15 Weird Things About Me

When I was a kid I was horrified at the idea of being weird. The weird kid was the one who was bullied and lost their lunch money all the time. Nope, I wanted to fit in. Not so easy, since I am weird. These days, I’m letting my weirdness hang out.   It takes off the pressure and helluva lot more fun.

  1. I don’t remember learning how to read, but I do remember I was reading before I started kindergarten.

2. In my alternate reality I am a homicide detective and I solve crimes constantly.

3. I wrote my first novel, The Addict, when I was 10. It was 30 pages long and it sucked. But my dad read every word. Bless his heart.

4. I talk to myself. In public. In private. I always have, since I was a kid. Nobody knows why.

5. I love to garden and though I’m not very good at it, my biggest tomato weighed almost 3 pounds. Oh and I talk to my plants – is that weird?

6. My favorite family pet was Rusty, a gorgeous collie who showed up on our porch one summer night and scratched on the screen door. He looked exactly like Lassie and I believed he was my soul mate.

7. My guilty pleasure is binge watching mystery shows (usually British) online. If I watch too many I start talking in a British accent.

8. Motown music will always inspire me to  get my freak on.

9. I had two nicknames when I was a kid; Neener and Rodg. I preferred Rodg

10. I’ve had many jobs in my life but the weirdest one was bus buffing. Hard on the back but definitely builds the pecs.

11. My first car was a VW Bug and it had temperamental brakes – meaning, I never knew when or if they would work. Usually, the back wall of the garage stopped the car before the brakes. My nickname for it was  “Death Trap.” I nearly gave my dad a stroke when I took him for a spin and ended up in somebody’s front yard. After that, I refused to drive a stick shift ever again.

12. When I was a kid I wanted to be a fireman or a ballerina but was forced to become a writer because I couldn’t stop making stuff up

13. I love dollar stores. It’s an addiction. I will buy anything if it costs a dollar. I’m their ideal customer.

14. If you want to make me cry show me a Hallmark commercial.

15. I really do work in my pajamas. In fact, I pretty much do everything in my pajamas. But you know, I live in California, so it’s allowed.

How about it, are you a weirdie too? Have you given in to your inner weirdness and let it shine in the light of day? Tell me all about your weirdiness in the comments, so we can revel in it together.

Ten things the 2016 election cycle has ruined for me

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I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a political junkie but I try to keep my inner junkie inside most of the time. However, come election time she scratches her way out to join in all the fun. This year was especially something to look forward to because well, it wasn’t going to be the same old same old. Right? And just when I thought I might really enjoy this election cycle, not only did things go off the rails, there are no freaking rails.

And instead of all the fun I looked forward to, the cycle has simply ruined things for me. Following is my list:

The color orange. It’s not that orange was my favorite color but now I can’t look at it without seeing Trump’s orangey pink skin. You’d think that “one of the richest men in the world” could afford a better tanning bed, spray tan and make up artist. He probably should stop purchasing his products in CHYNAH.

Cheetos. And other favorite orange food—dreamsicles, tangerines, papaya, mangoes, orange lifesavers, orange Jell-O – and I can’t even look at raw chicken.

cheetos-crunchy-cheese

The word great. Likewise the words: terrific, fantastic, really, winning, best, hell even the word, word has lost all charm and appeal. And liar, loser and lying have virtually no meaning anymore either.

Election years. I have always enjoyed presidential election years because of the drama, surprises and unpredictable situations you never see coming. This year however, it is nothing but a flat out slug fest between candidates, supporters and media outlets. It’s ugly and keeps getting uglier. Even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, somebody unearths a new bottom. And it’s about as much fun as root canal without anesthesia.  Although we got a little comic relief when the Libertarians added live stripping to their convention. What’s next? Lap dances by candidates?

The myth that most people have common sense. Seriously, can anybody believe that common sense is a live and well in America when the presumptive candidates are the two most reviled people in the country?

 

Taco salads. This picture: taco salad
Is he going to eat that thing or molest it? Either way, feeling pretty sorry for the salad, no matter its fate.

Hair. Whether it’s the old man comb-over, the grandma shellacked bullet head, or the Muppet style shag, all hairstyles are dead to me now.

candidate hair

Facebook. Social media always has political stuff but generally is easy to scroll right past. And I’ll get in there sometimes and bat things around myself. But this year it is wall to wall and there’s no scrolling past it. That’s all that is in my feed. From erroneous, crazy, gross, vile memes, to trolls swarming, name calling, to non-stop propaganda on every topic under the sun – it’s a jungle out there.

