Category Archives: humor

Romance Writer’s Weekly: Ch-ch-changes!


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This week’s questions are from Ronnie Allen! Let’s get to it.

1.  When do you decide that you’ve done enough editing and changes would now be making it different, not better? So it’s the time to submit.

That’s a good question. I’m never certain it’s “done enough.” The only time I don’t feel the need to tinker with a project is after it’s been published, and even then, I find errors and things I should change. It’s one of the reasons why I have a problem with reading my stuff after it’s done. I can always think of something I could have done better, or done differently.

I guess what that means is that I’m a terrible person to ask this question of. I tinker until the darn thing is published, and then I generally wish I had tinkered a little bit more.

2. When and how do you accept change advice by rejection letters and critique partners?

It depends on the advice. When a publisher gives me advice–especially when they’re rejecting me–I generally take it unless it would change the overall tone of the story. After all, they’re saying they don’t want it, but they took the time to give me advice on what could be done to make it better. That sort of advice always deserves a second look. The only time I disregarded this advice was when I wrote an urban fantasy, and the publisher asked me to re-write the entire thing as a YA, focused around a single scene in the story (that didn’t even have the main characters in it, since they were both adults). That’s not asking for rewrites or giving me advice about how to make THIS story better; that’s asking me to write and submit something completely different. I ignored that advice, though I’ll admit, the story she wanted would make a nice, gritty NA.

As for changes suggested by critique partners? Well, it depends on the changes. Most of the time, I listen to what people tell me. If it would change the entire storyline, well, no, I won’t change that. But if it’s a change to make it flow more logically, then sure, I’ll look at reworking chapters or scenes or sentences to make it work. I think it’s important to listen to what everyone says with an open heart, but to remember that the work is yours. Take the advice that is useful, and disregard the rest. At the same time, I think it’s important to remember not to view your words as so precious you refuse to part with them or make changes. No one’s work is so good that they couldn’t use and editor, and no one’s story is so perfect it can’t use improvement.

3. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your day or do you create your day around your writing?

Gads, that’s a hard question. Work days generally look something like this:

6:00am: Wake up. Check Facebook. Try to think of something witty to say, something engaging and interesting and awesome. Usually fail. I might settle for silly.

6:30: Get out of bed and into the shower.

7:00: I’m READY! Oh wait, my hair’s still wet.

7:15: Ah, hell. That’s good enough. It looks the same regardless of the effort I put into it anyway.

7:30: Do dishes, throw something into the crock pot for dinner, make lunches, feed kids.

8:15: Leave for work. Hopefully, the homework was done and checked the night before, otherwise I’m checking it in my office at work. And none of us like that.

8:30-4:30: Work. If I’m lucky, and ate lunch sitting at my computer, I got it all done. If I’m unlucky, I’ll be writing IEPs at midnight. Again.

5:00: Arrive at outside client’s house or a kid activity. It depends on the day.

6:15-6:30. Home. Throw down backpacks and eat. Unless it’s Cub Scout night, in which case the boy and the hubs grab it to go, and head out the door. Or, the kids might have swimming after we see the outside client, in which case we go there instead, and get home around 7:00.

7:00: Check homework.

7:15: Tell the boy he has to do it over, because it’s super messy.

7:45: Tell him he can type it, because it’s just getting worse.

8:00: Everyone to bed. Husband and I chop the vegetables for the next day, if we’re on top of things. Afterwards, I’ll break out the laptop. Get distracted by the piles of laundry. Maybe start a load.

9:00: Girl child complains she can’t sleep.

9:10: I put in headphones and start to write.

9:45: Oh, look, the siren call of Facebook!

10:00: Just this one tweet, and then I’ll get to it.

10:15-12:00: I’m writing! If it’s going well, I might go until 2:00am. Which, by the way, is insane. Don’t do that.

Non-work days often look this:

6:00 Wake up. OH MY GOD, I’M SO TIRED! Oh wait, it’s Saturday. **Snore**

6:30: Boy child walks in, wearing (if I’m lucky) pajamas and a Darth Vader mask. “Mom, can I watch a show?”

