Friday, September 28, 2012

I'll Take Less (But Better) Television For $100 Please

I used to be quite the TV fanatic, religiously checking ratings,writing on forums for TV shows and fan-fic sites, and always but always keeping an eye on TV Guide, Zap2It and other TV related websites. But then I started getting bored, and way too busy to devote time to watching it.  Not to mention, the last few years have seen quite a lot of crap being produced for the networks.  Nothing was catching my eye, or what was ended up being cancelled. So about two years ago I went through and purged a lot of the shows I used to watch and cut down considerably on watching TV in general.

This didn't mean I gave up on TV completely. I still watch television and some it is even considered "must see", but I just don't watch a lot of it.  With the new fall TV season starting, I've been re-evaluating what shows I have to watch and record (i.e. the must see shows) this season, but also deleting those shows I can live without. Here are a few of my thoughts on some of those shows I'm sticking with, and some I've given up on.

Sons of Anarchy: Holy hell Kurt Sutter you complete me. I am devastated, yes DEVASTATED, by recent events. I mean, seriously...seriously?! But I get it. It had to be done. It, although my heart is in pieces, I can't cry for too long. I should be fine by the next episode and whatever surprises this show throws my way.  And as an aside: if anyone told me when this show came out that I would like a show about hot badass bikers, I would have rolled my eyes. Bikers were never even on my radar before Sons.  Now? Even I got myself a Harley tank-top; not to mention my not-so-secret wish to live in warmer climes where hot bikers were plentiful. ;-)  

Revolution: I record this for one reason. Billy Burke. Love him to pieces. Wait, no. My bad. Two reasons. The second being J.J. Abrams whom I've admired since forever. Alias was, and still is, one of my favorite shows. As for Revolution, so far so good. I like it, I like watching Billy Burke, and will continue to do so long as it stays good. And that one dude, Zak Orth, who plays Aaron Pittman? In the first episode he had me cracking up. Seriously, check out the first epi if you haven't yet. What he says about bees, and then later about Google...hi-lar-ious. Well to me it is.  But then, I have an unhealthy fear of flying insects. Especially ones that have stingers. They do not like me much, and I do not like them either.

The Mob Doctor: Didn't like. It was an hour of my life I will never, ever get back. 'Nuff said.

Grey's Anatomy:  I don't know what to say about this show. I used to be a die hard fan. It was appointment television. But last season left me feeling blah and then...well then that last freaking episode in May. Gah! With Lexie gone and after what happened last night with McSteamy, well I just don't know. They were my faves damn it!! I don't really have a reason to watch this anymore so it's coming off the automatic record list. *sighs* Sometimes it's just time to let go.

Go On: Okay this one has me laughing, though I get it's not everyone's cup of tea.  I think Matthew Perry is fantastic though and the writing is funny. Though, I also love Community, so that gives some insight into what I think is funny. (I even have a t-shirt for the fictional college with the "Go Human Beings" slogan on it. It makes me giggle just thinking about it. I know, I'm a dork.)

Law and Order: SVU: Haven't watched this yet and I gotta say, although it's on the DVR I have no desire to. It just isn't as good as it used to be, and the creep factor kinda makes me not want to watch. (Same with Criminal Minds. I don't mind creepy, but sometimes they go way over the top with it.)  My fave of the L&O franchise was the original anyways, which NBC was whacked to take off. So yeah, I think I may just delete this before I even start. I need to make room for the new show anyways coming to NBC in October, Chicago Fire. Just the eye candy alone might be worth watching at least the first couple episodes.

And that's about all I've got so far. I have to watch last week's Haven so I can be ready for the second episode tonight and see if I am going to stick with this show. The only other show, other than SOA that is, that seems to be on my must see list so far is Once Upon A Time which is back on Sunday. Either this season has slim pickings for TV or I am just becoming more and more uninterested. Or perhaps it's just that I am more discerning about what I watch.

What, if anything, has caught your eye this season? Any good shows worth watching or shows that aren't worth the time?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pour Some Sugar On Me...Or...Actually...No Thanks!