The Internet. I used to love the Internet. Each day when you logged on you never knew what you were gonna get. These days though you can’t swing a dead politician without hitting a story or meme on trump, trumpers, trumperism, trump tweets, trump train, anti-trump, nevertrump, alwaystrump, “what’s trump done this time?,” neverhillary, onlyhillary, who’s hillary?, indict hillary, feeling berns…. Where are those cute cat videos that used to be so popular?

Reality TV. It’s not that I’m a big fan of reality TV but I once found it somewhat amusing. But since reality TV is running for president, the spoofy goofy nature of the medium isn’t quite as funny. And definitely amusing. And I find myself constantly muttering, “Is this a joke?”

What about you? Are you sick of this already? Has this election business ruined stuff for you? Are you looking for good cat videos? Feel free to add to the list or voice your gripes in the comments. The election cycle isn’t even close to over yet folks, and we’ve got a long five months ahead of us – give us strength.

Is Elizabeth Keen Really Dead?

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I don’t know about you, but I am addicted (there I said it!) to the NBC show, The Blacklist. For four seasons I have watched while the ever story telling Red Reddington has dazzled and dazed me, causing me to ask countless questions, like:

  • Are you Lizzie’s father?
  • Who is Lizzie’s mother and was she really a Russian spy?
  • Can you answer a question without telling a story to illustrate your point?
  • Why do so many women find you irresistible?

Is this another fake out?

Over the four seasons of the show we have been faked out. We originally thought that Tom, Lizzie’s husband was just a cute, somewhat nerdy elementary school teacher. Only to discover he was a Russian spy or is that agent, then to find out that Red hired him, to now discovering he is Liz’s true soulmate. A once heartless killing machine who has found his soul thanks to true love. And then sadly to lose the love of his life and the reason for his salvation on the day their daughter is born.

But has he? Is Lizzie Keen really dead? I have my doubts. Just like I did when she was a blonde for a whole season. Or when all clues pointed to her becoming a sort of surrogate daughter in crime with Red.

Her funeral is in the next episode, how might they bring her back after that?

The next episode is to center around Liz’s funeral and then the requisite pursuit of her killer. Which personally I found a little confusing because I thought she died because of complications from the car accident and delivery. But you know, it’s episodic television, so okay.

Anyway, here is my theory:

Liz isn’t really dead but in order to protect her from the shadow agents/group pursuing her presumably because of her Russian spy mother’s sins, the whole world must believe she is dead for the time being.

Once Red and the whole special FBI task force has located the real threat to her, it will be revealed that she has been living in a FBI safe house in Oklahoma, donning a red wig and Birkenstoks.

She only seemed dead and looked dead because the doctor, who we already know was friends with Liz injected some super magical drug that made her look that way. The body used in the funeral will turn out to be a double or even made of wax. I mean who’s going to check to be sure?

Naturally, Tom will feel a bit miffed for having had to raise Agnes on  his own for a year or so, but he’ll be so happy that he doesn’t have to be a single dad, that he’ll soon forgive her.

Though of course they won’t be able to jump into Tom’s boat and set sail for the happily ever after. Somehow Agnes will become the center of some plan or Tom will be tempted to return to his own life. Or Liz will mount her own investigation into who her mother and father really is.  Heck, maybe that’s what she’s doing now, while everybody, including Red thinks she’s dead.

What are your theories?

So there you have it, my theory. Do you have one? Do you like me, think that Lizzie is still alive only to reappear at some later date, or is the Blacklist just becoming its own spinoff and morphing into a whole new show? Feel free to float any theories you like in the comments.

Politics, mob rule and social media—what I’ve learned

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So in the last few weeks I’ve been paying attention to politics on Facebook. I’d been very intentionally ignoring it up til then because we were miles away from the actual election and I don’t need to decide what I believe in since I already know.

So one day, a few weeks ago, I started to actually look at the political stuff in my feed, scan the articles, read some of the comments and move on. It was intense. I mean, I’ve been a political junkie on and off for many years but things were more intense than I’d seen them since people in Florida were counting chads.

