Unextreme Make-Over: How to Be a Pin-up Model

This is certainly not advice from me. Rather, this is a brief review on the DVD How to Be a Pin-Up Model, which some friends bought me for Christmas.

Overall, the video is pretty good, especially if you are interested in re-creating the 40s. The sections on how to do make-up and hair are very instructive, and do well to re-create that Vargas look.

But the video is true to its name. About 1/3 of it is about how to take racy pin-up pictures, so if that’s not your interest, you can quit that part. And to be objective, while the instructors of the video are full of good information, I had a hard time taking the names Bettina May and Go-go Betty seriously. Meant to give them credibility because of their association with burlesque, I just came for the make-up and hair, so I thought it was silly. I could also have done without the rockabilly tunes that repeated their names over and over.

So, summary? If you’re doing the 40s, especially the big-eyed, apple-cheeked 40s, you’ll get a lot out of this video. You’ll also learn a lot if you want to take your own flattering pin-up photos. But if you’re like me, you might find yourself giggling here and there.



It’s about half an hour before I fold up shop. Today has been an interesting mix of student counseling, email, phone calls, and interviewing potential instructors. So, it’s not like I didn’t get anything done! But my goals for the day, sitting front and center on my desk, aren’t exactly accomplished.


It’s a good analogy for writing. Some days, you know that you’ve spent time on your writing, doing worthwhile things. Not cat waxing, but, you know, researching for the book, outlining, writing character sketches, reading the work aloud: all things you need to do that are part of the valuable writing process. All which seem to take more time than I usually plan for. And then, there’s the valuable wait for getting feedback from your test readers, because hey, gotta show off my shiny new patience. More time.

And then a year goes by, and you wonder why your novel isn’t finished.


With that in mind, then, I think about the writing year ahead. Let me give you two versions of what I’d like to get done.

Continue reading “CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!”

Kung-Fu Panda 2 for the Hugo

And of course, as college starts next week, it’s crazy days, so you aren’t getting a real entry today. You’re getting a re-link to the time I was deep in the heart of Finland, talking about Kung Fu Panda 2.

In case you’re wondering, it comes in at 91 minutes, just qualifying it for the long form.


And not wanting to be too recursive, but here’s a link to Jim Hines’ link back to my journal entry nominating him for the Fan Writer Hugo from last week. Oy, I’m dizzy.

But really, vote for him. I mean, the entry discussing the Hugos alone is worth it.


All right. Expect no more Hugo posts for a short bit, as I wade hip deep through Hugo material.


Hugo for the Hugo

I would have had to nominate it, just because then I could write, you know, Hugo for the Hugo.

As I peruse the other Hugo categories, I see that I probably need to nominate three movies from last year, and this is to suggest that you might consider Hugo as well in your nominations.

Hugo, based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, might not seem like a fantastic film at first glance. A little boy, orphaned and abandoned by family, hides out in a train station fixing the clocks and avoiding being sent to an orphanage. However, the automaton his father the clock maker left to him has mysterious overtones that lead Hugo to the world of the fantastic, both in emotion and in the film industry. It’s a beautiful story of love and redemption, and the power that fantasy can have in the life of the creator, which is a topic skillfully explored in this film.

Martin Scorsese directs John Logan’s screenplay. See the film for the history, the fantastic sets, and the story of redemption which happens on several levels.

Lest this is a bit too high brow for the Hugo, I can assure you that I’ll be talking about Kung Fu Panda 2 next time around. Bear with me.


Other Strong Contenders for the Fan Writer Hugo

Here are some other interesting blogs that you should check out for the fan writer Hugo. Remember, there are five spots for nominations. These are noted in no specific order of preference. I’ve included some newcomer blogs to mix it up with the old chestnuts.

Tobias Buckell: Buckell gets this year’s guts move. He disabled his comments, because he felt they were affecting the quality of his work, and the sharpness and sincerity of his writing has picked up. Buckell comments on books, life, and science.

Jay Lake: Jay blogs about many things, but he’s been remarkably blogging about his cancer since 2008. His writing is an authentic look into the mind, body, and spirit of a cancer fighter. Of course, he posts about social and political items, his writing life, and his family too. But damn, that’s some brave writing.

John Scalzi: John has already won the fan writer Hugo once. John is paid to write about science fiction in columns. He posts a lot of pictures of his cats and the sun going down. He writes thoughtful posts about politics. One of my favorites this year was when he invited Republican readers to talk about this year’s slate of candidates. Even though John’s work at Whatever has won a Hugo, it’s still worth mentioning.

Chuck Wendig: The persona is cruder than the reality, methinks, but Chuck Wendig has been amusing folks with his penmonkey portrayal of his writing and his personal life. Wendig is best known for his writer lists, usually 25 ____ about writers doing ____. Still, the writing is funny, sometimes in a Three Stooges kind of way I shouldn’t like. Hey, I guess I’m not proud.

Ferrett Steinmetz: Ferrett is a writer, and a good one, but I read Watchtower of Destruction for the geek factor. Recently Ferrett did a rewatch of Deep Space Nine, and he’s also talking a lot about Skyrim these days. Be warned that Ferrett also talks about alternative lifestyles like polygamous relationships and FetLife. Just so you’re prepared if you go over there.

Amy Sundberg: Practical Free Spirit is an optimistic look at writing life from a neo-pro writer. Amy thinks about thorny issues in interesting ways. These include life issues as well as writing issues. I find her voice refreshing, and I am inspired every time I visit.

Sean Craven: Renaissance Oaf is a picture of one man versus creativity. Sean struggles with his art and the resultant mental imbalances in his temperament, and produces a frank portrayal of a struggle with mental health as he grows, both in terms of art and being involved in a community. It’s fascinating stuff, if a little arcane on occasion.

