Hallo-whine

Right now I’m listening to: What Have I Done to Deserve This?–Pet Shop Boys

The week before Halloween always makes me feel nostalgic for Gainesville and my Alma Mater. We knew how to throw some parties down in The Swamp. One of my best friends from Ye Olde Grad Shool Days asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. This year’s costume? Probably the same thing I did last year: a bitter broad living in the country an hour’s drive away from the closest costume party–or, a bitter broad with a DUI. Haven’t decided yet.

Maybe I’ll don that showgirl with glasses from the Pet Shop Boys video costume yet. It would be nice to be able to do it sometime before, say, I get old enough for my getup to be confused for Cloris Leachman in Dancing With the Stars.

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A Day for Letting Go

I borrowed my post title from the song by The Charlatans. There are times we all need to let go of emotional involvement–when the same things are said, the same struggles spin round and round without resolution. I’ve come to the realization my current manuscript and I need a break. To see other people. I have a feeling it won’t be a forever thing–it’s never truly over with a first love, but I need some space. It will be good for the both of us. So aside from getting it ready for the Golden Heart, I’m calling it off. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, and beginning  November 1st, I’ll be starting my new story! A whirlwind affair! No baggage!!

Then, I’ll come crawling back, hopefully with fresh insights and a new perspective.

So when did you know it was time to let go of a story or other creative endeavor…or anything else? Did it hurt?

The Shoe Rant

Not so long ago, at least that’s what I tell myself, I was a college student with a passion for fashion, but limited by funds and access to the finer things in life. It didn’t bother me, though–there were plenty of department stores and shoe warehouses to keep me and the average low-ish income American turned out in reasonable quality. I got a thrill when I entered the Nine West store in the good ol’ Oaks Mall. Steve Maddens were the hot thing, and I didn’t mind stretching my budget for a fifty, sixty dollar pair of shoes with a little quality and style.

Now, I’m a grown-ass woman. With a real job, and the ability to buy what I damn well please within reason. A large, thrifty stone on the other side of the scale of my life is a husband who is the world’s best in so many ways but believes any clothing item that costs more than $14.99 is a major purchase.  So to humor dear hubby, I thought to return to my old college ways in search of a pair of summer sandals. Nothing fancy, just a nice pair of leather wedges–maybe a wooden or cork sole. Typical shoes, easy to find, shouldn’t cost much.

WRONG! The mid-level shoe stores are now selling crap. The same stuff they’re selling in WalMart and PayLess, except with those places you know what you’re getting–crappy synthetic shoes that make you feel like a mink caught in a leg trap by the end of the day but at spouse-pleasing prices. The department stores are selling this garbage too. Still Nine West, still Steve Madden, still fifty bucks or more. Only they’re WalMart shoes.

Is there a leather shortage? I literally went to every shoe store and department store in the mall (not the best mall, but still). Everything in sight was faux-leather, faux cork, faux everything but the price. Since then I’ve looked every time I’ve been out, and unless I’m holding a pair that retails for over $100, it’s the same damn thing. And if you’re vegan, I’m sorry. I really am. But don’t worry, some brands are using that as a selling point so you can spend even more on crap shoes and handbags than us non-vegan slobs.

We American consumers have allowed ourselves to get screwed so much that we barely even notice it’s happening anymore. Do you ever get that irrational thrill when something you’ve purchased works properly? Doesn’t fall apart the first time you use it? Well, I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore! No more cheap shoes for me!

So here’s the two-part challenge:

1. I challenge you to find a pair of Steve Madden shoes that are made of leather.

2. I challenge you to find a pair of ladies’ leather shoes, NOT made in China, under $100. No, let’s make it interesting: under $50. Do they even exist?

There’s no such thing as a good cover.

I overheard that recently, and I call bullshit. What a thing to say! Just think of all the bands struggling out there in bars and daytime festivals across the globe. Covers are the ONLY good thing some of them can manage, and as a half-drunk patron at these venues, I appreciate their hard work and effort to connect. But I see the argument. A cover version rarely does the original any kind of justice. But is it better to try to stick to the original, or make it entirely your own?