My real child, in his real Vader mask
My real child, in his real Vader mask

Me: “Bananas are on the counter. Don’t forget to do your flamenco dancing. And beware the octopus.”

Boy child, breathing heavily: “Right on, my son.  I’ll watch  Star Wars. Oh, and Mom?”

Me: “I need to give the unicorn a bath.”

Boy Child, in his best Vader voice: “Uh huh. I am your father.”

Because I am asleep, I can’t explain the physical impossibility of this, but whatever. His father, who is awake during this whole exchange, thinks it’s hysterical, and won’t ruin the moment with things like logic.

7:00: Wake up again. Why am I singing The March of the Sith? Go back to sleep.

7:15: Children walk in: “Mom, we’re hungry. Can we eat chocolate for breakfast?”

Me: “The dog barks at midnight. Are you wearing underwear?”

Girl Child: “Chewey, that means yes. You are wearing underwear, aren’t you?”

Boy Child: “Mostly.”

Girl Child: “Good enough. Come on, let’s go  before she wakes up.”

Me: “Wha?” **Snore**

8:00: I get up for real this time. Am miffed because all of my chocolate is missing, and Chewey looks like Poirot, with his giant chocolate mustache. I make breakfast anyway. I make pumpkin pancakes. Unfortunately, everyone wants eggs and toast.

8:30: Do dishes, and contemplate doing more chores.

I usually get the opportunity to write until about 11:00, when I have to take the Girl Child to Girl Scouts. But then I get to sit in the library at the university and write for two solid hours. It’s lovely.

2:30-6:00 Is family time.

6:30: Daddy time and a movie. I write while hanging on the couch with the children.

8:30-????: We all head upstairs to bed. I put in headphones and write until I fall asleep at the computer. The two pages of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee will have to be rewritten, but hey, it works for now.

That’s it for me! (I say “that’s it!” like I wrote some short little ditty instead of the multi-page manifesto that is actually vaguely embarrassing. Or would be, if I had any sense of shame left)

Since you’ve had enough of me, why not head over and see what Josie Malone has to say?

 

 

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I Didn’t Do It!


Five tons of Nutella was stolen the other day. I swear, I didn’t do it.

Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme
Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, I rented a storage locker, but sheesh. Can’t a gal rent an empty storage locker and not have people get suspicious? And sure, I got addicted to Nutella in Germany. To this day, there is nothing better than that hazelnut/chocolate goodness. And it’s gluten-free.  Woot!

M

Join me on my blog tour. Today’s blog has a review. If it’s bad, well, we’ll just pretend I didn’t mention it.

April 9:  Review Must Read Faster <http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and
Interviews<http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  STOP 2 Review  My Devotional
Thoughts<http://mydevotionalthoughts.com/>
April 11:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf
Princess<http://wowfromthescarfprincess.blogspot.com/>
April 12:  Simply Ali <http://www.simplyali.com/>

The Recurring Nightmare


I’ll admit, I have a recurring nightmare, but it’s super weird. No, really. I don’t pretend to think I’m not quirky, but this dream… well, the whole thing creeps me out.

In this dream, I’m back in high school. Now, I’ll be honest, the high school years weren’t my best, but they weren’t awful, either. I was happily nerdy, had a core group of friends and a crush on a different boy each week until Junior year. Then I maintained a crush on the same guy for about a year. The whole thing was completely unrequited, and I even knew it at the time. What can I say? Hormones.

In any case, in this dream, I’m back in high school. In Advanced Algebra to be exact, a class I hated with the fire of a thousand suns. No, really. I HATED that class. Every day, I had the poop scared out of me as I walked in that room, because it made me feel stupid. In fact, I thought that if I stayed still and small and quiet, my teacher wouldn’t notice me, which is why the roof leaked on my desk for almost an entire year and I never said anything. (In my defense, it’s really dry here. Not too many rainy days = not too many days of a wet desk)

Anyway, in my dream, the teacher looks at me and asks me a question. I stare back at him, which, honestly, is what I did IRL in that class.

But here’s where it gets weird: I know the answer! I go to tell him, because for a change, I don’t look like a) an idiot or b) a selective mute. Only…nothing comes out.

Everyone is staring at me, but not because of my sudden case of mutism. I’ve also mysteriously turned into a giant cheeseburger.

