Sunday, December 31, 2006

I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.

Your results:
You are Mystique
Lex Luthor
Dr. Doom
Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy
The Joker
Dark Phoenix
Green Goblin
Sometimes motherly, sometimes a beautiful companion, but most of the time a deceiving vixen.

Click here to take the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Solstice!

May the hope, joy, and blessings of this season be yours!


To learn more about the solstice, visit Candle Grove or do your own Google search!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

MCI - Make Customers Irate

I got two automated phone calls yesterday. "Courtesy" calls from MCI notifying me that my credit card on record is about to expire. It gives me an 800 number or a website to make the fix.

Huh? We don't have MCI service. What the hell?

So I call the 800 number. Typical electronic voice nightmare run-around.

After several minutes, I craftily convince the system to give me a real live person. Or at least a reasonable facsimile. A nearly unintelligible customer service rep of unknown origin answers.

REP: How can I help you?

ME: I've been getting an automated phone call from MCI telling me that my credit card on record is going to expire. But your system must have something wrong. I don't have an account with MCI.

REP: Oh. What is your account number?

ME: I don't HAVE an account with MCI, but I'm getting this automated call. Your records must be in error. Here's the phone number your system is calling, xxx-xxx-xxxx.

REP: Okay. May I have permission to access your account?

ME: That's just it. I DON'T HAVE an account with MCI.

REP: Okay. What is your account number?


REP: Oh. Okay. (pause - sound of clicking) Your credit card on record is expiring.

ME: (speaking slowly... using small words) How... can... that... be? I don't have service through MCI.

REP: That's because your account was closed in 2002.

ME: (realizing that we briefly had long distance through MCI -- FOUR years ago) But you still had my credit card on record?

REP: Yes. And it's about to expire.

ME: (silence)

REP: But we haven't charged anything to it since 2002.

ME: Gee. That's good. I would have been upset if you'd charged me for a closed account.

REP: Would you like me to remove it from our records and note that the account is closed?

ME: I guess since it's been four years, that would be a good idea. Yeah.

REP: (10 seconds of clicking later) Okay. The records have been changed. Is there anything else I can do for you today?

ME: No. No. You've done quite enough. Thanks.

So... how do I go about billing MCI for MY TIME?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

See? I have PROOF!

As a writer by trade, it's not always easy to prove one's skills. So here it is. Undeniable proof.

According to a Blogthings quiz, I know lots of big words.

Your Vocabulary Score: A
Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!You must be quite an erudite person.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thinking ahead...

Okay, folks. I know this is nothing more than blog-fluff, but I haven't had the mental capacity to do much more than this for the past several weeks. That being said, I'm finally on the upswing of the moody scale and this helped put me on the path to a little holiday cheer today. Enjoy!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

A hot chocolate substitute... hot Ovaltine. Just as tasty and more vitamins.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

Sants doesn't wrap presents. His elves do.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

White. I love the simplicity of it.

4. Do you hang a mistletoe?

I don't think I ever have.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

When I have the time. Ideally, right after Thanksgiving, but I'm behind schedule right now.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Family and friends. The food could be frozen pizza for all I care.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?

Any Christmas that my Uncle Dale came to visit. That was a present in itself.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

I don't recall exactly. Although I do vaguely remember asking my Mom about it and her answering that people that are generous and giving are the real Santas.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

When I was a kid, after I knew there was no Santa, we opened all our gifts on Christmas Eve. Now, everyone gets to open one on Christmas Eve before bed. The rest get opened in the morning. A mix of Avindair's family traditions and mine.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

That's an odd question. I use wild weasels to string the lights, squirrels to hand the ornaments, a trained monkey to plug everything in, and then a big Rottweiler to chase them all out of the house when we're done.

11. Snow - love it or hate?

As much of a pain in the ass it can be, I love it. If I have to be cold, I want pretty snow to look at and play in.

12. Can you ice skate?

I owned skates ONE winter as a kid, skating at an outdoor rink in North Dakota. I was terrible at it. Now I wish I'd done it more and learned. I think I just hated falling down on the bumpy ice.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I had to revise this answer. My first favorite was a thin gold necklace and bracelet from Avindair. He'd really taken to heart the one thing I asked for. It was thoughtful, simple and beautiful. The second was last Christmas from my mom, dad and grandma. Mom took me out to pick out a ring with matching earrings. Something that they knew I would like, and would be able to keep, use and value for the rest of my days. That was my one gift from them and I absolutely loved it.

