Debate Wrap Up

Yes, I know. You still want my Republican Convention wrap up, too. I promise...some day! :-) (Also still on the list is two posts on immigration and a new addition: a history lesson on what health insurance was/was not meant to cover.)

In the meantime, here's how I commented on Twitter during the debate:
  • It's too bad that Senator Obama has never read the 10th amendment to the Constitution. Education and healthcare are NOT federal issues.
  • I don't think I can stress strongly enough how much Senator Obama frightens me. We are screwed, blued and tattooed if that man is elected.
  • I'm so glad that Obama reserves the right to talk to whomever he wants. What if they don't want to talk to him? Oy.
  • Gee...if we'd just have invited the North Koreans to dinner, they wouldn't have nuclear weapons. This man is an idiot.
  • Obama needs one of those court reporters to read the record of WHAT HE'S JUST SAID back to him so he doesn't flip flop every five minutes.
  • Obama's foreign policy is the equivalent of parents who send their children to the corner instead of spanking them. Just not effective.
  • Obama: "There has never been a country on Earth that saw its economy decline and yet maintained its military superiority." YES THERE HAS. The US. WWII. Duh.
  • Clear winner - McCain. How can you even take Obama seriously? The man has clearly shown that he is not prepared to lead a country.
And here are some quotes from the transcript, and my reactions:
  • Obama: "we've got to make sure that we're helping homeowners, because the root problem here has to do with the foreclosures that are taking place all across the country."
    No. No, no, no. If people didn't buy more home than they could afford, they wouldn't foreclose. The bank's fault in this problem is changing their standards in how people qualify for loans. But the bigger fault lays with homeowners living beyond their means.
  • Obama: "And unless we are holding ourselves accountable day in, day out, not just when there's a crisis for folks who have power and influence and can hire lobbyists, but for the nurse, the teacher, the police officer, who, frankly, at the end of each month, they've got a little financial crisis going on."
    Did he pick three professions - nurse, teacher, police officer - that are fairly well paid for a reason? Most teachers make more for nine month's work than I make for 12. My husband, as a police officer, makes well above the median income. And after years of working in healthcare, I can assure you that nurses are well paid. Obama, your example sucks. If these "above median" wage earners have a crisis at the end of the month, it's because they have not budgeted properly and are living outside of their means. And that's not something the government can fix.
  • McCain: "Well, the first thing we have to do is get spending under control in Washington. It's completely out of control. It's gone -- we have now presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society."
    AMEN! I want the government to get the hell out of my business. I do not need some agency that covenes quarterly in some building in a half-assed city on the east coast to make decisions for my life. And I certainly want no part of the thousands of "entitlement" programs the government oversees. It's that word - entitlement - that has lead generations of leeches to expect someone else to provide for their needs rather than getting off their duffs and providing for themselves.
  • Obama: "Well, Senator McCain is absolutely right that the earmarks process has been abused, which is why I suspended any requests for my home state, whether it was for senior centers or what have you, until we cleaned it up."
    Way to piss of the senior citizens. Wouldn't want to cut off support to the ignorant and lazy young people who live off the dole. Let's screw the seniors. Jackass.
  • Obama: "And one of the things I think we have to do is make sure that college is affordable for every young person in America."
    Don't waste your time. If someone wants an education badly enough, they can get it. Period. I worked my way through college, earning scholarships, taking loans, and holding down two jobs at a time while still taking between 18 and 21 credits every semester. Don't tell me others can't do the same because I'll tell you that you're full of shit.
  • McCain: "How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs."
    Sounds great to me. Just cut the entitlement programs, too. It's time to shit or get off the pot for folks who would rather get a monthly check than get a job.
  • McCain: "Well, I want to make sure we're not handing the health care system over to the federal government which is basically what would ultimately happen with Senator Obama's health care plan. I want the families to make decisions between themselves and their doctors. Not the federal government."
    AMEN! Thank you.
  • Obama: "Well, this is an area where Senator McCain and I have a fundamental difference because I think the first question is whether we should have gone into the war in the first place."
    Oh, you stupid ass. Why don't you just pack up your toys and go home since you're still sulking over decisions that were made half a decade ago? Do we really want a president who will sulk over the past instead of plan for the future?
  • Obama: "But that's Senate inside baseball."
    Wait just a freaking minute. McCain points out that Obama has never held a hearing for his subcommittee that should oversee NATO issues in Afghanistn, and Obama explains it away as "inside baseball?" Are you kidding? I thought Obama was the one who wanted transparency in government. Apparently, just not when it comes to his own actions.
  • McCain: "I'm not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I'm president of the United States. I don't even have a seal yet."
    That's just fabulous. I can't stop laughing.
  • McCain: "So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, "We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth," and we say, "No, you're not"? Oh, please."
    And now I'm laughing even harder. This is great stuff.

Mr. Obama, your campaign slogan is "Change We Need." I will glad give you some change - 35 cents, to be exact - so you can phone for a taxi and get the hell off the national stage. You clearly are not qualified to take charge of a country.

