Sunday, May 31, 2009

Welcome to Weird World

Apparently, the clouds in Weird World wear Boy George makeup and aren't sure what flowers are. The ducks are the size of people, and you can ride on black Scotty dogs. I think people there have pet bees, too. Also, beware colorful Mothra.

Friday, May 29, 2009

CAAM United Hardware Limited...on the Web?!

I was weirdly surprised when I started Googling my parents' hardware store and came up with all kinds of stuff, including this commercial, as provided by Yellow Pages:

I guess after 25 years in business, it's nice people are saying good things!

And speaking of good things, check out the first Pedestrian Sunday of the year in Kensington Market this Sunday, May 31. Jenny will be hosting a fun little game to help me raise funds for thee WEBC.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Archie picks Veronica????

You stupid moron!

I mean, really, decades of rich snob versus wholesome girl-next-door, and you picked the snob whose father hates you?

This is going to end so well....

Unless, of course, they hook up, and he divorces her after a year, taking half her assets, and then runs away with Betty.

(Better sign a really good prenup, Ronnie.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another great first!

Every aspiring writer just LOVES to look back at their old work and rehash the wonder of their scribblings. Sometimes they're good...and something they're cancerous.

Well, now I present to you a regular (I hope) feature of scans from my childhood works. See, at my old elementary alma mater, the curriculum encouraged a lot of creative writing and drawing, so every day in Mrs. Sheldon's class, we would spend a part of the morning writing and illustrating a little story in our workbooks. We were also required to dictate stories to the teacher, who'd write them out for us in her neat printing, while we illustrated.

Here I present my first story, untitled, a gritty vignette about urban domesticity among working-class, first generation Canadian-born Chinese in downtown Toronto.

I wrote this on my first day of grade one, when I was six years old. This is probably the first piece of writing I have ever done.

If you're trying to figure out what everyone in the picture is doing: Jenny is watching TV (as evidenced by the cable box with the rabbit ears); my Dad is feeding fish in the tank; I am at the table eating; Fiona is skateboarding (there's lots of skateboarding in my stories); and my mother is drinking coffee (you can tell my the brown steam lines).

I think the story pretty much sums up our life twenty-three years later.

More Dev Patel as Zuko!

From Geekytyrant, more pictures of Dev Patel as Zuko.

He's got the right look and intensity, so I've got no real issues. Except, you know, for all the stuff everyone's been saying about no east Asians playing the principle characters. Also, his scar is just barely visible this picture--after all, we can't ugly him up too much.

I find it interesting they've repurposed the Rohan helmets from LOTR: Two Towers for the Fire Nation. What happened to the full-on white skull faceplates?

Not that I can expect the live action film to be anything like the cartoon.... Yeah....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fighting for Her Love--Draft One COMPLETE!

Finished my first draft of my third novel, Fighting for Her Love!


By the second half, it flowed like water, which I attribute to the fact that I did a lot of planning beforehand. Also, I talked out a lot of points with a critique group at the Toronto Romance Writers, and they really helped me nail down the character arcs and themes. So yay, thanks to them for all their help!

I'm really pleased with this story. It helped that I had a lot of inspiration (thanks to the sexy cover of February's Men's Fitness magazine) and just understood my characters' motivations. I came to the end of the story going "ahh" instead of "meh" as I have for the last two books. Also, I actually managed to write to word count this time, instead of over writing and then cutting! Awesome!

And now, the fun editing begins...*groan*...

I might let this rest for a couple of weeks and re-work Star Attraction. I've yet to submit that book to anyone, and should really try to before November.

Whew....I feel really good!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Because John didn't post it to his blog first

Live Long and May the Force Be With You.

It begins....

Today, John and I went to view our first possible wedding venue, the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse. It was nice enough, though both of us are kind of shrugging our shoulders, wondering what we're supposed to want when all we really want is to be happy and married. You know, that thing we're supposed to be on our wedding day.

As the manager there put it, "How are you supposed to know? How often does anyone get married?"

