Friday, April 30, 2010
We've got a reporter on vacation, so I've had to pick up his court duties. I fear I'm failing miserably at it. I got all of two minutes of "training" on it, and it's the court that I've never done before, so I've got no experience at it. That's eating into my hours quite a lot and ensuring some long days. And of course, there's no overtime allowed, so since I haven't mastered the art of bending space and time, I'm falling behind rapidly.
I also had a political banquet to cover last night. It was originally thought that it would take about two hours of my time, but then they had to rearrange the speaker schedule, so it took four. Four hours out of my 40 for the week. That's a pretty precious investment.
And to top it off, I'm working the night desk tonight. That's always a longer-than-normal day, but I have to go in even earlier than usual to pick up more court news. And I have to write a second article from last night's banquet (for the interview I had to arrive early to get). Plus I'm already a page behind because the person who allocated the pages gave me extra (even though the person on the night desk isn't supposed to get any extra pages.)
I've got other stories that I haven't been able to progress at all on all week. Clearly, I'm going to have something to do on Monday - when normally, that's a really slow day. Hoping I can get it all caught up then.
I'm looking forward to the weekend when work is ... well, not done, but at least off the table for a bit. I'll sleep in a little on Saturday, but then Sunday's all loaded with stress. I'll be up early for the Liverpool/Chelsea game and rather uncomfortably cheering on the 'puddlians with all my heart. Then I'll need a shower. But there's no time for that, because afterward my beloved Manchester United Red Devils will be taking on Sunderland in an absolute must-win situation. I fear less for the outcome of that than the outcome of the 'pool/'ski match though, because if Chelsea win, our title hopes are out the window.
Monday, April 26, 2010
I had to stop by the store this afternoon after work, and on my way out, I ran into my friend Ang. She also happens to be the mother of both my daughters' best friends. Or was anyway. Her family's going through an extremely tough time right now. About six weeks ago, her marriage ended. It had been going down for a while, but this time was the end. (Although, he's now having second thoughts and asking her back. Isn't that always the way?) Anyway, he sent Ang and her two daughters, R and C, packing, and they've been staying in a little hotel room ever since. C is Munch's best friend. And R is (or was) Gin's best friend. Ang is strong. She's holding up well and working hard to pull things together. R isn't doing so well.
Ang filled me in on the situation. It seems right about the time that her life got turned upside down, Gin got herself a new group of friends - and R wasn't a part of it. That happens, I suppose. Friends do drift apart. However, Gin decided to get into her cliquey little mentality and start treating R badly - talking about her and drawing mean pictures off her that she was passing around class. She's 11 - 12 in a couple of months - and being glorious preteen bitch queen, to put it in a nutshell. THAT behavior doesn't fly with me AT ALL.
So I sat Gin down and put her on the spot. Just once, she tried to pull the, "She started it" bit. She said R didn't like her new friends and SHE was the one who stopped sitting with her at lunch and hanging around with her at recess. I went on to tell her that R is going through the hardest situation in her life right now. Everything's in turmoil. Her life's been turned upside down. She's feeling rejected and lost and alone. If she wanted to walk away because she was hurting, she had every right to, but I told Gin it was HER job as R's friend to reach out to her when she was hurting. It was Gin's job to let her know that she'd let R be alone if she needed to be alone but that she'd be there for her to suppor her when she needed her. And even if they weren't going to be friends anymore - as I said, sometimes friends drift apart - she was absolutely out of order to betray her friendship by treating R so badly.
I told her again - I've told her before - that you don't EVER treat ANYONE that way. I told her that she has to learn to think about people's feelings, that they're real human beings. But you absolutely do not ever treat a friend that way - even if they're not your friend anymore.
And to do that to her when she was going through the toughest time in her life, at such a sensitive age too, well, I put it to her straight - I said to do THAT was stone cold bitch. I said she'd just watched her friend get hit by a truck, then she walked out into the street where she was lying and kicked her in the head.
Gin sat the entire time - after that brief moment near the beginning when she said R started it - in silence looking at me. She's good at doing the dead glare thing, but I could see that glare start to break down and some of it start to sink in - as I went on, and on.... and on. I was not going to let her off easily with this one. I'm not going to let her turn into one of those teenage monsters who pushes her peers into misery. I was always the shy, quiet one with no friends - or one friend - and I've been betrayed too often. I know how it feels.
After I had my say - looking straight into her eyes and without raising my voice the whole time - and she continued to sit there in silence. I finally asked her what she had to say for herself. She seemed almost a little choked up (almost - she's made of steel), but she answered, "Well, I feel bad." I said, "That's a start."
