Friday, March 30, 2007

It's Only a Matter of Time

On the eve of my 29th birthday, I realized that I'm turning into my parents.

When I was a kid, it always drove me crazy that we would get blamed for stuff. You remember how that works, right? If anything's missing/misplaced, immediately the offspring are responsible for it. Miscreants, all!

I am a highly organized person. So, even at a young age, I was very offended to be accused of misplacing things. Especially when my parents' mail system, god love 'em, consisted of coming in the door and laying the day's mail on whatever flat surface happened to be at hand.

The other day, I was looking for some Neosporin to put on a small cut. I looked in the band-aid box, which is where I always keep the Neosporin, but it wasn't there. Keith had already left for work, so I couldn't ask him where it was. I went to work, disgruntled and bacteria-laden (I was sure), because it had been misplaced.

When I got home that night, I tartly inquired of Keith exactly what he'd done with the Neosporin, because it certainly wasn't in its appropriate place. He shrugged. "I haven't used it," he said.

And that's when it hit me. Because I'm usually so organized, when something's missing I automatically assume it can't be my fault. I don't do things like that.

Except, on the rare occasion, I do. But when we have kids, I absolutely know that I'll blame them whenever I can't find something. And it'll be even worse than it was with my parents, because I'll be convinced it can't be my fault. My parents always assumed it was me or my sisters, but there was a sneaking suspicion that they themselves might be responsible.

But I won't have that suspicion. I'll be 100% convinced it wasn't me. I'm turning into my parents, and taking it one step further. Don't all proud parents want their kids to succeed, and possibly even exceed their accomplishments?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yup, We're Highbrow

The other night, we had a choice. We'd rented Flags of Our Fathers from the library and it was due back shortly. On the other hand, we'd DVRd Legally Blonde off TV a few weeks ago. In one night, we'd only have time to watch one ....

I have to say, Legally Blonde is a fun movie. And Luke Wilson is adorable.

I'm sure we'll get to Flags of Our Fathers some other time, right?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You'd think treads are a good thing

I've discovered a problem with my bright, shiny new running shoes.

When I'm wearing them around the house, and I see an ant, they are no good for squashing it. Since there's actual treads with space in between, he just kept slipping out. Twice! Twice I stepped on him, and still he made his escape.

Of course, if I actually wore the shoes to run in, this wouldn't be such a problem.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Good dog!

I know that Keith and I talk a lot about some of Beckett's less admirable habits. A tendency to "destroy" his dog bed, or make food disappear off counters in a matter of moments.... but he's actually a good dog at heart, I swear!

What happened on our run this morning proves it. Only a few minutes into the run, I went to switch the leash from my right hand to my left. Just like I've done a million times before .... and I dropped it. It fell right out of my hands!

Feeling the freedom, Beckett galloped ahead. As I may have mentioned before, I'm not the fastest runner on a good day. There's NO WAY I could catch up to him if he's running full speed.

But, shockingly, he didn't run full speed. He ran ahead a bit, and looked back at me. I called his name, and he slowed down. He waited for me to catch up to him and pick up his leash, before yanking my arm off again. Good dog!

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Slow Clap

It seems like the slow clap has been everywhere lately. In commercials for BW3 and even one for an insurance company.

In past years, the slow clap has lived only in Disney movies, afterschool specials, and in the heart of my brother-in-law, Nick. I don't think I'd be aware of the Slow Clap at all if it weren't for him.

Apparently, there's an art to it. There's a big group of people in a pivotal scene. The main protagonist makes the right choice/performs some amazing feat, and everyone is stunned. One lone soul stands up, looks around, and starts clapping appreciatively. But very, very slowly.

He looks around, encouraging others to join him. You hear one more pair of hands, and then two. They start out clapping discordantly, but as more of the crowd joins, the clapping swells into a rhythm and then overwhelming applause. The protagonist has triumphed, and all will be right with the world.

If you're watching basketball this weekend, the BW3s commercial when the waitress saves the wings is a perfect example.