We've done some preliminary talking and budgeting, and I even bought the Real Simple Weddings 2009 magazine, even though I promised myself years ago I'd never buy a wedding magazine. *growl*. Oddly enough, I find myself striking out all kinds of things in the mag that really aren't that simply. I mean, who really needs centerpieces or bonbonniers or place cards or flowers or bridesmaids or invitations or...

Yeah, maybe we should just elope....


$1250, baby! YEAH!!!

I'm over the top now, but I wanna reach that $2000 goal, and I have a whole 3 months to do it!

Thanks to everyone so far for all your support and donations, and all your advice with training!

New goal until mid-July: $1500.

Let your family and friends know! Together, we can save the boobies!

Donate to my campaign now!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

First look at The Last Airbender!

Zuko and Aang, as played by Dev Patel and Noah Ringer!

Read the article here.

And try not to cringe when they describe the Avatar as being able to "manipulate the weather." *FANRAGESCREAM*

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good Intentions FAIL

Me: *looking in mirror, poking my belly, thinking* I should probably step up my workout and start dieting. I've got a whole bloody year to slim down so I look fabulous for the wedding...

(Later, at dinnertime...)

Me: Ooh, beer! Spaghetti! NOM NOM NOM!!!!

The best part of this story, as John will confirm, is that I almost never drink beer, and certainly not at home, alone, while eating dinner.

No, I'm not pregnant.

Maybe I should try the Kichadi diet...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Right Gear, Wrong Body

Walked about 11.5km today around the city. Had my new shoes, a new jacket, my yoga/running pants, workout T-shirt, cap, backpack, bottle of water, and two granola bars. Temperature hovered around 14 Celcius today; bright sun and a medium breeze kept me alternately warm and cool.

Made it to my halfway mark at the Eaton Centre for my break. And then my bowels rebelled. I cramped up and nearly didn't make it to the washroom, where I proceeded to break out into a cold sweat as agony seized my abdomen.

I figure it was the sudden change in temperature that did it. Or possibly the six or so kilometers I'd briskly walked. It wasn't until later that I clued into the Raisin Bran I had for breakfast. Of course, as I was eating it, knowing I'd be training later, I knew it was a bad idea. And yet, I just kept on eating it....

Took a long while to rest, continued on with some stomach squelching. Hadn't eaten lunch, I realized about halfway in, but since dinner last night was so big, I didn't think I'd need it. Changed my mind about three kilometres from home and ate a stuffed grape leaf.

By the end, I was tired and headachy (from cold wind blowing through my ears), and my feet felt like pancakes, but I know it's barely a fraction of the total distance I'm going to have to walk in September.

Note to self: no Raisin Bran before the walk.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cans for Cans, Bins for Boobies...

So the Cans for Cancer campaign is underway, a project spearheaded by my little sister, Jenny.

The story goes like this: My cousin Ka Kan's company was getting rid of their garbage cans--perfectly good black plastic wastepaper baskets, such as you'd get from any office supply catalogue. She took these orphan cans in and brought them to my parents' hardware store to sell. Jenny decided they'd be better served for the WEBC's purposes and made up some signs. She also put a donation jar at the cash register, the contents of which will be donated on behalf of the Kensington Market community. She also made donation forms available to those who wanted to donate more.

So, yay, little sister! Thanks for all the hard work!

The Cans for Cancer campaign will run until they sell out. You can pick one up at CAAM United Hardware, 160 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario. One hundred percent of the money will go straight to the Princess Margaret Hospital's Weekend to End Breast Cancer.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

This is what happens when John is away

I start abusing the digital camera by taking pictures of the blisters bad shoes leave behind.

This blister is not from my new running shoes. This I got after walking to Loblaws (about 0.85 km away) and back in canvas Keds flats last week. I don't remember them ever cutting this deep, but when the skin peeled away after the blister broke, other shoes started cutting a groove into the soft flesh in the back of my ankle. Think Achilles' Heel. It really hurts.