I told her at the very least she'd better apologize to R, and that it had better NEVER happen again. I can't for the life of me figure out how she could turn into a "Mean Girl," but you can be damn sure that I won't let it go on.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Yesterday, my boss came out of his office and asked if I'd have a little time to write a story - nothing major, he said. Oh by the way, do I know who Phil Hartman is? It turns out, his sister has been living quietly in our newspaper's little hometown for the past ten years. Wow. That one got me. I always loved him. He was an amazing talent and a tragic loss. So anyway, his sister's decided to give up some of her local anonymity (most people had no idea she was his sister) because she and her brother Paul are working to get Phil inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Of course, I jumped at the story. I had a nice talk with Phil's sister, Nan. I even got to go through her scrapbook of some of his memorabilia and clips. I was agog when I pulled out his high school diploma. There I was on an ordinary day at work, holding Phil Hartman's high school diploma in my hand. Our young reporter was completely jealous. (The story ended up running front page today.)
On my drive home from work, my Blackberry rang, and it was Phil's brother Paul. We chatted for quite a while about the campaign, and I gave him a few social networking tips. He even invited me to become a fan of the page on Facebook and told me he'd make me an administrator. I've been tweeting to help get the word out and posted on my page too.
So here's the official pitch, btw, NOMINATE PHIL HARTMAN FOR CANADA'S WALK OF FAME!! Click HERE to fill out the nomination form. There's a contest for nominating that's open only to Canadians, but anyone can fill out the nomination form, and they all count. Anyone in the world - so just do it please. Help this very deserving, wonderful actor and man who was tragically taken too soon through no fault of his own (unlike many of those "Hollywood tragedy" stories). Honestly, does anyone NOT love Phil Hartman? His brother Paul told me that Phil is one of about a hundred candidates for one spot on the Walk of Fame, and he's not in the lead at the moment - mainly because the campaign for him started pretty late. But he is within reach, if people get to work on it. The deadline for nominations is April 30, so don't wait!
I even created a couple of custom tiny urls to make it easy to remember. The nomination page is at http://tinyurl.com/nominatephil and the Facebook group supporting it is at http://tinyurl.com/philhartman.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This makes me wonder - where are the environmentalists protesting this beast in Iceland? Will the Icelanders be charged massive fines for this pollution? After all, it was quite recently that a per-cow tax was proposed on farmers for the methane gas produced by their animals. Someone must be held responsible for this travesty. Has anyone asked Al Gore what he thinks about it? After all, this volcano is spewing forth all those chemicals that cause global warming, right? I mean, that's what they've been telling us all along. Of course, they've been telling us that we've been doing all the spewing - nature wouldn't do such a thing. Nature doesn't do anything to hurt anyone, and when it does, it's because we've messed something up. There WERE no natural disasters of any kind before man came along. Ok, I exaggerate, there just weren't as many. Certainly not enough to wipe out, oh, the dinosaurs, or anything like that.
Oooooooooh, now I see. This one's our fault too. It seems that the melting of the ice caps, caused by global warming, caused by us (we're doing all the spewing), is reducing the pressure on the crust in the frozen lands to the north and increasing volcanic activity. Not sure what we did when a volcano on Hawaii erupts, but I guess if one of those shuts down air travel ...
(Hey, that's a GOOD thing, right? Cutting back on those emissions. Do you suppose all the air travel that's been forgone will serve as the carbon credits for the volcano? I'm straying. I do that in my occasional rants. But anyway...)
so if a Hawaiian volcanic eruption gets lots of attention by shutting down air travel (Wow, that'd be a HELL of a plume, wouldn't it?) it'd get to be our fault too? Wait, let me work it out second... If there's a massive volcanic eruption in Hawaii (I mean, beyond those that CREATED the islands) it would be caused by global warming, which is caused by us (we're doing the spewing......) because it's made the oceans rise, which makes the water pressure on the sea floor surrounding the islands increase (water's heavy - more water=more heavy), which pushed down the sea floor, which pushed up the magma to cause it to break through the surface and spew forth more of those chemicals we've been pumping into the air that caused all this. Or something like that. I'm making all this up as I go along.
Or maybe, if nature is forever seeking a balance, this is Mother Earth telling us we haven't been spewing ENOUGH! More carbon dioxide! More sulfur! More (see list above)! And what about those tiny glass particles that destroy jet engines? Maybe we should be burning some fiberglass. Or just shredding it and distributing it with giant fans (solar-powered ones, of course, or maybe hydroelectric). Mother Earth does no wrong. We're screwing everything up. We should take all cues from her.
