Monday, April 4, 2011

What do Copyedits and the Pinewood Derby have in common? (Hint: They both suck)

This week, I'm experiencing two things I've never experienced before in my life.

Thing #1:
I'm getting my copyedits today.

Keep this under wraps. This is an actual page from chapter 3. Not my best work.
I really like the sentence about the "Pljues dribbyng" down the street. My mom taught me to never let my pljues dribby, especially on a public street.

My editor warned me that apparently my characters "looked down" a lot in my book. And when they weren't "looking down", they were "looking" in general. 

Now every time I think of my book, I picture random people wandering around, "looking". 

What was I thinking? I shouldn't have to point out that they're looking. Basically, if their eyes are open, they're looking. It should be a given. Give the reader a little credit, won't ya?

And when they're not "looking", they're "feeling". What a bunch of pansies.

When my copyedited manuscript arrives today, it's going straight to a time out, and it's not getting free until it can prove it only "looked" around a reasonable amount.

*by the way- shout out to the copyeditors out there. They are superhuman.

Thing #2:
There is a phenomenon out there, unfamiliar to those of us who grew up with only sisters. It is a strange event that turns men into boys and boys into sea monkeys. (I won't even tell you what happens to the sea monkeys).

It is... The Pinewood Derby. Second in manliness only to the tiger fights in the Coliseum of ancient Rome.

And yes, that is Sam cutting the wood with a butter knife.

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the boy scouts. Their uniforms are expensive, they wear kerchiefs, and they don't have Thin Mints.

And once a year (after they take a chunk of balsa wood, drill holes in it, add weights, sand, paint, and attach wheels) they meet in the gym of the church house and test their manhood. If they don't measure up, they lose their man parts. It may sound extreme, but how else will they learn what's important in this life? 

The Derby is tomorrow, so naturally Sam started on Kid C's car around midnight last night. He has exactly 24 hours make his chunk of wood look like this:
We aren't going for speed. We'll never win that way. We're going for style.

If he succeeds, Sam will earn his "Dads really do all the work, and the kids get the credit" merit badge, bumping him up to the Webelo level. (As a side note, I used to think a "webelo" was a sort of cockroach.)
Finally, here's a video of Sam, who thinks he's posing for a picture:

What about all y'all? Have any of you ever made a pinewood derby car? Have any of you let your pljues dribby lately? I have a picture of my pljues dribbying. If you're nice, I'll show it to you next blog post.


  1. You had me laughing out loud through this whole post! Your description of the pinewood derby is exactly accurate.

    I've noticed my characters do a lot with their eyebrows. They raise them, lower them, wrinkle them...if there were eyebrow Olympics, my characters would be taking home gold, silver, AND bronze.

    Good luck with the copy edits! And the fearsome spectacle of the pinewood derby. :)

  2. Thanks Shallee! We're going to need all the luck we can get... for both. :)

  3. I started to make a comment and misspelled pinewood derby as "dreby." I think it must have something to do with the dribbying. In fact, if you substitute "pinewood derby" for "pljues dribbying" the sentence does make some sense. More sense than this comment, anyway. :)

  4. The word 'Scouts' in general gives me the hives. All that secret combination stuff. I was over the Bears one year and those kids were hellions. (Excuse my French) Now that my son is approaching that age, I am dreading it, because I've heard most of it is up to the moms. How do you do it, Brodi?

  5. Jenilyn- pinewood derby totally makes sense in that context! Thanks for pointing it out.

    Nicole- I don't do it. If Kid C wants a badge, he's going to have to do it himself. It's not because I'm trying to teach him responsibility. It's because I'm lazy. :)

  6. I'm not sure if I should be proud or horrified that I instantly identified the Looking photograph as a scene from the movie The Happening.

  7. David- Proud! Very proud. 80% proud, 20% horrified. :)

  8. And to make it even a more spectacular photo selection, I just realized that your blog post title references Things that Suck -- Um, what is The Happening?

    If that was intentional by you, then I'm taking a sip of my lunchtime Diet Pepsi and then pouring out some in your honor.

  9. Oh yeah. That was totally intentional. Totally. :) I accept your spilled Diet Pepsi!

  10. This was a great post. Those copyedits look like fun! And, I'm being serious, which you know, because I plan to be one of those superhumans someday. We'll see how it turns out.

