Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gaining Fans and Getting Poor Reviews...

Most people who know me know that I have a specific way of talking. I speak in movie quotes, song lyrics, refer to actors when describing an affliction (for example, when I had a bad sore throat last week, I didn't have a sore throat, I had a "Lauren Bacall Thing" going on). I grew up with Muppets and Gilmore Girls. Goes with the territory.

I write how I speak. It might date my books a bit, but I do write with a lot of pop culture references. Some people don't understand the way I speak and just give me deer-in-headlights. When you add two or more to the mix, people stop, stare and watch like a TV show (am I right, Lauren?).

I got the first bad review this week. I glossed over it, because I didn't want it to make me mad, sad, or otherwise emotional. Yes, this book is my child. I've been writing since I was nine, and only seldom have I ever shown my work to anyone. When I got to college and it was mandatory, I poured my heart and soul into my work only to be stomped on. I remember two instances where my teachers actually liked my work. My screenwriting teacher loved my dialogue. My English Lit teacher liked my paper on Salome, and it's literary jokes ("Most little girls want to grow up to be princesses or president. Salome wanted to be the first woman to ask her husband for a divorce!"). The only classmates that really liked my work (it was a bit of a hoity-toity school) were the theater students and my closest friends who understood me.

The poor review (even if it wasn't specifically poor. The reader just didn't like it) had been annoying me for the last few days, when I got an email from a gentlemen who I'd agreed to do a review swap with. He really liked it. And said we have similar tastes. He even gave me some ideas for a few key scenes for book two. He also offered to edit it. When the story edits are done, I just might take him up on the offer. I haven't decided yet.

Anyway, when you get bad reviews. You can't please anyone. The number one thing to remember (that I picked up from my lovely "Chick Lit Goddesses" on Facebook!) is that if you put out good work that you like, that's the important thing. And honestly, Lauren, my best friend, short twin, other half (we're THAT close) likes it and understands it, and that's the most important thing.

The faces of girls who speak in movie quotes. Of COURSE we have tiaras!
Don't let poor reviews get you down. Not everyone likes everything. That's something I knew going into this crazy new world of indie publishing. But frankly, the positive feedback is outweighing the negative. Even from my classmates from high school! That's pretty great, I must say.

Monday, February 25, 2013

An Afternoon of Opera

Anyone who has been reading my blog for any period of time knows that I love opera. I've only been to three different operas (but I've seen one of those operas three times, now), which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but in this day in age, it makes me Frasier Crane. Omaha has a fantastic opera company, Opera Omaha, bringing great classics and new works to the Omaha area since 1958.

This past weekend, they performed The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

I have seen this opera three times now. The first time was when I was in college. The Mizzou School of Music put it on at the Missouri Theatre, and I jumped at the chance to see my first opera, even if I did go alone (none of my friends wanted to go). I had fun though I thought the production left something to be desired (Their Pamina had a beautiful voice, but was not an actress!)

A year later, while planning a trip to Santa Fe with my best friend, Lauren, I discovered Santa Fe had an amazing opera company. The night we had free for opera, they were showing The Magic Flute. The theater is practically outside, and when the Queen of the Night sang her aria, heat lightning struck in the distance. Coolest thing EVER!

Opera Omaha's production of The Magic Flute was designed by Jun Kaneko, who also designed last year's production of Madama Butterfly, which I also saw (and featured my former voice teacher, Shelby VanNordstrand in the chorus). Kaneko has a very imaginative eye, and for the purposes of this imaginative story, it was perfect. It was bright, colorful, with so many different textures and prints. It was a joy to watch.

(c) Opera Omaha
They didn't follow the dialogue from the original script (I'm positive), adding in jokes about a poor economy, and a lot more sex jokes than what would've been approved in the 1700's (though I could be wrong. This was Mozart, who was known to be silly and inappropriate). It was amusing, and actually helped move Tamino's long, arduous passages along.

Believe it or not, I am NOT a fan of Tamino, the so-called hero. I think he's a ninny who is way too introspective for his own good. I'm more of a Papageno fan. Papageno was a bird-catcher, who went with Tamino to rescue Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night.

Papageno just wants to find his one true love and have kids. Tamino wants to be with Pamina, and also seeks to become enlightened, so he goes through several tests to prove himself. Papageno goes through the first few tests but doesn't make it that far. He doesn't want to be enlightened.

(c) Opera Omaha
So, while I don't care for Tamino, it's the character, in general that I don't care for. Singer, Shawn Mathey, did a wonderful job in the role. Stunning voice. Papageno, performed by Corey McKern, was hilarious. He took Papageno and made him big and boisterous, which is what the character needed.

Going back to the colorful production, I have to say, Pamina was like Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Her two different costumes were mostly blue with full skirts, and black character shoe-Mary Janes. She was also a blonde with a side part.