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dermajuv Skin Care Products. All opinions are 100% mine.
I'm at that awkward age. With an awkward skin type. Or awkward hormones. Or whatever it is, I get to deal with the beginnings of wrinkles (maybe a wee bit more than beginnings....) as well as acne (which decided to reemerge with a vengeance after giving me a decidedly easy time of it during adolescence). As a result of this brilliant joke by Mother Nature on me, the skin care products industry is reaping the rewards.
I'm not completely random about it though. I try a lot of different products, but I generally refuse to shell out the big bucks if I haven't at least had the opportunity to try it. However, if I have had the opportunity to try something, and it seems to offer some improvement, I will absolutely lay out the cash for it. (Little tip to the marketers, those sample packs WORK for selling your product if your product WORKS). And if I find something I love, I'll recommend it. I've done it often, and it's resulted in sales not only to me, but to family and friends as well.
We seem to have reached a curious point in our society when the trends for beauty products like wrinkle reducers and acne controllers have oddly gone off in two wildly divergent directions - "latest scientific breakthrough" and "all the wonders of nature's own ingredients." And both trends seem to be successful - often marketing successfully even to the same women.
I came across this line of skin care products called Dermajuv (not to be confused with Juvaderm) touting all-natural ingredients (and no animal testing) with very high-tech looking packaging.
The product descriptions are certainly promising, and it's got some pretty high-profile positive reviews. I have to admit, I'm intrigued and interested, but the price range is a little beyond me. Now if I could try it and find that it actually works, I'd be breaking out my credit card.
Monday, April 19, 2010
After I got back to my office after "retraining," I immediately checked the schedule. It was a good thing I did, because I found out I had a meeting to attend just half an hour later. I had time to do no more than copy down my schedule for the week before I had to head out again. Once I sat through that meeting, I went back to the office again, entered my schedule into my Google calendar, wrote the story - and it was time to go home. I got to leave early because I've got another meeting to attend tonight. It should be dreadfully exciting - the local stamp club. Oh boy, holding back the excitement....
Ah well, it was kind of nice to spend Monday running around and getting out of the office. Mondays are usually so slow because we don't publish on Tuesday. This broke the routine a bit.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.
Science is continually finding new ways to help us stay healthy and new ways of treatment for those illnesses and injuries that befall us.
The latest news is that menstrual blood can be used as a source of stem cells.
We've all heard of stem cells and the controversy surrounding the harvesting of stem cells from human fetuses. This exciting development means that your moral issues are safe. If stem cells can be extracted from menstrual blood, imagine the possibilities in medical science!
The April 2010 issue of Stem Cells and Development features cover story about stem cells from menstrual blood and its potential to help victims of stroke. In testing, scientists found that the stem cells significantly reduced cell death and significantly reduced behavioral and histological impairments.
Read the 'Stem Cells and Development' article and find out more for yourself.
Menstrual blood cells that have been stored for later use provide "individually tailored" cells that are perfectly matched to the recipient.
Célle currently is offering a $100 discount off the regular $499 price for collection, processing, testing and one year of storage for menstrual blood with a limited time special offer. Use the code CLSTR to take advantage of the discount.
Read about C'elle in 'Medical News Today'.
Monday, April 12, 2010
It's a new week and I'm sporting a new haircut. I lopped off my long hair to medium length (bit below shoulder) a few weeks ago, but last night, most of the rest of it went. The back is now clipped to an inch, and the top and sides are about three inches. Pretty drastic. Jaws fell at the office, but it got raves all around.
I'm also sporting a new netbook. My new toy/tool. I've already justified it by taking it to a meeting tonight to take notes. I'm getting used to the new keyboard pretty quickly. I spent my hours between work and the meeting tonight getting all my immediately necessary software downloads. I think I'm going to love it. Already, I'm sitting on my bed instead of at my desk. Yep, it's good to be mobile again. (Ok, I could do this stuff on my Blackberry, but it's awfully hard on the thumbs.)
I'm thinking about leaving Facebook ... but I probably won't. I'll just spend less time there. I already am spending less time there. I've given up most of my games. I spend more time on Twitter now, as I actually interact with people there. Since most of the people I care about have been MIA on FB lately, it's just depressing to be there sometimes. Particularly when they ARE there, and I initiate a chat, and it gets ignored. *Sigh* Nevermind. Distance growing that depresses me. I'll move on. Or lock it away into my handy little avoidance box.
