Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why I gave up on The Biggest Loser

I remember back in the day, as a kid, I really liked to watch the Olympics. It was all sports, and so maybe a bit odd that a young girl would thrill to watch ski jumping, luging, or swimming and diving. Sure, I liked gymnastics and ice skating, too. I liked it all. I remember watching Bruce Jenner win Gold in the decathalon in 1976.

Those were the days. The Olympics could be completely explained in that immortal phrase: The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.

I cant' watch major network coverage of the Olympics these days. They've ruined them with sob stories. I never watched the Olympics to hear about athletes' personal struggles and tragedies; and most certainly not to have those personal stories overshadow the athlete who happens to be winning the event!

The Olympics used to be a sporting competition. Now it's just another reality television show. Now it's the thrill of overcoming, and the agony of life--please. Just run the damn race. (Thank gawd for cable tv.)

There used to be a show on called Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. No, it's not the one with the same name that's on now. This show was all about taking a house that needed repair and upgrading--booting out the family for a while--and remodeling it. It was about the remodel.

The show on now, with the same name, is all about the family. It's no longer about finding a bad house; it's about finding a deserving family. It's no longer about watching what architects, builders, and designers can do with a certain space; now it's about the poor, poor family and how much they deserve this makeover.

I don't watch that show anymore.

And I don't watch The Biggest Loser anymore, either. I have no idea who won last night. I tried to watch it, flipping over occasionally during commercials in Storage Wars. But everytime I tuned in, we were watching some interlude about the struggles of a contestant. Maybe they weren't interludes; maybe the entire two-hour extravaganza was sob stories.

When The Biggest Loser first aired, it was a game show with fat people. It was fascinating to watch, not because of the personal tragedies or struggles of these people off the ranch, but because of the diet and exercise, game-play, and weight loss (or gain) on the ranch. It was a great show. And it was only an hour long.

Now it's a two-hour long sob fest. No, it's more than that. It wasn't enough to bring in the contestants personal lives, their relationship struggles, their psychological road blocks, etc. They had to let the viewer hear from the contestants about each and every minute detail of the show.

A challenge? Let's hear the thoughts of several contestants regarding it. Are they up for it? Are they excited about it? Do they have a strategy? Are they worried they won't do well?

Who the fuck cares? Just get on with the challenge!

The little advertising segments are stupid enough (where one of the trainers comes in casually as if it isn't scripted at all, and asks a simple question, like, "What's for breakfast?" and ends up making Quaker Instant Oatmeal)--give us all a break--but the inevitable trainer/contestant emotional showdown/breakdown is nothing short of embarrassing.

Trainers are supposed to train you, not psychoanalize you--not try to get at the core of why you're fat--not do everything they can to make you cry on national television because that's what's going to make you lose weight. It's all bullshit.

I can't watch The Biggest Loser anymore. It's not about making the show devoid of personal issues--it's about focus. The focus has shifted away from losing weight against big odds, to the personal sob stories of each contestant.

This is exactly the problem with Tim Tebow. We don't care about him--his Christianity, his near-death experience (nearly being aborted), his prayers--we just want to watch football!

If they ruin football like they did the Olympics, we are completely lost as a nation.

Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo gods forgive me...

I'm just now getting over a rotten cold and NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I feel completely unprepared. To top it off, we had to reschedule our trip to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival because of my illness, so now we have to go during NaNo; and I have to make a trip to NC to get my mother mid-month. All that and at least 50,000 words--when I haven't really gotten back into the writing program yet!

Jiminy.

I need more cough syrup.

I was supposed to have been gearing up for NaNo with regular writing, but more than a week ago this enormous tiredness fell over me. I had hoped that would be the extent of the sickness, but unfortunately last week it turned into a full-blown cold with hacking, dry cough and fever. It will be a challenge to get my butt in the chair and write over the next few days, but I'm sure I can do it.

Last year, NaNo had over 200,000 participants--and that's only counting the ones who logged on to the website. Who knows how many do it on their own (though why anyone would do that is beyong me).

All those novels! You have to wonder how many make it through completion, editing, and even publication.

This year, I had this grand idea to do 100,000 words. I'm not trying to show off or anything--I just have a hard time making decisions.

The idea of NaNo is to write 50,000 words on a new novel in one month. You are forced to write so quickly, that your inner editor must be banished from your writing space and your imagination will fly. Because of this idea, NaNo doesn't want you to get bogged down with anything like an already begun manuscript.

So, I came up with an idea. I had something of an outline that I didn't really like--too serious. And I was trying to figure out how I could tell the story from a humorous angle.

But I really didn't want to start a new project when I have so many in the works that need attention. I didn't want to spend a full month writing what could likely end up being 50,000 words of pure crap when I had some great stuff in my 'to do' box.

So, I thought I'd be a NaNoRebel and wrie 50,000 words on the novel I've been working on lately. It could use the attention.

And then, just yesterday, I thought, hmmm, maybe I could just do both. Now, I'm thinking I'm just crazy. After all, I have a second novel that needs work. I might not be able to get 50,000 more words on it, but why start something new--something I'm not even happy with yet--before finishing what I've got.

I think I'm just going to do 50,000 on my main novel and spend the rest of the time on the other WIP (that's work in progress to us novelists--ahem).

