Friday, June 22, 2012

X is for Xtremes

Do you know how hard it is to find things that start with 'X' that aren't xylophone and x-ray?  I don't have any strong feelings about either of these concepts, good or bad, but I don't really feel the need to discuss them.

Sorry to all the xylophone enthusiasts out there.  I know there are many.

So, I cheated.  I'd just like to say I know that xtreme does not actually start with an 'X'.  I am aware.  But since it's my blog, I'm all right with suspending rational thought.  Yet again.

Speaking of xtremes (finally), I wanted to direct your attention to the Cover Cafe Annual Cover Contest for 2011.

These are nominated covers which are then voted on, and there are winners in a number of categories.  For example, the winner in the Alternate Reality Section:

So pretty, as so many in this category are.

 And the Contemporary section:
Yes, I like that one.  I have a pulse.

And this gorgeous one from the Historical section:
Isn't it beautiful?

And then there's the Worst Covers section:

What is going on with that dude's head?

Hence, my poorly-spelled XTREME.

This cover was the one which caught my eye the most for all the wrong reasons, but it's not the winner of the worst covers category.  Go have a look.

I actually feel a little bad for some of these authors.  Is that normal?  

While you're there in that final section, check out the comments.

Xtremely hilarious stuff!  

Happy reading,


Thursday, June 14, 2012

W is for 'What the?'

Our youngest offspring, Anarchy, is four.  He's more like me than I'm strictly comfortable with.  He's not a highly physical child (he holds his hands high when he runs, so he looks like a human washing machine, and none of his limbs seem to be facing the right direction), although he does love kicking balls, reading books and riding his scooter.  He's verbose, and he's a drama llama.

Now, he's only little.  He can't tie his shoelaces, he can't cook, he can't even clean his room without supervision.

So, 'W is for Whale" should be right up his alley:

Right?  No.  Boo-ooring!

Anarchy has an iPad.  Well, it's my old one.

The child uses it far more effectively than I ever will.  Now, I have heard all the arguments against too much gaming, too much TV, not enough running around outside.  For the record, he is a mean machine on the trampoline.

But, I swear, he learned the concept of 'first, second, third" from MarioKart on the Wii.  His reflexes are sharp as little tacks.  He understands some laws of physics, especially if they are accurately depicted in the game.

He could read his name not long after he turned three.  He could spell it shortly after, clicking the little letters in games to put himself in the hall of fame.  In recent months, he's been inclined to pick up a pen and write it.

And write and write and write.  Names, labels, random nouns.

Recently, he was playing a cute little game called Scribblenauts Remix on his device.  It involves you helping a little character by typing in nouns, and that thing will appear for your little man to use.  It's like choose your own adventure with stuff.

Anarchy's little man was in a bind, couldn't move, was stuck between two buildings and to add insult to injury, the boy had conjured up an eel that had eaten all of his goldfish. Time to get out of there.

He asked me, "How do you spell jetpack?"

I looked at him.

"It starts with 'juh', right?"

"Um, yes.  What do you think is next?"

With coaching, he got it all except the kicking K.

You should have seen the fist punching when his little man sailed up and out of there.

He's learned something that I have long suspected to be true:  a jetpack fixes everything.

Until next time,

Em.  x

Saturday, June 9, 2012

V is for I'm Your Venus.

Yes, I am absolutely singing the Bananarama song in my head right now.  Sans the grotty lyrics that Sparky likes to use.

I came across Venus this morning as I was researching for my cupid story.  Even writing 'Cupid'  feels a little uncomfortable.  Fat, chubby babies with wings, flinging arrows at unsuspecting hearts.  Cupid (from the latin 'cupido' meaning desire) is the son of Venus, the goddess of Love and Mars, the god of war.  This is your Roman version of events.  As far as inspiration goes, the baby with the weapon just wasn't working for me.  I've seen enough bad things happen when the offspring aren't even armed to know that can't end well.  

