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Life AFK

Song Lyric of the Day:

Save me, I’m lost / Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you / I’ll pay any cost / Just save me from being confused

Carolina Liar / “Show Me What I’m Looking For

I’ve decided to blog only when I have something worth saying. OK, worth saying in my opinion, anyway. So I’ll only be posting when I feel I have something to say, want to share my interest in something, want to express my opinion about things, want to document events in my life, feel like sharing something fun and so on. Basically, I’ll be maintaining my status quo and will be posting as infrequently/intermittently as I always do. This is just my way of letting myself off the hook. I’m never going to be a prolific daily blogger. At least, I don’t think I ever will be. This is a hobby for me, one I enjoy, but one I’m giving myself permission not to obsess over. To wit, I’ve been enjoying my real life lately, the one I don’t live online; trying to manage my stress level has been key. For instance:

  • I’ve made time to work on my book and even started a new one.
  • I hosted my sister’s baby shower this past weekend (little dude is due in the very near future).
  • I celebrated my puppy’s 1st birthday by buying him a cake from River Dog Bakery. He was thrilled (and so was big brother Caleb).
  • I’ve been catching up on TiVoed shows (Damages has been great this season — of course — and Castle is light but a lot of fun).
  • I’ve continued on my organizational bender in my neverending quest to bring more order to our house.
  • I stopped following certain bloggers and Twitterers because their negativity and hypocrisy was bringing me down. I feel much better for it, too.
  • I updated my wish list. Why? Because I have Borders gift cards burning a hole in my wallet and I want to be prepared next time I’m in the store. I’m that senile already.
  • I went to our friends’ charity basketball game (which I actually Twittered about).
  • I’ve spent less time on Facebook and Twitter (despite the previous basketball-related Twitter mention).
  • I swore off curse words for Lent. Why’d I do that? Because as a non-practicing Catholic I still like to exercise willpower every now and then. (Typing curse words doesn’t count, right? Only spoken ones do, right?

And that’s what’s going on in my world these days. Now it’s time to go write.

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Soon I’ll Hear a Symphony …

Song Lyric of the Day:

A thousand violins fill the air

The Supremes / “I Hear a Symphony

Always one to put the “pro” in procrastinate, it’s belatedly that I thank my fellow local bloggers for bringing tonight’s KSO Bloggers’ Night event to my attention. That’s right — in exchange for agreeing to blog about our concertgoing experience, local bloggers were given free tickets to tonight’s Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performance of music by Bach, Mozart, and Mendelssohn.

An avid Twitterer (thanks to slightlypale), I first read about tonight’s event on DJuggler’s Twitter page, where he in turn linked it back to Frank Murphy’s blog, where he originally announced it. (Frank’s post was also referenced by Shots Across the Bow.) I imagine I’ll run into at least a couple of the bloggers I was lucky enough to meet in person a while back: DJuggler (aka Doug of Reality Me); his wife Cathy of Domestic Psychology; LissaKay of Oh … Really; her fiance Rich of Shots Across the Bow; Glenn of Instapundit; and his wife Dr. Helen. Got all that?

Hopefully I’ll be able to put some faces to or finally meet some other locals in person. I’m curious as to which bloggers whose blogs I read might go. Tish of The Kat House? The Modern Gal? Katie Allison Granju? Michael of No Silence Here? Any of the gang over at The Sunsphere Is Not a Wigshop? Anyone from Knoxify? At least it looks like Byron from Knoxville Trivia Blog, Jason. For the Love of God, and Frank Murphy will be there.

Regardless of who I do or don’t see tonight, Rich and I are really looking forward to the concert — time to get our culture on. And the fact that it’s in the gorgeous, historic Tennessee Theatre is just the icing on the cake. (Albeit a freezing-cold cake on account of a projected low of 6 degrees tonight.)

A shot I took of the balcony in the Tennessee Theatre. See? Gorgeous!


Filed under blogs, knoxville symphony orchestra, kso

My Political Two Cents Nonsense

Political Song Lyric of the Day:

I want to be the minority / I don’t need your authority / Down with the moral majority / Cause I want to be the minority

Green Day / “Minority“*

Well, since virtually everyone else has weighed in on this year’s election/political insanity (or is that inanity?), I guess I will too tonight in honor of the vice presidential debate (I’ve had fun watching everyone on Twitter). A debate which so far has caused my puppy to grumble in his sleep, me to shake my head over Joe Biden and Sarah Palin’s skills (especially hers) at talking to but not quite answering questions, and my husband to abandon ship and watch a TiVoed movie instead. Biden and Palin? Try Chuck and Larry.

