Thursday, April 30, 2009

No News Is Good News

I'm tired.

Madeline Kahn tired.

Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's seeing the Facebook updates of others and realizing some of your friends have better lives than you and they can prove it with pictures. (Though some of those photos could be Photoshopped...) Whatever it is, I really didn't feel like going to work this morning. But then I realized if I stayed home I'd have to deal with my family, making going to work the obvious choice. (Is it just me, or do sweaty children smell just like wet dog?)

Since I had to be at work anyhow, I figured I might as And since I'm working and enrolled in this continuous learning environment, I figured I should have a close look at all of our assignments less the blog police rule me ineligible for the fabulous prizes that, should I win, I can sell online for a tidy profit. My mind was a bit fuzzy about which week I was on. Then I remembered barely stopping myself from writing a letter to Geek Sugar to let them know a NYC laptop carrying case is an accessory, not a gadget, and laughing at Gizmodo's reviews (World's Crappiest Projector (as reviewed by Gizmodo) On Sale Now at Woot), so that meant it was week four. Time for RSS feeds.

Here is what I learned from RSS feeds:

We're all going to die.

In foreclosed homes.

While wearing a paper mask like Michael Jackson wannabes.

Unlike traditional news sites, RSS feeds allow us to learn about the pending collapse of our country without those pesky Netflix ads distracting us from our feelings of hopelessness.

Personally, I prefer the distractions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flickr Fun

I’ve been thinking of marriage lately.

Maybe it has something to do with the Miss USA pageant and Miss California’s answer to Perez Hilton’s question on Prop 8. When I saw her answer on the news I know the same thing went through your head that went through mine:

“They still have beauty pageants?”

Seriously, I thought these things were canceled once women discovered they could become celebrities simply by eating live insects or group dating on TV. And don’t believe the paying-for-college hype. Having been in a pageant, they’re expensive once you throw in a gown and “minor” cosmetic enhancements, which is why you see women selling their eggs on Craig’s List for tuition.

But apparently, pageants still exist.

Thus upon looking at the news and wondering if they’d forgotten the true definition of news (Suri Cruise turned 3? Really?) I got to see the saga unfold. It goes like this: a tall, skinny, blonde with veneers and a slight fake tan who was asked about the stimulus package (Miss North Carolina) won the title over a tall, skinny blonde with veneers and a deeper fake tan asked about same-sex marriage (Miss California). When they showed the close up picture of the top five contestants I was reminded that, while cloning may be illegal, it apparently exists…

As does extreme dieting.

People wonder how a contestant could be asked about politics. To which I say, did you think the judges were going to ask, “Which do you like better, puppies or kittens?” There's a name for a pageant without political questions: Miss Hawaiian Tropic. In the pageant I entered we were asked about Clinton cabinet members, Bosnia, affirmative action, abortion, domestic violence, the Rwandan genocide, gay rights, you name it, they asked. My final question was to give my opinion on whether or not the Republican Party should spend $4 million to investigate the Democratic Party. (Since I knew I wasn’t going to win due to thigh issues, I gave my actual opinion, which is pretty funny looking back.) Right now Miss California states she would have won if she answered the question differently. To which I say, maybe. Because I wonder about people who have such faith in their accomplishments and greatness that they cannot fathom that anyone else could be better than them. Hey, even Tiger Woods lost the Masters. Does it even matter? If the top two contestants were placed in a police line up no one would be able to differentiate between them. Besides, what does Miss USA actually do? Cut ribbons at supermarkets? Smile for the camera and wave? So maybe, just maybe Miss California would have won had she answered differently, if by differently she means:

1. Not stumbling. (How many times did she say "in my" in 30 seconds?)
2. Moving her forehead instead of giving us a vacant, Botoxed stare.
3. Using existing terms instead of making one up on the spot. (Opposite marriage???)
4. Answering the question she was asked.

Lost in the hype is the fact that she didn’t actually answer the given question. But her non-answer got me thinking about “opposite marriage.” Such as, what is opposite marriage? Is it when spouses decide it’s best if they live on opposite sides of the country? Is it like the couples I know who don’t believe in divorce and thus they’ve divided the house War of the Roses style while trying to convince their kids it’s perfectly normal? Then I thought, "Maybe I should get married soon. I don't have anyone in mind as of yet, but I've had my eye on a few kitchen appliances. Perhaps I could pull a Carrie Bradshaw get-married-to-yourself thing and make a huge gift list. Didn't I put that on my to do list last year when I wanted to buy that BowFlex Treadclimber?" And, with all these thoughts of marriage, I was soon thinking about something that all of us, both opposite and same, can loathe together:

Ugly bridesmaid dresses.

Unfortunately, I am not able to state I’ve remain unscathed by horrible bridesmaid dresses, but the day I give birth to quadruplets is the day I will post unflattering pictures of myself online. However, there are plenty of people online willing to showcase how they love their friends so much they're willing to dress up like killer klowns from outer space.

