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Deus volt; Deus mittit me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flash Mobs, TV Screens, and Zombies

I see on the TV that they are making a program called 'Mobbers'. They'll film people doing flash mob things around the country (or world). I have enjoyed seeing flash mob sites on the Internet. I won't lie. But the Internet is impromptu. It's not a regimented, sucked-dry-of-all-imagination kind of media. Television is to an extent. And it's sucking the imagination right out of the normal mouth-breathers who sit glued to the screen. It channels people into seeing exactly what they want them to see.

I just have to say that I find this 'Mobbers' offering obnoxious. The whole idea of a flash mob is that it's FLASH, meaning that it's very nearly impromptu. It's free and innovative and serendipitous. To have a set program about flashes is to completely ruin the whole concept of flash mobbing.

How many times do we go from channel to channel looking for something to watch? It happens often, for most people. For some, they watch television every single night and much of the day that they aren't at work. People will even watch junk just because it's less disgusting than other junk. Why? What is the pull of shows full of soft porn or violence?

The movies do this also. There are so few actual good movies that we settle for dreck in order to go to the movies once in a while. And we've almost all done it (unless you're about to be translated or something).

What WON'T they exploit? Will it be baby birthings next? Will they have a program on bathroom problems or how to euthanize your grandma? Where does it end? Why do we have to be voyeurs on every single aspect of life? Where is the dividing line between good taste and paparazzi? Do we really have to know what Madonna had for breakfast? Why do we need to know what kind of deodorant Justin Bieber wears or what kinds of gunk he puts in his ridiculous hair?

I'm thinking that there is a reason they are shoveling all of this manure on our doorsteps so fast, now. They are steering society in a distinct direction. They tout teenage mothers in tabloids because they know there will be that young element who, then, think it's cool to get knocked up early. They're driving those girls to do those things. They want teenage moms who have no education and no bonds of love to anyone else. They want our young men to be unable to maintain a loving relationship with a person of the opposite sex. They want them to stand alone so that sometime down the line they'll be good little worker drones.

It's almost like kissing. First there is 'that' look. It sets you on fire and makes you giddy with infatuation. You MUST have more of it. Then he touches your hand and you are hyperventilating and picking out china patterns in your head. But soon, hand-touching and 'looks' are passe. You're ready for the next step because you're addicted--hooked. So then he kisses you and, of course, sets off a forest fire in your head the likes of which you may never recover from--until the flames burn everything to the ground and there is no more fuel left. Humph. Kissing. Whatever.

You see my drift? The whole idea with society, for our future, is to have them so anesthetized that they can watch their neighbor or even a family member killed in front of their eyes and they won't think a thing about it. They probably deserved it. They had it coming because they didn't comply. In fact--maybe the family unit will be gone by then. Maybe the people in charge will decide that parents are stupid and families are outdated. Let the State rear the children to be good little worker drones.

This is why the whole 'zombie' craze bothers me. What is it doing, but causing you to think about scenarios in your mind where you need to figure out how to kill your erstwhile loved one or friend because they have turned zombie. It allows a person to bring himself to 'go' there. It tears the underpinnings of society apart so that a person will be left standing isolated, alone and shorn of all help. They won't know how to love someone else enough to stand by them through thick and thin.

You ask how this all ties into flash mobs.

I say break out of the box they're trying to cram us into. Fly and be free to think your own thoughts. Reach for the light instead of letting 'them' shut you into tiny, squalid little boxes. Be FLASH!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Author Review

I'd like to take this opportunity to review an author I've been reading. Joyce DiPastena is another Arizona author with a degree in Medieval History. That fact already interests me about her, as I like medieval history as well. Joyce has a duet of books out now, with another on the way, which are set in France about the time of Henry II and the Plantagenet brood. I have never really read a work from this point of view. Most books on the subject I've read, are more favorable to Richard, who is one of my favorite Kings (and incidentally a relative).

That said, I really enjoy her books. They are well-written, well-researched, and fast-paced. Joyce has a wonderful grasp of court intrigue and knows how to work a good villain. Her main characters are likable but well-rounded--not Barbie cut-outs. She brilliantly details the difficulties the nobility had back then, in deciding who to back and how best to listen to one's conscience while still keeping one's head attached to one's body.

I'm impressed that she had a good grasp on how a tournament was supposed to run (as opposed to, say, the A Knight's Tale version), and knowledge of policies such as forcing the razing of castle walls to negate the power of the local enemy nobility.

