A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rainy Day and the Mini Marbles

Rainy Day and the Mini Marbles 

American Guinea Pig photo (c) Animal-World: Courtesy, Lisa (used with permission)

When Rainy Day was young, she discovered it was, sometimes, fun to tell a lie. Not always, and never over important things. It was just fun to see if she could get away with it. Sometimes she did, and sometimes she didn't. She was punished as often for telling the truth as for telling a lie. Now, if you asked if she stole the money (an important thing) she could not lie about it (she also didn't steal it), but if you asked the right question, at the right time, well, you just might have gotten a lie. And then she read one of Max Brand's Silvertip books. The Hero said something like, "Never tell a lie. Your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyhow." So Rainy Day stopped telling lies. Well, almost.

When Rainy Day was a senior in High School, Mr. High Muckety, from her Step Father's work, and his wife, Mrs. High Muckety came to dinner. Now, Rainy Day did her best to get out of this dinner. She knew, from past experience, that it would be boring. It would be beyond boring--it would be deadly dull. Alas, not only could she not get out of dinner, but she also had to wear a dress! Rainy Day was not happy! In fact she was mortified. She hated wearing dresses; however, she suffered bravely behind a false smile. (With a name like Rainy Day, she was used to a lot of false and brave smiles.)

Yes, the time came during dinner, when Step Father and Mother could no longer carry the conversation and what did Mother do? Why, she turned to Rainy Day and, wearing her sweetest smile –you know, the one ever mother wears when she is really saying, 'If you cross me, you'll be sorry' and then asked the most dreaded question in the world, "Well, Rainy Day, what did you learn in school today?" Poor Rainy Day. She nearly choked on her perfectly roasted salmon. Mother was, after all, a gourmet cook. And then, well, Rainy Day smiled a real and genuine smile and replied, "In science class, we learned that if you pick a Guinea pig up by its tail, its eyes will pop out. The tail is connected to the optic nerve."

Mrs. Muckety turned a pale shade of green. Mr. Muckety got an evil glint in his eye. Step Father began to mentally beg for his job, disclaiming any knowledge of 'that child'. Mother, well, Mother just asked more questions. "Why, Rainy Day, whatever do you mean, its eyes pop out? You mean, like Peter Lorre's?"

"No, Mother." Rainy Day rolled her eyes in what she hoped was a theatrical manner. "I mean their little eyes pop out, and fly across the room. It's really funny." Rainy Day fluttered her fingers to give vision to the description. Mrs. Muckety almost ducked.

"Well, surely, Rainy Day, you can put them back, can't you?" Before she answered Mother's question, Rainy Day innocently glanced at Mrs. Muckety – she was turning a lovely shade of puce. Mr. Muckety, meanwhile, hid his face behind his napkin. Step Father was ignored.

"Well, Mother, of course you can. But it doesn't do any good."

"What do you mean, it doesn't do any good?"

"Well, the optic nerve has been severed, so they're forever blind. Boy howdy! They sure are they funny as they run around and bump into desks and chairs and things." Rainy Day laughed as she used her hands to try to mimic the blind Guinea pigs bumping into furniture.

"But, what do you do with the eyes?" Mother didn't know whether to cry or get angry.

"Oh, we dry them, paint them, and use them as mini-marbles." Rainy Day mimed shooting marbles across the table toward Mrs. Muckety.

Poor Mrs. Muckety. She was almost ready to excuse herself from the table and find the rest room; Step Father was almost ready to get on his knees to beg for that job and swear he had nothing, nothing I say, in the raising of Rainy Day. Mr. Muckety tried so very hard to keep a straight face. Mother stood and announced with a most indignant voice (she opted for the anger), "Rainy Day, that is cruel, and I am going to report it to Senator Wayne Morse's office right now. He will see to it your school stops that so called experiment, and stops it right now!"

As Mother began to walk to the phone, Rainy Day gave forth another huge, she hoped, theatrical sigh, "Mother, I haven't taken science for two years. And, besides, Guinea pigs don't have tails."

Mr. Muckety could no longer contain himself. He choked and guffawed until the tears rolled. When he stopped choking on his laughs, he told Rainy Day, "That was great! I can hardly wait to share it!" Mrs. Muckety began to regain her normal coloring. Step Father gave a weak smile assuming his job remained his (it did), and Rainy Day never again had to participate in one of those oh-so-deadly-boring dinners.