The newer idea just needs percolating...not a 50,000 word frenzy of forcing crap out of my head--pure imagination be damned. (And now I feel guilty for rebelling against the NaNo gods).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Best and worst in television advertising

Here are some of the best commercials on television:
Edith and Ellen and the Walgreens flu shot. Those ladies are adorable.
Guy gets unlimited messaging from AT&T, wife not happy. The writing on this one is fabulous. And the acting--spot on.
The little Darth Vader who starts up the Volkswagon with his Vader powers. Too cute.
Truvia pig, where the girl manages to eat the dessert before hubby can get to the table to share it. The singing and the song are awful, but the imagery is hilarious. Well, okay, the part in the song about sugar making my butt fat is funny.
Spanish makes everything sound more intriguing--the Khalua ad. Love, love, love. I was glad to see it again last night after a long while.
And one of the best baby ads is "short and bald" where the woman always thought she'd go for tall, dark and handsome. But having a baby changes everything. From Johnson and Johnson.
Time out is fabulous, of course, but so are ALL of those eTrade ads.

It's ads like these that make television watching enjoyable.

Then, of course, we have the awful ads that make us cringe and look away.
Any Old Navy ad these days is torture. The singing is stupid; the song is stupid; the entire look of the commerical is stupid. Please make them stop.
Any Old Spice commercial is just too stupid to bear. The latest, with the sea captain punching the octopus on his shoulder. Please.
And even worse is the dudes with big hats for Dish Network's Blockbuster Movie Pass. OMG. I can't even watch it anymore.
As for kids, the Snickers commercial with the kids in costume loading bags of Snickers into a weirded-out woman's cart. Awful. Freaky. Please don't show it again next Halloween.

Ugh. Now I feel awful. I should have ended with the good commercials to start my day off right.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I can't believe it's not butter...

The reality television shows that I watch regularly are: Project Runway--my all-time favorite; Top Chef; Top Chef Just Desserts--not as good as Top Chef; The Biggest Loser--has gotten too long, too weepy, and too commerical, may stop watching; Work of Art--hilarious if you like to make fun of what they call art these days; and Sister Wives--I really like those people. I'm loving Chris March's new Mad Fashion, and have been drawn in to the show that comes on just after that, Fashion Hunters.

That means I'm watching television on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights at some time during the year. It's pretty awful when all the shows come on at once and I'm watching tv four nights a week. But there are certain things we do for pleasure...

Shows I watch when I can catch them are: Hoarders and Hoarding, Buried Alive; The First 48; Cold Case Files; Hell's Kitchen; or Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Or cooking challenge shows, like the latest Halloween Wars, or Cupcake Wars.

And there are those that I catch a bit of only while dressing or folding laundry: The Rachel Zoe Project--appealing on some weird fashion level in me...very, very deep; Millionaire Matchmaker--which I really don't like much; various Real Housewives; America's Next Top Model; Tabitha's Salon Takeover or What Not to Wear. Some good ones are 19 Kids and Counting or Say Yes to the Dress..

And then there are those that I only watch if I'm desperate and there's just nothing else on. Like, if I'm sick with a cold, for instance, and I can't read or write or sit at the computer or anything at all productive. Those would be The Real Housewives of New Jersey or Atlanta (Such awful women); Cake Boss (I can't stand that man's voice); or any hick-type person chasing after bugs or pests of some kind.

So, you see that I prefer reality television shows that are based on some kind of talent or skill and only watch a few, specific, shows about just normal people. And even those people aren't completely normal--they're super rich. If you make me, I'll watch awful people being awful to each other.

I have typically held to the belief that these shows are not scripted, though many people claim they are. I call these people pessimists who just can't lighten up and enjoy. These shows aren't scripted--they're sometimes set up, directed, and guided. But they aren't scripted because acting is just not that easy for most people.

Sure, some scenes on some shows are either scripted or very close; and those moments are embarrassing to watch. When they make the trainers and contestants on Biggest Loser advertise oatmeal or granola bars for example, and try to make it look like it just happened that way--we're not fooled.

And then there are times when the people on otherwise reality-based shows are directed to find themselves in certain situations, like when the Duggars "decided" to renew their vows and had to travel all the way to New York to find a wedding gown on Say Yes to the Dress. Somehow, I don't see the Duggars doing this on their own.

I remember watching a bit of Bridezillas a long time ago (a show you won't find on my list today) in which a bridezilla went into a cake shop to check on her cake and threw an obviously suggested tantrum. She even kept glancing toward the camera and fighting to keep from smiling. So stupid.

But for the most part, I still say that reality shows are not scripted--even the stupid ones on MTV that I don't watch. Stupid, drunk, illiterate people like those would never be able to learn that much script and act it out week after week. No, those people really are stupid, and drunk, and illiterate, and sleazy, and crazy. I think, for that sort of person, the camera just brings it out all the more. Exhibitionists. That's what they are.

But last night, feeling a bit off, I was forced to watch a show called DC Cupcakes. On this episode, somebody brought his sister in to start working at the bakery and some other guy was flirting with her. Brother guy kept catching them, and threatening other worker guy. It was so obviously set up and scripted that I changed the channel. I decided I'd rather watch religious television than nonsense.

But I get it. The show has so little going for it the producers felt it needed some nudging. But setting up stupid relationships and scenarios doesn't help. It's like a sit-com without the com.

