Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life's Collisions

Have you ever learned something in one aspect of your life, only to apply it to another aspect of your life?

For example, when I was in fourth grade, I learned how to play the clarinet and how to read music.  I found that piano music is roughly the same - at least the melody - and since I knew where the main C was located, I transferred my clarinet notes to the piano subsequently teaching myself to play the piano.  (With one hand, but still.)

Today, I went to watch prospective Ducks play a scrimmage against each other.  Granted, these kids (I say kids because I was older than the majority of them - and I'm only 21 years old!) aren't professional (yet) and it was a scrimmage (part of a training camp). 

They were good, for the most part.  I like to watch the goalies personally.  Of course, there was a lack of tension because prospective Ducks were playing against other prospective Ducks so everybody wins, and since they started 25 minutes late, I was worried about possibly getting a ticket because of my parking time limit.

But there were a couple of things that happened that I just cringed at.  Even I know you don't do stuff like this. 

Granted, I never played hockey in my life.  I've probably been ice skating only a handful of times.  But I played soccer for 7 years when I was a kid, on an All Star team and then to an APP team with the option to join club soccer.  And I was a defender the majority of time (sweeper, to be exact).  I can take what I know from soccer and prescribe it to hockey. 

Like never, ever cross to your teammate in front of your goal.  It's just too dangerous.  You never know if someone will make a breakaway, intercept the pass, and score a goal.

Or don't reach for the puck with your stick.  Get your body behind it.

And for the love of God, don't block the goalie's view of the puck!

But the scrimmage was enjoyable.  I always find it fascinating to watch people play hockey - it's the fastest sport on the planet, and it's cool to know that I'll have watched soon-to-be Ducks when they just started out.

I'm not on the ice so I don't know what it's like.  It's completely different when you're there, on the ice, playing the sport.  But maybe they could participate in a soccer camp.  Just for fun.

Monday, June 27, 2011


One of my biggest pet peeves is when people ask me to borrow a pen/pencil and/or a piece of paper.

I know, I know.  Everyone who knows me laughs at this, and calls me a nerd.

But whatever.

Because even worse than asking me to borrow those items, is when I actually allow them to take my things, but then they don't give them back!  (Obviously I don't ask for the paper back, but seriously, could they at least change their choice of diction from 'borrow' to 'have' when it comes to the paper or give me a piece of paper the next day?)

I don't know about you, but I like to be organized when it comes to taking notes (AND writing outlines to potential stories).  I use RED, BLUE, and BLACK in order to keep my notes pretty and interesting.  If I let someone borrow a pen from that collection, I'm completely thrown off!  My notes are NOT beautiful and neat, they're just blah!  Luckily, I prepare myself for them, and usually have three types of each color packed in my Johnny Depp pencil case my friend got me for Christmas.

But what happens when I, being the kind person I am, lend out my colored pens and people don't return them?  I'm completely thrown off and grouchy and ugh!

And don't get me started on having to rip a piece of paper out of my perfect, untouched notebook.  As a writer, it kills me.  I hate it.

I know it's horrible and lame and you're probably like my friends, saying, "Really, Heather?  It's just a pen!"

But to me, it's not just a pen.  It's a tool I use to do what I love.  Without a pen and paper, how would I write?

That's just me, though.  We all have ridiculous pet peeves.  I'm preparing myself for mine, even though school doesn't start until September.  Because I know at least ONE person will ask me to borrow something.  (What, do I have a big stamp on my forehead that says, "ASK ME FOR ANYTHING!")

P.S.  Boys: asking me to borrow a pen in order to talk to me is NOT the way to win my heart.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Handwritten Letters to Celebrities

Has anyone written a letter to a celebrity?

If so, has anyone gotten anything back from them?

Today, I'm mailing my first letter off to none other than Mr. Clint Eastwood. 


Well, I'll tell you.

See, he's making this biopic about none other than J. Edgar Hoover.  No, not the president.  The guy who was responsible for the creation of what's known now as the FBI.

