Friday, July 25, 2014

We're Not In Kansas Anymore...

Hello all! I hope you had a more fabulous week than the thought of a Civil War reenactment fought with marshmallow guns!

Well, I had a lovely little adventure this past week (and by "lovely" I mean "bizarre and unbelievable," of course).

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding (Congratulations to Annie and Caleb Reynolds!!!), which was located about two and a half hours away from where I live.

The wedding rehearsal was set for the night before the big day.

"No big deal, I'll just drive over there directly after work and everything will be dandy!"

I lived in that optimistic delusion for approximately forty-five miles of interstate. Suddenly, I was met with a sea of brake lights and I found that the interstate had been transformed into a parking lot.

Now, please keep in mind that I drive a 1993 Dodge Dakota that has working air conditioning approximately half of the time. The odds were not in my favor that day as the summer sun pounded down on our immobile vehicles. My truck became an oven on wheels as I sat, still in my work clothes, in the middle of the slowest seventy mile per hour zone I have ever been in. Legless turtles in molasses could have made it to Prosser, Washington before me.

At one point I turned off my truck's engine, got out and started a conversation with my fellow captives. None of us could figure out what the hold-up could be.

It is construction season in Washington, but usually that only slows things up as opposed to creating a dead stop. One guy postulated that there must have been a multi-car wreck, but no one had seen ambulances going the other way which would have indicated such a catastrophe.

Finally, after over an hour someone up ahead yelled, "I think we have movement!"

Excitedly we all rushed back to our vehicles, started our engines and waited in anticipation. The car ahead of me began to roll forward and I followed, relieved to finally be moving. Then their brake lights flashed on and we were stopped again, a whole foot and a half gained.

We inched onwards like this for nearly an hour. Miles of cars were piled up behind me as we trudged ever onwards towards our seemingly impossible destination.

Finally, after having been thoroughly roasted in my own vehicle, I crested a small hill and saw that I was near the front of the line to escape the mass of trapped cars.

I also saw what had created our two hours of traffic purgatory: A two story house had fallen off of a trailer and had landed smack in the middle of the interstate.

Yep, you read correctly, someone dropped a two-story house and created a several mile long parking lot on a seventy mile per hour stretch of road. As I drove by I half expected to see the Wicked Witch of the East's feet curl up and vanish under the house while the Wicked Witch of the West yelled, "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog Toto too!"

As I inched forward I got the opportunity to watch a tractor pull the second story off of the road.

My two and a half hours road trip turned into a four and a half hour long test of my ability to not scream at slow moving vehicles. When I finally did arrive, well after the rehearsal was completed, and explained my predicament my friend Annie just shook her head and said, "Only you would travel to The Magical Land of Oz and leave to try and make it to a wedding rehearsal."

So what lessons can be learned from my little misadventure?

1. Make sure you properly tie down any and all houses you might want to move. Particularly if you are going to be transporting them on the main artery through a state so that you don't give it a coronary or kill any unsuspecting witches.

2. You can cook an egg on the hood of my truck on a hot day. Granted, I didn't have an egg to test this with, but considering my plastic water bottle melted there, I'm guessing it could effectively fry an egg.

Don't forget to follow all my adventures on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Read or Die!!!

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more splendid than the thought of "The William Tell Overture" played by drunk weasels on glockenspiels.

So I had a conversation this week that went much like this:

Me: "So what do you like to read?"

Other Person: "I don't read."

Me: "Wait, what!? Seriously, what is your favorite book?"

Other Person: "I don't have one, I don't like to read."

Sadly this is not the first conversation like this that I've had. As a human being, this saddens me. As an author, this terrifies me.

This particularly worries me when I read (that's right read) statistics like these:

Mark Twain once said "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."

What advantages are there to being a reader? Let me lay them out for you.

1. Readers tend to be better in relationships.

Studies have shown that people who read a lot tend to feel a broader spectrum of emotions, which they were exposed to as they read about and empathized with the emotions of many different characters. This means that people who read oftentimes are better at empathizing with another human's emotions reducing relational conflict.

2. Reading something you enjoy reduces stress.

Really, it does!

3. Reading helps prevent Alzheimer's.

Reading is like push-ups for the brain, keeping it stronger and more resistant to deterioration. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that senior citizens who consistently read were two and a half times less likely to end up with Alzheimer's.

4. Reading improves your memory.

Remembering plot lines, multiple characters, important details, these are all skills that are built when one is reading a book. How does that translate into the real world? How about remembering job assignments, peoples' names and where you left your keys?

5. You gain better analytical thinking skills.

Reading provides one with multiple perspectives, solutions and logic tracks, meaning that when you face a problem in the real world, you have more tools at your disposal than if you had just played a video game.

6. Reading builds your vocabulary.

It is estimated that there are around 200,000 words in the English language. The average American will use a grand total of 20,000-35,000 in their entire lifetime. For avid readers, however, that number jumps up by several thousand.