Personally, I have to admit I find it very depressing that politics and religion — two things which, in theory, at least, should be these great, uniting ideologies — do nothing more these days than strain friendships and family ties and force people to choose sides. (I’m a firm believer in the separation of church and state.) This year’s presidential election campaigning has brought out the worst in just about everyone. We’ve resorted to calling each other names, personally attacking people, and then crying foul — and exposing our hypocrisy — when we complain that the other side is doing the same exact thing to us. If you’re a Democrat/liberal, you’re a mindless, bleeding heart baby killer who doesn’t support our military forces. If you’re a Republican/conservative, you’re judgmental, against women’s reproductive rights, and a warmonger. And that’s me politically correcting a mere fraction of the insults I’ve read on blogs, news sites, and, well, just about everywhere online these days.

I say all this as a registered Democrat — and a liberal one at that; I always have been. But I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: I’ve voted Republican in the past. That’s right — I did something I feel is going the way of the dodo: I voted for a candidate based on (gasp!) where they stood on the political issues of the day and how their stance fell in line with my values and beliefs at the time. Really, that’s what I find most tragic these days: People are deciding on who they’re going to vote for — the person who is going to LEAD OUR COUNTRY — based on the fact that he has a nice smile (so did Hannibal Lechter), he’s a war hero (he’s not the only one), he’s not the other guy (huh?), and she’s a woman (so?) and her Peggy Hill glasses are nice (what the FUCK, people?).

Granted, there’s some comfort in knowing that not everyone decides on who to vote for PRESIDENT (PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, people! Not homecoming king!) or other political offices based solely on political party, the image they present, their knack for talking around actually answering questions (I’m looking at Barack Obama and John McCain, too) and that “aw, shucks, I’m just like you,” Joe Six-Pack attitude. So what? What do you think it’s going to take to fix our economy? When/what will bring an end to the war? Should we cut or increase funds for the military? Should minimum wage be increased again, and when? What do you think about our government interfering in women’s reproductive rights? What about your hopes for the education system? Are you for or against tax increases? How do you define marriage? What should we do about illegal immigration? How should we handle foreign relations with hostile countries? And so on and so on …

Think about where YOU stand on the issues most important to you, then take a long, hard look at exactly where your political party’s CANDIDATE stands. If we can all do that and make our decisions based on the truly important things, the things that will ultimately affect us all — not the glossy, tow-the-party-line images presented to us — then we’ll be taking that first baby step toward reclaiming our government as OURS.

Because, in the end, it won’t matter what glasses she wore or that he champions change or that he is a survivor or that he overcame a tragic past. We all need to do our part and make our voting decisions based on who we think can serve our country best. Because if there’s one thing I’ve come to truly believe about politics, it’s that, ultimately, we’re all forced to decide on and choose the lesser of two evils.

*What can I say? Green Day is good for my political posts.


Filed under election, politics, voting

Where’s My Elephant?

Song Lyric of the Day:

Life goes by so fast / You only want to do what you think is right / Close your eyes and then it’s past / (It’s the) story of my life

Social Distortion / “Story of My Life

Life’s not kicking my ass as much these days as it did the last few weeks. Which is a very good thing. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun, and it was doubly fun for me since it was hosted at Vanessa and Ken’s house this year. They do a good Thanksgiving. Also, the turkey? Divine.

If you follow my Twitter stream at all, you’ll know that Ken wins brother-in-law of the year for rounding up a chainsaw posse to take care of that pesky tree that fell and blocked our driveway. I think I’ll finally have time this weekend to bake four cakes to thank his four coworkers for coming out to help. We can now have the mother of all bonfires with all the wood we’ve got.

