Monday, November 30, 2015

Conventional Wisdom for Common Ailments


I was sick over the holiday weekend, and while reclining in a faint on my velvet chaise lounge like a heroine from a Victorian novel, it occurred to me that much of the conventional wisdom for common aliments actually makes little sense. 

I mean, what good is "Feed a cold, starve a fever" when you have both?

My first recourse was to ask the advice of genius friends Sarah, Jodee, Alissa, and Bethany. The following discussion of conventional medical wisdom ensued.

Conventional Wisdom for Common Ailments: 
  • Feed a cold
  • Starve a fever
  • Foil the flu
  • Thrash a rash
  • Sucker punch seizures 
  • Shake your fist at shingles
  • Dropkick dermatitis 
  • Choke out chickenpox 
  • Guillotine gout 
  • Arm bar arthritis 
  • Glare at glaucoma
  • Mock the mumps 
  • Fool fibromyalgia
  • Give stink eye to pink eye
  • Malign Meningitis 
  • Postpone gallstones 
  • Avoid arthritis 
  • Thwart warts
  • Flush thrush 
  • Bemoan Crohn's 
  • Suppress IBS 
  • Repress PMS
  • Flee OCD
  • Disperse MRSA
  • Poke strokes
  • Demote strep throat
  • Disdain migraines 
  • Have a tiff with c. diff
  • Pull the chain on joint pain
  • Cancel cancer

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ruthette's Extremely Helpful Do-It-Yourself Online Dating Profile Sample Questionnaire

By lyubenov.com (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently someone asked a friend of mine if she'd ever considered internet dating and then seemed shocked when my friend wasn't interested.

Think about the process for a moment. When Singles first join an online dating service, they're immediately tasked with filling out long, tedious, one-size-fits-all surveys. Frankly, that sounds more like homework than anything else.

While the system may work occasionally, that doesn't mean it can't be improved. Perhaps one way that we could potentially refine who we attract via a set of questions would be to offer our own questions

I've provided a sample below.


Ruthette's
Extremely Helpful
Do-It-Yourself
Online Dating Profile
Sample Questionnaire 

Your Name:__________________

Your Age (select one):       

[ ] Old Enough
[ ] Older
[ ] Oldest
[ ] Benjamin Button

Your Body Type (select one): 

[ ] Chopstick
[ ] Anchovy
[ ] Hourglass
[ ] Potato
[ ] Texas

Your Personality Type (select one): 

[ ] Chocolate
[ ] Vanilla
[ ] Salsa
[ ] Triple Venti Vanilla Bean Soy Latte with No Foam
[ ] Turnips

You in a Crisis (select one):

[ ] Margret Thatcher 
[ ] 007
[ ] River Tam
[ ] Mr. Bean

Languages (select all that apply):

[ ] Pop Culture
[ ] Logic
[ ] Irony
[ ] Math
[ ] Puns
[ ] Philosophy
[ ] Theology 
[ ] Computers
[ ] Scifi
[ ] Drivel
[ ] History
[ ] Alternate History
[ ] Music
[ ] ¡Emotions!  
[ ] Sportsball
[ ] Real Talk
[ ] Books

Complete the Sentence: "I love long walks on  ____________."

[ ] the beach
[ ] the moon
[ ] tightropes 
[ ] the Dark Side

Your Sense of Humor:

[ ] Michael Scott
[ ] Lucy Ricardo
[ ] April Ludgate 
[ ] Severus Snape

How would you describe your emotional resting state?

[ ] Solid
[ ] Liquid
[ ] Gas
[ ] Plasma
[ ] Dark Matter

You without coffee:

[ ] Lethargy
[ ] Stupor
[ ] Delirium
[ ] Angst
[ ] Selective Mutism
[ ] Vegetative State
[ ] N/A (don't drink coffee)* 
*Please abandon survey at this time.

Select One:

[ ] Salty
[ ] Sweet

Select One:

[ ] Breakfast foods
[ ] Other foods

Select One:

[ ] Malcolm X
[ ] Malcolm Gladwell
[ ] Malcolm in the Middle

Select One:

[ ] Early Bird
[ ] Night Owl
[ ] Screech Owl
[ ] Ostrich

Select One:

[ ] Reading
[ ] Writing
[ ] Arithmetic 
[ ] Swashbuckling 

Ideal Man:

[ ] Aragorn 
[ ] Mr. Darcy
[ ] Atticus Finch
[ ] Willy Wonka
[ ] Ron Swanson 
[ ] Captain von Trapp

Ideal Woman:

[ ] Nancy Drew
[ ] Nanny McPhee 
[ ] Judi Dench
[ ] Lady Macbeth
[ ] Phoenix
[ ] Boudica 

Reasons you are late for things (select all that apply):

[ ] No real sense of time and space
[ ] You never write anything down
[ ] Getting distracted
[ ] Getting lost
[ ] Wardrobe issues
[ ] Netflix
[ ] Naps
[ ] Stopping to help a turtle cross the street
[ ] Cultural differences
[ ] Exempt (you are never late)

Complete the sentence: "There is no _________"

[ ] fear in love
[ ] business like show business
[ ] Frigate like a Book / To take Us Lands away
[ ] crying in baseball
[ ] try
[ ] spoon

Select a theatre:

[ ] Movie
[ ] Military
[ ] Surgical
[ ] Puppet

Music:

[ ] Playlist
[ ] Shuffle
[ ] One song on repeat all afternoon

Ideal room temperature (F):

[ ] 60-65
[ ] 65-70
[ ] 70-75
[ ] 75-80

Number of pillows necessary for sleep:

[ ] 1
[ ] 2-3
[ ] 5-7
[ ] 8-12
[ ] ALL THE PILLOWS!!!!!!!!!