(c) Opera Omaha
She was thrust into a new world by being kidnapped, and with Kaneko's strange characters, all bigger than life, working toward their own goals and using Pamina for that gain. A different world and all she wants to do is go home until she discovers her mother is the villain.

Pamina (Monica Yunus) had a stunning voice, and it was a pleasure to hear her sing "Ach ich fuhls" (NOT Yunus, and NOT in English, like the production I saw). I love that song, and it's a hard song to sing (I've tried).

Musically, everyone did a fantastic job. Opera Omaha never disappoints, and I'm so glad to have an Opera Company who cares about the classics so much. It always surprises me how many people go to the Opera since it has a stigma of fat women singing with horns and a breastplate. The Sunday afternoon showing that we went to was sold out. We had an extra ticket since my dad couldn't go (out of town on work), so my mom suggested inviting her friend, Dawn, who goes to our church. Dawn had never been to the opera, and she really enjoyed herself. While I was driving everyone home (parking in downtown Omaha is a NIGHTMARE! Carpooling is the way to go), we had a great conversation about what we thought.

Loved the show, and I'm so glad that we all had a great time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snowmageddon 2013

Things I don't enjoy:

  1. Driving on Snowy Roads
  2. Turning Cookies on an Interstate with trucks behind me
  3. Driving up hills on snow roads

This is what a pretty winter wonderland looks like.
This is what it feels like:

Welcome to Snowmageddon 2013, Omaha/Council Bluffs edition.

Okay, it wasn't that bad, but the roads were HORRIBLE!

Work was super quiet yesterday. Most of my coworkers rescheduled to work today instead of yesterday. Snow didn't start until around noon, or so, but when I got off at 3:30, it was bad. I was praying and listening to K-LOVE and KGBI all the way home (Christian stations). While driving down Interstate 680, the car in front of me (still a good several feet away) stopped suddenly, causing me to stop suddenly, and turn around to face the cars that were driving TOWARD me. Thankfully God was protecting me and the trucks (yes, TRUCKS) were able to stop and waited for me, blocking traffic until I turned around. 

I hate snow. 

I managed to switch a bunch of my sessions to tomorrow to make up for leaving early yesterday and not going in today. I also had a sick day this week. What a day for THAT to happen. 

Since I can't leave my driveway, I've decided to do what I normally do on Snow Days, which is clean. We're supposed to have family coming in this weekend (really depends on if Kansas City gets their own roads cleared), so it'd be nice if the house didn't look like a total disaster area. Also, since I was sick, be good if we got rid of Becky germs. I also hate being sick. But it didn't go with the theme of the aforementioned list. 

I finished another portion of my new story on Wattpad last night. Hope to get more done this weekend. I've got plans and dreams and I need to get my butt in gear.

Happy Snow Day, and be safe and sound!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

And the trouble becomes a saga

Remember last week when my car went nuts? Got a flat last night. I tell you, when it rains, it pours.

I was out to dinner with mom last night. She took me to Panda Express, where we ate our weight in shrimp and chicken (maybe that was just me), and then took a trip to Target, where we didn't spend ANYTHING (shocking, I know. Target knows just where to get you). I did notice that highlighter colors are really in for Spring, though. People will be able to go outside in the dark and glow.

This dress is Yellow Highlighter Color in the Store
When we got into the car, however, it was riding rough. Like flat tire rough. Pulled into the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings, which is right across the street from Target, and sure enough, the front passenger tire was flat as a pancake.

Now, call me silly, but I get excited to change tires because it's the one car repair I know how to do. There was a problem, though, aside from the wet snow that was falling. When mechanics change tires, they use a machine that screws the nuts on the tire, and I'm a weakling. Couldn't get them off.

I'm fortunate that I have an uncle who works on cars. He came to the rescue and enlightened me on the art of removing lug nuts. He has a pipe from a motorcycle about an inch wide and a foot long that he uses for extra leverage. Who knew?

After we were rescued, mom and I took my uncle and aunt (who tagged along) to Perkins for pie, where we met up with my dad, who was returning from a work trip to Waukee. We were all wet and freezing, and dad and I got brownie sundaes that were bigger than my head.

Hard to believe this all happened in one night. Now I need to go to the tire shop on Monday to get my tire repaired/replaced. I only hope it's not expensive.

As a final announcement, my book is available for free for about six more hours. It will be available until Midnight PST.
For Kindle Only
That is all. Happy Weekend, folks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Hate Valentine's Day

And don't even try to change my mind. It won't work, many have tried, but I do not care for this so-called holiday much more than any other. I used to like it. When I was in elementary school and we handed out valentines to everyone, and you didn't read into the message behind Koby's "Bananas for You" valentine. There was fruit punch, candy, homemade mailboxes for your valentines, cupcakes, cookies, etc. Those were the days. That was what Valentine's Day should've been about. Partying with friends because you cared about them.

