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Wednesday, September 1st 2010

11:58 AM

Why reality TV is sucking the life out of TV

Why I hate “reality” TV


Between all the Real Housewives of (fill in the blank city), Kardashians, drunk Jerseyites, date some old rocker, bad girls fighting in a gorgeous house and whatnot, it’s hard to find anything that’s not “real” on TV anymore.  I’ve come to hate most all of them.  Anything with the word “housewife” in it should be banned for all eternity.  I saw yesterday that they’re now planning a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Don’t they already have an “LA” one?  Is there a difference?  It joins the parade of shows that all make me want to throw up, especially every rendition of the “Housewives”.  I hate these shows because they celebrate and glorify the worst stereotypes about women.  They’re all depicted as backstabbing, gossipy, two-faced, jealous harpies.  Basically “mean girls” in designer clothes. Maybe the shows are really scripted and not remotely “real”, like the waste of space The Hills turned out to be (and the fact that I even know The Hills exists makes me angry). But I don’t care.  I hate them all. The fact the people on them become “celebrities” makes me even angrier.


Now, there are some reality shows I can watch.  American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, The Amazing Race, and The Apprentice in the early seasons to name a very few.  At least those contestants are working toward something.  Yes, there are always the drama queens and troublemakers, and a good amount of smack talk in the “confessional interviews”, but in the end they’re creating something, even if it is their 15 minutes of fame. 

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Friday, August 27th 2010

6:45 AM

Are e-readers worth the cost?

Is there really more value with ereaders?

Saw this article about the true value of ebook readers and found it interesting.  I don't have one yet so I can't speak to the pros and cons of the various readers.  I guess I'm also just resistent, clinging to my paperback ways (lol).  But there are some good points, mainly when it comes to price of both the readers and some of the ebooks themselves.  I do think that the price of readers will have to drop before more people buy them.  Just like any new technology the price is usually astronomical at first.  Think of the first desktop computers.  They were so expensive that few people could afford them.  Same with every other "new" toy.  Do you remember how expensive VCRs were?  Then the DVRs?  I think when the price of readers come down more (and they've already dropped a lot) more people will get them.

There's also the issue of the price of ebooks.  While there are many $2.99 books there are also a lot that are $12+.  I'm not sure why the cost would be more for a digital version than the traditional paperback.  I know many epubs do also offer print versions, but those paperback versions can be expensive too. 


So, do you have readers?  What kind?  Have you tried different ones?  And why are the prices of ebooks higher than a paperbacks in some cases?  Start the discussion.

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Thursday, August 19th 2010

9:43 AM

Barnes & Noble Up For Sale

Barnes & Noble On The Auction Block


Just read an article about bookstore giant, Barnes & Noble, going up for sale.  By all accounts Borders is also in dire financial straits, too.  The culprit?  Online venues like amazon.com and the rise of ebooks.  The traditional bookstores, like traditional publishers, have not been able to adapt to the changes.  The thought of bookstores disappearing altogether make me sad.  I LOVE book stores!!!  I just love being in them, browsing the shelves, holding a book in my hands.  All those rows & rows of books.  I love walking through the travel section and thinking about where I’d go (if I had the money or time, lol).


I wonder if or how land-based stores will survive.  What form they might take if they do.  What about a store where you can walk in, browse the shelves, read excerpts and back cover blurbs, and then download the book right there?  You could still have the coffee bar and bakery treats.  You’d need some tech geeks to help the technophobes.  Sort of like the guys in the Apple store.  They could do music downloads, too. 


What do you think?  Will bookstores go the way of the dinosaurs?  Does the prospect make you sad or excited about the future?   Share your thoughts.



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Wednesday, July 21st 2010

6:49 AM

Sally Centrifuge - Is this cool or what?

How cool is this?  Meet, Sally Centrifuge....


So, saw this story today about two college students who took a salad spinner and turned it into a medical device.  The students were given an assignment to find a way to diagnose anemia in third world countries.  It had to be something that didn’t need power, could be made cheaply, and was easily portable. So they modified a salad spinner to act as a centrifuge (which separates the components of blood).  They called it “Sally Centrifuge” and it’s supposed to cost about $30 to make. 


Seriously?  I would never in a million years think of something like that.  Now, these were apparently bioengineering students so maybe they’ve been turning household objects into diagnostic tools for years.  And the class was “Intro to Bioengineering and World Health”. If that’s the “intro” what do the advanced classes demand? 


