(no subject)
Beach
mandikins49
I haven't hung out over here in almost five months, but it seriously doesn't feel like anything worth posting about has happened in that time, you guys. I won NaNoWriMo again, and that's pretty much it. The past few months have consisted of going to work and then hanging out at the house in an effort to be more financially responsible. And I think it's actually working so far. Makes for pretty lame stories, though.

This weekend has been fun, though. Thursday night I went out with Emily, Angela, and Joel for supper and then to see Burlesque (which was entertaining enough, but is also something I will never watch again). Friday Angela and Joel came over around 7 and we made a ton of nachos and played trivia until almost midnight. Saturday I slept in and then sat in my chair until noon with a pot of coffee and a book. Then Angela picked me up and we went to Value Village for cheap CDs and Blockbuster and Chapters and Sobeys and then went to her place and ate tacos and watched Never Let Me Go and Howl.

Today I had big plans to maybe leave my house and go for a walk or something, but Environment Canada is calling for 90km/h winds and so I think I'll just stay here. I have laundry to do, a bedroom to clean, library books to read, and a GIANT pile of borrowed movies and TV shows to get through. I intend to be well-rested for work tomorrow.

Anyway, welcome back, if you're reading this. I'll try not to stay away so long next time.

Mandi

(no subject)
Coffee_Book
mandikins49
So. How've you guys been?

Oh, me? I'm doin' alright. Went to a football game last weekend. Had some brunch. Saw Easy A this past Friday night and went to see the Arcade Fire in Saskatoon on Saturday. Trying to write/edit. Failing. Pretty much sums it up.

OH ALSO I'M REGINA'S NEW MUNICIPAL LIAISON FOR NANOWRIMO, in case you didn't already hear.

That basically means I'll be planning/attending the kick-off party, the write-ins, and the "Thank God It's Over" Party. And giving brief pep talks, and answering questions, and keeping a close eye on my regional forum. And handing out stickers. In addition to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month.

If you bring me coffee in November, you get +1 million friendship points. I'm throwing that out there right now.

I'm procrastinating like crazy right now. I set a pretty tight deadline for myself and I'm completely ignoring it right now, because first drafts are SO BAD and I feel like this novel is beyond repair. I don't know why I subscribe to the idea that everything I initially write is set in stone. I'm ALLOWED to delete stuff. In fact, that sort of behavior is ENCOURAGED. But I can't do it. I honestly just have no idea where to start...

Jumping back for a second: The Arcade Fire is fricking phenomenal. At the end of their main set, they transitioned from "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" right into "Rebellion," and I almost pulled a muscle, I was so excited. And they opened with "Wake Up," which is maybe the best song ever to begin a concert. SO. MUCH. AWESOME. The only way it could have been more enjoyable for me is if they had plugged a Saskatoon address into thewildernessdowntown.com and pressed play during "We Used to Wait," and if they had played "Neon Bible." But both are minor grievances, and they in no way detracted from the overall experience.

I was supposed to go see Cuff the Duke tonight, but because I am completely broke and on a self-imposed deadline, I chose to opt out. I'm sure they'll be back, though, and I'll see them next time.

Alright, enough disjointedness. I'm going to stare at my manuscript until it magically becomes something worth showing other people.

The Sisterhood of...Flash Fiction?
Beach
mandikins49
Y'know, I was really tempted to blog on September 1, but I told myself "hey man, we just blogged 30 of the past 31 days. Let's give ourselves a few days off, 'kay?" And now here it is, two weeks into September, and I've posted nothing this month.

Honestly, the only thing I wanted to do on the first was gush about how amazing Ramona and Beezus (the movie) was, though, so you guys weren't missing out on much. But seriously! Go see that movie! I don't know if you guys read the books when you were younger, but I did. And I actually picked one up a few weeks ago in Wal-Mart and was flipping through it and got kind of sad when I realized none of it seemed familiar anymore. But when I saw the movie, things began to click a little bit, and the memories started to come back. It was as though the creators of this movie went into the part of my brain that stores abandoned memories, took tiny pieces out, and used them to make a film. Such a good feeling. And I got to see it with my sister, which made the experience even better - not only because it's a movie about the relationship between two sisters, but because she also read all of the books when we were kids, and so we kept nudging each other during all the familiar parts and laughing out loud as we watched our own memories come to life on the screen. The rest of the people in the theater were little kids with their parents and a group of younger teenagers, all of whom I'm sure thought we were high or insane. But we had fun.

