Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Okay! I just finished the cover for my short story collection last night. I would have posted it then, but I kept dozing off at my computer and eventually fell asleep around 10:30. These early morning work shifts are brutal. Anyway, here's a sneak peek at the cover:

I changed the title, obviously. "Getting Out of Love" didn't give a clear idea of what the featured story was about, so now it's called "Love Hurts." All of the things coming out of the broken heart are objects (and animals) that make appearances in the story. I drew the line-work by hand in pencil, then scanned it and colored it on Photoshop.

As for the short stories themselves, I'm still editing. My mother read them over and pointed out a few things for me to fix and adjust. Otherwise, I could see this book coming out as early as this weekend.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, November 23, 2012

And here I thought I was joking about the turkeys going into hiding for the holidays. The picture says it all, folks. A grand total of thirteen turkeys came flocking to our yard the day after Thanksgiving to eat all of the bread crumbs my mother threw out there yesterday. My theory is that they're fattening up now to go back into hiding for the Christmas season.

You see, President Obama? This is how the turkeys of our nation have to live when you only pardon two of them a year!

Working today wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be. Michaels probably lucked out since not many Black Friday shoppers are in a frenzy to buy art supplies. The real treat today was that, for some reason, no inventory truck came this morning. We just shelved all of the items that came in on Wednesday. There's been word going around the store that we're not getting anymore holiday items, so maybe we'll go back to getting one truck a week. I guess that was our Christmas present from the upper management.

I also went to see the movie Lincoln this afternoon. Again, I'll need some time to think before I can properly analyze it. The film was enjoyable overall, but I think you'd need to be a huge American history buff to fully appreciate it, and to be honest, I'm not.

It's probably not one I'll watch again, but I'll still give this movie an "A" just because it does have a lot of very effective surprise moments and it shows a very funny, human side of the sixteenth president that history books tend to ignore.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dinner For Three

My family's having a very different Thanksgiving this year. It used to be that my mother's side of the family would come to our house for dinner and then stay with us for a few days. Since one of my cousins started working at a casino though, she's always had to work on Thanksgiving, so my parents and I would drive to Erie to have dinner at their house instead.

This year, I'm working Thursday night into Friday morning; Thanksgiving into Black Friday. Because of that, both of our families are now tied up and having dinner by ourselves. I have no idea what our three-person household is going to do with a dinner intended for seven people, but I guess most of your traditional Thanksgiving dishes keep for a long time. I know what we'll still be eating for dinner next Thursday!

Actually, I'll probably need to eat as much turkey as possible today so I can get all my sleep in early. That's the only way you can make these midnight-to-8:00 AM shifts work.

Speaking of turkey, I've noticed a curious lack of wild ones roaming in our neighborhood these past few days. I mother threw out some bread crumbs for them (stuffing, I guess you could call it) today, but there haven't been any takers. How much do you want to bet that they've turned the space under our porch into a holiday bird bunker and won't be coming out again until january?

In other news, I've finished the second draft of my next book. It's going to need another run-through on the editing, so in the meantime, I've been collecting some of my old writing pieces and preparing a compilation book for Kindle. As it stands, the title will be "Getting Out of Love and Other Short Stories," and the book will be available in two weeks at the latest.

The biggest delay will be drawing the cover, because I can't imagine finding anything on Getty Images or Fotolia that would sufficiently represent the twisted dark comedy that is "Getting Out of Love."

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. And good luck shopping tomorrow! This will be the first time I've ever been in a retail store on Black Friday.

Let's see how many customers ask me tomorrow if I really work there...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I went to karaoke at Duke's Station this past Wednesday night. I used to go there two or three times a week, but thanks to my early morning work schedule, I've had to cut back lately. It's almost funny, because the one day that I thought I'd be able to go last week was the day I ended up getting Pink Eye. Someone upstairs must have a real problem with me singing CCR songs in a bar.

Anyway, my friend Jackie's son Drew was DJ'ing at Duke's on Wednesday. His wife Jo and few more friends were there too, along with maybe ten other people. This was one of the smallest rotations I've ever seen at karaoke. Every twenty minutes, it was my turn to sing again. I couldn't come up with songs to do fast enough! Why can't every night be like that? :)

There was also some  slideshow of random music facts showing on the TV behind the bar that night. Apparently, two members of the band Matchbox Twenty are nicknamed "Hashbrown" and "Pookie." I just felt the need to share that because I like Matchbox Twenty.

On the writing front, I just finished editing Chapter 38 out of 41 in my novel. I think I'm going to hold off on publishing it once the editing's finished though, because I'd like to be pretty far along in the sequel by the time this book gets released. The second book is supposed to pick up right where this one leaves off, so I'd like the installments to come out as close to each other as possible. In the meantime, I've got plenty of older works that may be Kindle-ready.