60 Minutes had a segment awhile back entitled Is Sugar Toxic? which I had unfortunately missed in its original airing.  But a friend of mine emailed me the youtube link since she knows this is a topic close to my heart. (My mom is a breast cancer survivor and three of my grandparents had, or have, severe heart disease so I am always trying to watch what kinds of food I consume).  Needless to say, after watching this video, I am so glad I gave up soda as my New Year's resolution this year.  Because, holy heck...WOW!!!

(NOTE:  The link to the video Dr. Gupta mentions, "Sugar: the Bitter Truth" by Dr. Lustig is HERE.  It's long (an hour and a half) and heavy on science, but it's interesting. He is way more extreme than I am in the evils of sugar, but he makes some really good points.)

For me, one of the most disturbing parts of the 60 Minutes segment is where they talk about sugary drinks as being as addictive as cocaine.  This is something I said during the great soda purge of 2012.  But I usually said it in jest.  When I gave up soda in January I would joke with my friends and be like "soda is worse than drugs", or "I think I'm going through withdrawals" and we'd laugh.  Cause it was just soda, so it couldn't really be withdrawals...right?!  But after watching this video, maybe it is addictive.  Of course I am not a scientist and I can only speak from my experience but what I can say from that experience is that giving up soda was awful.  I had headaches, was moody, and I couldn't sleep, among other not so pleasant symptoms. The experience sucked but it was worth it in the end.

What do you think? Is this report just another example of alarmist reporting or does the concern over sugar in our food (and sugary drinks in general) have merit?  Sound off below!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Revisions, Revisions and More Revisions

I am in revision hell. The last three weeks I have sent my draft to my crit partners/betas and as they have come in I've been making corrections for editing/grammar issues, deleting, adding, fixing, and revamping.  In fact, Monday I spent about 4 hours deleting entire scenes. Why?  Because as I went through my draft I realized I had too much in the book.  It's the first in what will be a connected series (same city each book but the focus will be on a different set of main characters, but there will be a mystery that connects all of them), and I realized I had stuffed too much information in Book 1.  It was full of extraneous information that either the reader doesn't need at this point, or could be spaced out in the other books. It was hard cutting out huge sections, but after skimming through after the chances, I realized the flow is much improved.  However, now I have a nagging doubt in the back of my head that I am too heavy on the relationship of the main characters and not enough on the mystery/suspense.  It's a fine line really, cause I don't want people to read it and think the suspense element was just thrown in for no reason.  There is a purpose for it, and the suspense aspect (and what happens because of it) helps the heroine (and hero) move forward and grow as individuals. Without it, the story wouldn't make sense.  *sighs* I think I am being too picky.  I need to unwrap the (figurative) steel grip I have on the book and let it go.

Needless to say, my head is about ready to explode.  But the end is near, and I have three more scenes to correct/revamp and then well, then I can say it's "done."

One good thing about this entire revision process--I've learned what not to do for the next book.  Before this, I've never completed a full length novel.  This novel is 71K words.  That amount of words, for me, means I need to be more organized and set out a chapter/scene outline before I start and edit in sections.  I know some say that is a no-no, but for me editing in sections will make the revision process a bit less overwhelming.

And now, here is my final ROW80 update and a quick summary how I did this round:

Writing Every Day:  Done! I think after two rounds of ROW80 I have finally made this a habit. I write something every day on either my current WIP or make notes/outlines for the others.  It's just become something I do now without thinking, same as me waking up and making a cup of tea.

Book 1:  I wanted to have this done and published by the end of the round.  Well, it isn't but, it is 98% done.  I will finish those three scenes mentioned above this week and by the end of next week hopefully have a cover.

Book 2:  My goal had been to be further along here, but I am not doing too bad.  While writing the first in the series I've been able to write a bunch of notes for the second, and even have a partial chapter/scene list (in addition to the approx. 25K words I already have down.)  This will likely be the focus of the next round.

