Thursday, December 31, 2009

Project 365 Video Edition?

I know I should have posted this a week ago to get proper feedback, but you know how the holidays go. :oP

Let me know: videos or pictures?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Upcoming Project 365: 2010

In 2008, I learned about this thing called Project 365. It is basically a challenge to take a photo every day for a year so that you can look back on your life that year and remember all those little things that were important to you. A little note from the info page:

Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned… (Often we find it hard to remember what we did just yesterday or even last night, let alone a whole year ago!)

Your year-long photo album will be an amazing way to document your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.

I completed the project in 2008 and found it an excellent challenge. Not only was it a great discipline (taking a picture/blogging everyday) and a super way to widen my photographic prowess, it has been so much to fun to look at all the pictures from 2008 and remember moments that usually disappear through the transom of our minds.

Because 2008 was such a great experience, I tried to do it again in 2009. However, I found that two years in a row of this demanding project was too much to bear and fizzled out after 50 days. This is definitely an every-other-year type of thing for me. (Though a few Project 365ers I started following in 2008 are still going strong--you go, guys!)

Once again, I'm going to try not to post pictures of my kids here because I am always posting pictures of them on my personal blog. But I'm not going to say I never will because, well, they're a big part of my life, so they are bound to appear here at some point.

I'll do my best to update at least every couple days (if not every day) with new pictures. Feel free to comment because that's what keeps me going! Thanks!

And if you're doing Project 365, please let me know--I would love to follow your progress as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Home Tour Video

A month or so ago, Angela Hunt asked a writers' loop if anyone would be interested in sharing their Christmas decorations with readers. My friend Donita K. Paul agreed, then on Sunday night, she called and said, "I'm in a pickle!" Apparently, the video needed to be done by Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m., and for some reason, it wasn't happening.

Her son-in-law recorded the videos, and I stopped by her house on Monday evening to record the audio. That night, I spliced together the video clips and overlaid Donita's voice, plus some Christmas music.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A New Book to Flaunt

One of the perks of winning NaNoWriMo this year is that winning wrimos may receive a free proof copy of their book through, a self-publishing company. While I'm adamantly opposed to self-publishing my own novels, I don't see any harm in printing a single copy of one of my novels for the...well, novelty of it.

There's no way in the Devil's household that I would EVER allow this self-published book on the market. NO WAY. (If I do, someone really needs to slap me silly.) But this will be fun to hold in my hands.

Because my NaNo novels are utterly unpublishable, I decided to submit the first novel I'd ever written. It was previously titled The Visitors, but I have subsequently decided that the title was too boring. New title and the book cover I designed:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 25

I'm just shy of 30K as I type this--words I should be typing in my novel. :oP

My husband asked me when I would be willing to throw in the towel for NaNoWriMo 2009. I told him: "11:59 p.m., November 30." XD

Hope springs eternal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Official... day has been made.

And this is so true, it's not even funny. XD

Thanks, Beth! *hugs*

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 21- Plot Dare from Blue Monkey

My young friend Blue Monkey gave me a plot dare via Facebook that really couldn't have fit in better with my previous inclusion of SiriusThoughts' plot dare. How perfect is this?

Blue Monkey: "Include a King who thinks he's batman."

King Bruce jumped to his feet and clapped his hands once, then pointed at Cross. "I knew it! There has been an impostor fighting crime in my stead!"

Cross' brow furrowed deeply. He glanced at me as though I had an answer, then back at the king. "What?"

The great King Bruce straightened up where he stood, pulling his royal red velvet robes taut across his shoulders with a yank on the fluffy, gold-speckled white trim. "I am Batman." He leaned forward. "The REAL Batman."

Cross jabbed a finger in the air. "It's YOU who are the impostor, sir!" I could see that he would tip the cradle over if he continued getting upset in this manner. "I've been looking for you for the last five months!"

