Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lock Ladies

Last week I went to interview a couple of women who work for the locksmith shop around the corner from work. These are tough girls with scars on their fingers and who are strong enough to pull ignitions out of steering columns. Here are some of my notes from that experience:

"The shop - keys are hanging on the wall everywhere, Coke machine in the front, file cabinets in the back. Litter box on top of one file cabinet. I guess there's a cat here somehwere. Smells a little like oil, but not bad. The floor is red and it reminds me of a red bowling ball for some reason. Car steering wheel on the counter out front. Nancy (the locksmith) is wearing jeans, a long sleeved denim shirt with the sleeves rolled up and her dark hair is slicked back. She's wearing brown shoes that remind me of Popeye...Popeye? Why do things remind me of the things they remind me of?"

This is what my research notes always look like. Observations and free-association comparisons, which lead to introspection. Which makes the research more about me than my subject. This is what all writers are like, just accept it.

Nancy and her coworker Linda were great to talk to. They let me ask them all the questions I wanted and showed me around the shop. They didn't even bat an eye when I asked them, "So if you could have any super power you wanted, that would help you with your job, what would it be?"
Nancy smiled as if she'd been waiting for someone to ask her that. "Invisibility."
"No," I told her. "It's got to be a job-related super power."
The smile vanish, as smiles usually do when you tell someone that they can only pick a job-related super power.
"The ability to move safes without lifting them," she replied.
"Would that power only apply to safes?" I asked.
"No, I guess I could lift other stuff too. And I would be able to shape any key into any lock without having to file it down or figure it out."
"Hmm," I said, writing that down.
"I would have super human strength," said Linda.
"Why's that?" I asked.
"'Cause then I could lift safes and pull ignitions out of steering wheels."
"So this safe lifting...this is a big deal in the life of a locksmith?"
The women nodded, Nancy rubbing her lower back.

So my main character (Parker) not only has the ability to hear the insides of a lock, so that she can pick a lock within seconds, but she's also superhumanly strong.
"So Gen," you say, "You're main cahracter is a strong thief? What makes her so special?"
"I'm glad you ask!" I say. "She's!"

No, there's much more to the plot now. And if Parker is anything like the chicks at the locksmith shop, she'll be safe-liftingly awesome.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

They Should All Ring

I was just updating Creature Feature House (which you can read here and writing about how I lose things in piles of clutter when I had a BRILLIANT IDEA! The reason I can find my phone when it's underneath piles of discarded stuff is because it rings. So, all of my stuff should ring! Car keys, magazines, books, bags of trail mix, shoes - ALL of it should have a ring tone so that I can call them when they're missing! How else am I going to know that my toothbrush is under the television?

This is the best idea I've ever had! It will make decluttering obsolete! Maybe I'll even equip my things with wifi and and a camera. This must be how Steve Jobs felt when he would come up with his ideas. Maybe the ipod was created when he couldn't find his computer because it was under a stack of burritoes, and he thought "I bet I could find that computer if I could call it, like a lost phone. Hey! A computer that's also a phone! (munches on burrito from the pile) This is my best idea ever!"

Yes, Steve, and I'm taking it a step further! EVERYTHING will ring and have internet access! Decluttering will be a thing of the past! Slobs like me are in future! Ha ha!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Trendings Never Endings

Everglades snakes, Cruise ship captain, Jessica Alba, 1,100 year old tomb (of a female singer) were some of the things that were trending on Yahoo the other day. Like the terms "TTYL" and "Jessica Alba," "trending" is a term that I hear but don't understand. Ok, I'll admit, I know that TTYL is text language for "Trending Takes Yogurt Literally." I'm not THAT out of the loop. But when I think of the word "trending" I think of "trendy," you know, like "hip." Is this what it means? Because if it does, then this means that 1,100 year old singers are trendy! Woohoo! Archaeologists besides Indiana Jones might finally be popular instead of nerdy!

Wait a "Madonna single" and "Willow Smith" are trending. Not Everglades snakes? Well, why not? An Everglade snake could eat Madonna and Willow Smith in one gulp! Does trending not follow the laws of the food chain? Does it follow any laws, this trending, or is it some kind of renegade thing that chooses random topics for people to think about and perhaps click on when they should be doing something else at work?

Because if that's it's game then I have fallen for it. I'm not likely to click on Madonna, but 1,100 year old singer, who could pass up that one? Who was this singer? Perhaps the Madonna of her time? One of the judges on Egyptian Idol? What did she sound like, I mean, what constituted as exceptional singing that would make a Pharaoh's heart swell? It's so much more exciting for me to imagine something like that when I'm at work than focusing on the data entry stuff that I'm supposed to be doing. Um, and in case my manager is reading this, that I am HAPPY to do and DO do all of the time!...Most of the time!...Um, this is not Genevieve's blog. This is Jessica Alba's. Fire her.

There are other terms I don't understand that I should. Like "housing bubble." I keep hearing this term on NPR, and though I have magnificent reading comprehension skills and should be able to figure it out, and though I owned a house for eight years, I still don't know what it means. I can tell that it is a bad thing when it bursts. That's what the news guys seem to be saying, anyway. But what is it? It sounds kind of cute. I imagine a charming little home floating in a bubble like Glenda the Good Witch. A bubble makes the house magical and shiny, but when it bursts it gets soap all over it and everyone inside is sticky. Is that what it means? Because if it does, that's no so bad. Then you just hose off. I suspect it's something other than the cartoon that plays in my head though. Something that involves numbers, money, and other words that I don't understand like "escrow." Which makes me think of "Scarecrow." This entire paragraph only solidifies the fact that I should never own a house because the entire business exists for me in the form of "The Wizard of Oz." You know. That movie where the house FALLS FROM THE SKY AND KILLS SOMEONE.

OH! I just checked Yahoo, and the trendingness, whatever it is, has already changed. Now the top trend is...Nano quadrotor. What the hell is that? And how does it one-up Madonna being single? I don't understand trending, what makes things hot from one moment to the next. Trends bursts like house bubbles, big one minute, small and covered in liquid soap the next. It's sad really.