Gilmore Girls Obsession

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Somewhere between landing back in L.A. and now I got a serious obsession with the Gilmore Girls. I know, I know…it’s just a silly television show no longer on the air and in syndication. I blame Zelda for this. She has that snazzy dohicky thingie called Dish TV and Teevo (sp?). Which in the off chance you don’t know is where a television addict can record shows to watch later.

She became enamored with this show and started recording it and soon we were up late nights catching up on the latest hijinks with Rory and Loralei. I’m telling you, this show is absolutely addictive. I don’t know why exactly, but I must know what is going to happen. While I was still at Zelda’s it got so bad that I found I wanted to watch it two, three, four times a day. But there weren’t that many shows recorded. And Zelda had a rule, she never watched it unless there was more than one show recorded. And sometimes she’d watch it without telling me and I’d miss an episode.

“Luke and Loralei kissed?” I asked outraged at missing the event.

“Oh yeah,” Zelda murmured, “old  news.”

Since I didn’t have my own teevo I scoured the internet to find my own episodes. I checked fancast, hulu, and duck tv. They had episodes but the download and buffering was horrible – I’d miss every other word and the frames would freeze leaving Loralei and Rory in obscene poses and expression. I went so far as to download a ‘viewer’ from Duck tv which turned out to be a trojan horse supplier which ultimately caused me to have to reformat my hard drive and lose many of my files. The bastard. Never go there, it will be bad for your computer.

So after I moved, I started again in my quest for Gilmore Girl episodes to watch online. Zelda (now known as the evil one, insert evil laughter here) went and bought the entire seven seasons. She taunts me with this. I suppose I will have to pay admission or a rental fee to borrow them. I’m so jealous. I’m going to get my own set. haha.

Okay back to the story…I did find one website that has excellent viewing capabilities – Joost.com. I watched seven shows last night. It was amazing and I loved it. However, they have no more for me to watch. I can already feel the twitch of viewer desire kicking in. Don’t know what I’m going to do…

I guess when I get some dough I’m just going to have to buy the whole set. All 140 shows. Once I do I can’t gaurantee you’ll see much of me. I will be hunkered down in front of the dvd player watching, eating popcorn, watching more. When it’s all over I may start again from the top.

Any GG obsessers out there besides me?

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Old Friends

Don’t you just love them? Especially the ones you haven’t talked to in ages and when you pick up the phone and give them a call, it’s as though nothing has changed. You still have so much to talk about and laugh about – and damn it’s just good to hear their voice and remember how much you really dig them? Yep. That’s one of the good, good things in life, isn’t it?

I had the pleasure of talking to an old friend last night and I’m still smiling. It was just great to talk to them and yak about…everything really. And even though we talked for three hours we still had a lot more to say to each other. I really love that, don’t you? Someone you like so much that you never really run out of things to say or talk about.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily crap and what is stressing you out at the moment and forget to stay in touch and all that. Ah, but when I do get back in touch I forget about the stress and remember why I really like this person – that I own a little piece of them and they own a little piece of me and that’s how it should be.

So, sorry no funny saracasm, no rapier wit – I’m just really happy that I spent a lot of time last night talking to an old friend.

The Accidental Meatloaf

It all started because there was a big sale on hamburger last week at the local grocery store. At $0.99 a pound I stocked up – since I’m a starving freelance writer and all… Anywhoo – I get it home and man, did I buy a lot and I started wondering what the heck I was going to do with all of it. A person can only eat so many lettuce wrapped hamburgers after all.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought I’d do some meatloaf. I’d make a lot and give some to Zelda who couldn’t cook her way out of a water boiling contest and maybe even roomie if he wasn’t a shit for a few days. So..it all settled nicely in my mind and I forgot about it.

Then one day the urge for meatloaf rang through my head on a particularly overcast and gloomy day. Love to cook when the weather is sad. So I pulled out a good chunk of hamburger to thaw in the morning. Well, bite me and slap me on the fanny when I was ready to make the darn stuff, I didn’t have the usual accroutements that I throw in there. In fact, I had precious little to make the meatloaf and I was in no mood to go to the store. So, I improvised – worst case scenario the dog would get some yummy treats and I’d have a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter for dinner.