I knew there was a Greek version of cupid - Eros, where erotic comes from.  Of course, I knew that bit.    
The Eros Farnese, a Pompeiian marble thought to be a copy of the colossal Eros of Thespiaeby Praxiteles[1]


Nor surprisingly, Eros was the god of love in Greek Mythology.  He is often depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power.

Now, we be talking. 

In some versions, he is an original primordial god-dude, with no parents, but others say his parents were Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty, pleasure and procreation and Ares, god of war.  He is nearly always associated with his mother's mischievous fiddling with relationships, hence the boyish way he is sometime portrayed (...and we're back to Cupid.  Quick, run away.).  

Are you seeing a thread here?  A whole lot of love going around.  With adults.  Suddenly, I feel better. 

But did you know that Eros has a whole pile of siblings? 

Anteros was given as a playmate to his brother Eros, who felt a little lonely as a child.  Now this is the interesting part, and I quote: "...the rationale being that love must be answered if it is to prosper."
Anteros by Alfred Gilbert, 1893; from the Shaftesbury Memorial in Piccadilly Circus.  This statue is often confused for Cupid.

This, also from the Anteros listing at

Describing the nature of the emotion (eros - EL), Plato asserts that it is the result of the great love for another person. The lover, inspired by beauty, is filled with divine love and "filling the soul of the loved one with love in return." As a result, the loved one falls in love with the lover, though the love is only spoken of as friendship. They experience pain when the two are apart, and relief when they are together, the mirror image of the lover's feelings, is anteros, or "counter-love."


It's generally accepted that Eros and Anteros look similar, although the former usually carries the ubiquitous gold bow and arrow, where Anteros has a bow with lead arrows, or a golden club and girlier hair.  Eros' wings are like a birds, where Anteros' are more butterfly-like in shape.  

So, in the red corner, we have Eros, god of love, mischievous and playful, and heavy on the lust.  Sudden, arrow-in-the-chest, burning desire.  

In the blue corner, we have Anteros, who is the god of love requited love, literally 'love-returned' or 'counter-love'.  He avenges unrequited love and punishes those who scorn love.  Love that might start out smoking, but might start out softly as well, growing and building.  The stuff of romance.  

Suddenly, my story is shaping up.  

I read that the Erotes are the brother's posse.  Gods and demi-gods, they all hang with Aphrodite and create lusty havoc under her command.  The Erotes include other siblings of Anteros and Eros, like Himeros and Pothos.  These last two are less known and it serves my purpose to completely forget about them.  For now.  

So, I got to thinking:  what if Eros and Anteros weren't siblings, but types of Erotes?  What if the eros' and the anteros' were in competition, lust versus love?  Let's face it, sometimes lovers fall into lust and never into love.  That just means they got hit by Eros' golden arrow, and not clubbed in the head by Anteros' golden club.  Next time, they might get lucky.

What if there was a whole pile of erotes, vying for jobs?  

Would they be taught how do hit hearts? Would there be a cupid training program?  What if it was a competition?  Would it be amiable, or do-or-die?

What if some of them were girls?   

Suddenly, I have a background to one of my three characters.  

Oh, the joys of being a writer.  I gets me UP!

Are you checking my 50k30days word-o-meter ---> ?  It's been cranking around.  ;)

Until next time.  I'm off to find my old Bananarama tapes and tie a bandanna around my head.    

Monday, June 4, 2012

U is for Ubiquitous Ugg Boots

Do I look like a crazy person?  No, stop.  Don't answer that.

Apparently, I might be.  

I've signed up to do the Romance Writers of Australia's 50k in 30 Days.

Uh huh.  This is where you live like a hermit for the month of June, sitting at the computer in a pile of balled-up paper, used coffee cups and random handfuls of you own hair that you've pulled out, and write a big pile o' words.  

Bearing in mind that don't live by myself in a self-cleaning cave, waited on by bare-chested male servants, eating chocolate and actually losing weight, I thought perhaps the full fifty might be asking a bit much of my life.