Now that things are leveling out again (no more working from home at night!), I’m trying to re-learn how to — what’s the word? — oh, yeah, relax. To that end, I’ve been playing a lot of Robotron 2084 on the Xbox 360, which offends Rich to no end, since it’s a fairly primitive, 25-year-old game. But it makes me happy. I also hooked our PS2 up again, which had been disconnected since we got the Wii last year, so I could get back to Silent Hill: The Room. After quickly remembering why I stopped playing SH (it scares the shit out of me), I switched to Namco Museum to play Pac-Man and Galaga instead. More fun, and far less traumatic to play.

I’ve also been trying to catch up on some TiVod shows; I’m totally loving Dirty Sexy Money. Although Rich has me conditioned to call it “Dirty Sexy Monkey” in a demented accent so it sounds like “zee dirtee sexxee mun-KEE.” He just thinks it’s more fun to call it that. Which it kind of is.
I had acting class tonight (rescheduled from the other day), as well as another audition at my agency. So we’ll see if this is the one where I get a callback. Extra money’s always nice, and TV work is fun. Fingers crossed! Speaking of acting class, this Saturday is my last class. Each of us will be performing a scene from Waiting for Godot with our acting partner. Fortunately, I’ve got a great partner, so our final interpretation of our scene should be a lot of fun.

I’m also — gasp! — really enjoying a book. After struggling with Eat, Pray, Love, I set it aside for a bit and am now totally immersed in Lisa Gardner‘s The Third Victim. Oh, how I love Rainie Conner and Pierce Quincy (how kick-ass of a name is that?). And great thrillers.

Before I jump off tonight, let me say hi back to Josh Ballard for stopping by. Be sure to visit his band, Until June’s, official site and MySpace page. See — it pays to have a different Song Lyric of the Day every day. (Hmmm…maybe I should add their CD to my Christmas wish list. Hint, hint.)

*Today’s blog post title comes from the “Bart Gets An Elephant” episode of The Simpsons. Just because I watched it last night.

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A Tree Falls in Knoxville

Song Lyric of the Day:

The words came like a hard rain / And your smile changed like a hurricane / Your breath smells like cardamom / And the words came just like a hard rain

Shout Out Louds / “Hard Rain

If you followed my Twitter stream last night, you already know that we had a hell of a storm going on in Knoxville last night. Of course, if you actually live in Knoxville, all you had to do was look out the window to see a storm the likes of which we haven’t had in a long time. It actually reminded me of my last nor’easter when we lived in Chesapeake. I thought I was prepared: I lit candles and had a flashlight handy since I was positive the power was going to go out (thankfully, it never did). I did the best I could to get the dogs to go out, but didn’t have much luck — nothing new as they’re both scared of storms. I minimized my time on my laptop and TV watching on account of the rock concert-worthy lightning laser show going on outside. I did not, however, wrap a sling around the tree that has been precariously leaning near our driveway for some time now. Which is why when I heard the impressively loud sound of wood splintering right before 11PM last night, I was scared shitless. I went outside to see the damage, but all I could make out in the darkness of the storm was a lot of foliage all of a sudden newly located next to the Xterra.

So I went out to assess the damage first thing this morning. In the light of day, I could see that the entire tree, massive stump and root ball included, had fallen so that it was laying across the top part of our driveway, effectively blocking both vehicles in. Thankfully, neither vehicle nor the garage were damaged since gravity was on our side. The tree’s heavy base missed Rich’s truck by about eight feet, and I now have a lovely, large plant next to the driver’s side of the Xterra. And that’s why I’m working from home today (and about to eat my lunch).

Photo taken with my camera phone since our actual camera is in Chicago with Rich.

Fortunately, my awesome bro-in-law, Ken, has rounded up some coworkers who own chainsaws and large trucks. So he and said Chainsaw Posse will be coming to the house after they get off work this afternoon. They’ll be chopping up what they can and removing as much wood as they can. In return, I’ll be treating them to pizza or Quizno’s subs (the one in South Knoxville now delivers) as a thank you.

You just know this type of headache would have to happen when Rich is out of town on business.