It makes me sound like a jewelry fiend... but I'm not!

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you?

Seeing the anticipation in my children's eyes.

15. What is your favorite holiday Dessert?

Pumpkin pie... all winter long.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

It used to be writing a thank you note to the kids from Santa along with the half-eaten milk and cookies... as well as some nibbled-on carrots the reindeer left behind. Now I think it's just the whole family gathering in our jammies and fluffy robes for popcorn and a movie in front of the fireplace.

17. What tops your tree?

There's an ornament around here somewhere...

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

Receiving is nice, but I love giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

"White Christmas". I'm a sucker for Irving Berlin.

20. Candy canes?

Eh. I'm not a big fan, but the kids love them. And they look nice on the tree and on garlands.

There you have it folks. The Geek Goddess' Christmas Top 20.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

They're Only Words

Cool! According to this, no one would know where I'm from... until I got tired and unwittingly uttered an, "Oofta!"

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

North Central
The West
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

People Should Know Better

I was forwarded an email today that I had to share. It was a vitriolic attack on Target Corporation as having an anti-veteran policy... oh, and that they were owned by a French company. *GASP* Of course, it was one of those things that had been forwarded a million times. It pulls on the heart-strings of people who want to stand by our military veterans, but who don't take the time to question the content. They read it. Get incensed by the content. And forward it to 20,000 friends.

And the beat goes on.

Here's the email. The words and punctuation are the same. I removed all of the colors, giant fonts and spacing to make it fit.

Wasn't it last Christmas that Target refused to let the Salvation Army ring their bells in front of their stores? Dick Forrey of the Vietnam Veterans Association wrote. "Recently we asked the local TARGET store to be a proud sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall during our spring recognition event. We received the following reply from the local TARGET management: "Veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the arts, social action groups, gay & lesbian causes, and education." So I'm thinking, if the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and veterans in general, do not meet their donation criteria, then something is really wrong at this TARGET store. We were not asking for thousands of dollars, not even hundreds, just a small sponsorship for a memorial remembrance. As a follow-up, I E-mailed the TARGET U.S. Corporate Headquarters and their response was the same. That's their national policy. Then I looked into the company further. They will not allow the Marines to collect for 'Toys for Tots' at any of their stores. And during the recent Iraq deployment, they would not allow families of employees who were called up for active duty to continue their insurance coverage while they were on military service. Then as I dig further, TARGET is a French-owned corporation. Now, I'm thinking again. If TARGET cannot support American Veterans, then why should my family and I support their stores by spending our hard earned American dollars! And,have their profits sent to France. Without the American Vets, where would France be today? "They, most likely would be speaking German and trading in Deutsch Marks" Sincerely, Dick Forrey, Veterans Helping Veterans. Please send this on to everyone you know to let Target know we don't need them either.


Now all of this crap didn't exactly ring true. So I took 3 minutes, checked into it and found this:

It's a page on Target's corporate site that addresses exactly what they do for veterans. And they do a lot. It also mentions this vitriolic email campaign in particular.

Of course, I copied everyone in the email that had been sent to me with the proof that it was false. It also happened to list the name of the person who had forwarded it to my sender. She's an executive assistant to a Chief Marketing Officer for a MAJOR U.S. CORPORATION.

It never ceases to amaze me that people, even those that should be smart and educated, will continue to propigate lies without question because it pushes their emotional buttons.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Campaign for Real Beauty

It's no wonder that women and girls have unrealistic ideals of beauty. It's nice to see that somewhere out there, someone wants to do something about it.

Check out this website,

It's All About ME!

More silliness to start my day. Why do I seem to always get these from MagicMarmot? I don't tag people (I was never good at that game anyway - couldn't run fast enough), so just feel free to cut, paste and tell all.

6 odd or weird habits/things/facts about yourself:

1.) I have hitchhikers thumb.
2.) My first major in college was Vocal Performance.
3.) As a kid, I liked mustard and mayo sandwiches.
4.) I also used to mispronouce TR as F when I was very young.
5.) I lived above a laundromat until I was 20.
6.) I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was 10.