So far, I've read Loyalty's Web and her newest work-in-progress, but have yet to read the middle one of the trio. Joyce's books can be found at Leatherwood Press. I give them a most stupendous thumb's up! Now I can't wait to read the rest! Hurry and finish, Joyce!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mortification

I have just had an experience so embarrassing that it actually dwarfs all other embarrassing situations. If one took all of the embarrassing experiences of this year so far from everywhere within a 250,000 mile radius, jammed them all together, distilled them down into the very essence of mortification, and made a tincture of it, that potent brew would still be a pale copy of this experience.

In fact, all of the trolls worldwide, who feed on embarrassment and mortification are at this moment booking flights to this very area. One hopes they do not explode from over-glut. That would be a huge debacle indeed.

In the history of mortifying instances, this one ranks far above that of the Titanic's owner boasting that his ship would never sink. Mine would rank above the whole global warming idiocy. It would rank above Henry 8's announcement that Anne Boleyn was now not going to be queen after all, as she was losing her head shortly.

If there were a worldwide summit to discuss embarrassing situations, mine would be first on the agenda. In fact, they would have to clear their slates of all other minor snafus and gaffs, be they presidential or otherwise. This one would hog all of the time at the summit. The other minor annoyances would bow down to the puissance that is my unbelievably embarrassing experience.

I am expecting momentarily to be crowned MRS. EMBARRASSING SITUATION UNIVERSE. There'll be a sash and crown. One wonders what kind of conveyance the pageant would send to pick up said winner--or rather loser...;o). The bouquet will most likely be dead of shame.

Because of this very situation, the motion picture academy has agreed to add another classification: E for Embarrassing. I'm going to have my own square on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It'll include a fire hydrant.

I would add an image to substantiate the mortifying nature of this situation, but the blog could not support a picture illustrating embarrassment of such magnitude.

Yes, folks, I am utterly embarrassed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Killing Her Gently

My family members laugh sometimes when I announce that I've just killed off Frank, or Emily or any number of lurking characters, mainly because I don't qualify that statement. They breezily inform their friends that their mom 'is always killing people'. I've gotten some extremely disturbed looks because of it.

I remember reading David Farland's Runelords series. The first time he killed off a main character, I was jolted out of my seat. "You CAN'T do that!" I yelled, shocked.
"Sure I can," he proceeded to prove. It got me thinking about books in general. We think that because a character is handsome and talented (and the main character for Heaven's sake) they'll certainly be the one at the end of the book spiking the ball into the end zone.

However, life isn't like that. People don't get to finish what they were working on. They don't make it to the Olympics or to the New York Ballet as the Grand Ballerina. They don't go back to the spy base and sip a cocktail and snog the gorgeous file clerk. Their bodies get old and pain-ridden. We get fat and can't run as fast or do those karate kicks or tour jettes or our bum knees will go out.

For the most part they get sick and die. Or a car hits them. Or they actually do fall off that cliff they are trying to hang onto. And when they get to the bottom, they splat messily instead of limping away to use their cell phone for a ride. I enjoy Louis McMasters Bujold's Vorkosigan books for that reason. Her mc gets badly hurt all the time. And he's aging with the books. It's harder for him to do the hot-doggin' things he used to do when he was young. He has a wife and children who actually love him and are waiting for him to come limping back home.

What it all boils down to, though, is that we writers are in the business of hope. We hold the character out there on his spit over the fires of opposition, but at some point we let him climb back down off the spit and join the feast, for the most part. We want him to be what we cannot, so often: successful. We want to know that despite our foibles and miseries, there is a chance for us at the ends of our stories, to pull off the Great Escape.

So how, then does one jive nature with hope? Justice and mercy? To kill or not to kill? It's a heady feeling, contemplating character assassination. There is a certain responsibility to the reader to tell the story the way it was supposed to be told. I almost feel as if my characters are telling their own stories, somehow. I just hold the 'pen' and wait for them to tell me what to write. The more 'true' your story, the more your readers will cleave to it, and take it into themselves. I think that's why lots of trash romances urk the living daylights out of me. Somebody in the story needs to be butt ugly or have a speech impediment.



That said, I'm writing the ending scene for my new book first. I'm hoping it'll tear your heart out and stomp on it, and then...maybe a glimmer...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whirlpool

Just a snippet:

She was flung viciously, haplessly, dizzily round the lip of the thirsty maw. Suddenly the whirlpool disappeared, leaving her staring raggedly at an inky sea.