I’ve got my legs and my arms and my head, and I’m unfortunately wearing parachute pants. Oy. On top of that gloriousness is beefy goodness, topped by American cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. There’s some ketchup there, too. My head sits atop a sesame seed bun, and I’m wearing the coke bottle glasses I ditched two years before in favor of contact lenses.

I’m pretty certain I look delicious.

I try to stand up, but I can’t. My giant cheeseburger body is stuck in the goddamn desk.

My Algebra teacher (who I won’t name here, in the interest of protecting the innocent) says, “You know, Ms. Connors, there is only one way you can solve your problem.”

I look up, but I can’t answer. After all, I’m a giant hamburger.

“I’ll have to eat you.”

Sweet mother of God, this is SO, SO not in a good way.

I start screaming, but no sound comes out. My classmates (including guy-I-had-a-crush-on) are looking at me hungrily, and again, it’s not in a good way. I am not awesome, I am not prom queen. I am lunch.

My teacher leans in to take a bite, and… I wake up.

Now, I’ve had this dream at least once a year since I was fifteen, which means it’s been awhile. Every time, I wake up a little sweaty and creeped out. Until I remember that I am not in high school anymore (yay!) and I don’t have to take Algebra ever again (double yay!). Then I lay back and wonder: what does this mean?

I can guess what Freud would say, but if you knew my Algebra teacher, you’d realize it’s not that.

Is it some version of the “I haven’t studied for this test” dream? Because I’ve had that one, too, but I don’t think it’s as awful as the “I just turned into a hamburger, and my Algebra teacher is going to eat me” dream.

I would think it’s just a fluke, because, well, I have weird dreams. Except I keep having this dream, and it seems so…so crazy.

What about you? What crazy dreams do you have? Care to share? Come on, I can’t be alone in this… Can I?

(Heh. On a related note, WordPress thinks I need help. Its recommended tag for this post? Psychology.)

A Rumination on Hot Guys


So, I was going through one of my social media sites, and looking at the pictures of hot guys.

A hot guy, with no shirt on, frolicking in the surf. Wearing jeans with his pants undone.

Another hot guy, leading a horse, wearing a leather jacket. He, too, has no shirt on, is wearing jeans with the buttons undone. He has a fine sheen of sweat going, as well.

A firefighter, in his turn outs. He’s wearing his helmet, carrying an ax, has the sweat thing going, and… he’s not wearing a shirt. As to whether he has pants on under his turn outs is unclear, but if he does, I am sure they are undone.

The pictures range from firefighters, to cops (Hubs is a cop–I’ve never seen him in his pants and gun belt but with no shirt on. I think that’s a dress code violation), to lumberjacks, to lonely dudes on the beach.

It’s all nice to look at, but does it make sense?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy firefighters, I do. But one does not see them washing their trucks–or whatever the boys call it these days–in their skivvies. Or in their turn outs. Particularly without shirts on.

On the point of the man frolicking in the surf in jeans and no shirt… Dude, wet jeans are totally uncomfortable. There is surely a chafing issue involved in that, right? And, with the pants undone, it’s likely he’ll get a little sand in there. Sand, inside tight, wet jeans, when one is quite obviously going commando? Ouch. I suppose it could be the ultimate exfoliation. Don’t know if it’s either necessary or wanted, but hey.

And the horse, the leather jacket, and the pants undone? If it’s so cold you have to wear a jacket and a hat, why, pray tell, is there no shirt involved? But if it’s so cold that a jacket must be worn, then why is he sweating? Or, more to the point, why is he sweating oil?

And why, oh why, can none of them button their pants?

Do they have fine motor deficits and need OT? I mean, it’s one thing if my five-year-old can’t keep his pants zipped up, but I would assume by 30-something, one should have mastered that.

Do they have some funk in the junk that needs airing out? Because if it’s that bad, maybe he needs a doctor.

Is he a pervert? (This one actually seems the most likely. I’d be scared if I saw a hot guy with his pants undone carrying an ax, even if he looked nice without a shirt on. After all, I doubt he has any fun lumberjack games in mind.)

