Friday, July 18, 2008

Starting a Bright, Shiny Day with The Dark Knight (no spoilers)

For the last couple of few weeks Cool Mom and Rule Mom have both taken a back seat to Tool Mom -- and you can choose your definition of "tool" for the last. I have been too busy working at all of the things I need to do to make life better -- and not busy enough enjoying life. You know the old saw, "All work and no play..." Well, this Jack's been very dull indeed.

There's nothing wrong with work.

In fact, work it can be good for you. You know -- food, shelter, clothing, a sense of accomplishment -- some good things do come from work. Work only goes wrong when you do it all the time.

Who me?...Couldn't be....

I'm only pointing out that you shouldn't work all of the time because...well, you shouldn't. I would never eat (when I remember to eat, still working on that one) while sitting with a plate on my lap so that I could continue to work at the laptop taking up residence on the TV tray. Nor would I fail to eat at all, or eat dinner at 22:30 simply because I was the only one home and could take advantage of the time to get more stuff done.

We all know it was you. Admit it.

So, as I was saying, you need to learn how to play again. You need to figure out that life is good, it's all small stuff, there's nothing to fear, and whatever other cliches, quotes, and inspiration fit. You need to be a parent (well, maybe you don't, but I already gave birth); you need to work; and you need a life.

Cats? Cradles? Silver Spoons? Whatchu talkin' 'bout...?

You don't want to be sitting around contemplating your workload with that song on continuous playback in your head. It doesn't help when the young person in your life is vocal, either. "You know, you've hardly been spending any time with me. You're always working, and you know it. You should hang out with me a couple of years I'm not going to want to hang out with you...and you need to get a life, too, 'cuz when I turn 18 I'm going to move out, and you'll be all alone." He listens to oldies. He must have heard the song. He's just trying to manipulate you. He's right.

Hi, my name is April, and I'm a workaholic...

So maybe I was talking about me...just a little bit. I met someone for lunch a few weeks ago who asked me, "What do you do for fun?" I didn't have a good answer and that's been bothering me ever since. I keep saying that I'm going to change...but it's time to do. I've decided to make a change for the better.

Cool Mom goes to the midnight movie...again.

I'm turning over a brand new leaf on a bright, shiny new day. Well, okay, the day isn't exactly bright and shiny yet at 15 minutes after midnight (the 12:01 shows were sold out), but The Dark Knight was a great start. Rule Mom even let me sleep an extra hour this morning (up at 7:30 instead of 6:30...she's relentless).

Keep the momentum going.

So I'm slowing down a little bit. I'm taking time to enjoy the Laphroig (and the cheeseburgers) and the company of friends. As soon as I buy a bottle and make some (burgers and friends). :^)

Are my value senses tingling?

I didn't really say anything in this post. I definitely didn't say anything that hasn't been said many, many times before. I don't think I've violated the "NO Value Added" directive. What do you think?

Steal from the best.

Just thought I should note that I've been playing around with the layout and other "stuff" on the blog (again). I got "subscribe to comments" working (finally...I think), and figured out how to get those cool "subscribe quotes" like Tei uses. I also played around with some new blogger features -- like the new blog roll - so if you are here because some software told you that I linked to you (again), that's probably it. If I think of anyone else I've ripped off flattered, I'll be sure to give credit where it's due.

Subscribe...while you're still the hero.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Day I Got Censored on the Blog That Must Not Be Named

If you read yesterday's post, you might have noticed that one of my proposed blog topics was "my reaction to getting censored by the Men with Pens". Since I went on to talk about the Men (as a blog and individually) several times...okay, a lot in my post, I started referring to their blog as the "Blog That Must Not Be Named (again)" - BTMNBE(a). 'Cuz really, I wasn't trying to lure them by using their names.

James dropped by anyway, so I'm bound to tell this story. I think it's some sort of a law...

My tale of censorship

A few weeks ago, or thereabouts, I was reading a post on the aforementioned btmnbe(a) entitled, "One Easy Way to Clearly Convey Your Message". I loved the post and the comments, but didn't think I had too much value to add to the conversation, so I sat on my hands and moved on to another post.

I'd been away for a few days, so the guys had another post (with comments) for me to read. "How to Exceed Expectations" -- my fingers were itching to comment, not to mention numb from being sat on for so long, so I let my fingers fly. brain may have engaged at some point during the comment stage -- guess I can't blame the whole incident on my fingers.

A little background...

I'm not a prude. I never really cursed much as a young teen; it was just a personal choice -- I didn't use slang either. At nineteen I went through a sort of a cursing rampage. I was learning to use the words (badly) and using them all the time -- trying to fit was horrible. Have you seen those stereotypical geeks in the movies trying to hang with the cool kids? That was me. Even thinking about it brings on waves of...something.

I digress. The point is, once I grew beyond that gangly stage, I grew up a little more and decided that on a whole cursing's not for me (to do - you can curse all you like; you're not me). I throw in a word or two for flavor every now and then, but I didn't even add "frak" to my general vocabulary.

Back to the comment...

