boone. She said she’d seen him on TV recently, and despite his advanced age, the man was still a hunk.

This is my long-winded way of asking what shows you enjoyed during your childhood. I liked cartoons and still do with The Flintstones and The Jetsons being some of my favorites. Doctor Who, and the daleks in particular, used to scare me silly, and Lost in Space wasn’t far behind in the scary stakes. What can I say? I’m a big wimp!

What shows do you consider oldies but goodies? And for you Doctor Who fans out there – who do you think they’ll cast as the new doctor?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Plain Wrong.

I went to my local town today to post parcels and do a few other things. A couple of the stores have Christimas trees in the windows and are in full-out Christimas advertising mode. We also have a few Christmas adverts on TV. No doubt the first of many to come.

I think it’s plain wrong to think about Christmas in early November. The year is going quickly enough as it is.

Am I the only one who thinks this way? Which date do you think Christmas promotions should officially start?

Monday, November 3rd, 2008
One of Those Days!

I hope my Monday isn’t indicative of the week to come because I didn’t enjoy it. Nothing really bad happened, just lots of little things that on their own would have been okay, but together made me grumpy. I’m going to have a late night trying to get my word total done for the day. Sigh…

Good luck to everyone who is taking part in NaNoWriMo this month. I see another Sweat with Sven challenge is about to start as well.

I’ve tried these types of writing challenges and have found they don’t work for me. I write at a fairly steady pace anyway and something formal like the above mentioned or a book in a month challenge seems to play with my head. I work better on my own. That said, I am pushing fairly hard for the next month to complete a 90,000 word manuscript. Apart from today I’ve been going pretty well, and if everything continues this way, I should have my first draft done by the start of the month.

Do writing challenges like National Novel Writing Month, Book in a Month or Sweat With Sven work for you, and if so why? Why not? Are you doing NaNo this year?

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008
Pumpkins and Kitchen Gadgets

I promised Gabriele a pumpkin soup recipe. There are lots of variations of pumpkin soup. I make a vegetarian version and leave out the bacon. I replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

knob of butter and a little olice oil
1 onion chopped
3 – 4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons mild curry paste (I use curry powder)
3 – 4 rashers of bacon, rind removed and chopped
1/2 cup buttercup pumpkin pieces, peeled and seeded
5 cups chicken stock or 4 cups stock and 1 of water
light seasoning of salt and fresh ground black pepper
coconut cream to garnish (I use plain greek yoghurt)
fresh herbs such as coriander or thyme for garnish

Place the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened with a gentle heat. Add curry paste and when fragrant (allow about 30 seconds) add the chopped bacon and pumpkin pieces.

Constantly turn the pumpkin to avoid catching. Add stock and cook until the pumpkin softens. Once cooked process with a kitchen whizz until smooth. Season and garnish with coconut cream and fresh herbs.

Note – this soup always tastes better the next day so make it in advance if possible.

And in totally random news – I saw an ad for some new pots. The knobs come off the pot lids. The handles also come off and this allows for easy stacking in cupboards and also the dishwasher. They also have these nifty plastic lids so you can stick them in the fridge. They also come in frypans. I saw some in our local kitchen soup. Man, I’m in love. I’m lusting after these pots, and unfortunately, they’re expensive. I’m not big on kitchen gadgets, preferring to do most things by hand, but I really want these pots!

Do you like kitchen gadgets? Kitchenware shops?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008
A Large Muscular Bag…

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about STOMACHS

I bet that title made you look. My post today is about stomachs, mainly because mine has been center-stage recently. I’m working to reduce the size of it. (on the outside) So, what is a stomach?

1. The stomach is a muscular organ. It can change its shape depending on the amount of food in it.

2. When you eat, food from your mouth goes down a tube called the esophagus into your stomach, where it is stored temporarily, then later digested. As the food arrives, the stomach wall starts its glands working. One type of gland gives off a mucus that lubricates the food. Other glands give off acids which kill any bacteria in the food; while still others give off special chemicals, called enzymes, to break down the food into tiny particles. (which sort of takes the shine off eating a chocolate bar!)

