Writer Chick to Hong Kong

In the last several days I have noticed that the same ‘reader’ has visited my site multiple times and viewed anywhere from 10 to 34 pages per visit.  I’ve also noticed some very odd referrals from acne sites, weight sites, insurance sites and so forth.  To say I don’t run in those circles is an understatement.

And I’m getting the idea that Mr. or Ms. Hong Kong (of the Central District) is doing a pretty big cut and paste job of my blog posts.  Either that or they are a real bloggy stalker.  In either case, it makes me quite uncomfortable and I would ask, nicely that if Mr. or Ms. Hong Kong is lifting content to Stop immediately.  I write all the copy on this blog and it is my property. Period.  My blog is not a blog copy co-op for underprivileged or overly challenged bloggers who cannot write and so must steal from others.  If, on the other hand, you are simply a stalker, get help.

It is not beneath me to publish your IP address and every other bit of information that my stats programs provide, as well as find out who you are and file a copyright infringement complaint either.

So Hong Kong, get a life – but do me a favor and write your own, instead of trying to take mine.

Writer Chick

Well Hong Kong, clearly you thought I was kidding – not so much. Here you go:

Domain Name netvigator.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address 203.218.228.# (PCCW Limited)
ISP PCCW Limited
Location
Continent : Asia
Country : Hong Kong (Facts)
City : Central District
Lat/Long : 22.2833, 114.15 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft WinNT
Browser Internet Explorer 8.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0; GTB6.5; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; .NET4.0C)
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Time of Visit Sep 5 2010 8:04:53 am
Last Page View Sep 5 2010 8:27:56 am
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Children No More?

I’ve been wondering lately, why we seem to be in such a hurry to make kids grow up. What got me thinking was a ‘sneak preview’ I saw of an upcoming show, Kid Nation. I can’t really say why but the whole concept aggravated me to no end. I kept carping at the television, as though it would listen to me and just stop it.

The basic idea of this show is to take a bunch of kids aged from 8 to 15, put them in a ghost town and see if they can create a community. I suppose on the face of it, it sounds kind of cool and innovative and all that stuff that television execs get worked up about. But to me, it sounds a little sad. Kids are supposed to be kids. This is their time to learn, have fun, have adventures, be care-free and just live – hopefully fully employing their amazing imaginations and creating some precious memories for when they are old farts like the rest of us.

Instead, we give them sex education (Obama thinks age 5 is about the right time for this), teach them about sexual orientation (Why Joey has two mommies), give them more homework than I ever had in high school, cell phones, their own phones, their own televisions, social security numbers, bank accounts, debit cards, designer clothes, start them in school before they can speak, pay big bucks to get them into the right preschool or in some cases pre-preschool, chauffer them everywhere they go, cervical vaccinations as early as age 9, $120 sneakers, highlights and manicures.

They have play dates instead of running through the neighborhood gathering up their pals for a romp at the old railroad station. They have nannies instead of babysitters. Are taught security codes for their homes. Can text message and surf the net like pros, but can’t seem to think. They are ensconsed in electronic paraphanelia, plugged in, zoned out, on antidepressants, have disorders that take up page upon page of the PDR are vast consumers of internet porn and worst of all, cynical.

Have you watched a sitcom lately? Have you noticed that the kids, regardless of age, are always played as all knowing, world-weary, cynical punsters. Mom and Dad clearly can’t teach them anything because they know it all. And apparently must educate their parents in the ways of the world because they are clueless.

Now, when I was a kid, I know we all pretended that our parents were clueless and truly didn’t understand how things really were. Yet, whenever something bad happened, whenever life kicked us in the teeth, whenever something scared the bageebers out of us, we made a beeline to Mom and Pop. They may have been un-hip, squares, not with it, uninformed on pop culture, but they knew stuff. They knew life. They had graduated from the school of hard knocks and they were there for a reason. We all knew this in our hearts.

Today’s kids? I’m not so sure. I look around and it’s not kids I see, but very short adults running around in their power suits, dragging their laptops, drinking their lattes and smoking their cigarettes. Ordering their parents about, who seem to go whichever way they are commanded. They smirk, the deride, they disrespect and snicker.

