Sunday, December 21, 2008


This HP Magic Giveaway has introduced me to a lot of interesting new blogs, like Geeks!, where I have found a lot of new friends. I've even learned about some Spanish language blogs, which I normally wouldn't go to, but thanks to Google's Translation page, I'm able to check them out for the contest and find some cool discussions.

On CiberPrensa, I found a great discussion about Twitter vs. RSS feeds. I've heard a lot about RSS feeds, and I'm still not entirely sure how they work. Maybe you have to have special software. Twitter, I'm using at work and some in my personal life. It is kind of fun to be able to post a quick update about something special going on. A lot of people use it as a moment-to-moment diary, which I still find kind of strange. I don't need to know that you just went to the bathroom or had a snack. I hope I can get some more Twitter followers, both for PLT and for my personal account, so I can reach more people when I have something of some kind of importance to say.

I do agree with the article, which says that it's easier to carry on a conversation via Twitter, instead of just referring people to a post or having a one-way conversation via a feed or a blog.

Here's the link to the CiberPrensa article in its original Spanish.

Here's the information on how to participate in CiberPrensa's HP Magic Giveaway. You can take part whether you have a blog or not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Joy of Giving

HP is giving away hundreds of thousands of dollars of computer equipment this Christmas. Some of the sites that has a giveaway going on now are Stop, Drop, and Blog, Living in Theory, and Geeks Room.

My husband and I are very blessed. We both have decent jobs (so far, at least), and we’re only in debt for the house and our single car. I'm lucky enough to be working in a community theatre, which touches the lives of patrons, volunteers, and students every day. Tim and I can afford to buy Christmas gifts, go out to eat, and take very good care of our eight rescue cats. We cannot afford to buy, or at least we can’t justify buying, a laptop computer. That’s the main reason that I am trying to win one of these HP Magic packages. Also the Media Connect would be really cool to have.

I would like to give one of the computers to my in-laws, who don’t have a computer at all. Maybe it would be the desktop or maybe the HP mini would be enough for them. I figure they will mainly use it for e-mail with their three children and only granddaughter, and perhaps they’ll occasionally check out a website. They have complained that companies, organizers and the news media just assume everyone has internet access and they can’t follow the links to get more information or fill out forms. I’ll give them the printer, too, so they can print photos that are e-mailed to them. It would be so nice to be able to e-mail them information about a recall, or a promising cancer treatment (FIL has cancer), or just to send photos. They live in a small town, sort of near their oldest son, but hours away from DH and his sister.

One of the computers I will donate to Pensacola Little Theatre. It’s a non-profit organization, and I happen to work there. The computers we have are decent, but they are slow and sometimes lock-up. A laptop computer could also be used to run sound effects for the traveling shows we take to schools and the productions we do in our black box theatre. It would give a lot more control to the sound operator than trying to hit the cues just right on a portable CD player.

The fourth computer in the package, I will give to a deserving young person. I will ask around at the theatre and contact friends who work at other non-profit organizations. I would like to find a young person who does well in school, is respectful and a contributing member of his or her community, someone whose family just doesn’t have the money to provide a home computer. Not only will the gift help that person, but it might show others that being a good person can lead to rewards “just because.”

When I was a child, Christmas was all about what I got. Now, I buy for myself most of what I want. I enjoy the pleasure of watching someone else receive something special. As I said, we’re doing okay financially, but I’m not really in a position to surprise total strangers with really nice gifts, especially not something like a computer. This competition would allow me to play Santa and give someone else a very special Christmas. You can’t buy joy like that.

Toys for Christmas

If you live in modern America, religious teachings aside, Christmas is all about Santa Claus and presents. Geeks!, Chris Pirillo, and Sears are teaming up to give away bundles of Christmas toys, which you can keep or give away. Choose from a LEGO package, a Star Wars package, or a Games package. Just visit the site and comment on the giveaway and which package you'd like best -- that's one entry. Tweet about the giveaway for entry #2. Blog about it (like I'm doing right now) for entry #3. It's a random drawing. What have you got to lose? Visit the site today to sign up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm dreaming of an HP Magic Christmas.

Seriously, I keep having dreams about the various HP Magic Giveaways going on. They all have different rules and regulations for the entry, and my dreams are always the same. I'm trying to read through the blog to make sure I'm doing everything correctly to get my entry, and my cats won't leave me alone so I can concentrate, and then I wake up, and Wicket and Kali are tag-teaming on my head to wake me up for a midnight snack.