But then, I’ve never frolicked in the desert wearing nothing but a bra and my Guess jeans, either. I guess I’ll leave that to Claudia Schiffer.

MCC

 

Update


So, to update everyone.

What I’m listening to: Wintersleep’s Dead Letter and the Infinite Yes. I listened to it on continuous repeat for a couple of scenes in the upcoming Jessie’s War. If you read the book, you’ll find out why. Here’s the link

Weird, I can’t seem to get the song out of my head. I’m singing it right now, as a matter of fact. I can’t explain it, but this song got under my skin and into my head, and it’s not going anywhere. I suppose it’s entirely possible that I am just not ready to give up Jessie and Luke, and that’s why I can’t move on from this song. Not yet, anyway.

What I’m watching: Well, last night I watched While You Were Sleeping, which is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I let myself have a reward for taking the GRE.

Tangent: And how did the GRE go, you ask? Well, considering that I only realized I had to take it three weeks ago, and I had edits due and spent probably a week working solely on that on my off time, about as well as can be expected. The test itself was like a steel cage death match. I rocked the verbal component, and I felt pretty good about the essays. The quantitative rocked me. I felt like Jean Claude Van Damme right before he turns around and kicks some ass. Overall, my score was plenty high enough for me to get in, so I’m not worried. But ugh. Four hours of testing with no breaks, to find out if I’m going to be a quality doctoral candidate, when I’ve already done this once with this same department? Blech.

What I’m doing when I’m not working: Looking at shoes online. Not that I’ll buy them, because they’re too rich for my blood and I don’t do well in heels, but I am loving these shoes from Fluevog:

Meh, I can’t get it to link to the picture. But hey, if you clicked on the link, you’ll see those shoes are awesomesauce. I thought so, anyway. I really like funky shoes and funky heels.

And I get asked this a lot: How am I feeling, after my little escapade in October? Well, about as well as can be expected. It’s not horrible, anyway. My stomach is probably better than it was in September, so that’s a good thing. I’m catching another cold, I think, but I work with preschoolers, so what else can I expect?

So, what about you? What have you been up to?

Real Me and Fake Me


This isn’t much of a shock to anyone who follows this blog, not really, because I’m sure you’ve guessed.

Meggan is not my real name.

See, I have a day job, where it’s not always approved of if you write romance novels. Writing? YES! Romance novels (particularly with open door sex scenes)? Not so much.

Again, this is not much of a surprise, but in real life, I’m a speech pathologist. It pays the bills. Also, I like it. I really, really like it. I have no intention of quitting, even if I could. In fact, I have an idea for a nonfiction book that I’ll write once I get that PhD I’ve been yammering on about (super excited about that, btw).

I am, to put it mildly, a crazy, overworked, probably overly ambitious personality.

In any case, I’ll go ahead and admit what most of you have probably already figured out: I work with preschoolers with a range of developmental delays, including 14 with autism. The reason Meggan Connors even exists is because of this.

Not because I am ashamed of my romance novels, nor is my hubster, the only person whose opinion really matters. I’m not. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I regularly announce, “I write romance novels!” The reason I have the alter ego is because there are parents who don’t approve of the romance novel genre. See, I’m a sweet little preschool speech pathologist. I am as pure as the driven snow.

When people first find out I’m writing, I’m almost always asked, “Oh, children’s books?”

Nearly always, they have that hopeful, sweet, approving look on their faces. Because I’m sweet, remember? And, probably, a virgin. (hehehehe)

And then I laugh. Heartily.

“No,” I answer. “I write trashy romance novels.”

People who know me, who know my sense of humor, aren’t shocked by this revelation. Because while the face I present to the world–at work–is sweet and loving (and it’s true, I love all of the kids on my caseload), in real life, I’m kind of crass. Bawdy. In grad school, during dysphagia class, I was the one with the dirty swallowing jokes. One day, in the distant future, I’ll be that old lady who tells dirty jokes, and the little speech path who comes in to evaluate my cognition will have to try to determine if this dirty sense of humor and outright inappropriateness is pre-existing or if it’s the result of a right hemisphere trauma.

Maybe she’ll read this blog and discover that, indeed, I have always been inappropriate. And that I’m okay with that.