"It is I who have been looking for you!" King Bruce shouted back. He turned to the men on either side of the levitating basket. "Guards! Take him to the dungeon. I'll deal with this treachery later."

"No! I'm Batman!" Cross threw his fists wide and struck one of the guards. The kinetic energy tipped the cradle, and I rushed to his rescue, grabbing the side and pushing it back up.

Unfortunately, I over-corrected in my fervor to help and dumped his crippled body out the other side. Cross fell to the marble floor with a dull thud. He moaned in pain and cursed me.

If I were human, I am sure my cheeks would have been burning in the red blush that is indicative of embarrassment. Instead, my emotion receptors sent a pang of shame through my body, making my hands shake. This was neither a pleasant sensation nor one that made me feel at all useful. I turned it off at once.

NaNoWriMo: Day 21- Plot Dare from JHudsonrox

Here's another plot dare I received via my YouTube channel:
JHudsonrox: It stars raining oranges...

Hover vehicles soaring overhead came racing away in droves. I sensed a vibration ripping through the air--a sonic boom--and suddenly the hover cars and trucks came crashing down towards the ground below.

A delivery truck overturned, correcting the steering and trying to stay afloat on the shuddering cushion of air, but its payload dumped out, sending a shower of hundreds of brightly colored, under ripe oranges through the air like citrus hailstones. This did not look good.

An orange hit my shoulder, denting it I was sure. I took to swift running and headed straight down the middle of the road, dodging broken buildings and out of control cars and crashing hover trucks.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 15 - Plot Dares from YouTubers

I got some wonderfully silly plot dares on my YouTube vlog page, which I managed to integrate all into one crazy moment in my novel. Thanks to the following friends who posted the following dares which are featured in the following excerpt:

SiriusThoughts, "Dare 2: Use the exclamation "Holy Ninja Turtles, Batman!"
Jhudsonrox, "Harry Potter is seen flying on a broom."

A sound shoofed overhead, and my eyes rose to the sky. A boy in a black cloak was riding a rather scruffy looking broom and soared a dozen feet above our heads. I shielded my eyes and watched as the boy circled slowly. He made his way down in a spiral and landed on the vibrating ground.

The boy was mostly likely of sixteen years based on his height and bone growth structure. He wore visual aids in the form of wire-rimmed glasses resting on the bridge of his nose. His hair fluttered in the rising wind, a messy mop of brunette. I could see a dark pink, jagged scar on his forehead when the breeze pushed his hair away. He looked at Cross, breathless, and exclaimed, “Holy Ninja Turtles, Batman!”

Cross' gaze darted in all directions as though he were looking for something or someone, then grabbed the boy's arm. “I told you not to call me that when I'm not in costume!”

“The turtles,” the boy yelled back, “they're taking over the frozen section of the grocery store down the block. It's mass chaos out there, man! Mass chaos!”

Cross rubbed his chin. “Frozen section, eh? If I know them, they're after the pizzas. A global catastrophe is no time for pizza!” He ran off down the street.

I've used several more dares, but I think I might save some of those for reading on my next vlog.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 14 - Plot Dare from Beth

Thanks for all the plot dares in response to my last vlog! I have been using them all throughout today and plan on reading some of them on my next recording. For now, here's one from Beth, who posted the following dare on Facebook: "I dare you to add a very unusual princess."

So SR7 just got kidnapped right off the street.

Sure enough, a door opened, and a woman entered. She was dressed in form-fitting body armor of red and white. Her bright red hair was pulled back into two fluffy ponytails that stuck out the bottom of a white leather skull cap. On the front of her cap, a red human skull glared out at anyone who dared face her.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaNoWriMo Vlog #2: Help! - 11.10.09

This is vlog #2 of my intermittent vlogging during National Novel Writing Month. In this one, I beseech you for help in writing my novel.

Leave a comment with a plot dare. If I use it, I'll post it.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 8

I didn't have a lot of time to write today, but I did manage to make carrot cake muffins and peanut butter bars. Does that count for anything? My dear friend MightiMidget helped me out by suggesting that I incorporate a vase filled with sand in my novel since she was in the process of bubblewrapping it for a move. Excellent...