And what will the duo do next?  Think of the objects lying around the house that could be put to use?  Can openers (the old-fashioned, turn-the-handle kind) must be good for something.  What about a vegetable steamer? Colander?  Salad tongs?  A spatula?  Swiffer duster?  Toilet brush (thoroughly de-germed or bought new)?  Windex?  The father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” claimed it worked on anything.


The possibilities could be endless.  In the meantime, I applaud that kind of ingenuity. 


Now…could we put these girls to work on the oil spill in the Gulf?  10 to 1 they’d do a better job that anyone currently working on it.

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Tuesday, June 1st 2010

2:40 PM

Why English is so darn hard

Ever wonder why people have such a hard time writing English?  Because of stuff like this....

The bandage was_ wound_ around the_ wound. _
The farm was used to_ produce_ _produce_.
The dump was so full that it had to*_ refuse_* more*_ refuse_*.
We must *_polish_* the*_ Polish _*furniture.
He could*_ lead_* if he would get the *_lead_* out.
Since there is no time like the *_present_*, he thought it was time
to*_ present _*the*_ present_ *
A*_ bass_* was painted on the head of the*_ bass _*drum.
When shot at, the*_ dove dove_* into the bushes.
I did not*_ object_* to the*_ object. _*
The insurance was*_ invalid_* for the*_ invalid. _*
There was a*_ row_* among the oarsmen about how to *_row_* ...
They were too *_close_* to the door to*_ close_* it.
A seamstress and a*_ sewer_* fell down into a*_ sewer_* line.
The*_ wind_* was too strong to*_ wind_* the sail.
Upon seeing the*_ tear_* in the painting I shed a*_ tear._*
I had to *_subject_* the*_ subject_* to a series of tests.
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in
eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English

muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats
candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find
that boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is
it a pig.

*How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man
and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a
language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you
fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going
on. *

*English was invented by people not computers and it reflects the
creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That
why when the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out
they are invisible. *

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other
two-letter word, and that is *_'UP'_*

**It's easy to understand *_UP_ , meaning toward the sky or at the top of
the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake _UP_ ? At a
meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak _UP_ and why are the
officers _UP_ for election and why is it _UP_ to the secretary to write
_UP_ a report ?

We call _UP_ our friends. And we use it to brighten _UP_ a room,
polish _UP_ the silver; we warm _UP_ the leftovers and clean _UP_ the
We lock _UP_ the house and some guys fix _UP_ the old car.

And this _UP_ is confusing: A drain must be opened _UP_ because it is
stopped UP . We open _UP_ a store in the morning but we close it _UP_
at night. *

We seem to be pretty mixed *_UP_ about _UP _! To be knowledgeable about
the proper uses of _UP_, look the word _UP_ in the dictionary.

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes _UP_ almost 1/4th of the page and
can add _UP_ to about thirty definitions. If you are _UP_ to it, you
might try building _UP_ a list of the many ways _UP_ is used. It will take
_UP_ a lot of your time , but if you don't give _UP_ ,you may wind _UP_ with

a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding _UP_
.. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing _UP_ ...*

**One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it *_UP_ , *for now my time is*
_UP_ , *so........it is time to shut* _UP_ ! *

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Thursday, April 15th 2010

7:01 AM

Romance Writers on the Journey

My First Blog Interview...

I'm doing my very first blog interview on Romance Writers on the Journey.  A fellow Golden Heart nominee invited me to do it.  I guess I'm moving up in the world, lol.

Hope you stop by.


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Tuesday, April 6th 2010

2:32 PM

Boo Nicholas Sparks

Why I boycott Nicholas Sparks


Nicholas Sparks is a bestselling author. I’m sure he makes boatloads of money. Every book he writes winds up as a movie. The latest one with Miley Cyrus was written with her in mind. So basically he already had the movie written before the book was actually written. But I won’t read his books or see his movies.  Why?  Because every darn one ends in a terribly tragic, awful way. Someone ALWAYS dies. Mr. Sparks is the King Of Weepy Sobfests.


