[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It doesn't get any easier - week after week, saying goodbye. But this is one of those weeks where it sucks just a little bit more.

Because, I'm not going to lie - and even if I did, anyone with a knowledge of the history of Idol knows that I'm a fan of the work of [livejournal.com profile] alexpgp"- and unfortunately, this week, he is leaving us. Given that he wrote a serial for 17 weeks, in a mini-season where the refrain seemed to be "don't write serials" is just one more thing to put in the "why I like this guy" column.

It wasn't one vote this time, it was by two. He is leaving with someone who is quickly becoming a favorite as well: [livejournal.com profile] murielle. She went quite a ways into the game the first time, and then fought her way back in through Second Chance and stayed for another month! (that's pretty damn impressive - it not only shows how talented she is, but a love for the game itself)

I'm really hoping that we get to read more from both of them in the Home Game!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Thanks to everyone who wished me a "Happy Anniversary", both on here and on FB. We had a really nice weekend. I figured you guys knew what to do with your spare time - read, comment and vote for your favorites: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/918431.html

I hope you are doing that, because right now (as I'm posting this), there is a 11 points difference between the top of the poll and the bottom of it. I said it last week, but it's still true, so I'll say it again: that number can change. Especially given that by the vote totals of the last couple of weeks, there are still *a lot* of folks who haven't shown up to vote yet!

If this is a week where fewer people are going to be making the decision though, that just means that your individual vote became that much more potent. But let's face it, as close as pretty much every poll has been in this mini-season, it's probably going to come down to the wire again!

Based on that - who isn't getting the love you think they should be? Sing their praises! Who knows who might be listening!

(and let me know about anything fun *you* did this weekend!)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:

Sorry this is getting up late - I had a surprise anniversary dinner date! We ended up going to a place that I’ve been wanting to eat at since it opened a few years ago. I went in with high expectations, and if anything, the food exceeded them!

Which is far different from when I got home tonight. My expectation was that I was going to see 21 entries in the topic thread. Instead, I saw that there was a drop and someone else who missed the deadline. So I went to the spreadsheet and realized that when the byes were distributed out at the end of the teams - as well as a “whoever needs it gift bye” that had been left unclaimed, so they both ended up with one!

So congratulations [livejournal.com profile] encrefloue and [livejournal.com profile] witchwife, you are still in the hunt!

Which, considering how much it would suck to see two people that I like a great deal go out like that - this close the end - and this being the final week to use those byes - that improved what was already a good night. I'd hate for anyone to have that happen to them. Everyone going forward though no longer has that safety net, so please don't make me eliminate any of you because you've missed the deadline!

You? You’re not so lucky.

You are, but you’re not…. You get to read some great entries. That’s the plus.

The minus is that the voters are about to send two contestants into the Home Game.

I’ve said it before - and I’ll say it every week until people actually listen: Your favorites need your love, support, comments - and votes. So if there is someone who has written something this week that makes you go “Oh hell no - they need to stay! I want to read more!” you need to make sure they survive another week. Vote for them and spread the word that Idol is where people need to be!

The poll closes Monday, April 11th at 9pm EDT

Good luck to everyone!

[Poll #2041784]
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Who will challenge our Top 3? http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html

Well, maybe they won't be our actual Top 3, but they are at the moment with no one else in! ;)


It's the day before my 5th anniversary!

Yes, Cynthia has put up with me for *5 whole years*!

Which makes her some sort of saint.

It also means that half of the existence of Idol has been with Cynthia, which doesn't "feel" right. Or maybe it just shows how much my life lightened with her in it that the second 5 years weren't as intense as the first! :D
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Take a moment away from watching, and re-watching the Rogue One trailer for a moment.

As of right now, there are more Home Game entries http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916769.html than there are regular competition entries: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html

and the deadline is tomorrow. So get to work you slackers! ;)


Other than slacking off - how has your week been going?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
One of the most difficult things for me to learn over the years has been "people have different tastes, and that's OK". Sure, I had enough experience even back in high school on a literary magazine and was exposed to the idea, on a regular basis, that my tastes didn't always mesh with other folks.