A woman huddled in a corner between two broken concrete slabs. In her arms, she clutched a glass vase to her chest. The roses inside had been crushed by sand and debris that had fallen into the mouth. She had a wild but confused expression on her face.

She looked around at the street, at the chaos incited by the still-shivering earthquake, all the people running for their lives and resorting to their primal instincts for survival. Tears streamed down her dusty face, and I wondered how long it would be before she dropped the vase and joined the others in running for her life.

If you would like to suggest a dare for my novel, leave a comment, and I'll write it in, then post the excerpt.
Only one dare per person, please. Thanks!

NaNoWriMo Vlog #1 - 11.7.09

This is vlog #1 of my intermittent vlogging during National Novel Writing Month. In this one, I'm at Panera Bread and talk about how some people showed up to write alongside me.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

5th Year Wrimo

NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is a challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. I've done it (and won it) for the last four years.

Yes, I'm doing it again.

In all honestly, it wasn't until earlier this week that I had determined to do NaNo this year. Last year was by far, one of the worst for me. Though I reached 50,000 words, I loathed my novel by the second week and found little joy in writing it.

However, this year is going to be different. I can feel it. There's something about writing from the first person perspective of an android that is vastly intriguing and absolutely enticing.

Looking forward to getting together with other regional wrimos during November at the crazy write-ins that our fabulous MLs organize. Should be a fun November.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ode To McAfee

TECHNICAL NOTE: In case you aren't familiar, McAfee is a virus protection software program.

Ode to McAfee
Written by MangyCat, while waiting

McAfee, I hate you.
Though you try to keep me safe,
I abhor your endless scanning love
and constant, dragging updates.

You slow down all my windows.
You freeze up all my tabs.
Facebook, CleanPlace, Twitter, YouTube--
you treat them all like cads.

Oh, you want RAM and you want bandwidth.
Can't you ever share?
You think you own this desktop, boy,
you're stomping everywhere.

Take a chill pill, McAfee.
Don't worry yourself so.
If you find a virus--great!
But I don't wanna know.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Four Tales About Plaid Shirts by MangyCat

Here's the weekly challenge from

The names you choose for your characters can say a lot about them. A name can even be a jumping-off point to create a character. This is a fun, short exercise to show you how changing a name can change the story.

Finish four shorts stories, not to exceed 500 words total. Begin each story with "The plaid shirt..." and name each character for each story as follows: Ashley, Fanny, Tab, and Maurice.

Four Tales About Plaid Shirts
by MangyCat

Word Count: 129

The plaid shirt hung from the girl’s shoulders like wraiths’ clothes. Ashley held the long sleeves around her, long enough to tie around her back. She didn’t care how ridiculous she looked, huddled with her knees to her chin, sitting on the front porch for all to see as they drove down the street and pulled into their garages. The neighbors looked the other direction when they saw her, moving on with their lives like nothing happened.

But shirt smelled like him. She imbibed her father’s fragrance and rubbed her cheek against the worn nubs of fleece on the collar. She never wanted to forget this scent. He would never wear this shirt again for they laid him in the ground that afternoon wearing his blue blazer and red tie.


Word Count: 140

The plaid shirt flew off the clothesline and across the highway. Fanny dropped her basket of wooden pins, scanning for traffic as she hurried up the rise. Clyde would be none too happy if she lost another work shirt to the Iowa wind.

She glanced cautiously up and down as the shirt rolled east like tumbleweed. A bend behind the trees fifty yards out didn‘t make safety easy. Her hearing wasn’t nearly as good as it used to be, and she sure didn’t want to meet her Maker because of Clyde’s shirt.

Fanny ran across the road. A windy wake blasted her into the ditch. She clutched the shirt, rolling onto her back. A semi-truck rushed away, horn blaring. She coughed against the exhaust but smiled as she rose and hurried back to the house. “Not today, You don’t, Lord. Not today.”


