Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Feeling a Wii Bit Old

T.J. and I went to the mall today in hopes of getting new cell phones. Verizon might actually be able to fix my phone, instead of giving me a new one, but I have to go to a service center.

We wound up walking through the mall and browsed in GameStop for a while. They had an XBox360, a Nintendo DS and a Nintendo Wii on display.

T.J. tried to load up Naruto on the Xbox, and it seemed to take forever. He got impatient and moved on to the Wii. But we couldn't get it to work. We pushed buttons and pushed buttons, but the controller wouldn't maneuver the arrow correctly and when we hit the start button, nothing happened.

Thinking the machine was broken, we walked away. About two minutes later, a teenager walked in, picked up the controller, and started playing Super Mario World 3300 (or whatever number game they're on by now).

I nudged T.J. "Look, it works."

The kid saw me. "Oh, you couldn't get it to work?"

"Nope," I said.

"We thought it was just broken," T.J. added.

"No," the kid said. "You have to hold the controller back a little, like this."

"Oh," I said.

TJ whispered to me, "Feel old now?"

We watched the teenager play for a few minutes, until he looked up. "Were you looking to buy one for your kids?"

T.J. laughed as I tried to disappear behind a display rack of Dance, Dance Revolution-style games for Playstation3.

T.J. said we were actually looking at it for ourselves, eliciting a wide-eyed stare from the kid. "Really?!"

"Yeah," T.J. said. "But it's far too complicated. We'll just stick to shooting people with paint."

Friday, January 4, 2008

Watching Train Wrecks 'Till 1 AM

Catching up on my blog reading, lurking on some tarot forums and otherwise drifting across the Internet last night, I found myself once again at AbsoluteWrite.

An interesting thread discusses where people can be taught how to write or if it is, essentially, an innate talent that can be honed. A similar thread had popped up earlier on the forum, and some kind poster decided to provide the link.

That's where the night began to unravel. The thread spanned 17 pages, deteriorating from intelligent to nasty and back again. At some point, the mod closed the thread. Re-reading those posts is an hour of my life I will never get back. But what can I say? I like watching train wrecks? (How's that for two cliches in one paragraph?)

More so than watching the deteriorating, I am fascinated by going back through posts to find the exact point where a good thread goes bad.(queue cheesy daytime TV music). I'll spare you the gory details of this case in point. They are irrelevant.

As "punishment" for my Internet indulgence last night, today I am sticking firmly to my to-do list.

Yes, I'll check the forums. I have to, at least once, I have a story up there for crit.

But after that, I will get to work, blogging, writing, researching. And not fake research that has me all over the the 'net following interesting yet somewhat irrelevant links! I will do real work.

In fact, I recall that it was here on these pages, months ago, where I instituted an Internet-free Friday policy for myself.

Sounds like a great day to re-implement that operating procedure. I'm giving myself 20 minutes to check all relevant forums, and then it's straight to work!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Hermit, High on a Mountain

I think I should just become a hermit high on a mountaintop someplace.

Whenever I try to leave the house for mundane chores, I have what I will politely call: an adventure.

With the new year and a new attitude to try to be more Christian, to do unto others, to be more accepting and less sensitive to perceived wrongs against me...

I went to fill my gas tank this evening on the way to the post office and grocery store.

I had exactly 3/4 of a gallon left in the tank, so drove straight to the neighborhood gas station, which happens to be small and difficult to maneuver in. (Wonderful traits for a gas station, eh?)

This is the same gas station where I once got the Special Ops Dual-lie Ford, w/ trailer, *stuck* between the gas pump and a potted plant.

This time, I'm just driving my humble Blazer, and it's probably a good thing.

I pull in, and there are no spots, thanks to a forklift thing on a trailer taking up two pump spaces. The other two pumps are occupied by a minivan and a luxury car, and the rest are full service, at 50 cents more per gallon. Since it already costs more than $50 to fill up the tank, full service is not an option.

