Archive for the ‘Writing Prompt’ Category

I have absolutely no idea why I'm posing with a gigantic rabbit today...

I have absolutely no idea why I’m posing with a gigantic rabbit today…

A recent WordPress Daily Prompt asked Discussion Ending Lines: “We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.”

I thought and thought, and I couldn’t come up with a single example of an unused zinger.  Because I have ADD, I’m very unlikely to discover the perfect comeback ten minutes after the conversation ends.  Ten minutes is like forever in attention span years; by ten minutes after the conversation it’s a fifty-fifty coin toss on if I still remember what you told me, never mind going back to try to edit my half of the script.  (I’m exaggerating, but by less than I wish.  One of my high school history teachers loathed me by year’s end because I would cheerfully and sincerely commit do whatever- finish that late research paper, participate in the Academic quiz team she coached, ask my dad if she could borrow things from his WWII collection to use in lecture, whatever- and then, just as cheerfully and sincerely, forget about it.  It was clear I loved history and had an interest and knew what I was expected to know; it was high school so it was back years before I learned that I’m an ADD-kid, so neither of us ever considered ADD as a relevant factor.  Mrs. B. just concluded that I was an insincere bitch, blowing her off because I didn’t give a fuck.  Needless to say, we aren’t close.)

…or with a flock of flamingos...

…or with a flock of flamingos…

In addition, like most folks with ADD, I suffer from poor impulse control.  That’s often a problem- I have trouble staying on task when I have a time limit, I’m snappish when something irritates or interrupts me.  It is also sometimes a blessing: I’m generous and quick to help others because I’m just as unlikely to stop and think about whether to act on my ‘good’ impulses as my ‘bad’ impulses.  It does mean that if I do think of a zinger, I generally use it before I stop and think through whether I actually should say it or not.  Remember, I work as a server/bartender full time.  I take part in literally dozens if not hundreds of conversation every day.  My sense of humor is dry and extremely snarky.  And the little filter inside my head, the one that determines whether or not I should say something, doesn’t work.  My coworkers and managers all agree that they never know what I will say next.  (Coworkers find that endearing.  Managers cringe.  I enjoy myself.  It’s all good.)

Thus, this is a conversation that really happened at work.  It was a hot muggy Monday.  I was bar tending, but we were short-handed so I also had picked up tables so that I was running just as many tables as any of the servers, plus a table on the patio, and I was still also making everyone’s drinks.  I was dripping sweat and I felt sticky and gross and disgusting.  As it got dark, things finally started to slow down, and I was given one last three-top.  As I greeted the table, directly under one of the restaurants A.C. vents, the mother asked me, “Don’t you think it’s kind of chilly in here?”

…Peacocks and fireflies?...

…Peacocks and fireflies?…

Normally I would offer some polite excuse about the fact that our heating and cooling system is fairly inconsistent (true) or tell them I would have a manager adjust the thermostat (false, but they will go over and pretend to adjust it so that customers can fool themselves and create a warming or cooling effect that is all in their mind.)  Instead, I just paused, very deliberately wiped my forehead with my fore and middle fingers, looked down at the sweat glistening on my fingers, and replied, “No.  No I don’t.”

And one more conversation stopper from work.  Mid-summer, I had the joy one Saturday of waiting on a party of about two dozen that came from some teen sports competition.  All the boys on the team were clustered in the middle of the long table.  All the mothers were sitting together and drinking wine at one end of table.  All the fathers were sitting together and drinking craft beers at the other end of the table.  I was supposed to keep the checks separate by family unit, no one wanted to sit with their family, and everyone kept moving around.  The men kept buying drinks for each other, so it was even more complicated to keep straight which drinks went with which check.  We had recently hired a couple new cooks, so the kitchen was not running with its usual smoothness, even though it managed to avoid a true crash-and-burn meltdown.  The only way I could have been more stressed would be if someone grabbed my ass.  Somehow, I made it through their meal, and even mostly managed to stay smiling.  I’ve waited tables long enough, I know to play certain probabilities.  I had the checks separated and went to hand them out at the husband end of the table.  One of the wives lifts her hand, snaps her fingers at me (I shit you not.  She did just beckon or call ‘yoo-hoo’, she actually snapped her fingers at me!) and peremptorily orders, “Miss, give me the check!”

“Of course,” I reply, and I even managed to smile graciously.  Well, possibly grimace graciously, but I definitely bared my teeth and tried to think happy thoughts.

Before I can even let go of the tip tray with the check on it, Mrs. Finger-snap turns her head, snaps her fingers again, and calls “Roger, give me your wallet!”

… Yet another random rabbit… They're multiplying, I tell you!

… Yet another random rabbit… They’re multiplying, I tell you!

Again, I just heard the words line up and march out of my mouth before I could even think about turning on the little filter.  “Oh, I see you have a traditional marriage.  Your husband makes all the money and you make all the decisions…”  Mrs. Finger-snap was not amused, and I could actually see her puff up and get ready to explode.  Fortunately for me, the rest of her table busted out laughing, including her husband and son, so I also got to see her deflate again and give a smile just as sickly as the one I had just used.  That’s the nice thing about snarky humor.  I can say almost anything, and as along as I don’t actually swear and I sound cheerful, I usually do get away with it.

Well, of course there is one other final word that is necessary to end this conversation, and that is the style card for this post:

  • Shape: Standard Sizing Small (Because it’s often easier to fit the shape to the Mesh than the Mesh to the shape…)
  • Skin: Laura in Milk from WoW Skins
  • Hair: Moskau in Dark Brown, a free gift from EdelStore
  • Outfit: Leather and Lace, a sheer blouse with prim sleeves and collars and a matching mesh mini skirt from Rotten Defiance
  • Shoes: Executive heels and stockings, out of the Executive Designer Suit set from ChiChi of London.
  • Other Accessories: Punk Pumpkin Glasses from Old Dirty Bastard, Ruby ring out of the Eve fatback from MIA, leg tattoo from GrungeInk.

