Happy Birthday to me!



It’s my birthday and I’ll eat cake if I want to, eat cake if I want to…

Writer friend Maggie Jaimeson recently had her birthday and wrote a wonderful post on wisdom. I mostly want cake. And ice cream. Possibly with chocolate syrup.

If I could also have world peace, an end to wildfires in the West, and a truly clean source of renewable energy, that’d be lovely too. But I’ll probably settle for a book-buying binge later today.

If you have any suggestions for reading indulgences, share in comments. I do require happy endings, please. I have a gift card so I can go wild :)

Bee loved

beeHere’s my new little friend, sitting on my desk with me while I write tonight. I think she is Apis mellifera? I’m sorry to say I don’t know my bees as well as I should.

I found her half drowned in a rain-filled bucket. I have a bird and bee bath with a nice piece of driftwood they can walk up and down to the water safely, but of course this one found the slick-sided bucket :( Since it was almost dark and kind of cool, I wasn’t sure she’d get warm and dry enough to fly home before night. So I picked her some alyssum and put her in a whiskey tumbler. (Everybody knows real writers drink whiskey!) She wasn’t looking good earlier, but I blotted her dry and stuck her next to my gecko’s undertank heat pad, and she’s perked right up.

I’d read on the internet some weeks ago that you can revive exhausted bees with a bit of honey. In the picture, you can see she’s eating a drop of local wildflower honey off the tip of a toothpick. Thanks for some true info, internet!

Tomorrow morning I’ll release her back into the wild.

Bees are having a rough time of it these days. With the now rectified exception of the watery bucket of death, we try to keep a good bug-friendly garden. We don’t spray chemicals. We save the cutworms for the gecko. We live peacefully with the predatory wasps under our eaves. Spiders are relocated to the side of the shed near the compost bins. The aphids… The aphids I crush like the vile monsters they are! Mosquitoes and fruit flies also get swatted. But other than that…

As a gardener, I try to bee the bloom I want to see in the world. I hope this fuzzy little cutie has a fruitful season of pollinating ahead of her!

Movie review: Edge of Tomorrow

TL;DR: Fun, fun! Go see it!

edge-of-tomorrow-international-poster-600x888Now for my more complete thoughts :) This is spoiler free as long as you’ve seen the trailers.

I’ve said before a movie can pretty much win me over with good CG, high action, multi-stage explosions with lens flares, and some decent one-liners from watchable leads. I read books for character and story. Yes, I’ll whine about plot holes, but for the most part, a movie can satisfy me with popcorn spectacle and the entertaining illusion that I can deliver a round-house kick when I walk out of the theater.

But when I get character and story AND spectacle… well, how happy am I?

EDGE OF TOMORROW was all that. Maybe it’s because I’m writing a science fiction romance novella right now, but I really appreciated how this movie’s creators seemed to understand and honor both its inherent limitations (really, there’s only so much storytelling you can do in less than two hours) and its potential scope (visually and viscerally).


There really wasn’t a good time for a potty break in this movie. The action was continuous and the exposition was quick and tight. This movie wasn’t a reboot of an older storyline, so we didn’t get a lot of origin backstory. And it wasn’t a setup for a franchise, so we didn’t get a lot of foreshadowing. Our heroes focused on what they needed to do without a lot of unnecessary mooning about their bigger world. The movie told THIS story.

For my fellow writers out there, I was particularly impressed with how the script handled the repeating timeline aspect, giving us just enough repeat to establish the flow and change of the story and characters without getting boring. Really nicely done.


My fellow writers know all about the “rule” to Show Don’t Tell, and EDGE OF TOMORROW did a wonderful job with showing. The character growth and emotional arcs were beautifully presented in snippets of action and quick glances. Movies have an advantage over books in the SDT realm, and these movie makers made the absolute most of their medium.

Admittedly, sometimes I almost wanted more. But I wanted more because I enjoyed it so much, not because I was unsatisfied. Like a rich dark chocolate flourless cake — you can ALWAYS eat more, even when you don’t really NEED more :)


When a movie starts with the premise that the main character dies repeatedly, you’d think it’d be easy to stop caring cuz you know he’ll come back. But between the hero’s difficult arc and the established stakes for the storyworld, I totally cared. I was invested in his journey and wanted to see him win. And the movie delivered. Plus, explosions!


Aside from some minor quibbles with time travel conundrums (which are as pointless as complaining about FTL drives) my biggest peeve — as with almost all monster movies — was that the aliens were essentially unbeatable… until they were chasing our heroes, and then suddenly the monsters are running at half speed and bumbling over obstacles. I realize this is so common in monster movies it’s practically a trope, but they could’ve worked around it with better staging. But whatever.

I’m almost always going to support SF movies on principle alone (yes, I will see the PROMETHEUS sequel and whatever they give me for STAR WARS no matter how many times they burn me) but when a movie really comes through for me, I am so, so happy.

Go see it!

(Last thoughts. I saw EDGE OF TOMORROW in 3D and thought it was worth the extra expense because I am easily amused by ducking explosions and monsters coming at me.  YMMV and if you can’t/don’t see it in 3D, you will still enjoy the story. Also, I just found out my preferred theater — a Century 16 — is discounted on Tuesdays, by $4/ticket, and I had NO idea, so check and see is your fave theater is doing anything to lure people into seats. Also also, I said science fiction romance earlier, but I don’t want to imply this was a SFR movie. So if you are a guy somehow reading this, don’t get scared away.)