And I’m not mad so much as sympathetic. I mourn the loss of their innocence. I mourn the loss of their carefree, clueless days. I mourn the loss wild imaginings. Not for me, because I had them. But for them – those in such a hurry to grow up and the parents who are pushing them along.

WC

Queen Elizabeth

About four years ago, my friend Jenny decided to take a job in Texas and leave California. To say I was crestfallen puts it mildly, as she was and always will be one of my dearest friends. But she knew her future was there and so it was. She met a great guy, got married and had two more kids.

I have known her first child, Arthur all his life and couldn’t love a kid more if he were my own. I taught him how to say “Republican Rage”, the Italian flip off and how to make a mashed potato pimple (you don’t want to know). But I never met her ‘new’ kids until Thanksgiving of last year.

She and her brood came down to visit everyone over that holiday weekend and we all headed up to Santa Barbara for the family feast. Her new little boy, Maverick is one of those cuter than cute kids who at that point didn’t really talk but had a series of grunts that meant certain things, it didn’t take long to figure those out and I became a hit with him when I gave him a keychain that had a little button that turned on a light.

Then there was Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth to you cretins. For a three year old she had an amazing presence. It was clear on my first look that she knew her own mind and soon so would I. As soon as she got out of the car, she stared me down with her unwavering gaze as if to say, “Who is this broad?” The fact that I have a little dog who is cute as a button fared well for me with QE and I guess she decided she liked me.

Elizabeth is a girlie girl. She likes her dresses and shoes. Craves hair ties and tierras. Purses, wallets, mirrors and probably make up if you gave her any. I figure by age 5 she’ll be donning stilletto heels and ignoring all the giggly little boys who follow her in her kindergarten class. She is a cutie to be sure. And stubborn as the day is long. Crafty too. On the drive up, she kept managing to get that little keychain away from Maverick which of course inspired blood curdling screams from little brother. Her ability to create and wear convincingly the I don’t have a clue what’s wrong face could give all the Barrymore’s a run for their money and it took a while to figure out what she was doing. And there were battles over blankets, snacks, water and so on.

Clearly, in Elizabeth’s world, all that she purveyed was hers to have and let the peasants take what was left or bored her. It’s the kind of attitude that will make her a rich and very savvy entreprenuer one day. She is a go-getter. She knows what she wants and goes after it with a venegance. I wish that when I were a child I’d been that focused and sure of what I wanted – how different my life would have been.

Throughout the weekend, Jenny and I made jokes about her queenly attitude in all its many manifestations and it is truly one of my fondest memories of that weekend. This willful and charming child stole my heart.

For Christmas, I sent her a watch (because we discovered over that weekend where Jenny’s watch kept getting to) and a variety of hair ties. Which I have been told by Jenny that she covets and guards with enthusiasm.

The other day Jen sent me the top picture and I had to laugh because I thought, “Finally she has found her crown.” And from the looks of it, couldn’t be happier in her kingdom.

So, here’s to you, my Queen, long may you reign!

Love,

Duckie

Dance of the Hummingbird

I’m blessed because my backyard has an incredible Mimosa Tree. If you have never seen one in full bloom or smelled the lovely, sweet fragrance of the Mimosa on a summer evening then you have really missed out on a miracle of nature.

The tree is about 20 feet tall and I imagine it’s been there for many years because its branches spread out and cover about a third of the yard. It has a bent and graceful trunk and it is heavy with pink and gold blossoms from early spring to late fall. Like a lithe ballerina it sways with the breeze and even the strongest wind can’t snap it’s resilient branches.

But what makes this tree really special is that it is home to about twenty hummingbirds. They feed and sing and hover from branch to branch, sipping at the sweet nectar the tree offers them. They play and perch and sometimes fight.

On the back porch, we have a hummingbird feeder, just a few feet from the Mimosa and when they tire of the tree, they swoop in for a tall drink of hummingbird kool aid.

They have become quite bold and will buzz and hover around the porch as they tease the viewer (me) into thinking maybe I can get a decent shot. And so I whip out my trusty digital camera in the hopes of getting that very thing.