In other news, I have discovered yet another online writing challenge: the 9 word story. The premise is obvious: write a story using only 9 words. Submissions are voted on by the public, and the grand prize is 7 nights accommodation in Mexico. (Accommodation only - you have to pay your own way there and for all food and drink while you're down there.) I intend to work on something over the next few days and submit it, and then I will beg everyone I know to vote for me. I'll try to make it something people might actually want to vote for, I promise. I'm fascinated by postcard stories/flash fiction, especially the famous story by Ernest Hemingway ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Breaks my heart every time). I'm excited to try my hand at it.

Alright. It's cold and I have a story to work on. Later.

10 Things I Loved in August
Music
mandikins49
10. Chipotle. I KNOW. I listed this last month, too. More importantly, I didn't even visit a Chipotle in August. But I dreamed of it at least twice. (I wish I was kidding.)

9. Kurt Cobain. I debated whether to list Kurt or Nirvana as a whole here, because while reading Heavier Than Heaven, I gained a lot of respect for Krist Novoselic. But the focus of the book was on Kurt. As was the focus of the band, for that matter. If you get a chance to read this book, I would recommend doing so. It lags at points, and took me a couple of weeks to finish, but it was really interesting to read about Kurt's life and the assumed reasons for his suicide.

8. The onset of autumn. There was a frost warning here a couple of weeks ago; I don't know if I mentioned that at the time. Either way, fall is here and I couldn't be happier. Things are about to get COZY over here.

7. My mom and dad. I was in a bit of a mood for a large chunk of the weekend that they were here, and I feel like an asshole about it. I really appreciate and love my parents, and feel like I should have put on a happier face while they were visiting. On the other hand, part of the reason I adore my mom so much is because she picks up on my moods and makes sure I'm doing okay. Also, they take care of me, and I appreciate that.

6. Concerts. Specifically Rock on the Range and Collective Soul, which were the only shows I went to this month (gasp!) Each was a lot of fun in its own way, though I would venture that Collective Soul was a better overall experience (that may just be the heat exhaustion from ROTR talking, though).

5. Coldstone Creamery. Ice cream! They have a dish called "All Lovin, No Oven" there. I ordered it a few weeks ago and now cannot stop thinking about it. What is it with me and food, anyway?

4. Angela. For guest-blogging TWICE this month. Thanks again, friend!

3. ForeverYoungAdult. As I mentioned earlier in the month, I absolutely adore these girls. I vow to strive to be more like them every day.

2. Mockingjay. I've made my feelings known and vaguely recall promising to stop plugging it here, so I won't elaborate on this one.

1. SLEEP. This is quite possibly because I didn't get enough of it this month. But when I did sleep, it was GOOD. Maybe I should also pledge to spend more of my time unconscious from now on?

Stolen from Jo
Gangster
mandikins49
Because I have plans tonight, and therefore will have no time to put thought into a real post.

1.) Do you have any pets?

Indeed I do. Gwen (Stefani), a fluffy gray cat. She's 5 and adorable. My sister got her in July 2005 when she walked by a house that had a "Free Kittens" sign in the yard, and she's been part of the family ever since.

I am also currently boarding a white 2-year old cat named Todd, who is a little devil. He's hyper and whiny and needy, but I love him to pieces. It will be a struggle to let him go.

2.) Name three things that are physically close to you:
My cell phone, computer, and lunch. {(I'm so hungry!)

3.) What's the weather like right now?
Freaking COLD.  12 celsius, cloudy, and apparently verging on rain, according to Environment Canada.

4.) Do you drive, and if so do you crash?
I do not drive. I bet if I tried, I would definitely crash.

5.) What time did you wake up this morning?
Around 6 a.m.

6.) When was the last time you showered?
Around 6:20 a.m.

7.) What was the last movie you saw?
Scott Pilgrim, I think.

8.) What does your last text message say?
Incoming: "Are you leaving your office for lunch today?"
Outgoing: "I'll try :)"

They're not related.

9.) What's your ringtone?
Generic BlackBerry noises

10.) Have you ever been to a different country?
Just America - New Hampshire, Maine, New York, North Dakota, and Washington

11.) Do you like sushi?
I would marry sushi if it were legal for man and food to unite.

12.) Where do you buy your groceries?
The grocery store. Usually Extra Foods, because it's close, but sometimes I'll go to Safeway or Sobeys, or if I'm REALLY lucky, Superstore.

13.) Have you ever taken medication to fall asleep faster?
Yes.

14.) How many siblings do you have?
Two.  A brother, Lewis, who is 27, and a sister, Emily, who is nearly 24.

15.) Do you have a desktop computer or laptop?
Laptop.

16.) How long till your next birthday?
10 months.

17.) Do you wear contacts or glasses?
Nope.