I curb my cursing when I speak. I tend to think a couple of times before I curse in print. When I used a "profanity" in my comment, I debated and edited before finally putting the word back in and hitting "Submit" before I changed my mind again. I said, "...I'm tired of being fear's bitch...." All in all, I didn't think that was too bad. It was right for the context. It got the point across concisely. I didn't think anybody would mind.

Subscribe to Comments -- via email

I love to follow conversations on blogs. Some, like Friar's, I have to do by random drive-by because I don't check my reader often enough to know if someone is commenting on a conversation I'm following. I love the "Notify me by email" option. So, my handy notifier pops up to tell me that another comment's been made on "How to Exceed Expectations".

Back to the conversation...

I thank my little notifier, but let him know that his services are no longer necessary. I don't need to click through. I've already got Men with Pens open in a browser window. I scroll down to find the new comment -- but I don't see my name as I go down the page. I remember reading most of these comments. Mine would be Nope. Not there...That's just paranoia talking. Hmmm...Maybe I'm overlooking it. I should look again. Wait, what was that?!

"James on June 19th, 2008 5:32 pm *chases with a big stick* GET THAT WORD OFF MY BLOG, DAMMIT!"

Pottymouth censored? ...Wait...what?...

What does one call written profanity anyway. "Pottymouth" should be for speech. Pottypinkies?

No, he can't be talking to me...can he? Maybe my post is further's got to be. It wasn't that was only "bitch". They wouldn't really delete me and yell at me for that...would they? I don't see my comment! He must have been talking to me. He didn't send email to let me know that I was being censored, though.... Would he? What do I do now? Write an apology in the comments? Email an apology? Slink away?

Rationality rears its head...

Take a deep breath and think about this, Green. My internal editor calls me "Green". Start at the top and read the comments again. Maybe there's a clue about who you offended. Maybe someone said something before James deleted your comment. Maybe...whatever, just read -- really read, don't skim. Read every comment.

Okay, I remember that one...and that one...and...and...and...that one's new to me...and

"Michael Martine Remarkablogger on June 19th, 2008 4:46 pm YOU COULD USE VIDEO.
(Ducks and runs…) Michael Martine Remarkablogger’s last blog post..Beginner SEO for Anyone" -- immediately precedes James's comment on getting the word off the blog. Okay. That makes sense. That's actually kind of funny...or it would be if I could figure out what to do about my comment being deleted.

Fear retreats. After all, I'm not fear's bitch, right?

My panic reflex is relaxing a bit. So, I've been censored, but not censored AND yelled at. I don't know why that makes me feel better, but there it is. Now to figure out my next steps. I'm reading the new comments, now, the ones that have been posted since I last checked. The brain kicks in again. My comment totally did not belong among the comments I'm reading. How could I be so far off the mark? No wonder James deleted "me". What was I even thinking?

You're not stupid, Stupid.

You're not stupid, Stupid. My internal editor's very straightforward. She has to be. Sometimes she even repeats herself to make a point. Would you really make a comment that's so far removed from the other comments as to be part of another conversation altogether?...

Does anybody with half a brain see where this is going?

Oh, that's right...this is the one I read but didn't comment on. In the words of Gilda Radner's little confused lady character from SNL whose name escapes me, "Well, that's very different...". Click....Scroll.... Yup, comment's still there, bitch and all. Nobody even seems to have noticed...and here I've been, all worked up over nothing.

It'll make a funny story some day....

Le Tour de Chance

Funny title, huh?

Bet you'll never guess what I'm doing as I write this.... :^)

So, why "Le Tour de Chance"?

I've been away from the blogs for a bit (again) and have so many topics I'd love to cover. I'm actually writing this post right in the "new post box" -- not my word processor. See, even I don't know which topic I'm actually going to end up writing about.... So, there's your "chance".

Possible Contendors

I have been toying with writing about the reaction I had to being censored on the Men with Pens blog. Aaach, there's something wrong with their computer. It keeps scrolling "lead, chase, peloton", but not telling me how many seconds separate them. Don't they know that I have to know? There are only 8 k's left! Sorry. I'll try to stay on topic from this point forward. Don't worry -- no spoilers.

...and now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast

I'm back. You probably didn't notice, but I had to stop writing and focus on my TV. Folks needed me to clap and cheer them on, and I kind of needed my hands for that. They've got enough people covering the podiums that they won't miss me, though, so I'll continue typing now. Oh, and before I slander James -- at the risk of killing my punch-line, he didn't really delete my comment. I'll tell the whole tale another time.