All this really explains why my favorite--and the best--reality shows are Project Runway, Top Chef, The First 48, and Cold Case Files. These shows are not scripted, and the producers don't have to force situations on their stars.

The skill-based shows have too much going on already--there's no need for added scenarios. And the crime shows have plenty to deal with in crime solving (although, The First 48 does typically end with a weepy meeting with the victims families to make the cops look like they care).

They don't have to ask the cop to scoot his chair closer and hold the suspect's hand. Cops actually do embarrassing and deceitful things like that. That's what you call reality.

And for the record, I still don't know who Snookie or any Kardashian is. Don't care.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why ask for trouble?

So, in the news today we hear that a 34-year old, Taiwanese woman found out that she had testicles. This is no big surprise. It happens, right? The big "huh?" moment comes when her doctors ask her why she never came to see them when she failed to have a period all these years. And they say she was "lost for an answer."

Excuse me? Why would any woman in her right mind go to see the doctors and ask for her period? Better just leave well enough alone and thank her lucky stars.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Birkin: Even the name is stupid*

I guess it's fashion week on The Sunshine State.

The other night I stayed up to catch Fashion Hunters after watching Mad Fashion. I just love Chris March. Anyway, the Fashion Hunters preview intrigued me because they showed a clip that led me to believe someone was trying to consign some stolen goods. Unfortunately, it would seem, that will be on next week's show.

In last night's episode, however, we were treated to display of disgusting excess involving something known as a Birkin. This was my first experience with Birkins, because I don't watch celebrities, or care about "fashion," or watch television shows about rich people, I guess.

For someone like me, watching snobby women pay five to ten thousand dollars for a used purse is like watching Dumb and Dumber. It's funny in parts, but mostly stupid and gross.

New Birkins cost at least $9,000 and Hermes "justifies" that expense by pointing to the fact that the bags are handmade...from really cool skins of various dead animals. And they're really, really hard to find.

I hate to break it to Hermes, but dead animal skin and hand stitches still do not warrant a selling price of over $16,000. (And they even dare to sell a canvas tote for more than $300.)

This is not justified. It can't be justified. It's just about status and demand and human stupidity.

On the show, the consignment shop owner held a Birkin party where ladies brought their Birkin bags to trade or sell. One lady showed up carrying a Birkin bag over her shoulder with a dog inside it! Luckily, that Birkin turned out to be a fake. Whew. Of course, even if she knew it was a fake when she bought it, she's carrying her dog around in a bag she paid thousands of dollars for.

But when she later purchased an old, worn, tacky, "heirloom" Birkin for $9,500, they all laughed and made her put her dog in it to see if it fit. You almost feel sorry for them.

*No insult to Jane Birkin intended, of course. What works for a person doesn't necessarily translate onto a product.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trailer park favorite things: Pajama Jeans

I'm going to talk about my Pajama Jeans in a minute, but first, I have tell all the people who aren't reading this blog about a rejection letter I just got in the mail.

I was surprised to get it. I didn't even know I still had any manuscripts out. This one was for a YA novel I wrote about zombies and vampires. It's a silly book, I admit. But it's supposed to be silly and I had a lot of fun writing it.

So, I get this rejection letter, in which the editor says:
I read your manuscript with interest, and while I'm sorry to say that this particular piece isn't right for our list here at ****, I did enjoy your writing and would be glad to look at other work from you in the future. It is with regret that I am passing on this project.
And there was a second paragraph saying pretty much the same thing, which I have decided to interpret as the editor just really, really meaning it.

I am beaming. And what's more, I'm so happy she said "in the future." It's almost like she's saying, look, I understand if you aren't the most disciplined writer in the world and you don't have a dozen other projects to send me right now. But I'll wait for you to finish something.

This couldn't have come at a better time. I think I made all the right decisions recently to get me to this place. But now I have so much work to do and so little discipline.

You really want to know about the Pajama Jeans, don't you? Well, if I were the trailer park Oprah, Pajama Jeans would be on my list of favorite things.

The television ad does not do them justice at all. In the ad, they look too short, and a bit stiff...and the pockets look a bit low on the buttock-ulus. But in real life, they are soft, supple, and drape beautifully.

If you want them really snug and form-fitting, get the closest to your size. The waist band, though it does have a little pink flat rope to tighten it up, is not that stretchy. You'll have to gently work them over your thighs and hips, if you're a shapely girl like me.

I bought a size up for a looser look that more befits a fifty-year-old woman (soon, my dears, very soon). Hemming them was not so awful in retrospect.

Speaking of hemming, I wish I was a man sometimes. Guys have two or three pairs of shoes and miraculously they're all the same heel height. My husband has a work pair for mowing, a daily pair of sneaker types, and some dress shoes for those rare occasions. I, on the other hand, being a woman who does not like to shop and doesn't like to accumulate too much, have thirty-one pairs of shoes (with three new pairs on the way making it 34)*, if I counted correctly**. And you can bet they run the gamut from flats to high heels.

So, I hemmed my Pajama Jeans for my flats and purchased another pair to hem for a slightly higher heel. What a total pain. Even if I declared that I was going to wear only flats, the chances that all my flats would work perfectly with one hem length is slight.

Women's shoes are almost as frustrating as women's clothing sizes. How can I go to the store in a pair of 8-10's and have to purchase 14's of some other brand, a ten in another, and a twelve somewhere else. Can't I just get a waist measurement?

