That damn dress and other blog posts I loved this week

heartSunglasses

Though there were lots of blog posts around the Internet this week, these are my faves. Lucky us we have the weekend to check them out. 😀

Of course life would not be complete if the Internet wasn’t exploding about something or other. But really is the dress white and gold? Black and blue? Let science explain. Here’s the science behind that goddamn dress

Fascinating that this social media venue seems to be leaving all others in the dust. 10 Amazing Facts About Pinterest Marketing That Will Surprise You

Who knew the word princess could cause such a shit-storm of controversy? The comments are very interesting and entertaining.  The Princess Author Syndrome

I found this whole concept fascinating and thought I might give it a try myself. I love the intimacy aspect too.  Reaching Readers: 7 Reasons You Need A Walking Podcast

For those of us looking for ways to stand out as authors, audio books are something to consider. Good nuts and bolts post on the how-to’s.  How to Produce Audiobooks with Amazon ACX

Which is the best venue for you? Read the post and you decide.  Amazon vs Apple

Have a great weekend.

WC

 

And the Winner Is…Thoughts about 2015 Oscars

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Full disclosure, I haven’t seen any of the films that were nominated, except for one, which I couldn’t finish watching because I thought it was pretty bad.

Last night I decided to watch the Oscars last night because it was raining, there was nothing else on and heck I hadn’t watched them for a long time. It could be fun, at least mildly entertaining – I thought.

The emcee for the evening was Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser and How I Met Your Mother). Opening number was typical Oscar, borderline cheesy but cute. Who knew Neil could sing?

Thoughts:

Why wasn’t he funny? His jokes didn’t land but I couldn’t figure out why.

Did anybody get the whole coming out in his underwear thing?

The predictions gag didn’t deliver

Highlights:

Lady GaGa (looking quite beautiful I might add) did an amazing tribute to Julie Andrews. Who knew she had that kind of range?

Eddie Redmayne’s acceptance speech, adorably boyish, humble and sweet. He could be a character in my stories any day.

John Travolta got his co-presenter’s name correct. And good for him for being able to laugh at himself.

Great performance of Glory the song that won the award. Not a dry eye in the house.

Ben Affleck looked pissed all night. Anybody know why? Maybe his underwear was too tight?

Ironic that the movie that took the ‘big’ awards was about a washed up actor trying to make a comeback. Isn’t that ironic? Actors and show people giving an award to a film about actors and show people? How diverse.

Political statements instead of acceptance speeches:

Some people like this sort of thing. I don’t. I’m not watching to hear about this actor or that actor’s views on politics. I love you Patricia but really? And John are we really still in the same mindset as 50 years ago? And, and, and…

For me, this sort of thing ruins awards shows which are supposed to be fun, glitzy and glamorous. And really, it’s not like celebrities don’t have a million opportunities to spout their personal views. Just saying.

Disappointments:

Nothing for Clint? Shocking. I mean cripes. Nothing for the biggest box office movie of the year? Maybe he needed a struggling actor character in the script?

Best part of the show:

Lady GaGa in a beautiful white gown singing her ever living heart out.

Worst part of the show:

Neil in his underwear.

Your turn. What are your thoughts? Happy about the winners? Wanted somebody else to win? Who had the best dress?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Should a Writer Make Fun of Their Readers?

angry-woman

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business reading blogs that I subscribe to – one of which was on a blog I recently started reading. The blog author is very intense and writes with a take no prisoners attitude. Very popular.

However, as I started reading the post I frowned in confusion. First I couldn’t figure out what the point was – was it a rant, a joke, were they serious? Of course I had to read the entire post to finally get to the last line which basically said, in case you’re too dense to figure it out, this is satire.

