Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lazy Summer Days (Not Happening Here)

Dear Readers,

The number of times I've been posting here has been abominable to say the least. I have tons of excuses:

  • No ideas 
  • Feeling down
  • Too busy wallowing to blog
  • Roller derby's taking up my time
  • Oh wait, I meant online mah-jongg's taking up my time
  • Busy doing paid work (I realize you have to look at a lot of Google ads when you read this blog, but those don't pay the bills. I think I've racked up nearly $18 over the life of this blog)
Anyway, these excuses have to go. I've been wallowing way too much in, "How did that person get a book deal?" (while I don't work on the mess that is my novel -- remember that?  The rough draft that I finished in November?  Yeah) or, "How come I don't have more publishing credits?" (Answer: I don't put myself out there enough)

I don't quite know why I let myself get into these cycles, but it's not good because it's slowing me down. Watch for a lot of bad writing to hit this space (or maybe you should be the judge of that) -- I need to test out some creativity and get myself back into practice.

A few weeks ago, I wanted to write more about my trip to Las Vegas, but I didn't want to do it in a travelogue sort of way. I thought about it and came up with a piece that ended up being accepted by a really sweet outlet (it's not published yet, but when it is, you will definitely hear about it). I had such a good time writing it too -- sometimes when I feel like I'm really on with my writing, I feel totally giddy. I need to have that feeling more often because it's so satisfying to be able to work in a way that makes you feel great.

Anyway, enough with the bitching (for the umpteenth time), and on with the writing. I'm not promising any great shakes here, but I appreciate you being along for the ride!

Your pal,

P.S. -- Did you like the homage to titles with parentheses?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jill's New Game

Dear Readers,

Sorry that I'm still seemingly MIA.  I've been working a lot this week -- I've got a new gig blogging for some trade publications about smart cards, NFC, RFID, identification technology, and other things of that vein. Don't ask me what exactly these things are--I'm going through this steep learning curve about the industry, and it's a very complicated, technical field.

I'm getting there though, but it's not without a fair amount of playing a game I like to call, "Is this English?" In this game, I read a story or a press release, and even though the words are apparently written in English, the content is so beyond me that it makes absolutely no sense (well, reading any press release is like this -- how people are content with putting out paragraphs of no content, oftentimes poorly written, is beyond me).  It's not the world's most exciting game because it hurts my head.  It's not fun when your own ineptitude causes your head to hurt.

Today I interviewed a really nice guy about digital certificates (don't know what they are? Um, they're um....yeah), and he said it was a complicated field and that you have to learn by osmosis.  Read something, put it aside, and when you reread it, things start to make a little more sense.  Unfortunately for me, I'm in the "read it 6 times before it makes sense" camp.  Hopefully by the end of summer it won't be quite that bad or take that long....I'd like to get back to blogging (or at least knowing what I'm complaining about).

Your pal,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Oh, Canada, Indeed!

Dear Canuck Rioters,

You need to turn in your Canadian cards right now. There's no way in hell you all are really Canadian.  Canadians don't riot!  Canadians don't send each other to the hospital!  Canadians don't loot!

Apparently this is not the first time you Canuck fans have done this, which is totally shocking.  Canadians on the whole are quite awesome, and this is not awesome Canadian behavior.  In fact, I'm surprised that Vancouver's hockey fans aren't called Canuckleheads.

Is your team losing the Stanley Cup really worth destroying a city?  Your country's image?  Other people's lives? Seriously--you're not even the ones playing the hockey game. Why are you getting so wrapped up in watching other people do stuff? Why don't you become the doers for a change--and then maybe when you get disappointed in the outcome, you won't take it out on your city, eh?

I realize you're not the face of all Canadians, but isn't it sad that you're ruining a good thing for everyone.

Your pal,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Growing Older, Not Getting Older

Dear Readers,

I've had a couple of assignments writing about senior citizens, Baby Boomers, and exercise.  Pair that with doing summer biathlons that are organized by a 75-year-old, and I've been thinking a lot about getting old.

