Rickroll: A Dish Best Served Cold . . .

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to Rickroll my 14yo for four months. Every time I send him a link, he asks if it’s a Rickroll. He swore I would not be able to trick him.

Yesterday I sent him a picture of Rick Astley through the US postal service, and the words “Gotcha” written below it.

Today he sends me an e-mail with two words:

“Curse you.”

I think I win.

RickRoll

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Ten Rules for Making “Ten Rules” Lists

Rule #1 – People will only remember your first and last rule, so put the most important rules in those slots.

Rule #2 – If your rules are not entertaining or insightful, people will skip to rule #8 after reading the second rule.

RULE #3 – If people read Rule #3, they’ll certainly read Rule #4. So Rule #3 can be a throwaway.

Rule #4 – If the first three rules are entertaining, then people will pause here to share on Facebook Twitter. You can play a practical joke by putting something offensive in Rule #5 that will then shame the person and make them think twice before sharing things on social networks (we all win!).

Rule # 5 – Remember that any good “Ten Rules” list will always reference the Nazis.

Rule #7 – Nobody is counting after the first five rules, so you can skip a rule, if you don’t really have ten. No one will notice.

Rule #8 – If you came here from Rule #2, SCREW YOU!

Rule #9 – NOBODY remembers rule number nine because they’re all aquiver about getting to the last rule.

Rule #10 – Anybody can create a “Ten Rules” list. If the author is really helpful, and has half a brain, he will be able to take his list all the way up to eleven.

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Almost Super Cover Reveal

Hey all. I’m excited to reveal the cover to Almost Super!

Almost Super_final

Fantastic, isn’t it? Pete Oswald (who has worked on Paranoman and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) is the artist. He did a great job, and I can’t wait to see this on a shelf. I don’t have a firm release date yet, but it will likely be first part of next year.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Awakening

A friend of mine just published a book, and I’m participating in her blog tour. Below is a little bit about her book.

About the Book

. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery’s family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn’t think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities.

After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened.

When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.

A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

Praise for Awakening

“AWAKENING is a wonder and a delight. Christy Dorrity is a talent to watch.”
~David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of Nightingale

“I thoroughly enjoyed AWAKENING, a captivating and unique debut novel that creatively integrates Irish dance.”
~ CHRIS NAISH, Riverdance member and Creative Director of Fusion Fighters Irish dancers.

About the Author

Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and is the author of The Geis series for young adults, and The Book Blogger’s Cookbooks. Christy is a champion Irish dancer and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

 

 
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Massive Fiction: An Introduction

I’ve tried to write and re-write this post to make it short, and it just keeps getting longer. So I’m trying something new. I’m giving you the facts and nothing else. Then in the coming days and weeks, I’ll write more on a few of the topics below. Does that work? Okay, so here we go. Just the facts.

Fact – I’m an instructional designer. I spend a great deal of time thinking about how people learn and the best way to teach them.

Fact – I’m a writer. I spend a great deal of time thinking about the very complex craft of writing.

Fact – Scaffolding is a technique instructional designers use when teaching a complex skill. It allows designers to break down the skill into smaller skills, and allows a learner to focus on digestible chunks. More on this in a later post.

Fact – Fan fiction is when a writer composes stories in a world that somebody else created. They use characters, setting, and even the plot of well known stories, but the writer gives it their own personal spin. More on this in a later post.

Fact – Fan fiction provides scaffolding while learning the craft of writing, and is therefore an excellent instructional method for teachers and learners alike.

Fact – Fan fiction is illegal. You cannot share or sell your fan fiction stories. At best it is tolerated; at worst publishers and authors file lawsuits against offenders.

Fact – You can write fan fiction about a work that is in the public domain; however, because most of that work is over a hundred years old, it doesn’t happen very often. When was the last time you saw Huckleberry Finn fan fiction?

Fact – Huckleberry Finn fan fiction is fun to say.