She watched as splintered shards of her little boat began to surface, tinged by the dying golden rays of the westering sun. There was no hint of land in sight. any sense of direction had been snatched away by the vertiginous whirling.

Just as she was remembering the sun's direction, it gave a last piercing green flash and sank into the mountainous, frigid waves. It would be a long night of treading water.

Monday, March 21, 2011

On God and Bones

As I was walking today, I looked down and saw the lower spine and leg bones of a bird (probably a dove). Cat-1, bird-zip. It got me thinking, though, about God's designs for His creations. Those tiny, straw-like leg bones looked like they could snap in a stiff breeze, but most of the time a bird's bones last, unbroken, for it's whole life. The bird soars on stiff breezes and spirals through thermals. It swoops away from cars and cats and raptors. For millions of wing beats, the tiny wing bones hold the wing steady and true, though its bones are built like straws.

I caught an edging stone today and tripped and fell HARD onto my knee. I'm pretty sure I re-tore my PCL. Somehow I was able to rise and walk the further mile or so to school and back. The delicate workings of our bodies never cease to amaze me. Incredible detail and forethought went into building our brains so that they produce thought and the capability for music, art, and logic. And yet we can be felled by a microbe so small it can't be seen by the naked eye.

I never thought a great deal about proprioception before I read the book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. How amazing it is, that our bodies instinctively know where our limbs belong. We never have to tell our arms, "Go there. Open, fingers. Close them. Pick the fork up. Bring it back to my mouth." We simply eat. Or dance. Or play the base guitar while wailing out a rock song. It's often only when things go wrong that we realize how each little tendon and artery work together to accomplish the tasks we set them.

We can't even effectively copy the human body. Even our best man-made parts break down and wear out much more often and quicker than God's handiwork. We must sometimes stoop to using parts from other animals to bridge the gap.

I find it incredibly arrogant that some people refuse to think that this Grand Design could have an Author. We children who have made such strides in technology and medicine have yet to cause one spark of life to inhabit a body we have constructed out of atoms we made ourselves. And yet we cry in our arrogance, "There is no God! We came from soup at the hand of no being." How like the builders of the Tower of Babel we are in constructing our arguments.

I think God must sigh and roll his eyes a great deal. He must have an incredible sense of humor to be able to deal patiently with his recalcitrant, whiny children. I can hear Him saying, "Heidi, Heidi, Heidi. What have you done now? Look up and know Me."

Now I need to go clean out my cuts and ice my knee.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Slainte!


Slainte!
So. We're doing our power walk to school today, my children, and I. We're all decked out in our Celtic finery because we Murphys take this one day to celebrate our heritage very seriously. I'm in my family's tartan which cost a cool $600 and a whole lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make. My youngest daughter is in the Stuart tartan, and my youngest son is just doing the green thing since the guys in our family only have ties in our tartan.

The daughter is as cheerful as a wounded badger, as usual, and stomps ahead of us the whole way (except when we're taking our shortcut--which for some reason--offends her further). We get to school and she immediately packs up with her other jackal friends and tries to ignore the embarrassing chubby lady in the ridiculous kilt. Fine I think. We'll just see how much cabbage and corned beef hash YOU get today!

So I'm doing the power walk home. My shins are screaming because I haven't done enough stretching out but I refuse to stop. The sun is rising over the rooftops to dazzle my eyes. From out of a house on the east comes a whole pack of assorted dogs. The two big dogs are growling, but they aren't nearly as terrifying as the three chihuahuas think they are. The biggest one circles around to take out my hamstring to bring me down so the chihuahuas can tear my throat out.

I stare down that dog and say, "REALLY? You're REALLY going to try that on me? How stupid do you think I am?" By this time the dog has stopped trying to figure out how to chew through my Achilles tendon and is staring at me quizzically.
"Go back in your yard, RIGHT NOW! And take your minions with you!"
I kid you not, he turns tail and goes back into the back yard and the rest of the dogs follow!
YES! I feel like Braveheart for a second there.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obstacles

I don't know if it's just because Murphys are warped, but we've decided that pro sports are too prosaic. They need OBSTACLES. For basketball, the hoop should raise and lower randomly and someone should be paid to stand right in the way and heckle. For bowling, a cat should be duct taped to the ball. For golf, there should be flamingos instead of clubs (Go Alice!). And for ice skating, the stuffed animals should be thrown onto the ice BEFORE the performance, not after. Also, hot pennies on the ice would work. Don't you think this would be a much more interesting (though sadistic) watching experience?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Walkin'

Booyaw, take THAT!

