Getting Older Doesn't Have to Suck (too much)

Well good, it’s officially over.

I haven’t been a big fan of birthdays since about…age 23. At least, that was the last one I remember being fun. And I have been dreading turning 29 oh…for about a year now. :) Seriously, I have such mixed feelings about it. More so than 30 even. I know every one of my elders will roll their eyes and pu-pu me, but I can’t help it. I’ve been in “my twenties” for nine years now. It’s like growing attached to a favorite pair of pajama pants and then being told - next year you are required to get a new pair. :(

So in the spirit of not letting AGING get me down – my birthday turned into an awesome celebration of YOUTH – and I wasn’t even trying!

Firstly – at 12:00am Eastern Time (where I was born, so legitimately my birthday) Courtney Summers threw me a completely fawesome Twitter birthday party, and then proceeded to SPAM my Facebook wall with pictures of Lady Gaga and Edward Cullen. FTW!

Then at 12:00am Mountain Time, S finished the final paper for his grad school class and took me out for pancakes to celebrate that - and my birthday. I was legitimately zonked from work and my Twitter-party by then, but Omg great start to the day!

I SLEPT IN. Then S made me coffee, went out to get me cinnamon rolls, and THE MOST AWESOME GIGANTIC CUPCAKE BIRTHDAY CAKE I HAVE EVER SEEN:Cupcake!!!

!!!!! When I couldn’t imagine things getting better (while still aging), I unwrapped my present and found…quad skates!! Oh Em Gee! I used to RAWK the roller rinks in my SKORT to Madonna’s VOGUE when I was 9 in a pair like these – only my new ones have PURPLE WHEELS! Twenty years just like, fell off of me. Did you see that?Skates!

I took some blissful time to work on MF revisions after this fun-overload, but then EVERYONE in the world either called, Facebooked, or Tweeted to wish me a happy birthday. Seriously, I have never felt the love like I did today – in all my twenty-nine years. ~*~

But it gets BETTER! S and our good friend Matt (who brought me sunflowers!)  took me to CASA BONITA for dinner! The only way to describe this Denver institution is this: It’s like Chuck E Cheese, with Mexican food, on STEROIDS. Oh, and there’s a giant indoor waterfall with CLIFF DIVERS. If you still need help getting the gist of Casa Bonita, it was featured in this episode of SOUTH PARK. Need I say more?

I THINK I WILL. Everyone who’s ever been to Casa Bonita knows you do not go there for the food…as ~entrancing~ as the cheese sauce really is: IMG00187

BUT – in case you think you need to make a pilgrimmage, I suggest you order the all-you-can-eat chicken or beef platter (chicken pictured above), ignore your stomach’s protests, and DO ask for as many cheese enchiladas as you can swallow. ESPECIALLY IF IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY. Do not let the staff talk you into fried ice cream, because the sopapillas are FREE and also all-you-can-eat. When you want more of anything, you just raise the red flag on your table, and it magically ~appears~:CasaFlag

The interior of Casa Bonita is built like an underground Mexican village. Don’t let the exterior shopping mall setting fool you – this baby is over 52,000 square feet inside! You could seriously get lost in this place. Besides dining tables set into the rocks, up inside towers, down in caves, inside mines, and under the waterfall, there are also TWO arcades, Black Bart’s Cave, a Magic Act with a private stage, live mariachis, a gift shop, and TONS of different ways to spend coinage including THE FANKY MALLOON MACHINE. Srsly, this requires a video (not made by me), it is so awesome:

I tried to get a pic of the giant 30-foot waterfall and cliff-divers, but it is always ~night~ inside Casa Bonita, therefore – the pic did not come out. :( You’ll just have to trust me about their awesomeness…or go find one of the many videos dedicated to them on YouTube. :D

When you have completely exhausted all of your tokens in the arcade playing Skee-Ball, and you’ve explored every nook and cranny of the caves and cliffs and village buildings looking for “the table we want next time”, you can leave Casa Bonita knowing your stomach will eventually recover, and the wonder that is The Casa will be there waiting to light up another un-birthday – or several down the road. It seriously made my night, as you can tell. My sheer glee was blurring the picture (I SO don’t look 29, do I? Do I?):CF1

Oh yeah, and then we got home and had THIS!! Yumcake

Seriously omg – despite the aging – best birthday EVER. :D :D :D

Great Finishes, Oration, and D100D

This should be about THREE blog entries, but by the time I realized that was going to happen, it was too late to write them separately!

Thing that have been going on with me:

I FINISHED MY REWRITE. Gah, that felt good. I had been saving this dark chocolate bunny since Easter on a shelf above my desk, waiting for that beautiful moment when I typed THE END (again) to consume it as a reward for my months and months of work. Unfortunately for me, when I DID type the magic words, I was totally sick with some horrible spring-is-here-but-you’re-coming-down-with-plague cold, and I didn’t even WANT the bunny. Which is so wrong. So now he gets a stay of execution and he’ll have to be revision bunny. But he’s not getting out of this intact. Whahahahaha.