Fact – As an author and instructional designer, I came up with the idea to create a world with setting, characters, and plot–a world where it is not only tolerated and legal to create fan fiction, but encouraged.

Fact – I enlisted the help of an Instructional Design professor at BYU, and eight fellow authors (some of them New York Times best selling authors) to help me create this world.

Fact – The stories about this world will be released under a Creative Commons attribution license. That means you can do anything you want with them, including printing the stories, selling them, writing your own, and more.

Fact – We could use your help. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help create this world. You can find all the latest information, and read more about this project, over on our Kickstarter page.

Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear any thoughts and feedback you have on the idea.

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Matthew Buckley the Third

For all of those wishing for a third Matthew Buckley book, you can now start wishing for a fourth. Because the third will be here the first or second week of April.

Here is the cover.

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Less is More

This year has been a rough one for me. A lot of changes. A lot of growing.

I’ve learned something. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. In fact, at least in my experience, it does the opposite. I honestly believe that when you bring “stuff” into your life, it makes your life heavier. It pins and wears you down.

I’ve recently lost most of my “stuff”. I’ve had to acquire new stuff. And almost without exception, every time I add something new to my collection of possessions, I feel it weighing me down.

It’s interesting. The act of purchasing something is exhilarating. There is a rush of excitement and power. I am in control of my world. I click a button and an item is hand delivered to my house.

But once that item comes into my house, I have to find a place for it. I have to maintain it. I have to move it so I can dust or vacuum. It takes up space. Every time I walk into a room, it’s there. I have to allocate mental capacity to it.

I think the nomads had it right. They had just enough stuff to pack up on a beast of burden and move. Sometimes I wonder if I could fit all my belongings in backpack, I’d be a happier person. I really do.

There are two exceptions to this rule. The first is food. It comes into the house, serves a purpose, and then is gone. The act of creating something with raw ingredients makes me happy. Even more so when I can share that creation with family members or friends.

The second exception is my computer. My computer opens up a new world. It allows me to connect with friends. I’ve never regretted buying my laptop.

To me, this just proves the obvious. It’s not stuff that brings us happiness. It’s people and relationships.

I don’t own much anymore, but I think today I’ll go through the house anyway. I think I’ll get rid of everything I possibly can.

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Sunday Morning

This morning I marched in a parade. Yes, that parade.

I was seventeen the last time I was in a parade. I carried a tenor sax and became dehydrated because I was in full band uniform.

I got dehydrated this time around as well, because I was wearing a suit.

I don’t like parades. I don’t like going to them, let alone marching in them. The heat, the crowds, the . . . social interaction. Give me a dusty bike trail or a small boardgame night with friends and family any day of the week.

But today I stepped way out of my comfort zone, and marched in a pride parade. I marched with a group of Mormons who went to share a simple message, “We love you.”

Although I marched in a group I drove to the parade alone. This almost made me turn back about a dozen times. I knew no one. There I was, walking down the street in a suit and tie, asking a woman in a leotard if she knew which way to the pride parade. I’m sure she wondered if I suffered from heat stroke.

But I found my people. I didn’t count, but wouldn’t be surprised if there was over 400 of us. Brothers and sisters and children, decked out in their “Sunday best”, carrying rainbow flags and signs. I think my favorite sign quoted a primary song.

I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.

We were right behind the grand marshall, so second in line. As we marched, the crowed cheered, clapped, and at times even roared. I can only hope the love we were trying so desperately to show matched the love they showed us. A few images I will never forget:

A middle-aged woman in a tank top, stood on the sidelines, crying. She kept saying over and over, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” A woman marching next to me went over and embraced her.

A five-year-old girl, marched in front of me with a sign that said, “Free Hugs.” Many people took her up on the offer.

A man rode in a wheelchair with a walker on wheels attched to it. The walker was empty the entire time because the woman who supposedly needed it was bouncing back and forth to each side of the parade, waving and waving and waving.

