Category Archives: Video

Where the wild things are

Warning: If you’re feeling the least bit weepy, you might want to skip this one (for now). Otherwise, it’s well worth the five minutes.

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Filed under Books, Video

Your Saturday dose of writing inspiration

From the master:

Go forth and write!

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Synchro Fever

Pictograms of Olympic sports - Synchronized sw...

Since I don’t talk a whole lot about works-in-progress or completed works that have no home, some of you might not know that I wrote a YA novel where part of the plot revolves around a high school synchronized swimming team. I based some of it on my high school days, and some of it not. Synchro has changed a lot over the years.

In the story, my main character and another girl swim a duet. In my mind, it looks like the video below. In reality? They wouldn’t be swimming at Olympic gold medal level.

I’m sure some of you have seen this. If not, click through and take four minutes from your day and enjoy.

Ishchenko and RomashinaWin Duet Gold


Filed under Video, YA

Because I’m missing Downton Abbey

Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.

So I totally glommed Downton Abbey over spring break with the kids (although the kids, they did not glom Downton Abbey–in fact, my Downton Abbey addiction completely escapes them).

I’m posting this since Maggie Smith gets all the good lines. That being said, my favorite is not in this compilation.

I think my favorite (so far) must be:

Sir Richard: Do you enjoy these games in which the player must appear ridiculous?

Lady Violet: Sir Richard, life is a game in which the player must appear ridiculous.

I’m thinking I may have to do a mid-year re-watching of seasons one and two. Just because.

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Writers, non-writers and the things they say

Too good not to share.

First, the non-writers:

And now the writers:


Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, Video, Writing, YA

100 years of Girl Scouting is keeping me busy

100 years of Girl Scouting can keep you pretty busy. So can epic Girl Scout cookie sales. And we’re doing both this month and next. As part of all this, we’re working on the Girl Scout Way badge, since we can knock out three requirements at the big anniversary celebration at the Mall of America (oh, my word, this looks to be like barely contained chaos).

The indoor amusement park will be open early–and just for the Girl Scouts. Is Kyra excited about this? Yes, yes she is.

Today at our meeting we learned about the woman who started it all Juliette Gordon Low:

You can view Part Two and Part Three as well. It’s a nicely done biography of her that runs a little more than thirty minutes total. Even though I was a Girl Scout for twelve years, I’m not really sure I knew much of Juliette’s story. It’s really quite fascinating.

Afterward we watched this, the girls made up a play about the first Girl Scout meeting. Even though I didn’t actually attend the first Girl Scout meeting, I think I’m safe in saying that the one the girls presented in no way resembled what actually happened.

And now it’s time to go sell some cookies … want a Thin Mint?

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Filed under Kids, Video, Volunteering

Life less creepy: The Janesville Baby

I’m trying to remember the first time I saw the Janesville Baby. I was in elementary school (pretty sure) and I think it was a field trip, although whether it was a school field trip or one for Girls Scouts, I really don’t know.

I wasn’t prepared to see it, I do know that. I’d never heard of the Janesville Baby before. But there she was. A doll. Hanging in an upper window. In an old house. Glimpsed briefly, through the smudged window of a school bus. I think I cried out:

“There’s a doll hanging in that window!”

Some of the kids saw it; others didn’t. It did generate much speculation, as only a doll handing in a window could among elementary school children.

It was the right kind of creepy.

I saw it several times while growing up in southern Minnesota. Even better, the Greyhound bus I took to the University of Wisconsin-Madison passed right through Janesville. No one at school ever believed me about the Janesville Baby (unless they hailed from southern Minnesota). So every time the bus drove through Janesville, I’d crane my neck to look and confirm:

Yes, yes, the baby is still there.

It’s not my imagination.

And it’s still creeping me out.

No matter what people say on the video or in the comments, for me, the Janesville Baby invokes the same visceral response as clowns or those movies about dolls that come to life in the middle of the night.

That being said, I’m glad this piece of my childhood is still intact, that it’s inspiring stories and wonder and–with a little luck–creeping out a new generation of elementary school children.

More about the Janesville Baby (article no longer online). I think my favorite comment is:

Only in the ridiculously reserved state of Minnesota could someone do something like that and not ever be asked about it for 30 years.

To be fair, I think people have asked. Mr. Wendt simply isn’t talking.

So there you go. Your dose of creepiness for the day. You can thank me later, say at 2 a.m., when you can’t fall to sleep.


Filed under Musings, Video

Moscow 2011

For all you Russophiles out there (you know how you are).

Москва’2011(Moscow/Russia) from zweizwei |motion timelapse| on Vimeo.

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Musical interlude: Ode to Kindle Fire (with apologies to Bruce Springsteen)

I’m browsing on the ‘net, I click on the Add to Cart
I think I should delete, but this is just the start
I say I won’t like it, but you know I’m a liar
‘Cause when we surf
Hmmm, fire

Well late at night, I’m tapping your screen
Well you say I wanna an app, I say free Angry Birds is just mean
I say I don’t love you, but l can’t hide my desire
And when we surf
Ohhh, fire, fire

You had a hold on me right from the start
It’s a grip so tight I couldn’t tear it apart
My nerves all jumpin’ actin’ like a fool
Your graphics they burn, but your case stays cool

Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah
But Kindle you can bet their love they didn’t deny
My words say quit, but my words they lie
‘Cause when we surf
Hmmm, fire, fire

Burnin’ in my soul, my Kindle’s out of control

So. Do I love my Kindle Fire? Yes, yes I do. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the back-lit e-reader vs. e-ink, but so far I think I’ve actually been reading more, not less. Of course, being able to adjust the brightness helps.

Oh, and streaming content? Yes, please. Right now, I’m working through all of Ken Burns’s documentaries. (Civil War first to complement the War Through the Generations reading challenge.)

And I can check my email, go on Facebook, and, and, and …

And … check out the book between Pasta and Tina Fey. Could it be Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay? Why, yes. I think it is. See, even the 2009 Debs are on fire.


Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, Misc, music, Reading, Video

Musical Interlude: Strings and Clocks

The First Time Trivia: Although I don’t mention the song the cafeteria string quartet is playing in my story The Trouble With Firsts, I spent a lot of time listening to Vitamin String Quartet trying to find the perfect one.

Didn’t know there was such a thing as a cafeteria string quartet? Well, the answer to the why and how is somewhere in The Trouble With Firsts.

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Filed under 2009 Debs, Books, music, Promo, Reading & Writing, Video, Writing, YA