Guess it depends on how strongly you feel about the original artist.  In my case:

  • U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name covered by The Pet Shop Boys = hell yeah! The Frankie Valli chorus is a nice touch too.
  • Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal covered by Alien Ant Farm =  I’ll allow it.
  • New order’s Blue Monday covered by Orgy = Grr! Step away from my band. Don’t care what it sounds like, lalalalalala not listening, turn it off!

So I want to know the covers you love and the ones you love to hate–the good, the bad, and the truly bizarre. And try to top the genius of Klaus Nomi, RIP:

Oscar and Disco Gold

Can you name a 1978 Oscar winner Starring Debra Winger and Jeff Goldblum?

No?

Ohhh…and Donna Summer?

Give up? The Oscar goes to……Thank God it’s Friday!

Seriously, this movie won an Oscar. For Best Song, anyway. Now when I was in high school, I had a slight disco obsession and a well-equipped independent video store in town, but somehow I missed this movie until it showed up on my Netflix rec list like some magical omen.  A movie about a Friday night dance contest, a disco, a fledgeling DJ with a make-or-break chance to get The Commodores in his club on time, and Donna Summer trying all sorts of schemes to get said DJ to play her demo. Add in disco producer Chick Vennera in a skintight leather outfit dispensing advice and performing a dance number that rivals anything in Footloose, yet somehow comes across as less gay. And don’t forget loads of sight gags based on a giant pepper mill. I couldn’t resist, and I must say this movie did not disappoint.

Will The Commodores show up in time? Will Donna Summer get to sing “Last Dance?” Will the high school girls win the dance contest? Will an eyeliner-sporting Jeff Goldblum seduce the married woman? How many cars were abused in the making of this movie? You must rent this DVD to find out, but here’s a little taste of excellence:

Remember– it’s Dancing! Everything else is bullshit!

Give the happy ending a little respect!

I’m not talking about that kind of happy ending, but whatever consenting adults do on their own time is just A-okay with me. I do wonder about the places advertised on I-95 billboards with names like “Asiana Spa–Truckers Welcome.” Now I’m sure these places are legitimate businesses and there are many truckers who go in for a salt scrub and a paraffin wax treatment, but I digress….

In fiction, there are two archetypal themes that many would consider the same thing, but upon closer look, they are not. Just like a veteran character in a soap opera who is revealed to have a secret twin. These themes are the Romance and the Love Story. Ah, the Love Story. Anna Karenina, Heathcliff and Catherine, la Dame aux Camelias. Classic literature. That’s the stuff most people think of when you say Love Story.

When you say Romance, people think Fabio. Now, I’m not going to delve into this topic, the Smart Bitches have already done a much better job than I could do in a million years. Check it out in my links if you’ve been living under a rock lately.
The real difference between the two has nothing to do with a cover featuring Chesty McPerm, and there is just as much appalling writing in the literary world as the genre fiction world. It’s the happy ending. Romances have it, love stories usually don’t. It especially seems that way in modern commerical/literary fiction (I’m looking at you, Nicholas Sparks). You get invested in a character, root for them as they find love like they’ve never known before, and then they die?! Three hundred fifty pages and COME ON! Seriously? It’s emotional manipulation, is what it is. Not that I don’t enjoy a good cry every now and then, but does a love story have to be tragic to get respect? Does suffering make it better? Which do you prefer? Should a reader feel like enjoying a happy ending has to be a dirty little secret, sort of like that other happy ending?

Hello world!

Is it a coincidence that I set up my Own Very First Blog today, the day after my vacation in sunny Florida, when deadlines loom, work rears its ugly head, and revisions and pitch sessions are giving me nightmares? Of course it is! I’m not a procrastinator. No way. I’m a self-starter, a team player, a real people person on the fast track to success. But the blog thing–it’s something I felt I needed to do, to give back to the community. More of a public service, really. When I think about all of the people who have not yet been inspired by my oh-so-inspiring life, I feel truly guilty. So there’s no time like the present to remedy the situation. Maybe I’ll do it later. Anyway, welcome to my blog.