If you feel the need to give my blog entry a slow clap while you're reading it at work, by all means, feel free to give it a try. First, stand up from your cube and look around. Then, clap once. Look around, and start clapping more, keeping a rhythm. You let me know how that goes.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Strange Cravings

I had the weirdest food craving the other day. Out of nowhere, I suddenly felt ravenous for sausage rolls. They're popular in the UK, and you can get them from any baker's shop. I think of them like British hot pockets—a small meal or a big snack, wrapped in a fluffy pastry shell.

They're tasty and all, but where did this craving come from?!? It's been months since our trip to the UK. I've heard of craving things like fruit or leafy green vegetables because you're deficient in iron, vitamins, etc. Can I be deficient in sausage?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Vernal Equinox to you all!

Spring has officially arrived! Of course, it doesn't feel much like it around here. But we've gotten enough glimpses of warm weather for me to believe it will arrive soon-ish. Sneaking up on us until I suddenly realize that I think weather in the 40s is chilly, instead of balmy. That's when Spring's really arrived.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Start-up Biz?

So, as my neglected New Year's Resolutions can attest, Keith and I have talked about starting our own business. It would be in web designing—I could create graphics and the text, and Keith would make it all work. I thought it seemed like a great use of our disparate talents.

But I've been wondering lately: do people still hire web designers? I mean, I'm sure large companies would, because they want specific graphics, unique functionalities, etc. But I think our target market would be the smaller, local businesses. The restaurant that wants to put their menu and hours online. The stay-at-home mom who's decided to open a daycare.

As I've been investigating, I've found a whole industry has sprung up that caters to these types of clients. Ones who are happy to use templates and clip art. They're not too particular about having a unique site; they just want something and they don't want to think about it too hard. And for a minimal price, these hosts offer them a package deal. Sure they don't get editing assistance or additional functionality, but do they care?

I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on this before I go to the work of setting up a business. Do you think there's still a need out there for smaller web design businesses? Or would people prefer to pay less for a pre-existing template?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cabin Fever

Tuesday and Wednesday, the weather was gorgeous here. It reminded me that it's possible to live without piles of snow everywhere, covering every blade of grass. It is possible to walk outside without being bundled and still shivering from an icy wind. I started to believe that, at some point, winter would be over.

Everyone in the house was pretty excited about it. We didn't see Gomez for most of the past two days—she was always perched in one of the open windows, breathing in the fresh air and the scent of birds, skunks, etc. Beckett would be out back for hours, making our yard even muddier (I hadn't thought it was possible!) and sniffing for any sign of squirrels in the yard.

And then it ended. Winter returned this morning. I woke up to a fresh layer of snow on the ground and cold wind whipping through the screens on the previously open windows.

When I let Beckett out back to take care of business before his walk, he was completely dismayed. He trotted onto the porch, looked around, and looked mournfully back at me. I opened the door, and he scurried back inside and to the bottom of the steps. When I reached him, he raced back upstairs, under the comforter.

After another wonderful half-hour in bed, we got up for real this time. In getting ready for work, at one point I was in the living room to see Gomez sitting on the floor, staring up at a window that had been open the day before. She put her head back and cried.

I know how she feels. Spring, we miss you.

p.s. Hard to believe our backyard ever looked like that--or ever will again!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lubbers Bracketology

Now that March Madness is upon us, Keith laid down the rules the other night. He sat down on the couch where I was sitting, and turned to me.

"You're not allowed to fill out different NCAA brackets," he said. Very matter-of-fact, but it was still a pronouncement, not to be messed with.

"I mean, you can enter as many pools as you want to," he clarified, "but once you pick your teams, you have to use the same picks for all the pools you enter."

Apparently, this is something he'd been considering for a while. And he decided that it's somewhat immoral and wishy-washy to pick different teams in different pools. If you make a pick, you make a pick and that's the end of it.

I was actually kinda glad he'd made this ruling. Since I have a hard enough time picking winners once, I'm perfectly happy to only do it once. And I can see his point about having the guts to make one choice and stick to it.