I circle a few times, because anywhere I park in this lot will block other people.
When no pumps have opened, I try to find a spot to idle where I am not in the way of the customers who will need to pull out. Unfortunately, the only possible spot to park is behind a taxi cab that is waiting for its fare, who is inside the mini-mart. Of course, a gas pump opens up, and I should be able to pull right in, except the taxi is blocking me. I can't back up and pull around, because it will put me on the wrong side of the pump. (I need to draw a diagram, I hope you're following this.)

So I honk lightly--politely even--to the taxi driver. He gestures inside to indicate he's waiting for his fare. I wait, car idling, gas gauge creeping even more below the "E." I honk again. Nothing.

I ask one of the man working with the forklift if he would please ask the taxi driver to move because I am almost out of gas.

"Normally, I'm a very patient person," I lie. "But I'm almost out of gas and NEED to get to that pump before I can't drive to it!"

The taxi cab driver yells at me to be patient. I'd been sitting patiently for what felt like a very long time. Finally, the driver pulls up slightly, leaving me NOT enough room to squeeze between his cab and the tow truck.

He waves me on. I pull up slightly, judge the space.

"What are you waiting for?" he yells at me. "Go!"

I pull up a bit more and say, "I can't fit through there."

"Yes, you can," he says. I'm sure he's *waiting* for me to hit his taxi.

The gentleman from the tow truck looks at the space, shakes his head. "She can't fit through there," he says.

I tell the driver, "You're a professional driver, maybe YOU can squeeze through that space. I can't. And I refuse to try."

I'm really trying to be sweet and patient. I point to my gas gauge, which is still hovering just below E. "Look," I say to the tow truck man. "I'm not making a big deal out of nothing. I REALLY need to get this car to the pump before I run out of gas. How annoying would that be, to run out of gas IN the gas station parking lot? "

I commence asking the taxi driver, sweetly, again, to PLEASE pull up. I can't help it if my voice is trembling with anger. I haven't once yelled, and I'm using my sweet girl tone.

Now the tow truck man tells ME to calm down.

He should have seen me last week, before I started practicing patience and understanding. I might used four-wheel low to push the taxi driver AND his car out of my way.

I probably would have felt a lot better about it. I don't feel like the better person, or fulfilled, or even self-righteous right now. I'm over it, because it was a minor incident, but I don't feel great about the way I handled it. I feel like I let myself get stepped on.

Also, if I was busy getting pissed off and plotting revenge, instead of trying to remain calm, I probably would have thought of the obvious solution.

When I got home, I told T.J. the story. Knowing the way I think, and my vindicative streak, he asked, "Did you get the name of the cab company and the taxi number?"



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year to All!

A lot of my goals for the New Year relate to marketing and promotions. Miss Michele just got her first paying customer. Next step for that blog is to start frequenting more metaphysical forums, etc. to get the word out about my tarot readings, beyond the AbsoluteWrite community (which has been very receptive to Miss Michele's intuitive knowledge!)

As far as RECON, we want to get our web site launch and I also want to launch a Myspace page for RECON. The magazine is doing so well, so far, with really no marketing and promotions behind it, it's time to take over the woodsball world!

As far as my freelance writing, I want to continue keeping my regular clients happy while seeking out additional, higher paying publications.

Finally, my web site is supposed to launch shortly (within this month, I would say) and then I will want to spend time promoting that, as well.

My other goals are financial and I will post them over at Anything that Pays.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Ready for the New Year!

In spite of getting very little done over the past few days, I feel pretty good!

TJ bought us a stand-up punching/kicking bag for Christmas, and my sister-in-law, who always picks the perfect gifts, got me a Rebounder trampoline. Combined with the weight bench in the foyer, we now have a quite impressive "Allcot Home Gym" set up. And I've used it the past two days, in spite of being tired and crampy and, quite possibly, still hung over from a few days before Christmas!

We also got the house organized to the point where I can actually clean--as in, make the bed, vacuum, dust--on a regular basis. It feels good to not trip on *stuff* continuously, and was one of my huge goals for the new year.