As is my habit, I made a general statement/observation about a certain set of supporters of a certain candidate. To me it was light, somewhat humorous and meant to illicit a laugh. Instead I was attacked. This not only stunned me but made me reexamine my statement to see if it’d been really inflammatory. Nope. Still seemed relatively mild to me. And then from there, I was hooked and frankly until the last couple of days, haven’t come up for air.

So after my foray into the depths of the political trenches I’ve learned the following:

  1. Some of your friends are willing to toss you aside for a stranger who makes promises they can’t keep.
  2. People can become so invested in someone they are willing to call you every and any name in the book including skank, whore, bitch, and worse.
  3. The anonymity of the Internet emboldens people to spew hatred, vitriol and insanity everywhere they travel.
  4. Some people will believe absolutely anything despite a mountain of facts that categorically disprove that belief.
  5. There is no low too low for some people.
  6. Logic often has no place in politics and frequently is the first victim to be thrown under the bus.
  7. Some people are more than happy to ruin others’ lives simply because the do not agree with them.
  8. Free speech is relegated, apparently, to only the chosen few.
  9. Fairness, objectivity, and truth is a matter of opinion.
  10. You cannot convince an angry person of anything.
  11. To some, winning justifies any tactic, no matter how abhorrent, despicable and dirty.
  12. Many people don’t actually do any research on the candidate they champion and when that is pointed out, you better be wearing full body armor.
  13. There are a lot of angry people out there who are misdirecting their anger at total strangers on the Internet.
  14. I long for the days when cute cat videos were the most popular thing on the Internet.
  15. Apparently anybody can run for president these days and people will treat them like they know what they’re talking about. Hey – maybe I should run.
  16. I trust my dog more than most politicians.
  17. Going to a political rally is a lot more dangerous than it used to be.
  18. Orange has become a really popular color – not with me, I look terrible in orange.
  19. According to the polls, the presumed candidates for the November election are two of the most disapproved of people in America.
  20. So far, nobody has attacked any candidates’ pets, but give it time.

How about you? Enjoying the current political happenings? Have you been trolled, flamed, attacked or is it just a barrel of laughs as far as your concerned? Learned anything or is just politics as usual? Feel free to observe, vent or yammer in the comments.

 

Peace out, Writer Chick

Writer Chick Predicts 2016

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Yup, it’s New Year’s Day and time to make a few predictions (about which I will no doubt, be wrong). Because, well because it’s fun to predict the future and considering all the drinks we had last night, a few laughs might be in order. Am I right? Okay, so Writer Chick predicts…

  1. After an unsuccessful Kick-starter campaign, Barnes and Noble will go belly up – blaming Amazon for their failure.
  2. The Author’s Guild will start selling ‘information products’ for writers that promise secrets methods to beat Amazon’s algorithms. Of course it won’t work, but Amazon will be (very) publicly blamed for their author members’ low royalties.
  3. Amazon will be voted the “Person of the Year” by Time magazine – this will drive NY Times  writers into a frenzy.
  4. Apple will release the long awaited iAlarm. The innovative gadget will wake you in in ten different time zones, provide unreliable weather forecasts, and give you ten affirmations to utter before rising.
  5. ABC, NBC and CBS will engage in a bidding war for the new TV pilot based on the Star Wars movies.  However, while the major broadcast stations are mired in entertainment warfare, Fox will create a kick ass show based on Hugh Howie’s Silo Series.
  6. Amid the Star Wars mania that Disney is spending millions to generate, Ford Motor Company will come out with the limited edition Darth Vader – an SUV hybrid that comes only in black and has a hissy sound system.
  7. The Big5 publishers will team up with Walmart to create a book co-op in hopes of driving Amazon under – instead, they will drive Walmart under.
  8. In a last ditch effort to gain votes, Donald Trump will auction off his hair in a Vegas style, online event.
  9. Apple will also come out with the iPhone Jumbo which users will wear like a backpack. Some will complain about the inconvenient size, however, all will agree that the awesome clarity on streaming videos cannot be beat.
  10. PETA no longer satisfied to just fight for animal rights, will kick off a campaign for animal marriage. Next up – inter-species marriage.
  11. In a stunning revelation on the end of the year, Barbara Walters special, Michael Moore will reveal that he is a genetically modified life form created by Monsanto.
  12. The cost of oil will topple to an amazing $19 a barrel. However, California drivers will still be paying upwards of $3 a gallon, for reasons only Gerry Brown knows.
  13. Apple will also develop a new product- the iHologram – an eReader accessed by a computer chip, placed in your brain. Google will file an intellectual property lawsuit, claiming the brain chip was to be their next succession in the Google Glasses evolution.
  14. An anonymous whistle blower will reveal that Google has been an arm of the NSA since its inception. Finally, somebody will use Yahoo to search on the Internet.