But no matter what I do, I can never quite get the perfect picture. Usually, it’s in sillouette because the light is behind them and they buzz and hover so fast that you barely have a chance to raise the camera before they are gone.

But sometimes if you are very lucky, you get the chance to catch them standing still.

Still, I long to get the little dude up close and personal and I’ve yet to manage that. No matter though, because my joy is in sitting on the back porch and watching them zip to and fro, doing their own special summer dance of the nectar. To hear their little chirps signaling each other whose turn it is to drink and warning of the big human waving the camera. And laughing at me as I wait patiently for them to appear – all for the chance of catching them in my sights and snapping the picture before they are off again for the safety of the Mimosa.

Digital camera $195, glass of iced tea $1.50, can of bug spray $3.95, catching the humming bird in flight – priceless.

WC

Yes or No?

I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve been proposed to three times. Impressive, eh? Yet, I’m not married. Hmm, something must be out of whack here. Eh? What’s that? Did you ask why? Well let me tell you – in each case (well actually it was four and I did marry one of them, but honestly we were both talked into it, so I’m not sure it counts) there was just a gut feeling, some little voice that said “Don’t do it.”

For those of you who may be toying with accepting a proposal but aren’t quite sure, I offer the following list for consideration before you say yea or nay:

1. His mother still cuts his food and has offered to show how he likes it done.

2. He won’t let you see his driver’s license because he claims it’s a bad picture. Since when do men care if it’s a bad picture?

3. He thinks you should kick in for the engagement ring since you’ll be wearing it most of the time.

4. His idea of a menu for the reception is beer and pizza.

5. He has to drink a sixpack every night in order to relax after work.

6. He’s still friends with all of his former girlfriends.

7. Setting a wedding date is not important after he has moved in with you and you are doing his laundry, cleaning up after him and making him meals.

8. Your remote has a permenant indentation of his thumbprint on it.

9. The only time he speaks to you with any conviction is during sex and while lobbying for what movie to rent on Saturday night.

10. He makes you pick out the ring and then asks the clerk if the deposit is refundable.

11. His ex-wife wants to know your annual income, in case she needs to go back to court and up the child support.

12. He has three kids by a previous marriage but doesn’t want any with you.

13. When he moves in with you, the only thing he brings are his one grocery bag full of clothes and his big screen tv.

14. He won’t tell you where he works and keeps strange hours.

15. His brothers are excited at the prospect of crashing at your place when they are too tired or drunk to go home.

16. He sheepishly tells you he isn’t quite divorced from his first wife yet.

17. He still keeps some of his stuff at his mom’s, or his ex-wife’s house.

18. He wonders out loud, how you’re going to pay for the big fancy wedding you want and why you don’t just go to Vegas, because it includes gambling and free drinks, all for under $300 bucks.

Feel free to add to the list. 😉

WC

Rejection

 

Yes, I’ve received my first rejections on my project ‘Get An Agent’ and no, I’m not too disheartened. It was a little stunning getting those first few self addressed stamped envelopes, I had so carefully printed, stamped and placed inside the packages and letters I’d sent. Surreal. I knew without opening them that the answer in all of them was, no. Some of them were so light that I wondered if there was anything in the envelope at all. There was. The smallest slip of paper, politely declining my request. The common response was that they had full client lists and/or the material was not right for them.

I had to wonder though, when they said the material was not right for them, what did that mean, exactly? Was it just a polite way of saying, “Get away from me kid, you’re bothering me” or something else?  How could material not be right for an agent? Do they specialize too? Is the world now just full of people who specialize and work in niche markets? It could be, but I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that these folks were either too busy or my material was not ‘right’ for them.

The interesting thing to me was that it didn’t break my heart or make me utter an unintelligible curse in their direction. I expected them. I think you have to expect rejection before you can expect acceptance. Life is like that, isn’t it? You don’t just hop on a bike and zoom down the street, popping wheelies like a pro. Nope. You get on the bike and fall down. And sometimes it’s funny and people laugh at you. But if you want to ride that bike badly enough, you get back on, willing to fall as many times as necessary for you to master it. To get to the goal of zooming down the street and popping wheelies like a pro. Yes, you get right back on the bike and you keep trying until you get there.