Now, my quest for bookkeeping/submission tracking software begins. Any recommendations on good programs for a freelance writer?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Another Freakin' Meme from Boddie

So Boddie posted this open-ended meme that someone tagged "anyone" with, and she decided to tag "everyone at AW." I kind of like the whole libertarian attitude of "an open-ended meme tag" so if you feel yourself so moved, and you haven't already been tagged by Boddie by virtue of being on AW, go for it.

Don't expect me to be as funny as Boddie, though. Or as cynical. ;)

1. Wrapping or gift bags? I like mixing it up.

2. Real or artificial tree? Real. I grew up with real trees, and an artificial tree would just be something *else* we have to store 11 months out of the freakin' year.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually around the 2nd week of December, but we still don't have a tree this year. I'm thinking of starting a Christmas Eve tradition. :) I really don't like the stress of having a tree, worrying that the cats are going to: climb it, eat it, knock it over, set fire to it (don't ask, but I'm sure they could if they set their furry little minds to it!)

4. When do you take the tree down? I hate doing that, too, so as much as I hate having it up, it stays up too long. Third week in January or so.

5. Do you like eggnog? OMG, yes! Especially spiked.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A red Fender electric guitar that I never learned how to play. I'm sure there were more favorite toys that I just don't remember from when I was younger. I was very, very lucky and spoiled as a kid.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I'm not big on the holiday decorating and haven't gotten around to buying one.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Wow, I'm not sure. Dunno.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? In theory, real mail, but I still haven't sent mine out this year. :(

10. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? About 2 weeks ago, my sister, sister-in-law and I all went out shopping. It was actually a lot of fun and the start of a new tradition for our family.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything ginger bread. And pumpkin pie. And all the gift foods we get. And Egg nog spiked with vanilla rum. Yeah 'tis the season--to get fat!

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? White, and we just bought LED lights last year on sale at Sears after Christmas, so we have new lights this year! YAY!

14. Favorite Christmas song? White Christmas.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Either way. We're easy going.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Probably, but I like Amy's names better.

17. Angel on the tree top or a star? ANGEL!! And yes, I've heard the joke...

18. Open the presents Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Christmas morning, although we always opened them Christmas Eve as a child. Now, hubby and I open one present each Christmas Eve.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The traffic and the fact that people who don't drive 11 months out of the year are now on the road. That and feeling obligated to buy gifts for people you don't really like.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color? Not usually, although I've always wanted to.

21. What do you leave for Santa? We never do, because we don't have kids. When we have kids, we will leave cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. Although Santa may have to "know" to look in the microwave for it, otherwise, PanzerCat will bat it off the table and try to eat it. Maybe a note on the fireplace..."Dear Santa: Cookies and milk are in the fridge, help yourself, just stay away from Mom's beer!"

22. Least favorite holiday song? Christmas Shoes. I think that song was written for the soul purpose of making anyone with a heart cry.

23. Favorite ornament? All my Mischevious Kittens Hallmark Collection and our collection of Trek ornaments!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Breaking These Chains!

It has been an amazingly busy two weeks. Between the launch of the RECON forum, a podcast interview today scheduled to launch on Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast in the new year, a rush assignment to write almost 100 product descriptions, and four more assignments from regular clients, I am working non-stop and cramming Christmas shopping and all that other good stuff into the sparse minutes in between.

I haven't gotten to start my exercise regime or anything else, but was happy to hear hubby say that, come the new year, he wants to get the mess in the house under control!

I want to write something thought-provoking and entertaining, but I'm pretty fried.

So you'll have to settle for this post, marking the end of the 13th AW Blog Chain (like the 13th Warrior, only more entertaining!)

I've got some reading and commenting ahead of me now, although I've stayed up to date on most of it!


A Thoughtful Life

Gillian's Food History

Getting Confused and Coming All Undone

Life in the Middle

So You Want to be a Chic Chick


Twisted Fantasies

It Had To Be Said

Finding Boddie

Virtual Wordsmith

Random Acts of Unkindness

Chocolate for Your Brain

Virginia Lee: I Ain't Dead Yet!