Technically speaking, of course, John Dillinger and Alvin Karpis contributed to the FBI's creation too.  Back in the day, there wasn't much federal regulation.  A lot of laws were left up to the states, and as such, many people were completely against a national police force coming and taking over criminal cases normally left to the responsibility of the state police.  Hoover vehemently opposed this sort of viewpoint and insisted that a national police force be instituted.  But he needed a reason for it.

And that's where my two favorite gangsters come in.

With Dillinger continuously slipping through the Bureau's fingers and Karpis hiding out from them, the Bureau of Investigation was made to look like fools.  Even more so when the general public supported the Robin Hood-esque figures.

For Hoover to win his little FBI, he needed to prove that they were needed.  And more than that, he needed to show that the Bureau could get results.

So he ordered that Dillinger be killed - which he was, execution-style July 22, 1934 - and claimed to personally arrest Karpis -although Karpis states in his autobiography that it was only after the gangster was safely detained that Hoover made his appearance and took credit.

In the end, the FBI survived and for as long as Hoover was the director, he kept a death mask of Dillinger on his desk.

Charming guy, right?

So, in order to tie this back up to my letter to Mr. Eastwood, I just wanted to let him know how important his portrayal of both Dillinger and Karpis are.  Because you can't tell a story about Hoover without talking about Dillinger and Karpis.  And I don't want them to be portrayed as "the bad guys" because they weren't.  Just like Hoover wasn't a "good guy."  I do trust in Mr. Eastwood's vision, though.

I don't expect any sort of response from him - though I did send a self-addressed stamped envelope just in case - but if I watch the film (out later this year) and find a problem with how my gangsters are presented...

Well, me and Mr. Eastwood are going to have some words... 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Calling Myself A Writer

I started writing as soon as I could pick up a pencil.  I wrote poems and short stories and drew pictures.

I started writing seriously when I was 18, and finished my first novel.  Over 100,000 words, in fact.  From there, I wrote over 20 novel-length stories, querying agents here and there but nothing serious.

But I still never called myself a writer.

I don't work, so I would respond to an inquiry about a job saying, "Oh, I'm a student."

It wasn't because I didn't believe I wasn't a writer.  It was because unless you're a writer, you don't understand what it's like to BE a writer.

A couple of weeks ago, I was hanging out with a group of friends.  One of them commented on what a hard day at work she had - she works as a nurse at a private practice; you know, the one who comes in and takes your vitals - and asked, "Did any of you actually work today?"

Every one of my friends has a job.  Except me.  I know I'm lucky.  I don't have to work.  But I did have a long day that day - it took me four hours to revise four chapters of the novel I hope to one day publish.  That was when I actually really considered myself a writer.  And I told her as much.  She brushed off my statement and rolled her eyes before changing the subject.

Besides the fact that I was incredibly offended at the lack of seriousness she was providing my chosen career with especially considering she was supposed to be my best friend, I knew she didn't understand.  She couldn't.  She'll probably never write a book in her life.  She'll never finish one.  She'll never understand what it takes to create characters, a logical and compelling story, finish it, and then revise it.  Never understand how much blood, sweat, and tears go into a novel.  Never understand what it's like to have the patience to go over details to your story, wait for those agent responses.  Because she's not a writer.

I know what it's like to be a receptionist.  I worked at a movie theatre for 2 years back in high school, dealt with guests, answered phones, sold tickets, ushered, and was a concessionist.  I know it's exhausting, even if you're sitting down the entire time.  And I don't take any of that away from her.  The least she could do is support what I want to do, even if she can't understand it.

And that's another reason why I really don't claim to be a writer.  I'm not yet published - I don't even have an agent! - and therefore I'm not getting paid.  If I say I'm a writer, people do what my friend did; they humor me but don't take what I'm doing seriously.  Apparently, simply writing isn't a job, it's a hobby.