In junior high, they stopped making you give cards to everyone, and there weren't even parties. That was when people started pairing off and celebraing as pairs. If you didn't have a boyfriend or girlfriend, this was the time when you started getting mocked for it.

Believe me. This was NOT when I started hating Valentine's Day.

In high school, student government sold lollipops and roses for you to send to your secret crush. While I never got one, this still didn't put the damper on Valentine's day. Government also sold results to an ultimate match survey (for a buck, I always bought it), only to disappoint the hundreds of students when they found out their ultimate crush was at the top of the NOT a match side. Still didn't taint the holiday for me.

I went to a women's college, so my odds of finding a boyfriend were pretty slim, unless I went to Mizzou (I did a few times, but no Prince Charming). On Valentine's Day, my single friends and I would watch a movie and pig out. It was fun, and we all appreciated the love and friendship we offered.

I don't hate Valentine's Day because I'm bitter at not having a man in my life. No one ever believes me, but that's true.

During my last year of college, so many people were lamenting their single status, and those that were in relationships were threatening break ups if their significant others didn't propose or do something spectacular.  The same thing happened the next year, and it got me so upset I wrote the following Valentine's Manifesto:

I'm a firm believer that Valentine's day is a whole lotta hype. I don't even know what I'd do if I did have a boyfriend on Valentine's day. I hope I wouldn't expect much. It's just another day. I mean, I sent out Valentine's to my friends and parents, and if I were in a relationship, I'd get him a card, but you shouldn't dictate that this one day out of 365 be the ultimate day to be romantic. It's such a cliche. 

I've heard from numerous people in my life and online and in the news, that if so-and-so's boyfriend doesn't plan something HUGE on this day, she's gonna break up with him. What about the other 364 days in a year? Has he done nice, wonderful things for you in the past? Why should actions on this one day be the be-all-end-all of relationships? It just doesn't make sense to me. In fact, it's kind of a crock. If you love someone, you shouldn't put pressure on them to do nice things. If they love you, they'll do nice things anyway. But everyone is human, and you can't expect that the actions someone conveys on this one day should outweigh all the other good actions they've done in the past? I mean, seriously! What is that all about? 

I believe that Valentine's day means love in the most general terms. When you say "Love" people will most likely jump to romantic love. But what about unconditional love? What about friendship love? There are several terms for love. I love my parents. I love my sister. I love my friends. I love my family. I love my pets. That's a lot of love right there. But because I don't love a guy in a romantic way, I'm obviously wasting my life come Valentine's day. 

World infatuated with romance and love on this one day alone, Screw you.

Yeah, I might've been a little bitter at the time, but what matters is the end of it. I show love to my family and my friends, my cats, dog. Why does romantic love have to be the be all/end all? What about the other 364 days of the year? 
Melodramatics are the reason I hate Valentine's Day. I do apreciate how much Chocolate there is, however. 

Happy Singles Awareness Day! Because people make sure Singles are AWARE of it!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Car Troubles

Last week sometime (maybe the week before), my Check Engine Light went on in my Kia Optima. Last time this happened, it was expensive to fix. Okay, $100, which isn't that much in car terms, but when you see what I make, $100 is a LOT of money.

I know that I shouldn't leave the Check Engine Light on. I watch The Big Bang Theory.

Copyright CBS, Chuck Lorre

Around the time that the light went on, the temperature went down to Zero, and my heater broke. Only it didn't. It just took a really long time to activate, and when it did, there was some banging around under the hood. 

Add these issues to the ones that my car already has (broken visors-so mad about that!, a broken cigarette lighter outlet-also mad about that!, and for some reason, my windshield wiper sprayer doesn't work. Not AS mad about that, but still pretty ticked off.

Well, this morning, the temperature guage started freaking out and going mad while I was on my way to work. So I started freaking out and going mad, too. Took it extra slow in order to get TO work, and got the oil changed after work.

A laundry list of the things wrong:
  • Oil was slightly overdue for being changed
  • Gnarly looking air filter (there were plants and bugs in it. No WONDER I can't shake this cold, if I was breathing that crap in!)
  • EMPTY radiator and coolant overflow resevoir (Explains why my check engine light was on, and why my heater was acting weird)
  • Loose hoses that hooked up to something (they think it might've been radiator related)
  • Coolant leaks all over the engine. It's been recommended I have it checked out really soon. Luckily, I have an extended warranty on my car, and barring any broken hoses, this should be covered.
This past weekend, my parents and I went to Edwards Subaru Hyundai to see what's involved in getting a new car. The first car they showed me and the only one I test drove was a 2012 Kia Forte Hatchback with TONS of bells and whistles. This baby had BlueTooth, Satellite Radio, Remote Start (I really want that!), and only had 2200 miles on it. 

Granted, I really didn't want a Kia, so that was what was bothering me the most.