My scenery and posing critters were all near the new Holy Shi®t! store.  Take this taxi if you want to take some pictures…

I went and checked out a recent ‘Daily Prompt’ from WordPress.com, and it started me thinking.  You know, some answers are so obvious that you just have to be amazed that someone spent time and oxygen to even ask the question.

“Would you like some ice cream on your apple pie?”

Um, duh!  Apple pie is good.  Ice cream is good.  Apple pie a la mode, particularly if its a freshly baked pie, still warm from the oven, with a hint of cinnamon and caramel… I’m talking a bliss that has my mouth watering.  The last time I drooled this much I was watching an underwear model take his shirt off, and as tasty as he looked, I’d still rather have the pie.

I would have preferred a sign that said apple pie, but I'm a professional, so I can adapt...

I would have preferred a sign that said apple pie, but I’m a professional, so I can adapt…

As a waitress, I deal with lots of oxygen-wasting questions at work.  Occasionally, I’m required to ask them, but generally I have to field little bits of utter obliviousness from my customers.  For example, I ask a customer what side item he would prefer with his cajun burger and he counter-questions “Do you have french fries here?”  Never mind that his teenagers have both already ordered fries with their meals.  Never mind that a complete list of sides, including three different styles of fries, is printed in multiple places in the menu.  Never mind that I told the table Giovanni’s is running chili cheese fries as our daily appetizer feature when I took their drink order, which pretty much guarantees that we must have chili and cheese and fries.  Because I’m a professional, I blandly replied, “Of course!  Do you prefer shoestring, wedge cut, or waffle?”

Once I got back into the kitchen was where I sputtered.  (Here’s a harsh truth if you’ve never worked food service yourself: In the ‘back of house’, those regions of the restaurant that are not open to the dining public, the employees are judging you and sharing their judgements with coworkers.  If you are a great tipper, an awesome customer, or we simply want to drizzle chocolate syrup all over your naked body and then lick it off slowly, we are letting our coworkers know.  If you are a rotten tipper, if your kids’ awful behavior is a poster for birth control, or if you just touched my ass while I was talking to the table next to yours, I’m going to keep my coworkers informed about that as well.  You may or may not be on camera when you go out to eat, but you are definitely under surveillance.  That said, servers who vent while they are in the front of house are one of my pet peeves.  We have observations and opinions and we have a right to share them, even an obligation if it is something that effects our coworkers’ ability to perform their job.  However professionalism says we do our job gracefully and pleasantly even for customers we dislike or disapprove.  Letting a customer hear us talk shit about them, or even about other tables in the restaurant, so that they wonder ‘if they say that about that table, what do they say about us?’, means we are not being graceful and pleasant.  Yes, I’ve come to equate hypocrisy, maintaining a facade of fake friendliness, with professionalism.  This is just one of the reasons why I maintain restaurants are different from the real world.)  I listed three reasons why the customer would already know we have fries if he had more awareness then your average eggplant.  But I’m used to people not paying attention, so that’s not really a big deal.  What I couldn’t figure out, even after asking the cooks, was why awareness would even matter.  I can’t think of one restaurant that has burgers and doesn’t have fries, so why would the question ‘do you have fries’ even come up?

Yes, but do you want fries with this?

Yes, but do you want fries with this?

“Hey Emily, would you like to tell us about what you’re wearing?”

Always!  Whatever else may or may not be going on, in my life or in Firsty’s, the excuse and raison d’être for this blog is to show off my cute outfits.  The Word Press prompt claimed their particular obvious question was given to us by a literary witch, so I decided I would dress as a literary witch.  For my shape, I’m in Standard Size Small.  (I was originally going to wear something MESH, before I was struck by witch whimsey, and I forgot to change back to the Teen Katie series I’ve been working through.)  My skin is Michela (tan) from WoW Skins, with tattoos from Orsini (‘I see you in my dreams’), Prozak (the rose), and EdelFabrik (tan lines).  My hair is Dany from My Pretty Pixel.  The witch costume is actually kind of mix and match- the bodice and skirt are from the Black Pearl Witch from Cummere Mayo, the hat is from a Fierce Designs Pink Gothic Witch costume.  The boots are the soft leather Colorado boots from Grumble, Grumble, but in black instead of the red ones I usually wear.  Finally, to accessorize and look more literary, I’m wearing my ‘nerdy’ glasses from Envious and the Skittles color-change cross piercing from K-otic.

Striking a pose to show off my style...

Striking a pose to show off my style…

“So, Emily, as an aspiring author, would you rather be an obscure novelist whose work is admired and studied by a select few for decades or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions?”

As asked, this WordPress prompt question is another no-brainer.  Yes, I write what I like and I write to amuse myself, to help myself process thoughts sometimes, to craft stories that reflect my views and beliefs.  In one very key sense, if any other person likes what I write, that is gravy- the sauce that adds flavor, not the meal and purpose itself.  On the other hand, I like my metaphorical gravy, and so if you ask me to choose between having a few people like what I write or having a lot of people like what I write, well, duh.  Who in their right mind would turn down a chance to give pleasure to millions?

