Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas!

It doesn't feel like Christmas this year. My husband says, for him, it's the weather. It's been up in the 70s lately, though it's a little cooler this Christmas Eve Morning, and overcast. "Looks like snow," Tim would say.

I think I've just been too busy to think about it. Spending time with my dad, who has cancer. Taking the cats to the vet. Working. Applying for jobs. Entering sweepstakes. There's not enough time in the day to do everything I need to do, or feel I have to do, or want to do, and then feel excited on top of it. I have some presents for my parents and for Tim, but I don't feel like any of them are really great gifts.

The whole feeling of Christmas is different everywhere. I was in a store the other day and heard "Silver Bells" on the Muzak. "In the air there's a feeling of Christmas. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile...." That's how the song goes, but the people I pass generally aren't smiling. They're talking on their cell phones and rushing around, not paying attention to anything else around them.

I think it's more than just commercialism. The world is so fast-paced now. Communication is easier but personal connections really aren't. It's easy to say that we need to simplify Christmas (there's a whole book about it), but you'd have to be really committed -- and not at all competitive -- to do it. It's hard to buy great gifts that people aren't expecting because most of us just buy what we want when we want it.

Maybe it's just me.

Is it different for you? Do you feel Christmas in the air?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Retirement Plans

Today, I took an online poll that asked what I think is the best way to save for retirement. You know - company pension plan, savings, property, mutual funds, etc.

I vote for the Lotto. Old people always win that, right? That's what I'm counting on to get me through my old age. Either that or I'll become a greeter at Wal-mart.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Raising an even more inconsiderate generation

Tim and I went to the movies on Sunday. We saw "Superman Returns", in its third week of release, so maybe it won't be too crowded. Eh-n-n-n-n, try again.

The good thing was, we didn't notice anyone make or receive a cell phone call during the movie. That's a first for the Rave Theatre. Unfortunately, a couple of people brought small children, I'm talking like 3 years old, to see this PG-13 movie. This long PG-13 movie. The one directly in front of us talked almost continuously.

If I went to see a movie aimed at little kids, I would expect to see little kids in the theatre. But come on, people! The least you could do is get up and take the child outside. The family in front of us, the dad completely ignored the child. The mom shushed him a few times.

You have to understand, your life is different once you have children. Every generation, people develop a deeper belief that they can always do the things they want to do, and if they annoy you, well that's your problem. Sorry, that's not the way it works.

It is not my problem that I forked over $14 in the expectation of actually being able to hear the dialogue, music, and sound effects in the film. I expect to be able to watch the movie and think about the movie, not watch the movie while simultaneously wondering why idiot parents brought a 3-year-old to a movie designed for teens and adults.

You need to have consideration for other people around you. If your child is typically quiet and you decide to take him or her to a totally inappropriate movie, and the child starts making noise, take it outside. Ask for your money back if you're not that far into the movie. Heck, if the movie's just about over, it won't hurt to ask. The theatre folks may be impressed enough at your consideration of others, they'll still give you free passes.

If you lose yor money, maybe you'll think twice next time. Teach your kids to be quiet while watching a DVD at home. Train them to appreciate the movie and be considerate of others. Then maybe when they're parents, they'll teach their own children to have common sense.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Black Pepper

My mom and I had lunch Saturday, while shopping for anniversary party supplies. She had a hard time, as she does every time she dines out, finding something that didn't have black pepper in it. She's going to a meeting of her high school class reunion committee soon, and she called the restaurant, and they said they really don't have anything without black pepper in it, except for salads, but the dressing all has the black pepper.

Zantac and some of the other acid medications specifically say not to eat black pepper when you're taking it, and yet, it's next to impossible to find prepared foods that don't have black pepper in it or on it. My mom can't eat it because it makes her sick.

My point is, hasn't anyone made the connection between the increase in acid reflux and stomach problems and the proliferation of foods that are cooked with black pepper? Sure, we're all under increased stress these days, but that can't be the only cause.

And why is it that corn needs to be sprinkled with black pepper? The breading for fried chicken? Grilled steaks? Green beans?

My problem is onions. I don't like them, and they make Tim throw up. Everyone puts it in their potato salad. Some restaurants put it in the coleslaw. I've even found 'em in the green beans. If I can't order it without onions, we won't eat it.

Tim says the problem is that the stuff is all being manufactured -- most restaurants don't cook from scratch anymore. The manufacturers, in turn, are making the stuff faster and cheaper, and they're starting with low grade, tasteless main ingredients, so they add the black pepper or the onions to try to add flavor.

Now, I've read that the veggies we have nowdays are not as flavorful as the ones we used to have. The flavor was bred out as they genetically manipulated the stuff to last longer, so it could be shipped from Costa Rica or wherever.