Word Count: 119

The plaid shirt lay in pieces. Tab blinked at the mess, unsure of what had just taken place. He sat beside the flannel fragments, staring at them as the sense of pleasure receded from his chest.

Sound. Garage. Happiness burst into Tab’s heart, and he jumped to his feet, running for the door. She’s home! He stood with his nose pressed up against the doorknob and felt the cold against his skin.

The door opened, and he leapt for joy at the appearance of Anna. The woman whisked past him, then made a low noise. Tab laid flat on the floor. His tail stopped wagging.

She turned on him with hard eyes. “Dog, what on earth have you done with dad‘s shirt?”


Word Count: 112

The plaid shirt stared at him pathetically, as if to say that it was not the type of thing a gentleman should wear on a date. Maurice shed the garment and went for a white shirt and green blazer instead. His dour reflection granted a disapproving grimace.

What was he? A leprechaun?

The man ran his meaty hands over the sparse hair and wide forehead to shine up the Brylcreem. His heart skipped at the feminine rapping on his apartment door.

Maurice threw the blazer aside, opting for the brown jacket instead. He rushed to the front room, took a deep breath, and with a whispered prayer for a new wife, opened the door.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Untitled Magpo: May 3, 2009

In case you can't read it because the picture is too blurry:

go milk
the incubated blossoms
by following melting whispers
which shine there
by the burning secret
the child

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Original Short Story: Fishbowl

This was the assignment on my teen writers forum: Take something ordinary and make it scary. Craft a story in which something horrifying happens, but ground it in reality. Try to create something that is visceral and frightening, without going over the top or relying on gore.

Genre: Contemporary
Goal: To scare us silly!
Word Count: 800-1000 words

By MangyCat
Word Count: 844

The plastic bag burst open below Taan’s hands. Cold water spilled into the glass bowl, sending its inhabitant swirling around the spherical prison. Blue gravel bounced up in slow motion, then slowly sank as the goldfish examined its new surroundings.

Taan leaned over his desk, arms folded under his chin, to get a better look at the new decoration. “Welcome to my office,” he murmured between clenched teeth.

The goldfish turned and waved its tail back and forth. For a second, Taan was sure the fish wore a questioning expression. But it turned again, and the fantasy passed.

He dropped a few fish flakes in and leaned back in his brown leather chair. Taan pushed his fists up, stretching his arms. Five days in his new office with a new title on his new door, and this place already felt like home. The firm had been busy that week, but Taan did not begrudge the work. Neither would be begrudge the higher salary that went into effect this pay period.

Splashing sounds caught his ear. Taan glanced at his new desk ornament. Streaks of water beaded on the lacquered wood and created a path from the glass bowl to his keyboard, where the goldfish flailed and contorted across the alphabet in wild gyrations.

Taan scooped up the fish and dropped it back into the bowl. He cursed as he assessed the damage to both the desk and computer. Positioning his sleeve to wipe the surfaces, he thought better of it and got up to grab the tissue box from an end table by the couch.

Just as he stuck his fingers inside the box, a wet, smacking sound drew him back around. The fish was out again and flopping on his keyboard.

“That the--”

Taan raced back to his desk, dropped the tissue box in his chair, and scooped the fish up once more. He tossed it back in the water, more forcefully this time.

“You have a death wish?” he snapped, yanking tissues from the box.

The fish leapt from the bowl on cue, but before she could flop the distance to his computer, Taan grabbed the bowl, put it below the edge of the desk, and wiped the fish into it. He placed the tank on the floor behind him.

Taan muttered under his breath as he mopped water. He balled up three tissues and carefully dabbed his keyboard. Tiny puddles filled the indentures on several keys. He swabbed them up, absently looking at the screen to see if his document was still in tact.

