The Farm Five K

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It seems these days everywhere people are doing these 5k, 10k and obstacle races. Warrior Dashes, Gladiator Grunts, Spartan Stuff and the like. One of the kids at work (I’ll call him Spry Guy) today was describing the obstacles in the race he entered this weekend. Climbing walls, crawling under wire and through mud…and I thought, sounds like a typical day on the farm. And Spry Guy paid money for the privilege to do this! $55! Great googly moogly! That’s two bags of rabbit feed, four bales of alfalfa, a bag of chicken scratch and a salt block.

Actual money for crawling around in the mud.

And then it hit me.

I’m missing a goldmine here!

How about…

The Farm 5k?

A totally new obstacle event based on life on the farm!

Imagine this:

Instead of crawling under regular ol’ barbed wire, we’ll crawl around under the electric fence! We should probably have this event early in the morning so that grass is nice and dewy and damp. With the solar charger that gives me 6 lights on my 5 light fence tester, your tushie will stay low to the ground, I guarantee it!

What about the 500 meter calf carry?  It’s not easy to hold on to those things when they are all slimy and fresh!

Hubby is the defending champion of the 2011 calf carry!

Hubby is the defending champion of the 2011 calf carry!

And then, for the next event instead of crawling up and over a wall, we’ll have you climb the stack of hay bales. Of course, for full effect, you will be able to build the stack before you crawl on over. Or, you could shovel a wheelbarrow full of, well, stuff out of the barn and then run it up to the top of the compost pile. Extra points if you don’t spill it on your feet! (I recommend close-toed shoes, just sayin’!)

For the speed event, you can dash across the pasture. But to add a little challenge, we’ll strap a bucket of cattle cubes to you and let the bull in! No worries, he’s really a gentle soul. He’ll only squish you a little until he gets the cubes.

"Whatcha got there in 'dat bucket, missy?"

“Whatcha got there in ‘dat bucket, missy?”

And then the mud pit to crawl/run/stomp through. Let’s jest say… mud is ferh wussies! We can use…well, let’s just say it’s made fresh on the farm daily! It varies in viscosity from moment to moment, so there’s no telling exactly what awaits you! Might want to keep your mouth closed as you slog through it. And we’ll allow clothes pins for the nose if necessary.

Made fresh daily.

Made fresh daily.

Dude, I think I’m on to something.

What do you think? Do I have a goldmine or what? Have any of you ever entered one of these runs? I confess, they do look like a lot of fun and I’m a bit jealous that I’m a little too old and out of shape to do one myself. I’ll just have to live vicariously through Spry Guy and his contemporaries. Seriously, Spry Guy finished like 18th out of 1200 in his event. Impressive!

Maybe I could hire Spry Guy to be my personal trainer for the first ever farm 5k!

Er…

Maybe I could sit in the stands with a glass of wine and cheer Spry Guy on.

Yeah. That’s more my speed!

2013 TBR Pile Challenge

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I didn’t do so hot with the 2012 challenge.  Sort of fell off the reading wagon in the early spring,  and while I still read a good bit during the year, I just never got back to my list.

So, with hopefully a little more FOCUS this year, I’ve got some old standbys from last year, and some new to me works to work on.  Because even if we aren’t reading, we still buy books, right?

Here’s my list:

Cajun Racing by Ed McNamara

Horse Breeding in the Medieval World by Charles Gladitz

The Byerly Turk by Jeremy James

Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey

Fire by Kristen Cashore

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

(anyone sense a theme?)

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

Behold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland

War Horse by Lou DiMarco (not the recent fictional work, this one is non fiction)

So here’s to binging on good books.

Do any of you have any books you are itching to read?  Anything on my list pique your interest?  Give me a shout and let me know!

New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s Resolutions

Can’t ever seem to follow them, can’t ever seem to stop making them.

New Years is a symbolic time, when we flip over that new calendar page to reveal a bright shiny new year, unblemished by the hangover of toils and tribulations and all the baggage of the last year.  It’s a brand new year, a do-over of sorts, when we get a fresh start.  So naturally, all that bleeping optimism leads us to make New Year’s resolutions, that if we are being realistic, we know we aren’t going to keep.

But, when turning over that new calendar page, optimism gets hold of me and I can’t help myself; I make resolutions in January that will be blown all to heck by February.

I made all the ubiquitous ones:  Lose weight; blog more; be nicer to squirrels; exercise; make friends with Twitter; finish that WIP…

All the ones I made last year and didn’t follow through with.

So I asked myself what the problem was?  Why can’t I follow through on all those lovely good intentions?

The problem isn’t my work ethic. I don’t have a problem with hard work.  There could be a whole host of psychological factors, perfectionism, procrastination, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of squirrels, fear of successful perfect squirrels…

But I think what it comes down to is a lack of focus.  I joke about having too many plates spinning at one time, and being like the circus clown trying to keep them all from crashing down, and that’s not too far from the truth. (Especially the clown hair that goes with the image.)