Subscribe to frakin' comments
Another story I've been itching to tell involves the blood, sweat, and bleary eyes somebody forced me to put into my blog. I don't think I'll be posting that one too soon, though. If all my posts end up being about James, people might get the wrong idea.
Time management
Part of the reason I've been away from the blog is that I've been trying to re-work my schedule and develop better habits. Yes, I'm attempting better time management. I've got a couple of posts on that -- one I even started putting on "paper" entitled, "Beware the Middle Flame". I can almost safely post that one without raising eyebrows because James isn't in it at all (and I can avoid mentioning Harry).
Before I continue, I should add some explanation for readers who may not be aware. Men with Pens is a blog by two guys -- James and Harry. It's a cool blog. You should check it out.
In my search for efficiency, I attended a webinar about "Information Overload", presented by Shally Steckerl. Shally mentioned one tool that he thinks is great for helping to find out where your time goes, so I went to the web site to check it out. Who do you suppose I found on the front page? ... James. I downloaded "Rescue Time" anyway, and am giving it a try -- because it's been recommended by a few trusted sources, not because James told me to.
"All Hail Hincappie"
That's the title of another post I've written in my head. I'm trying to decide what to do with it, though. It actually has meaning. Posts on this blog are supposed to have NO value added (I kept your caps, Steph.) . Posting something that has value might disrupt the time-space continuum...or at least water down the alcohol. Either one of those events could be bad -- very bad.
So you see my dilemma...
Men with Pens and it's authors seem to be mentioned quite a bit in this post. I didn't plan it that way -- I didn't plan this post at all, remember? They seem to factor pretty heavily (in some way) into most of the topic ideas I have right now. So, what do I do?
I like the Blog that must not be named (again). I actually read several blogs regularly -- when I'm reading blogs regularly. I actually paused in the process of sharpening my nose (read lifted my nose from the grindstone, which I could have said originally, but chose not to for no reason whatsoever) to read and comment on Rogue Ink the other day... and I just suffered a brain cramp and don't remember why I said that.
At any rate, those guys -- Btmnbn(a) -- are popular. The posts that caught my eye and inspired me were written long before I ever started reading their blog. They have people following them. They are not following me...but everywhere I think, there they are.
I am not a cyber-stalker least not on purpose, anyway. Nor do I have some sinister plan to lure Btmnbn(a) to my humble blog by mentioning their names repeatedly -- no matter what it looks like. I mean, Link Love is one thing, but there's probably such a thing as too much love.
The other ideas I've got right now aren't my first choices. Does anybody really care why I called my son Boy when he was little? No, not that "Boy" -- this one's mine and I love him (and he knows it) -- I just got the story idea from the name. Anybody want to read a post on housework, or my favorite shows on SciFi? Should I scramble for other ideas? Write the posts without mentioning Btmnbn(a)? Continue using a stupid acronym until I get ideas that don't include them?
What would you do?
Crossing the finish line
So ends this stage of "Le Tour de Chance". Funny, the podium positions are being shared by "A Ramble About Possible Blog Topics", "James", and "When Other Bloggers Show Up in Your Post". Oh well, no clapping and cheering on this one -- the real stage ended much, much better. Maybe I should consider having my own cheering section. I think it was an episode of Designing Women that had a character create a special "music" box. When the lid was lifted, the box played a clapping, cheering crowd for the listener. Bet I could create an mp3....

Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Lower Expectations

I read a great post a while (a few days?) ago titled, "How to Exceed Expectations". It was very inspirational. I highly recommend it. This post is not on the same topic. It's not even the opposite of that topic. It's just a desperate cry in the wilderness.

Okay, it's not really a desperate cry... not really.

I have a good sense of self-esteem (mostly).

This is me...just me. I don't have any illusions, or disillusions for that matter, about me. My vertical challenges are well outstripped by my intellect, although my height is much easier to view on most occasions. I top out at five foot, nothing. I would consider myself average in other physical aspects, including my average need to drop a couple of pounds.

So what's the issue with expectations?

I hear you asking. The issue is that folks get a different impression of me over the phone. I guess I have one of "those kind" of voices. I had an uncle years ago who told me that I would do well as a telemarketer. :^) My wacky sense of humor and other personality traits come through over the phone. I'm honest, straightforward, and transparent on the phone. The phone is my ally, if not my friend.

We're still waiting for the issue...

Sometimes I take a long ramble to get to the point. See, I know myself and I'm not ashamed of me.

The point is that I have a lunch meeting in about an hour and a half with someone I've been talking to off and on for a couple of years now. It's not a date; it's business - he's finally decided to make a job change. It's not a date; it's business - we've talked about his amazing girlfriend - I'm not her.

She's nice. You'll like her.

So why am I blind-date nervous? He said he's excited to meet me. I know he didn't mean that in the date kind of way, but still...should I warn him? I thought about replying to him email with a brief description, "See you there. Just look for the short, average black woman," or "You can't miss me...unless you look above five feet."

Is a picture worth a thousand words?

If I had any decent pictures, I might have sent one, you know, just so he could recognize me and make meeting up easier. I don't, and I didn't, and it would have been silly anyway...almost as silly as having butterflies about a business lunch. Maybe the butterflies rank even higher on the silly scale.

I'm probably not what he's expecting.

You might think that's a self-esteem issue rearing it's ugly head. It's not. You see, I've been "here" before, without the nerves. I was working with a client that I hadn't met in person. Actually, I had just taken over the account for someone who'd left the company. Everything was crossed and dotted when I got there, I just had to maintain (and hopefully build).