Going into the Creative Commons portion of Flickr, I discovered this picture taken by Haundreis. His comment to the bridesmaids: "Someday, it will be your turn." My question: your turn to what? Corner the bride in a dark alley? In my world, friends don't dress friends in fuchsia leather bustiers, lime green shawls, and bizarre colored corsages. (Are those seed pearls I see hanging out of the flowers???)

This is just one of many hideous dresses one can find on Flickr, though there aren't nearly as many found in the Creative Commons portion. To find more, go to Flickr and type in "ugly bridesmaid dresses." Have fun (but don't get any ideas, got it?)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

7 1/2 Suggestions

Since I completely skipped over the first few assignments, I had to backtrack a bit and do some 7 1/2 OMG-not-another-power-point-presentation-say-it-ain't-so thing. I have speakers at my desk (the better to hear Robin Thicke with, my pretty) thus I also skipped having to use the yellow earphones we lend out to small children which are likely infected with something even Lysol won't kill. Here's what happened:

1st Slide: What is learning?
If you can read that slide most likely sometime, somewhere in your life, you've learned something.

Next: How do we learn?
They give us a bunch of choices, like TV, movies, books and from socializing. Well here are some of the things I've picked up from all that:

---Don't stay in room 1408.
---Don't have more than 4 kids. Ever.
---Don't have more than 2 kids unless you have a nanny.
---Don't have any kids if you like vacations and enjoy getting a full night's rest.
---Unattractive slacker men can easily land attractive women with futures.
---Rich people aren't happy because money doesn't buy happiness.
---Unless you were a hooker who is picked off the streets by Richard Gere who cleans you up, takes you to the opera, and forgets about all the non-trashy women he could marry.
---Poor people are happy.
---But only if your definition of poor includes home owners with live in help.
---Nice white ladies can do anything.
---People with bad hair and ugly clothes are outbreeding the rest of the population.
---Liquor before beer, all in the clear.
---"Oh, she won't get pregnant that way."

(Yes, because you can always trust what your social circle tells you, LOL)

Then there's some other slides, followed by things/items/suggestions/orders.

Official Rule #1: "Begin with the end in mind."
You mean like lose 30 pounds in 30 days?

#2: "Accept responsibility for your own learning."
Especially since we're too old to get our parents to co-sign for student loans.

#3: "View problems as challenges."
"This I no buy." Sometimes problems aren't challenges. Sometimes problems are just problems, and that's what makes them suck so much. Got it?

#4: "Have confidence in yourself as a competent, effective, learner, yada, yada, yada."
Cue the music. (To dream the impossible dream!)

#5: "Create your own learning toolbox."
Junk drawer. Check.

#6: "Use technology to your advantage."
Yesterday I used my ATM card to pay off my Visa. I think that counts.

#7: "Teach/mentor others."
I already do that. I've discovered trying to mentor a teen is the perfect way to get him to put down the Xbox controller, get off my couch and actually go home.

#7 1/2: "Play"
Yeah, like that's not going to end up in our evaluations.

Okay, let's be honest, just for a moment. (If you're not used to being honest, pretend you're hooked up to a polygraph machine.) Reading this made me feel like I was on one of the touchier Oprah episodes, only without the keys to a brand new car under my seat to make me feel better. Especially when it talked about making a contract with (as opposed to on) yourself. (Am I on the Clean Up Your Messy House Tour or something?)

Because I've done this before.

Haven't we all done this before?

We've all written contracts to ourselves on how we'll lose weight, save money, and stop making fun of our family members while they're in the room. And most of the time it doesn't work. Why? Because we like cookies, shiny new objects, and some of our family members are dopes we wouldn't be caught dead with if it weren't for some minor genetic quirk that makes us related; picking at them is a form of combating insanity.

So what IMO should we be doing with our time?

Eat That Frog!

A few weeks ago I picked up this book by Brian Tracy. Here's the Readers Digest version: figure out what's most important for you to do in life and focus only on those things in order of importance until they are done. I can write contracts until the earth is swallowed by the sun. My bathroom looked like a bulletin board, it had so many contracts/morning mantras/lies-I-tell-myself posted. But nothing matters if I don't JUST DO IT! Thus, while I appreciate someone saying I should write a contract with myself, I'm probably skipping it.

Think of it this way---I'm not avoiding doing an assignment.

I'm saving a tree.

This has nothing to do with the blog, but I just love this video.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pimp My Blog

I spent 4 hours in Telis yesterday.

It could have been worst---last Monday it was 5. Way back then I had flannel boards to create, meaning Old MacDonald's farm animals decorated the cubicles and felt scraps covered the floor. I was too lazy to make Old MacDonald himself. I figure if any of the toddlers ask, I'll pretend he's one of those big agra-business conglomerate farm owners who never sets foot on his land. So I didn't have anything to do (since I actually did everything---which is a blog entry onto itself) when we started getting the calls.