1. Are your parents married or divorced?

2. Are you a vegetarian?
Hell, no. I like veggies, but meat=good.

3. Do you believe in heaven?
Not in the clouds and angels way. I think there's something we can't possibly comprehend.

4. Have you ever come close to dying?
Not that I know of.

5. What jewelry do you wear 24/7?
My wedding ring and anniversary band.

6. Favorite time of day?
Early morning or late night.

7. Do you wear make up?
Yes, I do.

8. Ever have plastic surgery?

9. Do you color your hair?
All the time -- it's overdue now.

10. What do you wear to bed?
Mostly t-shirts and jammie pants.

11. Have you ever done anything illegal?
And been caught?

12. Can you roll your tongue?

13. Do you tweeze your eyebrows?

14. What kind of sneakers?
New Balance

15. Do you believe in abortion?
Yes, I do.

16. What is your hair colour?
Naturally? Kind of a dull, mousey brown now.

17. Future child's name?
Got all I want, thanks!

18. Do you snore?

19. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
First choice - London. But it's only a starting point.

20. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
Nah, I have a nice warm husband and a poodle.

21. If you won the lottery what would you do first?
Call a financial advisor / accountant.

22. Gold or silver?
Mostly silver.

23. Hamburger or hot dog?

24. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
A pizza with everything on it. It sounds silly, but my first thought was, "What one food can contain all four food groups?"

25. City, beach or country?
I love the beach, but the country would win out.

26. What was the last thing you touched?
The keyboard.

27. Where did you last eat?
At my computer desk.

28. When's the last time you cried?
Last week.

29. Do you read blogs?
Me? Nope. Never. (ha!)

30. Would you ever go out dressed as the opposite sex?
As a woman, it's not really a big deal. I steal my husband's sweaters all the time!

31. Ever been involved with the Police?
Nope. Sting asked me out a few times, but I just wasn't interested.

32. What's your favourite shampoo, conditioner and soap?
Shampoo / Conditioner - it depends on what I need - anything from the cheapest Suave to Paul Mitchell. Soap - whatever moisturizers, smells good and happens to be on sale.

33. Do you talk in your sleep?
Avindair tells me I do... when I'm under stress, especially.

34. Ocean or pool?

35. Window seat or aisle?

36. Ever met anyone famous?

37. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?

38. Ricki Lake or Oprah Winfrey?

39. Basketball or football?
Football, if we're talking "soccer". Never could get into American football.

40. How long do your showers last?
As long as I have hot water, if I can get away with it.

41. Automatic or drive a stick?

43. Are you self-conscious?
Not terribly, no.

44. Have you ever drank so much you threw up?
Urp. Yes.

45. Have you ever given money to a tramp?
Tramp as in hobo or a woman in mini skirt with blue eyeshadow? No to both.

46. Have you ever been in love?
Yes. Most definitely.

47. Where do you wish you were?
On a retreat.

48. Are you wearing socks?
Yes. Cold toes.

49. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
Yes. Once. And it was an exciting, hair-raising ride.

50. Can you tango?
Never tried, but I'd love to learn.

51. Last gift you received?
Avindair brought me roses on a bad day.

52. Last sport you played?
Oh, hell. Does a game of pool count?

53. Things you spend a lot of money on?

54. Where do you live?
A northern suburb of Minneapolis.

55. Where were you born?
Grand Forks, ND.

56. Last wedding attended?
It was a cousin.

57. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Wendy's for the Fresco sandwiches.

58. Most hated food?

59. What's your least favorite chore?

60. Can you sing?

61. Last person you IMed?
Mom and Dad.

62. Last place you went on holiday?
North Dakota.

63. Favorite regular drink?
Tea with cream and sugar.

64. Current crush?
How about "always crush"? My husband. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Avindair!

My wonderful husband, Avindair, just celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday. The theme and guest list were a surprise, so I didn't want to spoil it here ahead of time. Yesterday was for recovery!

Since we are, indeed, the Nerdy Bunch, I threw a Star Trek-themed costume party. There was Star Trek trivia and the original series running on the TV. Our son, MonkeyDude, helped me with the cleaning, shopping and decorations - he even thought up writing NCC-1966 in painter's tape across the garage door. Our dear friend, MagicMarmot, came up with a very cool prop (you can see it on his blog) and extra rope lights for effect.

Our daughter took her dad out for the day to lunch and a movie so that we could prepare. When they arrived home, Avindair was outfitted with a gold captain's shirt and a phaser!

All in all, a great evening filled with great friends. Even the experimental recipes for Romulan Ale, Tranya and Aldebaran Whiskey went over well!

Special thanks to MagicMarmot and Artemis for helping with decorations!
Double special thanks to the kids for helping with cleaning and preparation and decorating AND for finding sleep-overs on Saturday night!