Time to obsess over football a little while longer. The season will be ending soon. I'll be wandering aimlessly for a while again. Or maybe not this time. My Twitter pals will probably make a good support group. And it's a World Cup year, so I've got the international teams (even though I won't have any of my Man United for a while). Plus a possible trip to Chicago to see them live. Ok. I'm good now. :)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 20th Century Fox. All opinions are 100% mine.
Hey, I've got an idea. Let's put Steve Carrell and Tina Fey on the silver screen together. We'll make them a bored suburban couple wishing for a more exciting life and relationship. Then..... we'll give it to them. Hehehe. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
How many interesting scenarios can you come up with? Some breaking and entering is a must. And of course, a car chase. A shootout? A showdown? THE MOB? YEAH!
Guess what? You've got it! Everything you wanted all wrapped up in one neat little package that will be opening this Friday.
Okay, so it wasn't really MY idea. Not initially anyway. It's the Date Night Movie, and with all that, you know it's going to be fun.
Check out the trailer:
This movie has got to awesome. You've got Steve Carrell - and every guy loves him, right? There's Tina Fey, who's sublimely brilliant. It's got the action and excitementfor the boys, and the whole "rom-com" chick flick thing going for it too. I foresee Date Night being the Date Night movie of choice, for the bored marrieds and the teens alike. I'm single, and I'm looking forward to it too. Give me some giggles. I need them right now.
My boys - my beautiful, brilliant Man United Red Devils - were knocked out of the Champions League. They did not lose the game. They won 3-2. They lost the first leg 2-1. Even out? No. Thanks to the "away goals" rule, they were eliminate. I'd rather see a penalty shootout. I'd always rather see a penalty shootout. I wish they'd be consistent with their rules. If we'd finished 1-0, we would have moved on. We finish 3-2 and we're out. How much sense does that make?
Borrowing from my Brit pals, I'll say I'm gutted. Where's my D to comfort me? :(
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alvin and the Chipmunks. All opinions are 100% mine.
I remember when I was growing up, I used to love watching Alvin and the Chipmunks. Especially around Christmas time, my sister and I used to sing THAT song to the point of annoying everyone within hearing range.
It's pure silliness, of course, but isn't that the fun of childhood? I don't know if the modern incarnation of Dave and the boys quite lives up to my childhood memories, but then, what does? It does serve as a nice transition though to introduce the kids to the Chipmunks, however, and then show them my memories. Of course, kids these days prefer the slick animation to the kind from the "olden days." (Just to note: I'm not so old that I was watching when they originally came out. Don't age me anymore than absolutely necessary, please!)
The latest adventure "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" is now out on DVD, Blu-ray and available for digital download, so you can buy it now. The double DVD pack even includes "The Squeak Along" bonus disc, so my kids can be as annoying as my sister and I were! :)
I've already sent my Munch off to see More Munk Mayhem, so she's got a wish list. She got quite a kick out of the Munk Yourself site as well. She makes a darn cute chipmunk!
Am I rambling? Yes, probably a little. I'll follow along with my tweeps on Twitter and hope to boost my energy level. It's a dull, gray, windy day out, so I'm not up to full speed. I'm also missing D lately, but that's another story.....
Monday, April 5, 2010
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Incendia Health. All opinions are 100% mine.
Some time ago I blogged about the "You Gotta See This" iLASIK Video Contest. The contest had entrants make a video saying how laser vision correction would improve their lives.
Abbott Medical Optics has now announced the winners of the iLASIK Video Contest, and you can see the winning videos and all of the other entries now at www.GottaSeeThisNow.com or by clicking the iLASIK Video Contest links above.
The winner of the $5,000 grand prize was Alex who created a "You Gotta See This Music Video."
Entries were accepted in three categories: 1) My Contacts Are Getting in the Way of My Good Time; My Favorite Sport or Activity Would Be So Much Cooler with Better Vision; and You Should See Life After the iLASIK Procedure.
First place winners in each category won a $2,500 value HDTV package, and second place winners won a Flip UltraHD camcorder.
I got laser vision correction surgery several years ago, and I can attest to how much better it feels to not be a slave to my glasses or contacts anymore. And now that the sun's come back, I get to wear my awesome sunglasses again. I would have entered the contest myself if I'd done anything remotely interesting in the past several months. Maybe I should have thought about it while I was frolicking in the surf in Florida. Oops! My loss!
Oh well, check out the winning videos and see how great life can be when you can SEE it!