Thursday, December 23, 2010

Least Favorite Christmas Songs?

It is Christmas week! For many of us we will finally be getting relief from the incessant Christmas music that had been blaring through every story and every other radio station since Halloween. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas music but I have two problems: 1. I love Christmas music but there are songs that I cannot stand, and 2. I pledge to fight Christmas Creep, I do not turn on Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving.

So now after nearly two months of Christmas music I have to ask, what are your least favorite Christmas songs?

This is one of my favorite questions because so many people (including myself) get so upset about it. Lets face it there are some really terrible songs out there! I know that one persons terrible is another person's favorite, but I love that you can bring up this question and turn a room of friends into a bunch of bickering children as each tries to defend their favorites.

While I could list several I will restrain myself to my top three:

3. Christmas Shoes

I think this is the dumbest song, but while I dislike it I don't hate it enough to give it anymore space on this blog.

2. Do They Know its Christmas in Africa

I know that I am attacking a humanitarian aid project and the beloved music icons who came together to form BandAid, but while the intention was good the execution of the song was awful. Sure it is catchy but have you listened to the lyrics? Its like reading the Heart of Darkness, it is arrogant and self indulgent, and shows how little we still understand about these people. And as the song says, "Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you."

As bad as that is, it still does not make me turn off the radio or leave the room like my least favorite song.

1. Last Christmas

Ugh just writing those words makes me sick to my stomach. Again this as a very catching and beautiful song musically, but the lyrics kill it for me. Lets take a look at the narrative in the song:

Last Christmas the singer gave their heart to someone who broke it. Sad yes but things happen in relationships. It does sound like the singer got used instead of the breakup being part of the normal course of a healthy relationship that just is not right, but we don't know that for sure. I mean we only see it from one perspective.

But then we get to the line, "This year to save me from tears I will give it to someone special." Ok, I know that most people want to be with someone special at Christmas, but doesn't it seem that by putting some kind of artificial deadline on finding a relationship the singer is setting his or herself up for failure again? Love and relationships take time so it seems unlikely that the singer is going to find the love that they so desperately seek when they are working on a deadline.

Then the song takes another turn, the singer runs into the person that broke their heart last year and starts entertaining the idea of trying it again this Christmas with the same person. Its assumable this person is good looking, a good kisser and good in bed, all laudable traits, but is that really the only basis of human relationships?

Oh it gets better, as the singer laments how they were hurt, we find out that the singer is IN A RELATIONSHIP. The singer is willing to throw away what is described in future lines as exactly what the singer was looking for. The singer says that they would do to their current partner exactly the same thing that was done to them the year before.

I hate this song. What Christmas songs bother you?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting published definately takes luck, but what makes luck?

I am a upbeat, optimistic, and fairly observant person most of the time. I consider myself to be relatively lucky and so I am hopeful that if I am ever disciplined enough to finish my stories, that I will someday get published.

So what about people who are not lucky?

Well there has been some research done on the subject and while some things (like winning the lottery and being in the right place at the right time) cannot really be controlled, there are things that you can do to make yourself more lucky.

First, I found this article on yahoo:

A lucky find huh?

Then, I was in the right place at the right time to have a coworker show me this video:

So do you consider yourself a lucky person? If so keep an eye out for a money tree.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Faces in Weird Places

I see faces in the strangest places. Perhaps it is because I am creative. Perhaps it is because I am ADD and my attention span is...about as long as...what was I talking about? Faces right!

Here are two that I have seen recently:

The first one was pretty easy to see. The second is a bit harder, but inspired me so much that I use it as a visual for one type of creature in my fantasy writing.

Did you see it? Here is a closer look.

These are just two examples. Do you ever see faces around anywhere? I would love to hear about your stories

Monday, December 13, 2010

#NaNoWriMo Results

Well as you can see from the widget on the left side of my blog my attempt to write 50000 words during NaNoWriMo failed. I ended the month with 24385 words. So what happened? I was on pace until I had to work a few overnight shifts at work. This threw off my groove and that was immediately followed by family coming in for thanksgiving. By the time the family left, I have four days to write 25000+ words. I was exhausted and had to go back to work immediately the next day so I was forced to throw in the towel.

In spite of falling short of my goal, I feel very good about what I achieved in NaNoWriMo. I wrote 24000 words in roughly 15 days. I learned that I enjoy writing YA and that I find writing first person easier than writing third person. I learned that when I write I do not have to reinvent the wheel or write the great American novel, I just have to write a story.

I had a wonderful NaNoWriMo experience and I can't wait to do it again next year. Although I may do it in October instead of November.

As for what happened to my NaNoWriMo project. I sent the first 25k to my CP and I am going to try to get to 50k by the end of the year. I will keep you posted.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Am I a Jerd, a Nock, or a Jerk?

I am a weird mix of jock and nerd. I love sports but I also love fantasy. These two things sometimes seem like they cannot or should not coexist. I get pushback form both sides my jock friends cannot understand how I can stand to read and write when I could be playing or watching sports. My nerd friends wonder why I would ever want to leave my temperature controlled office to go run around with a bunch of Neanderthals in the heat, rain, or snow. I am a bad jock because I will turn off a bad game to watch something with my wife or to read or write. I am a bad nerd because I will get so emotionally invested in sports that it can run my day and prevent me from reading or writing.

I suppose I can engage so strongly in both of these cultures because both draw me with the same things: vibrant characters, intense storylines, and intellectual stimulation.

The reason for this post today (not only to get back to writing on this blog, since Thanksgiving broke me of the habit) is to lament the passing of one of the vibrant characters that I had admired for a long time.

He was diagnosed with a deadly and misunderstood disease when he was little more than a child, but kept that knowledge secret as he pursued his dreams. He pushed himself to be the best even though his disease severely limited what might have otherwise been limitless potential. Never bitter but always intense, he reached his career aspiration in spite of his limitations. He fought daily against not only his disease but as word got out about his disease against an unfair stigma even though he was one of the best at what he did. He was a happy person, he was an intense person, he was a fierce competitor who boisterously celebrated victory and angrily rejected any defeat. He was despised by his peers for his passion and success, but he did not stoop to firing back at his critics he let his success speak for him.

Eventually time wore away his greatness and so he left the career he loved. His legend continued to grow and he became like a king and ruled well, trading the trappings and power of office and fame to become a voice for those whom he originally entertained. He did not grow bitter at losing his place of esteem like so many others but instead became the most ardent and joyful supporter of those who came after him.

Yet his two greatest aspirations were denied to him, for he sought for the group that he was associated with to be hailed as the champions and he sought to be rightly acknowledged amongst the best of history in his career. But in a cruel twist of fate, luck and poor management defied him the former, and the peers who had despised him so, blocked his attempts at the latter.

His disease eventually began to destroy his body and he lost both his legs. But still he remained joyful and jubilant, and dutifully continued to represent the people who loved him. Other sickness eventually began to attack his body and today he finally could fight no longer.

Ron Santo died today at the age of 70.

Ron was the great Chicago Cubs player and broadcaster who lived and died with the success and failures of his beloved team. He was a character unlike any that I have found in fiction, and his warmth and passion will be sorely missed. People like Ron are why I can love sports and love fantasy because he could have been a beloved character in a novel just as easily as he was as a beloved sports personality.

To read a less fanciful account of Ron’s life visit my other blog where I delve more into why he meant so much to me. And comeback soon to hear about my NaNoWriMo results!