3. Tall, thin people usually have long, narrow stomachs, while short, stocky people have short, wide stomachs.

4. Most adults’ stomachs hold about one quart of liquid and food.

5. Once a female is past her teens, the stomach is naturally rounded.

6. Once you are an adult, your stomach pretty much remains the same size — unless you have surgery to intentionally make it smaller. Eating less won’t shrink your stomach. (I’m thinking that’s inside your body because outside you could lose some of the fat off it, right?)

7. I consulted my favorite characterization book, Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon for some stomach descriptors. There are flabby stomachs, spare tire stomachs, love-handles.

8. beer-bellied stomachs

9. flat stomachs

10. middle-age spread stomachs

11. pendulous stomachs

12. toned stomachs

13. And my favorite – washboard stomachs.

14. Oh, and pregnant tummies. :grin:

What do you think of stomachs? If you’re a writer what sort of stomachs do you give your heroes and heroines, your secondary characters? Do you like your stomach?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
How Do You Keep Track of Your Characters?

Here’s a question for all you writers out there – both aspiring and published. How do you keep track of a character’s physical attributes, their quirks and baggage? Their family history?

I’m forever forgetting what color eyes I’ve given my characters and little things like that. It’s becoming even more difficult now that I’m thinking about writing book eight in my Middlemarch Mates series.

So, how do you keep track of your characters? Spreadsheets? Notebooks? File cards? An incredible memory? A software program? How do you do it?

PS – Don’t forget to check out Christina Phillips post (just down the page a couple of posts) about how her witchy heroine came to her in a dream. Post a comment and go into a draw to win a download of her debut release.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
Portrait of San Francisco

San Francisco would have to be one of my favorite cities to visit. I’m running a bit short of time today so I thought I’d post a few photos from our recent trip. I think I like San Francisco so much because of its situation on the sea. The hills are killers to walk up and down. Believe me, I know because Mr. Munro made me walk up and down several!

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The Golden Gate Bridge is an icon and known worldwide. During the summer months it’s also often shrouded in fog.

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Pier 39 is a fun place to wander. Lots of great ways to empty the wallet here! This is a shot of the merry-go-round. A shot of the resident sealions follows. You can smell them before you see them.

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Coit Tower is another icon. It’s fun to climb to the top and see the views of the city.

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This is a shot of Lombard Street. This end of Lombard Street is known as the crookedest street. It’s also very steep. There are traffic jams here as tourists queue to drive down the crooked street and grab a photo or two.

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Alcatraz Island is known worldwide. A trip out to the island jail is fascinating, although you need to book well ahead. This is a very popular trip.

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Cops on the beat.

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Here’s a statue of The Thinker. It’s at the Legion of Honor, a fine-art museum.

Have you visited San Francisco? If so, what’s your favorite place to visit in the city? If not, which place or thing in the city would you most like to see in person?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
Killer Heels

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about High Heel Shoes

I came across an article in our local paper about killer heels and how quite a few models were falling off their heels on the catwalk. This article inspired my TT today.

1. In 1533, Italian born Catherine de Medici brought high heels into vogue for women when she insisted on having heels made for her in Florence prior to the wedding. The 14 year old vertically challenged bride set the rage in Paris for the new “It” shoe.

2. Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci is rumored to be the inventor of high heels.

3. In the mid 1500’s, chopines became popular. Chopines are an extremely tall shoe that reached heights of 24″. The higher the woman was in social status, the more restricted her movement was, forcing woman to carry canes or servants to help them.

4. High heels tend to give the aesthetic illusion of longer, slender and more toned legs.

5. High-heels come in a wide variety of styles, and the heels are found in many different shapes, including stiletto, pump, block, tapered, blade, and wedge.