I do a pretty good job keeping things spinning most days, but at the end, I haven’t made much progress toward goals.  I feel like an eight horse hitch with all the horses pulling in a different direction.  Lots of work, not much progress.

So, this year, I decided in addition to making a detailed list I would work on a concept for the year. 

FOCUS.

(with a nod to Jennifer Grayson who got me thinking about this)

I do have lots of goals, but this year I’m going to narrow my focus to a few of them, and ask myself if the action I’m doing now helps to move me forward to that goal and the end result.

So how does that fit into blogging?  One of the key goals I have for 2013 is to devote more time to building relationships both here in the cyber world and out there in the real world.  There are a lot of really cool people out there and I miss interacting with you.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any tips on maintaining focus throughout the trials and tribulations of daily life, I’d love to hear them.

That and if you have any tips for getting a squirrel out of your ceiling tile.  I’m not joking.  Maybe if I could teach the little varmint to spin plates in a clown suit…

A “look” at my WIP

So, my good friend and crit partner, Tameri Etherton,(who has an absolutely appaling lack of respect for my very narrow comfort zone-just sayin’)   tagged me in a new meme that is making the rounds. 

The challenge is to share an excerpt with the work ‘look’ in the title.  Hence the title of the post…oh never mind, time to stop stalling.

I did find one paragraph in the rough draft that had “look”  four times…yeah, gonna revise that one ASAP, lol!

In this excerpt of the currently untitled work my protagonist, Elieana, has been kidnapped by outlaws who plan to use her to revenge themselves upon her father, the king.

The new arrival pushed back his hood, and even in the moonlight Elieana could see that he was scarcely more than a boy, maybe 15 or 16.  Slender and wiry, he had the animal grace of someone well used to living on the edge.  His hair was a tousled mop of dirty blond clumps and pieces, and it looked like it had been a good long time since it had seen a proper washing.

But his eyes…if she thought her captor bore her an intense hatred, this boy made him seem loving and kind.  Elieana hadn’t realized blue eyes could burn so intensely.

“Well, well, well.  Now here’s a ripe plum.  Shaking like a little rabbit, isn’t she? Wouldn’t expect that filthy coward to have a spawn with any backbone, though. Let’s just cut her throat now and be done with it.”  He pulled a knife every bit as deadly looking as the one Elieana had become well acquainted with earlier and crouched down in front of her.

That’s it for now!  Thanks for tagging me, Tameri!

( I know I should tag someone else, but I have to confess I’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks and don’t know who’s doing what these days. I reserve the right to ambush tag later!)

Gotta run, someone just brought me a sheep!

Random Acts of Entropy — Gopher Tuna!!

One of my friends posted this video to Facebook the other day, and I seriously nearly wet my pants when I watched it.  Ok, it wasn’t nearly.  I did wet my pants a little bit. Oh, fine.  A lot.

 

 

I’ve heard this song a million times in different movie soundtracks, etc. including that cute little movie starting the guinea pigs known as G Force, and while I always tried to guess at the lyrics, I never came up with anything quite so clever.  I mean seriously.  Octopus. Give him boots.

After I stopped laughing, I decided to take the high road and look up what the lyrics really were.  Of course, I don’t speak latin, so thanks to that ever-present font of knowledge known as Wikipedia, I found a translation, side by side:

O Fortuna velut luna statu variabilis, semper crescis aut decrescis; vita detestabilis nunc obdurat et tunc curat ludo mentis aciem, egestatem, potestatem dissolvit ut glaciem.
Sors immanis et inanis, rota tu volubilis, status malus, vana salus semper dissolubilis, obumbrata et velata michi quoque niteris; nunc per ludum dorsum nudum fero tui sceleris.
Sors salutis et virtutis michi nunc contraria, est affectus et defectus semper in angaria. Hac in hora sine mora corde pulsum tangite; quod per sortem sternit fortem, mecum omnes plangite!

O Fortune, just like the moon thou art variable, always dost thou wax and wane. Detestable life, first dost thou mistreat us, and then, whimsically, thou heedest our desires. As the sun melts the ice, so dost thou dissolve both poverty and power.
Monstrous and empty fate, thou, turning wheel, art mean, voiding good health at thy will. Veiled in obscurity, thou dost attack me also. To thy cruel pleasure I bare my back.
Thou dost withdraw my health and virtue; thou dost threaten my emotion and weakness with torture. At this hour, therefore, let us pluck the strings without delay. Let us mourn together, for fate crushes the brave.[3]

It turns out the lyrics to this bad boy is from a medieval gothic poem, and was set to music by German composer Carl Orff in the mid 1930’s.

Does anyone but me think the translation sounds way too much like being a writer addressing the muse?!

If you need to clean your brain after the animated version, here you go:

http://youtu.be/GD3VsesSBsw

A lovely classical rendition.