I suspect the ‘literary witch’ wasn’t actually asking the question she really meant, which is the source of most oxygen wasting questions.  If a shirtless underwear model asks, “would you like to have sex with me?”, that’s a no-brainer.  Of course I do, and I wish more shirtless underwear models would ask me that question!  Except the real question is, “Are some moments of passionate sweaty bliss worth the risks and consequences that they would entail?” and that is why most people generally experience a gap between the amount of sex they could be having and the amount of sex they are having.  (And if you have no gap, if you really are having all the sex you could be having, then you are also living in a train wreck of consequences and I actually pity you more than I envy you.  Although I do envy you also; it’s a human nature thing.)  When the guy at Giovanni’s asked if we had fries, I’m sure he wasn’t really trying to find out if we had fries.  He may have meant ‘May I have fries with my burger?’.  He may have meant, ‘What are my side item choices?’.  He may have meant, ‘Hey, Emily, you’re really cute; do you want to hook up after your shift is over?’.  I’m not a mind reader, and I’m fairly literal, however, so I generally answer the question asked.

Likewise the literary witch probably expected us to add some sort of trade-off into the question.  Such as write ‘literary fiction’ of greater depth and thoughtfulness or write ‘popular fiction’ that appeals to the masses.  Except I believe books can also appeal to both the intelligentsia and to the masses, or to neither the intelligentsia nor the masses (although the ones that appeal to neither are most likely unpublished…) so that it isn’t really a trade off between being high-brow or being common.  Or maybe the trade off was that popularity can be fleeting, so we were being asked to decide between a short-lived best seller which is then forgotten a few years later or a book that sells for decades but never to a large audience.  Or maybe the witch believes books for the ‘select few’ are going to be more artful and higher-quality, so the question is would we rather have literary success or commercial success.  To make the question more poignant, would we write a book that we believed to be of lower quality than we were capable of writing so that we could court commercial success?  Would we ‘sell out’ our craft for popularity and fame?  Those are nice, thought provoking questions, but not the question she actually asked.

And questions I’m not going to answer.  Particularly since the variations all assume that I write for the external audience, and ask either which audience I seek or ask if I had to make trade-offs to seek a particular audience (high-brow, common, popular, women’s markets, what-have-you) would I be willing to do so.  My view of the writing process is a little simpler- I write the stories I want to tell.  Once I finish the story, then I try to get it out there for others to see.  I may have to tweak or edit or polish the stories for a particular outlet, but in general I’m not writing to be admired and studied or to give pleasure to millions.  Rather I’m just writing.  And then I’m trying to share my story, and I will be happy with either choice, or both, (or neither, because I wrote for me anyhow.)  I cannot even claim I’m some tortured artist, refusing to sacrifice my creative integrity because I’m not that deep.  I just want to tell a story because I believe the world is better with more stories within it.

What do today and the fourth Thursday of November have in common?

They are both days of giving thanks; I have proclaimed it.

Make yourself comfortable; this may take a while...

Make yourself comfortable; this may take a while…

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”  Sometimes when I sit down to write, I have a geyser of verbosity that I attempt to wrestle under control.  Today is not one of those times.  Instead, right now my thoughts are all gnarled up like a tangled knot of string, and I’m struggling to find a loose end to pull on and start teasing the string into order.  I actually have a vague image of what I want to say hovering just beyond my fingers, but I desperately need that first loose end to start, which is why I quoted Lewis Carroll at myself.

I’ve written before about the quirky nature of my thought processes.  My train of thought is often more of a runaway roller coaster, and the thoughts I’ve been pondering today erupted from a particularly quirky inversion.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Even before I knew I had ADD, I recognized that my ADD-symptoms are much more pronounced and active when I don’t get proper sleep and I haven’t.  I worked double-shifts on both Thursday and Friday after sleeping poorly Wednesday and Thursday night.  When I finally was permitted to pass out last night, I had no intention of waking up before mid-afternoon.  Instead my bladder woke me up at eight on the dot and after an hour of trying to get back to sleep, I gave up and came down to write instead.

"Wait 'til I get going!  Now, where was I?"  -Vizzini, The Princess Bride

“Wait ’til I get going! Now, where was I?” -Vizzini, The Princess Bride

When I sat down, I had no topic in mind.  I hadn’t planned to be conscious, much less writing.  And it occurred to me that it’s been too long since I responded to one of WordPress’s daily prompts and that I miss that.  A quick check of my reader revealed today’s prompt was about the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year: Today’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). How are you taking advantage of the extra hours of light this time of year? Do you like it, or do you already miss earlier sunsets?  The words ‘longest day’ clicked my mind immediately to my on-going persistent gripe: The days are not long enough for me to do everything I want to do, everything I have to do, everything I ought to do, and everything I love to do.  Priorities must be set, and one of the simple fundamental truths of my ADD is that priorities are a discontinuous function.  I’m using math jargon, but all that means is that my priorities in a set, specific, snap-judgement moment- (my ‘instantaneous’ priorities)- do not necessarily match my priorities over an extended time interval (my ‘average’ priorities.)  More bluntly, ADD absolutely fucks my time management and money budgeting skills, because the way I spend my time and money reflects my values and priorities at the instant of decision rather then the ‘true’ values and priorities that are more measured over time.

