Friday, January 30, 2009

Cell Phone Peeve

Let me say right up front that I love cell phones. Life as a parent is so much easier when you have instant access to all your children. A cell phone would have been great that time I left my then 12-year-old in charge of the youngens while I went shopping, and a demented guinea pig took a bite out of a tiny wrist. Who would have thought? A neighbor had to take my baby to the emergency room. I'm not sure which was more traumatic for the children - the bite or not being able to reach Mom.

But...with that said...sometimes I think as a society we've lost our collective minds. Last night I was sitting in a crowded a hallway during my son's musical rehearsal. A woman was taking a break from a game she was officiating, pacing the hallway, and talking to her husband. (If she happens to recognize herself, oh well. I don't think she was too worried about her privacy.) They're speaking quietly, until she says in a loud voice, "How am I supposed to get my diet coke if you won't bring the money?" Poor thing. Going without her diet coke and all. They went back and forth some more. Then she comes up with her doozie. "Are you having an affair? What's going on with you?"

It became very difficult at this point to pretend we weren't paying attention. There was more back and forth arguing. At one point she says, "You've got to tell me now. My game is going to start." Yep. Hurry up mister. These little details are getting in the way of my real life. Next comment she feels necessary to air in front of the rest of us: "If it's about money I'm entitled to know." A little more back and forth and she begins to calm down. Tries to solve the problem we're all sharing. "We don't have to go to San Diego for our anniversary. We can just go out to dinner. And we are getting that check tomorrow."

I feel bad for the lady. And especially her husband. But please people. Have some respect for yourselves and the rest of us. Not everything is meant to be shared!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Review Contest Deadline Approaches!

I just received the nicest review from a cute friend of mine. Check it out on Taffy's Candy blog.

And don't forget - the deadline is almost here for my review contest. Just send me a note at contest @ letting me know you've posted a review of Where Hearts Prosper somewhere. You'll be entered in a random drawing to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. I've been a little shy about reminding folks - since I only want them to do it if they honestly liked the book. But if you did, get writing. There's only a couple of days left, and the odds are really good on this one!

American Idol - What's the deal?

I'm going to take a break from my usual random writings to bring your attention to a matter of pressing concern to our nation.

American Idol.

I'm not sure how many of you watched last night. Probably only a few million. Well, I was one. And I came away seriously concerned. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that AI has come to be one of the most trusted sources on television today. When something happens on AI, we can be confident it's the real deal. Right?

So when AI producers said they want contestants with more spunk this year, I'm sure they meant it. They didn't like how nice they were last year. You know, all those obnoxious things like thanking the judges for their criticism and encouraging the other contestants? Snoozeville. They want contestants that will argue with the judges. Maybe throw a few spit balls. They think it'll be better for ratings.

So it makes perfect sense that they would go to Utah. I'm sure it's not because they thought they could make fun of an entire state? Last year they had two Mormons. (Brooke and the little David, in case you're not up on the contestant's religious affiliations). Hands down, two of the sweetest and classiest kids ever. Also two of the absolute most boring if you go by AI standards. But from what I saw last night, they'll be starting out with at least a dozen kids just like that.

I'm sure the AI producers are devastated. Obviously they didn't know they'd find nice in Utah. Because they'd never say anything they didn't mean.


And speaking of sweet, classy kids-What the heck does David Osmond need American Idol for? That kid is cute. I'm talking Osmond Cute. And he can sing. And when he sings and smiles at the same time--that's stuff little girl's dreams are made of. Seriously now, if Uncle Donny can't make him go places, who can? Uncle Donny doesn't just know people. He IS people.

But I'm sure there were no favors. I'm sure David Osmond just showed up like any other contestant. It's probably even a coincidence that it's the Osmond named DAVID. Cause if you can't trust AI, who can you trust?

Don't answer that.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Not-So-Little Wii Mii

I have never been one to get too excited about spending loads on money on video equipment and games. My children have always been the poor saps with outdated systems, if they have one at all, who have to go to friends houses to see and play the real stuff. But after hearing enough good things about the Wii, it made it into our house last summer.

And I have to say that whatever those programmers are getting paid probably isn't enough. If life were fair they'd be making more than big-screen movie actors. Given the choice of spending exhorbitant amounts of money to take the family to a bowling alley for an evening, or taking them to the basement for a virtual game, I'd pick the basement every time. I swear it's just as fun. Especially when you consider that I can actually beat my husband in a virtual game. (We won't get into how well I play, or don't play, the real version.)