Not only did I walk the kids to school way early, but I got home before school started! YES!

I've had 'cankles' all weekend so I was already concerned. There are always a myriad of excuses keeping me from exercising, writing being the biggest. I get things I have to write gnawing at me like a pack of ravening hamsters. One of my other stand-by excuses like having to take my middle daughter to University High, or got to some other meeting works just as well.

There's always that little voice in my head like a Greek chorus commenting in the background, which says, "Heidi, you really should drop and do sit-ups. Heidi, you should go walking. Heidi, don't stand there with the fridge open. Heidi, the scales are groaning. Hey, Chubbybutt, you gasp for air when you bend over to tie your shoes!"
I usually bludgeon that voice insensate.

A dream actually vaulted me into action this morning. The specter of dying of a heart attack truly galvanizes a body to haul her carcass out of bed and tie on the old sneakers, I tell you! I was off like a shot, dragging my youngest son in my wake. My youngest daughter was so enraged about the necessity of actually getting sweaty before school, that she stomped there, mostly ahead of us. The youngest and I found a great shortcut, though, so we jumped half a block ahead of her.

It was nice, though. The son and I had a lovely chat about dumb birds who try to build their nests in palm trees. (We concluded that it could be done if the bird never got fat and was very careful. Often we find dove babies on the ground beneath palm trees, because doves are stupid. They'll build anywhere.) It was a wonderful bonding moment. I'm looking forward to tomorrows chat already.

At the end of our gallop, we waited for her and had a group hug, hoping for some damage control there. "Sometimes a person has to bend a little," I told her. "The world is full of change. It's how God meant it to be. If we aren't changing, we're stagnating." I don't know how much got through her haze of rage, but she gave me a hug. Hopefully she'll choose to be a person and not a bog...;o)

And I...

I need to embrace change as well. If I don't jam my excuses down the same dark hole with my bad eating habits, I'm going into that hole. Sigh...good-bye cheese sticks, hello exercise.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pinewood Heartbreak

I am heartbroken.
I work for the Boy Scouts in several different ways. One of them is to help run the pinewood derbies. I make a car every year and the idea is to get a cooler car every year. Last year it was a tube of toothpaste. This year it was a hand carved image of yours truly. I worked on that for HOURS. It was tough getting it to look just right and still leave it drive-able. Saturday morning I finished painting it. I must say it looked SLICK. My husband had worked all evening the night before getting the wheels just so. I was hoping to beat my friend Brett, who now has the cubmaster job I had. He had a Santa Claus car, which was amazingly, still faster than mine.

Eight thirty found me at the mall setting up the long silver track and the check-in tables. We ran the derby for hundreds of boys of ages from 6 to 12. I love doing the derbies. There are all kinds of cars, and all kinds of people. The people-watching is fantastic!

There were, of course, bumps in the road because I let a few cars through that I shouldn't because I was trying to hurry and missed them. Every year there are those who get so intense that tempers fray. I'm sure there'll be letters. I had to have 70 or so nervous parents tweak their boys' cars because our Council doesn't allow three wheels down and one up (less friction makes them go a little bit faster).

After the dust settled and the boys and their parents edged away with or without trophies, Dave let me run my car and Brett's down the track. The real cubmaster's race won't be until the Council-wide race later this month. Brett had already left for work, but entrusted me with his precious Santa car. I sent them flying down the track, only to remember that I hadn't added graphite to mine. Still slow.

I had to wait for my hubs to come pick me up, so we went window slobbering for a bit. We met the hubby at our favorite toy store, I with the box under my arm containing our two precious cars. Stupidly, I paused at the display table to play a funky kind of tic-tac-toe. That was the last time I saw that box. I'm so crushed to have to tell Brett that his Santa car is gone. And my beautiful, hand-carved Heidi car is gone as well.

I'm still hoping that the person who picked up my box-full of extended childhood will come to his or her senses and listen to God telling them that they should take them back. He tells me that they have their free agency. I hope they will do the right thing.

Addendum:
My Sweetheart Hubby just called from the mall, today (Monday). He went to take our son to a movie and stopped in at Gamedaze because I asked him to check. I just have to say that my prayers were totally answered! They found the box with both cars in it! That's after three days of the store being open and two nights of cleaning. They scoured that store. You can't tell me that my simple prayer wasn't heard by Someone who cares even about such minute things as a hand-carved car and my reputation with a friend. I'm so happy I could just spit!

Fly!