And THANK YOU to all our friends who joined us. It was a great 40th birthday party - we wouldn't have had that much fun without each and every one of you!

Friday, October 13, 2006

So THAT'S Where I Put My Desk!

It's no secret that I've been a stress-puppy lately. And, without the prospect of a 3-week retreat in the country, I figured I'd have to perform my own psychotherapy on the run.

I started yesterday by cleaning my desk... and it's helping.

First, I took one of those cardboard filing boxes. The kind you get from Office Depot. I filled it with all the stuff littering my desk: things to be filed, pictures, paid bills, check stubs, the general paper pile-up that I mentally label "stuff I need to take care of some day". At the same time, I filled a garbage bag with the junk that gets mixed in with the "gotta keep" stuff.

And you know what I discovered? The top of my desk! But more than that, the little bits and pieces I keep on my desk as reminders of what's important and why I sit there day after day doing my job.

Everything on my desk means something to me. I couldn't stand the thought of having a perfectly functional desktop space.

1. Pictures of the kids, my parents, grandparents, Avindair - Family is important to me. My family is my center.
2. A clay Star Wars Emperor Palpatine head - Alex made this in school. I keep my pens in it!
3. A 3-inch tall straw maid - A gift from a cast-member in a show I did - years ago. A reminder that am creative.
4. A stuffed toy frog - A gift from my (now deceased) Uncle Dale when I was a kid. It reminds me of his wonderful, positive personality, how much he believed in me, and frogs are a symbol of good in many cultures: luck, abundance, life and rebirth.
5. A purple, hand-made, mirrored box holding a Sakajawea dollar, a green stone, and two rings - The color of the box is a reminder of independence and free spirit. One ring, my Brownie ring from grade school, is a link to the past. The other, a gift from my daughter. The coin, is something quirky - not popular, but still valuable. The stone was something I chose to bring home as a momento from traveling; it's smooth, vaguely heart-shaped, and a beautiful shade of my favorite color.
6. Five little action figures - A chick in black holding a cup of coffee, Wonder Woman, a barbarian woman, another female fighter with a sword, and Wolverine... 'cause he's hot.
7. A 4-inch glass heart - A gift from my mom. That says it all.
8. A seashell - From a family trip to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Lots of symbolism in this one - family, nature, freedom and order -- and it's green, too.
9. A little toy lion - For courage and strength.
10. A small, silver, hand-made, heart-shaped box - From one of my best friends as she traveled the world to Oman in the military.
11. A tall, colorful witch - Light-hearted reminder that being mindful and spiritual is to make one happy and not somber.

If you could look around my office, you'd see books of every description stuffing three big bookshelves (and I need more bookshelves), more family pictures, comic book art, games, computer stuff, music, action figures, kid's art, starship models. One look at my surroundings and I'm reminded of why I do what I do -- and what my priorities should be.

It's easy to get off track - to stop seeing what's right in front of me. I realize now that my desk is like my "Work Altar", giving me encourage and perspective to do what I need to do. What I started yesterday isn't a cure... not by a long shot... but it's a start!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


The number one word to describe me right now. Just plain weary.

It's the everyday things that are getting to me. The routine, the mess, the deadlines, the to-do list. The kinds of things that every person on this planet has to do every day - but eventually your soul has just had enough and you need a break.

I don't see that break coming any time soon.

Like a lot of people, I wake to the alarm, hit the snooze a few times, shuffle out of bed, fail to eat a good breakfast, and head off to work.

I try to ignore the everyday-life flotsam covering my desk, our kitchen counter... the floor boards of my car. I don't have the time or the initiative to deal with it. I'm on the treadmill with my shoe laces untied. Eventually, I'm going to trip.

Didn't take a real vacation this year because of repeated work woes. Haven't even been successful in planning a weekend getaway and I don't see that happening any time soon. Mostly because I just don't have the energy to deal with the headache it takes to plan and execute a vacation.

I am weary.

I wish I could be one of those sparkling people that gets up at the break of dawn with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. The kind of person that has a place for everything... and everything in it's place... and because of that doesn't worry like the rest of us.

Sometimes I wish I could be the kind of person who didn't give a rat's ass about anything. But that's just not within me.

Or maybe be the kind of person whose life is so simple, so uncomplicated, that issue never comes up.