But I don’t like the word, trying. Trying implies that your heart isn’t in it. You’re trying to cope. Trying to learn. Trying to make do. Trying to accept rejection. No, I think maybe learning is a better word or just doing. So, this week, I’m doing rejection. I may do it next week again and perhaps even the week after that. Eventually, I’ll get it right.

It feels a little odd to be writing these words and thinking these thoughts because they seem unlike me. I was always a sensitive child and often took things to heart, personally, and would get so discouraged. I was frankly, afraid to even try this because I was afraid I would have that very reaction. Afraid that the Drama Queen would come out and have tantrums and then feel sorry for herself. But the DQ, seems to be happily asleep while I contemplate this new attitude. While I step into this new suit and strut across the room in it.  Maybe a few more rejections will coax the Queen out and she’ll have her way with me, but I don’t think so. I think maybe I don’t need her that much anymore. I think that I know what I want and that I’m okay with going after it. Whether it takes days, weeks or years doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped getting torn up about what people thought of my work. Either they like it or they don’t. Will read it or won’t. It’s always wonderful to get the praise and please a reader but I think that sometimes you learn more from the reader who rejects your work. Whether it’s writing or anything else. If you’re smart and you listen, you will learn things about your work from the naysayers. Maybe how to improve it but more maybe about yourself and what your work really is and isn’t. Who it is for and who it isn’t for. That’s pretty valuable stuff.

I can accept rejection now, I suppose the real question is, can I accept acceptance? Now, there’s an interesting thought.

WC

Living in a Box

Is this an amazing picture, or what? But you know, it got me thinking about apartment living. I’ve never been one to live in apartments much. I don’t like them. You hear too much and see too much of your neighbors, secret behavior. You know too much about what the couple next store argues about. You never manage to get your laundry done before 3 in the morning because the little old lady downstairs monopolizes the two machines and/or forgets for days that she has wash in it.

To me, apartments are boxes. They somehow threaten my humanity. I feel like an insect trapped by an over-ethusiastic pre-teen who likes to torture little creatures who can’t fight back. Except with a feeble stinger or two. And oddly enough, I’ve found that bugs love to live in apartments too. I’ve rarely gone into a house and found a plethora of insects all fighting for real estate. Yet in just about every apartment I’ve been in, it seems that you must know the secret password in order to get the cockroaches to let you into the kitchen after hours. And is it the cottage cheese ceilings or do spiders just prefer the ceilings of apartments.

Then there is what landlords do to apartments. They are always painted ‘dead white’ – it’s not really white, it’s a brownish, grayish shadowy color, that apparently costs $5 for every 50 gallons. And it’s always flat paint. So any marks, dirt, stains, etc are sure to stick to it for all of eternity or until the landlord breaks down and paints more ‘dead white’ over it.

The parking spaces are made to nicely accomodate shopping carts or bicycles, but not cars, even compact cars risk ruining the paint job backing out of those babies. And for some reason, your neighbors friends feel it’s perfectly okay to park in the lot and block your car by inventing their own parking spaces.

If anyone has a party, you can pretty much assume you will get no sleep that night, that the cops won’t come until the following morning and will need to be careful to step over the party barf in the courtyard.

The last apartment I lived in was many years back. And really, as apartments go, it wasn’t a bad place. I was struck with a surge of creativity and I really set to fixing the place up. I pulled up the green indoor/outdoor carpeting in the tiny kitchen and replaced it with a sweet little blue and rosey beige tile with a flower pattern. I took off the cabinet doors to the cupboards, painted the back walls blue to match the tile and had shabby chic, open air cupboards.

I found a splashy print with lots of color and hung it over the tiny little bistro chair and table set, I found to put in the tiny dining area.

I bought matching furniture for the living room and a nice bookcase. Replaced the shower curtain and painted the bathroom, with matching towels. Oh yes, I really went for it.

When I was done I had a sweet little french cottage motif and I loved it. Two weeks later the building was bought by a developer and we were all served with a notice saying the rent was doubling the following month. We could either pay it or move out in 30 days.