But I knew they were wrong. ;)

I still know they are wrong, but I'm more accepting of it.

That comes up quite a bit in Idol. "Gary only voting" would look as different, with different results, as "anyone else only" voting would look like.

Because, even if people "tend to agree" on something or have "similar tastes" - when push comes to shove, there are areas where one person might like something more than another.

I actually took that power out of my own hands by voting for everyone - so that when it came down to 1 vote making a decision about who stays and who goes, that vote wasn't mine!

Which isn't easy to sit back and watch other people make the decisions about how things will play out in something so close to me - but that's the power I gave *you*, and I hope you use it responsibly.

(and yes, I will often think you are wrong! But that's OK!)

Given how close this entire mini-season has been, results-wise, and the fact that we are down to the Top 21, I can only predict that it's going to continue to be that way - with every week being a stunning loss of someone that folks have been enjoying all season long, folks that many of us thought were going all the way (or close to it - and let's face it, we are all "close to it" right now!)

So, if everyone's tastes are different - what exactly is *Gary* looking for? Because we know his vote doesn't matter, so who really cares what he thinks!

- "Have I read this before?" Idol's rapidly approaching it's 10 anniversary. Story-telling has been around forever. But give me something original!

- I want to walk away from reading your entry feeling like I've learned something about you, or that we've connected. Regardless of the format.

- I want each season/mini-season to play out in it's own way. If it was the same final 10 in each season, that would be extremely dull. Fortunately, we always seem to have new blood each season and even if there are people who frequently do well, Real Life has a ability to have a huge impact on our proceedings!

- I want a compelling finale! Closely matched competitors, writing their fingers to the bone all the way to the end! I want the type of spectacle that people can't help but want to watch, but that, when the dust settles, most folks would be happy with any of them being the ultimate victor!

What are some things *you* look for to determine how you would like the "end game" to play out?


Topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html
Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916621.html
Home Game: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916769.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
We have new topics: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html
and a Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916621.html
We even have a Home Game thread: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916769.html

But this morning, I think what is still on a lot of minds is the results from last night: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916014.html

It's one thing to know that "only person can win", or that any given week, anyone could be leaving us... it's another to experience it.

There is a conversation that we have at least once a season, but this time it has an interesting wrinkle that's worth talking about.

Not only is this the final week of byes, it is also the final week for "tag outs" - that is, if you are out of byes and think you are going to miss the deadline/it's "about your time to go", you can tag out and let someone else in to take your place. I was reminded of this last night, and how the times when I've introduced a similar power, that it was actually used a couple times. (It's easy to say "You should be here", more difficult to say "take my spot!", although, as I've said, there have been people who have done just that!)

That's the "Gary is messing with your will" part of the conversation - the rest is a lot more straight forward, and I'll actually reveal some "secret" information:

It's been said that it's all about who shows up to vote this mini-season. Which is true. But a far more accurate statement would be that it's about who shows up to vote from week-to-week. I'd say that 75% of the voters are fairly "stable". They have shown up "most" of the weeks and you can pretty much predict the type of stuff they like/which writers they are drawn to in advance.

The other 25% though, those are the ones who have been tipping things ( obviously those numbers are going to vary, but I think it's fair to call it 25% as a general term) one way or the other.

So getting the word out about what is happening here - that there are some great things to read in Idol, that's even more important than it usually is (and it's always *really* important)

Another component to this is - if you want to see someone survive to the next round - Vote for them! I'm not saying this is the case this time around, but I've seen it happen in the past: people will be upset to see someone eliminated, but when I go into the actual votes, they weren't supporting them. 1 vote made the difference this week. It's been making the difference almost every week this mini-season. That 1 vote belongs *to you*. Use it. Support the things you love!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Love the topics but you're not currently in the game?