Taan’s hand froze. His brows furrowed, then his eyes opened wide. He turned around and regarded the goldfish with a new curiosity, heart pounding with uncertainty. Could he really be seeing what he thought he saw?

The fish remained stationary in the unsteady water. Taan moved closer, lowering to a squat. He picked up the bowl and held it at eye level.

“What the devil are you doing?” His voice was barely a whisper and scared him.

The goldfish stared back through the glass, then swirled the bottom of the bowl and launched through the surface. It hit him in the face, and Taan fell backward unexpectedly. The base of his head hit the hard edge of the desk, and consciousness left him as he crumpled into a heap.

The fish landed beside him and flopped into Taan’s curled palm. It lay gasping, its whole body inflating and constricting while it desperately fought for life in the open air.

When Taan came to, he felt the motionless goldfish in his hand. He dropped it on the carpet and scrabbled to his feet. Running his fingers through his hair, he turned back toward his computer. The document was still open.

He bent to read the words again. The last line of the client letter he‘d been typing read:

“For consideration of the facts that?/lkhmkjy ffffrreee meee freeeee mee fffrresaEE ME../ FREE ME FREE ME FREE ME”

Taan looked back at the fish. After a moment’s consideration, he picked up the carcass and carried it out. The light in the hall reflected unnaturally on the orange scales of the creature cradled under his fingers. He went into the bathroom and entered a stall.

Staring at the goldfish, Taan wondered if the thing had actually tried to communicate with him or if the letters typed were some bizarre coincidence. He dropped the small body into the toilet with a plop.

He pulled the handle to flush, and the water began to circle clockwise, yet the fish wiggled, then moved counterclockwise. Taan blinked and dropped to his knees. Was it swimming in the opposite direction? Before he could formulate an answer, the goldfish went straight down the drain.

the end

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Hands

Viral videos are sometimes so fun. I heard this song on another video first, but my dear friend Midget showed me this one last night. The song is amazingly energizing in itself, so it's worth a listen. But the skill involved in coordinating this hand choreography is rather dizzying. (It doesn't seem like it at first, but the real "dance" comes after 0:45.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

iHeart Faces: Fix It Friday #14

Over at, they have a weekly event during which they take a "not-so-good" photo and give it to their contributors to "fix" in whatever photo editor they wish to use. There's no prize, but it's something fun for design geeks like me to do on a Friday afternoon.

To the right is the image they provided for Fix-It-Friday, Week #14.

Below is how I edited it to my own liking.

This one might be a little over-the-top and overedited, but it's getting late and I don't want to have to come back to this tomorrow. *whistles*

I used Photoshop to touch up. Masks and several layers were used. Background is a part of an image I found on the web.

Please comment and let me know what you think!

There are a lot more images to check out from other contributors, so click on that link if you'd like to see them too.

50/365 Relenting Sky

49/365 Sunlit Flowers

48/365 Through the drinking glass

47/365 Wi-fi @ the Grocery Store?

46/365 Rainy Day

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

45/365 Serious Chicken

Have you ever seen such a serious person in a chicken suit?

44/365 Playdate Socks

43/365 Sunset Haze

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CP Vlogging Project, Video #4

Ah, me. It is time for final farewells...

You can see all the videos here.


On a side note: I apologize for posting merely once a week for the last few weeks! I need to get back on a regular updating schedule.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

42/365 Catching up

As you can see, I've been trying to get my Project 365 pictures up. I'm afraid I was quite behind. Oops.

Friday, April 10, 2009

41/365 Good Friday

The Good Friday service had a hands-on expression of worship wherein participants could nail their names to the cross with actual nails. The sound was rather eerie in the quiet auditorium.

My friend Sara over at Flutterby365 captured the cross before it was covered in names.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

40/365 Little Diva

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

39/365 Juiced

All that work, and my kids drank all but the little bit of juice in the glass there. Ah well. It's good for them, and at least I got one swig.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

38/365 Two Moons

CP Vlogging Project, Video #1

On my teen writers forum, we are having a vlogging project this month, wherein five of us will post one video per week on our forum blog, making it a daily vlog (M-F). I'll be doing Mondays. This is the first vlog for this project.