It really is a magical promotion. When it's all over, I'm going to have to find someone from HP to come speak to my chapter of the FPRA. Hopefully they'll be agreeable, because it's a really fascinating promotion and I'd love to know more about how they pulled it together.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Star Wars Camera! This I've gotta have!

I've never made any secret of the fact I'm a major Star Wars fan and collector. When I first saw the adorable Star Wars digital camera, I wanted it desperately. Of course, my husband points out we already have a digital camera, and the Star Wars one would not be carried around anywhere it might be damaged, so what's the point? He's very cynical about the Star Wars collection. So, now there's a chance to WIN a Star Wars Camera, thanks to the lovely folks at Sakar (the manufacturer) and MommaFindings. So, head over and check out the giveaway, but don't covet the camera too much, because it's mine!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Holiday Season

My husband brought up a news story about a woman who was going out of her way to say "Merry Christmas" to people at stores in order to see what they replied. My mom responded that she was going to say "Merry Christmas" to people, and she doesn't care what religion they are. See, I think that's just rude. Of course, it would help if people wore buttons that indicated what holiday(s) they celebrate. If someone is wearing a Christmas Tree pin or sweater, I feel confident in saying "Merry Christmas." If someone says "Happy Holidays" to me, I appreciate the sentiment. Heck, I'm happy if my sales clerk thanks me for my business or asks me to come back again, rather than just grunting and moving on to the next customer.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Businesswomen and Bitches

Here's an interesting story about a woman who started a business and bilked a lot of moms out of their hard-earned money. Did she deliberately rip them off? Or was she just following standard business practice? The discussion is on Composite: thoughts of poetics and tech

From the same blog: a discussion of bitchiness. I think the attitude is overrated. What do you think?

Finally, is the businesswoman in the first post a bitch to be condemned or a bitch to be admired for her bitchiness?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cell Phones

Several of us in the office today had a good chat about the overuse of cell phones and how rude some people are. A bunch of audience members who came to see Rocky Horror at PLT were using their phones to take photos and send text messages during the performance. One person complained of people coming to her home and in the middle of the conversation, they'll answer their phone, usually for something trivial. Another person complained of getting phone calls when he's trying to have a nice dinner out. That's why not many people have my cell phone number!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My pirate name is:

Mad Charity Rackham

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I wrote eight pages on a screenplay over the weekend.

I figure if I write eight pages every weekend, I'll have a completed screenplay by the end of the year. Then I can re-write it. Hey, it's better than what I was doing, which is not writing at all.

I have been entering sweepstakes, and I found another good one. I would absolutely love to have the prize -- a digital photo frame. Sure, they're fairly common and you can get them for under $100 bucks (not the one they're giving away, that's $249), but it's a cost I cannot justify, but I really would like to have one. We have so many digital photos and it would be great to be able to display them like this.

The giveaway is at Lisa Reviews (hey, maybe if I actually updated this blog more often, people would actually read it and I could give stuff away, too). Anyway, go to the Sony site, look at the digital photo frame, then go back to Lisa's site and comment on what you love about the frame, and you may just win a frame of your own. And if you win I will be so, so jealous.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I am so tired.

Okay, so it's midnight. I had a function after work, then we had to go eat, then we had to come home and give Indy his insulin shot, then we had to go back out to Wal-mart and Home Depot, and then I had to change the litter boxes, and only then did I get to sit down for some quality time at the computer.

I really think I wouldn't be so tired if I could just get six or seven hours straight of good solid sleep, even once or twice a week. I can't even remember when the last time was that I slept more than four hours without something waking me up. The cat. The dog next door. The garbage truck. Gotta go to the bathroom. The phone. A bad dream. Always something.

Sure it wouldn't help block out the noise, but I sure would like to have a Sleep Number Bed. At least I could be comfortable when I'm lying there not sleeping. I'm trying to win one from -- (the link I had here is dead now).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm just a little frustrated.

At the holidays, I won an overnight stay at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach. I decided to give it to my in-laws. I made the reservation on Saturday, with them arriving at our home on Sunday. Sure, it's only one night, but it's on the beach, it'll be nice. I had a different certificate for Sunday and Monday night, and they went along with that one okay. So my husband tells me Tuesday morning, the day they're supposed to check in to the Hilton, "They don't want to stay at the hotel." Great. Our diabetic cat Indy hides every time they walk in the front door. I don't know how we're going to give him his insulin while they're here. Remy needs to take heart medicine first thing in the morning. He's likely to be under the bed. With Indy.

Here's another thing. I told them yesterday, "Hey, the Blue Angels practice on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings between 8:30 and 9:30. You can probably see them from the hotel, across the water."

