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Friday, March 25, 2011

I Heart Geeks

I'm coming to a point in my WiP when I need to introduce the love interest, and I can't bring myself to make the "dream guy" be someone I wouldn't be attracted to. I like a nice guy whose a bit of a geek, always have. Hubs is a bit of a geek. I'm DEFINITELY a geek.

I knew there was a difference between and nerd and a geek. But until I looked up the terms on, I thought it was much better to be a nerd than a geek. For some reason, most of the T-shirts say "I Heart Nerds" and "Nerds Are Cool". So why are geeks getting the shaft? Maybe Best Buy is on to something with their Geek Squad.


–noun Slang .
a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.


–noun Slang .
a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

Take these two definitions (ignore the carnival performer who bites off chicken heads - not sure why that's in there). Based on these, a nerd is like a Napoleon Dynamite - a bit of a weirdo and a social outcast, who talks about ligers and puts tater tots in his pocket. A geek is like Bill Gates - a bit awkward and maybe not the most exciting, but is a smart guy. Both might not (OK definitely not) have rugged good looks, but it's the geek who has the brains and basically more to offer a leading lady. Combine those brains with the "nice guy" factor and a sweet smile, and I'm butter. I want my MC to turn into butter too, so I figure I should write what I know. It wouldn't feel real if she fell for a bad boy or a hunky model. He has to have that nerd/geek factor.

To illustrate, here are some of the famous geeks who have all of those factors: geeky, sweet, a bit awkward, romantic and nice smile. Because I don't know what these actors are like in real life, I'm basing my descriptions on their characters and their looks:

Peter Parker in Spiderman - so smart and attractive, especially when he first gets his muscles. Yowza! Plus he's super sweet and not afraid to wear his emotions on his - um - spidey suit. And he's a super hero! How can you get any better than that? It's funny because people say Hubs looks just like him, so there you go.

Jim Halpert from The Office (which I happened to be watching as I wrote this blog post). He has that goofy smile and great sense of humor. Plus, he's a closet romantic and much smarter than he lets on. He's maybe not as geeky as Peter Parker, but he has the geek look for sure.
Mac guy from the Mac vs. PC commercials. He too has that geeky look and funny smirk. And he's obviously smarter than the goofy PC guy (though personally I like PCs, oh well). He also has a charm that's difficult to define, but definitely there. Justin Long has these factors in other roles he plays too.

And last but certainly not least, Chuck Bartowski from the NBC show Chuck. He has it all: the goofy, awkward smile, romantic and not afraid to show it, super sweet and he has a freakin' computer in his head. Plus he wears Chuck Taylor shoes, ha ha. Before he was the intersect he was still brilliant, even though he worked at the Buy More. But now he's a spy! Super cool and also super geeky. Though he lost some of the charm when he cut his hair because he doesn't look quite as geeky (I almost put nerdy, whoops).

All of these guys wouldn't be considered "dreamboats" in any sense, but I am much more attracted to them than some model type with tan muscles. I guess it's the emotional attraction being more powerful than the physical because I know that a geeky guy is more likely to be a good partner.

When you create a love interest, do you make him/her someone you would be attracted to? (Assuming the love interest is the gender you are attracted to.) Have you ever written a love interest you weren't attracted to, and did it feel real? What characteristics are you attracted to? Do you think it's better to be a geek or a nerd, or does it matter?

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm A Model, You Know What I Mean

Happy Friday!!

This has been a very long week. It feels like Monday was two weeks ago. Hard to believe it's been just seven days since the devastation in Japan began. SOOOO much has happened since. Perhaps it's the emotional weight we've all been dealing with that makes time pass by slowly.