That's where the Home Game comes in!

Just pick one (or several!) of the current topics http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html, write an entry, and post it here!

No polls. No eliminations. Just you posting your work for others to read!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Every week I end the topic post http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/916255.html with "Have fun", because I think that's something that too often is neglected. Writing should be fun. Sure, it's also a pain-in-the-ass to get everything right. But if you aren't also having fun with it, then you are missing out.


I know there was a lot of people struggling last week. Is this week any better?

(I know there's one of these topics that was actually submitted *word for word* by two different folks, and there were some "close" ones from others. If enough people liked it enough to submit, I wonder what that means as far as people actually writing something for it!)
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Here we are in Week 17.

You know the score: here are the topic choices, you pick one of them, write your entry and link it back to this thread:

Deathbed Regrets
And then it got dangerous
This year my word is...
Just Breathe

Link your entries back to this thread by Friday, April 8th at 8pm EDT

Have fun!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Elimination time comes to all of us. Well, to all of you at least.

(Except one)

It is never easy, and as the season continues, will only get more difficult as we go forward and the choices get more difficult to make.

Today we lose a mix of old and new friends - some really talented people who I hope we will be seeing in the Home Game, and throwing themselves back into the mix for another shot at the title when Second Chance comes along.

Leaving us are:

[livejournal.com profile] improper_me
[livejournal.com profile] mac_arthur_park
[livejournal.com profile] malinaldarose
[livejournal.com profile] marjory

(I would be getting nervous if my username started with a "M"!!!)

Thank you to all of you for making this journey with us, and as I said above, I hope to see you around!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
It's funny. You start going back to look at archives and everything starts flooding back. All the emotions and stuff you remember but don't really REMEMBER. (If that makes any sense)

You start missing people - and wishing that you had better aim to actually *hit* some of those people. ;)

You start thinking about them - and some of the ones that you wish were gone forever start popping back up on your radar, back to their old tricks.

Which is when you remember that if you think too hard about some things, it's like Beetlejuice - they will appear, ready to cause havoc again.

Ah, life...


It could be worse though. We could be in Ferguson Missouri.

If anyone is out there, or has friends and family there: We are thinking of you right now.


The other thing we are thinking about is awkward transitions.

Like the one you have when you go from talking about something really serious to the fact that the poll closes tonight! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/769027.html

Which is also very serious. But in a different way!!

So make sure to get your votes in!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The voting is happening now: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/769027.html

as in RIGHT NOW, as in "I hope you are reading them, because there's some good stuff out there!"

So hide your watch for Robin Williams, and learn how to whistle for Lauren Bacall - and then get on over there and read!

Read anything you want to tell the world about?

How about your own piece? What were you particularly happy about with how it turned out?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
A few words from [livejournal.com profile] clauderainsrm:

It’s one of those sad days. Not just because of the tragic news from late yesterday, but because we are going to be losing more people from bye-outs.

That’s never pleasant.

The only thing that makes it a little better is reading the entries that were submitted this week! I’m sure the voters are going to have a good time!

Before we get into that though, I have to make it official. So, leaving us this week are: Heather Hambel Curley, dreamsreflected, kittenboo, ljidolvillian and tamaraland

Old friends, and a new one who was the last writer standing without a LJ account!

They will most definitely be missed, and I hope to see them in the Home Game (and of course once Second Chance kicks in!)

Back to the rest of you though, because this train continues to spiral down the tracks toward certain doom…

and the four with the fewest votes will be eliminated! (Except of course in the Redemption Tribe. She is safe. But I wanted her to have a moment in the spotlight of being the only one on a tribe before throwing her back into the mix)

The poll closes on Thursday August 14th at 9pm EDT So I hope you’ve been reading ahead to keep up!

Good luck to everyone!

Click here to Vote! )
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
Tragedy is a funhouse mirror.

When something bad happens, they tend to look into it and see a distorted version of whatever it is they expect to see.

