What makes me laugh

I am still working on my review of Brent Week’s The Blinding Knife and since I don’t have much time this week, I’ll give you two things that make me laugh. And one that does not.

Earlier this week this video made the rounds on the internets. You’ve probably seen it, but it is definitely worth another look. It is hilarious. Especially the part at 1.22 when a man is having a verbal argument with a very large goat.

And because I am a Crazy Cat Lady, I give you this: the funniest picture of a cat. EVER. It had me in hysterics for an hour the first time I saw it via George Takei on Facebook.

Purrmission to Land

And if this is all just too cute… Here’s what makes me scream uncontrollably.

 

Fair warning though.This is the stuff of nightmares.

 

 

Clarity or a semblance thereof.

I’ve been struggling with my writing for the past few days. Both my detail obsessiveness and general insecurities went into an attack frenzy and my writing felt wooden and wrong.

I recognize the symptoms. It is the my-story-suck-and-is-better-left-alone crisis that prop up every now and again whenever I am trying to write longer fiction. It is the point where my story nags itself to death. Sometimes I let it to make it easier on myself. Struggling with a story isn’t half as fun as it is to play with new exciting ideas. But I am determined not to let it happen this time. I like my idea, it is good and relevant and I need to write this story.

So to get the nagging cow off my back I decided to play around with the structure of my story, I added another voice and another POV, but it didn’t help, it just offered the detail-police in my head more fodder. I turned to my new favorite procrastination hide-out. Twitter. And I think I’ve discovered what my problem is, courtesy of @joe_hill answering a reader’s question about where to start a new story. Joe Hill told the reader to get the idea up front. Its not a new thing to me, but at right that moment it was just what I needed to hear. Start where the story gets good. (read his whole reply here)

I never know where to start my stories. My head is flooding with ideas, facts, locations, people and back story. So I flounder and write a lot of words that may be relevant to to the story, but might be better parsed out in small bits over the course of the tale.