Mr. McCain, I'll be honest. I'm still not your biggest fan. I would have preferred the Republicans to offer up a different candidate. But I'm coming to like you more and more. And I really like that you emphasized your long and distinguished record in the debate, as well as the many bipartisan efforts you have been involved with over the years. And bravo for continually pointing out how ignorant Obama is when it comes to any type of national and foreign policy!

Everything's Dead...

...except the ants.

Well, that's not true. I still have two live dogs and two live cats.

But anywho...

I came home from work today to find a freshly dead bird in my backyard, just by my covered patio. My dogs were just preparing to munch on it for dinner. Tastes like chicken. In fact, the little one already had feathers on her mouth. YEECH. Clean up, aisle two! I swallowed my disgust and scooped up the poor birdie with a shovel and threw it over the back fence. Gross.

(Don't worry. We don't have neighbors behind us. It's an open field that we actually own part of but that is used by the electric company.)

Walked inside...and there's a dead lizard. Just one of those tiny two-inch ones. But dead as a doornail. And being consumed by an army of ants, who kung-fu'd in from I-don't-know-where. Yippee. Clean-up, aisle three!

Talked to the hubby for a few minutes and he told me where I could swipe ant traps from to put in different places to get rid of the problem. Went to one of the locations he mentioned...and another dead lizard. This one was a bit larger and squishy. No ants, though. Clean-up, aisle four!

Some of the ants are still alive, but they're consuming the poison like good little lemmings. DIE!

Seriously, would any other wild creature like to die in my house tonight?

Have I mentioned YEECH?

Winding Down, Gearing Up

Happy Manic Monday, folks!

I'm in two very different modes simultaneously. I'm winding down and gearing up - at the same time.

Winding Down
At work, I'm going through transitioning projects and duties to various coworkers. Even though we'd initially thought I'd have a couple more weeks at work before baby, I'd designated this week in particular for transitions. Perhaps I just knew that Spoiled Baby was going to be even earlier than we thought.

Gearing Up
At home, I'm trying to make sure everything is just so before baby gets here. I've got a big checklist built (ok, I live my entire life by checklists) and have been going through items to feel like I'm ready. From having cash for the hospital (apparently, they make you pay for the difference between a semi-private room and a private room up front since insurance doesn't cover) to having my bags packed and all of my paperwork in order to even making sure that I have reading and writing stuff to keep me busy should I be in labor for a long time...I'm just buzzing around. Well, buzzing around as much as I can with (a) limited energy and (b) doctor's orders to restrict movements.

What do you most remember about the things you tried to accomplish just before the birth of your first child?

Ignorant Children, Part 2

I was at the library today, checking out a few books in preparation for the arrival of the little one. (I'm beginning my quest to read ALL of the books that have won the Pulitzer Prize.)

While there, I noticed a mother and her teenage son. He was busily picking out DVDs to rent. His mom asked him, in a very tentative voice, "Would you like to check out a few books as well, while we're here?"

He replied, "Naw. I don't need no books. Nothin' ever happens in books."

Oh, God. I had to stop myself from rushing over and bonking him over the head with the hardcover copy of Gone With The Wind I'd just picked up.

This is a problem I perceive with today's youth - they don't read! Even up to my age - a few, hmm, years past my high school days.

I was on a work trip to Philadelphia a little over a year ago with one of my coworkers, and I was showing him around the city that I spent a lot of time in growing up. Somehow, we got talking about books. He confided in me that he was hoping to read at least 1 book this year. Because, you know, he's busy and all.

Gosh, don't strain yourself.

When did reading become such a challenge? I'm not saying that kids have to run out and pick up the classics, but read something, for God's sake! I'd seriously challenge anyone who told me they didn't have time to read because they're too busy. Quite honestly, I rarely encounter people who have more crowded schedules than I do. But I'm still in the process of reading my 81st book this year.

What are your thoughts?

This trend in reading disturbs me...seriously!

Update on Chris

Subtitle: How Mother Nature Trumped Mother Tiffany
Sub-sub Title: Why I Hate Hurricane Ike
I let you all know in my "Updates, Updates" post that Chris was being deployed as a part of a state police contingent here in Texas to aid in enforcement efforts down in Galveston, so I just thought I'd provide a little update on how that's going.

Chris arrived there Thursday afternoon and got his gear stowed and settled in. He began work at 5 AM on Friday morning and spent his first 12 hour shift accompanying convoys and then driving around Galveston Island. Today's 12 hour shift was spent at a roadblock...apparently, despite sunscreen, he's burned.

We were hopeful that because the baby has sped up our timetable, he'd be able to head home a bit earlier than the deployment schedule calls for, so that he can be here if something happens. To summarize my update over at How to Have a Baby, my doctor has set the goal of keeping Baby Girl inside until September 27th. (Head over there for need to rehash here.) But Chris isn't scheduled to leave south Texas until the morning of September 29th. Hmm...