Now just keep your fingers crossed for Niagara!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rejection City: Response

Well, after pestering him via email, I heard back from the nefarious agent who'd promised feedback. I have to say, his response was still pretty unsatisfactory.

Basically, he said it's a matter of opinion. There's nothing actually "wrong" with my work. No "grammatical or spelling errors, awkward sentences, or significant structure and composition problems" to blame it on.

He then went on to compare me to Beyonce, in explaining that some people like her music and some don't and it's subjective. Keith liked this, because it made him Jay-Z, but I'm still not satisfied.

He ended by stating that, while "there are no blatant problems with your book, it just did not work for me...thus, I am sure another agent will love it and make a great sale."

I can't decide if this is sincere, or I'm just getting blown off. Either way, no usable feedback! Maybe next time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rejection City

I've been getting rejected a lot lately. Which isn't surprising, seeing as how I've just gotten back on track for sending out my romantic comedy manuscript. Ergo, more submissions = more rejections.

This doesn't particularly bother me. I've been preached to by friends, workshop presenters, and writing books alike how rejection is part of writing. Get used to it. I don't take it personally, and all I need is one acceptance, right?

I thought I was getting closer to that acceptance a few weeks ago, when an agent requested the full manuscript for the very first time. Maybe this would be it!

But of course, since today's topic is rejection, obviously it didn't pan out. And I'm okay with that. The only part about it that bothers me is the agency promised to give detailed feedback on why a manuscript was rejected, if they had requested the full version (which they had). Instead, I just got the usual, one-paragraph "Thanks but no thanks, and best of luck."

Writers love feedback. Good, bad, or ugly, we want to hear that our work is being read. Plus, I think I'm pretty bad at viewing my work objectively. Usually I think it's wonderful or it's terrible, when it's probably somewhere in-between. After spending so much time creating a piece, I often can't really tell if it's good or bad. Or, if it goes wrong, what's causing that. Character development? Pace? Dialogue? Too many damn unnecessary and wasteful adjectives? I don't know!!

So, even if I got rejected by this agency, I was looking forward to getting some unbiased, professional feedback. I'm pestering them now; hopefully the feedback is worth it!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Our Youtube Debut

Very exciting news: Keith just emailed me yesterday to tell me that we (and Carrie) had made our Youtube debut!

Below is a video of "Love Is Better than a Warm Trombone" from the Gomez concert at the House of Blues last Saturday. When the camera dips low, you can just make out Keith's red baseball cap and me bouncing enthusiastically next to him. Keith's hat is just in front of Ben (middle singer)'s legs. I'm to the left of him, and Carrie's to the right.

Of course, when Keith called it our debut, it made me wonder. What if it isn't my debut? What if there's some terrible footage from a 5th grade play somewhere out there? It just might be. But I'd much rather prefer to think that my first appearance on Youtube is front and center at a Gomez concert. Much cooler!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Education Is Lacking

I wish I knew more about the practical aspects of everyday life. The Industrial Arts. The kinds of things they don't teach you in the college prep track in high school.

I guess they assume, as a college graduate, you'll hire someone to take care of those things. Which is what we do. But after getting my car fixed last week and a visit from the plumbers this week, I don't know how much more we can afford. What with all these payments on our student loans, there's not a lot of extra money floating around.

With how expensive college is these days, and how quickly student loan debt is rising, colleges should be forced to offer a minimum of 1-credit hour courses on car care, basic plumbing, handyman 101, etc. Maybe it would decrease the percentage of grads defaulting on their student loans?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gomez Concert: 3.3.07

Sorry I'm slow, but I still wanted to post about this past weekend. I don't know why, I'm just never motivated to blog on Monday. Or Tuesday ....