This week, I got to do something that I am usually very uncomfortable with. Instead of being behind-the-scenes, protected behind a computer screen in my office, I was in front of a camera. Eek! My work took some promotional photos this week and I helped by being one of the models. These photos will be posted on the Web site, in advertising, in magazines, etc. People are going to SEE me! It's a bit scary. At least I am in the back for most of the photos. Actually, it was pretty fun. I got to have my hair and make-up done professionally, pretending to drink cocktails (they weren't real cocktails, mostly fruit juice and club soda). Though, it was awkward staring into the eyes of a guy I just met and having to hold it for 5 seconds while the camera's shutter was open. I haven't seen the photos yet, but I'm glad I'm not going to be featured prominently in the photos.

Speaking of modeling, I just had to include this song. Gotta love the '90s!

Like most women, I am pretty self-conscious about my appearance. I criticize my hair, my body, my face, the way I talk, the way I move - everything. I envy the pretty girls and silently wish I had more time and discipline to exercise, or to eat better. And then I get mad that I can't eat what I want. And exercising is NOT very fun. It's a problem and I know it, but sometimes I can't help it.

This got me thinking about why I am so self-conscious about the way I look but feel better about revealing myself through writing (like this blog post, for instance). In some ways, writers can be protected by the words on a page. We can write and re-write until the words say EXACTLY what we want to say in EXACTLY the way we want. We can ask for close friends to critique our writing before revealing ourselves to the world. It seems much safer than the flash of a camera that captures a moment without the chance to edit a movement or rewrite an expression (Photoshop aside). Some may say that writers aren't revealing themselves but just revealing their characters' vulnerabilities. I think that's total baloney. In everything we write, we are revealing ourselves. An author can't be completely removed from the story. Otherwise he/she wouldn't have the passion to write it.

So what is it about writing that makes me feel less vulnerable? In essence, we are showing a lot more of ourselves with our words than our physical appearances. And, it takes a LOT more work to have a great novel than to have a great body.

What do you think? Would you rather reveal yourself behind the safety of the written word, or in front of the camera? When have you felt insecure lately? Or better yet, when did you feel totally awesomesauce?

In case you missed my last post (by the low page views, maybe you did!), be sure to check out my attempt at drawing and the very weird adventures of Weirdo the Alien.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Adventures of Weirdo the Alien

When I was in elementary school, I had a favorite number: six. It was the number on my soccer jersey and for some reason I thought six was the best number ever. I used to think four was the best because that was my older sister's favorite number and I wanted to be just like her. But, I had to pick my own number because the number four jersey was already taken on my soccer team. So, six it was. And it was great. It was so great, I started to doodle in my notebook at school. Eventually, the doodles evolved until I created ... drumroll ...


In case you don't see how six turned into Weirdo, take a look at his goggles. Awesome. I started drawing Weirdo all the time. Why the name Weirdo? Because he's weird, naturally. And he wears a shirt that says Weirdo on it. Duh. I'm not sure why this little guy stuck with me all these years, and how I can still draw him exactly the way I used to (probably because my drawing skills never got any better). But anyway, I wanted to share him with you. And now, the very weird adventures of Weirdo!

*Yes, I know I kind of stole the mer-man idea from an episode of Family Guy. But it was funny, dang it.

WiP Update: I've decided on a new name for my main character and have reached 6,000 words. I'm not writing in sequential order so we'll see how it turns out in the end. Right now I'm having trouble with those in-between scenes, the ones that lead up to the main points. I figure as long as I keep writing I'll get those scenes filled in. I just wrote a dream sequence that I'm pretty happy with. Yay!

Random Suggestion: Saw the Adjustment Bureau over the weekend. LOVED IT! I highly recommend this movie. It's a love story with some action and mystery. Hubs and I both enjoyed it very much.

How are your WiPs going? Should I continue blogging about the adventures of Weirdo the Alien? If so, what other planets would you like to see him visit? Sorry, I'm not a very good drawer. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3 Pounds of A-mazingness

I am constantly amazed by my brain. I don't mean like "oh, I'm so smart" or anything. I am just in awe over how much my brain can retain without me even realizing what's in there until I need it. Like the other day, a song came on the radio that I hadn't heard in years and all the words came flooding out of my mouth as if I hear it every day. Here is the song. Go ahead, take a listen. I'll bet you know the words too...

