My Weekly Update – Awards Round Up

I have been tagged by my blog buddy A.M. Schultz.  I am stealing his little skull star guy in order for you to remember the man and the myth.  Besides, I think it is too cool. Click on the skull to visit his new site Head Spit.  The guys got talent.

 Eleven Things about Me:
1. I am moving to Shanghai next month.
2. I broke my iPhone yesterday by dropping it on a concrete floor.
3. I play golf.
4. I am unusually loyal to TaylorMade Adidas products.
5. I am obsessed with reality cooking show competitions; Top Chef, Master Chef, Chopped.
6. I can’t cook.
7. I am currently reading Foreign Identity by my new blog friend Becca J. Campbell. Just a few pages in, but Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory meets the movie Saw keeps popping into my head. It is really good.
8. I wonder why Apple doesn’t make printers. It is preventing me from having an all Apple workstation.
9. I currently have three types of currency in my wallet. Can you guess which ones? Hint: I don’t have any American dollars.
10. The title of my next novel is tentatively Ink: A Permanent Love Story. Corny?

Now on to 11 questions by  AM Schultz.  I have to admit, I am a little scared.  Here we go:

#1: Better Song: Happy Happy, Joy Joy or Peanut Butter Jelly Time?
Happy Happy, Joy Joy.  I have no clue what Peanut Butter Jelly Time is, but I will look it up.
#2: What song must you dance/sing to, even at the risk of looking like a ginormous dorkface?
In the fantasy version of myself, I sing and dance like Beyonce. Dance for You is my favorite song from her last album and whenever I hear it, I have to sign and dance.  It’s pretty hot. Let me know what you think.
#3: If you could take any historical figure to lunch, who would it be?
I have a fascination with female leaders, so I would probably pick Cleopatra. The historical accounts of her versus how she is portrayed in movies and T.V. shows is so different.  I would love to ask what what’s the real deal.
4: Where would you go?
 I would take her to Craft in New York. Tom Colicchio’s food is fit for a queen.
#5: What do you think they would order?
She would probably order the entire menu and take a small bite of each thing. She is a queen after all, she is allowed.
#6: What book do you wish you had written?
There aren’t any books I wish I could have written. I think that would be pretty arrogant of me to think I could write a book I love better than the writer.
#7: If you could be one character from literature, who would you be?
I took this quiz What Character from literature are you and it said I was Atticus Finch, which is just awesome. I love To Kill a Mockingbird
#8: Paper or plastic?
#9: Does the end justify the means?
It does, until it doesn’t.
#10: Least favorite celebrity?
Kim Kardasian – I just don’t get it.
#11: What is the maximum number of times someone should take a bath/shower per day (excluding those with medical conditions, etc)
At least once a day, unless you are really busy and don’t subject other to your funk, then you can get a way with once every two days.

Also, a shout out and thank you to Ella Medler for the One Lovely Blog Award she bestowed upon me last week and Megan Paasch; Rhymes with Smash! for the Inspiring Blog Award.  Last but not least, big thanks to Emma MC at Write Away for the Sunshine Award.  Please check out their blogs.

Badges are on my Blog Work Tab.  As far as the responsibilities, please forgive me, but I don’t think there is anything that you don’t know about me.  I need to go do more stuff so I have more to talk about.  But, I am very grateful for the love nonetheless.

New Followers – I am honored and blessed.

Tyler Wiechman – Fun blog and Marvel Comic tattoos
Year of Austere 
Khamnei Thang
Economiced by Dan Pedersen
Beauty, I Say!
Journey of Jordanna East
Poemage by Justin & Jin
Nevena Read
Jennifer James
Next Weeks Schedule
Monday – Hookers Blogfest
Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday
Wednesday – Hangers Blogfest
Friday – Blog Post
Sunday – My Weekly Update

Sometimes You Just Have to Scream

Let me tell you about my day.

