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Gaming christmas songs…. December 23, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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I like board games and play regularly with my friends on the weekend. As a contest the host and hostess suggested we re-write Christmas songs to game themes and vote on the best for Game Choosing rights (it’s a big thing).

I didn’t get a chance to write one but I thought I’d share with blog-land. Which do you think is best?

Carol of the Games
(to the tune of Carol of the Bells)

Come, play some games,
Lots of board games.
Munchkin's the best
(not Munchkin Quest).

Settlers and Risk
Are on the list
Not Monopoly
Maybe Viktory

In Arkham town
Creatures abound
from everywhere
Even the air

Old Ones are near
bringing the fear
In slumber they churn
quick, take your turn

Oh, how the clues are dropping
Seven mosters appear,
Cthulu's here.

Maybe we should play some Puerto Rico
Build a Sugar Mill and watch the town grow

Here's Battlestar
Travelling far
Colony ships
taking some hits

Leave them behind
Morale will be fine
There goes our food
Now we are screwed

LASERs in place
Jumping through space
Losing supplies
Maybe there's spies

I think you two are traitors
But I will not accuse
Because I'd lose

It turns out that Amy was a Cylon
I was right, but now the game's done

Zombies will rise
Heroes will die
Hunting undead
Aim for the head

Roll double-six
You can not miss
Search for more gear
Game  Night  is  here

Sun-day  at  Five
Park  in  the  drive
Bring   food   to   share
We'll    see    you    there

"Fightin' in a strategy war game" 
(to the tune of Walkin in a winter wonderland)

War hymns ring, are you listenin’?
In the plains, weapons glistenin’.
A beautiful sight,
A battle tonight,
Fighting in a strategy war game.

Gone away is your team work,
I hear you say, "He's a mean jerk."
I laugh from my heart,
As your allies depart,
Fighting in a strategy war game.

On the mountain you can build a fortress,
Then pretend that it will always last.
I'll say "That was kinda worthless,”
“My cannons will destroy it mighty fast.”

Later on, I’ll conspire,
As my troops begin to fire,
To face unafraid,
The plans that you’ve made,
Fighting in a strategy war game.

In the city you can draft an army,
And plan your moves the best that you can do.
But I know your machinations will not harm me,
I can see one turn ahead of you.

Roll the dice, ain’t it thrillin’?
As your dudes, I’m a killin’,
We’ll argue and play,
The nerdiest way,
Fighting in a strategy war game.

"Last game night" (to the tune of "Last Christmas")

Last Game Night, I gave you some sheep
But the very next turn, You gave them away
This time, I'll keep what is mine
Or give them to someone special (special)

One city, and two towns
Thats all I have, I'm 6 points down
Tell me buddy, do you think I could win?
You took all my cards, so my chances are slim.

"Don't roll Seven" - I told you when the dice dropped.
I guess it didn't matter much, can't be stopped
On my spot, the Robber Baron
I guess I won't get wheat 'til my turn comes 'round again

Last Game Night, I gave you some sheep
But the very next turn, You gave them away
This time, I'll keep what is mine
Or give them to someone special (special)

A round goes by, Oh I'd like to trade.
'Cept I have no cards, 'cause the Baron stayed.
Oh No! You built two cities and a road again
Me?  Without my ore, I don't think I can win.

This time my dice were lucky, rolled a Five and a Three
Bought a development card, It's Monopoly
Oh Oh, Now I took all your grain
Next round you will know my pain.

Last Game Night, I gave you some sheep
But the very next turn, You gave them away
This time, I'll keep what is mine
Or give them to someone special (special)

oooh oooh

Friday Flashback: Whitewater Rafting Part 2 December 17, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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So where was I? Oh yes. Five people,  small rock, fast rapids! As soon as we free the boat it immediately pinwheels around the big flat rock and starts off down the river. My Aunt Smokey is first in the boat, landing in a flying leap. This is followed by myself and my Aunt Susan. I make it in the boat just fine and grab a paddle, but my Aunt bounces on one arm and goes rolling off into the foamy water. (Pictures will be forthcoming).  My Uncle Gerald makes his leap and lands in the b oat as well, but we’re all on top of eachother so paddling has become very difficult. And my Aunt Susan is  bobb ing her way further away, towards the water falls! Without paddling help, she zips away from us and we’re doing all we can to stay afloat…

But wait… there’s 4 people accounted for. We had 5 in the boat?  Turning around, my Uncle Enzo is standing on the rock we had just been marooned on, hands on hips, glaring after us. Yes, we lost another man! About this time my Aunt Smokey yells, “Gerald, Susan’s gone under!” I turned back to the water just in time to hear a splash as my noble Uncle (and our Captain, and the only other one paddling on the boat) leapt into the water to rescue his wife. Unfortunately she was a bout 100 yards away by now, and he’s now clinging to the boat as we rush towards the falls ourselves.