To my utter shock and amazement, it turned out to be the best meatloaf I ever made and I make some awesome meatloaf. So… I share the recipe with you. Try it, you’ll love it.

1 big old hunk of ground beef

1 large egg

3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

8 ounces of tomato sauce

4 tablespoons of 1/2 & 1/2 or blue cheese dressing if you’re out of cream

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 stalks finely minced celery

1/2 small minced brown onion

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, using your hands – making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Form into a loaf and bake in a loaf pan (or whatever you normally use) in a 400 degree oven for 1.25 – 1.5 hours. Let rest for ten minutes before slicing.

I’m telling you folks, this is super yummy and I really regretted giving any of it away. In fact, I’m making another one right now.

Oooh and while we’re on the topic – I have great recipe for beet greens. Yup, that’s right beet greens. While it may be no suprise to some of you – I had no idea you could eat beet greens. I had grown some beets in my garden which I had pulled and made but had all the tops left. I happened to check to see if there was a recipe to make them and found a really super one.

Mess of beet greens, double cleaned, dried and torn into bite size pieces (including stems)

8 slices of bacon – the smokier the better

1/4 onion – chopped fine

1 tsp butter

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

2 TBS sugar (or splenda if you can’t have sugar)

Cook the bacon until it is 2/3 cooked, toss in chopped onion, if not enough bacon fat, add a little bit of butter, cook until onions are soft, slowly add in the greens, turning to wilt them – keep doing this until you’ve gotten all the greens in there and sauteed to a nice wilt with the leaves still a pretty bright green. Remove to a bowl. Add vinegar and sugar to the pan (turn off heat) and stir mixture into remaining juices in pan, once mixed, return the greens to pan and turn and toss until coated with the vinegar/sugar mixture. Serve immediately. Delish! Try it. BTW, the stems should be included as well, when cooked they have a wonderful beety flavor.

Okay, so this concludes our cooking class for today. 😉 WC

Flex, Lies and Video Games

All I can say is that I’m glad that personal computers weren’t around when I was a kid. If they had been, I’d weigh 500 lbs, have coke bottle glasses and have no friends that weren’t virtual.

I have a problem. I am addicted to online computer games. Currently, it’s Mahjong II – apparently Mahjong I was so popular they decided to improve it. But that’s the current phase. Before that? Spider, Solitaire, Text Twist, Collapse, Glinx and the list goes on and on. It was innocent enough at first, ‘oh looky here, what’s this. this might be fun.’ Hours later, bleary-eyed, full-bladdered, starving and exhausted I wondered what it was I actually got on the computer to do. Beats me.

There’s a little hook in all of these games or at least the ones I’ve played. The trick is, there is always one screen or level that you can’t quite win. You tell yourself, “If I could just get through this level, I’m done.” Right. They know you can’t get through the level because there is no trick or pattern, it’s random, it’s a bunch of mathematical equations, buzzing through cyberspace at a bagillion bite thingies a second. And the longer you try to get through that level, the more tired you become and less alert and of course now that your brain is fried you won’t ever be able to do it. Or…maybe occasionally, you actually do hit pay dirt. The win is so anti-climatic that you now have to see if you can do it two times in a row. Has anybody got an Advil?

I’ve resolved a bagillion times to just stop. Cold turkey. Stupid video games, I have much better things to do with my time. My brain was meant for bigger challenges. I have a life to live, places to go, people to meet. But then the little whiney computer addict voice chimes in “It relaxes you. Just do it to wind down for a few minutes. Half hour tops.” The next thing you know it’s one o’clock in the morning and even your dog has gone to bed. So, what is a slightly OCD’d writer to do? How can I stop? Where and how will I ever get that lost time back?