(Actually, Guinea pigs do have tails, but they are so tiny it's almost impossible to see them, let alone grab them, and if you were to succeed in picking a guinea pig up by his wee teensy tail, Rainy Day wants you to rest assured his eyes will not pop out. However, she also wants you to understand that he does have sharp little rodent teeth!)

NOTE: The photo is used by permission from Animal-World. Animal-World is not a store, but an information and care site for all sorts of pets and animals. Rainy Day encourages those of you who have pets (especially Guinea Pigs) or are considering acquiring a pet, to spend some time perusing the site. 

What do you think? Do you tell lies? Tall tales? Rainy Day would love to hear from you. If there is no 'Comment' box below, please click on the word comments and a box should magically appear;-)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rainy Day and the Ghettos

Alma Alexander  photo by: Jerry Kindall
While reading A Writer's Blog – Shoes & Ships & Sealing Wax by Alma Alexander, Rainy Day was introduced to the concept of Genre as Ghetto. ("The Fantasy Ghetto of your Dream," pages 82 – 86.)

Rainy Day does not approve of Ghettos, or Hoods, or Barrios, or whatever you call them, but they exist; and, she has discovered they often exist because people choose to live around people of like culture, beliefs, and grocery preferences. That's fine by Rainy Day, as long as those folks live there because they want to, not because someone decided they should live there.

But Alma Alexander was talking about another type of ghetto. The Ghetto of Genre, and it's found on the shelves of bookstores – assuming you can still find a bookstore. That particular ghetto is also found on the shelves of libraries (wherever they still might exist) and even on the 'shelves' of the World Wide Web (such as Amazon.com or Smashwords.com).
The trouble with Genre Ghettos is the books don't always end up where they should (or at the least, where Rainy Day thinks they should); sometimes they end up in the 'wrong' Ghetto. Sometimes books are 'cross-genre' and can reside comfortably in, say, two or more Ghettos. Case in point, when the fourth book of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, Drums of Autumn, came out Rainy Day and her Sister headed to the nearest bookstore. They walked up and down every aisle in the store except one. They searched Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Mainstream, and finally, in utter defeat, they got on their knees and crawled to the Clerk of the Store. They abjectly apologized for being so ignorant as to not know where the book might be and begged the woman to please tell them.  The Clerk of the Store looked at them as if they were too illiterate to be in a bookstore, let alone in the human race. With total disgust in her voice, she informed them it was in the Romance Section, and where else, she wondered, would it be? (Remember that aisle they didn't go down? Romance!) Sister and Rainy Day looked at each other and burst into great peals of laughter as they tried to explain to the Clerk of the Store they never, ever read Romance; however, in this case they would make an exception. Needless to say, neither Rainy Day nor Sister ever set foot in that particular bookstore again.

Book Cover
Alma Alexander's book, Secrets of the Jin Shei was another one of those books, though Rainy Day didn't find it in Romance (thankfully). She stumbled across it the first time in the Library on the New Fiction shelf. Later, she found it in the bookstore, under Mainstream. This puzzled Rainy Day somewhat, because clearly it was Historical Fantasy. But who is Rainy Day to argue with a Publisher? However, she wonders upon occasion, how many other good books she's missed because the Publisher coded it for the 'wrong' Genre Ghetto? (Publisher, if you're confused, you only have to ask the Author--or call Rainy Day.)

Many Science Fiction and Fantasy books (Rainy Day's favorite fiction Genre) are also crossover Genre's with Horror. Now, Rainy Day wouldn't be caught dead reading a Horror book. In the first place Rainy Day lives alone, and therefore sleeps alone, and she doesn't like nightmares, which Horror books are prone to give her. So she never, ever, goes into the Horror Ghetto. Never. Ever. However, a good friend suggested she read Blood of the Lamb by Thomas Monteleone, and Rainy Day found it on the local drug store's spinner rack. So she bought it. Then she spent the next few hours reading it from cover to cover. In one sitting; without even one cup of coffee. Can you imagine Rainy Day's surprise, no, her shock! when she finished the book, closed it, and noticed it was coded as a Horror book. So, okay, Rainy Day never, ever, looks for books in the Horror Ghetto, but now and then.... And, yes, it is one of the best fiction books Rainy Day has ever read!