Oh yeah, and bunny…I plan to finish revisions this weekend, FYI.
:D My 17-yo niece Aurora graduated high school last week, and we flew to Ohio to cheer her on! I think people tend to forget how hard high school is – maybe not necessarily the academics all the time (ok, they have their moments – damn you, AP European History), but anyone who spends four years just surviving the social constructs of teendom deserves some CHEERING in my opinion. So we did. :)

I’m sure everyone has been to at least ONE high school graduation (although I did not attend mine). This time around, while listening to different people talk, I couldn’t help thinking AUDIOBOOKS have ~ruined~ public speaking for me. Sure, I was expecting platitude-laden speeches about the “places you’ll go” and how this is the “first day of the rest of our lives” mixed in with metaphors about the sky and the sea…but oh dear. As Neil Gaiman once said of poetry: “It’s all in the delivery.” S finally suggested that the principal was probably a good principal BECAUSE he doesn’t speak well. Which shut me up because it seemed to make sense, and didn’t all at once. But MAN, I just HEART audiobooks. You need to know what you’re doing to record those things, and I salute professional audiobook readers for mastering the craft! And I also ~secretly~ want to record my own book someday.  Um, but back to shooting for publication first!

Aaaaannnd from Ohio we went to Virginia to see my sister and her husband and my 9mo-old niece Audrey who is a ~ways~ from HS graduation, but hey, this Baby Einstein stuff is completely insane, so you never know! Also, I AM SO NOT READY TO HAVE KIDS. Eeep.

Anyway, I took some advice from my Twitter pals and brought along THE DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King  to distract me on the flights – and it was ~FANTASTIC~. I give it FIVE eyeballs rolled in sand (!!!!!). YES!! It is the perfect book to fly with if you’re an anxious flyer in need of distraction. There are all kinds of threads to follow and weave together, tons of pain and sorrow, love lost and found, and – PIRATES! And a freaking GIRL PIRATE!!! How cool is that?

The dogs didn’t play as huge of a role as I anticipated, but I appreciated everywhere they appeared in the book. Since I have gained more than my share of knowledge/experience with dogs through my day job, I read all of the Dog Facts carefully, just waiting for King to slip up…but she was flawless. :D Every dog her voice slipped into was completely in character, not overly anthropomorphized, and just all around spot-on, right down to the pit bull. I’m excited that this book is *out there* as an amazing story, and also because people could really learn a thing or two from it about dogs and behavior!

The other thing I loved about D100D is that it never shied away from being REAL. Yes, there were more than a few moments that turned my stomach or made me wish I didn’t have to be a witness to the scene, but too many books fade to black when things start to get tough, and I don’t think that’s fair to the readers OR the characters. There is a point where things can become gratuitous, but I never even glimpsed that in this book. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but let’s just say that people are only human, A.S. King knows people AND dogs, and she knows how to weave a good yarn. Aye.

Off to pwn my revisions! Squeee!

The Future is NOW!

Way back in 1995, up-and-coming actress Sandra Bullock and hottie Englishman Jeremy Northam starred in a movie that sent every synapse in my brain firing YES, YES, YES!  That movie was called The Net:

The NET

I haven’t watched The Net recently, but I’m pretty sure anyone watching it now – who’d never seen it before – would look at me, nod politely, and shake their heads.

But I am TELLING you – in 1995 this movie was The Shizzle! Except there was no such thing as shizzle yet either. GOD my birthday is just closing in trying to make me feel OLD, isn’t it?  But I digress.

This movie HAD my 15yr-old self in the first five minutes. Sandra Bullock – a slightly unconvincing hermity software analyst – sits down at her computer and click, click, CLICK – orders a PIZZA. I wanted to rewind the movie in the theater to watch it over and over, but of course I couldn’t, so I just dragged my friends to see it again and AGAIN. This was something I had been WAITING FOR and now it was in a movie which meant that it was going to HAPPEN. Right?

Let me give a little background if I may… I would never ever describe myself as being on the cutting edge of anything – unless I give myself a paper cut. Heh. But I WOULD describe myself as incredibly impatient. When I saw BACK TO THE FUTURE 2, I was like Where are the flying cars? STAR TREK made me indignant that medical testing could not be done with tricorders yet. And when I read Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series, the hoverboards and hole in the wall almost made me melt down asking WHY don’t we have these things yet? But I think to my credit, I tried to work with what I could: I had one of the very first PDAs – a Handspring Treo, and soon after, the sweet Treo accessory and predecessor of cameraphones: The Eyemodule. I also had an mp3 player that never quite worked - before the iPod was ever conceived - and well of course I had one of those Nokia candybar-style cell phones as soon as I was old enough to get one – with interchangeable color covers!

But my excitement over these things was always outweighed by the fact that none of this stuff was quite there yet. The bitter slogan on this t-shirt says it all – this was supposed to be the future!

So imagine my delight – now that I have a Blackberry which combines phone (communicator), camera, PDA, and even music player in ONE – when I found out YOU CAN NOW ORDER PIZZA ONLINE.

*dies*

People – THE FUTURE IS CLOSING IN. I am so excited, and I promise you it’s not just about pepperoni. My WIP covers this a little bit…it’s kind of a speculation on how I wish/wonder if humans could develop in teh future…with some kissing. But seriously, I don’t know whether to be excited that I got to experience SO MUCH of the amazingness that was the 20th Century (which reminds me of ANOTHER awesome future movie starring Sandra Bullock - don’t laugh – DEMOLITION MAN) or if I should be SAD that so much more will happen in the REAL future when I’m long gone.

Did I mention I had LASIK too? COOLEST. THING. EVER.

Now…some bad things happened to Sandra Bullock in THE NET too…in short, a guy she met online (sooo cool in 1995, trust me!)  wasn’t who she thought he was and proceeded to steal her identity – but she was a smart, sexy, computer-savvy girl as we all should strive to be – and she CRASHED their whole evil plot with the stroke of a key. 

I think it was because she ate amazing internet-ordered pizza, don’t you?