Maybe I should take up Yoga or Tai Chi. I should walk the dog. Blow up my computer. Become a vegetarian? I don’t know but I’ve got to stop. Cocaine was never this tough. What do you do? I know you all have the same problem maybe not as bad as mine, but admit it – you too get on the mindless computer game train. It passes the time. You don’t have to think or worry or solve problems, beyond getting to that next level. It’s your secret addictive behavior that you don’t admit to. It’s your little luxury of brainlessness that you don’t want to give up either. But I’m telling you friends, that we must revolt! We must just say no and walk away. We must not look into the light or watch the scoreboard. We must get clean and straight and work on those novels, poems, posts, school play costumes and dinner!

Are you with me? 😉

WC

Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy…

For as long as I can remember one of my favorite songs was Summertime. Whether it was Lena Horne or Otis Redding, or anyone else who could belt one out, singing it. I think it’s one of the best songs ever written because it so thoroughly expresses the feeling of summertime. The hot days and mean summer sun – the fragrant balmy nights – the lazy, languid movements of sun-kissed skin. Oh yeah.

It’s been very hot in my little burg and though it drives most people inside to find the solace of air conditioning and bad television – it makes me smile. It makes me think of my dad and watermelon and eating giant beefsteak tomatoes on the front porch. Swatting away the flies and trying to catch the juice before it drips down your chin and onto your nice white tee shirt.

Of dangling toes in the cool comfort of a country lake. The symphony of butterflies, birds and bees that hover and dart in the garden, serenading and gliding – a cacaphony of color and songs piercing the cloudless blue sky. Of softie ice cream cones in the darkened livingroom, the fan rattling and television down low. Of sitting in the window when I should have been sleeping and listening to the crickets as they sing out the stars scattered across a darkening sky.

Of picnics and parties. Rollercoasters and cotton candy, apples dipped in sweet, chewy caramel and a sheen of oily sweat that never goes away until the weather breaks. The air so heavy with water that refuses to turn to rain.

Of my new keds, red and unblemished. Scraped elbows and new adventures along the railroad track, discovering rocks and trash that were treasures to us. Iced tea sweating and leaving a ring on the table, putting it to my forehead and how cool it felt there. Streaks of blonde hair glistening the mousey brown of winter.

It makes me think of all these things and more. I guess you could say I am a child of summer. I need the sunshine to live. I never want it to end.

WC

IPhone – I-Insane

I guess I’m kind of old fashioned, since I’m not one of those people who wait with distraction for the next great technological gadget to hit the market. Unlike, apparently, millions. Before the Iphone was released people were camping on line at Best Buy, Circuit City or wherever the heck they sell the thang, in hopes of getting one of their very own.

The commericals are cute and make it all sound so simple. Every little thing you could want, all in one, cool looking little gadget. What’s not to love? Well, I think for what they’re charging maybe they should throw in a personal assistant too, but that’s me.

Anyway, needless to say it is a hit and thousands or millions or bagillions are now happily enjoying their new little window to the world and feeling super cool and possibly a little superior. Since Ipods are such popular targets for thieves, I can only imagine how much they are going to love the Iphone. Make sure you take out some gadget insurance on these puppies, folks.

And just when I thought I’d seen everything, I happened upon this little article. Apparently, this fellow felt his texting speed simply wasn’t fast enough. His solution – surgery. Yep, that’s what I said. The man got surgery to shave down his thumbs so he could improve his texting speed. Wow, I shudder to think what surgeries he have had if he wanted to speed up other things.

There are millions of bizarro stories in the universe and this is one of them. 😉

WC

Is it All About Ego?

A couple of years ago I made an observation which I found startling. I worked for a couple of fellows who were very talented artistically, but where awful businessmen. The constant juggling and borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, drove me, their general manager, nuts.

I couldn’t understand how they could operate that way, much less live that way. Yet, they did and managed to pull off some very impressive things.

I also have friends who have done what I considered to be some very risky stuff and came out the other end on top. One friend in particular has become quite successful and it’s funny to me because I knew them when, so to speak and remember many times in the not too distant past when they would have been happy to be working at McDonald’s.