What makes this picture really funny: I pulled a muscle in my side while trying to get this shot. Fun times.

These Shoes Aren't Made for Walking

Me out having dinner with two close friends, both of whom are avid runners:

Me: Yeah, so I'm thinking about getting new shoes for the 30k walk in September.
Friend 1: Don't you already have a pair?
Me: Yeah, but when I walk in them, my feet get really, really hot, after, like, 1 km. And when I take them off afterward, steam comes out of my shoes.
Friend 1: That' not good. But it'll take some time to break in new shoes.
Me: I know. The ones I have are pretty comfy. I mean, I put in two pairs of insoles inside them...
Friend 1: O_o WHY would you do that???
Me: Cuz' I don't have enough bounce in my step. And I felt like I was leaning backwards all the time.
Friend 2: That's not right. Those shoes aren't right. You're not supposed to do that.
Me: ...Yeah...well...I guess...

You'd think that, having worked at Foot Locker, I would have clued into the whole these-shoes-aren't-good-for-running thing. I actually have another pair of running shoes from those old days which I wear at work, but they're boys' size 6--about half a size too large and not great for long- distance anything. They're great for standing in, and for short jaunts, and they're damn snazzy; but not so good for much else.

So I went out today and bought new shoes. Nothing fancy--these New Balance WT460GPs were on sale ($59.99), and they fit. I've never been one to spend a lot on running shoes. The sales guy told me off the bat to put the Nikes down, despite my long-standing success with them for comfort, since I was doing a long-distance walk. As it is, these seem to be comfy enough, and give me the necessary support on the outer edge of my feet since I tend to supinate. I'm testing them around the house as I write this.

I also splurged on some fancy double-layer anti-blister socks (no, not the rainbow ones in the picture, though wouldn't THOSE be AWESOME?) as recommended by many of my colleagues who have done the 60k walk before. Interestingly, the sports shop had a pair that cost $1 extra and had a pink ribbon on them. I didn't buy those. I'm going to be surrounded by enough pink that day (it was unavoidable with my shoes). No need to remind myself why I'm doing this with socks.

On the fund-raising front, little sister Jenny has informed me that my cousin Kan is brining in a whole bunch of clean, still-in-good-condition garbage cans that her company is getting rid of for some reason. They're going to sell them at the hardware store (CAAM United Hardware, 160 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market, celebrating 25 years in business!) and donate the proceeds directly to my campaign.

I asked her to give the project a classy, marketable name like Trash for Titties, or Cans for Cans.

Okay, maybe not.

More details to come!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Golden Heart 2009 Results

My score sheet from the 2009 Golden Heart Contest:

I think it's interesting to see the judges' ranking here: Judge 2's score of 2 out of 10 tells me either he/she was having a bad day, he/she is a harsh judge, or he/she really, really, REALLY didn't like my work.

I admit, it could probably use a little work (Read: a lot of work). After a year or so of sitting on it, I think I can probably shave it down, tweak a bunch of things, write a better synopsis, tighten up the plot and so forth. But such is the business of writing. I can always do better. Judging it on my own, now, after having spent more time on other projects with lots of hindsight, I'd say it's probably a 6.2, Judge 3's assessment.

Well, back to the ol' drawing board on that one.

On a separate note, I got a letter from Harlequin Mills & Boon acknowledging the receipt of my partial for Her Cinderella Secret (formerly known as All in the Details). Why they bothered to spend the money on postage rather than call or send an email is beyond me.

I suppose a letter is nice, but whenever you get a thin little envelope from a publishing house, your heart usually sinks to your feet. In this case it went from, "Awwww, man..." to "Oh," to "Aw, geez, now I have to wait some more."

Listening to God FAIL --or-- "Thank God for the Internet"

It was one of THOSE days.

You know, where you wake up late, realizing if you don't get out of the house in exactly thirteen minutes you'll miss that succession of subways and buses that'll get you to work at 5 minutes past nine rather than at 9:30, making you late for the company quarterly meeting and humiliating you for all time as you sheepishly slink in to face 400 seated people and your CEO and noisily try to find a seat, then spend the next 2 hours telling your growling stomach to shut up because it hasn't gotten its fill of oatmeal.