Another agent volunteered to take his place. So I was even more hopeful. I'm very capable of taking care of myself, thank you very much, but I'd definitely feel a little more calm if Chris were here instead of there.'s not going to happen.

Governor Perry has requested an additional 600 state police officers to help out in both Houston and Galveston. Only 6 agents from the Dallas and Fort Worth districts of Chris' agency originally went last week. ALL of the remaining agents from both districts will now be heading down there on Monday. Ergo, no one to swap out with Chris. Ergo, he stays.

If I go into labor between now and the 29th, they allow him to come home at that time. If it's during the day, he can get over to Houston Hobby airport and I can get him on a plane up here - 45 minute ride and since I work for AA, it won't be any big deal to get him a seat. We run planes out of Hobby constantly from about 6 AM until about 8 PM. If it's during the's a long drive up from Galveston. Even with lights and sirens. I've threatened the baby with duct tape.

So I'm coming to you again to ask for a few prayers. We need for this little girl to stay put until her daddy can come home. I'm trying to do my part by following my doctor's orders as best I can to restrict movement. But I have to tell you that I'm feeling a bit frantic. My intuition is that she's not going to follow orders that nicely...and that it'll become a matter of her racing her dad. In fact, I'm firmly convinced of this. And unfortunately, my intuition is typically dead on. Ask my friends about the times that I get up to go answer the phone before it even rings...

So in any case, that's our update. Hope ya'll are having a good weekend! I'm still trying to figure out how to dial back and do this whole relaxation thing.

Oh, Those Crazy Cats!

Our home plays host to two wild and crazy cats who know exactly what station in life they hold - as masters of the house! Over the past few weeks, here are just some of the shots we got.

Yin and Yang

Thanks for the new digs, Ma!

What's with the baby sh!t? I need room!

Mom's office is pretty cool...

...for napping in, at least!
It's ok, she naps here, too!


But I don't want to wear a diaper!

First, check your mirrors.

Then, glance behind you.

Time to hit the road!

That's my Mama...back off!

Happy Weekend, ya'll!

Another Fabulous Friday

It occurred to me today that with Spoiled Baby making her own plans to enter the world (see the post on that over at How to Have a Baby), I won't have many more Fridays without her by my side! In fact...this could be my last. Wow!

It's incredible to look back and realize how much time has passed since we first found out she was coming. Absolutely incredible. And although it now seems that life is in fast forward and she'll be here before we know it...I can't wait!

Although, really, I can. First...she needs to grow, just a bit more. Second...I need Funny Daddy to get home before she gets here. (See the post on where he is over at Breakfast at Tiffany's.)

Question to all you mamas out there - in the last weeks of your pregnancies, what were you most looking forward to, other than the obvious fact that your baby would soon be a part of the world?

Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Excuses, Excuses

Hi, Folks!

Geez...another five days have gone by, and no posts from me!

I promise...the ones that I've let you know were coming are still coming.

I was slammed with writing work over the weekend, in addition to participating in (and winning!) a Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest and attending my last Lamaze class with my husband.

On Monday, I spent the whole day - and it was a long one - preparing for the all-day training classes I was coordinating for my full-time job (coordinating and presenting, I should add...and boy, am I tired!) and so that, of course, bled over to being very busy on Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

And then...we got the call yesterday that Chris would be deployed to the Galveston region this morning to assist in enforcement efforts for the areas hit by Hurricane Ike. In other words, he's going down there to police the idiots who either (a) refused to leave initially or (b) are now trying to get back on an island that has no power or running water. Yippee.
MESSAGE TO IDIOTS IN GALVESTON: If you cause any harm to befall my husband, with our child only weeks away (we hope - please, God, let her at least wait until her dad comes home) from being born, I will hunt you down and kill you myself. That is a threat and I do mean it. I'm nearly as good a shot as he is and I'm fueled by hormones that you cannot even comprehend.
So, in any case, he is leaving this morning at about 9 AM to arrive in some little podunk town down south called Sante Fe by 4 PM, where the Galveston County Sheriff's Office is using the local high school for staging. The amazing amenities he'll have access to during his 10-day deployment (which doesn't count his travel days...aren't we cutting it *just* a bit close here, folks, with baby?) include a hot shower (occasionally), three meals per day, and a room that the six agents who are traveling together can share, provided they bring all of their own bedding. (You can't imagine how much camping-type stuff Chris has packed in his state police vehicle, which I am now very thankful is a truck. I think he's taken every camping supply, in fact, that we own. Which is a lot!)

During the time he'll be there, they'll work 12 hour shifts on a rotational basis on each of those 10 days. As the state has not authorized overtime, they'll be compensated when they return by receiving an equal amount of compensatory time to the hours of overtime worked during those 10 days. This doesn't impress me. Chris already has hundreds of hours of vacation time banked. A few extra isn't exactly a boon. Plus, he's going to be exhausted when he gets back, which isn't exactly the ideal state to be in when a newborn baby comes along. And let's face it...we're only four weeks away from my actual due date, and since it's been the plan all along to go about two weeks early...we are definitely cutting it close here.