I think my video editing skills are improving!

Monday, April 6, 2009

37/365 Lilies

A lady donated these to the church office because her cats were eating the leaves.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

36/365 Loose Tooth

Eep. I wish it would just come out already so we don't have to watch it wiggle anymore.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

35/365 Snow Whispers

I love watching snow scuttle across the street with the snaking wind.

Friday, April 3, 2009

34/365 So not worth it.

I hope I never get back to the point where I can eat an entire Totinos Pizza without a second thought about its nutritional impact.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

33/365 Donations for what?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

32/365 Happy Accident?

Nobody did this on purpose; I just happened to notice it. So strange, but very happy to discover.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

31/365 Sprout

Monday, March 30, 2009

30/365 Dry Erase Art

The chest freezer in our living room makes for a handy dry erase canvas.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

29/365 This boy can EAT.

I have no idea where he puts it all--other than his mouth.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

28/365 Kale

This is my friend's new cat, Kale. She's named after the main character in the DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul.

Friday, March 27, 2009

27/365 Sunny snow day

iHeartFaces: Fix Friday #8

Over at, they have a weekly event during which they take a "not-so-good" photo and give it to their contributors to "fix" in whatever photo editor they wish to use. There's no prize, but it's something fun for design geeks like me to do on a Friday afternoon.

Above is the image they provided for Fix-It-Friday, Week #8.

Below is how I edited it to my own liking.

This is another girl in a fantasy setting like I did for Fix It Friday #6. I don't know what it is about little girls; I always want to make them into whimsical fairies. Maybe they'll get an adult's picture up for F.I.T. one of these days, and I can be inspired some other way.

I used Photoshop's artistic filters, lighting effects, and overall color tweaking techniques. I'm a fan of masks and transparent duplicate layers. Various additional images were found around the web in bits and pieces.

I think I might have gone a little overboard on this one. LOL Please comment and let me know what you think!

There are a lot more images to check out from other contributors, so click on that link if you'd like to see them too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

26/365 We got your drift

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

25/365 Footprints

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24/365 Jumpin' Jack Flash

Monday, March 23, 2009

23/365 I <3 Netflix Instant Play

Bonus awesome points if you can name the movie in the comments. B-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

22/365 New growth

Saturday, March 21, 2009

21/365 My shoe went bankrupt on Indiana Ave.

My sister-in-law cleaned house in this game, and I was the second one to be taken down.

Friday, March 20, 2009

20/365 Organic...NOT!

Look closely above the sign.

Breathe In Breathe Out Promo Video

This is a video I edited for my friend Evangeline to promote her women's humor blog, Breathe In Breathe Out.

You may recall from my first Project 365 that I featured the photo I took for her banner last year.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

19/365 Air Traffic

The sky must have been just the right temperature, and we must have had a lot of passing airplanes that night.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

18/365 Postcrossing Cards

I have always been a fan of snail mail. You can ask anyone who I corresponded with in college. They probably have a boxful of hand-decorated envelopes from me. Unfortunately, life after college got busy with marriage, career, and later, kids. I still enjoy snail mailing on occasion, but those times are so few and far between.

I came across a site called which is a project that allows people to receive postcards from all over the world, practically for free. If you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

Why send postcards to random people? Because there are lots of people just like me who like to receive snail mail! There is also the added element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world.

I signed up for it and have four postcards ready to mail this week. This reminds me a lot of the Griffin & Sabine books. What fun! I'm excited to see what happens when my cards start crossing the ocean.

If you're interested, you can see my PostCrossing profile here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

17/365 Night Streaks

Experimenting with a long exposure here while driving.

Monday, March 16, 2009

16/365 Press to Order

This is how we celebrate Mondays. :o)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

15/365 Take Out