Social Media:  I've been more active on Twitter and I definitely lurk more! I know, it's a shock.  :)  As for blogging, well, it's been awhile (almost 3weeks), but I did post yesterday about my vow to give up on the news until after the election.  You can read it here if you'd like.

Being Active:  This round I've averaged about three short (20 to 30 mins) workouts per week.  Better than nothing I suppose.

Reading:  My goal was to read one book per week.  I averaged about 3 per week so I am way ahead here.  I have also been more active on Goodreads with reviews and updating my books read.  I only have 3 more books to read to meet my yearly goal of 75.  Woot! If you'd like to follow/friend me on Goodreads, feel free to do so!

Well, that's it for me. I've learned a lot this round, especially about what I'm capable of, and what I can accomplish if I truly set my mind to something. Yeah, I am technically behind on the timeline I had set for myself but I'm not going to be too hard on myself for that.  Rushing Book 1 would have meant putting something out there that wasn't ready, something that I wasn't comfortable with.

Hope everyone had a great Round and hope to see you October 1 for the start of Round 4!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tossing the 24 Hour News Out of My Life

It's September 18th 2012 and I can't take it anymore.

In order to save myself the pain inducing headaches I am making a vow today.  I am turning off the news, going totally cold turkey, until after the election in November (and this includes avoiding news on the internet!), though there is a very strong possibility I may extend this vow to forever.  The 24 hour news cycle is draining the life out of me, sucking me into it's black void of talking heads, negativity and tragedy. I cannot stand the constant back and forth, the lies and distortions on both sides of the political aisle as well as by the media, and lastly, the bias that is so prevalent over all the news channels.  I am at the end of my rope and this is the only way to handle it, so I am just done.  Unless it's weather (and thank god for the weather channel), or there is a major disaster, I will not, under any circumstances, turn on the news.  Not once.  

I am saying goodbye to the pundits, the politics and the vomit inducing ads from both parties and the news media.  I have better things to do, and other shows to watch.  I will even watch football and SportsCenter, if I have to, to avoid the news.  This is huge since I don't even like sports other than soccer and hockey really! (And do not get me started on the current lockout of the NHL players.  This has made me a very, very pissed off Kat.  The claws are out and everything.  Not.Happy.At.All. -_-)  Sure these non-news shows and sports may have little or no educational value but I'd much prefer watching T.I and Tiny on VH1 or Monday Night Football on ESPN, than Anderson Cooper, Ed Shultz, Hannity and all the over crazy people on television.  As an added bonus, T.I. is totally hot, as are some of those football players.  And since eye candy does not give me headaches, these shows are totally acceptable alternatives.

How will I accomplish avoiding the news?  Well, for a news junkie like me, I know this will be hard.  As hard as giving up chocolate cake and I love chocolate cake.  But, instead of the news on in the background when I am in the office, I will be listening to music. (I already do a lot of this anyways, so that shouldn't be a problem).  And I can always fill any desire to watch the television with what is on my DVR (which is already really full), whatever is on TV (Yay for the new television season!), or just taking the time to read or get some additional writing in.

This may all sound crazy but seriously, I need to unplug a little.  By blocking out the the news, I hope to free my mind from the cringe worthy negativity that it seems to be spread.  Sure this may mean I am a bit less informed, but at my age I pretty much know what my principals are, what I stand for, and what is most important to me, so I don't need the media or politicians trying to shape, or re-shape, who I am.  Scraping off the negative and filling it with things I enjoy and that don't suck the soul right out of me seems like a much better way to spend my time.  (Emphasis on the whole 'sucking the soul right out of me'.  I mean seriously, the bleakness and pessimism! I just can't stand it!)

And after making this vow, I feel better already,  Sure it's only been 3 hours, but it's a start!  What about you?  Do you have an addiction to the news you want or need to lose (i.e. are you a news junkie too)?  Or do you avoid the news when you can? Maybe you just watch the local news?  Sound off in the comments below about how you handle the 24 hour news cycle and it's .