So yeah, I'm whining a bit. Sorry! Snapping out of it, now. I've decided that to keep myself busy while he's gone, I'm going to accomplish things that have been sitting on my to-do list for way too long. So I've re-done the list, and intend to be a busy little bee over the next week and a half. Watch out world, I've got lots to do!

A Sarah Palin Kind of Mom

(If you don't follow my flagship blog, Breakfast at Tiffany's, you may not be aware of my political leanings. This post ought to give you a clue...)

I've been watching the news media swirl around Sarah Palin, as they've spent the past two weeks trying to figure out how they were going to attack her. And it intrigues me that one of the areas they have chosen to attack is the idea that Palin returned to work only days after the birth of her last child.

Quite honestly, folks, if this is the biggest concern they can find about this woman, they're trying waaaaay too hard.

First of all, Palin had the flexibility in her job necessary to be able to facilitate caring for her child while attending to her duties as governor. What's wrong with that?

Second, Palin has a terrific family and supportive husband. It's not like she's in this baby-raising business by herself. If a man returned to work earlier than what society deems as the norm, would he be similarly criticized?

And finally, this is Palin's fifth child. She certainly knows her own body well enough by this point to know what she can physically handle. And I'd have to say that she's one tough cookie from all of what I've seen.

I think I'd like to be a Sarah Palin kind of mom. I won't be heading back to my full-time job right after Spoiled Baby arrives, but I do intend to return to my writing commitments within about a week. There's no reason why I can't balance nurturing my child with sitting at my laptop for a few hours a day. My own husband is betting that I will end up cutting short the time I've planned to take off from my full time job, knowing full and well that I prefer to be on the go, but also trusting in my ability to balance that versus caring for my child.

And you know what? No matter how soon I return to my writing, or to my full time job, I am not a bad person...or a bad mother. Life is about finding the right balance for your own circumstances. Sarah Palin obviously realizes this...and so do I.

Hurricane Reactions

From CNN:

September 12th, 2008
Posted: 11:01 PM ET

(CNN) — One person died Friday after drowning in the water off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas, as Hurricane Ike approached, authorities said.

Capt. Robert MacDonald of the Nueces County Sheriff’s office said a 19-year-old man was swept out to sea after he and a friend went to the end of a 100-foot jetty to look at the waves generated by the storm.

One of those waves swept the man off the jetty and onto the rocks below, MacDonald said. Two bystanders tried to rescue the man but they were also pushed onto the rocks. One suffered serious injuries and was taken by helicopter to a hospital, the captain said.

The 19-year-old victim has been declared dead, MacDonald said, but the Coast Guard has not yet recovered his body.

Wouldn't Darwin be proud?

Stupid People & Update

I just saw something that was about the stupidest sentiment ever. And I really hesitate to directly call people stupid, but this was, and as an (a) blogger who likes pointing out idiots and (b) thinking individual, I just have to respond.

It said:

Attention Sarah Palin:
Jesus Christ was a Community Organizer.
Pontius Pilate was a Governor.

Are you freaking kidding me?

No, I'm not arguing the Biblical accuracy of Pilate being a Governor...he was Governor of Judea. Fine.

What I am going to take offense at is calling Jesus a Community Organizer. It's a whole long road from traveling around to bring people the Word of God to "organizing." Although I'm sure Obama would like to be able to raise people from the dead (he'd get more votes), walk on water (sure would help to visit the idiots who refuse to evacuate ahead of the hurricanes), and turn water into wine (this is self-evident), I'm kinda thinking he'd leave the game long before taking on anyone else's sins. Referring to Jesus as a Community Organizer would be akin to labeling Hillary as a non-partisan moderate - it just ain't right, man.

Let me, perhaps, offer a better example of a Community Organizer: Adolf Hitler.
  • He organized people to fight the standards of the government he perceived as mismanaged and wrongheaded.
  • He gathered supporters for the cause of regaining national pride through charismatic speeches and using inflated promises and statistics to gain followers.
  • He wrote a memoir before ever really achieving anything in life.
  • He was not actually a part of the demographic he sought to represent.
I'm going to stop before I frighten myself any further. I'm sure we're all getting the point.

My post has now reached out to Republicans, Democrats, Historians, Jews, Christians and stupid work here is done. (If you're a Buddhist Libertarian, check back another time.)

We Found...

...a Pediatrician!

I'd been worried that we'd just procrastinated too long and wouldn't find one before Spoiled Baby got here.

We were really looking for a lot:
  • Female.
  • Accepting new patients.
  • Office within a 10-minute drive.
  • Associated with the same hospital system as my other doctors.
  • "Convenient" office hours other than those that overlap with normal business hours.
  • Knowledgeable of many ailments beyond the typical childhood sniffles - including allergies and thyroid issues, since I have both.
  • Accepts both my current insurance and the insurance I'm moving to in 2009.
We had a great interview yesterday morning with not only the doctor but also her nurse practitioner and her nurse. We asked a zillion questions...and she asked us a bunch in return. Really felt like we made a connection, so we're thrilled!