But here’s the problem – satire is supposed to be funny. It makes fun of something or someone in a clever, witty way, that enables us to laugh, sometimes even at ourselves. But the post wasn’t funny. For a few reasons…

It danced around the topic instead of coming out and naming it outright. I mean crap, if you’re satirizing something shouldn’t you say what you’re satirizing? It was also very clear what the author’s personal views were on the topic and satire isn’t personal, it’s satire. And finally, it insulted anyone who didn’t share the author’s point of view. Myself included. It used phrases like ‘true believers’ and I believe ‘kool aid’ which we all know is code for well, you know….

I considered making a comment but in viewing the other comments I saw it would be a flame fest, should anyone have the opposite view of said satire.

In the end, I unsubscribed from the blog. But not because I was pissed and not even because the author and I had different views. I unsubscribed because I came away from that post thinking, “This writer thinks I’m an idiot.” And no matter what else I might’ve thought about the post, that was the lasting impression. So then why would I subscribe to a blog written by an author who thinks I’m an idiot? Naturally, I wouldn’t.

Now whether or not this author would give a flying crap about my unsubscribing from the blog is irrelevant. In fact, I’m pretty sure the author wouldn’t give a flying crap. Unless of course 100 other readers unsubscribed too. Or more. That might make the author notice. Or not. It’s hard to say. But I can guarantee, I’ll never buy anything written by that author. Which also means, I’ll never recommend anything written by that author, or their blog or conferences where the author is a speaker. And so on. So maybe it does matter or should.

We all have our world views and that’s fine. But there is a fine line between expressing our views and insulting our readers. I’m not sure I even know what that line is and frankly politics exhausts me so when I feel like ranting about it I try to do said ranting on political forums. Not always, but usually. But I find myself doing less and less of that because my focus is on books – writing them, reading them, helping other writers, and readers, making people laugh and generally not add to the noise of the incessant ranting on the Internet. I have to say, I do sleep much better at night now.

So, what do you think, would you unsubscribe from a blog under similar circumstances or just shrug it off?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

The Slap – Review

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While poking around this weekend looking for a movie to watch, I struck out and so I turned to TV for entertainment. I guess Valentine’s Day superseded TV programmer’s need to put anything watchable on the tube so I turned to Hulu.

I made the mistake of watching the pilot for a new NBS show called, “The Slap.” The title alone made me wonder how a TV show could be sustained with such a title but I was desperate.

The Slap is aptly named because it’s a slap in the face of anyone who wasted their time watching it. It centers around a family and extended family of Greek decent. All the stereotypical characters make an appearance and except for the main character, Hector, seem pretty dull.

It’s Hector’s 40th birthday, so family, friends and extended family gather round Hector to celebrate while he is secretly having a midlife crisis and fantasizing about a girl who looks to be about 14 but probably is 17.

There’s the usual banter and family conflict and the thing that stands out most is that a couple (whose relationship to the rest of the characters is very unclear) who has a demon seed for a child. I think his name is Hugo and he is destructive, anti-social and has no compunction about destroying other people’s stuff – imagine what he’ll be like when he’s five? The father of said demon seed is a self-absorbed ‘artist’ who apparently hates rich people as evidenced by his antagonism toward one of Hector’s cousins, a successful car salesman. Ironic considering they’re all hanging at a huge and likely very expensive brownstone drinking fine wine and imported beer. The mother of said demon seed is an airhead whose only solution to her son’s destructiveness is to breast feed her four year old son and treat him as an infant.

All the others are irritated by the child and clearly dismayed by this child’s behavior and his parent’s lack of concern and supervision but tolerate it for some reason.

So, after the kid destroys rare vinyl collector albums, tears out have the garden in the yard, throws a game boy to the floor in a fit he starts swinging a wooden bat at one of the other kids because he’s struck out. The father of the child who is being accosted (naturally it’s the big bad capitalist who has the nerve to succeed) by the demon seed has had enough and intervenes.

He pulls the bat away from the kid who is now totally out of control and shakes him to get the kid’s attention. The kid then kicks the guy. The capitalist slaps the kid out of reflex.