7. It's free entertainment!

Seriously, you don't have to pay a dime if you don't want to. That is why libraries are such amazing places! For free you can travel to far off lands or fight pirates or ride a dinosaur! Who doesn't want a free dinosaur ride?

8. You learn more!

It is said that if you read in one field of study for one hour a day for seven years, you would be an international expert on that topic. Go and try to do that watching episodes of "Teen Wolf."

9. You will have things to actually talk about with others.

Reading opens up all kinds of doors, including conversational ones.

"Hey, you're reading James Patterson! Which one of his books is your favorite?"

"You like the Harry Potter series? Me to!"

"Did you like the Hunger Games books or movies better?"

See how easy that is!

Go! Pick up a book! Immerse yourself in your own private break from reality! You have no reason not to and lots of reasons why you should!

In other exciting news, Weird Al Yankovic released a new album called "Mandatory Fun" (which is amazing, go buy this album), and one of the songs "Word Crimes" (a remake of the awful "Blurred Lines") seemed rather fitting. 

As always, I can be found on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn) or Goodreads!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nope, It's Just My Face...

Hello all, I hope your weeks have been more splendid than the thought of Pacman being played by a drunk orangutan!

I'm actually really proud of myself for spelling orangutan correctly on the first try without using spell check.

This week, I feel the need to bring attention to an issue that affects thousands of people all over the world. This condition creates confusion, upset and general misconceptions, but will never be given its own sad Sarah Mclachlan song.

Yes, I too occasionally suffer from Resting Bitch Face.

RBF is when someone has a neutral expression that makes them seem less than enthused with their surroundings. Oftentimes the thoughts in that person's head go no deeper than, "Do I want tacos or a enchiladas for lunch today?" but their facial expression looks kind of like this:

This Is Just My Face
So on behalf of everyone else who sometimes suffers from RBF, here are some things that we would like to say to you:  

1. No, I'm not angry or upset.

I am thinking, processing  or spacing out, if I were angry I would probably say something. However, if you ask me 34 times if I am angry then eventually my answer will be "yes."

2. It physically hurts to smile for long periods of time.

No really. I once had a book signing that lasted for four hours, my face was actually sore afterwards. I have a friend who literally can only get one half of her mouth to smile at a time!

3. I am excited!

Just because I don't jump around like a pekingese on crack doesn't mean that I don't think that the newest superhero film isn't going to be cool. I do!

4. Yes, I'm sure that I do look really intense at the gym.

Oftentimes at the gym I'm lifting somewhere between 95 and 300 pounds, so I think intense is justified. Also, I don't wear my glasses to the gym, so I'm intently trying to figure out whether I'm being approached by a human or an alien blob.

5. I'm kidding.

If I say something that sounds like nothing a rational person would say, I'm kidding. Just because I don't immediately follow every one of my lines with a self-induced chuckle doesn't mean that I'm serious.

6. Nope, really this is just my neutral face and not a cry for help.

I was actually thinking about how they make Chex mix, but now I guess we're going to launch into a ten-minute debate over whether I'm really okay or not. I preferred thinking about Chex mix.

7. Stop asking me to smile all the time.

I do my fair share of smiling. If I have a reason to smile, I will smile. It is only some weird Stepford-Wives-ish society that thinks women have to be smiling all the time. 

Has anyone else had some interesting experiences with their own RBF? If so drop a comment below and other RBF sufferers know that they aren't alone in their struggle to not seem like they are ready to murder something.

As always you can find me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Friday, July 4, 2014

It's a Hoopfestation!

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a hundred bald eagles, with sparklers, synchronized flying to "America the Beautiful!"


Enjoy the day off everyone!

Well, this past weekend I had a book signing at Auntie's Bookstore smack-dab in the middle of a lot of Hoopfest action.

Thank you so much to the other authors, Katelyn Schneider and Su Williams, and everyone who braved the crowds to come say hello and stop and chat with us!

For those who do not know what Hoopfest is, it is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on the planet. Over 7,000 teams come from all over the world to compete, effectively shutting down all of downtown Spokane as the streets and any available flat surfaces are turned into basketball courts.

For those who live in Spokane it is a weekend where most of us batten down the hatches and barricade ourselves into our homes, praying for the Hoop-festation, and its accompany Hoop-crestations, to leave us be.

The trip to Auntie's (which usually takes me around 20 minutes on foot) took over a hour, as I wound my way through the clutter of basketball courts and crazed spectators.

At one point I was literally grabbed by a random stranger and given a noogie. I was so startled, I didn't really react, I just stood there and blinked a lot.

So, I arrived at the book signing appearing a bit like I was trying to make my hair look like that of a deranged anime character.

At least I didn't get trampled this year. Yeah, we'll just focus on the positive there.

Again, thank you to everyone who showed their support this weekend! More events will be forthcoming for those who missed this one! 

Don't forget to come find me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!