Truth is, the same things that bring complexity and headaches also bring facination and laughter and challenge and love -- and those are things that I wouldn't... couldn't do without. What I could probably use is two full weeks off. The first week to play catch up and do all the things I'd like to get done - because I couldn't enjoy week two looking at the to-do's around me. The last week to just enjoy a week of nothing but getting up, taking a walk, reading, cooking a good meal, ignoring work and emails and phones, puttering around the yard, being with my family, not running to catch up with my life.

Hell, everyone has trouble just dealing with life from time to time. That's where I am today, but at least I have some of it behind me. I did manage to get up, get ready, write a whiny blog post and get my kids off to school. Now for the rest of the day.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Marmot Memeage

I stole this from my pal, MagicMarmot. The questions, I mean. The answers are mine, I'm afraid.

1. You and Jesus go out to dinner - who pays? I'll pay. He did die for my sins and all. It's the least I could do.

2. You suddenly have to flee the country and adopt an alias. What is it? Oooo... I wanna adopt a Vulcan. They're smart! Oh... wait... an ALIAS.

3. Pick one state in the U.S. to get rid of permanently? Can we keep the land an just get rid of the residents?

4. You wake up as the opposite gender what's the one thing you wanna try? Running without having to wear an athletic bra!

5. Luke Skywalker or Han Solo? Han, baby. Definitely, Han.

6. Toy you always wanted but never got as a child? A train set. I actually got one, but we had to return it when it didn't work. Psyche!

7. Top three celebrities you wanna do.

1. Antonio Banderas
2. Jason Issacs
3. Hugh Jackman

8. What's an automatic deal breaker in a potential significant other? Cruelty

9. What is the last movie you saw that actually scared you? I honestly don't remember.

10. Stupidest thing you've ever said out loud? I'm sure there have been plenty - I just don't recall.

11. You're sentenced to death and it's the morning of your execution, what do you want to eat? A giant bowl of Tiramisu. Screw the calories!

12. What's something that most people do that you've never done? Drink at high school parties.

13. Before you die you want to go to...? Rome

14. Something you'd really like to do but probably won't ever be able to do? Travel the world.

15. A wild animal you'd like to have as a pet? A wolf. Scare the crap out of the neighborhood.

16. A drug you'll never try? Anything that's illegal. It's just not my bag, baby.

17. If you were an animal what would you be? A lioness.

18. If you had to marry someone you knew at the age of 12 who would it be? Ick - it wouldn't be Jerry Lee Lewis, THAT'S for certain.

19. What's something most people don't know about you? I'm really a time traveler lost in your dimension.

20. First celebrity crush? Probably Davy Jones from the Monkees.

21. What's a weapon to suit your personality, habits and abilities? A .44 caliber handgun.

23. Favorite breakfast bread style (pancakes, waffles, toast etc...)? Grandma Minnie's homemade biscuits.

24. Favorite parody movie? Galaxy Quest

25. Worst way to die? Drowning

26. Grossest injury you've ever seen? Tony and I went through the '88 Flugtag Airshow disaster. Let's leave it at that.

27. The worst injury you've ever had? Sword wound. No kidding.

28. Favorite thing about thanksgiving? Family time.

29. Sport you hate the most? Big game hunting. Does that count?

30. What city in the U.S. do you want to visit? Boston

31. What's something you think would be sweet to know everything about? History

32. Favorite Actor/Actress? Can't choose - I'm a movie fiend!

33. What's one phrase you absolutely detest? "It's just business."

34. What makes an awesome party? Awesome friends.

35. What's your material obsession? Books

36. What's something most would consider an insult but you like it said about you? GEEK!

37. Favorite kind of dog? Canine

38. Favorite carnival food (everyone has one)? Caramel apple

39. Morning or night person? Morning person on vacation. Night person on weekends.

40. Worst drunken/drugged up habit? When being drunken or drugged up becomes a habit for me, I'll let you know.

41. Weirdest ebay purchase? William Shatner's old toupee. Nah. I seldom purchase anything from eBay. Last thing was a set of movie lights.

42. Favorite food to eat when you're wasted? Probably pizza.

43. Its Saturday at 3am where are you? Sleeping soundly.

44. Who's your favorite friend to go out with? My hubby.

45.Worst job you've ever had? Secretary for the kind of lawyer they created lawyer jokes for.

46. What's something your friends make fun of you for? My friends don't make fun of me. They understand the consequences.