An example.  I already mentioned my ADD symptoms are more pronounced if I don’t get enough sleep.  Likewise, I manage my ADD better, and accomplish more with my day if I have an appropriate breakfast to kick start my metabolism and if I take five or ten minutes of ‘stillness’, set some goals for the day, and visualize how I will achieve them.  (For the record, an appropriate breakfast has some proteins and has more good carbs than sugars.  A peanut butter sandwich, some scrambled eggs and cheese, even an Egg McMuffin, are all breakfasts that will improve my day.  Mountain Dew and Pop-Tarts, which occurs more often than I like to admit, is an epic fail breakfast.)  It is a priority for me to get to bed early, well, early by server standards which is still quite late by real world standards, because if I don’t I will either not get enough sleep or I will not have time for the morning rituals or both, and my ADD will probably kick my ass all day.  Last night, I was dragging and dead on my feet, so it was an even bigger priority to get to bed.  Instead I sat on the couch with my room mate as she watched various brain-sucking reality shows she had DVRed.  My true values were to get sleep and avoid watching shows that high light the lowest common denominator of humanity.  Each instant, however, my priorities pointed out that watching a little more of the bright shiny idiot box, even if it was a show I would normally avoid like the plague, kept me away from the ordeal of climbing to my feet and going upstairs when my personal gas gauge was somewhere below zero.  My instantaneous priorities clashed with my real priorities.  I regard this as a central truth of ADD, because when my ADD is acting up, I have more moments when instantaneous goals clash with real goals and the real goals are more likely to lose any given clash.

One benefit of living mostly inside my own head: I don't need chalk or slate to find a chalkboard...

One benefit of living mostly inside my own head: I don’t need chalk or slate to find a chalkboard…

So I as I sat down at the computer to write this morning, I was mentally kicking myself because I meant to sleep in this morning, and I didn’t.  And I kicked myself about some other things that I am falling behind in… an ever growing stack of library books, the way I am filling up the DVR because I can’t get to the shows I actually want to watch, how hard I’m finding it to blog lately, the fact I’m a bad ‘words with friends’ friend because I leave games hanging, etc.  And then I kicked myself some more because I wasn’t even feeling guilty about any of the actual important things I have hanging over my head, but because I was falling behind on things that are supposed to be fun.  So I was going to write about how oddly my brain operates that I can feel guilty about not relaxing enough.  Seriously, how effed up is that?

Time passes, as it generally does whether I’m ready for it or not.  (Usually NOT.)

… So, it’s half a week later, and I finally have some solo time to finish the post I started Saturday afternoon.  I tried to work the post a bit on Sunday afternoon and on Tuesday morning, but mostly I spun my mental wheels and did some very nitpicky editing of what I had written on Saturday.  There are different flavors of writer’s block, and the block I’ve been trying to lift is particularly frustrating.  As I began to hit my stride on Saturday, I only had the vague image of what I wanted to say, but I did have three important goals for the article.  One, I wanted to end on a note of thankfulness.  Two, although I’m fascinated by how my own mind works, I wanted to only describe my thought processes briefly.  Three, I wanted to keep my focus positive.  Ultimately, I believe that most, if not all, emotions are active choices rather than mere sensations or moods.  Happiness, love, forgiveness, hope, mercy… these are all volitional acts.  Even though negatives- guilt and frustration and fatigue- laid the foundation that shaped and prompted this post, I don’t want to write (and can’t imagine that you would want to read) a litany of whining and complaining.  It’s true, I don’t always get to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.  It’s true, I have to budget my time and my funds and my emotional energy, and ADD, unfortunately, makes it very easy to go over-budget on all of those.  However, happy people do not whine and bitch about the cards life deals them; they smile and play those cards the best they can.  I refuse to dwell on guilt or frustration.

Working my soul muscles (and my bump)...

Working my soul muscles (and my bump)…

At some point Saturday as I was writing, my fancy was captured by the phrase ‘whine and cheese.’  Whine and cheese is the shadow that looms over every blog I post, particularly when I choose to deal with the murky and ill-defined overlap between my firsty and I.  Picture, if you will, a soul-muscle.  We are all familiar with our physical muscles, the ones we use to run and to lift weights and to toss the caber and to have wild mad passionate sex and various other sweaty exertions.  We define muscular fitness in various ways… how powerful our muscles are, how much stamina we have to continue using them, how quickly they recover after we exhaust them.  Similarly, we use our soul muscles for emotions.  (Remember, emotions are active, volitional choices!)  Being happy, being upbeat, being forgiving… these are all actions I use my soul muscle for.  When I don’t use my soul muscle- either because I’m being lazy (it does happen) or because I’m weary and burnt-out (being physically sick, not getting enough sleep, or just budgeting my emotional energy poorly)– I get negative.  I’m rarely hateful, but I’m definitely prone towards caustic bitterness or insecure self pity.  Either one makes me whiny.  Likewise my sense of humor gets darker when I’m negative.  I’m generally amused by the world around me, but when I’m in my dark place, I’m cattier and coarser and more judgmental in my humor.  In a word, cheesier.  So ‘whine and cheese’ is a danger sign, an indicator that either I was lazy with my soul while I was writing or that I let myself get burnt out, and in either case, it’s time to turn the car around and find a way to get back on path.

More time passes…

I swear, for my next post I’m going to find something shallow and trivial to talk about so I don’t spend so much time weighing my thoughts and deliberating how to best express them.  It’s Saturday morning again, one week after the Saturday morning on which I started this post.  Once again, long workdays and short sleep nights, so I’m definitely just as tired as I was last week, but I’m not nearly as negative.  Thankfulness and gratitude are the antidotes for negativity and bitchiness.  I’ve been trying to work out my soul-muscle all week, and I’m enjoying the resultant rush of spiritual endorphins.

All right, let's bring this post home...