It's happened before.

After months of phone conversations (usually once or twice a month), we finally started really working together and decided to meet. I went to the company so that our meeting could also include a tour of the facility. I had the slight "don't get lost (that's another post, check back for it)" edginess working, as well as a little "first-time client meeting" nervousness. Overall, I was on an even keel.

I got to the reception area (after only one unnecessary loop around the block) and waited. My client came to the lobby to meet me and as he shook my hand he said, "You're absolutely nothing like what I expected." How do you respond to that? Say "Thank you"?

The clock is ticking...

It's too late for warnings now, or soon will be, so I won't be tempted. I'm going to make a valiant effort to ditch these nerves and walk proudly into that restaurant to face the verdict. Actually, writing this post has helped a lot already. If I have already acknowledged that I am probably not what he is expecting, there are no surprises in his reaction...and the restaurant is in a neighborhood I know well, so I can't (read shouldn't) get lost.

Maybe this post should be, "How to Overcome High Expectations".

Aww, man! This post almost reaches the borders of meaningful. Dare I hit "Publish" anyway?

I dare.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Look, Mom, No Clothes! I Exposed Myself in the Blogosphere.

Nick Cernis had a post yesterday that caused me to pause. It's a "read a book a week" challenge, not what one would consider a big deal. I love to read and enjoy a challenge. I've recently decided to do more reading for pleasure. Nick presented the perfect opportunity to start. So, why would I have to get all in my head before posting a comment?

Fear of exposure.

"Expose yourself", reason #4 on Nick's list of why we should accept the challenge, threw me for a loop. Choose two books to read and list them in the comments? I've got more books that I haven't read collecting more dust than I'd like to admit. Choosing books would not be a problem -- but telling people which books I'd chosen....

Expose yourself.

I had to think about that one. A lot of the books I like to read are...well, let's just say they're not literature. So, do I list two acceptable books (and read whatever I like on the side), or let other people know what I read? Expose possible derision, to appearing less than smart, to being more of a geek than some of the other self-proclaimed geeks who commented on that blog. I'd already told another blog audience (or two) that I'm into Trek and BSG. Do I want to say more? Should I really expose myself?

Truth and dare.

Historical romance, at least one other blogger has admitted to reading those.* Clancy? too much for my brain to handle right now -- I need to be able to put the book down so I can get some work done. MoL is only 25% complete according to the thermometer on Branden Sanderson's web site...not that I'll be able to put that down either...I hope.

I opt for splitting the difference: Life of Pi, because people with brains say it's worth the read, and Why Buffy Matters because I enjoyed the show and I'm geek enough to want to know (and besides, it was a Christmas present from my brother). I've got good historical fiction (it's an old Woodiwiss) that I haven't read in 12 years that'll be next on the list.

Seriously, geek and proud of it.

I keep saying that, but I have to remind myself. I'm not out to impress anybody. I just want to have a good time and possibly entertain someone else along the way. So I embrace my inner geek...and expose her to the world.

BTW, Nick responded to my comment. He said, "Life of Pi is a good read...."

*Ok, so I'm lame and lazy. I'm pretty sure I read that comment on historical romance on Men with Pens, but I've done a couple of searches on their site and can't find it. I'm just going to believe that I saw it there and link to them here.
Edited again - duh - try the post with "books" in the title if you're looking for novels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Swift Lesson in Slow Speech

Color me nitpicky, but here I go (read am), complaining about the trivial once again. I was thinking about blog posts early this morning and decided that I'm going to go ahead and get all my deepest peeves, grievances, and stupidities (on my part) out into the blogosphere now. The way I figure it, I can say whatever I want now, while nobody's reading it. By the time I actually develop a readership, the controversial (and the stupid) will be so far back in the archives that no one will ever know that I wrote it.

It sounds like a perfect plan to me, regardless of the fact that I came to my blog after making the plan and found that Friar had been here. That's okay, though, it's not like he'll be back; nobody ever comes back. :^)

So here's my first salvo, aimed at a certain songstress in particular, and recording artists in general. No names will be mentioned (well, not really) because those who know who I'm talking about know (and might get mad at me) and those who don't know won't care. Like my blend of writing like no one is going to read and writing like I'm talking to an audience? See, I'm reading. Here is a prime example of cyber-multi-persona disorder.

Back on track: Songwriters, creative use of language is fine; it's totally supercalifragilisticespialadocious (funny, my spell check didn't go crazy with little red squiggles). However, if you're going to use the English language, use the language in English, please. Case in point, folks on the phone might TALK...REAL...SLOW if one or both parties doesn't have a firm grip on the English language. On the other hand, if I'm on the phone late at night and I don't want my parents to find out, I'd probably talk real low. You know, so no one would hear me...but maybe that's just me.

I'm not a hater, and not just picking on this singer; she just happened to be on my TV first thing this morning and became the target of my rant. I've given up on rappers, but I have not yet lost hope for performers in other genres. Songwriters, please, hear me! Stretch or fudge a syllable if you need to in order to keep your rhyme or beat -- I'm all for creativity. If using English correctly won't change your art, then please, please, please, use English correctly.