So, with Joe Hill’s words in my head I sat down with my story and gave it a good hard look. And I have chugged a good 12.000 words. Which scares me witless actually, because I am a child of NaNoWriMo and the word count is alpha omega. But at the same time I feel released from a heavy burden. I suppose mental clutter causes as much stress as physical clutter in the attic does.

 ~~~~

Another way to shut up unwanted inner-voices is via music and today’s clarity also came thanks to this amazing number, which for the past two hours has been playing non-stop from my headphones.

Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke.  Video is rubbish, but the music is amazing.

Obsessive

So, I get up at half past four in the mornings to give myself a little writing time before I start my working day. Its half an hour less sleep and it seems my body is OK with me taking it. Well until it’s evening and 8 o’clock and my body insists on taking it back.

The thing about writing in the morning is that my inner editor is still so sleepy that I can get away with quite a lot, but my detail-obsessive mean streak is quite perky no matter what the hour is. So this morning I was well under way, 300 words into my half hour, my heroine is awaiting the arrival of the cops, and my brain starts this annoying whine. Would the cops put on the sirens for this, would they run or would they walk, would they …

I have no way of knowing. I’ve never been involved with the police more than a few calls to the emergency number for pretty mundane stuff. And I doubt its as easy as just picking up a phone to call them, as my daughter suggested. Least of all at 5 am in the morning.

I know what I really want to do. I want to gag the whining SOB in my head and just write. But then I start thinking about what a job of rewriting it all I will have if I don’t mind the details. Then another voice pipes up and tells Obsessive-worrier to shut it, just write on anyway.

Its a shouting match in there. Like siblings bitching at each other. I can’t win. When the bickering starts I might as well just pack it in for a time and go do something else, while that of course invites self-loathing for not being able to control my inner voices enough to JUST WRITE THE DAMN THING ALREADY.

And the funny thing is that it is not because I care about the details, not really. It is because my brain is telling me how people reading my stuff is going to react to my stupid flaws. I am jumping the gun by so many light years that I might as well worry about what will happen when and if I move to Mars.

Det er en skandale!

I går aftes i nyhederne på DR kl 21, var der en opfølgning på den nye kødskandale der har ramt ikke kun Danmark, men hele Europa. Hestekød der bliver solgt som oksekød. Det er sgu frygteligt, det er uetisk og jeg er glad for at jeg som forbruger ikke lader til at have været en del af kæden der hoppede af.

De sidste par dage har de online nyhedssites haft overskrifter der antyder at en dansk slagter har opført sig ligeså grotesk og uetisk i omgangen med hestekød. Fødevarestyrelsen har indledt en undersøgelse af slagteren. Formanden for De Danske Slagtemestre var bestemt ikke overrasket over denne jyske slagter, der for to måneder siden blev smidt ud/eksluderet for problemer med fødevaresikkerheden.

Det er jo frygteligt tænker jeg og priser mig lykkelig for at jeg ikke har handlet ved denne slagter som ligger i Hårby og altså er lige i området. Sandsynligheden for at jeg personligt er blevet ramt af skandalen er pludselig rykket tættere på.

Men kæden er også hoppet af et andet sted. Hos DR. Jeg ser normalt ikke nyhederne klokken 21, jeg har aldrig set Kåre Quist i aktion i Nyhederne før i går. Og jeg må sige jeg er ikke imponeret.

Kåre Quist er helt sikkert fremragende til konfronterende forbruger journalistik, han er frygtløs og pågående. Det skal han være når han render rundt og prøver at lokke sky svindlere ud af busken. Men jeg synes ikke fremgangsmåden kan overføres direkte til kritiske interviews i Nyhederne.

For den føromtalte slagter stiller op til et interview på live nyhedsfjernsyn om hans brug af hestekød og den undersøgelse der er i mod ham.

Nu viser det sig at denne slagter i Hårby sælger et produkt han kalder Pizza-hak/Pizza-hakker. Det sælger han til pizzariaer o.a. Det virker han ikke til at gøre en hemmelighed ud af. De poser der blev fremvist i fjernsynet var tydeligt mærket at det er en Okse-Hest blanding.

Under interviewet afbryder Kåre Quist slagteren, han bruger konfronterende tonefald, han prøver at vinkle spørgsmål på en anden måde og antyder herved at slagteren ikke svarer på det han bliver spurgt om, selvom de svar han får passer ganske udemærket på de spørgsmål han stiller. Slagteren holder på sit. Det kan ikke være hans ansvar hvad der sker med det kød han sælger når først det har forladt butikken.

Sat sådan op så er jeg tilbøjelig til at være enig med slagteren.

Men så er det at kæden knækker for mig. Kåre Quist spørger slagteren belærende om: – hvorfor han ikke rakte hånden i vejret da kødskandalen begyndte at rulle i Europa og sagde at han har solgt sådan noget kød i 20 år og at det lander på pizza’erne?  -Hvorfor skulle han dog gøre det? spørger slagteren.- Fordi det kunne være interesant for dem der spiser kød, afbryder Kåre Quist. -Er det ikke også interesant for dig at de ved hvad de spiser, selvom du har styr på en etiket eventuelt? spørger han videre. -Jo det er det, svarer slagteren, og fortæller igen at han ikke mener at han behøver at udpensle overfor kunderne hvad der allerede står på det stykke kød de har i hånden.

DR og Kåre Quist klandrer altså en mand for ikke at springe ind i den verserende internationale skandale og indrømme at han har gjort noget galt. Forudsat at han har gjort noget galt. For at blive undersøgt er vel ikke det samme som at blive fundet skyldig i en forseelse? Og som jeg hører det så er det ikke selve det han blander hest i oksekød der er problemet for Fødevarestyrelsen. Det er hvad der sker med kødet bagefter, om pizzariaerne vidste hvad de køber og hvad de fortæller kunderne der køber pizzaerne.

Den stovte jyske slagter, tøvende og knap så velformuleret mod storby journalisten der kan løbe sproglige hjørner om de fleste. David mod Goliat så at sige. Men David tog sgu sejren igen, for DR/Kåre Quist var vist så forhippede på at få linket kødskandalen til Danmark at de vist glemte en lille ting.

Nemlig at skandalen ikke handler om hestekød blandet i oksekød i sig selv, det handler om hestekød blandet i oksekød UDEKLARERET. Så forhippede er DR at de forsøger igennem indledning og interview at koble Niels Nielsen, slagter i Hårby, en lille flække tæt på Skanderborg, ind i den kæmpe multinationale skandale om øst-europæisk hestekød der af mange og komplicerede veje ender i en lasagne bolognaise i de europæiske frysediske.

Jeg tror DR har glemt noget, måske har de ikke været bevidste om det. Men det er altså ikke mange år siden at det var jævnt OK at gå ned til slagteren og købe et stykke hestekød til aftensmaden. Der var ikke noget Ulækkert eller Grotesk i det. Hestekød er kød. Det er ikke gift, det er ikke ulækkert, det er ikke en bakteriebombe der sætter forbrugerens velfærd over styr. Det er en madvare som kan spises og nydes hvis man altså kan lide det og har lyst.

At sælge hestekød som oksekød er en skandale. At sælge pizzahak, deklareret som en blanding af hest og oksekød er ikke en skandale. Den eneste skandale i det er DR’s søgen efter at finde noget at få os forarget over. Det er BT/Ekstrabladet journalistik fra en før, for mig, velrespekteret og troværdig kant. Det synes jeg er skandaløst.

 