47. Favorite cereal? Rice crispies.

48. Book you could read repeatedly? You're asking a former ENGLISH MAJOR this question? Les Miserables, Wuthering Heights, The Alchemist, there are more...

49. What's the meanest thing you've ever done? Be impatient with my kids.

50. What was your best Halloween costume ever? Elvira-like vampire.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rhino A$$

That's what I had for lunch today.

No, really.

It was cleverly marketed as "Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad" at The Fancy Grocery Store (tm). You know the one. The grocery store with carpet on the floors, mahogany-stained shelves, and approximately 20,000 kinds of smelly cheese.

In a rush this morning, I decided to pick up lunch there on my way in to the office. There's always something tasty at the deli counter and I was in a hurry. The first thing I spotted was a giant dish of "Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad" covered in crisp Sugar Snap Peas and sweet Mandarin Orange slices. It lacked the "swimming in mayo" look of their other salads and, being on special today, appealed to my cheap-skate sensibilities.

Boy, was I wrong. The only way I can truthfully describe the taste that assaulted my tongue was... rhino ass.

"Perhaps," I foolishly thought, "it's the coffee I just drank or it needs to be mixed up or... or... "

So I took a few more bites. Now it became clear that it was rhino ass with a side of sodium the size of the Great Salt Lake.

Granted, I've never actually indulged in the culinary adventure of rhino ass -- expensive, pretentious rhino ass. But if I ever were to, I would imagine that it would taste exactly like "Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad" from The Fancy Grocery Store(tm).

All in all, I should have had the Clam Juice. Uck.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ha! No Wonder!

Being a natural born Nodak (North Dakotan), I thought my Minnesota percentage would be higher by default. This actually explains why I get along with so FEW Minnesotans!

You are 25% Minnesotan

You're not an urban Minnesotan, that's for sure, but you should visit sometime! It's a nice place with nice people!

How Minnesotan are you?
Make Your Own Quiz

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Back in March and April of this year, I had interviewed for a lead position at the local offices of a worldwide firm. I wanted this job so bad, I could taste it... until I got to know them. Eventually, after jumping through multiple hoops, I refused to continue being the poodle with the sequined collar and pulled myself out of the running.

They still haven't filled the position. Or they have, lost the hiree, and had to readvertise again... and again... and again. *grin* Over six months-time, I've seen the same job readvertised four times. Most recently, just a few days ago. There are only two reasons I can imagine that they are still looking to fill this position. First, they play the same ridiculous run-around games with other applicants. Two, their bad reputation precedes them.

I wonder how many times they advertised before I applied back in February?

Oh... and my car is already done! Just a totally dead battery. Entire electrical system checked out A-OK.

The Universe Steps In

It's been one helluva busy year. Yesterday alone I was scheduled for 12 out of 24 hours. Today, at least 5 of my workday hours were spoken for running back and forth across the cities for meetings.

Then the Universe stepped in...

... in the form of my car breaking down.

And I'm not upset in the least. Why?

1. I now have a perfectly good and valid excuse for not hauling my cookies all over town.
2. I can get a lot more necessary work done right here at my desk.
3. I've never had to make payments on this car. It was a greatly appreciated gift out of life insurance payouts from my uncle's will many years ago. I don't bitch about the occasional repair.
4. Within an hour I was able to call my regular garage, get someone to tow it there, and I'll probably get it back before the end of the day.
5. Frankly, I needed the - albeit relative - break. If this was the only way I could get it - so be it.

When I set about owning my own business and making the conscious decision to grow it, I knew there would be days, weeks, even months like these. As a small business owner, being overly busy are the problems you HOPE to have. Not having enough business is what nightmares are made out of.

I was forced to cancel two meetings - my clients were understanding. They trust that the deadlines will still be met.

So, thank you, Universe, for giving me the break I wouldn't give myself!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tootin' My Own Horn

Now that I have your attention -- no, that was not a euphemism.

As well as being a professional writer and PROLIFIC blogger (Hey, YOU! Yes, YOU! Stop laughing!), I also make movies. Well, let's say I *help* make movies.

Damn. I'm no good at tootin' my own horn. Let me try again.

I'm part of Stone Soup Films, an independent film group in the Twin Cities. We've just finished our first feature-length film, "Pray for Daylight". If you like vampires, chicks with guns, chicks with swords, chicks fighting, great original music AND a good story made by budget filmmakers with a lot of heart, see this film. We're working on distribution channels right now and hope to have it available for purchase soon.