So we were pretty excited that Santa brought my teen daughters a Wii for Christmas. And while I do give it a big thumbs up, I have to say that it should come with a warning. Caution: Using this device in public could cause undue humiliation.

We tried the game out Christmas Day. One of my teen daughters started out by taking a fitness test with her little Mii. (In case you're among the initiated, Miis are little people that the user customizes to look as close to themselves as possible. Either that or a hideous alien sea creature, whichever they prefer.) So the cute little Mii runs out onto the fitness plaza, takes the test, and then runs around doing the dance of joy. "Congratulations! You are in great shape!" The Wii proclaims.

My pregnant daughter is next. Six months along, cute little bump. "It'll tell me I'm overweight," she says. Since it never asks if she's pregnant, I tell her it better. And does it? No! She's perfect! Her little Mii does the dance of joy.

So I step up feeling pretty cocky. Now, I can't even think about fitting into my wedding dress. But I'm still holding up fairly well for a soon-to-be grandma. And my soon-to-make-me-a-grandma daughter was just deemed perfect. But when it's time for the results of my test, the Wii makes a noise like a spring just broke. My Mii falls backward, a look of surprise on my cute little Mii face. And I plump up! That's right. My Mii actually gets fat! Okay. This is not the way I wanted to spend Christmas.

I slink away, and my hubby takes his turn. Now dh could no more fit into his pastel blue tux than I could fit in my wedding dress, but there are plenty of 40-somethings that would love to be in his condition. He can and does regularly humiliate teen boys on a racquetball court. But does that matter? Oh no. When he runs his test, the Wii makes a sound like an elephant just smashed it to pieces. His Mii falls backward, and doesn't just plump up, but inflates like a balloon. The word OBESE flashes in red on the screen while his little Mii is floundering on its back and looking at its' big old belly in shocked dismay.

And what does my husband's loving, supportive family do? We burst out laughing.

Can you even imagine spending Christmas Day like this? We weren't laughing at him, of course. We were laughing at the Mii, which really was hysterical. And at how ridiculous it is to call him obese. But I'm sure that's not how it felt to him.

So dear, amazing Wii programmers. If you're out there, would you please consider adding a warning? We old folks can only handle so much humiliation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Death of a Hard Drive

If you've wondering where I am (yes, I know, you've nothing better to do than sit around drumming your fingers impatiently waiting for me to post something), the biggest part of the blame goes to a tragedy of immense proportions. My hard drive died. Caput. Nothing. Nada. It was just gone.

It happened just days before Christmas--while working on the most glorious Christmas letter ever known to man. I can say that because no one will ever see it. It's just gone. Caput. get the idea.

My husband rushed the sickly device off to the land of computer gurus (his workplace), but a whole team of digital icons couldn't resuscitate it. The next step was to try to restore the data that was one it.

Let me just take a commercial break here to give a big shout out to Carbonite. Not that they did me any good - but in theory they could have. Ironically, my husband was getting a subscription to the backup service for Christmas, but that was too little too late. It had been about three months since backing up my current manuscript. And there were two years worth of pictures. Not to mention all the emails. His attempts at restoration dragged out while he tried software program after software program...all the while I kept remembering items that were lost and grieving and moaning and weeping and wailing. It wasn't pretty.

Finally he was able to come home with about a bazillion files - all labeled only by numbers. I was so excited...until I had to start the job of figuring out what was what.

Did you know that every time you save a document, a record of it is stored on your computer? Do you how many times you save an 80,000 word document while writing and polishing it? I don't. But I do know that there was a file - a file I could only identify by opening - for every blasted time I saved either of the 80K word documents I've been working on for the past two years!

I kept asking the computer-genius hubby how I was going to get all these extra files OFF the computer. And he kept assuring me they weren't really there. I'd point out, ever so patiently, that I was looking right at them. And he'd point out...not quite as patiently...that I just had to trust him. They weren't really there.

So yeah...I totally get that. It's my new mantra. Just because I can see it doesn't mean it's there. (Like faith in reverse.)

But the good news is that, after hours and hours of scouring stupid numbered files that were all ALMOST the same thing, I have found everything important. Everything I can remember anyway. And I'm sure my sanity will be restored any day now. Does anybody know if there's software for that? I'd ask the hubby, but he's been a little testy lately.