Anyway, some friends came up from Dayton/Cincinnati to hang out and see the Gomez show at the House of Blues on Saturday. Luckily for me, Michael, and Angie, Keith and Carrie are both training for events in the Flying Pig Marathon at the beginning of May. Why is this lucky? It means that both Saturday and Sunday mornings, Keith and Carrie got up early to go on ridiculously long runs, as per their training plans, and the rest of us slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, sat around and read ... it was great!

And, of course, the Gomez concert was amazing. I was nervous that they wouldn't enjoy it, but everyone seemed to. When we arrived—after doors opened, but before the first band (Ben Kweller)—there were already quite a few people there. We were about 3 or 4 rows back, which was okay because the stage at the House of Blues was quite high so we could still see. But after being in the front row at Mr Small's, I'd been hoping for something closer.

Luckily, most of the early fans were there for Ben Kweller, so when he finished there was enough of a mass exodus that we could slide to the front row. Yay! Unfortunately for Michael and Angie, they fell victim to one last beer/bathroom run after we moved to the front, and couldn't get wedged back into their spots when they returned, so they watched the show from further back.

The band seemed to be in a really good mood. They were joking around a lot; "Ruff Stuff" is always a fun song because they tend to do strange things with the chorus. Probably the oddest and most amusing part of the concert was when they (Ben, I think?) brought out a huge-ass poster of ... Akron. They'd been there earlier in the day, and apparently had stolen this poster.

Why? I don't know. It just seems very cool and rock star. Kinda like The Beatles in their heady, early days, filming A Hard Day's Night and just being some lads from Liverpool. (Coincidentally, several members of Gomez are from Southport, just outside of Liverpool. I yelled that I loved Scousers, but my cry went unheard.)

If you're interested in seeing a {mostly correct} setlist, hearing about the fight in the audience (we were on the other side of the stage, so I can't really report), or seeing more pics of the boys, go to the Cleveland HOB thread on the Gomez forums. Overall, it was a great concert, as usual. I was pretty sad Sunday, knowing that there's no Gomez show in the immediate future.

I'd be interested in hearing Michael, Carrie, Angie, or Keith's opinions if they'd care to post. I'm not sure about Michael and Angie, but I think Carrie's hooked now! Either way, I'm glad you all could make it up for the show!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Temptation: 257,689 Me: 1

Today, I actually resisted temptation when it came to food. My boss wanted Chipotle for lunch, and even offered to buy me some if I'd go pick it up for her. It was difficult, but I went to Chipotle, got food for her, and didn't get anything for myself. Not one chip, not even a drink.

Granted, it should be known that we're already planning on getting pizza for dinner tonight, and washing it down with liberal amounts of Coke, so it's not like I'm being great. But still, you have to start somewhere, right?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Because Attitude Should be Rewarded

There's always at least one commercial out that drives me crazy. It changes often, because there's so many annoying commercials to choose from. Usually, it revolves around the portrayal of sexes in the media (women doing the grocery shopping and cooking, men buying diamonds for the greedy women in their lives, etc.).

This time, it's a cell phone commercial and it irks me to no end because of how it portrays the parent/child relationship. I think it starts with the dad asking his daughter if she's meeting Jenny later. She says, "Let me check!" and then stares pointedly at him while pretending to dial on her hand, and holding her hand up to her face for an imaginary conversation.

Flash to another scene of daughter sitting on the couch next to dad, having another pretend conversation with her hand/phone. Dad looks at the camera in perplexity—what's a guy to do? Then the voice over moves in, and starts talking about how cheap these family plans are for a certain cell service provider.

Yup, that's right. If your teen-aged daughter is being a whiny brat, what should you do? Give her what she wants! That'll teach her to be polite and discuss things in a rational, mature manner.

I'm picturing all of the commercials that could star this character as she makes her way through life. I see her throwing papers in the air to convince a teacher to give her a higher grade. Giving her boyfriend the silent treatment when he doesn't give her enough jewelry for Valentine's Day. And the commercial always ends with the hapless men in her life buying something to appease her. Because why spend the time and effort forming a mutually beneficial relationship when you can buy your way to happiness?

I'm ready to go shopping!