I was sad to leave my little created cottage but I’ve never been in an apartment since. I think I’ll leave the boxes to the people who don’t mind being tortured.

WC

PS: Happy birthday, Pop.

Simple

Simple…isn’t it a great word? It sort of bounces off the tongue and flits across the room, landing like a raindrop in a pond. Plop.

But life is anything but simple, isn’t it? Or is it? You’re born. You live. You die. End of story. The only two certainties: death and taxes. Right? Pocada pocada and away we go…

I’ve been thinking about how simple life was when I was a child. I woke in the morning, had a bite to eat. Got dressed, washed my face and hands and off to school. Where I learned a little bit and then came home. Had some cookies and watched cartoons – fought with my brothers and sister. Dinner. Bath. A little tv and then to bed. Simple.

I never thought about the bills or the price of gas. World affairs or politics. Celebrities or assholes (well maybe the bully down the street). My job or rotating the tires. Nope, not even one brain cell was devoted to that.

My brain power was devoted to pressing questions like: Why don’t cats like to wear doll’s clothes? How can I get that way up there booger out of my nose?  Do bees make their kids go to bed early? Yep, all the really pressing issues of the day. Well….at least my day.

And I dreamed…about the future. About being a ballerina, a teacher, a singer, a painter (now how did I end up a writer?) and even a fireman (firelady?). I imagined the pretty dresses I would wear and what I would name my babies. About becoming that mysterious and fascinating character: an adult.

Funny how when the dream becomes the reality it just ain’t that simple any more. Is it? Go figure.

WC

The Pets That Peeve

 

Everybody has funny, little things that bug them. Not things that they hate or really change their lives in any significant way – just stuff that drives them quietly up the wall. Usually too, it’s things that you’d be too embarrassed to say out loud. So you put up with them. Oh, but sometimes, sometimes you feel like you’re going to come out of your own skin they bug you so much. Here are mine:

  1. People who wiggle their toes or waggle their feet, or pick at their feet, especially while you’re eating or watching t.v. It just plain grosses me out. In my opinion, most people do not have attractive feet, especially men. They often have weird toenails that are scary colors. And yes, after you’ve had those puppies in sneakers and socks all day they do stink when you decide to air them out.
  2. People who pick at their food as though they are looking for a secret weapon under there. It’s food, damn it. Eat it or toss it, but for God sakes please stopping treating it like a frog in science class.
  3. People who eat with their mouths open. Now how do they expect that food to stay in there? And why do they think I want to see what it looks like after it’s been mashed around inside their mouth? If you’re not trying to catch flies, shut your trap.
  4. Men who ask you out on a date and then want to know where you want to go or what you want to do. For crying out loud, be a man. Be decisive. Show me you’re a take-charge kind of guy. If you can’t decide where we’re going on a date, what would make you think I’d have the slightest belief that you know where you’re going?
  5. People who talk during the movie. Now why would anyone go to the trouble of driving to the theater, paying $10 plus to see a movie and then proceed to talk about their mother-in-law once the movie starts? That also goes for people who answer their cell phones, kick the seats and eat their popcorn loud enough for people down the block to hear it.
  6. Belly shirts. I’ve been waiting for them to go out of style, yet they still seem to persist. First of all, outside of a 12 year old who has successfully mastered anorexia, who looks good in them? That would be nobody. Not to mention the fact that it’s always women who are way too old, compelled to show off what they think are their bad-ass abs or chicks who have several rolls of fat to expose. Cover up for cripes sake.
  7. Dreadlocks. Sorry, I know it’s like an ethnic thing and we must never attack anything like that – but come on – it looks like somebody took wallpaper paste, mixed a mess of cat hair in there and attached it to their head. It ain’t pretty – please learn how to use a comb, a brush, a pic or to braid your hair.
  8. Ugly shoes. There are too many designs to zero in on one particular type, but man the last decade has produced some bad ones. Who ever convinced anyone that shit kickers looked good with sundresses? Or stilletto heels that can take your eye out is sexy? And don’t get me started on sandals with sox and bermuda shorts. Like I said, most people don’t have pretty feet to begin with, you should at least give them a fighting chance by dressing them nicely.
  9. Hoodies under suit coats. It’s like oh, I have my gym clothes on but if I put on this snazzy jacket no one will notice. Think again. A suit coat goes with a suit. If you can’t afford one, stick with the sweats.
  10. Fat children. I don’t mean chubby or even plump I mean, tipping the scales at 200 plus. Now of course I know there are some kids out there who have a physical situation that causes them to have weight problems but it seems like every other kid out there is fat, fat, fat. And mom and dad keep taking them through the drive-thru, parking them in front of big screen tv’s, chauffering them everywhere and stick Ipods in their ears. Kids need to get out and do something besides parking their butts in a chair and playing video games.
  11. Bad tippers. It’s just low class. Some people seem to think that somebody who can feed and see to the needs of 20-40 people at a time only deserve disrespect, humiliation and then the final insult of little or no tip. I’ve got news for  you, somebody who can wait tables and do it well, is one helluva an organized multi-tasker. I used to eat out with a friend who would pay for the tab with her credit card and we’d all give her the cash we were going to kick in for our part of the check – then I discovered she was pocketing most of the money that was intended for the waitress as a tip. After that, I asked for a separate check. If somebody waits on you, is pleasant, brings you what you want and  you are a happy camper afterward, then tip them for cripes sake.
  12. Stupid people. They are everywhere. They stand at the fast food counter, reading the menu just not able to decide what piece of processed food they want that day. At the bank, they will knock you on  your butt to get in line ahead of you and then start filling out their deposit slip while standing on line. At the grocery store, they don’t have enough money to cover their groceries and dig through their purse looking for loose change and looking at the cashier as though they should be offering them a five spot. They hold everybody up in traffic by double parking, stopping, turning, cutting you off, whatever, then flip you off for being in their way.