When a gun is involved, people will rush to the "see how dangerous guns are!" or "if only everyone else was armed!" depending on what side they already were on.

When it's suicide, they look for answers and talk about how more needs to be done about depression, or drug abuse or whatever it is that has personally impacted their own life. It's part of how people relate to the bigger world around them - by filtering it through what they know, and make things a little bit better by raising the dialogue on something they already care about in hopes that the attention will make even one more person stop to listen.


Real life tends to be complicated.

There are people who you admire in one aspect of their lives and really don't like other parts.

You may go back and forth, depending on what is going on - and what you are seeing from them at the moment.

Your favorite author releases a new book - you may run to get it. They start saying things that are racist or sexist... you may have a different opinion about them.

We've certainly had that discussion here - what do you do if one of your favorite authors has personal views/does something that you abhor?

For that matter - what if one of your favorites is a known plagiarist, lifting material from other people? Does that impact how you feel about other work that they do, where they *aren't* doing that? (like maybe they are plagiarize a series of books, but are also known for their charity work - can you separate those two people? Or does your opinion of one area shape the entire view of them?


If there is one thing in life that everyone can agree on though, and see in the same exact light, it's that the deadline for Idol entries is TONIGHT! So make sure to get yours in! http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767515.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
On the way into work this morning, I was listening to a discussion about the shift in the tourism industry toward private homes being rented out for short visits instead of hotels.

Toward the end of the piece, they mentioned a newer trend toward people converting their basements into elaborate dungeons/puzzles and people paying to stay there - with the only way out being that they have to escape. I don't know much more than that, although from the sounds of it, it sounded like something out of Saw or Hostel.

I'd say that it can be chalked up in the "people are weird" column - except that I'm talking to the Idol audience, who are pretty much the spokespeople for the "people are weird" movement! ;)


Your personal dungeon features a topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767515.html as well as a Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767952.html
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
When I got home last night, I saw two small wasp nest in the alcove just outside the front door.

So I went out with the spray to get rid of them.

I sprayed and then backed way off for a few minutes.

But I still had to get back in the front door, so I took a step forward and saw that there was a wasp that had fallen to the ground, but wasn't dead yet.

I stepped on it to put it out of it's misery.

Then another one started to fly, and crashed into the ground a little bit away. I went to step on that one was well.

I glanced back up to the nest, but the other three were gone. I looked at the ground underneath but they weren't there either.

So I stepped back and tried to locate them.

That's when I felt something crawling on me. I looked over and one of the wasps was on the back of my shirt. As I was shaking him off, the other two, who had gotten under my shirt, stung me.

I had gotten cocky, and paid for it. By taking my eye off the objective and letting myself think that I was in more control than I actually was of the situation, I ended up getting stung.


The Idol topic is up now: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767515.html as well as a Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767952.html

How are YOU going to keep your eyes on your personal objectives for being in Idol, and not allow yourself to get distracted?
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
We had results: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767278.html
a new topic: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767515.html
and a Work Room: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767952.html

to close out Week 16.

What will Week 17 have to offer?

What will this weekend have to offer?

What will the creature lurking behind you, just out of sight, have to offer as soon as you are alone?

I can't wait to find out!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
"Some people" out there probably suspected that this topic was coming.

You know who you are.

After all, it's "the internet". Which means that you are constantly out there, doing "your thing" (whatever that might be) and threatening the well being of the rest of us with your

“scare quotes”

The deadline to link your entries back to this thread is Tuesday, August 12th at 8pm EDT

Have fun!
[identity profile] clauderainsrm.livejournal.com
The new topic is up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/767515.html

There have been conversations lately that folks need to step up their game. What do YOU think about that, and if you agree - how are you going to do it?

Heck, even if you disagree, we've past the Top 100, so it's going to have to happen anyway! How are you going to do it?

For that matter - what does "stepping up your game" writing-wise *mean* to you? ;)


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