Bad news is that although she's associated with the same hospital system, she's not associated with the specific hospital I will deliver at - just too far away. She assured us that a qualified staff pediatrician would check out Spoiled Baby while we're in the hospital and that as long as we call as soon as the baby is born, they'll schedule a 24-hour post-hospital check-up as well as a 1-week check up to ensure all is well!

YAHOO! One less worry.

September 11, 2008

In memory of September 11th, this blog is closed for the day.

Posting to resume tomorrow with (finally) my Republican Convention reactions as well as an immigration piece my friend Timo brought to my attention.

Canada is NOT the 51st State

Good Tuesday morning to everyone, and welcome to the 7th edition of Tuesday Travel Tips with Tiffany! To read previous editions, you can find them here.

Are we sensing a theme, yet, for the overly obvious titles? I know that I shouldn't have to tell you, dear readers, some of these overly obvious facts, but unfortunately, there're a lot of people out there that are JUST.PLAIN.CLUELESS.

Picture this:

You're standing in the security line at Terminal D at DFW airport. 90% of the flights that depart from Terminal D are international. So it's a pretty fair bet that 90% of the people going through security are headed somewhere other

The line inches forward. The couple in front of you dutifully has their tickets out, as well as their drivers' licenses, ready to present to the TSA employee. So...perhaps they're part of the 10% who happen to have a domestic flight departing from Terminal D.

They're not.

They're headed to Vancouver. As in Canada.

The TSA employee is well-grounded in geography. When the couple hands over their drivers' licenses, he politely asks them for their passports.

You, standing patiently behind them, can only sigh.

"What do you mean, you need to see our passports? We're only going to Canada." The wife is a bit...indignant.

"Ma'am, you need a passport to fly to a foreign country." They don't pay the TSA folks nearly enough.

"We fly to Canada ALL.THE.TIME. We've never needed a passport before!" The husband isn't about to say a word...wifey is handling this one.

"Ma'am, when is the last time you flew to Canada?" Like I said, they don't pay these people enough.

"Well, uh, three years ago." Her voice is oh so slightly less strident.

"Ma'am, three years ago, you wouldn't have needed a passport. But due to security regulation changes over the past two years, anyone flying to Canada or Mexico now needs their passports."

"Oh. I may have seen something like that on the news. Well, we don't have our passports with us. Could we make an exception this just one time?" Suddenly, wifey is TSA dude's best friend. Her voice is now butter.

"No, ma'am. It's a federal regulation. You will not be allowed to board a plane to Canada without a passport."

Before your head explodes, dear passenger stuck behind these people, we'll leave this scene before it becomes really ugly.

So the moral of this story is...Canada is NOT the 51st State. Passports, people. Travel prepared!

Until next time...

Safe Travels!

Another Weekend...Gone

I can't believe it's already Monday! Between starting Lamaze classes, judging speech and debate on Friday and Saturday, plus finishing up on work for a few freelancing clients...I'd swear it was just Friday!

How do you all manage your time over the weekend? I find that it's harder to manage weekend time than my hours throughout the work week. During the week, I can generally schedule everything around my full-time job and just make everything fit in. On the weekends...I feel pulled in a million different directions at times. There is always a lot that I want to do...and never enough hours to fit it all in.

So now it's Monday again, and between anticipating a busy work week and more to accomplish next weekend, I'm just going to be speeding from one Manic Monday to the next. How about you?

The Ignorance of Children...

I judged a speech and debate tournament between yesterday and today, and I'm reminded again of the ignorance of children.

In particular, I judge LD (Lincoln Douglas) Debate, Extemp (Extemporaneous Current Events Speaking) and Congress (speeches for/against resolutions). I just other events as well, but these are the ones that deal with current events.

I've got to tell you that some of the analysis I hear is so freaking cracked up, it makes my head hurt. I'm not saying that I have a difference of opinion with what's presented...I'm saying that the way these kids analyze issues is seriously flawed.

Is it their parent's fault? Is it their teacher's fault? Have we, as a society, just become less analytical?

It scares me that these kids are our future leaders. Year by year - and I've been judging for almost ten years - the analysis just gets worse and worse.

I'm looking forward to teaching Spoiled Baby how to handle thinking through current events issues. Not what to think - I don't need a mini me - but how to process what goes on in the world around her.

It seems that there's just not enough emphasis placed on learning how to think. Seriously!

Friday, Already?

Goodness...with it being a shortened week for the Labor Day holiday, Friday certainly seemed to get here fast, didn't it?

What's your favorite part about looking forward to Friday? Or, if you're a stay at home mama, is Friday really much different than any other day?

I think that between school and the working world, we get so focused on Friday being the release at the end of the week that sometimes it builds up too much. And's Friday. Kay. Now what?

Any interesting plans for the weekend? I'm working all day today and then heading to another local high school to judge a speech tournament tonight and tomorrow. No plans yet for Sunday - and for that, I'm grateful! My husband and I haven't had a quiet day around the house just to ourselves in about a month, so I'm looking forward to it. Those quiet "just the two of us days" will be ending so soon with Spoiled Baby's arrival!!! And then I think I'll forget what quiet means...