All right, let’s bring this post home…

So what am I grateful for?  Let me start by looking at the half-full side of my most common gripes and whines.  My perpetual gripe, to which all my other gripes seems to return, is lack of time.  Yes, my first life alter ego works two jobs, and we both wish he spent less time working… but he is meeting his financial goals, paying off debts while stashing away a tiny nest egg, and still has enough extra that I am a comfortably kept woman.  Yes, my time to ‘waste well’ is being cut into by other demands upon the firsty’s time and even a few on my own, but those demands- some prospective ‘serious’ writing projects, firsty and Mrs. Firsty managing to get some regular time together, doctor’s visits because there is a Firsty, Jr. on the way, etc- are all opportunities and blessings that I have not expressed enough appreciation.  I whine a lot about being an ADD child, because the toll it takes on my time management is grim and brutal.  But there are many blessings within my ADD story as well.  My ADD need for stimulation is what drives my voracious learning style.  ADD also contributes to my happy-go-lucky, live-in-the-moment enthusiasm, (which is ‘child-like’ or ‘immature’ depending on how you feel about Matthew 18:3).  It also fuels my imagination, gives me incredible energy when properly channeled, and encourages a generous and giving nature.  (…if you have good impulses, poor impulse control isn’t necessarily  a bad thing…)  Meanwhile, the discovery and diagnosis of my ADD last year has been an incredible burden lifted from my shoulders.  I’m still disordered, forgetful, and distractible- but it’s not because I’m lazy, undisciplined, or uncaring, so I have less guilt and shame.  (Although less is not none, particularly when I let myself run down, as the start of this post highlighted so effectively.) I’ve also formed some connections with peers I wouldn’t have otherwise, because as I’ve learned and shared about my ADD, co-workers have also, and I’ve formed an ADD bond with some of my coworkers.

And, because it’s a convenient segue to where I want to finish my post, I’m also grateful for all the pretty clothes…  Seriously, the time I spend bouncing around, writing for Grumble, trying on outfits, shopping, exploring, writing about whatever tickles my fancy, is the best way to recharge my mind when it is feeling run down or stretched thin.  I cannot thank WordPress and my small handful of readers enough for giving me this forum to air my views and my laundry.  With no more ado, here is the style card for this post…

  • Shape: Teen Katie (Week 16) by cukabebe
  • Skin: WW Bimbo Skin (Source unknown) (I got it out of an RLV trap.)
  • Hair: Arousal Potion Hair (Source Unknown) (Same RLV trap.  Cute hair but it also holds the RLV lock- once you don this hair you cannot change your outfit for half an hour.  I had to hide in my apartment buck naked until I could finish dressing…) 
  • Dress: Izzy by Dreamz Designs
  • Shoes: Mesh cap toed pumps- beige/brown from Grumble, Grumble
  • Accessories: sculpted neck scarf out of the perfect sunshine outfit from Envious, pumpkin sunglasses from Old Dirty Bastard, Tattoos from Prozak
  • Jewelry: Apache earrings from *JStyle, nose ring source unknown

It’s really true.  No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

I thought this  recent WordPress Daily Prompt would be right up my alley: Click over to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.  After all, growing up, I wanted to be a journalist.  Other girls could dream about becoming actresses or ballerinas or teachers, I was going to be a hard-nosed investigative reporter!  (Or possibly a fairy princess.  I was … distractible … as a child.  But enough digressing.)  I’m part way to a Journalism degree from Miami University, and once I get my credit cards paid off I will go back to college.  I even found the headline I wanted to investigate further… Website: 6 Ohio Colleges among fastest growing for sugar babies. (OK, I cheated a little.  The prompt just said ‘third’, it didn’t actually specify third from the top, and the headline about pothole repairs just sounded BORING…)

This sounded promising.  An excuse to dress up in a school girl outfit in the name of ‘undercover work’ or possibly ‘under the covers work’.  An excursion to investigate one of the seamier role-play sims, a mission somewhere between “Just One of the Guys” and “To Catch a Predator.”  (Side note.  I know it’s old and a little bit cheesy, but I adored “Just One of the Guys.”  I wanted to be Joyce Hyser when I grew up.  And a journalist.  And a fairy princess.)  Just slip into the sim, play the ingenue, see if I can find some creepers, then TP out to tell the tale.  So I checked my inventory, tried a few things on in front of the mirror, and soon I was all dressed up and ready to go.

Serious reporting that isn't afraid to ask: "Who's yer baby?" *wink*

Serious reporting that isn’t afraid to ask: “Who’s yer baby?” *wink*

(For the record: Shape: Kids Girl Shape (15-18) from Sour Pickle.  Admittedly skirting the line on age play, but I am setting my hook for creeper.  Skin: Tessa from WoW Skins.  Hair: Calla’s ImSoPreddy in Mocha.  Uniform: Dare Designs STFU Schoolgirl Uniform in Bubblegum Pink.  Of course, ingenue or not, I accessorize with attitude: Red Leather Kicks from Prozak, Earrings and Red Collar from *JStyle, facial tattoo from Grumble, Grumble, ‘Nerdy’ Glasses from Envious, Black Cherry lip gloss from [DUMB BLOND].)

Thus prepared, I entered the infamous Rocky Valley High School sim.  I was fearless.  I was prepared.  I had a battle plan.  Oh, yeah, what was that about battle plans and contact with the enemy?…

On my way into Rocky Valley, I found myself temporarily distracted by a small shopping center.  There were shops for Edelfabrik, Fresh Faces, Lucy’s Bodies, Keili,… Fortunately, I am a hard nosed investigative reporter wannabe, so it was going to take more than aisles and aisles of sexy outfits, cute teen shapes, and fresh-faced gorgeous skins to sway me from my purpose.  (That’s journalist-speak for “everything was too expensive.”  I’m a self confessed shopping addict, but that also means I’m a veteran Linden-stretcher.)  And as I was browsing, a cute guy came up to say hello.  Ripped shape.  Good hair.  Although obviously a peroxide blond, since he had dark facial stubble to match his blond hair.  His clothes… well, I don’t really have the eye for men’s fashions, since I wear girly-girl clothing, but mentally I tagged him as a probable newbie; his clothes looked quickly and crudely thrown together, cheap stuff not even as nice as the outfit I chose for my alt (Hey, if Strawberry can have a Manberry, why can’t I?) by doing mix-n-match out of the public access inventory library.