(And of course, as I type that and cringe, I understand perfectly well why clothing manufacturers don't size women's clothing that way. I mean, imagine shopping in one of those discount stores, like Ross, where they put all their clothes on long racks sorted by size and you have to stand over there at the 36" rack, thinking, yes, yes, I know the song says that's supposed to be my bust size, but try to think of it as a benefit...cause the boobs are all that much more humongous!)

*Now that I've hurt my foot and found out I have flexible flat feet, I'm buying some new shoes with arch support. It's not easy finding cute orthopedic shoes. And they don't come cheap. Well, if you are used to paying $200 a pair, these might be cheap to you.

And look what I got to wear with my Pajama Jeans around the trailer park.

**It turns our I did not count correctly; I found another rack of shoes in the closet, adding ten more pairs. Unfortunately, some of the shoes are going to have to go, now that I'm pampering my feet with arch support soles.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The wonderful people at Walmart

A fight broke out at a Mayland Walmart between two women involving bleach and other chemicals. A Walmart spokesman told NBC News, "This is obviously not the type of behavior we would expect from people at our stores."

Really?

Friday, October 7, 2011

J Lo thinks she's all that

I'm no fashion expert, but I do watch Project Runway (each episode at least twice) so I think that makes me qualified to criticize J Lo's new clothing line. It's called: Jennifer Lopez. Very creative.

My first impression wasn't good.

Compare J Lo's television ad with Sofia Vergara's for Kmart. You can tell right away that J Lo takes herself way too seriously...and she's not good at it.

First, you really shouldn't design clothes based on where you came from. Where you came from is yesterday. And that's pretty much what I thought about the sequined top. So '70's--only not as good, frankly.

And second, J Lo should stop trying to look serious when she talks. She has a happy, girly voice. Someone please tell her to stop pouting like a supermodel if she intends to speak. It doesn't work.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself at Kohl's yesterday pulling a top?tunic?dress? off the rack and discovered, to my amusement, that I was in the Jennifer Lopez section. I wandered around a bit and actually got to see the godawful sequined top. I did not try it on.

I chose a lot of cothing and when I went to the registers, I was third in line. Those Kohl's people were on the ball, and an announcement was made that more cashiers were  needed. I was ushered over to the jewelry counter.

I noticed that the jewelry lady took some of my purchases off their hangers, wadded them up, and laid them aside. Others, she left on the hangers. After I paid, she tossed my wads in a bag, turned to me and said, "I'm so sorry, but I have to take you over to the other registers now. You bought some things in the Jennifer Lopez collection and they have to be bagged on the hangers."

"That J Lo," I said. "She thinks she's all that."

Jewelry Lady also had to ask one of the other cashiers if the top?tunic?dress? I bought had a security device in it. A security device? For that thing?

As she hung my special, fancy, lah-ti-dah Jennifer Lopez clothes on a high bar and pulled a bag over the top of them, she turned to me again, rolled her eyes and said, "You have no idea how much trouble this collection was. Everything came in full of wrinkles. I was here all last night steaming."

"Lucky me," I said. "I bought wrinkly clothes."

When I got home, it turned out that the top?tunic?dress? was the only Jennifer Lopez piece I'd purchased. Jewelry Lady had also hung two Vera Wang: Simply Vera pieces: a simple top with some seriously funky sleeves, and the most beautiful, flattering slubbed open front cardigan* I've ever seen.

That I get. Vera Wang is what you call a designer. It's what she does for a living. Her clothes are worth carrying out of the store on their hangers.

*Uh, yeah, I took that description from the website. Like I knew what the heck slubbed meant before this morning. And the top?tunic?dress? is a "chevron shirred tunic." The sequined horror is merely "embellished." Seriously, the Kohl's buyers looked from the ghastly top, to J Lo, back and forth a few more times, and said...we'll say it's "embellished."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All the evils of humanity...in a bracelet

What is it with this Pandora jewelry?

You've heard of wacky performance art, right? Like, an empty room with the lights on, and occasionally somebody runs through it. Maybe they're naked. That's art.

It's a joke. It's some pseudo-intellectual snob, who thinks he's a great artist, pulling a fast one on what he deems a stupid and gullible audience.

That's Pandora.

The image of Pandora is a bracelet of garish baubles. It's on billboards and television commercials--praised as if it's the most beautiful piece of jewelry one could imagine. But what it is, is ugly as all get out. And expensive like crazy. I looked up one charm for this bracelet. Even though it had a cat on it, it was still ugly. And they wanted $50 for it. One charm!

They named it right, though. Pandora, as the story goes, opened a jar and released into the world all the evils we're stuck with today. Certainly an ugly, overpriced bracelet embodies that vision. It's like a sick joke. It's like a trick.

Their website tab says: Genuine jewelry--Pandora.

What does it take for jewelry to be genuine? Nothing. Put a string around your wrist and you've got genuine jewelry. I'm telling you, this is somebody's idea of a joke.

It's like that study someone did on 60 Minutes or some show like that (I think it was John Stossel) where they put some really cheap olive oil on display in the grocery store and tried to sell it for a ridiculously high price. They had ringers stand there and talk about what a great deal it was and people bought it!