Okay, time to get my blood pressure checked now. 😉 What are your peeves?

WC

The Gee-Golly Finale

 

Okay, so now the new American Idol is the screechy girl. Too bad, I was pulling for beat-box boy. At least he was interesting. She’ll become a compliant little diva and probably sell out concerts for little girls who dream of being the next big voice on Idol too. Providing it’s still around by then.

 I have to say this finale, left me a bit cold. They seemed more interested in pimping their causes and showcasing other artists than what I thought the show was supposed to be about. We actually barely saw the contestants and when we did, they were usually singing back up or something. They actually gave a solo spot to Sanjaya, so he could assault us, yet again with his inept and off key stylings of a rock song. I don’t think I can ever listen to it again without cringing. In fact, I’ve forgotten what it was I was so traumatized by his shredding of it.

The best part of it (and honestly, the only reason I watched) was Taylor and his jacket. At least the guy has a pulse and tried to get people up on their feet. Is it me, or was the audience just made up of celebrities, their relatives and relatives of the American Idol folks?

And the report card section with old Clive was more like a public bashing then what I think it was supposed to be. Why didn’t he just say, “All hail the bald bag of angst and the country Barbie Doll,” and leave it at that? And I’m just curious but how is it a Barbie Doll (clutching the mike stand for dear life, lest she fall off the stage) can sell 6 million fricking albums? I don’t get it. And who told her she could sing, “I’ll Stand By You” with any authority? Some songs can not be countrified and that’s one of them.

One more thing – Greenday (is that their name?) might want to g**gle Bob Dylan, he did it first and oh so much better. What passes as deep and profound songs these days don’t reach me – I mean, what does a kid with too much eyeliner and bad hair know about the working class? Over my head to be sure.

So congrats to Screechy Girl – you’ll be an American Idol diva in no time with a nice, generic diva album that little girls will buy in the millions. I have a feeling though, that Beat-Box Boy will do better – at least I’ll be buying his album – gotta love the dark horse and somebody who just does their own thing.

I shudder to think what next year’s Idol will produce. The recent compulsion to do spin off after spin off of the show tells me that the magic is starting to tarnish. Maybe we’ll luck out and “So You Think You Can Dance” will take center stage. Could happen.

What’s your take?

WC