Okay, granted he reacted and shouldn’t have hit the kid but the response of the others is beyond the pale. They liken him to Hitler and it ruins the party. And of course now the ‘child abuser’ is persona non grata because he dared to step in and try to control and out of control situation.

Now there are rumblings about lawsuits and everybody is just appalled by what’s happened. I guess the rest of the show will include the lawsuit and ‘examine’ child abuse as its theme.

There’s only a few problems with this show and its premise:

1. None of the characters are likeable
2. Most of them have all kinds of weird dysfunctional behavior so they aren’t exactly in a position to judge
3. The kid who was slapped was essentially unharmed and is the most unlikeable of them all
4. The parents of the child are almost as unlikeable as the kid
5. It has preachy written all over it.

If NBC or any network wants to take on the themes of family dysfunction and specifically child abuse I think they could find (if they tried) a story that actually looked at this very real problem instead of going for sensationalism and then feeling smug about it.

If you want my advice, avoid the show at all costs.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

The Mystery of the flat tire in Sizzler’s parking lot

mystery of the flat tire

Haven’t talked to my BFF,  Zelda, for a few weeks. We’re both cray-cray because we’re trying to get stuff done. Me the book series, she her information product package.

Anyway, she was hungry, I was hungry – it seemed a trip to Sizzler was in order. The big draw being the all you can eat salad bar. Because, you know…All. You. Can. Eat. Big appeal to those of us on a budget, right?

I told her about my project. She told me about her project. We ate. Then we ate some more. And just for good measure, we ate some more.

Sizzler apparently closes at nine o’clock now. I guess people don’t get hungry after nine in our town. The server was nice. Eyes averted he asked us if we wanted more plate (for the all you can eat salad bar) but his voice said please don’t ask for more plates because my feet hurt and I want to go home and soak them. Also, behind him, other workers were breaking down the salad bar, turning off lights and whipping out industrial sized mops. Hint-hint.

On the way out I blamed Zelda for letting me eat too much. She told me to shut up.

So out we walk to the mostly empty parking lot. It was a gloriously cool evening and after the weeks of ball-breaking heat we’d been experiencing, I was feeling uber happy. At last, Fall had arrived.

“Oh my God,” Zelda said.

My head jerked left and right. “What?”

“I don’t f’ing believe it.”

Head bobbing up and down. “What? What? What?

Zelda bent over the left front fender. “The tire is flat.”

“Damn.” Still, I had to grin because whenever Zelda and I get together, it’s always something. We just have that kind of karma.

But not to worry, Zelda had a mini compressor in her trunk (Zelda has many magical things in her trunk – more about that later). Yes, they make those. Who knew? It’s cool, you hook it up to the car battery, it blows air in your tire and you’re off to the races.

Except, not so much. The compressor didn’t work. Zelda frowned. “Hmmmmm, it worked last month.”

Okay, Plan A definitely not working.

I called my room-mate. Voice mail. Hmmmmmm.

We flipped the switch on and off, played with the electrical lead. Begged. Pleaded. That compressor could not be sweet-talked.

Zelda decided to call Triple A. Okay Plan B. Auto Club. Sounds good.

She also had to use the rest room in the grocery store a few steps away.

Time passed.

I tried my room-mate again.

More time passed.

The homeless folks wielding shopping carts rattled by. And a guy in a weird truck drove circles in the lot.

More time passed.

I called my room-mate.

Apparently I was alone on the planet.

Then Zelda emerged from the grocery carrying buckets (don’t ask) – the phone stuck to her ear and rolling her eyes.

That was the second call to the auto club and apparently the driver was coming in 20 minutes, which technically is what they told her 20 minutes before.

We decided to get the spare out of the trunk, so the Triple A guy could change the tire faster. Not sure there was real logic there as much as it gave us something to do.

Now to get to the tire we needed to move some stuff. A lot of stuff. Water bottles, microwave mac’n cheese, ski poles, duffel bags, a tarp – like I said, Zelda has many magical things in her trunk. We emptied the contents into the backseat, which made her Lexus look more like Jed Clampett’s ride than an awesome luxury vehicle.