Besides the fact that I'm a total dork who used to LOVE that song and actually owns the Lou Bega CD, this just shows how amazing the brain is. We can recall an enormous amount of information with a simple cue. Like when I smell a precise scent of Nivea aftershave lotion and I think of my hubby, or I see an old family photo and can remember so much detail about when it was taken, and so on. Of course, this isn't always the case. The brain can be a fickle thing. Sometimes I'm surprised by the completely random things I can remember with perfect clarity and yet have trouble remembering what I did yesterday.

I went to the Body Worlds exhibit a couple of years ago and learned a lot about the brain. Yes, that's the one with real dead bodies preserved in a process called "Plastination" (basically, the body tissue is turned into plastic and preserved; it's gross, but fascinating - learn more here). There was this whole section about the brain and how our minds process information. Such as, how long we can retain information based on how long we're exposed to it (like witnessing a crime and how two people might remember two very different things). Or, how sleep is very important for turning short-term memory into long-term memory (a la 50 First Dates). And if you practiced you could even train yourself to work out complex problems in your sleep that you might not be able to while awake. Oh, of course -  sleep-writing! We finally have an answer to "writer's block". What else does our brain do that science hasn't even uncovered yet?

This brings me to an intriguing new movie coming out called Limitless starring Bradley Cooper. Wait, let's just stare at him for a second...

...*sigh, drool* ... sorry, you still with me? Anyway, the premise of this movie is very intriguing. Thinking about how much our brain can already do (besides the times my brain takes a vacation; and always mid-thought; how inconsiderate), what if we could just take a little pill and use 100%? Would we really make millions of dollars in one day, or would our brains fry from working so hard? Probably the latter, but wouldn't it be cool to be like Bradley Cooper in the movie, always 50 moves ahead? It sure would make writing a novel a heck of a lot easier. I'm sure there is a science-y explanation for why this movie's premise it total baloney, but it's fun to think we could just take a little pill and be instantly brilliant.

What would you do if you could take that pill (without the side effects; I haven't seen the movie yet)? What old songs have you heard recently that you could sing word-for-word without even thinking about it? And just for fun, what would you do if you met Bradley Cooper? (*Sorry dudes, that last one is more for the ladies I guess.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's In A Name?

Lately, I've been putting my writing on hold (sort of) to do some research. Mostly about witchcraft because - spoiler alert! - my book is about a witch. Which (hehe) I'm super excited about writing! I've been researching various forms of witchcraft, and I actually found a spell that will change the color of my eyes. It sounds so easy, I might even try it!

Then I had a very unfortunate thing happen over the weekend. During this research phase, I decided I needed some inspiration by finding some books that are similar to mine. I went to the bookstore and was very excited to find a series that looked promising. I opened the cover to skim the first page and discovered - gasp! - the character had the SAME NAME as mine!

How could this have happened? I felt cheated. Horrified. Appalled. I couldn't keep that name and risk someone thinking I was a copycat. And this was a SERIES of books, the latest of which had just been released. It felt like I gave birth to this lovely character and now I'm forced to change my baby's identity. What could I call her that felt right? Sally? Emily? Angie? No. No. No. They all felt wrong. I scoured the web trying to find something that fit, that had a significant meaning. But, alas, nothing felt right. I finally picked a new name to try on for size. I like the new name a lot, but right now it feels like a pair of pants that's a bit snug and uncomfortable. Perhaps I just need to wear the pants for a while until they stretch and mold comfortably to my backside. Maybe pretty soon the old name will have lost its magic.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever created something in a shiny, pretty bubble and then something comes along with a sharp point and pops it? How did you regain momentum?

This in no way ruins the story, or even her character, but it is a bit of a letdown. I'm sure I'll have MUCH bigger hurdles along the way.

And just for fun, here is Samantha from Bewitched! And no, I'm not naming my character Samantha :).