Have a great weekend ya'll!


Blogging accomplishment of the evening:

1. Totally updated the look of Read and Release. Way cleaner. Go visit! Shiny!
2. Created header for R&R as well as button to use for EntreCard.
3. Signed R&R up for Entrecard.

So now...all four of my "personal" blogs are on EC. It might become an obsession.


Writing is Less Important

I'm infuriated by a web site I came across today while following an ad posted on an otherwise reputable writing site for women.

Called Six Figure Freelancer, the site gives the back story for a down-on-his-luck twenty-something who turned it all around and got rich writing content for websites.

But consider a few quotes from his site - I hope they infuriate you as much as they disturb me.

My writing skills were poor, and to make matters worse… I’m a slow writer.

Unfortunately, this young man's writing skills have not improved at all while he has developed his content writing career. The entire site is very poorly written.

Think you need to be a Pulitzer Prize winning writer to earn a 6-figure income online? Writing skills are less important than other skills. The average person only reads at a 6th grade level. To be a good online content writer you only need to write in a basic conversational tone… like you talk.

So it's a good thing that many people only read at a 6th grade level? To me, that's horrifying. No wonder most websites are filled with pure and utter trash.

It's important to understand that what I've described to you is not a fantasy or magic. It is the regular day in the life of a successful freelance writer.

I would argue that success is not defined by the stupidity of people willing to pay you to produce crap for their websites. Success is defined by actual proficiency in what you undertake. I don't make six figures freelancing, but I do make just as much on a weekly basis as my full time job, and the work I produce would stand up to any English teacher's red pen. I won't prostitute myself to make a few extra bucks and tarnish my image as a proficient writer.

With proven strategies, and step-by-step methods , you could easily be making 2, 3 or even 9 thousand dollars per month in no time flat.

In addition to the other writing skills he lacks, he didn't learn about proper number usage in sentences. Let's be impressed.

There is huge variety of assignments you could choose from..writing small articles, ebooks, editing , article rewriting and much more. And don’t worry, if you can write at a basic ninth-grade level, this would be a piece of cake for you.

So we've been promoted from sixth grade to ninth grade?

Discover the best way to neutralize the competition… page 59 will teach you this one simple tactic!

Write professionally? Oh, right. We don't need to know how to do that.

You’re the kind of person that is looking for an honest, honorable and reliable way to start a freelance writing business… and looking for proven strategies and tactics to score all the writing assignments you can handle… then this is the package you’ve been looking for.

I don't think it's "honorable" to sell material that you know to be crap.

Like most people who hang out their eBooks to sell, David offers no concrete details about his actual background or experience. In fact, when I searched for him on Google, all links pointed back to the site hawking his $37 book.

David, I wish you well in your future endeavors. Luckily for you, there are apparently enough ignorant people in society who enjoy perpetrating their ignorance by paying you to spew crap. But for those of us who take pride in the work we produce, we'll look elsewhere for opportunities and advice.

I'm Caught Up!

Run, do not walk, over to Read and Release - where I'm ALL CAUGHT UP on reviews! 75 books read to date this year and number 76 will probably finish tomorrow.


New Plot Line

Uh oh.

That's all I can say.

I was just thinking about one of my works in progress. Yes, I have a bunch of those. No, they aren't going anywhere fast. You find me about 10 more hours in the day on top of my full-time job and crowded freelancing schedule and everything else, and one might actually get done someday. But I digress.

In any case, I was just thinking about one of my works in progress...and had a total "what if" moment. What if...I changed a VERY large detail in the plot line. Then what? I could keep everything I've already got written...but the ending (if I ever get there!) would be so dramatically different.

So what if...

Would I like it better?

Would potential readers like it better?

What if?

Argh. I may actually have to outline this to give in to my own curiosity.

Democratic Convention - Days 3 & 4

Hi, readers!

Sorry for taking so long to get this up! It's been a busy few days and so I'm just now finally catching up!

Let's get started...

Democratic Convention, Day 3

I missed seeing this day live, because I was at the airport picking up Chris from his Canada trip. I did tape it - er, DVR it - however, so here are my thoughts on the two speakers I was watching for: Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