Just when all hope seemed lost, the drive rolled up. My pulse quickened, my eyes gleamed – I might get home by ten o’clock and catch a rerun on TV.

Driver was a nice guy – shaved head, I imagined with a wife and five kids. He looked that tired. He whips out his fancy jack, wheels it over, puts it in the right spot of the car and pumps. All good.

He fights a bit with the lug nuts but he wasn’t about to lose that battle and the lug nuts finally relented. Okay, we’re moving into the final leg of the journey.

He wiggles the wheel to get it loose. And then the car rolls back because he didn’t chock the back wheel.

Steam coming out of Zelda’s ear. Me grasping her arm so she won’t slug him.

Sigh.

The bad tire did manage to absorb some of the fall and the driver’s fancy jack helped some too. Except that now the jack was smooshed up. Need a new jack.

Driver shuffles to his truck to call the dispatcher.

Zelda mutters and takes pictures of her wheel base for proving damage. I smell a nasty letter in somebody’s future.

More time passes. Is it even still Friday?

Another driver shows up. He’s young, friendly, lots of energy. This could be better. Time is spent deliberating how to get the car up without bending the frame or something like that. Talk, huddling, mutters.

Somehow they (after they’d chocked the back tire) manage to raise up the car and get the spare tire on. Lugs nuts on.

Okay pulse quickening once again. Just a few more minutes and we’re on our way. Oh-oh, the spare is flat too.

The happy driver has an air compressor on board. Yay.

Tire inflates. Phew!

We wave, blow kisses, thank the drivers profusely. Just get me the hell home, I think.

The happy driver makes a sad face. “Wow,” he says, “good thing we got the air in that tire, my compressor just broke.”

I looked at Zelda, “Drive, damn it, just drive. Before something else happens.”

So I got home just before eleven. Zelda didn’t call so I assume she got home too.

Weird thing was, we couldn’t see any damage to the original tire. Just flat as a pancake. No obvious or apparent damage. Oh well, that’s a mystery for another day. True story.

So, how was your Friday night?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2014

Does everything have to be a “thing”? (Are you just a marketing widget?)

photograph courtesy of morguefile.com
photograph courtesy of morguefile.com

You can chalk it up to the rebel in me but I really hate labels.  And it seems like more and more that every activity, belief, principle, component, element has to have a label.  It has to be a ‘thing.’  Know what I mean?

For example…

Can’t we just be good about conservation, maximize our resources, re-purpose our old stuff, and care about nature in general without having to be an environmentalist? Or worried about global warming, climate change – or whatever the kids are calling it these days?

Or can’t people who read blogs or books just be readers instead of your tribe,  your audience, your peeps?

Can’t we just be Americans without the hyphens?

Do our sex lives have to define us? Straight? Gay? Transgender? Bi? And how on Earth did our ‘sexual orientation’ (another word that drives me bats) become political?

As Americans don’t we all just have rights?  Do we really need sub-categories of women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, illegal immigrant rights?  Do our smart-phones, tablets, computers, televisions and cars have rights too? Maybe not today but don’t be surprised if somebody suggests it in the not too distant future.

Are we all just widgets and demographics?

I think it’s interesting that people are so concerned about political parties and who has minorities and majorities in this administration or that administration.  And yeah, it’s important.  But the thing we all seem to miss is that the people who have the real power are those who can convince us that we belong in groups.  That we are merely a number in their given category.  That we aren’t really individuals.  That we are defined by our interests and not by who we are. Who are these nefarious folks?  Marketers.  People who want to sell us stuff.  And no matter how much stuff they sell us, they want to sell us more. We’re not people, we’re just group members, numbers, part of the demo – widgets.