"Oh [father-in-law] can't get around well. He probably won't want to go."

Okay, it's his own fault he wouldn't get his knees replaced years ago, but all I say is, "You don't have to go anywhere. You can probably watch them across the water."

So, DH calls at 8:30 this morning. "We're heading over to the house now."

By 9:15, they were parked on the living room futon and we hear this wooosh overhead.

"What was that?"

"It's probably the Blue Angels. You can't see them from here for the trees and buildings. You could have seen them from the hotel." Which you didn't have to check out of until 11am.

It's not that I dislike them. I don't have anything in common with them except my husband, but I don't mind spending time with them. It's just this whole stubborness of we don't want to or cannot physically do anything.

So, I called and cancelled the hotel reservation, and since it was the last bloody minute, I had to mail in the certificate or get charged a cancellation fee. I should have gone out there myself, but I figure DH is going to have to shepherd his parents somewhere while I give the cats their medication. I also didn't want to be rude. I'll never do that again, though. If I win a night at a local hotel, I'm going out there by myself. DH and I can't both go, because of the cats needing the medicine. But I could go out there alone and get a good night's sleep without Wicket (the needy cat) waking me up at 4am.

Okay, no more ranting. I'm really angry at losing the hotel stay, but there' s no point in dwelling on it. Live and learn.

Technology That Rolls

If you read this blog regularly, you know we have more cats than Indy, Remy, and Wicket. There's Trickster, Misha, Presto, and Jynx, too. Dyson has a new vacuum cleaner that sounds heaven-sent for a household like ours. Lots of hair and dander, and both DH and Trickster have allergies (not to each other). You can read more about it at
An Ordinary Life. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? I would totally love to have this instead of the old hand-me-down vac we have now. It'd be more useful than a night at a hotel, too. (I just can't give it up, can I?) Anyway, you can even win one, by visiting the An Ordinary Life website. Can't beat that!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finding the Silver Lining

I was in front of the mirror, plucking away with the tweezers, when I realized that one benefit of aging and going gray is that the hairs above my upper lip aren't as dark anymore. Gotta find something positive, right?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I want a laptop so bad!!

I can't afford to buy a laptop, so I keep trying to win one. It's not impossible. Someone has to win, and maybe someday it will be me.

The latest win-a-laptop contest I've found is on The Tech Don, a really cool site with all kinds of reviews and articles about tech stuff. They are giving away three (3) laptops, each valued at $3,000. That is awesome!

Here are the prizes:
Toshiba Portege R500-S5004 - a lightweight computer great for traveling
Dell XPS M1730 - designed with power for gamers
HP HDX - a portable entertainment system that plays Blu-Ray discs

Great options, huh? I would be thrilled to own any of these machines.

So, I signed up at The Tech Don and you can, too, up until Sunday April 27. Maybe we'll both win.

What are you waiting for??

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ever read a book so good, you wish it had more chapters?

This morning, I finished reading the book Hidden, by Eve Kenin. This evening, I was thinking how I wanted to lie down and keep reading, and I was sad when I remembered that I'd finished the book. The author did a great job creating a believable futureworld with compelling characters. Hidden is mostly told from the point of view of Tatiana, a human with genetic enhancements that make her a superwarrior. She's already killed one evil genius. Now she's after two more, before they can implement a plan to kill thousands, if not millions of people. A loner by choice, she unwillingly teams up with Tristan, a seemingly capable warrior with secrets of his own. Dorchester Publishing describes the book as "action romance." I say it's one of the best science fiction or "futuristic" romances that I've ever read. It's the sequel to Driven, which I haven't read, but I'm definitely going to be picking up a copy and delving back into Kenin's dark futureworld known as the Waste.

Friday, April 18, 2008

So today, I finally watched Cloverfield.

Tim said it wasn't as bad as he was expecting. I found it irritating. And a little nauseating. I can't be sure that it was Cloverfield's jerk-and-swish shooting that made me ill. It might've been the packet of Little Caesar's garlic butter sauce that really probably ought to have an expiration date printed on it. It's two hours later, and I still feel a little ill.

The reason I found the movie irritating is, it took too long to get started. Maybe the long introduction at the party was intended to make me care about these people, but it really didn't. It was too all over the place. Once the action got started, I found myself comparing the film to live news coverage on 9/11. Some people might say, well that was real, so of course it was more compelling, but the thing is, I can suspend my disbelief quite easily.