Bill Clinton

It is sickening to me how long the applause lasted for this fraud of a man. I guess it just proves my point all over again - people are sheep, and will follow along blindly time and time again. Here are some of my reactions to individual parts of his speech:
  • "Sit down." (Funny! I wish Bill had taken his own advice and gotten off the stage. Yeech.)
  • I will grant Bill this - his global warming joke was funny.
  • The American Dream is apparently under siege. (Oh, Lord. It begins.)
  • We have a perilous dependence on foreign oil. (As opposed to when he was president...?)
  • Diplomacy is the answer. (I thought interns were the answer...)
  • Obama will rebuild a badly strained military. (Uh, wasn't it CLINTON who decimated the military in the 90s?)
  • Why should Clinton have to convince his own party that their candidate is ready to be President?
  • Nations around the world should be "impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power." (Why are we trying to impress anyone?)
  • Military families are "pushed to the breaking point by multiple deployments." (Follow me closely on this one, folks. We have a VOLUNTEER military. Military forces are used to defend interests both domestically and abroad. Ergo, people volunteer and as a natural course of their job, are deployed. If you're going to complain about it, you shouldn't have joined. People who join the military just so they can get a guaranteed salary and education and training piss me off. Being a part of the military is about serving others, not having them serve you.)
  • Let me express this one more time for those apparently slow folks in the crowd: the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT was not responsible for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Get the hell off it.
Joe Biden

Apparently, I should be proud of this hometown Scranton boy. But although I find his mom to be cute as a button and him to be far more believable than Obama, I wish to hell he'd stop gratuitously mentioning Scranton every five seconds. He lived there until he was ten. Let's look at his speech:
  • "Sitcheration." (Ok, anyone who makes fun of Bushisms should check out the way Biden said "situation." Hilarious.)
  • "That's not change...that's more of the same." (Wow. Great line. Too bad it means nada.)
  • McCain voted against the minimum wage X amount of times. (I would, too. It's already too high. It's called the MINIMUM wage for a reason.)
  • Obama will cut taxes for 95% of the ple who draw pay checks. (My ass. When's the last time a democrat has lowered taxes? And exactly how will this even be facilitated?)
  • Obama will invest in the next generation of teachers. (What about, uh, our CURRENT teachers?)
  • The average family will save $2500 in healthcare. (But what will be the cost in the quality of care? And how will the government subsidize that savings?)
  • Obama will put more cops on the street. (Riiiiight.)
  • Talking is the best way to ensure security. (Say hello to my little friend...)
Obama's appearance with Biden at the end of day 3 just seemed pointlessly gratuitous.

Democratic Convention, Day 4

The All Obama, All the Time Show. Yeehaw. Here we go...
  • Ted Kennedy embodies the spirit of service. (I'm still choking over this one. Just not the service of calling the police and reporting that he'd been in a car accident that killed someone else. Snort.)
  • Many of the issues plaguing us today are not of the government's making but their failure to respond is a problem. (So...the government should respond to problems outside of their concern. Rah rah for big government.)
  • We need to stop offshoring. (By interfering with the free market system? Sure, sounds great...if we were, say, in China.)
  • The Republicans claim we have become a nation of whiners. (Well, if the shoe fits...yes, yes, it's true. We, as a nation, completely lack personal responsibility and instead whine and complain about what everyone else should be doing for us.)
  • The Republicans expect people to make it on their own. (Yep. It's called taking care of yourself. Period.)
  • We need to restore the American Promise. (Um, or the American Dependency on the next handout. Hey, whichever works.)
  • We need to create opportunities for everyone who is willing to work. (Again, this is a socialist concept. And the fact is, there are a lot of people not willing to work. They'd rather just get their monthly government check. And before anyone dares to call me an out of touch elitist, I have had repeated personal experience with people like this. And there are many more out there. And I wish they'd all spontaneously implode. I don't work my freaking ass off just so someone else can get something for nothing.)
  • Lobbyists wrote the tax code. (Um, this is too absurd to even contemplate.)
  • We will cut taxes for 95% of all working families. (Tell me another one.)
  • In ten years, we can end our dependency on foreign oil. (So...Obama wants us to be big players in the international community, but not in trade with the Middle East. Yet another example of the democratic hypocrisy that makes me sick.)
  • Obama will help the automobile companies retool and spend $150B on renewable energy. (And the money for this will come from...where?)
  • Obama will hire an army of new teachers with higher salaries to fix education. (What about our existing teachers? Who in most locales get damn good salaries already? I'd love a job where I have several months off every summer but still make twelve months worth of paychecks.)
  • For people with healthcare coverage, Obama will reduce premiums. For people without healthcare coverage, they will be guaranteed the same levels of coverage as the members of Congress. (No, thank you. I don't want what Congress has, and I don't want the government involved in any way, shape, or form in my healthcare.)
  • Obama will stop insurance companies from discriminating against the sick. (Wow.)
  • Obama will ensure more paid sick days and better family leave. (Again...asking employers to pay people more money to do less work. Ye Gods.)
  • How will Obama pay for all of these grand plans? By closing corporate loop holes and tax haves. By going line by line through the budget and eliminating non-functioning programs. (Good. Have fun. I'd guarantee that 95% of those non-functioning programs are Democrat sponsored.)
  • It cracks me up to hear a Democrat lecturing on personal responsibility...
  • It also cracks me up to hear a Democrat talking about rebuilding military strength.
All in all, this speech had a lot of rhetoric and no substance.

On to the land of rationality and the Republican Convention!