Fly into the velvet midnight
Dip wingtips in moon's silver honey
Rise and stretch
Wind fills your webbing;
Carries you up into the light.
There!
Your quarry in light's shadow
It won't know its death is nie
Twisting
Plunging
Now you have it in your sights
Pounce!
Only silver dust falls down.
You slope away on the breast of the cloud
The wind caressing your feathers
Homeward bound
on the cusp of the night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friends

I am thankful for friends who can see the gleam of burnished gold beneath the mud on a person. Those who know you and still want to share your board. They'll share your ice cream cone even though you've got the chicken pox. They are those who would go through flying thumbtacks just to pick up something you'd dropped, and know you'd do the same for them. Those people would help hold the flash light while you buried your dog. They are the ones who will tell you your pants have a rip in the butt. They might be laughing, but they're laughing with you (or would if you'd see the humor in it). They are the ones who will go pick your child up from school and bawl them out for being a jerk, 'cause they've got your back. They supply you with fudge when the bottom has fallen out of your world. Those people are spun gold and well worth putting in your safety deposit box.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How I Feel About Things

This is something I wrote a while ago that still rings true:

It cannot be denied that there are some things, which speak intrinsically and with unstinting truth to one's very soul: the sweep and spray of the ocean's waves; the march of phalanxes of tree-girt emerald mountains; the wail of a newborn babe; the light of intelligence, which comes with blinding clarity to illuminate the mind. All of these bear witness to a might unmatched by fallible Man.

With whatever nonsense one has encumbered one's life--whatever mental life preservers one festoons about himself--at some point he must throw off these crutches and stand naked and shorn before the might of the Great God. We who have in some way during our earthly lives denied the grace, the power, and sometimes the very existence of our Maker must come to understand that we can in no way hope to match his puissance on our own.

We cannot design and manufacture the DNA for--and breathe life into--the tiniest cell. Nor can we create the smallest planet and set it in it's orbit. We have not been able to map the entirety of our galaxy or even the entirety of our own ocean floor. Because WE cannot, too often we say that NO being can. In that thinking we gravely err. God has done these things time without counting. Without the mercy, aid, and example of our elder brother, Jesus the Christ, we cannot even return to His presence.

May we come to understand, and to kneel humbly at His feet, before it is too late. May we offer up the only tiny payment He asks of us: the gift of our hearts, our lives, and our love.

First Post! Exciting!

So this is the maiden voyage of my new blog. I'm hoping this will be a terrific learning experience and a fun trip. Setting sail for the unknown on an uncertain sea. I imagine there will be plenty of sail-trimming until I figure out exactly how this works, since I'm teaching myself. Hopefully there won't be too many times when I scuttle the boat on a sandbar.

I went to school for art and have been a freelance artist for a decade, now. I don't know why I suddenly jumped ship and climbed aboard the writing ketch. Maybe it's that I wasn't getting my art out there in the mainstream enough. I had something to say and so many books bubbling up.

I read like a maniac. Right now I'm reading the Book of Mormon for the twentyleventh time, a fascinating book about brain diseases and malfunctions, a medieval romance manuscript by a fellow writer, and a lovely book called Chocolate Roses written by my cousin, Joan Sowards. Tomorrow it could be a science fiction one.

Right now I am about 4/5ths of the way through writing my sixth book. I have two other books I'm working on at the same time, and another two in the editing stages.

*Small Deceptions (under the name H. Linn Murphy) is a historical novel published and available from Xlibris.com (or from Amazon, but I don't get as much in royalties if you buy it with them).
*Enduring Kirsten (now Kirsten Confused) is a finished LDS romance in the editing stage.
*Watcher at the Gates of Day is a finished science fiction novel also in the editing stage.
*Echo in the Night is the sequel to Watcher and is unfinished yet. I add to it regularly.
*Rodeo Queen and the Scipio Doc (now Pivot Point) is the current LDS romance I'm working on most right now.
*When You Leave Me (or A Light in the Summerhouse) (now Summerhouse) is a psychic link romance in the thought/outline stages and currently setting my head on fire.
*Mudlarks is a Dickensian offering also in the thought/outline stage.
*Prima Nochta is an early Celt story in the thought/outline stage.
*Forlorn Hope is a historical novel in the thought stage.
(Many of these titles have been changed as of March, 2012. Also there are several new books as of the same date)

It's all a matter of trimming the sails and keeping the sheets to the wind. Avast ye landlubbers! Take ship for realms unexplored! I'll be your captain!
Heidi L. Murphy