Here’s another reason…I found this awesome post about him on Cracked.com. Basically, how he disses romance authors for writing the same book over and over again…while he himself writes the same book over and over again. There’s a quote from him from a USA Today interview where he apparently criticizes the likes of Jane Austen and all romance novelists…


NS: "(Romances) are all essentially the same story: You've got a woman, she's down on her luck, she meets the handsome stranger who falls desperately in love with her, but he's got these quirks, she must change him, and they have their conflicts, and then they end up happily ever after."


He roundly declares that he is NOT a romance writer. He’s a FICTION writer who writes love stories…that end tragically.


Love stories where somebody winds up dead. This awesome, amazing post then goes on to demonstrate exactly how every book he writes is the same story.  He just changes the names. I agree. I don’t have to read the books or see the movies when I already know the ending. Somebody dead.  No one is ever happy.  But I guess happy endings are a cop out.


Case in point:


A Walk To Remember – Girl dies of leukemia


Message In A Bottle – Guy dies (drowns I think)


The Notebook – She gets Alzheimer’s, can’t remember their life. They BOTH die. I think he gives her something, and then he takes it so they die TOGETHER. So…murder/suicide.  Yes, how romantic.


Nights In Rodanthe – Guy dies in a tragic accident


Dear John – For once neither of the main characters die, but apparently the guy’s FATHER dies.

Plus, the guy & girl don’t end up together.


The Last Song – (sorry if you haven’t seen or read this ‘cause I’m spoiling it. Although honestly didn’t you know the end?) Girl hates father. Finally reconciles with him, only to watch him…wait for it…die of cancer.


You know, I don’t care if Mr. Sparks makes a ton of money off his books. I don’t care if he has millions of readers. I don’t care if people love his books and movies and find them romantic. More power to him, I say. But I DO have a problem with him ripping into fellow authors. The romance genre has plenty of detractors already. The literary scribes who think it’s trash. The high-brow fiction crowd that thinks a happy ending equals schlock. But to have the bashing coming from someone who churns out the same book with the same tragic ending over and over again…and to have him (apparently) think he’s so superior because of it…makes me wanna’ throw something. Like one of his books through a window.


Read the story here…and get ready for a good laugh.



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Thursday, April 1st 2010

10:03 AM

Publix Tearjerker

Darn you Publix for making me cry!


Have you seen the new Publix commercial? It’s a 3-hankie edition.  It’s about a family celebrating as the teenage girl gets ready to leave for college. Big family dinner.  Lots of beautiful food shots.  The whole time Little Brother acts like he doesn’t care that she’s leaving.  He gets to put a pool table in her room.  Then as he’s washing dishes after dinner she catches him gazing wistfully at a picture of the two of them in the pool when they were little.  “I’ll miss you, too,” she says.  I can’t even type it without crying.  Ranks right up there with the Hallmark Hall of Fame commercials.  If you don’t know, pay attention to the commercials the next time one of those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies airs.  Whether it’s the little boy who got a card from his teacher because he volunteered to help the disabled boy in his class, or the Christmas one where the daughter treks through the woods by herself because that’s what she used to do with her dad every Christmas Eve.  I still remember one particular Hallmark commercial that aired way back when I was in college.  It was a Christmas one of course.  It seemed like it was about 2 minutes long.  Narrated by a young boy.  It’s about the older brother who wasn’t going to make it home for Christmas.  How he would lead “O Holy Night” every year, but this year he wouldn’t be able to.  They start singing gamely anyway, and wouldn’t you know it, Big Brother does show up.  He starts singing the chorus.   Everyone cries.  Including the dozen or so college girls in our dorm who’d gathered to watch TV in the common room.  We all looked at each other and laughed because everyone was wiping their eyes.  I’ve never seen that spot again.  I’ve looked for it on YouTube, but haven’t found it there either.  Though the one with the girl trekking through the woods is there.  Maybe that’s why I finally decided to go into advertising.  For that chance to really engage someone’s emotions about something as (honestly) silly as a Hallmark card or a grocery store.  Why I love to tell stories in the first place.  And why I always try to have that one scene where I make myself cry as I’m typing it.  Then I know I nailed that one.


Here's the link to the Publix commerical.  Get your Kleenex ready.




Is there a commercial that really gets you?  One that's stuck with you for years?  Please share.