I many syllables does umbrella really need?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life With No Morals

This post has been written several times today, changing each time I had a conversation or read another blog. Unfortunately, all of those versions were in my head, not in my computer. I can and will and believe that I am not putting inspirational posts on my blog. :)

Oh, I might accidentally write something that has deep meaning for someone somewhere, but I'm intentionally nursing my glass of Laphroig and telling tales from my life, my random thoughts, and my serious musings. You may laugh; you may groan; you may shake your head in disbelief and click away, but you probably won't reevaluate your life -- and that's the way it should be. I'm not aiming for maudlin or contrary at the moment, I've just been evaluating my purpose and making some decisions (again).

A lot of the posts that I've been reading lately are...inspirational. There's nothing wrong with that, and I have actually enjoyed the posts and commentary, but they made me think. My blog isn't geared for inspiration. I read all of my posts again just to be sure; there's not an inspiring word in the bunch (or the few, depending on how you look at it). Am I adding any value to the blogosphere? Should I get more inspirational? On one of the inspirational posts, titled "Participant", one comment (by Friar) included the line, "Is there anyone left (beside me) who isn’t currently self-actualizing on a journey of spiritual discovery?"

I could have written that line. So I thought about it and made my decision. This is my pub, a place to goof off, a place to be in time out from the "happy bubble" (Karen's, from the same post in response to Friar). I'm going to continue talking to myself in cyberspace about whatever strikes my fancy -- just life: no inspiration, no morals -- and probably no value added. I figure ice cream and alcohol don't add any real nutritional value to our diets, but that wouldn't cause me to remove them from my food chain.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eating Is Good For You...Who Knew?

Dave Navarro's post on sleeping was the first thing I saw in my reader this morning. I thought about it, processed the parts that don't apply to me, and made a mental note to come back for the parts that did apply. I thought about folks I know who might benefit from the series, and then went on with my day.

I've been dragging a good part of the day, no matter how I tried to ignore it. I even planned (sort of) a post that tied in to Dave's, with an age aspect built in because I've been told that I'm old a few times today. I had all these one-liners and quirky commentary ready to go, but when I sat to write, nothing made sense.

My first thought was, "Sleep now, write tomorrow," but too many people have been telling me lately that I can and will if I believe, that I quit too soon, that I need to exceed my expectations, tell myself to shut up, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum. All I wanted to do was go to bed, people! Cut me some slack already. So I try to re-think instead of retreating, and my internal editor puts in her two cents, You're not really tired. Now I'm ready to tell her to shut up. I've already told myself that I'm not really tired (even though I'm sleepy). I don't need her telling me again.

You're not really sleepy. I can't fight everything at once, so I listen. What did you eat today? Taken aback, I stopped to think. What did I eat today? I got up at 6 and waited on my son. I played the good mommy when he got up at 10; he wouldn't normally get French toast on a weekday, but it's the first week of summer break at home. He went to a friend's; I went to the store for dinner ingredients. He did dinner at friend's house and I.... So it's 21:45 (my dad was military, "There's only one 9:45 in a day.") and my total food intake for the day was two slices of French toast. I hate it when that witch is right.

I went off to forage and came back to write. There has been some improvement in brain function, but I'm not sure how much. In future posts, I'll tell you about the dangers of the middle flame; how youth can age you; and how to make the perfect barbecue sauce. That's for the future, though, so, here's the recap for now: sleep deprivation is bad; getting up early to get more done after having slept enough is good; taking in too few calories can wipe you out no matter how much sleep you've had.

I've still got 10 minutes to make this post "today". It's 10 minutes to midnight, so I'm not quitting too soon, but I'm shortchanging myself on sleep tonight -- I'll be up at 6 tomorrow. Oh well, maybe I'll fire on all cylinders next time. I forgot about the hyperlinks...more time burned.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gas Prices Give "Coastal Living" a New Meaning

The last time I filled my gas tank, $50 got sucked out of my bank account. I don't drive a big car, just a little 12 gallon Jetta, but I really feel the "pain at the pump". I started monitoring my driving habits long before my last fill-up -- back when the price of gas first started rising -- but now I do it seriously.

I live near the beach -- ahh, the coast. These days, though when I think "coast" I immediately estimate "how far", and plan my routes accordingly. Grocery store "A" is up the hill and around the corner -- and not where I'd normally shop. I've discovered, though that the downhill journey home allows me to disengage the clutch and maintain speed. I get home with very few taps to the accelerator.

Every journey now includes considerations of the coastal route. I've found that coming home by the highway route allows for the best use of momentum. If traffic isn't being metered, I can build up enough speed coming off the on-ramp to just tap the accelerator once, reach cruising speed, and then disengage the clutch and coast to my exit. If the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp cooperates, I can get another half-mile out of the coast before I have to accelerate.