I don't want to.

The research I've had to do for the exercise articles really makes me want to work out.  Exercise does all sorts of good things for you, like protecting your bones and helping you with balance.  After reading about exercise helping to combat falls more than a few times, I was sold.  The idea of falling and breaking a hip just does not appeal (not that it really appeals to anyone, but if being stronger gives me a better chance, well, then I'm doing another set of squats).

Finding out how old our biathlon organizer is was another wake-up call.  Dude's 75 and acts like he's in his early 60's, if not younger (the white hair ages him).  Every time we go to a biathlon, he talks about different shoots he wants to organize and different instructional schools he helps out with.  He just doesn't slow down.

I want that kind of life--one where I'm jetting off to the other side of the world in my 80's.  One where I'm 96 and contemplating giving up my driver's license.  One where I'm 105 and talking about my secret to longevity being regular walks, some light weightlifting, eating reasonable quantities of bacon, and enjoying my daily gin (or beer).  Doesn't that sound like the life?

Your pal,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vegas, Baby.

Dear Readers,

I've fully recovered from my trip to Vegas over Memorial Day weekend.  Sadly, it wasn't because I had wild time--it's just that my flight out there was delayed, and instead of landing at 10PM local time, I got in around 4:30AM local time.

I flew from Boston to JFK where flights were delayed due to weather west of us (this was not long after the Joplin, MO, tornado, so needless to say, heavy weather was not something anyone wanted to deal with).  We got on the plane, we taxied a bit, but then we hit that FAA rule that says you can't be on the tarmac for more than three hours, so we headed back to the gate.  Waited some more.  Had to get more fuel.  Around 11:30 PM, we finally pushed off, and after a bit of taxiing, heard some words you never want to hear from your pilot:  We're 40th in line for take-off.

40th in line means you taxi for another hour.

I only got a couple of hours of real sleep that night, and acted like a zombie for a good chunk of the first morning.  Plus, like many conferences, you're so busy doing stuff, that you really don't get enough sleep the entire time you're there.  Having a bad start to the weekend didn't help.

The conference itself was great.  I learned a ton and met a lot of people.  Vegas, on the other hand, wasn't so great.  I know Vegas is supposed to be all cool and exciting, but it's really overwhelming, and if you don't really love Vegas--or you're with a group of people who don't really like Vegas--you're in a horrible place.  Enormous gaudy casinos.  Lights and noise.  Girls walking around in the shortest dresses you've ever seen.  Pools that don't stay open--I'm serious about this.  Our hotel's pool stayed open until either 7 or 8PM.  We saw pools that were closed by 6PM.  When you're at a conference, there's simply no time for hanging out by the pool, and when you can't participate in one of the major draws, it's a big letdown.

Instead, friends and I wandered around the Strip, gawking, and not gambling. Yeah, I didn't bother--even with the penny slots that were in our hotel.  The fear of losing what little money I did have outweighed the possibility of winning a couple of bucks.  I did spend crazy amounts of money on other things--I bought some bulk candy that was something like $12.99/pound -- I about fell over when my small bag cost over $9.  But then, I didn't have to learn the hard way that this same store sold $25 lollipops.

Cheap buffets?  Where?  My friends and I tried to go to the Wynn buffet because the vegan among us heard they had vegan options.  They did--but the buffet was $45.  No, thank you.  On our last day, we broke down and had the hotel buffet for lunch ($17).  The unlimited bubbly was a bonus, but I don't think there was enough of it to make me eat the worst bacon I've ever tasted in my life--and that's when you think that $17 was a little too much money for a buffet.

Needless to say, I don't feel the urge to go back anytime soon.  Not even on a hot day when I've got nothing to do but lounge by the pool--because at some point I'd still have to experience everything I don't like about Vegas.  In my book, what happens in Vegas can stay there--because it's not quite worth writing home about.  Or is it?  You tell me.

Your pal,