So I abandon my paddling, lock my heels and somehow manage to  haul him back in the boat. My Aunt Smokey helpfully asks me, while this is going on, if I can’ get my Aunt Susan’s floating shoes as well! I’m told I was a touch testy in telling her no! Hah. But she understood. You see, she said,  Susan would have only had one shoe left anyway so there was really no point.

Anyway so now my Uncle is hauled back in the boat and we’re  managin g to spin, swirl and paddle our way down this waterfall. We make it in one piece back to the landing, and wait for someone to help us rescue Uncle Enzo. Of course, no one is entirely sure what to do. A few more boats land, the rest of our party laughing uproariously. You see, we’re told, Uncle Enzo is sitting on the rock with his thumb out as if hitch-hiking and also guiding traffic, telling people “Youse better go left, eh!”

He finally gets rescued half an hour later by two girls in bikinis. He, of course, claims that was his plan all along. He did lament, though, that he didn’t get the idea to start mooning people until later.


Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan December 15, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Book Review, Book Series, Young Adult.
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So it’s been a while since we’ve put up a review.  Crazy lives all the way around.  🙂

My choice for this review is The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.  This is a YA book which I listened to as a book on tape, over about three days.  I have to give a lot of credit to the performers as it was very well done and an engaging performance.

The idea behind The Forest is a post apocalyptic world where zombies roam unchecked and a lone village, most of the inhabitants believing they are the only living people on earth, is protected by high fencelines.  When the story begins Mary has lost her father to the Unconsecrated, which is what they call zombies, and soon looses her mother.  These events start a chain reaction of events where Mary comes to question everything about the way the village is run and the very people who protect their way of life.  As well she faces the romantic advances of the man she loves and the man who loves her.  All of this leads her on a wild adventure seeking the ocean and a life beyond the forest.

The plotline is one that generally works for me.  I found the way the village was run to be believable and the characters very interesting.  My biggest problem with the story is Mary herself.  I know I was supposed to be sympathetic to her, but through the whole book she made me angry.  She was selfish and lazy and unlikable and I didn’t like watching others get hurt of killed trying to defend her when she did nothing to deserve the protection.  In the end I was kinda hoping she’d get eaten, and while she does not the ending was very unsatisfying as she got some of what she wanted but it didn’t really answer the questions I had. I’m disappointed because I really really wanted to love these books, but I won’t be reading the second one or buying this one.


Genre: Horror

Age: 15+

Content: Violence, limited sexuality, threatening situations, deaths

Overall: 2/5  stars

Good advice for literature/art critics… December 13, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Critiquing.
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Hi folks!

I’m taking a brief break from my project at work to say hello. In writing news I wanted to share a bit of advice one of my favorite poets gave me when I had the pleasure of meeting her in Austin! I wish I had taken a picture, I need to get better at that.

She said “Todo acto de crítica es un arte poética.” It was such a nice bit of advice, “All critical activity is a poetic art.” Sometimes as critics I think we forget to also be poets, writers, literature lovers and artists. Writing about art shouldn’t simply be cold, you have to feel a passion for it and seek to make your criticism as well written and flowing as the piece of art/literature you’re analyzing.

Friday Flashback: Whitewater rafting, Part 1 December 10, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback, Uncategorized.
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Friday flashback from June 4, 2008.

Hello and greetings from  North Carolina!

I’m going to try to keep up with  my posts as best I can from the Smokey Mountains, but the connecton  is iffy and  sitting on a dusty cobwebby wooden chair doesn’t make for the most comfortable writing position! I hate to say it, but between writing and a spider crawling up my leg… Little Miss McAlear-uffit is gunna run every time!

Anyway I thought I’d just give an update of my trip. I went Whitewater rafting with my aunts and uncles on the Natanhala river. This was a trip where we had no guides, they just gave us a boat, had us watch a safety video (that told of all the terrible ways you might die), and strapped us into  life jackets. We were hauled up the side of the mountain and set loose on ice cold bubbling water. ( It says around 48 degrees year round). As one of the young strong ones (don’t they  know I’m a computer nerd?) they put me in the front, and my Uncle Gerald took the Captain’s seat at the back. It wasn’t five minutes before we hit a set of rapids and I was promptly tidal waved with icy water, drenching me from  head to toe. My Uncle gleefully crowed how I took most of the water, and blocked him. My Aunt Smokey just screamed and dove into the middle of the raft ev ery time the water got bumpy. Which, of course, set my Aunt Susan to laughing hysterically while my Uncle screamed, ” Row Susan and Smokey! We’re gunna hit the rocks!”

Well we managed to get together after a few near capsizes and got some good speed down the river, riding the rapids. This, of course, lead to over confidence. You see, the river ends with a category 3 rapid down some small waterfalls.   But to get water falls, you need big rocks and big drops! We go paddling our way down the river and end up in  a heavy turn, which beaches us on a big rock in the middle of the river. We’re stuck! So one person gets out, and starts shoving at the boat while maintaining footing on a slick rock in rushing water. No dice. Two people get out. (All the men  first, of course). Lots of hopping and swearing and shoving (and Aunt Susan doubled over laughing hysterically), but no dice.  Now we’ve shifted the boat so water is pouring INTO the boat, and it’s beginning to submerge. Aunt Smokey is floating in the middle asking, “Fellas, this boat isn’t going to go down, eh?”  (She’s Canadian).