The dreaded tax calls.

All day long, all day long, what do we get? People calling, pretending to care about filing their taxes. Yes, they're pretending. Had they cared that much, wouldn't they have called, say, a week ago? My family fussed me out for waiting until March to complete my return, and here some person is telling me some sob story about how an ingrown toenail prevented them from limping into Rancho Cordova Library last Thursday to get free help. So after the third caller told me how they just woke up out of a coma and evil zombie Kaiser employees refused to print them out an extension form I thought, "Will it be too obvious if I call in sick every Monday until I win the lottery?" Probably. Plus Geoff would kill me. Besides, I only call (e-mail) in sick if I can't talk---why be home sick for free when I can get paid for it? Then I thought, "Isn't there something else I could be doing?"

I didn't have a nail file (though I doubt Nina would appreciate workers giving themselves manicures, even on Mondays). Eddie, my hair dresser, doesn't work Mondays so I couldn't call and beg him for the love of God to squeeze me in sometime in the next two weeks. My real estate agent is likely sick of me ("What's with you and these short sales?"), I'm sick of huge sections of my family (another story), and even if this all weren't true, I wasn't about to start texting at work. (That's what lunch is for.) But then I remembered.

I had a blog.

My very own personal work blog.

And this time, I actually remembered the password to it and my e-mail account address, meaning I wouldn't have to abandon it.

So I went on the blog and realized it was freakin' ugly. Something had to be done about it, but I didn't know how. Then I wandered over to Library Learning because I saw someone had figure out blog beautifying. Lori mentioned something about creating a jpg in Paint, which made me happy...

Until I realized I couldn't find the paint program.

Ever since they did the upgrades I can't seem to find anything. So as I mentally screamed, "WTH is with this stupid paint program! Computers are plotting against me!" I realized I could do a few things in Word. Only I forgot about the upgrade. Thus the things I used to do in about 30 seconds weren't so easy. Which got me back to mentally screaming, "I hate you! I hate you stupid computer! I wish you would die! Die! Die!"

But as you can see, I finally figured it out.

Now if I can figure out these instructions on how to put music on your blog...

If you hear screaming, don't bother calling the police.

I just have to remember, each day gets better, and tomorrow, this will be a cinch!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I have to what?

SPL is doing something called 27 Things.

I don't know much about it. I started to read the postings, but then I got distracted when I discovered there was a sale at Macy's. Sorry, but things fall by the wayside when clothes are marked down 75% AND they give you a $10 coupon AND they allow you to combine it with a 20% off savings pass.

So when I finally got around to reading what it was all it was about I had a WTH moment.

Someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea for SPL staff members to create blogs to show our progress. When I read this, I broke out of my why-aren't-I-on-my-own-private-beach-getting-a-massage-by-my-live-in-staff fog to say, "Huh?"

Creating a blog isn't a problem.

Reading a blog is a problem.

My first question: "Does this blog have to be on 27 things?" Because I prefer to make stuff up. Making stuff up gives a person a lot of freedom. But I was told it has to be on 27 Things.

Which brought on my next question:
Answer: Yes

Next question:
"Does it have to be on the 27 things provided to us?" Because I can think of 27 other things to blog about:

1. The book I'm writing
2. The state of the union
3. The state of my diet
4. Why houses should have more closet space
5. Why I will never layer my hair this short again
6. How short sales take a long time
7. Why I'm building a house one day (soon!) and getting a maid
8. The 4-day work week we should adopt
9. All the reasons Mondays suck
10. Removing the word cellulite from the dictionary
11. Why Kelvin should stop telling me, "You're a mess girl."
12. How Armando and Maria should really learn how to cook
13. Creating a Department of Fun
14. Home lipo suction kits
15. Why Neva should clone herself and take over story time for me
16. Why Gerald Butler should clone himself
17. Why that one guy on that commerical I saw should clone himself
18. How equipping Telis with massage chairs would improve morale
19. Why we should pipe in music like Borders
20. The impossibility of my family living without cable
21. Why teeth whitening should be covered by insurance
22. Getting a mascot for Kids' Place (I prefer a golden retriever)
23. Universal Health Care
24. Universal personal shoppers
25. Why spiders should not exist
26. Why kids should automatically come with (unattractive) nannies
27. Why I will one day move to France

Apparently these 27 things were not interesting enough because I was told it had to be on the 27 things they instructed me to write about.

Which brought me to my final question"
"Who the heck wants to read a bunch of blogs on 27 Things?"

This is going to be like watching Shrek. I love Shrek. Let me take that back---I loved Shrek. Then I was forced to watch it 30 times in a 6 day period (I won't mention how many times I had to watch the Karaoke in the Swamp scene). Suddenly Shrek wasn't the greatest film on earth.

So to anyone reading this, I created a blog. It took about 1 minute to add it to my other 2 blog accounts. I guess we'll see where it goes from here.