Mindnumbing Disney

We spent yesterday afternoon hanging out with Chris' aunt and cousins. One of his cousins has a baby boy who is about to turn 1. During the afternoon, the Disney Channel was on the boob tube, with some kind of animated Mickey show on. The kiddo was entranced. No matter where he crawled or who was holding him or if he was in his play pen, he had to have his head turned towards the TV, which was playing episodes of the show back to back to back to back to back to back to back...

I came home feeling a bit mindnumbed. Chris' aunt, the child's grandmother, posited that perhaps Disney used subliminal messages to keep the attention of the kiddos. I think she's on to something, there.

What kinds of shows did you all watch when you were little? Did you even watch a lot of TV? I didn't. First of all, even though I was raised in the 80s and cable existed, it didn't exist in my rural hometown. We had a TV that had a VHF and a UHF dial. The only time anything kid-like or animated came on network TV was Saturday morning cartoons. PBS did have some shows on in the afternoons that my mother put on for me occasionally, though. So if I was exposed to TV when I was a really little kid, it wasn't anything like Mickey's Crackhouse on the Disney channel. (I could, however, give you the roster of characters and the complete story lines from about 4 different soap operas by the age of five. Which may explain why I now refuse to watch soaps and in fact rarely watch TV in general.)

I'm a little scared with Catherine coming and finding ways to keep her little mind occupied. Granted, throughout the day, it'll be her Dad who determines what's going on - I'll be at work. But at night, when I'm home and Dad is at work, I'm a little scared at the prospect of going stark raving crazy after watching 70 episodes of an animated show in a row, even if it gives her some kind of valuable knowledge or keeps her quiet or captures her attention.

What are all ya'lls thoughts? What shows do your kiddos like? How do you avoid going nuts when watching shows that just make you want to scream but your children adore?

Sneakers are Shoes

Good Tuesday morning to everyone, and welcome to the 6th edition of Tuesday Travel Tips with Tiffany! To read previous editions, you can find them here.

Like last week, I'm going with the overly obvious for a title this week. Unfortunately...the overly obvious is somehow not obvious to some of our fellow travelers!

Consider a situation I recently encountered at the airport:

While in a long line of passengers waiting to clear security on a busy Tuesday morning, I noticed that the woman in front of me was not even making an attempt to take off her shoes as she prepared her belongings to go through the X-ray. Let me tell you...they really completed her running suit.

In any case, I've learned my lesson about offering advice to fellow passengers while in line, so I decided to simply watch the show. Ms. Sneakers shoved her bin through the machine and queued up to pass through the human part of the scanner. The TSA agent on the other side gave her the once-over before motioning her forward. When one is wearing bright pink sneakers, they don't typically escape notice.

"Ma'am," he called. "You'll need to remove your shoes and send them through the security device before you can come through."

"These aren't shoes," she snappily retorted. "They're SNEAKERS. They have RUBBER soles. I'm not taking them off."

"Ma'am," he began again, with a weary note in his voice. "You wear them on your FEET. Therefore, they're SHOES. Please remove them."

D'oh. That's really all I have to say. Folks, this isn't the Bill Clinton show - we're not defining what "is" is, here. If you cannot comprehend what the category of shoes encompasses, I'm not sure you should be getting weekend passes from the home to travel!

During any of your upcoming travels, I'd highly advise you to have basic wardrobe concepts straight in your head before entering the security line. Then again, this woman did provide much hilarity to the rest of us!

Until next time...

Safe Travels!

Manic Monday # 21

How in the HECK did it get to be September already?

Even though it's a holiday today here in the US of A, it's still a Manic Monday!

If you were to name the one thing you have the most compassion for, what would it be?
Children who fall through the cracks and do not have adequate parenting or even necessities and are forced to survive through miserable situations.

It's been said that, "The best things in life are free." Do you think this is true?
My checkbook begs to differ. It would like to know what this "free" is and where one finds it! :-)

What is the most valuable thing you own?
My home. Although, with 28 years to go on a mortgage, I believe it owns me.

Happy Labor Day Manic Monday, ya'll! Leave me a comment and I'll come visit you back - too lazy to get up a linky right now!

School Year Start

Man, Catherine isn't even here yet and I'm feeling rushed by the new school year. What will it be like in a few years when she's in school??

You see, I judge speech and debate tournaments for a handful of local high schools. Yeah, mumble-mumble years past high school myself, and I'm still a debate nerd!

I had a tournament this weekend and it threw off the nice little rhythm and routine I thought I had built for myself to balance my job and my writing and oh yeah - life! I got home way later both Friday and especially Saturday nights and have felt like I'm rushing to get everything else done around it!

Come Monday, Labor Day, a day when I was trying to avoid having any work to do in favor of an all-day relaxation fest...and I have to bang out some writing for a client because I didn't get it done last night; because last night I had friends over and computer issues besides and was working on something that should have been done earlier in the day; because earlier yesterday I was working on something that should have been done Saturday night; because I got home like 4 hours later Saturday night because I was guilt-tripped into judging out rounds; and on goes the cycle.

It's a Manic Monday for sure - and I know there'll be many more to come!

Happy Labor Day, ya'll!