Fake me and real me are cool with one another. I’ve been informed that fake me is dirtier than real me, but these are the same people who ask, “Which one are you right now?” And the answer is, “Both.”

I’m always both. There really is no distinction between fake me and real me. In fact, fake me has announced things on Facebook that real me is keeping quiet, because I’m Facebook friends with my boss. (Yes, the PhD thing)

So, if you see me in real life, no, I probably won’t answer to Meggan unless I’m at a conference. Funny thing is, I won’t answer to my real name, either. I learned, long ago, to ignore that, too.

Do any of you have an alter ego, and why did you choose to have one?

When Did I Get So Old?


So I went up to the university to discuss the possibility of getting a PhD on Tuesday.

And there was something I noticed. Something different about the University.

Not the building, because that’s still the same (although a ton of new buildings have been built, the clinic is still the same). The clinic rooms are largely similar. Shoot, most of the professors are the same.

The main difference? The grad students.

They’re…. They’re babies.

I swear, I’m not an old lady. Right?

My kids are still little, at seven and five. I’m young, right? (Though given my health of late, I’m like an old lady. If I start describing in detail my latest trip to Hof’s Hut, I will dye my hair blue and order you to fetch my teeth, youngster)

Only, when I look at the grad students, they’re so young. Impossibly young. At the lecture I sat in on yesterday (yes, I went back), we watched a video from October of 1993.

Dated, yes. Did I think it was old? Not really. Instead, I started singing Pearl Jam in my head.

Behind me, a girl giggled, “Wow. I was three when this came out.”

What? I was in college.

Okay, so I’ve been out of grad school for 12 years (don’t you judge me! Everyone spends seven years in college, right? Sure, they’re called lawyers, but whatever). I guess I should have anticipated the clinicians would be a little younger than me.

But not THAT young. Not “I taught your preschool class and changed your diapers” young.

Sheesh. When did I get old?

The Doubt Monster, and Other Maladies


I had the weirdest dream last night.

In my dream, I was messing around on the web. And I came across a site:

The Best and Worst Books You’ve Never Heard Of.

So I’m reading away. And the books listed under best books were things like: War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, The Great Gatsby, 50 Shades of Gray. And I’m thinking, “What kind of ding-dong wrote this list? Everyone’s heard of these books!” And, for the last one, “Dude, really?” Because one of those things is not like the other. One of those things just doesn’t belong. (No, seriously, no slight, but really? I’m not a huge fan of erotica, but I like it well enough. I just don’t see myself studying it in college. Awkward!)

So then I get to a list entitled, Worst Books of the Century.

First on that list. Yeah, look to your right. Mmhm. It was The Marker, followed by Manos, Hands of Fate, which I think is only a movie. There were some others there I don’t remember.

In my dream, my thoughts followed a progression that I am sure, in some way, mirrors the stages of grief.

“Whoever wrote that list is a total dick!”

And then, “Hey, someone other than my friends read my book! And cared enough to make a list! Hating it is caring, right?”

Then: “My friends are the dicks who cared enough to put my book on the list!”

And, at last, acceptance: “Either way, someone read it!”

So, thank you, Doubt Monster. You make other people fix their works and make them better. Me, you give weird, totally unhelpful dreams that scream, “This person has issues with self-esteem!” (I sure do, but I have very little shame, so I guess I’ll post about it. Somewhere, some psychology doctoral student is just wishing he had someone like me to study. And Freud, bless his little lifeless heart, would have a field day with me)

MCC

MCC and the Goldeneye


So the other day, I was watching The Princess Bridea fantastic movie, btw–and thinking about a friend of mine. This is a friend I’ve mentioned before: Red. She’s since passed on, and you’d think that watching a movie that we watched together (more than once) would make me maudlin, but it didn’t.

Instead, it got me thinking of the last movie we saw together in the theater: Goldeneye (I just totally dated myself).

In any case, we were in college, and I was enrolled in a course called “Environmental Literature: The Importance of Place” or something uppity like that. I was an English Lit major (eventually, I took enough Linguistics courses to major in that, too), so of course I took classes that sounded pretentious. Thing was, I loved this class (I loved skipping it, too, but that’s a story for another day). I still enjoy reading Rick Bass, Terry Tempest Williams, and others. The landscapes they portray are quite lovely, and I’m a girl who likes setting, so when I see that Rick Bass has written an article for one magazine or another, I’ll always buy it.