6. Reasons for not wearing high-heels include:

they can cause foot pain
they can create foot deformities, including hammertoes and bunions
they can cause an unsteady gait
they can shorten the wearer’s stride
they can render the wearer unable to run

7. Reasons for wearing high-heels, which are almost exclusively aesthetic, include:

they change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which accentuates the appearance of calves.
they change the wearer’s posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in what is considered a seductive fashion.
they make the wearer appear taller.
they make the legs appear longer.
they make the foot appear smaller.
they make the lower leg muscles more defined while wearing tight pants.
they make the wearer look flexibly strong.

8. Podiatrists often comment that 75 percent of their business is caused by females wearing tall high heeled shoes.

9. There’s nothing worse than a woman who can’t walk properly in a pair of heels. Practise! In How to Walk in High Heels Camilla Morton recommends the supermarket aisle as a place to practice your high-hell glide, with the trolley as your balancing tool.

10. Wear shoes that fit! Shoes that don’t fit are one of the biggest causes of blisters, calluses and corns. Shoes that are too big will make you stretch your feet out and may lead to an unladylike trip. shoes that are too small hurt like hell.

11. Don’t wear your heels all day and all night. Give your feet a break. You need to know when to call it quits and pull out the flats.

12. Scholl Party Feet (or any similar gel pad) should be a close acquaintance when wearing high heels because they help to minimise the burning pain on the balls of your feet.

13. Don’t drink and heel. It’s a fact that killer heel face-plants are more common after a few drinks. If you’re planning a night out maybe try shoes that don’t require you to concentrate to maintain balance?

And a final extra:

If you’re a shoe fan, check out Gemma Halliday’s High Heel mysteries. Here’s the link to the first book in Gemma’s series. You could also check out a DVD called Kinky Boots. It’s a really funny look at cross-dressing and an English shoe manufacturer. I highly recommend both Gemma’s books and the movie.

I have to admit, I’m not a shoe person. All my life I’ve had trouble finding shoes to fit because I have big feet. When it comes to shoes I go for comfort but I do suffer from shoe envy at times. Some of them are very pretty.

Are you a shoe person? If so describe your favorite pair of shoes. If not, tell me your worst shoe experience.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Friday, October 3rd, 2008
Deadwood, South Dakota

I first heard of Deadwood when the HBO show of the same name came out. I started to watch the first one and the swearing horrified me. I think I watched about the first ten minutes before I gave up.

When we decided to visit South Dakota we discussed Deadwood and put it on our itinerary because it sounded interesting. Some people call Deadwood a place where Las Vegas meets the Wild West. There’s certainly lots of history in the town with names like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock attached to it.
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Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
Beards – oh, my!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Types of Beards

In local news the Warriors, our New Zealand rugby league team, all grew facial hair leading up to the playoffs for the NRL. It was the source of much comment and took them all the way to the semi-finals before they were knocked out of the contest. Yesterday they all shaved off their beards to raise money for charity. So, in honor of the Warriors I give you thirteen types of beards.

1. Ducktail – a long slender, neatly trimmed beard reminiscent of the tail of a duck.

2. Muttonchops – thick sideburns trimmed to resemble mutton chops.

3. Van Dyke – a short, pointed beard without sideburns.

4. Assyrian – a long beard with plaits or spiral curls.

5. Barbiche – a small tuft of hair under the bottom lip. Also known as a barbula.

6. Cadiz – a pointed, medium length beard, originating in Spain.

7. Rat’s nest – a descriptive term for an uncombed or ungroomed beard. Also described as a bird’s nest.

8. Peach fuzz – light, pubescent whiskers.

9. Screw – a short, slender beard that is twisted or twined, popular in the seventeenth century.

10. Old Dutch – a short, square-cut beard with a clean shaven upper and lower lip.

11. Trojan – a thick, curly beard of medium length.

12. Satyric tuft – a chin tuft named after Satyr, the half-goat, half-man from Greek Mythology.

13. Miami Vice – the unshaven look, more than five o’clock shadow but less than a beard. Popularized by the 1980s cop show.

Source ~ taken from one of my favorite writing books, Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon.

What do you think about beards? Would you like your man to wear any of the above? Would you inflict any of these on your characters?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants