27 September 2009

Support Your Favorite Banned Book!

Mood: Frustrated (My muse is being uncooperative and the blank page mocks me as I try to forge forward with my writing.)

What I'm Watching: American Jail (I've always wondered what happened after the people from COPS got dragged away to jail. Now, I know. Mostly they're still the same drunk trailer folks just locked up in jail.)

Current Word Count: 9,476 (yes, I realize I've actually managed to lose words over the last few days. My muse and I are currently not on speaking terms!)

As an avid reader and a mostly avid writer, I feel like I just need to take a moment and acknowledge Banned Books Week (9/26 - 10/3/09). As a sarcastic smart ass I have to wonder why anyone would ever want to ban a book at all. Sure, maybe you don't agree with what's being said in the book. So? Don't read it. It's not like the book is going to throw itself at you, hold you down and force you to read it. Maybe you don't want your children reading what's in those books? Here's a thought. Recognize that parent is a verb as well as a noun and be aware of what your children are reading. Don't allow them to read the books that do not meet your approval but don't try to tell me what my children may or may not read.

I think that it's not only important to be exposed to the ideas with which you agree but also those ideas with which you might not be familiar. It's the only way to learn about the world outside of ourselves and, if our belief systems can't withstand exposure to other thought processes, then they must be very weak belief systems.

Out of the top ten challenged books in 2008, I've read two: The Kite Runner and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I learned important lessons from both of those books and considered thoughts and perspectives that I hadn't before. That's never a bad thing folks. So, pick a challenged book and read it. Challenge yourself to consider something you haven't before...you'll be a better person for having done so!

23 September 2009

Late Night Random Blogginess

Mood: Tired and Frustrated (This week at work has already lasted a year and there's no end in sight. Also? Having issues getting plugged in to my writing. The story is there but the energy to write? Not so much).

What I'm Watching: Oprah (I know, I know, I'm so NOT an Oprah person but it's the Mackenzie Phillips interview and I sense a train wreck coming up)

Current Word Count: 9, 497 (Better but not great. Need to get buckled down and start really working the novel or it'll never get done!)

Since it's late and way past my bedtime I'm just going to be hitting some mini-random blogginess.

1.) Aphids. I'd heard of them. Had some vague notion that they were probably some really nasty looking things that had a million legs and would eat me if given half a chance. In reality? Our town is currently overrun with the little buggers and they are tiny little bastards that swarm every freaking where. I can't even walk from my house to my car without being covered with them. According to the experts they're not dangerous to us but I have to say that I've inhaled enough of them that I'm sure it can't be healthy. I have visions of tiny little aphid colonies being formed in my lungs. *shudder*

2.) Camping. I love camping. My husband loves camping (the 'in the woods, in a tent, primitive type camping'). I even bought him a new tent for Christmas last year. So why is it that every weekend we've had free this summer it has either rained or been way too hot to go out camping. We were hoping to go this weekend but we've been hit with the double whammy of forecasted rain and those aforementioned aphids. Spending the weekend inhaling thick swarms of bugs isn't my idea of a good time. :(

3.) Slightly unnerved by the killing of an entire family in a nearby town. Crazy killer? Still on the loose.

4.) Your Kid Ate What? Really? This is a show now? Anyone who reads my blog on a regular basis knows that I'm partial to reality tv but isn't this really just scraping the bottom of the barrel? A show about the weird things that kids have eaten? Don't all kids eat weird things? Hell, I once swallowed a penny. My mother didn't call a television crew, she called the doctor who said "this too shall pass". It was cosmic payback for the time that she swallowed an old school camera flashbulb when she was a kid. Amazingly, my grandmother called the doctor, not a television crew.

And there you have it. All the random thoughts currently running through my tired, semi-empty brain. Off to double check the door locks, kill a few stray aphids that followed us into the house, check the weather forecast for the first weekend in October and call my sister to ensure that should one of my nephews eat something gross, dangerous or just plain interesting, she calls the television crew first and the doctor second.

19 September 2009

Caution: Reading This Blog May Cause...

Mood: Content (Scott and I spent the day bumming around Harvest Days, had porkchops on the grill for dinner and am now enjoying a quiet evening at home)

What I'm Watching: The Girls Next Door (Don't ask...I really don't know why)

Current Word Count: 8,618 (I know, still pathetic but I had to unravel a few story threads and fix a few issues so while the word count hasn't jumped up much the story works much better).

As most people who regularly read my blog have no doubt surmised, I watch way too much tv. Way too much. I watch tv while I'm cleaning house, while I'm working on my writing, while I'm surfing the net, while I'm eating dinner and while I'm reading a book. Basically, if we're home, the tv is on.

Because Scott and I are still living in the dark ages (meaning we don't have Tivo), we are not only watching tv shows, we're also watching endless hours of advertisements per day. Over the last few years I've noticed an exponential increase in the amount of commercials for medications. How many of us grew up happily never hearing of PMDD, RLS or DVT? Now, not only do we know that they exist, after watching a few hours of tv you'll be half convinced you suffer from at least one of them. Really, it doesn't matter what's wrong with you, there's an advertisement out there that will tell you what the problem is and what you need to take to resolve the problem.

However, at the end of every single one of those advertisements is a roll call of all the potential problems that could occur if you choose to take the medication in question. "Have the sniffles? Take sniffle-ease. It will get rid of all your nasal issues....may cause drowsiness (okay, that's not that bad), diziness (eh, but if it helps my stuffy-sniffley nose it might be worth it), insomnia (thought it was going to make me sleepy?), seizures (what the hell?), and in some cases certain cancers like leukemia ($#%*&@?+?!!!!!!). Right. So, what's so bad about a stuffy nose anyway?

So, in the interest of maintaining truth in advertising, reading this blog may cause:

Boredom (really, my life isn't that exciting), confusion (I tend to ramble about nothing in particular), laughter (occasionally I think I'm mildly funny), irritation (I'm also occasionally annoying), and in some rare cases, a need to come back and check to see just what personal jackassery I've been up to lately (because, really, who could avoid the excitement that is my life?).

Should you experience any of these issues, don't panic. An attorney with a pending class action lawsuit will be along with an advertisement at any moment.

14 September 2009

Didn't We Cover This in Kindergarten?

Mood: Saddened (Just heard that Patrick Swayze has passed away. I had so hoped he'd be one of the rare few who would beat pancreatic cancer. He fought the good fight, may he rest in peace.)

What I'm Watching: Gabriel Iglesias: Hot and Fluffy (This dude is so freaking funny: "Why do you drink diet soda? So I can eat regular cake!"....gotta love that!)

Current Word Count: 8,475 (absolutely shameful!)

First it was Representative Joe Wilson shouting "You Lie!" as President Obama was addressing Congress, then it was Kanye West jumping up and taking the mic from Taylor Swift at the VMA's. Seriously? Are there people that just missed elementary school entirely? Who doesn't remember their teachers standing at the front of the class with that annoyed I wish I could beat every single one of you little heathens look on his/her face saying "No one speaks while I'm speaking!"?

And assuming you missed the many "listen while others are speaking" lectures during your tenure at various educational institutions, certainly your parental units would have mentioned that it was impolite to interrupt while others were speaking or, at the very least, slapped you upside the head and told you to 'shut the hell up!'.

However, since it's obvious that some people fell through the cracks, here it is: You don't have to like what's being said. You don't have to agree with what's being said. Hell, you don't even have to listen to what's being said but if you are at an event and you are not the one up front with a microphone then keep your ass in your seat and a piece of duct tape over your mouth or I'll send my mother over to slap the stupid out of you!

11 September 2009

I Remember...

Mood: Somber (It's September 11 and it's hard not to remember the events of this day in 2001)

What I'm Watching: September 11: As it happened (A replay of the NBC coverage as it happened on that day).

Today I'm taking a break from my usual sarcastic commentary on life to take a moment to reflect on the tragic events of September 11, 2001. I don't think that there's anyone who was alive at that time who could possibly forget what happened that day. The tragic loss of life, the bravery, the miracles, the fear, the sadness and the uncertainty. In one day, in just a few moments really, our world changed forever.

Like most people I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the first plane hitting the WTC. I was watching it live on tv when the second plane crashed into the second WTC tower. I remember the absolute numbing disbelief as I watched the events of that day unfold. I remember my own fears, my own worries and my own disabling grief over the absolutely senseless loss of life that day.

I get angry, I get frustrated, I have a tendency to be sarcastic, short tempered and occasionally intolerant of others but even I can't even begin to understand the absolutely sick and twisted hate and intolerance that brings about such horrifying events. Even today, 8 years later, I still fail to comprehend what kind of twisted hate can give rise to such absolute destruction of innocent human life. Clearly, I wouldn't want to be the type of person who could understand it.

My grandparents had Pearl Harbor, my mother had the assassination of JFK, Bobby Kennedy and the terror of the Cuban Missle Crisis. Personally, I thought that the Challenger tragedy was going to be the "moment of tragedy" for my generation. I was so very, very wrong.

I wonder what kind of world we're handing to the next generation. I think about my nephews and my niece who will never know what it's like to live in a pre- September 11 world. They'll never know the joy of wandering around an airport, watching the planes take off and land just because you can. They will always know that America isn't safe, that terrorists can and will strike on a large scale. They will never be as innocent as I once was.

So, with prayers for those who were lost, for those who died bravely trying to save those who were trapped and injured, and for those who lost loved ones on that dreadful day, I remember...because I can't forget.


05 September 2009

Crazy, Unique or Uniquely Crazy?

Mood: Pleasantly Sleepy (once again, it's way past my bedtime)

What I'm Watching: A Haunting (Interesting story but I could do without the cheesy special effects. Also? Seriously doubting the sanity of anyone who would remain in a place where he was being terrorized by unseen demonic forces.)

Current Word Count: 8,173 (Pathetic, I know, but it's still a higher number than it was yesterday).

I know that every family has one or two "special" people. You know, Great Aunt Minnie who gets drunk and has tea with President Lincoln every Saturday afternoon or Grandpa George who needs his meds or he'll be thinking that he's still fighting in WWII?

When I was a kid, these were the people we lovingly tolerated at family gatherings. We tried to help them as best we could and adults would talk about them in hushed tones, telling us kids that we weren't to laugh at them...that they had "problems". Of course, now I know "problems" was code for "completely and totally insane".

Luckily, we've come a long way since those days. Now it's far more socially acceptable to be medicated for everything from depression to anxiety to OCD. I actually know very few people who aren't popping a little white pill or two to make the world a friendlier place. No longer do we talk about these people in hushed tones, instead we compare notes, swap medication recommendations and provide support for one another. I think it's great.

However. There's a limit. And I think the Japanese may just have driven past that limit at 100 mph. Seems the wife of their newly elected prime minister has written a book in which she claims to have flown in a UFO to the planet Venus where she made immediate friends with the native peoples on that planet. She also asserts that she knew Tom Cruise in a previous life when he was Japanese.

In most civilized countries this poor woman would be at least looked at as completely off her nut and in need of some serious psychiatric intervention. In Japan? She's the new prime minister's wife and it seems the Japanese people are not a bit bothered by her claims. Apparently the people embrace her as "unique".

Hmmm...I'm thinking this is the kind of unique that doesn't get to use sharp scissors.


03 September 2009

I Remember When...

Mood: Tired (it's a bit past my old lady bedtime)

What I'm Watching: Iron Chef America (...and the secret ingredient is....ALASKAN.KING.CRAB!)

Current Word Count: 7,833 (this is something new I'm trying...including my current "work in progress" word count as a way of reminding myself what I've accomplished and to motivate me to keep working...we'll see how it works for me.)

My husband and I were talking recently about how much life and the world in general has changed just since we were children. Thinking about it, I realized just how little you notice those changes until they're pointed out to you, so I thought I would make my own little "Remember When" list.

I was born in 1973 (do NOT do the math...I feel 23 so I'm 23!), and my husband was born in 1970 (go ahead and do the math on him...he's older than I am!).

And, we remember when...
  • Children played outside all day, nearly every day...you just had to be home and on the porch when the street lights turned on at night.

  • Using old cigar boxes as pencil boxes was not only acceptable but an actual part of the mandatory school supply list

  • Kids had "school" clothes, "play" clothes and "dress" clothes. The minute you got home you had to change into your play clothes (which were last year's school clothes) and Lord help you if you played in your school clothes and got them dirty.

  • Saturday morning cartoons were really cartoons and not digital animation. Also? The cartoons were good and lasted all morning long.