That's the sweet spot, though. It doesn't happen often, but when it does...woohoo! No, I don't get a lot of excitement in my life; give me a break. So, if traffic cooperates, I can coast all the way to the "Bike Lane Begins" sign. Tap it to forty at the sign and I can coast all the way to the stop sign -- about two blocks. Two short taps after the stop, one for first gear and one for second, and I'm in my driveway.

Know which journeys allow for maximum coasting? I do. I don't know if coasting actually helps save on gas. I don't know if disengaging the clutch really reduces drag and helps me get more momentum. I just get the sense that I'm doing something to help save on gas...and getting the max momentum is a strange kind of fun.

So, how are you dealing with gas woes? Do you have any suggestions that work? Anything that includes the words "public transportation" is not a suggestion that will work for me. Not that I mind the ten minute walk to get to the bus stop, I've done it before; it's the part where I have to ride for twenty minutes before I can transfer to a bus that will take me where I need to go that gets me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flood Trumps Drought -- Why Not?

I'll start this post by stating the soon to be obvious: I am not an expert in environmental science, water (hydrology - at least I know the word), or anything water or weather related. I'm just a person reading the news and wondering.

I've read about the drought in Georgia and poor water conditions in California. I saw an article about the Army Corps of Engineers moving water from Lake Lanier (in GA) to help out endangered mussels in Florida. Then there's flooding along the Mississippi River.

So here's my question: Why can't we send a fleet of tanker trucks to Iowa and other areas affected by flooding, drop some hoses in the flood, suck it up and dump it in Lake Lanier and other lakes in states with water shortfalls (like California)? If there's concern about vacuuming up the local fishes, I would think that bucket brigades could form up as easily as sandbag brigades. I don't imagine that the cost of chartering the fleet and paying for the gas would exceed the cost of paying for all the flood damage, the lost crops, and everything else....

If this water transport already happening, I haven't read or seen it yet. Please point me in the right direction. If it's not, can someone please tell my why it wouldn't work? I'm serious here. If there are any experts out there who can explain it in English, or even folks who have a better handle on it than I do who want to put in their pennies, please -- explain it to me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ego. What a Mind-trip!

Welcome, Friends,

I'm back! Did you miss me?

I'm laughing in my brew over here, checking myself out in the mirror, and watching me shake my head ruefully. I realize that no one even noticed that I was gone. I hadn't been around long to start with, was just starting to comment here and there -- and it's not like people were actually coming to my blogs.

I had been posting pretty regularly here, and had a schedule for posting on my business blogs. Then I started getting overwhelmed -- too much life, too little time. The first thing that slipped was my schedule for business blogging. I plan to post on Thursdays. If I miss a Thursday, do I post on the next available day (and throw things off), or on the next Thursday (and go a week without a post). So, I fell behind. Too much was going on; I needed a break.

As I was considering this break, I read other posts about taking breaks from blogging. The one I remember most is from the Men with Pens. I appreciated the insights from the blogs and comments, but had to make my own decision. If I left my blog(s) for a while, would my readers come back?

As I pondered this weighty decision, my internal editor cracked up and nearly fell off her barstool. "You are your reader, ya idjit!" She cackled between gasps. "Will your readers come back?" She snorted indignantly and began giggling hysterically again. After a good laugh at my expense, she calmed down again and left me to think. I know that they don't just come if you build it (but that's another blog post); I know that I'm likely to be the only one reading my posts for a while yet; I know that becoming part of a community takes time; and I know that I'm not quite there yet. I guess I didn't know that I had so firmly enmeshed my ego with my blog presence that I had actual concerns about taking a break from reading/writing my own press. How's that for ego?

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Sloggy, Bloggy Tale

Boy sat on the sawdust-covered floor of his workshop, feverishly racing the clock to complete his invention. Of course, Boy didn’t really have a workshop, only a corner of The Mom’s shed that he’d managed to claim as his own…for now. He didn’t have a real deadline either, or anyone to care about what he did with his time. No, Boy developed his ideas and imposed time limits on himself. Someday, I’ll be important and I’ll have an important job. People will depend on me…and they won’t call me ‘Boy’.”

Those were the thoughts that drove Boy. The Mom who called him ‘Boy’ didn’t care about his thoughts, his projects, or his name. She was just The Mom that Boy had been forced to accept when he was little. The Mom had been forced to accept Boy, too and she hadn’t been happy about it. Boy still remembered the terror he’d felt when The Mom had approached him that first day. She’d glared at him and barked, “When I say ‘Boy’, I mean you. Got it?” At his small nod The Mom had walked away and seemingly dismissed him.

Boy didn’t really remember what had happened to his other mom, the one who’d given him his real name. He didn’t think about that much any more. Boy had two clear memories from those early days. He remembered the day he’d been named ‘Boy’, and, although years passed before he heard it again, he remembered his real name.

Boy rose from the floor triumphantly, dusting off the seat of his pants as he stood. He realized too late that he had just transferred rogue ink from his hands to his pants. The Mom would have something to say about that, but Boy didn’t care right now. He’d completed his invention – his jobmachine. It was beautiful; it was his; and there was nothing else like it in the world.