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Thursday, March 25th 2010

3:28 PM

Golden Heart Finalist

Golden Heart Glow


So…I’ve had exciting news today.  I just found out that I am a Finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest.  Now, my writers friends who read this blog (I assume somebody reads it since the statistics tool indicates people do visit, lol) will know what the Golden Heart (aka GH) is.  For everybody else, I’ll explain.  The Golden Heart is a national contest held by Romance Writers of America (RWA).  RWA exists to support romance writers of all genres, whether published or unpublished.  I’ve been a member for several years now since my goal is to become a “published” writer and get someone to pay me for my brilliant prose, lol.  The GH is for unpublished writers.  There are also categories for published authors called the RITA.  Think of it as the Emmy’s or Oscars only for romance novels.  In other words, it’s a BIG DEAL!


I sent in 2 entries this year.  Actually, I had submitted them the previous 2 years as well, but didn’t final.  Entries are scored on a scale of 1-9 with 6 judges.  My scores the last couple years were very good (top 25% for both), but there was always ONE lower score that knocked me out.  I debated whether to try again and pay the money, but figured why not?  I sent in the SAME TWO manuscripts with no changes.  And finally I must have lined up the right judges, because one of them finaled.  Around 12:30 I got an e-mail labeled “RWA” from someone I didn’t know asking me to call her asap.   I had actually forgotten the calls were going out today.  Thought it was tomorrow.  My heart started racing, (I didn’t want to start hoping too soon.  I’m a pessimist, it could’ve been something stupid) and you’d better believe I called ASAP!!   To hear the news that apparently the 3rd time's the charm.


The book is called HERE COMES THE WEDDING PLANNER and it will always be special because it basically sent me down the Inspirational path and led to a series.  The GH can help you get the notice of editors so that's another good thing.  The winners will be announced in July at the annual RWA conference.  But until then I get the have fun as a finalist.


Yay!  Good day!!!


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Tuesday, February 23rd 2010

9:22 AM

Winter Olympics A Week In Review

Vancouver Olympics...Week One


I’ve been pretty addicted to the Olympics this last week.  Starting with the low-key, but somehow more effective, Opening Ceremony.  I loved the graphic elements.  The whales swimming across the floor, the giant trees that sprung up, the snowboarders scaling down the mountain.  In many ways I enjoyed it more than the Beijing Opening.  For me that whole show seemed one long ‘my (BLEEP!) is bigger than yours and we could take over the world at any time’.


It’s been exciting seeing the US win more medals than any other game and have a shot at coming out on top in the medal count.  Something that hasn’t happened since like 1930 or thereabouts.  I guess it makes sense that countries like Norway and Sweden and the like would do well in cross country skiing.  It’s probably how they get around.  And someone from Austria or Switzerland or France only needs to step outside their door to find an Alp.  But then along comes Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn (though honestly I think I might be over the Lindsey hype). 


I’m not into X-games sports so much, but even I’m in awe of half-pipe champ, Sean White.  That didn’t even happen until they showed a side-by-side comparison between him and another guy and I realized Sean was going least 5 feet higher in the air.


It was nice to see American Gold in Men’s figure skating and a North American 1-2 punch in Ice Dancing.  Even sweeter to watch the Russians pout over it.  They’re so used to gold medals they can’t even conceive that they could lose.  Especially in Ice Dancing where it was always just assumed the Russians could trip and go splat…and STILL win.


The Winter Olympics is also fascinating because unlike the Summer games, you could actually DIE doing any one of these sports.  (Sadly, one athlete did the day before the games opened.)  Everything they do…throwing themselves down a mountain on 2 sticks; riding a sled down an ice tunnel going 90 mph; riding a sled down an ice tunnel going 90 mph FACE FIRST; willingly going off the end of a ski jump and then landing without doing a Wile E. Coyote move; going off a ski jump and doing 18 twists in the air before landing on your feet; racing 3 other people on a snowboard (and now skis)….all of them could KILL YOU!  It’s not the same as the Summer Olympics.  No one is going to die swimming or running around a track (probably).  The shot put wouldn’t kill you unless you happened to be standing under it when it fell.  The Winter Olympics are DANGEROUS, and the people that do those sports are CRAZY.  Because not only do they do them….they return to do it again after breaking necks and backs and legs and rupturing things.  They KEEP doing it.


And I keep watching, even when I wince and nearly have to cover my eyes as some poor skier launches herself into orbit like she’s just gone off the ski jump and then skids and then bounces up and lands AGAIN and then tangles with a gate to get her skis and goggles and poles ripped away.


One more week to go...GO USA!!!!

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