And then we got to the section of the course where we talked about “erotic landscapes.” I remember reading our text and going, “Oh, my.” If you’re feeling “fingered by the desert,” or some nonsense like that,  then, uh, great? I didn’t know dirt and sagebrush could do that. I’ve lived in the desert for most of my life, and I can tell you one thing: the desert doesn’t do jack for me, but if it did, I wouldn’t stick around to enjoy it. I’m pretty certain it’s the sign of the zombiepocalypse.

I digress.

So, anyway, I wasn’t entirely mature enough to take “erotic landscapes” seriously (Truth be told, I’m still not, because I still laugh until my sides ache at some of that imagery), but I was mature enough to apply it everywhere I went. Including at the movie theater.

Imagine, if you will, this scenario: an inappropriate female, whose mind is somewhat dirty, who is currently studying “erotic landscapes,” and who goes to see, of all things, a Bond movie.

Freud had nothing on me that day.

Everything had sexual connotations. Even the popcorn had some sexual connotation. And there I am, with my very proper friend (she couldn’t have been that proper, because she liked hanging out with me, but that’s beside the point), and during the movie, I’m howling.

I thought that movie was the funniest thing I’d ever seen in my life. But I didn’t keep it to myself and giggle quietly. Nope. In my obnoxiousness, I had to share it with her.

The beaches: “Oh, look at his waves, lapping her silken shores.”

The guns: “Look at him stroking his big gun. She wants to stroke his gun until it fires.”

Airplanes: “I bet he wants to put his plane inside her hangar. Over and over and over.”

And when the missile silo opened up, and the missile rose up out of the water, I was laughing so hard I could barely choke out something vaguely coherent. Something about her “hot, wet chalice” and his “rising missile.”

Luckily, the theater was relatively empty, so I don’t think I disturbed too many people. Mostly just my friend, I suppose.

It’s so terribly immature, and yet, to this day, I can’t watch Goldeneye and not laugh, even though, once, I managed to keep my comments to myself (I was with my grandmother. Even I have a line I won’t cross. Doesn’t mean I didn’t giggle during the movie.). I get that the movie isn’t supposed to be as funny as I think it is, but still. It’s Hi-larious.

Maybe it’s held on to its “funny factor” because of who I was with that day. We never saw another movie in the theaters together–I went to Europe and she went to school out-of-state, and once she came back, she was too tired to go out to see a movie with me–and so this movie has a special place in my heart. Of all the people in the world, Red was the one who most appreciated my sense of humor (besides Hubs. That man gets me). Oh, she tried to downplay it, and sometimes she would act like she disapproved (while she was laughing, of course, which just made me try harder to be worse), but once she got sick, whenever I would go over there, she seemed to make sure that whatever movie we watched would allow my inappropriate flag to fly. (That was a horrible sentence. My apologies. And yet, I think I’ll leave it. The benefits of having a blog–there’s no editor to tell you no!) But I can tell you all this: we watched movies where I could make her laugh by saying something outrageous and suggestive. I’m pretty sure we watched Goldeneye more than once.

I can guarantee you, we weren’t watching Beaches or Old Yeller.

Here’s my list of special movies:

1. Goldeneye

2. The Princess Bride

3. Two Days in the Valley (first movie I saw with Hubs. Lots of violence–Hubs’ version of a romance. That and Terminator.)

4. The Incredibles (when I first saw this movie, and Jack-Jack turned into a flaming demon, I thought, “Whoever wrote this had a kid with colic,” because Lord, that reminds me of Monk when she had it. Every time we watch that scene, Hubs and I will exchange The Look and start to laugh).

5. And, go ahead and judge: Zorro the Gay Blade. It’s what Red and I watched when we weren’t watching Goldeneye. Also, I have a thing for George Hamilton’s tan. Not George Hamilton. His tan.

What about you? What movies are special to you, and why?

Leave a comment, and, uh, I’ll wish a pony upon you. That would work, right?

–MCC