Enter Pandora with its commercials about how much you really want that ugly bracelet and how much your husband loves you and knows your good taste when he buys it for you. And women fall for it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time to cut the cheese

Now that I think about it, I haven't heard the "cut the cheese" reference in ages.

The American Cheese Society has declared October to be American Cheese Month.

Naturally when I first read that I was thinking, wha? You want us to eat American cheese all month? And I started considering its uses. I like a good slice on a hamburger. And I like it in grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe on a ham and cheese sandwich (though I prefer this new super spicy pepper jack). That's about it, other than folding it and breaking it into squares and eating it on saltines, which is really very good. And it has to be saltines, not only because they're the perfect size and shape, but because Ritz Crackers just don't go with American cheese. Too buttery, I think.

But apparently, there are lots of different kinds of American cheeses and the ACS doesn't exactly mean "American cheese" so much as they mean cheeses that are made right here, by Americans. So, for instance, a locally or homemade mozzarella counts.

Seems a little like a cheat, if you ask me, but I see where they're coming from.

Robin Shreeves, whose tag line, "stay-at-home mom blogs about finding eco-friendly food options," sounds like the pitch for a movie on Disney Channel, offers us ten things we van do to celebrate American Cheese Month.

Besides the already mentioned making of mozzarella, because it's the easiest to make and let's face it, who wants to make his own cheese?, she lists options such as eating a lot of cheese, especially locally-made cheeses; visiting a local cheesemaker--like there's one around the corner here on the Space Coast; ordering cheese for dessert--yeah...right; trying goat milk or sheep milk cheeses; and best of all, visiting cheese blogs.

Apparently Culinary Arts College has a list of the 50 best cheese blogs. Are you kidding me? How many cheese blogs could there be? Just the fact that there's an American Cheese Society is crazy enough.

Lastly Shreeves suggests we "build a better grilled cheese sandwich" and links to a site where they have butchered and adulterated the venerable staple of American childhood beyond recognition.

What is wrong with the world these days?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Stupid chocolate sayings

I've had a baggie filled with Dove dark chocolate wrappers on my desk forever. For some reason, at some point, I found the sayings on the inside of the wrappers ridiculous enough to want to save them and blog about them later. But once they were in the bag, I guess they weren't stupid enough to get around to.

But today I'm avoiding real work because my husband is home. I don't know why I can't write fiction when he's around. I can blog. I can't write articles. But I can't do the fiction thing. It's bizarre. And it's not like he stands in my office pouting or something. He's in another room. I can even close the door and pretend he's at work. But, really, I can't. This is something that will eventually have to be worked out, no?

So, on to chocolate wrappers. I think the people at Dove think they're real cute. But I've never been the type of person to like silly sayings that sound like they're deep and meaningful, until you think about them and they turn out to be stupid. And Dove chocolate-wrapper sayings are a lot like that.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Promise to stop and smell the chocolate."
This one is necessary, really. Clearly the Dove team knows that I've got a pile of chocolates on the table next to me while I watch Project Runway and I'm unwrapping them and shoving them into my mouth much too quickly. So, they need to remind me once in a while to slow down and enjoy. What they don't know is that lately I haven't been paying any attention at all to the sayings. Instead, I ball the wrapper up into a red pea. Naturally, without the reminder, I've gone back to manic stuffing. I've always thought that chocolate was meant to fill the entire mouth.

"Enjoy the childhood joys of winter."
I don't like the use of enjoy so close to the word joy. But I can get over that. I grew up in Central Florida. The only joy I can think of is the kooky neato thing of being able to go outside barefoot, wearing shorts, a top, and a sweater. If you want to have hot chocolate in the winter in Florida, you might get one or two evenings suitable; otherwise, you have to turn the AC way down. That's why I prefer to just eat chocolates.

"Happiness is one bite away."
Nice. Thanks Dove for encouraging me to continue to see happiness in food, instead of in self-awareness, intellect, and actually producing something worthwhile. I'll just sit here some more and eat.

"Chocolate therapy is oh, so good."
This goes right back to it equaling happiness. If you're depressed or upset, just eat some Dove chocolates. If they don't make you happy, it's clearly your fault.

"A good love is delicious because you can never get enough."
What? Wouldn't that be akin to having an itch that won't go away no matter how much cortisone and scratching you apply? What they want you to do, apparently, when you take this one with the last two, is see Dove chocolate as love and just keep eating it. That's why it's delicious, see? Because you just can't get enough of it. I really should discuss how the saying in itself makes absolutely no sense. But I think that goes over on the other blog.

"You are exactly where you are supposed to be."
Sitting on the couch watching The First 48, gorging on chocolate?

"Perseverance is a synonym for victory."
No, it's not. Take Westboro Baptist Church. Those people persevere. And they're insane! They are not victorious by any definition of the word up with which I can come. (He, he. That made me think of upchuck and I was talking about Westboro Baptist Church.)

"Here's to something more powerful than chocolate. Hope."
Okay, first of all, while I'm eating your chocolates don't tell me there's something more powerful. Because, first of all there probably isn't. And second, it wouldn't be hope. Hope has no power whatsoever. It involves no action, no commitment, no power at all. It's just hoping. I'll take chocolate any day. Lucky for you, Dove people.

And finally, I found one wrapper--one wrapper in all my years of scarfing dark chocolates and reading the silly sayings--that actually applies to me!