I wish I could afford to eat organic.

Whatever happened to....

Cracker trays?

My mom and I are working on their 50th wedding anniversary party, and my mom wants to set out the crackers in one of those half-tube cracker servers that used to be very popular, but apparently not many people know what they are any more. I did find some at Orientral Trading Company, clear plastic in a set of three. I guess we'll order some of those since Party City didn't have any, and my mom says everyone in her garden club is looking for them for the table-decorating event they put on every year. They've been using the ones my mom inherited from her mother. Weird how things stop being made. No doubt next year someone will start manufacturing them for Target or Crate and Barrel and then they'll be all the rage, and everyone will act like it's something brand new.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What does it mean, if you dream you were shot to death?

I got shot twice in the chest in my dream last night by an Asian man I've never seen before. He was riding in the back of George Carlin's cab. George was a friend of ours. Tim and I decided to hang out with him for a while after we went back in time and did something important related to the Chinese ambassador and a reception.

Of course, after I got shot, Tim used the time travel device to go back in time and warn me and then he went after the Asian man. And the weird thing is, he opened the cab door and the Asian man looked at him and said, "I knew you had a time travel device." Then Tim shot him in the head.

That's when I woke up. I have nothing against Asians, by the way. Maybe it had something to do with all the news coverage of the North Korean Missile Tests.

Why do businesses ignore the chance for free publicity?

At the TV station where I work, two of our newscasts every day have a business news segment. We run the stocks of local interest, the oil prices and whatnot, on a graphic, and the anchor reads a business-related story. Maybe it's a new store opening, or a big donation to a charity, or something about taxes.

On several occasions, we've contacted a new business, or maybe they're opening a new location, and we ask to come out and shoot some video, and maybe interview a manager, and they either refuse or never call back.

What is the deal?

A 30-second commercial spot has to cost in the hundreds of dollars, if not the thousands, and here we're giving you 30 seconds for free. Maybe 45 seconds. You don't have to hire a cameraman or a writer - we do it all for you. And it's not airing during a commercial break, when people are going to the bathroom or grabbing a soda from the fridge.

I mean, I can see some small businesses maybe not realizing that they can get free publicity and not contacting us on their own. But when we call them and offer a free plug on the top rated news show in the area, why the hesitation?


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm an idea person.

I come up with great ideas, all the time. Ideas for movies, books, TV series, a news program. I have a wonderful idea right now for a tourism-based maritime business that is just perfect for northwest Florida. What I don't have is the time to write my books or the five million dollars plus needed to start my tourism-based maritime business. No, I'm not saying what it is. I'm certainly not going to give away the best business idea to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

The thing is, I know people get paid good money just to think, just to come up with great ideas. How can I get someone to pay me for the good ideas I already have?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Are people just stupid?

So, I go to, just out of curiosity, to see what the hot search topics are online. The top three are google, ebay, and yahoo. Why are people searching for these terms? Just add the .com and go there. Sheesh.

This afternoon, we went to Rooms to Go, planning to order a pair of nightstands we'd looked at there a couple of weeks ago. We were trying to talk to the same salesperson, but every time we saw her, she was grabbing another new customer that had just walked in the door. So we ended up talking to this little older guy. He was a little older than us, he was older and small. We walked over to the nightstands and asked, "Do you have them in stock or do we need to order them?" Now, we had talked to this chick before and discussed pick-up versus delivery, and she never mentioned that if you didn't want to have them delivered, you have to go to Mobile to pick it up from the warehouse. Huh? That's crazy! That's like a 90 minute drive, one way. "We don't have the room here," the little man told us. "Can you imagine if we had to store all the furniture that people want to buy?" What, you mean like *any other store*? I told Tim he should just call later and ask for the manager and see if that's really the deal or if the little old man just didn't understand how it works. That's just crazy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What is wrong with me?

Or maybe I should ask, "What is wrong with all the potential employers who completely ignore my résumé?"

Over the past four years, I've applied for at least a couple dozen jobs, some in Pensacola, some in Nashville (Tim wants out of the Hurricane Zone). I've had one interview and few form letter rejections. This week, I was actually going to call and ask, "Did you get my application that I submitted through your website?" But I applied on Sunday, checked back Tuesday and the listing was gone. Meaning they probably already hired somebody, and my application was a reminder to them to take down the listing.

That's right, I usually don't call to follow up. A lot of places specifically say, "Don't call us. We'll call you." (Or not.) I've also been on the receiving end of "Did you get my application?" phone calls -- the person who actually makes the decision doesn't get the call, the secretary does. And you don't want to annoy the secretary.