I've pledged to do 20k.  See, not totally sense-impaired.  For the most part.

If I manage it, it will go awfully close to completing a short story I've got about 8k on at the moment.  It means I need to write 600 words a day.  Keep me honest by checking the ticker over there somewhere --->.  Feel free to publicly heckle me if it's not up to date.  

This story is about a Delly, a party girl who just knows that New Year's in Adelaide is going to be a huge bust; Alex, a sculptor with a past who shuns the fast lane, but whose appreciation of five-inch heels is growing by the hour, and Esme, a taxi-driving Cupid, who is handy with an arrow, but seems incapable of making good life decisions.  

Mmm, can you tell I'm still getting a handle on this one?

So, first day, I was running around a lot and kinda forgot it was June.  Wrote nada.

Day two, I wrote just over 1200 words, and caught up.

Day three, I was feeling revolting and was being waited on by Sparky and the Offspring as I lay on the couch.  I read a book on craft, but wrote zip.  (Leigh Michaels, ON WRITING ROMANCE.  It makes sense to me, which is marvellous.  And unusual.)

Today is day four, and I fully intend to catch up again.  Promise.  

I have come home and lit the fire because it's currently 9 degrees here, and that's not warm enough as far as I'm concerned.

In search of further warmth, I have donned the ugg boots.

Now, ugg boots--being a sheepskin boot worn by true Aussies during winter, primarily for warmth--are not something I think about much.

They are warm, cuddly, soft and need throwing in the washing machine every now and then because, let's face it, feet are prone to the pong.  You can get the skin variety, which last longest, or duck into Target every year and buy a new, bright pink pair of synthetic ones.  All shapes, all sizes, kids, ladies, men, dogs.  They're everywhere for everyone. Ubiquitous came to mind.  

Definition of UBIQUITOUS

: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread,  ubiquitous fashion)

Feeling ignorant, I have run to Google. Some interesting facts about ugg boots, from Wiki:

"Ugg boots (sometimes called uggs)[1] are known in Australia and New Zealand as a unisex style of sheepskin boot made of twin-faced sheepskin with fleece on the inside and with a tanned outer surface, often with a synthetic sole. The boots originated in those countries, initially as utilitarian footwear worn for warmth and comfort and later adopted by surfers there during the 1960s. In the 1970s, the boots were introduced to the surf culture of the United Kingdom and the United States by local surfers returning from surfing competitions in Australia. Ugg boots emerged as a fashion trend in the United States in the late 1990s and as a world-wide trend in the late 2000s, yet in Australia they are worn predominantly as slippers and associated with "daggy" fashion sense, and bogan culture."

Love bogan culture.  But, digressing.

"Generally worn for warmth and comfort, ugg boots had never been considered fashionable in their country of origin (Emmeline:  LOL!)but in 2001 sheepskin boots emerged as a fashion trend in the US through Deckers' promotions of the UGG brand, with celebrities such as Kate HudsonSarah Jessica ParkerCameron DiazLeonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez wearing the boots, and with Oprah Winfrey featuring UGG brand boots as one of her "Favorite Things" on her TV talk show.
...By way of contrast, ugg boots in Australia were worn predominantly as slippers and associated with "daggy fashion sense, bogan behaviour" and the "outer suburbs" when worn in public." 

However, it is not all rainbows, roses and happy bogan culture for iconic national footwear:

"In 2007, Pamela Anderson, realising that ugg boots were made of skin, wrote on her website: "I thought they were shaved kindly? People like to tell me all the time that I started that trend – yikes! Well let's start a new one – do NOT buy Uggs!" 

Yikes!  Regardless of your political inclinations, uggs are UBIQUITOUS.  

And please remember to shave kindly!


I love some other people's stuff, and if I use your stuff, I try to tell everyone that it's not my stuff - it's someone else's stuff. But, if I have used some of your copyrighted stuff here and you would like me to remove your stuff, let me know.... It's all for non-commerical use...