Which brings her back to Ghettos. Sometimes they can help one find the right book – or grocery store. Sometimes even the right Place of Worship. While Rainy Day would never suggest a person live in a particular place because of the way that person looks, dresses, or speaks, Rainy Day can understand why one might choose to do so. And while the Publisher might code a book a certain way, Rainy Day suggests when you browse those bookshelves – both real and virtual – you also check out some of the nearby shelves. You just might be in for a treat!

Note: The two photos in this post were furnished by Alma Alexander, and are used with her permission. (Well, Doh! Rainy Day thinks it's obvious that if Alma Alexander furnished the photos, they would be used with her permission. However, Rainy Day thinks disclaimers are, if not legally required, at least fun to write.)

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rainy Day is in Love!

OMGGSA! (Oh My Goodness Gracious Sakes Alive!) Rainy Day has found true love and everlasting happiness! Well, maybe not the everlasting happiness, but a lot of happiness for perhaps a short period of time?

As those of you who have known Rainy D for many years know, she's been in love with Paul Newman since before he married Joanne Woodward.  Because he took Joanne, instead of Rainy D, poor Rainy D had to console herself with buying Newman's Own salad dressings. He, of course, never acknowledged her undying love – or all those salad dressings in her larder.

And then, she discovered Newman's Own Cabernet Sauvignon. But, this not about Paul or his products. (For those of you not familiar with Newman's Own brand, please check out their website. The products are good, and all the profit goes to charity. 

Oh, the Newman's Own wine is wonderful, and I do have to give it just a wee plug. Yesterday at the store, Rainy D bought a bottle of Paul's wine, and then she saw a new wine. Well, new to Rainy D – Chocolate Shop. Now, Rainy D being an All American Gal loves Paul Newman, and she really loves Chocolate. If she can't have the one....

Rainy Day could hardly wait to get home and open the bottle of wine. She's never been big on the wine lover's pretentiousness of sniffing the cork. After all, when you buy cheap red wine, it smells like cheap red wine. But this wasn't cheap. It wasn't overly pricey, but it wasn't cheap. She uncorked it and then she sniffed.

Oh, decadence in a bottle. A deep red wine with chocolate perfumes. Or, was that a dark liquid chocolate with red wine perfumes? She wasn't sure. She poured a bit, and then she poured a bit more – into two glasses – she shared with her daughter. Oh, yes, Rainy Day fell in love! Head over heels in love. Listen carefully, and you can hear her sighs of happiness....

In the interest of honesty (and Rainy D is, if nothing else, honest!) she needs to let all of you know, she is receiving nothing in return for her endorsement of either Newman's Own or Chocolate Shop Wine. In fact, she is relatively sure they would rather get their endorsements from professionals with known and recognizable names, than from some alter ego named Rainy Day.  However, she does recommend Chocolate Shop, The Chocolate Lover's Wine and she urges you to try a bottle or a glass. Unless, or course, you don't like Chocolate or Red Wine, and if you don't, then how can you possibly be a friend of Rainy Day?
She also urges you to buy Newman's Own brands. Not only do they taste good, the profits go for good causes.

(Again with the honesty bit (sometimes Rainy Day wishes she wasn't quite so darned honest!). Yes, Rainy D loves chocolate, and red wine, AND Paul Newman, but if you really want to bribe her – try licorice.  Of course, red wine and chocolate will work, too – but not as fast;-)

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rainy Day and the Violence of...

Cardinal telling all it's Movie Time!
Many years ago, when Rainy Day was young, cute, and dating, she and one of her dates went to the movies. They saw Sylvester Stallone single handedly save Los Angeles from the bad guys. On the way home from the movie, they stopped off and rented a couple other movies – one with Jean-Claude van Damme and the other with Steven Seagal. Both single-handedly saved entire areas, perhaps even countries, from the bad guys. Date and Rainy Day watched and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed the movies, violent as they were.

Which caused Rainy Day to do some serious searching of her soul, for she is not a fan of violence. Why, then, does she so enjoy those movies? This is a question she ponders now and then, up to and including even today.

The best answer she can up with come, is that violent movies where the violence is so improbable as to never actually being performed, is funny, at least to Rainy Day's warped senseless of humor (remember when Mel Gibson starred in the Lethal Weapon movies, and the time he tied his little pickup to the support of a fantabulous house in the Hollywood Hills  and pulled the whole house down by pulling the support out with his truck? Well, it was funny – but it will never happen!)