Hvis du vil se nyhedsindslaget så klik på linket. Jeg ved dog ikke hvor længe det er aktivt.

Nyhederne fredag den 15 februar 2013

-redigeret for pinlige småfejl.

Books

and how I love to read them.  Is there anything better than snuggling into a deep sofa, wrapping your legs into a plaid and then opening a book? Or well flick your ebook on?

In my world no. Reading is still my favorite way of passing the time, but I seem to do it less and less, the drat internet turns out to be quite an attraction as well.

When I remember my teenage years it seems like all I ever did was read. I never left the house without a book on me. I went to birthday parties for class mates with a book handy because more often than not it was easier to disappear into the pages of a book than it was to engage in conversations with those around me. Why should I care who wanted to play with who, who schemed to kiss this boy or that? All I had to do was to open a book and the world was already bigger, better and more inclusive than that. Books always held more truth in them that the world around me. I didn’t join in when the other girls talked about the boys they liked, I was always too embarrassed and afraid to be laughed at, so it was just easier to stick my nose in a book and pretend that I didn’t hear them. I really wasn’t very good at being a girl.

But since I met my husband and especially since we’ve had our daughter, the time left over to snuggle into a book has been precious little, and when she was smaller than she is now there was none, I had to steal time whenever I could. But the days of reading in bed until 4 am in the morning and then still be fit for fight at 7 am, left around the time I had a screaming baby nestled onto my chest. Back when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I basically locked myself in a room because I absolutely craved the loneliness and silence it took to disappear completely into the book. When The Deathly Hallows came out I stayed two days at a friend who was out of town. Just to read one single book. It was a bit insane you know, but absolutely necessary at the time.

Now my daughter is 10, and her life is slowly separating from mine. She hangs with her friends, she plays a lot of computer and she generally doesn’t need me to be there all the time. My free time is returning. I enjoy it immensely. Though I’ve got a new problem, I tend to fill my new free time with twitter, Facebook and other stuff that has taken over the internet. Sometimes I think I should throw my smartphone to hell because it sucks up so much of my time. Though of course my Kindle is synced to it and I use it to read on all the time.  Rock and a Hard Place conundrum right there. Ditch the technology that takes up your reading time and loose the technology that allows you to read whenever you feel like it, even in pitch darkness?

 

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks (Part 1)

I’ve been reading The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks for the past days. Like the first book in the series The Black Prism, it is simply amazing. I have a very hard time putting it down, and I have spent the whole weekend slipping away from the family to read, meaning that I have gotten absolutely nothing done around the house, on my writing project nor did I manage to get my lazy body out of the sofa long enough to go back to the lake and take another stab at finding a dump site.

Since I am not done reading this is no review, I merely write this blog post to say that the world building in these books is PHENOMENAL. My mind boggles at the level of details Brent Weeks manages to impart so easily and seamlessly in the course of the storytelling. It is inspiring to say the least. I just want to know how the hell he keeps all the details straight before he writes the book. Teach me please because whenever I try I end up obsessing about details and my worlds feel one dimensional and monochromatic.

Oh well off to read, I think Kip is in trouble…

(Part 2 will appear once I finish reading. I expect I have more praise to heap upon Mr Weeks)

A beautiful place for murder.

So Monday I had to bring my daughter to the dentist at one pm, and afterwards we realized we had a whole unexpected free afternoon ahead of us. Normally I get home close to four in the afternoon and by that time I am worn out, my head full of things to do and the lack of energy to do them, so this free time was really a bonus.

We decided to go this beautiful lake, only a few kilometers away and take a walk around it.

The lake in summer
The lake in summer

.We didn’t have suitable clothes on for a walk on a cold windy February day, but we decided to brave it anyway.

Icy Lake
Icy Lake

But already on the path down to the lake, which is nestled in a beautiful mixed conifer and beech forest,

The sun was out, but no heat in it.
The sun was out, but no heat in it.

 

Just a couple more months and these will be a beautiful green.
Just a couple more months and these will be a beautiful green.

the wind was punishing us for our irreverence, and when we reached the lake my daughters teeth were audibly chattering. She wanted to turn around, but I insisted on going at least a few hundred yards to this spot that I wanted to scout.

See the walk was perhaps a spur of the moment thing, but I did have ulterior motives. My current writing project is going to spoil some of this serene beauty, since a body is going to almost dump on somebody’s head as they walk here. I thought that this spot might be a perfect place for that to happen so we made our way there. Turns out it really wasn’t, but I found another spot that was just perfect.

Normally we come here in the weekends and people are everywhere, but it was deserted this day.

In the summer it is a popular place for walks, bike rides and the occasional quick dip its its cold waters
In the summer it is a popular place for walks, bike rides and the occasional quick dip in its cold waters

And perhaps that was for the better, since our conversations sounded a bit like this:

Daughter: Mum, come and look at this!

Me: Sure, what have you found?

Daughter: See this hole? You could put an arm in there, severed, blood dripping.

Me, looking into a deep hole leading into the hill: Yes I could. But I want my murder victim to be whole, falling from the sky almost.

Daughter, speculative: OK… you could put him up in that tree and then his leg would fall off and he could splat to the ground.

See how I am going to defile this hidden gem of clear cold water, wind rustling in the branches above and the crunchy sound of the mulch under foot? I am pretty sure that if someone had overheard our conversation they would have called in the cops.

Oh maybe I should regret that it didn’t happen, I could have gotten some free research into the interviewing techniques of the police.. oh darn..

So at the spot that turned out to be unsuitable we left the path around the lake and walked back to the car along a small walking path/service road that skirts the lake for awhile. I was hoping to find a way to access this road bypassing the padlocked bar that bans cars from it. But alas I didn’t and now I have to rethink my dumping strategy. I sense a return trip is in the cards. This time dressed better, and with a thermos of hot chocolate in the backpack.