Ah, the things we do in the name of research! Sometimes it's boring (whoops, just wrote that as 'borking' ... hm), like when I interrupt the writing to make sure that a certain song that'd be just perfect for a scene had been released by the time of the flashback, or when I invariably have to remind myself whether the sun sets in the west or the east in the US of A (I've had more than one cowboy riding into an impossible sunset). Other times, though, it's way cool. Take this past weekend, for example, when I attended ladies' gun day at our shooting range. Because when you're gearing up to start writing some new running-and-screaming Jessica Andersen books for next year (yay!), you gotta get in the mood. And, well, where else am I going to get to shoot everything from arrows, to black powder muzzle loaders, to tricked-out rifles and pistols with laser sights? Arizona had volunteered to help for the day, so we got there early, registered, and got our T-shirts and hats. He got a pretty blue shirt and a red hat that said STAFF. I got screaming yellow. Really? Yellow for ladies' day? Clearly a man had ordered the shirts. At least I could snag a pink hat off the Smith and Wesson swag table. We smooched and headed in our separate directions, and I quickly made some new friends. I'm not sure how I got good at that, seeing as how I was the total loner as a kid. Romance conventions, probably. Anyway, friends! We sat together, swapped life stories, and complained about the screaming yellow until it was time for the safety briefing. Where we learned that the shirts were so the staffers could see if one of us wandered down-range. Oh-kay, then! Yellow is my new best friend! Safety first! Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear! After the briefing, we headed out with our guides (Arizona was in charge of my group of six) to rotate through eleven stations, where range officers instructed us on the different weapons. And where I learned that I am a speshul snowflake ... apparently, it's not only unusual to be left handed but right-eye dominant, it really screws you up for target shooting. Whoops! But that was the cool thing about having a whole day to play--I experimented with shooting lefty, righty and using different stances, until I figured out what worked for me. And ... pictures!
This is me killing balloons. Okay, maybe I was pretending they were zombies.
And bowling pins. Which were really Mayan demons.
Death to clay pigeons ... Or Mayan bat demons. Those suckers can fly!
A crossbow. For when gunpowder just won't cut it. And, well, when you suck at using a compound bow because of that whole left-hand-right-eye thing. I'm digging the point-and-shoot here! And, finally, the hand cannon:
I nailed the bullseye with this one, but my hands tingled for a good five minutes after, and I ate some serious gunpowder. At least there was a cute-ish guy standing there with his hand on my back, ready to catch if I went flying backward! All in all, a totally fun day, and something out of our usual routine. Except that I still have a Mustang Ridge book to finish before I can get to the running-and-screaming books. I'm off now to make sure my subconscious doesn't try to sneak something scary into Gran's kitchen. Though, come to think, I bet she could handle it ;)
This is our second spring of owning our cute little house,
with its one-car garage and ski-jump of a driveway. Last spring we were mostly
concerned with clearing out the yucky leaves and finding patio furniture that
wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. This year, we’ve actually had a minute here and there to watch the plants start to green up and a few flowers show their little faces.
We have one daffodil. It came up behind our porch. We named
him Steve and are thinking of getting him a friend or two for next year. We also have this bushy thing that makes pink flowers.
And over the past week or so, ever since the pink flowers emerged, we’ve been having conversations that begin with, “What’s the name of
that pink flowery thing, do you think? It might be fun to get more of them.”
I believe the answer to this question is: an azalea. But
seriously, have you ever tried to Google “hot pink bush”? Warning: don’t try
this at work. Because ... yeah. Biology lesson ahead. Okay, maybe not a lesson, per se, because I mean, I've seen ladyparts before. But not necessarily from that angle.
Now, this is not the first time I have gotten myself into
trouble by practicing unsafe Google. Like when Arizona was getting ready to
make the wheels for my new downhill mountain bike. He likes to customize
everything, which is totally sexy, and he agreed to trim my bike out in pink. (I figured so much of the equipment we use is anti-girly, that I needed a dose of estrogen. I then named the bike Fang. Because, hey, you can be girly and Fangtastic at the same time!)
Anyway, back to wheels. This is one of Arizona's wheels. See those blue things that attach the spokes
to the rim and can be used to adjust the tension, in order to make the wheels all round and stuff?
For my bike, he gave my choice of blue or green, and if I wanted pink, I had to
find them online because he wasn't having much luck. The subsequent conversation went like this:
Me: Okay, so what are these things actually called, so I can
Me (beat of silence): You want me to Google pink nipples.
Arizona: Pink nipples, comma, hot biker chick?
Me: Not helping. Okay, I’ll think of something. (Heads
upstairs for computer)
Arizona (calling up the stairs): While you’re putting in an
order, I need the tool that goes with them.
Me: What’s it called?
Arizona: A nipple clamp.
Yes, he was kidding about that last part. Fortunately. And I
did eventually, after numerous online searches of varying cringe factors and a
couple of virus alerts, find the pink nipples I was searching for, at a UK
store that caters to unicyclers. Because, apparently, only clowns like pink
nipples. Or something. And my wheels look pretty sharp, if I do say so myself!
So, just as Arizona’s fortune cookie fortune from lunch the other day said SOME FORTUNE COOKIES HAVE NO FORTUNE (I kid you not), I guess the
moral of the story is: practice safe Google … or if you’re not going to, make
sure you’re using protection. (And maybe not doing it as your boss walks by!) And may the Force be with you!
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to ding folk for finding ways to make their finances work. Sure, it makes me twitch when I'm watching this season of Deadliest Catch and the captain of the SEABROOKE is all decked out in his Bass Pro Shop finest, but (shrugs). That's his call, and at least the connection makes sense. Crab fishing (whoops, just wrote that as 'crap' ... thanks autocorrect) in the Bering Sea isn't *that* far of a leap to sport fishing. It's at least in the same family. Same with TV ads. Sometimes Arizona and I even make a game of trying to figure out what demographics are supposed to be watching a show, based on the type of ads that are playing. Ninety percent tampons and chocolate? He'd better check his man card at the door. Truck ads and manly deodorant? Whoops, I'd better go put on more pink. (I'm totally generalizing, of course--but, hey, that's what they're doing!) But every now and then, there's an epic fail of sponsorship that just makes you go ... huh? It happened this past weekend. There I was at a romance writers' conference, sitting at the bar with an ever-growing group of friends that was sucking all the free chairs from elsewhere in the room (as tends to happen with these things). Our human amoeba had positioned itself below a silenced television playing the Kentucky Derby, and we were doing the MST3000 version of the play-by-play. You know, when you add in your own voiceover, which is arguably (and especially when slightly buzzed writers are involved) better than the real thing. And someone asked: "What is Yum, and why is it on that horse?"
Sure enough, there it was ... Where the AmEx logo used to go quite logically, we now saw the logo for Yum brand foods, right there on a thousand pounds of very expensive horse flesh. Mmmmm...... race horse. Nom nom nom. It got even worse when paired with some of the horses' names:
And let's consider the companies that belong to the Yum family. A&W root beer is pretty benign, but Kentucky Fried Chicken? Okay, that's getting a little creepy. Or, eek, Taco Bell? What's actually *in* those new breakfast UFOs? Seriously? Without going into the horse slaughter debate, or whether or not I would eat old Dobbin if it came to it, that just seems ... Wrong. On so many levels. Yet (because I am going to hell for a variety of reasons), it totally makes me giggle. So say it with me ... Race horse ... YUM!