But I dare  you:  Listen to this song ever again without hearing Gopher Tuna and thinking of an Octopus in Boots heading to North Korea.

And if you can successfully go through the next 48 hours without this song playing on your mental loop:

Please!  For the love of God, leave a comment in the comment section and tell me how you did it!  It won’t go away!  Help me!

Gopher Tuna!  Suck Juice from Moose!

Row 80 Round 2 Goals

The last round wasn’t so good for me, but I’ve learned that life has ebb and flow, so I’m just putting the last round down to an ebb tide, right?  ( I think that’s the right phrase, being landlocked in Kansas I don’t get much ocean exposure!)

I’m going to keep it simple this time and focus on a three-pronged approach to my goals, and focus on me as a writer a little bit more.

I found a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way at Bookaholic the other day, and since I’ve been feeling blocked creatively for the last, oh say, 30 plus years, it seemed worth a shot.  The book is a twelve week program for getting un-blocked and tapping into your creativity, and a Row 80 is about 12 weeks, so seemed pretty coinkydinky to me!

1.  I will work through the lessons one week at a time, and do all the homeworks involved with it.

I am also going to get serious about some diet and excercise this round.  I did the Body for  Life program several years ago and had excellent results.  I got lazy and distracted and let some things go (my middle, butt and thighs!) but it’s time, for reasons I won’t get into here, to get serious about taking care of myself.  And a Body for Life challenge lasts 12 weeks, so I’m surrounded by coinkydinks!

2.  I will commit to my clean eating and exercise plan for the entire twelve weeks.

And the writing?  It’s time to put up or shut up, and get busy writing an ugly, messy, imperfect little draft of my idea that sits and chews on my brain stem all day long.  First drafts are supposed to be ugly, messy and imperfect so I’m giving myself permission to make puke stains on the page.

3.  I will write a rough draft of my novel.  This draft will be more like a very long synopsis, but at least it will be words on the page.

So how many of you are Rocking the Row this go-round?  Chime in and lets hang out together!

Magical March book review– Game of Thrones

Well.

I’m rather at a loss for how to sum up this book.  I finished it in a sleep deprived binge Friday into Saturday morning, and as soon as I have an opportunity to, I’m going to re-read it.

Game of Thrones is a book you don’t simply read.  It is a book you experience.  From the opening prologue through the stunning conclusion, you get sucked in and dragged along for a ride you aren’t sure you really want to be on, but you can’t manage to get off of.  You find yourself seeing things coming, and trying to shout a warning to the characters to JUST FREAKING STOP RIGHT THERE! But they can’t hear you.  Or don’t want to listen.

Martin does a brilliant job of creating complex, believable characters with strong motivations who are usually their own worst enemy, as we all are in real life.  And, as many of you well know, he isn’t afraid to treat them badly.  Very badly.  And because you come to see yourself mirrored in them, it hurts when things go wrong for them or when they do stupid, stupid things.  Just like life.  A happily ever after is not a given.

SPOILER ALERT

 

 

 

 

 

Because of my stupendous ability to be a spoiler magnet, and HBO’s ability to give me free service at exactly the wrong time, I knew Eddard Stark would meet an untimely end.  What I didn’t realize until reading the book was that his demise was a direct result of his own failings, his own ability to completely underestimate Cersi Lannister.  And dude, she warned him!  Multiple times.  I tried to also, but apparently he couldn’t hear me either.

I have a friend who is a major Martin junkie, and she told me that a lot of people who watched the HBO series were outraged when ol’ Ned got done in.  Apparently they hadn’t read the books.  But I think part of the problem was that they mistook Ned for the protagonist, which he is not.  In a story as complex with as many story lines as this one, it’s hard to pull out just one main protag, but at least in this first book, it’s definitely Cersi.  The protagonist drives the story, and Cersi is definitely the driving force here.

The other great thing about Martin’s writing , for writers, is that he presents a clinic on story tension with every paragraph of this book.   Every word serves to create micro tension, and as much craft as there is in every paragraph, I can see why it takes him so long to write the next damn book.  He also does a brilliant job of writing in different POV, and yet giving you enough that you realize what the POV character doesn’t.  Example:  Sansa.  All I’m going to say about her is that her choices led her to where she is and I really can’t feel sorry for her.  And plucky little Arya.  I’m afraid to get too attached to her, but it’s tough.

Anyway,  Game of Thrones is definitely not casual reading, but it’s great reading.  Experience it for yourself.  But…

I warn you…

Photo courtesy of Better Book Titles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will read all the rest of the books, and as long as it takes me I may be caught up by the next time he releases a book, say in five years or so.

* Bummer.  Apparently I didn’t get this posted in time for it to count for the Magical March challenge.  I didn’t remember seeing a deadline, but oh, well.  My bad.  So I won’t get my sorceress button.  Maybe next year.