18.) Do you color your hair?
I do.

19.) Tell me something you're planning on doing today.
Eating pizza.

20.) When was the last time you cried?
Last Sunday, for real. I teared up a couple times on Wednesday, though.

21.) What is your perfect pizza topping?
Pepperoni and jalapeno peppers.

22.) Do you prefer hamburger or cheeseburger?
Neither.

23.) Have you ever had an all nighter?
Many times.

24.) What is your eye color?
A kind of grayish blue.

25. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
Yes, and I prefer Pepsi. Especially if there's lime involved.
Tags:

When I Was 15
Beach
mandikins49
So I follow a few other people who are doing BEDA/Blaugust, and I'm glad, because occasionally they come up with ideas for posts that I can turn into memes and steal for myself. That is what I'm doing today. Someone posted an entry all about what they were like ten years ago, and I figured that could make for a semi-interesting post. So here goes:

10 years ago, it was 2000, and I was 15, and about to begin tenth grade at Sturgeon Composite High School in Alberta. That summer I had gone on a fun camping trip to BC with my friend Desiree and her parents and developed a big crush on her older cousin within about half an hour of knowing him. Despite his bringing me a vodka cooler while we all sat around the campfire and talking to me all night, I assumed he would never be interested, and so nothing ever came of that crush. Lame.

My closest friends, aside from my sister, were:

Desiree, who has cystic fibrosis and loved Brad Pitt. She was one of the sweetest people I've ever known, albeit a little eccentric, and I deeply regret falling out of touch with her after I moved to Yellowknife the following summer.

Lisa. Lisa listened to country music and was the hardest-working person I ever met. I don't know if anyone in the world studied as much as that girl. We're still friends on facebook but really have nothing in common anymore and haven't kept in touch either. She lives in Edmonton with her husband, Dan. She DID get me listening to country music, though, and is the reason I own two Wilkinsons CDs.

Kayleigh lived with her mom, an evil (as far as I remember) stepdad, a younger brother, and a couple of dogs. Though I haven't heard anything from her in years, we were pretty close back then. We had sleepovers fairly often, and spent a lot of time watching movies together and wandering around our small town (Bon Accord, Alberta). We also spent some time that summer volunteering at the Cross Cancer Institute, where her mom worked. As far as I can remember, the job consisted largely of shampooing wigs and serving pastries in a little cafe.

As I mentioned, we lived in Bon Accord - we had just moved there from downtown Edmonton a year earlier and would leave for Yellowknife a year later. I loved living in Bon Accord, though - I had never found a niche in Edmonton (everything seemed a touch too "big city" for me there, and I wasn't ready to grow up yet). In B.A., though, and at Sturgeon, I collected an amazing group of friends, and when I left them in 2001 I cried harder than I ever had in my life (and harder than I've cried since, I think).

2000 was the year I began to "come out of my shell," so to speak. I was intensely shy as a kid, so much so that it impaired my social life to an extent. But when I was 15 I gradually became more outgoing and began to develop a stronger personality and a bit more backbone.

It was also the year I got the mumps and had my first "real" boyfriend. (His name was Brad. He's married now and has a tiny son named Wyatt.)

What were YOU like ten years ago?
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Guest Blog Numero Dos
Gangster
mandikins49
I have nothing to say today. I slept, I read, I got groceries, and I watched the Rider game. And I'm pretty sure I'm getting a cold.

So, without further ado, here's Angela:

hello again.  we're going to do the good old no capitalization because i don't feel like fighting my muscle memory to use mandi's keyboard properly.

friday after work joel and i drove up to saskatoon. we were going to get some supper and then go to a movie but after checking into the hotel and ordering food we put on pajamas and got too comfortable to want to go back outside. joel read and i settled in for a long evening of say yes to the dress and then home and garden network shows. it was a pretty good time for me. today we ventured down the street to get our hairs cut and dyed by kelsey - this was the main reason for the trip. my hair is back to being short and is rather red. i like it. after that we went over the the centre mall and wandered it going into our favourite stores. we seemed to buy something at most of them. our purchases included a great tupperware juice pitcher, another tupperware for cereal, a garlic saver, and a spoon rest. we stopped in at ten thousand villages and a few others as well. before leaving we went to the beautiful indigo books. there i bought the hunger games trilogy and a biography and i believe joel bought a book as well. the drive back to regina was full of wind and drivers that annoyed me. i had to cancel my cruise so many times which should really not have to happen on a twinned highway. 