Here's an example. The theatre where I work had a haunted house last year. One of the actors was setting up a scene and passing out some trinkets to our group and explaining that we'd have to use the trinkets at specific times in order to save ourselves. I found it all kind of spooky and scary, and I know my jaw was dropping, and my husband asked later if I was putting on for our little group, and I said no, I was just getting into it. Sure, I knew that our guides were Barbara and Rodney, people I've worked with in the theatre before (I've known Rodney for 20 years), but there's no point in going into a haunted house attraction and then standing back and saying, "Oh that's Rodney. He was really good in Brighton Beach Memoirs back in the '80s." You have to suspend your disbelief and get into it to have fun.

So, I was ready and able to believe that some sort of giant creature was attacking New York, and I didn't even have to see good shots of the creature to enjoy the film.

Back to 9/11 -- we didn't know exactly what was going on or what was going to happen next. The TV crews would stop someone and get a brief description of what that person had experienced, and then they'd move on. It wasn't just screaming turmoil like in Cloverfield. The extended shots of them just running along and nothing happening wasn't suspenseful, it was just dull. When something did start to happen, it was more irritating, because the camera's going all over the place. The one time when we might have found out a little bit about what was going on, in the electronics store (when Hud points the camera at the TV), he can't stay focused on that for a minute and a half. He's got to switch between two TVs and the crowd and outside and inside.

The basic story was fine. The acting was good. I just wish they'd found a better way to present it.

And now, for a list of movies featuring my favorite giant creature.

  1. Jurassic Park - Still sets the standard for CGI
  2. King Kong, 1933 - A classic
  3. Gojira, 1954 - The original Japanese version is longer and slower-paced but an excellent cautionary tale
  4. Them - Fairly well done story of giant ants terrorizing southern California
  5. King Kong, 2005 - Peter Jackson's nicely done remake. It's a little longer than it needed to be, but for the most part, beautifully executed.
  6. Ghostbusters - "It's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Air Unfair

Boy, it's tough finding a decent price for an international flight these days.

For weeks, I made frequent trips to atiflights, cheapoair, cheaptickets, orbitz, farecompare, travelocity, and various other websites (including air carrier sites but excluding Expedia, which I think kind of screwed me on a trip to L.A. last year). I noted the prices. The next day, some of the prices went down a few bucks. Then they all started going up and up. Were the rising prices ever going to fall?

I wanted the long leg to be a European airline, but when Delta offered a fare less than $700 per person (inc. taxes and fees -- yeah, I know!) I couldn't resist. Well, I resisted for a few days.

Were any of the other carriers going to discount their fees? Where was the site that showed the available vs. reserved seats on the British Airways flight I wanted? Should I wait until a couple of months out and watch for bargains or jump on this low fare now, 7 1/2 months out? Oh, the agony of indecision. I asked my husband, who was more indecisive than I was. I looked at all of our options on BA and Virgin Atlantic (inc. buying the international leg directly from the foreign airline and booking the connecting flights separately). I compared premium economy both ways to economy to premium out and coach coming back.

Finally, I noticed that the sale was ending at midnight. I had about four hours to make a decision. Tim and I talked. I checked all the flight sites again. Then I started filling out the online forms to order the tickets. Then I had to create a frequent flyer account for Tim. Then I had to start over. While I was considering seat options at seatguru, my booking session expired, and I had to start yet again. The clock was ticking. When I completed the order, I think I had just a few minutes to spare. I checked the site again after midnight and found that the price had jumped almost $160!

I still check all the sites occasionally, and I'm sure I will continue to do so for the next 7 1/2 months, just to torture myself.

And now, this week's episode of You Too Can Be a Winner.

The Opinionated Parent This site is giving away a flash drive that's pre-loaded with child safety software. Now, instead of pinning a note to the inside of your kid's coat, just hook this flash drive to his/her backpack. If the child gets lost or has a medical emergency, it's got all the pertinent contact info stored right there. Of course, if your kid has a tendency to lose things, maybe it's not such a good idea. Who knows who might find the drive and how they could use that information.

Either way, an extra flash drive (or thumb drive or whatever you like to call yours; I prefer "spy device") always comes in handy.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I just figured out that I'm not getting paid at the salary I was quoted when I accepted the job. I'm sure I signed something with the figure on it -- but I have no idea where my copy is. I started worrying when I did my taxes last weekend, and I did the math when I received my paycheck on Friday. The boss was already gone for the day, so I sent her a detailed e-mail, and I hope it will be as simple as her cutting me a check for the right amount. My husband told me from the beginning that he didn't want me to take this job, so I can't even bring it up, because I'll just hear non-stop rants until this is resolved.

