Manual labor v. manuscripts

I spent part of my day shoveling mulch. This reaffirmed my chosen career in writing. Hopefully, my fingers will still be able to type tomorrow. I'm pretty sure my arms will be useless.


New book I'm reading.

I hardly ever read non-fiction, but I'm reading a new book called, The Rite. It's written by a journalist who follows a modern day exorcist through his learning process. It's a wonderful book so far.

I think what I really like about it is that I'm learning, especially about the Catholic faith and Christianity in general. It's amazing how intricate the hierarchy is between God, the Devil, angels, demons and Man.

I'm not saying what faith I am or if I even think exorcisms, demons or angels are real. But I am excited to discover something new.


Recently overheard.

This conversation was overheard at a restaurant a few months back. A table of two girls, one very loud, was near ours.

The first bit of personal information: "I weigh 141 now. I weighed 139 in high school."

The loud girl went on to describe details about a health problem she recently found out she has, listing several alcoholic drinks she could no longer drink. A guy from another table actually named her disease to her (and the rest of the room). This was not enough to make her lower her voice.

She then proceeded to talk about stalking a guy on Facebook and how she erased her history afterwards, just in case. I found it interesting that she thought this guy might actually go into her internet history and spy on her.

Anyhow, she'd be a marvelous character for a book. Secondary though. One can only take so much.


Changes to the blog.

You may have noticed that I made some changes to my blog. Or you may never have been here before and this all looks totally natural to you (if so, yes, I do everything great the first time, please skip this entry.)

I went into the html and with my limited knowledge, and help from friends, I left aligned the copy and header, moved the whole layout down and made a few things lowercase. Other fixes were done with Blogger's help, like changing a few colors and making the top navigation bar a little less intrusive.

I've also added the ability to follow me. I do not like the design of the follow box but I'm unable to fix it in html. Oh well. Follow me anyway, anywhere.

Television and Music

Every week, we go to a trivia night at a local bar. The first category is always current events and the last is always music, with two miscellaneous categories in the middle.

The theme of last night's music category was "music from television shows." Almost every answer came from Grey's Anatomy or The O.C. And surprisingly, almost every team scored a 9 out of 10 even though some of the artists were relatively obscure.

It definitely shows how powerful television can be for promoting music. However, no matter how much I like the music on The O.C. soundtrack, I'm still not going to watch it.

Our host did miss Gossip Girl, another big music show. I guess it's the whole "male in his 20s" demographic.


How do I feel about Obama on Leno?

Dismayed and comforted. It's very confusing.

Shouldn't he be doing something to fix the economy?

Isn't it nice to see him out there, casually and frankly talking to the American people? 

It's all so new. Ch-ch-changes.


Recommendations on Amazon.com

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My complaint stems from buying one thing for my baby nephew on the site. Now I get car seats and the book "Everyone Poops" in my recommendations. Amazon thinks I gave birth. In fact, I think it says something like, "The perfect thing for YOUR baby" over a picture of a teething giraffe.

I also bought some travel books when I went to London and Paris in 2007. And then another book in 2008 when I pretended like I could afford to go to Italy. It won't stop recommending travel books and it's getting to me. It's like salt in the wound. Oh, Rick Stevens has a new book on Spain WHERE YOU CAN NEVER GO. Buy it now!

Another time, I searched for books for a naughty X-mas party. And here comes my dating guide for lesbians, a season of the L Word and my Melissa Etheridge CD. If I were a lesbian, I'd be kind of insulted to be so stereotyped.

I have finally discovered I can click "not interested." No thanks to Rick Steven's new silk money bag (fancy words for a fanny pack there, Mr. Stevens) or the huge weights they're basing on another present I bought. And there's a special section you can go to to improve your recommendations. Do most people know this? Am I just in such a hurry that I never see these things or is Amazon.com, as I suspect, a cluttered mess?

Also, can I fill out some sort of profile? I know there's a Wish List, but where can I say, "I'm an aunt" or "I'm a heterosexual female with no money to travel?" Maybe I could even say which genres I am interested in or when certain people's birthdays are or separate my recommendations into "Recommendations for my nephew," "recommendations for traveling," "recommendations for reading," etc.

Once again, you may be able to do these things already, if so, I recommend improving the interface.


PR Nightmare

Last night, we watched the episode of Arrested Development where Michael hires a PR agent. Hilarity ensues, of course.

Reading about AIG today, though, I started thinking about Public Relations crises and how to survive them. I'm not sure AIG can spin their "bonus" story in a positive light at this point. Perhaps they shouldn't have called these "bonuses" in the first place. Back pay? Employee debts? Anything but bonuses.

The American people are looking for someone to blame. The last thing you want to do is be a behemoth company who is taking taxpayers money and giving it to the rich. You either want to be a victim or a Robin Hood. AIG can't really be the company in tights, but they could paint a picture of employees who have been working for nothing for months, just to get the company back on track.

They say there is no way to retain such talented employees but to pay them this high. But what about the rest of the country? A lot of people are taking pay cuts just to have a job. If no companies were paying these huge bonuses, I feel like the talent would fall in line.

As someone in advertising, a field where talent is often an excuse for a large paycheck, I don't like the sound of this either. (However, we do have the advantage of working for the sake of the art.) But this is not really a time to argue. It's a time to buckle down, get realistic and wait it out. Your bonuses will be back, you jerks. If the American people don't storm your building, looking for blood, first.