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Song Lyric of the Day:

Music is my boyfriend / Music is my girlfriend / Music is my dead end / Music’s my imaginary friend

Wow. Been a while since I’ve updated, although I have managed to Twitter more lately. In a nutshell, life’s been kicking my ass lately, both personally and professionally. The personal stuff is causing all kinds of off-the-charts stress. So is work in its own way, but it’s job security and I’m learning new stuff, so I won’t complain. What the hell have I been up to? The rundown:

Hi, My Name Is Pam
I dressed as Pamela Voorhees to celebrate Halloween at work; my coworkers and friends Ron and Jeremy went as Jason from Friday the 13th Part II (burlap sack) and Jason From Friday the 13th Part III on (hockey mask), respectively. It was basically My Two Homicidal Sons. And me in my short blond wig? Not a good thing. So not my color. It also turns out I’m pretty clumsy wielding a plastic machete. Although I’m quite skilled with an actual machete (don’t ask).

Two Down, Two to Go
I paid off two credit cards. Yay me! I’ll attack the remaining two once the holidays are over.

Back on Track
Rich and I are once again doing the healthy eating and exercise thing. It may sound futile in the face of Thanksgiving, but we realized we were essentially still on the eating binge that started last Thanksgiving. We’re tired of feeling blah and looking just as blah, so we’re working on it. I’ve cut back significantly on my soda intake, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I completely give it up.

Home, ImprovementsNothing major, but it’s amazing what our pretty new curtains and fancy new little trash cans have done for our bedroom. The dark, copper-colored trash cans really pop against the pale birch furniture, while our chocolate-colored curtains do the same; added bonus: they transform our bedroom into the completely lightless cave we dreamed of. I no longer have raccoon face in the mornings since I no longer need to put my sleep mask on to block out the morning sun’s evil, evil rays. Add in fancy new doorknobs, and our room is really shaping up.

421 Words
The last progress I was able to make on my book. Not. Enough. Time. So far, this month has been more like NoNoWriMo (my friend came up with that) than either NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo.

Rich and I finally applied for our passports. The catalyst? A trip next year to Uruguay with our faboo friends Richard and Donna. Of course, every time I talk about it, I remember that Simpsons episode where Homer points at Uruguay on a globe and laughs “Hehehe. U are gay.”

…And Scene!
This weekend will mark my third week of acting class. I’m taking it through the Actors Coop and my instructor is the very talented Sara Schwabe. Turns out it’s a lot of fun practicing soft focus, finding your center, and running lines with total strangers.

And now back to work. I’m working from home each night this week, because, as I mentioned earlier, work is kicking my ass.

*This is the song used in that cool new iPod Touch commercial. Not to be confused with a song that is actually named “Music Is My Boyfriend” by Skye Sweetnam. Which is also a perfectly good song.

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Post-Vacation Recovery: 85% Complete

Song Lyric of the Day:

If I could take you away / Pretend I was queen / What would you say / Would you think I’m unreal

Rachel Yamagata / “Be Be Your Love

I’m almost completely recovered from my whirlwind trips through Atlanta and Chattanooga. I’ll write day-by-day recaps later on, when I find the time and hopefully have some pictures to post. You know, since I forgot my camera. Thank God Caren was nice enough to let me use her camera so I could get some shots. I’ll elaborate on the stuff that I Twittered about throughout my vacation, which I don’t think even Rich read. Probably because he didn’t know I was Twittering.

And just like that, I’m back into my usual work-home routine. Although I am now very behind on TiVoed TV shows, thanks to my latest XBox 360 addiction. Damn BioShock.

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Filed under chattanooga, vacation

My Latest Distractions

Song Lyric of the Day:

You can’t stop this, feeling / There’s no escape / No sleep tonight / You won’t get / No sleep tonight

The Faders / “No Sleep Tonight

As a die-hard amateur photographer, I’ve been
enjoying uploading and sharing my photos. Hundreds down, hundreds more to go. It’s been interesting to see some of my photos attract the attention of different groups. Which is why I have photos in a Six Feet Under group, a Steve & Barry’s group, and, my favorite, One of a Kind, which has weekly themes.

The Parody Motivator Generator
Create your own motivational or — more fun — your own unmotivational poster. Just upload a photo, name it, and write your copy. I took a holiday photo of Snoops and turned it into a warning:
I predict I’m going to waste lots more time with Despair, Inc.’s application.

Caren introduced me to this community shopping site. You don’t actually buy items here, but rather organize shopping lists, lists of items you have, get feedback from other users, and, in my case, create visual aids for my perpetual wish list. Now my greediness knows no bounds. You can see all my lists here.