since being back in regina i pretty much have been at manemi's house. i have been fed and watered by them as well and it was good. after the game the four of us, and dave, went to sbucks and wandered chapters. i found the 4th dexter book which was exciting as well as vol 1 and 2 of the serenity miniseries. joel and i also bought a white board that is shaped like a speech bubble and i couldn't not be happier to bring it into our home. almost as happy as i was when we got a pink filing cabinet and a green lizard magnet calculator on thursday. i don't know why i've been so into buying things lately when my goal for the rest of the year is to clean and organize and purge our apartment. anyway...back to this evening...we got home from chapters and introduced emily to the i'm fucking matt damon and i'm fucking ben affleck videos. i think that it is a good idea to watch those every so often. i also encourage watching the handsome men's club video. i then had a skype conversation with amy on mandi's computer. the only problem is mandi does not have a mic so we could hear amy but i had to type back to her. it was strange and made me feel like a mute. 

that pretty much catches us up to the current situation. joel is reading, mandi is cleaning up the kitchen, emily is cursing todd, and i am typing this. sheryl crow is also playing on the radio...just so you can get the full audiovisual experience.

i almost forgot...here is an amusing string of sentences that occurred a few moments before starting this.

me - i found it in my crotch...the cord is wrapped around my leg...this sounds like a really bad birthing experience

okaybye

Life update
Beach
mandikins49
Wheeeeeee.

*shrug* I don't even know. I'm bored. And tired. And thirsty.

Today. I worked. Then I came home and cleaned the kitchen and living room and vacuumed the stairs and then took a shower. Then watched part of Monsters vs. Aliens but couldn't get into it so I watched a couple episodes of Entourage instead. Now my sister is home and making food and I'm debating whether I should go to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night.

I feel sort of bored, but I also know I need this. It's the first weekend in about three months where I have absolutely no plans. I don't even intend to go somewhere or have people over tomorrow for the football game. As far as I know, it'll just be me, on my couch, alone.

And it's a good thing I have this weekend to chill, because it seems like September is going to be insane as well. I've been invited on two camping trips and am planning on going to three concerts, among other obligations. I bring these things on myself, though, so no complaining. At least it's all really fun stuff that I'm busy with.

I'm going to go find some water now.
Tags: ,

Mockingjay
Coffee_Book
mandikins49
I have finished reading Mockingjay. And I am emotionally and mentally drained because of it.

I can't say much because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who intends to read it but hasn't yet. But here's the thing: some people die in this series. And those deaths make you really sad when they happen. But the really amazing thing is that even now, after finished all three books, I still find myself reacting to tragedies that happened early on. Some of them happened even before the first book took place.

Suzanne Collins knows how to write a book that will stick with you, that's all I'm saying.

Not to say that I wasn't underwhelmed a couple of times. There were parts where the pace kind of waned, and my reading speed slowed significantly. And there were parts where I kind of thought to myself that Suzanne Collins was bitching out a little bit (but then I immediately took it back because, come on, the woman is a genius and OBVIOUSLY everything she does is done with intent and there's a good reason behind it, right?), and there was one part that I didn't appreciate at all, because it felt like a copout.

But the good outweighed the bad about one million to one in this book. The moments where things began to lag a little bit were few and far between, while the moments and lines that took my breath away or brought tears to my eyes or made me clasp my hand over my mouth were EVERYWERE.

Alright. I think that's all I can say without starting to talk about plot and characters. To those of you who are reading it or planning to soon: good luck putting it down. And for the love of all that is holy, READ IT SOON, because spoilers will be abundant in the next few days, guaranteed. For those of you who are sick of me (and others) talking about this damn book: I'm sorry. But it's over now, and we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Oh, and go get yourself a copy of The Hunger Games and start reading. NOW.
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Esther
Beach
mandikins49
There's nothing else I can write about today.

Early this morning, the world lost an amazing person, Esther Earl. She was sixteen years old and has been battling thyroid cancer since 2006. Throughout her short life, she was positive and upbeat and an all-around amazing person, from what I have heard. She did not let her illness define her life. Earlier this month, there was a campaign in her name to vote the Harry Potter Alliance to the top of a contest to win $250,000. And that campaign was successful. Because people cared about her. Not just because she was sick, but because she was that inspiring.

I never once met Esther. I haven't watched a single one of her YouTube videos. I'm not friends with her on facebook. I don't follow her on Twitter.

And yet, she was all I could think about all day today. I nearly cried more than once, thinking about what an amazing person she seems to have been.

That is the power of the internet. That I can feel such grief over the loss of someone of whose existence I would otherwise never have known.

The internet as I know it is grieving right now, and I am sad not only for the loss of Esther Earl, but for the pain that her friends and family are going through. My thoughts are with them today.

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