  • There were only 13 channels on cable television and we thought that was a lot.

  • Our televisions didn't have remotes so our parents would make us get up and change the channel. Again, and again, and again...

  • Pong was cool and Atari blew our minds with its state of the art gaming abilities.

  • Taking a road trip with the family involved things like license plate bingo instead of handheld video games and portable DVD players. Also? We stopped and had picnics at rest stops or on the side of the road because there wasn't a fast food place every 5 miles on the highway.

  • A good mini-series (like Roots) could bring the entire family together around the television every night for a week.

  • tv dinners came in a tin foil tray (that gave the food that nice, tinny flavor, that you just don't get with the plastic ones).

  • Phones had rotary dials and long distance calls were a cause for excitement.

  • Computers were for multi-million dollar companies, took up entire rooms and ran on a series of punch type cards.

So there you have it, my little meandering walk down memory lane. Of course there are millions of things I've left out...so feel free to comment and add your own memories. What do you remember?


02 September 2009

As the World Turns...

Mood: Ready for the long holiday weekend (is that really a mood? Probably not, but it's definitely how I'm feeling right now!)

What I'm watching: The Simpsons (I'm really starting to get on board with the life philosophy of Homer Simpson...mmmm....donuts).

Couple of quick thoughts before I head to bed tonight:

First, Michael Jackson. Really? This guy died what, a month ago? And he's still hanging around on ice waiting to be put in his final resting place? What the heck have they been waiting for? Seriously? Get the guy in the ground and be done with it. Also? I just read that a judge ordered that the Jackson estate pay for Michael's memorial service. You think? It's not like this guy was a President or anything...he was an entertainer so why should anyone but the family even be considered as financially responsible for his memorial service(s)?

Second, I just read an article about a person who finally snapped and smacked a crying toddler in a Wal-Mart. The problem? This toddler wasn't his kid to smack. Of course, based on my recent experiences shopping in Wal-Mart (or anywhere else for that matter), I could have told you that it wasn't his kid because it seems that parents are completely immune to the screaming, kicking, crying and general obnoxiousness of their own offspring. Honestly? I can certainly understand the complete and total irritation that occurs in those situations but this guy smacked the wrong person. Smacking the inattentive parent that allows such behavior to continue unchecked? Well, haven't we all been tempted to do that once in a while?

Finally, Susan Adkins, infamous member of the Manson Family, is back up for parole. She's suffering from a terminal brain cancer, is paralyzed over 85% of her body and cannot even be moved to a wheelchair. Yet, she has routinely been denied parole based on the severity of her crimes and the threat that she still poses to society. Logic would say that she doesn't pose much of a threat as a complete invalid on her death bed but it's really difficult to drum up any sympathy for a cold blooded killer.

P.S. The neighbors have finally picked up their papers but there is a horrible stench in the hallway so now am confused re: possible domestic killing across the hall.


01 September 2009

Random Blogginess

Mood: Slightly out of sorts (Not quite sure what's going on...vaguely frustrated with life right now)

What I'm Watching: More To Love (Yep. More silly reality tv...I've embraced my inner reality tv junkie!)

Just some random mini-blogness tonight:

  • Have noticed fighting neighbors across the hall have not picked up their papers for the last couple of nights. Hoping they're just away for a while but keeping nose out for any funny smells coming from their apartment.

  • The local Cable Company? Officially on my list! I pay an obscene amount of money for cable service and really? watching my channels randomly flip from one to the other every 2 seconds for nearly 15 minutes just because their emergency alert system had gone haywire is the last in a long line of reasons why I'd like to tell them to take their cable service and...well...fill in the rest with your favorite analogy here. However, due to my recently admitted shameful addiction to reality tv and our inability to have a satellite system installed (thank you stupid landlord), I'm forced to keep the cable service...for now.

  • Mother nature seems to be confused as the weather is currently more in keeping with early to mid October than the first of September. I love fall weather but I'm hoping that this doesn't mean that we'll be having an early and hard winter....hope it just means a longer autumn, which would be lovely.

  • Finally put in for some vacay time at work! YAY!!! The first week in November is all MINE! Can't go anywhere because Scott still doesn't have vacation time but after 3 years with no time off, it's time to just take a break from the office...even if it's just staring at the walls and watching stupid daytime tv!