In the meantime, I'm entering to win. Check out this latest blog giveaway:

Just leave a comment about your favorite item at the Pigtails and Polkadots online store for your chance to win.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weird Weather

The weather's been really strange this winter. A few bitterly cold or freezing days. Lots of warm days. Lots of wet days. Windy days. Two tornados, including one that passed between my husband's workplace and mine, just a few blocks apart. It makes me really nervous about hurricane season.

Here's the latest contest plug -- You can win a free vacuum cleaner by posting a comment. With seven cats, I could use a really good vac.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Oh, but 'baby fish mouth' is sweeping the nation."

That's one of the funniest lines in "When Harry Met Sally" and now Baby Fish Mouth is the name of a new line of infant shirts emblazoned with new takes on old movie lines. Cute stuff! Check it out at Seven Dogs and a Baby -- you can post your ideas for new movie lines to put on the shirts and you might even win a shirt for the little one in your life.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I want a portable video player.

I don't need a portable video player. It would serve no useful purpose in my life. I would, however, love to have one. I could load it full of Star Wars trailers and Harrison Ford clips that I now store on CD-ROM. I don't know when I would watch them. Maybe if I have a doctor's appointment, I could watch in the waiting room. That would be cool.

Anyway, I'm trying to win a portable video player. If you'd like to try to win one, too, here's the link to the site. Best Buy provided the prize.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Weird Dreams

Any other night, my cat Wicket would have woken me up at 3:45am. Today, of course, I wanted to be up at 4am, so I roll over and look at the clock at 5:11am. I rushed to the computer to book my tickets for Ivanov, Ken Branagh's new play at the Donmar West End. Sometime between 4am (10am London time, when the tickets went on sale), and the time I logged on, the booking site crashed. So, I called. Got my tickets, great seats. Then I went back to bed.

I couldn't sleep. I was so excited about having my tickets. Then I got too warm. Then I got too cold. Finally, I was in my living room, only I suddenly realized it's not my house and I'm freaking out when I realize, It's a dream. At that point, I looked out the window and saw an obviously cardboard cutout moon hanging from fishing line, and a small pig ran in the front door to greet me. "I shall call you Presto," I told the pig, then felt bad because Presto is my very overweight cat, then I woke up.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Megapixel Madness

Our first digital camera was a Sony Mavica. We liked it because it uses floppy disks instead of memory cards. Why buy an expensive memory card when you can buy a cheap box of floppys? I used it on trips to Washington D.C., L.A., New York, and London. But, 10 years later, it's now obsolete. The photos are less than one megapixel each. So, on a trip to New York last October, I bought a Kodak Easy Share 6.2 megapixel camera for $99. I didn't research it: Staples was handy to the hotel, the memory card for that one was cheaper than for the other $99 camera they had in stock, and I didn't have much time to make a decision. I've been happy enough with the picture quality, the images blow up nicely, and if I actually sat down with the book and learned all the features, I'd probably be even happier.

The thing is, though, I still drool over double digit megapixel cameras. It would be great for vacation photos and pictures of the cats -- stuff I want to print out or iron onto t-shirts. More megapixels would be good for work, too, where some of the snapshots I've taken have been published in newspapers or the theatre newsletter. It's a luxury I cannot afford, however.

But check this out: the folks over at Momsational are giving away a 12 megapixel Nikon camera.
Give me those nice bright colors, gimme the greens of summer, makes you feel all the world's a sunny day. I want this so bad that I'm telling you about it so that I can earn some extra entries in the giveaway.

So that's the link. If you win, can I borrow it?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Help for Romantic Writers

What the Oscar is the movie industry, the Golden Heart is to romance writers. Now Golden Heart winners and other popular romance authors are sharing tips for creating a successful manuscript. A lot of the elements, such as plotting and character development, can apply to other book genres and screenwriting. Check it out.

The Wet Noodle Posse had such a great time with our month of Golden Heart prep that we're giving away writing month at a time. In addition to book and critique giveaways, join Q&A sessions and read guest blogs from bestselling writers like Sherrilyn Kenyon and Gena Showalter.

Check out our line-up of topics!

January-Getting Started (goals, choosing story idea, focus, etc.)
February-Character Development (names, physical descriptions, backstory, etc.)
April - Conflict
June-Business side of Writing (market, marketing, promotion, etiquette)
July-Prepping for Conference (both for national and smaller conferences)
August-Inspiration (for stories and for keeping yourself going)
September-Writer Health (physical and mental)
October-GH Preparation
November-Writing Challenges (NaNo, BIAW, turning off the internal editor, etc.)

Get great information in a fun community! Visit