I became curious about this thing called success and so I started to really watch them, the boys and my friend, looking for some common denominator. One, which, apparently I lacked. I started to really listen to the things they said, how they dealt with others and there general approach to life.

What I found was that my friend and the boys and in fact, as I thought about it, anyone I knew personally who was or had been successful was ego. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. But they all do/did have quite the ego. They all believed that they were somehow superior, better, more capable, smarter, talented (you name it) than most other people.

This really floored me. Just to realize that the difference between constantly trying and getting nowhere and succeeding and ultimately getting what you want, was about having an ego that in some cases, actually lied to you. Sometimes quite often.

I looked around a bit at other people whom I didn’t know, to see if that was the deciding factor. I certainly found many examples. Madonna is a good one. She is marginally talented – accept for her dancing which used to be pretty good, and may still be but I’m not up to date on what she’s doing these days – yet she is one of them most famous and successful women in show business. David Letterman, a very popular talk show host, who clearly has a big ego – and not that talented. On the funny scale he rates about a 3, yet he’s making a bagillion dollars a year while many of my blogging friends who are hilarious are working 9 to 5 jobs. John Grisham is a another example – his writing style actually causes me pain, but everything he writes sure do make good, formulaic movies which of course make millions of dollars.

So far, it seems to be bearing out.

But here’s the rub – what am I/we supposed to do? I even tried to sort of emulate my friend – walk with a struth and swagger, think of myself as hot shit and all I got was my little voice chastising me for being a jerk. I try to cop an attitude and people just look at me and laugh. It’s pathetic really.

Since I’ve been on this quest to get an agent and somehow manage to do the impossible and get published it’s been beating up what little ego I have. In fact, my ego is so sore that it can barely move. Yet, I know that is what I need. I need to act and believe like I’m hot shit. Be confident though nobody in the world wants to represent me or publish me. Know that they are all wrong and I am right. Quite the challenge. Possibly the impossible dream. But what’s a Irish Catholic girl from the Midwest to do?

Nope, I don’t know the answer. But I do think I’m onto something. So starting today, I will practice my affirmations, come up with ego boosting mantras and look down my nose at as many people as possible. I will act like I have a million bucks in the bank and I don’t need a thing. Act as though I am motivated by ambition alone. LOL. Think it will work?

WC

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

Talk Radio

When I was a kid, I remember my father had a police scanner and an old radio next to his bed. He often worked the night shift and would have to sleep during the day – the radio and scanner would help lull him to sleep.

Though I always wondered how a bunch of people talking and squawking radios could put someone to sleep. They have the opposite effect on me.

I also never thought I would ever become a fan of talk radio. It always seemed so weird to me that people would actually tune to a radio station where other people just talked. What about music? Isn’t that what radios were really for?

Without any intentional thought, I gravitated to talk radio. I used to read the papers but I’d always get upset and pissed off when I read them. I tried watching the news and it had the same effect. It seemed that the papers and the newscasts were more interested in getting a rise out of people or alarming people than they were in reporting the news – whatever the heck that’s supposed to mean. They should probably call it the ‘bad news’ because that’s all I ever got from those sources. In fact, I found that I would become depressed if I read or watched that stuff too much. Still, I wanted to know what was going on in the world.

I’m not sure how it started but I think it was a few years ago when I was working with the prop making guys. I had to cover the phones, while I did other work at my desk. Since most everyone was out in the warehouse making cool things I was usually alone in the office.

So, I turned on the radio – for some reason the only good reception I got was on am talk radio stations – so I started to listen to it. And shortly, I began to really love it. The talk radio folks would take the news of the day and analyse it, question it, discuss it with callers. It was really kind of cool because I got a multitude of viewpoints on the same story – which made me feel that I really understood the topic and could discuss it intelligently with others.

I am one who loves to talk, debate and discuss, so apparently talk radio was right up my alley. I never called in, because I was at work and also because I really preferred to listen. It was almost like hanging out with a good friend, rather than working alone in an office. My day flew by as I listened and did work and answered the phones.