So now I’m elected to get out on the slick rock and help the men push. No dice. Finally all five of us get out of our boat and are standing almost on eachother’s toes, shoving at the boat. I analyze the physics of it and suggest a lateral rather than vertical pull, which yes, WORKS! Of course we didn’t think of the most important problem…

Five people.

Slick rock.

Small boat.

Dum de dum…. to be continued with my next post!

A shout out from my favorite author! December 10, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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I know today is Friday Flashback day, however I thought I’d point out that I got a shout out from my favorite author:


Kristen’s updates… December 9, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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You’ve probably noticed both Jana and I have been absent as of late. We keep promising to let this change, but in my case trying to finish my dissertation and juggle my various jobs has been time consuming, to say the least.

Not to mention trying to have some sort of a social life. I /do/ have very great friends. I’ve recently discovered I’m wheat-intolerant, which has lead to a whole slew of re-learning how to feed myself. Most of them have been very supportive, making sure to have food I can eat when we have parties and choosing restaurants where I can find something to eat. They’ve made this transition 100 times easier for me, or if we go biblical 70 times 7 times easier.

I’ve had some good choir events too, I’m finding I really enjoy singing and learning the piano, and the more I learn about music the more I really appreciate it in other venues and genres. I am in awe of people who can site-read. Maybe one day! My grandfather told me he remembered I had always said I wanted to play the piano, although my mother claims I never asked. Of course I was always a very busy child,  so perhaps she knew finding the time would be difficult.

I turned 28 today, too. It’s odd, I don’t feel like I’m old enough to be that old. After all 28 is… supposed to be an up and coming professional and productive member of the community. It could be the fact I am still doggedly slogging away in school so I can be called Dr. McAlear, hopefully by April.

On the other social front, I find myself single again. Not that… it really had a lot of time to get off the ground, before falling apart. It was, however, an on-again, off-again situation for years so I think I’m missing the friendship as much as the possibility of more. I surprised myself by just how much it deeply upset me, but I really enjoyed this man’s company.

It does, however, lead me to another question: is it the fact that I’ve always  been the one to ask men out (after high school) that I keep finding these half-hearted sort of situations, or very insecure men which generally drive me batty or flee? Everyone is insecure sometimes, it’s how life goes, but this is above and beyond!

Or is it the fact men in their 20s/30s really /aren’t/ asking women out as often? Perhaps, it’s simply the very strange social climate of marriage/dating and gender roles unseating the young dating scene to a point it’s a merry-go-round of first and second dates, insecure men, or half-commitments.

Points to ponder! Hmmmm… But as Dori says, just keep swimming!

Wednesday Book Review: Body Work December 8, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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Genre: Mystery

Age: 16+

Content: Violence, sexuality

Overall: 5/5  stars

Review: V.I. gets better with age. That’s the best way to review this book. I’ve been reading the series for around 10 years now, and I’ve grown along with Vic. I find it interesting how Vic’s femininity is coming out more in her middle age, and her vulnerability. She’s more introspective on where her life is going rather than on where it’s been. She’s also as fearless as she’s always been, and the mystery in Body Work is engaging and never lets go. You cheer for Vic from the first until the last page, although you also feel sympathy for the lonely path of the Private Eye. I like, as well, that we get another appearance of Vic’s artistic current lover, Jake. I fell in love with him when he hid her in his bass case last book, and his present to her in this book is priceless.  My favorite scene, however, would have to be Darraugh Graham’s support of V.I. and his explanation as to why.  Finally I applaud Sara Paretsky for not pulling punches on the subject matter of the mystery, using the novels for social commentary like she always does. The Iraq war, homosexual relationships and the objectification of the female body are all cleverly and intelligently central to the mystery, without ever being preachy.

Friday flashback: Put down the pen… December 3, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Friday flashback from June 3, 2008.

My name is Jana and I’m a compulsive editor.

At first it was only every now and again; A hit before the weekend or just one before breakfast.  After a while it got to the point that I just couldn’t stop.  Every written page in front of me became an opportunity.  I was a monster of my editing habit, and after a while it began to take away my joy in reading.  I could not read without seeing the problems and all writing has it’s problems, my own included.  At some point I had to make myself stop.  It was a long process of convincing myself that I could sink back into the writing for the writing sake and ignore the rest, and a division appeared between my editing brain and the rest of my brain.  It’s a handy division now, able to be turned off and on mostly at will, but sometimes I still have to tell myself to stop.  Particularly when I’m revising my own work I can get caught up in the cycyle of revision revision revision…  For example I just trimmed another 4.5K words off of Whispers…I had to…it needed it, but I’m to that point I have to promise myself not to edit it again until eyes other than mine have looked at it.

It’s a hard habit to break, but revising forever does not a complete book make.  At some point you have to let go…

I can do that.

I think.