Then we got to financing. With what was left over on my car, my car payment was only $100 more than what I can afford to pay (and am paying) now. I said goodbye to the pretty Kia and came home. Guess I'll have to keep saving and see where I'm at next year. 

Goodbye, Kia. 

If anything, I now know what's involved in getting a new car when I still owe on my current, and I also know what kind of car I want to get (I'm loving bells and whistles, especially in this climate!).

Wasn't a terrible weekend, despite not being ideal. I came away from it educated, and that's probably one of the most important things to do in life.

Ciao, Readers!

  • Any tips for buying a car?
  • What do you look for when car shopping?
  • Any particular type you love best?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Music to do anything to

So, this blog is a long time coming, but it's finally here. Sadly, I feel like most of my time has been crazy busy this week, despite nothing out of the ordinary happening. This coming week, I have retraining at work, so I'll be there five days in a row. I've been trying to get a lot of my writing work out of the way this week to prepare. I also had to take this last week off working out to work out some problems with my knee. Strained it by lifting TOO heavy. Who knew?

I was running on the treadmill last week, listening to the instrumental portions of The Little Mermaid by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and I got seriously lost in how gorgeous it was. One of my favorite parts of film scores is how I can usually see the part in the movie that they're from while I'm listening.

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's the only Disney movie that makes me cry like a baby (The scene at the end where Triton and Ariel hug on her wedding day...*wibble* I lose it EVERY time!), it's about a singer (I'm also a singer), and a girl who has a thing for dark-haired men.

I am totally guilty of that. :-)

Every time I go workout lately, I've been listening to Disney albums. Mulan, Hercules, Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback, Tarzan, Aladdin, etc. I keep using it to psych myself up for the Disney Princess Run next year (or the year after, considering my cruise might be that same week). It's all happy and motivating. I will TAKE it!

I did finally get my book finished. It was Monday night, and I didn't go to bed until I finished. Working on some changes, but I finished a second story. As a girl who's never finished much of anything, this is exciting news. I've been working on making acquaintences across the board who know how Indie publishing works. I've been trying to teach myself more and more about marketing, and becoming a better writer.

That is all that is happening here. I really hope I keep more up to date here. It's insane how little I've been blogging lately!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I hate February.

I'm just gonna lay it all out there. February's a rough month for me. It's cold outside, I hate Valentine's Day (Let's not even go into my thoughts on that commercial monstrosity), and February is also the anniversary of the death of my puppy.

Becky and Charmin, 1997
All I can say is that I'm glad it's short.

So, I've been a little bummed the last few days. And stressed. I was trying hard to get my book done, but it didn't happen by the end of the month. I'm probably beating myself up a bit more than I should over it, but I am upset. Lots of things have been happening the last few weeks, and it makes it hard to get a grasp.

As most people know, my computer died a few weeks ago (Happy 2013!), and now my car is slowly going the way of my computer. I'm angry at an inanimate object. For one thing, the tire light's been on for weeks now, despite my tires being properly inflated, and yesterday, my Check Engine light turned on. Last time that happened, it was because of a faulty sensor that I had to pay $100 to fix. This morning, my heater decided to kick the bucket in 4 degree cold! The day went downhill from there. Though, interestingly enough, it was working again when my dad got into my car when I picked him up after work. Weird.

I went  to a party last to celebrate my good friend, Emily, who turned 25. It was at a dueling piano bar, which was a lot of fun.

Cheddar Jack Waffle Fries with Ranch. YUM!

A Sex and the City Original: The Cosmopolitan

Dueling Pianists

Tequila Sunrise
Birthday Seranade.
It was a fun night, and it was nice to get out of the house. I don't get out of the house much, but when I do, it's always a lot of fun.

I'm really tired. I'm ready to move on to the next part of my life. I really want this year to be the year I move to Denver to be close to my best friend.

And be on my own again. 27-year-olds shouldn't live with their parents. It's too Charlotte Lucas, and I'm supposed to be Lizzy Bennet. I took the Pride & Prejudice character quiz.

This is a random post, that started off as something whiney, but went back to edit since by the time I had time to finish, I'd already been to the party, was two drinks in, and was feeling a lot better. We all have our Moaning Myrtle moments. Feeling much better today. Plans to go to a housewarming tonight, finish my book (Just because I didn't make my goal doesn't mean I won't finish it this weekend, or even today!), and go to the gym to finish week five of LiveFit today (I'm about three days behind. Eep!). I am concerned about my left knee, though. It's been feeling out of place, but I'll talk to my chiropractor about it on Monday. And someone recommended KT Tape to help it, too, so we'll see.

Have a good Saturday!


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All That Matters Now (Finding Neverland)

I've been a MASSIVE Peter Pan  fan since I can remember. Disney , Mary Martin version, I loved  this story. I actually have several memo...