I’ve been on the fence about signing up for Twitter for a while. But, after Caren gave me another nudge, I jumped on the bandwagon. The site asks a simple question: What are you doing? So I use it to comment throughout the day about my typically mundane, often inane, whims. Basically, things that I don’t need to write about here. I imagine Twitter will come in very handy when I’m traveling and don’t have Internet access; this is what I would’ve used when I was stuck on that plane if I hadn’t found that Wi-Fi signal.

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Monday and My Mind’s Awanderin’

Song Lyric of the Day:

Sparks ignite and trade them for thought / About no one / And nothing in particular

Silverchair / “Straight Lines

Just when I convinced myself that Rich and his relatives won’t run into any bears on their camping trip this week, I see this Mountain Dew commercial:

Now, I don’t expect a hockey mask-wearing, chainsaw-wielding ferret to attack my husband and in-laws (that would be silly, right? Right?), but, I have to say, this made my imagination run wild — and not in a good way. Cue flashbacks to camping in the Great Dismal Swamp and beer-soaked campsite neighbors practicing throw-the-hatchet-at-the-tree. The tree between them and us (thank God they didn’t miss). True story.

See, this is what happens when family time as a child consists of watching Friday the 13th movies together: It fucks up your views on camping forever.

I pulled another lemming and just signed up for a Twitter account. Place your bets now as to how long it holds my interest. Following: 1, Followers: 0. Two minutes old, and them’s the stats so far.

These black leather Mary Jane pumps at Target are calling to me: Come buy us, Pattie. You’ll be ever so glad that you did!

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While the Husband’s Away…

Song Lyric of the Day:

I been working so hard / Keep punching my card / Eight hours, for what? / Oh, tell me what I got / I get this feeling / That time’s just holding me down / I’ll hit the ceiling / Or else I’ll tear up this town / Tonight I gotta cut loose, footloose

Kenny Loggins / “Footloose

Well, since Rich is on his vacation for the next several days (as he detailed in his blog), I’m moving full steam ahead with plans for my “Gerry-atric Film Fest” this weekend. That’s Gerry as in Gerard Butler; my friend, Nan, came up with the movie-a-thon name. And, yes, she will be attending.

That reminds me, 300 comes out on DVD Tuesday, and the special features look awesome. As you know, I love DVDs primarily for the special features. That, and I don’t have to rewind.

Hmmm…wonder if 300 used the Wilhelm scream?

Well, I made it through the day without puking all over my cubicle. Lucky for my cube neighbors. I had turkey burgers for dinner last night; I’d made them and frozen them a few weeks ago. Once I started eating, my stomach went south almost immediately, so I stopped eating them pretty quickly. I guess turkey burger patties don’t keep too well in the freezer. Shame.

I felt better after a few hours of laying around, praying my stomach would stop hurting, and I felt a lot better by the time I went to bed. Got up this morning, felt fine, made it to the driveway, and almost lost it before getting in the car. It took most of the day for my stomach to settle down a bit. I did make a point of buying generic Pepto-Bismol at Kroger on the way home from work, though. Better safe than sorry.

Stomach’s feeling better, although still a bit iffy. Might have chicken soup for lunch tomorrow if it’s still squelchy. As it is, I’m working from home tomorrow (love my portable job, and, more importantly, my boss who lets me work from home). Before leaving the office tonight, I double-checked that the articles I need to work on are safely queued up in my email, grabbed my trusty red pen and style guide, and headed out the door. Of course, my friend, Caren, being the young, up-on-technology whippersnapper that she is, suggested I use Google Documents to help cut down on all the emails I send myself, which I just might try. She also thinks I should try Twitter, but I’m still on the fence about that — who out there wants to know what I do all day? Hear those crickets chirping? That’s what I thought.

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to no outside distractions tomorrow — no groups congregating in front of my cubicle (they forget a conference room is nearby), no conversations echoing out of the break room, no reheated fish smell (being near the kitchen is mostly a bad thing) — generally NO NOISE. That, and I get a divine tummy massage when Yum Yum flexes on my stomach when I first start working for the day (gotta make those biscuits). I can give the dogs peanut butter to keep them busy and wear them out.

It goes without saying that I will be working in my jammies. Pantsless.

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