"A pessimist is really an optimist with experience."
Thank you, Youla, from Jamaica, NY! You sound like my kind of gal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well, that didn't work out as planned...

I got up and I did actually turn on the laptop in my office. But I also turned on the PC in the computer room. And I sat at the PC all morning. I guess my excuse was that I was going to the college today so I could write there.

As usual, I read a lot of news stories trying to come up with some inspiration to write an Examiner article. The good news is that Examiner has lifted the oppressive "local" criterion for local Examiners. Now I can write about anything related to my topic no matter where it's focus is.

So, clearly, deciding to go ahead and check my emails in the morning is not a good idea. But how to get into the fiction mood so early in the morning? It's all just a matter of habit. Trying to create a new one feels a lot harder than undoing an old one.

I suppose I should see that first tiny step of turning on the laptop as progress. Grasping, pitiful, miniscule progress.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bored, bored, bored...

Well, now that I've quit most everything and flagged most of the email I get as junk, I really have nothing left to do in the mornings. I guess it's time (already!) for a new change. It's time to turn on the laptop in my office in the mornings, instead of my PC out here in the computer room.

I'll eat my breakfast while doing my morning blogs or just jumping into writing for the day. Why not? There's no point in sitting out there in the main room staring at facebook (which, let's face it, has become more frustrating than illuminating in all respects).

I've never considered myself a morning person. It's one o'clock in the afternoon now and I had to force myself to blog. But I'm blogging. Who knows what might emerge from my half-asleep brain at eight in the  morning? I will have to give it a try.

I looked into taking an online workshop with Writer's Digest University. I was interested in one on writing sci/fi and fantasy. But I didn't like the idea of writing assignments. I want to write what I want to write, not an assignment. (I understand the problem some designers have while on Project Runway. I mean, I can see the creative education a person can get from designing a look using only items bought in a pet store...on the other hand, I can see where a designer--already a creative individual--would like to just get on with his collection. But they signed up for it. And I've really digressed.)

So, anyway, my husband asked if I wanted to take the class just to get out of writing and I thought he had a good point. I decided to check into buying the textbook instead. And while I was looking at it and all the other books Amazon recommends, it occurred to me that Writer's Digest books are really just recycling all the stuff I already know into more books for me to read to keep from writing.

So, I decided to blog before I go to the doctor about my hurt foot. And when I come home, I will have to try to plant my butt in the chair in my office and do some writing.

My Outline 4D program should arrive on Friday and I'm looking forward to getting into it and working on planning a bit more for my projects. Woot. That is all, Florida.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cavity Sam has pants!

I saw a Hasbro Great Games Trade-in commercial the other day. They've given Cavity Sam pants! Because, as we all know, when you go in for an operation, you wear your polka-dot scivvies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whack...ack!

I got my hair cut yesterday. Whacked might be a better description. It was very long. The only reason I had long hair was because of Zumba. When I think about it, it's so stupid.

Zumba has this rock star thing going on about it. Zumba instructors are like party hosts. They're stupposed to face the class, hoot and holler, pump them up, and dress the part. Long, wild hair is good. Make-up is great! Jewelry even better.

I just never could do it. I couldn't face the class, to begin with. I'd been in Zumba classes where the instructor faced the class and it was awful. Not only did I (an experienced dancer) have trouble following the leader, but I witnessed new students give up in frustration.

It takes real talent to face the class and know when to turn your back to demonstrate a particularly challenging move. And I've seen few instructors with that talent.

Back to the hair. I let my hair grow long and permed the top layer so it would be ringlet-y all over. But I never wore it down for class. (Well, once, just to see if I liked it and I did not.) I wore it down for most of the Zumba Instructors' Convention, but I was just showing off.

It's a workout, you know. They don't like to talk about it, but it is. You sweat. A lot. I never understood why someone would show up in full make-up and regalia for a workout. But, I've always been of a more practical nature.

So I go in and there's this wonderfully attractive stylist with nice hair. It's always a plus when it looks like your stylist cares about how she looks. This one, Christina, had thick, straight, blonde (?) hair cut into something of a bob, shorter in the back, longer in the front. Very cute!

And she's playing with my hair and I'm telling her I want it just above my shoulders and she says, "It'll curl up as it dries, won't it." And I said yes, indeed. So, she gave me her bob, basically. It's SHORT! But I told her I wouldn't scream if it was too short and she took me at my word. It's SHORT!

And it's shorter in the back and longer in the front, which is sort of weird for a purist such as myself. I mean...am I stylish enough for this do?

And then there's the problem of my enormous face. I'd forgotten about it, you know, after all this time of it being somewhat minimized by the long hair...except that I most often pulled it back into a tail. Funny, with my hair pulled back, my face doesn't look so god-awful huge. But with this short do, cut right about chin-level, it jumps out at you like a pumpkin. A square-jawed jack-o-lantern.

Which reminds me it's nearly October. My middle kid already requested candy corn and couldn't wait for me to go to the store; he brought home two bags of it himself. (I always tell him he's an adult with a car...hello!) Okay, okay, back to writing...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why do they hate babies?

Have you seen those Gerber commercials with the toddlers who do things toddlers can't really do? Are you as freaked out by them as I am? It's just not natural (like sweating in your bra). I am so bothered by them I went to Gerber's website and tried to complain. I wanted to ask them, if they cared about babies and toddlers so much, why were they trying to make them into freakish little adults?

