Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Sweet Learning 

Suite101.com is an online publishing community of writers, readers, and educators who have come together to share their many passions. This website is a destination for millions of Internet users who want to learn, express themselves, and share ideas, interests, and expertise with other like-minded individuals.

I developed the Suite101 course titled "Searching the Web Fantastic". The course is offered on a monthly basis (just $24.95). A brief description of the course follows:

Searching the Web Fantastic: The ability to quickly and easily locate that proverbial needle in a haystack is often what separates Internet newbies from Internet power-users. “Searching the Web Fantastic” is designed to transform YOU into a power-user.

Effective searching entails a simple combination of learnable skills along with a working knowledge of useful Internet search tools. This course will help you develop the search skills necessary to successfully research topics on the Internet and introduce you to the most productive search tools available.

Next month I will be developing a course for Suite101 on another one of my passions: Walt Disney World. The course will help adults traveling without children make the most of their Walt Disney World vacation. Additionally, I have just been named Contributing Editor for Suite101's digital photography topic. As soon as I am done with all this traveling, I will be working on getting that topic going. (It's currently been stalled for a while.) I will post a note here in my blog once I get up and running there.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Travel Bugaboos 

I have been doing a lot of traveling for business lately. A lot. Too much. Currently I am in the Motor City in yet another Embassy Suites hotel. Last week I was in Razorbacks country, the week before, L.A. L.A. land, and the week before that...um, I can't remember. Somewhere. Where was the Mary Tyler Moore shot filmed? There. I remember the statue.
So I think I deserve the right to bitch a little. Here's my list of travel bugaboos (although not in any order):

  1. I don't enjoy having to take my shoes off to get through security. It's summer for Christ's sake -- I am wearing flipflops that are a half-inch thick. I do not want my bare feet on the dirty cold tile airport floor. What on Earth am I going to sneak onto the plane in my flipflops? I could understand if I was wearing 4-inch platforms with space for secret hatches, but flipflops? 
  2. It drives me absolutely insane that people totally ignore the gate attendant with regard to which rows are being boarded. WAKE UP PEOPLE! You HAVE a ticket. You HAVE a seat. You HAVE a boarding pass. WHY WHY WHY do you need to form a queue to get on the plane before your row is called?  Sit the hell down! WAIT YOUR TURN.
  3. Why is it that the people in the BACK of the plane feel that they have the right to store their carry-on luggage in the overhead compartments at the FRONT of the plane? (You know who you are.) Are you too freakin' lazy to carry it to the back and place it over your OWN seat? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to have to store your carry-on luggage several rows BEHIND you? When this happens you have to wait until ALL souls deplane before you can get back to your luggage and get off. Do you do this on purpose? Do you get some sort of SICK SADISTIC kick out of this? You are a MORON! A freakin' MORON -- do you HEAR ME! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
  4. OK, you get to bring little Gomez on the plane for free because he's under two. That DOES NOT mean that little Gomez can kick the back of my seat the entire flight. That does not mean that little Gomez can stand on your knees and grab the back of my seat and pull my hair. That does not mean that you can let little Gomez shit in his pants and not bother changing his little stinkin' self. Have some respect for the people around you. Teach little Gomez respect for the people around him. Remember what it was like BEFORE you had children and were totally blind to how annoying they can be. Better yet, don't travel with little Gomez until he's 30.
  5. People who stick their dirty tissues in the seat backs in between the magazines should be thrown from the plane naked. 
  6. People  who cough and sneeze without covering their mouths should be thrown from the plane aflame.
  7. People who grab every seatback as they pass to go to the bathroom (thus pulling my hair, waking me up and/or forcing me to spill my tomato juice) should be locked in the bathroom until the plane lands. They should have to stand at the gate and apologize to every single aisle seat passenger.
  8. People who never shut the fuck up while they are on a plane should be given a nice big tranquilizer shot in the ass. They have nothing to say and a captured listener. They go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. And they ALWAYS have annoying voices and annoying laughs. I thank God every single flight for my iPod.

  9. OK, I feel better now. I am in my hotel safe and sound. I am making a conscious decision to not let any of this bother me any more. I am going to go take a shower to see if I can get little Gomez's footprint off my back.

    9 flights down, 5 to go.
    9 flights down, 5 to go.
    9 flights down, 5 to go...