But that's okay.  I don't mind saying I'm just a student (even though, after that 4 hours, I considered myself a non-paying worker because seriously - 4 hours!) because I know that one day, I will be able to say I'm a writer.

And then, everyone will take me seriously.  For the most part.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


See that word up there? 

Yeah.  I don't actually believe in it.

To me, there are no such thing as coincidences.  I know it's not what you might call rational, exactly, but it's what I believe.

Today, the NHL Hockey Awards are on (400PM Pacific Team on Versus).  Also, it's John Dillinger's 108th birthday.  And you guys know how crazy I am about 1930's gangsters, especially Dillinger.  I am as crazy-excited about this award show as I am about the Oscars because I am crazy-excited about hockey.  Like, seriously.  I'm planning to study abroad, but will only do it during the summer because hockey season ends around the same time summer begins.  Yes, you read that right.  I planned my educational travel around hockey season.

And just who is my team?  Obviously the Anaheim Ducks.  Considering I was born in Anaheim.  And the team is supremely fantastic.  I have always been a native fan - like, I'm a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Galaxy because I'm from the area.  I'm also a Red Sox fan, a Celtics fan, a Green Bay Packers fan (since 2000, by the way).  But do I actually watch these games?

Um, no.

I watched the Super Bowl and will watch any USC-UCLA game (Go Trojans!).  I will watch the news for baseball scores and soccer scores and football scores, but I'll be honest: I really don't care.  I'm rooting for my area, of course, but I really don't care.

But hockey is a different story.  I've watched Ducks play - I've been to quite a few games this past season, including the fifth playoff game.  I saw that amazing Bobby Ryan goal live.  I watched as Corey Perry scored his fiftieth goal this season and simultaneously completed a hat trick live.  I watched as my favorite player and goalie Dan Ellis block over forty shots against our cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, guaranteeing us not only a place in the playoffs, but fourth seed live.

In order to prepare for today, I went up to the Honda Center to the Team Store - where they're having a fifty percent off sale in celebration of the award ceremony - and squealed in delight when I saw there were actual Ellis shirts.  I had to have one.  Who cares that they were men sizes and even the small would drown my frame?  There was a small.  I happened to have found the last small, AND it was fifty percent off.


I don't think so.

I think "coincidences" - whether it's the combination of your favorite things, such as hockey and John Dillinger and pirates (Jerry Bruckheimer will be presenting an award) or getting into the car just as your favorite song starts on the radio - are just the universe's way of letting you know you're on the right path and that it has your back.

So when I flip to Versus today at 200PM (you know, for the red carpet stuff because any hardcore award show viewer won't skip the red carpet), I'll be wearing my Ellis shirt.  I'll be rooting for Corey Perry to take home the Hart Trophy because he deserves it.  And when it's over, I'll be counting the days for hockey season to start back up.

And throughout it all, the universe will have my back and will show me it does through what those that don't actually believe call coincidences.  But I'll know better.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers and Dads

I just got back from visiting my maternal grandfather at the LA Veterans Cemetery.  Even though he passed away February 22, 2004, me and my family visit him (and now my grandmother, as of October 19, 2009) five times a year.  We stay maybe five minutes despite the hour drive to and from LA to each pay our respects to him.  We don't bring flowers, we don't dress up.  We're just there.

He showed me what being a true dad was.  Any man can be a father, but Papa was a dad.  Granted, I have no idea what it was like growing up with him as a father, but I know what it was like having him as a grandfather.  And he is the epitome of what I think a dad should be: he was always there for me, he humored me whenever I had one of my great - though naive - ideas, he teased me, he gave me advice, and I knew without a doubt I could count on him no matter what.

My own father is a great father.  But he has his own family he needs to worry about.  And while I love him, he's never really been a dad.

Which is probably why I miss Papa so much.

Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers, Dads, and Grandfathers out there.  Whether you're here or somewhere in the sky, watching over everyone.  :)