Miranda Suri: At Comedy or Tragedy, Miranda Suri focuses on her writing life. We get a little bit about her life as a professor too, but I really like reading Miranda because she gets me think about larger writing issues. It makes me feel like I have to make my blog smarter. And there’s cooking, book reviews, and interesting links. We are also treated to pictures of Mr. Ramses, the site’s official overseer mascot.


If you visit any of these fine writers today, take some time to appreciate the contribution they’re making to the Internet. There’s a lot of so-so stuff out there, and these writers are going above and beyond.


Why I’m Nominating Jim Hines for the Fan Writer Hugo (and why you should too)

Of course, there are up to five nominations for fan writer, and I will highlight a couple of the other blogs that I want to put forward, but I really want to spotlight Jim for a moment.

If you’ve been following Writer Tamago for any length of time, you know that I’ve read all Jim’s books. I’ve been a fan of both of his series, albeit they are very different. He’s brilliant when he’s funny; he’s poignant when he’s serious. He’s a very good writer. I’m really enjoying watching his career take off, and watching him get the attention he deserves.

And I really enjoyed having him out to Icon where he was a fun guest.

All that said, I don’t want to talk about Jim’s fiction today. I want you to pay attention to his other writing–mainly his blog, but some of the other work he’s done in fandom as well.

I want you to go over there and look around. Jim’s non-fiction has feet firmly in both worlds of humor and sincerity, sometimes masterfully tied together in the same articles. Let me give you some of my favorite links to get you started.

Jane C. Hines: Jim imagines what his life would be like if he were a female author instead of a male author.

Have Yourself a Slashy Little Christmas: Popularity-wise, most people prefer Baby Got Books, but I’ve always been more in favor of the classics myself.

Sexual Harrassment: Bystander Intervention: Because of Jim’s background as a rape counselor, he’s become a resource in the fan community for preventing harrassment. This post is pretty typical of his work in that area.

Not on his blog, but related is Jim’s very good article on Writing about Rape at Apex.

Of course, Jim also keeps his fingers on the pulse of publishing. He has run the first book Friday series, is very open about his life as a working writer, and deals with topical writing issues.

At Jim’s blog, there’s lots of great posts on a wide variety of social issues. There’s great discussion of the writing life. And there’s just some fun stuff.

Of course, if none of that can pull you in, you can always go for the lego porn.

I am only a burgeoning neo-pro author with a small website, but if you like what you see, help get the word out. Jim deserves some sort of recognition for his fine work.


Grab Bag of Links

Steve Bucheit “borrowed” this link from Chuck Wendig, and I’m sharing the love: Twenty-five Things Writers Should Stop Doing.” Of course, we all see ourselves in there somewhere.

Jay Lake found this at Mur Lafferty’s: Honesty and Depression

Jay Lake also points out the Tea Party Negotiation Strategy: I still don’t think these people even drink tea!


Let’s talk a little bit about these links in turn, shall we?

Just stop it! You know, if you read Chuck’s post, it basically comes down to put your head down and write, and don’t listen to the little voices in the back of your head, ‘kay? Just do what you do and don’t do what others think you should, or what you think others think you should, or what you think others think the market thinks you should, or what you think others think the market thinks you should that is a sure fire thing.

Oh, and don’t procrastinate. If you want to write, stop playing Nintendo.

Well, yeah. I think that about covers that.


Depression and anxiety: I manage mine. I hit some potholes in 2008. My grandmother died, and my mother had been hiding my older brother as her roommate from me for a few months. And I lost it in a dark, black, lay in a room alone cloud. My journey into medication was going to be temporary, but I discovered something interesting.

One day I was having a conversation with friends, and I also had an internal conversation. It went something like this.

Me: You should say something about that.

Me 2: Wait a second. Did we just think about not blurting something out?

Me: Yeah. Um…I have another crazy idea. Why don’t we formulate what we’re going to say before we say it? Added bonus.

Me 2: Is this what other people think like?

Yes, it turned out that I was a ball of anxiety pretty much all my adult life and didn’t know it until 2008. Make no mistake. I should have been a ball of anxiety, but in the backwards world in which I grew up, we didn’t seek out treatment for one of my bouts of pneumonia, let alone anxiety.

I can say that medication has improved the quality of my life. I get a little dark from time to time, but I can’t see any down side to the meds. Okay, I can’t go on a booze bender. This probably isn’t a downside now that I’m past 40.


Tea Party: Guys, holding your breath until you turn blue is no way to govern. Being stubborn until you get your way suggests that we are being governed by spoiled children, not adults who can compromise, and look to the needs of more people than themselves. That’s just…well, I got no label for that. We’ve got to get you people out of office, if only to protect your constituency from themselves.

Oh. Um…strange thing in Iowa. One of the pro-Gingerich commercials suggested that we had to fight against the “liberal Republican establishment.” Where are these guys?!!! Because I want to throw them a cookout. They need to feel the love.


Okay. Gotta get on this ELA coordinator stuff. These classes aren’t going to staff themselves.


Ten Most Popular Posts at Writer Tamago

Tomorrow I return to work, and a bit more regular posting here. I will be getting to work on interviews, but for a while I need to be revising and working on reading Hugo stories (of which I have received a few to cover.)

For your entertainment, since a retro-spectacle seems to be a bit fun, I thought I would post the top 10 posts of all time from the Tamago. I am thinking I may wish to collect some of my favorite journal entries eventually into an e-book. This will sort of slake that thirst until I have my authorly stuff circulating in the real world. It’s kind of fun to see what people are reading.

Have fun. Marvel at the breadth of my grasp of subjects. 🙂

Continue reading “Ten Most Popular Posts at Writer Tamago”