Boy knew what to do now. He’d once made friends with a neighbor who invented things. Chris Brogan had been one of the few people in Boy’s life who knew Boy’s real name and used it. Boy had been sad when the inventor’s work had taken him elsewhere, but he’d left Boy a legacy – people to contact when he’d completed an invention. Boy ran the short distance to their home, eager to ask those inventors to come and take a look at his work. The men, recognizing Boy’s agitated state, didn’t make him wait, but went right over to inspect his invention.

Boy brought them to his workshop and waited outside the shed for their verdict. He watched from his vantage point just outside the door as the men with pens circled and prodded his invention, making notes on their clipboards as they went. The anticipation was killing him. In a surfeit of passion, Boy let out a “Whoop!” that was sure to bring unwanted attention.

As expected, The Mom came up behind him, already yelling. “What was that racket? What are you doing out here…and what’s that on the back of your pants?” The men approached hesitantly, having completed their inspection. “You should be very proud of this young man,” one of the men told The Mom as he placed a reassuring hand on Boy’s shoulder. “That’s quite an invention he’s got there.”

“In fact,” the other man said, “we just recently read a white paper about a similar design in The Daily Blog Tips. You, my friend,” he remarked to Boy, “think like an inventor with many years of experience and education. We’ll be happy to help you refine your prototype.”

The men shook Boy’s hand and left him and The Mom standing in front of the shed. He was still slightly giddy with excitement and barely registered the fact that they’d shaken his hand like equals. “Did…did you hear what they said?” he finally managed, turning to the Mom.

“I heard them,” she sniffed disdainfully. “They said that you didn’t come up with an original idea. You’re not a real inventor; you’re just a…copyblogger.” The Mom turned and walked away, dismissing Boy once more.

Tears welled up in Boy’s eyes, but he determinedly dashed them away with his fists and headed back to his workshop. Someday I’ll be important and I’ll have an important job. People will depend on me…and they won’t call me ‘Boy’.

If you're still reading this post, please note that I got the idea for this kind of link love from Harry's "Dark and Bloggy Night", that came from Carolyn's "Once Upon a Bloggy Night" meme (logo courtesy of Carolyn), via Ettarose's "Tuesday Link Love Story". My apologies to all concerned for whatever is lacking in my tale, and my congratulations for coming up with and propagating such a fun idea.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What Flavor Is Your Cheesecake?

Is it time for me to crawl into the bottle? I could just admit that I'm old and then maintain a stupor that would mask the depression. On the other hand, I could tip up the bottle and eat the worm to prove my youth...but I've never eaten a worm (except for some bbq-flavored dehydrated larva, but that's a different post). If I gagged or spit it out, the whole operation would backfire. Purpose defeated.

Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with my age. I have several gray hairs and feel that I earned every one of them -- no dye here, baby. I just don't want to be old. You know, "Damn those kids and their loud music" old. I'm contemplating my philosophical age at this moment because of a comment I posted on another blog. The post had a cool picture of a naked chick (very artful, check it out). My mind noted the cool pic and then moved on to the post and comments. That's where I lost it...or where it was revealed to me that I had lost it.

The writer said that he thought his readers needed a little cheesecake. The naked chick pic moves over in the mental notes, to be replaced with cheesecake. Mmmm...cheesecake. Now I'm asking about cheesecake; Dude where's my slice? I'm totally oblivious to the whole naked pic - cheesecake dimension. I'm showing signs of old (not age) in front of the entire blogosphere.

I'm sad. I have a vague recollection of hearing about a "study" years ago. They asked women to choose between sex and chocolate. I remember laughing because chocolate won. Now I wonder. Presented with a naked man artfully arranged on a table would I respond by gasping: Would you look at that! I'm sure that tablecloth would absolutely match a color in my dining chair cushions at home. I wonder where they got it?

So I sit in my pub and contemplate tequila. No, I'm not old. The cheesecake thing was a fluke. No stupor, no worm. I'm putting that bottle away and having my usual. Laphroig, no ice...or should I make that a "sex on the beach" to be on the safer side? Lemon-flavored cheesecake with blueberries on top does sound nice, though...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Rainy Day Expression Lesson

Welcome to sunny SoCal...on a gray, rainy day. Cold. Did I forget to mention cold? I'm not against rain. Rain is good; it washes my car and helps save my lawn (or would if I had one). My grandfather always said the same thing if we happened to speak on a rainy day, "We could use some rain, li'l girl." It didn't matter if you were 3 or 43, female relative younger than Pa-pa - "li'l girl". As far as that goes, the comment came when the grass was dying of dehydration and when we were ankle-deep in water on the lawn (he had a lawn).

To end that ramble, I'll state again: rain is good. Cold rain, on the other hand is just plain mean, especially by the beach. I liked rain in Panama. Of course, I was 6 and probably liked lots of things that annoy me now, but that's not the point. Before I moved here, I would never have thought to use "cold, rainy SoCal" in a sentence. You know, "It never rains in sunny...." The advertisements (TV, movies, songs, etc.) don't teach a couple of local expressions that I had to learn after I moved here.