    I really like the skateboarder. I really hope Sam makes the balsa wood look like that! That would be an awesome pinewood derby vehicle!

  11. I think I got copyedits when I published a paper in law school--does that count? I don't really remember much about it though--perhaps I'm blocking?

    The pinewood derby I remember. Last year was my son's first year. My husband made one car, put the wheels on wrong, and he lost, lost, lost.

    This year, hubby was Assistant Cub Master (they've recently dropped the "Assistant" from his title), I'm Cub Committee Chair, and hubby helped a couple boys in the ward with their cars, too. Grand Total? 5 pinewood derby cars. Hubby used it as the perfect excuse to buy more tools.

    I used it as an excuse to make an elaborate spreadsheet (of course) so we could combine two wards into one derby and still keep track of who was the manliest in each den and pack. :)

    Good luck with all that!

  12. Personally, when my eyes are open I'm very rarely looking. I'm "staring blankly." Thus why my characters are always staring at people blankly.

  13. Jenni- You have much faith in Sam. And if you want practice on copyedits, you can come over to my house and work on mine!

    Robin- if only making spreadsheets was an Olympic event. You would win! And scouts is the one calling both Sam and I would turn down. Don't tell anyone.

    Emily- That's better than "gazing blankly", which is a tricky feat.

  14. I thought the copy edits were WAY less time consuming (and brain squishing) than the editorial letter (and subsequent revising/adding new parts).

    YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. I totally looked up that same document online because I had NO idea what some of the symbols meant. Now I know.

  15. I have already informed Kid C that his 'car' will not win. He was OK with it. I told him that he will actually be lucky if his 'car' has wheels on it. Shooting for the Stars, shooting for the stars!

    If I can make it out of this without cutting off a finger, I will feel like the luckiest dad in the world.

  16. I'm glad I'm not the only one with dribby pljues. Though I don't think I want to see a picture of yours. Boundaries, you know. Unless we don't mean the same thing, then, ok, let's see 'em!

  17. KM- Okay, that makes me feel better. Here's to copyedits!

    Sam- We always define success as "that which causes us to not lose a limb."

    Heather- Oh yeah, I'm sure it means the same thing. I'm totally showing you mine!

  18. What a timely post, as we noticed this morning that our 3 month old sea monkeys have recently been joined by lots of smaller sea monkeys. Who knew? And to think that Sherri promised me these would be temporary...

    Nice vid of Sam. Is it just me, or 1) is his voice lower and more manly, 2) Does he have a cold, or 3) Maybe it's just been too long since we've visited you. #3 for sure...

  19. Kent- Sea monkeys are never temporary. Sea monkeys are forever.

    And yes, Sam hit puberty last year, so I think that's what you're hearing in the video.

  20. Ok, you MUST see "Down & Derby" because it is the Pinewood Derby personified, and Brian has used vegetable peelers and my GOOD HENCKLE KNIVES to make cars before. Last year, he sanded it into shape!

    We seriously need friends with tools...

  21. Brodi - this post (I just typed pist) has me laughing so dang hard!! From pjubyes (sp?) to your copy edit having a time out, to the whole pine wood derby phenomenon. Seriously! Where are my Thin Mints this year? There 'taint enough girl scouts around so maybe the boy scouts could step it up and get their cookie-selling badges. Love the "action shot." Sam - you 'da Dad!

  22. Brodi- love the blog! Remember, repeat the following mantra to yourself. "Pinewood builds character--the parents' character. The character development comes from the restraint it takes to not killing the other scouts' parents." Love you...lis

  23. Sally- Why didn't I think to use the vegetable peeler? I never use that thing anyway!

    Cath- I don't know where the girl scouts are! I never get to order cookies! We should seriously replace the pinewood derby with cookies. Just wait until little Spence and Gord are 8...

    Alissa- We didn't kill anyone else last night. But someone did get maimed...

  24. I'm one of those really screwy people who love copyediting, so maybe I'd love pinewood derbies too?

  25. Good job Sam for using a butter knife. My husband used a sharp box cutter and earned his "Go in for a few stitches in your knee" Merit Badge. I was so mad at him that my pljues were dribbying all over the place.