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Sunday, July 18, 2004

And the Grammy Goes to…  

 Patty’s Scialfa’s 23rd Street Lullaby! 
What? You’ve never heard of her? Does the name sound at least a bit familiar? It should if you are a Bruce Springsteen fan – she’s his wife, and a longtime member of the E-Street band. Admittedly, I’ve never given her solo career much thought, but with the release of her latest album in June, she’s all I can listen to and what I end up humming throughout the day.
It all started when I accidentally caught her performance on David Letterman. I was captivated somehow, so the next day I downloaded (legally) her new album (record? CD? What the heck do you call it when it’s electronic? MP3 doesn’t quite cover it, since it’s singular) . Since then I can’t stop listening to it. I listen to on my iPod while I am walking and even burned a CD so I could listen to it in my car. (And then burned another one for my hair stylist, who’s always swapping music with me.) I’ve been recommending it to everybody I know…and nobody seems to know who she is.
In general I find that the lyrics are very Bruce/E-Street Band-like. They paint a whole picture, whether the song is about a place, a person, or an experience, like any good story (or song) you get a real sense of what or who she’s singing about. And for a background singer wannabe like me, there are plenty of background sha la la’s, hey hey’s and hmms that you will find yourself singing along to even the first time you hear the songs. Having been a backup singer for so many years herself, I guess Patty knew just who to call for this recording – they are amazing.
Some of the songs remind me of Bonnie Raitt, but without entering the country zone. (With the possible exception of City Boys, which I would swear was intended for a different album completely – I think it would have been a single for Bonnie if she’d recorded it.)

Well now, baby – what do you think of that? Can you make a woman out of an alley cat? Can you take the agitation and not get annoyed? Well there’s nothing in the whole wide world like a city boy...

Way down south where the yucca plant grows. Drinking whiskey out Coca Cola bottles; smoking Viceroys. There;s nothing in the whole wide world like a city boy...

The title song 23rd Street Lullaby is a melodic, lilting, and eventually semi-funk-beat driven tribute to her pad on 23rd street.

Gotta bottle of wine, a bag of tricks, there’s a place for you under my fingertips. There’s a place for you on my mind. Up on the rooftops of my 23rd Street lullaby. Me and you on the Avenue on a summer night…bass and drums and the traffic comes and I feel all right. Well come and walk besides me darlin’ and I’ll take my place…I’m a little low on courage, but I’m high on faith.
In You Can’t Go Back, an infectious bass line kicks off the song then Patty spills this heart-wrenching story about trying to return to a place from her past.
I’m looking for a piece of my self…on the streets that I once knew. But you can’t go back. 
Love (Stand Up) is Patty’s prayer for hope, love, and understanding, with a mantra-like chorus that I find myself humming hours after I listen to it.  Ya gotta know she's singing about Bruce.
There are so many other songs I could mention...but I don't want this to seem like a review. (Ha!) Just give it a listen – you’ll be glad you did. 
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Saturday, July 17, 2004

My Royal Busy-ness 

I am the Busiest Person on Earth. Yes, me. And you -- as a friend of the Busiest Person on Earth, or a relative of the Busiest Person on Earth -- can hardly expect me to actually behave the way a "normal" friend or loved one might behave, don't you agree?
So if you get your birthday card 2 weeks early (because I knew I would be otherwise occupied on the "real" date, of course, not because of any date mixup) or 3 weeks late (because I am, after all, the Busiest Person on Earth), that's just to be expected...part of our little friendship package, no? So if I call you ON your birthday (purely by coincedence and not with any birthday greeting intent) and fail to mention your own personal aging process, you DO realize that it's only because I am sensitive to how you feel about aging, right?
And if I write about you in my blog, you DO understand that it makes up for any of my so-called shortcomings as a friend, and that you, as a friend or relative of the Busiest Person on Earth should feel really, really blessed to have been written about, yes?
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Blogging Knowledge 

Google's new (fairly) Blogger Knowledge blog is way cool:
If you've been experiencing blogger envy reading MY blog -- why not start writing one of your own? It sure as hell would take the pressure offa me. It's not easy coming up with alla this brilliant stuff, ya know. (As evidenced by my oh-so-spotty postings of late.) What not just try it YOURSELF. Yes, YOURSELF. Yes, I'm talking to you. You talking to me? Write.
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