Documentaries:

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Talking during plays/movies:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Eating in the car:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Sharing fries:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Stopping to ask for directions:

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

Disobeying the GPS in lieu of common sense:

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Surprises: 

[ ] Always
[ ] Sometimes
[ ] Never

Best Holiday:

[ ] Thanksgiving
[ ] Easter
[ ] Christmas
[ ] New Year's
[ ] Pi Day
[ ] National Battery Day
[ ] What If Our Pets Had Opposable Thumbs Day
[ ] The Festival of Sleep

Reading:

[ ] Yes

Travel:

[ ] Yes

Religion:

[ ] Jesus

* * *

Singles! If you're ready to help start the revolution, post your questions below. Then spread the word, sit back, and get ready to browse the questions to find a compatible mate. It's easy, fast, free, and definitely more fun than filling out a standard dating questionnaire. (Or so I've heard.)

You're welcome, everybody!

Don't forget to invite me to the wedding(s)!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Legitimate Reasons to Put Off Writing Your Book


Pretty much everyone wants to write a book one day. Any thinking person who's actually tried to set some words to page, however, knows that there's always a legitimate reason to put it off.

Legitimate Reasons to Put Off Writing Your Book:
  • All your fingers are broken at the same time.
  • You need to finish watching the ten-season show you're currently marathoning on Netflix. Otherwise you'll never be able to concentrate on writing.
  • You realize that your keyboard and computer screen are both disgusting biohazard zones that must be cleaned on the microscopic level before you can get anything done.
  • You need to do research.
  • You don't have a good writing spot picked out yet. Your house is too quiet, the coffee shop is too noisy, and your car is too stuffy. 
  • You can't figure out how to use Scriviner.
  • You need to build your social media platform, but you still don't understand what Tumblr even is.
  • You know the beginning and end of your story, but you have no idea what happens in the middle. 
  • You haven't settled on a pen name yet. Everything you try makes you sound like a serial killer.
  • You want to lose ten pounds before you take your author head shots and sitting down for eight hours per day to write a book isn't helping.
  • Your neighbor's dog won't stop barking.
  • Your own dog won't stop barking.
  • You can't stop barking.
  • Your kids need to grow up and leave home.
  • You're not a good writer yet.
Of course, very few of these points are actually legitimate reasons to put off anything. Instead, they're just the sort of lies we tell ourselves to put off sitting down and hazarding the ultimate risk of writing. 

Of all the reasons to put it off, that last one is the least legitimate. 

The only way to learn how to ride a bicycle is to try riding a bicycle. You'll wobble, fall down, and crash into trees a few times, but eventually you'll learn to ride. It's the same with writing. Sure, you'll run your manuscript into a few parked cars along the way, but eventually you'll produce something worth signing your (non-serial-killer) name to. 

Remember that every person who's ever been published had to write his first book before anybody considered him a writer. 

Anybody other than himself, that is.

So finish your Netflix binge, q-tip your keyboard, run a microfiber cloth over your screen, and get to work.


The world needs your book.


* * * *

Happy NaNoWriMo to all participating! Don't forget to share your writing goals with a community of like-minded friends who can hold you accountable and cheer you on. It's scary, but it's worth it.

In the interest of full disclosure: because I'm currently in the editing cycle of a major project, I'm skipping NaNoWriMo this year for the first time in a while. However, I always have monthly goals. My goal this month is to edit a chapter a day. 

So far I'm on track. 

You?


Monday, November 2, 2015

Legitimate Reasons to Hate a Novel

  1. Too long.
  2. Too short.
  3. Too much swearing. 
  4. Too many sex scenes. 
  5. Too many noun clauses used as subjects. 
  6. The author takes himself too seriously.
  7. The first paragraph describes a sunrise/sunset.
  8. Someone's named Chloé.
  9. Nonsensical emotional responses. 
  10. Unconvincing "best friend" portrayals. 
  11. Half-baked love triangles.
  12. The inciting incident doesn't drop soon enough. 
  13. The female protagonist is forced to be lab partners with the mysterious new kid in town who wears a lot of black and has a dangerous secret. 
  14. The author shoehorns in a "teachable moment."  
  15. Everyone's outfits are described in great detail to no narrative purpose. 
  16. F-bombs. 
  17. Unpronounceable names. 
  18. The author kills off a favorite character. 
  19. "Open-ended" endings.
  20. Everyone else in the free world loved it.