Check out our 60-second trailer on Google Video!

While you're there, why not watch some of our earlier films that helped us gain wisdom in the ways of video production?

Steve the Vampire - Our first short and the first appearance of Cassie Banning, Vampire Hunter!

The Thing That Happened - Hate art house films? So do we! Scary clowns, insane carnival music and a poor French translation included!

Pray for Daylight: Hunter - More adventures of Cassie Banning. A great primer for the Pray for Daylight feature film.

Stone Soup Films isn't out to make a statement or change the world, we just want to be able to entertain our audience. So, if you want to forget the world for a few minutes, get a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and enjoy!

Long time, no see...

I just realized that I completely skipped the month of July in Blogworld.

Recipe for Lack-O-Blog Stew

1 Fantastic 3-Day Weekend at CONvergence
1 4-Day Business Trip of Mixed Reactions
8 Evenings of daughter's soccer games and practices
2 Extra Business Contracts
2 Kids Who Would Like to See their Mom - Sometime
1 Booze-Filled Actor Commentary Recording
10 lbs. of Compressed Work Deadlines
Dash of Salt
Add Stress to Taste

Let simmer for 31 days .

There was SO MUCH to write about. Seriously. CONvergence and the business trip left me with tons of blog fodder. I'll try to be good. I'll try to write.


Friday, June 30, 2006


Last weekend the Nerdpod made a quick trip to my hometown - Grand Forks, North Dakota. Each trip is not complete without a trip to the original Widman's candy store. This link it to the spin off store in Fargo that only sells a fraction of the fantastic and out-of-this world candy combinations online -- but you can still get the world-famous Chippers. Chocolate-covered potato chips. Incredible stuff.

We came home with a stock of Widman's chocolates. A few ounces each of chocolate-covered orange sticks, peanut butter melts and cranberries, a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans and a 2-lb. box of Chippers. My mother thoughtfully packed them in a small styrofoam cooler to survive the car ride back to the cities.

Our poodle, Buddy the Nerd-hound, had a better nose than I gave him credit for.

Yesterday, I discovered the lid to the box askew and every chocolate that had been in an unsealed paper sack (orange sticks, peanut butter melts and cranberries) was missing. The Nerd-hound had enjoyed a chocolate feast.

Not only can chocolate in certain quantities be toxic to dogs. Not only had the pooch been on a diet ANYWAY. But my Widman's chocolates, which were supposed to last us for months of occasional one-chocolate treats, were GONE! OH, THE HUMANITY!

I called the Nerd-hound over to me and he knew at once he'd done wrong. But I wasn't as mad as I was worried. I quickly called our vet's after-hours number and got in touch with the emergency vets service. I learned a number of things... all of them good:

1. Milk chocolate, while still toxic, is far less toxic to dogs than dark chocolate.
2. Everything he ate was something coated in chocolate... not solid chocolate... so the concern was more about the extra sweets upsetting his tummy than poisoning.
3. His extra-poundage actually helped him out in this case. The heavier the dog, the more he'd have to ingest to be dangerous.
4. He didn't get into the coffee beans. It's the caffeine in the chocolate that's the real danger. If he'd torn into those, he might have been a goner.

The bad:

1. He can have vomiting and diarreah for up to 24 hours after his choco-feast.
2. He was up several times during the night with doggy tummy-ache and we were treated to unbelievable dog farts, but at least he didn't hork up anything on the carpet.

Normally, I don't think he would have paid the chocolates any attention. In all the time we've had him he has rarely tried to grab food off our plates, the table, the garbage -- but I think his diet has turned him back into the natural scavenger he is as a canine. I can't blame the pooch. I didn't punish him. I think the tummy ache was punishment enough. And I've learned that poodles can smell through a 2-inch thick styrofoam cooler.

All in all, Nerd-hound seems to have taken it in stride. This morning he was a little extra cuddly, but back to eating and drinking and having his morning coffee (that's what we call his outside time on the leash) like normal. It was a good reminder that sometimes, having a dog in the house is like having a toddler -- that pees outside.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Summer Stressing

Ideally, summer is that time of year that we all get to relax. Kids are out of school. The weather is beautiful. Life is good.

For someone like me that works from home, summer comes with mixed blessings.

First, when the sky is blue and the sun is shining, it makes concentrating on work much harder. You might think its the same for everyone that works. Not quite. I don't have a manager breathing down my neck or a finite number of vacation days, true. On the other hand, I have to maintain the discipline to stay at my desk instead of, say, planting flowers or jetting out for a bike ride.