Maybe it's because my degree is in Theatre. It seems like nowadays, at least from the way the job listings are written, experience and knowledge mean nothing. It's all about the degree. We want you to have this specific degree, or we might accept this one, if you have 18 years experience with this particular computer software, not similiar software (we assume you won't be able to learn anything new), we know you probably won't stick with our company for very long, so we certainly don't want to have to train you. Tim is a really talented artist, but he doesn't know Quark, so he'll never be able to get a job as a graphic artist. Never mind that all he'd be doing is positioning letters and logos on signs at a print shop. Must have intimate if-Quark-was-a-girl-her-daddy-would-come-after-you-with-a-shotgun experience because we don't think you can figure out how software works.

Gosh, I'm bitter, aren't I?

It's just, you'd think that with several years experience as a TV news producer (6 years as I write this), P.R. experience, writing talent, customer service skills, and a background in retail management, I could at least get an interview. Check out my résumé and see for yourself.

It wouldn't be as bad, either, if I felt appreciated at my own job. I'm the best producer they've got, and one person in authority has basically told me that. A lot of people that have no power at all at the station have told me that. But if any position opens up that I could *advance* to - someone is going to be hired from the outside. Someone who obviously has the ability to make themselves sound much better than they are.

Yes, I'm very bitter.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here we go again....

Another tropical storm headed to Florida. As I write this, the soon-to-be-Alberto is still a tropical depression, but the next advisory's due out in an hour, and it'll probably be upgraded. At least a southbound front seems to be keeping it away from the panhandle. I'VE HAD ENOUGH!!

I've also had enough of sitting around hospitals with my dad. He's going in for yet another surgery on Monday. This time, it's to repair a hernia that was caused by the surgery he had a few months ago to remove a cancer from his adrenal gland. That was the weird, rare mucoepidermoid something cancer. Before that it was surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. Before that it was surgery to remove and biopsy the huge lump in his neck (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, that one). The lymphoma was the first surgery, back in 2004. Right before my little Quinnie had his heart attack (by-product of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and not long before Ivan the Terrible tried to blow us off the map. If this surgery is the last for a while, maybe my dad can build up his strength and have a few more years left. I'm really worried because he's so weak, now. He has put it in God's hands, but from the way things have been going, I'm thinking God's not so eager to leave my dad here on Earth for much longer. Why? No idea.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm so tired!

Since Sunday, the computer's been acting weird. It won't recognize the CD-RW drive. The drive door keeps opening and closing on its own. All the files disappeared from Windows Explorer (though we later found them by changing the view). It's been really slow to start up. So, we've been running scan after scan. I say "we" meaning Tim. Virus scans. Adware scans. Online scans. Nada. Maybe it's just that the computer's old. We bought it in January 2000. It's still running Windows 98. I'd like a new computer, to the extent that we can't download music or run some other programs because they require XP. On the other hand, I'd rather not have to buy a new computer.

Has anyone ever figured out how many computer years are in a people year? Like a 6-year-old dog is 42 in people years. I feel like the computer is not really that old, but maybe in computer years, it's ready for the nursing home. Or the grave.

Anyway, I'm tired, because I spend my three hours a night doing what I need to do on the computer, plus we have to do all these other scans, so I'm not going to bed until 2am. Which wouldn't be so bad, I could get 7 hours sleep, except that my cat Wicket insists on waking me up. "Look at me, Mommy. Get me something to eat. Oh look, there's food in my dish. I'll just eat that, shall I? I guess I didn't need to get you up after all."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My first blog. Ever.

Years ago, before there was an internet, or at least a 'net accessible to the general public, I probably would've been real into blogging. Now, I have so many other things to do in a day. But I had to create an account in order to add a comment to someone else's blog, so what the heck. Here I am. I'll see if I ever remember to update this.

Since blogs are all about commentary on the world, here are a few comments. I love coupons. I hate when the stupid store manager refuses to honor my coupon for 5 Free 2-Liter Coke Products, because it only scanned for the price of one. Then after I complain to corporate, no one calls me or e-mails me, and when I call and get the same stupid woman on the phone, she tells me the registers are "fixed" now and it'll scan right. But do I get an apology? Heck no. I only went into their stupid store (this was Winn-Dixie by the way) to buy the sodas while my husband was getting pizza next door. I wouldn't go back at all except that the cashier, who was at least *trying* to be helpful, wrote "$1.39" on the coupon, and I'm afraid that another store won't take it. Not that the stupid woman at Winn-Dixie probably won't accuse me of something, if she's there when I redeem it.

In the interest of being fair and balanced, I should say that I really liked Winn-Dixie after I won a free trip to New York plus spending money a couple of years ago. Not that I shopped there any more than usual, because they're so expensive, but I did have really nice feelings about them until this whole coupon fiasco.

I've redeemed these Coke coupons just fine at Wal-mart and Food World; the folks there just did a manual override and changed the coupon amount to the total for the 5 sodas.