I wake up at 5:30 am. Open up the office, answer a few emails and then meet the car and driver I hired for the day to take me to the bank in Shenzhen, which is an hour away.   I don’t drive in China.  I don’t have the patiences for it.
I typically enjoy a long car ride because my usual commute is five minutes in a golf cart.  I use this time to catch up on my blog reading (convenience of the iPad).
I arrived at the bank early, grab some coffee at a nearby Starbucks and enjoy some  free wi fi for 45 minutes until my appointment at 9:00am. Productive morning.
 And, that is where my productive day ended.
Now, I am not one of those people who walk into a situation blind, if I can help it.  I do my research. I prep. I call ahead and ask questions.  What I am trying to do at the bank isn’t simple and I understand that.  But, I trust that the people who the bank hires to organize the debit and credit of billions of dollars  would know more about this stuff then I do.
I go up to the counter and hand the bank teller my paperwork.  “Oh, ma’am, I am sorry, you are in the wrong office.”
“Ok, which floor?” I say.
“No, you are at the wrong office.  You need to go to our office in Dongguan.”
“Dongguan?” Did he say Dongguan?  The Dongguan that is an hour in the opposite direction of where I just came from.
Let me back up for just a second because I want you to understand my predicament.  To go anywhere specific in China I have to have my assistant order a car and driver, she has to google search the location and print out a map in Chinese to give to the driver.  I can’t just jump in my car and go.
This new turn of events was not in the plan, but I have to get this stuff done today.
1 hour and 45 minutes later,  I am at the Dongguan Bank office.  I head up in the elevator to the 11th floor.  I walk in the office and ask for the bank representative I am supposed to see. “I am sorry ma’am. That representative is in the transaction center across the street.”
I am still surprisingly calm when I say, “Well, can she come over here and help me.”
Apparently, she could not.  I go back out to the elevators.
It is lunch time so every elevator that stops at my floor is full.
After the 10th elevator stopped, I decide to be smarter then the elevator.  I push the up button.
I get on the elevator and ride it up to the 30th floor and then back down to the ground level.  It stops at every floor going up and every floor going down. Did I mention there is no air con in the elevator?  You know what 40 people crammed in a elevator smell like after 20 floors.  Not good.
I get off the elevator and proceed across the street where I have to dodge, dogs, cars, bikes, scooters and dump trucks to get across this four lane road.  I feel like I am in a game of Frogger.
I go into the bank office, find the person I am supposed to talk to and hand her my paper work. In broken English she proceeds to tell me “The person who handles these type of transaction is in the building across the street.”
One of the cultural differences between China and America is that our facial expressions sometimes don’t translate.  Because, if you had seen my facial expression at that moment, you would have known to get as  far away from me as you possible could.  She didn’t get it.
So, off we go.  Back across the street, dodging dogs,  bikes, scooters and dump trucks to go back to the building, back to the 11th floor and back to the same office I left 35 minutes ago.
They put me in a room with no air con and give me a cup of warm water (it’s a China things). “She will be with you shortly.”
10 minutes later, a young girl walks into the room and sits down next to me.  She looks like she is about 10 years old. I thought is was someone’s daughter.  Is it take your daughter to work day? Do they even have that in China?  “What can I help you with today?” she says.
As calmly as I can, I say, “I would like to convert and transfer this amount and then get this amount in cash.” I even manage a smile because I am being lulled into submission by this innocent child.
“We can’t do that today.”
You have got to be kidding me.  “Yes, you can.” And, I proceed to explain/educate her on what and how to do exactly what I needed her to do.
Then, she says, “Let me get my manager.”
At this point, I was about to throw myself out of the closest window.  And, if I happen to live, I would be in significantly less pain then the pain caused by talking to these bank employees.
The manager comes and again I repeat my request.
“Oh, no problem, ma’am. Just sign this, fill this out, copy this, stamp this and you will be all set.”
OMG! Finally, someone who knows what they are doing.
I sign, stamp, copy, and give them an ounce of my blood.  I am almost giddy with the realization that someone is finally able to help me.  “Ok, come back in 3 hours and you can have your cash.”
3 hours? 3 hours! My left eyelid starts twitching and I notice that my jaw is starting to hurt.  It takes all my strength and my desire not to be thrown in jail today to refrain from throwing her out the window.
I gather all my bags and walk out of the office. Do the elevator trick again and go  next door to a little cafe outside the bank and wait.  The cafe has bad coffee and no wi fi.  And, I sit and wait, for 3 hours.
I return to the transaction center across the street in exactly 3 hours.  I called ahead this time. See, I am learning.
I am signing and stamping and she is explaining and smiling and I am not listening to a thing she says.  I am chanting to myself “It is almost over, It is almost over.”
I find myself day dreaming about following this women home and suffocating her in her sleep.  Then I started to get concerned because I seem to have gone to a very dark place.
The bank representative pulled me out of my day dream and handed me my money. It took a little effort, but I did say thank you and walked out of the bank.  As I was getting into my car, my phone rings.  “Ma’am, you have one more document to sign, can you come back?”
I turn to my driver and say, “When I walk in front of the car, please run me over.” He doesn’t speak any English so I felt fairly certain he didn’t understand me. And, if he did, I really didn’t care at this point.
I walk back into the bank, sign the last document and hand it back to her. As I was leaving this time, she says to me, “Have you enjoyed your service today?” With the biggest smile on her face.  Was she mocking me?
I looked at her and the darkness returns instantly.  A montage of images of death, war, and destruction, run through my brain.  My eyes glaze over and every muscle in my body tenses up.  I take a deep breath AND I SCREAM.
It was the loudest, craziest, gut wrenching, psycho sounding scream I have ever heard.  I surprised myself.  Everyone in the bank turned to look at me.  When I was done screaming, I smile at everyone, took a little bow and walk out the bank.
I feel much better.  Sometimes you just  have to scream.