Second, the kids are home. I love them being home, but it also means frequent interruptions. Just as much as I need to concentrate on work, I also want them to enjoy their summer. Some days it's incredibly easy. I get up early and get a lot of work done before they wake up. Then they are off and running with one friend or another. Then there are the days of, "No, I don't have time to take you to a friend's house." or "I said, no computers." or "What are you doing inside? Go out in the yard!"

Days like today stress me out. Up early, prepared for a conference call. Did the hour-long conference call. Had one hour to work before the kids got up. My son had made plans the night before to see Superman Returns with friends. My daughter got a call from a friend who wanted to come over and play (but would need ME to do the driving since her dad was working - hey! me too!). On the work side, I have a month's-worth of articles to finish for my big client by Friday, potential clients to call, current clients to follow up with, plus a huge business networking event to prepare for to be at by 5pm.

Still with me?

Since my son wouldn't be home from the movie until 6pm, I had to have him nix those plans due to the business event. He handled the news very well, but I could tell he was disappointed. Since I have my work to do, I can't run around picking up playmates for my daughter. I'm having to tell her no today - so she's feeling a little put out. (No matter how you explain it, a 9-year-old just doesn't fully comprehend why Mom can't take time away from the computer sometimes.) Now I'm trying to prioritize the rest of my to-do's.

Did I mention that my daughter is also supposed to have soccer practice tonight?

This is one of the tough days.

When I reach the point where I think I'm just about to explode into a million little super balls - I sit back, do some lamaze breathing (it really works wonders - and not just in the delivery room), and try to remember the good things:

1. Even with the constant need for self-discipline, I am thankful for every day that I remain on my own in business. I get to make my own hours, make my own dress code and be my own boss. That's worth its weight in gold.

2. I get more time with my kids now than I ever did when I did the corporate 8-5. There was some days I saw my kids a total of 2 hours. That's shameful. Even at its worst, I still cherish every moment with them.

3. I have a fantastic husband that supports everything I do. And if I just remember to ask him to help instead of trying to carry the weight on my own shoulders all the time, he'll do anything for me in a heartbeat.

4. Cut out everything that isn't absolutely necessary. Sure, the laundry needs to be done, we need lightbulbs and milk, I'd love to get a quick manicure for the big event, etc. But can it wait? Can I get by without doing those things? Yeah. I can. The list of "would like to-do" is often far, FAR longer than "absolutely need to-do".

*breathe in* *breathe out* *breathe in* *breathe out*

Yeah. I'll make it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Spellchecker is Only a Tool

I'm a professional writer and editor by trade. In the past, I underestimated the value of my knowledge of the English language. I thought that everyone knew how to write. How did I have anything special to offer?

Then I see something like this in my hometown newspaper:
"Man fleas cops on 5-horsepower cycle"

Please. Tell me I didn't just read that. Tell me this headline didn't make it past the proofers and the editors and the printers.

At my front door today, a local company that replaces driveways and sidewalks left a flyer with this dandy quote at the bottom:

"Call now to schedule an appointment for a FREE consolation."

Excuse me? A free WHAT? I didn't know people usually charged for that these days. What do they do? Put an arm around your shoulder and say, "Gee, I'm sorry your driveway looks so crappy. We can help fix it. No charge for the consolation." Perhaps I should call and offer a consultation on their advertising in trade for a new driveway?

And so it begins...

It took me forever to come up with a name for my Blog.

You see, I have a tendency to overthink things to the point of not actually getting anything done. I wanted a name that really meant something, or was terribly clever, or symbolic, or... or... just really, really, cool. I turned to the best friends a writer can have, and

According to The American Hertiage Dictionary of the English Language, rhapsody is:
  1. Exalted or excessively enthusiastic expression of feeling in speech or writing.
  2. A literary work written in an impassioned or exalted style.
  3. A state of elated bliss; ecstasy.
  4. Music. A usually instrumental composition of irregular form that often incorporates improvisation.
  5. An ancient Greek epic poem or a portion of one suitable for uninterrupted recitation.
That's what I hope my blog will be. Don't expect an exalted style or ecstasy, but I can certainly get behind enthusiastic expression, improvisation and uninterrupted recitation... at least until the comments start flowing in. I also can't promise daily postings or incredibly clever insights. Just me.

Let's see where this takes us, shall we?