Hard hitting journalists hit the hard questions first...

Hard hitting journalists hit the hard questions first…

The cute guy- I can’t keep calling him “the cute guy”.  For the sake of a name, we’ll call him “Bob4298”.  I’ll emphasize that WASN’T his name, so I don’t get accused of libel if there is a real Bob4298 out there somewhere, but his name was a common name followed by a string of numbers, so you get the feel.  Yes, this was another reason I mentally tagged Bob4298 as a recent immigrant to Second Life.  So Bob4298, possibly newbie, definitely cute, has started a conversation with me.  He leads early with a compliment to my outfit, a surefire way to make a good impression.  (I happen to think I am really cute.  Tell me you agree, and we have something in common…)  And then he baldly announces, “I was trying to look under your skirt as you walked over here.”

Cue the noise of screeching tires as the conversation comes to a crashing halt.  I’m not offended by the sentiment.  When I see someone who is attractive, I generally try to see more.  I’ve done all kinds of “check out”: the surreptitious glance out of the corner of my eye, the “whoa my god” where my neck practically twists off as I crane to keep watching someone hot walking past me, the “look past” where I angle myself so I can see a beautiful person over the shoulder of the person I’m talking with.  Between all the SL hunts I go on and nights dancing at the Carnal Oasis, I’ve also learned how to do “camming” tricks, concentrating and moving my vantage point away from myself.  It’s a great way to check out the beautiful people.  Since I check out people, I’m certainly not offended that some one would check me out.  I recognize the implied compliment, and I would certainly hope that others find me worth checking out.  I am offended by the breach of etiquette; discreet is always acceptable.  Blatant can be acceptable, if done with charm and/or confidence.  “Hey, baby, I’ve just got to check you out” is a line that probably wouldn’t score points with me, but also wouldn’t cost any points- it’s direct, it says “I think you are pretty and would love to see more”, I have friends who would respond well to that approach, so I’m O.K. with it.  Creeper lines like “I was trying to look under your skirt” are a no-go unless a) the conversation has already gone into creeper territory (a lot of conversations at dance clubs go there) or b) you know me well enough that you can be a perv in an ironic, humorous way.

I should have just left immediately, but no, I decided to give Bob4298 another chance.  I laughed hesitantly and admitted I wasn’t really sure how to reply.  (Translation: I gave subtle signal that the conversation had made me uncomfortable.  Some of you will make the intuitive leap that subtle probably isn’t Bob4298’s forte, and guess my signals might not work.  Where were you when I needed that advice?)  Bob continues to ask about the clothes at Rocky Valley.  I continue to try to stay in character: ingenue, recent ‘transfer’ to Rocky Valley, interested in the school newspaper- I’m already guessing the odds of Bob4298 being potential sugar-daddy material can be measured in terms of snowflakes and hell, but I’m a method actress, and I’m trying to get a better feel for the sim, and I’m curious what will happen next.  What happens next is Bob asks me if I’m wearing any panties.  Cue screeching tires again.  Screw method actress, I am out of here.  Not walking.  Not running.  Not passing Go and collecting 200 Lindens.  I am straight out of there.

Oh, and just for the record, I actually was.  It’s more of a sometimes thing than a given, particularly since some of my jeans and skirts have really low waistlines.  But again, there IS an etiquette for learning that sort of detail, and Bob wasn’t using it.  The disappointing thing, however, is I returned to Rocky Valley the next day.  Wandered around on campus.  I spied on a football player and his girl friend having an argument and then making up/out.  I walked in on another student and one of the campus security guards fooling around in the basement, and blushed and fled before they saw me.  I tried to start conversations with some of the other students I saw walking around between classes by themselves, but didn’t really get anywhere.  The conversation with Bob was the most interaction I managed to have on-sim, and I gave up and left before it went any where.

So much for my big plan to go all Woodward and Bernstein on this post.

Oh well, maybe I can still be a fairy princess when I grow up…

One item on my “To-Do” list was to get back to tackling writing prompts from Daily Post (and possible other sources.)  Today’s prompt was:

You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

Without a good education, you could be discarded like this used-up Santa...

Without a good education, you could be discarded like this used-up Santa…

Whole books could be, and have been, written about how to reform schools.  Trying to sum up the changes I would make in a few short paragraphs is a challenge.  Fortunately, we are dealing with ideals rather than imperfect reality here, so here goes.  I’ll let some other soul figure out how to implement these goals…

  1. Too many people today are ‘lazy’ thinkers; schools need to promote active thinking.. not just the ability to regurgitate facts back for a test or to attempt to follow a recipe in a math class, but the ability for students to think about what they are doing and recognize an answer that just doesn’t make sense.
  2. The idea of ‘classics’ is that they are the books, plays, whatever that have shaped our common culture.  They have become part of our national identity, and by studying them we teach the next generation what that identity is.  In the name of ‘political correctness’, we’ve switched our focus away from a common cultural identity to diversity and now the only common referents we have left as a society are pop culture.  I love pop culture, but it’s no basis for a social identity.
  3. Speaking of diversity, classrooms of “28 kids in a box” are no way to do anything more than give lip service to the idea of diversity while you try to push all the students into the cookie cutter.  Recognizing that individual students’ minds operate differently and differentiating lessons to accommodate different learning styles is difficult, but is the best way to ensure that students learn how to best use their own brain to maximal potential.
  4. There’s an old saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Similarly, while students need to learn the skeleton of history and science, even more they need to learn how to use a library and use the internet and use their apps to teach themselves.
  5. Oh, and I don’t know if this is really something to learn in school but every kid should learn fashion sense somewhere so we can all look beautiful…
After a day at modeling school...