"May Gray". The term pretty much speaks for itself. There's no sunshine at the beach for a good chunk of the day, and when it does manage to peek out, you never know when it will disappear. Those of us who dare to venture away from the coast during the day can actually see and feel the difference. It's like a wall across the have just left May Gray (sometimes). Of course, we really appreciate crossing the wall coming home when "inland" is 10 degrees hotter.

"June Gloom". Follows May Gray and is basically the same phenomena. Nobody puts these terms in the travel brochures, though. It's kind of a sad feeling passing by the beach watching people, visitors, try to enjoy the sunless sand and cold surf. "We paid to be here and we're damned well going to enjoy it!"

I don't know why I wrote this post. Have another brew! Maybe I'll make more sense after we've both had a drink.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Another Post...Full of Random Thoughts

After the last (first) post, I went away for the weekend. Well, sort of - if you can call chaperoning a church youth group sleepover "getting away", then I did. No, no. Put away the violins. My life is not sooo pathetic. In fact, I plan to have a life that includes "grown-up" activities and adult people (who exist within my environment, outside the virtual realm) any day now.

I had an idea for this post, but I am highly susceptible right now because of sleep deprivation. My tween and I saw the midnight showing of the new Indiana Jones movie this morning. I love it when I get to be the "cool" mom! Of course, "rule" mom says we both have to get up and go about our days as usual so we were at the elementary at 8 this morning. (Sometimes I hate rule mom.)

I read a blog post about addiction and now my mind is off on a tangent (and I keep accidentally turning on italics and can't make them turn off). Commentors included TV addictions and guilty pleasures, and I was forced to consider my TV viewing habits again. A brother (I have two) and I were talking about this the other day. I would love to know what some marketer would determine about my family's viewing habits. Family would be the aforementioned preteen and me. I'd love to have a Neilson box (or whatever) and then be a fly on the wall watching some analyst go crazy.

We watch a lot of the shows on HGTV, and a few on TLC ("What Not to Wear" and the home improvement shows). In their respective seasons, we watch: "Heroes", "Biggest Loser", "Criminal Minds", "Ugly Betty", "The Making of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders" (did I mention my preteen's gender?), "Dr. Who", and "Stargate Atlantis". We also watch "Law and Order"(s - just not "Intent"). I watch BSG; he's not really into it. There are a couple of shows that each of us tolerate for the sake of the other. Then there are those we tune in to whenever the mood strikes or whenever the marathon runs: "Trick My Truck", "Project Runway", "ANTM", "Top Chef", "Dirty Jobs".... There are probably a few more that escape me right now.

Ever wonder how folks come up with "answers" based on averages, probabilities, and other general statistics? I don't know anybody that I think fits the "norm". Admittedly, I don't know a lot of people (put a little rosin on those bowstrings, folks - you never know when you'll need them), but if we're all not the norm, who is? I was sad to see "Journeyman" go away, but there are several (read many) shows that lived that I'd love to see gone forever. Who's the norm that they're using to choose what I watch on TV?

Random brain cramp: just had a visual of the guy walking in to the bar and being greeted, "Hi, Norm!"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Welcome to the Beachside Brew & BBQ

Well, first off, props to the Rogue, aka “Tei”, who gave me this idea.

Welcome to my pub! It’s a bit of a shack, but it’s right on the beach, and the food’s good. There are a lot of craft beers on tap and we have a decent liquor selection. Anybody who wants to tend bar is more than welcome. I’ll be too busy drinking, cooking, and socializing – but not necessarily in that order.

I don’t have a dart board. I’ll go to Rogue’s pub to play darts, as long as there’s a protective barrier (read rubber room?) to save the other patrons. I do have a couple of pool tables, a ping pong table, and board games painted on the table tops – just try not to lose the pieces, okay.

Why the “Brewbq”? I write blogs for my business (admittedly, I just started). I kept thinking of things I’d like to share or talk about (with anyone who might care), but that I wouldn’t put on my professional blog. :: In rides the Rogue on a handsome black steed, brandishing her custom sword :: “The ‘Rogue Ink Blog’ is my pub,” quoth the Rogue. “Clients are welcome as visitors, not as judges.” Okay, so Rogue didn’t say that exactly, but that’s what I heard – mostly the “pub” part. So I opened my own pub for my amusement, rants, pet peeves, recipes, and anything else that crosses my mind and lingers for a moment. Visitors may also be entertained.

As far as pet peeves go, I tend to spell and use most forms of grammar correctly. If you have issues with parenthesis and dashes, however, you may want to down your brew with your eyes closed. I love ‘em! I use them indiscriminately, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Of course, I edit judiciously in professional righting (just kidding). Don’t expect the same behavior in my pub.

My son says I’m part of the “crusty generation”, but I still know how to have fun. BTW, the name’s “April” (care to guess my birth month?). I’m the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer here at the Brewbq. I’m taking off now, but I’m leaving the pub open. Feel free to stick around and get yourself a brew.

Pub crawl, anyone?