But they wanted all of my information before I could lodge a complaint and I decided it just wasn't worth it, especially since I could come here and mouth off about it. So, cut it out, Gerber! Babies and toddlers are adorable the way they are. They don't have to juggle and break dance to get our attention.

So, you're wondering how the writing has been going, aren't you? Meh. I have a lot of work to do and I'm planning it all out. I think I'm going to have to write on weekends as well as weekdays. There's just too much to do to take weekends off. But for some reason, I have trouble writing when my husband is in the house.

Today, I spend three hours at the community college and I have my writing plan in place.

My foot still hurts and I don't miss teaching Zumba yet. One of my former students sent me an email pretty much telling me how insane it was that I would quit teaching. Maybe it is weird to purposefully not do something you're good at. But I can't do everything I'm good at. I'm good at so darned many things. Sometimes you just have to make a choice.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So, now what?

Okay, so...Zumba quit. Frontierville quit. Facebook time extremely minimized (used only for trolling for links to be used for my websites and Examiner). Blogging begun in earnest. Signed up for Writer's Digest Webinar on writing for children. (It's always good to start out by spending money.) Need to clean out my office. And then the hard part. The part about actually writing. Producing words on paper/screen every day.

Blogging words don't count, unfortunately. If I could make a living and be widely read as a blogger, I still don't think I'd be satisfied. Examiner writing doesn't count either, though I am determined to get that started up again (I have a lot of frustrations that can only be exorcised through rants on my Examiner pages).

Only fiction writing counts. Daily. Words. Daily on the screen.

I found counting words, some time ago, to be a tedious exercise. But I may have to do something like that, just to make sure I'm working.

Luckily I have some frustrations of the sort not suitable for Examiner that can propel my fiction. Happy writers are dull writers, in my opinion.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I hate it when the Bible is right...

Two things from the Bible today. (And yes, I did totally link to Wikipedia just in case you didn't know what I was talking about.)

One: It is done. (Paraphrased from John 19:30) It's probably sacrilegious to use that; but I'm not religious, so for me, it's just this saying that came to mind today when I made a very difficult decision and executed it. (Ha. I said execute and I'm talking about Jesus. Too funny.)

And the second thing: You can't serve two masters. From Matthew 6:24. Except Matthew was talking about God and money and I'm talking about writing and Zumba, which, in a way, maybe, are the same as God and money. Except not "God" with a capital G, but "god," as in the greatest thing ever!

So, here I am. Ready to commit to writing full time--immersing myself in the writing life as I've tried to do so many times before. But let's face it. Zumba has crippled me (I hope not for life because I don't want to live with this pain forever...it's depressing.). So what choice do I have? I might as well just be a writer like I always wanted.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Raised a wimp, always a wimp...

Right. So, I see the last time I posted here it was February. I don't even have the time or energy to relate everything that has occurred with regard to writing since that time. Suffice it to say that actual writing has been  minimal.

I am seriously considering giving up Zumba...again. I'm injured right now and haven't taught a class for almost two weeks. I don't miss it. I almost dread going back. So, why should I?

I mentioned the idea to hubs and he thought I was out of my mind. You can't quit Zumba. Your foot will get better. You won't write even if you quit Zumba. Zumba isn't the problem. If you wanted to write, you would write.

And then I told my dance teacher that I might not continue and she said, but you love it!

Sigh. I love parts of it. But I don't love that it's a job. And I don't love that I love it. I spend so much time on it. Looking for music, finding, learning, or creating choreography. Practicing for class. It consumes my life.

I've started writing two days a week while my son is at the community college. But two days a week isn't good enough.

I know I'll miss Zumba if I quit. But I'll be fifty soon. My foot hurts like hell. And god damn it I want to be a writer!

Why do I let Zumba and other people push me around?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jury duty...

I was supposed to have jury duty today. I was looking forward to it. Whenever you tell anyone you have to go, they make weird sounds and tell you how sorry they are; and they offer advice, like, bring a book.

Well, I like it. I want to get a trial one day. But even not getting one, I still like it. Sure, you have to read and do puzzles and wait a lot. But it's my civic duty. I was even thinking about volunteering at some point. But I got another summons instead. My husband says they like housewives who don't have anything else to do, so maybe I'll get another summons soon.

But I called last night and they told me not to come. So I guess I have to do my normal things today.

I realized why I had that dream about my old cat Tiger. I needed new spoons. Seriously. We always seem to run out of spoons before the next batch is clean. So I went to the Walmart to get some more spoons. I was reminded of having to get more spoons when Tiger was getting old.

The vet said her jaw was very weak and she had to eat moist cat food. I don't even want to go into the logistics of feeding one old batty cat moist food while trying to feed three fat cats dry. Please.

Anyway, we never had enough spoons then because not only did Tiger have to eat moist, she had to eat about four times a day. She was really tiny and couldn't eat much in one sitting. So I needed some extra spoons.

I found these cheap, thin, metal spoons at Walmart and they became known as the cat spoons or Tiger spoons and no one wanted to use them for anything. I, personally, wouldn't want to use them because they were crappy. But the boys didn't want to use them because they were used for cat food, even though they went through the dishwasher every day.