After a day at modeling school…

Of course I really don’t have any thoughts about school and fashion, I just need a segue way into the all-important discussion of what I’m wearing today… Shape: Mery, by *JStyle.  Skin: Amar, by WoW Skins.  Hair: Foxi, in white, by Tameless Hairs.  Outfit: Boots, Mesh Jacket, Black Top all from *JStyle (from the same gift as the skin).  The black ‘Grace Rock’ skirt is source-unknown, although it was created by Lotti Lusch.  Accessories: Hoop earrings from *JStyle (same gift again), “No More Lies” tattoo from Orsini and rose tattoo from Prozak, source-unknown lip ring, and Old Padlock necklace from Bite & Claw, sunglasses from Grumble, Grumble.

I took the pictures in the Mad City Christmas sim.  I can’t tell you how much longer this sim will be up or if it is a permanent sim that will just be changing themes soon, but it is cool at the the moment…  Hope everyone is having a great time, and if I don’t get a chance to post between now and then… Happy New Year!

That's right, I'm posing with the Batmobile!

That’s right, I’m posing with the Batmobile!

So Friday morning, I cackled with crazy-mad joy when I saw the WordPress Daily Prompt:

You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:

  • the ability to speak and understand any language
  • the ability to travel through time
  • the ability to make any two people agree with each other

Photographers, artists, poets: show us POWER.

WHY did I cackle with crazy-mad joy?  Because I love all things superhero and this prompt is a lovely excuse…

Batgirl in a wheelchair?  An oracle of things to come?

Batgirl in a wheelchair? An oracle of things to come?

…an excuse to wear this Batgirl costume.  Almost two months ago, I went hog wild with some gift cards at Fierce Designs.  So many cool costumes, and me a cosplay freak… there was definitely some POW! and BLAMMO! and KABOOM! going on as I shopped ’til the gift cards dropped.  As for the rest of the outfit, my shape is the Kids Girl Shape (15-18) from Sour Pickles.  My skin is Viola from WoW Skins.  My hair is Calla’s ImSoPlayful in Mocha.  (Yum!  Mocha…I need some coffee!).

Issue #42: The Huntress Arrives

Issue #42: The Huntress Arrives

…an excuse to go to the latest KatnipZ Sim-wide hunt event: Superheroines, Supervillains, Superboobs.  I put this hunt in my bucket list when I saw the first sign up, during the Alice in Boobieland Hunt.  If you check out the Katnipz blog site, you can see listings for the 41 costumes in the hunt.  (As of today, some of the costumes are listed as ‘coming soon’ so all 41 costumes may not be out yet.  Also beware this is 5L hunt and some of the items are actually 20L.  Still a great price, and to a geek-girl like me they are well, well worth it!)  The costumes are supposed to be fake boob friendly, which I view as a great plus.  Even though I rarely wear my Lolas, outfits designed to show them off are generally cut tight with plunging necklines, and I like that sort of thing.  I like that sort of thing a lot! Unlike traditional hunts, where you teleport from store to store to store, all of the gifts are loaded onto the one sim.  So while I wandered around taking pictures for this post and occasionally getting distracted by the cool stuff in all the little shops and kiosks (“Curse you, ADD baron!”) I also hunted for goodies… Fifteen found so far.  Come on down (Taxi here) and see if you can find more than I did…

Pencilled and Inked

Pencilled and Inked…

…an excuse to talk about RPGs.  I was never truly an avid gamer.  You know the type I’m talking about… the kid who got less sunlight than your average vampire, carried a felt bag of weird sided dice, and could make innocent bystanders’ eyes glaze over with a detailed play by play description of ‘critical charts’ and ‘initiative rolls’.  Still, I dated a gamer for a few years in high school, so I’ve experienced some of the game systems and can talk the lingo.  The most common genre for gaming is still heroic fantasy, inspired by the works of Tolkein and others of that ilk, but the games I liked best were Champions, a system for super-hero roleplaying which could be stretched to all-genre play and GURPS, a system for all-genre play that could be stretched to four-color super-hero play.  They are the reason I wish I had a schedule that permitted me to join a SL roleplaying troupe, which I imagine as a nice mash-up of computer game, LARP, and old-school gaming.

We super heroines need to relax too, you know….

We super heroines need to relax too, you know….

… an excuse to talk about the powers I have and the powers I’d like.  Yes, I said the powers I have.  Second Life is a very special sort of place, with the powers any girl would love.  I can fly.  I can teleport.  I can change my shape and skin color and even change my species or gender.  I can somehow carry 13,686 items in my inventory, including several items of furniture and hundreds of outfits, without even making an unsightly bulges in my utility belt.  So ask me again what powers I would layer on top of that?

Well, since you ask, I would love to be a dowser.  Yes, really.  In the fiction my firsty and I are writing, the protagonist (a spirited and lovely girl with really great hair) has a whole suite of psychic gifts related to finding things and knowing what is around her.  I suppose that is part of the appeal of hunts, the intrigue and mystery of figuring out where things are.

I believe I can fly; I believe I can touch the sky...

I believe I can fly; I believe I can touch the sky…

… even an excuse to finally answer the question in the prompt.  If I have to pick from the three powers given, I’m going to opt for power three, the ability to make any two people agree with each other.  Given that I am a person, that means I can make any other person agree with me… that would be mind control.  Sure it’s typically a villainess power, but I’m aware that as Stunning Stan Lee would proclaim, with great power comes great responsibility.  I would only mind control people for good causes, like making them turn off Christmas music before Thanksgiving or making men with chiseled, washboard abs take their shirts off and share their abs with the world.