Gotta go. I've got to get up at 4:00 AM for work tomorrow and I want to at least get started editing Chapter 39.

Rock on!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sorry for the lack of updates this past week. I've been trying to edit a chapter a day in my book, work has been crazy, and now to top it all off, I've managed to come down with a cold and Pink Eye at the same time. Right now, that all seems to be under control. I'm on Chapter 37 of 41 in my editing, and once this second draft is done, the third one shouldn't take very long.

Well, I've had some more time to think about Wreck-It Ralph. While I maintain that it's a great movie, there is one little part of it that I kind of have to take issue with. This requires a bit of setup though.


The synopsis for the movie is that Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy in an archade video game called "Fix-It Felix Jr." (and no, they never say what or where the regular, original version of "Fix-It Felix" is). The twist is that Ralph's not really bad; wrecking stuff is just his job in the game, and there's an understanding in the video game community that it's good for games to have a designated "bad guy." However, on "Fix-It Felix Jr.'s" 30th anniversary, all the other characters throw a party but don't invite Ralph. He ends up crashing the party and getting into a big argument with is gamemates, and they all make it clear that they resent him for being the "bad guy" and don't respect how pivotal he is to the game.

Long story short, Ralph sneaks into some other games to prove how heroic and admirable he can be, he ends up really making a mess of things there, "Fix-It Felix Jr." is deemed out of order because there's no more bad guy to fight, and Ralph comes home to find all of his gamemates packing to leave. As he tries to apologize and explain his actions, one of the side characters chews him out for only thinking about himself and for not appreciating what a good thing he had in the beginning, and the movie indicates that this character is right.

That's what I kind of have to take issue with.

I'm failing to see the "good thing" that Ralph had in the beginning. There was no silver lining to his life; the other characters were genuinely taking him for granted. They didn't appreciate at all how important he was when they should have, and they literally treated him like garbage. And yet the movie's trying to tell us now that he's entirely the one in the wrong. To be fair, I do think that Ralph behaved selfishly in the other video games, but most of the really bad stuff was done unknowingly or because of a misunderstanding. Plus, I never got the sense that anyone in "Fix-It Felix Jr." knew about the things that he did in those other games. So what are they mad about? That he got tired of poor treatment that he didn't deserve and they found out the hard way that he had a point?

To be fair again, the actual character Fix-It Felix has an epiphany where he realizes how unfair everyone's been to Ralph, and the side characters do show their appreciation at the very end of the movie. I just really don't think Ralph's guilt or the resentment we're supposed to have for him in the chewing-out scene was merited.

I might need to see the movie again to make sure I have all my facts straight. That shouldn't be too much of a chore since I still like it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interviews and a Movie

I had a couple job interviews this week. They were both at marketing companies in Greentree that got my resume from Careerbuilder.com. I know virtually nothing about marketing, I'm probably not qualified to work in that field, and it's a pretty safe guess that neither of the companies that interviewed me are interested in hiring me.

This is what my job search has become. Totally worth the four years of college that lead up to it. In the meantime, all I can do is keep working the graveyard shift at Michaels and editing my stories for Kindle.

If there's anything at all that I've learned sine graduation, it's that the only way to get by at all in today's economy is to make your own luck. No one in the entire work force cares if you're a part of it or not, and none of them is going to help you. That's why I have to stick to my guns and focus on becoming an author. I can do 99.9% of that job by myself.

On a more pleasant note, I saw Wreck-It Ralph today.

I'll probably have a lot more to say about this movie after I give it time to all sink in, but overall, it's worth seeing. The animation is very impressive, it has a lot of clever homages and spoofs of classic video games, and the way the writers utilize the worlds in each game for humor is just great. You can tell they especially had a ball coming up with candy-related jokes for the "Sugar Rush" racing game that Ralph gets lost in. It's a very imaginative, inspired movie that's very inspiring in turn.

I'll admit, it surprised me a little that John C. Reilly was cast as the lead. He isn't really an obscure actor, especially not since he got an Oscar nomination for Chicago, but I don't think he's really the kind of box office draw that you'd expect a studio like Disney to have starring in something like this. I'm VERY glad that he was cast though, because I've been a fan of his for a while and I hope that this movie turns him into a much bigger name than he currently is. In my opinion, he deserves a lot better than being known as "the other guy in Step Brothers."

In short, I give Wreck-It Ralph an "A."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Well folks, it's down to the wire. Obama just won New Hampshire and Wisconsin by a narrow margin.He's also won Pennsylvania and seems to be winning Ohio.