So, there I was in the Walmart looking at spoons with my son and husband and we all remembered the crappy Tiger spoons. And then that night, I dreamed about Tiger. In some ways I miss that chatty old pain in the ass.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday morning...

I can't tell if I just woke up in a bad mood, or if getting on the scale this morning did it. It's way too early to be up, for one thing. But it's a Zumba morning. And I had another dream about Tiger. This time there were many other cats too. In the dream I was visiting my mother, who lived in an apartment. And I apparently just picked up this cat from a shelter, but it was Tiger. And I had trouble keeping her in the box. Just prior to this dream I had another dream about either Huckleberry or Squeakers. I was outside somewhere, on a big dirt hill, and the cat escaped. And I had to go down the hill and get him and then climb back up with him and put him in a box and into the car.

I got Tiger in a carrier, and then into the apartment. And suddenly all my other cats were there. I didn't have a litter box or litter. So I got ready to walk to the Albertson's a few yards away. For some very odd reason, I was putting plastic baggies on my feet. And then I woke up. And I'm not in a good mood.

I'm in one of those sad moods. I miss Danny. And I'm getting old. And I don't want to end up like my mother. And life is this awful thing and dying is both relief and horrifying. I know it will pass; it always does. But I have to endure it until it does.

Oh, and I couldn't get the damn heater in the bathroom to turn on and there's a beeping phone somewhere in the room.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday

It's Saturday. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to blog on Saturday. It's not like I plan to get any writing done today. I have Zumba, and then I have to clean the kitchen so we can BBQ chicken. I always have to clean the kitchen in the morning because of the teenager who is a slob and for the life of him can't keep himself from leaving dishes in the sink.

But I can't blame it all on him. I didn't do dishes at all yesterday, so they stacked up there on the counter over the dishwasher and in the sink. Because, let's face it, no one else can empty the dishwasher without being asked to do it. It's like, my job.

I had a dream last night that there were about eight big men out on our lawn finishing up some kind of work for us. I drove down the driveway, head first, in something of a tiny invisible car. The guys liked my car though. They parted their crowd for me to pass (because apparently now they were in the street at the edge of the driveway. And then I realized I forgot my purse and had to go back. And all the men were going inside too, for water and a bit of clean up I gues.

Some of them followed me in the kitchen door and when I opened it, there were cats. One of them was my old cat Tiger who died last year. But I was calling her by another name, until my brain registered that it was Tiger and then I picked her up and called her Tiger.

Very strange dream. I do not recall if there were dishes in the sink.

Friday, February 18, 2011

No poop for you...

This morning I couldn't find my blog list in my favorites. I stared at it for a while trying to figure out what happened to it. I was so confused. I finally realized that somehow I'd scrolled down and the first several of my favorites weren't showing.

Am I tired? I don't think so. I'm sure I conked out early last night and still slept until 7:15. But my eyes feel blurry. It could be the anticipation of pancakes.

I had 20 emails this morning. Again mostly junk. But it looks like Sarah Palin is pissed off about something having to do with breastfeeding. I'll have to look at that one.

A friend on facebook said that her fifth child is gnawing the crap out of her boobs and she's considering weaning him early. I think he's about 8-months old. I told her that I weaned mine early. Once they started in the with the teeth and biting, it was time for real food. I wonder what Palin's problem is. Biting?

Well, my pancakes are almost ready, so I'll have to keep today's blog short. And I didn't even have a chance to mention poop. (Oops, there I did it.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sleeping in...

I was still in bed when my husband left for work this morning. He came to give me a good-bye kiss and wanted to know what happened to getting up early. It's too hard, I told him. Bed is always at its best in the morning. So I didn't get up until 7:37 and only then because of the bathroom thing. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And if it's after 7:30, what's the point of going back to bed?

I had 22 emails this morning and none of them were anything special. I get more junk mail via email than regular mail anymore.

The house was freezing! 71 degrees. I had to turn the heat on.

This is going to be the most boring blog ever.

Okay, I have my Diet Coke and Cheerios, that ought to spice things up.

I remember a long time ago, watching a news report about a man who wrote down literally every thing he did all day every day. He'd write things like: ate beans, watched television, went to the bathroom. You have to wonder where behavior like that comes from. I mean, is excessive journaling an obsessive compulsive disorder?

You know how those people take their cameras and video recorders on vacation and spend the entire time looking through a lens? They're watching their vacation more than having it. It's like actually having it would be too intimate so they have to put a barrier between themselves and relaxation under the guise of having memories of it. But what are their memories going to be of? Taking video of other people playing on the beach?

I think that man is the same way only with life. Somehow he became so obsessed with documenting his life, he stopped living it.

Maybe that's what I'm doing here...on one of my four blogs. I hope not. But I have to admit, this morning, when I sat down to face the blank page, I considered chronicling my every move this morning. But I knew that wasn't the purpose of this blog. Each blog has a purpose. This blog's purpose is to get me writing first thing in the morning here in sunny Florida. Because a writer writes. It's as simple as that. And if you start out your day carving the groove you want to be in, it's so much easier to continue that way.

So, pull up your computer screen and sip your Diet Coke and enjoy every morning. (Every morning? Maybe.) That is...if the groove you're looking for every morning is reading how other people get into their grooves.

There, that wasn't so bad. I was going to write about poop. Aren't you glad I didn't write about poop? Maybe tomorrow I will write about poop.