Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

It's tradition here at Writer Off the Leash to trade the Good Friday fun vlog for something a little more weighty. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tidbit: 3 C's

This week I've been heavy into research so buckle up, students. It's time for a history lesson. . .

No, I'm not talking about the gal at the supermarket popping her gum as she rings up your broccoli. This kind of cashiering is a ritual dismissal of an individual from a position of responsibility for a breach of discipline. Think of the general getting his stars and little brass buttons ripped off his uniform in front of a bunch of lower ranking minions. Embarrassing, eh? Yep. It's meant to be. And in the British army, you lost out on the fee you paid to become an officer in the first place, so it not only hurt your pride, but nipped your pocketbook as well.

Congreve Rockets
Did you know rockets were in use way back when in the early 19th century? 1805 was when the Royal Arsenal first demonstrated solid fuel rockets. These weapons of destruction were used effectively in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Think of the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner... and the rocket's red glare... yeah. Congreves.

Manners and etiquette were big deals back in the Regency era but especially so during a dinner party. When dinner was announced, guests didn't just belly up to the bar and chow down. Ladies and gentlemen entered the dining room according to rank. The mistress of the house would request the lady first in rank to lead in the others. The master of the house did the same with the gentlemen. Each took their place at the table in the same order. It was considered a mark of ill-breeding for a person to seat him or herself higher than they ought.

There. Ready for a quiz?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Surprising Social Media Trends

Like most people, I tweet, check the ol' statuses on Facebook to see what's up, shrug on a blazer and pretend I'm wearing panty hose when I log into LinkedIn, and chill with the cool kids over at Tumblr. Because of all that, I feel like I'm somewhat savvy when it comes to social media, but whoa dang, I came across some interesting statistics that not even I knew. So allow me to share the enlightenment so that we're all educated. . .

#1. Social media isn't just for punks.
The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket. This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.
The 45-54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+. For Facebook, this group has jumped 46%. For Google+, 56%.

#2. LinkedIn sounds stuffy, but don't let the word "professional" intimidate you.
Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn, a network which is handy as a source of information and conversation for professionals who want to connect to others in their industry.

#3. Social Media has kicked porn to the curb.
The most popular activity on the web is no longer ogling naked bodies. Social networking sites are now the hottest attractions according to an article over at Reuters.

#4. 25% of smartphone owners aged 18-44 can't remember the last time their smartphone wasn't with them.
That means there are probably very few times when they're not connected in some way to the internet.

#5. 25% of Facebook users don't bother with privacy settings.
Not that the NSA and/or a stalker isn't going to run an end goal around whatever precautions you try to take, still, there's no reason to make their job easier. 

Which reminds me. . . have you all changed your passwords on all your social media sites and other password protected places you visit? HEARTBLEED is a nasty virus used to steal encrypted information such as, well, passwords. Most social media sites have updated against this bug but you still need to change your old passwords in case your information was compromised.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why Are Writers Strange?

"Writers have always been weird."
~ Jeff Goins

Last night, I finally got around to seeing the movie Saving Mr. Banks. A short synopsis is that it's the story behind the anguished author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers. Great movie. Freak of an author. Which raises the question: why are writers so weird? What is it that causes such eccentricities?

I think it's a mixed cocktail of imagination and a set of filters that are a grade too wide. Creative types sometimes say exactly what they're thinking, and often that's way different than what others are thinking. But again, that begs the question why?

Scientific Answer:

According to neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen, creative people are open to new experiences, have a high level of tolerance for ambiguity, and their approach to life enables them to perceive things in a fresh and novel way. This is opposed to the average Joe Schmoe who generally "quickly responds to situations based on what they have been told by people in authority, while creatives live in a more fluid and nebulous world."

Psychologically, writers often live in two worlds: the real one and the other that is a repository for their creative ides. Being able to escape reality--which yes, could be construed as psychotic--is actually an advantageous necessity.

My Answer:

Writers are freaks.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trend: Silent Reading Parties

While I was trolling around the internet this weekend...wait a minute. Lest you think I sat on my heinie eating bon bons and watching YouTube, I did actually create my office (finally) so that I'm no longer working out of Rubbermaid containers stacked up in my bedroom closet. Wanna see?

So. There.

Now then, when I did take a break (sheesh, you people are slave drivers), I toodled over to GalleyCat, which is my go-to site for keeping up on the publishing biz. Seems like there's a crazy new trend happening that sounds uber fun to me! Silent Reading Parties are all the rage amongst hipsters and/or people who just love to read.

What is it? Exactly what it sounds like. Everyone brings whatever they feel like reading and Generally this takes place in a coffee shop but some people are hosting them in their homes as well. Here's what one looks like:

Quiet music is played in the background. One place was jazzy enough to have live harp music to spice up the ambiance.

Personally, sounds like a great idea to me. . . as long as everyone can keep their mouth shut and read.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bird Bars


1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup coconut
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
4 Tablespoons ground flax
1/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup peanut butter (or almond butter)

1. Finely grind oats and coconut in food processor then pour into bowl.

2. Pulse peanuts and cashews in food processor until evenly ground. Leave slightly chunky. Add to oat/coconut mixture.

3. Add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds & flax.

4. Melt and mix together honey and peanut butter in small pan (or nuke it). Remove from heat, let cool, then add to seed/nut mixture and combine.

5. Put into 8 x 8 dish and press down firmly (this is key) until it forms a solid brick mass. Cover and pop into frig to harden.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tidbit: RBS

Wanna know where I'm at in my latest manuscript? Not any farther than I was last week. I have been self-diagnosed with the dreaded RBS, not to be confused with RLS.

RBS is an ailment usually contracted by writers, most often in the spring. Kind of like a nasty cold that grabs ahold of your throat and lungs in early April. How do you know if you have it? It's easy to spot. There's only one symptom. . . you can't keep your rear-end in the chair long enough to write down anything of significance. Yes, my friends Restless Butt Syndrome is nothing to be sneezed at.

Oh yeah, did I mention I have a cold as well?

So while I haven't made any great progress on my word count, I do have a few new ideas floating around. I went and saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier which inspired me to hide a hide-out in a hide-out.

I also started an inspiring music playlist for Moore's Maiden on Spotify. So far I've only got 3 songs on it, but I'm open to suggestions. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy a few moments of sweet music.