For example, I’m ‘white, middle-age, single female, christian, conservative baby boomer.’  These folks don’t care that I love animals, would help anyone who needed help, am a great cook, can make people laugh, grow the best tomatoes on the planet, love a good steak, have passion for the written word, hate to drive but love cars, voracious reader, prolific writer, love puns, cry at beautiful things, shoot straight from the hip kind of gal.  Because they don’t see me or you as a person, just as someone to manipulate to buy and use their stuff. (And there’s that whole creating the us against them scenario, which I probably shouldn’t even go into here…)

If you’re worried about the government spying on you and learning all about you, then you should be terrified of the marketers out there who are doing it in spades.  I mean, who do you think taught the government how to do it? Whose technology does the government use to learn all your secrets?

I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with people wanting to sell their wares.  There are a lot of really cool and useful products and services out there and people who want them and can use them, should know about them.  But I am suggesting that we have allowed marketers to get so inside our heads that we no longer define ourselves – instead we let them define us. Know what I mean?

Resistance is futile – or is it?

So I suggest that we resist.  Stop letting them make you a widget in a crowd of widgets.  Resist the urge of putting yourself into categories – especially ones provided by others.  Define yourself.  Use your own words.  Be the unique person that you are. Because we’re people, damn it! Right?

Are you tired of feeling like a widget in the big demographic machine?  Or do you like the labels?  Why?

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014

You might be heading toward brain death if…

Have you ever been in such a mind-numbed state that coming up with a menu for breakfast is a major accomplishment? Yep, that’s me lately. Usually I have so many thoughts and ideas traveling at warp speed between my ears that have to tell the voices to quiet down under threat of a time out. So many plans that my desk is covered with little index cards and post-its with bits of brilliance just waiting to be developed into a story, a post, an article, a poem – many of them unreadable when I get back to them. ‘Let’s see is that an m or an n?’

And the condition seems to come on without notice or preamble. Suddenly you just can’t think, you have no ideas and forget about having a conversation with anyone. However, over the years I have come up with a list of signs that I am heading toward brain death and thought I’d share in the hopes that maybe you can see it coming and do something before total flat line sets in.

You might be heading for brain death if:

1. Somebody hands you money and you say, “No thanks, I’m full.
2. You start nodding in agreement while listening to an Obama speech.
3. You regard your pet dog, cat, goldfish, iguana as one of the smartest people you know.
4. You believe that spending money you don’t have will increase your net worth.
5. You think that walking up a flight of stairs cancels out that slice of death by chocolate cake you just ate.
6. You believe reality shows are real.
7. You religiously post your score for online scrabble on face-book every day.
8. You start to feel ill if you don’t visit face-book and twitter 25 times a day.
9. You go into a panic when you can’t answer your cell phone by the second ring.
10. You think Jon Stewart is a brilliant political commentator.
11. You intend to spend the next two weeks reading every one of Sarah Palin’s emails.
12. You want to see the picture of Wiener’s wiener.
13. You’re concerned about the welfare of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan or the Kardashians.
14. You feel actual physical pain when you turn off your computer, your television or your cell phone.
15. You turn down a date with a perfectly nice guy because you’re saving yourself for Hugh Jackman.

If these or any similar signs begin to manifest in your life, you may be in serious trouble. You may be able to remedy the situation by taking a walk, having a conversation with a real person in actual English, eating a meal that does not contain food coloring, chemicals and flavor enhancers, or reading a book. Remember a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

WC

Copyright 2011

Truth, Justice & the American Way – Meh…Not So Much…

Well it had to happen sooner or later, didn’t it?  SuperMan is officially a one-world-order-global warming-UN loving- drone. I think super heroes everywhere should be shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. Don’t you? I mean seriously what other country would super heroes have come from? Russia, China, Iran? Come on folks, superhero-dom is uniquely American – there is no other government on Earth that would stand for it, is there?

I had to laugh though, that StuporMan decided to make his announcement at the UN – maybe he’s more assured that he won’t get beaned with some rotten tomatoes there? Could be.  Oh well, Stupor Man go and be free and live in the one world order of mediocrity – in fact, take all  your p.c. friends with you – we Americans won’t mind one bit.