How about you? What are you predictions for 2016? Tell em like you see em in the comments. Happy New Year.

Annie

 

 

 

The ten worst things about Christmas

xmas dawg

Yup, got my bah humbug on.

1. All your friends are out of town so you’re stuck cooking dinner for your room mate who eats with his mouth open and does his best to make sure there aren’t any leftovers.
2. Whatever you get your mother (which you spend hours tormenting over) it’s never the right thing.
3. The tracking number to the one gift you actually need to arrive on time doesn’t exist in the shipper’s data base.
4. There’s nothing to watch on TV but bad reruns, cartoons or holiday movies you’ve seen a million times.
5. Every advertiser on planet Earth is using Star Wars as a hook.
6. No matter how much you love Christmas, you hate it by the time it’s over.
7. People apparently receive your gifts and cards but don’t feel they need to mention that to you.
8. The one or two friends who are still in town don’t believe in Christmas.
9. Since your dog loves the taste of ribbon and wrapping paper, you’ll need to schedule a $400 doggie enema the day after Christmas.
10. You spend the entire day cooking but by the time you eat, you don’t taste a thing. And you end up with heartburn.

How about you? What are your ten worst things about Christmas? Feel free to add to the list.

Annie

Technology, Computers, and Me

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So about a week ago, while I stepped away from my computer to refill my coffee cup my computer refused to boot. Odd thing was that it had already booted up. Naturally, the dreaded thought of all computer users popped into my head: Virus.

I was ever so glad that I have an external hard drive that I use for back up. Because otherwise I’d have had to shoot myself.

Well, despite my crying, pleading, and begging the computer just wouldn’t boot up and in fact gave me the boot. I called around and spoke to a couple of computer repair guys who apparently didn’t need the work because they told me I could buy a new computer for what they’d charge me.

I didn’t believe them, but lo and behold they were not lying. I found just the baby I wanted and ordered it on Black Friday. Gotta love it when timing and big sales come together right?

Of course that meant it would be a week before I had my new computer. So, I pulled out my ancient eMachines (do they even make those anymore?) computer which I shoved in the closet seven years ago and set it up. It groaned, it whirred, it made this awful grinding noise but it worked. Of course doing anything more than writing in Word and checking my emails was about all I could get out of it. And even then it was iffy. But somehow I managed. (Still, I felt like Fred Flintstone trying to work with a chisel and stone tablet).

It is funny though how we get so used to things going lightning fast that when they don’t, we get upset and tense. Could explain some of the road rage you see these days, right?

Then I got the new computer and you want to talk about fast – wow – I had no idea what I was missing. I really must come out of my cave more often and see about all this new-fangled high technology stuff.

So, I guess the moral of this story is that I’m an idiot but things worked out in the end anyway.

mre thumbnailBTW, I’m doing a Kindle countdown on M.urder R.eady to E.at (Book 2 of Scotti Fitzgerald Series) tomorrow and Wednesday. You can get all that fun and adventure for a mere 99 cents. And please do. Okay – end of plug.

Hopefully, once I learn how to ride my new computer I’ll be able to do things like tweet and facebook and other fun stuff.

Annie

9 Reasons machines will never take over the world

Are you a sci-fi fan? Maybe you read so much sci-fi that you’ve begun to feel a terrible distrust of machines. After all, they are going to take over the world someday right? I mean, humans are so blasé and breakable. And they have all those pesky emotions. Why wouldn’t emotionless ‘logical’ machines kick our butts and take over the world?