Finally, let me include links to some superhero music:

You realize I don’t have an accent, right?

Today’s WordPress daily prompt posed this question: Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.

My head is full of air some days...

My head is so full of air some days…

For ‘whatever you like’, I’ll expand upon something I brought up in my last post.  I mentioned one of the worst items in my inventory was a blow-up doll avatar… So I decided I would go ahead and wear it.  After all, I have little shame and less dignity.  (For the record, I’m okay with that…).  The vendor on the avatar is Dark Delights Designs, the sort of shop that gives Second Life its reputation as the land of kinks and strumpets.  The blow-up doll actually includes two shapes and three skins (to choose whether you want to be an inflatable guy, gal, or she-male), wearable nipples, choice of ‘male attachments’ (for the male/she-male dolls), a couple different air-valves, a wearable vibrating tongue, and the HUD to hold the standard inflated in the corner pose of a ‘real’ blow-up doll.  Oh, and a cute touch that I love, two inflatable hands to replace/cover my actual hands.

Like many ‘complete’ avatars, hair is not included.  I chose the Marshmallow in Golden Blond from LoQ for two reasons.  Well, three reasons. Firstly, something blond and relatively simple seemed more appropriate for an inflatable doll.  Secondly, LoQ hairs always come with a tattoo layer of hair color pattern, to protect the avatar from inopportune bald spots in their hairdo.  In this case, it also simulates the spray color beneath the hair of a blow-up doll.  The third reason that I almost forgot to mention?  It’s a really cute hair do!  

Unlike most complete avatars, the blow-up doll avatar didn’t include even a single clothing choice, since blow-up dolls generally aren’t clothed. But since I intended to go out in public, inflatable look or not, I needed to get dressed.  Something with a little bit of classy to it, because nothing says grace and elegance like a blow-up doll in a prom dress.  Hence, my choice of this elegant gold dress from *Jstyle and some formal shoes from an unknown source.  As I look at myself in the camera, I imagine the unpopular kid at school, the one who is good with computers and bad with people, the high school student who already has thinning hair and thickening glasses, pulling me out from under his bed and pretending we are on a date.

Nothing says "nerd-date" like a planetarium...

Nothing says “nerd-date” like a planetarium…

Now after a three paragraph long tangent, I return to my claim that I have no accent.  By definition, an accent is “a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, esp. one associated with a particular nation, locality, or social class.”  I certainly have a distinctive writer’s voice… Just as my mind generally takes a circuitous route, often with many detours and sidetracks, to get from point A to point B, so does my writing.  In fact, as I write my blog posts, I generally simultaneously edit myself to pare the detours down, trying to leave the flavor of how my mind wanders while recovering enough linearity to make sense to people whose minds work in more straight-line patterns.  I use a lot of italics when I write, generally to either indicate I’m quoting or in parenthesis to indicate a quick aside comment.  I use a higher-level vocabulary than most people.  I tend to overuse adverbs like obviously, certainly, and actually.  Partly they are verbal signposts, helping me keep my rambling thoughts on some kind of path.  They are also an attempt to more finely add meaning to what I say because I try to be overly precise with my wordings.  E.g. earlier in this paragraph, I could have just said “I have a distinctive writer’s voice,” but I added the word ‘certainly‘ to add a concessionary tone to the statement, acknowledging I have personal distinctions in how I speak and write before I deny distinctions based on nation, locality, or social class.

I’m from southwestern Ohio.  Every region has its own variations in linguistic usage, but there is a long standing claim that Ohio is linguistically neutral: our variations are the absence of other regions’ more pronounced variations.  (Pick either definition of pronounced…I made a punny!)  Small market media personalities from the region have an edge in trying to jump to larger markets because that neutrality broadens the list of places they can go.  The midwest accent is harder to caricature because there aren’t any handles to exaggerate.  It’s my weakest argument, but if I have any accent, it is a midwest accent.  So since the midwest accent isn’t really an accent, I must not have an accent.  It’s my weakest argument because there are plenty of studies that have caught examples of midwestern characteristics.  I found these articles to be interesting discussions of the midwest accent, with plenty of examples: “Do You Speak American?” and “If You’re From Ohio, You Have an Accent.

Deflated… The date must be over...

Deflated… The date must be over…

Related to the first argument is the idea that an accent is distinctive.  I.e. different from those around it.  Since I am a solitary wanderer, there generally isn’t anyone around me.  And my home base remains southwest ohio where I sound just like the natives because I am one also.  Here, a transplanted Georgian or Bostonian has an accent.  If I were in Boston, I would be the one with an accent, but one of the side-effects of being less traveled is that I don’t have an accent.

And the argument that I feel really wins the argument is that an accent is a mode of pronunciation.  I chat, I text, I IM, I post, I write, I emote… I don’t actually pronounce.  Take the word gyro, a type of Greek sandwich.  It’s not uncommon in my region of the world to hear it mispronounced “Jiro”, particularly since that is the correct pronunciation when you are discussing a gyroscope.  My firsty generally pronounces it “hero”, like a comic book hero and irritates his wife and I by maintaining he can’t hear the difference between gyro and hero unless you enunciate the z-sound of the correct pronunciation with enough exaggeration that you are mispronouncing the word on the other side.  Yet when I talk about a gyro, whether you ‘hear’ Jiro, Hero, or Zhero, is all on you.  I put the letters out there and you the reader provide the pronunciation.  Yes, I have dialect and voice, which are functions of choice and usage and emphasis, but because I pronounce nothing, I maintain I don’t have an accent.  Refute that, WordPress!