Sydney Quotes the Movies – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I really enjoy movies about people who are searching for something, both figuratively and literally.  This movie contains both.  Young Oskar lost his father in 9/11.  In search of a way to stay connected to his father, he goes on a systematic quest for the lock that fits a key he found in his father’s belongings.  As you can imagine, the quotes that stood out to me, perfectly convey the emotion of someone desperate to find sense in a situation that didn’t make sense.   Tom Hanks (Thomas) as the father, Sandra Bullock as the mother (Linda) and introducing Thomas Horn (Oskar) elevate the words to another level of emotion that you feel throughout the movie.

The flash backs of his father instilling in Oskar the need to find answers and solutions was his way of getting Oskar to interact with people, something that early on you see is very difficult for young Oskar.
“If things were easy to find, the wouldn’t be worth finding.” – Thomas
And encouraging Oskar not to get discouraged when it gets difficult.
“Another way of looking at it is, how can you ever be wrong?” – Thomas
Gives Oskar all the tools he needs to for the journey is about to embark on.
Many people encourage Oskar along the way:
“You never know what a key is going to fit. There are a million possibilities. That’s what I like about keys.  They all open something.” – Lock Smith
No one is going to get in his way.
“Nothing was going to stop me.  Not even me.” – Oskar
Some, appear to discourage him:
“It’s never going to make scene because it doesn’t.” – Linda
You get glimpse of just how difficult this journey is for Oskar by several rants throughout the movie. This was the most compelling and showed what he had to do to find the answer to this question:
“I count there are 472 people with the last name Black. There are 216 addresses. Some of the blacks live together, obviously. I calculated that if I go to 2 every Saturday plus holidays, minus my hamlet school plays, my minerals, coins, and comic convention, it’s going to take me 3 years to go through all of them. But that’s what I’m going to do! Go to every single person named black and find out what the key fits and see what dad needed me to find. I made the very best possible plan but using the last four digits of each phone number, I divide the people by zones. I had to tell my mother another lie, because she wouldn’t understand how I need to go out and find what the key fits and help me make sense of things that don’t even make sense like him being killed in the building by people that didn’t even know him at all! And I see some people who don’t speak English, who are hiding, one black said that she spoke to God. If she spoke to god how come she didn’t tell him not to kill her son or not to let people fly planes into buildings and maybe she spoke to a different god than them! And I met a man who was a woman who a man who was a woman all at the same time and he didn’t want to get hurt because he/she was scared that she/he was so different. And I still wonder if she/he ever beat up himself, but what does it matter?” – Oskar
Others along Oskar’s journey learned some valuable lessons as well and father son relationships are central to the plots in the movie for several characters:
“He wrote about all the things he wanted to do but didn’t and all the things he did do but, didn’t want to.” – William Black
In the end, whether he finds what he is looking for or not, Oskar and his mother become closer and realize that they can help each other remember what they lost.
“I miss his voice telling me he loves me.” – Linda “Me, too.” – Oskar

I really enjoyed the complexity of this movie, from the sub-plots, to the conflicting journey’s for the different characters and at the center is this little boy who desperately wants to stay connected to his father. It is a 9/11 movie, but the events that take place after “the worst day” are relatable to anyone who has lost someone.

Based on a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer
Screenplay by Eric Roth

Tattoo Tuesday – Personal Statement

Marvin by Tom Armstrong

See, they are starting out young.  But, Marvin is right.  A great reason to get a tattoo is to express your own personal statement.  But, figure out what your personal statement is, first.  I wouldn’t suggest you get a chef’s hat tattoo and then discover you can’t boil an egg or worse, getting a ‘Thug Life’ tattooed on your stomach when you grow up on a farm in Wisconsin.

My personal statement at the time of my first tattoo was to continue to be the kind of person who was always up for trying new things and having new experiences.  I was on a journey to have experiences that altered and heightened my consciousness.  I read a book in college by Andrew Weil called The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon.  If you haven’t read it, check it out.  Some people use drugs and alcohol, some use coffee.  There are guys in the mountains of Mexico who eat hot peppers to capture that high, if even for a minute.  Andrew’s journey to find the ultimate state took him to the mountains of South America where he witness an eclipse; a marriage of the sun and the moon.  That image was my first tattoo.

To a certain extent it is still my personal statement.  It is why I love to write, why I love to travel, why I love food and why I love getting tattooed.  These are experiences that alter my consciousness and are safer then drugs and alcohol.