Well, rest assured I don’t think we’re in any serious danger because…

1. They break. I don’t care how cool a machine is or how many bells or whistles it has – someday it will break. And at the most inconvenient time. I mean think about it, all it takes is a crappy power supply and your computer just lays there. Machines are not indestructible.
2. They are only as smart as the human that made them. Even the most brilliant humans in the world don’t understand the human brain/mind. Therefore they cannot replicate it and put it into a machine. They can load it up with facts and data. But as they say information is not knowledge. It just gives you an edge in Trivial Pursuit.
3. They have no common sense. No matter how hard Bill Gates and other software developers have tried, they have yet to create software that is truly intuitive. What passes for intuitive is usually intrusive. Machines cannot anticipate what humans will do. And there is no software that can either.
4. They are no match for mother nature. Just leave any machine out in the Mojave Desert for a week and see what happens. Or drop it in the ocean for a few days. Leave it outside during a hurricane. Or drop it in the middle of a forest fire. See my point?
5. They have no sense of humor. Everybody knows that in order to survive on this planet you have to be able to laugh at yourself. If not you will go stark raving mad. A machine has no ability to see humor much less replicate it or ‘feel’ it.
6. They have no charisma. If you can’t turn on the charm how are you going to persuade anyone to do what you want?
7. They can be turned off. Although humans can be stopped it usually takes a bullets, drugs or some other considerable force to turn them off. Machines are all built with on/off switches. And power sources. Cut the switch or the power and they become a pile of parts.
8. They can’t think. While some might argue that we already have machines that think for us and there seems to be some empirical data showing that, the truth is a machine can only make computations based on whatever data it may contain. Humans have thousands of thoughts a minute, probably millions a day – but not based on data alone. It’s combination of data, perception, experience and knowledge.Machines are not sentient and can’t do that.
9. Humans won’t let them. No matter what others may say or think about this thing called the human race, one thing is for sure – we want to survive. It may be that humans have the strongest survival instinct of any living creatures. If you just look at history and what humans have survived and in fact triumphed over, it should give you pause. And even though there may be a lot of sheeple in the world who might surrender to a machine takeover, there are enough of us who would say hell no and kick their asses.

How about you? Afraid machines are taking over the world? How do you think they might do it? Feel free to espouse your theories in the comments.

WC

The Grumble List

I don’t know about you but I have a few pet peeves. They’re really small unimportant things that I shouldn’t let bother me – but no matter what, this stuff sets my teeth on edge. Some are universal and some may just be me. But since I’m in the mood to grumble, here they are:

Men proclaiming to be feminists. Now, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, I understand it’s an attempt at compassion or empathy. Still, sorry fellas, if you’re not a woman, you’re not a feminist. I mean, when was the last time you spent a job interview having some guy stare at your chest? Or called you honey or baby at work? Don’t even get me started on mechanics, auto salesman, salaries and everything else.

Auto dialers, auto responders, auto messages, auto tweets. There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as having somebody from a phone center auto dial you and not notice when you’ve answered the phone. Although sometimes the conversations you overhear while the jackhammer doesn’t know you’re listening can be great material for characters. Ditto on auto responders, messages, tweets – anything that just comes automatically and has little similarity to a human being.

Pets and children out of control. In a park or a Chuck E. Cheese you definitely expect kids to be running around like wild unrestrained creatures but not in a restaurant, or a grocery store. I understand that kids are hard to handle and parents are often overworked, stressed out and so forth. But when I see a kid climbing the grocery shelves while his mother is talking to her BFF on her cell phone I want to call Child Services. Same with dogs running loose. Sure, in the dog park, not a problem, in your yard, also not a problem. But when I’m walking my little mutt on a city street and an unknown Doberman bounds toward us without an apparent owner in sight, I’m not amused. Especially when the owner (who eventually appears) laughs and says he’s harmless.

Cashiers who hand you your change and receipt all in one stack, without counting it back to you. What are you supposed to do with a receipt, bills and change all dumped into your hand? You know the person behind you wants you to move so you can’t stand there and separate it, especially since his shopping cart is butting up against your butt. And I’m glad that the cashier has counted my change back to him/herself because if it’s good enough for him/her, heck it’s good enough for me.

People who expect you to be their audience. I know a few people who a seriously lacking in conversational skills. Their idea of a conversation is for you to stand there while they espouse their opinion on something, a topic you aren’t even interested in, and essentially tell them how brilliant they are. If you dare to interrupt them with an opinion of your own on the topic, you usually get a wagging finger and a blunt, “I’m not finished yet.” Sorry, I’ve got news for you buddy, I’m totally finished.

What about you? What sets your teeth on edge and drives you up the wall? Have you found a way to not let it bother you? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments.

Writer Chick