But then I changed jobs. Haven’t listened to talk radio since because I can’t listen to the radio in a doctor’s office. I can’t really listen to it while driving, because I have to pay attention to driving and other drivers and I don’t know, it’s just not the same.

But I miss it, I really do. I miss the fact that I could get the news without  having to read yet another thing. That I could listen to a dialogue without having to contribute to it and learn something, find out about something. I still miss it.

In fact, I miss my old job and I think talk radio is a big reason why. I haven’t really listened for about 6 months and I feel so out of touch with the world and the news and world events. I miss it because I’ve lost a lot of blog fodder by not being able to listen to it. Somehow my world is a little smaller because talk radio isn’t in it.

Must get a job that has talk radio as a perk. I don’t know what I’ll do in 2008 if I can’t follow every minute detail of the candidates and shenanigans – this could get serious. 😉

How about you? Do you listen to talk radio?

WC

Going For It

Hey Everybody,

I know I haven’t been around much lately, so I thought I’d give you a quick update of what I’ve been doing lately.
I have a bunch of agents to query this week – I may still try to post but I have 35 agents to hit and I want to get this done this week.
 
So…if you don’t see much of me, that’s where I am and what I’m doing.
 
Something has happened to me lately- maybe I’ve realized  how much I want this (to get published) or something. I don’t know. But last weekend, I spent 5 hours poring over lists of agents and came up with 35 to submit to. I know it’s a longshot, as is everything you really want in life but I’ll never know if I don’t try. And I really want to try. That’s probably the biggest change. Maybe in the past I’ve been satisfied with just writing. I do love to write and I do it all the time and it is satisfying. But now, it seems I also want to be read – widely. Is it an ego thing? I don’t know. I suppose it could be – but maybe it’s really just a natural progression. Maybe I’ve finally decided that maybe I have something to say and that maybe others would like to know about that. Or maybe that I’ve decided I’m good enough to give it a shot. It’s like the beautiful butterfly that weaves in and out of the garden though, if you just watch it – it will entertain you for hours – but if you try to catch it, it eludes you. I suppose that isn’t the best analogy but hopefully you get the idea.
 
While all my friends have been supportive and encouraging when it comes to writing – and frankly, that counts for a whole hell of a lot. I’ve had two friends in particular who have really helped push me over my apathy or whatever the heck it was who I want to say, thank you, to.

Thanks Jess, for the deadline, reading the novel, all the really great things you’ve said and all the good honest feedback. I don’t think I would have gotten the ball rolling if you hadn’t just jumped in and helped me push myself.

Thanks Andrea, for wanting to help. For calling me out of the blue and offering your marketing savvy and taskmastery to me. For believing in me and telling me you think I’m the ‘real deal’.

It’s amazing people – just having someone to tell me what to do (read guidance) has seemed to make all the difference. In less than a month I’ve completed the synopsis, the query, cleaned up the manuscript and found 35 agents, plus about 20 contests I want to enter. This week, I query agents. Next week, I tweak stories, the week after that, I enter contests – and so it goes.

Suddenly, I am a mean, lean writing/marketing machine and it feels frickin great. I’m loading up my computer with mega RAM, getting a laptop (used and cheap) as well. I haven’t made this kind of progress in years or maybe ever. The postage, paper and ink is probably gonna break me but I don’t care. It’s what I want.
 
And you want to know something really funny? One of the things that is really motivating me is that I want to start a new project – a new novel. And I guess I don’t feel that I can until I get this thing moving. Does that make sense? I had all but given up on it – weird huh?

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing and I’m really glad and thankful that I’m doing it. It will probably mean that the blogging won’t be as compulsive as it’s been, I may not post as much or visit as much. But I’ll still be around. You’ll still see me. And I’ll keep everyone updated on any and all progress – if you want me to.

And too, I wanted to thank all you guys – for coming and reading and commenting and encouraging me into thinking that there are people out there who want to read what I write. That there is some value there. It has meant the world to me. You’ve no idea how much all of you have made a difference in my life in that way. I love you all.

Annie