What is your personal statement?  Do you think it is tattoo worthy?

Spoiler alert, they hurt and they don’t wash off, so you better be sure.

If you have a great tattoo story you want to share, let me know and I will feature it on Tattoo Tuesday.

My Weekly Update – Tagged Twice, Tattoos and Tell Somebody

Tagged #1

Ug! I have been tagged. And, not a normal tag where I tell the world about me.  I can handle that. But, I have been tagged by Karen Einsel in the Next Best Thing Challenge, which means I have to bear my soul and reveal details of my novel. Oh, the horror.  It might be before I am ready, but perhaps Karen is telling me it is time.  So, here it goes.

What is the title of your book/WIP?
  I’m Coming Home

Where did the idea of the book come from?
  I am an American who lives in China and every year when I come back home it never fails, I meet a guy and as soon as I tell him I live in China, he is like, that’s cool and then moves on.  I can’t blame them, really.  China is far away.  So, I was fascinated about this idea if just one time a guy thought of it as an interesting challenge.  How is it possible to develop a relationship with someone who lives so far away?  Also, I love New Orleans and it is great place to start a romance.

What genre would your book fall under?
  I have gone back and forth about this for months.  I think I have narrowed it down to International Rom/Com Chick Lit.

What characters would you choose to play the characters in the movie adaptation of your book?
  The inspiration for my male character is Bryan Greenberg, so he could play him in the movie.  As far as my main character, maybe Thandie Newton or Zooey Deschanel.   A mix of beauty and quirky funny.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
  First of all, I hate this question.  But, here goes:  
An expat living in China meets a guy on a business trip to America and falls in love over Mexican Food in the French Quarter, but will her demanding boss and her own sense of independence threatens what could potentially be her ticket out of her mundane boring life catering to the demands of others and ignoring her own happiness. 
I still hate this questions.

Is your book published or represented? 
  Not, yet and no.

How long did it take you to write your book?  30 days – I wrote it during JuNoWriMo

What other books in your genre would you compare you book to?  I love the quirkiness of the MC in Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic Books.  My MC has some issues with self esteem and sticking up for herself and you want to tell her to get a freakin back bone already, but you like her, too.

Which author’s inspired you to write this book?  Everything I read inspires me.  Plus, places I have lived and visited, people I have met, music I listen to and tattoos (my characters alway have tattoos).  I find inspiration everywhere.  Like Karen, Stephen King is my favorite writer who makes it impossible for you not to get sucked into the world he creates and that is what I want my writing to do.

Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.  Part of the book takes place in Hong Kong and China where I get to pull in a few antidotes about life in China that you could never understand unless you have actually been there. I try my best to take you there.

Tagged #2

I was also tagged by EM Castellan  in the Lucky 7 Meme.  You ladies are really wanting me to put it all out there.  Ok.  Page 77, line 7, 7 lines from I’m Coming Home (You should be hearing the P. Diddy song playing softly in the background).

“Well, in the last hour that I have know him.  He seems ok.”
“Is that it?” Sydney asked. “Ok. The two of you talked about computers for an hour and all you can say is ok.”
“What do you want me to say?” Kevin said. “He is handsome and has good teeth and he smells good, too. What?”
” I am just . . .  I don’t know.” Sydney said.
“Listen, Sydney.” Kevin said. “You have a problem.” 

Ok people, that is it. No more.  I am done. The book is going in the filing cabinet until September.

**The tag rules also include tagging other authors, so my new followers below, consider yourself tagged.  


Starting on Tuesday, I am going to bring to you a new feature; Tattoo Tuesday.  It is my goal to bring this beautiful and often misunderstood art form to my readers.  I will share information on artist, the art, the process, tattoos in pop culture and my own tattoo stories.  I would love to share some of my readers tattoo photos and stories, as well.  If you want to reveal your body art to the world, sent me an email with the artwork and the story.  If you have an image that inspired the artwork as well, sent that, too.  You can reach me at sydliyah at hotmail dot com.

I am am not an expert.  I am just a tattoo’ed girl.  So, if you have any questions that I know I am not qualified to answer, I won’t, but I will find someone who is and will.

Tell Somebody

When I discover great advice on writing, I have to tell somebody.  I have two that I want to share this week:

Nightmares and Realities: Showing vs. Telling by Sevastian Winters – I finally understand the show vs. tell concept.

Dialogic – Part 1:  He said, She said by A.M. Schultz – Great information on writing dialogue.  And, he assured me there will be a part 2.  Right, AM?

New Followers

 Weekly Schedule

Tuesday – Tattoo Tuesday 
Wednesday – Movie Quotes – full blog post version
Friday – Blog Post 
Sunday – My Weekly Update