Movies with violence that could happen, or has happened, aren't so funny. Rainy Day doesn't like In Cold Blood, or any of the Texas Chainsaw movies. She doesn't like 'Mob Movies' and yet.... Yes, this past week was Mob Week on one of the movie channels, and they played, several times, all three episodes of The Godfather. Now, when the book first came out, Rainy Day bought it, and couldn't put it down. She read it in a couple of days, and it wasn't until she finished the book that she realized there wasn't a nice guy in the whole lot of them!  And yet, she found herself sitting on the sofa far more than was her true wont, watching, at various times, all three episodes of The Godfather, one more time.

And the movies she gets from Netflix? She's guessing that over 95 percent are Asian. The remaining five percent are either American, Canadian, or British. Rainy Day loves what she collectively calls 'Samurai movies' – movies where guns have yet to be invented, or at most, are invented, but only used sparingly (usually by the bad guy). She loves the sword fights, where single-handedly Zatoichi (the Blind Swordsman, masseur and inveterate gambler), saves the town from the bad guys. The movies with rich costumes (and bloody battles) – think Curse of the Golden Flower and The Red Cliff.  She thinks the costumes are marvelous, and the special effects are great. (And, she notices with some delight when blood is let, it is always from a vein, in a steady gush and never from a pulsating artery. She also has a strong sense the human body could never, ever, contain the great amounts of blood the Asian movies have their victims bleed.) Oh, and she says not to forget the Zatoichi movies with 'spaghetti western' background music.

Perhaps Rainy Day isn't as much of a pacifist as she would like to believe? A friend of Rainy Day suggests the fascination comes from the world of the story – unfettered violence in a time and place Rainy Day can neither comprehend nor even begin to understand. What do you think?

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rainy Day Gets Filed!

The time has arrived! After years of excuses, rationales (Rainy Day is an expert on rationales) Rainy Day has purchased a filing cabinet and is filing all her short stories and all her poems, and all those manuscripts she's working on, and all those she should be working on, and all those that are, alas, beyond help.

The most exciting thing is the discovery of those poems/stories/novels started and forgotten for whatever purpose. The second most exciting thing is she now has a large metal surface on which to put her magnet collection.

One would think a five-drawer vertical filing cabinet would be easy to purchase, and not overly expensive. Alas, one would be thinking erroneous thoughts. Rainy Day called all the local chain office supply stores and none of them had any in stock (they all had plenty of 4 drawer ones, though). She looked on the web, and the least expensive ones she could find were in the $400plus price range (some up in the thousands of dollars, but they were fire and theft proof. A bit of overkill for Rainy Day's needs.)

And then Rainy Day remembered seeing an Office Supply store she'd stopped at a couple of times that was closed on weekends. The few things she could see through the window looked expensive, but, then, Rainy Day has expensive taste. A kool-aid budget, but champagne taste.  She gave them a call. Peg answered the phone, and informed Rainy Day she had 4 five-drawer filing cabinets each at a very reasonable price. Rainy Day was there in minutes. After a delightful browse around Bella's Office Furniture, she bought the five-drawer cabinet of her dreams. It seems Bella's deals in both new and used furniture for the office, and though Peg quoted her the wrong price over the phone, she honored it. Turns out, she's the owner, and a most delightful person to know.

Those of you in the Tri-City area, who have a need to get organized, or just want to have a nice office, be sure to check out Bella's Office Furniture at 7425 W. Clearwater Avenue, Kennewick WA for your needs. The other stores are still the place for your file folders, pens, etc., but for nice furniture (including a great selection of 'sleeping' chairs – or wing-back chairs, if you prefer) go to Bella's. Meet Peg and the crew. Peg is the kind of businesswoman you could feel comfortable doing business with on a handshake!

Rainy Day has been trying for several years to track down the author of a short story, Sword of the Yueh Maiden. About the time Rainy Day decided it was an old Chinese legend, she decided to use the characters in one of her novels. At the last possible moment, she found that the story was written in the 1980s by Jin Yong (Louis Cha), so Rainy Day had to make some last minute changes to her story to make it all hers. She then spent the next two years trying to contact Mr. Cha. As luck would have it, while prowling though Amazon.com the other day, she found the name of one of his translators, looked up the translator, contacted him and got the address of Mr. Cha.  Rainy Day is very happy to tell you all that a copy of Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh (greatly inspired by Sword of the Yueh Maiden) is now on it's way to Mr. Cha in Hong Kong.  Rainy Day hopes to share with you all his response in a week or two. Unless he decides she plagiarized too much, and finds herself in China, eating real Chinese food from the comfort of her cell.

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