I can’t explain why I felt compelled to go and march. I’m not gay. None of my immediate familiy members are gay, at least not that I know of. I’m told that the social, political, and religious issues surrounding homosexuality are complex. I won’t profess to be an expert on any of them. In fact, I’m pretty slow. I like things simple. One of my favorite parts of the bible is when Jesus boils everything down to two commandments. Only two.

Love God.

Love your neighbor.

On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.

That I can understand.

With apologies to Thomas S. Monson: Miles were walked. Tears were shed. Bridges were built.

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The Ogden Half

Today I ran a half marathon. My goal was two hours or less.

The first half marathon I ran in 2:26. My goal then was to run without stopping. My second half marathon was 2:09. I’d only trained a couple of months, and was very pleased with my time. But it was so close to 2 hours, I had to set that as my next goal.

I’ve trained pretty hard for this race. Not as hard as I could have, but a good faith effort. I felt hopeful about my chances.

I ran what I thought was a goood pace the first half of the race. I was starting to feel tired, but thought if I’d made good time in the first half, I could slow down and still meet my goal. Checking my watch, I realized that I was running much slower than anticipated. If I wanted to finish this in two hours, I’d have to run faster in the second half than I had in the first. Faster. When I was already tired.

So I picked up the pace. I started feeling dizzy. I’d reach out for the water and powerade and my hands were shaking. My legs felt weak and I wondered if I would stumble. Still, I ran on, hoping to make up for lost time.

I finished the race. I didn’t know what my time was because I’d started my watch late. I couldn’t find where they posted the results, so I came home. A few minutes ago, I saw my time.

2:01:15

I missed my goal by 75 seconds. :)

The first five miles I ran a very slow 10:22. That’s just not pretty. I was saving up my energy, but had no idea I was going that slow. The second half of the race I ran a 9:11. I shaved a full 70 second off of every mile. If I’d been able to run 10 minute miles the first five miles, I would have met my goal. If I had not held anything back, I am sure I would have done it.

Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I discouraged? No.

I’m a writer. Writers deal with frustration, discouragement, and rejection all the time. You either learn to look past it, or you quit. I missed my goal by 75 seconds. I was close, but not close enough.

The Top of Utah Half Marathon is in August. That gives me three months.

On Monday I get back to work.

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Crossing the Line

Fiddler on the Roof is my favorite musical. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Fiddler is about crossing the line. In the musical, it’s referred to as “Tradition”. Tradition is what helps the little community of Anatevka survive. They cook, clean, sew, barter, and live life in a certain way. Why? As Tevye will freely admit, “I don’t know.” It’s tradition.

But in the musical, Tevye must consider this traditional line. As the father of five daughters, one by one the three eldest want to marry, and one by one Tevye must consider the line of tradition. How far is he willing to go? Will he step over the line? One of the most powerful scenes of any movie is the scene where his third daughter, Chava is begging him to acknowledge her marriage outside of the faith. Tevye reasons back and forth with himself, using the phrase, “…on the other hand…”

He crossed the line with his two eldest daughters. He broke from tradition. But this is too much. This line he cannot cross. The music swells and he turns his back on his daughter while shouting, “NO! There is no other hand.”

And yet at the end of the movie, we receive a hint that Tevye is willing to cross even this line for the love of his daughter.

There are a lot of lines that shouldn’t be crossed. These lines allow us to work and live in peace. But every once in a while we realize society has created a line in the sand that exists only because of tradition. As society matures, we come to understand that some lines shouldn’t exist.

Sattelite, by Rise Against, is a favorite song of late. One line states, “You have to cross the line just to remember where it lays.”

I think I’d modify that sentiment just a little. But first I want to show you one of my favorite Normal Rockwell paintings.

So here is my final thought:

Sometimes we must cross the line; not to rebel, or to make a point, but to determine for ourselves if the line should even exist in the first place.

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