I'm not going to pretend to know a lot about this election. The truth of the matter is that I've never paid much attention to politics before this year. As a full-time student with no job who lived with her parents, none of it ever really affected me before. Now that I'm out of school and struggling to find work, I've got a dog in that fight. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of either candidate, but since Romney plans to take me off of my parents' health care plan if he's elected, I have to side with Obama.

So this is what life in the grown-up world is like: always settling for the lesser of two bad choices because there are no good ones. I've got to say, I miss being a college bum so far.

And dangit! All these suspenseful news updates keep distracting me from my book editing!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween Part II

This was our postponed trick-or-treat night in Bethel Park. There really aren't any kids on our street anymore, so the number of trick-or-treaters on our street has been on the decline for several years. At best, we get seven kids, and they're usually too young to even know what my costume is.

This year was a different one from most. We got 11 trick-or-treaters, and they were all teenagers. And I don't mean 13-year-olds either. We had all 16- and 17-year-olds coming to our house asking for candy.


Honestly, I don't know what to think of that. I certainly did my share of off-the-wall things when I was in high school (I'll save those stories for other posts) but there just seems to be something a little...I don't know...off about people that age trick-or-treating. Maybe it's just the fact that 11 people that age in three separate groups did it. Is this becoming a trend now? Is it hip to go around collecting free candy instead of going to parties on Halloween? I guess there's really nothing to object to, since it's always better to get stuff for free. To each his own, I guess.

Anyway, we gave out two pieces of candy and a bag of chips to each person. That's usually what we do, except for last year. We were a little low on our giveaways for one reason or another, and I didn't want to look like I was intentionally short-changing the trick-or-treaters, so I asked each one if they preferred Elvis or the Beatles. The Elvis fans got one less piece than the Beatles fans.

So not much other news on Halloween Part II. My second midnight shift in a row at Michaels went fine, more or less, and another copy of "Deer Lake" sold this week. I don't have to work until 5:00 AM tomorrow, and since we're getting an extra hour from Daylight Savings tonight, I think I can afford to go to karaoke.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Frankenstorm Schedule Shifts

Hurricane Sandy's been messing with my work hours all week. It's the holiday season at Michaels, which means we're supposed to get two inventory deliveries a week. Both of this week's were postponed by a day because the trucks couldn't leave headquarters. What's the issue with this? Well, on normal days, my shift is from 5:00am to 10:30am.

On delivery days, it starts at midnight.

Now, here's what I was always taught: when the clock strikes midnight, 12:00pm, it becomes the next day. The current day ends and a new one begins. So when I was told that this week's second supply truck would be coming in at midnight on Friday, I presumed that I was supposed to be at work at the crack of dawn today. I slept all day yesterday, stayed up all night, and loaded myself on coffee and Coca-Cola. It was a good strategy, but it was 24 hours too early. Since there was no truck to unload this morning, I ended up down-stocking for my entire shift. Lucky thing my hours are flexible at Michaels; I get to add today's accidental extra hours to my payroll.

Unfortunately, I have to go back to work at midnight...um...tonight? Tomorrow morning? Whatever. The next time the clock strikes 12:00pm.

Better crank up that coffee machine.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm sorry, it's been a while since my last post. It's easy for these blogs to slip your mind when you've had as much going on as I have. Anyway, on to some news!

Yesterday was technically Halloween, even though Frankenstorm had the trick-or-treating postponed. I won't complain, because these storm delays caused one of the supply trucks for Michaels Arts & Crafts to be canceled yesterday, so I got to "sleep in" until 4:00 AM. Trust me, that's late when you're a replenishment clerk.

Another plus was that having no trick-or-treaters freed me up for last night. Local restaurant Freddy's II was having a Halloween party, and I dug out my old "Alien" crewmember costume—complete with my homemade chestburster named Edgar—for the occasion!

Sorry dude, but Edgar has a real taste for man flesh. Luckily Thor showed up last night and kept him in line with the hammer after this happened. Photo courtesy of fellow writer Jacqueline Druga, who came dressed as Black Widow from "The Avengers." 

There was also a costume contest. Mine didn't place, although it got quite a few compliments from the DJ and some other party-goers. Third place went to a Malibu Barbie who actually works with me at Michaels, second place went to the Frito Bandito, and a zombie couple won first place. The prizes were all gift cards for Freddy's II.

In other news, "Deer Lake" continues to make weekly sales on Kindle and I'm over halfway through editing my second novel. I recently found the files for all of my old short stories, so expect to see a Katelyn Rushe anthology or two on Amazon in the near future!

Happy Halloween Part 1, folks! I'll have more to say on Halloween Part 2  this Saturday!

As a final treat, here's a drawing I posted on my DeviantArt account yesterday. It's the stitchpunks from Shane Acker's movie "9" dressed as characters from Tim Burton's "Ed Wood."