Yeah, well, fortunately, none of that actually happened.

I did, however, lock myself out of the house. While the family and the fiance were out of the country. And with no spare key to be found among relatives or friends.

You see, in my rush to avoid the above scenario, I'd left my keys in some unknown realm. The worst part was that 1% of my brain was convinced I'd left them in the door overnight and someone had taken them and I would come home to a house devoid of valuables.

Panicking through most of the meeting, afterward I immediately started emailing my brother-in-law, also named John, except I seriously doubted he'd check his personal email at work. I went on a mad hunt for a chain of phone numbers that would hopefully lead me to discover his cell phone number. I realized then that his work email was saved on my work email contacts list, and from that, I derived where he worked, Googled the company contact, and finally, finally reached him to confirm he'd be home and I'd be able to get into the house tonight.

Not that it helped that 1% of my brain that houses the worst-case scenario cell. I'd dreamed earlier in the week the house had been robbed because a door had been left open. And I had a feeling all week I would do something just like this. I'm not a religious person, but I just KNEW God was leaving me signs to check for my keys. My apartment door was unlocked before I left this morning, which I thought strange. It immediately told me "check for your keys--something wasn't locked!" to which I mentally responded, "Shut up, brain!" and closed the door behind me BEFORE searching for my keys in my purse.

Yeah. So that was my day. Happily, it ended with a glass of merlot that had me smashed in minutes. Good times.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Good News on the Boobie Front


Hospital offers same-day breast cancer diagnosis

Canada's biggest cancer hospital is set to announce a clinic that can offer what no other hospital in this country can: same-day breast cancer diagnosis.

The rapid diagnostic breast clinic at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital can provide a patient a diagnosis in a matter of hours instead of the more typical five-week wait. Patients also receive an immediate treatment plan based on their diagnosis, which explains their treatment options: surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Women in Canada typically wait weeks for a diagnosis after finding a suspicious lump in their breast. But at Princess Margaret, almost 500 patients have quietly been undergoing rapid testing at the clinic as part of a pilot project that began in the fall of 2006.

The idea for the rapid diagnosis centre came from David McCready, a breast surgical oncologist at Princess Margaret. McCready had noticed that patients referred to him from Toronto and elsewhere typically waited about 37 days for a diagnosis after first seeing their doctor.

While that kind of wait does not typically compromise a patient's recovery as long as treatment begins soon after, it can cause enormous anxiety for the women who are waiting to hear if they have cancer. The clinic at Princess Margaret aims to change all that.

The key to rapid diagnosis is a costly piece of equipment, called the Xpress Rapid Tissue processor, which can prepare a sample of breast tissue for analysis in a matter of hours.

On that note, I'm up to 82% of my fundraising goal for the WEBC already! I'd love to get to $2000 by September to match the 2-day walking event, even though I'm only doing the one-day event. If you can donate, please visit my web page!

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Moments in which I wish I had better forethought/judgment....

Me, writing a steamy hot first-kiss scene for my third book, Fighting for Her Love...while on the public bus, with a wide-eyed Filipino nanny reading over my shoulder:

Me: [typing] A low growl emitted from his throat. The temperature of her skin went from frigid to flaming in seconds, and a buzz started low in her gut, a primal reaction that echoed Dom's almost feral snarl of possession. His hands raked through her hair, across her shoulders and circled around her waist. She was lost in heady lust as he backed her against the edge of the dining room table, its lip pressing into her waist, the unmistakable...

[thinking] ...evidence of his arousal? Naw, that's so cliche....

[typing] ...jut of his arousal grazing her belly. She let his palms, big, strong and capable, caress massage squeeze cup her aching breasts through the too-thin fabric of her sundress....

This was almost like that time I read my first Harlequin Blaze while sitting in a Tim Hortons and nearly choked on my tea...oh, for those more virginal days....